Spring Issue

March 2021 - MAY 2021

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Dear reader, 

 

Wow, it’s been quite a year, our senior year. 

 

First and foremost, I am incredibly grateful that we were able to be in school right since September. In that ability to once again connect face to face, Hailey and I both reminisced on how we missed the school newspaper and wanted to continue it. 

 

Through this journey, I’ve been able to share my love of creative writing. We’ve gained a wonderful team of dedicated writers and people. I’ve loved watching everyone grow, both as people as well as writers and I will wholeheartedly miss this club and all the ideas that were proposed and implemented, all with my amazing co-editor by my side, Hailey. 

 

Hailey, thank you for your dedication, perseverance, and overall support. I couldn’t have asked for a better co-editor! I definitely couldn’t have done this without you and your creative eye. :))

 

Mr. Hurley, thank you for your enthusiasm and for jumping into the club so quickly! Your wonderful ideas and passion inspired everyone and we are so grateful for that. 

 

Finally, thank you to our wonderful writers. You guys are so incredibly talented and I've loved working with you and getting to know you this year. I can’t wait to see this club grow and prosper in the future!

 

Sincerely,

Anya Bhargava (Steward '21 & UVA '25)

Dear reader, 

I am so immensely thankful to have had the opportunity to serve as the Co-Editor and Chief for Steward Ink this year. Working on this publication, this labor of love, has, honestly, been not only one of the highlights of my senior year, but one of the highlights of my entire high school career. 

 

I am incredibly proud of all of the phenomenal work that our team was able to accomplish over the course of these past couple of months, even in the midst of such a busy and difficult time. Additionally, I am really grateful for the little creative family that we have formed along the way while working on “the Ink” this year. Everyone on this staff is so enthusiastic, so kind, and so very special to me. I know that all of you are destined for beautiful things. Thank you for joining us on this wild ride, and for always giving us your all. Though we will miss you dearly, Anya and I could not be leaving the paper in better hands!

 

Speaking of Anya, I could not have had a better partner by my side on this journey. A special thank you to her for all of her hard work, dedication, and for her contagious positive energy. I could not have done this without her. 

 

Also, a huge thank you to Mr. Hurley for being so incredibly passionate about Steward Ink from the moment he accidentally stumbled into one of our lunch meetings this fall. You have been our biggest supporter, and have truly taken our club to the next level. I cannot thank you enough for all of your help and guidance.

 

Lastly, thank you, the reader, so much for taking the time out of your busy schedule to read our paper. You are the reason we do what we do, and we are so excited to share our stories with you. 

 

Happy reading!

Sincerely,

Hailey Wharram (Steward '21 & Georgetown '25)

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By Anya Bhargava, '21

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By Hailey Wharram, '21

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"Performing my original songs at The Camel was an absolute blast!" - Hailey Wharram '21

I FAINTED during my covid shot.

May 31, 2021 / Anya Bhargava, Co-Editor In Chief

 

I knew that it would eventually be my turn to get the COVID 19 Vaccine, the first vaccine I was ever excited about. The hope of concerts, large gatherings, and a normal college experience seemed so close! Yet, I’ve always had a fear of needles and vaccines. Not only do I get extremely nervous before getting a shot or a prick, my body goes into a nervous overdrive and causes me to faint. Usually, I have to lie down whenever I get a shot and have to continue laying down for the next 10 minutes to ensure I don’t fall over and injure myself. Although fainting may seem abnormal to most, it’s actually pretty common in a large percentage of the population. About 3% of men and 3.5% of women report fainting at least once during their lifetimes, but it is unknown just how often people faint after being vaccinated. Fainting is particularly common among adolescents, where one study reported that 62% of fainting reports were from adolescents aged 11-18. That made me feel slightly less abnormal. 

 

As many know, you sit in a chair when getting the COVID vaccine since there’s such a high demand and so many patients waiting. I, of course, was in the same situation. Rather than telling the doctor that I faint when I get a shot or prick, I convinced myself that I “had probably grown out of it” and that “I shouldn’t be dramatic”. Little did I know that not telling them this vital information would result in even more stress for the doctors and my poor mother. 

 

I quickly walked to my assigned seat and watched the doctor get the dose, a wipe, and a bandaid. I felt a quick pinch and was all done. It was quick and painless. No big deal, or so I thought. I walked over to my seat across the hall to wait, feeling completely fine and being really proud of myself for not fainting so far. Well, I spoke too soon. My mom asked me if I was feeling fine and I responded with a confident yes. A few minutes later, I retracted my statement and said “actually I feel kind of bad now”. Before I could even finish talking, my eyes started rolling toward the back of my head and I began to get dizzy. I saw grey and felt like I was spinning into oblivion. Then, I began to fall. It was like I had gone skydiving without the parachute to slow my fall and I was rapidly approaching the ground. 

 

I abruptly woke up to 4 concerned nurses staring down at me as I was laying across three chairs pushed together. The once crowded waiting room was now empty. When I asked what happened, the doctors said I fainted and thankfully, my mom was there to catch me. I was shocked. I had really believed that I had grown out of my fear and could possibly go to the doctor by myself like an actual adult. Apparently not. 

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I did, however, meet and get to talk to some of the sweetest, most caring doctors. I had always heard people talk about the importance of passion in the healthcare field. Until that moment, I hadn’t seen that passion with my own eyes, but as I began talking to the doctor who’s job was to take care of those who reacted to the vaccine, I finally witnessed that true passion. The way she told me that she too faints when she gets shots and proceeded to share stories of how multiple of her friends in the healthcare field also faint but overcame those fears to follow their passions, made me think that maybe the entire medical field isn’t an impossible job prospect. 

 

I hope to one day be so passionate about something the way that doctor is so passionate about taking care of her patients. For now, though, I’ll lay down while taking the second dose and hope that I don’t faint once again.  

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Aftermath.

 

May 31, 2021 / Lucia Fogler

 

Aftermath

 

I lie- 

Thinking I’m strong 

 

But giving away the façade 

My gentle voice quivers 

-like a limb in a storm 

Restraining- 

The emotion,

 the tears, 

The pain 

Pushing, forcing, nudging-

the resisting floodgates withstand

 

Gently, 

A cool whisper graces upon my ear

Through it I’m reminded of

The ability, 

The necessity, 

The inevitability of emotion.

 

Right there and then they collapse, 

Breaking, falling 

defeated 

The warmth of vulnerability rushes upon my skin 

the final needed release- 

The surrender. 

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By Hailey Wharram, '21

Ms. Greenlee Interview. 

 

May 31, 2021 / Gates Fox, Kate Harrison, Hayden Ashworth, Adhya Yaratha, Hailey Wharram

Q: What do you teach and how long have you taught at Steward?

A: I teach Honors Biology and Non-Honors Biology for 10th graders and Environmental Science and AP Environmental Science. I have been teaching these classes for 25 years and I started in 1998.

 

Q: What job would you have if you weren’t a teacher?

A: I would probably want to be some kind of researcher, maybe entomology. Really anything that involves observing nature and taking data would be interesting to me.

 

Q: What are your favorite foods?

