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Denebola Newton South High School

Volume 51, Issue VII

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

Tuesday, 14 February 2012



















photo by aley lewis



Zeitoun scandal shakes South By Rutul Patel

A year after the crime took place, a website reporter broke the story of Abdulrahman Zeitoun, the protagonist of the summer reading novel Zeitoun, and his numerous counts of domestic battery. South was rocked by the accusations and allegations of the domestic violence. “I think the whole story is really weird. Zeitoun was a cool book, and it’s strange that he gained all

that popularity from the book. Then he comes back with such a negative story,” junior Conrad Buys said. The story was released by thesmokinggun. com on Jan. 31, 2011, with the title “Wife Abuse Rap Casts Shadow on Zeitoun Hero.” Due to various online reading services, the story quickly spread, causing a widespread shock throughout South. “It was sad [hearing about Zeitoun]. It’s no

Winter Rave not for 2012 prom Newton South’s second annual Winter Rave, an event that was used as a fundraiser for the Class of 2012 last year, was scheduled as a fundraiser for the Gridiron Club, South’s football team booster club. Senior class officer and football team member Sam Russell, who organized the event, said he wanted “The Rave” to be a class event, and tried to make it happen, but “it was impossible to find a class officer’s parent who was willing to be the dance sponsor.” A sponsor’s responsibility is to put up their own money for a $200 cover charge to use the Hyde Center and $200 for the police detail, a requirement for all high school events. When no parents stepped up to become sponsors, Russell then turned to his own parents. The Russells chose to sponsor the event under the condition that the money raised from the dance be used to fund the Gridiron Club. “The only way the dance could happen was if my parents would sponsor it,” Russell said. Last year, Russell said he was look-

ZEITOUN, continued on Page A6

Editorial: The future of South journalism

photo contributed isabelle granaham-field

By Andreas Betancourt

fun when bad things happen to good people like Kathy,” English Department Head and Two Schools One Book director Brian Baron said. “It’s hard in the modern media age to have heroes.” A question on many minds is what brought on this act of violence. Dave Eggers, the author of Zeitoun, described the Zeitouns as a “beautiful family.” Throughout the post-Katrina

ing for “a good way to raise money” when his older brother suggested a dance, and so the first Newton South Rave was born. However, this first rave was a class event. Russell, who originally wanted to plan the Feb. 4 dance because he knew how much people liked it last year, decided that “after such a rough football season [this year], having a dance that would contribute to the Gridiron Club,” would be very beneficial. The surplus funds generated from the dance will be used to buy new apparel for the team, primarily varsity sweaters, which resemble varsity jackets, but are cheaper. Russell said he wanted to give back something to the team “even after [he] was gone.” The dance, which Russell describes as “not a senior-only event, but an event for seniors,” was very successful; tickets sold out in 30 minutes, and “a ton of money” was made, with 50 to 60 more tickets sold than last year, estimated Russell. Despite its success, attendees gave The Rave mixed reviews. Senior Grace Nathans said that

while she is thankful to Russell for organizing the event, “I think the money should have gone to prom. We actually really need the money, and I think prom is more important than the football team.” Senior Anna Wyner agreed, and said she wished the event could have benefited the entire class. Senior Lee Schlenker, like a few of his classmates, chose not to attend the dance. “If it [the profit] was going to prom, I would have been more inclined to go the rave.” Both Nathans and senior Sarah Lushan agreed where the money was going did not affect the amount of people who came. However, some students, like senior Adam Goldstein, said “Its [Sam’s] choice; it took a lot of work and responsibility to to plan the event. There were a lot of chances for things to go wrong. It wasn’t a school event so the money should go wherever he wants it to go.” “If kids at south wanted the money to go the junior or senior class they should have elected class officers for whom the classes were a priority,” senior Dan Frechter said.

There’s nothing like the spectacle of walking into A block to see classmates huddled over a newspaper’s crisp pages. For some reason, getting these same students to participate in class only five minutes later seems impossible. Yet, their eyes are open as they intently leaf through one of South’s venerable publications. Since 1984, South’s students have been treated to a double dose of award-winning high school journalism. Though the two newspapers rarely share publication dates, they have covered the same beat with an identical commitment to excellence. Since 1984, South students and faculty have been divided into “Denebola people” and “Roar people,” some years with the same dichotomy as “Red Sox fans” and “Yankees fans.” While that stark division has faded recently, the healthy competition still exists, sometimes preventing either publication from developing into its true potential. However, one unified initiative is always more effective than two opposing forces. In our Sept. 27 editorial “Denebola dives into a new era,” we pledged a new era of journalism at South. Working closely with English Department Head Brian Baron, and guided by Principal Joel Stembridge, we constructed such a program with the intent to revolutionize high school journalism. The program will allow Denebola, directed by Baron, to propel South into the promising industry of online media, will create a quarterly

student-run magazine led by English teacher David Weintraub, and will sustain The Lion’s Roar in its current model. And rather than being two individual and colliding entities, South’s journalistic groups will operate more collaboratively to provide students with the most in-depth and comprehensive coverage in the school’s history. And there are few academic organizations that know more about South’s history than Denebola. As the school’s long-lasting news publication, Denebola has always seen itself having the additional role of chronicling the community’s last 51 years. And in doing so, the organization has placed itself firmly within South’s venerable legacy. Yet, we admit that to fundamentally restructure an established organization is an ambitious pursuit. By moving our interface online, we aim to provide the most up-to-date coverage and to develop not only into South’s primary news source but also into a database for chat forums and club information. Denebola’s transition online should enhance the transfer of information to a point in which it is nearly instantaneous. The second new element of South’s impending journalistic trifecta is the magazine. With this publication, whose members will produce longform feature stories, provides an indepth and comprehensive lens into South culture and values. Its content, Denebola hopes, will embody the school in a way only a magazine of this form can, as it will aim to

FUTURE, continued on Page A2


News A2

Denebola Founded in 1960


Dan Kats and Jason Yoffe

Executive Editor Rutul Patel

Managing Editor Helen Holmes

Senior Copy Editor Charlie Temkin Faculty Advisor Brian Baron 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.


Daniel Barabasi (Sr.) Andreas Betancourt (Sr.) Astha Agarwal Robert Wang

Editorials & Opinions Annapurna Ravel (Sr.) Hattie Gawande Jarrett Gorin Daniel Pincus


Julia Spector (Sr.) Melanie Erspamer

Arts & Entertainment Sophie Scharlin-Pettee r.) (S Features Liana Butchard Jesse Feldstein Courtney Foster Josh Nislick Wendy Ma

14 February 2012


Zach Pawa (Sr.) Joe Maher

Global Education

Massachuseets Building Authority

Dylan Royce (Sr.) Nicole Brooks Dina Busaba Joshua Carney

Plans for renovations to Angier are approved! About 3 weeks ago -- Like -- Comment

Newtonite I didn’t know we had another $200 million lying around


Aley Lewis (Sr.) Anna Garik Emma Sander Jonah Seifer



Tim Jiang Lizzie Odvarka Victor Qin

3 weeks ago -- Like

Newton School Department It’ll only cost $750,000.

Production Coordinator


3 weeks ago -- Like

Adam Barnett

Copy Editor

Aafreen Rajani

Newtonite That’s still not cheap...

Contributors: Dar Alon, Daniel Bender Stern, Michael Berman, Ethan Epstein, Dan Frechter, Dani Glasgow, John Jennings, Jon Katz, Phillip Kudryavtsev, Jackie Lebovits, Dan Legmann, Allie Lushan, Erik Manditch, Kanika Patel, Scott Reibstein, Dan Rozenblum, Ahaana Singh, Adam Vasserman, Lyonel Walker, Andy Webber, and Karen Weinstock


3 weeks ago -- Like


Who threw a can of Bud Light through my window!? About 2 weeks ago -- Like -- Comment

Special thanks to: Dina Kats and Marsha Patel

Tim Tebow Sorry! I was aiming for Eddy Royal.

Good luck next volume!


Volume 51, Issue 7

2 weeks ago -- Like

Denebola, The Official Newspaper of Newton South High School, 140 Brandeis Road, Newton, Mass. 02459

Journalism moves forward FUTURE, continued from page A1

present profound discovery rather than to reveal news. This program as it stands in its roughest form is by no means perfect. The publications’ new leaders will be integral to the plan’s finer points, and there are still many details to discuss. Moreover, changing a halfcentury tradition, and altering a defining aspect of Newton South, has its potential implications. Whether we admit it or not, Denebola’s members have emotional ties

to this organization because it, like any other successful high school group, provides them with a supportive family, a base of friends, and a place to grow. For many closely involved, this transition will be emotional; for many students, acclimating to South’s new interaction with the media will be a slow process. Such sentiments are unavoidable, but at the same time, we feel that they are merely prerequisites to unfounded advantages in the future.


Denebola began with South 51 years ago, but it is not willing to rest on its laurels. This organization always looks to improve internally and to affect the students and teachers for which it provides. The movement to online journalism, which was once a fantastical solution to declining interest in print media, is today a bona fide reality. After 51 years, Denebola believes it is time to help Newton South and its students experience this new and exciting era.

SLUMP TIME!!!!!!!!

About 3 weeks ago -- Like -- Comment

Tean Surley I’ll fail ALL of you. about

Anonymous Cupcake Buyer Happy Valentine’s Day!

Have you ever run a marathon? How about a mile on a treadmill? To the Senior Editors, the experience is the same. To most of us, Denebola is a marathon (or those torturous ten minutes of wheezing in the weight room). Bench-pressing 250 pounds (‘sup Joffe) can often seem a viable alternative to paste up. Sure, convincing a semi-conscious junior to transcribe your 30-minute interviews is an underap-

preciated art form, but the result is worth it. The fact is that working on this paper has not always been a walk in Fenway Park. There have been incredibly late nights, and nights that bleed into the next morning, and nights that end in tears. Last year, one of us was invited to prom. The only problem? The Graduation issue of Denebola was due for completion the night before! All of us have made sacrifices. A certain vulnerable young editor stayed at school to finish the paper until four in the morning, drove home in a daze for a scanty two hours of sleep, went to school the next day, and cleaned herself up just enough for prom that night. Oh, and the next morning she took the SATs. Still think this job is easy? Think again, amigos. One of our Editors-inC h i e f s p u r n e d p re c i o u s hours of tutoring at a Russian math school to lay pages. Rather than spending his free time hunched over a chessboard, he spent hours plunking away on a Mac keyboard. Our other EIC gave up hours of playing time on the baseball field to sit on the bench and think about AP style. Well, it wasn’t really a choice, but he likes to tell himself it was. Another super SENIO12 sacrificed his valuable, girlfilled Saturday nights to report on NSHS news and lose games of Words with Friends on his iPad. The entire female population thanks him for it. Up until his retirement, our former advisor George White made sacrifices, too. We sometimes wondered if he ever went home… Despite our “unique” attitude towards work, our newly minted advisor Brian Baron kept us going with his conciliator y attitude and helpful advice. He also

took our incessant reminders about his tweets like a champ – during all six editions we’ve printed this school year. To make a long, painful stor y short, we’ve pretty much continued in the same vein as every other editor of a high school newspaper. Hours of sleep lost, weekends squandered, parents complaining as we stagger in from a long night of journalistic excellence. But this year, something is different. We no longer spend our afternoons deciding who is to replace us in the next volume of the paper. Instead, we’re trying to figure out how to push our paper into the new millennium. The bottom line is that Volume 51 will be Denebola’s last in print. No longer will you see our pages stacked neatly by the L-Bench every month; no longer will you laugh about the current month’s View from the Top with the pages folded in your hands. Instead, you will carry it in your pocket and will check it out while faking research in the library. We’ve spent a lot of this last year being told that print is dead, that technology is surpassing the value of words on a page. Perhaps that’s true, but all we know is that the project we’ve worked on since some of us were freshman will never be the same. We’re not bitter. We’re sad, of course, but this transition isn’t about how we feel as individuals. This transition is about the future of Newton South journalism, and how best its tradition can be upheld in today’s most viable forms of media. We’re a group that’s used to making sacrifices, but this time, we feel we’re not compromising anything. Journalism is a marathon. We just want to lead the Newton South pack.

Cute Girl

About 2 Hours ago -- Like -- Comment -- See Friendship

Farewell and Peace Out By Volume 51 SE’s

3 weeks ago -- Like

Cute Girl That isn’t shady at all... about

1 hour ago ago -- Like

All information loosely resembles the truth. This is meant to be satirical and to be taken in good humor. Please don’t sue us.

