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The Parker Weekly, Page 1

THE PARKER WEEKLY We Baaaack

Volume CVIV, Issue 1

THE ALLSCHOOL DOCUMENT

A NEW MENTORSHIP PROGRAM

Changes Made to Discipline Policy, Code of Conduct, and More

Upper School Bridge Program Tweaked By Julia Marks

By Avani Kalra

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hat makes a Parker student? This question was the first of many administrators and other community members asked as they rewrote Parker’s handbook for the 2019-2020 school year. Along with changes that deal with attendance, college counseling, the registrar’s office, student/teacher communication, and the discipline policy, the new handbook provides a set of guidelines that define a Parker student in the Code of Conduct. “We saw this as an opportunity to redesign the handbook and Code of Conduct,” Head of Upper School Justin Brandon said. “We wanted to make it more modern, and meet the needs of everyone. We wanted to align the entire JK-12 school to where it should be while looking at the state of the world today, making clear communication paths and expectations for everyone in a world that seems to be very unpredictable.” Division heads and other administrators divided up different sections of the handbook to look at individually and then met several times throughout the summer to make big changes and input edits. Other figures across the community looked over different sections that pertained to their area of expertise, and gradeheads left questions and comments on drafts. There was a large emphasis on “building this book in an all-school kind of way,” Brandon said. The mission and guidelines included in the Code of Conduct spell out expectations for every single Parker community member: parents, faculty, staff, and students ages four to 18. Nothing varies by division. “We wanted to create norms and boundaries for the community as a whole,” Brandon said. “There was a huge global conversation to make sure the book will read as much all-school as possible, and a lot more than it did in the past.” Brandon said as he looked at the old Code of Conduct it became more and more clear that a lot of what was defined differently by division did not need to be. “All divisions can say ‘No, that is not okay,’ or ‘Yes, that is encouraged,’ or even ‘This is the attendance policy for the whole school.’”

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September 6, 2019

The New Senior Lockers. Photo by Spencer O’Brien.

BRAND NEW EVERYTHING Parker Renovates Third and Fourth Floors

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By Zach Joseph

he once brightly colored narrow lockers that most high schoolers have come to know are gone, replaced by wide, shorter, and deeper squares stacked vertically along the eggshell white walls. The Dean of Student Life’s office, once located across from the Humanities Center on the fourth floor, now resides with the rest of the Upper School administration, tucked away in the middle of the third-floor hallway, across from the former sophomore bench, now replaced by lines of open-facing chairs for students to relax in. This summer, the administration renovated major aspects of the third and fourth floors, including the sophomore bench, the Upper School Office, the Dean of Student Life’s office, and each of the Upper School’s locker areas. The project originally started with just redoing the locker areas but quickly evolved to something larger than expected. “It was my suggestion that we look at the renovation of pieces of the Upper School,” Head of Upper School Justin Brandon said. “The locker bay areas, they were a necessity. We had to renovate them because our lockers––the long, slim, skinny lockers––we learned were obsolete, so they were no longer being made, and that meant whenever some part of it broke down, we had to call a person to make a part and then send it to us.” According to Brandon, there were a couple deciding factors that the faculty felt prompted the decision to renovate the locker areas. “One was that the shape of the lockers didn’t really allow for much use, outside of a slim bookbag and a couple of textbooks,” Brandon said. “I think it was kind of thinking about, ‘how to possibly get

the gym bags in the lockers, or anything else besides a textbook.’” Some students feel that the new lockers were long overdue. “I think that, honestly, those lockers make a lot of sense,” junior Carter Wagner said, “because, first off, it’s easier to fit things because nobody’s putting a saxophone in their locker. You don’t need something that tall in those lockers.” From there, the project took form. “It started with, ‘let’s look at the lockers,’ and then, the next thing was, ‘it would be great if the Dean’s office could be moved into the Upper School office already,’” Brandon said. “So that idea kind of had our architect thinking, ‘well, what other opportunities are there with the floor, with the work that’s been done.’” Another factor that prompted the moving of the Dean’s office was the recent addition of the new Upper School history teacher and their need for a room to teach in. “I was also aware that we needed a classroom for an additional history teacher, and that person needed a room,” Principal Dan Frank said, “so I thought, ‘oh, well, if we use the office on the fourth floor, and we’re moving it down to the third floor anyway, well, there’s a classroom.” But there were fewer pre-planned ideas when it came to the rest of the third floor. “When it came to looking at the benches, the hallway area, there were a lot of questions of, ‘how do we maximize that space,’” Brandon said. “And then that was coming from, I guess, the adults in my space and in our office, partially because the display case was … not being used to its fullest potential.” The idea to redo the third floor hallway area, however, had been brewing in the

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t the tail end of summer and the start of the new school year, Parker holds its annual Upper School “Bridge” program––a program designed to help integrate new students to Parker’s Upper School academically, socially, and emotionally. “The purpose is for the new students to Parker to really get to know each other and form a sort of cohort, so when they come in the first day, they are not alone and they don’t feel isolated,” Upper School Guidance Counselor Gary Childrey said. While the program takes place annually, this year there were two significant changes. For many years, the Student Government Community Committee has been a part of Bridge. Previously, members of the Community Committee were to hold check-ins throughout the year and keep up with the integration process of the 9th graders post Bridge. In addition to the committee members, there were also “mentors,” students whose only commitment was during Bridge itself. Now, the mentors and Community Committee members are interchangable. The mentors attend Bridge and assist the faculty with some of the planning elements. Rising senior and Community Committee head Ava Stepan feels that the student perspective is important in the planning to ensure that the students are engaged. “What interests a teacher is definitely not the same thing that’s going to interest a kid,” Stepan said. Stepan believes that this new method of mentorship is an improvement from years past. “This is a more fool-proof way to select mentors, because in the past some people will not be as committed because they know it’s just a two week thing, and it’s not a huge commitment for them,” Stepan said. “Mentors in Community Committee are already committed to helping 9th graders in their process of transitioning from a completely different Middle School in most cases to Parker, and what that is going to look like.” Junior Olivia Hanley, Community Committee member and mentor, thinks that the new mentor system is a positive change. “Since we all both serve as mentors and are on the Community Committee, I think it’s

Continued on page 18


The Parker Weekly, Page 2

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T HE P ARKER W EEKLY

“The Weekly” is supported by an endowment created in memory of Brad Davis ‘98 “Weekly” Staff ‘96-’98, “Weekly” Editor-in-Chief ‘97-’98

staff

Editor-in-Chief Editor-in-Chief Editor-in-Chief Managing Editor Associate Editor Online Editor Online Editor News Editor Features Editor Opinions Editor Photo Editor Culture Critic Culture Critic Columnist Columnist Columnist Columnist Copy Editor Copy Editor Copy Editor Copy Editor

Avani Kalra Alex Ori Ian Shayne Paige Shayne Molly Taylor Zach Joseph Nick Skok Julia Marks Celia Rattner Ava Stepan Anna Fuder Abri Berg Leila Sheridan Lindsay Carlin Caroline Conforti Grayson Schementi Matthew Turk Jacob Boxerman Lauren Hughes Tess Wayland Gabe Wrubel

The Editorial Board of “The Parker Weekly” consists of the Editors-in-Chief, Managing Editor, Associate Editor, News Editor, Features Editor, Opinions Editor, and Online Co-Editors.

writers

Abri Berg ‘20 Lindsay Carlin ‘20 Caroline Conforti ‘20 Avani Kalra ‘20 Alex Ori ‘20 Michael Pitts ‘20 Celia Rattner ‘20 Ian Shayne ‘20 Paige Shayne ‘20 Ava Stepan ‘20 Molly Taylor ‘20 Matthew Turk ‘20 Zach Joseph ‘21 Rosey Limmer ‘21

In this issue:

Letter From The Editors

Hi Parker! Welcome back! We hope everyone had a great summer! The Weekly staff has been hard at work these past months interviewing, writing, and editing for Issue 1. We think our work has paid off–– this issue is packed with great stories, interesting people, and insightful opinions. Make sure to check out Zach Joseph’s article on the new construction if you are as confused as we are about what happened to the sophomore bench. If you want an explanation for why you’ve never asked a question in MX, take a look at Molly Taylor’s piece about “Threshold Models of Collective Behavior.” Although we are sad to leave the warm, carefree summer days behind, we are enthusiastic for the new school year. There’s something so exciting about beginnings–– the infinite possibilities of what’s to come, the blank pages waiting to be filled. And while you guys live out this school year writing your own personal pages, we’ll be filling these ones. Let’s make them good. Love, Ian, Avani, and Alex

Julia Marks ‘21 Lilly Satterfield ‘21 Grayson Schementi ‘21 Leila Sheridan ‘21 Nick Skok ‘21 Gabe Wrubel ‘21 Jacob Boxerman ‘22 Sofia Brown ‘22 Owen Dudney ‘22 Tess Wayland ‘22 Eli Greenwald ‘23 Max Keller ‘23 Alya Satchu ‘23

contributing faculty

Faculty Advisor

Kate Tabor

Faculty Advisor

Eric Rampson

Quote of “The Weekly” “What’s the plural of hydroflask?” “hydroflasksksksksksk” -Maddie Friedman


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Playlist of the Weekly

The Parker Weekly, Page 3

10 SONGS FROM SUMMER 2019 By Alex Schapiro

10 songs from this summer that you’re bound to love. Straight from Alex’s spotify to your ears. Make sure to check it out at : https://spoti.fi/2NKrrP2 or scan the code below: RNP (FEAT. ANDERSON .PAAK) by YBN Cordae

RIDE MY BIKE by Maude Latour

SACRIFICES (WITH E A RT H G A N G & J . C O L E ) by Dreamville

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BALLIN (FEAT. RODDY RICCH) by Mustard

E

V

E

R

by Smino

E

N

D

I DON’T THINK I CAN DO THIS AGAIN (WITH CLAIRO) by Mura Masa

GIVING UP by Whitney

IN YOUR HEAD - RL GRIME EDIT by G Jones DO YOU REMEMBER B O S S A N O S É ( F E AT . J E A N by Chance The Rapper, Death CARTER) Cab for Cutie by Cuco

Have something to say about what was published in this issue of “The Weekly”? Email our Managing Editor at pshayne@fwparker.org and write a Letter to the Editors to be published in our next issue!


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Sports

THE PEOPLE BEHIND THE PLAYERS The warm summer break comes to an end, and Upper School fall sports teams have been hard at work during preseason, preparing for an exciting season. As the players are training for the upcoming season, the coaches are preparing too. The coaches help the players train both physically and mentally for upcoming games, meets, or matches. Mr. Bobby Starks is the athletic director at Parker, and he is excited about the upcoming season. “I look forward to the liveliness of having our student-athletes back on campus,” Starks said. “It is always fun to see our student-athletes when they first come back from summer break. The energy is palpable.” Starks described the hiring process for coaches as “time-consuming and sophisticated.” “We employ a rigorous vetting process to ensure that we hire coaches that are knowledgeable about the sport, have a youth development background, and are good fits for Parker,” Starks said. “I believe a key part of my job is to inspire my students to be determined and persistent - and yes, to work as hard as they can,” Cross Country Coach Minnie Skakun said, “In high school, some very successful, powerhouse programs toe the start line. They want the W as much as we do, and

The Coaches Running the Field this Fall By Alya Satchu

the only way to set yourself apart is to put in the hard miles.” Skakun has experience being the Middle School Cross Country Coach, the Middle School Track and Field Coach, and the Upper School Track and Field coach at Parker. She is also training for her eighteenth marathon this year. Working alongside Skakun is Coach and Parker alumnus Ted Ledford, who is the new Assistant Cross Country Coach. The field hockey teams are also preparing for another season of work. The varsity team is coached by Coach Misha Geller. Geller has coached eighteen seasons at Parker, three as head varsity coach. Assistant coaching the varsity team is former Junior Varsity Assistant Coach Reilly Bruce. This season will be Bruce’s second year at Parker. Senior and Varsity Field Hockey Captain Lauryn Rauschenburger likes the female coaching staff. “I’ve found that an all-female staff is really understanding of the needs of an all-female team,” Rauschenburger said. Courtney Carone ‘11 and Betsey Ehlen are coaching the Junior Varsity team this year. Carone has been coaching for Upper School for three years now, and it is her fifth

year coaching overall. She also attended Parker for fourteen years and played field hockey from sixth through twelfth grade. This year, the varsity soccer team is planning on continuing strong. Leading the team is Head Coach Neil Curran, and alongside him is Coach Patrick Stanton, the Eighth Grade Assistant. The junior varsity soccer team is split up into two teams: Junior Varsity Blue and Junior Varsity White. This year, the new head coach for Junior Varsity White is Coach Amelia Chauhan. Chauhan has a lot of experience with playing soccer. She went to school all fourteen years at Parker, and she got second place in the state while playing soccer here. She has also played at Lake Forest College in Illinois. Coach Chauhan thinks that having played the sport has helped her as a coach. “I think it does help that I played the sport,” Chauhan said. “It helps me connect with the student-athletes as well as remembering what worked and what I didn’t like as a player. It also helps me come up with ideas for practices.” Working with Chauhan is Assistant Coach Tyler Heidtke. This is his first year coaching at Parker, although he has coached at Park View School in Morton Grove

FALL SPORTS PREVIEW

How The Colonels Played This August By Michael Pitts

The fall sports season is upon us once again, and volleyball, tennis, cross country, field hockey, golf, and soccer began their respective pre-seasons the first two weeks of August. Despite the boys soccer team losing key members of their successful team to graduation, they have not lost their step. “I’m most looking forward to seeing how the team gels together and how far we can go this year,” junior Bodie Florsheim said. Soccer at Parker is always competitive, and this year is no different. “The intensity is really high this year,” Varsity captain and senior Ryan Humphrey said. “And it should make us ready to compete for state this year.” In volleyball, the team suffered the loss of three major key senior players this season, but they remain confident they can continue to compete at a high level. “I see a lot of potential for the team,” said captain and senior Ren Habiby. “The girls are quick learners and I think that with more practice, we are going to be ready to compete.” For field hockey, the team is one of the biggest teams Parker has seen to date. “A lot of our players bring excellent skills to the field and maintain a close knit community together off the field which will prove useful in the future,” captain and senior Lauryn

The boys varsity soccer team scrimmages during one of their morning practices. Photo by Jared Saef.

