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March 28, 2014

Founded in 1933

SUPPORTING THE SENIORS Liv Blevins ’15, Sloane Cooper ’15, and Sarah Ellman ’15 hold up signs of basketball team members at the boys basketball team Senior Night on Feb. 25, 2014.


Energy at girls’ games falls flat without cheer team Staff Writers


he entire gym is flooded with noise, jumbled with energetic cheers ringing in perfect unison. Encouraging shouts boom from the audience, ranging in number anywhere from 40 to 200 people. As the boys’ basketball team weaves up and down the court, the cheerleaders, the core of the insane energy, do everything they can to boost the atmosphere. At the girls’ basketball game, the air is filled with the panting calls of team members and the bouncing of the ball against the gym floor. The occasional yells of encouragement and claps only

SAT format changes drastically ELIZA LLEWELLYN Web Managing Editor

Abjure, abrogate, adumbrate, anathema. For years, the words have endured in prep books and online Quizlet notecards and have been mainstays on high school vocabulary tests. But the terms may soon fall into disuse with a 2016 update to the SAT, which will include changes to the vocabulary, writing and math sections, as well as an overarching goal to level the playing field. Specifically, the changes consist of what the College Board calls more everyday vocabulary, an optional analytical essay, and a more narrowly-focused math section, according to the SAT website. Furthermore, the test will be graded on a 1600 point scale. “They want to make it more in step with the high school curriculum, and more applicable,”

come from the loyal parents and scattered fans. This noticeably scarcer turnout than the boys’ games usually ranges from thirty to sixty people. When the team struggles, the claps dwindle and the air grows heavier with silence. The teammates on the bench, lethargic from play, take on the role of cheerleaders and attempt to keep up the energy from the sidelines. “It’s exciting to have a bunch of people watching and screaming for you. It gets you pumped, unlike silence where one might feel like they are playing for nothing,” Emma Mikesh ’14, cheerleading captain, said. The spirit that the cheerleaders contribute to a game is undeniable, yet they only cheer for

the boys’ basketball and football teams. The JV team used to cheer for girls teams, but now that there is no JV team, much of the cheerleaders’ time is consumed by their own practices, along with their support of the two boys’ teams. There are other schools in the area that cheer for teams of both genders, though Staples is not one of them. The teams Staples does cheer for, however, see a significant difference. “It helps us by adding to the atmosphere and have it buzzing. I think it would only benefit the girls in the same way which is to add to the fans so that the atmosphere isn’t dead,” boys’ basketball captain David Katz ’14 said. Football players had a similar outlook on the cheerleaders.

“I think cheerleaders are a great advantage to have for a team. They bring larger crowds to games and keep fans excited,” football captain Jack Massie ’14 said. Every player knows that in the last fleeting moments of a tough game, players are weary and exhausted. When the energy levels of the players grow sluggish, hearing the encouragement from the cheerleaders and audience members prevents thoughts of exhaustion from creeping into their brains, athletes said. Lacking this tireless vitality from the cheerleaders could potentially put girls’ teams at a disadvantage “They are just a very positive group that helps the team when

we are feeling low on ourselves during a game,” basketball captain Darryle Wiggins ’14 said. He adds with confidence, “I am sure it would have a positive impact on the play of the girls’ team.” “When you know you are being supported, it motivates you to please the ones cheering for you,” cheerleader Olivia Consoli ‘16 said. This helpful spirit does not go unnoticed by teams, or even their coaches. Girls’ basketball especially feels the loss of energy, since the boys’ team enjoys the benefits of the cheerleaders. Coach Karen DeFelice, the

new test’s optional essay, which is a text analysis rather than a response to a general question. “The current essay doesn’t encourage the level of complexity that colleges require of students,” Winkler said. However, other students find the current SAT - esoteric words and all - preferable. “In the end, it’s important to know vocabulary just to be an educated person,” Michelle Gurevich ‘14 said. Although the overhauled SAT would be offered during

present sophomore Jim Zhang’s senior year, he plans to take the current version of it during junior year. “Although the loss of a mandatory essay would have been very attractive to me one year ago, I feel that my English teacher has given me enough prep in essay-writing to allow me an advantage over most kids,” Zhang said. Student opinion varies, but there is no debate that the changes will affect test prep in and out of the classroom.

“We certainly will adapt things,” Trey Billings, co-founder at Freudigman and Billings test prep service in Westport, said. Billings said F&B’s approach already minimizes vocab instruction, focusing instead on language in context, a skill that will still be useful for the new test. However, Billings sees the essay as a shift that will affect prep. He said that F&B’s AP Lang curriculum prep may be applied

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Andover Prep SAT Tutor Chris Winkler said. Additionally, wrong answers will no longer be penalized with point deductions, and test prep will be offered free online through the Khan Academy website. Some students think the new test will be an improvement. “I’m a little peeved that I have to take the current SAT,” Brittany Braswell ’15, who finds the SAT’s vocabulary words abstruse, said. Winkler also prefers the

Inside the Issue

“Kids” movies


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Spring Fashions




March 28, 2014

Motivations vary when builders go beyond borders GABRIELLE FEINSMITH ’15 Sports Editor


any Staples students recently traveled to the Dominican Republic with the program Builders Beyond Borders (B3) to build homes, schools and to improve the lives of those less fortunate. However, some students question the motives of B3 members, suggesting students participate in the program largely to improve their college resumes, take pictures to upload on social media, and to spend time with friends in an exotic location. The conflict between the two groups creates some heat. Builders Beyond Borders is a small, grassroots nonprofit organization that started in 1993. The organization has traveled to countries in Central and South America, with students from 25 different high schools. Those involved in B3 explain they participate in the program for constructive reasons. “I decided that volunteering and making a positive impact on others is more important than anything else I could be doing,” Keanan Pucci ’16 said. “Members of B3 want to do something good for the global community and we don’t care about benefiting ourselves.” Jake Reiner ’14 had similar thoughts to Pucci’s. “I do it for the people more than anything else, from the locals who are so appreciative, to the great friends you make trip after trip,” Reiner said. “I know there are a bunch of critics of B3, and they have every right to be

because they really don’t know everything about it, and they only see the pictures side of it.” Michael Aitkenhead, an environmental studies teacher and longtime trip leader for B3, claims that the trip has an educational value as well. “B3 not only allows students to see conditions in the rest of the world, but it also allows them to reexamine our own culture and society which is a lesson that cannot be taught in any classroom or by an instructor.” Students and faculty alike say the trip gives students a glimpse outside the Westport bubble. According to those interviewed, the trip is eye-opening and puts life into perspective. “Seeing the people in the places we visit and the way they live makes you reevaluate your life. They were all so incredibly happy, yet they had nothing. It made me reconsider the things I take for granted and my definition of happiness,” said Sarah Sommer ’16. However, there are many who are skeptical of the organization. Among the critics is Kevin Watt ’15, who said he believes this money could be better spent closer to home, at places such as the Caroline House, a Bridgeport education center for immigrant women and children, or the Gillespie Center, a Westport shelter that also provides meals. “I think B3 is a good thing to do, but I believe to solicit money for it is not fair when it’s done under the pretense of ‘community service’ as is my understanding that most of the funds are raised,” he said. Watt isn’t the only person critical of B3. Zack Levin ’15 went as far to

Staples organizations plaster social media with publicity ELLIE GAVIN ’14 & CAROLINE COHEN ’15 Staff Writer & Opinions Editor

On any given weeknight, students open tabs to Twitter and Facebook between homework assignments. Members of Players have changed their profile picture to an onstage photo of their upcoming show. Superfans encourage peers to come to the volleyball game this Monday night. The soccer team Twitter begins to fill up feeds with a play-by-play of the game. “Pravder just scored maybe the best goal I’ve ever seen. It was incredible. Left footed half volley into the top corner,” reports livetweeter Ben Cion ’14. Staples organizations of all kinds are using social media to keep their fellow students in the loop and publicize their upcoming events. “We’re encouraged to promote

our productions to all of our Facebook friends by changing our profile pictures to the Players show,” Staples Player Kelly Gore ’14 said. “It’s supposed to advertise the show and get people to mark their calendars.” Players are known for changing their profile pictures to promotional posters and pictures from rehearsals to get students hyped up for their upcoming shows. “We use [profile pictures] to promote the show and really blast people with information, and the players promotional tactic is mainly to overwhelm and excite at the same time, which really works in getting tickets sold quickly,” Staples Player Nathan Francis ’14 added. “Everything helps when it comes to getting a house sold out.” According to Katelyn Farnen ’14, this tactic is proven to work. “The more people that post pic-

tures from the show and change their profile pictures in a given day, the more ticket sales will happen in that day,” she adds. And Players aren’t the only ones filling up the newsfeeds of Staples students. Staples sports teams are also participating in the trend of using social media to promote their games and to rally fans. “The [soccer] team used [the Twitter account] to make the Staples soccer brand more accessible to alumni and parents who didn’t have as much of an opportunity to watch the games,” said Ben Cion ’14 who live-tweeted all of the games while giving his own personal insight. Nick Vega, president of Wreckers in Tune, finds that utilizing social media, which teens use so frequently, is a good way to make sure that both club members

and followers are informed. “It is already hard enough to get a group of high schoolers to be at one place, after school hours, and on time, so having this source of media is huge for us,” he said. Certain teachers are getting in on the Twitter game as well, using it as an extra tool for learning. A.P. U.S. Government teacher Suzanne Kammerman supplements her class by sending relevant articles and links via Twitter. “The more aware they are of current events, the more the course starts to make sense to them. It is not a required component of the class; however, my experience has been that students who do read the articles tend to develop a greater understanding of the material we are covering in class,” Kammerman said. “I hope that it keeps the students interested; that is my intention!”

