MONROE TOWNSHIP HIGH SCHOOL |1629 PERRINEVILLE ROAD| MONROE TWP, NEW JERSEY 08831 | VOL. XI ISSUE 5 | February 17, 2010
Dual personalities abound in ‘The Musical Comedy Murders of 1940’
No such thing as a free lunch
by ADITYA PATEL and STEPHANIE ENG Staff Writers
Mandatory economics class begins next year by AMANDA SEDLMAYER Editor Next year’s freshmen will arrive to a new building and can expect new teachers, new classmates, and, among their hectic schedules, a new mandatory economics class. This past November, the Deputy Commissioner for the Department of Education, Willa Spicer, notified all New Jersey chief school administrators and high school principals about a new mandate, the N.J.A.C. 6A:8-5.1(a)1v. The bill requires “at least 2.5-credits in financial, economic, business and entrepreneurial literacy, effective with the 2010-2011 grade nine class” statewide. Though the economics class is mandatory, freshmen can opt to take it any year of their high school career. Since there are many requirements freshmen must take, mandating the class for freshmen year would limit students’ choice of electives. Assistant superintendent Mr. Jeff Gorman says, “It takes care of requirements and does not take away electives” for the freshmen. The Monroe Township High School’s 2010-2011 Program of Studies details how the personal finance course “covers topics such as balancing personal budgets, opening and maintaining bank accounts and applying for loans and lines of credit.” Mr. Robert Mele, K-12 Applied Arts and Careers Supervisor, says, “The economics class is not really new,” as the class has been available the past two years. However, starting next year, “the course will link two half-year courses of personal finance and the economics class.” This requirement is restricted to incoming freshmen, as current high school students are exempt. Mr. Zachary Morolda, business instructor, says the economics class can give all students a “head start in life.” The economics class “speaks to what is going on in the world,” says Gorman. Principal Mr. Robert Goodall cont’d pg. 3
Photos/Jackie Push DECODING THE MYSTERY Michael Kelly, played by senior Bryan Haring, and Elsa von Grossenknueten, played by junior Sabella Lichtman, try to crack the code, leading them to the identity of the killer.
The January 21 Footlights Club production of The Musical Comedy Murders of 1940 marked a night of laughter and terror in the Marasco Auditorium. This adaptation of Jim Bishop’s original 1987 play fuses pure audience entertainment within the mystery of a whodunit by surprising its viewers with endless corny jokes and plot twists. The curtain opens to Helsa Wenzel, a brutish German maid played by junior Lea Thiemann. She strides to the frosty doors of a mysterious mansion, nearly buried under snow, greeting each guest as they walk inside.
Suddenly, a silhouette of a man clad in black jumps out and stabs Helsa, who dies upon impact, collapsing against her murderer. The unnamed killer attempts to hide the body in the most obvious place: behind the curtains, but poor, dead Helsa fails to cooperate. The corpse refuses to stay put, forcing the killer to place her on a chair, seated in plain sight. He finally settles on stuffing Helsa into a closet, where she smashes into the wall, creating a huge “boom” that resonates through the theater. The audience becomes directly involved in the plot twists and comical interactions early on in the play, enjoying it so much that they ignored the absurdities. Only twenty minutes into the
play, amazingly, the maid who was previously dead miraculously returns back to life, stab wounds not included. Through the same door where the supposed murder happens, a stream of unusual people arrive, starting with the owner of the house, Elsa von Grossenknueten, played by junior Sabella Lichtman, and senior Stephen Kane as director Ken De La Maize. Next to arrive on the scene is senior Justin Torres as Irish tenor Patrick O’Reilly, junior Kayla Eisenberg as dancer Nikki Crandall and junior Kyle Suarez as Eddie McCuen, a comedian with some of the show’s most painstakingly corny jokes. This unlikely group arrives to au cont’d pg. 3
‘A dream that became a reality’ Athletic Director bids farewell by JARED HUSSEY Staff Writer Photo/Jakcie Push
After four dedicated years, a football championship, and hundreds of successful athletes, Athletic Director David Kirk has decided to resign from Monroe. “I have two young kids, and working six days a week does not give me a lot of time with them,” says Kirk, who is expected to leave within the next month to become the new Health and Physical Education Supervisor and Director of Athletics at Point Pleasant Borough High School. Kirk says he is “going back home.” Monroe’s athletic program has clearly gained momentum during Kirk’s employment since his start in July 2006. In addition to the Falcon football division championship victory this past fall, Kirk has also guided the basketball, baseball and soccer teams to consecutive winning seasons. “Although we won the state championship because of our players and coaches,” says senior football captain Anthony Mariani, “we have to thank Mr. Kirk for organizing everything and keeping things under control.” Kirk, known for his modesty and integrity, does not boast over his
This month marks the 46th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act on 1964 which repealed Jim Crow Laws and prohibited racial discrimination in public facilities.
ALWAYS BUSY “I am never going to forget Monroe and the time I have spent here,” says Kirk. “It has been great.” many accomplishments, but says he most enjoyed “watching the sports grow, and watching sportsmanship develop.” Athletic Secretary Terri Madreperla says she will “miss his energetic presence in the office, and how well he multitasked.” Kirk’s ability to manage time was a reason for his success during the four years he spent at Monroe. “I’ve seen Mr. Kirk at many different sporting events. He is at most of the wrestling matches, helping set up, and I think I saw him at a few freshman football games,” says freshman wrestler and football player Michael Muce. “Mr. Kirk is at some meets, I know,” says senior track runner Valine Bogue. “Whenever I see him in school he always seems so busy.” Kirk handled his great workload with poise and, much
The Falcon News Staff salutes all American soldiers
like his sports teams, performed well under pressure. His job consisted of leading and coordinating various sports while also organizing different programs and budgets. He was responsible for directing the physical education and health departments of kindergarten through twelvth grade. Many teachers and coaches have come to know Kirk for his contributions to the high school. “I have gotten to know him pretty well,” says baseball coach Greg Beyer. “He was serious in his work, but he had a light side too.” Kirk’s energy and presence was felt all around the high school. Although he took his job seriously and liked to handle every situation in a professional manner, he never lost his active and lively personality, and was well-respected
amongst students and staff. Principal Robert Goodall was especially close with Kirk. He says, “I was aware of his accomplishments at Point Pleasant Borough High School as wrestling coach, but it was because of his stellar recommendations and impressive interview that former school superintendent Dr. Ralph Ferrie offered him the job.” Goodall says, “We’ve developed a nice friendship inside and outside of school. Both of our schedules are very busy, so I won’t talk to him every day, but I’m sure if we need to ask any questions, he’ll certainly help us.” The student body and staff thanks Kirk for all he has helped Monroe accomplish, and wish him luck at his new position in Point Pleasant. “Live long and prosper,” Captain Kirk.
What’s Inside School News............. 2-4 News............................ 5-6 Sports......................... 7-8 World News................. 9 Freedom Of Press. 10-11
Features................ 12-15 Entertainment..... 16-17 Op-Ed..................... 18-19 Help Rebuild Haiti. 20
February , 17 2010
by AMANDA SEDLMAYER Editor Due to the snowstorm, Battle of the Bands has been rescheduled from February 4 to Friday, February 19. Spanish Honors Society students discussed field trips and the Leukemia/Lymphoma fundraiser on January 14. Up until February 26, buckets according to grade will be set up in all lunches for the Annual Pennies for Patients Homeroom Contest. The top homeroom winner will receive a pizza party and second place wins an ice cream sundae party. Members should keep in mind the Philadelphia Art Museum Trip is scheduled for March 1.
‘I WILL NOW ENTERTAIN A SPEAKERS LIST’ Delegates in Political/Secruity commitee raise their placards during resolution debate.
Key Club members are advised to see Mr. Latwits to sign up for the Valentine’s Day Dance at the Assisted Living at Forsgate on Saturday, February 13, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Students should bring in sugar free foods and drinks for this event. Students interested in gaining volunteer hours can sign up to tutor Applegarth students in any subject. Sign up sheets are located in the guidance office. One hour per week commitments at the public library can be arranged. Youth and Government members met at a meeting on February 4. The $100 check for the conference and credentials are due by the next meeting, on February 11, and final bill ideas are also due by February 18. February 5 represented national Wear Red Day in honor of Women’s Heart Disease. For those awaiting the perfect gift from that special someone, DECA’s annual Valentine’s Roses were delivered Block 1A on February 12.
Delegates, decorum please! Reppin’ MTHS at MUN by ANGELA WO Layout Editor While most students were still sleeping before school began on January 7, bleary-eyed club members of Model United Nations (MUN) were already enroute to attend their committee sessions at the Hershey Lodge in Pennsylvania. MUN simulates the actual United Nations, as each delegate represents a country and a committee and debates about issues specific to their nation. In the politics and security committee this year, delegates discussed current issues concerning oceanic distribution, methods of interrogation and how to handle small arms and light weapons. While debating these issues, students follow parliamentary procedure and wear formal dress. As committee sessions progress, delegates are asked to sit if they fail to address the chair or state their nation and delegation. The conference left a lasting impression on many first-year delegates like junior Kayla Rivera, who represented Bangladesh. She says, “I first came into Model UN thinking I would be bored, but after the first committee session I saw how interesting conference would be.” In addition to debating real
world issues, students also wrote resolutions for the simulated emergency crisis within an hour to save civilians and standing governments. This year, the emergency crisis was the meltdown of a fictional nuclear power plant near Moscow. Though committee sessions totaled 30 hours over the three days, delegates made many unforgettable memories and friendships with fellow high school students from New Jersey, Maryland, Delaware and Pennsylvania. Delegates socialized with these students during meals, talking about shared interests and their experiences in committees. Additionally, guest speakers also presented inspiring speeches regarding aid to the less fortunate in accordance with the conference theme, human rights. After the three days of conference, many committees had become like family. Pam Navrot, from Overbrook Senior High School who will be the new chair of Legal B next year, says via text message, “The friends I met were amazing and the leadership experiences and opportunities were endless.” One committee became so affectionate that they refer to themselves as the “wolfpack.” Many others set up Facebook groups in order to keep in touch until next year. Though there was plenty of downtime and hanging out with
The Falcon News Staff Business Manager Jamie Costa School News Editor Amanda Sedlmayer Entertainment Editor Jill Shah Sports Editor Joey Romanczuk Layout Editor Angela Wo Staff Writers Anupali Bewtra Jessica Billitz Victoria Cinquegrana
Photo/ Thersea Lin
Stephanie Eng Shaena Gupta Allie Houlihan Jazmin James Rachel Kowal Gabriella LaFata Christina Mattina Katelyn Mercier Dan Morgans Aditya Patel Elizabeth Russo Jenna Rutsky Raevin Walters Art/Photography Editor Jackie Push Photographer Jeanna Dressel
Winners of the Columbia Scholastic Press Association 2009 & 2008 Gold Medalist certificate 2007 Bronze Medalist certificate
friends, including a dance on the second day of conference, the Monroe delegation made sure to represent the school well and actively participated in committee sessions. The delegation’s efforts are well appreciated by Mr. Joseph Romano, advisor to the MUN program, who says, “I could not be more proud of our 2010 Monroe Township High School Model United Nations Program. They [the students] raised the standard for how a club should act while on an overnight trip. Our delegation excelled academically, winning numerous individual awards. It is a pleasure advising these group of students.” On the last day of MUN, some Monroe delegates were recognized for their contributions to debate over the weekend: senior Kiran Sandilya and juniors Kruti Shah and Nidhi Parekh’s position
papers won for Premier Position Paper. Those same juniors were also selected by Romano to be Youth Secretariats. Junior Mike Baumann and other delegates who represented Vietnam received the award for Outstanding Country, as they delivered poignant debates and consistently contributed to resolutions. For the YMCA Conference on National Affairs (CONA), senior Vanessa Ragucci was chosen and junior Gurpal Sran, who was reelected as chair of the Economics and Finance Committee, will serve as her alternate. Junior delegate Charmi Vakharia, who represented Cameroon, says she “was persuaded by a few friends to sign up for MUN, but it was really a great experience because I met new people that I will definitely keep in touch.”
‘Cover to Cover’ enlightens students by JENNA RUTSKY Staff Writer Sophomore Raevin Walters and junior Evan Higgins created ‘Cover to Cover,’ a book club that meets every other week in room 103 to discuss books that have been assigned collectively and read by the group members. Club meetings start with a sharing of general opinions about the latest assigned book. The desks are arranged in a circle with club advisor and Media Center Specialist, Patricia Fekete, at the front of the room. Currently, ‘Cover to Cover’ is reading The Freedom Writers Diary by Erin Gruwell. At the January 4 meeting, Walters says, “I liked the book but, it was redundant at times,” to fellow club member, freshman Allison Kramer-Mills. Junior Caitie Wendell says, “The
club was different than I thought it would be; it wasn’t boring!” Laughing at Wendel’s answer, Kramer-Mills says, “I’ve always enjoyed reading and book club is perfect for me.” The club is also sponsoring, ‘Pennies for Peace,’ which helps to fund school libraries in Pakistan. During all lunches on Mondays and Tuesdays throughout January and February, club members will collect pennies and any other monetary donations to give to the charity. “There was no book club and I felt the school needed one,” says Walters. “I was at the ‘One Book Read’ last year when the idea came to me.” “‘Cover to Cover’ is a great club, but it’s frustrating when some members don’t read the books and aren’t as dedicated as I wish they would be,” says Walters.
February 17, 2010
Pencil It In! by CARLA PALERMO Executive Editor
February 18 PTO
Meeting at 7:30 PM (Media Center)
February 19 Battle of
the Bands at 6:30 (Auditorium)
February 22 Key Arts
Production present the African American History Month assembly for all students. NIGHT OF TERROR Ken de la Maize, played by senior Stephen Kane, studies the murder of Marjorie Baverstock, played by junior Amanda Coyle, marking the beginning of the Stage Door Slasher’s investigation.
‘Comedy Murders’ cont’d from front page dition for a new theatrical performance, patronized by Von Grossenknueten. Also to appear onstage is an overly flattering producer named Marjorie Baverstock played by junior Amanda Coyle, music com-
raging blizzard, make themselves at home, settle down and get ready to work on solving the crime. The mystery swells when a blackout occurs and leaves the innocent bystanders exposed to the Stage Door Slasher, the murderer in question. As no-nonsense sergeant Michael Kelly played by senior Bryan Haring reveals himself as an undercover police officer hired to investigate the Stage Door Slasher’s serial crimes, the stars break into panic. Lights, once again, shine onto the stage, illuminating the crime scene, some things appear different—most obviously, the enormous knife sticking out of Marjorie’s head,
“Blood-soaked carpets, dead phone lines, a seemingly endless number of secret passage ways . . .” poser Roger Hopewell played by senior Erik Harmody, and senior Alyssa Cosentino as Bernice Roth, a drunken lyricist who lumbers on stage dressed in a whirlwind of colors. The guests, trapped in the mansion by a
something that the other characters fail to detect. Blood-soaked carpets, dead phone lines, a seemingly endless number of secret passage ways—the misadventures in this Clue-like murder mystery screams for attention and laughter. As the cast puts on a wonderful show on stage, the unsung heroes behind the curtains, the stage crew makes the 1940’s come alive. “Even though I’m on stage crew, they make me feel like I’m a part of the cast, It’s like a family,” says junior Traci Hauber. From maids brandishing meat cleavers to snow-bound mansions, The Musical Comedy Murders of 1940 holds true to its name. It is every bit as musical, comical, and murderfilled as one can expect, and more.
