By Lyla Bhalla-Ladd '21
"Oh, you do IP? That’s great! I wish I could; I’d have so much more time!"
Haha! Oh yeah... except no.
I blame whoever did Yoga as an IP that one year for all the misconceptions that I go home every day at 2:45pm. Let me let you in on this. I started doing IP for ice skating this year and it has honestly improved my quality of life — that doesn’t mean I’m slacking though, believe me. I have been skating for 6 years, and I never fully gave it the attention it deserved. Like any sport, skating takes practice. For the past years, I have wanted to improve, but I could never put the time in, at least not with NCS’s schedule. Now, I’ve joined a team that pushes me to prove my dedication and achieve my best. Every day, around 3:15, my teammates drive me from NCS to the rink where we practice. From 3:30-5:30 I have what’s called Freestyle. Freestyle is open to anyone who has passed a certain skill level of skating and when skaters, like me and my team, come to practice on their own. During this ice time, some skaters have private lessons with their coaches, and others practice their choreography and skills. I have learned this Winter how much I can go in two hours. Along with practicing my team’s program choreography, I also train for upcoming “Moves” tests. I just passed a Moves test earlier this month, so now I am learning the new drills for the next level. I have 2 group lessons a week, Power and Elite. These classes are really important for solidifying old skills and learning new tricks. Power is all about producing speed without running on the ice like hockey players do. Elite class is where we take old drills and make them a lot harder in ways I could not really explain. These classes are required to take for everyone on my team, so that we all maintain our skills in case we add aspects of a drill into our program.
Now that’s all just basic weekly classes. Skating is really all about Synchro for me. Ten other girls and I form the Open Juvenile Team. In our practices, we learn and perfect the program that we compete with three times a year. Our first competition is in a week, so we have more intense practices filled with run-throughs and fixing every little mistake. The thing that shocks people (except for swimmers) most about skating is the times. One or twice a week I have morning practice with my team. Morning practice is a synchro practice before school every Tuesday from 6-7am. Now, that would be pretty nice if it wasn’t a) a school morning or b) winter. Now you may not know (because hopefully you’re sleeping at that hour) that it is almost always below freezing at 6am. Oh and I think I forgot to mention that my rink is outdoors! Yessir! I’ll never forget the 11° morning one fateful February day. Still, we are always more productive as a team in the mornings because getting up that early and then wasting that time is even more painful than actually waking up at 5am.
So now, hopefully, that educated you a little bit on the intensity of IP sports. I am really glad NCS has made a place for those who have serious sport commitments outside of school teams to still count as sports credits. If not for IP, I don’t know how I’d manage to get the wonderful 6 hours of sleep I’m currently getting.
by Clifford McKinney '20
Astrophotography, like the name suggests, is a subset of photography that focuses on capturing the night sky. More specifically, taking detailed photos of stars and other celestial bodies. Within astrophotography, there exist multiple different categories, each with a separate focus. These may be as technical as taking a photo of a specific star billions of miles away, or, as I like to do, taking photographs of entire landscapes lit up by the night sky. No matter the approach, the craft requires a combination of good location, equipment, and technique.
The most important element for a successful photo is the location. Obviously, you need a clear sky so that you can see the stars. But, your location also necessitates as little light pollution as possible. What is light pollution? Well, look up. Washington, D.C. is a city and, like any major city, it has a lot of lights. All of those lights illuminate the night sky so much that only about a dozen stars are visible to the eye. In a location with little-to-no light pollution, almost five thousand stars are visible. That means you need to travel — typically to a rural area where stars are clearly visible. After you find a suitable are, it is best to scout out a scene before the sun sets. I like to find a place that would look just as good photographed in daylight as it would at night. This way, the starry sky only adds to the photo's appeal.
Setting up for the photo requires equipment and — while entry-level cameras will work — higher quality cameras will deliver crisper results. The most important piece of equipment, though, is a tripod. Astrophotography requires a long shutter speed, so the camera must be as steady as possible. Wide-angle lenses with a large aperture are also necessary to capture as much light as possible in a dark environment. A camera with a large sensor is crucial for high-quality photos. I myself use a full-frame sensor camera.
Proper technique is the last element of good astrophotography. The most difficult skill is setting up your camera. To capture the night sky, you need a relatively long shutter speed so that enough light reaches the camera's sensor. But, if you have too long a shutter speed, each individual star will appear as a streak. This occurrence, known as star trails, is because of the Earth's rotation causing the camera to move relative to each star. Finding the correct shutter speed ends up becoming a task of trial and error. You have to be prepared to take a lot of photos before you get the right one.
