Monroe Falcon Monroe Township High School | 1629 Perrineville Road |Monroe Twp., New Jersey, 08831 | Vol. IX Issue 5 | March 14, 2008
Daytop rehabilitation facility brings new life Giving to patients teens the
By Brittany Horowitz has fallen apart.” whole process has become almost Executive Edito For many people who are not effortless. r substance abusers, the idea of an Father Hennen says the first sign The road to recovery can adolescent becoming addicted to of adolescents’ fall into substance be a journey that demands drugs and/or alcohol might seem abuse is when their academic determination and strength, and for some substance abusers, choosing to go down that road seems unimaginable, until now. A dream became reality in New York in 1963 when Father William O’Brien and Dr. Daniel Casriel opened the first Daytop Substance Abuse Program. Ever since then, the program has expanded all over the United States and to over sixty countries, but most importantly, it has reached people in need throughout the world. In New Jersey, Daytop’s treatment is designed specifically for adolescents by creating a “therapeutic community” concept. This systematic approach helps adolescents understand why and how they become addicts. In this structure, the program creates an “ideal family” environment in which residents feel comfortable and capable of motivating themselves and others to overcoming their addictions. Photo/ Elena Lobello By making the program family- Daytop Coordinator Joseph Hennen speaks passionately about the program he helped build, and make it what it based, Daytop allows their is today. clients to rebuild their lives in more than one area. The program confusing. The question in many career begins to suffer. First a prefers to treat residents “as a minds is: why do adolescents student’s grades might drop, then whole,” so when they reenter the do drugs? The answer is actually the student might skip a class or world, they are more prepared quite simple: because they are two, and then the student might to resist drugs and go on to live available. In a world where over- drop out all together. productive lives. Reverend Joseph the-counter drugs and parents’ As adolescents progress into Hennen, Vice President and prescription medicines are easily the world of addiction, their Executive Director of Daytop’s accessible, adolescents no longer actions become more severe until Mendham location, is the bedrock have to sneak around to find a someone or something steps in to of the facility. He says, “Daytop drug dealer. The local pharmacy help. Residents of Daytop are not re-parents the child. It treats the or their own home becomes the committed by law; it is a choice. whole person after their whole life grounds for “getting high,” so the The intensive residential program
relies on the client’s desire to beat the addiction, and because it is a voluntary program, there are no locks to hold anyone inside. Many people are unaware of the emotional strain substance abuse can have on a person, especially a young adult. If a child begins using drugs at age eleven, the emotional growth abruptly ends. The now seventeen or eighteen year old is nothing more than a young child in an older body. Daytop’s program addresses this with intensive individual and group counseling, socializing, and educational programs. There are four cardinal rules: no alcohol or drugs, no violence, no sexual activity with another resident or employee, and always remember that the facility is voluntary. Daytop also has what it calls “Unwritten Philosophies,” which are basic ideas that residents must keep in mind while going about daily activities, such as, “What goes around comes around,” and, “Trust in your environment.” By having these guidelines in place for clients, Daytop is creating boundaries that cannot be crossed, which inevitably teaches the adolescents how to follow rules in and out of the program. When clients arrive at Daytop, their primary concern is only one thing: themselves. However, during the 3-12 month stay, Reverend Hennen leads the fight for the “surrender” and rebuilding of each client’s life. It is not until the realization and embracing of omnipresent inner strengths and weaknesses that true rehabilitation begins. Daytop helps residents by incorporating
Cont’d on page 4
The beauty behind the struggle Immanuelle Amofah sets the record straight
By Crystal Cordero Staff Writer Society tends to envision Africa as an uncivilized continent in a state of disarray. The media contributes to the portrayal of Africa as an AIDS infested, endemically famished, violent, and impoverished nation. These misconceptions are presented to the public from a one-sided standpoint which only depicts poverty and dysfunction. MTHS junior, Immanuelle Amofah, a native of Ghana, Africa, sets the record straight with her candid
Pg. 2-3: School News Pgs. 4-5: Features Pg. 6: Special Features-Darfur Pg. 7: Features Pgs. 8-9: Opinion/Editorial Pg: 10: Entertainment Pgs. 11: Humor Pg. 12: Sports
Q u i c k T a k e s
online interview. Q: Does Africa mainly consist of deserts and jungles? A: There is much more to Africa than just jungles and deserts. Yes indeed there is the Sahara desert, but aside from that there are many modern and urban cities all throughout Africa. Q: Do all people in Africa belong to tribes? A: As nations in Africa have become more developed, the importance and distinction of tribes has been
diminishing. People see themselves more as belonging to countries, rather than to tribes. For example, you would describe yourself first as an American citizen, then as a Jersey girl. Q: Does Africa only have huts? A: Africa does have huts in certain parts, such as villages and rural area. However, in the metropolitan areas, certain buildings are simply breathtaking. Marble mansions, beautiful structures comparable to what you’d see in any modern city.
Facing bipartisan criticism, New York governor Eliot Spitzer is struggling to maintain his career after admitting on March 10 to hiring a prostitute. 60 to 70 percent of New Yorkers are calling for his impeachment and/ or resignation.
Q: Do people have extremely contrasting eating habits from Americans? A: Yes, people eat different cuisines in Africa, such as peanut soup, fufu, waakye, and other delicious and spicy ethnic dishes. Q: How does it affect you when people assume that every family in Africa is poor? A: It is very hurtful and damaging to hear
Cont’d on page 4
On April first and second, Third Eye Blind will be playing at the Starland Ballroom in Sayreville, N.J.
green light By Amanda Sedlmayer and Sean O’Connor Staff Writer and Editor Future drivers cringe at the possibility of a driving age increase, but according to Assemblyman John Wisniewski, “it is unlikely that (the Legislature) will change the driving age.” Pamela Fischer, Chairwoman of the Commission, is anticipating the release of the report, along with the Legislature’s alteration of the laws. Ms. Fischer says, “Safety is a priority,” and the report “will cover a lot of issues.” The greatest impact of the report is to reduce crashes, and includes recommendations designed to influence teen driving legislation. Issued at the end of the month to Governor Jon Corzine, many are anxious for the report. One of the recommendations being considered is an identifier for vehicles driven by teens, along with changing some restrictions, but not the actual age at which licenses are issued. Assemblyman John Wisniewski created the Teen Driver Safety Commission, whose goal is to develop ways to save the lives of teenagers in New Jersey. Asm. Wisneiski explains, “Length and type of restrictions on the license will be different.” The commission was primarily established “to address concerns of the unusually large percentage (of accidents involving teens) not consistent with the population,” says Assemblyman Wisniewski. Members of the Teen Drivers Safety Study Commission were chosen purposely to get angles and opinions of many different people. These people include school administrators, officials from American Automobile Association (AAA), state legislators, as well as a teen driver. The Commission’s mission is to assess teen driving in New Jersey and to make recommendations which, in the long term, will reduce crashes and save lives. After the final report is submitted, the Committee will no longer be in existence. “The Legislature will always be there to reexamine laws and regulations,” says Wisniewski.
The Monroe Falcon Staff salutes the 3,984 American Soldiers killed in Iraq
March 2008 Vol. IX Issue 5
Blowing away the competition
By Ryan Hussey and Kaivan Sattar Executive Editor and Editor-in-Chief
Above ~ Scott Oliva performs an acoustic version of Nelly’s “Hot in Herre.” Above right ~ Alejandro Sosa delivers his slam poetry to the crowd and judges. Right ~ Nick Tanzi performs his beat-boxing and dubbing rap. Below ~ It was truly raining men in the Marasco Center when the ten Mr. Monroe hopefuls entered the room.
Ten hopeful contestants entered the Marasco auditorium at 2:00 P.M. Only one, however, could leave with the crown and title of “Mr. Monroe 2008.” Judge Mr. Robert Byrnes had ten different predictions, one for each contestant, but he foresaw that Billy Domke would be “magically delicious.” And, indeed, it was Mr. Manifesto, known to commoners as Billy Domke, who attained the crown. There was clearly popular support for all of the contestants, however, as each one took and left the stage amid standing ovations and synchronized swooning. Senior hosts, Sydney Normil and Kelsey Schobert, introduced the Mr. Monroe hopefuls as they made their way to the stage for the Formal Wear portion, the Casual Wear portion, the Beach Wear portion, and the muchanticipated Talent Show. The first contestant to display his talent was Mr. All-American, Ryan Brown, escorted by the captivating Carré Tringali. The patriot ran at a pace of a 4:48 mile for two and a half minutes while consuming a McDonald’s cheeseburger. He sported American flag running shorts and warmed up to the Rocky theme song. Mr. Blue Steel, however, was the only contestant to make an earth-shattering scientific advancement during his act. Mike Schoppmann spawned a twin Tady using his “magic box”; he then produced
a school ID that could only be worn by Mr. Madreperla himself. The charming Christine Shatynski was his escort for the night. Mr. Secret Agent Man, Derek Kulper, took command of the stage, demonstrating that he is obviously no stranger to the limelight. His skit involved the largest cast of the night, as Derek fought off a group of ninjas while on a date with his girlfriend, his exquisite escort Erika Stampoulos. Derek defeated all of “The Foot Clan,” including pink-masked Brendan Hodel and “nun-chuck Norris” Fred Waldron. Jeremy Alemany, or Mr. Suave, impressed the crowd with his smooth dance grooves, snaking his way around the stage. With these moves, Jeremy transformed the stage into a sizzling dance floor. His escort was none other than the eye-catching Erica Gullo. Mr. Capitalist, Sean O’Connor, escorted by the excellent Ellie LoBello, then turned the sizzling stage into a frozen pond during his act, heckled off the stage by a mysterious voice. He was truly walking on thin ice, wearing his Uncle Sam suit while reciting his speech from this year’s American Legion Oratorical Contest. The fire returned to the stage with Mr. Latin Heat, Alejandro Sosa, spicing up the contest with slam poetry arriving on stage with his escort, the wonderful Katy Widmer. The stage shook as Mr. Jolly Green Giant strolled past the curtains. Nick Tanzi’s mock-gangster attire made his beat-boxing and rapping all the more stylish. His lovely escort, Katie Lepri, added much pizzazz to Nick’s stage presence. Mr. Scotty 2 Hottie, Scott Oliva, performed an acoustic version of the song “Hot in Herre” by Nelly. He was accompanied by four desirable young female back-up dancers, including his escort, the stunning Nicole Ragucci. Junior Ashley Hyman
also demonstrated her singing prowess, performing the chorus with Scott. Mr. Fantasmagical, Seth Newton, was escorted to the stage by the magnificent Monica Polik, singing the well-known “Build Me Up, Buttercup.” He is used to rocking the stage with his band, The Outof-Towners, and delivered the same during his act. Last up for the talent portion of the show was Billy Domke, or Mr. Manifesto, escorted by the gorgeous Jaclyn Spoleti. Billy reenacted the famous Saturday Night Live skit, “More Cowbell,” with the help of several OoT members and other MTHS students. Billy “played the hell out of” the cowbell during the skit, along with the trumpet, taking the Talent Show out with a bang. After the intermission and performance by Monroe’s dance team, Misters Manifesto, Secret Agent Man, Scotty 2 Hottie, and Capitalist were distinguished from their competitors as finalists. The judges for the night, Ms. Jovanna Quindes, Ms. Lindsay Steuber, Ms. Debra Stapenski, and Mr. Byrnes, looked forward to the talent portion of the show; however, Mr. Byrnes “most anticipated the end” of the show. Known for his grilling inquiries of contestants during the Question-andAnswer period, Mr. Monroe candidates shook in their fancy footwear, hoping to avoid Byrnes’s interrogation. The grueling Question-and-Answer period made the winner immediately clear. “If you could be invisible for a day, what would you do?” asked Mr. Byrnes. The mockingly-trembling Mr. Manifesto shrewdly replied, “Uh… world peace? No, but seriously, what day would it be?” “Groundhog day.” “Yeah, I’d probably mess with the groundhog and make him see his own shadow. Wait, do invisible people have shadows?” Judge Byrnes’s quick response was, “Only invisible groundhogs.” “Yeah, I’d probably just mess with the groundhog.” This was the statement that gave Mr. Manifesto the necessary points to win the competition. On that note, Billy Domke is the only senior in Monroe’s history to have won both the Battle of the Bands and Mr. Monroe. Certainly, he has left his mark on Monroe Township High School.
