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December 20, 2013 Founded in 1933

Drama reduced in favor of engineering classes BEN GOLDSCHLAGER ’14 Web News Editor


n Monday, Dec. 2, the Board of Education (BOE) unanimously passed a measure that expands middle school engineering classes while making other cuts, most controversially to eighth grade drama and presentation skills classes. Reaction to the board’s decision was varied. This year, eighth graders spend one period a week in an engineering course. The proposal, to be implemented for the 2014-2015 school year, expands this to two periods per week and adds one period per week for sixth and seventh graders. To make room for the engineering classes, the measure cuts drama and presentation skills in the eighth grade and reduces it in sixth grade; computer classes in the earlier grades are also cut. This represents a cut of 12 hours of drama and presentation skills over three years, Director of Secondary Education Lisabeth Comm said. The administ ration stressed that somet h i n g had to go to make room for the engineering classes and that they did not

want to eliminate any programs. Ultimately, at the BOE meeting, Superintendent Elliott Landon called the proposal “balanced.” The administration emphasized the importance of exposing students to engineering in middle school. According to Science Department Chair A.J. Scheetz, this improves perceptions of engineering as a career. “Eleven percent of all engineers in the U.S. are female,” Scheetz said. “Giving children, including girls, that exposure would hopefully lead to a more positive perception of pursuing engineering,” he said. He also noted benefits to students’ 21st century skills, specifically the ability to critically evaluate students’ own products and then revise for improvement. However, many are against cutting drama and presentation skills at all, viewing it as essential for the development of communication skills in middle schoolers. Darcy Hicks, a parent of two middle schoolers and a specialist in curriculum development on the arts for the New Haven Public Schools, noted the “confidence and skills that come out of a drama class.” She pointed to the “alarming speed,” with which the engineering program is moving. “To go from a two month program to quadrupling the hours is rash to say the least,” she said. Her main qualm, however, is not with expanding the engineering classes but with cutting the arts. Bedford drama and presentation skills teacher Karen Mc-

Cormick, however, was mostly positive on the proposal, calling the engineering program a “really good idea.” “I think [thee BOE] means well,” she added. “They just valg more.” ue the engineering rmick said she While McCormick wishes that dramaa and presentation skills hadn’tt been cut, she agreed with the BOE that something had too be cut, and, if it had to be drama and presentationn skills, she is glad that it was the sses. “As eighth grade classes. long as they leave the sixth and sses intact, I seventh grade classes think there won’tt be a major aid. difference,” she said. Supporters off the proposal emphasized that students can learn presentationn skills without a dedicated class. “In every subject, students aree having more ce with giving and more practice presentations,” Comm said. She argued that this more than makes up for the elimination of presentation skills in eighth grade. However, some are skeptical of this approach. “Social studies teachers are there to teach social studies, and they’re busy doing that. They’re not trained nor do they have time in class to teach students how to [present] effectively,” Staples Players president Will Haskell said at the Nov. 25 BOE meeting. “Students need to enter the class with those skills already in their pockets, and that’s what middle school presentation skills does,” he added.

Popping the question Students ask teachers for college recommendations ANDREA FROST ’15 Features Editor

While the physical college application process does not begin until the beginning of senior year, some aspects start much earlier. As the months of May and June roll around, many junior teachers are flooded with one question from their junior students: will they write a letter of recommendation for college? Prior to posing this question to teachers, students are faced with many questions of their own. What teacher will write the best recommendation? When Kathryn Lieder ’14 was going through this process last spring, her guidance counselor suggested that she ask either a math or science teacher and also an English or social studies teacher, to balance her application. While this advice was very helpful, it was not the only factor that Lieder considered; she asked the teachers who she thought knew her best. “I think it’s important to not choose a certain teacher just because you did well in his or


Elementary school h l schedules h d l become more academic ELLIE GAVIN ’14 & JESSICA GROSS ’15 Staff Writer & Web News Editor


her class, but instead to choose a teacher of a class that you truly enjoyed, put a lot of effort into, and showed improvement in throughout the year,” Lieder explained. Many colleges agree with the approach that Lieder used to make her decision. According to the Vanderbilt University website regarding admissions, the university looks to a teacher recommendation to “humanize you and to tell us something we can’t find

Inside the Issue

out through your transcripts and test scores.” However, once an eager junior drops the question, it is up to the teacher to decide whether to write the recommendation or not. It’s not a required part of a teacher’s job but a favor to students, teachers said. And before teachers agree, many require that students sign a waiver that precludes the student

Continued on page 4

Teachers – They’re Just Like Us

A first grade teacher watches her students as the clock ticks towards 2:55. Little fingers rub tired eyes and stifle yawns. Beneath desks, legs shake restlessly. It’s been a long day. The teacher sighs and closes her classroom door. She grants her drained children fifteen minutes of what she calls “academic choice time.” Ten years ago, it was probably called play time, and it was probably allowed every day. “Ten years ago, elementary teachers were given a curriculum and multiple resources. They were allowed to deliver it as they saw fit for their class. A teacher could be creative in their approach, and veer off on topics that were of interest to students. There was time to delve deeply and also cast a wide net on all sorts of content,” an elementary school teacher (T1) said. Now, resources are mandated, aligned to state standards. “There is more


content than there are minutes in a day, and no time to teach anything but what is given.” At the same time, others said, change should occur in education. “Things get lost; other things appear,” another teacher (T4) said. “With changes in the curriculum, things always get lost in the shuffle.” Interviews with parents, students, and teachers suggest that the curriculum in recent years has become more academically rigorous and focused on testing. In accordance with this intensity, sources said, classrooms have become less playful, flexible and culturally rich. Five teachers at three different elementary schools who were interviewed asked that their names not be used. They are referred to as T1, T2, T3, T4 and T5. Superintendent Elliott Landon agreed that the system has changed and believes the changes

Continued on page 4

Girls’ Ice Hockey Goalie Casey Bang




December 20, 2013

Westport schools establish new snow day policy JUSTINE SELIGSON ’15 Assistant Photo Editor



Clarification In the last issue, Inklings quoted a student whose memory of child development teacher Linda McClary’s class was incorrect. Last year, on Dec. 14, McClary conducted a regular class and did not stream on TV events from Newtown.


ALL SMILES The boys of ABC (in order of left to right), Thomas Jones ’16, Samuel Larkin ’17, Luis Cruz ’15, Christopher Morales ’16, Adrian Belvitt ’16, Manasses Ogutu ’17, Rueben Guardado ’14 and Khaliq Sanda ’14 smile for the camera.

A house made into a home KAILA FINN ’16 & DEANNA HARTOG ’16 A&E Web Editor & Sports Editor

The process starts with 2,000 to 3,000 boys, competing for acceptance into A Better Chance (ABC). Then come the cuts, with only 1,000 surviving the process. Of these, 500 come out strong, prevailing over others to start a new life. Two will call Staples their new school. The ABC scholars are thrown into a totally different environment, sometimes hundreds or thousands of miles from home. Many students would be surprised that the ABC House is less than a half-mile up the road from our school. And that there are two boys in each grade. Many don’t know that some of the boys dream of aeronautical engineering or playing for sports teams or a music career. Many would

not know that the house is lovingly called “Glendarcy.” And most would never understand the creakiness of that pesky, narrow white staircase located on the side of the house. Despite the fact that the boys come from different backgrounds, one constant brings them together: the camaraderie. This relationship shapes the dynamic of the house. Charles Winslow ’09, a former scholar of the ABC house, said that having the seven other boys in the house was always a comfort, knowing that they were some of the only people that understood what he was experiencing. One student, Luis Cruz ’15, described the relationships: “We roughhouse, but it’s all good.” They bond over this new journey together as they all set out to Westport. They watch TV together after school, cook to-

gether for dinner with the beloved house cook, Merril Boehmer, and act as role models for one another. According to Cruz, the older students look out for the younger ones, helping them find a successful path. But while they may have found seven new friends and a strong support system, there are still bumps along the road. Westport is far from their homes and acclimating to it may not be easy. “I was coming from ghettoness to whiteness,” Cruz said. As if trying to fit in in high school wasn’t difficult enough for most students, these scholars also carry the burden of living in foreign town. Sometimes there are so many questions from others. “I felt excluded from the culture of Westport when I had to explain my whole situation,” Thomas Jones ’16 said. Many also noted that the lev-

el of academics at Staples struck them from the start. When Cruz first arrived, for instance, he said he needed to take a lower level English course because his writing skills were weaker. “Kind of embarrassing,” he said. The boys are supplied with two tutors to help close the gap. However, the scholars, including Winslow, also said they know that they “need to work twice as hard as all other students.” Most of all though, the ABC scholars said, they were primarily grateful for all of the opportunities. Most were not interested in talking about struggles that they had to overcome. Throughout all the ups and downs, they come out of Staples with promising futures, attending colleges such as Harvard University, Cornell University, Tufts University, and Emory University.

Doomsday debunked Looking back on the 2012 apocalypse that wasn’t KATIE SETTOS ’15 A&E Editor

Somewhere underground thousands of boxes of Spam sit untouched. Dec. 21, 2012 began as the prophetic day conspiracists believed would usher in the cataclysmic collapse of life. Monstrous tsunamis, fiery asteroid collisions and catastrophic solar flares were among the fruity array of ways mankind would meet its end. However, much to the dismay of doomsday “preppers” who shelled out thousands on elaborate bunkers, gas masks and freeze-dried meals, the hysteria became more comic than cosmic within a few hours–the punch line of millions of tweets. “Everybody loves a good apocalypse theory. The more ridiculous, the more entertaining,” Isabel Perry ’15 said. “Though my version would probably have had more to do with zombies.” The 2012 phenomenon, which first bubbled up in the dark and sketchy corners of

the Internet, caught fire with the release of doomsday spectacle “2012.” Despite a lack of substantiating evidence, the theory gained major publicity as the film introduced the masses to the frenzy su r-

that they will not listen to logic or reason,” Suki Hyman ’15 said. However, false alarms of cataclysmic paranoia are nothing new. Humanity has a long history ow of auguring its own whic demise, which some sa say they at attri


imes have changed. If a natural disaster – snow or hurricane or terrible winds – hits Westport, the Board of Education (BOE) will no longer have to scramble to reach 180 days of instruction per year. Until last year, three days were built into the year to accommodate unsafe weather and loss of electricity, which force school to close. This year, that number is five. Superintendent Elliot Landon refered to the impact o f Superstorm Sandy, which led to five consecutive days off and a post-storm mess of reorganizing the school year. “We had to deliberate over what to do in fulfilling requirements,” Landon said. Staples weather guru Scott Pecoriello ’15 predicts a lot of snowstorms in the 2013/2014 winter. “It’s smart to build in the extra days,” Pecoriello said. Math teacher Stacey Delmhorst agrees, considering the policy change a winwin. “It’s good if we don’t use them because then we get out earlier in June,” Delmhorst said. “And if there are snow days, we won’t have to worry about something being taken away.” Julia Paljakka ’16, however, feels differently about the system in general. She is especially concerned about the arrangement of days, should they exceed the limit. “They go off our summer holiday, and if there’s more than five, they go off our April break,” Paljakka said. In response, Landon assured students and faculty that the system grew from an interest in an overall smoother response to school closings. “Ultimately, we’re giving ourselves more flexibility,” Landon said.

rounding the expiration of the Mayan calendar. “It’s a very clear example of what I like to call ‘the voodoo effect,’ which is when people are so convinced so highly of something that does not make sense

bute to the fact that it’s purely entertaining from a YOLO standpoint. “Believing that the world might end puts people on edge. But it’s not always said that people don’t love living on the edge,”

Chris McKinney ’14 said. “Having our own sense of mortality advertised and thrown in our faces constantly puts our lives into perspective.” While the 2012 phenomena may have come and gone, conspiracists are still developing new theories. Science teacher Michael Aitkenhead raised some interesting cataclysmic scenarios, just fatal enough to be the plot of the next disaster movie. He discussed the eruption of super volcanoes in Yellowstone National Park and the Canary Islands that could trigger landslides and tsunamis powerful enough to wipe out the US. However, with an overwhelming number of possibilities as to how Earth could face its end, Aitkenhead doesn’t see reason to fret. “There’s a million and one things that have happened on Earth that have caused widespread destruction. The reality is they will happen again. They could happen tomorrow, they could happen a million years from now,” Aitkenhead said. “We can’t predict it, so why worry about it?”