Economics cont’d from front page says, “The current economy crisis supports the idea that students need to be educated on how the economy works in a free market enterprise.” Many students are unaware of the mechanics of the economy and how to manage their own finances. Junior Kruti Shah says, “I am turning 18 in less than a year and I don’t even know how to pay my taxes.” Teachers who presently teach social studies, business, finance, economics, law, family and consumer sciences and general business are all qualified to teach the course. Currently, Morolda and Mr. Eric Platt teach the economics course. Morolda says the economics class requirement “is long overdue and is the government responding to the need in economic and financial literacy.” Overall positive feedback from staff will provide future students with hopeful insight about the class. “I believe it can only help students,” says Mele, “and help prepare him or her to be successful going off to college.” Morolda says the requirement “is proactive to help students learn what it takes to be economically and financially successful.” However, mixed feelings from current students may represent future reactions to the course. Freshman Jeevan Nagpal says, “I wouldn’t have the opportunity to explore different
electives.” Freshman Samantha Cicatello says the mandatory economics class would make her feel “neglected as a student.” On the other hand, freshman Andrew McCartin took the class his first year of high school and says, “It’s a good class and you can definitely use it later on in life.” Students are currently limited to the amount of financial advice they receive out-
side of school, but the economics class can help prepare students to manage their personal finances and gain a better understanding of how the economy works. The economics course, mandatory for all incoming freshman before they graduate, teaches accountability and recognition on how finances work, and will “develop selfawareness,” says Gorman.
February 23 8th Grade Orientation -Snow dateMusic Parents Metting at 7:15 PM (Chorus Room)
February 24 Annual “One Book Read”
February 25 Tri-M Recital at 5:30 PM (Chorus Room)
HSPA Grade 11 Testing- Delayed Opening for 9, 10, 12
March 3 College Fair
from 7-9 PM (Cafe) NCAA Workshop at 6 PM (Lecture Hall) Booster Club Meeting at 7:30 PM (Media Center)
March 8 Progress Reports Mailed Home
March 9-11 HSPA - 11 Make-up Tests
March 18-20 Apple-
garth Play at 7:30 PM (Auditorium)
February 17, 2010 left TAKING THE STAGE An orchestra pit, cast dressing rooms, storage areas for sets, and removable seats are all new aspects of MTHS’s future performing arts center. below HUNGRY? Instead of buying homemade desserts displayed on tables in the Marasco lobby, attendees of the new performing arts center will have the option to purchase food and drinks during intermissions of shows in a speciallymade ‘snack center’ located outside of the auditorium.
right SHOW IT OFF High school artists will soon have a new place to display their artwork- in frames built into the exterior of the performing arts center, so that all those who attend school functions in the auditorium can view and enjoy them. Their prominent location emphasizes the importance of student-created work in the new school. below ‘NO, YOU CAN’T SIT WITH US’ More seating options, in the form of two identical indoor cafeterias and an outdoor ‘senior courtyard,’ provide greater freedom for students during their lunch period. If seniors so choose, they will be able to temporarily leave the school building to eat lunch outdoors, in an area offset from the more traditional cafeterias.
Staff designs prove bigger is better
New high school coverage continued from December 23, 2009 issue by ALI DEITCHE Executive Editor Photos/Jackie Push
Bigger and better: those two words encompass the general sentiment of the new high school, which will be open to students in September 2011. Mr. Gerald Tague, Director of Facilities, provided the Falcon News with an in-depth tour of the nearly-complete building. This issue features the seemingly professional performing arts center and cafeterias. PERFORMING ARTS CENTER Near the library’s entrance is the performing arts center. Along its circular exterior, walls are built in display cases which will feature student artwork. The performing arts center also has a snack shack, to be open for business during performances. The center itself is grand; its high ceilings make it seem massive. The actual seats for the audience can be stacked up against the wall, or pulled out and opened up for performances. When they are stacked, operable walls create two classrooms apart from the arts center, which may be a CPR classroom. The auditorium’s control booth is located on the third floor, overlooking the stage, as opposed to its current location at the back of the first floor of the Marasco auditorium. The performing arts center has its own orchestra pit built underneath the stage, which, when not in use, can be transformed into an extension of the stage by bringing up sections of the floor. The theater has no windows at all, which is desirable for the viewing experience. The backstage area is much more userfriendly because the new design includes a scene shop behind the stage, where students can build the sets and store them. There is also a storage area for the risers because “the teachers told us it was such a headache to move them,” according to Tague.
There are also green rooms now, which are dressing rooms for the cast backstage. Lockers and restrooms for performers are located backstage as well. Similar to the current school layout, instrumental and chorale classrooms and practice rooms are located to the right of the auditorium. An outdoor space for a sculpture garden is off the performing arts center, “so when there is a big event the audience will appreciate the student’s work,” says Tague. It feeds from the art rooms, which have sloped, high ceilings and lots of natural light. CAFETERIAS There are two cafeterias side by side, each with their own serving lines. This is because of the bigger student population; “the designers knew it would take too long for all of the students to wait in line for the school lunch if there was only one set of serving lines. It was more practical to have two,” says Tague. They are identical, modeled after the current layout of the high school. Tague says the cafeterias have high ceilings and lots of windows, “because part of the input for the whole school was a request for more natural light. It was built to be more open.” Outside of the cafeteria is a literal school store, adjacent to the marketing classroom. “The marketing program has expanded to have its own, independent space for the store, instead of in the cafeteria like it is now,” says Tague. The cafeterias feed out to an outdoor ‘senior courtyard’, where students can eat lunch. The new cafeteria layout provides more opportunity for student seating, and the option to eat outside if desired. The faculty has its own lunchroom, next to the student cafeterias, with their own outdoor courtyard divided from the students’ by a wall. News of the performing arts center and cafeterias excite staff and students alike.
February 17, 2010
Is that your final answer? SAT study guides don’t always get it right. by JEEVAN NAGPAL Staff Writer Art/Theresa Lin While tutoring, Jeffrey Newman, math tutor, discovered an error in the Mastering the SAT Math book, published by Wiley, an educational publisher. When Newman’s students approached him with questions concerning the wrong question, he looked through the book and discovered 36 errors and emailed the publisher about the issue. “I was actually saddened to see such poor workmanship and a clear lack of quality controls from a major publisher,” says N e w man. After almost six months, Wiley corrected the errors, notifying Newman that they would s t o p s h i p ping the books immediately. The company recalled the books and offered refunds to its customers. Though Wiley published the corrections online, Newman uncovered more mistakes again in the revised version on the company’s website. Newman says, “Students need to be very careful in selecting their SAT study guides.” Jeanette Gerber, founder of Smart Test Prep, identified 37 errors in SAT Math Work-
book, published by Barron. “Sometimes the students will find errors and approach me,” she says. When the questions do not make sense, she goes back and tries to identify what is incorrect. The current edition of College Board’s Official SAT Study Guide contains 20 mistakes, but has been corrected on their website. Ms. Beth Goldstein, an SAT math teacher at the high school, says, “We do use the Official SAT Study Guide, and I have noticed a few errors that appear in this book, although on the same practice tests in earlier editions, t h e r e weren’t any mistakes. Thus far, I have noticed two mistakes. It is a shame that they are there, but, in the grand scheme of things, I don’t think that it makes a difference on the scores that the students will receive.” However, Ms. Catherine Simmons, a Language Arts and SAT Verbal section teacher, says, “If there are a large number of errors, the students will be aversely affected.” Some students may be frustrated from these errors and may have trouble determining the actual answers. In order to avoid such inaccuracy, students should be more cautious when choosing their SAT study guides.
Recruiters visit school by MICHAEL BAUMANN Editor-in-Chief
As many students vie to get a quality college education, some may find the costs and qualifications required to be rather daunting. Military recruiters set their sights on such individuals, hoping to aid them create a prosperous future for students as well as the nation. Staff Sergeant Mauro Cervantes, a sixteen year member of the Marine Corp, says, “Recruiting is about helping out the youth of the United States.” Cervantes, a Marine administrator and martial arts instructor, is but one of the many recruiters from various branches of the military who frequently discusses options with students about joining the armed forces. Before visiting schools, recruiters determine which areas yield the highest number of recruits. “Schools can be graded as priority one, two or three,” says medical logistics specialist for the Air Force, Staff Sergeant Manuel Ortiz. “We look at data from the past ten years and look to see what schools have yielded the highest number of recruits.” According to Ortiz, whose tour of duty ranges from South Carolina to South Korea and Italy, America is divided into recruitment zones. Middlesex County comprises a single zone by itself. Schools with the greatest number of students who join the armed forces, like Monroe, Old Bridge and Sayreville, are graded as high priorities in which recruiters focus the majority of their efforts. However, some areas, like Freehold and Colts Neck, can be rather standoffish with recruiters, says Ortiz. Such schools in the past have only allowed recruiters to visit and do table set-ups once a year. Ortiz finds this behavior to be “an injustice” to students by limiting their
options for potential careers. “How else would students be in contact with the Air Force?” says Ortiz. Recruiters often set up tables in the cafeteria during lunch periods, actively engaging students who approach them. They discuss their school activities and college plans to better gauge their aptitude for the armed forces, and options for the military to aid recruits with their college education. “I want to help students pay for their education,” says Staff Sergeant Jonathan Hatcher of the Army. “I want to take care of them. I don’t want to send them to war and pull them out of college.” Hatcher, a signal support systems specialist, explains that the Army offers up to $90,000 in college funds and $4,500 in tuition assistance a year per recruit. Other branches of the armed forces offer similar incentives for college-bound students to enlist, offering credits toward Associate’s Degrees or additional college funding, though the Air Force is the only one to have its own community college in Alabama. “A lot of people are unaware of the education we offer,” says Hatcher. “A high school senior who enlists and does four years while earning his Associate’s Degree has a decisive advantage.” The actions of recruiters are vital to the conexpansion and success of the military, serving as the backbone for the armed forces. “My role as a recruiter impacts the next twenty or thirty years, the future of the Air Force,” says Ortiz. “Anyone I recruit could become the next Chief Master Sergeant.” While playing an essential part for the military, recruiters ultimately work to ensure America’s youth has a bright and promising future. “What we do is offer careers for those unsure of what they want to do,” says Hatcher.
Jamesburg banks struggle to compete by ANUPALI BEWTRA Staff Writer Jamesburg, a 0.9 mile town includes 4 different full service walk-in bank branches: 1st Constitution, PNC, Chase, TD, Wachovia, struggle to survive the heated competition. PNC branch manager Gene says, “this branch is a historical building built by Mr. Bucklew with the growing competitors next door, meeting our goals is sometimes a challenge.” Toronto Dominion (TD) and Chase recently opened in 2008. With the growing competitions the stress level is increasing.
In a phone interview, Gene says, “there will be competitions everywhere, there is really no real secret. We try to open accounts by going to businesses and talking to friends that come with customers.” “We also have a new program for students to help them learn how to save money and manage their accounts,” says
Gene. While branches lure customers to open accounts, TD branch entices customers differently. “What makes TD bank unique is that we are open for 7 days a week and their free penny counter,” says John, a part t i m e
“We also have a new program for students to help them learn how to save money and manage their accounts...”
teller. One of the first banks, 1st Constitution, starts EZ deposit, a way to deposit checks by going green and making fewer trips to the banks while saving trip expenses. “EZ Deposit is like having a 24-hour bank teller right in your office,” says an employee at 1st Constitution. Crystal, the head teller at Chase bank, refused to comment on any information about their branches. Banks in Jamesburg each have their unique tactics and strategies to survive, but, unfortunately, Bank of America went into bankruptcy and shut within months of opening.
February 17, 2010
Students disagree with gay marriage decision by MICHAEL BAUMANN Editor-in-Chief Art/Bridget Dipierro
On January 7, the New Jersey State Senate rejected legislature legalizing gay marriage, voting 20-14. In contrast with the vote, a poll conducted at t h e high school
“Though we didn’t achieve our final victory today, we’re better positioned than we were a few months ago to win marriage equality.” Goldstein hopes to appeal to the state supreme court in an attempt to overturn the senate’s decision. “Heartened” by the final decision, Republican State Committee Chairman Jay
showed the majority of students disagree with the senate’s decision. Hundreds of gay-rights activists stood outside the Statehouse in Trenton on the day of the vote to express support for the law. Despite supporters of the bill delaying the vote from early December in order to drum up more support, the legislation fell seven votes short of passing. Steven Goldstein, chairman of gay rights advocacy group Garden State Equality, says in a public statement,
t h e beginning, Republicans have opposed legislative and judicial efforts to redefine marriage in New Jersey and called for any changes to be put on the ballot for voters
Kyleigh’s Law designates decals Effective May 1, Kyleigh’s Law requires New Jersey teen drivers to display decals on their front and rear license plates for the duration of their permit and provisional license. The law, in honor of 16-year-old Kyleigh D’Alessio, also responds to the average of 7,460 teen vehicle deaths a year, according to The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Governor Jon S. Corzine signed Kyleigh’s Law on April 15, 2009 in order to initiate “several preventative measures to help avoid further teen driving tragedies like Kyleigh’s, while ensuring that our young people are better prepared to safely take to the roadways,” Corzine told reporters. “The whole concept is to minimize the greatest risks for New Jersey drivers,” says Pamela Fischer, the director of the Division of Highway Traffic Safety. “They are designed to help enforce the law.” Once New Jersey residents turn 18 years old and have completed the Graduated Driver License requirements, no more restrictions
apply. “We’re asking you to abide by the system to give you your whole life,” Fischer says. Teenagers should not be preoccupied that Kyleigh’s Law is unfair. “Police officers are not targeting teenagers,” says Fischer, “they are looking for people who violate safety laws.” Red and orange-infused Velcro reflective decals must be displayed on the vehicles of provisional and permit drivers. The decals can also be removed when the teen is not the driver of the car. Beginning in early April, the decals will be available through motor vehicle offices and will be sold in pairs for the front and rear of the car. “The estimated cost is $4 a pair,” says Fischer. “It follows the statue of the law signed by Governor Corzine to charge only what it costs to produce and distribute the decals.” There is also discussion about the availability of the decals at organizations such as schools, driving schools and police departments, reveals Fischer. “We’re giving you a lifetime, not a life sentence,” says Fischer.
“We’re asking you to abide by the system to give you your whole life . . . giving you a lifetime not a life sentence.”
Teen driving restrictions become new back-seat drivers by AMANDA SEDLMAYER Editor
to decide.” The bill
urgently debated after former Democratic Governor Jon Corzine lost the November election to Republican Chris Christie. While Corzine openly stated he would sign a bill legalizing gay marriage, Christie has said he would reject such a bill. In a poll asking whether they agreed
with the senate decision, 160 of 273 students surveyed, or approximately 58.6 percent, said they disagreed with the senate’s decision. “In order to be truly fair toward all citizens, we can’t make a distinction between straight and gay marriage,” says junior Kyle Suarez. “It isn’t right that two people who love each other cannot get married just because they’re homosexuals.” Seventy-eight students, approximately 28.5 percent of the poll, agreed with the senate vote as 35 students, roughly 12.8 percent, declared themselves uncertain about the topic. Some feel that gay marriage is wrong while others believe it should be legalized without question, but a few students feel the issue is not as clearly black and white as it seems. Senior Dylan Sorkin says, “The senate had to vote down the bill, or they would have been hypocrites.” While a supporter of gay rights, Sorkin feels the senate was
fulfilling its obligation to protect the Constitution by rejecting the bill. Despite the not-sominor set-back for gay rights advocates, Goldstein says, “We are not waiting out the term of any new administration to bring equality to same-sex couples in our state,” hoping to enact gay marriage during Christie’s term as governor.