The real joy of astrophotography for me is enjoying the night sky. Living in and around a city means that most of us do not get to see the wonder of a sky peppered with thousands of stars. But, when that time arises, astrophotography allows you to appreciate the grandeur of the universe while also creating a unique photograph.
By Shiva Khanna Yamamoto '19
Free things, backstage invitations at car shows: being a young car enthusiast is pretty great. To be a grown car enthusiast with disposable income can be pretty great too, what with the opportunity to actually buy the cars that you dreamt about in your youth, and maybe even enjoy opportunities to involve yourself directly with the functioning of the auto industry.
Last year (and this year, to be fair) I was neither of those things. Faced with the prospect of a dull Summer break, I wanted to pursue my passion for cars in one way or another, but was well aware of the fact that for 16 year olds opportunities are scarce within the world of cars. One weekday morning in June, a former teacher of mine who I’d maintained close contact with approached me with a proposition. I could try my hand at automotive journalism, which required few previous qualifications and could afford the greatest possible opportunity for me to get a feel for the auto industry at this stage of my life.
Though I was an avid consumer of automotive journalism, the thought of partaking in it had never before crossed my mind. It took little for me to realize that automotive journalism offered possibilities that would be simply inaccessible through any other realistic route. The credentials of a journalist could provide inroads into even the most secretive corners of the auto industry. For what it’s worth, my very first assignment proved this.
The motorsports of the modern era have departed to a great extent from the traditions of the motorsport of yesteryear. As technologies have advanced and television broadcasting rights have become gained inappreciable value, motorsports, and in particular Formula 1, have of necessity become impossibly secretive. For most, the inner world of Formula 1 is utterly impenetrable. Imagine my surprise when I learned that I had been fully credentialed to cover the Hungarian Grand Prix at the end of July.
Why Hungary of all places? While I could easily claim that I had chosen Hungary strategically as the halfway point of the Formula 1 calendar, the final race weekend before the three week long FIA mandated Formula 1 summer break, and one of the final races of Formula 1’s European season, in reality I already had plans in place to visit Hungary during that week and the timing of the Grand Prix was coincidence.
Coming up with an angle was no difficult task. That year was the first for Formula 1 under new ownership. Bernie Ecclestone, whose dictatorial grasp on Formula 1 and the sanctioning body of global motorsports, the FIA, had earned him the popular nickname “F1 Supremo,” been effectively ousted at the beginning of 2017 and by American businessman Chase Carey and the Liberty Media Corporation. F1 under Liberty had begun a comprehensive program to revivify a sport whose viewership and popularity had been on a steady decline since the Schumacher days. To investigate the immediate effects of this change in ownership from within sounded compelling.
I hesitate to reduce my summary experience from the four day weekend of the Grand Prix to a single word, but I find “frantic” to be appropriate. The language barrier made organization difficult at times and the fast-paced nature of the sport meant that much of my weekend was spent chasing people through the expansive paddock — my press pass, which I soon discovered afforded me the same level of access as Reuters and BBC International, gave me nearly unrestricted access. However, the gist of the weekend is as follows. I met almost every driver on the grid, though most were forbidden from offering comments due to antiquated team policies prioritizing cable television networks over other media. I spoke to and received on-the-record comment from Éric Boullier, then head of McLaren Racing, Ted Kravitz, presenter for Sky News, Toto Wolff, head of Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsports, and Niki Lauda, three-time Formula 1 World Champion. And besides, merely being in the Formula 1 paddock was remarkable in itself.
The finished piece was published about a week later, albeit with heavy revisions by the editing staff, which happened to include a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist. Since then I have published two more articles on the Goodwood Festival of Speed and hope to continue writing for the foreseeable future.
by Neechi Marupa-Ombima
As a student at St. Albans, I spend a lot of time on the Close; we all do. We come to school five days a week, spend five to six hours in classes each day, and most of us attend athletic or theater practices for another two to four hours to top it all off. Most of the time we spend on the close is with our friends, teachers, and classmates, and most of the important things we do at school are known. However, we all still have our lives outside of school where we do equally noteworthy things, and it might just be that people don't know about it. For me, this is helping my mom with the small business she started sixteen years ago.
