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Inside this Issue The History of Convocation

Where Does the School Get Its Money?

60 Minutes One Year Later

February 2017 “By the Students, For the Students”


The Benedict News Magazine is published during the academic year by the students of St. Benedict’s Prep. Our mission is to provide a voice for the students and provide news of concern to them in a balanced and fair manner. The Benedict News Magazine and www. will abide by the Code of Ethics of the Society of Professional Journalists. The editorials reflect the views and opinions of The Benedict News Editorial Board only. The Benedict News Magazine and www. belong to the Columbia Scholastic Press Association, the Quill and Scroll, the Garden State Scholastic Press Association, The National Scholastic Press Association, and the Journalism Education Association.

Table of Contents Plastic water bottles?


COunseling center has grown


Mike Scanlan’s new responsibilities


Why do we do convocation?


Glenn Cassidy: LD to big bee


Advancement office:What does it do?


Guest writer: stephen Adubato


“60 Minutes” one year later


the vox institute


Richard gallerani: wood carver


Getting fit with crossfit


Sex ed in school?


opinion: Should we have driver’s ed


Editorial: End convo on time


Page 2-3 Counseling Center Grows to Serve 200

The Benedict News would like to thank James hartmann for his generous support.

Pages 10-11 If you would like to be a patron of The Benedict News, contact Michael Pereira at Thank you for your support.

“60 Minutes” One Year later

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Mr . Gallerani Carves Statue for SBP


Plastic Water BottlesWhat’s the Solution? by Julian Edwards, Faseeh Bhatti and Vassey Konneh A group of students at Bishop O’Dowd High School in Oakland, California, have recently persuaded the school to ban plastic water bottles on their campus. “Our student leaders wrote a plastic water bottle ban policy in 2015, and we have just successfully completed the transition here on campus,” said Andra Yeghoian, Director of Sustainability at Bishop O’Dowd. Not only did they ban plastic water bottles, but they branded their own reusable water bottle and now sell them in the bookstore for students. At St. Benedict’s, however, plastic bottles are all over the place. They are available in the cafeteria and in the vending machines. The sustainability committee has made efforts to get students to start recycling more and have recently installed large recycling bins around the campus but the real challenge is getting the students to actually recycle them instead of putting them in regular garbage bins. Michelle Tuorto, Dean of Faculty, recycles and uses her reusable water bottle, sandwich wrapper, and coffee mug everyday. She wants the students to do the same. She has strict rules about recycling in her room and has said “If [students are] going to be in here, [they’re] going to recycle.” The members of the science faculty were not comfortable with the students throwing away plastic bottles in the garbage in their classrooms either. To resolve this issue, chemistry teacher Dennis Lansang bought small recycling bins for the fourth floor (science department). That way the students could put their water bottles in the small bins instead of in the trash. The teachers already had bins/ boxes for paper. The science teachers are not the only ones worried about students recycling though. A group students and faculty started an activity called the Green Bees. The Green Bees are making a real push to make people around campus dispose of plastic bottles in an environmentally conscious way. “It’s a step in the right

direction; the next step would be to eliminate them,” said journalism teacher Noreen Connolly, a faculty advisor with calculus teacher, Stephanie Kranz. Senior Michael Okaro wants to take steps in a similar direction. “There should be more visual reminders,” he said. “We should try to eliminate plastic bottles from the school and use reusable bottles.” But Headmaster Fr. Edwin Leahy O.S.B does not want students carrying around any water bottles, either disposable or reusable. “There’s two issues for me,” he said

“We’re burying ourselves in garbage,” Fr. Ed said. “One issue is the environmental issue, which could be addressed with reusable water bottles easily… and [the other is] it’s possible that what’s in the bottle is not always water.” Fr Ed said that waste has been not only an issue in the school but on the whole planet as well. “We’re burying ourselves in garbage.” Mrs. Tuorto said students should get in the habit of recycling at home so that they can get used to doing it in the outside world as well. She and Fr. Ed went on to praise the students such as the Green Bees who are taking action and making improvements on these issues. Fr. Ed agreed that students should be recycling on their own because it is their responsibility to see that “we don’t bury ourselves in garbage.” “There’s nobody more concerned about the environment that me,” said Fr Ed. “So I’m in support of anything that helps out.” When he was asked if he would support an experiment with reusable water bottles to see if students can be trusted and if it has a profound effect on the plastic waste, Fr Ed said: “Absolutely. I’d support an experiment; it’s one way to find out if it’ll work or not.”

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Features News/Features

Counseling Center Has Grown:

Dr. Lamourt said. The Counseling Center helps students in a variety of ways. Individual counseling is available to address severe psychological issues such as depression, anxiety, substance abuse, post-traumatic stress disorder, physical or sexual abuse, grief, anger and abandonment. “Individual therapy is designed to help folks identity correctly their feelings and emotions and learn how to react to those feelings and emotions,” Dr. Lamourt said. “[it] allows you the space and opportunity to be able to have powerful emotions come out.” Additionally, the Counseling Center provides group therapy sessions for students dealing with similar issues like absent fathers, depression, immigration issues and a variety of other matters. “When you go through a problem, you think you are the only one struggling with that prob Jack Correia lem. In a group situation, you are able to see that other people have struggled with the same issue A mural depicting a troubled students growth hangs in the Conseling Center. and they have gotten through it,” Dr. Lamourt said. A few years ago, a freshby Obed Narcisse Dr. Lamourt also recognizes how the spirit of brotherhood man, who wishes to remain Managing Editor embedded into the school’s culture helps the job of the Counseling anonymous, wanted a summer Center. job in the St. Benedict’s Urban “Group and team-building goes hand in glove in having older Garden. Filling out the application form, he realized that he did not kids teach younger kids how to be able to navigate powerful and at have the needed documentation of citizenship. The Urban Garden times, destructive emotions. The idea of the group is that ultimately coordinator realized that the student was undocumented, noticthe kids run the group. You have a facilitator in the group who can ing that he was upset, brought him to the Counseling Center. She knew Mental Health Counselor Dominic Canova was working with guide or direct it, but the kids really run it,” Dr. Lamourt said. In addition to individual and group therapy, the Counseling students in the same predicament. Center performs personality testing, behavioural and psychological In group sessions, Mr. Canova and the students shared the difficulties they encountered because of their immigrant status. Students assessments. “The assessments are designed to give us an insight into their felt supported. thinking, into their psychology, to figure out how to help them,” Dr “I was not the only one who was dealing with immigration isLamourt said. sues,” the student said. The Counseling Center also provides family counseling. Staff The Counseling Center continues to serve students like these and many others who come to it with a variety of emotional, psychologi- Member Paul Hearns LCSW (Licensed Clinical Social Worker), who works for the Mental Health Association, handles this service. cal or intellectual issues. The Healthcare Foundation of New Jersey funded the Counseling But this service has not always been so readily available to stuCenter after hearing about it. After the Counseling Center demondents. strated the need for family counseling services, it joined the Mental More than twenty years ago, Headmaster Fr. Edwin Leahy ‘63 Health Association of New Jersey, which granted the funds to start a O.S.B. and psychologist Ivan Lamourt, Psy.D ‘82 recognized stufamily counseling service. dents were leaving the school because of severe emotional traumas. The Counseling Center includes seven staff members: Ivan To address this, they collaborated to create what they called the Lamourt Psy.D. ‘82, Sinclair Davis MA (School Psychology), Paul Crisis Intervention Office. Hearns LCSW, Mental Health Counselor Dominic Canova, Bianca According to Dr. Lamourt, the Crisis Intervention Office grew Kasoun LPC (Licensed Professional Counselor), psychologists Georganically into what is now the Counseling Center on the second rard Figurelli Ph.D and Charles Schnable Psy.D ‘64. floor of the Radel Building. But the Counseling Center is unlike In addition to the Counseling Center, the Velvet Rope, a behavior traditional school guidance departments. modification unit, was established in 2001 for Leahy House resi“We provide a lot of psychological services to the community -dents, some of whom were failing most of their classes and on the everything from therapy to group counseling to individual counseling to cognitive assessments and we still provide crisis intervention,” verge of being removed from the school.

