Spokesman Volume 59 Issue 2

  • No tags were found...

You also want an ePaper? Increase the reach of your titles

YUMPU automatically turns print PDFs into web optimized ePapers that Google loves.


Winter Musical

9 to 5

Page 5


Varsity Track and

Field Team Outlook

Page 8


Teachers of the


Page 11

The Spokesman

MARCH 2023

What does Black

History Month

at Princeton Day

School mean?

Reflecting on

diversity, inclusion, and


Adeola Egbeleye, IX


As Black History Month

has recently wrapped up, a

time of reflection has arrived

for many at PDS. What does

it mean to be Black? Is there

a lack of representation

within our school walls?

How can the student body

create a more progressive

community going forward?

All these questions have been

lingering throughout PDS, as

the themes of identity and of

bridging between cultures

recur throughout this school

year. Over the past years,

PDS has been quite diligent

about fully representing the

community’s diversity and

culture. As a result, muliple

Gatherings have been put

in place to honor varied

traditions. The annual Black

History Month celebration,

usually held during the

last week of February,

respects and applauds Black

excellence, Black history,

and what the PDS community

accomplishes when it comes

to diversity and inclusion.

This Black History Month

gathering that took place on

February 27 brought laughs,

joy, and black empowerment

to the table. With speeches,

singing, and dancing—the

BHM gathering was the place

to be.

Black Student Union cohead

and junior Sumaiyya

Malik says, “The thing about

Black History Month is that

there’s no one way to celebrate

it. You can celebrate

in any way that feels right for

continued on page 2

Your Honor, PDS Mock Trial is Back!

Updates on the successes of the PDS Mock Trial Team,

dominating at county and regional competitions



Victory has been secured

for the PDS Mock Trial

team at the Mercer County

competitions. Just a few

weeks ago, PDS Mock

Trial’s plaintiff team defeated

Lawrencville’s opposing

defense team to progress to

the next round of the New

Jersey State Bar Foundation’s

annual High School Mock

Trial Competition. Having

lost to Lawrenceville last

year, this win was incredibly

important to members of the


Sophomore Casey Kuma and Upper School Computer Science

Teacher Toni Dunlap at the PDS Black History Month Celebration

(Photo/PDS Flickr)

team. Extensive preparation

was essential in securing

this victory. Senior and PDS

Mock Trial Co-head Vaishnavi

Bhalla explained, “I was very

big on trying to tell people

to be confident in ourselves

because we know that we can

do well.” Maintaining high

morale was crucial in facing

off against Lawrenceville, the

team’s long-standing Mock

Trial rival. After weeks of

preparation and countless

hours spent practicing after

school, the time came to

compete at the Mercer County

Criminal Courthouse for the

continued on page 3

PDS Mock Trial Team at the Regional Competition

(Photo/Jill Brown)

At Princeton Day School,

every student during their

freshman year is assigned to a

Peer Group. Ten ninth graders

are led by three seniors, who

try to help them adjust to the

upper school at PDS through

activities and lessons. Some

students, including ninth

grader Angela Du, have

had great experiences and

made strong bonds with

both their leaders and peers.

Du exclaims, “I love how

inclusive the games are and

all the deep conversations

we have. I made so many

new connections that I never

thought I would make.”

MAR. 2023 VOL. 59, ISSUE 2

College Board Implements AP African

American Studies Course

A look into the controversy surrounding this new AP


Simran Malik, IX


The Value of Peer Group

PDS freshmen reflect on their experience

Amber Pancholi, IX


The College Board

recently released guidelines for

its new Advanced Placement

(AP) African American

Studies course. The curriculum

covers various topics from

West African Empires to

the Great Migration, but its

current status covers less

than originally intended. The

College Board released a pilot

of the course in February 2022,

but it came under criticism

from prominent conservative

groups and figures. The state

of Florida banned the course

with the support of Governor

Ron DeSantis, who called

the proposed curriculum

“indoctrination.” Florida state

continued on page 2

continued on page 3

While some, like Du,

have already gotten the

experience they wanted

out of Peer Group, a few

freshmen wish to form a

better relationship with their

group. One freshman, who

asked to remain anonymous,

explained, “If I’m going to

be honest, I have not had the

best Peer Group experience.

Sure, my leaders and fellow

peers were nice, I just felt

very bored during the lessons

and did not see the purpose of

it. ”

Freshman Sara Nandwana

was hopeful that the Peer

Group retreat would help

cement the bonds her group

had started making. “Peer

Group was awkward in the

education officials claimed

that the course was banned due

to historic inaccuracy and the

violation of a law that governs

how racial issues are taught.

The final version of the

course guidelines indicates

that many topics, such as the

Black Lives Matter movement

and Queer Studies, were

completely removed from the

curriculum. These changes

have sparked much controversy

as to whether or not they

were a result of DeSanitis’s

response or whether these

changes were already planned.

The College Board stands by

the latter argument, claiming

that they removed parts of

the curriculum because they

received feedback from

education officials that it did


Black History Month at PDS


Upper School Black Student Union Co-Heads Sumaiyya Malik, Tyler Nelson, and

Ziya Brittingham at the PDS Black History Month Celebration (Photo/PDS Flickr)

An Update on Peer Group

you.” Malik also goes on to say, “I

wish more people would celebrate

less famous Black figures, like the

Black Panthers and other hidden

figures in the Black community.”

Although PDS is a growing

community with new ideas rapidly

forming all the time, the concept of

more history being acknowledged

is a constant request. Director of

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Anthony McKinley states, “I

need more than satisfaction. I’m

proud of the progress that we’ve

made in the last 3 years—and I’m

excited about the progress that we

will continue to make in future

years.” Mr. McKinley continued,

“One of the ways students can

help us [progress in inclusivity]

is to think about what it means to

be a community member. To be a

community member, there’s some

personal thing to sacrifice. If

students have more thought about

open mindedness, understanding,

compassion, and patience, there

will be an advancement in PDS for

inclusivity.” Princeton Day School

has accomplished much, but there

is always room for improvement.

And that’s the theme that Black

History at PDS has expressed.

What does being Black entail?

How can the student body foster

a future community that is more

progressive? These questions

linger around the hallways. r

beginning since we were put with

people we did not know yet, but

I am glad they did that because it

allowed me to meet new people. It

is nice to go to Peer Group since it

gives us a break from our academic

day, although I still hope to have

a deeper connection with my

group.” With many other freshmen

also having the same opinion, Peer

Group leaders hoped to fulfill

this wish through the Peer Group

retreat that took place on March 3.

This event is a one-night trip when

every peer group stays at a camp

and participates in a variety of

different activities such as a dance

and lip sync competition and many

other bonding games. Senior and

Peer Group leader Amy Zhou said,

“Peer Group was a bit rough in the

beginning, but I remember when

I was a freshman the Peer Group

retreat was when everyone finally

opened up to one another. I am

hoping the same will happen for

my Peer Group this year.” r

Neha Kalra is ready to bring her play to life (Photo/Neha Khandkar ‘23)

Senior Peer Group Leaders with Freshman (Photo/PDS Flickr)

PDS Model UN Team Takes On ILMUNC

Arjun Bhardwaj, IX


On January 26, PDS halls were

teeming with students in suits, and

each one of them had spent months

in preparation for the upcoming

conference. Weeks of research,

simulations, and practice would

culminate in this 4-day conference.

