Coming Apart

Whatever happened to Haverford College’s strong sense of community?

Haverford First-Year students, 2018-19

By Zachary Broadman

Haverford College has an enrollment of just over 1,300 students, making it one of the smallest private liberal arts colleges in the country.

Its students live and learn on a beautiful 500-acre campus where they can engage in academic discovery, participate in athletics, clubs, and student organizations, and support each other’s growth as they experience new ways of thinking about and participating in their community and their world.

It sounds like a perfect recipe for a tight-knit, cohesive, and engaged community centered on Haverford’s stated values of “trust, concern, and respect.”

But tragically, it is not.

Talk to students, teachers and administrators about the community at Haverford, and many will say they are dissatisfied with it. Most feel that any sense of a campus-wide community is either in decline or nonexistent.

Sydney Dorman, a senior astrophysics major at Haverford, has watched people become less interested in large campus-wide events and more focused on their increasingly-small friend groups.

“People were a lot more passionate about school events,” Dorman said of the community she encountered upon arriving at Haverford. Now, she says, “school dances seem smaller and there’s less energy and excitement about them.”

Her concern extends beyond the events. In her first two years at Haverford, she said that friend groups tended to be bigger and more diverse – full of people with a wide range of backgrounds, interests, and living spaces. “Now,” Dorman said, “I feel like there are smaller friend groups of people from similar backgrounds.”

Dorman is not the only senior who feels the community has become more fractured during her time at Haverford. Neel Shah, a senior who transferred into Haverford his sophomore year, said that his first impression of the school was that it was a very close community. But in the past two years, he has noticed a change.

“As I’ve spent more time here… Haverford has become slightly more individualistic as opposed to whole-community oriented,” Shah said.

Haverford College football team 1897-98

These views are echoed by faculty and administrators whose detachment from day to day student life gives them a wider field of vision when it comes to campus affairs.

Michael Elias is the Dean of Student Engagement, Leadership, and Divisional Initiates at Haverford College. He oversees Haverford’s freshman orientation program and is one of the primary advisors to all student council positions, student organizations, and campus programming.

He, too, said that he’s noticed a change since he first came to work at Haverford in 2010.

“I think that some of our larger events that we have historically planned – I don’t know that they necessarily feel like community events anymore,” Elias said. “I feel like we’re missing something.”

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The Bryn Mawr Lexicon

What you need to know to be a true Mawrtyr. 

By Chloe Vilkin  

Bryn Mawr College is known for its major traditions, but the everyday traditions are just as important. Learning the campus lingo can be confusing as a new student. Here is a lexicon of helpful words to know to become a true Mawrtyr.

Bra tree [brah][tree]   noun

  1. a Weeping Hemlock located outside of Rockefeller dorm. This tree is often found with a bra or two strewn about its branches.

The scent of pot can be smelled wafting around the walkway next to this tree most days, as it is visited daily by students who wish to smoke marijuana cigarettes under the privacy of its floor-length tangle of branches. At some point, probably years ago, students maneuvered a wooden bench between the branches of the tree so they could sit comfortably while smoking:

“I heard a few underclassmen outside of the canopy ask each other if they thought it smelled like weed, and I looked over to my friend and whispered, “Don’t they know they are right by Bra tree?

Bryn Mawr Chop [brin][mahr][chop]   noun

  1. a dramatic haircut often gotten at some point during a student’s time at Bryn Mawr College. The haircut stereotypically involves one “chopping” their hair from a long

    A Bryn Mawr student getting her chop

    length to a collarbone-or-shorter length. This change often—but definitely not always—coincides with some sort of shift in the student’s gender identity or pronouns. This haircut is not necessarily a one-time-only experience:

“I saw that Meagan had shaved her head before the school year began when I walked in to the first journalism class of the year. The year before she cut her long locks into a short bob, and the year before that she shaved one side of her head. I asked how she would continue her yearly tradition of the Bryn Mawr Chop if she had already shaved her head, but she did not have an answer.”

  1. see also: post-breakup haircut

 Cancel culture [kan-suhl][kuhl-cher]     noun

  1. the general ease with which people are “cancelled” for because of statements or actions made that go against the unspoken norms of the political, social, and philosophical beliefs of the student body and faculty. The cancel culture at Bryn Mawr is substantial, despite the fact that the norms shift with time. Students seem always ready and willing to call each other out for doing or saying “problematic” things; the issue with this sort of culture is that students are so ready to “cancel” other people they often do not give them a chance to correct their behavior or change their point of view:

“I told my friend that I like to watch Jeffree Star’s YouTube videos and she asked me if I did it ironically, because he is cancelled.

