- 1 Luke Farrell
- 2 A Little Bit About Me
- 3 Baby CTY at Mount Holyoke
- 4 Saratoga CTY
- 4.1 14.2
- 4.2 15.2
- 4.3 16.2
- 4.4 17.2
- 5 My Birthday
I like you. I love you. I CTY you.
A Little Bit About Me
Hi. As you probably guessed it, my name is Luke. I have been going to CTY for three years now and it has been a great experience. I was at Mt. Holyoke for Baby CTY in 2013 and have gone to Skidmore in Saratoga Springs for the last two. I have had a lot of fun in my past years and why not I explain why. Let's start with Mt. Holyoke.
Baby CTY at Mount Holyoke
Course: United Nations and Advanced Geography: UNAG
Instructors: Elyse and Katy (TA)
Hallmates: Kyle, Nate, Nick, Tony, Jihoon, Mike, Jake, Daniel and Kevin
As my first year at CTY like many kids I was nervous. Being away from my parents for three weeks seemed like a good thing, but it was scary at first for me. Below are the highlights and memories of my first year at CTY.
UNAG was an eventful course to start off my CTY journey. Elise and Katy had been a fantastic duo together along with my crazy classmates. In the class, UN siulations are done on real world topics and situations. My countries included Nigeria, Saudi Arabia and [entrer other country]. One great thing was Katy would grab copies of the New York Times for everybody to look at and investigate. I was not the biggest into crosswords at the time, but it was good to look at. One memorable instance of the class was having my Ra Andrew be a representative from Syria concerning the Civil War in the country and trying to determne soultions for the conflict. We also watched a great documentary called "The Island President" in which the President of the small island chain of the Maldives sught to save his country from climate change that was sinking his islands.
The Green Ball
When I first arrived at CTY, I had brought a green ball wiht me to outdoor activities and before class started to have fun. A volleyball net was on the side of the quad outside Rockefeller and so my hall would end up plaing Volleyball with it. One time during transition to activities, one of the RAs told me to not bring it back on the weekdays. The activity in question was, of course, "Cloud Watching".
Avatar: The Last Airbender
During a rainstorm at any CTY site, students will go into their auditorium and watch programs or play quizzes. That was the case at SouthHadley, but it had gone a bit to the extreme. The first programs that were watched were educational documentaries, but the students wanted mre and so the SRA had turned on Avatar: The Last Airbender.
Everybody loved it and they really, realy wanted to see it again. We had managed to get all the way to the Winter Solstice episodes of Book 1. During a Tennis activity, students were hoping for rain to happen that they had prayed to Katara, who is a waterbender in the show, to make it rain. Suprisingly, it did end up raining with a lovely rainbow in the sky. However, the rain did eventually stop and activities continued, but the memory of A:TLA still lives on.
In our hall, Andrew decided to give out special beads for good acts. The maximum you could get (and should get) was two. It would always be a good recognition if he had seen you help somebody or he saw you perform well in class. It would always be announced at the hall meeting who received the beads. I was able to obtain my beads for my birthday and on the last night together we all got one. They still hang around my lanyard everyday to remind me of that good old time.
The Patty Predicament
At Mt. Holyoke, the dining halls were set in the same place as the residential halls. They were very tiny, but had the usual items of juice machines, cereal options and other delectables. In order to get your main course options, they would be displayed right by the chefs who were cooking the food and you would use separate spatulas to retrieve said food.
One day, I had was retrieving my food (a sausage or a patty, I forget which one) when there was no spatula for that section to perceive. I had then used my fork to retrieve the patty. Being the silly 6th grader I was, I had stabbed it on from the prongs of my fork instead of scooping it up.
A chef had raced over to the are and said "Stop!". I was perplexed as he continued saying "What are you doing?!" It had appeared that I did something wrong by trying to get my food. He had said that because I had stabbed the food with the fork I had then "contaminated all the other patties" and that the tray was now "completely useless" and had to be thrown away. It is because of this incident that I always try to use a spatula instead, but did he really have to throw that food out.
During the dances at this site, they were held right across the way from Rockefeller at the campus center's lower level. Down in this area was a giant space, one for recreation inside and outside the dance floor. Outside of the dance floor, all of the board games were set up that consisted of games like cards, RISK, Connect Four and it even had its own pool table.
The dancing was something I did not particularly enjoy at the time. I was still one to be shy and nervous when attempting new feats and I did not partake in that action. The other option was to watch a movie, an option that most sites do not have so much anymore. The benefit was that the movie was held in the same building so that it was not a problem. The one I could remember watching was "An Extremely Goofy Movie".