Rauschenberger said. “They are all ready to bring it on the field, and are not lacking in confidence.” The girls tennis team is coming into this season with a new head coach, Brandon Smith. “The team is responding well to his coaching style so far,” captain and senior Lindsay Carlin said. “Which makes me optimistic for the rest of the season.” This season will be unique with the new coach, but junior Amelia Hoerr is excited for the change. “This year we are conditioning during pre-season and it’s looking so much better than last year,” she said. The boys golf team also lost a lot of good talent from last year, but that’s not the

only change the team is adapting to. “This season, we have less practices before our matches and tournaments start,” senior Scottie Ingall said. “So we are working extremely hard to be ready.” Cross Country is a sport that requires a lot of hard work to get good results, and effort is needed at every meet, and that is something junior Grayson Schementi is looking for this year. “I’m excited to see each person on the team put in that effort and see it pay off with wins,” he said. Throughout preseason, the cross country team has hit the mileage every time with some of their youngest people being some of the fastest.

and was a volunteer played soccer at the varsity level in high school and describes his coaching style as “purposeful and receptive.” “Purposeful in that I demand a lot out of my athletes but receptive because I strive to build positive relationships to help my players be successful both on and off the field,” Heidtke said. Coaching the Junior Varsity Blue team is Coach Noah Wolff. Accompanying Coach Wolff is assistant coach, Coach Edward McDugle. Coach Max Jones is another coach who will be working as a part-time coach to help with the three teams. This year the varsity volleyball team is planning to continue the work. The team is coached by Coach Brittany Lo, and assistant coached by Coach Courtney Barlow, who is new to Parker. The junior varsity volleyball coach, Coach Tajah Bell, is also new to Parker. This is her second year coaching volleyball. She described her coaching style “as one that focuses on developing the player in all aspects of the game.” “Whether it be physical or mental, I want my players to learn and appreciate the game,” said Coach Bell. Alongside Coach Bell is Assistant Coach Christopher Riff, who is also a part of the math department in the upper school. As the volleyball teams are going strong, the girls tennis team is working hard on the court. They have welcomed another new coach, Coach Brandon Smith. This is Smith’s second season coaching tennis at Parker but his first season as the coach of girls tennis. He has coached tennis outside of Parker for over twenty years. Smith feels as his coaching style “aligns with Parker’s visions and values.” “I believe in focusing on the process over the outcome, treating each studentathlete fairly, and to inspire each player to maximize their abilities,” said Smith. Alongside Smith are assistant coaches, Coach Jacqueline Dawkins and Coach Anthony O’Neal. Senior and Golf Captian Scott Ingall is excited to keep improving in golf this year. “I love how our coaches always address each golfer individually,” said Ingall, “They really make an effort to help and correct us based on how we play individually.” Coach Tim O’Connor is the head golf coach this year. This year will be assistant Coach Justin Taylor’s second year coaching golf at Parker. But he has been coaching golf on and off for about ten years. He describes his coaching style as “laid back.” In conclusion, Taylor’s perspective captured the value of a coach to the team. “I try to coach and mentor in a way that attributes to life lessons,” Taylor said. “Mistakes are always going to happen. We are human. It’s how we can learn and grow from those mistakes.”


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Profiles

A NEW POPE

Elliot Pope to Join History Department By Ian Shayne On Lake Park Avenue and Hyde Park Boulevard, across the street from Kenwood Academy High School, former Parker music teacher Lucius Bell sat with a fellow local churchgoer at U n c l e J o e ’s restaurant. Bell encouraged this young aspiring history teacher to look at the school where Bell famously belted out the “Piece of the House” song. About one decade and one Ph.D. later, the same young teacher was conversing with the Student Interview and Recommendation Board (SIRB), hoping to teach at the fabled institution that Bell extolled. “To be honest, I’ve always wanted to teach at a school like Francis Parker,” Otis Eliot Pope, Ph.D., said his interest in Parker stemmed from his lunch conversation with Bell. “When I saw an opening in the History department recently, I jumped on it.” At the job fair, Pope met both Principal Dan Frank and Upper School Head Justin Brandon. “I was impressed with their commitment to diversity, their commitment to excellence inside the classroom,” Pope said. “They encouraged me to apply for the History position, and I did that. From there, they contacted me for an in-person interview. I came in and I did a six- or sevenhour-long interview, and a couple of weeks later, I got a job offer.” The Parker job offer to teach both Themes in World History, the freshman year history course, and Terrorism came after meeting with SIRB, a student government board in which students speak with Parker job applicants. Senior Jade Nguyen was a member of SIRB last year and distinctly recalls the meeting with Pope. “He left a good impression,” Nguyen said. “Right away, I could tell that he was very respectable. He said ‘hello’ to all of us, had a nice smile, had a nice posture. I got good vibes from him.” Nguyen got the impression that Pope, an African-American male, would bring a crucial, new perspective to Parker’s history department. “It’s hard for certain teachers to talk about some things, but, with him, he’ll definitely be more comfortable talking about controversial and sensitive subjects,” Nguyen said. History department co-chair Andrew Bigelow, who had been requesting a new history teacher for three years because of large class sizes, also believes that Pope will add an important perspective, particularly because of Pope’s doctoral work. “He has

a really interesting Ph.D. in something that I’ve always really found interesting: the role of African-Americans in the armed forces,” Bigelow said. “I can envision him someday teaching an elective on his Ph.D. That’s one of the reasons why we brought him in.” Bigelow likes having h is to r y teachers with specific interests and skills and considerable experience, which Pope’s Ph.D. suggests he has. “One of our greatest strengths is the autonomy of teachers,” Bigelow said of Parker. “Because we’re such a unique, special place, we’re able to recruit specialized people. We’re looking for certain types of teachers and skill sets, which Dr. Pope has. It’s a great place for seasoned teachers to become stronger.” Pope’s experience, which impressed Bigelow, consists of three years of teaching at the collegiate level at Arrupe College of Loyola University, a Ph.D. in history from Loyola, a master’s degree from DePaul, and a bachelor’s degree from Bowdoin College. At Arrupe College, Pope found an appreciation for the history of Western culture through a course he taught called “Western Civilization to the 17th Century,” which he thinks has prepared him well for Themes in World History at Parker. His interest in terrorism, the other subject he will teach, began on September 11, 2001. “I’m 40-years-old, so 9/11 took place right after I graduated from college,” Pope said. “I remember sitting on my parents’ couch watching the planes fly into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Terrorism and America’s fight against terrorism has always fascinated me because that took place during a point in my life when I was really paying attention to some of the key current events. When I saw that Parker had an actual terrorism course, I thought that this would be a great way to learn about a subject matter that fascinated me.” Pope will tailor both the terrorism and world history courses to fit his teaching style and the needs of his students. “I know that the students at Francis Parker are outstanding, they’re curious, they’re smart,” Pope said. “I definitely want to spice it up. I want to add new and different methodologies that will hopefully tap into the brilliant minds at Francis Parker.”

“I definitely want to spice it up. I want to add new and different methodologies that will hopefully tap into the brilliant minds at Francis Parker.”

A NEW PAGE

Alicia Abood Finds Home on Fourth Floor By Alex Ori It’s a Wednesday in mid-August and it looks like someone’s running a garage sale. An impressive array of books, trinkets and posters of dead authors line the fourth floor hallway. A stuffed teddy bear sits defeated, upside down on a cardboard box. As teachers walk by, marveling at the clutter that’s outside former English teacher Bonnie Seebold’s room, a woman in a denim dress invites them to look for themselves and take anything they’d like. The woman is new English teacher Alicia Abood, who will be replacing newly retired Seebold. Before she was emptying out skulls and fake flowers from her future classroom, Abood was teaching English at Vernon Hills High School. There, she taught classes of 25-30 students. Smaller classes are something she will be looking forward to this year. “Especially with English,” Abood said, “when you are trying to have real conversations with students about their writing and really look at their writing and give timely feedback, I think that class size is so important. It’s non negotiable.” Abood said she’s always had Parker on her “radar” ever since moving to Chicago–– so when she was checking out schools’ websites, her computer naturally went to Parker’s. “I was just poking around at the websites and one day went to Parker, and saw that there was an opening,” Abood said. “I thought, ‘Oh my gosh, I need to go for this.’” Abood’s love of teaching and writing first grew as an undergraduate at Hope College. During a pivotal poetry “May Term,” where students stay an extra month and dive deep into a particular subject, Abood was introduced to the power of teaching. “I saw the power of a really rich and transformative educational experience,” Abood said. “And then I was able to read poetry and talk about poetry in a way that I had never been able to before. Abood’s love of writing stayed with her. After teaching in the suburbs of Denver, she attended graduate school for creative writing. “Her creative writing experience I think will be a real gift to the department because it has been a long time since we have had someone to do a creative writing class,” former English Department Co-Chair Theresa Collins said. “That is one thing that definitely distinguished her from some of

the other finalists.” Collins, along with the rest of the hiring team, went into interviews looking for particular characteristics. “We look for people who do a lot of reading on their own,” Collins said. “We love people who have curiosity, who are dedicated to working on developing themselves professionally as lifelong learners.” Collins was impressed with Abood. “She listens to understand and makes connections,” Collins said. “She has a great curiosity about her. And at the same time it was really clear to me that she is a veteran, an experienced teacher.” At Vernon Hills High School, Abood was heavily involved in student extracurriculars. She was the co-advisor to the literary magazine, the National Honor Society, Sexuality and Gender Acceptance (SAGA), and even helped out with their business club DECA. “ DECA was so out of my repertoire, but it got me involved and gave me some fun experiences with students out of the classroom,” Abood said. Abood is going into Parker’s club scene with the same mindset. “I’m kind of just waiting to see, ‘Where’s the need? Where’s the availability?’” Abood said. Student Interview and Recommendation Board (SIRB) member Olivia Hanley remembers Abood from their interview. “She seemed really creative and ready to get involved in the Parker community,” Hanley said. This year Abood will be teaching Shakespeare, Writer’s Studio, World Literature and Reading and Writing Across the Genres. As she gets ready for her classes, she acknowledges the challenges and rewards of teaching. “No matter what school you are at, teaching is hard work,” Abood said. “But I find that I also learn a lot in the process. I feel really lucky that I get to come to a school each day and gain insight from students.” As Abood’s time at Parker begins, she is looking forward to the community she sensed during her interview day. “I’m excited to be at a place where it’s like, ‘We are all in this together. We are learning together, we are growing together,’” Abood said.

“I saw the power of a really rich and transformative educational experience.”


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More Profiles

THE COMPLETE LIFE OF JOSHUA TORREZ What You Might not Know About Parker’s Multi-Talented Substitute Teacher

Joshua Torrez spends his days sitting quietly at a teacher’s desk with a book in his hand and glasses resting on his nose. His formal dress attire and soothing voice make one curious as to what kind of life he lives outside of Parker. Never one to talk much about himself, only students who have chosen to get to know him a little bit know that he is a musician, but there’s much more to know. Torrez grew up in Chicago and, as a Parker graduate (‘06), he learned a lot from the school’s arts program. His sophomore year of high school he started taking music and was cast in the Parker musical. Around that time, he was introduced to a DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) called Fruity Loops which got him interested in creating his own music. He began rapping over instrumentals that he produced in talent shows, assemblies, and school dances in his duo called Two Deep. When he started writing his own music, Torrez got in touch with Maceo Haymes, lead singer of “The O’My’s,” who he remains in touch with, and they collaborated a lot throughout the rest of his high school days. “That was the genesis of my music career,” Torrez said. Although music was a rising interest for Torrez, it wasn’t his only focus: he liked acting as well. He ended up going to DePaul

By Nick Skok for their acting program, but he didn’t prioritize acting over music. “It kind of all just happened at the same time, and I’ve always been pursuing both of them at the same time,” Torrez said. “I’m multidimensional. I just have a gift of being able to do things to a proficiency that most coin themselves as professionals in that lane.” Towards the end of his senior year in high school, Torrez was set to go to school for finance at SIU, until he heard back very late from DePaul that he was accepted into their theatre program. Fifty-two freshman actors were admitted, and only 26 moved passed the cut stage and stayed for the year. “My ideology at the time was ‘I will go, I’ll see what happens in my first year, and if I get cut, I’ll just do finance’,” Torrez said. “I didn’t get cut.”

Right out of college, he worked in Cape Cod for the summer and then moved straight to New York City where he lived for four years. There he appeared in TV shows, various acting gigs across the city, and starred in a pilot for a TV series that didn’t continue. In his mind, he proved that he made it in New York and felt he didn’t need to stay a n y l o n g e r. “Internally and spiritually I just had a shift. I wasn’t just falling for the hype of New York of paying top dollar to live in squalor,” Torrez said. “I was craving nature at the time and needed to schedule nature into my day just seemed unnatural. I was ready for a change.” After bouncing around California for a bit, Torrez landed a shared lead role in the play “Oedipus El Rey” in San Francisco. The other co-star, Carlos Aggurie, reflects on

“The more you experience and live life the better of an actor you are because you have life experiences to pull from or relate to whatever character you’re embodying.”

Torrez’s talent while performing alongside him. “In terms of our work together, hungry is what comes to mind,” Aggurie said. “He’s just someone who is completely all about approaching the role holistically, which is from every angle, and making sure that everything is covered.” Torrez came back to his hometown of Chicago in 2013 and right away he reached out to former Upper School and current Lower School performing arts teacher Leslie Holland Pryor, a longtime mentor of his. She mentioned subbing at Parker. At the time he had a lot of downtime between projects, and it would be an additional source of income. While still advancing his acting career and subbing at Parker, Torrez released his first album: “The Cuts.” He went on a 14-city tour performing his album and eventually ended up in Atlanta where he spent two years acting mostly commercials. But he decided to come back to Chicago. “The more you experience and live life,” Torrez said, “the better of an actor you are because you have life experiences to pull from or relate to whatever character you’re embodying.” In the decade that his professional career was hitting highs and lows, Torrez would study metaphysics on the side.

Continued on page 18

NEW PERFORMING ARTS TEACHER HITS THE STAGE

A new face has joined Parker ’s ensemble of teacher––actor and instructor John Hildreth. Hildreth has taken the place of Leslie Holland Pryor, Upper School performing arts teacher, who after more than twenty years is taking up a new position in the Lower School. Hildreth brings more than 35 years of performing arts experience to Parker. Hildreth graduated high school in Streator, Illinois, where he played the trombone in the school band, acted in plays, and was on the speech team. Hildreth initially found his passion for the performing arts in school. “It’s something I discovered, I’m going to say in high school. I just sort of discovered that I liked it,” Hildreth said. “It was just a process of discovery through college. And that’s when … at Second City, I decided to go for it there.” After high school Hildreth attended the University of Chicago where he earned his B.A. in chemistry. While there, he was a member of an improv group and wrote and performed in many plays and musicals. After finishing at the University of Chicago, Hildreth pursued acting and improvisation at The Second City, an improvisational theater in Chicago. Hildreth was not initially planning on going into teaching, spending several years as an actor. “I took classes at Second City first,” Hildreth said, “and then I was in the

Professional Acting Experience Comes To Parker By Jacob Boxerman

John Hildreth’s Portrait. Photo Courtesy of Columbia College Chicago.

touring company, and I did some shows performed at The Second City. And after that, I became an instructor.” After joining The Second City, Hildreth became a part-time adjunct professor at Columbia College Chicago, teaching various improvisational and theater classes. “After you’re a performer in improv or sketch comedy, the people that have classes in Second City or iO or anywhere these

days, that after your successful performance career, people come and ask you, you know, would you like to teach other people? How you do what you do? It doesn’t happen right away,” Hildreth said. According to Student Interview Recommendation Board (SIRB) member Talia Holceker, Hildreth’s extensive teaching background is one of the things that made him stand out as a candidate for

the job. “Mr. Hildreth stood out because he had an extremely impressive resume with a lot of background in performing arts,” said Holceker. “He was the most experienced in progressive education, directing musical productions, and unique and interesting elective class ideas.” Hildreth hopes students look forward to him bringing a professional perspective to the performing arts at Parker. “I would want people to know that I’m still out there in the theater and comedy community. In Chicago, I perform once or twice a week. I’d love people to come see my shows. And look forward to me bringing some of that into the improv and acting classes.” Hildreth also wants to give students interested in theater and improv new opportunities inside and out of the school. “I want to keep my connection with The Second City and see if I can get this improv club groups or groups shows at The Second City,” Hildreth said. “But I’m really looking to continue the work that Holland Pryor has established.” Woodshop teacher Nick Rupard says he is looking forward to Hildreth taking over and bringing a fresh perspective. Rupard previously worked with Holland Pryor for nearly thirteen years as auditorium manager and woodshop teacher, helping to build sets for the musicals and plays. “I think having John enter is really great.

