What Kinds of Music Are Beneficial to Students?

Encore Weekend’s 10+ Is a Roaring Success

Gender Diversity at MKA: Trick or Treat

Library Leadership Reveals New Goals for This Year

What Kinds of Music Are Beneficial to Students?

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by Graham Glusman

Is music beneficial to studying? Students have asked this age-old question over the years, particularly in modern-day schools. Where workloads are particularly heavy and homework can stretch over a period of several hours, like at the Academy, students seek some sort of relief from the tedious work.

A common way to efficiently do homework is to listen to music while working. One can continue to work, without passing out from boredom or exhaustion. However, the question remains as to what kind of music is in fact helpful to learning.

A study done by Stanford University uses brain imaging technology to pinpoint what parts of the brain are functioning while listening to music. The music used was that of an obscure 18th-century composer. This music activated the part of the brain that focuses on paying attention, making predictions, and cognitive ability.

On the positive side, this shows that listening to music can improve memory and understanding of concepts. On the negative side, who listens to obscure 18th-century composers?

Another study conducted by the Center of New Discovery and Learning found that listening to classical or jazz music while studying can increase learning ability by five times.

However, music such as rock, pop, rap, blues, and country lull the aforementioned part of the brain to sleep with their repetitive meter. So unless you’re into Thelonious Monk or Brahms, you’re out of luck.  •

zferguson @ January 26, 2013

Encore Weekend’s 10+ Is a Roaring Success

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by Kelsey O’Connor

Imagine laughing and crying until your face is streaming with tears, all in a matter of minutes. JC Svec’s Encore Weekend piece 10+ provided for both.

The collection of 10-minute plays was diverse in its entertainment value. The medley included five comedies: “Day’s Last Appointment,” “The Understudy,” “Have a Holly Jolly,” “Mr. Bloopers,” and “The Bloody Cow;” and two dramas: “The Girls and Mrs. Meyers” and “3:38.”

In the comedy “Have a Holly Jolly,” Santa and Mrs. Claus plot to exterminate the corporation that has taken over the North Pole by faking the deaths of the reindeer. There is tangible comedy in this piece, as well as in others, that left the audience laughing out loud. However, underneath the accents, the jokes, and the ridiculous situations lies a deeper message about what our       society is coming to.

In “The Bloody Cow,” a man tries to order a hamburger, but is thwarted by the inescapable path of technology. He cannot make a purchase without first creating an account, and he has to give his name several times. He cannot order exactly what he wants because he has to order only items that have codes.

These plays are funny because they are truthful; it’s really a dark humor.

The dramas, presented after an intermission, changed the tone of the collection entirely. J.C. both established and resolved a rape-murder story, a story about a girl who indirectly caused her parents’ death, and the story of a man who lost his child in ten minutes. These had some people in tears, but all were in shock at the 180-degree change in tone. (cont’d on p. 2)

Deetjen veterans Sarah Finn, Heather Milke, Sam Cleverley, and Kristina Bylancik, along with Thea Flurry and Matt Skolnick, both making their Deetjen debuts, seamlessly brought these stories to life. The group only had two weeks to put the production together, but you would never have known.

Each actor played two, three, and sometimes more roles, often with very different personalities, but each character had been well explored and wholly personified. The actors employed their vocal talents, including Sarah Finn’s hilarious Mrs. Claus impression, Krissy’s more-than-perky “The (cont’d on p. 3) Bloody Cow” adaptation, and Heather Milke’s nasal New York accent in “Mr. Bloopers,” not to mention Sam Cleverley’s enchanting voice, which will probably be its own accent one day. Perhaps the most poignant characters were Jenna (Sarah Finn) and Paul (Matt Skolnick). Each actor presented his or her character with a clarity that allowed for deep exploration in a short performance time.

Overall, 10+ was incredibly well-put-together. Every weekend should be Encore Weekend!

zferguson @ January 26, 2013

Gender Diversity at MKA: Trick or Treat

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by Alex Stern

I remember Halloween being one of my favorite holidays when I was a kid. I’d dress up in a costume and run from house to house with my friends as we collected candy and other goodies. Then we’d go back to one of our houses and compare our respective hauls.

