Inklings Founded in 1933
October 4, 2013
Teacher Evaluation Systemized by New Policy
Standards-Based Grading Piloted in Math and Science Classes BEN GOLDSCHLAGER ’14 & JUSTINE SELIGSON ’15
BELOW STANDARD: Not meeting DEVELOPING: Meeting some PROFICIENT: Meeting indicators of performance but not others indicators of performance indicators of performance
MEGAN ROOT ’15 Staff Writer f someone decided to print the Board of Education’s report concerning the changed teacher evaluation system, it would require 27 pages and a lot of ink.
This Teacher Professional Development and Evaluation Plan (PDEP) has been updated to match a statewide reform that calls for teacher assessments grounded in statistical evidence. Despite the lengthy document, Staples Principal John Dodig says there won’t be much change to Staples’ courses. “We’ve always evaluated teachers… what’s different now is there is going to be a score,” Dodig said. According to Dodig, this score is made up of three major parts. One is “Student Learning Objectives” (SLOs): goals that teachers will set in September. By June, they need proof—usually in the form of test scores—that their students have met this standard. Another important piece is traditional administrator evaluations, where supervisors observe teachers during a class. The smallest piece of the assessment is student and parent feedback about the school, garnered from online questionnaires like the “School Climate Survey” used last year. Based on these results, PDEP will
give teachers one of four grades, which range from “Below Standard” to “Exemplary.” Essentially, the system tries to answer a central question in education: what does it mean to be a good teacher? In the past, unreliable administrators, ineffective standardized tests, and uncontrollable factors like home life have made teacher evaluation difficult. PDEP
“We are all in this together: teachers, students, administrators.” -Bill Walsh, Math Teacher attempts to fix these problems by creating a detailed procedure for administrator observations and by looking at results over time so teachers are judged on student improvement, rather than natural ability. But Dodig objects to the emphasis on hard data, fearing teachers will have to emphasize test-taking abilities rather than collaborative and creative skills. “It seems to me to fly in the face of what we try to do at Staples, which is… give kids an opportunity to think outside
EXEMPLARY: Substantially exceeding indicators of performance
GRAPHIC BY CONNIOR HARDY ’14
Web News Editor & Staff Writer
of the box,” he said. As chair of the Art and Theatre departments, Assistant Principal Karen Morgan is also concerned about nonacademic classes. “Where do we get our data from and how does that relate to our courses?” she asks. Both administrators also wonder whether Westport needs such strict evaluation. Dodig pointed out that Staples already has statistics to prove its competence, like high SAT scores and a 100% graduation rate. He doesn’t think Westport should spend time on the extensive amount of training and paperwork that PDEP requires. “It makes absolutely no sense to me to divert our attention from helping students build 21st century skills…to scripting what a teacher says in class,” Dodig said in a letter to the Commissioner of Education. Math teacher Bill Walsh hopes that PDEP will not interfere with positive aspects of Staples. Like the rest of his colleagues, he is unsure of what to expect from this new system. The first faculty meeting about PDEP was held on September 16th, and teachers are still learning the ropes. However, there was one thing Walsh was sure of. “We are all in this together: teachers, students, administrators.”
Usually, average is the key word with grading. Quarterly homework is averaged. Semester exams are averaged. Final grades are averaged. A student’s mean among all studied units is the ultimate score. However, this scenario is no longer universal. According to Mathematics Department Chair Frank Corbo, five Staples math teachers in 15 classes (12% of the department) are piloting Standards Based Grading (SBG), a nationally known, alternative scoring system that differs significantly from traditional grading. A number of science classes are also using this grading method; several science classes actually initiated the new grading system a year ago Nathaniel Dewey, a physics teacher who started using SBG with his classes last year and was responsible for introducing it to the math department, said the system “really makes you rethink what grades mean.” The system represents a big change for teachers and students, Corbo said. “We continue to innovate. We continue to improve our instruction,” Corbo said. “If you stand still, you’re moving backwards.” Standards Based Grading, in a nutshell, means that teachers set out, for a specific course, a number of skills for students to achieve by the end of the year; these are called standards. As the year proceeds, students have multiple opportunities to be tested on the various standards: if a student hasn’t mastered a skill early on, the student will be retested repeatedly through the year, Corbo said. “It seems like we focus on concepts a lot more than just correcting problems,” explained Matt Walton ’14, a SBG student. In fact, in most SBG classes, homework and participation are not factored into a grade. Instead, the assignments are intended to help students master skills. Continued on page 3
RACHEL LABARRE ’14 Managing Editor
According to Principal John Dodig, technology can allow students to “be global citizens making the world a better place.” And a pilot program launched this year might be the first steps in doing so. Students signed up to participate in this pilot program, and 18 were randomly chosen to receive their own iPad on the first day of school. It will be theirs for the entire year. Each student has the ability to access a variety of iPad-only applications, such as textbooks created by the teachers and blog sites, and the devices will be integrated into the curriculum of Biology B, Global Themes B, and English 1B classes to increase the use of digital materials during the day. “It’s a big trade up,” English teach-
er Brian Tippy said, “There are a lot of things that I’ve meant to do but haven’t been able to do that I can do now.” Every year, the Parents Education Network (PENs) of Westport files a request for something that they would like for the PTA to allocate money, and it tends to be some form of technology – smartboards, COWs, etc. This year, they requested the iPad pilot class. Dodig pitched the idea to the PTA Executive Board, and after a bit of advocating from Tippy and the other teachers who would be involved in the program, everybody was “dazzled,” according to Dodig. Daniel Heaphy teaches the Global Themes class and explained that it is important for students to formulate new skills that comply with the new digital age.
Inside the Issue
Continued on page 3
PHOTO BY RACHEL LABARRE ’14
iPads Elevate Freshmen Learning
TECHNOLOGY IN CLASS: Students examine texts on their iPads.
Messy Boys’ Locker Room
2 InBrief National Headlines
October 4, 2013
The Truth About
Train Power Outage Interrupts Traffic On average, according to City-Data, there are about 7000 commuters from Westport. For many, the morning routine has been disrupted by a power outage on the Metro North New Haven Train Line. Many residents of towns all down the train line have been experiencing severe traffic, working from home, or braving a difficult train schedule. It has been reported that this issue could last two to three weeks.
Emmy Award Show Honors Television This year at the 65th Emmys, the spotlight shined on “Breaking Bad,” “Modern Family,” and “30 Rock.” “Breaking Bad” won the Drama award while “Modern Family” took prizes in the Comedy area. Also featured was 30 Rock, for the Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series award and casting.
New York Prepares for Mayoral Election The fi rst New York City mayoral debate will be held on October 15th, but many differences have already popped up. President Obama as well as former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has backed the Democratic candidate, Bill DeBlasio, while Joe Lhota will be the Republican representative. The elections take place on Nov. 5th.
Change in Connecticut Healthcare System On Oct. 1, Connecticut’s health care system was changed drastically with a mandate that all citizens to enroll in a health insurance plan. About 10% of Connecticut’s population are uninsured currently and therefore could be affected by the new reform. Access Health CT is handling all calls and issues with navigating the health plans, enrollment, and enforcement of the new system.
ELLIE GAVIN ’14 & ELIZA LLEWELLYN ’14 Staff Writer & Web Managing Editor
he music is loud. The beat shakes the f loor, and you feel it vibrating inside your body as if it is coming from within you. It’s hot. Uncomfortably hot, even, but you barely notice. You’re sweating, your heart pounds in overdrive, and you keep up with the crowd of converging bodies, strangers whose identities are revealed for mere seconds in the beam of a strobe. Lights f lash. Pulses race. Where are you? Whether it’s a concert for Skrillex, Avicii, or Deadmau5, electronic dance music (EDM), and the culture that comes with it, are the latest trend in music. “EDM is different from other genres in that perfection is possible to achieve,” said Max Liben ‘14, an EDM fan. “Since the music is computergenerated, artists can tweak sounds and rhythms so that the final product is exactly as they intended it. This rhythmic perfection is what puts the ‘dance’ in EDM.” The computer-generated sounds and manufactured beats are undeniably popular: The EDM business has an estimated worth of $4.5 billion, according to a report from this year’s International Music Summit. So what exactly distinguishes an EDM concert from any other music event? Liben noted the sheer volume of the music. “It’s loud enough that you can feel the bass in your bones,” he said. And light shows often accompany the music. “In general, EDM concerts are about having a good time and letting go for a while,” he said. According to Katie Zhou ‘14, another fan, the concerts
For continual updates check www.inklingsnews.com GRAPHIC BY NATE ROSEN ’14
PHOTO BY CLAUDIA LANDOWNE ’15
are unique in that they are not focused on individual performers. “People don’t really care if someone different plays at the concert as long as they are there and having fun,” she said. At their core, the events are about ambiance. But in a darker side of EDM’s f lashing lights and rhythms, two people died at this year’s Electric Zoo festival on Randall’s Island N.Y., due to one of the riskier aspects of the EDM sub-culture: molly, an ecstasy-like drug. Molly’s correlation to deaths in New York, Washington D.C., and Boston has brought the drug,
with 20,” said another anonymous Staples student. Another source agrees with the statistic saying, “Yeah, that’s basically me.” Amid the crescendos of throbbing beats, thick electronic vocals, and anonymous hookups, a different type of high permeates the crowd. Madonna references it, rappers pop it, and it has a presence at EDM concerts: molly, a drug that consists of pure MDMA. An anonymous one-time user estimated that, at the EDM concert she attended, many other concertgoers were using it.
“If you feel the need to be drugged during a concert, why are you paying the money to go in the first place?” -Max Liben ’14 and EDM concerts and their culture, to the forefront of discussion. With sensory stimulation at the concerts’ core, some aspects of the culture involve hook-ups and drug use, as an anonymous concertgoer explains. “At most EDM concerts, the general audience is teenagers,” she said. “So you’re basically putting 500 plus teens in a room with music and no rules. There’s a big sense of freedom.” The unique combination of teenage hormones and the exciting atmosphere can lead to anonymous sexual activity, from kissing to groping and beyond, the source said. Some avid EDM attendees say that hooking up is one of the main motivations for going to the shows in the first place. “It’s expected that you’re going to hook up with someone. Average is four-plus guys, but I know girls who have gotten
“Molly makes you really excited and ready to do stuff, which is not really the vibe at concerts that aren’t general admission,” she said. Molly has a definite tie to the EDM scene. A senior girl described a concert for White Panda, a DJ duo that makes EDM remixes and mashups. “There were a lot of people with ring pops in their mouths,” she said. Attendees use the candy lollipops to stop their teeth chattering, a side effect of molly, students said. The drug is a powder or crystal form of ostensibly pure MDMA, regarded as purer than ecstasy pills, which may contain other drugs or substances. However, molly may be cut with these additives; there is no way to tell. Some say that molly’s effects add to the sensory overload that makes EDM concerts so uniquely appealing. The user, a senior piano player, described the feeling. “You know
when your vision becomes sort of blurry? That’s what happened with the music. Blurry sounding but in a clear way. Just warped,” she said. “It makes you feel like you can do anything, even f ly. You feel amazing,” said one senior cross country runner. Aside from being laced with other drugs, even pure MDMA can kill. In rare cases, it can have an over stimulating effect, causing heart or brain failure. “Your heart rate increases, and your body can’t keep up,” said Diane Bosch, a school nurse. School nurses also noted that when using molly, users may become dehydrated, especially if consuming alcohol. “When you’re dehydrated, molly concentrates in your body,” Libby Russ, another school nurse said. The nurses emphasized the drug’s effect on the heart as well as the brain. Despite the risks, many students said they are undeterred. Users said that they would probably continue to use molly. Drug use doesn’t interfere with some fans’ appreciation of EDM. Zhou and Liben, both fans, said they do not use molly. “If you feel the need to be drugged during a concert, why are you paying the money to go in the first place?” Liben said. However, both felt that individuals, not the EDM industry, must take onus for the recent tragedies. “EDM music is not the cause of people dying from Molly at concerts like Electric Zoo. Security may try to make sure illegal substances don’t enter the concerts, but how hard is it to hide a pill?” Liben said. “The EDM culture will always be about people seeking a good time; it’s how people go about it that will change the course of EDM in the future.”
Inklings / October 4, 2013 / inklingsnews.com
Adoption of Schoology Creates Confusion Over Assignments
JULIE BENDER ’15 Staff Writer
Local Headlines GRAPHIC BY AMY PERELBERG ’15
inders are shut, bags are packed, and everyone is lined up at the door with only a few seconds standing between them and one homework-free night. Just as the bell is about to ring, the teacher emits one last sentence, and it’s the last thing that the class wants to hear. “For homework please complete page 148 #17-29 odd and #33-36.” Half the kids are already out the door, and the other half try to get the numbers right as they jot them down in their phones. The entire class will not have the assignment completed the following day unless it is posted online where the students know to check. At the beginning of the 2013-2014 school year, Schoology became this place to check for assignments. Schoology is now the main website for all assignments to be posted within the Westport Public School System. One of the
biggest goals of this change was to have only one place for students to look for homework and test dates, according to Staples Principal John Dodig, that’s not how it always works out. “I don’t mind where teachers put the homework because Schoology gives you an update every time your teacher posts anything,” Zack Levin ‘15 said. But students who scroll through their notifications quickly could easily miss an assignment or important announcement if it was
posted out of place, some said. “The only downside to Schoology is that some of my teachers put assignments up in the assignments tab, and others put them in the discussion/announcements section, so it gets confusing,” Isabel Perry ‘15 said. If one calendar was used by all teachers, it would make locating assignments a much quicker process, according to Perry. Because of this confusion, some students dislike the web-
site as a whole. Ayden Schattman ‘16 has had a very negative experience with the change from Blackboard to Schoology. She is unaware of how to navigate through the website and wishes that Blackboard were still in use because, she says, it was easier to locate assignments. Dodig said, “We recently sent an email to teachers reminding them that they must all post their assignments in the same place, so that they appear on one place for students.”