For you, anything By Dan Kats There is nothing that I will miss more about Denebola than the familial community. The Denebola room is a popular hangout for all staffers, even the rookies, who immediately feel at home with the upperc lassmen. During my sophomore and junior years, I would go to my editors for advice about whatever I needed help with, regardless of whether or not it was Denebola-related. Even during the college process, I asked several former “Denebers” for help, and they promptly responded to the obnoxious number of questions I sent them. Simply stating that no Editor-in-Chief wants to see his publication undergo serious change does not truly capture the difficulty I’ve had in trying to adjust. I have spent countless hours—even recording a couple 60-hour weeks (that is not a typo)— working in 9202 and sacrificing my grades to design a great paper, an entity that is not the same online. It is because of this that I have tried to keep Denebola as a newspaper, running. Although the juniors on Denebola are enthusiastic to take over, I cannot stop feeling as though I have failed the paper that has remained a print publication for so long. When I first took over, I was told that my one overarching duty was to keep Denebola functioning and I subsequently developed a sense of accountability for

every facet of the publication. I understand the difficulties in preserving two papers, but The Lion’s Roar and Denebola have brought different journalistic styles to the students of South that I fear won’t be as prevalent if Denebola is not physically in the hands of students every month. Denebola uses The Roar as an inspiration and motivation and each of The Roar’s issues is a constant reminder that we need to raise the bar. Without two publications, I worry that

Goodbye, Denebola

- Dan Kats

each paper will lose a part of the drive for better writing. It is not a coincidence that two of the best High School papers in New England are from the same school. Personally, I would have preferred to see Denebola continue as a newspaper, while developing a better website to accompany it. But since there will be no newspaper to go with the website, I hope that the future senior editors understand the continuing importance of keeping Denebola synonymous with premier journalism. If you ask any alumnus, you will be told that Denebola is a newspaper, an association that will be difficult to alter in the minds of former students. In my heart, Denebola will always be the official school

newspaper. I do fear that the community will have a less personal atmosphere. The website won’t have much face-to-face bonding between staff members, which was, for me, the most important part of my Denebola experience. For four years, 9202, and everyone inside of it, has been my family. Don’t get me wrong. I wish my editors the best of luck in the future and I will be rooting for them with all my heart. Starting a new publication is difficult, but I have utter confidence that they will do all they can to succeed. Since this article is the last thing I will contribute to Denebola, I want to publicly thank our longtime advisor Mr. White and my personal mentor Jason Agress. Like former editors, they have been there for me no matter what I was having trouble with, whether it be English essays or college applications. The things I have learned over the years from our advisors, particularly Mr. White, have shaped who I am today and who I plan to become. It is hard to pass the Denebo-torch on, but I know it is time for me to go. I can only hope that future members of the South’s journalism program have the same experience that I have had over the last four years. Guys, I wish you the best of luck and I hope you win some awards. Goodbye, Denebola.

Opinions Denebola

14 February 2012

Opinions A3

Opposing Viewpoints: Mitt Romney is...

Pro: a seasoned veteran ready for the job Con: saying whatever he can to get good ratings By Ahaana Singh

photo by aley lewis

Slumping hard or hardly slumping? By Dan Rozenblum

I love chocolate, I have absolutely no problem with lame Hallmark greeting cards, I guess I’m on good terms with flowers since they’ve basically taken over my last name, and I’m all for celebrating Christian martyrs. And yet... Valentine’s Day just isn’t my thing. It’s not for the conventional lookaround-at-the-Ron-and-Lavenderesque-PDA-and-get-depressed/ disgusted reasons either. I dislike Valentine’s Day for purely and precisely one reason: It isn’t fair to all the other guys. When I walk into school on Feb. 14 and all the females (and the occasional males) swoon upon laying their eyes on me, how do you think all those other guys feel? Or, how about when girls fall to the floor begging for my everlasting love with “Be Mine” sweetheart candies? I’m sure their jealousy is unbearable. You have to understand, I can’t do anything about all the girls who feel compelled to call my name lovingly from the top of the Goldrick stairs in an attempt to convince me that our family origins don’t matter and that we can elope in Act 2, Scene 2. Cupid has simply chosen to take my side as I walk with Senior Swagger down the halls, and that’s just the way it is and unfortunately always will be. Now this wouldn’t be half bad if I had this effect on only a few girls here and there, but you see, my sex appeal is attracting every female specimen. Do you have any idea how many girls that is? That number is even greater than the number of articles about drugs and alcohol some high school newspapers publish every year (but that might be pushing it...). So what, Dan? Are you just gonna gloat about how much of a chick magnet you are and nothing more? No word of consolation or empathy? Yeah... I was honestly hoping to get away with just that, but my editors got on my back for writing so little. So, I guess I’ll pretend to care and give the rest of you hopeless gentlemen some advice on how to win over the few young ladies inexplicably not mesmerized by my charm. Tip One: Take advantage of it being Slump Season (Rabbit season? No — it’s Slump Season) and dress accordingly, regardless of what grade you’re in. You may believe that winning over a gal’s heart starts with building up a wardrobe as fine as Jake Gusman’s, or Ray Farmer’s, or really any guy’s that is associated with Mickie, but you’d be wrong. Trashy “wife beaters” and baggy sweats are the way to go. Chicks dig the rugged look. (Pros of Senior Slump: wearing sweats to school every day of the week is perfectly acceptable! Cons of Senior Slump: wearing sweats to school every day of the week is perfectly acceptable...) Tip Two: Never trust your GPS. Those bastards might just get you good and lost in Boston so that you show up half an hour late to a college interview for your top-choice school, then attempt to convince them that you really are intelligent, just somewhat challenged. I’m on to you, Garmin! Never turning left again. Your suave British accent doesn’t fool me. Yeah, okay — let’s be real. These aren’t even tips anymore; they’re just things on my mind. But let’s be real once more: my opinions are pretty damn important — enough to get me this fancy-looking column. We both know that no amount of tips can help you guys acquire charisma equivalent to my own. Irresistibility is not something that can be taught — either you have it (i.e., Jordan McAfeeHahn) or you don’t (i.e., Danny Gifford) — and those are the facts. Sorry fellas.

Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney is a viable contender running for the Republican presidential nomination. Sure, he dropped out of the 2008 election, but Romney continued to be a strong advocate and activist for the GOP while preparing for the upcoming 2012 presidential election. Clearly it has paid off: Romney has done well in the polls and has situated himself in a good position to win the party ticket. But let’s start by addressing critics’ chief bone to pick with Romney — his flip-flopping on numerous issues throughout the course of his political career. Sure, it may well be true, but it shows Romney’s flexibility on the issues. His views and standpoints are progressive and prove his ability to adjust accordingly — unlike the rest of the Republican Party, which some say strictly adheres to ideology and not to the wishes of the American people. Let’s instead characterize Romney as the guy who will pull the U.S. out of its current slump. As a former businessman, he is more than capable of boosting our economy. His platform speaks for itself: he intends to reduce taxes, spending, regulation, and government programs, while increasing trade, energy production, human capital, and labor flexibility. Don’t forget that as governor of Massachusetts, Romney managed to help turn around our state economy. After three years of spending cuts, increased fees, and removed corporate tax loopholes, our state had a $600-700 million surplus. In addition, his experience as a CEO in the private sector led to his businesses generating over a hundred thousand jobs. With the current unemployment rate at 8.5 percent, our economy could use the executive experience that Romney has to offer.

Romney focuses a lot on foreign policy as well. Romney pushes for strengthening America to provide the foundation for an international system that ensures the security and prosperity of the U.S. and its allies by creating an adoptable economic and security platform that enables other countries to develop policies that align with our own. Romney will restore strong values, a strong economy, and a strong military, hopefully leading to the United States’ prosperity. Although Romney’s views are primarily conservative, he does not reach the ideological extreme. As one of the more liberal candidates in the Republican Party, he represents the happy medium of the politic spectrum. This has won the support of both the moderates and nonRepublicans. Moreover, if Romney were to win the Republican nomination, his centrist outlook would be advantageous in the presidential election. Though people may think that endorsements are inconsequential to the elections, they are an indicator of the viability of a candidate. Romney is currently leading the endorsement derby, having obtained 71 from politicians including New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and Arizona Senator John McCain. These endorsements prove his capability and show that Mitt Romney has support from some of the most influential Republicans. Romney is sensible and grounded and he has a rare aptitude for economics. People like him. Politicians like him. What more could we want?

By Hattie Gawande

Let me preface my argument by encouraging you to think back to June of last year, when Mitt Romney had formally announced his run for president. Republicans immediately declared their mistrust of him and settled down to wait for a more appealing candidate. Now, Republicans are beginning to get the picture. Romney is their only choice. The endorsements are rolling in, and most are sure that Romney will secure the nomination for no other reason than lack of competition. Unfortunately, Romney is the guy that can’t satisfy everyone, and if he becomes the GOP nominee he will have a hard time facing Obama. He’s a frontrunner, but voters don’t want to get to know him — honestly, only 6% of the countr y even knows his real first name (hilariously, 2% thinks it’s Mittens). The Tea Party dislikes him because he used to be pro-choice and pro-socialist health care and all that moderate jazz. The moderates and independents don’t like him because he’s now playing to the Tea Partiers, claiming to be pro-life, antientitlement spending, and all that uber-conservative jazz. The Evangelists don’t like him because he’s Mormon. The middle class doesn’t like him because he’s loaded. Humans in general don’t like him because he looks and acts like a robot, from the frozen look on his face during debates to his perfectly coiffed helmet hair. Well, I don’t like Romney either, but not for any of those reasons. I don’t like him because he has com-

pletely distanced himself from Massachusetts, our home state and the state which he used to govern. For example: Romney’s landmark piece of legislation in Massachusetts was sweeping health care reform, which introduced state-subsidized, near-universal health care. A few years later, Obama noticed the success of the Massachusetts system and modeled his own plan on Romney’s. He should have been flattered. Except that, in trying to get the Tea Party vote, Romney has withdrawn his support for the Massachusetts model. Mandatory health care is socialist, and subsidizing the health care system with government money is wasteful, he insists. Thanks, Romney — it feels nice to be tossed aside like a rag doll for the sake of your flip-flopping political maneuvers. Let’s take another example: during his tenure as governor, Romney closed several Massachusetts tax loopholes, and he overhauled corporate taxes. To the corporations, this essentially meant that he raised taxes — a big no-no in the Republicans’ book. Nevertheless, Romney’s legislation helped fill big gaps in our state budget, which trumped the negative response from the business community. Fast-foward eight years: Romney isn’t trumpeting his successes in Massachusetts on the campaign trail. Far from it — he is singing an entirely different tune. We have to give our corporations a break, he says — corporations are people too, you know. You see it time and time again. In Massachusetts, Romney was a moderate. Now he’s flipped. This sort of thing should really shake your confidence in any political candidate, not just the ones that hail from our state. Right now we need politicians in government with clear ideas about how to fix our current problems, not opportunists who

employ the foresight necessary to prioritize an increasingly demanding life, one that our advisers never experienced at our age. Fortunately, some teachers agree that they should not give students too much homework to allow greater opportunity for student participation in extracurricular activities. But what is too much homework? The average student enrolls in four to five major courses a year. After getting out of school at three,having to complete an hour of homework per course leaves a student working until after eight o’clock. And this doesn’t include our out of the classroom commitments. If this issue was so simple, however, we would not need to have this discussion. Instead, competition pressuring the school to improve, coupled with our pressures to build solid résumés, creates an environment in which full potential is unattainable. Sometimes, educators forget that college students spend less time in classrooms in order to offset their studying. They also forget that in

many career settings, employees spend their office time working on their projects, rather than devoting hours to instruction and then setting out to do their work on their own time. Teachers should keep in mind that students have a lot on their plates. We are hyper-aware of the burden of “well-roundedness,” struggling to fit extra activities in our busy schedules. There’s only one remedy to soothe the tension that we experience daily. Flexibility and an acceptance of compromise between students and their teachers will allow expectations to be met without endangering our health or our GPA’s. Teachers must realize the conflicting burdens that high school and college put on us and they should be willing to work with their students to establish reasonable expectations on a caseby-case basis. Students, in turn, must accept that their academics trump their extracurricular commitments and must make honest and valiant efforts to complete assignments as intended.

photo from internet source

Solving the extracurricular paradox

in a day for us to keep up with everything. Yet, we are constantly encouraged to do activities that take up more and more of our time. Teachers and counselors tell students to go out and do something active or join a club, but every single day students are overwhelmed with an interminable amount of homework, leaving little time to do anything else. On top of homework, there are quizzes and tests graphic by adam macalister to study for. By Kanika Patel Teachers, counselors, and Time. Ever elusive. At times worth administrators lobby for student more to us than money. At Newton involvement outside of the classroom, South, we frequently find ourselves yet expect students to be able to wishing that we had just a little bit balance their lives properly. They more of it — just two or three more say that this juggling act replicates hours. Thus, we are presented with the real world, contending that life a paradox: in struggling to do all only gets busier in college and in the of our homework, balancing our workplace. extracurriculars, and still maintaining It is our responsibility to know some semblance of a life, we often when we have taken on too much, find that there just isn’t enough time and as teenagers, we are expected to

The sordid reality of reality television

By Allie Lushan “I just hate when women wear the wrong foundation color. It might be the worst thing on the planet when they wear their makeup too light.” Ladies and gentlemen, drum roll please... Now presenting the one and only, Kim Kardashian! Kardashian, who first became famous off her reality TV show “Keeping up with the Kardashians,” has graced (or perhaps more accurately, disgraced) the television screens of the seemingly millions of little girls who have now adopted Kim and her sisters as viable role models. But the real question remains... Why? It only seems to be common sense that a woman who considers wearing the wrong foundation color to be a criminal offense is not worthy of being the role model of an entire generation. And it seems that viewers crave only one thing: reality television. Regardless of their opinions of these stars, our nation has been drawn into an obsession following celebrities through their notso-significant lives. Although many viewers find the shows entertaining and amusing, many others find them distasteful, staged, and unbelievably dumb. And yet, the fact remains that today’s reality TV stars are most likely making more money than their

critics are. For most of us, however, reality resides far f rom the “Kardashian lifestyle.” The hours spent mesmerized by their isolated world contributes to the epidemic of laziness plaguing our generation and clouding our minds. Many people consider watching the show a guilty pleasure. People across the world have become addicted to watching Kim, Kourtney, and Khloé bicker about insignificant conflicts. However, the question remains whether this type of programming degrades the mind and ruins our culture’s reputation. I will not lie — despite my better judgment, I find myself drawn to watching reality television as well. I cannot help watching people with less significant but hyperbolized problems than I have on a daily basis. But because of viewers like me, the subjects of these shows, have only grown in their success, creating faithful fan bases that are difficult to match. While their effective marketing strategies and branding have proved to be indubitable

photo from internet source

successes, “idiotic” is a word often associated with the stars themselves. So is reality TV pure genius or an abomination to be disregarded? The point is moot. The problem is not that the majority of viewers do not understand the useless content; it is that they are, for a bevy of reasons, addicted to such programs. Hence, the reality TV phenomenon is certainly not going anywhere. And neither should viewers, unless they are wearing the right color foundation.