Recreating recreation by JULIE KELLY Staff Writer Photo/Julie Kelly
This summer, the glass doors at the new addition to the Monroe Township Recreation center will swing open to the smell of fresh paint, new ideas and programs for all ages. The project began in January 2008, and after two years, will be complete within the next six months. But some are not happy with the amount of time it is taking to revamp. Junior Katie Dennis says, “What they’re doing is good, but it’s taking a really long time. I was thinking about it and I think that a lot of older citizens will be there.” However, those at the Rec Center are hopeful that the additions will meet everyone’s needs. After completing the renovations, all programs will take place in the new building while the present recreation center undergoes a transformation of its own The most significant change is how the new center is “doubling the size” of the existing building, says Tim Allen, superintendent of Monroe’s recreation. “A brand new gym, additional classrooms, meeting rooms, an exercise room, a multi-purpose room for cheerleading, more office space and conference rooms” are just the start to the long
list of new opportunities and programs the Monroe community will have available, according to Allen. Along with new rooms and extra space in the rec center, additional programs will be offered. New classes include “gymnastics, arts and crafts, and special needs programs,” says Allen. The extra space ensures that the center will be able to open up new programs to more people. The new basketball courts will also meet the needs of high school students who want to sharpen their skills. Allen says, “a gym and a half with two full-size basketball courts” is in the works. With these additions, basketball players have more space and time to play. “The basketball program can’t wait for a new gym,” says Allen. The current 15-year-old Recreation Center was clearly not sufficient for Monroe’s increasing size and high participation in recsponsored programs. Allen says, “the place is filled everyday, it’s to better accommodate needs of the residents…it will benefit everybody.” Junior Emily Gorelick says “I think it’s a good idea. It will bring more people to the rec center and it will get more people to be active.” The new center is simply to “respond to the needs of the community,” says Allen. “The town grows; this place has to grow too.”
FINISHING THE JOB The new Monroe Recreation Center is set to open this summer.
February 17, 2010
Bowling strikes last year’s record by GABRIELLA LAFATA and RACHEL KOWAL Staff Writers Both boys and girls varsity bowling teams surpass last year’s record of 5-10 and 3-11 with almost double to triple wins. Varsity girls beat Bishop Ahr during the first round of the GMC by 130 pins. Monroe, along with seven other teams in the county made it to the second round of GMC’ only to lose to South Brunswick, the undefeated number one team in the state that won by 350 pins overall. Varsity bowling Coach Brian Latwis says, “We took a big step forward b e i n g
season; He helped incredible varsity players Tommy Kauffman and Adam Peterson. Latwis says “This year, the boys had less experience. There were a lot of freshman and new people. At that age they are really trying to find themselves, but in the end they did a great job.” The bowling team has not only left lasting impressions on its coach, but opposing teams. North Brunswick High School varsity bowler, Mike Orokos, says, “Monroe is a really respectful team, and we enjoyed playing them every time. Win, lose, or draw, they are all still kind”. Compared to last year’s record of 5 wins, the bowling team has made a
Photo/ Jackie Push
DAVID VS. GOLIATH Monroe’s senior shooting guard Megan Mascali passes the ball to junior Stacey Coyle, not pictured, as she runs to fill space in Monroe’s second game against Cardinal McCarrick.
Lady Falcons struggle to succeed by JOEY ROMANCZUK Editor Few teams that start a season 0-5 finish successfully. In this case, the Lady Falcons’ basketball team is driving on a bumpy road that shows little sign of smoothing out. After a slow start, the Falcons have turned a lackluster season into a more respectable one with a few critical wins. Such victories include a season sweep of Carteret, who the Falcons beat the first time by 36 points and the second time by 12 points. Overall, however, the Falcons have not played to the best of their ability; they have lost each game by an average of 11 points. “Even though our record doesn’t show that we’re a winning team, we have all grown together and we’re starting to show improvement,” says junior center Meghan Williams, whose broken ankle sidelined her for most of the season. Senior forward Katie Douglas agrees the team started off slow but, despite their losses,
the team has shown drastic improvement. “In the beginning of the season, we had a rough start, between injuries, team chemistry, and just all around poor play together. But we have turned things around since then. We are not winning every game, but we’re trying hard and playing as a team,” says Douglas. “We’re having fun and playing as a team that itself makes all the struggles we had in the beginning worth it.” Much like the boys’ basketball team, the Lady Falcons were forced to work with a smaller line up early in the season due to Williams’s injured ankle. Junior Stacey Coyle starts at point guard, senior Megan Mascali starts at shooting guard, senior Katie Douglas starts at shooting forward, junior Alexa Appignani starts at power forward, and sophomore Victoria Clayton starts at center. One of the most positive aspects of the Falcon line-up is that most of the girls have played with each other before, whether in a travel league and AAU leagues or on the middle school team.
After five consecutive losses, Monroe barely captured its first win against South Plainfield on January 6, as they barely beat the Tigers, 56-51. Their next victory came at an away game against Carteret. Entering the game, the Ramblers were in the same boat as Monroe, with a losing record of 1-6. Monroe, still hot off their first win, controlled the game for four straight periods, leading to a dominating victory of 62-26. On February 1, Monroe hosted the Carteret Ramblers in the last time they would play each other in the season. The Falcons left the gym with the same result they left Carteret with, a win. The Lady Falcons finish their season with games against New Brunswick away and J.P. Stevens at home. Monroe has yet to play Stevens this year but lost to New Brunswick 45-51 on January 26. In these upcoming games the Falcons hope to get their wheels back on track and turn off this bumpy road.
were heard throughout the sea of purple and gold as the teams began to stretch. The Vikings ran next to each other on the track, adorned in all black, each with the desire to win. “The weather was ideal for an outdoor meet,” says English teacher and track coach Mr. Joseph Rooney, “its winter and it feels like the high 40’s.” The meet consisted of 55 meter hurdles, 55 meter dash, 1600 meter, 200 meter, 800 meter, 200 meter, and 4x4 events. Shot-put as well as highjump were also present during the meet as well. “Yusuf Farrah and Nwmaka Ekeocha both matched their personal best,” says track coach and Biology teacher Mr. Christian Jessop. “I am eager to
see them increase their scores in the spring season.” Farrah measured 5’8’’ high jump and Nwamaka Ekeocha won the female high jump competition with a 5’2’’. Senior Yusuf Farrah and junior and Charles Napolitano excelled at the meet. The standout freshman in the scrimmage was Demetri Mendis, who ran the 1600 meter in4:53, making him a top finisher for Monroe and fourth in the scrimmage. Junior Avrid Pagsanjan ran the 55 hurdles in 6.7, and the 200 meter in 23.7. Napolitano won the 55 high high hurdles in 7.7, while senior Vanessa Ragucci broke the high school record for the 55 hurdles with 9.0. Ekeocha raced the 55 meter high hurdles in 7.55. Senior Katie Rusnock ran the 800 meter in 2:28. “Overall everyone made a strong performance,” says Rickert. “I am proud of the team and optimistic for the rest of the season.”
Track scrimmage breaks school’s record
competitive and we owe that to a lot of the veteran leadership. The girls had a lot more depth this year. When someone was having a bad day bowling, there was always someone there to pick them up.” This year girls persevered to get their winning record, 11-6, beating last season’s record of 3-11. Senior Kelsie Chasen made a huge improvements consecutive numbers and an excited spirit. Freshman Lauren Hoffman and senior Gabriella LaFata this year really stepped up through out the season. “Gabriella went from being inconsistent to having scored about thirty to forty pins differences” says Latwis. Varsity boys’ record this year was 8-9. Senior Joe Doubt really stepped up to the plate this year. “Last year he showed glimpses of greatness and attitude. This year he had an attitude of winning”. Experienced, freshman, Marcos Fazzino had an amazing first
considerable development. Boys made it to the first round of the GMC, where they lost to the number one boy’s team in the county, Sayreville. “Nick Chen has been a consistent player on varsity bowling for the past four years. More than once, he has received 700 series. We always expect great stuff from Nick,” says Latwis. Senior Alexa Lentini from Colonia High School says “Monroe has really great sportsmanship and it is so much fun to bowl against them.” Many teams enjoy playing Monroe because of their good attitude. While the season wraps up with states, many new teammates are already excited for the next season. Sophomore Jenna Rutsky says “Bowling was more fun then I expected. I made a lot of new friends and can not wait till next year.”
by ELIZABETH RUSSO Staff Writer
The mixed winter track team faced off against the South Brunswick Vikings in a scrimmage January 19. “Our prior meets were indoors and invitational so only top people were selected to run,” says chemistry teacher and boys track coach Ms. Traci Rickert as she glanced around the track, “I’m glad that all the boys were able to run in this meet.” The sun peaked out of the clouds as the runners prepared and turned their focus to the race right before the scheduled start. Though intimidated by their rival South Brunswick, smiles and laughs
“The sun peaked out of the clouds as the runners prepared and turned their focus to the race right before the scheduled start.”
February 17, 2010
Two-loss falcons set sights on states by JOEY ROMANCZUK Editor
Photo/ Jackie Push
BACK POINTS Senior caption David Saley turns his opponent onto his back so he will get more points and possibly pin his opponent.
Falcon wrestlers showing improvement by DAN MORGANS Staff Writer
With a record of 8-8 the Falcons wrestling team hopes to improve on their skills to win in the state tournament. Senior caption David Saley feels that with Coach Bill Jacoutot the team can do that. “Practices are picking up and if we continue like this the team will turn around,” says Saley. According to Saley, the team has good practices and potential. He believes that Jacoutot can lead the team in the right direction for the remainder of the season. The Greater Middlesex Tournament, held on January 30, proved that the Falcons were able to wrestle at a high level. Saley won the tournament however; he was the only Falcon to win. Seniors Mike Billitz, Hunter Pipalla, Sam Emburgia, and Marc Tyson also did well in the tournament along with many of the younger Falcon wrestlers. A Monroe wrestler was disqualified from a match after tossing an opponent out of bounds. The toss was deemed reckless and was thought to have
bad intentions. Another wrestler was thrown out of the tournament after an altercation with an opponent. These two incidents were spurred by disagreements between Monroe wrestlers and referees that led to disqualifications. Despite the two unfortunate events, the Falcons hope that they can keep improving on the positives this season. “We need some toughness, we have some state qualifiers that are picking up bonus points, but the new guys need some mental toughness,” says Saley. The team has many new wrestlers who will eventually start to pick up more wins for the Falcons. January 19 the Falcons wrestled against North Brunswick. Despite recent losses to Sayreville and Freehold, the Falcons pulled out a victory. This improved the Falcons record to 6-9. The Falcons started off the meet with a pin by junior Kyle Jensen (119). The Falcons never looked back and got victories from eight other wrestlers including the team’s four captains. On January 13 the Falcons wrestled the Sayreville Bombers
in the Ryan E. Walp Gymnasium. The Falcons started off the match with a loss by forfeit and straggled from then on. Saley, Emburgia, Pipalla, and Tyson all won their matches; however, the struggling Falcons had few other victories. The Falcons hosted a tri-school meet on January 9 at the high school. They wrestled against East Brunswick, Woodbridge, and Point Pleasant Borough. Monroe left the meet 2-1, beating Woodbridge and East Brunswick. Junior Kyle Ball had a big win to beat East Brunswick 36-31. The Falcons also got victories from veteran wrestlers Jensen, Billitz, Pipalla, Emburgia, and Tyson. This improved the Falcons record to 5-7. The Falcons wrestled against Woodbridge first. Emburgia suffered a rare loss along with senior Mike Billitz. The Falcons would not be able to bounce back and lost 40-31. The loss would make the Falcons 4-7 Their most recent record is 8-8. Despite facing obstacles along the way, Monroe wrestlers work hard in hopes of, advancing in the state tournament.
Photo/ Jackie Push
“As long as Monroe wins out, they are guaranteed a spot in States.” break-away lay-up, giving Monroe the lead 36-30. Monroe did not let up until the final minutes of the fourth Monroe finished the game 56-46 and finishes their season’s sweep of rival Colonia as a result of their impeccable defense and efficient play. Following their win against Colonia Monroe has won their last six games by an average of 20 points including beating South Plainfield 77-29. As Monroe reaches the end of its 20- game season they look to close out strong against rival Spotswood on February 11 who they lost to last year late in the game. As long as Monroe wins out, they are guaranteed a spot in States.
Ice hockey slides downhill by ADITYA PATEL Staff Writer
HUSTLE TO SCORE Junior Nick Modugo searches down field for a puck, in order to score against Red Bank Regional.
In the history of sports, many championship-bound teams have a defining formula. Hard work multiplied by initiative, plus strong play and efficient scoring from stars, minus controversy and heart breaking losses equals the Monroe Falcon boys’ basketball team. The Falcons have encountered little resistance on their way to the state tournament. The team has beaten each opponent by an average of 12.5 points and lost twice at away games, making very dangerous to the top contenders in the Greater Middlesex County Conference. The team only lost to Brick Township Memorial and New Brunswick, each by three points. Monroe started the season on the right foot, winning by three points against rival school Colonia, winning the next three games, including the routing of Toms River East by 23 points. After senior center Travis Dufner walked out on the team early in the season, the Falcons are forced to play small-ball rotating players in and out of their lineup during practices. The teams tallest players are Tim Brix, Zack Batchelor and Kenny Pace, who are all at or under 6’ 4”. The lack of tall players at first hindered the Falcons. However, thanks to efficient play from seniors and captains, Monroe has proven that the team’s talent can overcome its shortcomings. The five starting players for the home game against Colonia included seniors Blake Bascom, Tim Brix, Kenny Pace, sophomore Dan Brix and Ahmid Williams. Monroe’s fast-pace offense and impressive defense outlasted its rival Colonia late in the game. Monroe dictated the pace of the
game, starting from a break-away layup by Bascom after winning the tip-off. After two back-to-back steals and constant boards by the Brix brothers, Monroe finished the last six minutes of the first quarter on a 6-1 run, winning the first quarter 14-7. In what seemed to be the only moments in the game where Monroe’s defense slacked off, Colonia opened the second quarter on a 9-3 run, narrowing the deficit to 17-16. The Falcons ended the momentum with a timeout to regain their composure and closed out the half 28-24 after a long three from T. Brix and with help from all of Colonia’s unforced errors. T. Brix opened the third quarter with a fast break lay-up. With four minutes left in the third quarter Williams recorded his fourth steal of the game and finished with a
Though Varsity Monroe’s Ice Hockey team lost 5-0 to Freehold Borough on January 15, the team struggles to qualify for the state championship with a freshman goalie, new coach, and a winning record. Freehold struck first with two goals early in the first period, taking a 3-0 lead by the end of the second period. Monroe suffered throughout the game with an inability to score as its defense allowed many open shots on the goal. The team was further plagued by numerous sloppy passes, missed open opportunities to score, and penalties. Monroe players watched from the penalty box as Freehold continued
to dominate the scoreboard. “Our frustration of missed goals led to many penalties that could have been avoided,” says junior forward Alex Vandriessen. Freehold ended the game with two goals late in the third period, and a final shut-out on Monroe. “We will need to step our game up and work together as a team if we want to win,” says sophomore forward Eddie Stulak of the team getting into the state championship. Monroe has been under a .5 record all season long. The team needs to re-re-think their strategy if it hopes to make the Greater Middlesex Country Conference. New Varsity Coach Jerry Minter hopes to get his team a winning record and a spot at the State Championship. “We need to develop team and
individual skills, if we want to win,” he says about his goals for the team. With less than five games left in the season, Monroe needs to reassess their strategy, fix some of their problems on defense and retain their good qualities like scoring. “We all have the will to win, we just need to work together as a team” says freshman goalie Roger Ezri. As Monroe slips further under a .500 record, they need to win their next three games against Nottingham, Ocean Township and Woodbridge if they aim to end the season strong. “If we try hard and put our minds to it we can get that winning record and go to the championship” says Vandriessen.
