Archive for the ‘Student Life’ Category

What Kinds of Music Are Beneficial to Students?

Saturday, January 26th, 2013

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.  •

Library Leadership Reveals New Goals for This Year

Saturday, January 26th, 2013

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. •

Take Home These Delectable Apple Recipes!

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2013

by Emily Greenberg

The apple is the sixth-most-popular fruit. After all, an apple a day keeps the doctor away! As we segue from fall to winter, there is nothing more satisfying than a crunchy apple at lunch or going apple picking with the family. If you find yourself bored with the traditional apple slice or apple pie, here are some simple recipes involving apples to spice up your life.


Mom’s Applesauce: 


2 pounds of cooking apples

1/3 cup water

1/3 cup sugar



1. Peel, core, and slice apples.

2. Put apples + water in a pot over low heat. Let the apples simmer (covered) until they are tender.

3. Remove the pot from heat. Mash apples.

4. Add sugar.

5. Add cinnamon.

6. Stir.

7. EAT! (I would suggest letting it cool first.)


Aunt Alana’s Baked Apple:


An apple of your choice

¼ cup brown sugar

1 teaspoon of cinnamon

1 ½ walnuts


Preheat oven to 375°.

Core an apple. In a bowl, mix the cinnamon, sugar, and walnuts. Pour mixture into each apple. Bake the apples for approximately 45 minutes.


The next time you reach for an apple, devote an hour or so of your time to making that apple into an even more delicious treat that the entire family can enjoy. I suggest using the Fuji apple for baking. It’s sweet, crunchy, and you can find it at your local supermarket.


Happy eating!

AP Latin Waxes Quotable

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2013

The gods are all shimmery with the soft Barbra Streisand light around them.

Feel it to the ho to the hey to the yo.

The Romans have recurring psychotic episodes.

I’m a big wall guy.

Noreaster is my second favorite Easter.

The world is yours, you just have to take it.

Woman, you done good.

Don’t look at me like that, woman.

But wait, it gets a little bit sicker, a little bit iller.

Green Tips from the Environmental Action Club: That’s a Wrap

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2013

by Virginia Flurry and Anna Sheinaus


In the month between Thanksgiving and Christmas, the average American household throws out 25% more trash than they do at any other time of the year. This amasses to about 25 million tons of extra trash, according to the E.P.A. We understand: nothing is better than the little jolt of surprise one receives while opening those crisply wrapped gifts.

The only problem with traditional wrapping paper, though, is that the lamination causes the paper to be non-recyclable, so all of it has to be thrown out.

Luckily, there are a number of stylish and eco-friendly alternatives that can help with this issue. For example, Botanical Paperworks gift tags are embedded with wildflower seeds that will give you a head start on a lovely garden for the spring. Or, if you’re looking for something vibrant, yet different, using reusable and beautiful Lucky Crow Bags will add a little more spark to your present, while being a gift in and of itself. Finally, if you are feeling creative, you can make your own wrapping paper and packaging with this issue of The Academy News, your favorite magazines, and even Jell-O boxes.

By using these alternatives, you provide a more creative vibe to your gift, save money, and help the earth all at once, allowing you to have an ever-green winter.

Gender Diversity: Sports Reinforce Gender Roles

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2013

by Kassie Fotiadis

For the first time this past fall season, the MKA Volleyball team faced a gender issue. Before freshman Shelly Tsirulik brought up the issue, no boy had ever expressed interest in being a member. Shelly was not allowed to play, as it is a single-gender team, and he instead served as the manager for the 2012 season. Now, Shelly is trying to create a boys’ Volleyball team, but a lack of interest from MKA boys proves it difficult. Why does volleyball, an Olympic sport, only seem desirable to girls at MKA?


A few days ago, one of my friends observed that the MKA Hockey team does not allow girls. This, however, is not true. The Hockey team has a female goalie this year, Alex Reynolds ’15, and the Middle School team has another new female member: Erin Buckley, a 6th grader. Our community automatically assumes that the team excludes girls, perhaps because the sport is often viewed as “roughhousing” and “masculine.”


There are few teams at MKA that are co-ed and spark a large interest for both males and females. In fact, only two popular ones exist: the Swim and Track teams, both of which are non-contact sports.


A favorite House game among Upper School students is the male Step performance. MKA students – myself included – find boys’ stepping hysterical. What most people don’t know is that the regular Step Team tryouts are open to both boys and girls.


It is surprising and sad that in such a supposedly progressive society, there are still gender issues in high school sports. Males and females are not taught in class separately and do not participate in extracurricular activities separately. Yet we are almost always placed on separate sports teams. And though it is true that there are biological differences between boys and girls, as boys are physically stronger (though it kills me to admit it), why are so many sports limited to a specific gender? It seems to me that every boys’ sport should be replicated to include a girls’ team, and vice versa.


Perhaps school sports operate in such a gender-specific way because we attempt to emulate the real world. Professional sports contain just as much gender differentiation as that of the lower level. In professional tennis, for instance, men play 3 out of 5 sets, while women play just 2 out of 3. Even if a man can be biologically stronger, it is not proven that he has more stamina than a woman. So why is he believed to be able to play for a longer time?


The only way to fix a problem like the gender issues in sports is to change the system. I commend Shelly for attempting to start a boys’ volleyball team, and I wish him success. As this year’s diversity theme is gender issues, I encourage the rest of the MKA community to keep it in mind, even in areas like sports.