Freshman Classes Integrate iPads Continued from page 1
While freshmen might have focused their first week or two of class on proper note-taking and reading techniques, now they should be spending that time learning the intricacies of iPad apps such as Skitch or Evernote, he said. Tippy thinks that the textbook he has created is extremely beneficial to how he teaches and the information that the students can learn. “I can build in all the stuff I want,” Tippy said, as he flipped through the virtual textbook, clicking on words to bring up custom-made definitions and putting in the answers to self-checking quizzes at the end of each chapter. “I even have the student pick their own vocabulary words and highlight them to share in class the next day.”
as well as educational. He spoke of the benefits of putting world maps and graphs right in front of a student. “You put it on Skitch, and boom it’s all right in front of you,” he said. Dodig attributes the implementation of iPads in class to “the change of educational paradigm.” In the past, he explained, it was the teachers’ job to teacheverything that they knew. If students wanted to learn something on their own, they would have to spend hours sifting through library cards and stacks of books. But now, students can get that information on the Internet instantly. So, the teachers’ job has shifted to creating ways for students to use information that they can obtain online. Jake and Zack Reiser ’14 have been using their own iPads
INNOVATIVE LEARNING: Brian Tippy’s English 1B Class utilizes iPads. PHOTO BY RACHEL LABARRE ’14
Similarly, Nicholas Hooper ’17 has already been helped by the ability to double tap on any word and immediately see the definition in the iBooks app. He think that the iPads allow for a more in-depth education. “When you don’t know an answer to what a teacher is asking or are confused about anything, you have Google there to help you,” Hooper said. Heaphy has discovered a variety of tools that make his class more interactive and engaging,
in class for over a year, and have found that it is a useful tool. They found a program that is essentially the same as a paper notebook – replacing a pen with a stylus. Jake Reiser was excited when he heard about the pilot class. “For science classes, I think it’s a fantastic idea,” he said. “From drawing on diagrams, to accessing a wealth of information on the specific topic, to doing online simulations, it would work really well. If they’re willing to try it, I say, ‘why not?’”
NEW STANDARDS: Instead of an average, students are now given a numerical grade on the standard. PHOTO BY CADENCE NEENAN ’15
Staples Players Prepare for “Thoroughly Modern Millie” “Thoroughly Modern Millie” will be tapping into Staples soon with lead actresses, Amanda Horowitz ‘14 and Maddy Rozynek ’14 playing Millie. Students say that the show will be filled with colorful tap-dancing, bold songs, and hilarious scenes. Come see the show on Nov. 15, 16, 17, 22, and 23!
Westport Little League Returns Home Where are they now? The Westport Little Leaguers that ranked 2nd nationally and 4th worldwide are back in school and back in action. Emily Rogers, daughter of the team manager and sister to a player on the team said that many of the boys will play on Rogers’ CT Seals team for an exciting spring season, with three tournaments already scheduled.
Math and Science Classes Incorporate New Grading System Continued from page 1
In addition, students are responsible for concepts previously learned: all learning is fair game for any assessment later in the year. All learning is cumulative, Corbo explained. A grade at the end of the quarter is essentially a progress report, based on mastery of standards, because it is not averaged with the second quarter grade: it tells students how they’re doing. The second quarter grade supersedes the fi rst quarter grade, the third quarter grade supersedes the second quarter, and so on. “Every assessment is a formative assessment to let students know what they can do and what they are still having trouble with,” Corbo said. “At the end of the year, time’s up.” Students and parents interviewed for the story are divided about the new system. Some felt it really refocused them on learning, rather than the grade. “My immediate thoughts were, hey, looks like I don’t have to do homework anymore,” said Evan Gilland ’16. Later, though, he said he found he had to do the homework to score well on assessments. “It really affects how well you know the subject.” Students also appreciated their ability to retest if they do poorly on initial assessments. “Even if you bomb a test
the fi rst time, it doesn’t matter,” said Mikaela O’Kelly ’15, whose math class does SBG. However, there are questions about SBG as well. A particular concern is that since the same standard can appear on multiple cumulative assessments throughout the year, students are expected to retain their proficiency on multiple standards. “Kids don’t like how they can’t forget something after a test,” said Corbo. “[They] need to continue to show [their] competence.” Others expressed concern that grades are based solely on tests. “My sense is if you don’t encourage and incentivize class participation and homework, students are going to start slacking off,” Ravi Chachra, a parent of two 10th graders, said. And students who work hard said they’d like to see more than tests factored into their grade. Sarah Rakin ’14 said she misses the benefits of participation and homework on her grades. “I think it’s a good idea in theory, but doesn’t work as well practically,” Rakin said. In response, SBG math teacher Anthony Forgette explained that in fact what attracted him to the system was how it benefits not the student who slacks off, but the student who works hard to understand the concept.
Westport YMCA Thrives Through Rennovation As the Westport YMCA celebrated its 90th birthday a few weekends ago, the organization looked forward to progress on Mahackeno. The new site of the YMCA, a 32-acre campus and 54,000-sq. ft. building, has put up all of the steel framework and is rapidly moving towards completing the rest of the structure.
CM Gourmet Market Launches in Wesport The new marketplace by the equally new condominium is owned by Michelle Weber. It is the sister restaurant to Cocoa Michelle and will be serving all types of gourmet sides, appetizers, and even some meals!
For continual updates check www.inklingsnews.com
Inklings / October 4, 2013 / inklingsnews.com
Windows Closed to Prevent Air Pollution ALE BENJAMIN ’15
ne trivial breeze. Students might not think about the undetected intruders wafting through classroom windows on an innocent fall day. Most might just harrumph at being denied a cool outside breeze in a stuffy classroom. But if they could imagine breathing in pollen, bacteria, loading truck exhaust or pesticide emissions, they might think again. Getting students and the rest of the school to think is one of the goals of the Air Quality Control Committee, a group consisting of a Staples’ principal, administrator, teacher, custodian, nurse, and parent. “The name of the program is Tools for Schools (TFS),” district program coordinator JoAnn Duncan explained. This Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) program is required in all schools by Connecticut law, but Westport’s Air Quality Commitee exceeds the obligations. “Westport is very committed to improving Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) in schools,” Duncan said. “We even won the EPA Excellence Award in 2010.” The award’s press release applauded Westport for “attention to pest management, use of green cleaning products and having IAQ incorporated into
To many, like Greene, it could be Staples’ pristine appearance that makes it hard to believe that the air could be contaminated. This is simply another testament to the AQC’s diligent upkeep. “Some people think the policies are unnecessary, but I think we should be thankful that our district cares enough that our air quality is good,” former TFS member and AP Environmental teacher Michael Aitkenhead said. Duncan previously grappled with uglier sides of indoor air when she worked with Ridgefield schools and helped them start a TFS program. “I got involved as a concerned parent because there was much renovation going on and my children had severe allergies and asthma,” she said. TFS tackles potential and existing IAQ problems by keepPHOTO DRAMATIZATION BY OLIVIA CROSBY ’15, CADENCE NEENAN ’15, AND CLAUDIA LANDOWNE ’15 ing a lookout for mold risks, cleaning products (both) eco-friendly the schools’ long-term goals.” indoor levels of pollutants can be two and unscented, and maintaining strict While the common thought might to five times higher than outdoor levels. control of ventilation. be that fresh air can do a body good, it “I think that because we can’t see Duncan explains that the vents fi lter may cause harm. [pollution], it’s something we choose to incoming air for contaminants, and that “Everyone thinks fresh air is great, ignore,” Julia Greene, ’17 reasons. unfi ltered outdoor air is what upsets the but it’s really not that great,” TFS memBut even as avidly eco-conscious a vent system’s temperature levels. ber Assistant Principle Richard Franzis student as Greene was shocked to hear “The district has taken a more causaid, He explained referring to the fact the gory details of Indoor Air Quality tionary approach,” Aitkenhead said. that indoor air systems are harder to contamination. “While we do already have good air regulate in larger buildings like schools. “I was totally ignorant that indoor air quality, they think about how we can In fact, according to the CT School pollution was even a thing,” she admitmaintain or improve it so we don’t run Indoor Environmental Resource Team, ted. into problems.”
Farmers’ Almanac Predicts Harsh Winter CLAIRE LEWIN ’15 News Editor
New England is no stranger to snow. In the past couple of years, New Englanders have grown accustomed to power outages, school delays resulting in a prolonged school year, and freezing cold weather. Westport residents can expect nothing less from this upcoming winter. The Farmers’ Almanac, an annual periodical and a website that provides weather forecasts, said in its 2014 winter weather predictions: “We are forecasting a winter that will experience below-average temperatures for about two-thirds of the nation.” The article also forecasts that New England will receive “lots of snow.” Unfortunately for those who aren’t ready to face another difficult winter, the Farmers’ Almanac has proven itself to be a pretty accurate source. On the Farmers’ Almanac website, Almanac readers claim that the forecasts are “80 to 85% accurate.” Although skeptical of such early forecasting, Staples High School weather guru Scott Pecoriello has a similar prediciton. “As we move into the heart of the winter, it’s looking more and more like we may get some big snowstorms,” Pecoriello ’15 said. “It also may be tough to shake winter off as we head into the early spring months.” Although snowfall usually indicates delays or off-days from school, Staples students are not excited. “If this winter is going to be worse than the last, then I don’t like it,” Olivia Jones ’15 said. “Last winter was bad enough.”
e g s a r d e r i v h a t w o o l w t e b r o f “... e r u at r e p ” . tem n o i t a c n a e n h a t f o lm A ’ s r e m r a -F
GRAPHIC BY CHASE EMILIO ’16
However, one prediction that has created excitement is that there may be snow on the day of the Super Bowl. Not to put a damper on the positive buzz, Pecoriello is again
skeptical because of how early the prediction was made. “W hile I believe it’s going to be a fairly cold and possibly snow y Febr uar y, to say that there will be a
major snowstor m on the day of the Super Bowl is a forecast begging for publicity,” Pecoriello ’15. “The chances of there being a blizzard on that day is just as likely as it being sunny.”
Inklings / October 4, 2013 / inklingsnews.com
Out of Order A Look at Staples’ Bathrooms SOPHIA HAMPTON ’15 Features Editor
ummer seems like a mysterious time for Staples, where new programs and gadgets magically appear and everything that needs fixing gets fixed. Well, almost everything. There is still one aspect of Staples that remains untouched, unnoticed by the administration. The bathrooms. There are rougly 34 student bathrooms in the school (17 per gender)
from the locker rooms, all the way to the end of the third f loor. Almost every single one of those bathrooms, be it a broken door or broken hand-dryer, has something in disrepair. Bathrooms are used everyday by the majority of Staples. Though they don’t need to be the prettiest place in the school, they should be in working order. So, before we go repainting walls that looked fine to begin with, perhaps Staples should take a look at its priorities. Because they seem to be a little out of order….just like our bathrooms.
PRIVACY PLEASE: A trashcan spills its contents leaving an opening between stalls.
Fitness Center and Music Rooms Recieve SMART Boards JESSICA GROSS ’15 Web News Editor
SMART Boards- the 21st century chalkboard. SMART Boards have been widely used and met with great enthusiasm all over Staples. They can be found from wing to wing all across Staples, and are used in classes for note-taking, presentations, projects, and more. A valuable education tool and a nifty source of entertainment during communication time, everyone from teachers to students to administrators are in agreement that the Boards are handy tools to have; and now they’ve popped up in the physical education and music departments. New technology is always a blessing in the ever-changing electronic world- but how is Staples heralding the new Boards? It seems that these new SMART Boards lead an entourage of excitement and intrigue, along with a parade of positive praise. The challenge of navigating the new technology, the excitement of a new teaching tool, and the thrill of possibility seem wired into the very systems of the Boards. Whether they’re being used to watch Youtube videos of pandas on slides or presidential speeches, the big, bright screens are a great improvement from projectors and old TVs. Orchestra teacher Adele Valovich is extremely excited for the new music room Boards for particularly that reason. “We like for the students to hear what they’re going to play, so we usually bring in an audio recording. But it’s so much better for them to visually see what they’re playing: what part of the bow etc. And to be able to compare and contrast different performances- Youtube’s a wonderful tool,” Valovich said. And students are equally pumped about having the Boards in their classes. Being able to really see what their teachers are instructing is extremely helpful to a huge majority of Staples. “I like the idea! I love how they’re expanding the SMART Boards to these rooms as well,” Anabelle Porio, ‘15 said. “I’m sure it’ll make things more organized. I hope to see them used to find examples
online for (P.E. and music) classes.” Many agree with Porio that the Boards make a huge difference in organization skills. There was a little resistance to the new tech, however, when students realized how much the Boards cost. “My personal opinion on the topic is that smart boards in gym rooms or classes such as orchestra/band are unnecessary and the school’s money should be put towards more useful purposes,” Jhumi Parimal, ‘15 said. David Gusitch, physical education de-
“Any time we’re able to effectively incorporate tech, I think it strengthens the instruction.” -David Gusitch, Physical Education Department Head partment head, was positive that the cost of the Boards would not affect the school’s budget in any negative way. And Maddy Sampath, ‘16, agreed that the new Boards were a worthwhile use of the school’s budget. Despite their high cost, many believe the Boards were a wise investment. Gusitch said he could not look forward to the students using the Boards more. “The teachers are (excited) too, to take instruction to the next level. Any time we’re able to effectively incorporate tech, I think it strengthens the instruction. And there’s a huge student benefit. (The Boards help in) enhancing curriculum, allowing more student-centred classes, and allowing students to explore ideas they come up with as they take part in the unit.” With the SMART Boards being used in 100% of the orchestra classes and nearly all freshman and junior P.E. classes, the new technology will definitely get thorough use. With so much about the SMART Boards to look forward to, the music and physical education departments have an exciting, technologically-advanced year ahead of them.
