The Puma Press https://uprepmedia.com The Student News Site of University Prep Wed, 18 Dec 2019 22:32:13 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.3.2 Enough Impeachment https://uprepmedia.com/2258/opinion/enough-impeachment/ https://uprepmedia.com/2258/opinion/enough-impeachment/#respond Wed, 18 Dec 2019 22:30:15 +0000 https://uprepmedia.com/?p=2258 The House of Representatives is currently holding hearings on whether or not to impeach President Donald Trump. The question is: did Trump coerce the Ukranian president, Volodymyr Zelensky, into giving him a personal favor? 

The root of the impeachment proceedings come out of a phone call between Trump and Zelensky. Many House Democrats believe that, in this phone call, Trump threatened to take away aid to Ukraine if Zelensky did not investigate Joe Biden’s son, Hunter Biden. However, the official transcript showed that President Trump did not directly coerce Zelensky. 


Jack Houlihan

 

With the failed Mueller report and now the current impeachment proceedings, it seems like House Democrats are taking every opportunity they have to go after President Trump. The problem with the Democratic party’s attempts at removing Trump is that they lack evidence. The Mueller Report, which cost $12 million, produced no conclusive evidence to suggest Trump colluded with Russia. Although the Mueller Report did not clear the president of any wrongdoing, it made clear that there was no evidence for any impeachment proceedings to continue. Some parallels can be drawn between the Mueller investigation and the current impeachment proceedings. The Mueller Report, which was supposed to bring down Trump, flopped. 

So far, the impeachment hearings involving the Ukranian government are looking like they are going in the same direction — a lot of fanfare over minimal facts and evidence. The Democrats’ entire case hinges on a five minute phone call that provided no concrete evidence of coercion. The Democrats’ current strategy of jumping on every hint of misconduct isn’t going to cut it for long. House Democrats would have a much better chance of impeachment if they were to wait for sufficient evidence before proceeding with an impeachment inquiry. 

It is clear that the Democrats are looking for every possible chance to remove Trump from office. What’s interesting about this impeachment inquiry is that it is happening during the run up to the next election. If the House Democrats were to proceed with impeachment and fail to get anywhere, it is possible that they would lose many moderate supporters. The loss of moderate voters combined with the cutthroat race for the Democratic nomination could prove disastrous for the Democratic Party. 

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Balancing The Classroom https://uprepmedia.com/2247/features/balancing-the-classroom/ https://uprepmedia.com/2247/features/balancing-the-classroom/#respond Wed, 18 Dec 2019 22:27:02 +0000 https://uprepmedia.com/?p=2247 If you walk into University Prep’s fifth-period yoga class, you’ll find 14 female students twisting into pretzels, and only two male students stretching alongside them. The first-period yoga class has no boys. 

These same imbalances can be found in this semester’s weight training classes and the Gender and Sexuality history elective. 

The gender disparities present in certain classes are a result of students’ own choosing. Over time, certain classes at UPrep have been stereotyped as more feminine or  masculine in nature.  Gender norms associated with certain classes may be the reason there are only two boys in the Gender and Sexuality class and only three girls in computer science. 

Fine arts and P.E teacher Jess Klein has taught the yoga elective for 12 years at UPrep. 

Klein said this is the first time in her memory that there has been an all-girl yoga class. 

Klein pointed out some of the gender misconceptions students may have when selecting physical education electives. 

“There might be a stigma that, for yoga class, people think it’s not a workout, that it’s not physically challenging, which we know is not true,” Klein said. “That isn’t the culture we are trying to create here at UPrep.” 

Sophomore Maylin Gasga is currently taking weight training and thinks all students are treated equally, yet notices that when it’s time to choose groups, genders self-divide. 

“In class, workouts are pretty gender-segregated, and the three girls stay together while the guys have their own space,” Gasga said. “We don’t really integrate unless there is a whole class activity.” 

In another male-heavy class, the English elective Science Fiction, junior Alexa Levy is one of four girls enrolled. 