Inklings / December 20, 2013 /

From big stress to best-dressed BELLA GOLLOMP ’15 Staff Writer


ttending a school dance can be an exciting experience for a teenage girl. Something that she has pictured in her mind since she was little and envisioned as her “fairytale” moment as seen in the movies. The typical girl dresses up, meets her dream date, dances the night away, something about an evil step mother, the clock strikes 12 ... clear enough? In fact, though, the supposed magical night can also be bit nerve-wracking with all of the details and preparation of that big day. For teenage girls, typically the entire day is devoted to preparing for their special night; some get fake-tans, schedule hair appointments, followed by makeup, nails, dress, shoes and pre-pictures. But what happens when all that madness is interrupted by a four hour exam that could potentially make or break their options for college? On Saturday, Jan. 25, the SAT exam as well as the County Assembly Charity Ball are taking place, and junior girls have formed their own opinions about the connected events. Emma Caplan ’15 expresses her concern for the exam. “It makes me stressed out thinking that I will have two big things happen in one day,” she said, “During my test, I’m probably going to be sidetracked, thinking about having time to get my hair and makeup done; I just know I won’t be as focused as I should be.” Similar to Caplan, Abby Lustig ’15 said she was frustrated when she found out that both events were being held on the same day, “That Saturday is going to be jam-packed, and I typically don’t function well under stress,” she said, “Aside from the physical preparations like getting my nails and hair done, I'll probably just be telling myself to breathe and accomplish one thing at a time because that’s the only way I’ll get through it.” Although so many are anxious about the chaotic day ahead, Sarah Sawyer ’15 is making sure she is well-prepared ahead of time, “I’ll be sure to have everything I need weeks in advance,” she said. “That way I will be able to focus on the SAT and then continue on with my day of preparation for the dance. Plus, I can just think of Counties as being a way to celebrate that I've completed the test.” It’s unfortunate that for many, the 25th will in fact be a hectic day, but that shouldn’t take away from their dreamlike nights. With a positive attitude, they will conquer the lengthy exam, dance to their heart’s content and have a night to remember. And live happily ever after.


InBrief Local Headlines Holiday Recess Dec. 23 – Jan. 2

Holiday Recess will begin on Dec. 23 and will continue through Jan. 2.

Junior Parent Night Jan. 9 at 7:00 p.m.

Junior Parent Night will be at 7 p.m. in the Staples Auditorium for all parents of students in the eleventh grade to discuss the challenges of the upcoming year and the college process.

Midterm Exams Begins Jan. 10

Midterm exams begin on Jan. 10. Periods 1 & 4 will go on this Friday, periods 2 & 3 on Monday, periods 6 & 7 on Tuesday, periods 5 & 8 on Wednesday, and makeup day on Thursday.


Staff Development Day Jan. 17 There will be no school for students on Jan. 17 because of a Staff Development Day.

Red and White Charity Ball Jan. 24

The Red and White Charity Ball will be held at the Stamford Marriott Hotel.

County Assembly Charity Ball

Jan. 25 The County Assembly Charity Ball will be held at the Stamford Marriott Hotel.

Jazz Concert Jan. 24

The Staples High School/Coleytown Middle School Jazz Concert will be held at 7 p.m. For updates check www.inklingsnews. com TOOK THEM PHOTOS BY WHOEVER

4 News

Inklings / December 20, 2013 /


OFFERING A HELPING HAND Staples student Melissa Beretta’ 14 thanks science teacher David Scrofani, who wrote her college recommendation, after being accepted to Duke University.

Students embark on the recommendation process Continued from page 1 from seeing the recommendation. Teachers said they want to relay their honest opinion in confidentiality. It’s the same concept that drives the signed, sealed envelopes that universities use to send official transcripts, English teacher Alex Miller said. He explained that it guarantees that the document can’t be modified and that no one other than the intended recipient has access to it. For teachers, recommendations are time-consuming and sometimes stressful. English teacher Liz Olbrych ground out 15 college recommendations this year, for example. She said she made sure to say something posi-

tive about each student and precisely capture their personality. “[I looked at] highlights from the class, like what were some really strong pieces of work they did, as well as what contributions were made to class discussions and group projects,” Olbrych said. Similarly, math teacher Bill Walsh, who can’t put a number on how many recommendations he has written, says that when he is writing these letters, not only does he consider how rigorous the course is, but also the student’s relationships with other classmates. Walsh likes to describe how the student acts on campus interacting with others based on group work and communication with other students in the class.

However, Walsh has a very specific approach to the recommendation process. Before beginning to write the recommendation, Walsh said around June of the student’s junior year, he sits down with each student and reaches what he calls “mutual understanding.” This means both Walsh and the student understand the overarching ideas that Walsh may touch upon in the letter. “If I don’t think I can portray them in a favorable light, I let them know,” Walsh said. Similar to Walsh, Miller said that he makes it clear that the “letter will accurately reflect their performance in my course.” While he has never said no to a student, many times after students are reminded of their per-

formance in Miller’s class, they decided to make arrangements with other teachers for the recommendation. While it may seem uncomfortable for teachers to tell students that they can’t write a positive recommendation, students say they appreciate the feedback. All students interviewed unanimously agreed that they would rather have a teacher say no upfront than write a negative recommendation. “I’ve been working really hard towards getting into college and a negative recommendation would be a big red flag to any college,” Katie Smith ’14 said. However in the scheme of the rigorous college process, how much would that red flag from the

recommendation really affect acceptance? According to guidance counselor Thomas Brown, there is no formula that tells one how much each component of the college application – essays, test scores, recommendations and more – weigh in to the final decision. “It’s different for every school,” Brown said. No matter how much the recommendation is ultimately weighed, Walsh believes that ultimately it’s the work of the student that gets accepted, not the letter of recommendation. “I believe that [someone] gets into college based on the student [they are]. The college recommendation isn’t the make or break factor,” he said.

Changes to the elementary school curriculum spark controversy Continued from page 1 are for the better. He described the curriculum as “a developmentally appropriate balance between instructional activities, play and enriching creative activities.” The system’s five elementary school principals were asked for comment but either did not reply or chose not to comment. Ten years ago, when much of Staples’ current population was in elementary school, students participated in first grade’s Colonial Day and Festival of Lights project, second grade’s Japanese Unit/Tea Ceremony, third grade’s Living Museum, fourth grade’s Solar Systems Unit and Native American Unit, and fifth grade’s Greek Unit/Ancient Antics day and Egyptian Unit/Play. Cultural events are what students remember best from their early years, many agreed. “I always looked forward to them,” said Olivia Jones ‘15. “I missed these a lot when I came to middle and high school classes.” According to the elementary teachers, while overall units or lessons may still exist, the projects and activities that accompanied them have been downsized or cut altogether. T2 said she feels that the loss of Colonial Day is a “shame” and that it has not been replaced

with anything as valuable. She explains that it was taken away because it was “a snapshot of a moment in time” as opposed to a picture of the entire era. However, she feels that the experience brought the colonial era to life in a way that students could understand and relate to. The loss of culturally rich projects dismays others, including Diane Sussman, head of the Westport School cultural arts board. “(The arts) can bring to life the curriculum that is being taught,” said Sussman. She added that she thinks the enhancement of science in schools is important; but not at the expense of the arts. T5 feels that teachers are more bound to academics by the Common Core and the loss of many projects and activities, but that “Good teachers will find a way to integrate those things.” According to Jane Tarsy, head of LLS ArtSMART, classes in the past had three projects a year, and traveled to museums and galleries to further their learning. Now students only experience ArtSMART twice a year, and field trips are not allowed. She also stated that parents were given no reasons for the reductions. Teachers love ArtSMART and regret the changes, Tarsy


said, and parents feel similarly. “ArtSMART is one hour out of the school day, and parents and teachers feel they don’t need to sacrifice one hour for more academics.” Landon said the number of field trips has not changed but that trips not related to curriculum content are not approved. The curriculum in general has narrowed, teachers said. As schools aim to streamline curriculum across the district to align with state standards, there is more emphasis both on testing and on curriculum that matches up with the standards. “I don’t want to say it’s more academic, but in a way it is,” said T2. “We’re under the gun to have these certain guidelines, data collections, etc. You don’t have the opportunity to teach the way you used to be able to teach.” Tarsy, mother of two at Long Lots and one in middle school, sees these changes in her own home.

“My second grader now has a vocab and a math test every single week. They didn’t have that two years ago,” said Tarsy. “I think being pushed academically at 7 is unnecessary.” Teachers at different schools blamed the school system’s top administration for the curriculum changes and said they feel under close scrutiny. However, Landon said the changes occurred in reaction to state and federal pressures. He described, by contrast, “our continuing efforts to emphasize the importance of learning for learning’s sake.” Changes are happening quickly, sources said, sometimes before teachers themselves are prepared. “Curriculum has changed tremendously,” said T3. “Some of the curriculum is being written right before we are to teach new units, so our learning curve is tremendous.” T2 said that curriculum changes in math that recently im-

plemented Singapore math were done much more seamlessly, offering professional development for teachers and time to adapt to the new system. Teachers ranged from furious at the changes to cautiously optimistic. “It’s very one size fits all,” said T1. “We talk about differentiation but it is nearly impossible for a teacher to meet individual needs with so much that has to be taught.” And when asked about the overall school experience in grades K-5, T1 said simply, “There is no time for fun.” Landon disagrees with those who believe that the new curriculum is inappropriate. “It is far more exciting than it has ever been.” It is too soon to determine any long-term effects of the changes. “Whether or not kids will be more prepared,” T2 said, “Well, that’s something that we won’t know for a long time, I think.”


Wave simple addition goodbye LARISSA LIEBERSON ’15 Opinions Editor


eing ranked the best math team in Fairfield County isn’t easy as pi. In fact, the 15 members on the Staples team meet twice a week after school to take derivatives, prove theorems and factor their hearts away with the hope of helping the team snag first place in the monthly competition. But in the end, after hours of hard work from each math wiz, only six students participate in the official round of the contest, according to the competition rules. That’s been the case for a long time, according to math teacher Bill Wilkes, advisor of the team for the past nine years. “Anyone who does not get put on A Team gets put on B team for that particular month, where their scores will not be counted,” Wilkes said. Members who are placed on the B Team attend the same competition and solve the same problems, but their scores are not counted for Staples’ final score. Unfortunately, this sometimes means one of the team captains doesn’t see his or her score count. In order to decide who gets the honor of representing the team in the competition that month, a mini “runoff” test is distributed to each member. The six highest-scoring mathemati-

Inklings / December 20, 2013 /

cians each month will comprise the ‘A Team.’ “Other schools would love to have the problem of having too many powerhouse students wanting to compete than are allowed,” Wilkes said. Students on the team said they understand that each month the school needs to put forth its strongest team in competition. “I wouldn’t be offended if I weren’t selected for the ‘A Team’ because it would have been my fault for falling behind,” Cody Johnson ’15, a member of the team, said. While it may seem odd that even captains of the math team can be placed on the ‘B Team,’ the same sometimes applies in sports. “A captain has a responsibility to his team and their coach, and if they don’t perform as required, they should be allowed to be benched,” Nick Esposito ’15, a football and basketball player, said. However, he said it’s rare that captains are denied the right to play. All in all, students and advisors agreed, the math team’s hard work and competitive style has paid off. It was ranked third place in the league last year and has qualified for the New England Championship for the last four years.


P.E. department splashes into a new dress code for swimming

Snow days wreak havoc with midterms AMINA ABDUL-KAREEM ’15 Staff Writer

DYLAN DONAHUE AHUE ’15 Staff Writer riter

No longer will bikinis or the ever-popular sports bra and shorts look grace the waters of the Staples High School pool. For the 2013-2014 school year the physical education department mandated that in the freshman and sophomore swimming units, one must wear onepiece bathing suits. Girls who want to wear bikinis must cover them with tee shirts, but boys can continue to swim bare-chested. P.E. Chairman David Gusitsch said that the policy change was something that had been


discussed in the past. “The timing was right for us to make the change,” he said. Libby Russ, school nurse, assisted the Physical Education department in making a decision and said that it’s difficult to swim in a bikini, in the physically vigorous way required in P.E. class. In addition, she said she also believes the change to the dress code for girls increases comfort for both genders. Many girls in the past had asked to be excused from the unit, and Russ said it seems that now there are fewer such requests. Many girls were unhappy


with the policy change. Miranda Saunders ’16 said that the new policy did not change her comfort level and that the restrictions were an extra unnecessary cost. “I thought it was a stupid rule because most girls have to waste 30 bucks for a swimsuit that they will only ever wear for gym,” said Saunders. Most athletic one-pieces from Sports Authority cost upward of $60. Julia Beck ’17 said she would prefer to wear a two-piece bathing suit, but she understands the reasoning for the change. “It takes a lot of pressure off the girls,” she said. “Nobody's concerned about if they look different from anyone else.”

With six days of classes left once we return, while some students continue to hope for a snow day, others are concerned on how an added snowday would affect the midterm schedule. Assistant Principal Patrick Micinilio, who along with Principal John Dodig is in charge of schedule changes, says midterms will start one day later if there is a snow day early in January. “If we have one snow day, the [midterm] schedule stays the same, if there’s two, it shifts one day, and if there are more than two, Mr.

“Teaching, like acting, isn’t about acting; it’s about reacting. I’m confident that both teachers and students alike will manage.” –Alex Miller, English teacher

Dodig decides what happens.” As of now, midterms are set to start on Friday, January 10th, and continue until Wednesday, January 15th. The next day will be make-up day, Friday will be a Staff Development Day and Monday is Martin Luther King Day, giving students a five day weekend. If there is a snow day, then, midterms will start Monday, January 13th. Dodig has not yet said how the midterm schedule will affect the five day weekend. Some are already excited at the possibility of a shift, though. “It’s better because you have the entire weekend to study for exams, rather than starting on a Friday.” Cody Johnson ’15 said. Other students, such as sophomores Olivia Consoli and Amanda Book, said they don’t have an opinion on this. “I don’t really care, more time to study I guess,” Olivia Consoli ‘16 said. Regardless of students’ and teacher’ mixed feelings about the possible change, the schedule will be shifted if there is one more snow day before midterms, perchance changing students studying schedule. “Teaching, like acting, isn’t about acting; it’s about reacting. I’m confident that both teachers and students alike will manage.” said English teacher Alex Miller.

