Home » 8th Season: 2020-2021 » 2020-2021 v.02

Category Archives: 2020-2021 v.02

Custom Shoes with the Fifth Form Fellowship

By Leila Frederick, VI Form

Custom Shoes with the Fifth Form Fellowship

Editor’s Note: This project was made possible with the support of the Class of 1968 V Form Fellowship. At their 25th reunion, the Class of 1968 created a fund to provide grants to V Form students for independent study during the school year or, more commonly, during the summer between V and VI Forms. Their intent in establishing this fund was to reward independent thinking, ingenuity, and planning and to encourage the student exploring non-traditional fields of inquiry or using non-traditional methods of investigation.

This past Summer I utilized the Fifth Form Fellowship grant to pursue a new art medium: painting custom shoes. I’d held an interest in painting shoes for a while, mostly because I had been seeing more and more Youtube videos of artists starting to paint wearable art.  Being a bit of a sneaker fan, I watched a lot of those videos, especially over quarantine.  Thanks to this grant, I was able to purchase some preliminary shoes, paints, brushes, and shoelaces to begin working on some shoes of my own!

I began by starting an Instagram account (@first_soup_productions) in order to easily communicate with customers. When someone was interested, they would directly message me with some general ideas. 


The Civil War & A Microcosm of Jewish History

By James Nichols-Worley, IV Form

The Civil War & A Microcosm of Jewish History

The American Civil War is a conflict unlike many others in modern, and especially American, history, not just because of the battles fought in America’s fields and cities, but also because of the battles that occurred in the pulpits and the hearts of the nation. While the role of Christian denominations in the war has been analyzed extensively by historians, the role of Jewish Americans during the conflict remains inspected to a far lesser degree. From civil to military to religious life, Jewish Americans affected, and were affected by, almost all parts of the war, from slavery to the battles themselves. The participation of Jewish Americans in the United States Civil War represents a more nebulous Jewish experience: that of the persecution and discrimination against Jewish peoples, oppression perpetrated by some Jewish Americans, and especially the interaction of Judaism and the Jewish faith with the harsh reality of life.


An Informal Exploration of Synchronicity

By Hudson Ramirez, VI Form

An Informal Exploration of Synchronicity

Press “play” to view Hudson’s video

A Preliminary Probe into the Impact of Confucianism on China

By Amanda Wang, V Form

A Preliminary Probe into the Impact of Confucianism on China: How is a thought from two thousand years ago still relevant today?

Confucianism was born out of a disturbed and divided era, with wars plunging people into the abyss of misery and suffering. Different from the Taoists who observed the way and legalists who committed to harsh punishments, Confucius sought to restore a harmonious social order to China. The most prosperous dynasties of China applied Confucianism to state administration, and Confucius himself was known by the highest institutions down to the grass-root workers. The open sentence of The Analects: “Is it not pleasant to learn with a constant perseverance and application? Is it not delightful to have coming from distant quarters? Is he not a man of complete virtue, who feels no discomposure though men may take no note of him?” is a proverb to all Chinese (Xue Er). It renders in my memory since the age of four. At that time, my friends and I could correctly recite around a hundred of those, without knowing what they actually meant. But every grown Chinese knows, through the Five Ideals of jen, chun-tzu, li, te, and wen, the sage influenced China profoundly in society, politics, and culture for thousands of years and beyond.


An Analysis of the US Electoral System

By Steven Yang, IV Form

An Analysis of the US Electoral System

The US’ system for electing its leaders has not changed since its inception. Briefly summarized, candidates usually adhere to one of the main two parties, Republicans or Democrats. Each party holds its elections (primaries) to have a single nominee. Then, candidates get a number of votes for winning the popular vote in each state. The candidate who reaches 270 electoral votes wins.

In recent elections, this electoral college has been controversial, as it has not produced the same result as the popular vote in two of the last six elections (Beckwith, 2019; Levy, 2019). Many argue, especially on the liberal side, that the electoral college should not be utilized in future elections.

However, a quieter yet equally important issue is that voters are misled by a combination of misinformation, party polarization, partisan-motivated reasoning, and an illusion of understanding, contributing to an inaccurate portrayal of opinions.


Chapel Talk: The Year of the Prolonged Out-of-Body Experience

By Ms. Shelly Killeen, History and Social Sciences Faculty

Chapel Talk: The Year of the Prolonged Out-of-Body Experience

2020 is the year of the prolonged out-of-body experience. I don’t know about the rest of you, but more often than not, I feel like I am watching some bizarre version of my existence play out in front of me. I don’t know how to be a good teacher in this weird, half-in-person, half-on-Zoom format. I don’t know how to make Maple feel like home when everyone pretty much stays in their own room. I don’t know how to stay connected with my advisees about life at St. Mark’s when they aren’t here on campus. In general, I don’t feel like I know what I am doing. But that also describes much of my life at St. Mark’s before the pandemic.

First, I am the head coach for our girls’ squash program. I love coaching. And I played a lot of different sports growing up, so I would be pretty comfortable coaching in a lot of different programs. But I am NOT a squash player. I went to public school; I come from a blue-collar family and went to college on financial aid: not generally the demographic of squash players. And I’ve played tennis since I was four years old. No, tennis is not like squash. They both involve racquets. That’s about all they have in common.