A: Apples; they are the perfect fruit: sweet, crunchy, and they can be baked. 

 

Q: What was the hardest class you took in school?

A: In high school it was calculus, for college, it was organic chemistry, and for grad school, Biochem was difficult. That’s why I am a bio teacher; chemistry and math weren’t my favorite.

 

Q: What is your favorite weekend activity?

A: I really enjoy kayaking, going to a park with a river, and taking walks in the woods. I really enjoy the outdoors.

 

Q: What are your favorite teaching memories?

A: I like to think back on when the entire class would laugh at something that happened. I especially liked it a few years ago when my environmental science class made a video on recycling which was very funny. 

 

Q: Why did you start teaching?

A: Everything just lined up for me. I taught a little in grad school, I love to research, and with all the changes in the education field that happened it was something that really interested me.

 

Q: If you could go to one place in the world (assuming COVID was not an issue) where would you go?

A: New Zealand. I think  the landscapes and ecosystems are beautiful. The food is also very good, and the people seem very friendly. 

 

Q: What is the best advice you have been given?

A: I think it would have to be to not take everything so seriously and to persevere through hard times.

 

Q: What can you tell us about the environmental club?

A: I started the club when students came to me wanting to make a difference. My hope is that the kids learn how what they do affects natural systems.

Q: Which moments/accomplishments are you proudest of from your time at Steward?

A:One accomplishment I am really proud of is starting the Steward bluebird trail, a program where we have created homes for nesting bluebirds (among other bird species) all around the Steward campus. 

Additionally, I am really proud of being the first ever sponsor of the Steward Diversity Club, especially when I had the opportunity to help students coordinate their very own Day of Silence back in 2011. A movement originally started by a student at UVA in 1996, the now nationally recognized Day of Silence was created to honor the silenced victims of anti-LGBTQ+ bullying and violence. Although the prospect of observing a Day of Silence at Steward was initially met with push-back by some members of the community at the time, the observance of such a monumental day ultimately helped propel the community forward towards becoming a more inclusive and diverse environment. I am proud that I was able to help students find their voice.

Class of 2021 COmmitted athletes.

 

May 31, 2021 / Hailey Wharram, Co-Editor In Chief

Steward’s Class of 2021 is, undoubtedly, a class characterized in many ways by its abundance of athletic talent. A special group of diligent hard workers, this class boasts numerous state titles for sports such as Girls Basketball (twice in back to back years!), Girls Tennis, and, most recently, the Girls Lacrosse team made Steward history by winning the school’s very first Lacrosse state championship. Luckily for the entire Steward community, we will be able to continue to watch many of our stellar senior athletes flourish, because 10 individuals from this elite bunch are committed to continue their athletic careers in college. With so many amazing athletes set to continue their athletic pursuits at such phenomenal institutions for the next four years, it only felt right to ask a few of them a couple of questions about their athletic experiences at Steward before they leave us to accomplish such amazing things in the future.

 

Zach Rosenthal will continue playing basketball at  Roanoke College.

Anna Pastore will continue playing tennis at  Oberlin College.

Claire Saverino will continue playing lacrosse at  Sewanee: The University of the South.

Grace Fass will continue playing field hockey at  Franklin and Marshall College.

Saara Qureshi will continue playing lacrosse at  Mercer University.

  • When / why did you first start playing your given sport?

ZACH: I first started playing basketball when I was around 4 or 5. I started playing because I found joy in basketball, and it grew into loving the sport more and more and wanting to get involved with everything surrounding the sport.

ANNA: I started playing tennis in second grade when I heard there was a new coach giving lessons after school, and it snowballed from there. We started in the program together, and I'm so happy I was able to spend my entire Steward tennis career with the same coaches.

CLAIRE: I started playing lacrosse when I was ten years old. My brother started playing lacrosse for his varsity team in high school and I was fascinated by the sport. He slowly taught me how to catch and throw with a men's lacrosse stick, and then once I got the hang of that my parents had finally bought me my first women's lacrosse stick. Then once I had my first game in 6th grade, I immediately fell in love with the game and it has been my passion ever since. 

GRACE: I started playing field hockey in 3rd grade. My best friend at the time convinced me to play field hockey. 

SAARA: I first started playing lacrosse because of my Dad. I always grew up just playing around with throwing and catching in the backyard with my Dad but did not actually start playing until 5th grade. Grace Fass, who came from Maryland which is a huge lacrosse state, encouraged me to join an actual team and that's how I started playing!

  • What are some of your favorite sports memories?

ZACH: Winning the TDIT Tournament against Trinity was one standout moment for me. Additionally, winning MVP of the tournament this past year when our team beat Virginia Academy and came back from being down 15 points to advance to the state semi finals (the school's first since joining D2 for basketball) was another memorable moment. Lastly, scoring my 1000th career point on Senior night this past year was an amazing memory. 

ANNA: One of my favorite memories is winning the state championship my junior year after working so hard as a team for years. It felt so amazing to finally see our biggest goal come true before our eyes, and I wouldn't trade the feeling we had that day for the world. Our bus rides to and from away matches were some of the best times, and I'll never forget singing at the top of our lungs and celebrating wins together.

CLAIRE: My favorite lacrosse memories are both with Steward and when I played travel in middle school with Saara Qureshi. On our travel team in middle school, we were undefeated and had been the first team to win one of our own tournaments, and it was so fun and rewarding, especially since that was my first season playing travel. With Steward lacrosse, there are countless memorable moments, including beating Collegiate in 7th grade, practicing in the snow one time, winning our first game against Cape Henry, and destroying our 2nd place trophy by shooting at it with lacrosse balls. 

GRACE: My field hockey team beat Covenant in shootouts during States. I also loved traveling to Disney to play field hockey with my travel team.

SAARA: Some of my favorite memories come from when my travel team went to a bunch of different states for tournaments. My favorite place to go was Florida, where we went three years in a row. We got to go to Disney and the beach, and our team also would do really well in the tournaments. 

  • What will you miss the most about playing your sport at Steward?

ZACH: I will probably miss the atmosphere of Friday Night games the most. I think I’ll also miss my teammates who I’ve gotten to know and play with.  

ANNA: Without a doubt, I'll miss my teammates and coaches more than anything about Steward tennis. I feel like my coaches have practically raised me, and I can never thank them enough for the lessons they have taught me over the past ten years. My teammates are like sisters to me, and their friendship and support is more valuable than I can describe.

CLAIRE: At Steward, I am going to miss the people on the team the most. We have been through so much together, especially Nicole Odibo and Saara Qureshi since we have been together on varsity since 8th grade. All of the girls make me laugh so much and truly make me a better teammate and player each and every day at practice. They always have my back, and I will forever be grateful for them and all they have done for me. 

GRACE: I will miss all of the inside jokes we have made as a team. My Steward field hockey team has a unique bond that I will never forget.  

SAARA:  I am going to miss playing with some of the girls I have been playing with since 6th grade. We have always had a big group of us seniors, and we are all so close and have gone through a lot in our years of lacrosse here at Steward, so I will definitely miss playing with all them a lot. 

  • What are you most looking forward to in college as a student athlete?