February 17, 2010
The World Today 2
Graphic/ Carla Palermo
All photos/ AP Images
North America by JAZMIN JAMES Staff Writer
by RACHEL KOWAL Staff Writer
Australia declared Code Red on January 12 due to dangerous brushfire weather conditions near Victoria. The alert affects regional centers across the continent. With weather conditions intensifying, Country Fire Authority Chief Russell Rees says that people in the affected area should evacuate by mid-January at the latest. Local parks and forests in the north have been closed and campers near the rivers have been told to leave. This fire is the worst in Australia since the Black Saturday bushfires, the deadliest fire in the country’s history.
Africa by ADITYA PATEL Staff Writer
The United Nations World Food Program has threatened to pull all aid from Somalia after receiving multiple threats and demands from armed warlords against U.N. aid workers. Somalia, which has suffered from a raging civil war between the government and armed militia groups, overinflation, and lack of order, relies heavily on foreign aid from the U.N. and other humanitarian groups. The largely Islamic militia groups have demanded men replace female aid workers, that alcohol and western films are no longer imported, and a payment of $20,000 every six months. These demands forced the U.N. to abandon relief operations in the area for the safety of its workers. The cutoff in aid will result in a shortage of food for roughly two million people that the U.N. planned to help. “People will go hungry,” says U.N. spokesperson Peter Smerdon. “If it continues for a long time you could see malnutrition rates rising,” he continues. The sudden loss in foreign aid could be catastrophic for Somalia, which already suffers from decades of malnutrition.
NEW AIRPORT STANDARDS Staff members make use of a new fullbody scanner at Manchester Airport in Manchester, England.
Europe by KATELYN MERCIER Staff Writer
2. Officials in Europe and the Middle East protest the increase in United States airline security measures, claiming that further inspections of Arab passengers would be prejudiced. The Obama administration now demands further screening of passengers flying from Syria, Lebanon, Cuba, Iran, Sudan, Iraq, Algeria, Afghanistan, Libya, Nigeria, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Somalia and Yemen. The European Union states it may also institute further security precautions, such as full-body scanning machines to comply with those of the States to ensure safer flights from Europe to the U.S. These changes would have to be approved by European Parliament, which has voiced concerns that full-body scans pose a threat to health and security matters. According to European Union commissioner for information society and media, Viviane Reding, “European governments have improved security measures to deal with terrorism, but have not spent enough time protecting citizens’ rights.”
NEED FOR HELP A Haitian woman looks down at what is left of Haiti after a 7.0 earthquake hit the nation on January 12. At print, $310 million dollars were pledged for the relief effort.
South America Middle East by ELIZABETH RUSSO Staff Writer
5. The Venezuelan government began imposing blackouts
MILITARY FORCE An Islamic militia group conducts a military exercise on January 1 in preparation for the civil war occurring in Somalia.
3. Haiti was hit hard by a 7.0 earthquake January 12, followed by aftershocks that registered as 5 and 5.9 on the Richter scale. Haitian President Rene Preval says he “feared that thousands of his people were dead and that the tax, parliament, school and hospital buildings all collapsed killing many,” according to BBC news. BBC reports that many nations, including the U.S., Britain and Venezuela, are prepared to send aid. President Barack Obama vows to send “unwavering support” for what he calls a “cruel” disaster. The earthquake is considered one of the worst in over two centuries on the island. Preval tells BBC news that “the scene is very horrific; there are bones buried in the ruins, limbs stuck in cement and the country can still hear screams.” Since the earthquake, the U.S. has sent 10,000 troops. Even with the help of many countries, thousands of Haitians continue to live without shelter or food. U.N. officials say about $310 million has been pledged for the relief effort, but an emergency appeal for $550 million will be launched.
on January 11 throughout the country for four hours every other day in order to repair the ongoing energy crisis. President Hugo Chavez says the blackouts are essential to keep the water levels of Guri Dam from falling to critical lows, which would lead to a power collapse. Guri Dam provides 73 percent of Venezuela’s power, but a recent drought has restricted the flow of water into the dam. The government has taken other actions in preserving power such as partially shutting down state-run steel and aluminum plants.
by CHRISTINA MATTINA Staff Writer
6. Jordanian suicide bomber Dr. Humam Khalil Mohammed killed seven American Central Intelligence Agency officers and a Jordanian spy in tAfghanistan on December 30. Mohammed was a double agent who was supposed to inform the CIA of Al Qaeda’s whereabouts. As a result of the CIA’s trust in Mohammed, he was not checked for explosives when he entered the CIA’s Forward Operating Base Chapman in Khost, Afghanistan, leading to the deadly violence. The ramifications of this attack extend beyond the deaths of the officers. The Jordanian government originally suggested Mohammed as a spy for the CIA Now, the relationship between the CIA and Jordan may be frayed.
Parents separate, children caught in middle
Testing the First Amendment
Sex at 16, pregnant at 17, raising a child forever by BRIDGET DIPIERRO and THERESA LIN Staff Writer, Editor-in-Chief
Divorce changes family life by THERESA LIN Editor-in-Chief Disclosure: names of sources have been changed.
Divorce changes all aspects of family life. After parents separate, children spend time with either mom or dad as permitted by custody agreements and geographic proximity. Freshman Paul Simons understood the meaning of separation after his parents got divorced when he was ten-yearsold. “They explained it was better off this way,” Simons says, as he remembers how his parents explained to him and his sister their intentions to divorce. During this time, Simons recalls how grateful he was for the
“Children merely act as bystanders to their parents’ arguments or eventual separation." support of his older sister, senior Laura Simons, who would always explain and comfort him about the changes they underwent in their lives. After a court decision, Paul and Laura now live with their mother and visit their father who lives an hour away every two weeks. Though Paul regrets how he cannot conveniently talk to or see his father in person, as children with fathers living in the same household are able to, Simons considers his parents’ divorce to be the best solution to their previous conflicts and any possible disputes that would arise in the future. While he and his parents, “can’t go on family vacations anymore,” Paul says, “now that I’m adjusted, it’s fine, I’m used to it.” He believes his parents conducted their divorce in a civil
manner in order to do what they believed would benefit their family. However, many divorced parents do not act in the same diplomatic manner as Simon’s parents, as divorce rates in America continue rise. “The media frequently reports that 50% of American marriages will end in divorce,” reports the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Though current rates are actually a little lower, the site reports that current trends for divorce will soon make that number a reality. Parents who separate can drag their children into legal custody battles, in which the court determines the primary caretaker parents’ involvement in the children’s health, education and general welfare, respectively. “(My biological father) gave up custody of me when I was not even one-year-old,” says junior Carolyn Jones of her parents’ divorce and custody agreement. Because she was so young when her parents separated, Jones’s knowledge of that time is based mostly on her siblings’ experiences. After her current step-father adopted her, Jones feels that he has fulfilled the role of a father figure “better than my real dad could ever,” she says. Based on what her mother tells Jones, prior to her parents’ divorce, “they would fight all the time and it just wasn’t right.” For a long time, Jones says, she “had this feeling of ‘why?’; ‘why would my father leave me?’” Despite her “hard time growing up,” Jones says, she has since developed a deep connection with her step-father that has finally brought her “an inner-peace.” Children have little to no say in their parents’ decision in getting a divorce. Children merely act as bystanders to their parents’ arguments or eventual separation. “Divorce often makes parenting and raising children more difficult. If there were conflicts or disagreements over parenting before a divorce, those problems will usually be worse and not better after the divorce,” according to the website, www.oregoncouseling.org in its 2007 article. The same 2007 article suggests that parents need not strive to be the “perfect parents,” rather they should remain active in their children’s lives, as divorce tends to prevent. Parents’ divorce has greater repercussions than the immediate separation of a mother and father; it can introduce a prominent parental figure or destroy a child’s concept of family altogether.
Art/ Bridget DiPierro
by THERESA LIN Editor-in-Chief First Amendment rights that ensure adults their freedoms of speech and press differ from those guaranteed students on campus. When a group of Missouri journalism students writing for their Hazelwood School newspaper, The Spectrum, wrote about teenage pregnancy and the impact of divorce on students, their work was censored and ultimately withheld from publication by their school principal. After the 1988 Supreme Court decision in Hazelwood School District v. Kuhlmeier ruled in favor of Hazelwood Principal Robert Reynolds, the case ultimately defined the rights and limitations of student journalism, establishing the basis of students’ first amendment rights on school grounds. In this double truck, The Falcon News replicates the premise of these articles on divorce and teen pregnancy in order to demonstrate the restrictions of student speech that were enforced following the Hazelwood decision. This case details the explicit rights of students. Sections “a” and “b” of the Court decision address the reality that, “First amendment rights of students in the public schools are not automatically coextensive with the rights of adults in other settings…The school newspaper here cannot be characterized as a forum for public expression.” As The Spectrum newspaper was funded by the township and served as an educational medium for the journalism curriculum, Reynolds retained his right to censor what he deemed inappropriate for a school publication. The material, Reynolds believed, diverged from the school’s academic objectives. While the pregnancy article included fake names for the pregnant teen mothers in the school who were interviewed, Reynolds insisted that their physical state described in the article would clearly give away their identities. Additionally, he felt the article’s graphic content would be inappropriate for younger students. Reynolds also removed the article about the impact of parents’ divorce on students, which appeared on the same center- fold of the issue with the teen pregnancy article. With the support of the teaching staff, Reynolds deemed the article
unfair, as the journalism student who wrote the article only interviewed a child’s perspective of the divorce, without the consent or statement of the child’s parents. Furthermore, the article divulged very personal information concerning a student’s biased, first hand perspective of her father’s marital conduct. Reynolds considered this offensive to the student’s father who was never interviewed or fairly represented. Therefore, the Hazelwood principal acted in the best interest of the journalism curriculum and the morals of the school in the removal of those articles. The Court reaffirmed Reynolds’s decision as the judges continued to say in section b, “The school officials in this case did not deviate from their policy that the newspaper’s production was to be part of the educational curriculum and a regular classroom activity under the journalism teacher’s control as to almost every aspect of publication.” This issue of Falcon News demonstrates the proper usage of student press rights, as the pregnancy article uses the name of a previous Monroe Township student and teenage mother, and the divorce article covers the issue of divorce from the child’s perspective without subjecting either of his parents to unfair judgments by that child. Though the articles feature changed names for the sources, it was done in the best interest of those students and thier relatives to remove thier full names; the school did not censor these names. The Hazelwood case was paramount in establishing the rights of not only newspapers but all public school student publications today. Public school students are reminded that they represent the voice of an entire school population, not a private organization. This discrepancy allows schools to restrict students’ full entitlement to first amendment rights to speak freely like adults and reporters working for cooperate institutions are allowed. Through this center-fold, The Falcon News revisits the same issues tried nearly three decades ago and applies the same material as those journalism students who wrote for their school newspaper. If you are reading this, w have done so without being censored, and therefore, successfully.
Teenage mothers not only face scrutiny from their peers and communities; they must meet the lifelong demands of raising a child. When former MTHS student, Melinda graduated in 2007, she was preparing to marry her high school sweetheart Jason, whose twins she was carrying. “When I got pregnant in my senior year, I was initially surprised,” says Melinda. “I didn’t know how my parents were going to react, since teenage pregnancy is kind of frowned upon.” Melinda tried to keep her pregnancy a secret for the first three months, until she eventually had to tell her family and close friends. She remembers how some members of her family advised her to get an possibly opinionated against abortion reward, even though she was three months into her pregnancy already. As Melinda’s own mother was also pregnant at eighteen years old, she offered her daughter words of advice based on first-hand experience, assuring, “everything will be okay.” and uring her to“be the best parent that you can be.” With those words in mind and the support of her soon-to-be husband, Melinda and her boyfriend “thought about abortion for two seconds,” she says, but decided “that was something neither of us wanted.” As Melinda’s pregnancy progressed, her friends and family members grew increasingly supportive of her. “Eventually, after people got over my pregnancy after time went on people got used to the situation,” she says. In addition to personal problems, Melinda says she began to “miss a lot of days of school. I mean, my grades were really good, and I was even doing the best in my last year; the school understood and tried to help me out about that.” Luckily, she did not delivered her twins until after she graduated. Otherwise, it would have proven extremely difficult for her to complete her work or even attend school. Later, frequent disputes with her mother influenced Melinda to move with her husband to their own apartment. In order to support themselves, Jason worked nights, preventing them from seeing each other often. During a phone interview with Melinda, she is repeatedly interrupted by her giggling girls, who badger their mother to play “doctor” with them. Melinda, laughs and says, “I never get to talk anymore! Sometimes I can’t think in my own head!” She remembers how “easy” high school was just a few years ago, where she would socialize with her friends, study for tests and finish homework. Though students consider schoolwork to be overbearing at times, Melinda compares such a task to raising two children and financially supporting a family, both of which she is responsible for at only 21 years old. “When you become a mom,” she says, “you are last. The kids come first in everything. I was less responsible before I got pregnant. Now, I shower as quick as I can and eat as fast as I can in order to get back to the kids.” Still, she considers herself fortunate, as she is not alone in raising her daughters like many teenage mothers today are. She relies on the support of her husband, her best friend, who
works and helps raise the two girls. “It was really hard in the beginning because it was just me and [Jason]. For the first time we were on our own, that was the most responsible I had to be in my whole life.” Styles intend to attend college, waiting for her children to attend school first before she has the freedom and time to study. Right now, she cares for every aspect of her girls’ lives, even coloring and watching cartoons with them. “When you’re young, you aren’t thinking about responsibilities” Styles says of teenage girls. “I got lucky, I found someone who I love, but that doesn’t always work out that way.” Being a teenage mother, Styles says she no longer sees her friends and now dedicates all of her time to raise her girls and care for her family. Though she does not regret her experience, she warns teenage girls and boys of the consequences of sex and the burdens of teenage parenthood. While some sexually active teenagers take precautions to prevent pregnancy by using contraceptives, the possibility of accidentally conceiving a child at such a young age remains a chief concern. “There have been times when we were pretty scared. Nothing came from that, though; we would move on afterwards,” says a high school junior, who chooses to remain anonymous. He remembers instances when he and his girlfriend would worry about whether she was pregnant. During the “scares,” he recalls, the consequences of sex would come to the forefront of his mind, after the fact. “We wouldn’t mention it but it was always in the back of my mind,” he continues. He believes that “Partners should share equal responsibility about taking care of contraceptives” in order to prevent even the slightest doubt of becoming pregnant. Still, “Even Plan B only offers second chances; those things only offer peace of mind. Teenagers can still get pregnant,” he says. The scare that he refers to, is the possibility of becoming a teenage parent, responsible for a baby, and whose entire life thereafter becomes about raising that baby. Ms. Kathleen Dillon, a physical education teacher in the high school, leads 20 selected teenagers in Teen Pep. “Our Teen Pep students perform “outreaches” for freshmen and middle school students that cover a broad range of topics such as postponing sexual involvement, pregnancy prevention, HIV, violence prevention, Homophobia reduction and sexual harassment,” she says. She includes some reasons for teenage pregnancy: * A lack of communication between partners regarding limitations in their sexual relationship that results in both partOf the 4.3 million births, 435,000 were to moth ners feeling unprepared. ers from 15 to 19 years old, an increase of * Alcohol and drug consumption that decreases inhibitions 21,000 more teens having babies than 2005. and teenagers’ ability to use Contraception correctly, if at all. Hispanic girls are giving birth at twice the over * The fear of purchasing contraception because of who may all rate and Asian and Pacific Islander girls re ported teen pregnancies at half of the national see them or their inablitiy to afford proper protection. * Ignorance of what type of contraception to use and where average. to purchase them. Mississippi, New Mexico, and Texas reported the highest teen pregnancy rates, New Hamp * The Notion that using condoms is not romantic or does not shire, Vermont, and Massachusetts reported feel “good.” the lowest rates. Dillon adds, “Sexual intercourse is a decision that requires According to “Births: Final Data for 2006,” issued by the CDC’s National both people involved to make a very mature decision about Center for Health Statistics, <http://www.healthnews.com> their own emotional and physical well being.” While teenagers like Styles established a family after her teenage pregTeenage birth rates in the United States rose nancy, Style admits herself that her affluence is rare among in 2007 for the second year in a row. high school parents. More than 10 percent of all U.S. births in 2006 “It is really important that high school students understand were to mothers under age 20. Most teenage the repercussion of their actions and how to avoid the negabirths (about 67 percent) are to girls ages 18 tive consequences by being prepared,” Dillon continues. and 19. About 3 in 10 teenage girls become pregnant at While Teep Pep encourages abstinence as the only 100% way to avoid pregnancy, the program recognizes that teenagers least once before age 20. According to March of Dimes http://www.marchofdimes.com/ continue to be active. However, Teen Pep also stresses the professionals/14332_1159.asp possibility of becoming a teenage parent after sex.
