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Across our community,

what does allyship

look like?

Volume 56 - Issue 3

November 2022

Adlai E. Stevenson High School

1 Stevenson Drive, Lincolnshire, IL 60069


volume 56

issue 3

Lives Matter, Stop Asian Hate, LGBTQ+

Rights; each movement like brush strokes on a

vast canvas. Over the past few years, we have seen

social media take the world by storm, propelling

cause after cause into the spotlight, and sparking

both awareness and change. Truly, we seem to


be in the midst of a social justice renaissance, but

how did we get here?


In this issue, we’ll take a closer look at the

diverse perspectives and identities comprising

this new, pervasive sense of allyship, covering

everything from the experiences of different

religions at Stevenson to performative allyship.

Together we’ll investigate the rigidly limiting

mindsets that make authenticity and acceptance

so difficult, and discover how to step outside

these lines as we paint a new path forward.

04 The Forum

06 Culture Through Curriculum

Anika krishnaswamy

07 Unheard Hearings

09 Unstable Connection

10 Louder than Words


14 Beyond Beliefs

18 Blending Perspectives


Falling Into Fiction

“We’re willing to share...

Are you willing to listen?”

22 An Alternative Path

23 Light the Lamp

24 Striding Forward

26 Coaching Shifts

27 Caught on Guard


Collin Fan

Managing editors

of magazine

Anika Krishnaswamy

Kelly Liu

Managing editors


Surya Sethi

Aayushi Wadhawan

Managing editors


Lance Locker

Vivian Zhu

Managing editors


Jennifer Huang

Shannon Moser


Elizabeth Yuan


Angela Guo


Ava Winber


Sarah Zhang


Nick Corso


Dayna Roberts

COPy editors

Sriya Mamidanna

Nicole Yao

IN-depth Coordinator

Helen Oriatti-Bruns

Multimedia director

Gaurish Lakhanpal

Marketing director

Kyla Smith


Dean Bradshaw

staff reporters

Saanvi Adusumalli Fiona Jin

Simran Agarwal Tej Kosaraju

Ansh Aggarwal Nicole Lee

Yumna Ali-Khan Sam Lerner

Eshaam Bhattad Kashvi Nagpal

Rachel Bui Jacob Silverman

Timothy Bui Rajan Sukhatme

Brayden Caldwell Aaroh Tak

Jonah Cooper Ananya Tak

Katya Dubinin Camden Wright

Adi Jaiswal Alexander Xie

Lillian Zhou

Adlai E. Stevenson High School

1 Stevenson Drive, Lincolnshire, IL 60069



The Statesman is a student-run publication published monthly for the benefit of the Adlai E. Stevenson High School community.

With a print run of 2,800 and a regularly updated web page, the Statesman provides high quality journalistic content in the

areas of news, opinions, features, and sports. The opinions expressed in the Statesman do not necessarily represent the opinions

of the administration, school board, faculty, or student body. Advertising inquiries should be submitted to shsstatesman.

business@gmail.com. All advertisments are subject to the discretion of the editorial board and will contain information and

imagery appropriate for the Stevenson community. Statesman belongs to the Northern Illinois Scholastic Press Association, the

Kettle Moraine Press Association, the Columbia Scholastic Press Association, and the National Scholastic Press Association.

22 24



community news

the forum

Brayden Caldwell, Helen Oriatti-Bruns,

Aayushi Wadhawan, ALexander xie

We share because we care

Stevenson’s annual Give-A-Thon fundraiser begins

Brian Yoon ’23 sells candy to support

the family his fencing team is

sponsoring for Give-A-Thon.

4 news• november 2022

Stevenson’s annual National

Honor Society (NHS) sponsored

Give-A-Thon event is officially

underway with the theme

“Monsters, Inc.” Starting on

Oct. 25, students began raising

funds to buy items requested by

the family they are sponsoring.

Students who choose to participate

in this event can sell a wide

array of products ranging from

food to souvenirs.

Give-A-Thon is a schoolwide

service event dedicated to

supporting families in the Lake

County area during the holiday

season. The fundraising efforts

are used to support Give-A-

Thon’s three goals: buy gifts

for more than 250 low-income

families, supply enough canned

food items to the Vernon Township

Food Pantry to last at least

six months and donate baby

supplies for PADS Lake County.

NHS Sponsor Courtney Zabrin

hopes to have a broader impact

compared to previous years to

better support the local community’s


“We would love to be able to

increase the number of families

that we’re serving and the number

of boxes we’re bringing to

the food pantry and the number

of baby items every year,” Zabrin

said. “Right now there is a huge

food crisis, so it’s extremely important

for us to be able to fulfill

their needs.”

In order to support NHS in

reaching their Give-A-Thon

goals, students can choose to

participate in different activities

to contribute to overall fundraising

efforts. For example,

they can raise money or work

with NHS during their committee

meetings as an effort to contribute

to Give-A-Thon.

“[Give-A-Thon] is one of

the events at school that really

brings our volunteer community

together,” Zabrin said. “It

allows students from every age

group in every area of the building

to step up as leaders.”

Students can be classroom

leaders, spearheading the fundraising

efforts or organizing

ways to collect canned food

items or baby supplies. NHS

Co-President Alex Le Blanc ’23

says the numerous ways to support

Give-A-Thon help generate

enthusiasm for giving back

to the community.

“My favorite part of Give-A-

Thon is knowing I am making a

broad impact on a family’s holiday,”

Le Blanc said. “Just visualizing

a smile on a kid’s face when

they open their presents is really

rewarding and meaningful.”

One call Away

Stevenson introduces emergency blue light safety system

As a new safety measure for

students who park on the outskirts

of campus, Stevenson is

implementing an emergency

blue light safety system—also

known as call boxes—near the

Port Clinton parking lots. In an

emergency, students can press

the button on the call boxes to

request police or campus security

support depending on the

time of the day.

The call boxes were installed

during September and are currently

in the process of finalizing

the underground wiring.

Principal Troy Gobble explains

that the administration wants

to ensure students feel safe on

campus regardless of the location

or the time of day and know

that they have immediate access

to help if need be.

“Once we realized how far

away [the new Port Clinton

parking lot] was and how close

it is to the main road, we wanted

to make sure that if something

were to happen to a kid, they

would have a way to [get] help,”

Gobble said. “If anything were

to happen to someone, all they

have to do is hit the button to

call for help.”

If a student presses the button,

a request for help is directed

to Stevenson’s security

during the school day and to

a police dispatch center after

hours. With this new system in

place, Security Manager Patricia

Pierce notes that students will

have immediate assistance from

trained personnel in an emergency.

The blue light emergency system

is installed near the Port Clinton

parking lot. It is one of three

safety systems available to use.

“The police will generally respond

with two officers at first,

and then if authorities know

more about the scenario or need

backup, they can ask for more

officers,” Pierce said.

Students will also be able to

communicate with law enforcement

through a voice box and

emit a blue light signal. In their

implementation of the system,

Stevenson took inspiration from

college campuses; according to

the US Department of Justice’s

Special Report on Campus Law

Enforcement, 92 percent of university

campuses have blue light

emergency systems to increase

students’ sense of security on

campus and deter crime.

“It is more of a direct connection

to a 911 dispatcher since

they will immediately know

your location rather than trying

to call using your cell phone,”

Pierce said.

final finals format

Stevenson administration introduces new finals format

Recently, the Stevenson administration

announced a new

finals format for 2022. The new

format will shorten the time

spent in each finals period from

90 minutes to 40 minutes, compressing

finals from three days

to two.

To account for the shorter

periods, students will attend

periods six, two, three and four

on the first day of finals, Dec. 21,

and periods one, five, seven and

eight on the second day, Dec.

22. Students will be dismissed

at 11:40 a.m. on both days.

According to some administrators,

these shorter periods

have been in the works for several

years. After the 2014 introduction

of Evidence Based Reporting

(EBR), administrators

debated about whether the new

grading policy would impact

the finals schedule. For Assistant

Principal of Teaching and

Learning Wendy Custable, EBR

means that final exams are less

important than they would be

for a traditional grading system.

“Through EBR, we’ve discovered

that, because there’s more

frequent feedback to students,

finals might not be as necessary

for some courses because a student’s

final grade is based on the

evidence of learning throughout

the semester,” Custable said.

