Established in 1964, the Presidential Scholars Program serves to honor distinguished high school seniors whose accomplishments are worthy of acknowledgement. Out of the 3.1 million seniors graduating this year, about 4,200 received a nomination. Out of these 4,200 seniors, 16 students from the Close were invited to apply to be one of the approximately 160 Scholars. Congratulations to these students!
Shiva Khanna Yamamoto
Colton Van Voorhis
National Cathedral School
Esther Eriksson Von Allmen
By Sabina Perry '22
Q: What are acai berries and why should we care about them?
A: The acai berry was discovered in the Amazon long ago by the indigenous peoples. It was
introduced into the western world in the 1990s as a healthy fruit that had benefits such as weight loss — a very Western want for a berry, while indigenous people understood it had many more benefits.
Scientific studies have shown the acai berry to also have anti-aging elements, health promotion vitamins, and overall energy boosters — all adding up to increased life longevity. However, in order to benefit from these preventative health properties, you would have to consume a large number close to the amount the tribes in these Amazon jungles consume – and Americans certainly are not known to consume as many fruits and vegetables as we should.
Q: Why can’t we eat them fresh in the U.S., and what’s with acai powder?
A: This will be sad news for all of you who hoped to grow some 25-foot acai berry
trees in your backyards, as acai berries cannot be grown in climates and locations other than Amazon rain forests. Doubly unfortunate, because of their high content of fat, they are only able to retain their juices for 24 hours after harvesting. Therefore, they must be freeze-dried or made into a powder to be sent to other countries, such as the U.S., for consuming.
Q: Who came up with the acai bowl and why did it become a thing?
A: Acai bowls became popular in the U.S. first in Hawaii and Southern California, although
they have spread to pretty much all urban areas and cities on the east and west coasts. It was first developed in Brazil as a staple nutrition in a diet used for jiujitsu fighters (they are the ones who are trained to self-defend without weapons by the way) to maximize their performance. The bowls then spread to Hawaii and California, where surfers would eat them as after-session snacks.
Then, like everything else that becomes the thing to do, the acai bowl became popularized to the rest of us through Instagram, as its photogenic purple nature, topped with sliced fruit and coconut, makes for an aesthetic look.
Q: Where are the best acai bowls in the DMV?
A: Some amazing acai bowls I’ve run into in my, however limited, experience trying acai
smoothie bowls include South Block in Georgetown, Vitality Bowls in Arlington, and Fruitive by Mount Vernon Square. While you’re enjoying your bowl, remember that you’re technically being healthy and becoming STRONG like a jiu jitsu warrior!
By Mark Macguidwin '20
During the birth of the United States as an independent and powerful nation, there were many people that shaped America politically and economically. In addition to the first presidents—Washington, Adams, Jefferson, and Madison—one immigrant from the small island of Nevis grew into America’s most influential Founding Father: Alexander Hamilton. Considering his humble beginnings, how did Hamilton rise to the summit of political power? The answer lies in his early alliance with George Washington. Washington’s respect and care for Hamilton not only elevated Hamilton to power once Washington became president, but also restrained Hamilton’s fiery personality. Therefore, Hamilton’s most decisive moment was his decision to be Washington’s right-hand man during the Revolutionary War. By taking on Washington’s offer, Hamilton defined his future rise and fall from power.
First, Hamilton’s dedicated work ethic and brilliant mind impressed Washington and influenced his decisions once he became president. Before the Revolution, Hamilton was a passionate young military captain that emphasized courage and discipline. Noticing Hamilton’s military successes at Bunker Hill and Trenton, the Commander in Chief “was charmed by [Hamilton’s] brilliant courage and admirable skill”. As a result, Washington personally offered Hamilton a position on his staff “as an aide-de-camp”. Hamilton accepted. In his role, Hamilton drafted Washington’s letters, executed “diplomatic missions, dealt with… generals… and negotiated prisoner exchanges”. In addition, Hamilton’s mind was flowing with two main ideas for the America’s future: a powerful federal government and a centralized bank (138, 139). In time, Washington grew not only to adore Hamilton—he went so far as to call Hamilton “my boy”—but also to admire Hamilton, whose “knowledge… and sterling virtue” could only “be found… [in a] few men… his age”. Washington’s renown for this now lieutenant colonel influenced his decision on who would serve as the nation’s leaders later on.
