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By Divi Bhaireddy, III Form
The Ely Speech Prize for The Global Seminar: Signature
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.
Someday in the future, I will be someone’s ancestor. People will tell stories about me; what I did with my life, what family I made, and the impact I left behind. Those people in the future won’t know how I laughed or how I smiled, my quirks or my chatter, but instead, they’ll know all that I did with my life. My name will be passed down, and how I decide the way my name is remembered, is all in my hands.
In the beginning of this school year, one of the first assignments we had in The Global Seminar was titled, “2.1 Our Names & Our Places in the World”. It was all about what our names meant and how it reflected our stories. And although we hadn’t chosen that name, it was still ours.
Our names were given to us by other people. Whether it be your mother or your father who gave it to you, your grandmother or your religion, it isn’t your choice. My name is Divi. My full name: Divija. It means born in heaven. And since I was a child, my name has been mispronounced when people first meet me because it isn’t one that they have encountered before. But, this year in TGS, we learned about Hinduism. How rich my culture is and how sacred our beliefs are. We learned about Samsara, which is a cycle of life ultimately to reach a state of Moksha; enlightenment. It helped me gain a deep appreciation for my name and all its uniqueness. And once I came to terms with my love for my name, it was time for the hard part: how I wanted that name to represent me.(more…)
By Sophie Chiang, V Form
The William Otis Smith Prize for English Verse: “blue break of dawn”
The William Otis Smith Prize for English Verse is given in memory of a member of the Class of 1907 and is awarded to one student, who, in the judgment of the English Department, has submitted the outstanding verse during the past year.
“blue break of dawn”
no one ever crosses the cracked crosswalks
in the blue break of dawn. your mind flickers
into a sea-bloom of blue lights and credit cards,
of white powder and rolled-up dollar bills. you’ve
never been too cautious, these mannequins seem
to hold a gaze so intense it’s like you’re 17 and
speeding past red & blue flashes all over again.
you cry out and pick at your scalp, the one thing
holding together everything you’re made of,
the one thing you’ve ever been terrified to grasp.
there’s not much room to hold your new life next to
your mother’s faltering punch and your father’s
drunken breath. you wonder if this is universal. you
wonder if this is where it starts for people like you. you
wonder if that’s why when it matters, no one ever
crosses the concrete where you come from.
By Alden Mehta, V Form
The Shen Speech Prize: The Ongoing Struggle Against the Corrupting Influence of Money in Politics
THE SHEN PRIZE is awarded to the winner of a public speaking contest among Advanced Placement United States History students on the topic of democracy. The prize is given by Y.L. Shen in honor of his daughters, Ing-ie (Ava) Shen of the Class of 1988 and Ing-Chuan (Judy) Shen of the Class of 1989.
Is it possible for influence in American politics to be bought? The answer is yes. In theory, a true democracy adequately represents the voice of its people, showing no bias towards status, identity, or wealth. We should see this representation reflected in the profiles of the politicians elected through the democratic process. However, in the US, political candidates rely on generous contributions from the wealthy to fund increasingly expensive campaign efforts. Through these contributions, the rich gain a degree of undue influence in politics; instead of reflecting the concerns of their electoral bases and amplifying the voices of the general public, we see politicians prioritizing the interests of their biggest donors. Campaign funding, rather than public interest, drives their work. This hole in American democracy led to the enactment of the Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA), authored by Senator John Pastore (D-RI), in 1974. FECA sought to remove the corrupting influence of money from politics. Ultimately, FECA did not eliminate the importance of money in politics, but was still an expansion of democracy in the US because it set a lasting standard for campaign spending and contributions and increased government regulation in order to limit the influence of money in politics.(more…)
By Madison Hoang, V Form
The Coleman Prize in English: Is Atonement Always Attainable?
The Coleman Prize in English, endowed by Joseph G. Coleman Jr., Class of 1899, is awarded to that student, who, in the judgment of the English Department, has submitted the outstanding essay during this academic year.
“She [Briony] was calm as she considered what she had to do. Together, the note to her parents and the formal statement would take no time at all . . . She knew what was required of her. Not simply a letter, but a new draft, an atonement, and she was ready to begin. BT” (McEwan 321).