Under the EBR grading system,

students that score “Meets”

in all grading standards may not

have their finals’ score count towards

their grade. However,

they may still take a final assessment

in some classes. Other

students may use finals as an

opportunity for mastery.

If a student doesn’t need to

show growth in any standards,

they will often complete a reflection

to set future goals for

the next semester or celebrate

the completion of a course. Attendance

on finals days is mandatory

in all classes. However,

some students, like Assaf Givati

’25, feel that there could be

some exceptions.

“I believe that it is important

to show up for finals since some

teachers tell you that it is still

required for you to take finals

to raise your grade,” Givati said.

“However, if a person doesn’t

think that they need to raise

their grades then they shouldn’t

be required to come to finals.”

According to Custable, students

should attend their classes

because finals are viewed as

typical school days. In addition,

because finals are of equal importance

to other exams, she

says that the new finals format

is more fair than other formats.

“As a district, we are really

happy and proud that we’ve gotten

to this point of teaching and

learning that’s not the old way

of a ‘gotcha’ final exam,” Custable


2022 Finals Schedule

December December

21st 22nd


Period 6 Period 5

Period 2 Period 1

Period 3 Period 7

Period 4 Period 8

Extra Time Extra Time


a new saga

SAGA celebrates LGBTQ+ History Month, facilitates

conversations with students

On Oct. 11, Stevenson’s Sexuality

and Gender Alliance club

(SAGA) hosted a celebration

for National Coming Out Day,

during which SAGA members

advised students on coming out

as LGBTQ+ as part of a lunchtime

activity. They also held a

coming out party after school.

The Coming Out Day event

was just one of many activities

on SAGA’s LGBTQ+ History

Month calendar. During October,

the event celebrated historical

LGBTQ+ figures and the

strides of the LGBTQ+ rights

movement. SAGA also worked

with other clubs—including

Lean in Feminism Club, Indian

Student Association (ISA) and

Diversity Council—to facilitate

collaborative club meetings.

One such effort was ISA and

SAGA’s joint meeting about Indian

LGBTQ+ history, which

garnered interest from new

students. According to Vedant

Rupwal ’23, SAGA executive

board member, the 150 advice

brochures SAGA printed for

National Coming Out Day had

been passed out by the end of

fourth period. In addition, their

regular club attendance roughly

doubled for the Coming Out

Day party.

“We got such a big turnout,

and hopefully in the meetings

moving forward we do get the

same turnout,” Rupwal said.

“With more people in the club,

we can educate more people and

give more opportunities to others

to learn and engage in activities

that are LGBTQ+ inclusive.”

At the club’s first World’s Fair

booth this year, many SAGA

members emphasized a desire to

educate people about LGBTQ+

culture around the world. At

their booth, members sold cake

and highlighted LGBTQ+ figures

from various countries.

SAGA member Key Kanemori

’23 explains that discussing

LGBTQ+ history is an important

step toward gaining empathy

for LGBTQ+ people.

SAGA informs students about LGBTQ+ history at World’s Fair.

“I think it’s surprising for

some people that a lot of us

didn’t get the right to marry

until 2015,” Kanemori said.

“We’re talking about how the

right to marry is a relatively recent

thing but also explaining

what LGBTQ means, who falls

under that umbrella and how

to respect them in the best way


Moving forward, SAGA

hopes to work closely with Stevenson

to ensure that the school

is a safe place for LGBTQ+ students.

To do this, the club is

currently working on a petition

to create more gender-neutral

bathrooms, as some students say

the gender-neutral bathrooms

that currently exist are sparsely

located throughout the building.

Although the club has big

plans for the future, they are

proud of what they accomplished

this month. For Rupwal,

the most significant result of

their events was bringing more

awareness to the LGBTQ+ community

at Stevenson.

“I feel our intent was to say,

‘we’re here and we are queer,’

which we did,” Rupwal said.

“We got to portray that there are

LGBTQ+ people around you,

and it’s not something you can

neglect or something you can


www.statesmanshs.org • 5

Students, staff debate recent

changes for diversity in the

English department

The Stevenson Communication

Arts Department has sought to

represent the growing diversity of

the student body—45 percent of which

identifies as non-white—through a variety

of literary works. Over the past

five years, 22 out of 26 adopted texts

have had authors of color.

By exposing students to a variety

of customs, the Communication Arts

Department hopes to instill cultural

awareness so more students feel represented.

However, students like Sahana

Bala ’25 feel that the topics covered in

these books do not properly represent

people of color.

“Books like The House on Mango Street

are more about identity struggle, and

I feel like every single book that we’ve

read about diverse cultures has been the

same,” Bala said.

In Bala’s experience, conversations

about new books are mostly centered

around the issues of being a person

of color rather than sharing and appreciating

differences. According to

Communication Arts Director Doug

Lillydahl, finding a balance between an

appropriate reading level and shared

themes has proven to be difficult for the

English Department.

“We talk about finding more uplifting

pieces or pieces that have less of

that struggle written by voices that we

don’t normally hear from, but it’s actually

a little more challenging than we

thought,” Lillydahl said.

6 news • november 2022




saanvi adusamalli, ananya tak

This difficulty has translated into the

bulk of accepted novels being centered

around a single theme: cultural and

societal struggles people of color face.

English teacher Gerrian Pioquinto understands

the limitations of this current


“We recognize that a lot of the books

that are popularized today are centered

around that person being in the race

that they are,” Pioquinto said. “So part

of the challenge is finding books that

don’t center around the trauma of them

being the race that they are, but rather

that a person of color just happens to be

the main character.”

For the bulk of her high school experience,

Pioquinto was only exposed

to white, European-centric novels. As a

person of color, she appreciates the initiatives

put forth by Stevenson to diversify

its current literature curriculum.

“We have an opportunity to share

some different perspectives,” Lillydahl

said. “We can give kids the opportunity

to see through windows and to other

worlds, and look in mirrors and see

themselves, so we realized that we need

to be more active about making that

happen in our curriculum.”

Lillydahl recognizes the changing

composition of Stevenson’s student

body and the importance of creating a

curriculum that parallels it. However,

some students are not entirely happy

with Stevenson’s methods due to the

lack of student involvement.

“I feel like there should be more involvement

from students and from

people who are part of these different

cultures,” Bala said. “Teachers should

get their opinion on the book before

actually starting to teach it.”

Pioquinto does note that all novels

go through a test run of two to three

years, where the books are taught in

classrooms, before being officially introduced

into the curriculum. In her

experience, the new texts have fostered

discussions where students and teachers

learned more about various cultures.

“Students have the chance to teach

their peers and teachers about different

aspects of society that relate to that

culture that we didn’t think of when

we were first creating the curriculum,”

Pioquinto said.

While finding diverse texts has been

difficult, Stevenson is working to make

sure students feel represented. Over

50 percent of texts across Stevenson

English curriculums have been written

by non-white authors. Despite the

disagreement about what books should

be used, the Communication Arts

Department’s foremost goal remains

creating the best learning environment

possible for students.

“I do think when the students have

a good relationship with their teachers,

or when the teacher scaffolds those

conversations correctly, those conversations

will also happen in the classroom,”

Pioquinto said. “It just depends

on the community that is built within

that English classroom to enable those



of books added

to the curriculum

have diverse


After its ninth official hearing

on Oct. 13, the United States

House Select Committee concluded

its public hearings on the Jan. 6

United States Capitol Attack by voting

to issue a subpoena to former President

Donald Trump.

Since its first hearing on June 9, the

committee’s goal has been to present

the previously unseen results of its

investigations to the American people,

now culminating in a decision

which could lay the groundwork for

the criminal prosecution of Trump.

Despite this major development, ABC

News reports that only nine percent

of Americans surveyed claim to have

been following the hearings “very

closely.” Political Action Club (PAC)

co-president Natalie Garayeva ’23 says

that this sentiment is reflected within

the Stevenson community as well.

“I don’t think a lot of the student

body even knows about the hearings

because I don’t think a lot of people

know about C-SPAN,” Garayeva said.

“There should definitely be more of an

effort to make sure that news on the

hearings is accessible to everyone.”

