Blessing of the Animals

By Clara Hua ‘21

The Blessing of the Animals is a tradition that started almost 800 years ago. It is in the spirit of St. Francis of Assisi, who always called creatures “his brothers and sisters.” He sought to widen the fraternity to include humans and creatures in the same relationship with God. The feast day of St. Francis (the day that he died) is celebrated every year on October 4th, and blessing of the animal services are usually scheduled for the Sunday closest to that day.

Reverend Talcott started this tradition at St. Mark’s in 2009. She thinks that animals are vital parts of our world and our lives, and it’s important to bring our awareness to them. Every year, Belmont chapel welcomes pets from community members and this year we had more than 20 animals, including dogs, cats and even lizards at! Several faculty members and students shared their (or their pets’) experience with me.

“It's my favorite chapel of the year,” said Ms. Caron. “I love seeing my students with their pets. Finn has a great time. It's a little overwhelming for him, but he loves making new dog friends, and he loves seeing all of the students. He was so excited to look out of our apartment window and see the dogs arriving prior to chapel.”

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 “Blessing of the animals is my favorite chapel of the year!” exclaimed Sarah Lammert ’21. “ My family is made up of animal lovers. We have four dogs, three goats, six chickens, and a bunny. My first year at St. Mark’s was last year, when I only took one of my poodles. This year my brother joined the school, and we brought all four together. Personally, I love Blessing of the Animals because it allows day students or local boarders to show a little bit of their lives to the boarders who couldn’t bring their pets!”

“I brought one dog with me as Nettie is so afraid of people,” said Ms. Behnke.”Chloe loves “Blessing of the Animals” and it is one of my favorite days. Chloe gets to see lots of dogs she knows and she meets new ones. I also love seeing all the dogs on campus. I am so grateful to St. Mark’s for celebrating this day.”

Tommy Flathers ’21 commented that “[his] dog Claribelle is 11 and a grouchy old lady, so she did not really enjoy the blessing of the animals. She was nervous and hung around the edges. But she did make it all the way through and received her blessing.”

This was not the experience of Catherine Pellini ’20. “Both my puppy Callie and I had so much fun at the Blessing of the Animals last Tuesday. I loved seeing all of the animals and I’m sure she had fun meeting the other dogs! I’m so glad we were able to participate in this amazing St. Mark’s tradition.”

All of us are reminded of the importance of animals in our lives by this tradition. St. Markers (both people and pets) love this chapel a lot, and I bet many of us are already starting to look forward to next year’s Blessing of the Animals!

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Perspectives on St. Marguerite's Partnership

By Paige LaMalva ‘20

The St. Marguerite's Partnership is an opportunity for St. Markers to enhance our friendship with St. Marguerite’s, a school located in Latournelle, Haiti. The responsibilities of the partnership are to promote communication, education, and cultural exploration between the two schools. Club meetings involve improving understanding of Haitian culture to members and developing ways to educate the St. Mark’s community about Haitian history and culture. Some of the projects that have occurred are selling Haitian chocolate, running the Haitian Independence Day fair, and sponsoring The St. Marguerite’s Partnership Rice and Beans lunch. The club meets every other Monday from 8am-8:25am in Ms. McColloch’s classroom, Room 128; the student leaders are Haley Dion ‘19, Grant Gattuso ’19, and Kerrie Verbeek ‘19, and the faculty leaders are Ms. Morgan and Ms. McColloch. It’s never too late to join!

The other part of the partnership is the opportunity to travel to Haiti. If a St. Marker wants to be fully immersed in Haitian culture, then this is the opportunity! Five or six students get selected each year for this opportunity. Following their arrival in Haiti, St. Markers will spend the night at St. Matthieu, an Episcopal Parish located not too far from the partnership school. During the trip, students will be able to interact and meet with the teachers and students and enhance their knowledge of Haiti. Students in the past have raved about the trip is an incredible opportunity and how they have built strong friendships.Here are some reflections from last year.

Why did you join the Haiti Partnership?

“I joined the partnership because I feel it is an opportunity to have an impact on our small community as well as on another school and on people’s lives there. I also joined because I feel it is beneficial to create diverse cultures and expand the mindset of students at St. Mark’s. By joining the partnership, I am able to inform myself and peers on Haitian culture and struggles. By doing this, we as a community are able to move forward with the intent of always learning and always helping. I am also simply interested in the culture and contrast of Haiti compared to America.” -Kendall Sommers ‘22

“I didn’t know too much about Haiti, so I was really curious to see what it was like. After learning about how beneficial the partnership is for St. Mark’s and St. Marguerite’s, I immediately knew that I wanted to be a part of it to help make a positive impact at both schools.” Elise Gobron ‘21

What was your favorite part going to Haiti?

“My favorite part about Haiti was building relationships with the St. Marguerite’s community. I loved playing games with the children, singing songs, and dancing with the community! Although there was a language barrier, we were able to communicate through music and dance, which was so special!” -Haley Dion ‘19 (student leader)

“My favorite part of the trip was playing soccer with the kids and dancing with them!” -Kerrie Verbeek ‘19 (student leader)

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New Mercedes’ Smartliners: A Smart Purchase for St. Mark’s

By Katie Park ‘21

If you have traveled for sports events or field trips this fall, you have no doubt experienced a significant change that has added sparkle to students’ lives: the new Mercedes minivans. A lot of behind the scenes work went into purchasing the vans, and Mr. Kuklewicz, the Chief Financial & Operations Officer at St. Mark’s, walked me through the long process.

“This all started last winter,” said Mr. Kuklewicz. The team that was part of this project included Mr. Vachris, Ms. Kosow, and Mr. Levandowski. They looked at different models including the Dodge, Ford, and Mercedes Benz. They went on test drives last spring and came to an agreement that the Mercedes Smartliner was the best option. Also, the new minivans are all run by diesel engines which are considered to be more efficient than gasoline engines. “That is when we have decided to opt for the Mercedes Smartliner, and we bought four of them,” said Mr. Kuklewicz.

The main reason St. Mark ’s decided to purchase new vans was because the existing fleet was aging. However, the replacement would have never become a reality without the help of various people from the St. Mark’s community. “Frank Hanenberger, the parent of Lukas Hanenberger '19, was instrumental in helping us to arrange test drives with all the dealers,” said Mr. Kuklewicz. The marketing department led by Mr. Cochran was also a huge help in this process, and Mrs. Levandowski was an instrumental person behind the design group. She came up with several designs, and the group decided which was most aesthetically pleasing. “I like the design of the new minivans!” remarked Charlie Rumrill '21.

The new Mercedes vans not only carry athletic teams but also are used for weekends and school field trips. “Ms. Hultin drove one of the new vans when we went on a JCI field trip to the synagogue, and the ride was really comfortable,” said Geetika Surapaneni '21.

“I have heard many positive reactions and last Friday, I heard one faculty member talking about how the teams are really excited for away games now because of the new vans. Also, some faculty members said that the new vans are easier to drive because they feel more like cars,” said Mr. Kuklewicz. The purchasing of the new minivans was indeed a long process, but the one that is worth it.

Some may be wondering what will happen to our old fleet of mini-vans? Mr. Kuklewicz informed the community just this week that Brantwood Camp will be taking two of vehicles that the third bus will be donated shortly after this.