In a shocking conclusion to Part III of Atonement, author Ian McEwan inserts the initials “BT,” revealing the crucial fact that thus far, the whole novel had been a written retelling by none other than the novel’s protagonist herself, Briony Tallis. It is only after her confrontation with her victims, her sister Cecilia and childhood housekeeper Robbie, that Briony finally “begin[s]” her process of atonement. Readers soon realize that the narrative portrayed in Part III is entirely a product of Briony’s imagination; in reality, she never gets the chance to confront Robbie and Cecilia, and she never did write a “letter” or “formal statement” to begin her atonement. Instead, “a new draft” – alluding to the entire novel in of itself – shows how Briony’s role as a writer throughout earlier stages of her life is linked to her inability to face her wrongdoings. She thinks that an opportunity to retell her story is the only way for her to seek true atonement. As a writer, Briony grows by exploring new perspectives, experimenting with new stylistic devices, and developing her stories’ plots. As an adult, Briony also matures by becoming a more empathetic, accountable, and courageous figure, which ultimately allows her to attain atonement for her past wrongdoings.(more…)
George Hill Burnett History Prize: The Camp Fire Girls and the Appropriation of Native American Culture
By Marianne Lyons, Class of 2022
George Hill Burnett History Prize: The Camp Fire Girls and the Appropriation of Native American Culture
The George Hill Burnett History Prize is given to commemorate the graduation in 1902 of a grandson of the founder. It is awarded on the basis of a special essay in American history.
American camping associations are iconic. The camping movement from its inception and in all its forms has shaped American culture. In fact, I have had the privilege of attending Wyonegonic Camps in Denmark, Maine for the past ten years.
This past year as a counselor, I had the opportunity to pass down traditions directly to my campers. As part of this, I once took my cabin to my camp’s cramped museum, which holds the artifacts of Wyonegonic’s 120-year history. My campers humored me by asking questions about the different songs and pictures that covered the walls.
One of my campers paused as her hand hovered over a blurry, black and white picture. She called me over, and I studied the image. It was dated 1919 and showed a small white girl in Native American traditional dress. I paused. I thought hard about what to do and what to say next. Native American dress, lore, and appropriation are integral to the long history of the American camping movement. I didn’t know how to summarize and convey that history to my wide-eyed ten-year-old camper, but I knew I had to explain. I called my cabin over to the picture and opened up a conversation. I covered why this photograph might be offensive and encouraged the girls to share their perspectives. This conversation wasn’t easy, but it was important for my campers to understand the complexities of our shared history.(more…)
By Linda Li, IV Form
The Redmond Prize for English Narrative: Do We Ever Grow Up?
The Redmond Prize for English Narrative, presented in memory of Henry S. Redmond, Class of 1923, is awarded to the student, who, in the judgment of the English Department, has submitted the outstanding piece of narrative during this academic year.
My mom could answer everything I asked her. She could cook anything I wanted. With one hand she lifted up boxes I couldn’t budge with all my weight. Facing ghastly creatures – spiders or worms – she never showed a sliver of fear. She always held truth, knowing what was right, and what was wrong. So I trusted her with my everything.
At night, she sat by the window alone. Drops of water trailed her face like beads in the dark, from her red and swollen eyes. I asked her what she was doing.
“I’m counting the stars.”
When my dad was nowhere to be found, I asked my mom where he was.(more…)
By Blake Gattuso, Nate King, Aditya Mynampaty, William Osborne, VI Form; and Tommy Flathers, V Form
Minecraft St. Mark’s: An Engineering Final Project
Minecraft. What was once just a video game to us became this Engineering team’s means of production due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The original goal of our group was to build a platform (Image 1) through the Cross Country team’s “Grove of Champions.” It would encourage spectators to make the hike into the course and allow them plenty of space to stay out of the way of the race while also providing a great, elevated place to take pictures of the runners. We went to work designing the platform, buying the materials, and we finished construction of the deck’s main frame; we expected to finish our observation platform once we returned from March Break. COVID-19, however, interrupted our plans. As we could no longer congregate at school, we did what engineers do and looked for another solution. Could we build the deck virtually?(more…)
By Yevheniia Dubrova, VI Form
“Waves”: A Short Story
Editor’s Note: The following short story was submitted as a final project in “The Rise of the Short Story: Creative Short Fiction Writing.”
Before Pat was born, my mother and I used to talk. She let me sleep in her bed when dad worked night shifts, and although I never really understood what his job was, I knew it was some kind of important thing because he worked a lot, and that says something. It didn’t bother me much back then, and sometimes, I even wished he would stay at work more often so that I could sleep at my mom’s. She left orange peels on her nightstand until they dried out and wrinkled up. My dad would say they look like pork rinds and throw them away, but it smelled like Christmas, and I liked it. Her bed was solid and soft at the same time, and I swear I could drown in her heavy blankets and crisp linens. We rarely cuddled — mom doesn’t like cuddling — but she talked to me about all sorts of things, and her voice would always put me to sleep, even though I tried to stay awake for as long as possible to listen to her some more.
She didn’t talk much about her youth, except for that one time she told me about finding her mother’s book on childbirth. She saw the pictures. The pictures must have made a lasting impression on my mom because she swore to never have a baby. I asked her if the real thing was as bad as the pictures. She said if she had known it would be that bad, she would never have had me in the first place. She then brushed my hair with her fingers and said she was glad she had me after all, but that birth thing was really bad.
“Can you imagine? All that pain and blood? And with a head like yours… Oh, sweet Jesus Christ, I thought you were going to rip my hips apart!”(more…)