say that B3 isn’t community service, but, instead a “memorable vacation with friends.” Levin said he doesn’t understand how, if students’ intention is to help others, why they spend so much money on transportation when the charity work could easily be done closer to home. Those participating in B3 are required to raise $2,750 prior to their travels in order to cover the costs of transportation, food and materials. Colleges say they look for student participation in community service and many high schools around the nation require a certain number of hours of community service in order to graduate. This is not the policy at Staples, but that doesn’t stop the volunteers, some argue. “Some people just want to strengthen their college resume with a service trip,” said Andrea Mahieu ’15, a B3 participant. Upon returning home, members also receive criticism for uploading sometimes hundreds of pictures of their trip to social media. “My friends criticise B3 because it doesn’t seem that genuine. I get a lot of jokes about how it seems like an opportunity to take pictures with little kids,” said Sommer. According to Jack Dougherty, a professor at Trinity College, volunteerism has grown. Volunteer rates from the ages of 16-19 have increased from 13.4 percent to 24.5 percent between 1989-2007. Some argue that this number has climbed so dramatically because high school students use activities like B3 participation for college admissions.

Players’ profile pictures through the years Staples Players has used Facebook to promote many shows. Track their fall shows by profile pictures.

Fall 2010 Curtains

Fall 2011 West Side Story



Fall 2013 Throughly Modern Millie


Inklings / March 28, 2014 /

Staples holds out on CAPT ZOE BROWN ’15 & BAILEY ETHIER ’15

Local Headlines



his March, while freshmen, juniors and seniors were sleeping in, Staples sophomores were busy writing letters, correcting grammatical errors and bubbling in scantrons as part of the Connecticut Assessment Performance Test (CAPT). According to a senior staff member of the Connecticut Association of Boards of Education, only 10 percent of Connecticut public schools opted to take CAPT this year. The other 90 percent chose to take the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC), which will be mandatory next year. Principal John Dodig has expressed his dissatisfaction with the implementation of SBAC by writing to the Commissioner of Education Stefan Pryor and Connecticut state senators and meeting with local representatives. Westport Public Schools Superintendent Elliott Landon believes the rollout of SBAC will ultimately get postponed. “Until such time as the state can demonstrate that SBAC is a valid and reliable test that reflects what it is supposed to test, I believe that the implementation



Features Editor & News Editor





Spin Odyssey 2014

7 11

8 9 7

2 1

3 Danbury Stamford Academy

2 Westport

Rocky Hill

4 Thomaston


Last Day of 3rd Quarter

10 Regional School District #11

April 8 The 3rd Quarter ends on April 8. It was originally planned to end March 31, but, because of snow days, it was pushed back.


6 Windsor

11 Plainfield

the test was confusing because of the way the questions were asked as well as the technological aspect. In one section, answers were supposed to be typed into boxes in different places and one

accidental swipe of the mouse could restart the test. “If adults with masters degrees are completely stymied by Continued on page 5

Sophomore classes balance Student plans change in research paper with workload accordance with SAT EMMA LEDERER ’16 Staff Writer

With the third quarter nearly over, it feels as if summer is right around the corner. Students have shed blood, sweat, and tears this school year and it feels like they should all be enjoying the hot summer sun and barbeques. However, the fact of the matter is that students still have tons of work to do before the summer is here. Sophomore students have even more to do than they usually would because they must complete their research papers. This is the first year that research papers will be written by sophomores, but it seems that students and teachers alike generally do not mind the change. Instead of seeing it as more work this year, they see it as an opportunity to get it out of the way ahead of time. English teacher Susan O’Hara, who teaches both A lev-

el and honors sections of sophomore English, thinks that having the paper switched to sophomore year will be beneficial for students. She believes that students have been doing google searches and therefore, causal research, since we started using the internet. “I think you’ve been doing informal research since you got a phone or a computer, and it’s time to learn how to do it correctly,” O’Hara said. Sophomores also believe that getting the paper over with early is for the best. Vig Namasivayam ’16, says that, with all the stress of junior year, it’s best to complete the paper now. He believes that it would be very overwhelming to write a research paper next year. “There would just be way too much on our plates if we had the research paper on top [of everything else],” Namasivayam said.


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March 30 The 15th annual Spin Odyssey event will take place at Fairway Market, 699 Canal St., Stamford, Conn. The mission of the event is to host health and fitnessoriented fundraising events for breast cancer research. For every hour of stationary cycling (also known as spinning), participants commit to pledging a certain amount of money. Visit for more information.

8 Unified School District #2 9 Madison


should be, and will be, delayed,” he said. English, social studies and math teachers recently took a sample version of the SBAC. English teacher Brian Tippy said


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to the new essay. Although the essay portion will become optional in 2016, Billings feels that colleges will still expect an essay from the demographic of students in Westport. “In practice, it won’t be that optional,” he said. In the classroom, some teachers said they will tweak prep for the vocab section. “It will probably change my tests a little,” English teacher Cody Thomas said. “Especially with juniors, I choose some words specifically from the SAT list.” Other teachers also pull words straight from the test, but have not focused on changing prep yet for the 2016 overhaul. Some teachers do not anticipate much change. “My tests will not change tremendously,” said English teacher Kim Herzog. “It’s still important for kids to know vocab and know how to write comprehensively,” she said. Changes in test material may affect weekly tests in English or the contents of a student’s set of flashcards, but the SAT’s partnership with Khan Academy will affect the fundamental nature of test prep, in order to “make comprehensive, best-in-class SAT prep materials open and free,” according to the Khan Academy website. Freshman Jay Mudholkar plans to make use of the resource and would feel comfortable using the online site alone as preparation for the SAT. “If the College Board is working with them to make the test, Khan Academy will undoubtedly be the most realistic source of prep,” he said. Winkler qualified that the shift may have good intentions but will not be a perfect solution. “There will always be ways for students to gain an edge based upon a fortunate socio-economic background,” he said. Still, many are hopeful that the partnership will level the playing field for students who may not be able to afford tutoring services.

“It’s great that they are offering ways for students of every income to get support,” Herzog said. Billings also noted that the removal of the guessing penalty would help students without access to test prep. “It takes away the mental calculus and games,” he said. He noted that students who do not receive outside prep and come from weaker schools might not know how to optimize their scores with the old method, which subtracted a fourth of a point for wrong answers, while giving zero points for a bubble left blank. Despite the SAT’s focus on equalizing chances for a perfect score, Billings is unconcerned about business. “We have a wait list for the class of 2015,” Billings added. “I’m not concerned.” Winkler, too, was unconcerned, even though most of Andover’s customers come for SAT rather than ACT work. “Most people always want to give their kid the best shot at doing well on the test,” he said. “Certain students thrive in an environment with more guidance.” Beyond leveling the playing field, Billings and Winkler feel that the changes may be a response to competition with the ACT. “More students are flocking to the ACT because it is theoretically a more straightforward and content-based test,” Winkler said. “That’s why there’s the drive to make the SAT more real-world friendly.” In the short term, however, the ACT may actually gain popularity. “The paradox is, with the changes, there will be a flight towards the known, and the ACT is a very known entity,” Billings said. The changes have made Mudholkar give more consideration to the SAT’s rival. “I feel like the College Board is just trying to make the SAT more and more like the ACT,” he said. “Why not just take the ACT in that case?”

May SAT Registration April 4 Students planning on taking the SAT on May 3 must sign up by April 4. Subject testing is also available on May 3. Visit to sign up.

Bite Back for a Cure April 7 Registration and checkin begin at 9:30 a.m. on Sunday, April 7 for the Fifth Annual Walk/Run to Bite Back for a Cure Benefiting the Tick-Borne Disease Alliance at the Sherwood Island State Park. There is a 5k and 10k run/walk. On-site registration costs $35 per person and $80 per family, but paying in advance costs $25 per person and $70 per family.

