Mock, Casey serve as strength and weight coaches

By Caroline Sturgeon ’20

Sarah Mock joined the Athletics Program as a new strength and weight training coach, replacing Michael Tromello in December.

“I had actually already committed to going to coach at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, but when I found out about this job I changed my mind,” Mock said.

Mock played college water polo at California Lutheran University and was a strength and conditioning coach at a division III School. She also coached in Australia and at CSUN and is getting her masters there.

Mock said that she enjoys getting to spend time with the athletes, as well as learning how to help them train for their sports both individually and as a team.

“My favorite part about working here is being able to work with young athletes. I love getting to know all of their individual personalities, and I love to help them discover their strengths,” Mock said.

Mock works with both the middle school and the upper school weight rooms and works mainly with the girls’ water polo and soccer teams.

“I think the biggest challenge is time. I wish I had more time with athletes to coach them and watch them play their sports,” Mock said.

Mock’s trainees spoke of what it is like to work with her.

“She is a truly nice person and he cares about the wellbeing of the team. There is always a reason behind her workouts, so I always know why they are important,” water polo player Nico Tierney ’20 said.

Mock works alongside Coach Kyle Casey, who trains the boy’s football, basketball and Lacrosse teams, as well as other programs.

Ordonez fills in for Director of HR

By Frank Jiang ’21
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Ordonez sits at her desk in the advancement office. Credit: Frank Jiang ’21/SPECTRUM

Marisol Ordoñez has stepped in for the Director of Human Resources, Caitlin Adams, while she is on maternity leave.

Ordoñez has been substituting since Mid-February. She recently left an entertainment company she had worked with for 15 years. Human Resources is the department of a business administration and the training of personnel. Ordoñez attended Northeastern University in Boston, originally wanting to specialize in public relations as a communications major.

Ordoñez said she became interested in Human Resources when she took a course called Organizational Communication. Before she took that course, she said that she did not even know what Human Resources was.

“I had this one course, and it was with the chair of the department who was subbing for somebody.  It was called organizational communication, and back then I didn’t even know what Human Resources was,” Ordoñez said. “That was the class that taught me how communication plays a part in a business environment, how employees sort of interact with a business and how they view the business can have an effect on how successful a business is.  That was also the class that really got me interested in pursuing more into Human Resources instead of Public Relations.”

Ordoñez heard of the job when she was called by a recruiter and came to meet the school’s Human Resources Team. She said the offer of working Human Resources in a different organization intrigued her.

Outside of her job, Ordoñez is a mother of three and enjoys traveling as well. Another one of her hobbies is baking.

 

Jones appointed Interim Director of DEI

By Joanna Im ’20
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Jones was named the school’s first Intermin Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion this year. Credit: Nathanson’s/SPECTRUM

Associate Director of Admission Janine Jones was named the school’s first Interim Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion by School President Rick Commons. The school’s Organization for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion was created on March 21, to create more equitable school policies and revise old ones.

Jones will continue to serve as the Interim Director until July 2018, when someone will officially step into the permanent role.

Jones spoke of what she sees ahead for the position and the school.

“I think the possibilities are endless – we are going to be able to affect so many different areas of the school. Not just numbers and more diverse bodies, but also ways to make people feel included and welcomed in the classroom: How are subjects being taught and which textbooks are used? How are students treated in class? […] This would be the first position of this type here at school. And so I will be looking at the ways HW can be a more diverse, more inclusive place for every single student, parent, faculty and staff,” Jones said.

Although there are no specific policies that the new group has created, Jones said that she thinks the organization has potential to not only change who gets accepted into the school, but can also focus on increasing inclusive educational programs and methods. Additionally, Jones said she is determined to not only promote equity in the student community, but also the parent and faculty aspects of the school.

“We will be able to educate the parent body, and look at programming on campus to bring different ideas and topics to campus and look at the character piece of education, and not just academics,” Jones said.

 

Gregory marries former Mayor

By Celine Park ’20
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Gregory and Riordan pose for a picture on their wedding day. Credit: Uploaded with permission of Elizabeth Gregory

Director of Admission Elizabeth Gregory married former Mayor Richard Riordan. The wedding took place on Feb.19 at St. James Episcopal Church in Hancock Park.