March 2008 Vol. IX Issue 5
Page 3 Getting back on track A look at MTHS’s Alternate School By Linzy Reid and Kelsey Schobert Staff Writers
Mr. Longo and Analy Ramirez (09) discuss credits, grades, requirements for graduation, and plans for after high school.
Scheduling continues for next year By Brian Spencer Staff Writer Scheduling has arrived and not much time has been wasted as guidance counselors fill their days with appointments to meet with students to discuss which classes they plan on taking for the upcoming year. Freshmen receive course selection books first. Sophomores obtain them next, followed by juniors who receive them last. Ms. Diane Peterson, one of the six guidance counselors, says juniors take the most amount of time because, “juniors need to pick classes that will affect them after graduation.” Scheduling takes a lot of time to complete, giving the guidance department more work to finish. Guidance counselors schedule between eleven to fifteen students each day. “It is the main focus of the office from the end of January until June 30,” says Ms. Peterson. A person may think that the AB block schedule would make the process go quicker. Guidance counselor Mr. Robert Longo says that scheduling is not any easier this year than in previous years with block scheduling in place. Students who are unsure of what they
want to do after high school should take classes, “that will give them variation of experiences,” Peterson says. The most popular electives taken among the student body include, “foods, computers in the business world, materials and methods, and working with children. They are different from normal academic classes and are more hands-on,” she continues. A new process introduced this year insists that a parent must sign the form indicating which classes a student will take for the approaching year. “This is a way to increase communication between guidance counselors and parents,” states Ms. Peterson. Scheduling puts a strain not only on counselors, but also on teachers and students who need to allow students to go in and out of classes constantly. Students then need to make up notes and work in the time missed. A concern among students has always been the fact that they may not be able to take the classes they choose. Instead of taking the original courses, counselors ask students for back-up courses, ensuring students will be able to take something they can tolerate. However, due to block scheduling, “very few students are unable to take their
original classes. Block scheduling gives more time slots to different classes,” says Ms. Peterson. “After programs are handed out, students review their classes, especially their electives,” says Mr. Longo. “I go over electives, credits, and requirements for graduation with my students.” As guidance counselors finish meeting with students, the list of everybody’s name and classes goes to Ms. Critelli, supervisor of guidance. She runs the first master list to see if everything works. The master list takes a few times to be worked on in order for everything to be ready for next year. “I think about future classes and I pick classes to help my credits,” says Sammy McHugh (09). Another concern among students is not being able to keep up with their classes. Sophomore Greg Butta says, “I don’t want to take hard classes.” Tommy Himmelreich (11) says, “I am starting to worry about my grades next year and what I will have to deal with.” With the upcoming year approaching at increasing speed, it is apparent that students have started to think how they will be affected years from now, and are scheduling their classes accordingly.
An outlet for creative expression at the Poetry Café By Crystal Cordero Staff Writer The third annual Poetry Café was held on Thursday, February 28 in the MTHS cafeteria. At 6:00 P.M., thirty-six students of all grade levels occupied the coffee-shop atmosphere of the school’s lunch room, attending the event with intentions of reciting, listening, and discussing poems. Inspired by hopes of “providing a comfortable atmosphere for students
to express themselves as individuals,” Mrs. Fiore, Mrs. Butler, and the Literary Magazine hosted the café. Some guests, including Kervin Attidore, Kimberly Huggins, Danielle Olivo, John Carroll, Mike Schoppmann, Smit Purohit, Caitie Wendel, Brian Arena, Alexis R, Jacob Jose, Lily Kramer, and Mr. Byrnes, recited poems to the enthused audience. Poem topics varied from memories of a loved one, classical love, heartbreak, Mr. Madreperla, and friends. In an interview with Mike Schoppmann,
The Monroe Falcon Staff
Editors-in-Chief: Kaivan Sattar : Natasha Manolas : Matt Steele
Sports: Scott Oliva
Photo: Elena LoBello
Executive Editors: Brittany Horowitz : Ryan Hussey: Alejandro Sosa: Bill Domke
Opinions / Editorials: Sean O’Connor
Design: Kevin Quidor
School News: Sydney Normil
Business Editors: Crystal Cordero Kim Huggins Jimmy Nemeth
Editors Features: Special: Rebecca Clayton News: Katelynn Rusnock In-Depth: Executive Editors
he stated that his poem was influenced by a school writing assignment. As the first reader of the night, he claimed he was nervous and apprehensive. A typical poem takes around twenty minutes for him to write, and has written every day for as long as he can remember. His inspiration, he stated, is Alex Sosa. Ms. Fiore was content with the outcome of the night. The only change she would like to see for next year is for “more students to use this as a creative outlet.”
Humor: Ryan Hussey Entertainment: Christine Schweitzer
Advisor: Sandy Appel-Bubnowski firstname.lastname@example.org
Winners of the Columbia Scholastic Press Association 2007 Bronze Medalist Certificate
Countless rumors spread through the halls of Monroe Township High School regarding life in the Alternate School. Students wonder what really goes on. On Wednesday, February 6, a visit to the Alternate School uncovered the truth behind the rumors. This program offers an alternative to education for students struggling to keep themselves on track in the mainstream. It is designed to help kids develop social, academic, and behavioral skills. The maximum student population in the school is twenty. “The biggest thing we can hope for is that the students manage to get it together and get their diplomas,” says Hudak. Established in 1992, it serves sophomore, junior, and senior students. Freshmen are not immediately accepted because they need time to adjust to high school classes, rules, and policies. The learning space consists of one large classroom, bathroom facilities, and a locker room. Desktop computers are also offered to the students. A sophomore Alternate School student says, “It’s better being in this building, further away from the regular high school, because it’s a lot less distracting for me during classes. I can pay attention easier when I can’t see what everyone else is doing in the halls.” For the few hours we spent in the school, we found life in the Alternate School isn’t all that different from life in the mainstream. Students work very diligently, while Mr. Matt Olszewski teaches Science and Ms. Nicole Butler teaches Language Arts. Other subjects taught are Spanish by Ms. Virginia Gonzalez and Math by Mr. Barton Mix. The same curriculum is followed, as well as rules and block scheduling. Health and Physical Education is included in the program, taught by Mr. Michael Gigliello. In addition, students have the privilege of taking school field trips to bowl, and play activities such as golf. Drivers Education is also part of the students’ schedule. The new block schedule affected the Alternate School students in the same way as the rest of the MTHS population. “Block scheduling made it a little more difficult for the kids because the classes are for too long a time. When we had forty-four minute periods, it was easier because they came, got their work and their lesson and moved on,” says Hudak. All seniors attending the program can still participate with their class during events such as the Senior Picnic and the Senior Brunch. Senior Option and school sports. are also available to the students. Also, just like everyone else, students receive detentions and suspensions when not following MTHS policies. Mr. Hudak wants mainstream students to know that the Alternate School program is a success. He says, “The students here are not stuck. They’re good kids, smart kids; they just have to get themselves back on track.”
Editorial Policy The Monroe Falcon is a school newspaper dedicated to accurate, ethical, and responsible journalism. Letters to the editor are encouraged and should be e-mailed to the editor in-chief at KSATTAR@ACADEMIC.MONROE. K12.NJ.US. All letter are subject to editorial review prior to publication.