“I think there are definitely stereotypes that impact girls’ choices. Girls are taught at a young age to maybe steer towards romance or fiction while boys are encouraged to be interested in action and space,” Levy said. “This definitely plays into how we choose our classes in English now.”

Upper School English teacher Alec Duxbury created and teaches another English elective entitled “Masculine and Feminine: Ways of Seeing in the West.” Duxbury created the class to challenge the way students perceive gender in society.

In the class, now four years old, girls typically outnumber boys two to one, according to Duxbury. 

The title of the course, Duxbury believes, could dissuade some male students from choosing the course. 

“I think there is a sense that the class, because it has the word ‘feminine’ in it, might deter some boys,” he said.“For me, feminism means simply supporting women. But sometimes the word feminism becomes synonymous with strident, angry, man-hater.” 

At the other end, the quantitative physics course taught by Ragani Narasimhan has historically seen higher male enrollment. Yet, in recent years the gender imbalance has slowly diminished. 

From 2012 to 2015, the class had an average of 21% female and 79% male students, according to data Narasimhan provided. 

This year, there are two periods of quantitative physics, and while the individual classes are not gender-balanced, the overall course is. 

“It’s always like one period gets more women than the other. I don’t know why that happens, but totally, it is approximately 50%,” Narasimhan said. 

Quantitative physics has a reputation for being a challenging and stressful course, yet also good preparation for college-level courses and rigor. Narasimhan created an information session for prospective quantitative physics students. 

“I think that by having women there that they can talk to and realize that okay, the class was challenging, but not impossible, I think allows [women] to have that confidence that they can do well in the classroom,” Narasimhan said. 

Outside of UPrep, female numbers in science are lacking. According to the American Association of University Women, “girls perform as well as boys in math and science classes in high school, but their participation in those fields drops off in college and ultimately in careers.” 

These trends are evident in New York City independent schools. According to the New York Times, boys made up almost 67% of the most rigorous science and math-focused private high schools. 

On the other end of the spectrum, Junior Liam Reese is one of two boys in the history elective Gender and Sexuality. He finds that, being the minority gender, he is more reluctant to participate. 

“I feel like I agree with most of the students in my class, but sometimes, I’m just a little bit afraid to voice my opinion,” Reese said. 

As one of the few male faces in the majority female class, Reese finds some of the topics difficult to discuss in class. 

“We will have conversations about how men have taken [women’s] jobs or oppressed them. It’s not like I am getting blamed for it, but I have some of that guilt, and then it feels weird talking about it,” Reese said. 

From Levy’s perspective, more male voices in the class are necessary, even during heated discussions. 

“I think a lot of the topics in Gender and Sexuality are difficult, heavy and are intense to talk about, even for me as a girl, but I do think [boys’] perspectives are also really valuable and needed,” Levy said. 

Reese believes it is
important for all
genders to talk about gender issues, and that a more balanced class would foster less discomfort. 

“I don’t feel like it’s a place where my viewpoint isn’t accepted, but I feel a little bit weird sharing it,” Reese said. 

Klein believes that gender balance in all UPrep classes is vital as it allows for diverse discussions and points of view. 

“A diverse student class is great because you get to know students’ viewpoints that might be different than your own and develop empathy, compassion and
perspective,” Klein said.  

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Skating For Gold https://uprepmedia.com/2255/hs/skating-for-gold/ https://uprepmedia.com/2255/hs/skating-for-gold/#respond Wed, 18 Dec 2019 22:16:48 +0000 https://uprepmedia.com/?p=2255

Photo Courtesy: Actionphotos by Marianne
Sophomore Sarah Bunker performs a right forward outside edge spiral on the ice at a solo skating competition.

For sophomore Sarah Bunker, figure skating is not just a sport or an art. It is both.

“It is a form of expression that has both an artistic lens combined with an athletic side to create a storyline,” Bunker said.

Bunker is a multi-disciplinary figure skater. Her passions within the larger umbrella of figure skating include synchronized skating, solo skating and dramatic showcase, which is a form of skating that brings together artistry and skills to produce one large piece.