Proving the significance of Hamilton working on Washington’s staff, Hamilton’s influence over Washington allowed him to rise to power and accomplish some of greatest achievements. Following the creation of the Constitution (along with Hamilton’s herculean task of writing over fifty essays in defense), Washington “was the executive branch”. In an effort to fix the “precarious… financial state of the new government,” Washington turned to his respected ally and appointed Hamilton as “the top financial spot”. From then on, Hamilton, whose “mind had wrought detailed financial plans… [f]or years,” utilized his platform of Treasury Secretary to “build an institutional framework” for our nation: he created a national bank and created a customs service with the Coast Guard and assumed states debts (with a plan for repayment) and improved public credit and employed monetary policy through bonds and enacted protective trade tariffs. Additionally, with so few departments and secretaries close to Washington, Hamilton advised Washington, “who frequently requested opinions from his cabinet” on a multitude of issues. When Britain and France went to war in 1793, Hamilton was able to convince Washington to sign a Proclamation of Neutrality even though Jefferson and other Republicans wished to aid the French. Once again, all of these accomplishments emphasize the consequence of Hamilton’s decision to work for Washington since all of his power and influence stemmed from his relationship with Washington.
Aside from Hamilton’s rise to power, Hamilton’s decline also revealed the importance of Washington in Hamilton’s life. Hamilton, The hypersensitive and “volatile Hamilton needed [the] steadying hand” of a “taciturn man” with “the gift of silence”. Thus, Hamilton’s ambition and knowledge combined with Washington’s restraint formed an “unbeatable… team” that succeeded in office. However, once Washington retired from politics, Hamilton “lost the strong, restraining hand of George Washington and [his] invaluable sense of tact,” contributing to Hamilton’s gradual fall from power. Due to insecurities about his past, Hamilton could not “refrain from vendettas… [and] discharg[ed] his venom in print” to denounce his political opponents. Hamilton made a significant blunder when he condemned John Adams’ personal conduct in a circular pamphlet. Despite being made in response to criticism, Hamilton’s “petty and vengeful” tone “erode[d] Hamilton’s influence among the Federalist faithful”. In addition, Hamilton’s pamphlet doomed his faction, the Federalist party, from winning the presidency, ushering a new era of Republican rule. For all Hamilton had done for his country, he “began to fade from public view".
In Hamilton’s life, Washington’s presence propelled Hamilton to power; conversely, Washington’s absence allowed him to throw it all away. Therefore, the genesis of their relationship is the most influential moment in Hamilton’s life. Although the two “had clashing temperaments” and sometimes quarreled, the pair’s respect and admiration for each other during the Revolutionary War formed an inseparable bond. In Washington’s farewell address, which Hamilton wrote, some observers noticed that “their two voices blended admirably together”. These “two voices” helped each other build the foundation for an entire nation. None of that could have happened if they had never met in the first place.
Opinion Piece: Words and Voters: A History of Presumed Ignorance in Politics and How it Proved Helpful
By Theo Baker '22
Okay. Now that you’ve clicked on the article, I must preface my words by saying this is by no means a definitive guide to assumptions in politics. With that out of the way, it’s time to talk about George Smathers. A senator for 12 years, the Floridian became eventually well-known throughout Washington as a friend to presidents. His charm and wit gained him access to the inner circles of Lyndon B. Johnson, John F. Kennedy, and Richard Nixon, but perhaps most notable was his ascent to power in 1950.
Harry Truman was mad. In 1948 Claude Pepper, having been put forward as a possible Democratic presidential candidate, posed a significant challenge to Truman in his presidential bid. Although Pepper eventually withdrew, this feud led to the beginning, according to the New York Times, of “an election renowned for its flamboyant oratory, ideological ferocity and personal drama,” with Truman reportedly calling at-the-time Congressman Smathers to the White House to tell him to “beat that son-of-a-bitch Claude Pepper.” Having received a particularly energetic call-to-arms, the two-time House member decided to do everything in his power to win the 1950 Florida Senate Democratic nomination (tantamount to the Senate seat, as there was little Republican opposition).
Being the time of the Red Scare, Smathers leaned into the communism and African-American baiting tactics popularized by Joe McCarthy. He repeatedly attacked Pepper with accusations implying he was pro-Communist due to his left-leaning views on race and health care. But things really came to a head when Smathers delivered a few comments picked up by an April, 1950 article in Time and now infamous in American political lore (although perhaps only in lore, as there is no concrete evidence that Smathers ever voiced these specific words): “Are you aware that Claude Pepper is known all over Washington as a shameless extrovert? Not only that, but this man is reliably reported to practice nepotism with his sister-in-law and he has a sister who was once a thespian in wicked New York. Worst of all, it is an established fact that Mr. Pepper, before his marriage, habitually practiced celibacy.”