Gregory intended for the wedding ceremony to be small and personal, with only a few friends attending it. She said she liked the intimacy of a small wedding and that the day was a very precious moment between just the two of them.The newlyweds have said that their favorite part of the wedding was when they recited their vows.

“When we said our vows, I looked at her, and she looked at me. At that moment, I just melted inside,” Riordan said.

Riordan served in office from 1993 to 2001. He said that he met Gregory for the first time six years ago at a friend’s house. Riordan, an active philanthropist who strives to help underprivileged kids, said that one of the many activities he does with Gregory is visiting the homeless in Skid Row.

The couple has not had their honeymoon yet, due to Gregory’s work schedule. Riordan said that one of the things he loves most about Gregory is that she works extremely hard, and understands that because she is so busy they could not celebrate right away. Since they were unable to have their honeymoon right away, the couple planned a dinner at a Mexican restaurant.

“The entire experience made me really happy, and I just know for sure that this is going to be a lasting marriage,” Gregory said.

 

BLACC meets with admin

By Jay Lassiter ’20

Members of the Middle School Black Leadership and Cultural Committee met with School President Rick Commons and Head of Middle School Jon Wimbish to discuss diversity and incidents on campus relating to it.  The meeting took place on March 10 in the Beyer Board Room.  Student and adult members of BLACC spoke about diversity on campus and how it will affect the school’s future, especially regarding admissions.

“I think the outcome [of the meeting] was a better understanding of how the community feels, and some of our concerns, worries and questions were answered,” BLACC member Naomi Ogden ’20 said.

Toward the end of the meeting, students were able to ask Wimbish and Commons questions about the aforementioned topics using cards written during the last BLACC meeting.  Both Commons and Wimbish offered insight into the changes coming to the school regarding diversity.

 

 

Red Cross Club holds bake sale and food drive

By Sarah Reiff ’20 and Astor Wu ’20

Students and faculty purchased baked goods and donated items for the Red Cross Club’s bake sale and supply drive. The bake sale took place during break on Feb. 28, while the supply drive opened for donations on Feb. 27.

Bins are left outside HC 218 where anyone can drop off supplies such as pots, pans, blankets and more. These items will be given to people inside the Los Angeles area who are in need of everyday essentials.

Students shared their reactions and thoughts on the the drive so far.

“There are definitely a lot of issues in the world and we definitely need to support the Red Cross Club so that they can continue to support those who need help,” Raffaella Rubenstein ’21 said.

At the bake sale, club members sold various baked goods including Rice Krispie treats, cookies and cupcakes. All profits will be donated to the Red Cross Foundation.

Founder and leader of The Red Cross Club, Rachel Brown ’20, talked about her reasons for holding the bake sale and what her goal was.

“The purpose of the bake sale is to donate to the Red Cross and all they do around the world to help those who are less fortunate… I am hoping that not only will we be able to raise money to help the Red Cross and help those in need, but also to raise awareness for what the Red Cross does,” Brown said.

Many students and faculty were aware of the purpose of the bake sale. They shared their overall thoughts about the bake sale and the club as a whole.

“I love the Red Cross… I figured that the donation that I made would go towards the Red Cross, and they would distribute it how they saw it appropriate, and I am also going to donate stuff that I have for them that [the club] wanted as far as personal goods. So I can see that it influences and impacts people that do not have as much as us,” Math Department Head Robert Pavich said.

Michael Lehrhoff ’20 talked about how he feels the club impacts students.

“I love how students locally can make an impact through these organizations and help others around the world” Lehrhoff said.

 

Newest clubs on campus

By Tanisha Gunby ’20

Two new clubs, the Speech Club and the Self Defense Club, were created this
semester.

Alex Chon ’21 and Casey Kim ’20 founded the Speech Club, which meets at break on Fridays in HC 220. The purpose of the club is to introduce students to the art of speaking. Chon said that people have a misinterpretation of what it is because they have never given speeches, so by coming to the Speech Club, he wants them to learn about speech. He said that he and Kim had been doing speech before coming to this campus and have been to many tournaments including nationals. Chon and Kim wanted to start a team or club at the Middle School so they could compete in the future.

