The Cum Laude Society Celebration

—Amanda Wang ‘22 and Suha Choi ‘22

On Tuesday evening, May 7th, the entire St. Mark’s community gathered to celebrate the Cum Laude ceremony. With beautiful sounds of viola, cello, and piano, Richard Zhang ‘21, Stephanie Moon ‘19, and Ilya Kazantsev (from Music Department) opened up the ceremony with a charming music performance. Following the performance, the president of the St. Mark’s Cum Laude society, Mr. Rick Umiker, who is also a senior faculty in Math Department, shared a warm welcome and thoughtful words on the topic of passion. Ms. Jenna Cook, the secretary of the Cum Laude committee, then extended on the history of the Cum Laude society. The Cum Laude Society is a recognition prize given to secondary school students nationwide with outstanding academic achievements. Since 1944, St. Mark’s has been a member school of the Cum Laude Society in order to honor exceptional students every year. As the highlight of this ceremony, the awards were handed out to all the winners of the St. Mark’s Cum Laude Society in this academic year. The winners include the following eighteen VI formers: Colin Capenito, Alex Cardonick, Jae Yoon (John) Cho, Jiwon Choi, Megan Christy, Luc Cote, Haley Dion, Laura Drepanos, Grant Gattuso, Nicola Hartmann, Filip Kierzenka, Jiawen (Angela) Li, Rwick Sarkar, Yi (Leo) Xie, Matt Walsh, Yuchen (Amy) Wang, Qianqian (Selina) Wu, and Rosanna Zhao.

These students have not only done well in school,  but they have fully demonstrated their passion to learn and qualities of a hardworking intellectual during their time at St. Mark’s. These qualities have not only been shown through GPAs, but through lion term, Saturday courses, and even their extra-curricular. The faculty board of the Cum Laude prize in the school has voted on picking the winners. The St. Mark’s committee members for the Cum Laude Society of 2018-2019 were: Ms. Lauren Ames, Mr. Jacob Backon, and Ms. Lindsey Lohwater, Ms. Jeanna Cook, Ms. Marion Donovan, Ms. Colleen Finnerty, Ms. Margaret Caron, Dr. Peter Glomset, Ms. Sarah McCann, Ms. Katharine Millet, Mr. Christopher Kent, Ms. Barbara Putnam, Ms. Yue Cao, Mr. Richard Umiker, Ms. Channing Warner, and Mr. John Warren. Ms. Millet,

A huge congratulations to them for both the academic excellence and awards they have achieved!

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Lives of Consequence Campaign: School Under One Roof

—Katie Park ‘21

The public launch of the new Residential Life Initiative, which is the second phase of the Lives of Consequence Campaign, took place on Saturday, May 11th. When St. Mark’s created the Strategic Plan back in 2011, the main question that the school tried to answer was “What are we trying to do as an educational institution?” The school came up with this answer: “We are educating students to make a difference in whatever occupation they choose to go into and to make sure that they have the knowledge and habits of mind to make a positive difference,” said Mr. John Warren, the Head of School. This strategic thinking led to the creation of the Lives of Consequence Campaign.


The first phase of the Lives of Consequence Campaign included the creation of the Student Center, the STEM building, and the Global Citizenship Program. After a successful first phase, Mr. Warren and the trustee leaders came to the conclusion that the school will be able to better achieve their mission of educating young people for lives of leadership and service if St. Mark’s had a well designed new dormitory on Main Campus. This marked the second phase of the Campaign. The new dormitory, which will be replacing the West Campus dorms, will be located in the south of Theriot House and house approximately 150 students.

The buildings on West Campus would need a lot of upgrades including heating and common room space in order to serve boarding students in the next 20 years. The current common rooms on West Campus do not have enough space for boarders to hang out in. Furthermore, Mr. Warren believes that the school can “design a dorm that features something that the West Campus doesn’t have.”, and make boarding life more meaningful.

The first students to see the new dormitory will be the class of 2023. However, the good news for current St. Markers is that the school is striving towards completing its mission of being a school under one roof.

Oh, the Places You'll Go...

Amherst College

Babson College (3)

Bates College

Boston College (2)

Boston University (4)

Bowdoin College (2)

Brown University (3)

Bryn Mawr College

Bucknell University

Carnegie Mellon University (2)

Colby College (5)

Colgate University

College of the Holy Cross (2)

Columbia University (2)

Connecticut College

Cornell University (2)

Dartmouth College (2)

Davidson College

Denison University

Duke University (3)

Elon University

Franklin & Marshall College (2)

Georgetown University

Gettysburg College

Hamilton College - NY

Hobart and William Smith Colleges

Johns Hopkins University

Lafayette College

Lehigh University

Massachusetts College of Art and Design

Middlebury College (2)

Muhlenberg College

North Carolina State University

Northeastern University (4)

Pennsylvania State University

Providence College (2)

Quinnipiac University

Reed College

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Rhodes College

Rochester Institute of Technology

St. Lawrence University

Stanford University

Texas Christian University

The George Washington University

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Tufts University (2)

Tulane University

University College Dublin

University of California, Los Angeles

University of California, Santa Barbara

University of Chicago

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

University of Massachusetts, Lowell

University of Michigan (2)

University of Pennsylvania (2)

University of South Carolina

University of Southern California

University of St Andrews

University of Vermont

Washington and Lee University

Washington University in St. Louis (2)

Wellesley College

Williams College (4)

Worcester Polytechnic Institute

St. Mark’s Takes 2nd Place In Cornell High School Coding Programming Contest

——By Luke Lee ‘20

On Friday, April 5th, six St. Markers drove to New York City early in the morning to participate in the Cornell High School Programming Contest. The contest started at 11 in the morning, so they had to head out early. “I was so tired. I usually don’t wake up that early.” Ryan Paik recalled. Although they were tired because they woke up so early, the St. Markers were excited and thrilled to enter the competition. It was the first time to enter this competition for all of them. They had no idea what to expect. But they knew they could perform because they had worked hard in Mr. Roche’s class throughout the school year.

There were two teams representing the Lions: the C++ team and the Java team. The C++ team was: Ryan Paik ‘20, Jason Chen ‘20, and Ryan Song ‘20. The Java team was: Alan Gao ‘19, Chapin Pyne ‘20, and Carl Guo ‘21.

When they got to Cornell around 11, they checked in at the reception and had lunch. At 11:45, they all gathered with all the other teams for introduction, where they were told about the guidelines and rules of the contest. The contest began at 12:30 and was held for three hours until 3:30. After the long contest, the teams had a break until 4:15, when the Awards Ceremony began.

St. Mark’s came back with impressive results. There were 66 teams in total from Northeast. And of those teams, the C++ team came in 2nd, while the Java team came in 6th. Mr. Roche was very impressed with both teams, “They took their day. Only one other team from New York had a better score than them [C++team].” Congrats to both teams for their impressive results on the contest!

SM Hosts Annual Sustainability Conference

——By Rwick Sarkar ‘19

Over 70 students and faculty members from schools across New England came to St. Mark’s on Sunday, April 7 to attend the third annual Independent School Sustainability Coalition (ISSC) Conference. The coalition was formed by Milton Academy students three years ago, and the first two ISSC conferences were held there. This year, St. Mark’s hosted as the coalition grows larger and broadens out of the Milton community. This was by far the largest group on hand for an ISSC conference yet, helping to make the day a success.

