Pingry’s Remote Talent Show

By Mirika Jambudi (III)

Due to Pingry’s transition to remote learning last week, students from all four grades were able to showcase their talent in Pingry’s first-ever Remote Talent Show! Over spring break, Student Government class presidents were hard at work redesigning the format of the competition using a March-Madness-style bracket. “We had to reorganize the entire bracket, but it ultimately allowed for more students to be able to display their talents,” said J.P. Salvatore (III), freshman class president. He described his excitement to see the talents presented and his hope that it would be a great community-bonding experience.


Students submitted a variety of talents, ranging from self-accompanied songs to skillful soccer ball handling. Out of the 11 submissions, the Upper School voted on their four favorite acts. The top 4 students advanced to the final round and were able to submit new clips of their talents. The four finalists were Sophia Cavaliere (V), Camille Collins (III), Natalie DeVito (IV), and Nicolás Sendón (III). All the finalists brought their best to the final round, and it was up to students to decide who would ultimately become the first-ever champion of the Remote Talent Show. “It was fun seeing the final four talents and voting … I was impressed by the amount of talent each grade has to offer,” said Ram Doraswamy (IV). 


Ultimately, on Monday, Nicolás Sendón (III) was announced winner and Natalie DeVito (IV) earned runner-up. Nicolás had played a song on the bagpipes, while Natalie sang a song and self-accompanied on guitar. “I was excited to hear that I had won … everyone brought a lot of talent to the show, and I’m grateful for the community’s support,” Nicolás remarked. Natalie agreed, describing her gratitude for those who reached out to her. “Connection and solidarity is super important right now, and sharing art has the potential to bring people together, now more than ever,” she said. Nicolás was awarded a $20 Amazon gift card for winning first place. Congratulations to Nicolás and Natalie, and to all others who participated!


Freshman Art Classes Take on the MoMA

Freshman Art Classes Take on the MoMA

By Mirika Jambudi (III)

On Thursday, November 14th, ninth-graders in Art Fundamentals and various other classes visited the Museum of Modern Art for their annual art trip into New York City. They visited many of the museum’s new exhibitions, including, but not limited to, “Transfigurations,” “Inner and Outerspace,” and “Hardware and Software.” The trip featured many different types of galleries, including ones specializing in photography, digital media, and 3D artwork; each elicited many different reactions from the students. Victoria Ramos (III) said that she “was surprised to see how much art had changed throughout the centuries as [she] walked from gallery to gallery.”

One of the collections that many students seemed to enjoy was Gretchen Bender’s “Dumping Core” exhibit. It featured 13 video monitors in a dark room set to techno music that displayed many intercut logos, graphics, and clips from TV and movies. These images were all pieced together to create an eye-catching visual display. After further research, students later found that the meaning behind this exhibit was to subvert corporate agendas and combat the use of technology for commercial gain. 

Another collection was entirely dedicated to the Tiananmen Square student protests in the 1980s. The artists featured in this collection used very abstract methods and techniques to convey their anger at the government, such as lathering a chicken with soap, firing a gun at their artwork, or photographing protestors lighting fireworks in Tiananmen Square. These artworks challenged the overwhelming censorship of the Chinese government and were seen as forms of protest and rebellion. They were also viewed as individualist responses towards reforming socio-economic shifts and urbanization at the time. “It was exciting to learn and research the backstories behind these works of art, because it is more complex than what you see on the surface,” says Caleb Park (III). Zala Bhan (III) also agreed that the trip was a success and a great learning experience because she was “exposed to many different forms of artwork …which really broadened my perspective on what one can define as art.” 

After coming back from the art trip, the students were asked to curate their own “gallery” of ten paintings that they found interesting and had a common principle or element of art. They were also asked to analyze different techniques that the artists used in their artwork, such as emphasis through color or movement through shapes, lines, and value. Students had fun selecting and organizing these works of art in their own mini-gallery project; overall, the trip was a fantastic experience.

The World We Live In

By Mirika Jambudi (III)

The world I’m growing up in scares me to death. It seems like everywhere I look there is something to be afraid of. In fact, I’m almost fifteen and I just got permission this summer to ride my bike to my friend’s house. It’s only two blocks away, but I understand why. The world I’m growing up in is scary because it’s dangerous. I can’t tell you that it’s more dangerous than any other period in human history, but I can tell you this: we’re certainly more aware of it. The news flashes every day with new stories of gunmen, arson, murder, and scandal in our very own White House. That shadow in the corner of my eye, that’s danger. The creak on the stairs when I’m home alone, that’s danger. This constant fear bleeds into every single aspect of my life.

In school, we’ve had lockdown drills for as long as I can remember. An announcement is made, so we lock the doors, draw the blinds, huddle in the corner, and stay as silent as possible. For those 4-7 minutes, I examine my best friend’s shoelaces intently. I imagine what I would do, if at that very moment, the drill was real and a shooter barged into the classroom. I count the bricks on the wall. I wonder if this is what it felt like to live during the Cold War, diving under desks to take cover at the prospect of nuclear war. Then, I wonder why people believed that a wooden desk could stop an atomic bomb. Probably, I think, for the same reasons we draw the blinds and lock the doors. Ever since the shooting in Parkland, Florida, though, something has changed. Everything feels more real. The idea of a school shooting used to be almost nonexistent. Something that happened to those poor kids in Sandy Hook, but could never happen to us. 

But the national uproar 5,000 miles away brought about changes reaching all the way to Pingry. Now, we have more detailed lockdown procedures. Recently, we had an assembly describing safety procedures, and our newly installed lockdown buttons in case of an emergency. We know what to do during lunch, during time between classes. We know that if there’s an emergency, we are to go into the nearest open classroom, let as many kids in as possible, lock all the doors, and hide. The threat has become omnipresent. It’s not far away and vague anymore, but something that could actually happen to us. Even in the bathroom stalls, the inner doors are plastered with laminated posters explaining what to do if someone is in the bathroom while a lockdown is in progress. It tells me what keywords to listen for to make sure the all-clear is legitimate. The danger of a school shooting stares me in the face while I use the bathroom. It’s an unfading feeling of unease, present even when I’m walking down the hall with a friend, goofing off like an average pair of freshmen. I see the security guards on duty keeping an eye on everything, watching for any signs of suspicious activity. I understand why they are there, of course, but it reminds me that nowhere is safe. 

I live in the epitome of suburbia, so it’s strange to have this fear everywhere I go. We have become desensitized to shootings and gun violence, and barely react to the now daily reports of shootings. Everywhere is unsafe: first movie theaters, coffee shops, and retail stores, and now schools. For me, school is a place I look forward to going every day; however, some days, when I step off of that yellow Kensington bus, I feel afraid of the unknown, and I concoct imaginary emergency scenarios in my head. I have my parents on speed dial, as a “just-in-case.” I have a message in the notes section of my phone for my loved ones, should something actually happen to me, though the chances are slim. I really shouldn’t have to worry about this; I’m just your average high school freshman trying not to fail Spanish and science, binging rom-coms and Disney movies in her free time. We shouldn’t have to worry that when we leave our houses in the morning for school, it might be the last time our parents see us alive. 

Our government should have stepped up on gun policies and implemented stricter gun laws years ago, right after the incident at Sandy Hook. How many more lives must be lost until our government takes charge? Our nation needs action, and it is long overdue. 

Freshmen Begin their School Year with a Trip to Bryn Mawr

Freshmen Begin their School Year with a Trip to Bryn Mawr

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!