Ivy League Model United Nations

Conference (ILMUNC) is an annual

conference hosted by the University

of Pennsylvania.

ILMUNC is widely recognized as

one of the toughest conferences at the

high school level. Each conference

session went for up to four hours,

with the team constantly debating,

writing, thinking, and reading about

pressing global issues.

Senior David Cohen—Under

Secretary General and member of

the Secretariat, the Model UN team’s

leadership—explains that ILMUNC

was a great experience for the Model

UN team. He commented, “It was

our first appearance at ILMUNC, but

the Secretariat is extremely happy

with the team’s performance and is

excited for what the future holds.”

Freshman Charlie Kaplowitz, who

found the experience enlightening,

remarked, “ILMUNC really

taught me how to become a better

speaker, and manage my workload.

I enjoyed the constant interactions

with my friends because it’s nice

to do Model UN with people you

know.” Freshman Riya Mani noted

the experience helped improve her

leadership and communication

skills. She shared, “Model UN

forces delegates to take initiative and

enhance their active-listening skills

by ensuring everyone contributes to

the discussion… I was constantly

talking and expressing my ideas.”

Many team members received

awards such as Honorable Mentions

and Verbal Recognitions. They are

moving into the Cornell conference

in the spring with full confidence.

It was not just a weekend of hard

work and competitiveness, but also

a weekend full of memories and

laughter. PDS team members went

to the delegate dance Saturday

night, where they celebrated the end

of the conference with students from

all over the world. Some of the most

defining moments of the conference

were the moments the team spent

with each other. Whether it was a

quick conversation with a teammate

in the hall or spending two hours

with them at Panera Bread waiting

for an order, ILMUNC brought the

team closer together in so many

different ways.

For those looking into future

opportunities in Model UN, Cohen

mentions, “PDS MUN team

is hosting our own conference

titled DAYMUN. There is no

tryout necessary and anybody can

participate.” r

Implications of the New AP African American Studies Course


not focus enough on foundational

African American history.

African American students make

up 15 percent of highschoolers

in America, but they are only

9 percent of students taking at

least one AP class. The College

Board hoped that learning about

something one can personally

resonate with would peak more

interest amongst Black students.

The removal of some current and

recent historical movements in the

curriculum, however, may detract

from connections that students

might make. “You can’t have an

honest conversation about African

American history without including

those things,” says PDS Director

of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Anthony McKinley. “Even if you’re

doing a course on history, there has

to be some way to tie what went on in

the past to what’s happening now.”

The connection between past and

present is often crucial to students’

understanding and connection with

their identity and culture.

Senior and co-head of the Black

Student Union Ziya Brittingham

explained, “I think it opens the

door for opportunities for other

marginalized groups to have their

history learned about … [such

as] South Asian studies and East

Asian studies. Different groups

that have been underrepresented.”

Brittingham thinks of this as an

opportunity to hear the stories of

many cultures, including stories

that are not often woven into the

curriculums of most history classes.

According to History Department

Chair Stephanie Santangelo, the

history department will likely not

make this course available at PDS,

however, because of the African

American history course currently

available. PDS currently has an

elective course, called Modern

African American history that

Brittingham, and others, have taken

which she says was very enjoyable.

The course was taught by Ms.

Santangelo and will return as an

elective choice in the coming years.


(Artwork/Lucinda Peng ‘25)

A Glimpse of the 11th and 12th Grade Days of Service

Juniors volunteering at Arm in Arm (Photo/PDS Flickr) (Photo/PDS Flickr)

(Photo/PDS Flickr)

Mock Trial Wins the Regional Semi-Finals

county competitions. To emerge

as the winners, the PDS Mock

Trial team defeated the nine other

teams in the county, including

Lawrenceville. Senior and PDS

Mock Trial co-head Arjun Kumar

recalled, “When we were going

against Lawrenceville, we were

feeling a bit nervous, but we

were still really confident, and in

the end I think we were just the

better prepared team.” As Kumar

explained, many members of the

team felt nervous about competing

against Lawrenceville, but nobody

let their apprehension get the best

of them. This strategy of confidence

allowed them to harness their weeks

of practice to defeat the competition

and ultimately come out on top.

Looking forward to the next

levels of competition, regionals and

then onwards to states and higher,

the team continues to prepare

for all that is to come. Freshman

Harrison Bagga explained the

team’s preparations: “We’ve been

preparing a lot, meeting every

week. I think the morale is pretty

high. We’re hoping we can win.”

Bagga stated that continual weekly

meetings will allow the team to

develop stronger skills for the next

rounds of competition. Further,

Bagga went on to say that the team’s

continuous positive and hopeful

outlook will allow them to succeed

further into the competition as well.

On February 28, the Mock Trial

team came out on top yet again and

won the regional semi-finals in both

rounds. The team will begin their

next rounds of competition in the

regional finals on March 9. r



Getting Ready for the Panther Hackathon

Ronin Bae, XI


P antherHack, PDS’s annual

Hackathon hosted by the Computer

Science Club is coming up later

this spring. Contrary to the name,

the Hackathon does not involve

any hacking but is suited for

student programmers of any level

to work on projects and learn

more about computer science.

This year’s Hackathon is bringing

new workshops, events, and even

in-person attendance for the first time

since PantherHack’s creation in 2021.

Hackathons are competitions

where teams of students from schools

around the area compete to create

the best computer science project—

websites, apps, algorithms, games,

and more—in under 24 hours. These

products are submitted under different

categories with various prizes

available. Last year, over $23,000

in prize money was available, with

prizes including Nintendo Switches,

drones with cameras, and expensive


Junior Farhan Haque, a lead

organizer of PantherHack, noted that

“We have something for every skill

level, and so we encourage everyone

to attend.” PantherHack includes a

beginner friendly competition section

that accepts blockcode from Scratch or

other platforms, as well as workshops

for coders of all levels. Workshops

are one of the many non-competition

activities where experienced students

can teach others about their areas of


Some new workshops available

this year are “ChatGPT: Breakdown,

History, & Controversy,” “3D

Printing & Designs,” and “Intro to

theoretical CS.” There are many other

workshops covering the basics for

beginners to specialized languages

like R or SQLite.

PantherHack also hosts noncoding

competitions such as a chess

tournament and an AI-art competition.

Junior Shivani Manikandan, a co-head

How Has Technology Changed Education?

Archie Douglas, IX


T echnology and computers

have played an increasingly

significant role in our everyday

lives, especially in education. In the

late 20th century, schools such as

Drexel University shared only one

computer collectively, used only

once a week for one hour, and its

purpose was to teach students how

to solve real-life mathematics and

science problems. In the 21st century,

old-fashioned learning tools such as

whiteboards and chalkboards have

been outmatched by new technology

like SMART boards, D-Tens, and

laptops. While many of these tools

are still commonly used in today’s

world, there is an increasing reliance

on newer technology.

These devices have advantages

as learning tools; they provide

children with a way to learn or gain

information very quickly. With the

click of a few buttons, computers

are capable of finding thousands of

resources that relate to a topic and

can help teach it. When asked about

how technology and computers

have benefited learning, Computer

of the Computer Science Club, also

said “With added possibility of a

hybrid hackathon, we are looking

forward to providing participants

with the full Hackathon experience—

that also includes food and other

in-person events.”

