Top 50 posts from the 2009-10 SCROLL staff

Will Portman

By Will Portman, ‘10, Editor-in-Chief

As the 2010-11 Scroll staff, led by incoming Editors-in-Chief Cody Pomeranz, ‘11, and Amanda Young, ‘11, takes over the reins of the newspaper this week, I thought it’d be appropriate to take a look back at the work of the 2009-10 staff.

It was a big year for The Scroll.  After nearly eight decades in print, The Scroll shifted to an entirely online format.  The move proved highly successful, saving $3,000 and 64,000 pages of newsprint over the course of the year, and more than quadrupling readership, attracting an average of roughly 3,000 visits and 12,000 individual page views per month.  Moving online expanded the geographic distribution of readers: while over 80% of The Scroll’s visitors have come from the Greater Cincinnati region, we’ve also had visitors from over 40 states and 20 countries, including Spain, Israel, Singapore, Pakistan, and Brazil.

We’ve been more prolific than in previous years, publishing 238 posts to date, and we’ve been focused on producing higher-quality content, devoting time previously spent on page layout to rigorously editing the substance of articles. The website has featured new media such as videos, photo galleries, and polls, and articles have been, in general, more timely and up-to-date.  We’ve sought to develop more of a school-wide conversation, shifting away from the old model of a simple one-way dissemination of information, with comments and ratings for articles, and with Scroll platforms on the social networking sites Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.

Essentially, this year, we’ve published more stuff, at a higher quality, at less cost, for a larger audience.  None of these successes would have been possible without the leadership of this year’s senior editors, many of whom have worked on The Scroll for the past four years: Megan Bonini, Xanni Brown, Jayne Caron, Olivia Eichenseer, Kate Flexter, Isaac Guttman, Meredith Hritz, Thomas Langlois, Allison Lazarus, Alex Lento, and Jessup Smith.

The best of their work over the last eight months, as well as exemplary contributions from the outstanding freshmen, sophomores, and juniors on the staff, is featured below, intended not only to showcase their talents and accomplishments, but also to serve as a review of the school year gone by (though, of course, over a month remains).

Without further ado, here, in chronological order, are the top 50 articles from the 2009-10 Scroll staff:

Summer homework: has school become year-round? (News; 9/15/09) — Fresh off a summer of AP US History assignments and seemingly endless summer reading, Amanda Young, ‘11, probed the question on many students’ minds: isn’t summer supposed to be a break from school?

Sebastian Koochaki among best chemistry students in nation (News; 9/15/09) — Haleigh Miller, ‘12, reported on senior Sebastian Koochaki’s remarkable success in science.  Koochaki placed in the top 50 high school students in the nation in the 2009 National Chemistry Olympiad Exam, and spent his summer working with the director of graduate studies at the Biomedical Engineering Department of the University of Cincinnati.

Top 10 funniest Upper School teachers (Lighter Fare; 9/15/09) — Jayne Caron, ‘10, analyzed her teachers’ senses of humor in what has become this year’s most viewed Scroll article, with over 1,600 hits.  Mrs. Pat Dunn’s only complaint: “very funny article but am assuming that these should be relisted in order of finish…as in 1. Mrs. Dunn, etc…”

HUMOR: Random student disappearances confound Rangers (Lighter Fare; 9/15/09) – Also one of the most viewed articles of the year, the “HUMOR” label had to be added to this article by Kevin Baxter, ‘10, after the provocative headline alarmed some parents.

Alexis Victor in new Miley Cyrus movie (The Lens; 9/15/09) — Alexis Victor, ‘11, shared how serendipity led her to a role as an extra in the Miley Cyrus movie The Last Song.  Victor’s brush with fame was one of several “What I did over my summer vacation” pieces, including Allison Lazarus travels to Israel as Bronfman Fellow and Domenic DiFrancesco plays viola at prestigious summer program.

Eleven seniors named National Merit Semifinalists (News; 9/16/09)The Scroll broke the news that 11 seniors had been named National Merit Semifinalists, the highest number in recent memory.  Later, it released the names of 39 CCDS students recognized for outstanding performance on AP tests, in 39 students earn AP recognition.

Former CCDS student in Dallas Divas and Daughters (A&E; 10/8/09) — Meredith Hritz, ‘10, reported on friend and former classmate Courtney Michalek’s star turn in the Style Network show Dallas Divas and Daughters.  Michalek, who would have been a senior at CCDS this year but moved to Dallas after her freshman year, was, along with her mother, dubbed a “Heartbreaker” in the show.

Calculate your carbon footprint (LifeStyle; 10/13/09) — This relatively innocent article by Alex Lento, ‘10, providing readers with tips as to how to reduce their carbon footprint, triggered a heated, but civil, debate in the comments section about the validity of global warming.

