By Alison Lee ’20
The girls’ fencing team has performed strongly throughout the entire season. At the beginning of the season, they fenced in the Somerset County tournament; Captain Georgia Liu (VI) placed third and Alison Lee (V) placed second in their individual competitions.
Throughout the season, the team has improved with intense practice and private lessons. “I think that this season the team is very close, which is super nice. Even though the majority of the team is underclassmen, they do their best every practice/meet,” Liu says. One proud moment for the team was when they beat Watchung Hills 14-13.
The team also finished well at Districts, securing second as a team and qualifying for Sweet Sixteens. Though the Pingry team was seeded 10th, they fought 7th seed Bernards and lost with a close score of 12-15.
In addition, the épee squad placed first and the foil squad placed second. Both squads will fence in State Squads.
Four people qualified for district individuals, including Josie Alston (IV) and Ameera Ebrahim (IV). Two fencers, Jessica Lin (IV) and Alison Lee (V), also performed well enough to compete in state individuals.
Ashna Kumar (V) comments, “Considering some of the freshman girls are new to high school fencing or their weapon, what the team accomplished was extraordinary. I’m so proud of every single one of them, even the freshmen.”
By Matt Lee ’20
The boys’ ice hockey team entered this season hungry for victory. After losing to Ridge in last year’s Skyland Conference Tournament finals, the team vowed to return this year and win. With that goal in mind, they had an extremely strong showing throughout the season, with an impressive winning record. Under the leadership of captain Matthew Keller (VI) and assistant captains Daniel Schnack (VI) and Michael Vessa (VI), the team is poised for success in the Conference and State Tournaments.
Their starting goalie, Kevin Parnham (IV), has led the team’s strong defense all season. With 5 shutouts and many crucial saves, he has clearly had a very successful season. Matt Keller has also been a driving force on defense. Daniel Schnack (VI), Joe Faccone (V), Eric Bush (IV), and Jared Kordonsky (IV) have been leading the attack, with each player scoring over thirty points, a rarity in high school hockey. In addition to these star players, the depth of the team has truly helped propel them to victories. Head Coach Scott Garrow said that the key to success this year was “depth up front and on defense,” which allowed the coaches to “put a lot of players on the ice and wear other teams down over the course of the game.”
Since the regular season is over, the playoffs are now the team’s focus. With all of the hard work and preparation that they have put in, Coach Garrow says the only thing left to do is “win a Championship.”
By Dean Koenig ’21
As the Pingry wrestling season approaches its end, the team prepares for some upcoming tournament play. Last year, Brandon Spellman (VI) was the only wrestler to make the State Tournament, and Coach George Sullivan says that he wishes “to expand on that this year.” Spellman has put together a fantastic final season, attaining a 27-4 record. In addition, he was the champion of the Pandy Leh tournament, the Hunterdon Central Invitational, and County Championships. He was even named the Outstanding Wrestler of the County Championships.
Zach Dobson (VI) was also a champion of the Pandy Leh tournament for his weight class and finished second at the Hunterdon Invitational and county championships. He finished the season with a 27-2 record.
The team experienced a series of injuries, but younger wrestlers were able to step up and fill in the gaps. Coach Sullivan said that “the team has battled and maintained a competitive spirit all season.” If this spirit is kept throughout the district tournament, the team could send more wrestlers to the regional and state tournaments. Heavyweight wrestler Ore Shote (IV) commended this year’s senior class: “they paved the way for what is to come.”
By Dean Koenig ’21
It took some time for the girls’ basketball team to find its momentum this season, but the girls became much more comfortable on the court by January. Starting guard Olivia Volpe (IV) explained that the team’s goal midway through the season was “to beat teams we lost to the first time we played them”; such teams included Bernards, Delaware Valley, and Voorhees, all of which Big Blue later beat. The second time Pingry played these teams, they beat Bernards by three points, Delaware Valley by one point, and Voorhees by one point. Evidently, the key difference between the first and second half of the season was Pingry’s ability to successfully finish tight games.