The Hackathon committee

consists of three groups: Tech and

design, Outreach, and Finance. The

Tech and design team is responsible

for making websites, handling

registration, and managing other

platforms like Zoom. Outreach is

Science teacher Toni Dunlap stated,

“Previously, students were only

able to gain information from the

people around them or from books.

With computers, they have much

more access to different sources

from all over and people with

different assets, helping them learn

more information faster.”

Virtual reality is another form

of technology that helps students

learn, especially with “virtual tours”

available, allowing students to visit

museums and historic landmarks

without actually traveling to the

location. This feature is extremely

(Artwork/Hannah Park ‘24)

(Artwork/Kayla Zhang‘24)

responsible for sending interest

emails to nearby schools, managing

social media accounts, and creating

posters and flyers. Finance gets and

manages donations and prizes. The

three groups are directed by the three

co-heads of CS club, Manikandan,

Haque, and senior Jai Kasera, as well

as Mr. Brasoveanu.

The organizers suggest attending

this year for the third ever PDS

Hackathon—whether you are an

experienced coder or someone who

has not tried before. r

helpful as students can learn while

having fun.

When it comes to communication

and collaboration, computers provide

teachers and students the ability to

communicate quickly and efficiently

via the Google applications such as

Gmail, Docs, Slides, and many more.

Director of Academic Technology

Lauren Ledley noted, “Collaboration

is way easier, large groups of people

are capable of working on one project

in an organized manner instead of

ten different people passing papers

around and losing track of previous

edits.” On top of that, online grading

systems like Schoology make it much

easier for students to view and audit

their progress. Teachers are able to

communicate and assist students

much more efficiently as well,

sending emails to organize a meeting

or via emailing in general.

Despite these helpful tools,

computers also give students access

to websites that disengage their

learning ability, such as ChatGPT.

ChatGPT is an AI chatbot that has

just recently launched and is capable

of writing various papers if a subject

is entered. Students from all over

the world started using the website

instead of researching and creating

their own work. However, as schools

have gained knowledge on the

website, boundaries have been placed,

including some schools blocking the

website on their networks.r


ChatGPT: A Shortcut for the Future?

Cynthia Shen, X

Print News Editor

C hatGPT is a chatbot powered

by OpenAI, and it can explain

many complex topics and technical

questions after a user types in their

specific needs. Many users have been

using it to draft emails, write essays,

or even ask the chatbot eccentric

questions. The chatbot is trained on

text data, drawing from information

up to the end of 2021, meaning that

it would not know information about

events that occurred after 2021.

ChatGPT has shown the ability to

accurately answer engineering, law,

medical, and business school exam

questions entered by users. It can

also craft code, completing coding

tasks from large companies such as

Amazon. However, it does have its

flaws, with critics claiming the AI

lacks humanity in its prose, and that it

does not seem to be entirely accurate.

The PDS community has a wide

variety of opinions on utilizing

ChatGPT; sophomore Armaan

Agrawal views it enthusiastically: “It

is an example of how groundbreaking

machine learning technology is, in

terms of helping us advance faster and

farther than ever thought possible.”

Teachers at PDS share a different

sentiment. According to many,

when a student uses this chatbot,

they lose their originality in their

writing, hindering their critical

thinking skills. History teacher Jean

Castellano comments, “Writing is

understanding the individual’s voice

in their works. When a student uses AI

tech to complete their assignments, it

really does not sound like a student.”

While shorter paragraphs in a smaller

assignment might pass without notice, can approach this technology as a

longer writing often lacks the specific community. r

details that many assignments require.

By not providing accurate answers

and neglecting the importance of

critical thinking in their assignments,

students who use ChatGPT are taking

a shortcut. Mrs. Castellano notes, “If

you are heavily relying on AI tech,

you are missing the point of learning

and critical thinking.”

With chatbots and AI technology

experiencing a surge of interest and

users, it seems likely that technology

will fundamentally change the

dynamic of the internet. Sophomore

Krish Saxena states, “[ChatGPT]

shows a transition from technology

being a tool to being a bit more lifelike

and reliable.” Even though there is

no formal ban on using ChatGPT

and other chatbots, the Technology

department is looking into how we (Artwork/Amy Lin ‘26)

The State Energy Program Makes Renewable Energy More Affordable

Parth Khera, X

Print Features Associate

O n August 26, 2022, the

Biden-Harris administration,

through the U.S. Department

of Energy (DOE), created the

State Energy Program (SEP).

This program will allow all 50

states to share $425 million of

funding towards developing and

implementing various clean energy

programs and projects, which will

create jobs, cut Americans’ energy

costs, and reduce carbon emissions.

Furthermore, with the signing of the

Inflation Reduction Act into law,

the Department of Energy will help

ensure all citizens have access to

clean and affordable energy.

The department has plans to

install renewable energy systems and

clean energy infrastructure, create

innovative clean energy technology

demonstration projects, and increase

energy efficiency boosts. They are

also working to finance clean energy


Creating Fun Events For Students From Students: An Update on Student Council

Caleb Willner, IX

Print Staff Writer

T he Student Council has

worked hard creating community

and outreach events this school

year. These initiatives have brought

the Upper School students together

through means outside the classroom

setting with great success. This is

still only the surface of what Student

Council has planned for this year,

with exciting ideas for upcoming

special events in the making.

The Teacher Awards, proudly voted

upon by the Upper School, were

programs and workforce development

presented to our teachers by members

of the Student Council at Gathering

on February 13. Senior Jai Kasera,

who founded the Teacher Awards

three years ago, shared, “Every day,

our PDS teachers and staff inspire,

motivate, and encourage us to reach

our full potential. They are constantly

protecting us, making sure we are

safe, healthy, and doing well.” Some

awards included “most likely to

become a spy,” “rookie of the year,”

and “most witty.” With descriptions

of the award accompanying an

introduction of the award winner,

such as Mr. Muoio’s luscious locks

and Mr. Hunt’s quotable phrases, this

(Artwork/Carter Bergstein ‘25)

event brought joy and laughter to

students and staff alike.

This year’s Valentine’s Day began

with the lollipops and cards taped

onto every student’s locker by our

Service Learning Committee. After

this, there was an event held in the

campus center during community

block where carnations were

distributed and festive cookies were

handed out to everyone. Freshman

Armaan Singhal, who received and

sent carnations to his friends, said,

“Carnations are a fun way to show

your friends how much you care about

them.” This event was an exciting and

fun break in the morning to relax with


Sophomore Krish Saxena stated,

“[the program] is an excellent idea to

counter the rising prices of electricity

today. Renewable energy would allow

for clean and cheap energy since it

is a much more efficient source of


Although renewable energy

can bring many advantages to our

country, there are disadvantages.

For example, wind energy is a great

way to produce clean energy, yet it

impacts wildlife when wind turbines

are installed. Some are concerned

that the government is neglecting key

areas of environmental protection,

such as air and water quality, to also

reduce the effects of climate change.

Junior Will Maschler feels that “[the

SEP] is a risky endeavor,” especially

considering the infrastructure

disruptions in the electric, petroleum,

and natural gas sectors. However,

Maschler also notes, “it is imperative

to the future of the country, and

Biden’s initiative will be key to a

clean and more advanced nation.” r

your friends.

