Six years ago, Avidan Baral moved to the United States from France, where he had lived his entire life. This fall, Avidan will attend the University of Pennsylvania. As a student of the Huntsman Program of International Studies and Business, Avidan hopes to develop the business-oriented skills that will allow him to affect change abroad.Read More
Sexual assault and harassment are not new issues. Since the news of Harvey Weinstein’s sexual misconduct, more victims are coming forward. This has caused the media to highlight these issues in a way that has never happened before. Men and women’s voices are being heard, and more people are sharing their stories.
I wanted to hear about how these revelations have affected young women at Seattle Academy. This piece features the raw opinions of ten different young women. Below are their insights paired with photos that reflect the vulnerability of those who speak up.
Ella Meyer '18: The recent increase in news coverage of sexual assault has brought up a level of conflict for me. On one end, I feel a little safer knowing that some of the voices of sexual assault survivors are finally being heard. I'm excited that, as my mom keeps saying over and over again, "the tide is finally turning." However, the recent cases of sexual assault involving such well-known and admired figures has also reinforced my fear that the victims, as well as the predators, could be anyone. I'm scared of how long it took some of these survivors to have their stories addressed, and how many cases still may never see the light of day. I hope that by the time it is my turn to enter the workforce, I can be confident that my voice will be heard and actions will be taken if ever such events happen to me.
Madison van der Veen '18: I have two younger cousins and I think this is an interesting time for them to grow up because they've seen all these reactions from the media. They are really taught to be strong and independent from a young age. Of course, I worry for them getting older because it’s not an issue that I think will be resolved quickly, but just knowing that they are being educated about these things makes me feel better. Advice I would give them is just to be vocal and stay true to themselves. If something doesn't feel right say something about it, because it’s not something to be shameful about.
Jillian Pendergast '18: With everything going on about women being sexually assaulted, it has affected how I️ see things. I see the way men treat my friends and me, and now I am more aware of my surroundings and the situations that I am in with men. Nowadays, I feel less safe when I’m walking by myself down the street.
Olivia Harkins-Finn '19: The sudden release of sexual harassment stories has been a hard but meaningful occurrence. I never realized how common sexual assault is, but now there’s no way of ignoring these events. Although women may relate more and sympathize more with the victims, this era of sexual assault all over the media and news has a large effect on men as well. Males of all ages may grow to understand the trauma sexual assault leaves on females. Reading new interviews with victims every day, scrolling through Facebook and Instagram to see hundreds of #metoo posts, and knowing that everyday hundreds of women are objectified and hurt through sexual assault does not make me happy, but it gives me hope that our society will change.
Sydney Kaplan '18: The recent increase in publicity for sexual assault victims has changed the light upon which I view the issue. Before Trump took office, I understood the implications sexual assault had on one’s life, but I did not fully realize the meaning. Like any social issue, once one person is brave enough to express their concern, people quickly follow. While it is empowering to know that people sharing their personal stories can raise awareness, it is also disheartening in two ways. First, seeing such a profound abundance of sexual assault survivors shows that our society is in dire need of a reality check. Second, to see press and public figures dismiss not only the feelings of the survivors, but also the importance of their stories, is disgusting and discouraging. Why, if so many people understand the horror of sexual assault, does it repeatedly occur? Why is it that powerful figures continue to partake in sexual assault when it is so shameful? These questions cannot be fully answered, but it is inauspicious to see so many people bravely speaking out, only to be somewhat dismissed.
Rusha Bartlett '19: I know sexual misconduct and assault have been happening since the beginning of our society and I know they’re not going to stop anytime soon, so I’m not surprised by the sudden media presence. It’s not anything new; it’s just that no one in power has been listening until now. But I do feel empowered by the women who feel strong enough to come forward, and by the ones who live with this trauma every day who don’t feel strong enough to come forward. Every survivor knows it’s a hard thing to talk about, and simply living your life every day despite being victim to a total violation of your body and being is a feat in itself. The important thing is that the mass number of allegations right now are bringing up serious discussions about sexual assault in classrooms, at dinner tables, and in the White House. With enough of these discussions, maybe someday the way we teach our sons and brothers and fathers to act towards women will change for the better.
Molly Sanderson '18: Media coverage of sexual assault, harassment, and rape has sparked mixed feelings for me. On the one hand, I am happy that more women feel they can tell their stories and that the media exposure has resulted in more consequences for attackers. As more women come out with information, companies seem to realize that from a PR perspective they need to create serious consequences for the offenders. This keeps women safer and discourages others from acting inappropriately. On the other hand, it is disappointing and demoralizing to be reminded of how difficult it can be to be a female professional. No matter how successful a woman becomes, it seems they rarely gain the respect they deserve. Beyond that, as a woman who hopes to enter politics, I am concerned at how physically unsafe that environment might be, particularly when I am just starting out. I also worry that these stories may discourage qualified women from entering the field as it does not appear to be very female-friendly. The only way to make politics better for women is to get more women involved, so I hope this fear does not discourage women from doing so.
