By Schuyler Holleman '20
Well, ladies and gentlemen- it has happened. Another summer has come and gone and, much to the dismay of those that don’t appreciate my specific brand of humor, I have once again been asked to write a “funny” article for the Exchanged. I’m sure many of you selected this article expecting me to write about the too-well-known struggles of junior year: extra-curriculars, hard classes, AP exams, etc. And, even more likely, I’m sure many of you expected me to write something about needing gallons of caffeine to get through the year or how many times I cried in Hearst Hall last fall. If that’s what you came for, there are many other NCS students who can give you such advice, and I urge you to look elsewhere.
So, the answer is no. Coffee is not the solution to all of your problems. To my dear NCS classmates (who I love and respect so please don’t take offense), and some STA boys, please chill out. We are all aware of stress culture but oh boy, did junior year really make me realize how truly pervasive unhealthy habits are at NCS. You’ve heard it before, but drinking a Redbull at 9 PM to pull an all-nighter is not necessary. Spending three hours on your phone, starting homework at midnight, and then complaining about how it’s your teacher’s fault for assigning so much work? That’s one I’m sure everyone is getting tired of. I’d say my biggest tip for junior year is to take some responsibility and learn to be self-aware and self-correct. I’m over the close’s mentality that taking care of yourself is a joke. Sure, maybe that’s not the funny punch line you expected from my “humor” article, but I love to keep people on their toes. And your teachers do too, so juniors, you’d better start thinking fast.
So, here’s the real deal: there’s no magical secret to surviving junior year. You just do. I had my fair share of breakdowns and moments of stress, but hey- I came back for more. I’m not a tutor, so I can’t tell you the best way to take notes in Foner or to memorize the steps of DNA replication- though I’m sure we all wish there was an easy path. So, to my juniors, and others who read this (maybe just to see if I’m a good writer because we’ve all read someone’s article for solely that reason), I will leave you with a shortlist of the small things that got me through junior year.
Now, I will admit, this article became much more serious than I had originally intended (sorry, Priya!). However, as an oh-so-mature senior now, I guess maybe I’m finally growing up. So, to my juniors, best of luck, you got this. And to everyone else who read this article, I hope my literary prowess is up to your standards.
By Liza Peoples '20
For us politically inclined right-wingers this summer offered few options. It was either meditate among our extensive Trump hat collection (its existence I will neither confirm nor deny) or turn our attention to the entertaining yet painful performance of the 2020 democratic debates. For myself, even though I disagree with virtually every argument made on stage, I still found myself watching through the entirety of the more than eight hours of dialogue, and honestly enjoying every minute of it. Well, almost every minute - the broken Spanish might have been a little too much even for me.
The most engaging (as well as the most personally concerning) moment was the healthcare discussion in the first half of CNN’s Detroit night. During said argument progressive radicals (Sanders and Warren) advocated for a fully socialized healthcare system and the more chill blue-collar democrats (Delaney) advocated for a similar program that would allow citizens to merely retain the right to choose private insurance, and sadly, yet unsurprisingly the progressives seemed to walk away with a victory in the eyes of the average viewer. To myself, Delaney appeared to be the only sane voice in a crowd preaching “wish list economics”.
Bernie continued his crusade for a government-controlled system, preaching his catchphrase “healthcare is a human right, not a privilege”, citing Canada as a paradigm for a society where patients “come out with no bill”. The simple truth Bernie loses in his talking points is that healthcare is neither a right nor a privilege, but rather a service, much like any other available in the market in exchange for currency or some other value. A service is not owed or earned unlike a right or a privilege, it is given of free will by the provider if he or she chooses to accept the terms of the exchange. Now you may notice this concept is highly centered within the bounds of a market economy and relies on the existence of a private sector. A government bureaucracy isn’t bound by profit or market demands and just won’t have the incentive to provide the quality and efficiency that American citizens have learned to expect. Coincidentally, Canada presents itself as an opportune example where patients wait years for necessary procedures, even resulting in previously unnecessary amputations and other more complicated procedures to remedy the time lost. I don’t know about the rest of the population, but personally I wouldn’t want my healthcare quality to depend on the good hearts of our politicians.
Delaney counters by pointing out the basic structure of our current system. Medicare (the government provider program) provides significantly lower rates to hospitals. In fact, as Delaney mentions Medicare covers 80% the cost of healthcare, while private insurance covers 120%. Some studies have even found that private insurance rates can be as much as 150% higher than Medicare. If the law changed today and all payments were made at the Medicare rate, a significant number of hospitals would close, and even more, would be forced to cut certain programs and simply lower the quality of their care. For those confused, healthcare rates truly are some of the most confounding market practices in the US. Unlike other commodities, like a toothbrush at CVS which will within the same store maintain the same price of maybe 2$ (IDK how much is a toothbrush) healthcare service rates are set by insurers and providers. You can go up to a doctor and ask them the cost of a procedure and they truly would not know until they called your insurer.
