Compiled by Sophia Charles '20 and Will Nash '20
Form VI - Class of 2019
Ez Belay ’19
Chase Daneker ’19 (Vice-President)
Harrison Grigorian ’19 (Head Prefect)
Henry Holliday ’19
Simon Palmore ’19 (Class President)
Form V - Class of 2020
William Carnahan ’20
Will Nash ’20 (Class President)
Brandon Torng ’20
Form IV - Class of 2021
Jackson Namian ’21
Sam Rhee ’21 (Class President)
Matthew Thompson ’21
Form III - Class of 2022
Evan Daneker ’22
Russ Khosravi ’22 (Class President)
Aidan Urbina ’22
Form II - Class of 2023
Charlie Boggs ’23
Michael Fujiyama ’23
Theo Johnson ’23 (Head Prefect)
Finn McDonald ’23
Eli Quarles ’23
Will Sharp ’23
Phillip Sosnik ’23
Cameron Zia ’23
FORM VI- Class of 2019
Ben Burgess ’19 (Senior Warden)
Noah Kang ’19
Robert Shekoyan ’19
John Youngkin ’19
FORM V- Class of 2020
Will Harmon ’20
Will Holland ’20
Ben Vacher ’20
FORM IV- Class of 2021
Hugh Barringer ’21
Nicolas Maguigad ’21
Luke Schramm ’21
FORM III- Class of 2022
George Clessuras ’22
Mateo Fretes ’22
Scott Holland ’22
Form II - Class of 2023
Henry Brown ’23
Jacob Fife ’23
Matthew Fujiyama ’23
Sascha Hume ’23
Alexander Kline ’23
Holden Lombardo ’23
Jack Marino ’23
Teddy Palmore ’23
Luke Razi ’23
John Rhee ’23
Jack Thomas ’23
by Bea Frum '20
Last week, the NCS club Our Minds Matter and Green Board hosted their first meeting together. Our Minds Matter was founded last year by Olivia Forrester ’18 in response to the three suicides that occurred in the DMV last year, as well as the pressure culture at NCS that brings so much stress to students. This year Bella Haiz ’20 and I have taken over the club, hoping to continue Olivia’s mission.
We were heartened to have such a great response to our first meeting; more than 60 students signed up for the club and 30 attended. The focus for our first club meeting was to learn what the student body needed from the club and why they wanted to join. After the meeting we learned that the resources for students who struggle with mental health need to be more easily accessible and that those who don’t deal with anxiety or depression need to be educated on how to be an ally to their peers. But we quickly realized that Our Minds Matter could not effectively do this without help from all aspects of our school. Mental health needed to be addressed by the rest of the student body, not just those who signed up for the club.
When Pippa Self ’20 and Yara Sigvaldason ’20, the two Green Board representatives for the junior class, approached us to do a joint club meeting, it was the perfect opportunity to include more of our peers. We wanted the meeting to be a combination of Green Board’s initiatives and our own, so we held a meditation session on Hearst’s lawn, practicing mindfulness in a natural setting. Although the attendance was slightly lower than we had anticipated, probably due to the chilly weather, it highlighted an important partnership.
Our Minds Matter is not exclusive to those who deal with mental health issues but is instead an opportunity for any student who is unsatisfied with the school’s efforts to have an honest dialogue about NCS’s culture. We hope that working with different student government boards will help to further spread this message.
by Will Nash '20
I was sitting at lunch one day during announcements when Dr. Labaree stepped up to the microphone and announced that there would be a Student Council meeting during Office Hours in the Marriott Hall classroom next to his office. A student new to St. Albans who sat at my table leaned over to me and asked, “What’s Student Council?” His friend snickered, but to me, it was a reasonable question. Not a lot of people actually know who the Student Council is composed of, how it functions, and what it actually accomplishes—three questions I will attempt to answer in this article.