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Serves 200 Students Annually “The Velvet Rope was created out of a concern we were having in the Leahy House. Again, we were losing kids and we had to do something about it,” Dr. Lamourt said. Dr. Figurelli, Dr. Lamourt, and Br. Maximilian Buonocore O.S.B, LPC worked together to create the Velvet Rope. According to Br. Maximilian, a program at the Ivy Ridge School provided inspiration for the Velvet Rope program. The Velvet Rope is a behavior modification program that looks at a student’s behaviors and deprives them of items that will distract them such as electronics. “The name “Velvet Rope” came from the fact that we designated one wing of the Leahy House for the program and cordoned it off with a velvet rope,” Br. Maximilian said. Initially, Dr. Lamourt and his wife moved into the Leahy House to run the program. However, after leaving, Jill Hall P’04, ‘06, ‘08 assumed the role as the group counselor in the Velvet Rope. Teachers, parents, and other students can make referrals to the Counseling Center. However, Dr. Lamourt marvels at how many students refer fellow classmates to the Counseling Center. “Kids refer kids here all the time. That’s the most powerful one because if your friend says you need some help, [it clicks] like that,”

Dr. Lamourt said. Senior Michael Okaro is one of many student who appreciate the services that the counseling office provides. “Having someone to talk to is great for my peace of mind,” Michael said.

“In a group situation, you are able to see that other people have struggled with the same issue and they have gotten through it,” -Ivan Lamourt

Jack Correia

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Michael Scanlan Takes New Roles

satisfied when they choose the opposite. “The point of this is to help guys formulate their college decisions so they can make more informed decisions,” Mr. Scanlan said. Even though he does not really consider this as a new position because it was part of his old position, Mr. Scanlan also works with the Business Office to help manage the relationship the school has with banks. His job is to help oversee the effort of keeping a healthy and stable relationship with the banks particularly around the school’s significant loans. “We have a loan on the property for a lot of the work that we did back in 2000 and 2001,” he said. Along with everything he does now Mr. Scanlan still contributes his photography to the community. Jack Correia He is known for memorizing the Michael Scanlan converses with Travis Wright on the Upper Field. Mr. Scanlan now works as an Admissions Officer and in the Bussiness Office while helping with college placement on the side. names of incoming freshmen every year and getting to know them, To have flexibility with his but now Mr. Scanlan finds it a little difficult with his new position by Michael Amankwaah schedule and spend more time because he is not around as often as he was. Staff Writer with his aging parents every “The hardest part to get used to is not knowing every student as I month, former Assistant Headmaster, Mike Scanlan, has a taken did this time last year,” he said. different roles here. Headmaster Fr. Edwin Leahy, O.S.B said no single person has Mr. Scanlan now works as an Admissions Officer, helps with colreplaced Mr. Scanlan. His old position is divided among different lege placement and continues in the Business Office. His new office people; Jim Duffy for Lower Division and St. Mary’s, Glenn Cassidy is right next to the admissions office. for freshmen, Chris Henry ’00 for UDI and UDII and Didier JeanFor admissions Mr. Scanlan travels to different countries repreBaptiste for seniors. senting the school and presenting what the does. Recently, he trav“The job is not a one man job,” Fr. Ed said. eled to Bermuda and Barbados through connections with students Being able to have the time to visit and support his parents was that are here now. one of the major reasons why he decided to step down from his Director of Admissions Mario Gallo said Mr. Scanlan may also old position. Mr. Scanlan visits his parents once a month in Rhode go to Brazil to interview students and family. Island for at least three to four days . “The idea is that the students that we have had from Brazil, have “I wanted flexibility to be able to go spend time up there every been positive influences. They have adapted successfully and we are month; and it’s only right considering all they have done for me and hoping to find more guys like them,” Mr. Gallo said. my siblings ,” Mr. Scanlan said. Mr. Scanlan likes being able to talk to kids and their families Even though he may be not be on the property as often as he used about Benedict’s, particularly talking to parents about the idea of to be Mr. Scanlan is still working for the benefit the community. sending their children to school in a different country. “So while I am not at convocation all the time, there is a good “I like being able to have those conversations with them and help chance I am doing some kind of Benedict’s work everyday,” Mr. them make the decision which is best for their kid,” he said. Scanlan said. In addition to getting the word out internationally, Mr. Scanlan also works with admissions to help increase the number of students including those who can pay full tuition. He also works with Dean of Seniors and College Placement, Didier Jean-Baptiste to give students an opportunity to visit schools they might consider applying to. He helps take students to visit different college campuses and expose them to schools they might have never thought about or known about. While doing this, Mr. Scanlan does not always expect students to like the place; he is also

“While I am not at convocation all the time, there is a good chance I am doing some kind of Benedict’s work everyday” -Mr. Scanlan

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CONVOCATION: From the Beginning Until Now by Bryan Martinez Staff Writer