Where Should Staples’ Budget Be Spent? MAT JACOWLEFF ’15 Staff Writer
Westport Public Schools have a higher budget than most other schools for building g and ggrounds maintenance/projp j
DRYING OFF: Between broken hand-dryers and lack of paper towels, many female students reach for toilet paper to dry their hands.
ects. In fact, Westport has a budget of almost $708,000. Inklings asked Staples students what they hoped administrators will improve about the school with this budget. g
Locker Room: 25 Bathrooms: 5
Field House: 4
Learning Centers: 3
OPEN DOOR POLICY: This boys bathroom door, which was broken with a sledgehammer after several male students were locked inside, still has not been replaced. PHOTOS BY SOPHIA HAMPTON ’15
GRAPHIC BY SOPHIA HENKLES ’16
OPINIONS October 4th, 2013
On a Scale of 1 to 4 How Confused Are You? Inklings
Silver Crown Award for Inklingsnews.com from Columbia Scholastic Press Association 2012 Silver Crown Award for Newspaper Columbia Scholastic Press Association 2012 Pace Maker Finalist from National Scholastic Press Association 2013
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. 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 DeBrujin Aaron Hendel Social Media Editor Simon Stracher Graphics Coordinator Nate Rosen
Photo Coordinator Liana Sonenclar 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 Arts & Entertainment Editors Caroline Cohen Olivia Kalb Emma Muro Katie Settos
Sports Editors Claudia Chen Gabrielle Feinsmith Deanna Hartog Zach McCarthy
Business Manager Elizabeth Camche
Web News Editors Ben Goldschlager Jessica Gross
Video Editor Grace Kosner
Web Opinions Editors Abbey Fernandez Eliza Yass Web Features Editors Luke Foreman Caroline Rossi Web Arts & Entertainment Editors Kaila Finn Nicole DeBlasi Web Sports Editors Bobby Jacowleff Kelsey Shockey
Creative Director Olivia Crosby
Advisers Mary Elizabeth Fulco Rebecca Marsick Julia McNamee Lauren Francese 70 North Ave. Westport, CT 06880 Phone: (203) 341â€“1994 Inklingsnews@gmail.com 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.
Opinions Inklings / October 4, 2013 / inklingsnews.com
GRAPHIC BY ALICE MCDONALD ’14
The Counties Games SOPHIE DE BRUIJN ‘14
Breaking News Managing Editor
f you’re currently a junior, there is no doubt you have already been told that this will be the most difficult year of your life. Between the SAT’s and ACT’s, panicinducing Naviance career profiling assessments, and the seemingly never ending college search, it’s hard to believe otherwise. However, there is one source of stress and anxiety that is entirely avoidable, if approached in the right way: The Counties Assembly Ball. As the school year kicks into high gear and the temperature outside drops even lower than the average temperature on the third f loor during any given season, I know exactly where you are. The first junior
girl probably secured her date back in August (or, if you’re living up to the standards of the class of 2014, early July), setting off an inevitable chain reaction of panic. The constant stream of photos reminding you of the ever-increasinglyelaborate methods of asking a date (let’s face it, if a ukelele, body paint, or dozens of helium balloons aren’t involved you’re not living up to convention at this point) will no doubt spark frenzy, whether you want them to or not. This initial hysteria is, for the most part, unavoidable. But, my advice to you, as a senior girl who lived through it only a few months ago, is this: take a deep breath, not only to maintain your own sanity, but in order to have fun on the actual night
of Counties. Believe it or not, the more you agonize over hem-lengths, fake tans, teeth whitening, photo groups, and after-party themes, the less fun you will have on the ohso-magical night.
One strand of hair out of place will induce a full blown panic attack. You might think that planning everything to the last detail months in advance would make life easier, when in reality, every minute mishap along the way will seem much more significant than it really is. One strand of hair out of
place will induce a full blown panic attack if your imminent Counties profile picture is all you’ve been focusing on for five months straight. More importantly, you don’t want to end up spending the night measuring the fun you’re having against the stress and anxiety that it has caused for months. Junior year is stressful enough. Although it may seem impossible when all the ominous events of the year appear to be right in your face try your best to take a step back and see things in perspective. The success of the night will depend on what you and your friends make of it, and stressing out to no avail won’t make the dance or the nights leading up to it any more enjoyable.
GRAPHIC BY ALE BENJAMIN ’15
Face-ology? JACK ZELDES ’16 Staff Writer
People love Facebook. People love its g roups, messages, and notif ications. However, Staples st udents have recently been int roduced to its t win, Schoolog y. Act ually, its evil t win. Unfor t u nately, st udents have come to realize that Schoolog y is the evil t win of Facebook. St udents now d read those elements that they love most about the popular social media site. So, instead of notif ications aler ting people of requests to join Far mville or to play Candy Cr ush or comments on the newest f u n ny vines (Have you ever heard of, “This is Gar y. Gar y has social an xiet y” ?), st udents now get notif ications that 4,786 notecards for their re-
TWINNING TAKES ON A NEW FORM: When opening the Scoology and Facebook apps side-by-side, students notice that their layouts are almost identical.
search paper are due in an hou r, or that they must read 14 chapters of Realidades Tres for Spanish Th ree Honors, or that they need to pack their schoolbags to the br im with their huge A.P.
bio textbooks. It’s a problem. With almost all of the feat u res on Facebook duplicated on Schoolog y, including f r iends requests and act ual iPhone notif ications, there is only
one word to descr ibe it. Awk ward. St udents across the school say they feel the same way. “I thin k being able to message you r teachers over
some infor mal system and being able to send messages to other teachers across the school is weird,” Kenji Goto ’16 said. It’s not only awk ward, but some of the feat u res on Facebook that have been added to Schoolog y are quite ironic. W henever a teacher posts homework, a reminder about an essay, or the date of a test, Schoolog y gives all of the users an option to “like” the post. W hile I am a ver y st udious worker, I don’t “like” it when I have a u nit test on ever y rebellion stem ming f rom the French Revolution the next day. If any thing, there should be a dislike but ton. So Schoolog y is awkward and ironic. But hey, Schoolog y hasn’t taken cover photos yet, so let’s just enjoy those while we still can.
Opinions Inklings / October 4, 2013 / inklingsnews.com GRAPHIC BY JACKIE COPE ’15
School on Columbus Day: Yes or No?
You’re Really Going to Argue a Day Off? WILL DUMKE ’16 Staff Writer
or the hard-working, active, and intelligent students of Staples High School, a break once in a while is nice. With tests, quizzes, essays, and extracurricular activities, most students at Staples need the occasional day off. Whether it’s to catch up on work or to catch up on sleep, all students and teachers want a holiday. During the first two weeks of school, students and teachers in Westport enjoy having a four-day week and then a three-day week. But after that, there no more long weekends, vacations, or half days until Thanksgiving. That’s just too long. New teachers, college applications, and SATs create the perfect storm to destroy a high schooler’s social life. I would understand if the Board of Education would eliminate a holiday later in the year, but taking away one day off in the first quarter is a little extreme. Between Rosh Hashanah and Thanksgiving, there are no breaks. This extended period of time full of tests, quizzes, and extensive homework assignments can make students and teachers a little antsy.
Students especially want Columbus Day off, not only to celebrate but to do what most teenagers do, which is sleep. As Kenny Brill ‘17 says, “We’ve always celebrated it in the past and we need a break to sleep in.” Whether it is sports, orchestra, or just plain high school work, all students wish to take a break from the pressure. Compared to last year, this new school year seems like boarding school. Last year around the time of Columbus Day, the whole district had five days off for Hurricane Sandy. This unexpected “vacation” made the first quarter go by very fast. Students are not the only ones who hope to have a day off to celebrate the founding of the new world. An anonymous history teacher says, “It’s traditionally been a public holiday in the past, and most other districts in the state have it. If we had it last year, why don’t we have it this year? If we don’t have Veterans Day, we should at least have Columbus Day.” Whether it’s celebrating the New World or celebrating the beauty of sleep, we need to dedicate Columbus Day as a holiday.
Yeah, I’m Really Going to Argue a Day Off ZACH MCCARTHY ’16 Sports Page Editor
Do we celebrate Ponce de Leon? How about Marco Polo? The countless Native-American tribes that trod this land long before any Europeans did? No, in fact, these figures go without cities named for them, nor streets dedicated to them. (When was the last time you saw an Iroquois Avenue?). Not even a rhyme that children repeat under their breaths to figure out the year those explorers and natives arrived. Yet, after years, we continue to discuss and focus on the polarizing, yet often celebrated, Christopher Columbus. Columbus has been hailed as a brave explorer who established America against the odds; he’s like Rocky would have been if he had been given the task of rounding a flat world. One would not believe the number of students who believe he landed on what would be United States soil. (He actually landed in the Bahamas.) Columbus has provided a perfect example of the sobering reality of American history that we continue to learn as we grow older. The legend has outshadowed the actual man, who took natives as servants immediately, engaged in the slave trade, and overall represented a new age of imperialism.
Looking Back on Middle School ELIZABETH CAMCHE ’14 Business Manager
Raise your hand if you have ever felt personally victimized by Elizabeth Camche. Hopefully, my life is unlike the movie Mean Girls, and there aren’t too many of you raising your hands, but I’ll admit, I probably could have been a little bit more pleasant in middle school. I’m sure about 80% of high school girls can look back on those three years and think the exact same thing. Cut us some slack; middle school was a rough time in our lives. We had minimal schoolwork to keep us occupied, and picking the color of our braces was our biggest monthly decision. So there had to be something else for us to spend our time on. Our social lives were everything, and for some reason, I was always the center of conflict. I had a solid group of about six girlfriends, and I would have
a new go-to every month. They would rotate in and out as my best friend, and the rest would be excluded from our plans. I am not quite sure who I thought I was, recycling friends like this, but something made me think I had the authority. At lunch, there might as well been “reserved” signs on each table because everyone had their own and no one dared to switch it up. If you don’t usually sit with us, you can’t sit with us! Fights began from pure boredom, and if I wasn’t happy with someone, they were NOT invited to my bat-mitzvah. Of course I would re-invite them when we made up, but that was a threat that nobody wanted to mess with. “Girl drama was over stupid, small things,” Maggie Fiolek ’15 said. “When one person fights, everyone likes to get involved.” It’s true: during these arguments, it was absolutely crucial
to have an alliance, especially during the incredibly irrational Bedford vs. Coleytown wars. It was exactly what it sounds like: a feud between Coleytown students and Bedford students. I was a Coleytown girl, and of course I got caught in the crossfire. The fuel of the fire: BOYS. Coleytown girls were hanging out with Bedford boys and visa versa. Neither of us was pleased, but all we could do was blame each other. Believe it or not, this tension\ carried over into freshman year. We only mended the middle school rivalry sophomore year, realizing how silly it all was. It’s senior year, and everything is as it should be. Kindness replaced hostility. Our judgmental thoughts and cruel actions have come to an end due to our growing maturity. High school is so fetch!
GRAPHIC BY ALIA METKE ’15
When most people think of imperialism, I’m sure they see the image of some dictator’s army (maybe a blitzkrieg or Soviets, adorned with red stars) strolling into a primitive nation, portrayed on old, grayscale film. But looking back, Columbus is as good of a poster child for imperialism as anyone. He was a man who expanded into unknown territory, with little regard for anyone there, seeking wealth. On his first account of his journey, Columbus focused on how he could enslave any natives he found, calling them “good servants.” Within 50 years, almost 75% of the NativeAmericans he found were dead. Why would we celebrate imperialism? In this case, celebrate is used loosely mainly because I cannot think of anyone who dedicated his or her day off to the day of Columbus. Columbus has outgrown its use in a changing America. Columbus Day is now an organ, vestigial from a time when many students and adults didn’t question their country: it was their history, right or wrong. I do enjoy a break in October, but I feel a nagging guilt when it celebrates an opportunist who took advantage of a new land and its unfamiliar people. Can we cram the thousands of Native Americans into one holiday? Maybe a couple cities and streets too…
Opinions Inklings / October 4, 2013 / inklingsnews.com
P@5$w0rdz! Picky Password Requirements Frustrate Students BOBBY JACOWLEFF ’14 Web Sports Editor
s we all know, every year the school computers require a new password to be used. Not only this, but the new password must: 1) Not be the same as your previous 24 passwords. 2) Not be similar to your logon name. 3) Not be similar to your name. 4) Not be similar to other commonly used passwords. 5) Contain an upper alpha character. 6) Contain a lower alpha character. 7) Contain at least one number or special character. 8) Contain at least 8 letters. Eight different restrictions to protect my school account? Current password standards and restrictions make me feel like my Y-Drive is safer than my bank account, computer, and Facebook account combined. Flashback to my freshman year, when I changed my password with relative ease. Not knowing I would have to change it every year, I also changed all of my other passwords to various other accounts to the school password I had just created. But then sophomore year rolled around and I was told I needed to change my password, again. After a grueling hour of mindlessly trying different pass-
words, I finally found one that worked. I just chose a random word, capitalized the first letter, slapped a number on the end, and voilá. Throughout the whole first semester I proceeded to keep typing my old password over and over until I realized I was mistakenly typing last year’s password or a password from some other year. Rinse and repeat throughout my junior year and so far during my senior year. Thanks to this
to change my password each year, I find myself coming back to the same question every time: why is my Y-Drive so important?
