News Briefing, 2/12/2020
By NM ‘20, Will Holland ‘20, Priya Phillips ‘20, Liam Warin ‘20, and Will Nash ‘20
Nine Presidential Scholar Candidates on the Close
The U.S. Department of Education has announced the approximately 2,500 seniors who have qualified as candidates for application to the Presidential Scholars Program, grouped according to state of residence. Nine seniors on the Close—eight from St. Albans and one from NCS—counted among the nominees. They are:
Matthew Bruning (VA)
Matthew Chalk (DC)
Ian Chen (DC)
Jamie Hassett (DC)
David Hla (DC)
Nolan Musslewhite (DC)
Will Nash (DC)
Constantine Tsibouris (DC)
Gillian Moore (DC)
BEEF is Global—Multiple Popular Accounts Repost BEEF Club Video
STA BEEF Club video of Jack Muoio ‘20, dressed as moses, parting the “red sea” of fans at a basketball game was reposted to multiple famous Instagram accounts. Amassing a total of over 200,000 total views and eliciting hundreds of enthused responses in the comments, it is safe that BEEF has gone viral.
STA Administration Declines to Honor 2,070-year Anniversary of Rubicon Crossing
January 10 marked 2,070 years since Julius Caesar crossed the Rubicon River with his Thirteenth Legion, igniting a four-year period of civil war that brought an end to the Republic and laid the groundwork for the Roman Empire. When approached by St. Albans Classicists requesting recognition of the anniversary, however, administrators took issue with a prepared statement that termed the Roman Empire “the bedrock of modern West,” deeming it “controversial." A similar event, the assassination of Julius Caesar on the Ides of March, 44 BC, had been commemorated by the administration in 2019 with no controversy following a similar Classicist appeal.
NCS’s Annual Winter Formal Dance Goes without a Hitch
Capped off with a rousing speech by Ms. Dawson on the boys’ behavior throughout the night, the Winter Formal festivities concluded stunningly. Held in Hearst Hall, the dance included a live DJ and many small “moshpits”. Highlights of the night include a riveting group YMCA dance and Nick Maguidad ‘21 taking over the disk jockey stand and experiencing what it is like to be a DJ.
Government Club Returns after Hiatus
The coed Government Club returned from its holiday hiatus with spirited debates over General Soleimani, universal health care, and the Electoral College. The first was the best attended, and featured one of the closest votes of the school year. The Liberals carried the night 32–27 after a contentious discussion over the morality and legality of the general’s death. The Club hopes to host speakers and watch parties as it readies itself for the election-year political cycle.
Dawson Marks Triumphant Return
Ms. Dawson has returned to campus after a reflective sabbatical during the first semester. Dawson teaches the extremely popular “Expository Writing” course, a perennial classic of St. Albans’ English Department open to both St. Albans and National Cathedral students.
St. Albans Yearbook Cracks Down on Renegade Clubgoers
In a minutes-long announcement at the end of lunch, Yearbook Editor-in-Chief Nolan Musslewhite ‘20 chastised students to stay out of pictures for clubs they’re not members of, especially in the bawdy after-lunch club-picture-taking crowds that had started to form in front of Senior Circle. Musslewhite also admonished the creation of farcical clubs in the weeks leading up to the photo deadline.
STA and NCS MUN Teams Experience Some Brotherly Love
The STA and NCS MUN teams travelled to Philadelphia for the Ivy League Model United Nations Conference (ILMUNC) a few weeks ago. They competed in committees covering a variety of contemporary and historical scenarios, such as the UN Security Council in the fight against terrorism, the government of Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria, and the Indian Parliament during the decolonization of the British Raj.
St. Albans Hosts Two Famous Speakers
St. Albans hosted both Chef José Andrés and Yale’s award-winning historian David Blight in the past month. Andrés, an award-winning chef and former Nobel Peace Prize nominee, addressed both the St. Albans Lower and Upper Schools in the Cathedral last month, emphasizing his charitable work in disaster affected islands in the Carribean. Blight, author of Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom (winner of the 2019 Pulitzer Prize for History), spoke to the St. Albans Upper School about Douglass.