For Garayeva, this lack of accessibility

is only exacerbated by the fact

that the hearings have been airing

on C-SPAN during the middle of the


Nov. 8, 2020

Biden wins the 2020

presidential election

June 13, 2022

Trump campaign staff

testify he continued to

spread false information

even after allegations

of election fraud

were proven unfounded

June 28, 2022

Former aide testifies

Trump ignored that his

supporters were carrying

weapons and resisting

arrest in hopes to join

them at the Capitol

Jan. 6, 2021

The Capitol is


June 16, 2022

Committee focuses on

factors that pessured

former Vice President

Mike Pence to throw out

2020 election results

July 12, 2022

Former right-wing

extremist and capitol

rioter testifies that

Trump’s rhetoric

influenced them to

storm the Capitol

school day, when

most students are

unable to tune in.

Rishabh Wuppalapati

’23, PAC senior

leader, adds

that most young

people aren’t invested

in the hearings

because they

feel disconnected

from the original


“I think that especially

when it

comes to Jan. 6, people have kind of

forgotten about it, especially because it

took place when we were all online and

we were all talking about it via text,”

Wuppalapati said. “There weren’t any

open forum discussions because when

you’re on text, you’re still in a bubble.”

According to debate sponsor Richard

Tompson even the few who are

following the hearings rarely watch the

actual broadcasts on C-SPAN, instead

resorting to secondhand, often biased

reports. For example, the New York

Times reports that although CNN and

MSNBC gave the first hearing full coverage,

Fox News did not broadcast the

hearing live, opting instead for its usual

shows; during their segments, hosts

Feb. 9, 2021

Trump’s second

impeachment trial


June 21, 2022

Recordings show Trump

had pressured state

lawmakers and election

authorities to have

results annulled

July 21, 2022

Committee highlights

Trump’s inaction

despite law enforcement

fearing for their

lives during attack



Students, staff address lack of

awareness for Jan. 6 hearings

Anika Krishnaswamy, Kashvi Nagpal

June 9, 2022

House panel argues

Trump was to blame for

attack on Capitol

June 23, 2022

Top Department of

Justice officials testify

that Trump wanted

them to undermine

election results

Oct. 13, 2022

Committee votes

unanimously to issue

Trump a subpoena

Tucker Carlson and Sean Hannity even

criticized the hearings as “propaganda.”

In the midst of such a polarizing event,

Tompson believes that students should

listen to a wide variety of perspectives,

especially as they begin to vote in elections.

“We as human beings would rather

hear somebody tell us what we want

to hear and give us the freedom not

to think for ourselves,” Tompson said.

“When enough stories come across

their device, telling them they don’t

have to search for infor- mation, it

reduces their motivation to educate

themselves even further.”

Tompson says this issue is most

prevalent with social media-based

news because of how algorithms reinforce

an individuals’ views based

on interest and frequently-consumed

content. However, Wuppalapati sees

social media as a powerful tool for increasing

awareness, with movements

such as Stop Asian Hate and LGBTQ+

Rights gaining traction among young

people on platforms like Instagram.

However, Wuppalapati feels that the

hearings have failed to capture the interest

of young people because of their

lack of clear, direct impacts.

“I think a lot of students have to understand

that the Jan. 6 movements affect

them, but in a more indirect and

long term manner,” Wuppalapati said.

“The hearings will determine whether

their future presidents and their future

leaders are going to be held accountable.”

www.statesmanshs.org • 7


@ Vernon Area Public Library

Hit the books at the library.

Study solo or in a group,

with extra space exclusively

for high school students.

Saturday, December 17

Sunday, December 18

Monday, December 19

Tuesday, December 20

Wednesday, December 21

11 AM–4:30 PM

11 AM–4:30 PM

3–8:30 PM

3–8:30 PM

12–8:30 PM


nce every month, club

Orepresentatives meet with

Stevenson administrators in

Student Leadership Advisory Council

(SLAC) meetings. Although many

students enter these meetings hoping

to voice their questions and concerns

to administrators, they may leave with

their expectation to create meaningful

change unfulfilled.

Routes to communicate with administrators

exist—not only through SLAC

but also Student Congress, Student

Senate and Patriot Pride—but only

some students are comfortable advocating

for their needs and desires with

others viewing the administration as

an intimidating iron wall. As a result,

these opportunities are rarely taken full

advantage of as many students view the

iniaitives with cynicism and administrators

with distrust. For example, the

role of SLAC representatives among

club executive boards has gained a reputation

as busywork rather than an opportunity

by some.

Although many students believe that

the current modes of communication



Opportunities not fully taken advantage of due to selfadvocacy

fears, cynicism

Fiona_Jin && Surya_Sethi

with the administration are ineffective,

many changes and developments

have come out of these groups, even

if students are not commonly aware of

them. SLAC alone has led to creation of

the Portrait of a Graduate mission, the

decision to move finals before winter

break and the addition of more vegetarian

lunch options.

Despite these successes, not all student

initiatives presented in SLAC or

similar meetings are given the transparency

they deserve. In particular, if

an initiative presented by a student is

not implemented, there should be more

clarity on whether or not the administration

intends on implementing that

idea and how they plan on doing so.

When ideas get lost in the circulation

of administrators, it can discourage

students from suggesting their ideas to

them in the future.

Students’ reluctance to advocate their

desires to administrators is also seen on

a more individual level, especially when

it comes to course selection. For instance,

students who accept course prerequisites

as a non-negotiable pathway


won’t experience the same benefits as

a student who communicated directly

with teachers, counselors and content

directors to take certain classes in an

uncommon progression.

This is often seen when students

who are pursuing a career in STEM

choose to differ from the usual progression

of AP Physics 1 to AP Biology, and

instead take AP Biology first. Students

may choose to take these classes out of

order for internship or job purposes.

Instead of exceptions being made

for students who are more comfortable

with advocating for themselves, these

situations should be more widely publicized

so that all students are encouraged

to take initiative in their education.

But, in order for students to have

their needs and desires met by administrators,

they must also take the first step

to advocate for themselves. Overall,

there must be a greater effort made

within the Stevenson community to

actively support and amplify the voices

of students who see potential for themselves

and the community but may not

be able to express it.

www.statesmanshs.org • 9

Louder than Words

Statesman advocates for open discussions to facilitate

change, a better understanding of power and role


glaring headline catches your eye as you’re idly

scrolling through your social media feed—clicking

through the news article sends you down a rabbit

hole of information, where every passing second only confirms

your belief in the injustice of the world.

In the wake of tragedy and disaster, there comes an outpouring

of public grief. Whether it be recent events like

the Russo-Ukrainian war or the Uvalde elementary school

shooting, we respond to disturbing news with anger towards

its perpetrators and compassion for its victims.

Once a pattern of problems remaining unsolved emerges,

it’s not enough to simply react to their existence. Our turbulent

emotions all coalesce into something greater than the

sum of its parts; for a moment, the public consciousness is

united in the collective demand for action. The question that

always follows is: What can be done next?

After all, we are naturally empathetic creatures. If we can

make a change for the better or improve the world in any

way, then ideally, we would do so in a heartbeat. Yet, an unfortunate

side effect of the increased societal awareness towards

activism is the rise of a phenomenon known as performative


Statesman believes that performative allyship often exacerbates

existing inequality as time and attention are diverted

away from important resources by superficial expressions of

support. When working with marginalized groups, those in

power, such as corporations and celebrities, have a responsibility

to approach tense situations with humility while ensuring

they don’t speak over those impacted.

By definition, one’s intent is what differentiates performative

allyship from typical allyship. Of course, it’s important to

support causes that aim to address the injustices of the world,

but when the driving force behind allyship is gaining praise,

these actions appear disingenuous and don’t facilitate real


Oftentimes, people perform out of convenience; it’s less

time consuming to make a quick social media post than to

actually attend a protest or volunteer at a local organization.

Posting a Ukranian flag doesn’t automatically guarantee

somebody is a lazy ally, but it also doesn’t prove they are an

effective one. Such posts have little thought required to join

in, resulting in a lack of depth behind participation, and no

clarity about what the movement may actually stand for.

When used correctly, Statesman believes social media can

be a powerful tool for change. Information can be condensed

into a visual format that’s easier to digest, and being connected

online means more people can be organized into action.

However, social media also makes it easier to be misled by a

simple headline or statistic, or try to conform by following

what’s popular without thinking.

Despite how social media is often used to jump in on popular

trends, speaking out on a public platform can be a risk in

itself for many. Criticism from disagreeing family or friends

can result in strained, or even broken, relationships. Because

we aren’t aware of every individual’s situation, it’s unhelpful

to waste effort on throwing accusations around at those who

don’t publicly show support for certain movements.