But once you reach high school, Halloween changes from a fun night filled with trick-or-treating, into a night of parties and mischief. However, one thing that’s stayed the same is that, no matter how old you are, people still like to dress up in costumes. When we were kids, these costumes were often superheroes and princesses.

But once you get older, the costumes get more substantially more inappropriate. Girls now take Halloween as an opportunity to dress as sexually as possible. What was once a witch has now become a “slutty witch.” If girls want guys to stop objectifying them, a good place to start might be dressing more respectably on Halloween. •

zferguson @ January 26, 2013

Library Leadership Reveals New Goals for This Year

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by Ariana Puzzo

Despite its founding last March, until writing this article, I knew very little about the Library Leadership or what it entails. Deciding I should get some background knowledge on why it was created and what the group’s goals are, I paid a visit to Jill Maza, the Head Librarian and leader of the group.

After discussing the group’s intentions with her, I learned that the focus of Library Leadership is to not only allow the library to have a greater student role, but to also make the library a more inclusive environment where students can go and read for pleasure.

In an effort to better publicize their group, as well as the library, the Library Leadership group has three sub-categories, each with different directions and goals. The first group’s objective is to work on a greater community outreach, which they do by collaborating with Brookside, MKA’s Primary School.

The second group focuses more on event planning, such as the “Book to Movie” screening they had last year, and how to make better use of the library’s space. (If you are interested in joining the Book to Movie screening this year and watching “Hugo,” it will be shown on November 7th at 3 p.m.) Last year was, as some may recall, this group surveyed students about which magazines we would like the library to order. The third group’s mission is to make reading a bigger priority throughout the community and to learn from us what books we think should be stocked in the library.

This January, freshmen will be allowed to apply to be part of Library Leadership, a position that, thus far, has only been offered to sophomores, juniors, and seniors. So if any of you are interested, come 2013, speak to Ms. Maza or one of the other members about what you can do to join this growing group. •

zferguson @ January 26, 2013

Point-Counterpoint: Does the New Lunch System Contribute to MKA?

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Lunch is Still a Win: Gen Hughes

Imagine you are stranded in the desert. All you can think about is something delicious to satisfy your cravings before you die of hunger. MKA’s lunch system does this job. It offers sufficient amounts of food that will diminish your appetite. The new lunch system originally had some quirks, because students typing in their ID codes caused extremely long lines. But now that all the students know their codes, and have their student IDs, all the bumps have been smoothed out.

The new lunch system also prevents theft. Students can no longer simply walk out with food without paying. If a student forgets his lunch or simply desires something to eat, he no longer needs money. He can simply type in his code, or swipe his card. Lunch can’t get much easier. Junior Emily Greenberg expresses her love for the new system by saying, “Oh yeah, the new lunch system rocks.”

The Dining Hall also did away with all paper, styrofoam, and plastic. Now instead, all the utensils and plates are real. It really makes it feel like a real dining room. And it is very environmentally friendly. Everything is reusable, so MKA’s carbon foot print has contracted. All soda was removed from the cafeteria as well: students can no longer drink empty calories. They are forced to choose a healthier drink, such as water or juice.

Overall, the lunch system has proven to be highly successful and beneficial, as the basic need has been met and surpassed: students can get mouthwatering and healthy food for a fair price when they are hungry and enjoy it in comfort and style. •


Let Sleeping Dogs Lie: Preston Park

This isn’t sleep away camp. This is independent school lunch. Lunch shouldn’t be so difficult; however, the initiatives set forth and the changes made make lunch a hot, sloppy mess best served never and nowhere. But let’s just break down the new lunch to appreciate and savor the hot, steaming flaws.

First, there are the new plates and silverware. Hey, I’m a fan of sustainability, but I’m really not a fan of water stains and food residue on my cutlery. Nor am I a fan of setting my entire meal down on some offshore location to grab a fork, knife, and sometimes spoon whilst my teeth (I carry my utensils that way because I don’t believe in trays) and cuticles (reaching for a metal fork or knife these days is like reaching into the mouth of Jaws) suffer.

The new cups are really, really small. Not only has cup size shrunken, but the selection of drinks has also diminished. Dessert has lost the luster it once had. Meals are more herb-centered and vegetable-driven. Fruit water hasn’t yet died out. Pizza and quesadillas disappear quickly, and I can only take chicken salad sandwiches for so long, which prompts me to ask: Where’s the sloppy joe love, where are the hairnets, where’s the carbonation, and where are the lunch ladies?!

