Archive for April, 2011

Lady Cee Has Met Her Match

Saturday, April 9th, 2011

Almost overnight, Rebecca Black has become a national sensation—moreso out of hatred, than of love. Her horrific music video “Friday” has been declared by many to be the worst song ever created, inspiring hateful comments, and death threats, from millions of viewers. Much to the ire of students, the 13-year-old is the newest admit to MKA.

“It’s funny, we originally rejected her,” explains Dr. Flocco. “Her test scores were awful, and her essay was a 13 page treatise on the way the Alphabet is ordered. In her interview I asked her what she did in her free time. She just exclaimed ‘Fun, Fun, Fun, Fun,’ for several minutes.” Then, Dr. Flocco received an email linking to Black’s music video. “I saw that, and I just had a change of heart. It was such a delightful video. What creativity for such a little girl! I knew that having her would inspire our own students to achieve ambitions of their own.”

Black’s first week has already been eventful. Students were surprised to find that Black has a habit of narrating out loud her schedule: she wandered the halls, saying “Gotta get my schedule from Mrs. Jennings, Gotta open my locker, Gotta get my books out, Gotta put my books into my bag,” and so on. As Black entered her first class, she looked around, and promptly exclaimed “Which seat can I take?” Dr. Ferguson meekly pointed to the only available seat in the classroom.

Even more perplexing is Black’s insistence on a daily announcement of the date. Following her request, Flocco has begun using the school’s PA system to announce the day of the week, as well as the following days. Explains Black: “I just get confused, you know? My mind doesn’t have time to focus on such trivial matters. I’m too busy composing my next musical masterpiece. If only you could hear what goes on inside my brain, its like Beethoven. The only downside is that I can never turn the music off, but that’s ok, because it’s the music of the angels.”

At her first Synergy, Black exclusively premiered her latest single, “Monday.” Described as “Abba with Autotune,” the entire song centered on the chorus “I’ve got a case of the Mondays/Today’s not my Fundays.” Not to be outdone, Ladyy Cee sprang onto the stage, declared a teen pop star duel, and sang her song “I Didn’t Know.” A lengthy Twitter feud followed, with the two eventually making up and agreeing to “collab.”

-Christopher Walken ’67 Resident Philosopher

Taymor Takes Over: Flocco Has Nervous Breakdown

Saturday, April 9th, 2011

Last Monday, after famed film and theatre director Julie Taymor was publically fired from Broadway musical “Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark,” it was confirmed from Ms. Taymor had been appointed as the Chair of the Upper School Fine and Performing Arts Department. Taymor, a twenty-five year veteran of the stage, made it her first order of business to restage recent MKA production “Once Upon a Mattress,” as a post-apocalyptic, sci-fi neo-Spaghetti-western utilizing all of the original Upper School cast, only with all of the gender roles reversed.

“If someone doesn’t like this show, I can only respond that it’s because they don’t understand it or me,” noted famed perfectionist Taymor. “My work is the dictionary defintion of unique – how many other shows have taken a classic and reimagined it in a violent and postmodern context? That’s right, none.” Upon hearing about Taymor’s interpretation of Mary Rodger’s Broadway stalwart, Middle School theatre director Christian Ely has been witnessed scrambling to put together a new show for next fall.

As of April 1st, just three days after the first rehearsal, the show is officially forty-three days behind schedule and eighty-seven million dollars over budget. Additionally, seven members of the cast are now confirmed dead, with eighteen in the hospital due to serious, show-related injuries. The source of the injuries and fatalities is said to have been Thursday’s rehearsal, where Taymor had crew members Tom Weisel and Zach Wildstein attempt to bring the forty-five foot tall and thirty-one ton fire-breathing robot Robosaurus on stage for the show’s revised climax. One destroyed auditorium and eleven visits to the burn ward later, anarchy had ensued.

“The problem with Robosaurus is that when he breathed fire, eventually we were able to put it out with water,” added a disturbingly cheerful Taymor. “If we want this show to work, we need to change the robot’s propane tanks into a chemical reserve of some kind that water can only fuel. White phosphorous might do the trick – I saw something about that on the History Channel once.”