Whether skiing down hills for the

first time or challenging your existing

abilities, the ski trip on February 11

was an entertaining change of pace

for many. The highly anticipated trip

almost instantly ran out of spots,

and those who attended expressed

much enthusiasm reflecting upon

their experiences. Freshman Umang

Sharma said, “This ski trip was an

amazing experience to have fun with

my friends and learn how to ski.” The

ski trip was a great opportunity to

make more memories with those who

you may only see walking by in the

school’s hallways. r



Behind the Scenes of 9 to 5: the Musical

Felicity Kapstein, XI


From February 23–25, members

of the PDS community flooded

the McAneny theater to watch the

production of 9 to 5: the Musical. For

80 minutes, the audience was brought

back to the late 1970s, when women

had to fight to have their voices

heard in the workplace, not much

unlike today. The powerful message

of independent women making their

way through a male-dominated world,

mixed with amusing choreography,

hilarious dialogue, and outstanding

singing, made the show successful.

The cast and crew worked

tirelessly from morning until night

over President’s Day weekend and

rehearsed for many hours each day

after school to ensure the show would

be ready for performance in time.

Director Stan Cahill said they did not

have much time to rehearse on the

stage, stating that “to work efficiently,

the cast and crew need to have time to

work together on the stage …. We had

a fairly simple set but needed to add

extra set shift rehearsals to work out

the kinks.” Junior Sumaiyya Malik,

who worked on the set, shared how

the crew overcame technical issues,

commenting, “We created a run sheet

that detailed all the set transitions…

after that was created and as we

rehearsed, we figured out all our

transitions and got them done in a

timely manner.” Days of extensive

rehearsals dedicated to working out

the technicalities of the show certainly

paid off; during showtime, seamless

transitions kept the audience engaged

and enthusiastic. Malik expressed

that “everything went really well!”

The actors’ chemistry on set was

another aspect that made the show

so enjoyable to watch. The musical

was a bonding experience for cast

members, as they became closer

friends on and off stage. Sophomore

Ryan Falconi, who played Doralee

Rhodes, shared, “my favorite part

of doing the musical was getting to

perform alongside all of the talented

individuals who were involved … I

absolutely loved getting to know each

and every one of them.” Falconi’s

charming Southern character and

extremely believable accent were a

joy to watch. Furthermore, director

Stan Cahill expressed that his

favorite moment from the show

was “when the cast, crew, and

musicians were working together in

the scene shifts … I don’t think the

audience will ever realize how hard

it was to choreograph the transition

sequences.” Everybody involved

put much effort into the musical,

and the final product displayed their

hard work wonderfully. The show’s

end was met with a standing ovation

from the audience, demonstrating

just how much the PDS community

and beyond enjoyed watching our

school’s rendition of 9 to 5: the

Musical. r

(Photo/Umang Sharma ‘26)

(Photo/Umang Sharma ‘26)

(Photo/Umang Sharma ‘26)

Arts Department Update: Fine Arts

Kayla Zhang, XI


A s we approach spring (and,

slowly, the end of the second

semester), the Fine Arts classes

continue their journey, learning

and creating in ways made possible

only by their Fine Arts teacher and

Gallery Director Gwen Shockey.

The Intro to Fine Arts class is

currently engaging in an exploration

that enhances their skills in precision

and consistency and, less obviously,

their balance. You may see your

classmates lugging boxes of various

sizes, labeled with measurements,

that contain carefully placed

objects. The artists composed these

packaged dioramas which they now

sketch. The current unit is a direct

application of the previous, which

was a study of shading; dozens of

sketches of cubes, cylinders, cones,

and spheres are tacked up on the art

classroom’s wall. This unit allows

artists more freedom of expression;

freshman Kristine Wang’s diorama

contains a miniature statue of a

huntress, complete with real moss

and dead leaves, while freshman

Amy Lin placed a bottle of hand

sanitizer near a multicolored stuffed

rabbit wearing a face mask.

Presently, the Advanced Fine Arts

class progresses through their third of

four units, all of which are connected

in some way. Their first unit was an

exploration of the collage medium,

where they constructed their dreams

(in every manner of the word) with

bits and pieces of art or photographs

from other sources; these finished

products can be seen in the science

hallway, right outside of the physics

classroom. The second unit was the

abstraction of these collages using

paint. They currently line the walls

of the arts atrium, so that we can

view the student artists’ canvases.

Now, the class is bringing their

creations into the world of three

dimensions. They are allowed to use

just about anything: some people

are using objects they found and

modified for their piece, while others

bought supplies made specifically

for sculpting. None of the positions

for where the final pieces may be

displayed are concrete except for

the ceiling-piece in the arts atrium

hallway, which you can sneak

glances at while in the math classes.

It seems that the artists have free

reign to express their dreams.

Senior Elizabeth Sun said that

this was a nice change of pace,

since sculpting was a medium that

she rarely engaged in before. She

is excited to use various tools such

as foam, foam coat, and acrylic for

her project. Junior Elena Sichel

explained that the last unit will

be “Performance. It can be pretty

much anything, and it’s mostly up

to interpretation.” I can only assume

that the trend of the dimension of

art being presented corresponding to

the unit number will continue, and

that the year’s end unit will yield

designs that transcend our plane of

comprehension. r


Taylor’s Concerts May be Sunshine, but the Presale was Midnight Rain

Benjamin Masia, XI


O n November 1, 2022, Taylor

Swift announced that she was

planning to go on her sixth ever

concert tour in 2023, specifying

on social media that she was

“enchanted to announce my next

tour: Taylor Swift | The Eras Tour,

a journey through the musical eras

of my career (past and present!).”

Naturally, devoted Swifties began

to frantically and excitedly prepare

to buy tickets to hear their favorite

songs live, such as “Enchanted” and

“Love Story,” both blasts from the


The tour will begin in Arizona and

run from mid-March through August.

November 15 was announced as

the presale day, with the general

sale opening up to the public on

November 18. Around 1.5 million

people were given access through

a presale code, while an additional

2 million registered fans were put

on a waiting list to buy tickets

through Ticketmaster. This was the

largest registration in the history of

Ticketmaster sales. Ticket prices for

the presale went from as low as $50

to hundreds of dollars per ticket.

Unfortunately, what was planned

well did not end well. On the day

of the presale, buyers reported

that the Ticketmaster website was

experiencing crashes and glitches,

with the CEO of Ticketmaster’s

parent company, Liberty, stating that

in total there were 14 million users,

including robots and hackers, that

attempted to buy tickets on November

15. This led to pandemonium for

many Swift fans, who were unable to

purchase tickets on that day. Capital

One postponed their presale, and

although Ticketmaster attempted to

handle the issues, they were unable

to do so.

Many PDS students experienced

difficulty purchasing tickets.

Sophomore Cass Salas stated, “I

was completely unable to navigate

the website and get tickets for the

concert here, but luckily I was able to

buy tickets for her Texas show when

I happen to be going.” Sophomore

Lindsay Newman agreed, “The

only reason I was able to get tickets

was through a family connection I

have that gave me the opportunity

to purchase the tickets at their

normal prices. I tried to go through

Ticketmaster, but it was just too

complicated.” Salas and Newman

will still be able to enjoy Swift’s

concert, but there are many who will

not have that same privilege.