My mother started her business after a long stint of working in finance at a banking company. She was looking for something that would be more fulfilling and that she could have every part in managing, this would be her project and her challenge. The store began in Georgetown on one of the side streets of Wisconsin Avenue. My mom got very lucky and got a retail space almost rent free as her first land-lord wanted to give her a shot at her business. She began by selling children’s clothing with an emphasis on eco-friendly clothing. Clothing was her choice because she didn’t like the irritable and mass-produced children’s clothing she saw in stores for me as a child. The clothing sales were initially not the greatest, but soon they picked up. The store, originally selling children’s clothing, expanded to toys, games, and eventually candy. The one store in Georgetown turned into three stores. There were two stores in Georgetown, one selling candy and the other toys and clothing, and another clothing and toy store in Bethesda. At this time I was about seven years old, and my mom began to bring me with her to the stores more and more. I started to see how the whole business operated, how items would be sold at checkout, how employees would help customers find what they were looking for, and how inventory was managed.
As I got older, slowly, my mom would teach me how to do things that some of her employees did, like scanning items at the checkout counter or putting price tags on new inventory. I began to enjoy helping out at the store on the weekends, as I had just started my time at St. Albans. Often, I looked forward to helping on a Saturday morning after a long week at school. Eventually, I became her assistant manager. I now felt some responsibility in the whole ordeal; my mom trusted me with evaluating and training some of her new employees. It might have been a bit awkward to be trained at your job by someone half your age, but my mom said I was doing a good job. I don’t know how true that was, because she would always get the final say in hiring and training, but hey, at least I got the title next to my name. One might consider it early job experience, but it never feels like a job to me. I work with legos, monopoly, and college students who probably tell me a bit too much, and I don’t have to worry about a paycheck.
I never really talk about the work I do at my mom’s store because most of the time I figure that my friends at school would not really be interested. Sometimes, I run into friends or the parents of friends who come into my mom’s store. No-one really asks about it after, and I don’t bring it up either. My work at my mom’s store is something between my mom and me that we can both relate to, sort of like a giant take-your-kid-to-work day. However, I took this opportunity to talk about it as I feel it's a great example of some of the cool things we all do outside of Cathedral Close, and I can't imagine I am the only person who has an interesting story to tell.
by Sara Roberts '19
“If there’s a dance program at school that’s free, why do you dance outside of school?”
This is a question I am often asked when I tell people that I do not do sports at NCS and that dance is my independent project. It’s true — fifteen years of dance classes and performances comes with a price tag, and the places I have danced over the years have not been anywhere close to my house or school. Nevertheless, the challenging dance education I receive at my current dance studio and its amazing community has made every hour spent in the car and the studio worth it.
I danced at a small ballet studio in Bethesda from nursery through 8th grade. This was a time when I was at a school that did not have a dance program and did not give a painful amount of homework, so dancing outside of school was of small matter. After 8th grade, I started school at NCS, and the question arose of whether I would continue dancing at my old studio, pursue a more rigorous dance education at a different dance studio, or simply stop dancing outside of school and take whatever was offered at NCS. I learned that NCS offered Cathedral Dance and hip-hop during the fall and winter seasons and offered Dance Gala in the spring. While the idea of Dance Gala intrigued me and was something I knew I would partake in during second semester, Cathedral Dance and hip-hop were not styles I was particularly interested in. I also desired more of a challenge in my dance education, so I decided I would switch dance studios to CityDance Conservatory in North Bethesda.
I’ll be honest — switching to a dance studio that was more expensive, even farther from my house, and required me to be there much more than I would have liked was not an easy decision. It was a decision that I sometimes even question making when I’m in an eleven-hour rehearsal on a Saturday. The workload of NCS is also something that I had not factored into the decision of switching dance schools, not knowing how time-consuming dance would become during high school. However, because school is of utmost priority, I decided to work with a dance schedule that would give me a good amount of time at CityDance while working around the time I needed to allocate to school.
While it can be easy to give up on extracurriculars as school becomes more taxing, I have learned that when you love something, you make it work. I look forward to my ballet and contemporary classes every week, because I get to spend time with my dance friends and focus on something other than the stress of school. Performance season is always my favorite, because my classmates and I get to showcase the final product of everything that we poured hours of practicing into. While I do not get to take as many classes nor perform as frequently as I used to due to school, dance still remains as one of my passions and is something I am so glad I have dedicated time outside of school to do.
by Armon Lotfi '20
During the last two years, I have been fortunate enough to be part of the Project Turquoise youth committee. As a branch of Project Turquoise, the youth committee consists of students from schools around the DMV who strive to raise awareness and support individuals and families affected by conflicts and natural disasters around the world. Meetings are held on a monthly or bi-monthly basis to discuss fundraising opportunities and service trips. Over the last three years, the youth committee has focused on the displacement of Syrian refugees. The committee multiple fundraisers including a 5k run, bake sales, car washes, movie screenings, and CAVA outings. Most of these funds were donated to Relief International (a registered NGO), who would in return provide appropriate resources to the refugees, especially children. Also, in collaboration with Relief International we were able to contact our peers living in Jordan’s Camp Zaatari, creating a relationship that still exists today. As we communicated with the kids in the Camp via Skype, we designed scientific experiments designed to not only be fun but also informative.