Incapacitated Senior and performer Jill Karole was heard mumbling under her breath, “Still beats ‘Urinetown,’” while car- ried out of Weiss Auditorium on a stretcher. One of the few actors left uninjured after Thursday’s rehearsal, Junior Sylvie Konner, expressed reservations about the show ever having any potential. “We got the script the other day and it was written on cocktail napkins in what looked like blood. We asked her about it, and she said not to worry, it wasn’t her blood.”

“Wait, we’re spending how much on a musical?” said a con- cerned Head of the Upper School David Flocco. “Man, can’t the kids just wear like felt or something and just dance on a wooden platform? Why do the arts always have to be so complicated and expensive?” Upon saying this, Flocco was spotted signing a check for a therapeutic whirlpool in the training room for athletes after games.

In an unrelated turn of events, Charlie Sheen has been named both the Chair of Physical Education/ Health Education Department and Athletic Director. Sheen states that he intends for a greater emphasis in both areas on winning, the nutritional benefits of chocolate milk, and how one can remove all traces of DNA from a trashed Las Vegas hotel room using only three beach towels and a bottle of lye. When pressed for comment, former Athletic Director Todd Smith stated, “I can’t be mad at the guy. C’mon, you ever see Major League? It’s Wild Thing!” Subsequently, it has been confirmed that Van Brunt Field has been renamed Sober Valley Lodge.

– Writer Number 4 Sixty Seven

An Open Letter from Dr. David Flocco

Saturday, April 9th, 2011

Hello students and faculty – We’ve been through our share of dark days together. I’ve seen the overflowing urinals of the first floor men’s room. I’ve seen Van Brunt stormed by a group of communist paratroopers and tanks at the height of 80s Cold War terror. And I’ve seen glass bottles in the garbage bins. But none of those sights could possibly compare to what I found discovered recently. This was, without question, the single worst thing I have seen in my nearly two decades at the Upper School.

On the morning of March 29th, at approximately 1:20 in the afternoon, I found a single bag of crushed Cheetos snack cheese curls on the locker room floor. This is, to put it mildly, unacceptable.

You think you kids know pain? You know nothing. I’ve seen pain. Pain is storming the jungles of Saigon, and looking over to find that what used to be your best friend’s face is now a puddle of goo. Pain is growing up in South Central in the height of the crack epidemic in the early 90s, and watching your friend Ricky get gunned down in a drive- by as he clutches a winning scratch- off ticket. This is pain, and this is what I have seen in my travels on this Earth. None of which compare to the gravity of this.

I’ve talked to the proper authorities about the proper punishment for such a scenario, and I’ve completely ignored their advice to come to one, ultimate conclusion: this must be made public. Mrs. Lambert recommended that we suspend Senior Privileges until the perpetrator comes forth, but this comes across to me as comically lenient in face of the atrocities witnessed on the grounds of the Academy.

Instead what shall happen is what follows: today, April 1st, after school there will be an emergency assembly where I sit on stage with a cane, and go through the Freshman class alphabetically until someone comes forward. That’s right – we will be having an old fashioned caning.

At the Academy, you are expected to behave in an appropriate fashion for all 365 days of the year. It’s a little something called respect. This means if I see you so much as spitting in front of a Connecticut Burger King in mid-July, I have the right to punch you at full force in the solar plexus. This all should have been elaborated on in the contracts signed by your parents. But to see such abhorrent behavior here and now, on our grounds, is beyond appalling. I thought I had seen the worst of man’s ugliness when a severed hand was found in the cafeteria sloppy joe mix, or the drinking fountain was squirting people, but this trumps all.

This is a school where we treat you like adults on the grounds that you act like adults. We are aware of the possibility of the offender not confessing in today’s assembly, and in that case, your responsibilities will be restricted accordingly. If you cannot be expected to feed yourself like adults, measures will be taken to make sure you are fed nonetheless in an appropriate fashion. Every day at noon exactly, students will be tied to cafeteria chairs with their jaws held open using dental equipment, so the cafeteria staff can pour blended food down the mouths of each student individually. If you cannot be expected to behave like adults, you will instead be treated like baby birds. Thank you. – David C. Flocco

NOTE: I have just been informed that the bag of Cheetos was in fact mine, and hidden security camera footage has shown it falling out of my back pocket during my stroll through the locker lounge on the af- ternoon of the 28th. On behalf of the Academy, I would like to apologize to the twenty-seven Freshmen I pre- caned this afternoon. Sorry.