6 News

Inklings / December 20, 2013 /

Freudigman & Billings, LLC. Educational Solutions Group is a boutique firm dedicated to providing educational and learning solutions for elementary, middle and high school students.

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OPINIONS December 20, 2013


It’s elementary Love of learning matters most


n 5th grade it was mandatory that every student complete a project on some aspect of ancient Egyptian culture. It was not mandatory that one boy come in with a lifesized tomb carved out of a block of styrofoam. It was not


required that one girl involve her entire family in the making of a video fashion show to present her project on Egyptian jewelry and clothing. It was not necessary for one student to recreate Egyptian recipes for the class to try.

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All the opinions, news, and features in this paper are those of Staples High School students. Inklings, a curricular and extracurricular publication, has a circulation of 1,800 and is uncensored. All letters to the editor must be signed. The editorial board reserves the right not to publish letters and to edit all submissions as it sees fit. The editorial board determines all editorial opinions, which are authored faithfully by the Editors-in-Chief. Inklings reserves the right to not publish advertisements that promote products that could be harmful to student health. The paper is a member of the Columbia Scholastic Press Association and the National Scholastic Press Association and supports the Student Press Law Center.

None of these aspects appeared on any rubric or adhered to any standard; students just chose to do them. For fun. They had a genuine interest in what they were learning and took it upon themselves to explore the topic further. If you ask any high school student who completed this project, they could probably tell you all about it, even to this day. It fostered a love for learning that can’t be replaced. The project turned what could just have been a history lesson into a learning experience. Kids were encouraged to go above and beyond, and they gladly did so. We don’t remember the spelling quizzes, multiplication problems, or science

Editors-in-Chief Katie Cion Hannah Foley Managing Editors Rachel Labarre Will McDonald Web Managing Editors Ryder Chasin Eliza Llewelyn Breaking News Managing Editors Sophie de Bruijn Aaron Hendel Social Media Editor Simon Stracher Graphics Coordinator Nate Rosen Photo Editor Liana Sonenclar Assistant Photo Editors Liz Hogan Justine Seligson

tests because we still have those--they’re just harder. We do remember walking into class excited to share what we learned with our peers. And being equally as excited to learn from them. It is crucial that this excitement– to learn, to listen, to be in school in general– not be taken for granted. Recent changes to the curriculum in the elementary schools and the way in which this curriculum is being taught seem to shift the focus away from fun and towards that test prep and drudgery that makes even high schoolers weary. We realize it was not the school district’s choice to adopt state testing based on the Common Core, that it was mandated by the state and

News Editors Bailey Ethier Claudia Landowne Claire Lewin Cadence Neenan Opinions Editors Alexandra Benjamin Jackie Cope Larissa Lieberson Claire Quigley Features Editors Greta Bjornson Zoe Brown Andrea Frost Sophia Hampton A&E Editors Caroline Cohen Olivia Kalb Emma Muro Katie Settos Sports Editors Claudia Chen Gabrielle Feinsmith Deanna Hartog Zach McCarthy

national government, but we want to know if something can be done to help preserve the fun that made elementary school so special for us. The teachers we talked to said schools are drilling their students with lessons they know can’t be finished by the end of the year. Kids are expected to sit at their desks for hours, with only the hope of “academic choice time.” Play time is a thing of the past, with one-size-fits-all lessons all too common. We know it’s important to track the progress of students to see if the implemented changes are actually having any effect, but these tests and this curriculum only take the student’s academic progress into consideration.

Web News Editors Ben Goldschlager Jessica Gross Web Opinions Editors Abbey Fernandez Eliza Yass Web Features Editors Jimmy Ray Stagg Caroline Rossi Web A&E Editors Kaila Finn Nicole DeBlasi Web Sports Editors Bobby Jacowleff Kelsey Shockey Business Manager Elizabeth Camche Assistant Business Managers Kacey Hertan Jack Zeldes Creative Director Olivia Crosby Video Editor Grace Kosner

Kindergarteners are sent to school with an extra change of clothes just in case any “accidents” happen. They’re still babies. Potty training should come before the Scantrons. Again, we know the district cannot avoid all of these changes and policies. But to the greatest extent that is possible, we urge the district to keep the fun in elementary schools. Learning to love learning is just as crucial a part of anyone’s education as is the learning of curriculum. Enthusiasm for learning can become a lifelong habit, even outside of the classroom, something that we can keep with us even after we’ve forgotten the particulars of the ancient Egyptian diet.

Advisers Mary Elizabeth Fulco Rebecca Marsick Julia McNamee Lauren Francese 70 North Ave. Westport, CT 06880 Phone: (203) 341–1994 Decisions of Inklings are made without regard to race, color, age, sex, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, marital status, disability or any other discriminating basis prohibited by local, state, or federal law.



Inklings / December 20, 2013 /

Mittens and gloves pose the ultimate choice ABBEY FERNANDEZ ’14 Web Opinions Editor


here are Democrats and Republicans. There are Yankees fans and Red Sox fans. And there are glove wearers and mitten wearers. The common saying, “To each his own.,” becomes completely invalid when it comes to winter hand apparel. In fact, the only logical way to dress for the cold is the innovative and sleek glove. Gloves, you see, allow for maximum dexterity. True, mittens allow for greater insulation, but what’s

more important? Feeling slightly warmer or sending that crucial text to your BF or even more importantly your BFFL? If texting doesn’t matter to you, there’s another reason why gloves are a no brainer: Age. Mittens are undoubtedly more juvenile. Just think back to those homely fleece mittens your mom used to forcefully shove on your hands right before you got on the bus. There’s a reason why those kids stared at you as you walked down the aisle. They sure are warm but, man, what a puerile look.

On the other hand (no pun intended), gloves just scream sophistication. When I think of the connotations associated with “gloves,” I think of fine Italian leather gloves on a tall woman, with an exotic accent, who resides in a New York City penthouse. Gloves are totally sophisticateder. Yes, gloves and mittens definitely have two starkly different auras. But some people don’t consider the “aura” their outdoor apparel creates. So there is another factor to take in to consideration: your dependency level.

If you are anything like me, you hate asking favors of people. Mittens make you extremely vulnerable when it comes to carrying out tactile tasks. “Can you open this for me?” “Can you unzip this jacket?” “Can you itch my nose for me … a little to the left.” That’s right. Mittens are extremely inhibiting and thus require you to ask favors of your friends or worse – the occasional ice skating rink stranger. Gloves offer much more hand agility. You can open anything, y g, unzip anything

and scratch anything you please. What’s more, you never look dependent on other people’s hands. So, it’s pretty clear I’m a gloves girl. They’re practical, sophisticated and promote independence. However, there is a catch. The real winner in the gloves vs. mittens controversy is the convertible glove. The glitten, if you will. They are a glove/mitten hybrid and allow finger agility while also including an insulating mitten cap that can be pulled on or off. Now that is what I call genius.


All I want for Christmas is Christmas Eve CADENCE NEENAN ’15 glimpse of the cheery red and white pattern News Editor of Starbucks holiday Dec. 24 is my favorite day of the cups, and I force my dad to spend hours year. You see, I’m a seri- cruising around town ous Christmas person. looking for even a Like a listening-to- flicker of holiday Christmas-music-in- lights. However, ChristSeptember, Costcopack-of-candy-canes, mas Day? Kind of a whe re’s -my-reve r s - letdown. Imagine it’s Christible-reindeer-sweater mas Day. You wake Christmas person. I get an adrenaline up just as the sunrise rush when I catch a streaks the sky, tram-

poline on your parents’ bed until they wake up, groggy and mumbling about “you crazy kids,” and sprint down the stairs, skipping the last one. After a race to the tree, you tear through every present in sight. And then… Po s t- C h r i s t m a s letdown (a scientific term for that awful sinking feeling you get in the pit of your cook-

ie-filled belly the minute you’ve unwrapped your last giftcard) sets in almost immediately. The cure has yet to be found. Christmas Eve has all the fun. You’re cocooned in the cloying sweet smell of baking cookies, the Beatles Christmas album has you rocking around the tree and you spend the entire day drenched in

Christmas spirit. Christmas Eve is the day I live for. It’s like someone took all of the best moments of the Christmas season, froze them in time, and set them out on the kitchen table as a snowglobe. Christmas Eve is when you give each one a shake. Merry Christmas Eve to all, and to all a good night!


Many feel the burden of loss during the holidays KELSEY SHOCKEY ’14 Web Sports Editor

For most, the holiday season is considered to be the happiest time of the year because of all the poofy snow, toasty fires and

the sweet hot chocolate. More importantly, it’s a time to reflect and to embrace the ones closest to you at joyful gatherings. However, despite the nice nuances of the holidays, there is something that many families around the world silently relate to. In some cases, it’s sad to say that a family member will always be missing from the dinner table. For some people, such as myself, who have had a family member pass away, you cannot help but imagine how much better the holidays would be if the particular family member was GRAPHIC BY SALLY PARK ’15

still present. Just as you’re in the middle of your day dream, reality suddenly kicks back in. Everyone’s family situation is unique. But from a universal stand point, the fact that someone is missing just twists the mind. Just think about all of the parents whose son or daughter recently lost their lives fighting in a war. What about the people who lost a loved one after the devasting 9/11 terrorist attack? Every holiday from then on in will never be the same. Since this can be a lonely and stressful time, you may want to go back to the regular routine of school or work. You just want to have a sense of normality again. Of course, adding on to this

post holiday anxiety is having someone telling you how great their holiday was when yours was so sensitive and difficult. So, considering the Sandy Hook tragedy and the effects of the storm in the Philippines this year, one might stop and think about how many people are going through hardship or adversity even during a time that is supposed to be joyful. Clearly, holidays are certainly not just about the gifts or even religion, but they’re about being grateful for what you have, especially the people around you.

If I could have one Christmas wish, it would be to have my father alive again.

Opinions Inklings / December 20, 2013 /


College tours succumb to parental pressure JACKIE COPE ’15 Opinions Editor

Sandwich line loyalty rewards the patient WILL MCDONALD ’14


Managing Editor

n every Mafia movie ever made, a big deal is always made about becoming a “Made Man,” a title given to mobsters in a large ceremony that means they are immune from being killed by rivals. While it isn’t exactly the same thing, a very soughtafter status of similar prestige exists within the Staples cafeteria – being a favorite of Colleen, who along with Amber is one of the two beloved sandwich line workers. Each has their own line, and as a result each has their own cult-following of sandwich-orderers. While freshman typically select the shortest line, asww they become veterans many soon pledge allegiance to one line and stick to it. Each line has it’s own pros and cons. For example, Amber has another worker helping her transfer sandwiches to the grill to be toasted and back, while Colleen has to pause from serving students to do this herself. This makes Amber’s line considerably quicker for the honest linestander. However, the reason I am a Colleen person is because, over time, if you order the same sandwich every day, she will begin to make it for you as soon as she makes contact with your hungry eyes in the back of the line. As someone who has gotten the same sandwich every day of high school (ham, turkey and one single slice of American cheese), I was able to reach this point sooner than many of my classmates, although as high school has gone on many of my friends have joined me in the ranks of Colleen’s regulars. With regular status comes a certain freedom when ambling down to lunch every

day. I no longer have to scramble like I did when I was a freshman, shoving slow walkers out of the way in an effort to get there early and as far up the line as possible. Now I can come to lunch at any time, and, provided I stand where Colleen can spot me, I soon see her pulling out the bread I like and placing the contents of my sandwich on it, before looking up at me while lifting the sandwich in a friendly “here it is” gesture. Not only is this a more honorable method than the also popular “I’m bigger than you so get out of my way” method that many upperclassmen employ to cut lines, its more effective as well. While freshmen and other non-regulars may still grumble and groan as I saunter past them, I feel obligated to remind them that they too can one day find themselves in my shoes. All they need to do is be loyal (if you want Colleen to remember your sandwich you have to get it every day), be patient (endure the lines and good things will come), and above all else, be polite. Always say “thank you” and feel free to make small talk; Colleen’s a great person. There’s no quicker way to Colleen‘s blacklist – when a person who thinks they are a regular but actually is not will try and cut the line only to have Colleen not make their sandwich until a time equivalent to if they had waited in line has passed – than rudeness. As the saying goes, good things come to those who wait. While the thought of waiting in line may sound torturous, I promise that if you stick it out, you’ll soon find yourself strutting by your friends, sandwich in hand, as they stand in purgatory at the back of the line.


Confession: my mom is more excited about college than I am. By far. She has all the excitement, but none of the anxiety. Having gone through the process with my older siblings, my mom is now an (uncertified) expert on everything and anything college. This becomes all too clear when we visit colleges. From the grassy, Starbucksfilled campuses to the massive, musky libraries, even the crummy, suspiciously-stained dorm rooms make her “ooo” and “aww.” It’s an ongoing joke that she’s the one going to college, not me, because everything’s “so interesting” to her.

Going on tours with her, I find it hard not to laugh, but just as hard not to cry. “You know, Jackie, this could be a really good fit for you.” “You know, a big school has a lot of opportunities, but I think you want something a little more close-knit.” “You know, I don’t think you want to be too far away from home…” Mentioning this to my friends, I get a lot of sympathetic nods and murmurs of agreement. Sage Vouse ’15 calls her experiences “mildly-upsetting” and “anxiety-inducing.” That about sums it up; going on a tour with my mom isn’t the apocalypse, but it is uncomfortable and stressful. When the guide asks for questions, I find myself holding

my breath. Maybe she’s just going to ask about class sizes, but still, the second her words leave her throat, I already feel suffocated. One tour with an over-enthusiastic college student, and suddenly I’m supposed to know what I want in my college? I can barely decide on breakfast. It feels like my entire future is being pinned to death, like a voodoo doll. Harmless comments, like how she thinks a close-by school is “a great safetynet,” or how an open curriculum is “really cutting-edge. You want that,” become really overwhelming, because I have no idea what I want. Especially when it’s 9 a.m. on a Saturday, and I’d trade anything to be sleeping in, for once.


