By Nolan Musslewhite ‘20, Liam Warin ‘20, and Priya Phillips ‘20
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NCS Names New Potentate
Dr. Elinor Scully, head of the Langley School in McLean, Virginia, has been named the 12th Head of the National Cathedral School and shall be instated in July of 2021. Susan C. Bosland will be installed as the 11th head of NCS seeing as that she will hold the Head of School title into the 2020-2021 school year.
Schofer Proves His Mettle
Dr. Schofer, STA’s resident comic, proved his mettle last week with a lunchtime imitation of W. Carnahan ‘20 that hurled the refectory into uproarious laughter. Announcing a “Post Lunch Yasso” in the “Skizzle Dizzle,” among other humorous quips, Dr. Schofer weaved his name with confident hand into the tapestry of St. Albans lore. Faculty reactions to the announcement ranged from shock to hilarity.
STA Soccer Triumphant in IAC
Continuing their nineteen-game unbeaten streak, the Bulldogs finished their IAC campaign with a 1-0 home victory against Georgetown Prep in the IAC championship game, clinching the title. Led by goalkeeper C. Ehrenhaft ‘20 (Swarthmore ‘24), the Soccer Dogs have only conceded five goals all season. The all-star roster also includes Tufts ‘24 commit M. Brady ‘20, Columbia ‘24 commit J. Muoio ‘20, and other commits. Despite falling short against Gonzaga on Wednesday in a heartbreaking defeat that took them out of the DCSAA tournament, the team was praised for their strong and successful season.
November 1st Deadline Passed
The Exchanged received multiple reports of seniors running elatedly through the halls as the November 1st college deadline has passed. Many seniors have already geared into their new excuse for their laziness and procrastinatory habits—the November 15th deadline. Seniors strongly approved of the administration’s actions to avert another “Lessons and Deferrals” later this year.
STA Football Felled by Episcopal
Many ascribed the loss to shoddy refereeing, as a blown call handed an ill-deserved touchdown to Episcopal, snatching it from the hands of a hopeful J. Namian ‘21. The editors of this newsletter could not corroborate some students’ sightings of bulky letters passed to the referees by Episcopal coaches after the game. The final score was 27-12.
Mystics Work Their Magic
The Mystics have won the WNBA championship, thrusting DC Basketball back into the national fray. The Mystics’ victory ought to be a wake-up call for the Wizards, who have not won an NBA championship since 1978.
OSKOM Takes Flight
In a lunch announcement last week, E. Chen ‘21 and J. Leahy ‘21 announced their new club “OSKOM”—an acronym of the Greek phrase “ὁι σοφοτατοι και ὁι μεγιστοι,” or “the wisest and the greatest”—framed around philosophical discussion and analysis. Resident Classicist Lars Nordquist ‘20 lodged a strong protest to the acronym, insisting that “μεγιστοι” exclusively denotes physical size or strength rather than moral sapience, and suggested the more proper “βελτιστοι,” often translated as “best.” Chen and Leahy are yet to respond to Nordquist’s scathing rebuke.
Bulldog Bash Fundraiser
The Cathedral was illumined in reds and pinks Saturday night for the now-annual Bulldog Bash fundraiser, deemed by the school “an evening in celebration of the St. Albans community.” The event—open to all current alumni, parents, faculty, and staff—featured CNN’s Jim Sciutto as emcee along with a performance by St. Albans’ all-male acapella group “Jackets Off.”
Nationals Vanquish Astros in Tense Finish
The Nationals fulfill Bryce Harper’s promise of “[b]ringing a championship back to DC” by winning all four games in Houston and beating the Astros 6-2 in Game 7 of the World Series—becoming, so to speak, WorlDChampions. The final game ended in peak Nationals fashion, with the team driving in all six of their runs in the final three innings in a heart-stopping turn of events.
A Mixed Bag for NCS Athletics
NCS athletic teams ended their seasons with strong records but, unfortunately, none were able to bring home any championship titles. NCS placed second in both Cross Country and Volleyball. Athletes are now preparing for the fall sports banquet on Monday, November 12th, and the start of the winter sports season. NCS athletic teams were also unable to bring home any DC state titles.
All-Girls: What Does it Mean at NCS?
A student government proposal has sparked conversations among students regarding what being an all-girls school means in terms of gender inclusion. Some students raised concerns that the proposal dilutes traditional tenets of single-sex education.
