By Mirika Jambudi (III)
On February 20th, Pingry students travelled to Boston, Massachusetts to participate in the Harvard Model Congress (HMC) held at the Boston Sheraton Hotel. HMC, the largest congressional simulation in the world, provides students the opportunity to learn what participating in the United States government is like.
Each student was assigned a current member of the U.S. House of Representatives or Senate to represent while at the conference. Before the event, students researched their roles, learning their delegate’s stance on various issues selected by the conference organizers.
During the conference, participants from around the country gathered to engage in lively debate, learn how to compromise, and simulate drafting legislation for the passage of bills. “I learned how to work with delegates from the other party to write bipartisan bills and make amends to certain sections of the bill to please both parties. Overall, it was a really great experience,” said Vared Shmuler (III). Sophomore Sarah Kloss (IV) gave several speeches as Billy Long, a Republican Congressman from Missouri, and was even able to present her bill during a full committee meeting.
On Friday, students had the opportunity to visit the Harvard University campus during their break. Afterwards, awards for outstanding performance at the event were announced. Ian Larson (VI) was awarded an honorary mention for best delegate in his committee, the National Economic Forum.
After an educating and engaging weekend, Pingry students are looking forward to returning to Harvard Model Congress next year!
By Vicky Gu (VI)
On Monday, November 18, the AP Art History class, along with Mr. Nigel Paton and Ms. Paula Fisher, took their annual trip to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.
Before the trip, students studied the art of people from Africa, Oceania, western North America, and classical antiquity. They saw many works in real-life that they had previously seen only on computer screens.
The field trip started in the Greek and Roman art wing. Students viewed Mediterranean art from various different ancient eras and were able to compare what they had learned in class to the actual sculpture. The Greek, Archaic Marble statue of a kouros, for example, was slightly disproportionate and much more stiff-limbed than the Hellenistic, Roman Marble sarcophagus with the Triumph of Dionysos and the Seasons that was sculpted almost three hundred years later.
The students examined other works that hadn’t been studied in class, such as various Greek vases, Roman bronze sculptures (which often copied or were inspired by Greek sculptures), and frescoes. The Met even had a reconstruction of a room—the fresco walls of Cubiculum (bedroom) from the Villa of P. Fannius Synistor at Boscoreale. These walls were painted with perspective, vivid colors, ornamental details, and give a relatively small area a greater sense of space.
The students had previously been assigned to present various pieces of artwork from Africa and America. A particularly striking artwork was the Nkisi n’kondi, or Power Figure, created by the Kongo people in the late 19th century. Many students were amazed by the intimidating atmosphere and size of the wood sculpture as it stood on its raised pedestal. Carson Shilts (V) and Sandra Adablah (V) presented the work and explained that every time a villager committed a crime or a sin, the citizens would hold a meeting for the sinner to apologize. Nails, shards of glass, and other sharp objects were driven into different parts of the figure’s body depending on the severity and nature of the crime.
Other works presented include bronze plaques of African royalty and Native American elk hides and masks. Students, who had already learned about the ceramic processes of Maria Martínez of the San Ildefonso Pueblo, were able to view her Black-on-Black Jar, which was particularly unique given the use of glossy and matte black surfaces in her designs.
The field trip concluded with an hour of free time to explore the rest of the museum. While some students wandered around to see what other works might interest them, others had already planned to search for specific artists and movements.
By Carson Shilts (V)
On October 18, over one hundred students filed into buses and rode to Chelsea, New York. There, with bagels in their hands and earbuds in their ears, students in photography, drawing and painting, and portfolio classes discovered the awe-inspiring artworks exhibited in the Chelsea art galleries.
Chelsea’s galleries display a variety of different types of art. One well-known artist whose work was exhibited is Christian Marclay, who creates abstract art inspired by anime. Marclay is known to embody sound and music in his paintings and videos. Another featured artist was Ed Clark, a highly respected painter who is known for his striking abstract impressionism paintings. The students who went to his gallery were able to appreciate his talent and acknowledge the imprint he has left on the art community. The galleries also displayed works from up and coming artists, achieving a balanced variety of well-known and newer work. From political pieces to vibrant monster sculptures, there was an exhibition for everyone.
