Welcome to The Exchanged!
We’re an independent, student-run, coed, online magazine that publishes nearly every Monday morning throughout the year (this and our next issue are exceptions—Issue II comes out on the 15th). Our dedicated team of student writers, editors, and contributors works tirelessly to bring you exposition, news, commentary, and multimedia regarding all facets of Close and non-Close life, so we hope you enjoy! A couple of points to note:
We’re looking forward to sharing another year of great content, up-to-date news, and insightful commentary, directly from St. Albans and NCS students!
—NM '20, Will Nash '20, Priya Phillips '20, and Liam Warin '20
By Damian Hackett '21
The last week of August finds many students savoring their last few days of freedom before returning to school, but for the STA/NCS Cross Country team, the end of August means one thing in particular: preseason camp. The annual pilgrimage to Camp Abnaki in North Hero, Vermont has become a cornerstone of the season; it is the first time the team is brought together before the season, and for many, it is their first-ever experience on the team.
The first day begins early, as does most of camp. The early morning hours of Monday find a jumbled mass of runners assembling in the Cathedral parking garage, some still half-asleep, for a 6 am departure. Even before leaving the parking garage, however, the team faced its first challenge. One of the buses had broken down on its way to the Close, and a replacement would not arrive for more than three hours. Undeterred, seniors and freshmen took the first bus while sophomores and juniors followed a few hours later. All made it safely to Vermont by mid-evening, and after dinner all made their way to their respective villages and cabins, home for the next week.
Just after 6 o’clock, morning practice begins silently, with an inaugural warm up around the misty fields and waterfront. Many are groggy after what is most likely the earliest wake-up in months for some, however this feeling quickly fades in the crisp Vermont morning. Following practice, an excellent breakfast, and a rigorous 10-point cabin inspection, runners have significant free time until the afternoon practice, something that defines the camp experience. Archery, volleyball, tetherball, ping pong, and *light* basketball are just some of the recreational options, as are cards or simply relaxing outside.
By midweek and approaching the halfway point of camp, the team takes its customary trip into Burlington, home of Ben & Jerry's and the largest city in Vermont. Although visiting the Ben & Jerry’s factory is no longer possible, runners can still indulge in large amounts of ‘sometimes food’ in the store, as well as experience the other attractions of Church Street, including the Outdoor Gear Exchange and Vermont Flannel. The following day some of the team has a hard morning workout, while the remainder makes the trip to the Mt. Mansfield Toll Road for what is known as “the mountain.” The run is a formidable 4.5-mile route up the side of a toll road and ski slope, climbing more than 3,000 feet in elevation. After the grueling ascent, the top of the mountain offers a stunning view of Vermont and New York, as well as an opportunity for an equally stunning number of Instagram posts.
Then on Saturday, with the end of camp fast approaching, the Wigwam dance takes place. “Wigwam” as it is called, is no longer held in the Wigwam but instead takes place in the dining hall, and is an hour-long event which gives teammates an opportunity to simultaneously decompress from the week’s demands while also getting in an extra workout for the day. The following day another core tradition of camp takes place: the Zany Olympics. Sorted into color-coded groups, runners compete in a number of physical and intellectual contests including tug-of-war, dodgeball, and song naming, as well as two new events: volleyball and kickball.
Held on the last night of camp, the campfire is a time where the entire team gathers to enjoy a bonfire and roast s’mores, while brave individuals/groups sing songs or even put on full-blown theatrical productions! The quality of the performances range from genuinely impressive to somewhat less so, but the spirit of team camaraderie lasts long after the fire has died. After the next morning’s tempo run, which coaches stress is not a race, the cabins are emptied and the buses (both of them!) are loaded up, beginning the long journey back to DC. That night, no doubt happy to be sleeping in their own beds, cross country camp is but a fading memory for the team—until next time.
Thanks to the coaches, Camp Abnaki staff, and everyone else who made camp this year a success.
By the Editors-in-Chief
Justice on Trial: The Kavanaugh Confirmation and the Future of the Supreme Court by Mollie Hemingway and Carrie Severino
Two respected commentators offer a refreshing take on the Kavanaugh hearings that you won’t hear in mainstream media in this #1 National Bestseller, Justice on Trial. Regardless of your politics, this detail- and research-rich account is a must-read.
Listening In: The Secret White House Recordings of John F. Kennedy by Caroline Kennedy and Ted Widmer
Along with a foreword from John F. Kennedy’s daughter Caroline Kennedy herself, esteemed historian Ted Widmer compiles select recordings from the 35th President’s secret discussions and gives an inside look into private meetings that decided the fate of the United States.