Even before the first class in the newly reopened St. Benedict’s was taught in 1973, there was convocation. Ninety-six students gathered in a corner of the cafeteria to hear announcements and record the attendance. Things have changed. Since its inception 40 years ago, convocation has become the “most important thing we do,” according to Headmaster Fr. Edwin Leahy, O.S.B. But it wasn't always that way. On reopening day in July 1, 1973, Fr. Luke Edelen O.S.B. designed a pamphlet for the first convocation with the word itself - “Convocation” - prominently on the front cover. With the former Mayor of Newark, Kenneth Gibson, other dignitaries, monks and teachers and only 96 students, the first convocation was Jack Correia held in the cafeteria. After seeing the Senior Group Leader Dalyn Woody raises his hand to begin convocation. Convocation began 40 whole school together for the first time, Fr. Edwin made the decision to years ago and is considered the most important event of the day by Fr. Edwin Leahy. have convocation everyday. tion only lasted about 20 minutes when he was a student. Also, muOriginally, convocation was intended to record the attendance sic wasn't added until Mr. Cassidy’s senior year, and it was limited. and make announcements, no different from today. However, that “Convocation was a lot different from when I was a student,” Mr. was all convocation was intended to do. Over time, convocation Cassidy said. has taken a huge turn by incorporating scriptures and gospel music. So what are the benefits from singing and praying? What is the Singing was brought to convocation in 1989 through Rev. Peter main reason behind convocation? Winstead, who led Blessed Sacrament Church’s choir. Fr. Edwin “We waste 45 minutes in convo, it doesn't help your SAT’s, but invited Rev. Winstead to bring his talents to convocation three times it's community building and we hope it builds people,” Fr. Albert a week. But, after 19 years of singing at the Hive, the “Rev” passed Holtz O.S.B. said. He said “fooling around” is essential to convocaaway on graduation day in 2011, taking with him his talents. The tion, community believed when Rev. Winstead passed away, the musical “Its no good to take yourself too seriously,” Fr. Albert said. scene he brought would leave through the doors of St. Benedict's, Convocation has changed since its inception 40 years ago. From but Chair of Science Department, Dennis Lansang, preserved his sitting in a corner of the cafeteria to filling up Shanley Gym, to singlegacy. Already familiar with the lyrics of the songs, the challenge for ing gospel gospel, to praying and fooling around convocation has Dr. Lansang was to find what specific notes Rev. Winstead played evolved into something that has caused schools and communities on the piano. Because of a tape recording of Rev. Winstead playing around the world to inquire about convocation. the piano, Dr. Lansang was able to pinpoint each note and recreate “ It help kids experience their school as a community,” Fr. Albert the songs. In addition, Dean of Freshman, Glenn Cassidy, asked Dr. said. Lansang if he could participate in keeping Rev. Winstead’s legacy alive, creating the singing duo seen at convocation today. “It’s part of the tradition here at St. Benedict's, it is a pleasure to be able to do that for the school.” Dr. Langsang said. Mr. Cassidy has witnessed the transformation of convocation first hand. Long before he took the microphone and started singing Rev. Winstead’s songs, he was one of the many students who participated in convocation in the cafeteria. For his first four years as a student, Mr. Cassidy would report every morning for convocation in the cafeteria before moving to Shanley Gym in his junior year. With a scripture reading and the “Our Father” prayer, alongside reporting attendance, making announcements, and Fr. Ed speaking, convoca-

“[Convocation] doesn’t help your SAT’s, but it’s community building and we hope it builds people.” -Fr. Albert Holtz

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LD to Big Bee: Glenn Cassidy

Paul Miranda

Glenn Cassidy speaks to the community during convocation. He has been part of the St. Benedict’s community for 32 years.

by Sebastian Granizo Assistant Sports Editor

Dean of Freshmen Glenn Cassidy ‘90 has been roaming the hallways of St. Benedict’s for more than three decades. This year marks his 32nd year here, starting from the year he entered here as a seventh grade student. “Benedict’s has been the center of my life,” Mr. Cassidy said. After graduating from Benedict’s where he won the Presidential Award, he went on to and eventually graduated from the University of Notre Dame with a degree in psychology in 1994. Initially, Mr. Cassidy wanted to go back to school for physical therapy or sports medicine after Notre Dame, but he ultimately decided not to because he was tired of school and did not have enough money to finance it. He called Headmaster Fr. Edwin Leahy O.S.B. and asked him for a job here. Mr. Cassidy said that the main reason for his return was because he was bothered by the fact that the new swimming pool was not being used. As a result, Mr. Cassidy started teaching and coaching the water polo team right away. Yet in 2003, Fr. Ed advised him to become the principal of the now defunct Essex Catholic High School. The school was shut down the year before and many concerned parents and community members tried their best to reopen it. Although they weren’t able to reopen the same exact school, they were able to make an agreement with the archdiocese to open a new school with the same name. Once they got this done, the concerned people went to Fr. Ed

and asked if he knew anybody who could run the school. For this reason, Fr. Ed decided to ask Mr. Cassidy if he could be the school’s new principal. “It was a very stressful year, full of drama and issues,” Mr. Cassidy said. Ultimately, the attempt to revive the school failed. As a result, Mr. Cassidy came back here to teach. Some of the classes that he currently teaches are Leadership in First Term, Diversity and Social Justice in Fall Term, First Aid in Winter Term and the backpacking project in Spring Phase. Mr. Cassidy is currently the “Big Bee” who is in charge of the entire backpacking project. His job is to oversee all aspects of it and make sure that the project runs successfully. Although he is the leader of the trail project now, he wasn’t always. When he first returned to the school as a teacher, he was mostly in charge of the first aid and the medical aspect of the trail. Over the years, however, his role evolved. He started taking more responsibilities of the trail operations and became second-in-command to Fr. Mark Payne O.S.B., who was the man who originally created the Appalachian Trail Project. When Fr. Mark died on July 10, 2016, Mr. Cassidy officially became the new “Big Bee.” The death of Fr. Mark was a personal loss to Mr. Cassidy. “Fr. Mark was always a father figure to me. He was one of the

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News/Features most caring people I’ve ever met in my life,” he said. Besides the project, Mr. Cassidy is also in charge of the freshman class year after year. His job is to make sure every freshman is following the right path and making the right decisions. Through his 15 years as the Dean of Freshmen, he has inspired many young kids. Some freshmen who become senior leaders in their senior year credit Cassidy for teaching them how to be leaders. “Mr. Cassidy is the single reason that I am the person I am today. Everything I understand about leadership and being a man was taught to me by Cass,” senior Freshman Leader Eric Conklin said. After coaching water polo for 22 years and swimming for 17 years, Mr. Cassidy decided to stop coaching this year. “While I enjoyed coaching tremendously over the last few years, I simply haven’t had the energy and excitement that I believe the students deserve,” he said. He has decided to leave the coaching job to World History I teacher Spencer Vespole ’09. As a coach, Mr. Cassidy has developed very successful water polo teams and swimming teams. He has also taught the kids on the team to become humble, even if they were better than the other team. Not only that, but he also taught the kids to play the sport right. “He taught me to play the game the way it was meant to play and

sometimes that means to play rough,” co-captain of the water polo team Gabriel Cuadrado said. In addition to his responsibilities here, Mr. Cassidy is an Emergency Medical Technician, which is someone who is specifically trained or certified to administer basic emergency services to victims of trauma or acute illness before and during transportation to a hospital. He volunteers with the Union Emergency Medical Unit, working special events, covering other shifts and covering large scale incidents whenever needed. Mr. Cassidy has been working for the Union Emergency Medical Unit for almost 20 years and is currently the Sunday night lieutenant. Mr. Cassidy is also in the final stages of an Ed.D. program of Education, Culture, and Society at Rutgers University New Brunswick and is expected to graduate in 2017. “This has always been a personal goal of mine. It was something that I always wanted to do,” he said. Mr. Cassidy enjoys coming here everyday. He loves working with the students here and most of the adults. He also enjoys helping guys through hard times and offering them tools and resources to become more successful. “I love learning new things everyday from the students and adults with whom I work,” Mr. Cassidy said.

