by Kaitlyn Garrett/Lion Staff
“It is a science laboratory in the sky, literally.”
That is how history teacher Mr. Jewell describes Siempre Verde, an environmental escape located in Ecuador, where a group of nineteen lucky sophomores spent ten days in early October.
For the duration of the trip they hiked, completed school work, listened to history and cultural immersion lectures about Ecuador, participated in service work, shopped, and (of course) indulged in Ecuador’s finest home-cooked dining.
The Lovett community has been enjoying Siempre Verde’s timeless beauty for 25 years; they celebrated the quarter anniversary a few weeks ago at the Atlanta Botanical Gardens. Recently, Lovett students attended an assembly where they learned about the history of Siempre Verde, watched a video about the impact of mining on the local community, and participated in an online game.
On the sophomore trip, students had the privilege of experiencing everything that Ecuador has to offer.
The general itinerary was enjoyed by all, but Clayton Cross says that “The hiking was pretty fun, and the views everywhere were really cool.”
Caroline Long and Lauren Bernard’s really enjoyed visiting a school in Santa Rosa, located at the base of Siempre Verde. “The little kids were adorable,” Caroline says. “We gave them school supplies and played with them.”
The school appeared to be the fan favorite. The kids range in age from 5-12, and “they are so sweet,” according to Virginia French. “You bring them bags and bags of clothes and school supplies and all this stuff, and you get to read to them, and play with them on the playground; it’s just so fun,” Virginia French says. For the kids, it’s like Christmas.
Even the less hands on activities were enjoyable; Olivia Sidman says that one of her favorite parts of the trip was hanging out with everybody around the fire.
The students stayed at the Siempre Verde lodge, which has bathrooms, bunk rooms, a classroom area, a dining room, and a kitchen area. “It’s like a giant house for kids,” says Virginia. “There are two big bunk rooms, and normally there's one for boys and one for girls, but since we had 18 girls we had two girls rooms, and then in the fireplace room there’s a wall and then a room and that’s where all the boys stayed.”
As a chaperone, Mr. Jewell valued the opportunity “to get to know students outside of the classroom setting.” He could witness their reactions to challenges like tough hikes, no lights, and interrupted internet access. And there were the more obvious pleasures like viewing nature, meeting farmers, shopping in an open air market, playing at an old-fashioned amusement park, and laughing near the Equator.
And of course there was the food.
“The food was absolutely amazing,” says Lauren. “It was served family style; it was something different every meal, and it was prepared by the kitchen staff or the host family, the Nelsons.”
So, our lucky adventurers got to take a step outside of the stress infected Buckhead bubble, leaving us to complain about our lives alone as they were out exploring the world.
“The students are in a more relaxed environment than typical day-to-day home life. They are free from technological distractions, well rested, and surrounded by serene nature and a warm fire,” says Ms. Pugh, a chaperone for the trip.
But that’s not the only benefit.
“We caught and measured birds. We saw a very rare species of a night crawling mammal… Mr. Reynolds hung moth sheets with a light and we saw oodles of different kinds of moths. And it is not only In Siempre Verde. On the way to Quito after visiting the cloud forest, we went to a bird rescue park and students were able to hold a larger bird on their fingers,” Mr. Jewell says.
Students also walked away with lessons in their back pockets that stretch beyond the science or spanish classroom: “I learned it’s good to try something new or something different, travel, and do things with people you don’t know that well,” says Clayton.
Sometimes those things pose challenges. Virginia says that her first day was her least favorite, blaming this much on the strenuous hike of their first day.
“The last mile is tropical forest so that’s cool, but there's no views, there's nothing really to see,” she says “It feels like it takes forever and you think ‘oh my god what have I gotten myself into,’ so that was my first impression because I was like, I don’t know what I’m doing.”
Ironically, the huge, exhausting hike they did of the Ariba Trail, turned out to be one of her favorite parts.
“People are gonna think I’m weird, but I thought that was really fun. It’s a hike that’s the equivalent of climbing 250 flights of stairs,” she says.
Others were less sanguine about the experience. “It was 1.2 miles but it took us six hours,” Caroline says. “It was straight up, literally straight up, people slid down,” Lauren added.
But all things considered, Siempre Verde was a rewarding experience, and the sophomores recommend that interested freshman give it a go.
“I’ve had a lot of people say that they regret not going and that they wish they had gone, and what’s the harm in signing up and trying it,” Lauren Bernard says.
At the very least, it’s an opportunity to build some new relationships. “It was great because so many different friend groups go and it’s a really good opportunity to hang out with people who you don’t normally hang out with,” says Virginia French.
Of course, this Garden of Eden 2.0 is not immune to the problems of the outside world, and it has to stand against outside threats.
After senior Jamil Atkinson visited Siempre Verde for his first time, he wanted to go back and help the people who were directly affected by mining companies, and he wanted to be able to find a market for their products in the US.
He put together a system to enable Lovett not only to support the farmers' alternate means of economy but also allowing for them to make more money for their products then they normally would in Ecuador. “What we did was simply partner with the producers and farmers of these products, and offer them a larger market space by selling their products here in the Lovett community,” Jamil says. “Essentially, we've opened up a long-term market for the producers of various products in the Intag region.”
This year, they sold 50 baskets with Ecuadorian products handwoven and made out of cabuya fiber, which comes from a local plant known as Penca, and all of them were sold; half of them were sold to the faculty while the rest were sold at the 25th anniversary event.
In total, they raised $4,000. “We purchased everything in the baskets and then all the proceeds are going back also, so it's like they sold their products twice,” says Mr. Reynolds.
All of the money from the successful event will be split between the groups that made the products, so the people that put in effort and hardwork will quite literally be paid back. Mr. Reynolds says this is one of the things he loves about the selling of the baskets event: “It's not charity,” he says. “It's supporting the hard work these families are putting in for a cause.”
Senior Christina Karem, another student who worked on this project, is glad they were able to raise awareness about the mining problem. “It drew a lot of attention and everything was a huge success,” she says.
Based on our twenty-five year of experiences, it would seem the relationship between Lovett and Ecuador is symbiotic. It first reveals its natural beauty to us, and then we are given the opportunity to help protect the flourishing culture, atmosphere, and people.
“Personally, I think Siempre Verde is genuinely like a home away from home,” says senior Chris Ocana. “The trip is amazing and I can't imagine having never seen it. The people that sustain the land in Ecuador, the region, the markets, the culture and the food are all fond memories and a part of one of the best trips that I have ever taken in my life.”
Laurel Blaske/ OnLion Staff
Following the beer pong incident this past August, the Lovett community has been working to come to terms with the impact and meaning of what happened. There were large and small group TAP meetings, and just before Thanksgiving there was a panel of Jewish alumni who shared their experiences at Lovett. While many of the conversations were about the general need for sensitivity towards students’ backgrounds, there was also a focus on anti-semitism, given the nature of the summer incident.
Recently, Mr. Peebles spoke at the Tackling Anti-Semitism for our Kids (TASK) Conference, hosted by the Atlanta Initiative Against Anti-Semitism (AIAAS), where school district employees, principals, teachers, and others in the world of education gathered at Temple Emanuel to discuss anti-semitism and hate in schools. I was one of a small group of students to be a part of the event.
The conference began with Temple Emanuel’s senior rabbi, Spike Anderson, sharing stories he had heard from teenage congregants. He said one eighth grade student had seen ten other kids drawing swastikas right in front of him, three of whom were his friends, but the boy was barely fazed. As Rabbi Spike put it, “This was becoming their new normal.”
According to Dr. Padilla-Goodman, the regional director of the Anti-Defamation League, there has been a 67% increase in anti-semitism overall with a 107% increase in schools. Experts attribute this to the current political climate and especially the riots in Charlottesville. Although very few of the reported anti-semitic incidents are violent, Dr. Padilla-Goodman agreed with Rabbi Spike. Anti-semitism is simply part of life for some students, but she has hope for the future. “We can change school culture,” she said.
One school particularly involved in preventing hate within their halls is North Springs High School, located in Sandy Springs. Their principal, Scott Hanson, says his school is still a “work in progress.” At North Springs, they take the time to listen to students about what they see, and they have collaborated with the ADL on multiple occasions. Unfortunately, despite all their efforts, the school, similarly to Lovett, experienced a hateful incident this February. Hanson recalled being at a loss during the aftermath. “One speed bump can completely change the direction,” he explained.
Mr. Peebles spoke at the conference, candidly discussing what happened over the summer and how the school responded to it. What started as a small, off-campus gathering expanded into a larger party with alcohol and of course, the Nazis vs. Jews beer pong. In the aftermath, “there was an explosion of media coverage,” Mr. Peebles said. He felt the majority of the mainstream media was fair in their coverage, but some people weighed in on social media with partially informed perspectives.
I spoke with Mr. Peebles after the event and he said that people at the conference affirmed Lovett’s handling of the incident in terms of its quick and open response. Students received their consequences depending on their involvement, and Mr. Peebles sent a letter to all Lovett families informing them about what happened and encouraging them to have a conversation with their children. Students were brought into the discussion with TAP meetings and visits from Rabbi Peter Berg and Holocaust survivors. Rabbi Hillel Norry spoke to the middle school TAP Jr. group.
The whole ordeal “lead to some deep soul searching on our part,” Mr. Peebles said at the conference, and he affirmed that the incident did not represent the heart of Lovett. In my interview with Mr. Peebles, he noted that Lovett has long been working to strengthen the movement towards inclusivity, at all division levels. A small sample of the efforts includes everything from lower school summer reading books with diverse perspectives to alliances and affinity groups in the upper school to Safe Space training for faculty to multicultural coffees for parents.
The conference also featured students from Whitwell Middle School, home of The Paper Clip Project, which began in 1998 when students studying the Holocaust were struggling to visualize what millions of people would look like, so their teachers and principals helped them collect paper clips. Now they have over 30 million paper clips, 11 million of which are now on display in an authentic German railcar as a part of their student-run museum. Two eighth graders, Jonathan and Corbin, shared their experiences with the program. They said they liked learning about different cultures and the unique setting to meet new people. Their latest project is translating postcards from concentration camps and finding living family members to share them with.
There were many opportunities for conversations throughout the morning. One table was discussing the importance of acknowledging the state of mind of the perpetrators of hateful acts to determine to what extent it influenced their choices.
One educator shared her experience as a parent of two elementary school boys. She noticed the cafeteria at the school had pictures of famous role models, but they were all male. When she brought it up with the administration, their response was, “Why do you care? You only have sons.”
Another table was debating the outcomes of placing more emphasis on being inclusive of minorities. How would that make white male students feel? Would they feel excluded purely because they did not have a “special” trait to be accepted? The group of principals and rabbis eventually agreed that schools should teach students to be accepting and understanding of everyone, instead of teaching them to accept specific groups.
But most of the discussions came down to two major themes: a) hateful opinions and acts spread like wildfire and b) the mindsets children gain in schools affect our entire society. So what does this all mean? If hate starts with one student, other students will become hateful, and society will become more comfortable with hate.
In reflecting on the morning, it occurred to me that education is not just about writing essays and finding square roots. School is also teaching us how to act, how to think, and how to perceive the world around us. Our teachers, administration, and even our peers model behaviors that we as students choose whether or not to follow. As the founders of AIAAS said, “Be the change you want to see in the world.”
by Camille Summers/Lion Staff
Charlie Miller wanted to do the 5-mile Spartan Race, a team race around Lake Lanier. It’s not easy for anyone, but especially not for someone who suffers from both Cerebral Palsy and a mitochondrial disorder.
According to CerebralPalsy.org, Cerebral Palsy is considered a neurological disorder caused by a non-progressive brain injury or malformation. Cerebral Palsy primarily affects body movement and muscle coordination.
But the Lovett wrestling team stepped in to help him out and literally support him through the race. Charlie could have picked any other trainer to help him out during the race, but he decided to pick the Lovett coaches to guide him through, which led to the help of the wrestling team.
“He could’ve picked any Cross-Fit trainer, and there were guys that looked like they could do American Ninja Warrior,” says Chris Ocana. “But Charlie decided to pick Lovett.”
A few days before the race, Charlie came and spoke in chapel. He spoke with humor and grace about his disease and challenges, moving the audience and making us laugh.
As training began, the wrestling team had to do difficult and fun drills. There were certain skills the team had to achieve to be able to carry Charlie through the race.
“Jeremiah Allen and our coach had to figure out how to work the wheelchair and move it around,” Chris says. “So, we took the wheelchair from the MAC to the Lower School and out to the trail (Cross Country Trail). Sprinting with the wheelchair, we probably dropped each other three hundred times. That was really funny.”
On October 22, the race with Charlie Miller and the Lovett wrestling team began.
“I thought there would be a disabled division and there would be more disabled people in the race,” says Rev. Allen. “There wasn’t one. We are the only ones in the race with a wheelchair. No one has ever done this in a wheelchair before.”
Charlie didn’t care. He knew that they could do it. Although it might have seemed like Mission Impossible, they knew they were going to get Charlie across.
Charlie said, “No matter what, we will cross that finish line. We will do it.”
During the race, there were rock climbing walls, nets, mud, water, and other obstacles to get through. Not only was it difficult to do alone, but the wrestling team had the challenge of carrying a person through it.
“The course was not set up for a guy in a wheelchair. He almost fell out of his wheelchair because of the roots and rocks and ups and down and slanted trails,” Rev. Allen reflected. “That was the hardest part of the race. They didn’t make this race for us; we learned we could do it. We learned we could do anything. People were running by telling them You guys are awesome. This is great, etc. It was wonderful but awful at the same time.”
Chris said that the wheelchair wasn’t all too stable, and appreciated “the fact that Charlie basically put his life in our hands.”
Ultimately, the wrestling team finished the race with Charlie Miller.
Although the race wasn’t intended for them, they knew it was possible. They did it for Charlie, and Charlie had a great time.
According to Chris, the coach talked to Charlie a couple days after the race. Coach asked him “Hey are your arms still dead?” (from the race), and Charlie’s response was “No, but surprisingly my legs don’t work.”
Through the ups and downs of the race, the wrestling team and Charlie created great memories and faced a huge challenge that they overcame.
Even though it was so difficult, Rev. Allen says, “It was like running a marathon. It’s so painful but it’s so amazing. Charlie is the kind of guy that could talk me into doing something I don’t want to do.”
by Georgia Norton/Lion Staff
A blonde woman stands alone in front of Ponce City Market, mid-stride in her casual denims and a light green top. She is spotted again in the High Museum, now dressed in an elegant silver gown that glitters like molten diamond, her hand daintily shielding her long-lashed blue eyes. The picture of grace, she mimics an acclaimed marble statue which stands behind her, however her own face is just as famous as the art.
Her name is Eliza, and the photographs are not from People magazine. They are instead part of an original photo series taken by Lovett’s own Sophia Yan, part of her most recent Photo II project.
“One [of our current projects] is a photo series of six cohesive pictures of any theme we are passionate about. For my series, I took my mom, who was visiting me from California during fall break, to some fun places in Atlanta with my model.” Who was the world-famous model? Eliza, her Barbie doll...
Sophia is one of many students thriving in a photography course with Karey Walter at Lovett.
“Photo II is one of my favorite classes at Lovett, I can literally talk about it all day,” said Sophia. The passionate junior is in her second year of Photo, and she hopes to pursue the third.
Photo is offered in three different levels, all of which require students to experiment with and learn about film photography. Although a digital photography course is offered, Photo is in far higher demand, and the multi-year course has continued to gain popularity in the Upper School each year.
It begins in Photo I, where students are given an introduction to the course by learning the basics of film photography and how it differs from digital, a style that has become incredibly accessible in recent times. Photo I highlights the importance of film photography and teaches about the process, rather than solely focussing on the outcome that many are all-too-concerned about these days.
Henry Sharp, a Photo I student learning about analog photography, says that “one of the main differences between film and digital [photography] is that you can't see how the pictures turned out after you take them. There's a suspense with [developing your own film] because even when you know that it was a great picture, you have to wait and develop it before you get to see it.”
So far, he says that they’ve learned how to use a film camera and develop the photos, and from there, how to turn the resulting negatives into prints.
He also acknowledges that “it’s a lot of fun, even though it’s something I’ve never done before,” and he hopes to continue the program all the way through Photo III.
As the course progresses into Photo II, students are given more freedom to choose their own projects and photograph their interests while still learning about and improving their photography skills.
“It’s a super hands-on class, and [Ms. Walter] gives us so much more freedom to decide on our projects compared to in Photo I,” said Sophia Yan. She had no shortage of praise for the class.
In addition to her series with Eliza, she and the other students are working on an alternative printing process called cyanotype. “In the project, we are not only taking the photos but also participating in processing them,” she explained to me about the historical process in which the print’s colors are inverted and then developed in the sunlight. “The project has given me an intimate relationships with my works.”
In one of her cyanotypes, we see a figure in an outfit of intricate patterns, pointed shoulders, and long sleeves. The seemingly-ancient attire is given no context against a blank background. A crown of blue gems sits high on their head, both as regal and as strange as the rest. The bottom of the image is blurred and out of focus along with the figure’s facial features, adding to the confusion of the image, yet the intriguing clothing stands out in sharp focus.
The image is tinted blue and white and almost looks like watercolors, but it was createddone instead with sunlight during the painfully-precise cyanotyping process.
The final course is Photo III, the most advanced level of the class. It is a selective class of only nine seniors. The third year of the class allows for more personalized instruction due to the smaller class size. “We all get along really well and get to know each other because of the smaller size. We all challenge each other,” says Mimi Norton.
Mimi likes that the class is self-directed. “For example, we can usually borrow any of [Ms. Walters] cameras because she trusts us, or order any type of film we’d like. That’s a lot of fun. [Ms. Walter] doesn’t baby us, we’re responsible for ourselves and our projects, and I feel like that has really helped me to grow in this class.”
For example, Mimi recently ventured to west Atlanta with a medium format camera, a difficult camera to shoot with which was unlike anything she’d worked with before. “I think the photos that I took show that I’ve grown as a photographer because being able to work cameras like that is really difficult. I don’t think I could have worked with anything like it last year.”
She showed me a photo of a dilapidated barbeque outside of an old gas station. The red-painted letters are cracked and fading, contrasting with the saturated blue sky. The dust-layered window to a serving counter is wedged shut and suggests that the restaurant has been out of use for quite a while.