However, by continuing to be satisfied with surface-level

action on a larger scale, time and attention are diverted away

from more effective ways to address issues. Performative allyship

can have real world consequences, and encouraging a

complacent mindset toward situations that may have lives at

stake will only worsen them.

A more malicious case of goodwill being distorted is when

those in power intentionally capitalize on allyship for personal

gain. Those with more privilege have their voices amplified,

resulting in them speaking over—or even for—marginalized

groups. In this respect, marginalized groups are not

heard, but rather, they are being systematically silenced and

taken advantage of by privileged groups seeking praise.

During Pride Month, corporations are infamous for filling

social media feeds with changed, rainbow logos as displays

of LGBTQ+ allyship. However, when this show of support

doesn’t extend beyond a colorful logo, it appears as though

companies are taking advantage of the cause to garner a

larger consumer base for their products. Instead, companies

should concentrate on making more substantial efforts to

combat workplace discrimination or amplify the underrepresented

voices of LGBTQ+ people.

Within our local communities, performative allyship is still

10 opinions • november 2022

prevalent. For example, student volunteers who care more

about fulfilling their National Honor Society membership

requirements fail to focus on the value of the experience, like

a newfound sense of leadership or increased empathy toward

others. Judging the worth of service by the number of hours

received may boost an InnerView page but is detrimental to

organizations that might benefit from extra help.

Social media should be the first step in the journey toward

making a difference rather than the final action to take. From

behind a screen, it can be hard to notice when you’re actually

making a difference. However, creating change in the areas

you can is still possible. Statesman encourages a shift from

putting minimal effort into several causes, to finding specific

issues you care about and devoting attention to that.

When posting about a movement on social media, be sure

to include the full context and link resources on how people

can help, such as charities or organizations to support.

Outside the screen, dedicate time to volunteering. Be transparent

about your own shortcomings and how you can improve

when speaking with marginalized groups.

The truth is that allyship is never-ending. It requires

work; it requires feeling uncomfortable and not just passively

absorbing information, but actively searching for it.

Acknowledging your own biases is critical, along with attending

protests, volunteering your efforts and ensuring

open conversation. Only mundane, daily efforts to improve

your allyship can change the world on a systematic level.

When the driving force

behind allyship is

gaining praise,

these actions appear

disingenuous and

don’t facilitate

real change.

Cartoon by

timothy bui

www.statesmanshs.org •





12 opinions • november 2022

Nicole Lee, Dayna Roberts, Nicole Yao



Designed by

Tej Kosaraju


Written by



1 2

1 2

















11 11








2. Annual Parade Host

3. Harvested in bogs

4. 3.14

5. Bready

6. Try to get the bigger half

7. One pardoned per year

8. Shop ‘til you drop

11. Best on mashed potatoes

12. Dish or decoration?


1. Sweet potato’s brother

4. People that settled in Plymouth, MA

9. How ‘bout them Cowboys?

10. A “______ _____” Thanksgiving

13. Horn-shaped food-holder

14. I’m _____ for

Submit completed crossword to this

form on distribution day for the

chance to win a prize!

Lorem ipsum




Students, staff collaborate to spread awareness, represent religious diversity

Jonah Cooper, Jennifer Huang, Camden Wright, Lillian Zhou, Vivian Zhu

Like the steel and concrete of a

building’s foundation, diverse beliefs

are the basis on which society

relies for structure and support. The

rituals, ceremonies, prayers and customs

of world religions may differ but

they serve as opportunities for students

to learn more about each other and

build relationships with their peers.

For Zoya Rizvi ’24, these connections

are the building blocks to achieving

an inclusive school environment.

As a Muslim student, Rizvi balances

religious practices with homework and

extracurriculars, including leading the

Muslim Student Association (MSA)

after school as an executive board

member. The Pew Research Center

reports that roughly 4 percent of US

adolescents ages 13 to 17 identify with

non-Christian religions such as Islam,

Judaism and Hinduism. Rizvi believes

that Stevenson’s student population

promotes a greater degree of diversity

and inclusion while allowing students

of all backgrounds to feel represented.

“At Stevenson, there are a lot of

backgrounds, ethnicities and cultures

to learn about and spread awareness

on,” Rizvi said. “As a minority, being

Muslim and all, it’s important to share

those experiences and to show that people

can practice their religion openly.”

14 features • november 2022

Rizvi aims to support and represent

Muslim students through religious

teambuilding and service activities

during MSA. For example, Rizvi led

MSA’s booth on calligraphy during

World’s Fair and also helped create opportunities

where students made traditional

foods during food lab meetings.

However, she acknowledges that students

and staff could be more aware of

diverse religious practices.

“For example, we have this thing

called Ramadan where we fast and

get up really early. We don’t really eat

throughout the entire school day,” Rizvi

said. “People either don’t know much

about certain religions or they don’t feel

like they have a certain outlet to connect

to their religions outside of their

homes so some people might try to conceal

who they are.”

Rizvi believes that a lack of understanding

can cause students to feel

reluctant to share their unique backgrounds

and experiences. For example,

while Peter Pynadath ’23 does not

experience direct conflict between his

religious practices and academic expectations,

he feels that his religion is

largely overlooked by his peers and underrepresented

in affinity groups like

the Indian Student Association (ISA).

“For the most part, my traditions

and beliefs are accommodated for, but

they’re not really thought of,” Pynadath


Pynadath and his family originate

from Kerala, a state in southern India

where Catholicism is more prominent

as a result of religious migration during

Biblical times. This differs from northern

India, where Hinduism is more

common. Pynadath and his family celebrate

holidays like Onam that are not

represented in ISA, though he acknowledges

the difficulty of encompassing all

traditions in a single club.

“There’s so many different religions,

beliefs and cultures that sometimes it

seems unfeasible to represent everyone,”

Pynadath said. “But if we want

change to happen, we need to push for

it and actively vocalize our beliefs.”

Pynadath emphasizes that open dialogue

is the first step toward achieving

inclusivity. To advocate for students

like Pynadath, World Religions

teacher Melissa Fainman suggests that

viewing inclusivity through a nuanced

lens can help faculty members advance

Stevenson’s equity, diversity and inclusion

(EDI) efforts.

Salisbury Cathedral,


“As part of our EDI goal, we really

need to think about not just how race

affects identity but [also] how religion

affects identity,” Fainman said. “The

first step to bringing awareness to underrepresented

religions is asking and

talking about it.”

Fainman encourages students to extend

their knowledge about religion

to outside the classroom, advocating

for students to raise awareness about

diverse religious practices. In a similar

way, Jayden Tsai ’23, president of

Everlasting Promise in Christ (EPIC),

aims to facilitate opportunities for students

to understand each other.

“Through [EPIC], you really get to

see people [of] different backgrounds

and beliefs come together,” Tsai said.

“I’m so excited to see that we’re creating

a place where people can share and express

their identities.”

Though not a school-sponsored

club, EPIC creates a space for students

to have further conversations about religion,

Tsai adds that EPIC has seen an

uptick in the participation of students

that do not identify with the Christian

faith. According to Tsai, this increase

can be attributed to the fact that people

are becoming more conscious of the

student body’s diversity.

For example, Marcos Burba ’23 has

become an active member of EPIC despite

not identifying with any religion.

Burba initially participated in EPIC at

the recommendation of a friend and

quickly became invested in learning

about Christianity. Burba’s experience

with the sense of community that EPIC

offers has led him to encourage others

to seek out similar experiences.

“I highly recommend other people

learn about all these traditions from

different religions,” Burba said. “If you

have an interest in religion, definitely

take part in [a related] club. Not

only are you learning [about] religion,

you’re also seeing it through other people’s


Through collaboration with

Diversity Council (DivCo) and Student

Leadership Advisory Committee, students

and administrators were able to

set up a prayer room in the lower ILC,

which can be found in room 1301.

In order to continue accommodating

students’ diverse backgrounds, Dr.

LeViis Haney, Director of EDI, believes

that faculty members can also

be more conscious of different religious

practices. Haney is currently focused

on creating a cultural calendar

in collaboration with DivCo and the

Fostering Intercultural Respect and

Empowerment Club (FIRE). This

new calendar strives to spread greater

awareness about students’ religious and

cultural holidays.