Does the “Code of Attire” Go Too Far?

Saturday, April 9th, 2011

At this point in my high school life, I have generally come to terms with the MKA dress code. Though I spent a considerable and gross amount of time complaining about the stringencies of the rules of attire, I now better understand why a dress code of some kind is a very effective way for MKA to both band together as a community and remain focused on education, not style. However, after dozens upon dozens of experiences in which I or my fellow students have been told to consult the Student Handbook for rules and regulations regarding the code of attire, I took it upon myself to actually follow up on this often preached, never performed recommendation.

Flipping to the “Code of Attire” section of the handbook, one encounters several key sections. One covers the Definition of the Code of Attire, another the policy regarding Dress Down Days, and several other regarding lesser- known sections (including a surprisingly explicit coverage of body piercings and tattoos). However, the section I found most interesting (and ultimately most thought-provoking) was the one entitled, “The Spirit of the Code of Attire”. Upon reading, one passage in particular struck me:

“At MKA, we feel that the school is the workplace of the student. Therefore, each student is expected to dress accordingly. Since all dress options cannot be delineated as to appropriateness, we expect students to make choices for daily dress that are in the spirit of the dress code. That is, there is a large wardrobe of attire that students know is appropriate and other wardrobe choices that may be deemed inappropriate. Students’ choice of dress should be appropriate for school and should not distract others from their work because it is suggestive, garish, or offensive.”

This passage, taken from page 55 of the MKA Handbook, leaves several considerations about the dress code open to interpretation. As long as a student wears clothing that is appropriate in a workplace of learning and is in no way suggestive or offensive, it could be argued that this piece of clothing qualifies as within the spirit of the dress code.

Before one goes the route of James Dean and rebels against the dress code, however, it is important to note that the actual choices and specifics of dress code are explicated in the handbook as well. However, it is this author’s opinion that a piece of clothing that fits the description of “within the spirit of the Code of Attire” has a strong argument for inclusion in the dress code moving forward. One example of this type of grey area is the sweater. After reading this article, look around during the day. It is likely that more than a handful of students throughout the schools will be wearing some type of v-neck or zipped sweater; in fact, teachers are nearly just as likely to wear them. Why not? A sweater is the perfect example of an article of clothing that I find fits the boundaries of being within the spirit of the Code of Attire perfectly. I, for one, have never been offended or distracted from my learning by the particularly striking color of a classmate’s sweater. However, students are only allowed to wear the Vineyard Vine MKA sweaters, not just any sweater of their choosing. What’s more, while an MKA sweater exists in the bookstore (and is a nice way to express school spirit by those who choose to purchase them), forcing a student to shell out more money for extraneous clothing seems almost insulting. In this economy, families need to be more frugal than ever before, and I know for a fact that many families would much prefer to send their children to school wearing nice looking clothing that they already own.

In no way am I suggesting a sartorial revolution, but I do request some leniency and tolerance on the part of the administration with regards to this subject. This hardly affects me on a personal level; with only months until graduation, my days living beneath the reign of MKA’s fashion squadron are nearly over. But for the sake of integrity in a school that professes to hold this value dear, I believe this aspect of school life should be reevaluated.

-Andrew Lokker ’11

Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti’s Before Today: The Best Album of 2010

Saturday, April 9th, 2011

Though we are now well into 2011, I think just around now is the best time to pick a Best Album of 2010. All of the music has by now settled in, and one can look back at the various albums separated from their hype. So, I present my favorite album of 2010: Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti’s Before Today.

I live for songs like “Round and Round.” In it, Ariel Pink (the singer and main creative talent of Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti) uses a series of pop hooks, each one building upon the other. By the time “Round and Round” reaches its sensational chorus, it’s the best song Journey never made. Despite its weirdness, in many ways, it’s a perfect pop song. The chorus is at once catchy and transcendent. And, like all great pop classics, it’s the sort of song that you could never tire of.