“One of my favorite things about skating is that I am able to participate in different skating disciplines that include a wide variety of skills, such as conveying stories through skating with dramatic showcase while also competing,” Bunker said.

Synchronized skating involves a team of skaters who all skate together. There are about 16 to 20 skaters on a team, and typically the programs have themes that are comprised of the skaters forming different shapes and elements. Skaters are graded on technical difficulty, artistry and execution.

When Bunker competes in synchronized skating competitions, she and her teammates have identical, costumes, hair and makeup. Bunker’s first ever competition was a “Beauty and the Beast” theme with waiter costumes to “Be Our Guest,” a popular song from the movie. At the moment, Bunker is preparing for a competition with a Queen of Hearts theme.

Her dedication to synchronized skating is apparent considering that she wakes up before 4 a.m. on Wednesday for 4:45 a.m. practices and before 5:30 a.m. on Sundays for 6 a.m. practices.

“I actually don’t mind waking up so early for practice because I love being out on the ice, and does not always seem as early as it really is,” Bunker said.  

On top of this, she practices solo in the afternoons about five to six times a week. Two coaches train her in moves in the field which is focused on basic skills such as spirals, and freestyle.

Her solo competition season begins in May and goes until October, and her synchronized skating competition season begins in September and goes through February. In the past, Bunker has competed at regionals and sectionals and has medaled in both competitions. This year, regionals was at Olympic View Ice Arena in Mountlake Terrace, Washington and sectionals will be in Wichita, Kansas. 

“I think that competing in different disciplines is really cool because I get to see different skaters from around the country to better my own skating, and it can be nice to bring out my competitive side,” Bunker said.

Bunker began skating when she was about four years old.

“I began skating because my sister was, but I quit because I was scared of the older girls,” Bunker said.

She rediscovered her passion about nine years later as a fifth-grader and fell in love with the sport. 

Currently, Bunker is working on a program which will showcase jumps, spins and other technical aspects by combining footwork, artistry and freestyle elements

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The Streaming War https://uprepmedia.com/2253/news/the-streaming-war/ https://uprepmedia.com/2253/news/the-streaming-war/#respond Wed, 18 Dec 2019 22:07:07 +0000 https://uprepmedia.com/?p=2253

Sydney Goitia
Netflix is an old and established streaming service while Disney+ came out this November. University Prep students can be found watching streaming services like these at school.

The release of Disney+ created buzz on social media for general TV watchers and Disney lovers alike, and students can now be seen watching their Disney favorites during free periods or community time. 

Even with the stresses that come with being a student at University Prep, students still have free time throughout the day inside and outside of school. This time is commonly spent playing games, hanging out with friends and watching TV. 

TV streaming services are a common way to watch TV shows and movies. Some of the more prominent streaming services are Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video and a new addition: Disney+.

Many UPrep students frequently use these services, as they are an easy way to have entertainment on the go. Freshman Max Rubenstein’s family has many of these subscriptions, including Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime and Disney+. He believes each of them brings something different to the table.

“I don’t really have a favorite. I use them all for different reasons,” Rubenstein said. “I don’t use Netflix as much… But usually Hulu because those [shows] kind of come out more often. And Disney+, [I] haven’t had the chance to use that yet.”

Rubenstein uses many of these services and does not have a strong preference, but some students do.

“Netflix is a streaming service behemoth; they just have everything,” junior Hayley Walters said. “I will never buy another streaming service.” 

More UPrep students said they had Netflix than any other streaming service. Netflix began in 1997, which has given it more than two decades to establish its name and acquire a wider selection of TV shows and movies.

Something like Disney+ however, which came out last month, may have not yet given people chance to fully experience it. While the establishment of a streaming service might affect someone’s opinion on it, some students believe efficiency makes for the best service.

