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Volume XLIX, Issue 5

Denebola Newton South High School

Non-Profit Org. U.S. Postage PAID Boston, MA Permit Number 54523

www.denebolaonline.net

Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Principal plans new decision system

photo by alex gershanov

During the XBox 360 Get-Up Tour’s stop at South, BMX Stuntman Trevor Meyer performs ground tricks as students learn about anti-smoking.

Get-Up Tour combats teenage smoking By Alex Gershanov The XBox 360 Get-Up Tour, in support of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, made the first stop of its 10-week, 50-school tour at South on September 14. BMX bikers, skateboarders, and inline skaters assembled in South’s faculty parking lot on a mobile

half-pipe. As an announcer presented facts about the risks of smoking, the extreme athletes entertained students with high-flying, daredevil tricks. Prevention/Intervention Counselor Rich Catrambone organized the event after hearing about it from an out of state colleague. Since XBox and the

Marine Corps were sponsoring the tour, the rally came of no expense to South. “It was a $20,000 donation,” Catrambone said. In addition to watching the athletes perform during their C and E block presentations, students were able to test their strength in a Marine pull-up

challenge and play unreleased XBox 360 games including DJ Hero, Tony Hawk: RIDE, and Forza Motorsports 3. Although Catrambone, the Housemasters, and ex-principal Brian Salzer read the tour contract, they were unaware that XBox 360 games would be EXTREME, continued on page A8

ELECTION, continued on page A8

School Committee members, who will make a final decision. By attending School Council meetings and emailing Stembridge, parents would also have the opportunity to comment on new policies. Stembridge wants to make sure he’s hearing the voices of teachers, parents, and students before making a final decision. “Taking the time to go through this process can be seen by some as inefficient, but on the other hand, we will do better making sure that we include all those voices in decision making,” Stembridge

DECISIONS, continued on page A3

photo by jesse zhang

Principal Stembridge introduces himself to senior class of 2010.

New food policy raises controversy

Setti and Ruth win prelims By Jeremiah Davis State Representative Ruth Balser and Setti Warren won Newton’s preliminary mayoral election on September 21. Five candidates were on the ballot: Warren, Balser, Alderman Ken Parker, William Heck, and Alderman Paul Coletti. The election results showed State Representative Balser as the frontrunner with 36 percent of the vote, and Warren as a strong second with 31 percent. The other candidates fell behind, Alderman Parker securing 15 percent, Heck with 10 percent, and Alderman Coletti trailing the group with 8 percent. The two leaders, Balser and Warren, are both politicallyactive Democrats who have varied experience within the Newton community. Balser has served as a Newton Alderman and is currently in her sixth term as a Massachusetts State Representative. Throughout

By Roxanne Glazier and Josh Podrid In hopes of standardizing the decision-making process and creating a system to collect opinions from students, teachers, and parents, Principal Joel Stembridge plans to redefine how policies are created at South. When Stembridge arrived at South and began asking people how decisions were made, he received a variety of responses, leading him to the conclusion that no standard procedure currently existed. “[I] want to try and draw a clear picture for students and parents and teachers so everyone knows how decisions are made and how to enter that process,” Stembridge said. The new process, though not yet finalized, will most likely include several groups including South Senate, Faculty Council, the Parent Teacher Student Organization (PTSO), and the Committee on Program, a group comprised of administrators, teachers, and student representatives. Each group will have the opportunity to suggest new and review potential policies. Groups will not be able to veto or approve any legislation; however, they will be able to voice their opinions and send reviews to Stembridge and the

photo by david han

Students hurry to their A-Block classes after South administration began reinforcing morning tardy policies.

South administration cracks down on tardy students By Jesse Zhang South has adopted a new attendance policy in an attempt to encourage students to arrive to class on time. An A-Block lateness pilot, stating that lateness to first block classes will only be excused by a note from a doctor or dentist or tardiness of a school

photos by david han

After the preliminary mayoral election on September 15, Ruth Balser and Setti Warren will face off in the November mayoral election.

bus, will last until the end of the first semester. Lateness later in the day will only be excused by a bona fide note, phone call, or email from a parent. According to Faculty Council member and English Teacher Robert Jampol, the Faculty Council, a group of 12 teachers led by History Teacher Robert Parlin, met with the Housemasters last year to clarify a proposal to crack down on students who are habitually arriving to school late. The policy met widespread approbation in an all-faculty meeting, and Principal Joel Stembridge adopted it as school policy at the beginning of the 2009-2010 year. The Faculty Council, which filters issues sent by faculty members, has been receiving several complaints regarding

late students. Wheeler Housemaster Josepha Blocker said that Housemasters had investigated the issue at the time but thought it would be unfair to implement a rule in the middle of the school year. “[The attendance policy] had grown looser and looser [over the years]. More and more students started showing up late for the first block of the day,” Jampol said; he has worked at South for 29 years. Jampol, who teaches both A and B clocks, believes punctuality is better for a student’s education. The policy, he notes, has consequences only for students who show consistent tardiness. “The policy has been fantastic so far,” Jampol said. “Almost ATTENDANCE, continued on page A3

By Roxy Glazier and Jesse Zhang In an attempt to provide students with a cleaner school environment, South initiated a new food policy this year. The policy permits students to eat only in the cafeteria, outside the school, in the common rooms, or in adult supervised classrooms. According to Principal Joel Stembridge, custodians lack the numbers and equipment to clean both the cafeteria and hallways after each lunch. The food policy came out of a conversation between concerned faculty, housemasters, and custodians. “Accidents happen, and food gets spilled [in the hallways],” Stembridge said. “We want to provide sanitary areas for students to eat.” According to Custodian Scott Perella, the food is now located in one area, eliminating a lot of extra work for the custodians.

Perella recalls how a repairman last year could not believe how students were tossing trash into the floor and the hallways. “[We’d] have extra hours of work just cleaning up the front of [the auditorium]. Just making it presentable for the parents,” Perella said, noting how the custodians are responsible for student-made messes. Perella believes that expending extra time and energy to clean up hallways makes cleaning other areas of the school more difficult. He feels that the school is the students’ “home away from home,” and students should treat it as such. Under the new food policy, custodians have received more help in keeping the cafeteria clean. Housemasters, teachers, and campus aides are making sure students play their part in providing each other with a cleaner lunch area. “With the cooperation of

FOOD, continued on page A3

photo by david han

More students can be seen eating in the school’s courtyard after administration prohibited students from eating in the hallways.


Denebola - Volume 49, Issue 5