Stella-Grace Ford '23
We’ve all been there. After a long night of frantic test cramming or analytical essay writing or two-months-late-AP-Human-Geography-paper grinding (just me? Sorry, Mr. Bonner…), you, yet again, only get a few sparse hours of sleep. You try your best to keep your heavy eyelids open, but you can’t help but doze off in the middle of your History lecture. It happens to the best of us. In fact, along with STA hoco horror stories and starvation from A lunch inevitably running out at exactly 1:05 pm, falling asleep during the day might be the one true NCS shared experience—to the point where numerous Instagram accounts exist to chronicle NCSers’ frequent snoozes. As a certified @2023naptime submission menace, I consider myself an NCS siesta connoisseur. Unsure of where to doze off on campus? Worry not, dear reader, for I’ve taken it upon myself to finally catalog the best places to sleep at NCS. Read on for another piece of hard-hitting Exchanged journalism!
10. Starting off in a strong last place are naps during Cathedral or Chapel. If I ever were to have fallen asleep during these utterly invaluable community time slots (which I would absolutely never do and this is all hypothetical and you can’t prove anything), they would be the worst naps of my life. Think about it—Chapel pews are uncomfortable, Cathedral seats are far too cramped, and, worst of all, you run the risk of a detention. No matter how tempting resting your head on your friend’s shoulder during a particularly long homily might seem, don’t give in! I believe in you!
9. At 9th place, only inches from last place, is sleeping at STA. Yes, I know this doesn’t count as an NCS nap, but I need to finally express my utter disdain for STA snooze spots. I mean, where am I going to rest my eyes—the skounge? Where everyone in Marriott Hall and half of Washington DC can see me? Even the college lounge or chairs by the elevator are uncomfortably exposed. Admittedly, the couch by Mr. Bishop’s office is a strong nap contender, but echoes from the lower school art room make comfortably dozing a light sleeper’s nightmare. Between late-night Mads and theater rehearsals, I’ve taken my fair share of STA naps, but every one of them has been against my will. No thanks.
8. 8th place: lounges on Hearst’s 3rd and 4th floors. These couches are surprisingly cozy, boasting many pillows and comfortable cushions, but they’re too exposed for my sophisticated napper tastes. If you do happen to fall asleep while eavesdropping on a 9th grade English class or Schrammlit (my favorite forms of entertainment), be prepared to be photographed and posted to your local naptime account. Sorry not sorry.
7. In 7th place are the lunchroom couches. Although they’re not the most comfortable or cloistered, these couches are where I’ve had some of my most productive naps. The cafeteria is an unlikely beacon of quiet after school ends. Just imagine—it’s an hour before Chorale dinner, and you have the perfect amount of time to get in a quick catnap before eating the same pizza the music department has been buying since 1990. You pull your sweatshirt hood over your eyes, recline across the seat, and kick off your shoes. The rigid stuffing causes back pain that wakes you up 15 minutes before everyone else arrives. How convenient!
6. 6th: Class. I have never fallen asleep in class. Definitely not. Shut up. Next question.
5. Falling at a neutral 5th place are the Hearst locker alcoves. These hideaways are secluded, usually quiet, and exude strange waves of peace, but they occasionally fall victim to the whims of heartless locker owners. What do you mean your Modern World textbook is in here? Can’t you see I’m sleeping?
4. Now we’re getting down to the wire. In 4th place is arguably one of the best nap spots on the entire campus: the nurse’s office. This place has it all: cozy cots, soft blankets, fluffy pillows, peaceful quiet, and relative darkness. The only downside is that the beds fill up, fast. Hang on, I’m getting war flashbacks—once, on a gloomy Thursday after Cathedral, I was sick. I had a dizzying migraine and genuinely needed to lie down, but, when I ventured down to the nurse’s, there was quite literally a line down the hall. It seemed everyone from middle schoolers to my fellow seniors wanted to miss their fifth period class, and my beloved resting spot was torn out of my sickly fingers by 12-year-olds wanting to skip class to watch TikTok. The pain! The horror! My condolences to everyone who is actually suffering and needs to lie down. It’s truly a race. May the best woman win.
3. Big third place—the stuco! Although I personally have rarely slept here, I’ve heard rave reviews from my classmates, and the couches are undoubtedly the most comfortable ones on campus. Unfortunately, the volume of various friend groups talking inside often overweighs this comfort, but I can certainly see its appeal after school. According to Helen Yingling, ‘23, “the stuco is my favorite place if there’s not a lot of people,” a statement with which Audrey Scott, ‘23 wholeheartedly agreed. Lucia Rios-Luy, ‘23, attests that her favorite nap spot on campus is “lowkey on the floor in the back room in the stuco.” Amara Nwokoye, ‘23, gold-star @2023naptime featured sleeper, likes the stuco because “the couches are nice and it’s usually quiet. Yeah.” Wise words, Amara!
