Changes Occur in Library

By Sophie Haber ’19

Silent Study has been reopened in the library and a Group Study room has been established. When the renovations took place last year, the loss of Reynolds Hall rooms resulted in other spaces being used for classes.  In the Munger Library, the room previously used for  Silent Study was converted to classroom space, and there was no designated quiet place for students to get work done.  Now that Wang Hall is fully functioning, Silent Study has returned along with the new Group Study room.

The Group Study room was designed as a way to accommodate larger groups of students collaborating on their assignments.  It gives them a space to work together without disturbing the students who need a quiet environment to focus and work in the library.

“I think it’s a really good change, because now instead of just telling students [they’re only allowed] four to a table otherwise they have to wgo out, it’s much nicer to be able to say they can study with five or more people in the Group Study,” librarian Christina McClendon said.

According to McClendon, not having Silent Study last year was a challenge, as there was no space for students who do need a silent environment in order to complete their assignments.  Its return has been helpful to those students who thrive in a quiet study space.

“I really like to use Silent Study because it’s a distraction-free zone where I can go and know I will be productive,” Rebecca Sugerman ’19 said.

 

Goldsmith married over the summer

By Jenny Li ’19 and Sophie Haber ’19

Director of Annual Giving and communications teacher Eli Goldsmith was recently married this summer. The wedding was held in Portland, Ore.—his wife Heather’s hometown—on July 11. Because of the date, the couple decided to stop at a nearby 7-Eleven store after the ceremony.

“We walked into the 7-Eleven, she was in her wedding gown, and I was in my tux, and they gave us free slurpees. The guy who was at the register’s name was Love, for whatever reason,” Goldsmith said.

Goldsmith met his wife while in line to board a plane to San Francisco about three years ago. After walking onto the plane with her, he noticed that another woman was sitting in his seat. This exchange resulted in his introduction to his wife.

“[The woman] said, ‘Would you mind sitting in my seat, it’s right there.’ […] and it was the seat next to Heather. It was very serendipitous,” Goldsmith said.

In memory of how they met, Goldsmith proposed on a private airplane touring Los Angeles. Instead of going to Venice Beach as he had told her, Goldsmith pulled into the Santa Monica Airport and surprised her when they arrived at a small, four-person plane.

“She knew that [the proposal] was coming, and she knew that I had the ring, but she didn’t know where, when or how it was coming. But once we went to the airport, she knew, but she was still very surprised,” Goldsmith said.

For their first dance at the wedding, the couple took lessons with middle school dance teacher, Joe Schenck. In the Burrows Dance Studio, Schenck choreographed and taught them a ballroom style dance with the main elements of a foxtrot.

“The point of a wedding dance is not to pull off a technical number…it’s really to show what your relationship is about and create an experience with all of your guests. From what I can see from the pictures, it looks like that’s exactly what happened,” Schenck said.

The couple chose Italy as their honeymoon destination, a location that Goldsmith described as having a balance of culture and relaxation. Some of Goldsmith’s favorite activities there included touring the Colosseum, walking around Florence and a boat ride they took in the Amalfi coast. He said that this location allowed them to learn and experience interesting things through seeing the art and history, but also allowed them to go to the coast and relax on the beach.

“As I reflect on the wedding, it was really a perfect day… It was simply a beautiful and marvelous day surrounded by our closest friends and family. It’s amazing that [my wife and I] met in such a random, serendipitous way…because it feels like we are perfectly compatible. We are different people, of course, but our core values and way we interact with the world is remarkably similar,” Goldsmith said.

Football Teams incorporate new players

By Sophie Haber ’19 and Alisha Sahi ’19

Football teams at both the upper and middle school campuses have been working to incorporate an influx of new players. This year, the football program is smaller than in years past, so the JV and varsity teams have been combined as have the seventh and eighth grade teams. By only having one team on each campus, there is now a greater number of players on each, so it has been a challenge to become cohesive when mixing in new players with players who have already worked together in past seasons.

During practice, football players not only go over plays or “runs” for the upcoming games, they also condition and work strenuously to be healthy and strong for the rest of the season. According to varsity safety Kyle Hearlihy ’19, this conditioning is crucial to their well being throughout the months they play.

The varsity team practices six days a week, and are coached by program head Scot Ruggles, associate head coach/offensive coordinator Joe Maiale, and varsity assistant Patrick Cartmil.

“I like our coach [Ruggles] this year. He treats us like men. I feel like he prepares us well for each match and doesn’t just teach us lessons for football, but lessons for life,” Hearlihy said.