Taking the lead on organizing this conference was Laura Drepanos ‘19 who shepherded the larger Students for Sustainability group throughout the year as they devoted much of their time towards planning the conference. Others S4Sers who were heavily involved in the planning of the conference include: Alie Hyland ‘20, Alison Bechard ‘22, Charlotte Bertsch ‘21, Daniela Ortiz ‘21, Jocelyn Cote ‘22, Kendall Sommers ‘22, Lindsay Davis ‘21, Sky Davis ‘20, Eve Elkins '21, Frances Hornbostel ‘21, Elise Gobron ‘21, Nashua Poreda ‘22, and myself. St. Mark’s students played an instrumental role in making the conference happen, including by leading different workshops on divestment, sustainability ground rules, and new ISSC initiatives.

The day began with a keynote address from Nathalia JMag, a Colombian-American fashion designer who believes in sustainable and ethical approaches to creating clothing. She has been on Project Runway and has been highlighted in Vogue after participating in the Helsinki Fashion week. Following her talk, students engaged in a Q&A session with her, learning much about the fashion industry and its role in contributing to a polluted world. It was inspiring to see a young person pursuing their passions while prioritizing sustainability.

St. Mark’s students took much away from the conference, learning about sustainability efforts at some of our peer schools. Some ideas S4S members are particularly excited about include initiatives at Taft School to reduce plastic usage in their Lions Den equivalent and an Earth Day celebration with an outdoor picnic lunch, food trucks, and a reusable tumbler sale. S4S is hoping to bring some of these initiatives to our campus soon. Broader discussions were also had. For example, the divestment workshop group discussed making an action plan as a coalition seeking to divest school endowments from fossil fuels, using the force of a coalition of students across the New England prep school world all calling on schools to take action.

In their first year hosting the conference, St. Markers made the day a one to remember and helped broaden the coalition. Moving forward, St. Mark’s students hope to continue being a driving force behind this all-important coalition of students pushing for a more sustainable future.

Students contacted local companies that prioritize sustainability in making their products and handed out free food samples from these brands at the conference.


Fashion designer Nathalia JMag delivered the keynote.

A group picture in the PFAC lobby at the end of the conference.

Meet the Chileans

By Blake Gattuso ‘20

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As the Chilean exchange students from the Grange School have left, I asked them each a couple questions about their experiences at home, at St. Mark’s, and in America, in general.

“What is your favorite activity to do at home?”

I noticed that the Chileans’ hobbies tended to be not too dissimilar from hobbies in America. Sofia Ali-Shah likes to walk her golden retriever while Benjamin Tapia likes to play computer games like overwatch and counter-strike. Maria Retamal and Josefina Perez love to practice sports like field hockey and volleyball, respectively. The warmer climate helps out Mariana Gatica, as she likes to take trips to the beach on long weekends while Benjamin Chan enjoys hanging out with his friends.

“What is a fun fact about yourself?”

Benjamin Tapia believes that socks and sandals are the superior footwear choice, and he logically explains it. He says, “you get the freedom and comfort of wearing sandals without getting your feet dirty.” Josefina has a fraternal twin sister. As a fraternal twin myself, this is definitely the go-to fun fact when the question is asked. Maria does artistic roller skating and Mariana dances flamenco, a dance that originated in Southern Spain. Benjamin Chan acknowledges that Chinese food is not his favorite despite his parents owning a Chinese restaurant and him eating their food almost every day. Sofia did her Duke of Edinburgh award last year, which is an impressive award that acknowledges achievement in teens.

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“What is the difference between the Grange and St. Mark’s?”

The students said that the main differences were in the class schedule. There are no free periods at the Grange, and they are mandated to take every class, there is no choice. This means they are taking nine to ten classes at any time, and thus is more stressful. School starts at 7:45 am and ends at 4:00 pm at the Grange as well. They also have an obligatory physical education class in addition to extracurricular sports.

“What are some American stereotypes that you have proven true/false while you have been here?”

Sofia, Benjamin Chan, and Josefina all mentioned that it was an American stereotype to have big food portions, and their experience here has backed this up. Benjamin Tapia took this stereotype one step further, saying that everything in America is bigger. Once again, he proved this true with an interesting factoid about his thirds’ basketball teammate, Logan Matthews’ ‘22, feet:

An American stereotype that I have is that I expect everything in America to be larger. This stereotype has been proven to be correct by Logan's size 17 feet. In Chile, brands usually sell shoes up to size 12.5, which makes it difficult even for me to find shoes (I'm size 13). Which makes me not want to even think about what Logan would have to go through to find shoes his size.

Mariana was grateful that her stereotype, Americans being full of themselves, was proven false in her time at St. Mark’s.

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Lunar New Year Celebration: ASA Creates Home Away From Home

By Katie Park ‘21, Amanda Wang ‘22, Suha Choi ‘22

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St. Mark’s strives to recognize the diverse culture in our community, and the Asian Student Alliance (ASA) planned and organized a week-long Lunar New Year celebration in an effort to create a home away from home for the Asian students. Lunar New Year is the start of a new year according to the lunar calendar. This year’s Lunar New Year fell on the fifth of February. Many Asian countries including China, Korea, Japan, and Vietnam celebrate this holiday in their own traditions. Since culture is so diverse among the Asian countries, the ASA wanted to make sure all the cultures were represented.

To pull off the celebrations, there was a lot of behind the scenes work from the ASA members. Most of the ideas came from the three co-heads of the ASA: Helen Huang `20, Lora Xie `20, and Stephanie Moon `19. They reached out to all the ASA members and encouraged them to step up and get involved. There were four different groups in charge of decorations, logistics, weekday activities, or performances.

The Lunar New Year Dinner on Friday night marked the start of the celebration. Parents and families overseas sent their best wishes to all students at St. Mark’s by video in their own languages respectively. This helped create a family-like atmosphere. There were also delicious traditional Asian foods prepared by Flik Dining, such as Korean style beef, Chinese style dumplings, fortune cookies, Japanese sodas, rice, Shrimp shumai, cooked fishes.

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Many  students contributed efforts to noteworthy performances and overall a fun festival! To take a peek, Sophia Liu ‘19 played an elegant piece of music, which mimics the sounds of traditional Chinese instruments on piano. Samantha Wang ’21 performed her magic tricks; she made a red napkin disappear and reappear in her hands. Selina Wu’19, Leean Li’19, Amy Wang ‘19, and Jenny Shan ’19 rocked with two Chinese pop music, with their photos on the slideshow to display their friendship over the last four years at St. Mark’s. Alex Chen ’21, Richard Zhang ’21 and Will Lu ’20 made a famous song named The Drunken Beauty come to life, incorporating both the traditional and the modern elements of music. Thomas Li’22, Lina Zhang ’21, and Waverly Shi ’21 played An Unforgettable Night, a traditional lunar new year song known by all, as an end of the new year celebration.

The chapel service organized by the ASA was another significant event. It was the first year for this service, and Ms. Starry Zhu, the ASA’s faculty advisor, stated that “[they] were trying to balance and recognize the perspectives of Asian students from different backgrounds at St. Mark’s.”