Seniors begin to bank on AARON HENDEL ’14 Breaking News Managing Editor

So I’m not into college yet. Hopefully, by the time you all read this, I will be. One can only pray. That’s why it’s still quite important for me to continue working hard, like I managed to do first quarter. I know I have to keep it up, just grind it out a little longer, in case I don’t get into my early schools. The only problem is, that’s just not happening. I took my foot off the gas pedal at the start of the second quarter to give myself a little break I felt I deserved. However, that little break has turned into something so severe that it’s gotten to the point where last week, my friend in my math class told me he was

“proud” of me, for not only did I open my backpack, but I also opened my binder, which I guess I hadn’t done in maybe a month or so. And now I can’t get out of this state; I caught senioritis, and caught it too early. It’s not that I can’t cure myself, per se, I just really, really don’t want to. Honestly though, I tried. For about a week. I thought if I picked it up again, the good grades would flow in nicely and rapidly. Nope. Instead, I’m back in the abyss of a second semester, college bound senior, who isn’t yet in the second semester or, cur-


rently, college bound. I went from telling myself I was going to study for midterms to now laughing about that proposition. But there is still hope for me. All I need to do is get in early somewhere, anywhere, and all my troubles will be solved. It’s sufficient to say, that’s what I’m banking on. I’ve accepted it. I’ve admitted it. I’m all in for getting in. Early. And if I don’t? Well, then we have a problem.

10 Opinions

Inklings / December 20, 2013 /

The County Assemblies:

Count me out NICOLE DEBLASI ’15 Web A&E Editor


he first “dance” I went to was at sleep-away camp the summer before sixth grade. The boys were short, and the girls tried to act like they were 16. The music consisted of The Jonas Brothers, and the dress consisted of wet hair, Abercrombie shorts, and t-shirts with name brands slapped across the front. After the dance ended, groups of girls were crying because the “hottest” guy at camp rejected and humiliated them by lining them up and picking the girl he liked best. Soon after this fiasco, the second

Underclassmen evade Counties chaos BLAKE RUBIN ’16 Staff Writer

“dance” I went to was the Monster Mash two months into sixth grade. I tried to act chill and dress in all black for the dance. I thought my “costume” screamed, “I know it’s Halloween, but I’m too cool to wear a costume.” The dance was ruined, however, when my best friend told my crush I liked him. I spent the entire dance cowering near the girl’s bathroom. Dances, it turned out, were nothing like Sarah Dessen novels. You weren’t swept off your feet by the guy you liked. I had high hopes that dances in high school would be much better. I was wrong. At a club conven-


tion last April, the dance exposed me to high school socials: sweaty, claustrophobic, and awkward. Imagine 200 teens crammed onto a dance floor, smelling like body odor, bumping into people as they danced. There’s more. According to an ABC News article, the average amount of money spent on prom is $1,139, and ounties hardly costs less. I would much rather spend my money on junk food than dresses and watch romantic comedies on my TV rather than live drama at the dance. Besides, I’m not in the mood to get sweaty.

A sparkly blue dress shines under the lights, and my brown locks fall in perfect elegant curls on my shoulders. I dance the night away while stealing the hearts of all the boys with the modern jive, and then my date, the cutest boy in school, sneaks me away for the romantic ballroom waltz. Ever since I was a little girl, this is how I dreamt school dances would be. Now that Counties is a short year away, I can’t help but wonder if my fantasy of high school dances is the reality at Staples. I have been told the good, the bad, and the ugly about the prep and primp for Counties. Sitting long hours in the beauty parlor chair watching the hair stylist form perfect curls, while the smell of product lingers in the air. How pleasant. And the makeup process, oh boy. The artists throwing everything onto your skin so it feels five pounds heavier, but always beautiful.

While I had always imagined dances to be relaxing and stress-free, recently I have heard that months before the hair and makeup process even begin, the minds of junior girls bubble with the fear and anxiety of mainly two things: rejection, of course, but also the tedium of trying on thousands of dresses, different styles, cuts and colors. How do they decide? Beats me. I think I’ll have to accept that preparation for Counties is anything but stress-free: picking the perfect date, the beautiful, bedazzled dress, and the glorified, wild and never-ending after party. During what is notoriously the most stressful year of high school, all this planning and extra stress piled onto junior girls just for a dance...I can’t help but wonder if it’s really worth it. For now, I’ll cherish the days as a sophomore, the days before the frantic and stressful life of a junior girl going through the vigorous Counties process. And if it’s not what it’s cracked up to be, I’ll always have my prom fantasy.




When communication breaks down SOPHIE DE BRUIJN ’14 Breaking News Managing Editor

“Well, you tell me. What is less important than drama and presentation,?” asked a seemingly frustrated Elliott Landon at the Westport Board of Education meeting around 10:00 p.m. on Monday Nov. 26.

The question arose amidst discussion of a change to Westport’s middle schools which would remove drama and presentation skills from the schedules of eighth graders to implement a three-year STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) course. While I doubt Landon’s rhetorical question was asked with this motivation at heart, it stung those who had taken to the podium, passionately arguing the case for preserving the drama class, mere minutes earlier. No doubt some of the hard-

hitting points of those opposed to the curriculum changes were heard, but, it is easy to understand how much of what was said behind the podium that night was lost in translation. Topics ranged from the shortcomings of the current STEM class in eighth grade, to the best way to help students gain acceptance into Ivyy League g schools, to a the philosophical rant attacking a basis of American education in general. The large crowd crow in attendance that night serv served to be both a blessing and a curse: cu while it made clear to the members me of the Board that the issue was clearly a contentious one, it also allowed for more legitimate and logical lost in a fray of arguments to be los


passion and emotion. However, I do not believe that this chaos can be blamed entirely on the passionate Westporters who assembled on last minute notice to speak their beliefs. Rather, I find the format of the meeting itself to be the true obstacle preventing a gap to be bridged between students, parents, teachers, and the board. The current format of the meetings, in which members of the public are allotted a threeminute time slot to argue their case behind a mahogany podium, not only limits effective communication (I cannot imagine it was pleasant for the board members to be talked at for over an hour and a half), but also does not foster an environment where we can implement the efficient critical thinking and communication skills which we attempt to employ in the classroom. The format not only stimulates a psychological “us versus them” mentality but prevents proper communication, which is the means

by which problems are solved. Furthermore, the Board’s return to closed discussion following the period of public speaking undoubtedly makes listening to public voice appear as a formality rather than a useful opportunity to enhance discussion. Landon stated at the meeting that the current curriculum change, which was unanimously passed only one week later, was “plan A, B, and C,” and that no alternative plan could be reached. I believe that Westport, as a community, is more brilliant than this. This is why we understand the absolute necessity of a STEM class for middle schoolers, as well as appreciate the obvious practical benefits of a Drama and Presentation Skills course in eighth grade. If we are so desperate to expose middle schoolers to a class which would teach them the skill of thinking creatively to solve problems, at the very least we could practice the same skill set as adults in the community.



December 20, 2013

The friendly debate rages on

Students create their own vocabulary KATIE REYNOLDS ’14 Staff Writer

MICHAEL MATHIS ’15 Staff Writer


can work together,” Walton said, pointing out that his club establishes a collaboration among students not seen in the other two. However, Baxter Stein ’14, who is both president of JSA and co-president of the Debate Team, says that the members of JSA are just as supportive of each other as those in the other clubs. “The Staples JSA members always go to their friends’ debates to support them, giving supporting speeches and asking questions,” he said. Vouse also defended Debate Team’s teamwork, saying that, like Model UN, their less frequent competition allows them to improve. Despite their differences, however, all three club presidents encourage students to join more than one if they desire. “Lots of times people think you have to choose one, but that’s not true,” Stein said.

Imagine a world in which “flying” has nothing to do with traveling through the sky, or in which “violent” has little relation to someone’s physical threats. This is the world that Staples students have created. Words like “flying,” “violent,” “fake,” “underrated,” “unfair” and “decent” are commonly used by Staples students, especially upperclassmen, but not in the way that others might expect. “I describe something as violent if it’s awkward or uncomfortable in a severe and unexpected way,” said Keleigh Brockman ’14. Jack Reardon ’14 described “flying” as being very similar to “going bonkers.” “For example, I was flying after girls volleyball won the state semi,” said Reardon. It’s hard to pin down students’ defi ntions, but their new uses seem to be catching on. “If someone got something into the garbage from across the room, they’d be fake,” said Claire Noyer ’14. Other words in the Staples lexicon don’t necessarily change meaning but are used to describe a large range of topics. One of these words is “underrated.” “I use ‘underrated’ to describe anything big that deserves attention,” said Jennie Blumenfeld ’15. “For example, if a person does something really impressive that no one knows about, I



ven after the buses clear in the afternoon, the halls echo with the roar of the students. In room 2038, politics persists as members of the Junior Statesman of America (JSA) debate today’s political issues. Meanwhile, the denizens of room 2059 are learning the ins and outs of argument, as the Debate Team prepares for its upcoming competitions. In 2062, the Model United Nations (UN) members strive to end starvation in an increasingly hungry world. While all three clubs are debate-oriented, they aren’t all debating the same topics. JSA practices formulating mainly political arguments based on personal beliefs. Meanwhile, according to Debate Team co-president Sage Vouse ’15, members argue about a wide variety of issues but learn to train their arguments in a variety of structures, like extemporaneous and parlia-

mentary style. Model UN looks at international affairs, simulating the actual United Nations. The group has discussed everything from nuclear weapons to international espionage. But it’s not just about taking a side for Model UN. It’s also about taking a country. While, in JSA and Debate Team, the members mock debate, the Model UN participants are assigned countries and must defend issues based on their governments’ stance. According to Model UN co-president Matt Walton ‘14, this means getting all countries involved, including controversial ones like North Korea and Iran. He’s not complaining though. “I mean, it’s fun to be North Korea,” Walton said. The clubs differ on the importance of competition. In JSA, competition is key; students take frequent trips to in-state as well as out-of-state debates, such as and Winter Fall State According to Congress. Brandon Ramember Staples students win kowski ’16, Stapl awards at almost every event. The Debate Team members are competitive as well, attending monthly co competitions, including the Y Yale Invitational in April. H However, they do hope to expand ex heir com their competitive ambitions a ns further with more m ut-of-state out-of-state compe competitions this year. M Model UN remain he remains the least compe-tive, on only attending one conference a yyear i Washington D.C D.C. “It’s not th that we don’t care about competition. Sure, yyou can n win awards and sstuff, but ut you can also see how you

would say they’re underrated,” said Rachel Beck ’15. Outside of Westport, these words don’t have the same meaning. Former Staples student Lauren Exposito ’15 has proof of this. “Since being back in Florida I haven’t really heard anyone use those terms in the way people in Westport use them, and if I ever said one of those words, people would look at me weird or ask what I meant,” said Exposito. However, Staples isn’t the only school with its own slang. Former Staples’ student Maddie Gelfand ’13, who now attends Westover School in Middlebury, CT, says that there are other words more commonly used at her school. Terms like “hipster” and “prepster” are often used a lot as descriptions for the types of students. Staples students have always had a “language,” but it changes as years pass. “Just the other day I was remembering that this really cool girl moved to Westport from Boston during 10th grade, and she used the phrase ‘cool beans’ which for some hilarious reason became a very cool saying for 10th graders at Staples in 1997,” English teacher Amanda Parrish said. Staples’ language can cause a good amount of confusion in conversation. “There have been times when I’ve called Staples ‘violent’ to people outside of Westport, and they’ve responded, ‘Really? I wouldn’t peg Staples for a physical school,’” said Brockman.

On vacation, big families become big struggles ERIN MUNLEY ’16 Staff Writer

Most families consider a vacation to be a rejuventing and much-needed break. However, this is not the case for big families. For families with six or more people, going on vacations can seem more stressful and chaotic than being at home. One of the most common struggles for big families going on vacation is finding enough available rooms. According to Keiran Simunovic ’16, his family of eight usually needs to “resort” (so to speak) to renting houses or villas rather than hotels.

“One time when we went on vacation, no hotels had big enough rooms, so we had to pick a completely different place to vacation,” Simunovic said. Eliza Donovan ’16 added, “There are eight people in my family total, so it can be hard to go on vacation because not many places have rooms for eight.” Aside from the living situation, going on vacation with big families can really hurt the budget. It’s no surprise that the more people you have, the more money you have to spend. From meals to transportation, there are always going to be greater costs for big families.

“It’s financially hard because the more people you have, the more money you’re forced to spend, especially on meals and flight tickets,” Logan Murphy ’15 said. “It limits the amount of activities our family can do in order to save as much money as possible.” Besides the difficult financial situation vacationing puts on big families, Murphy also believes that one of the hardest things to do is to get the whole family together. “All my siblings are completely different ages. Some are in college, and some are in elementary school, so it’s hard to get a time where everyone’s available,” Mur-

phy said. Obviously no one’s going to be left out, but this can make it extremely difficult for the family to be able to actually go on vacation. “If not everyone in our family is able to come, we have to move our vacation to a different date and re-plan our entire trip,” Donovan said. No matter where they go or what they do, vacationing with big families always seems to cause many struggles. “It’s always hard for us, and we may have to be flexible, but, if it means we can all vacation together as a family, it’s worth it,” Donovan said.