I think what makes “new lunch” the worst is the goopy finale in which we all take part everyday. Forks go in the fork pile, knives in theirs, cups are placed upside-down and cannot be stacked, and plates have no space? Okay, reach and bend down and stick it in there somewhere. My fingers get little bits of food on them, and I feel a little sick when I get a whiff of the hanging, black cesspools of food and drink.

But nothing is as bad as the engulfing, dishwasher humidity that steams out from the washing station—I really do feel bad for the guy in there washing our cups, I’ve had a conversation with him and he really needs a fan (both kinds).

To sum it up, “new lunch” is just not great overall–even the new napkin dispenser bothers me.  Lunch should be relaxing and pleasant, so can we at least have our plastic utensils back? •

zferguson @ January 26, 2013

MKA’s Actresses Become All the King’s Women

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by Sarah Finn


It’s that time of year again, folks. Touchdown season. Changing leaves. Sweater weather. Apple-picking. And most importantly, MKA’s Fall Play. For any of you music lovers, rock-n-roll fanatics, or poodle-skirt, saddle-shoe-wearing 50’s souls, this year’s Fall Play, “All the King’s Women,” should not be missed! Written by Jersey native and multiple award winner Luigi Jannuzzi, “All the King’s Women” is made up of five one-acts and three monologues that span Elvis’ legacy, from the late 1940’s up to the present. Throughout the course of the play, the audience hears stories from a saleswoman who met Elvis when he was eleven years old, secretaries who work for President Nixon, art promoters who work for Andy Warhol, a modern couple that works in Graceland, and many more. “All the King’s Women” is chock full of hilarious anecdotes, various Southern and Northern dialects, 50’s, 60’s, and 70’s fashion and hair, and of course, a soulful, hip-shaking soundtrack.

This year’s Fall Play is directed by the talented visionary JC Svec, and stars a diverse ensemble cast.  Starring freshmen Emma Asher, Audrey Lane and Peter Colbert; sophomores Krissy Bylancik, Heather Milke, and Sam Cleverley; juniors Emma Hart and Madeleine Colbert; and senior Sarah Finn, All the King’s Women is sure to please. In the words of freshman Emma Asher, who is brand new to the Deetjen stage, “I am super excited and honored to be a part of it all!”

The cast has been and will be working tirelessly until opening night, in the hopes of putting together a marvelously entertaining set of performances. As per usual, the show will be performed six times in the Deetjen black box theater in early November: Thursdays, November 1st and 8th at 7 p.m., and Fridays and Saturdays November 2nd, 3rd, 9th and 10th at 8 p.m. Look out for the booth in the cafeteria in late October and early November, where students and faculty can reserve tickets.  Come support your fellow classmates and students, and enjoy what is sure to be a wonderfully fun and electrifying show! •


zferguson @ January 26, 2013

What Can We Learn From MKA Students’ Recent Sexist Blunders?

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by Sarah Finn

In a special meeting held for seniors in mid-September, a gender issue was raised that left many girls and guys uncomfortable. In this meeting, students were informed that a Facebook group had been established last year by current senior boys, in which current senior girls were ranked based on attractiveness. After sharing this information, Mrs. Branigan stated her disappointment and her decision to not research any further into the group’s creators, as so many people were involved. For most seniors, the meeting was not the end of the discussion.

That night, I had a conversation about the rankings group with two friends, one male and one female. (The male friend was a member of the Facebook rankings group, though he never posted in it.) Our conversation began with my female friend and me discussing our initial shock about the existence of such a groupand our mutual fear that the list would be published and seen by girls. However, the discussion gradually became more personal, as we recognized that the list reminded us of something deeper.

My female friend and I started talking about the sexual harassment to which we had both become accustomed outside of school. We talked about things we had never shared before because we never really thought they were worth talking about, such as being honked at by strange men every time we go out for runs and getting heckled and hollered at by older men in public. We admitted that we both felt like targets every time we stepped outside.