The whole celebration was a great success. Behind the curtain, however, the ASA faced some difficulties. Lora Xie `20 shared that “because the variance among different Asian cultures is so great, and because we do have the subgroup of Chinese international students that outnumbers others by far, it was not easy to navigate the diversity within the Asian and Asian American community.” Helen Huang `20 stated that the most difficult part was “managing time and people because we had several groups working on several different things, so it was hard to keep track with what was happening when and what we still needed the accomplish.” Ms. Zhu shared that she is “very proud of how the ASA members managed to overcome numerous difficulties.”

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The ASA members are planning to send out a survey to grasp a better understanding of how the students thought that the event went. So far, Ms. Zhu stated that she “received numerous positive feedbacks from faculty members, students, and parents.” The ASA members are proud of how the Lunar New Year celebration went and are looking forward to planning other events throughout the year.

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Blessing of the Animals

By Clara Hua ‘21

The Blessing of the Animals is a tradition that started almost 800 years ago. It is in the spirit of St. Francis of Assisi, who always called creatures “his brothers and sisters.” He sought to widen the fraternity to include humans and creatures in the same relationship with God. The feast day of St. Francis (the day that he died) is celebrated every year on October 4th, and blessing of the animal services are usually scheduled for the Sunday closest to that day.

Reverend Talcott started this tradition at St. Mark’s in 2009. She thinks that animals are vital parts of our world and our lives, and it’s important to bring our awareness to them. Every year, Belmont chapel welcomes pets from community members and this year we had more than 20 animals, including dogs, cats and even lizards at! Several faculty members and students shared their (or their pets’) experience with me.

“It's my favorite chapel of the year,” said Ms. Caron. “I love seeing my students with their pets. Finn has a great time. It's a little overwhelming for him, but he loves making new dog friends, and he loves seeing all of the students. He was so excited to look out of our apartment window and see the dogs arriving prior to chapel.”

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 “Blessing of the animals is my favorite chapel of the year!” exclaimed Sarah Lammert ’21. “ My family is made up of animal lovers. We have four dogs, three goats, six chickens, and a bunny. My first year at St. Mark’s was last year, when I only took one of my poodles. This year my brother joined the school, and we brought all four together. Personally, I love Blessing of the Animals because it allows day students or local boarders to show a little bit of their lives to the boarders who couldn’t bring their pets!”

“I brought one dog with me as Nettie is so afraid of people,” said Ms. Behnke.”Chloe loves “Blessing of the Animals” and it is one of my favorite days. Chloe gets to see lots of dogs she knows and she meets new ones. I also love seeing all the dogs on campus. I am so grateful to St. Mark’s for celebrating this day.”

Tommy Flathers ’21 commented that “[his] dog Claribelle is 11 and a grouchy old lady, so she did not really enjoy the blessing of the animals. She was nervous and hung around the edges. But she did make it all the way through and received her blessing.”

This was not the experience of Catherine Pellini ’20. “Both my puppy Callie and I had so much fun at the Blessing of the Animals last Tuesday. I loved seeing all of the animals and I’m sure she had fun meeting the other dogs! I’m so glad we were able to participate in this amazing St. Mark’s tradition.”

All of us are reminded of the importance of animals in our lives by this tradition. St. Markers (both people and pets) love this chapel a lot, and I bet many of us are already starting to look forward to next year’s Blessing of the Animals!

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Perspectives on St. Marguerite's Partnership

By Paige LaMalva ‘20

The St. Marguerite's Partnership is an opportunity for St. Markers to enhance our friendship with St. Marguerite’s, a school located in Latournelle, Haiti. The responsibilities of the partnership are to promote communication, education, and cultural exploration between the two schools. Club meetings involve improving understanding of Haitian culture to members and developing ways to educate the St. Mark’s community about Haitian history and culture. Some of the projects that have occurred are selling Haitian chocolate, running the Haitian Independence Day fair, and sponsoring The St. Marguerite’s Partnership Rice and Beans lunch. The club meets every other Monday from 8am-8:25am in Ms. McColloch’s classroom, Room 128; the student leaders are Haley Dion ‘19, Grant Gattuso ’19, and Kerrie Verbeek ‘19, and the faculty leaders are Ms. Morgan and Ms. McColloch. It’s never too late to join!

The other part of the partnership is the opportunity to travel to Haiti. If a St. Marker wants to be fully immersed in Haitian culture, then this is the opportunity! Five or six students get selected each year for this opportunity. Following their arrival in Haiti, St. Markers will spend the night at St. Matthieu, an Episcopal Parish located not too far from the partnership school. During the trip, students will be able to interact and meet with the teachers and students and enhance their knowledge of Haiti. Students in the past have raved about the trip is an incredible opportunity and how they have built strong friendships.Here are some reflections from last year.

Why did you join the Haiti Partnership?

“I joined the partnership because I feel it is an opportunity to have an impact on our small community as well as on another school and on people’s lives there. I also joined because I feel it is beneficial to create diverse cultures and expand the mindset of students at St. Mark’s. By joining the partnership, I am able to inform myself and peers on Haitian culture and struggles. By doing this, we as a community are able to move forward with the intent of always learning and always helping. I am also simply interested in the culture and contrast of Haiti compared to America.” -Kendall Sommers ‘22

“I didn’t know too much about Haiti, so I was really curious to see what it was like. After learning about how beneficial the partnership is for St. Mark’s and St. Marguerite’s, I immediately knew that I wanted to be a part of it to help make a positive impact at both schools.” Elise Gobron ‘21

What was your favorite part going to Haiti?

“My favorite part about Haiti was building relationships with the St. Marguerite’s community. I loved playing games with the children, singing songs, and dancing with the community! Although there was a language barrier, we were able to communicate through music and dance, which was so special!” -Haley Dion ‘19 (student leader)

“My favorite part of the trip was playing soccer with the kids and dancing with them!” -Kerrie Verbeek ‘19 (student leader)


New Mercedes’ Smartliners: A Smart Purchase for St. Mark’s

By Katie Park ‘21

If you have traveled for sports events or field trips this fall, you have no doubt experienced a significant change that has added sparkle to students’ lives: the new Mercedes minivans. A lot of behind the scenes work went into purchasing the vans, and Mr. Kuklewicz, the Chief Financial & Operations Officer at St. Mark’s, walked me through the long process.

“This all started last winter,” said Mr. Kuklewicz. The team that was part of this project included Mr. Vachris, Ms. Kosow, and Mr. Levandowski. They looked at different models including the Dodge, Ford, and Mercedes Benz. They went on test drives last spring and came to an agreement that the Mercedes Smartliner was the best option. Also, the new minivans are all run by diesel engines which are considered to be more efficient than gasoline engines. “That is when we have decided to opt for the Mercedes Smartliner, and we bought four of them,” said Mr. Kuklewicz.