ZACH: I’m looking forward to the games and experience. It’s been a dream of mine to play college basketball since I first started, and I think the experience of it is something I’m looking forward to. 

ANNA: I am looking forward to playing tennis at the next level and making new connections with my new team and coaches. My time at Steward showed me just how much a team can mean to you, and I hope to have a similar experience at Oberlin.

CLAIRE: As a student athlete next year, I know it is not going to be easy, but I am most excited for the challenge. When I decided I wanted to pursue lacrosse in college, which was very late in the recruiting world, I knew it was the right and easiest decision I had ever made, because I could not imagine playing my last lacrosse game in high school. Not continuing the sport that I love after high school was just not even a thought I put into my mind, I knew I wanted to continue in college. I am so grateful that everyday next year I will not only be studying for my future passion in my job career, but I can also do what I love everyday which is lacrosse. I am also looking forward to the life-long friendships I am going to make on the team and also reaching our team goals of winning our tournament in the upcoming years. 

GRACE: I am looking forward to forming relationships within and outside the team. I am excited to challenge myself on the field and in the classroom. 

SAARA: I am looking forward to being pushed at the next level. I know I will have to work hard, but I am looking forward to that new type of environment and hopefully making an impact on my team in the coming years.

 

 

Thank you so much to these five incredible athletes for sharing your stories with us! We are so grateful that each of you so generously gave us a glimpse into your unique experiences within the Steward athletic program. 

 

On behalf of the entire Steward Ink team, we cannot wait to see what phenomenal things all 10 of the committed athletes from the Class of 2021 are destined to accomplish in college and beyond! We are so proud of your hard work and dedication, and we are so excited to cheer you on throughout this next chapter of your athletic journeys. Go Spartans!

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Grace Fass

(Franklin and Marshall College, Field Hockey)

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Madeline Guidon

(University of Mary Washington, Volleyball)

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Mimi Traynham

(Emory and Henry College, Basketball)

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Sherese Pittman

(James Madison University, Basketball)

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Zach Rosenthal

(Roanoke College, Basketball)

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Saara Qureshi

(Mercer University, Lacrosse)

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Claire Saverino

(Sewanee: The University of the South, Lacrosse)

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Anna pastore

(Oberlin College, Tennis)

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Lucas mccarthy

(FC Malaga City Academy, Soccer)

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Ben poling

(Salisbury University, Cross Country)

A NIGHT TO SHINE, VIRTUAL OR LIVE

 

May 31, 2021 / Zoë Macgill

Talent Night is without a doubt the highlight of my year. To be honest, it has been since the first time I stepped foot onto the Steward stage as a tiny

second grader to sing “Tomorrow” from Annie. Since then, I’ve grown and evolved as a performer and watched so many other incredibly talented individuals do so as well alongside me. I’ve always loved being able to showcase the untapped adoration for music I’ve held since birth, as I’m the most in my element when I’m belting out the one melody I can’t get out of my head that month. Talent Night has looked a little different the past two times we’ve put it on because of the pandemic, but, at its heart, it’s still the same fabulous show I first fell in love with.

 

Mr. John McAlister has organized the shows for as long as I can remember and long before I came to Steward. He’s the man behind the magic, and it’s the highlight of his year too. As a small token of gratitude for all his hard work, I wanted to ask him some questions about the process so he could share his side of things as the director. 

 

Z: How was this year's production different than last year?

J: The biggest difference between this year’s virtual talent night and last year’s virtual talent night is the very steep learning curve I did not have to go through this year.  This year I was more prepared with deeper knowledge of Google Drive and video editing.  During the process of putting together the first virtual talent night, I had to email for technology assistance for every little thing. 

 

Z: What do you think of the virtual format?

J: I enjoy the challenge of the virtual format and the creativity it brings out in the students.  I am always so impressed with a student that has video editing skills.

 

Z: In the same vein, is there anything you prefer to do virtually rather than live?

J: I enjoy seeing a well edited video, but I so much more prefer a live performance over a video performance.  I only prefer a virtual video when the video production can produce something that cannot be performed on stage.

 

Z: Me too! There truly is no experience like being on stage. What are your favorite parts of the process? 

J: My favorite part of the process is working with the students.  I love fine tuning the acts when the students sign up for the show, and I love working with the emcees to explain the flow of the show.  I really enjoy finding the best dad jokes each year for the emcees to choose from.

 

Z: I love the jokes!! Finally, what's been something particularly memorable about this year's Talent Night? 

J: Every video that is sent to me just brings me such joy.  I know the care our student performers have put into what has been sent in and it just makes me proud.  Particularly memorable this year was how the quality of the student video production has improved.

 

Then I wanted to get some remarks from my fellow performers. One in particular that I had to talk to was Anya Bhargava, who has showcased her dancing prowess at the show with incredible routines for years. I’ve always admired her talent and she really came through in answering the questions I posed.

 

Z: What about this year's Talent Night experience did you enjoy? What did you not enjoy so much?

A: I really liked the beginning of the video where Mr. McAlister showed the empty Cramer Center and the MCs introduced themselves. The usual jokes made the entire virtual experience feel as close as possible to an in person event, and I really appreciated that! 

 

Z: Although it may seem like a given, do you prefer in-person or virtual Talent Night?

A: I definitely prefer in person Talent Night. With that said, I do enjoy the perks of having a professional video of all the routines and having the flexibility to watch Talent Night whenever is the best time for me. That feeling of actually performing on stage is like no other, but I'm grateful for the way in which the Steward community  has been able to adapt to the restrictions brought upon by the pandemic. 

 

Z: Since you've done Talent Night for a while now, what's been your favorite memory from any show? What is your favorite act you've done and why? 

A:  My favorite memory has got to be seeing some of the hilarious Lower School Talent Night acts. I remember George, Mike, and a couple other guys doing a really funny skit that I still remember to this day. As acts became more sophisticated, I've loved hearing some of the singers, like you and Hailey, as well as seeing other dance routines. My favorite act I've done is probably the first Indian dance I did in second grade. I remember being pretty nervous, because, despite having performed at huge crowds in the past, this was my first time on stage alone. However, despite my fears, I ended up having a lot of fun, and it was wonderful to share a part of my culture with teachers and friends. Not to mention, the applause and seeing my friends and teachers appreciate a new dance style was pretty cool. 

 

Last but finally not least, I had to talk to my best music-making friend, the ever lovely Hailey Wharram! We’ve performed alongside each other—and more recently together—for years now, and she’s the first person I think of when I think Talent Night.

 

Z: What about this year's Talent Night experience did you enjoy? What did you not enjoy so much?

H: I loved the fact that I was still able to perform at all, especially since this is my senior year. In particular, I am so happy that I had the opportunity to perform not just one, but two of my original songs this year (one co-written with the amazing Zoe Macgill). I always love being able to share my work with others, even if only virtually. I am so incredibly glad I finally began sharing my original work last year, because it has truly made me a much more confident person.

 

Z: I feel the same way! Love you girl! Do you prefer in-person or virtual Talent Night?