Ring Man Makes his Annual Visit
The Ring Man stopped by Bradley Commons during the advisory period on Tuesday, February 11th to measure Form VI boys’ fingers for their class rings. Along with the ring man’s return, the senior class also celebrated the 100th day of school with cupcakes and a pat on the back.
Bennet Drops Out
Following a long campaign, Colorado Senator and STA alum Michael Bennet ‘83 dropped out of the Democratic Primary on Tuesday after the announcement of the New Hampshire primary results. Bennet, a former member of Government Club, was a favorite of the females across the close for his “cuteness and dash of blonde hair”.
Hockey loses, Basketball wins their respective quarter-final IAC Games
The St. Albans Varsity Hockey team ended their season with a well-fought but disappointing loss to the Landon Bears on Tuesday. Because Spaulding beat recently beat Georgetown Prep for the first time in fifteen years, the Bulldogs did not qualify for the MAPHL tournament. On a lighter note, the St. Albans Varsity Basketball team beat Georgetown Prep at Georgetown Prep later in the day on Tuesday. The team played particularly well all-around, but the injection of a newly-healthy Jackson Namian ‘21 added an extra spark to the Bulldog offense. They will play at St. Stephens St. Agnes on Wednesday.
Dear Close Community,
Well, here we are again. We’ll refrain from making this a drawn-out, verbose, and long-winded letter and keep it brief: Tough times came our way, and the publication fell out of print. Habits were broken; vows were destroyed; promises were left unkept. We spiraled into nadir, and until today we shamefully wallowed in our demise.
But, like a phoenix, we have arisen from the ashes of decrepitude. Weekly issues have returned, along with the best, most thought-provoking, and most well-written content from our writers in the Close Community. Stay tuned, and, as always, reach out to us!
The Exchanged is back, and we're here to stay. We hope you enjoy.
A Brief Survey of the History of Rome (III of X)
By NM '20
Our journey through the annals of Rome has re-commenced! We concluded last time with Romulus, Rome’s legendary founder and first king, dead. (A Brief Survey of the History of Rome, Part II of X)
The Priest, The Warrior, and The Builder: Through the Fourth King of Rome
Somewhat unusually, the Roman kingship was elective; the Senate nominated new kings during the interregna that followed monarchs’ deaths, and the Assembly confirmed or rejected the nominees. The arrangements surrounding Romulus’ succession were no exception; the lengthy, one-year interregnum that followed Romulus’ death saw ten Senators rule as interregnes, or “between-kings,” before Numa Pompilius was nominated and accepted as Rome’s second king.
Numa Pompilius: The Pacifist and the Priest (r. 716–673 BC)
Numa’s accession betokened a city exhausted from the constant conflict and rapid expansion of Romulus’ reign: more scholar than fighter, Numa was famed for his disciplined lifestyle, religious dedication, and wisdom. Numa’s selection marked a successful compromise between the Roman and Sabine factions of the population—though a Sabine himself, having been born in the town of Cures, his wide respect and uncontroversial status rendered him acceptable to each of the bickering factions.
Numa is chiefly remembered for his pacifism and his institution of the sacra, Rome’s religious traditions. Among his first decrees as monarch was the dissolution of the guard that had comprised Romulus’ personal entourage—an act both of peacemaking and self-preservation, as the guards’ loyalty was questionable. One of Numa’s most significant contributions was the establishment of several priestly orders, including pontifices and flamines (higher and lower classes, respectively, of standard priests), the Salii (the twelve so-called “leaping priests” of Mars), the fetiales (the priests who advised the Senate on treaties, foreign affairs, and official declarations of war), and the Pontifex Maximus, the high priest of Rome. Most significantly, he imported from Alba Longa the Vestal Virgins—the famed priestesses of Vesta (goddess of the hearth) who kept her sacred fire aflame as ceremonial stewards of all Rome. Numa also constructed several temples, including the famed Temple of Janus, whose doors were closed during peacetime and flung open during war. Tellingly, the doors remained closed for Numa’s entire reign. Another of his lasting contributions was the institution of a twelve-month calendar adjusted to the solar and lunar years, with provisions for “holy” and “unholy” days. Throughout his reign, Numa asserted his direct connection to the gods by means of his marriage to Egeria, a nymph who supposedly furnished him with divine directives upon his periodic visits to her. Numa died of old age in 673 BC, having presided over a long period of peace and productivity in the City on the Tiber.
