Newark Academy’s Month of Action ran from January 18 to February 10. Over 25 clubs and student groups participated. Several groups contributed art to the Month of Action Art Exhibition. You can see posters and infographics designed by Asian Diversity Club, Public Health Group, and Healthy Body Healthy Mind below. Enjoy!
Congratulations to the 22 Newark Academy student who won a total of 28 Scholastic Writing Awards! Gold Key winners Drew France ’22, Annika Inampudi ’21, Sammy Lederman ’22, Olivia Palker ’24, Kaya Patel ’22, and Lily Sternlieb ’24 will go on to be judged at the national level. See the full list of regional winners below:
Alana Akiwumi ’22
Honorable Mention, Critical Essay: “America’s Journey with Marijuana Policy”
Justin Baker ’24
Silver Key, Personal Essay & Memoir: “As Any Mother Would”
Molly Breckman ’23
Honorable Mention, Short Story: “Milton and Sam”
Lola Cantillon ’23
Honorable Mention, Short Story: “Clean Your Lens”
Marina Chernin ’23
Honorable Mention, Personal Essay & Memoir: “Chocolate Glazed with Sprinkles”
Shayne Cleeve ’24
Honorable Mention, Short Story: “Their Masterpiece”
Andrew Deng ’24
Silver Key, Science Fiction & Fantasy: “Virus: The Rebirth”
Drew France ’22
Gold Key, Critical Essay: “The Pantry Paradox: Food Insecurity as a Threat to the Meaning of American Citizenship”
Stella Gilbert ’22
Silver Key, Critical Essay: “The Myth of Meritocracy: How America’s educational system keeps the poor from their right to mobility”
Annika Inampudi ’21
Gold Key, Short Story: “Lifecycle of a God”
Honorable Mention, Novel Writing: “The End Of The World, As It Should Be”
Honorable Mention, Short Story: “Idol Talk”
Kieri Keys ’24
Honorable Mention, Short Story: “Him or Me”
Maya Lily Knoller ’22
Honorable Mention, Critical Essay: “The Inadequacy of the American Education System”
Elena Koestel Santamaria ’23
Honorable Mention, Personal Essay & Memoir: “We Live Through the Dark”
Melanie Kramarchuk ’22
Silver Key, Critical Essay: “Citizenship and Environmentalism: A Transforming Dynamic”
Sammy Lederman ’22
Gold Key, Critical Essay: “A History of Broken Promises; Puerto Rico and the United States”
Olivia Palker ’24
Gold Key, Short Story: “How to Memorize Touch”
Silver Key, Science Fiction & Fantasy: “Nightmare”
Kaya Patel ’22
Gold Key, Critical Essay: “Nativism: America’s Culture of Intolerance through Media”
Lauren Siegel ’23
Honorable Mention, Short Story: “Strangled”
Lily Sternlieb ’24
Gold Key, Personal Essay & Memoir: “Pandemic Puppies”
Silver Key, Personal Essay & Memoir: “My Grandfather’s Garden”
Emily Swope ’22
Silver Key, Critical Essay: “The Gender Wage Gap: A Quantitative Measure of Citizenship”
Michaela Wang ’21
Silver Key, Humor: “The Narrative of a Classroom Crush”
Honorable Mention, Humor: “How Chinese Soap Operas Taught Me To Love My Culture”
Honorable Mention, Personal Essay & Memoir: “Five Lessons from a 17-Year-Old Book Author”
Andrew Zhang ’22
Honorable Mention, Poetry: “Quad-Chromatic”
This year, seven Newark Academy students won thirteen Scholastic Art Awards. All award winners, their families, and their teachers are invited to attend an awards ceremony at the Montclair Art Museum on February 25, 2021. Congratulations to the following artists:
Lucas Alland ’22
Silver Key: “Set of Five Glazed Vases”
Lauren Freed ’22
Silver Key: “Environments”
Tess Kesler ’22
Silver Key: “Chaise”
Jeffrey Keys ’21
Silver Key: “The Quarantine Report”
Jessie Luo ’22
Gold Key: “Rope”
Silver Keys: “Walking to the end of 2020” & “Peeking”
Honorable Mentions: “Simple Happiness,” “Family,” “Sisterhood” & “Life is the bubbles”
Kaya Patel ’22
Honorable Mention, Ceramics & Glass: “Latched Onto the Ordinary”
Anika Verma ’22
Honorable Mention, Mixed Media: “CAUGHT”
In the second week of virtual classes after winter break, School Council partnered with several clubs to create Amateur Classes! These classes were hosted and attended by students, coming together to learn new skills and have some much-needed social time. One of these Amateur Classes was a Bob Ross-style paint-along hosted by Stella Gilbert ’22 and Art Club leaders Kaya Patel ’22 and Lauren Freed ’22. Below are several beautiful paintings created from this class, as well as a picture of the full group!
Post by Stella Gilbert ’22
Over the summer, junior Penelope Jennings taught herself how to crochet, creating dozens of crocheted creatures for her friends and family. Penelope looked up basic stitch videos on YouTube and practiced them until they looked right and made sense to her, building her skills until she was able to make the works shown below. Check them out and read the stories behind each one!
“The small bee is the first project I ever made. I had wanted to learn how to crochet for a while, but seeing people making that bee on TikTok over the summer was what finally got me to learn… I then made the big bee during election night phone banking. I had seen people using that big soft yarn on Instagram and TikTok and I was really excited to finally make a project with it.”
“The little whale was the second or third thing I made and that was just because it was one of the first easy looking videos I found on YouTube… The big whale is one of the few projects I’ve made all in one sitting.”
“I made the Devils doll as a Christmas present for my dad because we’re big fans of the Devils and like watching hockey together. It’s the most complicated pattern I’ve made so far, definitely the trickiest one I’ve done with just a written pattern and no video tutorial… I showed pictures of my work to some friends and the Sabres doll was made for one of them.”
Each year, Outdoors Club holds a nature photography contest. This year, the winner was junior Kaya Patel, who submitted three photographs from three different locations in nature.
Working within COVID restrictions over the past few months, the NA theater department has put together a virtual production of “She Kills Monsters: Virtual Realms” by Qui Nguyen. This drama-comedy follows the story of high school senior Agnes after she loses her younger sister, Tilly, in a car crash. Agnes embarks on a mystical, fantastical journey through a game of Dungeons and Dragons.
The production process of this play was very new to everyone. Directed by Rachel Shapiro Cooper, with Zoom backgrounds drawn by Silvy Zhou ’21 and awesome costume pieces made by Wyatt Shiff ’22, putting this show together was a collaboration between artists from all corners of NA. Here are some behind the scenes highlights!
Finishing up the final week of filming with Tech Director Joey Yow.
Viraj Lal, Choral Director, says, “This is a big milestone for our groups as they are now available to be heard worldwide. It’ll be exciting to map the progress of the groups through the years with this online platform, while also serving as a digital archive for alumni to listen back to their recordings from their time in Choir.
Thank you to NA for equipping the choral and instrumental rooms with recording software and hardware; they’ve come in handy and have made these recording sessions possible.”
This year the Skiiniors, Jukebox Juniors, Secret Agent Sophomores, Fluorescent Freshmen, and Middle School Magicians competed for the Spirit Week win. One element of Spirit Week was the spirit board competition. Although the juniors were a close second, the seniors took the win on this one! Here are the boards:
Last summer, NA faculty members Kristin Duszak and Sarah Fischer participated in a conference around place-based learning, where they wrote reflective poems in the style of George Ella Lyons’ “Where I’m From” about their identity, their culture, and their stories.
Recently, several current Newark Academy choral singers and alumni gave a virtual performance of “Lean on Me” in honor of Bill Withers, Lone Sailor Award Recipient and a Navy Veteran, at the Lone Sailor Honors Reception.
Performers included current singers Meredith Janay ’22, Yasmeena Sharif ’23, Abhi Varadarajan ’23, and Yavan Vyas ’23, while alum Madeline Levinsohn ’19, Gabi Poisson ’17, and Christine Pan ’18 joined them, with NA Choral Director Viraj Lal coordinating the rendition. You can watch the full performance and awards program below.
On September 18th, the Upper School got together for the first council event of the year: Chalk and Pops! After getting some free ice pops, students created social distanced chalk art, listened to music, and enjoyed the warm weather. Photo credit to Tess Kesler ’22 and Kayla Cohen ’21, who took photos on behalf of the yearbook.
Michaela Wang ’21 was selected as a top contestant in the 2020 Mahatma Gandhi Art and Writing Contest, sponsored by the Association of Indians in America. The annual contest strives to “raise awareness on the importance of Gandhi’s message on non-violence, racial harmony and peace.” The top 12 contestants will be recognized in a ceremony over Zoom on Sunday, October 11, at which time prizes ranging from $50 to $250 will be awarded. You can read Michaela’s award-winning essay here:
In times of political turmoil and injustice, Mahatma Gandhi weaponized the one tool that killed none but brought peace: empathy. Throughout his lifetime, Gandhi displayed his passion for the Indian people in the conciliatory measures he undertook to combat the subversive Great Britain. What often accompanies political advocacy is meticulous and thoughtful writing. Before the Salt March that triggered a wave of civil disobedience, Gandhi wrote a letter to Viceroy Lord Irwin, a representative of the British crown, to end the salt laws before the protest took place. Through a tone of humility and antithesis, Gandhi presents that the best way to argue against powerful forces is not to fight, but to understand the opponent.
Gandhi’s conciliation provides this letter a sense of sophistication and genuine understanding. Almost every paragraph of this speech begins with the word “I”, yet if one reads further, the nature of Gandhi’s verbs leans away from dynamism and towards humility. His verbs usually follow the “I” with “know”, “shall”, or “want”. The absence of these active verbs encapsulates his character and method: he does not want to stir a physical war, but one that empathizes with the opponent and indelibly transforms India’s social fabric. What’s most intriguing is that despite British colonial rule and subsequent mistreatment, Gandhi lends redemption for British people so long as they bring equality to India. He repeats the concept of “family,” purposefully leaving the identification of “family members” ambiguous. To Gandhi, his family is not just the band of Indians waiting to protest and attack Great Britain; it is the British and Indian together, who have to develop solutions instead of harshly opposing each other. Gandhi ultimately portrays how above weapons and war, love can change how people act. Physical threats only exacerbate the fissure between the two countries. He personifies the suffering of his nations as “enough to melt the stoniest heart”; in this way, he empowers love to transform even the most staunch mindsets.
Gandhi also introduces antithesis in the speech to juxtapose the efficiencies of violence and nonviolence. Antithesis is a rhetorical device in which opposing words and imagery are placed near each other. Nonviolent protest itself is somewhat like antithesis, a weaponry that never cuts or hurts, yet hits farther than any other tool. Gandhi humanizes weapons; the word weapon itself connotes the bloodshed of upheaval, which juxtaposes sophisticated protest. To overthrow corrupt rulers, people must use the right “weapon”––the heart––and fight because they have something to say instead of someone to hurt. Gandhi himself viewed this letter not as a “threat”, but a “simple and sacred duty”. The antithesis between these two concepts, “threat” having a negative connotation of violence and doom while the second phrase having softer and calmer diction, illustrates his motive: he only wants to better the lives of both the British and Indian people. Overall, Gandhi’s language intensified his gravity towards peaceful protest. Knives hurt less than Gandhi’s conciliatory reflections of Britain’s own wrongdoings.
Two NA students have won recognition from the National Council of Teachers of English for excellence in writing.
Annika Inampudi ’21 was awarded a Certificate of Superior Writing, the highest award available to eleventh grade students entered in the NCTE Achievement Awards in Writing Competition.
Lily Sternlieb ’24 was awarded a Certificate of Recognition, the highest award available to eighth grade students entered in the NCTE Promising Young Writers Program.
Both students competed in an internal selection process. Once they were chosen to represent NA in the NCTE contests, they worked with Flannery James, the Creative Writing Director, to revise and refine their entries, which consisted of “Themed Writing” and “Best Writing” sections. Annika’s Themed Writing had to respond to the prompt “Why do I write?” She submitted a short story, “Idol Talk,” as her Best Writing. Lily’s Themed Writing addressed “my relationship with nature” and her Best Writing featured an excerpt from her novel, The Essence of Being Mr. Porcher.
After the revision process, their work was submitted to a panel of national judges, who evaluated and scored each piece of writing. Annika’s work was one of 137 out of 370 submissions to receive high honors, and Lily’s was one of 52 out of 131.
Read Annika’s essay, “Three Reasons Why I Write,” and Lily’s essay, “My Relationship with Nature,” on the next page!
In 2018, the WAM blog welcomed four student interns to work as a part of the team, helping to curate blog posts and organize outreach to the NA community. Senior Alison Bader ’20 has since then been a valuable contributor to the blog. She is a key contributor to helping the blog run, from photographing artwork to writing blog posts and soliciting submissions. Always bringing her radiant energy to the interns’ meetings with stories and anecdotes about her day, we will miss her greatly. Not only is she a contributor to the behind-the-scenes of WAM, but she is also an avid artist and writer herself! Here are some of her past works on WAM.
Jamie Paradis ’20 joined the WAM blog halfway through the 2018-2019 school year, after having already been involved with WAM through her submissions and her help with morning meeting announcements. Jamie has been an inspiration to us on the team, from her work ethic to her passion for environmental sustainability and the arts. On the blog, she has helped put together posts, connect with the NA community, and has done much of the hard work putting together our fall morning meeting montage. Also a writer, poet, and artist herself, here are some of her past works on WAM.
Lily Sternlieb ’24 has won a Scholastic Gold Medal, awarded to “the most outstanding works in the nation,” for her dramatic script, “We Write The Words We Cannot Say.” You can read the winning piece below. Congratulations, Lily!
PEER 1: 20, any ethnicity.
PEER 2: 20, any ethnicity.
MARGARET: 20, young woman and any ethnicity. Margaret is a very shy, hesitant girl who does not speak up for herself. She wrote the play about Julia which is truly an extension of the qualities Margaret wishes she didn’t have.
TEACHER: 60, man and any ethnicity.The teacher is in a tough position because in order to keep a very generous donor he must allow the donor’s son to take credit for Margaret’s work. He addresses the dilemma very awkwardly, therefore his dialogue almost sounds comical.
TYLER: 20, young man and any ethnicity. Tyler is a somewhat condescending and arrogant boy in Margaret’s class. He tells his father that he wrote Margaret’s play, and because his dad is an important donor, Tyler is allowed to take credit for Margaret’s work.
DANIEL: 25, young white man. Daniel is confident, pushy and patronizing. He comes from an upper class family and dresses well. Daniel is about to elope with Julia and is pushing her into marriage. He speaks with pretension.
JULIA: 20, young woman and any ethnicity. Julia is similar to Margaret in personality: shy, quiet and reserved. Julia is eloping with Daniel mostly because she feels trapped by her cold parents and wants to be liberated.
FUTURE JULIA: older version of Julia. Acts as the voice expressing Julia’s hidden thoughts and as a future perspective on current Julia’s choices.
RABBI: Older white man. The Rabbi is a very insightful compassionate person, however he marries Daniel and Julia even though he can sense Julia’s uneasiness and problems in their relationship.
Margaret has written and directed her first play for a college course. Tonight is the first showing of her play to an audience. Margaret is sitting in the front row waiting for the lights to dim and her production to begin.
I’m sure you’ll do great.
Margaret nods. Her teacher anxiously slides into the seat next to her and even though the lights are fading out, Margaret can see his face set in a frown.
I have something to tell you.
There’s this man sitting three rows behind us in the black coat and the red sweater. You see him?
Margaret turns around in her seat and nods.
And you know Tyler, right?
The one in our class? Yeah, I know Tyler.
Well that man back there is Tyler’s dad.
But why did he come? Tyler isn’t in the play.
Well, no he isn’t in the play, but… he wrote it.
No he didn’t… I wrote it.
Of course and you will get full credit grade wise, but… you see… Tyler’s father has been… very generous to the program and we hope that he will continue to be.
Margaret’s heart begins to race as the truth stubbornly fights its way into her reality.
What does that have to do with my play?
Tyler told his father that your play, the one that you wrote, was his.
Oh… but you told his dad right? Margaret notices her teacher’s expression become grimmer and grimmer. That… it was my play… right?
I’m sorry Margaret. As I said before Tyler’s dad has given much to the program and we just couldn’t… we just couldn’t tell him. I’m so sorry.
Margaret’s teacher quickly gets out of his seat just as Margaret begins to articulate one of the many questions that are spinning around her head: How could this have happened? Why is he telling me now? As Margaret thinks, the theater darkens completely and the play that is hers but isn’t begins…
SCENE 2 (on the stage)
Julia and her fiance, Daniel, are in a Temple talking to a Rabbi, preparing to elope. Julia and her parents have a difficult, detached relationship which has driven her to elope so young.
So how old are you both?
Julia is 20 and I am 25.
And do you have any relatives or friends who will be attending the ceremony?
Are you sure that you would not want a full wedding? I’m sure Julia, that your parents would be very disappointed to hear that their only daughter eloped.
Well we decided…
Daniel is stopped abruptly by the Rabbi.
Julia, how do you feel about your parents not attending the marriage?
Future Julia emerges on the stage, acting as a messenger of present Julia’s pressing thoughts as she struggles to answer the Rabbi’s question.
I paused then and thought. I thought of how my parents had been cold, how they lacked a warmth that was supposed to be natural for a mother or father. Marrying Daniel meant freedom. Marriage made me not a daughter but a wife, not a girl but a woman. Yet still something tugged at me, this memory, so distinct, so present, it had consumed my mind for many days leading up to the elopement. It was an image of my mother, who so rarely showed emotions, bursting with pride, talking to a young me about my future wedding.
Future Julia walks off the stage and the conversation between the Rabbi, Julia and Daniel continues.
Julia is roused from her thoughts by the Rabbi’s pressing gaze and insistent question.
Julia and her parents will be very satisfied. We’re sure of it.
I’m not ready quite yet…
Well we are. Right Julia?
Julia nodded curtly and let out a soft, shallow breath.
(addressing the rabbi)
Yes I see very clearly.
The Rabbi marries Daniel and Julia that same day. The scene cuts to future Julia again, addressing the audience about the mistake she made when she was younger.
There was never a third option in my eyes. My family was distant and cold. For a young girl it felt like natural love never existed, and that the relationship between my parents and I was a nuisance to them. An annoyance that my mother and father were obligated to deal with. It was horrible for me, an isolation so deep, I felt completely and utterly alone. Daniel was a partner, someone by my side no matter the circumstance. He was the man who was supposed to rescue me, with his money, kindness and maturity. I was wrong. All wrong. I sensed it then, but was too afraid, too hesitant, terribly fearful of the alternative. I had been chained since I was a girl, and while Daniel had unlocked my shackles, in truth our marriage only placed me in another prison.
Margaret is watching her play from the audience, thinking about her Teacher, Tyler and herself. Suddenly Margaret is interrupted by the ruckus Tyler is unknowingly making trying to reach the seat next to her.
[Not to be read] (note: all dialogue unless said otherwise is spoken in a whisper)
There’s a pause of awkwardness between the two students.
Well… um… I guess thanks.
Tyler smiled crookedly.
You know, for taking one for the team.
Yeah, I actually kind of like the play too. Although to be honest that Julia girl is a little pathetic.
You think so?
Definitely. Who did you base it on?
I don’t know, maybe on myself. I suppose I pulled Julia from the part of myself that never stood up or spoke out… and harboured the frustration and sadness that comes with being unheard.
Well, you should really work on that.
Margaret began to laugh as well.
You know what? I think I will.
Margaret’s play ends and the audience applauds. The teacher runs up on to the stage…
Will the writer and director of this play please stand up?
Margaret quickly rises up out of her seat before Tyler. The spotlight illuminates Margaret and, beaming with pride, she is celebrated as the true writer and creator of her play.
Even though trips and events were canceled, Newark Academy students stayed busy and creative over spring break. Below are pieces by Stella Gilbert ’22, Michael Pyo ’22 and Kaya Patel ’22, created while the artists were in isolation.
The Writing, Art & Music blog, affectionately known as WAM, is a forum for NA students, staff, faculty, and alumni to share creative work and support one another. WAM offers a noncompetitive, judgment-free place to enjoy each other’s artistic adventures, from first drafts to award-winning work. To date, posts include drawings, paintings, photographs, sculptures, films, short stories, poems, memoirs, letters to the editor, op-eds, theatrical and literary performances, instrumental and vocal music, DIY tutorials, and more. The in-house blog typically publishes two posts per week, while the public blog usually features one.
WAM interns scout out NA’s hidden artistic talents, conduct interviews, write blog posts, encourage members of the NA community to submit, and occasionally contribute their own creative work. They also manage the blog’s Instagram and email accounts, create monitor ads, edit an annual WAM highlights reel, and gain skills in using WordPress to publish the blog and Asana to manage tasks. Opportunities may also be available to create content for the creative writing blog. Interns are expected to attend a weekly half-hour meeting and spend an additional hour per week on WAM-related tasks. Feel free to reach out to any of the current interns (Jamie Paradis, Alison Bader, Silvy Zhou and Stella Gilbert) with questions.
There are two openings for WAM interns next year. Students currently in grades 8–11 are invited to apply. If you are interested in applying, please answer the following questions and email your application to Flannery James by 11:59PM on Sunday, March 29, 2020. Decisions will be announced in mid-April. New interns are expected to attend WAM meetings beginning in May and continuing throughout the 2020–2021 school year.
- Describe your prior experience/interactions, if any, with WAM. Why do you want to join WAM? (150 words max)
- Propose a potential WAM post. It could be about any creative project, event, or piece of art that you’ve encountered recently at NA—think art exhibits, plays, class assignments, dance recitals, etc. Or it could be something smaller—an interesting doodle by a classmate, a poem read at a coffeehouse. Whatever you choose, write a short description of the creative work, followed by a short explanation of why you believe this piece would be a good fit for WAM. (150 words max)
Four poems by Jamie Paradis ’20 have been accepted for publication in the esteemed literary magazine Hanging Loose. They will be printed in an upcoming issue. Congratulations, Jamie!
I can’t see in this fog but it’s okay for now
I think about those days of wandering in the dark,
wondering when the cement dried forever
dim but ever present streetlights piercing our vision
why don’t we lose track of time as you
give me your heart and mind
whisper your fears warm against my glass
we’re all colorblind but drag queens
dancers but murderers
I crave your smiles like candy and whiskey and traffic jam love
I want everything at this intensity, I’m only 17
the purple mist in my mind feels like
soothing music traveling through my ears
I push the sky away from my weighed down shoulders
and feel lighter, softer, forgiven
Enjoy these selected works from NA’s annual community art exhibit. This year’s theme was “Figuratively Speaking.”
This year, seven Newark Academy students won 15 Scholastic Writing Awards in categories ranging from Science Fiction to Critical Essay to Novel Writing. Congratulations to the following writers:
Jeffery Keys ’21
Gold Key, Critical Essay: “Caricatures and Citizenship, Intertwined”
Kieri Keys ’24
Silver Key, Short Story: “Broken Record”
Jamie Paradis ’20
Silver Key, Poetry: “Body Talk”
Honorable Mention, Poetry: “The Good, The In-Between, The Ugly,” “Mother” & “Wishes”
Honorable Mention, Writing Portfolio: “A Reflection”
Samantha Parelli ’21
Silver Key, Short Story: “beauty queen”
Honorable Mention, Poetry: “we used to skydive everywhere”
Ambika Sharma ’24
Honorable Mention, Science Fiction & Fantasy: “The Kingdom of Thánatos”
Lily Sternlieb ’24
Gold Key, Dramatic Script: “We Write The Words We Can Not Say”
Gold Key, Novel Writing: “The Essence of Being Mr. Porter”
Honorable Mention, Short Story: “A Dead Man’s God”
Honorable Mention, Poetry: “Nostalgia”
Emily Tang ’21
Honorable Mention, Poetry: “Slicing“
Gold Key works automatically advance to national judging. In recent years Scholastic has received about 350,000 entries. Roughly 20,000 (6%) of entries earn regional Gold Keys, and less than 1% of total Scholastic entries receive National Medals. Good luck, Gold Key winners!