The main reason St. Mark ’s decided to purchase new vans was because the existing fleet was aging. However, the replacement would have never become a reality without the help of various people from the St. Mark’s community. “Frank Hanenberger, the parent of Lukas Hanenberger '19, was instrumental in helping us to arrange test drives with all the dealers,” said Mr. Kuklewicz. The marketing department led by Mr. Cochran was also a huge help in this process, and Mrs. Levandowski was an instrumental person behind the design group. She came up with several designs, and the group decided which was most aesthetically pleasing. “I like the design of the new minivans!” remarked Charlie Rumrill '21.

The new Mercedes vans not only carry athletic teams but also are used for weekends and school field trips. “Ms. Hultin drove one of the new vans when we went on a JCI field trip to the synagogue, and the ride was really comfortable,” said Geetika Surapaneni '21.

“I have heard many positive reactions and last Friday, I heard one faculty member talking about how the teams are really excited for away games now because of the new vans. Also, some faculty members said that the new vans are easier to drive because they feel more like cars,” said Mr. Kuklewicz. The purchasing of the new minivans was indeed a long process, but the one that is worth it.

Some may be wondering what will happen to our old fleet of mini-vans? Mr. Kuklewicz informed the community just this week that Brantwood Camp will be taking two of vehicles that the third bus will be donated shortly after this.

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St. Mark's Gets Tech Savvy

By John Cho ‘19

Reflecting the trend of social media’s emergence throughout the world, within the St. Mark’s community, different groups of students and faculty utilize different social media platforms to reach out to the broader community. Especially for the parents who sent their children to a boarding school, they must be curious about what is going on campus and what activities the students are engaging in. Thus, we strongly recommend for the parents to keep track of these social media pages to keep closer track of ongoing school activities!

Instagram: @smlions

As the official Instagram page of St. Mark’s School, @smlions account posts on official school events on a regular basis. From photos of students in math classes to pictures of student-led club fair, @smlions focus on portraying the community life in St. Mark’s.

Instagram: @smwellness

Recently launched, the @smwellness page is a helpful tool for the students to not only check the lunch menu but also learn about different wellness activities going on campus. As it says in the bio, @smwellness page focuses on creating a community where all members have the essential tools to be their best selves.

Team pages on Instagram (@smgirlsvarsitysoccer, @smjvsoccer, and more!)

If you are a big fan of St. Mark’s sports, especially for certain teams, you should follow their team pages on Instagram. You can find out game times, scores, and other news in the specific team pages. Experience the team spirit by following them on Instagram!

Facebook: @stmarkslions

The official Facebook page for St. Mark’s focuses more on reaching out to the alumni and the parents of the school. The page features alumni stories, school receptions, and school news. If you are looking for a nearby reception or proud achievements of our alumni, search St. Mark’s School Alumni, Parent, and Friends on Facebook!

Go “Ewaso” Lions: Gray Colloquium Speaker raises awareness about vulnerable lion populations

By Suha Choi ‘22 and Luke Lee ‘20

Photos: Sanjna Patel ’19

We are grateful to have had Dr. Shivani Bhalla mark the start of our 2018-2019 Gray Colloquium Lecture Series: Creating Change. The commitment of $1.5 million by C. Boyden Gray ‘60, funds the Gray Colloquium series, intended to provide outside viewpoints and engage our community in thinking bigger. With a theme set each year, speakers from all around the world come to visit our campus and give speeches related to the annual theme.

On October 4, Conservation Biologist Dr. Shivani Bhalla addressed the crisis of the Kenyan lion populations’ rapid diminution. Bhalla is the founder and executive director of Ewaso Lions, a conservation organization that involves scientific research, education and partnerships with local communities to end the crisis in lion populations in Kenya. The team works with with young tribal warriors and local community members including both women and children. Dr. Shivani Bhalla travels once a year to spread her message and create more awareness about wildlife and global environmental matters.

Dr. Shivani Bhalla explained about her organization, Ewaso Lions, and the steps that she has taken to protect the lion population in northern Kenya. She enthralled everyone in the audience through her stories about how she has involved local tribesmen, who killed lions to protect their livestock, into her conservation effort. Due to their support, her team was able to decrease the death toll of lions significantly. When she founded Ewaso Lions in 2007, the situation was grim in Kenya. The lion population has been on a sharp decline, and it has been an downhill trend for years. Because of her ability to save the wild lions under challenging conditions, her story generated much positivity and energy among St. Markers. Although her work is remarkable and well-deserves credit, the hopeful tone of her speech is misleading. Wild lions are still in serious danger.

According to the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature), lion population has declined 43% and there are less than 20,000 remaining in the world. They are listed as “Vulnerable,” which is right before “Extinction.” They are regionally extinct in 15 African countries. By 2050, lions might disappear from this planet. One of the main reasons lions are endangered is the alarming rate at which they are losing their habitats. As human populations grow, people are chopping down trees because they need more space to create more roads, houses, and agricultural fields.  Due to loss of habitat, lions are being forced into closer quarters with humans. Not only that, the decrease in their natural prey causes them to attack livestock. In turn, farmers oftentimes retaliate and kill these majestic big cats.

Another factor that contributes to the decreasing lion population is trophy hunting. Craig Packer, director of the Lion Research Center at the university of Minnesota, says “When a hunter kills and takes home one big male trophy, other males fight and kill one another for dominance. The male lions might also kill of the cubs and attack females who try to defend them. In Tanzania, the big, older trophy males became so depleted that hunters started killing immature maneless lions.” Lastly, lions are slaughtered for their bones and other body parts, which are sold illegally to Asia. In some parts of Asia, lions are popular for their purported health benefits.

It is important to maintain conservation efforts by remaining hopeful. However, it is equally important that we don’t overlook the stark reality of the crisis with our cheerfulness. Dr. Shivani Bhalla’s speech should not merely linger as a witty, lighthearted connection to St. Mark’s beloved lion mascot, her attitude and contributions should inspire awareness, compassion and most importantly actions-qualities which St. Markers should seek to learn from their own community.

So, go lions! Go lions of St. Mark’s! Go Ewaso lions of Kenya!

Learn more about Dr. Shivani Bhalla and her team:

Close Ups: The Monitors

by Rick Sarkar ‘19

Every spring, the student body and faculty elect eight rising seniors to serve as the student leaders of the school for the following year. These eight work closely with Dr. Warren, their faculty advisor, and meet weekly with Mr. Warren and Mr. Vachris. They are responsible for running school meeting, keeping student morale high, and representing the interests of the student body to the faculty and administration. Perhaps most importantly, these are the folks who send out those all-school emails! Be sure to say hi to any of the monitors when you see them around school, and do not hesitate to reach out to any of them when you have a concern you want addressed. Below are brief introductions of the monitors, starting with your 2018-19 head monitors, Tom Paugh and Zoe Maddox.

From left to right: Rwick Sarkar, Tom Paugh, Zoe Maddox, Kate Normandin, Mr. Warren, Matt Hart, Zeñia Alarcón, Shelby Howard, and Jason Zhang

From left to right: Rwick Sarkar, Tom Paugh, Zoe Maddox, Kate Normandin, Mr. Warren, Matt Hart, Zeñia Alarcón, Shelby Howard, and Jason Zhang

Tom Paugh

  1. First name/Nickname/Last name

Tom/Tom Paugh/Paugh

  1. Hometown

Wayland, MA

  1. What animal would you be and why?

A giraffe--peaceful, has a long neck, loves munching on veggies

  1. Why did you want to be a monitor?

I wanted to make a positive impact on the school that has given so much to me over the past three years. I knew that it was going to be a lot of work, but in my opinion making students and the faculty happy is well worth the work.