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St. Mark's Gets Tech Savvy

By John Cho ‘19

Reflecting the trend of social media’s emergence throughout the world, within the St. Mark’s community, different groups of students and faculty utilize different social media platforms to reach out to the broader community. Especially for the parents who sent their children to a boarding school, they must be curious about what is going on campus and what activities the students are engaging in. Thus, we strongly recommend for the parents to keep track of these social media pages to keep closer track of ongoing school activities!

Instagram: @smlions

As the official Instagram page of St. Mark’s School, @smlions account posts on official school events on a regular basis. From photos of students in math classes to pictures of student-led club fair, @smlions focus on portraying the community life in St. Mark’s.

Instagram: @smwellness

Recently launched, the @smwellness page is a helpful tool for the students to not only check the lunch menu but also learn about different wellness activities going on campus. As it says in the bio, @smwellness page focuses on creating a community where all members have the essential tools to be their best selves.

Team pages on Instagram (@smgirlsvarsitysoccer, @smjvsoccer, and more!)

If you are a big fan of St. Mark’s sports, especially for certain teams, you should follow their team pages on Instagram. You can find out game times, scores, and other news in the specific team pages. Experience the team spirit by following them on Instagram!

Facebook: @stmarkslions

The official Facebook page for St. Mark’s focuses more on reaching out to the alumni and the parents of the school. The page features alumni stories, school receptions, and school news. If you are looking for a nearby reception or proud achievements of our alumni, search St. Mark’s School Alumni, Parent, and Friends on Facebook!



Go “Ewaso” Lions: Gray Colloquium Speaker raises awareness about vulnerable lion populations

By Suha Choi ‘22 and Luke Lee ‘20

Photos: Sanjna Patel ’19

We are grateful to have had Dr. Shivani Bhalla mark the start of our 2018-2019 Gray Colloquium Lecture Series: Creating Change. The commitment of $1.5 million by C. Boyden Gray ‘60, funds the Gray Colloquium series, intended to provide outside viewpoints and engage our community in thinking bigger. With a theme set each year, speakers from all around the world come to visit our campus and give speeches related to the annual theme.

On October 4, Conservation Biologist Dr. Shivani Bhalla addressed the crisis of the Kenyan lion populations’ rapid diminution. Bhalla is the founder and executive director of Ewaso Lions, a conservation organization that involves scientific research, education and partnerships with local communities to end the crisis in lion populations in Kenya. The team works with with young tribal warriors and local community members including both women and children. Dr. Shivani Bhalla travels once a year to spread her message and create more awareness about wildlife and global environmental matters.

Dr. Shivani Bhalla explained about her organization, Ewaso Lions, and the steps that she has taken to protect the lion population in northern Kenya. She enthralled everyone in the audience through her stories about how she has involved local tribesmen, who killed lions to protect their livestock, into her conservation effort. Due to their support, her team was able to decrease the death toll of lions significantly. When she founded Ewaso Lions in 2007, the situation was grim in Kenya. The lion population has been on a sharp decline, and it has been an downhill trend for years. Because of her ability to save the wild lions under challenging conditions, her story generated much positivity and energy among St. Markers. Although her work is remarkable and well-deserves credit, the hopeful tone of her speech is misleading. Wild lions are still in serious danger.

According to the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature), lion population has declined 43% and there are less than 20,000 remaining in the world. They are listed as “Vulnerable,” which is right before “Extinction.” They are regionally extinct in 15 African countries. By 2050, lions might disappear from this planet. One of the main reasons lions are endangered is the alarming rate at which they are losing their habitats. As human populations grow, people are chopping down trees because they need more space to create more roads, houses, and agricultural fields.  Due to loss of habitat, lions are being forced into closer quarters with humans. Not only that, the decrease in their natural prey causes them to attack livestock. In turn, farmers oftentimes retaliate and kill these majestic big cats.

Another factor that contributes to the decreasing lion population is trophy hunting. Craig Packer, director of the Lion Research Center at the university of Minnesota, says “When a hunter kills and takes home one big male trophy, other males fight and kill one another for dominance. The male lions might also kill of the cubs and attack females who try to defend them. In Tanzania, the big, older trophy males became so depleted that hunters started killing immature maneless lions.” Lastly, lions are slaughtered for their bones and other body parts, which are sold illegally to Asia. In some parts of Asia, lions are popular for their purported health benefits.

It is important to maintain conservation efforts by remaining hopeful. However, it is equally important that we don’t overlook the stark reality of the crisis with our cheerfulness. Dr. Shivani Bhalla’s speech should not merely linger as a witty, lighthearted connection to St. Mark’s beloved lion mascot, her attitude and contributions should inspire awareness, compassion and most importantly actions-qualities which St. Markers should seek to learn from their own community.

So, go lions! Go lions of St. Mark’s! Go Ewaso lions of Kenya!

Learn more about Dr. Shivani Bhalla and her team:

https://www.nationalgeographic.org/fi1nd-explorers/shivani-bhalla

http://ewasolions.org/

Close Ups: The Monitors

by Rick Sarkar ‘19

Every spring, the student body and faculty elect eight rising seniors to serve as the student leaders of the school for the following year. These eight work closely with Dr. Warren, their faculty advisor, and meet weekly with Mr. Warren and Mr. Vachris. They are responsible for running school meeting, keeping student morale high, and representing the interests of the student body to the faculty and administration. Perhaps most importantly, these are the folks who send out those all-school emails! Be sure to say hi to any of the monitors when you see them around school, and do not hesitate to reach out to any of them when you have a concern you want addressed. Below are brief introductions of the monitors, starting with your 2018-19 head monitors, Tom Paugh and Zoe Maddox.

 From left to right: Rwick Sarkar, Tom Paugh, Zoe Maddox, Kate Normandin, Mr. Warren, Matt Hart, Zeñia Alarcón, Shelby Howard, and Jason Zhang

From left to right: Rwick Sarkar, Tom Paugh, Zoe Maddox, Kate Normandin, Mr. Warren, Matt Hart, Zeñia Alarcón, Shelby Howard, and Jason Zhang

Tom Paugh

  1. First name/Nickname/Last name

Tom/Tom Paugh/Paugh

  1. Hometown

Wayland, MA

  1. What animal would you be and why?

A giraffe--peaceful, has a long neck, loves munching on veggies

  1. Why did you want to be a monitor?

I wanted to make a positive impact on the school that has given so much to me over the past three years. I knew that it was going to be a lot of work, but in my opinion making students and the faculty happy is well worth the work.

  1. Favorite kitchen utensil?

Blender

  1. Where do you see yourself at your SM 10th reunion?

Hopefully employed

  1. Favorite thing about SM

My friends.


Zoe Maddox

  1. First name/Nickname/Last name

    1. Zoe/Robby Harper’s Girlfriend/Maddox

  2. Hometown

    1. Southborough, MA

    2. But born in New Haven, Connecticut

    3. And spent 6 important developmental years in Midland, Texas.

  3. What animal would you be and why?

    1. A fox because they are small and nimble, but also quick and effective. Also they’re pretty cute. Also Fantastic Mr. Fox is my favorite movie. AND they have a very famous song. Ring-ding-ding-ding-dingeringeding! Gering-ding-ding-ding-dingeringeding! Gering-ding-ding-ding-dingeringeding!