Congratulations to Newark Academy students Stella Gilbert ’22, Jessie Luo ’22, Kaya Patel ’22 and Silvy Zhou ’21, who have won regional Scholastic Art Awards!
Kaya and Silvy’s artwork, which received Gold Key awards, will be exhibited at the Montclair Art Museum from February 15 to March 22. The awards ceremony and opening reception will be held on February 27.
Faculty member Alexis Romay (aka Profe) writes about his complicated relationship with the city of Havana. The piece was published on World Literature Today. You can read his essay and poem in Spanish here.
Havana just turned five hundred. The beautiful Havana: the city of my birth, the city of my upbringing, the city of my youth, the city of my fears, the city I fled, the city that simultaneously told me, taught me, that all men (and women, but don’t push it) were equal, and to be thankful to the revolution because under the previous dictatorship someone like me would not have been considered a person. The city where I learned that someone like me meant a citizen with characteristics and that both euphemisms were used to refer to people of color. The city where I was racially profiled daily by policemen (yes, they were all men) who were my skin tone or darker. The city where I was afraid of being shot for the crime of living while brown in a country that had, in theory, eradicated racism.
The city that made itself indistinguishable from its government. The city where I learned doublespeak. The city where I mastered the intricacies of body language. The city where I learned the importance of subtext. The city where domestic violence is normalized. The city where I learned to love. The city where I learned that love was acceptable as long as it didn’t cross racial lines.
The city where Celia Cruz was forbidden by its military junta. The city where I couldn’t read the writings of Guillermo Cabrera Infante because his books were banned. The city that hid I Love Lucy from its natural audience. The city that tried to erase all accomplishments of Cubans living abroad because they (now, we) were considered counterrevolutionaries. The city where this text could not be published in my youth or now. The city where all its inhabitants have the right to say that they viscerally hate the president . . . of the United States of America. The city where the paper of record, Granma, “the official publication of the Cuban Communist Party,” published racial epithets to refer to the previous president of the United States of America. The city that taught me—that taught you—to call a dictatorship a revolution.
The city that taught me the meaning of hate. The city that taught me (how) to hate. The city in which I was instructed to specifically hate my exiled family members who lived in the US, the very family that sent us money, food, vitamins, shoes, clothes; the very family without whom we could not have survived after the collapse of the Eastern Socialist bloc; the very family that we were not supposed to talk about; the very family that we were supposed to refer to as worms.
Oh, Havana, or what remains of the city that simultaneously told me that racism had been eradicated with the advent of the Castro dynasty and that it was not polite to talk about race.Continue reading
Last semester, Green and Blue Committee began a new initiative within the school: creating eco-bricks.
In various locations throughout the building are collection bins for non-recyclable waste such as soft plastics, plastic bags, aluminum foil, and styrofoam. These materials would otherwise be thrown in the trash or accidentally recycled, leading to more plastic ending up in landfills and oceans.
Eco-bricks utilize these materials and their strengths, reusing them to create something new by stuffing a plastic bottle extremely tightly with non-recyclable waste to a density of about 0.33 g/mL.
Eco-bricks are collected and used to build structures from benches and gardening or composting bins to entire homes and buildings.
Eco-bricks are a fun project and a creative outlet—students have lots of fun building their bricks and feel satisfied when they finally finish one, and eventually enjoy building with the lego-like eco-brick modules.
Newark Academy’s finished eco-bricks will be collected for the New Jersey Student Sustainability Coalition, an environmental organization that students at NA including Sophia Ludtke ’20 and Jamie Paradis ’20 are involved with. NJSSC’s eco-brick project began this year after Jamie proposed it to the coalition and was elected to be a project coordinator. She was introduced to eco-bricks this summer during her learning-service trip in Costa Rica, volunteering for the organization Verdiazul. After feeling inspired by Costa Rica’s strong environmental activism and policies, Jamie wanted to bring the collaboration and sustainability of eco-bricks to NJ.
All of the bricks made by NJSSC will be used in building projects beginning in the spring. Coalition members will meet to build garden structures and park benches.
The beauty of eco-bricks is they can be reused over and over—instead of letting the durability of plastic be only a harmful factor for the environment, eco-bricks utilize the strength of plastic and the fact that it lasts virtually forever as a positive opportunity for strong building. So, in the beauty of reusing and recycling eco-bricks, Mr. Torson’s Environmental Sculpture June Term class plans to use NA’s eco-bricks to build sculptures before they are used by NJSSC in more permanent structures.
To learn more about eco-bricks, go to ecobricks.org, or reach out to Jamie (email@example.com) with any questions!
Despite NA’s initiatives to go “paperless” throughout the past few years, it is still difficult to avoid the printed tests and essays in our lives. Over the summer, as I was sorting through stacks upon stacks of paper last year’s paper handouts, I became inspired to find ways to repurpose all this paper. Eventually, I found a video by Shmoxd on youtube, which showed me how to recycle old papers using material I already had at home. I could also recycle old art supplies like empty paint tubes and dried clay, which I can’t recycle through my town.
The process for recycling paper essentially involves making a paper pulp from water and pieces of paper, filtering out the pulp using a screen, and then drying the pulp out. I used a blender to shred and mix my paper pulp. If I were to add color, extra colored paper, glitter, clay, or plastic, I would blend it into the paper pulp so that it doesn’t actually affect the texture of the paper in the end.
For the screen, I stretched a soft piece of window screen over canvas stretcher bars, attaching one side with nails and the other with a binder clip so that I could lift the frame off of the screen later. After setting up the screen and the pulp, I slid the screen into the water, letting the paper pulp flow over the top of the screen before I lift it back up. The screen separates the pulp from the water by letting the water drip through. Being able to lift the frame off the screen also allows me to easily add another layer of paper pulp. This is useful for sandwiching other elements, like pressed flowers or photos.
Luca Moretti ’20, Teddy McGraw ’20, and Vikram Bala ’20 perform “Billie’s Bounce” and “Cottontail.”
Written by Jamie Paradis ’20.
In the middle of spirit week, the art department hosted the innovative artist and illusionist Alexa Meade.
Meade is known for her unique artwork in which she paints 2D patterns onto 3D objects, creating “the illusion of a world where 2D and 3D have become one.” Meade’s subjects and canvases are usually humans—that is, she paints directly on people to create her art.
Meade shared with the IB/Advanced Art students her story of how she became an artist from originally being set on a career path in politics, her sources of inspiration and creative process, and the nitty-gritty details of cleaning up after putting paint on everything in sight.
Since her incredible artwork went viral, Meade has collaborated with significant celebrities, including NA’s past visitor, Victoria Justice, and Ariana Grande for her “God Is a Woman” music video. She has also completed commissions with brands including Toyota, Mini-Cooper, and Ralph Lauren.
The art students were fascinated by Meade’s work and inspired by her creative approach. They also found relief in her message about finding your path in life: she had an entire plan figured out and was sure that she was going to go into politics, then with no previous expectation of doing so, she launched into a career as an artist and ended up making a living doing something that she was incredibly passionate about.
Her message to the students was that if there’s something that you love and that makes you happier than anything else, stick with it, because you could one day find a way to make it your life’s work. Also, if everybody else our age thinks that they have it all figured out, they probably don’t and their career will likely end up being completely different than what they have planned as of now; students do not need to feel bad if they don’t have a clear idea of what they’re going to do with their lives yet, that will come naturally with time.
A recent exhibit by artists Irene and Paul Aspell in the David Teiger Gallery incorporated both their sensibilities, combining Paul’s ceramic plates and Irene’s paintings. The artists have been married for 37 years.
Paul Aspell, who taught at Newark Academy for 16 years, specializes in stoneware pottery. Many of Irene Aspell’s paintings, which include flora and fauna, draw from her experience as an organic gardener. After Paul retired from teaching in 2002, the couple moved to the Maryland shore, where they have a studio and show their work locally. You can follow Paul’s latest work on Instagram.
The Newark Academy gallery hosts the Aspells’ work every other year, including a 2015 exhibition by Paul, Plates and Platters, and a joint 2013 exhibition, A Marriage of Materials. According to Paul, “The process of making art is evolutionary. The inspiration I receive from creating one piece is infused into the next.”
“Since moving to the eastern shore of Maryland in 2002, I have sought out local materials that are abundantly available here such as old red brick from former home sites and native tree branches such as river birches and redbuds. I have been using them to make both imprints of crushed brick dust and botanical images impressed in clay. Although my work appears rustic in nature, it is utilitarian and nothing pleases me more than my pots being lived with and used in people’s everyday lives. Bringing nature into our lives keeps us grounded in the real world.”Paul Aspell
On National Coming Out Day, October 11th, the Newark Academy community hosted Patio Pride, an event celebrating LGBTQ+ identities. The event was made possible with the support of the NA Office of Equity & Inclusion, Offices of Student Activities, and various student organizations including the Gender Sexuality Alliance.
Newark Academy students Annika Imanpudi ’21 and Samantha Parelli ’21 recently co-founded Bitter Fruit Review, an independent literary and arts magazine by and for teens. The new Editors-in-Chief, along with Senior Arts Editor Silvy Zhou ’21, have combined their experience as Scholastic Award–winning writers and artists to produce a beautifully designed website and magazine concept. All creative teens—not just NA students—are encouraged to send their work to the review’s inaugural issue, scheduled for release in Winter 2020. Submit now!
Interviews and write-up by Jamie Paradis ’20.
Newark Academy students often spend their summers honing their creative craft in programs outside of NA. Here, students Ben Chaddha, Lori Hashasian, Jamie Paradis, Kaitlin Weiss, and Silvy Zhou reflect on their experiences at art programs in writing, visual art, and jazz.
Kaitlin Weiss, ’21, attended the New England Young Writers’ Conference, a three-and-a-half-day immersive reading and writing experience. NEYWC takes place at Middlebury’s Graduate School of English, the Bread Loaf Campus, in Ripton, Vermont. Kaitlin described, “Bread Loaf is absolutely stunning; yellow dormitories line the outside of the campus, and the middle is filled with grass, wild flowers, and enormous trees.” The basic outline of a day at NEYWC is waking up at either 6:30 for a nature hike, which Kaitlin highly recommends at least doing one of the days, or 7:30 and heading to breakfast. After breakfast students meet with their workshop group, then attend three readings from writers teaching at the conference.
Kaitlin said, “The readings were incredible every time, and ranged from poetry to creative nonfiction to fiction.” After readings students have free time and then a craft class, which they get to choose. Kaitlin’s person favorite was a craft class where she learned how to write a one-sentence run-on poem. Then students eat lunch, attend another workshop with writing prompts, three more readings, another craft class, dinner, and at night, optional open mics. Kaitlin passionately described, “I met some of the most amazing people I know at the conference, and am still in touch with them today. The creative environment was incredible, I had never been surrounded by so many passionate young writers. The conference requires an application, and applications for the 2020 Conference will be accepted from October 1st to November 22nd. I highly recommend anyone who loves writing and reading applies. I had never been to a writing conference before and I am so thankful that did not stop me from applying.”
Lori Hashasian, ’21, attended the Young Writer’s Workshop at the 92nd St Y. The workshop ran for three weeks, focusing on a different genre each week (poetry, fiction, nonfiction). She went for the last two weeks and each week had a different instructor, giving different perspectives on her work. Each night, students had a few pieces to read and a prompt for a writing assignment.
The workshop ran from 10am–3pm each day with a 1-hour break for lunch where students could go out and get food. In the morning, they discussed the readings, specifically looking at the author’s style and techniques that could be used in their own writing. In the afternoon, students workshopped each other’s work. Lori said, “The experience was a really amazing way to meet new people and build a community of passionate writers to share work with in the future. It was a supportive environment to generate new work and it pushed me to take risks and try new styles.” She described the overall guidelines as relaxed, making it possible to focus on writing whatever one wants to. Lori got to meet Myla Goldberg, the author of the new novel Feast Your Eyes, and also went to the Jewish Museum to write about the pieces on exhibition there. She says she would “recommend this program for anyone looking for a place to meet other driven writers and workshop their work.”
Jamie Paradis, ’20, attended art classes at the Art Students’ League of New York in Manhattan for four weeks. She took classes in figure drawing with a focus on human anatomy, still life paintings, and a workshop on oil painting. She learned a lot and her teachers were incredibly knowledgeable. The atmosphere of working around other people so passionate about art was inspiring. For students younger than 17, teen classes are offered, but students 17+ may sign up for adult classes. Jamie attended adult classes which were generally all older adults besides her; being the youngest in the class certainly made the experience slightly more daunting and vulnerable, but in general students were so focused on their work that she didn’t notice the age gap most of the time. She highly recommends this art school for anybody interested in taking serious classes to improve their skills in the fine arts.
Silvy Zhou, ’21, went to the RISD Pre-College Program in Providence, Rhode Island. She noted that the town was very safe and students felt comfortable staying there. It was a six week visual arts program with classes Monday–Friday. Every student takes a drawing foundations class, a design foundations class, and a studio class once a week. Students also took Critical Studies, a two hour class once a week. On top of that, each student chose a major class that met twice a week. Silvy described the program as a “super immersive experience into the art community … and we got a ton of useful information regarding portfolio prep, fine arts majors/applying to art school, job opportunities, etc.”
Ben Chaddha, ’21, attended the Skidmore Jazz Institute in Saratoga Springs, NY. This was his second year doing the program and he said, “I consider it one of my favorite parts of the year.” The program offers high level masterclasses with many famous and well known jazz musicians on the scene in New York City and other major areas around the country. The program is focused on small group combos and emphasizes communication between players. At Skidmore, students are given one lesson per week at the camp with different faculty members. These lessons provide even more insight into the music. Another interesting opportunity Skidmore provides is pro tools recording sessions
At these sessions, Skidmore students can create their own groups and record anything from a traditional combo setting to a group with 4 bass players or 4 alto saxophone players. Another important aspect of Skidmore is its social environment. Ben said, “Going to Skidmore has allowed me to make connections with other like-minded jazz musicians from around the country; furthermore, it has allowed me to understand what a college jazz community might feel like before actually attending college.” He highly recommends the program for anybody passionate about jazz!
Newark Academy parents had the opportunity to meet teachers, advisors, fellow parents, and to learn more about NA curriculum at Parents’ Night 2019. As a bonus, they enjoyed a display of student artwork in the David Teiger ’47 Gallery. The arts, in all their forms, are an important part of the Newark Academy experience. In creating their own work and discussing the works of others, students cultivate emotional intelligence and build a dialogue that enriches their education and their lives. Discover what makes NA’s arts program so special here.
In 2019 the Newark Academy Jazz Program, directed by Julius Tolentino, performed for its 5th time at the prestigious Essentially Ellington Festival. This excerpt, “It Don’t Mean a Thing (if it ain’t got that Swing),” features vocalist Sammi Powell ’19.
Newark Academy prides itself on its strong arts programs, including Visual Arts, Dance, Film, Theatre, and Vocal and Instrumental Music. Its jazz band, Chameleon, has been involved in state and national competitions, placing first in New Jersey’s State Jazz Band Competition the last nine years (2010-2018), the Mingus Competition (2014, 2015), and the Mid Atlantic Jazz Festival (2018). Chameleon has been one of the fifteen finalists in the prestigious Essentially Ellington Festival and Competition in 2012, 2015, 2017, 2018 and 2019. Members of the big band are also involved in other auditioned groups such as Jazz House Kids, Jazz for Teens, Jazz Regions, Jazz All States, Next Generation Jazz Orchestra, and the Grammy Session Band. The band is honored to have had the opportunity to work with talented clinicians such as Eddie Bert, Vincent Gardner, Steve Turre, Victor Goines, Steve Davis, David Gibson, Bob Cranshaw, Alvin Atkinson, Marcus Printup, Kenny Rampton, Andre Hayward, and Ali Jackson to name a few.Continue reading
Cat Delett, a Maplewood resident and passionate artist, is featured this fall in the Teiger Art Gallery.
During Delett’s gallery discussion with the IB and Advanced Art Classes, she described herself as a “narrative artist.” Many of her pieces incorporate words; she cuts words and fragments out of old books, magazines, and any literature she feels inspired by and pastes them into the backgrounds and foregrounds of her work. “As human beings, we’re all natural storytellers,” Delett says. She fully embraces this storytelling nature in her work.
The stories in Delett’s work, however, are not always so clear; she often chooses words and phrases with ambiguous meanings that cause viewers to ask, “What is the full story? What am I missing?” In doing this, she strives to convey the message that people only exhibit one facet of themselves outwardly– one can never understand others’ full stories just by seeing their external expressions.
Delett’s beautiful artwork features various intriguing themes: she uses a consistent color palette with Payne’s grey, cobalt blue, burnt sienna as go-tos; she often features nude figures of women, depicting ordinary, realistic female bodies rather than flawless, super-model thin ones; and, of course, she frequently includes text in her pieces to tell stories.
Delett also paints many animal figures, often comically. Her portfolio includes a smoking rat, pigs in business suits, a ferret in a birthday hat, and many more quirky and entertaining pieces. She described these paintings as her “bread and butter” work; while these style pieces tend to sell better, her paintings of nude figures with collaged words are her “passion work”.
Visit Delett’s art show in the gallery, and check out her website for more information on this wonderful artist!
Thanks to Jamie Paradis ’20 for this write-up.
Each year, the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) hosts awards in a range of subjects and for different age groups. This year, Ava Sharahy (’20) was one of 15 11th grade winners from the state of New Jersey for the Achievement Awards in Writing. Below is an excerpt from her short story, “‘Long Live the Car Crash Hearts’ ~ Morrissey“, as well as “Golan Heights”, a poem that was part of her submission. Congratulations Ava!
I started the song again, the familiar hum of guitar untangling my heartstrings, and allowed myself to exhale, in and out, just like my therapist taught me. I continued listening until Morrissey’s voice cracked, lilting up at the repetition of “Take me anyone, I don’t care, I don’t care, I don’t care—”
At least someone else knew that desperation. You didn’t even have to be in love to feel it; God knows I probably wasn’t. All you needed was someone to spark that hunger, as unquenchable as Tantalus in the retracting river and the bobbing fruit tree, that primal need strong enough to break your composure mid-lyric, breathing in a little hysteria amidst the fluttering violins.– Ava Sharahy, excerpt from “‘Long Live the Car Crash Hearts’ ~ Morrissey“
holy lights flash before the village
sparking jibril’s wings as
are printed against the dirt floors
and the unfortunate few to live
are unable to dig themselves
out of the ruins, for their fingers
were broken by angels
mohammed has emerged
from the scars of the earth
on a carriage of cockroaches,
the only ones to survive
the soldiers of allah’s wrath,
to preach to the rats of the village
satiated by smoke and
bathed by blood, the villagers
still listen, using army surplus
blankets as mats, prayers silent with
tongues chewed away, bowing towards
the rubble that was once mecca
all we can do is watch the wind carry the ashes
Newark Academy Arts Department Head Elaine Brodie created these pieces on her iPad using an Apple Pencil and an app that allows the Pencil to function like various media. For example, Walpack Church and Peter’s Valley Barn were done in digital “pastels.”
This essay by James Blume ’19 was part of a portfolio of work that earned a 2018 NCTE Achievement Award for Superior Writing.
The Illustrated Generation
To the great disdain of my parents and utter delight of his high school girlfriend, my brother came home for his first Thanksgiving with a tattoo. It was an all black silhouette of a rabbit leaping off his chest. The Black Rabbit of Inlé he called it, the Grim Reaper of the bunny world from Richard Adam’s 1972 Watership Down. Now my parents are fairly liberal in their parenting, but my mom is still Chinese and my dad is still Catholic. Tattoos have always been the ultimate taboo of my household.
My brother and I were raised to believe that tattoos are for deadbeats: motorcycle gangs, baristas, musicians and such. My mom would point out the old men and women with shriveled and faded tattoos on their arms or necks and have them serve as examples to us.
“This is what happens. They get them when they’re young and think they look cool, but when they age, they end up wrinkled and faded. No tattoo looks good when you’re old.”Continue reading
Poetry by Jamie Paradis ’20 was selected by judges of Susquehanna University’s 37th Annual High School Writing Contest for publication in the Fall 2019 Vol. 37 edition of the Apprentice Writer, a print and online magazine. This year the contest received submissions from nearly 20 countries.
“You used to make me breakfast”
My mind traps
your words on a
Song stuck in
Left ear tilted after
I step out of salty low tide,
Louder than the hum
of radiators we’ve
grown used to
but say it’s
quiet despite the
Once you poured
pancake batter into
a waffle machine,
on top of a rose gold
I work in a shoe store
now, but never go
Once we walked
to the laundromat
And you said to me, “we’re still
not telling people about us”
Secrets are fun
Welcome to the Spring Dance Concert. I am extremely grateful for my health and the ability to teach these amazing dancers. After missing most of the fall, it truly “feels like home” to be back at the place I love. This is the swan song for our Rose Auditorium so we featured it in this photo with Sophia Ludtke and Jamie Paradis to express our gratitude for what the space has meant to us. We can’t wait to showcase these amazing dancers in our new performance hall when it is finished. I am thrilled to have Megan Ferentinos, who stepped in for me in the fall, back to help us with this show. I hope seeing the energy, grace, and artistry of these dancers will remind us all of our blessings, and all that we have as a community. Love Wins, Yvette Luxenberg
The Newark Academy 2019 Community Art Show curated by Arts Department Head Elaine Brodie, themed “House & Home,” was exhibited in the David Teiger ’47 Gallery for Studio Arts. The installation featured works of art by students, parents, faculty, and alumni of the NA community, and displayed a variety of mediums including photography, paintings, and sculptures. Enjoy these photos of the gallery, as well as closeup shots of several pieces!
The following short story by Computer Science teacher and Tech Department member Andrew Alford earned an Honorable Mention from Glimmer Train Press and was published in the Sweet Tree Review. His fiction and poetry have also been published in Midnight Echo, Space and Time, and Supernatural Tales.
(excerpted from Nights in Haiti)
School had been canceled for tomorrow, and there was already talk of closing on Tuesday as well. We were giddy at the prospect. Mrs. Luciemable kept a little orange hand radio in her kitchen window. She turned the volume up on Chuck Mangione’s flugelhorn, and so, for me, “Feels So Good” will always be the song of the blizzard of ’78. It was early in February, and my friend Yves and I were anticipating an apocalypse of tremendous proportion. My mother had dropped off a bag of pretzel rods (by special request: I kept it carefully hidden from my hosts) and a change of clothing so I could spend the night, and wake up with my friend and the snow.
Pictures of the Luciemable family covered just about every surface of their house–and almost as many pictures and statues of Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and St. Jude, with many of those pictures framed, as if their last name, too, was Luciemable. The religious pictures left me feeling sorry for the Luciemables, especially since there was a synagogue right across their street, and that was where Sister Christina’s professed husband (“Yeshua. Not Jesus. Yeshua!”) would have felt most at home today (or so, with Mom safely out of earshot, my father told me). Of actual photographs, two featured a younger Yves, and his brother Emanuel, as old as Yves was now, but with a broader face and wearing a Yankee baseball cap. The older boy’s right arm had been amputated below the elbow; and in another photo, almost to the shoulder. So the first thing that shocked me was that this kid’s arm was gone, but the next, that some thing had come round for a second bite.
Read the rest of the story at: Sweet Tree Review.
Led by Newark Academy Jazz Director and saxophonist Julius Tolentino, Chameleon earned “Outstanding Rhythm Section” at the 24th Annual Essentially Ellington Competition on May 11, 2019. In addition, several NA musicians earned individual recognition: Outstanding Bass: Vikram Bala ’20, Honorable Mention Clarinet: Allen Lin ’19, Honorable Mention Piano: Luca Moretti ’20, Honorable Mention Vocals: Samantha Powell ’19, and Outstanding Alto Sax: Michael Wang ’21. Last year Chameleon earned 2nd Place overall. The Essentially Ellington High School Jazz Band Competition & Festival takes place every May at Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York City. The festival is aimed at encouraging young musicians to play music by Duke Ellington and other jazz musicians. This was Chameleon’s 5th year performing at this highly prestigious festival.