Andersonville by MacKinlay Kantor
Winner of the 1956 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, Kantor’s sprawling epic describing the infamous Confederate prison incorporates the narration of dozens of characters, from slaves to guards to inmates of the wretched place.
Political Tribes: Group Instinct and the Fate of Nations by Amy Chua
Yale Law School Professor Amy Chua discusses the detrimental effects of tribalism on America’s past foreign and domestic policy efforts.
By Kalena Blake '20
Hi everyone, my name is Kalena Blake, and I am the student body president of the Upper School. On behalf of the Student Government and the senior class, I am excited to welcome everyone to the ’19- ’20 school year. I would like to take this opportunity to speak more about student government, outline some initiatives I have for the school year, and, most importantly, get everyone excited for what will certainly be another great year at NCS.
First, the student government is comprised of grade and school-wide leadership. We meet every F-day during clubs to plan school events, pass proposals, and discuss how we can support grade representatives and board heads in their initiatives. In the past few years, student government implemented initiatives such as the liaison program with the middle school, the NEST program, a cross-grade mentorship project, and the peer mentor program. I am excited to not only support already existing initiatives, but also to collaborate on some new ways to improve the upper school life.
However, I want to emphasize something: you don’t have to be a part of student government or write an elaborate proposal to enact change at NCS. If you see a way in which life at the upper school can be improved, feel free to email, text, or talk to either me or a grade representative. I want the student government to be as responsive as possible this year.
In addition to responsiveness, this year, I hope to focus on improving student engagement by incentivizing attendance at games, open mics, and productions. In order to do so, the student government will work with the newly formed NCS booster club, CASH, to increase student turnout at events. I also hope to start a conversation about how NCS have can a more comprehensive alumni association. Nonetheless, the core of stugov’s mission will be to make NCS more enjoyable for everyone. For the freshman, I want to ensure the transition to the upper school is as smooth as possible. For sophomores and juniors, I want to make sure that stugov supports you in all your academic, athletic, and artistic purists. Lastly, for seniors, I want our last year to be the best it can be. Whether this is through putting snacks in Woodley or planning fun NEST events, I want each grade to have an amazing and exciting year.
Please stop me in the hallway if you want to chat about student government or just want to have a conversation! I’m so excited to get to know each of you!
By Aidan Stretch '20
To STA 2019-2020 students, faculty, and staff--
After registration day, things start to move pretty quickly—soccer has their first game; the seniors guide C-Formers down the aisle of the Cathedral; and freshmen realize (regretfully) what a high school night of homework looks like. But soon, things slow down again—we move to our second table rotation; we get excited for homecoming; and getting out of our cars on pilgrim road or at senior circle begins to feel routine. Given that I cannot get much more specific than remembering the different “speeds” of the start of school, I suspect that I haven’t quite departed from summer mode, and I am sure that many of you haven’t either. So take your time, be nervous, be excited, and, in no time, we will all find our rhythms.
Freshmen, I am certain that people have told you that it is hard. What they may not have told you is that it is also fun. I was new to St. Albans freshman year, and the first couple weeks of school were difficult. I didn’t know anyone, and my classes seemed impossible, and I doubted whether I had made the right choice coming to this place. Then, I heard a couple funny lunch announcements, went to my first home football game, laughed with my classmates about an Odyssey quiz that was impossible to pass. And soon enough, St. Albans was fun, and it was home, and, with time, all of you will feel the same way.
Sophomores, must be nice. You have some time on your hands, truthfully not as much as advertised, but still some. Use that time. Begin to figure out what interests you. Join a club, write for a publication on the Close [hint hint], go to your friends’ sports games, explore what St. Albans has to offer beyond the classroom. And do not get complacent. Though it is true that, at times, sophomore year is less demanding, it is still St. Albans, and, as you know, St. Albans is not easy. Take pride in the fact that you have finished a year here because you earned it, and you worked to get here. And, most importantly, enjoy yourselves—sophomore year really is fun—but know that the freshman leeway that was granted to you last year may no longer exist, so act accordingly.