H: I definitely prefer in-person Talent Night, because there is truly no feeling quite like live performance. Additionally, it is so easy for me, being the perfectionist that I am, to re-film over and over again in search of the elusive “perfect take” with the virtual format, which can honestly be kind of exhausting. I think live performance allows me to “let go” a lot more; feeding off of the audience’s energy as well as your own adrenaline during the performance is extremely liberating and exhilarating.

 

Z: I absolutely agree. Since you're somewhat of a Talent Night veteran at this point, what's been your favorite memory from any show? Favorite act you've done and why? 

H: Although I have been performing in Talent Night every year since 2nd grade (10 years, WOW), the first time I ever performed in my now traditional style (just myself, a microphone, and my guitar) in fourth grade was particularly memorable. I was MC-ing that night, and when my turn finally came up, I was really nervous, but also incredibly excited. I sang “Our Song” by Taylor Swift (of course), and I can still remember my sheer joy when the audience began clapping the rhythm near the midpoint of the song. I felt like an absolute rockstar, and it was the first time I truly remember loving the feeling of being on stage.

I’ve also loved performing with Zoe Macgill so much over the past three years. Our creative partnership has been so incredibly fulfilling, and I always love making music with her. Not to mention, Zoe is also just such a wonderful person with such a beautiful, kind soul. 

 

And there you have it, folks! Talent Night may look a little different this year but it’s still got the same sense of camaraderie, love, and excitement. Check it out on Steward’s YouTube page! Thank you for reading! :)

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Quarantine Interests and Hobbies

 

May 31, 2021  / Elise Gresham

When the stay-at-home orders began back in March 2020, I was ready to discover new genres of music, take a deep dive into iconic artists and bands,

and find connections in new music. People who’ve known me for a long time  know that I’ve always loved music. It’s my favorite form of expression. However, I realized during quarantine that I had only really listened to musical theatre and pop, and guilt surrounding my invariant palate drove me to try new genres. Since the beginning of quarantine, I’ve added singer-songwriter, indie, rap, jazz, classical, folk, grunge, rock, and even some country to my repertoire. It's especially amusing to think about how at the beginning of quarantine I was making fun of my parents’ taste and now I’m listening to their top artists and bands. It seriously made me wonder though, how many people out there discovered something new over quarantine? So, I asked some of my friends and teachers if they had started a new activity or hobby over quarantine, and their responses were surprising.

                      

Rally Costen ‘24  was the first person I interviewed, since he’s been one of my closest friends since 7th grade. Now, Rally and I have never had the

friendship where we have a never ending list of interests and topics to talk about. Rally’s favorite subject is math, whereas I definitely prefer English. Our taste in movies, TV shows, and music couldn’t be more different. In fact, it’s probably for the best that we’re not in the same room together when talking about our favorite and least favorite movies, TV shows, and music. That's why I initially was surprised and delighted to find that he had stepped out of his comfort zone to enjoy new music too. However, I was confused and disappointed to discover what his “expansion of music” meant.

“I wanted to expand upon my music taste and have been listening to ‘The Lorax’ soundtrack,” Rally said. “I know it’s an odd choice, but I have listened

to it multiple times and have memorized almost all the songs and am proud of it.” As he was telling me this, I was so curious to know what his appeal was to such a specific soundtrack. Why had “The Lorax” made his time in quarantine enjoyable?

“Well, at the beginning of quarantine I watched ‘The Lorax’ movie, and then I listened to the soundtrack,” Rally said. “I just thought there were so

many good tunes. I downloaded it and listened to it on repeat for like three hours every day. The music is fun and it made me want to get up and dance each time I heard it.” Although I would never listen to “The Lorax” soundtrack in my free time, I understand the stimulation, enthusiasm, and thrill that comes with listening to a new album for the first time. Finding good music is like the equivalent of making a new friend.

                                  

I talked to another friend who seemed to be benefitting from the thrill of a new hobby. Zoë Macgill ‘22 added new houseplants to her initially small

collection over quarantine.

 

“I have taken in lots more house plants since quarantine started,”  Zoe said.  “I had one at the beginning of quarantine and now I have eight. I just lov

taking care of them, and it brings me so much serotonin.”

Zoe also mentions that social media had a huge influence on her decision to take care of plants in the first place. She wanted to create a similar model

to the rooms she’d see on platforms such as Instagram.

 

“I saw some pictures on Instagram of other people who have lots of plants in their houses, and it looked so gorgeous,”  Zoe said. “I wanted to

replicate that. I started moving plants in my house into my room, so I could be the one responsible for them. I also began asking for plants as gifts, and my grandma gave me more. It kind of just spiraled into this big obsession.”

                       

In addition to Zoe Macgill, I found a teacher who has also found joy in decorating and caring for nature. I talked to Mr. Serr, upper school math

teacher, about his newfound joy in rock gardening.

 

“Well, I had the circle of rocks that I'd gotten from Morefield Mines around 15 years ago around one tree,” Mr. Serr said. “What I ended up doing is

sprucing it up. I put lava rocks in between the rocks and then put some mulch here and there. So that was kind of a project around the house. That's one thing I probably wouldn't have done if it wasn't for COVID, because I had such time on my hands.”

I next talked to Mrs. Freed, Upper School Curriculum Dean, to see how  quarantine treated  her and her family.

 

“During quarantine, I started cooking with my daughters,”  Freed said. “It was so fun to be able to teach them, see their joy in successfully completing

a recipe on their own, and hand over the reins...errrr...spatula to the girls so that I could have a break! The Freeds will definitely continue to cook together!”

The next person I interviewed, Mrs. Householder, an Upper School science teacher, definitely had a reaction worth mentioning, although she didn’t

exactly try a new hobby over quarantine.

“I wish I had a new hobby, but I wasted my time watching Schitt's Creek,” Householder laughed. “That got me through. Yeah. I should have picked up

a hobby, but I didn't, I mean I exercised a lot. That's good. Though that’s something I would have done anyway. I don't know if I did something that I wouldn't have done. Just watched Schitt’s Creek and exercised I guess.”              

 

 Lastly, I  talked to Mr. Gallo,  another Upper School science teacher. Mr. Gallo had a completely different outlook on my question, and found deeper

meaning behind what time spent in quarantine meant for him and his family. 

“Over quarantine, I started spending a lot more time with my family,” Gallo said. “I think it's sort of made me realize, I know this sounds weird, but I like

them, you know, like that. I want to do a better job of spending more time with them consistently, even once this is all over, I think I still want to spend an appreciable amount of my free time with my family. Just whatever we're doing, puzzles or video games or watching TV. I just like the extra time.”

It was pleasing to find that so many people had some sort of outlet during times of hardship, loss, and desolation. Whether it was music, taking care of

plants, decorating, watching a favorite TV show, exercising, or spending time with family, people found ways to carry on with their lives and make the best out of a tiresome situation. It wouldn’t even matter if nobody changed their hobbies, but what does matter is a human's ability to persevere in spite of their given circumstances.

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By Anya Bhargava, '21

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By Anya Bhargava, '21

Hate Crimes Against The Asian Community.

 

May 31, 2021 / Nayla Turpin

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For the Asian-American and Pacific Islander community, the past two years have been a time of alienation and fear, as there has been a staggering increase in violent crimes and hateful rhetoric. 