2. Next up is my most frequent nap spot: the library couches! The loves of my life! I cannot count the amount of times I’ve fallen asleep on the library mezzanine. It might genuinely be my second home by now. Here’s my infallible formula for a perfect library nap: top floor. Pillow from a nearby chair. Jacket on your legs as a blanket. Earbuds in. Playlist: “punisher folklore in the alps evermore” by Spotify user mary evelyne. This recipe is tried and true, and, whether it be a fifteen minute doze before AP Stat or a three-hour-long slumber after school, the library couches have never failed me. I hope you find the same respite there as I do. You can thank me later.
1. And now. The grand finale. In first place, ranked the single greatest nap spot at NCS, drumroll please, is… the senior room! To no one’s surprise, as I have been photographed sleeping there many times by many friends, I adore sleeping in the senior room. And, it’s not just me. Take it from my various interviewees:
“I love the senior room floor. Grab a little pillow, grab a little sweater, curl up on the floor. Drop those airpods in, and I’m gone. Post bagel munch, if you will.” – Eva Vickerman ‘23
“The couch specifically under the poster in the senior room. It's just the perfect place to be included in conversations but be able to turn around and sleep. It’s very versatile.” – Elizabeth Khludenev ‘23
“My favorite spot is the senior room couch because it’s comfy and not like in literally the middle of a public space.” – Audrey Scott ‘23
“This couch right here.” – Lindsay Weigmann ‘23 (interviewed in the senior room while about to nap)
Wow! Just listen to those glowing words! Forget my friends, teachers, and the community I’ve lived in for nine years—the thing I’ll miss most about NCS is undoubtedly the senior room. To the class of 2024: I cannot wait to see the naps you take there. Treat it with the love it deserves. Love hard and sleep well.
And there you have it: the top ten most GLO2IOU3 places to sleep at NCS, ranked. Mind you, there are many other nap spots at NCS. Carden Royster, ‘23, another frequent @2023naptime sleeper, says her favorite place is “the lawn, when it’s sunny and exactly 77 degrees.” Danielle White, ‘23, adds that she loves to be “under Ms. Siu’s table” because “the floor is hella level there. Perfect balanced floor 10/10.” When I asked Norah Kanukolanu, ‘23, her thoughts on this topic, she insisted I add her quote that “personally, I don’t sleep on campus because I’m an alpha who doesn’t need sleep. I like to terrorize the betas who nap in the senior room and on the couches of stuco. I linger above them until they wake up, terrifying them as I cosplay as their sleep paralysis demon.” Thanks, Dani and Carden! And Norah…interesting opinion. Thanks, I guess. I’m kind of scared of you now.
What are your favorite places to sleep on campus? Do you agree with my ranking? Tell us how you feel in the comments!
Readers of The Exchanged –
Serving as your Editor-in-Chief over the past two years has been an extraordinary privilege and honor. The Exchanged has profoundly shaped not only my St. Albans experience, but who I am as a person, reframing my perspective of this community and how I can best serve it. My fellow editors and I have had the incredible opportunity to share the voices of countless members of the St. Albans and NCS student bodies, and we have helped promote productive discourse surrounding the most widely-discussed topics. However, as my time at St. Albans draws to a close, I must inevitably say farewell to The Exchanged, capping off this three-year chapter of my St. Albans career.
Over the course of our editorships, The Exchanged has seen tremendous success. We’ve published just over two hundred articles, nineteen issues, and expanded our readership to nearly a thousand readers per issue. We certainly haven’t avoided controversy—articles about the dress code and politics on the Close have garnered substantial attention. They’ve forced us to confront the dichotomy between our goals of free speech and intra-Close cohesion. Yet, we believe that our community emerges stronger by confronting these issues head-on in a civil, St. Albans- or NCS-like manner, and we hope that The Exchanged has helped in this endeavor.
The Close has a deep tradition of journalism and publication. NCS’s founder, Phoebe Hearst, was a passionate patron of libraries and, of course, mothered the founder of the Hearst media empire. The predecessor to The Exchanged, The Independent, was founded in 1988 to report on topics too controversial to be included in The Saint Albans News.
Over the past two years, however, I’ve noticed a trend that I fear will only hasten once I depart—an apathy towards extracurricular writing. Before my time in the Upper School, The Exchanged published weekly, and other publications had similar timelines. We’ve managed to stay afloat this year on a greatly abbreviated schedule, but I, along with the chiefs of other publications, am concerned about next year and beyond. As you’ve likely observed, neither The Exchanged nor The Thinker has published since February, and The Saint Albans News has published only once—and not for a lack of trying. All three publications have expanded efforts to recruit writers this semester, but interest remains isolated to a handful of dedicated students.
Perhaps the lack of interest in optional writing is a mere post-pandemic aberration, or that next year’s editors of the various publications just need to make writing articles more accessible than we did. I am naturally optimistic about the future of the schools—St. Albans has provided me and my classmates so much academically and socially, and I want to see the school continue to thrive into the future. This optimism becomes difficult when such a foundational aspect of the Close intellectual community is struggling to subsist.