Volpe expressed the team’s excitement for the County and Prep Championships, saying, “We are looking forward to going as far as we can in the upcoming tournaments.” She also sees how far the team has come since its start: “We are playing our best basketball right now. I’m excited for our potential next year.”
By Aneesh Karuppur ’21
Pingry is known for a lot of things; just head over to a website like College Confidential or NJ.com and you’ll find many different opinions and rankings of the school. People always seem to compare our academics to Newark Academy’s, or our athletics to Delbarton’s, or the Pingry experience to the Lawrenceville experience, but Pingry’s broad variety of club activities are rarely mentioned. Why aren’t clubs more prominently featured? After all, any college counselor will tell you that colleges value extracurriculars in addition to academics or athletics.
Pingry’s profile on Niche.com, which features rankings and information about nearly every K-12 school in the country, tells us an interesting story. Pingry earns a high A in every category on everything except – gasp – clubs! Pingry’s clubs earn a mere, shameful A- according to Niche, but no reasoning or justification is provided. Are Pingry clubs really so much less impressive than the other things the school has to offer?
The answer is no. Of course not! Pingry’s clubs are certainly high achieving– Pingry’s QuizBowl team, for example, has more trophies than can fit in Ms. Smith’s room, and the Model Congress club regularly collects gavels during trips.
But the impression that Pingry clubs stink seems to come from people’s reviews of the school. According to one anonymous Niche user, “I was not involved in many extracurricular activities at Pingry. In my experience, clubs and organizations are put on the backburner and academics are more valued. It seems to me that if a student is looking for extracurricular experience, they will participate in something outside of school.” Ouch.
But this user is not the only disgruntled person who is unsatisfied with Pingry’s clubs: “Great if the school cares about it” says another user. In general, the consensus seems to be that Pingry doesn’t put enough emphasis on clubs.
In a sense, this is true. Many clubs in Pingry are essentially autonomous, meaning they run without significant intervention from teachers or administration. This is especially true with clubs that don’t spend too much money.
Now, this is not necessarily a bad thing. But, what ends up happening is that clubs are running completely on individual student knowledge and initiative, which makes it difficult for the club to grow together because students have many other responsibilities to tend to. After a certain point, students cannot offer the same amount of knowledge that a dedicated coach or advisor can. However, the club’s advisors often have other responsibilities as well: advising plays, teaching students, coaching sports, running publications, and a whole host of other jobs that make it very difficult for them to put in the time needed. It simply doesn’t make sense for the club to expect its already burdened advisors to develop a level of understanding that is sufficiently greater than that of the students and help the club to grow.
Ridge High School has one of the top forensics programs in the country, in part because it has a dedicated coach who visits weekly to run the club meetings. Without that kind of teacher intervention, students are less motivated to join and, without enough students, the cost of a dedicated teacher becomes too high. It’s a vicious cycle of stagnation.
Even from a monetary perspective, the “let the kids deal with it” attitude doesn’t seem to work well. Without sufficient support, clubs won’t be able to reach their potential or win accolades for the school.
Pingry definitely supports its clubs in terms of facilities. Clubs (usually) have the tools and equipment that they need to function, but what is missing is that last link of a fully invested, dedicated, single-job teacher that would allow Pingry’s clubs to be as successful as the sports teams, at least in the eyes of the administration. Some clubs are now defunct because there was no advisor to continue their existence.
It is quite likely that other members of the community have brought up this suggestion in the past. Nonetheless, the idea is intriguing for future implementation, and could move Pingry’s club score from an A- to an A+.
By Walker Johnson ’21
The varsity ski team, led by captains Annie Leithead (VI), Brian Kaplan (VI), Matt Dispenza (V), and Rosemary Collins (IV), is off to an impressive start. Overall, the team is looking great on the slopes and has continued to improve throughout the season. Leithead has noticed “a lot more aggressive skiing out of many individuals on the team. They showed up this season with more confidence and poise, and you can see it in the execution of the runs very clearly.”