ACT April 12 Juniors can take the ACT on April 12. Staples is not a test site. If a student has not signed up for the test yet, they can arrive at a test site for standby testing, which does not guarantee a seat or a test booklet and costs $45 extra. Standby testing is offered on a firstcome, first-serve basis and all information must be filled out prior to arriving at the test site.

Sophomore Parent Coffee April 24, 25 Parents of current sophomores are encouraged to come to a coffee from 7:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. to talk with Principal John Dodig and the assistant principals about the next two years for their children. For continual updates check

4 News

Inklings / March 28, 2014 /

Monday before April break Cheerleading generates gender disparity from page 1 generates varying class plans Continued basketball assistant coach for the BEN GOLDSCHLAGER ’14 Web News Editor


pring break is a time to relax: a time for students to tan beneath the warm, radiant glow of a SMART Board or explore European countries through the “Bienvenidos” posters of World Language classrooms, a time for watching TV on your phone during class or going on college visits via the pamphlets of the College and Career Center. Yes, spring break is a time for all those things and more because, the Monday of spring break, students will get to recline behind their desks and take in that tropical Expo marker scent in order to make up for six snow days, one more than the five that were built in to the calendar. Some students reacted negatively to having school that day. “The day itself is kind of pointless because so many students won’t be there,” Max Kaplan ’17 said. “A couple of my teachers have already said they’re not going to do anything big that day,” he added. On the other hand, Claire Sampson ’15 would prefer not to miss school, but she may have to to visit colleges. “If I have to miss school that day for those visits, I probably just will,” she said. “It’s too hard to fit in all the visits when we don’t have a full week.” Sampson is not alone. Because the school day will disrupt vacation plans, many students have reported that they will not show up to school on that Monday.

For this reason, teachers are unsure how they’ll treat this day. “It’s really hard to conduct a class with only six kids present,” English teacher Holly Sulzycki said. English teacher Alex Miller agreed. “Whatever is covered in a class with less than half the students there needs to be covered again,” he said. Therefore, Sulzycki doesn’t plan on teaching new content that day; instead, she’ll give her students the time to read or to work on projects. In contrast, while physics teacher Joanne Klouda is also hesitant to teach new material, she is concerned about being behind, particularly in her AP physics classes. “I’m going to give a test, and everyone who’s not there is going to get a zero,” she joked. “That’s the opposite of what I’d actually do,” chances are “I’ll teach whatever I’m ready to teach,” she said. Sara Pinchback, who teaches US History and AP Economics, also plans on using the day as normal. “I plan on it being a productive day, and I don’t plan on reteaching it,” she said. Whichever students miss the class will have to make it up “just like any absence,” she said. Despite the many students who will be absent, there are still those who plan on coming in to school to truly enjoy spring break. One such student is Connor Mitnick ’14. “I don’t want to fall behind in my school work,” Mitnick said. “I’d rather be sleeping, but school is school.”

girls’ varsity team, comments that having cheerleaders would “certainly help” since she feels it “just creates a better atmosphere at a home game and more energy in the stands.” DeFelice added that she’s observed the difference firsthand saying, “I’ve seen when other schools do it, and I think that it creates a good home game atmosphere.” Some of these other FCIAC schools include Ridgefield, Danbury, St. Joseph, and Bridgeport Central. Ridgefield has made it mandatory for the cheerleading squad to attend five girls’ basketball games. While they attend all boys’ home games, and only selective girls’ games, it is still a compromise. However, at Staples, no such rule exists. This wasn’t always the case. “We used to have the JV cheerleaders do some of the girls’ basketball games. The problem we face now is that we only have one team. The numbers have dwindled,” Athletic Director Marty Lisevick said. Lisevick also accounts for the cheer team’s rigorous practice schedule. They won 2nd place in the FCIAC last year and are continuing to compete. Between games and practicing for competitions, the team simply cannot cheer for both genders. “They also have their own competitions so they are constantly training in the winter. Giving up two days a week for basketball games is infringing

PREPARING TO COMPETE Cheerleaders Liv Blevins ’15, Olivia Consoli ’15, and Sarah Ellman ’15 practice a routine that the Staples cheerleaders will perform at a regional competition. PHOTO BY LIANA SONECLAR ’14

upon their ability to practice for those competitions,” Lisevick said. Cheerleading coach Avery Watson has a simple argument. “We cheer for the boys’ team because that is what the team did when I took over the position as head coach. There isn’t anything more to it,” Watson said. Some argue that, since only the boys get the cheerleaders, it could be viewed as unfair. “I believe that in a way it is sexist that the girls don’t have that group during their games while the guys teams do, because they really can help a team’s moral, to a certain extent,” Wiggins said. While cheering for only the boys’ sports is viewed by some as sexist, others disagree. Nick Ward ’14 has a slightly different view than, “it may be sexist that they don’t cheer for

girls’ teams, but I don’t think that any of the girls’ teams would really want cheerleaders. I think that cheerleaders traditionally go to football games,” he said. Emily Stanford ’14, a girls’ basketball team player, has experienced playing without cheerleaders firsthand. She argues definitively against the opinion that it could be viewed as sexist. ”I don’t think it’s sexist at all. There’s nothing wrong with having the cheerleaders at boys’ games instead of girls’ games,” Stanford said. Whether it is defined as sexist or not, there’s no denying that when it’s fourth quarter and the clock is winding down, everyone, male or female, could use a little extra encouragement. Massie sums it up simply, “hopefully the cheerleaders will be able to cheer for girls sports in the future.”

Research paper moves to sophomore year, changes format Continued from page 3

Other students, such as Justin Cheng ’16, agree that completing the research paper sophomore year is a good thing because it offers new course options. “I’m glad I’m getting it over this year, especially since I plan on taking AP Literature next year,” he said. Teachers also will be providing a bit more support during the process of the sophomore research paper than they have in the past for juniors. O’Hara explained that writing the research paper is all about juggling time, and that younger

students tend to have more difficulty with this. In order to help students manage their schedules, she will have them focus on the individual task of completing the paper. She explained that, in the past, she had her juniors read literature and write the research paper simultaneously, but for her sophomores, she’ll “only have them work on the research paper.” Kristin Schulz, who teaches three levels of sophomore English, said that English teachers are also aiding their sophomore students by helping them to decide upon topics. “All sophomore teachers are in agreement that

we’re giving topics based on our lessons,” Schulz said. While teachers are attempting to do everything they can to make the research paper easier on sophomores, some students believe that having their topics chosen for them won’t actually be beneficial, such as Zach Wallace ’16. “I don’t like how the topics are given to us,” he said. “It’s no longer our research paper.” Juniors and seniors that have already written their research papers seem to agree with Wallace, and say that the research paper will actually be more difficult with topics being doled out.

Abby Lustig ’15, who wrote her paper on the creative topic of the effect of facial expressions on happiness, expressed her concerns. “I think being given a research paper topic will make the paper a lot harder to write,” Lustig said. Elizabeth Bennewitz ’14, who wrote her paper on comedy, and specifically its roots and influence, said that the research paper is a huge project, and that if students can’t pick their topics, they’ll be a lot less motivated. “When you hand out topics you are not encouraging students to think creatively and explore their interests. Instead it becomes just

another paper assigned in English,” she said. Michelle Gurevich ’14, also said that students having their topics picked out for them really isn’t beneficial. While English teachers may see it as a gift to their students, she believes that this research paper will set up the sophomore class to have a negative image of research papers in general. “We’re going to have so many papers involving research in college, and this isn’t supposed to be like that. This is supposed to show us those papers aren’t as hard as we assume they are, and that they can actually be pretty fun to do,” Gurevich said.

