VOLUME 51, ISSUE I
Denebola NEWTON SOUTH HIGH SCHOOL
NON-PROFIT ORG. U.S. POSTAGE PAID BOSTON, MA PERMIT NUMBER 54523
WEDNESDAY, 23 MARCH 2011
Garber wins Nationals
PHOTO CONTRIBUTED BY RON GARBER
Ron Garber performing with partner Ashley Golman at an NDCA ballroom dancing event.
By Rutul Patel and Robert Wang Senior Ron Garber and his partner, Ashley Golman, both 17 years old, have recently placed first in the National Dance Competition Association’s (NDCA) National Championship in Provo, Utah. Participating in one of the most prestigious ballroom dancing events in the country, Garber and Golman competed against forty other couples in their under-eighteen category. After dancing for nine years and training with his partner for four, Garber ﬁnally began to see his work pay off, “I felt accomplished. Finally all my work paid off. For the last year we were always so close to being ﬁrst. We were always second or third but never ﬁrst,” he said. Before dancing with Garber, Golman was exclusively doing ballet. When she did, however, transition to ballroom, Garber noted that “she wasn’t that advance, but picked it up really fast.” Along with their coach JeanPhilippe Milot, a Canadian professional ballroom dancer, Garber and Golman did intense training to prepare for the event.
Contending in Utah would have its physical difficulties. The higher elevation in Provo would result in difﬁculty in breathing. In the NDCA championship, Garber and Golman danced in an elimination style. After each of the four rounds, couples were eliminated till only six were remaining. Those six then danced once more for a chance to be crowned champion. In their ﬁrst dance, Golman slipped during the routine. “She was really nervous and wiped out.” Garber recalled. “But after that we calmed down and got better.” The two dancers got a boost of conﬁdence with each subsequent round and performed increasingly better. The NDCA used the Brigham Young University court for the competition. “The audiences were on the bleachers that went [sky high]. You count pick out anyone. Nonetheless, everyone was cheering and really excited. It motivated you to do better because not all competitions are that big,” Garber said. While the usual and known competitors were present and performing at BYU, a lot of the couples dancing were from the West coast. “It was a different GARBER, continued on page B5
Brandeis Road parking ban continues into April
PHOTO BY JONAH SIEFER
By Jason Yoffe This winter administration informed students that parking on Brandies Road past the Senior Parking Lot was temporarily prohibited because snowdrifts squeezed trafﬁc down to one lane. This temporary arrangement, however, may become a permanent policy. On April 2, South’s High School Council will present its case to ban this parking to increase parking pass revenue and eliminate safety hazards. According to Principal Joel Stembridge, the area off-limits for parking is from the Senior
Fan bus paid in full By Maarten van Genabeek For the fourth round of the Girls’ Basketball Division I State tournament fans, who braved the 45 minute journey to Massoit Community College to watch the Lions were in for a surprise. A generous donation by the team allowed roughly 150 student fans to enter the game free of charge. This provided an incentive for more fans to show up, as more than 200 South students arrived to show their support. “It was great that so many of us were able to come there and show support,” senior Colby Medoff said, “The energy was great, we outnumbered their fans. The donation was accumulated by David Bikofsky, father of senior and Captain Sophie Bikofsky, who went around the community and his work gathering donations so South fans could help support the team. “My dad understood how inﬂuential
the fans are in our games and thought that it would be tough to get them to go all the way to Brockton” Sophie said. Mr. Bikofsky valued the importance of a large fan base at games, but realized it would be hard to get students to come out on a school night to Brockton and pay seven dollars to enter. So Mr. Bikofsky went around asking friends and people at work to donate money to the team in order to sponsor kids to go to the game. “It was great that we didn’t have to pay to get in. I’m sure many more people came because of it,” Medoff said. In a show of remarkable school spirit, approximately half of the stadium was ﬁlled with the blackclad student and faculty body of Newton South. The school also provided a free bus to and from the game transport to those who could not drive or did not have a ride.
PHOTO FROM INTERNET SOURCE
Fire hits Chestnut Hill; South provides refuge By Astha Agarwal February 18 began like any other day for freshman Deyar Dashti, who left her Chestnut Hill Towers apartment for school that morning. She always just dreamed of adventure, but what met her that afternoon was more than she ever expected. When she arrived home from school, ready to begin her February va-
cation, she found it surrounded by policemen, fire brigades, and medical staff. An electrical unit’s failure started a fire that displaced about 200 residents from their homes for two days, leaving them to ﬁnd shelter with family and friends, to pay $69 a night for a room at the Crowne Plaza, or to sleep on an army cot in South’s cafeteria.
Lot to the ﬁrst house beyond the school, which will remove free 11 spaces. Though money is a motivating factor for many supporters of the policy, Stembridge maintains that his primary concern regarding parking is safety. “It’s so much safer driving [when there are no parked cars] because you can actually see people in the crosswalk,” he said. “Before, as you came around that corner, you could only see cars, and then all of a sudden, you’re in the crosswalk. “And sometimes there’s a student right there.” The School Council looks to compensate for the loss of free spots by reducing the semester parking pass from a fee of $200 PARKING, continued on page A2
Spanish teacher Helena Alfonzo, also a resident of the Towers, was in her apartment when she heard that she needed to evacuate. “Because this [kind of thing] happens a lot, I left with just my sweater and my keys – no coat, no purse, no wallet, no credit or debit cards, no cash, and no ID. I didn’t have anything,” she said. “The policemen told us we couldn’t go up to our apartment,” Dashti said, “But after three hours, when we came back, they told us the problem was bigger than they thought it would be. So we couldn’t sleep there.” The Towers’ management and the Newton Fire Department, along with other city staff, safely rescued all the residents whose units lost power. Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority buses arrived to take them to a Red Cross relief center stationed at South’s cafeteria, because, according to Newton Fire Deputy Chief FIRE, continued on page B5
PHOTO BY DENEBOLA STAFF
By Rutul Patel “The school budget is famously opaque,” former history department chair Marshall Cohen said. March 14 marked a pivotal day for the Newton Public Schools (NPS) and their Fiscal Year 2012 (FY12). On that day, Superintendent David Fleishman presented his $171.6 million dollar budget for FY12 and gave to the NPS a budget that, if passed by the School Committee, would include cuts in the Arts, World Language, and Special Education programs, in addition to cutting 30 teaching positions district-wide. “We may loose our jobs. But it’s the students that are losing out,” art teacher Jeff Wixon said. Amongst the cuts and confusion is a new “user fee” policy. These new fees are projected to produce $1 million to aid in the budget gap. Upon approval, the user fee would charge students for an activities fee, and increase existing fees for transportation and building use. The current proposed student activities fee is $125. Increase in fees include: a $200 fee per year for 5th grade music, a new $200 fee for all city bands, choruses and orchestras, a rise from $120 to $160 per sport per season with a $480 cap in athletic fees, a $60 fee for middle school nonathletic activities, an increase in the fee to participate in high school football from $210 to $400, and a new $150 fee to participate in high school plays with a four-play $450 cap per year. “We recognize the risks in introducing and increasing fees but we believe there is greater risk in curtailing the existing opportunities for our students,” Fleishman said. Much of the administration agrees with Fleishman’s user fee idea. “They make me uncomfortable but it is hard to disagree with them if the alternative is teacher cuts for lack of funds,” ﬁne and performing arts department head Jeff Knoedler said. “Fee increases wont be popular, but personally I think that in these tough financial time everybody needs to make sacriﬁces,” Newton Teachers Association President Mike Zilles said. “It was somewhat of a painful choice made by the superintendent,” Mayor Setti Warren said. “We have declining revenue and state aide. Newton has to make tough choices and we have to attempt to prioritize and protect the classrooms.” Before the budget was proposed, Fleishman and Warren spoke to parents and residents of Newton about the possible scenarios. “At a number of our Town Hall discussions we heard that the community would rather have us protect what goes on in the classroom and to keep class sizes as low as possible. They would not
CUTS, continued on page A2
23 March 2011 Founded in 1960
Editors-in-Chief Dan Kats and Jason Yoffe Managing Editor Helen Holmes Executive News Editor Rutul Patel Deputy Editor Ilana Sivachenko Faculty Advisor George Abbott White Technical Advisor Jason Agress
Noah Rivkin Daniel Barabasi Astha Agarwal Robert Wang
Editorials & Opinions Taylor Beidler Hattie Gawande Jarrett Gorin Tim Newton Daniel Pincus Annapurna Ravel
Arts & Entertainment Sophie Scharlin-Pettee Michelle Tian
Denebola enacts a two-fold role in the Newton South community: responsibility to the larger Newton community and the school itself, and responsibility to the individuals who contribute to its pages. This tradition extends back to Newton South’s inception in 1960, and the first issue of the newspaper. As Newton South High School’s official school newspaper, we are engaged in every facet of the school community, which means fair and equal coverage of South’s sporting events, enrichment and art programs, school organizations, and all other aspects of school life. Additionally, Denebola feels it important to stimulate as well as inform discussion on the essential issues of the day. Denebola is written, edited, and published by Newton South students. Its publication is entirely supported by advertising; the newspaper receives no funds from the PTSO or similar organizations. Contributions are neither soliticted nor accepted. Unless stated, opinions are those of the individuals under whose by-lines they appear. Letters from students, faculty, or members of the Newton community should be addressed to the Editors-in-Chief.
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President Barack Obama
Aley Lewis (Sr.) Anna Garik Monique Gould Emma Sander Jonah Seifer
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President Barack Obama
Alex Cohen Tim Jiang Victor Qin
We cannot stand idly by as more inncoent civillians are killed. As of now, the United States military is taking action in a group effort to protect said civilians.
Ray Flint Corbin Krinsky
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Prime Minister of England Dave Cameron The United Kingdom agrees with the United States. We, along with France, have begun our assault. Tomahawk missles have been deployed.
Kj Brownell Avi Chad-Friedman
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Mayor Setti Warren
Contributors: Justin Quinn, Maarten van Genabeek, Sammie Levin, Tori Yee, Lizzie Odvarka, Harry Neff, Rose Taylor, Andrew Heung, Jeff Hurray, Adam Sachs, Colby Medoff
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Denebola: Volume 51, Issue I
City of Newton
Why would you run for Senator? You have barely begun your career as Mayor.. about
Fiscal year 2012 budget impact
mind increasing fees in some areas,” Warren said. Special Education Chair Ann Walker said, “We will restructure and reschedule, we will still provide the necessary services but in different ways.” Walker acknowledged that Newton’s reputation for these services went beyond Newton and even Massachusetts. “I just received a phone call from California [about our programs],” Walker said. Besides increasing fees and removing funds, a major detrimental cut was made to the Arts. The budget specified cuts at the middle school and elementary level in music, band, and art itself. Cuts included: no more elementary school recorder program, no more funding of Art in the elementary schools, and no more middle school Latin. Cuts to programs include:
eliminating Latin in middle schools, eliminating drama for 7 and 8 grades, eliminating the grade 3 recorder program, eliminating grade 4 chorus, and reducing art class time from 60 to 45 minutes. Zilles sees the cuts as attacks on the arts and foreign language programs as a disconcerting phenomenon. “I think its sad that again we’re going at Arts programs. They are so valuable to our schools. When there’s a cut, we go around the edges. No one wants to increase class sizes. I feels like there’s an undervaluing of the Arts,” he said. “I have some serious concerns about the quality of education we’re giving South students. If Arts are cut it tells them that having a place to be creative, to take risks, to generate ideas is not as important as say math or history. Its not a wholistic education experience,” Arts teacher Karen
This is something I am considering because of votes made that have hurt communities like Newton. I will make my final decision based on whether or not I can do a better job for Massachusetts
Sobin-Jonah said. Zilles noticed an observable trend in the cuts. Over the last 10 years there have been slow and steady cuts in the NPS budget. Eventually the weight of the cuts piles on to the teachers that have to cover for the positions and programs that were lost. Other teachers have also noticed this and agree with the faulty policies implemented, “You cannot expect to have a top-notch school system and at the same time chronically undertax. These so-called crises are therefore entirely predictable,” History teacher Brian Muarry said. “I’ve been to all 22 schools [in our district], and parents, teachers, faculty and students all say we have a great school. It’s great because everyone is working hard. And next year they’ll have to work harder. And there’s a limit,” Zilles said.
to one of $180, a savings of $2 a day for a student subscriber. “Fees for everything else are going up, but parking prices are going down,” Stembridge said. The proposal indicates that the price could drop another $5 in the future if minimal interest is displayed over the course of a few years. This year, parking fees accrued $23,400; if the Senior Lot was filled to a full capacity, with a $175 fee, revenues would increase over $5,000. This capital adds to the district’s overall operational budget for salaries, books, and other expenses. A total of 165 parking spots are available in the Senior Lot, but students purchased a mere 115 out of the 165 first semester, a 15-tag drop from
2009’s second semester. When South was renovated, the student lots overridden with construction equipment, students were permitted to park on the Wheeler side temporarily. Though this segment of the road was not designed for parked cars, the temporary situation became permanent. The district, not South’s administration, has jurisdiction over Brandeis Road and parking. In fact, the administration openly and willingly helps students in need to pay for parking, and will considers financial aid if a student wishes to explain his or her situation. “It’s not the administration’s fault because it has been known to help students in need,” senior Alex Gershanov
said. “The school committee needs to take a more responsible approach because not too many students can afford the $200 price tag. It’s just really unreasonable what the committee is doing. “It’s an insane amount of money to pay per semester. It really undermines all the students that can’t afford it,” he said. For Gershanov, a feasible price for parking is $60 to $80 per semester. While there is pushback in opposition to the proposal by the School Committee, the parking fee reduction is a step in the right direction in the campaign for more reasonable prices; unfortunately for student drivers, the tradeoff is a loss of free parking.