This season, the team hopes to grow both individually and collectively as athletes and students. They currently have an overall record of 3-2 and have not yet competed in any league games. Players say they hope to win as many games as possible throughout the season. In the end, they want to win the CIF finals in December.

“From football, I have learned responsibility and trust that I can carry on with me in my upcoming years in high school,” linebacker Josh Johnson ’19 said.

The middle school team is working on learning and perfecting their skills every Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday. With a balance of experienced and new players, head coach Scott Wood and assistant coaches Vic Eumont, Mike Daniels and Ramez Tohme are working to help the players with their technique, focusing on speed, agility and defense.

“I think learning to tackle to the right with your head up, and all of the plays and formations are the hardest things we’re doing right now,” wide receiver Bennett Markinson ’21 said.

This year, the main differences in the middle school program are that there is now one combined seventh and eighth grade team rather than two separate teams and that there are many more teams in the league whom they compete against. They currently have a record of 4-0, and hope to go on to win the Delphic League Championship in the beginning of November.

“This season our goal is obviously to win the championship. I think we might have a good chance at that this year,” running back Jake Kelly ’20 said.

Sports Roundtable: NFL Edition

By Jake Davidson ’19 Matthew Druyanoff ’19 and Matthew Gross ’19

Super bowl winner:

Matthew G and Matthew D: Seahawks:

The Seattle Seahawks were one bad playcall away from winning last year’s Super Bowl. Head Coach Pete Carroll will use the mistake as a lesson when he leads the talented Seahawks squad this year. This offseason, the Seahawks added one of the NFL’s best tight ends in Jimmy Graham, but it cost them two-time Pro Bowler and starting center, Max Unger. Graham’s receiving skills should help Quarterback Russell Wilson. Marshawn Lynch, the team’s starting running back, will complement Wilson and Graham to form one of the most lethal offenses in the NFL. Safety Kam Chancellor held out until week three due to contract concerns, but now he is back to complete the Seahawks’ Legion of Boom. The Seahawks were fortunate enough to have safety Earl Thomas III and cornerback Richard Sherman to be able to carry some of Chancellor’s load. The team has stumbled out of the gate with a 2-2 record, but they are talented enough to take the Lombardi Trophy back to Seattle.

 

Jake:  Steelers:

The Pittsburgh Steelers have and have had the tools to succeed for a long time.  Now as these players have fully formed into NFL veterans, completely watched and respected by the whole community, the Steelers have the best chance to take their Black and Gold to the Super Bowl for the first time since their championship win in 2009.  Some of these talented players include Antonio Brown, arguably the best wide receiver in the league; Heath Miller, a very strong and experienced tight end; Le’veon Bell, one of the NFL’s biggest rising stars in his third year playing and of course quarterback “Big Ben” Roethlisberger.  Roethlisberger has claims on almost every passing record in Steelers’ franchise history and is a shoo-in to the NFL Hall of Fame once he retires.  Even with Roethlisberger’s injury this season, the Steelers are sure to win many games with veteran Michael Vick playing with the Steelers’ many dangerous weapons.  Although the Steelers have started their season with a 2-2 record, they reside in the toughest division in the league, the AFC North, and are sure to bounce back.  Pittsburgh’s only barriers to Super Bowl 50 are the fan-favorite Seattle Seahawks and New England Patriots.  With the Seahawks, until Head Coach Pete Carroll stops showing his impulsiveness that came out most prominently in the deep red zone interception in last year’s Super Bowl, the Seahawks will never be able to win another championship.  With New England, however, the problem lies in repetition.  While it may have worked last season, a whole second season of just Tom Brady passing to Rob Gronkowski will not go unnoticed.  Defense will tighten up and they will have a harder time winning games against other good teams like the Steelers.

 

MVP:

Matthew G: JJ Watt

Throughout his career, defensive end J.J. Watt has lived up to his nickname “J.J. Swat”. In 2012, he recorded 16 deflections. His successful 2014 season led to a runner-up finish in the MVP vote; however this is the year that Watt will win the MVP. Watt had the second most sacks in the NFL with 20.5 sacks, with only Justin Houston ahead of him (22 sacks). Watt is not only a great defensive player, but he also plays some tight end and caught three touchdown passes last season. HBO’s “Hard Knocks,” a show that followed the Houston Texans training camp, showed Watt practicing at tight end, so it will be expected to see him on the offensive side of the ball again this season. His contribution to the Texans on both sides of the field should lead to an MVP in Watt’s future.