  4. Why did you want to be a monitor?

    1. I think that at SM there are certain leadership positions that have more direct impact on the school than others. Monitor, in my opinion, has the biggest direct impact. I did not run for monitor so that it would look pretty on my college applications. I did it because I genuinely care about this school and want to make a positive impact that will hopefully last long after I graduate. (If I graduate (; lol)

  5. Favorite kitchen utensil?

    1. Sharp high quality knives. J. A. Henckels international is my prefered brand.

  6. Where do you see yourself at your SM 10th reunion?

    1. I just hope I’m happy.

  7. Favorite thing about SM

    1. Either athletics or the classics department. Of course SMGVS will forever hold a special place in my heart, but how could I forgot the team on campus with the most diverse skill range, JV girls hockey, or varsity softball which is a beast all its own. But aside from the athletics, over these past three years I have fallen in love with Latin and Greek even though I am very bad at both of the dead languages.

Jason Zhang

  1. First name/Nickname/Last name

    1. Jason/JJ or Jay Z as in the rapper/Zhang

  2. Hometown

    1. Westborough, Massachusetts

  3. What animal would you be and why?

    1. Narwhal no explanation needed.

  4. Why did you want to be a monitor?

    1. I wanted to be a resource for the student community. High school hits everyone with a lot of expected and unexpected challenges. Even if I might not have experienced your’s, I’d love to learn more about it and help you overcome it.

  5. Favorite kitchen utensil?

    1. Salt shaker.

  6. Where do you see yourself at your SM 10th reunion?

    1. Hopefully I’ll be able to dunk by then.

  7. Favorite thing about SM

    1. I don’t know why but I really like the chapel breakfast sandwiches. They’re very convenient to take into your morning class and I always make sure to double up on the sausage patties.


Kate Normandin

  1. First name/Nickname/Last name

    1. Katherine/Kate/Knorms Normandin

  2. Hometown

    1. Wellesley, Massachusetts

  3. What animal would you be and why?

    1. I would be a sea otter because I love swimming and I like to think I’m really cute, but can be vicious if provoked.

  4. Why did you want to be a monitor?

    1. I knew if I was a monitor I would have the platform to radiate my positivity to all of the community. While some people may find it unnerving to always have your peers watching you, I think it is a great chance to lead by example and use this subtle power to make people's lives better.

  5. Favorite kitchen utensil?

    1. A marshmallow roasting stick.

  6. Where do you see yourself at your SM 10th reunion?

    1. Honestly, living on a horse farm in rural Canada with 82 dogs.

  7. Favorite thing about SM

    1. I said this at Meet the Monitors last year, and a lot of people probably thought I said school meeting as an answer trying to appeal to the crowd. However, it really is my favorite thing about St. Mark’s. Honestly, I think having the whole school in one space listening to music and announcements for 20 minutes twice a week really brings us together. It separates us from other schools, and allows us to learn and care about the totality of our community.


Matt Hart

  1. First name/Nickname/Last name

Matt/Cooler than Tom/Hart

  1. Hometown

Westford, MA

  1. What animal would you be and why?

A tiger because Tiger’s back

  1. Why did you want to be a monitor?

I love SM and I want to be able to stand behind the school.  There are traditions that could be tweaked to better fit our community, and I ran for monitor because I wanted to make those tweaks.

  1. Favorite kitchen utensil?

Melon Baller

  1. Where do you see yourself at your SM 10th reunion?

Hopefully still being cooler than Tom.

  1. Favorite thing about SM

Easily the friends I’ve made here over the past four years.


Zeñia Alarcón

  1. First name/Nickname/Last name

Zeñia Alarcón

  1. Hometown

Brooklyn, New York (LETSSS GET IT!!)

  1. What animal would you be and why?

An Owl because I am a hoot, LOL

  1. Why did you want to be a monitor?

I wanted to be monitor because I wanted to be able to set the tone for the school, and create a more positive community. I wanted to do more for the SM community and initiate change.  

  1. Favorite kitchen utensil?

Spoon to be honest, who needs a fork or knife

  1. Where do you see yourself at your SM 10th reunion?

I see myself with a job living it up in the Big Apple (possibly…).

  1. Favorite thing about SM

The friendships I have made during my time here at SM are my favorite things. Whether they were from day 1 or towards the end of my time here, all of them matter to me.


Rwick Sarkar

  1. First name/Nickname/Last name

Rwick/Rick/Tiny Rick/Sarkar

  1. Hometown

Winchester, MA

  1. What animal would you be and why?

Polar bears: they are the cutest.

  1. Why did you want to be a monitor?

I wanted to be someone who could give new students a warm welcome to SM, help make this a great year, and work to make positive change to make SM a more inclusive community.

  1. Favorite kitchen utensil?

Obviously the spatula.

  1. Where do you see yourself at your SM 10th reunion?

Still running

  1. Favorite thing about SM

SMXC. And spending hours in the dining hall with my friends.


Shelby Howard

  1. First name/Nickname/Last name

    1. Shelby/Shelburrito/Howard

  2. Hometown

    1. Ashland, MA

  3. What animal would you be and why?

    1. I would be a pigeon so I could fly and deliver mail to people.

  4. Why did you want to be a monitor?

    1. I wanted to be a monitor because I wanted the opportunity to make our community the best it can possibly be. Also, I’m always late to chapel so the saved seat is pretty nice.

  5. Favorite kitchen utensil?

    1. Colander because pasta is bae.

  6. Where do you see yourself at your SM 10th reunion?

    1. Being fluent in German and wearing a dirndl.

  7. Favorite thing about SM

    1. I know saying ‘the people’ is the most stereotypical answer, but it’s true for me. My peers and teachers always challenge me to be my best self which is something I am so grateful for. Oh, and 009 because I am extremely competitive:)

Advancing Global Citizenship: New Course Takes it up a level

by Ryan Yang ‘19

The latest addition to St. Mark’s diverse course offerings, Advanced Global Citizenship, is the talk of the town around campus. Led by the director of Global Citizenship Dr. Warren, the course seeks to equip students with knowledge of global issues challenging  humankind in the 21st century, as well as helping students gain a comprehensive understanding of the forces at play in the world today.

With the small class setting and the personalized learning experience that the course provides, students report that they have not only been able learn more about the world but also about the roles they play in the ever-changing world. According to VI former Ryan Yang, “the class has been an eventful and enriching learning experience ever since our first day. Even in the short time we have had in class so far, the readings and discussions have provided me with a new perspective on the world.”

This sentiment is echoed by VI Formers Leo Xie and Aidan White, who commented respectively: “I like how we are learning about different countries and cultures” and “I love the focus on anthropology and how the material helps facilitate better discussions.” Some examples of students’ learning experiences include: a thought-provoking project tasking students to consider specific ethnic minority groups around the world and an analysis of concepts of ethnocentrism and cultural relativism in a myriad of different readings. Students are also looking forward to the final project, where they will identify a global challenge faced by the world today and construct a feasible solution to that issue.

The addition of Advanced Studies in Global Citizenship comes as no surprise given St. Mark’s commitment to Global Citizenship. As Dr. Warren put it: “The school’s emphasis on global citizenship is in alignment with our mission. The value of leadership, service, creativity, critical thinking, cooperation and the exploration of the larger world, which is reflected in our mission statement, is also reflected in what it means to be a global citizen.” With an increase in the number of Global Citizenship academic and extracurricular offerings, we look forward to how these classes and travel opportunities will inspire St. Marks students to better themselves as global citizens and lead lives of consequence.