Tullus Hostilius: The Warrior (r. 673–642 BC)
Where Numa was priest, Tullus was warrior. Scornful of the godly obsession that had settled over the city and believing Rome to have grown “soft” under Numa’s pacifism, Tullus Hostilius set about renewing the military prowess the city had enjoyed under Romulus and sought to expand its imperium, or “sphere of influence” (later “empire”). Tullus waged war on several neighboring peoples, including the Sabines (whom he defeated with a cavalry charge in a battle near Malitiosa Forest, inflicting heavy casualties), the confederated Veientes and Fidenates (whom he defeated even despite the treacherous retreat of Rome’s Alban “allies”), and the people of Alba Longa, the ancient birthplace of Romulus. It is this final conquest for which Tullus is best known today.
Cattle begat the strife. When a small herd of the beasts wandered into Alban territory, and the relevant landowners refused to return them to Rome, Tullus did what any reasonable leader might have done: He declared war against all Alba Longa. Undaunted, the Albans marshalled themselves under their king, Cluilius, and marched to the outskirts of Rome. Quickly, they dug a trench—the aptly-named Cluilian trench—around the entire city. Soon, though, Cluilius perished of unspecified causes—“Cluilius… moritur,” the Roman historian Livy helpfully elaborates: “Cluilius dies” (Ab Urbe Condita, 1.23.4). To replace Cluilius, the Albans appointed Mettius Fufetius as military dictator. The two leaders—Tullus and Fufetius—drew their armies up into battle and marched out to face each other. Neither side wanting to wage what would surely be a bloody and destructive war—for the neighboring Etruscans would have looked on with glee as their two main territorial rivals tore each other to shreds, ready to swoop in and conquer the weakened victor—Fufetius suggested a more efficient resolution: duel. Miraculously, each army had among its ranks a set of triplets: the Romans had the Horatii brothers, and the Albans had the Curiatii brothers. The teams of brothers would fight to the bloody death for their countries, and Tullus and Fufetius each entered into solemn vows, pledging that they would abide by the outcome of the fight. I borrow from Ragan to recount the conflict that ensued:
The contest was exciting: with two Horatians slain, but all three Curiatians wounded, the surviving Horatius began to flee! The Romans no doubt groaned, thinking their champion a coward. But there was method in this. For as he ran, he succeeded in separating the pursuing Curiatii whom he was able to fight individually and each of whom he killed. So, the Albans surrendered themselves and their town. The Romans, however, characteristic of these early wars, took the Albans as a whole into their citizen body; the town was destroyed—except for the temples—so that the Albans would become fully a part of their new community.
(W.B. Ragan III, Survey of Roman History: The Kings)
So, with that, Romulus’ hometown was no more, living on only in the memory of its now-Roman residents. One final bow to tie the Alban knot: the Alban dictator, Fufetius, soon proved a treacherous man. In the aforementioned war against the Fidenates, it was he who pulled the Albans back from the fight, intending to linger in the backdrop until a winner was evident, at which point he would march out in “victory,” pretending to have supported whoever won. Tullus, though, was no fool: perceiving Fufetius’ treachery, he bade his calvary raise their spears, shielding the retreating Alban “allies” from view of his infantry and thus keeping the Roman morale intact, preserving Rome’s chances of victory. After the battle, Tullus punished Mettius (or Metius) as he saw fit. I leave it to Virgil to recount the gory details of Metius’ death as he is ripped limb from limb by four horses:
Near this, the traitor Metius, stretch’d between
Four fiery steeds, is dragg’d along the green,
By Tullus’ doom: the brambles drink his blood,
And his torn limbs are left the vulture’s food.
