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Category Archives: 8th Season: 2020-2021

Shen Prize Winner “Women in World War II: Women’s Army Corps to Second Wave Feminist Movement”

By Cadence Summers, VI Form

Women in World War II: Women’s Army Corps to Second Wave Feminist Movement

Editor’s Note: The Shen Prize is a speech competition for V Formers responding to the prompt: What is a moment of significant expansion or contraction of United States’ democracy? The 2020 recipient of the Shen Prize was Catie Summers.

“For all the girls in the [Women’s Auxiliary Ferrying Squadrons], I think the most concrete moment of happiness came at our first review. Suddenly and for the first time, we felt a part of something larger. Because of our uniforms, which we had earned, we were marching with the men, marching with all the freedom-loving people in the world.” This is an excerpt from the poem At Twilight’s Last Gleaming, written by Cornelia Fort, one of the first woman pilots in the United States.

During World War II, the United States government drafted as many male soldiers as possible. Although thousands were automatically selected, just as many were needed to stay on the homefront to support the war effort through non-combat roles, which prompted the government to replace men in the workforce with women.  During wartime, women’s employment rate increased 25%, and over 350,000 women served in the U.S. military. This increase in women’s employment and the diversification of jobs available to them is an expansion of American democracy. American democracy is fluid, ever-changing, and situational. As the country adapts and advances, so too does its democracy. These fluctuations occur in time with shifts in political climates thus the inclusivity and definition of American democracy at a given time correlates to the status of the country at that time. The introduction of the Women’s Army Corps, also known as WAC, during World War II represents an expansion of American Democracy due to the situational requirements of a nation at war. This expansion not only gave women the option to support the war effort by taking on traditionally male roles in the workforce and military, but also for the duration of the war, granted these women access to a society in which their work and contributions outside of the home were as valued as those within it.

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Ely Prize Winner 2020

By Carlisle Brush, IV Form

Ely Prize Winner 2020

Editor’s Note: THE ELY PRIZE IN PUBLIC SPEAKING, originally given by a member of the Class of 1892 in memory of his mother, is presented to the student who gave the best speech in the Global Seminar Public Speaking Competition.

Coming from the small state of Vermont and being fortunate to have the family and friends I do, I have always felt as though I live in a bubble, guarded from the struggles and horrors that so many people go through all over, but also denied the exposure and opportunity to embrace and learn about the many diverse and beautiful cultures within the United States and around the world. When I arrived at St. Mark’s I was able to step out of my small town bubble and join a diverse community. Over the course of this TGS class and through the school year, my understanding of the world and the impact I have on it has grown exponentially. Through the people here at St. Mark’s, I have been exposed to many more cultures, backgrounds, and an overall array of diversity than I ever have before. This has helped me become a better global citizen because I now have a more educated and nuanced understanding of and appreciation for diversity and how I can impact my community both locally and globally.

Broadening my understanding of globalization has helped me to realize how humanity has evolved and will continue to evolve and how I can positively influence this change.  Globalization is the sharing of ideas, materials, culture, languages, and more due to the connections formed between people all around the world. Early on these ideas and materials got shared through trade between merchants, primarily traveling on routes such as the Silk Road. Now, globalization is sharing not only culture and ideas, but technology and knowledge, advancing society and modernizing many cultures. Some examples are forms of renewable energy, electronics, electric cars, and weapons. Through globalization, I hope to share ways to lessen our impact on global warming and educate more about poverty and hunger and the ways we can improve them locally and globally. 

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Opening Chapel Talk: It’s Time to Be Extra Kind

By Lily W. Luo, VI Form

Opening Chapel Talk: It’s Time to Be Extra Kind

I have always wanted to give a chapel talk, so when the news came that I would undoubtedly be doing my chapel talk online, I was shaken. The idea of just sitting on Zoom and doing it made me tear up. Nevertheless, I still wanted it to be something meaningful that could set the tone for the year. I chose to do what suited me best and pre-record it in a way that I could simply layer on music and make it genuine. Sometime throughout summer, I thought: “Animations are sick…” so I chose to animate my story. Chapel is meant to bring people together, and we are in a situation where that seems unimaginable. I wanted to do something that shows that even when we are apart, we can still feel like we are together.

To view Lily’s Chapel Talk, click the linked photo above
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Alternative Transformations in “Venus and Adonis”

By Tate Frederick, VI Form

Alternative Transformations in Venus and Adonis

The transformations within the story of Venus and Adonis represent multiple characters straying from traditional stereotypes.  While traditional Ovidian transformations are included in the story, such as Adonis becoming a flower and Atalanta and Hippomenes morphing into lions, the most significant transformations occur when the characters deviate from the way their gender is typically perceived in Roman culture.  Inclusion of these interesting character transformations also offers a new perspective on the division and dynamic of power within this story.  These special kinds of transformations occur when Venus becomes a hunter and when Atalanta takes control of her own fate.

It is Adonis’ status as a hunter that convinces Venus to transform into a different version of herself so that she can spend as much time with him as possible; this metamorphosis turns Venus into a fierce hunter, which is antithetical to the Venus that the audience would expect.  Since Venus is captivated by him, and more specifically his beauty, she knows she will have to sacrifice some of the practices and qualities she has grown accustomed to.  For example, Venus is used to staying in the shade to avoid tan skin, which is considered less beautiful, as well as increasing and cultivating her own beauty, or maintaining a plumper figure, which is also considered the ideal image: “adsuetaque semper in umbra indulgere sibi formamque augere colendo” (10.534-5).  Following her infatuation with Adonis caused by Cupid’s arrow, Venus is willing to change the location of her usual haunts and her appearance despite her previous values, such as traditional beauty, in order to best suit herself to be a hunter.  This new persona best equips her to spend her days with Adonis.  She prepares to have tanned skin and a slimmer, more athletic figure.  

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The Fight Club Path

By Sydni Williams, V Form

The Fight Club Path

To view Sydni’s entire project, click the image above
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Once Home, Always Home

By Sua Yoo, III Form

Once Home, Always Home

The day was hectic. After spending half of the afternoon in the shopping mall looking for a neat set of clothes, I had to dig around the house to pack the luggage in preparation for a two-month-long stay. I should have felt no burden since I was lucky enough to move to the United States in the middle of a chaotic pandemic. Yet, exhaustion conquered excitement; the whole new life that kept me awake for weeks was blocked by immediate tiredness, and the only wish I had in my mind was to stop thinking about all that I have been through.

As I frantically searched my closet, what instantly came into my sight was not the packing list I had in hand, but the NLCS school uniform that I had been wearing for the past four years. It was signed with at least a dozen handwritten messages from the people who were once precious to me. Peering at each mark on the shirt, I recalled which was made by whom, what that person meant to me, and what kind of person I was to them. Throughout my time atmy old school, NLCS Jeju, I was constantly influenced by the community there and the relationships I formed.

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