Suzanne Hollis is another student taking advantage of this freedom in Photo III, as she is currently pursuing a project on water and sustainability. “I have always loved nature and so I knew it was a topic I wanted to pursue in this project,” she said. “Shooting with film, I had the ability to take long exposure photos. This can have a cool effect on the water because as the water moves it appears as a stream while everything around it is still so sharp.”
The two seniors value the need to be intentional with film, unlike with digital where you can take as many photos as you want. “While I take fewer photos when I shoot with film, I end up liking my prints more than my digital photographs. The multiple-day process of creating a print is so much more rewarding,” says Suzanne.
Mimi has enjoyed the class so much she is even thinking about pursuing photojournalism in college.
For many of the students I spoke with, the Photo experience has become one of the best of their lives. From Barbie dolls to river streams, the photos leave plenty of room for creativity, and each student’s own style and personality are revealed through the deeply-personal process.
by John Srouji/Lion Staff
Middle School Civics teacher, Ben Posten, writes in all capital letters. Leila Beaver (7th Grade) leaves spaces between each of her letters. Junior Nick Yang and 8th grade teacher Jen Murphy connect their letters. Wolfe and Harper Hudepohl (5th and 4th Grades) have nearly identical handwriting to one another. Freshman Leah Eiland writes her letters as tall as they can be.
Handwriting can be a lot like fingerprints: Each one is unique. We are all taught to write letters the same way, yet no one’s handwriting is the same as someone else’s.
While handwriting has always been a fundamental part of school, with the rise of technology over the past few decades, its role has been minimized, and one wonders how much longer sixth grader Zora Payne will be adding curves to her letters.
First grade teacher Allison Wood feels like less emphasis is put on teaching handwriting, and that in general it has been “kind of pushed handwriting to the side.” Even in the Lower School “students are mostly sending their assignments in through Google Docs.”
This came as a surprise to me. I remember writing everything by hand in elementary school. Even though handwriting is fading away, Ms. Wood still said “it's not a lost art necessarily, and it is a skill that is on the report card but not a grade.”
Ms. Wood recalls being “graded for my penmanship in middle school.” Upper school English teacher Mr. Newman says that he was even taught calligraphy one year in elementary school.
Despite the fact that handwriting is being taught less, lots of people still consider it very beneficial. Upper school English department chair Ms. Ohayon gave me plenty of reasons to practice handwriting. “You need to practice it if you are taking an AP exam,” she said. She also told me that it helps to make things feel personal if you hand write them.
Even students, who carry their computers everywhere, feel there are advantages to handwriting. Senior Maiya Moran said that writing out her notes “helps me memorize it.”
If we are turning in nearly all of our work by printing it out or submitting it via the internet, does it even matter if our handwriting is bad? Isabella Seminara (12th grade) said, “It makes you look unprofessional later in life.”
She also told me that her sister, who is in ninth grade, has “the worst handwriting because they stop trying to teach it.” Over the short span of three years, she thinks it has gone from being something essential, to something that still needs to be taught, but is often not necessary.
Even if your handwriting is neat and easy to read, there are other challenges to writing things by hand. Jack Gallagher (9) said, “I do the most handwriting when taking science notes and my hand sometimes cramps up.”
In spite of all that Google doc’ing, some teachers have not cast aside the traditional way of writing essays. Freshmen Lauren Warren and Sloane Vassar both said that they hand write essays in spanish class.
English teacher, Katie Johnson, has a creative method to help students work on their handwriting. “I make my students do timed writings to torture them,” she jokingly said.
Teachers have to pay attention to their own handwriting, of course, especially “when they are writing on the board,” Ms. Ohayon said. Senior Mikalah Jennifer agreed. “It is extremely important,” she said.
When all of us do write, do we do it with print or cursive? Cursive handwriting has always been the standard when writing your signature, but it is not used for much else. Cursive does have some advantages, such as not having to lift your pen as often, but it is also difficult to learn. As years go by, it appears that cursive too is being taught much less often than it used to be.
Even now, it is very uncommon to see someone writing in cursive. “It is a very beautiful style of writing,” Ms. Ohayon said. “But I haven’t used it since 1980-something.”
I asked Isabella if she thought cursive was still significant and she quickly responded with “definitely not.”
Fifth grade teacher Jason Giannitti told me that it is up to the teacher to decide whether or not to teach their students cursive. According to him, a couple years back, teachers were required to teach cursive, but now most lower school teachers don’t even bother to teach it.
This could cause problems because many teachers in the middle and upper school use cursive when grading papers or tests. If the student can’t read cursive, how will they understand what mistakes they made?
Then again, even if you can read cursive, there are still teachers who have unreadable handwriting. According to Mr. Newman, with so many essays to grade it would take a long time to finish them all and write neatly. He encourages his students to ask him “to translate” if they can’t read his comments. He says he feels bad about it, but hopes he makes up for it with the amount and quality of the feedback. “It’s a bit of a Catch 22,” he acknowledges, “and that’s probably why Google doc commenting is the way to go for a lot of us with gnarly handwriting.”
While handwriting poses problems for teachers and students, there are some people for whom handwriting comes easy. And we still recognize nice handwriting when we see it. “People always compliment me on my notes,” Freshman Nava Little said, “because my handwriting is good.”
by Kaitlyn Garrett/Lion Staff
We’ve all got questions, but only some have the answers. This is the maiden voyage of my new advice column, where you offer up a concern or dilemma, and I hit up peers, faculty, and my own family members for advice to help you with your predicament. I’ll throw in my own two cents, of course, since I am wise in all things. You, of course, will have to make your own decision, since we might be as reliable as the guests at the Mad Hatter’s tea party.
“I love you like a brother.”
… A phrase of affection that is used quite frequently nowadays. But if you’re slammed in the face with one of these soul-suckers in the romantic department, I truly wish I could offer you a hug.
For those in need of enlightenment, family-zoning is the equivalent of being friend-zoned to the 23rd power. Maybe you’ve known this person for as long as you can remember, or maybe you just have such a close bond with them that you feel like you’ve known them for forever.
So to kick off this advice column, I feel as if it’s my duty to offer you my humble wisdom from one lost teen to another.
As someone who was once a family-zoner, please, let me just clarify, neither party is responsible.
Let’s be realistic, ninety-five percent of the time the people that we like don’t like us back. And to quote Riverdale’s Veronica Lodge, “Romeo and Juliet were the exception, not the rule.” (And they ended up dead after five days, so perhaps we shouldn’t be looking to them as role models.)
So it’s entirely possible that one of the roadblocks that prevents you from riding off into the sunset with your crush is that they really do like you, a little too much.
Before you trespass any further, I insist you must stop and ask yourself if your romantic ambitions are worth the possibility of losing a close friendship with this person.
Remember, sometimes a best friend is better than a boyfriend or girlfriend.
And don’t forget that some of the most idealized relationships of all time started off as friendship and time turned it into one of the best love stories.
But if you just can’t take the notion of being just friends, you may read on.
The first step is to make your intentions clear by differentiating your relationship from this person’s other friendships. The key here is to find a balance between knowing enough to appreciate the person’s personality, but not knowing too much at the same time; it sounds irrational, but I promise it's not.
And your closeness isn't exactly a bad thing; you could certainly argue that you’re already at a higher advantage because you’re not starting from square one on getting to know the person.
Next, attempt at flirting or making comments that you just wouldn’t normally make. If they’re observant, your different kinds of comments will cause them to recognize that this isn’t just something a friend would say.
And there’s one more piece of advice that I can offer, but only those who are willing to take a risk will try it: just be honest about your feelings.
If you and this special person supposedly have a bond as close as siblings, you should take advantage of your relationship and present yourself as vulnerable.
And yes, they might not reciprocate your feelings, but at least you’ll have your answer instead of pining in desperation.
But the thing that separates my attempt at an advice column from your average boring one is that I intend on also being brutally honest about how I would deal with the situation.
First, I turn on Taylor Swift’s throw-back “You Belong With Me” while I pretend that the song is dedicated to my life; I mean the lyrics “dreaming about the day when you wake up and find that what you're looking for has been here the whole time,” was obviously written as the theme song for my current circumstance, right?
Then to only add to my depressingly sad mood, I switch over to her “Teardrops on my Guitar” and put on a mini performance lip syncing and playing the air guitar.
After exhausting myself from Taylor’s songs, I stumble into my closet and start frantically searching for novels in which the characters’ love-life situations reflect my problem. This of course leads me to Ron and Hermione from Harry Potter and Peeta and Katniss from the Hunger Games (lovers who started off as best friends, and found their happy ending together).
So basically, I nurse myself back to health after listening to Taylor's heart wrenching songs by hoping that in some miracle crafted by God, my life will become a mirror of one of the characters.
But then, I still don't really have a solution to my problem now do I?
So, I make a decision that I could end up regretting: I ask my family and peers for their advice.
And the final, differentiating factor that makes this advice column unlike any other, is that I’m going to relay this advice from these people back to you.
Since this question was asked anonymously, I think it’s fair for our peer responses follow suit.
A senior boy offered his advice saying, “If your feelings are one-sided, it's not worth ruining a close friendship and making things awkward. Being almost family with someone is so cool in itself, treasure that.”
A freshman girl offered me interesting, unique advice that I doubt I’ll ever hear again, “Walk up to your crush, look them dead in the eye, and say ‘if you’re a bird, I’m a bird.’”
Well, we all have different ways of handling our feelings. If you want to quote Nicholas Sparks’ The Notebook, go for it.
And as for the advice from my crib?
Coming from mother dearest: “If something’s meant to happen, it’s going to happen on its own, in its own time. Enjoy your friendship and be thankful for that alone.”
My sister is a bit more proactive in her advice giving, the epitome of go big or go home:
“Go to the mall and buy new makeup and hair stuff and just let your hotness do the talking.”
And to cover all sources, I think it’s appropriate to call upon the elders.
I dial my sweet, eighty-eight year old grandmother. She picks up the phone with her sweet southern accent that appears to sound innocent and charming, but as soon as I request her advice, her scheming side comes into play.
After about 30 minutes of explaining to me why modesty is the key to opening any boys’ eyes to your soul, she finally pauses.
“Or,” she wanders off, “you could tell him how you feel and be honest.”
So my dear, troubled friend it appears you have two options: you can either take the risk and admit your feelings or fight the impossible battle and attempt to bring the turtlenecks and floor length dresses back into style.
by Kaitlyn Garrett/Lion Staff
Chlorine-filled water is splashing in your eyes and mouth; your legs are burning from treading water; your coach is screaming instructions to you; your opponents are lunging at you, knocking you under the water; and you’re trying to catch a ball with one hand. Basically take all the challenges of field and court sports, and have it take place in the deep end of a swimming pool.
That’s water polo, the game over twenty-five Lovett athletes have signed up to play for the very first time this year.
Nick Thurkow-Schlund and Will Schmersal have been pushing for this team for two years.
“Last year at the end of the swim season, Will kept asking about it so I looked into it, and here we are,” Coach Nolan Morris says.
Will Schmersal says, “I wanted Lovett to have a water polo team, because I wanted to play a sport with a game aspect. Since 7th grade, I have only participated in two sports, swimming and cross country. Whereas both swimming and cross country are both racing sports, water polo is a game where points are scored with goals instead of times.”
Jennifer King and Nolan Morris are sharing the head coaching responsibilities. While Mr. Morris has no prior experience with the sport, Ms. King was an All-American in high school and played water polo at Holy Cross College.
Mr. Morris says she was a fantastic player and is really passionate about the sport. “She has been all hands on deck to help us build a team,” Mr. Morris says.
“I really like it because it's introducing students to a sport that I love,” Ms. King said.
The coaches were very pleased with the turnout of students interested in learning how to play. The coached relied on word of mouth to relay the news of the newly founded water polo team.
They got a head start over the summer with training and practices. “It was really the students who encouraged each other to come and join. As the summer went on more and more kids showed up,” Morris says.
None of the players had prior playing experience. There were 18 practice sessions over the summer, and only a few of the current team members attended half of the sessions or more. The team is comprised almost entirely of ninth and tenth graders, with only three upperclassmen.
Water polo is considered a club organization; the GHSA does not recognize water polo as an official high school league sport. But don’t be tricked into thinking that it’s not just as physically demanding as more traditional sports.
Mr. Morris describes it as a “combination of basketball and lacrosse and soccer and ultimate fighting.”
Brendan Okeson (10) says that it takes quite the toll on the body and muscles, specifically his back. He’s pulled three muscles so far.
But Harper Finch (10) had a different view: “You would think it would be your legs, but really it's more of your face because you're swallowing so much water and your eyes are filled with water.”
The sport also requires mental strength: “The hardest part for the kids in the water is having a sense of what is going on... seeing through the noise,” Mr. Morris says.
I was surprised to hear that water polo is quite an aggressive sport, but after attending their latest game, I can confirm that he’s not exaggerating.
“The referees are above the water on the deck, and they can’t see what’s going on underneath the water....a lot of surprising violence takes place in this sport,” Mr. Morris says.
Case in point: Brendan’s human bite mark on his right arm. One day after a game, he got out of the water and was greeted with the sight of blood running down his arm. “I dried it and asked coach how I got a cut in water polo...he said it was a bite mark.”
But the presence of violence and intensity makes it fun for us to watch and for the coaches to teach. Ms. King admits that one of her favorite parts of teaching is “telling the water polo players that it's okay to kick someone under water and that it's okay to beat up on somebody because it's part of the game, you're supposed to do that...they’re like ‘what’?”
Since many of us may be unfamiliar with water polo, I asked Mr. Morris to give a quick primer on the rules (and no, sadly it’s not riding horses around a swimming pool).
During each quarter (a total of four that are seven minutes each), each team has seven members in the water. The players are not allowed to touch the bottom of the pool and must score on the other team with a ball that’s the equivalent size of a volleyball but slippery. You can “dribble” with the ball (pushing it through the water) or swim with it, but it cannot be submerged underneath the water; you can only use one hand at all times.
If you’re interested in becoming an aquaholic next fall, you’re in luck. Mr. Morris says that they will take anyone who wants to learn how to play.
“We aren’t going to turn anyone away,” he says.
Ms. King suggests coming to summer practices to learn how to play the sport and trying a few games to see if you really like it. “One of the benefits of it being a club sport is that if it's not for you, it’s okay,” she says.
Will Schmersal is certainly hooked. “Water polo has been awesome,” he says. “We have a young team and three great coaches. It is a tough sport to pick up, but everyone is working hard to figure it out. In a couple years, we should be really good.”
Mrs. King sums the new sport up in three words: Tough. Fun. Intense.
With lots of water in your eyes.
With summer having come to an excruciating end and the school year well underway, the OnLion staff members are already hard at work. During the brutally long double block period 3 (thanks, eclipse), the newspaper class (and our advisor, Mr. Newman) split up and explored the campus to conduct our first interviews of the year.
We asked students and faculty a few questions about the summer that passed and the year ahead. This sparked some interesting and comical conversations, and we heard some pretty cool stories.
Best summer story?
Bob Amar - Math Teacher - “We went to Paris and Bruges. I’d never been to those countries before. Everything is so old there...with new buildings growing up around the old ones. The food was amazing. Paris was gourmet and Belgium was more hardy. I was thankful for what little bit of my high school French I remembered.”
Larken McCord - English Teacher - “I went to England and Scotland, and we rented a car and it was a Mini Cooper Countryman, and I loved it… And then I was looking for a new car (since my old one was totaled by another Lovett teacher last year, but that’s a different story), but I ended up buying a Mini Cooper Countryman! And it’s island blue!”
Sibley Brown- 9th grade- “I went on Moondance in Maui. Oh, do you need me to say something memorable like It was an experience I’ll never forget or something like that? Ok, sure, yeah, just add that.”
Olivia Sidman -10th grade- “At my camp, we do this thing called “solo”, and we spend 24 hours in the woods alone.”
Gabby Elve- 11th grade- “I went on a Moondance to Bali, India. We had to hike for four days straight, and I didn’t eat for 30 hours. I just felt like I was going to throw up all the time. But it was great besides that.”
Charlotte Dalke -10th grade- (Charlotte went on a three week sailing camp called Action Quest, where she received her advanced diving certification and experienced a freak diving accident.) “The pressure in my mask built up too much, it popped all the blood vessels in my eyes. It went away right before school started... I had blood all around my eyes filling my iris and my pupil. It was completely red for like a month.”
Lauren Bernard - 10th grade- “I went to Washington, Oregon for three weeks….I learned that you can go anywhere and not know anyone and still make really close friends.”
Savannah Dean -10th grade- “I took some classes in Cambridge this summer; I just got my grades back and I got two A’s! My comments from my teachers were good, they said I was a great student… when I was awake.”
Ohayon - English teacher - “I took my son to his first concert, to see Eric Nam at Terminal West. I taught him when he was in high school here, so we got to go backstage and talk about summer reading from 2007 with him! And he was GQ’s Korean Man of the Year!”
Sarah Dorian - Orchestra Teacher - “In summer, I literally get the heck out of dodge… Either camping in the Outer Banks, which was really amazing… Or teaching at Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp… There were people there from Germany and Austria.”
Will Houk - 10th grade - “I loved going to camp for three weeks and spending time with the people there. And washing a lot of dishes.”
Hope for the year?
Dagny Peters - 9th grade - “My hope for this school year is to enjoy life and stop worrying and still work hard while managing my time.”
Bob Amar - Math Teacher - “To make sure there is enough fun and play in classes to go along with the material. The calendar is the enemy in math. Math is about more than the grind.”
Sibley Brown - 9th grade- “Making good grades?”
Samantha Austin - 11th grade- “Honestly, I just hope I survive junior year.”
Gabby Elve - 11th grade- “American Studies could be the death of me.”
Jordan Knotts - 10th grade- “I really want to try to be nice to everybody this year.”
Recommendation (movie, music, Atlanta spot, etc.)?
Larken McCord - English teacher - “I always tell students to go to the High Museum.”
Anne Konigsmark - English teacher - “I’ve been listening to Lord Huron a lot. I recommend the podcast ‘S-Town.’”
Katie Johnson - English teacher - “Go to the Center for Civil and Human Rights.”
Jones Bell - 9th grade - “See the movie Dunkirk.”
Jessica Amador - Leadership Giving Leader - “Wonder Woman was amazing.”
Crouse - Art History - “I thought Dunkirk was really good. I loved how it was done in film; it really made a difference. I just started watching Riverdale. Obsessed, obsessed, obsessed!”
Dailey Moog - 10th grade- “I really like Khalid, I started listening to him a lot over the summer.”