Staples generates trash in the cafeteria



Inklings / March 28, 2014 /


CAPT testing remains in place Continued from page 3

the instructions, then you’re going to wonder what juniors are going to do with it,” Tippy said. Landon made the decision this year for elementary and middle school students to continue taking the Connecticut Mastery Test (CMT) and for high school students to take CAPT in part because CAPT would continue to provide data regarding the quality of Westport’s curriculum and programs. Those taking SBAC this year will not receive their individual scores, but school districts will receive a general idea of where their school(s) fall. Students who took CAPT this year will be receiving their individual scores back and school districts will also receive data pinpointing the status of their school. According to Dodig, the decision was also made in part due to a lack of knowledge regarding SBAC and insufficient time for Staples to prepare its students. “I think it would be unconscionable for us to require you to take a test about which we know nothing and have not prepared you for,” Dodig said. Unlike Westport Public Schools, Stamford Public Schools opted to take the SBAC tests this year. “I think it’s always good to get experience with or take a practice test before doing the real thing,” Stamford Superintendent Winifred Hamilton said. “That sort of prepares you for not being surprised but having an expectation of what it’s going to look like,” she added. Some Staples students agree that they would have liked to practice taking the new Smarter Balanced test. “I definitely find it frustrating to have to learn how to take CAPT and then learn how to take Smarter Balanced next year,” Jenna Patterson ’16 said. “It just feels like a lot of work to prepare for both tests.” “It was sort of overwhelming and daunting how we would prepare for any and all of those changes,” Hamilton said. Despite the confusion regarding the SBAC this year, some administrators are optimistic that the new test will be a better reflection of student performance than CAPT. “Once the SBAC is adjusted to reflect validity and reliability, the SBAC should prove to be a better measure of the concepts incorporated into the Common Core,” Landon said. Whitney is also optimistic that the SBAC will be improved for the 2014-15 school year when schools are scheduled to administer it. “Any time there is a new test, there are going to be improvements made to it, so this is the opportunity to get the test right before it’s tied to any performance results,” she said. Pryor refused to respond to Inklings despite repeated efforts.

CONSTRUCTION NEARLY COMPLETED Construction equipment at Mahackeno sits on an unlandscaped lot, adjacent to a nearly finished building.


YMCA move to Mahackeno nearing fruition KACEY HERTAN ’16 Business Manager


ow many times have you heard the slogan ‘Make Mahackeno happen?’ For years, all Westport residents saw were red and white signs with black writing pleading for a new Westport/Weston YMCA. Well, now it’s time for Mahackeno to happen. The YMCA ends its lease on the current building it inhabits at 59 Post Road East on November 2014. That means the new YMCA building at Mahackeno will have to be completed before then. “Our move-in date is a moving target,” Communications Director Scott Smith said. However, Smith anticipates that the new building will be ready for use by September of 2014. Although the YMCA staff is extremely excited to see their dream of a new facility so close to materializing, there continues to be opposition about the environmental issues of the Y’s new development. “I can honestly say I hope it [the new Y] burns to the ground. You can’t just rebuild an ecosystem,” a woman waiting to pick up a child in the lobby of the

current YMCA who introduced herself as ‘a concerned citizen,’ said. The new Y will take up six of the 32 acres of the Mahackeno property, which was previously undeveloped land that many people see as a necessary preservation site for Westport’s natural beauty. On the other hand, the Y has promised to replace all cut down trees. “We’re building what matters in the best way possible,” Smith said. He also highlighted the fact that the new outdoor space will open up possibilities for more outdoor sports year-round such as Frisbee and cross-country skiing. While the new Y will have many benefits, the new facility will not be able to accommodate as much as originally expected. The plans for the child care and gymnastics centers had to be cut, and the gymnastics team is now moving its facility to Norwalk, which is out of the way for Westport and Weston residents alike. “I think it is pretty inconvenient that the YMCA couldn’t find room in their budget the gymnastics program because it’s been a program for about 15 years al-

ready,” Staples and YMCA team gymnast Chandler O’Reardon ’17 said. For many Westport residents, the new location is inconvenient. The YMCA will no longer be in the center of town; instead, it will be closer to the Weston border, which will be more convenient for Weston residents. Although the new location may not be optimal for Staples students, the modern facility will be. The decaying locker rooms and broken heat from the building that dates back to 1923 will no longer be a problem. The new Y will also increase job and volunteer opportunities for Staples students and eliminate the problem of finding a parking spot downtown. “The possibility of more people getting to do what I do is great, and I believe it will give a positive effect,” Lexy Iannacone ’15, who works at the YMCA, said. “It’s almost not fair to expect our Y to continue to meet the ever-evolving need of our community in the same place,” said Smith, who sees the move as a necessity. The Water Wrats Swim

Team is one of the YMCA teams with the most Staples participants and is one of the teams that will benefit the most from the new facility. The team’s pool will be upgraded from a six-lane pool built in the mid 70s at the current location to a brand new 10-lane pool with an adjacent aqua fitness and play pool containing the first aquatic climbing wall in the state at Mahackeno. “Hopefully it means we have a little more room to spread out our wings,” Head Water Wrats Swim Team coach Ellen Johnston said. She added that the upgrade is long overdue. As a Y employee at the current facility for over 27 years, the move is bittersweet for Johnston. “It’s like leaving a home you grew up in,” she said. “We’ll miss, but take with us, 90 years of memories,” Smith added. “I think for the town as a whole the absence of the YMCA will seem strange at first because we are all used to it being in the downtown area, but I am looking forward to the new Y,” Water Wrat Swimmer and Staples student Kenzie Healy ’17 said.

Boston bombing, one year later JANE LEVY ’16 Staff Writer

April 15, 2013 was a brisk and sunny Spring day, beautiful for running. That was, until bombs exploded, and the lives of the runners and bystanders were put in danger. It’s difficult to believe that it has been one year since the Boston Marathon Bombing, an event that shook Boston and sent the rest of the country into shock. “All of a sudden, the bomb goes off and the entire city goes into lockdown” Ian Offenberg ’16, whose aunt was two blocks from the bombing, said. “For something so tragic to happen at the happiest and most high-spirit event in the city was brutal for Boston and beyond.” Charlie Greenwald ’12, a current student at Emerson University was at the event an hour before the explosions. On that day, Greenwald gave a Skype Inklings interview recounting the event. “Boston was essentially a ghost town. Nobody walked the streets, and nobody went outside,” Greenwald said. One year later, he said he is still haunted by the tragedy. With the 188th running of the Boston Marathon on Monday April 21 approaching, Boston is preparing for the event by strengthening

the security, sporting the “Boston Strong” spirit, and remembering and honoring the injured and lives that were lost. “The whole city is taking extremely careful precautionary measures to ensure that nothing happens again,” Greenwald said. According to USA Today, there will be more than 3,500 police officers on patrol at this year’s marathon, which is double from last year, and people who attend the marathon are strongly advised not to take backpacks, coolers, and other large items, and encouraged to carry their personal items in clear plastic bags. To honor the lives lost in the bombing, students are taking action, and amongst them is Alexis Teixeira ’13, a freshman at Boston University. “We have done a lot of things to make this more of a memorial of the tragedy that occurred last year,” Teixeira said. “Earlier this year, I volunteered to plant flowers along the course of the run in hopes that they will bloom for the marathon.” Offenberg said he deeply admires the unity of Bostonians in the face of tragedy. “It was a perfect display of the brotherhood that is within the citizens of Boston.” Greenwald believes that the

MOMENT OF RELIEF Emma Muro ’14 embraces her mother, who ran PHOTO BY EMMA MURO ’14 in the marathon.

marathon will reenergize the city, as it is a final step in the healing process of what has been a tumultuous year. “I think it will be an odd mix of celebration and intense somberness,” Greenwald said. “People will both be very defiant, Boston Strong so to speak, and also very sad, remembering the victims and the

event just a year ago.” Will Horne ’13, a freshman at Boston University, agrees. “I don’t know what the city will be like when the next Marathon Monday rolls around, but I do know that this is one of the most resilient, special communities I’ve ever been a part of.”

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OPINIONS March 28, 2014


2-4-6-8! Who should we appreciate?


ompoms, hair bows and catchy cheers have long been synonymous with high school and collegiate sporting events.


Because our cheerleaders have ditched the Grease poodle skirts and bobby socks for sparkly uniforms that allow them to flip, leap, and tumble, they have soared to new heights. Not only do they cheer at football and basketball

Silver Crown Award for 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.

games, but they train for hours to succeed in their own competitions. This year, they made it to regionals and showed they work just as hard as any other sports team. They are starting to defeat the outdated stereotype of cheerleaders not being athletes themselves that attaches itself to every pair of pom poms. But they only cheer at football and basketball games. They energize the crowd, who, in turn, energize the players – male players that is. In elementary and even middle school, it wasn’t uncommon to see a girl on a boys Little League team or buck-

ling a flag football belt. But as these boys and girls grow up, it becomes a developmental improbability for the girls to throw as hard or run as fast. Similarly, girls are typically more flexible than their male counterparts which can lend itself to the types of flips and splits that cheerleaders do all the time. And while the case can be made that male athletes excel in certain sports due to their anatomical ability to build more muscle mass, that does not mean their female counterparts are any less impressive. The girls’ volleyball team came in second in the

state, and the girls’ basketball team has long been known for its annual appearances in the state tournament. But it is undoubtedly easy for a so-called Superfan to sit on the bleachers and profess girls’ sports “easy,” “stupid,” “unathletic,” and yet we don’t see these same fans hitting the courts themselves. We’d venture a bet that Hannah Debalsi could run faster, Amelia Brackett could jump higher, and Elizabeth Coogan could shoot harder than a lot of those naysayers. Yet, we never hear the cheerleaders screaming their names or see them putting

punny posters up in the cafeteria with their jersey numbers on them. While the tradition of cheerleaders attending boys’ basketball and football games alone does currently exist, maybe it is only being carried on because it’s a tradition. But we think it is time for a change. We realize this isn’t the cheerleaders’ doing, but they can be the ones to start a new tradition -- a tradition where boys and girls get the support, crowds, and cheers they deserve. Let’s start a new tradition where every team can rock steady.