Centerfold A4

Centerfold A5

14 February 2012

Two guys and Berman By Michael Berman, Dani Glasgow, and Lyonel Walker

The Red Scare By Phil Kudryavtsev, Dan Legmann, Dan Rozenblum, and Adam Vasserman Party hard; eat borsht; down the standard someone’s gotta do it, right? Right. So, on behalf all the Russians out there - Dan Kats, Misha Berman & Lyonel, P-Landz, Shrayber (, Andrew Oratovsky’s whole clan, our girl Lani Rubes, Medvedev, the Junior Sams, a bunch of other people, some underclassmen, and Phil Fradkin (especially Phil Fradkin) - we would like to address the masses. By the way, many people seem to think that Hannah Leikin has turned over to The Dark Side (artsys...), but this is pure nonsense. We like to adhere to the No Russian Left Behind clause which maintains that once a Russian, always a Russian.  We love ya girl ñ this is for you, too. Okay so who exactly are the Russians?  What are they even doing here?  Where did they even come from?  (...Russia).  This is what we’re here to discuss. For starters, we would like to confirm your darkest fears. Yes, we are here as ideological missionaries with the intent of spreading Communism. But, don’t you worry, you democratic junkies! We’re way too busy throwing down (nbd... we four are already responsible for 3 of

the biggest senior parties of the year. Also some props to Jay Gron and Shea’s bathtub) to seriously challenge the ways of your government. When we aren’t playing Kings (damn you, waterfall!), we’re probably partaking in organized crime with our fathers or playing ice hockey without skates and with bench-press bars instead of sticks. Or, perhaps, we’re just serenading the ladies with our melodious balalaikas. We also like sitting around in a circle (à la That 70’s Show) discussing Russian things, like the latest ballroom dancing champion, Russian fur hats, and how much we hate the movie Miracle (it never happened. The U.S. never won. There are no such things as miracles). On occasion, we also enjoy talking about things that are not Russian, like Asia, political correctness, and the WNBA. But how did the Russians even come to be this dominating force of intimidation at South? Glad you asked, Glandsberg! Back in the day, when Phil’s hot brother and his textbook Russian bodyguard friends were here, they ran the place. They invented the phenomenon that became the high five, built the Senior Commons with their bare hands during the cold winter, and created the Dougie.

As their reputation grew, a seed of fear was planted within the masses of South students and to this day it still grows like with ze story ov Vladoslav and ze Giant Beanstalk story. Iz a nice vun! Today, this school-wide feeling of intimidation towards Russians persists, though it is largely focused on us four. Yet, is this public alarm even warranted? Think about it: one of us is a ballroom dancer, one of us is a scrawny white kid with a Hummer, one of us couldn’t look more Jewish if he tried (The Nose), and one of us is наш подарок. And so we have come to the end - not just of this article, but also of Russian supremacy at South. We are the end of the line – there are no true successors to our throne – but we have to say that it’s been a hell of a ride. We’ll miss you all next year when we will be studying ze maths at Moscow University (and Jordan at Skidmore). We feel compelled, however, to extend a thanks to all of you. It is only because of you and your inflated perception of us that has allowed us to walk the halls with swag, to set the standard for partying hard, and to wear D&G V-necks (Dolce and Gabanna, Hullo?) on the daily. So, yeah, thank you all. Also, for the record, Dan Legmann is not Russian. At all. Sorry.

Brosephs, Brochachos, Bromigos and Bromosapiens. After making it through four years of high school, it’s pretty much safe to say we’ve seen it all. In that time, we have realized there is no right or wrong way to go through high school, only a better way. So for you underclassmen, some advice; for you fellow seniors, we’re sure you guys can relate. When it comes to school work, less is more. At South, it is not uncommon for the younglings to go through school worrying about straight A’s a and a perfect score on the SAT. (If you do that you will probably end up a rich investment banker, drive an Audi, and of course be eternally happy). But if you go through your high school career like that, when you reach the wise and mature age of a senior, you will realize you have missed out on how great high school can be. Really, what’s the worse case scenario? You end up living naked in a cardboard box … and how bad is that? (Berman’s already got it all planned out). On a typical weekend you may think your best option is to get super shammamered and crash the closest bathtub-breaking bash. However, you will soon discover that finding a weekend rager is often easier said than done. Besides, after the number of crazy nights starts to reach triple digits, the party scene can get kind of dull. Most importantly, until you are a senior, attending even a casual fiesta is not an option during the school week (yes, weekdays can and should be utilized for better activities than homework). So let us offer a few other ideas of things to do with your brobeans. Watching football is always a safe bet, but if you want an authentic football experience, start tearing off your clothes in a small room full of guys when the Patriots win the AFC championship. (Aviv, you are going on a diet … If I recall correctly, Billy Cundiff missed that field goal). Next time your friends ask you to go to the movies, don’t despair. Tell them that you graduated the 8th grade five years ago and that you have a better idea (if that doesn’t work remind

them there hasn’t been a good movie out since the Dark Knight). Anyway, invite your friends over, hit up the Netflix, or whatever film service you use that has put your local DVD rental out of business, and download the award-winning master-piece: BRUNO. If you find the Austrian fashion critic is not to your liking, we suggest you watch Borat first … then watch Bruno again. If you’re short on cash, a rambunctious game of poker is a sure way to end the night with some bills in your pocket. If you and ALL your friends are short on cash, strip poker is always an option. Sometimes Tango Mango and Dunkins can get old; there are many other good cuisine choices. If you’re in a manly mood (which you should always be in), and want to make the Mighty’s large look like a kiddie sub, we recommend a visit to Carl’s Subs in Waltham. If you are willing to travel to Brookline, the Eagles Deli ten-pound-challenge is also a good choice. Yeah, you can call us conquerors. When all else fails, a trip to Sonics is always a good call (we don’t know where it is, only that it is far). However, because it is an extra long and hard ride, and the roads are narrow, we recommend bicycle helmets for safety and loud techno music for entertainment. For extra kicks, take the drive shirtless. Now, if you want to be cool (we know how from experience), follow these steps (if you’re not rocking the double X chromosome … proceed with caution): 1. Wear a speedo (nothing else) around Newton Center. 2. Bleach your hair blonde (no, it has nothing to do with swim team spirit; it is purely a fashion statement). 3. Tend to the chickens. 4. Snuggies on the regular (Onesies included). 5. Tight shirts (kids’ extra large are ideal). 6. Maine Sweatshirts. 7. If you’re going through a dry spell with the ladies, get off your high horse and lower your goddamn standards (no, we don’t care why you havn’t seen any action for three months).

8. Per day, eight hours of Skyrim is the limit. 9. When an ambulance pulls up outside your house, don’t say: “Did the old lady next door just give?” 10. Don’t drive two hours to Weston for a party that is over by the time you get there. 11. Don’t get a tattoo that looks like someone wrote on your arm with pen. 12. Don’t post shirtless videos of yourself flexing on YouTube. 13. Don’t tell your parents to go out until 1:00 AM on a Saturday night so you can throw down for your friends (if you do though, please invite us). 14. Chicken Heart; The Brain; The (Legendary) Goat. 15. Self-respect is over-rated. 16. Say awkward things to break the ice. 17. Gail Waltz is very attractive. 18. Abdominal muscles are sexy. 19. Hangover is a choice. Follow those steps, and we guarantee you and God will be on the same level of coolness. (We are not liable if you find yourself friendless and/ or living naked in a cardboard box). Now a few words to wrap this up Ladies, perhaps contrary to the way this piece depicts us, we are all smart, compassionate, thoughtful, young gentleman. One of us is taken, but that still leaves two sexy steals. Daniel Glasgow: 339-225-56** Michael ‘Mac-Daddy’ Berman: 617-33447** We would love to take you on a date if you are decently attractive … (Berman will probably take you on a date anyway). Now men (boys who think you are men, too), we’ll just answer your question: Yeah, we’re pretty much the Obi-Wan Kenobis of punani. Finally, there should have been a fourth man to add his wisdom to this piece. Nathan Santamaria, you have left an empty place in our hearts. We think of you every night, and we will always love you. See you on Call of Duty. We hope you’re enjoying Australia. “Sorry, Nathan” —Love, Dani. Dude, what’s that smell? It smells like fear.


The 7th Floor Crew

By @afw206, @DanielFrechter, @j_ katz94, @johnjennings5, and @s_reibstein

@NewtonSouthHighSchool. According to the Chinese zodiac, it’s the Year of the 2012ers, a year that has been nothing if not uneventful. The Iraq War came to a close (Artsy hallway rejoice), the Patriots are back in the Super Bowl (attention pinkhat fans: time to jump on the bandwagon) and there is yet another brandnew Jeep in the parking lot (stolen swag). Now please allow the 7th Floor Crew to grace you with some knowledge. Dear Freshman...just kidding! No one cares. That is all, but if a high school experience at least half as fun as ours is what you seek – heed our words of wisdom. Everyone knows freshmen don’t have names (at least in our minds), but we’ll make an exception to say that Brendan is without a doubt the coolest Duggan, although he’s got “No Trace” on our boys Psyfr, ABsolute, and their girls from the Chop Suey crew. Sophomores, a Newton Tab appearance last year was quite remarkable, but hopefully your epic fail this year doesn’t cause too much dis-Union amongst your ranks. Seriously though, you guys gotta chill – only 2012 can party like that AND get away with it (.385). By the way, sophomore brahs – snapbacks are so last year. We hope you guys can up your swag level to 2012 status, because someone’s gotta replace Dis Bwah PZ

(swag fo’ days!). Ah, the beloved junior class, can we get a twenty-six to NUTHIN up in here?! Child please, it’s embarrassing enough be shut out in the first unrigged game in Newton South Powderpuff history, so just kiss the baby. You only have lonely, teary-eyed nights spent on Naviance to look forward to, and we advise you to make Facebook aliases to cover up your “racy” weekend uploads. After all, we wouldn’t want colleges seeing you going HAM at SweetTart. Remember, most of you apply to colleges, but colleges apply to JJ (D-1 status). Try not to get too stressed out about school though, and remember to make it rain once in a while. We did, and we turned out all right. And worry not little juniors, although we’re graduating, Goody will still be around next year! Finally, @NSHSGossipGirl We love you… #NAHT (Borat voice). Now that we’re officially slumping (#SeniorProblems?), we would be more than happy to answer any questions you youngsters have, but not in the Commons (unless our judges give you a 10). Word to the wise for the other grades: stay united. Strive for a grade that isn’t as divided as the Civil War-era U.S. (Pop Quiz: Juniors, who did the U.S. fight in the Civil War?). #newtonproblems is trending on Twitter, but Occupy L-Bench isn’t NOT a movement, so throw out your Starbucks and go to class. If you’re lucky enough to get a car

(NOT a silver Grand Cherokee, please), don’t rear end classmates or hit unmoving objects. To all you future drivers out there: if you can’t be throwing hundehds, hundehds on a parking pass, expect the campus aides (Hardooo) to kindly slap your whip with a bright orange WARNING sticker, the removal of which will require a Home Depot scraper and some Goo-Be-Gone. If you do manage to remove said sticker, please recycle it, or you’ll most definitely get an “anonymous,” reprimanding letter from Hermes. In other news, all underclassmen are now required to take “Walking 101” in order to graduate. Upon completion of this course, students will have mastered the art of getting out of our damn way! If you don’t move, we will Heisman you into a locker. Get off the BBM and MOVE! In conclusion, if you guys want a chance of being as dashing, chiseled, and chivalrous (SAT word – look it up) as us, just forget it, because if you were, your names would be on this View From the Top. To our fellow seniors, we say thanks for coming on this ride with us. We’ve pretty much been doing it big since 2010 gave us the keys to the school over those 2011 kids (who?). To the inferiors, while you fight over the same halls we’ve graced for four years, we will be having the time of our lives in college – be sure to stay in touch … or don’t. Either way, always remember to never let school interfere with your education.