March 2008 Vol. IX Issue 5
Rehab ~ cont’d from front page interactive meetings and a variety of seminars, such as anger management. Another key part to the daily structure is its method of discipline. The program WAM (Walking Around Money) is a method of discipline allowing residents to gain privileges by slowly earning in-house money. The intent is for clients to develop communication skills, understanding the importance of responsibility and the consequences of bad decisions. When residents first arrive, they are at the bottom of the work system, but as they improve, they are “promoted” and earn an increased salary each week. Just like any other job, if someone is irresponsible or breaks the rules, there are repercussions which are known as being “fired” or “shot down” in the WAM system. Basically, that person must start all over and begin again. Along with the repercussions of acting badly, there are awards for acting positively. Residents are rewarded with visits to New York City, ice skating trips, and other activities. However, this is a strict system, so everyone has “to give to get in return.” Father Hennen believes a positive environment is pivotal in development and recovery. “In order to get your life together, you have to get your environment together,” he says. Daytop takes hold of that belief by creating a safe and upbeat atmosphere for residents. An enormous part of Daytop’s adolescent program is education. For years, the program had been missing a core part of a young person’s life: school. And, since residents usually stay for about a year, that meant they would miss out on vital instructional time.
About five years ago, the Daytop facility in Mendham was granted permission from the State Department of Education to create a
Photo/ Elena LoBello
Daytop’s Unwritten Philosophies are proudly posted in a classroom for all to see and live by.
private special-education school on campus, which would be the first of its kind in New Jersey. However, due to the fact that the facility’s building did not follow the code, Daytop was given a five year provisional license to construct a new school building. After hard work and willpower, the school is almost done. The ribbon cutting ceremony
The beauty ~ people assume that Africa is so povertystriken. It is a damaging and ignorant statement to make. Q: Is the insinuation that tribes believe in witch-craft and voodoo true? A: Yes, some tribes do believe in witchcraft and voodoo. Every society has a spiritual aspect which its inhabitants hold on to. Although some of the African beliefs contain these elements, the majority of people in certain parts of Africa are of the Christian faith. Q: “Political instability, economically stagnant, and inadequate healthcare” are several prime perceptions upon Africa. How would you disclose these beliefs? A: The media needs to show both the good parts and bad parts of countries so that people do not develop stereotypes about other countries, and so that people can overcome their fears and or inhibitions of Africa, and understand that it is a livable, wonderful place. Q: No law enforcement, governmental manipulation, and absolute chaos are multiple outlooks on Africa’s society. How do you feel about this vision painted about Africa? A: It is ridiculous for anyone to believe that such developed nation-states could exist in chaos. Many presidents of the US visit Africa for leisure and enjoyment. Just recently George Bush himself took a trip to Ghana. Q: In reference to the conjecture that people are never properly clothed, what
is scheduled for May. Once the building is complete, many more opportunities will be open for residents. Better working
conditions and an even more pleasant atmosphere are in store for the students. This is an enormous accomplishment since a large majority of the residents attend school on a daily basis. An aspect of Daytop’s education system that further demonstrates the facility’s dedication to its clients is the way in which
the students receive their diplomas when they graduate. Rather than having “Daytop” printed on the diplomas, students have the school they used to attend printed, so when they go to college or apply for jobs, there are no worries about having people know that the diploma was earned while attending a substance abuse facility. Basically, Daytop tries to look out for its residents when they are in and out of the facility. The program’s residential centers incorporate calm settings that resemble a regular home in which residents help with everyday tasks, such as cooking and cleaning. A usual day for a resident includes eating breakfast, attending meetings and interactive activities, going to school, eating lunch, attending more meetings, going to dinner, having free time, going to group meetings, eating snacks, and then going to bed. Residents are just like other teenagers. They live in an environment in which rules apply and standards must be met, or else consequences will be faced. They are taught about life and how to handle the struggles they will face in the future. But most importantly, they are human, and although they have made mistakes, Daytop has taken action to help them move on past those mistakes. Daytop has become the home for which many people have searched all their lives. Through the program’s understanding of how to help others, it has reached out to countless figures who were once faces in a background. Daytop has allowed its residents to step out from the shadows and become fearless in going down the road that once haunted them.
cont’d from front page
is the typical African attire? A: How is the clothing in Africa? Clothing in Africa is surprisingly much like the US in certain areas. Baby Phat, Akademiks, these are common brands seen in these areas. In some areas also people dress in traditional African wear: long beautiful kentes with head wraps and glamorous beads. Q: How are the school systems? Government system? A: The school system is far more rigid and strict than that of the U.S. In every school, discipline is a very strong aspect. In addition, education has a musty Western approach. It is also very based on learning about the world, and other countries and cultures. Governments in Africa are for the most part democratic. Presidents and government officials are elected, much like in the US. Q: What are some popular leisure activities? A: There is a lot of emphasis on people. In Africa you will meet some of the most friendly and hospitable people. Q: How are the languages/dialects? A: Different countries have different dialects. There are hundreds of languages in Africa, about three main ones per country. In addition to the local dialect, people also speak a main European language such as English or French. Many of Africa’s people are bilingual. Q: How are businesses/shopping centers different from America? A: Outdoor shopping is a big thing in Africa. Stores are generally outside because of the
Photo/ Crystal Cordero
Hard-working Immanuelle Amofah pays close attention during a recent foods class.
beautiful weather. Many businesses center around agriculture. Q: Is it true that all Africans receive little to no health care? A: To a certain extent. A combination of Western medicine and traditional African medicine is used, and the combination produces very good results; sometimes better than just Western medicine alone. Q: Do you have an African role model? Who? A: Yes. Yaa Santwa, a very famous woman in Africa, likeable to George Washington, who stood up against the British and led forces
against them for the right to stay in their land and maintain their African culture. Q: What are the most significant differences between the US and Africa? A: Well, firstly, Africa is a continent with many countries in it. Many misinformed people confuse Africa for only one country. Q: If you could rectify one specific misconception, what would it be and why? A: The misconception that Africa is the world’s needy child: the belief that we are helpless, dirty, covered in flies, and ridden with AIDS.
March 2008 Vol. IX Issue 5
Stepping into modern style Expression through the mind, body, and ‘sole’ By Joey Romanczuk Staff Writer “Sneaks,” “kicks,” “jays,” and “dunks” are all terms describing the latest footwear fashions and obsessions of “sneak heads.” For “Sneaker heads,” the art of collecting limited, rare, and expensive shoes is more then just a lifestyle- it is an addiction. The craze has grown,becoming worldwide. People all over the globe are constantly in search for a new pair of out of the ordinary “dunks” or Jordans. “Why do I buy shoes? It’s my way of keeping in style. When you walk into school with a new pair of hot shoes, people are bound to turn their heads.” Mike Mahmoud (11) feels it is a way to keep in style and up-todate with the latest fads. However, this fad is not cheap. One of a kind shoes made by Nike can range from as little as ninety dollars to as much as $500. The Nike Jordans, on the other hand, can range from as little as $140 to as much as one or two thousand dollars on Ebay or rare websites. With the release of the latest member of the Jordan family, the Air Jordan “XX3s,” Jordans’ popularity has increased dramatically. When the “XX3s” were released, only twenty-three pairs of the shoes were sold to only twentythree stores in order to hype the awaited event. The significance of the number “23” comes from Jordan’s legacy with the Chicago Bulls while wearing the number 23. Shoe collectors marked their calendars, set their alarm clocks, and pitched their tents outside of the stores that would add the
brightest jewel to a shoe collector’s crown. This was not the first time sneaker heads camped out in front of stores for shoes. As ridiculous as it sounds, this happens often. Whenever a new shoe comes out that many people crave, crowds gather outside stores hoping to obtain it. Usually on its release
athletes backing certain types of shoes, sneaker fashion is here to stay. When the Air Jordan first came out, a director by the name of Mars Blackmon started to film commercials with himself and Michael Jordan to advertise his shoes. From his commercials, the phrase “It’s got to be the shoes!” was forever linked with Nike and Mars Blackmon. Converse also signed a contract with NBA Heat star Dwayne Wade. Nike is not the only shoe company to have unique shoes everyone wants. Adidas is another company that sells limited edition shoes. The “Halfshells” are an Adidas shoe that uses graffiti to show love for various localities. Every version of Half-shells are made specifically Photo/Joey Romanczuk Just a few of Joey Romanczuk’s (‘11) twenty eight pairs of sneakers. for a different city. With everyone wanting date, the sneaker will be sold out or sold on the latest shoes, it was about time that the Ebay at a higher price. Brendan Weems, a sneaker craze moved into Monroe Township. freshman, feels it is okay to spend over $300 When walking through the hallway, it is easy to notice an individual with a pair of on a single pair, as long as they are rare. Thanks to Ebay and a plethora of websites shoes never seen before. “It’s an addiction. focusing on unique shoes, shoes that are It really is. Once you get one pair, you can’t released in only a few places are now stop,” Shiv Kanwar, a sophomore at MTHS available all over the world. says. Most people feel the same way, calling After the XX3s sold out, most pairs were it an addiction, a way to express oneself, or sold on Ebay for thousands of dollars a way to “stay fly,” according to Chris Grant, over the retail price. Other sites, such as a junior who has over thirty pairs of shoes pickyourshoes.com, allow customers to buy and spends up to $250 on each pair. Shoe collecting is the latest way to “lighten limited Nikes and Air Jordans for close to the original price. For instance, instead of up your wardrobe,” according to Mike Walp going out to a major city to buy the latest (11). When you throw the variety of colors foot fashion, customers can buy them online and textures together and add a pair of laces for a few extra bucks. and creative logo, not only is there a shoe Sneakers have become mainstream. With that everyone will want, but also the roots magazines such as “Sneaker Freaker” and of self-expression.
IDK my BFF Jill Texting temptations trouble teens By Sharvari Patel and Jill Shah Staff Writers
Fast, easy, convenient- sending and receiving brief text messages captivates thousands of teenagers. Monroe Township High School students use class time to communicate with friends. This causes a disturbance in class with teachers and other students. According to market research company Teenage Research Unlimited of Northbrook, 45% of Americans aged 12-19 own cell phones. In addition, 37% of teen cell users text message, with numbers rising exponentially each year. In school, students choose places to text message wisely. These places include bathrooms, locker rooms, lunch periods, and classes, any places away from teacher supervision. Students send messages by memorizing keys and putting cell phones on vibrate mode. A MTHS freshman who chooses to remain anonymous says, “Many students choose to text because it is simply fun to receive and respond to a text message.”