Editors-in-Chief Katie Cion Hannah Foley

News Editors Bailey Ethier Claudia Landowne Claire Lewin Cadence Neenan

Web News Editors Ben Goldschlager Jessica Gross

Creative Director Olivia Crosby

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 Assistant Photo Coordinators Liz Hogan Justine Seligson

Opinions Editors Alexandra Benjamin Jackie Cope Larissa Lieberson Claire Quigley Features Editors Greta Bjornson Zoe Brown Andrea Frost Sophia Hampton A&E Editors Caroline Cohen Olivia Kalb Emma Muro Katie Settos Sports Editors Claudia Chen Gabrielle Feinsmith Deanna Hartog Connor Hardy

Web Opinions Editors Abbey Fernandez Eliza Yass Web Features Editors Jimmy Ray Stagg Caroline Rossi Web A&E Editors Kaila Finn Nicole DeBlasi Web Sports Editors Bobby Jacowleff Kelsey Shockey Business Manager Elizabeth Camche Assistant Business Managers Kacey Hertan Jack Zeldes

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Books are underrated, not outdated MEGAN ROOT ’15 Staff Writer


Driving Me



ABBEY FERNANDEZ ’14 Web Opinions Editor


hey say the first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem. Well, I don’t, but Westport drivers do. Okay, fine, maybe I have a bit of road rage. But this is only because I am provoked by the abundance of incompetent drivers who take to the streets of Westport as though their only mission is not to reach a destination but rather to drive me absolutely out of my mind as I sweat bullets of frustration in my driver seat, white-knuckling the wheel. A few pieces of advice if you are one of these let’ssend-Abbey-into-a-fit-of-hysterics drivers: 1) Green, believe it or not, means go. As in, stop checking your teeth in the mirror, quit scrolling through your songs, look away from the cute sweat-free runner who makes it look effortless, and GO (**Unless the runner looks young and eligible, in which case, feel free to fake a f lat tire). 2) This might sound ambitious, but stay with me here:

an accident is not the most enthralling thing you’ve seen all day. I have seen far crazier things just in the hallways of Staples (i.e. teacher couples who meet for lunch, scandalous!) than a few cars including a cop or two pulled over on the side of the road to exchange insurance information. As truly captivating as that sounds, I can think of a few more exciting sights than a black semi-damaged Hyundai far more worthy of your

than that person who goes 18 in a 25 mph zone. Cops are generally understanding with speed limits and usually allow for about 10 miles of leeway. I am not saying to go 50 in a 25, but to reach 27 mph for the sake of my sanity. So, yes, I may have some road rage. But, I seriously doubt the validity of the licenses held by the drivers I’ve been stuck behind. These “drivers” are presumably responsible for my pending ul-

Some families bequeath fine jewelry. Others pass down silver cutlery or china tea sets. My family hands down books. Not antique, autographed works worth lots of money, just books. Specifically, good books. My favorites are the English ones, like the 1942 Agatha Christie and the 1938 Jane Austen. The battered survivors have endured three generations of reading mishaps. Pages stained brown by the Irish tea my Nana spilled constantly. Bindings broken from all the times my mom left a book face down on the coffee table. Font smeared by my misadventures at the pool. A tea-stained 50-year old book has character. A tea-stained 50-yearold Kindle has no value whatsoever. I understand the convenience of lightweight electronic devices that have backlit screens and built-in dictionaries. But I’m a bookromantic. I don’t just want to read “Pride and Prejudice.” I want to read my “Pride and Prejudice,” the one with the torn cover and a chocolate thumbprint on page 42. Maybe this all incredibly geeky, but when a book has a physical presence, I can get

attached to it. Like a worn couch or backyard tire swing, it accumulates memories and meaning beyond the original story. When I look at my “Pride and Prejudice,” I don’t just think of Elizabeth Bennett and Mr. Darcy. I remember how I was bored by the third page when I tried to read it at age seven. I remember how I brought it to my last soccer tournament because it helped with the pressure. Even when I don’t own the book, I prefer paper because when I can touch the pages and smell the glue, I can shut out the world and get lost in the story. My friends still tease me about walking into a bus because my nose was buried deeply in a Harry Potter book. I can’t bury my nose in a Kindle or iPad. It would bounce off the screen. It’s not just me who has trouble getting wrapped up in e-books. People who read from paper often better remember the information in the long-term because there are visual cues—like where the text was located on the page—that work as landmarks and assist with memory. So I’m going to stick to my cumbersome, dog-eared, expensive stacks of gluedtogether paper. A little Scotch tape is worth a proper read any day of the week.

I seriously doubt the validity of the licenses held by the drivers I’ve been stuck behind. These ‘drivers’ are responsible for my pending ulcer and shortened life. incessant staring. So next time you pass an accident, no matter how much rear-ending occurred, please move along. 3) The word “limit” is defined as “a point or level beyond which something does not or may not extend or pass.” So when it comes to speed limits, my friends: reach them. There is nothing worse

cer and shortened life. As a result I have researched some possible solutions. A 2011 survey found that Fort Collins, Colorado, is the city with the best drivers. If I have one more greeni s - a p p a r e nt ly- t h e - n e w- r e d light encounter, I am head West. It’s gonna be one long ride. GRAPHIC BY JACKIE COPE AND LARISSA LIEBERSON ’15


Inklings / March 28, 2014 /



Students play the popularity game TALIA HENDEL ’16 & JANE SCHUTTE ’16


Staff Writers

opularity: the state or condition of being liked, admired, or supported by many people. Maybe this is the definition of popularity in the dictionary, but in high school it’s defined by party invitations, priority seating in the cafeteria, and recognition by all 2,000 students. But how did the select few achieve the highest status? Well, it began before anyone knew what the term “popular-

The Glory Days ity” meant. Elementary school: lunch seats are assigned, and best friends are the 23 people who sit nearby in class, along with

the scattered rec sports and dance friends. But with middle school lurking ahead like an ominous shadow, the grade size will triple, one classroom will turn to four, and the comfort of knowing all classmates

Small fish in a big pond will disappear. In middle school, the cafeteria is full of new peers. Survey the bustling room, and try to find familiar faces; ditch the musical chairs to land a spot at a decent table. The cliques have already begun to form: sporty, musical, academic, the list goes on and on. The biggest groups from each school gravitate toward each other as if they had received the rule book for surviving middle school along with their class

Chutzpah and Bar Mitzvahs schedules. Seventh grade excitement revolves around the contents of a mailbox and the guaranteed goody bags to come, containing the proof of being invited to the year’s most exclusive events: Bar Mitzvahs, where sporting the logo-wear from the weekend’s affairs will earn social immunity to the competitive middle schooler’s

Race to Frienducopia mind. Duh. The number of people will double yet again, and with all the new stress of high school, worrying about where to sit at lunch shouldn’t be at the top of the list. Let’s admit it; it would be much easier to just concentrate on school, but teenagers

that is freshman year has calmed to a steadier, non-cannibalistic wave. High school brings an automatic craving for friends who can’t be earned by having the newest Webkinz toy or wearing a bar mitzvah sweatshirt. Popularity becomes a concept based less on objects and more on finding

real friends— making social skills a tougher task than ever before. While there is still consideration over who’s the most popular person school wide, the focus is spent more on settling into groups of friends. So, Webster’s dictionary, I’d like to offer this alternative definition to the social climbing we all know but not all love. Popularity: a political term used to describe teenagers and their vigorous, sometimes extremist, attempts to be queens and kings of the social pyramid. And it doesn’t stop in high school because. as Glenda sang in Wicked: “It’s not about aptitude, it’s the way you’re viewed, so it’s very shrewd to be very very popular!”

with half of its revenue coming from AP courses. And the dark cloud perpetually hovering over our aching heads isn’t just a faceless monster – it is run by living, breathing employees who make quite a bit of money. The College Board’s CEO, Gaston Caperton, is earning 44% of the industry average, according to Americans for Educational Testing Reform. He is paid more than the president of Harvard University. And here we are, emptying

our metaphorical piggy banks to take AP tests in the hopes that we might someday end up at a school a fraction as good as that one. How ironic. Yet when May rolls around, you’ll still fi nd me crammed into the library with most of my classmates, frantically scribbling out FRQ’s and synthesis essays. All I’m saying is, the cost of AP exams should make us stop and think for a second. How much is too much?