STA Cross Country Team Victorious Again
The St. Albans Cross Country team won their eleventh straight IAC championship eleven days ago at Derwood Farm Park in Derwood, Maryland. Led by Damian Hackett ‘21, the varsity boys finished with a combined score of 30 to blow the competition out of the water. This year’s finish solidifies the program’s place as the most successful sport in STA history under the stewardship of Head Coach Jim Ehrenhaft (STA ‘83).
By Nolan Musslewhite '20
We’re back! We ended last with Trojan ships on Latian sands, as Aeneas and his motley band finally arrived in Italy, driven by fate. (A Brief Survey of the History of Rome, Part I of X)
Alban Fathers, Roman Sons
Having shored in Italy, in the words of Ragan, “Aeneas f[ound] not peace but another terrible war.” A local king, Latinus, sparked conflict when he betrothed his daughter Lavinia to newly-arrived Aeneas instead of the man to whom he had already promised her, Turnus. In the ensuing strife, in which the Trojan-Latinus coalition fought Turnus and his local allies, Aeneas slew Turnus and subsequently married Lavinia. He died shortly afterward: Aeneas, son of Venus, his name forever etched into the sprawling stele of Western civilization, a fleeting ember of once-mighty Troy rekindled into the towering inferno that would become Rome. His legacy would be taken up by his young son Ascanius (also known as Iulus). The year, as legend has it, is ca.1175 BCE.
Thirty or so years later, Ascanius founds the town of Alba Longa in the nearby Alban Hills, about 20 miles east of the Seven Hills that will later mark the site of Rome. Ascanius is the first in a 400-year line of Alban kings—the Silvian Dynasty—that ends with King Proca and his two sons: Numitor (the elder) and Amulius (the younger). Upon Proca’s death sometime in the 8th century BCE, Numitor, being the elder brother, ought to have inherited the throne. Amulius, however, had other plans, and he usurped the throne, murdered Numitor’s sons, and cast Numitor himself into exile. Wanting to end his brother’s bloodline in Machiavellian fashion, Amulius forced Numitor’s daughter Rhea Silvia to become a Vestal Virgin, consigning her to celibate priestesshood.
Divine intervention followed forthwith, as Rhea Silvia became impregnated by Mars, the goddess of war [virgin pregnancies tend to resurface, no?]. Amulius orders the resulting twin boys—Romulus and Remus—to be left on the banks of the Tiber River to perish [Go down, Moses, … ]. Escaping doom, the twins were found and nursed by a she-wolf who brought them to a cave known as “the Lupercal.” Soon thereafter, the infants were found by a shepherd, Faustulus, who took them in and raised them as his own (along with his wife, Acca Larentia). Eventually, having learned of their family story and of the injustice Amulius had wrought, they wrested back control of Alba Longa and restored Numitor, their now-agéd grandfather, to the throne. Wrongs thus righted, the brothers set out, looking to found a city of their own.
The twins and their followers journeyed west to a marshy spot near the Tiber River, ringed by seven hills—the Palatine, the Quirinal, the Esquiline, the Caelian, the Aventine, and the Capitoline. Romulus surmounted the Palatine Hill and began setting the boundaries of a new hamlet, Rome. The legendary date of this founding is April 21, 753 B.C. Remus, in scorn, leapt over the Rome’s diminutive walls. Romulus, ever the patriot, felled his brother with his blade, declaring, “Sic deinde, quicumque alius transiliet moenia mea”—“Thus henceforth to anyone who should o’erleap my bulwarks.”
Ridden of pesky Remus, Romulus set to the task of governance and growth, making Rome (specifically the Capitoline Hill) an asylum that welcomed all who wished to join the new town. Unsurprisingly, such an arrangement attracted a less-than-ideal rabble—the men were raucous and criminal, the women sparse. Stung by a neighboring tribe’s refusal to lend their daughters in marriage to the Roman ruffians, Romulus announced a festival of Neptune in his new town, attracting scores of local tribespeople. With the beady eyes of the Romans fixed upon the Sabine daughters—the young, gallivanting women of the Sabine tribe—Romulus gave the signal, and the Romans rushed out from their hidey-holes, each seizing a Sabine lass for his own and absconding back onto the fortified heights of the Palatine. The festival, needless to say, quickly dispersed.
The Roman snatching—or, as it became known, “The Rape of the Sabine Women”—was rather poorly received by the duped Sabines, who quickly armed themselves and prepared to make battle. Skirmishes ensued, but the final engagement of the war, the Battle of the Lacus Curtius, was ended when the Roman wives (yes, the very Sabine girls who had only recently been kidnapped) threw themselves into the fray and demanded that conflict cease in an event often called “The Intervention of the Sabine Women.” Impelled to peace, the two towns merged, the new entity jointly ruled by Romulus and Titus Tatius, the Sabine king.
