Volume CXLIV, Number 4 June 10, 2018 The Pingry School
C O M M E N C E M E N T 2 0 1 8
Traveling Abroad And Exploring At Home:
Seniors Tackle ISPs With Passion
Travel and Cultural Exchange
Interested in learning more about “Short Stories in Costa Rica,” Krish Bhavnani traveled to Santa Teresa, Costa Rica to immerse himself in Spanish culture and
develop “my own artistic voice” by writing two short stories in Spanish. In addition to writing, he also participated in frequent surf lessons to have conversations and interact with members of the Santa Teresa community.
Rachel Chen visited both cities and landmarks in China to reconnect with her roots and compare An- cient and Modern China with the Western World. Her experience culminatedin a personal re ection andseveral sketches inspired by her trip. Upon her re- turn, she shadowed several doctors at the St. Barnabas Medical Center in Livings-ton to experience rsthandthe responsibilities and realities of being a doctor.
Avery Schiffman continued her passion
for learning the Chinese language by exploring Chinese cuisine in China- town, NYC, participating in Kung Fu and Tai Chi at a nearby Shaolin Kung Fu center, and visiting various museums about the impact of Chinese artwork on Chinese communities in each dynasty. She posted several blog posts about her excursions, as well as a video documenting her experiences and interviews with Chinese immigrants.
To answer the question, “How did Paul Cézanne’s life in Aix-en-Provencein uence his artwork?” Katya Drovetsky and Ilana Lurie traveled to Aix-en-Provence in France to trace Cézanne’s artistic life. Using their AP Art History and AP European History knowledge, the pair researched and completed a travel journal recording their personal experiences in the Aix-en- Provence.
Isabel Giordano and Caroline Petrow-Cohen tackled the question of what efforts Germany and its government are making to commemorate and condemn its dark past in the Holocaust by traveling to Berlin, Germany, and visiting public monu- ments, museums, and two concentration camps. Their project concluded with a final research paper exploring their findings.
Maya Huffman, hoping to continue her Japanese studies after visiting Japan last year, and Wallace Truesdale, who has been interested in Japanese media and culture for years, spent around five hours a day learning Japanese from apps and DVDs. At the end of their project, they created worksheets and exercises to help others learn Japanese.
In the process of learning to speak and write Korean at a basic level through lessons and conversations with her great aunt, Lindsey Yu compiled a fully translated English version of her great grandfather’s autobiography about the Korean War and their family history. The autobiography included anecdotes from relatives, a family tree, and images of people and places mentioned in his work.
Galvanized by the effects of Hurricane Maria on Puerto Rico and its continued struggle to recover from the storm, Sanford Ren traveled to Puerto Rico to experience the devastation firsthand. He wrote a blog, compiled a photo journal, and prepared a research paper on the economic recession plaguing Puerto Rico and proposed ways to fix it.
Technology and Mechanics
Using their knowledge of physics, computer science, and engineering, Arnav Agrawal and William Zhang constructed and programmed a 3D printer, which they used to create a working telescope. With their innovative use of cutting edge machinery, the two also managed to observe the night sky and pursued their interest in stargazing.
Namita Davey gained valuable experience working in the tech field by shadowing Marina Thottan, the Director of Network Intelligence and Control Systems at Nokia Bell Labs. She worked on projects ranging from online games to network design, all while embracing NBL’s reputation as an innovative, cross disciplinary center of computer science research.
Hoping to expand his knowledge of the tech industry and the professional world, Obi Nnaeto interned at the Google Creative Lab in New York City. Through this internship, Nnaeto observed and documented the creative process at Google, as well as the dynamics of a modern workplace.
Working under the program designer at lowMu inc., a real estate technology company, Billy Fallon and Max Sanchez aimed to centralize the communication required for a real estate transaction by programing a web application. The app’s many useful functions include an online calendar and the ability to fill out address and subject lines of emails.
Jennifer Fish and Ami Gianchandani worked towards improving the lives of Pingry students by coding a digital version of the planned absence form. By streamlining the process for both students and teachers, the pair left a legacy at Pingry as well as explored the practical uses of their computer science knowledge.
Using a motion sensing device called Microsoft Kinect, Graham Matthews programmed an interactive video game that tracks the movements of the user’s hands. In order to accomplish this, he had to learn an entirely new coding language and expand his knowledge of obscure areas of computer programming.
By taking courses online and spending time at Hanu Software, Alex Fradkin studied the connectivity of everyday objects through internet, which is generally referred to as the Internet of Things. Using what he learned, Fradkin coded a virtual reality environment that users can interact with and change.
Fulfilling “a childhood dream,” Ish McLaughlin spent his time working at the Hilltop Auto Repair in Summit and getting hands-on experience as a mechanic. In addition to performing basic service on cars, McLaughlin helped the shop harness social media as a tool to expand their customer base.
Inspired by his interest in data analysis and neurological disorders, Mitchell Pavlak conducted a study of how close a role genetic mutations play in migraines. Throughout the process, he also learned and documented the multiple algorithms required to sort and analyze the data.
Anna Wood helped to develop an app called Strive, which allows endurance athletes to maintain their health by tracking their heart rate, stride length, and other physical statistics. She also worked with Great Expectations to introduce healthy, easy recipes to women and children at the Center.
In order to investigate the impact of sports and athletes on culture and political movements, Zach Aanstoots and AJ Weaver researched both past and present examples of athletes asserting their voice in issues of equality. To supplement their research, they also visited the Studio Museum in Harlem.
Through assistant coaching both Pingry’s middle school lacrosse team and his town’s youth lacrosse team, Aidan Dillon focused on improving his leadership skills. He worked with Mr. Greg Sullivan, a Pingry teacher and lacrosse coach, to plan practices and reflect on their effectiveness afterwards.
To understand how organizations maintain a healthy business model, Michael Weber interned for the Somerset Patriots, a minor league baseball team in Bridgewater Township. He worked at the ticket office both selling tickets and answering calls from potential buyers, while also exploring how the Somerset Patriots work together to build a long-lasting, successful organization.
Hoping to learn about the life and regiments of professional athletes, Malcolm Fields shadowed Kaito Streets, a coach and student at Advance Fencing and Fitness Academy preparing for the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo. Throughout the month, he watched Streets practice both his mental and physical approach, while Fields took classes himself to improve upon his own skills.
With an interest in sports analysis, Max Scherzer interned at Rutgers University to help collect and analyze data regarding ticket sales and potential season ticket holders in order to maximize fan turnout at sporting events. Working with Mr. Ryan Gottlieb, the Associate Athletic Director for Sales Strategy and Business Intelligence at Rutgers, he documented his new found knowledge of the world of sports analytics in a daily journal.
Apurva Memani completed an internship with Vashkevich Fencing Club, where he has trained before, as an Assistant Fencing Coach. Focusing on sports management and economics, along with fundamental communication and leadership skills, he gave individual and group lessons at the club.
To continue both her interest in playing and coaching tennis, Brooke Murphy shadowed Matt Sabo, a coach for ProSmart Tennis Academy and a former professional tennis player himself. She focused on learning how to teach young players and improving her coaching techniques by helping Sabo run clinics.
Environment and the Outdoors
Exploring the fields of marketing and public relations, Giancarlo Castillo worked as an assistant in the development department at the Summit Arboretum. He spent most of his time answering to whoever needed his help in order to benefit the arboretum’s main fundraiser, ART in the garden.
In an effort to redefine the image and stereotypes of New Jersey, Colin Edwards and Jason Lefkort created a movie from footage of beautiful scenery they recorded as they biked across the state. Everyday, they biked a different trail exposing the diverse and historically significant sights they passed by.
Mitchell Flugstad-Clarke worked for a nonprofit organization named Harding Land Trust, where he explored his interest in entrepreneurship by helping HLT develop their approaches toward social media as well as improving their website design.
Meghan Salamon traveled to Yosemite National Park with her brother, Ryan, acting as her mentor. Before she left for her trip, her enthusiasm for health and nutrition led her to plan out each day’s meal to ensure their proper caloric intake. The two of them hiked all ten trails of Yosemite Valley, taking pictures and many video logs.
Inspired by their passion for the outdoors and their interest in Native American culture, Alexis Kinney and Mary Nussbaumer traveled to New Mexico to see the Anasazi ruins at Chaco Canyon. Both had backpacked at the Bears Ears National Monument last March and were determined to return and tackle the question, “How does the National Park Service protect these historic landscapes while keeping them open to the public?”.
Hoping to open their eyes to the natural beauty of Northern Jersey, Téa Simon and Shea Smith traveled to four different preserves and took photos for a visual project they presented to the rest of their peers. They hope to influence their peers to further connect their day to day lives to nature and the outdoors with their work.
Sean Tan pursued his interest in protecting the environment through working at the New Jersey Audubon, where he was able to inform the community about the importance of preserving wildlife and the repercussions that society could face if they were ignored. His work at Sherman Hoffman Wildlife Sanctuary involved tasks ranging from physical labor to data entry.
Business, Finance, and Management
Jack Schuessler pursued his interest in economics and business through an internship at Kennedy Lewis Investment Management, LLC. He studied the strategies a private credit fund uses in the real world and gained experience and understanding about his own passions along the way.
As an aspiring entrepreneur, Alexis Elliot took on the financial side of business by shadowing an established business women, Lisa Opoku. Under Opuku’s guidance, she implemented and built upon her problem-solving capabilities, all the while absorbing the ins and outs of managing a successful business.
Syd Davis expanded his knowledge of engineering, finance, and management by shadowing the President and Chief Operating Officer of Crisdel, Frank Criscola. Davis gained exposure to the various jobs and departments within the company, which he shared with the public through a blog detailing his reflections and experiences.
Jonathan Epifano, Henry Cohen, and Victor Vollbrechthausen travelled to Spain to work at Salvo Global Properties Inc. The three focused on different topics individually: Epifano centered his attention on architecture as well as financial studies; Cohen focused more on the real estate and construction aspects of the company; and Vollbrechthausen concentrated on the business side of the company.
Adam Freeman shadowed the owner at Industrial Foam Inc., where he monitored the inflows and outflows of money and learned how a small business operates. He focused particularly on the role of the owner in the business’ success and sought to understand the owner’s responsibilities and adaptation over time.
An enthusiast for community-driven events, Dhruv Govil worked at a nonprofit organization, Farnnstead Arts Inc., where he helped grow the involvement of its supporters in Basking Ridge and in the rest of the state. He proposed solutions to benefit the company’s attractions while providing fun experiences to bring the community together.
Continued at end of issue…
What Colleges Want
If I had a penny for every article or piece of advice I’ve heard about getting into college, I’d be rich enough to actually pay my college tuition.
And what I’ve gleaned from them is this: good grades and test scores are a must, supplemented by extracurriculars, leadership, and service, along with
interpersonal skills, preferably practiced on teachers who you can charm into writing great recommendations.
It’s as if everyone and their dentist agrees that these are the ingredients for an Ivy League pie—serving size: 1, best served without sleep or social life. And to be sure, there is definitely some truth to these prerequisites. But in my opinion, they’re all simply symptoms of what colleges are really looking for: passion. Passion for learning, for meaningful activities, and for connecting with and serving other people.
But the problem is, college prep becomes a kind of fake process. We start believing we need to show colleges a certain persona, even when we’re not that person at all. Colleges want extracurriculars? Sure, I’ll join Extracurricular Club. They like leadership? Let me check if Leadership Club needs help. They expect community service? I heard Community Service Club is running a fundraiser this month.
So in the process of turning passion into little boxes on a checklist, we start to think of college less as a four-year opportunity to learn and grow, and more of a “prize.” It becomes the ultimate measure of our character and careers and something that we can and should “earn.”
But if there’s anything I’ve learned this year, it’s that the system is not fair. It’s not a machine where you input your accomplishments and it spits out a college you “deserve.” Any troll with the time to browse College Confidential will realize that brilliant people—geniuses who post outstanding resumes and flawless scores—get rejected all the time.
So what’s the point of changing your character into someone fake and different when the system is flawed anyway? Why devote your time to things you may not even care about when another troll out there is doing the same things to create the same fake persona to show colleges?
In my opinion, the only way you can really win in this often zero-sum game is to actually be passionate. To find things that you really, truly love, and study and practice those instead. Love hiking? Outing Club is looking for leaders. Enjoy cartoons or astrophysics or video games? Join a club and turn it into something meaningful. In short, be real.
I am lucky enough to say that I have really, truly loved most of what I’ve done at Pingry. This school allowed me to break from my parents’ idea of college prep activities and pursue things I really enjoyed. When I quit piano after years of competition and picked up squash, they didn’t even think squash was a real sport. Squash became a source of confidence; my vegetable sport brought fitness into my life and taught me that I can push myself just as hard as everyone else. Instead of the math and Science Olympiad competitions they thought I needed to participate in, I chose journalism and feminist poetry.
However, there were also things I applied for simply because of their prestige or the pressure I felt to pursue them. One that comes to mind is iRT. Don’t get me wrong, I have grown to love the team and the big picture of our project even when I want to scream from the frustration of constant failure. But sometimes I wonder if I would have applied in the first place if I hadn’t thought that iRT was the most elite institution to join to demonstrate interest in science to colleges.
Nevermind that I hated analyzing data and troubleshooting experiments; research felt like a necessity for my college resume which, in retrospect, I had to actively choose to enjoy.
Sidenote: as many classes and clubs Pingry offered me, it gave me tenfold in faculty support. A huge factor in developing my appreciation for science research (alongside other passions) was Dr. Kirkhart. Besides keeping the Ladies of the Lateral Line on track, she discusses books about feminism with me and reminds me that life exists beyond high school. Listen up: your teachers are so much more than a grade-arbiter or a rec letter. They are your friends, and they will ground you in the tumultuous journey of high school.
Making the decision to actively love what I did made me ultimately so much happier. Some of the most rewarding and defining experiences of my life have come out of things that were not planned for “success”; those CP talks with teachers and a casual rant turned Lebow speech are just a few that come to mind. When you choose to actively, earnestly give your all to something you care about, suddenly life is not just about getting into college anymore. It’s meaningful. It’s fun. It’s good.
We worry about how colleges perceive us, but if we are truly what we say we are, then I doubt our characters will get lost in translation. Ultimately, this concept stretches far beyond college admissions—to meeting people, making friends, and forming real relationships—because college is such a short blip in the timeline in your life. Be a real person. Don’t fake love, but feel it—deeply, generously, with an open mind and ready heart. Why go through life trying to create a different image of yourself when you can make the real thing so much better? n.
– Rachel Chen
Embrace the “Weird” and “Unexpected”?
by Shruti Sagar (VI)
A couple weeks ago, we had our final peer group meeting, and hidden in between a few different side conversations, I heard one of my peer groupies quietly ask how bad junior year really is. I started to talk to him about junior year a bit, and eventually all the side conversations died down and the whole group started to listen. I crave order more than anyone else I know, so I couldn’t just explain junior year without giving them my perspective on the rest of high school. I did just that—I sat down for around twenty minutes and took eight freshmen through my high school experience. I let myself be extremely vulnerable, which is probably why I remember none of what I said, except for what I said about senior year. I told them that above everything else, senior year is the year you realize things.
I think high school is one of the strangest concepts in the world. You enter as a scrawny but bright-eyed fourteen-year-old and you graduate as an adult, and the amount of experiences, opportunities, memories, and failures that happen in between those two milestones are so much more concentrated than those that people have prior to life before their first day of high school. Movies and TV shows paint high school as some sort of a quintessential coming-of-age experience full of drama, locker decorations, football games, and boring classes. The problem with that depiction is that a typical high school experience doesn’t actually exist. These fictional adaptations often forget to include the long nights where you can hardly keep your eyes open, the moments that you think are going to break you, or the unexplainable weight that comes from carrying constant stress. In other words, stereotypes of the high school experience often forget about the hardships because it makes the experience sound less frightening and more enticing, but I have realized that it is out of difficult times that a person grows, and how a person handles hardship says more about their character than any big win, good grade, or prom date ever could.
Pingry can be the worst sometimes. The rigorous environment we create for each other results in so many of these hardships in the first place because so many of us think that we need to be on top in every sense of the word—that we need to create that nonexistent “high school experience” for ourselves. For me, the college process was such a slap in the face because it made me realize how much is out of our control and that “normal” truly does not exist. So many Pingry students, myself included, push ourselves to beyond our maximum because we believe that every failure or success we experience is our responsibility, when in reality, it’s all just a part of life.
