2060 – The Year I Lost My Identity

Hebron Academy Writing Contest Winner

By Katherine Ducharme ’21

Imagine waking up one day and realizing your identity has completely changed. You are still yourself and can still identify with your given name, but the only issue is none of that matters anymore. The year is 2060. Just yesterday you were living your mundane life without a care in the world. However, waking up this morning you realize that nothing is the same. Everything you have feared has come true and there is nothing you can do to stop it. This is exactly how I felt on the morning of February 20th, 2060.

The one part of yourself that you have kept a secret from all of those around you is finally released into the world. Your DNA. It no longer matters what you have been eating or how much you exercise every day, the only thing that matters now is your genetic code. The government announced the “Genetic Coding Program” early this morning on the news and has ordered mandatory testing for everyone to go to the nearest Coding Station. President Patricia Locust gave her address this morning and issued a National Holiday, so that everyone may be excused from work to go get tested. I am extremely petrified to go and get tested because I already know what the results will be. I wish I could say I am optimistic about this experience, but without any parents left to comfort me, I am suddenly left with an unsettling feeling.

I teleport to the Testing Clinic as soon as my dog is safe in his rejuvenating chamber. Once I arrive I wait in line just like everyone else and am sure to stay clear of the unloading zone so I am not trampled by any teleporters. We have all been given surveys on our Pearpads to fill-out before the doctor is able to see us. I wait anxiously for my turn and when my name is finally called I stand up out of the waiting room seat and walk ever so slowly to the door where my clammy hands gently turn the knob. I am asked to sit on the patient’s bed and proceed to give them my arm so they can take my blood. I know this is not the most important detail, but you think they could have found a less invasive way to get this information. Anyways… before I know it the doctor has finished and grabs this strange looking device. The perspiration on my forehead is evident as he airdrops my results. He says “enjoy your day” and escorts me out of the room. It was not until I began to read the virtual ink of my demise that I understood why he was unable to read the results out loud.

Imagine reading every single thing about yourself that you never wanted to know. All of the flaws you carry that you were never able to admit to yourself. This is exactly what reading the results felt like. My eyes followed down the screen: 67% chance of early onset Alzheimer’s, 90% iron immune deficiency, then the ones I predicted, 20% this cancer, 82% that cancer, and the absolute killer, 97.6% Fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva. At that moment I wish I had not known what those words meant and I hated myself for being in medical school. Those three words and 38 characters meant I would become an absolute mess of tissue where my bones should be, within a couple of years. My name was no longer of any worth and my financial status did not mean a thing. The only thing people would now see me as is a large pile of walking tissue that can barely stand up on her own. Forget about becoming a doctor, I will be lucky to live past 21.

I have been kicked out of Med school and all of my hopes of becoming a doctor are shattered. It has been only a couple of months since being tested, and the symptoms of my Fibrodysplasia are bound to come any day. My teachers told me “it is best if you just relax and enjoy the rest of your time.” Just like that, I am no longer a human being, but rather another statistic who is awaiting their death. Once the symptoms kick in, I do not even bother going to see a medical professional. They cannot do anything to help me and I would rather enjoy my last months alive outside of a hospital bed. Ironically I spend my last weeks at the hospital I had always dream of working at. Instead of tending to patients. I would sit outside of the NICU and watch as each child was ripped of their innocence when the doctor came to code the newborns. I am thankful I was able to live what short amount of time I had without fear of what would happen the next day, unlike those poor children who will wake up everyday in fear of what could happen tomorrow.

Martianism

Hebron Academy Writing Contest Winner

By Kenny Mills ’20

It is a warm and sunny day, like all the days before and time to come. The weather is perfect, the mood is perfect, everything is perfect. All of the inhabitants work in tangum, all moving towards the same goal, enjoyment. I too relish in the perfect days I am blessed with, never really having a care that every day appears the same as before. In fact, I would want it no other way. The simplicity of life, it is soothing, it is calm, it is my home and the only thing I know.