Dagny Peters - 9th grade- “For a TV show, The 100. It’s the best TV show ever, and everyone should watch it.”
Samantha Austin - 11th grade - “I tried out Sweet Charlie’s rolled ice cream. It was really cool!”
Charlotte Dalke and Lauren Bernard-10th- “RIVERDALE!”
Mimi Norton - 12th grade - “Listen to the self-titled album by Rips!”
Favorite phone slot #? Why? What do you do when someone is in your favorite slot?
Emma and Mia - 9th grade - in unison- “Nine” lock eyes, “I’ll move someone’s phone if it’s in there,” says Emma.
Dagny Peters - 9th grade - “Ten because my birthday is 10/10.”
Josh Robinson - 9th Grade - “15, or 2 if 15 is already taken.”
Matias Gowens - 10th grade- “Sides and corners so I know where it is.”
Sibley Brown - 9th grade - “Ten. Definitely ten.”
Reece Coker - 9th grade- “30, so that I can remember where it is.”
Johnson - English teacher - “2, because that was my number in college.”
Trey Bohannon - 12th grade - “21, because of that meme.”
Savannah Dean - 10th grade- “Number 1, because it’s near the top and near the door.”
Cole Arndt - 10th grade - “Well, the phone slots are assigned in two of my classes, so I don’t really get to choose.”
Best and worst part of the new schedule?
Sally Crouse - Art History - “I like that there is no A-Day” and “I like that there is a bit more continuity.”
Bob Amar - Math teacher - “I like the softer start, and not having to show up at 7:00AM for morning tutorials. I don’t like having to memorize the new period rotation.”
Olivia Sidman- 10th grade- “The extra 10 minutes in the morning don’t make a difference at all, getting out at 3:10 is the worst.”
Matias Gowens - 10th grade - “I like that there are no A-Days anymore.”
Jones Bell - 10th grade - “The worst part is that I still have a day with all of my academic classes. But the best part is there’s another day where I only have two academic classes.”
Samantha Austin - 11th grade- “I feel like I have one of my periods more than others. I know I have it just as much as my other classes, but it feel like I have it every day. Also, there is one day where I have all of my core classes.”
Dailey Moog - 10th grade - “I never thought I would say this, but I kind of miss A days. The classes were shorter so that was nice.”
What’s your favorite thing you bought to get ready for the year?
Johnson - English teacher - “This isn’t for the school year, but I just bought tickets to go see Britney Spears in Las Vegas next week.”
Sibley Brown - 9th grade- “Probably my shoes, Nike Air Maxes. They make me look taller so that’s good.”
Bob Amar - Math teacher - “I bought a whiteboard compass because it’s hard to freehand circles. Mike Sanders can do it, but I can’t.”
Jones Bell - 10th grade - “I bought a pencil pouch! I’ve never really had a pencil pouch before…. So I feel really connected to it.”
Dagny Peters- 9th grade - “My backpack because it’s compact, nice, and easy to carry around. Also, I like the colors.”
Who’s somebody interesting we should talk to this year? And why?
Bob Amar - math teacher - “Rhonda Railey has a beautiful singing voice.”
Jordan Knotts - 10th grade - “Blaine McAlister, the new football player”
English department women of period 3 all agreed: “Talk to Mr. Alig’s wife.”
Lillie Moore- 10th grade- “I have an exchange student here from England!”
Will Houk - 10th grade - “Talk to Frank Lummus… I don’t know why.”
Fourteen years ago, when the freshmen were still chewing on stuffed animals and crying in their cribs, Lovett was graced with the gift that is Ms. Copps.
For those of you who don’t know Ms. Copps, she is the one who guarantees that every Lovett student gets into college, meaning she handles all of the paperwork (which these days is more electronic work) including our applications, transcripts, and letters of recommendation. She handles more files than most of us have seen in our lifetime, and yet she still strides down the halls with a big grin.
Mrs. Navarro’s description of Ms. Copps as a bright light could not be more accurate as she’s constantly smiling and happy to help in every situation. It doesn’t matter what she is working on, if you approach her desk in the college counseling office she will stop and help you until you’ve gotten everything you need, and then she’ll check up on you later that day and make sure you’re still good.
“I have never met anyone more efficient, effective and organized nor anyone with so much genuine kindness and charm,” Ms. Navarro said.
Ms. Copps has a very unique role in the upper school, as she’s constantly interacting with seniors and the college counselors. “I love that I get to know the kids besides just doing detail work, that’s the best part of my job,” Ms. Copps said. “In fact my own children get tired of hearing me talk about Lovett kids,” she laughed.
A few years back, when it was occupation day during senior week, one of the senior girls dressed up as Ms. Copps. “She brought me her uniform so I could dress up as her, I thought that was hilarious, and really sweet.” she said.
“She really is our school mom,” said senior Claire Biggerstaff. “I remember one time I had an interview I was preparing for and she took time out of her day to help me. That was so sweet of her.”
It never matters how bad our case of senioritis was, Ms. Copps is always prepared to pick up our slack when we procrastinate and she makes sure everything is turned in and on time.
Not only does she help us seniors, but her co-workers, each every one of them, sing her praises. “She's the consummate team player,” said Ms. Sant. “She is always the first to praise one of us but the last to celebrate her own achievements.”
Ms. Copps said that the hardest thing to leave behind will not only be the students, but her team of college counselors. “We tend to laugh a lot,” she smiled. And it’s exactly that which Ms. Navarro will miss the most too. “I love hearing her laugh--when something is really funny, she kind of snorts a little bit,” she said.
However, there are some things that Ms. Copps won’t be missing, like her long commute and all those early mornings and sleep deprived days (something that most of us can relate to).
Ms. Copps’s plans after leaving Lovett are still up in the air, as she and her husband mutually agreed to not make plans until they were both retired, as he retired a few years back.
“The College Counseling office will not be the same without her,” said Navarro. “You'll likely see us crying a lot at the end of May.”
Though Ms. Copps guarantees that her replacement will be just as capable, there’s really no replacing Sue Copps, her incredible service to the school and countless senior classes, and her day-making smile.
“She makes coming to work each day a great joy,” said Ms. Sant. “There's simply no one else for whom we could have imagined working with over the last six years!”
We love you Ms. Copps and wish you the best of luck in this new chapter in your life!
In November of 2015, Lovett’s Board of Trustees announced that the school would be implementing a random drug testing policy for the upper school starting the following year.
This announcement followed a decade of conversations, research, and planning. Dabney Hollis, a member of the Board of Trustees and a parent of a Lovett junior, said that in her ten years on the Board, “There has not been a year we did not talk about the wellness of our students.”
At the start of the 2016-2017 school year, the administration hair tested each high school student, the results seen only by his or her parents. The administration was able to see the aggregate number of students who tested positive without seeing specific names.
While the administration did not disclose any results of that first test, Principal Dan Alig said the results were “what the company [Psychemedics] predicted we would get.” He clarified that Lovett’s results fell into the average of most schools that use Psychemedics.
Alig said that this policy wasn’t a reaction to any one incident but rather a general knowledge that drug use is an issue in high schools around the country. He and Headmaster Billy Peebles both cited a Freedom from Chemical Dependency (FCD) survey that Lovett high school students took anonymously in 2015, the results of which disturbed the administration.
Peebles said the survey showed that 50% of students had used marijuana in the previous year. While Peebles noted that Lovett didn’t have any way of knowing how frequent the use was for each student, “We had to acknowledge everything we were doing, you could just say it wasn’t working. We needed to come up with something else, so we really switched the paradigm,” he said.
According to Peebles, Lovett’s “strong commitment to drug education...begins in an age appropriate way in the Lower School, and continues in the Middle School.” Parents undergo an alcohol and drug education program called PRIME for Life.
In developing the random drug testing policy, the struggle was figuring out how to keep it “outside of discipline,” according to associate principal Mary Spencer.
They realized they could lean mostly towards student health, while leaving the discipline avenue open for certain circumstances. “That was a breakthrough for us,” Alig said. “When we decided, You know what, we still have disciplinary consequences when students bring substances to campus or use at a Lovett event, [but] we’re going to take this process and pull it out of our disciplinary system and make this a health and wellness issue.”
The fact that this policy came under health and wellness is, among other things, what won the consensus of the Board of Trustees concerning this policy, said Peebles, adding that every trustee member voted “Yes” except one.
Hollis, from the Board of Trustees, said that the initial reaction for the test among the Board was positive. “For the kids, it takes the pressure off if they are offered anything. For the parents, it supports them in helping their kids make good decisions,” she said.
Jackie Hardy, a parent of two juniors, said she’s “thrilled with the policy. I feel like it gives kids the opportunity to say no and gives kids the opportunity to say no and gives them one more reason to try to make the right choice.” While she knows that it can’t stop all drug use, “In my family, I think it’s a good thing.”
According to Alig, the Upper School faculty were also overwhelmingly in favor of this program. He acknowledged that the feeling wasn’t unanimous, “but the vast majority thought we should move forward with it.” He said many cited friends or family members who battled addictions that began in high school.
He also pointed out that Lovett faculty and staff have been subject to drug testing since 2013. “I was hair-tested the month I arrived from Houston,” Alig said.
The way the drug testing policy works is as follows. Once a hair sample is tested by a 3rd party company called Psychemedics, the results go to another company called Secure Test Results (STR). STR verifies if the student has any prescribed medications, communicating positive or negative results to parents, and communicating positive results to only three administrators at Lovett, one being Peebles.
After the first positive test, the student and his or her parents will meet with two of the three aforementioned administrators, who will provide the family with information for outside counseling. The student will then have 100 days to “get clean” before being tested again.
Any subsequent positive results will prompt Lovett to request the family withdraw their child from Lovett for “Health and Wellness” reasons. According to Alig, the chances of readmission to Lovett is very slim. In a disciplinary case, Lovett will take action to dismiss a student rather than have the child withdraw.
But a student who tests positive the first time is still a full citizen of the school, said Peebles While that student will have to undergo drug testing and evaluation, “We don’t want a lot of conversation out there about who might have tested positive. We want to keep that as private and as confidential as possible. That’s why only three people will know,” he said.
During the policy making, Lovett also decided to use Psychemedics’ five panel drug screening, which tests for variations of cocaine, variations of marijuana, opiates, amphetamines, and phencyclidine.
Psychemedics is a drug testing firm that specializes in hair testing. According to the Psychemedics website, a hair test looks at the last three months, and more importantly for Lovett, focuses on habitual use rather than one-off usage.
In Alig’s words, “If we gave a student a hair test on a Monday, it would probably not capture what happened over the weekend, it's more about long term habit,” he said.
Although this test covers a wide array of substances, Lovett opted to not include alcohol. This sticks out as a major flaw for sophomore Dylan Shapiro, who was on a committee of students that had an influence on “how [the test] was implemented, how it was presented, and what would make students go along with it without too much of a protest about it and just how the administration could sell it best,” said Shapiro.
While on the committee, Shapiro supported the idea of emphasizing the health and wellness piece, however, he had some bigger issues with the test regarding alcohol. Shapiro said that if Lovett is implementing a drug test, “I don’t think leaving [the alcohol test] out is a good idea.”
Many students I spoke with were concerned that the test would drive students towards alcohol, a more dangerous substance “in the context of a student who is a young driver. It’s probably going to be worse, and it’s more easily accessible,” said Shapiro.
Alig also gave several reasons for why the current test doesn’t include alcohol.
While he acknowledged that alcohol is one of the biggest problems not only at Lovett, but in schools across the nation, he said that alcohol is more noticeable in a person than the substances included on the drug test. “If you’ve been drinking for two to three hours, I’m going to know. If you’ve been smoking marijuana two hours ago, I probably won’t know,” he said. “I think [the test] is a help to parents in that regard.”
Lovett parent Jackie Hardy didn’t see the lack of a hair alcohol test as a major issue. She asserts that the school has plenty of other opportunities to monitor alcohol use at school events.
Psychemedics’ alcohol hair test is also a fairly new development in the US and thus, few schools have tried it. “We didn’t want to be the guinea pig for that,” said Alig. He wants to hear how things work out with a couple of schools in Chicago that are using it, and one in Houston.
Yet another reason Alig gave is that alcohol testing “changes the tenor of the conversation altogether.” Because alcohol consumption is legal in certain situations, “that conversation is inherently more complicated than talking about use of substances that are illegal,” he said.
The alcohol test is also expensive. The alcohol test by itself is $70 dollars compared to the $39 cost of the current test. As it stands, Alig estimates the cost for the test this year to be around $45,000 dollars and will cost the school $30,000-$40,000 in subsequent years as the results will no longer be sent exclusively to parents next year, which costs additional money.
While more expensive, Lovett’s choices to show the fall semester results to parents only and start the random testing six months later “were all specific decisions that we made,” said Alig. He added that this was put in place to emphasize the health and wellness theme while also allowing those students who were using, however few, to rid their system of drugs before the random tests.
George Elder, the Vice President of Schools and Colleges for Psychemedics, who I communicated with by email, corroborated that when people are warned 3+ months before Psychemedics’ hair test, “most students and adults stop using or make the decision not to start using three months before the test in order to get a negative result,” he said, adding that the program is designed to identify those who are unable to stop using.
According to Alig, all of these decisions were well researched and Lovett looked at a number of model schools, including Woodward Academy, which implemented a urinalysis drug test program four years ago and added a follicle test more recently.
I reached out to Dr. Chris Freer, the Upper School Principal at Woodward, who told me in an email that although Woodward does not have concrete statistics of a decrease in drug usage at Woodward over the four years, “We have heard from both students and parents that the policy is working.”
As far as student reaction is concerned, Dr. Freer said that the test almost immediately became commonplace and students would report for testing when they were called and be in and out quickly. “We may have had a segment of the student population that was initially nervous if they were selected,” he said, “but once they saw how smoothly the process worked, they were less concerned.”
According to Dr. Freer, Woodward hasn’t seen any negative reactions to the Dean of Students office and school nurse, who oversee the testing. The Dean of Students, Woodward alum Anthony Thomas, attributed this to “giving students background as to why we implemented the program and the benefits for our students.”
When it comes to Lovett’s education piece, Shapiro said it’s a hard sell. Though the test falls under Health and Wellness, he doesn’t think it comes across that way.“I don’t think it ever will to be quite honest. It’s just very hard to present something that feels invasive like this,” he said. People know you can get kicked out, he said, and “when you hear of people getting kicked out, it doesn’t sound like it's for their benefit.”
Health and Wellness aside, students had other issues with this test. One student believes that Lovett is overstepping its boundaries as a school by putting this policy in place. “There’s only so much Lovett should be doing to control our lives outside of school,” this student said. “It should be up to families to decide how they want to discipline their kids.”
While admittedly less philosophical, some students also expressed to me that the amount of hair they take for testing is too much. “If you’re taking out a couple of hairs, I don’t care. But if you’re giving me a bald spot, then no,” said one unhappy student. While the Psychemedics website says the amount needed is equal to the thickness of a shoelace tip, students remain adamant that the hair loss is a problem.
A far more impending concern from students is that the drug test will drive students towards harder drugs that aren’t tested for. While drugs such as heroin or cocaine are covered under Psychemedics’ five panel test, other substances, often more dangerous than marijuana, aren’t. While Alig isn’t sure how widespread this issue is, he said, “It's disturbing to me, absolutely it is.”
It’s also a concern for parent Jackie Hardy, who said, “I think word gets out quickly about what drugs might not be covered on the drug test and I think maybe the usage just switches to those among the kids who are going to do it anyways.”
Yet Elder, from Psychemedics, said that the company is constantly evaluating hair treatments that are supposed to fool drug tests and developing assays for new drugs that are being abused.
When Psychemedics makes these developments, they “do not come to the school to announce them,” said Elder. “So students are forewarned to be careful before buying a hair treatment that very likely won’t alter the test results or try some new drug that they believe Psychemedics doesn’t test for.”
Both Alig and Spencer said that the research doesn’t point to people leaping immediately to hard drugs. “Kids don’t go from 0-60,” he said, mentioning nicotine, alcohol, and marijuana as “gateway drugs,” to these harder drugs. He also said that their focus with this program is “primarily on our 7th, 8th, and 9th graders when this is fully ensconced at Lovett.”
Essentially, this program is designed to remove the gateway for younger students who haven’t started “smoking things that they shouldn’t be and taking substances that are harmful to them,” said Alig. He said it may take a few years, perhaps not until the Spring of 2019, to have a good indication of “whether this is really working for us or not.”
The test is also subject to change. “This was never intended to be a static program,” Alig said. He said they plan to look at this annually, and multiple times over the course of each school year to make sure it’s meeting their objectives.
One such change that students will see next year is that when Lovett universally tests all the upper school students at the beginning of Fall semester, those results will go to both the parents and the school. Additionally, the random testing will begin in the Fall semester.
Even as the test changes in the coming years, Alig hopes that the drug test will become “more routine, more commonplace, and not as big of a deal,” just as Dr. Freer indicated it has at Woodward. However, Alig realizes that “it takes a while for something to become institutionalized.”
As students filed in, the crisp, clear notes of a cello wafted through the air in the Hendrix Chenault. Two well-dressed men stood on the stage, one nodding along to the other’s melody. White, three-foot long rulers from IKEA were passed around the slightly confused crowd. On the projector screen, white, bolded letters read: “Fearless Dialogues.”
The men on stage were Okorie Johnson (the cello man) and Gregory Ellison (the man nodding along), and they came to the Lovett School as a part of our annual Black History Month celebration.
“Today, we will do an experiment,” said Mr. Ellison on stage, who went on to explain that our high school was now participating in a greater search for knowledge. He called up two students, one dressed as a pregnant Juno from a movie of the same name for Character Day, and had them read out the definition of “research.”
He asked students if we’d ever researched for the sake of knowledge, rather than just writing a paper (most students raised their hands), and declared that this assembly would be an exercise in true research, following the path of four papers written over the course of his and Mr. Johnson’s education. The rulers were still unexplained.
We listened to a series of short lectures, alternating between Mr. Ellison and Mr. Johnson, each ending in a short time for reflection between students and a minute or so for Mr. Ellison to write words describing the reflection (provided by students shouting suggestions) on a whiteboard. We explored the concepts of feeling different, invisible, unheard.
At the end of this series, Mr. Johnson took up his cello, and began with the first group of reflection words, composing a melody. Gradually, he added musical layers to the song, until he was playing the song that reflected the Lovett community’s feelings about such topics as “What does it feel like being invisible in a crowd?” and “What does it feel like to be a problem?”