Once they arrived, the students were split up based on the classes they are in so they could see all the artwork that was most connected to what they were currently learning. Though this trip was meant to break the boundaries of the types of art that students were accustomed to seeing, an emphasis was placed on art that correlates with their medium. Students were also asked to take nine separate photos: three artworks that inspired them, three artworks they did not understand, and three artworks that they would give to their friend as a gift. This allowed students to analyze the art from different perspectives.
The photography teacher, Mr. Boyd, said that he “wanted students to get a new range of ideas of what kind of art is out there.” He hoped that this would then “create another layer of ideas” that students could bring back to the classroom and incorporate into their own work. Fortunately, his hopes came true. When asked what she learned, Abby Parrish (V), a photography student, said, “Going into the trip I had a closed view of what art is and what art should be. When visiting the galleries, I realized there were many more different types and perspectives of art that I hadn’t even known existed. For example, there was this one gallery that had a kitchen in the back and it was using space as art and I had never thought that art could be portrayed in that way, which I thought was really cool.”
After viewing the galleries, students visited Chelsea Market, escaping the cold to eat lunch and shop for souvenirs. Upon returning to Pingry, participants headed to their classrooms to reflect on what they found most interesting. They also shared the photos they were asked to take. Overall, the trip to the Chelsea Galleries was incredibly successful, and the art students and faculty are excited to go again next year!
Mirika Jambudi (III)
Bright and early on August 28th, just a few days before the start of the school year, Pingry welcomed its newest class of freshmen on campus for the longstanding tradition of the peer leadership retreat. Alongside their senior peer group leaders, the nervous but excited freshmen crammed into four buses for the long two-hour drive to Bryn Mawr Mountain Retreat in the scenic mountains of Pennsylvania. There, the freshman undertook team-bonding exercises and activities to help them get acquainted with their peers.
When the buses arrived at Bryn Mawr, the eager freshmen were led to their cabins to quickly unpack and get ready for the multiple activities planned for the day.
The first challenge was the egg drop, where peer groups of six to eight students and two seniors worked together to create a structure that would be able to protect the egg when dropped from above. Each group then made a banner representing their peer group pride. The students also worked with each other and their peer leaders to create a chariot from cardboard and PVC pipes to carry one freshman through an obstacle course the next day.
The next challenge was an obstacle course in the woods nicknamed “The Gauntlet”; it featured a series of obstacles that involved physical activity, logical thinking, and teamwork.
“The Gauntlet really challenged us to work together, and after the first activity, it was really fun to do, and our group definitely grew closer,” said Max Watzky (III). Everyone aimed to complete the course in the quickest time, and the competitive nature of the challenge fostered a sense of camaraderie in each peer group. The most memorable part of the night was during the impromptu dance in the dining hall when all the peer leaders surprised the freshman by running out onto the dance floor in costumes. “Everyone being together on the dance floor and having fun right before school started was definitely a great way to kick off the school year!” Milenka Men (III) recalled.
At the end of the day, groups came up with skits using silly objects chosen from a bag. Watching the skits and seeing classmates take the stage in silly outfits definitely left everyone in a great mood for the rest of the evening.
The next morning, everyone woke up to pack and wrap up the peer leadership retreat. Finally, the most awaited event occurred––using the chariots made the previous day in the obstacle course. Our group took an unforgettable, unconventional route, which the other students found hilarious. The fun-filled day-and-a-half at Bryn Mawr had flown by, and it was time to leave, but not before discussing the students’ favorite parts of the trip. For my group, our unconventional way of attempting the chariot race obstacle course was definitely one of the best parts about the retreat, alongside all the friends we made. “It was a great experience, and I’m glad I got to meet tons of people right before school started! Now I’m more confident about starting at a new school,” said Katie Lin (III). All in all, the freshmen had a blast at the peer leadership retreat, found some new friends, and are ready to take on the upcoming school year!
Martha Lewand (VI)
A week before school began, on September 3rd and 4th, Form VI students traveled to the Pocono Valley Resort in Reeders, Pennsylvania, for their senior retreat.
The seniors spent the trip participating in several activities, including a Western-themed dance, and working on their college applications. The goal of the trip was for the seniors to enjoy themselves while making progress on their applications.