“In my head I thought: “Well, he apologized for using a slur, which was like 10 years ago, and he has changed his behavior since then, and this is why I hate cancel culture because people are not allowed to move on after they make a mistake.”

Out loud I just said, “no.”

 Chamber of Secrets [cheym-ber][uhv, ov][see-krits]   noun

  1. a small, unlit room within the depths of Old Library. This room sits at the very end of the odd tunnels in the basement of Old Library, formerly known as Thomas Hall. It is located next to a door that leads from the tunnels to the lobby area of the graduate student lounge.

The Chamber has been blocked off with a chain link door and a padlock since 2015, although this has not stopped students from maintaining the tradition of writing their names in the Chamber. Instead of writing on the walls and across the pipes that run along the low-hanging ceiling inside the Chamber, students scroll their Sharpies along the edges of the door and the eggshell-colored walls:

“It was 2016 and I was a first-year contemplating what incredible thought to write outside the Chamber of Secrets as part of the first night of Hell Week. “Fuck the Patriarchy,” I said out loud as I uncapped my pen.”

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Three Poets, Three Poems

The poems and their creators

  By Meagan Thomas


The first reader to take to the lectern, she wears a yellow dress over a black turtleneck and tights, like a cheerful shell over mourning clothes. Her voice wavers for a moment, then takes on a smooth legato quality, lulling, soothing with a touch of sadness underneath.

Excerpts from: Yom Kippur, 2019

By Vivian Altopp

I thank Kaddish for its community.
Thank you to the sterile wooden book room chairs that we sat in
where I felt
so deathly uncomfortable, naming my raw, hurt memories with strangers—
but thank you,
to kaddish, for surrounding the bodies I cherish; whose hands I held around
the Eve tree,
where we placed a white rose in her vagina
and the leaves wept on our shoulders.

 I returned, once, without the kaddish, at night. Alone.
Not intentionally.

I’m sorry.

I’m sorry
that I didn’t come sooner.
The flies, they bit your hands and hair.
I touched your every branch and begged you to help me cry,

falling on my scars. Weeping by the hole
in your trunk.

After your death
I would almost forget to eat
because I felt the filling poison of grief start
to swallow my stomach
and try to make me feel
full. So, from February to May,
I sat
with my face in my food and listened
to the sounds.
And drank, so much coffee,
black waste covered the table and my notebook.

I hope.
And wherever I sit, I hope

that somehow, I will someday cry in some way as a way
to release this hurt.

Releasing the guilt I feel over death.

* * *

Vivian Altopp, 20, did not approach “Yom Kippur, 2019” the way she approaches most of her poems.

“I was thinking about longer forms,” Altopp says.

Normally her poems are no more than a page but for this piece she wanted something longer.

“Every poem that I wrote I wanted to capture all these conflicting feelings that sort of cancel each other out,” Altopp says.

So for “Yom Kippur, 2019” Altopp sat down and tried to work through them all. When she was through, it felt done.

“There’s this sense of healing,” she says.

The poem is visually interesting compared to Altopp’s other work.

Much of what she wanted with this piece was to get off the left margin and play with space. Altopp says her friend is good at visuals, and showed her tools in her word processor to help her.

With the use of space, a reader can feel the thought process and the breath of the poem. It is a thoughtful, reflective piece.

“Yom Kippur itself holds space for reflection,” Altopp says.

“Yom Kippur, 2019” is filled with religious imagery. But Altopp says she didn’t originally intend for it to be there.

“I’ll have to go back and look do it,” she says.

She thinks it makes sense that the religious imagery would naturally weave itself throughout. “Yom Kippur, 2019” is about death, specifically a friend of Altopp’s who passed away last year.

“There’s this looking out for somewhere else where that person might occupy a space,” she says. Grief and death take on the religious imagery of the time in which the poem was written.

For Altopp, poetry comes from real events, and writing it is a process of stepping back and noticing their parts.

“I do like to use a lot of nature imagery,” she says. “It is okay to take life symbolically.”

References in the poem are real world events made symbols.

Take the dining hall imagery, for example. After her friend passed, Altopp would spend hours every day in Erdman dining hall.

“There was something comforting about being in a public space,” she says. She would also use it as a way to process, remind herself to eat, and practice self-care.