Richard Gallerani

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Where Does the Money Come From? Advancement Office Raises $7 Million Annually

students who live in the Leahy House. About 85 percent of the students don’t pay the full discounted amount either. The average amount that a student pays for tuition is $5,000 and the school makes a total of about $3.3 million annually from tuition. About two-thirds of the school’s money comes from donations. This is where the Advancement Office comes in. Aside from managing the endowment and tuition, they spend an extra effort on acquiring donations. Associate Headmaster and former Director of Development Paul Thornton said that what the Advancement Office does is considered “formal begging.” The school cannot survive without this “begging” and Mr. Fazio, Fr. Ed, and the rest of the advancement office, make sure that a plan is put in place for going out and getting money. It takes close to $10 million to run the school every year. A little over $7 million of that comes from donations, which are acquired between July 1 to June 30, the school’s fiscal year. The remaining cost after getting the donations and tuition, is covered by the endowment. Before the recession of 2008, the school had an endowment of about $30 million, but afterwards, the endowment lost about 25 percent of its value. The endowment is a “savings account” of sorts. To put it even more simply, it is a huge pile of money that has one job: to grow. It is almost like an emergency fund that the school only borrows Ian Joseph money from as a last resort. Currently, the endowment is Michael Fazio greets UDII Brayan Loja in the Advancement Office. Mr. Fazio $18 million. However, according to Mr. Fazio, it has to be became the Chief Advancement Officer in 2014. between $100 - $150 million in order to bring the school to a better financial position. “So when Fr. Ed says ‘I’m by FASEEH BHATTI Since the reopening of on the road trying to raise $50 million dollars,’” Mr. Scanlan said, and VASSEY KONNEH the school in 1973, the “He’s trying to raise money for the endowment.” Advancement Office has Trying to raise money to run the school is only part of the job played a major role in the life of the school. However, most students though; the school also has a debt to pay. In the early 2000s, the have no idea what the advancement office does. Its job has been school took out a lot of loans from the bank to renovate parts of and still is to raise the money needed to make sure that the school’s the school and to also acquire new territory. The areas renovated doors open each year, a job that requires enormous efforts on the included the Conlin Auditorium, Cawley Hall, the old building, part of the staff of 12 and donations from hundreds . the cafe, the Robert Treat Academy campus, and Leahy House. As a “This school wouldn’t be here,” Michael Fazio, the Chief Adresult of the recession, the banks required the school to pay back the vancement Officer, said, “without the generosity of other people.” loans of what at the time was $29 million at a certain rate, which Nobody knows this better than Headmaster Father Edwin Leahy, caused the school to have to dig into the endowment to pay the O.S.B. debt. Although the endowment went down from $30 to $18 milFather Edwin always talks to students about the many trips he lion, the debt has also gone down from $29 million to $19 million has to take to meet with people in order to raise money for the and it still continues to go down each year. school and how important donations are to the school. However, All that money may seem like a lot but it barely keeps the school many students are not aware of their importance. Michael Scanlan, going. In light of Donor Appreciation Day, Mr. Fazio, Mr. Scanlan, who works on the budget with Director of Finance Paul Barnas, and Mr. Thornton all agreed that the financials of the school are explained that the school’s funding relies on three major things: something important for the students to realize when they question tuition, donations, and the endowment. why they have to give back. “Student donations make a difference,” A sixth of the school’s money comes from tuition. The real cost Mr. Thornton said. “Students should get started now so that they for one student to attend St. Benedict’s is $17,500 but nobody pays can get in the habit of giving back”. this price. Every student gets a discount on the tuition, reducing the cost for full tuition to about $12,500. An extra $7,000 are added for

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Guest Opinion

Discovering the Promise of Reality

by STEPHEN ADUBATO Guest Writer Why do we go to school? What is the ultimate value of an education and what does it offer us? Does an ideal educational system, structure, or method even exist? Over the course of the last six months, I worked with a group of other teachers from around the country on an exhibit that sought to understand the foundational premises of education. We wanted to understand how our work as teachers can become a more “human” endeavor, seeking to account for and engage our own essential needs and desires as well those of our students in the process. This exhibit was introduced at the New York Encounter, an annual three day cultural event in Manhattan. The Encounter offers a series of Didier Jean-Baptiste panels, exhibits, and performances Stephen Adubato’s father Steve Adubato Jr. speaks with Nathanael Cruz at the New York that focus on a central theme. The Encounter on January 14. theme this year was the phrase, mystery-a mystery that invites us all to a relationship that reveals “Reality Has Never Betrayed Me.” The Encounter was introone’s identity and leads to his or her ultimate fulfillment. duced with this statement: “We all have the intuition that life, even As I worked on this exhibit, I asked myself, in what ways does with all its hardships, is fundamentally good. Its original appeal is this mystery reveal itself in my relationships in the St. Benedict’s continuously being reawakened by things and people - an appeal we community? What have I discovered in my work as a teacher here? can resist, but never eliminate. And yet, we have a hard time relating Through my work, I am constantly reminded of my need to underto many aspects of life. In the end, since life does not bend to our stand the meaning of my own life, and that by myself this endeavor desires and its meaning remains elusive, we use our ingenuity to is impossible. It’s through the faces of my students, whose curiosity, construct our own reality and give sense to life. But the reality we passion, and at times, drama, that I begin to discover the promise of try to create, when put to the test of experience, does not deliver on meaning and hope in the “craziness” of everyday life. It’s in my relaits promises, and too frequently the ensuing frustration turns into tionships with my fellow teachers and the monks, who accompany anger and violence. What are we missing? Why do we often perceive me as I seek to understand the value of my work and the presence reality as disappointing? What can help us reconcile with reality and of beauty in it, that I am pointed closer and closer toward that same engage life as it is?” Our exhibit’s contribution to the Encounter promise. looked at how education offers a path to discovering that reality is What’s fascinating to me about Giussani’s method is that indeed something positive and promising, rather than something it can be applied in any school, Catholic or public, whether I am empty and disappointing. teaching religion or Spanish, precisely because it emphasizes that We began by looking at our work as teachers in light of our expewhich is basic to all human beings-our desire for meaning and fulrience having met the charism of Fr. Luigi Giussani, the founder of fillment. So as much as I can’t say that I’ve discovered the “perfect” the Catholic lay movement Communion and Liberation. Fr. Giuseducational method, I can say that I have discovered and continue sani, who taught religion to high school students in Milan, Italy, to discover the presence of meaning in my work at St. Benedict’s had a desire to convey to young people the beauty and fullness that Prep. Working in a place that allows me the freedom to take my the Christian faith can give to our everyday experiences. Giussani own humanity and experiences seriously, along with a community developed his pedagogical methods and published them in his book to accompany me in the process, I begin to discover that within my The Risk of Education. His method emphasizes the need to invite daily experiences, as pleasant or dramatic as they may be, exists a students to engage the content they are learning through concrete promise that invites me to a unveil it through each class I teach and experiences. By doing so, students have the opportunity to discover each face I encounter. that at the depth of every experience is the presence of an eternal