Vamos a españa y Chile: SM Summer Travel

by Lindsay Davis ‘21

Over the summer, I traveled to Chile through the Chilean Exchange Program. I went there with three St. Mark’s students, my Spanish teacher, Sr. Cifuentes, and my religion teacher, Ms. Hultin. I was inspired to join the Chilean Summer Program because of the opportunity to practice my Spanish. I wanted to be fully engrossed in the culture and to have a chance to speak with and listen to native speakers.

Our group of Americans, or “gringas” as the Chileans would say, began our trip with an amazing four-day excursion to San Pedro, which is a rural town in the Atacama Desert. After that we flew into Santiago to meet our host families, with whom we would live for the next three weeks. I had an incredible family who was very welcoming: one of my Chilean sisters even gave her bedroom to me. Since I loved the hike in San Pedro, my host family made sure to take me hiking on a trail where we are able to overlook the city. I met their entire extended family, and I really enjoyed having traditional Chilean meals with them, such as empanadas. I was even able to ski in the Andes.

During our time in Chile, we went to The Grange School to study. Since I was in a different grade than the other “gringas,” I had very little chance to talk with them in English. Therefore, I had to jump out of my comfort zone and make friends with the locals who predominantly speak Spanish. As a result, the first few days were very challenging for me. After the first week I was able to have a short conversation in Spanish with my new Chilean friends and host family. My host family was constantly helping me with my vocabulary and grammar, and they took good care of me during my time there. I will never forget the bonds I made with friends and my host family in Chile. I am so looking forward to seeing them at St. Mark’s in winter.

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by Anu Akibu ‘20

Overall, I enjoyed my trip to Spain which was organized by an institute called Instituto San Pedro. I lived with Rebecca and Paula. Our host family was very gracious and accommodating. They made our homestay experience comfortable and enjoyable. My host family taught us about Segovia and Spain. Surprisingly, their son was a Monitor in our program which made our transition to life in Spain much easier. It was also beneficial that he understood both English and Spanish and he helped mitigate the barriers with our host parents. Our host family always had lunch and dinner together. I especially loved our conversation after the meal, which helped me improve my conversational skills and develop close relationships with them. What I loved the most was that my host family introduced us to many traditional Spanish dishes and desserts. I appreciated my host family for this because I did not want them to feel as if they had to provide us our usual meals.

I do wish there had been more free time because we were constantly busy. Our schedule consisted of going to school, a historical monument, or to tutor Spanish children. Generally our school began at 10:30 am and ended around 1:40 pm, sometimes later depending on the class. After school we were able to have an hour of rest until 4:15 pm, then we had to go to the Aqueduct for our daily excursion. We wouldn't really have free time until 6:30 pm, however we had to tutor kids from 7:15 pm until 9:30 pm. Finally, when we were done with our commitments we would get home around 10 pm and have dinner. Dinners ranged from 1-2 hours, which included preparation, thus going to bed around 11 p.m. or later.

Although life in Spain was busy, I still appreciate the independence we were given. We rode the bus by ourselves to school and to the Aqueduct every weekday. We would usually meet at the Aqueduct whenever we felt like going on an excursion near Plaza Mayor. As a result, we became accustomed to those places and discovered new spots where we could explore and have amazing food during our free time.

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STEM Fellowship: SNEAK PEEK

by Clara Hua ‘21

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As a high school student, conducting research on bioenergetics, cancer or DNA might seem an impossible dream. However, at St. Mark’s this dream is a reality ! STEM Fellowship, a signature science program at our school, gives students the chance to do so. After finishing an advanced science course, V and VI formers can choose to take part in this program that aims to provide them with an opportunity to conduct high-level scientific research. They are selected through a highly-competitive application process, and they work with teachers and outside mentors on a specific research topic that interests them most. St. Markers finally compete in science fairs, and they have done extremely well in the past few years!

Here’s what several St. Markers have to say about their STEM Fellowship plans for this year:

Haley Dion, VI Form

I am very excited to continue my STEM Fellowship project over the course of this year. It is incredible that St. Mark’s offers students the opportunity to pursue their passions and conduct independent research projects. I have always been fascinated by the brain For my Fellowship, I am conducting a neuroscience project. I am researching how bioenergetics affects Alzheimer’s Disease. I can’t wait to see what the other fellows and I complete between now and the science fairs!

Megan Christy, VI Form

I think the STEM Fellowship is a great opportunity for high schoolers to gain high level research experience that is not typically available to students our age. My specific project explores how biomaterials can encourage tissue regeneration for abdominal aortic aneurysms. While experiments and testing phases have not yet begun, we have done significant amount of summer research to build a set of background knowledge for our projects. I have connected with a lot of professionals in the field I am interested in who have helped me structure my project based on their knowledge. I will be working closely with two doctors I met this summer, one from WPI and one from MIT, who will mentor me as I conduct my research. The year has barely begun, and I not only have already learned so much about my topic, but I also have learned how to communicate with professionals. I think that these skills along with everything else I learn the rest of the year will set me on a path for success in college and after!

Robby Harper, VI Form

The STEM Fellowship  has been a great opportunity to study something that really interests me. It enables me to move my project in the direction that I chose, with the support of teachers like a regular class.  I can't wait to see how this year goes and how everyone's projects turn out.

Rosanna Zhao, VI Form

Over the summer, I was able to intern at Dana Farber Cancer Institute where I handled patient blood samples for clinical trials. For one of the clinical trials, I learned that the researchers were injecting an HIV virus into brain tumors of different patients in a trial. The result showed that brain tumors were successfully shrunken. I was amazed by this clinical trial because I could not believe why people would inject HIV viruses into brains. However, from this experience, I learned that a negative could potentially cure a negative. This discovery revolutionized my project when I came across an article titled Cell Phone Radiation Could Protect Memory Loss. I planned on researching the correlation between cell phone radiation and Alzheimer’s. Alzheimer’s Disease is caused by an accumulation of amyloid-beta plaques that are damaging to neurons in the brain. Cell phone radiation, however, is able to kill of the amyloid-beta plaques present.

Unfortunately, I came across a challenge: I could not keep drosophila alive for long enough for cell phone radiation to affect them. Therefore, I am now working to discover the correlation between different colors and frequencies of flickering LED lights on Alzheimer’s after reading about a similar research at MIT. Alzheimer’s creates a disruption to neuronal synchrony in the brain which is critical for memory. The constant flickering of LED lights can manipulate brain signaling and activate an immune system cell in the brain known as microglia that can help to decrease amounts of amyloid-beta plaques. My next steps are to explore the immune system of drosophila to determine whether they have cells similar to microglia on which I can study.


Grant Gattuso, VI Form

The STEM Fellowship has been great so far.  One major takeaway I have had from the process has been learning how to communicate with science professionals.  A lot of the work requires communicating, asking questions, and discussing potential research projects with those professionals. I personally feel that I have gotten a lot more comfortable with these interactions through the STEM Fellowship project.  As a whole, I also better understand what the scientific process is really like and how literary and lab research is best done because of this experience.

Luc Cote, VI Form

So far the STEM fellowship has been really fascinating. We recently presented our summer research It was amazing to see all the diverse topics, ranging from water bears in space to what causes Parkinson’s. We have not yet started any major experiments, but I have read a lot of extremely informative scientific articles about my project on IoT security and I am getting ready to design my experiment. We are just getting started but I am excited to see how the rest of the year will turn out!