“I think [these services are] worth it because they have a lot of options and it can be cheaper than … [for example] Xfinity. You have to pay a lot more money for it than these services,” freshman Sophia Mahon said. “Also, it’s more accessible [on] a laptop, because I like to watch TV on my laptop in my room.”

Freshman Diego Rubiralta believes it’s better to have access to more of a show right away than to wait for new episodes weekly. 

“You’re not going to get offered a whole season of a show immediately,” Rubiralta said. “It’s a lot more worth it to just get the streaming service and be able to just binge a season of a show.”

Some students have differing opinions on streaming services and could generally do without them. Senior Rihan DeLora thinks Netflix is “expensive for no reason,” as they are taking off lots of her favorite shows. She uses YouTube more than anything else and watches cable for live sports.

Whether they use them often or not, these streaming services play a big role in the lives of University Prep students. The services are constantly elevating their game to match each other’s content. You never know what they might do next.

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Address the Stress https://uprepmedia.com/2289/opinion/address-the-stress/ https://uprepmedia.com/2289/opinion/address-the-stress/#respond Wed, 18 Dec 2019 22:02:56 +0000 https://uprepmedia.com/?p=2289 If you’re a University Prep Upper Schooler, you’ve felt it: your parents have poured tens of thousands of dollars into your education and expect returns in the form of college acceptance letters, high test scores and good grades. The increasing competitiveness of college has made basic academic competency no longer the only qualifying factor to getting into college. Hence, every year, hundreds of thousands of students must out-do each other to get into the top colleges. Unfortunately, the high cost of education means stress is even worse for students at private schools like UPrep. 

Theo Mahlum

A year of attending UPrep as an Upper Schooler costs $36,750 without financial aid. Families are willing to pay this large amount because of an expectation that their children will benefit from their time at UPrep. This assumption is not invalid. UPrep offers numerous opportunities public schools don’t: accessible college counselors, small class sizes, test prep and office hours. Because of this, we fall into the trap of judging student success on the student’s test scores, grades, and college acceptance letters. 

What is missing from the equation is the student’s mental health—damaged by the long hours, stress and fear of failure. Four years multiplied by $36,750 is equal to $147,000. The cost of failure is exceptionally high at UPrep. With $147,000 worth of reasons for a student to succeed, it is entirely reasonable for students to feel overly stressed over college admissions. Unfortunately, all of this stress adds up to become a significant impact on a student’s wellbeing. A 2015 study of high school students attending private schools in the United States by New York University found that half of the surveyed students were chronically stressed. More importantly, the study found that their experience “can cause kids to burn out by the time they get to college, or to feel the psychological and physical effects of stress for much of their adult lives.” 

The college application process, the pressures of performing at private high schools and the increased college competitiveness are harming students’ health in high school and continues in college and throughout the rest of their life. 

So students, take a break, stop stressing about grades and college and realize that you will be successful in life, no matter what. And parents, recognize that you aren’t paying for college acceptance letters and test scores and realize that, no matter where your child goes in life, they’re still your child, and thirty years from now, college acceptance letters and test scores  won’t matter.

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Mixed Musical https://uprepmedia.com/2254/news/mixed-musical/ https://uprepmedia.com/2254/news/mixed-musical/#respond Wed, 18 Dec 2019 21:59:07 +0000 https://uprepmedia.com/?p=2254 For the first time in more than half a decade, this year’s musical cast includes a combination of both Middle and Upper School students.

Together, they performed the musical adaptation of “The Tempest” by Todd Almond. 

Fine arts teachers Meleesa Wyatt and Paul Fleming were the directors of the musical. They decided to do “The Tempest” to fit the needs of their students. 

With this year’s schedule changes, there would be no time to direct two separate play productions. The directors decided to do one musical with both the Middle and Upper School because of schedule conflicts, according to Fleming. There have been challenges caused by combining the Middle and Upper School because of their differences in age, maturity and stamina.

“It’s definitely a lot more chaotic,” said freshman and cast member Alice Kauffman.

Over time, the Middle and Upper School students have learned how to work together and be productive.