Once the seniors arrived to the campsite via bus, they went to their assigned cabins to unpack. Shortly after, the activities commenced. Students went to relax by one of the two pools or to play sports, ranging from basketball to mini-golf. Students also had the choice to participate in watersports on the lake, climb a rock climbing wall, partake in a ropes course, ride a zipline, and more.
“I went on the ropes course, rode the zipline, and competed with my friends in the ‘human hamster balls’,” said Jessica Hutt (VI). “I really enjoyed these activities, and had a great time experiencing the outdoors with my classmates before heading into our final year together.”
After lunch and activities, the seniors began to prepare for the dance. The theme for the dance was “western.” Students dressed up as cowboys and cowgirls, with a majority of the costumes including flannels, cowboy boots and hats, and bandanas.
“The dance was a fun way to jumpstart senior year,” Nicole Gilbert (VI) said. “It was a great opportunity to reconnect with my friends and strengthen relationships with other people. Dressing up also added to the fun.”
After the dance, seniors enjoyed pizza and a campfire with s’mores. They also had time to socialize with friends in their cabins before the night ended.
“I felt that being able to spend the night with my friends was great, in that it helped me forget about all the college apps and let me focus on just hanging out and talking to my friends,” Thomas Wolf (VI) said. “I appreciated that, even though I didn’t request some of the people in my cabin, they were great company and I enjoyed the night.”
The next morning, the academic work began. After breakfast, the senior class was divided into two groups to partake in “breakout sessions” or workshops. Ms. Finegan and Ms. Reynolds each ran one of the two workshops. They used a descriptive writing exercise to help students with their personal statement essay. In the second workshop, Mr. Lear, Mr. Garrow and Ms. Cooperman split the group into smaller sections to converse about the application process and colleges that are typically undervalued by Pingry students.
Josh Thau (VI) found the workshops helpful, as the sessions increased his confidence in the college process. He said, “Before I went in, I was nervous about everything because I didn’t really know what I was doing,” he said. “But after I talked to both my college counselor and others about my issues pertaining to the process, I felt a lot more comfortable.”
After working on their applications, seniors had lunch, packed their bags, and made their way back to Pingry on buses.
Hannah Guglin (VI) thought the trip was an overall success. “I honestly felt like it was a really good way to start the year, spend some time and have some fun with people that I care about in our last year together,” she said.
Katherine Xie (IV)
On Wednesday, September 4, the class of 2022 explored the exhibits of New York City’s Museum of Natural History and went to see the award-winning “To Kill a Mockingbird” on Broadway.
The day began in the school cafeteria where students caught up with friends after a fleeting three months of summer break. The sophomores then crowded onto three buses to make the trip to the city. After an hour-and-a-half bus ride, everyone divided into their advisories and entered the Museum of Natural History.
Upon entering the museum, advisory groups went their separate ways to tour the various exhibits and displays. Since there was no specific activity planned for the museum, each advisory had the liberty to choose the exhibits they wanted to see. The Museum of Natural History had everything from displays of prehistoric animals to diagrams of the early universe to exhibits on early civilizations. Although students only spent a little over an hour at the museum, Anika Govil (IV) says, “Visiting the museum was a really fun experience. I got to spend time with my advisory and learn about animals that I didn’t even know existed.” Students were able to learn about all things history as well as enjoy time with their advisories.
After a quick lunch outside the museum, the buses started up once more and took the sophomores to see “To Kill a Mockingbird.” Students were given tickets as they entered the packed theater and sat with their advisories as they awaited the start.
“To Kill a Mockingbird,” based on the eponymous 1960 novel by Harper Lee, deals with racial issues prevalent in Alabama during the 1930s. The story’s main focus is the trial of Tom Robinson, a black man who is falsely accused of raping Mayella Ewell, a white woman.
While the book begins by depicting the idyllic childhood of characters Jem, Scout, and Dill, the play, narrated by the children, immediately jumps into the trial of Tom Robinson. Atticus Finch (played by Jeff Daniels), Tom Robinson’s lawyer, must stand up to the racial prejudices of that time to do what is right. Through the trial, Scout learns about what it means to become an adult—she observes her father doing the right thing by defending Tom Robinson, despite the sacrifice he makes to do so.
