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Unjustly Accused: The Knights Templar or Philip the Fair?

By Matthew Flathers, VI Form

Unjustly Accused: The Knights Templar or Philip the Fair?

(A Product of the History Fellowship)

On March 18, 1314, Jacques de Molay, the twenty third and final Grand Master of the Knights Templar, was burned alive on a small island in the middle of the Siene.[1] Only a few years earlier, the organization under his command spanned across all of Europe and the Holy Land, and with the constant stream of donations pouring into the Order, there seemed to be no limit on what they could achieve. So the question remains: what chain of events could possibly have led to such a rapid destruction of an organization that once was a celebrated and glorious defender of the Christian Faith? (more…)

Against Birthday Celebrations

By Candice Wang, VI Form

Against Birthday Celebrations

Modern individualism has fathered many cultural phenomena. As the increase in society’s productivity promotes the quality of life, unnecessary personal luxuries have become an unquestioned part of contemporary life. Among these extravagances, birthday celebrations are the most ludicrous.

Contrary to popular belief, an individual deserves no merit for his or her existence. From the moment of conception to the last breath on the deathbed, a person’s life is a pure gift, and occasionally an accidental byproduct, from actions of other people. A baby exerts little effort in its birth; it is rather a miraculous feat on the part of its mother. As humans grow up, the sun shines, the Earth turns, and the plants perform photosynthesis to keep the them alive. The family and the society are responsible for feeding education to assimilate a new person into the cultural construct. Individual personhood is no more than a reaction to the course of nature combined with environmental circumstances. In the (more…)

Confession of My (Our) Ignorance: A Chapel Talk

By Julie Geng, VI Form

Confession of My (Our) Ignorance: A Chapel Talk

If there is one thing that I improved significantly over my senior year, it must be procrastination. When I received the chapel talk invitation from Rev. Talcott over the summer, I immediately signed up, and I picked sometime in April. I had the delusion that senior spring would give me more time to carry out some soul-searching. Uh, no.

I chose the date April the 7th to procrastinate, and I thought it was a brilliant idea, really. I could not imagine how my courageous classmates managed to craft amazingly inspiring chapel speeches during the college process. Again, I was wrong. Many topics that I wanted to talk about have already been extensively and successfully touched upon. I wanted to talk about my experience in a chemistry lab, but it would not be nearly as exciting as Liz Swain’s baby-delivering internship. I wanted to talk about my Chinese names (yes, there are two of them), but mine are not nearly as interesting as Winnie Yan’s “little buddha.” I wanted to talk about mindful eating and mental illness, but my words and story would not be nearly as compelling and powerful as Matt Flather’s or Jess Hutchinson’s. (more…)

Seize the Day: A Translation of Horace’s Book I Ode 11

By Henry Kim, VI Form

Seize the Day: A Translation of Horace’s Book I Ode 11

English Translation

O Leuconoë, you should not find that end (to know this is a crime) the gods will give to me and to you, and you should not try out Babylonian numerology*. How much better will it be to endure anything! Whether Jupiter assigns many winters or the final one, which now settles down the Tyrrhenian sea with opposing cliffs, may you be wise, may you strain wine and cut back any excessive hope within a short time. While we speak, an enviable life will have fled from us: seize the day, trust in little as possible things for the future day.

*Babylonian numerology was believed to be able to tell the future (more…)

The U.S. Should Not Join the International Criminal Court (ICC)

By Isabelle (Minjae) Kim, III Form

The U.S. Should Not Join the International Criminal Court (ICC) (winner of the Ely Speech Prize–description at bottom of the article)

For centuries, humans have suffered from the dictatorship of the most tyrant leaders in the world. Since then, the international community decided that they should do something. And that ‘something’ turned out to be the ratification of the Rome Statute on July 17, 1998, bringing the International Criminal Court into effect on July 1, 2002. The ICC has gained a favorable reputation by many people, as its main goal is to promote universal justice through prosecuting those who are alleged criminals of human rights. However, the ICC is veiled with an image of peace and security,
preventing people from looking into the flaws that exist within the Court. Regardless of its mission for a good-cause, I strongly believe that the United States should not join the ICC, because the ICC violates national sovereignty and leaves the nation vulnerable to the decisions made by politically motivated ICC judges and prosecutors. (more…)

Read the Pilot Episode of a New TV Series: COLLISION

By Lindsey Pfirrman, Aileen Aebischer, Sean Bellefeuille, Alex von Campe, Julie Geng, Jack Gorman, Max Hinkely, Maddie Torgerson, Kristin Smith, and Drew Ladner, VI Form

collision2-2COLLISION is a ten-episode television drama written in Getting LOST II: The Writers’ Room during the Spring Semester.

LOGLINE: After a fatal car crash, two families struggle as their new overlapping lives are pieced together and torn apart.

Official Collision Pilot Episode Script–Click Here

(Want to read more episodes or comment? Send an email to mrcamp@stmarksschool.org)

Getting LOST II: The TV Writers’ Room studies how the hit tv show LOST was made. We examine the process that any network goes through to establish and  produce a tv show, with specific emphasis on ABC’s development of LOST. We then follow a similar process.  As a class, we form a “Writers’ Room,” in which all of the students collaborate on brainstorming ideas and writing episodes for a full premiere season of a show of the class’ design.  Mimicking a writing staff for any television series, all students are involved in formulating the plots and ideas for the show.  Each episode is then co-written by two members of the Writers’ Room, utilizing the scriptwriting software “Final Draft.”  (more…)

The Creativity of Throwing on the Wheel in Ceramics

By Eliza Wyckoff, V Form

The Creativity of Throwing on the Wheel in Ceramics

foxI was always intrigued by the different mediums of art. I loved painting and tried my best at drawing, even though that was a real struggle. When looking over the art electives the summer before my first year at St. Mark’s, I thought Studio would be a fun class to take, but, after I saw Ceramics, I changed my mind. I have always loved to work with my hands, especially if I am able to create something unique and beautiful in its own way. I had no idea what I was really signing up for; the only experience I had with throwing on a wheel was an afterschool club when I was in 8th grade. After my first class with Ms. Belt, I was slightly intimidated, but more curious about the skills and techniques you needed to use in order to throw good pots and bowls. Being able to go down to the ceramics room and work became an escape from homework and the stress of classes for me. I learned about the whole process that goes into throwing: recycling clay, flipping it so it dries out evenly, wedging it to blend the clay and get rid of air bubbles, and finally getting it on a wheel. (more…)

Schooling, Inquiry, and the Promise of the “St. Mark’s Saturdays” Program

By Nat Waters, Associate Dean of Academics


Schooling, Inquiry, and the Promise of the “St. Mark’s Saturdays” Program

One of the more transformative developments in my teaching practice in recent years has been the addition in each of my courses of essential questions — formulations that, in the words of Understanding by Design author Grant Wiggins, inspire, “deep thought, lively discussion, sustained inquiry, and new understanding as well as more questions.”

In that same spirit, I’d like to offer an essential question for this LEO piece on the exciting new developments in the St. Mark’s Saturdays program.   Begin by thinking of your own high school experience, whether that is as immediate as May 2015, or farther removed than you would care to admit, even in close company:

“Which of the many academic lessons that comprise your high school experience are most memorable, most enduring, and most valuable to life and work in the ‘real world’?” (more…)