As part of the plan to mitigate the effects of the FY12 budget cuts, the Superintendent is proposing a $125 student activities fee. This fee, intended for middle school Triple E programs and high school clubs, would help the district to counteract the consequences of insufficient funds to maintain and grow the programs and services provided district-wide. Denebola recognizes the gravity of this year’s budget dilemmas and commends the central office for seeking creative solutions to a difficult
situation. But as students who devote significant time to an extracurricular activity – the school newspaper – we fear that the proposed activities fee will negatively affect student activities – and the students involved in them – throughout the city. It’s long been common practice to charge such fees for athletics, so it may seem fitting to impose similar fees for other after school programs. The proposed fee concerns us, however, since there does not seem to be a correlation between the addition of fees and
an increase in funds available to support activities, like advisor, coach, and director stipends. Nor does this fee account for the varying degrees of interest, participation, and time-commitment in different clubs. For example, some clubs meet during Wednesday JBlocks, but others – like theatre and publications – work into the evening and on weekends. Why should a student’s family be obligated to pay the same amount to participate in a oncea-week club as for a clearly more intense and involved activity? For us it is a problem
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Mayor Setti Warren
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I did not appreciate you vandalizing my stained-glass window. I have had it for nearly 180 years, since I was first built. You vandals did over $20,000 worth of damage and destroyed a part of Newton History. About 3 weeks ago -- Like -- Comment -- See Friendship
Church Elder Mark Saunder
This isn’t just regular glass. This is 1880s rippled glass. To try and replicate that and the work of the original artist would be impossible. You should be ashamed of yourselves. about
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Chestnut Hill Macy’s
After many quarters of underperforming, upper management hs decided to shut down this store. Our 140-plus employees and loyal shoppers will have to go elsewhere. About 1 weeks ago -- Like -- Comment -- See Friendship
Brandeis road parking banned PARKING, continued from Page A1
I am “considering” campaigning against you in the 2012 United States Senate race. But don’t worry @City of Newton, my campaigning will not affect my position of Mayor.
Denebola, The Official Newspaper of Newton South High School, 140 Brandeis Road, Newton, Mass. 02459
CUTS, continued from page A1
I will not show any mercy to any one against my regime. All opposition will be crushed without mercy.
Melanie Erspamer Julia Spector (Sr.)
Liana Butchard Jesse Feldstein Courtney Foster Josh Nislick Wendy Ma
Mike Berman Josh Carney Joe Maher Erik Manditch Zach Pawa Dina Busaba Peter Natov Dylan Royce
Dont worry about a thing Macy’s. There may be a Best Buy in the near future for the shoppers of Newton. about
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Or a Target!
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After careful consideration and heavy thinking we have decided to double the number of three-train cars traveling on your B and D lines. Statistics from last year showed that more than 200,000 passengers rode B and D lines last year alone. This new program will be initiated on March 21.
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200,000 Passengers from Last Year Finally!
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*Any relationship to reality is purely coincidental.
Denebola editors oppose the proposed student activities fees that the proposed plan for the FY12 fees do not address what is effectively inequity. Furthermore, we worry that an activities fee – even with a mechanism for addressing special financial circumstances – will discourage students from joining activities that would end up being beneficial to them. We know firsthand the positive impact of activities like Denebola – activities that not only provide us with an important community of friends and colleagues, but are also key to defining who we are as learners
and as people. The $125, no matter how logical a fee or how fundamental to maintaining Newton’s high academic standards, will likely stand between a student with potential interest and the activity he or she wants to participate in. If we were freshmen with interest in joining Denebola, this fee would certainly influence our enthusiasm to join the newspaper – and we can only imagine this is the same case with prospective speech, theatre, mock trial, and student union participants.
Denebola is, for the reasons outlined, opposed to the implementation of a student activities fee. But we appreciate the financial climate in which this idea was proposed, as well as the central office’s effort to maintain as many academic programs as possible. We nevertheless stress that this type of fee will almost certainly impact the ways in which students think about extracurricular participation – commitments that, in our experience, are a significant part of a Newton South education.
23 March 2011
Adult content in education is...
Pro ...an eye-opening experience By Andrew Cheung A debate has emerged as to whether the movies shown in Spanish class the week before February break were “appropriate” to show because the films contained some nudity and other racy situations. The question is: are the movies considered inappropriate due to the content or due to the student’s reaction of shock? In the first movie, Manolito Gafotas, it was, of course, unexpected to see people drop their pants to go to the bathroom or go to sleep, something that one generally doesn’t see in G-rated American movies. But was that inappropriate? The male reproductive organs are intrinsically familiar to the male students, and females have been exposed in South’s freshman Sexual Education course; the movie should not have been such a shock. Sex Ed. teaches students about safe sex practices and the reproductive processes, yet students do not go around complaining that Sex Ed. is inappropriate, so why be so upset about the Spanish movies? Furthermore, much of the dialogue that shocked students actually provided a learning experience of Hispanic culture, which added another level to a film that was originally intended only to improve our language skills. Primarily, students gained insight into the openness of conversation between family members in this culture. Students saw that if Manolito, the main character, has a question,
he feels safe and open to share what is on his mind, and in response his father answers his questions without hesitation. We learn that in Hispanic culture, they embrace curiosity, which is admirable, not improper. One might even say that this openness should be encouraged among American families, not dismissed as “inappropriate.” In the second movie shown, La Cuarta Planta, there was a scene in which the four main characters go to the bathroom “to listen to music.” First, let me admit that this scene was a bit shocking, and certainly not something that I’ve ever seen in school before. I should hope, however, that by now we’re mature enough to watch a scene as minor as this one in La Cuarta Planta. It’s clear that the benefits of viewing the film outweigh whatever harm students perceive. What are the benefits? Education on the openness of Spanish culture–the original intention of our teachers when they showed us the movie. So why are we condemning the movie if it promotes openness about natural pleasures? Consider this: any Spaniard would come to the U.S. and call us overly-censored because we think that we should hide what embarrasses us, especially
since America, being a liberal and democratic nation, should be the most understanding of all countries in the world. Even if the scenes in the Spanish movies were slightly inappropriate, why are we, the teenagers of America, complaining? We’re always fighting for our freedom to do and see what we want, for more independence and less censorship. We always want the freedom
By Jarrett Gorin Ever since the semester started, first lunch has been uncomfortably overcrowded. When the lunch schedule changed, no one realized that the two most crowded areas of the school, the 2000’s and the 6000’s, would be eating at the same time. Now, the first lunch line is comparable to a mob, lacking only pitchforks and burning torches. The ensuing chaos causes some students to wait in line for the duration of lunch, forcing many to bring their lunches to class, while others choose not to
eat at all because of lines. To make matters worse, the entrance, a very small doorway, is nearly impossible to squeeze through, and it is anything but pleasant trying to navigate the various lunch counters beyond the doorway. I’m not claustrophobic but sheer volume of people in the lunch line would likely scare King Kong, let alone hungry South students. Two of my classes have swapped lunches to relieve crowding, yet the situation remains the same. Cancelled freshman classes take first lunch; add-
ing at least fifty extra students to the first-lunch crowd every day. The new policy mandating the first floor of the 6000s to take second or third lunch has yet to yield results. The cafeteria staff have made efforts to clear the jam by moving the registers outside the doors. The tactic has allowed more space where no food exists, but doesn’t change the high concentration of students surrounding the counters. Following the current lunch situation’s trajectory, I doubt anything will by fixed by the end of the year.
of being an adult, but now that we’ve had our chance, we are squandering it. Most importantly, we have been focusing on a very minor part of these movies. I thought that the screening of both Manolito Gafotas and La Cuarta Planta was valuable because it was a nice way to transition into vacation, it demonstrated the use of the Hispanic lisped accent, and it shows the common life and views of the people in Spain. And yet, somehow there’s no sense of balance or proportion. Out of hours of informative and meaningful film, all some focused on was thirty seconds.
Con ...unnecessary and inappropriate
of awkward teenagers suddenly getting very uncomfortable. It didn’t get any better after that. I don’t think any of us had a desire to see Manolito in his underwear, or see him and his father undressing themselves— all of themselves. The second movie, La Cuarta Planta, was worse. It was a movie about teenagers with cancer, which normally would be sad and emotional. But at the end, instead of feeling moved, I felt deeply disturbed. The main characters would spend part of their day on the roof, trying to catch a glimpse of a girl through a window. One of the boys claims photo from internet source he saw the girl The two movies took inap- in a magazine and thinks that propriate much too far for an she is spectacular. The other “educational” setting. boys don’t believe him, and the Take the first movie, Mano- first boy feels the need to prove lito Gafotas. At the beginning, himself. In order to do so, he it appeared to be a simple gets his hands on a poster of movie about a simple family the half-naked woman. living in Spain. By now, all of the Spanish Viewers soon saw that we students watching the movie had been deceived, starting had become, in a sense, desenwith unexpected and superflu- sitized. A half-naked woman? ous nudity. Hey, at least she’s got some There was a scene in which clothes on. the little brother of the main At this point, our cheeks character needed to use the were bright red, our eyes were bathroom. I’m sure you can glazed over, and our mouths infer what happened next. were hanging open. It was the Needless to say, this was definition of “system overload.” too much information for our It could not, we reasoned, get uncontrollable teenaged minds. any worse. It did. We were shocked, the room full Anyone who saw the movie By Jarrett Gorin It was the week before February Vacation. Everyone was excited, and no one wanted to be in school. Then we learn some good news. Movies all week in Spanish! Normally, this would be a great thing, but unfortunately, there was a problem. In both of the movies, there were some “adult” themes in terms of American cinema.
has to remember the “bathroom music” scene. It was perhaps the most uncomfortable moment of the whole ordeal, and in addition to it being profoundly shocking it was very, very odd, seeing the boys’ facial expressions change in the mirror, in the center of the screen, and nothing else. The themes were unsuitable for school and we could not comprehend why our teachers thought it was a good idea—or even a moderately good idea, or a passable idea, or a not bad idea—to show them. Both of the movies were, quite frankly, inappropriate choices. Yes, they showed us life in Spain. The only problem? They didn’t leave anything out. Was there even a point to screening the movies? Sure, they took up class time, but to what end? I’m pretty sure I wasn’t any more educated about Spain after watching them than before. In fact, the only difference in my knowledge before and after the movies was that before I was blissfully unaware that a simple movie shown in Spanish class could cause PostTraumatic Stress Disorder. There is a line that divides purposeful displays of adult material for educational purposes and gratuitously explicit material. The Spanish movies helped distinguish this boundary, finding themselves beyond the realm of necessary educational experiences.
First lunch places last: lunch one a chaotic mess Nearing the end of the third term, there may not be enough time for a proper solution, which is unfortunate when students are forced to go without food and seek places to eat outside of the cafeteria. The simple solution to the problem would be to rearrange the lunch schedule to reflect the traffic, which would eliminate the problems. But seeing as there are no imminent solutions, there are only a few small things we can do to make life easier during our half-hour of culinary solace. The first thing is frustratingly simple: pay with smaller bills. Students stand in line watching people
pay with fifty dollar bills, which is ridiculous. Or, even better: put money in your lunch account! Another solution, although it might be “retro,” would be to bring lunch from home. Your parents would surely be happy to save at least $17, and
Forgetting the unforgettable:
photo by aley lewis
if you still have that refrigerated Power Rangers lunchbox from third grade, you can eat a chilled lunch! So, why complicate life when you don’t need to? Do your part to speed up the lunch lines and we’ll all be rewarded.
The lifespan of the world’s tragedies shortened among teens
By Hattie Gawande We live in a world where it is becoming increasingly difficult to care about death. Our brains have become so saturated with news of bloody crackdowns in Libya, bombings in Afghanistan, and nuclear threats from Iran and North Korea, that we are no longer moved by extreme violence or widespread death. On the contrary, we tend to treat death like a trivial, every-
day occurrence. This is not to say that death isn’t something that happens every day, because it does. But it is always essentially to remember that loss of life is terrible, common or not, and becoming desensitized to it is a serious problem. Unfortunately, that is exactly what has been happening. Throughout Newton South, discussion about the tragedies that happen each day is nearly
graphic by victor qin
impossible to find. Most would rather complain about teachers or talk about classes. The result? An almost callous lack of concern for the horrifying. It’s not as though we couldn’t see this coming. Newton South has a long track record of forgetting—even ignoring— terrible events seemingly as they happen. Exhibit A: The shooting of Gabrielle Giffords. A little over two months ago Representative Giffords was, in broad daylight, shot in the head at point-blank range by apparently anti-authoritarian madman Jared Lee Loughner. A nine-year-old girl and a federal judge were also murdered in the killing spree. The following Monday Newton South had a moment of silence at precisely 10:45 AM. It was a nice idea, and intended to be moving. Why wasn’t it? Because of what happened after the moment of silence. Or rather, what didn’t happen after the moment. There was no further discussion of the incident in the class
I was in after the moment of silence. Speaking with friends later I learned their teachers had also returned to their lessons without a word about the killings. For the rest of the day I listened to see what students’ opinions were on the matter, but no one seemed to think it was worth discussion. No one found the shooting spree disturbing, or shocking, or even sad. No one found it curious that the shooting was of a House Democrat whom Sarah Palin had put on a “target list” of twenty politicians she wanted ousted in the midterm elections (reportedly tweeting the phrase, “Don’t Retreat, Instead – RELOAD!”). No one found it appalling Sarah Palin’s aide blamed Democrats because the gunman, Loughner, professed to be liberal. No one deigned to offer so much as a “that sucks”. Exhibit B: The 2010 Haiti earthquake. The disaster that killed somewhere between 100,000 to 300,000, leveled the
capital, Port-au-Prince, and left 300 million in need of emergency aid happened just over a year ago, which most would argue is a sufficient amount of time before we can forget about the disaster without feeling bad about it. However, according to an Oxfam report, only 5% of the rubble from destroyed buildings has been cleared away at this point. No major reconstruction has been started. According to UNICEF, one million are still displaced, and according to Amnesty International, the displacement camps are crowded, dangerous breeding grounds for disease—rapes are common and deaths frequent. The U.S. government, as well as other donor countries, preoccupied with other concerns, are indecisive over how much aid should be given. As a result, the flow of aid to Haiti is a mere trickle in a situation that requires an ocean. Initially so ardently moved in participation or aid, the population’s interest has fallen
off. Clearly, in this case, our society’s lack of sympathy has had a deadly effect. Exhibit C: Japan. The Sendai earthquake hit Japan less than a week ago. It hasn’t been quite enough time for us to forget, but, alarmingly, indifference has already started. In my physics and math classes we discussed the earthquake at length. That is, we discussed the science and mathematics of it—the ten thousand left dead and 450,000-plus displaced were, somehow, forgotten. Some talk about the disaster in the halls, but they are very few in number. Japan, it seems, is going to be the next Haiti. The difference? It has been several days, not four hundred. It’s too soon, even for we the embarrassingly short attention spans of we teenagers. I leave you with this: In a world in which death is rampant, we can only save ourselves if we care. Don’t succumb to the apathy of everyone else—save the sensitive.
WORLDLY WISE Denebola
23 March 2011
DENEBOLA takes a look at the world through the eyes of two members of the South community
Le prof de franÇais
DENEBOLA sat down with French teacher Sebastien Merle to ask him about life in France.
