Varsity Night’s New Look

Members of the MFS community from all throughout the region congregated in the Westin on Wednesday night and then dispersed all throughout the Westin to celebrate the school’s athletes.

The school’s annual Varsity Night, a celebration of all its varsity athletes, took place on May 20 at the Westin. The event’s format was changed drastically from previous years; instead of one large dinner for all guests where all teams presented to the entire community, teams split up for smaller, shorter, and more intimate presentation in separate rooms. Each fall sport had its own small-group presentation, followed by a parallel format for winter and then spring sports. Instead of a full meal, guests found desserts in the lobby as well as in each small room.

These changes come in light of a survey put out by the Athletic Department three years ago, along with feedback from last year’s event. Many guests felt that the event’s large setting was impersonal and did not encourage interest in the coaches’ presentations, and this year’s changes were an effort to fix these problems.

“The kids and families…[got] an opportunity to really hear what the coach had to say,” said Athletic Director Danielle Dayton. “This way, we more than doubled our amount of time the coach had to speak with and about their program, which was important because a lot of effort goes into student athletes and a team.”

The format change greatly increased each coach’s allotted time to present his or her team while shortening the overall duration of the event. After all team presentations, all guests gathered in one room to honor senior Scholar Athletes and those who had made the Athletic Honor Roll.

“[I] thought that the new format provided a more intimate setting,” said senior and three-sport Varsity athlete Tommy Martin. “Each coach could say what they wanted to a group of people who were all interested in hearing.”

“I really like the new set up and how everyone was able to be heard and seen.” commented junior Margaux Vellucci, a member of the Varsity Cross Country team. “The benefits definitely outweigh the drawbacks.”

This year’s Varsity Night had 415 guests, the most in the event’s history. The shift from a full dinner to dessert and coffee yielded a significant price drop, which, along with the more efficient format, likely drew many people who had not attended the event in the past.

“I was very pleased with the way the event ran,” reflected Dayton. “That’s due to a lot of people’s hard work. It was a fantastic display of teamwork, which is what athletics is all about. It gave our student athletes a better opportunity to enjoy the evening and be honored the way they should be.”

When asked about next year’s Varsity night being run the same way, Dayton lit up. “Yes, I sure hope so!”

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Mohsen-Breen’s Prize-Winning Books

WordsWorth recently sat down with Adam Mohsen-Breen, an MFS senior and author of three books that have received wide recognition and earned him a Princeton Prize. Mohsen-Breen’s books concern post 9/11 bullying of Muslim youth, especially in the context of schools, and preach a positive message of religious tolerance.

WordsWorth: How many books did you write?

Adam Mohsen-Breen: I wrote three books [Grandfather’s Promise, Laila and Gabe, and Tarek’s Lesson], each centered on a particular aspect of classroom bullying situations that I wanted to focus on.

WW: What inspired you to write your books?

AMB: I was inspired to write my books because bullying of Muslim youth is a problem that affects my religious community, as well as my family community.

WW: What was the biggest challenge when writing each book and did they have any common problems?

AMB: The biggest challenge for each book was definitely creating a believable and unique protagonist for each book that could be likable enough to drive the action of my books, while at the same time strong enough to deal with the problems they encounter in the classroom.

WW: Rumor has it your books are being recognized all around the world. How does that feel?  Did you think that they would get lots of attention?

AMB: I am incredibly grateful to everyone that’s helped me so far along the process, and I would never have received this type of attention without the support of all my advisors and overseers. When I saw the first articles start to come out, I was obviously extremely excited, especially because the articles for the most part were very faithful to the intended message of my books. I never expected my books to receive any kind of recognition outside of our own, school community, but the Princeton Prize really served as a catalyst for the increased media attention, which was really exciting for me.

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Ahead of his Time Freshman Submits AP Art Portfolio

RobieDriscoll

Robie Driscoll has proven himself a truly impressive young artist.

Driscoll, a freshman, submitted an AP 3D Design portfolio for the 2014-15 school year. Although AP courses are not available to freshmen, Driscoll found no problem in completing his work outside of class time. Unlike the students enrolled in the course, who have been working on art since September, Driscoll began working on his portfolio a mere three months ago.