“It was absolutely amazing,” says Kailyn Gibson, a junior orchestra student who attended the assembly. “They were just so wonderful. It felt like everyone could relate to their message.”
According to diversity counselor Mrs. Ellice Hawkins, relatability was of the best aspects of the assembly. “I liked that their message resonated with everyone, especially with the ‘Three Foot exercise. I’m hoping people are being more cognizant about who they see. We are a small community, but people can still feel unseen within the larger Lovett,” she says. “I had a lot of students stop by and say that this was one of the best assemblies of the year.” She said it resonated with a lot of people on campus, students and faculty alike.
Having this assembly serve as our Black History Month presentation was a happy coincidence, explains Ms. Hawkins. One of Lovett’s main objectives during Black History Month is to educate us on recognizing diversity among our peers. She wants the speaker to offer a message we can relate to, and ideally to be interactive. The panel that night included Martin Luther King III and a retired police chief.
Sometimes, it’s difficult to make a Black History Month celebration that can engage the entire student body. “We’re not trying to have you think in any way, just to introduce different viewpoints and take from their your own assumptions. It’s kind of hard, because we need to introduce a lot viewpoints, from conservative to liberal, and have dialogues around it,” she says.
Beyond the assembly, Fearless Dialogues has had multiple smaller sessions with students, parents, trustees, alumni, and faculty and staff. There have been a few sessions so far, each with different discussions. The “Three-Foot Challenge” was used for the first session.
I attended the most recent session on February 27th. The room was full of administrators, admissions officers and Lovett parents. There were a few students in attendance, juniors Mimi Norton, Isabella Seminara, and I.
The session, led by Greg Ellison and other Fearless Dialogues staff, started with a discussion on the book Them by Nathan McCall. Them is a story about how the Old Fourth Ward, a community in Atlanta, is affected by attempts at gentrification, and the social politics of the neighborhood.
A few passages were read aloud, and then participants broke into groups to discuss questions stemming from the text. Questions included “When has a stranger become your neighbor?” and “How do you find your place in the greater community?”
One of the most striking points of conversation came from student participant Isabella Seminara. “I recently quit sports because of my school workload,” she began. “Since then, I’ve been volunteering at a few places, really finding what I’m passionate about and people who do it too. Even though it wasn’t my intention, I feel like I’ve created a space for myself in the world.”
Isabella is one of many students that was touched by the assembly. “I don’t know quite how to explain it, but hearing what [Mr. Ellison] said, and how he talked about taking control of your education really changed my life.”
After the book discussion, participant split into separate groups for the next activity, which brainstormed inclusivity messages. Five different prompts were posted on the walls around the room, and groups went around with one color of pen to respond. The prompts included “Name a time that your identity has been affirmed” and “What institutions at Lovett foster diversity?”
My group included Mrs. Coleman from admissions, Mimi, and two parents of lower school students. It was really interesting to hear how the idea of diversity and inclusion is different depending on your place in the school. For Mrs. Coleman, it’s something she creates. For Mimi and me, it’s the environment in the classroom and at Lovett extracurriculars. For parents, it’s various luncheons and ways that new students are integrated into the school. I was interested to learn that this year’s kindergarten class is the most diverse in the school.
The meeting ended with a large group discussion on what the most pertinent themes were when brainstorming. For some groups, it was the idea of intentional inclusion and diversity. For another, it was how to create space for marginalized groups without pushing existing groups out.
At the end of the meeting, the Fearless Dialogues staff announced that the last session would be on March 21st, and act as a commencement on how Lovett can take action to foster diversity and inclusivity for community members (not just students) of any identity. Any students who want to attend the meeting are invited to send an email to Mrs. Hawkins. The initiative was described as “fruit tree work” by Mr. Ellison.
“My mentor was a preacher and a congressman,” he said, “so he always had a message. One day, he told me about a small tree he’d bought at Home Depot while waiting on election results. He planted it, and it was small at first, but after a few years, it grew to be big and strong. It flowered beautifully. The work we do here today is not going to bring about change in the next ten minutes, but years from now it will bear fruit. He told me that is the legacy we leave behind. He said that it is not pretty work, it is hard work, but it is ‘fruit-tree work’, and will one day flower beautifully for all of us.”
Recently, the senior class had our traditional “100 days ‘til graduation” breakfast, which is something I’ve been anticipating for a while now. Not only is there free food, but it’s a milestone reminding us that the end is near. In the moment, I had tons of fun, bonding over Chick-Fil-A and donuts with some of my best friends and chatting. Now that I’m reflecting on it, though, I’ve realized that that celebration was one of the last times we’d be together as a class. Whether I’m friends with or get along with everyone in my class doesn’t matter, I’ve been with most of these people since fifth grade and am comfortable around them. To be honest, it’s hard to imagine life without them.
The celebration didn’t only signify that the end of Upper School is near; it also meant that the future, which is currently unknown for many of us, is quickly approaching. In just six months, we will all be in different places with different people, and we will have the opportunity to recreate ourselves, which, to be honest, is quite intimidating. We have to go from being at the top of the school to being at the bottom again. We’re basically going to be kindergarteners, 6th graders, and freshmen again - needing people to hold our hands for a few weeks while we learn the ropes of college. But this time, we’re not working towards going to college; we’re working towards going into the real world (or graduate school).
I’ll admit, I’m a bit scared for what the future holds, and I’m pretty sure I’m going to have to overcome my fear of ice since I’ll most likely be attending school up north. In the meantime, though, I am just trying to live in the moment and take it day-by-day. Upper School has gone by faster than I could have ever imagined and I want to take in every last second. I’ve decided to try things I never thought I would do, such as going on the spring break senior service trip to Machu Picchu, organizing a Jewish Appreciation Club field trip, and doing an internship at Girl Talk for my senior project. I’ve even managed to go all four years of newspaper without writing a sports article (apparently mascotting and profiles on Brady Tindall don’t count) and am now being forced to write about golf (no offense, golf players).
But really, senior year is no joke. I spent pretty much all of first semester in Ms. Alston’s office writing love letters to colleges (long story), in between visiting my PAL advisory, going to Girl Talk and 5th grade girls mentoring groups, editing the newspaper (remember that 28 pager we put out last semester? Fun times!), planning Jewish Appreciation Club meetings, and, oh yeah, meeting with teachers to discuss that little thing we call school. The pressure to have good grades first semester is real. Lovett is required to send seniors’ first semester grades to colleges, so for many of our applications (or at least mine), that will be (and has been) a deciding factor.
As for now, I’m stuck in school, senioritis and all. Even though I’ve seen past seniors (and current seniors, might I add) dozing off in between the Fat Boys in the senior lounge, I didn’t really know if I would be affected by the “illness,” since I normally consider myself a very hard worker. Proudly, I can say that I have. Literally, last night I went home and did no homework (I played with my guinea pigs instead). Usually I’m one to do all my assigned work, but I completely ignored the fact that I had a physics worksheet (I did look at it days before, decided I didn’t know how to do it, and just denied the fact that I had to complete it).
I haven’t let senioritis take over my whole life just yet, though. After all, it’s only February. Instead of going home right after school last week, I went to do physics test corrections. Last Saturday night, I spent quite a few hours working on a math project and some other homework. And my tutor (who I don’t know how I’m going to survive in college without) is still helping me. I guess it’s just part of my personality; I’m a hard worker and always like to be satisfied with my work. But, it has been nice knowing that my grades don’t really matter...so even if I didn’t do that well on, say, a math project, it won’t be the end of the world.
Another part of senior year is the fact that we’re currently in the process of doing some perfunctory things for the last time. For instance, when they served congo bars in the dining hall the other day, it was a bittersweet moment. I was thrilled to be able to eat one of Lovett’s best desserts, but was a bit disappointed to realize it was probably the last congo bar I’d ever eat (unless I decide to do a DIY...but they won’t be the same). Similarly, we also just handed out our last Valentine’s Day paper; we attended our last Founder’s Day Chapel; and we just finished up our last Winterfest. I never realized how important these things are to the Lovett experience until I experienced my last one.
We only have about three months of school left, and I’m trying to make the most of it. These are my last months sitting in the green desk chairs that swivel; saying “good morning” to Mr. Alig on my way from the deck; and complaining about having to walk all the way to the Hendrix-Chenault for assemblies. I’m not sure what my life will be like without all these things, but for right now, I just want to enjoy it.
In the midst of the Vietnam war, Tim O’Brien, drafted as a college graduate, sat in his foxhole on a hill in Vietnam and wrote down a few sentences about what had happened that day. Then in 1973, three years after serving in the war, he published his memoir about the war, If I Die in a Combat Zone, Box Me Up and Ship Me Home. Seventeen years later in 1990, he published the “memoirs” of Tim O’Brien, a fictional character in his novel, The Things They Carried.
Then on November 15th, 2016, nearly 50 years after writing those thoughts in that foxhole in Vietnam, he found himself behind a podium, talking about his experiences to the students of The Lovett School, where The Things They Carried has been a part of Lovett’s American Studies class. For that day, all students had read one of the stories, “On the Rainy River.”
We had a chance to speak with Mr. O’Brien before the assembly. O’Brien said he is a different Tim O’Brien than the one in Vietnam and even the one who wrote The Things They Carried.
“The Tim O’Brien who wrote The Things They Carried is, himself, history now. Not only was he removed from the war then, but I was somewhere in my forties when I wrote it and now I'm seventy so even that distances myself,” he said. “There’s no static Tim O’Brien. It’s always been in flux my entire life and it always will be.”
But he believes this is true for all of us. “It’s hard to appreciate how human beings change all the time,” he said. “We’re in constant flux and something will crash into our lives and it will change again. It might be a woman, it might be a man. Whatever crashes into your life, is going to change it and that happens periodically in all our lives.”
O’Brien believes that, like people, truths are subject to change. He said, “I thought I was a decent and kind guy and then I found myself in the war, where I wasn’t decent or kind. We tend to think it’s a fixed and absolute thing when instead, I think it’s very fluid and it evolves over time in all kinds of different ways.”
The Things They Carried plays with this idea of a flexible truth. “There’s the literal truth, what I call happening truths,” he says. These are things that actually happened. “And then there are things that didn’t happen, but also contain a different kind of truth.” In his book, he calls this different kind of truth the “story truth.”
O’Brien used the example of Huckleberry Finn, which, on the surface, didn’t happen but “all little boys know what it feels like to want to run away from home, go out on their own and some day find freedom. And though it never happened, it still contains that kind of truth,” he said.
When writing about history though, even the “happening truth” may seem murky. “History is only what we know. You can’t write about what you don’t know,” said O’Brien.
And that extends to the myriad thoughts and experiences that so many soldiers had who fought in that war. “They’re just erased,” he says. “So we get the illusion of history, but to call it history, the word history seems to suggest kind of encapsulating all of what happened and then digesting it down, but it doesn’t.”
When the large majority of these soldiers are lost, history looks towards literature to capture their stories. “When we write about war, ordinarily in history, we’re writing about a few human beings. Those who wore pin stripes and suits who made the war. And then we’re writing about generals and maybe some captains,” he says. “The writing of history determines in a way what will be remembered.”
O’Brien brought up one particular incident in Vietnam, the My Lai Massacre of 1968 in which a group of American soldiers landed in Tu Cung, which Americans called My Lai, at 7:00 A.M. For the next four hours, they committed a mass murder of Vietnamese civilians.
“They’d take lunch break, and they’d kill some more. They’d machine gun them, they’d kill them with knives and bayonets. They threw their bodies into wells. They put them in a ditch and just killed whoever was in the ditch. It went on for four excruciating hours, and you don’t know about it, nor does most of America,” says O’Brien. “Why? Well, when you do textbooks about history, you can’t put everything in, so you exclude this and then you call it history.”
And in this way, a country can gloss over the darker events in its past. Events like the My Lai massacre “don’t find their way into the history books, and they certainly find their way into Fourth of July celebrations, or Veterans Day celebrations. It’s all sanitized.”
While history textbooks may not cover some of the atrocities of war, Tim O’Brien’s novel doesn’t shy away from them. Reading The Things They Carried (and if you haven’t I would seriously encourage you to), you started relating yourself to the Tim O’Brien in the story, his conflicts, dilemmas, doubts, and inner-battles that seem to reach out from the pages. It’s a 3-D read, meaning that it does not just exist in two dimensions as flat words on a flat page. O’Brien’s words cause the reader to dive deep into their own thoughts and beliefs, asking themselves the same questions O’Brien asked himself as a drafted college kid.
O’Brien explained how he wanted The Things They Carried to do more than just make you think, and in order to gain that third dimension, it needed to make you feel. “It’s a mixture of think and feel together; it’s kind of the combination of the two,” he said. “Fiction ordinarily generates emotion for readers, in one way or another, if it’s any good. You get angry, or full of love, you’re excited, or whatever’s going on.”
And you may find yourself questioning your own beliefs about war, violence, loss, morality, and motivation. It’s that very concept that makes The Things They Carried such an introspectively rich novel.
This kind of introspection happened in many classrooms here, where students discussed the story about the soldier deciding how to respond to his draft notice. O’Brien shoved that dreaded letter into our hands as readers. “What if we declared war on Canada tomorrow, would you just say ‘okay America’s at war with Canada, let’s go kill people in Toronto,’” O’Brien asked. “Would you have second thoughts? What happens to your conscience? Do you just say ‘ah, I threw my conscience away.’”
O’Brien argues that these questions, the same ones that young soldiers were forced to ask themselves during the Vietnam War, are what we should be asking ourselves today. They are still relevant and both the questions and their answers tend to uncover blind spots when it comes to war. “There’s an absence of otherness in our thought, we don’t apply to other people the standards we set for ourselves and we don’t apply to ourselves the standards we hold other people to,” he says.
He brought up the example of ISIS and America’s outrage at their beheadings. He said it is of course “barbarous, savage, and terrible,” but he wondered if we ask that same question of ourselves ”because every time we drop a bomb, we behead people, and we drop thousands of them. Every time you shoot an artillery round, every time you fire a drone, and they don’t just hit the enemy, they hit children, and innocent people, and they die.”
According to O’Brien, this leaves us in a moral gray zone where “they’re evil and you’re good, and that’s ‘end of story.’” This kind of ideology greatly frustrates him, that when wars start getting fought, “the issue of rectitude goes out the window, it’s just ‘let’s win the war.’”
This idea of rectitude, or lack thereof, is woven throughout The Things They Carried and O’Brien’s openness about the reality of war, specifically his war. “My war felt like a war without purpose in all kind of ways. On a daily basis, you go into a village, you search it, somebody dies or doesn’t die, you leave it, you come back the next day or two weeks later, you do it again,” he said.
According to O’Brien, there was a lack of moral clarity. You couldn’t tell who were the good guys and who were the bad guys. In both our conversation and the assembly, he suggested that this was clearer during World War II.
“World War II was going towards Tokyo or going towards Berlin. There was a destination,” he said. That was something they didn’t have in Vietnam. “We didn’t have a place to go. There was no sense of destination to it all. The daily life of being a soldier seemed to be purposeless.”
Finding a purpose for those experiences from so many years ago--and for all the conflicts since then--is something he has explored with his writing.
Writing is freeing for him. And he thinks it can be for all of us too. “The hard part was living through it, but you're going to remember it anyways. You don’t forget the things that happened to you and I think writing makes it maybe a little easier...to get it down on paper so it's not just bubbling in your head all the time.”As for speaking to a theater full of high school students about his writing? “This is my own personal hell,” he said. And this coming from a man who survived Vietnam.
All across the nation during the first couple weeks of November, the country was in a frenzy. No, it wasn’t because of this year’s controversial presidential election. Instead, it was because colleges were competing to recruit a strong new crop of student athletes.
Five of these will come from The Lovett School. Serena Tripodi, Peyton Bogard, Emma Sidman, Abby Fenbert, and Everett Smulders signed during the annual period of college commitment that comes along with National Signing Day.
Cross-country co-captain Emma Sidman signed with The University of Alabama to run cross-country and track next year. During her high school career, Emma was All-State twice for cross-country, and All-State twice for track in each of her four different events. She verbally committed the week after fall break, officially announcing her decision during Lovett’s Homecoming pep rally.
Emma was also considering The University of Miami and Washington & Lee University, but ultimately loved ‘Bama the most. “I fell in love with the campus because of how incredibly beautiful it is,” she says. “The athletic facilities are one-of-a-kind.” Emma also notes that her relationship with the coach was a big reason she loved ‘Bama so much, as she could “definitely see [herself] excelling under him.”
Understandably, Emma admits that the transition from high school running to college running will be a big one. “I think it’ll be tough at first because I’m going from training once a day to training 2-3 times a day,” she says. “Also, the competition is obviously going to be a lot tougher.”
Emma has wanted to run in college ever since she first stepped on the track in sixth grade. Congrats to Emma! Her dream has become a reality.
Fellow cross-country captain Serena Tripodi also signed with Emma, choosing to take her talents to Columbia University over schools like Brown, Georgetown, and Boston College. During her high school career, she was a 3x individual cross-country state champion, and a 5x time individual track state champion in two different events (excluding 4 other team titles). She is also ranked in the top-50 senior runners nationally. To say the least, the (Lovett) Lions will dearly miss her and the (Columbia) Lions should be very excited to have her.
As Columbia is located in the heart of Upper Manhattan, Serena is understandably very excited to attend college in such an awesome city: “I really loved the vibrancy of the city and the beauty of Columbia’s campus.” While she notes the campus and her future teammates as major keys to her decision, the academics also played a huge role. “The core curriculum system at Columbia will give me a lot of academic structure since I am undecided on my major concentration,” she says.
Unlike her fellow National Signing Day committees, Serena seems pretty confident in an athletic transition into college. “I think the transition will be pretty smooth because the Lovett coaches have prepared us so well,” she says. “They make sure that I train year-round, which will really help a lot.” She also notes that college will help her with time management.
Ultimately, Serena admits that the best part about running is the life lessons that it teaches you. It’s an individual sport that requires teamwork, so Serena believes that this combination of motivation and selflessness will really help her in the work force.
Serena has found a lot of success on the trail and track at Lovett, and it is inevitable that she will reciprocate this in the Big Apple. Good luck and congrats, Serena!
Lacrosse stud Peyton Bogard signed with the University of Maryland on National Signing Day over schools such as Syracuse, Cornell, Michigan, Colgate, and Harvard. He was a two-time Under Armour All-American during high school, ranking as a 4-star recruit and the #17 defensive pole in the country. Peyton verbally committed August of his sophomore year, so he was understandably very excited to officially become a Terp.