Other reasons can include communicating with friends and spreading any essential news to them. However, not everyone feels text messaging sends a positive message towards students. Vice principal, Mr. Scott Madreperla, believes text messaging has become one major issue in MTHS and has “a logical effect upon students’ grades.” “Texting is not allowed in high school, including MTHS. Texting is a negative force working against a positive climate,” says
Mrs. Debra Sundstrom. Teachers’ regular complaints forced the Board of Education to enforce stricter laws in 2007 on text messaging. Previously, teachers gave students warnings if discovered text messaging. Now, written in the Code of Conduct, the official policy on text messaging states teachers must confiscate students’ cell phones and directly give detention. Text messaging also plays a significant part in car accidents. Thousands of drivers text message while driving and pay little attention to the road. According to a AAA study, 46% of teenagers admit to texting while driving. An eighteen-year-old Richard Tatum faced a head-on collision with a cement truck due to texting while driving. Tatum now suffers from fatal injury in both legs and chest as reported by ABC News. Text messaging has defined the lives of the new generation. In schools or while driving, teenagers text without realizing the harm they are causing.
Speaking of which…. By Rebecca Clayton Editor The end of my junior year approaches and ‘tis the season to start getting serious about college. College searches have me going nuts, and it is time to crack down and start figuring it all out. I find myself almost afraid to talk to my fellow juniors. Many of them have already scheduled college visits. COLLEGE VISITS! I do not even know where to look. There are so many choices and decisions to make. I tried all those college matchmaker sites that pop up when the words “college search” are typed into Google. Each one tells me something different. One tells me that the University of Texas is right for me, and then another says that some random college I have never heard of is a perfect match. How am I supposed to know where to go if Google cannot help me? Google is supposed to be like duct tape- it fixes everything. One main issue that arises when I search for my perfect school is distance. I am the type of person who can adapt to any environment; naturally, I want to try someplace new. Ideally, I want to go far from home. States that appeal to me vary from Kentucky to Texas to Massachusetts. Going away to college is far more expensive than staying at home and going to Middlesex County College. My parents are trying to convince me to consider that option, but I am not quite sold. Though I know all the benefits of this option (saving lots and lots of cash), I still have my heart set on going far from home. I will take out as many student loans as I need in order to make my dream a reality. Ah, student loans. They are another thing to think about. Colleges are sooooo expensive- thousands upon thousands of dollars. I suppose that I am too pampered from the amazing free education of public school. Public schools loan us books for free, and we can live at home at the expense of our parents while attending them. Soon, that will change. Tuition is not the only expense at college. Books cost hundreds and room and board cost thousands. Thank goodness my parents do not make me pay them thousands of dollars to stay in my room at home. This is all so overwhelming and scary. In a short year, in twelve short months, I, along with every other junior, will have to make a huge decision. Hopefully, we will all make the decision that is best for us.
March 2008 Vol. IX Issue 5
Special Feature: Darfur
The voiceless are heard
Monroe Falcon staff enlightened at International Conference on Human Rights at Kean By Alejandro Sosa and Kaivan Sattar Executive Editor and Editor-in-Chief Photos by Elena LoBello “By inviting me here today, you have given me the chance to be the voice for the voiceless. My name is Simon Deng, and I am from Sudan.” Simon Deng, a Sudanese refugee enslaved as a child, addressed a group of nearly 1,000 students, teachers, and activists as they attend the International Conference on Human Rights at Kean University. Among other notable speakers, Deng spoke at the conference to “inform America that slavery is not a thing of the past.” “I didn’t have friends. My friends were my hope and my patience. I hoped that one day, somebody would realize that no child should have to go through what I went through. “Some say one and a half million have been killed in Darfur, but what do these numbers matter when we’re talking about one human life?” he continued. Activists across the globe are encouraging awareness of the ongoing genocide in Darfur, Sudan. Steven Spielberg recently resigned from his position as creative director of the opening sequence of the Beijing Olympics because of China’s purported economic support of Arab militants in Sudan. The first genocide of the new century began nearly five years ago; this title refers to the genocide in Darfur, Sudan. On February 15, the International Conference on Human Rights was held for the second year at Kean University. The Monroe Falcon editing staff attended hoping to gain insight on this matter. Kean’s contributions to awareness of genocide and human rights violations place the institution at the forefront of the field; it is the only major university in the area to have a human rights institute. As we entered the auditorium at Kean University, we realized that this was a serious conference and not merely a gathering of high schools, as most field trips entail. College students, professors, local activists, and politicians attended. Dr. Dawood Farahi, president of Kean University, introduced the conference. “We hope to open your eyes to the crisis in Darfur and to awaken your sense of justice,”
he said, setting the mood for the conference. “Each day is a struggle to survive. Each night is full of fear for the people in Darfur.” The president informed us he was native to Afghanistan, a country whose population has been displaced for decades. He gave the startling figure that one in every three refugees in the world are Afghani. Following Dr. Farahi, Keynote speaker and New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof attested to the horrors he personally encountered on trips to Darfur. His investigative reports exposed racial violence in the region to the world. Slideshows of refugees and victims in Darfur, dominated by graphic images of injured women and children, provoke sympathy from the audience. There was an audible gasp when Kristof describes how, “A man’s eyes were pulled out… his daughter was at the foot of the bed, watching him. She wanted to love him, but all she saw was a monster.” “It literally broke my heart.” He stated that the purpose of the conference was to “shock the American public out of complacency and galvanize them into action.” Responding to criticism against the Bush administration for supposed apathy towards Darfur, Kristof says, “I am often critical of Bush, but the truth is, he has done more than most other leaders. Tony Blair, for example, had a good plan but did very little.” The Bush administration notably spearheaded an effort in 2005 to stimulate a global agreement to end the ongoing wars in Sudan. Finally, Kristof spoke of the futility of aiding Darfur. The violence there can only be stopped through education; while food supplements are necessary to keep Sudanese victims alive, they do not create permanent change. Sudan is also difficult to enter and
traveling within its borders is restricted, as well. This raises the question, what meaningful change can citizens of other countries achieve in Darfur? Dr. Jerry Ehrlich, a former member of the humanitarian group Doctors Without Borders, displayed pictures drawn by Sudanese children. During his stay in the region, Ehrlich illegally provided sick children with crayons and paper. Encouraging the children to draw “whatever they wished,” Ehrlich hid the drawings in between the pages of a Sunday edition of the New York Times and smuggled them back to America. He auctioned them and donated the proceeds to the Darfur relief fund. He has treated the wounds of many Sudanese, encountering third degree burns and treating complex injuries with inferior equipment. Perhaps one of the most emotional moments of the conference occurred during the question and answer session following Dr. Ehrlich’s address. Salifu Kamara is a survivor from a civil war in Sierra Leone. When he stood up to speak to Dr. Ehrlich, he stated that his main desire was to be trained as a doctor so he could return
to Africa and teach others to practice; in this way, he said he could help Africa to help itself as well as take some pressure off of DWB. Kamara emigrated to the U.S. in March 2007 and his acclimation to American culture has been turbulent. Reeling with the day’s events and impassioned by a hard and resolute knowledge, the Falcon staff left Kean University that day just slightly more aware than when it entered.
(Above-right) Simon Deng, a former Sudanese child slave, gives an emotional and gripping account of his tumultuous childhood. (Right) The International Conference on Human Rights at Kean University on February 15 raised awareness of the Darfur struggle. (Center) Dr. Jerry Ehrlich provides pictures drawn by actual children in Darfur when asked to draw pictures of their homes. (Below) The New York Times two-time Pulitzer Prize winning columnist Nicholas Kristof speaks to a large audience at the International Conference on Human Rights at Kean University.
March 2008 Vol. IX Issue 5
The ‘recycle’ of life By Brittany Horowitz Executive Editor Taking protesting to a new level, people have begun to live what are known as “Freegan lifestyles,” which utilize alternative ways of living that limit the amount of involvement in the conservative economy as well as consumption of resources. Basically, a Freegan lives an anti-consumerism life. Starting in the 1990s, Freeganism has erupted into a worldwide protest that goes even further than the vegan lifestyle. After years of protesting “unethical” behavior such as animal testing and environmental destruction, Freegans decided to go even further. By combining the words “free” and “vegan,” their image was born. Freegans oppose materialism, greed, conformity, and a number of other ideas which affect the way in which they follow their daily routines. The major difference between Freegans’ lives and the average lifestyle are their eating habits. Many Freegans partake in the activity known as “dumpster diving” or “urban foraging,” which entails rummaging for food in the garbage bins of supermarkets, restaurants, and other establishments. By eating food found in the garbage, Freegans are able to avoid spending money on products that support the exploitation of natural resources. Freegans do not eat rotten food; they find food thrown away before its expiration date. Consumers are constantly disposing of still edible food, so Freegans have taken it upon themselves to find the wasted food
in order to feed the hungry. Due to the amount of food Freegans find while looking through the garbage, they support the idea that people can be fed by what is found in the trash. Freegan support groups, such as Food Not Bombs, recover wasted food and create meals for public benefit as well. Other items Freegans find while rummaging include kitchenware, appliances, CDs, furniture, games, clothes, and more. In order to prevent even more waste, events such as “Really, Really Free Markets” and “Freemeets” are held. People attend these events to share different materials with other attendees, but most importantly, never exchange money. When Freegans need to buy different items, they choose secondhand goods, which promotes reusing and reduces wastefulness. They choose to repair goods rather than to purchase something new and scrupulously recycle. To eliminate pollution, Freegans ride bicycles, walk, skate, and hitchhike. Freegans also protest that people are homeless while buildings remain boarded up because landlords and city officials cannot earn a profit from them. Freegans become squatters, which are people who renovate abandoned structures. Many of the buildings squatters help restore become community centers for a variety of programs, such as environmental education. By living in a way that eliminates the need for money, Freegans are able to express themselves in a different manner. Freegans have led a revolution in protesting and their actions are making an impression on the environment.
‘Freegan support groups, such as Food Not Bombs, recover wasted food and create meals for public benefit as well.’