  1. Favorite kitchen utensil?


  1. Where do you see yourself at your SM 10th reunion?

Hopefully employed

  1. Favorite thing about SM

My friends.

Zoe Maddox

  1. First name/Nickname/Last name

    1. Zoe/Robby Harper’s Girlfriend/Maddox

  2. Hometown

    1. Southborough, MA

    2. But born in New Haven, Connecticut

    3. And spent 6 important developmental years in Midland, Texas.

  3. What animal would you be and why?

    1. A fox because they are small and nimble, but also quick and effective. Also they’re pretty cute. Also Fantastic Mr. Fox is my favorite movie. AND they have a very famous song. Ring-ding-ding-ding-dingeringeding! Gering-ding-ding-ding-dingeringeding! Gering-ding-ding-ding-dingeringeding!

  4. Why did you want to be a monitor?

    1. I think that at SM there are certain leadership positions that have more direct impact on the school than others. Monitor, in my opinion, has the biggest direct impact. I did not run for monitor so that it would look pretty on my college applications. I did it because I genuinely care about this school and want to make a positive impact that will hopefully last long after I graduate. (If I graduate (; lol)

  5. Favorite kitchen utensil?

    1. Sharp high quality knives. J. A. Henckels international is my prefered brand.

  6. Where do you see yourself at your SM 10th reunion?

    1. I just hope I’m happy.

  7. Favorite thing about SM

    1. Either athletics or the classics department. Of course SMGVS will forever hold a special place in my heart, but how could I forgot the team on campus with the most diverse skill range, JV girls hockey, or varsity softball which is a beast all its own. But aside from the athletics, over these past three years I have fallen in love with Latin and Greek even though I am very bad at both of the dead languages.

Jason Zhang

  1. First name/Nickname/Last name

    1. Jason/JJ or Jay Z as in the rapper/Zhang

  2. Hometown

    1. Westborough, Massachusetts

  3. What animal would you be and why?

    1. Narwhal no explanation needed.

  4. Why did you want to be a monitor?

    1. I wanted to be a resource for the student community. High school hits everyone with a lot of expected and unexpected challenges. Even if I might not have experienced your’s, I’d love to learn more about it and help you overcome it.

  5. Favorite kitchen utensil?

    1. Salt shaker.

  6. Where do you see yourself at your SM 10th reunion?

    1. Hopefully I’ll be able to dunk by then.

  7. Favorite thing about SM

    1. I don’t know why but I really like the chapel breakfast sandwiches. They’re very convenient to take into your morning class and I always make sure to double up on the sausage patties.

Kate Normandin

  1. First name/Nickname/Last name

    1. Katherine/Kate/Knorms Normandin

  2. Hometown

    1. Wellesley, Massachusetts

  3. What animal would you be and why?

    1. I would be a sea otter because I love swimming and I like to think I’m really cute, but can be vicious if provoked.

  4. Why did you want to be a monitor?

    1. I knew if I was a monitor I would have the platform to radiate my positivity to all of the community. While some people may find it unnerving to always have your peers watching you, I think it is a great chance to lead by example and use this subtle power to make people's lives better.

  5. Favorite kitchen utensil?

    1. A marshmallow roasting stick.

  6. Where do you see yourself at your SM 10th reunion?

    1. Honestly, living on a horse farm in rural Canada with 82 dogs.

  7. Favorite thing about SM

    1. I said this at Meet the Monitors last year, and a lot of people probably thought I said school meeting as an answer trying to appeal to the crowd. However, it really is my favorite thing about St. Mark’s. Honestly, I think having the whole school in one space listening to music and announcements for 20 minutes twice a week really brings us together. It separates us from other schools, and allows us to learn and care about the totality of our community.

Matt Hart

  1. First name/Nickname/Last name

Matt/Cooler than Tom/Hart

  1. Hometown

Westford, MA

  1. What animal would you be and why?

A tiger because Tiger’s back

  1. Why did you want to be a monitor?

I love SM and I want to be able to stand behind the school.  There are traditions that could be tweaked to better fit our community, and I ran for monitor because I wanted to make those tweaks.

  1. Favorite kitchen utensil?

Melon Baller

  1. Where do you see yourself at your SM 10th reunion?

Hopefully still being cooler than Tom.

  1. Favorite thing about SM

Easily the friends I’ve made here over the past four years.

Zeñia Alarcón

  1. First name/Nickname/Last name

Zeñia Alarcón

  1. Hometown

Brooklyn, New York (LETSSS GET IT!!)

  1. What animal would you be and why?

An Owl because I am a hoot, LOL

  1. Why did you want to be a monitor?

I wanted to be monitor because I wanted to be able to set the tone for the school, and create a more positive community. I wanted to do more for the SM community and initiate change.  

  1. Favorite kitchen utensil?

Spoon to be honest, who needs a fork or knife

  1. Where do you see yourself at your SM 10th reunion?

I see myself with a job living it up in the Big Apple (possibly…).

  1. Favorite thing about SM

The friendships I have made during my time here at SM are my favorite things. Whether they were from day 1 or towards the end of my time here, all of them matter to me.

Rwick Sarkar

  1. First name/Nickname/Last name

Rwick/Rick/Tiny Rick/Sarkar

  1. Hometown

Winchester, MA

  1. What animal would you be and why?

Polar bears: they are the cutest.

  1. Why did you want to be a monitor?

I wanted to be someone who could give new students a warm welcome to SM, help make this a great year, and work to make positive change to make SM a more inclusive community.

  1. Favorite kitchen utensil?

Obviously the spatula.

  1. Where do you see yourself at your SM 10th reunion?

Still running

  1. Favorite thing about SM

SMXC. And spending hours in the dining hall with my friends.

Shelby Howard

  1. First name/Nickname/Last name

    1. Shelby/Shelburrito/Howard

  2. Hometown

    1. Ashland, MA

  3. What animal would you be and why?

    1. I would be a pigeon so I could fly and deliver mail to people.

  4. Why did you want to be a monitor?

    1. I wanted to be a monitor because I wanted the opportunity to make our community the best it can possibly be. Also, I’m always late to chapel so the saved seat is pretty nice.

  5. Favorite kitchen utensil?

    1. Colander because pasta is bae.

  6. Where do you see yourself at your SM 10th reunion?

    1. Being fluent in German and wearing a dirndl.

  7. Favorite thing about SM

    1. I know saying ‘the people’ is the most stereotypical answer, but it’s true for me. My peers and teachers always challenge me to be my best self which is something I am so grateful for. Oh, and 009 because I am extremely competitive:)

Advancing Global Citizenship: New Course Takes it up a level

by Ryan Yang ‘19

The latest addition to St. Mark’s diverse course offerings, Advanced Global Citizenship, is the talk of the town around campus. Led by the director of Global Citizenship Dr. Warren, the course seeks to equip students with knowledge of global issues challenging  humankind in the 21st century, as well as helping students gain a comprehensive understanding of the forces at play in the world today.