I mean it when I say that I’m nothing but grateful I didn’t get into the college I applied to early. Sure, it meant months of waiting, agonizing, and hoping, but more than all that, it made me step back, look at the bigger picture, and recognize that if being deferred from an incredible school was something to cry about, then my life is nothing but a blessing. It made me realize that when all is said and done, when I’m going through the motions of my freshman year of college, I’m not going to remember the statistics of the schools I applied to or the results I got from each, but rather the people who stood by my side—the ones who listened to me for hours and the ones that I listened to for hours. I became close this year with incredible people for several reasons, and a big one was because I didn’t get into college. I learned to check in on others, to put situations into perspective, and most importantly, to recognize that my life isn’t supposed to be a movie. We’re going to mess up, or life is going to mess us up, but it is how we emerge from these situations, and more importantly, how we support our peers and help others stay afloat that speaks to the way we carry ourselves.
Now that I’ve ended a paragraph I started with “Pingry can be the worst,” I think it’s only fair I address how this school has shaped my character and influenced me for the better. In the first few lines of Jack Garratt’s song “Surprise Yourself,” he sings: “Speak and open up your mind/It’s something you should do all the time/Keep exploring, seek and find/You know you might surprise yourself.” I promised myself I would try not to be tacky, but here I am quoting song lyrics, so I think I’ll just keep going with that theme.
Like I said before, I openly think high school is the weirdest concept ever, and I will never understand it. I always tell people that I don’t necessarily think high school is the place I am meant to “thrive,” but at the same time, I’m incredibly grateful for Pingry and all the opportunities and experiences that came with it. I’ll miss it so much because of the little things. I’ll miss the fact that I’ve slept in a tent on Pingry’s campus multiple times, that teachers want to have genuine conversations about things that actually matter and don’t discount your opinion, and that I can walk anywhere in the school at any time and find someone who wants to have a conversation. I’ll miss the field hockey team, peer leadership, and my IRT group—all groups of people brought together by common interests yet bonded together by so much more than just an extracurricular.
I encourage any underclassmen reading this to think about the lyrics I quoted above. The little things that make me love Pingry so much became such big parts of my life, but that wouldn’t have been possible if I didn’t learn to approach conversations with an open mind, get to know as many people as I can, and most importantly, listen to what other people have to say. I’ve realized that by doing so, I have, in fact, surprised myself—and I know this because, again, senior year is the year you realize things.
Taking the Leap into the Unknown
by Owen Wolfson (VI)
About a month and a half ago, I was on a PSPA panel. One of the questions asked was focused on how to further integrate students into the community, and how to make them feel fully included in Pingry life. After Mr. Conard listed off community events that aimed to bring everyone together, he passed the question off to me in order to gain a student’s perspective. The first phrase that jumped into my head was something everyone has probably heard during their college process: “It is what you make of it.”
I had heard this from college counselors, teachers, peers, parents, and just about anyone else who has been involved in my life, and it allowed me to see that whatever college I chose, my experience is truly what I decide it will be. However, I had never really thought of it in the context of my time at Pingry. When this jumped into my head during the panel, I dismissed it at first, only to come back to it and realize its truth.
That truth is that Pingry is a special place, and I think we, hopefully, all see that. But Pingry can only be so special on its own; it evolves into amazing when every opportunity and resource is taken advantage of, like when a genius math student takes the leap into photography and a star lacrosse player joins the Buttondowns.
Personally, I realize that a lot of my defining experiences here have been so important to me because I have taken that leap and have embraced Pingry in all its specialness. One of my greatest experiences, my time on the soccer team, would not have happened without that leap into the unknown. While high school soccer may have been a natural progression for me, I can look at some of my fellow senior teammates and know that without the perfect combination of ambition and blind faith, high school would have been a completely different experience for them. I can look at the field hockey seniors, the drama cast, or the Photo classes, and see the same lesson mirrored throughout all these vastly different groups. Every single one of these people’s lives would have been different had it not been for some sort of step they took. They embraced the uniqueness and greatness of Pingry and allowed it to create a life-long, life-changing experience for them.
The cheesiness of what I just said was perfect for that stage and that panel, but some of you might be scoffing and thinking, “Tell me something I don’t know.” To that I would say, I hope you don’t know all of this already. I hope you aren’t reading this and already looking at the title of the next reflection because you already know exactly what I am talking about. I say this because if you know all of this already, then you are done with high school. I truly hope the only people that can empathize with these things are my fellow seniors, because if you aren’t a member of the Class of 2018 and you think you already know what I am talking about, then you are both wrong and doing something wrong.
If you are able to see all of this without having even entered your senior year yet, then I contest that you have failed at living by what I said above: you have not truly made Pingry all that it can be for you. I feel I can say this with confidence because the only reason I realize all these things is because my time at Pingry is now over. Now that my time as a proud Pingry School lifer has come to a close, I feel as if I have gained an understanding of the true power of being a Pingry graduate, and I know that for those who don’t see it now, they will see it five years down the road, when they are trying to get a job and their Pingry diploma is what gets them an interview. Or ten years down the road when they are wearing a Pingry hat in some exotic place and they meet a fellow alum. I know Pingry has provided me with a solid foundation for a great future, but I also know that I will treasure Pingry much more for the invaluable experiences and memories that I will carry with me for the rest of my life. All of these thoughts have come in reflection, and the weight of them has only truly struck me because I am now able to look back at Pingry, and not around at Pingry. That is one of many things that makes saying goodbye so sad—that my fullest and deepest gratitude and appreciation for this school has only come in hindsight.
Lastly, to the Class of 2018, I would just like to say thank you. Whether you know it or not, you have done more for me than I could ever tell you, and so much more than I could ever thank you for. I know you are all going to amazing things in your life. I could say a lot more in this time, but since I started this reflection talking about greatness and passion, I figure why not close on the same theme. I have always loved this Pat Tillman quote, and feel that it perfectly encapsulates my, and Pat Tillman’s, message for the future: “Passion makes life interesting, ignites our soul, fuels our love, carries our friendship, stimulates our intellect, and pushes our limits.”
February 1st: A Day in the Journal
by Jenny Coyne (VI)
This year I started journaling. Every night, after I finished up my WebAssign problem sets, English poetry journals, and French causettes, I would crawl into my bed and begin my nightly reflection. My journal was not littered with earth shattering insights or existential truths. It was not filled with the emotional toil of a teenage girl living in the suburbs. It was not a collection of doodles. So, what was it? What did I commit myself to writing?
Every night, I wrote strictly pragmatic reflections that described my daily actions; sometimes, the opening lines became rather tedious. Here a collection of my best: “Wow, I hate Church” (sorry Mom and Dad!), “What a day. It was Tuesday, but felt like a Monday” (how insightful, Jenny.), “Today was my first water main day!” (remember that?). The following pages of handwritten paragraphs document my day, describing classes, free times, sports practices, and homework.
I began writing with the intention of reading my journal in the future, jumping back in time to any specific day and being able to relive it in memory. As I was writing, this seemed like a far-off and distant goal. Spending time every night to record what seemed like the basic motions of everyday life was hard to do. However, now I have one of the first chances to reap the benefits of my strictly pragmatic journal. I want to share my journal entry from one of my favorite days of senior year: February 1, 2018.
TODAY WAS MY JOURNAL CLUB PRESENTATION! I woke up at 5:55 AM because I wanted to get to school at 7:00 for a 7:25 start. So, I showered, put on my outfit, and ate breakfast with Mom. In my new business look, I felt like a put together boss lady. I got to school at seven and made some last-minute adjustments to my slides (I actually changed the entire group delay dispersion section). Then I went down to the lab to get a beaker for the bent pencil refraction example. When I got back up to the faculty lounge at 7:05 for a 7:25 start, the room was locked, and there was no journal club member in sight. Finally, a member of the kitchen staff came in, and I started rearranging the furniture. Too bad that wasn’t done earlier!
As 7:25 approached, people started to trickle in, and guess who was the first to arrive? Jamie! With minty mint tea! BOI! A lot of my other friends came too: Josie, Shruti, Alexis, Sana, Clyde, Helen and Kevin Ma, Kassidy, Naiyah, and more! It was so cool to have so many of my friends there to support me. Wow, I love Pingry. I really wanted people to come, but I didn’t want to seem self-important. The presentation itself went well. I started out with an Oprah meme and diffraction grating glasses. Then we talked about light as a wave, reflection and refraction, and finally the paper itself: “A broadband achromatic metalens for focusing and imaging in the visible.” My presentation was just about 30 minutes long, a little too long, but I had fun! I was so touched that so many of my friends came (and brought my favorite tea!).
After the presentation I was floating on a high. Mom, Dad, and I went out to Starbucks for breakfast. We saw Mrs. Simon, mother of Alli Simon, and we talked about Handbells. At school, I had physics, Chinese, and math, along with a credit union meeting, iRT, and practice. A long but super fun day!
Because I loved presenting at Journal Club so much, I think that I might want to be a professor when I grow up. So now, I have three things: work at NASA, be an architect, and be a professor!
There are a couple of conclusions that I can draw from this entry, most of which are fairly obvious and you, as a reader, probably expect to see in a senior reflection. 1) At Pingry, I fostered amazing friendships that grew into real networks of support. 2) Clubs at Pingry, like Journal Club, give us all opportunities to deeply explore our interests and share our findings with others. 3) Starbucks is literally a breeding ground for Pingry connections. Talking to Mrs. Simon about Handbells was a highlight of my day!
To me, this journal entry reveals something much bigger. This journal entry was just another day in my life. When I was rereading this entry, I was shocked by the tone of normalcy. Besides the capitalized introductory sentence “TODAY WAS MY JOURNAL CLUB PRESENTATION.” and the “Wow, I love Pingry,” nothing in the entry communicated anything extraordinary. I never once said “This was an amazing day.” To me, presenting on premier scientific literature at 7:30, going out to breakfast with my parents, attending classes, meetings, and swim practice constituted a standard day. Looking back on it, February 1, 2018 would be considered an amazing day under nearly any circumstances other than my Pingry student perspective. It was a day that I decided academia could be a career, a day in which I was able to spend time with my parents, and a day in which friends loved and supported me, but to me it was a day that was filled with what seemed to be normalcy.
At Pingry, the extraordinary experiences are so often that they appear normal and average. In what universe does a seventeen-year-old hustle from optical physics to millennium handbells to the financial world to cancer mutation to swim practice? At Pingry, you can do it all, and it seems normal. However, on February 1, 2018, I groaned as I sat in bed and dreaded writing my entry for the day. I did not consider that day to be particularly extraordinary, and I even questioned if anything noteworthy had actually happened. Today, I know the answer. It is only with the perspective of time—and those seemingly tedious and dumb journal entries—that I have been able to appreciate the extraordinarily ordinary life that Pingry gave me.
Strength in Numbers: The Empowering Pingry Experience
by Alexis Elliot (VI)
On my first day of kindergarten, in 2005, as I walked up the mini ramp towards the Lower School gym, I was beaming with excitement. Our entire grade would be together for gym class. As we all changed out of our school shoes and put on our sneakers, our gym teacher Mr. Lafontaine’s voice boomed in the tiny gym. Within a matter of five minutes, I was instructed to “Squad 2,” and our grade was divided up into several unique “squads.” I felt so ready to take on the entire year with a group of people I did not yet know. The main purpose of our squads was to assign places for us to change our shoes and provide a main group to compete with in gym activities and obstacle courses. Looking back, little did we know that the idea of having a “squad” to take on obstacles and challenges would be the theme of the next 12 years we were about to embark on.
Whenever I give a tour or sit on a panel and someone asks, “How would you describe Pingry in one word?”, my immediate answer is always, “empowering.” Each person at Pingry finds a way to overcome challenges and obstacles in every way possible. My journey to being a senior and finishing out my Pingry career has been filled with challenges. Whether it was learning a difficult math concept, finding a way to work on a team project, or preparing for soccer preseason, nothing has come easy. But I am grateful that these challenges made me who I am today. And I am grateful that I had support from so many different places. One thing I love about Pingry is that we all lean on each other for support. Yes, individual growth is encouraged, but Pingry taught me that success feels so much better when it is shared with other people. My first glimpse into this truth was Lower School Field Day. As I dressed in all white for the White team and prepared to compete against the Blue team, I was always excited to see my team win. While there were many individual competitions, everyone got the most excited when their team came one step closer to victory.
As I entered high school, this support was evident on any sports team I played on or club I participated in. When I was a finalist in the Warren Buffett competition, the outpouring of encouragement and support that I received from my friends and teachers was so empowering. Everyone was excited to cheer me on, and it made me proud to represent Pingry as not only my school, but also as my family. Or when I ran down the soccer field, and my classmates would scream at the top of their lungs and cheer me on when I got the ball. Or on our Peer Leadership retreat when we all supported each other during the intense boundary breaking activities.
Navigating Pingry, and especially high school, has not been easy. There were definitely days when I wished it would just be over and I could get a break from the stress and fast pace. But at those times, I remembered the community I was in and the support I had around me. Some of the best feelings would be walking down to the senior area and getting a big hug from one of my friends. Or when we’d just laugh so hard on the senior couches. Realizing how many close friends I’ve made over the years and the memories we created makes saying goodbye bittersweet.
I am also so grateful for all of the cool experiences and memories. I’ll never forget our trip to the Met in fifth grade or our middle school trips to DC and Philly. And I will always cherish the memories from our epic Spain trip sophomore year and our soccer trip to Italy senior year. Although my high school career is ending, I will always have memories like these to hold onto forever.
With all of these amazing experiences, people, and lessons, the main lesson I would say is to take advantage of the opportunities that Pingry provides. School is really what you make out of it, so try and capitalize on anything that interests you. I never thought I would start to play basketball as a senior, but it ended up being one of the highlights of my high school career. It sounds cliché, but don’t do an activity because you think you should do it or everyone else is doing it. Find things that make you happy even if you aren’t necessarily great at them. And my other piece of advice would be to always try and make yourself available for other people.
It’s easy to fall into an individual mindset, but take time to branch out and make friends or check in on other people. Good relationships are so priceless!
I would like to thank everyone who made my Pingry experience so great and helped me along the journey. Thank you, Dr. Artis, who not only was an amazing advisor, but also was like a second mother to me during these past 13 years. And thank you to the wonderful teachers and supporters I had along the way: Dr. Pearlman, Ms. Martin, Mr. Nazario, Mr. Keating, Coach Lauren, and Mr. Lear. And thank you to people outside of school including Professor Fraser, my friends, church, and my family (especially my mom). Thank you Mom for always encouraging me every step of the way, and for being my #1 cheerleader. I could not have done it without the support of those around me, and I will be forever grateful to you all.
Editorial: The Bright Side of an Accident
Since perhaps as early as the beginning of the year, I have been thinking about what to write for my last editorial. There are so many things I would want to say about my time here at Pingry that it became impossible to choose one aspect that could fathomably capture it all. Ultimately, I decided to simply share the following excerpts from an exchange between myself and Mr. Keating—not necessarily to showcase its content, per se (though it still might prove applicable nonetheless), but more so because I believe it highlights the most essential and valuable aspect of the Pingry experience: the meaningful relationships developed between students and teachers.
From my final journal for Mr. Keating’s freedom class, dated May 2, 2018:
“Going into college, I can’t help but feel a sort of dread of what’s to come. It’s like I’ve jumped out of one high-pressure cooker to land into another, and I honestly don’t know if I’m mentally fit to last. Somehow, this kismet of mine feels both like a blessing and a curse—a curse in the sense that I feel like I’ve ushered myself down a path that is only going to make it harder and harder for me to come to terms with myself and be happy. As long as I walk down this path, it is going to be a matter of another challenge to surmount, another person to compete against, all of it a desperate and lonely claw to the top in search of the elusive validation of academic success. Is that what my whole life is going to be, my fate and my happiness never within my own reach?
… When I first read over the final journal prompt, my initial reaction was, ‘Of course, I can find equilibrium and contentment. Of course, I can succeed where Chris McCandless failed and be satisfied with the outcome of my life.’ But now that I’ve reflected on it a bit, I realize that I’m not so sure. Over the course of the past thirteen years, I’ve given so much of myself to a system that now it’s hard to delineate where the influence of the system ends and my genuine self begins. I can’t help but wonder if all I’ll ever think of myself and my life as is a list of accomplishments that can never reach a length I’ll be satisfied with. How can I be happy like that?
Going forward, I think I have some real work to do when it comes to analyzing what I enjoy doing and what makes me truly happy. I think the first step I plan on taking is removing the emphasis I’ve placed on school for the past how-many-years of my life. During the summer transitioning between high school and college, I hope to be able to explore many of the things that I’d like to try that I haven’t had the chance to fully enjoy in-depth before.
… But before then and even after the summer passes, I hope to be able to focus more on the people in my life and who will come into my life in the future. I really do think it’s true that ‘happiness [is] only real when shared,’ and by putting more effort into the relationships I have with the people around me, I think it’ll help to take a load off the exhausting and lonely burden of existing. I never asked to be born into this world, but at the end of the day, neither did anybody else, and we’re all here to make the best of it. And I’m sure, wherever happiness decides to fly on elusive wings, we’ll be better able to find it together than alone.”