 

Several high-profile crimes started in Oakland, California around the time of

the lunar new year, which is an important holiday for the Asian community. It is a time meant for family and unity; very similar to the Christmas and New Year celebrations; only now these communities are worried about their safety.  

 

Vicha Ratanapakdee, an 84-year-old Thailand native was brutally slammed to

the ground and murdered by Antoine Watson (19) on January 31, 2021, in San Francisco. He was going on his daily morning walk after finally receiving his COVID vaccine when he was attacked. This attack was completely unprovoked and on his first court appearance on February 4th, 2021, Watson pleaded not guilty. When his daughter, Monthanus Ratanapakdee, learned of the attack she said to the police “He never wake up again...I never see him again”. 

 

61-year-old Noel Quintana, a Filipino man, was slashed in the face with a

box cutter on an NYC subway while on the way to work on February 8, 2021. It happened at 8 am as he was on the way to Harlem where he works as an administrative assistant at a non-profit that works with people with mental health problems. “I put my hand on my face and when I saw my hand it was full of blood,” said Quintana “I asked for help, but nobody helped. Nobody moved.” NYPD is still looking for the suspect. 

 

On March 16th, a gunman went on a racist rampage and killed 8 people; 6

of which were Asian women. The first shooting occurred at Young’s Asian Massage in Acworth, Georgia where 4 people were killed. About an hour later, Atlanta police responded to another shooting at Gold Spa where they found 3 women shot and later found one more body. When they arrested the gunman a few hours later, he blamed the shooting on his “sex addiction”. The Cherokee County Sheriff made the situation escalate even more by saying that the gunman was “having a bad day”. We all have bad days, but we do not all go on racist killing sprees. 

Artwork by Nayla Turpin, '22

Son Heung-min, a South Korean soccer player, was racially abused under both Tottenham’s and his own Instagram after an incident that saw a goal from Edinson Cavani ruled out during a soccer game. People posted comments such as “go back to Korea” “Dog-eating, cheating b------” and more. 

 

On April 16th, a gunman entered into a FedEx and opened fire in Indianapolis killing at least 8 people, 4 of which were of the Sikh community. The authorities say that it is too early to know if the shooting was racially motivated and have not taken any further action to determine if it is. The FedEx employees are about 90% people of the Sikh community.  

 

Many officials believe the rise in these attacks is due to the American response to COVID-19  with terms such as the “Kung-flu” and “China virus” being used. “Stop AAPI Hate,” an Asian-American activist group, recently released a report stating that 3,795 anti-Asian hate incidents have been recorded from March 2020 to February 2021; 68% for those being Asian women. According to the NYPD, since the beginning of 2020, the number of hate crimes against the Asian community has increased by 1,900%--a heartbreaking statistic.

 

Somehow many of these attacks during the pandemic have not been publicized as Asian hate crimes.

 

It's crucial that our community work to stop these xenophobic attacks and

hold those responsible accountable. Here's a place where you can donate and help these communities: https://stopaapihate.org/actnow/ 

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By Caroline Ray, '21

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By Caroline Ray, '21

the polarization of American politics:2020

 

May 31, 2021 / Lucia Fogler

With the founding and establishment of the American democracy, George Washington and other Founding Fathers often warned of the chaos that would result from the formation of inevitable political factions. Their hope was expressed for a country not defined by the opposition of its citizens but instead defined by its unification of them. This dream of Washington’s has instead been replaced by the formative history that political party divides have had on American society. 

In every aspect of society today, from social media to work to family to school, the divides between red and blue and Republicans and Democrats have crafted a heated political and cultural scene, plaguing America’s ability to collaborate across party lines. The growing ideological divide between Americans before the pandemic was on an increasing trajectory, creating extreme polarization within the American public. Instead of trying to attract the average voter, a trend has formed of less moderate Republican and Democrat officials being appointed, as each political party’s core platform now aims to attract their loyal base and not the average moderate American . Leading up to 2020, the general media also played an important role in creating polarization as their coverage of events often supported one party more heavily than the other, narrowing viewers' exposure to differing opinions.  Yet, the COVID-19 pandemic and the role of social media has expedited this extreme polarization, causing it to have reached a critical point. Unless younger generations work together to reverse the growing loyalty to political ideologies by  instead promoting the ideas of civility, unity, and working together for the common good of the United States, the country will rapidly continue on its destructive course. 

As the polarization of politics continued to grow with the countdown to the November 3 election, the United States and the rest of the world had the opportunity to unify together to fight a common enemy, the Coronavirus pandemic. At the beginning of the pandemic, many statistics regarding Republican and Democratic beliefs on how to respond to the coronavirus were closely related and often within 10 percentage points of one another on closing schools, limiting international travel, and limiting social gatherings (1). After April, as coronavirus deaths kept increasing, political leaders began expressing discontentment for the actions of the federal government as well as state and local governments’ responses to the pandemic. Led by national leaders on both sides, partisan divides began to intensify among the American public in terms of their opinions of what actions should be taken. A drastic 65 point difference between Republican and Democratic approval on President Trump’s handling of the coronavirus formed (1). The partisan divide intensified as Government leaders on both sides of the political aisle began expressing their differing opinions on mask mandates and lockdowns. Everyday Americans seeing these strong opinions of their party leaders, took their respective sides on these issues. Research found that only 24% of Republicans wore a mask at all times compared to 61% of Democrats, and that states controlled by Republican leaders often put into place mandatory mask orders around a month later than Democratic held states (2, 3). The two distinct core ideologies surrounding the coronavirus that developed, divided the country and affected the communication and civility of government leaders. In Congress, Coronavirus relief for business stalled multiple times as the differing and extreme ideologies split the government on helping citizens economically. The ideological divide in Congress set the example for the American public on the ability to civilly communicate over issues surrounding the pandemic. Based on many of the beliefs of core Democrats and Conservatives, everyday Americans also began to follow the ideological stances of their respective parties, which further split the American public and limited the ability for civil communication. Instead of a middle ground between the two mainstream views about the coronavirus, communication came more commonly in the form of personal attacks on the character of individuals based on how their opinions of how the pandemic should be handled. 

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Not only did this governmental split of opinions on how the COVID-19 pandemic should have been handled lead to the partisan divide and polarization of the American public today, but so did the role of social media and the overall media in disseminating information and increasing polarization. Social media has become an easily accessible resource which has enabled  Americans to have civil discussion surrounding national politics. Unfortunately, surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic it did the exact opposite. Misinformation about the coronavirus spread rapidly, allowing for the creation of internet bubbles that catered to individual users' political preferences rather than exposing them to differing viewpoints. The mainstream media before the pandemic was guiding political polarization to new extremes in America as most of the information posted by government officials was not catering to the average moderate, but instead to the core loyalist minority of parties (4). The catering to more extreme individuals within the party as well as individuals creating bubbles of similar politically like minded individuals, has caused many to intentionally or unintentionally create a social media feed of similar ideas expressed over and over again, causing the ingraining of one belief into consumers. This repeated consumption  of the same political beliefs over and over again causes consumers to become highly offended by or closed off to opposing views, leading to tenser civil discourse and the dying ability to communicate and understand other’s support of differing viewpoints (5). While social media has steeped the divide between political parties, it has also allowed information to quickly reach consumers of all ages and beliefs, as seen in its role in spreading information and allowing the organization of social unrest. Although social media has been used as a catalyst for change within society and has allowed people ignorant to issues plaguing American society to become more informed on issues; the polarization of social media and its ability to mobilize around one opinion has also helped to exacerbate the altercations during the social unrest between opposing political groups. 