See Chameleon perform “Stablemates” at the 2019 competition here: https://youtu.be/bVsoEzEK7OU
Newark Academy prides itself on its strong arts programs, including Visual Arts, Dance, Film, Theatre and Vocal and Instrumental Music. The Chameleon Jazz Band has been involved in state and national competitions, placing first in New Jersey’s State Jazz Band Competition the last nine years (2010-2018), the Mingus Competition (2014, 2015), the Mid Atlantic Jazz Festival (2018). Chameleon has been one of the fifteen finalists in the prestigious Essentially Ellington Festival and Competition in 2012, 2015, 2017, 2018 and 2019. Members of the big band are also involved in other auditioned groups such as Jazz House Kids, Jazz for Teens, Jazz Regions, Jazz All States, Next Generation Jazz Orchestra, and the Grammy Session Band. The band is honored to have had the opportunity to work with talented clinicians such as Eddie Bert, Vincent Gardner, Steve Turre, Victor Goines, Steve Davis, David Gibson, Bob Cranshaw, Alvin Atkinson, Marcus Printup, Kenny Rampton, Andre Hayward, Bob Cranshaw, and Ali Jackson to name a few.
Newark Academy Jazz Director Julius Tolentino, founder of JTole Music, has been a staple of the New York jazz scene for over 20 years. In this capacity, he has played and recorded with numerous small groups and big bands including Louis Haye’s Cannonball Adderley Legacy Band and the Louis Hayes Quartet, Eric Reed’s Sextet, Jeremy Pelt’s Quintet, Natalie Cole, Wycliffe Gordon, Connie Francis, Gloria Gaynor, the Illinois Jacquet Big Band, the Christian McBride Big Band, Cecile Mclorin, Michael Feinstein, Dianne Reeves, Jimmy Heath, the Count Basie Orchestra and the Duke Ellington Orchestra. He joined Newark Academy as Jazz Director in 2007, and currently conducts five nationally known student ensembles. His groups have won and been finalists in national festivals and competitions, including Essentially Ellington (2012-2018), the Charles Mingus Competition (2011-2018) and the Mid Atlantic Jazz Festival. At the state level, Newark Academy has won first place at the NJAJE State Finals for nine years running, from 2010-2018.
This inventive mixed media artwork by Kellen Wang ’20 earned a 2019 Scholastic Silver Key. Kellen says of his work, “One thing to consider from my piece would be the depth and layers of the cardboard structures. Aside from that, I’d like viewers to generate their own interpretations.” Kellen is one of many Newark Academy artists who have earned Scholastic regional Gold and Silver Keys as well as National Medals in 3-D Art, photography and drawing/illustration.
Poetry by Newark Academy senior Elizabeth Hawk ’19.
3,000 Miles Away
I can hear the wind in California
Crackling through the phone.
Carried to me through threads
Of bouncing information
On waves into my ear
But I can’t think about this now
I can hear our friend crying
Static through the phone.
As she holds up behind you
Begging you to ‘listen’
And it feels like i’m behind you
As I pace around my room
And my body’s shaking
Like I can feel the cold
3,000 miles away
I can hear your shaky breath from california
Information traveling through vibrations
But I can’t think about this now
Because my mouth needs to make the sounds
And on that rooftop in california
You hear my shaky voice
Brought by beads of flying information
Traveling through vibrations
Into your ears
And my voice crackles through the speakers
As I beg of you to hear
So beads of information
Travel through vibrations
so you can hear me say
Melanie Kramarchuk ’22 was awarded a NJCTE Bronze Medal for Fiction for her short story “FALLING.” The piece was created in response to a challenge from her English teacher Mr. Lou Scerra to write something inspired by author Ted Chiang’s style in which form matches content. Melanie was honored at a NJCTE Award Reception on April 11, 2019 in Scotch Plains. Excerpts from winning work were performed by the Union Catholic High School Forensics Club. Congratulations, Melanie!
The tunnels threaded through the earth, spanning the entirety of the planet’s inner layers. Their size and quantity were such that, were the earth to be cut in half, it would be seen that there was little material between the tunnels, separating one from another. This was inevitable, for so much of the earth had been dug up to the surface for the sake of creating these tunnels that very little had remained below the crust. And so the earth no longer hid dirt and gravel and rock beneath its face, but rather an endless maze of tunnels leading into the depths of the planet. The material that had once filled these tunnels now formed mountains on the earth’s surface so that one could not help but think that the earth was being turned inside out.
It was said that when the universe first emerged from oblivion, divine beings had walked the earth. Each was granted governance of a realm: the sea, the sky, the desert, the forest, and so on. They coexisted in peace, however it was strained, for each believed that they were more powerful, and therefore more deserving than the next. And so the gods of the earthen realms soon commenced conspiring against the goddess of the sky, for envy had driven them all mad. Together, they converged on her kingdom in the sky, knocking her from her throne. She fell to earth, and where she fell, her blood was spilt, staining the ground. The other gods, realizing what they had done, turned on each other in rage. The clash of sword blades echoed to the ends of the universe, and where the gods’ blood fell to the earth, it wound and wrapped around the planet like a coil of string. The battle continued until they could no longer remember why it had started at all, and so they retreated back into their realms quietly. Over time, the blood that had soaked the earth hardened into a metallic material resembling gold or silver, serving as a reminder of the slaughter than had occurred. As years passed, it was concealed by the processes of earth and covered by new layers of dirt and soil and gravel. And so by the time humans came to walk the earth in the place of gods, the slaughter had been forgotten, for its reminder lived buried under layers of earth.
All his life, Gabriel had heard stories of the tunnels below the earth. He had learned of the tunnels, so large that they could house the population of earth with room to spare. He had listened to the tales, telling of tunnels of great length and quantity, which intertwined with one another in such a way that those who entered on their own never again saw the light of day. Indeed, there had been many instances where individuals had wandered into the tunnels, never to be seen again, left to perish in solitude in the depths of the earth, while their family mourned them miles above under a blue sky. Such a fate was one desired by no man, for there was something cruel about losing one’s life in such a setting, surrounded on all sides by earth, dying not due to lack of will or the process of time or even battle, but simply because there was nothing left to do. This knowledge detained many from entertaining the idea of entering the tunnels, but there were still those who did so from sheer desperation. For many of the poor, it was a last resort, a final chance at life, for it created at the very least the illusion of hope, however irrational, when there was very little left to be seen in the hard, cold reality.
When mankind first began digging, their objective had been to dig to the very core of the planet, to unearth the secrets hidden in the ground beneath their feet. It was not long, however, before they encountered a strange metal, which was brought up to the surface to be examined. It was with the discovery of this material that the ancient legend was uncovered, and so the mysterious metal was determined to not be metal at all, but rather the blood of the gods that had once traversed planet earth. The original desire of reaching the center of the earth was forsaken, and humanity contented themselves with mining for hardened blood, which soon came to be worth more than the most precious of metals. Gabriel’s father had been fortunate, for he had been one of the few men commissioned to work in the tunnels, a job of the utmost honor and prestige. And so, Gabriel had only ever known known a life in which everything he should ever need or want was supplied to him upon his command. He had only ever known a life in which he need not spare a second thought to his basic needs or safety, for that burden had been placed in the hands of his many servants and staff. He had only ever known a life sheltered by wealth and fortune, for the cushion of money was, indeed, a favorable cushion to lay upon.
But no fairy tale was immune to the test of time and fate and reality, and so each, in turn, took its toll on this one as they had on countless others. Gabriel’s father had contracted the flu, forcing his mother into depression and the rest of the family into a state of somber prayer. The memories of that time, Gabriel knew, he would never escape– the vile stench of sickness hanging in the stuffy air of the corridors, the whispers he had overheard from the kitchen as the doctor explained the situation in strange terms Gabriel knew not of. He had stood outside his father’s door, wondering why the world had forsaken him, why it had left his father to die and his mother without a reason to live. When Gabriel’s father passed away the following day, Gabriel knew what was to be– he would be forced into the tunnels to take his father’s place.
And so, from then on, each day Gabriel entered the tunnels where his father had once worked, which he found so strikingly similar to the hallways of his own home in his father’s final days– the stale air that made it difficult to draw breath into one’s lungs, the stifling sense of foreboding, and most of all, the feeling that this place had been infiltrated by something unnatural, unwelcome.
For who had granted humanity permission to defile what was not theirs– something so ancient that it had witnessed the clash of the gods and, furthermore, housed the battle’s reminder in its layers? Were the sun and the sky not sufficient to satisfy these people? Could they not appreciate the beauty the earth had gifted them– the rays of early morning sunshine filtering through a canopy of leaves high above, the steady lapping of a stream chipping away at the sides of a narrow ravine, or the feeling of the wind whistling against one’s face, bringing with it scents of foreign, unexplored lands and the prospect of something new and different? For by digging into the earth, Gabriel realized, was humanity not violating the laws of the universe– of life and structure and order? These thoughts were those Gabriel battled against with the dawning of every day, yet within the walls of his home another battle was being fought.
“Please.” Gabriel whispered as he knelt before his mother, sitting hunched in a rocking chair. Her eyes were unfocused, her hair matted, her face gaunt and sallow. She had the undeniable appearance of one whose will to live had abandoned her long ago– of one for whom life was no longer a cherished gift, but a torture from which she wished to be released. “Please mother, please.” Gabriel pleaded, his voice cracking with raw desperation, stripped down to the flesh and bone. “Don’t you know who I am? I’m your son, mother. I’m Gabriel. Don’t you remember?” She seemed to respond to the words. Her lips parted and began to form shapes, as if practicing– trying to remember how to create words. But when sound eventually escaped from her throat, the words were like a shard of glass in Gabriel’s heart. “Where is Samuel? Where is my husband?” The shard was plunged deep, for this was Gabriel’s father, whose soul and body no longer existed as one, considering the latter was buried in one of the countless tunnels winding through the earth, while the other resided in heaven.
This heartbreaking procedure of reminding one of a forgotten tragedy was perhaps the hardest of all things to do, yet for Gabriel it became a daily routine. And in his mother’s deteriorating state, he knew he had no choice but to continue his work in the tunnels. The passing of time blurred the monotony of everyday into a carousel, spinning round and round on repeat with no end, for each day resembled the last, as well as the day that had come two weeks before, or two months before, or that would come in two months’ time. But a day soon came when, upon entering the tunnels, he felt a presence he had not before felt. Yet, obedient to his human ignorance, he ventured further. As he commenced his work, however– shovel connecting with earth– he felt a snap echo and resonate from the very core of the planet. He felt the earth vibrate around him, as if a large rubber band had suddenly broken from excessive strain. Within seconds, it began to rain, but not the soft patter of water droplets against a bed of grass. This was the rain not of the sky, but of the earth. Gabriel began to run, but his path was soon no longer visible, for in every direction he looked, the earth was pouring down. It poured and poured until he was immobilized and could no longer see or move or breathe.
Gabriel felt the earth shudder with the weight of all it held– humanity, along with its greed and hunger. It was as if he could hear the thundering heartbeat of the earth. And then it cracked. It was a splintering noise, the noise of something so grand, so massive that it had lived for billions of years. And so it was only fair that its end should be as grand as its beginning. For a moment everything seemed to stand still. And then chaos erupted and Gabriel was falling, just as the goddess of the sky had fallen when knocked from her throne in the sky. But there was nowhere to fall to, and so he fell until all he knew was the sensation of falling and the guilt of having destroyed a being so powerful. And so it was this he was left to ponder until the end of time, for the universe had no mercy, and eternity no end.
The following photographs were taken by Scholastic Silver and Gold Key Award recipient Tess Kesler ’22. Tess’s work was on display at the Montclair Art Museum in late winter through spring of 2019.
Newark Academy’s Jazz Band “Chameleon” directed by Julius Tolentino won 2nd Place at the 23rd Annual 2018 Essentially Ellington High School Jazz Band Competition & Festival, which took place at Frederick P. Rose Hall, home of Jazz at Lincoln Center. Individual awards were earned by Sami Powell (Outstanding Vocalist), Vikram Bala (Honorable Mention Bass), Cosimo Fabrizio (Outstanding Guitar), Teddy McGraw (Outstanding Drums), Allen Zhu (Outstanding Tenor Sax). In the 2017 competition, Chameleon placed 4th. In addition to directing the Jazz program at Newark Academy, Tolentino is founder of JTole Music, which creates programs and events that bring communities together, from performances and festivals to summer workshops, jam sessions, lessons, and educational videos.
Poetry by Unnathy Nellutla ’19 earned a 2019 Scholastic Art & Writing Award Gold Key for Poetry and was selected by judges as one of five nominees from New Jersey for the prestigious American Voices Medal.
When my mother turned sixteen
her father flaked away like dust
on the roof of his sand-colored house in South India
leaving her his unsmiling photographs
and gold bars
to be made into wedding jewelry.
Years later, when she married my father holding
twenty gold bangles on each arm
her mother lined her eyes and told her
the gold was not a dowry
but an asset
for the bride.
On the plane to America with my father and his sister
she wore filigree shackles up to her elbows
then locked them in a cracked plastic box under the bed
in a Jersey City apartment
and began to call my father the names
her mother had called her father,
My Sun, My Gold, My Gold.
My Gold is only a little less than
Those first months of marriage
she slept a few nights a week in the guestroom
with her new sister-in-law
a girl she had known on the playground in Hyderabad
who had sung her an auspicious song
Shame, shame, puppyshame
All the boys know your name.
Ten years later they giggled in the dark
Jersey City bedroom over stories from their school days.
In a new country it was comforting to know
someone still thought of you like sliced brown bread
easily pulled apart.
My aunt hugged my mother goodbye
with the cracked plastic case full of stolen gold
tucked into her luggage,
leaving my mother in a clean city
made of plain rice and lemon in a bowl.
My mother never looked under the bed just to try the bangles
on with the scratchy Hindi radio and so
never cried in the tiny rooms with the radio on.
Never made calls, faraway demands.
Never was told by a man who loved his sister
to get over the loss,
pressing her stick-colored arms against the white
walls of the apartment.
Eight months later my father had to shave
his beard and stay inside for a week,
and she thought
he was a good man.
A portfolio by Gillian Cohen ’19 entitled “Contrast + Harmony” earned a 2019 Scholastic Art and Writing Gold Key Award for Photography. In 2018 Gillian earned a National Gold Medal in the same genre. Her work was exhibited at the Montclair Art Museum.
“The Greed Game,” a play by Kianni Keys ’19 won 1st Place in THE THEATER PROJECT 17th Annual Young Playwrights Competition and was honored at an awards ceremony on March 9, 2019 at the Cranford Community Center, where the play was performed by professional actors of The Theater Project. The performance was supported by grants from New Jersey State Council on the Arts, Investors Foundation and the New Jersey Theatre Alliance, and hosted by Theater Project artistic director Mark Spina, and award-winning playwright, screenwriter and novelist, Bill Mesce, Jr.
In 2018 Kianni earned 3rd place in the same contest. In 2017, she won the 34th NJ Playwrights Festival annual high school contest for her play “Smile,” which was staged by professional actors at the Playwrights Festival at the Mayo Performing Arts Center in Morristown. In addition, Kianni earned a Governor’s Awards in Arts Education and membership in the Dramatists Guild of America.
Flash fiction story by sophomore Annika Inampudi ’21 earned a 2019 Scholastic Art & Writing National Silver Medal. This is Annika’s second National Medal. As an eighth grader she won a 2017 Gold Medal for her flash fiction story, “Stolen Hearts.” Congratulations Annika!
The morning of her death, Mrs. Abernathy of Apartment 22A of Sheridan Road wakes up before the light hits. The first thing she does is open all the windows and take a deep breath, for a woman who cannot see only feels alive when she breathes.
Her house is simple and pragmatic, and in that way it suits her. The single story duplex has nothing in it, and most people believe that nobody lives there. Oftentimes, the family next door will help her out– she pays the young one to do the grocery shopping for her, and the mother sends leftovers as a courtesy. Shivering, Mrs. Abernathy shuffles towards the kitchen, where there is breakfast already waiting for her. In the slow way that all elderly do things, she eats the oatmeal carefully, her thin fingers shaking around the spoon as she lifts it toward her mouth. Each time, she sinks the spoon into the bowl, oatmeal spilling over the edges. Each time she brings it to her mouth, there is almost nothing left.
Eventually, Mrs. Abernathy finishes her oatmeal, washes the bowl out, and places it on the dishrack. The sun has risen by now, and the frail woman can feel the warmth on her hands as she sits on her bed and puts on a record. The music fills the room in a way that Mrs. Abernathy is still left hungry. It’s an old song. Continue reading
“A Tree Poem” by junior Jamie Paradis ’20 was published in the March 2019 Volume 13 issue of the Blue Marble Review, a quarterly online literary journal showcasing the creative work of young writers ages 13-21. In addition, Jamie recently earned a Scholastic Silver Key for a poetry collection written at the Juniper Institute for Young Writers. Congratulations, Jamie!
“a tree poem”
Rough gray bark, the
skin of branches that reach
far, dip towards
Long leaves graze
I’m on my back
in the grass
blanket of gray, blue, green
with holes where
sky pokes through.
I never do this.
In 4th grade
the day I got
glasses I looked
at a tree
in my front yard.
I could see each
leaf and showed
my mom my
discovery. I wanted
to share with
give my glasses
I’ve been laying here
awhile when I decide
on the house in
the good school district
with a juniper in
Senior IB Artist Justine Seo earned 2019 Scholastic Art & Writing Award recognition for her Mixed Media work and Art Portfolio. Justine says of her work: “A lot of my art is made by combining different objects I’ve encountered that usually wouldn’t be seen together, creating a surreal environment. I’ve really enjoyed my art class at the school for the last two years. It has really allowed me to grow as an artist!”
A Fall 2018 exhibition of Upper School Art in the David Teiger ’47 Gallery, curated by Arts Head Elaine Brodie, displayed a rich variety of genre and subject matter. The arts, in all their forms, are an important part of the Newark Academy experience. They offer students a way to connect with others and build community. In creating their own work and discussing the works of others, students cultivate emotional intelligence and self-expression while taking healthy risks, such as sharing their work in a show like this one.
The below sampling from the exhibition includes artists Quinn Butler, Sophie Chang, Rebecca Dunayev, Rachel Glickman, Danning Hu, Maya Kannan, Phillip Kim, Sophie Licoste, Neha Maddali, Julie Marcano, Rhea Mishra, Justine Seo, Sanjana Sridhar, Madison Verrone, Joyce Wang, Lillian Wu and Melisa Yaman. Enjoy these wonderful creations.
Creamy is an 11-piece interlocking puzzle by Warren Sunada-Wong ’20 made using SketchUp software and modeled after his pet guinea pig “Creamy.” He designed it during the 2018 3D Printing June Term course taught by science faculty Drew Kesler and Dan Erlandson. The design was inspired by interlocking burr puzzles introduced during the course. Printing the puzzle with the 3D printer took almost 24 hours. Warren would like to thank Mr. Kesler for helping him create this project.
3D Printing & Technical Drawing is one of many June Term intensive learning courses offered to Newark Academy students in grades 9-11 during the two weeks following Memorial Day. A June Term course does more than simply inform students; it involves them from start to finish. Through hands-on experiences, students grapple with challenging ideas, make connections between concepts and reality, make mistakes, and learn from them. Many courses involve field trips and guest speakers. All June Term courses result in a distinctive final product or project, allowing students to synthesize what they have learned and to put it into practice.
Newark Academy’s LumeNAtion finished in 3rd place at the International Championship of High School Acapella (ICHSA) Mid-Atlantic Quarterfinal on January 25, 2019. Choral Director Viraj Lal said, “These 17 students poured their hearts out on the stage and I am beyond proud of each and everyone of them.”
The Newark Academy choral groups “Academy Voices” and “The Women’s Choir” were invited to perform at the Maplewood Men’s Glee Club concert Sunday, Dec. 9, 2018. Choral Director Viraj Lal described it as “a wonderful collaboration with this Community Choir.”
Here Academy Voices sings “Good Night, Dear Heart” arr. Dan Forrest.
Here the Women’s Choir performs “The Holly and the Ivy” arr. Kirby Shaw.
After graduating from Newark Academy, Antonia Park ’18 took a gap semester from Middlebury College to walk el Camino de Santiago in Spain and do volunteer work in Bali. While at Newark Academy, she attended the Alzar School, a semester program in Idaho that included backpacking, kayaking and a 6-week cultural/wilderness immersion in Chile. A first generation American, she loves her crazy Korean family. She is passionate about minority rights and believes that all feminism should be intersectional, because “everyone deserves a chance.” Her blog is called “Tonzy’s World.”
To All The Movies I’ve Loved Before:
The Importance of Representation in Hollywood
as featured in TONZY’S WORLD
The other day, a new friend of mine told me I had beautiful eyes. It was only when she said this that I realized in my eighteen years of existence on this planet, no one had ever complimented my eyes before. To me, that is not the saddest part of my epiphany; the saddest part is that I was almost rendered speechless. My whole life, I have been taught to believe that to be beautiful, eyes must be large, round, and blue/green—or at least one of the preceding traits. I had come to understand that my narrow deep-set ebony eyes were just never going to be seen as beautiful, and that that was just the way it was, something I could not change. It was hard for me to believe that someone of a different racial background than myself looked at my eyes and even thought twice of them. Never before had I seen how deeply intertwined societal ideals of beauty were—and still are—in my thoughts. We all like to believe that our conceptions of beauty are fully our own, and to some extent they are unique to us as individuals, but no one is immune to society’s influence. Society is built on the premise that we as a community are capable of more than the sum of each person’s abilities. Every society needs leaders to function, and who as well as what those leaders are matters. Continue reading
This drawing was created by IB Artist and Scholastic National Gold Medalist Ashley Sun ’18. You can find more of Ashley’s work on WAM: Selected Works.
Enjoy this sampling of writing, art and music posts from 2018, curated by WAM interns Alison Bader ’20, Stella Gilbert ’22 and Silvy Zhou ’21 and edited by Silvy. We hope it will inspire you to share your own creative endeavors on WAM. Comment. Contribute. Enjoy!
In this throwback post, alums Bailey Galvin-Scott ’14 and Brendan James ’14 filmed a promposal by classmate Max Whitmore ’14 to actress/singer Victoria Justice. The two filmmakers then followed up with an on-the-spot, real-time documentary of her surprise visit to Newark Academy. The adoring 6th graders in the video are now seniors.
Bailey and Brendan went on to study film at Emerson College and Colorado College respectively and both are currently working in their field. Victoria did not attend prom, but Max, along with the many students who met her, were elated by her visit.
PAX Rwanda: Embroideries of the Women of Savane Rutongo-Kabuye, an exhibit of vibrant embroideries created by Rwandan artists was featured in the David Teiger ’47 Gallery for the Studio Arts at Newark Academy from September 4 – October 8, 2018. The exhibit was comprised of elaborately rendered scenes of Rwanda’s culture, its people and the beautiful animals of West Africa. Bogota resident Juliana Meehan discovered the embroideries as a tourist to Rwanda in 2010 and curates the collection. In addition to showing the work, Meehan shared her stories of these artists and her experiences in Rwanda with Newark Academy students.
PAX Rwanda is the artistry of the women who are survivors of the 1994 Rwandan Genocide against the Tutsi. Their original approach to embroidery, using three different colors on one needle, is unique to this workshop and was pioneered by its founder and artistic director, Christiane Rwagatare. Their painstaking technique subtly blends colors and brings their compositions to life, creating with needle and thread what the painter does with brush and paint.
PAX Rwanda has toured galleries and museums in New Jersey, New York, Ohio and Washington DC since 2011.
Jessie Luo ’22 earned Scholastic Art & Writing regional Gold Key Awards for Drawing/Illustration in 2018 and 2019.
Over the past two months, the cast and crew of The Laramie Project, led by Newark Academy Theater Director Rachel Shapiro Cooper, have been hard at work bringing the story of Matthew Shepard to life. The following photographic series taken by Silvy Zhou ’21 offers a glimpse into the actors’ process of preparing the show for performance.