My hallmates were all in on the dances with Mike and Kevin being the best ones. During this crazy time of 2013, one song had sweeped the nation "Gangnam Style". Performed by the K-Pop star PSY, this infectious tune was beloved by everyone, sort of. Coincidentally, two of my hallmates, Tony and Daniel, were from South Korea, They were not amused in having the song be played as they had already heard it plenty of times before.
Thankfully, the last song of the dance was "American Pie". It was not the first that I had heard it because my parents would always play the song on our vacation trips to Vermont. It was an interesting time hearing it during the dances. I never felt it to be a dancing kind of song, but it was one that everyone could rally around and enjoy. This would be the only song that I would dance to until 15.2 when I partook in "Tunak Tunak Tun" at Saratoga.
Saratoga really is an unbelievable campus. Not only does it have a great history as a town, but also some exclusives at the site for CTY. The big one are the town trips, which are awesome. Whether it's Comic Depot, Ben & Jerry's (Vermonsters), or Starbucks (Yes, you heard me), there's something for everyone on the trips.
Course: International Politics: POLY
Instructors: Rupa and Amanda (TA)
Hallmates: Henry, Duncan, Avi, Greg, Suraag, Chris, Chris, Grayson, Kevin
Nairudh's Vermonster Nightmare
The Bloody Birthday
Mike's Dinner Party
The Last Day
Course: Logic: Principles of Reasoning LOGC
Instructors: Andrew and Evan (TA)
Hallmates: Johnathan, Janpal, David, Tyler, Derek, Daniel, Alvin, Cameron, Henry
Logic was led by Andrew Higgins and Evan Kalkus and still is a super fun class at CTY. My experience had many fun activities along the way some which are included here.
Logic puzzles are a big part of this course. Evan had done plenty of them during the night sessions of class and with most of us not being able to finish out these puzzles. My notebook is a majority of True False statements everywhere, which I can't truly understand what they are now.
One instance that was particularly striking in this class was the viewing of videos depicting arguments and experiments made by professors to show tendencies. One of the most famous shown was the Brown Eyes Blue Eyes Experiment in which Jane Elliott tells certain students with "blue eyes" are above the people with "brown eyes" and their behaviors would change throughout the day. Another study was the Milgram Experiment, conducted by Stanley Milgram in which people were tested to do actions that somebody would tell them to do and have to go against their personal preferences. This involved a shock lesson in which the participant had to shock the person on the other side. This left emotional trauma for many participants, but Milgram set it up so that no one was actually getting shocked on the other end although it had sounded like people were in agonizing pain, with one contestant thinking someone was dead on the other end.
One of the most boring things we did have to endure during this class was an AI symposium. It combined the Science students plus Cognitive Psychology and Philosophy of Mind to go over the use and future of Artificial Intelligence. Truly, it was mainly taken over by one such instructor who had kept on talking for a good while and the symposiium really showed no purpose. However, it was a video on "human meat" that was the only good part of the event.
Finally, during the last day of class a movie is played to the extent of the final day. In this case, Andrew had left during the last dance because he had to DRIVE all the way to Illinois to move the next day, which I can say he was able to do. We went into Scribner Library in the lounge to watch either The Matrix or The Dark Knight. Now I am a fan of Christopher Nolan any day and I picked The Dark Knight, but the odds were against me as it was a Logic class and who could be Keanu Reeves and Laurence Fishburne.
The Mad Spooner
I am sure as a good majority of people know from the Hall of Shame The Mad Spooner had occurred this year and I was in the hall and floor that was subject to this. I will tell you right now, I was never involved in these shenanigans nor did I endorse them in anyway.
To sum up the incidents, Blammo time had come around and was in the full swing, when one day we had found "Spoonerisms" as described in the Hall of Shame, to our amusement, but we also wondered where these spoons came from. We did not think too much of it, but the situation had worsened as someone in RA Aaron's hall had found a spoon in their room that had not been there before. This then turned into a real situation. In short, the perpetrator was found as we had found over 500 spoons in a storage area in the hall. Aaron had then videotaped the person going into the room and taking the spoons.
I did not necessarily find this to be a terrible situation, but I will say we were all on edge just to hope that nothing else had happened. Interestingly enough, the day the video was discovered, the Spooner had then flipped all of the couches and left a lone spoon on a water jug that was present on the floor, leaving the final trace of what was initially an innocent incident, which then turned very creepy.
Who Would Win In A Fight?