The decline in Close publications is part of a greater change of atmosphere occuring at St. Albans. Gone are the days of the hundred-fifty-voice Chorale, out-the-door crowds at History Club speaker events, or full attendance at Chapel. Some parts of the school are still thriving, such as BEEF Club or theater, and perhaps the decline in Chorale membership was beneficial in weeding out students who didn’t necessarily want to sing. Yet, the tradition of branching beyond school and sports at St. Albans is not nearly as widely-revered as it once was, even though it is part of what makes this school so special and beloved by its alumni.
Of course, the pandemic had a large role in uprooting this tradition. Clubs during this period struggled to find regular attendees, and the then-freshmen had no ability to experience the usual St. Albans-like atmosphere the grade before them experienced. Come fall of the first non-Covid year, juniors and seniors faced the challenge of reviving traditions (and the reverence of these traditions among students) with a half of the student body having no experience with any of them. This was a virtually impossible task to fully carry out, and as such, a part of the pre-pandemic school will be lost once our class graduates.
Another contributor is modern entertainment. In the past few years, especially during the pandemic, social media companies like TikTok and Instagram completely mastered how to most optimally distract humans and keep us entertained for long periods of time. Attention spans are suffering, and other forms of entertainment, such as movies or books, pale in comparison to TikTok in terms of which provides the most entertainment. Once you are accustomed to this type of content, it is really difficult to grapple with boredom. Every ten seconds you are bombarded with new stimuli specifically tailored to interest you, which no other entertainment can do. I’m by no means immune, and writing this article is infinitely more boring than scrolling on my phone. I’m sure that many of my classmates feel the same way, and I don’t fault them for being allured by an algorithm designed to distract us. I can hardly fault myself.
I am certain that the school's peer institutions are having similar issues. Traditions are incredibly hard to maintain, and it takes constant dedication to ensure their survival. St. Albans is still struggling to recover from the pandemic and its repercussions, but I have no doubt that the school can and will rebuild its core elements. We have a unique community of teachers, students, and alumni who want to see St. Albans and its values of brotherhood, intellectual curiosity, and worldly compassion succeed, and looking intrinsically at our mission, history, and scholastic character is where we will most often find success.
It is difficult for me to walk away from the Close without a solution in place to revive the spirit of intellectual inquiry once so entrenched at the school. I am not certain whether the publications next year will find more success than we did this year, or whether they will all survive. Yet, I do know that of all school communities, the Close is one of the most well-equipped for a renaissance of journalism and extracurricular curiosity. It may not be next year, or the year following that. Yet, a simple look to our roots shows that we believe in the togetherness that existed in the pre-pandemic, pre-TikTok world, and we are willing to do what it takes to rekindle this spirit.
Writing is the most vital element of a healthy intellectual community. Sharing beliefs and stories with others—especially when grades or collegiate motivations aren’t involved—fosters critical thinking and democratic discourse. It broadens perspectives, and deepens trust. It enables our scholarly institutions to flourish. And it allows our minds to thrive.
Enjoy the final issue of The Exchanged, Volume VII.
Editor-in-Chief, The Exchanged
The St. Albans Anti-Racism Alliance
Based upon Professor Michael E. Dantley's definition of a racist curriculum, the ARA derived this definition of an anti-racist curriculum: "It is one that is written from diverse points of view that purposefully reflect voices that have traditionally been underrepresented. Educators have a responsibility to consider whether students who look, sound, or learn differently are represented in every aspect of the classroom."
The Anti-Racism Alliance embarked this school year on an in-depth evaluation of the St. Albans history curriculum. We focused primarily on the pertinence of each required history class to the above definition of an "anti-racist curriculum." We divided the curriculum into grade levels, devoting two individuals in ARA to each grade "group:" seventh and eighth grade history classes, ninth and tenth grade history classes, and eleventh grade United States History, as well as providing a short comparison to similar schools in the area.
Lower School history is a microcosm for the Lower School as a whole: it aims to instill historical and pedagogical fundamentals that will serve the students in the Upper School and for years to come. No class better embodies this mission than Mr. MacIntyre’s Form I Early American history class. The Form I history curriculum is, in many ways, traditional. The course begins with Native American society and development, moving to European Colonization and the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade, and then the foundations of the United States through the Civil War. Mr. MacIntyre believes that students will be well-positioned to study history outside of the United States after developing a solid understanding of how a "multicultural, diverse democracy" took shape. US history, by definition, includes slavery, violence toward indigenous peoples, and other forms and manifestations of systemic oppression. Thus, to learn the “American tradition” is to learn about more than the nation’s European roots. In recent years, the Form I history curriculum has expanded its scope through new books. American Slavery: A Very Short Introduction and Stamped are new additions to the Form I History reading list, allowing students to form a deeper understanding of the nation’s history of racism and racial oppression.