Assistant Coach Susan Kinney commends the high level of commitment shown by the team members, who travel over an hour each way to the mountain for practice and races and often do not return until after 8:30 PM. She is deeply impressed by their enthusiasm for skiing as well as their support for one other.The girls’ team is looking to repeat last year’s Non-Public State Championship title, while the boys’ team aims to qualify for states. The captains also hope to compete in the Race of Champions in March.
By Josie Jahng ’19
The girls’ winter track team is off to a fantastic start to their season. Led by captains Cathleen Parker (VI) and Ally Lima (VI), the team has been working hard both in the weight room and on the track to prepare for their meets. Despite losing some seniors to graduation, the addition of newcomers has created great depth to a strong veteran squad. Parker notes that “we have a much more diverse team this year, including a number of pole vaulters and throwers which is something we’ve never had in the past.” Key contributors include: Nikki Vanasse (V), who has set and broke her own records in the 1600m and won the 3200m at Groups; Ryan Davi (IV), who has come back from injury to lead the team in the 400m; Caroline Dannenbaum (V), who is the second-best in the pole vault in New Jersey and a consistent scorer; and Lauren Taylor (V), who has placed at multiple championship meets and set new school records in the 200m. Going forward, Vanasse, Dannenbaum, and the 4×4 team of Davi, Kierstyn Brown (V), Parker, and Dylan Anidjar (V) will be competing at the Meet of Champions. In addition, the 4×8 team and the pole vaulters will be competing at Easterns. Their goal is to continue their success on the track and qualify for the New Balance Nationals in March.
By Josie Jahng ’19
The boys’ winter track team has had a great season so far. This year, the team is led by Captains Nick Robinson (VI) and Joe Shilts (VI). Though the team lost several key players to graduation last year, that did not stop the team’s success on the track. When asked about the season so far, Robinson said that, “Considering how few members we had this year, I’m really proud of what we were able to accomplish.” During practice, the team pushed through some hard running workouts, and they lifted in the BAC to build up their strength. Over the course of the season, “everyone managed to improve and ran some great times,” Robinson noted. The biggest contributors and scorers this year included Henry Wood (IV), who runs the 4x400m, 800m, and 1600m; and Joe Shilts, who does the 55m hurdles, 55m, and 200m. For next year, the team hopes to have more new members to increase their depth and continue their success.
By Felicia Ho ’19
Craving a slice of pie in the cold days of winter? Dreaming of that crispy brown crust crumbling with a satisfying crunch and that smooth tomato sauce melting with a fresh layer of mozzarella cheese? Put down the phone for Pizza Brothers, Dominos, Pizza Hut, or wherever your pizza pangs typically lead you. Instead, stop by the nearest Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza to dig into some hearty Italian fare.
With six locations in New Jersey alone, Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza has exploded in popularity since its first doors opened in 2002. Anthony Bruno, the founder, takes pride in every step of the process – picking the freshest ingredients, making and stretching the dough daily, handling orders, sliding the pizza into an 800-degree coal fired oven, and presenting the pie to customers. In fact, every single item on the menu (excluding the cheesecake and the salads, of course!) is baked in the 800-degree coal fired oven and delivers a smoky and crunchy first bite.
While you are anxiously waiting for that first bite, take a look around the restaurant. Hanging on the walls are a few signs left behind from those who came before you. There’s a framed, signed jersey, probably from legendary quarterback Dan Marino, who frequents Anthony’s Pizza in Florida and is the inspiration behind the Eggplant Marino pizza; some magazine and newspaper clippings; and a series of black-and-white photos with celebrities. In a few moments, you too will join their ranks.
