Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

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

Saturday, January 26th, 2013

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.

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

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2013

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.

Let’s Make a Deal: Shop Til You Drop Online

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2013

by Alexa Bieler

Shopping can be difficult, especially when you want to get just the right thing for a loved one. Luckily, we have the Internet. Here are some tips to help you get the best deals:


1. Sign up for emails from prospective stores (Amazon counts as a store). I don’t love a cluttered inbox, but during the winter season there are new deals everyday: free shipping, x% off, two-fers. And these emails are brilliant reminders if you’re forgetful.


2. Become a member of special sites. Websites including Rue La La and Groupon have daily opportunities to purchase good stuff cheaply. Even a site like Living Social, which advertises activities such as salsa dancing, also has items like $5 subscriptions to popular magazines.


3. Go to a price comparison site. Think for gifts. Websites like allow you to type in a gift and compare different vendors for said item. This way you can be sure you’re getting the most bang for your buck.


4. Coupons! Find something that you/your mother/your father/your sibling/your bestie/that person you stalk needs to have?  With the magic of Google, you can find sites that give coupon codes for the store of your choice (I’ve done this before; it actually works). You can combine free shipping and x% off in one order, and some sites will allow you to “stack” (use multiple discount coupons) for one order.


5. Wait (a little bit). This is not an encouragement for procrastinators, but the prices on Black Friday are pumped up so people will buy. Unless you’re looking for electronics, sit back and relax.


6. “Like” your favorite stores on Facebook. Many retailers post their sales and discounts on Facebook first, and since we’re always on Facebook, there is no way you could miss an opportunity.

Fine Dining Club: Do You Know the Muffin Man?

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2013

by Payson Ruhl

Ever tried the seasonal pumpkin muffins at Dunkin’ Donuts? Take it from us, they are delicious! They are only sold for part of the year, but with this recipe you can enjoy these yummy treats all year long!



1 (18 1/4 ounce) box spice cake mix (we recommend the Betty Crocker brand)

1 (30 ounce) can pumpkin puree

1 (3 1/2 ounce) box instant vanilla pudding (make sure it is instant and does not require cooking)

2 eggs, slightly beaten

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 tablespoon sour cream

1/2 cup vegetable oil

2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice

1/2 cup brown sugar


Preheat oven to 350ºF.

Mix together spice cake mix, pumpkin puree, pudding, and vanilla extract.

Add eggs, oil, and spice.

Blend well.

Scoop batter into lined muffin tins and fill to the top

Optional: sprinkle brown sugar on the tops of the muffins

Bake for 30 minutes


Doc Celebrates MKA’s 125th

Wednesday, November 7th, 2012
Doc with cake

Dr. Houston celebrates MKA's 125th birthday with cake.

Scholarship Article

Monday, February 13th, 2012

MKA highly values diversity in its student body. One program dedicated to promoting student diversity at MKA is the Community Scholars Program. In 1969, the Board of Trustees of Montclair Academy (the all-boys predecessor to MKA) established the Program to ensure that all deserving students, regardless of their economic circumstances, can become part of our community. The Board initially created the Program in the wake of the riots in Newark to give students an opportunity that may not otherwise have been available to them. Since the program’s inception, MKA has awarded seven full scholarships each year. Recipients must demonstrate outstanding leadership skills and academic ability, and be upstanding citizens in their community. Selected students have proven to be some of the most academically gifted in MKA’s history. Not only is MKA fortunate to be able to offer such a program, but the community is also fortunate to have such deserving recipients.

Madison Rivlin ’15

What Not To Do: College

Saturday, January 21st, 2012

The college process is something that every senior in high school must go through. On top of an already demanding workload, seniors have to deal with applications, supplements, and standardized testing. The process is not easy; hence, the countless books and repetitive websites that try to brainwash you. So instead of offering advice that I’m sure you’ve all heard, I hope I can enlighten you on what not to do in the college process.