This past June, the certain members of the youth committee (unfortunately I could not make the trip), traveled to Camp Zaatari to meet and support our companions. Inside the refugee camp, committee members played soccer, painted, danced, and sang with their Syrian peers, fostering an invaluable relationship that will never be severed. Both parties participated in a cultural exchange by teaching each other song and dance from back “home.” Committee members were astonished by the enormity of the camp spanning 2 miles. Families of six live in small tents and are rationed 1 tub of water per week. Despite their circumstances, these refugees are hopeful. They have dreams and aspirations: they want to be doctors, teachers, and students. As the committee members were saying their goodbyes, one of the refugees gave a committee member a souvenir from his closet, a Real Madrid jersey. He told him he was giving him the jersey so he would remember him. These refugees not only need supplies and resources, but more importantly recognition from the world around them. They want to know that we are here for them and will be in the future.
Going into their trip to Camp Zaatari, the members expected to teach, guide, and mentor their companions; however, the opposite occurred. As the trip concluded, they realized that the refugees influenced them more than they impacted the refugees. The members were taken aback by the hope, happiness, and hospitality of their hosts. Now, as the committee moves forward, we are creating scholarships for the refugee children in order to help fund their education outside of the refugee camp and realize their dreams.
by McKenna Dunbar '19
Being a mortician’s assistant for the past year and a half and a certified hospice nursing assistant since the beginning of June has changed the way I have lived my life and how I have interacted with those around me. Although I have been able to encounter such eye-opening experiences, dealing frequently with tragedy and death has been quite difficult to deal with, especially since I entered this industry as a sixteen-year-old. Counseling grieving families and helping people make the transition from life to death is my profession, but it is more than that. It is a part of my lifelong love to provide support to people in need, and I am certain that is never going to change. That being said, one question I asked myself while working in the hospice division of Providence Hospital earlier this year caused me to recalibrate my whole relationship with this work. When it comes to being a seventeen-year-old hospice and funeral worker, the thing that I have struggled to grasp with the most is why I do what I do. Up until that point, I had never asked myself why I wanted to go into this field of care specifically, even though there were hundreds of jobs I could have gone into instead. I always wondered if it was logical that anybody should be expected to be questioning of the work that they feel that they were put on this Earth to do? What is it specifically about death that seems to make us anxious and introspective about ourselves and others in a way that other careers do not?
More specifically with the duties of being a mortician’s assistant, my role in the funeral home always varies. Surprisingly, many of the people who come to the funeral home do not die during the winter months, but rather in the summer season, so over summer break, I remain quite busy. A typical day in the summer months would include me coming to work at 7:30 a.m to do some secretarial work such as check emails, scan pictures, write obituaries, and place orders for memorial bulletins and flowers. After an hour or so, I get up from my desk and have my morning coffee while editing death certificates and putting new death calls into our online registry. Following that, I check in with the main mortician and ask if I could be of any assistance. They would usually ask me to check on the deceased to make sure they were in the same state as the previous afternoon. Once I am done in the preparatory room, I go back to the office to finish my secretarial duties. This is around 10 a.m. Because we have such diverse clientele, many times I am on the phone with airlines and embassies to confirm flying a family’s loved one overseas with the proper documentation or to check the country’s legislation concerning embalmed versus natural body shipment. Usually, at this time, death calls start to come in from hospitals, hospices, morgues, or nursing homes. I answer the calls, record the information, and start preparing equipment to pick up the deceased. OSHA, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration under the National Funeral Directors Association, has many firm protocols and laws concerning personal safety and hazardous materials that all funeral home workers have to abide by, which includes wearing personal protective equipment at any point you are in contact with the deceased and keeping a strict cleaning regimen of all workplaces in the mortuary. After going to the morgue to pick the deceased up in our informal work hearse, I get back to work, either placing the deceased in the freezer, doing a bereavement counseling session with a client or talking to families in person about planning a funeral. At around 2 p.m. I have a short break where I usually talk to my coworkers about their families over a cup of coffee and some pastries. Right after that, I can be either be found setting up funeral equipment and moving caskets to their proper room assignment for the following day’s service or chatting with a priest concerning the deceased’s life story so they can incorporate that in the funeral service. As 4 p.m. rolls around, I make final preparations with the deceased such as doing makeup, fixing their hair, putting on their clothes, painting their nails, and in some cases, doing partial facial and body reconstructions with the help of my boss.