PHOTO CONTRIBUTED BY BRONWYNN DEHRMANN
Dehrmann in South Africa prior to her move to the United States earlier this year.
Out of Africa By Melanie Erspamer
On the West coast of South Africa, the city of Durban lies on the edge of the Indian Ocean. Until a while ago, Durban’s white sands and blue waters were home to Bronwynn Dehrmann, who is now a senior at South. In October of this year, Dehrmann’s plane landed in Boston. A few days later, she was a member of the South community. Although she came to a new school much bigger than her South African one, she was ready to meet new people, but found it harder than she had thought. “People aren’t that friendly here,” Dehrmann said. “Whereas in South Africa, people are the
nicest people ever.” The kindness of strangers and acquaintances in South Africa is something Dehrmann longs for. Dehrmann found that people in Newton, although more diverse than people in Durban, were at ﬁrst reluctant to introduce themselves. This is not because she is different; in fact, the “melting pot” of people is her favorite part of South. “I enjoy [the diversity],” Dehrmann said. “In South Africa, it’s not that [diverse] and there’s a lot of separation with the different races. [At Newton South], there’s no one around that’s ever going to judge you.” As a matter of fact, one of Dehrmann’s best friends, Olga Rapaport, was born in a different country as
When Rapaport ﬁrst met Dehrmann, she did not make any negative judgments based on where Dehrmann came from. “When you come from a different country, it’s hard to adjust to things,” Rapaport said. “I came to the United States when I was seven; I came from Russia.” Although Rapaport was not born in America either, she notices a few differences in her experiences compared to Dehrmann’s. “She calls certain things [a different name], like her cell phone she calls ‘mobile’,” Rapaport said. “I understand her, but sometimes it’s funny how she talks in her own way.” The way Dehrmann speaks is actually what ﬁrst attracted
Photos courtesy of Bronwynn Dehrmann
Dehrmann in Boston shortly after moving to America.
Rapaport, who liked Dehrmann’s accent. Since the ﬁrst day they were introduced each other, they have talked more and more, and are now very good friends. In fact, Dehrmann has found many places and friends here that she loves, even though her friends from South Africa are what she misses the most. “My favorite thing here would be Starbucks,” Dehrmann said. “I’m just a social butterﬂy, so hanging out with people makes me happy.” Acting and singing make Dehrmann happy as well. Her future and move to America are centered on those passions. “I originally was thinking about studying acting and singing,” Dehrmann said. “It’s great in America, whereas in South Africa if you wanted to do something like that you wouldn’t get very far.” Going along with her daughter’s interests, Dehrmann’s mother began looking around for job opportunities in the United States. When she found one, she had a work transfer, and Dehrmann followed her mother to the U.S. where Dehrmann could pursue her ambitions. Once at South, she quickly enrolled in acting class.
“Bronwynn ﬁt into the advanced acting class quickly and easily, contributing opinions and being accepted almost automatically by the other students,” Jim Honeyman, her acting teacher, said. “She has adjusted extremely well, and it has been a pleasure teaching and getting to know her.” Now, at the point in senior year where students are beginning to decide what they will do next year, Dehrmann has found a place at the New York Film Academy, where she will be able to pursue her love for singing and acting. Dehrmann did not have to take the SAT to get accepted. “I actually haven’t taken the SAT yet because it wasn’t required,” Dehrmann said. “But I think I’m going to take them now.” Although there is nothing like the SAT in South Africa, Dehrmann is ready to try more “American” activities while stillholding on to her South African identity. “She likes South Africa,” Rapaport said. “I think she’s proud of who she is.”
Denebola: Where in France are you from? Merle: I grew up in Southwestern France, in a small town, with 25,000 people, an hour west of Toulouse, which is one of the biggest cities in France. [It is] a very rural region. In my town you have pretty much nothing around but villages and farms. I grew up there, then I moved to Toulouse, and lived there for four years before I moved to the States. Denebola: How did everyday life in Toulouse when you were a high school student compare to everyday life in Newton? Merle: It’s very different; I would need a full hour just to describe how different it is. Students have a lot more freedom in a lot of ways; everything is not as structured as it is here. I feel like you have more responsibilities at a younger age. I didn’t go to very good schools, either, especially my middle school. Also, my typical high school day would start later, and when I had a free block during the day I would either go to the library or I would go to the student center. Something that would be really shocking to a lot of Americans would be that this little café was right around the corner, and [my friends and I] would spend our time there, chatting, drinking coffee and playing cards. We didn’t get into trouble, we just spent a lot of time there. We usually had a 45 minute to a one hour break for lunch and my high school was downtown so it was very easy to go a variety of places, or eat lunch [at school]. The school day was a lot longer; it was very common for me to have classes until 6:00 at night. Kids in France,
they got two weeks [for vacation in February and April], so I remember teachers complaining constantly about the fact that the curriculum was not going to be completed by the end of the year. Because the curriculum is set up by the government, as opposed to the state, [deﬁning the curriculum like they do] here; it’s much more centralized because it’s a much smaller country. In France, you hear teachers complain a lot about the fact that you need to wrap up the program by the end of the year and that they don’t have enough time. Denebola: Are schools structured differently in France than they are in the U.S.? Merle: No, they’re pretty much the same, except preschool is more developed. Public school starts when you are two or three, because it’s a welfare state, so you pay a lot of taxes, but then the government takes care of your kids from an earlier age. The other difference is that high school started in tenth grade, the way it used to at South, and then they added a year. But that’s the way it was where I grew up. I remember growing up, when I was in elementary school, I had Wednesday off, the whole day, and I had to go to school on Saturday morning. Then, when I switched to middle school, I had school on Wednesday morning only, [in addition to] Monday through Friday. It’s give and take. Denebola: Newton South has a reputation for being very rigorous academically. How does South compare to your high school experience? Merle: There’s no comparison; I had pretty bad school experiences.
It’s very different [now]. Public education in France is comparable in its advantages and disadvantages to what’s going on in the United States right now. It’s deﬁnitely a buzz word now; you hear “public education” in France when you talk about what’s broken, what we need to ﬁx. I have the French Channel at home, and they did a pretty interesting documentary about that. You get to college and these kids are so humiliated because they’re so not ready, and a lot of them drop out of college because they can’t handle it. So, the same problems are right here, with American public schools. My middle school was a zoo. Teachers were extremely violent. It was a while ago, and I’m sure there have been improvements, but there was this really antiquated system where teachers would be protected to a degree that was really disgusting; they didn’t have to be accountable for anything, so most teachers were absolutely horrendous. Then, I was fortunate enough to have really amazing teachers in high school, very inspiring. Still a lot of really bad teachers, too, but I had some teachers that really made a difference, and my high school experience was a lot better because of it. Denebola: South has a lot of extracurricular activities. Are those kinds of opportunities available in France? Merle: Not at all; it’s because the school day’s so long, there’s no time for anything else. There was a Theatre club, but that was really late, from 6:00 to 9:00 after school, and then you had to go on the weekend. If you wanted to do sports at the level that you do them at South, or
in a lot of American high schools, where you have Varsity [level sports], you have to go to a special school in France, where the afternoon is dedicated to sports, so you have classes in the morning and sports in the afternoon, but that’s a much bigger commitment. Here, that’s really one strength of the system: you can be such a well-rounded individual. It gives you much more opportunities to shine in so many different ways, and even if you’re not academically a brilliant student, you can always feel like there’s one area where you’re going to be able to feel good about yourself. So if it’s arts, or sports, that’s a great strength of the American system. Denebola: Most South students choose to continue their education at college. Is that true in France? Merle: No, because the system is so based on tracking; you’re tracked at a much earlier level. You have to choose a specialty at an earlier stage in your academic career. Already when you’re in tenth grade you need to know whether you’re more of a science person or [not]. The emphasis is on sciences; the “smart” kids are the kids who do math and science. It’s a stigma that has always existed in France and will continue for a really long time. They give you a little bit of ﬂexibility; they tell you that you can take maybe one more math class if you’re on the humanities track, but it’s very limited. Really, if you’re good academically [in America], you can be a much more wellrounded individual than the French system would allow you to be in a lot of
There’s also the vocational track. If you’re not doing well academically, you’re going to be systematically offered to go into the vocational track. For example, half of my high school was what they call “Générale,” humanities and sciences, and half of the school was vocational. You can get started on a vocational track in eighth grade. Denebola: A lot of American students worry about SAT, MCAS, and all kinds of standardized testing. Is that a major point of concern in France? Merle: No, there’s no standardized testing in France. Denebola: What about the [Baccalauréat (bac), an academic qualiﬁcation test in France]? Merle: The bac is not standardized. With standardized tests there’s a very speciﬁc set of skills and knowledge that’s being tested. With the bac, there’s no multiple choice, for example. [The bac] is all essays. You have to
come up with a thesis and then organize an essay according to your thesis. It just teaches you a certain way to think. [You are tested on] your ability to come up with a coherent argument based on you knowledge. In France, you never, ever, give your opinion on anything, because nobody cares.You have to be extremely unbiased. You have what they call the “thèse-anti-thèse”: you take one side of the argument, you argue for that side of the debate, and then the “antithèse,” when you have to argue for the exact opposite. Everything has to be backed up by your knowledge, your articles, the data. That also affects the French mentality. A lot of Americans, when they travel to France, and strike up friendships with French
people, [Americans] say, “It’s funny, I say one thing, and French people, they always say the opposite.” And it’s almost that mechanism that’s forged by the educational system. It’s not that [French people] want to antagonize you, it’s just that they want to debate; it’s just a playfulness. It’s a very conversational culture. Debating, discussing things is very much a part of the French mentality in a lot of ways. Denebola: As a teacher with outside perspective, what universal qualities do you notice about students who are both French and American? Merle: Just that kids are kids. I really feel like there is such a thing as globalization. French teenagers are a lot more similar to American teenagers now than they were in the 1950s and 60s. [French and American kids] listen to the same music; there are cultural differences of course when it comes to food, make-up, those kinds of things, but there seems to be a common understanding of the same things.
Arts and Entertainment Arts and Entertainment A6
23 March 2011
The Fashion Files HELEN HOLMES
photo by aley lewis
This past Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, South Stage put on a production of two short plays - Laundry and Bourbon and Nice People Dancing to Good Country Music. The plays were directed by Jim Honeyman, who cleverly entitled the joint productions A Texas Two-Step. This made the title Laundry and Bourbon/Nice People Dancing to Good Country Music (A Texas Two-Step,) possibly the longest title in the history of any production ever. Newton South’s lab theater rang with the easy twang of Southern accents and raucous laughter, ensuring the absolute success of the touching and hilarious production.
The FUSN Coffeehouse: a party or a fundraiser? By Sophie Scharlin-Pettee Every year on the first Saturday night of March, the First Unitarian Society in Newton (FUSN) holds a fundraiser to benefit Communities Without Borders, a non-profit organization with the goal of feeding and educating orphans living with AIDS in Zambia. This annual event, The FUSN Youth Coffeehouse, is a unique experience, in the sense that it is produced and put on primarily by the Newton North and Newton South youth of the church. Along with fundamentally being produced and managed by the youth of the church, the only performers are local high school students. The first act consists of acoustic acts, such as magic routines and a cappella groups, and the second act consisting of local bands. Many of the FUSN youth have been involved in both the Coffeehouse and the Zambia trip, such as senior Jacob Lillienfeld. “I decided to go to Zambia...I saw what I was raising money for and doing this.” The Zambia trip has been described as “life-changing”, and Lillienfeld said that “it was a really amazing experience. I saw things I never expected to see and it really opened my eyes to what poverty looks like.” The money raised each year from ticket sales, bake sales, and merchandise has been used for many things, including providing a feeding plan for the school Communities Without Borders supports. This guarantees that every student of said school in Zambia receives at
least one meal a day, an amenity many Zambian orphans do not have the good fortune of having. Many FUSN youth, including sophomores Ellie Goldsmith and Ana Daurio, hope to have the opportunity to go on the Zambia trip in the future. “I would love to go on the Zambia trip and meet the kids,” Daurio said. Though the Coffeehouse is first and foremost a fundraiser, it is also an event many local youth look forward to and enjoy. “I think that having such a fun night that is so youth-oriented that at the same time goes to a good cause is a brilliant way of thinking,” sophomore Conrad Buys said. Junior Nanah Crosby agrees, saying that “I have come every year and do support what they’re doing, and I love how they help kids to have a future and improve their way of living.” A performer this year as well as a reoccurring attendee of the Coffeehouse, sophomore Rose Taylor remembers one of her experiences being involved with the FUSN Coffeehouse: “I remember being moved and being really happy having so many friends that were involved.” The Masters of Ceremonies this year were Newton South sophomore Conrad Buys and Newton North senior John MacGaffey. Talking with sock puppets and quizzing the audience with obscure Zambian trivia, the MC’s entertained an audience of about two hundred between acts. The acoustic acts this year included the Newton South student-run a cappella group Newtones, in addition to
a solo performance by sophomore David Rabinowicz and a juggling act by the aforementioned Taylor. As well as being a fun event, the band portion of the Coffeehouse is beneficial for those recruited to play. “I think it’s a really good idea because you get students from all of these schools, and from a musician’s perspective, it really helps to reach out to people your age all around. Also, a lot of students come...and you raise a lot of money for a good cause,” said Rabinowicz, whose band Plumbean closed the show. This year’s bands included Common Illusion, 53rd Reason, Freedom Child, Spaceless, and Plumbean. Many students from Newton North, Newton South, and Lincoln-Sudbury Regional intermingled and danced along to covers of MGMT’s “Electric Feel” as well as many others. Though the event is produced by
FUSN and held in the Parish Hall of the church, it is not a religious event, nor does it promote Unitarian Universalism. Unitarian Universalism, more formally known as UU, is a faith composed of seven principles that encourage people to seek their own spiritual path in a community of tolerant people with shared values. One of the beliefs being the importance of giving back to the community and aiding those in need, FUSN created the unqiue youth-run Coffeehouse as an innovative way of reaching out of their community and giving the youth of the church the opportunity to be in leadership positions and create an end product that they could be proud of. As Claire Perrault, Newton North junior and producer of this year’s tenth annual Coffeehouse, said, “It makes me feel empowered.”