Esme DeCoster ‘18: I sadly have had many members of my family who have suffered varying degrees of sexual assault. My experiences with their stories have been brief and generally not wildly shared among family members. My hope is that the hushed tone with which we discuss matters of trauma in the coming generations is affected by the shift in tone our nation is experiencing. With the positive support we’ve seen in recent media, I truly am crossing my fingers that more young women will feel comfortable coming forward immediately and calling out men as they deserve to be. I am often a pessimist about the reality of social change. This fight is far from over and the sharing of these stories is crucial. I truly hope though that all of us women will be able to keep the momentum and carry this movement forward.
Sophia Trombold ‘18: I think that the sudden and well-deserved media attention on sexual harassment in the workplace is a good thing, and has already resulted in the rightful firings of men who have spent years profiting from their harassment of women, or simply getting away with it. I think that so many women coming forward at once about sexual harassment in the workplace will encourage women to come forward in the future about any form of sexual harassment, whether or not it in the workplace. I hope that the media attention will create and enforce a new norm where no one can get away with sexual harassment, although that is a long-term goal.
Natalie White '18: I’m glad my sister is growing up in an environment of open discussion. She knows her worth, and isn’t afraid to speak up. If I could give her one piece of advice, it would be to take care of herself and others. If I could shield my sister from all of the atrocities in this world, I would. Because I can't, I’m glad she is growing up in an environment of open discussion. She knows her worth, and isn’t afraid to speak up. I won't be around to look out for her much longer, so if I could give her one piece of advice, it would be to take care of herself and allow others to take care of her. Sometimes people forget that it takes strength to admit when you need help.
You hear the sound of the volleyball smacking down on the opponent's side of the court. It is a sound you cannot forget and one you will want to chase forever.
Dionna Kirton's love for volleyball started in the 7th grade. Before playing volleyball, Kirton was a basketball player. Basketball was a beloved family sport, but Kirton decided to break the mold and tried Volleyball. Kirton continued to play volleyball throughout her time at Kings High School and gained enough skill to pursue her love for the sport on the collegiate level.
Kirton attended the University of Hartford, in West Hartford Connecticut. "I was looking for a place to play volleyball, and went on an official visit," she said.
She had to decide between Hawaii Pacific University and the University of Hartford. However, when she arrived at Hartford in the fall for an official visit, she immediately fell in love with the school. It was a smaller school, and Kirton instantly connected with the girls on the team, so she knew that she could see herself playing here.
Playing college sports was not an easy task. Kirton faced many obstacles. As she has a very close relationship with her family, moving from Seattle to Connecticut was difficult. Her family was supportive and encouraging through her endeavors.
"My parents didn't play volleyball," Kirton said, "but my mom got really into learning about the game. It was fun to learn together. My dad thought it was both exciting and intense."
However, tragedy struck her family when her brother passed away in the summer between her sophomore and junior year at Hartford. She faced the decision of whether to leave school and come home or stay and finish at Hartford. After deliberation, she decided to return to school, because she had built such a reliable support system on the team and wanted to finish what she had started.
Kirton's training schedule was packed. Three days a week, she would lift weights at 5:15 a.m. She would then go to class in the mornings and afternoons and practice with her team in the late afternoons for roughly four hours a day. During the off-season, Kirton regularly attended physical therapy and focused on self-care. Self-care involved staying in shape and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
Kirton strives to set a good example for her younger sisters. "My parents are fiercely competitive," Kirton said. "I want to set an example to continue to be competitive."
Kirton also sets an example as a coach for the Seattle Academy Girls Varsity Volleyball Team. She brings her knowledge of the game and her fierce competitiveness to the girls on the team.
The following is a collection of short interviews of teachers at Seattle Academy. All were asked the same three questions “Where did you go to college?” “Why did you choose that school?” and “In hindsight, were you happy with your choice?”Read More
Recently there has been quite the buzz in the Seattle Academy Upper School regarding #IHABC2018, a High Altitude Balloon Challenge that innovations teachers David Pynchon and Lysie Taylor created for their 12th grade Innovations course.Read More
Hotchkiss has been working at Seattle Academy as a ceramics and fiber arts teacher for five years. She was born with a passion for art and felt out of place doing other activities.Read More
When Seattle Academy students think of Rick Dupree, community service comes to mind.Read More
Note: This video is the first of a series of profiles by Will Patrick and Ethan Purcell documenting the lesser known talents of Seattle Academy students.Read More
Zach Santos Ufkes '18 can hardly remember a time when music was not a part of his life.Read More
Mt. Baker is one of the most prominent ski areas in Washington, but also one of the most dangerous. Many skiers will try new challenges this winter, like skiing a black diamond or skiing a bowl. However, one first that many skiers will do that is far more deadly is backcountry skiing.Read More