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Summer Work

This summer, Avani spent five weeks at the Medill-Northwestern Journalism Institute where she wrote this piece and others and learned the intricacies of journalism. Alongside the regular sounds of children splashing and the chattering of friends meeting for coffee, the melody of “Seasons of Love” filled Fountain Square as a teenage girl played a piano painted from top to bottom with multicolored flowers. Downtown Evanston, a local nonprofit, works to improve Evanston’s economy and living standards. The organization moved a piano to Evanston’s square about two weeks ago, after commissioning artist Amanda Evanston Freund to paint it. “It’s a placemaking element of the square,” Laura Brown, the Business Development and Marketing Manager at Downtown Evanston, said. “It’s unique and fun. We want to brighten people’s day when they see a beautifully painted piano when they’re going out to work or going to an appointment or going out to dinner.” Downtown Evanston had a piano sitting in their office space for over a year, and when Brown and her colleagues observed public pianos in other towns and cities throughout the United States and wanted to bring the idea to life here, they found a use for it. Their inspiration came from “Play Me, I’m Yours,” an organization created in 2008 by Luke Jerram, which stations pianos in

A PAINTED PIANO

Pianos in City Squares Around the World By Avani Kalra

public places. Jerram placed 15 pianos across Downtown Evanston gave a five-minute Birmingham, presentation UK in three to the Council weeks and explaining since then, their idea, the organizations purpose of the a n d money, and the individuals importance of have put more the project. than 1,900 Afterward, street pianos the Council in over 60 funded 50 cities across percent of their the globe, project. now including “We really Evanston. give priority After to projects realizing they Eden Rolle, 17, plays “Seasons of Love” on the piano in Fountain t h a t r e f l e c t Square. Photo by Avani Kalra. wanted to move diversity, equity the piano to the and inclusion,” square, Downtown Evanston pitched Martinez said. “This request capitalized on the idea to the City of Evanston Arts equity. It’s public art access.” Council, which works to integrate art into Martinez said Downtown Evanston’s public spaces and help coordinate cultural pitch was impressive because they had activities. a plan for everything. “We always pay “We’re really looking for how proposals attention to maintenance, cold weather, will enhance the art in Evanston,” Assistant storms, what if it breaks, and they had a plan to the City Manager Paula Martinez said. for all of that,” she said. “We like to connect art and community, The organization bought the instrument and make as much art public as possible.” officially and began their project on May

The Parker Weekly, Page 7

29. It took only two weeks for the piano to be fully painted and rehabilitated for public use. The money the Council gave to Downtown Evanston commissioned Freund to paint the piece. Freund said she has a special affinity for flowers and nature, so she chose them for the design. Freund considers herself to be an Evanston-based “painter, maker, artist and designer” and sells her work both at her studio on Chicago Avenue and online. Downtown Evanston wanted a local artist to decorate the piano to reinforce community values, Brown said. The piano brings the latest change in Fountain Square’s recent makeover. Downtown Evanston now hosts free live concerts and children’s readings in the space, and Brown said she hopes the piano brings a new level of excitement to those events. “I was there for the storytime event, and a teenager just stopped and uncovered the piano from under its weather cover and just started to play,” Brown said. “He was playing ‘Somewhere Over the Rainbow,’ and other songs that were just so positive and uplifting, and he drew a little crowd.” Moments like these remind her of the power of music and of the piano itself to bring communities together, Brown said.

NEW ENGLAND AQUARIUM STRIVES TO EDUCATE ABOUT CLIMATE CHANGE

Zach spent two weeks in Boston this summer at the New England Center for Investigative Reporting exploring and reporting on issues in the Boston Area. The New England Aquarium says it plans to invest $200 million to educate its visitors about the impacts of climate change and how it can be prevented. Some aspects of this project will include exhibits aimed at educating visitors on ways to protect the aquarium from any damage caused by climate change, a spokesperson for the Aquarium said. The term climate change, first coined in 1966, describes a change in global or regional climate patterns, connected largely to the use of fossil fuels. Examples of climate change include the melting of glaciers and intense weather patterns, like hurricanes. According to New England Aquarium Media Relations Director Tony LaCasse, this new initiative was inspired by the flooding in Boston in 2018 when high tides along the coast forced the aquarium to close for four days. LaCasse said the flooding was unlike anything ever seen in the city’s recent history. “That summer, our water temperatures were up about four or five degrees, which was just, orders of magnitude above what you would normally see,” said LaCasse. The aquarium was not affected by the

A New Project to Inform its Visitors By Zach Joseph

flood due in part to the recently elevated harbor walkway. It closed as a precaution for guests. “During that flooding back in March of 2018 which flooded out most of our neighborhoods, we were an island,” LaCasse said. “We were sitting up above everybody else, with minimal flood effects.” In the days of climate change awareness, the Aquarium is striving to have as environmentally friendly of a building as possible. “More than ten years ago we took all of our electrical switching, which had previously been in our basement, and moved it to our first floor,” LaCasse said. “Probably the most significant thing from a climate change perspective is we wrote the very first grant, seven or eight years ago, to start a training network for educators and

informal science centers.” The grant is used by the National Network for Ocean and Climate Change Interpretation (NNOCCI), an organization which, according to its website, strives to “develop the knowledge, techniques, c o m m u n i t y, and confidence needed to empower our audiences.” NNOCCI offers a wide variety of informal science centers to alter the way in which Americans think about climate change. In addition to the program led by NNOCCI, the NEAQ also offers the Visualizing Change project, which sets out to address and educate citizens on the climate-ocean connection, extreme weather, ocean acidification, and the rise of sea-levels. The basic overview of Visualizing Change is, according to the NEAQ website “a toolkit for informal

“The New England Aquarium says it plans to invest $200 million to educate its visitors about the impacts of climate change and how it can be prevented.”

educators using visual narratives on climate change.” The goal of the aquarium is “to focus on things that are practical but that are also kind of civic and social,” NEAQ’s Vice President of Programs Billy Spitzer said in an interview with WBUR. Among those who are in favor of the aquarium’s new program is Matt Morris, 21, of Delray Beach, Florida. “The biggest problem with educating people is getting the message to be clear,” Morris said. “It’s all about how you address the audience you do it to.” However, Morris has an idea for how to educate others about climate change. “The one thing is: come up with resources and facts,” Morris said. “In simple terms, not just, ‘let’s use all the scientific data and explain it in that way.’ Because the lingo and the language can always be confusing, even for people in the industry.” As the NEAQ continues with their program, others, like 34-year-old Heather Lefebure of Vancouver, Canada, feel that design factors need to be taken into account. “I think it’s important to remember your audience,” Lefebure said. “Keeping the language and attitude of the exhibit positive instead of doom and gloom.”


The Parker Weekly, Page 8

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Even More Profiles EPHING AROUND

Marc Taylor ‘17 Balances Basketball and Academics in College At 6 feet 8 inches, Marc Taylor ‘17 was easy to spot on Parker’s basketball court. Taylor, who began playing basketball at age four, always knew he wanted to continue playing in college. Nearly 17 years later, Taylor can be seen on the court with fellow Williams College Ephs, where he still sports his signature “22” on his purple jersey. “Not playing basketball—when I was looking at schools—was not in my mind,” Taylor said. “I always wanted to play basketball, so I was trying to get the best education that I could get, using basketball as a tool.” Growing up, Taylor knew he wanted to pursue academics more rigorously while also maintaining a heavy involvement with basketball. “Most basketball players know when they’re not gonna be the next LeBron James or Michael Jordan,” Taylor said. “When you’re young, you have your eyes on the NBA...being the best player ever and stuff like that. And then as you grow up you’re like ‘OK, I want to play basketball and also get a really good education.’” As a Varsity team captain, Taylor was a natural leader, according to his longtime coach, Kevin Snider. “Marc makes everyone around him better because he’s so good and he doesn’t mind sharing the ball,” Snider said. “I think all his teammates would say they love playing with him...he’s easy-

While families across the United States plopped down on their couches at the beginning of July to watch the Women’s World Cup or tuned in to the new season of “Stranger Things,” Chase Wayland’s family excitedly flipped to the Food Network at 9 p.m. to watch him compete on “Chopped Junior.” For the next hour, the Waylands watched him cut veggies, boil pasta, and taste sauces to prepare for the judges and audience. “Chopped Junior” is a reality cooking show hosted by Ted Allen in which four young chefs compete against each other to win $10,000. With ninety-seven episodes and eight seasons, “Chopped Junior” has hosted hundreds of contestants since it started in 2015. Wayland learned to cook from his father at home and had always been interested in “MasterChef Junior.” The show’s seasons take almost three weeks to film, but Wayland didn’t want to be away for too long. He looked into “Chopped Junior,” which is a one-day show, and went to the website to apply online after initially seeing an ad for auditions on Twitter. “When he first started cooking, it was always a gamble whether or not the food would be edible,” Wayland’s sister Tess Wayland said. “By now, he makes me fresh baked good and delicious taco dinners so I can no longer complain. He’s a better chef than my mom!” “He loved to cook, and when you’re

By Celia Rattner

going, but when he’s on that court he plays “I was always amazed at how positive to win, and he gives you 100 percent all the he was,” said eighth grade English teacher time.” David Fuder, During who coached his junior Ta y l o r f r o m year of high 2012-2013 and school, observed many Taylor tore of his high his Achilles school games. 70 percent, “Every time I’d at what he see him in the says is the hallways, and most critical he was walking time period around in a for college boot, he just recruitment. was friendly Despite and was happy. his injury in I’m sure that it high school, was incredibly Ta y l o r hard to sit and maintained not play, but I a strong saw him still be position supportive and as team be part of the Taylor sets up for a shot during the annual Williams vs. Amherst captain, team...he didn’t Game. Photo courtesy of Williams College according to just check out.” former teammates. “He definitely kept Since transitioning to Division III a positive attitude throughout the whole athletics, Taylor has noted a few differences season I was playing with him,” senior Gabe between Parker and Williams. “Everyone Rothschild said, who played with Taylor on the team wants to get better and, also, during his freshman year. everyone on the team was the best player,

A COOK AND A COLONEL Chase Wayland Competes on Chopped Junior By Paige Shayne

watching them cook on T.V., you get inspired,” Wayland’s mother Jennifer Wesley said. “You think, ‘I can do that.’” At the end of January, he began the audition process with several interviews. In April, Wayland was notified that he had been chosen and they started filming that month. Wayland flew to New York for three days to the Food Network’s headquarters for filming. The chefs filmed an introduction on the first day, and the entirety of the competition took place the second day. “It was crazy to walk on the set and see something that you’ve watched so much,” Wayland said. “The set seemed a lot smaller on T.V., so when you see it with the cameras and everything you realize how big it is.” The experience was surreal for Wayland’s family. “They pigeonholed him

into a specific character,” Tess Wayland said. “It was like watching someone who was both totally my brother and not him at all.” In preparation for the show, Wayland cooked dinner for the family almost every night, his favorite of which was carnitas and seared lamb chops. Wa y l a n d and his three competitors, H a r p e r McDermott, Ian Richins, a n d Vi r a n n We l b o u r n , began the episode with a “virtual c u l i n a r y tour.” Entitled “Basket Bon Voyage,” the episode’s theme was foreign food, and each contestant had a mystery basket with ingredients from a European country. They began in Italy for the appetizer, where they made bacon cannoli, head-on shrimp, baby zucchini, and eliche pasta. The judges, Amanda Freitag, Marc Murphy, and Kardea Brown, eliminated Wayland

“When he first started cooking, it was always a gamble whether or not the food would be edible. By now, he makes me fresh baked goods and delicious taco dinners so I can no longer complain. ”

if not the second best player at their high school,” Taylor said about his team at Williams. “It’s a completely different environment than Parker of everyone wanting to wake up in the morning, go shoot, work out...making a huge effort to get a lot better.” Taylor also noted disparities in the level of competition and intensities of conditioning but ultimately said that the two schools are difficult to compare. The shift from the second semester of his senior year at Parker to the fall of his freshman year at Williams was difficult, according to Taylor. “It was extremely challenging because not only is the athletics much more taxing on your body at Williams—the academics take a lot more work,” Taylor said. Once figuring out a proper schedule, Taylor was able to more adequately balance his course load and basketball agenda. Taylor experienced limited playing time during his first year on the team, as he expected. Heading into his sophomore season, Taylor was playing more minutes per game, and felt his confidence boosting as a result. His season was cut short, however, with a left Achilles injury during January— three years and three days after tearing his

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after the appetizer, and the three remaining competitors moved onto to an entrée of apfelstrudel and a dessert of English breakfast tea. According to Wayland, the hardest parts of filming were the time pressure and trying to include each basket ingredient in the dish. There was a lot more filming than he expected for the one hour show–the filming lasted the entire day–and the interview process was “incredibly intensive, but fun.” According to the judges, the zucchini Wayland cut was too big, rendering it difficult to eat, which ultimately ended his time on the show. Though Wayland was cut in the first round, he learned various cooking techniques from cutting zucchini to the competition process. “I always cut my zucchini super small now,” Wayland said. “It was a lot less about cooking stuff and a lot about how you don’t always win, and people can be better than you.” “It’s about the process and the experience,” Wesley said. “You learn a lot of the things they teach you at Parker.” Though Wayland doesn’t see himself competing in another game show soon, if he were to try again, he would be more realistic about his goals. “I wouldn’t go straight into it thinking that I will win,” Wayland said. “It was fun in the moment, and I’d wanted to do it for two years.”


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Up, Up, and Away!

The Parker Weekly, Page 9

NEVER LEAVING THE CLASSROOM

FROM INDONESIA TO CHICAGO

By Gabe Wrubel

By Lilly Satterfield

Abri Berg’s Year-Abroad Trip to Spain

Imagine a world where something as basic as ordering a coffee is difficult because of a language barrier. This is just one of the many challenges that senior Abri Berg signed up for when she chose to study abroad in Zaragoza, Spain, for her junior year. While most of her friends were stressing over physics tests and history readings, Berg was over four thousand miles away learning about topics that she elected to study such as Spanish Cinema and Spanish Theatre. Berg was in the classroom wherever she went–– whether it be the hallways of the school, a coffee shop, or even the house where she stayed with her host family. The organization that brought Berg to Spain is called School Year Abroad (SYA). SYA is a program that aims to expose kids to new cultures and to help them strengthen their language skills by completely immersing them in a foreign country. The organization offers year abroad programs to China, Italy, France, and Spain. Wherever students choose to travel, they become fully immersed in the culture of the country, and they live with a host family for the entire time. The students filled out surveys, which SYA used to pair them up with host families that they thought would make a good match. “I had a host mom, dad, and sister who was 21,” Berg said. “They were super-great hosts, and I’m glad that I got the opportunity to meet and bond with them.” Host families were urged not to speak to the kids in English because they wanted their Spanish to improve. B e r g believes that one of the reasons her Spanish improved so much was the fact that she was always using it. “I’d say that now I’m v e r y proficient,” Berg said. “I don’t think I’m 100% fluent, because there are always ways to improve yourself, but I am very happy with the level of proficiency that I have developed.” While sitting in a classroom with a teacher speaking a language that is not native to her is very difficult, Berg believes that the little unexpected things are what really forced her to develop her Spanish even further. “The full immersion is what

pushed me,” Berg said. “The small things like ordering coffee or asking directions are what get you. You are always practicing your Spanish.” In order to maintain the use of only Spanish, the program offers pledges that are signed by the students for a designated amount of time – usually one or two weeks. “You could take the pledge for as long as you wanted to,” Berg’s fellow SYA student Hannah D’Arche said. The no-English policy was strictly enforced by the school’s teachers. “If our Spanish teacher heard us speaking in English, she would scold us,” D’Arche said. “On some occasions, they even threatened us with consequences if we did not clean up our act.” At SYA there is also a wonderful support system of staff that truly wants to see their students succeed in the program, and become better Spanish speakers. “We had really great support all along the way,” D’Arche said. “The community was all there for one another.” One integral part of the support system is the host families. “The host family is essential to the program because that’s where I learned a lot of colloquial words and phrases,” D’Arche said. “It is a place where you can make mistakes with less pressure and develop relationships.” The experience of living in a country for an entire year is something that interests lots of people. Junior Ellie Buono will be taking a year abroad to Zaragoza with SYA as well. “I’m very excited to become fluent in another language,” Buono said. “I chose Spain specifically so that I could learn Spanish faster than I could back home in high school.” Taking a year abroad is a unique opportunity that not many high school students get to experience. “I definitely would recommend it to anyone who either wants to improve their Spanish or just experience a new culture,” Berg said. “I think the best way to learn a language is to throw yourself into a country that only speaks that language.