From Mr. Keating’s response to my final freedom journal, dated May 12, 2018:
“You’re right: we do not ask for the life we are born into (Sophocles actually said that the greatest boon may be never to have been born at all), but we are given the chance to make the most of it we can, and that possibility, a blank page or canvas, a bare stage, a college acceptance, draws from us the resolve to muster all we can from who we are, and I simply cannot imagine that your chance will end in self-defeat and disappointment.
I have read and heard countless stories of people who struggled through adolescence only to find themselves as adults. Oscar Wilde called his formative years ‘vaguely detestable’ and he became a celebrated playwright, novelist, and aesthete. Come to think of it, that’s a terrible example because Wilde ended up disgraced and imprisoned, but I think you know what I mean. I grew up with plenty of encouragement from my folks, but when I told them I wanted to be a high school English teacher, they told me I should teach at the college level; I was settling for less, they said, and not tapping my full potential. This criticism went on for years, even as I became a good teacher and got recognized for it by just about everyone except my parents. But they did come around eventually, and when I won a yearbook dedication in 1994, they threw me a big party. And when my mom died three years later, the very last thing she said to me was how proud she was that I had become a teacher. That was sixteen years after I began my career, which is a long time, but it meant the world to me, and I am still inspired by it to be the best teacher I can be.
It may take a while, Megan, but you will find yourself and gain your freedom. And it is my sincere hope that in ten years, or sooner, you will return, a simultaneous translator, a banker, a veterinarian, or whatever, and share your good fortune with your old (as in former) teacher. Nothing would please me more.”
With this final sendoff, I would like to thank you all for having known me and supported me throughout the past four years. Undoubtedly, it was the people that came into my life that made my time at Pingry worth it, and the experiences I’ve had at this school, particularly the people in it, are not ones that I would trade for any other. I wish you all the greatest happiness in your lives, and it is my hope that our paths will one day cross again.
– Megan Pan (VI)
Learning to be Flexible
by Ethan Chung (VI)
Throughout high school, I have often found myself struggling to find a balance between these two opposite tenets: “College is everything” and “Friendship is the most valuable thing in life.” I have sat through countless speeches delivered by my imperious grandmother, telling me to stop spending so much time with friends and start focusing on SATs. Alternatively, I’ve heard the opposite advice from my younger relatives to always make time for friends and never miss out on the opportunity to have fun. They’ve told me that I won’t even remember my struggles in Honors Physics, but I will remember the fun times as lasting memories.
I’ve spent so many restless hour-long bus rides to and from school making mental pros and cons lists on my imaginary yellow legal pad, debating which path to follow. Sometimes I lean towards the college-centered mentality because I’ll picture our class reunions and think that the only thing people will remember is your name and what college you went to. As seniors are about to graduate, we have to face the hard truth that we will be parting ways with so many of our friends. But just because we aren’t able to hold on to these relationships doesn’t mean that they weren’t vital to our high school experience or that these relationships are gone forever.
Finding the balance between college and friendship that was right for me took me nearly all of high school. And the best advice that I can offer underclassmen at this school is not what my combination was but rather that you should approach high school with a flexible mindset. I know that seems like a non-answer on par with Mr. Ross’s explanation for why Senior Prank Day is now illegal, but really the best attitude any Pingry high schooler can have is one that is curious and willing to accept change.
Don’t expect anything to be rigid and guaranteed. I used to be stuck in this awful mindset that if I participated in this activity or won this award, it would mean that I was guaranteed this other prize. I used to think college acceptance was a formula, and if I followed the steps, I would achieve my goal. But I realized that having that mindset is the absolute wrong way to approach life. Another terrible habit of mine was that I would judge people based solely on their accomplishments. Realize that you are more than a résumé!
However, at the same time, I’m not going to say that you underclassmen should feel bad about worrying about grades and extracurriculars. Instead, I will tell you that your classes and extracurriculars, for the most part, should be enjoyable. That same cliché career advice to do what you love is so applicable in terms of what you’re learning and what you’re doing outside of the classroom.
I was lucky enough to have found my passion for music before high school, and my love for music led me to so many wonderful opportunities to develop myself as a musician, travel overseas, and become friends with amazing people through concerts and orchestras. While I was exposed to a rich network of music-related opportunities and talented friends outside of school, in school, I noticed a clear lack of resources and interest for music.
I had to rely on myself and the few musically gifted Pingry students to help bring our interest in music to our school, which, to paraphrase from this year’s valedictorian, is just a bit heavily sports-centered. I have so many fond memories on the stage in Hauser. I’ll never forget playing “Let it Go” and “Smooth Criminal” in front of my peers, who returned the favor with so much enthusiasm and many cheers. I still remember playing on that stage for my benefit concert; I was so nervous until I saw how many of my amazing teachers and friends actually came to watch me play classical music on a school night.
My point is Pingry may not have everything that suits your interests, so you may have to rely on yourself to spread your influence to Pingry. There’s always a new club that could be introduced or a new program that you can help Pingry explore. Also, remember that this community of peers and teachers is comprised of some of your biggest fans and the closest friends you will ever have.
I know that Pingry isn’t perfect. The pierogi sometimes remain frozen, and the tofu is cooked in some highly questionable ways. And the administration can be frustrating, too. But the incredible teachers and friends you meet make this experience unforgettable.
Listening to Unlock Pingry
by Ouarida Benatia (VI)
I showed up to my first day at Pingry in the September of 6th grade wearing the preppiest outfit I could think of: khaki shorts, a pastel orange shirt, and tennis shoes. I had gone to a Newark public school for my entire life up until then, and choosing my own clothes was a stark difference from the daily uniform I was accustomed to. Although I was still technically out of dress code, I remember feeling so lucky that I could wear anything I wanted to.
I had missed my bus so I was very late to my first class, which was Spanish with Sra. Lawrence. When I stepped inside Pingry, I was greeted by Ms. Egan, who knew my name and how to help and immediately stepped into action. She was a comforting source of warmth and I knew I had someone to fall back on then, which was reassuring.
When I stepped into class half an hour late, clearly out of dress code, and dripping from the pouring rain, I could feel all eyes on me. It dawned on me that I knew no one and this was everyone’s first impression of me. I tried to make a friend. I introduced myself to the person sitting next to me and reached out for a handshake, but my hand was so wet from the rain that they slowly retracted theirs. I can laugh about this now, but at the time, I deemed it one of the top 5 worst moments of my life. I began to wonder if I would ever fit into this foreign environment, and closed myself off from new interactions for a long time.
As the day progressed, I made many visits to Ms. Egan’s desk, asking her a wide range of questions to try to get the run-down on Pingry. She answered each question clearly and thoroughly, and assured me that I would get the hang of things soon enough.
Ms. Egan was right, and eventually I could focus on all the great things Pingry had to offer. These discoveries were admittedly surface level at first; they were all things you could find out on the Pingry website, such as the wide range of clubs we had or the fantastic help we got from our teachers or how fun our overnight trips were.
I also remember being so shocked at the diversity of food options at lunch, as I had eaten a peanut butter and jelly sandwich with a side of boxed chocolate milk every day for the past 6 years. I wish I had kept that gratefulness with me throughout my entire Pingry experience, because it was easy to lose sight of how lucky I was, as these privileges became the norm.
Throughout my middle school years, I would occasionally get detentions for things I can’t recall, and I would have to sit on the couch next to Ms. Egan’s desk. These detentions were where I actually discovered the most valuable thing Pingry has to offer. It was something you can’t just look up, but instead have to experience yourself.
The rule of detention is that you sit quietly and reflect on whatever it is that you did. Instead, I would chat away with Ms. Egan and anyone that walked into the office. I would ask about her personal life, and she would answer my questions, always followed by, “but Ouarida, I really shouldn’t be talking to you.” I realized through those detention talks with her and others that everyone is so much more complex than they seem — especially the people at Pingry.
Every single person has a lifetime of wisdom and experiences to share. As soon as I realized this, I began talking to everyone I saw, including teachers, students, maintenance workers, photographers, cooks, and the parents at the bookstore. And I got to learn so much about everyone. I gained a wealth of knowledge through small, unexpected moments of interaction in my days, and although they all started off as small talk, they are the moments I cherish most.
When asking Mr. Chilmonik how to pronounce his name while getting coffee one morning, he presented to me a thrilling history of the origin of names, 1920’s alcohol laws, and how his family tied into that.
When asking Ms. Easter about why she always responds “I’m blessed” to a “How are you,” she opened up to me about the setbacks she’s had in her life and how lucky she feels to be where she is now.
When waiting for another teacher during conference period, Ms. Torres and I shared the similarities and feats/frustrations of claiming two different countries as home in a relaxed but meaningful conversation.
I often hear people talking about how the assembly speakers we have at Pingry open their eyes to struggles they had never considered and stories they overlooked. Those speakers truly are extraordinary and I personally find myself moved by every speech I see. But you don’t have to wait for those special arranged moments to learn from the lives of others. I’ve come to understand that one of the best things about Pingry is that you can enhance your life at any time through the smallest ways. Something as simple as getting to know the person you smile at in the halls everyday can change the path of your life for the better.
Everyone at Pingry has an amazing story to share, and I am confident of that. It is up to us individually to seek those stories and take advantage of the wisdom in our community. It’s a type of education you have to facilitate yourself, and I think that it is also the most rewarding.
A “Whirlwind Year”: Student Body President Michael Weber Reflects
by Michael Weber (VI)
Wow… it’s over. One whirlwind year as Student Body President and four total years on Student Government, all done as of two weeks ago. The more time I’ve had to reflect on the past year in particular, the more I’ve come to appreciate just how fantastic it was. I’ve made many speeches to various groups, sat in on Board of Trustees meetings, and most importantly, collaborated with students in both the Middle and Upper School. My favorite part about the job was interacting with so many different people in the Pingry community, because it highlighted just how incredible the people in this very community are. Here are just a few examples to demonstrate just how unique Pingry is in being such a close community.
You have to form a relationship with your teachers. You see each other almost everyday for nine months, making it impossible to not have at least some type of relationship (the nature of which I can’t assume). This student-teacher dynamic, at its most fundamental level, is not unique to Pingry, although the strength of it is. What is special about Pingry is just how many teachers you will form lasting relationships with who never actually taught you. We all have at least a handful of adults scattered throughout the school who we never interacted with in an academic, athletic, or art setting with whom we are still friendly. For me, Mr. Burns, Mr. Coe, and Mr. Keating stand out as just three of the many teachers who never actually taught me but still interact with me as if we’ve been in class together for four years. It is easy for teachers to completely ignore students they’ve never had in class, because those students aren’t part of their job description. But at Pingry, teachers usually don’t make anything easy for themselves. They go out of their way to know most of the students, having taught them or not, and be cordial to everyone who they see in the halls. That is a testament to the kind of human beings that comprise our faculty.
Another element of Pingry that I’ve taken great pride in over my thirteen years as a student here is the Honor Code. The Honor Code is written, but its effects are felt far past the borders of the 8x10 piece of paper we sign at the beginning of each year. The Honor Code is why the Middle School can have no locks on lockers. It is why students can forget a laptop in their respective area in the high school and return confidently the next morning knowing it will be exactly where they left it. It is why a teacher can leave the room in the middle of an assessment. These are all things we take for granted because it is so ingrained in us as members of the community, but these things are not normal; they are unique to our community. The presence of the Honor Code is stitched into our moral fabric. I can’t tell you exact sentences or phrases written in its original document, but I can tell you that the thought of cheating on an assessment has never even crossed my mind, thanks to its constant, looming presence. For me, it was not because I was afraid of getting in trouble with the administration if I had violated the Honor Code. It was because I was afraid of violating the almost one hundred years of the Code, as well as the thousands of students before me that abided by that Code that strings generations of Pingry students together.
Most unique about the Pingry School is, of course, the students. At Pingry you have an all-star golf player who is an excellent student and is also on the very successful robotics team (Ami Gianchandani). You have an actor, Politics club president, and a member of the Glee Club (Calvary Dominique). You have a softball player, captain, and student government representative (Maddie Parrish). I could go on with 135 other seniors and their various impressive titles and achievements, and that is great. But what is truly different about Pingry students is their humility and grace. If a stranger walks into the school and begins to interact with the students, that person would never guess just how accomplished each of the students he or she is interacting with are. And the best part is, we are all always hungry for more. Ami, Cal, and Maddie, I’m sure, are happy with the many accomplishments they have accrued in high school, but they are in no way content. The same can be said for every other student in the school, and the success is contagious.
I consider myself extremely lucky to be around such talented, caring, and incredible people over the past thirteen years. Everything starts at home and with the family unit, but the Pingry community has been a close second in the formation of the person I am today.
It has been an honor getting to know all of you, and I look forward to seeing all the great that is done by the class of 2018 and beyond. I don’t know when, how, or under what circumstances, but we will meet again, and I know it will be just as if we never left. God Bless.
Congratulations New Student Government Representatives!
Summer Never Looked So Good
by Kristine Fu (V)
This past winter had such unpredictable weather changes that we were left confused as to whether we should grab our snowcoats or umbrellas. After what seemed to be an interminable winter, temperatures have finally started to rise. Spring fashion at Pingry is typically marked by the onset of floral dresses, pastel colored skirts, and Lilly Pulitzer, but this spring, try something new! Culottes and trousers are in high demand this season for their versatility and comfort. Culottes are a type of pants that resemble a skirt. Less restrictive than black jeans, culottes have the same “flowy” feel as a skirt. Culottes comes in an assortment of styles: denim print, stripes, linen, and more. Many women’s trousers have a flared hem and some are more restrictive at the ankles. Another style of pants worth trying is Bermuda shorts. Despite its stereotype of being tourist clothing, Bermuda shorts have been reimagined. These shorts have a distinctive summer feel and come in a variety of prints, ranging from Hawaiian to gingham.
Here are some summer essentials:
- The denim jacket can be paired with any dress or top. To make it unique, choose different styles like acid wash, distressed, cross ribbon detail or even personalized.
- Since the so-called fashion rule mandates “No white after labor day,” take advantage of the summertime to wear white jeans with every outfit.
- Sunglasses are not only essential to your wardrobe but also to your health! Protect your eyes in style by trying on classic Ray-ban aviators or even the ever-popular clout goggles.
In footwear, there are so many exciting new styles to try. Of course, Pingry footwear essentials include Sperry Topsiders, Birkenstocks, and Jack Rogers sandals.
Keep the following styles on your radar as well:
- Mules are a style of shoes that have no back or constraints around the foot’s heel.
- Slingback pumps are characterized by a strap that crosses behind the heel or ankle. These heels have a retro flair. Their 1-2 inch heels make them great for daily wear.
- Espadrilles are marked by soles made of braided cord. They go well with any preppy outfit.
- Slides have gotten a makeover this season. They can come with a variety of details: bejeweled, pearl detail, metallic, fringed etc.
- Platform sandals give you an extra 2-3 inches in height and can be the perfect fit to any summer outfit.
- Platform derby shoes are my current favorite shoes for its durability and polished style.
Dear White People Offers Comedy and Criticism
by Alexis Elliot (VI)
Netflix boasts many originals and blockbusters. In the case of shows like Black Mirror and Narcos, viewers are given a taste of what they are about to watch, obviously, from the show or movie title. However, the show Dear White People is interestingly one of the few misnomers on the network. Dear White People is based on a 2014 film of the same name, both written by Justin Simien. Season two of the show was released on May 4. With the buzz that the show got due to its misleading title and its satirical plotline, I knew I had to recap season one.
Dear White People focuses on the main character Sam, a black college student who runs a radio hotline called “Dear White People” at a predominantly white and extremely competitive fictional college called Winchester. The creation and name of her radio station receives a lot of backlash from the white students of the college. However, Simien uses Sam to address the show’s misnomer by explaining that although the radio station (and show) is addressed to white people, it is mainly focused on black people and doesn’t hesitate to criticize the black community.
Further, Simien makes each episode of Dear White People based around a different black member of the college. First there’s Sam, the headstrong activist on campus, who feels guilty about dating a white person. Then there is Lionel, an avid writer for the school newspaper who struggles to embrace his identity. There’s also Coco who comes from South Side, Chicago, but feels entitled when she is around the black community. This wide range of characters makes up the small percentage of blacks at the college. They allow Sam to use her platform to fight for and, at times, criticize her own people.
In the original movie, the main issue that Sam was broadcasting against was a “black face” party hosted by one of the notorious frats called “Pastiche.” While the party was shut down by the cops, Sam was taken aback by the fact that some members of the black community actually dressed up to attend the event. Season one of Dear White People tackles the unrest at Winchester; the non-colored students feel as though there is a “war” being waged by the colored people. For this reason, one of the donors offers to shut down a historically black house at the college and replace it with a mixed house. When students find out about it, the reaction is just as fiery as the one against blackface.