Why does it have the be the most secure account I have? Would I care if someone logged into my Facebook account, computer, or
cell phone? Absolutely. Well. we can sleep well at night knowing our Y-Drives are safe.
I feel like my Y-Drive is safer than my bank account, computer, and Facebook account combined. system of password changing I have a plethora of different passwords for every one of my different accounts. So unnecessary, so avoidable. As I begrudgingly attempt
GRAPHIC BY ANNIE HAROUN ’16
Since When Do I Like Gym? NICOLE DIBLASI ’15 Web A&E Editor
You know what I’m not good at? Sports. In the past, I dreaded going to gym. I hated being with a group of students more athletic than I (and it especially stunk if you had no friends in your class); I despised getting sweaty, and I resented being forced into a sport I had no interest in. I don’t like playing a sport I’m not good at. It’s embarrassing. Have you seen me play racquetball? My hand-eye coordination doesn’t exist. I look ridiculous when I run up to the net, only to miss the ball completely. Besides, when am I ever going to, in my adult life, invite a group of my friends over to play a game of racquetball? However, I’m loving gym now. This year, the physical education department changed the gym curriculum. For the ninth and tenth grade levels, the teachers made minor adjustments. However, for juniors, the curriculum underwent the biggest change.
Now, all junior P.E. classes get to vote on an activity they want to do. At the end of the voting process, the students are given the top two options. For example, in my class, my classmates and I got to pick on whether we wanted to do volleyball or yoga. When asked the reason for the change, the physical education department head, David Gusitsch, explained that they changed the curriculum based on feedback from student and parent focus groups and student surveys. “In terms of end result, we want students to have a more positive experience in physical education and/or physical activities,” Gusitsch said. Gusitsch also explained the department aimed to teach students activities that they could use for a lifetime, and this seems to be a recurring theme through P.E. curriculums throughout the country. In Naperville, Ill., teachers at Madison Junior High School began integrating heart rate monitors into their P.E. classes; also, instead of having the students run the mile and test their time on it, the school introduced a 12-minute run as a substitute and tracked the students distance over time to see their improvement. The change in Staples’ curriculum is great because it gives you a chance to try out some activities you may not have tried before or don’t have the time to do outside of school. I don’t think I ever did yoga in any of my gym classes in the
past, and I love it. I’m normally a very stressedout person, and I’ve noticed that yoga has helped me a lot with my stress. Sitting on the yoga mat with the lights off, my eyes closed, and my ears listening to the sound of waves breaking in the background is so soothing. Moves such as downward dog or child’s pose really stretch out my muscles. Yoga forces my mind to concentrate on the poses instead of the stress of tackling the huge amount of homework I have to do after school. My favorite part, though, is shavasana, which happens at the end of on the yoga session. It’s when you lie on your back with your palms facing up and you close your eyes. My class did it for almost ten minutes, and I felt so relaxed. I actually fell asleep. In the past, I never thought of turning to gym sports as an adult. But, after being given a choice, I actually enjoyed learning something new and I plan on doing yoga for a long time. I can finally do something I love, and I don’t have to feel bad about being un-athletic.
FEATURES October 4, 2013
What’s in your Wallet?
A Look at what Staples Students Carry in their Wallets CAROLINE COHEN ’15 A&E Editor Whether it’s the Velcro one you got for
your 10th birthday present, or the one you made out of silvery duct tape in the seventh grade, or even the one stitched from sophisticated dark leather, your wallet is with you through thick and thin. The word ‘wallet’ has been used since before the 15th century in reference to a bag. These days, the billfolds come in every shape, size and color; and even come built into iPhone cases. Despite the exterior design or appear-
Students carry value and importance between the folds of their wallets ance, the contents of the wallet are what matter the most. And the most important of them all: money. “I would say the most important item in my wallet would be my credit card just because I use it on almost a daily basis,” Khaliq Sanda ’14 said. On average, about $20 is stuffed in between dark leather folds of students’ wallets. “Let’s be real. The most important item in my wallet is my cash-money,” Sam Kratky ’15 said. “That’s what I buy food with before and after school.” Brightly-colored rewards cards from Dunkin’ Donuts, Pinkberry, Starbucks and Robeks were also popular items found in many Staples students’ wallets. “My Pinkberry card is most important in my wallet,” Cameron Felton ’15 said, “because it makes Pinkberry cheaper. I love me some Pinkberry.” Rewards cards from big businesses allow customers to load the card with
money and receive rewards after frequent use. They also give users the customers the benefit of just whipping out the card when they buy an ice cream or coffee instead of having to deal with the bills and coins. Taylor Jacobs ’14 also noted that the rewards cards simplify her daily coffee runs. “I go to Dunkin’ Donuts every day, and the card makes it so nice and easy” Jacobs said. Some students even carry different forms of money. Bennett Propp ’15 carries a 1000 colones bill, the currency in Costa Rica. “One [American] dollar is like 500 colones or something like that,” Propp said. “I carry it just because it’s a cool thing to carry around, and it reminds me of
[my family trip] to Costa Rica.” Nonetheless money is not everything, and wallets carry more than currency. Sanda mentioned he carries a family photo from Christmastime in his wallet. He values the picture because his family doesn’t all come together that often. Kratky also carries a family picture of her cousins and her that is on an iTunes gift card from ten years ago. “I used up all of the money a while ago, but I like having the picture of my family from when we were younger, when we had such good times,” Kratky said. Whether it be cash, credit or memories, students carry value and importance between the folds of their wallets.
Interesting things people carry in their wallets:
KenKen: KenKen puzzle is a logic game similar to sudoku.
“Whenever I’m bored or have to wait at the doctor’s office or a restaurant, I pull out that week’s puzzle and give it a try,” said Peter Elkind ’14.
Family Picture: Luis Cruz ’15 is a
PHOTO BY ANDREA FROST ’15
The Things They Carry: Sam Kratky includes her school ID, learner’s permit, gift cards and change in her wallet.
member of the A Better Chance (ABC) House, and as a result often goes months without seeing his family, who live in Newark. “During the school year, that photo is by far the most valuable item in my wallet — no amount of money could replace it.”
Motivational Words: Tucked
away in Mike Moritz ’14’s wallet is an index card inscribed with the phrase, “I am a happy, confident baseball player.” Moritz says that carrying and reading the card is a method of self-affirmation, allowing him to “essentially trick myself into thinking that I truly am a happy, confident baseball player.”
What’s on your iPhone?
A Look at the Most Useful Apps on the iPhone GRACE KOSNER ’14 Video Editor
There’s no denying that for this generation, a world without technology seems unliveable. The importance of phones, specifically iPhones, has exceeded that of any other piece of technology. iPhones almost have the capacity of another person with their social media connectivity, sources to infinite amounts of information on the internet, and even the ability to talk through Siri. In fact, many have nicknamed their phones and even consider them to be like a boyfriend or girlfriend. In honor of loving these lifelines, I’d like to recommend four iPhone apps that I have and now cannot live without.
After experiencing the inaccuracy of the iPhone’s default GPS app, I strove to find the ultimate GPS that not only makes getting to my destination simple but also tracks traffic and other possible difficulties that can slow a car down. I found “Waze.” Waze found the shortest route, no matter what. It’s steered me around traffic so I could get to an appointment on time and helped me navigate through a rain storm with flooding when I had to get to Montauk, Long Island.
For any creative people out there who love cooking, fashion and DIY, “Brit+Co” is for you. The colors are fun to look at, and the app is organized and simple to view. There are ten categories for narrowing down what you may be looking for. If you just want some creative ideas, you can click the “all” option and view the articles in order of articles most recently posted.
Wunderlist Wunderlist takes full advantage of the connectivity between computers and smart phones. It is compatible with Apple products, Android phones, and Windows products. Wunderlist allows you to organize all of your tasks and goals from dayto-day assignments to long term vacation planning. It’s an incredibly organized interface that’s simple to use and addictive. It is better than the average calendar because it calibrates with friends and with their tasks, has space for lasting goals, and saves links and files.
RunKeeper Since I began using RunKeeper, I’ve heard of many apps like it. Whether it be RunKeeper, Nike Running or Runtastic, the concept of these running apps is super helpful. They work with a GPS and track everything that a treadmill would. They also have other benefits, such as tracking all of the runs and routes you have done in the past and recording improvements to your speed and distance. So, if you are a data junky and want the numbers but also want to run outside in the fresh air instead of at a gym, there’s an app for that.
Inklings / October 4, 2013 / inklingsnews.com
DESTRUCTIVE DENTS ΈLEFTΉ: Some lockers cannot be closed properly because of misaligned doors. VICIOUS VANDALISM ΈRIGHTΉ: The swastika symbol, once plastered on a locker, has been painted over with red paint after an Inklings inquiry.
When It’s Time to Change GRAYSON WEIR ’14 Staff Writer
he door slams shut, followed by the sound of backpacks clicking and shoes scuffing the floor. Underclassmen conversations in the high-ceilinged chamber echo as friends move in a pack toward the back of the cold room. A locker clangs, and the deafening sounds of the hand dryers and flushing toilets drown out the cursing and profanities. The walls are covered with an urban calligraphy. Hurtful, violent words are often plastered on busted lockers. Fluorescent lights hum and buzz overhead;
one light bulb blinks every so often as if it is about to go out, but it never does. What looks and sounds like a state penitentiary is, in reality, the Staples High School boys’ locker room. The locker room, which athlectic director Marty Lisevick said has not been updated since the early ’70s, is a place where hundreds of high school boys stagger in and out multiple times a day. Since it is a room used every day for gym and after school sports, one would think that it would be high on the priority list of rooms requiring maintenance. “There is no denying it is an area in need of an overhaul,” Lisevik said. Yet the budget to remodel
the room has been cut the past few years. North Woods ’15 believes that the school system needs to get its act together and do something about the condition of the locker room. “It’s totally disgusting, smelly, and bogus,” he said. “I’ll be the first to admit, I don’t change down there. I don’t want to change in a bogus facility full of rusted lockers.” Changing in the locker room is supposed to be required for all students. Lisevick explained the reasoning behind the rule. “[Staples] doesn’t have another viable option,” he said. “Visiting teams have to change there as well; I don’t know where else in the school students
could go.” However, as Woods mentioned, it is not uncommon to walk into the bathrooms outside the gym and find kids hustling to get their gym shorts on without being caught. With looks of panic and concern, the students hope a physical education teacher isn’t on his way in. A large factor contributing to the students changing in the bathroom is the smell of the locker room. Upon entering the grimey locker room, faces turn from happiness to disgust as the odor overwhelms the senses. Students agree: the boys’ locker room reeks. Jack Hennessy ’10, a premiere soccer player and track
star who wrote an article on the topic back in his day at Inklings, described the locker room as having “a smell that was the usual mixture of B.O. and mold that any locker room has, except when whole cans of Axe body spray were exhausted to cover up weed and a hazardous concoction of aerosol poison and drug fumes that overwhelmed the senses.” So things have not changed since 2010, or since the 1970s, for that matter. Lisevick said that a renovation is currently in the budget. However, if history does in fact repeat itself, the boys of Staples will still continue to change, just not in the locker rooms.