As the country continues to become more polarized and the ability for civil discourse continues to decline (even around topics focused on unity around helping common Americans), Americans need to address the polarity of politics from where they stem and are often fueled from before polarization causes massive and permanent divides within society. Starting with the highest level of politicians, more opportunities such as equal numbers of Republicans and Democrats in subcommittees needs to be created to further communication, interaction, and respect between opposing parties and differing opinions. Another option that could decrease polarization would be political parties to minimize their catering to the extreme views of each party. This minimization could allow for the much-needed recalibration and recreation of a political center that caters to the Americans who don’t agree fully with all the ideologies of one party. This creation of a political center would decrease the power that has been given to the two party system and hopefully create new power for more third party options that would help to diffuse the political climate of the two major political parties that exist today and equalize power among different parties. 

If political parties cater more to the common American, and citizens try to expand  their internet bubbles, then social media could help to reduce its effect on the polarization. Social media instead, could promote unity through fair fact checking initiatives on both sides of the aisle, as well as changing the one party algorithm. Yet, in the age of social media, the biggest agents that could help change the polarization of politics and create a unified trajectory for the country are the younger generations of Americans, even those unable to vote. Through initiatives on social media and beyond, younger generations can be educated on the polarization of American politics, social media’s role, as well as creating forums and situations to promote civil discourse. Through online initiatives as well as in-person education, involvement, and promotion of civic engagement in youth, overtime the influence of younger generations will hold the biggest impact on decreasing the polarization of America. If the current younger generation is shown an America that listens to and accepts differing political viewpoints and civil discourse is able to be created throughout the country, then the power and the influence that the younger generation will hold in American politics later will be enough to diffuse today’s existing polarity and remind the country not of its differences, but of its unity and common goals as fellow American citizens.

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Range.

 

May 31, 2021 / Lucia Fogler

Range

Attracted by the serenity of the mountains, 

Until I’m at its base 

The hard, jutting surface

Ominously towers over-

Me, the little ant 

How can I conquer this mountain? 

I ask fearfully to the sky above

When its no longer safe 

to climb, it alone

 anymore. 

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By Anya Bhargava, '21

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Garrett's film reviews.

 

May 31, 2021 / Garrett Ashworth

Tenet.

 

Tenet is the newest movie directed by Christopher Nolan (The Dark Knight, Inception, The Prestige). I viewed this movie when it came out in theaters with excitement. Since it just came out on streaming services, I thought it would be the perfect time to review the film. If you are a casual moviegoer who prefers a simple plot, I would recommend skipping this film. However, if you prefer mind-boggling action sequences, Tenet could keep you hooked throughout, if you don’t mind bland characters and an overcomplicated plot. 

 

In Tenet, a  nameless protagonist embarks upon a time-warping espionage mission to thwart a Russian Oligarch from bringing about the end of the world. Tenet is Nolan’s most ambitious and complicated movie to date, but unfortunately it suffers from weak writing and a needlessly confusing plot. 

 

First, I will list some things that the movie did well. The action sequences are jaw-dropping and genius. The choreography and set pieces are all on point, and it really showcases a top-notch attention to detail. Secondly, the soundtrack of the movie is heart-pounding and intense, fitting the movie’s tone perfectly. However, there are some scenes where the music is so loud that it drowns out the dialogue, a mistake I am surprised made it past the editing room. 

 

The core problem with Tenet is it’s failure in delivering an effective story. The characters are bland, used by Nolan and his team as forgettable vessels to travel from one action sequence to another. Their motives are unclear and never fully fleshed out; they are in no way as compelling or unique as Nolan’s previous characters. I feel as though Nolan fully intended for me to care about these characters, and there are scenes where there is supposed to be some sort of emotional punch, but I ended up feeling nothing because there was never enough time to be invested in them. Also, the attempts at trying to explain the extremely complex time travel sequences are so lazily done. Characters spout seemingly endless lines of exposition, and there is never any attempt of making it easy for the audience to understand. Although Tenet and Nolan’s 2010 movie, Inception, both boast complex plots, in Inception, the audience was given adequate time to understand how the  world worked, allowing for meaningful viewer payoff once these foreshadowed details of world building came to fruition later on in the movie. In Tenet, the characters will talk about a certain integral plot point for five minutes, and not only will it be explained in a confusing manner, but sometimes the characters are even rendered inaudible due to the booming soundtrack. If you miss a concept in this movie, good luck because it will never be explained again. The action sequences were extremely cool and easily the best part of the film, but there was a certain payoff lacking, because I found myself confused as to why or how things were happening on the screen in front of me. It would probably take a few rewatches to fully comprehend the plot.

 

All in all, Tenet is indeed a spectacle to watch, but its weak writing ends up making it feel hollow and emotionless. Tenet is a film that will only be

properly understood and appreciated with multiple viewings, but that does not excuse it from being mediocre on a first watch. The movie is not a failure, but it does not succeed in upholding the quality of Nolan’s previous works. 

 

Tenet gets a 2.5 out of 5 star rating.

Justice league: "the Snydercut".

On March 18, Zack Synder’s full vision for the “Justice League'' movie was released after a massive movement by fans to release it. 2017’s “Justice League'', directed by Joss Whedon-director of the first Avengers movie- was viewed as a massive failure. The fans wanted something better, and, luckily, they finally got what they asked for after many years of waiting. Zack Snyder’s “Justice League'' is a major improvement over the original, essentially an entirely new film. Since this superhero movie is Snyder’s full and unfiltered vision, it has a runtime of four hours. If you are a fan of the Snyderverse or DC superhero movies, you will probably enjoy this movie. However, if you are not that invested in the comics or movies, I would strongly recommend skipping this behemoth of a movie.

 

The Snyder Cut is a completely new movie compared to the original,

and every change makes the movie so much better. Because the long run time allows Snyder to realize his full vision, the plot and character motivations make much more sense. Every character is improved upon, especially Cyborg, who has a more detailed backstory. The Flash is also improved upon, even though I still found his personality annoying. As a result of better dialogue and character development, the movie not only makes more sense, but it also makes it more enjoyable to watch. The cinematography is a major improvement as well, with many stunning, jaw-dropping frames littered throughout the movie. The color palette is also significantly darker, better fitting the overall tone of the movie. 

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The Synder cut of “Justice League” is obviously a major step up from the original version, but is it still impressive when not compared to its predecessor? I believe it is . Although much of the praise for the movie comes from how it is an improvement from the original (a compliment which shouldn't be that notable, because the original was so terrible), the film also holds up on its own as an entertaining superhero movie. In fact, it is probably Snyder’s best DC movie. 