Season two leaves viewers wondering whether or not the black community will be forever rocked by the potential loss of a meaningful sanctuary for them. They have to face the fact that despite their differences and internal issues, they must band together in order to survive.
Dear White People is a show that will keep you laughing and doesn’t demand too much of your attention. The episodes are short and there are only ten in season one and eight in season two. I found myself laughing at the satire that all students, regardless of background, can somehow relate to.
The one criticism I’ve heard about the show, and I slightly agree with, is that the generalizations for the satire were overworked. The “types” of social groups at the college (based on race) seemed too cliché for some viewers. However, I think the show does a great job of explaining an aspect of college that many tend to overlook, while serving up some humor at the same time.
Iconic Summer Breakup Bops
by Alison Verdesca (VI)
Spring is my least favorite season. Allergies get worse and schedules get busier. What’s more, the weather has not been very cooperative in keeping me going throughout the school year. Especially with senioritis sinking in, I am finding it hard to stay on task. My main coping mechanism for these feelings has been music, and more specifically, breakup music. In my opinion, there is no song more relatable than a breakup song. Even if you haven’t been dumped (or dumped someone else), everyone can understand the sting of heartbreak. While not all of these songs are about the end of relationships, they are perfect if you’re ready to break up with the school year and move on to the bigger, better things that the summer will bring. So grab some earbuds and get ready to rock!
The first song on this list is “The Greatest” by Sia. Recently, I have been listening to many pop musicians and getting reacquainted with a more traditional pop sound. Sia’s “The Greatest” is the perfect earworm to get you through these last few draining weeks of school. The song’s driving beat and refrain of “don’t give up” provide the perfect antidote for your end-of-the-school year woes. Sia’s soprano voice and mastery of her trademark pop sound will keep you hustling through exam season and reassuring yourself that you too are “free to be the greatest here tonight.”
In a similar vein is Ingrid Michaelson’s main claim to fame, her song, “Girls Chase Boys.” Like “The Greatest,” Michaelson’s song has an upbeat and repetitive chorus, and she really knows how to sing a good breakup song. From her emotional vocals on “The Chain” to her enthusiasm on “Be Okay” and her sass on “Hell No,” Michaelson has mastered the craft of channeling sorrow into productivity. With “Girls Chase Boys,” hopefully, you too can release your disenchantment with the school year and use it to finish strong. The song’s leading verses are relatable and encouraging, and with a fun, danceable beat, “Girls Chase Boys” will have you shrugging off your setbacks and admitting that “I’m gonna be alright!”
On a different note, one of my favorite songs of all time is “Sad Song” by Scotty Sire. Not my typical type of music, “Sad Song” combines biting sarcasm with a bubbly, upbeat rap to create the ultimate feel-good, feel-bad song. The song’s lyrics carp on all the little things that can go wrong in life, and Sire’s nasal voice and accompanying whistling along to the tune of the chorus make everything seem a little easier. While this isn’t necessarily a breakup song, it embraces the self-pity and stress that come with the end of the year and reassures us that “it’ll be alright,” and sometimes, joking about your misery makes your problems easier to bear.
And finally, the epitome of breakup songs has to be Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive.” After performing the song with the Balladeers for our annual assembly, nothing has encapsulated my end of the year more than this iconic 1980’s single. Gaynor is the epitome of a classically trained vocal powerhouse with an amazing belt. The strength in Gaynor’s voice is undeniable, and the way she puts weight behind every word will have you singing along. The slow, dramatic piano introduction sets the stage for its pulsing chorus. The chorus will have you jumping off your feet and dancing, and will be the perfect push to get you through final exams and AP season. Knowing that “you will survive” may be the best motivation to send exhausted Pingry kids into the summer feeling accomplished and ready for a well-deserved break.
As this is my last music column for the Pingry Record, I just want to say it has been a pleasure to share my music interests with you all. I hope I have been able to provide some musical inspiration and broaden your horizons. Have a great summer!
Be that Dim Sum-body at Chengdu 1 Palace
by Felicia Ho (V)
Feeling cranky after oversleeping on a beautiful Sunday morning? Looking for a great place to unwind and chat with friends and family? Tired of waiting as the minutes slowly tick by for only a bite-sized meal? Look no further than the dim sum at Chengdu 1 Palace in Green Brook Township.
When I first moved to Warren a couple of years ago and saw the sprawling lawns and open land, I was worried that there would be no spark of life in a town sheltered by towering trees. What’s more, I worried that there would be very few authentic Chinese restaurants in an area without a large Chinese community. Soon, however, I discovered the yellow brick road — Route 22 — and its emerald castle — Chengdu 1 Palace.
My family no longer had to drive forty minutes or more to Edison or Parsippany, where Asian communities have cultivated several landmark restaurants, to experience the hustle of dim sum. Having tasted traditional dim sum in China, my family had high expectations for Chengdu 1 Palace. Dim sum needs to be an experience. You have to feel the rush of the moment as carts rustle past, loaded with plate upon plate of dumplings and rice noodles and servers advertising their cargo with competing cries. You have to be bold to try all kinds of food, and, yes, that includes the chicken feet and beef tripe. Only when your table is full of plates and awash with the scent of freshly steamed buns and porridge can you truly appreciate the majestic quality of dim sum as a satisfying meal.
Chengdu 1 Palace passed these expectations with flying colors. My personal favorite, the jiu cai bao, or chive dumplings, had the right amount of crunch and texture along with a strong scent of chives that filled the air. My little brother could not get enough of the tangy sauce covering the pai gu, or steamed ribs, and my parents loved the wide selection of foods to choose from, covering not only the traditional Hong Kong-style foods associated with dim sum but also other regional specialties like ma la liang fen, cold and spicy jelly cubes. Although the boba tea was not the best, the bulk of the meal, whether it be the tender cheong fan rolled rice noodles with shrimp or the sweet red bean filled zhi ma qiu, or sesame balls, was outstanding.
What’s more, Chengdu 1 Palace is operated by a great staff who is always ready to help. While there are few vegetarian options for dim sum, you also have the opportunity to order off of the dinner menu.
Whether you have yet to be introduced to the wonders of dim sum or are already a seasoned foodie, having dim sum at Chengdu 1 Palace is a great experience, especially considering that it is local and truly delivers an authentic dim sum meal. Indeed, dim sum may help you reach new frontiers in your connoisseur career of culinary excellence as you nibble on the stomach of a cow, or it will satisfy your sweet tooth with light, airy desserts. Either way, the servers and waiters are eager to help you embark on your journey, and maybe even help you learn a little bit about Chinese culture along the way.
In a world populated with takeout boxes of orange chicken and fried rice from Panda Express, Chengdu 1 Palace offers a haven for traditional Chinese cuisine to continue to thrive in the modern suburbia. The next time you feel lost, follow Route 22 and open the gates to the Chengdu 1 Palace for a culinary experience of a lifetime.
Juniors and Seniors Rock the Night Away at Prom
by Brynn Weisholtz (IV)
On Thursday, April 19, the annual Prom was held at the Stone House at Stirling Ridge in Warren for the fourth year in a row. From 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm, juniors, seniors, and chaperones alike danced the night away in what was described as a night to remember. Leading up to this eventful evening, the day was filled with hair and nail appointments, confirming limos, picking up corsages and boutonnieres, and pre-party preparations. Despite the chilly weather, students enjoyed their pre-parties with family and friends and eagerly headed to the main event to share a night of special memories with their classmates. The night went off without a hitch and the prom was a memorable evening for all.
As the students arrived at Stone House, they walked through the doors towards the grand ballroom. The venue was decorated with round tables covered with white tablecloths and black napkins. Purple and white floral bouquets and lit candles laid atop each table and suspended from the ceiling were elegant chandeliers casting a glow of light around the room. Purple lights on the walls and dance floor rounded out the mood lighting and created a feeling of warmth and excitement for the upperclassmen.
Throughout the night, the floor was filled with an infectious energy while students danced the night away. Aanya Lall (V) said “the music was great and I loved how everyone was constantly dancing.” There was a consensus amongst the students that the best part of the evening was the lively music and being able to dance and enjoy this special night with their high school friends.
Beyond the dance floor, students found ways to entertain themselves and enjoy each others’ company. From posing for pictures in a photo booth containing endless props to relaxing by the outdoor fire pit, the students enjoyed being together, especially the seniors, as this was one of the final times the class would convene as one until graduation. Catered by Stone House, there was a wide array of food selections to choose from. Senior Kassidy Peterson (VI) stated that “the food was delicious, especially the tacos!” In addition to the taco bar, the food options consisted of a pasta bar, paellas, smoothies, milk and cookies, chocolate covered strawberries, and more.
Chaperones included Upper School Director Ms. Ananya Chatterji, Dean of Students Mr. Jake Ross, Chair of Diversity and Inclusion Department Dr. Diana Artis, Chemistry teacher Mr. Graham Touhey, Physics teachers Mr. Bill Bourne and Ms. Jill Kehoe, and Biology teacher Mrs. Deirdre O’Mara. Mr. Ross stated that “[he] enjoyed seeing the students let loose and have so much fun.”
It was obvious through pictures and shared memories that both students and faculty truly enjoyed Prom 2018. Coordinator Ms. Kehoe summed up the evening when she said “it was a success because of the many smiles I saw and the laughter I heard throughout the night. I loved seeing everyone dressed up and looking like adults.”
Annual Research Exhibit Showcases Student Research in the Sciences and Humanities
by Annesh Karruppur (III)
On April 15, the sixth annual Pingry Research Exhibit, organized by Dr. Colleen Kirkhart this year, featured student-led and student-performed research and engineering projects. New this year were the humanities and social sciences exhibits, which added to the already existing sciences, technology, and engineering exhibits. Overall, the event was a big hit for all, and many visiting scientists were impressed with the sheer amount of novel ideas Pingry students and faculty have come up with this past year.
Kelli Gomez (VI), the head of Journal Club, opened the exhibit with a keynote describing new developments in research on pain management and her own personal connection to this topic after witnessing her mother’s difficult battle with pain following a car accident. Afterwards, parents, siblings, teachers, and students were invited to tour the various exhibits on display in the hallways and classrooms around the school.
The Independent Research Team (IRT) groups, composed of small 4-5 person teams that work on original research projects in various areas of the sciences, sometimes in conjunction with college researchers, shared the results they have gathered in the past year. In addition to presenting posters, several teams also had interactive activities for the visitors, such as showing them how to use an in-house-assembled microscope that tracks algae movements in three dimensions, how to dye fish using tapioca pearls with different color stains, and how to differentiate fruit fly traits under a microscope. Students Modeling a Research Topic (SMART) Team displayed a 3-D printed model of the protein they would be presenting at a national conference, and FYI Sci ran several kid-friendly demonstrations about basic science concepts and played science-related movies. Journal Club, which helps prepare students and faculty to present and discuss research papers every Thursday morning at 7:30, had a few of their past student presenters explain their papers to visitors. AP Biology classes presented their Masters projects in the upper halls of the exhibit, and Research Classes displayed their projects in the lower halls of the exhibit.
Humanities IRT presented their research on various topics like looking at evolutionary biology through the lens of children’s stories, the evolution of Communism, Game Theory, economic self-interest, altruistic punishment, and an analysis of William Faulkner’s writings.
In the technology and engineering section, Computer Science classes used the Student Technology and Publishing Center to demonstrate their programs, which included complex concepts like Artificial Intelligence and Neural Nets. In the Hyde and Watson Gymnasium, the Robotics club set up their numerous championship-winning robots next to a drone built by the IRT Swarm Robotics team.
To close this busy and exciting day, Brooke Conti ’09 delivered a keynote discussing the importance of basic research on the lab bench and how it has helped her in pursuing her doctorate degree at Rockefeller University.
In total, the over twenty exhibits about a range of interesting topics inspired many great minds, young and old alike. It is clear indeed that research exhibit will continue to showcase the ingenuity of Pingry students and faculty in the coming years.
Holocaust Assembly Emphasizes the Importance of the Written Word
by Meghan Durkin (III)
On April 13, Pingry’s annual Holocaust Assembly brought to life critical issues of the past and their relevance in society today. Actor Marc Spiegel performed a one-man play entitled Time Capsule in a Milk Can. In 2003, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum produced the play to commemorate the the museum’s tenth year since opening.
The play follows the story of Emanuel Ringelblum, an activist and Jewish man living in the Warsaw Ghetto during the Jewish community’s genocide in Germany. He, along with fellow Jews, recognized the importance of the preservation of their words, accounts, and documents during the systematic killing of millions of Jews.
Throughout the play, Ringelblum sat at his dimly lit desk, collecting and formulating a plan to ensure the safety of the historical documents he gathered during his time in Warsaw. Ultimately, he and his fellow activists decided milk cans were the optimal method of storing and hiding the documents due to their ordinary, unassuming nature. During each phase of the plan, students were asked to read parts of the different documents, making the play a truly interactive experience.
After the performance, students lit 12 candles, representing the six million Jews killed, along with five million others in Europe who fell victim to the violent hatred. Alexandra Weber (IV), one of the students who participated in the assembly, appreciated how the play “was able to find a great balance between making the assembly educational while also making it personal and sentimental.” She believes “it is a humbling reminder of how lucky we are to live in the world that we live in today. Hearing stories of people’s courage, bravery, and perseverance through such a difficult time always inspires me and, I hope, the rest of the Pingry community.”
As the faculty member overseeing the coordination of the Holocaust Assembly, Director of Community Service Mrs. Shelley Hartz chose this play because she wanted an “interactive, more personal and real” way to remind the community what happens “when people hate and people are afraid.” Ultimately, her goal was “to have conversations after and delve into how and why it is relevant today, insuring genocides don’t occur.”
“Proactive, Globally-Minded” Seniors Break Records in College Admissions
by Miro Bergam (V)
This year’s graduating class both applied to and will be attending a record number of colleges. The class of 2018 applied to 183 different schools, nearly matching the record 184 in 2014. The range and diversity of colleges applied to are reflected in their final decisions, as the class will be attending 72 different colleges — an all-time record for Pingry.
“This was the stat that jumped out at me,” said Director of College Counselling Mr. Tim Lear. Lear continued, “Clearly, they researched schools all over the country (and world). 72 is, to my knowledge, an all-time record high and incredibly impressive for a class of only 139 kids.”
98% of the class applied to some form of an early program, with 87% of the class getting accepted early. Both the percentage of the class applying early
and the percentage of the class getting accepted early were 10 year record highs for Pingry. 19% of the class was recruited for athletics, up from 17% last year.
Seven students have been accepted off the waitlist from Cornell, Duke, F&M, Rice, Villanova, Wellesley, and William & Mary. Three or more students were accepted to 61 different schools and two or more members of the class were admitted to all eight Ivy League universities.
Some notable records in regards to specific colleges include Yale University accepting (6) and enrolling (5), the highest number of Pingry students in the past decade; Williams matching its highest number of Pingry acceptances (6) in the past decade;
Lear commended the class of 2018 for being “fun and easy to work with. They were proactive with their deadlines and took constructive feedback exceptionally well.” He joked, “they were easier to work with than my own children.”
