Saturday, April 21, 2012

Dungeons and Dragons Winterim By Chad D.


For my last year at OES, I wanted to do something special for Winterim, something unforgettable.  While I was sitting in chapel so many weeks ago I was bombarded by a plethora of options, each intriguing in their own way.  From strategy games to rock climbing to big trips, this year’s batch of options seemed especially difficult to decide between, and I began to feel that I might have to go as far as rolling a dice to make a decision.  Right as that thought entered my mind, as if on cue, one Winterim option appeared on screen that threw all of my former choices by the wayside: Dungeons and Dragons.  As a gamer, I was quite familiar with the Dungeons and Dragons (D&D) franchise, and had played a good many of the video games that were based on D&D rules, such as Baldur’s Gate, Icewind Dale, and Planescape: Torment.  I had also played a few games of actual D&D with a small group of friends, but never felt like I was playing the game correctly.  The opportunity, therefore, to play D&D with a host of other people and experienced adult leaders was too good to pass up, and I was sold immediately...

Habitat for Humanity Gets Stuck in the Mud on Winterim

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eZupLEcnUa8&feature=youtu.be

Down in the Trenches by Grace C.


I was not sure what to expect when I was dropped off on a Saturday afternoon at the Habitat for Humanity work site.  Unlike the rest of the Winterims that stayed in Portland, we worked over the weekend. I had missed the first four hours due to the band rehearsal I had in the morning and when I arrived at the muddy construction site, I was surprised to see Sophie L. and James G. walk past me. I barely recognized them because they were completely covered in mud.  I even felt intrusive, coming into the work site with clean boots, pants and jacket...

Winterim: Little Kids Painting Stuff by Janine K

You cannot say you have had interesting life experiences until you find yourself in a kindergarten classroom where a small child is flinging sheets of paper dripping with glue this way and that. Try not getting that stuff on your shoes, and you’ve got yourself a pretty near impossible task. How would I know? Well,  I was a Lower School Intern this year, and while this might sound a little contradictory, it was one of the most fun times I’ve had all year...

Warm Climate Nurtures Warm People By Elanie F.


People think that India is a third world country, and in many ways it still is. However, on my Winterim trip to India, I found much to love and admire about the country. Throughout my trip, I met a lot of people who had a greater impact on me than any other aspect of the country. Do people from more developed nations still look down on India? Certainly the people of India do not have as much wealth as people do on average in the United States. But the country is changing rapidly.

Our group received a huge welcome at the airport at about three o’clock in the morning from VJ’s friend and his wife. They made big garlands with yellow, red and white fresh flowers that they placed around our necks in a friendly manner––they made us the center of attention and I was so impressed by their graciousness and generosity. When we got on the bus and prepared for the three-hour ride to Pondicherry, they thoughtfully gave each of us the essential of life–– bottled water. They were the most careful people I have ever had contact with, especially Valen who even left his family and spent five whole days with us serving as our guide. They were so selfless and helpful, we felt unsecure when we had to leave them and fly to Trichy...

Winterim by Sophia T.


I did my Discovery at an architecture firm for my Winterim, and as Lynn Sadler said “Discovery” is to let us peek a little into the realistic adult world. I did and I witnessed a lot during my Discovery—including a little bit of the dark side in my internship there. Monica was a group leader, but because she was absent for a month for having a baby, there was another person in her team who took her place “temporarily.” In the weekly morning meeting, Monica’s group was supposed to give a presentation to report their process on the project they were responsible for. Originally, Audrey, the temporary leader, was going to give the presentation since she was the one who followed the process in the past month, but somehow it was Monica who gave the presentation. However, her information was inadequate and could not answer most questions their boss asked. Teresa (the boss) got really impatient with this group and told them to leave and don’t come back until Monica was “well-prepared.” At first I thought it was obvious that Monica wanted to take back her position and kicked Audrey off, and I thought she aggrieved Audrey. But according to Jojo, who is also on that team, Audrey told Monica she didn’t feel well and wanted Monica to do the presentation instead. Was it possible that everyone except Monica knew that Audrey had ambition to be the leader, and she purposely made Monica look bad in front of Teresa? My head was spinning!  What a complicated adult world!! Xoxo gossip girl!

Dogsledding Winterim by Lauren G


When I think of dogsledding, I usually picture dogs running thorough several feet of snow, pulling a large sled carrying people bundled up in pounds of snow gear in order to fight the cold. After what was supposed to be the dogsledding Winterim, my view of the exciting winter activity has changed drastically. As I walked sluggishly though the airport at five am the morning Winterim began, coffee and suitcase in hand, I never would have anticipated the chaotic but exciting experience I was about to have...