12 Features

Inklings / December 20, 2013/

C Social media divides students GRACE MCCARTHY ’16 & MARGAUX MCCOLL ’16 Staff Writers


s Kaela Fodor ’16 approached the boy, she felt the jittery anticipation that goes hand in hand with a teenage crush. This was the boy who she had been texting for over a week. She had been scolded again and again by her summer camp counselors but continued to hide her phone underneath her jacket just to keep talking to him. He had been gone for the past week but was returning to camp today. Her stomach knotted as she entered the cafeteria and caught a glimpse of him across the room. All their meaningful conversations over text flashed through her head in a nervous, excited wave of emotion. With each step she took towards him, her nerves sky-rocketed with her anticipation. She stood next to him at the fruit bar and smiled. “I remember butterflies in my stomach as he opened his mouth,” Fodor recalled recently, with a grin. “And you know what he says? He opens his mouth and says, ‘There’s no more yogurt’,” Fodor said, bursting into a fit of laughter. “I was disappointed, a little in the lack of yogurt, but mostly in him. I had such high expectations after texting him for so long,” she reflected. Fodor’s story demonstrates the disconnect between texting and face-to-face interactions that is becoming an increasingly prevalent issue as new technology changes communication. Texting and other short messages, like Snapchat, are already popular. The Huffington Post reported that teens send an average of 60 texts a day, and Buzzfeed estimated that 400 million Snapchat pictures are received daily. With the increas-

ing use of these services, miscommunications are a growing problem. Max Zimmerman ’17 remembers an experience similar to Fodor’s, when a girl misread a single text he had sent her, thinking they were in a relationship. “She couldn’t see my facial expressions, so she couldn’t tell if I liked her or not,” Zimmerman said. Communication through technology can be misleading. “In person you can read emotion; when you text, you don’t show any emotion,” Shane Dasbach ’17 said. “You can’t read sarcasm,” Andres Marmelo ’16 said, “not to mention that emphasis on different words can be completely lost.” However, these fast forms of communication have benefits. Multiple Staples students said scheduling plans is substantially easier, as well as staying connected to international friends. “Yesterday I was texting my friend in Portugal and London at the same time,” Marmelo recalled. Along the way, valuable social skills can be lost. Guidance counselor Victoria Capozzi said that when she works with students on social skills, she asks that they put down phones for just two minutes. “There have been times when I’ve had to take the phone away,” Capozzi said. Delbert Shortliffe, an English teacher, recalls a staggering moment when he assigned students to forego technology a bit. “I think not one of them made it half an hour,” Shortliffe said. As new forms of communication arise, more young children have access to the technology. Rachel Morrison ’16 attends Coleytown Elementary School every Thursday for Child Development class. All but one child in the fourth grade classroom have a laptop or access to one, and at least half have a Nook or Kindle of their own, she said. “My younger sister does everything on her iPod touch,” Dasbach said.





Inklings / December 20, 2013 /

y C

nnected When followers become friends CLAUDIA CHEN ’16 Sports Editor



Sarah Bookbinder ’16 walks out of Bow Tie Royale 6, laughing and chatting with her friend about Catching Fire, the box office-topping blockbuster that they just watched. The discussion moves on to Urban Outfitters and Madewell, and the girls make plans to visit them on another day. They hop into the car, discussing what to munch on for lunch. It’s hard to believe that Bookbinder met this close friend of hers through technology, and only later met in person in early 2013. “It’s weird that we met through Snapchat because we’re so close now,” Bookbinder said. Daisy Laska ’16 introduced Bookbinder to her new friend in a Snapchat, forming what Bookbinder considers a real friendship. This is not atypical at Staples. Social networking platforms such as Tumblr, Twitter, Snapchat, and Instagram can now ease the formation of new friendships. In fact, according to the report “Social Networking Sites and Our Lives” by Pew Internet, the average internet user has 163 more social ties than the average non-user. Taylor Jacobs ’14 has also found a real friend through social networking, but in her case the platform was Twitter. When the boyband One Direction visited New York City, Jacobs messaged people in order to find out where the boys were. She has met some of these friends in person, and has become good friends with two of them. “It’s fun because they don’t judge me for my huge obsession with the boys,” Jacobs said. Jacobs found friends not just through Twitter but also Tumblr. “We just started messaging each other

one day and became friends,” she said. Manon de Vos ’16 is another example of a friendship formed through Tumblr. When she followed a new soft grunge blog, she and the owner of the blog, Aisy, started messaging. “We found out that we both love Urban Outfitters, both watch American Horror Story and are both sophomores in high school,” de Vos said. “Our conversations just kept going. It’s gotten to the point where we would message each other almost every day, and now we even Snapchat.” Neither de Vos nor Jacobs have met their Tumblr friends in person; however, they both consider their internet friends real friends. “[We] not only help each other out with Tumblr-related things, but also get to know each other on a personal level,” de Vos said. She helps Aisy out by promoting her blog, making a banner for her Tumblr, helping choose outfits and giving advice about school. Jacobs said that she and her Tumblr friend have also gone to each other for advice about friends. However, as much as these friends talk online, they never give away personal information. “I don’t tell them anything more than ‘I live in Connecticut,’” de Vos said. At the end of it all, Jacobs and de Vos both still feel that the friends they know in person are golden compared to behindthe-screen-buddies. “I will always love my real friends more,” Jacobs said. “Sometimes it may be harder to relate to your Tumblr friends because they may have gone through [different] experiences,” de Vos said. “You know that your real life friendships are real because they aren’t relationships that were built through typing behind a computer screen.”

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Inklings / December 20, 2013/

New Year’s resolutions remain unresolved ALEXA DILUCA ’15 Staff Writer

“I have had the same three or four New Year’s resolutions every year,” Christine Kaszanek, a science teacher, said. Through the years, her resolutions have remained staying organized, spending more time outside, exercising, and taking part in a creative leisure. This year, Kaszanek said, she specifically targeted this last goal by, as she put it, “documenting [her] life” by taking more photos. Kaszanek alleged that she usually keeps up with her resolutions for January and February but is “not quite at the endgame” by the next New Year. She expounded with a smile that even though she repeats the same resolutions every year, it is “good to set goals [because] knowing what you need to work on is half the battle.” Kaszanek isn’t the only one who has struggled to keep up with a resolution. Nick Greene ’16 shared that last year his New Year’s resolution was to go to the gym every day. He succeeded with his aspiration all through January, but as February rolled around, he found himself going only four times a week and then less and

less as the months flew by. “New Year’s resolutions are really inflated,” Greene thoughtfully reflected. Chris Engongoro ’14 concurred that the dilemma with these types of resolutions is that they can be set too high. It can be hard to determine the right goal because many struggle with overcoming the obstacles that coexist with the hope of accomplishment. In this mindset, Sammie Kurtz ’15 provided the advice of “making [the resolution] reasonable and achievable with mini goals.” While many students and faculty members have been haunted by their repeatedly failed New Year’s resolutions, librarian Robin Stiles has already turned over a new leaf. Stiles ambitiously exclaimed that she has begun the “challenge [of a] fresh start” with the goal of sticking to a healthy diet. She planned to “center [herself] around good habits” by taking care with the foods that she buys at the market. Stiles proudly added that she has lost nine pounds over the first two weeks of her diet. Engongoro thinks that there’s one way to achieve a New Year’s resolution. As he puts it, “make it possible and easy.” GRAPHIC BY SOPHIA HAMPTON ’15

Christmas day gets done the right way JORDAN GOODNESS ’16 Staff Writer

You can practically feel the excitement throughout Staples as the days count down to December 25: the air gets chillier, Christmas carols echo through the hall by the choir room, and students arrive at school toting Starbuck’s cherry-red cups. However, with all this excitement leading up to the big day, it is no wonder that Christmas can be a bit anticlimactic. “Christmas Eve is always fun because that’s when I watch Christmas specials and stuff,” said Keanan Pucci ’16. “But on Christmas day, you open presents, and then you don’t really do anything else.” The wrapping paper may be in scraps on the floor, and Santa may have finished his rounds, but Staples students still have ways to keep this holiday from falling flat. For Caroline Didelot ’16, the day is devoted to celebrating the story of the holiday. “Christmas day for me is filled with church and family,” said Didelot. “I open my presents, then my family goes to church. I love watching the Christmas stories being acted out. My favorite stories that they act out are the ones with Santa

Claus.” For Jewish students of Staples, Christmas sometimes feels like just another day of the week. Although Max Warburg ’14 doesn’t celebrate the holiday, she doesn’t let the day off go to waste. “I’m Jewish, but I still like to eat breakfast by the fire with my family on Christmas day, then go to lunch with my grandparents,” said Warburg. Some students have even adopted unique traditions. Nicole Mathias ’16 and her family like to bring together friends of different beliefs. “On Christmas day, my friends who don’t celebrate Christmas come over, and we have a dinner. It’s been my family’s tradition since I moved to Westport,” said Mathias. For many, whatever the tradition, the day seems to involve eating. “I go to my grandparents’ house during the day on Christmas, and I eat food. Lots and lots of food. Christmas Day should just be spent with family and food,” laughs Jaime Bairaktaris ’16. On December 25, don’t let boredom spoil your eggnog. Staples students have found many activities to keep Christmas merry all day long.

Please send your address and a $35.00 check made payable to: Inklings Staples High School 70 North Avenue Westport, CT 06880

Be a part of the tradition. Subscribe to Inklings. Support scholastic journalism today and for decades to come. GRAPHIC BY AUDREY SEO ’16

Features Inklings / December 20, 2013 /


Students hail SafeRides



’14 CION ief h n-C




ncreasing scientific evidence points to the conclusion that teachers are, in fact, human beings with the same biological composition as the students they teach. Though skeptics abound, it is true that teachers are oxygen necessitating, feelings-having, social life enjoying people. And in addition to being confirmed homosapiens, teachers actually have a lot in common with their pupils, even if it’s not a passion for Renaissance poetry or integration by parts. So instead of focusing on the differences, students might look at the things with which they can identify. Like, hey, we both have first names!


They get a caffeine fix before school

MORNING LATTE Nursing her iced french vanilla latte, social studies teacher Suzanne Kammerman begins her day.

Stop by the Starbucks on Cedar Road or the Post Road Dunkin at 7:15 a.m. on a weekday, and you’re bound to see a slew of Staples students hoping to get their lattes and still make the bell. Roll up to the Dunkin Donuts drive-through in Monroe at 6:30 a.m., and you’re bound to see social studies teacher Suzanne Kammerman ordering her usual iced French Vanilla latte, encased in a foam cup to avoid the nuisance of condensation pooling on her desk by second period. She swears that the employees at this Dunkin Donuts are so fast, she probably gets to school earlier on her Dunkin days than when she makes herself a coffee at home. Kammerman may be a bit more concerned with punctuality than some of her fellow caffeine-indulging pupils.

They have spirit


Town Hall may not come to mind as the rowdiest place, but Superintendent Elliott Landon still occasionally shows some spirit. “The central office staff aren’t as boring as their positions might sound,” Landon said. This is evident in their Halloween costumes this year, where Landon is dressed as an unidentified ghoul, and his town hall colleagues are poking fun with gray wigs and business suits to emulate the superintendent himself. And he didn’t even fire them.

They go to school with their sweetheart Holding hands in the hallway, kissing in front of classes, these are all teenage couple tropes. But Denise and Jim Honeycutt have a teacher spin on the classic high school romance. “How do I like having my wife 100 feet away in guidance? Terrific,” Honeycutt said. They met teaching in adjacent classrooms at Long Lots, then a junior high school, more than 30 years ago. The guidance counselor and media teacher, now married, have more than 75 years of teaching experience between the two of them. And while this pair is a lot more professional than the average senior boy and girl, they still reap the benefits of sharing a workplace. Honeycutt sometimes stops by to say hi to his wife when he’s getting his mail, and to see if she’s talked to their kids that day or to catch up. However, he never interrupts when she’s with a student, and visa versa. As for their dinner table conversation, the Honeycutts mostly leave school at school, or, more aptly, work at work.


A SPIRITED SUPERINTENDENT On Halloween this year, Elliott Landon dressed up as an unidentified ghoul, stands with his colleague for work at Town Hall.

You start the night with a beer in one hand. You’re feeling a little light headed and slightly loosened; you feel a sense of euphoria. By the end of the night, almost all self-control has been lost. Beer cans are scattered all over the floor. You’re trying to remember how many drinks you’ve had, but your only recollection is making trips back and forth to the beer keg to fill up your red Solo cup. With no money for a taxi, no sober drivers in sight, you have no way of getting home. Staples students use SafeRides as an alternative ride home whether they are intoxicated or sober. Students involved in the organization say it offers non-judgmental, confidential and free transportation for students who feel they are in a dangerous situation. “Students are encouraged to use SafeRides as a last resort. We do not encourage underage drinking. But underage drinking isn’t going away anytime soon. So, we are a group of students who wants to save lives by preventing drunk driving,” Will Haskell ’14, the student director of SafeRides said. However, there are rules for SafeRides: it is open only on Saturdays, students can call between 10 PM-1:30 AM, one can only receive one ride a night, there are no rides to other parties and no drugs or alcohol are allowed in the SafeRides cars. Drivers are not allowed to pick up or drop off students from the diner or the train station. “We discuss [SafeRides] being a last resort at every training, and we blacklist students who try to abuse the system,” Julie Mombello, adult director of SafeRides, said. “But unfortunately, we are never sure if students use our service as a taxi.” Most students say they do not plan to use SafeRides before they go out, but they choose to call SafeRides rather than call their parents. Being drunk and stranded somewhere in the middle of the night, past curfew, can be an issue with parents, students said.