(Aeneid [tr. John Dryden], Book VIII)
In addition to these military conquests, Tullus is notable for his construction of a new Senate building—the Curia Hostilia—which lasted for over 500 years after his death. Alas, in his military grandeur Tullus had neglected the gods, and soon the city was afflicted with plague and famine as recompense for his scanty religiosity. Desperate, Tullus turned to the writings of his predecessor Numa, the expert on all things divine, and wildly but inaccurately attempted to perform the rituals described therein. The gods, in no mood to tolerate such tomfoolery, struck Tullus with a thunderbolt, setting both him and his palace alight and bringing an end to his 31-year rule.
Ancus Marcius: The Builder (r. 640–616 BC)
Perhaps weary again of conflict and conquest, the Romans chose the more subdued Ancus Marcius—grandson of Numa—as their fourth king. Where Tullus had erred in the eyes of the gods, Ancus charted a safer course: his first act as king was to have the religious rites laid down by Numa copied down and displayed to the public, lest they ever again be ill-performed.
By Ancus’ time, Rome had become a profitable and well-positioned town controlling a respectable portion of Latium, the territorial region around the city. The city lay along the Via Salaria, or Salt Road, an ancient trading route that proved a welcome boon to the growing city. Taking advantage of the city’s strategic position, Ancus sent out a colonia of citizens to found Ostia at the mouth of the Tiber, a crucial expedition that secured the surrounding salt flats (providing a reliable revenue stream for the fledgling city) and extended Roman territory to the sea. He constructed the first bridge across the Tiber, the Pons Sublicius (Sublician Bridge), in 642 BC. The continued arrival of Etruscans from the north, skilled engineers in “stone, road building, and swamp drainage,” further complemented Ancus’ infrastructure projects (Ragan). He built Rome’s first prison, the Mamertine Prison (which, in the following centuries, housed a number of high-profile prisoners, including Vercingetorix, Jugurtha, St. Peter, and Sejanus), atop the Capitoline Hill. He fortified the Janiculum Hill on the west bank of the Tiber, dug a ditch fortification (the Fossa Quiritium) on the city’s landward side, and constructed Rome’s first aqueduct.
Though more peaceful than his predecessor, Ancus shrank not from conflict; he fought against the Latins, conquering the town of Politorum (whose residents were relocated to the base of the Aventine Hill in Rome)—and later reconquering and destroying it when it was re-settled by more Latin peoples—along with Tellenae, Ficana, and Medullia, a conquest that brought loot to the coffers of Ancus and resettled Latins to the base of the Palatine Hill. These resettlements, along with a growing population and growing social stratification, helped form the early stages of the plebeian class at Rome. Furthermore, he expanded Roman territory into the Maesian Forest, seizing it from the Veientes.
After 24 years of successful rule, Ancus, the last of Rome’s Latin-Sabine kings, died, bringing to a close a period of economic and territorial expansion, infrastructure development, and social growth for the adolescent town on the banks of the Tiber.
Thus we conclude the third chapter of our brief history of Rome, with four successful kings etched into the people’s memory and new rulers from the north poised to take the throne.
Special thanks to Mr. Ragan.
The N-Word Isn't the Problem. America Is.
Anaya Rodgers ‘20
As black people, we are constantly met with checks on our freedom, traveling through a crossroads of being property, and seeking ownership of both the self and otherwise. Historically, we’ve had to ask for basic humanity, equality, and liberty of both our actions and our speech. This pattern of asking for permission to live freely is one that has existed since the creation of race in the seventeenth century. The foundation of race introduced white supremacy, something that effectively ruined race relations. As we all know, feelings of white supremacy led to the bondage of black people for hundreds of years. During this era of slavery, the word n****r was used to create a psychological and physical barrier between black and white people. Unfortunately, this word makes appearances in current times as well; I am a victim of this violence. Over time, n****r became Negro, Negro became colored, and, in the 1970s, African-American made its first appearance. These transitions, however, have not been seamless. The recognition of how we are identified by others and the identity we create for ourselves presents a unique double consciousness (W.E.B. Dubois) of the self. The necessity to be aware of perception and reality simultaneously is a feat with which we have been tasked, sometimes for survival, and the Close is no exception.