Matthew Shepard was a 21-year-old student in Laramie who was beaten, tortured, and killed on October 6, 1998. This act of violence was deemed a hate crime towards Matthew’s sexual orientation and made national news. On November 14, 1998, Moisés Kaufman and members of The Tectonic Theatre Project traveled to Laramie, Wyoming, and conducted interviews with the people of the town. The Play is about the town of Laramie, its citizens, and their reaction to Matthew Shepard’s murder. It chronicles the journey of a community deeply shaken by an act of unthinkable violence perpetrated not by strangers, but by two members of the community against one of its own — and the attempt to shift the community from hatred, fear and ignorance to forgiveness, redemption, and enlightenment.
The Laramie Project opens at Newark Academy on Thursday, November 1st at 7:00 pm, followed by shows on Friday, November 2nd and Saturday, November 3rd at 7:00 pm. Tickets are $10.00 each.
For more information about shows and tickets, visit – our.show/NA/laramie
“Evening in New York” by Young Se Choi ’18 was published by the New Jersey Lives Poets Society for their “Inside of Me” theme, summer 2016. You can read more of Young Se’s published work on WAM: Selected Works.
Evening in New York
1999. New York. I do not exist yet.
It seemed as if the city was finally sleeping tonight
Two adults planted on a paved sidewalk
Male and female, my parents
Holding hands, the vanilla starry sky gleams over their shiny hairs,
My mother’s strawberry lipstick,
My father’s glasses,
Staring into their eyes I try to search for my own self in them
Only to find two black pupils stare into the vast array of nothingness
They knew little of me and of my being,
Me, the child
But they were still innocent
They didn’t know
I wanted to stop them
Separate them into their own paths of life
Start over again
But I wanted to live
Cosimo Fabrizio ’18 was named a 2018 Davidson Fellow for his Jazz Guitar project titled, “21st Century Jazz Music – The Search for Authenticity.” He was awarded a $25,ooo scholarship.
Cosimo writes: “Throughout my experiences growing up, my understanding of the fragile balance that exists between appreciating history and fostering innovation has developed extensively. My work seeks to show case the interconnectedness of tradition and innovation while also addressing the inherit difficulties of this balancing act. My work also stems from a question that has been naturally planted in my head over the past years: is it possible to maintain the integrity and authenticity of an art form while also institutionalizing its education? This portfolio seeks to address that question by commenting on the effect of institutionalization on artistic authenticity.”
Here are three of Cosimo’s performances at the Essentially Ellington Competition with Newark Academy’s Jazz Band Chameleon, directed by Julius Tolentino.
The following short fiction by Ezra Lebovitz ’18 won 3rd Place in the 2016 Johns Hopkins Creative Minds Fiction Contest and was published in the magazine IMAGINE. The judges said of his work: “Much goes unsaid between the brother and sister at the heart of this story, but the writer does an excellent job of suggesting a much larger shared history. The sister, we learn, has been away for a number of years, and the brother wrestles with feelings of abandonment. The central question here—and an interesting one—is whether the ritual they’re enacting together will allow them, in effect, to start fresh.”
In addition, Ezra’s writing earned a Scholastic National Gold Medal for Poetry, a “Judge’s Choice” distinction in the 2017 NJ Youth Poet Laureate Contest, Honorable Mention in Rider University’s 37th Annual High School Writing Contest, and a 2016 NJCTE Bronze Medal for Poetry. Ezra is a freshman at Harvard University where he continues to hone his writing talents.
“Tashlich (תשליך) is a ritual that many Jews observe during Rosh HaShanah. “Tashlich” means “casting off” in Hebrew and involves symbolically casting off the sins of the previous year by tossing pieces of bread or another food into a body of flowing water. Just as the water carries away the bits of bread, so too are sins symbolically carried away. In this way the participant hopes to start the New Year with a clean slate.”
We go down to the water on a Tuesday, when the sky is a taut-skin smile and the grass is cracked.
“The Boston River is an unwieldy thing,” my older sister reminds me while we walk. “Hanan, don’t grab at the currents. I know you want to, but they’re powerful.”
I don’t want to go through the delicacies of telling her that she gave me this speech back when I was thirteen and that I’ve taught myself how to do tashlich since then, so I just nod quietly and that seems to satiate her.
“Do you have the bread?” she asks and I hold the bag up for her inspection. She nods– it’s met her standards and I can see her shoulders unclench.
She smiles. Continue reading
The following article by recent graduate Antonia Park ’18 was originally published in Keke Magazine, of which she is the Managing Editor. Focused on on female empowerment and representation, Keke offers unfiltered, honest reflections of women’s lives and seeks to challenge the stereotypes girls and women face. Park encourages members of the larger Newark Academy community to submit editorials, interviews, art, and articles to: kekemagazine.com/submit.
On Being a First Generation Korean American Woman
by Antonia Park
I think that every Asian American has that childhood story where they brought their mom’s cooking to school and everyone laughed and ran away. For me, growing up Korean American was crying every Saturday begging my mom to let me skip Korean school, where I was 9 and being bullied by kindergarteners in words I couldn’t even comprehend. It was celebrating the Korean New Year on January 1st with ttok bokee, bowing for money from my elders, and immensely competitive games of yute (a traditional New Year’s Korean game, similar to Sorry, but better). It was reminding everyone to take their shoes off inside my house, and worrying if my white friends would be willing to eat Korean food for dinner. It was having a rice cooker that’s always full and talks to us in Korean.
I feel like every Asian American also goes through that stage of childhood where they reject their parents’ culture and try to become “truly American.” Wanting Lunchables instead of homemade dumplings, a classic American name, just to be like the other kids in any way possible. For a while, I refused to tell people about my Korean middle name, Nabi, meaning butterfly. It wasn’t even really that I was embarrassed by it, or that I resented my parents for giving me it, it was more that I felt like people not knowing about that part of me gave me some sort of strange power over them.
Enjoy this wonderful sampling from the 2017-2018 repertoires of Newark Academy’s select chorale ensembles Academy Voices and the Women’s Choir, including a solo by Christine Pan ’18, directed by Choral Director Viraj Lal.
Arr. Hristo Todorov
Composer – Eric Whitacre
Can’t Help Falling In Love With You
Soloist – Christine Pan ’18
“Hero to Three” by Ava Sharahy ’20 earned a 2017 Scholastic National Silver Medal in Flash Fiction. In 2018 Ava earned a National Gold Medal in Poetry for her poem, “M,” awarded at a Carnegie Hall ceremony on June 2018. Of nearly 350,000 Scholastic entries per year, less than 1% earn National Medals. Enjoy this work by Ava.
Hero to Three
In a forgotten corner of Kazakhstan lived a slice of Ukraine’s outcasts. They all escaped death by gunfire or hanging or imprisonment, only through cramming on a boat to what seemed to be safety. The children never questioned why they were living in secrecy, or why the friends and family that couldn’t make it to the boat never visited. A piece of home was created only through the memories of a past life, when being hunted down like animals was unheard of.
Only a six-year old boy named Shmul questioned this, asking his mother once why they couldn’t go back to Odessa to uncles and aunts and Papa. Sighing, she would just knead the bread for dinner, letting his words fly through her ears. She wondered, though guiltily, why couldn’t Shmul be more like the neighborhood boys: chasing after birds on the street instead of reading whatever the he could get his hands on, standing pale and sickly next to everyone else. It was only when Shmul was about to leave, defeated, she answered with looking at him:
“We’re safe here, Shmul. Unless you want to be hung up on a string like Uncle Abe and Aunt Annuskha back home.” Continue reading
These masterful ceramic pieces by Phillip Kim ’20 lit up the Newark Academy David Teiger Art Gallery in Spring 2018.
“The vessels shown are ones I made with the intention of creating a more toned down and minimalist aesthetic, where I usually just like to use subdued colors and more simple shapes. The medium which I have been working with is porcelain clay, which is a type of clay that has a really nice off-white color when fired, which is why I’ve been using it to fit with my theme of quieter colors. The bowl and the larger piece/vase were both made by the potters wheel, and they were both glazed by using a low fire clear glaze, which is supposed to be translucent and brings out the natural color of the clay body when fired. In addition to the clear glaze, I used an underglaze pencil (used underneath the clear glaze) on the bowl to create the lines seen on the underside of the bowl.” ~ Phillip Kim ’20
Directed by Newark Academy Choral Director Viraj Lal, LumeNAtion competed in the International Championship of HS A cappella (ICHSA) for their 3rd time last year. They placed 1st place at their Quarterfinal and took 4th place at the Mid-Atlantic Semifinal — Sammi Powell ‘19 won an outstanding soloist for her performance of Castle at both the Quarter and Semi-finals.
LumeNAtion’s 2017-2018 ICHSA competition set:
Originally by Halsey
Soloist – Sammi Powell ’19
Vocal percussion – Spencer Wang ’19
Arranger – Jack Bender
“The Night We Met”
Originally by Lord Huron
Soloists – Jake McEvoy ’18 with Roman Wright ’19 and Mikey Marcus ’21
Vocal percussion – Spencer Wang ’19
Arranger – Jack Bender
Originally by Kesha
Soloist – Neha Madalli -19
Vocal percussion – Spencer Wang ’19
Arranger – Jack Bender
“Summer’s lease hath all too short a date.” – Shakespeare
Stop motion video shot and edited by James Worrell.
Music : Coumba by Orchestra Baobab off the album Pirate’s Choice
Newark Academy’s Photography and Digital Media teacher, James Worrell, is a professional photographer specializing in commercial and conceptual work. He works out of his studio in New Jersey and rents space from Go Studios in NYC. He tells his students that one benefit of technology is the ability to be mobile and shoot anywhere, an advantage he demonstrates by taking them on dynamic photography field trips to NYC and elsewhere. You can find more of his work at: www.JamesWorrell.net.
Two photographs by Zoe Ades ’18, “In the Old City” and “Everyday Childhood,” earned Scholastic Art & Writing regional Gold and Silver Keys respectively.
This essay written by Newark Academy faculty member Reyther Ortega of the Language Department was presented at a May 2016 graduate student panel at Montclair State University where she studied in the Department of Spanish and Italian. Enjoy this thought-provoking inquiry.
Writing the Wardrobe, Fashioning the Text:
A Study of the Armor in Don Quixote
In reading Don Quixote, one cannot help noting the extensive description Cervantes gives of his characters’ attire. Cervantes enriches the narrative with minute details about fabrics, embroidery, decorations, threads, and accessories. He was fascinated by the idea of playing with the various narrative possibilities implicit in dressing and undressing a character.
Many studies have sought to interpret how Cervantes plays with wardrobe in the novel. Wardrobe is an expression of identity, a reflection of social class, and a code that others interpret and process in order to categorize an individual. Everything in Don Quixote is complex, with many layers of meaning, so it may be suggested that Cervantes uses these concepts about fashion, costume, and identity to play with them, to alter them, to manipulate them, and to create diverse connotations.
This paper will take up an idea that Barthes developed in The Fashion System: given that it is a written text, it is not actual clothing that one is analyzing, but rather written clothing, or even described clothing, as he explains: “In literature, description is to bear upon a hidden object (whether real or imaginary): it must make that object exist” (12). Unlike actual clothing, written clothing has no practical function, as it is a representation meant to produce meaning: “Real clothing is burdened with practical considerations (protection, modesty, adornment); these finalities disappear from “represented” clothing, [which now serves] to signify protection, modesty, adornment” (Barthes 8). Of interest here is the concept of freedom that Barthes suggests by its status as written and not real clothing; in literature, the writer has unlimited freedom to play with the possibilities of clothing, which is exactly what Cervantes does. Continue reading
Violinist Rebecca Slater ’18 earned a 2018 Governor’s Award in Arts Education to be presented at an award ceremony and performance at the Patriots Theatre at the War Memorial in Trenton on May 22, 2018. Rebecca is being recognized for her violin performance in the NJ All-State Orchestra. Rebecca also won an audition to Concertmaster in the All Eastern Orchestra. With the highest score among musicians from 11 states, she was First Chair when performing with this elite Orchestra in April 2017 in Atlantic City. Previously she was accepted into the 2017 New Jersey All State High School Orchestra and served as Concertmaster. Rebecca was also one of three Upper School violinists accepted into the New Jersey Music Educators Association All-State Orchestra. To qualify for the All-State audition, she had to audition for, be accepted into, and perform with the North Jersey Regional Orchestra. Rebecca performed at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City during the NJEA Convention and at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark. This prestigious ensemble was comprised of New Jersey’s top high school musicians. Enjoy Rebecca’s award-winning performance of Partita No. 2 Allemande by Bach.
“Hotel Lobbies,” a short story by Samantha Parelli ’21 earned a 2018 Governor’s Award in Arts Education to be presented at an award ceremony and performance at the Patriots Theatre at the War Memorial in Trenton on May 22, 2018. Samantha is being recognized for winning the Jersey Shorts Flash Fiction Contest sponsored by the Writer’s Theatre of New Jersey, a statewide prose-writing contest for students in grades 9-12. This year’s prompt was to write a flash fiction piece in 1,500 words or less. Samantha’s piece was selected by professional writers based on the following criteria: voice, originality, authenticity, sophistication, craft, intention and successful execution. Enjoy this wonderful story.
I’ve become quite acquainted with hotel lobbies. For the droves of travelers, bearing department store suitcases of plastic veneer, this would have been a self-satiating realization. The possession of a suitcase was what I initially believed to be the cause of my animosity toward such lobbies, but I now understand that this theory was fundamentally incorrect. A suitcase, even the turquoise one that was the object of my childhood infatuation, would have only sat as a dead weight at my feet. My mother would have dragged me across one floor or the other, and invisible claws would have left prominent scratches along its gleaming sides. And I would have cried. Just like everything I had every wanted, tangible achievement was bound to ruin it. In hindsight, the suitcase was one of many things that did not matter, yet it is inevitably featured in the dimly-lit tape of hotel lobbies that seems to always be on repeat. I see this sequence of events over and over again, and trademark decorations of the 70s flash behind my eyelids in a display of wasted extravagance. I search for it, search for the “why,” the “how,” and ultimately the “why” once more. I search for a meaning that constantly eludes me, but there are so many hotel lobbies that they all feel like surreal extensions of my imagination. Continue reading
A fall 2017 Newark Academy exhibit by artists Irene and Paul Aspell incorporated both their sensibilities, combining Paul’s ceramic plates and Irene’s paintings. The artists have been married for 35 years.
Paul Aspell, who taught at Newark Academy for 16 years, specializes in stoneware pottery. He describes his current work in ceramics as a continuing investigation of texture and form. His training includes a B.A in Art Education and an M.A. in Ceramics. He also studied with talented potters at workshops at Haystack Mountain School of Crafts in Maine and the Peter’s Valley School of Craft in New Jersey,
Many of Irene Aspell’s paintings, which include flora and fauna, draw from her experience as an organic gardener. Irene earned her B.F.A. in Designer Crafts.
The Newark Academy gallery hosts the Aspells’ work every other year, including a 2015 exhibition by Paul, Plates and Platters, and a joint 2013 exhibition, A Marriage of Materials. According to Paul, “The process of making art is evolutionary. The inspiration I receive from creating one piece is infused into the next.”
After Paul retired from teaching in 2002, the couple moved to the Maryland shore, where they have a studio and show their work locally. You can follow Paul’s latest work on Instagram.
“M” by Ava Sharahy ’20 earned a Scholastic Art & Writing Awards National Gold Medal in Poetry awarded at Carnegie Hall in June 2018. In 2017 Ava earned a National Silver Medal in Flash Fiction for her story, “Hero to Three.” She has also earned numerous regional Gold and Silver Keys. Of about 350,000 Scholastic entries, less than 1% earned National Medals.
blue veins intrude the faint ink of a stick-and-poke
dying it navy:
an “M” on the forearm, etched in chicken scrawl
that only a child could stab in
(not even his initials, you know
because they said his real name was too Jew-y)
with a stick sharpened on a rock and the last of their pen ink
he was inked only at nine
skin tender, he was a bird plucked of feathers, ready
for its head to be chopped
(he figured he’d be liked more, i guess, if he allowed
his peers to pierce him)
his mom cried when she saw his arm, saying he wouldn’t
be buried with the rest of the family
he told me he was confused then, because when you’re nine
death is just what adults deal with
(he’s eighty now, and i can hear him bartering with God:
he doesn’t wanna hurt Grandma if he’s not in heaven)
I Don’t Need a Roof
“We educators like to encourage our students to step out of their comfort zone. This, like most things in life, is something that is easier said than done. I believe that one can only inspire a growth-mindset if and when one approaches learning and teaching with that mentality. I also believe that being a teacher is being a perpetual learner, which is why, in order to model stepping out of my own comfort zone, and what it means to grow and learn from that discomfort, this winter I accepted the invitation from Choral Director Viraj Lal to join the pit band for Newark Academy’s Spring 2018 production of the musical “Big Fish.” (What was I thinking?! No. Really. What. Was. I. Thinking.) That was the first time I ever had to follow a conductor. In fact, I read music, but I couldn’t sight-read before the show. (Whether I can sight-read now is somewhat debatable.)
“The experience was exhilarating, humbling, terrifying, and a joy. I went from a small pond directly to open water, to swim with the Big Fish, which, as you may recall, was the name of the show. Making mistakes throughout the rehearsals gave me an opportunity to practice what I so wholeheartedly preach: make mistakes, make new mistakes, make better mistakes: learn from them!
“The music of Big Fish is really gorgeous. That explains why I continued to hum the tunes while I waited for the spring to arrive in March (#LOL)… It also explains why I recently invited Claire Dempsey, ’18 to perform “I Don’t Need a Roof,” her signature song as Sandra Bloom, one of the the play’s leads.
“Music and Lyrics are by Andrew Lippa. The video was recorded by Ellie Thomas ’20. And the stage was the lounge outside Newark Academy’s Kaltenbacher Hall… which, thankfully, does have a roof.”~ Alexis Romay, Language Department
This poem was part of a poetry portfolio by Ezra Lebovitz ’18 that earned a Scholastic National Gold Medal, to be awarded at a Carnegie Hall ceremony in June 2018. Other poems in his collection included “Cracking My Knuckles in Public” and “The Grass Enters.” Additional awards earned by Ezra include a 2017 NJ Youth Poet Laureate Judge’s Choice Award, 3rd Place in the Johns Hopkins Creative Minds Short Fiction Contest, and a NJCTE Bronze Medal for Poetry. Ezra was invited to recite his poetry at the Dodge Poetry Festival at NJPAC in October 2017.
“Champagne” by Ezra Lebovitz
Mango skins in the light:
there’s a poem.
Touch them gentle and pass them over,
scrawl them down in sweetness.
At home, my mother eats mangoes whole: that’s a verse,
yellow and shining like an open eye.
Tender and raw in her hands, try to understand:
this is not my poem. I don’t own this:
all I have is aftertaste and tongue.
A knife drowning in yellow: there’s something.
Something: another way not to speak.
Here’s the story where I pawn off raspberries and gold. Here’s the story
where everything rots but nothing fades away, and here’s the story
where everyone sings and no one goes hungry.
Here’s the epic: where a sliver of fruit
is still enough to sing about.
“Miles and the Birds,” by Gillian Cohen ’20 earned a 2018 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards National Gold Medal for Photography. Gillian will be honored at an award ceremony at Carnegie Hall in June. Brava, Gillian!
“Trust No One,” a play by Gabrielle Poisson ’17, won the 34th NJ Playwrights Festival annual high school contest and was staged by professional actors during the Playwrights Festival at the Mayo Performing Arts Center in Morristown. In preparation for the performance, Gabi worked with professional dramaturges, directors and actors from Writers Theatre of NJ. As a result of this accomplishment, Gabi received a Governor’s Awards in Arts Education as well as membership in the Dramatists Guild of America. Gabi previously won this contest in 2015 for her play “Worn Thin.” Enjoy!
TRUST NO ONE by Gabrielle Poisson
CECELIA, 13. Precocious. Wildly dramatic. Self-assured and trusting. She is looking anywhere she can for a parent.
MICKEY, 20’s. Handsome. Oddly charming. Confusingly frightening.
(Lights up on a nearly empty diner very late in the night. There is a noisy thunderstorm outside. Sounds of the highway play occasionally from offstage. There is a counter center stage with several stools in front of it. There are several booths on both sides of the counter. There is a door on the back wall that leads offstage. There is shattered glass and broken coke bottles on the ground. There is another door stage right leading to the closet. MICKEY, dressed in a full suit, is curled up sleeping in a booth at the far corner of the restaurant. There is an uneaten burger and fries on the table in front of him. CECELIA enters the diner. She sees no one is there)
Hello? Anybody here?
(No response. She does not notice MICKEY. She heads towards the door upstage)
(MICKEY wakes up. He sees her heading back)
Don’t go back there
Get away from there!
Who are you?
Who am I? Who are you?
I’m Cecelia. Do you work here?
(Casual now, MICKEY moves to clean up the glass)
Don’t come closer!
(MICKEY continues moving)
I said, don’t come closer!
Broken glass. Don’t want you to cut yourself. What, do you think I’m gonna hurt you? Continue reading
The following images, a sample of those currently on display in the Newark Academy dining hall, were taken by Upper School Digital Photography students in response to two challenges, described below, crafted by Photography and Digital Arts teacher James Worrell. Enjoy a full digital album of the photos by clicking the links below.
The Edward Weston Challenge
Edward Weston, (March 24, 1886 – January 1, 1958) is considered one of the most innovative and influential 20th century American photographers. In 1937 he was the first photographer to receive a Guggenheim Fellowship, and over the next two years he produced nearly 1,400 negatives using us 8×10 view camera. A first edition of one of his iconic images, “Pepper #30,” sold at Sotheby’s for $341,000 in 2014. Mr. Worrell’s challenge to his students was to make a hero out of fruit and vegetables, to take them out of context and elicit emotion. He encouraged his students to transform the ordinary into something spectacular and meaningful. See the evocative results here.
Narrative Photography Challenge
The second challenge was to use multiple images (5 to 10) to tell a story. Students picked a recipe, photographed the steps, and put the finished images into an online Adobe Spark Page layout. Food is a theme that unites all people, a source of joy that brings families together. Enjoy more of these photographs here, and feel free to try out the recipes!
James Worrell’s new challenge for these talented Digital Photography students is to put multiple images together in a slideshow/video with music to illustrate a day in their lives. Stay tuned!
A film by Language Department Faculty Reyther Ortega
Venezuela, 2003, 14 min. 35 mm
“When you grow up in Latin America, magical realism is part of your daily life. You read it in school, of course, but a ghost that comes back, a woman so beautiful who goes to heaven and a grandma so small she fits in a shoebox are also stories we tell everyday and are part of our daily life. Cuban writer Alejo Carpentier said this is the effect of the mix of mythologies in the territory (Pre-Hispanic, Christian and African) and that the concept of a marvelous reality, often sought by Europeans, is inherent to Latin America.
I wrote this story in Caracas, a big city totally different from what you see here. I knew somewhere in Venezuela I would find the landscape and the faces I envisioned. Driving about six hours, we got to Paraguaná, a desert peninsula that turned out to be the perfect location. Working with the people from the town was wonderful; all the actors were from the town and none were professional actors. It looks like a big production, but it was done with more passion than money. Yes, we went house by house asking people to lend us any baskets –and goats– they may have.
I edited miles away, in New York City, with one of my classmates from NYU. My biggest learning experience with this film was how things you write that seem to work quite well on paper or as “raw” material, well, they don’t quite work once you put them together. So we re-wrote the ending in the editing room.
I came back to Paraguaná two years later, with the film completed. I had screened it in 33 film festivals around the world and won awards in Iran, New York, Cleveland and Caracas. The townspeople loved it, and we got to share memories and stories from the long hours of filming. That was a truly magical day, but luckily for me, it was real.” ~ Reyther Ortega
Enjoy this fabulous rendition of “Seven Steps to Heaven” by Miles Davis and Victor Feldman performed by a jazz quartet of Vikram Bala ’20 on bass, Teddy McGraw ’20 on drums, Luca Moretti ’20 on piano, and Newark Academy Jazz Director Julius Tolentino on alto saxophone.
This short story by Young Se Choi ’18 was selected by the Susquehanna University Annual High School Writing Contest and published in their literary magazine, THE APPRENTICE WRITER, Vol. 35, Fall 2017.