Something 'Bout A Truck
The Dance Birthday
Dan Bell's Squirrel Incident
Create Your Own Activity Catastrophe
The Legend of Smee
Dark Knight or The Matrix
Course: Fundamentals of Microeconomics: MICO
Instructors: Irakli and Yolanda (TA)
Hallmates: Albert, Kevin, Avi, Ky, Quincy, Janpal, Sachin, Chris, Ryan, Ben, Luke and Adway
Creative Drawings By Irakli
Colonel Mike Panther's Witch Hunt Activity
The Talent Show Act
The Talent Show was coming up for 2016 and I had never done the event before. Sure, I had seen many students perform wonderful acts, but I never thought I could really do that great. My initial idea was sparked at the Northshire Bookstore during the First Town Trip when I had purchased "Baby's First Book of Trump" to read as I thought it would be funny. However, politics are not something to bring at CTY due to the escape of it all at it and with any mention of it within the time leads to arguments not needed in such a awe inspiring environment. It was originally a go from RA Dan, but he then had the statement that I mentioned before. It was then time for another act to take its place and that would go down in history: A CTY Rap.
I had to make sure this would be a great act as RA Dan had put me to open the Talent Show for me energy to get people excited about it. Of course, I would have to set the bar for the entire show, which is certainly not an easy feat. I found one of those rap instrumentals on Youtube and decided to base that off of the song. RA Peter had judged the performance and deemed it to be okay, but needed to have a few minor tweaks in it. Here is the original unedited rap:
Now let me tell you all about CTY
It's a place that you love and so do I
People at the dance singing "American Pie"
And people on the quad chanting "Free Lee Kai"
It's a really great place as everyone knows
Just don't caught in the no fly zone.
Alright now I'm turning up the power
Going One Minute Twelve up the Jonsson Tower
Some people are playing Pokemon Go
But the best game is really blammo
Micro class ends at 3
But before we go we ask Ryan "What is elasticity??"
After that it's activities and I think you should
Go do RASK and be like Jon Good.
Just know that he loves you
And that I love you too
That love goes to the Royalty
To Duncan, Emily, Michael and D
But no one's to be forgotten no one to be ignored
Because I think JR's the ultimate Trap Lord
I got some sick rhymes as you all can see
I'm better than the HYPE + Travie G
Alright guys let me see what you got
But I have a good feeling it won't be this hot.
Isn't that right, ain't that the truth
I'll see all of you at Passionfruit.
Staff Game Scuffle
Dave's Rave Dilemma
Dave's Rave is one of the most important and fantastic times to be apart of at Saratoga. Sure, it was made due in part to the Skidmore Eleven, but the event is really fun. It is a 45 minute dance, which usually has hype music and upbeat songs to make you sleepy and not sneak out the next night. It was what happened before, however, that was the issue.
Random Acts of Senseless Kindness (RASK) was the activity in question. Usually meant for good times and lots of good thoughts, the situation was a terrible one. It appeared as if Emily, Maeve, Duncan and Avi had not written the greatest responses on their RASK cards. I had seen a blurb of one, which wasn't all that inappropriate, but nevertheless, somebody had complained and reported it to the Administration.
That same day during night class, everybody was in a good mood, except for Emily. I had not known about the incident until the break, which was really sad. Emily had come in slouched and certainly not in her usual mood. It was only 30 minutes into class and she asked to use the restroom. About 45 minutes went by and it was time for break, which at that point she was still in the bathroom. The class then headed outside where Emily was met by Site Director Julie, who then proceeded her into the side door of Rounds Hall.
I had learned after that the punishment was missing half of the dance, in which they were then allowed to rave during it for the remainder of the time. However, Emily and Maeve had also gotten reprimanded over partially dyeing each others hair during the session. It truly was a sad day for all of us as we wouldn't have wanted them to miss out on part of their final CTY experience.
Royalty Selection Miscommunication
I was all hyped up, as I would say most people are, for the last days of CTY. The excitement of the final dance, Passionfruit and of course, the announcement of Royalty. All of these, however had been burdened on me from a miss connection that had happened. Indeed I was thinking I could be Royalty and, as tradition puts it, you are not supposed to discuss who has become Royalty or tell the people before the announcement at Passionfruit. This was broken due to a misunderstanding.
I was hanging out and talking to some students on my second floor when Duncan Freeman, usually on his first floor, had asked me if he could speak to me in private in my room. Certainly this was not a problem for me as we had been roommates before, but it was different when he closed the door behind and I was getting a little nervous. I felt as if I had done something wrong, but he assured me that I was not in trouble.