GOLF Haiku by Andrew W.



It rained. It snowed. It hailed. But
The relentless few
Golfed nevertheless. Good stuff.

Strategy Games: For the Coolest People Out There by Kristin Q.


This Winterim, I embarked on a heroic quest for intellectual challenge, recreation, and entertainment. Did I get out of my comfort zone? Sure. Did I take dangerous risks? Of course. Did I go bankrupt, power 17 houses across the United States, build castles, and save the world from pandemics? Yes I did. So what did I do? Strategy Games.

Every day, each student in this Winterim would gather in either room 80 or 81 to do some intense thinking. A whole day of thinking did not completely drain us out, since there were great snacks provided by our fearless leaders, Jordan Elliott and John Holloran. Snacks would include: Goldfish, gummy bears, oranges, gluten-free crackers, and more...

India Winterim by Sophie L.


I went to South India for my OES 2012 Winterim. Although India is in Asia, India did not have any Asian “stereotypes.” Even as an Asian, I experienced one of most exotic events ever. I visited temples and historical sites and worked in an orphanage to spend time with kids. Below is a journal entry from the fifth day in India:

3/21/2012 Day 5

I finally picked up the morning call at 5:15 AM and got up. I was tired and couldn’t see the sunrise again. Dissatisfaction visited me and tears left my eyes hurriedly. Okay. This was like super fake fancy, and didn’t even make sense. I just followed what VJ told me: “When you write in your journal every night, that’s when you expand your writing. No one reads it but you, right?” Yes VJ, it is very true, but I prefer the easier way when writing journals...Haha. (Oops, all of you readers are reading my journal now!)...

Monday, April 16, 2012

Transcription of the Oregon Episcopal School Leadership Summit (April 11, 2012)



DISCLAIMER: THIS RECORDING IS PURELY THE OPINION OF ONE CONTRIBUTOR TO THE BLOPHISH NEWSPAPER. IT IS NOT THE OFFICIAL OPINION OF OREGON EPISCOPAL SCHOOL OR THE BLOPHISH NEWSPAPER.


Members of the Leadership Team in Attendance:
•          Kara Tambellini (Grade 12 Dean)
•          Jordan Elliot (Head of Upper School)
•          Deb Walsh (Grade 11 Dean)
•          Debby Schauffler (Grade 9 Dean)
•          Deri Bash (Asst. Head of Upper School)
•          Tay  (US Counselor)

Members of Student Council in Attendance:
•          Nathalie P-F, Co-Secretary (‘12)
•          James L, Treasurer (‘12)
•          Manav K, Student Body President (‘12)
•          Daniel Doctor, Senior Class Representative (’12)
•          Aya T, Junior Class Representative (‘13)
•          Michael B, Sophomore Class Representative (‘14)
•          Tiffany W, Dorm Representative (‘12)
•          Dylan D, Vice President (‘12)
•          Colette A, Freshman Class Representative (‘15)

Facilitator:
•          Toby Fitch

Note takers:
•          Janine K (‘14)
•          Andrew W (‘12)

Issues, Principles and Plan Moving Forward...

OES Student Leadership Retreat, April 11, 2012

ISSUES

·      Wanting a clear understanding of the purpose and role of StuCo
o   By-laws are outdated and students don’t know them well or use them
o    StuCo leadership viewed as too limited b/c it doesn't include policy

·      Election process favors certain types of candidates
o   Not deliberative enough
o   Election process doesn’t focus enough on the qualifications of the candidates
o   The role and work of each position is not understood well enough for students to review them based on their qualifications

·      Leadership Team was concerned that the gender representation of student government doesn’t reflect the gender equality of the student body, which is the goal of the admissions process
·      Leadership Team was concerned that leadership roles as defined in StuCo reinforce gender stereotypes

·      Concerned about the lack of trust between students and faculty, between students and StuCo.
o   Students don’t trust that StuCo has real power
o   It’s hard to trust the process given how rushed it was..

Statement from Head of Upper School, Jordan E.