I am often told stories of the hardships my ancestors faced. Having to struggle for life, their enjoyment blocked by their fight for survival. They had to provide for themselves, working their lives away, sleeping for what little was left over. But that time has passed. It is no longer, faded away to become only tales and legends, their only legacies. And what was all that work really for. They are dead and gone. Only now are the benefits of their sacrifices revealed, and they do not even come into contact with them. What a cruel world, all work and no enjoyment. They were slaves of hardship.

Four-thousand treacherous years later, and we are finally free. The hardships have vanished, and with it, slavery has dissolved. It all started two-thousand years ago, so legend has it, when God descended down upon the slaves from the sky and freed them from the grasp of hardship. At first, as naturally expected, the people resisted; they did not want change. Somehow,  they were happy with their circumstances, something I will never understand. But God would not halt his assault. He wanted his people to be free. They deserved to be free.

Slowly, city by city, God relieved the people of their hardships and took them to the Utopia we appreciate as our home today. No more slavery, no more violence, no more worries. It was just the people versus their enjoyment, the ultimate freedom. But the people did not want this Utopia, they were accustomed to their wars and straining lifestyle. They felt trapped in the grasp of God, the ultimate decisions maker. They wanted out of the freedom and back into slavery. They felt constantly monitored, an outrageous statement. They controlled their own lives, they just wanted a reason to complain. They did not understand the concept of perfectness as we do now.

As with all problems, time heals them or kills them. In this instance, it was death. With an ever increasing number of protesters, God realized he could breed out the imperfections. He could do what he wanted, he was God. And so, several generations later, the population forgot its ancestors and learned to appreciate the life they were given. They valued how easy it was and were able to do the hard thing that others could not, enjoy it. And so, another thousand years have passed, reaching the present, life only growing easier with the ever increasing amount of time.

I quite enjoy the freedom and enjoyment I am able to suck out of life. I truly cannot understand the fuss that the first citizens of this Utopia produced. Why would anyone ever want to fight a war or produce their own source of food. Everything is provided to us by God, our savior. Every night we go to bed, arising to a fresh supply of food, steady weather, freedom, and simplicity. There is nothing more I would wish for or ever want, except one thing; for God to have saved the people of Earth from slavery sooner, bringing them to our great Utopia, The Martian Zoo.

Feminism in Today’s Media

“More feminist brainwashing.”

“Women just want to feel victimized because it makes them feel better.”

“Absolute garbage.”

“Enough is enough with this feminist nonsense.”

“I find this video repulsive.”

“You’ve lost my business.”

If you scroll through the comment sections of Gillette’s “We Believe: The Best Men Can Be” and Nike’s “Dream Crazier” advertisements, these are only a tiny fraction of the hate manifesting there, hate towards four minutes’ worth of ideas proposing equality and responsibility and humanity. And above all, hate towards feminism.

What is feminism exactly? If you ask any random person if they consider themselves a feminist, chances are they’d say no because in our society the word “feminist” comes with such a negative, hated connotation. However, you’d probably be more hard pressed to find someone who truly disagrees with what the feminist movement actually stands for. Oxford Dictionary defines feminism as “the advocacy of women’s rights on the ground of the equality of the sexes”. There are many misconceptions that feminism means that women are better than men and they want to take over the world and oppress men (or something along those lines…). In reality the feminist movement is only asking for equality for all, regardless of your sexual orientation.

Gillette attempted to address the concept of feminism through the lense of toxic masculinity in their ad “We Believe: The Best Men Can Be”. An article in Independent Magazine describes toxic masculinity in this way: “harmful behaviour and attitudes commonly associated with some men, such as the need to repress emotions during stressful situations, and to act in an aggressively dominant way.” Gillette’s ad focused on the idea that has been ingrained into our society, giving boys a pardon for acting out in inappropriate ways, the idea that “boys will be boys.” It shared images of bullying, sexual harassment, catcalling, physical aggression, talking over women in a professional environment- things that women may do as well, but are typically attributed to men and are far too normalized in our culture. It addressed the #MeToo movement that has been taking the country by storm and asked men to hold other men accountable.