“Sunny” by Young Se Choi
Upper Eastside. Carnegie Hill. This was the New York City she had always dreamed of. Woody Allen’s New York City. Perfect for taking an afternoon stroll on an Autumn afternoon New York City. Sinatra’s glamorous New York City.
Not her New York City though. Hers was 40 minutes by bus along Astoria Boulevard in Flushing, Queens amongst the karaoke rooms, Korean barbecue restaurants and Soju dens. It was time to get back to reality now Sunny. Back to 143 E. 88th Street.139. 141. 143. Sunny faced the lovely brownstone town house and checked her watch. 7:55 AM. Good timing as usual. She walked up the stairs and rang the bell. A few minutes stretched out, almost on the cusp of discomfort, when the door creaked open to reveal Mrs. Wells, a woman in her late thirties wearing a loose gray turtleneck and trumpet-like black pants that accentuated her long neck and legs respectively.
“You must be Sunny.”
Inside, a chandelier at the center of the room cast a warm light that rippled outwards. On each end, a spiraling staircase climbed up the walls like ivy. As Sunny tilted her head to look up, up, and up at the ceiling, she heard the sexy George Gershwin clarinet followed by the climax of horns and cymbals. This would be the only time in her life when reality far exceeded movie make believe. On the table, there was a series of family pictures in minimalist wooden frames. She couldn’t digest each one, but the black and white photo of a younger Mrs. Wells with a head full of hair Mr. Wells posing with their young son and infant daughter filled Sunny’s heart with an un-explainable romance. Continue reading
The following raku pottery pieces were created by the 2017 Art of Ceramic Raku Firing June Term class taught by Arts Department Chair Elaine Brodie. The course offers students an opportunity to actively manipulate work in the final stage of the ceramic process: the firing. Participants learn about the techniques and procedures developed by 16th Century Japanese potters through independent research, slide presentations and demonstrations. Raku is an exciting process with its spontaneous immediacy and its delicate blend of control and experimentation. Students in the 2017 class learned by creating hand built and thrown pieces using a special clay body and glazes. The pieces below were heated in an outdoor kiln in a rapid firing cycle, the pots being placed into and removed from the kiln at or near the optimum firing temperature with metal tongs. As demonstrated in this video created by MiB Mediaworks, the hot pieces were then placed into combustible materials in order to alter and enhance the surface.
Enjoy these lovely Raku ceramic pieces:
2017 Fall Dance Concert
Four years ago, Mr. Tolentino and I embarked on our first attempt to have an entire dance concert played by Chameleon, Newark Academy’s award winning jazz band. We found it so rewarding professionally to challenge each other and collaborate artistically, and the students benefited from working together and learning about how to dance to live music and play live for dancers. We decided after that show that every two years we would venture this great undertaking, so that all students coming through the dance program and all members of Chameleon would have the opportunity to participate in this unique experience at least once. Two years ago, we titled the show “Take 2” and this year we were looking for a good name with “3.” Many thanks to Ilan Brauns who came up with the title: a perfect fit for Mr. T and I who are both big basketball fans! What we love about this collaboration is that it challenges us all in the best way. It’s everything we tell the students we want them to do in their lives: take healthy risks, be generous with their time and talent, work well with others, and pursue their passions. I am ever grateful to be at NA where the arts are celebrated, and to have colleagues like Mr. Tolentino who are so passionate and talented, and who relish the chance to try difficult and rewarding projects. As I have told my students: most professional dancers today do not get the luxury of live music, and most students who perform with live musicians do not get the honor of having music played by students as serious, talented, and generous as NA’s Chameleon. This year, in addition to featuring Chameleon’s very own jazz singer, Sammi Powell, on several tunes, we will feature two other amazing vocalists who have graced the NA stage with their amazing talent in musicals and in the choral program. A big thank you to Claire Dempsey and Jake McEvoy for their contributions to this collaboration. Thank YOU for supporting the arts at NA, and please come back for our spring dance concert on Thursday, May 24th, for a whole new dance experience.
~ Yvette Luxenberg, Dance Director
The following members of the NA photography class led by Mr. Worrell and the film class led by Mr. Yow took the pre-show photographs and videos of the advanced/IB dance class during our field trip to NYC: Ian Agkpo, Tiffany Agkpo, Ryan Cheung, Kayla Cohen, Rashad Freeman, Pierce Henderson, Roshan Idnani, Taran Idnani, Annika Inampudi, Jacqueline Rodriguez, Molly Ryan, Kris Sethi, Benjamin Tolpa, Michael Usatine, Nico Bickel, Darren Cao, Jack Cleeve, Evan DeVirgilio, Andrew Pulver, Thomas Skorka.
Music: Stevie Wonder
Vocals: Sammi Powell
Choreography: Yvette Luxenberg and dancers
Dancers: Zoe Ades, Aryana Aziz, Anabel Carroll, Jonathan Charette, Stephanie Do, Lauren Dougherty, Erica Edman, Sophie Gilbert, Julie Katz, Sophia Ludtke, Kayla MacKay, Summer Peace, Gianna Porcek, Neha Rodricks, Jada Smith, Jacqueline Taylor
Aint Got Nothing But the Blues
Music: Duke Ellington
Vocals: Sammi Powell
Soloists: Michelle Lee, Charles Pan, Reid Christmann
Choreography: Yvette Luxenberg and dancers
Dancers: Elizabeth Hawk, Maddie Wolf
Crazy in Love
Music: Beyoncé, Jay Z, Rich Harrison, Eugene Record
Vocals: Sammi Powell
Soloist: Cosimo Fabrizio
Choreography: Yvette Luxenberg and dancers
Dancers: Kiki Afolabi, Nicholas Aloupis, Molly Breckman, Kaitlyn Chee, Jonathan Eichler, Nitya Gupta, Lauren James, Joshua Jamurath, Elena Koestel, Charles Kunzweiler, Jasper Lee, Pranay Maddali, Eleni Morin, David Rodin, Vyom Singh, Aidan Troy, Colin Tsay, Claire Waskow, Ada Wright
Orange Colored Sky
Music: Milton DeLugg and Willie Stein
Vocals: Claire Dempsey
Choreography: Yvette Luxenberg and dancers
Dancers: Zoe Ades, Aryana Aziz, Anabel Carroll, Jonathan Charette, Stephanie Do, Lauren Dougherty, Erica Edman, Sophie Gilbert, Julie Katz, Sophia Ludtke, Kayla MacKay, Summer Peace, Gianna Porcek, Neha Rodricks, Jada Smith, Jacqueline Taylor
I Feel Good
Music: James Brown
Vocals: Jake McEvoy
Soloist: Dean Tan, Charles Pan
Choreography: Yvette Luxenberg and dancers
Dancers: Ilan Brauns, Chase Clarke, Jaden Craig, Meredith Janay, Amaani Jetley, Tess Kesler, Nicolas Kotzen, Logan Pak, Kaya Patel, Katie Powers, Meghan Shah, Leah Shiff, Asha Toolsidas, Max Weidhorn, Andrew Zhang
Don’t Let it Happen Here
Music: Charles Mingus
Vocals: Sammi Powell
Soloist: Allen Zhu
Choreography: Yvette Luxenberg and dancers
Dancers: Elizabeth Hawk, Dafne Hernandez, Molly Lindstrom, Jordan McCray-Robinson, Jamie Paradis, Joia Simmons, Lena Skagerlind, Maddie Wolf
Music: Lionel Hampton
Soloist: Allen Zhu
Choreography: Yvette Luxenberg and dancers
Dancers: Damian Correa, Nia Freeman, Shreyas Hariharan, L.J. Hines, Vincent Luo, J.R. Morris, Jamie Shen, Jacob Tolentino, Julia Zheng, and the entire cast
Directed by: Yvette Luxenberg
Chameleon Director: Julius Tolentino
Master Electrician: Joey Yow
Light Design: Yvette Luxenberg
Stage Manager: Durga Srivatsan
Light Board Operator: Margery Leit
Technical Help: Jonathan Charette, Jack DeVirgilio, Dylan Gawron, Katie Kim, Sydney Loh, Kira Lu, Kayla MacKay, Summer Peace, Durga Srivatsan,
Program Photo: Rashad Freeman
Emcee: Griffin Murphy
Videography: Benjy Berkowitz
Chameleon: Charles Pan, Alan Lin, Sam Pensiero, Allen Zhu, Jacob Amalraj, Ezra Lebovitz, Michelle Lee, Dean Tan, Reid Christmann, Reese Puntas, Oliver Adelson, Ben Chaddah, Sid Tumu, Jacob Tolentino, Shivan Kundra, Ayush Ghose, Danny Laks, Tyler Kung, Andrew Hwang, Reshma Kopparapu, Luca Moretti, Cosimo Fabrizio, Vikram Bala, Giulia Socolof, Teddy McGraw, Sammi Powell.
The Newark Academy Jazz Band “Chameleon” is one of a dozen instrumental groups offered at the Academy. The band has been involved in state and national competitions, coming in First Place in New Jersey’s State Jazz Band Competition the last eight years in a row. On a national level the big band has been a finalist in the prestigious Essentially Ellington Festival and Competition in 2012, 2015, and 2017 and has won the Mingus Competition two times. Members of the big band are also involved in other auditioned groups such as Jazz House Kids, Jazz for Teens, Jazz Regions, Jazz All States and the Grammy Band.
Special thanks to: Arts Department Chair Elaine Brodie, the fantastic tech crew, “Arts Booster Parents,” especially Lori Dougherty, Blackie Parlin and Scott Johnson for beautiful photographs, Julius Tolentino, James Worrell, Joey Yow, Viraj Lal, and my family.
These lovely watercolors, “Birch Trees in the Snow” were created in Spring 2017 by Ms. Brodie’s 8th grade art class, including Tiffany Agkpo, Jack Cleeve, Benjamin Cole, Erica Edman, Anant Gupta, Roshan Idnani, Julia Schwed and Alexandra Speck. They were displayed in the Middle School lobby.
Jazz trombonist and Chameleon member Reid Christmann ’18 performed as part of the 2017 GRAMMY Big Band, an 18-piece big band comprised of some of the most talented high school jazz musicians in the country. The GRAMMY Foundation paid all expenses for Reid’s trip to Los Angeles, where he performed with GRAMMY winners and nominees at jazz venues and GRAMMY Week events, including the official Post-GRAMMY Celebration. He also recorded an album at the famous Capitol Records and attended the GRAMMY Awards. He was selected out of hundreds of applicants by submitting a YouTube audition. In addition, Reid won Honorable Mention for Trombone at the 2017 Essentially Ellington Competition. In the below video, Justin DiCioccio leads the GRAMMY band in a performance of Don Menza’s “Groovin’ Hard” at the Grammy Foundation in Santa Monica, California.
This story by Betsy Zaubler ’17 won the prose category of Susquehanna University’s 35th Annual High School Writing Competition and was featured in Vol. 35, the Fall 2017 edition of THE APPRENTICE WRITER. Dr. Glen Retief, Director of the Writers Institute, selected the piece and commented: “The dialogic form was innovative, and the underlying emotional story sneaks up on the reader.”
TEXTS FROM SPAIN by Betsy Zaubler ’17
Remember when you showed me Las Meninas for the first time? Well, I saw it today. I guess I didn’t need to tell you that, but I thought you’d want to know. Hope the internship is going well. Oh and this is Lucy. I got a Spanish number.
I wish you could’ve seen Las Meninas. Pictures don’t do it justice. But anyways, I’m heading to Barcelona tomorrow, and I thought you’d want to know because you always told me you really wanted to go to Barcelona, so I’ll bring you back something, if you want. So yeah, text back. Or not, whatever works.
I went to the Reina Sofia today but the Guernica was too crowded. So I waited in a cafe until the museum was about to close, and oh my God, Andrew. I’ve written hundreds of papers on it and I kept thinking about how we had that night class, and how Professor Grayson turned off the lights and it was so dark we couldn’t remember who was sitting next us. And then first all you could see was the white and then claws coming out of the door and then the faces. The faces.
I was supposed to go to France today. I decided to stay in Spain.
Delivered Continue reading
The Dance, Photography & Film classes, led by Yvette Luxenberg, James Worrell and Joey Yow, collaborated on an annual New York City adventure inspired by the work of photographer Jordan Matter. This year’s trip included a visit from Jordan Matter himself.
“After eight years of doing a collaborative NYC field trip with photography, film and dance students based on the work of photographer Jordan Matter, the man himself got wind of our trip and stopped by. He was super passionate and just as crazy as he is in his videos–he’ll do anything to get a great shot! His New York Times bestselling book, “Dancers Among Us,” is all about dancers interacting in the world, telling stories through amazing movements and feats of athleticism, flexibility, and artistry. He said he’d work with us for a few minutes, but ended up leading the dancers and photography students for over an hour!” ~ Yvette Luxenberg, Newark Academy Dance Director
“I loved the idea of this field trip so enthusiastically that I started getting the kids ready from day one. I researched Jordan Matter’s work and found it to be wonderful and full of energy, humor and technical mastery. I happen to know another amazing dance photographer, the husband and wife team of Ken Browar and Deborah Ory, the NYC Dance Project, and told them about the field trip. Apparently they are good friends with Jordan and before I knew it Jordan was calling to ask if he could work with the kids. I said yes of course, not sure he would show up, as this was literally the day before. He not only showed up, but generously workshopped three scenarios with the students. This experience gave them the opportunity to practice specific aspects of photography in a unique setting while collaborating with others. A win-win! I’m grateful to Jordan Matter for his time and to Yvette Luxenberg for masterminding the trip.” ~ James Worrell, Photography & Digital Arts Faculty
Violinist Rebecca Slater ’18 won an audition to Concertmaster in the All Eastern Orchestra. With the highest score among musicians from 11 states, she was First Chair when performing with this elite Orchestra in April in Atlantic City. Previously she was accepted into the 2017 New Jersey All State High School Orchestra and served as Concertmaster. Rebecca was also one of three Upper School violinists accepted into the New Jersey Music Educators Association All-State Orchestra. To qualify for the All-State audition, she had to audition for, be accepted into, and perform with the North Jersey Regional Orchestra.
This month Rebecca, along with Sophia Chen ’20, performed at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City during the NJEA Convention as well as at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark. This prestigious ensemble was comprised of New Jersey’s top high school musicians.
Here Rebecca performs Violin Concerto in A Minor, Op. 35 Mvt. 1 by Dvorak.
Newark Academy’s Writing, Art & Music blog, affectionately known as WAM, is a place for students, alumni, teachers, staff and visiting artists to share creative work with the goal of supporting and encouraging artistic pursuits, large and small. We feature poetry, fiction, nonfiction, visual art, photography, video, music, theater, dance and screen performances.
This 10-minute montage offers a glimpse of some of the hundreds of posts shared to date. The written work in the video flashes by too quickly to read, but will give an impression of the blog’s offerings. Also included in the video are musical excerpts, artwork, and two mini-films.
Enjoy the blog, leave comments, and submit your own creative endeavors to firstname.lastname@example.org. All are welcome.
The Newark Academy Women’s Choir, directed by Viraj Lal, performed “Barso Re” composed by A.R. Rahman, arr. by Ethan Sperry, at the Spring Choral Concert on May 24th, 2017. The accompanying dance, directed by Yvette Luxenberg, was choreographed by Anisha Mittal ’17 and Megha Gupta ’17 and performed by Newark Academy dancers. Enjoy this vibrant performance!
This beautiful series of images entitled “Light Falling on Horses” is the creation of longtime Newark Academy beloved art teacher and graphic designer Debby Dixler, who recently moved to Los Angeles. She writes, “Driving cross country has always been a dream of mine. With the help of Google maps and a fantastic app called BringFido, I spent many happy hours planning my route. George is my 11 year old golden retriever who has been with me through the most difficult as well as some of the most joyous years of my life. I call him ‘my main man.’ He loves being in the car. I knew he would make a most excellent travel buddy.” Check out images from Ms. Dixler’s trip on her website, D2Design.
Alumnus Coleman Hughes ’14, all around musician, jazz trombonist, and former member of the Newark Academy Jazz Band Chameleon, has earned many accolades. He was a three-time participant in the GRAMMY Jazz Ensemble and the Monterey Next Generation Jazz Orchestra, both elite high school all-star bands. He won DownBeat Magazine’s High School Outstanding Soloist award, three consecutive Outstanding Soloist awards at the 2012-2014 Charles Mingus High School Competition, and a 2013 Best Student Arrangement Award as a member of the Jazz House Kids Big Band. At the Essentially Ellington Competitions at Lincoln Center in 2013 and 2014, Coleman additionally won the Ella Fitzgerald Award for the overall Outstanding Soloist each year. Other awards include becoming the first-ever trombonist and jazz scholar-musician to win a Davidson Institute Fellowship for his portfolio, “The Rhythm of Free Expression: Honoring the Great Jazz Masters.” He was a 2014 National Young Arts Finalist where he was granted a Gold Award for Jazz Trombone, and was named a 2014 Presidential Scholar in the Arts. As Presidential Scholar, he cited Newark Academy Jazz Director Julius Tolentino as his most influential teacher. Coleman is currently a Philosophy major at Columbia University, where he blends jazz with hip hop in his ongoing musical journey. Here he performs “Isotope” and “Tin Tin Deo” during National YoungArts Week in Miami.
“The Sound of Winter” by Samantha Kany ’18 won 2nd place in the the Writers’ Slate annual writing contest sponsored by The Writing Conference, Inc. and Honorable Mention in Rider University’s Annual High School Writing Competition.
The Sound of Winter
I used to know a girl, Sofia, who has since moved away from my neighborhood. I was thirteen when we met. Though today I welcome her voice interjecting itself into my thoughts, back then she represented one of my greatest fears. Sofia was nine years old and she had a golden retriever guide dog named Snowflake.
At thirteen, my anxiety had grown severe enough to require medication, which necessitated frequent trips to my psychiatrist, Ellen. She had kind eyes with crinkles around the edges that carved pathways to the sides of her face. She was a friend of my mother’s, and so not only did she give us a reduced rate on our frequent visits, but I also, looking back, am pretty sure that the patient-doctor confidentiality agreement didn’t apply to me. I had a phobia of the dark, and all of its potential implications, but it had usually been an easy fix—a nightlight on all the time and the door wide open. When Sofia moved onto my street, my anxiety became incapacitating. I had a horrific ability to empathize, and to project—both of which Ellen and I tried fervently to get under control—And even just seeing Sofia feel her way around with Snowflake guiding her was enough to send me into a panic attack. Continue reading
“Smile” by Kianni Keys ’19 was one of two plays by Newark Academy students to win the 34th NJ Playwrights Festival annual high school contest. The other winner, “Trust No One,” by Gabrielle Poisson ’17 will appear on WAM later this fall. Both plays were staged by professional actors during the Playwrights Festival at the Mayo Performing Arts Center in Morristown on the 26th of June. In preparation for the performance, Kianni and Gabi worked closely with professional dramaturges, directors and actors from Writers Theatre of NJ. As a result of this accomplishment, Kianni and Gabi received Governor’s Awards in Arts Education at an award ceremony at the War Memorial Theatre in Trenton on May 24th and earned membership in the Dramatists Guild of America. Gabi previously won this contest in 2015 for her play “Worn Thin.” Enjoy this compelling work by Kianni Keys.
Artist Roy Kinzer is exhibiting a body of work at the David Teiger Gallery for Studio Arts at Newark Academy from September 22 – October 24, 2017. A reception at Newark Academy will be held on Thursday, October 5, 2017, from 5:30-7:00 pm. In addition to sharing his work with the Newark Academy Community, Mr. Kinzer has been chosen to be the 2017-18 Artist-in-Residence.
The exhibit, entitled Reservoirs of Possibility, features paintings of fractal landscapes and cityscapes derived from digitally altered topographical maps and satellite images. Upon first approach, the paintings offer striking impressions of aerial views of locations that seem to have atmospheric layers of color and pattern infused. Moving in for a closer look, one discovers a myriad of subtleties and details that both sink back into the landscape and also rise to the surface. The use of collaged maps brings together abstract and representational shapes, and highlights the fractal patterns that surround us, both in nature and man-made.
Kinzer’s Artist Statement below explains how he works in the tradition of the Hudson River School Luminist painters, who used perspective, magnified scale and dramatic lighting to explore the sublime, the feeling of rapture or awe caused by the beauty and terror of nature.
Kinzer has been making and teaching art for more than 30 years. He has an extensive exhibition record and frequently completes commissions for art consultants, corporations and private collectors. He is a past recipient of the prestigious Pollock-Krasner Artist Grant. He holds a Certificate of Art from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and an MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts.
While digital images do not do justice to this luminous work, below is sampling of the paintings currently on exhibit in the David Teiger Gallery for Studio Arts. View more of Kinzer’s work at RoyKinzer.com.
Canoe Brook Reservoir (2017) acrylic and collaged map on aluminum, 48” x 56” is from one of my must recent series Eye of the Drone. With this series I position the viewer lower in the atmosphere. Unlike other series you are acutely aware of the horizon. You share the eye of the drone. Canoe Brook is directly behind Newark Academy.
Glendale Avenue (2017) watercolor and collaged map on aluminum 40” x 48” is from my White Noise series. This references the early developments of “fractal geometry” and self-similar patterns that freely occur in nature. Other series of mine that visually refer to fractals are Fractal Sublime and Urban Self-Similarity. This part of Glendale Avenue is located in downtown Livingston, NJ
North Brother Island (2015) acrylic and collaged map on aluminum, 56” x 48” is from the Manhattan Project. This series are paintings all based on geographic areas around Manhattan. North Brother Island is located in the East River and has a very interesting history.
ROY KINZER ARTIST STATEMENT
My paintings are fractal landscapes and cityscapes derived from digitally altered topographical maps and satellite images. I work in the tradition of the Hudson River School Luminist painters, who used perspective, magnified scale and dramatic lighting to explore the Sublime, the feeling of rapture or awe caused by the beauty and terror of nature. I use Luminist techniques of color and solarization and apply the aesthetics of fractal patterns to simulate a view of earth as taken from a satellite. I believe combining formal and fractal elements creates a contemporary Sublime fitting to our digital society.
I have always been interested in the aesthetic patterns that occur freely in nature and I became aware of fractals and self-similarity through Dr. Richard Taylor’s articles describing Jackson Pollock’s paintings. This led me to “The Fractal Geometry of Nature” by Benoit Mandelbrot. Fractal sets have similar contours when focusing in or zooming out, so a grain of sand can appear to have the same outline as the coastline of a continent.
My work extends this to urban self-similar patterns and shapes that repeat across different scales. Each element holds the same properties as the larger system. Dense areas alternate with empty space. Small networks and clusters have the same outlines as city limits and borders. This feature also allows me to incorporate other elements that interest me, such as collaged maps, to bring together abstract and representational shapes.
I try to create a sense of isolation, fantasy and exaggeration by using an overhead perspective and by disrupting the cityscape with scratch marks, scrape marks and bleached-out light effects. These gestures tear into the repetitive fabric of the urban landscape and eat into the surface like atmospheric disturbances.
I work on many series that invite exploration. Aerial Landscapes; contemporary landscapes experienced through the eye of a satellite. Urban Self Similarity; repetitive patterns that occur in urban planning. White Noise; visual patterns that disrupt sound. The Biennale Series/Axis of Evil; cities that hold major art biennales. The Manhattan Project; areas of NYC infused with history. My process reflects these divergent interests.
Location; location; location, I start with the location. I alter and distort color and scale in Photoshop. Once I’m satisfied with the composition I print a digital image to work from.
The techniques I use are more associated with silkscreen printing which I have training in, than found in fine art. I apply masking tape to the surface of my substrate, which is aluminum composite panel that I prepare to accept acrylic paint or watercolor. I project the image, draw and cut each shape/color. I apply paint with a silkscreen squeegee, remove all the tape and repeat the process. This is done for every shape/color. On the average each painting gets 30 to 40 of these tapings. The finished painting is collaged with roads cut from Road Atlases.