While anyone with a dictionary can tell you that extroversion is being outgoing, thespianism is acting, nepotism is favoring a relative over someone else, and celibacy is abstaining from sex, Smathers calculated that these words would have a different impact on his rural, redneck audience. He took advantage of a presumed ignorance and lack of education in his audience and it worked (or at least failed to hinder him). “It was a campaign of vicious distortion,” Pepper said in an interview with the New York Times, “calling me 'Red Pepper,' calling me a Communist. That fitted right in, you see, with the McCarthyism that was sweeping the country.” His demagoguery — so contrary to the approach of integrity in words that childhood-friend-turned-Washington Post-publisher Philip Graham practiced — propelled him to a victory in the race, and led him down an anti-civil-rights, Vietnam-supporting path.
While George Smathers may only be one man, his actions were not so different from politicians at the time or even contemporary politicians. Misleading and misrepresentation in words is a common enough occurrence, and the support of George Smathers for 12 years shows that carefully calibrated lies can change the way voters think. I hate to say it, but Donald Trump is very similar in a lot of ways. He targets his lies to excite his fanbase (e.g. ‘I brought coal back’ to appease coal miners, ‘I’m building the wall because there’s an invasion coming’ to get anti-immigration people happy). The message here: lies change perceptions, and demagoguery even if you don’t really mean it are an unhappy part of politics.
By Isabella Houle ’19
The word "yeet" first made an appearance in pop culture in 2014. "Yeet" refers to a dance on the social media platform Vine (R.I.P. Vine) which gained traction when a fight between two Viners, Lil Meatball and Lil Terrio. Lil Meatball claimed to dance the dance better than Lil Terrio. (If you have never seen the dance, here is a clip.) As the so-called “dance craze” began to go viral, reactions, parodies, and remixes of "yeet" all came to the forefront of Vine culture.
This usage chart from Urban Dictionary (https://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Yeet) demonstrates search activity for the word "yeet", from its original conception in March of 2014, to its first peak in August 2014. With disappointingly low search results between January 2015 and August 2017, the phrase lay dormant for about a year and a half; however, since September of 2017, search activity for "yeet" has grown steadily. Peaking in October 2018, yeet’s evolution has been for the better. Its popularity and depth have grown tremendously.
"Yeet" has evolved. According to Urban Dictionary, "Yeet" previously signified “an enthused dance.” "Yeet" now serves as “a versatile word that can be used as an exclamation, a verb, or even a noun.” It expresses excitement, elation, and success. "Yeet" can be sarcastic or sincere, quick or elongated, and is usually coupled with a laugh. Some grammarians take it upon themselves to conjugate the verb to yeet.
One of the most popular uses of the word actually began during yeet’s decline. In a Vine from July of 2014, after a woman is handed an empty soda can, she screams “this b*tch empty, yeet!” and throws the can down a crowded hallway. This video predates "yeet" as an exclamation; "yeet" can accompany an action to add emphasis.
As people, we fear change. We shy away from anything but the original, we cringe when something we know shifts away from what we have loved. But, we must maintain hope and optimism. In a myriad of ways, change is for the better. Change is unavoidable. Yes, some preferred #yeet as a dance. But, speaking for myself, I would much prefer to smirk at my friend in the hall, throw up a peace sign, and say, simply, “Yeet!” Lil Meatball could never have imagined where we would be today, with memes of yeet tattoos and yeet conjugation charts circling Facebook, endlessly re-emerging. And another yeet could happen again. Maybe the mediocre memes of today will blossom into dank ones over time. But, for now, we must revel in what we have done. We must revel in the yeets we have yoten, and the yeets we will yeet.
By Street Roberts '20
Nothing could go wrong for the Bulldogs on Friday, January 25th. It was a night to remember, a night to relish, a night to realize the beauty of St. Albans athletics. It began in a cold ice hockey rink, the venue for a matchup between two powerhouse programs: St. Albans and Georgetown Prep. The walls shook with raucous energy, the skates pounded against the ice, and the air echoed with the passion of the St. Albans BEEF Club.
A sea of red shirts and red jerseys, the BEEF Club surged behind the grueling battle of the Bulldogs against the rival Hoyas. The ‘Dogs found themselves in a fearsome tug-of-war, and by the start of the third period, it appeared that neither side would be able to break through the deadlock. This would soon change. Miraculous goaltending by Junior Max DeLorme kickstarted the ‘Dogs, spurring the team onward toward victory. Then, the gridlock broke. With 7:40 left in the 3rd Period, Sophomore Ethan Ouyang flew down the left-hand side of the rink, leaving Prep defenders in a cloud of snow and ice. Protecting the puck with his backhand, he deftly pulled the puck back to his forehand in front of the net, slotting the puck past the outstretched blocker of the Prep goaltender. Chaos ensued, and the bleachers in the BEEF club shook with pure joy, as the ‘Dogs celebrated the winning goal. The Hoyas had no response, finally succumbing to defeat after an open-net goal by Senior Finn McCarthy in the waning moments.