With the small class setting and the personalized learning experience that the course provides, students report that they have not only been able learn more about the world but also about the roles they play in the ever-changing world. According to VI former Ryan Yang, “the class has been an eventful and enriching learning experience ever since our first day. Even in the short time we have had in class so far, the readings and discussions have provided me with a new perspective on the world.”

This sentiment is echoed by VI Formers Leo Xie and Aidan White, who commented respectively: “I like how we are learning about different countries and cultures” and “I love the focus on anthropology and how the material helps facilitate better discussions.” Some examples of students’ learning experiences include: a thought-provoking project tasking students to consider specific ethnic minority groups around the world and an analysis of concepts of ethnocentrism and cultural relativism in a myriad of different readings. Students are also looking forward to the final project, where they will identify a global challenge faced by the world today and construct a feasible solution to that issue.

The addition of Advanced Studies in Global Citizenship comes as no surprise given St. Mark’s commitment to Global Citizenship. As Dr. Warren put it: “The school’s emphasis on global citizenship is in alignment with our mission. The value of leadership, service, creativity, critical thinking, cooperation and the exploration of the larger world, which is reflected in our mission statement, is also reflected in what it means to be a global citizen.” With an increase in the number of Global Citizenship academic and extracurricular offerings, we look forward to how these classes and travel opportunities will inspire St. Marks students to better themselves as global citizens and lead lives of consequence.

Vamos a españa y Chile: SM Summer Travel

by Lindsay Davis ‘21

Over the summer, I traveled to Chile through the Chilean Exchange Program. I went there with three St. Mark’s students, my Spanish teacher, Sr. Cifuentes, and my religion teacher, Ms. Hultin. I was inspired to join the Chilean Summer Program because of the opportunity to practice my Spanish. I wanted to be fully engrossed in the culture and to have a chance to speak with and listen to native speakers.

Our group of Americans, or “gringas” as the Chileans would say, began our trip with an amazing four-day excursion to San Pedro, which is a rural town in the Atacama Desert. After that we flew into Santiago to meet our host families, with whom we would live for the next three weeks. I had an incredible family who was very welcoming: one of my Chilean sisters even gave her bedroom to me. Since I loved the hike in San Pedro, my host family made sure to take me hiking on a trail where we are able to overlook the city. I met their entire extended family, and I really enjoyed having traditional Chilean meals with them, such as empanadas. I was even able to ski in the Andes.

During our time in Chile, we went to The Grange School to study. Since I was in a different grade than the other “gringas,” I had very little chance to talk with them in English. Therefore, I had to jump out of my comfort zone and make friends with the locals who predominantly speak Spanish. As a result, the first few days were very challenging for me. After the first week I was able to have a short conversation in Spanish with my new Chilean friends and host family. My host family was constantly helping me with my vocabulary and grammar, and they took good care of me during my time there. I will never forget the bonds I made with friends and my host family in Chile. I am so looking forward to seeing them at St. Mark’s in winter.

Chile trip.png

by Anu Akibu ‘20

Overall, I enjoyed my trip to Spain which was organized by an institute called Instituto San Pedro. I lived with Rebecca and Paula. Our host family was very gracious and accommodating. They made our homestay experience comfortable and enjoyable. My host family taught us about Segovia and Spain. Surprisingly, their son was a Monitor in our program which made our transition to life in Spain much easier. It was also beneficial that he understood both English and Spanish and he helped mitigate the barriers with our host parents. Our host family always had lunch and dinner together. I especially loved our conversation after the meal, which helped me improve my conversational skills and develop close relationships with them. What I loved the most was that my host family introduced us to many traditional Spanish dishes and desserts. I appreciated my host family for this because I did not want them to feel as if they had to provide us our usual meals.

I do wish there had been more free time because we were constantly busy. Our schedule consisted of going to school, a historical monument, or to tutor Spanish children. Generally our school began at 10:30 am and ended around 1:40 pm, sometimes later depending on the class. After school we were able to have an hour of rest until 4:15 pm, then we had to go to the Aqueduct for our daily excursion. We wouldn't really have free time until 6:30 pm, however we had to tutor kids from 7:15 pm until 9:30 pm. Finally, when we were done with our commitments we would get home around 10 pm and have dinner. Dinners ranged from 1-2 hours, which included preparation, thus going to bed around 11 p.m. or later.

Although life in Spain was busy, I still appreciate the independence we were given. We rode the bus by ourselves to school and to the Aqueduct every weekday. We would usually meet at the Aqueduct whenever we felt like going on an excursion near Plaza Mayor. As a result, we became accustomed to those places and discovered new spots where we could explore and have amazing food during our free time.

Spain trip.jpeg


by Clara Hua ‘21

last year's fellows.JPG

As a high school student, conducting research on bioenergetics, cancer or DNA might seem an impossible dream. However, at St. Mark’s this dream is a reality ! STEM Fellowship, a signature science program at our school, gives students the chance to do so. After finishing an advanced science course, V and VI formers can choose to take part in this program that aims to provide them with an opportunity to conduct high-level scientific research. They are selected through a highly-competitive application process, and they work with teachers and outside mentors on a specific research topic that interests them most. St. Markers finally compete in science fairs, and they have done extremely well in the past few years!

Here’s what several St. Markers have to say about their STEM Fellowship plans for this year:

Haley Dion, VI Form

I am very excited to continue my STEM Fellowship project over the course of this year. It is incredible that St. Mark’s offers students the opportunity to pursue their passions and conduct independent research projects. I have always been fascinated by the brain For my Fellowship, I am conducting a neuroscience project. I am researching how bioenergetics affects Alzheimer’s Disease. I can’t wait to see what the other fellows and I complete between now and the science fairs!

Megan Christy, VI Form

I think the STEM Fellowship is a great opportunity for high schoolers to gain high level research experience that is not typically available to students our age. My specific project explores how biomaterials can encourage tissue regeneration for abdominal aortic aneurysms. While experiments and testing phases have not yet begun, we have done significant amount of summer research to build a set of background knowledge for our projects. I have connected with a lot of professionals in the field I am interested in who have helped me structure my project based on their knowledge. I will be working closely with two doctors I met this summer, one from WPI and one from MIT, who will mentor me as I conduct my research. The year has barely begun, and I not only have already learned so much about my topic, but I also have learned how to communicate with professionals. I think that these skills along with everything else I learn the rest of the year will set me on a path for success in college and after!

Robby Harper, VI Form

The STEM Fellowship  has been a great opportunity to study something that really interests me. It enables me to move my project in the direction that I chose, with the support of teachers like a regular class.  I can't wait to see how this year goes and how everyone's projects turn out.

Rosanna Zhao, VI Form

Over the summer, I was able to intern at Dana Farber Cancer Institute where I handled patient blood samples for clinical trials. For one of the clinical trials, I learned that the researchers were injecting an HIV virus into brain tumors of different patients in a trial. The result showed that brain tumors were successfully shrunken. I was amazed by this clinical trial because I could not believe why people would inject HIV viruses into brains. However, from this experience, I learned that a negative could potentially cure a negative. This discovery revolutionized my project when I came across an article titled Cell Phone Radiation Could Protect Memory Loss. I planned on researching the correlation between cell phone radiation and Alzheimer’s. Alzheimer’s Disease is caused by an accumulation of amyloid-beta plaques that are damaging to neurons in the brain. Cell phone radiation, however, is able to kill of the amyloid-beta plaques present.

