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Monroe Falcon



School budget defeated by 622 votes by REBECCA CLAYTON and ZACHARY ETSCH Staff Writer and Editor-in-Chief

After extensive get-out-the-vote efforts, the Monroe Township School District budget was defeated by a vote of 2,697 to 2,075. The budget’s formation was set in motion with department heads and school principals assessing district programs’ needs. According to the district website,, courses of action promoting “low cost, high yield” were given priority, and federal and state government stipulations, such as revenue caps, as well as the unknown amount of government aid that would be provided, were all considered. The completed budget was considered fiscally responsible enough to be passed by the general public by popular vote. District Superintendent Dr. Kenneth Hamilton called the plan “a very sound budget.” He was “hopeful and positive that taxpayers will vote and support it.” The Board of Education adopted the 2009-2010 budget during a public hearing on Thursday, April 2. District revenue for the upcoming school year totaled more than $100 million with almost 80 percent of this revenue obtained through local taxes. Monroe and Jamesburg residents are taxed according to the “assessed value” of their homes. The county of Middlesex performs this calculation, usually 46 percent of the home’s market value or selling price. On average, a homeowner pays $67 per year in the form of school taxes under this procedure. Monroe Township School District Assistant Business Administrator Michael Gorski, CPA, explained the appropriation of the funds. He said almost half of the $100 million went to instruction. This significant portion of the budget includes not only teachers’ salaries but also supplies such as textbooks. As a result of a projected enrollment increase of 176 additional students next year and the necessary program expansions, school staffs will be increased. Another large portion of the funds go to personnel services, which consist of staff health benefits Continued page 8

Scientists are warning of a possible solar storm that could knock out power nationwide. Solar systems form when intense bursts of plasma erupt from the surface of the sun, creating a CME that produces electronic magnetic interference.

Photo/Gina Anania

‘SHOW PEOPLE’ SLEEP TIGHT Justine Chu, as Bambi, Anna Maynor, as a fellow thespian, and Allan Simon, as Oscar Shapiro, try to catch some shut eye despite that fact that a possibly lurking murder is ready to strike. Interview with two of the lead performers can be found on page 3.

A peek behind the ‘Curtains’ Footlights Club brings Broadway to the Marasco by MICHAEL BAUMANN, JESSICA CLARK and LITITIA SATPATHY Editor, Staff Writers Monroe Township High School’s Footlights Club performed the long awaited musical comedy, “Curtains,” on its opening night, Thursday April 23. The show revolves around an attempt to solve the mysterious murder case in the midst of trying to make the musical within the actual musical a big hit. Rupert Holmes wrote the script for the original Broadway production based on the book and concept by Peter Stone. “Curtains” first opened on March 22, 2007 on Broadway, each show running for a total of two hours and thirty minutes. The play ran for over a year before giving its final performance on June 28, 2008 at the Al Hirschfeld

Theatre. “We’re the first school in New Jersey to put on ‘Curtains’ since it was taken off Broadway,” says MTHS senior Maureen Nolan, who plays the role of Carmen in the show. MTHS’s drama department produced the play under the direction of Mr. Bob Byrnes and choreographer Patricia Wright McVey. The audition process was three days long, including a day each for singing, acting and dancing. Sophomore Ryan Miller, cast as Niki Harris, and senior Fred Waldron, cast as Lieutenant Frank Cioffi, star as two of the leading roles in “Curtains.” “Everyone was nervous…you were nervous walking into it. But once you get in there and get your character out, he’ll give you what he thinks is appropriate for you,” says Waldron. “Playing the role

takes understanding who your character is and making yourself that character. Always be the character when you’re on stage; including the way you walk, the way you talk, your annunciation, everything.” Byrnes and McVey had been rehearsing the “Curtains” cast for almost two months, meeting frequently after school to memorize lines, learn music and practice dance routines. “Mr. Byrnes is just amazing, and I can’t imagine doing the show with any other director,” says Miller. “Pat is very patient with me. That takes a lot of the stress off me and makes the dancing easier. As for the singing, my voice part is a little higher than usual so I have to work for it, but I love all of the music. It is catchy and fun to dance to.” The cast says “Curtains” is different from MTHS’s previous productions.

“It’s one of the most modern shows we’ve done in a while,” says Chu. “Curtains” opened Thursday night to an enthusiastic audience and ran again Friday, April 24 and Saturday, April 25 at 7:30 pm in the Performing Arts Center. The final show was onSunday, April 26 at 3:00 pm. “I think people would want to come and see the show because it’s unique, and with it being a murder mystery, people will be intrigued trying to figure out who killed who,” says sophomore Kayla Eisenberg who plays Georgia in the production. Waldron thinks all theatre go-ers will enjoy the play. He says, “there are things in the play that everyone can enjoy. People are gonna love the music, people are gonna love the jokes, they’re gonna love the dialogue and the drama of it all. It’s a good experience.”

April 21 for the fifth annual “Senior Senior Prom.” District Superintendent Dr. Kenneth Hamilton and Monroe’s high school principal, Mr. Robert Goodall, welcomed the invited guests and urged them to dance the night away. D.J. Donny Pesce, who is also a singer, musician and entertainer,

selected the musical favorites to accompany the couples’ dancing across the floor and mingling among the crowd. A delicious meal was prepared and served by the cafeteria staff. True to tradition, the king and queen of the prom were selected and presented with a bouquet of flowers with a crown and tiara.

Cafeteria lights up for ‘Senior Senior Prom’ by DEBRA VANLIEW Guest Writer

Members of Monroe Township High School’s Student Council, Key Club and National Honor Society magically Photo/Debra Vanliew transformed the cafeteria CROWNED Ernie Magor and his soon-to-be wife, Carol, are selected prom King and Queen. into a formal ballroom on

The Monroe Falcon Staff salutes all American soldiers

What’s Inside School News .......... 2-3 Entertainment...10-11 News ............................ 4 Op/Ed .................. 12-13 Features ....................5-7 Sports ................ 14-15 Special Features.......8-9 Ad ............................. 16

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School Briefs

Youth and Government Seventeen students from Monroe Township High School’s Youth and Government delegation met at the State House in Trenton with hundreds of other high school students on Sunday, March 29. The pre-legislative session called together students from numerous high school delegations in the state, outlining the program’s procedures for the upcoming conference from April 24 to 26. Participants reviewed the lawmaking processes that Youth and Government emulates. They then had the opportunity to meet with likeminded delegates to discuss and improve the bills they had brought to the session. Butterfly Presentation Environmental science classes listened to a presentation on March 19 given by Steve Fretello, an educator and expert on rainforests and butterflies. “There are 20,000 butterfly species and 200,000 moth species,” says Fretello. He informed MTHS students on facts about assorted butterflies and moths during his presentation.

School News

April28 , 2009

Cutting back on cutting class by SHARVARI PATEL and JILL SHAH Staff Writer and Editor    “I have skipped class five times already, but I don’t plan on stopping anytime soon,” says a Monroe Township High School freshman who chooses to remain anonymous.   “[A] few days ago, I walked out of school with the help from two of my friends. But I was caught and shortly had ISS for a day,” he says. “I simply cut class because I was bored.” Cutting class is a growing issue at MTHS as more students drop their books and head out the school doors. Denise Jimenez, Secretary of Network Operations at MTHS, collected statistics regarding the number of class cuts occurring this year as well as last year. The results show that  MTHS currently consists of 1,594 active class students. Since September 3, 2008, there have been 161 students who have cut class at least once. In total, approximately 10 percent of the school population has cut class once this year. The most cuts occurred during the months of February and March. During the month of February, 70 students cut class, while in March, there were 74 cuts. Compared to the 476 cuts that emerged last year, there has been

number of students who cut class, many schools have dedicated a considerable portion of their budget to facilitate security cameras on school grounds. MTHS has also installed full-time cameras to monitor class cutters. When asked if the installed security cameras are effective, Griffen says, “The cameras don’t prevent a cut, but they help give information afterwards.” School security guards cover various locations in order to identify students who are cutting

class. When asked which group of students skip class the most, high school Security Guard Officer, Mr. Bob Certo says, “Mostly the upperclassmen and seniors are cutting because they have built up the confidence to cut class after being here for a while and don’t think much to it.” Another anonymous senior says, “It’s tempting because the upperclassmen have the keys to the car in our back pockets.”

were most enthusiastic following make it interesting, and cater to Herb Rivas’ futuristic dance as Mr. the judges. I did that- I catered Rico Suave. to them by making my act school Allan Simon, commonly referred appropriate and keeping the to as Mr. Beard Face (FAH-say), judges in mind.” made it to the final four after his Spanish teacher Ms. LoBello, heartfelt rendition of “Always a who doubled as one of four judges Woman” by Billy Joel. for the event, was impressed by However, Chin left the Marasco the nerve and confidence that each Auditorium as the 2009 Mr. Mr. Monroe contestant exuded. Monroe. Since winning, “A lot LoBello confirms Chin’s intuition, of people who didn’t know my as she says selecting a winner was name refer to me as Mr. Monroe- a “no-brainer because his talent students, teachers, and staff,” says was hysterical.” Jason. “On the Florida trip that Between acts, the MTHS dance I just went on for band, a girl I didn’t know asked me my name and she immediately said, ‘Oh, you’re Mr. Monroe!’ ” For those hoping to experience this same celebrity next year, the Photo/Rebecca Clayton reigning Mr. GOTTA CATCH ‘EM ALL Arun Ganapathy, crowned Mr. Monroe advises, Photogenic, sings the Pokemon Theme Song as Pikachu and “Stay relaxed and his fellow Pokemon frolic behind him.

team performed energized routines, choreographed by their own team captain, Jenna Flack. One of the dancers, Becky Cheng, who was also the senior escort to Corey Pugliese, comments her onstage experience was “exhilarating and fun, I felt comfortable. I wasn’t nervous or anything because I knew the people in the audience and that it was a fun event.” Cheng understands Mr. Monroe is a night intended to excite the student body, as they “get to see people they know up there, having fun and acting silly.” Never abandoning her loyalty to her partner, Cheng jokes, “I think my partner should’ve won. I mean, when he came out with the towel around his neck that was like Superman, hello!” Only moments after her comment, Cheng reassures the fan club that Chin has already acquired, “I was just kidding by the way.” She voices the opinion widely agreed upon throughout MTHS, “Jason should’ve won.”

a decrease this year. To date, 384 students have cut class. According to the student handbook, pupils receive detention after the first cut and one InSchool- Suspension after two or more cuts. According to Vice Principal James Griffin, students mainly cut gym classes, media center sessions and third block classes to be with their friends during lunch. Upperclassmen even leave the school grounds to drive home.    In response to the growing

Mr. Technologic sprints to victory by ALI DEITCHE and THERESA LIN Editors

Career Week Available to all students on April 28, 29 and 30, Career Week is targeted at providing information and an interacting experience for students on career opportunities. Students are offered two sessions with speakers during block two for about 25 minutes at a time. Speakers ranging from counseling careers, nursing, court judge, accounting, culinary arts and more will allow students to gain valuable insight from these professionals. Art Show Since its opening prior to the Board of Education meeting on April 2, an exhibition of various art styles has been open to public viewing in the Marasco Lobby. Viewing of the display, which includes art from various K-12 art classes throughout the school district, is extended until April 17. The third annual art show’s ambition to promote the fine arts was successfully achieved with the assistance of 10 art teachers.