From the very first time he stepped on campus, Peyton knew Maryland would be a great fit for him. He particularly denotes the beautiful campus, head coach and defensive coach, and the current players as prime reasons for his choice of commitment. To Peyton and recruits across the country, Head Coach John Tillman is “one of the best and nicest coaches in college lacrosse.” Maryland’s lacrosse team boasts of one of the top defenses in the country and was the National Runner-Up in the NCAA Championship Tournament this past year.
Peyton admits that the transition from high school to college lacrosse will be “brutal.” Even though Peyton endures serious conditioning and training year-round, the level of lacrosse in college is much more intense than high school. “I know it will be a struggle to get up to speed as a freshmen,” he says, “but I am looking forward to the challenge.”
Peyton has wanted to play lacrosse in college ever since the seventh grade. He says, “lacrosse has done so much for me throughout my childhood and I don't want it to end.” Personally, I know Peyton has worked so hard towards his lacrosse success. No one deserves it more… congrats, Peyton!
Lovett softball phenom Abby Fenbert signed with the University of Rhode Island (URI) during the National Signing period. After decommitting from Furman this past summer, suitors such as the University of Rhode Island and Marist College looked to gain her interest. Ultimately, it was the URI Rams’ charge that prevailed.
From the very first time she stepped on campus, Abby knew URI was the place for her. The incredibly genuine people and uniquely beautiful campus were major selling points, enticing her to commit this past August. According to Abby, “URI was the perfect size for me, and the softball program and I share the same goal: winning an A10 Conference Championship.”
Abby notes that the transition from high school softball to college softball is all about time management. “The in-season schedule for college student-athletes is hectic, and academic success really depends on how well you can balance everything,” she says. While academic adjustments will certainly be tough, the athletic transition is also a large one. “I will be playing and practicing more than ever before...” she says, “...which will be really exciting because I can't wait to see how much better I can get.”
To Abby, softball has been a part of who she is since she was 7 years old. Softball has taught her how to deal with adversity and she has developed some of her best friendships through her different teams over the years. Congrats, Abby!
Boys cross country co-captain Everett Smulders verbally committed to the University of Mississippi on October 26th, and signed on National Signing Day. He was All-State during his senior year of cross country, and won the 2016 track State Championship in two different events during his junior year. Everett was a huge contributor to Lovett’s cross country leadership and success, and will look to reciprocate this contribution at Ole Miss.
When it came to potential college suitors, Everett was interested in schools such as Miami, South Carolina, Princeton, and Auburn. Ultimately, though, the Rebels won out. “Everything about Ole Miss seemed really fitting,” he says. “I loved the school culture, the incredibly nice coach, and how successful the program has been recently.” Next year, Everett will be contributing to an Ole Miss boys team that is currently ranked 11th in the country (via USTFCCCA Coaches' poll).
At Lovett, Everett is known as a hard worker in any sport he plays. Thus, he believes that the transition will be fine in terms of workload, but will be tough in terms of potential success. “The runs will get longer, and they will tire me out much more, but I do not think that my lifestyle will have any major adjustments,” he says. “One of the big differences, however, is that I am going to be closer to the bottom of most of my competitors.” In a field of nationally ranked runners, Everett will undoubtedly have to work harder than ever before to be at the top.
To Everett, competition is what makes running so great. He is relatively new to running, so his prior love for competition in football and basketball has helped him to succeed in varsity track and cross country. He wants to run in college because he “loves competing more than anything else in the world.” Knowing Everett, I am sure that he will succeed at the next level. Congrats, Everett!
I sat down with Lovett’s Athletic Director, Steve Franks, to see what he thinks of these student-athletes as they look forward to sports at the college level. Understandably, he is very proud of these five kids: “To continue in athletics at the college level… it says a lot about our program as a school, and a lot about how much work and passion these individuals have put into their sports. I am very, very proud of them.”
Coach Franks referenced Lovett athletes from the past few years and their success at the college level as proof that these 2016 recruits will succeed. Allie Lourie (Samford) and Grace Jackson (Vanderbilt) have both contributed very heavily to their soccer teams. Allie was named Southern Conference Freshman of the Year and Grace was named to the Freshmen All-SEC First Team. In football, Willie Candler (West Georgia) and Grant Haley (Penn State) have also shined brightly. Willie has been twice named Freshman of the Week in the Gulf Coast Conference, while Grant helped PSU defeat #2 Ohio State with a blocked field goal return for a touchdown.
Considering the success of past Lovett athletes at the college level, Coach Franks is sure that Serena, Emma, Everett, Abby, and Peyton will stand out next year. Congratulations and good luck to some of Lovett’s finest student-athletes!
On Tuesday, November 8th, Americans, including some Lovett students, cast their ballots to choose our country’s next president. Of course, that followed scandals, proposals to arrest both candidates, and nasty debates. I’ve heard countless students say that they’re thankful they aren’t old enough to vote in this election because the political climate right now is so controversial.
Even so, they were given an opportunity to express their own political views in a mock election here at Lovett, run by Mr. Jewell’s law and government class. This followed an assembly to educate students on both candidates.
At the assembly Mr. Jewell spoke for a few minutes, and then showed a student-produced video that demonstrated how much we don’t know, and then provided suggestions to gain political literacy. The video was in the style of a newscast, and students acted as correspondents, interviewing people around the school and asking them basic questions about our political system. Our lack of knowledge was highlighted when almost no one was able to say how many electoral college votes were needed to win the presidency, and one man thought that Obama was our 46th president (he is actually our 44th).
Wilson Dobbs, one of the anchors, recalled the video as his favorite part of the whole mock election. “I liked researching this, because everyone only understands a little bit but it’s actually more interesting,” he said.
They chose to focus on doing videos instead of live action or debates because of the powder-keg nature of this election. The main issue that was debated was bias. “When we planned the assembly, we really did argue about what to cut. Some stuff was considered too biased,” said Mr. Jewell.
At the close of the assembly, students were encouraged to research candidates before making their choices. The next week was the mock election, which included the middle school.
Over the course of the day on November 8, students in Mr. Jewell’s class were dismissed from their normal schedule to stay at the polling booth from 7:30-3:30. Even in the early morning, members of the Lovett community, armed with IDs in hand, lined up at the booth, just as their parents would do. We had a late start for actual senior and teacher voting as well.
Once at the polls, everyone used an iPad to answer a short survey. They were asked whether they were a teacher or student, and if they were a student, whether they were voting for the same candidate as their parents were. The ballot options were Clinton, Johnson, and Trump. According to Alina Buckley, Jill Stein was left off because the class wanted to mirror the Georgia ballot.
Just like the real election, Trump won.
There were some interesting trends. While Trump did secure the majority in every year, the gap closed over the grades, as there were progressively more Democratic votes. It jumped from being lowest at 35% in sixth grade to highest at 41% in eleventh. The most Republican-voting grade was the freshman class, which was polling about 68% in support of Trump.
This election was driven by rhetoric, according to sophomore Shelby Jordan. “I supported Trump. I think that because he’s funny and entertaining on stage, people in the high school and middle school were thinking more about the [Hillary] scandal side of the election when they voted,” she said.
Even with individuals like Shelby behind him, the entire country seemed surprised at the Trump win. In fact, very few news sources predicted his success besides the LA Times and Breitbart. The triumph was shocking to senior Max Russ, who “was surprised, because it seemed like Hillary was going to win.”
Even in our school, the jury was out. While senior Celia Schwarz, head of the Young Liberals club, was rooting for Hillary and anticipated her success, junior Kiki Huang correctly predicted that Trump would win, at least within the school election.
Many students on both ends of the political spectrum seemed to accept that Trump had a large base of support at Lovett. “I thought that Trump would win because we live in Georgia and we have an environment at this school which is dominated by much more traditionally conservative, wealthy individuals,” said senior Ben Rau.
Ben’s point on student voting extends far further than Georgia. In fact, Mr. Jewell and Mr. Buczek explained that the way students and kids vote is commonly how their parents do. Trump winning Georgia and Lovett is not terribly surprising. “I always find it interesting that students who will challenge their parents on everything will swallow their political beliefs,” said Mr. Buczek.
This phenomenon circles back to political education and literacy, Lovett’s main impetus in holding a student wide election. Senior Harriet Knox, one of the students who ran the mock election, explained that ways to educate yourself as a student include “taking the class, or watching the news. But don’t keep it to one network, because networks can be biased.”
Ben Rau, who followed the election closely, agrees with this. While he was a Hillary supporter, Trump’s win makes sense to him, because he feels that there was an overwhelming support of change that drove Trump’s platform. “My hope is that Trump does follow a traditional businessman’s model of compromise and have it work out instead of being the controversial person that he comes across as during the campaign,” he said. Indeed, many mourned Trump’s election, seeing it as a sign of bigotry and hate in America.
But many Republicans agree with that interpretation. Students who were in support of Trump also hope for a moderate take on the presidency after a powder-keg campaign. Evan McKown, a Trump supporter from the get-go, said “that the presidential campaigns do not reflect the true values of the United States. This presidential election has shown to be a very different and interesting campaign, full of shots and very little debate on policies.”
At the end of the day, Lovett is a community regardless of political controversy. At the end of this election, what we can most hope for among the student population--and among the larger American populace--is increased civic engagement.
Celia Schwarz put it well when recounting how she deals with individuals whose political views clash with hers. “Even if I don’t agree with the other side, I still like you,” she said.
It’s not often that one of your first encounters with a class takes place underwater. But this is how it was with Ms. Story’s advanced painting class. In the natatorium, I watched as students paddled around in the water in preparation for Ms. Story’s critiques on whether the picture would make a good painting.
The students had been assigned a self portrait of sorts. They were to take an underwater picture of themselves and then paint it, simple as that.
It was interesting to see this behind the scenes work because while the photographs are majestic and intriguing, the process was honestly a little hilarious. At one point Ms. Story, in scuba mask and snorkel with an underwater camera, popped out from under the surface to remind her students to be loose and interesting.
All of the students could choose what to wear, with the intention of adding style to their ultimate self-portrait. Junior Mary Anglin Toole chose a flowy dress because it “would look cool underwater, and a lot of others did that too.”
Junior Christina Karem liked the way she was disguised in the water. “I like my picture because it could be anyone, not just me,” she said. “It doesn't show my face, just a body in water.”
For a lot of students, the idea of painting a portrait of themselves is terrifying, but Ms. Story thought this project would help combat that fear. “This is way to still do a self portrait, and be expressive with your self portrait,” she said, “without focusing too much on your likeness.”
Ms. Story said the idea of this project came from a former student’s mother, Priscilla Nelson, who was herself an artist. Priscilla is “a great detail painter,” according to Ms. Story and the class will get to visit with her once they complete their work.
By assigning this piece Ms. Story hopes to teach her students about concepts like “color mixing, blending, going from one gradient to another total gradient”. She also hopes to train her students’ eyes to pay close attention to details.
Ms. Schick, another art teacher assisting Ms. Story, said that this project helped students to learn tools to use when starting a painting like “using a grid method to transfer the image so they get their proportions right.”
Christina Karem is a big fan of this method when doing figurative painting. “This helps because free-handing the drawing would be impossible and it helps to match colors in certain parts of the painting,” she said.
Before the students even started painting with colors they had to use a gray scale, which means painting it in black and white first. “It really messes with my head on what shades of gray that I need to use,” said Mary Anglin.
And that isn’t even the hardest part. The underwater aspect adds additional challenges. “There is a complete reflection of myself that is distorted,” said Mary Anglin. “It has become really difficult to differentiate between colors and shading on the upper level.”
This difficulty is, in a way, exactly what the teachers were hoping for. “The water not only provides the reflection that is distorted up in the reflected surface,” said Ms. Schick, “but also the movement underwater is different, the angle, drape of the body, and the fabric of the clothes is different from anything we could take above ground.”
And the teachers are not expecting an exact copy of the original photograph, which gives the artists the freedom to paint what they see and go beyond that. “The painting may not look exactly like the photograph,” said Ms. Schick. “It can come into its own interpretation.” For Christina Karem this means changing the pattern of her dress. “I can be very creative with the color scheme because the actual pattern is hard,” she said.
Everyday after class the students walk around and look at each other’s paintings and compliment them on their hard work. In the end what Ms. Story really wants to teach them is that they are a family, “It is very important to rule out that competitive nonsense in a class like this” she said, “it is all about nurturing a child into an adult that also is carrying the understanding that we are all same, that we are all just helping each other.”
I, like most high schoolers, am a very busy person.
I’m at school from 8 am to 3 pm, cross country practice from 3:45 pm to 6 pm, physical therapy from 6:30 pm to 7:30 pm. On top of that, I have to shower, eat dinner, and do my homework.
I barely have a second to myself.
Thanks to pleasant 4:45 am wake up calls on Saturday mornings for cross country meets, Friday nights are spent at Figo for dinner with the team and then promptly going to bed as early as I can.
With senior year also brings the agonizing college application deadlines. Two early action applications due October 15th, two more November 1st, a scholarship deadline December 1st, and a regular decision deadline January 1st.
I manage all of this by being extremely organized, and I pride myself on my routinely scheduled, and often color-coordinated way of life.
When it comes to school, I assign a color to each binder, pen for notes, and pen for homework in my assignment notebook. Purple? Environmental Science. Green? AP Lit. Blue? Calculus Pink? Well, you get the point…
It doesn’t stop there. I log my running through a Google Spreadsheet that my coach has access to. Every season, every week, every day, every mile is on that log. Upcoming runs are in red. Completed runs are green if they are a workout, along with their accommodating splits, or black if it is a normal run. Races are pink and weekly totals are purple.
Now, you might think that when I do get some free time, I balance things out by putting away the colored pens, and nonchalantly spending my time in bed, binge-watching Netflix, being completely spontaneous and proudly unproductive.
But that’s not the way I am. My over-organized tendencies transcend the boundaries of my academics and extracurriculars.
When making plans for my weeks, whether it is with my friends, boyfriend, family, or even just myself, I like to have an “itinerary.”
Whether it is brunch/lunch/dinner plans, shopping trips to the mall, or just fun outings, I like to know exactly where we are going and at what time, which consequently allows me to plan out time to get ready for those activities.
I’ll admit that my need to be organized and to schedule everything down to the minute has led to some funny personality quirks.
For example, the night before I am doing something, no matter if it is going out to a nice dinner or just meeting my friend at their house to hang out, I will lay out my outfit. I’ll put several options of clothes and shoes and corresponding jewelry right out on my floor, next to my bed. Depending on what my friends are wearing, the weather, and some instinctive sixth fashion sense, I’ll make my choice.
Even on vacations, when you’re really supposed to let go, I can’t. In fact, my over-planning tendencies seem to be at an all-time high. Whether it is a relaxing beach trip or a fun or activity-filled adventure, I am anxious to know exactly what we are doing every single day. I know I drive my parents crazy when I make them tell me the plan, so that I can figure out when I should run, what are we doing for breakfast/lunch/dinner, when we will go to the beach or when we will go bike riding.
Now I know what many of you are probably thinking. If you’re like me, you’re probably wondering how your organization game compares to mine. If not, you probably think I am crazy. And you are probably right. However, I find some comfort in the fact that my mom will occasionally ask my sister to “be more organized like Emma.”
And listen, I can relax. You may think that someone like me never goes with the flow, but I do, a lot. It is just that, if I had it my way, I would have it all planned out beforehand.
So, I guess that in some ways, being this organized can be helpful. It allows you to stay on top of things and, consequently, get more things done and avoid being overly stressed.
And being a high school student at Lovett gives you plenty of opportunities to be overly stressed. From the copious amounts of homework, to weekly quizzes, tests, and papers, to college application due dates, we barely have time to ourselves. With all of this craziness, I have found a way that works for me to get things done in a manner that suits me, and I wouldn’t change anything about it.
Then again, I had to get a new pen pack recently, and the color shades are different. The purple used to be a bright purple, and now it’s more of an eggplant. See. I know how to live life on the edge.
As the presidential election enters the home stretch (obligatory sports metaphor/cliche), the candidates from either major political party are prepared to make their final arguments on why you should hate them the least. Lovett students say that in the process of running for president, the two candidates are tearing this nation apart.
Like many, Senior Senaidra Reynolds isn’t thrilled with the direction the election has been heading. She finds it fascinating that Hillary Clinton can run for the highest office in the nation while being investigated by the FBI. “I just don’t get it,” she says. “I also don’t understand how we as a society could have let these two people come this far.”
Junior Noah Lee thinks that the 2016 election is the worst election in a long time because it “isn’t professional at all.” He also believes that this election cycle is polarizing America to a historic degree. He says that this election “is splitting people apart more than any election has. If you say you’re for the other candidate, people will basically bash you or bash whoever you think is better.”
For him, Clinton and Trump leave very little middle ground for the moderates. “The candidates are kind of like Yin and Yang in the most extreme sense because Donald Trump is strongly pointing towards security over freedom and Hillary is for freedom rather than security,” he says. “There’s no medium at all for any of them.”
Senior Diana Daniela agrees that this election has forced formerly moderate voters onto one political party or the other. She says, “You don’t have a moderate choice. People might be moderate but there is no moderate candidate.”
While the outcome of the primaries might not be favorable for moderates, both candidates were chosen by their respective parties over alternate, possibly more moderate, candidates. One freshman who requested to remain unnamed says, “I think maybe there were a couple of moderate candidates but they didn’t get as much support as those who have stronger and stricter opinions.”
Senior Peyton Bogard echoes this sentiment saying, “I think the best candidates for the presidency were knocked out in the preliminary rounds by Donald Trump. So I think if I could go back and fix it, I would choose a few different people from the primaries.”
According to Stanford political scientist Morris Fiorina (no affiliation to former candidate Carly Fiorina), people like Peyton are very common. Despite popular opinion, the majority of Americans are not feeling the effects of political polarization. In fact, only 15% of the population has moved farther to the left or right in the last few years.
However, this cannot be said by the “political class.” The elected officials and political activists have gone farther to the right and left of their respective sides of the political spectrum. In other words, the left-wing Democrats have moved to further to the left and the right-wing Republicans have moved further to the right.
This difference between the elected officials and their voters becomes a problem when the elected officials don’t represent the opinions of the voters and there isn’t another option. Such is the case in this election.