In the early 2000s, Ariel Pink recorded dozens of songs, and then spent the next few years burning them to CD-Rs and selling them around Los Angeles, occasionally even handing them out to strangers on the street. Pink used a low-tech home studio to record all his music, resulting in a noisy, overly lo-fi sound. Were these songs any good? That’s hard to say. Ariel Pink mined the sounds of the late 70s and early 80s for his music, creating something that sounded like a twenty-year-old, heavily damaged tape cassette. So, while the quality was pretty horrific, the songs themselves were often works of beauty, and showed potential (look up his early songs “For Kate I Wait” and “West Coast Calamities”).

Ariel Pink serves as the godfather to the recent chillwave movement, characterized by bands (Neon Indian, Washed Out, Toro y Moi) recording 80s-sounding synthesizer gems in home studios and on laptops. So, one can’t help but notice the irony that, when dozens of twenty-somethings are churning out so-called hypnagogic pop from their bedrooms, Ariel Pink entered into a studio for the first time and created his greatest achievement yet, Before Today.

Before Today finds its base in Ariel Pink’s signature sound, but builds upon it, making it fuller. While the studio means an upgrade of sound quality, the album is far from crisp and clear. A decent amount of noise and fuzz is left on the recordings, so that the entire album sounds as though heard through a radio or boombox. A full band now backs up Ariel Pink, adding bass, drums, saxophones, and more. It’s a well-needed addition: whereas Pink’s older songs sound like sketches, those on Before Today are intricate sonic masterpieces.

Ariel Pink’s influences lean towards the more cheesy genres of the 70s: yacht rock, soft/AM rock, whatever you want to call it. In turn, listening to Before Today is like taking a Saturday morning drive in 1980 and listening to the radio. Surprisingly, Pink evokes his influences not through the guise of irony, but through a sincere love for that music typically considered “uncool.” It’s for the better: the novelty of irony can quickly fade. Ariel Pink’s delectable pop creations never lose their punch.

There’s not a bad song on Before Today. The aforementioned “Round and Round” is the standout, but each of the other songs hold up on their own. Each song has a unique style and genre, from the 60s psychedelic texture of “Bright Lit Blue Skies” to the glam rock of “Little Wig.” Despite this, the album never feels disjointed, with Ariel Pink’s idiosyncrasies (his voice, his occasional grunts) tying all the songs together. On “Fright Night (Nevermore),” Pink pumps up the synths to create what should be the standard for all Halloween parties.  “Can’t Hear My Eyes” is yacht rock (think Steely Dan or Hall and Oates) warped through the eyes of Ariel Pink. Even the two instrumental pieces, “Hot Body Rub” and “Reminiscences,” are joys to listen to, in some ways resembling (remembering?) the soundtrack to bad 80s films. The album remains strong until the very end, with the second to last song, “Menopause Man,” a gender-bending disco piece, being one of Before Today’s best.

There’s a fine line between reinvention and revivalism. Often, a band will work so hard to recreate a particular genre that they ultimately say nothing new with it. Ariel Pink, though heavily steeped in the sounds of the 70s, has made an album that is completely its own. It’s the era as he remembers it, full of wonderful pop as well as plenty of weirdness.

-Andrew Wagner ’11

The Next Big Thing is Not the Last Big Thing: Modern Music and the Climate of Hype

Saturday, April 9th, 2011

I remember how unbelievably excited I was when I heard on Valentine’s Day that Radiohead was releasing a new album, entitled The King of Limbs. Better yet, when the band announced this new LP, they also announced the release date: February 19, a short five days later. Frankly, I was ecstatic. Radiohead, a band easily among my favorites of all time, was not only providing me with more music, but was doing so in a fashion that shortened my anticipation time to less than a week. Obviously, when the online version of the album became available, I downloaded it without hesitation. Less than an hour later, I finished listening and felt a twinge of disappointment. I wasn’t disappointed in the music, per se; more so, I was disappointed in myself.