Lights faded to black in Monroe Township High School’s Marasco Auditorium on March 20 as a side-scrolling skit akin to the classic Mario games of old was performed. Jason Chin’s winning impersonation of the animated red-capped, overall wearing Mario simulated all levels of the Nintendo video game, from swimming with the fish to soaring for golden coins. The audience screamed for Chin’s uncanny personification of Mario’s frenzied sprints and even the live prize of a kiss from his escort, Princess Peach. The freshly crowned Mr. Monroe had actually originally intended to perform a different skit, changing his mind last minute to his winning routine. “I had been planning on doing the YouTube video ‘Evolution of Dance’. Then like a week before the show my friend Christine saw the Mario skit on YouTube and said I should do it, so I did.” Chin credits his win to his talent segment, saying, “I think my talent definitely had a big impact and set me apart from the other contestants, plus my personality. The corny stuff [Danielle and I] did made it fun too. We practiced two or three times for two or three hours each time. But it took my friends and me twelve hours one day to make all the props and stuff.” Jason’s act was met with roaring applause from the audience. However, the crowd’s females

The Monroe Falcon Staff Executive Editor Layout, Art Gina Anania

Entertainment Editors Theresa Lin Amanda Sedlmeyer

Executive Editor Managing & Op-Ed Kevin Quidor

Local/International Editors Michael Baumann Jill Shah

School News Editors Joey Romanczuk

Feature Editor Ali Deitche

Photo Editor Maureen Nolan

Business Manager Kevin Suchcicki

Staff Writers Rebecca Cheng Rebecca Clayton Tommy Himelreich Corey Liebross Briana Lockett Bakari Malik Jimmy Nemeth Sharvari Patel Lyndsey Reho Allan Simon Kevin Suchcicki

Winners of the Columbia Scholastic Press Association 2008 Gold Medalist certificate & 2007 Bronze Medalist certificate

Art/Layout Rachel Kowal Carla Palermo Jackie Push Haley Strincoski

April 28, 2009

School News

Up close and personal with Curtains actors by JESSICA CLARK and LITITIA SATPATHY Staff Writers We spoke to Fred Waldron and Ryan Miller about how they relate to their characters, the demanding rehearsals, their previous productions and the pain of Byrnes’s criticism.

Pencil It In! May 2

SATs from 7:45 AM - 1:00 PM (MTHS)

Do you relate to your character? FW: I feel like you know, like the goofier kind of part of him…That’s actually why he (Mr. Byrnes) gave me this part, because, you know, he just kind of falls into the same character that you need on stage and really, like, energetic and I can capture that part… the detective part is a little more. RM: Her character is very cute and sweet. I’m more tomboyish and not so girly but it is a change from who I am and acting the part is fun.


May 7 Battle of the Classes At 7:00 PM (Gym)

How do you feel about personal criticism from Byrnes? FW: Everybody gets the heat every now and then. In the end you know it makes you better and makes work harder and…just work on everything. RM: It’s hard to take criticism but it’s for your best interest. We are criticized because they know we have the potential to do it right. How many other productions have you been in? FW: There was Showcase ’08; there was London Suite…Pirates of Penzance. I only did stage group for the straight play, which was Is He Dead. So I guess that’s five shows. I’ve actually acted and I did stage group in one. RM: “Curtains” is my second show working with Mr. Byrnes following Showcase 2008.

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May 14 Music Theat-

rical Class Performance at 7:00 PM

May 15 Junior Prom! May 18-19 Biology Test

Photo/ Carla Palermo

CRACKING THE CASE Fred Waldron, as Lieutenant Cioffi, and Ryan Miller, as Nikki Harris, run lines beofre their opening night on Thursday, April 23. Following some unfortunate events, Lt. Cioffi breaks down all clues in order to solve the mystery murder.

Is the play practice schedule over demanding? FW: I’ve missed quite a few, actually. It’s hard for me to…keep on it so I just have to

put in the extra work. But other than that I mean, the schedule, it’s not too entirely demanding…when you think about the production and all the work that goes on

by REBECCA CHENG Staff Writer

obtained. The only missing component that is vital to raise the club up and running is

with it, it’s not as bad as you think. RM: Practices are still stressful and it’s a lot of work, but you learn to handle it. It’s a big commitment.

Lack of advisor stalls animal activist club

an advisor. The job of the advisor is to watch over the club and make sure everything The unofficial club People for gets approved. Although Paws fervently searches for the the president will be in help of an advisor to advocate control, Shatynski states their position against animal that the club will act like cruelty. “a little democracy.” The club hopes to provide The ideal advisor for a safe haven for animals the club is someone who by raising money for shares Shatynski’s love two different non-profit for animals. The advisor organizations, the Animal should be reasonable, Rescue Force and Defenders and will do what he or of Wildlife, that specialize in she can do to help People helping animals. for Paw’s cause. It also wishes to raise The inspiring creator is money in order to adopt an very eager to have this endangered animal from the club operating. Defenders of Wildlife. “If worse comes to worst, Sophomore Lisa Shatynski, I would take anyone just the ebullient founder of to get this started,” says People for Paws, emulates Betty Shatynski. White with her enthusiasm People for Paws’ leader to aid animals in need. and members already When talking about her have many ideas for the inspiration for starting club’s activism. They the club, Shatynski’s eyes’ hope to organize bakeglistened with passion. sales and contests in “I think it’s my calling. order to raise money for When I was a baby at my their expenditures. Christening, I was crying. My The club expects to aunt gave me a stuffed animal enlighten people about of a dog, and I stopped crying. the brutality and issues As soon as she took it away, many animals in our own I started to cry again,” says community face. Shatynski. “The question is not, Sixteen people have already ‘can they reason?’ nor ‘can signed up to be members Photo/Lyndsey Reho they talk?’ but rather, for People for Paws and the WHERE IS THE LOVE? People for Paws’ founder and enthusiast, Lisa Shatynski, seeks ‘can they suffer?’” states required approval of Athletic advisor for a club dedicated to helping and caring for animals which has always been a sophomore and member Director Dave Kirk has been hobby and love of hers. Jeremy Bentham.

May 19 Progress Reports Mailed Home

May 20 Blood Drive

(Gym) / NHS Induction Ceremony at 7:00 PM (Marasco)

May 21 Spring Band

Concert and I.A. Technology Show at 7:00 PM (Marasco)

May 25 Schools

Closed for Memorial Day

May 28 Senior

Awards at 6:30 PM (Marasco)

May 28-29 Alumni Day from 8-10 AM (Marasco)

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April 28, 2009

Budget continued from front page and pension and insurance costs. Gorski points out that health care costs have been increasing of late, which contributes to the allocation of approximately 16 percent of the budget to personnel services. Debt service, constituting over 10 percent of the budget, is the only subdivision that

Plant operation and maintenance are custodial and janitorial expenses, including cleaning supplies and salaries, making up seven percent of the total. The transportation subdivision of the budget represents about five percent of the plan. This includes the purchase and maintenance

includes specialized therapies and learning provisions for the handicapped. In addition, government-mandated program expenses for special education were also included. Administration is comprised of the salaries of all Central Office and building administrators.

Appropriations = $100,427,976 Instruction (49.80%)

Personnel Services (16.18%) Student Activites (1.66%) Community Services (0.04%) Student Services (4.76%) Health (0.84%) Administration (3.13%) Plant Operation & Maint (7.17%) Transportation (5.54%) Captial Outlay (0.63%) Debt Service (10.25%)

was already approved when voters entered the booths on April 21. Debt service covers costs for principal and interest on bonds the district took out in order to undergo construction projects such as the new high school.

of buses, insurance and drivers’ salaries. Additions specific to this year included the replacement of two 54-passenger buses and two 16-passenger vans. The student services division applies to all Special Education programs. This

by ZACHARY ETSCH Editor-in-Chief

will be forging ties and policy agreements between the NJDA and the state and county boards of agriculture. After all, the state department and these independent bodies must generally work together to promote agriculture throughout the state. The state board, which advises the department on setting policy, gains the governor’s ear through the Secretary. Fisher advises Governor Corzine on agricultural issues and provides a voice for agriculture in the state government. At the same time, the NJDA’s interests are heard through the voice of the county and state boards of agriculture as these entities lobby the state legislature. In this way, the executive department circumvents the stipulation that it may not directly lobby the legislative branch. Jany says the state sought a candidate for the secretary position “that would be able to run the Department of Agriculture, forge ties with the agricultural community and work with the governor’s office better.” The candidate selection process began with the State Board of Agriculture’s requesting applicants for the position, which received about 15 responses. This advisory board then selected two to three of what Jany calls “test candidates.” Then, working in conjunction with the governor’s office, the Board selected its favorite candidate, who was then formally appointed by the governor. Jany predicts an auspicious future for Fisher in the Secretary’s chair. “He did a good job as Chair of the Assembly’s Agricultural Committee and should continue to establish ties with the legislature,” he says. “Hopefully, he’ll be able to restore funds to the Rutgers Cooperative Research and Extension.” Jany also says, “While he has a lot to learn about the ins and outs, he’s a quick learner.”

Leadership growing in Trenton Ridiculous? A little. Inaccurate? Not at all. If it so wished, the New Jersey Department of Agriculture could hang a sign reading, “Under New Management!” On February 10, Governor Jon S. Corzine announced his Agriculture Secretary appointment at the New Jersey State Agricultural Convention. Doug Fisher, a former state assemblyman who represented New Jersey’s third district, assumed leadership of the Department of Agriculture on March 7. The resignation of former Secretary Charlie Kuperus last December resulted in a considerable vacancy in the governor’s cabinet. According to Steve Jany, a former President of the State Board of Agriculture, Fisher has big shoes to fill and a tall order in front of him. “Charlie did a good job as Agriculture Secretary,” Jany says. “He was a strong proponent of agriculture all throughout the state.” Also worth mentioning, he adds, were Kuperus’ promotion of local farmers’ produce and his farmland preservation efforts. Given the nation’s current economic situation and its widespread effects throughout New Jersey, Jany says, “The budget will probably be ‘Number One’ for the Department of Agriculture.” The new secretary will likely attempt to restore state funding for the Jersey Fresh program, which promoted local farm produce over imported and distanceshipped goods until the state cut overall Agriculture Department funding. Fisher is also expected to seek increases in funding for land and soil preservation efforts. Another important priority for Fisher

Funds covering student activities such as interscholastic sports, clubs and field trips receive 1.66 percent of the proposed budget. This year’s budget planned to introduce the Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) program to the district. It helps average students in progressing to higherlevel courses. Program curriculum and development called for the addition of media center automation in Barclay Brook, Mill Lake, Brookside and Woodland elementary schools. Prior to the April 21 vote, important figures from throughout the district expressed hopeful predictions for the fate of the budget. Dr. Hamilton’s statement in Monroe

Township’s The School Story says, “… we must develop a budget that works to be responsive to the growing needs of the community while being sensitive to the current economic conditions in our state … The 2009-2010 budget has been built with a focus on teaching and learning.” “It is a fiscally responsible budget,” said Monroe Township High School Principal Robert Goodall. “If it passes, we will be enabled to maintain our programs and maybe add more, though we have limited facility space remaining until the new high school is completed. If it fails, we can’t expand programs, and we will be eliminating nonessentials.” MTHS Athletic Director David Kirk agreed on the amount of “fiscal responsibility” in the plan. “If it passes,” he said, “it will allow the programs to grow. If it fails, we will have to come up with new ways to help them grow. There are some programs that need to grow because the student interest is growing.” Individuals administering and overseeing the voting process at Brookside School said they witnessed a “nice turnout” of 483 voters throughout the day. Many were younger parents of Brookside students who came to watch the students’ nighttime volleyball game. A change that halved the voting hours this year, poll administrators said, made it impossible for some residents to cast their ballots before work. Last year’s polls were open from 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m., whereas this year’s polls opened at 2:00 p.m. and closed at 9:00 p.m. Voters’ opinions were rather mixed on the issue of the budget’s passing. A man who identified himself as Ted voted against the budget, calling the annual costs of administering the district “inflated.” He said, “There’s room to do the same stuff with less money. There’s just too much waste.” Dr. Bhupinder Sran was an advocate for the budget’s passing. He said, “We must support the kids!” Since the budget was defeated at the polls, the next step, according to the district website, is for the Town Council to identify “a specific amount that the budget must be reduced. Once the amount is imposed, the district must make the reductions.”