He then proceeded to tell me that he had heard that I talked to my friend Dheivanai Moorthy about how if I ever wanted to be come Royalty that I would want to be an Empress. I did not have this discussion and thus told him that I would not wan to be an Empress. He then thanked me and left, telling me to not discuss of the conversation we had had. It was a simple misunderstanding that came from a non-existent conversation, but then i had to deal with Nomores and Nevermores that had heard about the falseness.
Afterward, I was enthusiastic to know that I had become Royalty, however that meant that Duncan had broken years of tradition in doing this. I do forgive him in his error, but it was everything else after that seemed a little odd. Getting ready for the dance, RA Peter's hall waited outside as he had newly come back from his collision with Alejandro the day before. He then gave us candy for our troubles and the wait. That is when Nevermore Sachin Mathew came over and told me that "If you are ever struggling with your gender or need some help, I am here for you". However, I had told him that it wasn't true and Duncan had made a mistake. He then apologized, but still said if i ever did, he would help me.
At the dance, it seemed as if I was being pointed out left and right. Nevermore Cameron Clark had pointed me out to one onlooker, who I could only assume he was telling them I would be part of the Royalty. Next, I had to find Dheivani and ask her about the situation. After the raucous playing of "Smells Like Teen Spirit", I approached Dheivanai and asked her what happened. It appeared as if Duncan brought the problem up and Dheivanai told me that we never had that conversation, however she did not tell Duncan that. "It's The End of The World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)" came on and Nevermore Emily Leibiger and I had sung to most of the song. the Intermission for it had come and she gave me a big hug and whispered "I f***in' love you". I was unaware if this was due to that, but I am sure it was a friendly gesture nonetheless. "Somewhere Over The Rainbow" had come on as the theme was Wizard of Oz/Somewhere Over The Rainbow that dance and Aloha Cerit asked for me to join the circle with the group of girls. I could assume this was due to Duncan's comment at the elections as i had never been asked before for a circle dance.
The next day, Passionfruit had come and i was worried that the situation would not be amended, however it was fixed as Duncan and the others had probably fixed it after the dance, as the Nevermores all meet up to receive their sweatshirts for the next morning. I then butt wrestled Michael Chin, which after not knowing how to do it properly and Duncan yelling "I believe in you Luke", I was still brought down by the master yo-yo performer. It definitely ended one wild and crazy few hours and the beginning of my last year at CTY.
Course: Philosophy of Mind: MIND
Instructors: Andrew and Olta (TA)
Hallmates: Riik, Peter, Andrew, Dorrian, Kyle, Gabriel, Andrew L., Andrew Q., Edward, Derek, William, Alan, Liam and Eric.
RA: Mike L.
The smallest class in Saratoga history had been put upon the class of Philosophy of Mind in 2017 Session 2. It is the smallest class ever at CTY with 5 students. I was one of the lucky ducklings in the endeavor along with Edward Rigney, Alan Wang, Derek Zhou and Sophie Cashen. The teacher was Andrew Higgins who had had Alan, Derek and myself before, making it a very relatable class. We pretty much knew each other as Derek was in my hall and I hung out with Sophie in prior years. I had seen Ed around the site and talked to Alan during MIT Splash in 2016. Olta Shkembi was the TA, who Sophie had turned her name into "All That She Can Be".
Class highlights besides being the smallest class ever at CTY were many. First was the "O, Fortuna" misheard lyrics. This incident had occurred when talking about the brain and the mind and that when it sees lyrics on the screen and listen to the song, it seems like those are the lyrics, but I am sure no one knew what a fruit loop was back then.
Next were the chicken fights. Although not actual chicken fought, Ed and Sophie had been arguing all about chickens. Sophie was very passionate about not eating chickens and meat daily and that she had a whole coop of chickens back home in Vermont. Ed, meanwhile, always loved to tease her about chickens and the fact that chickens run wildly after their heads are cut off.
Koko the Gorilla was also discussed during night class as we were regarding the subject if Koko was able to learn the sign language on her own over time, or if her trainer was inadvertently giving her the reason for the signs.
Andrew had brought up an interesting quote during the final days of CTY. As it was approaching, Andrew had suggested that "If their is anyone here to write an obituary for, it would be you". That was a very nice gesture for him to say. He had reflected on all of my moments and achievements I had had not only in his classroom, but in the community itself. He also gave the best feedback at the end of the year.
The last Wednesday is the last night quad of the session and during evening class, Site Director Erin had pulled me out. I was worried I had done something wrong, but their was no need to be. Erin had explained that during last session, the Royalty had set up a lettering of CTY in cones to display over the quad, which the staff would take a photo of in the windows of Howe-Rounds. I got to leave class early to set up the cones and I did pretty well, except for the Y.