“I feel like we’ve gotten to a place now where we’ve been able to work through those problems and figure out how to work together effectively,” Wyatt said.

Kauffman recognized that there are benefits in working with the Middle School.

“It is nice to not be on the bottom of the food chain in my freshman year,” Kauffman said.

Wyatt believes teamwork is important in making a good musical.

“You can’t have a division. The whole group has to be [one] group,” Wyatt said.

Combining the Middle and Upper School play production is new to everyone in the cast.

“At first, it was a little bit difficult with the whole relationship between the Middle School and High School, but it turned out to be perfectly fine,” seventh grader Bella Stephens said.

Stephens has been doing musicals for five years, but this was her first musical with UPrep. She has enjoyed working with the Upper School students and the friends she has made.

“There’s definitely still some tension between Middle School and Upper School because of the age difference,” Stephens said. “I think after awhile you kind of get comfortable with each other and you become friends with people you never thought you would actually meet.”

Wyatt is excited to watch as these friendships grow.

“It’s really fun to watch … people form friendships and watching students help each other,” Wyatt said.

Loobna Shego
Middle and Upper School students perform “The Tempest” during a dress rehearsal. Senior Kedzie Moe (top) and seventh grader Tyson Scott (bottom) are the leads in the musical. The cast contains a variety of grades.

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Short Videos, Big Concerns https://uprepmedia.com/2246/news/short-videos-big-concerns/ https://uprepmedia.com/2246/news/short-videos-big-concerns/#respond Wed, 18 Dec 2019 21:49:21 +0000 https://uprepmedia.com/?p=2246
Video Sharing Platforms over time

On Nov. 1st, the United States Senate first launched it’s investigation into China-based ByteDance—the owner of the popular app TikTok.

When concerns were brought up by two U.S. Senators, the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) began reviewing the case for potential security risks. The U.S. found that an investigation was warranted by ByteDance’s handling of the acquisition.

“TikTok did not seek clearance from CFIUS when it acquired Musical.ly…which gives the U.S. security panel scope to investigate it now,” Greg Roumeliotis, a reporter for Reuters, said.

Historically, cases like this where China is involved have not gone well for the parent company.

In 2016, another popular app was acquired by a China-based company—Grindr. The company was forced to sell Grindr as an outcome of the senate hearing because of its ties with China.

While the two apps are  different, ByteDance may be forced to divest from TikTok.

It only took senior Jason Xu a couple of clicks to retrieve the usage data off his phone. In the past week, Xu reported, he had spent precisely six hours and 37 minutes on the increasingly popular video-sharing platform, TikTok.

TikTok is a relatively new social media platform where users can view and share videos with others. For Xu, the app is highly addictive. 

“With TikToks, each video is 15 to 60 seconds. Whenever you hop into TikTok you’re like, ‘OK, these aren’t going to be that long.’ You keep on scrolling [for what] ends up being like a few hours at a time,” he said.

While teens keep scrolling, the app’s growing influence on modern society could pose unforeseen data security risks. TikTok has attracted particular attention due to the company’s ties to China.

According to App Analytics site—Sensor Tower, the social media platform has racked up almost 1.5 billion downloads in the App Store, and University Prep students are no exception. Recently, the U.S. government called into question the security practices of TikTok and its parent organization, China-based ByteDance. U.S. officials remain concerned about the possible propaganda threats from China that could influence the 2020 American presidential election.

While TikTok maintains that it will not “remove content based on sensitivities related to China,” according to jounralist William Feuer, the company has placed restrictions on the sharing of politically-tense content during events such as the Hong Kong pro-democracy protests.

As reported by the Washington Post, during the Hong Kong demonstrations, TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance, determined the final content present on the app. Following Chinese censorship norms, “officials in Beijing had the final call on whether flagged videos were approved,” as stated in a 2019 article in The Washington Post.

Despite the U.S. government’s apprehension,     UPrep students do not share a similar level of concern with data privacy issues.

Senior Mark Fishman, a TikTok user, stated that he doesn’t feel like TikTok’s practices are particularly invasive.