Former MTHS student victim in fatal crash by AMAL AMIR Staff Writer Former Monroe Township High School student Kathryn M. Mazzio, died on Saturday, March 28 at the age of 19, from injuries caused by a head-on collision with a suspected intoxicated driver. Kathryn grew up with her family in Jamesburg and worked at the Raritan Valley YMCA and the Starbucks in East Brunswick. “She was a very sweet person,” says Mr. John Murphy, MTHS social studies teacher. “I use sweet because it sums up who she was. She was very respectful and cared about others concerns. Katie was a model student, one of the best of my teaching career. I was crushed when I heard.” Funeral services for Kathryn took place on Wednesday, April 1 at St. James Roman Catholic Church in Jamesburg. Viewings were held the previous Monday and the morning of the funeral. Kathryn was buried at Fernwood Cemetary. On Friday, March 27, Kathryn and two other passengers, Lamont Love of Monroe and George Alexander of North Brunswick, were driving south on Route 9 when an alleged drunk driver in a Chevrolet collided with the Pontiac she was driving.

A helicopter transported her to Jersey Shore Medical Center in Neptune, New Jersey. There, she was taken into surgery for severe head injuries and died early Saturday morning. The two other passengers were taken by ambulance to be treated for back injuries. The police charged the accused driver, 44 year-old Andrey Vavrinchuck of Trenton, with driving while intoxicated, vehicular homicide, and reckless driving offenses according to the news source, On average a drunk driver kills one person every 40 minutes. According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving, 12,998 people died in drunk driving related car accidents in 2007. Candy Lightner founded MADD in 1980 after the death of her daughter by a repeat drunk driving offender. MADD has become one of the nation’s most successful charities with a powerful mission. Its mission statement as found on the MADD website states that the foundation’s purpose is “to aid the victims of crimes performed by individuals driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, to aid the families of such victims and to increase public awareness of the problem of drinking and drugged driving.


April 28, 2009

The truth behind texting OMG! Did u c the pics I got last nite? by RACHEL KOWAL Staff Writer

Sending an explicit or naked picture to a boyfriend seems harmless, but teens forwarding sexual pictures potentially face charges of manufacturing, disseminating, or possessing child pornography. If convicted, the adolescent may be required to register as a sex offender. According to CBS News online, “sexting” is at its peak. Thirty-nine percent of America’s teenagers are sending pictures of themselves to others, and forty-eight percent of America’s teenagers are receiving nude or semi-nude pictures of other teenagers. One in every five girls has sent these pictures to other partners, and one in every three boys has viewed these types of messages. Although adolescents think they can hide sexting from their parents, keeping it from the police is a completely different story. The consequences of sexting are drastic. Police action results in a s e x offender label, and some even land in jail. The news website, says six students attending Greensburg-Salem High School in Greensburg, Pennsylvania now face child pornography charges. Three females allegedly sent nude or

semi-nude pictures of themselves to three males in their class via cell phone. The pictures were found in October of last year by a teacher when one of the male students was using his phone against school regulation. Both the girls, aged 14 and 15, and the three boys, ages 16 to 17,

phone can be put on the Internet where everyone in the world gets access to that juvenile picture. You don’t realize what you are doing until it’s already done.” Sexting has become a trend in the world of today’s teenagers, allowing minds to flood with graphic pictures. Young teenagers see this as a viable option to safe sex. Many parents are asking, what makes these teenagers begin to send these pictures and videos in the first place? In an e-mail response, an anonymous 16-year-old named B.V. from England says, “I was curious and really wanted to know what everything felt like. I thought it was better than nothing and started.” The allure of sexting comes from the secretive nature of the acts, preventing parents and friends from realizing what their children are doing, and the actual pictures and text messages themselves. For some teenagers the act of sexting may even replace sex entirely; it becomes a dirty habit. Art/Bridget Dipierro face charges of possessing child pornography. B.V. says, “Sadly, I started because, The police were then called in to to be blunt, I wasn’t getting any.” investigate and discover more students However, more than fifty percent of high who have been participating in sexting. school students are not participating in Greensburg Police Captain George sexting. One Monroe Township High School Seranko says, “It is very dangerous. male freshman says, “I don’t want people Once it is on a cell phone, that cell seeing me where I don’t want them to.”

Speller soars to Scripps competition by ARTHI SURESH Staff Writer The Ramakrishna family gathers around the table with plates of plump veggie pizza and an unabridged Webster’s dictionary planted on the table as they hurl bewildering words back and forth at one another, preparing Shyamala for the nationwide competition. After correctly spelling the final championship word, lucigen, Shyamala Ramakrishna, a Montgomery eighth grader, took the trophy on March 18 at the Trenton Times Spelling Bee, cementing her eligibility to participate in the 2009 Scripps National Spelling Bee. Thousands of middle school students from Mercer, Middlesex, and Somerset County participated in school wide competitions, but only 36 progressed to the regional competition at Rider University. In an email interview, the eighth grader said, “I did not exactly expect to win, but I believed it was possible if I kept my cool and didn’t get a ‘freak word’.” Eager students may ask what a successful and competitive speller has or does that an average student does


not. Shyamala’s comments regarding her journey and confidence personify those of an innate, dedicated speller. Initially, Shyamala didn’t specifically identify a talent in spelling, but English has been her forte since she began reading as a toddler. With further reading and her father’s regular quizzing, her ability to spell and recognize patterns escalated, and she realized she would become a speller. Shyamala says, “A speller is not someone who memorizes words off the dictionary and spouts them out like a tape recorder. To be a speller, one has to recognize patterns, have a feel for languages, and most of all, read lots. I think my experience in London, where I took French for four years and Latin for three, shaped my knowledge of words.” After surpassing her school classmates in a previous competition, Shyamala took part in the Trenton Times Spelling Bee last year. However, she fell short at the regional competition after spelling the word “issei” incorrectly. Although Shyamala was upset by the sound of the bell, within hours, she began to focus on the opportunity she would have the next year, and having this second

Shyamala’s 10 Hardest Words



1. charadrii (kuh-ra-dree) 2. nietzschean (neech-i-uhn) 3. schadenfreude (shay-din-froid-uh) 4. demesne (duh-mayn) 5. balanophoraceae (bal-ah-nuh-fur-ay-see)


chance pushed her to succeed this year. As the week of the competition nears, Shyamala studies various roots and tries to identify her weaknesses. Words with weird sounds from weird languages, complicated exceptions, and sounds with many possible spellings like -ean, -ian, -oean often trip Shyamala up. “I really hope my final word is a hard French word I studied,” says Shyamala. While Shyamala allots time every day to practice her spelling, she says she has never been overwhelmed by the preparation. Singing, playing the violin, and playing tennis, are also her hobbies, and she considers music her greatest passion and spelling a side hobby. The speller will head to Scripps National Spelling Bee in the last week of May with her parents and eightyear-old sister, Srinidhi Ramakrishna, who also enjoys reading and spelling. When asked about the probability of placing first in the competiton, Shyamala says, “I do not think I will win Scripps; that is my first thought. Right now it is easy for me to say that I’d be happy if I wasn’t the first competitor eliminated.”





6. uitlander (ayt-lan-der) 7. chalkosideric (kal-ko-sahy-duh-rik) 8. cuculla (kyoo-kuh-luh) 9. abgesang (aap-guh-zahng) 10. ornithorhynchous (awr-ni-thuh-rin-kuh s)




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Workshops give young journalists inside scoop by THERESA LIN Editor

Hundreds of high school journalists and photographers from all over the country travel annually to New York City for three day’s worth of writing and graphic design workshops hosted by Columbia University. Celebrating its 85th anniversary this year, the Columbia Scholastic Press Association (CSPA) conference on March 18 continues to provide high school newspaper and year book staffs with guidance from today’s most renowned writers and editors. More importantly, however, students have a great range of freedom to network among peers and are able to venture on college grounds. While socializing with those from another state, not only journalistic viewpoints were discussed, but regional lifestyle perspectives. Such instances distinguish the CSPA trip from all other school related functions. Monroe Falcon Newspaper editor-inchief Christine Schweitzer says of her last experience at CSPA, “Just to see how passionate these professionals are about what they do is inspiring to young people.” Among those listening in on an editorial workshop, Andres Gomez, a junior from Belen Jesuit Preparatory School in Miami, Florida, flew all the way to Harlem for the event. Gomez said his time at the Columbia provided “hands on teaching from professors, some even who teach at the University. It has been inspiring and effective.” Leaving the institution, students have a better sense of what college life will entail not only at Columbia University specifically, but the transition to lectures and the necessity of time management, pertinent to college success. By the end of the three day period, students also become more socially independent, asking professors for contact information and questioning speakers of how to start a similar career. CSPA provides insight for many students on how to not only develop more advanced papers and year books, but how to initiate longevity in those industries. Book reviewer and editor Bob Minzesheimer goes on to explain that his

“... to see how passionate these professionals are about what they do is inspiring...” job demands reading countless manuscripts in the span of a week. His job is to decide which of them deserve publication. He jokes that the difference between his profession and his son’s fourth grade book report is “the quality of insight provided in his reviews and the purpose for which they serve.” Therefore, Minzesheimer encourages students to pay attention to school projects, as they can serve as great insight into their future careers. Another part of Meinzesheimer’s occupation entails interviewing a wide spectrum of authors, with his subjects ranging from Eric Carle, author of the popular children’s book, The Very Hungry Caterpillar to the highly acclaimed novelist Stephen King. Yasamin Azarakash from Notre Dame High School, California says, “This has really given our paper a great opportunity to learn things from professionals who have been around the block. This shows what options there are for us in the future. I am so grateful for this chance.”