“I’d say that now I’m very proficient. I don’t think I’m 100% fluent, because there are always ways to improve yourself, but I am very happy with the level of proficiency I have developed.”

Eja Joins The Parker Community

“I hope that while I’m here, I can be a Hamid is happy to be living in Chicago better person and gain as much experience now, as he hopes to see snow before he as I can about being an American,” Eja leaves. “There’s a lot of reasons why I Hamid said. “Hopefully, I can take some of joined the AFS program,” Hamid said. my experience here and bring it back to my “Snow is one of them since my country community in Indonesia.” doesn’t have snow, and I’ve never seen it.” In early August, Hamid traveled Hamid hopes to immerse himself over 9,000 miles away from his home in American Culture as well as meet in Pontianak, a lot of new We s t B o r n e o , people while Indonesia, a he is here. city of just over “I’m looking 250,000 people, forward to to his new home everything, in Chicago. and I mean Hamid did so everything. as part of The The food, the American Field weather, the Service (AFS), school, the an international friends, the non-profit f a m i l y, j u s t organization all,” Hamid that “provides said. international T h e and intercultural Parker AFS l e a r n i n g committee, experiences to a group individuals, comprised of families, three junior s c h o o l s , a n d The Lazarre Family and Hamid during their week in Colorado. girls and one communities sophomore girl, through a global volunteer partnership.” have already planned many events to Currently, Hamid is living with Max welcome Eja into the school, including a Lazarre ‘24, Alex Lazarre ‘25, Erik Lazarre welcome lunch and a Morning EX. “We ‘25, Mom, Jennifer Ames and Dad, Paul are going to try to do everything in our Lazarre. The Lazarre family has hosted power to ensure that this year is the best multiple au-pairs as well as a past Parker year for Eja,” sophomore Alex Carlin, AFS student. AFS head, said. “We want to make sure he “We enjoy sharing with and learning is represented well and learns a lot about about people from other cultures,” Ames Parker and Chicago.” said. “In addition to learning about other At home, Hamid is a part of his school’s costumes and traditions, we like learning English club, Debate club, and Science about foods from other countries.” Olympiad team. Hamid enjoys cooking for Hamid joined the Lazarre family for a his family back home and hopes to share that weekend in Colorado before the school year love with his new family here. “Cooking is began where he got to mountain bike, swim, really fun for me,” Hamid said. “One of the and white-water raft with them. “We hope main reasons I love to cook is because I can to give Eja a truly American experience share it with my family.” while he is here,” Ames said. “He has a While in the US Hamid hopes to learn a very positive attitude and is willing to try lot of new things about the US and the new everything. culture. “I hope that I can introduce my Hamid had never been to Chicago culture to a lot of people while I am here,” before and was very pleased when he found Hamid said. “I hope that I can broaden my out he would be living here for the year. understanding of cultures outside of my “When I first got an email notifying me that own and raising my awareness while also I would be placed in Chicago, Illinois, I was learning how to be a global citizen.” very happy,” Hamid said. Hamid lives in a city just miles north of the equator. Although he has never seen snow before in his life, living as close to the equator as he does, he is able to balance eggs upright.


The Parker Weekly, Page 10

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The Centerfold WHERE ARE WE NOW? Absence Of Lights On The Field By Sofia Brown

As a new school year commences, the field,” the website said, “a level of use which fall sports teams will soon be putting their the current field cannot safely support.” preseason practice to the test. M a n y of these games and practices take place hours after the school day ends, at times leaving athletes to play into the evening hours. For this reason, the idea of Field Hockey Players Warm up on the Field. Photo by Anna Fuder. lights on the field remains a perennial topic of interest to the Parker community. As reported last year in “The Parker The administration continues to balance the Weekly,” the school’s announcement safety of its students with its desire to satisfy regarding the stadium lights sparked concerns of its neighbors. Today there are no neighborhood opposition, leading to the lights on the field because of concerns raised formation of an organization, “Francis by 43rd ward neighbors, which ultimately Parker Neighbors” (FPN). The opposition put a pause on Parker’s plans in 2012. group quickly gained supporters through The lack of lights has caused some a petition drive and website as well as frustration among the Parker students and endorsements from all five aldermanic faculty. “I’ve been in a couple of games candidates for the 43rd ward, including the when I was on JV field hockey where they current alderman, Michele Smith. were cut before the actual end. It was very Conversations between the school and annoying,” said a rising Parker junior, who the community continued throughout 2012, wishes to remain anonymous. While the leading Alderman Michele Smith to convene athletic department works hard to fit in a “Community Relations Committee the necessary games, some still take place composed of Parker officials, residents around dusk. Parker’s policy is to cut these from neighboring buildings, and Parker games short before the darkness becomes a parents” that meets quarterly. They debated safety hazard. “It’s not really fair, everyone the necessity of the lights, how they would should be able to finish out whatever game affect traffic, and whether or not third-party or match they’re in. The lights wouldn’t rentals would be permitted. even be on that late.” “Parker makes the puzzling claim that The controversy over lights on the because the lighting project will be focused turf field first surfaced in 2011– back when on their students, there will be no new traffic this year’s seniors were in fourth grade. problems. But won’t the new nighttime Parker developed the Everybody Plays field athletes have to be delivered and picked up enhancement project, which included plans from evening play, recreating the familiar to install a turf field, a track, and stadium morning and afternoon traffic jam?” FPN lights on its Lincoln Park field. The lights said in 2011. “Once this is no longer an afterwould have involved four six-story light school event, will families attend practices? towers, consisting of approximately 100 If there are games, who will come to watch lights total. They would turn on as early as them? What about the audience, opposing 4:30 p.m. and turn off as late as 9:00 p.m. teams, and their spectators? Where will all and have Spill Guard Visors and internal of these people park?” louvers to minimize the spill of light beyond In 2012, neighbors, Parker, and the field. Alderman Smith reached a final agreement At the time the project was announced, in the form of a City of Chicago Planned the Parker administration provided Development Ordinance that outlined the information on their website to inform the use and restrictions regarding Parker’s public of its plans and reasons for expanding grounds. Specifically, it states that 1) there the field’s use. “The school’s emphasis on will be no permanent field lighting, 2) the the physical well-being of its students as school may not use temporary lights to well as the inclusive tradition of the athletic bypass the city ordinances prohibiting field program has led to notably high use of the lighting, and 3) Parker may lease the new

turf field, but only for the use of people aged 18 and younger and not past 7:30 p.m. Within the Parker community, most are in full support of lights yet also understand the opposing perspective. Sophomore Aidan Young, who does not use the field for sports practice, is on the fence on whether or not lights are necessary. “I can understand both sides,” Young said. “Part of our mission is to strive to be the best members of our community, which means being courteous to our neighbors.” P a r k e r ’s n e w l y elected Student Athletic Council (SAC) committee head, Senna Gardner, is in full support of lights. “I think that lights on the field will help the athletic department fix scheduling problems that we have dealt with for many years,” Gardner said. “They can also allow for more home games to be scheduled for a certain day. That would mean that less teams have to travel far distances for away games and therefore have more time for homework and other things. I know [the neighbors] are concerned about noise, light pollution, and traffic, but I think that all of these issues can be addressed.” Athletic Director Bobby Starks believes that although lights would be a huge gamechanger, they’re not of the utmost importance. “I wouldn’t say we need lights. It’s not a necessity,” Starks said. “We have a wonderful field, and we’re able to do pretty much what we need to do within the confines of the daytime. However, I think the lights would be a huge added benefit to not only our sports and athletics program but also an added benefit to the school.” Coach Misha Geller, who coaches high school field hockey, has a different point of view. “We don’t need lights but it definitely keeps us out of postseason hosting, which is no help to our reputation in the greater field hockey community of the state.” She believes that the neighbors don’t clearly understand Parker’s terms. “Our school has been here for over 100 years and the community concerns with our field usage is unfair as we’ve demonstrated

responsibility for the better part of a century. I would love the field to have lights. Our schedules would be better and we would definitely have more wiggle room with moving our schedule around if need be.” With regard to scheduling, it is manageable in the current confines of daylight, however certain times of the year are harder than others. “As we get closer to mid-September and October, obviously the darkness sets in a little bit earlier,” Starks said. “At some point, we have to get our varsity game in and with the time left over those JV and middle school players might have to play shortened games.” Another Parker employee, who spoke on the condition that they remain anonymous, raises strong safety concerns and agrees that the lights would be a strong benefit for the school. Though Parker takes extensive measures to increase safety, such as using neon balls, accidents can still occur. They can think of “two instances where soccer players have gotten hit in the head with a ball because they couldn’t see it [due to the low light condition]. One of the players actually had to have an ambulance called because she was badly concussed to where she couldn’t remember where she was at.” The issue of lights has been settled since the 2012 agreement with neighbors. The only way Parker could obtain lights in the future would be to follow the process outlined in the Planned Development Ordinance and seek approval through the Chicago Zoning Administrator (as outlined in Chicago Zoning Ordinance Section 17-13-0602). This issue is linked to “the citizenship [Parker] teaches… they’re part of a larger group,” Alderman Michele Smith said this past summer. “It’s really a community decision.” Though Parker didn’t get the lights, “we have a huge competitive advantage because we have a turf field,” Starks said. “I think with lights, most high schools don’t really have too many lights. There are different stakeholders: the alderman, the neighborhood associations. Sometimes having more people sitting at the table, it makes a longer process because everybody has to buy into it. And, unfortunately, we haven’t reached that yet but each year it is a topic that we continue to bring up for consideration.”

“I wouldn’t say we need lights. It’s not a necessity. We have a wonderful field, and we’re able to do pretty much what we need to. ”


The Parker Weekly, Page 11

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The Centerfold

PRIVATE BUT NOT POWERLESS

Parker’s Faculty Association Protects Teachers at Private School By Tess Wayland Parker families are reminded by their school’s yearly tuition that they go to a private school. Students don’t have to pledge allegiance to the flag or adhere to the stateprescribed curriculum. There’s a white spiralbound book, however, kept in teachers’ desk drawers, that sets Parker apart from a typical priva te school. It’s the faculty’s contract, proof of Parker’s teachers union. The Francis W. Parker Faculty Association negotiates with the administration to define their conditions of employment and then uses them to protect teachers. This contract is called the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA). The Faculty Association, also known simply as the teacher’s union, has used the force of the collective for the more than 20 years the union has been at Parker. Unions organize workers so they can use their numbers to negotiate with their bosses and protect their own. Parker’s union protects its members by making sure their contract isn’t violated and that it gives the teachers a fair salary and benefits in the first place. Over 90% of the faculty is in the union and pays their dues to the Illinois Federation of Teachers (IFT). Members meet twice a year and can join specialized committees to negotiate or analyze the contract. It’s headed by President Upper School Mathematics Teacher Victoria Lee and Vice President Educational Technology Integration Specialist Sarah Beebee, who lead alongside a treasurer and a secretary. Officials are elected on two-year cycles on a staggered schedule so there’s always someone leading with one year of experience. The current contract has been in place since 2016 and will end in 2022. In it, the union and the administration agree on the teachers’ salaries, workload, student load, and benefits, but also more specific scenarios, like long term substitute pay and the role of an advisor. In the year leading up to a new agreement, union leadership send out surveys to the members and research contracts at similar schools to draft the proposals they will present to the President of the Board of Trustees Rika Yoshida and Principal Dan Frank. “You look to see where the volume is of issues and problems,” Lee said, “because if it’s just a one-person problem… you’re not going to spend a lot of time negotiating something that is affecting only one person.” Lee asks the faculty what they want to preserve from the contract so they protect what’s good and renegotiate what needs to

be changed in the CBA. Issues like class sizes and hours can be job- or division-specific, but the faculty’s broader concerns are the same. “On those longer-term things, I think there’s probably a fair level of commonality of interest in that,” fourth-grade teacher and member of the negotiation team Miriam Pickus said. “The numbers are slightly different in the other divisions because things operate differently, but the global desire that we have to have these class sizes allow us to really know students individually is the same across divisions.” “I just want to make sure that our salary increases each year reflect the cost of living changes each year,” Upper School History Teacher and former president Andrew Bigelow of the union said. “Many of us left public schools and came to Parker so we gave up our pension plan. We gave up better pay for really, a much better, more progressive experience.” The Chicago Teachers’ Pension Fund distributes retirement benefits of almost $1.4 billion to retired public school teachers. Parker matches what each teacher puts into their retirement fund and doubles it until the contribution reaches four percent of a teacher’s salary. Not everyone from the union negotiates, but the contract must pass with a majority vote when negotiation is over. The union’s leadership and negotiation team go back and forth with the administration daily for the next four to five days. Meetings are typically a few hours in the afternoon, but negotiations can go to 1 or 2 a.m. on their last night. “We’re negotiating for our own personal lives, our own personal economies,” Bigelow said. “Parker gets a great deal,” Bigelow said. “They get these veteran teachers coming to Parker...and our goal is to make sure that the contract honors our experience and expertise because we’ll never make what they make at New Trier.” The average salary for teachers in New Trier’s district is about $114,000 according to documents released by New Trier, while Parker teachers make around $55,000, according to payscale.com. Through negotiations only take place officially in one year, the President and Vice President field concerns from faculty about whether the administration is following the contract. If there’s a question, leadership looks at the language of the CBA and clarifies the issue with the administration. In unique circumstances that aren’t covered by the CBA, teachers can propose addendums to the contract in a written letter to the administration. When issues come up that need immediate attention, Lee can email

“A healthy, happy faculty is a healthy, happy school. ”

Frank and schedule a meeting. Lee and Beebe meet once or twice a month, sometimes more, with Frank and Associate Principal Ruth Jurgensen to keep up regular communication between the union and the administration. The administration is also involved in the teachers’ evaluation cycles. Teachers are regularly evaluated by their division and department heads, so if a teacher is asked to leave, there is documentation on performance to prove it’s a fair firing. “You want to make sure your teachers are good,” Lee said. “If you don’t go in their room, you don’t know if they’re good.” If the administration wants to fire a teacher with tenure, they have to offer definite goals and a chance for improvement. Evaluation policies are detailed in a separate document, but the CBA requires that these policies exist and protects teachers from unfair termination. “Sometimes unions protect people that you don’t want to be protected,” Lee said. “We don’t want to protect the crappy teachers, but you have to show reasons why they’re crappy.” High-stakes situations, such as firings, are managed by Lee and Beebe, but the union is connected to the IFT and the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) for extra support. “We have someone who is assigned to us and they are a vital resource. Anytime we have a conflict, we run it by them and they give us support and that’s all paid for by our dues,” Bigelow said. The AFT covers 1.7 million members across 3,000 local divisions. Education is the largest division of professionals it represents, made up of mostly public schools. Parker is one of the only private schools in the country with a unionized faculty. Notably, Latin doesn’t have a union and Lab’s only formed in the past five years. Latin and Parker have a big difference in what’s offered in their contracts. “One of the reasons why I chose Parker over Latin was because of the union,” Bigelow said. “I couldn’t imagine signing a contract that wasn’t attached to a union.” Previous to Parker, Bigelow taught at three different public schools, all of which had unionized faculty. Negotiation for public schools depends on property taxes, not tuition, and in Bigelow’s experience, more nitty-gritty argument. “We used to come down to fighting over minutes in the day for bathroom breaks, dollars per day, the number of students per class, it really was sometimes so minuscule it was painful,” Bigelow said.