Around this time, too, Romulus went about planting the societal seeds that would sprout into the grand trunks of Roman civilization. To 100 hand-picked followers he gave the title “patres”—“fathers”—who would serve in an official capacity as his advisory council, the Senate. The descendants of these early “fathers” would later be known as the “patricii,” or “Patricians.” The rest of the citizenry were merely the “plebs,” or “Plebeians.” The union of these two delineated strata gave us SPQR—“Senatus PopulusQue Romanus,” or “the Senate and People of Rome.” Another division of the city—into thirty “curiae,” named after thirty of the Sabine women who had intervened—provided the voting units of the “Comitia Curiata,” or “Roman Assembly.”
Over the next several years of his rule (by now Titus Tatius had perished during a riot in nearby Lavinium), Romulus oversaw the city’s continued growth as it pressed outward through military conquest. In the late 8th century B.C. (i.e. low 700s), Romulus died when, while surveying the troops arranged on the Campus Martius (Plain of Mars) from the Quirinal Hill, a cloud enshrouded him. When the cloud lifted, Romulus was nowhere to be found—either murdered in a conspiracy by the Senators or, as Livy favors, ascended to heaven under the auspices of Mars, the war god. Romulus was later deified under the name “Quirinus,” attracting a significant cult following. He reigned for thirty-seven years, the first of Rome’s “Seven Kings.”
Thus we conclude the second chapter of our history of Rome, with Romulus dead and a new king, as we shall soon see poised to spring from the ashes.
By Maryam Pate '20
If you’re a student on the Close, chances are, in the past week you’ve probably been stopped by a teacher or administrator who waved at you, asked how you were doing or inquired about your personal life. These common interactions are indicators of a privilege we all receive as students on the Close, and a privilege that we cannot feel entitled towards.
One might struggle to find the significance in such a mundane interaction, or think, “they’re teachers, that’s their job,” but therein lies the problem: we are so accustomed to behaviors of adults on the Close and the immensely privileged environment we exist in, that we begin to undervalue and feel entitled to the strong forces silently shaping who we will become.
NCS and STA fulfill their missions of shaping women of “excellence, service, courage and conscience” and men of “achievement, leadership and service.” These traits are cultivated in all parts of our journeys on the Close, most visibly through things like foreign exchanges, rigorous English departments, and fellowships. But there are quieter forces at play that shape us beyond our academic identities.
We have exceptionally strong relationships with adults on campus and are constantly reminded of the web of support that exists for us at school. Whether they be teachers, college counselors, or advisors, we are surrounded by adults constantly reassuring us that we have what it takes and that not only can we succeed, but we will. There is a cushion that exists beneath us that allows us room to take risks with the knowledge that there will be someone there to protect us. In these formative relationships, we develop greatly and gain confidence and self-worth, but at what cost?
These privileges transform the role of schools in our lives. Private schools often advertise their emphasis on nurturing the whole child, and Close schools are no exception. For some, school is even another home, and Close institutions are fundamental parts of their identity. But there is a danger in attaching our identity to something so infused with enormous advantage over others.
As recipients of these advantages, we must ask ourselves, what have we done to deserve this? The answer should be not much. There is very little that entitles us to the education we receive. Private school is just a good in the education market, and that is exactly why none of us are entitled to it. This consideration does not negate the efforts of those who contribute to our education, nor does it negate the struggles we have faced in these challenging environments. Rather, it shifts our attention to our responsibilities as privileged individuals; we have to see and act on the privilege within ourselves. It's in how we speak, relate to our peers and teachers, conduct ourselves, and how we expect others to behave. We have to live cognizant of the fact that the advantages set before us have created uncommon and extraordinary environments very different from those of “the real world.” Even more importantly, we have to know that they are not who we are.
Particularly as some of us prepare to move on past the Close, we have a responsibility to deepen our self-awareness and rectify the distorted expectations we might have. While we might be used to positive reinforcement at every corner, in truth, nobody really owes us that or much of anything. We shouldn’t expect all our future communities to be our havens; we should prepare ourselves for lives enriched by our positive experiences on the Close, but not defined by them. We can seek to recreate such positive community experiences without feeling entitled to them. After all, there is so much more to us than our privilege.