Unfortunately for many Americans and Lovett students, the process in which the American people choose who will lead the country for the next four years has boiled down to who they hate the least. Junior Danny Nelson says, “I feel that the candidate who wins is going to be least hated out of the two but not the most liked.”
Although Peyton cannot vote, he still finds himself in this exact situation. He reluctantly decided that Donald Trump is slightly better than Hillary Clinton saying, “It’s not because I want to see Donald Trump in the office but because I don’t want to see Hillary in office.”
As a “purple” voter, Senaidra perfectly describes the attitude of the election, saying, “It’s the biggest game of Would You Rather.”
In the most important game of Would You Rather in recent history, Senaidra is glad she isn’t a player. “I’m kind of glad I can’t vote because I don’t like where the country would head,” she says. However, if she could, she says she wouldn’t vote for Trump or Hillary.
However, she feels like voting for a third party isn’t effective unless the party gets a sudden surge of attention. “I feel like one individual vote to a third party candidate isn’t enough.You’d need a bunch of people to suddenly start paying attention to them,” she says.
The unnamed freshman thinks that third parties don’t get enough name recognition to stand against the two candidates in the election. “I kind of don’t think it’s realistic for [third party candidates] to be elected because they don’t get nearly enough money to fund the ads in order to get the name recognition that ultimately gets people to vote for them,” he says.
In a way, he is correct. A September 21st article from Bloomberg states that Clinton’s campaign spent $11.5 million on general election campaign TV ads for a single week in September while Trump’s campaign has spent $2.4 million on that same week. In comparison, Libertarian party nominee, Gary Johnson, set aside $464,000 for the entire month of September according to a CNN Article from early September.
An even more astonishing fact is that Hillary Clinton has spent more money on advertising in one week than Gary Johnson has raised over the course of his campaign. Gary Johnson has raised approximately $7.9 million dollars, $3.6 less than Hillary’s ad budget for a week.
While Trump doesn’t spend nearly as much money on advertising compared to his opponent, his controversial statements earn him more money in advertising dollars than all the other candidates combined. A MarketWatch article from early May estimates that Trump had already received $3 billion in free advertising from media coverage. While the advertising may be in a negative light, as 19th century American showman and circus owner Phineas T. Barnum once said, “there’s no such thing as bad publicity.”
In fact, the candidates are so persistent with their advertising that some people can’t escape the election. Noah says that he is forced to follow the election because it’s everywhere. “Even ads on friggin UnblockedGames.com you see ‘vote for Trump’ or ‘vote for Hillary’ on the little ad thing. I’m like what the heck? I just want to play Wrestle Jump,” he says.
This media prevalence can backfire. Such is the case with Peyton, who gets annoyed at what the presidential candidates say.
“If I tag into a Donald Trump speech, I’d be like ‘alright.’ Then I’d be like ‘wait, what did you just say? Dude, Really? You’re going to make Republicans look like that? There we go. Good job buddy.’” he says. “And then when I watch Hillary’s speeches it’s like, ‘wow, is anything your real words or are you just reading the teleprompter all the time?’”
However, what some find annoying, others might find comedic. Danny thinks that the coverage of elections has become less political and more comedic. “People are trying to point out the funny things or the absurdly stupid things Trump or Hillary did,” he says. “They’re not really watching it in a political sense that people have done in the past.”
Noah agrees with Danny, saying, “It’s certainly the most meme-able election.” Meanwhile Diana compares the election to another form of entertainment: “It’s like a reality tv show at this point.”
At the end of the day, with two outspoken and controversial candidates who may or may not represent the people voting for them, and the first general election debate taking place on September 26th, the fate of the America is in the air and its people are holding their breaths and craning their neck to see if it lands heads or tails.
As Senaidra simply puts it: “Good luck America.”
With so many student personalities at each grade level, you might think it would be hard to generalize about any particular grade, but that doesn’t stop us from saying things like “They’re the athletic grade,” or “They’re more academic,” or “They’re seniors, but they look really young.”
Over time, grades develop personalities and reputations, and I thought it would be interesting to find out how and why. I spoke with students and administrators to ask them about this phenomenon, and find out what they think about the current upper school grades.
Senior Ted Quarterman thinks that “grade-level personalities stem from the attitudes that other grades hold towards them.” He added that “it may be a biased assessment depending on who you ask because there is definitely a stigma that upperclassmen hold towards underclassmen, since we tend to view them as naive, and vice versa, as upperclassmen can intimidate the younger kids.”
Junior Mary Anglin Toole thinks students internalize the subtle and overt messages they are getting about their grade. “Each grade seems to embrace their designated ‘personality’, and that definitely implants a picture in people’s minds as to what that grade is like,” she says.
Both Ted and senior Grainger Reeves were worried their opinions might come across as biased, when asked to describe the personality of their senior class.
Grainger thinks that “we [the seniors] are a more academically and athletically inclined grade compared to most.” Ted agreed. “The seniors definitely are respected amongst the faculty and students of other grades,” he says. He feels that the seniors are “more comparable to the more recently graduated classes of 2015 and 2016 than the current sophomores and juniors.”
But it’s not only seniors who feel that way about their grade. Overall, the senior class of 2017 seems to be a well-regarded group.
Sophomores Sidney Kollme and Vaden Scott think the seniors are “super nice, outgoing, and funny.” Sidney added that “as you get older, you get more confident, and the seniors add a good energy to the Upper School.”
They also come across as an “academically motivated” group, according to Junior Phillip Thornton.
It also helps that the seniors have a solid role model in their SGA president. “Sam Rollins’s Monday morning assemblies set a good, light-hearted tone for the morning and imparts a sense of humor onto the overall view of the seniors,” Mary Anglin says.
Many students spoke about the athletic prowess of the junior class.
Ted says that the juniors “have proved to be a drastically more athletic grade than what they were in middle school.”
Phillip agrees that his grade is more “athletically oriented.”
And you guessed it, Mary Anglin also agreed that the juniors are known for the athletics because of “a reputation that started back in middle school.”
But that’s not the only thing they’re known for. According to Grainger, the juniors are “the most attractive grade [girls-wise].” Of course, this might have something to due with the fact that his girlfriend, Sabrina DeWeerdt, is a junior.
The sophomores are one year beyond the awkwardness of freshman year, and they have been able to expand their horizons.
Phillip thinks that while the sophomores are starting to come into their own as a grade, “they are definitely still trying to find their niche in the Upper School.”
Sidney and Vaden agree that their grade tends to fly under the radar. “We are definitely more quiet at school-wide events compared to the others,” Vaden says. Sidney jumped in to add that “the sophomores mesh really well as a grade, so when together, it is a really fun and exciting time.”
The new freshman class of 2020 comes in with the advantage of being able to cultivate their own personality as the “new kids on the block” of the Upper School. Like the juniors, the freshmen seem to have an overarching personality that has been “assigned” to their grade.
Grainger says that he knows a lot of the freshmen because so many of them have senior siblings, and they are definitely a bold group when compared to freshman classes of the past. “Usually, freshman know that they are ‘the bottom of the totem pole’ in regards to the ‘social ladder’ of high school,” he says, “but they seem to not care what other grades may think and kind of throw seniority out the window.” Likewise, Mary Anglin calls them an “outspoken, free-spirited fearless group.”
Their fearlessness even extends to their hairstyles. “It’s really cool how I see some of the freshmen girls with more ‘out there’ haircuts,” Ted says, “which kind of goes against the ‘norm’ of Lovett standards.” He likes the unique mix of kids in the grade.
Administrators had their own thoughts about the personalities of each grade, and how they’re formed.
Mr. Alig isn’t eager to put a label on any grade, especially early on, because he knows how much can change over the years. From his perspective, personalities ultimately are determined by leaders in the grade and how they conduct themselves, which “controls how other grades respect them,” he says.
Ms. Spencer looks to the interactions between the students in the same grade. “Some grades really care about each other, some are competitive with each other, and some may have had a significant event impact them at some point in their career,” she says.
Both Ms. Spencer and Ms. Moss think these personalities can be cultivated before the grade even arrives in the Upper School.
As for this year’s current seniors, Mr. Alig says that when they were rising freshmen coming from the Middle School, he heard over and over again “how nice they are.” Now, four years later, Mr. Alig confidently says that “they have lived up to that.”
Ms. Spencer thinks the seniors have shown a lot of maturity since their time as freshmen and that they “care about the legacy that they leave behind.”
They also celebrate the many passions among the members of the class, according to Ms. Moss.
The juniors are full of energy, says Ms. Spencer, adding that they will need to figure out how to funnel all of that energy into finding their identity as a grade, which is something she believes they are very capable of. It helps that they are a “close-knit group,” says Ms. Moss.
And the underclassmen? Mr. Alig has found that sophomores often “gain a new sense of confidence come second semester.”
Ms. Spencer compares the sophomore class to “puppies” due to their high energy levels and their excitement towards everything new in the Upper School. And they are also “a very bright group of kids,” she says.
This year’s freshman class has done a great job joining things and getting involved, according to Mr. Alig. They “seem happy, and love the freedom,” he says. He believes their success over the months to come will depend “on what obstacles they have to overcome as a grade because there are always some good times and some bad times.”
And all of this matters, because as Ms. Spencer pointed out, the freshmen class is a staggering 179 students. The freshmen and sophomores combined make up almost two-thirds of the Upper School. This puts the ball in the seniors’ court to set the example for all those underclassmen about how to act and come together, so that one day, when they are seniors, students and administrators and teachers alike will have good things to say about them, as individuals and as a whole.
With the freshman-senior sibling combo, you have one member at the top of the totem pole and one at the bottom. The freshman has the comfort of having a friendly face in the hallway. The senior gets to be guide and mentor to their brother or sister.
Senior Peyton Bogard says that it will definitely take some time to get used to seeing his sister, Paige, “walk down the halls in a navy polo.” Despite Paige’s presence, Peyton says that he doesn’t conduct himself differently knowing that Paige and her friends could be right around the corner unless “it is time to lay down the law” when they step out of line.
Another senior, Elizabeth Olsen, loves having her sister, Catherine, in the Upper School. Like Peyton, Elizabeth says that “it will take some getting used to seeing her [Catherine] and her friends walking around in the Upper School uniforms.” Elizabeth describes the overall experience as “different, but a good different!” Now that Elizabeth and Catherine have a more common school experience, they can talk about their days more easily at dinner.
Senior Avery Dean is fairly hands-off in his role as a mentor for his sister, Savannah, but nevertheless, he loves seeing her in the halls, though not always for the most generous of reasons. Avery enjoys the bragging rights that come with “being a senior when she is only a freshman and still has a long way to go until she graduates.”
These seniors unanimously enjoy having their siblings in the Upper School with them for their last year at Lovett.
As for the youngers, Paige, like Peyton, also needs a little time adjusting to seeing her sibling in the halls. But she likes how Peyton’s friends are familiar faces in the hallways. Sometimes, Peyton can’t resist messing with Paige. He says that when the opportunity arises, “it is way too tempting.” Paige recalled the time last week when Peyton and his friends took a detention slip from the administrative office, wrote a fake detention notice, and had another senior hand deliver it to her. It really freaked Paige out. Despite these little pranks, Paige embraces the opportunity of having a senior brother.
Catherine loves the fact that she can see Elizabeth every day now. She believes that her transition into life as a high schooler has definitely been smoother than expected thanks to Elizabeth’s guidance and advice. Catherines says that “Elizabeth has been super helpful in the fact that she is always willing to answer my questions.”
Savannah enjoys having Avery in the same building as her. She says that he “helps her figure out what to wear on NUD days, gives her advice regarding friends and classes, and helps explain what the different aspects of the Upper School are.”
Savannah looks up to Avery as a role model and mentor, but sometimes feels like she is being compared to him, which she doesn’t like because she wants to be viewed as an individual, not Avery’s little sister.
Paige believes that Peyton’s presence in the Upper School has not only helped her, but her parents too, as they “already know what to do and expect.” Additionally, the fact that Paige has a similar schedule to what Peyton had when he was a freshman ensures that he can thoughtfully aid her in any questions she has regarding homework.
Despite all of the guidance and help Peyton offers Paige regarding the ins-and-outs of high school, her absolute favorite aspect of having a senior sibling is when she “makes him get her food using his senior privileges.” I know I would do the same if I was in her situation.
Elizabeth’s guidance and advice for Catherine started before the first day of classes rolled around. Elizabeth said that she “helped her pick her classes, explained what girls wore for NUDs, and tried to help her decipher the schedule rotation.”
Peyton, Elizabeth, and Avery all have some advice they would like to pass on to their siblings, but also to all of the current freshman in general.
Avery’s advice was right to the point and was guided by his own mistakes he made early in his high school career: “Do not procrastinate.”
Peyton thoughtfully advised the freshmen to “let the little things go and not let small, petty things dictate your high school career.” He thinks it is important to “rise above it all and learn to have a great time with the right group of friends.”
Elizabeth was worried that her advice may come across as “cliché”; however, everything she said could not be more true. “Take advantage of everything around you. Take the time to get to know your peers and teachers. Just yesterday I felt like I was still a freshman anxiously awaiting to go on SING or nervously looking down at the seniors from the balcony in assemblies and now I am a senior applying to colleges! Again, take advantage of everything and always try hard in class. College may seem far away, and although freshmen should NOT be thinking about college, just know that these grades really do count, so always strive to do your best!”
Paige, Catherine, and Savannah are all super thankful for their siblings guiding their way through their freshman year. I wondered if the older siblings wished that they had a senior sibling when they were freshman. Peyton, Elizabeth, and Avery all agreed that while it would be an incredible opportunity to have a senior sibling, they would rather not repeat freshman year.
As Sarah Grace and Kasey made their way to a promontory on Mount Haleakala in Maui, Hawaii, they found themselves surrounded by an expansive canvas of shades of orange and black. “We were kind of above the clouds,” said freshman Kasey Goldenberg. “It looked like smoke was all around you,” added freshman Sarah Grace Madden. Moments like these were common during the summer adventure camp, Moondance.
According to the Moondance website, the camp offers programs in five different continents, 17 countries, and 11 US states. Groups are small, and the goals are to build character and leadership, and live in the moment. The program values teamwork and stepping outside of your comfort zone.
From the way the girls described their experience, it’s clearly not the place to go for elementary school crafts and horseback riding.
Along with five other girls and four boys that they didn’t know, Kasey and Sarah Grace stayed in Hawaii for two weeks under the supervision of three counselors. There was no cold, bottled water, they had no access to electronics, and they couldn’t take showers (unless you count using hoses). The surfed, hiked, snorkeled, kayaked, and windsurfed.
“Windsurfing was really fun, but it’s a lot harder than it looks,” said Sarah Grace. “I lost my balance every time I would get up.”
They also snorkeled in the ocean. “It was like pool water,” Kasey said. “Even when your goggles were really fogged up you could see everything.” They encountered a reef shark, an octopus, and sea turtles.
Back on land, they did a lot of hiking. Once, they were supposed to be in some type of forest but they ended up at a golf course at a really nice resort. “We think it was the Four Seasons,” said Kasey, “but we’re not really sure.” Laughing, Sarah Grace added that when they walked off the golf course they took their cold water. Because the water at the campsite was really disgusting, the group tried to get fresh water whenever they could.
Even though the two were on an island known for relaxation and vacation, the Moondancers had to stay on their toes. “We weren’t allowed to know the time so we’re assuming that we woke up really early,” Kasey said. They would then get ready for the day by putting on their bathing suits and packing their day packs. Afterwards they did their activities, had lunch, and then came back later and have dinner.
They also had to make their own meals, with the exception of going out for pizza twice. At night, they would sleep in tents at school campsites. As you might expect, living in such close quarters for 14 days helped the girls to form long-lasting friendships with the rest of the people in their group.
“All of us were crying when we left,” said Kasey. “The girls were so close right from the beginning.”
They were also really close with the leaders. In a way, the group functioned like a real life family; the counselors were the parents, and the students were the kids.
One of the most memorable experiences for Sarah Grace and Kasey was when they visited a Hawaiian village and played in the mud the whole day. “You’d just step into all this mud and just go down like three feet. We put the mud everywhere,” said Sarah Grace.
“We’d just be throwing the mud at each other, and then we’d do group hugs,” Kasey recalled.
Kasey and Sarah Grace both plan on having another Moondance adventure next summer. They agreed that the overall lesson from the experience was to “live in the moment.”
It’s 7:40 a.m. on the Friday of the first week of school, and I am sitting in the senior lounge working on my college applications, when I hear, “Hey Mackensie.”
Looking up, the first thing I see is red hair, and then it hits me that I have an interview with none other than 2016-2017 SGA president, Sam Rollins. While I’ve forgotten about the interview less than 12 hours after confirming it via Facebook, Sam has remembered. He’s on top of it. But doesn’t he always have to be?
As we start the interview, Sam pulls out his laptop and starts typing, even as I begin asking the questions. “Sorry, I just need to finish this,” he says, finishing his work. Who can blame him for working at this hour in the morning? He does have a lot of duties, after all.
Sam, who has been at Lovett since sixth grade, had wanted to run for SGA president ever since freshman year. “I always wanted to be the guy on the podium every Monday morning and try to make the students feel better about going to school. I guess I just wanted to lead the student body,” he says.
Leadership isn’t something unfamiliar to Sam. Last year, he was on the Student Athletic Advisory Board, where he took part in discussing the role Lovett athletics should play in students’ lives at school.
When Sam found out he was elected, he was thrilled. He and his family even celebrated at dinner. Sam thought that he had a pretty good chance at winning just because a lot of people knew him. He also stressed in the assembly that he wanted to make the freshmen as comfortable as possible, so he thinks that contributed to him winning.
In order to ease his transition to president, Sam has gotten tons of advice from people around the Lovett community, including Mr. Peebles, who has been a “big help.” Ms. Moss encouraged Sam to take a leadership course over the summer and met with him a few times.
Sam also spoke with his grandfather, who is a pretty big role model in his life, about leading by example. “The best leader is one that doesn’t boss people around,” his grandfather told him, “but instead leads by example and listens to his peers.”
To ease the transition between SGA administrations, Sam sat down last spring with former president, Evan Mercer, to talk about Sam’s role and the do’s and don’ts of morning assemblies. Sam considers Evan’s best piece of advice to be allowing for the unpredictable, and that time is not his friend. “You either have too much or too little time in morning assembly so you need to learn to plan around [it],” Sam says.