Faith Jennings, VI Form

The STEM Fellowship is an opportunity that not only allows students to do an independent research project, but teaches students how to fail one hundred times but still succeed. Through challenging us to think outside of the box, the fellowship provides an environment where failing is simply a guidance towards our path of success. I am lookingforward to seeing the amazing projects that my peers and myself produce (I am studying telomeres which are the caps that protect the DNA at the end of the chromosomes), but also seeing the journey that brought us to our final results.

Jiwon Choi, VI From

*Writer’s Note: Jiwon is a second-year fellow. This year she’s continuing on the cool stuff that she did last year. See what she has to say!

My topic last year was to investigate  the mechanical properties of a specific protein, which is chicken albumin, to evaluate its potential as a bio-ink, which is the biomaterial used fo3D bioprinting. This year, I am planning on investigating the biological aspect of chicken albumin.

STEM Fellowship feels different from the other classes because it really allows me to think about what I am genuinely interested in and passionate about and direct myself throughout the entire year. Starting from coming up with a research topic to doing background research and holding experiments, I get to decide what I want to do. However, I've also learned to ask for help from others and use my peers or teachers at this school to help conduct my research. Although it is an independent research project, I couldn't have done it alone.

My most memorable experience is when I first used the laser cutter as one of my prototypes (an idea that Mr. Wells suggested), and it actually turned out to be a very good prototype--in fact my best prototype. I realized that while conducting research, I should never be afraid of trying new ideas although they may seem totally crazy at first.

To the perspective applicants, I would tell them that the STEM Fellowship is such a great experience for those who have genuine interests and passions. They should definitely apply and take advantage of this amazing program!! Also, I would tell them not to be intimidated by the

fact that they have to complete research alone because there will be so many people (like Ms. Lohwater and Mr. Loomer) who are willing to help you.


As you can see, these St Markers have extremely diverse research topics, but clearly, they all love the experience and enjoy what they have learned so far. We can’t wait for the end-of-year outcomes of all these cool research! We’re grateful for this opportunity that the school provides. These future scientists are all hard at their work right now...

Matriculation List Class of 2018

Where are the seniors going next year?

American University

Babson College

Boston College

Boston University

Carnegie Mellon University

Colby College

Colgate University

College of the Holy Cross

Dartmouth College

Duke University

Emerson College

Escuela Superior de Adminsitración y Dirección de Empresas (ESADE)

Florida State University

Franklin & Marshall College

Georgetown University

Georgia Institute of Technology

Gettysburg College

Hamilton College - NY

Harvard University

Haverford College

Macalester College

Miami University, Oxford

Middlebury College

New York University

Northeastern University

Oxford College of Emory University

Princeton University

Providence College

Quinnipiac University

Rhode Island School of Design

Skidmore College

Southern Methodist University

St. Lawrence University

Stanford University

Swarthmore College

Syracuse University

The George Washington University

The Juilliard School

Trinity College

Tufts University

Tufts University

Union College (New York)

University of California, Berkeley

University of California, San Diego

University of California, Santa Barbara

University of Chicago

University of Cincinnati

University of Colorado at Boulder

University of Connecticut

University of Massachusetts, Amherst

University of Massachusetts, Lowell

University of Michigan

University of New Hampshire at Durham

University of Pennsylvania

University of Richmond

University of Southern California

University of St Andrews

University of Virginia

University of Wisconsin, Madison

Wake Forest University

Washington College

Washington University in St. Louis

Williams College

Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Yale-National University of Singapore


(courtesy of Mr. Monheim)

A Theater Performance at Evening Chapel

by Clara Hua '21 and Samantha Wang '21

On April 19th, the St. Mark’s community came together and experienced something special during evening chapel: instead of the traditional singing by the choir, the theater department (including Theater II students as the main actors and the Theater I students for supporting roles) performed the play Shakespeare in Love. The play was originally a screenplay, and it’s about the fictional relationship between Shakespeare and a young woman.  The play also talked about how Shakespeare finds inspiration along the way. When we interviewed Mr. Kent about why he chose this play in particular, he said that there are two reasons that inspired him to choose this play. The first one is that it’s the poetry week themed chapel, and the second on being it was Shakespeare's birthday not long ago.

Will Lu, who was Shakespeare in the play, introduced the whole preparation process to us, “It was intense but exciting.” Will told us that they only had two and a half weeks to prepare for this play after Mr. Kent selected the roles for Theater II class. To their surprise, instead of having everything arranged by Mr. Kent, he let Theater II class work together to direct the scene themselves, including the background set-up in the chapel.

The biggest challenge for the cast was memorizing lines in time. “Due to the time factor and the ‘anti-traditional’ Shakespeare plot, it was difficult for the cast to find the logic of lines in such a short time,” said Will. Theater II class also only rehearsed three times in Chapel before the formal performance, which needed everyone to be highly concentrated and dedicated putting effort into the play during the two-week preparation. Will also told us that, since he was assigned to be Shakespeare in the play, initially, he found it hard to understand his character since the Shakespeare was distinct from the serious and talented one in people’s imagination. He was not confident about whether he fit with the character. Thanks to the class discussion they had and the advice from Mr. Kent, Will told us that he was able to conduct this character naturally with his own understanding at last.

The other difficult task for them was taking full use of space and their body positions. “The space in the chapel is totally different from the black box, where we normally perform. We had to consider whether the audience could see us and how to take advantage of the path in the chapel as our stage,” said Will. Moreover, Theater II class didn’t have any props in the chapel, which required them to use their imaginations and create the scene that made sense to the audience. For instance, in the scene that Shakespeare listens to Lady Viola’s confession, which is based on the scene where Romeo confesses his love to Juliet at her balcony, they used the podium in the chapel to convey the idea of the balcony to the audience in order to imply the relationship between Shakespeare with Lady Viola.

Overall, it was a completely novel chapel experience for the St. Mark’s community this year, and a lot of students enjoyed it! Fourth former Kent Place described the chapel as being  “simply ineffable.” Clearly, we appreciated the effort the theater department devoted into creating this play for the rest of the community to enjoy, and we look forward to more creative chapel performances like this one in the future! At St. Mark’s, evening chapel also serves as an opportunity to bond the community together, and creative ways such as theater can do this while "wowing" the students and faculty at the same time.

 

Announcement of the New Dormitory Plan

by Luke Lee '20

Several weeks ago at an evening sit-down dinner, Mr. Warren announced that surveys would be distributed to each table in order to receive students’ feedback about their dorms. He explained that the school is working on a major construction plan to move West campus dormitories to Main Campus and that the architectural firm working with the school was gathering  students’’ feedback to determine what would best meet the housing needs of students. In the survey, everyone wrote about the advantages and disadvantages of their dorms. Most students recognize this project will bring all underclassmen dormitories (West Campus) to Main Campus. But that is only a small portion of the project.

The four new dorms are planned to be built right next to Theriot House. Each dorm will house 33 beds. These dorms will be built as one large, square building, forming two quads in the middle.  Mr. Kuklewicz, the school’s Chief Financial and Operations Officer, said that “the quads would be pretty big, but smaller than the Sixth Form Quad.” These quads would be used as places for students to hang out and enjoy the weather.