Jake: Adrian Peterson

He’s lean, he’s mean and he’s angry.  Coming off of a season-long suspension regarding a misdemeanor, running back Adrian Peterson is bound to have a chip on his shoulder.  The Minnesota Vikings have been close to helpless without him, and he is excited to get back in the game. Peterson was inarguably the best running back of the 2014 season, and has been the most picked first round draft pick in ESPN fantasy leagues for the past two years.  In 2013, Peterson rushed for 2,097 yards, and in the 2013-2014 season for 1,266.  It is widely thought that he will achieve these numbers this season as well, and he is the most viable candidate for the MVP award.

Matthew D: Aaron Rodgers

Last season, quarterback Aaron Rodgers dominated the NFL by using his incredible arm and amazing accuracy. The reigning MVP threw for over 4,300 yards, which ranked sixth highest amongst NFL quarterbacks last season. He also threw the third most touchdowns, with only Peyton Manning and Drew Brees ahead of him. In addition, he threw the fewest interceptions out of every quarterback that threw more than nine touchdowns. Rodgers can pinpoint any wide receiver on the field and throw it perfectly to him. He also has wide receiver stars Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb and James Jones, who are his favorite targets. Rodgers is back and ready to contend for the MVP award.

 

Breakout team:

Matthew G: Dolphins

The Miami Dolphins offseason was headlined by the $114 million they gave to DT Ndamukong Suh. Suh should improve a defense that finished tied for 16th in sacks last year. They also added tight end Jordan Cameron, wide receiver Greg Jennings and wide receiver Kenny Stills. In the draft, the Dolphins selected WR Devante Parker (Louisville) and RB Jay Ajayi (Boise State). Starting QB Ryan Tannehill is a rising star in the league and has improved significantly each season. Tannehill finished the 2013 season with 3,913 yards passing and got better last season with 4,046 yards. His new receiving weapons in addition to top receiver Jarvis Landry should help him top last year’s number. Another up-and-coming player on the Dolphins is their starting running back Lamar Miller, who, similarly to Tannehill, has progressed each year with 709 rushing yards in the 2013 season and 1,099 rushing yards last season. Although the Dolphins have started out with a 1-3 record, their firing of Head Coach Joe Philbin should put the team on the right track.

Jake: Bills

The Buffalo Bills were definitely not the team thought of when an NFL fan would mention the word “win.”  It is safe to say, however, that the Bills have had a very successful offseason that could jumpstart them onto the track to a winning record.  The transactions started with extremely fast wide receiver Percy Harvin.  The former Seahawk was placed as the primary receiver on the Bills’ depth chart, and will definitely add some skill to the offense.  Another offensive addition was former Philadelphia running back Lesean McCoy.  McCoy rushed last season for 1,319 yards and five touchdowns, and is expected to put up similar numbers with the Bills because of his prolific reputation.  In addition, the Bills’ defense last season only gave up 312.2 yards per game total, putting them at the fourth overall position in the league.  With a fresh, new offense and an already great defense, the Bills are sure to have a much better season than the last.

Matthew D: Titans

After the Titans’ horrible season last year, their 2015-2016 season looks very promising. Led by rookie quarterback Marcus Mariota, the Titans have started this season with a 1-2 record. Picked second in the draft, Mariota is a rookie quarterback who can throw and run. Some say he is a younger version of Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson, and the Titans hope that this is the case. Last year, the Titans lost 14 out of their last 15 games, leading to an embarrassing record with only two wins during their entire season. During the last offseason, they signed OLB Brian Orakpo and drafted wide receiver Dorial Green-Beckham. They also have veteran running back Bishop Sankey and Kendall Wright, who is one of the Titans’ many offensive stars. Sankey, much like Mariota, also had an amazing season opener. With young offensive and defensive stars, the Titans look very promising this year and may be a playoff contender.

All students have lunch period

By Clay Hollander ’19

All students have a mandatory lunch period in their schedules as of this year.  Students all have one period a day to eat and socialize, but it will also limit the amount of electives each student can take.

“Personally, I think that it’s good. Although it means that some overachieving people may not be able to do 5 electives, it means that we will have more time to socialize with our friends and we will be able to have more time as a community,” Anja Clark’19 said.

Many students believe that the new lunch period is very helpful.

“I think it’s really smart that we all have a lunch period, because before, people could just not even have lunch. My mom was telling me about when my brother had his interview here. Some kid was told him that he didn’t even eat lunch. That’s so bad for you especially since we’re growing. It’s good to have a period where we can all eat and I don’t think that anybody is really against it, unless you wanted to take more electives,”  Sirius Wheaton ’19 said.

When the new lunch period was first announced, some students were against the idea.