One of the biggest misconceptions of being an undertaker is that we are morbidly fascinated with death. The reason why many people choose to be morticians or mortician’s assistants is to serve others. Most take great lengths to make families have the best funeral service experience possible. My boss taught me that funeral services are not for the dead, but for the living. Helping them through their journey of grief and providing them with resources is where our value as undertakers lie. I am a firm believer in the importance of the services, especially as a means to honor each life and to ultimately bring the deceased to rest. Even though I have spent my formative years as a young teenager in the death industry, I have seen unspeakable tragedies that even I cannot think about to this day without being emotionally triggered. These tragedies and my involvement in overseeing them have allowed me to be a stronger, more empathetic individual because nothing helps you understand the fleeting beauty of life more than death. The connections, the love, and the memories that we all share as unique human beings are the greatest gifts of life, and death teaches us to grab hold of them because they won’t last forever. While my job as a hospice worker is to help people die with dignity, I have personally learned how to find meaning in the suffering of both my life and have chosen to embrace the unknown and unexpected nature of the world.
Before being involved with the dead and dying, I was scared of living life on my own terms. While I realize that there is no single, correct approach to understanding your own mortality, my experiences of being a caregiver both inside and outside the funeral home now allow me to seize moments as they come and to live a purposeful life.
by Jada Fife '20
I would have held my breath waiting for my master to call my name at black belt graduation, except that I physically couldn’t. I breathed in and out so quickly I swore I was hyperventilating as sweat slowly dripped down my face like a freshly washed tomato. My thoughts were racing, trying to beat my heartbeat. My name was called, and I responded, “Yes sir.” Then my master opened his mouth and congratulated me. He said that I was a hard-worker, who, at times, thought I couldn’t beat the odds of three knee surgeries. Then he tied on my new belt and I bowed and said “thank you.”
The moment I got my black belt was easily one of the best in my life. It was the culmination of five years of hard and painful work. However, I was not happy with my performance in the test. I was sluggish and imprecise in my movements. I knew I could do better. These feelings are what still push me as I work on my second degree, the next step above black belt.
However, all of these wants hardly compare to the real reason I dedicate so much of myself to taekwondo, which is simply that taekwondo is cool. It is amazing to have the confidence that comes with knowing that I can defend myself and I attack when I need to. It is extremely gratifying to know that I am carrying on a tradition that is much older than I that just so happens to help me so much. There is nothing like going from a stressful day at school to the studio, where I can punch and kick pads and people. Taekwondo brings so much joy into my life along with sore muscles and the occasional tear. I wouldn’t stop doing it for anything.
by Nisa Quarles '21
InLight magazine is a diversity and culture magazine that features pieces from student writers and artists from across the DMV. In the fall of 2014, Max and Sam Strickberger, then freshman at Sidwell Friends School, founded InLight magazine (formerly Insight) to honor and provide an outlet for the diverse student body. Now, even though they have graduated, InLight has continued to thrive, and the twins continue to help direct it. So far, InLight has reached twelve schools and connected with thousands of students. InLight believes in the power of telling personal stories to reach people beyond what they may see on the news. In its mission statement, it says, “InLight is a student led platform for dialogue that explores cultures, lifts voices, and interrogates injustices.” It later mentions that it strives to tell the stories of the “self” rather than the “other.”
Per the magazine’s goal to expand, this year, NCS’s InLight committee hopes to join the seven middle and high schools to make our own issue of InLight in addition to contributing to the DC issue of InLight. Although this plan has been discussed in previous years among the members of Equity Board, this year, it has been established as its own club and pitched to the student body. This mission has been led by me and the two editor-in-chiefs Zoé Contreras-Villalta ’19 and Noor Saleem ’20. By the end of the year, our goals are to contribute to the DMV InLight magazine, create school-wide newsletters, and establish a foundation for the InLight club to continue past when we all graduate.