Driscoll picked “line and linear exploration” as the focus for his artwork. “I’m so glad to be done; it was really stressful,” said Driscoll regarding his portfolio.

Teachers have begun to notice his work as well. “His work is amazing,” commented Upper School Director Justin Brandon. “Robie has a great vision and he clearly has a great sense of what he wants to do. His concentration is extremely impressive, and shows how talented he is.”

“Robie has a good eye for design,” said Studio Art teacher Michael Webster. “He’s very good at manipulating materials to make interesting objects. His portfolio turned out very good, and phenomenal for a freshman.”

See Driscoll’s artwork here.

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New Peer Leaders 2015-16 Seniors to Take Over Peer Leadership Elective

The peer leaders for the 2015-16 school year have been chosen.

Selected as male peer leaders were David Borne, Mitchell Mullock, Zach Day, Kieran McMenamin, Matt Mullock, Dylan Eni, Jake Rosvold, and Jacob Schoifet. The girls selected were Erin Chen, Amanda Karlsson, Andayah Sams, Margaux Vellucci, Marirose Aleardi, Gabriela Montes, Nia Francis, and Mia Zayas.

Mr. Brandon, Ms. Taylor-Williams, and Mrs. Hanamirian interviewed over 30 junior applicants for peer leader positions as part of the program’s second year. The process was challenging for the administration,  as the 30 applicants were vying for just 16 spots (8 boys and 8 girls).

The group interviews posed each applicant with several situations that might arise in a peer leadership class to see probe how he/she might handle it. Scenarios included handling of plagiarism and offensive or awkward comments by students.

Newly chosen peer leader Zach Day was fond of the interview protocol. “[It] was the best way to show who would be best for the position, as it allowed each interviewee to have their voice heard on the potential topics that may come up in the peer leadership setting.”

Over the course of the 2014-15 school year, the peer leadership program has already become a vital part of the MFS high school community. The program allows for the seniors and freshmen to get to know each other, and allows the newest high schoolers to become better prepared for high school life. The program is helpful for educating the freshmen on the academic and social ways of high school.

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2015-16 Class Officers Finalized

The class officers for the 2015-2016 MFS school year are listed below.

Class of 2016
President: Alexis Tsapralis
Vice President: David Borne
Secretary: Zachary Day
Treasurer: Marirose Aleardi

Class of 2017
President: Isaac Muñoz
Vice President: Julia Giordano
Secretary: John Barton
Treasurer: Hunter Harris

Class of 2018
President: Libby Meyer
Vice President: Ian Millstein
Secretary: Caroline Cook
Treasurer: Sujin Kim

This year, instead of filling out paper ballots in advisor, students cast their votes via Google Forms. “[Online voting] makes [the process] just a lot smoother,” said Dean of Students Mike Brunswick about the new system. “It makes it more like a real election, and takes a lot of the stress off of the advisors to collect the votes, and then to send them to me.”

Even with the strict 9 PM deadline, voting turnout was not significantly lower than usual. “Probably five or six students per grade, less than ten percent, didn’t vote,” said Brunswick.

Because of the success of the new online system, it is likely that this will be the process moving forward.

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Spring in Style

With the weather finally starting to warm up, spring pieces have been popping up all over school. Here are some outfits that are perfect for the weather and also abide by the dress code.


sarina

This outfit is perfect for a Spring day that may be a little bit windy. It is a simple, comfortable outfit, but still manages to look put together. The denim shirt thrown over the classic white tee gives an effortlessly cool look, and the accessories tie the whole outfit together.

Sarina Patel’s look
Denim Shirt: American Eagle
White Tee: American Eagle
Leggings: Abercrombie and Fitch
Vans: Urban Outfitters
Necklace: Unknown Boutique


amanda

This outfit is for a dressier day.  The bright color of the top mixed with a floral pattern is an essential for spring.  Classic dark wash denim compliments the business of the shirt, as well as a neutral pair of flats.  The necklace adds a little bit of glam while still directing attention to the busy shirt.  Perfect for warmer days!