As well as performing in community theater, Crowley has been involved in South Stage shows, playing Prudy in Hairspray, Claire in Proof, and Ursula in Sweet Charity, to mention only a few, inspired by actors such as Sean Penn, Javier Bardem, and Meryl Streep. Especially within smaller shows, Crowley has found a show’s cast can become an emotionally close and particularly supportive environment. Crowley has drawn from her positive experiences and has decided “this spring I’m directing one of the one acts, called The Land of Cockaigne. I
just cast that show so it’s about to start and I’m very, very excited...Last summer actually I did the Digital Media Program for two weeks at Harvard and learned about film production.” Along with acting and performing, Crowley has “been in three theatre classes in South the past three years,” though she is “not taking any strictly theater classes” photo by aley lewis this year, with the exception of Chorus. Interested in learning as well, Crowley is continually looking for ways to be involved in theater communities either in South or outside of it.
Crowley’s interests in theater have led her to love English, saying she plans to major in it. Although Crowley’s interactions with theater have been overwhelmingly positive, she’s not sure about how theater will play into her choices for college. “I wish I knew my plans for college. I’m not sure where I’m going; I don’t think theatre programs will affect my decision as much as money and location.” Besides her committed involvement with theater, Crowley has other interests. “I’m in the One to One, the big brother big sister program at South, I love to read and write, and go to the beach.” Though Crowley doesn’t necessarily plan on pursuing theater as a career, “I do plan to always continue [theater] as a hobby...anywhere I am should have local theatre organizations and I’d love to keep that a part of my life.”
photo by aley lewis
Art Focus: Ellie Crowley By Sophie Scharlin-Pettee “I used to love National Treasure and [my sister Kitty and I would] watch it over and over and take turns acting out any scenes with Abigail in them next to the TV.” Starting from a young age, senior Ellie Crowley has had a fascination with the performing arts. Since grade school, Crowley has loved performing--whether it be in a play, musical, or household event, Crowley has loved being on stage. In kindergarten, Crowley had her first role as a horse, but her passion really began when she landed the role of Bielke, a major supporting role in Needham Community Theatre’s production of The Fiddler on the Roof. “My aunt told me and Kitty we should audition...and ever since then I kept auditioning for stuff, I was hooked!” Crowley has also worked on the Newton Summer Theatre Festival, participating in shows such as Wonder of the World and The Producers.
During the course of day-to-day couture worship that any fellow fashion fiend would be well aware of, we must often sacrifice looking “beautiful” or “sexy” in the name of looking stylish. My recent perusal of fashion magazines has divulged an interesting discovery: the women who are hailed as style experts are often dressed conservatively or even dowdily, seemingly trying to directly oppose the societal ideals of conventional beauty. Furthermore, fashion trends themselves seem fixated on the concept of females looking as undesirable as possible. Chunky, shapeless Fair Isle sweaters were huge this fall, as were the blatantly anti-feminine bow ties seen on everyone from Diane Krueger to the always-androgynous Chloe Sevigny. Hipsters everywhere picked up a pair of ironic geek eyeglasses, and long hair became passé in lieu of an ultra-short boy haircut. A recent copy of People Style Watch tells me that the absolute musthave for spring is the “midi” skirt, or a skirt that falls below the knee, hitting any woman’s body at its most unflattering point. Though my insatiable appetite for high fashion is one of my defining characteristics, as I will definitely be rocking the midi skirt, the typical teenage girl inside me wonders, where does it end? A blog recommended to me by a friend takes a lighter approach to the concept of dressing to impress only women. The blog, cleverly entitled “The Man Repeller”, explores the perils of wearing an outfit only your female friend could love. According to Leandra Medine, the author of said blog, being a man repeller involves “outfitting oneself in a sartorially offensive way that will result in repelling members of the opposite sex. Such garments include, but are not limited to, harem pants, boyfriend jeans, overalls, shoulder pads, full length jumpsuits, jewelry that resembles violent weaponry, and clogs.” Medine posts photos of herself and other members of the high-fashion social circle she inhabits,. These womean are all attractive, but nevertheless distinctly undesirable in the context of conventional prettiness. This new subspecies of fashionobsessed women seems to not only have infiltrated the blogs, but Hollywood as well. Five years ago, Michelle Williams sauntered down the Oscars red carpet wearing a spectacular bright yellow dress, complete with plunging neckline, movie-star red lips, and gently side swept hair. Not only did she look completely stylistically relevant, she looked hot. Fast-forward to this year’s Golden Globes, and you almost wouldn’t believe it’s the same woman. All the lovely blond hair is gone, and the beautiful, alluring yellow gown has been replaced by a pale brown sack complete with daisy patterns and daisy straps. Is it fashionable? Most definitely. But that does not make it pretty. Need another example? Nowadays, it seems a prerequisite for being a pop star is dressing like as big of a complete freak as possible. Nicki Minaj often looks like the Bride of Frankenstein who’s gone on an extended vacation to the Bahamas, Katy Perry favors the latex fruit look., and Rihanna dresses up like a condom in her latest video. Ever since rumors emerged of Lady Gaga’s transsexuality, the woman’s hemlines have been so extreme (and at times nonexistant) that she seems dead set on proving she’s a female. Ultimately, these woman seem to be sending both a powerful and eerie message, reminiscent of a certain species of female salamanders that realized they didn’t need boys and began cloning themselves (thanks, junior bio!). This message rings through every prairie-skirt-stuffed boutique inCambridge, and chimes through the granny-print strewn halls of the Natick Collection: we don’t need a man.
Arts and Entertainment A7
23 March 2011
photos from internet source
Resident South style guru gives his take on the Red Carpet By Harry Neff
Style.com entitled its Oscar fashion slideshow “Safety First”—cue the oft-used sigh of exasperation. Gone indeed are the days of shock, awe, glamour, and grandeur on the red carpet (Björk’s swan dress, anyone? J.Lo’s glistening torso?); in the new decade we are left with a parade of blink-and-you’d-miss-’em couture prom dresses. This past award season, it’s been easy to look good, but quite a feat to look fabulous (of course, the vicious Joan Rivers will have thanked you, too, for looking like a steaming mess). Come wind, come rain, come yards of boring taffeta—I present to you my Oscar night red-carpet report card.
Somebody give Cate Blanchett a free steak dinner or a print campaign; the woman deserves accolades for her stunning turn in Givenchy Haute Couture. She paired an embroidered lavender chiffon gown with the structured, Samurai-shouldered bodice with which it was shown on the runway. From the front, the opulent monochrome beading looked prim, lovely, and ladylike...that is, until you caught sight of its jubilant lime green variation on the shoulders and X-strapped back. Blanchett struck the night’s deftest balance between conventional prettiness and fearless edge with a dress that was cooler than anything else worn that night. Jennifer Lawrence, on the other hand, spoke to the red-blooded patriot in me, embodying classic American beauty in a sleek scarlet tank dress by Calvin Klein Collection. The material gently hugged her curves in a way that most certinly wasn’t vulgar. I always admire a woman who can pull off Francisco Costa’s minimal designs for Calvin Klein; they call attention to the beauty of the wearer, and not solely to the dresses themselves.
I won’t deny that the following There are few things which could leading ladies looked great...it’s just distract me from a warm slice of prenot very difficult to do so when you’re show eggplant pizza...but congratulawearing dresses with the easy elegance tions, Jennifer Hudson—your trafficof Marchesa or Elie Saab. cone orange satin Versace cleavage Mila Kunis steamroller trainsmoldered in “I understand that she wreck nightmare the latter, Hailee supreme just was probably going for joined the ranks Steinfeld charmed in the former (a exuberance here...but it of roadkill, a fire dress she co-deand the four ended up looking like alarm, signed,) but these horsemen of the women paled in last call for clearance at apocalypse. comparison (literJ-Hud seemed David’s Bridal.” ally) to the brilto think that losing liancy of a clean 40 pounds (good red dress. for her, though...I really mean that!) Marchesa’s Georgina Chapman and entitles one to swathe her torso Elie Saab themselves design for the in ruched neon fabric and bear 40 red carpet; chiffon-and-tulle confec- percent of her womanly gifts for the tions vary little. world to ogle. A Marchesa or Elie Saab gown is I understand that she was probalways lavish, pretty, flattering...but ably going for exuberance here (still it’s an easy way out for an actress—a no excuse for that caked-on android surefire way to keep up appearances makeup). and nab a column in the People magaBut it ended up looking like last zine centerfold. call for clearance at David’s Bridal Mila and Hailee looked beautiful, (or something from the periphery but Cate and Jennifer’s daring choices of a Newton South prom pic circa (and stunning confidence therein) 1992.) mark the small margin of difference As you might have guessed, Miss between a PASS and an A this time Diva gets an F, though I loved her in around. Dreamgirls.
Though Helena Bonham Carter These are my grades that I personlooked like a watered-down version ally attribute to these lovely ladies; of her usual kooky self in a black accept them for what they truly are or velvet corset and full-length skirt (I take the override test. was really counting on her for this I’m surprisingly happy to say there much-need dose of delicious irony), were more hits than misses this Oscar I loved that Bonham Carter wore an night, but unfortunately only a few unique concoction that could only be bull’s eyes to speak of. dreamed up by costume designer ColI want to see these criticismshy leen Atwood, instead of a gown from actresses move away from convention a prestigious luxury brand. and style-worry towards drama and Atwood won a gleaming Golden singularity. Globe statue that evening for her Celebrity red carpet fashion is marvelous work in Alice and Wonder- simply no fun if you can so easily land, and Bonham Carter was quoted purchase the sateen knock-off version on the red carpet of each dress on as saying that her LightInTheBox. “...it’s important to re- com the very next outlandish, yet unassuming dress member why everyone is day. choice was meant I’d so much to “celebrate film getting dressed up in the rather remember over fashion.” By an Oscar night first place.” which she must red carpet look have meant The for the rest of my King’s Speech had real content. life than find it relatively pretty as I presume to suspect that a certain it glides wanly across my televipopular Newton South High School sion screen, never to be heard from film studies teacher is gently nodding again. his head over a steaming hot mug of At least J-Hud’s dress made me coffee while reading this. turn my head. So at the end, only one After all, it’s important to remember question remains: why everyone is getting dressed up in When are they gonna start inviting the first place. Björk to the Oscars again?
“The King’s Speech”: A fine way to spend a couple of hours By Rose Taylor The 83rd Annual Academy Award’s show was broadcasted on Sunday, February 27, drawing some 38 million viewers. Although the Academy’s production was obviously orchestrated to cater to a younger audience, especially with its hosts, it was tradition and history that won the statuettes, with The King’s Speech taking home Best Picture, Best Director for Tom Hooper, and Best Actor for Colin Firth. The King’s Speech, which is based on a true story, stars Colin Firth, whose character is preparing to be crowned King George VI of England. However, there is one stumbling block on his way to the throne: his stammer. Bogus speech therapists have him gargle marbles for his diction and smoke cigarettes, but the real help finally arrives in the form of Geoffrey Rush as charming, clev-
er, dare-I-say-bromance-worthy Lionel Logue. Logue enters the not-yet-king’s life with a bang, insisting on calling him “Bertie” to maintain equality during the speech lessons, prescribing a beautifully scored montage of speech exercises. These include furiously shouting consonants (you haven’t lived until you’ve seen a red-faced Colin Firth pop into frame and spit out “MUH!”), swearing (Bertie doesn’t ever stammer when he’s angry) and breathing deeply as his wife (the delightful Helena Bonham Carter, taking a break from her Bellatrix Lestrange wig) sits on his stomach “to strengthen his diaphragm.” Director Tom Hooper focuses on the relationship between Lionel and Bertie throughout the film. Rush and Firth balance the precarious king-subject and friendfriend relationship with just the right amount of tension and senti-
ment that occasionally it is hard to tell whether Rush, nominated for Best Supporting Actor, is being deliberately impertinent or merely trying to get Bertie to loosen his collar. Bonham Carter as Elizabeth, mother of the current Queen Elizabeth II, is superb, not getting in the way of the Lionel-Bertie relationship but quietly and wisely encouraging it
from the sidelines. Less interesting and effective are the various political and royal subplots of the film, which
graphic by victor qin
include Bertie’s older brothe r ’s a b dication
(annoying man who’s completely wrong for the throne wants to marry annoying, recently divorced woman, yet parents like him better than Bertie); his father’s fearsomeness (King George V was mean and scary to Bertie about his stammer, wouldn’t let him build model airplanes); and the overall palace disapproval of Logue (all the posh officials except Bertie and Elizabeth don’t trust his methods). These subplots were all either given too little space to develop or simply unnecessary, as Firth and Rush had it all covered without additional conflicts. Despite these little blips, The King’s Speech was an exceptionally British good time and a fine way to spend a couple of hours. Run, don’t walk if you enjoy intelligent cinema with charm, humor, deep feeling, and nostalgia
D Come during any J-Blocks to room 9202 Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org WE WANT YOU! You can be a writer, editor, photographer, artist, productions coordinator.........
23 March 2011
Sports 23 March 2011
Track team places at Nationals By Joe Maher
From March 11 to March 13, South sent a total of nine athletes to the New Balance Indoor Nationals in New York. The track and field event brought top competitors from all over the country, among whom were South athletes. Due to production from veteran runners and younger talent, the Boys’ and Girls’ Indoor Track teams continued to strongly represent what Athletic Director Scott Perrin calls “one of the powerhouse programs in the nation.” Both the Boys’ and the Girls’ teams sent a relay, as well as several runners who excelled in their individual events, to the competition. The Girls’ team sent four runners, including two freshmen, to the championship. All of the female South representatives participated in the relay, a sprint medley relay consisting of a two 200 meter legs as well as 400 and 800 meter legs. The girls’ relay placed sixth in the country. O’Keefe commented that while sprinters and distance runners usually train separately, the experience allowed the different areas of the team “to come together and do something special.” The relay included freshman Lizzie Fineman and senior Madeline Frieze, both of whom have had siblings who also have attained this gold standard among high school athletes. The 400 meter leg was run by freshman Alekhya Chaparala, but despite the youth of the relay, O’Keefe was not worried. “[I was] very confident because I had seen our freshmen improve and really become competitors over the indoor season,” O’Keefe said. She also ran the girls’ onemile race, placing ninth in the country and solidifying her position as one of the nation’s premier high school runners. The Boys’ team sent five representatives, led by senior and captain David Melly, and including freshman Allen Shiu, who ran in the boys’ freshman one-mile race. Shui placed twenty-third overall in the country, and ran very close to his personal best. “[I am] so proud of him for stepping up to such a huge race while still relatively new to the sport at a high school level, and his great performance [is] just another sign of things to come [in the future of the program],” Melly said. The boys also entered a sprint medley relay, placing nineteenth in the country. The relay was a time of team bonding, as the distance and sprinter members did not usually get to run together “[It was] fun to work with sprinters, who [we do not] usually train or compete with,” Melly said. The experience is one that junior Youssef Elkorchi will never forget. “[It] opened up my eyes to the true talent of the nation’s elite athletes,” he said. Unfortunately, Melly came down with a cold on Saturday
photo by jonah seifer
Kendall Burton protects the ball against Central Catholic High School.