I Left My Love
During the firs days of CTY, RA's usually have their students have a hall count. We managed to get one from Mike by way of an old John Wayne movie titled "Horse Soldiers". This movie was a complete flop for John Wayne, but the chant was a complete blockbuster for the hall.
The song describes how a solider had to go fight in the Civil War to take down the Union Army. He had to leave a letter for his wife saying that he was departing and the one line was the hall chant:
Hi-Ho Down We Go, there's no such word as can't, were riding down to hell and back for Ulysses Simpson Grant.
The actual line of the song, however, is a little different:
Hi-Yo down they go, there's no such word as can't, we'll ride clean down to hell and back for Ulysses Simpson Grant
The song was still a smash for all of us in the hall and you can listen to it here.
The Basketball Blackout
During the weekend activities, Basketball was on the list for a fun activity, however problems were brought all over. First, the athletic doors were locked which led to a ten minute wait for the security attendant to come and open the door, but the troubles were far from over. When we entered the gym, not a single light was on. None. This had prompted for some intricate cell phone lighting to help possibly shoot around, but it was still a safety hazard. After the tiring search for a light, we finally were able to locate the light source and were able to play basketball after an hour.
The final birthday of my CTY career was one for the ages. Coming off of 16.2's Town Trip Fiasco, I was hoping for a really fun and exciting time and was it ever. Before the start of the session, I had made sure that people would know my birthday was during the session, so I had put it on the special days calendar. Afterward, the wait had begun.
The buildup was just as I had thought. The Town Trip was the day before instead of the day of and I had successfully conquered the Vermonster (with a little help from my friends) and it was a perfectly sunny day instead of a rainy mess. The anticipation mounted for myself for the day to arrive and I was curious as what to expect, but I was pleasantly surprised at the result.
The day was another bright and sunny day. I did not want to put on any extravagant, also knowing that it was the memorial day for TA Jefferey at Easton and so I decided to wear my original CTY T-shirt from 13.2 at Mount Holyoke, which still fit. I got a wonderful birthday card (or piece of paper) from Daisy Fernandez, Dorothy Zhou, Rhys Bloom, Thisbe Wu, Susannah Abrams and Jack Altman. I then proceeded to get bombarded with songs of Happy Birthday about 5 times.
After class and the introduction of "Come Join The Legion", the TAPS frisbee game just happened to be on my birthday. Because of not booking the turf, the game was played on the lower fields. TAPS shirts were not made that year and since the final Town Trip had occurred, the shirts could be altered for the TAPS game. Considering the significance of the shirt and TA Jeffrey's day, I did not later the shirt. The game had gotten off to a good start, with the students being up 3-0. However, the tables quickly turned and the Staff had gone on to win 7-3.
During the night, I had a lovely night quad and then went to the hall meeting in which my usual birthday cupcakes were in order. SRA Geoff had gladly brought them, but had said they were ordered by someone else. I believe that it was most likely DRL Adrienne as she had asked some day or two after how my birthday was and mentioned the cupcakes, or it could have SRA Marissa. I am sure it was one of them.
Meeting the Executive Director
The moment of meeting Elaine Tuttle Hansen, the Executive Director of CTY, was a process many months before the start of my last session. It was in February of 2017 and I had contacted Margaret Walsh, the Senior Director of Development and Alumni Relations for two reasons. One was to request my alumni lanyard, but the other was to spread more awareness of Saratoga in the CTY marketing materials, such as the Annual Report and others. I specifically stated that "I feel [the administration] should communicate with the students and ask about their experiences at CTY, which are highlighted in the end of year report, but a piece of paper does not tell the whole story."
Mrs. Walsh then put me into contact with Mandie Boardman, part of Alumni Relations and the Social Media Manager, in regards to my alumni lanyard. Long story short, I did not get my alumni lanyard because I wanted everyone to get theirs at the same time. However, Mandie was talking with Margaret and Administration to arrange a visit to Saratoga for alumni relations and pass out lanyards. She was not available to come, but she had told me that Elizabeth Albert, the Director of Academic Programs and Services, would be up to visit and that was the last I had heard until the session...
During the session, Site Director Erin organized a meeting every Thursday for the Royalty to meet up and discuss ideas and thoughts during the session and any student concerns to be brought up. On the 2nd meeting of the session, Erin had told us that Dr. Hansen was coming to Saratoga next Tuesday. I had then proceeded to tell her the story of contacting Margaret and Mandie. This would then lead up to the fateful day...