Summer Jobs

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April 28, 2009

Ten Tips to nailing the interview and keeping the dream job Act Now Waiting and procrastinating the fill-out of the job application will definitely end up terrible for you. Take the initiative and apply to as many jobs as you can. Be Proactive The person who researches about the business he or she is about to enter and shows some kind of interest in obtaining such job is the one who stands out in the employer’s mind. Dress to Impress Make sure your attire is not too casual and is presentable. People are much more pleased looking at someone who looks more professional and is taking their work seriously rather than someone who dresses down. However, a suit and dress are not needed for such jobs. Just make sure you are not unkempt.

‘I’m So Paid’ by REBECCA CHENG Staff Writer

Sitting at my desk at Kumon, I receive an onslaught of both questions and work from my students. The $7.50-an-hour salary I have collected for the past two years does not justify the work load, but I am too scared of losing my job at the risk of asking for a raise. I consider finding a new job, but I grow weary of the idea. It is apparent that the economic condition of the country has made it extremely difficult for teenage high school students, like me, to find jobs. In 2008, the Bureau of Labor Statistics displayed a significantly increased teenage unemployment rate. A recent survey at Monroe Township High School shows teenagers who are unsatisfied with their job positions h a v e difficulty finding new jobs. During my search for a new occupation, I find that the most frequent reason for rejection is my age. MTHS students also suffer from this inevitable disadvantage. “I applied to eight jobs before I got this one and they never called me back,” says senior Megan Prestridge, who works at the CVS in East Brunswick. Prestridge agreed that teenagers like herself were at a disadvantage due to inexperience and their already full-time job as a student. Even stores like Shoprite East Brunswick faces difficulties with younger applicants. A manager there, who wishes to remain anonymous, states that it is more difficult to find people to cover the day shift because majority of the

younger workers are at school. Some students who obtain jobs through family find it difficult to find new ones thereafter. “I’m a receptionist at my dad’s accounting firm. I’m trying to find a new job but my only reference is my father so I do a lot of babysitting.” says senior Melissa Bonamici. Observing her father, Bonamici notes that her dad also tends not to hire younger people, as they do not have the experience required for his firm. “He doesn’t have time to really train anyone,” she adds. With the end of senior year and the beginning of college tuition, money becomes significantly more essential. My new responsibilities and independence motivate me to continue my search for a job. “I feel pressure keeping my jobs because I need the money. My parents make me pay for a lot now,” says senior Chris Konopko “I definitely see people struggling. The job market is terrible right how. A couple of my friends who are trying to get jobs are getting rejected because people will say they don’t need them.” Through all this chaos, there still is a silver lining. Where there is suffering, there is also gain. On the upside, many flea markets and discount stores are gaining much more business and success. “There’s an increase on how many people come to the flea market because everything is cheaper.” senior Lesette Ramirez, who works at a flea market, says. Although current downfalls make it seem unfeasible to obtain job opportunities, there is still hope. “As the economy gets worse, it’s going to be harder to find jobs and keep jobs,” says Konopko, “but it’s not impossible.”

“. . . it’s going to be harder to find jobs and keep jobs . . . but it’s not impossible.”

The Resume is the Right Way Even though you may not think it is necessary, it never hurts to have something extra to showcase to the manager. It sets you apart from all the other teenagers who believe a resume is useless. If you do not have too many jobs on your resume, mention all your leadership and club activities. The Interview Be on time. You should dress promptly and look happy. Give a good impression right from the start. Walk up to the employer or receptionist, and shake his or her hand, making eye contact. This shows how friendly and professional you are which is exactly what many employers look for. Thank the interviewer as soon as the interview is finished. Be On Time Nothing upsets an employer more than tardiness. Make sure you leave earlier if you have to in order to get to your job or interview on time. Remember, being early it not a bad thing. Do not leave anything to chance. or ruin your first impression. Ask Questions Have questions ready about the company after the employer asks if you have any questions. This further proves your care for obtaining the job. Call Back Many employers want a person who will follow up on any tasks he or she takes. After the interview or the application, call or send an e-mail thanking the employer for their time. Do More Try to do whatever you can to make you stand out in the employer’s mind. Try not to stick with the mundane procedure millions of teens are also following. Having a care is more attractive than just winging it. Don’t Give Up There are millions of places you can apply to so don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Some people may not be hiring right now or cannot afford to. If that is the case, move on and look for another. Chances are, there is another company begging for more employees.

‘I need the money’ by BREANA LOCKETT Staff Writer Jobs previously occupied by teens are being filled by the over18 crowd, seemingly a result of the current economic downturn. There are few jobs out there for teens now that more adults are being laid off by their employers and have to rely on lower paying jobs. The economic recession is greatly increasing unemployment. Companies hoping to help the unemployed find jobs are hanging the teenage population out to dry. Sixteen - and seventeen-year-olds benefit from jobs just as much as adults. Jobs teach adolescents responsibility, dedication and time management, and receiving their own paycheck gives them a taste of independence. Personally, my parents would like me to have some sort of work experience before I leave for college. “A job isn’t just a paycheck – it’s a chance for you to be able to apply yourself somewhere besides school,” my mother reminds me every time I plead for financial help. I recently applied for a job as a sales associate at the trendy clothing store Forever 21 in the Freehold Mall. I heard from a friend who is currently employed there that they might hire a 16 -year- old. Since i had been antisipating this opportunity for so long I jumped at the chance.I turned in my application and was immediately turned down when the cashier asked, “Are you 18?” I was turned down not because I was inexperienced or because I lacked social skills but because I was too young.

When I informed my mother of what I had been told, she simply replied, “One down, a million to go.” But is opportunity really there for today’s teens? If a 16-yearold student goes for a job against someone who is 25-years-old, the employer will most likely choose the older applicant. Companies feel a sense of sympathy for adults who lose their jobs. These adults have families, mortgages and more to lose if they are not bringing in a steady paycheck. Teens, on the other hand, do not have these day-to-day struggles to worry about, so companies do not feel the need to give them the chance. Another i s s u e companies consider when hiring teens is that, when appointing a teen, they are also employing the teen’s parents and school. A Monroe Township High School student who would like to remain anonymous agrees with this theory, saying, “They will have to deal with less crap with someone older.” The age barrier is not the only factor contributing to teens’ lack of employment. Many employers are simply not hiring. MTHS junior Krystal Guidi says, “I have filled out five applications, and they all said they aren’t hiring.” This proves that the possibilities for teenagers receiving jobs is minimizing each day. Although the job market for teens is scarce, and more teens are being left jobless everyday, we are not hopeless. Maybe when the recession is over and adults return to work, the natural order of the job market will prevail, and teens will once again be able to make a paycheck.

“A job isn’t just a paycheck – it’s a chance for you to be able to apply yourself somewhere besides school.”


April 28, 2009

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W i t h the junior and senior proms both right around the corner, girls are rushing to alter dresses and break in shoes while boys are fretting over pleasing their dates in the final weeks before the big night. Others, however, are a little delayed in picking their attire or have not even begun to think about the night! Numerous factors influence a student’s decision to attend prom, with the most prominent being the availability of a date. After a date or group of

friends is arranged, girls and guys begin searching for the perfect dresses and tuxedos. The gown that matches a girl’s skin tone flawlessly and flows with every step she takes is chosen, and a tuxedo is selected that transforms even a class clown into a handsome man. Although formal wear is considered the most essential decision for prom, minor details still contribute to the night. Makeup, hair, shoes and nails all complete the picture-perfect girl and, of course, the guy’s fresh cut and dress shoes distinguish his stunning features. Limousines are booked for the night months in advance, tickets are paid weeks prior, and tables filled with close friends are organized. Pre-prom gatherings are arranged for parents and friends to attend and some carry out the tradition of after-prom sojourns at the shore. All the final arrangements are set for the day, including appointments for haircuts, hair styling and nails. The last step is simply to await the day’s arrival. Prom day, May 15 for juniors and June 5 for seniors, is full of camera flashes, chaotic errands, butterflies in many stomachs and, most importantly, nonstop fun. The

Hourglass shaped girls can be either short or tall. You have naturally curvy hips and a medium or big frame. Your body is well-proportioned, and multiple styles will flatter your figure. Embrace your body type because you are lucky enough to enjoy a variety of dresses.

night is a high school student’s memory that is never forgotten.

Last minute prom planning Each and every girl has her own unique and individual figure that is beautiful in its own way and unlike any other. All of her body features — skin tone, curves, hair color and height — influence the dress chosen for prom night. Purchasing a prom dress is an overwhelming decision that can make or break the prom experience. Although it is up to each individual to select a dress that is comfortable, climate appropriate and form fitting, we are here to help with body types. Knowing a female’s body type can be difficult, especially when a girl fits into more than one category, but these general guidelines can be of assistance. If you have an athletic body, you can also be either short or tall, but you have no visible curves. You are straight throughout and have wide shoulders, by wearing a shorter dress you can show off your toned legs. Tall females are usually 5’ 6” or taller and slender throughout. Add the illusion of curves to your body by drawing attention to your waistline and bust line.

Females that are petite, on the other hand, are 5’ 3” or shorter and have a small frame. Show a little leg with an asymmetrical hemline, and you will appear taller. Floor-length gowns and full skirts are more likely to overwhelm your frame. A petite body type can be accented beautifully with a delicate, feminine dress.

A dress that draws attention to your waist will accent your slender body. No matter what body type you have do not forget to adore all of your feminine features. Ignore the part of your conscience that despises your tummy or hips. Instead, focus all of your attention on a dress that will show off your positive features, like a blue gown that contrasts with your green eyes. Love your prom dress from the moment your eyes catch it to the night you flaunt it because, with our help and your style, it was chosen for all the right reasons.

A round or full female is short or tall and curvy throughout. You have a large bust and a large frame that can be emphasized by wearing a gorgeous neckline, but look for full coverage so you can have enough support. Also, look for a dress that attracts attention to the hem if you are looking to draw attention away from your chest.

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Are you cafeteriaconscious? Although you may think you know what you are consuming during lunch, these nutritional labels of some of the most popular lunches from the MTHS cafeteria may surprise you.

Cheese Pizza Serving Size 1 Slice Calories 360 Total Fat 12g Sat. Fat 6g Cholesterol 36mg Sodium 943mg Total Carb. 45g Fiber 1.77g Protein 21.3g

Helpful Healthy Hints

Tips to Stay in Tip-Top Shape Although eating healthy and exercising regularly are the ideal tips to stay fit, other decisions in a person’s life can impact their ability to maintain superior health. According to the National Sleep Foundation’s 2006 Sleep in America Poll, only one in five adolescents obtain an optimal nine hours of sleep on school nights, and nearly half of them sleep for less than eight hours on school nights. It is a fact that teenagers need a minimum of 8.5 to 9.25 hours of sleep each night, compared to the seven to nine hours of


sleep most adults need, according to the National Sleep Foundation. Ever since the sixth grade’s mandatory D.A.R.E (Define, Assess, Respond and Evaluate) class, it has been drilled into every child’s brain to avoid drugs and alcohol. It should be obvious for high school teenagers exposed to harmful habits that smoking and alcohol both have damaging long term effects. According to the American Lung Association, there are over

30 Days to a Healthier You Stay positive. A healthy lifestyle usually goes hand & hand with less stress, body fat & depression.