Eighth grade history takes a similar approach. Diving into more global topics, particularly the World Wars and its many facets of international involvement, Twentieth-Century United States History emphasizes the role of the US in the context of a globalized society. Dr. Schiller uses common themes and teaching styles—from reenacting historical conferences to studying propaganda through the lens of art history—to not only learn about but truly understand and even empathize with the political and social leaders of various time periods. Through these activities, students are able to learn about the Meiji Restoration, the Treaty of Versailles, or the Berlin Airlift from perspectives other than an American one. Focusing on the role of US foreign policy throughout the most formative years of modern American society is pivotal in becoming an informed citizen and understanding current events—and the course certainly teaches that. Yet, Twentieth-Century US offers what so many courses covering the era do not: diverse human voices across the globe. History, and the decisions that shape it, is most effectively understood when students can learn from different perspectives and reenact situations with the same knowledge at hand as the original decision makers once had. Eighth grade history poses questions to its students just as frequently as answers, and it teaches students how to analyze historical events by synthesizing a wide variety of thoughts and ideas from all parts of the world—not just in order to succeed in the Upper School, but in their lives.
The Upper School history curriculum, for the most part, represents various viewpoints. World Religions covers religions that are often underrepresented in American society. While important in an Episcopalian school, the focus on the Bible for one full quarter limits the overall representation of the semester-long experience. Despite this limitation, we don’t think it needs to be changed or altered.
Cities and Civilizations is perhaps the most limited in its viewpoints. It covers ancient Mesopotamian, Greek and Persian civilizations. More room could be created for other ancient civilizations on the American, Asian, or African continents; however, this would also limit the cohesive nature of the class. If these cultures are to be integrated into the course, the methods should be left up to the teachers.
Modern World History is the most comprehensive course offered to underclassmen. Because it was recently overhauled, the course covers many important events across continents and cultures that affect today's world. While the required textbook, Kagan’s The Western Heritage, is limited to (as the name implies) Western viewpoints, the course also incorporates excerpts from other textbooks and primary sources that expand the course’s scope well beyond the West. For example, students read excerpts from Japanese primary school textbooks to understand the extent of Japanese indoctrination. In fact, certain parts of the course include activities that allow students to critique and evaluate the textbook’s narrative of various historical events.
Overall, little sticks out as in need of immediate change. Underclassmen taking all three courses learn about a wide variety of experiences, histories, and viewpoints. There are opportunities to further expand this variety, but only slightly. Any changes should be left up to the History Department’s discretion.
The St. Albans United States History course, a requirement for juniors, offers various perspectives and provides students with a comprehensive understanding of United States history.
The majority of readings, regardless of the teacher, are drawn from Give Me Liberty! An American History by Eric Foner (DeWitt Clinton Professor Emeritus of History at Columbia University). We believe that Give Me Liberty! is a satisfactory textbook. Foner uses freedom as his overarching motif, which necessitates the use of a cornucopia of diverse perspectives. He is regarded highly by colleagues and other historians—in fact, the moderate amount of criticism he receives is for being too progressive. For these reasons, we believe that Give Me Liberty! An American History by Eric Foner fits in well with the arc of United States History and with the St. Albans mission.
Students are also provided with "the reader," an assortment of primary sources compiled by the History Department; and The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass; both of which present additional perspectives. The course deviates from the standard timeline to spend (roughly) three weeks learning about Douglass’s narrative and slavery in the United States. During this period, students discover facets of history that they might not have otherwise encountered.
The class spends a substantial amount of time focused on Reconstruction in the South. During this unit, St. Albans students learn about the specific historical events that set up the racial issues present today. This part of the course should be commended for helping students understand and learn about American perspectives that are often suppressed.
The largest problem that US History faces is one of time constraints. Nearly every year the course runs behind, and teachers end up having to cut material—often from the 1960s, which includes the Modern Civil Rights Unit. This raises the question of what belongs in a US History course. The St. Albans US history course generally moves more slowly than other courses because it spends so much time on earlier parts of US history: the Constitution, Douglass, Reconstruction, and Progressivism. Of course, the class also progresses slowly because of the canonical US History Paper, which we believe is essential to a full St. Albans education.
We have found that the St. Albans junior year US history class includes a sufficient amount of perspectives in the sections of history that it covers. An unfortunate consequence of the depth is the lack of modern history. Recent historical events contain many diverse perspectives that are essential to a well rounded understanding of our world. It would be nearly impossible, however, to include material going through the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s and keep all of the material already in the course. Despite the absence of recent history, the course emphasizes the importance of diversity in our nation’s history.
Senior year allots freedom to students with a diverse lineup of history electives. Electives are taught by a wide array of teachers and are often based upon a teacher's passion or personal interest. Due to the nature of electives, students have the choice to hear from a variety of different perspectives, and the responsibility to do so. Some examples include World at War, a WW2 class; Law, Justice, and Society; Global 1960s; and First Peoples. Seniors also have the option to enroll in the honors history program, which consists of a deep dive into a student's personal interest and culminates in a final paper.