August 1, 2017 was there before I knew it. I was thrilling with anticipation, however I was a little worried. My hall had gotten into a bit of a scuffle the day before as Liam and Peter had gotten into an argument with Mike having to take Liam over to Administration. While they were away, I had told my hall that night that Dr. Hansen was coming the next day. I was making sure that nothing like that would happen during the next day.
Finally, it occurred. I woke up that day ready and eager to be there. Turns out the day worked perfectly as Love Tape Day was moved to that Tuesday due to the rain the previous Tuesday. I had gone into the dining hall and was surprised to see a table with little makeshift orange placeholders saying "Reserved for CTY". After getting my food, I sat down and waited for everyone to come. As I sat, Eilidh Kaune had asked if I wanted to sit with her friends, but I declined because it was a "very special day". I did feel bad for regretting that, as one of my goals before the session was to meet and associate with as many people as possible. Yet, I do go on with the day. Still waiting for Dr. Hansen, Enyo and Divya had come along, but Franz had over slept that day. And then, it happened.
Erin had come over with Dr. Hansen and her husband Stan. I had proceeded to greet her when she had stated: "I have heard a lot about you" with myself saying, "I hope a lot of good things". We had all then proceeded to talk and get bombarded with Love Tape during the meal. We had talked about classes of CTY, college and school aspirations. One moment in particular was great when she had asked us: "If you could change one thing about CTY, what would it be?" One interesting thought was of extending the session to 4 weeks instead of three to experience even more of CTY. I had asked about maybe adding more Humanities courses at CTY, specifically at Saratoga, since the amount of Humanities courses was limited and with myself only having 3 options to choose from for courses. We had forgot about the activities of Tape otuside and had gone to go with the students.
During class, I was worried that maybe Dr. Hansen would come into our class to observe, as Andrew had told us she had visited during his time at Princeton the session before. She had walked into Bolton, but thankfully did not observe us. After class, we thought that Dr. Hansen would join us for Lunch as Erin had told us before. However, she had ended up eating with the faculty in the same room I had had the Dinner Party prize for Casino Night my first year at CTY. On the way to lunch, she had asked me how I was doing and I said "Alright. I am just headed to lunch." and waked away, thinking I would have seen her then.
The end was there at the Activity period when Dr. Hansen and Stan were saying their goodbyes. I had not seen them since the encounter before lunch and had asked Erin how it was and she said that she was "really impressed by both [the students] and the site" as she had loved the campus. She had said that Dr. Hansen had visited in year of Max Dunsker in 2013, but it had been four years since her last visit. The opportunity is something I will always be grateful for and is one of the highlights of my CTY career and it lets me know that Saratoga is a site that has a safe and bright future for a multitude of students for years to come.
Welcome To The Legion
Welcome To The Legion was an activity created by RA Mike to simulate Roman legions and a great battle was to be made. Two sets of legions were formed up to fight, with myself and I believe John Chen to be the leaders of the legions. John Chen had had trouble controlling his group during the period and was then switched with Hudson Jakubowicz.
The first day was made by creating the symbols for our shields and getting the preparatory material ready. THe next few days were based on putting our legions in formation and fighting off attacks from incoming RA's.
The final duel was bound to happen, but never did occur due to the rainout of the Thursday. I was truly disappointed with not being able to fight, but it was problem better to not find out the final outcome.
Dave's Rave Conundrum
Dave's Rave is usually reserved for pump up and feel good jams to dance to for a wonderful and energetic time. However, that was not fully the case during this year. I had made a dance playlist beforehand of the songs I had picked and sent them over to Geoff, Marissa and Erin. By the time of the dance, the playlist had been changed slightly to include slow dance songs.
For any future CTYers, slow songs should never be played at Dave's Rave. The point of the dance is to get everyone excited for the last two days and because of the Skidmore Eleven. The dance was not entirely ruined that year, but it did seem odd to put "Iris" and other slow dance songs in the mix.
The Sideshow Situation
The slideshow presentation for the session had ended up not functioning when it was supposed to. Instead, I had pulled up a set of trivia questions from my phone and proceeded to ask students. Afterward, RA's had decided to do a debate activity in place of the slideshow presentation. This was problematic being that only two days were left in the session.
SRA Geoff and Site Director Erin had called me over after activities ended and I had to face a decision:
1. Play the slideshow during the last day of classes 2. Cut the last dance 20 minutes short and play the slideshow
I had no problem in deciding this case, being that cutting the dance short would not be favorable for any students not coming back the following year and cutting the dance short would be silly.