Customize your diet. Diet plans can range from 2-6 meals a day. Gauge your hunger & make a plan!

Rest up! Young adults need 8 hours of sleep to prevent fatigue.

Switch “white” carbs with whole wheat or multi-grain options.

Write on! Writing down what you eat & the activities you do allows you to make concious choices.

Burn fat! 20 minutes of a sweaty cardio workout 3x a week will keep you looking good.

Pump some iron to tone & build muscle.

Fill up on fruit. Try to eat nutritious & delicious produce at every meal.

Curfew your cravings. Set a time that you won’t eat after & give your body a rest to digest.

Eat fruit and allow your body to fully benefit by waiting a half hour before eating anything else.

Listen to your heart... & stomach. Only eat when you’re truly hungry & stop when you’re full.

Ham Sandwhich

Set a schedule of workout Seize the day & try not to be days so you won’t be stressed inactive for more than 2 hours trying to find time during the (unless you’re sleeping). week.

Serving Size 1 Roll Calories 381 Total Fat 9.5g Sat. Fat 4.07g Cholesterol 68mg Sodium 1873mg Total Carb. 41.7g Fiber 1.8g Protein 27.7g

Cheesesteak Serving Size 1 Hero Calories 421 Total Fat 15.56g Sat. Fat 7.53g Cholesterol 65mg Sodium 855mg Total Carb. 38.04g Fiber 1g Protein 28.07g

200 known poisons in cigarette smoke. By keeping in mind that drugs and alcohol can affect the body in destructive ways and always saying no to peer pressure, teenagers are already doing themselves a favor to be healthier and happier. In order to maintain a healthy image, either from a personal perspective or a professional’s, teenagers should exercise consistently, eat wholesome and nutritional foods and, of course, get enough sleep and avoid drugs and alcohol.

Choose wisely: low-fat frozen yogurt or ice cream?

Park farther away from the mall and take the stairs, not the escalator.

Savor it! Eat slowly & when you’re not multi-tasking to ensure you don’t overeat.

Know the facts. Nutrition Go green. Eating vegetarian labels do not lie and are there once a week cuts calories & gives your body a day off. for a reason.

Get a side salad instead of French fries at lunch.

Stop drinking calories! A soda contains 140 calories, water has 0. Drink up!

Take exercise, not snack breaks.

Keep the variety- don’t eat Take a multivitamin to ensure too much of the same thing! your body runs efficiently.

Find a butt-busting buddy to motivate & encourage your work outs.

Skip fried, fatty foods. They usually carry very little nutritional value.

Save money on gas & try walking to your destination instead of driving.

Instead of coffee or sugar to wake you up, try a 20 minute nap instead.

Tune in! Make a playlist of Try skinny or low-fat options Encourage others to join your healthy lifestyle- it’s easier your favorite upbeat songs & when you’re at the cafe. when you’re not alone. hit the gym.

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Proportional eating with MyPyramid

According to the United States Department of Agriculture’s website,, “Your food and physical activity choices each day affect your health — how you feel today, tomorrow and in the future.” Healthy eating does not always consist of vigorous diets targeted at weight loss, however. A healthy lifestyle actually assists in obtaining more nutrients and benefits for the body. While some popular diets recommend cutting down on essential food groups, such as the Atkins Diet’s low carbohydrate approach, the Department of Agriculture disagrees. The once well-known, horizontally arranged food guide pyramid that was created in 1992 was replaced in April 2005 by the USDA’s MyPyramid because of new dietary research. New and improved, the MyPyramid guide aids in making personal eating choices. It displays each food group and its recommended daily servings vertically. Since the body needs more than 40 different nutrients, choosing a wide variety of foods can help properly nourish the body. Eating healthy is as simple as making wiser choices and developing proper habits. Choosing apples with peanut butter over chocolate chip cookies and taking a walk instead of watching TV are smarter decisions to become healthier. Let’s not forget those greasy french fries that torment students on the lunch line during Block 3. Saying “no” to those potatoes, deep fried to perfection in oil, is also a vital decision for health. Consuming the right kinds of food for the best nutrition starts right in the pantry. If chips, cookies and soda are all that is available to a teen in the home, he or she is most likely not making the best choices. Instead, a teenager should use MyPyramid for assistance to obtain proportional servings from all the food groups. An alternate choice for healthy eating is selecting organic foods for a diet. Organic foods are not grown with ionizing radiation, herbicides, pesticides or hormones. For fifteen years, Everything Natural Too, Inc. has offered organic, gluten free and wheat-free foods to the Monroe Township community from its location on Applegarth Road. Organic food is “more natural, and there is less synthetic materials in it,” says Mary Ricciuto, Assistant Manager at Everything Natural Too, Inc. “In the future, it will prevent cancer and diseases and keep the immune system stronger.” Even simple choices like eating out at Subway rather than a fast food restaurant like McDonald’s contributes to h e a l t h y d e c i s i o n making.

Chicken Caesar Wrap Serving Size 1/2 Wrap Calories 547 Total Fat 26.75g Sat. Fat 5.55g Cholesterol 56mg Sodium 1308mg Total Carb. 54.91g Fiber 2.5g Protein 21.45g

Exercise to your

Throughout the four years of high school, physical education is a mandatory course intended to keep teenagers active and in shape. Unfortunately, the hour-and-a-half gym block every other day, in and of itself, is not a sufficient workout for teenagers. It is recommended by experts that teenagers obtain 60 minutes or more of physical exercise each day, but most teenagers do not achieve this recommended standard. Exercising regularly strengthens the body, and it also produces chemicals called endorphins that, while benefiting the mind, keep a person happier and more peaceful. Other advantages obtained from exercise range from maintaining

heart’s content

a toned body through burning calories, weight loss and a decreased risk for diabetes and blood pressure. Elizabeth Hessler, Manager and Fitness Consultant at Snap Fitness in Spotswood, suggests exercising “three times a day for an hour at the most, including cardio, stretching and weight training.” Staying “fit” does not always require teenagers to spend hours a day strength training like a football player. Instead, teenagers can achieve the recommended amount of exercise through participation in many interesting habits. Riding a bike, taking walks, dancing, playing soccer, or taking part in any activity that demands an increased heart rate is considered exercise. Hessler also says, “Play sports, stay active and stay away from kids who don’t take good care of themselves.”

Art/ Rachel Kowal Layout/Graphics/ Gina Anania


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April 28, 2009

Get real, ‘Gossip Girl’ by KRUTI SHAH Staff Writer Gossip Girl showcases the luxurious lives of Upper East Side teenagers who attend elite prep schools by day and party by night. This fascinating escape into a glamorous world excites fans who have eagerly watched their scandalous lives since the show’s debut in 2007. Writers have however taken the glamour factor too far lately, alienating its core audience and exposing the show’s main weakness: reality. Because Gossip Girl is a fictional television series meant to entertain, there is allotted room to exaggerate and embellish. This season’s storyline however, has crossed permitted boundaries, causing fans to question the possibility, or even legality of such events. While the situation of dazzling socialites is clearly of a different world than that of its ordinary fans, the array of hook-ups and secret societies comprising the show’s substance are outright laughable. Such plots are clear violations of common sense and reality. Recently this season, an eighteen year old school-boy was made CEO of a multibillion dollar enterprise, only to lose this after school job when an indignant board of directors finds him in the company of prostitutes and crack. When the next episode revealed that Chuck

Bass, played by British actor Ed Westwick, regains his inheritance through a shady adoption, fans were left with confusion on whether such a prominent industry would really tolerate this daily turnover of power, or subject itself to the whims of spoiled school boys. And how was it legal for an unrelated

woman to adopt him so suddenly and that too during the intermission of an opera? Other dubious episodes portray a relationship between 17-year old Serena Van der Woodsen (Blake Lively) and a much older, Aaron Cyrus (Aaron Rose). Dan (Penn Badgley) pursues a new teacher at his school, who tactlessly returns his affections wholeheartedly. Yet both relationships are punishable actions under New York and federal laws, if Serena really did have sex with Aaron during their trip to Argentina, as the show very obviously implies, as it does between Dan and his teacher. Serena is then accepted by the prestigious Yale University, only because the dean saw her picture in a tabloid as good publicity, despite her terrible school record. A nanny is murdered because she sent the invitation of a top-secret party to the wrong person. An anonymous, but somehow omniscient blogger publicly slanders each character with lies on a daily basis, and manages to post pictures as well as scrupulous detail about each scandal. Despite the season’s strong start, ratings have dropped lower with each episode, forcing writers to take wilder risks in order to retain viewers. This strategy has backfired cruelly, as recent ratings and overall quality continue to plummet. The introduction of several secondary plots distract and annoy viewers as an excuse for the show to stretch the main plot over


several episodes. “It’s frustrating when you just want to see what happens,” says Nidhi Parekh, a long time fan of Gossip Girl. Although previously the ridiculous aspect of the show was what made it famous, writers need to acknowledge that a recession, mature audience, and reality do exist. Gossip Girl CWTV Monday 8:00 PM TV-14

‘Daisies’ dies in spite of Emmy sunlight by JENNA RUTSKY Staff Writer The ABC network show Pushing Daisies has been cancelled despite earning nominations for 12 Emmys in 2008. Pushing Daisies has been described as a “forensic fairy tale” by New York Times critics like Alessandra Stanely who says the show comes with a lot of, “candy-colored, computer-generated bucolic scenery, and that alone could discourage those allergic to even the faintest hint of magical realism.” This show is not for the likes of the unimaginative or anyone who hated Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. The show is an American dramatic comedy about a pie-maker, Ned, with the curious gift of bringing the dead back to life with one touch of his finger. However, once Ned brings an individual back from the dead, he may never touch them again or they will become permanently dead. Ned, (Pace) works alongside detective, Emerson Cod (McBride) to solve murder mysteries. Ned also owns the Pie Hole, a pie shop where his waitress and friend, Olive (Chenoweth) works. Olive enjoys the thrill of solving mysteries with Ned and Emerson, though she is unaware of Ned’s gift. Ned’s formally deceased girlfriend, Chuck (Friel), is now alive again thanks to Ned’s magic touch. However, now that Ned has revived her, she and Ned can never again touch or Chuck will forever be dead. Chuck adds comic relief to the show with her quirky ways of hugging and kissing Ned without actually making physical contact, as she kisses Ned between saran wrap. This whimsical show has a theatrical feel to the characters who wear bright and outof-the-ordinary clothing. The music and scenery are light and airy while the dialogue is funny and sing-song. Pushing Daises sets

itself apart from other television shows, “as it is not really like anything else at the moment,” says Ms. Stanely, a New York Times critic. Created by Bryan Fuller, Pushing Daisies first aired late 2007. Fuller is also the genius acknowledged for writing the first season of the NBC smash hit, Heroes. Fuller now adds the prestigious title for Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series for his work for Pushing Daisies. Despite Pushing Daisies’ lack of episodes due to the 2007-2008 writers’ strike, the show has grown a fan club. Early 2008 ABC began writing and airing episodes for the continuation of season one. Lead actors in the show such as Pace and Chenoweth took home the honor of Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series at the 2008 Emmy awards. With the airing of the second season in late 2008, season two did not catch on as well as ABC executives had hoped. Ratings began to steeply decline, so much so, that a month later Fuller announced Pushing Daisies would not finish its second season or return for a third. ABC is proposing to air three never-beforeseen episodes this summer. However, these episodes will not fully wrap up the storyline of Pushing Daisies, to the distaste of many fans. Fuller has announced that he has yet decided to finish Pushing Daisies with a comic book series or even a movie. Pushing Daisies still airs [in the United Kingdom] and has already signed for season three in the UK. Directed by Barry Sonnenfeld; written by Bryan Fuller; Mr. Sonnenfeld, Mr. Fuller, Dan Jinks, Bruce Cohen and Brooke Kennedy, executive producers; Jim Dale, narrator. A Jinks/Cohen Company production in association with Warner Brothers Television. Lee Pace (Ned), Kristin Chenoweth (Olive Snook), Chi McBride (Emerson Cod), Anna Friel (Charlotte, or Chuck, Charles).

