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“Just” An American

By Veera Korhonen, VI Form

“Just” An American

Some students have a background, identity, interest, or talent that is so meaningful they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story.

I’m just an American. Or so I thought. Growing up overseas, I was always associated with other multi-cultural kids who had a parent working for the American Embassy. As a result, I was an American and only an American. This was despite the fact I had spent more of my life out of the States than in it and I had a bi-racial background of being Finnish and Indian. When I decided to attend a small boarding school in Massachusetts, I figured I would have no problem adjusting to a new community in America. Since I was moving from Saudi Arabia, a country with a demanding set of religious laws to live by, I thought I could adapt to fit even the most extreme conditions. I had no idea that moving back to a country that I considered my own would be the hardest transition of my life. (more…)

Willing to Empathize with Another’s “Otherness”

By Hans Zhou, VI Form

Willing to Empathize with Another’s “Otherness”

“Come on, those chicks must be super proud to be portrayed that way,” a boy dismissively interrupted me during a class discussion while I was criticizing the eroticized female images in a magazine that objectifies women for commercial gains. Astonished and silenced, I could not believe what I had just heard. It was my first year in the United States. For a Chinese boy who longed for open-minded conversations in the United States, the all-male school atmosphere was not ideal. Identifying as a feminist only made things worse. I was publicly ridiculed for spreading “stupid feminism” and lacking masculinity. Admittedly frustrated, I was above all baffled. Why would people easily hold on to their prejudices without trying to listen to another perspective? (more…)

My Voice In My Art

By Rory Colburn, VI Form

My Voice In My Art

I love to draw.  Drawing allows me to express my identity and opinions as an individual in a seemingly homogeneous world.  After three years and many long nights spent working on Studio Art homework, I have developed a creative process that not only produces technically proficient drawing, but also gives me a voice in my school.

When I begin a piece, I search for every detail in the composition, while my right hand makes seemingly crude marks with a light colored pencil on my paper. I slowly build these ghost lines, which layer to create a two-dimensional representation of the objects in front (more…)

Changing Society and the Lives of Black Men

By Jammil Telfort, VI Form

Changing Society and the Lives of Black Men

Fifty-eight.

That is the percentage of incarcerated American youth who are black.

Fourteen.

That is the percentage of the United States population who are black.

According to the aforementioned trends, most black men are destined to lives of crime, preventing them from becoming upstanding citizens of the United States. As I transition into adulthood, I am haunted by these ominous statistics that tell me that by next fall, I should be in a prison cell and not in a college dorm. Despite having the odds stacked against me, I have challenged this idea through my very existence. (more…)

More Important Than My Fear

By Payton Nugent, VI Form

More Important Than My Fear

Do you really think anyone cares?

During my announcement to the school, I hear this lone internal voice.

What you’re trying to do is stupid and doesn’t matter.

I have tried to shake this voice from my head, but it keeps coming back. During every announcement I make for the Gender Sexuality Alliance, that voice represents every student who is rolling his or her eyes. That voice represents every student who thinks issues of gender identity and sexuality are nonexistent because “there are no gay people at St. Mark’s.” For some, I will never be able to change their minds. Whenever I make these announcements, I wonder why I run for head of the GSA if this voice is always pestering me. (more…)

Remembering Through the Kids’ Toothy Smiles

By Sarah Robertson, VI Form

Remembering Through the Kids’ Toothy Smiles

There are few places in the world that astound me. Places where I look around and am suddenly filled with every emotion, yet I am incapable of mustering words to describe them. My heart pounds with joy, my mind is ablaze, and my entire world is suddenly filled with life. I first felt this feeling peering out the towering glass windows of the CN tower, my mother tracing a map of her life for me along the panes. I felt it as I stepped onto the streets of New York City for the first time, breathing in the passion, life, and movement all around me, contrary to the aura of my sleepy town. Most recently, these inexpressible emotions were blazing on my trip to Haiti. (more…)