BATHROOMS OUT OF ORDER ΈABOVEΉ: The showers of the boys’ locker room cannot be used due to equipment such as mats, cones, and storage boxes being kept there. URBAN EXPRESSION ΈTOP LEFTΉ: The walls of the locker room have been vandalized with graffiti. USELESS LOCKERS ΈLEFTΉ: Due to holes in the grates, lockers have been rendered useless since belongings can no longer be locked up and secured. PHOTOS BY GRAYSON WEIR ’14
Inklings / October 4, 2013/ inklingsnews.com
When Politics and Parents Mix TALIA HENDEL ’16 Staff Writer
tanding amongst a crowd of mostly adults highlighted the rarity of her situation. “It was crazy and fun to be the only kid in there,” Charlotte Steinberg ’16 said of her feelings while attending both of her father’s inaugurations at the Capital in Hartford and the celebration at Democratic Headquarters the night he was elected for the second time. Charlotte is among the few students at Staples who get to experience the life of a political family. Her father, Jonathan Steinberg, is a state representative from our area. Other students include Jack Kaner, the son of Avi Kaner, who is the Chairman of Board of Finance and currently running for Second Selectman; Quincy Stein, daughter of Brett Aronow, a member of the Board of Education, and Harry Garber, son of Elaine Whitney, Chairwoman of the Board of Education. These students take pride in many of their parents’ actions, including Charlotte’s father’s work co-founding the Cinema Initiative, a group dedicated to bring a movie theater to Westport, in an effort to bring the town together. “It’s a very cool idea that he’s very passionate about and has put a lot of work into. I think it’s great he has such an influence on our town,” Steinberg said. Quincy Stein ’15 is excited about what her mother is able to do with her position. “I think it’s cool that my mom has the power to change and fix things about our school. She cares about Westport, and she works really hard to do what she thinks is best for Staples and all the schools in the district,” Stein said. Jack Kaner ’16 is also proud of his father’s advancement in his political career and has enjoyed helping him to campaign. “Sometimes, I’ll walk with
him anywhere wearing a ‘Marpe/ Kaner’ shirt and/or hat,” Kaner said. Although Jack is incredibly supportive of his father’s campaign and often excited to help, he says that he sometimes does feel as if his “teenage world” gets “invaded.” He added with a laugh that his father wants him to help pass out water bottles with campaign stickers on them while he would rather hang out with friends. Stein has done some campaigning for her mother, and like Jack, she enjoys it and is often willing to help. “So far it’s just been little things, but in the next month I am really excited to help my mom in her campaign by doing things like putting up yard signs and going door to door.” Stein added that her friends and neighbors are also happy to help. As much influence as the political careers of the parents have had on the kids, similarly, the children have had a great deal of influence on their parents’ perspectives. Jonathan Steinberg interacts a lot with Staples students, especially through the Cinema Initiative, where Staples students are on the board. He feels that this, along with having teenagershimself, and having teenagers himself, helps him to understand their perspective and increases his desire to involve them. “Young people are pretty jaded and cynical about government and just about everything else, which isn’t good,” Steinberg said. Elaine Whitney feels that having kids in the Westport Public Schools (currently one in 8th grade and one in 10th) gives her a sense about how things are going and provides a broader and more complete understanding about how certain issues affect students. She also looks directly to her kids for their input. “Any time my kids or their friends have a strong opinion about a topic the Board of Education is considering – such as
the school calendar or a potential new class or graduation requirement – I make them read the superintendent’s materials from the meeting packet and then give them a chance to make their case about how they think I should vote,” Whitney said. “Sometimes, they or their friends make compelling arguments to the Board and help shape our ultimate decision.” On the other hand, when their opinion is not heard out in the way that they want it to be, Whitney certainly hears the complaints. Even “years later – about the change from Arena to computerized scheduling,” Whitney said. Brett Aronow says having children in the Westport School System also informs her decision making, “I know firsthand that each child is a different type of learner, and our schools have to be able to get everyone to achieve his or her maximum potential. That is the challenge of a school system such as Westport,” Aronow said. Aronow is interested in making sure that our schools stay on the cutting edge with their curriculum with curriculum “like teaching the kids Singapore Math in elementary school, so they have the foundation for high school math even earlier, adding new STEM and other applied science/engineering classes to the middle school and high school to enhance critical thinking and problemsolving.” On the other end of the spectrum, Avi Kaner and the Board of Finance focus on funding for the school system. He has been working on developing consensus among both political parties. “Working together we have made dramatic improvements in the town’s finances, including pension reform, paying down long-term debt,” Kaner said. Having children in the schools, he appreciates all the aspects of the education including sports, music, theater, and the many extracurricular activities such
as Junior Statesman of America and Best Buddies, as well as the academics. While there are many perks to being the child of a politician, it’s not always glitz and glamour. As much fun and excitement as Charlotte Steinberg has experienced due to her father’s political career, there have been times where it wasn’t so great, “The day after (my father) won the first time, I was in 7th grade, and some boys were wearing his opponent’s sweatshirts and teasing me. I had to brush it off be-
cause I knew it wasn’t personal, and he’d already won anyway,” said Charlotte. Her father added that one of his older daughters, Margot, was often embarrassed by the attention she received. “She was particularly chagrined when her government teacher said nice things about me after I spoke to classes about civics and government as part of the League of Women Voters effort,” Steinberg said. “She also didn’t like it when I was interviewed for Inklings.”
PHOTO BY JUSTINE SELIGSON ’15
VOTE FAMILY: (From left) Quincy Stein ’15 and Baxter Stein ’14 with their mother, Brett Aronow, a member of the Board of Education.
Inside the Life of Sales manager of Landrover of Mil-ford, Ryan Ambrif, said the mostt popular car sold to Westport momss is “typically the seven passenger Lan-drover LR4... when their kids are in n elementary school ages. [However],, once they get to middle school age,, typically the Range Rover Sport.””
When Principal John Dodig was W asked if he had every recieved any a ccrazy phone calls from parents, he ssaid, “yes! But I can’t share them.”
M Manager att Vincent Vi t Palumbo, P l b Ashley, explained that “A lot of variation, classic highlights, low lights, short bobs, longer layered highlights,” are the most popular hairstyles and coloring for Westport mothers.
e Parent Trap
Features Inklings / October 4, 2013 / inklingsnews.com
NEW KIDS IN TOWN: (From Left) Julia Agardh ’17, Miranda Brekke ’15, Isak Marquardt ’14, and Yasmin Zarrinfar ’14 are some of the students whose families have been brought to Westport through Statoil connections. PHOTO BY LIANA SONENCLAR ’14
Children of Statoil Employees Brought to Westport DYLAN DONAHUE ’15 Staff Writer
ost students at Staples will say they have always lived in Westport. Many will describe being born in Norwalk Hospital one room over from someone they happen to sit next to in biology. However, some students have a different story, largely because of the company Statoil. Statoil is an international oil and gas company that provides energy, while trying to protect the environment. In 1987, the Norwegian-based company established its only North American trading office in Stamford, CT, employing about 170 of the company’s approximately 23,000 employees. In recent years several students have traveled across the Atlantic to live in Westport and
attend Staples while their parents work in the Stamford office. However, Statoil doesn’t actively steer Statoil employees to live in Westport. “Based on that [Westport] is a good area, families tend to go there,” Ola Morten Aanestad, who is based in Houston and is the media contact for Statoil’s activities in North America, said. “A lot of the praise passes from word of mouth.” While the normal Staples student stresses about grades and sports and SATs, many foreign exchange students, like the Statoil students, juggle the strenuous Staples world while trying to learn the ever-complicated English language. “Going to school in a new country is extremely difficult, especially when you don't speak the native language,” Yasmin Zarrinfar ’14, who moved to Westport in 2006 and now attends Staples
High School, said. Andrea Svendsen, who lived in Westport for five years and would have been part of the class of ‘15, but has now moved back to Norway, echoed Zarrinfar’s sentiments, saying, “The first year I absolutely hated it, I was mad at my parents from making me move across the world away from my friends and family.” Though Svedsen studied English at her Norwegian school, moving to Westport offered the same confusion and anxiety the typical Staples Spanish student would have if they moved to Mexico. Svedsen was afraid to talk to other students because she was embarrassed by her accent and poor vocabulary. Although she didn’t have the struggle of not being able to understand her new classmates, Miranda Brekke ’15 had trouble adjusting after she moved to Westport the summer before her
freshman year, having previously lived in both Stamford for about ten years and in Stavanger, Norway for three years as an expatriate. “Moving countries is really hard,” Brekke said, “It was really hard like having to leave your friends, and everyone already knew each other here.” Distinct to these moves for business, students often know their time in the new home is limited. “They’ll tell you three years,” said Brekke, “but it could be two or it could be five.” Similarly, though Svedsen should finish high school where she currently lives in Norway, there has already been talk of her family moving to Singapore or London. Moving is bittersweet; despite the exciting prospect of a new place to discover, the girls often miss their old home, especially family and friends. The consensus among Brekke, Svedsen, and Zarrin-
far is that they always try and keep in touch with their friends despite the struggle of working around long time differences. Brekke said Skype is her method of choice for keeping in touch with friends as, like her, many of them have traveled to new homes such as Texas, Canada and even Australia. Svedsen even had the opportunity to share her native home with five of her friends from Staples when they visited her over the summer. In a school where many students can find their parents’ names on the athletic plaques in the field house, these Norwegian students offer the Staples community the opportunity to expand its knowledge of a different culture. And it is the things often taken for granted by Staples students that Svedsen misses the most such as “the building and the sports program and not having to bring my own lunch to school.”
GRAPHICS BY OLIVIA CROSBY ’15
According to manager of Balducci’s John Depache, the most popular food that Westport parents pick up in the store for dinner is “mainly prepared food; its very easy. Our rotisserie chicken [is popular], popularr], as as well as our beef.” beef.
Westport moms moms and dads come to Patty ty McQuone’s desk about 30 times throughhout the school day. The strangest item m that was ever dropped off “was a Victooria Secret bra that was a beautiful bra, but ut of course nobody wanted to claim it! So I put it on a boy’s backpack… yeah, that at was probably the worst,” McQuone said. d.
In Wishlist, the average age of customer is 30-40 years old; a lot of women purchase kids’ clothing, w but it is very common for “women b [to] come in with their kids and end up shopping for themselves,” said sales employee, Keisha.
Features Inklings / October 4, 2013/ inklingsnews.com
The Rise of Fake ID’s Brooke Berlin, ’14 said. With this increase in the number of students obtaining fake IDs, there are more sketchy stories to tell. One of Brooke Berlin’s friends went into the city to get a fake ID and came home feeling a little shaken up. “They had talked a few times on the phone and he had given her an avenue and street number to meet on. She met him, and he said let’s take a walk. She had to hand him the stuff without being obvious. Then she met him there a few hours later to pick up the IDs in the same secretive way… He could have easily ripped her off and taken the hundreds she had given him, or even worse, hurt her,” Berlin said. Not only was this experience sketchy, but it was also a little scary. No matter where a student gets an ID from, there is always the risk of getting caught by parents or worse, the police. A study of 1,098 students at the University of Missouri found that about 30 percent of participants had been caught with false identification. “It’s risky in the city be-
cause the sellers could be unreliable and dangerous. It’s also risky online, though, because you have to ship it somewhere so it’s relatively easy to get caught by either parents or even some sort of law enforcement,” a junior boy who wished to remain anonymous said. Students often make the decision to pick up their IDs themselves, to avoid the risk of somebody intercepting it in the mail. By having IDs shipped, students run the risk of their parents opening the package.
“He could have easily ripped her off and taken the hundreds she had given him, or even worse, hurt her” –Brooke Berlin ’14
GRAPHIC BY KATHERINE COOGAN ’17
ELIZA YASS ’13 Web Opinions Editor
all me and tell me what you’re wearing. Then, you’re going to meet me on 60 East
14th in front of Nordstrom’s. You’ll hand me the envelope, and you’ll be on your way.” A spy movie? Nope. It’s how Staples students get fake IDs. As students reach their up-
perclassmen years, they find that more and more of their peers have false identification. “Almost all of the upperclassmen have them, but freshmen and sophomores are starting to get them as well,”
“One of my friends was supposed to pick up his ID but ended up having to get it shipped to his house. He came home from school, and there was a package at his door, and the tape was broken. He didn’t know if it was a postman or his mom or dad or something. He was so lucky he didn’t get in trouble,” Chris Mombello ’14 said. The bottom line? Fake IDs are risky to get and illegal.
Take a Lap
Exploring How Far Students Really Walk During the School Day AMINA ABDUL-KAREEM ’15 Staff Writer
It’s passing time. You have five minutes to get from PE to your math class. By the time you reach the last steps of the third floor, you’re out of breath. At a normal pace, the average person takes 6 minutes and 18 seconds to get from PE to the math hallway, and that’s without passing time traffic. You’re late to math class and panting, but on the bright side, you just walked about 461 steps and burned about 23 calories.
Here are some more interesting facts about steps and calories: How much do students walk?
Ten students of different grades and gender who had different schedules and levels of physical fitness were given pedometers and walked around the school to gather data.
How much do P.E. teachers walk?
INFOGRAPHIC BY NATE ROSEN ’14
Inklings / October 4, 2013/ inklingsnews.com
Clash of the Classes Upper and Underclassmen Taking the Same Courses JORDAN GOODNESS ’16 Staff Writer
n the first day of school, some students were surprised to see younger and older faces in their classes. In any other case, this would result in an embarrassed turn out of the room and race to find the right class. But this year, mixed grade classes are becoming very common. And to many students, this is the last thing that they want. Mixed grade classes are created partially due to an influx of underclassmen taking accelerated or advanced placement courses. Some see this as an uncomfortable divide in the classroom dynamic. “It can be annoying in chemistry as a senior,” Max Warburg, ’14, a senior who joined the Staples community as a junior, said. “I don’t have the same mindset as everyone else. I’m focused more on getting into college.” The underclassmen have similar feelings. “I chose to take APs as a sophomore to challenge myself,” Vig Namasivayam, ’16 said. “But it can be a bit awkward.” However, some teachers see mixed classes as a way for students to get to know each other. “Of course there are pros and cons to the situation,” Ann Didelot, a teacher in the math
department, said. “But everyone gets along. I even saw some upperclassmen giving some advice to the underclassmen.” But, according to others, this is only part of the truth. While most students get along, some say the mixed classes affect their learning process. “My teacher said this would be a good opportunity to bond with freshmen, but I just want to focus on class,” Nicole Mathias ’16, a girl taking a mixed Chinese class, said. “Everything we’re being taught is review for the freshmen, and it’s super hard for us, and that’s not fair.” Despite the occasional clash, however, mixed classes will most likely remain at Staples. PHOTOS BY KATIE CION ’13
OLDER DOESN’T ALWAYS MEAN WISER ΈABOVEΉ: A table of sophomores Jordan Darefsky ’16 (facing, far left), Jacob Klegar ’16 (facing, on right) and Arjun Dhindsa ’16 (back turned) are some of the underclassmen at Staples sharing courses with their older peers. CLASS ACT ΈLEFTΉ: Under and upperclassmen in a multi-variable B.C. Calculus work together to solve complex math problems.
A&E New Restaurants Hit Downtown Westport
INTERNATIONAL LOVE: Post 154’s Diverse cuisine appeals to a range of pallettes.