My watercolors receive many layers of an archival spray to protect and free it from being behind glass. My acrylic paintings have multiple layers of acrylic Gels and Mediums and finished with a picture paintings varnish and hand rubbed out to a satin finish.
by Khalil Abdul-Malik, Newark Academy Humanities Faculty
To the People of the State of New York:
Earlier I stated in Federalist No. 54, that “the case of the slaves should be considered a peculiar one.” We had agreed that the negro slave would be regarded as “inhabitants, but as debased by servitude below the equal level of free inhabitants, which regards the SLAVE as divested of two fifths of the MAN”[i] My colleagues proposed this compromise because we felt it was the most just idea. In Federalist No. 54 I point out that the federal Constitution would view slaves in their truest character, which is “in the mixed character of persons and property” because that is how they are in fact viewed in the laws under which they live. [ii] But I also stated that if the laws were to restore the rights which have been taken away, the negroes could no longer be refused an equal share of representation with the other inhabitants” [iii]
But this begs the question: what shall be given to the slaves when the day comes that the laws do change and the rights of the slaves are restored? Will they truly be given an equal share of representation by the federal Constitution? And what will we owe the negro slave when he has been freed from bondage and a life of “mixed character”, humiliation, and degradation? For do we owe a reparation for acting in a derelict, murderous and rapacious manner towards another who now has the full rights of a citizen. The answer is yes!: they are owed reparations. The bible and our own great ancient philosophers, who have assisted in helping us shape this glorious Constitution mandate that reparations will be paid to the negro slaves when the laws change and their rights are restored.
As a slaveholder myself, I deeply understand the incredible wealth that slaves can generate for their owner. Depending on when you visit my plantation [Montpellier] in Virginia, you will see that I control the bodies and souls of hundreds of black negro slaves. These men, women and children are compelled to labor not for themselves but for me, their master. This compelled labor has made my family one of the wealthiest in Virginia. Yet, my slaves share no benefit from the immense wealth that their endless labor in the soil and in the shops on my plantation, brings to my family and I. And not only do I benefit financially from their labor. I also, benefit from knowing that as a free, landowning white man I have a sacred status in this Union’s caste system. This position alone could perpetually enrich my emotional wellbeing even if I were to lose my blessed land and all of my slaves. Continue reading
In addition to earning Scholastic Art & Writing Regional Gold Key recognition, work by Abbey Zhu ’18 has been published in three national print magazines: Susquehanna University’s Apprentice Writer (“Ground Zero” Fall 2016, Vol. 34), Cicada Magazine (“Impediments” September/October 2016 issue) and Teen Ink (“It Can’t Be: a Villanelle” September 2016 issue). Enjoy this beautiful work.
“Ground Zero” after “Departure” by Carolyn Forché
I leave it behind, the roar
of an airplane piercing the sky
echoing into nothingness, a cold
alienation as when land disappears
beneath me and the windows
brush the clouds, where the ghosts
of my past lurk and drift for
a visit. The person sitting
next to me has ear buds
in, and I want to ask
if ghosts listen to music
to hide from their realities
as much as I do mine.
Row after row of straight-
backed seats, luggage stowed
in the overhead, faces that
fade in and out of existence–
I will be a different person
when I land. Here is the soil
of your homeland,
the scent of your best friend’s detergent,
the last breath of goodbye
the only thing you’ll have left.
I am the one you will all
forget, shrinking and shriveling
into a wilted flower, the death
of something already gone. Continue reading
This beautiful artwork by Sheila Vazir ’16 was created for IB Visual Art and exhibited in the Newark Academy McGraw Gallery in April 2016. Enjoy this lovely work.
“In this piece and in general, the lotus often emerges from a clouded pond as a rejuvenating symbol. I hoped to convey this sense of revival by painting the lotus white against a grey pond. I also contrasted my two cultures by portraying the Indian flower against the leaves with Celtic knotting.” Continue reading
Cosimo Fabrizio ’18 and faculty member Alexis Romay enjoyed an impromptu jam session outside Kaltenbacher Hall. A member of Chameleon, Cosimo received an Outstanding Soloist Award at the 2017 Charles Mingus High School Competition and an Outstanding Guitar Award at the 2017 Essentially Ellington High School Jazz Band Competition. In October 2017, Cosimo performed as a sideman for Wynton Marsalis at the Mayo Performing Arts Center in Morristown. As a middle-school student, he was accepted by Julliard to participate in its highly prestigious, competitive Music Advancement Program (MAP) for instrumental instruction.
A note (pun-intended) on “A Day in the Life of a Fool” by Alexis Romay
Aside from Luiz Bonfá’s original, my favorite versions of the song oscillate between the ones recorded by Stan Getz, Vince Guaraldi, Dexter Gordon, and Astrud Gilberto… Now I have to add to that musical constellation the solo performed by Cosimo Fabrizio, ’18, during one of our recent impromptu jamming sessions, in which he delivers one minute and ten seconds of pure enlightenment. (To make it even more extraordinary, I must add that Cosimo had never played the song before that day.)
Every time I sit down to play music with Cosimo, I witness someone performing at his peek, and someone who is growing musically as he plays. The ease with which he approaches any improvisation makes it seem like Cosimo practices as he performs, and viceversa. Give him a guitar and watch the embodiment of the growth mindset that educators like to encourage in their students and amongst themselves.
Jamming with Cosimo is a joy, a challenge, and even a distraction. Let’s face it: how am I supposed to concentrate on the music I have to play when I have him right next to me traveling up and down the guitar neck with such effortlessness and grace?
Alexis Romay of the NA Language Department is the author of the novels Salidas de emergencia and La apertura cubana, and the book of sonnets Los culpables. He has translated into Spanish several young adult novels and picture books. He translated into English the novel North of Hell, by Miguel Correa Mujica.
Author: Luiz Bonfá
Other titles: “Manhã de Carnaval,” “Black Orpheus”
Guitar: Cosimo Fabrizio (melody and solos)
Guitar: Alexis Romay
Newark Academy’s Jazz Band “Chameleon” directed by Julius Tolentino won 4th Place/Honorable Mention at the 22nd Annual Essentially Ellington High School Jazz Band Competition & Festival, which took place at Frederick P. Rose Hall, home of Jazz at Lincoln Center. In addition, individual awards were earned by Reed Christmann, Cosimo Fabrizio, Alan Lin, Teddy McGraw, Shaan Pandiri, Charles Penn, Samantha Powell, and Allen Zhu. (See below for details). Julius Tolentino says, “I couldn’t be prouder of Chameleon’s performance at the 2017 Essentially Ellington Festival. They placed fourth out of the top jazz programs in the nation and earned a Honorable Mention, as well as two Outstanding Section Awards and eight Soloist Awards. They represented our community on a national level with the highest level of musicianship and professionalism.” Enjoy these three excerpts from Chameleon’s spectacular performance!
INTO/JUMP FOR JOY
This 3-minute film by alumnus Brendan James ’14 was filmed for a class he took at Colorado College where he is a Film & New Media Studies major. Enjoy!
This epistolary story by 8th grade student Annika Inampudi ‘21, written as a bonus exercise for English class with Ms. Alexandra Mahoney, won a Scholastic Art & Writing National Gold Medal for Flash Fiction. Annika will be honored at an award ceremony at Carnegie Hall in June 2017. Enjoy this gripping story!
When you read this, I will have transcended from this world onto the next. But I need to share my story with you, for you to share it with generations beyond your own. I wish to create a lasting impact on this world, to make small girls envious of our story, and to make little boys run away in disgust. It is my last wish. Please, go to my study and take the wooden box from the second shelf. Do not open it. Let me tell you our story first.
50 years ago, we were the best love story in the south of France: The elusive foreign girl and the local heartthrob. I was studying medicine in the local University, and his father owned a bakery on the pier. I remember our first ever meeting. I had gone to get a cake for my roommate’s birthday. I walked into the small beachside store, the faint jingle of the door indicating that someone had arrived. He was at the counter, idly pressing buttons on the old cash register. He noticed me and visibly brightened. When he looked up, the thing that most astounded me were his eyes. When you looked into them, the entire world seemed to stop and fall apart. Continue reading
Mel Xiao ’18 was named a 2017 New Jersey Youth Poet Laureate. She received a Governor’s Award and will have five poems printed in a national anthology. In addition, Mel won a 2017 Moving Words Competition, through which her poetry will be turned into a film, as well as a NJCTE 2017 Bronze Medal for Poetry. Mel’s work has been published in The Apprentice Writer, Black Fox Literary Magazine, The Blue Marble Review, and Cicada Magazine. She performed her poetry live at the 2016 Dodge Poetry Festival.
city of lights
i’ve been staring at the same dead bulb on my ceiling
for the past three hours.
the power was cut,
and the wiring is spitting sparks in the rain
on the pavement outside,
hissing underneath the growing sound of sirens.
i can’t see anything beyond my feet.
i like it better this way.
the city is a russian nesting doll,
a body in
a body in
a universe folded upon itself.
looking down the barrel of a gun
is the most powerful place to be.
feel the cold metal under your hands,
focus on the target,
and tighten your grip just after you exhale.
a human body,
opened up for observation.
inside all of us is
and telephone wire
jointed by cable
and roads growing out like
the ambulance showed up at my neighbor’s house today
didn’t bring their sirens with them,
as silent as an angel ought to be,
autumn needle rain falling in the headlights.
my parents went out with raincoats and brave faces,
pushed the trolley in with the emts
and told me not to follow.
from under the trees that looked like veins
dripping water on my head,
i watched as
the white sheet flattened out
the volunteer crossed herself
and the wife covered her face
and the world was dampened,
by last rites.
The Newark Academy Winter Orchestra Concert, directed by Amy Larkey-Emelianoff, took place on Thursday, January 12, 2017 in the Dining Room and included Artist-in-Residence Amadi Azikiwe. Highlights were provided by senior soloists Matthew Melillo and Eric Jacobson. Enjoy listening to this stupendous performance.
Continue reading for program notes and information about the musicians and our Artist-in-Residence. Continue reading
Silvy Zhou ’21 created this fascinating animation on “The Love-Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” by T.S. Eliot for her 8th grade English class with Ms. Alexandra Mahoney. Silvy used more than 1,300+ layers to create the gif.
According to Silvy: “This animation was created based off of “The Love-Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” by T.S Eliot: a fairly pessimistic poem that mentions on the progression of time and the concept of aging. The main focus of this animation is on the line, “I have measured out my life with coffee spoons;”, which puts emphasis on the fact that the narrator has ‘measured out’ each day with brewing and sipping tea. The process seems enjoyable and lighthearted, but is very habitual and, in the narrator’s mind, insignificant. The narrator feels he has wasted his time on things of little significance. The steam from the teacup was inspired by the line, “The yellow fog that rubs its back upon the window panes”. The yellow fog is, again, something that seems beautiful, but it comes and goes, and serves little significance. I chose to animate the fog to mimic the action of a cat, because of the way the fog is personified in the poem: which mimics the agile nature of a cat. A few other details include the reflection in the tea, which shows an aging face, as well as the text on the bottom right corner. The text is taken from “anyone lived in a pretty how town”, by E. E. Cummings, and focuses on the progression of time as well. Continue reading
Senior Kiran Damodaran ’17 earned his 2nd Scholastic Art & Writing Silver Medal in two years, last year for Poetry and this year for his short story, “Carnival Games.” Kiran’s fiction and poetry have been published in Crashtest Magazine, YARN Magazine, Canvas Literary Journal, the Louisville Review, the Edison Literary Review, the Claremont Review, Black Fox Literary Magazine and The Writer’s Slate. He was one of six semi-finalists for the 2016 Scholastic National Student Poet program. Kiran is founder and editor-in-chief of Amber Literary Magazine. About the following short story, he says, “The following piece attempts to tackle the difficult issues surrounding school shootings, including the way in which the shooters are portrayed in the news. The story focuses on the family and friends of the shooter and the lasting impression they are left with.”
“Carnival Games” by Kiran Damodaran
“Just one more game! Please baby, trust me I’ve got this.”
“That’s what you said the last eight times!” I snapped back.
“It’s rigged. You’re not going to—”
“Winner!” the speaker next to me boomed.
“What was that?” he teased, a smile creeping across his mouth.
I tried to look angry, but broke into laughter. He embraced me in a bear hug, his jacket zipper scratching against my ears and his chin resting on my head.
“So which one do you want?” the man behind the table interrupted.
James grinned, looking over at me.
“Which do you want?”
“The panda,” I replied, hugging him.
“The panda,” he repeated to the man behind the table while he pulled me into him.
As I sit in my room hugging that cheap panda (we named it Paul), it’s hard to remember the James from then – the one that held my clammy hand in 90-degree heat and wrapped me in his arms, cocooning my friends’ broken promises. That was the James I loved and knew. Continue reading
“Reserve,” an extraordinary self-portrait in pencil and charcoal by Newark Academy IB artist Ashley Sun ’18 earned a 2017 National Gold Medal for Drawing/Illustration from the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. Bravo, Ashley!
On February 27, 2017 Daniel Ford of the Writer’s Bone podcast interviewed Newark Academy English Department faculty member and author of APRIL & OLIVER Tess Callahan on process, craft, and how her new novel came to her like a fly ball. She also discussed what aspiring writers can glean from the way visual artists learn their craft.
Photo by Brendan Paul James ’14
3D Printing & Technical Drawing is one of many June Term intensive learning courses offered to Newark Academy students in grades 9-11 during the two weeks following Memorial Day. A June Term course does more than simply inform students; it involves them from start to finish. Through hands-on experiences, students grapple with challenging ideas, make connections between concepts and reality, make mistakes, and learn from them. Many courses involve field trips and guest speakers. All June Term courses result in a distinctive final product or project, allowing students to synthesize what they have learned and to put it into practice.
The 3D Printing & Technical Drawing course, taught by Physics teacher Drew Kesler, focuses on using SketchUp and OpenSCAD on laptops to produce three-dimensional models suitable for printing. The drawings below were created by student Matthew Lim and Mr. Kesler. The course is a series of guided practice lessons, nightly homework assignments, independent projects, small group projects, and includes a field trip to the “Grounds for Sculpture” indoor/outdoor museum in Hamilton, New Jersey.
This stunning oil painting by junior Anne Capelli, created in Advanced Art taught by Jay Torson, was inspired by the work of artist Marion Rose.
During the two weeks following Memorial Day, most Newark Academy Upper School students in grades 9-11 enroll in an intensive learning course known as “June Term.”
One such course is the “Art of Raku Firing.”
A June Term course does more than simply inform students; it involves them from start to finish. Through hands-on experiences, students grapple with challenging ideas, make connections between concepts and reality, make mistakes, and learn from them. Many courses involve field trips and guest speakers. All June Term courses result in a distinctive final product or project, allowing students to synthesize what they have learned and to put it into practice.
“The Art of Ceramic Raku Firing” taught by Arts Department Chair Elaine Brodie is a unique experience. According to Ms. Brodie, “Raku is an exciting process with its spontaneous immediacy and its delicate blend of control and experimentation. Students created hand built and thrown pieces using a special clay body and glazes. The work was heated in an outdoor kiln in a rapid firing cycle. The pieces were removed from the kiln as it reached a very high temperature with metal tongs. The hot pieces were then placed into combustible materials in order to alter and enhance the surface.” Enjoy these beautiful ceramics from the 2016 June Term class.
This poem by Mel Xiao ’18 was published in the January 2017 issue of The Blue Marble Review. Mel’s work has also appeared in The Apprentice Writer, Black Fox Literary Magazine and Cicada Magazine. She won a Bronze Medal for Poetry in the NJCTE High School Writing Competition and a Gold Key in Scholastic Art and Writing. She performed her work at the Dodge Poetry Festival at NJPAC in October 2016. When not procrastinating and worrying about upcoming exams, Mel reads, sings, and volunteers in and with her school. (PS: Her favorite ice cream flavor is Ben and Jerry’s “The Tonight Dough with Jimmy Fallon”.)
After I die,
I will wander the world
the way I’ve always wanted to,
see the cherry blossoms in DC
and the broken ground of the Berlin Wall
and the barren earth of the DMZ
where the voices but not the souls of the others gone
I will tire of the earthly things
that tower but do not speak.
Somehow I’ll find my way back home,
where I’m sure my grandmother will be waiting
sunlight warming the joints that no longer ache
watering her aloe plants
and a bowl of my favorite fried rice on the table.
Newark Academy senior and Montclair resident Betsy Zaubler published this essay in the The Montclair Times in December 2016 in support of the Public Library. Betsy has received numerous awards for her writing, including the NJ Young Playwrights Competition, the National Council of Teachers of English Achievement Award for Superior Writing, a Governor’s award in Arts Education and an Honorable Mention in Princeton University’s Ten Minute Play contest. She wrote and directed a play produced by the Studio Players Community Theater in Montclair. Betsy’ prolific writing took root in her life as a reader.
16 Minutes was All it took for Young Reader
Sixteen minutes was all it took. As long as I read over 15 minutes each night, I earned a gold star, so 16 it was. But still, the time moved like rush hour traffic. I was not a natural reader. I read slowly, which frustrated me, especially when my friends finished books in half the time it took me. I was even more frustrated when they could read books that my fourth grade teacher suggested might be too hard.
But I was stubborn. I was determined to read, and do it well. I sat in front of my bookshelf, pulling out everything from Shel Silverstein to JK Rowling to Judy Blume. I waded through page after page, my finger guiding my eyes through worlds of wizards and potions, tweens and turmoil. What had once been a daunting task became easier with each book I read. I found girls like me who could be quiet and shy, yet brave and mischievous. I realized I could be cunning, and a little naive, like Peggy Ann McKay; outspoken like Hermione; resilient like Deenie. The more I saw myself in the characters I encountered, the more I wanted to read. I no longer counted the minutes I read, and when I ran out of books on my shelf, I went to the Montclair Public Library.
I learned to love the library by accident. I participated in the summer reading program, and while the prizes I earned for logging books were enticing, I don’t remember what I won. What I do remember is going to the library, scanning the shelves and finding just the right book. The one that would let my imagination dance in ballrooms of thoughts and ideas.
I found myself back in the library this summer for a very different purpose. As I worked on a research paper on American Girl dolls and the fashioning of girlhood, the reference librarians helped me track down articles from obscure journals, and I utilized inter-library loans to get books that were too expensive to buy or otherwise unavailable. While the library had always been a place of fantasy, it also became a valued academic resource.
At times, my mind would wander away from my research, and I would think about my great-grandmother, an immigrant from Lithuania. She couldn’t afford books. She would spend hours at her local library, and waited eagerly each month for St. Nicholas Magazine. She developed friendships with the librarians who fueled her love of reading, and the library was her community center. It was a place where she saw women who could read (her own mother could not), a place where she could come in from the cold, a place where she met children from different backgrounds who came together in a common pursuit of reading.
My reasons for going to the library are different than my great-grandmother’s, but despite the 100 years that separate us, we share the same love for it. The library gives me a place to sit with a book, to be transported into the worlds authors create, where I can become someone’s best friend, sister, enemy. Now, rather than putting down my book after 16 minutes, I crave 16 more. I don’t need a gold star, I don’t need a prize, just hand me a book and I’m already a winner.
The Newark Academy Arts Department hosted Amadi Azikiwe, violist, violinist and conductor, from January 9-12, 2017 as part of the annual Artist-in-Residence Program. Mr. Azikiwe shared his expertise in a morning meeting performance and encouraged students to explore their creativity and artistic expression through classes and workshops.
Mr. Azikiwe has performed throughout the United States–including a performance at the U.S. Supreme Court–as well as Israel, Canada, Central America, Switzerland, India, Nigeria, Hong Kong and the Caribbean. He has been a guest of the Chamber Music Society at New York’s Lincoln Center and of the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C.
He was a soloist in the NA Upper School String Ensemble & Orchestra Concert on January 12 at 7:30 p.m. in the Dining Room. Student soloists included bassoonist Matt Melillo ’16 and cellist Eric Jacobson ’16.
Below is an excerpt of Mr. Azikiwe playing Johannes Brahms’ Violin Sonata no. 1.
To read more about Mr. Azikiwe, click here.
This compelling ceramic sculpture titled “Unzipped” was made from earthenware clay by Quinn Butler ’19 in Advanced Ceramics class taught Elaine Brodie.
“Dangerous Habits” a villanelle by Francesca Badalamenti ’18 was published in Fall 2016 Volume 50 of the Claremont Review. Established in 1992, the Claremont Review has published work by artists and writers aged 13-19 from all over the English-speaking world. A villanelle is a 19-line poem of fixed form, written in tercets, usually five in number, followed by a final quatrain, all being based on two rhymes. Francesca’s one-act play “The Corn Maze” won the NJ Young Playwrights Competition. Her poetry has appeared in Black Fox Literary Magazine and elsewhere. Enjoy this compelling poem by Francesca.
Dangerous Habits: a Villanelle by Francesca Badalamenti
I know now that people are creatures of habit,
which is why father never puts down his beer.
I just wish someone had told me earlier.
Our home has become a constant conflict,
and she asks him to quiet down so the neighbors don’t hear.
I know now that people are creatures of habit,
but he won’t stop because he’s an addict,
and she can’t help but shake when he comes near.
I just wish someone had told me earlier.
Because our relationship at the dinner table has become static,
as she asks him the tedious question about his day with an innocent “dear”.
I know now that people are creatures of habit,
and I can’t do anything to stop it.
They’ve put me on this road and I can’t steer.
I just wish someone had told me earlier.
Our house’s foundation is cracked and unbalanced,
that’s become pretty clear.
I know now that people are creatures of habit,
I just wish someone had told me earlier.
Newark Academy math teacher Rebecca Gordon has co-authored a book with Liz McMahon, Gary Gordon and Hannah Gordon: The Joy of SET: The Many Mathematical Dimensions of a Seemingly Simple Card Game, published by Princeton University Press.
Have you ever played the addictive card game SET? Have you ever wondered about the connections between games and mathematics? If the answer to either question is “yes,” then The Joy of SET by Rebecca Gordon & company is the book for you! The Joy of SET takes readers on a fascinating journey into this seemingly simple card game and reveals its surprisingly deep and diverse mathematical dimensions. Absolutely no mathematical background is necessary to enjoy this book–all you need is a sense of curiosity and adventure!
Originally invented in 1974 by Marsha Falco and officially released in 1991, SET has gained a widespread, loyal following. SET’s eighty-one cards consist of one, two, or three symbols of different shapes (diamond, oval, squiggle), shadings (solid, striped, open), and colors (green, purple, red). In order to win, players must identify “sets” of three cards for which each characteristic is the same–or different–on all the cards. SET’s strategic and unique design opens connections to a plethora of mathematical disciplines, including geometry, modular arithmetic, combinatorics, probability, linear algebra, and computer simulations. The Joy of SET looks at these areas as well as avenues for further mathematical exploration. As the authors show, the relationship between SET and mathematics runs in both directions–playing this game has generated new mathematics, and the math has led to new questions about the game itself.
The first book devoted to the mathematics of one of today’s most popular card games, The Joy of SET will entertain and enlighten the game enthusiast in all of us.
Enjoy the first chapter of this wonderful book below, and find the entire book here.
Searching For Ghosts: Feral Tourist Explores the Past on Route 66
INTRODUCTION: Steve Miller, blues musician and longtime member of the NA Maintenance Department, ventured on a week-long motorcycle exploration of historic Route 66, also known as ‘Will Rogers Highway,’ the ‘Main Street of America’ or the ‘Mother Road.’ Built in 1926, Route 66 served as a major path for those who migrated west, especially during the Dust Bowl of the 1930s. In 1985 the road was decommissioned and replaced by a new Highway Interstate System, causing many of its businesses to fall into ruin. Portions of the road have been designated a National Scenic Byway known as “Historic Route 66,” open to exploration by curious travelers such as Mr. Miller.