Class of 2018 - College Placement
University of California, San Diego
Washington and Lee University
Johns Hopkins University
University of Virginia
University of Notre Dame
John Hopkins University
Arizona State University
University of Michigan
Rutgers University – New Brunswick
University of Notre Dame
New York University
University of Chicago
University of California, Los Angeles
University of Pennsylvania
University of Notre Dame
Carnegie Mellon University
George Washington University
Washington University in St. Louis
Washington University in St. Louis
St. Lawrence University
Washington and Lee University
University of Pennsylvania
Rutgers University – New Brunswick
Nova Southeastern University
Claremont McKenna College
University of Pennsylvania
University of Michigan
University of Chicago
Washington University in St. Louis
University of Oxford
University of Southern California
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
George Mason University
Carnegie Mellon University
University of Chicago
University of Notre Dame
University of Virginia
Johns Hopkins University
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
New York University
University of Notre Dame
College of William and Mary
Stevens Institute of Technology
New York University
Franklin & Marshall College
Washington and Lee University
Cynthia Saxon Scott
Oxford College of Emory University
University of Notre Dame
George Washington University
New York University
University of Connecticut
University of Southern California
Franklin & Marshall College
Southern Methodist University
University of Pennsylvania
Wake Forest University
Lauren Lindsey Yu
University of Pennsylvania
University of Pennsylvania
June 4, 2018
John R. Whittemore ‘47 Biology Award – Jacqueline Chang, Alexandra Pyne
Ernest C. Shawcross Chemistry Award – Jennifer Fish, Graham Matthews
Physics Award – Jennifer Fish, Graham Matthews
Science Book Award – Rachel Chen, Ami Gianchandani
Science Research Award – Jennifer Coyne, Mitchell Pavlak
Science In Society Award – Raquel Gomez, Alexandra Pyne
Whitlock Prize for Math – Jennifer Fish, Clyde Leef
Advanced Math Prize – Josephine Cummings, Ami Gianchandani
Computer Science Prize – Jessica Li, Jackson Proudfoot
Economics Prize – Michael Lu, Aloysius McLaughlin
Robotics Prize – Jackson Proudfoot
Union College Casmir A. France Award for Excellence in English – Jennifer Coyne, Ryan Fuentes
Paul H. and Sarah Rouslin Excellence in English Award – Jennifer Fish, Megan Pan
Martin B. O’Connor ’26 Journalism Award – Rachel Chen, Megan Pan
Yearbook Award – Brooke Murphy
Justin Society Award Competition
Prize for a Body of Work: Megan Pan
Prize for Drama: Alyssa Chen
Prize for Flash Fiction: Maya Huffman
Prize for Poetry: Alyssa Chen
Prize for Memoir: Namita Davey
Jean S. MacDonald History Prize – Maya Huffman, Madeleine Parrish
Psychology Prize – Giancarlo Castillo
Chinese: Ethan Chung, Rebecca Lin
French: Jennifer Coyne, Josephine Cummings
German: Michael Lu
Spanish: Arnav Agrawal, Jason Weiss
Advanced Language Prize
Chinese: Naiyah Atulomah, Alexandra Pyne
French: Alyssa Chen, Megan Pan
German: Aidan Dillon
Latin: Lindsey Yu
Spanish: Alexis Elliot, Madeleine Parrish
The DeGryse Prize in Modern European Languages – Raquel Gomez
Arts & Drama
Director’s Award for Achievement in Dramatic Arts – Megan Pan
Drama Department Stage Manager Prize – Ouarida Benatia
Drama Department Award for Technical Theatre – Sidney Shannon
Michael E. Popp Photography Prize – Conor Mahoney
Brendan J. Donahue ’79 Memorial Prize for Fine Arts – Nicolas Ladino
Brendan J. Donahue ’79 Memorial Prize for Pottery and Sculpture – Clyde Leef, John Patterson
Barbara Berlin Prize in Art History – Sehyr Khan
Music Award – Maya Huffman
School Service & Leadership
Michael Jupka, Jr. ‘76 Blue Key Award – Sehyr Khan
Community Service Award – Naiyah Atulomah, Alexandra Brauer
Paul R. Leary ‘90 Award – Madeleine Parrish, Tyler Williams
John Taylor Babbitt ‘07 Award – Myla Stovall, Owen Wolfson
Student Government Achievement Award – Michael Weber
The Pingry School Gift To Our AFS Student – Asja Alispahic
Pingry School Parents’ Association Women’s Sports Award – Ami Gianchandani
Centennial Cup — Gift of the Class of ’61 – Chukwumaobim Nnaeto
Sandy Apruzzese Big Blue Award – Sana Sheikh
Class of ’26 Reese Williams Award – Emma Lombardo
C. B. Newton Pingry-Princeton Scholarship Prize – Megan Pan
The Elizabeth Allan Smith ‘83 Memorial Pingry-Duke Scholarship Prize – Jackson Proudfoot
Faculty Prize – Phito Jean-Louis
Charles B. Atwater Valedictory Award – Alyssa Chen
The Henry G. Stifel III Award – Joei Drozjock
Advanced Placement Scholars
Alexandra Brauer Colin Edwards Graham Matthews
Elle Braverman Mitchell Flugstad-Clarke Jackson Proudfoot
Jacqueline Chang Jonathan Huang Alexandra Pyne
Namita Davey Sehyr Khan Owen Wolfson
Sydney Davis Nicolas Ladino
Advanced Placement Scholars with Honor
Naiyah Atulomah Sanford Ren
Krish Bhavnani Cynthia Scott
Jennifer Fish Wallace Truesdale
Maya Huffman Alison Verdesca
Advanced Placement Scholars with Distinction
Alyssa Chen Dhruv Govil Vineil Reddy
Rachel Chen Jessica Li Melissa Tungare
Raymond Chen Michael Lu Lauren Yu
Ethan Chung Megan Pan William Zhang
William Fallon Madeleine Parrish
National Advanced Placement Scholar
Alyssa Chen Raymond Chen William Fallon
Cum Laude Society
National Merit Scholarship Program Commended Students
Arnav Agrawal William Fallon
Krish Bhavnani Jennifer Fish
Raymond Chen Jonathan Huang
Catherine Drovetsky Clyde Leef
Colin Edwards Rebecca Lin
Graham Matthews Matthew Stanton
Madeleine Parrish Wallace Truesdale
Kassidy Peterson Melissa Tungare
Bao Pham Jason Weiss
Jackson Proudfoot Lauren Yu
National Merit Scholarship Finalists
Alyssa Chen Namita Davey Megan Pan
Rachel Chen Jessica Li Mitchell Pavlak
Ethan Chung Jeremy Lister Vineil Reddy
Jennifer Coyne Conor Mahoney William Zhang
National Merit Scholars
Alyssa Chen Rachel Chen
National Hispanic Recognition
Elle Braverman Benjamin Ramos
Maxwell Sanchez Raquel Gomez
Presidential Scholar Candidates
Scholar Athlete Awards
Cipriano Family Scholar-Athlete Award – Jennifer Coyne, Clyde Leef
Somerset County Scholar-Athletes – Ami Gianchandani, Victor Vollbrecthausen
Skyland Conference – Aidan Dillon, Mairead Higgins
NJSIAA (State) – Kassidy Peterson
NJISAA (Independent Schools) – Krish Bhavnani, Rachel Chen
Girls’ Cross-Country Award – Anna Wood
Boys’ Cross-Country Award – Colin Edwards
Andrea Montague Field Hockey Award – Myla Stovall
Tom Boyer Football Award – Clyde Leef, Chukwumaobim Nnaeto
Michael Jupka, Jr. ’76 Football Award – Thomas Dugan, Andrew Weaver
Timothy C. Cornwall ’64 Boys’ Soccer Sportsmanship Award – Mitchell Flugstad-Clarke, Vineil Reddy
Dick Gradwohl Boys’ Soccer Cup for Most Team Spirit – Alexy Alin-Hvidsten, Wallace Truesdale, Owen Wolfson
Elizabeth Allan Smith ’83 Girls’ Soccer Award – Alexis Elliot
John R. Dufford, Jr. Tennis Trophy – Brooke Murphy, Lindsey Yu
Water Polo Award – William Fallon, Victor Volbrechtausen, Matthew Stanton
Frank L. Romano Boys’ Basketball Award – Zachary Aanstoots, Michael Weber
Joe LaValley Boys’ Basketball Award – Phito Jean-Louis
David M. Allan Memorial Girls’ Basketball Award – Megan Horn, Ally Pyne
Virginia Nazario Fencing Award – Malcolm Fields, Aubrey Molloy
Varsity Boys’ Ice Hockey Award – George Enman
Girls’ Ice Hockey Award – Caroline Petrow-Cohen
Girls’ Ski Team Award – Lindsey Hogan
Boys’ Ski Team Award – Nicolas Ladino
Girls’ Squash Team Award – Namita Davey
Boys’ Squash Team Award – Krish Bhavnani
Boys’ Swimming Award – Victor Volbrechtausen
Ashley G. Marsh and Family Swimming Award – Naiyah Atulomah
Michael Jupka, Jr. ’76 Wrestling Award – Aidan Dillon
Girls’ Winter Track Award – Avery Schiffman, Anna Wood
Boys’ Winter Track Award – Benjamin Vazquez
Class of 1935 Graham Churchill Baseball Award – Max Scherzer
Girls’ Golf Award – Ami Gianchandani
Boys’ Golf Award – William Capanna
Richard C. Weiler Boys’ Lacrosse Award – Jason Weiss
Girls’ Lacrosse Sportsmanship Award – Sana Sheikh
Pingry Girls’ Lacrosse Cup – Mairead Higgins, Shea Smith
Pingry Softball Award – Madeleine Parrish, Kassidy Peterson
Boys’ Tennis Award – Nikhil Rao
Boys’ Track Award – Zachary Aanstoots, Benjamin Vazquez
Richard G. Gradwohl Girls’ Track Award – Avery Schiffman, Sophia Weldon
Twelve Letter Award – Connor Smith, Anna Wood
The 1902 Emblem
The Class of 1902 Emblem is awarded to Josephine Cummings of the Class of 2018, who, while at The Pingry School, by the efficiency and the amount of service and loyalty of attitude has done the most for the school, and who has been judged therefore by schoolfellows and faculty to have shown of them all the greatest amount of school spirit.
The Class of 1902 Emblem represents the highest ideals of The Pingry School. The nominees chosen by their classmates and faculty are considered to embody the very principles of integrity and service that lie at the heart of the institution. Thus, even to be nominated for this award is regarded as a paramount honor.
Years at Pingry: 4
Trademark Characteristics: Hard-working, compassionate, adventurous
Activities: Student Government, Field Hockey, Lacrosse, Winter Track, Green Group, fyi sci, Outing Club
College Plans: Yale (after a gap year!)
Career Possibilities: Something that makes me happy (hopefully!) Favorite Memory at Pingry: Lying on the turf with the Field Hockey team after our last game and listening to music and talking about all “the moments of gold” that we had together. (and crying)
What I’ll Take Away: Sleep deprivation… but also a love of learning beyond anything I could have imagined, amazing memories, and the knowledge that being a good person matters more than pretty much anything.
What Piece of Advice Would You Give to Underclassmen?: Don’t let the stress overwhelm you. Before you know it you’ll be asking yourself where the time went and why you spent just a littttttle too much time studying. The friendships and memories you make will be the things you want to remember after high school ends.
The Magistri Laudandi Emblem
In every class, there is one student who graciously gives of him/herself to help theschool and fellow students, who demonstrates a personal integrity and generosity that inspire thebest in others. This person’s own achievements are many, yet his/her sense of purpose is to the greater good. While others may be identi ed as”the student most likely to succeed,” this person is prized as “the student who helps all succeed.”
The Magistri Laudandi Award is awarded to Clyde Leef.
Years at Pingry: 13
Trademark Characteristics: Green water bottle, Math help
Activities: Football, Peer Leadership, Pottery, Tutoring
College Plans: Georgetown University
Career Possibilities: Hopefully Favorite Memory at Pingry: Football season, especially preseason. Spending all day with the closest group of people and working hard in a common pursuit of the same goal is extremely rewarding
What I’ll Take Away: It’s about how hard you work, not the end product. My most ful lling classes were de nitely not my best grades. Separately, it’s not all about working. Taking time for yourself and whatever makes you happy is the key to staying on track.
What Piece of Advice Would You Give to Underclassmen?: It’s ok to not be ok — find a person/people you can trust and allow yourself to be open.
Nominees for 1902 Emblem (E) and Magistri Laudandi (M) Awards
Arnav Agrawal (M)
Years at Pingry: Only 3 🙁
Trademark characteristics: Outgoing, copious amount of nicknames, honest, wears nothing but Pingry Soccer shirts
Activities: Soccer, Tennis, Entrepreneurship Club, FBLA
College Plans: Cornell!
Career Possibilities: No idea
Favorite Memory at Pingry: Singing ‘Coming Home’ on the bus on the Soccer Trip in Spain, playing in the Student-Faculty Basketball game
What you’ll take away: The amazing community I’ve met at Pingry, from friends to teachers to coaches. Coming to Pingry sophomore year was the best decision of my life.
What piece of advice would you give to under- classmen? You’re so lucky to be attending Pingry. Make the most of it by getting to know your teach- ers and the rest of the students. Don’t be afraid to try new things or talk to someone you don’t know. Also, you can always relearn coursework, but you can never re-attend the party you missed.
Naiyah Atulomah (M)
Years at Pingry: 7
Trademark Characteristics: Kind, helpful, and relatively optimistic
Activities: Swimming, Community Service Club, iRT, Girl Scouts, Baking
College Plans: Johns Hopkins University
Career Possibilities: As of now, I’m thinking of becoming a Biomolecular Engineer or a medical researcher
Favorite Memory at Pingry: Winning Prep Championships and seeing the entire girls swim team at the edge of the pool cheering on our team- mates. It was amazing to see everyone swimming their fastest and showing great sportsmanship.
What I’ll Take Away: I have learned to havecon dence in the work I do because Pingry hastaught me that if I put the time and effort into my work, I will see the results.
What Piece of Advice Would You Give to Underclassmen?: Don’t be scared to join different clubs and talk to new people, you never know when else you will have this opportunity.
Ouarida Benatia (E, M)
Years at Pingry: 7
Trademark Characteristics: Always smiling, Always laughing until my sides hurt, Always exchanging life stories with strangersActivities: Stage manager for the Fall Play and the Winter Musical, FYI SCI Blog Manager, AFS Leadership, Peer Leadership, Blue Key, Outing Club, Daphnia Research Enthusiast, Babysitter for the (wonderful) Webster Family, Volunteer EMT
College Plans: Northeastern University!!!
Career Possibilities: Itinerant surgeon serving underprivileged areas abroad, A judge after that
Favorite Memory at Pingry: The day I gave my speech on honor for the Honor Board Speaker Series, I was also asked to provide the closing word for The Pingry Review. Everyone around me was so supportive and so wonderful and I truly felt the Pingry love.
What I’ll Take Away: Growing up, I was notoriously shy and kept to myself (it was written in every single report card comment I had received in elementary school). By being at Pingry and learning from the people I look up to in this environment, I have been able to step out of my bubble and get to know more of the people in our community. I will take away my newfound passion for wanting to know more about people in my life that I might not have stopped to talk to before, whether that be a teacher or a maintenance worker or a student I smile at every day in the halls.
What Piece of Advice Would You Give to Underclassmen?: Say “YES” more. During my junior year, I decided that I would “say yes” and sign up for almost everything announced at each morning meeting- whether that be an Outing Club campout or a Bridges Run or an opening for an FYI SCI position. That is how I got involved with 90% of the activities I participate in today- I can’t imagine how dull my life would be without that. Also, go tothe after-talks/ discussions for every in uential speaker at Pingry.It’s a whole other presentation in itself and the wealth of knowledge you can attain from these people is unbelievable. So just ask yourteachers to go and let the in uence ensue! You never know whatpiece of advice can change the path of your life forever.
Jacqueline Chang (E, M)
Years at Pingry: 8
Trademark Characteristics: shortest in the grade (hi Shruti!), amicable, spirited, caringActivities: EMT, Student Government, iRT, Hu- mans of Pingry, Varsity Track & Field, Varsity Swim Team (manager)
College Plans: Johns Hopkins University 2022! #gobluejays (Hi Naiyah!)
Career Possibilities: Med school? Doctoring? I’m only 18!! (help)
Favorite Memory at Pingry: Heelying [with red and green lights] around the school the last day before winter break
What I’ll Take Away: life-long friendships <3, dope selfies with the Class of 2018, bragging rights on my Membean level (5)
What Piece of Advice Would You Give to Underclassmen?: Take it all in. It’s over faster than you would expect. Also, always say hi to Mr. Keating in the hallway.
Sehyr Khan (M)
Years at Pingry: 8
Trademark Characteristics: Avid proponent of whole- some memes, hummus memes, and dog memes. I am always running in the hallways probably because I think I’m late because my watch is two minutes ahead of the Pingry clocks. I describe people I admire as “cinnamon rolls” and I love and hate myself for it.
Activities: Balladeers, Fyi-Sci, SDLC, Pingry Girls XC and Track, Peer Leadership, and Blue Key
College Plans: Wellesley College
Career Possibilities: I am obsessed with ophthalmol- ogy and world languages, hopefully I do something that combines the two.
Favorite Memory at Pingry: That’s hard, but it’s most likely the day the girl’s XC team came third at states this past fall. I had nothing to do with the win, but I was so proud to see my peers attain their goals together and be a witness of the culmination of everyone’s hard work. It made me so proud as a young woman and Pingrian. I also really loved the mornings I spent in the Chemistryand Physics of ce with Mr. Grant and the coolest groupof teachers ever, they made a tough year so much better without realizing it. Another was when my hummus pa- nini didn’t stick to the parchment paper sophomore year, it hasn’t happened since. Sorry, I didn’t stick to only one.
What I’ll Take Away: The wonderful educational ex- periences I had with all of my teachers, I am eternally grateful for them. Also, a fork from the cafeteria.
What Piece of Advice Would You Give to Underclassmen?: I cannot give just one piece so here are two: talk to everyone, give every person and every thing a shot, you never know who or what could positively impact you. Also, eat well, drink water, and take no one’s non- sense, you have a world to change.