By Yara Sigvaldason '20
Ah, the start of a new school year-a time when the possibility of getting one’s act together still seems plausible and the idea of getting more than 6 hours of sleep a night doesn’t seem completely unfamiliar. What people may not start talking about at the beginning of the year, but is on most people’s radar, is the fact that STA Homecoming is only a few weeks away. Especially for incoming freshmen, the prospect of needing to engage in one-on-one interaction with a member from across the close in order to secure a date can seem rather daunting. I think it is fairly obvious to members of both communities that pairing people up as dates will almost always have negative repercussions; someone won’t get asked but all their friends will, 2 (or more people) want to ask the same person, your date’s friend group doesn’t line up with yours resulting in a dinner with the most awkward combination of people ever. All these scenarios inevitably result in someone’s feelings being hurt-not to mention, they give very little room for anyone who doesn’t identify as heterosexual to get a date in a manner that corresponds to their sexual orientation.
However, I think the biggest contributor to stress concerning school dances lies in the incredibly high expectations we have for them. I can’t speak for the STA community, but I know students at NCS will spend a few hundred dollars on just one dance. While this often isn’t intentional, I mean buying virtually any dress along with booking a Drybar appointment is already at least $100, I believe all this money spent combined with the generous effort and time we put into getting ready subconsciously gets our hopes up that this dance will truly be a night to remember.
I also believe that one reason students are willing to put in so much effort into these dances is because they’re one of the few opportunities we get every year to be normal high school kids. Both NCS and STA have rigorous workloads that often encourage their students to sacrifice having fun for precious time to finish up an assignment or to add on another extracurricular to their already busy schedules. As a result, these school dances are often one of the only non-academic events the majority of the student body at both institutions actually attends together. This perpetuates somewhat of an “all-or-nothing” mindset, this is your chance to interact with a large amount of people from the other school in a supposedly “fun” atmosphere-so you kind of have to go all out.
What I can safely deduce from the last 3 years I have spent on the close and the wonderful school functions I have attended along the way is that they almost never live up to the expectations that are built around them. Now this doesn’t mean that you should automatically give up and refuse to attend any school dances, I’m just encouraging you to take a reality check while you’re having fun getting ready with your friends (which often ends up being the highlight of the night) to realize that school dances are what you make of them. You can go in with sky-high expectations that you will meet the love of your life or you can realize that dancing with your friends and having a chance to take a break from school-related stress is much more valuable and, obviously, much more realistic. I can’t do much about the venue, the music we don’t recognize, or the teachers watching our every move, but I can offer you one piece of advice: no matter how much sweat is raining onto you (and I do mean literally raining onto you) from people you don’t know and whose hygiene you question-don’t sweat it. Take the night as a chance to let go and to have fun with your friends, you’re only going to be around them for four more years and you’d be amazed at how fast that time goes by.
By Sam Rhee '21
“Please, please tell me what kind of a God can let six million of His devoted followers—of His
creations—be put to work, tortured, and executed, simply because they were of a certain
denomination.” -Theo Baker
Like many of you, I enjoyed the recent article in the Exchanged titled Against Religion.
Like many of you, I enjoyed the comment section as well. Before it devolved into a freshman
group chat and witnessed Jesus’s second and third and fourth comings, a few people attempted
to address the author’s argument directly. One of the key points of contention was the problem
of evil, namely the question of how an omniscient, all-benevolent, and omnipotent God can
coexist with widespread suffering (a problem most notable for the Abrahamic faiths, not all forms
of theism). Philosophers and theologians throughout history have proposed a number of logical
solutions (theodicies) to this conundrum. Below, I’ll try to outline a few of the most popular ones,
as well why I believe none of them fully succeed.
One qualification that theists often make is that the coexistence of God and evil, though
seemingly improbable, is not logically impossible. Humans simply can’t comprehend God’s
actions (WHERE WERE YOU WHEN I CREATED LEVIATHAN?). I will accept that God may
work in “mysterious ways” that necessitate plague and genocide, but this answer is lazy and
incomplete. The theist, however, may use other arguments to assert the probable existence of
God and render the problem of evil moot.
You can sidestep the problem of evil by arguing that, because objective morality can’t
exist without God, atheists have no basis for claiming evil exists. If morality is the byproduct of
evolution, it isn’t inherently good on an individual basis. However, it’s perfectly reasonable to
assume that morality can exist as a natural law (is, perhaps, god itself) without invoking a
personal God; or that moral norms may exist as a coherent and useful system in the same way
that mathematics does; or to adhere to a secular moral theory (as most philosophers do), such
as utilitarianism- which, despite its other faults, has a clear correspondence to physical reality in
the pain-pleasure dichotomy. Non-theists can even argue that the existence of God is
problematic for morality as we understand it: if good depends on God, God could make any act
moral (see: Plato’s Euthyphro). Throughout the Old Testament, God condones plenty of murder
and pillaging that defies our moral intuitions.