When ordering, keep in mind that portion sizes are large, as the dishes are meant to be shared with family and friends. As for appetizers, try the Coal Oven Roasted Chicken Wings with caramelized onions and focaccia, a flat oven-baked Italian bread that is nicely seasoned with a mix of spices that accents the flavor of the onions. The drumsticks are incredibly juicy, and the blackened char adds an edge to the tender, white chicken.
If you’re feeling adventurous, go for the speciality pies; personal favorites of mine include the Philly Cheesesteak and the Eggplant Marino. Topped with caramelized onions and marinated steak, a slice of the philly cheesesteak does a great job of rekindling memories of Philadelphia’s best. The Eggplant Marino is a must-get – especially for any vegetarians in the family. Even though the eggplant is sliced into paper-thin pieces, each bite is juicy and tangy, complimenting the thickness of the cheese. Of course, there is always the trustworthy build-your-own-pizza option to solve any arguments at the table.
A few thoughts to consider before you wrap up your order: if you are ordering the calzone, be prepared for a small pool of oil oozing out of the ricotta and cheese stuffed into the shell. It is definitely not a finger food, and even the length of a small calzone is about the diameter of small pie. Experiment by adding a little color to your plate – try the Arugula Pizza or the classic Arugula Salad with Burrata.
One of the downsides to Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza might be just how filling it is: by the end of every lunch at Anthony’s, I am ready to fall into a food coma. Of course, that blissful happiness of finishing a meal well done attests to the rich flavor even in the crispy, thin pizzas. Where else can you grab a slice right out of a 800-degree coal fired oven?
By Vicky Gu ’20
The girls’ swim team is finishing up the season with a strong winning record. The team came in first place at the Prep A Championships and second in the combined Somerset County/Skyland Conference meet.
Captain Grace O’Mara (VI) explains that the season began with a rough start, as “most of our athletes were swimming in club meets and couldn’t be at our dual meets,” but everyone’s hard work allowed them to recover and win the semi-finals of the state tournament against Mount Saint Mary. The troubles from the beginning of the season inspired everyone to “push ourselves and go outside our comfort zone,” in the words of team member Lily Arrom (IV). For that, O’Mara states, “I am immensely proud of the team, and hopefully they will continue the momentum we gained this season!”
Though four swimmers and one team manager are graduating this year, Captain Darlene Fung (VI) says that she is “so excited to see what the team does in the future, because not only are they a fast group of girls, they have such an amazing energy and strong work ethic. I know they will be great leaders for future members of our team, and as long as they keep having fun, the fast swimming will come automatically.”
The team will compete against Immaculate Heart in the state finals on Sunday, February 23.
By Kristine Fu’19
In this book column, I will run through and review some of my favorite books I’ve recently read. My first suggestion is Becoming by Michelle Obama, a refreshingly candid autobiography. She delves into her childhood and life as the first African American First Lady, telling the reader about her background and how she found her voice. Obama shares her authentic self with the reader, taking us through her life full of accomplishments and meaning. The book is split into three parts: “Becoming Me,” “Becoming Us,” and “Becoming More.” Each section brings new perspectives and sheds light onto her own life and the life of her husband, President Barack Obama. As the story continues, you see how she grows, not only as a person, but as a mother, a wife, and a First Lady. Enduring and facing many obstacles, Michelle Obama inspires the reader to become truly and unabashedly themselves.
My next suggestion is Death on the Nile by Agatha Christie. A very complex book with a chilling plot and well-developed characters, Death on the Nile is a great book to get you started in the Hercule Poirot series. The book starts slowly by introducing all of the characters and eventually building up to the murder on a cruise in Egypt. The real investigations begin when Linnet Ridgeway, a beautiful, rich socialite, is murdered in the prime of her life. She comes onto the cruise for her honeymoon with her new husband. Luckily, Hercule Poirot, world-renowned detective, happens to be on the same boat. The people on the boat all have separate motives and agendas, and it is up to Hercule Poirot to uncover the truth. Christie introduces many plotlines in the book, and, as the reader, you must avoid the red herrings and try to solve the murder.