DEADLINES. DEADLINES. DEADLINES. I don’t care how many times you’ve heard it, or that you may think you’re on top of them, pay attention to deadlines. Time is a college applicant’s worst enemy. Starting a supplement to late, or waiting to hear back from a college, time can be a b****. I don’t recommend starting a supplement a week before they are due. Nor do I recommend working on apps in sections; yes, ‘dream school’ come before safeties but don’t wait until the last minute to work on safety applications, because a hasty app can ruin your chances. Most importantly, double-check your deadlines. They can easily elude especially if applicants are applying regular decision to multiple schools. I learned the hard way and I almost jeopardized my future. So don’t be like me and make a list of all your schools and their respective deadlines. And do not submit that app on 11:59 on January 1st.

Don’t be boring – take a risk. Colleges don’t care what you write about as long as you show passion and a bit of creativity. I wrote about cats for a supplement….

Write about something you care about and don’t try to anticipate what colleges want to hear because it most likely will turn out dull and unoriginal. And remember, the people reading your apps are smart – they know all the tricks. Take time to write supplements, go somewhere unexpected, and don’t get frustrated if you run out of ideas. Explore your quirks and stay away from that life-changing community service trip you took to Nicaragua over the summer.

Don’t stress. The process is tough but if you start early, it could be fun. Frankly, college essays and supplements are a chance to be vain and talk about how great you are, so have fun with it. Most importantly, realize that rejection is not the end of the world. Don’t convince yourself that you have no future because you didn’t get into your reach. There are thousands of schools out there, so chances are, there is more than one that’s right for you.

Don’t dread the process. Don’t delay the process. Don’t aggrandize (another word?) the process.

 Nicole Steinberg ‘12 Issue Contributor

Billy’s Diary: A Senior Reflects

Saturday, January 21st, 2012

I recently started keeping a diary of notable events in my life.  I realized that too many of the great times and memories I’ve made will go untold, unremembered; lost in the endless hustle that tends to consume our daily lives. I love my friends. I love every minute I spend with them, and feel our time should be cherished, especially now as we travel down the lazy river that is Senior Year, swiftly and aptly approaching the unnerving waterfall of college. It’s ready to throw us over the edge and effectively separate us from our closest friends, our life-rafts. Sure, we will still keep in touch, and see each other over breaks, but that’s really just shouting through the mist at the bottom of the falls as compared to the communication and availability we’re so accustomed to having now. We have to look forwards towards the horizon, just without losing sight of the beauty of the present. Our time together is dwindling.

College is daunting.  We think we’re prepared, armed with a private school education and a firm set of goals. We want to be successful, party a bit, and leave college possessing an even higher level of education and a new set of even further refined goals, though we’re not sure exactly what those goals might end up becoming. We’re certain that we’ll do great things, meet great people, and have a great time. We’re probably right, but we can’t know for sure. We might hate our roommates, might fail out of school. We might do everything perfectly and graduate only to be trapped in a drab, gray cubicle, getting paid less money than some bald, uneducated executive who passes off our hard work as his own. Perhaps we may find that college opens up the world, granting us access to the deepest, previously unexplored trenches of our beings, guiding us to our true callings.  We simply don’t know.  We have no idea what the future will provide for us.

The only thing that we know for sure is that we all love each other and have the next seven months before us, seven months that I would hate to someday exist only as a hazy, sparsely photographed blur. I want to be 65 years old and know without the slightest doubt exactly what my epiphany with Trevor was on November 13th 2011, or exactly why Franklin laughed so hard he cried some time in June of Senior year, or how I Moss’d Mr. Hu for the game winning score in Frisbee Club on the Friday before Spring Break. Life is just too pleasant to let it slip by unnoticed. I want to someday be able to read these diary entries and be brought back to youth. I don’t want to forget—forgetting would be an insult to the memories we’ve made, tossing them aside with such meaningless recollections as church on a humid summer’s day and the long car rides of our yesteryear. I should never forget. It’d be to throw away the period of life that laid the foundation for whatever I wind up doing later, the groundwork for who I become and who I am long after these diary entries, these fossilized memories, are written.  I cannot allow myself to forget.