 

However, the movie still has some problems. Most of the exposition in the movie consists of the heroes standing around in a circle,explaining things to each other, and, although the exposition is helpful for the viewer to understand why certain things are happening, it can get very boring very fast. Additionally, some of the characters are still not very strong, especially Superman. In the movie, there are a few supposedly “emotional” scenes involving Superman, but he barely conveys any believable emotion. He almost feels like a super powered brute that beats up the bad guys. Batman was also poorly written, but I have many problems with Snyder’s version of Batman, so this is nothing new.  There are also some unnecessarily cliché and awkward moments throughout the movie, but they do not majorly interrupt the viewing experience.

 

Overall, the Syndercut is an impressive improvement over its predecessor and manages to be entertaining and engaging throughout the four hour runtime, which is a commendable feat. If you are a fan of DC comics or the Snyderverse, I believe you will enjoy this movie, although I recommend not watching it all at once.

 

Zack Snyder’s Justice league gets 4 out of 5 Star rating.

STEWMUN 2021.

 

May 31, 2021 / Hailey Wharram, Co-Editor In Chief

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For the past two years, the Steward Model United Nations club has hosted its very own Model UN conference on campus, entitled STEWMUN. The planning of the now yearly STEWMUN conference always has a special way of bringing the club together, making it a truly cherished tradition. 

For the first ever STEWMUN during my sophomore year (STEWMUN 2019), I was a delegate. I participated in a Crisis Committee that detailed a fictionalized version of the World in the Year 2050, and within this committee my love for Model UN and diplomacy deepened through the opportunity to engage in debate with my fellow Steward classmates. 

During my junior year, I was able to experience STEWMUN from a completely different perspective as a leader rather than a delegate. I served as the Undersecretary General of Communications, wherein, among many other tasks, I had the chance to create the STEWMUN 2020 website. Being fully immersed in the planning side of the conference gave me an even greater appreciation for all of the hard work that goes into crafting a worthwhile experience for the attendees, and I came away from the experience with an unbridled enthusiasm to begin preparations for next year’s conference. 

That was in February 2020. Little did we know then that that conference would be one of our last times on campus for the rest of the school year.

This year, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic and ever-changing CDC guidelines, we were initially uncertain as to whether or not we would be able to have a STEWMUN 2021 conference at all, much less one in person. Nevertheless, we knew that we wanted to try, so we began tentative preparations for an in-person conference in the spring, hoping for the best, yet knowing that at any moment we might have to resort to our back-up plan of conducting the conference entirely online. Although, in a chaotic year like this one, we knew that even hosting a virtual conference would be a monumental success, after attending numerous virtual conferences conducted by various universities throughout the school year, we knew that, if at all possible, we really wanted to be able to give our Steward community a more authentic Model UN experience through an in-person conference bustling with the thrill of live debate. Additionally, more so than just wanting to re-create a more authentic experience, we also wanted to give our newer club members the possibility to learn the ropes of Model UN and parliamentary procedure in an environment that more closely resembled the work that they would be doing in future conferences so that they could be better prepared moving forward.

Much to our delight, by the time February rolled around, the Model UN leadership team was finally able to get the all-clear from administration to conduct a socially-distanced, fully-masked, in-person conference. Needless to say, we were absolutely thrilled! 

After all of our careful preparations, by the time the early Saturday morning of April 10th rolled around, the anticipation in the air was palpable. Everyone was positively beaming, delegates and conference leaders alike, and we were all so excited for the day ahead of us to unfold.

The conference began with opening remarks from Mr. Scott Maddrea, who is easily one of the most interesting people I have ever met. Not only does he have over 30 years of service with the Virginia General Assembly under his belt, but he is also a 25 year veteran of the U.S. Army Reserve (retiring in 2012 with the rank of Lt. Colonel) and a frequent guest lecturer at universities such as CNU and JMU, in addition to serving as a Steward substitute teacher. I first met Mr. Maddrea when he substituted for our AP Government class for two weeks earlier this spring, and, after hearing some brief snippets of his political stories in class, I knew that he would be the perfect candidate to inspire our delegates before the STEWMUN conference began. And inspire he did. Whether the delegates were able to be in the room with Mr. Maddrea or were merely listening in from Zoom in another classroom, all were captivated by his brilliant anecdotal advice about collaboration and leadership.

Then the conference began. Strolling through the silent hallways, my eavesdropping ears perked up whenever I was able to hear the muffled sounds of international debate behind closed classroom doors. Cheekily, I would peer through the windows to catch a glimpse of the action, a childlike grin animating my face. Being able to watch Model UN committees interact in person again was so incredibly fulfilling, and it appeared (at least from the windows!) as though the delegates were really enjoying themselves, which made my heart oh so happy. 

Just to confirm that things really were proceeding as smoothly as they appeared to be, during lunchtime I began approaching some of the delegates and asking them if they had any feedback about how committee was going. This is a customary procedure for Model UN conferences in order to ensure that the remainder of the conference is even better than the beginning. However, much to my surprise, every group that I asked replied that everything was going perfectly. Even when I prompted again, just to ensure that they weren’t merely saying these incredibly kind things solely to spare my feelings, they affirmed their previous statements, claiming that they were having so much fun and were just so happy to be there. At that moment, I was overwhelmed with joy. I was so very proud that all of the hard work that our Model UN leadership team had poured into this conference was paying off in such a rewarding way.

As our committee sessions came to an end, during closing ceremonies, I had the opportunity to give thanks to all of the phenomenal people who had made the conference possible. I thanked, first and foremost, our amazing club sponsors, Ms. Dwelle and Ms. McGehee, without whom this event would truly not have been possible. I then thanked our outstanding leadership team, including Anya Bhargava, Drew Thompson, Nancy Huang, and Kennedy Crook, before moving on to our wonderful chairs, Mr. Maddrea, and each and every teacher who volunteered to chaperone the event. Last, but certainly not least, I made a point to thank all of the delegates for simply deciding to spend their Saturday with us, learning a little bit more about Model UN. Their vibrant positivity made this event so stellar, and I was so glad they had had a good time.

After I had the opportunity to thank everyone, a really special moment happened which truly touched my heart. Ms. Dwelle ended up taking the mic for a few moments to thank me for my contributions to the conference, and then, all of a sudden, I looked around and noticed that all of the delegates in the room were giving me a standing ovation. If I’m being honest, at that moment I felt so overwhelmed with happiness that I started to feel my eyes welling up with tears. There is no greater sense of satisfaction than to know that all of your persistence and hard work culminated in the creation of an enjoyable experience for those in your community. Against all odds, the conference-that-almost-wasn’t had been a smashing success.

It was the perfect, cherry-on-top ending to not only a wonderful Saturday, but also to my entire high school Model UN experience. I am so very grateful that I was able to serve as Model UN Club President this year, and I am eager to hear about how STEWMUN 2022 goes next year.

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Winning a state championship (x2).

 

May 31, 2021 / Gates Fox

Recently, I’ve been thinking a lot about the best way to describe what it feels like to win 2 state championships back to back. However, if I’m being honest, the feeling is truly indescribable. As amazing as winning was, it wasn’t easy. I have played on the varsity basketball team for three years now and I am very grateful for all three years with my team.