Juniors, you have survived two years here on nothing but chicken, rice, and Big Texas’s—you can survive another one. In truth, it is not that bad. Sure, work picks up a little and you begin to stress a bit about college and the history paper is no joke, but you have trained for this and you are ready. When people gripe about junior year, they often forget to describe all the good things about it, so conscious of this, let me tell you the pros of junior year. I found that, over the course of Form V, my grade grew much closer—three years in the same place, going through the same struggles will do that to a group of people. The new friends you make junior year, people you may not even have known after freshman year, begin to make St. Albans feel more like a large family, a large brotherhood. Even as your studies intensify, the support network you will have undoubtedly created by the middle of your junior year somehow makes everything seem more manageable. So be nice to your friends, be grateful for your friends, and you will all make it out unscathed because you are doing it together.
Seniors, one more left. To be honest, I still feel like a junior. I am not sure if I am ready to stand in the first row at games or ask the table questions or apply to colleges. I am clearly a little nervous about the journey we are all about to begin. But I am also excited because I get to do it with you guys—75 guys whom I have the utmost respect for and whom I know will have my back this entire year just as I will have yours. I know that it will not be smooth sailing the whole way. We will have our ups and downs and obstacles that we will have to overcome, but I also know that the Class of 2020 is going to be special.
A final thought to leave you with: before you know it, you will be in the seniors’ shoes with only one more year to enjoy this place, so cherish this year, cherish your friends, and look for moments when you can sit back and appreciate all that St. Albans has to offer.
By Anaya Rodgers '20
Last year, with a team of ten, Cathedral Varsity Volleyball (CVVB) had another very successful and productive season. And this season, with nine returners and two new freshmen, our year looks even more promising. Though not much has changed with the players, besides of course major improvement, volleyball’s coaching staff has had some drastic switch-ups.
Starting off, we have some old faces in new positions. Coach Ahlborn returns to being the assistant varsity coach after a year off, along with Señor who moves to varsity from his former role as JV head coach. Coach Fields moved from assistant varsity coach to JV, Coach Shaw introduces herself as a new face to the JV volleyball program, and Hailey Murray ‘14 returns to the close from her professional volleyball career as the head coach of the JV team. With such experienced coaches, the students and players are excited for the season to begin, because we know we have incredible teachers in our corner.
This season’s practices have been more focused, detailed, and productive than any other year. All in all, the team is beyond excited for the season to start, as the preseason showed enormous potential for dominance, learning, and growth. Though we missed one of our star players, Sydney Barta ‘22, during the preseason, we have no doubt that she will be more than in shape after her victorious feats in this year’s Paralympics, returning home with two medals and a world record. NCS welcomes her back and CVVB cannot wait for her to rejoin us on Tuesday, as we finally become our full group. As the team familiarizes itself with each other once again, the seniors cannot wait to see what this season becomes, and the fun we will have along the way.
By Anika Mitra '20
All around the close, the beginning of tennis season sparks excitement for new freshmen and “seasoned” senior tennis players alike. By the looks of the improvement in strokes from just a few short weeks, we can already tell the 2019 season of Cathedral Varsity Tennis (CVT for short) will be unforgettable.
With eight seniors, two new freshmen and two new sophomores, the varsity team has both the energy of new underclassmen and hype former CVT members. Coach White on the varsity team has been working hard to think of new drills to keep us engaged at the net and moving our feet at the baseline. Another fan favorite, Coach Firouzgar, has been working with the junior varsity team, specifically on slices.
This season, CVT has already made strides to continue being the most intense sport on the close, including runs after practice. Our goals this season include being even more focused and productive with practice, growing closer as a team through bonding activities, and hopefully have a winning record by the end of the season. Beyond all the genuine laughter and fun of practice, I can sincerely see the determination and willingness of every individual to put in the effort to hone their net-play, groundstrokes, and serves. In addition, in the wise words of my co-captain, Kate Nuechterlein, “I hope, nay, am certain that we will produce a hype video that is even better than last year’s.”
By Mary Rose Bell '20
For the past few years, the soccer program lacked numbers, and both JV and Varsity had very few subs. So, this preseason was an exciting change from past years! We had many new players trying out, and their hard work was evident from day one. Although we started preseason with the infamous beep test, the energy and enthusiasm from all participants was encouraging. Returning players were already excited to see how we would all play together.
Varsity soccer graduated some key players last year—including our only keeper, Lillian Keller. However, within the first week, several players stepped up to fill the gaps in our past lineup. Although some players were not playing in their usual positions, the team quickly bonded and played successfully.