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Features News/Features

60 Minutes...

by Michael Pereira and Obed Narcisse

Dozens of black and gray hooded students packed into the Shanley Gym for convocation. It seemed like a normal day. The freshmen were finishing up with pre-convocation, the piano was set in the middle of the room and the faculty were standing in the gym’s corners. Yet something seemed off. There were unfamiliar people with big cameras frantically moving about trying to find the best camera angle. “Why are they recording us” was the common question heard in the undercurrent. The students soon found out, and a few months later, St. Benedict’s was featured on 60 Minutes. This is how most students remember how CBS recorded the 60 Minutes piece. However, the recording and reporting process was far more complex. In fact, the opportunity for St. Benedict’s to appear on 60 Minutes began with a donor, Neale Trangucci, according to Chief Advancement Officer Michael Fazio. A few years ago, Mr. Trangucci payed for a student to attend St. Benedict’s. The student eventually dropped out and the school lost contact with the donor for some time, until Mr. Trangucci went to one of the school’s annual golf outings with an alumnus. Mr. Trangucci learned more about the school from the alumni, and everything kicked off from there. According to Mr. Fazio, Mr. Trangucci was friends with an editor from CBS and pitched St. Benedict’s as a possible story to him. The editor was interested and sent a small team to St. Benedict’s. CBS decided that St. Benedict’s was newsworthy and sent in the bigger camera crew. “And the rest is history,” Mr. Fazio said. However, UDII Devionne Johnson had a different experience. According to Devionne, he and his group were nearly at the end of the trail when they were told 60 Minutes wanted to record them. Devionne didn’t know when the camera crew was going to show up, so he continued to the last bridge before completing the trail. Devionne gathered his group and prayed.

“I told each and every one of them I love them,” Devionne said. Everyone gave their final regards and some began tearing up, including Devionne. 60 Minutes managed to capture the moment, and the moment made it to the final product. “I had no idea huge cameras were pointed at my face,” Devionne said. “Without the cameras, I still would have said the same thing.” Some time passed and then Assistant Headmaster Michael Scanlan called Devionne into his office to show him the early stages of the 60 Minutes piece. Devionne wasn’t sure what to expect. “I hope they don’t get me crying,” Devionne remembers saying at that time. They got him crying. One month later CBS came to the school and interviewed Devionne and two other students in the executive office, the top floor of the business Michael Scanlan office, where they asked each student what was their life story. Devione told CBS that he lives on 7th Avenue in North Newark where the neighborhood suffers from a blight of crime. “I live in the belly of the beast,” Devionne said. So Devionne was dismayed when CBS said they wanted to send CBS news anchor Scott Pelley to conduct the interview on 7th Avenue. Yet Devionne agreed to do the interview in front of his house as he said he wanted to provide inspiration to the people in his neighborhood, and ultimately, the city of Newark. “This city is what inspires me the most; this is where I come from,” Devionne said. And Devionne managed to do just that during the interview. According to him, as CBS rolled up to Devionne’s house, a couple of gang members took notice of the six SUVs with tinted windows. They saw multiple caucasian people exiting the car with Devionne and questioned them. Once Devionne explained that he was being interviewed for 60 Minutes, the gang members backed off. “They were like, ‘hey, that’s a cool kid right there,’” Devionne said. Devionne and Mr. Pelley conducted the interview afterwards, and as they were talking, Mr. Pelley found a bullet on the ground. According to Devionne, the two were not aware that there had been a shooting earlier. As seen on the 60 Minutes piece, after Mr. Pelley showed Devionne the bullet, Devionne laughed. “I’ve lived in this city for 16 years. Things like that are typical.” The two finished the interview, and the scene made it to the final version of the piece that is public today. Now, nine months later, the effects of the 60 Minutes piece are starting to become noticeable. “The 60 Minutes broadcast has given us national exposure,” Director of Admissions Mario Gallo said. “Families all around the country were able to see a bit of what we do thanks to the 60 Minutes piece.” Mr. Gallo said that the school has received over 50 calls from people all over the country looking for admission information. However, the school has received other calls not necessarily related

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One Year Later to just admissions. According to Mr. Fazio, since the piece aired the many calls the school has received are divided into different categories. First are the people who want to donate to the school. From just 60 Minutes the school has received donations from over 1200 new donors who aren’t alumni, according to Mr. Fazio. The donations range from anything to $10 to $50,000. There are some rare cases where the donor puts the school in his or her will and offer to give as much as $500,000. All the donations combined since the release of 60 Minutes total to over $3 million, according to Mr. Fazio. The second group of people who call the school are those who want to help the school with teaching and volunteering. The third group are those who want to send their students here. However, often the parents who want to send their sons here live out of the state and the students would require residence in the Leahy House. Since the Leahy House has a limited capacity, admittance isn’t always possible. “There were students who we had to tell ‘I’m sorry,’” Mr. Fazio said. Regardless of which group each call falls in, the school needed someone to handle all of the calls. According to Headmaster Fr.

Edwin Leahy O.S.B., the school has received calls from Baltimore, Rochester, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Montana and other places all over the country. “Every day someone contacts us that we don’t know,” Fr. Edwin said. “We would have thought it would have died out by now. But it hasn’t. It absolutely hasn’t.” And that’s where Louis Lainé ’12 comes in. According to Mr. Fazio, Louis Lainé is in charge of the Vox Institute where he talks with schools that want to adapt the St. Benedict’s system. (See Richard Araujo’s story for more information on the Vox Institute and Louis Lainé) Without the Vox Institute, the school wouldn’t be able to accommodate all of the calls, according to Fr. Edwin. With Louis Lainé handling the incoming calls of interested schools and the increase of donors, St. Benedict’s is more popular now thanks to the 60 Minutes piece. According to Fr. Edwin, we have to ask why St. Benedict’s was chosen to be on 60 Minutes. “I don’t believe we were put on 60 Minutes for just us - 550 guys,” Fr. Edwin said. “We have to ask why God gave us this gift.”

Michael Scanlan

Michael Scanlan

Top left: Scott Pelley interviews Devionne Johnson in Devionne’s neighborhood. Top Right: Khalil Flemming ’16, Devionne Johnson and Andrew Brice prepare to be interviewed. Left: Scott Pelley talks with Fr. Edwin.

Michael Scanlan

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Features News/Features

Vox Institute -

Jack Correia

UDII Hunter Farinhas talks with Louis Laine ’12 in the Business Office. Mr. Laine leads the Vox Institute, created to show other schools how to implement St. Benedict’s student leadership and community building in their own campuses.