Parker doesn’t offer a pension or the same pay as public schools, but it does bring more resources and stability during economic downturn since salary doesn’t come from the public. “When the Great Recession happened here at Parker, we were in a contract, so we didn’t lose anything,” Bigelow said. It offers another kind of stability to teachers. “I know I can go to them and say ‘x thing is concerning to me’ and they won’t take it out of my paycheck the next year,” Pickus said. Parker teachers have to pay dues to be a member of the union, but those who don’t buy-in are still protected under the CBA and receive the same benefits and salary the union negotiated. “I respect someone who doesn’t want to join the union if they have fundamental ideologically beliefs that unions are counterproductive,” Bigelow said. “At the same time, I’m worried that people think that way because, without this union, our pay and our benefits wouldn’t be half as good as they are now.” Though the majority of faculty is in the membership, the union isn’t often publicized. “I like for students to know that we have a union, it helps frame the conversation,” Bigelow said. “I often say ‘How many of you guys know someone in a union?’ Nobody raises their hand and I like to go, ‘You’re looking at one.’” Pickus doesn’t think students need knowledge of the union as it doesn’t always change their daily life. “As someone who’s been a great believer in the union, there are plenty of times it doesn’t matter to us at faculty in the minute-to-minute,” Pickus said. “Hopefully our kids who love Parker and respect what Parker does respects the fact that Parker has a teacher’s union and that this private institution agreed to it,” Bigelow said. Pickus believes that the administration and the union want to hear e a c h o t h e r. “We’re a small group, they’re a smaller group, and we work six inches from each other,” Pickus said. Parker’s union has never gone on strike and only threatened work-to-rule, a negotiation tactic where teachers work within the hours the contract specifies and stop extra work like grading papers. “A healthy, happy faculty is a healthy, happy school,” Bigelow said. “When we passed this contract, we cheered, we clapped, we didn’t get everything we wanted, but we got a lot, and so did the administration.”

“We’re negotiating for our own personal lives, our own personal economies.”


The Parker Weekly, Page 12

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Opinions

WE SHOULD TAKE MORE GRANNY SHOTS PERFORMING Exploring the “Threshold Models of Collective Behavior” and Parker ARTS By Molly Taylor TEACHER Over the summer, I listened to a fascinating episode of “This American Life” titled “Choosing Wrong.” It used NBA Hall-of-Famer Wilt Chamberlain as a case study to explain why we often intentionally make the wrong choices. The message seems to connect to Parker. In an exhilarating 1962 game versus the New York Knicks, Chamberlain led the Philadelphia Warriors to victory by scoring 100 points — shattering the NBA record and setting one that still stands. His success at the line was critical to the feat. Though Chamberlain was known as an awful free throw shooter (his career percentage was around 50%, compared to the league average of 75%), that night he sank 28 out of his 32 foul shots. The granny shot made all the difference. Chamberlain employed the unconventional, underhanded technique and he played, arguably, the best game of his life. He’d solved his weakness. He became unbeatable. Then, in the next season, he stopped using the granny shot. Predictably, his free throw percentage plummeted. Chamberlain later wrote that he opted to shoot the traditional way because granny shots looked sort of ridiculous — they were embarrassing. That decision to switch, though, was objectively wrong. He knew that the granny shot made him an even better

player. In fact, it would have improved many other basketball players. In 1978-79, Houston Rockets center Rick Barry, a proud granny shooter, had the highest free throw percentage in the league. If the technique was proven successful, why did hardly anyone adopt it? The answer was offered by sociologist Mark Granovetter, who proposed the “Threshold Models of Collective Behavior” and argued that everyone has a “threshold,” a number of other people that have to do something so that someone else will too. In this case, Chamberlain had a high threshold — he only would have shot granny-style if many others also did, normalizing it — while Barry had a low one. Thresholds hold us back from making the most logically advantageous decisions, and they seem to be especially applicable to life at Parker. With such a small student body, there’s an incentive to fit into the culture. Conformity, in most cases, is valued. The Rick Barrys would stick out like a sore thumb. An example that comes to mind is the default choice of to-go containers in the lunch line, even when students eat in the cafeteria. The benefit of the reusable plates is clear: saving the environment. Yet, one day when I sat down to eat, ceramic plate in hand, I got a questioning look from some

of my friends. High thresholds often get in the way of the great opportunities granted by Parker. When I’ve had a burning question for the guest speaker at MX, I didn’t ask it. There’s not even a completely sound reason why — I just didn’t want to be one of a few high schoolers to do so. Of course, not everyone thinks this way. But for a lot of us, thresholds impact our choices ranging from which clubs we join to whether to raise your hand to vote for a popular student Government proposal that you don’t personally support. At this point, I’ll admit, I play basketball and will probably keep shooting free throws the normal way. I’m not trying to be an NBA Hall-of-Famer, and a couple of extra points aren’t quite worth it to me. Sometimes, the “best” decision isn’t necessarily the right one. Instead, I plan to go into my senior year with more of an open mind, looking to consider the possibilities of what could be rather than what is by habit. I hope to lower my threshold by pursuing what I’m passionate about, whether or not I’m the only one—and I encourage other students to do so as well. Whether you start shooting granny-style or try anything else, you’re bound to find success and fulfillment, or at least learn from a new experience.

Continued from page six

He has a great professional experience, and just the excitement, and his knowledge and his thought, and style, and how it meshes with mine,” Rupard said. “And what I do with stagecraft will be interesting. I’m excited to see.” Senior Jared Saef, who has been involved with the performing arts at Parker for a number of years, eagerly anticipates Hildreth’s experience coming to Parker. “I hope that the new performing arts teacher has lots of experience working with teenage performers and therefore knows how to work with them,” said Saef. One aspect of teaching at a four-year high school Hildreth looks forward to is building a long-term relationship with students. “Normally, the classes that I teach are eight weeks long, or at Columbia College, the semester is fifteen weeks long. And then I’m not guaranteed that I’ll see the students again,” Hildreth said. “I’m going to be dealing with students for a much longer time. And, hopefully, students keep coming back and being in the plays and musicals and taking the classes.”

WHY I QUIT THE CUBS THIS SUMMER And Why You Should Too By Ian Shayne

When the Cubs voluntarily visited the Trump White House, I winced and carried on. When the owner of the franchise that donated generously to my old school became the chairman of the Trump Victory Committee, I cringed and carried on. When Chicago’s beloved “lovable losers” hosted an event at Wrigley with prominent Republican donors and politicians, I ruminated and carried on. When the team that put me through a cathartic experience in 2016 partnered with rightwing propagandist Sinclair Broadcasting, I contemplated leaving but carried on. When the owners of my precious “Cubbies” tried to use dark money to influence an aldermanic election, I finally surrendered my loyalty to the Cubs. Normally an owner ’s political persuasion is irrelevant, but this is not a normal period of American history. One party fervently denies the existence of anthropogenic global warming. One party’s president considers Congressional subpoenas optional, said that there “were

very fine people on both sides” of the Charlottesville rally, bowed down to the leader of a foreign adversary in a bilateral summit in Helsinki, and pulled out of the Paris Agreement. One party spoils our generation’s future with “trickle-down” economics and put a former coal lobbyist in charge of the Environmental Protection Agency. The Ricketts, in their unwavering support of Trump and the Republican Party, are indubitably complicit. They

funding Trump’s reelection and, therefore, facilitating our government’s gradual shift toward tyranny. I find it odd how, in the center of one of the most inclusive neighborhoods in the Midwest, sits a team owned by a GOP donor dedicated to reelecting a president who banned transgender patriots from serving in the military. In my disgust, I found a Tribune article written by Eric Zorn about how recent events eased his loyalty shift to

are complicit in the weakening of the Endangered Species Act, complicit in voter suppression, complicit in the widespread distrust of the free press, complicit in the separation of families in the Southern border, and complicit in the president’s dismissal of the FBI director who was investigating him. By buying tickets, Cubs fans are indirectly

the White Sox, and I decided to give it a shot. Like Zorn, however, I had a difficult time moving on. The Cubs had given my previous school, Blaine Elementary, its beautiful turf field. Cubs stars frequently visited Blaine to recite the pledge of allegiance and meet their adoring fans. I had gone to Cubs game since I was four,

and I’ll always remember my euphoric pilgrimage to Wrigley after the Cubs’ 2016 World Series victory. But why wrestle with my conscience about supporting this team when another one plays nine miles south? Why give the Ricketts money when another team represents this beautiful city? Being a Cubs fan for years, I naturally claimed that I hated the White Sox. But how could you hate a struggling team in your own city? How could you hate a group of lovable underdogs, not unlike the “lovable losers” I’d supported on the North Side for so many years? I don’t know if I will ever fully love the White Sox or if I won’t feel a slight trace of excitement when the Cubs win their next championship. I don’t know if I will ever truly stop hating Cubs’ rivals or not smile when Javier Baez no-look tags a Cardinals player at second base. But I do know that, until the Ricketts stop supporting a president with such blithe disregard for obeying the rule of law, I will no longer support the Chicago Cubs.

“Being a Cubs fan, I naturally claimed that I hated the White Sox. But how could you hate a struggling team in your own city? How could you hate a group of loveable underdogs, not unlike the ‘loveable losers?’”


The Parker Weekly, Page 13

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Culture

VIRGIL ABLOH’S “FIGURES OF SPEECH” EXHIBITION Trendy Designer Attracts a Younger Audience to Attend Art Museums By Abri Berg

One of my favorite activities on a rainy and grey sky day in Chicago is going to an art museum. When the exterior of the city is gloomy and disgusting, I prefer to surround myself in white-walled galleries adorned with beautiful pieces of artwork and the rich history of distinct universal art movements. Luckily, the city has one of the best selections of museums that continue to feature temporary exhibits in addition to their permanent collections. I was debating between the “Manet and Modern Beauty” exhibition at the Art Institute (which I highly recommend if you love impressionist art or pastel colors) or Virgil Abloh’s Figures of Speech exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA). Extremely different styles, I know. Manet is a renowned artist from the 19th century, and Abloh is the latest contemporary designer that the media adores. I find it so cool how exhibitions featuring clothing are making their way into prestigious art museums, though I wonder if it is all just a big scheme to attract the Instagram influencers of Chicago to take photos in the new exhibit. I noticed an orange and white checkered flag perched onto a light post. A couple of blocks later, I realized that this same sign is latched onto every single street light in the vicinity. The flag is a promotional sign that reads “Virgil Abloh, “Figures of Speech” along with the dates of the exhibition. Although I only paid attention to the poster for the bright orange colors at first, I saw this as a definite message from the universe to head towards the MCA. Courtesy of my family’s MCA membership, I was able to attend an early access preview of Figures of Speech before it opened to the public. Despite the rain and chilly lakefront wind, the usually vacant MCA steps were buzzing with millennials rushing toward the line to purchase tickets to see Abloh’s work. Arriving fashionably late, of course, the young adults, decked out in all of the latest fashion trends, stomped up the staircase in their chunky platform tennis shoes in a hurry. I was intimidated yet inspired by their fashion senses. The museum sells tickets for every thirty minutes and is strict about entering at the listed time. While I waited to enter, I admired Abloh’s “Culture Wall” plastered on the outside wall of the exhibition. This piece is a collage incorporating different photos of events, individuals, and artwork that Abloh considers meaningful in his upbringing, ranging from 9/11 to sculptures by Alexander Calder. Once instructed to officially enter the exhibition, around thirty of us beelined to the front orange wall featuring an introduction to the exhibit. It educates exhibit-goers

on Virgil Abloh, including his education history and career as a designer along with a statement on the important use of language and quotation marks within his designs. The subsequent rooms present a video of Abloh’s early work on the line “Pyrex Vision” and various clothing racks from the Off-White collection to observe. Abloh plays on irony frequently in his designs by creating a scarf with the word “scarf” on it and plastering the word “bag” on a black handbag. The clothing featured on these racks is primarily streetwear, though Abloh does include various dresses and high heeled boots that he created for fashion shows and special events. Many of the walls of the exhibit feature industrial-style posters and billboards with graffiti. I had to walk cautiously around the rest of the rooms of the exhibition. It wasn’t because I had to avoid bumping into the artwork or other attendees. I just didn’t want to get in the way of anyone’s Instagram photo. It’s true, and I can’t believe I am saying this about an art exhibition in a museum. It honestly began to ruin the experience at some points. Lines began to form within the museum to take a photo in front of the large-scaled vinyl of Kanye West’s “Yeezus” album and the neon lightup sign that read “YOU’RE OBVIOUSLY IN THE WRONG PLACE.” The heavy, clear plastic panels with “BLUE” stamped on them and a large array of Off-White Nike style shoes were popular photo-op spots as well. At some point, I decided to join in taking photos because it allowed me to appreciate the aspects of the exhibition without people getting in my way. Some part of me felt guilty, however, that this is what art has come to. It made me question some of my fellow museum-goers and their true reasons for wanting to attend the Figures of Speech exhibit. Was it for Instagram or because they actually appreciate art? I decided to bring these questions to the attention of Helen Yi, the former Director of Retail Experience at the Museum of Contemporary Art of Chicago. Yi shared her own insight with me as someone who was involved in the production of the exhibition and new “Church & State” store that is located at the exit. This addition to the exhibition features pieces that were specially designed for the MCA along with revamped Off-White products that are sold out on the website. The store also offers an exhibition catalog created by the MCA which includes images of Abloh’s work, exclusive interviews with big names in fashion and art, and additional essays by the curator.

