October 2014 Billerica Beat

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The Billerica Beat The Pulse of Billerica Memorial High School Volume XXX Issue I

Let’s Talk Music Jessica Lyons Contributing Writer

Is Ariana Grande a Diva?

If you pay attention to the media, you’ll start to notice a pattern. One magazine reports breaking news about a celebrity with negative connotation, and then one by one every gossip-site and celebmagazine’s front page is grazed by unattractive photos of the particular star or starlet with captions describing how horrible they are. Most recently, Ariana Grande has been the victim of ugly rumors, but is she a victim, or are her fans the victims? For a few months now, various sources have been calling Ariana a “diva” and “difficult to work with”. According to a father of two hardcore “Arianators” as her fans are called, Ariana was extremely rude to the girls and barely spoke to them. He said she made them delete photos they took together that she didn’t like, and when given a fan-made drawing of her recently deceased grandfather, she stormed off and told security to take care of it. The most recent report of her diva-like behavior brewed when a woman riding in an elevator with Ariana after she’d just met a few lucky fans claimed the singer expressed the want for them to “all f-----die”. Although there’s no footage or recording of her saying this, many have taken the allegations seriously due to all the past claims of her being rude and unappreciative, towards her fans especially.

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Welcome Back BMHS! Erin Morey Editor-In-Chief

It’s that time of year again BMHS; school’s back and so are we! I’m Erin and I’ll be your editor this year, and speaking on behalf of the whole team, we’ve got big plans for the Beat that we can’t wait for you all to see. To start, we’ve gone entirely digital to bring you your news not only faster, but better too! By going digital we’re able to provide you with more than we have before, like consistent columns, photo spreads and breaking news.

Now that we’re getting back into the swing of things it’s time to start getting organized again, especial-

more information of the steps you should be taking to plan ahead. Take a look around; how good does

Welcome back Billerica, it’s time to get ready for the year we have ahead, and for the Class of 2015 it’s time to start ly for all you seniors it feel to be back? This preparing for the years to come. Good luck to out there, the college new school year has you all, and let’s make planning has begun. brought about some For all of you who re- change starting with the this year the best yet. main undecided now is new schedule and some BMHS PRESS the perfect time to set new classes, like the up a meeting with a incredibly sought after guidance counselor for Zoology course with

Article Directory Page 2 … Courtyard Photo Spread Page 3 … Travis Roy

After hearing the rumors, Ariana fought back on Twitter, tweeting: “man some of these rumors that have been coming out about me lately actually have me laughing out loud...really can’t take 'em seriously” So, are all the diva allegations just made up stories? Or is Ariana trying to pull one over on her fans; because of course she’d lose a lot of them if she owned up to her reported actions. For now, this is unclear, but regardless, Ariana’s Arianators seem to be sticking by her side. What do you think? BMHS PRESS

Mrs. Arifinakis (formally Ms. Koustas) and a new edition to the BMHS staff, Mrs. Brown. There’s also been fifteen minutes in the beginning of the day that have been put to better use now that BMHS has gotten rid of the infamous Channel 1 daily newscast.

Page 4 … Working Rights for Teens Page 5 … New School Schedule

“Change your thoughts and you change your world.” - Norman Vincent Peale

Page 6, 7 & 8… Top 5 Page 9… The Yak Attack


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Billerica Beat

October 9, 2014

Keeping Up With The Kourtyard This summer, BMHS students and faculty worked on the courtyard to install planters, neaten up the corner areas, and landscape the paths as part of a Boy Scouts Eagle Project. Enjoy the updated areas! Photos by Violet Radoncic


Billerica Beat

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A Great Moment for BMHS Katie Fabiano Editor Tuesday, September 16th Billerica Memorial High School went where it had never gone beforecramming the entire school in one gym. Guest speaker Travis Roy was scheduled to come and talk to the school as part of BMHS’ one school one book program. Over the summer, every student was (supposed) to read Roy’s own memoir, 11 Seconds, recounting a tragic hockey game that left him paralyzed, and his life thereafter. The book itself was simple to read and comprehend, and anyone with a heart could sympathize the misfortune and hardships Roy had to overcome. After a long summer in which a good majority of the school has read, or has gotten some small idea of Roy’s story and what the book was about, we return to school. A few weeks in and the entire building, teachers, staff, and all, are stuck in the cramped, overheated gym with Roy himself sitting calmly in the center. This is the part where I became nervous. Would this man, who

has suffered so much and yet still somehow turned his life into a positive, sit in the middle of Billerica Memorial High Schools front gym, and be completely ignored by kids and staff texting on their phones or talking to each other? I guess I assumed the worst when I walked in. The minute Travis Roy opened his

mouth to speak, the entire room fell silent and attentive in a way I could have never imagined. It was a really fantastic moment. Albeit one or two people here and there, secretly texting or waving to their friends, every person in that gym showed Roy the respect and dignity that he

deserves. As he spoke of his life, including themes of strength, love, and family, it seemed as though each person in that room was taking their own message out his speech. No giggling with friends, no pointing, no eyes glued to cell-phones, just a thousand or more kids and staff, and a man in a wheelchair, connecting for a small period of time. When it came time for Roy to answer questions, dozens of kids had their hands up, asking wellinformed questions and hanging on to his answers, despite the fact that we had been sitting , there for 45 minutes, and it was over 90 degrees in that gym. I think that Billerica Memorial High School really surprised itself as a whole that day. More people than not took a break from being too cool to listen or pay attention, and I think we as a school got more from that presentation than anyone had imagined. It was a small victory for our school, and overall, an admirable moment to witness. BMHS PRESS