Billy Lennon ‘12 Staff Writer

Montclair’s Medical Marijuana Dispensary – Unprecedented in New Jersey

Saturday, January 21st, 2012

The Greenleaf Compassion Center may soon be one of the first six nonprofit designated medical marijuana dispensaries in New Jersey – that is, when and if the state grants final approval. Montclair officials have already given the okay to Greenleaf.

If it receives final approval from the state, Greenleaf will be located at 395 Bloomfield Avenue, across from the Wellmont Theatre. This is the spot previously occupied by The Inner Eye, a dispenser of tobacco and rolling papers.

Greenleaf will consist of a waiting room in the front and a dispensary in the back. Eating and drinking will not be allowed. Smoking marijuana will also not be allowed on facility grounds. Patients will only be allowed to smoke in their own homes.

Greenleaf president Joseph Stevens, vice-president Jordan Matthews, and partner Julio Valentin (formerly a narcotics police officer of Newark), could not have come this far without former Governor John Corzine’s legalization of medicinal marijuana back in January 2010. Corzine signed the bill on his last full day in office before current Governor Chris Christie was sworn in.

Stevens says he only needs four months to start a crop at an undisclosed location, but cannot start planting until gaining the consent of the Department of Health and Senior Services. Stevens expects to service about 1000 patients, each visiting three times per month, receiving two ounces per month. This would amount to 36,000 transactions per annum.

To receive the marijuana, patients would need to obtain a recommendation from a state-registered doctor, apply for and obtain a state-issued permission card, and then show that card at each dispensary visit. Only people with certain conditions will be allowed to obtain the marijuana. Identification will be meticulously checked against state records, and state and local police will monitor surveillance cameras at the dispensary. There would also be restrictions on how the marijuana is consumed, with all laws pertaining to marijuana use still applying to patients smoking marijuana outside of their homes. If police were to show up at a patient’s house, the patient could show the police his card to prove that their marijuana use is legal.

Madison Rivlin ‘15 Staff Writer

Model U.N. Takes Brown

Saturday, January 21st, 2012

During the first week of November, I had the pleasure of participating in MKA’s Model UN trip to Brown University. It is one of the most in-depth and interesting activities that MKA offers: students have the opportunity to role-play diplomats from over 180 countries as members of various committees that discuss and debate current events. The committees range from Crisis Committee, which is known to call students at their hotels in the middle of the night for an impromptu meeting, to SOCHUM, a gathering of some sixty-five people focusing on humanitarian issues such as LGBT rights and stem cell research. During “committee,” one is expected to speak only in UN jargon, beginning a question with “point of personal inquiry/privilege,” or even asking for a five-minute break by saying, “motion for an unmoderated caucus.”

One of the most intriguing aspects of Model UN is meeting people from all over the country. Some students even take Model UN as a course or competitive club, and are so serious that they talk to you only in their country’s accent, even when meetings are not in session. These students have prepared and researched all year for these few hours of debate. “It’s like seeing the future president in a gathering of high school students,” MKA sophomore, Nadia Uberoi, said of the delegate from Israel in her SOCHUM committee.

Though the various committees and subjects of debate are interesting and definitely worth the trip, there is also a lot of free time to explore the college campus. The meetings themselves take place in classrooms and lecture halls, but it’s even more fascinating to be able to eat in the breakfast hall with Brown students, or shop on Thayer’s St. Junior Puja Singh said that from her exposure to Brown University from 2010 Model UN made the school one of her top choices for college. Participants can also grow close to the students from other schools who are staying at the same hotel: they range from all 9th-12th graders, and are on the trip for all different reasons.

Model UN provides both insight into the way the UN operates and familiarity with the host school, whether it be Brown or UPenn (the February MKA Model UN destination). If you have even a slight interest in current events –and remember, the subjects discussed range from politics to war to social rights—or just want to know a little more about how a college campus looks in action, sign up for a future Model UN trip by speaking with Mr. Carroll or coming to a club meeting.