Sam hasn’t had too much practice with the morning assemblies quite yet, so he is a little nervous for them each Monday morning. He is looking forward to getting in there and playing music and making everyone feel a little better about Monday morning. “Hopefully I can make people laugh by doing something, but I just don’t know what yet. But yeah, you can say I am a little nervous,” he says.
What does help is that Sam gets a break during assembly when the Ultras leaders, Harriet Knox and Ned Feininger, come up to do the sports announcements. Since last year, the leaders of the Ultras read the sports announcements at morning assembly instead of the president. Sam is super excited to have them alongside him on the stage. “They’re great Ultras leaders and have been pretty communicative with me, which I thank them for,” Sam says.
There are a few things Sam plans to work on this year, but one of his priorities is to make sure that the first Wednesday of every month is a guaranteed late start day. “I think it worked out for the students and the teachers, and if I can, I want to bring it back, but I think it’s a matter of being able to,” he says.
One of the challenges Sam believes he will face is not getting what he wants. This is a problem because sometimes students end up blaming him for what goes wrong in the Upper School, but he can only do so much.
Not only does Sam want everyone to get to know him better, but he also really wants to form a relationship with the freshmen. Being a freshman can be tough, and Sam wants the freshmen to feel included and comfortable in Upper School as soon as possible. “It’s okay to be nervous about high school,” he says. “I think freshman year is the toughest, but after that it gets better. So keep your head up.”
Something you can expect to hear from Sam after every morning meeting is Sam’s phrase for the year: “Have fun out there.” He says school is so stressful and feels like a big competition at times, which is not something he feels like high school is about. He thinks everyone needs to stop thinking of high school as a chore and not as an opportunity. “It can be pretty fun if you ease up and meet new people,” he says.
As we finish up the meeting, Sam gathers up his things and heads off to advisory. Or maybe to another meeting. Who knows? He’s always on the run, but also having fun.
It started with tiaras, whistles, leis, the usual. Even though we were at Party City, buying these accessories to wear on the first day of senior year, it didn’t seem like I was a senior. A week later, it still doesn’t.
For years, I watched girls in their plaid skirts and guys in their navy pants, moving out of their way when they passed me in the hall. But now, when I see those uniforms, I look up and realize that those people are, in fact, in my grade, and I’m one of them. (So move out of my way! Just kidding...but seriously.)
I came to Lovett in fifth grade and counted the number of years I would have here, never wanting them to end because I’d loved the school from day one. Of course, with each passing year, I was excited to continue my journey, but sad because it meant my time at Lovett was now becoming shorter. It seems like just yesterday I was logging into First Class and seeing someone in my grade with ‘17 next to their name. I felt like 2017 would never come. With only nine months left, I’m determined to make every minute count.
There are definitely some perks to being a senior, one of which is JOE being over (I got nine blisters and a bear took my pack on the last night). First of all, the uniform is really cute! I mean, the shirt is so cozy that I might consider wearing it long after I’ve graduated. Then, there’s the senior lounge, which is a great place to hang out (though sometimes people won’t stop talking). The only thing is that the walls are made of glass, and I already managed to walk into one on the third day of school, so I am sure many more embarrassing moments like that are to come.
Now that I am the senior editor of the paper, I won’t have to ask Kate Ross what she thinks of my layout (she would always tell me I could do what I wanted). Now I will have two others asking me what they think, which is kind of hard to believe.
Sure, I could go on and on about all the rest of the great things seniors get that others don’t, but there is so much more to being a senior than just the privileges and parking spots. We have to set an example for not only the underclassmen, but for the rest of the school. When a kindergartener looks up at you with bright, curious eyes, you can’t just shrug them off, you have to smile down at them because they look up to you and one day, hope to be just like you. This is not something that I take for granted; I believe that I have worked very hard through my time here at Lovett and am finally deserving of this acknowledgment.
And then, needless to mention, there is the whole college application process. So much for senior year being less stressful than junior year; I am already drowning in essays. (Anybody have a suggestion for “what community I belong to”? Ms. Alston seems to think I shouldn’t go with “One Direction Fan.”) Still, none of this is as stressful as having Anne Hardin and John Staton yell at each other during the leadership class in eighth grade over our advisory cheer. They were seriously going at it.
One of the things I love most about being a senior, though, is that I get to be a PAL. My partner Grainger and my assigned advisory is Mr. Reynolds’ and let me say, they’re awesome. Talking to them and answering their questions makes me reflect on when I was a freshman and all the questions I asked my PALs, Audrey and Patrick (Audrey now proudly considers herself a grandPAL). Being able to help them adjust to Upper School and answer their questions is really satisfying and I truly hope I can help make their freshmen year even better.
This whole process of being a senior is bittersweet. It’s my last year donning “The Lion” costume (I will not miss the heat) and having Cameron Wilson say “What’s up Mackensie?” to me every time he passes me in the hall.
It’s my last year to see Chip Fankhauser get overly excited about something random. It’s my last year to eat fried ravioli. It’s my last year to hear Mr. Newman tell some joke that no one understands (I’ve had six classes with him over the course of four years). It’s also my last year to see someone with marinara sauce spilled down their white shirt on Chapel Day, to smell warm cafe cookies on Wednesday from up in the college counseling office, to hear Celia Schwarz talk about crashing our own PDC every year.
But there is just something so amazing and empowering about being a senior at Lovett that I can’t quite put into words yet. And maybe I won’t ever be able to. All I can do is try to make this my best year yet. And it started off pretty great when we were all screaming and blowing our whistles before entering the Hendrix-Chenault on the first day, my friends and I in our matching Party City leis. I walked in with my friends, and I’ll walk out with them on graduation, alumni from that school we used to attend.
Just nine more months to go.
WELCOME TO THE JU17GLE!
It’s hard to imagine life outside of the Lovett School with its dependable electricity, conveniently located medical treatment, and luxurious flushing “poopers.” Unfortunately for us juniors, for five days, we will forgo these lofty comforts of home and live as our hominid ancestors did back in the day. Luckily for you, I, Paul Kim, will give you the do’s and don’ts of that outdoor place.
As a seasoned boy scout, I consider myself to be one of the foremost experts on all things natural and I hope to share these nature things with you so we can all become harder, better, faster, and stronger as the great philosopher Kanye suggests in his Daft Punk collab, Harder Better Faster.
Before you even step foot into the conglomeration of trees more commonly known as a forest, you need to know what to bring. Every good outdoor person knows to carry a certain list of items that I will list for you now: a map (doesn’t have to be of any specific region. It’s really there just to make you look like you know what you’re doing), a fake thumb (so you cut that off instead of your actual thumb when you whittle because you’re a pianist and you know better than that), a solar panel phone charger (just in case you need an extra battery to take generic nature photos for your Instagram), Leonardo DiCaprio (throw your Dicaprio at an attacking bear to confuse it. Use this time to run away), and a volleyball (so you can draw a face on it when you get stranded on a deserted island).
While these things are essential to backpacking, the most important thing you can bring is your appreciation for nature...and a backpack...that might also be useful on a backpacking trip. Most of those “trained professionals” at REI will give you a random backpack that will “repel water” or “not break apart when you move” but they don’t don’t know how to select the perfect pack for your back.
Only the X-treme (spelled with an X because they’re just that extreme) backpackers know that the best backpacks are actually the rolly backpacks with the handles. Not only are they compact and travel sized, but if you buy two extra wheels and carry them around, you can ride in your very own wagon backpack (wagpack). These particular wagpacks come in Mint Green, Burnt Salmon, and Charcoal Black. Personally, I prefer Traffic Cone Orange because it helps rescuers find you in the hypothetical situation in which you get stranded.
Once you acquire all the aforementioned items, you’re ready to take on the forest. In order to get an idea of the broad array of horrors that nature might offer, I was supposed to take some money out of the journalism budget and watch The Revenant. Unfortunately, my request was denied so I just watched a couple of bootlegs episodes of Man vs. Wild. However, this still provided me with some good information on how to survive in the wilderness. I learned that in order walk into the wilderness fully prepared, one must bring a full camera crew and a charming British accent.
While I could watch every TV show with some ruggedly attractive British dude and tell you what they said, informing you on JOE without having my own first-hand experience would be unprofessional so this reporter decided to go backpacking in the wilderness of his backyard and brought back some useful tips for the trail.
The first thing any Junior on an outdoor experience does at a campsite is build a fire. Some people prefer to bring matches, others prefer lighters. Some might even suggest that you rub two sticks together until something happens like Tom Hanks in Castaway, but I prefer to take a more passive role in firemaking by waiting for lightning to strike my campsite. Although it might seem like a bad way to start a fire, if it worked for the cavemen, it’ll work for me.
Once you have your campfire, you can start thinking about what you’re going to eat. While granola bars and beef jerky are commonplace among backpackers because they’re light and convenient, in my expert opinion, I take the high road and cook my food because roughing it doesn’t have to be rough. This is why I always bring a minimum of two packs of ramen whenever I go out.
The trouble with ramen is that 5-6 hours after you eat it, you’re definitely going to feel it. When that happens, bringing a shovel and a roll of toilet paper is your best option. However, when toilet paper isn’t available, your best bet is using the local flora. You might be tempted to grab any leaf around you but it’s imperative that you use the right one or leaf residue will bother you for the whole day and chafing can be disastrous. According to one outdoor blog, the best leaf to use is from a Wooly Mullein plant because it’s absorbent and it’s leaves are antiseptic. If you can’t find any, there are other things you can use. For example, (and I’m not making this up) in ancient cultures, smooth rocks were also used for clean up duty.
On that high note, I have every confidence that you have everything you need to survive JOE. All you need now is an epic soundtrack to enhance your outdoor experience. I recommend the entire soundtrack to Mulan but whatever floats your boat. Once you have that picked out, you’re ready to go into the wilderness for five days and never return again. Have fun!
When teachers come to Lovett, they often stay a while because they love the community so much. But there comes a time at the end of the year when even the most beloved members of our Lovett family choose to leave, and this year is no different.
This year, there are six Lovett Upper School teachers who are retiring. Collectively, they have given 143 years to our school, gaining invaluable experiences and making unforgettable memories.
Randy Murphy - Registrar
Mrs. Murphy, the registrar, has been at Lovett for 18 years and now she and her husband are moving to Dallas, Texas, to be closer to their family.
Originally, she came to Lovett as a math teacher and chair of the US math department. She had been teaching math since she began her career in 1968, and has always enjoyed teaching it because she loves the subject matter. “I like the preciseness of mathematics, the problem solving that is inherent in the subject, and the collaboration that it promotes as students work through problems. I love the question-response interaction that brings a math classroom to life,” Mrs. Murphy says.
Her math classroom was on the 300 floor of what is now the Community Center, and then in the fall of 2002, she moved into what it now the Upper School. In the fall of 2006, Mrs. Murphy became Lovett’s K-12 academic dean and during her seven years in that position, her office was located first in the headmaster's suite and then on the 400 floor of the Community Center. She’s only been the registrar, though, since the summer of 2013, but she still continues to teach math. In fact, she thought her Multivariable/Linear Algebra class was such a great one that it would be “perfect as [her] last class to teach.”
Because Mrs. Murphy has been here for so long, she’s seen quite a few changes happen. “The campus has undergone almost a complete transformation since I began in August of 1998. Along with that has been a tremendous change in our use of technology,” she says.
One of her favorite things about Lovett has definitely been the community. “We care about each other,” she says. Because of this, she’s going to miss the interaction with her colleagues next year. One thing she won’t miss, though, is the parking!
Bill Nichols - History Teacher
Mr. Nichols is known for his funny sense of humor, his American Studies history class, and his annual holiday faculty party with his best friend, Mr. Jewell.
Mr. Nichols has taught a variety of classes at Lovett. Besides teaching American Studies for six years, he’s taught economics, Modern Global (originally Western Civilization), and Ancient Medieval.
He distinctly remembers his job interview at Lovett. It was at the end of July with the principal at the time, Dr. Hall, and was in the common’s classroom area (fine arts center). When he got the job, he was assigned a classroom on the bottom floor with a view of the pond. “It was absolutely fabulous,” he says. “Especially when they put the fountain in.”
Mr. Nichols has been here for such a long time that he has seen Lovett undergo many changes. Back in the day, before the fine arts building was built, there used to be stadium-like steps where both students and faculty could sit in the sun together. We don’t have much of that now. He’s also seen all three schools be built, in addition to the gyms, the parking lot, the baseball fields, tennis courts, and football practice field.
Other than the cafe, his favorite thing about Lovett has been his colleagues, and he is going to miss them dearly. “They’re wonderful, very supportive, and tremendously caring,” he says. And, of course, he is going to miss his students. “I’ve always enjoyed teaching in part because I enjoy dealing with students your age. I originally started in middle school and that’s why I got out of there,” he jokes.
Now that he is retiring, Mr. Nichols is moving with his wife to western North Carolina, where he will do some substitute teaching in the county (which is very different from Lovett). In addition to wanting to learn how to paddleboard, he also wants to travel. His first trip will be in August to Ireland, where he plans to do some volunteer work.
What he’s most excited for, though, is not having to attend any more faculty meetings. “Don’t think I’ll miss those,” he says.
Stutz Wimmer - Band Teacher
It wouldn’t be weird for a band student’s favorite teacher to be Mr. Wimmer. After all, he’s been at Lovett for 29 years and has formed many relationships with both staff and students.
Mr. Wimmer has really appreciated teaching at Lovett, and can’t imagine having had a better place to play out a career. “Lovett is a place where kids and faculty and learn how to learn. [It’s] a supportive, safe, family-like setting where we all get the chance to really know and understand each other, where we're encouraged to share our wins and loses without being judged, where we can safely expose our vulnerabilities in order to work on improving them, where we can try and fail, then try again the next year, until we get it right. All under the guidance of some of the most capable leaders you'll find anywhere,” he says.
After he retires, Mr. Wimmer will be moving to Hilton Head, where he plans to buy a fishing boat, play lots more music for himself, and work with his hands in a shop that he’s building.
Like Mr. Nichols, Mr. Wimmer still remembers his interview at Lovett with the then headmaster, Al Cash. Mr. Wimmer believes he’s never had a more pleasant experience in an interview. In fact, Mr. Cash sold Lovett so effectively that he couldn’t believe what he was hearing could possibly be true. But it turns out, it was.
Mr. Wimmer also remembers having so many students stop him on the way to the car during the first several weeks, in order to tell him how glad they were that he had been chosen to come to Lovett. “They made me feel so welcome here, in a setting unlike anything I’d ever experienced. I knew nothing about private high school culture...nothing at all. What a pleasant though shocking discovery I’d made!” he says.
It’s hard to imagine, but Mr. Wimmer thinks that Lovett is even better now than when he started. He thinks the facilities are 100 times better than when he started in ‘87, and the students are better citizens for sure. “Lovett is in a very, very, very good place at the moment. So long as Billy is at the helm, the place will continue to improve. How blessed we all are to have had him come along.”
Jim Wingate - Robotics Teacher
Mr. Wingate has been at Lovett for 23 years and he’s loved every day. In fact, he remembers the days when the campus had lots of parking space. “My NYC school had no provisions for parking,” he says.
Ever since the Makers Club has increased in popularity, more and more people have been hanging out in Mr. Wingate’s classroom in the Community Center. In fact, that’s the biggest change he’s seen at Lovett during his time here: the huge jump in available technology for students and faculty.
His favorite thing about Lovett is that there are no class change bells in his area, especially because it takes “time pressure off of students working in his classes.”
Now that Mr. Wingate is retiring, he plans to slow down a bit. “I still expect my day will start at 4:00 am with a cup of coffee before the rush of exciting events!” he says. He’s going to miss the enthusiastic morning greetings from students and faculty when starting the day.
One thing he won’t miss is the yearly “Blood Pathogen film/video” viewing requiring for teachers. “I don’t want to pass out during the showing…” he says.
Lamar Allen - Security Guard
One of the essential parts to a successful community is safety, and we have all our great security guards here at Lovett to thank for that. Lamar Allen, one of the security guards, who has been at Lovett for 20 years, will be retiring after this year.
Before coming to Lovett, Mr. Allen worked for the Board of Education in Fulton County.
Mr. Allen loves coming to work because he gets to do what he enjoys doing. When he told everyone he was going to be retiring, none of them wanted him to leave, especially because he plays such an integral role at Lovett. “I just felt like it was the right time,” he says.
Like the other teachers, Mr. Lamar thinks that through the 20 years he’s been here, the biggest change he’s seen at Lovett has been the buildings. “They’re much better now. It was mostly older buildings that had been there for 15 or 20 year when I started working here. The new ones are much more modern and have more modern equipment. The gym is also much better now,” he says.
For the first six months after he retires, Mr. Allen will be travelling. After that, he is going to help raise his grandkids and get to enjoy them. Some of them live here in Georgia, but others live in Boston and Michigan.
Even though Mr. Allen is going to miss the people he works with dearly (he’s worked with them for decades), he won’t miss coming to work because he is going to have other important things to do. “That will be the end of this chapter and I’ll be starting a new chapter in my life.”
Alyse Cooper-Pribish - Guidance Counselor
“This is crazy, but I won’t miss the bathrooms,” Mrs. CP says, pouring herself a coffee at 7:40 am in her office. “And I definitely won’t miss getting up early.”
Taking it slow is one of the things Mrs. CP plans to do next year when she retires (she’s always rushing here), in addition to taking care of her father who lives with her. After she rests, she’s going to sign up for Netflix and start watching Breaking Bad and all the other ones she hasn’t had time to watch. She’s never binge watched and she wants to see what it’s like.
She also wants to do all kinds of exercise. Specifically, in the morning, not when she’s exhausted after works. “I want to try everything that’s out there,” she says. To name a few, she wants to spend more time riding her bike and kayaking at the lake. She’s also signed up for a yoga retreat next year in Mexico, in addition to a trip planned to South Africa.
Besides the food, Mrs. CP’s favorite thing about Lovett is the community. Before she started working at Lovett, she went from school to school and trained people but never really got to be part of a community. To her, the family at Lovett is like a whole way of life. She likes how Lovett keeps up in not just the mental health area, but the teaching world.
Most importantly, she loves her advisory. She’s had four advisories and those are some of the most important relationships she’s had at Lovett, seeing them grow and change from 9th through 12th.
Next year, Mrs. CP is going to miss the community and the relationships. She’s worked with adolescents her entire life, since she was about 16 or 18. “I like the energy I get from being around young people. I’m going to miss always being up to date with all the newest research on all the issues surrounding adolescents and their mental health,” she says. “I just love my job.”
