By Zack Martin '18
This year’s first edition of the Close “Sports Game of the Week” focuses on STA Varsity Football’s preseason scrimmage against the Collegiate School. The Dogs trekked out to Richmond, Virginia last Thursday, August 31st to take on the Cougars. This was the Bulldogs’ sole chance to get real game practice and experience before the regular season. Though the Dogs’ did not come out on top, they put up a great fight against Collegiate, last year’s Virginia State Football Champions.
Some highlights from the game include two touchdowns, one rushing (Michael Jones ‘18), and one receiving (Sam Namian ‘19), and an interception (Henry Holiday ‘19). These moments, among others, served as a glimpse of a special season unfolding for Varsity Football this year. Overall, the outing was more of a learning experience and wake up call for the Bulldogs to pick up the pace as the games that truly count get closer and closer. They have been hard at work the past week while preparing for their regular season home opener on Saturday, September 9th, against Anacostia. This will be the first major BEEF event to open up the 2017-18 school year. The Varsity players are confident and ready to roll for what should be a very entertaining match up. Go Dogs!
By Jack Tongour '18
There is a saying that if you look back over your shoulder at the Tooth of Time as you leave Philmont, you are destined to return someday. I don’t know if this superstition rings true for everyone, but for me, well I got a chance to return to the place I love so dearly. What is Philmont exactly? It is over 220 square miles of mountains and forest in New Mexico owned by the Boy Scouts (as well as other surrounding protected areas), where crews get a chance to take 12 day backpacking treks in the outdoors. Elevations will range from around 6,000 feet (Base Camp) to 12,441 feet (Mount Baldy) so the air is significantly thinner than in DC. A unique quality of Philmont is its rich history. The area was a stop on the Santa Fe Trail as well as the home to several Native American tribes. The staffed camps, scattered in the middle of the wilderness, are living history museums ranging from fur trading outposts to mexican homesteads to real gold mining towns. You might think the idea sounds cheesy, but being in the middle of nature without any electronics or distractions of the outside world gives you the ability to really take a deep look at yourself and allows you to feel connected with the many others who roamed these lands so long ago.
In 2015 my crew hiked about 70 miles in the “South Country” where we got to rock climb, ride horses, shoot shotgun, and climb up Mount Philips. Unfortunately half-way through our trek we left our campsite without putting up our bear bags and a bear got to our food. Not only was the Philmont Staff furious, but the bear actually came back 3 times during the night. At the time, the trip had been the longest I had spent away from my family, as well as the longest I’d ever gone without a shower (a week). Philmont helped me appreciate all the many conveniences we take for granted in our very modern lives and most importantly taught me how to deal with adversity.
Two years later, I got to navigate my crew through the “North Country” as well as the Valle Vidal, a part of the low-impact Carson National Forest Area. Concentrated impact camping involves defined trails and campsites so the rest of the land can be preserved, but with low-impact camping the idea is to spread any impact so thin there is no permanent damage. In the Valle VIdal we frequently bushwhacked (meaning we weren’t on a trail) and I got a chance to dig my first cathole. Our camping areas were simply just clearings, with no lines for bear bags or fire pits and it was hard to tell that anyone had been there before. The figurative and literal peak of our trek was definitely summiting Mount Baldy. At 12,441 feet, the view of the cloud-scrapped Sangre de Christo Mountains was truly breathtaking, but maybe that was because the air was only 63% of normal oxygen. The world felt huge or at least until I saw Will Nash, which completely shocked me considering I was at the top of a mountain in the middle of nowhere. My favorite camp was Miranda, an old fur trading rendezvous where I learned how to throw a tomahawk. On our last 2 days we actually had a Burro (donkey) help carry some of our gear, but he was ultimately more work than he was worth. While the sky poured nearly every day and my bag at times felt heavy, I still enjoyed every minute I spent on the trail. Walking in the valleys and over the Ponderosa covered hills gave me such a sense of freedom. Maybe one day I’ll return as staff, but only time will tell.