Louis Lainé ‘12, Director of the Vox Institute, learned a lesson demonstrating Benedict’s traditions while helping at freshman orientation at Baltimore Collegiate School for Boys, a charter school founded in 2015. It was late August and Mr. Lainé was encouraging young boys to walk up and down flights of stairs with their hands on each others’ shoulders, chanting “Whatever helps my brother helps me, Whatever hurts my brother hurts me.” At one point, a sixth grader decided it was too much, he could no longer participate and started walking away. “I brought his bag for him and told him, ‘If you want to go, you can, but I want you to know that you’re quitting on yourself right now,’” Mr. Lainé said. “‘We are here for you but we are not going to force you to do it.” The boy fussed for a bit and told him that he did not want to follow rules because it reminded him of his father. “The boy said his father was in jail, following rules, and he did not want to be like his father,” Mr. Lainé said. Mr. Lainé encouraged him to continue. A bit later, the boy marched back to his group and into the orientation. Mr. Lainé learned that the Benedict’s model really can help kids know who they are and what they can do. And he could show this to other institutions. Administrators from Baltimore Collegiate had contacted Beneby Richard Araujo Sports Editor

dict’s because they wanted to emulate the overnight as a way to orient students into their new school. Baltimore Collegiate was one of many schools that contacted Benedict’s after the airing of the 60 Minute piece in March, 2016 when the Advancement Office was flooded with requests from schools that wanted to understand better what Benedict’s did with young men. Hence, the creation of the Vox Institute - a resource center that specializes in showing other schools how to bring aspects of the student leadership and community building onto their own campuses. Headmaster Fr. Edwin Leahy O.S.B. said his goal for the center was to help new schools build a strong foundation for their students, or change a particular approach that already existed. “To help them do what we do,” Fr. Edwin said. “To help focus on community building, on leadership, and to understand better our counseling center.” In other words, “sharing our experience and offering suggestions,” said Director of Advancement Michael Fazio. Mr. Fazio also said that that the broadcasting of the documentary, The Rule, is what initially had schools reaching out to learn about the programs here. “But 60 Minutes was what really made us think maybe we should have a separate program to oversee this,” said Mr. Fazio. Because there was no point person available to deal with the requests from schools and people all over the country, Fr. Edwin and Mr. Fazio wanted someone to fill that role, a resource person. Enter Louis Lainé. Since the summer, Mr. Lainé has been working with multiple

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‘How We Do What We Do’ institutions around the country - Maryland, Washington D.C., Virginia, Texas, Oklahoma, and Wisconsin. Iron Academy is another school that has experienced first hand St. Benedict’s style of leadership. The private middle school is located in North Carolina, was founded in 2013 and currently has about 75 students. Their plans are to possibly expand into a high school. Because their school already has some form of student leadership, they contacted Benedict’s in order to see how student leadership is able to work in a high school environment. Students and faculty from Iron Academy visited the school and spoke with the eight senior leaders, Fr. Edwin and Mr. Lainé. Mr. Lainé loved the idea that the administrators there were allowing students to speak for and lead themselves. They were “very empowering of the kids,” he said. Like Baltimore Collegiate, Iron Academy contacted St. Benedict’s but Mr. Lainé wants to make the Vox more than a responder. [We want to be] “proactively helping with issues that we think are important,” Mr. Lainé said. One example of this would be regular symposiums. This program would be for educational leaders and teachers and concerned with trying to explain problems that students often face and bring with them into the classroom, allowing them to not perform well or concentrate. The program would feature Dr. Ivan

Lamourt and his counseling staff. Other than ideas, according to Mr. Fazio, the school is planning to better advertise the program on the new website. The Vox Institute would have its own section, providing Mr. Lainé’s contact information. At the moment, schools typically contact the front desk, which then refers them to Mr. Lainé in the Advancement Office. There is no charge for the services given by the Vox Institute. Requests for donations are made to the schools, but the financial gain is expected to come from possible donors who are excited by the work the Vox Institute is doing, Mr. Fazio said. “When they see St. Benedict’s is having an impact beyond its walls, they may be more prone to invest in something that is bigger than perhaps they realize,” said Mr. Fazio. But, one of the main reasons the help is free is because “we have relied on help since the beginning,” said Mr. Fazio. “And now,” with the Institute, “we have the ability and opportunity to help others.” And this notion of helping others is derived from the very meaning in the Institute’s name, Vox, which is Latin for voice. However, calling it “voice would have been too direct,” Mr. Lainé said. Vox can mean different things, “a voice for the students, a voice for a school/community, and a voice for what is needed.”


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Mr. Gallerani Carves His

Richard Gallerani

Richard Gallerani

Left: Mr. Gallerani prepares the block of wood that will become the statue of St. Benedict. Right: Mr. Gallerani’s earlier carving of the Virgin Mary gave him the inspiration to carve a statue of St. Benedict.

by Moise Cineus and Kevin Alfaro

During a faculty meeting discussing the upcoming 150th Anniversary of the school, Chief Advancement Officer Michael Fazio asked the faculty for any ideas about fundraising and publicity for the event. History teacher Richard Gallerani, who has been practicing wood carving for about 20 years, had just returned from a trip to Italy. He had brought one of his carvings, a statue of the Virgin Mary, on that trip and was also feeling inspired by Italian sculptors like MichelAngelo. “So I thought it (carving) was also ‘my thing’ and I would try to donate whatever I had and use my ‘gifts’ to help out the school.” He volunteered to carve a statue of Saint Benedict for the celebration “ I was thrilled to know that someone with a God given talent will be able to share it with the community,” Mr. Fazio said. Mr Fazio said he wants to unveil the carving at the 2018 annual Saint Benedict’s dinner because it’s a special time when many alumni and donors will be there. The statue of Saint Benedict will be one of the many projects that Mr. Gallerani has created, but it will also be the most challenging

he has done so far. Human faces, hands, eyes and feet are always challenging, Mr. Gallerani said, because they must anatomically accurate, and if they are not, the carving is ruined. The St. Benedict’s statue is particularly challenging because he holds a book in one hand and a staff in the other. But the eyes are the most challenging. “They eyes reveal the character and individuality of the piece and there is no room for error when carving the eyes,” Mr. Gallerani said. Mr Gallerani started wood carving when he was a member of the religious order of the Society of St. Edmund in the fall of 1987. When he was going for a walk with some friends along the Mississippi River in New Orleans near the St.Louis Cathedral, he saw a piece of wood floating and thought it was interesting. He pulled it out of the water and decided to carve it into a crucifix and give it to a friend. That was the beginning of what would come to be an art form that has been part of his life ever since. “I like how you can take a piece of wood that was once a living thing and make it a work of art,” Mr Gallerani said. Then after he left seminary he eventually came to teach here in September, of 2001. While teaching here, Mr. Gallerani joined the

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News/Features News/Features

Mark on Benedict’s History American Carving School in Wayne. Recently, Mr. Gallerani took his wood carving skills to the Northern NJ Wood Carving Convention. After winning first place in the Intermediate level, all the other intermediate winners competed against each other. Mr. Gallerani’s work proved to be the best as he picked up another first place. With his students he is known for attention to detail in history and in the wood carving he sometimes shares with them. UDII Jerry Miraval said “Gallerani’s carvings are very detailed, beautiful.” The statue of St. Benedict which he has just started to work on, will be the largest he’s done so far at about three feet tall and made with Wisconsin Linden Wood. It’s also the most time consuming, expected to take a year to complete. Mr.Gallerani is excited to take this challenge and make a work of art for a school he has dedicated so much time for. Once completed, it will be natural with a lacquer finish ready to be displayed at school in 2018.