“At first I wasn’t happy about the new lunch period. I wanted to do more electives, but I have come around to it and I am glad we now have time to eat,” Davis Cook’19 said.

The school decided to introduce this new lunch period because in the last few years, students had not been eating.

Ninth grade dean Betsy Ilg said, “The schedule was set up so that you guys could load up on electives and try everything, Before you guys had to get a little more serious as you’re going through upper school. It started to feel like students were constantly using their free periods to get work done, or to fill it up with something… Nutrition is so important, and the school just put its foot down and said, ‘students have to have food’. Nutrition is as much a part of the educational process and learning as is sleep, as is workload, as is all these other things. Its just part of the puzzle that we had to put in and mandate, so that every kid got nourished”.

Big Sibs returns to the Middle School

By Kelly Gourrier ’19

The Big Sibs program has operated for seven years with the goal of helping new seventh graders integrate into the school community. With last year’s addition of eighth graders into the program, Sibs has grown to 275 total members this year.

Student advisers matched incoming seventh graders with an eighth or ninth grader based on common interests. Around six of these smaller sets were then assigned to a larger group. The team leaders oversaw all the Sib meetings and worked with the head of the program, Rabbi Emily Feigenson, to plan activities.

“The primary purpose of the program is to enable seventh graders to learn that older students, eighth and ninth graders, are friendly and supportive and not scary….Since there’s been Sibs, there hasn’t been that coldness. The other thing I’ve seen is that many ninth graders gain insight into how much they’ve matured since seventh grade. They get a new perspective on themselves,” Feigenson said.

Each Big Sib meeting took place on the first four Fridays of the school year during break. In the first gathering held on Sept. 4, participants got to know their Sibs and talked about school. The second meeting on Sept. 11 consisted of board games and more bonding time.

“Sibs helps seventh graders feel comfortable at Harvard-Westlake. It’s nice to have time to get to know some of the older kids and feel comfortable with people in every grade on the campus. It also helps the seventh graders meet people who they might not otherwise get a chance to get to know. As well as all of these things, it’s just fun,” advisor Anja Clark ’19 said.

On Sept. 25, Sibs participated in a field day comprised of activities such as bocce ball and a parachute cooperative. An optional Wink-or-Blink game is planned to be the closing event of Sibs.

According to Feigenson, working with the advisers is the best part of Sibs.

“I’m really doing programming that has nothing to do with grades, nothing to do with memorizing anything. The primary purpose is to create a setting of fun….friendly fun,” Feigenson said.

The number of Sibs has risen since eighth graders were allowed to become Big Sibs. This addition occurred in order to develop the experience of the ninth grade advisers by giving them an opportunity to be a Big Sib before becoming a team leader.

“I think it’s a really cool way to meet an older student, and it’s great if you have questions about Harvard-Westlake,” little sib Lexie Warlick ’21 said.

Parents attend Back to School Day

By Kendall Dees ’19

Middle school parents were able to step into their children’s shoes on Sept. 19 at Back to School Day. Parents followed in their children’s footsteps as they followed an abbreviated schedule of the school day.

Teachers had the opportunity to brief parents on their lesson plans, expectations and thoughts for the coming year.

“For some [parents], it’s about content. For some, it’s about workload. For me, it’s always important that I get to see the personality of the teachers. That is what is important to me when I go to back to school day and so that’s what I try to do —  present who I am,” Tim Newhart, history teacher and parent of William Newhart ’19, Tim Newhart said.

Student ambassadors also attended the event and helped parents navigate around the busy campus and hand out name tags. Breakfast and school service hours were given to those who volunteered.

“It is important to give the parents a small sample of what their children are learning here at Harvard-Westlake. It’s good for them to get to know what their children are learning and to meet their teachers,” Middle School Attendance Coordinator Brenda Simon said.

The annual event serves as a way to immerse parents into school life for a day and allows them to better acquaint themselves with the school and its faculty.

“I loved meeting [my child’s] teachers. I thought they were great. They were really engaging and you could tell that they really love what they do,” Jackie Smith, mother of Julia Smith ’19, said.

We scream for Salt and Straw’s ice cream

By Kaelyn Bowers ’19

Salt and Straw is a new ice-cream shop located on Larchmont blvd. Lines for the shop wrap around the block and take a surprising amount of time before you enter the store. All along the walls of the store there are shelves of authentic products like walnut oils, specialty salts, and chocolate bars. At the counter, they allowed people to taste test a variety of flavors on their menu including black olives and goat cheese, lavender honey, cookie dough and stumptown coffee. Although some of the flavors catch most customers off guard, they never disappoint to provide a unique savory twist on the usually sweet taste of ice cream.