After the team piled off the ice into a swarm of fans, the BEEF club made their way back to St. Albans, where an equally exciting event was taking place. Facing off against another rival, the Landon Bears, the St. Albans basketball team had taken a reassuring ten-point lead heading into halftime, much to the delight of all the fans at the hockey game. Strangely, upon the arrival of the BEEF Club, the team struggled to regain their stride, and Landon soon clawed their way back into the game. While the momentum swing depleted the energy of St. Albans, it was not for long, and the ‘Dogs found an extra gear to keep fighting. They dove after loose balls and pushed through tough defense, willing themselves to victory. In the student section, the raucousness continued, highlighted by a performance from Nick Beatrice as “Moses parting the Red Sea,” an action that warned the Bears of their tenacity and spirit. With a few minutes left in the fourth quarter, Senior point guard Phillip Jordan led the team to a comfortable lead, forcing Landon to foul while the Bulldogs made free throw after free throw. It proved to be too much for the Bears, and the Bulldogs won 67-59, capping an incredible night for St. Albans athletics. As Headmaster Jason Robinson remarked the following Monday, “It was truly a special night.” The ‘Dogs look to continue their conquest of the IAC on Friday, with another hockey-basketball combo night on Friday (Hockey plays Landon at Fort Dupont at 4:30; Basketball plays Bullis at home at 7:30.) Get out to that. Until then, Roll BEEF.
By Madeleine Murnick ‘22
I have used my NCS history education and the Internet to create this very useful showcase of my new knowledge: a quiz that determines the time and place in history in which you should have been born. Happy Travels!
What is your dream job?
D. Computer technologist
How would you spend an afternoon?
A. At the amphitheater
B. Playing ullamaliztli (like basketball, but with more rules and you can’t use your hands or dribble)
C. At church
D. Binge-watching Netflix
What is your attitude towards Christianity?
A. Feed ‘em to the lions!
B. Don’t love it, but I’ll take conversion over death
C. It’s the only hope
D. It’s complicated…
How would you deal with your enemies?
A. Force them to fight for your entertainment
B. Sacrifice them to the gods
C. Lock them in towers
D. Rant about them on Twitter
Whom do you worship?
D. The Kardashians
What is your favorite snack?
A. Mice stuffed with pork
C. Meatless Stew
D. Tide Pods
Finally, how would you rather die?
A. Stabbed in the back by your friend
B. Sacrificed to the gods
C. The plague
D. Crushed by a vending machine
Mostly A’s: Roman Empire 1st-4th cent.
Mostly B’s: The Aztec Empire 15th-16th cent.
Mostly C’s: Medieval Europe 12th-14th cent.
Mostly D’s: Congratulations! You’re in the right time and place.
By Gabi Liebeler ’20
January. Personally, one of my least favorite months. The days are short, school stress is skyrocketing, and for some reason that I can never understand, we aren’t given the blessing of long weekends and breaks from school. In a nutshell, the future looks bleak. In the midst of the dead of winter, I think we could all use some sort of escape. Whether it’s to simpler times, to warmer weather, or to better memories, I’ve put together some of my favorite throwback songs and TV episodes to bring the best of the past right into the present, and hopefully bring some joy and humor to your day.
These are the songs that never get old, to me at least. The ones that make you get up and dance, the ones that put a smile on your face, the ones that you remember hearing in the car on the radio as a kid. These are the songs that surprise your friends when you can magically spit out every single lyric like it’s 2006 and you’ve been listening to this song on repeat for days already. Maybe you’ve never heard these songs, but I guarantee they’ll get you up and moving.
Money Maker- Ludacris & Pharrell Williams
Ride Wit Me- Nelly
It Wasn’t Me- Shaggy
All Falls Down- Kanye West
Wait (The Whisper Song)- Ying Yang Twins
So Fresh, So Clean- Outkast
Promiscuous- Nelly Furtado ft. Timbaland
Señorita- Justin Timberlake
A Milli- Lil Wayne
Jump- Kris Kross
Don’t Cha- The Pussycat Dolls ft. Busta Rhymes
Miami- Will Smith (if there’s one song you listen to on this playlist please listen to this one it’s so important)
The Way You Make Me Feel- Michael Jackson
Stronger- Kanye West
Stereo Hearts- Gym Class Heroes ft. Adam Levine
It’s Tricky- Run-D.M.C.