“I really don’t think they’re going to get much data out of people if it’s legit just a comedy app,” Fishman said. “I don’t think it’s a really big deal.”

Any misuse of data, junior and TikTok user Claiborne Probst expressed, can be problematic for some.

“I just don’t want [TikTok] taking my information and using it for some other thing. That’s scary,” he said.

Senior and TikTok user, Devin Wagner expressed that he doesn’t feel like TikTok has behaved any differently from other social media platforms.

“At this point, what’s not a Chinese app that’s trying to track you, you know?” Wagner said.

Growing up with the internet in their back pockets, intrusion on personal privacy has become normalized. Because of this, some of today’s teenagers may not fear TikTok’s potentially invasive data practices as invasive data practices have been normalized by American social media platforms. 

“With most social media, what you post could end up on the internet. It’s hard to take off,” Xu said. “I think since people are used to using Instagram and Snapchat. Stuff like that doesn’t seem scary.”

 

 

 

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Embracing Diversity https://uprepmedia.com/2296/editorial/embracing-diversity/ https://uprepmedia.com/2296/editorial/embracing-diversity/#respond Mon, 16 Dec 2019 22:52:22 +0000 https://uprepmedia.com/?p=2296 As we make our paths through high school, some of our most valuable learning opportunities come not from teachers or textbooks but from our fellow students. As we expose ourselves to new ideas and stories from people with different backgrounds and experiences, we broaden our individual perspectives and learn how to think critically by examining issues from multiple perspectives. 

We miss out on this opportunity, however, if we hesitate to step out of our comfort zones by surrounding ourselves with those who are different from ourselves. 

In this issue of the Puma Press, we specifically discuss the effects of gender imbalance in University Prep classrooms, especially in gender-focused, physical education and STEM classes. Lack of diversity of any kind, though, including race, socioeconomic class, culture, sexuality and more, can negatively impact our classroom experience and limit our ability to learn.  If a roster consists primarily of students who share the same or similar identities, those students’ perspectives will be necessarily limited since they lack exposure to ideas of those who are different from them. 

In order to foster an environment where students can reach their highest academic and intellectual potential we, as students, must push ourselves to create more diverse classrooms. We must endeavor to take classes that aren’t always the same as the classes our friends are taking and avoid classes that people of our same gender, race, culture or other identity tend to dominate. Though it can be uncomfortable to step outside our comfort zones and sign up for a class that our friends aren’t taking or where many of the other students come from different backgrounds, those uncomfortable classrooms are where we learn the most. 

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Application Anxiety https://uprepmedia.com/2270/news/application-anxiety/ https://uprepmedia.com/2270/news/application-anxiety/#respond Mon, 16 Dec 2019 22:47:02 +0000 https://uprepmedia.com/?p=2270 Between solving calculus problems, penning essays for English classes and playing sports, seniors find themselves facing an additional burden: college applications. Seniors experience especially immense stress during December, when many colleges release their decisons.

For many seniors, this balance can be hard to manage while still finding time to take care of their mental and emotional health.

“I think it can be really like anxiety provoking to think about, [the idea that] I don’t know where I’m going to be in a year, and I might be at a place I don’t want to end up,” senior Paige Welikson said. 

Associate Director of College Counseling Britten Nelson finds that students tend to have a hard time managing the uncertainty with college applications.

“You submit your application and then you have to wait months to find out any news and that, that is really anxiety provoking,” Nelson said.

Counselor Lindsay Metcalfe agrees that feeling less in control over the college process can be hard for students to deal with.

“You do the best you can with your applications, and then it is in someone else’s hands,” Metcalfe said. “You are kind of like offering up the total of your accomplishments and allowing faceless admissions offices to judge it. I think that that’s a really uncomfortable process for people.”

Stress in the college process, isn’t always a bad thing. Nelson thinks that the pressure can motivate students to work harder.

“I think sometimes stress is a good thing. The adrenaline kicking in sometimes produces some really great work,” Nelson said.