Celebrities like Harry Styles have already been seen enjoying a scoop, and half the people on Larchmont can be caught holding a cone. The company originated in Portland, Ore. by an entrepreneur and a culinary student. Their success led them to open a shop in Los Angeles. Almost all of their ingredients are locally grown in Los Angeles and they strive to make flavors no one has ever seen before. Salt and Straws unique and savory flavors deserve great praise for their originality and overall flavor.

Rating: A

‘The Martian’ is out of this world

By Jack Safir ’19

“The Martian,” directed by Ridley Scott, was released in theaters worldwide on Friday.  Scott is most widely known as the director of the classic “Alien” series.  “The Martian” stars Matt Damon, Jeff Daniels, Jessica Chastain, Kristen Wiig and Michael Peña.

The movie begins on Mars with the Ares III crew, a team of scientists sent to Mars to conduct experiments.  When a dangerous storm rolls in, the crew is forced to board their spaceship and evacuate the planet.  During the storm, a disaster occurs, leaving the team’s botanist, Mark Watney (Damon), stranded on Mars.  With an extreme injury, a very low supply of food and water and no way of making communication with Earth, Watney is forced to find a way to survive by any means necessary.   Visually, this movie is breathtaking.  It is very easy to forget that movie was not actually filmed on Mars.  Scott perfectly captures the terrors of space in a way that sometimes feels very similar to the 2009 Oscar winner, “Gravity.”

Damon is certainly one of Hollywood’s biggest stars, leading classic movies such as “Good Will Hunting,” “Saving Private Ryan” and the “Bourne” trilogy.  It would seem impossible for Damon to be able to top any of those movies, but “The Martian” may be his best performance yet.  Damon really shows the mental toll that being alone for so long would have on a man, in the same way that Tom Hanks showed in “Castaway.”

While Damon’s performance is incredible, the story is what makes the movie work.  At times, the movie feels as if it were based on a true story because of the intricate and detailed plot.  Watney is an extremely likable character, cracking jokes throughout the movie and making light of his dire situation.  The overall runtime of the movie is 2 hours and 22 minutes, which seems very long; however, the movie makes great use of the time and doesn’t contain any pointless scenes.

One underrated aspect of most films is the score.  Harry Gregson-Williams’s soundtrack for “The Martian” is simply beautiful.  The score heightens the intensity of action scenes and adds to the overall quality of the movie.

In conclusion, “The Martian” is amazing.  It is by far the best movie of the fall so far, and possibly the best of the year.  The movie has undeniable Oscar potential, with Damon’s performance and Scott’s directing.

Rating: A

Café Bellagio’s food wows, yet the restaurant leaves much to be desired

By Claudia Moysset ’19

Cafe Bellagio, an Italian cafe that is known for its gelato, sits in the middle of the 3rd Street Promenade. The famous giant ice cream-shaped trash can is in the front of the restaurant. Tables fan out under the open ceiling providing an open atmosphere.

The window where the food is ordered is located in the back of the restaurant, and the slowly moving line is towards the side of the restaurant and ordering food is a snail-like process. The ambiance around the window is quite loud and busy, so the few attendants can barely hear you. The tables are small and round with plastic chairs covered in melted ice-cream. Napkins are not available on the tables, so be prepared to wait in line if any spills occur. They also only have a few condiment packs left in the trays.

After waiting, the food arrives with flies circling. The classic “Euro Burger” has a soft yet surprisingly nice, crunchy macheta bun with well-cooked meat that has a savory and juicy tang to it. The Caesar salad has fresh crispy lettuce leaves with parmesan and chicken, but they don’t sell dressing. Another good choice is the pan-baked pizza, which has a thick crust with tomato sauce, cheese and parsley leaves. A variety of other sandwiches and salads are also available.

For dessert Cafe Bellagio has many different gelato flavors. The sweet and creamy vanilla flavor gently melts in the mouth. The peach flavored gelato captures the exact taste of a bittersweet peach. They have many flavors like rum raisin, with plump round raisins mixed with the gelato, or the great Limoncello that tastes like a sour lemon mixed with the sugary taste of vanilla.

The prices are decent, with a burger ranging from $7-9 and the two scoops of the gelato costs around $5.50.

Overall, the food is fantastic and rich, yet the service and upkeep leaves something to be desired. Struggling to find a clean table, fighting off flies,and even having to wipe ice cream off pants isn’t something that customers should have to deal with when with dining at a restaurant.

GRADE = C