Junior Sumaiyya Malik is one

such student, who expressed, “I’m

really upset that I’m not going. The

presale was absolutely crazy, and

I tried to buy the tickets but just

could not figure it out. Even so, I’m

excited for Taylor Swift to be able

to perform all of her songs the way

she wants to.” Malik, among many

others, will not be able to attend her

concert because of Ticketmaster’s


While an unfortunate turn of

(Artwork/Elena Sichel ‘24)

events, this situation does reveal that

Taylor Swift has fans that love her

and will put in true effort to see her

in person. Even with the difficulty

involved in attaining tickets, it is

ultimately clear that Taylor Swift’s

fans do not blame her, and they will

continue to adore her even after this

fiasco. r

Three PDS Reading Picks of the Month

Amy Lin, IX


T his month, PDS community

members shared their best book

recommendations. The wide range of

genres and themes suggested spoke

to the diversity of interests present

in the school, with recommended

books featuring categories such as

fantasy and nonfiction, authors of

multiple backgrounds, and concepts

including power and oppression.

Due to this variety, anyone looking

for a good read will definitely find


something suitable for them here!

Stop by your local library to pick up

the following books:

1. Lonely Castle in the Mirror by

Mizuki Tsujimura

Seven students, a portal, a castle,

and a hidden key: This Japanese

bestseller is the epitome of a superb

fantasy novel. Whoever locates the

key will be granted one wish, but

terrible consequences await those

who break the rules. Tsujimura

explores heavy topics such as

mental health and bullying while

maintaining an ingeniously creative

plotline, resulting in a heartwrenching

yet gripping tale.

“I loved how it combined elements

of fantasy with real world problems,”

remarked freshman Hannah Kim.

“It would be a wholesome book for


2. Sister Outsider: Essays and

Speeches by Audre Lorde

Lorde’s collection of 15 essays

and speeches was instrumental to the

modern feminist movement through

examinations of struggle, injustice,

and violence.

“In the last few years I’ve found

her work really moving, and it’s

something I keep returning to,”

shared Upper School English teacher

Annu Dahiya. Dr. Dahiya taught a

portion of this book in her Gender

and Literature course during the fall.

“Even though it was written in 1984,

it’s still extremely relevant, and the

writing is just beautiful.”

Whether reading from a literary,

philosophical, political, or historical

angle, firsthand narrations of life

from members of marginalized

groups in America are powerful and

eye-opening. With Lorde sharing

her experiences as a Black lesbian

female, Sister Outsider is a great

collection to check out.

3. Cosmos by Carl Sagan

“[Cosmos] opens your eyes. It

helps you realize how wide the world

is,” commented senior Navaneeth

(Artwork/Hannah Park ‘24)


Information-packed and full of

engaging and eloquent prose, this

publication deserves its reputation as

one of the best science books of all

time. Sagan, a prominent American

astronomer, shares his knowledge on

the origins of the universe, modern

discoveries, and speculations of

extraterrestrial life.

Those who do not have a particular

interest in STEM should not be

discouraged from reading this book.

With clear explanations and minimal

scientific jargon, Sagan ensures

that the book is comprehensible

to everyone. No matter the reader,

Cosmos is truly a book worth

stepping out of comfort zones for. r



PDS Track and Field Looks Towards Second Year as a Varsity Team

Arun Patel, XI


L ast spring, the Varsity PDS

Track and Field team competed in

its inaugural season. Building upon

its club season in the year prior,

the team had a strong showing all

year, with longtime PDS coach

and former NCAA Division III

runner Coach Mark Adams taking

the helm of the program. Coach

Adams brought in former NCAA

Division I runners, Michael

Mazzei and B.G. Graham, to coach

distance and jumps, respectively.

Former NCAA Division III sprinter

and Middle School Humanities

Teacher Jonah Edwards was also

brought to the coaching staff to

help with the sprinters. With the

new coaching staff, the Panthers

were set for an exciting season—

and an exciting season they had.

Elevating their status from a club

to varsity sport allowed them to

compete among the best in the

county, state, and even country.

Although PDS does not have

its own track, the team adapted to

this by holding 6 a.m. practices at

The Hun School’s track. “It was

pretty tough getting up that early,”

junior Emily McCann stated,

“but it was definitely worth those

early mornings to get time on the

track.” These track times became

crucial for the team, especially

for the field events and hurdles.

As the season got underway, the

Panthers proved their worth and

defeated local foes Pennington

and Wilberforce. On the county

level, the team had a great showing

with then-freshman Sophia Zhou

making the 110m hurdle finals.

This is an extremely competitive

event and requires practice on

the track to get the footings right,

however Zhou put in the work on

and off the track to secure a spot

in the finals. At the state level,

the Panthers excelled, placing at

least top ten in almost every event.

McCann also noted that the

cohesiveness of the team allowed

them to succeed: “Normally, those

who sprint and those who run

distance don’t usually interact

because they don’t practice

together. However, we really

emphasized the team aspect, and it

was great to see everyone cheering

on everyone through 6 a.m.

practices, afternoon lifts, and even

9 p.m. under-the-lights meets. It

was really just a fun environment

to train under and pushed me to be

a better runner day in and day out.”

Varsity Track and Field 2022 Team Photo (Photo/Arun Patel ‘24)

This positive team environment

and competitiveness spread

throughout the school, and this year

the Track and Field team expects

an increase in team members.

Junior Aadi Shankar, a new

member to the team, stated, “I

really wanted to join the track

team after talking with a few of

my friends on the team. It seemed

like a really fun environment and

I am excited to try out a bunch

of different events.” Shankar

also went on to add, “The whole

sport, especially at PDS though,

seems very welcoming and open.”

McCann is optimistic about the

addition of members like Shankar.

She explained, “The way track

is scored requires you to have

multiple athletes competing in

each event in order to score the

most points. Last season we had at

least one person in every event, but

we never gained enough points to

put ourselves in the running for a

title. This year, we expect to have

multiple athletes in each event,

which will help us score higher,

and if someone gets injured it is

really great to know that we have

someone else to fill in their role.”

Overall, the introduction of Track

and Field has put PDS on the

map in the running world. With

the recent girls Prep XC title, the

momentum is around PDS, and

there are high expectations for

the Spring. McCann reflected,

“We are really excited for the

spring season, and who knows,

maybe they’ll build a track here

sometime soon. Nevertheless,

last year we proved we can win

without one, so the future is bright

for PDS Track and Field.” r

PDS Spotlight Series: Hearing from Vanessa Kara

Nandini Kolli, X

Print Staff Writer

S potlight is a newly

established club that creates

a space for female athletes to

connect with one another and

voice their concerns. The leaders,

junior Mia Hartman and senior

Grace Romano, are dedicated

athletes themselves. Hartman is a

basketball player who has already

achieved her 500- point milestone

in her junior year. Romano is

committed to Vassar College for

Division III soccer. Both athletes

are passionate about educating

the PDS community on the

experiences that female athletes

go through and bringing awareness

to their individual experiences.

In today’s world, there exists

a larger focus on male athletes

as opposed to female athletes.

Hartman and Romano decided

to upend this double standard by

initiating change and founding the

club. The name Spotlight, written

using the symbol for females

in place of the o, was chosen to

highlight these talented athletes.

Professional soccer player

Vanessa Kara was the first speaker

to visit the club and share her

story with the PDS community.