Amanda Kezbari’s look
Floral Tank: Nordstrom
Jeans: Nordstrom
Shoes: Lucky Brand
Necklace: Forever 21


noah

This look is also better for a more chilly Spring day or morning.  It’s simple, but still manages to look put together. The light color of the jacket slowly integrates lighter colors without being too brash.

Noah Magaziner’s Look
Shirt: Lucky Brand
Pants: Urban Outfitters
Shoes: Vans

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Major Change in Minors

The 2015-16 school year will see a new policy regarding AP classes and minor enrollment for seniors.

MFS policy dictates that students enroll in at least two minor courses per semester, with an exception for seniors whose schedules are especially rigorous. In previous years, seniors wishing to drop down to one minor have had to be in two AP or Honors courses.

The administration has decided to up the ante for the upcoming year, requiring two AP (not Honors) classes in order to take just one elective.

Upper School Director Justin Brandon says that the policy change reflects a rapid increase in student population, leading to under-enrollment of seniors in minor courses.

Brandon hopes that an increase in seniors taking minors will facilitate connections between seniors and underclassmen, forging a stronger MFS community.

“[We have] a great minor program that’s unique to MFS,” said Brandon. “We want all of our students all four years to take advantage of as many of the opportunities in the minor program as possible.”

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Beat The Champ The Mountain Goats’ New Wrestling-Themed Album is a Knockout

Their new album may be titled Beat The Champ, but today it seems like the Mountain Goats themselves are the champs of alternative music, and they are not likely to be beaten any time soon.

Released to eagerly awaiting fans on April 7, Beat The Champ is a concept album, following the story of the low-grade professional wrestling that was popular in Texas, Mexico, and California in the 1970s before the WWE came to dominate the industry. John Darnielle, the Mountain Goat’s founder and one perpetual member, is no stranger to drawing on autobiographical material for his music—the 2005 album The Sunset Tree largely concerns his relationship with his late, abusive stepfather. But Beat The Champ’s theme is especially interesting, combining as it does Darnielle’s remembrance of his juvenile adulation for wrestling as a young child and his talent for dark, foreboding, yet ultimately uplifting lyrical storytelling.

The album has been released to high critical acclaim, receiving favorable reviews from Jer Fairall of Exclaim! music magazine and garnering a score of 78/100 on Metacritic. Songs such as “The Legend of Chavo Guerrero,” “Heel Turn 2,” and “Choked Out” give the music a feel that is both violent and peaceful, depressing yet uplifting, somber yet angry. According to senior David Golden, “I don’t think it’s as strong as some of their earlier efforts, like Tallahassee [2002] and The Sunset Tree [2005], but the album is a pleasure to listen to anyway. The Mountain Goats have once again succeeded in creating an album that is beautiful because of, not in spite of, its contradictions.” Sophomore Meredith Aristone summed it up more simply. “It’s just really good,” she said.

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2015-16 Clerks Finalized

Nominating Committee’s decisions on next year’s clerk positions have been finalized, according to an MFS source.

Rising senior Skylar McClane will assume the position of Meeting for Worship for Business Clerk, a position formerly held by senior Brian Pansius. The position generally receives the most applications out of any of the clerkships.

The Recording Clerk, a position historically held by seniors, will be rising junior Jess Ferber for the upcoming school year.

Agenda Committee will be headed by clerks Travis Benedict, a rising senior, and Maura DiVentura, a rising junior.

Assuming the positions of Diversity clerks, rising seniors Jocelyn Miles and Mia Zayas will head one of the school’s most popular committees.

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Tanking is the Way

There’s no reason to jump off the bandwagon just because it’s being intentionally driven into the ground.