Continued on page 19

A FOUR-DIMENSIONAL WORLD You’re Watching the Wrong“Flatland” By Owen Dudney

There’s something that I’ve noticed time and time again. It’s pervasive across grades and schools—most people I know have seen a movie called “Flatland,” typically sometime in middle school. This phenomenon that may or may not apply to you specifically, the reader of this article— the apparent universality of watching “Flatland” in math class—is interesting to me for a very simple reason. There are two movies called “Flatland,” and everyone I know has seen the wrong one. To sum it up: in 1884, there was a theologian and academic named Edwin Abbott Abbott. At the time, the concept/ mathematical theory of a fourth spatial dimension was controversial. Its critics argued that it was preposterous to speculate the existence of a fourth dimension because, obviously, we live in a three-dimensional world.

still fun to look around and see all the little details in store. You can see inside Arthur Square’s closed refrigerator just like any three-dimensional observer would be able to do. It is, by any standard, a successful movie—it aims to teach middle schoolers about the fourth dimension, and it does that. The other Flatland is much stranger. “Flatland: The Film” stars Ladd Ehlinger Jr. in a screenplay written, produced, animated and directed by Ladd Ehlinger Jr. Ehlinger is apparently a smalltime conservative radio show host who sometimes dabbles in independent filmmaking (and wildly controversial, arguably bigoted campaign advertisements for conservative politicians). “Flatland: The Film,” his first cinematic project, was animated entirely using off-the-shelf animation software. It shows. “Flatland: the Film,” although detailed and intricate

“‘Thank you for leaning into discomfort.’ Because, if you are not leaning into discomfort, you are not learning.” Edwin Abbott Abbott decided to write a counterargument in the form of a novella called “Flatland,” where a talking, thinking square named A Square—a resident of a universe with Victorian societal conventions and only two dimensions—is ridiculed by his fellow Flatlanders for telling his tale of an encounter with the third dimension, because, obviously, they live in a twodimensional world. The book wasn’t a huge hit at the time, but in the 20th century it was rediscovered and hailed as a hallmark of mathematically inspired literature. It inspired multiple copycat books, spiritual successors, and unofficial sequels, as well as that one poster in Mr. Riff’s classroom. In 2007, two movies about “Flatland” were made and released within months of one another. The first, technically known as “Flatland: the Movie,” was created and marketed by two independent filmmakers. It featured a cast of actors that straddle the line between B- and A-list, including Kristen Bell and Tony Hale (Forky from Toy Story 4), and it received rave reviews from the sort of publications that math teachers read and prestigious awards from film festivals that neither of us have ever heard of. It’s 34 minutes of grade-A, non-GMO edutainment; you know exactly what it’s like even if you’ve never seen it before. It’s a kid’s movie with math in it. Visually speaking, it’s a very pretty movie; although it’s not quite true to the idea of a real two-dimensional universe, it’s

in a way that “Flatland: the Movie” is not (you can see the inner workings of radios! You can see inside A Square’s stomach!), is visually kind of a mess. The animation is jerky and blunt; the backgrounds are stagnant and bland. The 3D section of the movie looks weird in a 90s kind of way, reminiscent of Pixar’s earliest short films. The plot, similarly, feels a little amateurish and incoherent. Although it’s truer to the exact plot points of its namesake book than “Flatland: The Movie,” it’s tonally different—at times, it shares that kid-movie spirit with its counterpart, but at others it feels like a deadly-serious, cerebral sci-fi epic. Often, the musical cues directly contradict the events occurring; inconsequentialities are backed by grim ambiance or silence, and the movie’s darkest moments are paired with jaunty, almost Hawaiian music. That’s the thing about Ehlinger—if artwork can function as a gateway into the mind of the artist, what can we discern about him? He’s the sort of person able to hold multiple contradictory opinions at the same time. He frequently says things simply for the point of saying and does things simply for the point of doing. Inciting controversy is practically a part of his job description. He feels passionate about everything and nothing. He cares more about abstract concepts than concrete things. To him, the most important thing in the world is

Continued on page 15


The Parker Weekly, Page 14

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Student Experiences

The choice to immerse yourself into a foreign culture without family or friends for four months is a hard decision to make at fifteen. I was excited to have a winter of 70-degree weather instead of the cold winters to which I was accustomed. I looked forward to the freedom, the food, and the culture. I was excited about what Heller High had to offer. I was excited to live with 80 other American teens while still living in Israel. I was excited to be in an American high school, where I would take Chemistry and World History while also taking Jewish History and Hebrew. I was excited to enter the journey of adjusting to a new place, language, culture, and school schedule, while everyone around me was going through the same transition. I had been considering going to Heller High School in Israel for a long time, but finally making it a reality required not only a lot of hard work but also confidence. I started my application process in the fall of my freshman year and nervously awaited January 29, 2019 for over a year. When I arrived at JFK for my departure, I was welcomed by 75 friendly faces who quickly turned into some of my closest friends. After a long day of travel, we arrived at our home for the next four months: Kibbutz Tzuba. We were separated into dorm rooms and given our schedules for the intensive 11 hour days that lay ahead of us. Each morning we had two hours of Hebrew and three hours of Jewish history. I learned to speak conversationally with the Israelis I lived among. I went in not knowing the alphabet and by the end of the semester, my class and I were able to buy groceries

HELLER HIGH A Semester in Israel By Rosey Limmer

Limmer poses in front of an “Israel” sign. Photo Courtesy of Rosey Limmer.

and bargain in the shuk without any English at all. In Jewish History, we studied from the time of Creation to the present in the land where much of our history took place. When we studied the Six-Day War, we went to the trenches where the battles were fought. I was able to connect more deeply with the content by not only seeing where the events took place but also by living in a society shaped by the outcome of these events. This not only gave us an opportunity to learn about our shared cultural past and the Israeli society we had just entered, but it also allowed us to travel around the country

GREAT PLATFORMS, GREAT RESPONSIBILITY

on biweekly field trips. In the afternoons we had our common core classes and group meetings to round out an exhausting, fun, and rewarding day. In addition to adjusting to new people and a crazy new schedule, we were immersed in the rich culture of Israel. We lived on a kibbutz, a communal settlement where all residents work in the multiple trades of the kibbutz. Tzuba, the kibbutz I lived on, had an amusement park, a hotel, glass factory, ice cream shop, grocery store, and winery where the kibbutzniks, or members of the kibbutz, worked. In addition to working

On Gender, Gun Control, and Social Media By Ian Shayne In the wake of a turbulent summer in national politics, filled with gunshots and empty promises, Parker students have a moral imperative to advance the national conversation not only around gun control but also around social media use, society’s perception of masculinity, and other issues of gender. Let’s walk and chew gum at the same time. Let’s not let our devotion to gun control preclude us from also inserting our insights from our Gender Week dialogues into the national conversation. Few high schools in America engage in both gender-related and gun control-related discussions, so Parker students have a unique responsibility. The perpetrators of mass shootings in America, overwhelmingly, are male. From Clint Eastwood’s famous final duel in “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” to Sylvester Stallone’s gun-wielding appearance in “Rambo” to Indiana Jones’s shooting of a swordsman in “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” society has inculcated in society’s men a mistaken belief that guns are the ultimate sign of masculinity. To compensate for

their crippling insecurity surrounding their masculinity, these soon-to-be murderers exploit America’s porous gun ownership system. Their insecurity, heightened by social media, also instills in them a bitter hatred for others. As a result, we need to reconsider the extent to which we hold up dangerous societal perceptions at Parker. In changing oneself to appease society, not only is a student being untrue to themselves but also doing a major disservice to their classmates. Furthermore, during Gender Week, we discussed the role of social media in heightening insecurity at Parker. Students’ insecurities encourage them to post distorted portraits of their lives on platforms like Instagram in search of validation in the form of likes and complimentary comments. Seeing other people’s airbrushed lives causes others to feel insecure about themselves, which, in turn, encourages them to post. This vicious cycle damages Parker’s social fabric. Not only do we need to reevaluate our own use of Instagram, Snapchat, and

Facebook, but we also need to connect America’s gun violence with American teenagers’ use of these social platforms. “Empowerment” is not a valid excuse for posting a photo that you know will make your classmates feel worse about their own bodies or excluded. As the logical side of our brains tries to assure us that what we see on social media is fake, the emotional side fights back with greater magnitude. We all know that we’re faking it, so why should we expect authenticity from our friends? Let’s restore faith in the insecurity of teenagers and collectively come to the conclusion that what we see on social media is far from reality. Let’s simultaneously consume social media with increased skepticism and reconsider our own social media usage. With great platforms comes great responsibility.

on and for the kibbutz, all residents played together, ate together, and even shared pets. At first, I was surprised by the warm welcome from dogs outside my dorm room. As I adapted to kibbutz life, I soon realized the true beauty of kibbutzim and looked forward to petting the dogs on my way back from class. If I was sick and went to the kibbutz doctor, I would be greeted by one of the friendly faces I saw in the dining room each day. It was a warm community where people shared common goals, work-life, and interests. While adjusting to communal living on the smaller scale of the dorm rooms and the larger scale of the kibbutz was difficult at first, it allowed me to have an appreciation for the people around me and the joy of debriefing your day with peers as you fall asleep. Being eight hours ahead of my family and friends made the reality of instant communication less attainable. However, I soon learned the times when I could talk to my friends and family back home but also figured out not lean on my parents as much for help. My dorm rooms became little families where we delegated chores, cooked together, and wrote our bathroom schedules. I g r e w a c a d e m i c a l l y, a n d m y perspective of the world and therefore my maturity grew as the semester continued. As the time came to I return to Chicago, I began to await my return to Parker. I couldn’t help but compare my recent experience with the familiar system of Parker. Besides obvious differences like having class Sunday through Thursday instead of Monday through Friday ( in a Jewish country you have Shabbat off instead of Sunday, the Christian sabbath), traveling constantly, and living with my peers, it was hard to pinpoint deeper differences between my two schools. Much like Parker, Heller High values community, not only between the students and teachers but between the school and the surrounding community. The classes were small and we had amazing relationships with our teachers. However, the classes were very hard for me to adjust to. For the first time since I came to Parker, I was immersed back into the reality of most American public schools and the majority of my classes were straightforward lessons and problems from textbooks. It was a completely new system and little things like remembering my textbook were surprisingly challenging. However, it led me to appreciate the open curriculum we have at Parker even more than I already did. I missed my teachers being able to adjust a lesson plan or test so we could explore our questions and interests more deeply. Looking back on an amazing semester, I know I am very lucky to have had the experiences I have had at this age. I am excited to take back what I have learned and the culture I was immersed in to share them with the Paker community. Now that I’m back on a Monday through Friday schedule and Central Time, I will try to keep from reverting back to normal and instead keep learning and exploring the American culture I’ve returned to.


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With the seventh pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, the Chicago Bulls select... Coby White! The Chicago Bulls made a huge splash in this year’s draft, selecting star explosive point guard from North Carolina, Coby White. Ever since the fall of Derrick Rose, the Bulls have tried many different point guards who never seemed to quite work out. First with Rajon Rondo, then Kris Dunn. Now they just might have found the right guy. Coby White was an absolute power player at North Carolina and was the main reason they were so dominant last season. White is a perfect example of a modernday NBA point guard. He’s as fast as a cheetah, he can throw bombs from downtown, he is probably the best shooter coming out of this year’s draft class, and he has court vision compatible to Allen Iverson. A perfect comparison for White is AI. They’re both incredibly fast and quick, have great handles, and are both excellent shooters. They’re both aggressive scorers and aren’t afraid to go to the hoop. Now I’m not saying Coby White is going to turn into Allen Iverson, but I’m saying he has the potential. If this prediction becomes true, then Coby White will be the man to turn things around in the Windy City. When the Bulls chose White, I was

More Sports!

THIS YEAR’S BULLS DRAFT Coby White promises bright future By Eli Greenwald

incredibly happy and excited, but some people were disappointed. I’ve heard talk about how Coby White is a bust and the Bulls should have picked Cam Reddish. What I’m about to say is a very unpopular opinion, but I think Cam Reddish is a bust. Now, c a l l m e c r a z y, but I don’t think that he is going to be a good NBA player. Maybe he just didn’t fit in at Duke University and had a difficult time fitting into their system, but he couldn’t really shine in college sitting in the shadow of Zion Williamson and RJ Barrett. I could be wrong and he could turn out to be a great player in the NBA, but I think that the Bulls honestly

dodged a bullet and made the right decision choosing White over Reddish. If everything works out how I think it will, then Coby White will bring our Bulls back into the playoffs in no time. Coby White had an up and down performance in the NBA S u m m e r League, but if you look at his numbers from this summer, they actually are similar to past lottery pick point guards. White displays on the floor that he is a leader and will take over the game and his team if he needs to. He has shown excellent shooting and scoring ability, but one thing he needs to work on

“When the Bulls chose White, I was incredibly happy and excited... If everything works out how I think it will, then Coby White will bring our Bulls back into the playoffs in no time.”

Continued from page 13

Realistic Expectations

By Max Keller

a science, as it depends deeply upon how the new coaching staff works together and injuries among players. In addition to ranking the Bears’ defense number one, ProFootballFocus ranked the Bears offensive unit 11th best in the NFL. Members of the Bears coaching staff hypothesize that the Bears fixed the two most significant offensive weaknesses during the off-season. The first weakness was a lack of playbook familiarity, which was evidenced by points and yards left on the field. According to panelists on “Good Morning Football,” these points and yards could have made a major difference in the Bears offense and helped to offset the challenge of learning an offensive scheme week by week while also preparing for games. With more experience under his belt, head coach Matt Nagy suggests that third-year quarterback Mitchell Trubisky will be comfortable running new plays in the fast pace Bears offense. As a result, the players will focus more on the matchups, creating specific game plans each week, and experiencing more success in passing and scoring. According to Bears receiver Taylor Gabriel, the offense, including the continued growth of Trubisky, have made substantial progress. “Us having a second year under our belt—the terminology it’s expanded, it’s more detailed,” Gabriel said. “We know what Mitch wants. Mitch can kind of feel our speed, the tempo of what we’re doing. We’re connecting and also going outside

is his passing and playmaking skills. To be a star point guard in today’s NBA, you need to be an all-around player. Luckily for White, becoming a good playmaker just takes practice. Based on his summer league performance, if he can bring up his passing and playmaking ability a bit, Coby White could be an all-star point guard in the NBA. Now to the guy who the Bulls picked in the second round, who has less noise around him than White does, the center from Arkansas University, Daniel Gafford. Nobody really expects him to make a huge splash for the Bulls. Yeah, he’ll be a solid player off the bench, but very few people have confidence Gafford will be a huge contributor for the Bulls this season. Well, that was until the summer league. Gafford had an unbelievable summer. He finished with 13.8 points, 7.8 rebounds, and 2.8 blocks, and he did that in just five games. In those five games he only played a combined total of 24.9 minutes and still put up those stats. Confidence in Gafford went up a lot after this summer. If Daniel Gafford can play in the regular season as he did in the summer league, he could be a serious contributor for the Bulls this season. Good luck Coby, good luck Daniel, and go Bulls!