“The holiday calendar is a mechanism

to help provide the education and

acknowledgement for our faculty and

staff members with the expectation

that it will have an impact on the way

we support our students,” Haney said.

“That’s why we see a tremendous value

in providing a tool to help educate our


At times, however, Rizvi acknowledges

that finding ways to accommodate

religious practices can present

challenges in trying to ensure all religions

and cultures are equally represented.

Administrators like Haney are

aware of and hope to navigate these

conflicts by raising awareness among

faculty through various means, such as

the cultural calendar and increased opportunities

for affinity clubs.

“I feel equally as connected to people of other religions as I do

to my own people. Being in the same environment as them and

dealing with the same stressors they’re dealing with helps us

find common ground.”

zoya rizvi ’24

Borobudur Temple,


www.statesmanshs.org • 15

“How do we help our students

through the stress of that time period

knowing that they’re missing work and

then missing assignments and assessments?”

Haney said. “I think the answer

starts with acknowledging that accommodations

need to be made.”

Haney believes that even small, student-oriented

changes can significantly

help those from all ethnic and religious

backgrounds feel supported both inside

and outside of the classroom. Current

policies include PE waivers for Muslim

students who are fasting during

Ramadan. Teachers also aim to assign

less homework or major assessments

on days where students are likely to be

absent for religious reasons.

Haney and other staff members believe

that by officially acknowledging

the vast amount of religions at

Stevenson with the creation of the cultural

calendar, steps are being taken in

the right direction. Counselor Jaison

Varghese, sponsor of ISA, emphasizes

that with the diverse religions present

at Stevenson, finding ways to honor

that diversity is crucial.

“Different religions coming together

only brings richness to the personality

of the school,” Varghese said. “It’s not

just tolerating each other’s religions,

but also enjoying celebrating each other,

which enriches our community as a


At the same time, Fainman’s World

Religions class also aims to enhance

students’ knowledge of different religions.

For example, students complete a

project where they learn specific details

about a religion and find ways to directly

accommodate minority religions.

In recent years, one group of students

designed inclusive graduation caps for

Sikhs who wear turbans.

“My goal has always been to teach religion

so that you’re a better neighbor,

a better friend, a better worker, a better

roommate,” Fainman said. “You don’t

have to know everyone’s exact beliefs,

but [it’s good] to know how to talk to


Fainman believes that the final

project offered in World Religions allows

students to better advocate for

themselves and each other. Similarly,

Tsai hopes to work with other affinity

groups like MSA in the future to

develop greater levels of intercultural

understanding and benefit the local


“I’m so excited to see that we’re

bringing a place where

people can share and express

their identities.”

Jayden Tsai ‘23

St. Peter’s Basilica,


“[Although] there can be philosophical

differences, we’ve talked [with

MSA] about collaborating to collect

toys and donations for charity,” Tsai


With MSA and EPIC being some

of the few religious clubs available to

Stevenson students, Rizvi emphasizes

the necessity of working with preexisting

affinity groups or creating new

ones. She believes the student body and

staff overall are united in working towards

this goal.

“For the most part, Stevenson does a

really good job at promoting inclusivity

and diversity among their students,”

Rizvi said. “People are open to trying

to connect. As members of a minority

group, we just need to be more vocal

[in order to get our voices heard].”

24 percent of teens consider

religion a very important

aspect of their lives.

Hagia Sophia, TURKEY

Pew Research Center

16 features • november 2022

Religion AT School

among American adolescents ages 13 to 17, approximately...

64% identify with

Christianity, of which:

21% are Evangelical Protestant

24% are Catholic

3% belong to the Church

of Jesus Christ of Latterday


4% identify

with non-Christian

religions, with Judaism,

Islam, Buddhism,

and Hinduism each



Meenakshi Temple,


Amiens Cathedral, FRANCE

32% say they are religiously unaffiliated, of which:

6% who describe themselves as atheists, 4% as agnostic, and

23% who say their religion is “nothing in particular.”

Pew Research Center

Shaolin Temple,


www.statesmanshs.org • 17

Blending Perspectives

Multiracial students advocate for greater open-mindedness

from peers, more representation in curriculum

Tej Kosaraju, Ava Winber, Sarah Zhang


utside of school, Evelyn Fisher

’26 scours the Internet to

learn more about her Native

culture and frequently visits her grandparents

who regale her with stories

and cultural tales. As a multiracial student,

Fisher aims to uphold her heritage

by teaching herself to bead earrings

and communicate in her mother

tongue. Inside school, however, many

of her peers don’t recognize or respect

her heritage, and it shows through the

insensitive comments and remarks behind

her back.

According to the Illinois State Report

Card, biracial students represent

roughly 2.8 percent of the population

at Stevenson. Given the low percentage,

many biracial students grapple

with a lack of representation and the

misconceptions about their experience

from the community. For Evelyn Fisher

’26, many of her peers question her


“A lot of times when I tell people I’m

Native American, they don’t believe

me because I look white,” Fisher said.

Alongside her experiences dealing

with her peers’ disbelief about her

18 features • november 2022

identity, Fisher faces generalizations

regarding her Native American heritage.

Surrounded by some peers who

hold a superficial understanding of her

identity, she feels hesitant to express

her culture.

“Somebody was calling me Pocahontas

and was requesting that I say

a whole bunch of really interesting

Cherokee words,” Fisher said. “It almost

makes me want to not tell people

that I’m Native, but, at the same time,

I want to be proud of who I am and

where I come from.”

While Fisher wants to express pride

in her heritage, the absence of a culture

club and the challenge of a small Native

community can create a disconnection.

Even if the school offers spaces like

affinity groups or cultural events like

World’s Fair, some multiracial students

like Avi Sward ’23 still grapple with

finding community.

“You have a lot of cultural confusion

that comes with being mixed because

you don’t really have a community that

you specifically identify with,” Sward


In addition to clubs, the lack of

representation in the school curriculum

contributes to a tenuous sense of

belonging. A study published by the

Journal of Literacy Education showed

that while multiracial people make up

10% of the US population, they are

only portrayed 1% of the time in popular

children’s books. English teacher

Jennifer Arias, who is a mother of

two biracial children, believes that the

perspectives students are exposed to at

school are important in creating acceptance.

“As a mom, I look at things through

my children’s eyes,” Arias said. “Are

they reading stories about different

groups? I know that my kids discuss

racism as a topic in school, but no multiracial

perspectives stand out to me.”

Fisher believes that without this inclusive

curriculum, students are ignorant

of their peers’ experiences, which

can lead to insensitive comments. Even

without any malicious intent, questions

asked by uneducated students can

leave a lasting impression.

“I get asked what percentage Native

American I am in terms of blood concentration,

and people don’t even re-

alize that that’s very offensive,” Fisher

said. “It’s generations and generations

of hate and discrimination against my


According to the Association for

Supervision and Curriculum Development,

multiracial students often feel

unwelcome in single race or ethnicity

clubs and are still often stereotyped

with these groups. As a result, students

like Sward have struggled with establishing

an identity outside of other students’


“I’ve sort of had to focus more on

representing my mind rather than who

I am as a mixed race person,” Sward

said. “I like expressing myself through

music, and I think that’s been sort

of how I express myself rather than

through being mixed race.”

Besides playing in the orchestra,

The Journal of Literacy Education showed

that while multiracial people make

up 10 percent of the US population,

they are only portrayed 1 percent

of the time in popular children's books.

“This gift to appreciate multiple cultures has

given me a different appreciation for diversity

that other people might not have. I’ve sort of

grown up in it rather than having to learn it.”


Sward also participates

in Mock

Trial to express

himself beyond his

racial identity. Even

though he emphasizes

how he connects

with students based on interest,

he still strongly feels that growing up

among two cultures has helped him to

appreciate the value of his diverse upbringing.

“This gift to appreciate multiple cultures

has given me a different appreciation

for diversity that other people

might not have,” Sward said. “I’ve sort

of grown up in it rather than having to

learn it.”

While Arias understands that there

is much that can be done to educate

students about these perspectives, she

believes that the

administration has

taken significant

steps in the right

direction. She cites

curriculum changes

and teacher training

as avenues the school is using towards

bettering student knowledge.