The Feral Tourist:
There are places people go to get away from it all. So many places have just become tourist traps, based on the simple principle that America shops. They seem to become more generic and interchangeable as time goes on. Eventually, the only way to know where you are, will be the name on the tee shirt. This is not about those places. It’s about where people leave, where they come from. It’s about striking up a conversation in a local eatery, not about paying an entrance fee for the privilege to stand in a long line for overpriced coffee. Going feral is taking an unknown road on impulse. It’s finding the America that’s disappearing and the America that isn’t. It’s seeing the world from the seat of a motorcycle and not from inside the bubble of a car. It’s stopping when something catches your eye or your ear. It’s the cowboy heading west, looking for a place to hang his hat for the night, take his boots off. It’s the wolf staring curiously at the rustle in a stand of trees. Continue reading
A Voice 4 Peace
“Newark Academy’s Concert Choir participated in the #AVoice4Peace global initiative to connect choirs from around the world to sing ‘Ukuthula,’ a South African peace hymn for the 2016 United Nations International Day of Peace. We are very humbled to be a part of such a necessary and meaningful initiative. Sing for love. Sing for peace. Sing for change. Grateful to my professor at Florida State University, Kevin Fenton for his vision and his heartfelt efforts to bring upon change.”
~ Viraj Lal, Newark Academy Choral Director
The performance was directed by Viraj Lal and led by singer Melody Xiao ’18. “AVoice4Peace” is an initiative created by Bud Simpson and Kevin Fenton to spread peace through music. See the video below for a fuller description of this powerful and moving initiative.
“Doesn’t That Sound Lovely?” a play written by Gabrielle Poisson ’17 during Newark Academy’s 2016 24-hour Play Writing Festival, won the Blank Theatre’s Young Playwrights Festival and was professionally produced in the Stella Adler Theatre in Los Angeles in June 2016. The play was one of 12 selected from over 200 submissions. Gabi spent two weeks in L.A. where she worked with renowned director Barbara Bain (one of the stars of the original 1960’s TV series, “Mission Impossible”) as well as a dramaturg and professional actors. Newark Academy’s IB Theatre/Advanced Acting teacher, Scott M. Jacoby, was in attendance and declared Gabrielle’s play the best among all the winners. Mr. Jacoby’s 24-hour play writing event is a biennial part of the IB Theatre/Advanced Acting course. Gabrielle Poisson previously won the NJ Young Playwrights Competition for her play, “Worn Thin.” You can read more about Gabi’s work in the North Jersey News.
DOESN’T THAT SOUND LOVELY
By Gabrielle Poisson
ADRIANNA, 27. Wife of MARCO. Mother of WENDY. She loves her family deeply, but she is desperate to fly.
MARCO, 27. Husband of ADRIANNA. Father of WENDY. He believes in a happily ever after.
WENDY, 8. Daughter of ADRIANNA and MARCO. An explorer. Impressionable.
(A single spotlight strikes the stage and shows us WENDY and ADRIANNA in a “tower”. WENDY wears a blue nightgown and coonskin cap on her head. She wears a little backpack. She is overflowing with a sense of adventure. Holding her hand, smiling and waving with elegance is ADRIANNA, who wears an elaborate kimono over what will later turn out to be a night shift. She wears a princess crown on her head. MARCO runs in from offstage wearing his boxers and socks pulled up high. He wears a plain white t-shirt with a billowing prince shirt over it. There is a crown on his head. Maybe he holds a sword. Maybe he is on a stick horse. We hear gallivanting music softly overhead. He is here to save the day and WENDY loves it. Whenever ADRIANNA and MARCO speak in “dream character” everything is melodramatic: a kid’s hero fantasy)
Help us please! Someone! Heeeeeeellpppp!!
(Beat, whispering to ADRIANNA)
Call for help, Mommy. Continue reading
Newark Academy English Department faculty member Vanessa Jimenez Gabb is the author of Images for Radical Politics, which was the Editor’s Choice in the 2015 Rescue Press Black Box Poetry Prize contest and is forthcoming in November, 2016; and the chapbooks midnight blue (Porkbelly Press, 2015) and Weekend Poems (dancing girl press, 2014).
Vanessa Jimenez Gabb received her MFA in Creative Writing – Poetry from CUNY Brooklyn College, where she was the recipient of the 2010 Himan Brown Award in Poetry. Her work has been featured in or is forthcoming in TimeOut New York, jubilat, Brooklyn Poets, VIDA Women in Literary Arts, Sixth Finch, Word Riot, The Atlas Review, Big Lucks, among other places. She was the co-founder of the literary project, Five Quarterly. Enjoy this excerpt from her forthcoming collection.
from THE LADY OF CIVILIZATION
you brought to me
the word marriage
and I asked what that meant
if its history meant
I was unfree
how found could we be
I wanted you to know
I want to be
I wanted you to know
I have always been
preoccupied by this
though you were
not and so were we
doomed to know
each other well
enough to say goodbye?
we came to know
nothing about each other
not even how
to say yes
just as I will
sense my own fear
with strange men
the way the world works
its terror so
that I will
suddenly in them
the contradictions live
in cellular form
I am not entirely
a place to live
yesterday I fed
our cats then lay
back in your bed
if you had
waiting to be discovered
because I want to be
I have told you far more
now than ever then
the first form of rapture
by the poets
of the Middle Ages
writing about knights
lying beside wives
of other men
it is a long way to this
I am here
of me and me
THE PROJECT: Concept ideation and visual brand design for a fictitious airline based out of Seville, Spain.
THE AIRLINE: Oro is a contemporary airline based out of Seville, Spain that fuses the cultural charm of Seville with a cutting edge flying experience.
ORIGIN OF NAME: Oro is the Spanish word for gold. The airline’s name takes inspiration from Seville’s Golden Age in the late 16th century when gold poured into the city during the establishment of the Spanish Empire in the Americas.
CULTURAL INFLUENCE: The visual identity is influenced by the geometric Mudéjar art and architecture throughout Seville. The geometric shapes found in the logo and throughout the identity system are a contemporary take on the geometric patterns found in old cathedrals and buildings in the city. In addition, the logo depicts Oro’s service as an airline based out of Seville: The center square of the symbol represents the city’s main base and the outside arrows point out to Oro’s several destinations.
See more of Fischer’s innovative work on her website.
THE LONG HARVEST by James Marcucci ’16 won a 2016 Scholastic National Gold Medal for Novel Writing. National awards are given to less than 1% of Scholastic entries. Of those, only 15 students across the nation received Gold Medals for Novel Writing in 2016. Enjoy this engaging story.
Part One: Donna
My two daughters walk beside me, heads bent to shield their eyes. Bitter gusts of wind scourge our skin. Black ash and bone dust stick to our cloaks. The pale sun beats a sharp tune on our backs. Beth carries her brother’s sword at her hip and Cindy wears a rope bracelet that he made. Before us, the officer pulls his wooden cart up the hill, long black hair tied back into braids that hang past his shoulders. On his right arm a golden dog head glints in the light.
Months ago the air tasted like fruit and forest and grain. It moved about in slow breezes, ruffling hair and cooling skin. There were no soldiers then, and my children weaved flowers into each other’s hair. Cindy loved white dandelions, Beth thorny roses, and Alan sunflowers.
Now, they wear their hair short and all the flowers are dead. In profile, Beth looks just like her brother, if something had stolen his smile away. Cindy’s bright red curls hang limply against her pale, drawn face. Alan rolls in front of us, under a linen shroud and within a wooden coffin. Continue reading
This painting by Cindy Xiong ’17 was created in IB Visual Arts with Ms. Brodie. Enjoy this beautiful work!
This poem by English Department Faculty member Vanessa Jimenez Gabb was published in Issue 18 of the online poetry journal DUSIE. Ms. Gabb’s first full-length poetry manuscript has been selected for publication by Rescue Press. Her manuscript, Images for Radical Politics, was earmarked as the Editor’s Choice pick for the 2015 Black Box Poetry Contest. More details can be found at the link below. http://www.rescuepress.co/news/ Congratulations, Ms. Gabb!
Man with Avocado
He eats an avocado
With salt and saves half
Before long the avocado browns
This is how he knows
It has passed
Through his hands
He has halved it
And opened it
to the elements
She watches him
Hand her halves
He says listen
She says just let me be
Here just no
He says eat
See how velvet
See how ripe
She knows he is trying
She knows he is
Saying let us stop all this
I am here love me
Lies in our perishability
It is this
The death of it
That is supposed to move
See its impermanence
Is what is
If never to vanish
If never to fade away
What would the avocado be
But she misunderstands him
When he gives
Her the avocado to eat
She is not listening
He does not believe in designations
I am a simple man he says
When you are hungry
I feed you
The following poem by Amani Garvin ’15 was published in the national print magazine Cicada in June 2014. Amani currently attends Columbia University.
Christian in a Masjid
The green carpet of the Masjid,
The smell of wooden Church pews,
Open hands receiving blessings,
Steepled fingers towards Heaven,
Grandma’s olive green Hijab- holding her thin hair.
Aunt Esther’s cream Sunday morning church hat.
I have fallen into two different types of love,
and they create conflict
within and out of my heart.
At night I pray, to God and Allah,
because there must be
a place where they both reside
hand in hand like brothers.
I must live through this life
to find the one beyond
where I can be at peace.
Katherine Hall-Lapinski ’15 explored a wide variety of media and styles this year in her Advanced Art 12 class with Mr. Torson. Enjoy this intriguing collection of drawings and mixed media collage.
The following poem by Kiran Damodaran ’17, written in NA’s Creative Writing Workshop, was published in the Claremont Review, an international literary magazine for young writers. Kiran also won a National 2016 Scholastic Silver Medal for Poetry.
I. The molecules must collide.
A proof of collision theory;
you were spinning too fast and I came in at just the wrong time,
connected in just the wrong way.
Your rejection broke me apart like hydrolysis,
separating me into single, unstable molecules.
You simply weren’t an active element,
you had no holes that needed filling, no valence electrons;
you were stable. I, on the other hand,
was full of spaces, just looking for someone to fill them.
You needed a catalyst
to speed up the reaction, to force us into contact.
We skipped a few steps, the insignificant intermediate ones,
going straight from A+B→D,
from strangers to lovers.
II. The molecules must collide with proper orientation.
The equilibrium was shaky,
our concentrations, imbalanced
We both had a mass of one,
but you in kilograms and me, in nanograms.
My mass was so small that I didn’t even register on your balance.
But together we formed a complete molecule,
our masses irrelevant because our moles were equal.
There were stresses – changing concentrations, new pressures –
and things got heated, but our bond survived.
Our force was incalculable,
pointing upwards into the oblivion far over our heads.
The equation failed us because we couldn’t be defined
by numbers, by mass, by acceleration,
because they did not calculate the constant, the k,
III. The molecules must collide with sufficient energy.
Our molecules collided,
our screams, under the moonlight,
our whispers, as the sun rose,
our lips, on a Sunday morning,
each action with an equal and opposite reaction.
But the equilibrium was broken,
the catalysts removed,
the constant wavering,
our forces, unequal.
A proof of collision theory;
if the collision doesn’t bear enough energy,
the molecules will bounce off one another
unchanged. I am the exception,
the molecule who undergoes a reaction,
decomposing into undefined ions.
This 90 second film was created by alumnus Greta Skagerlind ’14 as the final project for her Film Explorations Winter Session course at the Rhode Island School of Design, where she is a sophomore. Shot on a 16mm Bolex camera and edited on a Steenbeck machine, the film explores concepts of waste (mostly food), produced by people, and how we often consume to an excessive degree. Greta says the post-production manual editing was rushed by snow days and she hopes to re-shoot the film one day in digital, though the old Bolex camera was fun! Music by Maurice Ravel.
A. A. Weiss grew up in Maine and now resides in New York City. He teaches in NA’s Language Department after having lived in Ecuador, Mexico, Moldova and New Jersey. His writing has appeared or is forthcoming in Hippocampus Magazine, Vol. 1 Brooklyn, Pure Slush and The Writing Disorder. The following essays, “The Russian Victory Network” (Eunoia Review, January 2015), “Where There is No Doctor” (Pure Slush, January 2015) and “The Museum of Atheism” (1966: A Journal of Creative Nonfiction, October 2014) are excerpted from a work-in-progress memoir.
At first I found nothing special about the room. In the cabinet in the corner the class journals stood as a reminder I needed to input my grades before the parent-teacher conferences. The head of the language department had spoken to me sternly about recording my grades, but she’d spoken in Russian and I hadn’t felt shamed enough to compute them instantly as she wished. I then saw the television set. It looked new and the electrical cord was plugged into the wall. I didn’t want to get my hopes up. I stood and approached slowly as though it were an animal that might kick. Warmth radiated from smooth plastic into my palm when I touched it; someone had been watching TV recently. I touched the power button tentatively as though it would surely shock me. Nothing happened. I gave up and returned to my seat. A minute later, after I’d cursed myself for thinking the TV would work, the picture and sound blinked on. I was then watching the Russian national team play water polo some time in the past. They were still called the Soviets. And they were winning—finishing off a water polo massacre, in fact—up by a dozen goals. I’d stumbled onto the RVN—the Russian Victory Network. I invented this name after watching endless replays of Russian athletes dominating second-tier sports. During the next several weeks I learned to expect the near-impossible comeback in cross-country skiing and never to bet against a Russian getting pummeled in a German boxing hall.Nata, the school’s young English teacher, entered the lounge with an elderly woman whose hair was dyed an unnatural orange. The woman was a Romanian teacher. Nata and the woman nodded to me as they entered and sat on the opposite side of the room to safely speak about me in whispers. They looked in my direction frequently, and turned their heads away rapidly when I turned to look at them.The pair of language teachers hardly seemed interested in sport. Continue reading
Enjoy these striking images by NA faculty member Debby Dixler, (some of which were taken during the June Term Photography class). The expressions in stone tell a very human story. Click on www.dtwophotography.com to feast your eyes on this beautiful portfolio and feel free to leave a comment.
The following short film, written, directed, filmed and edited by Brendan James ’14 and starring Bailey Galvin-Scott ’14 and David Yaroshevsky ’14 has an all-star crew of NA students and alumni, including Aiden Fox ’16, Erin Garinger ’14, Flannery James ’14 and Remenna Xu ’14. The film features a cameo appearance by Cricket James. Brendan and Bailey are currently studying film production at Colorado College and Emerson College respectively.
Mia Smith, a member of the Newark Academy Class of 2015, an alumna from The Oxbow School semester OS30, and a future graduate from the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) Class of 2019, has used art to express who she is for her whole life. She considers herself skilled in many areas, such as drawing (graphite, charcoal, pastels, pens), painting (oils, acrylics, watercolors), using metallic leaf, and also has some knowledge in sculpture and photography. Mia feels indebted to those inspired by her work and hopes to help others gain the same level of insight into themselves as she has through a medium in which she has found solace and relief.
“The Fifth Diver” is a freestanding short story included in Salidas de emergencia (Emergency Exits), the first novel published by faculty member Alexis Romay. The book was published in Spanish and Italian editions in 2007. His novel, La Apertura Cubana, was published in 2013. To read the “The Fifth Diver” in its original Spanish, click here: “El quinto clavadista”
The Fifth Diver
Two hundred spectators had gathered in the municipal stadium. Four hundred eyes followed each step of the fifth diver as he made his way to the twenty-foot diving board, which had the distinction of being the highest point in the Sports Compound. At the beginning of the Contest, the pool was an ocean-blue that magnified its scarce twelve feet of depth. With the unusual configuration of an equilateral triangle, the pool clarified the moment of entry, since the focus of attention shifted from a man —spinning in the air, theatrically, audaciously, until he plunged into a micro-universe— to a triangle that received him prior to a consistent and euphoric flood of applause. Continue reading
Dance Teacher Yvette Luxenberg guided her IB/Advanced students through the process of creating their own dance pieces for their IB Final Solo Showings, which required them to make a piece of choreography with a clear intention, in any style, using any music/sound accompaniment. Over a dozen students performed their solos in February 2015. Below are images of two dancers, Adina Gitomer ’15 and Emily Labdon ’16 captured by Blackie Parlin, NA faculty member since 1959 and photographer extraordinaire.
Steve Miller of the NA Maintenance Department asks readers to bear in mind that lyrics are meant to be experienced in a performance, not read from a page. In the same way that a stage performance might be riveting in person but fall flat on a television screen, the lyrics on this post tell only a fraction of the story. For a fuller picture of Mr. Miller’s artistry, click on the video link below, and please leave him a comment. Enjoy!
Got a call yesterday, Billy died
Best friend I ever had, Lord, I cried
Annie says won’t you please say a word or two
Do it for me, you know he’s want you to
Six hours till I say good bye, and touch his face
All I can remember, is the way he sang Amazing Grace
So I’m still sitting here wondering what to say
If Billy was here he’d say doesn’t matter any way
Cause life’s for the living, but you know dying’s for the living, too Spend all out time worrying, never knowing what to do Six hours till I say good bye, and touch his face
All I can remember, is the way he sang Amazing Grace
I want to hear the sound of laughter once again
I want to hear the sound of laughter from my best friend All I’m going to hear today are blessings for the soul
I’m going to hate to hear the sound of that church bell toll Six hours till I say good bye, and touch his face
All I can remember, is the way he sang Amazing Grace Continue reading
“Worn Thin,” a play by Gabrielle Poisson ’17, written for Newark Academy’s “Page to Stage” June Term class and revised in Creative Writing class, won the 32nd annual NJ Playwrights Theatre Contest and was performed by professional actors at the NJ Playwrights Festival on June 2, 2015. Gabi worked closely with NJ Playwrights’ directors, dramaturges and actors to bring her play to life. The performance, held at the Barn Theatre at Fairleigh Dickinson University, was a huge success. By virtue of this competition, Gabi was given membership in the Dramatists Guild of America and was awarded a 2015 Governors Awards in Arts Education. Gabrielle Poisson was interviewed by the Playwright’s Theatre about her writing process. Gabi also won the Blank Theatre’s National Playwriting Contest for her play, “Wouldn’t That Be Lovely?” Enjoy this wonderful play.
WORN THIN by Gabrielle Poisson
MELANIE 43. Loving but lonely mother of Jared.
JARED 11. Youthful, imaginative, and naïve. He is on the Autism spectrum and many of his actions are a result of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder resulting from an incident a few years before.
PLACE The dining room of a modest suburban house.
TIME The present. Ten o’clock at night.
(Lights up on a simple but nicely furnished dining room/kitchen. MELANIE is sitting at the table knitting agitatedly. There is a booming sound coming from offstage)
Jared, honey, can I talk to you for a minute?
Just a sec!
(JARED enters sharply dressed in an enormous suit jacket and a ridiculous tie. On his head is a plastic magician’s hat. He wears Bermuda shorts and shiny dress shoes. He clearly has trouble walking in them.)
Well, what are you up to?
Ahh mother, I’ve got a hot date.
(He twirls around a few times for her, but then stops. He starts to head towards the door and freezes)
I almost forgot.
(Handing his mother a crumpled dandelion from his suit pocket)
For my other lovely lady. Continue reading
The following poem by English teacher Vanessa Jimenez Gabb was published on the “30 Latin@ Poets/30 Days” segment of the online magazine Luna Luna. Ms. Gabb is the author of Weekend Poems, Dancing Girls Press, 2014. Please enjoy the poem and feel free to leave a comment for Ms. Gabb.
reasons we should buy this belize livingsocial escapeLet us keep going, going, going, back to La Dorada.Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Love in the Time of Cholera 1. to be wet and spa colored 2. not spa colored in the bourgy sense by this i mean the rains will turn us to mud sinkholes in Cayo with everywhere flora molten intruding 3. we ate conch every time we were hungry we ate until we dreamt more meat and kept and turned conch shell and spire ourselves habanero as ceviche 4. we have no easy drinks to go down what little umbrellas are we holding our hands 5. the treaty of versailles said yes cut away everything between this river and that take all the mahogany you can carry ’til there is none left take with you all the open that was
Click “continue reading” for Q&A with the poet.
Josh Charow’s photo “The Edge of the Earth” (below under “continue reading”) earned a 2015 Scholastic Art & Writing Silver Key Award and his photography has been published in the Postscript Journal. Josh says, “The goal of photography for me is to capture a certain feeling that I can give on to the viewer. Whether it be thrill, excitement or even sadness, as long as the photo passes on an emotion, I’m happy with it.”
The following poem by Danielle Sidi ’14, published on the Poets.org website, was written in response to “The Map” by Elizabeth Bishop (shown below). Dani’s experience in NA’s Creative Writing Workshop inspired her to take a creative writing class at Emory University, where she is currently a sophomore.
The City by Danielle Sidi
Concrete piled high on water, colored gray.
Shadows, or are they statues, creating edges
showing the skyline of tall and short images
where planes fly above with smoke colored gray.
Or does the sky act as a vacuum absorbing all the dust,
drawing it up into clouds?
Along the tops of buildings
do dreams fall like pieces of dust?
The idea of New York runs chaotic.
Bright lights and crowds of people
have tainted it. We can dream up the blurs of yellow,
under our covers as if we knew what was real,
or as if to prove ourselves we are not sheltered.
The names of taxi drivers do not exist,
Their names collected into piles of people
—just the way we are forgotten
Dreamt cities are much brighter than the real ones,
replacing lights with loud darkness:
and men run through stations in nervousness,
profiles seen and ignored, like crowds of one.
Are they oblivious, or can the people choose awareness?
–What suits efficiency best, may not always
be efficient; darkness screaming as loud as lights can spark.
More delicate than the light is the dust on rooftops.
The Map by Elizabeth Bishop
Land lies in water; it is shadowed green.
Shadows, or are they shallows, at its edges
showing the line of long sea-weeded ledges
where weeds hang to the simple blue from green.
Or does the land lean down to lift the sea from under,
drawing it unperturbed around itself?
Along the fine tan sandy shelf
is the land tugging at the sea from under?
The shadow of Newfoundland lies flat and still.
Labrador’s yellow, where the moony Eskimo
has oiled it. We can stroke these lovely bays,
under a glass as if they were expected to blossom,
or as if to provide a clean cage for invisible fish.
The names of seashore towns run out to sea,
the names of cities cross the neighboring mountains
-the printer here experiencing the same excitement
as when emotion too far exceeds its cause.
These peninsulas take the water between thumb and finger
like women feeling for the smoothness of yard-goods.
Mapped waters are more quiet than the land is,
lending the land their waves’ own conformation:
and Norway’s hare runs south in agitation,
profiles investigate the sea, where land is.
Are they assigned, or can the countries pick their colors?
-What suits the character or the native waters best.
Topography displays no favorites; North’s as near as West.
More delicate than the historians’ are the map-makers’ colors.
Erin Mooney ’16, Kalvary Hawkins ’15, Mark McDonnell ’15, and NA Choral Director Viraj Lal performed an acoustic cover of Ed Sheeran’s “A Team” at Newark Academy’s Pep Rally on October 24, 2014. To listen to this amazing performance, click HERE. Enjoy!
This video, created by Aidan Fox ’16 and Matt Thekkethala ‘15 and shown at Morning Meeting on April 20, 2015, pins Matt against the principal of Kushner Academy, (played by Aditya Srivatsan ’15), and his own inimitable psyche.
This poem by Elizabeth Merrigan ’16 was selected for publication in the Claremont Review, a premier international literary magazine for young writers. Congratulations, Liz!
The wheels sing rusty high
into the street’s sandpaper sallow,
chanting their revolutions,
slower upon slowly.
They ride the same grooves,
play the old tracks.
Blackberry chewing gum
sticks the boombox windows,
gear stick swung starboard.
Beneath the bill of a cap, he asks
when will they hop the turnstile traffic,
cut the two gas stations, kick the uphill
curb of home? Seatbelts shake their heads,
slither into torn foam fissures.
Cheek against the glass,
battered. Steel rattles as it blunders on.
This upside-down bowl of a
town, nothing leaks through the gulch
where the rim meets the dry earth.
Rain never stirred the dust, never
stuck around. His brain turns to steam
in oppressive heat. The pleather whispers
sagging comfort, its distortion
wrapping its arms around his sinking waist.
The loose fibers at the seams,
the wrinkled eraser shavings,
stroke the sweat from his forehead.
He sits, feet planted in the metal floor’s furrows
by leaden backpacks pinning down his toes
should he choose to disembark.
English Department Faculty Member Stephanie Acquadro shares her photographic eye. Feast your eyes on these lovely images. Click “continue reading” to see the rest of the photos.