"My first rule is to be yourself...My second rule of life is

never take things for granted…” - Travis Roy


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Billerica Beat

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Tackling Teens’ Rights in the Workplace Erin Morey Editor-in-Chief To all of those who work out there, how many of you feel like you have access to all of your rights in the workplace? I mean how many of you are consistently over-scheduled and kept long You as a teen have rights in your workplace, whether you know it or not. Your employer is responsible for your safety, which is a broad term. Safety in the workplace can’t just be defined as staying out of harm’s way but as a term for your overall health. Waking up at the crack of dawn to work over eight-hour shifts, only to come back to other responsibilities, you must know you have a voice in how you’re scheduled!

According to OSHA’s (Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970) website, most teenagers today work their first jobs in restaurants or fast food chains, which rank highest in youth injuries. Regardless of your workplace, the environment should be friendly as well as safe. The biggest issue apart from injury in the workplace is the continuous blind eye turned on child labor laws. In Massachusetts, for 16 and 17-year olds on school nights it is against the law to be working prior to 6a.m. and after 10p.m., although exceptions are made if the particular workplace closes at 10p.m. On non-school nights legal hours fall between 6a.m. and 11p.m. As a minor you are restricted to 9 hour work days, with 48 hours a week with only 6 days per week, anything more is considered illegal and you have the right to voice that. Being comfortable and happy in the workplace is the key to success and if you, as a teenager (especially you juniors and seniors out there) are facing a consistent battle between school and work, it’s time to do something about it. Talk to your boss; fix your scheduling, because I can tell you from experience that working all day and doing homework all night isn’t how a student’s life should be lived. Reach out and do something about it, because you only go through high school once, and you don’t get to experience much of it when you’re half asleep. For more information on your rights in the workplace go to www.osha.gov. BMHS PRESS


Billerica Beat

October 9, 2014

The New Schedule: The Good and The Bad Aishwarya Chitoor Contributing Writer It’s a new year and it’s been even crazier with the new schedule. Usually, it’s only the freshmen who are clueless but most of the upperclassmen have had some trouble adapting as well. I talked to a lot of my friends, classmates, and teachers about how the schedule was working out for them so far and they had a lot to say. I asked Alexa Davis, a junior, about her thoughts regarding the new schedule and she had great things to say about it. “I really like the new schedule because I feel like it’s a lot less stressful. Especially when dealing with really tough classes.” The only problems that she had was that the classes tended to be too long and frustrating. It’s hard to focus for 80 minutes straight and she recommended that teachers give them a 5 minute break in between lecturing and activities to just relax and let their brains cool down. Ms. Button loves the new schedule. “I really love the longer blocks. There’s more time for discussion. There’s also more in depth learning, like you can do activities on the same day of your discussion. Or different types of activities. I can give more time for reading and there’s more things to talk about.” Mr. Clark said something right along the lines. “I like the new schedule. It gives a lot more time to do more hands on stuff. I find myself getting cut off a lot less. I bet that all teachers are thinking the same thing. So far, in all my classes, it hasn’t been as stressful to get things done because of all the time we have. The teachers are able to go at a moderate pace and manage to get everything done without assigning more homework or having students scribble down notes in a matter of seconds. Mr. Molloy, a freshmen history teacher, said that “The new schedule is absolutely awesome. Except for Mondays.” If I had a dollar for every time someone complained about the Monday schedule, I’d be rich. I asked a bunch of students “What’s one thing you would change about the new schedule?” Eric Tang, junior, said “Mondays. Just get rid of Mondays.” Sunny Kapadia, senior, said “I like Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays. But Mondays... not so much.” Deanna Lauro, junior, “I hate Mondays. If we could just fix Mondays somehow.” Mondays are always rough all on their own. The fact that we have 8 classes on Monday is hard on everyone. Students find themselves rushing around with piles of books in their hands because they don’t have time to get to their locker. Teachers have to come up with a lesson plan that doesn’t get cut off by the bell and Mondays become ten times more stressful than they previously were. Many students suggested that we fix this issue by somehow getting advisory to fit. It’d give them a chance to calm down, get some last minute homework done, and put stuff in their locker. A lot of students were also complaining about not having Channel One time in the morning. Not that they watched Channel One but they liked it because it provided a short break in the morning where they could scribble down answers to their homework and prepare themselves for the day ahead. BMHS PRESS A big plus that comes with the new schedule is that students have two days to do their homework. Amy Godfrey, junior, said, “Especially with those doing sports, those two days to do your homework make all the difference. Practices can get late and the stress of not having your homework done the next day is a lot less stressful.” “This year hasn’t been as stressful as I thought it was going to be,” said Spandana Jarmale and I couldn’t have said it better myself. The new schedule provides teachers and students with the time they need to get stuff done without too much stressing and late night cramming. In my perspective, the new schedule is going to get even more increasingly helpful down the road.