Bottom: Mr. Gallerani works on his statue of the Virgin Mary. Right: Examples of Mr. Gallerani’s previous work. Richard Gallerani

Richard Gallerani

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Richard Gallerani


CrossFit Creates Community

Ian Joseph

Algebra teacher Craig White works out with students in the crossfit box. He helps instructing the workout sessions with teachers Bryan Delany, Matthew Milone and Athletic Director Thomas Leahy.

by Richard Araujo and Paul Miranda

Are you looking to be physically and mentally challenged? Perhaps gasping for air, sweating and aching from intense workouts. If you are, like senior Matthew Moreno, the St. Benedict’s CrossFit Box is the right place to spend your afternoon. “The workouts really push me,” said Matthew, “and whenever I want to quit, I look to the person next to me and it motivates me to not give in and keep working.” The CrossFit Box is a new small gym open to everyone in the community five days a week. Morning and afternoon workouts last about an hour and a half and incorporate functional movements, such as lifting and gymnastics, that aim to help with day to day challenges. “[CrossFit can help] whether it’s with sports or if you’re just getting old and you still want to walk around and do the things that you want to do,” said Athletic Director Thomas Leahy. Mr. Leahy started the program over a year and a half ago. Before that, there were only morning workouts available in the HAB gym.Every morning, Mr. Leahy would bring out the equipment, and later put them away so that classes or teams could use the facility. However, that all changed when representatives of the Horizon Foundation for New Jersey, an organization that supports programs that make New Jersey healthier, saw Mr. Leahy instructing his

morning class. “They liked what we were doing, so [Director of Corporate and Foundation Relations] Kevin Moriarty wrote a proposal to the foundation for a grant, and the rest is history,” said Mr. Leahy. The grant provided the funds needed to transform, redesign, and fill with gym equipment the use to be empty garage in the back of the HAB gym. Once it was ready for use, the squared shaped space earned the name of The Box. No pun intended. However, the official name of the program is CrossFit St. Benedict’s. Because Mr. Leahy earned his Crossfit Level 1 Certificate as a respected trainer from CrossFit International, he is allowed to use the brand CrossFit, and open up a gym that is affiliated by the organization. And that’s exactly what he did. But to Mr. Leahy, The Box is more than just “another gym.” “It’s a fitness type of community,” he said. In most gyms, people usually go, do their workouts, and then leave. In The Box, on the other hand, workouts are done in groups. Everyone starts the same workout session on a particular day at the same time. And whether it’s a student or an adult, everyone is there until the workout is finished. That’s right. If you do in fact make your way down to The Box, you would see teachers and students working out together. From

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Competition Headmaster Fr. Edwin Leahy O.S.B. and new math teacher Matthew Milone to off-season athletes - they all go there to improve their overall fitness. However, due to The Box’s rise in popularity, the new space has become crowded. “I would love a new spot because the spot we have is too small already,” said Mr. Leahy. Many teams and off-season athletes are eager to participate, and not only was the space becoming too small, the trainee to trainer ratio was also becoming small. But, new English teacher Brian Delaney and Mr. Milone began to help with that problem. Mr. Delaney is a Level 1 CrossFit Trainer like Mr. Leahy. And Mr. Milone is a competitive crossfitter who has been involved with the sport for longer than either Mr. Leahy and Mr. Delany. Both faculty members, along with others such as math teacher Craig White, help Mr. Leahy as much as they can with the workouts, making the daily sessions smoother and enjoyable. “I want to help the students not just in the classroom, but in The Box as well,” said Mr. Milone. Mr. Milone’s professional experience with CrossFit helps Mr. Leahy as a trainer, but challenges the trainees. “His workouts really push the limits of the soccer players. He really knows what he’s doing and his personality and motivation keeps the players working hard,” said Matthew. Like Matthew, students and faculty are enjoying the new space, but no more than Mr. Leahy. “It’s fun for me to be a part of, and to see the way that people’s fitness levels change when they take it seriously,” said Mr. Leahy.


What is Wolf Pack? by Richard Araujo Sports and News Editor

When designing the t-shirts for The Box, Athletic Director Thomas Leahy thought it would be a good idea to use a wolf as the logo. “I always liked wolves and the kind of animal they are,” he said. “I like that they are pack animals, yet they are also independent.” For Mr. Leahy, CrossFit is a group oriented sport. And the wolf is the perfect mascot. He likes a quote from Edmund Clarence Stedman, “For the strength of the pack is the wolf, and the strength of the wolf is the pack,” and put that on a T-shirt for members of the new CrossFit group, the Wolfpack. As of now, The Wolfpack consists of about 20 members, including students such as Nicolas Black, teachers and even the headmaster, Rev. Edwin Leahy, O.S.B. Membership in the Wolfpack is determined by consistency. People are awarded the T-shirt if they participate in CrossFit workouts for 28 days straight. Even if a participant has gone 20 days in a row, if a missed day interrupts the streak, the tally resets. But, if a student who has earned a shirt stops coming for any reason other than because his team’s season started, Mr. Leahy no longer considers him a part of the pack. “I threatened them that I would take the shirt away if they stopped coming,” said Mr. Leahy. However, membership in the Wolfpack is more than earning a designer T-shirt. “[It’s about] the camaraderie you feel,” Mr. Leahy said, “being a part of something that is bigger than [you].”

Ian Joseph

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Features News/Features

THE INTERNET AND SEX EDUCATIONWhere Kids Get Their Information From sending romantic messages to another person to talking about how it feels, sex is often a big topic among teenagers, including students at St. Benedict’s. However, St. Benedict’s does not have a health class that includes sex education, which leaves students no choice but to turn somewhere else for answers about sex. Where do students learn about sex? More importantly, is the information reliable? Home is one of the primary ways teens learn about sex. According to a poll by Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest provider of sex education, eighty-two percent of parents have talked to their children about topics related to sex and sexuality. Mario Gallo, Director of Admissions and father of seven children, thinks this is the way it should be. “I think it’s every parent’s responsibility,” he said. “In my opinion, 12-16 year-olds should not engage in sexual activity. But it doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be informed.” However, this is not a comfortable conversation for all parents. Another survey conducted by Planned Parenthood said 19 percent of parents feel uncomfortable talking with their teens about sex. Even more teens feel this way, according to the survey. The same survey said fifty percent of all teens feel uncomfortable talking with their parents about sex. “Sex is just something that I don’t like to talk to my parents about because talking about it makes the situation awkward,” senior Joseph Carmona said. The internet is another popular way students learn information about sex. According to Guttmacher Institute, a research organization, 55 percent of 7th-12th graders say that they have looked up sexual health information online in order to learn more about an issue affecting themselves or someone they know. One student who asked to remain anonymous said, “I only looked up sexual health information if I ever felt worried about anything regarding sex.” by Kwabena Asante Staff Writer