Post 154 CASEY LU ’15 Staff Writer
ortuguese octopus. Plantain “aranitas.” The cheezy mac. South America meets classic American at Post 154, the new brainchild of Chef Alex Rosado, formerly of The RitzCarlton San Juan and the acclaimed Little Palm Island. Appropriately named, the restaurant made waves this past August when it replaced the decades-old post office downtown. The Westport Post Office had served its community since 1935, so expectations were nothing but high for its successor. When doors finally opened to the eager public, customers were surprised to find the interior had an authentic rustic look that screamed old world Venezuela, sporting brick and dark wood panels, plush chestnut leather booths, and oil paintings. Among high ceilings and exposed piping, tasteful murals stretch the width of the dining tables, depicting mailmen making their deliveries. There had also been quite some buzz about the place as the dimly-lit main dining room was loud and packed. However, it was the kind of noise that comes with good food and comfortable, aesthetically-pleasing decor -- the sound of satisfied customers, from families to couples out on their romantic night or the lone reviewer out on her high school newspaper assignment. Along with satisfaction, variety defined my own Post 154 experience. Chef Rosado, a recipient of the Best Chefs of America award, definitely took advantage of many globetrotting experiences from prior jobs. As I perused the expansive menu, adobo grilled veal took me to Latin America. Lobster quasedillas took me to Mexico. Steak bearnaise to France, then crab tater tots dropped me back to New England. The question at Post 154 is: Do you play it safe or take a risk? I went with golden corn bisque and crab tater tots as starters. The bisque was your typical corn chowder variant, but Chartwells’ own bacon corn chowder concoction still does it no justice. The corn was obviously very fresh, and the bisque was the perfect balance be-
PERFECTLY DELICIOUS: Cru’s ideal balance of sweet and savory will be sure to satisfy.
Cru tween thick and thin. Chives also added a light onion flavor – not too much but just enough. The crab tater tots were reminiscent of crab cakes, only more concentrated – more lumpcrab, less creamy filler – and just as delicious. They were accompanied by a special lemon verbena ketchup, with a tanginess that was too much for me. I think traditional ketchup already has enough tartness, so I obviously did not enjoy a second sour component. For my main course, I finally decided to go international and selected the kobe beef churrasco, an Argentinean dish and essentially a steak. The steak was grilled to a perfect medium pink and incredibly tender and flavorful. The deep green chimchurro sauce that was slathered over it provided another medley of flavors: parsley, garlic, olive oil. I was afraid the sauce would mask the taste of the steak itself, but it proved to be a well-chosen accompaniment. To better describe the sauce, it was pesto-like, though I must say I prefer pesto, for the chimchurro had a slight vinegar aftertaste. Another criticism I have for the dish is that it was a smaller entrée - about the size of your fist. As I scanned surrounding tables, that seemed to be the case for many main courses. Although there were some elements of the meal that I was not fond of, such as the portion size and the sauces that accompanied two of my dishes (which might have been enjoyed by someone with a different palate), the quality of the meal was evident. The food was nothing short of what is expected for a restaurant of a $$ price range; I found my dishes to be very appetizing and well-cooked overall, with layered flavors and aesthetically pleasing plating. Service was also satisfying, and nothing dimmed my Post 154 experience. Plus, classy touches such as an elevator existing solely to transport diners to the restrooms did not hurt. In my view, this posh eatery has earned a place as one of Westport’s top-tier restaurants, making good use of a historic landmark on the way. The adress 154 Post Road East, once sorting through mail, is now cooking up the world for our little town.
TAYLOR BURG ’16
huddle of bright red umbrellas scattered on a boarded sunlit boardwalk patio might catch your eye. From the outside, Cru looks like a standard restaurant. But Cru brings something else to the table. Cru is more than just a restaurant; it is a restaurant and lounge. After walking into the dim lighted room, the first thing you see is the décor: Cru is a lounge. Across from the bar are black tables, each set with lit candles to give the room a dusky feeling. There is a whole section hidden by white curtains. Once you enter, you will see white couches with pillows scattered across them. This section is for pure relaxation and enjoyment to have a drink and be with friends. Cru always gives its food a fun taste. Dishes are intricate and delicious. The grilled cheese wasn’t just the kind you would make off the stove at home with whole wheat bread and American cheese. These delectable sandwiches were made with perfectly toasted bread and midnight moon cheese.
But the ingredient that made the meal distinctive and flavorful and fun was truffle honey. It might take you by surprise at first, but the drizzled honey across the grilled cheese tied all the flavors together and sweetened the entire meal. The beet salad lacked in taste, but the edamame falafels were delicious. When looking for a hardy dinner meal, you’ll find Cru’s portion sizes on the
“The drizzled honey across the grilled cheese tied all the flavors together and sweetened the entire meal.” small side, but interesting and satisfying combinations of ingredients for each meal made up for it. When nighttime arrives, Cru really steps it up and comes alive. The lounge has music playing loud enough to dance to but quiet enough to have a conversation. The lounge section fills up along with the tables. It’s a really excellent place to have a good meal and hang out. Overall, Cru brings an entertaining
“INDULGE YOURSELF”: Cru’s exotic menu, made up of foods from America, France, and the Mediterranean, is determined to be delicious.
Post 154 vs. Cru
PHOTOS BY CAROLINE COHEN ’15
Cru, 125 Main Street, Westport. (203) 222-0924. Open Sun-Sat. Currently dinner only. Bar. Valet Parking. Reservations for large parties only. Outdoor dining available.$$.American, French, Mediterranean cuisine.
Post 154, 154 Post Rd, Westport. (203) 454-0154. Open Sun-Sat. Currently dinner only. Bar. Valet Parking. Reservations for large parties only. Outdoor dining available. $$. South American cuisine. GRAPHIC BY LILA MEYER ’16
PHOTOS BY ALE BENJAMIN ’15 AND TAYLOR BURG ’16
October 4, 2013
A&E Inklings / October 4, 2013 / inklingsnews.com
Breaking Bad Wraps Up in 5th Season Finale JIMMY R AY STAGG ’16 Staff Writer
Top 5 Breaking Bad Episodes
ince 2008, an empire has been expanding, running the lives of 5.9 million people. Not unlike Walter White’s monopoly on crystal meth, “Breaking Bad” has monopolized Staples students’ DVRs. Now, after five seasons, the end has come. Even if you don’t watch “Breaking Bad”, it is simply impossible to have not heard of Vince Gilligan’s masterpiece. Baxter Stein ‘14, a “Breaking Bad” fanatic, has an explanation for this. “Everyone who watches ‘Breaking Bad’ is sort of known for telling [everyone else] how it's the best show ever,” said Stein. This word-of-mouth publicity is partially what helped the show become so popular. That and the fact that it’s the highest rated show on television. The fifth and final season scored a 99 out of 100 on Metacritic.com, earning a Guinness World Record. The show has won 46 awards and has been nominated for 150. Many agree that the show is so successful due to the amazing writing from Vince Gilligan (“I am not in danger, Skyler. I am the danger! A guy opens his door and gets shot and you think that of me? No. I am the one who knocks!”), with a spotlight on the character development and relationships. Nick Ribolla ‘16 is one of these people. Ribolla loves the strong characters. “I mean Walt, the main character, goes from being the protagonist to the antagonist, but some part of you, even though he is an awful person, just wants him to succeed so bad,” Ribolla said, “but you don’t know why.” Ribolla knows that there are people who watched from the 2008 beginning, whereas he only
It’s no easy task to name the best episode of a show that will go down as one of the best of all time, but “Ozymandias” definitely sits atop the list. It was the only television show or movie to receive a 10/10 rating from IMBD. com, ever. Viewers were on the edge of their seats for an hour straight as they watched unpredictable drama unfold, including several deaths.
2. Full Measure
“Full Measure” closed season 3 in a bang, literally. The pop of a gun ended the life for one prominent character and saved another.
3. Dead Freight “Dead Freight” had a little bit of it all. A coldblooded murder, a daring heist, and a last second escape all jam-packed into one hour of television brilliance. 4. One Minute
GRAPHIC BY JULIA SCHORR ’16
watched it for the last “two very lonely months.” He said he is still sad to see “Breaking Bad” go because it is such a good show. As for the conclusion itself, everyone has his or her own 12step program for recovery. Stein, for instance, invited a support group of friends over for each of the final episodes. For many, the end of “Breaking Bad” will leave a hole in the television schedule. Kevin Watt ‘15 has a plan for recovery: he’ll probably begin to watch more football. “It’ll be hard to fill that
void,” said Watt. Brooke Wrubel ‘17 has her own idea. “I plan on possibly starting ‘Lost’ or ‘Weeds’ to replace ‘Breaking Bad.’ However, I think it will be impossible for any show to [take the place of] ‘Breaking Bad.’” There is a little phoenix spawning from the ashes that is “Breaking Bad.” This is the spinoff, recently confirmed by AMC, following the life and events of Saul Goodman, Walt’s lawyer who specializes in criminal activities. Watt is looking forward
How do you feel about the passing time music being gone for the time being?
to seeing how they present Saul and his business in relation to the “Breaking Bad” universe. Stein is excited for Bob Odenkirk (the actor who plays Saul Goodman) due to his comedic techniques. “I'll definitely give it a try,” Stein said. Even with the glimmer of light that is the Saul Goodman spin-off, the close of “Breaking Bad” dismays many. Wrubel puts it simply. “I think that at the end of the season there will definitely be many broken hearts.”
“One Minute” provided one of the most unpredictable sequences in all three seasons up to that point. A shoot-out shook up the landscape of the entire show and left almost everyone in shambles.
Crazy Handful of Nothin “Crazy Handful of Nothin” is the episode where Walt finally “Breaks Bad.” Stuck in a sticky situation, Walt makes something out of nothing by channeling his superior intellect to make a name for himself in Albuquerque.
AARON HENDEL ’14 Breaking News Managing Editor
Last year, the class of 2016 ran a fundraiser for several weeks: for $2, students and teachers could choose a song to be played on the loudspeakers in the hallways during passing time. Tunes ranged from classic rock to “Call Me Maybe.” This received mixed reviews, however. Now, at the start of the new school year, the music has not yet picked up again. Inklings talked to some students to see how they felt about it.
“If you hadn’t had told me it was gone, I wouldn’t have noticed, so I’m indifferent about it.” –Claire Smith ’15
“I listen to music in the halls in my headphones so I don’t really care.” –Tyler Marks ’14
“It makes your day a little less upbeat (without the music).” –Ian Burns ’15 GRAPHIC BY JULIA SCHORR ’16
A&E Inklings / October 4, 2013 / inklingsnews.com
Fall Fashion Turns Over a New Leaf ABBEY FERNANDEZ ’14 Web Opinions Editor
he sun sets earlier. The mornings are chillier. The trees are losing their leaves just as quickly as you lose your tan. Boys dress up in their best Vineyard Vines button-downs on game days, and you can find field hockey players sporting their sticks as they walk through the halls. It is no secret that fall is coming. Rather than shy away from the season, it’s time to embrace the fall’s cute trends. Considering our school is constantly freezing, I’m talking about oh-my-goodness-I can’t-focus-on-thismath-lesson-freezing, it’s all about layering. Collared shirts under a chunky cable knit sweater always makes for a preppy look, or try a graphic t-shirt under a warm cardigan to look more hipster. Layering is a great technique because it looks like you put a lot of thought in to your outfit while allowing you to stay warm at the same time. For sweaters this season,
GRAPHIC BY EMMA RHOADS ’14
the bigger the better! Large sweaters pair well with skinny jeans or leggings. Also, don’t fear bright colors. Let the leaves inspire you, and look for pieces that are crimson red or burnt orange. And guess what? White is no lon-
ger solely a summer color. In fact, The Huffington Post says in its fall fashion report, “yes, you can wear white after Labor Day.” Winter white makes for a polished and clean look. Jeans are great. Much like a minivan, they’re safe
and reliable. But where’s the fun? Switch up your pants selection, and try a pair of funcolored corduroys. J.Crew has some great colors this fall, including “vintage aqua” and “sunwashed sand.” And boys, this applies to you too. “I wear cords over jeans. They’re made from much more comfortable fabric, and I like how they’re casual yet stylish at the same time. It’s great that they come in seasonal colors too,” Griffin Thrush ’15 said. So you’ve got your big warm sweater and your bright cords, but what about outerwear? Puffer vests insulate you and, again, can be a useful tool for layering. In addition, scarves allow the opportunity to incorporate a unique pattern to a primarily neutral outfit. And for those of you walking from Wakeman, an olive green military-style jacket will keep you warm on those 50-degree mornings, plus the pink nose always matches. Last but not least, boots are a must-have this fall. Whether you prefer short or
long, they not only keep your feet warm, but they tie a fall outfit together. Try for ones made from maple or black leather, as those are versatile and can be worn with many different outfits. And don’t just play it safe with plain leather boots; there are plenty of other options to switch up a bit. For rainy days, Hunter boots come in a variety of colors and patterns, everything from snakeskin to silver. Those heavy boots make a clunking noise with each step you take, so make sure to not walk around too much if your class is taking a test. “I'm really excited to wear my combat and hiker boots this fall,” the fashionforward Kelly Gore ’14 said. Top the outfit off with a dark nail polish color such as “Lincoln Park After Dark” by Essie, and you’re ready to take on the fall. New additions to downtown Wesport such as Brandy Melville and Madewell will be your go-to spots for all the trends listed above. The trends this fall may be better than the candy corn, maybe.
Tappers and Flappers Staples Players Presents “Thoroughly Modern Millie” KACEY HERTAN ’16 Staff Writer
etal collides with the ground and then retreats, in time to the rhythm of lively, roaring twenties music. And then, 50 glistening black tap shoes executing precise movements, in perfect synchronization. It’s daily rehearsal for “Thoroughly Modern Millie”, the Staples Players fall show.