Recent American Teenage Pregnancy Statistics
February 17, 2010
Jazz hits a sour note Apple unveils Musicians struggle to pay their rent by LEAUNDRA LANE Staff Writer Graphic/Angela Wo
Jazz music provides a relaxing escape from the stresses of life but jazz m u s i cians struggle financially in both good a n d bad economic climates. According to simplyhired.com, jazz musicians make an average salary of $15,000 per year. But the salary can also vary due to location, company, industry, experience, and benefits. More often than not, these laid back musicians have to work for more than one employer, or play at many different places in order to support themselves. Many musicians often go out of their comfort zone and take jobs such as playing during weddings or bar-Mitzvahs to make the extra money. Professional jazz pianist Aaron Weiman says, “I’ve made the same amount of money since I got started [performing].” He says that it is rare to perform solos. Improvisation is mostly done in groups, sometimes with people that may not be familiar with one another.
Weiman plays anywhere from five to 20 gigs per month and makes about $100 per gig. Although the money is not great, it has given Weiman a chance to meet some interesting people such as Stevie Wonder and tour out of the country to Europe and West Africa. D u e to National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) reporting the data f r o m surveys conducted by American Federal Musicians (AFM) and Respondent-DrivenSampling in 2003, Jazz musicians everywhere complained or suggested on what they want to make their lives better or continue to keep jazz alive. Some of the suggestions were to teach children the fundamentals of jazz music and how to play an instrument. Many wanted better health care or higher salaries because not all musicians work full
time or have reasonable hours. Weiman receives no compensation teaching at a community center in Edison. He spreads his knowledge of jazz to the next generation to keep the tradition alive. Weiman’s advice to young musicians is to “differentiate yourself… practice as much as you can. Be the best musician you can be.” With a positive attitude and a new generation of jazz musicians, jazz will survive. Even if it comes down to earning a lower salary or sacrificing sleep. These musicians’ h a r d w o r k creates n e w phrases of jazz, to the delight of those who love it the most.
Facebook Addiction Disorder by JESSICA BILLITZ Staff Writer
“Facebook Addiction Disorder” seems like a laughable term or an excuse to spend countless hours on the popular social networking website, but addiction prevails among the site’s 350 million worldwide active users. Internet Addiction Disorder, or overuse of the Internet for various reasons, relates to Facebook Addiction Disorder. With constant Internet use, many users turn specifically to Facebook to spend their time. Michael A. Fenichel, Ph.D., a licensed psychologist residing in New York, includes in his website information on psychological disorders, including Facebook Addiction Disorder. Facebook Addiction Disorder is commonly classified as a “psycho-
physiological disorder” by psychologists, meaning its users suffer from withdrawal symptoms and experience interruption of their daily life, such as lack of sleep, when they do not log on. “It is when one cannot leave the continuous activation/reinforcement of a daily (or hourly or constant) activity that one may surmise it has become a problem,” Fenichel says. Facebook incorporates the interests of each age group by including games, applications, networking tools and friend updates to keep up with recent posts. When asked why a majority of the current generation uses Facebook so frequently, sophomore Sarah Bizzarro says, “They love talking to their friends and it’s so easy to use.” Sophomore Carly Parker says, “I’m curious to see what friends are do-
ing, and I’ve used it to reunite with old friends from preschool.” For millions of people, spending hours on Facebook seems unavoidable. Parker says, “I try to get higher scores and beat my friends on Bejeweled Blitz,” one of the catchy games Facebook uses to attract users. Facebook Addiction Disorder is a more specific diagnosis for the original Internet Addiction Disorder. CNN’s article, “Five clues that you are addicted to Facebook”, revealed common symptoms addicts experience, which include losing sleep, spending many hours on the website, panicking when leaving the website and attempting to access Facebook during work or school hours. When referring to why people may get addicted to Facebook, sophomore Brian Bautista says, “There’s always somebody else on to talk to.” Though many professional psychologists and Facebook users believe that Facebook Addiction is a main concern for Internet users, it is not a classified medical disorder yet, as it has only recently become a concern. For now, it is just a term that psychologists use for diagnosing a patient. In the near future this addiction may be a medical term. Facebook was first created by former Harvard student Mark Zuckerburg in 2003 for college networking and branchied out to the public in 2006 becoming a global phenominon.
new tablet compu ter by SHAENA GUPTA Staff Writer The Apple tablet rumors were finally put to rest the moment Apple’s CEO, Steve Jobs, revealed the company’s first generation iPad on January 27. As the gadget promises to seize the title as best Apple device yet, many believe the tool will put this decade onto an innovative path. According to Apple.com, “the iPad will encompass a range of applications that were designed from the ground up.” This will take advantage of the large Multi-Touch screen and will provide consumers the opportunity to discover things in the iPad that cannot be found in other devices. Yahoo.com verifies the device comes with a touch screen 10 to 11 inches. Also, it will contain an LED-backlight IPS display and a multi-touch screen. Apple.com confirms that the iPad will also look thin and feel light. It will have a battery life of up to 10 hours, come wireless, be available 3G and be bought with many different accessories, including a full-size keyboard and a standalone Dock. In an online email interview, Interactive Data Corps’s Thomas Restivo says, “The iPad is destined to become a permanent category for personal computing; somewhere between a Smartphone and a notebook and in many ways competing against Netbooks.” Some of the standard applications that the iPad will include are Safari, iPod and Photos. Apple. com verifies that the iPad will run almost 140,000 applications from the Apple store. In the Safari application, the large multi-touch screen will allow customers to see web pages one at a time opposed to many different pages at once. This means that whether someone wants to look at a page in portrait or landscape, he or she will see the images in a readable size. In the iPod application, all music will be found at the consumer’s fingertips. With one simple click, many images of albums, songs, artists and genres appear. Music can be heard through built-in speakers and or Bluetooth wireless headphones. Another standard application that the iPad will incorporate is Photos. With its crisp, lively displays and distinctive software features, the iPad hopes to become an easy and convenient way to share pictures
with loved ones. Photo album shows the pictures as though they were in stacks. From there, one can shuffle through pictures, zoom in and out and even watch a slideshow in high-definition. In an online interview, Jobs comments, “The iPad creates and defines an entirely new category of devices that will connect users with their applications and content in a much more intimate, intuitive and fun way than ever before.” One of the new applications already surfacing is iPad’s iBooks. This application will become an easy approach to reading and buying books. Install the free application from the Store and purchase many types of books, like classics and bestsellers, from the built-in iBookstore. According to iLounge.com, the iTunes Store provides access to the world’s most popular online music, TV shows and movies with a catalog of over 11 million songs, over 50,000 TV episodes and over 8,000 films, including over 2,000 in stunning high definition video. Along with its application features and designs, the iPad will sell at an astonishing price, starting at $499. Apple will sell the iPads in late March worldwide, making 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB models. However, as the gigs increase, so does the cost. With Wi-Fi and 3G, the price of the iPad can reach up to $829. Jobs says, “The iPad is our most advanced technology in a magical and revolutionary device at an unbelievable price.” Apple’s new iPad will become a revolutionary device for browsing the web, reading and sending email, enjoying photos, watching videos, listening to music, playing games, reading e-books, and much more. As the iPad brings massive hype for the New Year, consumers can only imagine what is in store during the coming months.
February 17, 2010
A trip down memory lane Former principal Stein provides school’s history by JEREMY ROTH Guest Writer
Photo/ AP Images
NO LONGER SHOELESS Two boys sit together on a street enjoying food from the “Los Piletones” soup kitchen in Buenos Aires, Argentina while protecting their feet with shoes donated from TOMS Shoes.
Teens can lend a helping hand! by JAMIE COSTA Buisness Editor Thanks to the internet, even over-committed teens can quickly and easily help solve some of the world’s largest issues. Select online charities do not even require monetary donations, which increases their appeal to full-time high school students. Visitors to Freerice.com can help end world hunger by simply answering vocabulary questions. For every question answered correctly, the website donates ten grains of rice to hungry people in non-commercial, or unknown countries. John Breen’s Freerice.com originated in 2007 when he was inspired to make a difference during a visit to Africa. Joining with Freerice.com, The United Nations frontline agency supports the fight against global hunger and is the world’s largest humanitarian organization working with many other organizations in over 25 countries.
Freerice.com donates to countries in need of help where most people are unaware of their suffering. After Blake Mycoskie, founder of TOMS shoes, befriended children in 2006 while visiting Argentina, he discovered that none of them owned anything to protect their bare feet. TOMS Shoes is strictly an online charity that donates a new pair of shoes to a child in need, for every pair of shoes someone purchases. Junior Jackie Push says, “I saw a commercial on ABC family advertising for TOMS shoes but then I was on Youtube one day and the website was promoting the charity and I got very interested.” Not only can teens just buy shoes from TOMS, they can purchase t-shirts, accessories and sweatshirts. No matter the purchase, a child in need will be helped from the sale of these items. According to the TOMS shoes website, the leading cause of disease in developing countries is soil-transmitted parasites which
penetrate the skin through open sores. Wearing shoes helps prevent people from contracting illness. Even though TOMS shoes and other charities are extremely helpful, some Monroe High School teens are not aware of the steps they can take. To Write Love on Her Arms sets stands at outdoor concerts all over the United States, and stores like Pac Sun, sell clothing items and accessories. According to To Write Love on Her Arms’s website, the non-profit movement dedicates the money to raising hope and getting help for people struggling with depression, addiction, self-injury and thoughts of suicide. According to, TWLOHA.com the project began as a story and a way to help a friend. The organization exists to inform, inspire, encourage and invest strictly into treatment and recovery. Donating to charities and lending a helping hand requires little effort by students but makes lasting impacts globally.
emotional detachment fear life overall, or are unable to connect with others. A high school Junior who asks to remain anonymous says, “I feel that teens with depression try to isolate themselves away from others, because when you go through depression, you don’t want to let people in, because they might look at you differently.” Lauren Synarski, Residential Counselor for depressed teens at Carrier Clinic in Skillman, New Jersey, says, “One of the first signs a parent should look for when determining if their child might be depressed is if the child is withdrawn from a relationship and prefers to be alone.” Depression usually occurs
among teens 13-18 years-old, and according to The World Health Organization depression is more common among teenage girls because of their vulnerability, although boys can just as likely experience immense depression. “Depression tends to run in the family, and it is more often likely or not that 20 to 50 % of children and teens struggling with depression are three times as likely to suffer if a family member has been diagnosed,” FocusAdolescentServices.org reports. Along with depression, many other disorders can form. Some teenage girls tend to express their grief through self-mutilation, commonly known as “cutting.”
Before the installation of the turf fields and trailers, the High School was a much smaller school. It has changed greatly since its opening in 1973 and is still improving. Prior to the opening of Monroe High School students were educated in churches, supermarkets and at Jamesburg High School. The northern part of Monroe attended JHS while students from the southern part of Monroe attended Hightstown High School. The only school in Monroe at the time was Applegarth School for grades K-8, and Barclay Brook, for eighth graders. Since Monroe was mostly a rural community, the school was built on a potato farm. There are rumors that a large silo full of potatoes is buried underneath the Marasco Auditorium. When the school opened in 1973, seventh through ninth grade students from both Monroe and Jamesburg had a new, friendlier place to learn. The school ran on a module schedule that included 22 minute classes, beginning at 7:40 a.m. and ending at 2:00 p.m. These classes would split one part of a language arts class for first period and have the other part during sixth period. The school was nothing more than a little building with few afterschool activities and a confusing bell schedules. In 1974, new principal Mr. Chuck Stein made many changes. Stein implemented 44 minute classes, removing the split classes. The school also added tenth grade during that year.
Stein says, “My first day on the job, I was sitting at my desk after school, and then I looked out the window and noticed students coming back to the school on horseback.” He says, “The students would come back to the school to hang out, and since it was that long ago, most of the students didn’t own cars. This made me realize the school needed more activities to occupy the student outside of school.” Stein, a sports enthusiast, transformed the high school into a place where students could enjoy girls and boy’s basketball, football and baseball. He refused to have the football team play any home games at night and disapproved of adding lights to the fields. “During night games, students have opportunities to run around the school and do whatever they want, because who’s going to be able to see them in the dark? I saw it all the time at other schools, and I would never allow that to happen to mine,” he says. The school could not afford the sports equipment, so he made it his responsibility to add goal posts to the football field and dug-outs on the baseball field. Stein and some parents handbuilt the goal posts, as students built dug-outs for the baseball fields. Since his retirement in 1996, the school has not changed much, though there are now night football games, two turf fields, trailers and the increase of students. “The high school was a nice small town school, it’s still a small town school, just bigger, and it will always get bigger and better,” Stein says.
“...I looked out the window and noticed students coming back to the school on horseback.”
A l o ok i n side te e n depression by JAMIE COSTA Buisness Editor
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, over 18 million Americans suffer from depression, many of whom are adolescents. FocusAdolescentService.org reports, the two main causes of depression among teenagers include unresolved grief and emotional detachment. Some teenagers who are categorized under “unresolved grief” are impacted by the death of loved ones, end of relationships, abandonment by parents, or the general trauma, while others feel pressure to be the “golden child. Adolescent categorized under
Synarski says, “Some girls who cut usually only do it for the attention, but then there are others who truly need the guidance and assistance to stop. “ As depression affects people differently, each individual is treated based on the severity of the case. The World Health Organization estimates that 1 million people commit suicide each year, becoming the third leading cause of death for young people between 15-24. Depression and substance abuse are associated with more than 90% of all suicides. Post traumatic stress disorder, which is prevalent among teens, is when teenagers obtain oppositional defiance disorder (ODD). Synarski says “Teens
sometimes feel the need to talk back and take anger out on their parents or family members. Some teens may attack other by being critical, sarcastic, or abusive and may feel as though they are superior which applies to ODD.” Sophomore Kelly Carlson says, “I think teens in every high school should be more aware of teenage depression because it could happen to anyone and more people probably suffer from it than anyone can see.” Although depression is a serious matter, there is still help for teens. Synarski says, “The first steps on the road to recovery are making loved ones around aware of the problem so the proper treatment is received.”