Down- Jay Sean ft. Lil Wayne
Get It Shawty- Lloyd
Evacuate the Dancefloor- Cascada
Just Can’t Get Enough- Black Eyed Peas
Bottoms Up- Trey Songz ft. Nicki Minaj
1985- Bowling For Soup
Payphone- Maroon 5 ft. Wiz Khalifa
By Brandon Torng ‘20
Stalin’s son is a senior in high school and gets expelled for lying and cheating
Your expulsion has come to my attention, and I write to offer you my thoughts. I wish to open by making clear that I feel neither anger nor disappointment towards your actions. In fact, I view your “wrongdoing” as a symbol of individuality—a vital quality for a future leader such as yourself. To many people, your punishment is a consequence of your irresponsible behavior. But who are they to judge the merit in your behavior? In my eyes, your former school’s decision represents its inability to understand children who do not conform to the rules. But look at me. I became successful by intentionally breaking the rules.
Beliefs must be fought for. In my youth, I was a follower. My grades were perfect, my record was clean. The adults saw in me a sharp intellect, one poised for a bright future in the academic realm. I was a model child; however, that was not my true self. Looking back on those years, I—Ioseb—was a coward. Ioseb walked mindlessly along paths carved by others, all the while neglecting to challenge his predecessors. It was not until Ioseb began to disobey, to question, that he found his individuality. And when that happened, he decided to change the core of his identity: his name. I became Joseph, which as you know derives from the Russian word for “steel.” Joseph, unlike Ioseb, did not care what others thought of him or his actions, and followed only his own beliefs.
In 1899, I was expelled from school, and began my underground political life. In 1902, I was imprisoned. I went in and out of prison numerous times, but never lost faith in my beliefs. The government realized my will, and attempted to put me in exile. Even then, my focus never wavered. I was a man of steel. In 1917, the same year I returned from exile, the revolution occurred. My beliefs were coming closer to reality. Over the next seven years, in a seat of limited authority, I worked to rise up the ranks. In 1924, achieving unequivocal power, I brought my beliefs to life.
The story of my life you are certainly familiar with, but at this critical point in your development, I wish to remind you of my journey. I predict your expulsion marks the beginning of your rise, the same way it did for me.
Now, think carefully and act wisely, for your upcoming years will define your future. In particular, take note of the people you meet and the connections you build. These people you will employ as pawns. In the developmental stages, you and your pawns shall work together to promote your beliefs. They are integral to early success. But over time, pawns lose value. At this point, they may be maneuvered and sacrificed for the greater good. The pawns have already fulfilled their role: to support the king. You, my son, are that king. When the time comes, you—like I did—will consolidate your authority until you have absolute control. Power is not achieved by one individual, but in the end, one individual must hold all the power.
I, the leader of our beloved country, raised you in my image. You were shaped to carry my name, to continue my legacy. Nothing should hinder you in fulfilling your destiny. Though I cannot walk you through each step of your journey, keep my words in mind and you too will become a leader.
By Schuyler Holleman ‘20
United States History. These three words may evoke images of exhausted, half-closed eyes trying to make sense of Eric Foner’s words at 11:30 PM. As a one-semester veteran of the class, I will now impart my unequaled wisdom on how to survive U.S. History better than Alexander Hamilton survived his duel with Aaron Burr.
A few things you will first need: the Bible, better known by many as Give Me Liberty!, written by God himself, Eric Foner. You will also need to subscribe to the Crash Course YouTube channel; John Green’s historical analysis and hilarious one-liners are the only acceptable method for last-minute studying. Additionally, you will need a very large binder; preferably between 8 and 9 inches, in order to hold the plethora of handouts that you will only read once and never see again. Finally, you must dedicate at least two hours a night to reading about war, political parties, and presidents, oh my!
Now that you’ve got your supplies, it’s time to start your journey. For those who have not yet entered the class, or have somehow slept through the entirety of first semester, here’s a bit of a spoiler for you: America is the worst. Patriotic as you may be, U.S. History will inevitably remind you that much of America was built by slaves on land taken from Indigenous peoples.
Despite the not-so-smooth past of our country, U.S. History, like many history classes, reminds us not to repeat the past. While you may have failed your midterm or you may have said the Stamp Act was passed in 1674 and not 1765 (guilty as charged), the world goes on, you pick yourself up and keep going.
U.S. History is all about resilience. After all, while you might still be recovering like America after the Civil War, you better rejuvenate fast to be ready for IHAP season. So, to all underclassmen anxiously anticipating U.S. History and to my friends taking it right now, heed my advice, you’ve got this.