To his first question, the Student Council is composed of fifteen students: three students from the freshman, sophomore, and junior classes, five students from the senior class, and one student who lives in the St. Albans dormitory. In the spring, elections for the Student Council are held in each grade. In the week leading up to the election, boys are nominated by their peers or nominate themselves. Campaigning in the lead-up, however, is prohibited. Once the nomination process is complete, each nominee gives a speech to his entire grade, and at the conclusion of the speeches, his grade votes on all the nominees. Three students are elected from the freshman, sophomore, and junior classes, including two prefects and one Class President (the candidate who garners the most votes). Voting in the senior class happens a little differently: the five candidates who receive the most votes from the senior class then give speeches to the entire school. Then, the candidate with the most votes becomes the Head Prefect, followed by the Class President, then Class Vice President, then the two Senior Prefects, in order of how many votes each candidate receives. Finally, one Dorm Prefect is elected by the entire St. Albans dormitory. The two faculty representatives on the Student Council are Dr. Labaree, the Head of the Upper School, and Mr. Campbell, the student activities coordinator.
To his second question and third questions, the Student Council meets every Monday during Office Hours. There is no official agenda, allowing students to bring up any ideas or concerns that they themselves have or that they have heard from their classmates. In theory, each representative is a spokesperson for the people in his grade, so feel free to ask your representative to raise certain issues that you care about during meetings. A big initiative of this year’s Senior Prefects, led by Head Prefect Harry Grigorian, is to make sure everyone feels heard; to this end, the Student Council has created an email address (firstname.lastname@example.org) to which students can send their ideas which will then be discussed in meetings. The records of each meeting are released in each grade’s Facebook group, but a plan is in the works to start posting them around the school so that people without Facebook can follow what happens in meetings. Examples of topics of discussion include a possible St. Albans mixer this winter, the structural integrity of the Refectory floors, more General Tso’s, lowering Sam’s Bar prices, and planning for Diversity Day.
By far the most important job of the St. Albans Senior Prefects is their role on both the Honor and Discipline councils. All five Senior Prefects sit on the Honor Council, along with the Academic Dean, the Form Dean of the student in question, and two elected members of the faculty. Only the Form VI Head Prefect, Class President, and Class Vice President sit on the Discipline Council, along with the Academic Dean, the Form Dean, and two elected members of the faculty. The Honor Council adjudicates on violations of the Honor Code, while the Discipline Council adjudicates on all disciplinary cases that do not fall under the Honor Code. Both groups vote among themselves and then recommend a disciplinary measure to the head of the Upper School.
This is not a duty that the Senior Prefects take lightly: occasionally, they have to pass judgement on their peers and best friends. However, it is vital for the wellbeing of the school that students are allowed a say in all aspects of its functioning, including disciplinary proceedings.It is truly a testament to the high regard of the St. Albans faculty for the student body that student leaders sit on both committees.
by Kiki Shahida '21
This year I am excited to start UNICEF Club at NCS with the help of Meghfira Mohammed. UNICEF, or United Nations International Children’s Emergency Funds, founded in 1946, was created to help children in post-war Europe, the Middle East, and China. UNICEF now has expanded into a globally recognized organization, raising money for children around the world and focusing on issues ranging from immigration, to poverty, natural disasters, and more.
Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF, started in 1950, is one of UNICEF’s most well-known annual fundraisers. The idea for Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF was to collaborate with children trick-or-treating on Halloween and allow them to directly help UNICEF’s cause. So, how does Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF work? Schools and other organizations send children home before Halloween with small orange boxes. The kids are then told to bring their boxes along with their candy bags on Halloween night. Instead of simply saying “trick or treat!” upon ringing their neighbors’ doorbells, children are instructed to say, “trick or treat for UNICEF!” Adults giving out candy are then invited to give the kids some candy in their bags, as well as some coins or small bills in their box. Varying on location, the average child rings 17 doorbells an hour on Halloween, or almost 50 throughout Halloween night. Even if only half of these households gave children 50 cents each, every child would come home with $12.50. If you take into account the number of kids and number of schools participating in Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF, it becomes clear that Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF is an extremely beneficial fundraiser for UNICEF.
When Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF was founded, a single dime was able to buy 50 glasses of milk for hungry children in Europe. Although a dime cannot do quite as much now, even small Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF donations truly help. 50 cents can provide a nourishing food packet to a starving child. Two dollars can buy ten bars of soap to keep children healthy and clean. Five dollars can buy a UNICEF backpack to aid children in their education process. Seven dollars can provide children with a volleyball to both give them a toy and allow them to build teamwork skills.
These examples are only a few of the causes UNICEF’s donations go to annually, and they prove that even small donations make a difference. Even if you aren’t planning on trick-or-treating this Halloween, consider donating to UNICEF through their website, or encouraging younger friends and family to participate in Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF.
by Emnete Abraham '19
Since classes began in September, many of the student government boards have been itching to kick their plans for this year into high gear. Under NCS’s new Arts Board President Bo Moukdarath ’19, things are going to get a lot more active and a lot more collaborative. From open mics to coloring time to newsletters, Arts Board plans to have a busy year… but they don’t just want to put their plans into action; they want your input and participation too.
Kicking things off (by popular demand) is the open mic on October 25, where students from both NCS and STA have the chance to showcase their talents. If you sing, dance, rap, play an instrument, or perform spoken word or poetry, the open mic is a lax opportunity to do so in front of fellow students and a teacher or two. For other students, the open mic is an opportunity to cheer your classmates on while enjoying a slice of pizza or a cookie.
Furthermore, Arts Board took demands for them to be more active in student life to heart. They’ve begun a newsletter too, not only to keep students informed of their plans for each month, but also to make students aware of their classmates’ performances and showcases, inside and outside of school. Starting with the Inktober challenge at the beginning of the month (stated in the newsletter), they encouraged NCS students to draw something in pen every day and submit their work for a small prize at the end of the month. Also in the newsletter was a new initiative—artists of the month. Every month, Arts Board chooses a performing and visual artist and recognizes them and their work in the newsletter. October’s artists of the month are Maggie Wang ’19 (for her self-choreographed solo performance in Cathedral) and Vicky Wang ’20 (for her paintings displayed in Hearst).
In an effort to be more active, Arts Board is also collaborating with other boards and clubs. On Friday, November 16, come to the Film Club and Arts Board collaborative movie night in the black box theater at NCS. There is also a collaboration with the Gender and Sexuality Alliance club in the works; more details to come later in the year.
Finally, the senior representatives have reserved a co-curricular period for an educational art presentation (happening in December). With all of these occurring in just the first semester of the year, it is clear that Arts board is just getting started. If you have a suggestion, feel free to email arts board president Bo Moukdarath or add a note in the Student Government suggestion box!
Compiled by Sophia Charles '20 and Will Nash '20
NCS Student Government, 2018-19
Student Government & Board Leaders
President – Peyton Gordon ’19
Vice President – Sara Roberts ’19
Secretary – Katie Ambrose ’20
Treasurer – Rachel Yoon ’20
Liaison-Elect – Kiki Shahida ’21
Service Board – Avery Kean ’19
Athletics Board – Chloe Conaghan ’19
Arts Board – Bo Moukdarath ’19
Equity Board – Zoé Contreras-Villalta ’19
Green Board – Taliyah Emory-Muhammad ’19
Class of 2019
President – Nadya Osman
Vice President – Judy Ahn
Secretary – Hailey Kim
Treasurer – Maggie Wang
Honor Board – Katherine Leahy & Katie Klingler
Discipline Board – Esther Eriksson von Allmen
Service Board – Elena Arvanitis & Elizabeth Lombardo
Athletics Board – Morgan Chung
Arts Board – Emnete Abraham & Alex Bamford
Equity Board – Mika Mathurin & Hailey Miller
Green Board – Shannon Ayres & Nina Miller