The Anti-Racism Alliance and its opinion represent only one view of the St. Albans history curriculum. A different view might find issues that can only be found from that new perspective. St. Albans is a community of many voices, and members of this community may feel that the curriculum does not represent them in every aspect of the classroom. A good curriculum should always be changing for the better; feedback can be heard, lessons can be changed, and new classes and electives can be added all to improve the curriculum.
Griff Clessuras '24
On this season of The Bachelor, Zach’s journey was filled with drama, twists and turns, and betrayal. Initially, Greer emerged as the heavy favorite, as she earned the first impression rose. Viewers, such as myself, could not help but think receiving the first impression rose was just the first step in Greer’s two-month journey to love with Zach. But despite the initial chemistry they found, Greer and Zach's relationship stalled. Unlucky group date luck and Greer’s non-aggressive approach to seeking time with Zach prevented their relationship from growing past what they had created on night one. With Zach getting covid in week six and Greer getting covid week seven, Zach and Greer never had the one-on-one time to foster a relationship that could make it to the week eight hometown episodes, making Zach and Greer’s relationship one of the biggest what-if stories of the entire season.
Week two of The Bachelor saw the emergence of contestant Christina Mandrell. On their one-on-one date, viewers could see the natural chemistry the two possessed, but Christina was initially holding something back—she was a single mother. At dinner, when Christina opened up to Zach about this, Zach was stunned but still gave her the one-on-one rose and thanked her for opening up. However, just the next week, after a very strong one-on-one date, rumors emerged that Christina was there for the wrong reasons. Upon hearing these accusations, Zach confronted and dumped Christina. Was it due to the allegations, or was Zach just looking for an excuse to not have to deal with Christina's kid? This would be the biggest mystery of the season.
By week eight—hometown week—four contestants had been selected; they gave Zach tours of their hometowns and introduced him to their families. These women were Kaity, Gabi, Arielle, and Charity.
Kaity had been a strong favorite ever since her one-on-one date at a dinosaur museum in which Zach and Kaity wore matching PJs and enjoyed exploring the museum and eating dinner together. After a slow start, Gabi and Zach’s relationship picked up after winning a group date rose and winning a one-on-one rose after their one-on-one date in England, in which Zach and Gabi pretended to be part of England's royal family for a day. Then there was Charity, who was perhaps the most consistent point-getter in the Bachelor fantasy league all season. Her dates consistently showcased Charity’s outgoing personality, and you could see Zach enjoyed Charity’s company. After their one-on-one date got canceled due to Zach coming down with Covid, Charity quickly rebounded, delivering one of the best single-week performances during her date in England. The last of the final four was Arielle. Arielle was a dark horse. It didn’t seem that her Zach ever talked that much or had interesting conversations. Yet somehow, Arielle kept hanging in there. She stayed out of drama and took advantage of her time with Zach, winning an unexpected pool party group date after a great performance that shook Bachelor Nation.
Charity was the first of the four to fall, and for no apparent reason. Charity was the heavy favorite to move on and was rostered by many in the Bachelor fantasy league, but for Zach, a future just wasn’t there. Luckily for Charity, Bachelor Nation will get to see more of her, as she will be the Bachelorette in the next season of The Bachelorette. For her many great performances, the Bachelor Fantasy League awarded her “offensive player of the year.”
After a stunning fantasy suite episode, Arielle was betrayed by Zach and went home. Nevertheless, Bachelor Nation has grown to love this underdog and can’t help but hope she will be a present member of Bachelor Nation for years to come.
The finals were between Gabi and Kaity. Griff Clessuras said it would take a miracle for Kaity to win the show and that Gabi was a virtual lock. All signs were pointing this way. But this miracle happened. Gabi was shocked, and Zach did not propose to her, giving Kaity the final rose.
Kaity will certainly go down in Bachelor history as one of the biggest underdogs to pull out the victory in the final episode. So far, Zach appears to have made the right decision, as he and Kaity are still together. They hope to join the group of six bachelor couples that have been and remained married since the show's debut in 2002.
Alexander Boyle '24
The 2023 Masters Champion, Jon Rahm, has had a meteoric rise to the top of the professional golf world. Rahm has held the number one spot in the world for a total of forty-seven weeks in the past two years, won eleven times on the PGA Tour (including two majors), and recently won the 2023 Masters.
Rahm grew up in Barrika, a small town of 1,600, in the Basque region of Spain. Basques are defined as an ethnic group hailing from southwestern Europe, who share a common culture, language, and shared genetic ancestry. Basques come from the Basque Country, located between the border of France and Spain, on the coast of the Bay of Biscay. With a population of only three million, the Basques largely remain unnoticed. My grandfather was Basque, so I was intrigued to learn more.