are programmed to race to the cornucopia. Well, “frienducopia,” where, instead of weapons, as many friends as possible are acquired. Lunch is the epicenter of social activity, as the senior tour guide warns, all “fresh meat” is exiled to the Freshman Ghetto to scavenge the tables for someone recognizable, hands full of admittedly-better cafeteria food. The dizzying maelstrom

Reaping the Rewards

The price isn’t right RACHEL TREISMAN ’15 Staff Writer

The College Board demands a lot from us. We spend months preparing for PPSATs and PSATs and SATs and AP tests. We spend sleepless nights panicking about where our scores will place us on the Naviance scatter plot. And we spend a hefty amount of money just to take these tests. Specifically, $92 per AP test. Financial assistance is available for students who need it. But while the steep price shouldn’t prevent anyone from taking the tests, it can act as a deterrent for AP students who are on the fence. Plus, forking over almost a hundred dollars per test hurts more than our bank accounts – it damages the reputation of education itself. In today’s society, it seems as though education is quickly becoming more of a privilege than a right. Staples students pride themselves on taking an excessive number of AP courses, but we don’t always realize how fortunate we are to be able to afford them. “In general, 92 dollars is a lot for a test, but I think in a

town such as ours that money isn’t a huge deal,” Noah Reiner ’15 who takes AP Government and Statistics, said. And these tests can really add up. Highly motivated (read: overworked) students taking multiple AP’s are paying upwards of two hundred, even three hundred dollars to sit in a classroom and bubble in Scantrons. In contrast, the SAT costs a reasonable $49. The College Board calls itself a “not-for-profit organi-

zation,” but that may be true in name only. According to the Nonprofit

It seems as though education is quickly becoming more of a privilege than a right. Quarterly, the College Board yielded a 9.9% profit in the period from July 2010 to June 2011,


10 Opinions

Inklings / March 28, 2014 /

Never too old to be young MICHAEL MATHIS ’15 Staff Writer


hen you grow up, you have to reluctantly open your eyes to the world around you. You start to see the slums beyond Sesame Street and how life is not as easy as “ABC.” Everytime Anderson Cooper’s beautiful jawline reports another downturn in the economy or another government demonstration in Syria, my stomach drops because I realize that I’ll have to be the one to solve this problem. But frankly, I don’t believe I have the confidence to say that I can. At the same time, I have no problem standing in line at a movie theater, alone, and being able to say to the woman at the counter, “One for The Lego Movie.” Yes, I am a part of “Generation Y,” the generation that refuses to grow up. We’re a generation in which only 28% of 16-yearolds in America have their driver’s licenses, in comparison to 44% in 1980 (University of Michigan). In a world where 80% of the population lives on $10 a day (World Bank), is it right that we’re using our good fortune to buy “Jake the Dog” hats and Koopa Shell backpacks? Absolutely. Some may think we’re just juvenile. There’s an

element of doubt that we, Generation Y, are simply cowering under the sheets of our racecar beds. But I tell you that we are not seeking to settle nuclear treaties over games of Chutes and Ladders. We’re looking for a balance. On a recent episode of Cartoon Network’s “Adventure Time,” brave adventurer Finn visits an isolated kingdom populated by “lemon-people” known

as “Lemongrab.” Its leader, “The Earl of Lemongrab,” is an obese tyrant who abuses his people and his brother by hitting, yelling, and eating them. This may sound funny because it’s a cartoon, but if it weren’t for the Earl’s signature scream, this episode would be as disturbing as an episode of “Law and Order: SVU.” They even show an equally disturbing propaganda film titled, “Hello, and stay out


of Castle Lemongrab!” Remember, this is a cartoon we’re talking about. But here we have a cartoon that can meld the juvenile with the reality. It’s a cartoon, yes, but, through its format, it is able to show both children and teens (and even adults) how a totalitarian regime is formed and how isolationism can have its downfall. Maybe that is why the cartoon is not only the #1 show on Cartoon Network in terms of ratings for 2-11 year-olds (Nielsen), but also can have crowds of adults storm the halls of Comic-Con. Perhaps that is why Rotten Tomatoes reports that “The Lego Movie” has a 96% approval rating based on 169 reviews. Though it seems meant for kids, these cartoons are teaching not only us, but the generations before us, lessons we need to know. Real adult-lessons: love, loneliness, sacrifice, poverty. So don’t be upset if your favorite part of “Saving Mr. Banks” was the “Muppets Most Wanted” trailer that preceded it. Embrace it. Because maybe when you walk out of that showing of “The Lego Movie” you’ll have the confidence to know you can change the world, and everything can be, indeed, awesome.

I’m about to scream

Withdrawal from American Horror Story leaves one student shaky JORDAN GOODNESS ’16 Staff Writer

Every Tuesday from October to January, I hustled to my living room, wrapped myself in my favorite blanket (to protect me from evil of course), pulled up my Twitter in case inspiration for a surprised tweet struck, and tuned into the latest spinetingling addition to American Horror Story: Coven. It’s no secret that I am part of the growing coven of American Horror Story junkies at Staples. But


now that the iconic third season has ended, I’ve been doing certain things to get my fi x of my favorite show. They’re what I like to call the Four Stages of AHS Withdrawal. Stage 1: Rewatching Episodes. Now that there aren’t new episodes of my favorite show coming out until next October, I have to make do with the episodes on Netflix from AHS Murder House and Asylum; the fi rst two seasons. Sure, they’re not new, but when you love the show

as much as I do, they never get old. I’m not kidding. I’ve probably seen each of the 25 episodes at least three times. You do the math. Stage 2: Recruiting Friends Any TV show addict has devious ways of luring friends to the dark side. It’s best to have obsession buddies. So I inducted three of my friends into the theoretical Staples coven of AHS junkies by showing them a few of the episodes, then letting the power of the show reel them in. Now, whenever I’m

craving some gossip about the Zoe, Madison, and Kyle scandal, I have more people to go to. Getting someone obsessed is as easy as a witch’s spell. Stage 3: Stalking the Actors on Social Media You’re a bigger liar than Fiona Goode if you say you’ve never stalked your favorite celebrity on Twitter or Instagram. You never know when Emma Roberts is going to Instagram another picture of her bloody face from the set, or if Sarah Paulson and Gabourey Sidibe will have another twitter interaction that reveals juicy information about what goes on behind the scenes! AHS junkies stay on top of the gossip, and click that follow button until it hurts! Stage 4: Moving Forward After those stages, I sadly ran out of content to fill my time. So the best way to move on without letting go is checking the season four gossip by following fan forums. Through my insatiable thirst for season four knowledge, I found out that it will be set at a carnival. Other than that, next season’s details are as secret as Fiona’s actual age. And that’s really annoying because this just raises my excitement and impatience. That’s the thing about the Four Stages: they tend to repeat themselves.

Write more, guess less JUSTINE SELIGSON ’15 Staff Writer

Everyone groaned when they saw this headline. Students loathe papers because all the analysis, writing and editing that goes into a receiving an A is climbing a glacier without crampons. An essay analyzing the value of the Constitution requires much more effort than simply memorizing the Preamble. Despite the above, I’m a heretic in that I love (or more appropriately, hate less than multiple choice) essays. This began freshman year. The first subject my Global Themes class tackled was religion. By the end of the unit, we were focusing on contemporary religious conflicts. In the form of a project, we were supposed to pick a conflict, do research and then write an essay. Upon hearing this plan, I with the rest of my class groaned (as you are now). This wouldn’t be fun. And it wasn’t fun. But I can say that I’m glad we did this as opposed to a test. If my teacher had chosen a test with a Scantron, the following would’ve happened. We would’ve been told the content, studied each word in our textbook to death with only a jar of Nutella maintaining our sanity, taken the test and forgotten everything a second later. But since we were doing an essay, there was a lot of selfteaching. We were supposed to apply the concepts our teacher had taught us in exploration of contemporary issues. With an essay, it’s not about knowing, but understanding so that you can draw the necessary real world parallels for creating a thesis. This is a rigorous process. But then the information I learned is almost permanent in my mind. More than two years later I still understand the causes and effects of the Jammu and Kashmir conflict. I truly learned something. Thus, this brings into question whether we learn for a test or learn for learning. Through programs like No Child Left Behind, there is heavy emphasis on standardized testing with little consideration of this creative analysis that is needed to fully understand a concept. In contrast, Finland’s schools rarely use multiple-choice. It happens to have the best educational systems and a high production rate of top scientists for a nation of less than six million people. In the long term, it’s clear that essays are better form of knowledge acquisition. So if we want to solve our world problems, we ought to analyze rather than pick between “a” and “b.”