Kara talked about her personal

experience of feeling burnt out in

high school, as well as how she is

now taking a break for her mental

health. She played soccer at Drexel

University and the University

of Florida, and prided herself in

being fearless enough to undergo

the entire recruiting process,

regardless of the continuous selfdenial

and setbacks she faced due

to the small amount of offers she

received. Kara noted that female

athletes often have to work ten

times harder than male athletes to

achieve their goals because male

athletes have more opportunities

to play a sport professionally, and

she highlighted that hard work will

always be beneficial in the long run.

Hartman and Romano remarked

on how the audience appreciated

Kara’s words and could relate

with the subject matter on a

deeply personal level, since her

experiences are relevant to many

female athletes. They enjoyed her

words and perspective, and felt as

if she connected with them. One of

the many lessons Romano took away

from Kara’s talk was the idea that

“even though I am an athlete, I am

also more than that.” Specifically,

she called attention to balancing

between academics and athletics. r

(Photo/Princeton Day School Instagram)

(Photo/Princeton Day School Instagram)

Preview of the 2023 MLB Season

Hutch Henderson, XI


T he 147th season of Major

League Baseball officially starts

off on Thursday, March 30. The

first of 162 games across six

months, each one a unique version

of the game that is so popular

both in this country and around

the world. Last year ended with

the Houston Astros being crowned

world champions as they defeated

the Philadelphia Phillies in a 4–2

series. The Astros had lots of help

from their rookie shortstop, Gold

Glove winner Jeremy Peña, who

will look to follow his late success

into the new year. Veteran righty,

Justin Verlander, who earned a

Cy Young along with his World

Series Ring, also contributed to

the Astros’ success. Verlander is

now on the New York Mets after

signing a two-year $86 million

deal in the fall. He joins shortstop

Francisco Lindor and first baseman

Pete Alonso in the quest to bring

a championship to Queens. Just

across the way lies the Behemoth

that is the New York Yankees

Organization. The definition of

iconic, the Yankees are the most

successful sports franchise of all

time. New York has been feeling

the pressure lately, with the

Looking Back Upon a Memorable Winter Athletic Season


team’s last World Series win and

appearance in 2009; they look to

goliath outfielders Aaron Judge

and Gincarlo Stanton to lead their

team to the promised land. Despite

being a Dodgers fan, junior Sam

Salguero said, “I think the Yankees

look very strong and might be able

to beat the Dodgers if they meet in

the World Series.” There is reason

to be confident of the Yankees

with the outfield backed by Aaron

(Artwork/Madeline Cook ’25)

Judge, Harrison Bader, Giancarlo

Stanton, and Aaron Hicks, along

with the left side of the infield

manned by Isaiah Kiner-Falefa

and Josh Donaldson, claims junior

Cyril Pandya. Moving all the way

across the country to San Diego,

you will find debatably the best

infield in the world consisting

of veterans Manny Machado and

newly signed Xander Bogaerts, as

well as the future of the game in

Fernando Tatis Jr. In the outfield

for the padres is Juan Soto, a man

on pace to be the greatest ballplayer

of all time. Soto is earning $23

million a year at just 23 years old

and in his fifth year of professional

baseball. This is just a small look

into the fast-approaching MLB

season, but the immense amount

of talent across the league can get

even the most casual fans very

excited for what is to come. r

Laasya Kanumuri, XI


T he 2023 Princeton Day

School Winter athletic season

has undeniably been a memorable

one. School spirit, particularly our

“Panther Pride,” was at an all-time

high, showcasing immense support

for our student-athletes. In addition

to the sports teams, the PDS

Booster Club facilitated Winterfest,

which aimed to coordinate spirit

throughout our community. The

pom-poms and foam paws that the

Boosters distributed helped enliven

the stands. The pep rally that

preceded allowed a great outlet for

acknowledging our winter athletes

and having a fun time.

Girls’ Varsity Basketball showed

immense improvement this season,

especially in creating strong

connections off the court, which

has translated onto their spectacular

performance on the court. Their

ability to have fun together while

still playing basketball with

integrity was admirable. The team

fostered a sense of belonging and

bridging, which is the theme this

school year is built upon. Captain

Mia Hartman expressed, “This

season was definitely a ride. We

won some, and we lost some, but we

never once gave up. This team was

very special. We bonded quickly

and created a family in a matter

of a week. We played basketball

competitively but also made sure

we had fun. I am so grateful for all

the girls on the team, and I can’t

wait to see what the season brings

next year!” Starting shootingguard

junior Kaitlyn Zarish-

Yasunas further affirmed, “It was

an unforgettable season. The closeknit

community that we created

allowed this team to really feel like

a family. I can’t wait to see how we

continue to progress next year!”

Boys’ Varsity Basketball made

a name for themselves this year as

well. The team started off the season

strong, defeating Springfield in the

South Hunterdon tournament, and

has continued to have a significant

number of wins across the board.

Seniors Jaden Dublin and Jaden

Hall were featured on NJ.com. As

the article stated, “Dublin hit for

19 points as Princeton Day earned a

61-56 road win over West Windsor-

Plainsboro South in Princeton

Junction. Hall added 17 in the dual-

Jaden attack.”

The Boys’ and Girls’ fencing teams

have also been very successful this

season. Due to the recent retirement

of Paul Epply-Schmidt, the team

welcomed two PDS soccer coaches

onto their coaching staff, a change

which the team took on positively.

2023 Prep-B Champion junior

Greta Yuan reminisced on the past

season, sharing “Having two soccer

coaches coaching fencing definitely

Sophomore Parth Khera competes at Blair Academy (Photo/Umang Sharma ‘26)

made this season memorable in the

best way possible, whether it was

learning fencing rules from us, or

cheering for my teammates hoping

the referee would give the points

based on how loud we cheered.

Either way, this year’s fencing team

has never been closer. All of this,

and more, led us to an unforgettable


Girls’ Varsity Ice Hockey had

an exemplary record this year,

constituting an extremely strong,

yet amicable team, both on and

off the ice. Junior defender Izzy

Cook stated, “We had a really great

season. We didn’t let the injuries

bring us down, we were extremely

hard-working, and determined.

Even though we lost to [Morristown

Beard] in the regular season, we are

ready to defeat them in the State


Boys’ Varsity Ice Hockey has

proven to be a fan-favorite this

year, as they have continuously

been displaying a great amount of

positive energy, efficiency, and

grit. Regardless of the PDS vs.

Lawrenceville ice hockey game

being held at the Lawrenceville

School’s Louk Ice Center, nearly

100 PDS students, faculty members,

and parents attended, furthering the

notion of just how much enthusiasm

and encouragement the PDS

community expends.

The Boys’ and Girls’ Varsity

Squash Teams had an outstanding

season, not only with their great

number of wins, but also with the

persistance they have demonstrated,

without fail, during their season. The

Girls’ Squash Team unquestionably

has the most creative psychs amongst

the winter-sport teams, and their

Instagram is brimming with spirited

and humorous content (be sure to

check them out @pdsgvsquash)! r


AP Precalculus: In or Out?

Clara Shin, X


Many people are familiar

with the term “AP class” but may

lack understanding of how taking an

Advanced Placement course can be

beneficial. AP classes are collegelevel

courses that the College

Board designed to give high school

students an introduction to more

challenging curricula. Although

some students might take AP

courses solely for college credit,

there are other reasons why people

should consider them.