“...if we save one life, then having a few people use us as a free taxi service is worth it” –Julie Mombello

They go to the gym Like many a Staples student, Principal John Dodig frequents Fitness Edge to get in a workout. In fact, Dodig is at the Edge nearly seven days a week, working out at 5 a.m. on weekdays so he can be at the school to greet his students who have barely managed to guzzle down enough caffeine to keep their eyes open, let alone get in some cardio. He spends 45 minutes on the treadmill at a steep incline four days a week, lifts weights for his upper body two days a week, and works on his legs and abs two days a week, a regimen that more than compares to those of his teenage students. “I never want to retire,” Dodig said. “I have to stay alive and be able to keep up with you guys.”

“I think if you go into the night thinking you’re not gonna be okay to get a safe way home, you’re setting yourself up for a bad situation. A lot of the time I don’t really know what the circumstances are of when I go out like if there’s drinking,” an anonymous student said. “And if there is, then I usually call SafeRides because I don’t want parents to have to know that I’m not okay.” Although SafeRides’ purpose is not to be a taxi, the members believe it can potentially help people from putting themselves into risky situations. “We do believe that if we save one life, then having a few people use us as a free taxi service is worth it,” Mombello said.




December 20, 2013

Senior draws the darker side of life a part of his ultimate goal. In the novel, while “examining relationships through a Web Managing Editor horror-adventure lens,” McCann develops a detailed story, told through black-andourteen years ago, a toddling pre- white illustrations, about a man named school-age Connor McCann ’14 had Jim Strick who struggles simultaneously the sudden urge to pick up a pencil with life, loss and love. and a piece of paper to scratch out, for the But that doesn’t come to fruition in a first time, an image he had unwittingly day; at roughly 190 pages, the novel has conjured in his head: Nickelodeon’s Cat- taken McCann nearly two years to finDog. After minutes of ardent three-year- ish. Yet, in that time, McCann says he’s old concentration, he presented his work to learned quite a bit about making art. his pre-K colleagues. His learning comes in part from the “It was a really good CatDog. I’m still composition of the book but also from a proud of that CatDog,” McCann said. “Ev- six-week program this past summer at the eryone was impressed by it, and I said to Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), myself, ‘I might be kind of a good artist.’” one of the world’s premier art institutions, Now with quite a bit more experience where he was accepted into than a CatDog sketch, the a course on illustration. 17-year-old McCann is still “Even the way I look scratching away at his paper. at art is different now. I On Dec. 1, he published his can’t stop thinking about second graphic novel titled, “I it,” McCann said. “I went am a Graveyard.” This comes to a bunch of other art proon the heels of the first book grams, but they were pretty in the series, “Bitter Liquid,” depressing. I mean, when which McCann published in you’re the best in the class October 2011. and you know you shouldn’t “‘Bitter Liquid’ was be, it’s depressing. RISD is good, but it just didn’t feel so intense.” nutritional, if you know what Despite his new outI mean,” McCann said. “I put look, McCann still holds an Connor McCann ’14 things in ‘I am a Graveyard’ affinity for his darker style that were honest, which I of art. He says he’s been don’t think I did in the first book.” inexplicably attracted to that style for as One of those honest elements was long as he can remember, throughout early recreating a feeling from one night last childhood repeatedly drawing Jason from November, during the aftermath of Hurri- “Friday the 13th” and consuming media cane Sandy. That night, he snuck out with like “Goosebumps,” “Courage the Cowa few friends to walk around the otherwise ardly Dog,” and “Hellboy,” a book he had desolate town. confiscated from him one day in third “There was something really sinister grade for being “too dark.” in the air, I guess from after the storm, but To add to his already daunting list I was having a really good time. It was an of aspirations, he sets the goal of getting interesting dichotomy,” McCann said. “I away from his dark comfort zone to “bewanted to capture that — that there are pe- come better as an artist,” to find new ways riods of good moments in dark periods of to conjure feelings and different means of your life, and there are dark moments in creation. light times.” “I am a Graveyard” is available at Still, delivering this message was only RYDER CHASIN ’14




They bring a good start to your morning ELIZA YASS ’14 Web Opinions Editor

Everybody at Staples gets excited at the blue and white countdown to Good Morning Staples on televisions around school. Taking about a week to produce a show, Jim Honeycutt and Mike Zito’s classes work hard to come up with entertaining yet informed pieces. “We are working hard to be a news source for the community as well as an entertaining update,” Knox McKay ’14 said. This year, the TV Production class added a new segment by Kelsey Shockey: Kelsey’s Happy Tip of the Week. The show’s goal this year is to showcase all of the wonderful people at Staples. “It’s our mission, and honor, to celebrate great things they’re doing, whether they’re students, teachers, coaches, or anybody else,” Zito said.

LIGHTS, CAMERA, ACTION! Nathan Nandagopal ’14 and Miley Fitzpatrick ’16 struggle through filming Good Morning Staples as they giggle while attempting to say “gobble, gobble” in unison. PHOTOS BY ELIZA YASS ’14

THE FINAL TOUCH Mr. Zito instructs his period eight class to put the finishing touches on their pieces during the final busy day of work for their last show before Thanksgiving break.

A&E Inklings / December 20, 2013 /

T’was the day before vacay

It’s beginning to sound a lot like Christmas



Web Features Editor or

Staff Writer


was the day before vacay, when all through the school. Every student was stirring, expecting the yule. The pupils stood idle, awaiting the bell, In hopes that St. Dodig would joyfully knell. The children were chatting about all of their plans, Envisioning beaches and working on tans. And Gramma in her rocker, and Grampa still living, Sat anxious for grandkids, last seen at Thanksgiving. Then over the intercom, an earsplitting sound Freed the students from classrooms to which they were bound. Away to the buses they flew in a flash, With seniors all running to avoid parking clash. The buses pulled out of the much-crowded lot, Giving students the hope of the break that they sought. A trip down to Vegas, a beach, or a bed, Stockings of joy filled each student’s head. They heard the bells jingle, and some “Ho ho ho!”s; They headed for sun, they headed for snows. Not a student could bear a single more minute, Vacation had started, it was time to begin it. With the bus’s short stops, so screechy and fast, The children were home, escapees at last. More rapid than eagles they shed their backpacks, And they readied for travel with their soft, comfy slacks. Now father, dressed warm with his attitude jolly Gathered the kids to their family trolley. The bags were packed in, though such a tight squeeze, When he finally realized he’d forgotten his keys. He sprang to his car, to his kin said, “Away,” And off they all drove like they flew in a sleigh. Then they heard him exclaim, as they listened to Drake, “Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good break!”

The hap-happiest season of all, the most wonderful time of the year, whatever you may call it – it’s the Christmas season. Cold crisp air tickles rosy cheeks, the smell of lingering fires and hot cocoa fills noses of cheer-filled men women and children alike, and ears are full of songs of hope, joy and love. “Listening to ‘Holly Jolly Christmas’ and other classics will always puts me in a good mood -- today, tomorrow, and every Christmas to come,” Kaela Kowalsky ’15 said. As these songs that bring a smile to the faces of adults and children alike jingle out the stereos of Westport homes, there seems to be a common theme: the lyrics are the same. Lyrics that parents and grandparents and maybe even great-grandparents of current Staples students listened to, and sang along with when they were teenagers, have been passed on to students today. “Traditional music brings back these memories of Christmases past and stories of all types. New songs don’t have the emotional value,” Avery Wallace ’15 said. Traditional Christmas music will always be a part of the life of Hannah Malowitz ’15. It gives her memories that will last a lifetime. Because Malowitz is Jewish, her family does not spend Christmas day under the tree opening presents, but skiing. Yet, they still join in on the holiday cheer. “On the chairlifts, we sing ‘Let it Snow’ at the top of our lungs, until people throw snowballs at us and tell us to stop,” she said. Its appears as though musicians never break ground with


original lyrics but rather take the old lyrics and jazz em up. It’s as if successful Christmas music is a phenomenon that can not be created from scratch but only be maintained, repaired and beefed up. New lyrics don’t connect with listeners as well as lyrics from the past, and artists know that. However, having these traditional lyrics revamped and given a pop-infused vibe is often a way to keep things current, without losing the sentimental value of traditional lyrics. Artists like Carrie Underwood, Miley Cyrus, and Justin Bieber have given a new spin on old tracks such as ‘Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree,’ ‘Santa Claus is Coming to Town,’

and ‘Oh, Holy Night.’ Even the Duck Dynasty gang has gotten in on the action, having recently released a country Christmas album, titled ‘Duck The Halls.’ “For me, it’s all about Ariana Grande’s rendition of ‘Last Christmas.’ Her vocal chords on the track are a gift from God,” Todd Goldstein ’14 said. While Staples students are curled up by the fire with a glass of eggnog, Christmas trees sparkling beside them, watching snow fall, there will be two types of music dancing through Westport houses this year: classic arrangements and New Age arrangements. But no matter which beat thumps in the background, the lyrics stay… traditional.

Winter fashion warms up JANE SCHUTTE ’16 Instagram Coordinator

With winter weather drawing near and a snowfall already past, the key is layers, layers, layers! According to the Farmer’s Almanac, this is supposed to be the coldest winter of the decade. So get ready to bundle up ‘cause baby it’s cold outside. Christmas is only a few days away, and New Year’s is quickly sneaking up behind it, so you want some cute holiday outfits. Let’s clarify: ugly Christmas sweaters are not trendy. Who wants to be the only person at the party in your grandpa’s reused thrift shop sweater, while everyone is rocking a cute velvet skater dress? The answer is no one. Be the star of the party, and mix and mingle to the jingling beat in an oversized LF crocheted sweater. Anything with sparkles is an absolute must. If you’re not one to get dressed up, you can’t go wrong

with a pair of patterned leggings, a cargo jacket, an infinity scarf, and combat boots with a decorative frilly lace sock. Warm, stylish, and tumblr-worthy. Have you ever wanted an adorable hat but not crazy ratnest hair? There is a solution: headband hats, in all patterns and colors. They cover your ears and your forehead, to prevent Jack Frost’s nips, but you still have some exposed hair for that snow-dusted pixie look. Now on to the fashionistos. This winter, flannels are redhot. They are so easy to dress up or down, whether you’re running late for school or rockin’ around the Christmas tree. Combine them with a nice pair of khakis or festive corduroys, and you’ll be sure to impress all your relatives with your slick and sharp new look. Be careful though: most flannels tend be slightly thin. Be sure to grab a sweater on your way to the rink or slopes. Because if you don’t, you’ll be skating on thin ice. Literally.




18 A&E

Inklings / December 20, 2013 /


‘TIS THE SEASON Michele’s Pies offers more than just pie for THE CHRISTMAS SPECIAL Isabelle et Vincent’s Buche de REINDEER ON ROOFTOPS Enjoy Michele’s Pies’s gingerthe holiday season. You can also buy beautifully decorated Noel, exclusive to the month of Decemberfor Christmas, of- bread house decorated with reindeer and while you’re sugar cookies as shown above. fers a wide variety of fillings. there try their fresh pumpkin pies.

Treat yourself this holiday season EMMA MURO ’14 A&E Editor


anta Claus is coming to town -- and Westport is preparing. Amid the carolers, almost audible are the sighs of delight from happy customers perusing Main Street stores, marveling at discounted fares. Look closely to spot one or two Westporters balancing a cookie platter from Sono Baking Company, two fresh pumpkin pies sporting Michele’s Pies packaging, and a tiny bag filled with the pastries that earned Isabelle et Vincent their glistening reputation. In fact, local bakeries find themselves wishing for another

set of hands during the busiest time of the year for baked goods. Michelle’s Pies, winner of 27 state awards since its 2007 Norwalk opening, can credit much of their success in the holiday season to pumpkin, apple, and lattice pies. “We process all of the pumpkin ourselves,” Steven Jarrecc, Manager of the Westport location said. “It’s one of the reasons we get a lot of business; people love the fresh pumpkin taste. It’s very flavor-intensive.” Also included in their pies are nutmeg, cinnamon, and a few secret ingredients. “In a traditional store-bought pie, there’s a bunch of heavy gunk. We use fresh ingredients, it tastes like

it’s supposed to – homemade,” Jarrecc said. Michele’s Pies holiday menu features everything from succulent seasonal fruit pies, like classic Apple Crumb, to the more decadent flavors of Pecan Bourbon or Coconut Custard. Rayna Weiser ’14, founder of Rayna Takes the Cake -- a blog dedicated to classic recipes showcasing her own unique spin on them -- enjoys incorporating the classic holiday spices herself. “I think bakers tend to incorporate nutmeg, cinnamon, allspice, or a little bit of dried ginger,” Weiser said. “They all create a rich and warm holiday flavor that I think people love and crave.”