Yes, I understand that most people reading this article are not scouts and probably will never get the chance to visit Philmont or anywhere near Cimarron, NM, but that doesn't mean you cannot find your own Philmont. Living in the city is great, but I do not think I can stress enough the importance of being in touch with nature. Find a green space, It could be a national park or even just your backyard, wherever you can clear your head of the chaos that everyday life can be. In those moments when you can sit on the grass, listen to the wind, and just take a deep breath, that is when you can truly find yourself.
Video by Sunjin Kim '19 and Nick Meyer '19
Story by Sunjin Kim '19
For roughly twenty-five years now, Gene Pelizzoni has been guiding hikers around the Exit Glacier as a driver. This was his twelfth season fishing halibut in Seward, Alaska. He told us, with a cautious look, as if not wanting to let on too much about his belief or disbelief in climate change, that he has definitely noticed a significant size difference in the halibut over the past ten years. As a result, he explained, he has to throw back most of the fish he catches because they are too small.
This was Michael Boyles’ (Pappy) fiftieth year living in Seward as campground host. He has raised nine children and many more grandchildren and plans on staying in his motorhome trailer in Seward for the rest of his life. He told us when he and his wife first came to the campgrounds, the Portage glacier was right up to the edge of the highway railway. Now “you can’t even see the glacier, it’s around the corner.” At times during our interview, Pappy seemed to be wrestling with how to reconcile concepts like global warming and Alaska’s increasingly erratic weather (which includes warm weather in the winter). Pappy’s business of helping to host the campground has been suffering from the melting glacier as less and less campers come to the exit glacier area. Stories like these (stories of a very impact climate change has had on their lives) were why Nick and I decided to go to Alaska. We went to Alaska so that we could hear directly from the people who are most directly influenced by climate change in the US. But one assumption we had made was that the Alaskans would make the connection between the obvious effects of climate change and the manmade.
I remember clearly, on the first leg of our flight to Anchorage, that we had written “scripts” that we would have liked our interviewees to say while we filmed. We quickly realized after our first interview that this method of “storytelling” was both ineffective and unreal.
Then, we heard what they had to say.
It was shocking at first - to hear these Alaskans, who are clearly seeing and living through the effects of climate change, collectively say that these changes were somewhat part of a natural cycle. How could these people who have witnessed shrinking halibut, melting permafrost, receding glaciers, changing diets, and relocating villages still believe these effects to be less man made than natural? This was something Nick and I struggled with for a while after coming back home, and is the reason why we scrapped our film three times in a row. It definitely took some time to find the right way of presenting how they see it. We wanted to document their perspective as truthfully and accurately as possible. So with that being said, we hope you enjoy our film.
By Olivia Forrester '18
You haven’t had a bad first day of work until you’ve fallen on your face and tasted the green carpet in the middle of the Senate cafeteria. You’ve dropped your brand new ID badge on the floor. You cautiously bend down to pick it up. You haven’t worked out since your last lacrosse game a few months ago and you think you’re stuck in the low squatting position that you’re not sure how you assumed in the first place. People have begun staring: Chiefs of Staff, Administrative Directors, Secret Service Officers, other interns. It’s been a solid ten seconds and you still haven’t moved. Finally, you try to stand up––LOL nope––and lose balance, slowly tipping into a disfigured somersault, with your head making solid contact with the ground. After half of a minute laughing at yourself on the floor, mortified, you stand up, brush off your skirt, and move through the cafeteria with grace––not really, just without falling again.
Luckily, this embarrassing moment did not set the tone for the rest of my internship.
At the end of the internship, my boss asked me to share the best and worst parts of my the experience. While I proffered multiple “best” parts of the internship, when I thought of the “worst” parts of the internship, only my first day faceplant came to mind.