By Daniel Bender Stern and Jackie Lebovitz Dear SENIO12s, WELCOME TO SLUMP. I know you all thought Slump was as mythical as getting towed from the senior lot, but HERE WE ARE! Most “View from the Top”s present an opportunity for uncultured underclassmen to learn from their experienced elders. So, here it goes-- UNDERCLASSMEN TAKE NOTE: The biggest lesson to learn in high school is that nothing that happens freshman year stays the same by senior year. Everything is a surprise. Your biggest onstage moment might be as a cowgirl or a candlestick; a lot less might happen on your hammock than you ever imagined (sorry to disappoint); your biggest enemy freshman year might end up being your best friend and speech team duo partner. Plus, he might make a good college essay. (Aw, thanks, J.) People change, friends change, hair changes (hey, Sherlock!) --Throwback: times change, gay shouldn’t, choose a different word? --But just remember, it’s all for the better. The fact is, even through every painful session of Naviance stalking, through each all-nighter filled with cat YouTube videos and English papers, you’re headed toward the top. And when you reach it and look down at the pile of trembling underclassmen beneath your

indie-booted feet, yes, you’ll feel victorious, but you’ll also want to prevent them from making your mistakes, like dying your hair blonde with Sun In for Summer Stage and thinking A block was optional. So here it goes, Jack Daniels’ perfect list to surviving high school while you climb the ladder to “true quehndom” like we did. 12 RULES TO LIVE (and watch your grades die) BY, brought to you by the class of ‘12: 1. It’s actually really helpful to watch “Mean Girls” as an instructional video. Regina knows what’s up. 2. No matter how many senior friends you have, KNOW YOUR PLACE, PLEBEIAN. 3. Jackie, everyone’s over ‘Oh Nine. 4. “NO” eating in the hallways was for real meant to be open to interpretation. 5. Joel. 6. You are just as Hispanic as you say you are. Sorry, Q. 7. Bathtubs are meant for bathing. 8. Katy Perry’s lyrics to “Last Friday Night” are NOT a challenge. Really. 9. If she crops you, crop her back. (ily Karma) And always validate yourself by the number of muploads after midnight. 10. If you go to semi all four years, it’s ALMOST as good as going to every prom. #sorrynotsorry @SimplyDBS @soylachicareal @ actualSherlock (Wait, why doesn’t everyone tweet?)

11. D@nc3 lyke no1 is watch!ngggg :] Even when your nose gushes blood on the dance-floor. (SORRY, DAN. I GOT TOO INTO MY GROOVE.) 12. Make friends with EVERYONE senior year. Just in case the world DOES end (and, by chance, we are not “JUST” taking over) you want to be sure that the last year on Earth is the best since campus aides were invented. BONUS: If you have a Tumblr, we PROMISE you that half our grade has found it. Now, we’re starting to get a little nostalgic. Let us cast our memories back to days when the hallways could be roamed un-filmed, gym was only required for three years, and that corner by photo was RESERVED for the girlfriends (it wasn’t a nosebleed but, hey, your legacy lives on!) We may not be students of the new Newton North, but We Found Love in a hopeless place. And, for the estimated 2,928 hours between the GoogleDoc conception of this article and the moment we wear navy, hold diplomas, and sing “Good Riddance,” let’s feel the love tonight. Senio12s, we love you. All of you. Underneath the skinny jeans and UGGs, we’re all ‘12. Let’s just bake a cake of rainbows and smiles and be happy like we used to be (before) middle school. XOXO, Deebs and La Chica Reál


News A6

14 February 2012

Zeitoun’s spousal abuse

ZEITOUN, continued from Page A1

ordeals, Kathy and Zeitoun husband were a passionate and dedicated couple, and yet, Kathy said she “received beatings from her husband prior [to the book’s publishing].” “I would be amazed if, after his treatment during his incarceration (as reported by David Eggers), there were not some mental health consequence for Zeitoun,” Principal Joel Stembridge said. “Who is to say if a propensity for violence was always a component of his personality, or if the violence is a result of his post-Katrina experience? Either way, this news just deepens the tragedy for both Zeitoun and his family.” As September came to a close, Zeitoun was a hot topic in all of South’s English classes. The mandatory summer reading book told the true-to-life story of the SyrianAmerican who rode out Hurricane Katrina and the racial injustices that he had to encounter during the weeks after the hurricane. “The teachers I was with associ-

ated [Zeitoun] with being a hero, sometimes superman,” freshman Kaitlyn Mooney said. “He seemed to be someone who had to be admired and looked up to. “ Both high schools even spent an entire day trying to learn from Zeitoun during the Two Schools, One Book event. Eight panels were created, tying the book to media, arts, sports, community service, science, justice, and religion. “The school presented Zeitoun as the perfect role model figure,” freshman Isabella Epshtein said. “My opinion on him was neutral to begin with,” senior Paul Levine said. “What happened to him [during Katrina] was unfortunate, and I feel for him. But now I just don’t like him. You really shouldn’t beat your wife.” What came as an even bigger shock was that Zeitoun was arrested and charged in March 2011, well before Newton picked Zeitoun for Two Schools One Book. Zeitoun was first

arrested on March 30, 2011, and was charged with domestic battery. “Upon arriving at the Dart Street residence, cops found Kathryn [Zeitoun] face down on the living room floor holding an ice-filled cloth to her forehead. Three of her children were nearby ‘crying hysterically,’” reported. In subsequent hearings, Zeitoun’s charge was reduced to negligent injury, and he was formally charged with a six-month suspended jail sentence. He was also placed under a two-year period of intensive probation. Though the incidents occurred well over a year ago, they have received little media attention. A couple of newspapers have picked up the story, but there have been no major followups and Dave Eggers has withheld comments. “The Zeitouns don’t want to talk about it,” Baron said. “[And if they don’t talk] there can’t be a precise reaction to the story.”

the bleak winter months, and to strengthen the community ties. “We wanted to bring people back into the Center,” Plaut said. “[The rink] helps businesses and residents, and creates more opportunities to

in the rink nor is there much space to skate. Freshman Aleks Marceau feels that a major flaw of the rink is the restriction on hockey. “The [concept] of the rink appeals

Ice rink in Newton Centre By Ahaana Singh

With the lack of snow, unusually high temperatures, and bright sunny days, typical winter activities have been neglected around town this year.

photo from internet source

The ice rink in Newton Center goes unused many, many weeks into the winter. Hopefully if will be used next winter.

After working with Mayor Setti Warren and his staff, however, Newton Community Pride (NCP) has installed an outdoor ice-skating rink on the Newton Center greens. The rink formally opened on Dec 31, 2011 but has only been skated on twice as a result of the strange winter we have had so far. The 50 feet by 70 feet outdoor ice-skating rink provides a free venue for family and friends to enjoy a nice winter activity. NCP President Ruth Barnett along with other consultants spent a little over three months raising money and figuring out logistics to complete the construction of the rink. The NCP raised $3,000 for the building of the rink as well as an additional sum of money for season long maintenance. The money was obtained through business and resident donations throughout Newton. “People were very supportive and willing to donate,” NCP cultural affairs consultant, Linda Plaut, said. “When everybody chips in a little bit, it adds up, and we are able to provide benefits to the community.” The concept of the outdoor rink was formed in an effort to attract more people to Newton Center in

meet new people and exercise without a cost.” Many South students tend to disagree though. “The rink has no appeal to me,” sophomore Stephanie Seiden said. “It is an unnecessary waste of space and the presentation itself is unappealing.” Seiden believes that the greens are better used for relaxing and sitting down as they are through the rest of the year. “The rink may slow people down and have them check it out but I don’t think it attracts any additional people,” junior Annie O’Brien said. “Newton Center doesn’t have much of a ‘vibe’ to begin with, so [the rink] doesn’t really add to it.” Senior Michaela O’Flaherty agrees. “People usually go [to Newton Center] to just grab a coffee or some food. I doubt someone would go with the intentions of skating outdoors,” she said. Both O’Brien and O’Flaherty agree that a larger, nicer, indoor rink would be a better investment and tool for the city. “[This] rink is really small and would be too crowded,” O’Brien said. With the dimensions of the rink, it leads to many restrictions on skating itself. Not many people can fit

to me because I enjoy skating around with friends especially for free. [But] hockey is prohibited, which is what the majority of skaters want to do.” Additionally, unusual weather patterns have led to the inability of skating. Temperatures have been reaching highs of 58 degrees, resulting in the ice being dangerously thin for skating. “We’ve only skated twice, but people were having a grand old time.” Plaut added. Of those two times, only around 15 to 20 kids could fit on the rink at a time, giving it even less usage. O’Flaherty hasn’t even noticed the rink being used, “Maybe [it has not been used] because it’s too warm? Hopefully it will receive some appeal before the season ends.” Though, Marceau does not have the same hope for the rink, “Given the weather and inability to actually skate, I don’t believe it was worth the city’s time, money, and space,” he said. But with two more months of winter this year, the rink still has time to prove itself now and in years to come. “It’s all weather dependent,” Plaut said. “I’m sure [the rink] will receive far more appeal in future, colder winters.”

photo by aley lewis

Custodial contracts settled By Daniel Barabasi As January came to a close, the School Committee and Newton Public Schools employees alike could breathe a sigh of relief as they finalized contract agreements. On Jan 23, the School Committee unanimously ratified a three-year agreement with the custodian union while the secretaries’ union did the same. The secretaries are still waiting on School Committee approval. The contracts with the custodian and secretaries’ unions have similarities to the one signed with the teachers union at the beginning of the school year. The most prominent of these is the revised health care system for all Newton employees. After the extra months of negotiation, the custodian union has agreed to a one percent pay rise, in addition to a $750 lump sum payment as a result of a change in deductibles. These pay changes, however, come with the city playing a lesser role in the payment of health care. “It’s just a money thing,” Vice President of the custodian union Ernie Peltier said. “We have separate unions, but we all want the same thing.” The new contract is retroactive to the beginning of the school year, but the Newton-wide health care changes become active March 8. Peltier has worked at South for over 50 years and has thus been a part of multiple contract negotiations as both President and Vice President of the custodians union. “Things

are [a lot tighter] nowadays than when I first came here,” he said. “It’s a little different. Every bit you get, you earn it.” The most important part of the contract is that it has been settled for the next three years. “We feel it is behind us, we feel good about the contract,” history teacher and negotiations committee member Jamie Rinaldi said. “It has created a sense of mutual respect between the South staff and the Newton School Committee.” Without contract negotiations looming over the school’s back, it is now easier for school staff to put all efforts into creating a strong educational environment in South. However, as Rinaldi pointed out, this is not a result of direct action from the staff at South. “I do think the union did not make an attempt to disrupt the school day,” he said. “There was no ‘work to rule’ planned.” “Work to rule” refers to a form of passive worker resistance where teachers and staff would come to school for the hours they are required to, but they would do no extra work for their classes or any work outside of the schooldays in general. The reason the staff can now work harder is that they can feel comfortable about the position they are in. “If you get people to feel good about that job, they will put more into it,” Rinaldi said. “People feel more optimistic. A culture has been created where more is able to get done.”

Naming rights for locations at South being doled out By Astha Agarwal

In an effort to raise funds for new technology in the Newton Public Schools, the Newton Schools Foundation is organizing a naming rights campaign for areas in the school at North and South. Throughout the campaign, community members will be able to buy naming rights for certain areas at the high schools, such as classrooms, library, and cafeteria space. When a parent or alumnus purchases naming rights for a certain space, they may choose to name it after a faculty member or Newton community member, for example. Newton Schools Foundation CoPresident Julie Sall hopes that the campaign will be a way for students and parents to recognize teachers who have inspired and influenced them, while simultaneously raising revenue to give back to their school. “Sometimes there is a teacher who really inspires you to be a

better writer, or history suddenly comes alive because of that teacher,” Sall said. “You have somebody who really affected your life, so maybe you as an individual or as a class can come together and say, ‘I want to give back to my school and honor that teacher.’” At this point, North and South have very different cultures in terms of naming rights. Many areas of North are already named, while South locales go nameless. As North moved into its new building, the School Committee had to decide how to transfer naming rights, and asked the Newton Schools Foundation to check if there was any potential to create revenue for the schools through naming. The Foundation then created a proposal, determining that about $6 million can potentially be raised from both schools. The funds raised through the naming rights campaign will be

put forth to further the NPS Strategic Goals for its Vision 20/20 Plan, which aims to “support high academic achievement,” “promote local and global citizenship through collaboration,” and “ensure up-to-

“By [participating] and [giving] back, you’re realizing that your high school put you on a path that set you on to a hopefully successful adult life.”

- Julie Sall

date teaching and learning environment.” The campaign will help provide the infrastructure the Newton Public Schools needs to ensure learning is as

accessible as possible to its students. While naming rights are a form of brand marketing within the schools, Sall is sure that the campaign will not hinder education at either school in any way. “It won’t be ostentatious,” Sall said. After someone purchases the naming rights to a location, a sign will be placed with the name and a small description. “I don’t think it is going to impact student life, because changing the names of places at school doesn’t change how students learn there,” sophomore Vanessa Chen said. “It’s beneficial for the school as well because it raises funds just by putting a name next to a location. It doesn’t affect our learning, but instead the money raised will improve our education.” Senior Jasreet Kaur agrees. “Naming those places has no negative impact on anyone, while teachers and community members also get recognition, which is beneficial especially

if the school gets money out of it,” Kaur said. The naming rights campaign, however, is only one aspect of the Foundation’s long-term efforts to raise revenue for new technology in the Newton Schools. They are also planning to reach out to the Class of 2012 at both North and South, encouraging them to think about giving back to their schools early on as they move on to another life. “I think it’s a nice way to honor a teacher who has helped you and pay your respects, but I’m not sure that a lot of people have that kind of money to spend on naming rights,” Chen said. After going “through 13 years of Newton Public Schooling, you remember elementary school and high school,” Sall said. “By [participating] and [giving] back, you’re realizing that your high school put you on a path that set you to a hopefully successful adult life.