“We’re striving for representation

from different groups both as a way

to welcome students into meaningful

conversation and dialogue but also

to develop our own understanding,”

Arias said.

According to the American Association

of University Professors, the

majority of faculty members state that

recognizing diversity in their classrooms

increases the quality of education

for all students. To Fisher, the

benefits come from what people are

looking at when they see her: her ethnicity

and stereotypes or her individuality

and humanity.

“You have to go underneath the skin

and go past the color because it’s really

in the soul,” Fisher said.

Photo courtesy of Avi Sward ’23

Above: Despite minimal representation of biracial characters in

literature, the English Department strives to include more diverse

perspectives in the books taught. Some teachers like Arias believe

that classroom discussions can prompt greater understanding of

different cultures.

Left: Avi Sward ’23 practices his cello. Through musical and

academic clubs, Sward explores his passions and represents

his identity.

www.statesmanshs.org • 19

We’re willing to



Are you willing to

Latinx students advocate for cultural

understanding to combat stereotypes

collin fan, sriya mamidanna, rajan sukhatme

14 features • november 2022

When Keyla Moreno ’24 steps

into school in the morning,

prejudice follows. In class,

she asks to go to the bathroom. While she

watches other students freely walk out,

her teacher says she isn’t allowed to leave.

Walking in the hallways is sometimes a battle

against a barrage of racial slurs.

Moreno says these experiences—so

common they’ve become routine—are foreign

to most Stevenson students. Latinx

students like Moreno feel their culture is

masked by stereotypes, leading to discrimination

from students and teachers alike.

They hope changes in the representation of

Latinx culture can bring about more understanding

about their experiences.

“I feel like people don’t have the chance

or the opportunity to get to know us

and who we are and who we represent,”

Moreno said. “There’s just a lot of miscommunication

and definitely a lot of stereotypes

about who we are.”

Moreno feels that she is treated differently

from first impressions by her classmates

and teachers. Thinking she would

not work as hard on a group project,

Moreno believes that other students would

sometimes avoid working with her. She

feels that her teachers may assume that she

would be prone to skip class and earn low


“You can definitely see that some teachers

and administrators treat us differently

when they walk into a room and see the

students,” Moreno said. “Sometimes you

could definitely feel the shift… and the distrust

between people.”

Due to false presumptions about their

behavior, many Latinx students feel that

they need to work harder to earn trust from

students of other ethnicities and feel accepted

at school. For Gitsselle Hernandez

’24, overcoming these stereotypes means

putting in additional effort to disprove


“[My parents] tell me that it’s my responsibility

or it’s my friends’ responsibility

to be in higher classes and prove to the

school that we are trying,” Hernandez said.

“We get involved in everything and we try

to be in the school as much as possible to

show that there are Latinx people who are

trying and want to break those stereotypes.”

With stereotypes shaping the decisions

she makes throughout high school,

Hernandez hopes other students become

more aware of hateful comments said by

themselves and others. While Gonzalo

Platero Margaride ’24 acknowledges that

institutional stereotypes are difficult to

eliminate, he advocates for awareness of

their intent to create prejudice.

“A stereotype is… kind of like a caricature,”

Platero Margaride said. “Even if

you think someone is part of a stereotype,

keep in mind [that] every stereotype is just

blown way out of proportion and is not at

all realistic.”

In an effort to provide a support network

to students targeted by prejudice,

Stevenson has promoted initiatives like the

“Are you willing

to accept that our

culture is different

than yours and

we have different

values than you?”

Keyla Moreno ’24

Speak Up protocol, which teaches students

to stand up to perpetrators and support

their classmates against racist remarks. In

addition, monthly HEARD meetings have

invited discussion between students about

unique experiences. However, even after

years of having these systems in place,

many Latinx students are still finding it difficult

to deal with offensive comments.

“A lot of people don’t feel safe or comfortable

reaching out to use [the] speak-up

protocol or to go to a [HEARD] meeting

because at the end of the day, what is really

going to come out of it?” Moreno said. “You

can have these things in place, but if you

don’t make students feel safe enough to use

those resources, you might as well just not

even have them at all.”

Without clear signs of change, Moreno

said Latinx students are hesitant to make

use of them. Dr. LeViis Haney, Stevenson’s

Director of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion

(EDI), understands students’ frustrations

but believes that solutions to institutional

racism take time to process.

“In a school this large, it takes a long

time for EDI training to flow through the

entire organization,” Haney said. “When it

comes to addressing matters of racial bias

and harassment, there isn’t one strategy

that’s going to be a blanket end-all-be-all.

We’ve been dealing with this sort of thing

for a very long time in our society.”

Although Haney acknowledges that any

of the administration’s initiatives could

have limitations, he cites the Speak Up protocol

as a tool designed to create change

over the course of multiple years. Starting

with promoting the protocol to freshmen

in advisory, Haney hopes more culturally

mindful thinking finds its way across

grade levels as years go on. He encourages

students to continue using it as a means to

strive toward long-term change.

“Throughout history, wrongs haven’t

been totally corrected by the people who

committed them,” Haney said. “Wrongs

have been addressed by people who care

about change and who care about doing the

right thing. That’s why the speak-up protocol,

I believe, is the most powerful tool in

battling racial bias because it really all starts

with self-advocacy.”

Haney also cites increasing students’ interactions

with diverse sources as a means

to increase cultural understanding. For Erik

Rodriguez ’25, this exposure comes from

changes to the school’s curriculum. He says

the few references to Latinx culture in his

previous classes only show struggles.

“[The House on Mango Street] just talks

about all the downsides, the poverty,

the abuse,” Rodriguez said. “It was not a

good book for people to learn more about

Hispanic culture.”

Rodriguez also points out issues with

Spanish classes, where he feels most lessons

about Hispanic culture focus on Mexico or

Spain while leaving out other countries.

Dr. Alma Tamayo, Assistant Director for

ELL Coordination and Bilingual Supports

and sponsor of the Latin American Student

Organization (LASO), said students feel

that Stevenson’s attempt at implementing

a more culturally substantive curriculum

isn’t deep enough to foster an understanding

of diverse experiences.

“Students in [LASO] feel like it’s more

like a checkbox rather than making connections

to Latino values [and] things that you

can connect with your classmates about on

a different level,” Tamayo said.

For example, Moreno believes some of

her teachers overlook the value of family

in Latinx culture. From cultivating close

bonds between siblings to celebrating holidays

together, spending time with family

is a priority for many Latinx students. In

Stevenson’s rigorous academic environment,

teachers who enforce inflexible

homework deadlines sometimes neglect to

take this into account.

“Are [teachers] willing to be like, ‘No,

don’t spend time with your family. No,

don’t go cook with your mom. No, don’t

go play with your little sister. Do schoolwork’?”

Moreno said. “That’s just not how

it works... so are you willing to listen to

what we have to say instead of being like,

‘That’s wrong.’”

Some teachers’ expectations have made

it difficult for Moreno to balance family

and homework. Since few of her teachers

are from a Latinx background, she hopes

that they educate themselves more about

her culture and cultivate a better understanding

of her values. Platero Margaride,

who is Argentinian, asks others to simply

be perceptive of his country’s unique values

within the umbrella of Latin American


“[It’s about] doing those things that

make you unique,” Platero Maragaride.

“Almost every weekend, my dad or me…

would go out and make an asado [even if] it

[was] freezing cold.”

Platero Margaride believes traditions

like asados—grill gatherings common to

South American countries—highlight

unique community values within Latin

America that often get overlooked. During

World’s Fair on Oct. 22-23, LASO sponsored

booths from multiple countries to

advocate for a greater understanding of

Latinx diversity.

“We had [nine] different countries represented

in World’s Fair, and that’s breaking

what we were saying [about] how no one

recognizes that there’s not just Mexico—

Latin America is this huge continent and a

half,” Platero Margaride said.

From events like World’s Fair to

cross-cultural interactions in classes, progress

against prejudice hinges on a willingness

to have an open mind. Along with

changes to the school’s curriculum, many

Latinx students believe expressing themselves

authentically will help bridge cultural

differences—so long as others are open to


“Everybody you meet who’s Latino is

proud of who we are, where we come from,

our stories, everything,” Moreno said.

“We’re willing to share and be open about

our culture because we’re proud people….

Are you willing to listen to us?”