Straying from the usual is a distinctive feature of Isabelle et Vincent. Bringing recipes all the way from their hometown of Strasbourg, France to Fairfield, Isabelle and Vincent Koenig bring a foreign twist to holiday classics. Featured on their menu only for November and December includes the Tarte Grand-Pere, a tart that blends cranberries, pecans, chestnuts, caramel and honey and the Tarte Grand-Mere, a tart stuffed with apples, almonds, and cinnamon. Exclusively for the month of December, specifically for Christmas, the bakery offers a treat called Buche de Noel, a vanilla cake rolled with chocolate

buttercream, coffee cream, praline cream, or vanilla cream. “People love holiday desserts,” Isabelle Koenig said. “It’s a special occasion. They want to celebrate or share a wonderful dessert with friends or family. It’s a great time to be happy and to give.” For the Hannukah celebrators, Sono Baking Company keeps the Jewish delicacies on the shelves until the end of December. The bakery has a separate menu for this holiday, featuring some of their most popular holiday items, like the royal icing Dreidel and Star of David Cookies, as well as apricot pistachio or raspberry chocolate chip rugelach.

Players take a twist to the stage ADAM KAPLAN ’16 Staff Writer

With the fall show just wrapping up, it is time to set sights on the future and prepare for Staples Players’ next show. This time though, David Roth and the drama department are adding a bit of a twist. Players is known for its mix of straight edge musicals and comedies, old time favorites and newer hits. However the decision to make “Avenue Q” the next


Players’ production turned heads and raised eyebrows in shock. The comedy is racy, though highly praised, winning three Tony Awards in its heyday. “The subject matter in it is a little ‘edgier’ than what Staples usually does, which is something I am looking forward to,” Claire Smith ’15 said. Smith has had lead roles in a number of productions, including “Into the Woods” and the recent “Thoroughly Modern Millie.” In order to make sure the

musical stays school-appropriate, Players will use a modified script, which replaces lines such as “The internet is for porn” with “Social life is online.” Director David Roth was not worried about any possible backlash that could come with the choice for “Avenue Q” since the script the students will use is “a version explicitly rewritten for schools.” Smith similarly was very optimistic about changes to the script from the original to the school version, “I mean, who

wouldn’t love to do the original script? I do think the school edition will be very funny and will keep people laughing.” A huge fan of the original play, Isabel Perry ’15 might have been at least a little disappointed about the student version being used. However, Perry was also happy with the show in its school edition form, arguing it does not detract from the humor. “The show is just as hilarious.” In addition, Perry pointed

out that the direction of the show will be very different when it comes to auditions, “Most of the show is not only singing, dancing, and acting, but also working with puppets. It tests some other abilities that haven’t been stressed in the past, like character voices.” This will be the final show for Maddy Rozynek ’14. Rozynek said she’s fully satisfied with this being her last performance. Most exciting, she said, is the range of audience this show reaches.

A&E Inklings / December 20, 2013 /


Candlelight performances shine T

he 73rd annual Candlelight Concert landed with success this year. But while the first show went on as planned, the second and third performances had to be canceled due to a snowstorm. The student musicians were under direction of choral director Luke Rosenberg, band director Nicholas Mariconda, and orchestra director Adele Cutrali-Valovich with piano accompanist Nava Zeevi and concert master Katie Zhou ’14. Members from the symphonic orchestra and band, sophomore band, chorale, a capella choir, and freshman chorus performed such numbers like “Deck the Halls,” “Angels from the Realms of Glory,” and “Nutcracker Suite, Op. 71a.” The production number, choreographed by Don Rickenbach, centered around Caroline Rossi ’14 as Mother Goose and included other characters from storybookland, including Santa and Mrs. Claus. Candlelight ended with the usual performance of “Hallelujah,” a favorite of both the audience and performers.


ALL IN LINE A line of cellists, directed by Adele Cutrali-Valovich, concentrates while performing songs including “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiwring” and a suite from “The Nutcracker.”



ILLUMINATED TRADITION (above) Juniors and seniors in Orphenians enter the concert with the famous “candlelight” entrance as theyperformed “Sing We Noel.” PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT (below) Trevor Harker ’15 and Chris Severini ’14 practice songs including “Holy Night” and “Three Moods of Hanukkah” the Thursday before the show. PHOTO BY LIANA SONENCLAR ’14

A STORYBOOK SONG Nick Stern ’14 performs in the production number “Santa Claus Visits Mother Gooseland.” The piece was choreographed by professional Don Rikenbach.



December 20, 2013

The perils of riding a chairlift WILLIAM DUMKE ’16 Staff Writer



s the snow starts to fall and the icicles begin form, the ski season approaches, and with it comes the feared or funny chairlift rides. There are those who are terrified of floating on a chair fifty feet above the ground, and there are those who see these contraptions as just another place to sit between runs and maybe meet a snow bunny or two. The most infamous part of the chairlift is when a skier first gets on. The ominous low rumble from the wires ripples in the air like a drum roll, and then the chair swings around sometimes slow or sometimes fast. It is always a gamble. Everyone has his or her own technique. Some peer anxiously over their shoulders as the chair hurtles around the corner, while others assume a relaxed attitude, staring up the mountain, knees bent, ready to be swept off their feet. However, even for some of the advanced skiers such as Grant Sirlin ’16, getting on a chairlift is a daring task. “When

I was younger, I tried to put my poles through my legs and under the seat like the older kids but I missed and fell off instead,” Sirlin recalled. Chairlifts are designed to get skiers safely up the mountain but there is always a risk involved. Caitlin Hartman ’14, Captain of the girls’ ski team recalled an accident on a chairlift describing it as, “I was riding up, under the chairlift I saw there were numerous ski patrol putting a four year old into a sled.” There are rarely serious accidents on chairlifts, but this was one of the rare times. “She had been fooling around on the chairlift and her parents weren't paying attention when she slipped under the bar. She fell roughly 30 feet and landed on a stump. She broke her arm and fractured her skull in four places. I do know that she is alive today,” Hartman said. Next time you are preparing to hop on the lift that will whisk you to the top of the mountain, remember to bend your knees, pull down the safety bar and introduce yourself to your chairlift buddy. You never know — you could be sitting next to a future Lindsey Vonn.

Students have never made the trek up to the summit CHASE GORNBEIN ’16 Staff Writer

The thrill of swishing and zipping down the mountain is unknown to a number of students at Staples. “Skiing and snowboarding are both sports that require a lot of practice. You have to start when you are little to be good at it,” explained Ben Foster ’16, trying to pinpoint the reason for why many Staples students have never visited the mountaintops. And Jake Berman ’15 agrees. “Skiing or snowboarding is something you have to do when you are a little kid and grow an interest for,” he said. Ben Thaw ’16 said he has never gone skiing or snowboarding before because he never went when he was younger, confirming Foster and Berman’s theory. Since Thaw never went skiing or snowboarding when he was a young child, he never acquired the love and passion for the activity. But there may be another reason. “People usually do not go skiing or snowboarding because they are two really difficult sports to master. It takes a lot of time and practice,” said Lizzie Cooperstone ’15, a member of the Staples ski team.

“People usually do not go skiing or snowboarding because they are two really difficult sports to master. It takes a lot of time and practice.” -Lizzie Cooperstone ’15 GRAPHIC BY NOELLE ADLER ’15

And on top of that, both skiing and snowboarding are expensive sports. They require either buying or renting boots, a helmet and skis or a snowboard. Besides equipment, purchasing a lift ticket that allows full access to the entire mountain is required. With this large financial commitment in mind, not only the athlete, but also the parent, need to be dedicated to the sport and willing to put in the time. “Living in Connecticut, it’s hard to make the trek up to Vermont where most of the decent mountains on the east coast are located,” said Cooperstone.


Inklings / December 20, 2013 / PHOTO BY JULIA KAPLOWITZ ’16


Winter “breaks”

The risks and pains of winter sports SIMON STRACHER ’14 Social Media Managing Editor


GOING FOR THE BALL Rivals collide going for a loose ball during their December 6th scrimmage against James Hillhouse High School. The girls did not keep score, because the game did not count towards their record.



SLIPPERY SLOPE According to the National Ski Areas Association (NSAA), throughout the past 10 years, approximately 41.5 people per year have had fatal accidents while skiing/snowboarding.

ports are inherently risky. A famous example is the Ancient Greek wrestler Arrichon, who won a match by using a maneuver that caused his neck to break, killing him instantly. His opponent suffered from a dislocated foot, and submitted. Arrichon was named the winner. While the cost of victory is not as high for Staples athletes as it was for Arrichon, sports (particularly winter sports) have proven to be a risky play for many students. Darryle Wiggins ’14 tore his meniscus on a fast-break layup during a fall basketball game. Luckily, Wiggins’ recovery from this tear has been a quick one. “At first it was projected to be three months, but after the surgery, [doctors] said it was not as bad as they had thought, and I would only be out a little more than a month,” he said. However, there is some risk that comes with a surgically repaired knee. According to Web-, the success rate for a repaired meniscus is only 85 percent, meaning there is a 15 percent chance that the meniscus will be torn again. “There is always that fear of say I step on it wrong and it happens again, but I try not to think about that,” Wiggins said. Basketball is not the only winter sport where athletes have to worry about injuries. Alex Collins ’15 is a member of the Staples ski team. From skiing alone, she has received three concussions and even pulled her MCL (medial collateral ligament). “Skiing is very dangerous,” Collins said, noting that it requires a strong lower body. Many people, she added, tear muscles in their legs. Other common skiing injuries include concussions, bruises, and cuts. Concussions are the most serious and the most prevalent. Even in indoor track, a sport where participants rarely crash or fall or smash onto the icy ground or muscular opponents, injuries are abundant.

Katie Smith ’14 runs track for the Staples girls’ indoor track team and is one of the fortunate ones. “A lot of runners suffer from knee, hip, and overuse injuries. I’ve been really lucky to not have any serious injuries from running, but my IT [iliotibial tract] band occasionally flares up, which causes knee pain,” she said. Smith also recounted a story when her father, Ian, tore his meniscus running. Now, she says, he sometimes has to use a cane to walk. “He had to have surgery and was told that he shouldn’t run on it again,” she said. Arrichon gave his life to taste victory. And while all of these athletes have not gone to the extreme of Arrichon, all of them have put their body on the line time and time again in the pursuit of glory. However, despite the dangers, all these Staples students have returned to their sport. The cost of athletic participation is high, but for these athletes, it is worth it.


READY TO RUN (Left to right) Runners Anna Daytz ’16, Annie Gao ’16, and Jennifer Martin ’16 take caution by wearing supportive sneakers in order to avoid injuries caused by distance running.

22 Sports

Inklings / December 20, 2013 /

Flying for football to bending for basketball KACEY HERTAN ’16 Assistant Business Manager


hile most athletes are winding down at the end of November and making the transition between fall and winter sports, the Staples cheerleaders are doing just the opposite. They are entering the heat of their vigorous training for competitions while switching from cheering for football to cheering for basketball. Unlike most school sports that practice for three months, the cheerleaders’ season extends from August until March.

“It is easy for cheerleaders to get burnt out with such a long and physically demanding season, but having two seasons is also great because it gives us the opportunity to really come together as a team and push each other to greatness,” Avery Watson, threeyear coach of the Staples cheerleading team, said. Although the basics are the same in sense that the team is there to cheer on the players, the two seasons are a bit different. The cheerleaders have 100 yards of open space to tumble across during halftime and ample room on the sidelines for cheerPHOTOS BY KACEY HERTAN ’16

FLYING HIGH Flyer Ayden Schattman ’16 is held in a stunt called a “liberty.” Bases, Eliza Yass ’14, Lindsey Giannitti ’15 and Zach Wallace ’16 support their teammate.

ing during the football games. During basketball, they are confined in the small gymnasium with stands at the brink of the court and a hardwood floor that limits their abilities. The majority of a basketball game is spent cheering from the stands instead of jumping, stunting, and tumbling in front of the bleachers outside. “The team in general likes [to cheer for] football better because it's more fun to cheer when you're on your feet and interacting with the crowd,” said captain Annie Raifaisen ’14. However, heading into the cold weather season, the indoor gym can be a blessing. Even cheerleaders like Lindsey Giannitti ’15 who prefer cheering for football because of the larger crowd, welcome the stuffed gym over freezing fingers. “When it is really cold outside, I definitely prefer cheering inside the gym,” Giannitti said. Cheerleader Sammy Troy ’15 added, “One thing I like better about basketball season is the gym is warm.” The cheerleaders play a bigger role during the football season because of the pep rally and Homecoming. They also go to every game and pasta dinner for football but only attend home games for basketball because of the increase in games per season. “It makes a difference because it's fun to cheer for people you know and see often,” Troy said. Cheerleaders are each paired up with a senior football player to cheer on and make posters for. Although the same is done for the basketball team, since the team is smaller, multiple cheerleaders end up with the same player. “There’s more of a direct relationship between the cheerleaders and players during the football season,” Giannitti said.

TO THE POINT Cheerleader Taylor Cusa ’14 stretches her back into a “needle” for five counts. Cusa practices her needle almost every night to enhance her flexibilty.

While most of the cheers remain the same, obviously “first down, do it again, Wreckers let’s win!” doesn’t exactly apply to basketball, and “dribble, pass it, we want a basket!” wouldn’t make too much sense in a football game, so a few have to change.

