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Year in Review: The Best of 2015-16

Refresh yourself about the new modspace, Schoology, PAIS visit, and much more.

Once summer hits, you may forget how to find roots of a function. When you’re down at the beach, the last thing you’re going to be worried about is who the Republican candidate was in 1824 — although you may worry about who it is in 2016.

But make sure you bring this issue with you so you don’t forget all the awesome, emotional, and impactful things that happened on campus in the 2015-2016 school year. Enjoy this list curated by our editors. Disclaimer: Some tongue-in-cheek humor ahead.

September
Backpack was laid to rest and replaced with the new learning management system Schoology. Schoology will last a long time, right?

The middle school got a new state-of-the-art learning commons: the mod space. Many students were surprised to see the trailers – modular classrooms – in the lot between Dougherty and Duffy.

Malvern did not not have a ceremony remembering 9/11 in September for the first time since the attacks, so former Editor-in-chief Justice Bennett ’16 organized a ceremony with Dr. Oechsle.
Our editorial recommended that Malvern should continue the ceremonies in the future to ensure future generations remember this day.

Malvern welcomed new teachers Dr. Abate, Mr. Borish, Mr. Haus (I bet he’s happy “New Joe Pa” didn’t stick), Mr. Osinski, Mr. Sammartino, Ms. Waldron, Mr. Pannulla, and Mrs. Wolstenholme and new counselors Mr. Harkness and Mrs. Bittner.

Malvern football kicked off their season with two impressive victories: 37-0 vs St. Rita of Cascia at Chicago’s Soldier Field and 31-0 against Holy Spirit from Atlantic City.

We learned about the Class of 2019 In our first ever survey of the incoming freshmen class, 35.89% of them said they would vote for Donald Trump for president. Only 5.25% said they would vote for Hillary Clinton and 3.5% for Bernie Sanders. 49.7% of freshmen said they came to Malvern mainly for academics, and 81% had been out of the country before coming to Malvern.

Pope Francis visited Philadelphia and we didn’t even have the day off. Junior Nick Gatti and sophomore Christian “angel voice” Franck were selected to sing for the Holy Father in the Papal Choir.

Ms. Zbrzeznj and Mr. Whitney tied the knot in the chapel on September 19.

October
Malvern’s campus officially became tobacco free, effectively ending the standing tradition of seniors smoking cigars on the Ring Road after graduation. Watch our social media feeds to see what happens at graduation this year.

Updates to campus wifi improved availability to student mobile devices. Students were less than thrilled about the new security system and overall system performance, though.

Senior Andrew Panzo and the BFC’s very own sophomore Podcast Editor Des “DJ Des” Papariello killed it at homecoming behind the DJ table.

The Phillies commemorated the eighth anniversary of the 2008 World Series. Philly sports had an overall great year in 2015. JK.

iOS 9 came out to your favorite phone that is also a fruit. It did not receive as much positive response as previous updates.

Somehow a student attended a strategic planning meeting on his day off and didn’t regret it. What a weirdo. He was the only student in attendance. He actually expressed how happy he was to be included in school decisions and hopes that student participation will continue in similar events.

The Sixers started their impressive season. They finished dead-last in the NBA with only 10 wins. But hey, at least we hit double digits.

John Scargall ‘08 released his first studio album, “Breakthrough,” available in the campus store.

November/December
Malvern’s Men’s Chorus performed with Notre Dame’s Women’s Chorale in Love Park on December 12, to benefit the Make-a-Wish Foundation.

The Pennsylvania Association of Independent Schools (PAIS) sent representatives to evaluate the school, the first PAIS evaluation in ten years. Malvern hosted the accreditation committee from November 2-4. (Spoiler: We passed.)

Our editorial discussed the practice of “grade grubbing” at Malvern, and proposed a new system to combat its effectiveness. You’re welcome, teachers.

Canamac Productions came to Malvern and put on a production of Defamation, a courtroom drama examining race, religion, gender, and class for select Malvern students and others from the area.

Malvern, Villa, and Notre Dame all competed in a one-day “bowl off” for Malvern’s Empty Bowls. Villa and Notre Dame thrashed Malvern 145 to 114 bowls made.

Former NBA player and author of Basketball Junkie Chris Herren came to speak to Malvern students about the dangers of drug addiction by telling his own story of addiction.

Malvern and Notre Dame hosted a Christmas party for children from St. Patrick’s Parish in Norristown, replacing the longtime Best Nest Christmas party. The party was a success. Some of our editors wore costumes.

Another Eagles season ended in disappointment, except this time the madman behind the whole operation was shipped out the door. No more holding up posters of Justin Bieber to call plays. Sorry Philly. #trusttheprocess.

Members of the BFC shared Christmas traditions from charming to the bizarre, from celebrating the holiday with Broadway shows to being locked in by family and jumping out a window on Christmas Eve.

Founder of The Chastity Project Jason Evert, was scheduled to speak at Malvern on December 11, but his presentation was postponed. A letter to the editor by alumnus Anthony Abron ‘15 presented a perspective on why Malvern did the right thing in postponing Evert’s talk, while a response from John McGlinn ‘18 advocated for him to speak.

January
On January 9, the Malvern community celebrated the life of Rev. David J. Duffy, O.S.A. ’48 at the 10th anniversary of his passing with a Mass in Our Mother of Good Counsel Chapel.

Motivational speaker Chris Williams enlightened Malvern underclassmen on his “keys to success” in an assembly on January 5.