Jared Lefkort (M)
Years at Pingry: 8
Trademark Characteristics: always laughing, scientist, friendly, kind, intelligent, outgoing
Activities: FYI Sci, tennis, Junior Academy of the New York Academy of Sciences, Peer Leadership, SMART Team, Blue Key, Journal Club Presenter, Volunteer at Trinitas Hospital
College Plans: University of Pennsylvania – planning on majoring in Health and Societies with a concentration in Global Health
Career Possibilities: Doctor/public health/health policy
Favorite Memory at Pingry: Boundary breaking on the Senior Peer Leadership retreat, I have never felt closer or more supported by my peers in all of my time at Pingry.
What I’ll Take Away: Pingry has provided me with many unique opportunities and the skills to positively impact the people around me and has taught me to pursue what makes me happy.
What Piece of Advice Would You Give to Underclassmen?: Take advantage of all of the opportunities you can at Pingry, try new things and reach out to people you never thought you would be friends with, you’ll be surprised how much life can change in four years.
Shruti Sagar (M)
Years at Pingry: 10
Trademark Characteristics: passionate, trustworthy, practical, friendly
Activities: field hockey, peer leadership, IRT
College Plans: Tufts University
Career Possibilities: Something public health, biology, or research related. I’m not really sure, I just know that I want to use my interests to help people and make the world a better place.
Favorite Memory at Pingry: There are so many, but two that stand out are the senior peer leadership retreat in June or singing “Maybe I’m Crazy” and “Phoenix” with our entire grade on the last day before winter break and ISP.
What I’ll Take Away: Getting to know people and having meaningful conversations with them is more important than any academic or extracurricular accomplishment or accolade. In other words, it’s nice to be important, but it is way more important to be nice. Every single person at Pingry has a story, and there is something really cool and unique to be learned by everyone about everyone if you let yourself do so.
What Piece of Advice Would You Give to Underclassmen?: Your happiness, stress, sadness, or excitement is just as valid as the person next to you. Don’t compare yourself to others, because you are just as worthy of success and even of failure as the people you surround yourself with. Also, go to as many games, concerts, performances, and research exhibits as you can, and just try to get to know as many people as you can. It’s really cool to see your classmates get excited about the things they love, and it’s really inspiring to know that you are surrounded by a generation of future change makers. You never know what or who you will nd that will impact your life in the most random yet meaningful way.
Rachel Chen (E, M)
Years at Pingry: 7
Trademark Characteristics: Smiling a lot, always on my way to a meeting, writing sappy goodbye letters, listening to Disney and showtunes unironically, napping in the library, liking dogs more than babies
Activities: Squash, The Record, IRT, Student Gov- ernment, SDLC, Pingry Politics, Lebow
College Plans: Harvard University
Career Possibilities: Open to anything! Possiblymedicine, probably not nance
Favorite Memory at Pingry: Competing in Lebow: the first year because I found an empowering passionin public speaking, and the second year because afterwinning the rst year, I had the platform to deliversome real talk (and defend SAGE dining!) to the whole school.
What I’ll Take Away: An appreciation for thedif culties of zebra sh husbandry and newspaperediting; the ability to crank out essays under time pressure; love and respect for the patience of some teachers; and six years of unforgettable friendship and memories.
What Piece of Advice Would You Give to Underclassmen?: Find something that you love and devote yourself to it! And then, more importantly, go out of your way to support other people in the things that they love.
Jennifer Coyne (E, M)
Years at Pingry: 4
Trademark Characteristics: Blunt, overly- friendly, short, extra-gluten, always on Membean
Activities: Field hockey, Handbells, Credit Union, IRT, Swimming (ha!), Lacrosse, Outing Club
College Plans: Yale University
Career Possibilities: Honestly anything except a doctor (thanks mom and dad!)
Favorite Memory at Pingry: That time we all sang Phoenix and Maybe I’m Crazy before winter break
What I’ll Take Away: Forming and nurturing relationships with people supersedes everything
What Piece of Advice Would You Give to Underclassmen?: Fail early and fail often! Getting consecutive 62% and 58% on math exams is not the worst thing in the world (I speak from experience, and I am sorry, Trem.). Remember to have fun, because the good ol’ days are now!
Alexis Elliot (E, M)
Years at Pingry: 13
Trademark Characteristics: Compassionate, driven, confident, outgoing, humble, savvy
Activities: The Pingry Record, Founder of EduPair, Peer Leader, Varsity Soccer, Honor Board, SDLC, BasketballCollege Plans: Harvard University
Career Possibilities: Diplomacy and International Business
Favorite Memory at Pingry: Playing on the World Cupeld with all of my sisters from PGS
What I’ll Take Away: Some of the best friendships and most interesting people! And if you set your mind on a goal, the path to get there may not be straight, and you may not even reach it. But if you keep working at it, you’ll look back on the growth you’ve achieved and be a better person for it.
What Piece of Advice Would You Give to Underclassmen?: Find out what you’re good at, and try to capitalize on it as much as possible. It not only will help you be successful, but will also give you something positive to add to the Pingry community. And while you go through high school, it’s easy to fall into the trap of being focused on your individual pursuits. Try and break out ofthat mold and be sel ess with your actions. Take time tolearn about other people and build lasting relationships because at the end of the day, those are what matter most.
Iman Khan (M)
Years at Pingry: 8
Trademark Characteristics: Kind, loving, wise caring
Activities: Community service work/helping others, singing, ahhh idk what else to putCollege Plans: TBD, but as of now, Rutgers University NBCareer
Possibilities: International human rights lawyer or working for the UN
Favorite Memory at Pingry: Mohammad al Samawi coming to speak
What I’ll Take Away: The importance of having people who genuinely care about you in the faculty and staff — how transformative it can beespecially when you are going through a difficulttime in life in general and school is feeling the strongest consequence of it
What Piece of Advice Would You Give to Underclassmen?: Work hard, love harder and be kind to one another. You all need each other. This is such a sensitive time for many of you and just that one smile or one conversation with another person can make the biggest difference in someone’s life.
Jackson Proudfoot (E)
Years at Pingry: 4
Trademark Characteristics: Driven, passionate, that computer kid
Activities: Outing Club, Robotics, STC, iRTCollege Plans: Duke University
Career Possibilities: Computer Engineer
Favorite Memory at Pingry: The backpacking trip to Grand Gulch, Utah during Spring Break of my Junior year.
What I’ll Take Away: The realization that everyone has their own story and an appreciation for all of the people who have helped me get to where I am today and who will help me get to where I am going tomorrow.
What Piece of Advice Would You Give to Underclassmen?: If you stop trying new things you may never discover some hidden passion trapped inside of you waiting to be released.
Alexandra Pyne (E, M)
Years at Pingry: 7
Trademark Characteristics: Kind, passionate, genuine, and lively
Activities: Honor Board, Soccer, Basketball, Fyi Sci, Peer Leadership 🙂
College Plans: Yes, I plan to go to college!
Career Possibilities: I’m open to anything…may- be something in biology, psychology, or education?
Favorite Memory at Pingry: Soccer practices and games with my PGS sisters and basketball workouts in the BAC!
What I’ll Take Away: Incredible friendships,insights from great teachers, self-con dence, andan unhealthy number of bagels consumed
What Piece of Advice Would You Give to Underclassmen?: Be kind, work hard, and do what makes you happy.
Madeleine Parrish (M)
Years at Pingry: 8
Trademark Characteristics: Loves everyone, optimistic, kind, coffee addict
Activities: Peer leadership, softball, student government, humanities research
College Plans: University of Chicago
Career Possibilities: Something in government or public service, or maybe law, maybe journalism, we’ll see
Favorite Memory at Pingry: Peer leadership retreat, and the time we blasted Maybe I’m Crazy, Phoenix, and Silence in the senior area and all knew every lyric.
What I’ll Take Away: Lifelong friendships and a community of people to always root for
What Piece of Advice Would You Give to Underclassmen?: Every single one of your classmates has something they are passionate about and you have so much to learn from them – foster relationships with as many of them as you can
Beloved Spanish Teacher and Can Drive Organizer Señor Nazario Retires
by Darlene Fung (V)
After 41 years of teaching Spanish, coaching, and running the annual holiday can drive at Pingry, Señor Victor Nazario is retiring.
Teaching and education have always been a part of Sr. Nazario’s life. “Academics has always been in my house,” he said. “We didn’t have a TV, so my grandfather read all the classics to me”. He also grew up with three aunts, all of whom were teachers, and in school, he always helped his classmates with their Spanish work.
Before coming to Pingry, Sr. Nazario taught, coached, and worked in a department store all at once. One day at the department store, he met Bill Lionetti, former head of Pingry’s language department, who mentioned that Pingry was looking for a Spanish teacher. Mr. Leonetti invited Sr. Nazario to his house to chat, and then introduced Sr. Nazario to the headmaster, Mr. Cunningham, who eventually hired him.
In addition to teaching and coaching, Sr. Nazario has also contributed greatly to the Pingry community through his annual holiday can drive. This past year, the Upper School raised over 1,000 pounds of cans this year, far more than ever raised before. Sr. Nazario started doing the can drive during his second year at Pingry. As he explains his involvement, “The assistant head of the school came to me and said ‘Vic, I think you can take care of this’, and that was it”.
He then met Ms. Rosa Floyd, who collected all the donated cans at her organization in Elizabeth, NJ, and became his role model for the years to come. Sr. Nazario said, “Everyone should have a Rosa Floyd in their life. She always gave, without asking for anything. Towards the end, she was using money that should have gone towards her medication, and giving it to those she said needed it more.” With Ms. Floyd as his example, Sr. Nazario was never fixated on number of cans he wanted people to donate. “I just wanted to give and help as many people as possible,” he said.
One piece of advice from his years of teaching that Sr. Nazario would like to give Pingry students and faculty alike is to follow your passions. He says, “You must love what you do, but you cannot make that thing the only aspect of your life. You should make it the central pole around which you build the rest of your life”.
One of Sr. Nazario’s favorite parts about teaching at Pingry is the camaraderie between the teachers in the language department. “We’re always trying to tickle ideas and see what we can done using our creativity,” he said.
Along with his fellow language teachers, Sr. Nazario will also greatly miss the students, who challenge and bring him joy every day.
“To tell you the truth, he said, “the kids are what I am going to miss the most from Pingry.”
Teacher and Coach Mr. Forte Departs after an Unforgettable 36 Years
by Ketaki Tavan (V)
Mr. Joe Forte is known by many names. Joe to his friends, Coach Forte to those he has inspired and coached, and Mr. Forte to his students that he has taught over the years, 36 to be exact.
Mr. Forte is part of the Magistri faculty, faculty with more than 25 years tenure, beginning his career in the Hillside campus in 1982. He was originally a physical education and health teacher before becoming the department head for physical education. He was also the Head Coach of Boys’ Varsity Wrestling and Head Coach of Boys’ Varsity Golf, although according to his friend and colleague, Mr. Doug Scott, “the funny thing is that when he took over the golf job thirty years ago, he didn’t know how to golf. He learned how to golf along with the players. He’s a hall of fame coach now.”
Coach Forte was inducted into the NJSCA Hall of Fame in 2015, during his 29th year coaching the team. In that same year, he led the team to three NJSIAA State Championships, five NJSIAA Sectional Championships, four Prep State Championships, and four conference championships. While he coached wrestling, he produced many county, district, prep state, regional, and state champions.
One of Mr. Forte most memorable contributions to the school was the garden located outside the cafeteria. He created the garden alongside Ms. Shelley Hartz, who when asked about her experience with Mr. Forte said, “Building the garden with Joe Forte was one of my best memories at Pingry. It gave me an opportunity to work with someone that I really didn’t know and build a relationship with him, and certainly to learn from him about the garden. I believe that the success of the garden is a result of Joe.” Since its introduction to the school, the garden has been the classroom for both the middle school and high school in which it has hosted numerous garden lunches and sustainability courses.
“We look at the auxiliary department and all the things they do with rentals and stuff, we look at the classes now that are in the garden and the outdoor ed and the farm team. We forget that before all of that, someone had to be the first to say I’ll try. Mr. Forte was the first one to say, ‘I’ll try’.” Mr. Scott, said, adding that Mr. Forte “will never tell you any of this stuff.”
Others agree that Mr. Forte will always be remembered for his open mind and open heart. He was the head of the Big Blue Summer Day Camp and conducted numerous clinics. He and his wife continue to take part in fundraisers for veterans, cancer, and those who are less fortunate. Active in the Folds of Honor Military Tribute Program, he raised money alongside then co-captain of the Boys’ Varsity Golf team, Jake Mayer ’17, to honor an alum who gave his life to protect one of his own men.
Mr. Joe Forte has given a lot to the school over the course of 36 years. He created a garden, contributed to athletic achievements, taught classes, directed camps, and fundraised. Though, he himself is leaving the Pingry community, he leaves behind a significant legacy
Dr. Desimone Leaves a Legacy of Historical Scholarship
By Udochi Emeghara (V)
After exactly 20 years, the beloved Dr. Al Desimone is leaving Pingry. Appointed in 1998, Dr. Desimone has been an integral part of the Basking Ridge campus. He has been the faculty advisor for Pingry’s Vital Signs and headed Model Congress for 10 years of his tenure here.
Dr. Desimone attended Harvard as an undergraduate. He then went on to the University of Massachusetts for his M.A. and Ph.D. Dr. Desimone taught at the Nichols School in Buffalo for seventeen years where he taught AP US History. Following his tenure there, he came to Pingry.
Initially, Dr.DeSimone primarily taught AP US History, but in his second year, a teacher was needed to teach AP Government. Thus, he has been teaching AP Government and AP US History every year except this 2017-2018 year when he only taught AP Government.
As stated before, Dr. Desimone headed Model Congress for about ten years. In his third year, students in his AP Government class wanted to establish a Model Congress team (the school already has Model UN but nothing that focused on Congress). Eventually, Mrs. Madeline Landau, the teacher who had initiated and advised the student-edited publication Vital Signs, retired, so Dr. Desimone took over that project.
As it was under Mrs. Landau, the purpose of Vital Signs had been to allow students to research important issues in politics, society, and world affairs and develop articles that accurately explore the nuances of these issues. Under his leadership, the paper grew to include a wider variety of perspectives on current world issues.
As he retires, Dr. Desimone stated that he would like to pick up hobbies that he had to leave due to time issues. He hopes to read more literature and write articles about historical events and how they are relevant to society today. He also looks forward to traveling with his wife and spending time with his son and daughter-in-law and their 15 month-old daughter in NYC.
Still, he states that he will miss his colleagues and students as he closes this chapter in his life. He also hopes that as Pingry continues to expand its academic and extracurricular scope, the students will still have time to give their best effort to all their activities, whether it be academics, the arts, athletics, or other extracurriculars. In Dr. Desimone’s words, “our virtues are our vices.” As members of the Pingry community, we are often extremely busy and are pulled in a million different directions. As a result, we do not spend as much time on certain tasks that we should or would like to because we do not have enough time. Hopefully, we as a community can take Dr. Desimone’s advice.
The Pingry community wishes Dr. Desimone a good retirement!
We also wish farewell to Ms. Barbara Conroy, Mr. Brian Smith, and Ms. Theresa O’Byrne!
Seasoned Teacher, Advisor, and Mentor Señora Godfrey Will Be Missed By All
By Martha LeWand (IV)
After nineteen years of serving the Pingry community, seasoned teacher Señora Malla Godfrey is retiring.
After graduating from Syracuse in 1969, Sra. Godfrey started her teaching career at Milburn High School in Milburn, New Jersey. From there, she moved to Connecticut to teach at Low Heywood Thomas, a girls’ school in Stamford. After ten years, she left teaching to raise a family and start a business. When she and her family moved back to New Jersey, her two daughters, Dana (’94) and Avery (’03), attended Pingry, while her son, Jason, decided not to be known as “the third daughter” and went to Morristown-Beard.
Sra. Godfrey became a teacher at Pingry in 1999, while her daughter Avery was a student. Since then, she has taught multiple levels of Spanish. This past year, she taught upper school students at levels 2/3 and 4. During her long tenure, Sra. Godfrey has been an advisor to not only her students, but to the ski team and Quiz Bowl.
Reflecting upon her time at Pingry, Sra. Godfrey credits all of her past and current students for having the most notable impact on her life.
“I love being with the students,” she noted. “Pingry has provided me with the opportunity to work with such amazing kids and help them accomplish their goals despite the stress.”
When asked about a favorite memory, Sra. Godfrey again emphasized the focus on the students.
“My goal as a teacher is to encourage kids to have fun learning,” she said. “Being with my students every day, sharing the good and bad times, seeing them smile from ear to ear when they accomplish something and not falling apart if they occasionally crash, — all of that has motivated me to get up every day.”
She hopes to be back at Pingry as a substitute and visitor in the years to come!