Road rules: a real world challenge By Maureen Nolan and Gina Anania Staff Writers
First-time drivers usually find themselves contemplating two thoughts: “Awesome! I finally have my license!” and “What do I do next?” Many 17-year-olds who recently have been seated behind the wheel find themselves with these two thoughts. No longer is it a matter of passing the driving test, but more so, it is an issue of what kind of car one will be driving. An ideal situation plays in teens’ minds in which they visualize getting their first car. This is where the “What do I next?” comes in. After surveying students at Monroe, it seems that more students received rather than earned their first cars. Out of eighty students surveyed, only twenty-five paid fully for their own cars. Fifteen students helped their parents pay for their cars or are currently paying them back. The overwhelming number is the fifty students surveyed who were given cars. While not all of these cars were sensationally expensive, there were a handful of students whose first cars cost up to $25,000. Most of the surveys show that the more expensive the car, the more likely parental assistance was involved. Deals on Wheels, a car dealership in East Brunswick, understands the romanticism that surrounds getting your first car. “Teens look for sports cars, usually ones with four doors so they can fit all their friends,” says president Frank Pellegrini. “They buy with their hearts, not their heads.” Pellegrini recommends a Japanese or domestic car as opposed to European cars, on the basis that European cars are harder
and consequently more costly to repair. He went on to explain the importance of asking the dealership’s mechanic to look at the car on the lot before making the final purchase. His final tip for troubled teens looking for transportation is “Simplicity is key when buying used cars.” Gina provides an excellent example of the stresses of compromising with parents about the first car. Both Maureen and Gina’s stories overlap with stress, arguments, and definitely the use of the helpful car site, AutoTrader. com. Gina’s story A license can be one of two things: a ticket to freedom or a plastic card. For a while, my license was just that, a card, because I was not fortunate enough to be surprised with a brand new Mercedes topped with a bow on my seventeenth birthday. Eventually, I received a car, but not without a lot of stress,
arguments, and compromise. I was fortunate enough to not have to pay for my first car, but because of my parents’ generosity, it was their way or the highway (or more suitable: the sidewalk). At first, they tried to bring me to used car lots, and let me walk around to get an idea of what I wanted- that was a bad idea. Conflicts arose and I knew there had to be an easier way. I went home and searched for a solution. I came across a website called AutoTrader, and it lifted a huge weight off of my parents’ and my shoulders. The website searches for cars on every basis imaginable: price, transmission style, safety features, and even the color. This allowed me to search for a car that fit my parents’ wallet. AutoTrader also allowed me to print fact sheets on the cars that appealed to me, and I was able to give them to my parents to review. They followed up on the cars they liked and eventually purchased my first car. Unknown to many teenagers is the struggle of acquiring the first car, especially
when looking for something specific. Trying to find a car that both me and my parents agreed on took over two months, and let me tell you, it was not easy. It takes patience and team work to find a reliable, reasonable car. Maureen’s story The difference in our two stories lies in one small detail: I’m not receiving anything. Responsibility remains one of my mother’s top priorities. She has always been a firm believer in working for what one wants, thus making it more valuable… or something like that. Regardless, she was tickled with the idea that I even inquired about a car from her. Really though, she actually laughed. I was told on my seventeenth birthday that if I want something, I need to work for it. Working for a car is one of the toughest things I have ever done. Aside from the fact that I am working a minimum wage job on weekends, during the week I tutor and babysit for money. However this, as instructed by mommy dearest, always comes second to school and my “extracurriculars.” For many Monroe students, this is the case. As a teen, it is complicated to maintain sanity while living up to a set number of priorities and goals. It is also difficult to raise the money and then still face the agony that accompanies shopping for a car. Research is key. And, even though I don’t currently have the money for much more than an engine, I still began researching, so I know exactly what I want when I have enough cash to acquire the car of my dreams. Do not allow working for a car to discourage the hunt; with hard work and the use of tips from this article, finding a reasonable car will almost be as simple as passing the road test.
March 2008 Vol. IX Issue 5
Page 8 A different kind of choice By Alejandro Sosa Executive Editor
The much-beloved Skate Park closes its gates to the public.
Photo/ Christine Schwietzer
ATTENTION ALL REC-RATS!
Rumors Confirmed: The skate park at the Monroe Township community center is torn down By: C.C Schweitzer Entertainment Editor/Past Generation Rec-Rat Any accusations heard of the skate park at the Monroe Township recreational center being taken down have been confirmed. Just a few weeks ago, when deconstruction of the tremendously loved park commenced, many young skaters and bikers were left standing in the parking lot reading the green “no skating” sign. But don’t worry, present generation RecRats because according to rec center staff, the park will only be “temporarily taken down,” and an addition will be added on to the rec center. This altercation consisting of adding a second gym, more meeting rooms, a weight room, a cardio room, and an extension of the parking lot is sure to please the entire township. Well, except the skaters and bikers of course. Also, for information, any rumors heard on a pool being added along with this extension are completely and utterly false (so don’t get your hopes up). “We disagree one hundred percent!”
boldly exclaims sophomore and skate park regular Alex Murphy. “I believe they should at least temporarily relocate the park for us, not out it in storage! Spring is coming and we want to skate!” another Monroe Township recreation center regular, Matt Schweitzer alleged. The total estimated time for the rec center to be under construction is said to be about a year and a half. Skaters, bikers, and any other “Rec Rats” can be assured that when this time is up, the skate park will be up and running for use again in almost the same place it was before. It will be set just a little further back into the picturesque wooded scenery behind the community center due to the addictions. As a past generation “Rec-Rat” myself, it irks me to have to be the bearer of bad news in letting all of you Rec-Rats in the know. Now, you won’t be skating on Monmouth Road for a while. As a substitute, you can head on over to the skate park at Jamesburg’s middle school, GMB, or the well-known (and much bigger) Sayreville skate park. Just be patient; you’ll get your park back bigger and better than you left it.
The idea that there are certain freedoms guaranteed in America is one upon which our country has been built. These rights include the freedoms to choose any religion we desire, speak freely, and, most importantly, to live our lives in the pursuit of life, liberty, and happiness, regardless of our skin color or gender. Why should only these rights be protected? Certainly, there should also be a right to due process regardless of sexuality. The concept of gay marriage is not new to American society; it is widely contested and viewed as a debauchery and an attack on the institution of marriage itself by many conservative groups. However, that question should be left to the churches. If the government were to legislate gay marriage as illegal, it would be inextricably binding the government to Christian values which would violate the idea of the separation of church and state. Marriage should, in the government’s eyes, merely consist of the rules and regulations regarding the tax status of couples who live together and share utilities. Homosexuals, which is a general term that includes both gay males and lesbian females, who live together are being denied the rights and privileges that other couples enjoy due merely to their sexuality. Many citizens believe in the slippery slope theory, that allowing homosexuals to get married could open the door for all kinds of strange alternatives; however, if making gay marriage legal could exponentially increase the moral decay of the country, could making gay marriage illegal not lead to the exponential ethical decay of our government? The idea of ethics varies from institution to institution, just as ethics vary from religion to religion. The government’s sense of ethics includes such principles as if one were to apply the slippery slope theory to
legislation, then illegalizing gay marriage could then lead to other “moral legislations”, and, ultimately, end by indirectling national religion, something that the Founding Fathers would have vehemently opposed. Of course many of these arguments depend on different perspectives, such as whether homosexuality is inherent from birth or it is a choice. In either case, it is indefensible not to allow for a union of homosexuals. Assuming that homosexuality is a choice, it is a lifestyle choice that affects the manner in which Americans live every day of their lives. Americans also chose what religion to follow. There are millions of converted citizens in America who have decided to change religions based on what feels right to them. If we grant these citizens the freedom to marry in religions they were not born, into why should we, as a democratic nation, not allow homosexuals who choose their lifestyle the same liberty? Perhaps a stronger argument would follow the idea that homosexuality is inherent from birth. The idea that a citizen’s rights in America should be limited due to the condition in which they were born is outrageous. If America were to act this way towards homosexuals, it could also then justify racism and intolerance, and certainly discrimination against homosexuals is not uncommon. In the United States, the FBI reported that for 2006, hate crimes against gays increased to 16% from 14% in 2005, as percentages of total documented hate crimes across the US. The 2006 annual report, released on November 19, 2007, also said that hate crimes based on sexual orientation are the third most common type, behind race and religion. At this point, it would only seem logical that a country considered to be as socially advanced as America could learn to see beyond the pews and congregations and finally begin to take steps toward equality, rather than away from it.
Purging the truth about body image By Rebecca Cheng and Rebecca Jones Staff Writers Girls are constantly haunted by the voices in their heads that scream lies and deceit about their images. Whether it is the media, society, or personal relationships, the false idea of keeping a dress-size figure is instilled into insecure minds. The old idea of being true to yourself and loving your body has been tossed out the window, replaced with the obsession of keeping the weight off and staying thin. The media is the main influence that pressures
MTHS girls to remain or become thin. The ultra thin bodies of models continuously pasted on television have become the blueprint for young girls. Vogue, the top-selling fashion magazine, promotes highly-desired products, couture clothing and accessories, and top-selling designers that rarely show full-figure women. Advertisements like this neglect to insert women with beautiful curves to sell the designers’ creations, causing girls to believe that this is how bodies should look. Along with the bombardment of skinny women on the covers of magazines, society compels girls to stay underweight. The feeling of being accepted in the world seems more significant than staying healthy. Maintaining the weight of the “status quo” lies heavier on the hearts of girls today. “Many girls think that the girl next to them is way prettier and they need to look the same way in order to be pretty too,” says MTHS junior Alex Waksmundzki. Even if the cost is destroying their bodies, the loss of weight is all worth it. Family and home life are other sources
that exert pressures. The unconditional love from parents and siblings can have an even greater impact on self esteem because their support and opinions play a bigger role in teens. When there is a feeling of denial, self worth and acceptance decreases. Pleasing others is often the primary reason girls stress and worry about their weight. Allowing a boyfriend or clique to determine their self worth is now becoming more common among teenage girls. Instead of embracing the soon-to-come summer months, girls are dreading being seen in a “hideous” bathing suit that shows all of their miniscule “flaws”. Bathing suit shopping isn’t the only shopping bringing worried faces to many teenage girls. Once an awaited event, prom dress shopping has turned into a search for the dress that conceals girls’ less than perfect bodies instead of selecting a dress that allows them to feel glamorous. Teenage girls are willing to do whatever it takes in order to fit into the perfect dress. When interviewed, an anonymous MTHS girl states her true feelings about the preparation for prom. “Absolutely, I work
out every night, doing crunches and lifting weights so I can fit into a good dress.” Besides the honor of “skinny” jeans fitting too snuggly, there are serious damages that come along with the obsession of maintaining a “perfect” weight. Eating disorders are common among teenage girls. According to kidshealth.org, “Most girls who develop anorexia do so between the ages of 7 and 14. With this severe illness striking the younger generations, a stop to the ‘skinny’ epidemic must occur sooner rather than later.” Bulimia is also a dangerous eating disorder that must be put to a stop. Damaged teeth and gums and sores in the mouth and throat are the unflattering symptoms of this eating disorder women are willing to deal with in order to have a flattering body, also risking death. More and more women are focusing on their small imperfections and ignoring their beauty. They beat and abuse their bodies instead of accepting what they have and treating themselves with respect. Girls need to learn to adore their flaws, strengths, and dress sizes.