Before I get any farther, let me be clear: The King of Limbs is still a very good album. It is worthy of both your time and money, and I recommend it without hesitation. However, I had spent so much time listening to past Radiohead music that I had (perhaps foolishly) built up my appreciation of the band to a point where I hyped up any new Radiohead music as inevitably transcendent, guaranteed to propel my respect and admiration to unthinkable levels. I had surrounded myself in the hype, and even a record created by God himself would have been incapable of delivering on my naïve expectations.

Despite my attempt to understand my sub-par reaction to The King of Limbs, this type of dissatisfaction was only repeated again this month, when the Strokes released their new album Angles on March 22. One of the few bands to supersede Radiohead in my personal musical rankings, the Strokes could almost certainly have released any half-baked collection of songs and I would have eaten it up. But, yet again, upon its release, I felt more than a little disenchanted by how this newest album compared to Is This It, one of my favorite CDs ever. The fact that I had hoped, let alone expected, Angles to reach the heights of a rock album considered by many to be the finest released in the last decade is ludicrous. However, that certainly did not stop me from getting my hopes up and having them crushed, once again, by an LP that is great, but not life changing.

In a musical landscape dominated by vanilla pop “stars,” finding musical artists who truly stand out and have a unique quality to share is rare; it is not hard, then, to see why fans desperately want these artists to succeed again and again by reinventing themselves. But with the exception of a few artists (Radiohead included for the bulk of their career), it becomes harder and harder for groups to find and display a new voice when the one with which they were already identified gave them their success. Some groups cash in on their original profitable and effective manner of expression, going through the motions of their initial work but without the statement-making passion. Others push the envelope and try something new and unexpected that does not always succeed. While we should reward and listen to the artists who attempt to form some- thing new and meaningful from the basis of their previous work, it is important to note that the most raw and meaningful music often comes from artists with something to prove. We as an audience should always be striving to listen to some- thing that moves and engages us on some plane or another. While these new albums simply cannot measure up to the gargantuan work that Radiohead and the Strokes have done in the past, this fact does not mean that their work should go unappreciated or unheard.

-Andrew Lokker ’11

May Term Offers Chance for Seniors to Unleash Variety of Interests

Friday, April 8th, 2011

One short month from now, while the rest of the school prepares for finals, members of the senior class will embark on their final task before they graduate— May Term.

May Term is a chance for seniors to enjoy their last moments in high school, by doing something unique and memorable before heading off to college. Since seniors do not have finals and have already decided which college to attend, there is simply no need to stay in class for the last month of the year. Instead, they end their high school journeys with a bang. There is an extremely wide range of opportunities available for them, from internships at Brookside or the Middle School, to a multitude of community service initiatives, to the MKA archive project; some seniors who are taking the Irish Studies class during the second semester will even have the chance to go on a trip to Ireland. In fact, the possibilities are almost limitless, as students can also choose to design their own projects for May Term.

Back in February, seniors desiring independent internships or projects were required to submit a proposal to the May Term committee explaining their project and why they think it is a valuable use of their time. They then had to be interviewed about their plan and were notified whether their request was accepted or denied prior to Spring Break. Many of their ideas are extremely creative and interesting. For instance, Andrew Lokker and Conrad Makow decided to use their time to design robotics using Legos, a truly innovative and creative to cap off their high school experience. This is just one example of the many great ideas thought up by MKA seniors; the majority of them seem to have an immense deal of thought and creativity behind them.

While May Term is mostly meant to be a fun experience, there are a few major requirements. First of all, most students must spend a minimum total of one hundred hours working on their May Term project. The only exceptions to this general rule are any seniors who are taking AP classes, who can deduct the class time spent preparing for examines from their overall schedule. Instead of spending the whole month on their May Term project, they spend the first few weeks preparing for their AP tests, therefore allowing for a brief transition between academic work and individual hobby.

Additionally, those who chose an individual project must present their work at the end of May Term. This can be in a number of ways, with one of the most common being a simple PowerPoint presentation. However, neither of these requirements are particularly cumbersome, and should not detract anybody thinking of doing an independent project in the future. May Term is a one of a kind opportunity that should be looked forward to by all MKA students; it is a chance to use time otherwise spent in class doing something that appeals to each person’s individual interests. In short, May Term can be an extraordinary way to end your high school days.