Tanking, the process of building a team designed to lose in order to garner high draft picks, was brought to the forefront by our own Philadelphia 76ers. Sixers’ president and general manager Sam Hinkie, in an effort to rebuild his middling, perpetually stuck-in-the-middle team, traded off all his valuable assets for young players and draft picks, and put his team in a position to be as bad as possible in hopes of obtaining a superstar via a top draft pick. Critics would say that Hinkie’s tactic of making his team as bad as possible was a disgrace to the league, but in actuality, Hinkie had no choice. What would have been the advantage for Hinkie to keep his team stuck in mediocrity, with no hope of becoming a title contender, no hope of obtaining a high draft pick, and no attraction to any potential free agents? Hinkie did what any GM in his position should have done: he tore his team down to the roots, allowing him the ability to build his type of team, with a plethora of young players, draft picks, and the potential to draft a superstar with a high draft pick due to his team’s poor performance. Tanking allowed the Sixers to have a ton of cap space to use for taking on bad contracts with draft picks attached, and to eventually cash in on marquee free agents. The Sixers have acquired or drafted exciting, high upside young players such as Nerlens Noel, Joel Embiid, and Dario Saric, and  possess four potential first round picks this season to add more talent. Tanking has allowed the Sixers to build an athletic, cheap, young, high upside team, which with the additions of some fitting free agents, plus the development of the young players, has the potential to be a perennial contender. Bottoming out has given Sixers fans a semblance of hope after being stuck in mediocrity for over ten years. Rather than the perception that the national media portrays of fans who are upset with the poor product of the current Sixers, the fans are accepting and more hopeful of the Sixers future than they would have been had the Sixers stayed the course of mediocrity. Tanking is the way in the NBA, it is not a problem, it is not an epidemic, it is the correct way to go about rebuilding your team in hopes of acquiring a superstar talent to build around.

The hockey world has been enamored with super prospect Connor McDavid for years. This year’s 2015 NHL draft has been anticipated for years, due to the prospect of drafting McDavid, or fellow potential superstar Jack Eichel. In preparation of acquiring the next mega star, many middling, going nowhere teams decided to blow it all up, and sell off their established veterans for young players and draft picks. Buffalo Sabres general manager Tim Murray took any asset with a semblance of value from his roster, sold them off for picks, and filled his team’s lineup with either young, raw players who are yet to develop, or older veterans who would not significantly contribute to the team’s success. He never explicitly said it, but anyone who knows hockey can see that Murray positioned his team to finish last in the NHL in order to guarantee his team a top 2 pick and the opportunity to draft a potential superstar in either McDavid or Eichel. Murray, in an interview with the New York Times, stated, in reference to Connor McDavid, “I watch him too much and think about  him too much. I wish I could help myself.” Even the Sabres’ fans have embraced the tank, as their home fans cheer when the away team scores a goal, as they want to get McDavid or Eichel as well. NHL purists/cranky old fashioned hockey guys have criticized Buffalo’s ways, saying that their deliberate tanking has ruined the sanctity of the game. They couldn’t be any more wrong. Buffalo was mismanaged by previous front office regimes and has never won a Stanley Cup. In order to turn things around for the long term, Buffalo needed an overhaul. No marquee free agents have wanted to sign in the freezing tundra known as Buffalo, and the importance of a superstar on your team can not be understated. Buffalo’s only chance of building a contender is through the draft and trades, and acquiring young, potential rich talent. Buffalo could have continued to hamper themselves by signing mediocre free agents to inflated contracts, and stayed hovering in the middle of nowhere, going nowhere sector of the league, but that would be a terrible decision. Tanking has allowed Buffalo to finish last overall in the league standings, and after receiving the second overall pick in the 2015 draft, they are in a prime position to draft Eichel as a possible superstar for the future.

Tanking is not an issue in the NHL, nor is it in any other league; tanking is a way for rebuilding teams to turn their fortunes around, and to maybe become a title contender. The NHL and NBA are built on superstars, and cheap young talent, which are very hard to obtain. Tanking allows a team the chance to either draft a star, accumulate enough assets to trade for a star, or to develop a solid core to lead them into the future. Yes, there will be some abysmal games and terrible losses, but as horrific as tanking may be in the short term, the potential rewards and options that come along with it greatly outweigh the poor quality of play in the short term.

Critics of tanking in the NHL and NBA need to open their eyes and realize that no team can stay good forever. In order to succeed in the long term, teams need to develop young talent, and go through down periods. Tanking is not an issue, nor is it an epidemic, it is the perfect avenue to giving your team a plethora of options for a sustained, successful future.

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