For students who might be

A Culinary Club At PDS

Sophia Simms, X


PDS seems to have a club for

everything. From Spanish Club to

Science Club, our school usually has

it covered. However, there is one

that seems to be missing: a culinary


For a long time, students wondered

whether PDS should have a cooking

club. While most think it would be

fun, there are logistical problems.

Where would the school hold it?

How would the club get money amid

rising food prices? Despite these

valid concerns, launching a culinary

club would be worth it.

Sophomore Abby Leonardi

commented, “[The club] would

teach people how to enjoy things

that they previously looked at as

futile and hard to do, and [it would]

give them a newfound pleasure.”

In addition to helping students

become more independent through

meal preparation and cooking skills,

this club would teach them how to

be more health conscious by using

nutritious ingredients, such as

locally grown vegetables and fruit.

Director of Sustainability and

Environmental Education Jessica

Clingman agreed that this would

make a difference in terms of

more advanced than the normal

curriculum, AP courses are a good

way to push their learning. They

can also provide students of all

backgrounds with the opportunities

to prepare for higher-level

learning. This is the main reason

for the upcoming implementation

of the new Advanced Placement

Precalculus course. AP Precalculus

will be greatly beneficial to high

school students from varying

education levels, uniquely offering

accessible AP coursework for

students who have no prior

experience taking AP classes.

By taking AP Precalculus,

environmental concerns, noting that,

“Knowing how to cook is essential

to being a sustainable citizen.”

When we use healthy ingredients and

support local farms, we are helping

the environment.

Another factor is that, unlike

other schools, PDS has no Home

Economics class to teach high school

students basic skills like cleaning,

sewing, and cooking. A culinary club

could serve as a substitute for this.

Mrs. Clingman remarked, “It would

be an amazing thing for students to

leave PDS feeling comfortable in a


PDS has a teaching kitchen that

can be used as long as a teacher is

present. Students could even bring

some ingredients from home and

learn how to budget. Mrs. Clingman

mentioned, “It’s not just knowing

how to put together the food into

something you’re going to want to

eat, but it’s shopping, budgeting,

and time management—and cleaning

skills.” The club could also invite

different teachers with recipes and

skills to come and show the club

members how to make a meal.

Overall, a cooking or baking

club would be the perfect place for

people to work together, share food,

learn life skills, and exchange new

recipes, as well as it could benefit

the rest of the community. r


Should the First Semester End Before Winter Break?

VIvann Khanna, IX


Imagine it is the day before

winter break. You are so excited to

have no responsibility for a long

time. You think about how the

second semester starts after winter

break, and how you could rest before

these new beginnings. Should the

first semester really end before

winter break? No, it should not.

Sophomore Rohan Shah said,

“Winter break is such a great and

festive time.” He also said that

December is very busy and that the

arrival of winter break is a necessity

because of the extra amount of

schoolwork. Freshman Armaan

Singhal stated, “I’m really relieved

[over winter break] because I

don’t have to do schoolwork. I can

just relax.” He shared that when

a new semester starts, he feels

relieved that his workload from

the end of the previous semester

has decreased dramatically,

and he can relax for a bit before

the intensity of classes pick up.

Shah said, “Winter break gives

you that time to make an academic

comeback.” This is why he likes

the semester ending after winter

break: it gives you a break to

prepare yourself to really try your

best to make sure that you can

make the end of your semester

the best part of your semester.

Singhal said, “I think it should

end after winter break because

you could get some work done,

and it gives you a break to reflect

and improve your grade.”

I agree with my interviewees.

students who were only able to

take Algebra 1 in ninth grade and

not earlier will be better prepared

for a transition from high school to

college. Many of these students will

only encounter calculus in college,

and AP Precalculus can provide

them with the foundation they

need to succeed in their respective

majors. For students who can take

Algebra 1 before ninth grade,

taking an AP math course before

taking courses such as AP Calculus

AB/BC will prepare them for the

hard work and extra time necessary

to thrive in those classes.

Additionally, in the case that

Like they said, it gives you a well

needed break as well as time to

prepare for the end of the semester.

School can be a stressful time

near the end of the first semester,

a college major does not require

the completion of calculus, AP

Precalculus can help students

fulfill their math requirements.

By scoring well on the exam and

fulfilling the requirement, students

will then be able to focus their time

on other necessary courses and


AP Precalculus will be very

helpful to the success of students

from varying backgrounds. When

asked if they would take AP

Precalculus given the opportunity,

most PDS students stated that they

would, for the experience and the

credit. r

(Artwork/Ashlyn Du ‘24)

and winter break gives you a

space to help take away some

of that stress and make sure you

have enough energy to leave the

first semester on a high note. r

the Spokesman Staff


Print Copy Editors

Print News Editor

Online News Editor

News associate

Print Features Editor

Online Features Editor

Features associate

Print Sports Editor

Online Sports Editor

Sports Associate

print Arts Editor

Online arts editor

Arts Associate

Print Opinions Editor

Online Opinions Editor

Opinions Associate

Managing Artists

Faculty Advisors

Jamie Creasi, XI

Adya Jha, XI

Sam Elkin, XI

Arun Patel, XI

Ben Masia, XI

Cynthia Shen, X

Michael Arnwine, XI

Ruth Mehreteab, X

Gloria Wang, XI

Michelle Xu, X

Parth Khera, X

Cyril Pandya, XI

Hart Nowakoski, X

Laasya Kanumuri, XI

Clara Shin, X

Ethan Wang, X

Ronin Bae, XI

Anagha Konakanchi, XI

Justin Elkin, XI

Amy Lin, IX

Hannah Park, XI

Ashlyn Du, XI

Amy Matlack

Michael Kideckel

Advice Column

Jamie Reilly, XI


J amboris, how do I cook bolognese properly?

A person of culture, I see. Not many have the aptitude

to take on such a challenging dish. However, with

my assistance, you will be able to whip up a plate of

bolognese that even Chef Brian won’t be able to replicate.

First, add your gluten and dairy free water into a pot

and set it to a boil. Whilst you wait, add tomato sauce,

a meat of your choice (or veggies for my vegetarians!

This is for you, Dr. Kideckel!), and ketchup into a

bowl and stir until mixed. Transfer your sauce to a pan

and put it on the stove at medium heat for about five

minutes, ensuring that you stir sufficiently throughout.

After five minutes, remove the sauce from the heat and

immediately add two pounds of Lays Classic Potato

chips (this gives it a nice crunch). At this time, your

water should be done boiling. Add your pasta of choice

to the boiling water and stir for about seven minutes.

Strain the pasta and add it to your sauce. Mix the pasta

and sauce together and enjoy!

Jamboris, how do I beat my friends at chess?

Chess, eh? Not an easy sport to master. It will take

blood, sweat, and tears to demolish your opponents.

However, with these simple steps, you will be able to

defeat anyone who might cross your path. In starting your

chess journey, try playing people with a lower skill level.

For example, juniors Justin Elkin or Hutch Henderson

would be a good choice for your first match. After you

play your first couple of matches, analyze your moves.

Is there anything you might have missed, anything you

did well? Look up chess openings and study different

variations. After you have mastered your openings, you

can start to challenge more difficult opponents. Continue

to analyze your games and after thousands of hours of

practice, you may be able to take down your friends and

be well on your journey to becoming a grandmaster!