Today's student leadership retreat represented the best of OES for me; high-level conversation between students and adults about substantive issues in the school.  The retreat began with the discovery that we needed to reflect on the organizational structure, effectiveness, and goals of Student Council.  To accomplish that, we focused on issues at play in this conversation and principles necessary for guiding us to agreement.  Early on, it felt that we might be unable to achieve our goal of wrapping up the day with concrete next steps but, in fact, this early realization guided us through a process that built consensus on how we will go forward.  Throughout the day it was very fulfilling to me to participate in a conversation where every student and faculty member contributed.  The list of issues and principles earned a high level of agreement where everyone indicated that, at least, they could support them publicly and most felt that they "will do whatever it takes" to make them happen.  From there, inspired and guided by the many proposals students submitted, we set a course where the students elected to next year's Student Council are charged with implementing the principles in a new constitution and bylaws.

An underlying issue in this whole conversation was the critique that I have predetermined the outcome of this topic.  I was grateful for the students naming this concern so that we could address it together today.  While it is flattering that people believe I have the wherewithal to pull off such a conspiracy, what actually happened is that, with the help of an impartial facilitator, we authentically collaborated to create this set of next steps.  I am proud to be a member of today's discussion and am confident that the fruits of our work truly represent the consensus of all the ideas given voice.  I leave today with the strong belief that there is a shared feeling amongst everyone present that our work this year and the charge for next year will serve students and better OES.  I am eager to continue!

Follow me @OESHeadUS

Statement from StuCo President, Manav K.

As announced in gathering, today StuCo and the leadership team collaborated in defining student leadership. In four and a half hours we were able to get an immense amount of work done, and it was refreshing to see how well the leadership team and StuCo were able to collaborate and find consensuses on really tough issues. Most importantly, everyone was able to agree that our student government should focus more on policy issues rather than social events. For example, this would mean the possibility of a student council leader representing students at board meetings, being in touch with the discipline committee (DC), and even becoming involved with the OES master plan and the development of our school. In addition, either more students would be needed on StuCo for planning dances while other's focused on larger issues, or a separate entity would be created to plan social events.

Though it seems basic, it is extremely hard to involve our student government in policy matters that affect the entire school since the administration is ultimately accountable. However, today was a success in involving students in the administrative process, and it makes a future in which students really influence how the school develops seem tangible. If you have any questions or concerns, any of the members of StuCo or the leadership team would be more than happy to discuss them with you, and I know that we will soon have a student government that reflects the strength, diversity and idiosyncrasies of our student body.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Student Leadership Proposal Written by Patrick M (with consultation from John Holloran and the JSA Activity)

Issues:           
-The few statistics available for reference; without relevant statistics, OES’s would-be gender issues are poorly understood
-The underrepresentation of large sectors of the OES student population
-Perceived Senior underrepresentation as well as perceived overrepresentation (and the lack of a suitable compromise between those two points of view)
-The lack of female representation in the office of president
-The student store

Purpose:
-To encourage gender equality in student government positions, without creating gender requirements or quotas.
-To encourage the collection of relevant data so that students and faculty alike may better understand demographic problems within the OES community
-To encourage unbiased initiation of discussion by the administration, specifically with the inclusion of statistics
-To allow all grades adequate representation while giving upperclassmen a majority in student council
-To increase the transparency of student government
-To increase student voice in student government
-Increased effectiveness of the Student Store


Changes to the OES Constitution:
All significant policy changes pertaining to student government must be approved by both the Administration and either 60% of student council members or 3 out of 4 class boards...

Thursday, April 5, 2012

The New Student Leadership Proposal- Opinion By Chad D.


The 2011-2012 OES school year has undoubtedly been the school year of female empowerment.  From chapel sessions to gathering announcement, the equality of the sexes has been lamented and debated, with the new Student Leadership Proposal authored by the current Leadership Team having opened the floodgates, so to speak.  It is undeniable that the proposal in its current form has garnered much controversy, with many students having reservations about the sweeping changes that the proposal could entail.  I too am quite skeptical with how effective the proposal in its current form would be in addressing the ultimate problem of a distinct lack of female presidents over the past 25 years.  I am of the belief that gender shouldn’t matter with regards to representation within politics, and that if both genders aren’t represented by their elected president evenly then the president has failed in his duty.  Thankfully, thus far the policies made by student council haven’t hit one gender harder than the other.  I don’t believe that mandating leadership experience is necessary, as I have faith that OES students are capable of determining effective leaders for themselves.  The idea of gender quotas also doesn’t sit well with me, as it holds the possibility of excluding capable leaders of either gender.  Overall, I feel that the proposal needs work, but I am thankful that students are allowed to truly offer feedback.