To Altopp, poetry is another way of processing the world around her.

“Whenever I’m having trouble writing, I put things into poetic form,” she says.

She does it especially with presentations, using the lines and stanzas to force herself to slow down and breathe as she presents. It helps her keep herself less nervous.

The reading was a different story.

“I definitely was nervous to read my poem,” Altopp says. “I was nervous to not do it justice.”


She comes up cautiously but holds her voice steady, tone firm. Her blond curls shine under the lamplight, and her long eyelashes shade her eyes as she reads so they almost appear closed, sybil-like. She is the only poet who gives a trigger warning.

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I Am Here, But My Heart Is There

A Mexican mother’s divided world

By Kathryn Gonzales          

She holds the phone as if her life depended on it. As if the phone call is the only way she can finally breathe.

Te amo mis vidas” [I love you my lives], she says “nunca olviden

[Never forget]. She bids her kids good-bye for today, but seems like forever as the eyes of Maria Juarez close as she ends the call.

It is 6 a.m. on a Monday as she sits at a bus stop waiting. She takes out her wallet where she carries two photos of her kids Martin, 10, and Rosa, 6, in the front of her wallet—the one she brought with her when she left them and the one her mother took of them on Rosa’s sixth birthday. Juarez, 35, stands as her bus stops, she puts the photos away and enters.

* * *

They were barely getting by in their town of Cardenas, San Luis Potosi, Mexico. Juarez’s husband and father of their children had suddenly passed away from a heart attack. He was the breadwinner of the family, as Juarez stayed home to take care of the children. Grief struck her for a short while, but what followed was a wave of worry and uncertainty. She now had to be both a mother and father to her kids. To care and to provide.

The well-being of her children impacted her decision to leave home. The only consequence was a physical separation from Martin and Rosa who were only five and one. The only person to entrust her children was to her mother, Guadalupe Lopez, 55, knowing she would take care of them. It was a decision made only after Juarez was having a hard time financing the living expenses of putting food on the table, paying for the house, and for the kid’s education.

Mexican migrants headed for the U.S. border

                                                     * * * 

Juarez takes Bus 23 from Hunting Park in North Philadelphia to Chestnut Hill, a neighborhood with houses that look like fortresses. She walks to a white-bricked house and uses her key to enter. She is met with the warm hugs of the twin five-yearold boys of her current employer, a wealthy business executive who work long hours. She scoops them up in her arms and twirls them around.

She is their nanny-housekeeper. The twins own parents kiss them good-bye as Juarez begins the day with making them breakfast. She has been their nanny since she came to the United States in 2014 and was connected to the position through another fellow nanny.

“This is the everyday for me, five days a week, cleaning and taking care of the children,” she says “I make much more here than I did when I was home”.

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Can a Jewish Center Be Too Jewish?

Some Haverford students are suspicious of a campus center for Jewish life

By Molly Hawkins

Th Rohr Center for Jewish Life, located in a house just across the street from Haverford College, has had a strong relationship with the school for years. It also has a controversial reputation on campus.

The Center is also known on campus as Chabad, and affiliated with the organization Chabad, described as, “one of the world’s best-known Hasidic movements, particularly for its outreach activities,” according to Wikipedia.

Haverford’s Chabad house is run by the Rabbi, Eli Gurevitz, and his wife, Blumia. Together, they host a variety of events that support the Tri-Co’s Jewish community, including Shabbat dinners every Friday evening to welcome in the Sabbath, as well as services and gatherings during Jewish holidays.

A Hanukkah Party at Chabad House

Despite being affiliated with a national orthodox organization, The Rohr Center’s doors remain open to all regardless of religion, race, nationality, or gender. Shabbat dinners are made up of observant Jewish people, people who identify as culturally Jewish but not very observant, as well as others from different religious backgrounds who go to Chabad for reasons — such as spending time with friends and eating a delicious, home-cooked meal.

All that is needed to attend Shabbat dinner, or any other event held at the Rohr Center, is respect for Judaism and Jewish culture, and the ability to keep an open mind.

Even having both a Jewish friend and a need for something to do on a Friday night could be all it takes to get through the doorway of the Rohr Center. During Shabbat dinners, Rabbi Gurevitz always reserves a few minutes to go around the room and allow each person to give a short message.

Every week, many people express gratitude for Chabad as a comfortable Jewish space. But many express gratitude for Chabad as an inclusive, welcoming place that allows them to spend time with friends and eat good food.