Since 1888, golf has been an extremely popular sport in the Basque Country, as many Brits came over to enjoy the nice Spanish weather, and in turn, introduced the game of golf. Throughout the late 19th-century and early 20th-century, golf grew in the Basque regions of France and Spain, producing talented professionals. The 1980s brought investment into the area for new and improved courses, as investors knew these courses would attract crowds due to the sunny weather. At the same time, golf became popular for all classes of people, and the Basque Country became a real mecca for golf.
Rahm was born to Edorta Rahm, a businessman who worked in the gasoline industry. For a middle-class family, golf would not have been affordable for them but for the region’s investment in many courses, public and private. At around age 6, Rahm went with his mother, Angela Rodriguez, to the driving range after school to golf. By around the age of thirteen, he showed real talent and began to enter tournaments close to his hometown. Having grown up in the Basque Country, Rahm was inspired to play because of other Basque successes, including Steve Ballesteros, a 5-time major champion. Wanting to be one of the greats, Rahm decided to accept a golf scholarship from Arizona State University, and pursue a career in America. Since then, Rahm has certainly made his hometown proud, his crowning achievement: the 2023 Masters Champion.
Lauren Lucy Caddell '23
This article is based on my first chapel homily. Speaking in chapel has been my goal since freshman year, but I didn’t have just any chapel in mind. I specifically chose the one run by the Asian American Student Union.
Many who know me may be surprised at my choice, which was really the fulfillment of a promise to myself from years ago. I wouldn’t exactly call myself the shining representation of the Asian experience. To be honest, I have never been able to fully explain why I wanted to give a speech for AASU in particular. In freshman year, I assumed that by the time I graduated, I’d have it all figured out. I would know who I was and where I belonged and, most importantly, why I had never resonated with my so-called culture. I would be able to stand up there to speak and tell all the girls who felt like I did that they would get past it. I doubt I could do such a thing now, yet the homily still felt important to me.
When I was in fifth grade, my Korean-American homeroom teacher announced on the first day that she was happy to have other Koreans in her class. “You three can introduce yourselves first,” she said. I looked around to see who they were, only to see a row of faces looking at me in expectation. This begins to convey how much I denied my own ethnicity for many years. I didn’t speak a word of Korean. When surveys inevitably asked for my race, I checked Caucasian every time. When I was younger, I would constantly try to convince my mother that she didn’t look Asian – probably in an attempt to convince myself that people couldn’t see it when they looked at me, that my features were undeniably white. I felt embarrassed every time someone asked whether I was Asian, as though I had been caught in an act.
Part of the issue was that I felt forced to reckon with my ethnicity and my identity in a way that I disliked. Until I visited Korea last year, I had almost no connection whatsoever to my Asian side. I knew the stereotypes and I wanted nothing to do with them. When the news began to come in about the shootings in Asian American neighborhoods and churches after Covid, I wondered whether I was supposed to feel a personal connection to the faces I saw. I still felt grief, but it was the grief of the majority of the country – uninfluenced by ethnic solidarity. And yet I knew I was still being roped in, that my ethnicity influenced the way people saw me. I worried it was all people could see.
Let’s go back to my fifth-grade anecdote. My teacher was just trying to create a connection with us, but in hindsight her singling us out was more divisive than accepting. A white teacher couldn’t do such a thing, so why could an Asian one? The Close grappled with a similar question last year when St. Albans introduced affinity groups for the first time. Were spaces that brought people with one shared part of an identity together divisive or empowering? The general consensus is that they allow minorities to unite and solve problems that face them as a group. But their creation also acknowledges that these sorts of categorizations still exist. If we’re willing to meet as a group of Asians, for example, we also are indirectly admitting that we are still associated with each other in broader society, drawing attention to still-prevalent color lines drawn subtly between us.
These days, every school, business and social organization has made diversity their top priority, with NCS being no exception. In an ideal world, we wouldn’t have to discuss identity at all, but as long as certain groups are placed below others, it is indeed necessary to acknowledge the flaws of our social hierarchy. However, this almost obsessive focus emphasizes our differences and corrals every member of a particular identity into solidarity through something they may not have otherwise thought much about. I can’t count the number of times people have asked me why I’m not part of AASU, or even the times other Asian students have started up a conversation about something that’s supposed to connect us in some way. I might not see myself as being Asian above all else, but that means nothing to an outsider. Why are we being roped into groups we haven’t chosen under the assumption that we feel proud to be a part of them?
The diversity programs are supposed to help us embrace our full selves, but for me they did nothing but push me away from that acceptance. I had to reckon with something I didn’t even see as part of myself. My mindset wasn’t healthy, but it isn’t unique to me. By trying to combat differences between groups of people, we force people into groups. I wish I had been allowed to come to terms with my identity when and how I wanted to, rather than constantly feeling stuck between two worlds – white and Asian. In some ways, the very efforts that are meant to bring us together push us apart.