The students enjoyed the play, which provided a different and new portrayal of this well-known classic. Many students had never seen a Broadway show before and appreciated the opportunity. Zoe Wang (IV) said, “Going to see ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ was truly memorable. The actor for Atticus Finch was just amazing.” Remarking on the interesting style of the play, Olivia Hung (IV) noted, “I truly enjoyed the show…It was an interesting way to tell the story.”
After the performance and an amazing day spent in the city, the sophomores boarded the buses to head back to Pingry.
Alex Wong (I)
From September 25th to 27th, Middle School students embarked on trips to destinations ranging from the nation’s capital to right here in New Jersey. In the process, students were able to get a glimpse into what they will learn this year
Grade six traveled to Camp Mason, a campsite in northern New Jersey, for three days. There, they engaged in team building activities, including hiking, swinging on giant swings, looking at nature art, and completing an obstacle course. These activities allowed the sixth graders to get to know each other better. Mrs. Nicole Cabral recalled, “We had a great time even though it rained. Even when it rained everyone participated in the activities. We made great memories during the trip.” The trip was an exciting and memorable start to their middle school experience.
Form I went to Philadelphia from September 26th to 27th. They visited many sites and interactive centers, including Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell, the Constitution Center, the Philadelphia Zoo, the U.S. Mint, and The Franklin Institute. Students saw a wide variety of exhibits relating to topics ranging from the United States government to the human heart. Ben Chung (I) said, “The Brain Exhibit in the Franklin Institute was fun. My advisory played tag in the brain model.” Ms. Cecily Moyer noted, “I really enjoyed the Constitution Center. My advisory was very into the exhibits there. We played trivia and shook hands with the statues in Signers’ Hall.” The Philadelphia trip was an enjoyable, informative experience for the seventh grade.
For three days, Form II stayed in Washington, D.C., where they saw the Lincoln Memorial, the Washington Monument, the Arlington National Cemetery, and the National Mall. Visiting the sites helped students gain a better understanding of their historical significance. Along with learning about the various monuments and memorials, Charlotte Diemar (II) said, “I enjoyed the trip because we got to connect more with our advisory via multiple activities, such as the advisory dinner.” On the trip, students bonded with both old and new friends, while learning about the rich history of Washington, D.C.
The Middle Schoolers enjoyed their trips, as they made new friends, learned about historical sites and figures, or simply had fun with their classmates and teachers. In other words, the trips certainly set a positive tone for the year ahead.
Dean Koenig (V)
The Form V class spent their opening to the school year at the Lehigh River to go whitewater rafting. Since the junior class traveled to Philadelphia in previous years for their back-to-school trips, this trip was a surprise to students.
The grade was reunited from summer break at 8:30 A.M. in the dining center. From there, the students split into their advisory groups and boarded coach buses. When the buses arrived at the site, students got off and ate their packaged lunches on picnic tables, already surrounded by nature. As they ate, the juniors shared stories of their summers and discussed the upcoming school year.
After lunch, students and faculty listened in on a brief presentation given by the Pocono Whitewater Company. The presentation laid down guidelines for the experience to come, such as safety regulations and paddling recommendations. During the lecture, students and faculty were fitted for lifejackets.
Once everyone was ready to raft, students boarded buses once again and were driven to the river. Although the original plan was for advisory groups to raft together, students were able to join the raft they wished to be in as long as there were no more than seven people in it. Each raft was provided with a bucket, which was supposed to be used to remove water from the raft.
Aided by river guides, students and faculty began to make their way down the river. Soon enough, the rafts encountered the first wave of class II rapids. Students and faculty soon got splashed, or even submerged.
Along the way down the river, the river guides offered the rafters three opportunities to exit their rafts and swim in shallow water. During this time, students had fun in the water, splashing each other and climbing into other boats with their friends. “The battles between the raft crews on the river were epic,” Dr. James Murray said. Even some river guides got in on the action. Ethan Mannello (V) said, “The most fun part of the rafting was probably splashing people with buckets of water.”
Though the students enjoyed themselves, paddling took a great deal of energy and most were ready to head home by the time the rafting was over. Students and faculty were bussed back to the lunch location to retrieve their belongings before the coach busses took them back to school. The buses arrived at Pingry at around 7:00 P.M.
Sandy Friedman (V) remarked, “The retreat made me feel closer to a lot of my classmates.”