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October 9, 2014

Top 5 of the Week Katie Fabiano Editor This Week: Animal Instagram Accounts Instagram is a fabulous place, filled with selfies, selfies, and more selfies. What could possibly be better to look at then a selfie, you ask? The answer, of course, is nothing. But a close second comes to us in the form of animals with their own Instagram pages. Through extensive research and painstaking process of elimination, the top 5 animal Instagram pages are: 5.) nevillejacobs

At first glance, you probably would not guess that this unsuspecting bull terrier is worth more than you- money wise, at least. Fashion designer Marc Jacobs’ pooch makes sure to update at least once every other day, and does so looking more extravagant than 90% of the population. Go (6) figure(s).


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4.) maya_on_the_move

Maya is a bulldog taking on NYC. Her page features her adventures, travels, and daily photo-shoots. If you are a human and you enjoy laughing and/or smiling at least once a day, Maya will not fail you. 3.) Husky_quartet

Phenix, Akira, Shiloh, and Blaze- A family of 4 playful husky’s that will become almost like your own family. These ridiculously photogenic dogs not only teach you important lessons about life and love, but they look sassy while doing it. Each has their own special personality and whether you want to or not, you will have a favorite.


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October 9, 2014

Top 5 Continued... 2.) nala_cat

Nala cat is amazing for so many reasons. This 2 and-a-half year old Siamese/tabby mix has built an entire empire around her unique and adorable facial expressions, and poses in a multitude of costumes and various accessories. She also donates all the money she earns to animal charities, killing two mice with one cat. Who could say no to that face? 1.) estherthewonderpig

The classic story of boy orders micro-pig, and it ends up not being so micro. It’s tough to decide whether the 500-pound pig living in a normal household like a puppy, or the hilarious comments on every single picture are the better part of this instagram. All around, this page is nowhere near boar-ing, and you will be sow sorry if you don’t follow it. BMHS PRESS


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Negative Yakarma EDITORIAL

To say most of you are aware of the recent surge in the Middlesex County’s social media standing would be an understatement, practically every student across the Bay Area is well aware of Yik Yak, an anonymous app that allows you to post your thoughts, similar to Twitter but minus the profile. Reaching its peak of popularity last spring, it has finally reached BMHS with a rush of cyber-bullying, mean-spirited comments, and even bomb threats. After scrolling through the available posts just once you can see how fast anonymity can take people. Yik Yak itself has a certain amount of available posts per certain times periods, per ten mile radius. The app uses your location to find the posts closest to you. Each post has a voting feature, where if you vote up on the post it will stay on the feed longer, but if you vote the post down there’s a better chance it will disappear faster. By voting, as well as commenting, Who’da thunk such a cute-looking, fuzzy animal could wreak havoc?! sharing and writing your own posts you earn points toward your “Yakarma,” your numerical score which reflects how active you are on the app. Since the app was originally designed for college students, it holds a “peek” feature where you can anonymously view and comment on other spots around the country, like larger college campuses. Although Yik Yak has become an odd link that has virtually connected every student in BMHS it has become an extremely large issue. Regardless of the app’s rules prior to posting bullying has become the number one problem among students. Since every post is “anonymous” kids have been, and still are using other students’ full names to absolutely tear them apart, and to go along with that the worst of Yik Yak has come in the form of threats sent out over the app. So where do we go from here? From this point the school has been forced to take serious action, by involving the Billerica Police Department to trace cell phone serial numbers to locate the authors behind the cruel posts, as well as contact Yik Yak themselves which has led to the installation of a geo-fence. Now what is a geo-fence you ask? Well it’s exactly what’s going to keep you off the Yak in a school zone. The fence itself is an absolutely remarkable piece of technology that will go up, and regardless of using wireless internet or cellular data your phone will be blocked from using the app while on school grounds starting within the next few days. It’s extremely disappointing to see the student body attack each other anonymously, behind the screens of their phones. If there’s one thing to take away from social media it would be how influential it is, and with that you can ruin someone’s life with the disgusting rumors and posts spread about students. The saddest part in all this was when given the chance to use something with the amount of social power Yik Yak had, it was only all too clear that many students within BMHS abuse that power. What goes around comes around my friends, and let’s just hope your Yakarma doesn’t come back to bite you in the end.