 

After the team worked incredibly hard my 8th-grade year, the team lost to Highland, the 1st seed in the state in the semi-finals, the game right before the finals, in front of the entire school. Though this loss was hard to swallow, the team was in the very fortunate position to have 6 sophomores, 1 freshman, 1 eithgrader, and only 1 senior on the team, so I knew the next year would be a very similar team. I was happy about this situation because I had had so much fun with the team, but in terms of spots this was also a good thing as we would have the advantage of playing together for a very long time, building up our team chemistry on the court.

 

The next year, we gained a few girls, but the core remained the same. Over the season we had to pull together as a team to stay focussed on our goal of being the first girls Steward Basketball team to win a state title. Finally, after countless hours of practice, long bus rides, late nights, early mornings, and playing our hardest in every game our hard work was rewarded as we obtained the 3rd seed in the state tournament, the highest we had ever been ranked. This meant to get to the finals we would have to play the 2nd ranked team in the semi-finals. After a hard fought game we beat the 2nd ranked team, Millier, and would now advance to the finals to play the 1st ranked team, Nansemond Suffolk Academy (NSA), a team we had lost to twice already that season. However, despite our prior losses to NSA, we worked together as a team and won our first state championship.

 

We won on February 29, 2020 and within the next few weeks the world shut down from the COVID-19 pandemic. Even though COVID made this huge accomplishment difficult to celebrate, we made the most of the situation and were ready for the next season with the same team, with 6 seniors, 1 junior, 3 sophomores, and only 1 freshman. As my sophomore year began, we really didn’t know what to expect in regards to CDC guidelines and the general season, but we knew we could win again if we worked hard. After another season of practices, long bus rides, early mornings, late nights, and the addition of weekly COVID testing and learning to play in masks, we leaned on each other as a team to keep each other fighting for the season. For the majority of the season, we weren’t even sure if we would have the opportunity to play for another state title, which made the announcement that we would indeed be going to the tournament all the more special.

 

This season, we were ranked 1st in the state and were ready to play the 2nd ranked team, Highland, which was the team we had lost to in front of the entire school two years prior. As a team, we knew this was a redemption game, our turn to win against this team. After a close game, we managed to pull ahead and won our second state championship. Though this win was bittersweet as we would be losing 6 seniors after this season, it was still a huge accomplishment that we were all extremely proud and excited about. 

 

After the past 3 incredible years, I have learned that you can have all the talent in the world, but having great team chemistry, and working harder than everyone else will beat talent any day. This team has become my family, and I can’t imagine going through this journey with any other team. We were able to make each other laugh, but also helped each other focus on the task at hand during the crucial moments. They made the hours of practice a fun hour and a half that I looked forward to every day. 

 

Winning these two state championships was the perfect way for our seniors to end their high school basketball careers, the perfect way for our freshman to start her career, and the perfect way for our sophomores and juniors to learn how to work together and carry the team forward. This team was determined, resilient, and never shied away from the hard competition. Winning a state championship proved exactly what we wanted to prove: all of our hard work paid off. I am so grateful for my time with this team, and am excited for my next two years on the team. I was very fortunate to have a team that got along so well and learned the importance of working together. This team will always hold a special place in my heart.

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UNCONVENTIONAL COPING MECHANISMS: baking edition.

 

May 31, 2021 / Taylor Poore

Covid-19 hit us all in a way we never expected. We took up new and exciting hobbies to keep us entertained. The problem is that, rather than turning to  entertainment, many people became stressed in ways  they’ve never been before. 4 million teenagers suffer from anxiety and depression. Many people that you know probably have it, or maybe you have been diagnosed yourself. My anxiety truly peaked during quarantine and college application time, so I decided that I wanted to be proactive and find something that could help ease my stress while also channeling that energy into something positive. This led to me going on Etsy, ordering a cute recipe book, and beginning to fill the book with some of my favorite treats.

 

 Baking has become something I love to do on days when I feel overwhelmed. It’s become a way to connect and share something I'm passionate about with the people I love. When I am able to share my love of baking with my friends and family, it makes the anxiety and depression seem much smaller. This may not work for everyone and maybe baking isn’t your thing, but try to find an activity that lets you forget your anxiety for a little while. To help you get started, I have some of my favorite easy recipes to share below! Try to have fun and add your own twists to the recipes, because they don’t have to be perfect.

 

Taylor’s Recipes

 

Snickerdoodles:

 

Ingredients

  • 2 sticks (1 cup) of cold unsalted butter chopped

  • 1 ½ cups of sugar

  • 2 eggs

  • 1 tsp of vanilla extract

  • 2 ¾ cups AP flour

  • 2 tsp cream cream of tartar

  • 1 tsp baking soda

  • ½ tsp salt

  • ½ tsp cinnamon

 

Directions

  • Beat your butter and sugar together for 5 minutes

    • (the longer the better)

  • Add eggs and vanilla extract and mix until well incorporated

  • Add in flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, salt, cinnamon

  • Roll into pretty large sized balls

    • (I make about 10-15 of bigger ones, but you can make them smaller)

  • Roll your dough balls in cinnamon sugar

    • (if you don’t have pre-combined cinnamon sugar,

  then you can mix together ½ cup of sugar and 2 tbsp of cinnamon)

  • Bake at 350 degrees fahrenheit for 15-20 minutes

    • (I have a oven that runs hot, so I did 15 minutes)

 

Crispy Chocolate Chip Cookies:

 

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup of melted butter

  • ⅔ cup light brown sugar

  • ½ granulated sugar

  • 1 large egg

  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

  • ¾ cup of flour

  • ½ tsp baking soda

  • 1 tsp salt

  • 1 cup of chocolate chips

    • (or however much you want!)

 

Instructions:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit

  • Combine melted butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar

    • Mix until they form a paste

  • Add egg and vanilla extract

    • Mix until smooth

  • Sift in flour, baking soda, and salt

    • Then fold them into the mixture

  • Fold in your chocolate chips

  • Refrigerate your dough for a minimum of 30 minutes

  • Scoop 1 tbsp sized dough balls onto a baking sheet

    • (with plenty of space in between because these cookies spread)

  • Bake for 8-10 minutes and then allow them to cool

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Granny’s Banana Bread:

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of sugar

  • ½ cup of butter (softened/room temp)

  • 1 egg

  • ½ tsp salt

  • 2 tbsp of milk

  • 2 large bananas

  • 1 ½ tsp of baking soda

  • 1 ½ cups of flour

 

Instructions:

  • Mix together your sugar, butter, egg, salt, and milk until well combined

  • Then mix in two mashed bananas

  • Add your baking soda and flour and mix

  • Pour into a bread pan and bake for 1 hour at 325 degrees Fahrenheit

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This is the end of our Spring 2021 issue! 

We have new articles updated constantly, so please stay tuned for changes and uploads on our site.  If you wish to print this issue, please do. We hope you enjoyed reading our articles as much as we enjoyed writing them!

Love,

The Steward Ink Team

Thank you for reading!