Despite this praise, the general attitude towards Chabad on campus is often negative. Students who choose to attend Shabbat dinners and other events are automatically thought by some to hold Orthodox values.

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The Dreams of La Tamalera

Victoria Zuno brings the old country to the new with her tamales

By Kathryn Gonzales
Always, she begins the story at the beginning, the first time she left her mother.
It is the 1970’s and there is violence all around her.
She is 16.
She has left school.
She wears pink sneakers and a knee-length skirt, her mother hands her a red apron, a token of remembrance of her. She ties her black hair back in a ponytail.
She has never been beyond the border of school or home, but now she is.
The promises of how easy it would be over there create dreams of a carefree life in her head.
With her hand holding a cross on her chest she went north to reach these dreams.

It is 4:45 a.m.

The first thing she thinks of when she wakes up is all the things to be done for the day, like a screenshot that she replays minute after minute.
As she rises to get herself ready, she ties her long black hair back making sure there is not a single strand of hair out of place. Her hands go to her rosary around her neck as she bows her head holding on to the cross on her chest, whispering her daily prayers as she walks to the kitchen in her small three-bedroom house.
Victoria Zuno, 59, puts on her signature red apron with sunflowers, washes her hands, and begins by organizing all her ingredients to create the tamales that she is known for on Ninth Street.
“It always starts with the carne [meat], if you don’t get good carne, you might as well not be making tamales”, she bluntly tells her daughter, Esmeralda Zuno, 21, “Remove the bones from the pork and chicken and then the skin, don’t be shy mija [daughter] gets your hands in there.”
Zuno picks the meat of the bone until it is clean, making sure not to waste anything. She gives the chicken bone to her chihuahua, Rocky, to chew.
Her hands are rough as she kneads the masa that contains corn flour, pork lard, and red chile paste. Her hands seep into the dough –taking control, folding repeatedly until it has a consistency that is neither too dry nor too wet. It stays untouched for two hours.
As she moves around the kitchen, the sweat is welcomed, cooling and helping her to feel like she’s reaching her goal; it’s only when her feet come to a stop that she realizes the sheen of sweat covering her back.
She persists, moving one hand to spread a layer of masa [a corn dough] onto a moist corn husk laying flat on the opposite hand, shredded pork drenched in red chile fills the masa and the husk is quickly rolled and tucked in from the bottom.
She repeats this process until her hands go numb.
“I have done this for so long, I feel like I can do this in my sleep”, Zuno whispers as she goes to wake up her children for school. “The whole process of making tamales is imprinted in mis manos [my hands].”

                                                           * * *

She moved to Philadelphia from San Ramon, a small town in Mexico where she lived with seven sisters.
In the States, she expected to find dollar bills growing from trees, at least that’s what they said. But nothing is what it was supposed to be. She finds work at a factory, sewing women’s blouses on a sewing machine. Some days she has the sleeves and shoulders that she prods under the pulsing needle, other days she is given two pieces of fabric where she has to find a way to stitch them together.
At 20, she lies in her bed in a shared apartment in North Philly solita [alone], and she cries and wonders, “What did I do?” She thinks about what her mother may be doing in that moment. She imagines them all at the house together, sin ella [without her].

By 8:30 a.m.
With her van, a 2012 Toyota Sienna, loaded with tamales in ollas [pots] and champurrado [Mexican chocolate drink], she is ready to head to her usual spot in the parking lot of a Rite Aid in the Italian Market. Mondays are her pork in red salsa and chicken in green salsa tamale days, an unwritten fact that her customers know.
After arriving, Zuno creates a stand for her tamales by opening her trunk and putting on a fanny pack that contains change. Mere seconds pass, as a line takes form of hungry customers.
“Doña Victoria, these are so good, why don’t you open your own restaurant?” asks Marta Ferandez, 27, a regular customer. Zuno simply laughs to Fernandez declarations and resumes handling customer’s plastic bags filled with steaming tamales.
“She doesn’t let no one touch her tamales,” responds Esmeralda Zuno, who assists her mother in pouring the champurrado in styrofoam cups.
“Enough”, Zuno blurts out to her daughter, her eyes shadowed and deep-set, but not showing any sign of exhaustion.
After 10:00 a.m., Zuno has sold out her 300 tamales and packs the van up and drives home her usual route.