Class of 2020
President – Priya Phillips
Vice President – Kalena Blake
Secretary – Emily Rogers
Treasurer – Bea Markham
Honor Board – Gillian Moore & Juliana McKessy
Discipline Board – Bridgett Scott
Service Board – Sophia Charles & India Reynolds
Athletics Board – Siena Waldman
Arts Board – Sam Douki & Iris Wu
Equity Board – Jada Fife & Emily Kim
Green Board – Pippa Self & Yara Sigvaldason
Class of 2021
President – Ariana Lofti
Vice President – Willa Spalter
Secretary – Maddie Lee
Treasurer – Heidi Yazdani
Service Board – Ingrid Searby & Helena Getahun-Hawkins
Athletics Board – Nina Davy
Arts Board – Ava Dettling & Isabel Hohenlohe
Equity Board – Nisa Quarles & Peniel Ouabo
Green Board – Sarah Asher & Campbell Musselwhite
Class of 2022
President – Grace Demuren
Vice President – Sonia Walke
Secretary – Kristine Schwartz
Treasurer – Sabina Perry
Service Board – Autumn Reveley & Kendall Pade
Athletics Board – Maya Aguirre
Arts Board – Natalie Minor & Karen Stossel
Equity Board – Julia Sherman & Haanah Fasihi
Chloe Conaghan ’19
Morgan Chung ’19
Ilina Gobburu ’19
Sareen Balian ’19
India Reynolds ’20
Sam Douki ’20
Amelia Griffin ’20
Avery Watkins ’20
Ally Wilkinson ’21
Zari Garfield ’21
Audrey Twyford ’21
by Isabella Houle '19
Packed into the Middle School lounge, a large group of Upper Schoolers looked around in hopes of recognizing their Nest buddy. The Nest Program, a student government initiative started last year, was designed to bond the Upper School as a whole. Now, the idea was coming to fruition through a cookie-decorating party (an easy and calm environment to meet a new person for sure). I knew I had lucked out; my buddy was someone I had known for a while. All around me, I saw Upper Schoolers meeting with their buddies and engaging in small talk and get-to-know-yous. I knew I was going to have to awkwardly tell my Nest buddy that I was allergic to the cookies and that I couldn’t make a cookie for myself, but I had lucked out again: she was allergic too! Making the best of hanging out, we naturally turned to talking about cross country, as both of us are runners. We talked and looked around, and as I did I saw tables surrounded by students and filled with cookies and candy. I saw bonding, I saw some of my friends meeting people for the first time, and I saw some reunions with already-known friends. After discussing our classes, teachers, sports, and more, the time for cookie decorating was coming to a close.
As we all parted ways, the lounge was brimming excitement. We all can’t wait for the next Nest day!
by Iris Wu '20
When Jake Parker created Inktober in 2009, almost a decade ago, he probably hardly imagined just how much its popularity would explode. Originally a challenge to help improve his own skills and develop consistent habits, it has since been taken up by thousands of artists every year. The concept is simple: during the month of October, people challenge themselves to complete at least one ink drawing each day, whether illustration or calligraphy, ballpoint or brush pen, traditional or digital, simple or elaborate. Although there is no set standard for what subject or type of ink drawing, starting in 2016 the Inktober site has published an official prompt list to provide inspiration. Often, artists post their drawings online to try to self-impose an additional sense of commitment to the challenge, and it has produced many beautiful works of art focused particularly on line and value.
Inktober is among the most popular of art challenges, but it is far from being the only one. Like Inktober, some feature a particular theme (such as Mermay) or a certain medium (painting with coffee, watercolor style). There are also those that sound more mundane, such as the facial expressions challenge or a time trial, and those that seem unconventional at first, like completing a drawing with only one continuous line.
Art challenges like these can help develop skills in unique ways, as they provide a break from more traditional (and still important!) methods of practice. Self-challenges also differ from more formal contests, because the aim is not necessarily to create a masterpiece to be judged, but rather to experiment for oneself. This takes away competitive pressure and allows for more freedom while still giving some structure and direction to improve and, more importantly, have fun.