Finally, Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo is a heist story with diverse characters in a fantasy world. The book begins with a short prologue that introduces the setting of this story: a city of thieves, liars, and opportunity. Like many fantasy novels, it does start slow, but the pace quickly picks up. The book is focused on six central characters, each with their own narratives and different skill sets. All the characters have interesting flaws that draw the reader to sympathize with them. Bardugo weaves a grimy fantasy complete with knives, guns, magic, and technology. The character clashes and interactions increase tensions, and, as you keep reading the book, the stakes get higher and higher until the final moment when all is revealed.
By Armani Davidson ’19
Black History Month was established to honor the accomplishments of African Americans throughout U.S. history. On Friday, February 1, Upper and Middle school students came together for the annual Black History Month Assembly. The assembly paid tribute to Black History Month with student performances including singing, dancing, acting, and poetry. Nolan Baynes (IV), one of the presidents of the Black Student Union, noted that, “With this assembly, we wanted to display the gravity of Black History in a new and creative way to grab the attention of our peers.”
The Pingry Buttondowns and Balladeers opened the assembly with the song “Lift Every Voice and Sing” by J. Rosamond Johnson and James Weldon Johnson. The Buttondowns and Balladeers were followed by a group of middle schoolers who reenacted pivotal moments that took place during the Civil Rights Act, such as the first student sit-in in Greensboro, North Carolina, Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech during the March on Washington, and Rosa Parks’ refusal to stand for a white passenger on a Montgomery bus. These middle schoolers “time traveled” using a time capsule full of mementos alluding to historical events to illustrate the hardships and progress that occurred during the Civil Rights Movement.
Members of the Black Student Union, including Kamal Brown (VI), Solape Fakorede (VI), Rashida Mohammed (VI), Nia Phillips (VI), and Veronica Williams (VI) performed “I, Too” by Langston Hughes. The poem describes how Hughes is able to identify as an American, even though he is the “darker brother.” Williams said, “Reciting Langston Hughes’ “I, Too” made me feel proud as I was able to stand strong in my own skin.”
Da Boyz, from North Star Academy Clinton Hill Middle School in Newark, NJ, performed an award-winning step routine. Stepping, a type of dance that uses movement, words, and sounds to communicate, is a tradition in African and black communities that originated in the 1900s. Angelina Mayers (VI) felt that “The Black Student Union did a great job with the poem, “I, Too,” as did the step group from North Star. It was so riveting! I was excited and empowered to celebrate Black History Month.” The assembly ended with the Balladeers singing “Imagine” by John Lennon.
Phillips, one of the presidents of BSU, said that “The Black History Month Assembly was a chance for not only the Black Student Union, but also the middle school to pay homage to the African Americans in history who have done so much for the progress of society.”
By Brooke Pan ’21
Pingry for Girls Empowerment (P4GE) is a new club in Pingry this year, looking “to raise awareness on contemporary issues affecting women and girls both nationwide and around the world,” according to club co-leader Eva Schiller (IV). The other co-leaders, Emma Huang (IV) and Sydney Stovall (IV), join Schiller to broaden the scope of girls’ empowerment both within and outside the Pingry community.
The club consists of a group of students interested in learning more about the fight for women’s rights and taking a more active role in advocating for women’s rights in today’s society. Although it was only established this year, P4GE has already gathered a diverse group of students who are eager to participate in the rich opportunities the club has to offer.
One of the main priorities P4GE leaders had when creating this club was differentiating it from Girls’ Affinity group, a group with similar interests. “The Girls’ Affinity group is definitely an extremely important asset to the school, so we wanted to make sure [our missions] weren’t clashing,” Stovall explains. “An Affinity Group is designed to bring people together that share the same identity to discuss topics that relate their shared identity. P4GE strives to be open to all genders because we believe women’s equality should not solely be an issue to women.” P4GE hopes to attract any student who shares the same goals as the club by hosting fun activities at each meeting.