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Book Smart

Staying Indie in the Age of Amazon

By Colin Battis 

In 2007, Amazon released the first Kindle e-reader. It sold out in less than six hours. This was the start of what many believed would be the death of printed books. Amazon had already begun shaking up the business of bookselling by making it easier to have reading delivered than to go out and browse the shelves of the nearest bookstore. Then, with the Kindle — which was quickly joined by the Nook, the iPad, and a swarm of less successful e-readers — people wouldn’t even need to buy paper books.

he future seemed dark for the printed word. The popular bookstore chain Borders went out of business without warning. Publisher profits plummeted, as e-books started capturing more and more of the market. Newspapers were filled with authors and columnists making pessimistic predictions.

Luckily, the end of paper books and comfortable neighborhood bookshops failed to arrive. The past five years have seen a lot of growth for the book. Compared to the 1,651 independent bookstores that were clinging to life in 2009, there are now 2,524 indie bookstores in the US. Still, things aren’t the way that they used to be. While independent sellers are doing well, the enormous chain Barnes & Noble has struggled to keep their footing. The “Big Five,” publishing houses in New York that have dominated book publishing for decades, have seen losses over the years that are shaking their hold on the publishing industry.

With Amazon and the Internet on the scene, the old ways of doing things are threatened like never before. Today, the book market is wider and more diverse than most could have imagined. Thanks to e-books and new printing methods, many writers unable to find a seat at the Big Five’s table have been able to publish their own work anyway.

Consider Philadelphia as an example. The city is home to a thriving literary community, one with deep roots. Many writers who hope to find mainstream success move to New York City, where they can be close to the agents and editors at the heart of the publishing industry. Those who stay in Philly, which lacks a powerhouse of its own where writers can score major book deals, tend to embrace the indie scene.

I went out to talk to some of the publishers and booksellers who are part of literary Philadelphia, to ask them a question — how do they keep their head above water in a business that has become so tough? What I found was that for these people on the margins of the market, it isn’t enough to have a business strategy. They need a personal reason to stay in the game.

For David Castro, the founder of Arch Street Press, that reason is his lifelong mission of advancing social entrepreneurship and leadership. Castro founded a nonprofit called the Institute for Leadership Education, Advancement, and Development, or ILEAD. “I had an interest not just in leadership development as it stood, but in evolving leadership into the future,” he said.

Wanting to be part of that change, Castro wrote a book, and didn’t know where to publish it. That made him interested in the business model of publishing.

“First of all, it’s so New York-centric,” he explained. “It’s heavily driven by a phalanx of editors and PR people, and I was not convinced. I talked to people in the industry who told me that most of what they publish didn’t make money, and the things that did only made money because people were already throwing lots of money behind them… I started to look at the whole publishing thing and I said this is kind of ridiculous.” Continue reading

The Expert Assimilators

The Tortolo twins manage to adapt no matter what the country

By Julia Bastos

Assimilating into a different culture is difficult to do, but twin sisters and Villanova College students, Julia and Vitoria Tortolo have had a lot of practice.

Born in Campinas, Brazil, the twins lived 13 years of their lives in the same small schools with the same group of friends in a “Campinas bubble”, said Vitoria. Their parents’ admiration for American education and desire for their children to gain a wider view of the world, moved their family to Miami. There, the twins attended a small school in Key Largo before doing their freshman year at a large high school.

After a year surrounded by American students, their family decided to move back to Campinas. The move back didn’t last long. Since their parents wanted to experience life in Europe, the Tortolo family made their way to Paris, France.

Later, the Tortola’s returned to Brazil to graduate high school with their childhood friends. Although, their mother was scared that the girls would “think that the United States was the center of the world” said the twins, they both decided to attend Villanova University, a Catholic school on Philadelphia’s Main Line.

With every move the twins had an easy time fitting into their new schools and countries, as they always made the decision to fully integrate themselves into their prospective homes. They both believe that they were able to do this because they have each other. Many students are fond of the idea of experiencing college on their own, far from family, but Julia and Vitoria wanted to go to college together because at the time, they felt like they needed each other.

Julia and Vitoria are a unity. They have been together since before birth, and don’t know life without one another. Vitoria has always seen Julia as being part of her identity.

Making friends has always been a team effort. They balance each other out, “Julia brings the fun out of people, and I am the safety net that people fall on”, said Vitoria, “ I bring rationality and a calm attitude, while Julia brings the fire and excitement to our friendships.” What one twin lacks, the other twin has, and what makes Vitoria the way she is, is the way Julia.