A popular argument is that good can’t exist without evil. Even if this is true, it doesn’t
explain the scope of evil permitted (would our understanding of good be deficient without the
Holocaust?). A converse of sorts is that the good in the world justifies the existence of evil. To
be precise, if the good in a world outweighs the bad, the question of better worlds is irrelevant.
This is believable only if you don’t believe that God can be faulted for wrongdoing by omission
(unlikely if He is all powerful). An interesting formulation is that, if multiverse theory is true, God
may have already created all possible better worlds- though I’m not convinced that this is a
different situation ethically.
The last and most significant theodicy is that free will is morally necessary. I don’t have
room to outline the issue of free will, but I think Against Religion did a good job of addressing
the fact that free will is heavily constrained (claims that the author is a complete determinist
came from a misreading of the article). Free will is the ability to choose from possibilities,
constrained by the limits of your own mental circuitry and environment. While you could
theoretically go get a lighter and set yourself on fire right now, it is implausible that you would
make this decision- you are technically free, but de facto limited. Sociopaths also have free will,
but are much more inclined towards evil (through no fault of their own), to the point where they
often can’t choose good for “moral reasons”- it simply doesn’t occur to them as a possibility. It
seems logical to reason that most people have different propensities for good or evil based on
genetic factors and childhood environment, which will undeniably shape their decisions in a
profound and unconscious manner (and you make many decisions before you have any
conscious control over them according to modern neuroscience) . Given this definition of free
will, it seems that God could have changed human propensity towards good without violating
autonomy. In fact, if people in heaven are autonomous and perfectly righteous, evil is not a
necessary consequence of free will. To take it one step further, if God is autonomous and
perfectly righteous, creating creatures that had the capacity for evil was a major oversight.
Finally, the free will theodicy doesn’t adequately explain natural evil: it could be that God
punished Eve with childbearing and gays with HIV/AIDS, but these consequences require divine
intervention and, thus, defer evil back to God. However, if you believe in largely unrestricted free
will, most philosophers still consider this theodicy to have significant weight.
By Julia Poggi '21
Why on “standardized” tests do we make accommodations for certain people? Isn’t the whole point of an ACT or SAT to test students on an even playing field, not taking into account socio-economic status, race, or ability? So why does the college board allow for extra time on time-based tests? One can argue these accommodations are equitable, but isn’t it better to give no accommodations than just those on certain basis?
Recently, I took my ACT. Because I signed up late, the only place to take it was UMD. As we shuffled into our assigned classrooms, I noticed something interesting about the other students testing with me. I was one of 3 white kids in my 20 something-person test room, while the extended time classroom was 100% white, and almost all of them had their parents dropping them off and picking them up.
This was strange to me for a few reasons. First of all, I was in the racial minority of my test room. This was drastically different to my usual experience at NCS. Secondly, a part of me felt I belonged in the extra- time room. I qualify for it but chose not to take it. I also felt put off by the parent presence. These parents seemed overinvested and almost obsessed with their children’s academic wellbeing, giving them snacks, words of encouragement and test-taking tips up until the last second. While these parents could have just been concerned, or the children may have had disabilities that prompt more attentive parenting, this did not seem to always be the case. With the 2 hours of standby time before the test was finally distributed (do not take your ACT at UMD), I had a lot of time to ponder these observations. The most important conclusion of my test taking was the affirmation that I had made the right choice to use regular time.
How far does this go? LSAT, GMAT, MCAT (Med School) exams? Professional license tests? State Medical licensing boards? Driver's License exams? Ph. D. defenses? Civil Service Exams? Police promotion exams?
The ACT is a timed test. The difficulty of the test does not lie in the content, but the limited time given to answer questions. By giving kids extra time, the time factor is effectively neutralized. Miriam Freedman, a Special Education Attorney claims “"More time on a timed test is like changing the font size on an eye exam. It's no longer the same test." The majority of kids that receive extra time are affluent, white children with learning disabilities that, for the most part, do not infringe on their ability to function (California College Board). The testing alone to be eligible for these accommodations costs thousands of dollars and is only affordable to a small group of people.