Violinist Rebecca Slater ’18 won an audition to concertmaster in the All Eastern Orchestra. With the highest score among musicians from 11 states, she was First Chair when performing with this elite Orchestra in April in Atlantic City. Previously she was accepted into the 2017 New Jersey All State High School Orchestra and served as assistant concertmaster. Rebecca was also one of three Upper School violinists accepted into the New Jersey Music Educators Association All-State Orchestra. To qualify for the All-State audition, she had to audition for, be accepted into, and perform with the North Jersey Regional Orchestra. Here Rebecca performs the violin solo “La Gitana” (an Arabo-Spanish gypsy song of the 18th century) by Fritz Kreisler at an all-school Morning Meeting in April 2014. Accompanying her on piano is Sandi Zimmermann.
Hawkes Library Director Bob Mallalieu, along with Norm Mallalieu, Amanda Parker, Carol Walker and John James, comprise Wayfarers & Company. This exciting group performs gospel music and old time songs on traditional instruments such as guitars, hammered and lap dulcimers, fiddle, flute, mandolin, harp and banjo, as well as stirring a cappella arrangements of traditional music. The song “You’ve Been a Friend to Me” is an old Carter Family tune. Sit back and enjoy this wonderful musical creation!
“A Gun Story” is excerpted from a memoir, LENIN’S ASYLUM, which is forthcoming from Bleeding Heart Publications in 2016. Aaron Weiss also serves as nonfiction editor for The Indianola Review. Visit his website at www.aaweiss.com.
Orginally published in Hippocampus Magazine in August 2014, “A Gun Story” earned a Pushcart Prize nomination.
A GUN STORY
The pipes weren’t cooperating, so I had to shave from a frosty bucket of well water. My clean face felt every bit of wind as I crossed the street quickly, only pausing to relax once I entered my classroom. The jolt of cold left me and sleepiness returned. At my desk I sat and rubbed my eyes. In the corner of the room one of the eighth graders, Vladimir, was threatening to spray a girl with a black water pistol. They sold these types of realistic looking toy guns in the local bazaar. The water in that gun must be cold, I thought. I didn’t feel like yelling at him. I wasn’t going to intervene in a water fight; I’d only get sprayed myself. If Vladimir sprayed the girl, she and her friends would hit him over the head with closed fists and then normalcy would return once the bell rang. I assumed that’s what would happen. Vladimir pointed the pistol at different girls—as though saying, “Who will it be?”—and popped his lips to imitate the sound of gunfire. I put my head down for a minute of sleep before the bell rang, ignoring everyone.
A student tapped me on the shoulder. “Vlad’s got a gun,” said the girl. Continue reading
This poem by Michael Lee ‘15 won the New Jersey Council of Teachers of English 2015 Bronze Medal for Poetry and was performed at an award ceremony in Scotch Plains, NJ on April 23, 2015. Michael will be invited to read his work at the 2016 Dodge Poetry Festival. He wrote this poem on an early morning train back from NYC to New Jersey. The photograph was taken during a trip to Taiwan.
“Why I Do My Homework” by Michael Lee (after “Why I Write Poetry” by Major Jackson, with a nod to the song “All You Can Do” by George Watsky)
Art Department Chair and McGraw Gallery Director Elaine Brodie painted this acrylic still life in the summer of 2015. Feast your eyes on this beauty!
“No More Shame” by SaVonne Anderson ’13 was published on the blog For Harriet, and reprinted in SaVonne’s book, Womanifesto, edited by classmate Alyssa McPherson ’13. SaVonne’s work has also appeared in the Comma literary magazine and LoveBrownSugar multicultural beauty blog. Her writing interests include social commentary, creative prose, and arts & culture. She currently studies at Fordham University in New York City. You can find her blog at SaVonneAnderson.com. Go SaVonne!
NO MORE SHAME: How I Stopped Internalizing Men’s Sexism and Embraced My Womanhood
Like most fathers, mine would do anything possible to keep his little girl safe. One of the ways he kept me safe is by teaching me how not to become the prey of young boys. He told me not to wear tight pants once my hips came in. I also couldn’t wear tops that were fitted or had low necklines once I developed breasts. I had to make sure all the markers of my femininity were de-emphasized, so boys didn’t look at me or think I was “fast.” Continue reading
The following play by Betsy Zaubler ’17 earned Honorable Mention in the 2016 Princeton University Lewis Arts Center National 10-minute Play Contest and won the 32nd annual NJ Playwrights Theatre Contest where it was performed by professional actors at the NJ Playwrights Festival. Betsy earned membership in the Dramatists Guild of America and was awarded a 2015 Governors Awards in Arts Education. She has written and directed plays produced by the Studio Players Community Theater in Montclair and the Theater Project in Cranford. In addition, Betsy’s fiction earned 1st Place in Susquehanna University’s Annual High School Writing Contest and 2nd Place in Rider University’s High School Contest. She earned a NCTE National Achievement Award for Superior Writing. Her work has been published in Cicada Magazine, The Writers’ Slate and The Montclair Times.
DAVID, 17, kind, slightly awkward, clever, anxious
JANINE, 45, David’s mother, loving, sweet, terrible cook, forgetful
EMILY, 43, David’s Aunt and Janine’s sister, witty, thoughtful, caring
JOE, 43, David’s Uncle and Emily’s husband, funny, sarcastic, loving, kid at heart
GRAMS, 74, David’s grandma, Janine and Emily’s mother, extremely slow, alert
GRAMPS, 75, David’s grandpa, Janine and Emily’s father, pot-belly, loud, thinks he’s younger than he really is
MICHAEL, 48, David’s dad, Janine’s husband, kind, helps keep Janine in check
Suburbs of Boston
(As the lights come up, JANINE is in the kitchen, preparing food for Thanksgiving. DAVID sits at the kitchen table).
Do you need any help?
No David, I’m fine.
Okay, just don’t burn the turkey like last year. Continue reading
NA staff member Kristin Duszak took these stunning marine photographs with a Zeiss dissecting microscope coupled with a Canon DSLR and various complicated attachments. During the time, Ms. Duszak was the manager of a lab focusing on Benthic Community Ecology at The University of Texas Marine Science Institute in Port Aransas, TX. Most of these organisms were collected from a nearby marina using various “traps” devised out of PVC, zip ties, and rope. Once these devices became covered in barnacles, ascidians and pieces of algae, they functioned more like luxury apartments than traps, providing suitable habitats for the organisms. Ms. Duszak hopes you will enjoy this glimpse at microscopic life. Continue reading
Because curious minds never stop learning, English Department faculty member Betsy LaPadula (author of the poetry chapbook Elpenor Falls) took an online poetry class focusing on the work of Sylvia Plath. The following poems were written in response to prompts offered by her teacher, Tom Daley of the Online School of Poetry. The third poem was just finished, though Dr. LaPadula says, “It’s really never finished, is it?”
.Prompt #1: Imagine or recreate a return to a locale where something of emotional significance occurred in your life.
Cimmerian LandingOur ghost still spits its terseness there, trapped by patterns
in the rug whose nap’s worn
to threads where we tread up and down, running from green
plastic battles, clutching secrets
belly-tight: alembics of frog eggs, sketched ovals of ice,
disinterred china figurines—
all these pagan offerings repulsed, sulfurous. That spirit’s caught,
so we skip the step and leap around a glottal umbilicus, through infection, a mucus
only we can sense. We tell
mother we’ve felt the moist shove of hands on us at dusk,
glimpsed shadows arcing the rail—
a jungle of anger, jittering, wooing us to fall.
She says we’re Catholic, that no priest
will come to exorcise a set of stairs, and besides, we call darkness
into being through unbridled thoughts.
Former Newark Academy IB Art student Greta Skagerlind is a sophomore at the Rhode Island School of Design. Check out Greta’s blog for images of her accordion paper cut-out representations of Haven Brothers Diner in Providence, Rhode Island, as well as charcoal studies of night and day, paper cuts of Santa Elena Canyon in Big Bend National Park, Texas, and a mesmerizing series on “hands” that includes wire sculpture as well as dry and wet drawings. You can find more amazing images at Greta’s website at www.gskagerlind.com. Greta is breaking new ground!
The following short story by Emma Hoffman ’16 was selected for publication by Polyphony H.S., an international student-run literary magazine for high school students. The events of the story are loosely based on the kidnappings of 43 students in Iguala, Mexico in late September, 2014.
Maricela rivets her attention on the ledge of the cliff above as the policeman bangs Damián’s head against the hood of his car with a rhythmic precision. Damián stopped making noises two minutes ago. The policeman continues to beat him while the other officer looks on. A pattern of cracks and silences continues. She tries not to notice the bruises forming on her knees. All she can focus on are the mangoes hanging from their branches, thrashing in the afternoon gusts.
“I may be here on behalf of my husband, Fausto Santiago Castillo, but in truth, I came out of my own desire to be with the people of Chiapa de Corzo on this auspicious day. I wanted to share in the celebration of the workers of Mexico and of Chiapas who have toiled long and hard to ensure the strength and prosperity of our nation. We thank you for your efforts. You are the true face of our people.” Continue reading
“On Cuba, Hope and Change” was published on December 23rd, 2014, by Translating Cuba, the platform that publishes the blogs that are banned by the Cuban government. (Here you can read the essay in Spanish.) Alexis Romay of the NA Language Department is the author of two novels and a book of sonnets. He blogs on Cuba, literature and other tropical diseases at http://belascoainyneptuno.com.
On Cuba, Hope and Change
President Obama, a man who actively promotes the audacity of hope and based his presidential campaigns on the idea of change, has combined both concepts in his long gaze at Cuba: he hopes Castro will change. However, that option isn’t remotely possible in Cuba. Back in 2003, Castro Bros. added to the Cuban Constitution that the socialist character of the Cuban revolution is irrevocable. Continue reading
The following poem by Alyssa McPherson ’13 won the NJCTE Gold Medal in poetry. Aly received a 2013 Governor’s Award in Arts Education and performed her poetry at the Patriot’s Theater at the War Memorial in Trenton in 2013 and at the Dodge Poetry Festival in Newark in 2014. She currently attends Brown University where she is studying Literary Arts. The poem is dedicated to Winslow Homer’s wife.
The Painter’s Wife
The gale came at his call and he
ran, clambering over rocks and
clinging childlike to scarred crevices,
mounting the cliff and
opening his arms to the
He wished to suck the surging
waves and moaning air into
pale canvasflesh. The
gale came at his call and he
opened his mouth to swallow
He ripped savage gray and
misted melancholic blue
and hurled it across his walls.
The house watched warily the
creeping tide. It knew the dangers
of this love.
He sat hunched in dirty
moonlight, dabbed feathered
finger into pools of melted
color. Wind rattled speckled
glass and he stroked its cries
into ragged imagery.
Nightfall and he staggers
in, painted adulterous
grayandblue. The house
says nothing, but sighs and
opens its arms to him,
never begrudging him
his tumultuous mistress.
The following essay by Claudia Lu ’15, written for the Film Studies class taught by Ms. Acquadro, won a 2015 Scholastic Silver Key Writing Award in the “Critical Essay” category.
In different ways and to different degrees, both On the Waterfront (Elia Kazan, 1954) and One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (Milos Forman, 1975) are about confinements–both physical and metaphysical. Both films start out with the pretense of equilibrium. In Waterfront, this pretense is portrayed by the passivity that Terry Malloy, the protagonist of the film, undergoes as Johnny Friendly and the rest of his gang push and nudge Terry into tasks that he is hesitant about. In Cuckoo’s Nest, however, this pretense only exists before the appearance of the movie’s protagonist, Randle McMurphy. With McMurphy’s arrival at the hospital, the pretense of equilibrium is quickly shattered and the ugliness of the system that is developed and nurtured by Nurse Ratched, the antagonist of the movie and the head nurse, is revealed. In the two films, besides the difference in the types of confinements, both Kazan and Forman use physical contacts to show the protagonists’ development from passivity to activity and their acquiring of power over the others’ actions as well as over their own behaviors.
Before the appearance of Edie Doyle, the major catalyst for Terry to gather up courage to challenge the system in order to stay true to himself, Terry is always being pushed from behind, just like how he is pushed into crimes he seems to be actively committing. Prior to when the film even begins, Terry is known to be a boxer who was forced to lose his big fight because Johnny Friendly was betting against him. In this game of boxing, a sport that is all about power, Terry walks into the ring already powerless and his future already written. Terry is also seen being pushed from behind by the other gang members, who don’t bother to question Johnny Friendly’s corrupt system, after Terry sees, to his astonishment, Joey Doyle being pushed off the roof. The emotions that Terry exhibits on his face as the other gang members jokingly push pass him is his first sign of unease and our first sign of the future development of the story. Continue reading
NA Language Department faculty member Alexis Romay (#Profe) says: “Following on the footsteps of Bored and Brilliant, an initiative of WNYC’s radio show “New Tech City,” a couple of weeks ago, I assigned my IB Spanish 2 class a group presentation on the topic of addiction to technology. (Both, health and technology are, independently, topics of the IB Language B curriculum.)
“Four of my students, inspired by the recent talk by Global Speaker Matt Diffee, decided to follow his five tips on how to turn an otherwise ordinary situation into something extraordinary, funny even. Diffee’s rule of five includes: adding, subtracting, switching, inverting, and mashing-up.
“While the rest of the members of the team drew on the two other whiteboards, the first presenter started with a cartoon that shows what they encounter everyday when then enter the classroom: me. Apparently, I am a stick figure, whose sole features are hair and glasses (subtraction); I have a guitar on one hand (addition), and a cup of coffee on the other (mash-up/but also: reality). I’m saying something that makes me sound like a Luddite, based on my newfound reluctance to use my iPhone.
Night Without Words
As I approach my father
lying serenely in his hospital bed,
I feel ashamed to be called his son.
What kind of father would abandon
the ones he says he loves
and look so peaceful lying there in silence?
I try to speak, but my mouth is silenced
by memories of you, my onerous father,
back when you did display your love,
your presence steady beside my bed
when I cried for you like an abandoned
child, waiting for you to save your son.
Back then, I was proud to be called your son.
Always watching you in silence,
I fooled myself into thinking you would abandon
anything that hindered you from being the best father
you could be. Now, as you lie tranquil in your sickbed
I realize there was something more you loved.
I want to get back your love,
to be able to feel like your son
and return to the time in the bed-
room when you wrestled me to silence
to show how strong you were as my father,
but weak against the thing that made you abandon
us, the family you promised to never abandon.
Despite this, I can’t say I don’t love
you. After all, you are still considered my father
and I am still considered your son.
So I sit here, weighing the silence
and watch you breathe in your sterile bed.
How can you look so contented in that bed?
Don’t you realize this child you abandoned
is in agony watching your suffering, your silence?
Wake up! Say how you miss and love
me. Tell me how proud you are to have a son
like me. I want you back, Father.
But my love can’t reach you if you stay in that deathbed.
Your abandoned son, I want to wail and scream.
Instead, I sit here in silence and stare at the man I call Father.
As part of the 2014 Documentary Filmmaking June Term, Mr. Milani asked students to develop an idea for a story and then bring it to life through the filmmaking production process. Jason Cohen ’16, Aidan Fox ’16 (director), Isaiah Merritt ’17 and Zach Persing ’15 responded by creating this video about Newark Academy’s hardworking and well-loved kitchen staff. If you don’t yet know the name of the person who hands you your lunch, it’s time to take notes:
Haley Mudrick’s personal essay, “If I Could Write to Truman Capote,” excerpted below, won the New Jersey Council of Teachers of English 2015 Gold Medal for Creative Nonfiction.
Dear Mr. Capote,
I was raised to believe that people could be forgiven for their sins if they were truly sorry. But the thing about religion and faith is that you believe what you believe is right because nothing in this world can be absolutely proven. We can’t prove Jesus existed, we can’t prove God exists and we can’t prove a faith is correct. I was taught by the laws of the Bible, but ultimately I believe what I believe. I’d like to believe that God forgives when we are truly sorry. Not everyone agrees with that. Some people say there are certain sins that can’t be forgiven—that there are some sins that cross intangible boundaries on the scale of morality. I’d say they’re a bit harsh. They’d say I’m a bit of a hippie because I say, “We’re all equal” and “We all make mistakes.” But if the definition of a hippie is someone who believes in equality and love for all, then I guess we should put a flower crown on the crucifix.
The online literary press Real Pants asked NA faculty member and poet Vanessa Jimenez Gabb, author of Midnight Blue and co-founder of Five Quarterly, to share a photograph of her writing desk and answer the question: Messy or clean?
“I need clean first. My head is always so full and I don’t like seeing that mirrored around me. Then I can think and I start thinking and vibing and start adding things that I think of and need in order to think more and it becomes messy but I need those options in the moment. I don’t use a desk. I work in the living room and in the bedroom. I like pastry things nearby. –” Vanessa Jimenez Gabb
Your opinion: Is Ms. Gabb’s desk clean or messy? How about your own? What is your favorite place to create? What things do you like to have nearby? Pastries, perhaps? Give us your creative secrets!
Enjoy this recent work by IB Artist Stewart Tillyer ’15. The third drawing, “Snowy Pond,” was the cover of the 2014-2015 Creative Writing class anthology. Beautiful work, Stewart!
The Scholastic Art & Writing Awards hosted a celebratory reading in a renowned independent NYC bookstore featuring a select group of Northeast Region-at-Large Gold Key award recipients. Daniel Kwiatkowski ’15 was invited to read his Gold Key Flash Fiction piece, “Can We Escape?” The reading took place at McNally Jackson Books. Daniel originally wrote the piece in NA’s Creative Writing Workshop as a personal essay and then converted to fiction.
Can We Escape?
“Yes, the plane’s coming in tonight…. If anyone tries to escape kill them” my cab driver, Juan, muttered in Spanish into the cell phone he held close to his mouth. My dad was lost in his cell phone as Juan drove us back from a Puerto Rican resort’s golf course to our hotel. Armed with my years of high school Spanish class teachings, I listened and began to pick up on some words and phrases that seemed bizarre for the profession of the small man with a gray beard and fedora who held us caged in his cab: “avión viene de México esta noche, si?”, the plane comes in from Mexico tonight, yes?, “y podemos encajar cuarenta, si?”, and we can fit 40, yes?, “las muertes de anoche”, the dead from last night, and finally the sentence that caused me to nudge my dad, “si ellos tratan de escaper, matalos”, if they try to escape, kill them.” Continue reading
When I found out the theme of the Community Art Show Exhibit was going to be “Zoom In,” I immediately knew that I wanted to do something with photography, partially because zooming in with a camera would be a very literal, easy way to accomplish the task, but also because I had wanted to do something with photography for a while. So, I set out – not really knowing what I wanted to photograph, but nonetheless undeterred. I spent the next few days searching out for different things I could use, but I struck gold when I found a mug that had dried-up hot chocolate powder in the bottom. From there, I developed a theme of things that were circular in shape, and began looking for interesting things that fit that description. I eventually found four other objects that I could use, all of which went across a color gradient (from red to yellow to black). The objects that I eventually wound up using are (from top to bottom), a vase mouth, the aforementioned mug, another vase, the inside of an old camera lens, and a dirty electric stove.
~ Truman Ruberti ’16
In Spring 2015 NA had the fortune of hosting artist-in-residence Jonathan Lee. An Alvin Ailey dance instructor, Lee has worked with various recording artists including Grammy Award winners Madonna, Gloria Estefan, Mariah Carey, Britney Spears, Tracy Chapman and Joe as a backup singer, dancer and choreographer. His Film/TV credits include Fish, Chapelle’s Show, The WB Morning Show, ABC News Now, The View and Guiding Light. Theatre credits include Once On This Island, The Wiz, West Side Story, The King & I, and Miss Saigon. Currently, Mr. Lee is working on his solo debut album. At NA he taught dance, theatre and creative writing classes and performed at Morning Meeting with another guest artist, former Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater star Amos J. Machanic Jr.
Jonathan Lee teaches Beginner Hip-Hop at the Alvin Ailey Extension in New York on Thursdays and Saturdays. If you missed him at NA, it’s not to late to learn a few steps from him here:
This story by Gabrielle Poisson ’17 won 1st Place in the 2015 Writers Slate Fiction Contest sponsored by the Writing Conference, Inc.
The daylight was waning and the damp beach had descended into a cool lull. Over-sized men in beach towels hanging precariously around their hips strolled freely past the cramped shops; they clashed with the women from the suburbs returning home after their day at the beach, complicated wraps with bright tribal patterns clinging to their hips, gaudy jewelry bought in the overpriced boutiques hung from their ears, wrapped around their necks, hugging their bony fingers. An astonishing lack of children quieted the town. All had returned home from their days playing in the sand; the ice creams had melted and their hot pockets filled with damp dollar bills had been spent on fire crackers and corn dogs down at the pier. Nearly everyone had a place to go; there were few lingerers. Continue reading
Nina Pusic ’15 is a Newark Academy senior and IB visual artist. Her work is primarily a collection of painting in oils and acrylics. She enjoys incorporating color theory into her pieces while making statements about the human condition. You can check out more of Nina’s work in the McGraw Art Gallery late February throughout March in her IB Senior show titled “Vignettes.”
This poem by Emma Hoffman ’16 was published in the Fall 2015 issue of The Louisville Review. The piece, begun as a personal essay and distilled into a poem, is based on the poet’s personal experiences and on the Cathedral of Ys, a Breton myth. Emma’s work has also appeared on the Five Quarterly blog, “Almost 5Q,” and the international literary magazine for young writers, Polyphony H.S.
CathedralsMy father told me about a cathedral beneath the sea, the saints drowning, the choristers swallowing salt, the priest suspended in the swell his sermon silenced by sand. Saints, effigies, kings fathoms upon fathoms deep, sleeping. Until they rise. Shaking off a thousand years of brine. Then the bells, the canticles, the Te Deum Rising. Lulling me away. “Goodnight” “Sleep well” “Don’t let the bed bugs bite.” He closes the door. * * *
The following poem by Mollie Wohlforth ’15 was published in Polyphony H.S. Her work has also been published by Canvas Literary Magazine and BRICKrhetoric Literary & Visual Arts Journal. She was co-editor-in-chief of NA’s literary magazine, Prisms.
Unembellished WeWe stand with no secrets for we have trapped them in Mason Jars with holes gouged in the lid. Secrets hum syllables but our ravenous teeth swat them down from the sky. Effigy the broken kingdoms, the broken bones, the broken promises. Balm it all Find mica flakes glinting gray inside your callouses. Balm them too. We passive, but the good kind. We aggressive, but the good kind. A cicatrix will someday uncocoon and we will be more butterfly than human. Uncrating joyfully, we human with our wings touching. Our radiant botany stands unembellished.
Artist Hannah Tarnow ’16 created this piece during the IB Visual Art class’s color unit. In her words, “I chose to use watercolor as my medium, as I had not used it much before. The painting I made is a portrait of my friend Claudia Hyman ’16 who is in the class with me. I wanted to paint her because of her blue eyes, which went with my blue mono- chromatic color scheme.” Beautiful work, Hannah!
NA’s Computer Science teacher and Tech Office guru, Andrew Alford, was recently awarded a New Writer Award Honorable Mention by Glimmer Train Magazine for his short story, “Erasure.” He calls the piece below a “mock, mock trial story,” (with apologies to Mr. Hawk, Ms. Gordon and company). But did it really happen? Cast your verdict in the comment section below: Guilty or Not Guilty?
HAMMERHEAD GOES TO THE GALLOWS
I was going on eleven when Dad laid the old saw on me, “If you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life.” He was big on Joseph Campbell, my dad. Find your bliss, he said, and the money will follow.
He encouraged me to try different things, and when I took an interest in his occasional carpentry, I paid enough attention that I was able to bang together a gallows for my action figures. It was all Star Wars and Spaghetti Westerns then, and my playset felt incomplete without a traditional hanging contraption. It looked just a primitive thing, with basically the crossbeam set across the uprights; but the trapdoor represented quite a feat of mechanical engineering. All on my own, I fixed it to the base with a hinge that sprung loose when you flipped a lever. I used a couple rubber bands–the tiny ones my mother used with her braces–to bind the trapdoor to the back of the base, so that when you moved the lever, the trapdoor didn’t just drop open, it snapped up against the base with a startling and decisive clap. Continue reading