-Nick Lokker ’14

The GSA Prepares a Day of Silence and a Night of Noise

Friday, April 8th, 2011

A goal of the MKA community is to make it a safe place for everyone to go to school, no matter who they are. One of the most active clubs at MKA, the Gay-Straight Alliance, strives to ensure that every student can come here while maintaining their self-worth and knowing that they will be respected. The GSA works every year to show the student body how important acceptance is. They sponsored such events as no name-calling month and the Friday Night Out Loud concert in the fall. However, the GSA’s biggest event is right around the corner.

On April 16th MKA students are given the opportunity to participate in MKA’s Day of Silence and Night of Noise. The Day of Silence is a day when students pledge to not speak to show how everyday GLBT teens live in silence to protect themselves for discrimination. Club advisor Dr. Michael Houston comments that the Day of Silence is, “a symbolic event. The students who participate but who do not identify as GLBT can get a sense of what it’s like for a gay or lesbian student who has to go through his/her daily routine constantly aware of what he or she says. These students are often compelled to remain silent about how they feel or what’s important to them because they don’t want to be bullied or singled out for their sexual/gender identity.”

The Day of Silence is meant to breed and understanding atmosphere, where all members of the community can publically express themselves without fear of being discriminated against. However, this day is of course followed by Night of Noise. Night of Noise will be the second concert sponsored by the GSA this year. This will be the third year that MKA has the Night of Noise concert, a benefit that raised over $700 last year for GLSN, the parent organization of the GSA. This year the proceeds will go the Ali Forney Shelter, a safe place for homeless GLBT youth.

If one is to attend Night of Noise, they can expect, “A lot of good music and a great atmosphere to unwind in” says Dr. Houston. Night of Noise allows the community to get loud after spending the entire day in silence, allowing everyone to come together as a group bonded by a day of mutually heightened awareness. Both the Day of Silence and Night of Noise are wonderful experiences that can enforce or change your perspective of GLBT issues. It is one thing to defend a cause, but Day of Silence allows you to live it and to truly understand what it means to stay silent. Everyone who participates can have a sheet of paper that explains the Day of Silence. Then, once the day is done you can go and rock out at Night of Noise, while donating to a wonderful cause.

-Alexa Bieler ’13

Blogs Blossom Among Students

Friday, April 8th, 2011

In this digital age, blogging has become a popular outlet for personal beliefs, interests, and activities, with the Internet acting as an information purveyor impartial to both author and authority. MKA students have caught on to the trend. Whether writing strictly about themselves or contributing their opinions on larger matters, high school bloggers at MKA clearly believe that they have something to say and that the Internet is where it can be heard.

The most popular blogging site is probably Tumblr; it is more self-centered than relationship-oriented Facebook, and more easily expandable than constrained Twitter. Ashley Bennia, MKA junior and Tumblr blogger, describes her page as one with a highly personal aspect—“I’ve always been the type to keep a journal and with a blog I find it much easier to do that. In short, my blog is simply an expression of my interests, my thoughts, and ultimately, me.” She says she has many friends who blog, “almost too many to count.” Rafi Bildner blogs in a similar format, though his blog is more focused: he writes on his experiences in attempting to earn his pilot license.

Senior Alexa Burzinski represents those who expand on the typical Tumblr format of self- expression with a specific purpose: her blog, though centered on her own life, “is a sort of writer’s repository.” She uses the outlet as a tool for her craft and an assist to her ambitions. “I’m an aspiring writer, so I post my pieces online to get my work out there into the writing community.”

Becky Bolton achieved some of her aspirations with the blog she started in the June of her junior year. Encouraged by rapper friend Mac Miller, her music blog is made by and for high school and college students, who post tracks, do interviews, plan events, and work on clothing lines. She cites social media as an incredibly helpful tool, one that has helped her meet artists and even score a blogging job for website—in her words, “If you use it [social media] the right way, it can open up a lot of opportunities for you and be a great marketing technique.”

Student blogs often center around a specific interest. Senior Chris McEwen’s blog stemmed from his longstanding interest in movies, covering film reviews, news, and editorials. Jessie Chase’s fashion blog is composed of posts on fashion news and trends, interspersed with and influenced by her personal takes and preferences.