Lions win DCL, go far in tournament
By Erik Manditch
Kathy O’Keefe runs at the New Balance Indoor Track Nationals.
photo by dave fineman
night, and was unable to run his best in the two-mile race the following day. Melly still considered the trip to be more or less a success, as he ran the anchoring leg of the team’s relay. The Girl’s team, coached by Steve McChesney during the regular season, did little extra to prepare for the meet, as the main focus of their season was the instate competition.“[We] looked at Nationals as a great opportunity and experience to add onto an already successful season,” O’Keefe said. One of the more curious aspects of the Nationals is that the meet takes place out of the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association’s season, resulting in it not being sanctioned, forcing the students to compete outside of the school’s authority. For this reason, South athletes
must run under the track club, Newton Centre Athletics, and are legally unable to represent South at the meet. Unfortunately, this also means that the students are unable to have their usual coach there to give them support. The athletes were instead instructed by John Huth, the coach for Newton Centre Athletics. Newton South’s Indoor track and Field team once again managed to strongly perform at the highest level of high school sports, and the team is always looking forward. “[The team] is a joy to watch,” Perrin said. “They always just keep reloading and keep going.” Perrin is hopeful that this tradition of track excellence will continue as today’s underclassman carry on the tradition of hard work, leading to a new generation of champions.
freshmen year and Varsity Soccer her sophomore year. However, only being a two-sport athlete did not satisfy her needs, as following her sophomore year she took up Swimming and Diving. “I mostly dove,” Henry said. “But I swam a few events too, like 100 breaststroke, 100 free style, and the medley relay. According to Henry, she won more games than she lost during her high school career. Naturally, Henry pursued her athletic career on the college level. She attended Lafayette where she played one year of Girls’ Division 1AA Lacrosse, and played the increasingly popular sport of Rugby at the club level for two years. At Lafayette she had to manage her athletic commitment and her love of history. “[I did better] inseason academically as you might imagine than during the offseason,” Henry said. Throughout her athletic career, her coaches knew that academics are more important than athletics. “All my coaches were teachers and made sure I did well academically,” she said. At Lafayette she worked to balance her athletic activity with her serious academic responsibilities. “During practice I was required to run four to five times a week,” Henry said. In her sophomore year she stopped playing but was still a big supporter of the Leopards. Since moving to her “new” Newton and leaving Connecticut
behind, she found her new home at South, where she teaches in the History Department and coaches three sports: Girls’ Diving, Boys’ Diving and Boys’ Lacrosse. Henry is acknowledged as an inspiration to all the athletes that had the opportunity to play for her. “She really helped me improve my overall game,” sophomore Sam Houston-Reed said. The only female involved in the Boys’ Lacrosse program. Henry says the reason she coaches Boys’ Lacrosse at South is because she still misses the sport environment and the spotlight. Henry, like many athletes, has a challenge ahead of her. Her goal is to win a 10K marathon in September. To get in shape for it, Henry follows an intense workout regiment. “I usually run three to four times a week,” Henry said. “This helps me stay in shape.” During the summers she loves to run near the fence at Fenway Park, where she rides her bike and runs on the weekends. She also hopes to participate in a triathlon soon. However, she is not enthusiastic about all of it; she is excited about participating in the swimming and running part, but is scared to be biking with many other participants around her. Henry is eager to continue her pursuit of athletics; yoga seems to be next on the horizon for the threesport coach, runner, rock climber, and full-time teacher.
The Newton South Girls’ Varsity Basketball team had a season rarely seen at any level in any sport. They did not just compile a good record, the Lions also achieved something they never have before: they won the Dual County League (DCL). Their overall record was 21-2, including a 19-0 start to the regular season, and a 16-0 record in the DCL. In the playoffs, the Lions defeated Brockton High School and Taunton High School in front of crowds that Head Coach Sam Doner believes have “a lot more respect [for the players] than I’ve ever seen.” When South’s season ended on March 9, Doner was not as upset as many students assumed; he understood the value of this season to the South Basketball program. “It was a phenomenal season. The kids worked extremely hard. They achieved more than I ever thought
they would,” he said. During their stellar regular season, the Lions were dominant both offensively and defensively. They won their games by an average margin of 27.8 points and 12 of their 20 regular season games were won by 20 points or more. In comparison, the 72-win Chicago Bulls team in 1995 only had an average winning margin of 15 points per game and only won 18 of their 72 games by 20 or more points, which is a 1:4 ratio compared to approximately a 2:3 ratio by the Lions. It was only four years ago when the Varsity team went 2-17, and now it has transformed into a state powerhouse. Since Doner took over the team in 2007, the Lions went from a middle-of-the-pack squad to a team that can compete with the best in the region. This year’s senior class has seen the program rise from being at the bottom of the DCL to blowing through
Basketball milestones passed in never-before-seen way
By Michael Berman
The Newton South Girls’ Varsity Basketball team has witnessed history with an “H” as seniors Sophie Bikofsky and Kendall Burton each reached the 1,000 point career milestone in the same season, and also in the same game. In that one night, the number of South girls to have reached that milestone doubled, from two to four. “It is a tremendous achievement as a high school athlete,” Athletic Director Scott Perrin said. “It’s just
remarkable and speaks volumes to the commitment that those two and their other teammates put into the sport of basketball.” Since they are the only teammates to have ever reached this highly recognized achievement, they are not the only ones to be excited. “Well the whole team was yelling and screaming for them,” junior Chloe Jackson-Unger said. “After it set in we realized how big of an accomplishment it was for both of them and you could just tell
Ageless Athletes: Kara Henry
photo by ray flint
By Nathan Baskin
Kara Henry is not a stereotypical “History” teacher. Many students who have her enjoy her class, as her enthusiatic and imagintive teaching style attracts many seniors each year. She interacts with her students in a fun and positive manner and creates a strong connection with them. Along with being a respected teacher-as-teacher Henry is also an outstanding athlete, and has been one throughout her life. Henry grew up in a rural environment, Newtown, Connecticut. As a freshman at Newtown High, Henry excelled in both academics and athletics. She made the Girls’ Varsity Lacrosse team her freshmen year, and continued her love for the game, playing during all four years of her high school career. In addition to Lacrosse, she played Junior Varsity Girls’ Soccer during her
its DCL opponents and competing for a State title. As magnificent as its season was, it is nearly impossible to go through an entire year without any adversity. As the players rolled into the closing games of the regular season, the Lions were thrown a curveball. Senior and starting center Julia Sloan-Cullen fractured her ankle after slipping on ice while taking a walk outside, and was forced to the sidelines for the remainder of the season. This took away some of the season-long momentum the Lions had built up as they went into their game against Central Catholic High School, hoping to complete a perfect regular season. Unfortunately for South, it could not manage to pull through in overtime as Central Catholic defeated the Lions 73-70. Nevertheless, the girls rebounded, pulling off back-to-back home playoff wins over Brockton and Taunton. Both games were very well attended and each included a raucous student section. The Girls’ team provided South with a team that was dominant and fun to root for, and they had a remarkable impact throughout the school. Though the girls could not get past Mansfield and earn a trip to the TD Garden, this season will be remembered for the dominance South showed over the course of the season, the intense home playoff games that sparked huge school spirit, and certainly the 21 wins rather than the 2 losses. “[This was] the most fun season of my life. The kids worked hard and were willing to go the extra mile and help other kids,” Doner said. But what always will be remembered more than anything, are the camaraderie and the friendships built by this team that will last beyond the basketball season. “The chemistry and the atmosphere was outstanding between these kids,” Doner said. After seeing three players get rewarded for their work with scholarships, a never-before-seen DCL title, and a strong run at the State championship, Doner is satisfied, if not ecstatic, about this past season. “I think this is a season we will never forget,” Doner said.
Sophie Bikofsky goes up for a shot.
photo by jonah seifer
how proud the coach and parents were of them.” They achieved it within a minute of each other, with both assists coming from senior Chloe Rothman. “Without Chloe, I don’t think either would have made it to their 1,000th point,” Head Coach Sam Doner said. “To be honest, I think Chloe really dictates the whole game and I don’t really see players like her being very unselfish.” The event marked the first time in South history that two teammates have reached the 1,000 point mark in a season, let alone a game. “It’s very important to the South basketball program, as it’s finally being recognized and respected out there in this state,” Doner said. These achievements are only a small part of the success the players, and the team as a whole, have had the last two years. Their accomplishment is much more than an important statistic; it is a symbol of Bikofsky’s and Burton’s work ethic. “It represents how hard they worked and how much our team had accomplished,” junior Ana Horowitz said. Having so much success on the court does not only affect the team that currently surrounds them, but the teams that are yet to come. “It’s big because it motivates the youth program. They look up to these girls and realize that they want to be a part of it now,” Doner said. The hard work that needs to be put into being successful as an individual and as a team have always been connected, but Bikofsky’s and Burton’s dedication has greatly impacted the team as a whole. This year, the hard work that these two have put has made not only themselves better, but also the team around them because it motivated the rest of the team. Playing at a high level with consistency shows the impressive work ethic these two have possessed over the four seasons here at South. “They tried to work harder then everybody else; they were the first to come to practice and the last girls to leave the court. They have certainly exceeded my expectations in a lot of different ways,” Doner said. “They were a lot more mentally tough then I thought they would be and proved me wrong on a lot of different occasions.”
23 March 2011
Turetsky wins New England tournament, ready for Nationals
By Zach Pawa Among the Wrestling team’s seniors, one stood out from the rest, a wrestler with the love of the sport flowing through his veins. Gabe Turetsky took his talent and channeled it into success. He has won the New England championship, making him one of the top wrestlers in the area. “I had to wrestle to win,” Turetsky said. “And to win, I had to wrestle.” This passion and thirst for victory was the key to his overwhelming success this year. Turetsky did not lose because he did not give his opponents a chance to beat him. He finished off the season with a 46-4 record. It was not an easy road for Turetsky, his opponent in the New England championship, Bemnet Banks, had beaten him at previous meets multiple times. “Before winning the New England [championship] Gabe had given some of his opponents chances to win,” Rotatori said. “At [the championship,] he didn’t even give Banks an opportunity.” Turetsky admits that Banks was one of his toughest opponents, but never gave up hope of eventually beating him. “I was fed up with losing to this one kid,” Turetsky said. “He was extremely talented but I knew I had the skill to win.” Banks had the first take down, but after that, Turetsky did not give him any chances. Turetsky continued to hold off Banks and got one take down as well, but that was all it took. “It came down to the last 30 seconds,” Turetsky said. “All Banks needed was one take down, but I was able to hold him off.” It took years of training to get Turetsky where he is today. He trained at school and with other coaches. Taking time out from partying with his friends, Turetsky constantly practiced and worked out. “We should all aspire to be like Gabe,” Milstein said. “He is quite the wrestler.”
Along with the phenomenal feats at the New England championship, Gabe also broke the all time school record for wins; he acquired 140 wins over the past four seasons. Two people, one of whom is Turetsky, in South’s history have surpassed 100 wins but Turetsky exceeded it by 40. “It means a lot to me,” Turetsky said. “It was one of my many goals.” The other wrestler to pass the 100win plateau now has his singlet framed in the Field House and held the wins record with 129 wins until Turetsky broke it. Both Athletic Director Scott Perrin and Rotatori have said that they would not replace the singlet. However, they might consider adding Turetsky’s if he wishes. Now that the New England championship is over, another thing is on Turetsky’s mind: Nationals. The National tournament is only a couple weeks away and Turetsky is training harder than ever. He practices twice a day, six times a week, following a rigorous training schedule. “My chances of winning Nationals are the same they were for winning New England,” Turetsky said. “If I wrestle with my mind and body I can
photo by jonah seifer
be victorious.” The Wrestling team is excited to have someone from their squad be representing them at such a prestigious event. “We are all going to be rooting for him that day,” teammate Lucian Cascino said. “I believe he can compete with the best.” Turetsky will be wrestling on March 31 in Virginia Beach, in a three-day tournament. He will compete against the best wrestlers in the United States. It will be tough, as wrestling is a sport where mental and physical strength are crucial to any victory. At this point, Turetsky is very familiar with the word tough. “Everyone is under the assumption that football is tough,” Turetsky said. But if you want to try something that will really test your toughness, give wrestling a shot.” Turetsky has been exceptional since the beginning of his career. “Gabe has been a four-year asset to the team,” Coach Alan Rotatori said. “He had 25 wins as a freshmen; that is almost unheard of.” Turetsky wrestled before coming to South, which is unusual considering South has no program designed to prepare wrestlers to compete at the high school level. “We all looked up to Gabe,” teammate Roy Milstein said. “He was such a talented wrestler, and a good leader.” Turetsky had great talent his junior year but lacked some of the mindset necessary to win. “In previous years Gabe wouldn’t learn much from a loss,” Rotatori said. “This year Gabe wouldn’t get hung up on a loss, but [he would] figure out what he did wrong, and work hard to fix it.” As for Turetsky’s future for wrestling, he has expressed a strong desire to continue wrestling in college. Boston University, which is a National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I program, has shown interest in him and that currently appears to be his destination.
photo by jonah seifer
View from the top of Mount Weston
By Justin Quinn The snow has melted, and the Weston Ski Track has once again turned into the Leo J. Martin Golf Club. But throughout the cold winter months, this magical place, only a 15 minute drive away, is home to the Newton South Varsity Nordic Ski team. Every year, this golf course is covered with both man-made and natural snow and groomed to create a ski track, a hidden gem for skiers in the area. Only a month ago, our team was out there on the slopes, braving the unpredictable weather to practice and compete. Now, when I tell people that I am on the Nordic Ski team, I usually get a response like, “Isn’t it just like walking on snow?” or “Why would you cross-country ski when you could do downhill?” or “Don’t you guys just ski uphill?” Clearly, these people just don’t get it. And I don’t expect them to. Just to be clear, walking on snow is snowshoeing (a pastime many a people practice at Weston), and I could downhill ski, but I chose to do Nordic because it is not only fun, but also a great workout. The season started out with dry-land practices, where we ran up and down the Goldrick stairs too many times to remember and did some ab-busting core workouts, all to prepare us for the memorable moment when we arrived at Weston for the first time. All of us in prime physical condition, we took on our next challenge:
learning how to ski. With a team consisting mostly of novice skiers, there was a long road ahead of us to prepare for the first race. We quickly learned that our talent running up stairs did not translate into skiing up the dreaded, yet majestic, Mt. Weston, the pinnacle of the Weston ski experience. But as the weeks passed, everyone undoubtedly gained confidence on skis and became a champion. Well, not exactly a champion, but something very close. The Nordic Ski team closed out the season with a 0-5 record, but when looking at our success, one must look beyond our record and see the progress we made and the individual wins everyone achieved throughout the season. The races, getting increasingly longer as the season went on, gave the team an opportunity to show off its progress. Not too many people can say they conquered the Nordic Playground and Mt. Weston not once, but twice in a seven-kilometer race and live to tell. Even with our developing group of skiers this year, the team did find success at the Massachusetts State Championship, with freshman Nick Reitman coming in twenty-second. Although over half the team graduates this year, Nordic skiing at South will surely continue to grow, as a fresh crew of skiers will learn to love the sport, and maybe even have as much fun as we did.