“[You should] treat

people like a blank

slate and go off of

their personality

instead of their


Erik Rodriguez ’25

www.statesmanshs.org • 21

An Alternative Path

Special Education Program helps students

grow independent, achieve goals

ansh aggarwal

jacob silverman


The largest department at

Stevenson works in the shadows.

While sports and academic

programs are more widely recognized,

the Special Education Department ensures

learning opportunities for students

that otherwise would not have

access to them.

Currently the largest staffed program

at Stevenson with 110 members,

Special Education is able to support 416

Stevenson students in an educational

setting. Director of Special Education

Traci Wallen watches the program

grow to meet the needs of all students.

“The idea behind Special Education

is to provide an individualized educational

plan (IEP) for students to access

education,” Wallen said. “Each student’s

plan and is based on their strengths and

weaknesses. Students’ schedules vary

each period and can include any combination

of AP, college prep, instructional

or life skills courses.”

In order to provide the support

for each student’s needs, the Special

Education program evaluates a learner

potentially in need of assistance. This

evaluation may begin in high school

for some, but IEPs can be instituted as

young as the age of three, depending on

when a student begins showing signs

that additional support may be necessary.

After evaluation, the student is issued

a personalized IEP covering areas

for improvement including academic

support and related services such as

speech, occupational and physical therapy

as well as social work.

Along with the Special Education

department, Student Services evaluates

and assigns 504 plans for students to be

able to study in a mainstream classroom

designed with accommodations. These

plans typically cover disabilities such as

ADHD or dyslexia by providing extra

time on assessments, ensuring teachers

22 features • november 2022

provide clarification and offering an

alternate testing location when necessary.

For students like Bradley Martin

’24*, whose 504 plan works to combat

his ADHD, this eases the stress he may

face during his classes.

“The 504 plan allows me to not worry

about having to rush to the end of

the period to get my stuff done,” Martin

said. “If I am struggling, my 504 plan

allows me to recalibrate so that I can

pause and come back to it when in a

better state of mind.”

Martin believes the 504 plan gives

both himself and other students a fairer

shot at doing their best on every test.

Along with accommodations in their

normal classes, students with IEPs may

also be placed into instructional courses

to work more closely with their paraprofessionals

and teachers. Students

that need support after high school are

paired with a transition team and take

classes that follow a similar structure

to Special Education. Transition teacher

Maggie Benes works with students

with IEPs from ages 18 to 22—most

of whom are non-verbal—and understands

how necessary aides are.

“It is important to have a good

para-student relationship,” Benes said.

“Sometimes this takes time and other

times it is immediate. Not all para-student

relationships are a good fit, and

that’s okay. We always look to find the

best fits for both students and paras.”

Benes adds that paraprofessionals

always have to be multiple steps ahead,

creating individual lesson plans for students

depending on their needs in order

to ensure that all students have the

same opportunities in high school and

beyond. Beyond day-to-day lesson plans

and activities, Wallen emphasizes the

importance of preparing a multi-year

transition plan to best guide a student

to future success.

“If I am


my 504 plan

allows me to


so I can pause

and come

back in a

better state

of mind.”

Bradley Martin ’24*

“The students work with their

teams’ support to progress toward their

goals and transition plans,” Wallen said.

“Students’ transition plans might be to

attend college, vocational programs,

work or be active in the community.”

While each student’s future aspirations

are different, giving each person

the opportunity to go to college or enter

the workforce means that the Special

Education department is meeting its

intended goal. The path to meeting this

objective is through working with each

student until they are prepared for their

next step in life, whatever that may be.

“One interesting part of the paraprofessional

role, when working with

students one-to-one, is that the goal

of their position is not to be needed,”

Wallen said. “Their job is to help

the student become as independent as


*Name changed to protect anonymity


Scouts Girls’ team breaks gender

boundaries in ice hockey

simran agarwal

nick corso

the lamp

As Rachel Wilson ’23 drives to

Lake Forest College for her

fourth hockey practice of the

week, she’s excited to see her teammates

and coaches that she’s known for

the last four years. Although there is no

formal girls’ hockey team at Stevenson,

Wilson trains diligently to continue

playing hockey at a competitive level in

the Chicago area.

Wilson and six other Stevenson students

play on the Scouts Girls’ Hockey

Team, a team run by Lake Forest High

School with girls from Libertyville

High School, Highland Park High

School, Deerfield High School, Lake

Forest High School, Elk Grove High

School and Woodlands Academy. The

Scouts won the Illinois State High

School Championships in 2011 and

2013 and have more recently been the

Founders Cup Champions in 2017,

2019 and 2020. Along with a winning

legacy, the Scouts has been an organization

for girls to continue their passion

for hockey and build their confidence.

“Hockey, for me, was a life-saving

sport because I was in a really dark time

when I started playing,” Wilson said. “I

started originally playing boys’ hockey,

and through that, I gained my confidence

and then found the Scouts ice

hockey team in high school.”

Throughout her hockey career,

Wilson and her teammates have all

struggled to stand out in the male-dominated

sport. However, Wilson believes

that her coaches’ commitment to improving

the exposure of the girls’ hockey

team while building a supportive

environment helps them adjust to an

all-girls team. Scouts’ head coach Jacque

Rogers notices the team-building and

camaraderie in the all-girls team.

“A lot of times, it can be difficult to

try hockey alone, but when you have a

[larger] team of 18 or 20 other people

supporting you every step of the way,

it definitely is a good base to continue

to grow,” Rogers said. “It’s really great

because all of these girls are one team

despite the difference in schools.”

Though Rogers praises the team’s

unity, many female hockey players are

encouraged to begin on an all-boys

team due to the limited number of

girls available to form an all-girls team.

Alexis Assi ’23, a former Scouts and allboys

team player, notes the unintentional

barriers female players face on

male teams.

“The locker room is where you get to

make all your friends before the game,

that’s how you meet people and build

relationships,” Assi said. “But being a

female, you have to go into a different

locker room, so you’re not even part of

all that team bonding.”

Assi notes that her involvement in

the team camaraderie as the only girl

on an all-boys team can be limited due

to the lack of social interaction before

and after competitions. Another barrier

that prevents girls from continuing

their passion of playing hockey is the

lack of representation of all-girls teams.

“We [had] made a video for [the

winter sports meeting],” Wilson said.

“Stevenson showed a video of me and

another senior that we had filmed but

did not show any photos of us in the

winter sports slideshow. They sat us

with the boys’ ice hockey team as if we

were an extension of their team.”

This lack of publicity has only empowered

the girls’ hockey team to

advocate for more recognition. Wilson

reflects on the idea of wearing jerseys

on Fridays for their game days in hopes

of increasing representation for girls’

hockey. Rogers also advocates for more

girls to join all-girls teams to increase

female representation in hockey.

“With girls’ hockey being a sport that

isn’t quite as common, I really do think

it’s essential to have enough girls on a

team to be competitive and to really

provide that opportunity to play the

game of hockey,” Rogers said.

The girls’ team has tried to increase

their participation rates by submitting

photos to the yearbook or conducting

an interview that featured Olympian

and Stevenson alumna Meghan Bozak.

Although more girls are joining hockey

at the high school level, Wilson wants

to continue breaking barriers that girls

playing hockey face.

“I want to be able to represent [the]

population of women who are really

trying to progress [in] this male-dominated

field,” Wilson said. “It’s a very

challenging thing, and I want girls to

recognize that they are not alone.”

Rachel Wilson ’23 skates down the barrier near

her team’s bench, stealing the puck from her opponent.

Wilson is a defenseman for the Scouts

and has played ice hockey for five years.

www.statesmanshs.org • 23

Eshaam Bhattad


Gaurish Lakhanpal

Shannon Moser


Exploring the LGBTQ+ athletic experience


whistle. A crescendo of splashes.

Swimmers launch themselves

into the water, following the

buoys lining the lanes as they race each

other to the end. Under the fluorescent

lights of the Patriot Aquatic Center, a

rainbow swim cap bobs up and down,

disappearing and reappearing with every

stroke. Asha Wallace ’24 1 sprints

towards the finish line, attempting to

break her personal record. As a member

of the girls’ junior varsity swim team,

Wallace sports a rainbow cap to show

her pride in her pansexual identity and

her support for other queer athletes.

While Wallace feels comfortable

being open about her sexuality, some

LGBTQ+ athletes may face difficulty

in fully expressing themselves due to a

myriad of opinions about sexuality and

gender present within sports teams.