April Horoscopes 

Libra–September 23-October Capricorn–December 22: The person you think might 22-Janurary 19: Good news like you doesn’t. Look harder, will come via email today. Don’t however. There might be a forget to check your spam folder by CHRISTINE SCHWEITZER surprise! just in case. Editor-in-Chief Cancer – June 22-July 22: Due Aries – March 21-April 19: Eat Scorpio–October Aquarius–January to some very strange dreams, slower. You seem to stress too 23-November 21: It’s a small 20-February 18: Keep a lid on you may suffer emotional harm. much these days. Food is not world after all. It’s a small world it. If you have nothing nice to Be mindful of your thoughts; your solution, but someone is! after all. It’s a small world after say, don’t say anything at all. they may betray you. Taurus – April 20-May 20: Do not give the irate customer his money back. Save some money for the future! Gemini – May 21-June 21: Don’t worry if you feel like people aren’t listening to you. Don’t stress; sooner or later, you will reach the top of the pyramid.

Leo – July 23-August 22: An old crush is coming back to crush you some more. Be prepared. Extremely prepared. Virgo–August 23-September 22: The stain fairy is out to get you! Don’t wear white. Avoid any mistakes.

all … Bet you can’t get THAT song out of your head for the rest of the day.

Remember this: She simply isn’t worth the trouble.

Sagittarius–November 22-December 21: This random, crazy world just might make sense today. Carry a pen. Take notes.

Pisces–February 19-March 20: Happiness is around the corner, but you’re stuck in traffic, so walk. Actually, run!

April 28, 2009


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Downcast Theory breaks it down by MAUREEN NOLAN Editor

out in unison from several fans as the band finished the crowd favorite, “Drown.” The support group of fans, although the The lights of the Starland Ballroom stage crowd sometimes varies, can be seen were low on March 23 as fans lined up cheering the band on at every show. at the iron barrier to watch the native After the show, front man Simon remarked band compete for the that it would “be opportunity to rock difficult to judge how out on the Ernie Ball we did because, even stage this summer at though we were on par the Vans Warped Tour. definitely, we’re not in At this particular venue, the same genre or on 14 bands from New the same music scene.” Jersey were asked to Unfortunately, Downcast compete in order to play Theory did not win the alongside Bad Religion, Battle it participated Flogging Molly, NOFX, in, but its eager The Devil Wears Prada performance and crowd and Less Than Jake. dedication were a recipe Downcast Theory, a for an incredible show. band with three Monroe The amazing Township High School performance was the tip alumni, brought new of iceberg for Downcast flavor to the competition Theory, though, as the when lead singer Matt guys are partial to playing Simon peered over shows constantly, most the speaker and sang notably at Finnigan’s “What’s Left of Me”, a bar in East Windsor. Although they continue song on the band’s new album Damaged Calm. to rock out on stage, the “It’s a nice break from band maintains a very all the screaming [of down-to-earth presence. the previous bands],” “We write about real life, and it’s not always commented fan and MTHS student Nick Raynor. about us; it’s about Downcast Theory people we know or have known,” guitarist Jake kept this rock vibe up throughout its entire set Raynor adds to the list of as the band plunged its inspirations for the band. way into “Break Away” Most notably, the band and “Damaged Calm”, remarks, is “A Song for DJ.” Photo/ Jeffrey John Masino Tragedy claimed the life of songs filled with the MONROE GRADS BRING THE HOUSE DOWN Lead singer Matt Simon and guitarist Jake Raynor rock out at the Starland Ballroom’s tantalizing, powerhouse thirteenth annual Ernie Ball Battle of the Bands. a dear friend of Downcast vocals from Simon Theory, D.J. Blish, a former and killer guitar riffs from Raynor for song’s bridge. The jam ended with Simon laughter from fans and proved that although MTHS student. In remembrance of him, which the local band is so well-known. singing, head back and arms outstretched, Downcast Theory was here to rock, its Raynor sings his heart out on the track. Contrasting with the harder sound of the a typical rock-star move, which performers enjoyed every moment on stage. Their new album, Damaged Calm can be previous three tunes, the song “Prayer” started promoted fan screeching and applause “I was amazed Kenny kept his found on iTunes and was recently reviewed off melodic and even slightly ominous and as the band packed up its instruments. shirt on the entire time,” fan and by Rock Eyez Webzine, who accalimed built on guitar riffs and drum beats according Though their tunes are easy to rock MTHS student Allan Simon joked. the album as “a breath of fresh air.” to the band’s usual style. Raynor, known out to, the ultimate mark of originality And although their tagline claims The band creates rhythmic and raw for his impeccable solos, jumped around for this band is its fan’s dedication sound, which allows the members to “The Downward Spiral Has Begun,” the the stage throughout the song, nodding his and the band’s constant energy. bring out their personalities in the songs. future of Downcast Theory is looking up. head in unison with bassist Kenny Earl. Throughout the bands’ set in the “We love you, Downcast Theory!” rang Drummer Matt Raunick, typically known as “Raundawg”, cued in the band for their final and most popular song, “Drown.” Fans jumped around while singing every word with Simon and Raynor as the two split into an acoustic harmony after the

Battle, each member, with the obvious exception of Raundawg, could be seen sliding his way across the stage, covering as much space as possible to create the ultimate, show-stopping performance. Kenny Earl’s full-head spins created echoes of

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The Monroe Falcon Editors-In-Chief

Zachary Etsch Christine Schweitzer

Editorial Policy The Monroe Falcon is a newspaper dedicated to accurate, ethical, and responsible high school journalism. Advisor Sandy Appel-Bubnowski Dear Monroe Falcon Staff, I am so glad that you finally recognized a way to quote “dwindling” economy. At last we are all aware of the devastating affects the collapse has had on Stop and Shop. I can only imagine the real disaster’s results across the nation. If the grocery stores are in trouble we are better all hang tight. Thank goodness someone on staff has rendered them self observant enough to enlighten the school with such an informed educated perspective. Sincerely, Johnny B. Wright

GM’s new turnaround plan, HA! by GURPAL SRAN Guest Writer Automobile giant General Motors verges on bankruptcy. However, the company’s new business model promises fiscal success while creating working automobiles. “This plan is very innovative,” said Rick Diculous, a GM employee in Detroit, Michigan. “I have never before seen any American company with such innovative production.” This new, restructuring plan corresponds with President Barack Obama’s March 30 pledge to fund GM’s sixty days to create a new business plan. GM had not expected this response from the president. After the company’s stock dipped below $3 in March, GM asked for sixteen billion more dollars in loans, which is not a ridiculous notion at all. “We (GM) hoped that President Obama would give us a larger loan. The other $30 billion that we had already received was not enough,” pleads Diculous. GM’s new turnaround plan is simple yet effective, to use higher quality manufacturing parts for its vehicles. Therefore, these vehicles will have a life that spans more than three years. GM hopes working automobiles will persuade more consumers to buy American their vehicles. “Risky? Definitely. However, GM may have found a pot of gold here. I think Americans want functioning automobiles. GM has really taken an innovative step by making automobiles that run.” Diculous was right on that note. Since 1994, Americans have gradually been buying foreign cars due to the fact that these vehicles work. On the other hand, American companies like GM and Chrysler have been producing “awesome” big cars with “awesomely” low miles per gallon ratios and “radical” malfunctions, in the words of Rick Diculous. “I think America needs to give up on the awesome car. Americans won’t see big trucks and SUVs as often as they used to.”


April 28, 2009

The greatest book never written By MICHAEL BAUMANN Editor So, I’m writing a novel. But I’m having a little trouble with it. It’s about the rise and inevitable fall of nations’ governments with social commentary sprinkled throughout. Or maybe it’s about the members of an office building’s janitorial staff being part of a secret superhero society, investigating the tragic death of a vigilante, The Custodian, with a tentative title of Washmen (Get it? Oh, I’m so clever). Or perhaps it’s about a lowly sewer rat aspiring to one day become a stand-up comedian. Or maybe I’m feeding my readers a load of garbage just to throw them for a loop. The point is that the plot and content aren’t giving me a problem. I’ve come up with what I believe to be a highly unique and interesting storyline with deep and diverse characters in a complex and fascinating universe. And I consider myself to be my own worst critic. So neither the plot nor the characters are giving me trouble in my novel. My problem is that I can’t come to writing it all down. Instead of having zero ideas and no inkling of what to write next, which are symptoms of the dreaded Writer’s Block, I have an overwhelming amount of ideas, so many that it is nearly impossible to transcribe them all onto paper. I don’t know where to start.