23 March 2011
View from the Top:
photo by rutul patel
Jeff Hurray, Colby Medoff, Adam Sachs, and Maarten van Genabeek
Underclassmen: We feel the best way to give you advice on your journey through South is to share a recent diary entry of ours. Dear Diary, Haa y’dah? It’s been a long time since we last talked. The past week sure was action packed. There was so much action! To our knowledge, it has been a South senior pastime to act out Lord of the Rings scenes. So, we were reenacting the siege of Helm’s Deep in my friend Alex’s basement, trying to resist the Newton bubble. We were chilling... The Orcs advanced from Isenbachgard (OMG how is Ecuador????), all bearing the mark of the white hand of Kurland-man. Fear and famine struck us on the first night. Luckily, no one was hungry for the being. On the second day, we were saved! Smeagol made a pizza…ha haaa, she was hungry. But alas, we were attacked by general turtle and his army of goofy-haired Orcs. Shoot, what a dingus! Little did he know that we too had a secret weapon, the invincible Rolando. Trained as a “junior UFC,” he crushed General Turtle’s army with his Brazilian might…stupid snoils. Night fell and silence took the deep. The oracle’s voice echoed through the stone walls, posing the most crucial and philosophical of questions: Who is the sexiest girl of Brown ‘07? Why is Colby in the class of 2011? These questions were too much for our feeble hobbit minds to handle, so
we left Alex’s basement to get food. We craved cereal, but the measly portions of milk allowed by our otherwise gracious host forced us to go out to eat. We took the T to Anna’s Tacqueria. It was pretty good.
The Orcs advanced Isenbach-gard to (OMG how is Ecuador????), all bearing the mark of the white hand of Kurland-man. But enough of this tomfoolery; we had to get back to the most pressing issues: Helm’s deep was under attack and the people of Rohan needed our help! We realized that the key to victory was addressing the Oracle’s questions. We determined the first question was pointless and not worth addressing-everyone knows the Brown ‘07 girls are equally attractive.
But the second question: oh how it loomed over our minds…We fell into a deep sleep, and in our dreams we saw a trio of seductive temptresses. It was at this moment that our dream was encompassed by moisture. They swooped in on a dragon’s back, and introduced themselves: “I am the Red Fox. These are my sisters, Horned Toad and Snow Owl. If you seek to answer the Oracle’s question, you must first cite all of your sources.” Not having access to EasyBib in Alex’s basement, we were at a loss. It was the fourth night, and we decided to seek council with our lord and savior, Grace Ross. She informed us that on the dawn of the fifth day, we should look to the east and we would be saved from the vicious army of Orcs frolicking outside. Awaking on the dawn of the fifth day, we followed her gubernatorial edict and looked to the east. Low and behold, a door flew open and there he was, Marc, the father of our friend Alex, riding his glorious white steed Cali. He yelled to us, “What the hell are you still doing in my basement? It’s been five days!” He kicked us all out, but we knew that deep down inside he wanted to play LOTR too. We left in satisfaction, knowing we had defeated the Orcs, and completed our quest. All was well in the shire. It should honestly be pretty obvious how this applies to your current and future lives at South. If not, find the red fox; she will show you the way.
BBM Me: BlackBerries at South
By Justin Quinn When senior Rebecca Shait received a BlackBerry for Chanukah, she cried. This outburst of joy was followed by a series of screams and subsequent phone calls to friends, who picked up their BlackBerries and shared the excitement. BlackBerry in hand, Shait has joined the group of more than 41 million worldwide Blackberry users. Though consistently a phone of choice for many, holding nearly 15 percent of the world’s smartphone sales, BlackBerries are becoming an increasingly popular form of communication among students at South, particularly those in the senior class. “I feel as though I’m one of the last people out of my friends who has gotten one,” Shait said. “I always see people on their BlackBerries, whether they are BBMing, playing Brickbreaker, or texting another person.” As with most smartphones, the BlackBerry is not essential to a student’s education or daily life and now, though many high school students have BlackBerries, the phone wasn’t created for this purpose. The Canadian-based company Research in Motion (RIM) has been producing BlackBerries since 1999, but its purpose and format has drastically changed since then. The first model was a simple two-way pager, intended for business use only. Over time, RIM further developed its capabilities to receive emails and eventually turned it into the technologically advance
smartphone seen today. Because of their capabilities, BlackBerries have long been the device of choice in the business world; many corporations still require employees to have them. Over the past few years, however, there has been a shift in customer base as the demographic has grown to include a younger audience, evident in the number of users at South. Senior Andrea Braver has been a BlackBerry user for about a year and a half, after getting her father’s old phone. “For workers [like my dad], the phone serves as an electronic dog tag, in that companies have 24/7 access to their employees,” Braver said. “Initially, when my dad generously lent me his old phone… the BlackBerry wasn’t popular yet. However, within six months, a lot of teens got them.” Unlike Braver, who was unaware of the phone’s capabilities, many South seniors getting BlackBerries now are attracted to the convenient and useful features such as internet access, email, BlackBerry Messaging (BBM), applications, a full keyboard, and occasionally the calendar. The businessperson stigma of the phone has been removed to reveal a modern phone attractive to many students. “I’ve noticed that a lot of people have them, and people get really into BBMing and even the cases,” senior and non-BlackBerry user Shireen Pourbemani said. “They can be a little BLACKBERRIES, continued on page B4
Winter doldrums clinically classified as disorder By Josh Nislick As the color green becomes increasingly evident across Newton lawns, South students joyfully say farewell to a long, cold winter. After three months of frigid temperatures and sunsets at 4:30 PM, spring comes as a welcome relief and marks the end of the darkest season of the year. Not only are the days beginning to get warmer, but more importantly they are getting longer. A lack of sunlight is one reason why many people experience increased feelings of sadness and depression during the winter. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a disease in which humans’ emotions are affected by a change in their environment caused by a new season. This season is often winter, and the absence of light causes those who have SAD to feel depressed. First discovered by Norman E. Rosenthal, this disease has a significant impact on humans, and those who have the disorder experience mood swings and negative emotions. According to Richard Friedman of the New York Times, SAD is most common in New Hampshire, in which
it affects nearly 10% of the population. South’s AP Psychology teacher Sean Turley said that SAD changes students by affecting how their brains function. “Much of the way our brains work is by chemicals reacting to their environment,” said Turley. He added that for those who suffer from SAD, their minds don’t function as well without light. There is treatment for people with SAD. Light therapy is an effective way to help those with Seasonal Affective Disorder because it provides them with the light that their brains need but are missing in the winter. Although most students do not suffer from the actual disorder, the darkness of winter seems to still affect many. South nurse Gail Kramer agrees that light deficiency is the main issue. “People leave their houses and it’s dark,” Kramer said, “And when they come home, it’s dark.” Sophomore Sam Ludin said that winter makes his life more difficult. “When you get home and it’s already dark, it’s depressing,” said Ludin. Not only do the early sunsets seem to upset people, but the frigid tempera-
photo from internet source
tures are problematic as well. light has increased. piness. Sophomore Adam Friedman said he The days have begun to grow lonTurley said that spring can be a time feels down during the winter, and that ger, and with students setting their of relief, and Kramer agrees. what he dislikes most about the season clocks forward for Daylight Savings “It is, absolutely. You see everyone is being indoors. the sun will be out much later than smiling, hanging out,” said Kramer. Snow contributes to the low spirits 4:30 PM. Although winter will inevitably rebrought on by winter as well. With spring comes the return of turn, students can enjoy warm weather Despite the fact that it cancelled smiles to South, and students feel and sunlight for at least the next six school, the winter of 2011 resulted in that spring is a time of joy and hap- months. some of the highest snow accumulations in years. The City of Newton was especially hurt by this year’s snowfall because of the amount of money it spent on snow removal, and there were issues about where to put all of the snow. Newton residents also felt the pain of snow removal. “When you have to shovel you whole driveway, it’s a pain,” Ludin said. Still, the root of the depression caused by winter seems to lie in the lack of sunlight, but with the arrival of photo by aley lewis spring, the amount of Students’ moods were as gloomy as the dirty snow piling on the streets because of SAD.
BlackBerries barrage South BLACKBERRIES, continued from page B5
‘culty’ because it is easier to contact people with BlackBerries [through BBM].” Despite this, Pourbemani would get a BlackBerry if she had the opportunity. “They’re very addicting and you can never go back. I don’t want to say that I want one, but I secretly do.” Though plentiful and useful, its features, apart from BBM, are not exclusive to the brand. And though none of these extra features are vital, countless students continue to flock towards it. Senior Shayna Sage has a total of 104 BBM contacts, 46 of whom are past and present South students and the rest of whom are camp friends. “BlackBerries are useful because they allow us to stay in touch with foreign [camp] staff members throughout the school year,” Sage said. “It also enables you to send sound bites and pictures even faster than before. Who wouldn’t want that?” In addition to South students, celebrities and politicians from Madonna to Barack Obama have been spotted with BlackBerries, creating a prestigious status for the phone. Twenty-year-old singer Sean Kingston even recorded a song with Soulja Boy and Teairra Mari called “BBM,” praising this popular feature. Kingston took to his Twitter account to say, “If u got a BlackBerry, stand up rite now! This is yo’ anthem. Smash it. BBM me!” Braver, who now sports a BlackBerry Touch, which is the newest model, vocalized a sentiment which stems from the status now attached to the brand.
“I decided, in order to keep up with the trend, I would buy the newest, coolest of them all,” Braver said, slyly smiling. “It’s all about staying on top.” Smartphones users in general are on the rise. According to the International Data Corporation, third Quarter smartphone sales in 2010 have risen 89.5 percent from third quarter sales in 2009. Although other smartphones like the iPhone and Android-operated devices are certainly popular, many South students still turn to the BlackBerry as the phone and its competitive market continue to grow. “I prefer [BlackBerries] to the iPhone because touch screens are really hard to type on, and I prefer it to the Droid because the Droid has so many unnecessary features and is way too confusing,” Shait said. Senior Ashan Singh recently chose to buy a BlackBerry after deliberating between this and the iPhone. But he does not regret his decision at all. “I really wanted a smartphone. Period,” Singh said. “And I realized I needed a keyboard so I chose my BlackBerry.” And while he mentioned the excessive nature of the phone, he noted that “it’s the cool thing to do.” When purchasing a new phone, students are signed to a two-year contract, and as more people are swayed, the number of users increases even more. Although the Blackberry does not present any unique capabilities other than BBMing, it has carved a cult status at South. Users are locked into a commitment and wouldn’t have it any other way. “Why would I choose another phone?” Sage said, looking up as her fingers click across her BlackBerry.
23 March 2011
photo by denebola staff
Faculty Focus: Jack Rossini
population in Newton began to fall By Courtney Foster Throughout the course of the past increasingly lower. There came to be half century, students created dynamic fewer and fewer students at South, artwork and belted harmonious num- until only several hundred spanned all the grade levels. bers within South’s walls. All student groups at South grew The progression of the Art and Musmaller; the schoolsic programs at South wide band had has occurred in Though art and music only 25 musilieu of the efforts cians. of countless peoclasses continue to inThis decline ple, from the parcrease in size, Rossini in students led ents who assist these programs believes, “the student en- to the schools needing as to the teachers thusiasm is still there” and not many teachers to who build their are “on the upswing.” maintain a proper foundations, and student-teacher finally to the sturatio, so Rossini’s dents who push first tenure ended during a series of these programs beyond their limits. From within this sort of family, staff cuts. Around 1990, he taught at Brown there is one man in particular who has seen these programs at their heights Middle School. According to Rossini, this was a and struggles. This artist and musician is Dr. Jack Rossini, a teacher who tough time for everyone involved in recently re-introduced himself to the the Newton Public School system, and consequently, everybody suffered. South community. Fortunately, the 1990’s brought a Rossini has a vast history in the Newton Public School system. His “building decade,” and the student career at South began in 1983 when population began to increase once more. he directed the band, working with When Newton South offered Rossini the Choral Director Helen Taylor and Or- position of orchestra director, he took the chestra Director Gordon Duckel. This job, and what began as an 11-musician was not, however, an opportune time orchestra in 2003 grew to a hearty 45 musicians within six years. to start teaching at a new school. The band and chorus increased in During the 1980s, the student
numbers as well with the arrival of Ms. Lisa Linde and Dr. Benjamin Youngman. Beginning in 2006, Rossini headed the Fine Arts department until his retirement in 2009. With Youngman’s leave of absence to travel to China, Rossini returned to assume Youngman’s position as the director of three choruses and as the teacher of music theory classes. During the time in which Rossini worked at South, much has changed in the Fine Arts department. Changes in student population have largely shaped and defined the progression of the Art and Music programs. Currently, both of these programs are grappling with the effects of limited funding, and employees are working harder than ever to accommodate for the monetary losses. Though art and music classes continue to increase in size, Rossini believes, “the student enthusiasm is still there” and are “on the upswing.” Numerous awards have recognized the excellence of these programs, which is always showcased in the students’ high level of performance. These artists have Rossini to thank for helping sculpt this inspirational pathway, which will provoke creativity in young minds for generations to come.
23 March 2011
Garber wins ballroom dancing Nationals in Provo, Utah GARBER, continued from page A1
Garber and Golman in the middle of their Routine.