I am a bridge person (Carolyn Forché) between my identities at home and at school, a trait termed “code-switching,” and I know I am not alone in this. The question here becomes, Why do I feel the need to mask either of my identities? For two reasons: either I would be ostracized from the community for my apparent otherness, or my otherness would become the focal point of my personality and I would become an entertainer like a joker amidst royalty, my vernacular becoming comedy. At PWIs like NCS and STA, the n-word manifests in a very similar way. Depending on the use, frequency, and culture surrounding the word, the user and the community will react a certain way. In this sense, the n-word is a microcosm of the troublesome, unspoken, and awkward relations between black and white people. In my opinion and evidently, the use of the n-word by black people is not the scapegoat of the tension between the races, and the notion that it is is factually false yet historically accurate. The expectation that blacks should eliminate this word, one that has been reclaimed by the community to be a term of familiarity and endearment, is another limit on our freedom of speech. Black people are not responsible for the comfort of others, especially considering our American experience has only been uncomfortable, though this is the role we have been forced into.
In conclusion, each black American has the right to choose whether or not to exercise this word in their vocabulary, in white or racially diverse or black spaces. And any person educated on the history of the word or the racism blacks face has the responsibility to respect the reality of black Americans. Again, the Close, a community of highly educated students, is no exception. Obviously, this word may be weird to hear, but this simply represents that race continues to be a weird, tense, and awkward subject that no one wants to discuss, but at some point must be acknowledged. And until then, the presence of the n-word is merely a grain of salt compared to the mountain of unrepaired history.
The Sh*t I Believe In
By Katie Ambrose '20
It all started one morning in ninth-grade physics. Before class, I was chatting with a friend about the irregularity of my bowel movements. Soon, others got curious, and before I knew what was happening, the matter in my toilet bowl had become the centerpiece of class-wide discussion. About two minutes later, my physics teacher emerged from a corner of the classroom. He had been there the entire time. I stood there stunned while the whole classroom erupted in laughter. “Katie, you might have IBS,” he said.
“Irritable Bowel Syndrome.”
By November of my first year at a new high school, I had established myself as Poop Girl. You know Poop Girl: the one who, upon first meeting you, tells you about the sushi that gave them food poisoning the night before. You’re left there straddling a strange space between comfort and discomfort. That was a bit odd, but at least she feels comfortable around me. Why did she tell me that? But then suddenly you have the urge to tell them something personal too. Exchange a secret. Take your mask off. Indulge in the rare delicacy of unabridged conversation, everyone’s guilty pleasure.
While I’d been Poop Girl my entire life, the ease with which I inhabited my high school niche was impressive. Concerning. It's not that I'm particularly vile or cruder than anyone else; it's just that I tend to (over)share those details with others. I don’t get embarrassed easily.
It’s easy to assume that being Poop Girl would make you a pariah. In my experience however, the effect has been the opposite. People like me for the same reasons that make me Poop Girl; my relatability, honesty, authenticity, and occasional controversy. I am the president of my class, founder of a revered school meme page, and well-respected in my community. Being weird is precisely why I’m popular.
The fact is, people feel more comfortable looking up to those in whom they see reflections of themselves. There is a shared humanity within every poop joke, public mental breakdown, audible fart and the sheepish “sorry that was me” that occasionally follows.
I believe vulnerability is fundamental to leadership. Poop girls—quite literally—run shit. Nancy Pelosi, Betty Friedan, Tina Fey, just to name a few. Not all these women talk about their feces (the “poop” in Poop Girl serves a metaphorical purpose), but each of them has talked about the thing no one wants to talk about. Poop Girls get the conversation started. They lead. In fact, “Poop Girl” is a term I learned from a former student government president and one of my closest friends. Peyton was the first person who made me feel comfortable relating leadership and vulnerability. Within our first student government meeting she made a poop joke. Something about Hot Cheetos (we had them for snack that day) and instantly everyone opened up. Peyton taught me that effective leadership comes from a place of honesty and vulnerability. Doing that requires an equal amount of humility and pride.