‘Millie’ is one of very few tap dancing shows Staples Players has presented. According to current choreographer Andrea Metchick, this is because the former choreographer Joanne Kahn didn’t love. By contrast, Metchick loves tap dancing. “It’s so much fun to make noise with your feet!” said Metchick. While tap dancing is fun, it is
also challenging. Many students took a special audition preparation class over the summer in hopes of grasping the basics of the art. “It seemed like a lot of kids in the class had never worn tap shoes before,” said Everett Sussman ‘15. Metchick said she suspected that at least two-thirds of the students who auditioned for the show were new tappers. Although many students
KICKͳLINE: Caroline Didelot ’16 , Lindsey Marks ’17, Carley Kobylinksi ’16 and Kelly Gore ’14 practiced their high-kicks.
have had lessons in ballet or jazz, tap dancing is unique, Metchick said. “Tap is all about rhythm and relaxation, which is opposite to what the ballet dancers are used to.” Although tap dancing may be a challenge, all agreed it does add a new dimension to the show. “I actually really like to do tap because I feel like it's one of those styles where you can go all
out, and a lot of the tapping Millie does conveys her emotions,” said Maddy Rozynek ‘14, who is double cast as the lead role, Millie Dillmount. Metchick explained how the choreography is crafted to express emotion with quick, short taps in scenes where Millie is nervous and loud, stomping taps when she is angry. Tap provides a whole new tool for expression and characterization.
IT TAKES TWO: Jack Bowman ’15 and Caroline Rossi ’14 rehearse a complicated step.
PHOTOS BY LIANA SONENCLAR ’14 AND KASEY HERTAN ’16
A&E Inklings / October 4, 2013 / inklingsnews.com
New AP Art Class Adds Color to the AP Courses ZOE BROWN ’15 Features Editor
hat do you do after you’ve completed advanced ceramics? Or any other advanced art class? Last year, the answer would have been nothing. Luckily, that is no longer the case. AP Studio Art: 3-D Design is the newest addition to Staples’ art curriculum. Although different in content, this class is just as difficult as any other AP, even abiding by the standard AP grading system, according to Maggie Walsh ’15. “It’s obviously all art and it’s very individual,” said Amelia Heisler ’15, one of seven students who takes the new class,“but also it is a serious class because at the end of the year we send our work to a board that grades it on the standard one to five scale.” Art Teacher Jaclyn Jeselnik proposed this class last year. The process of bringing a new AP course to Staples begins with filling out a preliminary course proposal form and ends after The Collaborative Team, a group composed of students, faculty and administrators, and the Board of Education have approved the proposal.
Sloane Cooper ’15 explains that the class uses tools like wire to turn classic household items into art, discusses the structures of art and experiments with different ways that art can be used. At the end of the year, each student must submit a portfolio of his or her work. “The class really pushes you to be creative in different ways,” Cooper said. For example, AP 3-D Design student Maggie Walsh created a piece of art that was more than just wire twisted together. “I researched how snakes fight and then put the two positions of the wire like the heads were entangled and then I cut smaller wires to make the snakes’ tongues,” Walsh said. Jeselnik believes that this class is important because it gives students the much-needed finale to their high school art courses. “For many years, I’ve had advanced students who kept wanting more, but there wasn’t that level for them,” Jeselnik said. Jeselnik thinks that through the class, students will learn skills that they will be able to use forever. She believes that after this class, “they’ll be innovative problem solvers and reflective learners.”
Principal John Dodig agrees that skills learned in art classes can carry through to life after high school, even in the workplace. “I can’t imagine any workplace that wouldn’t value someone who comes to them not being afraid of tackling something new, thinking out of the box, thinking creatively and coming up with some solution nobody ever thought of before,” Dodig said. Walsh also feels that the creative challenges of this course have already changed her perspective for life. “You have to take something that you always see and completely change it,” Walsh said. “So now, when I see a cup, I feel like I can make art out of it.”
PERFECT FORM: Olivia Crosby ’15 trims a vase on the pottery
PRECISION: Talia Meyer-Bosse ‘14 carves details into a mask.
PHOTOS BY ELIZA YASS ’14
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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SPORTS October 4, 2013
Junior Lacrosse Players Committed to Colleges BELLA GOLLOMP ’15 Staff Writer
eginning the college process for most can be quite the challenging task. Choosing a suitable school involves many details, and for most students it isn’t the easiest decision when it comes to narrowing down and crossing off possible options. But what if the opposite happens, and the school chooses YOU out of hundreds of students? That was the case for Amelia Heisler ‘15 and Paige Murray ‘15. Being only juniors in high school, both girls already know where they will be attending school once they graduate. Heisler will be attending Lafayette College in Pennsylvania, where she will be playing Division 1 in Patriot League conference. Murray will be attending Virginia Tech, and she will also be playing Division 1, but in the Atlantic Coast Conference.
Because of their impressive skills, college recruiters were intrigued, which later led to the offer of a spot on each of the school’s girls’ lacrosse team for the fall of ‘15. The two have been playing alongside each other on the girls varsity lacrosse team here at Staples for the past two years and have proven that the hard work does pay off. It’s an exciting time. “I won’t have to think about other schools now; the application process is pretty much out the window!” Heisler said. According to the girls, junior year, no matter if you’re committed or not, will always be strenuous, “If the school sees you slacking off academically, they will drop just like that,” Murray said. “You have to show them that you’re going to be a thriving student as well as an athlete. Nothing is set in stone, which is a common
misconception about committed athletes,” Heisler said. Both schools have specific mandates that their recruited players must follow throughout the rest of high school. “It’s a different kind of stress now: no more visits to schools and trying to get committed,” Heisler said, “It’s having the stress of doing well on SATs and keeping my grades up.” These girls said it may appear like they have it easy, but it’s quite the opposite. They have to prove that they are worth the commitment. “I’ve had people come up to me and say something like, ‘Oh you’re so lucky because you’re basically a second semester senior,’ but it’s not like that at all,” Murray said. Both girls express that it’s not only about the grades for them. On a personal level, they want to show the schools that committing to
PHOTO BY ASHTON DEDONA ’17
SHOWING THEIR PRIDE: Heisler (left) and Murray (right) wearing sweatshirts representing their future schools.
them wasn’t a mistake. “You represent your college and the school as a whole; you have to make a good impression,” Heisler said. “That is what I have to constantly remind myself.”
As of now, the girls are verbally committed. During the winter of their senior year, they will sign a letter of intent which is then a “done deal,” and there will be no turning back on either end.
PHOTOS BY DEANNA HARTOG ’16
Blood is Thicker than Water Siblings Take the Field PASSING THE BALL: Meghan Lonergan ’14 and Claire Lonergan ’17 warm-up for practice before a big game against Ridgefield.
KATIE REYNOLDS ’14 Staff Writer
It’s no secret that teammates often feel like family. On the Staples girls varsity soccer team, however, the idea of sisterhood is taken to a new extreme. Captains Gea Mitas ‘14 and Meghan Lonergan ’14 both have younger sisters who are playing alongside them on the varsity squad. Having sisters playing for the same team has the potential to be catastrophic– like going through each other’s wardrobes without asking, but with more significant consequences. But with the right amount of encouragement and support, sisters can help each other immensely on the field. “I think it could actually be beneficial for the girls, having someone they connect with playing alongside them,” coach Heather Driscoll said. The girls agreed with their coach, but also pointed out the difficulty in this situation. “Playing with my sister can be very fun, but it is different treating her like an-
other one of the girls on the team,” Gea said. It’s no surprise that the Lonergan and Mitas homes are filled with talk about the game. “We always talk about what we can do better. We help each other out,” Meghan said. “If there is something she doesn’t understand, like a drill or a set play, she will ask me when we get home.” “She’s kind of like my teacher,” Claire Lonergan ’17 said. “It’s nice having someone who’s comfortable being honest when you need advice on the field.” The Mitas sisters help each other in a different way. They spend time at home playing together, working on their technical skills and giving each other tips. Similarly to the Lonergans, the Mitas’ pay attention to each other’s technique during games, and later give one another advice on how to improve. Having daughters who are on the same team certainly makes life easier for the girls’ parents. Gea says that their parents no longer have to worry about trying to make
both of their daughters’ games. The only sisters that Driscoll has had on her team in the past have been twins. She has only seen healthy relationships, where sisters encouraged one another and positively influenced each other’s attitudes about the game. She said she is excited to have the Mitas and the Lonergan sisters on the team this year. As expected, there are some disadvantages bringing family
members onto the same team. “If we say something mean to each other at practice, the mood might carry into the house,” Elizabeth Mitas ’16 said. Gea said that at a recent game, she got angry at her sister out of frustration with how the team was playing. She said that looking back at it, she could have handled the situation better. “Though it does have its disadvantages, I do like having my
STRIKE A POSE: Gea Mitas ’14 and Elizabeth Mitas ’16 take a pause from practice to smile for a picture together.
sister on my team. It definitely motivates me to be good, like she always is,” Elizabeth said. Team pride and family pride are combined on this team. Elizabeth said she is happy and proud when her sister scores a goal. Driscoll said that the possibility of creating conflict by putting sisters on the same team was considered during tryouts. “But we could tell even during preseason that we weren’t going to have any real issues with these pairs. They get along well. There is no competition between sisters,” Driscoll said. Of course, the friendly sisterly torment doesn’t stop just because they are on the field. “It’s fun to tell embarrassing stories about her to the other girls,” Claire said. Even with the jokes and the occasional bicker, these sisters can all agree that having the help and the love of family on their team is worth it. “The support is great, and I feel like I always have her to talk about something I wouldn’t say to just any player,” Elizabeth said.
Sports Inklings / October 4, 2013 / inklingsnews.com
PHOTO BY CONNOR HARDY ’14
OVERHEAD SLAM: Boys’ varsity tennis team co-captain Luke Foreman ’14 feels out the newly redone tennis courts as he slams a ball over the net. PHOTOS BY NATE ROSEN ’14
“Love” for the New Courts Staples’ Tennis Courts Redone ERIN MUNLEY ’16 STAFF WRITER
mong the many new changes happening at Staples High School this year, the new tennis courts being installed is definitely an exciting one. The tennis courts were in desperate need of improvement. “They were the worst courts in the FCIAC,” boys’ junior varsity player Bobby Becker ’16 said. Being almost 30 years old, there were many dead spots, holes, and cracks, players said. In addition, there were areas on the court where the paint was chipped off, causing the players to slip or fall. Players said it was frustrating to play on those courts, and irritating when it threw off the game. “To say the least, the renovation was long overdue,”
girls’ varsity captain Melissa Beretta ’14 said. Luckily the wait for the new courts is over. All six courts are being completely redone and should be finished by the 2014 season.
New Tennis Courts are 30 Years Overdue The new courts will almost be unrecognizable, according to varsity coach Paco Fabian. The asphalt will be ground down and replaced with a new layer, the nets and fencing will be completely replaced, and most importantly, the lifespan of the new courts will be increased thanks to the upgraded drainage system around the
courts. Players agreed that the old courts weren’t helping the teams win. In fact, they said that if anything, they were just preventing the team from playing to their best ability. “The dead spots and cracks were very distracting because they just caused aggravation and stress. Players shouldn’t be worrying about the faults in the court while they’re also trying to win a match,” Beretta said. “I am very excited for the new courts… they should enhance our playing and hopefully help us win some matches” Fabian said. Fabian isn’t the only one confident that their game should improve. “The new courts will bring out a new and improved team,” said Beretta. “We are going to have a fantastic year, and the new courts will definitely pump us up for the season.”
OUT WITH THE OLD, IN WITH THE NEW: The old, cracked tennis courts at Staples caused many safety hazards for students and townspeople alike.
New Gym Curriculum Focuses on Student Interests MICHAEL MATHIS ’15 Staff Writer
At last, the juniors of Staples Physical Education are free! Well, more free. This year, the Staples High School Physical Education Department sought to revise the junior class curriculum. Instead of the students following a rotation of sports prescribed by teachers, the students now browse through a list of activities on Schoology and vote on their favorites. Then, the teachers plan accordingly. “We want to appease you,” Physical Educator Michael Caetano joked. Physical education department chairman David Gusitsch explained that they’ve wanted to make this curriculum change for several years now. Through years of endof-the-year surveys, Gusitsch found that many wanted more choice in the classes. Gusitsch
and the department took this to heart. “We don’t just throw those things away,” he said. With the recent change, Caetano said he has seen a large shift in participation and effort from his students. The students, he said, are not only working more vigorously in class, but also sees them enjoying doing the activities. “I think it’s because, most likely, they want to be there,” he said. Indeed, many juniors taking physical education have explained that they like the class more now that they have a say. “We all want to be involved in what we like,” Brittany Braswell ‘15 said. Everett Sussman ‘15 was also supportive of the recent change. “It’s a move in the right direction,” he said. Nevertheless, with 15 activities to choose from, some
PHOTO BY SOPHIE ROSEN ’15
WARRIOR POSITION: The new gym classes participate in yoga as an alternate physical activity to relax and strengthen.
students still find themselves confined to activities they don’t enjoy. One student, Luis Cruz, complained there was not enough variety.
“I want something different,” he said, referring to games like Wiff le Ball and Rugby, neither of which are currently a part of the curricu-
lum. In addition, sophomores like Vig Namasivayam ‘16 are pessimistic if this is what lies ahead for them in junior Physical Education. “They do a lot of sports that are currently useless for fitness,” he said, pointing out activities like Volleyball and Pickleball. Nonetheless, Gusitsch assured his students that they are trying to increase the repertoire, talking about introducing Paddleboarding sometime in the near future. He also asked that if students have ideas, they are more than welcome to come to him with them. “We want to value every suggestion that comes in,” he said. But above all things, Gusitsch wants to emphasize the importance of P.E. in general, hoping that whatever changes are made, they are made to benefit the students.