Juniors received their class rings at the annual ring ceremony. Instagram was never the same.

In a game against Springside-Chestnut Hill on January 27, senior basketball player Will Powers scored his 1,000th career point in a 90-50 win, becoming only the 13th player in Malvern history to do so.

Our editorial discussing some problems with the traditional formal dress code foreshadowed some changes to the dress code ahead in February.

Malvern hosted Speak Up!, an event that promotes a safe, non-threatening environment for students, parents and educators to share thoughts, questions and concerns about relevant issues for teens and their families.

English teacher and Malvern legend Mr. John Bohannon brought the library back “where the sidewalk ends” in the quad on campus. Anyone can share and borrow books, CD’s, or other forms of entertainment.

Empty Bowls at Malvern was another big success in raising money for the Bethesda Project, an organization that helps the poor and homeless in the Philadelphia area. The event moved to the larger O’Neill Center and brought in student volunteers from Villa Maria Academy and The Academy of Notre Dame for the first time.

Adios, Schoology. After just one year with the system, the Malvern administration announced in January that it will not be used again next year, due to ongoing problems with the system. The school will transition to a new program, OnCampus.

Former Editor-in-Chief Justice Bennett ’16 wrote A Light of Exposure, an article on the factors and realities of suicide in our community. Bennett profiled an alumnus who shared a compelling, honest story of surviving suicide. The story reported that Malvern does not train staff in suicide intervention to Pennsylvania’s Act 71 standards for public schools.

February
In our cover story, we profiled senior Mason Abate, who committed to Elizabethtown College for baseball after beating cancer as a freshman in 2013. We also profiled four of the many other members of our community whose lives have been affected by cancer.

Malvern tested a modified version formal dress code with ties and blazers now being optional rather than mandatory. Dean of Students Tim Dougherty revealed in May that this experimental dress code will become the standard formal dress code during the 2016-17 school year.

Student Council sponsored “Februhairy.” Students could register to grow facial hair throughout the month by making a $5 donation to Christian Service. The results were fuzzy.

The swimming team won their fourth consecutive Inter-Ac championship, winning at Haverford in the final meet of the year.

Malvern held its annual blood drive, with 44 members of the Malvern community each donating a pint of blood. Birds in the O’Neill gym forced a last-minute location change to the O’Neill hallway.

Junior Andrew Clark hosted the Catch the Cure fundraiser to benefit Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL) research. Clark had ALL as a child. His event raised over $12,000. Clark was later named the Student of the Year by the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society for helping to raise over $171,000 for the organization.

Malvern remembered Father Dave Duffy ’48 on Father Duffy Day, February 24. In the spirit of Fr. Duffy’s memory, members of the community were encouraged to perform an act of kindness for someone else.

March
We reported on a committee of teachers who are investigating changes to Advanced Placement classes at Malvern. Upper School Head Mr. Ron Algeo said that no changes are coming soon.

The Theology Department announced a new theology curriculum for senior year. Each senior will now take one quarter of each of the following classes: Comparative Religions, Ethics and Christian Service, Faith and Reason, and Human Love and the Divine Plan.

Friar Football was set to play their season opener at Georgetown, but the Inter-Ac did not approve the game and it was canceled.

Junior Rich Heany was elected Student Council President for next year. Junior Alex Reber will serve as Vice President.

At a Town Hall meeting open to all, 79 attendees listened and asked questions in a discussion about Malvern’s plans for the future. Trustee Mr. Steve Cloetingh cited the current strategic plan as producing the “best results seen in 50 years.”

Malvern accepted the “Good Seed, Good Oil” award from the Romero center for Malvern’s 11-year participation in the Urban Challenge program. Juniors participate in the Romero Center’s Urban Challenge in Camden during their service weekends.

Our editorial offered two different perspectives for what should happen if a Malvern student transitioned genders. Although we did not reach consensus on an approach, our editors agreed that it is a matter of when, not if, Malvern will face this question.

The Malvern Prep rugby team went to Ireland from March 24 to April 1. They played three games while touring the Irish countryside.

It was a big year for the wrestling team, as 11 wrestlers were named to the All Inter-Ac team. Sophomore Mike Beard and junior Seth Janney were National Champions.

April
The Christian Service program unveiled a new service destination for current sophomores: Ireland. Another weekend was added for Christian Service next year, as many service sites, including the Romero Center, were not able to handle the large numbers of Malvern students.

Mike McGinley, who died April 3, was remembered for his water polo skills and his hard-working personality in a brief but powerful obituary.

The Villanova Wildcats claimed the NCAA National Championship trophy with a 77-74 win over North Carolina. Senior walk-on and Malvern Prep Alum Kevin Rafferty visited campus to speak with the middle school on April 22.

Teachers leading a roadmap team tasked with modifying the modified block schedule spoke with The Blackfriar Chronicle about proposed changes, but as of the printing date, were not ready to release a schedule.

Changes to the Malvern Prep website are ahead, chief among them improved mobile compatibility and “unparalleled connectivity” with OnCampus, the successor to Schoology.

The project based learning initiatives at Malvern were examined, getting the opinions, hopes, and worries of administrators, teachers, and students.

The Middle School announced it would be changing from a quarter and semester system to a trimester system, allowing for more class time that would not be possible under the current system.

We asked outgoing seniors about how prepared they felt for college, such how much of a role they played in choosing schools, how the “senior slide” affected them, and the effectiveness of college counseling.

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