Although there were tedious tasks that I did as an intern––such as restocking office supplies, sorting constituent mail, fulfilling flag requests, and a lot of scanning and organizing documents––the best parts of my internship had nothing to do with the tasks I was assigned. The best parts of my internship were being able to ride the staff-only Capitol Subway that runs between senate office buildings and the Capitol Building, exploring the Capitol after it was closed to the public, unexpectedly sharing elevators and subway cars with senators, observing the senate health care debate in the senate gallery, watching press conferences and rallies only a few feet from the speakers, photographing Senators Warner and Kaine as they met with constituents, and, more than anything, forming meaningful relationships with people I met during my time as an intern, from Legislative Assistants to Capitol Police Officers (shoutout Jesus). Every day I was excited to go to work because I knew that, whether I would be falling on my face or meeting a new senator, I would never be bored.
By Bota Saud '18
Disclaimer: Hey, so these songs are the “hottest” songs of the summer in the sense that the radio has played them five billion times in a row due to high popular demand from kids who also enjoy listening to crusty country songs. I do not mean best, catchiest, or most qual tunes of the summer. In fact, I am sure I genuinely dislike around half of the songs on here. Enjoy this sickening list of B-List Bops.
By Chloe Conaghan '19
Every summer, the vestry comes together for their 24-hour retreat at the one and only Bishop Clagget Center. At “the Clag,” we discuss our hopes for the year ahead, the role of the vestry, expanding the vestry’s role in the school community, and some of the overarching difficulties NCS girls face that we can address as a vestry. This summer was unique, however, because the middle school vestry was unable to join us. Although we missed their lively presence, it was beneficial and more intimate to be there with Rev. Cav and Rev. Mumford accompanying only the upper school vestry. Moreover, only 6 of our members could attend, making it an even smaller group. Within this small group, we spent the first night discussing how NCS girls tend to strive for perfection, how we indulge in group panic that leads to heightened stress, and how to combat the stress and perfectionism we all face. We meditated, prayed, read, and sang in one of the chapels at the Bishop Clagget Center. We read Brene Brown's The Gifts of Imperfection, a copy of which Rev. Cav gave to each member of the vestry. This book discusses several different guideposts, or struggles, we face in our lives and gives advice on how to reduce stress and ultimately be the best versions of ourselves. Throughout the retreat, we were given a chance to journal in quiet reflection on the section or struggle in the book that we identified with the most. This reflection provided all of us time just to sit and think, surrounded by the calmness and serenity of the isolation of the Clag, with no one else around except the sun setting over the corn fields.
After dinner, we sat around a campfire and sang songs while sophomore Amelia Griffin played her guitar. We made s'mores and bonded over singing some good old TSwift (obviously not "Look What You Made Me Do"). For me, this first day of the retreat and our prayer and reflection gave me a chance just to sit and think—something I think few of us really have time to do. From reflection and discussion, we decided on a theme of resilience for this year as a vestry. Following through with this theme, we spent the entire next morning planning out specific chapels, themes for chapels, and potential homilists. Overall, the retreat was productive, reflective, and definitely one of my most memorable experiences at NCS.
By Max Niles ‘18
1) Accept Your Fate- Junior year will at some point, suck. There’s no way around it. It is guaranteed that at some point during the year you will come into school having gotten no sleep the night before, three major assignments due that day, a big day of sports ahead, and you’ll want to roll up into a ball, cry, and die. But the key to junior year is accepting this fate early. If it sneaks up on you, the pressure of back to back to back crunch weeks will slowly crush your soul and your will to live. But if you accept it now, you know how bad those nights and days will be, and eventually, finally, summer will come. Also, it’s cheesy but everyone in your grade is going through the same thing, even those pesky Ivy league commits, and talking about how much you are dead inside makes for great bonding.
