Whelan’s top picks

Mr. Whelan, Gauntlet afficionado, shares his favorite stories of 2019.


Evanthia Stirou

Mr. Whelan, reading an old edition of The Gauntlet, is one of the most committed readers of The Gauntlet.

Mr. Whelan, to our delight, is one of our most avid readers, digesting Gauntlet stories daily. He’s often there for us in the halls, patting us on the back for the pieces that make an impact for him.  Below, Mr. Whelan shared the most meaningful stories of the year for him.  Thanks for reading, Mr. Whelan.

Private School Kids in a Public School Town

Sanna Lexhed has been writing some of the most remarkable long pieces for The Gauntlet this year. Her writing is personal and reflective. I chose this feature article because in the days after I read it, her ideas were still floating around in my mind. I could fill my entire list of picks just from Sanna’s writings, but I will spread out the rest of my picks from the works of other members of the Gauntlet staff.

Chapel Band Performance: 10-4-2019

Hailey Spolarich has done a huge service to the school community over the past several years in recording the senior speeches and other chapel events. Last year I forwarded the recording of my son John’s senior speech to members of my family who could not attend that day in chapel. Thank you, Hailey. I chose this chapel band performance of “Awesome God” because it was one of the first times that the band performed, setting a new tradition in the Upper School. This song’s performance also caused me to think of a name for the new silent study space in the Upper School library: Awesome Pod… Our pod is an Awesome Pod.

“Kanye West: Yeezus to Jesus”

I do not follow popular culture, so having students like Ansley Morris fill me in on current trends is very helpful. I chose this article because one of my former students, Naarai Jacobs, sang backup vocals for this album and performs live on tour with Kanye. Ansley’s piece helped me understand the context for how Naarai’s Christian faith informs her singing career.

Is ‘Die Hard’ a Christmas Movie

This article by Sophia Berry led to a discussion that ran for several days in my family during Christmas break. We finally decided that Home Alone and Die Hard are essentially the same movie and belong in their own Christmas movie genre.

My Tech Free Weekend

This article from Dylan is a great example of how the Gauntlet provides a window into the world of student life. His careful journaling of his experience of going without his computer, iPad, and cell phone for a whole weekend is a model of how to think about taking small steps for self-improvement.

Teacher Trivia: Mr. Whelan
Several people came up to me after last year’s teacher trivia contest to brag about how much they knew about me. My own son John missed one question–it’s a hard quiz.

Who Is Your Campus Mom” and “Who Is Your Campus Dad

These two quizzes from last year play off of the assumption that Saint Stephen’s is like a family. I discovered that Ms. Grady is my campus mom. She discovered that I am her campus dad. Who are your faculty parents?