Sports Inklings / October 4, 2013 / inklingsnews.com PHOTOS BY CONNOR HARDY ’14
BUTTING HEADS: Two styles of the new Guardian protective caps. Left, the black soft cap covering the same helmets being used for years. Right, a different, camoflauge patterned cap with the same function.
Keepin’ Your Head in the Game New Football Helmets Arrive at Staples ADAM KAPLAN ’16 Staff Writer
estport is justifiably proud of the Staples Wreckers football team, which in the past four years has had an outstanding record of 43-5, including a pair of appearances in the state finals. Staples is now trying to maintain that record and keep its players safe by using new headgear to protect the players from serious head injuries that occur when playing the game. Concussions have plagued football players at all levels. Since the suicide of six-time All-Pro linebacker Junior Seau from depression-connected football-related head injuries, the public has begun to notice the dangers. In late August, the NFL settled a lawsuit brought by thousands of former players for $765 million, roughly 8 percent of the league’s yearly intake. Last spring, the football team received new scientificallytested caps sold by a company called Guardian. The caps are soft helmet covers that, according to the company’s website, reduce impact up to 33 percent, making head injuries less likely to happen. Staples head coach Marce Petroccio brought the helmets to Staples after he saw the University of South Carolina Gamecocks and their All-American defensive end Jadeveon Clowney were using them. “A great percentage of our concussions were occurring during practice,” Petroccio said. They seem to be working well. Petroccio noted that the team has been using the caps since June 1, and “so far, there have been zero concussions.” In contrast, during the fall 2012 season, there were eight football-related concussions on the freshman, junior var-
sity and varsity teams. While the company has sold over 20,000, Staples is the first high school in Con Connecticut to use these helmets. Although the caps cannot be worn in regular games ames because they have to go over the helmet, they hey are used regularly dururur ing practice. According to th tthee Sports Concussion Instin stitute, 5 to 10 percent off the players will experience ence a concusion in any given sport. Staples student Chris Bowles ’16 has sustained his fair share of concussions. As a teenager, Bowles has had six concussions, includ-
At this point last year, the football team had had eight concussions. This year, with the new caps, there have been no concussions. ing four in two years. He said they have kept him from playing his favorite sport, lacrosse. Even though Bowles has stopped playing contact sports because of fears of further injury, he still suffers from the effects of the concussions. He has to visit a specialist multiple times a year to make sure everything is stable, and he lives with a constant ringing in his ear as well as an extreme sensitivity to migraines. Football is the sport with the highest concussion risk, and fortunately the members of the varsity team have taken a liking to the new caps. “Playing a position that takes an immense beating week in and week out, it’s comforting to know that the school is taking steps to prevent serious injury and keep me from having any major health issues down the road,” said inside linebacker Jonathon Maragos ’16.
Guardian Helmet Stats • Weighs less than 7 oz • Head Injury Criterion (HIC) is the scale measuring impact from injury • Side of the head impact was reduced from 360 HIC to 289 HIC • Rear of the head impact was reduced from 466 HIC to 302 HIC
Sports Inklings / October 4, 2013 / inklingsnews.com
GRAPHIC BY JULIA SCHORR ’16
Fighting For a Spot Staples Sports Teams Make Major Cuts MARGAUX MACCOLL ’16 & GRACE MCCARTHY ’16 Staff Writers
veryone had heard that the incoming freshman were fierce and their athleticism would shake up Staples girls sports teams across the board. The teams most affected were girls soccer and field hockey. “Some of us had played with the girls a year younger for a little while now on the out-of-school teams,” Talia Hendel ’16, who was cut from the soccer team this year, said. “There was a definite fear of them taking our spots.” Tryouts were gruesome. While the Staples hallways were barren, and everyone else was enjoying the dwindling days of summer, the fields were already f looded with hopeful athletes. Girls were training hard: undertaking conditioning, pushing themselves through hours of scrimmages and doing timed miles and sprints. Students had tryouts all morning, and then had to come back in the afternoon for additional hours. Elizabeth Mitas ’16, a sophomore on varsity soccer said, “Tryouts stress you mentally, physically, and even emotionally.” Renee Weiss ’17, a field hockey player on the freshman
team, agreed saying they were “definitely much more stressful and difficult than anything we did at the middle school level.” Part of the stress was obviously due to the fear of being cut. When the day to cut came, each girl trying out for soccer and field hockey teams was called up to the coaches– in field hockey one by one, and in soccer, in small groups. The remainder of the girls watched nervously. An eerie silence spilled onto the field as the girls tried to analyze posture and facial expressions, trying to solve the pivotal question: had she made the team? “We all sat close to each other holding hands and prayed our friends weren’t going to be cut,” Mitas said. Hendel pointed out that sometimes teams can be extremely close. “It’s weird for both people– ones who are cut and ones who aren’t. We had played with each other for years. We were like a family.” There was also another
THE MOMENT OF TRUTH: For many athletes, the release of the final roster is a very stressful event.
del. “Most people were thinking all the sophomores would make the team.” But the freshman’s reputation preceded them: about 35 freshmen tried out for soccer and each one made the team. That, in turn, meant there had to be older people let go. The result was six sophomores were cut. Seven freshmen made varsity– meaning there are more freshmen represented than any other grade on the team. Soccer was not the only girls sport to have to accom-
“The most talented players should make the team.” –Megan Root ’15 anxiety-inducing question that was consuming their worries: did they themselves have a spot on the team? “Like at any tryout, we were all working out the numbers in our head,” added Hen-
SURVIVORS OF THE CUT: Emily Stanford ’14 and Hannah Myers ’14 at a field hockey pregame meeting. The team made roster cuts for the first time this year.
PHOTO BY LIANA SONENCLAR ’14
modate an unusually high number of freshmen. Field hockey had to make cuts for the first time in years. Except this time, no freshmen made JV or varsity. In fact, only two sophomores made varsity. Field hockey, though, mainly cut freshmen and two sophomores. Field hockey coaches declined to comment on the reason behind the change. “I think many of the freshmen were shocked at the amount of cuts, and at the fact that any freshmen were cut at all,” Weiss said. “They just didn’t have room for every person to be on the team.” This brought up an important debate: if cuts were necessary, which matters more, talent or age? “Upperclassmen have more experience and make better leaders,” Hendel said. “It’s harder for the freshmen to adjust to the high school experience. They should start on a lower level, like JV.” Megan Root ‘15, one of the captains of varsity soccer, however, doesn’t necessarily agree that age should play a big part. “The most talented players should make the team,” Root said. But, at the end of the day, the coaches make the decision. “I don’t look at the ages,” Heather Driscoll, who is coaching varsity girls soccer for her second year, said. “During tryouts, I didn’t even know anyone’s grades.” Still, she said that cuts are “the worst part of my job.” Staples has never instituted a no cut policy. But according to Marty Lisevick, Athletic Director, “Our philosophy is to take as many kids as possible on our teams - within
reason.” There’s no denying that being cut can be a hard thing in a teenager’s life, but it’s not the end of the world, or even the end of their career in their particular sport. “Most of us play on outof-school premiere teams,” Hendel said. As for soccer and field hockey, there are plenty of club teams and clinics where students who didn’t make the team can continue to participate in their sport. Some students have even pursued entirely new sports. Jenna Patterson ’16, a sophomore who didn’t make the field hockey team, joined cross-country. She said, “I guess everything happens for a reason, and field hockey just wasn’t meant for me, but I am definitely happy it turned out the way it did because cross country is a lot of fun.” Not all girls’ sports had such drastic cuts. For instance, swimming had none. After having about 80 kids on the swim team last year, the coaches announced there would most likely be cuts for the first time. However, only about 40 students showed up for tryouts. “There weren’t even enough people to cut in the end,” Caroline Gray ’17, one of the two freshmen on varsity, said. The amount of cuts vary by year, with this year being especially heavy, but no matter what, students say cuts are never popular with the coaches or the athletes. Root ref lected the feelings of players and coaches throughout Staples: “Cuts are never easy.”
S R Sp I Row ow Pa ort D P O , Ro ge s C A u 23 uts EGE r Bo
Warm Up for a Take Down InBrief Field Hockey Stretches For Success SARAH ELLMAN ’15 Staff Writer
ith their heads held high and sticks gripped tightly, the Staples girls’ field hockey team struts onto the turf ready to take their opponent. Preparation for the game begins the night before at a player’s house where the girls mentally prepare while they load up on pasta and pizza, giving them the necessary carbs and energy for
the following day. The hype continues the second the alarm clock sounds the next morning in each players’ room. It’s game day and the girls will be changing out of their pajamas into either their blue and white uniforms, logowear, a dress or skirt, or an all-black outfit. “Whether we’re wearing our uniform or dressed up according to a theme, it gets everyone psyched for our game in the afternoon,” captain Elizabeth
Coogan ’14 said. As the school day comes to an end, the girls prepare to take the field. With an upbeat playlist booming “Love on Top” and “Till I Collapse” in the background, warm-ups begin. Finally, after a mix of active stretching, light jogging, and stick drills, the girls begin their routines. “Our pre-game rituals are extremely important because it’s crucial that when the game starts we’re in ‘game mode,’” Lizzie
Varsity Field Hockey Recieves New Coach Cooperstone ’15 said. The music drops, and Jenna McNicholas ’15 starts up the team cheer at the top of her lungs, sparking one more burst of excitement. “STAPLES ON THREE! ONE! TWO! THREE!” screams McNicholas. The starters then huddle up, breathe in and out in unison, and preach one last word or phrase together before the whistle is blown... “Stay strong,” the girls say simultaneously. Let the game begin.
PHOTOS BY LIANA SONENCLAR ’14
The Varsity Field Hockey team has a new assistant coach this year: sophomore English teacher Kristen Schulz. Schulz and head coach Ashley Delvecchio played together for Fairfield High School and won a state championship against Greenwich in 2004. Schulz’s past coaching experience includes working at Fairfield University and Ludlowe High School.
Younger Players Join Track Team A young team takes to the track this year. While the cross country team lost many star athletes to college, the team welcomes new additions this year. “We’ll use some younger runners to turn them into what it takes to progress through the championship season,” captain Peter Elkind ’14 said.
New Cheer Costumes Replace Old Ones GAME ON: (Left) Captain Issy Pieper ’14 stretches to get her body ready for a game, (left middle) Teammates line up for a pre-game pep-talk, (right middle) Maggie Fair ’15 smiles at her teammates as they cheer her on, (right) Emily Standford ’15 warms up by practicing her shooting skills.
Boys’ Soccer Practices Make Perfect KELSEY SHOCKEY ’14 Web Sports Editor
The Staples boys’ soccer team has been prepared all year, especially when it comes to working out. During practice, the players work on defense, shooting, and other team skills. Their favorite drills are called “Team Trains the Keeper” and “Shoot the Moon,” which is when the team splits up into four groups and has to score in different ways from different positions on the field. According to coach Dan Woog, “Doing the same thing before every game helps establish continuity and a certain comfort level.”
“Talent is always helpful, but it’s nothing compared to hard work,” Sebo Hood ’14 said. After all of this hard work and practice, it wouldn’t be a team without team chemistry. The players bond at practice, pasta dinners, dinners on their own, and hanging out on weekends. Evidently, bonding and eating go together very well. Even in the summer, the returning varsity players went on a trip to New Hampshire. When all of this team building and hard practices are over, it all comes down to the game. After preparing physically every day for two hours at practice, this is the time to ponder and mentally get ready.
Before every home game, the players meet in the baseball dugout near third base and strategize for the game while looking out at Loeffler Field. “From that point on, it’s all
before our home games,” Connor Weiler ’14 said. However, once the practices start, all headphones are off. “Every player is different, so we respect each player’s pre-
“Talent is always helpful, but it’s nothing compared to hard work” –Sebo Hood ’14 focus, and this is crucial for our success. It’s also all about coverting nerves into excitement and readiness to play,” co-captain Diego Alanis ’14 said. Of course, how could you get pumped up without music? “Charlie Leonard ’14 and I like to listen to Frank Sinatra
game preparation,” Woog said. “But we want players interacting with each other from that point.” All of these efforts combined result in a solid team. “No one can do it for you. You have to put in the work yourself in order to reap the benefits,” Sebo said.
The cheer team debuted their new uniforms at Homecoming. Tight, long sleeves replace last years two-piece top that included a spandex turtleneck under a shell shirt. “They give us the look we want,” captain Annie Raifaisen ‘14 said.
Boys Soccer Starts Season Strong The Boys Soccer Team started their season with a 2-0 win over Danbury. “We lost a few starters, so we have a couple guys filling in for them on their first year playing at a Varsity level,” captain Jack Scott ’14 said. The team has high expectations. “It’s state championship or bust,” Scott ’14 said.
Spots to Be Filled on Football Team The football team is looking to fill spots after 19 seniors graduated last year. After his team’s 14-7 Homecoming vistory over Wilton, captain Nick Ward is confident his team will have a successful season. “We have to work as hard as we can in every game for the whole game if we want to win,” Ward ’14 said.
PHOTOS BY ELLIE GAVIN ’14
A TEAM THAT PRACTICES TOGETHER: (Left) The players get pumped before their game by showing their acrobatic skills on the field, (left middle) four players kneel down on the field, taking a moment to prepare for their game, (right middle) the players work up energy by doing push-ups, (right) Andrew Puchala ’15 steers the ball away from his opposing teammate during a shooting skills drill.
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