I personally qualify for extra time. I have an “essentially undetectable” case of ADHD that really does not impact my life or learning abilities, yet I could likely be eligible to have up to double time to complete my ACT and take each section separately on different days. To take extra time feels like scamming a system meant for children who are far more impacted by exploiting a loophole. And frankly, it concerns me that it is even a possibility. While I turned down extra time, feeling that accepting it would be unethical, I doubt many others in my situation would do the same. The disability system is flawed. My experience with DC learning disability processionals is that if you pay for the testing, they declare you eligible for accommodations, regardless of true disability. I have yet to meet someone that tested negative for a learning disability.
That isn’t to say that there aren’t people with learning disabilities who deserve extra time. But the reality is that there are too many people who don’t that exploit the system. For that reason, I believe that instead of drawing a line in a grey area of “what disabilities are severe enough to warrant accommodations”, these accommodations should be omitted entirely, not because some people aren’t deserving, but because the system is far too abused in practice. Unfortunately, with this system, the abuse of able students would hurt those who deserve it. However, in a world surrounded by college admissions scandals and corruption, that alternative feels fairer than the current reality.
Moreover, if standardized tests are to make accommodations for some people, shouldn’t they do it for anyone going into the test with a disadvantage? Kids whose school districts underperform do not get easier questions, even if they are statistically less likely to have covered material than students in higher preforming and/or better funded schools. Students who do not have a car are not allowed a later start time to accommodate for the lost sleep that long public transportation may require. Students learning English as a second language are not provided an alternative or easier English grammar and writing mechanics section, which is far more intuitive to a native speaker. Of course, these accommodations are not made; it is a standardized test. So why continue to give an exponentially increasing group of people (mostly affluent whites) a leg up?
Therein lies the issue. In an attempt to offset the privilege an educationally able person may have- while not attempting to offset the disadvantages caused by socio-economic status, family structure, race, or other factor- the “standardized” test administration actually increases inequality and inequity. This conflict also poses a larger issue: are standardized tests, either as they are now or without any accommodations, fair assessments of students’ abilities?
By Schuyler Holleman '20
Objective fact: NCS homecoming is the best close dance of the year. Prom? Homecoming? Who are they? All other dances are simply playing for second, and I’m sure that everyone can agree with me on that. In my senior year, I can easily say that I have never been more excited for a dance. Having known the theme for three months, I was so excited for it finally to be out there and to see everyone’s VI2I0NARY outfits. Keeping it a secret is both hard and frankly, never really works. So here’s my hot take (pun very much intended) on the best dance.
Firstly, it was hot. The jokes about that have already been killed so I’ll spare you more comments about the steam on the windows and the sweat that drenched everyone. Secondly, the outfits. Some impressed me, and some REALLY disappointed. To all my STA friends that showed up in Hawaiian shirts, I respect and understand your love for the BEEF club, but I honestly wish that you would’ve taken it further. If you’re going to try and overtake our dance, you’re going to have to do A LOT more than slapping on your dad’s old Tommy Bahama and whipping out your sunglasses. Nice try, boys, but you lost that fight to the VI2I0NARIES. Some of my other favorite outfits included Steve Jobs, Albert Einstien, cupid, and (just to toot my own horn), a magic 8 ball. An additional props for the footwear; seeing light-up shoes color the dance floor really was a sight like none other.
Thirdly, the DJ. To those not in attendance of NCS prom last year, DJ Beauty and the Beatz is a legend and was a crowd favorite after she posted on her Instagram story about us breaking the dance floor. Obviously, she had to come back. While I’ve been declared by some as a “bad dancer” (jury is still out on that one), I can say very honestly that I was dancing my hardest, ignoring the heat, to nearly every single song she played. While she didn’t play my ~essential~ request of “Boyfriend” by iconic boy band Big Time Rush, I can still forgive her. She at one point selected me (probably because I threw my hand in the air, jumping and begging, but that’s beside the point) to karaoke “Senorita.” So, naturally, after such an ego feed, I love her. So, all in all, besides the heat and locked doors that seemed to frustrate many overheated and exhausted students, I can stand by my opinion that NCS homecoming is the best dance of all time.
Seeing everyone interpreting our theme honestly made my heart swell; it is such a crazy feeling trying to wrap my head around the fact that it's my senior year and my last of so many things, including NCS homecoming. I am so grateful for these moments with my amazing class and the rest of the upper school. So, to everyone who came in your best VI2I0NARY looks, thank you for celebrating with the class of 2020 and making the night so special to all of us. It is truly such an unmatched experience and one that I will remember forever. And to the BEEF club, do better and stay in your lane. Please and thank you.