After our conversation, my female friend and I realized that the Facebook rankings group brought the outside world in. Being ranked by men and feeling constantly subordinate and vulnerable were not new for us, nor were they new for most girls our age. We feel this sexism when men turn their heads around to watch us walk down a street. We feel it when men look at our bodies instead of our faces. I felt it when I was eleven  (cont’d on p. 3)      years old and a strange man groped me at a Yankees game. But this was the first time we felt this way at MKA, a place where we felt sheltered from that kind of treatment. A place where it was okay for us to have our guards down, because we trusted that we were being respected.

While the Facebook group did not physically or even verbally harass senior girls, we were being objectified and disrespected, and instead of by strangers, it was by our friends and classmates.

I did not and I still do not believe that friends of mine in this group, some of whom made this list, only saw me as a number, or an object of comparison. And I definitely do not believe that the boys who started this group are bad people, or equal to creepy predators. However, I do think that the group itself reveals an ignorance regarding the treatment of women in society.

I believe that the mistake of this Facebook group can and will be a learning experience for some of the boys in the senior class. As this is our last year together in high school, I have faith that we will recover communally from this blunder.

While it was an unfortunate way for the year to begin, especially given that the diversity theme for this year is gender, I believe that this incident gives girls the opportunity to have discussions, like my friend and I had. Girls, and I include myself in this, do not speak up enough, or maybe we’re not encouraged to speak up enough, about how we are made to feel in public.

Senior girls have been facing “women’s issues” since their pre-teen years, and yet they have been forbidden to talk about them. Now is the opportunity, and I hope that the senior boys will listen so they can become respectful men.

zferguson @ January 26, 2013

Point-Counterpoint: Is the Petraeus Scandal Relevant to Politics?

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Americans Need to Be Able to Trust Our Leaders Completely: Madeleine Colbert

If you had told people in late October that the director of the C.I.A., David Petraeus, would soon be resigning because of a sex scandal that featured spies, the F.B.I., attractive socialites, emotionally unstable twin sisters, texting shirtless photos, and anonymous threats, they would have told you to stop watching so much TV. However, that is exactly the story that has aired in news stations all across America.

This story has rocked mainstream media, who can hardly believe their luck in being hand-delivered a fascinating story, directly after the election. However, due to the constant bombardment of this nearly fantastical news story, many people have begun to ask if the news should even be reporting it. The answer to that question is a strong yes. Soap-opera likeness aside, this story is very important in understanding our nation, and the people we have selected to run it.

David Petraeus held one of the most important jobs in America, as director of the C.I.A. He held an immense amount of power and possessed a great deal of responsibility. In order for the C.I.A. to properly run, the American people need to have complete trust in it. The Petraeus scandal greatly mars this trust, and hurts the C.I.A.’s ability to operate smoothly below the radar. The Petraeus scandal is important because it has created a large rift between the American people and their most powerful leaders.

The nature in which the Petraeus scandal was discovered is also alarming and should be shared with the American people. It makes you think to yourself, “If the director of the C.I.A. can’t maintain privacy from the F.B.I., neither can I.” The Internet has thrown American privacy into free fall. The F.B.I. does not even need a warrant to look at your email, due to the archaic Electronic Communications Privacy Act that was drafted back in 1986, before the Internet had developed into the superpower it is today.

Petraeus and the woman with whom he was having an affair, Paula Broadwell, were leaving messages to each other in the draft box of a shared email account. The government does not regard these drafts as at all private.

To put things in perspective, if you had a box of old letters that you kept under your bed, the F.B.I. would need a warrant to come get them. However, if they were online in a password-protected email account and were older than 6 months old, the F.B.I. could just sift through all of them. The same is true for private Facebook photos or Google Docs. This is an eye-opening revelation about the government’s control of supposedly private information.

Do not be fooled by the tabloid nature of the Petraeus scandal. This news story is an important event in the history of the C.I.A. and in the history of American privacy rights, so we all should pay attention to it.


Successful Politicians’ Personal Lives Shouldn’t Affect Their Reputations: Kelsey O’Connor


You know what I am worried about during a crucial election when the country is on the brink of economic ruin? General Petraeus’s personal life? Not so much.

The main point to consider is that there are far more important issues for the media to focus on: for example, the economy, the election, the Middle East crises, and Hurricane Sandy. All were pushed off the front page so that we could read about General Petraeus’s affair with his biographer Paula Broadwell (which the media conveniently did not pick up until three days after the election). His name was a worldwide trend on Twitter.