Whenever I attempt to sit down a n d just write, a plethora of questions rush through my head: Should I write the book right from the beginning? Shall I fill out

It’s extraordinarily daunting, sitting at my desk with a pen in hand, staring at an open notebook, a blank canvas, with my mind

psychological profiles for each of my

going in a

characters, just to form a strong foundation? Or should I come up with a highly detailed outline of the history of the novel’s universe for my own personal reference and as a means to maintain continuity?

hundred different directions at once. It’s as if I have access to the Hoover Dam, but the only way to get all the water out is through a single, puny sink faucet. As a result, I have approximately fifteen pages of content written, half of which are rough notes and rewrites. To some, that may seem like a good start, but allow me to offer some perspective: I’ve been working on this on and off for the past three years. With a projected page count of at least five hundred, I will complete my book, at this rate, by December 17, 2109. Barnes & Noble is now accepting preorders,

available for pick-up by your greatgrandchildren. What’s an aspiring novelist to do? Turning to a sort of mentor would most certainly help, and my cousin, a Language Arts teacher in Long Island, has most certainly obliged. While we haven’t discussed the specifics of my novel, he is very excited by my ventures into the world of literature and has offered me tips and encouragement. This past Christmas, he even gave me a copy of “Writing with Style” by John R. Trimble, a compilation of practical writing guidelines that greatly entertained and benefited him (I should probably finish reading it before he comes to visit in August…) Incidentally, my cousin also described how he found it rather peculiar that half of the high school seniors he taught had written college essays that addressed quotes and themes from the film, “Scarface.” Seriously? While reading Trimble’s work, I came across an interesting quote by Walter W. “Red” Smith, a popular sports columnist in the 1970s. Smith says, “Writing is very easy. All you do is sit in front of a typewriter until little drops of blood appear on your forehead.” Despite coming across as somewhat morbid, Smith’s words made me realize that the only way to get over my composition trouble was simply to sit down and write, no matter the topic. Now if I could only find the time to write all of this…

testing center proctor, Ms. Lindsay Steuber, recalls last year’s “inconvenience for students” to get personal appointments with their teachers to make up tests. “In that respect the testing center is effective only because students have the opportunity to make up any subject in one area. It is actually good for students,” she says. As a result of having such an inadequate space, students are often rejected from the center to return on a later day in order to take their test or quiz. Teachers often reprimand students for having delayed the make-up, regardless of whether or not students were at fault. Yet, another concern is the length of time the center is open. During the school week, the center is open from 2:15 until 3:15, except on

Tuesdays, when it is open from 2:45 until 3:45. This inconveniences students, as a block class period spans an hour and a half. Therefore if tests require the entire period, students need to return to finish their work at a later date. “In my experience, the testing center seems to become more crowded towards the end of the marking period when kids are under pressure. However, it normally tends not to be when kids have no deadline,” says Steuber. As a possible solution to the dilemmas posed by the single testing center, she proposes that more than one testing center be opened towards the end of the marking period when there is a higher demand. On the last day of third marking period, as half an hour has already

passed after the testing center opened, one of the remaining students who has yet to take her test verbalizes her frustration. The anonymous freshman says, “My teacher told me that if I didn’t make up my test today I would get a zero. I have been waiting since two!” As a possible solution to the overcrowding of the testing center, she says, “there should be two or three rooms available to make up tests, especially with the end of the marking period.” When asked if she would be able to finish her test that day, she says, “I probably won’t and that means I’ll get a zero, and if I do finish, it’s because I’ll be rushing through it.” To ease the aggravation of both students and teachers, a minimum of two testing centers should be open after school. In addition, the centers should be open from 2:15 until 4:15, but only three days per week.

the film were met with mediocre reviews, with a score of 56 out of 100 on the website www. The real merits of Watchmen’s success will be visible for decades to come. Watchmen has solidified the idea that graphic novels like Sin City, 300, and V for Vendetta can be translated into film while still retaining the qualities that make it so unique. Watchmen may not have been the ultimate super hero movie, but it has opened the door that has

prevented so many other deep, innovative stories from being told on the big screen. Hopefully, the immense outpour of fan support has proved that if other cult-hits are made into movies without aiming to be the next Dark Knight, success can be achieved. Producers still question if the risk is worth it. Graphic novels like Fables or Swamp Thing, even more obscure to the masses than Watchmen, have comprehensive stories, filled with rich settings

and detailed characters. But is the eclipsing probability of mediocre reviews and sub-par sales really worth it? For every Dark Knight and Spiderman out there, you have to assume that more than a fair number of Batman and Robins and Superman Returns exist. It’s inevitable. The fact that an adapted graphic novel stays true to its source material makes watching the film a worthwhile expenditure.


Long lines test students’ patience by MICHAEL BAUMANN and THERESA LIN Editors A sole testing center available after school barely suffices for the 1700 students who attend Monroe Township High School. Available to only the first 20 students who arrive at the testing center, the rest are forced to wait for a tentative opening. Last year, MTHS unofficially designated one testing center per subject. The writing lab was reserved for language arts, social studies and world language make-ups while math students would make appointments for the Computers and Math Assistance Center (CMAC). This year, however, MTHS has limited all after-school testing to merely one classroom. Students are now forced to compete for the limited occupancy of the testing center. Language Arts teacher and

“There should be two or three rooms available to make up tests. . .”

‘Who watches the Watchmen?’ by KEVIN QUIDOR Executive Editor

If you haven’t heard of the comic juggernaut that is Watchmen, it’s time to get out from under that rock. Originally a series of comic books in 1986, author Allan Moore’s masterpiece has finally been adapted for the big screen, and the ripples of its success will be felt for years to come. Watchmen has become an instant cult hit. While initial showings of


April 28, 2009

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Dora the conformer by KRUTI SHAH Staff Writer

Cheating the game

The ’roid-age of America’s pastime by Joey Romanczuk Editor Barry Bonds’ ripping his 756 home run was a bittersweet milestone. Carrying the home run record out of AT&T Park was an impressive feat; however, many believe that this accomplishment was tainted by his use of steroids. Many older fans that grew up watching “pure players” smash balls right out of the park look down on watching these steroid stars rip home runs as easy as singles. On April 4, 1974, a crowd of 53,775 fans packed into Turner Field to witness “Hammerin’ Hank Aaron hit number 715 home run off an L.A Dodger pitcher. The League fired Cannons, people crowded the field, and Aaron went on to hit 40 more home runs in his career. Last year Bonds received national coverage when he was on the verge of breaking Aaron’s record. On August 7, 2007 43,000 people experienced the taste of Bonds ripping Hank Aaron’s record and the

ball up past right center field wall. Bond was congratulated by fellow celebrity athletes such as Michael Jordan, Wayne Gretzky and even Aaron. Bonds might have snagged the record, but he was also hit with an ever-menacing asterisk. That asterisk being his rejection into the baseball Hall of Fame. However in a major league world where some stars turn down $45 million contracts and some people get paid over 100 million to knock balls out of the park, how do we fans know that Major League Baseball greats like Aaron or Babe Ruth didn’t juice? Sure, all star sluggers like Ruth made little money back then and sometimes had to work two jobs. But what is the cost of greatness? Who is to say Aaron didn’t cheat all of his 755 home runs? Bonds already has, why not Hank? I know it’s a lot to process, and it’s almost painful to think about. The face of the MLB would be forever changed if a player like Aaron came out and said that he used steroids. The MLB w o u l d turn their steroid frowns upsidedown and might even promote steroid use. Sure players c o u l d hit the gym, but where’s the fun in that? If you’re not cheating, y o u ’ r e not trying nowadays. Besides, the MLB m i g h t even profit

from steroid use. Many fans would probably enjoy seeing a hitter like Alex Rodriguez hit homeruns with graceful ease or watching Ryan Howard knock homers out of the park at almost every at bat. The truth is that nobody wants to see some historic evidence prove that some MLB greats used anabolic steroids, and neither does the MLB. They have, over the past few years, created a plethora of suspensions and fines to punish players for using them. Back in the day, there were no such penalties. Fans did not believe baseball players juiced. Today, the only way to prove if an ex-MLB great juiced would be if he publicly admitted it. Fans do not want this unfortunate truth. They want to believe that players of today could even compare to those players of yesterday, and that even if they could, it’s only through the use of steroids. For the sake of America’s past time, the only thing left to do is to simply believe that MLB greats never did cheat.

A walk through any toy store can be the worst nightmare for parents of young girls, when scantily clad dolls, modeling the latest in fishnet stockings and glitter eye shadow line the shelves, beckoning girls as young as preschool age to join their world of superficial physiques, fashion, and overt sexuality. Television as well is no longer safe for those who want to keep their kids innocent: controversial “role models” like the pregnant Jamie Lynne Spears, and provocative Miley Cyrus are idolized by young girls. As girls are forced into increasingly sexualized roles at younger and more vulnerable ages, many parents are blaming the media for the epidemic of over sexualized girls, accusing them of an ideology of “sex sells,” in order to reap profits. The media has played an influential role in the development of young girls, who grew up with television and mass-marketing and unprecedented media exposure. Feminists, parents, and social analysts alike have all opposed the stereotypical female role the media portrays, an image of shopping, fashion, makeup and jewelry. In 1999, when Dora the Explorer, a spunky, tomboyish adventuress was first introduced by Nickelodeon, she was hailed as the ideal role model for young girls. Instead of the stereotypical mold most television characters were forced into, Dora was refreshingly practical and intelligent. Using both Spanish and English t o solve problems, Dora explored jungles and climbed mountains with the help of her animal friends. She had a monkey sidekick and backpack with a map and compass. Her practical, although unfashionable bowl cut hair and plain outfits were insignificant. However, the original creators of Dora sold the image to Mattel, who was free to use her image whichever way was profitable. Mattel unveiled, to the horror of parents around the world, a “tween” aged Dora that hardly resembled the Dora young girls cherished.

The change, designed to retain viewers as they age, gave Dora a new “fashionable” look, with leggings, a tunic, ballet flats and lip gloss. Her animal friends are now forgotten, since Dora lives in the city now, far from the nature and wilderness she seemed to treasure. Parents vehemently opposed the change, claiming that if Dora were to grow up, she would never forget the outdoors in favor of makeup and fashion. She would be a potential biologist or preservationalist, not a fashionista. What this change teaches to young girls, according to an ongoing petition, is that girls should abandon any form of lifestyle that doesn’t parallel what they see on T.V, just as Dora did. By narrowing girl’s choice of role model down to one choice, we eliminate options for girls to pursue aspirations like Dora’s, limiting their potential. Girls are given the perception that they must be sexual and overly feminine. This shift in culture is not exclusive to Dora; Bratz dolls have also raised protest amongst parents for their “passion for fashion” slogan and impossible physical image. Bratz dolls have taken the place of Barbie, who at least had career aspirations. Dr. Gigi Durham, journalism professor at the University of Iowa, blames the shift in culture for the “Lolita effect,” a phenomenon that causes young girls to feel a “sense of identity and power in precocious sexuality.” As a result, girls obsess over how to look more like the latest pop princess, which leads to emotional troubles and eating disorders. The impossible standards set by the plastic appearance of media idols cause young girls to dislike their personal image. The media’s over sexualization of female role models pushes girls to believe that their only option is sticky sweet feminism, when reality is far from that image. Girls must be given the opportunity to see that they can be doctors, lawyers, CEO’s, and adventurers too, and the media must portray that. Bring back Dora, or lose a generation of bright female minds.

Economy strikes out MLB’s payroll by TOMMY HIMMELREICH Staff Writer Professional baseball is an industry just like any other. A team has more than just players and coaches; they have to pay the salaries of grounds crew members, ticket ushers, and concession workers. All members of the organization seem to be taking salary cuts, due to the recent decline in the economy, outraging players. A couple of household names such as C.C. Sabathia and Mark Teixeira, who were both signed this summer to the New York Yankees, did not seem to be effected by the downfall in our economy. Sabathia signed a 7 year $161 million contract, and Teixeira signed an 8 year $180 million contract. Every year the New York Yankees try to establish themselves as the best team in the MLB by signing high price players. This year, aside from Teixeira and Sabathia,

the Yankees have signed other high class players such as A.J. Burnett for $82.5 million and Nick Swisher for $26.5 million. The Yankees are not the only team guilty of signing an assortment of big names. Their cross town rivals, the New York Mets, signed huge closing pitcher Francisco Rodriguez and traded for pitcher J.J. Putz. On the contrary other organizations do not have the sufficient funds to sign top tier players such as the Florida Marlins, Pittsburgh Pirates, and the Oakland Athletics. Teams such as the Florida Marlins, Pittsburgh Pirates and the Oakland Athletics have minimal payrolls. Florida is the only team whose average player’s salary is under a million dollars. Teams with a low payroll do not normally produce winning seasons. The pirates, whom in 2008 had a payroll of slightly under $46 million ended with a dismal record

of 67 wins and lost 95 games. Several players have already taken massive pay cuts from a year ago. Pat Burrell, who prior to this year made over $14 million with the Phillies, signed with the Rays for $8 million a year. Many other solid players have been finding the money in their pockets dwindle because of the current economy. It seems unfair that while some players are signing absurd contracts, others are taking major pay cuts. It is not even guaranteed that these big name players will have the durability to survive the strenuous, long lasting schedule of Major League Baseball, yet they have very lucrative salaries. The league should place a salary cap on each team, where they cannot have too high of a payroll. Each team should not be able to have a total payroll of over $90 million a year. This would make salaries of players more consistent, and make the sport more interesting.