The final line of my supplemental essay to my top-choice college was a poop joke: a play on our philosophical “duty,” which is, in my words, just a “prolonged ideological constipation.” This was a calculated risk. I never showed it to my college counselor because I was afraid she would tell me to delete it. In a world where presentation is everything, stale was not the best way to market myself. Despite knowing this, I felt this unexplainable urge to keep it in. And so, I did.
I got in. Furthermore, I think the poop joke was why I got in. It stuck out among a sea of stodgy, stale, safe essays that all impressed the same air of prudence. A poop joke at the end of a college essay communicates something that words cannot: confidence, quirk, candor? Yes, but also leadership. Most of all, leadership.
I believe in Poop Girl. I believe in poop jokes. I believe in a bowel movement. But most of all, I believe in the duty we owe to each other.
In Breaking the Glass Ceiling, Feminists Rain Shards on the Crowd
By Liza Peoples '20
Feminism has become such an intrinsic characteristic of NCS’s collective identity that few consider any alternative reality outside of our bubble. A 2018 CBS news poll indicates that 46% of women ages 18 to 35 self-identify as feminists, and a YouGov poll shows that only 38% of women overall accept the label, both results that tend towards overestimation. Even so, one would be hard pressed to find individuals who truly don’t believe in female-male equality: They surely exist, but don’t represent most of the population.
Feminism, as Merriam-Webster defines it, is the belief in the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes. Its first wave began in 1848 at the Seneca Falls convention for female voting rights, a milestone achieved more than seven decades later in 1920. The second wave, inspired by the civil rights movement of the 60s, focused on birth control and sex discrimination laws. The current third wave, shaped by the birth of intersectional feminism, has strayed far beyond traditional feminism and strongly associated itself with the leftist agenda.
The annual Women’s March has been a central event for the movement since its initiation in 2017. Although supposedly a march for “women’s rights,” this event has entirely missed the mark, and might more accurately be characterized as an anti-Trump rally. Many, including myself, don’t find themselves represented at the event, demonstrated by some of the key focuses of the 2020 march: reproductive health, rights and justice, climate justice, and immigration. Some of the March’s partners include Planned Parenthood and the #voteprochoice organization. I cannot support a movement that doesn’t protect the rights and lives of the youngest women in our society. These marches and protests are always littered with signs trumpeting “my body my choice” and “stay out of my body.” Well, “feminists,” a fetus is not your body. At 14 weeks, the baby’s heart pumps four quarts of blood; at 9-10 weeks, the teeth form and fingernails begin to develop. At 4 weeks the eyes, legs, and hands begin to take shape and brain waves are detectable. At 3 weeks, the backbone and spinal column form, and at day 22 the heart is already beating. Yet the feminist movement claims that I as a woman am somehow “against women’s bodily autonomy” for believing that such murder is not acceptable and should not receive support or funding from our government.
The march is a huge missed opportunity to join together and advocate for issues we all agree on: improvement to the foster care system, improved access to resources for single parents, and other similar campaigns. However, just as it has failed to breach consensus topics, the event’s goals exclude women who don’t want further government regulation in the environmental sector and still believe that illegal immigration is detrimental. The term “intersectionality” in the modern feminist movement goes far beyond the inclusion of all physical identities; instead, it connects the empowerment of women to the promotion of liberal policy.
The event also partners with Supermajority, an organization founded by Cecile Richards, a former president of Planned Parenthood, and Alicia Garza, a founder of Black Lives Matter. People can be involved in multiple causes, but among these leadership figures there is a clear lack of pro-life women, pro-2A women, and women who support law enforcement and strong borders. Today’s feminist movement lacks such intellectual diversity and leaves many feeling unwelcome and unrepresented by their goals.