FLATLANDS

THE 2019 CHICAGO BEARS

The beginning of August is not only the last month of the summer but also the beginning of a new football season. Each year the majority of teams in the National Football League (NFL) start with the same goal: to win their division. There are eight total divisions in the NFL, equally divided between the American Football Conference (AFC) and the National Football Conference (NFC). Each division crowns a champion at the end of the season to determine which teams compete for the ultimate prize: a trip to the Super Bowl. Last season, the Chicago Bears won their division, the NFC North. While the Bears lost to the eventual Super Bowl Champion Philadelphia Eagles in the first round of the 2018-19 playoffs, the Bears are looking forward to a new and successful season. The Bears organization lost a number of components of the successful season during the off-season. According to ProFootballFocus, the Bears had the best defensive unit in the NFL during the 201819 season. This defensive structure will likely be heavily tested this year due to the departure of Defensive Coordinator Vic Fangio and two defensive players, strong safety Adrian Amos, and nickel cornerback Bryce Callahan. Adam Rank, a commentator on the NFL Network, suggests that the Bears record is likely to range from 11-5 to 13-3. Projecting a team record is generally considered more of an art than

The Parker Weekly, Page 15

the playbook of what [Matt] Nagy drew upon the lines…It’s kind of turned into ‘our offense.’” According to Adam Rank, the second weakness was in the Bears run game. An underdeveloped run game often puts stress on the passing game, specifically the quarterback. If a team lacks efficiency running the football, the defense is able to adjust their personnel in a pass-heavy defensive scheme. Demonstrated by NFL history, a dangerous run game is a requirement for a great offense. To address this weakness, the Bears drafted running back David Montgomery in the third round of the 2019 Draft. Compared to running back Jordan Howard, who was considered by opposing defensive players, “too easy to guess.” If history repeats, the stronger Bears run-game will improve their passing and their ability to win games. The new NFL season is fast approaching, and as is true every year, the landscape of the league has the potential to shift drastically. Just one emerging superstar, such as Bears linebacker Roquan Smith, or the surprising decline of an aging veteran, such as Bears cornerback Prince Amukamara, could alter the course of the entire season for all 32 teams. The fun of being a football fan is watching it all unfold and cheering for your team to make it all the way to the Super Bowl in Miami.

individual freedom, no matter what you choose to do with it. I cannot overstate how utterly, uncannily weird this movie is. This is a movie about literal polygons (and the occasional polyhedron), and there are four different, totally unrelated bloody massacres at three different points in the film. This is a movie about war: wars between countries in Flatland (the place) and wars between the 2D and 3D worlds. This is a movie with no real ending, where nonsensical credits roll as mariachi music plays. It’s like a dream and not in a good way— it’s the only movie I’ve ever seen that gets less comprehensible the more you rewatch it. And it’s one of the best movies I’ve ever seen. I can’t adequately explain why. Its weaknesses are many and its strengths are few and subjective. But “Flatland: The Film” is brave, brave and unique in a way that “Flatland: the Movie” never could be. It’s a unique, unreplicable experience because, unlike the vast majority of other movies out there, it wasn’t made for someone. It wasn’t made for children or teenagers or young adults or old adults. It wasn’t made for Republicans or Democrats or Beatles fans or cat lovers or men or women or couples or the erudite or people who love LEGOs. It wasn’t made for you. It was made for Ladd Ehlinger Jr., and although he is more than content to share, you must acknowledge that for 95 minutes you are playing on his turf. And that’s why you should watch it.


The Parker Weekly, Page 16

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Columns

CARLIN’S CONVENTIONS

Why I’m Going Guilt-Free By Lindsay Carlin

Sitting in the fluorescently-lit doctor’s office––my third that week––hands folded in my lap, slightly hunched over in the highly-sanitized, wood-framed chair, I waited for my prognosis. I did not expect good news: my body was significantly (albeit reversibly) damaged as a result of my eating disorder. I’d be out of sports for the foreseeable future. I had a long and difficult journey to recovery ahead of me. It had now been multiple weeks of that kind of news. But on that muggy Friday morning, the words I heard were not those I’d been expecting. “Lindsay,” the physician began, looking directly into my eyes, “the first thing I want you to know is that this is not your fault.” I felt tears well up in my eyes and a tightness in the back of my throat. Of course I knew my eating disorder wasn’t my fault. According to the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA), “No one knows exactly what causes eating disorders, but a growing consensus suggests that a range of biological, psychological, and sociocultural factors come together to spark an eating disorder.” Nonetheless, I felt tremendous guilt, both for developing an eating disorder and for its symptoms: my increasing rigidity and irritability, the lies I told about “being fine” and “not having lost any weight” to anyone who noticed or asked, and most of all, the pain I had caused my family and my friends. Such guilt is too often a reality for people who struggle with eating disorders and other types of mental illness. The fact that this doctor––the second physician and fourth medical professional with whom I’d spoken since being officially diagnosed with anorexia and orthorexia––was the first to explicitly tell me I wasn’t to blame for my sickness is an indication that, to a certain extent, our society still perceives mental illness as a choice and its consequences as direct results of that choice. Having heard phrases like “so-and-so would be so upset to learn you went down that path” during my own recovery, it seems to me that language surrounding mental illness certainly upholds the standard that its sufferers “chose” to be ill. A steadfast follower of logic over emotion, perhaps my unusually visceral reaction to the physician stemmed from the

CAROLINE’S COLUMN

Unexpected Lessons from an Ex-Con By Caroline Conforti

fact that it was the first true validation I had received in the recovery process. My illness was isolating beyond what I can describe in words. Physically, I rarely left my house unless it was necessary. Mentally, I felt like I had no one to rely on––according to my own mind, my relationships with family and friends were destroyed beyond repair. Here was someone actively disrupting the status quo––and contradicting my own thoughts––to affirm what I knew deep down to be true all along. Though I’d already begun treatment, which included weekly therapy sessions, it wasn’t until this moment that I truly recognized the positive impact of opening up about my sickness for my recovery. For months I had kept quiet as a monster crept deeper and deeper into my brain and consumed my thoughts. An integral part of struggling with a mental illness is the silence in which one suffers. If you were to ask me in July how my summer was going, you’d hear all about the internship I absolutely loved and the statistics class which provided me a new lens through which to look at data. And those are absolutely important parts of my summer because of the time I devoted to and the concepts and skills I learned in both. But my continuing battle with anorexia is just as important––if not more. It’s something I will wrestle with for the duration of the recovery process and live with for the rest of my life. Knowing I am neither guilty for––nor alone in—my struggle has given me the strength not to conceal it from public view, in hopes that others who are struggling will have similar realizations and feel empowered to do the same. My sickness took so much from me. And every day there are still plenty of moments where I feel guilty or alone or recovery seems impossible. But the only way to take my life back is to be open about my feelings--in doing so I can count on the support of those closest to me and encourage others to open up about their own battles. Eating disorders and other mental illnesses are not a choice or a fault, yet they remain heavily stigmatized, leading sufferers to silently blame themselves. To share my story is to counteract that stigma in hopes of eventually changing the societal standard.

“I was in jail for about 20 years and served on death row for three.” Attending non-violence training at the Institute for Nonviolence Chicago–– where I would be volunteering for the remainder of the summer–– I met Bennie Lee. With dark brown eyes and worn-out leather sandals on his feet, Bennie greeted me with nothing but compassion and warmth. I realized that he was the man that would be leading the nonviolence training. Throughout the training, he spoke about nonviolence not as a decision but a way of life and a resolve. Beyond preaching these words, whether it is the delicate way he spoke or the manner he presents himself, Bennie embodies the nonviolent lifestyle. I was gaining deep respect for this man and found myself chatting with him whenever time allowed. I learned lessons from Bennie on the intricacies of the crime epidemic in Chicago, how to practice inner-peace, and how to resolve tense situations. However, none of these lessons were what resonated with me most about the training. On the final day of the training, Bennie began to talk about his past. Shortly into his account, he mentioned that he had been imprisoned for about 20 years and had served on death row for three. He became the leader of one of Chicago’s biggest street gangs at the age of 13. I was confused and taken aback upon hearing this. I had developed great admiration for this man, which I immediately questioned now that I was informed on the earlier years of his life. I struggled to accept that what he said was true because of the perception I had of those who were involved with the criminal

of my greatest lessons of nonviolence from him. Society had taught me that ex-convicts were not supposed to act like Bennie and were certainly not supposed to have his temperament or charisma. Meeting Bennie allowed me to think about the adverse ways in which I and many others so often impetuously judge people. On a broader level, I was able to think about the ways in which society defines and classifies people. If I had heard about Bennie’s turbulent past before getting to know him, I would have defined him by one dimension of his past, ignoring the man that he proved to be now. Hearing Bennie’s story made me question the criminal justice system in a new way. I believed I was well aware of the deep-rooted injustices in the system, and although I could still never truly understand the prejudice entrenched in the system, listening to Bennie allowed me to have a more humanistic understanding. To me, he represented serenity and unquestionably exuded inner-peace just as he had preached. Although he did not use this as an excuse for his actions, the circumstances he experienced growing up put him at unfavorable odds. I felt a sense of guilt knowing that I had questioned the validity of the training after I learned of his time in prison. I learned a valuable lesson on the premature judgments I and others often make, especially about people who have been involved with the criminal justice system. If I had been informed of Bennie’s past before understanding his dedication to the nonviolence field, I am ashamed to say

justice system. I also struggled to accept his past because of the valuable lessons he had been teaching me. Although this may be manifest, society has ingrained in me that those who committed crimes were society’s worst people and should be avoided at all costs. Not only did I find myself in a room with a man whom I would learn had been charged with 15 counts of murder, but I had also been learning some

that I may not have received the training the way I did. Perhaps not everyone’s views will align on the extent to which we must reintegrate the formerly convicted. However, the idea that we should all make conscious efforts to reject judgment and that we should accept positive changes made in the lives of others is something from which we can all benefit.

“Not only did I find myself in a room with a man whom I would I learn had been charged 15 counts of murder, but I had also been learning some of my greatest lessons of nonviolence from him.”


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THE JOYS OF LIFE

Columns

Bubbles.

FIRESIDE CHATS Bias Towards Action

By Matthew Turk

By Grayson Schementi So, for my first column after a long summer, I thought we could give a shoutout to the underappreciated gifts from God that provide hours of summer entertainment outside of Lolla: bubbles. Bubbles, as defined by the most trustworthy of sources, Wikipedia, are “a globule of one substance in another.” Wikipedia adds that they’re “usually gas in a liquid.” First of all, the word globule is fantastic. Everyone turn to the person closest to you and say globule. Did they smile? They better have smiled or they don’t have a soul. Only soulless people don’t like the word globule. Or globular? That’s so great. It’s because of the glob part at the beginning. The glob part is what makes it so good. Like, a glob of glue. Or a glob of bubbles, I’m in love. Anyway, second of all, I want to disagree with Wikipedia about the “usually gas in a liquid” part. I know, I’m so controversial. Disagreeing with Wikipedia? How could you, Grayson! But I’d argue that almost anything that is a sphere is a bubble (because I’m stupid, not really, but just enough to make that joke funny). OK, so more definitions. According to Urban Dictionary, a globule (SUCH A GOOD WORD!) is “a glob of something.” A glob is defined as “a lump of a semiliquid substance” by Merriam-Webster. The next recommended thing on Google for “glob definition” is “hubris definition” and I’m wondering if that says something about who I am. Remember, I’m trying to argue that everything that is a sphere is a bubble. So now we need to know what lump means. Lump is the name of Pablo Picasso’s dog, and I kind of just thought you needed to know that. A lump is defined as “a compact mass of a substance, especially one without a definite or regular shape.” So anything that is round and changes shape is a bubble. The sun? The sun’s a bubble. A ball? A ball bounces and when it bounces it changes shape so a ball’s a bubble. A concrete sphere? The atoms of the concrete sphere are always moving so the shape is always changing and it’s very compact so a concrete ball is also, you guessed it, a bubble. So there, I’ve proven that anything that is a sphere is a bubble. If you disagree, write a letter to the editor. What are other types of bubbles? I mean, there’s the so-called Parker bubble. I’ve always found this super fascinating. You’ve probably heard of it but if you haven’t, here I am. Basically, the Parker bubble is the idea that some people who go to Parker, who are in the Parker community, don’t really have a firm understanding of what it’s like to be someone that doesn’t go to a wealthy private school or have the background of an upper-middle-class to upper-class family. I’m included in this

The Parker Weekly, Page 17

bubble. It’s the idea that we are trapped inside a big glass dome with no real grasp of the world outside of Parker. In contrast to our mission statement that says we educate “global citizens,” that doesn’t really work, doesn’t really fit. If we are educating for global citizenship, then why do some people at Parker feel that we are inside a bubble, disconnected from other citizens of the globe? I remember in, like, Parker Partners or whatever, we’d take entire days to go outside the Parker community and get outside the Parker bubble. Or in History, we learn about current events happening outside of the bubble. Sometimes we take field trips outside the bubble, to Pilsen or… Iceland? Or Dubai? I know MUN went to Mexico once. But I feel like something is missing. I feel like we, not all of “we” but a lot “we”–– and definitely me–– don’t go out of our way to learn about people who are not in our bubble. Like, individual people who don’t come from affluent backgrounds and don’t have an exorbitant amount of wealth and don’t have all the immense privileges we have. Being shy, being busy, whatever the excuse, we don’t, I don’t, get out of the bubble. People within the Parker community, I feel, are treated as a part of a quota.We fill the spots needed so we can say to ourselves that the Parker community is inclusive to all backgrounds and takes advantage of learning from all people to be good global citizens. When I look back in 20 years and think about my grade, I want to be able to count on more than just my fingers and toes the people that don’t look like me, think like me, or act like me. I don’t think we are even close to that goal. I look at our school and think, “What are we doing?” Unless each and every individual of privilege in our community takes the effort necessary to understand what it means to not be from our backgrounds, we are failing at educating global citizens. We need to meet people that are not like ourselves and immerse ourselves in their worlds. We must understand who they are and what they want. There are seven billion individuals on this planet that all deserve the same rights, the same freedoms, and I think many people at Parker, especially those that are wealthier, are blind to that fact. I feel like when we go out into the world as a person from Parker, it is out of pity. We give back, do service. That’s not it, though. That’s not what it should be about. I think our communal mindset of how we think about where we fit in the world is toxic, and I think our communal perspective

“Student Government doesn’t do anything.” Even before I was in high school, I heard this sentiment resonate in the hallways on repeat. Wouldn’t it be beautiful, then, if—by the end of this school year—we could eradicate the vicious cycle of passivity in Student Government, once and for all? During election season this past spring, I described in my speech a commonplace

for a given committee) of Model Home, SADD, and Curriculum Committee. Sometime between now and County Fair, we hope to introduce these changes as well. In the meantime, we will take time

“I don’t have a crystal ball. I am not someone to make false promises, and neither is the rest of the Cabinet. That said, my mantra on the campaign trail was ‘bias towards action.’” lack of awareness of the influence of Student Government that leads to this passivity. Now, if the student body truly invests itself when needed, we will have an experience that is both more productive and more enjoyable. However, I don’t have a crystal ball. I am not someone to make false promises, and neither is the rest of the Cabinet. That said, my mantra on the campaign trail was “bias toward action.” While big, grand promises sound nice, talk is cheap. You and I both know that. That said, there are several proposals that are extremely likely to be implemented—but I don’t need to speak more about the potential for Student Government this year. That, you will infer. So here is the rundown on the upcoming two months: Today the Cabinet and faculty advisors will be introduced in Plenary. It will be short and sweet, and if all goes well, there is a story that I want to tell all of you. The following week, we will be introducing a new proposal already that is designed to reduce email clutter from weekly club emails. Hopefully, we can implement a centralized weekly newsletter that features all club announcements in one email. We are currently working on updates to the bylaws (responsibilities and instructions

to explain these changes in depth during Senate or Plenary. The final matter of business is Civic Engagement. Earlier this year, I spoke of a reboot of this program, now being run in a similar fashion to the two-day Cookies elective classes in the spring. If I have any additional information about these surfaces from the upper school office, I will relay it then. Lastly, if there is something I should address in my column, or if I come short of putting in my best effort, delivering on what matters to you, please don’t hesitate to approach me about it in the hallway or send a message my way. All feedback is much appreciated. This is a communal effort, which is why I intend to use this platform as a direct line of communication so that the student body is informed of the goings-on in Student Government—akin to the radio series from 1933 to 1944 after which this column is named. My hope is that every resource available to us we will devote to better communication, implementation of proposals, and the general augmentation of the student experience. In the spirit of back-to-school momentum, I am encouraged to believe this article is a wise and sensible beginning.

is way out of alignment. We assume that we are better. I’ll speak for myself: I am living in a sheltered world of first-world problems. I concern myself with superficial things that only matter to one percent of the population. I don’t know and don’t have the opportunity to know what it is like to be someone who is not born of tremendous privilege, whatever that privilege may be. I don’t know how to design a curriculum that teaches that level of empathy. But there are no doubt thousands of people who do. And not having that empathy, not having that understanding, and not having that perspective in our school, and existing trapped in a bubble of privilege is a big, big

shame, and frankly, I think it is harmful to the global society. We as a community have a ton of influence on the culture of Lincoln Park, of Chicago, of Illinois, of the Midwest, of the United States, and of the world and if we don’t understand that we have to work harder at popping the bubble, or the culture as a whole won’t be able to either. If we don’t understand what it means to be someone that doesn’t come from Parker, we cannot call ourselves global citizens. So what started as fun has turned into a call for action. I think it’s time to pop this bubble.