In the end, I chose to play the slideshow at morning class. It ended up raining during the last dance, so it seemed as if maybe it could have been a good time if we were stuck there at the end, but the rain stopped after a while.
As for the slideshow in general, it was not the greatest slideshow as problems ranged from panning in too much to using the same photo 3 times. Austin still did the best with what he could work with. Some photos that were sent in could have been better.
The Selection of Royalty is an important part of the Saratoga site. This allows for Nevermores and Nomores to select the people who can best represent CTY culture and ideals by providing all the best comfort and companionship to CTY. These should be considered role models and people to look up to at the site. The rules are fairly straight forward. To be a Royalty member at Saratoga, you must be a onemore and that it will be your last year at CTY in the Intensive Studies Program.
The Selection usually occurs in the 2nd floor space of Murray-Aikins, however the CTY staff did not book the venue, leading us all to go onto the quad for the meeting. All of the Nevermores and Nomores who remembered about the meeting were present. I had briefly explained the aforementioned rules to all in attendance. In addition to these, students are also allowed to provide personal stories and anecdotes about their selected nominees.
Thus, it finally started. Elena had kept the tally of the nominees during the Selection, so I am unaware of the exact final total. These are the nominees that I can remember. Ethan Lee, Edward Rigney, Hudson Jakubowicz and Dorian Grey were for the boys and Kaiti Filippou, Ella Parker and Amy Hidalgo were for the girls.
The votes were done initially for everyone person and then it would be cut to the top three. The top three boys were in no particular order: Hudson, Ethan and Edward and the top three girls were Kaiti, Ella and Amy. The final vote was then only for two and the top two for each were Ethan, Ed, Amy and Ella, respectively.
After the selection, I had gone up to SRA Geoff to see what he had thought of the selections. He said they were great, but he had said that "[Ed] has to grow up". During the discussions from the students, they had commended Ed for being a parent to a whole hall of first-years just a year ago and being a big help for them. I will say being in his hall that Ed did do some immature behavior (with Geoff witnessing it on one occasion), however a year of time always brings a lot of change and experience upon a persona and I do hope that Ed and the rest of the Royalty can bring that to the 2018 Session 2 of Saratoga.
The Last Day
The last day of CTY is always seen as a sentimental and sad time and that was no exception with mine. It started with the usual wake up at 4:15 for Passionfruit, the time honored tradition of CTY to culminate the end of a fantastic session. Afterward, the usual meeting place in between Murray-Aikins and Howe Hall are the indication to go to the field. RA Dan had said that the Royalty was in charge of the Passionfruit and whenever we wanted to start we could. We waited until about 4:45 and proceed down to the Lower Fields to watch the sunrise. We quickly realized something was wrong.
As stated in the Hall of Shame, the Missing Royalty was a problematic situation as it should be. Future Royalty members are usually always ready to go to Passionfruit and sleeping through is not always a problem. However, these members were also in an ISO, which made it even more problematic to get them outside. RA Olivia was trying to lead them over to Passionfruit, but DRL Adrienne would not allow them to go to the proceedings in accordance with safety and other issues.
That being the case, it was decided that we would proceed with Passionfruit in the normal way until the speeches were over. There at the Duck Pond, the speeches were fantastic and the entirety of the ceremony was captured thanks to Alan Wang. Since Emperor Franz was not able to give the last speech due to his early flight back to Houston, I was able to commence Passionfruit with the final speech seen below:
In most Passionfruit speeches that you hear, most of them will be about people's own experiences, yet I feel I don't need to boast about myself and talk about my times at CTY. My Passsionfruit speech is an appreciation for everyone here. First off, The RA's and Administration have done an incredible job for these past few weeks and truly don't get the credit they deserve. Erin, Adrienne, Geoff, and Marissa, you all are amazing and wonderful people and you will keep Saratoga going strong. As for all the RA's, I truly hope you can come up with wacky activities that best the likes of Welcome to the Legion and any activity Dan Bell decides to come up with. You all will be fantastic in the sessions to come. And let's not forget about Skidmore! This college has hosted CTY for 31 years!! I'm sure that we will be able to keep Skidmore and their amazing staff in the CTY family. Finally, and most importantly, the students. You all are a smorgasbord of talent and diversity. We truly have a sense of belonging here at Saratoga. Understand that sure, us Nevermores are going to leave, but know the memories and amazing times you all have had with us will never leave. We will always be with you in your hearts. You all are the future of what CTY is. You all are going to sing along to the Canon, do these crazy activities and yell LOUIS at midnight because that is what makes CTY so special. Without that, CTY would just be another standard summer camp, but it is not. Understand that your uniqueness and your weirdness is always embraced at CTY. You can always be you and no one can judge that. You all can be a friend, lend a helping hand and truly appreciate what CTY has to offer because before you know, it will be gone in the blink of an eye. My request is that you all can Cherish Every Moment that you have. Every time at CTY is always a memorable experience and you all can truly be a part of this amazing time with Vermonsters and Passionfruit. Our time at CTY is over, but yours is only the beginning. From the biggest piece of my heart, you all will always be with me and Saratoga will be even better than before.