February 17, 2010
Secrets of Hush Hush Revealed An in-depth interview with Becca Fitzpatrick by RACHEL KOWAL Staff Writer
First time author, Becca Fitzpatrick, talks about her inspirations, frustrations and career change while discussing her novel Hush, Hush in an exclusive email interview with the Falcon News . Hush, Hush takes place in the fictional town of Coldwater, Maine. Nora Grey is a sophomore, who is now partnered up with bad boy Patch, and as she becomes more involved with him she seems to be avoiding danger around every corner. As the book continues she soon finds herself in the middle of an ancient battle between immortals and the fallen angels. For Patch he is a fallen angel who usually gets everything he wants, now he wants to become human. In order to do so he must kill a descendent of someone he met two hundred years ago. The descendent just happens to be Nora. Q: What influenced you to write this story? A: The very first inspiration for the story came from an experience in my own tenthgrade biology class. We must have been studying human reproduction, because my teacher asked me, in front of the whole class, to name characteristics I would be attracted to in a mate. It was really embarrassing! Years later, that little piece of my history evolved into an early scene in the book. Q: Did you get one idea and stick to it? A: The initial idea stuck (dangerous love story), but the story definitely evolved. The first draft wasn’t very mysterious or suspenseful. Every time I reworked the story, I felt like I added a new layer.
Q: How many times did you have to rewrite the book? Why? A: Laughing…a lot! The initial attempts were pretty horrible. I had to teach myself how to write, and then I had to teach myself how to tell a story. Both took time, patience, and effort. I can say, after all this time, that I’m glad I stuck with it.
chine). When I was eight months pregnant with my first child, I quit to stay at home. Three months after my son was born, my husband signed me up for a writing class for my birthday. He knew I was feeling restless with my new job as a stayat-home mom, and he thought the writing class might be a fun hobby/ distraction from
Q: I understand you had a career in healthcare but why did you abandon healthcare for writing? A: Even though I grad-
u a t e d i n Health, I never actually got to work in the field. My first job out of college was working in an alternative high school. I applied for a tracker position (whose job it is to tracks students’ attendance and grades), but the principal offered me a secretarial position…which evolved into teaching a social studies class, substituting on-demand, and handling the lunchroom finances. There were things I loved about the job (most the students) and things I hated (getting called in on Saturdays to show the principal how to operate the copy ma-
Nora’s dad was murdered. Let’s just say he was living a secret life… one with ties to Patch. During the next couple months, I’ll be posting an official summary and cover for Crescendo on the “Hush, Hush” fan site, www.fallenarchangel.com.
Q: Did your childhood have any involvement on the book, and if so, how? A: Oh my goodness, yes! I didn’t realize it at the time I was writing the book, but late, when my family read it for the first time, they pointed out all the connections
Barnes and Noble is releasing the Nook, a handheld electronic device that can hold thousands of books just in time for the holidays. The Nook which is smaller than a normal size book has the capacity to hold 1,500 of the bestselling titles Barnes and Noble has to offer. More space can be added by imputing a memory card enabling it so it can hold more than 17,500 eBooks, eMagazines and eNewspapers at the tip of anyone’s fingers. The choice is endless with more than a million titles to choose from B&N’s vast collection at an aver-
age price of $9.99 about half the price of a regular hardcover book. With its crystal clear image, reading is no strain with its five fonts to choose from. The touch screen enables anyone to bookmark or highlight favorite parts and make notes while reading. Buying eBooks is simple and quick on the Nook; one simply turns it on, browses the books and chooses with the tap of a finger. The Nook has many useful features. Its charge can last up to ten days and the device allows users to listen to MP3’s while reading. Another feature is the built in dictionary enabling the reader to look up any word mid sentence on the same electronic no matter the lo-
Q: Did you think Hush, Hush would be as popular as it is? A: Ha! No. Believe me, after what probably amounted to 75-100 rejection letters for Hush, Hush, I thought it would be a miracle to simply get the book published. The night before my agent called to tell me Hush, Hush was going to auction, I was chatting with a friend at our kids’ soccer practice. She knew the book was on submission, and I told her I would die happy if the book sold for five grand, and published a thousand copies. A thousand copies! It seemed like such a huge amount. I couldn’t fathom one thousand people reading the book, but that was my wish. I feel incredibly undeserving, but unbelievably joyful, at what’s happened with Hush, Hush in such a short period of time. Not only can dreams come true, but they can blow your expectations away. And when they do, it’s a moment you savor for a lifetime.
to my past. Vee, Marcie and Patch’s characters are all inspired by people I knew from my growing-up years. Also, I drove a 1979 chocolate brown Fiat in high school. In the original drafts (and ARC, I believe), Coach’s name was MR. McFarland, which was the name of my biology teacher. Finally, the whole reason I started writing Hush, Hush was because of something that happened to me in my own tenth-grade biology class.
Q: Was it difficult to find a publisher? A: It was for me. It required five years of writing, submitting, rewriting. Rinse and repeat. But you know what? I wouldn’t trade the hard work for anything. If there’s one thing I’m starting to learn, it’s that the things in life that require the most work are also the most rewarding. I don’t want to be the person who lets hard work get in the way of my dreams. Ever.
Q: What plans do you have for a sequel? Explain if you would like without giving anything away. A: I’m editing the sequel, Crescendo, right now. I’ve been telling readers that in Crescendo, they’ll find out what really happened the night
Q: Did you ever at some time give up on the book and if so why? A: Yes, I did a couple of times. Rejection is hard and, at times, humiliating. It takes a strong writer not to take rejection personally. I
Q What is your favorite aspect of the book? A: Either the creepy atmosphere, or the broiling chemistry between Patch and Nora. Both were a lot of fun to write.
cation. EBooks can be lent to friends and family just like normal books, users send any book to another nook, computer or phone for two weeks without the worry of not getting books back. New York Times says, “Perhaps the most distinguishing feature of the Nook is that it allows consumers to share their e-books with friends.” The Nook is also customizable. It has the ability to set personal pictures as screensavers, and a selection of stylish cases is available to protect it. Wired.com comments on the customization of the product, “The Nook, with color icons, a wide selection of designer cases
and color-customizable back panel, looks like a fashionista.” Fast Company says “Barnes and Noble may genuinely be about to tear to the top of the e-reader game...beats anyone else’s attempt at a glitzy e-reader handsdown.” It is similar to the Amazon Kindle, but has a clearer image and a larger capacity to store more. The Kindle was released earlier but the Nook has had more positive reviews. The Nook is available at any Barnes and Noble store or on their website for $259.
chang- i n g diapers and nighttime feedings. I instantly fell in love with the class! It was in that class that I started writing Hush, Hush, and my teacher saw a lot of potential. He told me I shouldn’t give up on it until I was it published. I owe a lot to that class–many of the students and I later formed our own (awesome) writers group.
‘Oh look! A nook! A crazy, funky,’ not so junky, book! by ALLIE HOULIHAN Staff Writer
had to grow a thick skin along the way. There will never be a shortage of people telling you your writing isn’t good enough, your characters are flat, your story won’t sell, your plot looks like Swiss cheese, etc.
February 17, 2010
6:30 pm at the Marasco theater $5 for students (with id) $7 For adults
Original Battle of the Bands t-shirts $10 sold by Junior Class
February 17, 2010
How does it work?
On Sunday night March 7, the Academy Awards will honor Hollywood’s most talented actors, directors, producers, screenwriters, musical scorers, costume designers and special effects. The question is, who picks the winners? The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences determines the Oscar nominees using a system known as proportional voting. The purpose behind a proportional vote is to allow for numerous nominees in each category. Each member votes in each category of his or her profession up to five times. Actors nominate actors and directors nominate directors. The five nominees members select are in order of preference; the first nominee being the voter’s top choice and the fifth being the last choice. The member’s votes are then counted according to the preference level the nominees are listed at. The proportional system is used because it more accurately represents the communal voting of the AMPAS voters. The system allows the individual judgment of the voters to affect the outcome more because each voter’s nominee preference list is counted and analyzed instead of a majority rules situation.
Photo/ AP Images
CIRQUE DE SOLEIL Pink sings Glitter in the Air from her 2008 album, Funhouse, as she was slowly brought into the air.
Grammy leaves audience ‘Speechless’ by JILL SHAH Editor
The 52nd annual Grammy Awards aired January 31 at the Los Angeles Staples Center. Singers, songwriters, and many Hollywood stats gathered inside the gargantuan hall. Performances dominated the Grammys this year with a three and half hour show jampacked with performances, while the award ceremony took up little time. The show began as Lady Gaga extravagantly stepped onto stage, performing Poker Face and her new single, Speechless with Elton John. Gaga’s unique sense of style shined when she made her grand entrance wearing a glittered outfit with attached wings Ten times nominee, Beyoncé Knowles took home the first Grammy of the night for her single, Single Ladies, Put a Ring on it. The second performance was followed by American Idiot and three time nominee Green Day. Together, they performed the hit single, 21 Guns. Later that night, Green Day won the Rock Album of the Year for 21st Century Breakdown. The next award presented was for the best country album of the year. This year’s eight time nominee, Taylor Swift received her first Grammy Award for her album, Fearless. Swift later sang Rhiannon by Fleetwood Mac and her own single, You Belong with Me with surprise guest, Stevie Nicks as backup singer. Up next, Knowles took on the stage, performing her 2008 single, If I were a boy. Without doubt, she is the most consistent songwriter; however, her head-bobbing dance technique does not meet her singing abilities. Shortly after break, two times nominee, Pink took on the stage singing her single, Glitter in the Air. Pink’s unique performance was a true “Cirque de Soleil” as she was slowly brought into the air by a while cloth. The third award bestowed was for best new artist. The Zac Brown Band took home their first Grammy that night. The band
later performed melodies of songs, including America the Beautiful and Chicken Fried with Leon Russell. Up next, Miley Cyrus took the stage to introduce the Black Eyed Peas, as they sang their most popular songs, Imma Be and I Gotta Feeling. With the lights flashings and speaker dancers, the Black Eyed Peas rocked out the house. After break, the Jonas Brothers introduced the trio, Lady Antebellum, singing their hit song Need You Now. Latin Grammy awarded Juanes and Kaley Cuoco from the Big Bang Theory presented the best comedy album. Stephen Colbert won the award for this album, A Colbert Christmas: The Greatest Gift of All Time. The happy drunk King’s of Leon took home the award for the Record of the Year for their hit single, Use Somebody. Soon after, Jamie Foxx and T-Pain performed their song, Blame it on the Alcohol. The Auto-toned song was bad enough, but adding an electric guitar at the end just killed it. The most memorable part of the night was a tribute to the life time achievement awarded, Michael Jackson. Together, Celine Deon, Smoky Robinson, Jennifer Hudson, Carrie Underwood, Usher and Jackson sing Earth Song in 3-D. Prince and Paris Jackson along with their cousins took the stage to receive the life time award for their father, Michael Jackson. Prince left the stage, leaving a message for all of Michael Jackson’s fans. “Throughout all his songs, his message was simple: Love”. Performances by Bon Jovi and Jennifer Nettles, David Foster, Mary J. Blige, and Andrea Bocelli, Dave Matthews Band, Maxwell and Roberta Flack, Jeff Beck and Imelda May, Drake, Eminem, and Lil Wayne continued until the final award. The most coveted award, album of the year, was given to twenty year old Taylor Swift for her album “Fearless”. Twenty year old, country singer, Taylor Swift received the coveted album of the year award for Fearless.
To Save a Life delivers an inspiring message by KATELYN MERCIER Staff Writer On its Jan.22 weekend opening, To Save a Life, did not make the box office top ten, but continues to draw viewers through the motivational message it conveys. The film shadows the life of high school senior, Jake Taylor (Randy Wayne) as he makes dramatic changes to his life. Jake has it all: a basketball scholarship, a hot girlfriend, a large circle of friends, and nothing but a brilliant future ahead of him. Roger Dawson (Robert Bailey Jr.) is Jake’s childhood best friend before the social pressures of high school push them apart. Feeling lost and alone, Roger brings a gun to school one day and makes the tragic decision to end his life. Although the performances in this film are not worthy of an Oscar, the acting is decent and the directors should also be credited, as the movie had a remarkable storyline. Also admired is the film’s bold attempt to depict the harsh realities that young adults face. Unlike other films of its genre, To Save a Life does not sugar coat the truth. The movie’s only flaws are its slow pace and a predictable ending.
Roger’s death leaves Jake questioning everything about his own life, and wonders if he could have saved his friend. Jake begins reaching out to other outcasts and risks losing his reputation, his friends and his girlfriend. The movie uses the events of everyday life to demonstrate the impact a single life can have on a community, and realistically touches base with a wide variety of struggles that teens are all too familiar with such as drug and alcohol abuse, pregnancy, peer pressure, parental divorce, suicide, far of failure, and grief. While Jake makes an effort to live a more meaningful life, the audience is left with one remaining question, “What will your life be about?” To Save a Life Starring: Randy Wayne, Deja Kreutzberg, Kim Hidalgo, Sean Michael Afable Director: Brian Baugh Release Date: 22 January Writer: Jim Britts Runtime: 120 minutes Rating: Rated PG-13 for mature thematic elements involving teen suicide, teen drinking, some drug content, disturbing images and sexuality.
February 17, 2010
Coming to a book store near you… by SHAENA GUPTA Staff Writer This New Year, some of the popular books promise to impress teenage readers. The Secret Year By Jennifer R. Hubbard Colt and Julia are secretly together for an entire year, and no one, not even Julia’s boyfriend, knows. When Julia dies in a car accident, Colt learns the price of his secrecy. He cannot mourn Julia openly, and he’s tormented that he might have played a part in her death. Now he must learn to get over someone that was never his in the first place.
destroying her. Woods Runner By Gary Paulsen 13-year-old Samuel spends his days in the forest, hunting for food for his family. He grows up on the frontier of a British-American colony, far from any town and news of the war against the British King that American patriots have begun near Boston, but the war comes to them. British soldiers and Iroquois attack. Samuel’s parents are taken away, prisoners. Samuel follows, hiding, moving silently, determined to find a way to rescue them.
Photo/ AP Images
NOAH’S COMPASS, LIAM’S ARK Liam sails through the final chapters of his life with amnesia.
Compass floats ‘Gently Down the Stream’ by STEPHANIE ENG Staff Writer Anne Tyler transforms simple observations of everyday life into an art form in her 18th novel, Noah’s Compass. School teacher Liam Pennywell, has lived his life never entirely engaging with anything or anyone. After being forced into early retirement as a result of being fired, Liam moves into a smaller apartment, which propels him to new, not altogether comfortable, directions. “It could just be the nudge he needed to push him on to the next stage—the final stage, the summing-up stage,” writes Tyler. He moves into a drab, small apartment and goes to sleep after a day’s worth of unpacking boxes. When he wakes up, he is in a hospital “with a helmet of gauze on his head.” He is just as mystified as we are, and Tyler has us entirely hooked. Liam’s loss of memory is what finally makes him feel out of control. Gradually, readers will witness his restricted life expand. Ever so slowly, his three
daughters push their way into his life. His fundamentalist Christian daughter drops off his somber grandson, Jonah, with a coloring book of Bible stories. Discussing Noah and his Ark, Liam explains that Noah did not need sails or a compass because he was not going anywhere, but was just trying to stay afloat. The parallel with Liam, bobbing rudderless in the sea of his life, is expertly implied. With delightful, comic precision, Tyler orchestrates the giddy comings and goings of Liam’s outspokenly critical daughters, ex-wife, and sister, all of whom think he is a hopeless loser. Even in the more somber moments, Tyler retains a light touch and captures family interactions with vivid detail. Noah’s Compass is immensely readable. It displays many fine qualities: an intense observation of humanity, a cynical sense of humor, and brilliant detailed descriptions. Although once an author for sappy summer reading book Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant, Tyler redeems herself with her latest novel, Noah’s Compass.