Julia has always seen Vitoria as another motherly figure. “Vitoria is very responsible, and because of that I am very irresponsible,” said Julia, “Vitoria figured out how to pay tuition, she took me to get a credit card, and always prints out airplane tickets for me. I just tag along”.

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Backstory: The Hungry Pigeon

How one of Philly’s best restaurants came to be

By Maeve Pascoe

The owner of the Hungry Pigeon restaurant in Philadelphia, Scott Schroeder, has mastered the art of cooking, running a business, and being sarcastic after many years in the food industry.

The Hungry Pigeon is the creation of two friends: Schroeder and Pat O’Malley. It was their dream project for 13 years, and now it is a well-run dinner and brunch spot that serves American food and pastries – critical praise.

Schroeder, who lived in Detroit until age 20, dreamt of becoming a rock star. “When I graduated high school I kind of fucked off for a summer and didn’t really do much of anything. I was playing music in, like, punk rock bands and stuff.”

Schroeder had never really thought about what he would do if his career in rock didn’t work out. But when his dad got him a job working for a highly celebrated Detroit chef, Brian Polson, Schroeder took it. “It was kind of the first time I ever saw what actually happened in real kitchens.”

After Schroeder worked for Polson for around three years, he still felt lost. “It was not love at first sight. I didn’t feel like it was something I was going to do,” he recalled.

Schroeder was directionless, so when his friends in Philly were looking for another roommate, he decided to move in with them. “I said ‘Sure, why not?’ I had just broken up with my girlfriend and a weird thing happened with my roommates so I had to move back in with my parents.”

When he got to Philadelphia, Schroeder had about $300 and a job interview. “I had to figure everything out. And so, my first job was working for Jack McDavid at Jack’s Firehouse.”

Chefs Scott Schroeder & Pat O’Malley of the Hungry Pigeon

After working there for about a month, Schroeder was fired, so he found another job at Caribou Café under a chef who had worked for McDavid. “She said don’t worry, he fires everybody. You just lost your cooking virginity in Philadelphia,” said Schroeder.

Schroeder liked working at the Caribou Café but didn’t find it exciting. After about a year and a half he went to work at Jake’s, a prestigious restaurant in Manayunk. “That was kind of where I fell in love with cooking,” said Schroeder.

The environment at Jake’s was highly competitive. “No one was over the age of 30,” said Schroeder. For him, it was the first time the creativity of food replaced the creativity of music. “I started really getting into it and taking it seriously,” he said.

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A Matter of Faith

David King’s fascination with Christian theology began when he was 14

By Molly Hawkins

While most kids his age were playing outside, going to the movies, or playing video games, you could find 14-year-old David King reading theology.

Not that King didn’t engage in typical kid activities, as well. But when his pastor gifted him two books on theology when he was in the ninth grade, he found himself absorbed in a new world that felt somehow familiar to him.

“It was like finding a language that was familiar, something that made sense and excited me,” King said.

Eight years later, 22 years old and a senior double major in Religion and Philosophy at Haverford, King is looking ahead to attending Divinity School after graduation, and is considering possible careers in the ministry and academia.

King was born in Washington D.C., but grew up in Alexandria in northern Virginia. He returned to D.C. to attend Georgetown Day School for high school. He was raised in the Methodist Church, and attended services on Sundays with his family. King considers his early and consistent presence in church as a key factor in shaping his Christianity, in a way that was very authentic.

“…It’s not just something you do because that’s what you do on Sundays,” King said, his hands moving emphatically before him as he spoke, his dark hair swept over his forehead, his eyes bright and kind. “In the same way that going to church and worshiping should change who adults are, it does the same thing for children. When you go to church and you worship and you take the sacraments, those are things Christians believe actually affects a change on people. I came to understand who I was through the things that I was doing in church.”

In this way, King had no one moment of realization of his faith. Although he wants to pay moments of conversion their proper respect, and recognizes that many people have had truly authentic experiences of coming into faith within a moment that is simply not his story. Rather, his faith community was given to him at birth due to his family’s background. His faith is something he was able to grow into and come to understand more clearly as he continued to go to church and engage with Christian practices and worship throughout his childhood and into his adolescence.

“I wouldn’t be a Christian if I hadn’t been baptized as a child. There’s a really distinct sense in which, I’m a Christian because at least in part, my family raised me to be one,” King said.

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