March 2008 Vol. IX Issue 5
A hard habit to break By Theresa Lin Staff Writer Sophomore, S. L. willingly describes her experience while cheating on a test. “He took my paper; he told me I got a zero. He gave me the same test to retake. He took ten points off, but I still got a ninety; I remembered all the answers.” Not taking the consequences to heart, she continues to cheat, well aware of the negative effects that result from disobeying school policy. Research from the Educational Testing Service says, “[Cheating] peaks during high school when about 75% of students admit to academic misgivings.” Three quarters of students confess that most cheating occurs in high school. The statistics show an increase in cheating from preschool to kindergarten and again from elementary school to middle school, accrediting the rise of cheating to the simultaneous increase of difficulty in academic topics. Simple addition becomes complex algebratoo frustrating to learn. Students choose to never learn it at all and rely on cheating as the only option to escape their dilemma.
A freshman boy confesses, “I cheat on tests more now than I ever did in middle school… I guess it’s because I’m too lazy to study and the material’s harder.” Another freshman boy agrees and adds, “When you have to take notes from a textbook at home, and you copy it from someone else, you’re not learning anything.” Under the pressure, students turn to outside sources to get answers they cannot provide for themselves. If cheating continues beyond high school, it will prevail in college, where the severity of adult consequences, like expulsion, will be given to students who were previously accustomed to minor detentions in high school. Beyond college, offices and hospitals can potentially be run by professionals who cheated their way through years of school without learning anything. Using methods such as “slipping papers,” a sophomore girl who chooses to remain anonymous says she successfully exchanges answers without any remorse or repercussions for her actions. “I think it’s fun to help other people out. You can get help later on in return. You’re never going to use half the stuff you learn,
anyway. The only reason you learn is to get good grades.” Although she worries about getting caught, she ultimately does not let the fear prevent her from further cheating. She believes her teachers never bother to suspect her of such misconduct. She recalls a specific incident, calling it “genius,” in which she “wrote all the answers to the true and false answers” on her wrist and thereafter showed it to a nearby friend. Other students would rather not take the chance of possibly receiving severe consequences. Lisa Shatynski (09) says, “I don’t want to get caught, I don’t want to have a record.” She reasons, “My teachers will have more trust in me by not cheating.” Whether students choose to cheat in high school or supply their own answers, research proves the choices children made as students will be hard habits to break as adults.
Standardized testing: a rite of passage By Bill Domke Executive Editor The week of March 3 was possibly the best week of school a senior could have (schedulewise). One normal day at the beginning and end of the week had to be endured, but when compared to the pleasures that Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday brought, this was but a pestering nuance. Of course, there is no such thing as everyone being content. Someone must pay for another’s happiness, and this was the case for the MTHS sophomores and juniors who found themselves stuck in the high school at 7:27 in the morning taking NJ PASSs and HSPA tests. Along with this hassle comes the endless complaining and ranting of students. The mindless venting of questions like, “Why should we even have to take this?” flood the building. Of course, this is entirely understandable. You’re a student. Unless
you’ve studied and know the material inside and out, tests are your worst enemies. However, there comes a time when push comes to shove, and enough is enough. The common complaints become quickly exhausted and many seniors find themselves screaming in their heads for these underclassmen to shut up. This is partly because like a bar/batmitzvah, or the subjectively intricate initiations at Greek frat houses, HSPAs and other standardized testing at the high school are simply a rite of passage. Our present senior class knows this situation all too well. We came into high school in the last year the state standardized test would be administered to freshmen. The following year as sophmores, the test was switched to the sophomore class, where it still remains today. HSPAs quickly followed the year afterward, and even in senior year, a test was given to 112 random senior students. For them, “unlucky” would probably be an
understatement. So why, then, do so many of the younger test takers complain about their present predicaments? Why, if the next year (assuming you are a junior) is to be a promising one full of senior privileges and activities, must there be so much distress over a test to span three days? The only answer I can think of is… wait, I can’t think of an answer. There is no reason to be so sore over the tests, because like puberty, death, and taxes, it happens to everyone. Testing is more of an initiative phase in the high school experience; it serves to help you graduate as well as prepare you a little more for the hours of testing that the SAT and ACT tests entail. I took the liberty of asking the opinion of Ms. Michelle Critelli, the school’s guidance supervisor, as well as a much learned woman in the ways of the school district. I was delighted to hear that she agreed
with me and found the tests to be not only government mandated, but also part of the high school experience. “The tests are something that everybody just has to take,” commented Critelli. “There’s just no way of getting around it.” And with that being said, how can people just not grit their teeth and bear the pain? The students find themselves presented with a simple conundrum. There is a test in front of them and they’d rather not do it. What ends up happening is that the tests are regretfully taken, with an ample amount of complaining and sighing. Of course, once the tests are done, they are almost immediately forgotten and life resumes as it normally would. But what would happen if this process could be facilitated somehow, if the students could just accept their circumstances and not moan for once? Would life and the testing experience be easier? Let me ask a simpler question. Does a bear like salmon?
Change is on the way Finding the solution to our nation’s problems By Ryan Hussey Executive Editor The 2008 presidential race is on, and the competition is at its peak. The three main contenders include Republican John McCain and Democrats Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. I know, I know. “Ryan, you’re just telling me facts that I am already aware of; it’s common knowledge.” Well, while that may be true, the point of this particular article is simply to prepare everyone for the potential outcome of the 2008 election. The United States of America may have an African American president come January of 2009. And, it is time to face the fact. Sure, many may not agree with this statement. Sure, there are two other fantastic candidates other than Obama who have chances of winning the election at this point in time. And sure, I am the least qualified person to make a prediction of this
magnitude. But, again, just look at the facts. As the results of the Democratic primary election have been coming in, Barack Obama has lessened his “expected” deficit against Hillary Clinton. He currently leads her by 137 delegates and has won the popular vote in several states by an overwhelming amount, including Idaho, where he won eighty percent of the vote. Hillary Clinton has beaten Obama in some states, but no result was too drastic except Arkansas, in which Hillary was awarded seventy percent of the vote. Critics often censure Barack Obama for his inexperience with politics. However, if American politics, or just politics in general, are always associated with corruption and deception, then should it not be a good thing that he is inexperienced? Or, would American voters rather elect yet another corrupt, deceitful president? I find it agreeable that more corruption and lying are the absolute last things this country
needs at the moment. The United States economy is enduring another recession, and its military is involved in countless overseas conflicts. So, as citizens who care about our country, we shouldn’t even elect a “politician” as our president, judging by what that has done for us in the past. Granted, there is no clear-cut solution to all of this nation’s problems. I also believe it is obvious that a solution of the sort will not be found in the next eight years anyway, regardless of who is in the White House. The answer this country needs is going to take many years to develop, and the members of my generation, our generation, are going to have to be the ones to find it. So, all I ask of anyone reading this is to simply accept the fact that the United States of America is in dire need of change. I also ask that you accept the possibility of there being an African American president come 2009, because it might just be the change that this nation needs.
March 2008 Vol. IX Issue 5
Spice up your life By Natasha Manolas Editor-in-Chief Posh, Ginger, Baby, Scary, and Sporty took fans by storm as they “Spiced up” the Izod Arena in East Rutherford, New Jersey for their Reunion Tour on February 13. The Spice Girls, who kicked off their tour in December, came back together for their tour as a tribute to their fans around the world. In the late nineties, the Spice Girls composed the highest-grossing pop group in the country. Their first single, “Wannabe,” spent seven weeks as number one on the Billboard Charts in 1996. The girls’ February 13 performance was definitely a show-stopper. Thousands of fans ooh-ed and ah-ed as the Spice Girls first came up from a platform under the stage, singing “Spice Up Your Life.” Fog filled the arena as the audience chanted, “La la la la la la la la la.” The night continued with other favorites such as, “Say You’ll Be There,” “Stop,” and “2 Become 1.” Between songs, the Spice Girl Reunion Tour dancers took center stage with terrific performances. At various times throughout the night, each Spice Girl highlighted and sang a
song she recorded individually. Mel C (Sporty Spice) performed her popular single, “I Turn to You,” and Geri Halliwell (Ginger Spice) sang a rendition of “It’s Raining Men.” Victoria Beckham (Posh Spice) did a catwalk down the stage runway. The largest adrenaline rush of the night came right before the second-to-last song. Scary Spice excitedly claimed, “Wow, these Jersey girls are crazy. I think they want some more.” She then went on to ask, “What do you think, Baby?” Baby Spice responded, “Yeah, I think that’s what they really, really want. Seconds later, the crowd caught on to the girls’ insinuations
Photo/ Natasha Manolas
and started to roar as the Spice Girls began to sing their classic, “Wannabe.” The night then ended with a second version of “Spice Up Your Life.” The audience
rumbled when the five ladies waved and sent kisses goodbye as they descended the stage in the same fashion they had entered it.