With all of that said, I am nowhere close to jumping on the Delaney train. Although he isn’t blind to economic reality as some of the other candidates, he still joins the authoritarian left in ignoring the importance of individual liberty and responsibility in politics, a foundational virtue within our nation. Just like the entire debate stage, he vows to implement a universal bureaucratic healthcare plan. Unlike our current entitlements which will bankrupt our economy in a few years, the trillions of dollars necessary to provide the necessary standard of care expected in American would cause an economic collapse months after implemented. To those who point to Scandinavian and other western nations with a national healthcare system choose to ignore the indirect or direct (through NATO) defense funding these nations receive from the United States. Yet, even without the need to fund their own defense, these nations are already beginning to turn to unsustainable economic realities. Not to mention the fact that government bureaucrats who do not face market competitors nor responsible to a constituency and are appointed by other officials (such as the EPA) are generally terrible at their jobs, but I digress.
The final, and perhaps most important point is that complete governmental domination also stifles innovation. Researchers best perform in an environment where they aren’t dependent on the state of the current political faction. Too much interventionism ultimately destroys the initial concept of the United States. Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. How can you have liberty to pursue your dreams when the potential project to cure cancer is awaiting approval for government funding on a desk somewhere in DC. Granted such unfortunate incidents already occur, but do we want that to be the only reality. I would say no. The freedom of a private sector is the only way to ultimately provide quality care at a reasonable cost to as many people as possible.
By Nolan Musslewhite '20, Priya Phillips '20, Raj Sastry '20, and Liam Warin '20
They Came, They Saw, They Conquered: STA Football Triumphant vs. Severn Heights
In a dominant 30-0 away win against the MIAA “B” League side, the Dogs trounced the Admirals, with running scores from Evan Asuncion ‘21, Will Harmon ‘20, Jayden Bendesky ‘21, and a two point conversion from Will Harmon. St. Albans enunciated their win with stellar defensive play, including a forced safety by Kyle Parizek ‘21 (who also recorded two sacks), a pick six by Chris Tingle ‘21, and two tackles for loss from Benjamin Sherman ‘20. The bulldogs march across the Rubicon into their next matchup against Bishop Ireton looking for a promising 2-0 start to the season.
Cathedral Condemns Trump
In a series of two Facebook posts over the summer, the Washington National Cathedral waded in political waters as it shared (then later deleted) a left-leaning Washington Post opinion piece and a strongly-worded censure of President Trump, entitled “Have We No Decency?” and signed by Bishop Budde, Dean Hollerith, and Rev. Douglas. The posts were met with mixed reactions from commenters.
Conte’s Departure Forces Adjustment at NCS
The unexpected summertime decampment of Ms. Svetlana Conte forced several faculty members within the NCS Math and Science departments to take on new classes to cover the slack. A letter was distributed to affected students regarding the readjustment
Bosland Grasps the Reins at NCS
After things went south with Ms. Elizabeth English last spring, NCS has appointed Ms. Susan C. Bosland as Interim Head of School for the 2019–20 school year.
NCS Makes CASH
Anaya Rodgers ‘20, along with a cabal of NCS seniors, has founded the Cathedral School’s equivalent of STA’s long-standing BEEF Club (arbiter of school spirit and regalia at athletic events), “Cathedral Athletes Stay Hype” (CASH).
Non-Collaboration Rule Lifted at Discus
After a parlay with Claudia Smith ‘20, Co-Editor-in-Chief of the Discus, Priya Phillips ‘20 (Co-Editor-in-Chief of The Exchanged) has secured the abjuration of an outdated rule that prohibited Discus editors from writing for The Exchanged.
Magoba Passes Away
On August 4th, Mr. Edward Paul Magoba, who served NCS as Transportation Driver for 47 years, passed away. He was 65 years old. He is remembered for his enthusiastic support of Close athletes and dedicated service to the school, and will be dearly missed.
Chapin Duke Takes the Helm at SPS
After this summer’s iteration of the St. Albans’ School of Public Service (SPS), Ms. Woods stepped down as Director of SPS in light of her responsibilities as Associate Head of School. Ms. Nicole Chapin Duke, who has worked with SPS for seven summers and is currently Associate Director, has taken Woods’ helm. Woods, who will continue to work with SPS in her capacity as Associate Head of School, passes the torch amiably.
Oyez! Oyez! Oyez! Robinson Commences “Law, Justice & Society”
Today, Headmaster Jason Robinson will begin co-teaching (along with Ms. Woods) his course, “Law, Justice & Society.” Robinson has taught the class (or a similar adaptation of it) at previous institutions, though this year marks its inauguration at STA. 15 St. Albans and four NCS seniors are registered. The Exchanged editors frowned upon the lack of an Oxford comma in the course title.