PHOTO CONTRIBUTED BY RON GARBER
experience competing against the West Coast. They were all unknown and had their own [ﬂare],” Garber said. “But our biggest accomplishment [that night] I think was defeating our longtime rival from New York.” Phil Kudryavtsev, another South student who attended the NDCA competition and placed fourth overall, said, “[Garber and Golman] presented themselves well and they danced well as a couple. They give great motivation for others to perform better.” Alair Nahebedian, another ballroom dancer from South, reciprocates Kudryavtsev’s sentiment, “I’m really happy for Garber. He’s an amazing dancer and worked really hard to get what he achieved.” Garber and Golman danced in the youth category and after placing ﬁrst with the youth, participated in the under 21 category. They placed second in the under 21 category. “I am even more proud of placing in the under 21 category. Its incredible that that happened,” Garber noted.
Next year, both dancers will be eighteen years old, and therefore they must compete in the amateur (older than 18) category of competitions. Naturally, the competition level for the amateur category is higher than the youth category. Garber’s ultimate goal is to be an internationally ranked dancer. To stride towards his goal, Garber and Golman will be competing in another national competition in a couple months. If they place ﬁrst or second in that, then the couple will be invited to the Czech Republic to compete in a global event. This would make Garber one of the youngest at that competition and one step closer to his dream. Both of dancers also plan on attending the Black Pool International Dance Festival in May. Hundreds of couples will be attending the competition, and this is the ﬁrst major competition Golman and Garber will attend together in the amateur category.
Recession hits Newton Center businesses long and hard
Recessions hit hard. Every couple decades when the economy takes a swan dive, casualties are seen everywhere. Due the economic downturn in recent months, small businesses such as the Pie Bakery, the Starbucks on the Centre T Station, Tess and Carlos, and the Cold Stone Creamery have been forced to board up their windows and close their doors for good. Although these stores went out of business, new stores step in to take their place. With a new diner, a restaurant taking the place of Pie, a Panera Bread, and a cupcake store opening soon, Newton Center is getting a new look, as well as a new feel. What used to be mostly takeout restaurants have become more upscale, sit-down eateries. “Unlike Tango Mango or Subway, the new food places like [the diner] are becoming more of a sit down and stay place, rather than just run in, get food, and leave,” sophomore Eliza Spiegalman said.
Although more stores are now available for a wide range of tastes, Newton Center might not feel a difference in business. “ I don’t think I’ll go there more than I already do, which is at least a few times a week, but what could be bad about cupcakes?” sophomore Jessie Rosen said. Bringing a unique look to Newton Centre dining, the Deluxe Station Diner on Union Street opened its doors with high hopes that have been met well. “There is not anything like this anywhere,” said manager Jerry Ullman, “You can come here and have breakfast, lunch, dinner, or just breakfast all day if you want. It’s awesome because that sort of thing appeals to all demographics.” Unlike Rosen, however, senior Bryan Cheng feels differently about the renovation’s effect on business. “I may go just to try some of the new places out, like the diner or the cupcake place, but as for places like Panera, I doubt it because it’s kind of
on the expensive side,” he said. With all the excitement, it’s easy to forget that other places in Newton have also been hit hard by the economic recession. Rugged Bear, a clothing store for young boys, is closing after many years in business. The economics woes, however, do
not stop there. Places that have been in Newton for many years, like the Atrium Mall, are closing too. South students agree that they have outgrown the Atrium Mall, but they still miss certain things about its presence. “The Atrium Mall hasn’t really been the place to go since middle school, but I’ll be sad about Bertuccis closing,” junior Aafreen Rajani said. Other eateries that have become an institution for Newton have stayed strong throughout the economic downturn. Cabot’s, an exteremly popular ice cream shop around the Newton North areas has refused to shut down due to their wildly supportive customers; “Cabot’s has been
a neighborhood business for too many years to shut down,” North graduate Bohan Leng said. “It’s a big part of the Newton community and everyone knows it. It just wouldn’t shut down.” Although the economy may have
PHOTO BY ALEY LEWIS
turned sour, and stores that have been in Newton for years have left, new stores have come to take their place. They have transformed the rustic old Newton Center into a new, nuanced, and very promising atmosphere.
Wisconsin union struggle and Newton budget parallels
In past several months public sector unions have suffered attacks by the state governments of Ohio, Indiana and most notably, Wisconsin. The Wisconsin governor recently succeeded in a bill stripping collective bargaining rights from most public workers. Tens of thousands of protestors responded by ﬂooding the lawn and cramming the halls of the Wisconsin State Capitol. Democratic senators walked out and remained in Illinois so as to create a legislative stalemate by depriving their Republican counterparts of a quorum on ﬁscal matters. After three weeks, the Wisconsin governor and Republican senators pushed through the bill limiting bargaining for public-sector workers by a much-criticized late-night repeal of parts of a previous bill restricting the number of senators needed for a quorum. In Newton labor problems exist but
in the area of education are handled less dramatically. “People move to Newton to raise their children in a toptier education environment and therefore Newton prioritizes education,” Physics teacher and Newton Teacher Association Building Representative Alex Kraus said. Historically strong support of public education and the Newton Public Schools translates into power for teachers and their unions to negotiate. “Our teacher unions are stronger,” History teacher Jamie Rinaldi said, “Deval Patrick looks to cut public funding but does not have the boldness to attack teachers union in Massachusetts due to their high levels of public support.” Current lack of teacher contracts in Newton and announced plans on future cuts in public education do not appear to parallel conditions in Wisconsin. “Newton has a budget shortfall and therefore there are tough
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economic conditions for the union and school committee,” Kraus said, “It should be noted that this is not the ﬁrst case that we have worked for a period of a year without a contract, and it will not be the last.” Yet the power of unions in the past has not fazed Wisconsin’s union opponents. “Wisconsin has been a
“I teach. I touch the future.” – Christa McAuliffe huge supporter of public education,” Principal Joel Stembridge said, “It is disconcerting that this is happening in Wisconsin.” Rinaldi agrees, but is heartened by the responses to the Wisconsin bill. “The response by the teacher’s unions, this massive collective response where people are occupying their state house is also evidence that unions aren’t
going to back down easily. There is strong popular support for the teachers.” Despite how it was accomplished, passing the Wisconsin bill could affect teachers unions in Newton and nationwide. “A loss in [Wisconsin] would send the message that unions are weak and can be knocked down” Rinaldi said. And a collapse of teacher’s unions would offer easier cuts in public education budgets. “We’re in a dire economy and one of the ways to solve that is to cut on teacher’s pensions, health care, and pay rather than press for more a more equitable tax arrangement,” English teacher Michael Kennedy said. Failure to pass this bill or bills limiting or eliminating collective bargaining in other states would offer a brighter future for teacher and other public service unions. “What happens in Wisconsin affects every union in
the country as it sends a message to legislators,” Rinaldi said. Alex Kraus takes this assessment a step further, saying, “My hope is that the struggle in Wisconsin sheds light on the public sector’s work and their contribution to society.” NTA President, Mike Zilles, believes that Newton is safe from the drive to strip public school teachers of collective bargaining, “[Mayor] Setti Warren has made it clear from the beginning that he does not agree with the drive to take away collective bargaining rights.” The power of teachers will most likely be their saving grace. “The responsibilities of teachers are immense, nothing short of insuring the happiness and well being of the American community and the future of the nation,” Stembridge said. “In the words of Christa McAuliffe, the teacher aboard the Challenger space shuttle, ‘I teach. I touch the future.’”
South offers aid to ﬁre victims
PHOTO BY MONIQUE GOULD
FIRE , continued from Page A1
Michael Castro, Newton South is the ofﬁcial shelter for the south side of Newton. He said, however, that accommodations were very basic; the cots, for example, were designed only for temporary living of up to four days. In the end, all the residents decided against using the cots and went to stay with family and friends or to pay the reduced rate at the hotel. Dashti’s family stayed at her cousin’s house in Cambridge until the complex’s management allowed residents to move back to their apartments.
Although the ﬁre was contained in the Towers’ concrete basement room, it damaged the transformer and other electrical equipment and residents’ personal belongings, forcing NStar to cut power to the building. “The initial damage was about $300,000 in the equipment itself,” Castro said, “But there’s consumable stuff in the refrigerators [in individual units].” According to Castro, the blanket insurance policy for the complex will cover claims that residents make for such consumable items. “We weren’t allowed to go upstairs because we didn’t have anything important in our apartment. Only elderly people were allowed to go back, with a ﬁreﬁghter, to get their medications from their refrigerators,” Dashti said. Castro and many other Towers residents commended all the city staff and management involved for their aid in a safe evacuation and for their great response to the situation.
“It wasn’t an immediate decision to evacuate [the Towers] because they thought it could be restored quickly,” Castro said. “We had to evacuate 423 units with minimal lighting and no elevators.” He continued to say that the subsequent efforts went as planned: safely and efﬁciently. Many of the residents were elderly, and had to be carried down several ﬂights of stairs by staff. There were no injuries, and after the evacuation, the Fire Department went back and checked all the rooms to make sure that no residents remained. Alfonzo agreed, “The management acted in a very proper way, and everybody was safe. And nobody was hurt, so I was really, really grateful.” This was the Towers’ ﬁrst evacuation since 1980, and the management has been collaboration with the Newton Fire Department to take measures in preventing such ﬁres in the future. The Towers reopened on Feb 21.
Global Education Denebola
Global Education B6
23 March 2011
Earthquake, tsunami devastate Japan; nuclear disaster feared
By Wendy Ma and Vicky Yee On Friday, March 11, an earthquake reportedly measuring 8.9 on the Richter scale hit Japan, triggering a massive tsunami. Early that morning, 300 were predicted dead, but by the afternoon, the death count had risen into the thousands, and the magnitude of the earthquake was raised to 9.0. A 0.1 increase on the Richter scale is actually an increase of about 30 percent because the scale is logarithmic. As of March 19, approximately 7,500 deaths had been confirmed, and 12,000 people are missing. Officials expect both numbers to rise. Because Japan suffers frequent earthquakes, most buildings are built to withstand earthquakes under 7.5 on the Richter scale. This earthquake, however, was far stronger than anyone could have prepared for, and also triggered a devastating tsunami.
The tsunami hit Japan off the coast of Sendai, creating waves of up to 33 feet—the worst natural disaster in Japan’s recorded history. Devastation, destruction, depression, cannot even begin to describe the horror of the disaster. Videos of the tragedy depict cars filled with families being swept right off the highway, people trying to outrun the raging tsunami, and countless homes being destroyed. In one video, a little boy wails for the mother whom he will never see again. “Shocked” was the only word sophomore Hikaru Yonezaki could come up with when she heard the news about the disaster. “I have family and friends there. My grandparents and relatives who live in the west (around 500 miles away from the area hit) said they felt a shake, but they seem to be doing OK,”
Yonezaki said. Japan is suffering from not only a terrible earthquake, hundreds of aftershocks, and a tsunami that that had washed away thousands of homes, but also from a potential nuclear meltdown from a reactor complex.. Japan possesses few energy sources and generates a quarter of its electricity through nuclear power. “Nuclear facilities in Japan ... were built to withstand earthquakes, but not a 9.0 earthquake,” CNN contributor and research associate James Walsh said. The cooling systems of Dai-ichi and Dai-ni, two nuclear power plants on the east coast of Japan, have failed, causing explosions that emit radioactive vapor. Although the radiation emitted is not very harmful according to safety officials in Japan, everyone within an 18-mile radius of the power
plants has been evacuated as a safety precaution. Noriyuki Shikata, spokesman for Prime Minister Naoto Kan, asserted that the nuclear situation was “under control.” Since then, a state of emergency has been declared for the two primary nuclear plants. “The nuclear explosion was completely unexpected. I had believed that the Japanese built those nuclear power plants in safe areas with rigid securities, and I still believe that. Even so, the explosion happened, and it was massive, too!” Yonezaki said. Despite the current nuclear anxiety, experts do not expect a repeat of the disastrous 1986 Chernobyl meltdown in Ukraine, which is considered the worst nuclear meltdown of all time. Unlike Chernobyl, the Japanese reactors are enclosed by containment vessels to guard against eruption.
Although the magnitude of the nuclear explosions was not as bad as Chernobyl’s, Japan’s fear of nuclear radiation is increasing. The effects of the explosion have yet to be fully determined, but there is no doubt that the nuclear radiation will cause human fatalities in years to come. The disaster has prompted other nations around the world to reconsider their use of nuclear power. Until now, there was bipartisan agreement in America over nuclear power, but many politicians are not so sure anymore. “I think it calls on us here in the US, naturally, not to stop building nuclear power plants, but to put the brakes on right now until we understand the ramifications of what’s happened in Japan,” Senator Joseph I. Lieberman, the Independent from Connecticut and one of the Senate’s leading voices on energy, said on CBS’s “Face the Nation.” Massachusetts, which generates 11 percent of its electricity using nuclear power, is host to Pilgrim Nuclear Generation Plant in Plymouth, whose operating license will expire in about a year. According to Dori Zaleznik, the Newton health commissioner, there is a chance that the radiation could drift from Japan to the US, but it is fairly unlikely. Countries closer to Japan, such as Russia, are much more worried. In addition to the nuclear-related health concerns, Japan’s economy has been severely harmed by the impending disaster and many companies have halted production. The Nikkei Stock Average, the index of the Tokyo Stock Exchange, has fallen over 2,500 points since the earthquake hit Japan. “Everything is happening so fast. In the east, there’s a shortage on food, electronic power, gas, everything. Even things like clothing. They don’t have enough of that—and they’re running out,” Yonezaki said. Her concerns echo those of many Japanese citizens. There are concerns that the shortage could eventually expand all over Japan as people evacuate to the west, which could further impede economic recovery.