VIDEO: What’s your favorite school lunch? (Perspectives; 10/19/09) – Video Scroll Polls like this one, filmed and edited by Baldur Tangvald, ‘11, became one of the most popular recurring features on the website.  Other examples: VIDEO: What’s the hardest class at CCDS? and VIDEO: What are you doing over Spring Break?

Three days til opening night: free dinner and cast members out sick (A&E; 10/19/09) — Rebecca Miller, ‘12, posted blog entries (see also: Two days til opening night: costumes, lighting, and sound!) in the lead-up to the fall play All in the Timing that helped generate buzz for the production, and demonstrated the benefits of instantaneous publication.  The Scroll’s fall play coverage also included a News article, Fall play is ‘All in the Timing’.

VIDEO: Fight swine flu, use Purell (A&E; 10/21/09) — Hazel Mullan, ‘10, directed a hilarious parody of a swine flu PSA that complemented two Scroll News articles on the potential epidemic, Swine flu scare promotes healthy habits and Swine flu strikes CCDS.

Football’s winning season: game-by-game (Sports; 10/21/09) – From trouncing Summit at their Homecoming to losing a tough game 40-6 at North College Hill, the football team had a winning season filled with excitement and emotion.  Jules Cantor, ‘11, meticulously chronicled every game, including two that hadn’t even happened yet!

POLL: Which winter sport would you add to CCDS? (Perspectives; 10/23/09) — This interactive poll sparked a debate in the comments section  about whether a consistent weightlifting regimen merited sports credit, which led to an article by Jules Cantor, ‘11, advocating just that: Weightlifting should earn sports credit, Cantor argues.  Polls were another popular recurring Scroll feature, and sought community input on everything from How many hours of sleep do you get on an average school night? to What’s your favorite type of Girl Scout cookie?

Hirsch takes on ovarian cancer with positive spirit (News; 10/26/09) — The positive, resilient attitude of Athletic Director Theresa Hirschauer (”Hirsch”) inspired the whole community this year.  Junior Amanda Young’s article is accompanied by a beautiful photograph by Ilana Habib, ‘11.

Dear Mr. President: I’m disappointed (Perspectives; 10/27/09) — Cody Pomeranz, ‘11, a self-described supporter of President Obama, expressed frustration with the President over his handling of health care, Afghanistan, and gay rights, in a piece that has garnered over 1,500 hits to earn it second place on the Most Viewed list.

Huelskamp designs own Homecoming dress (LifeStyle; 10/28/09) — The fashion design talent of junior Jamie Huelskamp was spotlighted by Sophie Weinstein, ‘13.  The next week, The Scroll covered senior Olivia Eichenseer’s hobby of designing shoes in Eichenseer’s unique hobby: designing shoes.

Service shifts from “hours logged to a habit of mind” (News; 10/29/09) — With new Director of Community Service Deborah Floyd leading a push to shift community service from an “hours-logged mindset to a habit of mind,” the school partnered with UGIVE and started the Tribal Philanthropic Board.  Isaac Guttman, ‘10, discussed these initiatives in this article.

Scrolling through the decades: the 1930s (The Lens; 11/10/09) — Jayne Caron, ‘10, and Kathryn Black, ‘11, spent hours perusing the Scroll archives in the library and then scanning old Scroll pages in the photo room to show how The Scroll evolved over the decades.  See also: 1940s, 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s.

Freshmen share baking tips, recipe for jumbleberry pie (LifeStyle; 11/17/09) — Freshmen Sally Portman and Sophie Weinstein presented a recipe and tips for a delicious jumbleberry pie.  Later, Sally shared her recipe for chocolate scones, as well as a little scone history, in The scone: Portman presents origins and recipe.

VIDEO: Is It This: A Tribute to Michael Jackson – Part I (A&E; 11/18/09) — Senior Todd Legette’s epic tribute to fallen idol Michael Jackson, filmed and edited by Hazel Mullan, ‘10, attracted the most comments of any post this year: 17.  For a week or two, “Billie Jean” and “Thriller” could be heard blaring out of laptop speakers across campus, and the anticipation for VIDEO: Is It This: A Tribute to Michael Jackson – Part II was palpable.

Coach Spotlight: Conner a CCDS great (Sports; 12/1/09) — In another tribute to an icon, Cody Pomeranz, ‘11, honored the contributions of CCDS coach Steve Conner.