This October, NCS Arts Board has encouraged everyone to attempt Inktober. Even if completing the entire month is too overwhelming, the challenge is a great way to overcome art block and find inspiration!
by Simon Palmore '19
It is easy to be starry-eyed and idealistic about governments. We can easily demand that our nation’s government protect us from all crime, or take care of us into old age, or finance our business ventures. But we know from living in real life that these things don’t come easily. Governing is difficult. And we know governing is difficult. That’s why, with a few exceptions, we search for the political candidates with the most experience; we desire representatives who can best navigate the complicated and bureaucratic systems in order to deliver the best results. But despite this knowledge, we demand perfection and quick results.
The same principles are true for student government. More specifically, the St. Albans Student Council. As the current Senior Class President, I write from a position of bias. It is for similar reasons that I write in the first person: over the years I have learned student government inside and out. This, then, is not a piece of journalism. It’s a personal analysis of imagination and execution.
If there’s one thing I have learned over the years, it’s that most ideas are easy and most results are hard. Every student at St. Albans and NCS has ideas for their respective student governments. Common ideas at St. Albans include improved lunches, the permission of cell phone usage in the Bradley Commons, and a mixer. While these three ideas are perhaps the most notable, there are dozens of smaller ones that people suggest: these range from ridiculous, to random, to really great ideas. And Student Council members love to hear suggestions. Personally, my iPhone memo app is full of to-do lists, and these lists are how we fill our meetings.
While it might be difficult to think of great and original ideas, it is certainly easy to think of bad ideas. One memorable one was replacing Diversity Forum with a Close-wide game of capture-the-flag. And as a young Student Council representative, I was often caught up in the dreaming. Like many of my classmates, I had various ideas about how the Student Council works. How it actually works, I came to realize, is quite different from the common perception. Things go very slowly at St. Albans. There are always more layers of bureaucracy to swim through. Even ideas that are approved by all the right administrators often get lost in the sauce.
I hope I’ve established clearly enough the various obstacles that the Student Council faces: a deluge of ideas, some good and some bad, misconceptions about how everything works, and endless bureaucracy. I will now take the time to highlight the things we’ve accomplished despite the roadblocks. School lunches are more diverse (chicken and rice only once in a while) and tastier than they have been in years. A lost-and-found has replaced the previous, asystematic protocol for lost items. The cell phone policy, while still not perfect (we’re working on it), has been updated since the Dark Ages when it was originally written. And finally, the Structural Engineering Committee successfully averted a collapse of the Refectory floor during the Homecoming dance. None of these accomplishments have come easily. Every idea must jump through various hoops, some on fire, to become an actual initiative.
Student governments, as the name might suggest, are composed of students. We want what you want. We want a mixer. We want to use cellphones in the SkyLounge. We don’t want to bankrupt our families just to buy a KitKat at Sam’s Bar. But while we share these sentiments, we live with the realities of student government. So be patient with us. We’ve made many improvements, and more are on the way. First, though, we have some hoops to jump through.
by Edward Bartram '20
As some of you may know, there is an unspoken culture surrounding the STA Homecoming dance and formal dances in general. Much of this culture is only rumor; unfortunately, there exists some practice to affirm it. The core idea is that if a St. Albans boy asks someone from NCS to a formal dance, and she declines, she won’t be asked by another student. Thus, the result is that if an NCS girl wants to be asked to the dance, she must say yes to whoever asks her first, regardless of whether or not she is comfortable going with that person. This leads to both extremely early asking—almost a “first come first served” idea—and girls saying yes to guys whom they are uncomfortable going with.
Personally, both of my sisters knew about the culture, and I myself was vehemently told not to ask someone for the specific reason that they had already said no to someone else. However, many have never heard of this culture before—when I first discussed it with the prefects, none of them knew it existed. Regardless of how widespread it is or how long it has pervaded the schools for, this seems like as good a time as ever to try and stop it.
So, a gentle reminder: If one of us asks you to future dances, please feel free to turn us down if you do not want to go with us, for any reason. Also, the St. Albans Homecoming Dance is open to all NCS students, so even if you aren’t asked, you should always feel free to come! We’d all love to have you there.
There is a lot going on in today’s news, and I don’t imagine that this article is going to solve much, but we have to start somewhere.