By Lizzie Odvarka On December 17, 2010, a Tunisian street vendor named Mohamed Bouazizi set himself on fire in front of a government building to protest police corruption. He almost certainly had no idea what kind of effect his single act would have. The next day, unrest broke out in his country, with protesters demanding an end to corruption, one-party rule, and poor living and economic conditions. The unrest crossed into neighboring Algeria ten days later, and then spread like wildfire into Libya, Jordan, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Iran, and other, mostly Arab, nations. The Tunisian revolt ended on January 14, in what appeared to be a victory for the protesters, when the Tunisian president, Ben Ali, fled the country for exile in Saudi Arabia. Protests continued, however, demanding that Prime Minister Mohamed Ghannouchi resign and the ruling party be dissolved. Both demands were met on February 27 and March 9, respectively. Unrest continues, however, and more than 200 have died. The Tunisian revolution is fairly emblematic of the unrest, which is protesting, generally, authoritarian regimes, corruption, and economic stagnation. One other country has successfully undergone a revolution: Egypt. Protests that began on January 25 quickly
evolved into a gigantic movement that included the occupation of Tahrir, or Liberation, Square. Despite attacks on the protesters made by police and government thugs, the protesters held on to the massive plaza for weeks, eventually resulting in the resignation of Hosni Mubarak as president, transferring all power to a provisional military council. The council has carried out most of the protesters’ demands, including the dissolution of the rubber-stamp parliament and the hated secret police and the release of political prisoners. Martial law has not yet been repealed, but the council promises to. Constitutional referendums and elections are pending. There are believed to have been almost 700 deaths. In Jordan, leftists, trade unionists, and Islamists demonstrated, starting on January 14, demanding improved living standards, an end to corruption, and the popular election of a prime minister. King Abdullah has formed a new government and asked it to “take quick, concrete, and practical steps to launch a genuine political reform process.” Bahrain, a tiny, relatively wealthy island nation north of Saudi Arabia, has not escaped the turmoil. Initial protests sought to secure greater political freedom and human rights. Following police violence against protesters, resulting in several deaths,
the opposition’s goals expanded to the abolition of the Sunni monarchy that rules the mostly Shi’ite country. The stationing of the US Fifth Fleet in the country, fears that Iran could take advantage of the chaos to gain influence or control in the country that it has historical claims to, and the stationing of Saudi Arabian forces in the country at the request of King Al Khalifa, further complicate the situation. Iran has already made significant gains thanks to the chaos. Iranian ships have entered the Mediterranean Sea for the first time since its revolution in 1979, and Western powers are concerned that potential Shi’ite gains, in Bahrain, Yemen, or other countries, could further expand its influence. But while Iran’s government declares its support for the protesters in other nations, it is facing its most serious opposition since the abortive Green Revolution of 2009. The government-organized celebration of the 32nd anniversary of the Iranian Revolution was poorly attended, and opposition leaders called for protests on the 14th. Despite the arrests of aides to opposition leaders Mousavi and Karroubi and the use of violence against protesters, up to a third of a million marched in Tehran alone, chanting, “Mubarak, Ben Ali, now it’s time for Seyed Ali [Khamenei].” Iranian Parmida Maghsoudlou, a senior at South, voiced her support for the uprisings, saying that the protests are “a way of standing up against the dictatorship in the name of a republic in Iran. “The government is a one-man government that controls every aspect in people’s lives—he should be stopped and this is the way of telling him, as well as the world, how the people feel and what they are able to do for freedom.” Yemen is not only racked by protests, but may be coming apart at the seams. Home to perhaps the most
powerful branch of Al-Qaeda and threatened by a secessionist rebellion in the South and a Shi’ite uprising in the North, its president, Ali Abdullah Saleh, is rapidly losing support in all sections of society. Leaders of his own tribe have abandoned him, and thousands of protesters have taken to the streets, demanding his resignation. Saleh, who has ruled for 30 years, has stated that he won’t run for another term, but protests have continued nevertheless. On Friday, thousands gathered in the capital of Sana’a. The peaceful protest quickly became a bloodbath as snipers fired on protesters and children from the rooftops as police blocked escape routes using tear gas and flaming barricades. A shocking 46 were found dead and hundreds were wounded. Mohammad al-Sabri, an opposition spokesman, calls it a massacre, blaming Saleh for the bloodshed. Upon learning of the tragedy, President Obama demanded that Saleh publicly announce his consent to peaceful demonstrations. Instead, Saleh has declared a 30-day state of emergency that prohibits citizens from carrying weapons and allows his security forces to intervene in the protests, creating new tensions between Yemen and the United States. Moammar al-Gaddafi, however, makes Saleh seem meek in compari-
son. The 40-year ruler of Libya, he has ruthlessly cracked down on protesters demanding massive political and economic changes. Gaddafi loyalists have violently crushed uprisings in the capital, Tripoli, but lost control of much of the country’s East in the first few days of unrest. Unlike other countries, Libya’s uprising has evolved into a fully-fledged rebellion. Initially, rebel forces drove deep into the West, making it appear for a time that they might even seize Tripoli. Mercenaries and loyal military units counterattacked, however, and the rebels have lost much of their gains over the past week. On March 17, the UN Security Council approved a no-fly zone over Libya, authorizing willing nations to intervene in Libya to protect civilian lives. Several nations, including France and the United States, which launched missiles at several targets on the Libyan coast, intervened starting on March 21. The total death toll for all the protests and revolutions is over 11,000, of which at least 6,000 are Libyan. It remains to be seen whether the Libyan rebellion or any of the uprisings will succeed, but protesters seem willing to lay down their lives, if necessary, to secure the basic rights and freedoms that most of the Western world enjoys.
photo from internet source
Protests, bloodshed, and hope in the Middle East
photo from internet source
graphic by dylan royce
23 March 2011
Italian PM Berlusconi in another legal battle
photo from internet source
Now Berlusconi is set to face a trial for paying for sex with an underage girl (Mahroug was 17 at the time) and for abusing his power as prime minister to win Mahroug’s release from custody. Berlusconi’s lawyer Niccolo Ghedini says that Berlusconi plans to attend all of the trials in the upcoming months. The prime minister and his lawyer deny all allegations and claim the trial is politically motivated. The trial, however, not only concerns the allegation of sex with an underage girl, but also two other charges: one of bribery and one of corruption. Silvio Berlusconi has been elected Prime Minister on three separate occasions, first serving in 1994, then from 2001 to 2006, and most recently since 2008. Founding his own political party, Forza Italia, or “Go Italy,” in 1993, Berlusconi became the Italian Prime Minister a year later, serving for six months. Leading a center-right party, Berlusconi attempted to forge a powerful right-wing alliance in order to dominate Italian politics, but was unsuccessful. His coalition collapsed after only seven months in office as he faced accusations of tax fraud in Milan. Listed as the 74th richest man in the world by Forbes magazine, Berlusconi has a net worth of over $9 billion from his business successes. Owner of A.C. Milan, one of the most prestigious soccer clubs in the world, Berlusconi has amassed his wealth by working in the television, newspaper, publishing, cinema, finance, banking, and insurance industries. His company Mediaset broadcasts three television channels, half of the Italian television market. The trial that Berlusconi will face
later this year will not be his first. Since he entered politics 17 years ago, he has received numerous accusations of corruption, bribery, embezzlement, tax fraud, false accounting, attempting to bribe a judge, and other crimes. Berlusconi claims to be the victim of the Italian judicial authorities and estimates that he has made over 2,500 court appearances in 106 different trials. Through it all, he has denied the accusations and has never been convicted of anything serious. Although Berlusconi has evaded
accusations in the past, the trial he will face in the coming months may finally end his reign as Prime Minister. Other blights on his reputation, including his alleged links to the Italian mafia, his support of Belarusian dictator Alexander Lukashenko, and his attempts at reconciliation with Libyan despot Muammar Qaddafi, may finally be catching up with him. Politicians and regular Italians are increasingly suggesting that his crimes are both an embarrassment for and a danger to Italy.
By Sammie Levin Along with 14 other South upperclassmen and Spanish teachers Viviana Planine and Marla Weiner, I recently spent two and a half weeks in Peru—or as some fondly call it, “Peraah”—on a language and community service trip. From February 16 through March 4, we toured the country, lived with Peruvian families, took Spanish classes, worked in local orphanages, suffered excruciating stomach pains, and (most importantly) dined on fine cuisine. It was an eye-opening experience that I am sure none of us will ever forget. In the beginning of the trip, we spent the days sightseeing and the nights staying together in hostels. We started in Lima, walking and busing around the city, and then took a plane to Cusco and toured neighboring cities and villages. We saw Incan ruins, learned about ancient rituals and the process of dying and weaving threads, and ate at a lot of buffets. Since the elevation of Cusco is nearly 11,000 feet, the first few days were spent acclimating to the high altitude with the help of a plethora of medication and mate de coca (an herbal tea made using the leaves of the coca plant). Some fared better than others. We kept a day-by-day log of who on the trip was still “alive”—senior Jenny Fleisher was the final survivor. “What a champ,” senior Max Levine wrote about her on his frequently updated Facebook status. On Sunday, February 20, we went to Machu Pichu, one of the Seven Wonders of the World. Words cannot really do Machu Pichu justice—even
“majestic,” which almost always gets the job done, sells it short. To get there, we took a lethal bus ride up a narrow, winding mountain. In 30 minutes, there we were, facing the beautiful, expansive “Lost City of the Incans.” We walked throughout it as we learned about its history from our fearless guide, Percy. Despite a downpour of rain toward the end, it was amazing. That night we (sans my backpack) traveled back to Cusco to begin the homestay portion of the trip. For the next two weeks, we stayed with families in houses spread throughout the city. There were two travelers in each house, except for Levine (“El Valiente”), who stayed alone. Senior Blair Borden and I lived with Doris, a lovely 60 year-old woman, and
her 90 year-old mother—our dear abuelita—while many other students had younger kids in their houses. Mondays through Fridays, we took Spanish classes at a nearby school for four hours in the morning. We were divided by level into classes of about two to five students each. They were very different from Spanish classes at South, in the sense that they were conducted entirely in Spanish and were based largely on casual conversations. “My Spanish improved twofold,” senior Alex Seibel said. “Close, but no cigar. Oh wait, never mind.” After school, we would all return to our separate houses to eat lunch with our families. In Peru, the custom is to have a large lunch and small dinner. A typical lunch consisted of soup, a
main course such as chicken and rice, and fruit. After lunch, we went to orphanages for approximately three hours. We were divided among several orphanages, some for babies and young kids, and others for adolescents and young adults. We talked with the kids, taught them English, played games with them, and got our hair braided (or put into cornrows—long hair, don’t care). Though it was sad to be in the orphanages, many students made lasting bonds with the kids and learned a lot. “Working with the kids in the orphanages was really rewarding and forced us to learn Spanish quickly,” Borden said. At night, we ate dinner with our families, but since dinners were small, we usually met up afterwards to eat at local cafes and restaurants. Pancakes with caramelized bananas were a group favorite. On weekends, we did not go to school or the orphanages and instead went on sightseeing excursions. We visited several markets, more Incan ruins, and a farm with alpacas and llamas. We accomplished a lot, covered significant territory, and made countless memories in our two and a half week stay in Peru. Though there were some things we were ready to say goodbye to—like the lack of oxygen, the reckless drivers, “the trucha,” and the aggressive recruiters of InkaTeam—it was really hard to leave. I strongly recommend the trip and truly hope that I will go back sometime in the future.
By Peter Natov Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has found himself in yet another legal battle. This time, Berlusconi faces an indictment for paying for sex with the underage Moroccan nightclub belly dancer Karima el Mahroug, also known as Ruby Rubacuori, or “Ruby the Heart-Stealer.” Reports of a sexual liaison between Berlusconi and Mahroug arose after she was arrested in May 2010 for theft. Berlusconi called the head of the Milan police department and pressed for her release, claiming that Mahroug was the granddaughter of former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak and that a diplomatic crisis would arise if she were not let go, which she was. Both the seventy-four-year-old Berlusconi and the now eighteen-year-old Mahroug deny having sex with each other, but Mahroug has admitted that she attended sex parties at Berlusconi’s mansion outside of Milan. She claims that during one of the parties she met Berlusconi, who brought her upstairs to give her €7,000 and some jewelry.
photo from internet source
Student recounts February trip to Peru
photo by sammie levin
photo by sammie levin
By Dylan Royce
Rethinking American Policy in the Middle East
In October 2010, the US announced $2 billion in military aid to Pakistan. This is only the lastest in a long series of aid packages to the country, both military and humanitarian. America pours a huge amount of money not only into Pakistan, but into the entire Middle East. Discounting the enormous sums spent on combat and development in Iraq and Afghanistan (and lost to corruption there), the government spends billions of dollars on aid to various countries, most of which have autocratic regimes and/ or generally anti-American populations. The hope is that aid will both coerce the recipient governments to support American policies and stabilize the volatile region, freezing these hopefully pro-American governments in place. Essentially unconsidered is whether the regimes we are hoping to perpetuate are actually worth supporting, or whether they are even on our side. Some nations are clearly not, shamelessly taking our money while simultaneously refusing to support or actively opposing American goals. Our government must make it clear that while all peoples are entitled to humanitarian aid regardless of their governments’ policies, military aid is not a right, but a privilege—one that can be revoked at any time should a recipient go against American interests. In order to reestablish (or, perhaps, establish for the first time) American influence in the region, the United States must reconsider the relationships it has with every country. Countries found to be undeserving of military aid must either shape up or face the loss of it. The best example of such a country is Pakistan. Despite receiving multiple billions of dollars annually, its government has not only failed to defeat the Taliban, but is almost certainly actively supporting it. One Taliban logistics officer estimated that it provides 80 percent of his organization’s funding. While this particular figure is unverifiable, the general assertion that Pakistan is aiding the Taliban has been corroborated by other sources, including American diplomatic cables released on WikiLeaks, as well as Afghani officials. Afghani officials, in fact, have repeatedly stated that victory in the war will be impossible unless Pakistan stops supporting the insurgents. The irony is that some of the money that Pakistan gives to the Taliban is probably American aid. Even if it is not, we are still funding the supporter of the enemy, which we already armed in the 1980s. We do not need to give them any more help. If arming America’s main enemy in the War on Terror is not enough, Pakistan is also possibly sheltering Osama bin Laden. Some sources, such as an anonymous NATO commander quoted by CNN, assert that Pakistan’s intelligence agency, the same one that supports the Taliban, is also providing America’s greatest enemy with houses in northwest Pakistan. Rather than living in a cave, he may be shuttling between various dwellings subsidized by American funds. We must demand that Pakistan crack down on religious extremism, cease funding terrorism of all kinds (especially the Taliban, but also Islamic terrorism in India), give up bin Laden if it has him, and launch an actual attempt to defeat the Taliban. If it fails to do so, we will have no choice but to cut military aid and henceforth regard it as an unfriendly state. This would essentially be recognizing it for what it is: a nation that supports America’s enemies and passively harbors the perpetrators of 9/11. Pretending that it is our friend and continuing to pour money into its (and therefore the Taliban’s) coffers will not solve anything. If we refuse to get tough with Pakistan and countries like it, we materially support the enemy while wasting our own finances, making us appear both weak and stupid to allies and foes alike. In short, failure to reform our diplomatic efforts in the Middle East, especially our financial ones, will destroy any remaining influence that we have in the region, as well as our chances of finally winning the War on Terror.
23 March 2011
Volume 51, Issue 1 of Denebola, Newton South's official school newspaper.