The success and popularity of P4GE can be attributed to the creative ideas and opportunities the leaders have. When asked about her reaction to the response of the club, Schiller adds, “The leaders and I were very excited at the response of our club. Right now a large part of our club consists of sophomores, but we got a lot of attention at the club fair, and can hopefully expand further as we plan more activities.”
These activities include “female guest speakers from varying backgrounds to talk about female empowerment on a small panel,” according to Stovall, as well as “[taking] action by writing letters to government representatives” according to Schiller. With these plans in mind, the leaders hope to spark an interest for others to take initiative as well.
One of the first outside–of–school events the leaders planned was a trip to the Women’s March in New York City, NY. However, due to forecasts suggesting unfavorable weather, the trip had to be cancelled. Fortunately, the Women’s March did not go unattended as Grace Wang (IV) travelled to the city to attend the march. “I was disappointed when the trip got cancelled because I was really looking forward to it,” says Wang. “I decided to go anyway. It was such a nice atmosphere, and I had a great time!”
This year, P4GE hopes to encourage more students to participate in their club and to build on the environment at Pingry as a whole. The leaders are excited to see what the future brings for P4GE, and they aspir
Brian Li ’22
On February 21, 22, and 23, Pingry’s Drama and Music Department performed this year’s winter musical Rent, a Pulitzer-Prize and Tony Award-winning production by Jonathan Larson. Influenced by Giacomo Puccini’s opera La bohème, Rent follows a group of impoverished young artists suffering from HIV/AIDS struggling to establish themselves in New York City’s Lower East Side.
The musical focuses on two roommates on Christmas Eve: Mark (Nick Grimaldi ‘19), a struggling filmmaker and Roger (Ian Dugan ‘19), a previously successful but now troubled rock musician. One of their friends, Tom Collins (Lucas Vazquez ‘19), plans to meet the two at their apartment, but is attacked and beaten. Meanwhile, Mark and Roger’s former friend and current landlord, Benny (Rajeev Doraswamy ‘19), demands last year’s rent, but the two roommates refuse to pay. On the street, a cross-dresser called Angel (Leo Zhu ‘19) finds Collins and the two instantly fall in love, revealing to each other that they are HIV positive. Roger is also HIV positive, contracted from his previous girlfriend. He tries to write a song on his guitar, but fails, and is interrupted by Mimi (Katerina Deliargyris ‘19) knocking on the door. They instantly feel attracted to each other, but Roger pushes her away.
Out on St. Mark’s Place, Maureen (Dorothea Miller ‘19), a performance artist, begins her performance to protest Benny’s eviction of the homeless. Afterwards, all the protesters meet at the Life Café, but they see Benny there. He announces that “Bohemia is dead,” but the protesters celebrate “La Vie Boheme.” Beepers go off to remind them to take their HIV medicine. As a result, Mimi and Roger discover that the other is HIV positive and decide to begin a relationship.
The next summer, Angel dies. After his funeral, Mimi reveals that Roger has sold his guitar and bought a car to leave New York. Roger responds by saying Mimi is back with Benny, her previous boyfriend. Roger leaves for Santa Fe, and after a while, returns to visit his old friends with the intention of showing them the song he wrote in Santa Fe. Suddenly, Maureen and Joanne (Alessia Zanobini ‘19) carry Mimi into the apartment, who collapsed out on the streets. Roger pleads for her to live and sings Mimi the song he took a year to write. After appearing to die, she abruptly wakes up to everybody’s shock. The family has come back together and agree that there is “no day but today.”
Director Mr. Alan Van Antwerp brought his dramatic expertise to the winter musical. With a background in managing and performing in professional and community productions, Mr. Van Antwerp was able to unlock the full potential of all the cast members. Although Rent was his first time serving as the director of a Pingry production, Mr. Van Antwerp created a passionate and supportive environment for everybody. In order to allow the audience to see the magic within the performance, Mr. Van Antwerp taught the cast and crew about the importance of collaboration. Deliargyris elaborated, saying, “Having Van as the director, he’s amazing, and I feel extremely lucky that I’ve gotten the chance to work with him.” Combined with a group of phenomenal performers and students, the musical was breathtaking and captivating.