Petraeus clearly did not make a good choice, but people with his level of experience and proclivity for civil servitude are few and far between—and Petraeus is certainly not the only person to have had this lapse in judgment. If every politician who had an affair were to resign or be removed from office, there would probably not be many people left to fill these important roles. Just to name a few notable people to have made similar mistakes: Thomas Jefferson, Franklin Roosevelt, Dwight Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, and Bill Clinton. Some of these men are considered among the ranks of the most brilliant political minds in our country’s history. Likewise, Petraeus has proved himself to be a valuable asset to the United States government.

Before you read this article, you probably didn’t know that Petraeus has been one of the most active individuals against terrorism. He commanded forces in both Iraq and Afghanistan before becoming Director of the C.I.A. in 2011. The Senate elected him to the directorship in a unanimous vote. His involvement in the Iraq War was significant. He led soldiers into combat in 2003 at the start of the war and commanded the 101st Airborne Division. Furthermore, he helped to launch thousands of reconstruction projects. He pushed to reopen the University of Mosul, which sparked a campaign to allocate funds for public works. Additionally, Petraeus was made the first commander of the Multi-National Security Transition Command Iraq, which worked to rebuild and organize the military and police forces in Iraq. From 2008 to 2010, Petraeus was head of the U.S. Central Command. In this position, he successfully oversaw U.S. military operations in dozens of countries. Upon his retirement from the Army in 2011, he was awarded the Army Distinguished Service Medal. Did the media cover any of this?

The media hardly ever focuses on the beneficial accomplishments of individuals, but it harps on their faults. Personally, I think Petraeus’s accomplishments far outweigh his mistakes. The reality is that people like him, who help our country and others so effectively, are rare and it is irresponsible for the media and the public to condemn them forever based on one mistake.


zferguson @ January 26, 2013

Baby, It’s Cold Outside: Your Winter Playlist

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by Emily Greenberg and Madeleine Colbert

1) “Winter Song” – The Head and the Heart

2) “Winter Winds” – Mumford & Sons

3) “In the Aeroplane Over the Sea” – Neutral Milk Hotel

4) “Creature Fear” – Bon Iver

5) “Little Black Submarines” – The Black Keys

6) “The High Road” – Broken Bells

7) “I Will Follow You Into the Dark” – Death Cab for Cutie

8) “Feel Good Inc.” – Gorillaz

9) “Let’s Go” – Matt & Kim

10) “Madness” – Muse

zferguson @ January 23, 2013

MKA Theater Goes Retro: Student Productions Tackle the 1950s, 60s, and 70s

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by Zoe Ferguson

It seems that the present just isn’t enough for MKA actors. Instead, we have taken on a trend of pieces that look back in time to what many think was a better age.

In the Deetjen production All the King’s Women, actors played scenes from the 1950s well into the 1970s, all recollecting, in some manner, the impact of Elvis’ all-around fabulosity on America’s female population. The play didn’t even include Elvis as a character: instead, it indirectly told the story through brief glimpses at women’s experiences of the rock icon. Stars of the MKA production included Sarah Finn, Madeleine Colbert, and Krissy Bylancik, along with many others. Among the short scenes displayed in the production was a representation of The King’s famous visit to the White House in 1970, wherein he met President Nixon. The actresses in MKA’s production of All the King’s Women played secretaries at the Capitol who couldn’t handle their excitement at the idea of Elvis in their building. The girls did an excellent job – I know I was cracking up. (Unfortunately, the Deetjen Theatre is so small that you can hear – quite clearly, that is – all my loud, obnoxious reactions to funny lines and good comedic timing.)

In early March, the MKA community will be treated to an Upper School theater production of the musical Grease. Starring Kendall Barrett ‘14 as Sandy, Scott Hermo ‘13 as Danny, Dana Placentra ‘13 as Rizzo, and John Higgins ‘14 as Kenickie (“A hickey from Kenickie is like a Hallmark card”), the cast is sure to blow this one out of the water. They have been diligently rehearsing, with the exception of Winter Break, focusing on their staging, lines, and choreography. The musical portion of rehearsals is set to begin soon.

zferguson @ January 23, 2013