Dress code, senior privileges changes “win/wins” (News; 12/11/09) — Isaac Guttman, ‘10, documented two policy changes in the Upper School.  Thanks to these new initiatives, students could now wear sweaters and pullovers without wearing a collar underneath, and seniors could exercise their senior privileges – the right to be off-campus when they’re free – during morning free bells and some advisory and clubs periods.  Later, Avery Maier, ‘13, followed up with the article Dress code changes to remain in place, for now.

Michals lecture, school’s response spark controversy, discussion (News; 12/11/09) — In one of the more controversial events of the school year, visiting artist Duane Michals was asked to stop in the middle of a lecture after the school administration deemed his remarks inappropriate for the school day.  Amanda Young, ‘11, wrote a thorough News article on the event incorporating many diverse perspectives, including new quotes from Mr. Michals himself.  Further Scroll coverage on the event included PERSPECTIVE: Duane Michals hilarious, yet inappropriate and PERSPECTIVE: Michals forces us to question what we know.

Grading Obama, one year in (Perspectives; 1/12/10) — Approaching the one-year anniversary of President Obama’s inauguration, seniors Brian Cofer and Sebastian Koochaki and junior Cody Pomeranz critiqued the President’s performance on a variety of issues.

Is acceptable use policy in need of revision? (News; 1/13/10) — Avery Maier, ‘13, questioned whether the school’s acceptable use policy concerning computers was in need of some changes, given the reality of students’ online behavior during the school day.  As senior Jimmy Stafford said in the article, “I go on Facebook during school, but so does almost everyone else. Those people just don’t want to admit that they do.”  Later, in light of interest generated by the article, The Scroll posted the Acceptable Use Policy verbatim, in Scroll forum: Acceptable Use Policy.

Your health: preventing the flu, getting more sleep (LifeStyle; 1/13/10) — LifeStyle editors Alex Lento, ‘10, and Jessup Smith, ‘10, are concerned about your well-being.  Over the year, they published many articles like this one, including How to survive college stress throughout high school and Make eating healthy easier (and more enjoyable) with these recipes.

Life of a lifer: Claire Heinichen, on Grant Hesser (The Lens; 1/14/10) — Junior Claire Heinichen reflected on 16 years with classmate Grant Hesser, as part of a series of “Life of a lifer” articles that included Kathryn Black, Lilly Fleischmann, and Greg Dick (and Kate Taylor: Life of a non-lifer).

HUMOR: Party in the Country Day (Lighter Fare; 1/14/10) — Seniors MacKenzie Pickett and Jessup Smith penned CCDS lyrics to the once-ubiquitous (but now, mercifully, fading) Miley Cyrus song “Party in the USA.”

Red, black, and proud: Matt Lesser in New Orleans (Sports; 1/14/10) — Senior Matt Lesser’s trip to New Orleans to see the UC Bearcats in the Sugar Bowl caused something his dad once told him to ring true: “Cincinnati is the smallest big city in the world.”

Teachers’ favorite books, movies, and TV shows (LifeStyle; 1/21/10) — CCDS faculty members from Ms. Hausman to Hirsch to the Dunns shared literary, film, and TV recommendations in this piece compiled by Alex Lento, ‘10.

Merit scholarships, enrollment initiatives attract new students (News; 1/28/10) — Haleigh Miller, ‘12, reported on new enrollment initiatives like merit scholarships and community engagement events, building on Parents’ Association introduces new enrollment initiative by Holly Dayton, ‘13.  Later, Avery Maier, ‘13, followed up on the results of the enrollment initiatives, with Enrollment applications up 15% this year.

Swim team fulfilling high expectations (Sports; 1/28/10) — As a mid-season update, Caroline Gentile, ‘13, covered the swim team’s success in recent meets.  The team built upon this success, and their competition at the state level was previewed by Boys swimming relay confident going into state.

Cincinnati Magazine editors visit, defend omission of CCDS from “Best High Schools” issue (News; 1/29/10) – The longest article published by The Scroll this year (save maybe for the one you’re currently reading!), this piece by Isaac Guttman, ‘10, and Will Portman, ‘10, approached Junior Paper length with over 2,600 words, painstakingly analyzing Cincinnati Magazine’s argument for omitting CCDS from its “Best High Schools” issue.  Xanni Brown, ‘10, gave the magazine a taste of its own medicine a week later in HUMOR: Best local magazines, newspapers, which excluded a certain publication with the initials CM.

Ever wonder what your teachers were like in high school? (The Lens; 2/8/10) — Which teacher earned “Shortest Senior” for his senior superlative?  Whose microphone was cut off halfway through his speech at his own graduation?  Find these answers and more in this photo-filled piece by Jayne Caron, ‘10, and Kathryn Black, ‘11.

