Jacob Goldberg '20
Mrs. Brienne McKay:
Attended the University of New Brunswick in Canada where she received a BA in science with a double major in psychology and biology.
Favorite food: chocolate cake, cereal, and chips
Favorite color: white
Mrs McKay began at Auldern Academy, outside Chapel Hill, NC. At Auldern Academy she worked as a counselor and as an admissions consultant. Her last job before coming to Bullis was at a non-profit environmental law firm in Chapel Hill.
Life Outside of Bullis:
Mrs. Mckay summed up her outside life in three simple words: “four year old”. As a mother, most of her outside life is devoted to her child, but she does make time for her own hobbies and interests. Mrs. McKay loves to read, and especially loves tv. She loves both American Ninja Warrior and Survivor stating that if she wasn't at Bullis, she would want to be a “marine biologist or the next Jeff Probst”.
Do you feel you have leveled up by joining the Bullis community? In what way? Which aspect of Level Up do you feel you’ve seen the most during your short time at Bullis?
In terms of leveling up in her first year at Bullis, Mrs. McKay stated that she has taken some time to “level up” but is “getting there and working on it as a new member of the community”. When asking Mrs. McKay what she hoped she could do to level up the community or what she would want the student to know about her, she had trouble coming to an answer. However, after thinking about the question over she wants Bullis to know that her “surrounding environment is very important to her.” She wants people to know that she plans to do her best to foster a cohesive community and a positive environment. Both for herself and for Bullis staff and students.” In her short time at Bullis, Mrs. McKay stated that she has seen a bunch of aspects of the “level up” motto. She said she has specifically seen pride a lot due to the spirit Bullis students have for their school.
Mrs. McKay will be the new College Counseling Administrative Assistant for the 2019-2020 school year. She will be a valuable addition to the already excellent college counseling staff at Bullis. Bringing her numerous years of experience to Bullis, will no doubt help the college counseling team and Bullis level up.
Rachel Sita '20
As homecoming week approaches, anticipation amongst the student body rises. Homecoming is a week of sports games and activities related to the theme selected by the students.
“My favorite theme we had was the Superhero one,” said Maya Hersh (‘20).
“I liked to see my friends dressed up as superheroes,” continued Hersh.
Every day is a specific dress-up day chosen by SGA that is meant to boost student enthusiasm. This built-up energy is intended to be used in the Thursday pep rally and culminate on the Friday football game. While the football game is a significant event in homecoming week, all the varsity and JV sports teams on campus have home games during the week, creating more opportunities for students to spend their school spirit. Even though the sports and dress days end on Friday, the festivities are not over since the homecoming dance occurs on Saturday.
Two weeks ago the upper school learned the theme for this year: Bulldog Cable. The freshman represent MTV, the sophomores represent Cartoon Network, the juniors represent Nickelodeon, and the seniors represent Disney Channel.
“I like the theme,” stated Demetri Engel (‘20).
“I think it’ll be fun since it takes us back to our past and the shows that we used to watch. Yeah it’ll be nice and nostalgic,” continued Engel.
The dress days include: “My Team Monday” (wear a jersey), “Tacky Tuesday”, Bulldog Cable Character Day, Blue and Gold Day, and “Class T-shirt Day”. With these homecoming facts in mind, Bullis preps for these days of festivities starting on October 21.
Rachel Sita '20
The lack of participation in the advisory pumpkin decorating competition this year brings up the question on whether it was due to decreased student interest or a lack of advisory time to complete the pumpkins.
Every year around Halloween, upper school advisories are tasked with decorating a pumpkin to compete for titles such as “Most Creative” or “Most Frightening”. However, last week, only 12 pumpkins were presented out of the many advisories in the upper school.
“I think it’s that a lot of people don’t put enough effort into advisory,” said Dylan Moore (‘20).
‘“They see it more as a free period, so they are less likely to participate in the projects that we have, like pumpkin decorating or Thanksgiving baskets,” continued Moore.
The pumpkin decorating competition is not the first advisory-led event that lacked involvement. In September, advisories were tasked with collecting deodorant, toothpaste, pillows, towels, soap, socks, bug spray, and bandaids for the Friends In Need drive. The shortage of these materials was so severe that the issue was addressed in upper school assembly and students were pressed to donate materials.
This issue appears to be particularly prevalent this year compared to past years. “Two years ago my advisory put all our effort into our pumpkin,” stated Moore.
In order to improve involvement in activities such as pumpkin decorating like it was in years prior, a sense of competition amongst the students is needed. “I think we could advertise it more, like posters around school or announcements at assembly. Or we could give out prizes,” said Moore.
While lack of student interest may be a factor in decreased participation, time allotted to pumpkin decorating might have also factored in to the scarce amount of pumpkins presented. Last week in advisory on Monday, students were informed to decorate their advisory’s pumpkin to be displayed that Friday. Students were asked to negotiate times in the week when their advisories could meet to work. However, students expressed discontent over the lack of time to complete the pumpkins.
“I think also having more time to do the decorating would’ve helped,” suggested Moore.
Whether due to a decreased student interest or lack or time, participation in advisory events has become a continuing issue for this school year.
Elizabeth Braun '20, Rachel Sita '20, Cadyn Harrington '20
Since the 2010-2011 school year, all Bullis students have been assigned to either the Blue Team or the Gold Team, which corresponds to the school colors. The teams used to participate in annual competitions against each other all culminating towards one final event called the Blue and Gold Relays.
Students competing in the relays would join certain events, such as opening a bubblegum wrapper with a pair of mittens and blowing a bubble, while others watched and supported their team from the stadium bleachers. The entire school was galvanized through the desire to win because the victors would receive a free dress day.
However, two years ago, the structure of these competitions was altered. Instead of the head-to-head events, everyone engages in activities that earn a few points for their team, like a water balloon toss between two people.
This new structure is not as competitive because the activities are not a high-tension relay, so students do not cheer on their teams with as much energy. The activities are also not required among students, so people feel less obligated to join the events.
“There used to be a competition and now there seems to not be as much of a focus on that,” said Bullis Lifer Demetri Engel (‘20). “It was really fun when we had the Bullis relays, and there was friendly competition.”
Students who came to Bullis last year and are new this year are unaware of the previous Blue and Gold relays, so they do not find excitement in the smaller activities. “I think it could be a little more fun. People aren’t into [the current Blue and Gold competitions]” said Nick Karayanis (‘20) who was new to Bullis in the 2018-2019 school year.
Due to the lack of enthusiasm for the Blue and Gold competitions, the Bullis student body and faculty should strive for more opportunities to increase excitement and participation in Blue and Gold activities throughout the year.