Jamboris, is block coding acceptable for Advanced

Placement Computer Science Principles?

Absolutely… Not! Keep your blocks in Minecraft, my

friend! In an AP level course, excellence is expected

from every student who enrolls. For a computer science

class, the bare minimum is that you learn to properly

code. Block coding should be considered cheating, as

you are not learning the skills to code. You will be unable

to use the information you learn in the real world. r

(Photo/Beth He ‘26)


Teacher of the Month:

Gwen Shockey

Gloria Wang, XI


G wen Shockey is one of the faculty members

who joined the PDS community in June, 2021.

Prior to that, she taught college art classes at

Pratt Institute for five years. She graduated from

PDS in 2006 and studied fine arts at Connecticut

College. Ms. Shockey is a member of the visual

arts department and the director of the Anne Reid

‘72 Art Gallery. “I really love the community here

at PDS,’’ she said. “It’s really cool to come back to

see how much PDS has changed and grown since I

graduated. The students at PDS that I worked with

are a group of very bright and motivated people.

I am constantly impressed at the level of artwork

that they exemplified.”

Ms. Shockey shows her classes a lot of artwork

from contemporary artists who have diverse

backgrounds and identities to ensure that all

of her students can identify with the artists. To

make her class more engaging and entertaining,

Ms. Shockey changes her curriculum during the

summer, focusing on a different theme in art history

or the contemporary art world every year. The broad

range of artworks that she shows to her students

allows them to gain a diverse perspective on all

of the possibilities that art can have. Senior Claire

Meehan commented that Ms. Shockey “has created

a very comfortable and welcoming environment

for students to be able to fully express themselves

in a safe space.”

Ms. Shockey believes that art is a very important

aspect of students’ learning experience, and that

“taking art classes can help students improve

in every different way.” She allows all of her

students demonstrate creativity in her class by

giving open-ended assignments and having private

conversations with them to learn their authentic

voice. Senior Elizabeth Sun, who is currently

taking Ms. Shockey’s Advanced Fine Art class,

shared that “Ms. Shockey is a wonderful teacher.

I really love how her class is always chill and


“[She] ‘has created a

very comfortable and

welcoming environment

for students to be able to

fully express themselves

in a safe space.’”

Other than teaching Intro to Fine Art and

Advanced Fine art, Ms. Shockey is also an active

member in the Upper School’s extracurricular and

club activities. She is the faculty advisor of the

Gallery club, which hosts art gallery receptions

for visiting artists at PDS. As a faculty advisor,

her primary responsibilities are organizing events

and exhibitions for the Anne Reid ‘72 Gallery and

events like the open mic event on February 8. For

the most recent exhibition, An Explorer, A Tracer of

Lost Tribes, A Seeker of Clues to Feelings, Junior

Ashlyn Du mentioned that “it is really cool for

our gallery to be featuring artists from outside of

our school. It allows us to gain experiences and

exposure to the outside world of art.” r


Teacher of the Month:

Leila Estes

Addison Figel, X


U pper School English teacher Leila Estes is

having a great month. In addition to winning the

“Rookie of the Year” award at the Teachers Award

Ceremony presented by Student Council, Dr. Estes is

also one of the Spokesman’s teachers of the month!

The always engaging and funny fashion icon from

New York City, Dr. Estes is adored by everyone she

encounters. Advisee and current student of Dr. Estes,

freshman Amber Pancholi talked about Dr. Estes’s

ways of teaching: “English class is very entertaining,

and Dr. Estes makes sure that everyone participates.

I love how she grades different activities very

uniquely from other teachers in order to still get the

lesson across but in a particular way.” Explaining

Dr. Estes’s “unique” teaching, Pancholi shared, “Dr.

Estes was a film major [in college?], so I love how

she incorporates the study of film. For example,

she incorporates the study of film to practice close

reading, and it is really fun. We did a close reading

of The Matrix, so we watched The Matrix in

class, and then we all had to choose an individual

scene and do a close reading assignment on that.”

In addition to being a great teacher, Dr. Estes is

also a terrific advisor. One of Dr. Estes’s sophomore

advisees, Peyton Richardson, shared a fond memory

she has with Dr. Estes: “Last year, Dr. Estes was my

advisor as well as Mr. Hunt, and every time I would

struggle in Spanish, we would meet by the pond

area close to the biology room. We would study

Spanish, and one day this frog made a noise like

it was a bird or something, and we were terrified.

When we went to go look at it, the frog jumped

away, and it was funny.” Freshman advisee Rhea

Ajmera stated, “She always brings so much energy

to every advisory we have. She tells us funny stories

and is very supportive.” Similarly, freshman advisee

Maya Adam said, “She’s a really great advisor. I’m

so happy that I got to have her this year.” Dr. Leila

Estes is truly loved by everyone she encounters here

at PDS, with both faculty, staff, and students showing

their admiration for her. We are immensely lucky

to have Dr. Estes a part of our PDS community! r

(Photo/Thatcher Cook)



How to Write the Perfect Cover Letter

Anagha Konakanchi, XI


S ince REx interviews have wrapped up recently, I

figured I’d give some insight into the next step of the

sophomores’ journey: cover letters. Here’s a list of tips

to help you write the perfect cover letter. Very soon, your

inbox will be littered with emails saying “Internships

within 5 miles want YOU!”

1. Always keep your salutation formal and respectful.

“Dear Dr. Deep Pockets”

2. Start off confident. We both know you’re desperate

for whatever scraps a professor has to offer, but there

will be plenty of time to undermine yourself later during

your interview! Here, confidence is the new humility.

“Let’s be real. I know you should accept me, and deep

down, I think you do too. Here’s why.”

“Half an hour after your coworker’s lunch mysteriously

went missing, you threw a sandwich wrapper with their

name on it into the trash. You thought no one knew. You

were wrong. But don’t worry, it won’t take much to keep

me quiet, and I’m pretty sure you know what I want.”

5. Make a connection. Try throwing around words

like fate. Even if they know the predictions are wrong,

people love hearing about themselves from complete

strangers. And hey, if you don’t get the internship, you

might find a surprisingly lucrative side gig in fortune


“I’m looking for an internship, and, as fate might have

it, you coincidentally happen to have an opening.”

6. Write a sentence to wrap up your cover letter and

then sign off. After how confident you sounded in the

rest of your cover letter, the professor reading your letter

might be feeling a little intimidated. Let them know that

they’re still the boss. For now.

“I expect to be hearing back from you soon with good


Entirely at your disposal,

Your name”

7. Just to make sure they get the message, make

important words and phrases stand out. “I can finally

put my color theory knowledge to use on something

other than a Schoology post!” is what you thought.

Using color at this stage would be highly unprofessional.

Instead, bold and capitalize key ideas. Even better, you

might try to use newspaper clippings instead of simply

writing or typing to make yourself stand out from all

those other cookie cutter cover letters! Here’s how your

final cover letter should look:

3. Let them know you’re better than the others vying

for your spot. Share a fact that will show them how

unique you are. It doesn’t need to be true as long as it

can’t be disproven!

“Unlike the other applicants, I’m not meticulously

and discretely planning your downfall. I have enough

information to make it happen if I wanted to, though.”

4. Show them you’ve done your research.

March/April Word Search!

Hooray! Your file is uploaded and ready to be published.

Saved successfully!

Ooh no, something went wrong!