This issue’s theme for InLight is “Complicated Borders” which can be interpreted on an individual basis. Some examples include the lens of politics and the US-Mexico border, intersectionality, bridging gaps in your own community, among many others. As editors, we interpret this theme as our responsibility to take down the borders on the Close and create more connectedness among the student body by giving people an opportunity to share their unique stories. Everyone has a story, regardless of whether or not they belong to a minority group. We believe that there is no such thing as not being “diverse” or “cultured” enough.
We hope that when people read InLight, they will recognize that it is vital for us, especially in our current political climate, to practice truly listening to each other. We do not all have to share the same experiences or even agree, but by making an effort to understand each other’s stories, we have the opportunity to truly empathize with and appreciate each other.
by Joe Greenfield '20
A few months ago, a man was nominated to the Supreme Court with a background very familiar to those on the Close. Brett Kavanaugh was raised in Bethesda, Maryland, and went to high school at Georgetown Preparatory School, an all-boys private boarding school very similar to St. Albans. Late into Kavanaugh's nomination process, he was accused of sexual assault by a psychology professor named Christine Blasey Ford. In her testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Ford alleged that at a small gathering a drunk Brett Kavanaugh and a high school friend of his locked her in a bedroom and attempted to rape her. This allegation brought national scrutiny to the DMV’s private school environment and its history of mistreatment of female students. St. Albans was not immune to this scrutiny; in particular, media attention was put on St Albans’ infamous 2015 Yearbook, which contained numerous subtle but sexist insults against students attending NCS.
Some students at St. Albans consider it unfair that they would draw criticism for an alleged action of a student attending a different school 30 years ago or for a yearbook written by those no longer attending the school. However, I believe that everyone attending the Close knows that issues of sexism, sexual harassment, and even assault are still prevalent, and ignoring them is dangerous. Unfortunately, you do not have to spend very much very much time among St. Albans students to hear some sexist remark leveled at NCS or the students there. These remarks, even phrased as jokes, can be harmful and add to an already toxic environment.
So, will the Kavanaugh hearings have any effect on this environment? Personally, while I think it may be a bit early to tell, my intuition says no. The Kavanaugh allegations offered a unique opportunity for discussion: a privileged white man, much like the many of the students at St. Albans, may have faced consequences for his actions in high school. And, in the week after Christine Ford’s testimony, there was a notable change in tone at St. Albans. Students began to consider the effect their actions were having on the students at NCS.
However, I believe that any hope of a lasting change that may have been at St. Albans was swiftly dashed when, after two contradicting testimonies and a short, substandard, inconclusive FBI investigation, Brett Kavanaugh was confirmed to the Supreme Court. Again, a man faced no consequences for his actions because those deciding his fate either believed him over a woman or, perhaps more likely, never really cared in the first place. And while the Kavanaugh allegations remain in the public conscience for now, sooner or later, people will move on. Instead of teaching the young men at St. Albans that their actions would have consequences, it instead reinforced the notion that they would not.
I talked to Jack Tongour ‘19, who started the student organization ASAP, or Alliance for Sexual Assault Prevention, after the Kavanaugh allegations. He told me he had the idea for ASAP at the end of the last school year and was planning to start it this year. ASAP serves as a place students can share their experiences and learn how to be an ally for victims of sexual assault. I asked Tongour what effect, if any, the Kavanaugh hearings have had on the Close. “In many ways it is the same, but I think people are a little more aware...I think people are more careful too in terms of their actions, because nobody wants to be accused of [sexual assault].” He went on to discuss what effect in may have had on the administration: “I think it’s prompted the administration to…[want] to have conversations. But it doesn’t seem like there’s going to be any curriculum changes as of now, because it seems that talk has sort of dissipated about it. When you’re under the spotlight, under the pressure, there’s big talk about how ‘oh we’re going to change everything,’ but that pressure isn’t really there. I don’t know if we need a class — I’m not sure what the best solution is a this point — but I do think that there is more that can be done. I personally think that the best way is through the students. Ultimately it is on us.” Tongour told me how the hearings have affected NCS student’s experiences with St. Albans, “I’ve heard girls, in ASAP, they talk about how they come to St. Albans and they don’t feel comfortable just walking into Marriott Hall. And that’s something that’s been around, and I certainly don’t feel that the Kavanaugh hearings have helped that.” Tongour then told me about his hopes for ASAP’s future: “In terms of moving forward, I’m confident ASAP’s going to be around. I am confident that we’re going to continue to have this club throughout the year, and ideally it’s going to be here after I’m gone. I think we actually have a chance to make real change.”
Perhaps, with efforts like Tongour’s ASAP, change can be made on the Close.