14 February 2012

Tumblr turns into an obsession

By Courtney Foster

You email. You text. You Facebook message. You tweet. But do you tumbl? With over 24 million Tumblr blogs controlled by users under the age of 25, the chances that you have a Tumblr are pretty high. The question is: with all the various blogging sites available in our ever-growing virtual world, what is different about this one? “I’d describe Tumblr as a cross between Twitter and Blogspot,” sophomore Celina Siegel said. “You can use it as a blog, but everything that the people you follow post shows up on your newsfeed (the way tweets do on Twitter).” Junior Hayley Goldstein views Tumblr as a place to advertise her favorite elements of pop culture. “Tumblr is basically ‘Facebook for fangirls,’” she said. “I primarily use it to blog and express my feelings for my many obsessions – namely Doctor Who and Sherlock Holmes – through the use of GIFs and internet memes.” Siegel uses her Tumblr for similar purposes of personal expression, with emphasis on textual posts. “I use it mostly as a personal blog,” Siegel said, “but it’s also quite frequently used to post photos, post internet memes, and talk about fandoms.” Sophomore Nat Silverman uses Tumblr simply for the fun of blogging. “Tumblr is my life!” Silverman said. “I love it! I like looking at artsy

pictures, plus people post really funny stuff.” According to the traffic details of the site, Tumblr saw spikes in popularity around March, July, and December of 2011. Siegel, Silverman, and Goldstein all began tumbleblogging last spring and summer. “I started my Tumblr account sometime last April,” Siegel said, “because I was bored and thought that keeping a blog again would be a good idea. I kind of used it as a way to vent my feelings when no one was around, and also as a way to share the music I recorded with my friends.” Coincidentally, Silverman opened her account during the same month. “I first got started in late April last year when one of my friends told me about it,” Silverman said. “At first I didn’t really know what to with it, so I wasn’t really into it until mid-July when I [understood it better].” Unlike many social networking sites which have a negative stigma, Tumblr is viewed in relatively positive light. This is in large part due to the many features it presents to bloggers, particularly its aesthetically appealing qualities and simple usability. “Overall, I like Tumblr as a site,” Siegel said. “I like how easy it is to keep track of how my friends are doing and what they’re interested in; it’s kind of like a more informal, personalized version of Facebook.” Goldstein enjoys both the social and personal aspects of blogging. “I

like the freedom it gives me to post about nearly anything I want,” Goldstein said. “I like the fact that you can block people or post about things you don’t like or don’t want spoiled. I like the fact that my favorite author (Neil Gaiman) has a Tumblr where he answers fan questions. I like the fact I’ve made loads of friends who love the same things I do.” Just like any website, however, Tumblr has its downsides. Silverman sees questionable social values being promoted through the sharing of certain images posted on the site. “Sometimes I don’t like going on Tumblr because people only like to re-blog really beautiful

improper material. “For the most part,” Siegel said, “my complaints extend to specific blogs more than anything. For example, I can’t stand it when you open up someone’s blog and music starts blasting from the page.” Tumblr can also serve as a significant distraction for South students. “You can spend hours on Tumblr; it’s so addicting,” Silverman said. “I have to get all my homework done before I go on, because otherwise I won’t get it done.” Especially over the last few months, Tumblr has grown from a popular internet phenomenon to a fanatic obsession for many different

people,” Silverman said. Goldstein also takes issue with some of the material she finds while tumble-blogging. “The only thing I don’t like about Tumblr is that there are lots of people who post inappropriate things,” she said. “Sometimes you unexpectedly get something from one of those blogs on your dashboard, and it scars you for the rest of the day.” Siegel has seen nearly as much

Americans. For some, this sparks a controversy. Many view Tumblr as a place to be unique – a place to convey individuality in novel ways. The sheer number of people now using the site may arguably debase the principles on which Tumblr began. Siegel, nonetheless, is not bothered by any of this. “I honestly don’t have much of a problem with the increased popularity of Tumblr,” Siegel said. “I

News A7

think that anyone who really wants to express their individuality can do so on Tumblr; just because a million people post the same types of photos over and over again doesn’t mean you have to.” “The fact that it’s popular just means that more people will be able to see your expressions of individuality.” Goldstein neither likes nor resents Tumblr’s development in terms of its increased usage. “I really don’t have an opinion on Tumblr’s popularity,” Goldstein said. “I’m more concerned with what will happen to Tumblr if [certain laws enforcing censorship such as] SOPA, PIPA, or ACTA are

photo from internet source

passed.” Teens and young adults continue to use Tumblr not only for themselves, but also for the virtual interactions they can have with others. “I started using it because I heard that it was a place where I could communicate with other fans [about] my favorite things,” Goldstein said. “Life has somehow gotten better ever since I joined. It’s about passion.”

Arts and Entertainment Arts and Entertainment A8

South Arts offers real life perspective By Astha Agarwal

From ceramics and glass to photography and theater, South’s array of art classes is endless. But what about having the opportunity to learn from a real-world professional: someone who actually makes a living by making the art that South supports? Fortunately, students will not have to wait much longer. The Lillian Shapiro Radlo artist in residence program is soon coming to North and South. A different professional artist will be coming to North and South every year, teaching arts students about a career in his or her particular field of art. The program will provide students with hands-on experience, giving them a window into what it would be like to pursue an arts career beyond the walls of high school. “I would hope that the experience would be one where [students] would get a taste of what it is like to be a real-world artist,” Department Head Jeff Knoedler said. Knoedler hopes that students will gain something from the experience which arts classes at South do not already offer. They will “learn how to start their own business,” Knoedler said, or work in a studio, for example. “Hopefully, we will be able to

choose an artist in residence who will be automatically attractive to students. We will rely on student members [on the board of advisors] to tell us what [students] would want,” Knoedler said. The program will commence in honor of Lillian Shapiro Radlo, a former assistant to Superintendent David Fleishman. Radlo, who loved the arts dearly, passed away in 1984, and now her family has offered a generous grant to the Newton high schools to give Newton students greater opportunities in the arts. As the grant will pay for the artist in residence, Knoedler does not expect that students will be charged a fee for participation in the program. “It’s unfair to have kids pay for something that’s already free,” Knoedler said. “Students involved will hopefully appreciate the impact art can have, not only on the people who make the art, but those who see and experience it,” Knoedler said. Knoedler believes that the program will also allow students an opportunity to share their artwork with the community at large, outside of South. Knoedler hopes they will be able to host an exhibition of their work for the whole Newton community. A board of advisors, consisting of administrators, teachers, arts students, and community members, is

14 February 2012


The Fashion Files By Helen Holmes

graphic by tim jiang

currently working on the logistics of the program. The committee is currently in the process of developing an application system and choosing an artist. The artist in residence program will enhance arts education at South by offering a new experience, rather than offering a class that already exists. The administration hopes that students will be excited to participate in the program, and will take away greater knowledge and motivation for the arts from the experience. According to Knoedler, the artist in residence will work with students interested in his or her particular area of art at South. For example, “a dance expert would work with Step Squad and Dance Team,” Knoedler said. “I think it would be really inspirational for students,” sophomore Stephanie Foster said, who has been active in South Stage, Speech Team

and chorus since September of her freshman year. “It would give everybody a new role model and a different perspective on the art that they’re focusing on. I would like having that kind of inspiration as I pursue my arts career.” Sophomore athlete and musician Sam Haas hopes that a similar program may be initiated for areas other than the arts, in the future. “I think it should be available to the whole school, because if you make distinctions between artists and athletes, you lose potential effect. Students who are not artists may also be interested in a professional viewpoint of their activity,” Haas said. “Making the program exclusive to the arts defeats the purpose of promoting creativity,” Haas said. The incoming artist in residence program is sure to inspire creativity will be accepting student board applications this spring.

departments that we have because it’s a great way for people who are not competitively-inclined to connect with other people, and I think it is part of what makes our school so accepting of all different types of people,” Abramson said. “It’s also great that our school is able to put on all types of great performances, whether they be theatre or music or art shows, and I think people should really take advantage of that while they are here.” The previous summer he attended a jazz studies program at the Eastman School of Music. As for this summer, he hopes “to just play music with as many people as possible and hopefully try to form a group to play at local venues,” Abramson said. His musical taste relies mainly on an artist’s thought behind a piece and, somewhat unsurprisingly, often includes jazz. “I am a huge fan of Dexter Gordon because is able to use simplicity to make music that is so inspiring,” Abramson said. “Having said that, I also really like Kanye West and Radiohead.” Besides jazz music and playing the saxophone, Abramson “really

likes – no, loves – eating, hiking, bike riding, and frisbee-ing,” he said. Wherever he goes, Abramson is a prime example of how pursuing a passion can take a person to new heights, and carry him or her through college and beyond. As long as there is passion, there is music; and, hopefully, a sense of peace. As for Abramson, his saxophone keys will never be too far away.

Art Focus: Jake Abramson

By Astha Agarwal

Some South students play guitar and piano, or possibly even the violin and clarinet, but a less common instrument among the South arts crowd would have to be the saxophone. Senior Jake Abramson, however, has proven the saxophone to be his true calling. “I first got interested in jazz and the saxophone through my dad, who is an avid listener,” Abramson said. “He turned me on to John Coltrane and Dexter Gordon, two jazz saxophonists, who are still some of my favorite musicians today.” Now a full-fledged jazz saxophonist himself, Abramson has taken his love of the sax to whole new levels. Although he does often play various gigs with friends, such as his set at the recent Teabarn, Abramson has been recognized by professional and high-standard musicians alike. His sophomore and senior year, Abramson played as the saxophone first chair for the All State Jazz Band. He was also awarded the Outstanding Musicianship award at the Berklee Jazz Festival during his sophomore year, and was recently of-

fered an $18,000 merit scholarship to the Berklee School of Music. By now a second semester senior, the college process has been a part of Abramson’s life for a while. “I have applied only to music schools so music programs will be a huge part in my decision. I want to study with a teacher that will push me as well as being around other music students who share my passion,” Abramson said. His post-college plans are clear: in one way or another, music will play a large role in his life. “I plan on pursuing music as a career, whether it be through teaching, performing, or composing. Or all of those,” Abramson said. At South, Abramson has taken advantage of the music courses offered to better his ability and pursue his passion, having participated in South’s Jazz Ensemble, Jazz Combo, Symphonic Band, Select Wind Ensemble, and Madrigals. Abramson has also been a member of “the Senior Massachusetts Wind Ensemble and the Youth Jazz Orchestra, both at the New England Conservatory.” “I think that at South we are really lucky to have the music and arts

photo contributed by jake abramson

South Stage presents: Beauty and the Beast February 9, 10, and 11 photos by sophie scharlin-pettee

Let me get one thing out of the way: I don’t hate Valentine’s Day. Sure, it would be really easy to write a snarky, bitter, generally ill-willed ode to the money-sucking PDA parade which we’re all subjected to once a year, but that’d be cheap. Besides, this is the last column I’ll ever write for this paper, so I want it to be good. Therefore I’m not going to tell you about the latest thing in Valentine’s Day fashion because a) that would be stupid, and b) it’s pretty much the easiest thing in the world: if you’ve got a sweet, kind boyfriend eager to hang out with you on the weekends and buy you stuff, pick out a pretty dress (February weather forgotten). Valentine’s Day, as overdone and saccharine as it tends to be, is often a pleasure to behold. It all depends on your point of view. That annoying couple who always clasp onto each other in the middle of the hallway like two barnacles clinging to a rock? They’ve made it another year! That guy who leaves you creepy voicemails at one in the morning? How endearing! Either way, you can’t let the happiness of other people get you down. Think of it in terms of karma. No matter how tempting it is to punch an ex in the face or perhaps egg his car, DON’T DO IT. In all likelihood, the general male population will be frightened by your outward display of rage and will be even less likely to invite you to prom. For some perspective on the matter, I turned to Newton South’s student body and grilled them about this most controversial of holidays.I found that if you haven’t found that special someone, it’d be best to wear all-black to mourn his (or her) absence. Nothing says “I’m single and ready to mingle” like combat boots and a scowl. But, whatever. I wondered what guys thought of a day devoted to giving expensive gifts to girls. Sure enough, senior Dan Cutright, who is currently in a relationship, was “looking forward” to the big day, but said that there’s “pressure to do something really nice.” Does anybody else miss third grade when everybody had to get a valentine so nobody would feel left out? Those tiny squares of paper used to make my day, and now expressions of romance aren’t considered legitimate unless they’re splashed across a Jumbotron or cost more than $29.95. Junior Maddy Meyer, also in a relationship, said she was “not really sure” how she felt about Valentine’s day, since lately she has been on the receiving end of “nagging and playful comments” from friends. Alas, she added that she would be “lying if I said I was not a bit excited.” Perhaps this is what Valentine’s Day is all about: forgetting what other people think, ignoring whatever else is going badly in your life, and focusing upon the one thing you truly care for. For some people this is a boyfriend or girlfriend, wife, husband, partner, friend-with-benefits, or hook up buddy. It doesn’t really matter who or what you love as long as you’re taking a moment to appreciate it. In my opinion, senior Skylar Krug says it best: “Food is my valentine.” And now for something completely different. So, here we are. It’s my senior year, I’ve gotten into my first choice college, and everything seems to be lining up. If I’m being honest (a prerequisite considering this a column), I didn’t always love working on Denebola.But this newspaper is never going to be the same after this year, and a small part of me regrets that nobody else will get to do the exact job I’ve done and grow and develop the way I did. It’s my firm belief, however, that this is a good thing: the future can only bring Newton South something better. Well, that’s it for this writer. Thanks for reading, and for God’s sake, please don’t ever wear harem pants. Ever.