Although such readily available information has its advantages, the information on the internet may not always be accurate. For instance, another recent study by Guttmacher Institute showed that out of 177 sexual health Web sites, 46 percent of those addressing contraception and 35% of those addressing abortion contained inaccurate information. Dean of Faculty Michelle Tuorto described this as brutal. “The thing that scares me a lot is when people look on Yahoo Answers,” she said. “It’s some other smug that might know nothing but says, ‘Yeah that’s what I think it is.’” Still, some students like senior Jose Estrella think the best way to learn about sex is through other people. “You should go to someone you genuinely trust because if you have the trust to ask someone about sex,” Jose said, “I’m more than guaranteed that person will tell you the truth about it and their own experience.” Joseph agrees. “You can probably get a lot out of information online, but until someone tells you about their experience of sexual interaction, you won’t get the whole picture,” he said. However, many teens refrain from asking questions about sex because they may feel ashamed or embarrassed, according to Ms. Tuorto. Others, she said, have the old puritanical view, that sex should be discussed in hushed tones. However, she does not agree with any of those reasonings. “It’s not shameful to ask questions because your peers are going to be like ‘what, you don’t know about that?’” Mrs. Tuorto said. “I truly believe that most of the guys that are talking about what they do, haven’t even gone near a girl.” Sex education is often included in school health classes. When St. Benedict’s used to have full year classes, freshmen took earth science for only half a year and health for the other half. However, after the change to the block schedule about seven years ago, the Physical Education class took over while the health class was lost. Yet students here believe that discussing sex education with peers

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Planned Parenthood offers teachers and parents advice on how to implement sex ed in the school’s curriculum and student’s life. The organization says that parents must be the primary source of sex ed for their children.

and an adult in a classroom would be very beneficial. “In that atmosphere of sex ed, everything is serious,” Joseph said. Jose said he notices a difference between him and his friends in other schools that have sex education. “Compared to friends that I have in public schools that do have sex ed, they are much more informed about sex or the outcomes it might have,” he said. Some teens from other schools that have a health class that includes sex education agree. A senior from Benedictine Academy who has taken health said, “I have learned a lot from health class. It taught me about the different STD’s that are out there and how I should properly protect myself if I intend to be sexually active.” Mrs. Tuorto said sex education would benefit students here. “If I could hire a health teacher tomorrow, I would do that in a snap,” she said. Jose agrees. “I honestly think we should have sex ed at St. Benedict’s because for a good amount of people, they really don’t know enough about

having sex and what the possible risks are,” he said. “Some people may not have a parent who would be willing to talk about with them, or they might not have an adult that they trust to have that conversation with.”

“Compared to friends that I have in public schools that do have sex ed, they are much more informed about sex or the outcomes it might have” -Jose Estrella

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Importance of Driver Education Judah Marable Staff Writer


Gabriel Cuadrado

Post-grad Mickey George needed to be able to drive around, especially to take his mother to church. Coming from Liberia, he did not have an American license so in order to begin driving again he had to get one. After his finals last year, Mickey studied on his own and passed the test. “It would’ve been easier if the school had driver’s ed for me because there was some stuff I didn’t know,” he thought.

Students frequently complain about not having a driver’s education program here. Director of Athletics Tom Leahy said there’s no one certified by the state to teach it and no space in the schedule “It’s not part of our curriculum,” Mr. Leahy said. According to Mr. Leahy there are a certain number of mandatory classes that students have to take to graduate high school. For example, four years of math, english, history, etc. Fitting a driver’s ed. course in our schedule may interfere with the requirements. “Just a extra thing,” Mr. Leahy says. But how do other schools do it? A driver’s education program is in almost every public school and is in fact a requirement for students. They are required to not only study what they learn but pass the test in the class. Students take it and end up with their learner’s permit after this class. This serves as a better solution than having to study for the test on your own or take an expensive class through the Department of Motor Vehicles. Millburn High School has had their driver’s ed. program for many years and it aids students in the preparation of getting a license before the students graduate high school. “I’m the new athletic director here but I would say 10 plus years I known that,” Millburn High School athletic director Francesco Bifulco said. Millburn High incorporates this program in their health class and make it mandatory for 10th graders to take. The class is very beneficial to those students who desire to drive and be able to get around Mr. Bifulco said. Students here that want to begin driving are required to take the test on their own and pay for it. “The test was $10 or $11 I think,” senior Andrew Brice said. Andrew took his permit test twice without studying and failed. He went back for a third time and took the test and passed. A driver’s ed program would help students like Andrew and Mickey pass their test, get their permit, and become better drivers. Taking the class at the DMV ranges from $200 to $400. Taking it here could be a lot cheaper.

“It would have been easier if the school had driver’s ed for me because there was some stuff [on the written test] I didn’t know.” -Mickey George

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Staff Editorial:

End Convo on Time The daily schedule is inconsistent and erratic. The Benedict News believes that the senior leadership should revise the handling of the school’s schedule because it will allow everyone to fulfill their responsibilities on time. Changing the schedule either steals time from first block teachers’ lessons or cost students five to ten minutes of their own time after school. Headmaster Fr. Edwin Leahy O.S.B states that convocation is the most important thing we do here, so important that he is willing to postpone anything that comes after it. We challenge the senior leadership to either adjust the school’s permanent schedule or reduce the time-consuming diversions that occur in Convocation. If student leaders address the recurring problems in Convocation, the schedule can finally have a predictable structure. “Silence is the absence of sound.” Senior Group Leader Dayln Woody adopted this phrase to address the undercurrent of commotion that occurs during Convocation. Student chatter, or “personal meetings” as Fr. Edwin calls them, is one of the main culprits behind our problems with the schedule. Despite knowing the repercussions of talking, students are unwilling to give up what they want (conversation) for what the SBP community needs (silence). The Benedict News challenges group leaders to take ownership of their groups. Rather than allow the commotion to spread, it is the job of the group leader to keep his members in order. Whether Group Leaders need to begin standing in front of their groups to monitor all their members or start sending recurring problems to the Headmaster’s office, the solution to the undercurrent of commotion in Convocation starts with group leaders being leaders. Despite being informational, Fr. Edwin’s comments also contribute to the glitches in the schedule. When the procedures of attendance begin, Fr. Edwin’s legitimate questions regarding an absent student’s whereabouts spawns commotion among students. Fr. Edwin engages in conversation for administrative purposes. However, certain students lack this comprehension and use Fr. Edwin’s discussions as an excuse to resume conversation. Whether Fr. Edwin is attempting to discover unverified information pertaining to the wellbeing of his students or performing his comedic act, his repetitive breaks from Convocation’s routine contributes to an undercurrent of students’ comments. Convocation must adhere to the schedule. If Convocation is working, there is no need for it to be more than 40 minutes. The whole community has a schedule. The Benedict News proposes that we should have an allotted time after prayer and announcements for Fr. Ed to speak. We also propose that when the Senior Leaders have to readjust the schedule, they take the extra time used in Convocation out of lunch/group instead of shortening classes. Fr. Ed often says that when people call us, they want to know about our student leadership, not our curriculum. So if we want people to be impressed by our curriculum, perhaps we should actually get the students to class on time.





The Benedict News Magazine