Unfortunately, I came across a challenge: I could not keep drosophila alive for long enough for cell phone radiation to affect them. Therefore, I am now working to discover the correlation between different colors and frequencies of flickering LED lights on Alzheimer’s after reading about a similar research at MIT. Alzheimer’s creates a disruption to neuronal synchrony in the brain which is critical for memory. The constant flickering of LED lights can manipulate brain signaling and activate an immune system cell in the brain known as microglia that can help to decrease amounts of amyloid-beta plaques. My next steps are to explore the immune system of drosophila to determine whether they have cells similar to microglia on which I can study.

Grant Gattuso, VI Form

The STEM Fellowship has been great so far.  One major takeaway I have had from the process has been learning how to communicate with science professionals.  A lot of the work requires communicating, asking questions, and discussing potential research projects with those professionals. I personally feel that I have gotten a lot more comfortable with these interactions through the STEM Fellowship project.  As a whole, I also better understand what the scientific process is really like and how literary and lab research is best done because of this experience.

Luc Cote, VI Form

So far the STEM fellowship has been really fascinating. We recently presented our summer research It was amazing to see all the diverse topics, ranging from water bears in space to what causes Parkinson’s. We have not yet started any major experiments, but I have read a lot of extremely informative scientific articles about my project on IoT security and I am getting ready to design my experiment. We are just getting started but I am excited to see how the rest of the year will turn out!

Faith Jennings, VI Form

The STEM Fellowship is an opportunity that not only allows students to do an independent research project, but teaches students how to fail one hundred times but still succeed. Through challenging us to think outside of the box, the fellowship provides an environment where failing is simply a guidance towards our path of success. I am lookingforward to seeing the amazing projects that my peers and myself produce (I am studying telomeres which are the caps that protect the DNA at the end of the chromosomes), but also seeing the journey that brought us to our final results.

Jiwon Choi, VI From

*Writer’s Note: Jiwon is a second-year fellow. This year she’s continuing on the cool stuff that she did last year. See what she has to say!

My topic last year was to investigate  the mechanical properties of a specific protein, which is chicken albumin, to evaluate its potential as a bio-ink, which is the biomaterial used fo3D bioprinting. This year, I am planning on investigating the biological aspect of chicken albumin.

STEM Fellowship feels different from the other classes because it really allows me to think about what I am genuinely interested in and passionate about and direct myself throughout the entire year. Starting from coming up with a research topic to doing background research and holding experiments, I get to decide what I want to do. However, I've also learned to ask for help from others and use my peers or teachers at this school to help conduct my research. Although it is an independent research project, I couldn't have done it alone.

My most memorable experience is when I first used the laser cutter as one of my prototypes (an idea that Mr. Wells suggested), and it actually turned out to be a very good prototype--in fact my best prototype. I realized that while conducting research, I should never be afraid of trying new ideas although they may seem totally crazy at first.

To the perspective applicants, I would tell them that the STEM Fellowship is such a great experience for those who have genuine interests and passions. They should definitely apply and take advantage of this amazing program!! Also, I would tell them not to be intimidated by the

fact that they have to complete research alone because there will be so many people (like Ms. Lohwater and Mr. Loomer) who are willing to help you.

As you can see, these St Markers have extremely diverse research topics, but clearly, they all love the experience and enjoy what they have learned so far. We can’t wait for the end-of-year outcomes of all these cool research! We’re grateful for this opportunity that the school provides. These future scientists are all hard at their work right now...

Matriculation List Class of 2018

Where are the seniors going next year?

American University

Babson College

Boston College

Boston University

Carnegie Mellon University

Colby College

Colgate University

College of the Holy Cross

Dartmouth College

Duke University

Emerson College

Escuela Superior de Adminsitración y Dirección de Empresas (ESADE)

Florida State University

Franklin & Marshall College

Georgetown University

Georgia Institute of Technology

Gettysburg College

Hamilton College - NY

Harvard University

Haverford College

Macalester College

Miami University, Oxford

Middlebury College

New York University

Northeastern University

Oxford College of Emory University

Princeton University

Providence College

Quinnipiac University

Rhode Island School of Design

Skidmore College

Southern Methodist University

St. Lawrence University

Stanford University

Swarthmore College

Syracuse University

The George Washington University

The Juilliard School

Trinity College

Tufts University

Tufts University

Union College (New York)

University of California, Berkeley

University of California, San Diego

University of California, Santa Barbara

University of Chicago

University of Cincinnati

University of Colorado at Boulder

University of Connecticut

University of Massachusetts, Amherst

University of Massachusetts, Lowell

University of Michigan

University of New Hampshire at Durham

University of Pennsylvania

University of Richmond

University of Southern California

University of St Andrews

University of Virginia

University of Wisconsin, Madison

Wake Forest University

Washington College

Washington University in St. Louis

Williams College

Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Yale-National University of Singapore

(courtesy of Mr. Monheim)

A Theater Performance at Evening Chapel

by Clara Hua '21 and Samantha Wang '21

On April 19th, the St. Mark’s community came together and experienced something special during evening chapel: instead of the traditional singing by the choir, the theater department (including Theater II students as the main actors and the Theater I students for supporting roles) performed the play Shakespeare in Love. The play was originally a screenplay, and it’s about the fictional relationship between Shakespeare and a young woman.  The play also talked about how Shakespeare finds inspiration along the way. When we interviewed Mr. Kent about why he chose this play in particular, he said that there are two reasons that inspired him to choose this play. The first one is that it’s the poetry week themed chapel, and the second on being it was Shakespeare's birthday not long ago.

Will Lu, who was Shakespeare in the play, introduced the whole preparation process to us, “It was intense but exciting.” Will told us that they only had two and a half weeks to prepare for this play after Mr. Kent selected the roles for Theater II class. To their surprise, instead of having everything arranged by Mr. Kent, he let Theater II class work together to direct the scene themselves, including the background set-up in the chapel.

The biggest challenge for the cast was memorizing lines in time. “Due to the time factor and the ‘anti-traditional’ Shakespeare plot, it was difficult for the cast to find the logic of lines in such a short time,” said Will. Theater II class also only rehearsed three times in Chapel before the formal performance, which needed everyone to be highly concentrated and dedicated putting effort into the play during the two-week preparation. Will also told us that, since he was assigned to be Shakespeare in the play, initially, he found it hard to understand his character since the Shakespeare was distinct from the serious and talented one in people’s imagination. He was not confident about whether he fit with the character. Thanks to the class discussion they had and the advice from Mr. Kent, Will told us that he was able to conduct this character naturally with his own understanding at last.

The other difficult task for them was taking full use of space and their body positions. “The space in the chapel is totally different from the black box, where we normally perform. We had to consider whether the audience could see us and how to take advantage of the path in the chapel as our stage,” said Will. Moreover, Theater II class didn’t have any props in the chapel, which required them to use their imaginations and create the scene that made sense to the audience. For instance, in the scene that Shakespeare listens to Lady Viola’s confession, which is based on the scene where Romeo confesses his love to Juliet at her balcony, they used the podium in the chapel to convey the idea of the balcony to the audience in order to imply the relationship between Shakespeare with Lady Viola.