Sports 14 February 2011

Sports B1

PAWAFUL: Toilet Talk


By Zach Pawa

Despicable, disgusted, disappointed. I sat next to junior Jesse Feldstein, an outspoken Giants fan, as the final seconds ticked away. He was overjoyed, jumping up and down, yelling and screaming. It was then that I was most unhappy. The two emotions in the room were polar opposites: overjoyed and heartbroken. The Patriots came out flat and ended flat. That is why we lost the game. You can pinpoint a number of crucial errors, but the Giants played phenomenally under pressure, and Mr. Fourth Quarter did it again. It all began with the interception. Just like the long bomb intended for Slater in the AFC Championship, Brady decided to chuck up a 50/50 ball to Rob Gronkowski, his injured tight end. What the hell was he thinking?!? Out of all the options, run the ball for a short gain, throw it out of bounds, even take a sack. Throwing a Hail Mary was maybe the worst decision Brady has ever made in a Patriot uniform. It completely changed the mentality of the game. All Brady accomplished in throwing the interception was getting himself in his little girl mood, where one mistake gets to his head. That, for me, was when the tables turned. Brady then threw a number of bad passes bringing up third and fourth down situations. The Giants responded with another field goal from Tynes; we still had the lead but needed a scoring drive. With 4:00 left in the fourth quarter Brady hit an old friend by the name of Wes Welker in the hands, and he dropped the ball. This forced a third and 11, and one down later, a punt. It was almost as if the game was scripted: Brady hits his most reliable receiver in the hands, but he drops the ball and it goes back to the Giants with under four minutes to go in the fourth, ultimately putting the Pats’ lead in peril. You are a professional football player paid an exorbitant sum of money. Catch the ball. We all know what happens next. Eli drives down the field, right on cue, and Bradshaw falls into the end zone with one minute left. So we get another shot, one minute to go, one timeout; sounds like Brady time, right? Wrong. Brady has not been able to play well under both physical and mental pressure since the Spygate incident. The game ended with a Hail Mary batted down in the end zone. Gronkowski was so close, but we lost. That is it. This whole time I am watching a Giants fan froth at the mouth as the game is unfolding. It was painful, but it gave me some time to think about how I was going to face the defeat. Sure, we cannot beat the Giants, but this is still Title Town. The decade of dominators. We’re servin’ other cities, like we waiters – right No Trace? And Tom Brady is better looking than Eli Manning. I mean would you rather have a quarterback who can still win games, or a quarterback that prances around in Uggs? I know whom I want. But all jokes aside, what is really on everyone’s mind is the fact that the Brady-Belichick era may be coming to a close. We have not won a Super Bowl in seven years, and while Brady is “getting better each year,” let’s be real; he is getting older. So let’s not get too upset when Jesse Feldstein prances into school wearing a JPP jersey. Let the fans have their moment because we sure PAWAFUL, continued on page B2

Cascino dominates league By Joe Maher As a freshman, Lucian Cascino joined the Wrestling team to train during football’s offseason. As a sophomore, he was able to qualify for the state tournament. As a junior, Cascino is now primed to take the tournament by storm. This season, Cascino wrestled in the heavyweight division, compiling a 33-1 record and winning the Dual County League Sectional Championship. Furthermore, Cascino was the Division-I Central Champion, won the Marlborough Early Bird meet, and placed third at the Framingham Holiday Classic. These accomplishments vaulted Lucian to the state tournament, where he is currently seeded third, while maintaining a state ranking of ninth. “Lucian’s success is a simple formula,” Coach Alan Rotatori said. “Hard work.” Teammate and senior Mike Berman agrees. “I would be going to the weight room every day over the summer and see Lucian there, already working hard,” he said. Other than becoming a regular in the weight room, Cascino spent time in the offseason attending camps and wrestling for club teams. “During the previous season I struggled with my confidence a lot and often doubted myself,” Cascino said. “Now because of the time and hard work that I put in during the offseason, I have been able to earn confidence in myself.” Cascino not only attributes his success to his hard work, but also to the encouragement of the coaching staff. “The support of my coaches and teammates has also helped me greatly in being able to become a much better wrestler.” In particular, Cascino singles out his teammate and training partner, junior Patrick Fabrizio, who is nearly 100 pounds lighter than Cascino, but in Casino’s eyes is an invaluable asset to his improvements. “Lucian is blessed with a great


work ethic and determination,” Athletic Director Scott Perrin said. “He is a perfect example of what having the right attitude can do.” Perrin also said that Cascino’s success promotes the growth of wrestling leagues for younger kids. “There used to be a lack of young participants that in the past has given other towns advantages over us,” Perrin said. This trend has begun to change with the success of wrestlers like Cascino. Cascino’s breakout season did not come as a surprise to Berman, who fully attributes the success to his desire to become the best wrestler he can. “He’s been working hard and he deserves all the respect that he’s gotten,” Berman said. “Not only from

his own teammates, but the kids he’s been wrestling against, as well.” Rotatori further commends Cascino’s contributions to the wrestling team. “[Lucian is] a tremendous leader in football and wrestling and has earned respect from his opponents and the wrestling community at large,” he said. “What makes Lucian a champion is his work ethic, his passion for the sport, and his spirit for competition,” Rotatori said. Perrin summed up Cascino’s success with the phrase “dedication, hard work, and the right attitude,” and said that because of those factors, “Lucian has become a great wrestler.” Sophomore Will Kramer, Ber-

man, Fabrizio, and senior Roy Milstein, will join Cascino at the state tournament this year. Kramer and Berman will be alternates, and Milstein and Fabrizio will be wrestling after finishing third and fourth, respectively, in their weight classes at Sectionals. Lucian agreed that his success was created by “a stringent offseason regimen,” but added, “it is with the support of my coaches and teammates that I am able to be so successful in wrestling.” Rotatori contends that qualifying for the All-State wrestling meet is now Cascino’s goal. “With the tools he learned during the off season, that is a realistic goal,” he said.

Hockey concussions pose safety questions


By Erik Mandich Another day, another National Hockey League (NHL) star sidelined by a concussion. Sidney Crosby, Chris Pronger, and Marc Savard are only a few of the marquee players in the NHL disabled by concussions. This season, an abundance of Newton South Boys’ Hockey team players have been deemed inactive for some or all of the season. Concussions are a major issue that have been plaguing professional hockey during the 2011-2012 season. The poster boy for this is the aforementioned Crosby, arguably the NHL’s best and most recognizable player, who has been sidelined since last January. After returning briefly in November, he was concussed again, bringing up the questions as to whether he will ever be the same “Sid the

Kid” he was a couple of years ago. Although concussions have brought a lot of attention to the sport in recent years, they have always been a part of hockey. The reason for all of the recent concussion debates is due to new re-

“I think there’s a greater risk of getting a concussion in hockey than lacrosse, but not in football.” —Kevin Dober, ‘14 search, conducted mainly by Boston University’s School of Medicine They found that a large percentage of former NHL players are experiencing long-term effects of post-concussion syndrome, such as headaches, loss of memory, and depression. So how does the concussion

issue affect high school hockey? Like the NHL, high school hockey teams, including Newton South’s, are taking similar steps to limit the number of concussions. It is now required for all athletes who play contact sports to take the impact concussion test to assess when a concussion should properly be diagnosed. Similarly to the NHL, high school teams also must be more cognizant of the quality of helmets along with other padding and protection. Without the proper equipment, players are more likely to sustain head injuries. “I’m definitely provided with quality equipment to help lessen my chances of a concussion,” sophomore and hockey player Kevin Dober said. Along with the impact testing and better quality of equipment, some of the more dangerous plays in hockey

are starting to be penalized more frequently. In high school hockey, they are completely forbidden. Players at all levels of hockey can be put in serious danger when going for pucks along the boards or drifting in open ice. From pee-wee hockey all the way up to the NHL, hits to the head, checks from behind, and contact after leaving one’s feet are some of the things that have been watched carefully with the increased knowledge of concussions. But unfortunately for South this year, the preseason concussion tests and safety measures have not prevented an abundance of players from getting concussions, which begs the question, are concussions inevitable? In a sport like hockey, the risk of sustaining a concussion is always there. There are twelve players are on the ice, and if you exclude the two goalies, ten players are always at risk. But is hockey more dangerous than other sports? “I think there’s a greater risk of getting a concussion in hockey than lacrosse, but not in football,”Kevin Dober said. According to studies by the American Academy of Pediatrics, hockey is in the top five of sports and activities where concussions are most prevalent amongst kids ages eight to 18, but behind individual and leisure activities such as bike riding and skiing. This research proves that although hockey still leaves players at risk, it is sometimes just as dangerous as common leisure activities. So as Crosby, Pronger, and Savard remain sidelined indefinitely, you may question whether the hockey is doing what it can to prevent these careerending head injuries. But the changes that hockey organizations from the pee-wee ranks, the high school level, and the NHL are making to better protect the players – by implementing concussion testing, using better equipment and eliminating some of the more dangerous parts of the game – can only be a step in the right direction.


Sports B2

14 February 2012

PAWAFUL: The New England Patriots and whatnot PAWAFUL, continued from page B1

Getting BIG off campus By Jesse Feldstein

Three times a week a group of baseball players, carrying a change of clothes and W hey protein, cram into a 2010 Subaru Legacy. They drive 45 minutes to Hudson, work out for two hours, then they drive back in the dark. Cressey Performance is their training center and offseason workout haven, located in Hudson Massachusetts. Eric Cressey, founder of Cressey Performance and one of Men’s Health’s Top 25 Trainers in America, attracts not only high school players, but also college and professional players, such as Kevin Youkilis. For the last three years, senior Eric Davis has been working out at Cressey Performance. “Eric [Cressey] knows what he is doing. There are over 100 minor and ma-

photo by aley lewis

jor league baseball players that train at CP,” Davis said. “He has become popular because he offers top of the line and up-to-date instruction.” Davis continues to invest in Cresse y bec ause he has seen proven results as a high school pitcher. “Freshman year my fastball was 52 miles per hour. Now, after three years of Cressey, I sit in the high 70s, with a shot at touching 80,” he said. Davis believes many other gyms lack something that Cressey Performance gives him. “Though I enjoy working out at South as well, Cressey’s facility offers a unique baseball atmosphere that can’t be found at any high school.” Senior Dan Frechter, who rides shotgun during the tri-weekly pilgrimage to Hudson, also believes in the off-site workout venue. “The South gym is a perfectly

fine place to get a quality workout,” Frechter said. “But the facility in Hudson is second to none in the greater-Boston area. I can go there and lift, run, throw, get tissue work, and even get a personalized nutrition plan.”

“Above all else, Cressey has taught me one thing: singles are nice, but at the end of the day, chicks dig the long ball.” —Daniel Frechter, ‘12 Frechter finds the atmosphere to be motivating and beneficial to his game. “Every guy in there, high school, college, or MLB, is striving for the same goal: improvement,” Frechter said. “If I have ten yards left on my sled push, every guy in there is cheering me on. If I’m going for a personal record in

dead-lifting, there are three staff guys surrounding me.” Both Frechter and Davis believe the money allotted to Cressey Performance is well-spent. “A lot of guys at South spend their money on shoes, clothes, video games, and eating out. I made the choice to sacrifice those things to pay for Cressey out of my own pocket,” Frechter said. “It ’s easily the best money I’ve ever spent, and I wouldn’t ever trade it for a pair of shoes.” Like Davis, Frechter is midway through his third year at Cressey Performance. “As a freshman, I was a singles hitter who couldn’t run the bases,” Frechter said. “ W ith 35 extra pounds of muscle, Cressey helped me make the Varsity roster as a sophomore, and allowed me to become a doubles and triples hitter.” Although off-site gyms, such as Cressey Performance, have be-

as hell have had ours. In the end, this game consists of a bunch of big, strong, talented men, dressed in tight clothing, prancing around on a patch of synthetic grass, throwing around a piece of leather. That is me trying to justify that football is only a game, when in reality we all know it is so much more than just a game. But there are more important things to worry about, like the Republican Primary. Can I get an amen, Andy and Frechter? P.S. – This will be my last print column. Thanks for reading “Pawaful” this volume; it was super chill. Pawaful will continue when Denebola goes online in the coming months. Corn. come increasingly popular, some students believe in squandering their resources. They think that the same resources are accessible at South for free. “I used to be a skeptic myself,” Davis said, “until I went one time. The high school gym is satisfactory, but I needed motivation and expertise.” “As many people know, I’m a guy who believes that kids are entitled to their own opinions,” Frechter said. “I just wish naysayers would give it a shot before making up their minds.” In the end, students will have to decide between Mighty’s and Nike’s, or Cressey Performance. “A b o v e a l l e l s e, C re s s e y h a s taught me one thing,” Frechter said. “Singles are nice, but at the end of the day, chicks dig the long ball.” Who can argue with that reasoning?