The Colbert Report

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2013

by Ariana Puzzo

As a lifer at MKA, and as an avid reader and writer, the Book Fair has always been an exciting time of year for me. I often reflect on past Book Fairs with nostalgia as I remember how excited I used to get looking through all of the new books, picking which ones I would purchase, and meeting some of my favorite authors. As I have gotten older, while I still look forward to browsing through new books, I have come to await with greater anticipation the announcement of the name of the visiting author. This year’s author, much to the excitement of the student body and faculty, was none other than Stephen Colbert.


Over the years, many of us have either met or seen Mr. Colbert around campus, as he is the father of three MKA students, including two Upper Schoolers, Madeleine and Peter. But still, as he walked onto the stage to the speaker’s podium, the auditorium bustled with cheers and enthusiasm. I could see, as he stood there surveying the audience, that those around me were already captivated by his presence. As he spoke to us, casually switching back between his character’s persona and his own, MKA students were able to see Mr. Colbert in a completely raw and unique light.


Mr. Colbert’s preview of his new book, America Again: Re-becoming the Greatness We Never Weren’t, was not only hilariously witty, but also intriguing to many students. It is without hesitation that I can say that I, and the entire Upper School community, immensely enjoyed Mr. Colbert’s visit to our school, and as always, experienced another wildly successful Book Fair at MKA.

MKA Mock Trial Rises to the Challenge

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2013

by Jake Kleinbaum ’14

For a school that values academics so much, academic extracurricular activities have a tendency to go relatively unnoticed.  This trend is particularly true with MKA’s Mock Trial team.  Although you’ve most likely heard Mr. Wolfson’s masterfully delivered recruitment presentations, you probably have never heard anything beyond that.  MKA has always had an extremely successful Mock Trial team.  The team has seen very long county tournament runs the last two years, and it looks as if the Mock Trial team will not deviate from the pattern this year.

The case this year is a civil suit by Carmen Capella, the owner of a show dog named Sally, on Petzicon Inc., a manufacturer of pet products.  Ms. Capella believes that a Petzicon flea treatment led to Sally’s death.  However, Petzicon Inc. contends that Ms. Capella misused the product.  Representing Carmen Capella are Kassie Fotiadis ’14 and Jake Kleinbaum ’14.  Carmen Capella is being played by promising freshman Rachel Sobel.

The plaintiff will also call two expert witnesses to the stand. One is Dr. Delani, an expert in veterinary science, played by freshman Peter Colbert. The other is Jamison St. Clair, an expert in the valuation of show dogs, played by junior Mary Kate Turner.  Representing the defendant, Petzicon Inc., will be lawyers Madeline Colbert ’14 and Billy Bromley ’16.  The defense will call W. Pat O’Connell, CEO of Petzicon Inc. played by John Higgins ’14; Samantha Stone, an expert in chemical engineering played by Sarah Weiswasser ’15; and Val Popinjay played by Sam Zinn ’14.  This year looks to be another successful year for the MKA Mock Trial team, and their sights are set on the state title.

Life in Italy Column 2: Ciao from Mestre

Wednesday, November 7th, 2012

Alex Besser ’13

Ciao from Mestre, Italy. I have been living here, on the northeast Italian coast, for two weeks now. This year, I am attending Liceo Stefanini, the local public high school.

The Italian education system is a whole different world from MKA. Liceo is the name for Italian high schools for students who want to go to university. Most are specialized for what subjects students are interested in. “Liguistico” is for students interested in language, “Tecnologico” for technology, ‘Scientifico,’ which my school is, for science, while “Classico” is a general mix of everything. Liceo is five years long, with school from 8 AM to 12 AM, Monday through Saturday.

Every day, I, like most students here, bike to school. There is always a mass of students standing in front of the school entrance, a pale, grey cloud of smoke floating around their heads, since about 90% of students here smoke. Depending on the day, I’ll either attempt to talk to classmates in my broken Italian or, if I’m feeling a bit “stanco,” I can go to the school vending machine, which sells espressos for the equivalent of one dollar.

Classes are about the same size as at MKA, but students stay in the same room all day and the teachers switch. My classes consist of computer programming, physics, chemistry, math, history, Italian, English, philosophy, and religion. Each day we have four hour-long classes, with a ten-minute cigarette break in the middle of the day. English class is a bit of a refreshing break for me, this year we are reading excerpts from Frankenstein and Jane Eyre and learning about American history. There is one challenge, though: our exercise book is for British English. I recently got one problem wrong, when, for the statement, “You ____________ be playing near the cooker,” I wrote “should not” instead of “oughtn’t.” I still haven’t found out what exactly a cooker is.

After school, students bike to local cafés, bars, or the nearby piazza for a spritz, a popular Venetian drink, or return home for a nice, hot lunch of some kind of pasta.

Although it’s definitely different, I think the Italian school system has got its perks and makes for a nice environment for all students.

Life In Italy Column 1: Il Mio Viaggio in Italia

Wednesday, October 10th, 2012

By Alex Besser ’13

Unlike the authors of the other articles in this newspaper, it is very unlikely that you will see me roaming the halls or standing, bleary-eyed, in line at the Survival Shop, waiting for a bagel at 9:20 in the morning. This is because this year, I will be studying abroad in Italy with a program called AFS.

The program is designed to let high school students from around the world live abroad, for anywhere from a summer to a full school year. I am going to be staying with a family in the town of Mestre, which is located less than six miles from Venice. I will attend the local public high school, Liceo Stefanini, and live like an Italian from September through the beginning of July.

I will continue writing for the Academy News, and I plan on sharing all sorts of insight and updates on life in Italy, and what it’s like to be abroad in general. For now, though, ciao e in bocca al lupo con scuola!