Token o f Darkness By Amelia AtwaterRhodes Cooper Blake has everything going for him, until he wakes from a car accident that ruins his football career. A mysterious, attractive girl appears at his side when he regains his consciousness. Cooper doesn’t know how Samantha got there or why he can see her; all he knows is that she is a ghost, and the shadows that surround her seem intent on
‘American Idol’ seeks to stay on top thanks to changes by CHRISTINA MATTINA Staff Writer
As the ninth season of Fox’s hit show, American Idol, begins, producers hope to keep viewers hooked with a number of exciting new shifts. Ellen Degeneres, talk show host and long time Idol fan, replaces Paula Abdul as one of the judges. Simon Cowell serves as a judge in his last season in order to focus on bringing his British reality show The X Factor to the U.S. Randy Jackson and Kara DioGuardi remain as judges. Eight celebrity guest judges, that include Katy Perry, Joe Jonas, and Avril Lavigne, will help Cowell, Jackson and DioGuardi decide
which contestants get the golden ticket to Hollywood. This season commenced with auditions in Boston, where a rainy day did not discourage a winding line of 9,000 hopeful singers. The auditions, as always, featured cringeinducing lunatics among the truly talented. Victoria Beckham, former Spice Girl and wife of soccer star David Beckham, sat in as a guest judge in Boston. American Idol fans question how the show will perform with the absence of its two biggest judges, Abdul and Cowell. His crude comments to conceited contestants keep viewers interested. For now, Cowell remains on the show, providing his characteristically blunt ob-
servations to clueless performers, such as “complete and utter rubbish” and “verging on terrible.” He even berated one bizarre contestant by saying, “You sing like a three-year-old girl, you dress like LaToya Jackson, you have a beard. The whole thing was just weird.” American Idol has steadily lost viewership over the past three years, with season eight ratings down 15% from season seven. However, season nine ratings currently reflect last year’s, slowing down the show’s downward spiral. Only time will tell if Idol will remain among the most watched television shows in the world.
A Match Made in High School By Kristin Walker Fiona can be hard to get along with because as a person, she is a little hard around the edges, clueless, opinionated and unrelenting. When a course on marriage, a requirement for graduation, forces her to wed Todd, a male cheerleader, she is flabbergasted. They are the worst possible match for each other, and she knows this will be a torturous relationship. To make matters worse, her best friend anounces that she is in love with Fiona’s lifelong crush, and that she finds Fiona too self-absorbed. As she deals with her trials and tribulations, Fiona learns a great deal about herself and about how to interact with other people. Very LeFreak By Rachel Cohn Very LeFreak has a problem: she is a crazed technology addict. Very cannot get enough of her iPhone, laptop, IMs and text messages. If there is any chance of an incoming message, call, text or photo might be from her super secret online crush, she will answer at all costs. Soon enough, this obsession costs Very her relationship with her friends and family. She must learn to block out the noise so she can finally hear her heart. Relatable and amusing, this novel looks to please readers of all ages. These books consist of teen situations, pure enjoyment, and great vigor. Whether the taste is for romance, comedy, or suspense, there is always the perfect book for everyone.
June 15, 2010
From the desk of the Editors-in-Chief
Keepin’ it old school Journalism’s demise by THERESA LIN Editor-in-Chief Only a month ago, journalism students questioned whether the newspaper and its corresponding academic classes would still exist next school year. Though both programs remain unscathed by budget cuts, the newspaper will struggle to reach its current level of success this fall with the end of independent studies. Since the school curriculum only offers Journalism I and II, which I took my freshman and sophomore year, I signed into independent studies this year in order to serve as editor-in-chief. I have valued this additional year of journalism, as it allowed me to foster personal relationships with staff members and continue the course which I so thoroughly enjoy. Only 6 years after following the guidelines of the Columbia Scholastic Press Association, The Monroe Falcon has transitioned from solely being a creative outlet for under a
a rigid academic course intent on quality writing. Their intention is to give more students an opportunity to take the class, though there is not an abundant of interested students currently. There will be even fewer student if the newspaper does not seem a worthwhile endeavor. Though print journalism is rapidly becoming obsolete in the fastpaced society that prefers to write in 140 characters or less, I have always felt that the school should honor the literary art form for the minority of students who still write zealously. Though assembling a monthly newspaper requires much effort from the staff and advisor, we on the staff relished those occasions when we replaced paragraphs of meaningless words with a single, succinct sentence or cropped a momentous picture to complete the layout of a page. This past year alone, I have written over 25 articles, planned an entire centerfold, and drawn nearly a dozen pictures. This would have
“Though print journalism is rapidly becoming obsolete in the fast-paced society that prefers to write in 140 characters or less, I have always felt that the school should honor the literary art form for the minority of students who still write zealously.” dozen students to a competitive high school paper that informs the community. Such growth in the paper and its student participation can be attributed to students’ ability to commit to the course throughout their high school career with independent studies. If I continue to be the editor-inchief next year, I will not have the liberty of editing the multiple drafts from both journalism I and II students during my only elective period. Rather, I, and many of the paper’s volunteer editors, will have to take an additional elective in lieu of journalism and contribute to the paper at home or for hours after school. It will be difficult to a rigorous academic schedule, a varsity sport and what remains of a social life if the time that was allotted to me for editing and communicating with the staff is stripped from me. Editors will lack their physical presence to lead a staff. Third year writers will be deterred from involvement in the paper. The principal and district supervisor are removing the independent studies option for journalism (though keeping the option intact for Video Tech through senior option), as they feel that the journalism class has diverted from its original purpose as an elective meant to expose students to the newspaper experience and become
never been feasible for me had journalism been reduced from a prioritized elective to merely an afterschool activity. I would like to believe that my physical presence in the journalism class serves a dual purpose: not only as an available editor but an integral leader. Without independent studies next year to provide experienced and interested students the opportunity to take the challenging class, the newspaper will result to slipshod articles and stretched pictures, prepared by overworked students after school. The newspaper will revert to the horrid days when the staff believed that clip art constituted graphics and the “Arial” font littered the front page. This semester marks the end of journalism for many students who were originally willing to take the course next year. Instead of committing their time to an enlightening class from which they also took immense pleasure, they will settle for the typical elective: one that offers minimal work and, in return, offers minimal satisfaction. I will miss the days when the newspaper was used as a reliable source at town meetings; when students eagerly wrote for it; when I eagerly wrote for it.
Ignorance of the news is not bliss by MICHAEL BAUMANN Editor-in-Chief At the risk of sounding like a crotchety old man, I find the lack of awareness and knowledge of current events in many of today’s youth extremely disconcerting. Despite living in the age of instant communication, in which the latest news from a thousand miles away could be obtained in a literal second, many teenagers fail to familiarize themselves with the front page of their local newspaper, resulting in widespread attitudes of apathy and ignorance. Sophomore Becky Pacailler, who watches the news several times per week, says, “Many teenagers our age should know what’s happening because it [involves] the world we live in.” Ask the average teenager about any major international current event, such as North Korea’s alleged sinking of a South Korean warship or the United States’ push for strict sanctions against Iran. Chances are that any such question will be met with a glassyeyed, bewildered look. Freshman Dmitri Mendis admits he is not very well-informed, as he only follows currents events “when my parents watch the news.”
While there are some young people who actively keep up with current events, the overwhelming majority does not. Their apathetic attitudes of “Why bother?” and “It doesn’t directly affect me” are invalid, as such unacceptable views can lead to pure ignorance. “Today’s teenagers are not well informed,” says Junior Emily Gorelick. “They just are not that interested in current events.” Quite frankly, I have had too many horrific encounters with the ill informed. I have run into a multitude of people who know very close to nothing about the thousands of barrels-worth of oil currently shooting out of the Gulf of Mexico, seemingly indifferent to the fact that the spill could be as damaging to the South as Hurricane Katrina. The fact that I know several people who do not even know the names of the United States vice president and the current New Jersey governor astounds me in the most offensive manner. More involved effort should be expected from young people who have such a vast wealth of information available at their fingertips, but neglect to utilize it. As The Falcon News editor-in-chief, it is my duty to ensure the staff
carries out its duty and obligation to make certain the student body is at least remotely aware of current events, a particularly frustrating task when a good part of our audience will barely read through this newspaper. In an effort to raise public awareness of global issues, the Falcon started the World News section this past year, including articles concerning major issues from around the globe. In spite of its well-meaning intent, the World News section, along with the coverage of major national events, has been criticized for being inappropriate for a school newspaper. Student journalists’ assumed roles evidently do not include reporting on major news matters, as readers could easily find, if they so please, the same content reported more intelligently and eloquently in professional newspapers. With the key phrase in this claim being “if they so please,” it is unlikely any student who is not already interested in current events would be unsatisfied by the lack of coverage in The Monroe Falcon and proceed to look for adequate reporting in another source. Admittedly, we cannot hope to match the quality and professionalism of The New York Times, but our goal is to entice readers to learn more about major current events on their own by giving them informative articles to read instead of allowing them to continue wallowing in ignorance. Hopefully, our coverage encourages readers to find out more about current events on their own, leading them to establish a lifelong following of the news.
‘MR. VICE PRESIDENT...’ Joseph Biden presides over his Senate committee. Biden served as Senator of Delaware for over 30 years before being chosen as Obama’s right-hand man. Yet, he remains unknown among some teens.
The Falcon News Editors-In-Chief Michael Baumann Theresa Lin
Executive Editor-Copy Ali Deitche
Executive Editors-Layout Carla Palermo Haley Strincoski Editorial Policy The Monroe Falcon is a newspaper dedicated to accurate, ethical, and responsible high school journalism.
Advisor Sandy Appel-Bubnowski
Editorial Don’t back down, Google
Google, the largest search engine in the world, is tempted to leave its business in China after Chinese officials hacked their server on January 12. Google would make a bolder statement to the Chinese government if the company continued to run its search engine in China rather than close up shop altogether. Frustrated with the censorship of its search engine, google.cn, Google is tempted to leave China, according to USA Today. If Google leaves, the company would open a web browsing market for Chinese-based search engines. Private companies in China such as Baidu, will keep tighter control of censorship on China’s citizens.
“Google is the most visited search engine in the United States and is submerged in a market of millions of dollars and users.” “We think leaving China is a courageous move by Google,” says Jim Dempsey, vice president of public policy for the Center for Democracy and Technology. The company advocates online civil liberties. Leaving China may seem bold at first, but Chinese officials will not loosen their hold on censorship. By leaving China, Google would be abandoning millions of dollars of potential profit. According to USA Today, Chinese officials know that other companies will not be as eager to leave behind such a financially rewarding market. Retreat will not help Google break “The Great Firewall of China,” which encompasses the Internet. Google continuing its battle of censorship and hackers in China is more likely to create freedom for Chinese Internet users. Now that Google has identified the browsing flaw in its security, it should improve its defenses. Although Google will never be able to block all virtual attacks, it should try its best to protect its users and their data. If anyone can make a difference in China, it’s Google. Google is the most visited search engine in the United States and is submerged in a market of millions of dollars and users. The search giant’s influence in China may be marginal, but it will be positive.
Correction In the December issue of “The Falcon News” in the article titled; “Football win makes history” it was stated that Coach Marc Debillis was seen crowd surfing after the Falcons won. Where in fact, Coach Debillis was not seen crowd surfing.
February 10, 2010
Keepin’ it old school... by THERESA LIN Editor-in-Chief
Since I started high school, my family and I sometimes live as strangers under one roof. We speak to each other briefly, in passing, counting on tomorrow to make up for the noticeably growing silence between us. My mother occasionally pops her head into my room, as the heaping piles of clothes on the floor do not allow for her to complete a more thorough inspection, just to ensure that I have not fallen asleep before I have finished any remaining homework. She does not enter with the intent to help me solve for velocity or conjugate a Spanish verb, but to interact with me at least once during that day, if only for a little while. Even so, I rush her out of my room before she can find something that she can make me clean. I tell her that I am sorry for not having more time to spend with her and my dad, but that she will have to watch TV alone. Naturally, my parents no longer hold my hand through parking lots or remind me to brush my teeth before I fall asleep. However, this previous reliance on my parents made it impossible for me to do things alone, without their constant help and supervision. Now, I wake up for school before they go to work, and I come home around dinner time, where we have made it a habit to eat together, then disperse just as quickly as we gathered. I sometimes regret that my parents work all day only to return to the absence of their children. Even knowing this, I do not see any viable solution to our problem, not that this is necessarily a problem as much as a change. This distance merely reflects an increase in my independence. I cannot even blame my parents’ negligence of my activities and school life for our growing void; it is I who actively “rain checks” many times on family movie nights and dinners, sometimes, for friends. There is this looming guilt when I ask my mom or dad to drive me to a friend’s house. Not only do I avoid spending family time this way, I take their personal time to haul me across town. (This guilt is actually directly related to my curfew, come to think of it). As the time that I spend with my family becomes gradually more limited, I overlook our confrontations and try to establish the basis of our parent-child relationship. Even though I will move from home in only a year, this will not end their involvement in my life.
Turning over a new leaf by ALI DEITCHE Executive Editor
Despite the increase of support for Earthconscious measures, high school students still do not put all recyclable materials in the appropriate bins within the school. After the high school failed a state department review of its recycling practices, in winter of 2009 the school put recycling containers in each classroom to increase participation school-wide. A cursory glance at the cafeteria’s garbage bins after four lunches reveals a mix of empty milk containers, remnants of over 1500 student lunches, and recyclable bottles and cans. These bottles and cans should be separated into the proper recycling bin located right next to the garbage cans, however many students throw them away anyway. Custodian Frank Ferguson says, “Some kids choose to recycle,” as he points at the half-full recycling bin located next to the garbage can. “But every day there’s always cans in the garbage, and it’s not anyone’s job to go through and sort the garbage, so [the recyclables] are thrown out.” Day Head Custodian Connie Sharar says, “We’re not putting our hands in there.” Therefore, many cans and bottles that can be broken down into plastic and tin and reused are instead deposited in landfills. She adds, “It’s very frustrating because everybody who lives in Monroe knows how to recycle, but they just don’t.” After Monroe failed the state mandate, the school received more recycling bins: white
for glass and tin cans and blue for cardboard and paper, including colored paper. “Since we’ve got more containers a lot more has been recycled. It’s better, but it could be much better,” says Sharar. “I’ve tried to get more kids to recycle- we put signs up in the library and the cafeteria; we have big bins. But if you don’t stand there and tell the student to recycle, they usually don’t do it. It’s called laziness; they just don’t care.” The minimal effort required for each student to sort recyclable waste out of school lunch trash aids both the school, by helping it pass the state mandates, and the environment. The state “weighs our garbage and recycling containers coming out of here, so they can tell how much we recycle for our volume of kids, based on the weight. That’s how they could tell we failed a couple of years ago,” says Sharar. The school’s garbage weighs more than it should because many people throw out items that should be recycled. “It’s not just students- it’s both staff and students who don’t recycle,” she says. “I see it every day. What can be done to change it, I have no clue.” Widespread news of climate change, more commonly referred to as global warming, and its imminent effects on the Earth create renewed interest in environmentally friendly practices, such as recycling; however, students still have a long way to go before their practices can be deemed perfect.