Features Features B3

14 February 2012

South student stresses political activism By Josh Nislick


in the senior lot By Jesse Feldstein

The clock strikes 3:25 PM. A boy stands alone with the wind whipping across his tear-ridden face. Promises were broken. He cranes his neck to catch a glimpse of bright orange on the horizon, but sees only the dismal expanse of snowy ground and gray sky. He planned on being picked up at 3:20 PM, but even he knows not to get his hopes up when it comes to taking the PP bus home. Thankfully for junior Zach Carney, those bone-chilling waits in the dead of winter have long been over. Armed with the power of the driver’s license, Carney now enjoys driving his own car to school. “Gone are the days of waiting outside for the bus,” Carney said. “That was not a fun time, but everyone has to go through it.” Carney is one of two student drivers directing a bus of his own. Carney, who drives a lavish Ford Expedition, and senior John Jennings, who wields a muscular Cadillac Escalade,

own the two “horses” in the student parking lot. Oftentimes Jennings and Carney park their cars side by side in the senior lot. “Two cars like those are meant to be next to each other,” Carney said. Carney has aptly named his vehicle “The King” because the Expedition can tow over 9,000 pounds and seats eight friends comfortably. “It is a big ride that knows how to party,” Carney said. “Accessibility is key. I want everyone to feel welcome in the King and be ready to have a good time. It is definitely a nice car, and I am lucky to have it.” Jennings also savors the joy of having his own car, and he is very fond of driving. “Yeah, driving to school is a privilege I certainly enjoy,” he said. Jennings finds the surplus square footage in his automobile beneficial, as well. “It’s nice having a lot of space in the back. I could even fit a bed back there, if I wanted to,” he said. Carney also finds the excess room in the King quite useful. “To put it simply, there is more room or activi-

photo by aley lewis

ties,” Carney said. “What the King lacks in acceleration it makes up for in leisure and comfort.” Though gas mileage is often compromised in such enormous vehicles, the King actually compares quite well with similar models. “Some sacrifices must be made,” Carney said. “Fortunately for the King, nature just isn’t one of them.” Jennings and Carney also make efforts to extend the benefits of these cars to the rest of the student body. Jennings has been known to be a generous driver, yet he is modest about his benevolence. “If a kid needs a ride, I certainly won’t deny him or her,” he said. “After all, what kid doesn’t want to ride with a senior?” The gracious Jennings even keeps a spare set of Aviators in the glove compartment for passenger confidence. “One size fits all,” he said. While most South students rely on buses or parents for transportation, these young drivers take pride in their luxurious vehicles. “We try to keep the two big horses happy every way that we can,” Jennings said.

Experience the Turtling Effect By Wendy Ma

Every day, junior John Deng carries a backpack containing six binders (one for each subject), several folders, pencils, a calculator, a water bottle, and most importantly “those super heavy annoying textbooks.” But it’s not just Deng who has to bear this burden. According to an online survey taken by 121 South students in November, 87 percent of students feel that their backpacks are too heavy. “The amount of stuff we have to carry is just excessive,” junior Sam Casler said, who carries a backpack weighing 25 pounds and suffers from a mild case of scoliosis, an abnormal curving of the spine. “Because of my backpack, I feel like I’m turning into an old man, getting more slouched everyday,” sophomore Albert Lee said. This slouching behavior at South is what Professor Karen Jacobs, occupational therapist at Boston University, likes to call the “turtling effect.” “Teachers often joke that students nowadays look like beach turtles, since they are so small, yet their backpacks are so large,” said Kraus. In addition to slouching, bulky backpacks can also lead to musculoskeletal pain, lateral deviation of the spine, psychological problems, and many more according to Jacobs. More than 13,000 children are admitted to hospitals due to backpack-related injuries every year, and this number has been steadily increasing over recent years, according to a study published in the Archives of Disease and Childhood. “Kids are growing. Putting such a heavy load onto their backs will cause their spinal cord to compress, which will obviously lead to back problems,” South biology teacher Jordan Kraus said. “It is definitely an issue that often gets overlooked.” In 2010, a study published in Medscape News reported that increasing backpack loads significantly compresses disc heights in students’ lumbar spines. The authors of the Lumbar Spine Study and orthopedic specialists at the Children’s Hospital in Boston conclude that people should carry at most 10 percent of their body weight on their backs. According to online surveys taken by South students, however, individuals are carrying an average of about 14 percent of their body weight. At South, backpacks have not caused any serious injuries, but there are students with scoliosis, which can be worsened by heavy backpacks, according to school nurse Gail Kramer. Jacobs concludes in her study that in the US, big backpacks put roughly 40 million children at risk by causing long-term damage to their growing bodies. “If we look at adults who have back problems you can typically trace that back issue to when they were a

child,” Jacobs said. Many students feel their backpacks just seem uncomfortable and annoying, not so much dangerous or a serious issue. Jacob argues that it may only be discomfort now, but “discomfort if left untreated could move on to something else.” Junior Jack Rice has spondylolisthesis, a back problem that causes the lower part of the spine to not be in its proper position. “My family has a history of back problems. My older brother broke seven bones over time in his back partially due to carrying a large backpack,” he said. Because of this, Rice takes extra precautions such as going to see a special back doctor and making sure his backpack load is light. Jacobs urges students to “take preventative strategies so that students aren’t predisposed to develop these back injuries.” He suggests that students get backpacks with padded shoulder straps, a hip strap, and a chest strap for evenly distributing the weight. “A lot of times students are wearing backpacks that don’t fit them. You really need to try on many different backpacks to make sure that they have all the features that you need,” she said. To relieve the weight of backpacks, students have also proposed using one large binder for all subjects, making textbooks more available in the school, and digitalizing school material to increase the use of lighter laptops. For some, lockers provide extra space to deposit school supplies. Junior Tony Yao uses his locker because he believes that he doesn’t photo from internet source need to carry unnecessary things around. Jacobs also is “a big advocate of just bringing to class what you really need. If lockers would allow you to do that then it is a viable solution.” Jacobs also supports lockers, but according to a South poll only 19.3 percent of South students actually use their lockers. Students cite the small sizes of lockers as well as the short period of time between classes as limiting the effectiveness of lockers. Dr. Kapila Jayaratne, a community physician at the Sri Lankan Ministry of Health, believe that the issue of overloaded backpacks cannot simply be solved through students. In 2011, Jayaratne designed a healthy model of a backpack that benefited four million children, according the Sri Lanka Bureau of Public Health. Schools in China also offer a different way to deal with overloaded backpacks. “We just stay in one classroom so we do not have to carry our backpacks full of books around with us like we have to do here,” freshman Tim He, a Chinese exchange student from Jingshan, said. Some schools in the US, such as those in Fargo, North Dakota, have even prohibited the use of backpacks due to health concerns. Many South students feel that new administrative measures should be taken to prevent overloaded backpacks, and Jacobs agrees. “[The problem of overloaded backpacks] is a conversation teachers, administrators and students should have with each other,” Jacobs said.

political views. “I think kids at South are really As the 2012 Presidential Election brainwashed,” he said. “They’re taken nears, Americans have been quick over by the ‘liberal elite.’ A lot of to side with certain candidates. One times people don’t even realize that South student, however, is truly con- these candidates are strikingly simisidering his options before he decides lar, and that Obama is very similar to support a potential president. to Bush. People are reluctant to Junior Dan Kaufman, who identifies acknowledge that neither of these himself as an independent, is devot- options is good.” ing much of his time to carefully Kaufman is also distressed that studying every candidate before he many students are uninformed about chooses for whom to vote. the presidential candidates. Kaufman has a genuine interest “I think that being ignorant,” in both local and national politics Kaufman said, “and not questioning and has made some strong public a candidate — even if that is the right statements with active political par- candidate — is just as bad as voting ticipation. for the wrong one, because you’re Though he never stayed overnight, not being aware, you’re not making Kaufman contributed to the Oc- conscious decisions, and you’re not cupy Boston movement that filled using critical thinking.” Dewey Square for two Some individuals months, joining with believe that they un“I think that bethe demonstrators on derstand political isseveral occasions. He ing ignorant and not sues well, but Kaufman viewed the Occupy questioning a candi- has encountered nuprotest as an opportu- date is just as bad as merous South students nity to bring about real are not fully aware voting for the wrong who change. of current events. one.” “Everyone is always “Many people think talking about change — Dan Kaufman, they’re politically savand being a radical,” vy,” he said. “I think ‘13 Kaufman said. “But that they see what they when it came to Occupy, people said, want to see on the news but don’t go ‘Oh, I don’t have time for that.’” much farther than that. Although the protests did not “If they really want to understand bring about all of its desired effects, the candidates, they have to look at Kaufman sees some overall benefits their histories and at what policies from the movement. they’ve passed, and from a larger “[Occupy] didn’t evoke that much context than the media.” change, but it did raise awareness Kaufman also feels that smaller about people who need change, es- political parties do not have enough pecially in places that are so isolated, of a voice at South. With the large such as Newton,” he said. majority of students associating Not only did Kaufman participate themselves with either the Demoin Occupy Boston, but he also sent cratic or Republican parties, he thinks a letter to The Boston Globe that was that different views and opinions are published in response to a column lost on the school. written by conservative Jeff Jacoby. To combat this partial political “I read one of his columns,” Kauf- culture at South, Kaufman would man said. “It was so blatantly false like to see students become more that I wrote a letter to the paper, so politically involved. Specifically, that was fun.” he wants to increase the dialogue Though he recognizes that it is dif- between students about alternative ficult to be highly involved in politics political philosophies regarding iswhile in high school, Kaufman still sues which Americans are currently tries to remain informed constantly dealing with. about current events by reading the Kaufman’s interest in politics newspaper and watching lectures. He exceeds that of most high school also strongly believes in the impor- students, and he is subsequently contance of listening to many political sidering a career in politics. “At the perspectives rather than just one. Heller School at Brandeis they have “I try to balance it out,” he said. “If a graduate school program called I hear something I like I try to find International Conflict Resolution,” a counter point so I can find both he said. “I think that’s really cool.” sides to a story. That way I can decide Despite what Kaufman views as myself [about the issue].” an imperfect political environment at Although he enjoys being able to Newton South, he feels that Newton voice his own opinions and involve residents are more than capable of himself in local politics, Kaufman becoming aware of important issues would like to see more political around them. awareness among South students, “I just feel like people from Newton especially about the upcoming elec- have incredible resources,” Kaufman tion. He believes that a heavy bias said. “They have a responsibility to towards liberal beliefs has prevented use these resources, to follow politics, students from formulating objective and to change things.”

photo by aley lewis


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14 February 2012

NOT THE “CHANGE” OBAMA HAD IN MIND With the Republican primary well under way, even the most liberal Americans are becoming increasingly interested in what the Republican candidates have to offer.

Republican Candidate Flashcards

A Republican Resurgency By Melanie Erspamer and Karen Weinstock

Test your knowledge of these candidates with DENEBOLA flashcards!

Being a left-wing city in a left-wing state makes Republicanism difficult. But now, a new trend is emerging from the liberalism of the area — a small rise in conservatism not only across the country, but here in Newton. This new interest in the Republican Party is in large part due to the Democratic candidates, or lack thereof. “[It is] mostly because [President Barack] Obama is the only serious candidate on the Democratic side, so all the attention is on the Republican side,” history teacher Dr. Paul Estin said. The last time the sole focus was on the Republican candidates was in 1996, and after 15 years, even in Newton, the Republican candidates have the limelight. For many, expectations of Obama have fallen short. Some people are worried about his approach to managing the economy, which has yet to fully recover. The Republican candidates, favoring a more laissez-faire economy, offer some hope, and thus gain more attention. “Republicans do stand a good chance in the general election against Obama,” senior Andy Webber said. “There have been a lot of

By Dar Alon

Mitt Romney


Change: Take Two? By Ethan Epstein

With the upcoming elections beginning to heat up, many Americans are reflecting on President Obama’s successes and shortcomings, especially after what critics consider a disappointing first term. In 2008, Obama and his administration issued a government bailout to try to save the auto industry, which had been experiencing extreme financial difficulties. Economists such as Mark Zandi and Alan Blinder claim Obama’s actions may have prevented another Depression, pointing out that the Obama administration’s bailout policies have saved 8.5 million jobs and prevented the economic slump from getting 6.5 percent worse. Not everyone agrees, however, that Obama’s bailout policy was all that it is claimed to be. ”The President’s stimulus package intended to bail out our country was flawed,” senior Dan Frechter said. “You can’t simply funnel money into the economy without causing inflation, and combined with a decrease in job growth, you get stagflation.” “The president had promised that we would be far

out of this hole of a recession by now,” senior Adam Barnett said. “He promised that America would prosper once again… So far, his promises have become the butt of jokes used by politicians around the world. We are no better off than when we started.” Dan Frechter finds the Republican party’s views on the economy more promising. “The Occupy movement gained national attention, but those people don’t understand that America’s elite are the only chance our country has of economic sustainability. Lower tax rates encourage these elite to invest their funds in small business, government bonds, and corporations. If anybody from Newton South plans on getting financial aid in college, that money is coming from financially successful alumni.” Obama’s efforts in foreign policy have also been a topic of debate. According to the White House website, Obama’s foreign policy includes promoting peace between the Middle East and Israel, supporting new democracies — such as Libya, and ending the war in Iraq. Frechter feels Obama’s

foreign policy is just as sketchy as his economic achievements. “Well, personally, I think President Obama can’t rise up to the previous administration,” he said. “We captured bin Laden through Bush’s military plans. Under Bush, we were a military power that no one wanted to mess with, and under Obama, we cut military spending by $570 billion while Iran is less than three years from a nuclear weapon. Bush never compromised domestic security or our freedom for diplomatic reasons, and he was not afraid to confront threats to our country with whatever means necessary.” The main con of Obama remaining in office is that he has made many promises that he has not been able to keep, and thus many people are questioning his ability to be a good president. He has promised to hold the banks accountable, change health care, and get rid of Guantanamo Bay, none of which have happened. “The President constantly blames these problems on the former administration, Ha! Of course the Bush presidency got us in this hole, but Obama is just dig-

ging deeper and trying to fix our economic situation by spending taxpayer money,” Barnett said. Despite criticism from both parties, President Obama still has a strong chance of being reelected. He almost has a full eight months to sway the public opinion back in his favor. With the jobs market expanding and his new policies being put into place, he might have caught the break to do just this. Also, it must be remembered that if Franklin Delano Roosevelt couldn’t pull the United States out of the Great Depression in one term and without the war, Obama shouldn’t be expected to do the same 80 years later.