“Speech is a fun activity that not many people are familiar with. When people start to learn more about it, they realize that it is totally different from their expectations,” Chon said.

According to Self Defense Club founder Tyra Hirooka ’20, the purpose of the club is to teach students how to defend themselves as well as foster a connection between all of the grade levels. She said she got the idea to start this club because she recently achieved a black belt and decided to use it to do something. The club meets every Tuesday at break in the Wrestling Room.

“It’s a space where students can come and learn something interesting, and maybe even make a new friend,” Hirooka said.

First Ninth Grade Dance to be held

By Emma Shapiro ’20

Ninth graders will have the opportunity to attend the Freshmen Dance on April 21 in the Marshall Center. At the dance, there will be various entertainment and activities, including a DJ and a photo booth, for attendees to enjoy and participate in. According to Student Council senators, attendees are encouraged to make new friends and strengthen relationships with their peers. Each ninth grader is allowed to bring a guest from any school so long as they are a ninth grader as well.  Every ninth grader is invited to the dance.

“I’m really excited to get the whole grade together and have an event that cumulate our experience at the Middle School. This is our last chance to have a fun experience together as a full grade before we go to the Upper School, and it’s a really great bonding opportunity as well as a fun event,” Ninth grade senator Grace Burton ‘20 said.

The Dance was proposed by the ninth grade senators as a project they have been working on since the beginning of the school year.  According to Burton, the dance proposition succeeded due to Student Council’s perseverance on the idea. Ultimately the Senators this year were successful because they followed through on the proposition and presented Head of Middle School Jon Wimbish with all the details regarding their event.  They are hoping that the ninth grade dance goes perfectly so that it can continue to be a tradition for ninth graders.

“I am excited for the ninth grade dance because it will bring together our entire grade,” Mia Goldstein ‘20 said.

 

 

Open Mic event to take place

By Jessa Glassman ’20

An open mic, available to all members of the middle school community, will take place outside of the library on Friday during break. The event will be put on with the hopes of having attendees read their own works, pieces of writing they admire or just getting up and speaking.

“Aside from being a cool, community building event, I think open mics in particular are a great chance for students to showcase their writing in a low-key, supportive environment. You don’t have to be an extrovert to read something in front of other people!” Elaine Levia, librarian and event organizer, said.

Since the open mic will be happening on the last day of March, Zachary Greenberg, English teacher and adviser for the Tenth Muse, said that he hopes it will be a perfect start to National Poetry Month in April. Participants will have three minutes to share with the audience, after which they are encouraged to stay and listen to the rest of the event’s attendees.

“I think it will be a fun experiment doing it on the last day of school before spring break when the energy is quirky. Perhaps students will read a little extra poetry over spring break, maybe they’ll be inspired,” Greenberg said.

 

Students, deans discuss dress code

By Jane Sidon ’20
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A sign in front of the 9th grade locker area reinforces the dress code. Credit: Jessa Glassman ’20/SPECTRUM

Signs spelling out the dress code were posted around the middle school campus on March 20.  The dress code has remained unchanged in the handbook since 1991.  However, according to ninth grade dean Karen Fukushima, the deans felt it needed to be reinforced.

“The signs restate something that is already in place,” Fukushima said.

During seventh grade class meeting on March 16 and ninth grade class meeting on March 22, deans read an email sent by a male teacher concerning his students breaking the dress code as an example of its effects.  Students have said that this is what prompted them to take the matter to social media and write emails to their deans voicing their concerns.

Ninth grade deans sent an email to the class the afternoon after the class meeting, responding to student reactions, clarifying their intentions and offering a chance for conversation.  Fukushima met with ninth graders on Friday and Tuesday during break to discuss students’ opinions of the dress code.  School psychologist Kelly Decker also attended Tuesday’s meeting.

In addition, eighth grade senator Olivia Phelan ’21, who had previously sent an online survey concerning the dress code, joined deans at their dean meeting on Monday to discuss policies.