Furthermore, the movement has faced negative press due to the foul qualities of its leaders, including Linda Sarsour, a Palestinian-American activist, and Tarika Mallory, a gun control activist. Both stepped down in 2019 following their anti-Semitic comments and refusal to denounce their association with the Nation of Islam organization led by Louis Farrakhan—the man who made this sickening statement during a speech in February of just last year: “Pedophilia and sexual perversion institutionalized in Hollywood and the entertainment industries can be traced to Talmudic principles and Jewish influence. Not Jewish influence, Satanic influence under the name of Jew.” Do we as women really want to stand behind a movement that is so closely intertwined with such vile, false, and patently anti-Semitic hatred? What is worse, this organization was largely responsible for providing the “security” at the 2018 Women’s March. There is no question as to why some participants could have felt unsafe at that event.
There is nothing wrong with having an agenda, but a movement shouldn’t claim to be something it is not. The feminist movement should not claim to fight for all women on an egalitarian platform, while simultaneously advocating for reform on issues that aren’t universal among women. In breaking the glass ceiling, so to speak, the modern feminist movement rains shards on the rest of us.
Ballard, Jamie. “American Women Are More Likely to Identify as Feminists Now than in 2016.” YouGov, YouGov PLC, 9 Aug. 2018, today.yougov.com/topics/lifestyle/articles-reports/2018/08/09/feminism-american-women-2018
De Pinto, Jennifer. “Women Weigh in on Women in Politics and on Ivanka Trump.” CBS News, CBS Interactive, 2018, www.cbsnews.com/news/women-weigh-in-on-women-in-politics-and-on-ivanka-trump/
“Feminism.” Merriam-Webster, Merriam-Webster, www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/feminism
“Louis Farrakhan.” Southern Poverty Law Center, 2019, www.splcenter.org/fighting-hate/extermist-files/individual/louis-farrakhan
Stockman, Farah. “Three Leaders of Women’s March Group Step Down After Controversies.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 16 Sept. 2019, www.nytimes.com/2019/09/16/us/womens-march-anti-semitism.html
Stockman, Farah. “Women’s March Roiled by Accusation of Anti-Semitism.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 23 Dec. 2018, www.nytimes.com/2018/12/23/us/womens-march-anti-semitism.html
The Study Break Introduction
Hi everyone! This year, we are debuting a new podcast called The Study Break hosted by NCS students! This year’s hosts are Avery Watkins ’20, Anaya Rodgers ’20, Sophia Maguigad ’21, Sarah Asher ’21, and me, Nisa Quarles ’21. We’ll be discussing all things the Close and interviewing your favorite students who you know and love. Be sure to tune in to our preview and follow us on Instagram @studybreakers! Remember: if you want to procrastinate, listen to The Study Break!
F Day Mornings
By Jada Fife '20
One day a cycle, teachers take an hour out of the schedule to have a meeting, creating the F-day morning flex period. How students use this opportunity is up to them. However, given the type of students on the Close, few let it go to waste. According to countless interviews with NCS students, trying to convince them to join Jazz Band, the majority spend the morning studying. Others sleep either at home or at school. The minority participate in an intensive group, such as Jazz Band or Mads, which only can exist thanks to this longer flex period within the school day.
I am in this minority. I spent my F-day mornings in the NCS Athletics Center with the Jazz Band. For me, this flex period provides an amazing opportunity to not think about academics or applications, while still being productive, and therefore, not feeling the guilt of procrastination.
Yes, F-day mornings are just another opportunity for Close students to indulge in the masochist pleasure of over-scheduling our lives, but that’s just who we are. If I weren’t in Jazz Band, I would either be studying or sleeping in from studying late the night before. Therefore, doing some productive procrastination via playing jazz really isn’t so bad.