Ms. Lily Wang Pursues Interdisciplinary PhD
by Allie Matthias (V)
Ms. Wang will be leaving Pingry this year after teaching Chinese for six years. Lily Wang, better known as Wang Laoshi by her students, will be moving on to continue studying as she pursues a Ph.D in the convergence of Buddhism and science.
Ms. Wang came to Pingry in 2012, seeking teaching experience at a prestigious school. She was invited to teach at Pingry and took a position in the world language department’s Chinese program. She taught many different levels of Chinese, ranging from Chinese 1A with middle schoolers and Chinese 7 with high school seniors. This past year she taught Chinese 2, Chinese 3, and Chinese 4 Pre-AP. She has also become involved in the science department: she gave a Journal Club presentation in 2015 and became an IRT mentor this year. Ms. Wang guided Brian Li (Form IV), Josie Jahng (V), and Emily Sanchez (IV) with the Biogas IRT project.
Ms. Wang has enjoyed her time at Pingry and made great connections with both faculty and staff. “I think the people are very kind and supportive here, she said, “and the staff and faculty work in harmony.” It’s an atmosphere she will miss.
Her favorite part of working at Pingry was that “it was such a pleasure to teach students of diverse backgrounds.” She considered it “a unique opportunity” to teach so many different students who have enjoyed a variety of cultural experiences.
By working at Pingry, she “learned a lot.” She said, “Pingry has a unique culture and a very close community. I learned a lot of American culture from Pingry.” She will carry her memories from Pingry with her into her future endeavors and careers.
She has impacted students and her fellow faculty throughout the year with her genuine love of teaching and her respect for students. Leo Zhu (V), who was Ms. Wang’s student for three years, said, “Wang Laoshi is very flexible and understanding. She is aware of the busy-ness of junior year and is accommodating to make sure that you can put your full efforts into everything.”
In fact, this own writer’s Chinese ability has improved greatly as a student of hers. All her students will miss talking to Wang Laoshi in the language office.
Four Faculty Members Embark on Exciting, New Chapters in their Lives
by Josie Jahng (V)
Mr. Paul “Woody” Garavente, also fondly known as “Mr. G” or “Coach G,” is leaving after three years of teaching in the Upper School. Since coming to Pingry, Mr Garavente has played a variety of roles such as a financial literacy teacher, a substitute teacher and a lacrosse coach to name a few.
Mr. Garavente has always “had a passion for business and economics” and he spent 29 years on Wall Street prior to starting his second career as a teacher. His experiences have influenced his approach to teaching financial literacy to Pingry students.
When asked about what he will miss the most about the community, Mr. Garavente cited “his interactions with all of his students.” He added that one favorite memories from his time here was the “end of the season banquet with the JV basketball team,” specifically when “he spoke to the players and the captains, Veronica Williams (IV) and Solape Fakorede (IV), gave speeches for him.”
Ms. Sade Jack, Upper School French teacher, is departing after one year. Working at Pingry has given her the opportunity to share her knowledge of and love for French with her students. Most importantly, she wants them to remember that “learning a new language is difficult, but altogether a very rewarding experience whose benefits far outweigh the cons.”
Ms. Jack said that she will miss her “students’ sense of humor,” especially since she loves to laugh, as well as the “warmth and support of the world languages department and from all the members of the Pingry community.”
Next year, Ms. Jack plans to teach at the St. Andrew’s school in Delaware.
Ms. Sher’s favorite memory is coaching the JV girls’ basketball team because the team “had such a fun time and improved so much.” Even if the team lost, she said “the team would be cheering, screaming, and jumping up and down on the bench as if we had just won the NBA finals.” She appreciated the close-knit nature of the team and commented that it was “nice to get to know some of my students outside of the classroom and feel like part of a supportive and fun community.”
Finally, Mr. Ryan Staude, also fondly known as “Staude,” will be leaving after two years of teaching history in the Upper School. Specifically, he taught World History 9 and AP US History.
Mr. Staude is “sad that he is leaving Pingry and will not see his current APUSH students graduate;” however he will “remember each and every one of them.” He wants his students to remember “that history matters and that it is relevant today” and most importantly, “don’t trust the communists.”
Next year, Mr. Staude will be the history department chair at the O’Neal School in North Carolina. His passion for history will be missed by many students.
Director of Institutional Advancement Mrs. Hoffmann Pursues an Exciting New School Leadership Opportunity
by Rhea Kapur (III)
Mrs. Hoffmann will become the Assistant Head of School at the boarding school Vermont Academy. She credits Pingry for “preparing her to take on this next step in her journey,” saying that her long tenure at Pingry and all of the “opportunities and roles [she’s] taken on have really readied her to take on this new leadership role.”
Mrs. Hoffmann received a B.A. in both Art History and German from Hollands College. After graduating, Mrs. Hoffmann worked at the Smithsonian Museum’s Development Office, where she first developed her passion for consulting and fundraising. Upon moving to New Jersey in 1997, she worked for a year at the Central Park Conservancy in New York, after which she came to Pingry. From 2000-2005, Mrs. Hoffmann worked for the Museum of New York and for Ellis Island, and she also did some consulting. She is currently pursuing her Master’s of Education in School Leadership from the University of Pennsylvania and graduates in July.
As a good friend of Henry Stifel III ’83, for whom the Stifel Award is named, Mrs. Hoffmann first applied for the job of Campaign Manager in 1998 and talked extensively with Mr. Stifel about Pingry. She was
Mrs. Hoffmann will miss Pingry’s people the most after her departure. “I’ll forever cherish my experiences with the amazing faculty, alumni, and parents I have worked with over the years,” she said. Over her time at Pingry, Mrs. Hoffmann has enjoyed seeing the “composition of the student body evolve to include more racial and socioeconomic diversity” and generally watching the students thrive, as “they are a reflection of everything that goes on at this school.” She is also extremely grateful for Pingry’s community, support system, and “being able to reach out to anyone at any time.”
Mrs. Hoffmann encourages members of the community to “appreciate what you have, because Pingry has so much, and to enjoy every minute of your incredible time in this incredible community.
Thank you, Mrs. Hoffmann, for your longstanding impact on Pingry, and good luck during the next step of your career!
Girls Track & Field
By Walker Johnson (V)
The boys’ varsity tennis season had an impressive start, with a strong performance at the Somerset County Tournament. Despite weather cancellations for six of the first fifteen matches, the team made the most of the school’s beautiful new courts with a 6-5 record to end the season.
When Coach Marion Weber was asked about her goals for the season, she replied, “The team is hoping to have a winning record, win the Sectional title, and move on to the group finals.” Led by captains Nikhil Rao (VI) and John Huang (VI), they had a very competitive season, especially at the Prep Tournament on May 10th.
At the Somerset County Tournament this year, Nikhil took home the title for third singles, and the team finished third in the tournament overall. Playing first singles was returning player, Derek Raskopf (IV), with Hugh Zhang (III) right behind him at second singles.
By Jessica Yatvitskiy (IV)
Outplay, Outwork, Outlast! Pingry boys’ lacrosse is certainly on their way to do all three of these things this season, which began in early March. The team has participated in eleven games so far, and has won the majority of their meets, with a record of 11-7. “We are up and down in terms of wins and losses, but the boys have steady growth in terms of skills,” says Head Coach Michael Webster. Their best game was against Hunterdon Central, in which Pingry won 8-5.
“My favorite part of the season was the Hunterdon Central game, because the team came together and rose to the occasion to beat a strong team,” says Jason Weiss (VI), one of the captains. Most of the boys’ lacrosse team members have high hopes about the rest of the season. “I am extremely optimistic about the rest of our season. We are heading into the county tournament and are trying to achieve our team mission of winning the state title after it. All eight seniors have stepped up this year trying to lead a much younger team than there has been in years passed, and the team is excited to try and win its fourth state championship in a row,” says Weiss (Fifteen freshmen have joined the team this year, with five on varsity and ten on JV). “They have been extremely helpful, with two entering into the starting lineup and others helping out as role players.”
Coach Webster also expressed high hopes for the season. “I am optimistic that we can defend our state championship from last year in the Non-Public Group ‘B’ tournament,” he says. Good luck, Pingry lacrosse!
By Jessica Yatvitskiy (IV)
“Lacrosse: Turning violent personalities to world class athletes.” If this statement is true, then most of the twenty members of Pingry girls’ varsity lacrosse team must be in dire need of anger management. Their final regular season record stands at a whopping 14-6. According to Varsity Coach Carter Abbott, the team’s best game was against Hunterdon Central. “The Pingry team hadn’t been leading the game until the last four seconds. Then they really went for it, bringing the final score to 15-14.” Abbot continued, “Also, one of our players scored nine goals in this game, which was amazing.” Currently, the team is ranked fourteenth in the state on nj.com, and is currently seeded third in the Somerset County Tournament.
“This is the best we’ve done in a while, and the best rank we’ve had in about five years. It’s really exciting,” says Abbott. She attributes much of the success of the season to the leadership of the seven seniors, Mairead Higgins (VI), Shea Smith (VI), Sana Sheikh (VI), Josie Cummings (VI), Elle Braveman (VI), Tea Simon (VI), and Jenny Coyne (VI), and the other coaches, Assistant Coach Meredith Finkelstein and Goalie Coach Courtney Tierney. Abbott also says that the team’s “versatile attack” and “experienced defense” are their best weapons. “In each meet, we have four of five different people scoring, which makes us difficult to stop. Having a lot of weapons makes it difficult to stop them all.” she says. Additionally, Abbott states that the twenty-three new freshman, one of whom is on varsity, have contributed much to the team.
By Sehyr Khan (VI)
“Dominate” is the word girls’ track coach Tim Grant would use when describing his team. The girls’ track team had a record of 4-0 in their regular season . The team, made up of fifty girls, has also broken multiple records.
Caroline Dannenbaum (IV), Lauren Taylor (IV), Carol Ann Perry (IV), and Kierston Brown (IV) set a record for the 400 meter relay with a time of 51.61 seconds. Grace O’Mara (V) set a record for discus at 119’ 4”. Brown, Taylor, Avery Schiffman (VI), and Nikki Vanasse (IV) set a record of 4:13.62 for the sprint medley. Sophia Weldon (VI) and Dannenbaum set a long jump relay record of 33-9.75.
Four athletes qualified for the Penn Relays. Vanasse set two school records by running 3000 meters in 9:50.85 and running 3200 meters in 10:34.
The team shined at a meet against Somerville. Having lost to Somerville at the Skyland Relays, girls’ track pulled together and managed to beat Somerville with a score of 79-61.
They have dealt with some in-season injuries, but this team is “the best ever,” Coach Grant says.
By Emma Huang
The girls’ golf team has started their season with an outstanding record! The team, led by Head Coach Rob Mauer and captains Ami Gianchandani (VI) and Christine Shao (V), ended the regular season with a 14-0 record. They placed third with a total score of 315 at the Red Devil Invitational on April 9th, and they finished third at Counties with a total score of 339.
“We have a strong team this year,” said Captain Christine Shao (V). “Everyone on the team has great synergy and brings enthusiasm to every match or practice.”
When asked about the team’s goals for the season, both Coach Mauer and Captain Shao said the team’s goal is to win the state title and have an undefeated record. In one match against Bridgewater-Raritan High School, the team won 154 to 225, keeping them on track to meet their goal of a perfect record. The golfers achieved individual victories as well: Coach Mauer noted that “Christine Shao (V) had a hole in one on the 11th hole” during this match.
The team had their first match on April 5th against Bridgewater-Raritan High School, and first home match on April 17th against Montgomery High School.
Boy's Track & Field
By Miro Bergam (III)
Led by Head Coach Jake Ross and Captains Max Scherzer (VI) and Nate Hefner (V), the boys’ baseball team has enjoyed relative success so far this year. The team currently holds a record of 5-4 in regular games and a record of 4-2 in conference play.
When asked about the team’s transition since last year, Hefner said,“although we lost a lot of players from last year, we have a lot of young talent, specifically in the sophomore class, that has helped us tremendously throughout the season.” He continued,“We are doing really well as a team so far and I am looking forward to the rest of the season, when we can hopefully win our conference this year.”
Regarding the team’s goals for the season, Coach Ross said the team is“still very much alive for the conference title. If we can win the remaining conference games, we have a very good chance at winning the Mountain Division of the Skyland Conference.”
The team is participating in the Skyland Conference as well as the NJSIAA group tournament as the regular season wraps up.
By Ameera Ebrahim (V)
The boys’ track and field team has started the season off with a strong 1-3 record.
The team, led by Coach Mark Sepkowski and Captain Obi Nnaeto (VI), has many outstanding athletes this year. Coach Sepkowski noted that,“Zach Aanstoots (VI) is a school record holder in the high jump and the long jump. Austin Parsons (VI) was 5th last year in the State Finals and 6th this year in the Penn Relays javelin. Ben Vasquez (VI) is a top contender in the 800 M run. Obi Nnaeto (VI) is the team’s fastest sprinter and a great long jumper.” Unfortunately, this means the team will be losing many valuable senior members next year.
Although these fantastic athletes will be leaving, Coach Sepkowski and Captain Nnaeto are optimistic for the future of the team. Nnaeto said, “The team as a whole is moving in the right direction … The future is bright as sophomore Amir Arnold (IV) is making strides in the long jump and freshman Henry Wood (III) is blowing the field away in the 1600m.”
According to Obi Nnaeto, the whole team worked “to improve on their times and try a variety of events” throughout the whole season.
By Felicia Ho (V)
The girls’ softball team has finished its regular season with a record of 10-13. Coach Chip Carver said that, in their last three games, “we played our best softball of the year.”
Captains Kassidy Peterson (VI) and Maddie Parrish (VI) stayed optimistic throughout the season. Maddie noted that “the most important goal I have for our team is for us to stay in the game until the end.”
Coach Carver commented on several players who have been performing well this year. Peterson has had 11 RBIs, and Parrish improved tremendously in her first year as the catcher, a highly demanding position. Angelina Meyers (V) leads the team with a batting average of 512, Jillian Bahr (V) is tied for the most runs at 12 runs so far, and Brynn Weisholtz (IV) had 6 hits in the last 2 games.
At the NJSIAA Group Finals, Coach Carver and the rest of the team worked to “finish the season strong!”
By Emma Huang
The boys’ golf team has a great season ahead of them under the leadership of Head Coach Joe Forte, who has coached the boys’ golf team since 1986, and captain Will Capanna (VI). The team ended the season with a 10-2 record, and some highlights included qualifying for State Sectionals and beating Immaculata, the toughest opponent in their division, for the second time.
“Our goals are always the same,” says Coach Forte. The team strives to “win our division and be in contention to win any tournament we enter.” Their effort and hard work seem to be paying off, as seen in multiple individual accomplishments this season. Michael Gallagher (V) received a 2nd place medal in their Conference Tournament with a score of 75, and received a 5th place medal in the County Tournament. Burke Pagano (IV), who Coach Forte noted is “having a great season with a 39 average,” received a 10th place medal out of 80 players at Conferences.
“We are always up for a challenge,” says freshman player Hardy Mennen (III). With this optimistic attitude and solid work ethic, the team was able to Tournament of Champions.
Senior ISP Work Continued...
To gain insight into growing and maintaining a small business, Megan Horn shadowed Priscilla Vincent, owner of Priscilla’s Cafe. She learned the day-to-day routine of the owner and she used her discoveries to formulate her own business plan. Horn then travelled to Cape Cod with Millie Deak to study the effects of climate change on beach towns and discover the history and growth of now popular spots.
Phito Jean-Louis, in order to further examine his interest in business and entrepreneurship, shadowed Chike Uzoka, an entrepreneur coach and entrepreneur himself. Through watching and participating in workshops with Mr. Uzoka, Jean-Louis gained more knowledge around the field and worked to discover if the career was for him.
Emma Lombardo worked on her startup, StringFling, a customized handmade bracelet and keychain business that recently launched on the online store Etsy. She experienced the life of an entrepreneur by learning from her mentor, an entrepreneur himself, as well as buying her own materials, managing her own budget, and responding to clients.
Inspired by an internship at a financial analytics firm during the summer before his junior year, Michael Lu self-studied advanced finance and economics topics and earned a New Jersey Insurance License. In addition to researching these concepts on his own, he also shadowed a financial consultant at World Financial Group.
Neil Reddy explored the life of a trader by researching strategies for investment, watching seminars, and learning from an expert at a hedge fund on how stocks are analyzed. In a daily blog he sought answers to questions like, “How do investors choose companies to invest in?” and “How does the industry of a certain stock influence investment?”.
Drawing from his personal experiences playing lacrosse, Jason Weiss worked for a company named SwaxLax based in Summit, NJ. Through his internship at the company, he learned the basics of the sales industry such as managing invoices and becoming proficient in QuickBooks. Finally, he compiled his experience into a presentation about the business, outlining how the product “goes from production to the hands of the consumer.”