While stress can be a motivating factor for students working on college applications, at a certain point, it becomes more harmful to students than it is helpful.

“When good stress crosses over into problematic stress, people start to feel stuck,” Metcalfe said. “If it’s motivating, if it’s pushing you to keep going, that’s good. If it’s starting to interfere with your school work or your relationships or your overall enjoyment of life then that’s different.”

Metcalfe thinks that, for many students, the first semester of senior year is when stress can rise to unhealthy levels.

“You can build up your capacity to work harder and harder physically. But you also need time to rest and recover,” Metcalfe said. “I think sometimes fall of senior year is like sprinting for three months with no break.”

Senior Ella Durbin, a leader of University Prep’s Mental Health Advisory Board, hopes students feeling stressed about college applications remember to ask for support when they need it.

“The stress right now is temporary, so that’s something to keep in mind, and wherever you end up going will be the right fit for you,” Durbin said. “Talk to your parents or just let people around you know how you feel so they know how they can best support you.”

For Welikson, trying to have a positive outlook has helped her manage stress related to college applications.

“Just stay in the present and enjoy as much as you can,” Welikson said. “Deal with situations as they come as opposed to letting them engulf your life.”

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Succeeding with Spirit https://uprepmedia.com/2245/news/succeeding-with-spirit/ https://uprepmedia.com/2245/news/succeeding-with-spirit/#respond Mon, 16 Dec 2019 22:45:59 +0000 https://uprepmedia.com/?p=2245 Watching a classic high school underdog movie, you see the best and worst of school spirit. At the start, nobody watches their games except for the players’ families. By the end of the film, everybody and their dog will be watching the team win the state championship for the first time in the school’s history. 

University Prep may not fit at either end of the spectrum, but for the last few years, we were close to the start of the film, at least according to a Puma Press article published four years ago about school spirit. In the article, students were quoted describing UPrep’s spirit as “lacking” and “not something to be proud of.”

This year, Assistant Head of School and Director of Upper School Ken Jaffe has been impressed by the increase in school spirit. 

“I would say this [year] has been one of [the] better [spirit wise] in recent memory for me,” he said. “I think the ASB, in particular, has tried to develop a culture, and we have certain kids who are taking leadership roles in that.”

Healthy competition amongst the classes is good, but I think a really spirited school is all together at the same time.”

— Assistant Head of School and Director of Upper School Ken Jaffe

UPrep’s students and staff, including senior
Jacob Fried, and Director of Athletics Rebecca Moe have spearheaded the recent increase in spirit. 

“Some of the
upperclassmen in the school have been pretty big on school spirit,” Fried said, “I think that’s kind of trickled down and made a bit of an impact where you see some of the younger guys start to come to games because they see leaders doing it and going crazy at the games.”

Aside from the fans, Moe believes that the athletes also have had an impact on the number of fans coming out to games.

“I think it’s because people have shown gratitude. People come to games and [the athletes] thank them,” Moe said. “Maybe it’s not 150 people, but it’s 40 people, 50 people, and then it starts to become an event.”

With many of the students who stepped into leadership roles graduating soon, people hope this burst of spirit won’t be a standalone year. 

“It’s not just the work of a couple of individuals … I think it’s more of like a whole school thing,” Fried said, “I would say looking towards the future, especially as UPrep continues to grow … you’ll see actually more school spirit.”

ASB has also had a large impact on this spike in school spirit. Through the creation of events and the increased desire to score grade points, ASB has worked to bring the whole UPrep Upper School together.

“Mainly, we want to get more people involved in events,” Vice President of ASB senior Kodaren Anand said. “Also getting the whole grade into things.”

With this extra work that ASB has put into spirit, they have also created a year which future leaderships will be able to reference.

“My hunch and my hope is that it sustains, that students say ‘This is really fun, going to go into games and supporting each other and feeling spirited,’” Jaffe said. “I think the next student leadership will have a blueprint that this year’s leadership has done to follow.”

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