One of the main protests I have heard and seen in the comments is that “not all men” do the things in the video. And I, as a feminist, 100% acknowledge that as a fact. However, while the men in my life may not be sexual predators or misogynists, that doesn’t change the fact that there are men that are able to get away with these problematic actions because our society allows them to. If guys make sexist comments about girls, it’s brushed off as “locker room talk.” Too many white boys charged with rape have been let off more easily because a felony could “ruin their future,” with no regard to the fact that being raped has already changed that girl’s future.

No, not all men are the problem. But the issue is allowed to continue when boys are not held accountable. The whole point of the advertisement is when the narrator says “some is not enough.” Some men are good people and are not a direct part of toxic masculinity; however, if we want to change society and truly reach equality for all genders, men need to hold other men accountable. The ad shows the young children watching, and says that “the boys of today will be the men of tomorrow.” Men and women alike need to set good, healthy examples for the next generation if change is going to happen.

Nike tried to set these good examples with their ad campaign, “Dream Crazier.” The video series focuses on a variety of famous female athletes who have achieved their dreams through hard work and commitment. The video starts by addressing double standards in women’s athletics, saying that women who stand for something are called “unhinged” and women who get angry are called “hysterical and irrational”, words rarely used when discussing male athletes in similar positions. It goes on to focus on the word “crazy” and how it is used in a negative, derogatory way. However, as it progresses the message is to take control of your own narrative, describing amazing athletic accomplishments by female athletes who were all called “crazy”. The ad ends in a similar way that the Gillette ad did: with close ups of young female athletes, and the line, “So if they want to call you crazy, fine. Show them what crazy can do.”

When I first saw the video, I knew there would be backlash, but I was (and am) not quite sure why. What I see in that minute and a half is a video empowering women to dream their craziest dreams and do what it takes to get there. Nowhere in it does it specifically call out men or involve men at all, in fact. So my question is why has it made so many men defensive and angry? One comment called it “feminist brainwashing;” another said that all they got out of it was that “women are crazy.” If that was how the interpreted it, then they clearly didn’t get the message. There should not be any controversy over women supporting other women in their dreams; in fact, it should be celebrated rather than criticised and ridiculed. The young girls watching this ad should take away that they can do what they put their mind to and that their dreams are not crazy or irrational- really, all women should be told that. Because just as in the Gillette ad, the children of today are the adults of tomorrow, and if we lift them up, then we’re securing them and the generations to come a better future.

Check the ads out in the links below! Let us know your opinions on these ads in the comments. How can we relate these topics to Hebron’s community and campus, whether in athletics, classes, or everyday life?

Gillette advertisement: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=koPmuEyP3a0

Nike advertisement: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=whpJ19RJ4JY

 

Citations:

Gillette. “We Believe: The Best Men Can Be.” YouTube, Gillette, January 13, 2019, 1:48.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=koPmuEyP3a0

Nike. “Dream Crazier.” YouTube, Nike, February 24, 2019, 1:30.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=whpJ19RJ4JY

 

Our Own Mini-Hebron

By Emma Skelton (’19) and Dr. Hillory Oakes

In this summer’s All-School Read, All the Light We Cannot See, the character Marie-Laure’s father creates models of the cities where they live to help his visually impaired daughter navigate through her world. Marie-Laure is then able to walk freely throughout the cities despite being blind because she knows everything about them from the models. Inspired by this, during this week’s Community Meeting, groups of about ten to fifteen Upper School students created a three-dimensional map of the Hebron campus. Groups had only 45 minutes and a bagful of assorted supplies to design a miniature version of a specific spot on campus, from the athletic fields to the dorms to the chapel. Each piece was then brought to the Science Lecture Hall where they were all assembled into a replica of the entire school. Students exhibited amazing teamwork and creativity with these models; we hope to display all of them at this spring’s Academic Expo. Please see the pictures below for a glimpse into our creative, little world…

Lepage Center for the Arts, with styrofoam columns and a dancing minion in the background:

The Chapel, which even has a senior giving their last word on the inside:

The iconic Victory Bell:

The Hockey Rink, complete with players, sound effects, and a giant cup of hot chocolate:

Life Skills at Hebron

Written by Emma Skelton ’19

This February’s Saturday Event saw Hebron students learning a wide variety of “life skills,” skills that reach beyond the classroom. Faculty and students alike were involved in the planning of the event as well as teaching each of the seminars. Any students, teachers, staff, or parents were invited to share their abilities with students eager to learn. The final list of seminars ranged from “How to Tie a Tie” to “CPR Certification” to “Budgeting and Banking.” Students submitted their top five choices from the list to try to ensure everyone would be placed in a seminar that they were interested in.