2) Don’t Worry About College- College might be an overwhelming thought, especially with seniors talking about reaches, ED schools and UChicago prompts, but the worst thing you can do as a junior is to always be worried about college. Don’t get me wrong, some concern about college is fine. If your grades are seriously slipping, then think about college. But you aren’t going to survive the year if you’re constantly thinking about how if you had done three points better in Spanish you would be getting into the school of your dreams. It puts way too much pressure on yourself to be thinking about college all the time, especially when you won’t be applying to a school for at least three months. Just focus on doing the best you can, and things will align themselves.
3) Get Your Testing Done Early- Nothing is nicer than the feeling of not having to cram in SAT/ACT/SAT subject tests in your crazy senior fall. So start studying (or hire PrepMatters to help you start studying) for the ACT and SAT in the fall, so that you can take them several times before college really becomes the overbearing force of doom in your life. Once senior year comes around you’ll already have that score you’re looking for and won’t have another element of stress in your life.
4) Step Out Of Your Comfort Zone- You only have two more years left at this place and there are so many opportunities. Join a play, do an art class, take vertebrate zoology, go on a wildlife biology excursion with JonJon and Nolan. There are so many awesome opportunities at STA that you’ll never get to experience unless you step outside your bubble. And to those of you that are worried about finding time in your schedule, junior year is not all about studying, you have time for fun too!
5) Enjoy It- As I said earlier, you only have two more years left at this wonderful place. At this point, you’ve grown up a lot from that bratty, annoying freshman and you still have a lot more growing to do. You’ve probably heard lots of horror stories about how bad it was, but it’s also the most fun year yet. You got to slow down and enjoy it with your amazing brothers because you’re going to be running out of the cathedral next June before you know it.
By Charlie Hansen '18
Dear St. Albans Class of 2021,
Welcome to your new home. Starting today, you will live, breathe, and eat this school whether you like it or not. Freshman year is great,,, You’ll learn how to live with yourself after receiving a 47% on a Great Expectations essay that you spent all week working on. You’ll learn how to wrestle a classmate for the privilege to ask a certain someone to Homecoming (Alex Knapper can tell you more about that). For the things that you don’t pick up on in your first few weeks, Exchanged has a list of pointers so you can withstand the challenges of STA.
1. Brush up on some trivia. Nobody wants to be the guy who can’t name a single song by Kanye West at Lunch Table Trivia. At most lunch tables, freshmen become the go-to scraper because they lose trivia every day; don’t be that freshman. Some of my favorite table questions include:
2. Organize your materials. The worst feeling in the world is opening your backpack and seeing a glut of miscellaneous papers, tests, and half sheets from Ms. Denize. Teachers, upon seeing this mess, will think, does this kid even care about my class? If this happens, that teacher will probably fail you, your parents will then kick you out of the house for being a failure, and you’ll end up living on the street with the rest of the unorganized kids from previous St. Albans classes. Just put your papers in a friggin’ binder at least! Don't be an idiot, just use your planner and locker, unless someone alphas you for its prime location next to Sam’s.
3. Stock up on outlandish clothing. STA Mixer? Grab that weird, old Hawaiian shirt from your dad’s closet, and go! BEEF game? A perfect time to bust out your Syracuse-era Carmelo Anthony Jersey! It’s important to have a good sense style, but also a touch of unpredictability and a little “why on earth would this kid wear this?” in your outfit choices. Talk to my Fashion Correspondent, Brooks Biddle, for advice on your style. And remember, keep a lookout for Mr. Hansen’s watchful eye.
4. Attend sporting events. Nothing boosts camaraderie with your new classmates like watching Robert “Bobby The Ox” King pound some kids on the gridiron. Soccer, football, hockey, basketball, lacrosse, baseball—the opportunities are endless. It’s imperative to have some fun during your freshman year and this is the ~STA approved~ way to do it.
5. Most importantly, try something new. High School is the time to figure out what you enjoy. So try out for the musical! Join Gardening Club! Write for Exchanged (please)! Keep yourself busy, even if you have several hours of extremely difficult Geometry homework.