Mr. Van Antwerp also served as the lighting designer, while Mr. Sean McAnally was the sound director. Dr. Andrew Moore directed the pit orchestra. The stage managers were Grace Brown (VI), Udochi Emeghara (VI), and Allie Matthias (VI). Ms. Jane Asch and Mr. Christopher Abbott worked tirelessly to create the set for Rent, along with help from the students and parents.
Deliargyris, who played Mimi, said that Rent was much more serious than the previous two musicals. “Trying to portray that message has been something I’m very grateful for and I think it’s very important that we show the message to the school.” When asked what she will miss most about the Drama Department at Pingry, Deliargyris said, “I’m going to miss the community aspect of drama here and the teachers, as they always push you to be your best. I just love how everybody always loves coming to see the shows.”
By Rhea Kapur ’21
On February 8th, the highly anticipated Lunar New Year Assembly opened with a bright, lively rendition of the traditional dragon dance. This was performed by students from the Form II Chinese class with taiko drumming by Mr. Christopher Leone in the background. During this standard component of festive Chinese celebrations, students maneuvered a long dragon figure using poles positioned throughout the body to simulate the “river spirit,” which the dragon represents. Dragons also symbolize Chinese culture and are thought to bring good luck for the new year.
The 2019 Lunar New Year began on February 5th and ended on the 19th. As per the zodiac calendar, 2019 is the Year of the Pig – the 12th animal in the 12-year cycle of Chinese zodiac signs. In China, pigs generally symbolize wealth. Those born in the Year of the Pig are thought to be blessed with good fortune, happiness, and success later in life.
First, and a definite highlight from this year’s assembly, were 12 exchange students from Quzhou No. 2 High School, Pingry’s sister school in southeastern China. The students, who visited Pingry for 2 weeks and were hosted by the families of various Upper School students, first introduced themselves to the school and then proceeded to sing songs they had prepared that reflected the spirit of their city and school.
Next, the brother-and-sister dynamic duo, Elbert Ho (Grade 6) on piano and Felicia Ho (VI) on violin, performed a duet of the traditional Chinese folk song “The Joy of Spring” to welcome in the spring, all while dressed in traditional Chinese clothing. Belinda Poh (III), Francesca Rainuzzo (IV), Udochi Emeghara (VI), and Annaya Baynes (VI), members of the K-Pop Dance club, followed with another energetic, more modern performance of “DDU-DU DDU-DU” by the K-Pop girl group Black Pink.
The Taiko Drumming Club introduced a new performance piece, “Dokokara,” during the assembly, featuring solos by Noah Bergam (IV), Julian Lee (IV), Justin Li (IV), and Guan Liang (IV). This year’s piece was “one of the hardest yet, especially in terms of technique” said Lee, “with many complicated elements that involved interaction between us four soloists – we had to pass the beat back and forth.” Next was The Purple Swans Dance Troupe, a group focused on displaying the beauty, ideas, and significance behind Chinese culture through peking opera, which combines opera with dancing, acting, and acrobatics. Many members of the Pingry community belong to this group, and some took part in their dance performance during the assembly, titled, “The Song of the Pear Blossom.”
New additions to the 2019 assembly included Natalie DeVito (III)’s recital of the poem “Facing the Sea by the Warmth of Spring” by the famous poet Hai Zi entirely in Chinese. The closing element, an exclusive interview with Pingry Sage Dining Executive Chef Mr. Won Ho, a Chinese immigrant, and James Wang (V) was also a highlight. Overall, the many diverse performances of this year’s Lunar New Year Assembly emphasized the beauty of Chinese culture and its core virtues, something to remember and look back on for the year to come.