According to the Trevor Project 2021

National Survey, which surveyed youth

between the ages of 13 to 24 about gender

orientation and sexuality, 68 percent

of LGBTQ+ students have never

participated in a school sport.

Allies and LGBTQ+ community

members at Stevenson believe that

pushing for inclusivity can help eliminate

this alienation and create a more

accepting culture. Though Wallace is

passionate about building an accommodating

team environment, she has

faced microaggressions in doing so as

a member of the LGBTQ+ community.

“[Unlike gender], sexuality doesn’t

always come into play with athletics,”

Wallace said. “As part of the queer

community, I get weird looks, especially

since a lot of those identifiers that set a

person as appearing gay or straight are

pushed to the corner [in athletics].”

Wallace believes advocating for and

supporting LGBTQ+ athletes is a yearlong

commitment that not only requires

individual action to combat microaggressions

but also requires momentum

to update school policies. For example,

Wallace points to the gendered nature

of many sports teams, noting that designations

such as “women’s” or “men’s”

may feel confining to athletes who

identify as transgender or nonbinary.

“We haven’t figured out how to correctly

gender sports,” Wallace said.

“For so long, sports have been based on

your sex instead of your gender identity.

That’s hard for a lot of people in

the non-binary community since they

have to join a sports team where their

gender identity isn’t always represented.

Within school athletics teams, there

needs to be change in that aspect.”

For the most part, however, Wallace

feels accepted by her teammates and

feels confident expressing her identity,

largely due to support from her teammates

and coaches. Matilda Vo ’24*, a

Stevenson badminton player who identifies

as bisexual, also finds that opening

up to her team about her sexuality

provides her with the support to share

more about her personal life.

“My teammates are really supportive,”

Vo said. “We talk about sexual

orientation really openly—it’s a

good dynamic and it strengthens our

friendship. I’m able to tell them something

personal; I feel understood and

[realize] they don’t see me differently.”

While Vo feels comfortable around

her teammates, she fears backlash from

older coaches who may have less accepting

mindsets. Even with younger

coaches who may have more progressive

views towards

LGBTQ+ athletes, Vo

is apprehensive about

opening up.

“It’s really scary to

open up to coaches

about something personal.

I [can] turn to

my teammates; they

don’t judge me for

anything because I’ve

opened up to them

about my sexuality [before],”

Vo said.

According to

the Trevor Project

Survey, four percent of

LGBTQ+ student-athletes

feel comfortable

turning to a coach

when feeling stressed

or sad. Vo believes that

her discomfort with

opening up, in part,

stems from not knowing

how her coaches

might react to her sexuality.

Vo feels that if

coaches and teams discussed

sexuality more,

it could help to alleviate

some of the stress

of opening up.

“It’s really important that coaches are

open to discussing topics like [sexuality]

because I think that will just create

a better dynamic and environment for

the players,” Vo said.

Emma Degen, head coach of girls’

golf, Allied Basketball and girls’ track

and field, realizes that a clear line of

communication between athletes and

coaches is a means for team success.

Though she recognizes there may be

disagreement, Degen positions herself

as an intermediary, encouraging

“It’s scary

to open up

to coaches




I would

turn to my



they don’t

judge me

for anything

because I’ve

opened up to

them about

my sexuality.”


dialogue to resolve any issues.

“I don’t think anyone should be treated

differently based on how they identify,”

Degen said. “If that were an issue,

that would be an even bigger conversation,

in my opinion, than just addressing

it in sports.”

While some Stevenson teams may

not discuss sexuality,

others—such as girls’

lacrosse—have made

it a priority to educate

themselves about allyship

in sports. As an

ally herself, Maria Lukz

’23, a midfielder on the

varsity team, appreciates

her coaches’ efforts

to foster team-wide


“I’m glad that [our

coaches] make the

conversations about

[sexuality and gender]

happen because it’s an

important thing to [address],”

Lukz said.

Lukz adds that allyship

is more than

just team discussions,

though it’s a step in

the right direction.

For her, truly connecting

with her team—

whether during practices,

games or team

bonding events—is

paramount to fostering

a respectful community.

Wallace echoes this

sentiment, noting that

despite athletes’ differences, everything

is set aside once the whistle blows.

“When you’re an athlete, you’re all

[wearing the same uniform],” Wallace

said. “I think that’s beautiful—we get to

leave everything out for a second and

just compete, together.”

1 Pronouns: she/they

*Name changed to protect anonymity

by the



of LGBTQ+ youth have never

participated in a school or

community sport

Trevor Project National Survey 2021


of LGBTQ+ student-athletes

feel comfortable turning to a

coach for help when feeling

sad, stressed or depressed

Trevor Project National Survey 2021


of American adults agree that

transgender athletes should

compete on teams matching

their sex assigned at birth

PEW Research Center 2022


states with laws banning

transgender athletes from

participating in sports

consistent with their

gender identity

LGBT Map 2022

www.statesmanshs.org • 25



Athletes, coaches explore different gender interactions

Yumna Ali-Khan, aaroh tak

Fatigued after months of intense

practice, varsity girls’ swimming

captain Abby Collins ’23 gets in

the pool for her final event of the season:

the 100-meter freestyle. A short

series of whistles signals the start of

the race and Collins disappears into

the pool. Although nervous at first,

her anxiety quickly fades as she notices

head coach Ayrton Kasemets walking

down the pool deck beside her lane to

cheer her along every stroke to the end.

Stevenson offers a variety of sports

for students of all genders, many of

which are coached by those of a different

gender than their athletes. Despite

these differences, some athletes like

Collins feel that coaches do an effective

job at accommodating the needs of each


“It’s not like [Coach Kasemets] treats

us differently,” Collins said. “He recognizes

that we are girls and we’re different

from the male version of our sport.

We don’t feel uncomfortable.”

Kasemets recognizes that everyone

on a sports team has a unique perspective,

whether it be from their different

26 sports • november 2022

roles or identities. He feels gender can

be an asset to coaches when understanding

varying points of view through

open discussion and dedication, creating

more cohesion and success within

the team environment.

“I think my role as [a] male coach is

to inspire my female athletes to love

whatever sport they’re participating

in... so that they can go on and also pursue

[their] passion,” Kasemets said.

Coaches such as Kasemets aim to

close the gap between strategic approaches

based on gender by recognizing

the common ground that connects

every athlete: their love for the sport.

Shannon Mauro, boys’ varsity soccer

assistant coach, also believes in this

“My role as [a] male

coach is to inspire my

female athletes to love

whatever sport they’re

participating in.”

Varsity Girls’ swimming coach

Ayrton Kasemets

connection, bonding with her athletes

through admiration of a competitive

spirit that lasts beyond the sport itself.

“I think it’s so important [for] both

sides to have a mix of genders,” Mauro

said. “There [are] definitely moments

where [players] come to me for some

of that nurturing. Things that they

don’t feel comfortable talking [about]

with some of the male coaches or the

head coach, they think that they might

get a little bit more sympathy from


Although gender may influence

specific aspects of a coach’s role, the

overall contributions of each coach

work to shape the team environment.

For example, Collins values a strong

coach-athlete relationship not shaped

by gender but by specific moments of

mentorship that reinforce unity in a


“[Our coach] really cares about our

mental health and he always checks in

on us,” Collins said. “The fact that he

cares so much about how each individual

is doing allows us to put our trust

in him.”


on Guard

Lance Locker

1 2

3 4


Divjot Sekhon ’25 elevates a yellow “love” flag as the band plays

“Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club” by The Beatles. Themes of the

1967 Summer of Love were present throughout the Color Guard’s

performance, such as when the team held up finger peace signs.


Hannah Curtis ’25 smiles while spinning a rifle. Color

Guard performers wear special gloves designed to

protect their hands when catching equipment at high


Side-by-side with arms out, Jojo Chan ’24 stands alongside his

teammates as they prepare to kick off their halftime performance.

2 The Color Guard’s routine ran for 15 minutes with over 50 4

colorguard performers taking the field.

Performers wave blue, purple and orange flags high for

all members of the audience to see. The team acted in

solidarity as they simultaneously fell into formation to

conclude their performance.

www.statesmanshs.org • 27

“You have to go

underneath the skin

and go past the color

because it’s really

in the soul.”


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