Mentored by Andy Christie on-site and Ms. Tandon at Pingry, Naiyah Atulomah decided to work at Christie’s Artisan Bread and Pastry Shop in Clinton, New Jersey. While working behind the counter and gaining an understanding of how businesses and kitchens are run, Atulomah also researched how different ingredients affect types of bread and experimented with baking her own.
Under the guidance of Dr. Marie-Pierre Jolly, Raymond Chen tackled combining basic machine learning with neuroscience. Using a vast array of resources, including online courses, online textbooks, and instructors from his Columbia University Science Honors Program, he developed a greater understanding of the computational side of machine learning.
Matt Stanton investigated the differing habits and behavior of Black Sea Bass, Striped Bass, and Fluke by fishing in Montauk, New York. During fish migration period in May, he used surfboards, kayaks, and boats to fully observe their differences, culminating in a research paper discussing his ideas for new regulations which conflict with current DEC policies.
Music and Theatre
Hoping to see how unlimited practice time would increase his skill level, Ethan Chung studied the history of music pieces and practiced instruments for at least four hours a day split between piano and cello. He also attended concerts in New York City to help build his music knowledge and decide what role music will play in his future.
Connor Smith explored photography, a course he regretted never taking at Pingry, and combined it with his love of music to produce a collection of music photography. He attended various concerts and, under the mentorship of teacher Mr. Miles Boyd and owner of RMC Records EJ Gaub, he photographed young musicians at the recording studio and other artists during their performances.
Jonathan Huang returned to the Short Hills campus to give back to the music program, as it guided him towards some of his happiest high school moments in the Buttondowns. He helped run music classes under the mentorship of Mrs. Finn and also planned Field Day and other events through the front office.
As a final farewell to the Drama Department, Megan Pan produced and directed David Auburn’s Pulitzer-winning play, Proof. Her goal was to learn about steps it takes to produce a play from beginning to end while still serving as a mentor for younger students within the drama program.
To pay homage to his tabla instructor and guru Kaumil and the Taalim School of Indian Music in Edison, NJ, Nikhil Rao spent roughly three hours a day practicing the tabla, a Northern Indian classical drum. Ultimately, he composed a ten to fifteen minute duet which he performed and videoed featuring himself and his instructor.
Brandon Rosen spent the month building his professional singing career by writing and recording songs, one of which will be released as his next single. Most of his work took place at the Mannes School of Music in New York City and at Germano Studios.
Jewell Strickland worked on the technical facets of Megan Pan’s production of David Auburn’s Pulitzer-winning play, Proof, and assisted backstage for the middle school musical technical team. For both plays, Strickland designed the lights and sets for the show and drew layouts for various scenes.
Hailey Cernuto worked with the Children’s Education Department at the Reeves Reed Arboretum. Under the mentorship of Jackie Kondel, the Director of Education at Reeves Reed, Cernuto worked to better understand what goes into creating a meaningful educational experience.
George Enman and Jamie Zusi worked under the mentorship of Mr. Birotte to serve underprivileged schools in Newark and Elizabethport. Building on work they had done on previous Rufus Gunther Days and with the charity Lacrosse the Nation, they helped teachers with their classes and coached a variety of sports.
Feeling that the Pingry experience had given him a limited perspective, Ryan Fuentes decided to visit five different types of schools for five days and shadow students there in order to better understand different academic experiences. For the rest of the month, he worked to document his grandfather’s stories from the Cuban Revolution and write satirical stories.
An admiration for education led Sehyr Khan to work with ECLC in Chatham to help teach special needs children. Under the mentorship of Ms. Fran Ryder, a supervisor at the school, she observed the classroom, talked to the teachers, and participated in a variety of activities. Throughout the month, she updated a blog to document student experiences at the school.
Under the mentorship of Ms. Erin Sweeney from the nonprofit organization Schools That Can, Jessica Li spent the first half of May working to help bring computer science to Newark schools. For the second half, Li focused on another large academic pursuit of hers: biological research. While shadowing Dr. Armstrong from Novartis in Morris Plains, she learned about the science and marketing aspects of drug development.
Ally Pyne volunteered at Pingry as a teachers’ assistant for the Research I Class and at the Presbyterian Church Preschool and Kindergarten. Under the mentorship of Dr. D’Ausilio for the Research Class and Ms. Maury Fryer for the preschool, Pyne was able to witness the differences and similarities between the learning styles of preschool- and high school-aged students.
After having spent a senior year at Fusion Academy, Matthew Rockoff worked on a video project that embodies the experience that current seniors at Fusion Academy have had. He also helped create and continue a peer mentorship program, similar to the Peer Leadership program at Pingry.
Inspired by past summers she spent shadowing her mother, a gastroenterologist, Sana Sheikh shadowed Dr. Tanveer A. Janjua, a dermatologist. With little prior knowledge about dermatology, Sheikh left her comfort zone to explore her ideal career choice as a physician from a new angle.
Austin Parsons shadowed orthopedic surgeon Dr. Hunt and Senior Director of Business Operations Ms. Kathryn Van Nest. For the first two weeks with Dr. Hunt, Parsons saw the work of an orthopedic surgeon and considered the field as a future career path. For the second two weeks with Ms. Van Nest, he witnessed the inner workings of the pharmaceutical company Johnson and Johnson.
Interested in the field of psychology and applied behavioral analysis, Jessica Carvelli interned at the Child Development and Autism Center at the Goryeb Children’s Hospital in Morristown. She worked with clinical staff and physicians and observed the full range of developmental delays and disabilities that the patients present, as well as the therapies that the Center provides.
A volunteer EMT throughout high school, Ouarida Benatia shadowed anesthesiologist and Pingry alumnus Dr. Matthew Chow of the Morristown Medical Center to figure out what it is like in the operating room. She documented the ups and downs of her experience in a collection of poems under the mentorship of English teacher Dr. Susan Dineen.
An EMT with a longtime passion for medicine, Jackie Chang shadowed anesthesiologist Dr. Chow as well as NICU doctor Dr. Ladino. Between these two doctors, Chang was able to witness the science, emotion and workings behind both anesthesiology and neonatal care, and was even able to attend a research conference about an artificial placenta with Dr. Ladino.
Ryan Feeley shadowed Dr. Sanja Kolarov, an internist at the Morristown Medical Center. In order to learn about a variety of different medical specialties and gain a better idea of his future career path, Feeley maintained a blog to document all that he learned from his experiences.
Following her interest in the medical and dental fields, Neha Lall shadowed both a physician, Infectious Diseases and Travel Medicine expert Dr. Meher Sultana, and two endodontists, Dr. Maya Prabhu and Dr. Carmen Cicalese. By exposing herself to two very different specializations, Lall could consider their differences and similarities and better understand what she wants to pursue in the future.
Colin McKinnon shadowed Dr. Marjut Kokkola-Korpela, a specialist in tropical diseases and HIV/AIDS. Interested in the future of disease prevention, McKinnon came to understand the demands of the infectious disease field, observe how diagnoses are made, and understand how different aspects such as physician work and research play into the job as a whole.
Aubrey Molloy decided to shadow two doctors: spine surgeon Dr. Mark Drzala and cardiac anesthesiologist Nimesh Patel. Inspired by a medical trip to Argentina she took the previous summer, Molloy pursued her passion for medicine and science as well as her desire to help people by witnessing and documenting life in the operating room.
History and Humanities
Alexy Alin-Hvidsten researched the geopolitical history of his ancestors as a means of better understanding his heritage and lineage. He studied the Russian Revolution, the whaling business of Norway, and primary documents such as his great aunt’s novel.
Jeremy Lister visited different museums and historical sites like the National Holocaust Museum and the Tenement Museum for inspiration for his original writing. He took what he saw and used it to write a collection of historical and realistic fiction short stories.
Myla Stovall visited different eateries in New York City to research the culinary histories of Little Italy, Chinatown, and Harlem. She kept a blog and wrote a paper outlining her discoveries of how heritages and immigrant histories can be traced through the food and restaurants of NYC.
Focused on exploring the line between cultural appropriation and cultural appreciation, Jordan Taylor designed and sewed a dress based on Ancient Egyptian fashion. She sought to better understand Egyptian life and culture as a means of exploring cultural appreciation as a whole.
Jared Tiggs built upon his involvement in a rap group called BOE to pursue a music career of his own. He spent the month of May writing and recording original songs to create and refine his musical body of work.
Clyde Leef and Jake Patterson combined their love for working with clay and commitment to community service. They hosted “Clay Nights” to raise money for an art-oriented charity and teach the community about creating clay pots. Individually, Leef and Patterson also created their own pots using techniques that would not be possible in the time span of a regular class.
Inspired by Chinese and Spanish techniques of throwing and glazing pottery, Ben Vasquez explored his individual style while incorporating outside influences for his ISP. Vazquez pushed his technical boundaries, such as mimicking the extreme thin quality of Chinese pottery and the post-production painting and glazing from Spanish pieces. In order to further heighten his knowledge, he worked under Mr. Freiwald’s direct guidance and visited other workshops within New Jersey.
Melissa Tungare and Lexi Brauer helped combat the speech impediment consequences of ALS. Technology Against ALS, a nonprofit organization, is currently developing technology that tracks eye movement, and Tungare and Brauer expanded its AI eye-recognition database by photographing the eyes of diverse ages, sexes, and races. In addition, they conducted research and device trainings in TA-ALS’s office, met with a lawyer to create a TA-ALS participant waiver, and distributed flyers.
Alyssa Chen pursued her love for calligraphy and hand lettering. In addition to perfecting her skills through practice, research, and mentorship, she launched an Etsy shop to sell digital and physical copies of her work. Chen used her internship in a public relations/brand advocacy department in a credit union to further understand the strategies involved in creating her own brand.
Jenny Coyne furthered her studies of Native American culture through literature and pottery. At Pingry, she researched online resources and consulted Mr. Freiwald to implement Native American symbolism and techniques into her own pottery. To explore Native American literature, Coyne read nearly 1,000 pages of novels and wrote reflections about them.
Mairead Higgins drew portraits representing her senior class and wrote passages describing individual students’ sentiments and experiences while at Pingry. Though she spent most of her time in Pingry’s art studio creating the portraits, she also interviewed corresponding and random members of her class with questions such as “What gets you up in the morning?”, “What were the best five seconds of senior year?”, and “In ten years, what will you remember about Pingry?”
Kelli Gomez merged her passions for art and music by painting based on songs. She created a piece for each track from the albums Current, by Tame Impala, and Channel Orange, by Frank Ocean on-campus as well as in Natirar, a nearby public park. In addition to visiting modern art galleries, she studied the details of studio art under Mr. Delman.
Nick Ladino utilized the translucent quality of glass as a unique canvas for his art. In his creations, he merged the worlds of physical and functional utility with mental and mind-stimulating utility. Though he first began working with glass in his Portfolio class this year, he continued to gather inspiration and techniques by visiting glass-related museums and exhibits in New York City.
Rebecca Lin pursued her love for animation by creating a storyboard animatic. Inspired by the K-Pop group BTS’s “Love Yourself” album and Unicef campaign, Lin’s animatic is about accepting one’s own mistakes and imperfections. She used traditional media to draw on-campus and planned and organized storyboards at home.
Saxon Scott expanded her artistic skill set by learning to create digital art with software and a tablet. Though her mentor, Mr. Boyd, oversaw her work, Scott mostly taught herself through a series of online tutorials for Adobe Illustrator. With her newfound proficiency in digital art, she plans on combining her love of science with graphic design in the future.
Looking to take more time in exploring her passions of drawing and painting without the busy schedule of school, Sophia Weldon visited several art galleries and the Botanical Garden in New York City. Inspired by the many works on exhibit, she created a portfolio of drawings, paintings, and photographs inspired by works currently on exhibit.
Combining his fascination with the ocean and interest in photography, Dylan Cheng traveled to Turks and Caicos for his ISP to dive and take underwater photography. In preparation for his trip, Cheng took an official PADI online course in photography. He then taught himself how to use various editing softwares to transform his photos into a gallery.
Lindsey Hogan explored her interest in photography by learning the basic principles of photo-taking and editing. Through spending time in New York City and Hunter, NY, hiking and taking pictures of the wildlife she saw, Hogan discovered how she personally sees the outdoors and what photography means to her.
Owen Wolfson undertook multiple projects that all incorporated his interest in photography. He developed a webpage on the Pingry website to help the artists of the Pingry community gain exposure, spent time with Mr. Bruce Morrison to learn about sports photography, and took some of his own photography in an effort to dive deeply into his artistic identity.
George Mychajluk visited Chinatown, the Ukrainian Village, Koreatown, Little Italy, and other landmarks of New York City to photograph immigrants and learn more about their culture. He also practiced advanced techniques such as night and bulb photography.
Conor Mahoney grew as a photographer by working as an assistant to Mr. Jon DeCola, a Pingry alum. He helped Mr. DeCola with lighting set up and handled the post-production scanning of his images with specialized software and hardware. Mahoney spent the rest of his time shooting on his own in the NYC area.
Media and Communications
Josie Cummings worked with Tobias Fox, Newark Science and Sustainability founder and managing director, and Pingry’s FYI Sci club to enhance both her understanding of sustainable living as well as her film editing and production skills. Using the raw footage Tobias Fox provided, Cummings created videos about energy sources and climate change for FYI Sci.
As an intern at the TV show Younger, Calvary Dominique observed its production in the show’s office as well as in filmings in Manhattan and Brooklyn. In this way, Dominique learned more about technical and supplemental roles of filmmaking as well as the process of filming and casting a TV show.
Joei Drozjock interned on the set of the ABC television show Pyramid and followed Vincent Rubino, one of Pyramid’s head producers. Though she assisted with minor tasks dealing with logs and transcriptions, Drozjock mainly observed and created a film summarizing the development of a TV season.
By creating a set of short videos introducing and describing available languages taught at Pingry for the website, Lindsey Larson enhanced her own filming and editing skills while leaving a creative legacy at Pingry. The videos of the entire Language department and Chinese, Spanish, German, French, and Latin courses are aimed to both inform and captivate prospective parents and students.
Inspired by Ferdinand Magellan’s historic voyage around the world, Bao Pham recreated Magellan’s journey through a creative culinary experience. Pham learned, researched, and made recipes from across the globe and produced a video compilation of his progress.
Ben Ramos, an aspiring filmmaker who lacked the time to pursue as much of his passion as he wanted to, spent the month diving into the entire process of making a film. This process involved storyboarding, planning, scouting for locations, filming, and editing.
Channing Russell and Tyler Williams studied the rise of the Black Media industry during the 1980s, 1990s, and through to the present day. They analyzed films ranging from A Soldier’s Story (1985) to White Men Can’t Jump (1992) to Moonlight (2016).
During the school year, Ryan Willsey was never able to find time to make videos longer than five minutes outside of his Portfolio class. During May, he created a documentary about out-of-the-way places of significance in the New Jersey and New York City area using video footage taken through his drone.
Elle Braverman, Will Capanna, and Matt Parisi worked with the family of John Taylor Babbitt ‘07 and the John Taylor Babbitt Foundation, which works to raise awareness for sudden cardiac arrest, on Pingry’s annual Walk With Heart event. They made trips to Pingry’s Lower School, advertised with local media about the event, and secured donors for the foundation.
Alice Berndt and Olivia Virzi spent every day at the Bridges headquarters in Summit, creating a system to catalog the inventory in the facility, working on the Bridges blog, and preparing for weekly runs into NYC to serve those in need.
Shruti Sagar, Millie Deak, and Maddie Parrish worked on establishing a club and program at Pingry to support Syrian refugees called Pingry Students Organize for Syria. Sagar also worked with Mr. Tobias Fox of Newark Science and Sustainability and students from Seton Hall University to design a curriculum for Newark elementary schools.
Sara Donovan decided to connect her two loves of fashion and politics into one project during May. She spent her time touring the streets of New York City and photographing and interviewing people of different backgrounds and displayed them in a photo project.
Sophie Loesberg helped Temple Har Shalom create a library for the Temple’s Pre-K program by sorting out pre-K books from the Temple’s larger library. She also assisted in archiving and cataloging the Temple’s historical documents and records.
Through interning and shadowing colleagues of Jane Aronson, founder of Worldwide Orphans in Maplewood, Iman Khan learned how nonprofits are established and developed.
Kassidy Peterson worked with Raritan Headwaters to preserve and monitor clean water in the surrounding community. She monitored streams, helped educate younger students about clean water, and marked trails and safe places for people to enter and exit the streams in kayaks.
Politics and Law
Allie Verdesca took an in-depth look at art created by women during May. She observed many different works of art and determined the time period, subject matter, and representation in museums, and determined which piece she would add to the AP Art History curriculum if given the chance.