Juniors respond to Multicultural Morning (Perspectives; 2/11/10) — In response to Multicultural Morning, which focused on the realities and misconceptions of homelessness, juniors Alexandra McInturf, Alexis Victor, Ilana Habib, Kate Taylor, and Lindsay Dougan submitted prose, poetry, and letters to the editor to Streetvibes, the newspaper of the Greater Cincinnati Coalition for the Homeless, which were published in The Scroll.

HUMOR: A Day in the Life of Kevin Baxter (Lighter Fare; 2/11/10) — This minute-by-minute documentation of a day in the life of Kevin Baxter, ‘10, was written not by Kevin, but by an, um, enthusiastic fan – “secret” contributor Nworb Innax, ‘??.

HUMOR: How to simulate life in the Upper School (Lighter Fare; 2/17/10) — This satirical piece, by the pseudonymous Silence Dopoorly, ‘56 (a reference to Benjamin Franklin’s Silence Dogood, an anonymous persona who poked fun at Colonial America) triggered an internal – and unresolved – Scroll debate on publishing anonymously attributed articles, especially anonymous satire.

VIDEO: Khan’s buzzer-beater clinches victory over Summit (Sports; 2/17/10) — The third most viewed post of the year, with over 1,350 hits, this article by Cody Pomeranz, ‘11, and video by Baldur Tangvald, ‘11, preserve for all time one of the most suspenseful, adrenaline-charged, and exhilarating CCDS basketball games in recent memory.

Students inducted into Cum Laude Society (News; 2/18/10) — This article, which was featured on the CCDS website and included in the school’s weekly email newsletter, was a good example of the collaboration that went on this year between The Scroll and the Country Day communications department.

Girls basketball takes MVC championship (Sports; 2/18/10) — Jules Cantor, ‘11, summarized the girls basketball team’s thrilling 43-40 victory over CHCA to clinch the MVC title for the first time in ten years.

How many hours do you spend in front of a screen? (News; 2/19/10) — In what was perhaps a slightly ironic article to be coming from an online newspaper, Amanda Young, ‘11, inspired by the New York Times article “If Your Kids Are Awake, They’re Probably Online,” encouraged students to consider how much screen time they log on a daily basis.

Weinstein reviews Winter Formal fashion (LifeStyle; 2/24/10) — Sophie Weinstein, ‘13, analyzed dresses from the dance, helping put the “Style” into the “LifeStyle” section.

PERSPECTIVE: Wrong that college acceptances define students (Perspectives; 2/25/10) — Alongside a photo of herself burning her Stanford rejection letter, Jayne Caron, ‘10, criticized “CCDS’s focus on getting students into big-name Ivy League (or similarly prestigious) institutions,” and lamented that fact that Honors and AP classes divide students into two tracks, with little crossover.

Double-take: student-celebrity lookalikes (Lighter Fare; 2/26/10) — Junior Claire Heinichen’s compilation of students and their celebrity doppelgangers attracted lots of interest.  Ricci Snell, ‘12, and Taylor Swift were voted the best student-celebrity lookalike pair.

March moving to L.A. in search of Hollywood stardom (News; 2/26/10) — Avery Maier, ‘13, reported on freshman Jenny March’s move to Los Angeles in the beginning of March in order to take singing and acting lessons and audition for jobs in show business.

PHOTOS: Ultimate Frisbee defeats Walnut Hills (Sports; 3/8/10) — This photo gallery by Ilana Habib, ‘11, documented the first game of the newly formed CCDS Ultimate Frisbee team, whose founding was covered in the article Ultimate Frisbee team established.

What’s high school like around the world? (The Lens; 3/11/10) – Kate Taylor, ‘11, drawing on her experiences of having lived in England, Germany, and America (see: Kate Taylor: Life of a non-lifer), as well as interviews with CCDS students from China and South Korea and friends from England and Australia, discussed the differences and similarities between educational systems around the world.

Some question whether senior year traditions are excessive (News; 3/18/10) — Along with an exhaustive listing of all the events designed to celebrate and reward seniors in their final year at CCDS, Will Portman, ‘10, included perspectives from students and faculty as to whether it was all just too much.

Senior spring break, in Haiti (Perspectives; 4/7/10) –Micaela Mullee, ‘10, reflected on the surreal experience of taking a Royal Caribbean cruise to Haiti just two months after the devastating earthquakes that claimed tens of thousands of lives in the impoverished country.  Two days after the earthquakes had struck, The Scroll had listed some ways to support the Haitian people in Haiti: How to help.

VIDEO: Pen flip a tradition that “seems to have died out” (The Lens; 4/16/10) — This article by Will Fritz, ‘11, complete with a video demonstration of the CCDS pen flip by Baldur Tangvald, ‘11, lamented the decline of a quirk that used to be synonymous with CCDS.