The Parker Weekly, Page 18

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CONSTRUCTION

Continuations

Continued from page one minds of the administration for years. “I had heard for many years that the space, just outside of the Upper School Head’s office, where those wooden benches are, I had heard from students for many years that the trophy thing is ‘dumb, it just sits there, we never really used it,’” Frank said. “There was a sense of it being an uncomfortable gallery of walking up and down and people sitting on the benches. It just didn’t feel good. It didn’t feel comfortable.” Unlike other changes in the Upper School, this project seemingly had no student input on the design of the renovations. “This project, I guess, moved a lot faster than expected, as I initially started working with the students in the Architecture class to look at that space and the cat boxes, and things moved a lot quicker than I expected,” Brandon said. From there, Brandon realized that there were few changes that could be made. “Once the architect comes in with the renderings, it’s kind of where we stand,” Brandon said. The Architecture class was originally tasked with designing a new third floor hallway space and met with Brandon to identify what the Administration wanted the space to have. On November 2, the class was then tasked with designing a new model of the catboxes, which, according to members of the class, Frank and Brandon came and observed and talked with students about. Members of the Architecture class enjoyed the project and thought that it was interesting for Parker to include it in the curriculum. “I want to applaud the Parker curriculum that the architecture course was designed around improving the school and it gave us an opportunity to go and have this real-life experience of designing a space,” Wagner said, “and even to the point where we were able to go down to the catboxes and get measurements, so that all of the models that we were making were pretty exact. I

BRIDGE

Continued from page one

think it’s really interesting that Parker had that curriculum in the first place.” While there was no direct communication between the architect and the Architecture class, their designs for a new third floor hallway were utilized. “I don’t know if there was any direct conversation between those students and the design of the third floor area,” Frank said. “But I do know that I’d seen their ideas, and the school’s architect had seen their ideas, and I think the idea of the benches, with tables and chairs, came from there, and it may have influenced it more indirectly than directly, but there was certainly a similarity in some of the ideas the students had worked on.” Although the process was not as direct as some students would have liked, members of the Architecture class still felt that their ideas were heard. “Honestly, I’m kind of a pessimist, so I wasn’t really sure if I felt that way, but according to the administration, meeting with our class, we gave them some really good ideas,” Wagner said. “Meeting with the administration multiple times and getting their feedback and input on our designs really felt like they were at least interested in what we had to say. Overall, it just felt like, kind of a partnership.” Despite some early controversy concerning the replacement of the current sophomore bench, members of the community feel that this was a welcome change. “I think it’s good that they’re not getting rid of it, but just lengthening it,” Wagner said. “In the interview that we had with Mr. Brandon, he was talking about how he thought that the space was really an example of the divide between the grades, and I think that a long bench like that is really the way to allow more people to sit, and how it’s less of the sophomore bench, and it’s more of a seating place in the hallway, it’s not an official of a thing.”

going to help us as representatives make the committee even better since we’ve been able to see how the new students have adjusted since their very first days at Parker,” Hanley said. Junior Dani Lieb, another Community Committee member and mentor, agrees. According to Lieb, there are seven mentors, and during the year the Community Committee plans on having check-ins to follow up with new freshmen. “Having us also be at Bridge hopefully can make them more comfortable talking to us and sharing any problems or concerns,” Lieb said. However, with the new system, it limits the number of mentors. “When there’s 10 or 12, then there’s a lot more opportunities, a lot more faces,” Childrey said. Additionally, this year the groups that attended Bridge and the dates differed from years past. From August 12-14 and from August 22-23, it was held for “New to Parker” Upper School students, and from August 15-16, it was held for all freshmen. “There was information that the Bridge kids were getting that the kids who had been at Parker their entire lives hadn’t even known,” Stepan said. “There were a few things where they wanted everyone to be on the same page.” As head of Community Committee, Stepan was involved in the planning of the Bridge program, alongside other faculty members, including Childrey. Childrey noted that in some cases “New to Parker” students and rising freshmen may feel divided. “We are trying to combat that feeling that they might isolate themselves,” Childrey said. In previous years, the days of Bridge were experimented with. During the 20172018 school year, the bridge program ran for two full days, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and only with “New to Parker” students. During the 2018-2019 school year, it ran for 10 half days, from noon to 3 p.m. each day, and the returning freshmen participated in the final two days of the program. “The trick

is to extend it longer, but make the actual days shorter,” Stepan said. “It also helps in their brains to organize it by day... Having people be able to make those distinctions in their brains helps them to remember it better, where if you just throw everything in randomly, that’s not going to be very helpful at all.” The days of Bridge this year were from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m., and for each day, a different topic was the main focus. For the “New to Parker” students, the first day’s focus was places around the school, taught through activities such as tours and scavenger hunts. Day two was focused on traditions, Parker lingo and meeting new faculty. The third day focused on what specific classes will look like. The days of Bridge including the returning ninth graders included various “stations”––covering everything from schedules to clubs and committees. The final two days of Bridge will act as a wrap-up to the program. Stepan entered Parker as a new freshman and said her experience in Bridge affected her experience planning this year, specifically in regards to “icebreaker” activities. “A ton of thought was put into what games they were doing because some personalities have the potential to overrun others or people will be totally shied away from it, so we wanted to do things that allowed people to get to know each other,” Stepan said. “The biggest thing I want them to get out of bridge is a sense of unity going into the Freshman Retreat and just going into Parker in general...No matter what that experience is like, they will remember these games that at the time they thought were funny, but it kind of gives them a talking point and a way to develop relationships further.” “We’ve been doing bridge for about 17 or 18 years now and I think it has reduced the discomfort that many new students face not just coming to Parker but coming to high school,” Childrey said.

to align his practice to that, he saw a great shift that got him excited and made him want to share that with other people. One of the first messages he tells clients is, “Letting your career or monetary gains be your driving force, but really becoming keen on why you’re here and what is the legacy you’re going to leave beyond you.” On this 10-plus year journey after college of pursuing acting, music, and life coaching, Torrez has seen the way he looks at being an artist, something he aspired to be as a young adult, differently. “My relationship with music has completely changed. A lot of people that get into music always dream of being a rockstar, being a celebrity, making a lot of money, but music is metaphysical and when you place a price point on it you destroy it,” Torrez said. “I

started to treat my music like a business, and the love I initially had for it started to disappear and turn into frustration. Now I’m focused on music purely for making music.” Aggurie, who has known Torrez for a decade, has noted his musical shift and thinks it’s for the best. “The difference now is just how happy he is, just how grounded and center he is…,” Aggurie said. “He’s a guy that will take an opportunity and take it all the way because he’s doing it for the right reasons now.” While Torrez is making music, lining up acting gigs, or even setting up meetings at his life coaching job, he is still found subbing within the doors of Parker that he left 13 years ago. Alex Feitler, a student of a few of the classes Torrez has subbed, has chosen to go out of his way to learn

about Torrez’s past, and is quite astonished about all that he did not know. “Personally, I did not expect him to have achieved so many things at such a young age and still be pursuing teaching,” Feitler said. “I was very impressed.” The complete, multidimensional man, as Torrez would say, has learned a lot over his 13 year post Parker run and has matured as well. No longer needing to reach fame for happiness or needing to be seen on screen for peace, Torrez is starting a new chapter in life. “My life’s mission is creative expression,” Torrez said. Using that creative expression to spread peace and happiness upon himself and others is how he is choosing to live his life moving forward.

MR. TORREZ

Continued from page six Eventually his friend came up to him in need of a life coach, and Torrez asked to be interviewed. He got the job and started his own company called Jahoia Life Coaching. “The main motivator that used to drive me was my career, success, monetary gain, things of that nature. Ultimately that doesn’t bring peace. It doesn’t bring supreme happiness,” Torrez said. “As soon as I shift from focusing on me to focusing on my life’s mission, it became about other people. There was a mental shift, energetic shift, spiritual shift, so now expanding the practice is the forefront of my focus.” Torrez’s mission as a life coach is to live a free life while leading others to their own liberation through education, mentorship, creative expression, and mastery of universal forces. Once he started


The Parker Weekly, Page 19

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VIRGIL ABLOH

Penultimate Page

Continued from page 13

I shared with her my viewpoint on the whole Instagram phenomenon of art exhibits in the 21st century. Yi understood where I was coming from but believes that “it is good that art is becoming of greater importance and is reflected through photos and Instagram. Regardless of the reason why people choose to post the exhibit, it promotes art and participation. The more the merrier.” I never really thought of it in that way before, but I am coming to understand her perspective on the issue. All it takes is the right moment, person, or platform in this case, to spark someone’s interest in art. For me, it was my Contemporary Art History course that I took while studying abroad for my junior year in Spain and the wonderful teacher who taught it. Before that class, I never considered myself much of an “art connoisseur,” let alone someone who is actually interested in attending new exhibits around the city. But now I appreciate it immensely and go out of my way to learn more about the history behind

HANDBOOK

Continued from page one The revisions to the Code of Conduct contain specific language that defines and condemns different behaviors including sexual harassment, bullying, hate speech, and retailation. In addition, the discipline policy is now standardized. “When we sat down and discussed the discipline policy, there were things that we learned, for example, Mr. Novick was doing in the Middle School that could work in the Upper School,” Brandon said. One of these pieces is In-School Reflection, a practice used by Head of Middle and Intermediate School John Novick. After a student commits an infraction, they spend a lunch period in Novick’s room to discuss it. The Middle and Intermediate School has been using In-School Reflection for the past three years, according to Brandon, and students in the Upper School will now spend lunch with Dean of Student Life Joe Bruno after committing an infraction at the lowest level. According to Brandon, the discipline policy is now divided into three levels. The first will entail an In-School Reflection and includes offenses such as cutting class and disrespecting a teacher. The second level is reached when one of the aforementioned actions is repeated. Other transgressions that would result in a second level offense include disregard for school property, misconduct on a school trip, or putting students or a student at a safety risk. The consequences for a second level offense could be a Day of Reflection, counseling, or suspension.

it. The amount of information you can learn about a group of people or a time period just through their art is incredible. To say that this expo is nothing like I’ve ever seen before is an understatement. I am still working towards gaining more knowledge of the contemporary art world. Sure, it’s easy to browse the exhibition through the hashtags #figuresofspeech or #virgilablohmca, but I don’t recommend that. There’s something about seeing artwork in real life and knowing that someone exceptional made the object that is directly in front of you. Enjoy it as if it is a once in a lifetime experience. Abloh’s Figures of Speech exhibition closes at the MCA on September 22, and it would be a shame if you were to miss it. If you’re not going to see Abloh’s designs, at least come to take a cool picture in front of the multiple portraits of Chief Keef in a Supreme shirt. Maybe you’ll discover some components of it along the way that you enjoy.

The third level of infraction would require the school to consider your place within the building. The compounding of blatant disrespect for school values or illegal behavior is what would lead to a level three classification, Brandon said. Although Brandon wishes there could have been more student involvement in rewriting the discipline policy, time constraints eliminated this possibility. “I took all of the notes I had from the work we did in the Discipline Committee and made changes based off those,” he said. “I also inputted many of the edits and suggestions made by members of Student Government into the Code of Conduct.” Member of the Discipline Committee, former Senate Head, and current Executive Advisor Lindsay Carlin helped to make these changes. “Ultimately I think Student Government could not substantially change the Code of Conduct given the time frame and the handbook content we were presented, but I’m glad the leadership of the school took it upon themselves to rewrite the sections of the handbook that caused problems last year.” “The true test of effectiveness will be when those sections are put to use,” Carlin added. Brandon noted that although the Discipline Committee was not able to make changes to the extent he desired, they will meet again in October and beyond to discuss the changes and work on any for the 2020-2021 school year. “Our biggest goal in the revisions was to increase consistency and transparency and make sure the handbook reflects our values,” Brandon said. “We wanted one allschool document that shows and enforces what we stand for as an institution.”

EDITORIAL

Handbook Changes Give Hope By “The Parker Weekly”

Administrators, gradeheads, division heads, and other figures throughout the school building spent their summers completely revising the student handbook and code of conduct, focusing particularly on sections involving discipline, attendance, and communication. According to Head of Upper School Justin Brandon, much of the goal in rewriting the handbook was to establish consistency and transparency. Included in the new handbook is a system of levels that classifies different disciplinary issues and consequences, as well as definitions of and protocol for reporting bullying, sexual harassment, and hate speech. Many of these changes were inspired by student and faculty action throughout the 2018-19 school year. Students were upset by the lack of straightforward discipline

With the new rules established in the handbook, students will no longer be pulled into meetings without their advisors. There will be a set of instructions for how to report sexual harassment. These are real changes that will tangibly and positively impact the student experience. Acknowledgment in this form is satisfying and necessary, but the issues that brought gaps in the handbook to light are not isolated. The discipline committee formed by Brandon in the spring of 2019 still serves a purpose, even though the handbook and our discipline policies have been changed. Student voice can and should continue to play a role in administrative action and changes within the school building. The handbook has not been revised completely in a number of years. It is no

“Students voiced their opinions, and the administration made changes. Students should be proud of themselves...” policies. They were outraged by the absence of language surrounding sexual harassment and hate speech. Students voiced their opinions, and the administration made changes. Students should be proud of themselves for transforming the events of the past school year into policy change. When hard and divisive situations arise, concrete change is the most important step in developing a solution. The administration using their mistakes and student feedback to produce new and revised sections of the handbook sets a good tone for the school year and for future work and conversation surrounding different school-wide issues.

mystery why so much crucial language and policy was missing from its pages. If student voice continues to inform the consistent updating of the handbook, it should never contain such gaping holes again. This is a step, but it is not a solution. Trust between students and the administration is still damaged, and although these policy changes have been written, students have yet to see them in action. Administrators: thank you for hearing our complaints and making a substantive change. Please continue these policy reviews and conversations that allow students to actively feel more comfortable and safe at school. Do not let this be the end of your work.

MARC TAYLOR

Continued from page eight right Achilles. “Rehab has been a lot more taxing,” Taylor said on his more recent injury. “I’ve done a lot more stuff and a lot more things every day than the first time, but just ‘cause I have to, and I want to play this season.” Looking forward, Taylor hopes for two “healthy” years, although he doesn’t plan to continue his basketball career in the foreseeable future. “Marc is a student athlete,” Snider said, “and let me use the word student and highlight it with an exclamation point...I think he knows that by getting a great education, it’s gonna take him a lot further in life. Don’t get me wrong, basketball is great for Marc, but I think he’s such a sharp

young man that the sky’s the limit for him.” When asked about advice for prospective college athletes, Taylor said, “the number one thing is: you’re not in college to play a sport...there’s some points where you think you’re there to play basketball or something like that, and that’s not true. You’re there to get an education.”


The Parker Weekly, Page 20

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The Backpage

What’s

Out?

In?

broken traditions

Gary B. Nash

labor day

sophomore bench

exclusion

the whole hallway

hot girl

summer

bummer

english teachers

Seebold

Abood

ways to connect

snap

TikTok

hot weekly (wo)man

Eli Moog

Lindsay Carlin

Profile for Zach Joseph

Issue 1- Volume CVIV  

Issue 1- Volume CVIV  

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