Hale Snyder '24
Three months ago, many of us didn’t know who Caitlin Clark was. We had no idea that, as the Women’s March Madness Tournament approached, we were about to witness greatness. But that is exactly what we saw. Greatness. While Iowa was unable to defeat Angel Reese and LSU in the championship game, Caitlin Clark still put on one of the most impressive stretches in college basketball history. In the last four games of the tournament, in the most high-pressure environment of her life, she put up four straight 30-point games, most notably a 41-point, 12-assist, 10-rebound game against Louisville.
What’s even crazier than this stretch is that these kinds of stat lines are nothing new for Caitlin Clark. In her three years at Iowa, she has put up unprecedented numbers. Since entering the NBA, Lebron James has career averages of 27-7-7. Since entering college, Clark has put up 27-8-7, while shooting better from both the three-point line and the free-throw line. These statistics alone are absurd, but by looking deeper, we can see that they are even more impressive.
NBA games are both longer than NCAAW games and have a faster pace of play, meaning that Clark is putting up the same stats as Lebron, with significantly fewer offensive possessions per game. If both players were given 100 possessions, Clark would average 41-12-11, while Lebron would average 37-10-10.
Not only does Clark put up better numbers than the greatest basketball player to touch this Earth, but her numbers are essentially unparalleled in NCAAW. The all-time career scorer in women’s college basketball is Kelsey Plum, but she did it in four years at UConn, averaging 26 points and 4 assists per game in an easier conference than Clark, not even coming close to Clark’s dominant statistics. Other players that are considered to be some of the greatest women’s college basketball players ever include Maya Moore, Brittney Griner, Diana Taurasi, and Sue Bird, many of who also went on to become some of the best players ever at the professional level. None of these players have career averages that come close to Clark’s averages of 27 points and 8 assists, and half of them are worse at rebounding as well.
Most of the time, when a draft prospect emerges as the consensus #1 overall pick in their draft, it is because of some God-given natural talent that gives them a freakishly high ceiling. For instance, NBA teams are all-in on Victor Wembanyama, a 7-3 Frenchman who can score at all three levels of the court. However, with Wembanyama, there are questions. How will his playstyle hold up in the NBA? Is he physical enough to play with NBA bigs like Zion Williamson? With Caitlin Clark, there are no questions. Time and time again, she has shown the confidence, poise, and basketball IQ to get it done in the biggest moments.
Zaara Ahmed '25
Eid is an exciting time for Muslims, particularly for those who observe the holy month of Ramadan by fasting. During Ramadan, many Muslims abstain from food and drink from dawn until dusk. Fasting is also more than just abstaining from food. It is a testament to our strength and willpower and an opportunity to develop empathy and build community.
Eid-al-Fitr, or simply Eid, marks the end of Ramadan. In Arabic, Eid means "festival," and that's exactly what it is. It's a day to rejoice, indulge, and celebrate with family. In South Asian Muslim cultures, the night before Eid is called Chand Raat, which translates to "night of the moon." On this night, people stay up late, applying intricate henna designs to their hands, singing and dancing, exchanging Eid Mubarak greetings, and cooking elaborate meals. Each year, I look forward to dressing up in new clothes, receiving presents, and meeting friends and family on Eid day. Unfortunately, Eid did not feel as special the past couple of years due to COVID-19 restrictions. Still, we made up for it by celebrating twice as much this year!
In Bangladesh and other Muslim countries, Eid is a time of great festivity, with streets lit up and everyone in high spirits. People exchange gifts with their loved ones, and offices, schools, and shops close down for the day. I miss celebrating Eid in Bangladesh, where my extended family lives. Here, most people go about their daily business, and although I take the day off, my friends who I would love to spend Eid with often have school commitments, which dampens my spirits a bit. Nevertheless, we have plenty of family and friends who celebrate Eid, and we visit them, enjoy biryani and baklava, and exchange gifts and pleasantries.
Another significant aspect of celebrating Eid is Eid Prayer, a congregational prayer that marks the end of Ramadan. One of the key elements of Eid prayer is that it brings people of all ages, backgrounds, and walks of life together to celebrate the end of the holy month of Ramadan. There's something unifying about praying together after fasting for a month - a shared experience that creates a sense of kinship. I vividly remember one Eid a couple of years ago when I went to the mosque to perform the Eid prayer. I was praying next to two women I didn’t know and after we finished, they both turned to hug me. Despite being strangers, we shared a bond of faith and sisterhood that made us feel like family. It's moments like these that make Eid prayer a truly special and meaningful experience.
Now that Ramadan is over, I'm eager to return to school, have lunch with my friends, and play sports feeling refreshed and ready for the rest of the year.
William Trotter '24 and Wesley Solomon '24
The following is a transcript of an interview with Prefect, Class President, and Precalculus wizard, Wesley Solomon. Portions of the interview have been edited or redacted for clarity, accuracy, and confidentiality. Solomon was elected Head Prefect after this interview was conducted.