Education: Romney plans to replace underperforming public schools with charter schools. In order to help schools that are performing poorly, he wants to keep in place the No Child Left Behind Act, created by former president George Bush, saying that he supports testing in schools because it “allows us to get better schools.” In another effort to help schools improve, Romney will give effective teachers bonuses and believes that principals and superintendents should be able to fire teachers regardless of tenure. Economy: Romney plans to reduce taxes, spending, and government programs. Romney will submit a jobs packet to Congress consisting of five major proposals to create jobs.

Ron Paul

Education: Ron Paul wants to eliminate the Department of Education, claiming it is inefficient. As an alternative, Paul wants decisions about education to be made on a local level and wants parents to be involved with decisions regarding their children’s education. Economy: Paul plans to completely eliminate the income tax, claiming it is the most “degrading and totalitarian” of all possible taxes. Fun Fact: Ron Paul has already run twice for President, in 1988 and 20 years later in 2008. Previous occupations: Ron Paul was a Representative from Texas from 1976-1985 and since 1997.

Newt Gingrich

Education: Gingrich proposes that every state open a college where students only study 20 hours a week, in order to have time to work. They can then fulfill the rest of the study hours over the summer and graduate debt free. Also, in poor and failing public schools, Gingrich advises to employ children, nine at the youngest, to mop hallways and clean bathrooms. Economy: Gingrich supports tax cuts and limiting government’s role in citizen’s lives. If elected, he plans to make the Bush tax cuts permanent and reduce the corporate tax rate to 12.5%. In addition, Gingrich plans to make a 15% tax rate for all citizens with the intention of increasing citizens’ spending to reinvigorate the economy.

Rick Santorum

Education: Rick Santorum believes that with so many different learning styles today, the reason schools are failing is because learning programs are not customized to meet individual needs. Economy: Santorum plans to cut $5 trillion in government spending within the next five years, mainly in programs such as health care. Fun Fact: Rick Santorum is constantly remembered for his views on gay rights, especially because the first link on Google when searching for “Rick Santorum” is by advocates for gay rights. Most recently, Rick Santorum increased his legitimacy as a viable candidate for the GOP nomination with primary wins in Minnesota, Missouri, and Colorado.

negative sentiments about how Obama has been running the economy and the country as a whole. “Our major problem right now is economic...I believe in the conservative economic values and I think they will work.” Webber is not the only one. “This year, the Republicans can be Republicans because the majority of this nation doesn’t like Mr. Change (Obama) and sees that he is hurting the country. He hasn’t fixed unemployment, debt, or the economy, which he promised to do,” sophomore Ryan Spatz said. Americans are eagerly looking for something different from the Obama policies that do not seem to work, Webber said. Some candidates, like Rick Santorum and Ron Paul, offer this variation. Mitt Romney, on the other hand, the leading Republican candidate, stands out as a more moderate candidate. He also has a reputation for doing whatever is necessary to get elected. In 2002, this Republican candidate served as governor of Massachusetts. In that position, his policies veered much more toward the Democratic end of the spectrum; now, however, he has adopted a more Republican stance. “Romney was governor of the most notorious Democratic state in our country, so clearly he appeals to the Democrats as well,” Webber said.

The validity of his Democratic appeal is uncertain. With the upcoming election, the real question now is whether a Republican candidate can appeal to Democrats, specifically Democrats in Newton, even if the candidate is moderate. The terms “Democrat” and “Republican” have become more than names to represent views; they have become the names of two competing teams fighting for their chance to lead the United States to prosperity. “Very few politicians in D.C. have anything resembling a coherent, consistent political philosophy — it’s all about winning and then rewarding those who made it possible. Very few voters have a consistent philosophy either — it’s all about ‘my tribe’ versus ‘the other guys,’ and changing one’s rationalizations as circumstances warrant,” said Estin. Living in such a liberal environment can be tough, even for the most moderate Republicans. Spatz considers himself a victim of this attitude. “Liberals at our school don’t know what it’s like to have 90 percent of the class attacking you, because they are that 90 percent and it’s certainly difficult to go against a current like that,” he said. “They also think that I am the most Republican it gets. But I’m not. They think this because they think that Newton speak for America, when Newton is really just a sheltered, suburban environment.” No matter how small a minority it might seem, there is a conservative community in Newton that seems to be slowly growing. “The conservative community is small, but we’re here and we’re not going to let anyone forget that,” Webber said.


Cast Your Vote!

In an online poll, DENEBOLA asked 220 of you about the Republican candidates, Obama’s first term, and the state of the nation. Here’s what you had to say:

Do you consider yourself Republican, Democratic, or Independent?

Which of these Republican candidates are you most likely to vote for? Rick Santorum

How satisfied are you with President Obama’s first term in office?


Democratic 62%

Republican 10%

Unsure 1%

Ron Paul 15%

Independent 27%

Neutral 9%

Newt Gingrich 4%

Very Satisfied 49% Mitt Romney 80%

In what area are you most concerned for America?

Very Unsatisfied 12%

Relatively Unsatisfied 8%

Gay Marriage 19% Economy 40%

Health care 21%

Relatively Satisfied 22%

Education 6%

Foreign Policy Environment 5% 6%

Immigration 2%

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14 February 2012

South’s Russian emigrants look back on their homeland as it struggles with protests

Tens of thousands protest in central Moscow on Dec. 24 2011.

By Nicole Brooks

When the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, Westerners held high hopes for the country’s future. As other formerly communist states in Eastern Europe rapidly adopted democracy, Russia looked set to do the same. However, economic disasters and other troubles during the presidency of Boris Yeltsin disgraced him and, for many Russians, the free market and democratic ideologies that he espoused. When he resigned in 1999, Vladimir Putin succeeded him and, since then, Russia has experienced impressive economic growth – and rising levels of autocracy and corruption. Many Russians are unsatisfied with this tradeoff and in the last decade about 1.25 million left the country. Some of them have come here. Due to this city’s large Jewish population, many of them were Jews fleeing increasing intolerance and seeking a community in which they were accepted. Freshman Sam London said his family “left because of the anti-Semitism. It’s really scary [in Russia] right now.” Others immigrated because of the corruption. Freshman Michelle Gurvits said her parents “fled Russia because the government was unfair.” Russia’s already low score in Trans-

parency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index has only worsened in the last decade. The Index does not measure actual corruption because doing so can be exceedingly difficult, especially in countries with uncooperative governments. Additionally, some countries are better than others at catching and recording instances of corruption. Instead, the Index is constructed by asking businessmen and experts from within and outside countries about how corrupt they are. Russia ranks among the most corrupt on earth with a score of 2.4 out of 10 (the U.S. has a score of 7.1), rated worse than authoritarian China, theocratic Iran, drug-riddled Mexico, and Tunisia, Egypt, and Syria, all countries with regimes that have fallen or are falling to Arab Spring revolutions that are driven largely by anger over corruption. The other primary grievance of the Arab revolutionaries is their countries’ authoritarianism. In this respect, too, Russia is lacking. The country is considered an “authoritarian regime,” the worst classification possible, by The Economist’s Democracy Index. The Index is based on 60 indicators that reflect civil, governmental, and electoral liberties and participation. The data is collected by polling residents and experts.

photo by stanislav lvovsky

The corruption pervading Russian society and the authoritarianism stifling its supposed democracy have made the country a target of ridicule in the West and a source of sadness for its emigrants. “I feel disappointed because I thought my country could do better,” freshman Georgy Kutikov said. Many Russians back home are disappointed, too, but that disappointment is now transforming into anger. Massive protests of perhaps over 100,000 have erupted following Russia’s December parliamentary elections, which are widely considered to have been rigged. Now, Westerners and Russians alike again hope that democracy will truly come to Russia – but senior Phil Fradkin is skeptical. “I am personally hoping that something will change. That new leaders will arise who will begin the shift of this giant nation toward a more democratic mentality. Sadly, this feeling of hope has appeared many times before, with…disappointment [always] following,” he said. Nevertheless, the recent protests are the largest Russia has seen since the fall of the Soviet Union, and the Arab Spring may have heralded the dawning of a new era of democratization and government accountability. This time, things might change.

The sign reads, “I will feel guilty looking in the eyes of my children if this person becomes the president of our country in the fall of 2012.”

photo by anna kucherova

graphic by dylan royce


14 February 2012

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Poll reveals national and South-specific trends Denebola conducted a poll of 66 randomly selected South students to build a general idea of what the student body’s views on mostly foreign politics are. Because of the relatively small pool, the necessary simplicity of the questions and answers, and the disproportionate overrepresentation of upperclassmen and underrepresentation of Curriculum II classes, the poll’s findings cannot be considered definitive. Moreover, the pools of self-described right-wingers and centrists are so small that the data on their views is highly unreliable and the graphs on their views are omitted. Nevertheless, the poll does provide, for perhaps the first time, a rough look at the political environment of Newton South High School.

Of all students polled:

Where do you place yourself on the political spectrum?

Of the students who identified with the political left:

Of the students who did not identify with any of the options:

In general, do you approve of the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan?

In general, do you approve of the U.S. invasion of Iraq?

In general, do you approve of the assassination of Osama bin Laden?

In general, do you approve of the U.S. intervention in Libya?

In general, do you approve of the use of torture against suspected terrorists?

Do you support the Occupy movement?

Do you support the Palestinian Liberation Organization’s current U.N. bid for Palestinian statehood, opposed by Israel and the U.S.?

By Dylan Royce

Perhaps the greatest surprise of this poll was the several respondents who expressed greater support for the Iraq War than for the War in Afghanistan. Such a view might seem inexplicable since many supporters of the War in Afghanistan, fought to destroy the perpetrators of the 9/11 attacks, opposed the Iraq War, which was begun with a significantly weaker justification, but basically all of those who supported President Bush and his arguably flimsy justifications for war also supported his invasion of Afghanistan. One would therefore expect all supporters of the Iraq War

to support its Afghani counterpart, but not vice versa. The answer to why this was not the case might lie in when the poll was conducted and who its respondents were. In January 2012, the Iraq War was over. Furthermore, many if not most of those polled likely do not remember the high point of the Iraqi insurgency between 2004 and 2006. The War in Afghanistan, conversely, continues to drag on, and recent years have seen little progress, if not actual reverses, in the struggle against the Taliban. Six years ago, the Afghanistan War was seen as the good one, justified and peaceful compared to Iraq. Now, the Iraq War is over, but

casualties in Afghanistan have risen in recent years. Some of the current high school generation may see Iraq, not Afghanistan, as the “good war.” The only topic that most respondents agreed upon was that of bin Laden’s assassination: Democrats, moderates, and Republicans all expressed near-unanimous support for it, though Democratic respondents voiced slightly more doubts (but not objections). Only those who identified themselves as neither left-wing, centrist, or right-wing, who will be from here on referred to as the “undecided,” were not practically unanimous in their support. In fact, an undecided respondent was the

only one of the poll’s 66 to express opposition to the assassination. Unsurprisingly, undecided respondents answered “unsure” significantly more often than other groups. The main exception to this is the Afghanistan question, which generated high levels of uncertainty across the political spectrum, and more from Republicans than the undecided. The Libyan intervention garnered slightly more support than the Afghanistan war did. Most likely, the former’s bloodlessness and brevity were countered by the apparent lack of U.S. interest in the conflict and U.S. gain from victory in it. Also of note is that nearly half of all

respondents answered “unsure” to the Palestinian statehood question. Respondents who were unfamiliar with the issue or undecided about their position on it were largely unswayed by the statement that Israel and the U.S. oppose the bid. This suggests that respondents care more about the issues than about who supports what and that they are unwilling to trust their country to make decisions for them. Please note that the terms “Democrats” and “Republicans” refer to all who identified themselves as on the left or right of the political spectrum, respectively. This is for of grammatical simplicity and may misrepresent some respondents.

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14 February 2012

Denebola, Volume 51, Issue 7  

Volume 51, Issue 7 of Denebola, Newton South's official school newspaper.