Lovett’s prestigious Ellington band has been keeping the riffs and solos of jazz music alive throughout the halls for years and years. Mr. Wimmer, the Ellington band teacher, is coming down to the end of his last year at Lovett, and it so happens that he and Ellington have had one of their most successful years yet, with a recent third place finish at the prestigious Savannah Jazz Festival.
Their competition was some of the best high school jazz bands in the country. Their third place finish is the highest that Lovett’s Ellington band has ever placed in a national competition and Mr. Wimmer helped break Lovett band history.
The Savannah Jazz Festival is extremely selective even when choosing bands for the competition. “The competition is increasingly more fierce year to year,” says Mr. Wimmer, “To have won a spot in the finalist group is quite an accomplishment. I'm really, really proud of them.”
Mr. Wimmer teaches Ellington because he thinks that jazz music is of the same caliber as the profound works of Shakespeare or Brahms. He admires its profound design and rich history of 100+ years of genius practitioners. “And it remains the only truly original American art form,” he says. “Besides, art goes a long way toward making life worth living. It matters.”
He believes it is especially important for young people to play because of its profundity. According to Mr. Wimmer, jazz music exposes students to as much “great stuff” as possible and that is their number one job in school.
Mr. Wimmer’s students will be armed with some knowledge of what “great stuff” actually is and then they will be more equipped to make decisions down the road. He says that their ability to play jazz music will create “more options for them to have, and the better they understand those options, the more informed choices they can make.”
Senior James Bronsted, pianist for the Ellington band, has learned a lot of lessons from being a part of Ellington since ninth grade. James views the role of the pianist in a jazz band as an accompaniment to every other instrument playing. “Every note you play has to add to the intensity,” he says. “You have to adjust to whatever is playing and fill the holes that the band has left behind.”
As a solo pianist, he can use 88 keys and technically play 10 notes at a time but that is extremely rare. He can cover baselines, play melodies, solos, and they can all be harmonized using quartets. But being a part of a rhythm section, he says, “I have to respond to everyone and be in line with the drummer, bass, and melody. But that is true for every instrument.”
Senior Joseph Tripodi has also learned the importance of collaboration within the Ellington band. He believes that in order to achieve excellence, it requires everyone to put forth their best effort every day. “Mr. Wimmer and Ellington gave me a greater appreciation for the music we play and its history,” he says.
Aside from developing a greater appreciation for jazz and understanding the importance of collaboration, senior Matthew Boutte has honed his skills as a drummer since becoming a member of Ellington. “In rock you can get by with playing the drums with just three of your limbs,” he says, “but in Jazz it requires all four.” He says he has been able to develop a strong independence in his left and right foot, which allows him to do a rhythm independently without throwing off the time of his other limbs.
Mr. Wimmer compares Ellington’s group dynamic to that of a sports or business team. Everyone in the group has a role and set of responsibilities which are hoped to be clearly understood. With hard work and determination to prepare their individual craft, the group will hopefully emerge as “an amalgamation of the collective efforts of each member of the team.” Mr. Wimmer is a firm believer that the better the individuals, the better the team. After all, they are a jazz ensemble!
Matthew Boutte thinks that the key to a successful jazz ensemble is time. “It takes time to develop the feeling,” he says, “and it took our band a good amount of time to develop that feel.” Thankfully, a good number of the band members have been a part of Lovett’s jazz program since seventh grade, so they were able to get it much quicker than if they had all started in ninth grade.
Mr. Wimmer believes that in order to develop a deeper understanding of the “feel”, the more technical skill and preparation is required of each player. To play anything that even resembles jazz music, Mr. Wimmer says students must really have to be able to play their instrument at a high level. “It takes a lot of time,” he says. “You know it when you hear it, and as a player, you know when it’s good. And you know when it isn’t.”
After speaking to a few members of the band, I concluded that most players generally practice about 4-6 hours a week outside of Ellington practices. “It's important to practice regularly to strive for constant improvement,” says Joseph Tripodi. “Practicing and extra rehearsals were key components of our third place finish at the Savannah Jazz Festival.”
Once arriving in Savannah after a 4 am departure, the band attended a two day clinic that brought together 10-15 of the most well known jazz musicians to teach about each instrument in the competition. Workshops focus on rhythms, trombones, saxes, and trumpets separately.
Eventually, each band performs the 7 or 8 competition tunes that they have been practicing with the clinicians (the well known jazz musicians acting as teachers) and receive feedback. According to James, some clinicians were more intimidating than others and “some would not back down until the band performed it right.”
The third and final day consisted of the actual competition. Each band plays three competition songs for the judges and is allotted only 25 minutes to get on the stage, perform the songs, and get off of the stage. Lovett’s Ellington band performed at about one in the afternoon and the top three bands were announced at 3:30 so that they could prepare to perform in the final concert that night. The band performed “Night Train” in the final concert, which was an experience they will never forget.
The performance took place in the esteemed Lucas Theatre, which was sold out, filling the venue with over 2,000 people. “We need to keep in mind that the final concert will probably be the first and last time most members of the band will have performed at such a high level venue,” Mr. Wimmer said.
Mr. Wimmer, overjoyed with Ellington’s success in Savannah, says, “They could not have played any better than they played. When it comes down to the wire, they give everything they have.” He believes the Lovett students, and especially the Ellington band, respond very well to goals and they compete very well. “They played at a much higher level than they would have played at a local a venue,” he says.
Besides already earning a spot in the top three in the Savannah Jazz Festival, Mr. Wimmer hopes to finish his career with a strong Spring Concert. “For the next two weeks we will just be practicing songs for the concert,” he says, “and then that will pretty much be the end of it for me.”
James Bronsted views the success in Savannah as a gift. Because Mr. Wimmer is retiring after this year, James says “a lot of people in the band would agree that Savannah was our gift to Mr. Wimmer.”
Mr. Wimmer’s closing remarks about this year’s Ellington band were as heartfelt as Ellington’s gift to him. “I think this was a great group of kids,” he says, “and like all successful teams they have worked consistently and all year long. I have a very cohesive group.”
As we sat, stuffing Chick-fil-A biscuits in our mouths at the cafeteria tables, covered in glitter and ‘100 Days’ glasses, we listened to our senior class president, Hollis Rhodes, inspire us to finish our high school career as strong as we began it.
This got me thinking about how I want to finish my Lovett career. I have spent four years wishing away high school and wanting to skip ahead to college. I have spent hours complaining about the outerwear rules, the speed bumps, the skirt length, and the lack of NUDs.
But what about all of the things I will miss about high school? I will miss walking out to the plaza and seeing my friends play kickball everyday at lunch. I will miss having a group of friends that have watched me grow up and been by my side for every day of it.
So, what do I want to accomplish in my last 100 days of high school? Let’s be realistic. My motivation to excel in school has definitely experienced a decline, but I am motivated to have a memorable second semester. I hope that on each day of my last 100 days I find something that I enjoy about high school. I don’t want to look back in five years and regret rushing through high school to be an adult.
Inspired by Hollis’s speech in the cafeteria, I went out to ask a few senior about their last high school wishes.
Caroline Carr Grant, being the good student that she is, wants to keep her grades up and not let them fall too far. But she also wants to make sure she spends enough time with her friends without stressing about the small things. “I want to make the most of it,” she says, “because I will be going abroad for college and won’t be able to come home for breaks next year.”
For Audrey Wells, family is more important than friends. After all, we spend eighteen years of our life with them and then suddenly disappear to a place called college. Although it will be a challenge to balance relationships between friends and family, Audrey wants keep more focus on the people that love her more than anyone else.
Instead of focusing on relationships, Evan Mercer seems to be forming a 100 days bucket list. First on the bucket list for Evan is attending more concerts this semester. He also wants to hike Stone Mountain at sunrise with his dad. Lastly, he wants to thank all of the teachers that have made an impact on him throughout high school. “Maybe I will even buy them all little Middlebury pendants for them to wear,” he says.
Alex Schmidt, being the jock that he is, hopes to build the washboard abs that he has always dreamed of. “Since I don’t have to focus as much on school anymore,” he says, “I will have time to get the perfect summer bod.”
Some seniors have big and overarching hopes for last weeks at Lovett, but some, like Alex, have simple and (hopefully) achievable ones. For me, I fall somewhere in the middle of the spectrum. Sure, I have been trying to run a couple Lovett loops here and there to get in shape for summer, but I also have been making an effort to do fun things with my friends whenever I can. I want to live my last days at Lovett with an active and lively mindset. I want to make spontaneous memories with my friends and family.
A tortoise is not the most common of household pets. It certainly has to rank lower on the request list of Santa than a Labrador Retriever. I know I never thought I was going to one when I was younger.
Michaelangelo entered into my care after my brother, Andrew, departed for the University of Georgia. I was left with a 30 gallon glass tank, a rock, a dish for water, a small cave hideout, part of a tree, and some mulch for the tortoise, and of course, Mike herself.
One of my first shocks? Mike is actually a girl. My brother was being clever when he named Michaelangelo after one of the Teen Mutant Ninja Turtles.
Now, each day that I come home from school, I look into the clear glass tank, filled with Bob Marley posters taped behind the glass, and see Michaelangelo basking under her heat lamp, or sleeping in her hideout.
After basketball practice, I will feed Mike and put clean water in her dish. I also give her tank a nice spritzing to keep it humid and moist.
Mike loves her daily lettuce and fruit. Occasionally, I will toss in some unique fruits such as seedless watermelon or grapes. According to the vet, the red footed tortoises go after red foods coincidentally.
I sometimes just stare at the incredible reptile in awe. She always seems to be very calm.
Even though she is only given the freedom to be outside of her cage when I feel the desire to take her out, she still seems to love me (or my imagination drives me to believe so).
How do you know when your tortoise loves you? Maybe it is more of a love-hate relationship. When I take Mike out, she roams around my room freely, wagging her tail (if you didn’t know tortoises have tails). I constantly have to pick her up and put her back in the center of the room, so she does not nibble on any electric wires or eat any of the poisonous cockroach traps (which we placed in the corners of my room after having a cockroach gathering in my top drawer).
Sometimes Mike gets so pissed off after I snag her for the fifth time that she gives up on trying to run away. Resigned, she walks her way over to where I am laying, and just circles around me.
Occasionally Mike will drop the kids off at the pool, or should I say lay some logs on the carpet. If you have never seen a tortoise defecate, let me tell you, it’s pretty interesting. She’ll squeeze her head back into her shell, close her eyes, and lift the back end of her shell so that her tail is pointing straight down. Then it all happens pretty quickly. Sometimes it’s more solid. Sometimes it’s more liquidy.
Another thing that Mike really enjoys is taking baths. After I fill part of the tub with some warm water, Mike experiences her aquatic life that she always dreamed of having. For a couple of minutes, she soaks up the warm water. Then she will roam around the tub, which probably seems like an Apple store filled with water to her because of the vast whiteness.
After taking her weekly bath, I lay a towel out for Michaela, the princess of the Ninja Turtles. She then receives a massage from me as I dry her wet spotted shell.
Mike is the best companion to have when I am going through the week, sitting at my desk, doing my homework. She is always there for me, or maybe she is always forced to be there for me (since her home is a cage on top of my cabinet).
I hope that I give Michaelangelo as much as she gives to me. I get to look at her cute face each and every day. She has seen me through thick and thin. She has hung in there when I have forgotten to turn her lights on, and when I have forgotten to feed her at 5 to 6 o’clock meal time. She never complains either. She always seems to have a pleasant look on her face when I stare at her.
I am so fortunate that Michaelangelo is a part of my life. Even though I take care of her each day, she will end up being my caretaker in my older years because she is projected to outlive me.
On Friday, February 19th, Michael Fosberg came to perform his one-man play, Incognito. The play details his life during his early twenties, when he learned that his birth father was black, which challenged--and widened--his understanding of his own identity. (MF: Michael Fosberg; KEK: Katie Krantz, me)
KEK: So, let’s start at the beginning,
KEK: How did you have the idea to turn your book into a play?
MF: What happened was, well, my sister, who is a visual artist, a painter and printmaker, had always wanted to collaborate on something. She approached me, knowing I was working on a book, and she knew that I’d written some chapters. She said, “Why don’t we collaborate?” And I didn’t know exactly how that would work with my book and her work, and she responded that we should use her loft space in Chicago to invite a bunch of people over to have some wine and cheese. They can look at my artwork and you can read some of your chapters from the book you’re writing.
KEK: And how did this translate into the professional performance we saw?
MF: So, we had about sixty people there that night, and they walked around and looked at art. At a certain point, we told everyone to have a seat, and I sat down with a music stand and had about four or five chapters that I had been writing. I started reading them. Interpreting the chapters, but still reading. People were laughing, and they were crying, and they were so moved by it that they came up to me after the reading. They told me that I should be doing this. I said, I am working on the book. They told me I should be performing it. I’d always been an actor, a writer, teacher, and I’d never really thought about doing a one man play.
KEK: How did you transition into turning this book into a play?
MF: Well, I knew other people who did, other actors, but that’s what sort of propelled me into that. I had another reading a couple months later and got the same response, and that’s what propelled me into putting it into a one man play.
KEK: What personal connections do you feel with the characters, running through your own story over and over?
MF: This question hasn’t come up before. I don’t actually feel personal connections very often. That may seem a little strange, but when I first started doing it, it was very personally palpable to me, and I got very emotional. But I realized that if I was going to do this for any length of time, I was going to need to use what we do as actors, and that’s giving ourselves an aesthetic distance. So we, I approach it now as if it’s not my mother that I’m playing, but a character who’s name is Adrian Fosberg, and it requires this amount of emotion at this particular period in the play. I don’t look at it as I’m playing family members. I look at it as if I’m just playing that character, I know that it’s a little more sketchy when it comes to me. How do you divorce yourself from yourself? I always try to use that aesthetic difference, to make it personal, but also feel that it requires this much emotion.
KEK: So what do you think students should take away from this?
MF: I think that students take a lot of different things away from it, and that’s good. The main thing I’m trying to get people to think about is the whole idea of “who are we?”, “how do we come to that sense of who we are?”, “how do we find out where we fit in?” , and “how do we look at other people?” Whether you’re black, or white, or gay, or straight, or a man, or a Catholic, or a Christian, or whatever, we all have all these different aspects of ourselves, and how do we embrace those or not, and this whole idea of identity is fluid and different for everyone, but I’m not sure we always recognize that. I’m trying to get people to think about that on a broader scale. You come to your identity different than someone else. Even though there may be something overriding, no two people’s experiences are the same. We need to recognize that instead of squeezing yourself into a box.
KEK: How do you feel we should initiate a discussion about race as we move forward?
MF: This is a big issue, and this is one of the things I feel sad I don’t get to do more, because I just leave them with the can of worms. First of all, it’s a very difficult conversation to have, because everybody comes to it with different experiences. We need to get comfortable being uncomfortable, because it’s going to be uncomfortable and that’s okay. I also think that we need to be very respectful, and if, for instance, you are engaging in that discussion, we can’t come to the conversation from a place of fear. So, sometimes, white people tend to be a little more cautious. Some are more than others, because we’re afraid of saying something racist, or offensive, or other. How can you have an open discussion if you’re opening it from a place of caution? People of color are sometimes ready to pounce on anyone or anything, and so we’re polarized. What I’m suggesting is that we need to create this space in which we can have a conversation in a respectful manner.
The sports this season are lookin’ really sportyrific. (sportyrific (adj.) -to be of sports-like quality). During the winter, sports stuff moves indoors because athletes don’t want to do sports in the cold.
The sport in which people jump into a ridiculously large bathtub and propel themselves forward is going swimmingly (“Hah, I say! Hah!”) for the girls. None of the five teams that have raced those Lovett athletes have been able to propel themselves at a faster rate than the Lovett team. Unfortunately, their male counterparts haven’t been so successful, only out-propelling one of the five teams that they’ve not drowned against.
That being said, these athletes are participating in one of the two sports that could ever be of practical use (the other being the sport that involves athletes putting one foot in front of the other very quickly). For instance, if you find yourself in the middle of a large body of water, you can simply tap into your high school sports experience and propel your way to shore. If you find that you’re suddenly Tom Hanks on a deserted island with nothing but a snarky sports ball named Wilson to keep you company, you can manually propel yourself to the mainland.
So really, everyone’s a winner in this situation.
The Lovett students who jump up and down on a board in order to gain momentum, then, while doing flips and stuff, change their gravitational potential energy to kinetic energy by landing in the oversized bathtub, have changed their gravitational potential energy to kinetic energy more gracefully than the five schools that they have met.
How does one judge a dive? Is there a scale or is it just the overall impression of how a dive looked? Things were much more simple back in the day. When you jumped into a pool, everyone just looked at the size of the splash. There should be a category that includes a “Biggest Splash” category. I would totally watch that.
Then there is the Lovett sport in which two people try to put each other in painful positions. The team has won against the three schools they’ve met so far, causing comparatively more pain to them than they could to the Lovett team.
I’m not even sure how one goes about winning one of these matches. Historically speaking, when a sport involved two people fighting, it ended when one of the two people died a grisly death. However, this clearly isn’t the case seeing as 100% of the wrestling team is still alive. So what’s the goal of this sport? Do they go at it until one of them gives up? These are the questions that need to be answered.
The sports team with athletes running up and down a floor with lots of colorful lines while bouncing a ball is also doing well. The Lovett male athletes have beaten all four teams they’ve played while the females have beaten seven out of the eight teams they’ve played.
While this sport is universally dominated by tall people, the coaches have overlooked a strategy that will redefine how the sport is played. If the teams had two or three short people to run in-between the tall people’s legs, the tall people on the other team wouldn’t know what to do.
Lastly, the team that says nice things to the team that bounces sports balls is certainly helping them do sports better. While there isn’t a quantifiable measure of their success, they all look like they’re having fun and that’s what counts.
My only problem with this sport is the name. If they’re all “cheerleaders,” what do they call the captain? Would she be the cheerleader leader? This is why people should think before they arbitrarily name things. That being said, the army has already fabricated an elegant solution for this dilemma. If cheerleaders lead us in cheering, that makes all of us cheer-privates. If we’re all cheer-privates, that makes the cheerleaders, cheer-corporals. Finally, the cheerleader leader would simply be the cheer-sergeant. There. Problem solved.
While the fall sports were pretty good, the winter sports look promising. Once they’re done, the spring athletes will pop out of the snow like daisies, bringing just as much athleticism as the winter sports.