Ms. Miriah Nadeau, one of the key organizers of the event says, “My goals for the  event were for students to go to workshops they were interested and to come out with skills they could use when they leave Hebron. I think the event was extremely successful!  The students I heard from really enjoyed the workshops they attended and learned some great skills. The teachers all seemed to really enjoy the topics they were teaching! Overall, the event seemed to be very well received!

Students also saw the event as a success. Most everyone seemed content with the workshops they attended. Teemu Hukkanen, class of 2018, even said he didn’t mind waking up early on a Saturday to go to it! Sophomore Ellena Frumeinto says of her experience in the Resumes and Cover Letters seminar, “I learned a lot about how to write a resume and a cover letter. I learned tips about what to do and what not to do. This was a very helpful and informative class and I will definitely use what I learned in the future.” The event appears to be one of the most well received of the year, and the students enjoyed learning important, new skills. I’d say it was a great success!

 

In Anticipation of the Play

Written by Sophie List ’19

The Hebron Academy Players are excited to present The Man Who Came To Dinner which will be playing in the Androscoggin Theater on February 23rd and 24th. The Man Who Came To Dinner is a comedy about radio personality Sheridan Whiteside who becomes an unexpected houseguest at the Stanleys’ home after falling and breaking his hip on their doorstep. The play follows the strange time during which Mr. Whiteside lives in their home and consequently turns their lives upside down.

This year’s play is different from those in the past for many reasons. Ms. Coleman, the director, decided it was time to switch things up and Hebron is doing a straight play as opposed to a musical for the first time in many years. Regarding this decision she said she hoped it would get other people involved who did not want to participate in a musical. She also said, “In both the professional world and college they produce more plays than musicals. So if students want to go on and do theater in college, having done a play is important.”

Additionally, many of the props have been built by Hebron’s art classes. Mr. Tholen’s3D art classes were tasked with building a cockroach farm, a massive animal crate, and an Egyptian sarcophagus. It is not just art classes that have been helping out with the production, but the entire community has been indispensable in creating the play. Students have volunteered on weekends to help build, paint, and put up the set. Also, many faculty members and student’s families have volunteered props or other necessities for the production. The drama crew would also like to extend a massive thanks to the folks at Maintenance, to Mr. Bill Anderson, and of course to Ms. Coleman because without her endless dedication to the cast and this production, none of this would have been possible.

Morgan Prentice ‘19, one of the leads, urges everyone to come see the play because, “The cast and crew and Ms. Coleman, of course, put a tremendous amount of work into this play and we would love it if everyone in the community would come to see our hard work.” She guarantees it will be worthwhile and promises: “fun, excitement, action, drama, and gossip.” If you enjoy any or all of these things in a play, make sure to come down to the Androscoggin Theater on February 23rd and 24th at 7:30 PM to see The Man Who Came To Dinner!

 

 

 

From Maine to Puerto Rico

Written by Benjamin Bryce ’18

During spring break of this year, Mr. Michael Tholen and Mr. Bill McNamara are taking seven Hebron students on a surf and service trip to Puerto Rico. Leaving March 8th, the group will fly out of Boston-Logan airport and land in Aguadilla, Puerto Rico. The group is staying in a Hostel and is excited for the warm weather and opportunity to help those that have been ravaged by the latest hurricanes.

Service-oriented work will be done throughout the week, but one notable service initiative will be beach clean-up on the island beaches. When not doing service work, the group is slated to practice surfing and engage in hiking and other outdoor activities. The students that are going are Ben Bryce, Delano Brown, Masataka Mita, Beks Alimov, Will Kline, Saga Stenberg, and Grace Keneally.