By Teddy Hudson '21
The Jacksonville Jaguars have not been a successful franchise. Since their inception in 1995, they have have failed to win, or even make, a super bowl. In the 2017-18 season, their fortune seemed to change. They won their division with a 10-6 record, their only winning record since 2007, qualifying them for the playoffs. In the 2018 playoffs, their stout defense carried them to the conference championship game, where they lost to the super bowl favorite New England Patriots. There was a renewed sense of optimism going into the 2018-19 season. Unfortunately, they struggled, finishing last in their division with a 5-11 record. The offense was the problem as it finished 24th in passing yards and 27th in passing touchdowns. Leading up to the 2019-20 season, they attempted to fix their problems by signing super bowl winning quarterback nick foles. Again there was hope in Jacksonville. The defense was elite again, and they finally had a quarterback. Foles started off well in his first game in Jacksonville, throwing for 75 yards and a touchdown early, but then he broke his left clavicle.
Gardner Minshew II, the Jaguar’s backup Quarterback, stepped onto the field after Foles’ injury Week 1 with no hype, no expectations, and everything to lose. Though coming off a hot year at Washington State, where he led the nation in passing and was named the PAC-12 Offensive Player of the Year, he entered the NFL with little fanfare, drafted by the Jaguars in the 6th round with the 178th overall pick. He was an untested rookie backup QB, who had once planned to ride the bench at Alabama in the hopes of learning the skills necessary to one day become a coach, filling in for a Super Bowl Champion, stepping onto the field to face a Chiefs squad that includes reigning MVP Patrick Mahomes. It seemed as if he was doomed to fail. Instead, though losing the game 40-26, Minshew left the field with the highest completion percentage (88.0) of any NFL debut in which a player makes a minimum 15 passing attempts. Minshew was given two choices when he stepped onto the field: he could allow the Jaguars’ season to be halted with Foles’ and allow fans to quickly resign themselves once again to dejection regarding the teams perennially weak offense, or he could do something about it. Minshew chose the latter.
Now coming off an even hotter streak of performances in Weeks 2 and 3, earning his first NFL win (and a second Rookie of the Week title) in his Week 3 game against the Tennessee Titans, Minshew has quickly been thrust into the public eye and emerged as the underdog hero of not only Jacksonville, but the entire NFL. Drawing comparisons between his unlikely rise and the rise of his fellow sixth-rounder, the legendary atom Brady, the media has been quick to dub Minshew “iconic” (ESPN), a “cult-hero” (SB Nation), and a “counter-culture star” (New York Post). Minshew’s success on the field has only been magnified by his antics off the field, and stories of his eccentric habits and behaviors have been inescapable in recent sports media. Going against the typical inoffensive, blandly likable image of the star quarterback, Minshew dresses wildly, party’s hard, and sports a conspicuous moustache that draws frequent Tom Selleck comparisons. He oozes Southern charm, a product of his upbringing in Brandon, Mississippi, and both speaks with a candor that makes no presumptions about his position. He knows that he’s an oddball, he knows that he’s an underdog, and he embraces it all as part of his image. In doing so, Minshew has offered Jacksonville perhaps the best possible answer to the untimely demise of Nick Foles, and what could have potentially been their offensive hopes. Not only has he been shining on the field, but he is building the framework to potentially provide Jacksonville its own true sports icon.
It’s unclear whether or not Minshew’s success will hold up until Week 11, when Foles is slated to return to the Jaguar’s roster. The current period of so-called “Minshew Mania” could flame out following a decline in performance in the coming week, leaving Jacksonville to desperately await the return of their new $88 million starter. The case can certainly be made, however, despite the youth of his career, that Jacksonville has discovered something magical in its roster, entirely due to a mixture of bad luck and fate. Though Minshew’s play time is likely to end with the return of Foles, if he continues to play the way he’s playing, the NFL likely will not have seen that last of Gardner Minshew II.
By Will Nash '20
“Ugh, I have to pull an all -nighter to work on this English essay.” “This math problem set is going to take literally four hours.” “Do I even have enough time tonight to finish the reading for AmLit?” These are all frequent refrains to be heard in the hallways of both St. Albans and NCS, and they offer a window into the rigorous nature of academics here. However, I believe they also provide an interesting commentary on what is expected from students every night, after they depart from school and sports.