 Another cool feature of this new building will be the study rooms. While some students choose to study in their rooms, others prefer studying in libraries or classrooms. However, walking all the way from their houses can often be inconvenient. Also, spots in study locations outside the dorms are not always available. In order to make students’ lives easier, the school will build  plenty of study rooms in the middle row of the new building. These rooms will be sound proof and will resemble rooms in the second floor of the library.

The planned dormitories in the new buildings are much bigger than the present dormitories on West Campus. As a result, many fifth formers will be living in the new residential building as well. Even though currently all fifth formers live on dorms in Main Campus or Theriot unless they’re prefects, with the new construction, Sawyer will be relocated. This will  allow for the History Wing and Language Wing to move spaces as well, which would be more convenient for many students and faculty. Many students, myself included, have experienced being late to history classes as we rush up to the History Wing’s current location on the fourth floor. By relocating Sawyer, the entire St. Mark’s community will benefit from better access to the classrooms of different departments.

The major reconstruction leaves many with one question: what is going to happen to West Campus? Mr. Kuklewicz admitted that the school “ [ hasn’t ] decided what to do with West yet. The Board is going to decide that.” The project is “only 2 months in the designing stage,” and the plan is to have about 12 to 14 months of both designing stage and construction stage. “That is when things go exactly as planned. It will  probably take longer,” Mr. Kuklewicz noted.

Though many of us are excited for the changed to our community, Mr. Kuklewicz was sure to note, “You aren’t going to see the new building in your time at St. Mark’s for sure. ” Even though current students may not get to enjoy the end results, it is important for the administration that the current student body has a say in St. Mark’s future.

 

Bhutanese Exchange Experience

by Urgyen Wangmo

Almost a month ago, several St. Markers had the chance to host students from Desi High School in Bhutan, which they visited last summer as part of the Lion’s Roam experience. I invited sixth former Urgyen Wangmo to write about her experience, and here’s what she had to say:

 

 

“In April, I had the awesome chance to host Yeshi for a week and a half. She had just graduated from her high school. Though we only spent half a day at Desi High, they provided an amazing showcase for us last summer. The students sang and danced traditional Bhutanese songs as well as “Watch Me” by Silentó. As a response, ten St. Markers dressed in traditional Bhutanese garments sang the National Anthem and St. Mark’s favorite, “Sun of My Soul”.

 

 

Prior to the exchange students’ arrival, students and faculty who went to Bhutan were worried. What would they like? Are they going to feel sick? Will the culture shock be too much? Needless to say, their arrival day came, and we found ourselves greeting ten Bhutanese citizens in the front circle. We knew our first words in Dzongkha, the national language of Bhutan: “Kuzuzangpo-la”, which it means hello . Holding a reception in the faculty room, we learned that it was their first time flying. We all laughed as they recalled details and frights of the long, bumpy 16 hour journey.

 

One thing we did not anticipate was that the Bhutanese exchange students and faculty were vegetarian. After three days, Yeshi was quick to say that she missed red rice, potatoes, cheese, and most importantly, spicy foods. All staple Bhutanese foods that Flik could not provide. To help them accommodate to our dining hall service, Flik prepared rice every lunch and dinner.. Funnily enough, Sriracha sauce helped them satisfy their cravings for spicy food at home. They put the sauce into every meal they had at St. Mark’s.

 

 

During her stay, Yeshi shadowed me to classes and sports. Since I participate in Recreational Tennis this spring, Yeshi had gotten the opportunity to play tennis for the first time ever! She loved it! However, after shadowing three days of my classes, Yeshi had grown tired of my classes. Granted, my classes were in full swing and almost all were involved in group projects at the time.

 

Yeshi’s best memory was her visit to Boston. I was at a college visit then, but Yeshi raved about how big Boston is compared to Thimphu, the capital of Bhutan. She was amazed at the vibrancy of the city, cars honking at red light, a swarm of people rushing across the sidewalk, dog owners walking their dogs in the Boston common. This was completely different from her home. Thimphu had much less cars on streets and a lot more green. It was much quiet than Boston.  I joked to her, “Good luck in New York.” After a week and half at St. Mark’s, the Bhutanese exchange students stayed in New York for a couple of days before their long flight back home.

 

 

To me, the most unforgettable memory was the day before the Bhutanese exchange students left when Jamie’s exchange student, Tsering, broke her collarbone. Thursday morning around 5 AM, I awoke to a loud sound of something dropping onto the floor. My instinct was not wrong. One of the girls had just fallen from the top bunk onto my hard dorm room floor. Holding her shoulder, she groaned in agony and could not stand up. Afraid, Yeshi and I assumed that she had dislocated her shoulder and that it should be popped back into place. However, since Yeshi and I both lacked the ability to perform such a maneuver, I called Ms. Behan, the Thayer Dorm head. Ms. Behan quickly rushed into my room to assess the situation before calling health services. The health services nurse had called 911. Less than an hour later, my room was filled with police officers, ambulance workers, and firefighters. What can I say, it was an unforgettable experience. As Tsering was wheelchaired out, Yeshi and I laughed. There was only 24 hours before they would depart from the St. Mark’s campus, yet Tsering, as clumsy as she was, had managed to find her way to the hospital. When Tsering returned from the hospital with X-rays determining that she had broken her collarbone, she rested in Health Services. When Yeshi and I visited Tsering, she laughed at how embarrassing the whole situation was. We joked that since St. Markers visited a Bhutanese hospital (due to food poisoning), it was only fair that they had a chance to visit an American hospital.”

 

Needless to say, both the Bhutan students and the St. Markers benefited a lot from this experience. We can’t wait to learn more from being a global citizen!

 

 

 

Getting to Know the St. Mark’s Class of 2018 a Little Better

by Paige LaMalva '20

At St. Mark’s, it is a long-standing tradition to have Prize Day. The day is specifically designated to present the hard work of the graduating VI Form class and to guide the new alumni into the real world. Prize Day originates all the way back to 1866, a year after the school was founded. Like most schools, St. Mark’s holds the tradition of the Valedictorian, but what’s different here is that VI Formers vote for the student representative for Prize Day. Anthony D’Angelo ‘18 was elected by his classmates as the Valedictorian and to address faculty and students on Prize Day. Anthony is the epitome of a St. Marker: he succeeds in the classroom, on the athletic field, and in the community.

Students at St. Mark’s are challenged in every way. For many of us here, the hardest idea is to find time to balance academics, athletics, and extra-curriculars. Anthony strives to be a successful student who can do it all. Academics is vital to him; Mr. Lubick, Director of Financial Aid, a leader in the Admissions Office, and a VI Form English teacher, has been a true role model for him. Not only is he intuitive, according to Anthony, but he’s also compassionate and caring, and it is a faculty member who Anthony aspires to be. During his time at St. Mark’s, Anthony has succeeded in integrating himself into the community. He has taken on multiple leadership positions, including captain positions and Peer Discussion Leader (PDL). PDL’s are V Formers who help to guide a designated group of III Formers through their first year at St. Mark’s through Peer Discussion Groups (PDG), by answering their question and helping them become comfortable in the new environment. I had two PDL’s, and one of them was Anthony. He truly lead by example and reflected some true values of a St. Marker upon my group.

Football is an important aspect of his life. What stands out about Anthony is his positive energy and attitude towards everything. He devotes 110% on the football field; his commitment and passion for the sport is unteachable, as it is something that must come from within. A St. Mark’s memory that is most prominent for him is his Groton game his junior year. Although not a lot of people go to the football games, he said, this one in particular was mobbed. It was a close game all of the way through, and St. Mark’s came through victorious. All of the fans were decked out in blue and white everything, especially face paint.