List by Mannan Mehta '18
Fillmore Silver Spring (Saturday, Sep 09)
Tickets Starting at $69
Jiffy Lube Live (Saturday, Sep 09)
Tickets Starting at $21
U Street Music Hall (Saturday, Sep 09)
Tickets Starting at $63
EagleBank Arena (Thursday, Sep 14)
Tickets Starting at $75
Verizon Center (Friday, Sep 15)
Tickets Starting at $35
Fillmore Silver Spring (Saturday, Sep 16)
Tickets Starting at $99
U Street Music Hall (Saturday, Sep 16)
Tickets Starting at $41
Wolf Trap Farm (Sunday, Sep 17)
Tickets Starting at $64
Capital One Arena (Tuesday, Sep 19)
Tickets Starting at $107
Fillmore Silver Spring (Saturday, Sep 23)
Tickets Starting at $45
Capital One Arena (Monday, Sep 25)
Tickets Starting at $29
Echostage (Wednesday, Sep 27)
Tickets Starting at $56
Capital One Arena (Saturday, Sep 30)
Tickets Starting at $171
Fillmore Silver Spring (Friday, Oct 06)
Tickets Starting at $147
Fillmore Silver Spring (Saturday, Oct 07)
Tickets Starting at $35
Echostage DC (Sunday, Oct 08)
Tickets Starting at $62
Fillmore Silver Spring (Friday, Oct 13)
Tickets Starting at $27
U Street Music Hall (Saturday, Oct 14)
Tickets Starting at $54
Echostage DC (Friday, Oct 20)
Tickets Starting at $35
The Anthem DC (Saturday, Oct 21)
Tickets Starting at $47
Echostage (Saturday, Oct 21)
Tickets Starting at $51
930 Club (Saturday, Oct 28)
Tickets Starting at $34
Story by Ellie Bailey '19
This summer I spent two weeks studying women’s access to education at the Sacred Valley Project in the Andes of Peru. The need for the Sacred Valley Project arose from the lack of secondary schools and academic opportunities for women in rural Andean communities. Most communities have at least one elementary level school, but lack a secondary school within commuting distance. Thus, in order to receive the equivalent of a U.S. high school diploma, adolescents must live with relatives or on their own in larger towns where there is easy access to secondary education. Sadly, parents with limited finances tend to prioritize the education of their sons instead of their daughters. In other cases, parents who are cautious with their daughters are afraid to send them to live in an urban environment away from their immediate family. Consequently, only four in ten Andean girls complete their secondary schooling.
The Sacred Valley Project aims to mitigate the disparity between male and female education by offering young girls in Andean communities the opportunity to study in secondary schools, either in Ollantaytambo or in Calca. The Sacred Valley Dormitories provide room and board for students as well as supervision and tutoring by adult women.
Unfortunately, a portion of the girls who usually live at the dorm were away while my group visited because of a nationwide teacher strike. The teacher strike illustrates yet another barrier in the way of education for Andean peoples who rely on public education. The strike lasted roughly two months, ending on August 15.
Despite their ill circumstances, the girls who were present at the dorm displayed optimism and hope for their futures. One spoke eloquently in Spanish (Quechua is the first language of the students at the dorms) of her hopes to attend university and become a lawyer. Another dreamed of becoming an artist.
Aside from academic ambitions, the girls talked about their love of the Narnia movies. Together they sang their own rendition of “Libre Soy” (the Latin American version of “Let it Go” from Frozen).
As my conversation with the girls progressed, I realized that, while our pasts and ancestries were completely different, both me and the Sacred Valley girls had similar hopes to further our academic journeys and find happiness. I saw my own friends in these girls’ dreams and senses of humor. High school girls, regardless of country or language, are still high school girls.
Like NCS students, these girls had dreams to change their communities and better our world. Their intellectual curiosity mirrored that which NCS fosters in us. They too were truly women for the world.