Foo’s first fight at the Garden By C.C Schweitzer Entertainment Editor For twelve years now, melodic rock powerhouses Dave Grohl (vocals/guitar), Nate Mendel (bass), Taylor Hawkins (drums), and Chris Shiflett (guitar) have been “Foo Fighting” their way to the top of the charts. This year turned out to be a big one for The Foo Fighters with the release of their new album Echoes, Silence, Patience and Grace, along with a tour, two Grammy wins, and their first-ever concert at “the world’s most famous arena,” also known as Madison Square Garden on February 19th. Selling out every seat in the arena in a matter of days, the show was bound to be one of the band’s best. The first of the two opening acts of the night was Against Me, consisting of Tom Gabel, Andrew Seward, James Bowman, and Warren Oakes. Getting the enormous crowd pumped with their punk rock style, they commenced their performance with the new single “Stop!” and topped it off with the more popular song, “Thrash Unreal,” which turned out to be the big crowd pleaser for all Against Me fans. The next band up was the self-titled side project of Serj Tankian, who some may know as the lead singer of the band System of a Down. Taking a sharp turn from the upbeat punk rifts of Against Me, Serj got the crowd on its feet and possibly reconsidering its views on the country we live in with some electro rock/experimental songs such as “Praise The Lord And Pass The Ammunition,” “The Unthinking Majority,” and the radio-aired “Empty Walls” all off his new politically- controversial album Elect The Dead. Finally, the lights came up. The crew came on and cleared the stage for the main attraction of the night. Giving New York City a taste of its new album and a softer side, the Foo Fighters started off the show with “Let It Die.” Kicking up the amps and audience next with “Pretender” and
pleasing any front runner Foo fans with the well known and loved “Times like These,” the hype of the show began. Owning the stage, Dave Grohl then took all of us sincere Foo fans back to the day (which was a Wednesday, by the way) when ripped jeans and flannel shirts were in and high school girls lusted for angst-filled grunge rockers like Kurt Cobain (may he rest in peace) with “This Is A Call” from the Foo’s very first self-titled album. Taking it down a notch, the band then moved to the opposite side of the arena, where another stage was suddenly revealed. The acoustic session of the show began. Taking a look at the new faces he would be performing before, Dave joked, “And you guys thought you had the [crappy] seats didn’t ya? Well you don’t…for now.” The show then took a drastic change from the ultimate, screaming, “shredding” rock show to a few moments of the Foo Fighters lulling and enchanting the crowd with some tracks from the acoustic side of its album In Your Honor. Coming back to the main stage and revving things up again with “Monkey Wrench” and “All My Life,” the Foo was driving the crowd completely insane! One fan actually had to be escorted out of the arena for fist pumping and head banging his way from the back right up to the front of the stage. “Thank you New York City for joining us in our first-ever performance at the Garden! Y’all were an amazing audience, really! Thank you and good night!” were the last words all the fans would think they would get to hear from Dave that night. The cheers, cries, and encores must have been heard from New Jersey they were so loud. Little did the audience know, the Foo Fighters would show up on the massive projector screen on the stage, asking the crowd its opinion on just how many songs the band should play. “One song?” asked Dave as the entire crowd booed hysterically. Holding up fingers he asked again, “Two songs, three songs?” Then, again, the lights came up and out came Dave,
Taylor, Chris, and Nate to give the crowd just what it was pleading for, an incredible encore. Mixing it up with another classic off the Foo Fighters album, “Big Me” was the primary song of the encore. Bringing it back to the present with its latest single, “Long Road to Ruin,” a special guest drummer relieved Taylor for the one song. Later, it was found that this “guest drummer” happened to be a big Foo Fan diagnosed with leukemia, and through the Make a Wish foundation, was able to meet and greet the band. It was the band’s
decision, though, to have him make his drumming debut with them at their first show at MSG. The third song of the encore and final song of the night left a considerable number of fans in tears. In a performance that could only be described as riveting and heart wrenching, Dave belted out the first single of In Your Honor, “Best of You.” Leaving the howling audience completely satisfied with the encore and performance, all together the band took its final bows together and exited stage left.
The end of the format war By Kevin Quidor Editor In the beginning, a great war between the Betamax and the VHS took place. VHS won, and became the home video of choice. Years later, the DVD dethroned VHS, sending the obsolete equipment to that big scrap pile in the sky. A new day and age is here, and two new formats have come to light, both trying to fight their way to the top. Blu-Ray and HD-DVD have both been vying for supremacy over the past couple of years, each side gathering allies and making enemies. Most notable was the Xbox 360’s support of HD-DVD and the Playstation 3’s backing of Blu-Ray. The two appeared to be locked in a stalemate, neither gaining much ground until some HD-DVD supporters started to drop the format entirely, or started manufacturing Blu-Ray as well. Things did not look good for HD-DVD. The final blow against HD-DVD resounded like a shot in the dark. Toshiba, the biggest supporter of HD-DVD, stopped backing the format, successfully ending the format war. What does this mean for those who purchased an HD-DVD player, and want to continue buying movies, not planning on buying a new machine again? Customer Experience Manager of East Brunswick Best
Buy Mike Gonzalez says it is “too recent to stop carrying [HD-DVDs], going to keep selling for those who want to buy.” He also states that, for the time being, Best Buy will continue to support HD-DVD players and software, even though Toshiba, its main supporter, has stopped. HD-DVD players are not obsolete yet, however; they are still capable of upgrading regular DVD quality to a higher definition without buying an HD-DVD. Microsoft will also continue to make its HD-DVD players for their Xbox 360 home video game console, as well as a recently announced Blu-Ray player. Gonzalez also says that Best Buy would tell customers they “are better off buying Blu-Ray now.” HD-DVD is soon to become a thing of the past, and people are going to want to jump on the Blu-Ray train as soon as they can. It is an expensive train however, as Blu-Ray players start at about $400 and continue to climb. Those looking to buy a Blu-Ray player should look at the PlayStation 3, as it not only plays Blu-Ray discs, but also plays games, all for an affordable price. With the winner of the first format war of the twenty-first century becoming more and more visible, companies are going to shift focus and support to Blu-Ray. Hopefully, this will help to make them more economically accessible.
March 2008 Vol. IX Issue 5
Putting it into perspective By Ryan Hussey Indifferent to Society Senioritis [seen-yawr-ahy-tus], noun - disease that affects high school students, exhausting their determination to exert themselves at school, work, and at home. Over the past few months, I, Ryan Tyler Danger Hussey, have undergone a major change in my life. (No, Bryan, not puberty.) I am going through what many experts have termed, “Senioritis.” In short (that’s funny because I’m short), Senioritis affects many high school students, mostly seniors, especially around springtime. Granted, it will affect some underclassmen; but in defense of the ailment’s name, it is probably their last year in school, anyway. Senioritis is a disease that affects mainly the mind and body of students (but sometimes the spirit and soul, if you want
to get spiritual… hippies). It depletes every ounce of productive energy within students and leaves them with no willpower to progress in their academic careers, and life in general. It is only now that I realize the seriousness of Senioritis, being that it has hit me hard. The onslaught of symptoms strike suddenly and unexpectedly; they are most noticeable in a student while he or she is in school. The most accurate test of whether or not someone possesses the Senioritis disease is the allure of his or her attire. Pajama pants and sweatshirts become very common as the school year breaks its way through winter and into spring; these are the ultimate signs of lethargy. Also common is the rocking of the “downspice,” or failure to style one’s hair to a point deemed publicly acceptable. This hairstyle, or lack thereof, is a definite sign of Senioritis and its woe. Now that everyone is familiar with this
horrific disease and its effects on teenagers, I can explain how it has affected me personally. Recently, while attempting to complete my assignments both in and outside of school, I have been unable to find the strength to finish them with the same energy with which I started (which is never too much anyway). My universal answer to any questions concerning my schoolwork is now, “Whatever,” or some variation of the word, regardless of the question…. Ex. Mom: “Don’t you have a psychology test tomorrow?” Danger: “Whatever.” Ex. (via text) Ellie: “Did you do that calc packet yo?” Me: “W/e.” Me: “Ask Natasha.” Ex. Ms. Miller: “Your video is two minutes over the acceptable length for this assignment.”
Me: “Whatevvssssssss. Mah bee.” Also, I find myself repeating the same speech roughly once a week in Mrs. Sran’s Honors Calculus closs: “(Ryan throws packet down in outrage.) Mrs. Sran, this is it. We’re past winter break. We’re on the home stretch now. Let’s take it slow…. Laser tag, anyone?” (I am a pretty persuasive guy, by the way. A man of words, if you will.) I don’t know if these signs have been clear enough, but it is fairly obvious that I, Ryan Tyler Danger Hussey, am an admitted sufferer of the Senioritis disease. My suggestion to any other Monroe Township High School student who feels that he or she is suffering from Senioritis is simply to admit it. Though there is no known cure, the best thing to do is to just admit one possesses the disease. Students can also seek treatment from local medical clinics such as the International House of Pancakes.
Sonny goes cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs Beloved bird checks into rehab By Sean O’Connor State Finalist- Amer. Legion Oratorical Contest
Classifieds One p ar l o oking tially terrifi r o f g in ed kid paren for seven f ors look i n e s t r e ) i l e a to bai Nine m wn, justice. l him nds (or a o o ut of a cr dollar 102 bill. Byrne s hopi ng for . e t da m o r p essay. decent (Sean r o f g n i e k e is not Billy loo ou get in for fr g s y o don oing to dro (Relax, ’ p t coun now.) t on it out, .) er r anoth o f g n i p ho Seniors testing week. HSPA
e need W . y l s u o No, seri dlines. hea
dro lo okin turn u g for knob p heat to .
Ryan looki (No, y ng for prom ou hav e to p date. ay.)