March 28, 2014

Grade-craving wishes granted with new app SARAH ELLMAN ’15 Staff Writer


t’s what we’re thinking about the second our alarms sound, the moment before our eyelids open and every minute in between. No, it’s not our significant other. It’s our grades. “I cringe when I know I have a parking ticket and can’t see my grades [on Home Access Center],” Alexa Davis ’15 said. Before myHAC, the new Home Access Center App created by Dylan Diamond ’17, accessing grades from a phone was troublesome to say the least. It meant waiting to log onto a computer to be either pleasantly surprised or utterly defeated by how the percentage shown next to the AP Euro unit test you spent 30 minutes cramming for affected your overall grade. “I felt like I could solve a problem by creating an app that made HAC workable on an iPhone,” Diamond said. MyHAC is a free and easy way for students to stay up to date with their grades at all times. “It is extremely convenient if you are looking to check your grades on the go and aren’t near a computer,” Graham Gudis ’17, who recently downloaded the app, said. Besides being tremendously handy, myHAC was created with many other useful features, such as the instant display of your class enrollment list alongside the corresponding grades. At just one glance, there’s the benefit of a quick and easy check-in with every class.

“I cringe when I know I have a parking ticket and can’t see my grades [on Home Access Center].” —Alexa Davis ’15 Another helpful feature is that students can easily switch between different quarters, or view all four combined. “In addition, users will also have oneclick access to report cards and transcripts,” Diamond said. The creation of myHAC was not simple to say the least. According to Diamond, he had to be familiar with Objective C, the computer language used to create apps along with Xcode, the programming interface for iOS development. Unlike many Staples students who plan on downloading myHAC, Sloane Cooper ’15 doesn’t think it’s necessary. “I only check my grades about once a week, so I’m fine with the online version,” Cooper said. However, for both students planning on downloading the app or not, there might be additional apps coming your way serving even more benefits to the Staples student body. “After creating myHAC, I definitely plan to make more apps in the future,” Diamond said.

PHOTOS BY JULIA KAPLOWITZ ’16 SƟck to it clockwise from top leŌ Liz Mitas ’16, Fluer Byrne ’17, Carolynn Van Arsdale ’16, Hannah Rose ’16 and Erin Munley ’16 decorate their technology with stickers related to everything from summer programs they’ve been on, such as Overland, to their favorite clothing brands such as Brandy Melville.

In a sticky situation

Students uniquely adorn laptops and phones TAYLOR BURG ’16 Staff Writer

It used to be you knew what a person liked to do by having a conversation with them. These days, after walking into a classroom and seeing someone’s laptop, you can tell what sports they play, what music they like and anything else they are into just by looking at the stickers on their laptop case. For example, just by glanc-

ing at her laptop, you can tell that Elizabeth Mitas ’16 listens to Christina Aguilera, is interested in science, plays soccer and is a part of the Best Buddies Club. For Mitas, putting stickers on her laptop case was a great way to customize her laptop. “I didn't like how my laptop looked like everybody else’s laptop, and I wanted to personalize it,” Mitas said. Mitas says she gets some of

her favorite stickers at Brandy Melville, a store downtown. For other students, it’s not as much about the style as it is about the memories from where they got the sticker. For example, Mackenzie Wood ’16 loves collecting stickers to put on her laptop and says she has around 10. “My camp one is my favorite,” Wood said. “It means the most to me, and the colors are cute.” Jordan Ragland ’16 also

decorates her laptop with stickers from every place she goes. She has stickers from Okemo Ski Mountain and Mount Washington. “Every time I look at it, I remember the time I climbed Mount Washington,” Ragland said. “It’s nice to have it so I remember the accomplishment.” If just for decoration or to remember all the places you have been, personalizing your laptop is a great way to show off what you love and what you do.

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True friends strive to go the distance ALE BENJAMIN ’15 Opinions Editor


ack in the days of colorful crayons, multiplication tables, and PB&J’s, life appeared a breeze, and friendships were no exception. In fact, back in those grade school days, friendship was a matter of convenience more than anything else. Your BFFL was often the girl next door, the boy on your bus, or whoever sat nearest to you in class. But as we have grown older, and multiplication turned into multivariable calculus, the friendships that stood the test of time often haven’t carried their conveniences with them. The girl next door has since moved to another house, town, state or even country. Instead of meeting neighborhood friends on the bus to school, you may find yourself next to a kid from Massachusetts on the bus to sleepaway camp. So what happens when your BFF is suddenly your BFF who lives 4000 miles and a six-hour plane ride away? While it may seem impossible, many students have managed to preserve relationships with far-away friends. Sophie Rosen ’15, for instance, had lived around the corner from her best friend Fiona Newsome for as long as she could remember. “We were super close since kindergarten,” Rosen said. “We even had a declared seat in the back of the bus that we sat in every day.” Imagine her shock when in 8th grade, after years of

shared sports, schoolwork, and sleepovers, Newsome announced that her family was moving to her parents’ home country of Ireland. “I kind of thought she was kidding,” Rosen recalled. “How could my best friend move to another country?” Taylor Jacobs ’14 received similarly jarring news last year when her best friend since 6th grade, Hannah Lewis, moved to London. “I thought it was going to completely throw our friendship upside down,” Jacobs admitted. Rosen too was concerned about how the vast distance would test her friendship with Newsome, but it didn’t take long for both girls to see that it would take more than an ocean to drown their bonds. Both girls keep in contact with their long-distance friends over Facebook, Snapchat, Skype, and other social networks, talking nearly every day. They have also both since made the long journeys to visit their respective friends’ new homes. But what exactly makes this connection strong enough to last? Rosen concluded that defining a good friendship–distanced or not–is simple. “If something happens, you always want to tell the other person,” she said. “Just because they’re not physically next to you, you don’t forget about them being there to talk to.” Such successful friendships are not uncommon. According to a study by University of Tennessee, as many as 90 percent of Americans have at least one long-distance friend.

While Rosen and Jacobs both formed these friendships long before they were separated, other students start friendships already knowing that someone lives far from them. Summer camps and programs like Teen Tours have become a common ground for students to form friendships with teens from all over. Jacob Nadel ’15, who has attended Long Lake Camp for the Arts in upstate New York for the past two summers, has developed many such relationships with friends from a plethora of locations, including Russia, Las Vegas, Florida, Chile, and Maryland. Nadel admits that their geographical differences can be hard to bridge. “I talk to them as much as possible, but I rarely, if ever, see them in person,” he said. However, he knows that their common memories and interests are what keep their friendships strong. Whether a friendship develops over six years or six weeks, connections can become steadfast, and separation can be trying. Kindling a truly special connection is no easy feat. “Take time out of your day to talk to them, even if you’re just saying hi,” Jacobs advised. “It keeps both of you knowing that your friendship means something to you.” “Distanced friendships are like any long distance relationship,” Rosen agreed. “It’ll only work if you’re both totally committed and really care about each other.”


The fault in our scars CHASE GORNBEIN ’16 & CLAIRE QUIGLEY ’14 Staff Writer & Opinions Editor


Over the years, a body becomes a sort of historical document, imprinted with certain dramatic moments that, without the physical reminder of a scar, might otherwise be forgotten. Almost all Staples students have some sort of scar on their body, serving as a tangible reminder of a distant memory. Centuries ago, warriors showed off their scars from battles as symbols of their bravery; but today, scars can often be the result of a complicated medical procedure, thus less celebrated. Although the ways in which people obtain their scars have evolved over time, the memories associated with them have always remained significant. Senior Lauren Raifaisen got her scar when she was 10-yearsold, in a desperate attempt to prove she was tough enough to play with her older sisters. According to Raifasen, her siblings loved to scooter around their marble countertop but would never let her try it with them, until one day, when she capitalized on a rare opportunity to prove her strength. “They were upstairs, so I tried it, and of course, I hit my head on the counter and had to get stitches,” Raifaisen said. Although she was unsuc-

cessful at conquering the scooter, Raifaisen loves to tell the story of how she got her scar. “I love when people ask me about it. I’m not crazy about having a scar right on my face but I’m lucky that I can laugh about the way that I got it,” she said. Some students, like Halle Foster ’16, have so many scars that they often forget about them. Foster has four noticeable scars: one above her lip, one above her eyelid, one above her eyebrow, and one in the back of her head. Foster laughs about her multitude of scars, and sees herself as somewhat of a klutz. “For the one above my lip, I was going on this mini scooter at my friends house and my mom came to pick me up and I’m like mom look! And then I hit a curb and flew and oops,” Foster said. Other students, however, are not as comfortable with discussing their scars. In these cases, students view their scars as imperfections. One student who would like to remain anonymous is uncomfortable with his scar because it triggers an upsetting memory. “I got a scar on my forehead in 7th grade. Some kids and I were playing with airsoft guns and one kid sniped me out and hit me directly where my mask wasn’t covering. To this day I still have the scar,” the student said.