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April 28, 2009

Ladys rejuvinate Falcon’s roster by JIMMY NEMETH Staff Writer

Photos/Marcel Studios

Monroe Township High School softball has been a reckoning force over the past few years, as it slowly but surely becomes the GMC favorite year in and year out. However, this season Monroe looked to rebuild with a much younger team. With the loss of many seniors, Monroe’s returning starters; senior Andrea Carini and junior Morgan Widener needed to step up. As April rolled around, questions concerning what kind of team Monroe would be in their 2009 campaign still had yet to be

along with additional support from freshman Alexa Carini and sophomore Brianna Davidson. Widener went 3 for 4 with a walk and a bases clearing double while Andrea Carini pitched a complete game with 7 strikeouts. Monroe started out with a strong win and looked to keep their record unblemished against GMC White Division rival North Brunswick. With the game tied in the seventh, Sophomore Meghan Williams hit a game tying double to spark Monroe into extra innings. In the ninth, junior first baseman Morgan Widener hit a solo homerun that sent the Raiders home empty handed. Carini went the distance,


BASE Dust flies as Monroe Township High School sophomore Jimmy Small (sliding, number 12) beats a Hightstown fielder’s throw to second base and slides under the tag. (left) IN THE MOTION The Falcon Boys’ Baseball star captain, senior Angelo Trento, prepares to pitch the ball to the Hightstown Rams’ opposing hitter. Trento, who holds a record of 1-1, has also struck out 12 batters in the eight innings he has pitched. He is one of two captains for the Falcons along with senior Joey Williams.

Falcons turn to hawks by ALLAN SIMON Staff Writer

Mohawks worked for the Tampa Bay Rays, so why not the Monroe Falcons? This question seems to be answered by the Falcons Baseball team’s impressive 4-1-1 start. Many of the players on the squad made their way to Perth Amboy and got the retro haircut. “Mainly because it’s really awesome,” said senior Pitcher Joe Haddad. Along with it being “awesome”, it is also a way to build team morale and give something teammates can joke about during a stressful and busy baseball season. Other players besides Haddad who got “the hawk” include seniors Chris Pritzlaff, Joey Williams and Angelo Trento, and Sophomores Corey Liebross, Nick Dini, Jimmy Small, Sal Filiano. All of whom are having productive seasons. Star pitcher Trento has led the pitching staff with a modest 1-1 record, but his stuff has been far from mediocre. He has given up four runs to go with 11 strikeouts in only eight and two-thirds innings of work.

“It shows team unity. The camaraderie this year is much better this year than last year. The fact that the team is so young keeps the team really loose and we have a lot of fun out there,” says Trento. Nick Dini has also let the hawk out of him at the plate hitting .353 with four RBI and a double in only six games so far. One player has over shadowed even the mohawk with his scorching hot beginning of the season. Junior Zach Bachelor is hitting .375 with a homerun, five RBI and seven runs to go along with his 1-0 record on the mound with 14 K’s and a miniscule .095 ERA. Senior James Domino leads the team in batting with a .400 average and Freshman Victor Sorrento leads in RBI along with Bachelor with five. It is numbers like these that make the Falcons a serious contender in the Greater Middlesex Conference. Their 3-0 record on the road makes you believe they can play anywhere and win. The only hiccup so far was the 13-1 slamming that was handed to them by North Brunswick, at home with the biggest home crowd the Falcon’s have had all season. It was easy to see the game was not going to go their way when

Trento went down in the second inning with a sprained elbow injury that will keep him out of the next few games. Joe Haddad came in and struggled greatly and in his relief in the form of Teddy Moke was more of a headache than anything else. Moke’s poor performance seemed out of character considering he went into the game without giving up a run. The best win of the season was the opener against New Brunswick High School. Sorren’s second pitch he faced as a varsity player was launched for a homerun. Bachelor also launched one out of the park and the Falcons didn’t look back from there. They went on to roll over the Zebras 13-5. The Falcons also tacked wins on against JFK High School, Perth Amboy and an extra-inning thriller against Colonia in which Sorren made his mark with a huge eighth inning double. They are also waiting to see if the Carteret game that Bachelor struck-out all nine players that made outs against him will be officially booked as a tie or not. The game was cut-short due to rain and may possibly be rescheduled.

Photo/Lyndsey Reho

SYMBOL OF UNITY From left to right, Angelo Trento, Nick Dini, Joey Williams, Joe Haddad, Corey Liebross and Chris Pritzlaff show off their mohawks.

Photo/Marcel Studios

WHIPPING THE SOFTBALL Senior captain Andrea Carini gets ready to pitch the ball during practice.

answered. Would they be the Monroe that produced Division 1 prospect Mai’Lee Paselio in 2007? Or would they be the team that was expected to just win a few games here and there and reload for next season? The Lady Falcons opened up against Carteret on April 3 firing on all cylinders in an attempt to prove all of their doubters wrong. Monroe took the victory 12-8. They got the support they had hoped for from Widener and Carini,

striking out 9 in as many innings. Monroe brought both their 2-0 record and their confidence against South Plainfield. Once again, Carini had a strong outing, striking out six while surrendering only five hits in Monroe’s 1-0 victory. Coming into the game, the Tigers were ranked first in the GMC’s. The Lady Falcons are looking to keep their record perfect with four consecutive home games against J.F.K., Carteret, Hamilton West, and Colonia.

Photo/Marcel Studios

ALLEGRO MAKES A PLAY Senior second baseman Kim Allegro hustles to fidd the ball while senior captain Sarah Gibbons backs her up.


April 28, 2009

Page 15

MTHS Boys’ LaX makes history

Opening game against Edison may foretell future by COREY LIEBROSS Staff Writer

TAKING A BREATHER Monroe players look to get a break in between quarters during a scrimmage against New Egypt High School.

FIGHT FOR A GROUND BALL A trio of Hamilton West High School defenders look on as a Monroe player beats opposing players on a ground ball.

BATTLE FOR POSSESSION (left) Junior Alex Olekson attempts to win the face off against New Egypt High School’s player.

Photos/Marcel Studios

Monroe Boys Lacrosse head Coach Joseph Yannone prepares himself for yet another season. Coach Yanonne is assisted by Coaches Ross Schultz and Joseph Garavente who work hard to lead the team. In the team’s pre-season the record was 0-5. “I didn’t want to read much into the preseason games and record. To me, they were just extensions of practice and an opportunity to work on a few different formations for the offense and to find the right players for the right spots,” says Yannone. He says, “I think defensively we will be fine... our offense finally found the right formation to run by the end of the preseason.” Junior captains Fabio Degrande, Nick Waszkielewics and Mike Valiant, along with senior captain Rich Lorfing, aim to accomplish Yannone’s goals, including winning their share of division games . The varsity team has three freshman playing this season. Freshman star Michael Toto is expected to produce for Monroe this season, along with Robert Scardilli and defense middie John Albecker. Yannone would like the team to finish in the top half of the GMC’ Division. The team made school history on April 1, winning on opening day. Monroe’s sophomore star Bobby Garavante, scored early in the first quarter. Almost immediately in transition, Edison came right back

LOOKING TO DODGE Freshman sensation Michael Toto looks to beat New Egypt High School long pole defensemen during a March 27 scrimmage.

and tied the game. As the fourth quarter ended, both teams were tied at five and ready to battle in overtime. The first overtime was a scoreless fight. In the second overtime junior lefty AJ Ballack scored in sudden death. Ballack says, “It was the best feeling of my life. It was amazing.” On April 14, Monroe had difficulty when they played against St. Joseph’s High School, another GMC team. Monroe was inevitably conquered by a score of

20-0. At the time of the game the St. Joe’s Falcons were ranked fifth in the state. Monroe picked up its second victory of the campaign, with a victory of 7-2 over Hamilton West on April 18. The Falcons current record is 2-4 with upcoming games against Ranney Prepatory School and J.P. Stevens High. Yannone says, “We have an excellent opportunity to win both of these upcoming games.”

WBC affects major league rosters by ALLAN SIMON Staff Writer

Injuries are the biggest rivals of any team in the Major Leagues. Most teams can handle the injury when it happens during a regular season game, but imagine a manager of a star player dealing with an injury that happens in exhibition. This is the scenario that managers such as Jerry Manuel of the New York Mets, Ken Mancha of the Brewers and Terry Francona of Red Sox have to deal with. Manuel was not very pleased that his star player and team leader David Wright finished the World Baseball Classic after thinking he broke his toe. It was only a broken toe nail, but, regardless, the Mets skipper was not pleased with the judgment of his third baseman. “He probably shouldn’t have played if he felt he had broken his toe,” Manuel told “No question about it.” Wright was not the only headache for Manuel this pre-season. His prospected number three starter

Oliver Perez came to spring training forty pounds over weight and then came off his training regiment to pitch in the WBC with very little success. Unlike the dimmed stars on the Mets, other teams are dealing with a different type injury problem: the dreaded oblique. MVP Dustin Pedroia, perennial all-star Chipper Jones and one of the MLB’s finest young stars, Ryan Braun, were all taken out of the WBC due oblique like injuries “We really dodged a bullet,” said Red Sox general manager Theo Eptstein when asked by reporters on Pedroia’s injury. He was relieved that they were only looking at “days and not weeks” for his recovery. As for Braun, his injury turned out not to be an oblique strain but a similar right intercostals strain. It is an injury that is similar to the one he struggled with at the end of the season last year that hindered him in the Brewers’ first round loss in the playoffs against the Phillies. Chipper Jones, no stranger to

injuries and pains, described the sensation as “cutting off my swing pain”. He does not expect to miss much time, if any, but it is still a pain that Braves Manager Bobby Cox would not want to worry about, especially with the Braves playing in the most competitive division in the National League. All these injuries bring up a common topic of discussion: when should the Classic be played? It appears that playing during spring training has a lot of harm and very little good. The only success story so far has been Derek Jeter in the inaugural World Baseball Classic, when his successful WBC led to his MVP caliber season. Only time will tell if the World Baseball Classic will continue to be played during Spring Training, but as long as they play games, there will be players injured and managers frustrated. (right) NO PAIN, NO GAIN Mets

star David Wright celebrates his walk-off single in a WBC game he played with a possible broken toe.

Photo/ AP

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April 28, 2009

April 2009  

MTHS's school newspaper