General Mills announced yesterday that Sonny the Cuckoo Bird, popular mascot for Cocoa Puffs Cereal, has entered a drug rehabilitation center in Los Angeles, California. This news comes amid a slew of lawsuits that General Mills faces over the conduct of Sonny. Over the past year, there have been numerous “accidents” at the General Mills manufacturing plant in which Sonny was involved. On several occasions, Sonny has been arrested for breaking and entering into the plant because he claims he was “cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs.” General Mills has refused to comment on the addictive nature of Cocoa Puffs; they are, however, paying for Sonny’s rehab and legal fees associated with Cocoa Puffs.
Michele Leonhart, acting administrator of the Drug Enforcement Agency, has declared, “An official investigation into the amount of cocoa in Cocoa Puffs will be launched.” For a long time, the DEA has suspected General Mills of smuggling cocaine into the country through their product; claims have also been made that General Mills uses cocaine in regular Cocoa Puffs to raise sales, as children become addicted. The results of this investigation are sure to be stunning. One life, that of Sonny, has been spared a drug-related death. However, Sonny’s story is not half as interesting as that of Lucky the Leprechaun, especially when he claimed that “they are always after [his] Lucky Charms.” Lucky remains in rehab, even after refusing to go in the first place. It remains unknown just how many people are addicted to Cocoa Puffs. General Mills claims, “our goal has always been to produce a safe and delicious product.”
Grease-lightning speed By Scott Oliva Future Lipitor User
It seems that every year Monroe Township High School athletics lack a certain gift. When the Falcons go up against teams such as New Brunswick, Carteret and South Plainfield, we seem like sloths compared to their greasedlightning speed. Our strength can be attributed to our newly painted weight room, so what can we do to have speed like Apollo Creed? The answer is fast food. As ironic as it seems, the faster the food the faster the athletics. What other reason can there be for these traditionally speedy teams? Contrary to popular belief, speed is a mindset, not a physical attribute. The South Eastern Conference is known for its speed. So what is the difference between us and states like Texas, Louisiana and Florida? The answer is that they do everything fast. In Monroe, it takes twenty minutes to make a sandwich. If you ask for some
mayonnaise or seasoning, be ready to wait another fifteen minutes. In New Brunswick, an employee would be “jacked up” for this snail-like behavior. The Shore Conference is known for its athletics and it is easy to see why when you have access to two Surf Tacos. When you factor in the McDonalds and Burger King’s, you have created a juggernaut. So the question is; why doesn’t Monroe have fast food establishments? The answer is that the leaders of this town are secretly turtles. Monroe is dominated by Comcast, and it is my belief that the leaders are the turtles Photo/businessweek.com in the Comcast commercials. They are the single reason why Monroe is slow. If Monroe wants to gain the competitive advantage, athletes should train at the Jamesburg 7-11 every day. I guarantee it will produce better results than any speed camp around. If we do not do anything about this problem, Monroe Township will be plagued with lethargic performance in the world of sports for years to come.
Sports MTHS hockey team’s success frozen at states
March 2008 Vol. IX Issue 5
By Bill Domke Executive Editor The hockey sticks are put away, the helmets and uniforms stashed back in the darkness, and the blizzard known to many as Monroe Township’s first hockey season has finally subsided. The team played its final game of the season in the state tournament against Brick Memorial High School on February 29. Boarding the bus promptly after the two o’clock school bell, the team was more than hyped up for the game; some listened to inspirational music, while others simply slept to regain energy for the upcoming battle. One hour later, the bus arrived at Brick’s ice arena and the boys got off to put their uniforms in the locker room. A quick run followed, as the boys went running for about five minutes to get their blood pumping for the game now minutes away. Four o’clock quickly came and the two teams promptly took the ice, taking shots at their respective goalies while relieving a little pregame stress. As the game began, the Falcons skated off to a blazing start, scoring three goals on top of each other to take a crowd stunning 3-0 lead. However the Brick Mustangs were able to make a run for a comeback and found themselves in the lead by the end of the second period, 5-4. The third period did not prove to be any more favorable for the Falcons, as Brick Memorial turned up the heat (or maybe the
air conditioning) as the game ended with a somewhat despondent 9-4 loss. “It was Brick’s depth that killed us in the end,” began Head Coach Gerard Minter. Brick’s experience was also what Minter believed to be the leading factor in Monroe’s downfall, as this was essentially Monroe’s first full season, and also its first state playoff birth. “A couple plays didn’t go our way,” Minter continued. “There were a couple of times where if we got the puck out of our zone, there was definitely a possibility that we could have scored.” Despite this year’s being the team’s first full length season (last year the team only played ten games), the Ice Falcons were more than good enough to put together a winning season, finishing with a praiseworthy 128-1. Along with a winning record came the team’s first ever state tournament appearance, much to the team’s delight. “Our goal was to make the state tournament,” continued Minter, “and we did that.” Of course, the wins were not possible without all of the practice the team had to endure. Finding itself practicing every day, Mondays and Wednesdays were devoted to off the ice practice. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, the team got on the bus to practice on ice at Wall sports arena. Every Friday, the team had a home game at Wall Sports Arena, located on Route 33. The team boasted seven powerful seniors in Anthony Modugno, John Scarpa, Colin Riedel, Mike Spizak, Matt Kahn, Brad
Baseball strives for success
The hockey teams celebrates a John Scarpa (08) goal against Brick Memorial in the state tournament.
Siegal, and Zach Wismer. Seniors were not the only weapons the team had to offer, either; freshman Nick Modugno and Frank Stutto contribute much to the team in defense and scoring, respectively. Junior James Domino also contributed much to the defense this year and looks to be the team’s top defender. The team hopes to rebuild itself next
Softball swings away By Scott Oliva Editor
By Corey Liebross Staff Writer The Monroe Falcon Baseball season is only a swing away from its season opener. Head coach Greg Beyer will lead the team into the season on March seventh as their first practice begins. The Falcons have been training for the upcoming season since the beginning of December. Their training consists of weightlifting and running every Tuesday and Thursday. They also train every Wednesday night at a Marlboro facility called Playball from 9 to 11 P.M. Coach Greg Beyer explains, “Practice doesn’t make perfect; perfect practice makes perfect.” “The season’s goals are to make sure that our players are better than they were on and off the field than they were last game.” Says Beyer. “Winning isn’t everything, but learning to be successful is.”
year and make another run for the state tournament. The team admits that losing seven seniors will be tough, but they are certainly capable of overcoming this. For now, the team will take a well earned break from its season. Look for the team to be making another run for glory on the ice next year every Friday at the Wall Sports Arena. You might want to bring a coat.
Photo/ Elena LoBello
Morgan Widener (10) practices running bases during a pre-season practice.
When Allison Arnold (08) captured sweet victory in her Rawlings glove, the 2007 Monroe softball squad became the first team in school history to win a Great Middlesex Conference softball tournament. Her game-winning catch capped off a record-breaking season for the Lady Falcon softball team. With the combined efforts of alldivision players Mailee Paselio (07), Lindsey Curran (08) and Carly Keane (08), the team broke the school record for wins with a record of 22-4. This year’s returning seniors include Carly Keane, Curran, Allison Arnold, and Kelsey Schobert. Returning starters from the GMC champion team also include Andrea Carini (09), Kaite Guidi (09), and Sarah Gibbons (09).
After last year’s success, the team looks to maintain its competitive spirit and become a contender for the GMC and state tournaments. Senior outfielder Kelsey Schobert discussed the team’s off-season efforts saying, “In the off season a majority of the girls have a hitting coach that they go to several times a week. Our pitchers also go to pitching coaches several times a week. Many players also participate for travel teams.” Kelsey is pleased with the team’s camaraderie. She says, “All of the girls are very close with each other. We have really great chemistry on and off the field. I guess that’s the perfect concoction for having such a talented team.” With the nucleus of last year’s championship team, Monroe softball should be a dominant team in the county. Its unity and athleticism should prove to be valuable assets to the defending GMC champions.
Falcon lacrosse team gives it another shot By Joey Romanczuk Staff Writer
Last year, the first Falcon lacrosse team in school history could not win games, but a new school year brings a new season and opportunities for success. When the team walks onto the turf field cradling their sticks, their intent will be to have a winning season rather than to win one game. Coach Joseph Yannone is determined to get the job done and win some games this time around. “My biggest goals for this season are to win some games, make more goals, and be competitive in every game we play.” The team agrees with Yannone; lacrosse player Victor Espriella (11) says, “The only thing I want to do is play, and hopefully win some
is the inexperience of the team as a whole. games.” Coach Yannone feels offense will be the Many of the kids on the Falcon lacrosse team team’s biggest challenge. With the graduation only have one or two years of experience, of Matt Troncone and TJ Denehy, the team which affects the transition of offense to is forced to start from scratch. “We need less defense as well as ball control. unforced errors and more ball control on the Upcoming experienced players who are offensive side.” Coach Yannone feels that expected to impact the season include; Victor defense is going to be the Falcons biggest Espriella (11), a defender who spent two strength with all the “big kids” they will years prior to high school playing lacrosse have. With the addition of certain varsity with the East Brunswick Blackhawks, Travis football players Powell, another on defense like “My biggest goals for this season are to win some e x p e r i e n c e d Rich Lorfing (09) games, make more goals, and be competitive in lacrosse player and Dale Degraw who has been every game we play.” (09). The “big playing for five kids,” according to Mr. Yannone, are the years on the North Brunswick Raiders and ones who are going to win games. the East Brunswick Blackhawks, and Mike Another flaw in the young lacrosse team Valient (10), who, although short for a
defender, is fast and has great stick skills. The returning impact players from last year are Eddie Junquet (08) who plays midfield and uses his height to his advantage, and Matt Krause (08) an attack man who has one of the most accurate shots on the team. Many of the spring players spent their winters playing for the Falcon lacrosse winter program. During the winter league, the Falcons did not have a problem winning. Chris Russo (10) led his team at center midfield to a winning record in the winter league. The success of the Falcons in the winter league shows that the still young lacrosse program is bound to grow into a successful one. With time and good coaching, the talented Falcons are bound to take off.