The Merits of Coed Clubs
By Martín Villagra-Riquelme ‘20
At STA and NCS, even though we are single-sex schools, we have a lot of opprtunities to interact with each other, but the best places to form friendships are the co-ed clubs. Academically, the average STA or NCS’s student’s interactions with the other school can amount to just AmLit along with a few popular English electives, but these interactions can often feel forced. With Closewide clubs, which a student voluntarily does, interactions are more organic since you’re working together for a common goal like a performance or a meet instead of individually aiming for an A or a B for the semester. Although I’ve always felt comfortable in NCS and around NCS students since my mom (Sra. Riquelme) works there, the biggest reason why half of my friend group is from NCS is because I’ve always been involved in co-ed groups like the Thespian Society, Chorale/Mads, and Voyageur. In these groups, students from the opposite school aren’t just classmates; they’re the people who help you with lines, help you in a song, help you climb a wall, but, most importantly, they’re the people that help you create a fun environment where you grow off of each other. All it takes is a bit of effort to reach out to them.
One of the reasons why NCS and STA students can feel so far apart from each other even though we’re less than a block away is because of our different cultures and our lack of organic interactions with each other. While we cannot force everyone to join a co-ed club, the best way to bridge this 300-yard gap between us is to encourage both STA and NCS students to form and join these types of groups, then we can be actual brother-sister schools.
I Thought My Life Was Hard Until I Watched Tall Girl
By Anita Li '21
Rating: 5/5 Stig Mohlins
On September 13th, 2019, my life was changed forever with the release of Tall Girl on Netflix. Ever since the trailer for Tall Girl appeared on YouTube in late August, I had been counting down the days to its release. I was enthralled by the poignant storyline featuring a white, middle-class, female that’s 6’1 who thinks she’s ugly because she’s a bit tall (a real source of hardship for teenage girls, far worse than eating disorders and depression). For those of you who are unfortunate enough to have not seen the cinematic masterpiece that is Tall Girl, the movie is about a girl named Jodi Kreyman who’s ostracized for her height by her classmates. Because of her height, guys don’t like Jodi except for this Shawn Mendes lookalike named Dunkleman who’s had a crush on her since forever, but obviously he doesn’t count as a real romantic interest because he’s short. Luckily, a tall attractive Swedish international student named Stig Mohlin arrives at Jodi’s school, but he’s taken away from Jodi by the evil Kimmy Stitcher, who realistically represents high school bullies with an entire Sephora store’s worth of makeup on her face and a complete blowout. The rest of the movie shows the immense barriers that Jodi overcomes to realize that wearing size 13 Nikes is okay. She also gets a boyfriend, because who is a woman without a man?
I’m so thankful for a movie like Tall Girl because it has shed light on the systematic oppression that afflicts tall white women and I honestly feel so ashamed that I wasn’t aware of that before. There are already so many movies with minorities, members of the LGBTQ+ community, and other demographics that face discrimination every day. There is already so much awareness around poverty, hunger, and a lack of potable water in developing countries but before Tall Girl, there was no conversation around the misery that tall women experience daily. We need to see more tall white women on the big screen! As an Asian-American who is already heavily represented in pop culture and media, it saddens me that young tall white girls see no one that looks remotely like them on TV. Luckily, they now have this amazing movie.
Jodi Kreyman is a great role model for young girls to look up to! It is so admirable how she stands up for herself by kissing Stig even though he is already dating Kimmy. Additionally, I love how she rejects a guy who’s liked her since childhood because he’s shorter than her. She’s the perfect representation of how a 21st century woman should act. Jodi also deals with adversity flawlessly. When Kimmy ruthlessly prank calls Jodi, she hides in a bathroom stall in embarrassment. Also, when her parents try to boost Jodi’s self-esteem by introducing her to a club for tall people (ugh, parents can be so rude), she locks herself in her room and refuses to talk to them. Her courage and kindness make her a true hero. We should all be like Jodi Kreyman.
Besides the exceptional content, the script of this movie is also phenomenal. Here are some of my favorite Tall Girl quotes:
I hope I’ve convinced everyone to watch Tall Girl. It has changed my life for the better in more ways than I can count. Recently, American media has started to increase representation and Tall Girl is a tremendous step in the right direction. I hope directors and screenwriters continue these conversations about how height discrimination causes massive emotional damage.