Anthony exemplifies true leadership qualities on the field and for the underclassmen. I asked some of his fellow football teammates how they perceive him. These words were those of a true leader, being that he is a “thumb guy”, “mentally strong”, “a fountain of energy”, and “the best leader I have ever known”. While interviewing his teammates, I learned that Anthony has inspired his teammates to always work their hardest and be their best. This isn’t the only sport he displays. Being a tri-Varsity athlete, he is able to demonstrate his attributes on St. Mark’s Varsity Wrestling and Baseball teams. He has become the heart of these teams, according to his underclassmen teammates, and his presence will not be forgotten next year.

If Anthony had to give one piece of advice to the younger St. Markers, it would be to stay true to yourself. When times are stressful, do not let others try and change you. Allow your strong values to shine to the world. Trust yourself and how you communicate with the world every day. By being real, you will develop a stronger connection with yourself and others around you.

 

Endowed Faculty Chairs 2018

by Sanjna Patel '19

 

On January 19th, 2018 the ceremony of the Endowed Chair Installation took place. This ceremony awarded the Trustees’ Chair to John Camp, Associate Director of The Center, Student Enrichment and English Teacher, and The Mrs. William Greenough Thayer Faculty Chair to Heather Harwood, Classics teacher. The entire St. Mark’s community gathered to honor and congratulate both Mr. Camp and Dr. Harwood for their incredible achievements.

The Trustees’ Chair is a “fully endowed faculty chair established by the St. Mark's Board of Trustees and by the generosity of an anonymous challenge gift.” When asked if Mr. Camp expected this award he said: “No! When I earned the Kidder Faculty award on Prize Day in 2012, I didn't expect that, either. I will say, though, that I work diligently to be the best teacher and colleague that I could be so that I could be considered worthy of an award. As a teacher, however, I would never expect an award. I'm happy when my students get awards!” Receiving the award of this Chair is an incredible honor and is extremely prestigious. Faculty vote upon these chairs and it is apparent that the St.Mark’s community appreciates Mr.Camp’s contribution to the school as a teacher. When asked what this Chair means to him personally, he responded: “The Trustees Chair is probably the most important honor that I will get in my career. St. Mark's isn't a stepping stone job for me--rather, I would like to be an important stone for the school for the remainder of my career; the chair honor makes me feel that part of the school, which is a great feeling.” Colleagues and students have been very supportive of the well-deserved award, as Mr. Camp says, “I sincerely appreciate the comments and support that I've received from my colleagues. Each congratulation or comments that I got are really important to me. Immediately after Mr. Warren made the announcement at school meeting, Colin Boylan emailed me to say congratulations. That was an awesome message to get!” As a community, we are all very proud and pleased with the honor that Mr.Camp has received.

Dr. Harwood was awarded The Mrs. William Greenough Thayer Chair. This Chair was created in the memory of Violet Otis Thayer who was the wife of the sixth St. Mark’s Headmaster. It was created in 1962 and stands as the second longest faculty Chair. Dr. Harwood said that she “never expected it to be me” when asked about her thoughts on receiving the award, she called it a “big surprise!” Her hard work as a teacher has been recognized by the community and she has received positive remarks about the award. Dr. Harwood mentioned how “colleagues have been so generous and kind with their comments and congratulations. That outpouring has been the most moving for me. It makes me feel very appreciated and known by my colleagues which is pretty special.” Even after receiving this award Dr. Harwood wants to keep doing more for her students and to better herself as a teacher, she believes that she still has a lot to learn. “ A teacher is someone who is always learning. I think a teacher is paradoxically by definition someone who both wants their students to learn and also wants to learn more themselves. I feel I am engaged in teaching as an art form and am always practicing and trying to improve upon that art.”

Dr. Harwood and Mr. Camp are well-deserved recipients of the Chairs and highly respected teachers of the St. Mark’s community.  We are excited and proud of their accomplishments and hard work.

 

Full speeches by Dr.Harwood and Mr.Camp from the Endowed Chair Installation ceremony:

 

https://www.stmarksschool.org/academics/faculty/endowed-chairs/heather-harwood

https://www.stmarksschool.org/academics/faculty/endowed-chairs/john-camp

 

Teaching Innovation

by Laura Drepanos '19

image.jpg

Recently, students at St. Mark’s have been noticing changes in the way classes are taught. More than ever before, we are noticing many similarities between our different classes. For example, it has become typical for a student to notice similar project rubrics in an English class and in a Math class. The situation has left many of us to wonder if there has been a change in the way that teachers at the school communicate with each other.

At the installation of new faculty chairs, Mr. Camp discussed how teaching at St. Mark’s is far more collaborative than competitive. He mentioned how teachers have the opportunity to learn about elements that other teachers use in their classes to incorporate these into their own classes. To those of us who have noticed these similarities between classes, this piece of information made sense. Many of us were even impressed that teachers worked so hard to make our classes better. However, this left many of us to wonder– have teachers always been this collaborative?

To try to find some answers to this question, I discussed with Mr. Wells and Ms. McColloch– a Physics teacher and French teacher respectively. These two teachers represent different perspectives of the school, so I expected to find vastly different answers to my questions. While both offered unique perspectives, I was surprised to find that both teachers have always seen St. Mark’s as a place where teachers work together on class structure. However, there has been change and general innovation in the way teaching is viewed here.

When Mr. Wells first arrived at St. Mark’s, the discussion of the “craft of teaching” was far less frequent and teachers did not reach out as much to try new class activities and software as they do now. The only direction he received from the head of the math and sciences department on his first day was a grade book, a pad of paper, a red pen, and the instruction to “maintain order.” However, he sees the change in teaching as a gradual change that has improved over time rather than a recent revolution.

Ms. McColloch’s perspective seemed to support Mr. Wells’ idea that the faculty have been consistently working to enhance the learning experience at St. Mark’s for a while now. Since Ms. McColloch began teaching here, she has always worked closely with the other French teachers to share ideas and implement new teaching strategies into her classes to benefit the students' learning. She mentioned that the longer professional development meetings that have occurred on a few Wednesday mornings this year have provided more opportunities for teachers to share the work they have done in their classes. While the forty-five-minute block on Thursday mornings is typically only enough time for a presentation or a discussion, this longer block on Wednesdays allows for more collaboration. For example, Ms. McColloch got the opportunity during one of the Wednesday meetings to go to a workshop that Mr. Dolesh and Ms. Brown ran that focused on the team-based learning idea that Algebra II students practice.  Ms. McColloch found this inspiring: “Hearing how other teachers have really interesting ideas and how they use them, it gets you all excited to figure out how you might use these cool ideas in your own classes.” 