Although the cheerleading team may feel closer to the football players because they spend more time with them, “regardless of what sport we are cheering for, the girls are there to support their school and its athletes,” Watson concluded.

Extra strengthening to go the distance be nowhere near where I am so far; it’s incredibly helpful.” Meehan and Clarke are not alone; many Staples students After fracturing the growth have turned to physical therapy plate in her ankle for the third to heal their torn ligaments, tentime in one year, Claire Meehan donitis, fractures, and more. ’17 was sick of the injury. She was Sam Sheppard ’16 has a glad to find that there was a solumuch less serious injury, Achilles tion to a quicker and fuller recovtendinitus. But as a year-round ery just ten minutes from Staples: dancer, she doesn’t have an offWestport Physical Therapy. season to recover and knows that Small and regular activities, every day of dance she misses to such as throwing a baseball, can heal means she is losing imporsometimes result in major injutant strength and training. Luckily, she has found dance-specif ic physical therapy. Physical therapy is a form of rehabilitation where a therapist will create a treatment plan based on an examination of an injury. Usually, the Physical Therapist first loosens, stretches and relaxes muscles and joints in the affected area. This “ m a s s a g e ”c a n mean excruciating pain at first. PHOTO BY CAROLINE O’KANE ’16 H a n n a h STRETCH IT OUT Gwyneth Mulliken ’15 uses the “hamstring stretch” as a form of proMalowitz ’15 dealt tection against muscle injuries. with this pain afTALIA HENDEL ’16 Staff Writer

ries. Baseball player Sean Clarke ’15 was reminded of that when a chunk of the bone of his elbow came off in a simple throw. After receiving a cast, surgery, and a brace, his tissue had become incredibly tight, completely locking his elbow at 90 degrees. Clarke says that since he started physical therapy 12 weeks ago in order to avoid tears in the muscle and tissue in his elbow he reached full range of motion at eight weeks. “Without it I would

ter a surgery that reshaped her hip joint and release the muscle. Afterward, she had no muscle attachment between her hip and

“Without it I would be nowhere near where I am so far; it’s incredibly helpful.” -Sean Clarke ’15 leg, which meant a full year of biweekly sessions of physical therapy at Performance Physical Therapy. The experience didn’t start off relaxing. “When the injury is fresh, it is important for them to work on the tissue around it, which can be very painful,” Malowitz explained. “After surgery, they had to massage my incisions to deplete the build-up of scar tissue which is extremely painful.” While the first priority and goal is to decrease pain and swelling, later foci are flexibility, strength, endurance, coordination, and/or balance. While this is often hard work, many physical therapists have found ways to jazz it up and make some of the workouts fun, as well as strenuous. Jared Vishno ’16 has been

through physical therapy four times and most recently strained his hamstring during the fall soccer season. Integrated Sports Therapy provided “a lot of sport-specific rehab” that helped heal his injury, he said, so that he returned to soccer before the end of the season. Vishno described the creativity of workouts that keep patients motivated. “Sometimes I’ve used a Bosu ball and had to throw a medicine ball back and forth. Other times, it’s exercises using just your body weight.” Malowitz also had an interesting addition to her therapy, “My physical therapist videotaped me while I was running on a treadmill and did a slow motion video analysis of my running formation. It was really interesting to see the results and change the way I run accordingly to prevent further injury,” Malowitz said. Injured athletes are all anxious to return to their sports but sometimes have to wait. In the end, Vishno says it’s the healing that matters, not the time, and the physical therapist can help establish the right priority. “We have a mutual focus, and that’s healing the injury quickly and preventing the same problem from occurring down the road.”


Inklings / December 20, 2013 /


Girls’ goalie starts off new season with a “Bang” GRETA BJORN JORNSON Features Edit Editor ’15


he talented an and celebrated goalie of thee combined Staples and T r u m b u l l girls ice hockey team, Casey Bang ’14, certainly hhad an untrasport. ditional start in the sp Bang “I did it on a whim,” w sophomore when said. “I was a sopho came up to me my close friend cam and was telling me her concern about the team. The only goalhad graduated tender on the team ha and they were left with wi no one to fill that space, so I became the goaltender.” team’s goaltender. initially fillWhen ini did not ing the spot, Bang B even know how ho to skate and had nnever played a sport before. SciDavid ence teacher, tea Rollison, was the Rollison her the first to teach t bbasics ba asi sics cs when she started. Bang was started awkward on skates, he recalled. “Casey could bbarely stand onto the up. She was holding hold keep from fallboards just to ke ing,” he said. with During practices pra Rollison, Bang skated without her hocky stick to focus better on her balance and legs, anc a technique that paid off with


quick improvement. “Casey managed to learn to skate faster than anyone else I have taught. Within two or three practice sessions she was able to skate forward and backward with confidence,” Rollison said. She’s come a long way from that first practice, stopping nearly every goal during the team’s games. Not only is Bang talented, she is also personable— her teammates can’t compliment her enough. New team member, Kit Epstein ’17, praised Bang’s character both on and off of the ice. “I haven’t known Casey for long because I’m a freshman. But from what I have seen, she is super positive. She is always smiling and you can tell that she’s having fun on the ice,” she said. Sarah Reilly ’16 echoed Epstein’s praises of Bang. “She always has a positive attitude towards experienced as well as non-experienced players,” she said. Indeed, Bang makes an effort to be welcoming and positive for her team. “I aim to be a good friend and upperclassman to everybody on the team,” she said, adding that she tries to “give honest advice when asked and give support when needed.” Bang explained that although the team is only training in preseason now, she anticipates that their upcoming season will be a good one; many players have

been training outside of practice. To prepare, the team does a variety of workouts, including those for strength and endurance, which Bang explains help make skating on the ice easier. During practice, the team works on land exercises such as stick handling, passing, and shooting. On the ice, skating drills, plays, shooting, and scrimmages are incorporated. As for what she hopes to accomplish this season, Bang’s goals are humble for such a valuable player. “I want to be a reliable goalie for my team and be able to consistently block most of the shots,” she said. Such dedication makes Bang successful in the rink. Rollison explained that her determination and fearlessness have helped propel her to where she is today. “Part of learning is the willingness to fail...Casey kept pushing herself. Casey learned to skate and play goalie very quickly because she never stopped working,” he said. While sports may just be another extracurricular activity for other students, for Bang hockey is so much more. “I can’t explain just how much good this sport did for me. I made friends that I would have never met. I became stronger,” she said. The team’s first game of the season is a home game against Ridgefield on Wednesday, Dec. 11 from 8:40-10:10 p.m. at Terry Connors Rink.

THE PUCK STOPS HERE Goalie Casey Bang ’14 prepares herself for a slapshot during the team’s Dec. 11 game. The game was held at Terry Connor’s Ice Rink in Stamford.

Students excel in non-Staples sports

ROW, ROW, ROW (Left) At the Saugatuck rowing club, Georgia Fox ’16 and Reni Forer ’15 use a rowing machine in unison to be able to condition during the harsh winter months. (Top Right) Rower Christoph Bub ’14 uses weights to improve his strength for competition.

TAYLOR BURG ’16 Staff Writer

“Championships are won in the off-season,” says a mural hanging up in the fitness center. Even when athletes aren’t playing hard on the fields, they make sure they are working hard elsewhere. At Staples, athletes most commonly participate on another non-staples team during their offseason to stay fit and maintain their skills. Summer, an off-season for baseball players, isn’t a grace period for Noah Yokoi ’16 who

plays for an intense summer baseball league called Team Citius. For Yokoi it’s important to not lose any of the skills learned during the regular season and to build up more for the upcoming season. “Summer and fall are used to get better and stay consistent with things I have to work on,” Yokoi said. Jake Reiner ’17, a Staples tennis player, also plays for a separate team during his offseason. Tennis season is in the spring, but Reiner works hard all

fall and winter. At Reiner’s tennis club, there’s a team of other students who go to different schools around Fairfield county. Reiner plays on a team run by the USTA (United States Tennis Association) called Junior Team Tennis. On this team, not only do athletes get to improve their skills, but they also have an opportunity to play with other kids outside of Staples that enjoy the same sport as them. “It gives you an opportunity to play with kids from other

schools rather than against them. The team was also co-ed and had kids of all ages, so I got a chance to play with different ages and guys and girls,” Reiner said. James Banbury ’16 and Lelia Boley ’16 both row for the Saugatuck Rowing Club. Banbury believes that the advantages to playing a non-Staples sport are tremendous. “Rowing differs from all other sports. It never gets easier, you just get faster,” Banbury said. Boley agrees that playing a non-Staples sport gives you opportunities you wouldn’t

get by playing a Staples sport. “It forms a community that goes beyond Staples,” said Boley. Jordan Ragland ’16, a varsity field hockey player, plays on a non-Staples field hockey team. She believes the new league encourages kids to take the sport to the next level of intensity. “You get to work with coaches who are more experienced and some are even international players. I get to be more focused on my skills and really improve whereas in the season sometimes you can goof off with friends.”


The Wreckers



Athletes participate in non-Staples sports Page 23

Fieldhouse is not so much of a home InBrief Girls Basketball Staples girls’ basketball team will continue their season playing Datrien on December 27th, McMahon on January 3rd, Greenwich on January 7th and Wilton on January 10th.

Boys Basketball The boys’ basketball team will further their season at home on January 3rd playing Bassick and then travel to Darien for a game on December 27th. They will also play at home against McMahon on January 3rd but will travel to Greenwich on January 7th for an away game.




he cacophony of basketballs pounding the court, feet thumping against the track, and cheers echoing in the 65-foot tall fieldhouse harmonizes with the whoosh of hurtling gymnasts and the grunts of wrestlers. On any given winter afternoon, the Lou Nistico fieldhouse hosts up to five teams, about 300 athletes. It falls on Track Coach Laddie Lawrence to fit everyone into this limited space, changing practice times and locations to match the demands of each team. The indoor runners, for example have some conditioning days that require using only the track, and some technical days that require extra space. On conditioning days, Laddie says, the track team leaves the corners of the field house open for the gymnastics or cheer team. Lawrence says that all of this only works if the distance runners go outdoors; so a fair number of runners are outside most of the winter, despite freezing temperatures.

Erica Hefnawy ’15, a distance runner, said she doesn’t mind running outside, except for the time it started to snow in the middle of a workout last year. “I was borderline crying,” she said. Malcolm Watson, the boys distance coach, says the team risks snow and ice because being inside means being on constant alert for potential collisions with other runners. Olivia Wiener ’15, a sprinter, also talked about colliding with athletes from other teams. “[It’s] less so the amount of runners, and more so that lacrosse, cheerleaders, basketball think its okay to just walk across the track,” she said. There have been some unfortunate accidents. Lawrence recounted the time his son, Andrew Lawrence ’04, crashed into a cheerleader who wasn’t paying attention while standing on the track. “She went 15 feet,” Laddie said. She came out uninjured, but other cheerleaders have faced other problems from the lack of space. During the winter, the cheer team cannot practice basketball game routines like, “Through the


Hoop” “Jump Ball” and “SHS.” The field house does not offer enough space for the seven necessary mats. Instead, the team is sometimes forced to practice tumbling in the cafeteria. “The low ceilings freak some of us out when we are flipping around,” cheer captain Emma Mikesh ’14 said. “Last year I freaked out and landed on my head, which caused me to get a concussion and a really painful back injury.” She does realize the difficulty of housing the many winter sports teams. “It’s just sometimes unbelievable that JV sports get priority over us. It just shows that we are not considered anything close to a sport,” Mikesh said. Lawrence said all teams have to make sacrifices; while cheerleaders sometimes have to adjust their training to match available space, the same is true for track. “When [cheer] comes in to the field house, [indoor track] can’t practice and do some of the things we would normally do,” Lawrence pointed out. Cheer has managed by moving to the cafeteria, but gymnastics has decided to almost com-

pletely vacate the building. The team practices just once a week at Staples because there is only enough space for one beam and one vault. Instead, they hold a majority of their practices at the roomier Westport - Weston Family YMCA. Despite the team’s lack of space, Andrea Mahieu ’15 does not think that one team has priority over another. “Everyone only uses the space that they need,” Mahieu said. “The track team needs the track; the basketball team needs the basketball courts. I just don’t think there is enough room for all the teams to fit into one space.” Something important to keep in mind: many schools don’t have nearly the space provided by the Staples fieldhouse has a total of 3,600 square yards of floor space. Athletic director Marty Lisevick says that while this area is “packed,” as long as coaches plan ahead, things are manageable. “Laddie does a great job,” Lisevick said. “As long as I keep him in the loop it works out pretty well.” Just remember Laddie Lawrence’s rule of thumb: “Don’t stand on the track.”

Boys Ice Hockey The boys’ Ice Hockey team will be traveling to the Northford Ice Pavillion on December 26th for a game against Hand High School. They will also be playing at the Norwich Ice Rink against Norwich Free Academy on January 4th.

Girls Ice Hockey The girls’ Ice Hockey team will be traveling to the Bennett Rink to play against West Haven on December 22nd and will also be playing at the Darien Ice Rink for a meet against Darien on January 6th. They will also be playing Greenwich at the Shelton lower rink on January 10th.

Indoor track There will be a boys’ indoor track meet at the New Haven Athletic Center on December 27th. On January 4th, there will be an FCICAC qualifying match held at Staples, and another on the 11th of January. On January 25th, there will be the Western Division Championships at Staples.

For continual updates, check www.

Inklings Dec. 20