Overall, it was a completely novel chapel experience for the St. Mark’s community this year, and a lot of students enjoyed it! Fourth former Kent Place described the chapel as being  “simply ineffable.” Clearly, we appreciated the effort the theater department devoted into creating this play for the rest of the community to enjoy, and we look forward to more creative chapel performances like this one in the future! At St. Mark’s, evening chapel also serves as an opportunity to bond the community together, and creative ways such as theater can do this while "wowing" the students and faculty at the same time.


Announcement of the New Dormitory Plan

by Luke Lee '20

Several weeks ago at an evening sit-down dinner, Mr. Warren announced that surveys would be distributed to each table in order to receive students’ feedback about their dorms. He explained that the school is working on a major construction plan to move West campus dormitories to Main Campus and that the architectural firm working with the school was gathering  students’’ feedback to determine what would best meet the housing needs of students. In the survey, everyone wrote about the advantages and disadvantages of their dorms. Most students recognize this project will bring all underclassmen dormitories (West Campus) to Main Campus. But that is only a small portion of the project.

The four new dorms are planned to be built right next to Theriot House. Each dorm will house 33 beds. These dorms will be built as one large, square building, forming two quads in the middle.  Mr. Kuklewicz, the school’s Chief Financial and Operations Officer, said that “the quads would be pretty big, but smaller than the Sixth Form Quad.” These quads would be used as places for students to hang out and enjoy the weather.

 Another cool feature of this new building will be the study rooms. While some students choose to study in their rooms, others prefer studying in libraries or classrooms. However, walking all the way from their houses can often be inconvenient. Also, spots in study locations outside the dorms are not always available. In order to make students’ lives easier, the school will build  plenty of study rooms in the middle row of the new building. These rooms will be sound proof and will resemble rooms in the second floor of the library.

The planned dormitories in the new buildings are much bigger than the present dormitories on West Campus. As a result, many fifth formers will be living in the new residential building as well. Even though currently all fifth formers live on dorms in Main Campus or Theriot unless they’re prefects, with the new construction, Sawyer will be relocated. This will  allow for the History Wing and Language Wing to move spaces as well, which would be more convenient for many students and faculty. Many students, myself included, have experienced being late to history classes as we rush up to the History Wing’s current location on the fourth floor. By relocating Sawyer, the entire St. Mark’s community will benefit from better access to the classrooms of different departments.

The major reconstruction leaves many with one question: what is going to happen to West Campus? Mr. Kuklewicz admitted that the school “ [ hasn’t ] decided what to do with West yet. The Board is going to decide that.” The project is “only 2 months in the designing stage,” and the plan is to have about 12 to 14 months of both designing stage and construction stage. “That is when things go exactly as planned. It will  probably take longer,” Mr. Kuklewicz noted.

Though many of us are excited for the changed to our community, Mr. Kuklewicz was sure to note, “You aren’t going to see the new building in your time at St. Mark’s for sure. ” Even though current students may not get to enjoy the end results, it is important for the administration that the current student body has a say in St. Mark’s future.


Bhutanese Exchange Experience

by Urgyen Wangmo

Almost a month ago, several St. Markers had the chance to host students from Desi High School in Bhutan, which they visited last summer as part of the Lion’s Roam experience. I invited sixth former Urgyen Wangmo to write about her experience, and here’s what she had to say:



“In April, I had the awesome chance to host Yeshi for a week and a half. She had just graduated from her high school. Though we only spent half a day at Desi High, they provided an amazing showcase for us last summer. The students sang and danced traditional Bhutanese songs as well as “Watch Me” by Silentó. As a response, ten St. Markers dressed in traditional Bhutanese garments sang the National Anthem and St. Mark’s favorite, “Sun of My Soul”.



Prior to the exchange students’ arrival, students and faculty who went to Bhutan were worried. What would they like? Are they going to feel sick? Will the culture shock be too much? Needless to say, their arrival day came, and we found ourselves greeting ten Bhutanese citizens in the front circle. We knew our first words in Dzongkha, the national language of Bhutan: “Kuzuzangpo-la”, which it means hello . Holding a reception in the faculty room, we learned that it was their first time flying. We all laughed as they recalled details and frights of the long, bumpy 16 hour journey.


One thing we did not anticipate was that the Bhutanese exchange students and faculty were vegetarian. After three days, Yeshi was quick to say that she missed red rice, potatoes, cheese, and most importantly, spicy foods. All staple Bhutanese foods that Flik could not provide. To help them accommodate to our dining hall service, Flik prepared rice every lunch and dinner.. Funnily enough, Sriracha sauce helped them satisfy their cravings for spicy food at home. They put the sauce into every meal they had at St. Mark’s.



During her stay, Yeshi shadowed me to classes and sports. Since I participate in Recreational Tennis this spring, Yeshi had gotten the opportunity to play tennis for the first time ever! She loved it! However, after shadowing three days of my classes, Yeshi had grown tired of my classes. Granted, my classes were in full swing and almost all were involved in group projects at the time.


Yeshi’s best memory was her visit to Boston. I was at a college visit then, but Yeshi raved about how big Boston is compared to Thimphu, the capital of Bhutan. She was amazed at the vibrancy of the city, cars honking at red light, a swarm of people rushing across the sidewalk, dog owners walking their dogs in the Boston common. This was completely different from her home. Thimphu had much less cars on streets and a lot more green. It was much quiet than Boston.  I joked to her, “Good luck in New York.” After a week and half at St. Mark’s, the Bhutanese exchange students stayed in New York for a couple of days before their long flight back home.



To me, the most unforgettable memory was the day before the Bhutanese exchange students left when Jamie’s exchange student, Tsering, broke her collarbone. Thursday morning around 5 AM, I awoke to a loud sound of something dropping onto the floor. My instinct was not wrong. One of the girls had just fallen from the top bunk onto my hard dorm room floor. Holding her shoulder, she groaned in agony and could not stand up. Afraid, Yeshi and I assumed that she had dislocated her shoulder and that it should be popped back into place. However, since Yeshi and I both lacked the ability to perform such a maneuver, I called Ms. Behan, the Thayer Dorm head. Ms. Behan quickly rushed into my room to assess the situation before calling health services. The health services nurse had called 911. Less than an hour later, my room was filled with police officers, ambulance workers, and firefighters. What can I say, it was an unforgettable experience. As Tsering was wheelchaired out, Yeshi and I laughed. There was only 24 hours before they would depart from the St. Mark’s campus, yet Tsering, as clumsy as she was, had managed to find her way to the hospital. When Tsering returned from the hospital with X-rays determining that she had broken her collarbone, she rested in Health Services. When Yeshi and I visited Tsering, she laughed at how embarrassing the whole situation was. We joked that since St. Markers visited a Bhutanese hospital (due to food poisoning), it was only fair that they had a chance to visit an American hospital.”


Needless to say, both the Bhutan students and the St. Markers benefited a lot from this experience. We can’t wait to learn more from being a global citizen!