So how else have faculty been working to improve classes? One of these ways is by doing research on cognitive science. Andrew Watson, a brain, and education specialist and the founder of the professional development group “Translate the Brain,” has come to numerous faculty meetings to  talk about how learning works so that the teachers could understand it from a scientific perspective. Mr. Wells recalls this is as one of the most memorable faculty meetings he has been to at St. Mark’s. Faculty have also been doing research on their own; for example, Ms. McColloch mentioned that she was part of a group of faculty at St. Mark’s who was able to get a grant to research blended learning. This type of collaborative work is not unusual among St. Mark’s faculty, for Ms. McColloch mentioned that teachers who have common ideas and interests regarding education will often form a group and work together to discover how these concepts can be incorporated in different ways into classes. She clarified that there has not been any push by any faculty at St. Mark’s to collaborate more, it is just that teachers are getting excited and discovering how beneficial this type of work can be. In addition to learning how newly researched concepts can be applied to their own classes, teachers also look at how an element from a completely different class at St. Mark’s could fit in as well. For example, Mr. Wells has found a way to incorporate a version of the learning evaluation infographic in his Modern Physics class that is used in the Advanced Biology course by Ms. Berndt and Mr. Corliss.

To better understand the overall objective of teachers at St. Mark’s, I talked with Dr. Worrell to get her  perspective as the Director of the Center for Innovation or Teaching and  Learning.  In response to my question regarding how the faculty are collaborating and seeking out innovation, she clarified that "Innovation in teaching is both about mindset and practice; it is a commitment to collective learning, a collaborative culture, and iterative practice in order to design the best possible learning opportunities for all students.”

While students often get recognition for their research and  work, teachers are also doing interesting work behind the scenes  to ensure that the teaching strategies used at St. Mark's are as beneficial for us as possible.

SM Global Citizenship in Action:Chilean Exchange

by Kaela Dunne '18 and interviews conducted by Ji Woo Kang '21

As most of you know, the Chilean exchange students headed back to Chile last Monday after a month-long stay at St. Mark’s and, according to Mr. Cifuentes, St. Mark’s Partner School Coordinator,  “they had a great time!” Mr. Cifuentes and Dr. Warren work together to ensure that St. Mark’s global exchange programs run smoothly and that St. Mark’s students are acclimating well to their exchanges- that students visiting us are made to feel at home and welcome in the community. As our exchange students visit a totally new part of the world, they get to experience academic and community life at St. Mark’s, but also learn about American culture beyond campus. In addition to attending classes, the Chileans also got to see the area we live in from a tourist’s point of view. Mr. Cifuentes took them into Boston to experience the city and its history, particularly the Freedom Trail. The Chileans also spent a day in Cambridge. Mr. Cifuentes reports that “they love to shop!” and they particularly enjoyed frequent trips to the Wrentham Outlets and the Mall. Additionally, Ms. Fu took them into Boston to celebrate the Chinese New Year in Chinatown. So, not only did our Chileans get to experience the community and academic aspect of St. Mark’s, but also the sharing of cultures and global citizenship that St. Mark’s works towards. Looking back on their stay, Mr. Cifuentes reflects that, “Overall, I think they liked visits to Boston, shopping and the community feel at St. Mark's.”

 

Investigation on Michael Flynn

by Anishka Yerabothu '20

 

flynn.jpg

On December 1, 2017, Michael Flynn, former National Security Advisor to President Donald Trump, pleaded guilty to a felony charge of lying to the FBI.  He arguably had the shortest tenure of post in U.S. history!  He served in office from January 20, 2017 to February 13, 2017.  Flynn resigned after it became apparent that he misled Vice President Mike Pence about the nature of his conversations with Sergey Kislyak, the Russian Ambassador to the U.S.  On February 13th, the Washington Post reported that the Justice Department informed the White House that Flynn “mischaracterized” the nature of his conversations with Kislyak to such an extent, he had made himself vulnerable to blackmail.

Robert Mueller was investigating the possible collusion of the Russian government and members of the Trump campaign during the 2016 US Presidential Election. Flynn admitted that he had lied to the FBI about the nature of the phone calls with Russian government officials. Later, he agreed to cooperate with Mueller’s investigation.

Barack Obama, President at the time, had just imposed sanctions on Russia for its interference with the 2016 election. Flynn was accused of lying to the FBI about being in contact with Russia right after the Election, attempting to block a UN Resolution condemning Israeli settlements in exchange for removing these sanctions.

Michael Flynn is also suspected of having vested business interests with Russia and Turkey.  According to a whistle blower, Flynn texted a business colleague saying that the plan was “good to go.”   The “plan” in question was to build nuclear power reactors with the Russians in the Arab world, given that sanctions would be lifted. Moreover, he is alleged to have been part of a discussion to kidnap a Muslim cleric wanted by Turkey, since the U.S. refused to extradite the cleric.

Former FBI Director James Comey testified that Donald Trump had asked him to “go easy” on the investigation into Michael Flynn. Trump tweeted, “I had to fire Flynn because he lied to the Vice President and the FBI. He has pled guilty to those lies. It is a shame because his actions during the transition were lawful. There was nothing to hide!”  This tweet is tantamount to admitting obstruction of justice. In response, Trump’s lawyer claimed that he drafted the tweet, not Trump. He claims that the President “cannot obstruct justice because he is the chief law enforcement officer, and has every right to express his views on any case.”

Mueller’s team is investigating potential obstruction of justice when Donald Trump fired James Comey as Director of the FBI.  The role of Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, is also being investigated as part of the probe into Russian interference. This is a federal investigation that seems to deepen with each passing week.  Stay tuned for the next update!

Solar Panels on St.Mark's Campus

by Laura Drepanos '19

One of the newest additions to the St. Mark’s Campus is the solar panel field. Situated on West Campus, this solar field is presented in a conspicuous manner. While many St. Marker’s have noticed this addition, very few know its exact purpose.  I spoke with St. Mark’s new CFO, Mr.Robert Kuklewicz who explained some of the facts about the solar panels to me.

The system is a 641.7 kW DC and 480 kW AC set of panels operated by Tesla. While the solar panels do use solar energy to generate usable energy, that is not their primary purpose for St. Mark’s. Unfortunately, St. Mark’s uses far too much electricity to be generated by the solar field alone. The purpose of the solar panels is to lower the electricity cost for St. Mark’s. The savings is estimated to be fifteen to twenty percent of the annual electrical cost. However, this percent is dependent on the amount of sunlight for a given year. In addition to the cost savings, the solar panels are a great leap in sustainability efforts at St. Mark’s as they will generate energy in a manner that is far less harmful to the environment and more efficient than other methods.

An interesting fact about the solar panels is that they are not actually running yet. However, this is soon to change. In order for the solar panel system to be energized, the Southborough Fire Department needs to run a safety check to ensure that the department could turn off the system in the event of an emergency. Additionally, the engineers of the solar field need to give it a final survey for the Town of Southborough Conservation Commission. As these are the only tasks remaining, the solar panels should be running by the end of the month.

Tree Lighting: Drone Footage

Video by Funny Movie Corporation

Article by Rick Sarkar '19

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On the first Friday back from Thanksgiving break, St. Markers joined together for the House Cup Holiday Songfest, also known as Deck the Halls, followed by the Christmas tree lighting. The SM jazz bands opened up Deck the Halls with renditions of “Blue Christmas” and “Charlie Brown Christmas.” They were followed by Maple and Pine-Oak with original takes of holiday classics. Gaccon, Marr-Coolidge, Thayer, Sawyer, Coe, and Theriot-North also showed their holiday spirit with performances that included spirited costumes and live instrumental accompaniment. After the songfest wrapped up, the community moved outside to the VI form quad. Below is a video taken via drone of students enjoying the tree lighting. The video was provided by Funny Movie Corporation, a group that has been increasingly involved on campus this year.

Click link for video: https://youtu.be/CHJcJi6Cbbk