New Upper School Teachers on the Close
The promotion of Ms. Paige Blumer’s to head of middle school and the midyear departure of Ms. Liz Sokolov prompted the NCS English department to hire Ms. Caroline Miller and to tap Ms. Priscilla Siu into the Upper School professoriate from the Middle School. Ms. Alisha Couch boarded ship as Director of College Guidance, Ms. Leslie Klein as Director of Counseling, and Ms. Riho Okamura as athletic trainer. On the boys’ side, Dr. Taylor S. Coughlan joins as a classicist and lacrosse-ist following the retirement of Mr. Wallace B. Ragan III after more than three decades last year. Mr. David Hutchinson embarks as Director of Facilities, Mr. Kyle Money as the first UPenn fellow at STA, and Mr. Kinari Sakamoto Pierce, who will teach world history following the substantial redesign of the Upper School history progression that leaves the history department stretched rather thin during the two-year transition. Mr. David Schwartz joins as STA’s 38th Writer-in-Residence.
That's all for this issue. Stay tuned next week!
By Nolan Musslewhite '20
Note: This is a rerun of an article from last year’s final edition. This mini-article is the first in a 10-part installment on Roman history, after which will follow a 10-part series on Greek history. Please enjoy!
On April 21, 753 BC, Romulus and Remus stood atop a rather unremarkable Italian hillock—it was known as the “Palatine”—and founded a small settlement that would rise to become one of the most dominant and lasting empires in world history. This ten-part survey briefly traces the traditional and legendary history of Rome, and I shall attempt to answer the crucial question; how did a diminutive encampment on the Palatine rise to global dominance, and what became of its grandeur?
I. The Journey Latiumwards
Our story begins at Troy. According to legend, in the 1200s BCE a titanic struggle was waged between the Greeks and the Trojans, inhabitants of a city known as Troy upon the Dardanelles in modern-day Turkey. The cause of the war was divine; three of the most prominent goddesses in the Greek pantheon (Hera, Queen of the Gods; Athena, goddess of Wisdom; and Aphrodite, goddess of Sexual Love) found themselves in the midst of a passionate disagreement about who was the most beautiful. To settle their dispute, Zeus (King of the Gods) appointed Paris, a Trojan prince. Attempting to sway Paris, each of the three goddesses offered him a precious reward should he choose her, but it was Aphrodite’s offer—that he be wed to Helen, wife of a Greek king called Menelaus—that was most convincing to the Trojan squire. Her promise was swiftly delivered upon, and Helen was spirited away from the court of Menelaus to the high walls of Priam, king of Troy.
War followed forthwith, as Greeks hastened to Troy to support Menelaus and regain his snatched wife from Paris. The fighting was intense and heroic—much of it is retold in Homer’s Iliad, most especially the exploits of a Greek general named Achilles—but supported by many of the gods and aided by cunning trickery in the “Trojan Horse” (a fake peace offering that in fact contained Greek soldiers within its belly, allowing the marauders to flood the city by night and open its gates to the invaders waiting outside), the Greeks breached the walls, and began to pillage and burn.
From the carnage escaped a particular Trojan prince—Aeneas, who happened to be a son of the goddess Venus—accompanied by a retinue of comrades. In search of friendly lands and a place to found a new city, he set out from Troy by ship and, after an arduous journey, arrived on the shores of North Africa to a city called Carthage (modern-day Tunis), the home of Queen Dido. The people were friendly, milk and honey flowed, and, most of all, Dido and Aeneas had fallen into the throngs of love for one another, a rather scandalous affair for the previously-unbetrothed Dido and the now-uxorious Aeneas. Alas, this was not to be the Romans’ final home; for Mercury [I have by now switched to the Roman names of the effectively equivalent Greek gods—“Mercury” for “Hermes,” “Venus” for “Aphrodite,” “Jupiter” for “Zeus,” etc.—and yes, the names of our modern-day planets come from these Roman divinities], the Messenger god, flitted down to Aeneas, whom he found strutting bejeweled atop the high walls of Carthage, and bore to him the fateful message from Jupiter himself: Aeneas must head to Latium (the region of Italy around modern-day Rome), as was his fate. Immediately, devoted Aeneas (or pius Aeneas, as goes the famous Latin phrase) sets out, and soon reaches Latium. However, his departure was not casualty-free; in a fit of woeful despair at seeing her lover gone, Dido stabs herself to death, leaving a final curse on the Trojans that shall reappear later in this survey (stay tuned!). Much of the tale of Aeneas’ journey to Rome, it should be noted, is retold in Vergil’s Aeneid.
Thus we conclude the first chapter of Rome’s history, with Trojan ships on Latian sands.