After we lost in our first scrimmage against BCC, we learned from our mistakes and improved our defending skills during the next practice. Our defensive shape and communication improved immensely as seen in our game against Walt Whitman High School. Despite being recent Maryland state champions, we beat Whitman 4-2. CVS also went on to beat WIS 1-0 later that week.
Coming out of a pretty successful preseason, CVS hopes to keep the momentum going! The extent to which we have already bonded and encouraged one another on the field is promising. We hope to build on the energy we have so far this season and give each game our all!
Also, a big shout out to our new varsity soccer members: Izzy ’23, Natalya ’23, Fiona ’23, Alexa ’22, Clare ’21, and Avery ’20!
By Mikey Brady '20
Preseason started for the 2019 St. Albans soccer team with a grueling three-day tryout and the annual trip to St. Timothy’s School the following week. With eleven returning seniors and fourteen total returning players, the team came into the season with high hopes and expectations. The addition of eight strong new players boosted this confidence even more. In addition, Coach Velli, who was previously a part of the soccer program for nine years, has returned and joined as an assistant coach to coach his son Zach Velli (’20) through his final year of high school soccer.
After three tough, but rewarding, preseason scrimmages, the team is primed for another successful run at the IAC and DCSAA championships. The regular season kicked off this Tuesday with an emphatic 4-0 away win against GDS.
It is common knowledge that hard work beats talent when talent fails to work hard, but the grit that this team has shown throughout up until now destroys any questions of complacency.
Mark my words, the 2019 St. Albans Soccer team will be a force to be reckoned with this Fall.
By Will Holland '20
Before he went down in the polls following the first debate, before he went up in the polls following the second debate, and before he had been the subject of many polls at all, Vice President Joe Biden had the high honor of meeting three high school students from St. Albans School in Washington, D.C.
Much to the surprise of Aidan Stretch, Liam Warin, and me (Ilyas Talwar would later join us), our first day interning for a presidential campaign was characterized by a long day of travel as the former VP crisscrossed the state of Iowa. We had found our roles in the Biden campaign through some family members before the end of school. With hardly a few days of summer behind us, we set off to staff events for Mr. Biden in various towns across the state. At each stop, the three of us were assigned different tasks: from taking names as people came through to “juicing” the crowd after the Vice President delivered his zingers. At one point, two of us became an impromptu security detail that closed off an aisle to prying photographers, over-excitable supporters, and even hecklers!
After the last event in Davenport, the higher level staff informed us that we were going to get a picture with the man himself. We waited anxiously in the near-empty convention hall as Mr. Biden shook hands with his most ardent supporters. Expecting a very brief interaction, the three of us eagerly awaited the chance to get a photo with the VP before he moved on to his next event. That being said, it came as a surprise when we suddenly found ourselves in the middle of anything but a basic photo-op.
We were crowded into a back room with some of Mr. Biden’s highest staff, among them the Deputy Campaign Manager and the Iowa Field Director. Following a short wait, the Vice President ambled into the room, shaking hands and laughing about the events of the day. Despite our disbelief, the three of us kept our cool as we introduced ourselves to Mr. Biden, who seemed unphased from a long day of travel. He then asked an aide for his phone and delved into the data of the campaign. He shared his strategy for the debates and then, remarkably, spoke aloud about fundraising numbers that had yet to be made public by the campaign. These included the level of support amongst different constituencies, the total amount raised, and the average donation per supporter, all of which we were in absolutely no position to know as interns. Mr. Biden closed out by thanking all of us for believing in him, and that he was determined to make us proud.
The drive back to Des Moines that night was long and the car far too small, but our spirits were high as we reveled in meeting one of the most recognizable people in the country. While the rest of the internship was not as exhilarating, it was far from boring.
Over the next two weeks we witnessed first hand how a campaign functions. Using a certain software, the four of us entered countless names and phone numbers into the campaign database. From headquarters, each of us called about five hundred individuals in hopes of securing donations or support for the campaign. In the Des Moines suburbs, we attended a house party where we met Joe Biden’s most dedicated organizers and discussed what we could do as individual supporters.
In this way, the most memorable part of the trip was not the photo that we had taken with Mr. Biden, although that was perhaps the most exciting, but rather it was the assemblage of experiences, meetings, and tasks that gave us an unparalleled view of the political world. It is no small feat to run a campaign, of any size, and it is safe to say that the four of us now know, even if from an elementary standpoint, the level of dedication and hard work that go into a political movement. At a time when politics is more dysfunctional and the national mood more cynical than ever, such knowledge may be worth a thousand pictures.