Overall, it was an exciting way for students to reconvene before classes began.
By Zara Jacob ’21
The class of 2021 eased into their sophomore year with a trip to New York City, exploring exhibits in the Museum of Natural History and and seeing the Tony Award-winning “Best Musical,” Dear Evan Hansen.
With not a single textbook or laptop in hand, the grade split up onto four buses and headed on a 90-minute ride to the city. After reaching the museum, they were divided by advisories, perusing the various exhibits at the museum. Unlike previous years, when a scavenger hunt was assigned, the students had the freedom to pick which exhibits they wanted to visit with their advisories. Many of the students appreciated this change; Meghan Durkin (IV) explained, “I enjoyed the museum more than I anticipated because I got to see exhibits that I thought were interesting, as opposed to a plan created by our advisors.” From fossils to dioramas filled with cavemen, the first segment of the trip maintained a good balance of fun and education.
After eating lunch in the museum, the students made their way back to the buses and headed to the theater. Despite a slight accidental detour, all 150 sophomores eventually made it to the correct theater, where they watched the 2 o’clock showing of Dear Evan Hansen. As the students crowded up the stairs, many stopped for snacks, waiting anxiously for the musical to begin.
Dear Evan Hansen tackles themes of bullying, loneliness, and suicide — daunting topics that many teenagers face today. Sanjana Biswas (IV) said, “The musical was relevant to the modern times we live in, and the portrayal of social media and its platform was very accurate.”
The musical begins with showing two teenage boys who struggle with depression and anxiety. Evan, the protagonist of the musical, desperately seeks to step out of the shadows and be noticed. We see Evan’s yearning for true care and appreciation through the passionate performance of his song, “Waving Through a Window.” His mother, juggling school and work, struggles to be there for Evan, and his therapist suggests he write letters to himself to help his self-confidence (hence the name Dear Evan Hansen). The other teenage boy, Connor Murphy, is briefly introduced to the audience before committing suicide.
Through a series of unfortunate events, one of Evan’s letters to himself, which discusses his troubling thoughts and anxieties, is with Connor on the day he commits suicide, and is misconstrued as Connor’s last words being addressed to Evan. Stuck in an impossible situation, Evan hopes for everything to blow over, but ends up meeting with Connor’s family almost every day and pretends to have known Connor as a best friend. All of Evan’s dreams begin to come true – he lands the girl of his dreams, feels the warmth of a loving, present family, and becomes famous on social media. To know how Evan fares throughout the rest of the musical, you will have to go and see it. From the actors to the captivating music, it is no wonder that Dear Evan Hansen has won so many awards.
After the show, the sophomores headed back to Pingry, their first day of school having come to an end.
By Brynn Weisholtz ’20
On a mighty first day of class trips, the junior class explored the historical sites of Philadelphia and a renowned museum.
Arriving bright and early on an unseasonably hot September morning, the junior class prepared to board coach buses and embark on a trip to Philadelphia. The students gathered in their advisory groups and, upon arriving in the City of Brotherly Love, began a grade-wide scavenger hunt.
Walking around Philadelphia on a search for historical artifacts and buildings, students rekindled friendships from last year while finding everything from jumbo-sized puzzle pieces to the famous Prince Music Theater.
Following the scavenger hunt, the students and faculty made their way to the acclaimed Reading Terminal Market. Celebrating 125 years in existence, the Reading Terminal Market is one of America’s largest and oldest public markets, offering its visitors a wide selection of produce, meats, poultry, seafood, cheeses, baked goods, and much more.
The market is not only a source of locally grown and exotic food choices – it is home to a variety of restaurants and, more importantly, is regarded as a piece of Philadelphian history that draws tourists and locals year round.
As they ate their lunch in the National Historic Landmark Building, which is home to the Reading Terminal Market, the students took some time to relax and rest after their hunt around Philly.
The final stop of the day was to visit the Philadelphia Museum of Art, where the students had an opportunity to walk the halls of the quiet museum and take in all the beautiful works, especially noting the serene water lily paintings and antique Chinese artifacts.
After a full day of touring Philadelphia and spending time learning and laughing with classmates, the students and faculty were ready to return to campus. The students’ day in Philadelphia was undoubtedly the perfect outing to kick off junior year at Pingry.