Teen Mom causes debate in media over teen pregnancy by ALLIE HOULIHAN Staff Writer
Teen Mom, a reality show on MTV, documents the lives of four American teenage girls, as they discover firsthand the responsibilities and life-changing effects of teenage pregnancy. This series is a follow up to the show 16 and Pregnant, which also aired on MTV following the earlier stages of these girls’ journeys as parents. Maci, Farrah, Catelynn and Amber each have their own problems. The show chronicles everything from the young mother’s relationship drama, family problems and the constant responsibilities of raising a child or putting a child up for adoption. The display of teen pregnancy through shows and movies such as Teen Mom, Juno and The Secret Life of the American Teenager encourages young girls to get pregnant as something to which they should aspire to. These shows create celebrities and role
models young children emulate. The teenagers featured on the shows have been deemed unacceptable role models by Dr. Jenn Berman, a psychotherapist who in an interview with Associated Press stated that she is worried that the girls will be portrayed as celebrities and glorify the topic. The media focuses on teen pregnancy by way of television shows, movies, blogs and message boards devoted to opinions on the subject and the shows about it and other online media. The show can influence girls to go one of two ways. It can discourage the idea by opening the eyes of teenagers to the struggles and difficulties of being a teen parent. For girls who find themselves in this situation it can be used to tell them that they are not alone and support for them. Or, it can encourage it by making the situation more well known and a part of everyday life creating the notion that it is okay to do and normal. The media should not fixate quite as much
as they do on the subject because the more prevalent it is the more normal it may become. These girls who publicly share their stories are brave. They choose to put up with the scrutiny to get their message out, letting girls like themselves learn from it. Opinions and critics of their actions and decisions are posted daily online by viewers such as viewers, parents and professionals such as psychologists about their parenting skills and relationships. At the same time these girls are praised by viewers and parents for the lesson they are teaching and the voice they are giving to so many girls in their situation of being a teen mom. The Boston Globe praises Catelynn and her boyfriend Tyler as being the most mature couple ever seen on television. If the young girls in today’s society learn from Maci, Farrah, Amber and Catelynn, the show would be achieving its goal and there might not be as many teenage pregnancies.
February, 10, 2010
Get your metal detector out of my face! by JILL SHAH Editor Art/Rachel Kowal
On Christmas day, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, 23, attempted to blow up a Northwest Airline flight while heading for Detroit. This incident sparked the recent intensity of airport security. In the past few months, airport security has reached an all time high. Two years ago, when I last went to India, security was not as frustrating as it has become. I simply went through security check and that was all. I blame the foolishness of airplane passengers who travel on planes and cause disturbances in the airport. Hiding bombs in clothing and going against airport rules and regulations adds more to the commotion already present. After sitting on an endless plane ride from New Delhi to London, the last thing I wanted to go through before heading to Newark International Airport was another security check of my luggage and body. Not only did I have to go through a security check before entering the terminals and gates, but I was fully checked before boarding the plane. During the first security check, all handheld luggages are passed through a “black tunnel” where airport personnel screen the luggage content. I was also asked to remove my shoes, my laptop from its case and all metallic items
and step through a metal detector. In New Delhi, I was fully checked behind a glass by a woman, while I saw my uncle being checked by a man. I felt more comfortable being checked by a woman rather than a man. Once I reached Heathrow International Airport, I had to go through another security check. At this time, I was really tired from traveling and did not want to be checked once again. After this nine hour journey, all I wanted was to go on the plane and sleep. However, this was not case. I was stopped at the gate
before boarding my plane. I had to wait in line with my family for a half hour before my luggage was checked. The security personnel asked my mom and me to place our luggage and place it on the table. The woman behind the table opened my entire luggage and went through it all. She felt through the entire bag, constantly asking what each item was. My gifts for friends, neatly wrapped and secured in the bag, were opened. This security check was unnecessary because I was already checked before entering the terminal. My mom and I had personal
‘Dude, Shakespeare just fragged me’ by MICHAEL BAUMANN Editor-in-Chief Graphic/ Angela Wo
Like all artistic mediums, video games have a wide variety of influences on their storylines, art directions and game play designs. While many tend to borrow heavily from films and other games, some admirably attempt to infuse literary elements. However, whether this proves to be a successful strategy for creating worthwhile games remains to be seen. A video game titled Dante’s Inferno, released February 9, turns the first part of Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy into an action-centric experience. In the original poem, the ancient Italian poet, Vergil, guides the character of Dante through the nine circles of Hell, as he makes observations about human nature. In the game, Dante vows vengeance upon Lucifer for killing his wife and descends into Hell to wreak havoc upon hoards of barbaric demons with a scythe he stole from Death himself. For those familiar with the work, this may seem like a bastardization of Alighieri’s poem, creating what would be the Michael Bay version of Inferno. Although it may seem like a shocking act, the developer took such great liberties with the source material in an attempt to make an enjoyable product. While this is understandable, deep meanings and themes insinuated by the original work are lost in the translation from book to video game. Rather than taking themes and ideas discussed in the poem and building a sensibly designed game around those, the developer foolishly attempted to cram a book into a video game. Such a practice is like trying to put a square peg in a round hole. Allusions to literary works in games are rather common, and, unlike Inferno, some manage to retain ideas and themes discussed in their source material.
The plot of the Halo game series, for example, features a futuristic humanity pitted against a tyrannical alien empire bent on destroying all humans. While appearing to be a combination of various science fiction staples and clichés, the game contains underlying Biblical themes. Allegories to specific Bible verses and symbolic reenactments of major events of the Old Testament frequently arise over the
course of the series. Even the games’ super-soldier protagonist, the Master Chief, and his extraterrestrial ally, the Arbiter, have been interpreted as representations of John the Baptist and Jesus Christ, respectively. The series’ latest installment, Halo 3: ODST, also contains several references to the original Divine Comedy; the protagonist is guided through an alienoccupied African port city by an artificial intelligence named Vergil. Perhaps the most prominent and effective use of literary elements in gaming is found in the Bioshock series. The original game, whose latest installment was released on February 9, drew heavily from the works of Russian-American novelist Ayn Rand by depicting an underwater, utopian society ruled by objectivist philosophies. Clearly, these games simply borrowed the ideas from their source material, neglecting
to translate actual plot details. After all, in the Bible, the “Flood” was not a parasitic alien life form, and the “Ark” was not a mega structure thousands of miles wide located on the edge of the galaxy, as they are portrayed in the Halo universe. It is also safe to say Rand’s novel did not include a city built at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean overrun by genetically altered drug addicts. Games such as Halo and Bioshock apply literary themes to storylines appropriate for a video game, which allows their plots to be provocative while
offering enjoyable game play. Due to reading being a passive experience while gaming is interactive, direct translations from the former into the latter rarely work. The plot of Dante’s Inferno, while thought provoking and poignant, does not make for an interesting gaming experience. Its translation from poem to game strips the source material of its underlying motifs while heavily altering the main storyline. What is left is a product that should in no way be associated with its original inspiration.
items in our baggage that we did not want others to rummage through. Then, the security personnel asked me to remove my shoes and shook them violently to make sure nothing was placed inside. She then proceeded to pat down my entire body to make sure I had nothing on me. While the security personnel looked through my baggage, I asked why airport security in London was so uptight. She said it was so tense because of the bomb scare in Detroit, Michigan. After a ten minute interrogation, I was finally able to board the plane. All passengers boarding the flight had to go through the same tedious procedure. This interrogation further delayed the flight to Newark International Airport. This entire trip back home was a hassle. From the second I entered the airport, I was thoroughly checked. All this tight security would not be an issue if passengers did not bring bombs or other explosives on planes. People constantly complain how traveling these days are a hassle, but in reality, it is the public’s fault. Once people bring bombs into planes, they immediately put other’s lives in danger which is completely unnecessary. Because of the present-day situation with terrorist attacks, security checking is now more serious than ever. Even though I was put through hell getting home, I felt safe being on the plane. If every passenger was not checked, I would not have been able to sleep.
Avatar visuals leads to
Oscar nomination by ALEX VANDRIESEN Guest Writer
On the night of January 17, I looked on in horror at one of the most brazen insults to film since 1986’s Howard the Duck; the Hollywood Foreign Press Association awarded Avatar the Golden Globe for “Picture of the Year”. Sunday night legitimized the claims of the millions of people who flocked to see, and loved, the second-rate picture, Avatar directed by James Cameron. The movie cost 300 million dollars to create and has already grossed one billion dollars. In a move that still boggles my mind, the HFPA recognized Avatar as the “Best Picture of the Year” and Cameron as “Best Director of the Year”. I understand that Avatar is innovative and breathtaking. I even ventured to New Brunswick myself to see it in Imax 3D amongst a sold out crowd of understandably exhilarated moviegoers. The film’s effects amazed me and the 3D instantly transported me to another planet. However, when I arrived on Pandora and looked around at the ironically 2D characters that surrounded me, I wanted to board the next amazingly realistic spaceship back to earth. Cameron seemed to take every shortcut possible when creating the story, from his forced character development to the use of a voice- over to the many plot holes and unrealistic dialogue. By the middle of the film I found the story quite predictable as it has been recycled thousands of times in films like Dances With Wolves, Pocahontas, and even She’s All That. For a film of such mediocre quality to win prestigious acclaim, the HFPA must have decided that visual stimulation can carry a narrative film. Though my heart was racing during Avatar, I was not invested in the characters and the story; instead I was excited to see the special affects. By giving Avatar the Golden Globe for “Best Picture of the Year”, instead of one of the qualified nominees like The Hurt Locker or Up in the Air the HFPA attempts to redefine cinema as a vessel for spectacle. In my opinion, film must always have a great story to rely on rather than visual gimmicks. Unfortunately, Avatar is a culprit of the latter.
Help Rebuild Haiti
February 17, 2010
Air Force doctor among hundreds treating injured by ANUPALI BEWTRA Staff Writer
Chart/Haley Strincoski & Anupali Bewtra
DONATIONS BY THE NUMBERS As news of the devastation in Haiti spreads, numerous celebrities, corporations and governments have generously opened their hearts (and their wallets) to aid the earthquake-stricken country. The numbers add up to truly staggering totals, although it will surely take Haiti many years to heal. Here, some of the most notable benefactors are shown, along with the amount they donated.
Helping hands aid Haiti toward recovery
A nine-year-old boy with a right hip fracture and Eczema Fasciitis, a severe infection that penetrates deep into the bones, lies in puddles of blood waiting to undergo surgery, while at the same time, US Air ForceDoctor Niraj Govil, Chief of Aero Space Medicine flies to Haiti on January 14, just two days after the earthquake ravaged an entire nation. “When I got the call to deport to Haiti, I was filled with determination to help make a difference in a devastating situation,” says Govil in a phone interview. “On the voyage, I was anxious, excited and proud to go to help ones in need. I knew that I would be facing a terrible situation, but I was prepared for the complete devastation.”
people. He says he is astonished by the ways those affected express their pain: with some crying out in despair while others sing hymns to raise their spirits. Doctors in Haiti are forced to use make shift supplies because of the scarce amount available. For example, Govil used Invanz, “an antibiotic that has not been used In the US for many years,” to treat the nine-year-old boy. At the end of every week, the American Doctors receive a package of basic necessities from the Army Headquarters. “You realize the true value of something as simple as a pillow when you do not have one,” says Govil. “We are lucky enough that it has not rained yet. The weather is about 90 degrees and very humid. Sleeping for minutes on sleeping bags is the least we can do.” The
Donations reach staggering amount worldwide by CHRISTINA MATTINA Staff Writer Communities, celebrities and nations around the world, moved by the plight of Haitians, donate and organize fundraisers to give aid to the ailing country. A massive 7.0-magnitude earthquake struck Haiti on January 12, about 16 miles away from Port-auPrince, the capital. Haiti lies in ruins, with casualties rising quickly. Haiti, the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, needs aid to rescue survivors and rebuild cities. Student groups such as Student Council, French Honor Society and the Environmental Club, along with individual students, have been touched by the images of devastation. They took it upon themselves to make a difference by raising money. Student Council and French Honor society sold bracelets benefiting the nation. The Environmental Club hosted a bake sale after school on February 3. Students made snacks and sold them, donating the proceeds to Haiti relief. Juniors Theresa Lin and Kuldeep Yadav sold t-shirts to help Haiti. “I designed t-shirts online,” says Lin. “They say ‘Help Rebuild Haiti’. I am hoping that many students buy them.”
The shirts sell for $10, of which five dollars is sent to aid Haiti. As of February 1, Lin and Yadav raised $475. Donations have poured out from across the world as news of the devastation in Haiti spreads. People looking to give $10 to the Red Cross can text the word ‘HAITI’ to 90999. Spokesman Roger Lowe says on the Red Cross website that between 15 and 20 percent of the total donations have been through text. As of February 4, over 37 million dollars had been donated through texts to the Red Cross, according to MediaPost.com. President Barack Obama has pledged that the United States would donate $100 million. Great Britain donated $32 million, and China promised $13 million. Former presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton have established the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund at President Obama’s suggestion. Clinton also serves as the United Nations special envoy to Haiti. The New York Yankees have donated $500,000 to relief efforts, and Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt have donated a million dollars to Doctors without Borders. Oprah Winfrey also donated a million dollars to relief efforts. Wyclef Jean, a Haitian-American singer and humanitarian, is col-
lecting money via texts for his Yele foundation to help Haiti. Along with Diddy, Queen Latifah, Justin Bieber and Mary J. Blige, former President Bill Clinton spoke out to help raise funds for relief aid during BET’s “SOS- Save ourselves—Help for Haiti” telethon and concert. Jean, along with George Clooney and Anderson Cooper, organized a fundraising telethon called “Hope for Haiti Now” which aired on all major channels on January 23. The star-studded event inspired people to donate over $67 million. Miley Cyrus joined other celebrities, including Britney Spears, to auction items on eBay. Cyrus told People, “Ever since the earthquake, I have been trying to do my part to help the people of Haiti- and I want to do more.” The auction will feature items such as tickets to Hugh’s Jackman’s next movie premiere, Whoopi Goldberg’s tennis shoes and Demi Lovato’s tour wardrobe. The proceeds will go to the American Red Cross. The dire situation in Haiti will take years to fix and thanks to the generous donations of people world-wide, Haiti will one day be rebuilt. Additional reporting/Anupali Bewtra
ONE VICTIM AT A TIME Doctors from across the world come together to perform surgeries for Haitian victims.
After arriving at Port-au-Prince, Dr. Govil had less than 24 hours to report to the US embassy. He says, “There were no hospitals set up. Patients were outside on lawns in puddles of blood with bodily extremities scattered around. This is the worst disaster possible to a third-world country.” Govil will stay in Haiti for six to eight months to help the Haitian
difficult circumstances make a challenging situation even harder. According to Dr. Govil, it is very stressful and the chaotic situation will continue for months as the country rebuilds. Govil says, “I think we have all learned from this event. Appreciate what you have and love one another as much as possible. One never knows what tomorrow may bring.”
Telethon raises 67 million
Wyclef Jean, along with George Clooney and Anderson Cooper, organized a fundraising telethon called “Hope for Haiti Now” which aired on 32 channels on January 23, making it the most widely-aired telethon in history. The star-studded event, which included performers such as Rihanna, Beyoncè, Taylor Swift, Coldplay and Madonna, inspired people to donate over $67 million.