It has always struck me as bizarre how much homework both St. Albans and NCS students get each night. On top of the rigorous course load you take during the school day, you are constantly expected to do an additional three to six hours of homework in the confines of our houses. All of us are in the classroom for between five and six hours every day, learning and practicing new material. After sports, most of us get home from school by 6:30pm, and work on homework for the rest of the night. If you do the musical or the play or another extracurricular activity, you might not be starting your homework until 9:30 or 10pm.
This cycle is not sustainable, and is actually detrimental to developing students’ interests outside of the classroom. By assigning exorbitant amounts of homework each night, teachers preclude students from pursuing non-academic activities, such as the play, musical, or Madrigal singers, all of whom practice in the evening, the time when students are most busy with homework. This is not to mention other extracurricular activities outside of school. Frequently, students are reluctant to take too many different activities onto their plates because they are worried this will affect their ability to do their homework at night. Ultimately, students won’t follow their interests and passions because they are afraid of sacrificing valuable time to do the gargantuan amounts of homework they have.
The solution, as I see it, is not for teachers to simply stop assigning homework; quite the contrary, I think homework is a very valuable way to cement one’s knowledge of course material each night. Rather, I think teachers should just be more aware of the fact that their course is not the only course that assigns homework to students each night. They should assign less course work each night so that students can be free to engage in activities that align with their interests outside of the classroom. Maybe instead of assigning “busy” work that is more tedious than it is enlightening, teachers should be more open to not assigning any homework on a particular night. They could also be more understanding about students missing due dates on homework because of extracurricular commitments.
The opening line of the St. Albans mission statement reads: “We believe that learning extends beyond the classroom, to the chapel, the athletic field, the stage, and the refectory.” In order to live up to the avowed aim of the school, St. Albans teachers should seriously consider whether the amount of homework they assign each night hampers students from truly experiencing what is “beyond the classroom.”
By William Howe '21
As Columbus Day approaches, the annual national discussion around the holiday has just about reached its peak. People have long debated whether the second Monday in October should pay homage to the eponymous explorer, or honor those living in the lands he traversed. In fact, many states have already renamed the occasion to “Indigenous Peoples’ Day” or “Native American Day”, and some have pushed to name it Leif Eriksson Day, after the first (documented) European to set foot in the Americas. The reasons for renaming the holiday mostly have to do with Columbus’s treatment of the natives, but in large part miss the purpose of the celebration.
Columbus Day was first recognized in 1937, by president Franklin Delano Roosevelt, after being pressured by Italian-American and Catholic groups, including the Knights of Columbus, who felt marginalized in the majority Anglo-Saxon Protestant United States. The holiday helped to bolster Italian-Americans confidence in their heritage and identity as Americans. The creation of Columbus Day had benevolent purpose behind it, despite what its detractors may argue.
To be sure, Columbus was not a perfect person by any means, and was guilty of enslaving the native Taino. His voyage decimated the Taino population the spread of disease as well. The purpose of Columbus Day, however, is not to condone all of his actions, nor is it to exalt him, but rather it exists as a day for us to remember his discovery that led to the creation of our country.
“But wait! Columbus didn’t even discover the Americas! Leif Eriksson was the first European to set foot in the ‘New World’!” you might be thinking.
There are two problems with the assertion that the holiday should be named “Leif Eriksson Day” because people already lived in the Americas, and thus they were never “discovered.” First, Leif Eriksson’s discoveries never became widely known outside of Scandinavia, and thus no permanent settlements were made in the Americas as a result of his exploration. If Columbus Day serves the purpose of celebrating events significant to the United States, then Leif Eriksson has no place in the name of the holiday. Second, if no one “discovered” the Americas, then logically there should be no celebration of any European explorers who ventured there.
A logical conclusion to the aforementioned position would be naming the holiday “Indigenous Peoples’ Day” because it celebrates the original inhabitants of the land our nation was built upon. The only problem, however, is that the United States would never have existed without Columbus’s voyages, and therefore there would be no reason for a holiday in the first place. Columbus’s voyages informed Europe of the existence of land which could benefit their growing empires. His “discovery” prompted Spain, Portugal, England, and other nations to create colonies in the Americas, some of which would eventually rebel and become the United States of America.
Columbus’ exploration was crucial to the establishment of our country, and Columbus Exists to celebrate that piece of our nation’s history, not his detestable actions while in the Carribean (for which he was arrested by the Spanish Crown). We must acknowledge Columbus’ excursion as vital to our existence, which is why we Columbus Day’s name should remain.