The students mentioned above and the many others they represent are all passionate about what they choose to post, donating time and energy to their diverse pages. Nevertheless, the most common doubt, or even criticism, of high school bloggers is that they come with a sense of entitlement— that their adolescent conceits give them inflated senses of importance

and add false weight to shallow ideas. In short, many critics question the value of information and opinions spread by those who have not yet garnered true experience or expertise in what they choose to write about. The students, as expected, counter that opinion.

Burzinski believes that high schoolers’ independence, even purity, of professional experience is an asset. “Often college-graduated or professional people create blogs to sell their personal brand. I feel like high school bloggers are more passionate and committed to what they write about because they a) often write for a small audience and b) aren’t trying to ‘sell’ anything.” Chase counters any negative opinions with her own credibility: “With upcoming generations becoming more and more qualified, I think high schoolers can contribute a great deal. I have interned at Diane von Furstenberg, work at a clothing boutique, and will be interning at the designer A.P.C. in May. I think my experience is more than enough to back my blog.”

McEwen reflects on the argument with a concession to his place as one of many and a recognition of the fine line between self- importance and disarming self-expression. “There are so many blogs out there, so many of which write about the same thing that I do, that at a certain point, I feel that all you can offer is your own voice. . . I know blogs run by high schoolers that just feel like adolescent navel-gazing, and honestly, who wants to read that? By the same token, I know blogs that are about the high school experience, but are written in a way that is engrossing and very much readable.” Bildner believes that the perceived fault to blogging is really its strength: “It is incredible because it is open to anyone . . . age doesn’t really make a difference.”

Ultimately, blogs are a tool with which students can express themselves. At an age when people classically develop both their own ideas and an urge to convey them, the Internet offers an easy, instant channel, a promise that somewhere, their thoughts are heard.

-Devon Geyelin ’12

Flik Spices Things Up: Chef Thomas Wilinski Hired to Add Some Variety

Friday, April 8th, 2011

Food is a major part of the lives as high school students. By lunch, the cafeteria is full of ravenous students who desperately need to refuel to get through the day. However, while the words “cafeteria food” may fill your mind with horrific images of grey slop and mean lunch ladies, such is not the case at MKA. Flik, a corporate food catering company, powers the Academy kitched with a skilled staff team. When the previous chef, decided to pursue a new endeavor, head chef Thomas Wilinski was passed the MKA spatula.

Chef Wilinski, a chef of fifteen years, is taking a hiatus from hotels to work in a school for the first time. He says that he notices a definite difference between cook- ing for kids in a school and cooking for adults. “I like the atmosphere… there is a lot of creativity I can get with you guys,” says Wilinski. Wilinski has indeed done a good job of balancing creativity with meeting the needs of the students and faculty, a task he says is the most difficult part of cooking in a school. He always forces himself to be mindful of allergies that students might have, which includes cooking completely without nuts. Chef Wilinski has confidently taken control of the kitchen, and with that, there has also been a notable improvement in cuisine variety.

Perhaps the chef’s creativity is the reason for the more diversified menu, as there has been a greater variety in the hot lunches. Additionally, there is less repetition in the dishes as well. “The menu has changed from month to month, every week is totally different. I try to have you guys experience the food culture and how it is evolving,” Wilinski says. His favorite thing to cook is Italian food. This influence is found in a number of the new dishes, including the delicious bruschetta chicken. The menu also includes other, more intricate dishes than have been seen in the past such as the lemon chicken and veggie lasagna.

Among many who think that the food has improved is sophomore Sarah Finn. “I’ve been eating a lot of the cold pasta salads from the salad bar… they are really good. Some of the chicken and rice dishes have been really delicious too,” says Sarah. Freshman Savannah Fusaro also has positive feedback. She says, “They change some of the lunch items everyday but then they also have some of the same things everyday, so it’s a nice balance.”

With a new chef, Thomas Wilinski, at the helm, the MKA cafeteria enters a new administration of cuisine. Have you noticed a difference? Submit your culinary opinion to The Academy News (

-Kelsey O’Connor ’14