William: Good morning and congratulations on your re-election as prefect. Also, good luck in the upcoming Head Prefect election.
Wesley: Thank you.
William: So, why do you think your class reelected you as a prefect?
Wesley: I think I was reelected because people know me and feel like they can talk to me. I like to be the guy that people can go to for advice or talk about whatever is on their mind. Whether I’m walking around the hallways and simply saying “what’s up” or just having a laugh with the fellas at lunch, I think I do a good job of just being there for people.
William: What would you say has been your greatest achievement as Class President?
Wesley: In terms of the school or the administration or bigger-picture stuff, probably not a lot has changed since I’ve been a prefect, but we have some surprises in the works for the end of the school year—so I am looking forward to that.
William: If not with the school, how about in your own life—what has been your greatest personal achievement this school year?
Wesley: Honestly, I think it’s just all the work I’ve put into sports, especially crew, this year. Seeing my hard work pay off has been really gratifying. Also, seeing the guys around me succeed and grow has been awesome.
William: How do you think the student council’s line of communication with the administration has been this year?
Wesley: You know, they definitely do listen. They definitely take our thoughts into consideration, and I think, especially late in that third quarter when people were starting to slip, they did a good job of working with us to help people get back on track academically. The administration has always been quick to reach out to us or call a meeting to hear us out on different things throughout the year.
William: What do you hope to accomplish next year?
Wesley: I want to bring a new energy to the school that hasn’t been seen since before COVID. Every year since coming back from COVID, it’s been a little shaky, a little different. The school has definitely gotten back to the way things were, but I think the energy is still off. Next year, I want to bring the energy back, get people hype, get people out to games, make it fun again.
William: What do you have to do to bring the energy back?
Wesley: Like Coach OJ likes to say, it’s all in the little things. Once you do the littles things, the big things take care of themselves. Whether it’s helping people study or giving a freshman a ride or whatever, we’ve got to support our brothers more on a daily basis. That way when it comes time for those big games and such, we’ll know that our brothers have our back.
William: The crew season is winding down, and the off-season for football is starting up—any predictions for football for next year?
Wesley: You know, I’m not a big predictions guy, so we’ll just have to see how the summer goes. When a group of guys comes together and really puts in the work, great things are bound to happen. Last season we worked hard, but clearly it wasn’t enough. No one likes to lose. We’re definitely going to be working hard this summer because that IAC banner is won in the dog days of July and August. We’ve got some teams on the schedule this year that I’m definitely looking forward to getting revenge on, but that’s all I’ll say.
Maryam Mohseni '24
Phoebe Elizabeth Apperson (later Hearst) was born in Missouri, United States, on December 3, 1842. Her father was Randolph Walker Apperson, a successful farmer and businessman while her mother stayed at home and homeschooled her until the age of nine, when she was sent to attend a boarding school in St. Louis. In 1862, she married George Hearst, a very wealthy mining entrepreneur and, later, senator, when she was 19 and he was 41. Sadly, George died in 1891, leaving her a young widow with a substantial amount of money that she spent the next 40 years donating.
Phoebe believed that education was the key to social progress and invested most of her husband’s money in schools and universities. One of her biggest investments was the University of California at Berkeley which she donated millions of dollars to. She also played a big role in the creation of the Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology which is located on the Berkeley campus and which she donated more than 60,000 objects to. She also funded many expeditions to preserve Native Californian culture, the findings of which were added to the museum's collection which today numbers about 250,000 Native Californian artifacts.
In addition to her philanthropic work in education, Phoebe was also part of the women’s suffrage movement. At first she was not in favor of women’s suffrage (though she may have been privately), but later in her life publicly supported and advocated for the 19th amendment. While she did come to believe in the right to vote for women, she never supported women gaining political power. Instead, she believed that women should have the right to vote to protect their homes and children.
Phoebe was raised in the Christian Cumberland Presbyterian community, but later converted to Bahá'ísm in 1898. After her conversion, she spent much of her money promoting the spread of the religion in the United States and even made a pilgrimage to Palestine to meet with Abdu'l-Bahá, the then head of the Bahá'í Faith. She eventually became estranged from the Bahá'í community after a group of Bahá'í’s tried to extort money for, but she continued to financially support the spread of the religion in the United States and even invited ʻAbdu'l-Bahá to stay at her home in 1912.
In 1900, Phoebe donated 200,000$ to found the National Cathedral School. The money she donated was used to construct Hearst Hall, and in the first few years of the school’s existence it was popularly known as Hearst School in honor of her. Phoebe was involved in the design of Hearst Hall and mandated that the external and internal walls be made of stone and brick, the beams of steel, and the staircases of iron and marble, so that the building would be fireproof.
During and after her life, she was recognized by the public as “an example of the right use of great wealth," and the legacy of her philanthropy can still be seen today, not least in NCS.