After Passionfruit was "semi-concluded", we all proceeded back over the Murray-Aikins and Case Green which then served the site for Royalty selection and butt wrestling. When Ed Rigney was announced, it was of course, time to butt wrestle. I was not match for Ed. Being as small and short as i am, I was virtually pushed all the way to the side of the circle.
Afterward, everybody ended up going to breakfast, but I wanted to stay back on the quad to reminisce about all the old times I had had. The TARDIS was being cut up for campers to take their share, but I was not willing to take any as more campers should have their own piece of CTY with them for time to come. DRL Adrienne happened to be around and so we chatted about CTY, how we both weren't coming back next year and that I told her that she "ended with the best group".
I eventually went to Breakfast and had a grand time with my wet sweatshirt from rolling on the hill and got to take a plate to sign. I was not able to get many signatures, but it was well worth it to get.
Class had begun and we were able to watch Inside Out to conclude a great class. Then came the Slideshow. It was not the greatest show in the world, but it still showed the memories that many CTYers had made throughout the session. During the slideshow, all nevermores traveled down to Gannett Auditorium to collect their alumni lanyards from Senior Director of Academic Programs Elizabeth "Liz" Albert.
Classes ended at their usual time, and in that time waiting for RA Mike to come, we got to enjoy another good round of don't drop the Frisbee. RA Mike then brought us to Lunch for a final meal with all of our Hallmates. It was then time to pack up.
Going back to the dorm, I looked around for a while. I liked to showcase my CTY accumulations over the years to remind myself of all the memories. The Paintbrush from 2014, The Create Your Activity and the Birthday Card from 2015 and other items. Since my mom was not there yet and many campers were leaving, I was waiting in the lounge. Ed had proceeded to say how he was 2nd Emperor, but I repeatedly told him he was not officially until I had left the Campus.
My Mom had arrived and we then started to pack, much to my mother's annoyance. I then proceeded giving my final goodbyes to the people and the place I hadn't known so long, but I felt as if I knew it for an eternity. As we drove out of the campus, it was a view I had seen often throughout all the years, Wachenheim Field. The pristine turf was measured and brought to perfection, just like CTY was. The sun had gone down on my career as a CTYer, but the sun will never set on the life of CTY at Saratoga. And as I end my story, I have to say so long and thanks for all the fish.
To be continued (2020)....
July 31, 2000. What's so special about that day? Well
- It's my birthday and
- It's on CTY
That's why I normally went to session 2 for CTY. On my birthday I usually got something special from my hall or the site community itself. At Mt. Holyoke, Andrew and all the kids from the hall went into my room and threw paper confetti and then Andrew made them pick it up. Ha! Also at the end of the session, the dining hall made a cake with everyone's name on it that had a birthday during the session.
At Skidmore, Mike gave my cupcakes and he starting spraying silly string at me which, not only got over me, but the wall as well.
Dan's hall actually didn't do much, but the rest of CTY did. I got a Birthday card from Maeve Brammer who then made people sign it and give it to me. It was really nice. Also during the dance (coincidentally on my birthday that year) they all started singing happy birthday to me and I heard someone yell (I think it was Christophe) "Someone pick him up!" Thankfully, that did not happen.
2016 was not the most eventful birthday at CTY. I had not alerted my fellow campers in the days before because that day was also the Town Trip. They would be too focused on Vermonsters at the time, which I could completely understand. WE went all the way to Congress Park and then it started to rain. We headed back to Case Center and waited for about an hour before we could go back to the dorms. I still was able to get celebratory cupcakes from SRA Geoff and enjoy the day.
2017 was one of the best birthdays that I ever had. Being my last year, I made sure to let people know it was my birthday, turning the big 17. It had started with plenty of birthday singing on the quad. I had then gotten a lovely card from Daisy Fernandez and other things. My birthday also fell on the TAPS Frisbee Game. Although we had gotten blown out (8-4, blew a 3-0 lead), it was still a great experience playing in a Student-Staff game. The day ended with night quad and then more celebratory cupcakes which were shared with the entire hall.