Job shadow experience offered to the junior class EMMA BERRY ’15 Staff Writer

Each year Staples juniors are given the opportunity to explore career interests through the not-so-notorious job shadow program. The program is designed for, “more exposure to a career or job of their liking. It allows kids to see different positions within companies and getting a snapshot of ‘how do I get here’” coordinator and guidance counselor, Paul Washenko, said. This year, due to scheduling difficulties and “bad timing”,

Washenko said, the program is running later than usual. Sign up for the day event typically starts in December and meetings proceed through January. However, this year, juniors can look out for applications in the guidance office starting March 17th. The program functions as a first come first serve application process. The number of participating students caps off at 50 this year. “It’s not something as large as the internship where we can devote all of our time setting that up, so we have to limit it to the 50 be-

cause we have to balance our responsibilities here in the guidance office” Washenko said. Students will have until the Friday before April break to submit an application. While many current juniors are not aware of the delayed scheduling, Tova Byrne ’15 was glad to hear it will be offered for the class of 2015. “I didn’t even realize that it had been pushed back, but I’m glad to hear that guidance was able to get it running for us this year,” Byrne said. Many students found the ex-

perience to be both helpful and interesting. Justin Gallanty ’14 spent the day shadowing a sports anchor at the ESPN headquarters in Bristol. “I got to meet a lot of people and make some connections. It gave me a look into that world and it was an awesome experience,” Gallanty said. Unfortunately, not every job shadow experience is favorable. Ariana Sherman ’14, for example, did not benefit from the program as she had hoped. Sherman spent the day shadowing a civil engi-

neer. “I was interested in chemical engineering. But since I said ‘engineering’ they matched me with the thing they could find. Quite honestly it was very boring, not worth the drive, and not what I wanted to do” Sherman said. Sherman does, however, believe that the program has potential to be more than her experience and advised, “Be very clear with your guidance counselor with what you want and what you don’t want. Don’t be shy. They want you to have a good experience.”

Features Inklings / March 28, 2014 /


Trap classes pose unexpected challenges ADAM KAPLAN ’16 Staff Writer


Students partake in April Fools’ Day KATIE REYNOLDS ’14 Staff Writer


ome people believe it’s good luck to say “rabbit rabbit” when waking up on the first of every month. But on the first day of April, some unfortunate souls let out an incomprehensible shriek soon after they’ve opened their eyes. Maybe it was an ice cold shower, or plastic wrap on the toilet, or maybe even colored dye in the shampoo bottle. Whatever it was, there is nothing lucky about being pranked on April Fools’ Day. While the origin of this day of pranks is uncertain, some believe it came from the adoption of a new calendar, while others believe it has emerged from age-old European spring festivals (“April Fools’ Day Mystery”). For most, the origin is trivial; what matters is that April 1 is a day to torment your loved ones. “One year my brother called my mom and told her he got arrested in a bar fight. She freaked out,” Jake Reiner ’14 said.

When it comes to pranks, some people stick to the classics. Toothpaste in the Oreos is always a fan favorite and is a trick that students like Ruby Steinberg ’14 have pulled in the past. “I used that on my mom once. She wasn’t pleased,” she said.

“One year I taught made-up stuff to my chemistry class for 30 minutes. It looked like quantum mechanics, but it was complete gibberish,” — science teacher William Jones Other students stray from these typical pranks to indulge in something more original. “My friends and I once woke our other

friend up at about three o’clock in the morning at a sleepover on April Fools’ Day and told her that her dad was there to pick her up. She got all dressed and ready before we told her it was a joke,” Sydney Malkin ’17 said. Friends and family aren’t the only ones tortured on this day. “In seventh grade, my teacher walked into the classroom on April Fools’ Day, and we all yelled ‘rat!’ and jumped on the desks. She ended up screaming and jumping on a desk too,” said Sydney Newman ’15. Of course, some teachers know how to fend for themselves. “One year I taught made-up stuff to my chemistry class for 30 minutes. It looked like quantum mechanics, but it was complete gibberish,” said science teacher William Jones. While being the subject of a prank isn’t always enjoyable, most people can laugh it off or forget about it. That is until the next year, of course, after the victim has plotted their revenge…

Within the competitive environment at Staples, everyone is trying to get the upper hand. One strategy many students use is taking so-called easy classes to boost their GPA. Students interviewed described the following as trap classes -- courses that seem easy but turn out to require a good amount of work. 1. Anatomy and Physiology- For many students, this elective adds more homework to their schedule than any other class. Samantha Sheppard ’16 was shocked when she realized what was expected of her, “I didn’t think it would be easy, but from the start the workload is intense.” Teacher Michael Lazaroff admits his class is no cakewalk. “You can’t just memorize, you really need to understand how the parts work.” Ultimately, Lazaroff believes all the work pays off, especially with the final project, called a mandala, which he claims an Anatomy and Physiology alum, Alexandra Krubski, brought with her to college. 2. Critical Analysis of Film - Don’t think this is a class where students sit around watching movies. That cannot be further from the truth. Barbara Robbins has taught the class for many years and wanted to clear up some myths. In the class, she said, students study film, learning techniques and strategies; the goal is to give them the tools to analyze a film as a student would a book in another class. 3. Physics A - Students who successfully took Chemistry A and Biology A are often surprised by the difficulty of this course because the skillset necessary to succeed is different. Justin Slosberg ’15 recalled, “Chem and Bio require a lot of memorizing for the most part. Physics is mostly procedurally going through the problem, finding knowns and unknowns, making diagrams.” Physics A teacher Carrie Veiges explained another reason why students may have trouble. “In Physics we teach you background knowledge, we teach you ways in which you approach the problem, but each problem has its own twist and turn.” 4. Exercise Science - This quarter course veers towards a science-like experience, with labs and lengthy tests. Jonathan Maragos ’16, who took Exercise Science earlier this year, was shocked by what he walked into, “I thought it would be another gym class, or at least sort of like health, but then I’m working with high intensity labs and tests that you really have to study hard to succeed on, not at all what I was expecting from a P.E class.” Physical education teacher Cari Moore differentiated Exercise Science from other gym classes as well, explaining, “It is a unique hybrid of classroom structure and activity labs that engage the students in understanding the science behind how our bodies work during exercise.”

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This is the Sir Scoopsalot

Tagalong with me for Samoa girl scout cookies CAROLINE ROSSI ’14 Web Features Editor


ou might run into a booth down on Main Street. You might have a badge-toting younger sister. Maybe your neighbor comes door-to-door bearing a colorful order spreadsheet and a smile. Either way, you’re in luck—you’ve got access to America’s favorite confection: Girl Scout cookies. Girl Scout cookies have been around since the 1920s when they began as simple sugar cookies baked in the home ovens of the very first Girl Scouts. Over the years they have been transformed, and today, they are still in high demand. “For my money, Thin Mints are definitely the best, but Tagalongs are also pretty delicious,” Haley Randich ’14, who has been a Girl Scout since 1st grade and still sells cookies, said. Thin Mints and Tagalongs are only two of 12 different cookie varieties available. Though Thin Mints, Tagalongs, Samoas, Trefoils and Do-Si-Dos have been around since the 1950s, there has been a lot of turnover since then. “I am a huge fan of the Lemon Coolers,” Randich says. “Those were retired years ago, and I remember being furious, but they have been brought back recently, and now they’re called Savannah Smiles.” Despite so much change, the cookies have still managed to stay widely coveted. Elizabeth Coogan ’14, who has been a Girl Scout for 13 years, attributes this to the fact that they are only sold once a year. “Christmas wouldn’t be fun if it was all year round, and neither would Girl Scout cookies!” she says. Those who are still troop members cherish the memories

of selling cookies in the dead of winter. “One man came up to us and lectured us about how unhealthy the cookies were, and we were only nine at the time!” Randich says. Coogan also recalls stories, including one year when two Staples English teachers walked by her booth outside Starbucks and bought cookies. Selling cookies also has incentives. “One year, the biggest prize was a shower radio, and everyone thought it was the coolest prize ever,” Coogan says. Because there are very few Girl Scouts in Staples, salesgirls are often hard to come by. “People figure out I’m a Girl Scout, and first they are surprised, and right before they go to make fun of it, it dawns on them that they can get cookies from me, and they start asking immediately,” Randich says. “It ends up looking somewhat like a drug deal wherein which I pass them a box of Samoas in a sketchy paper bag under the table, and then they hand over the cash.” Unfortunately, many older Girl Scouts stop selling cookies, so when March rolls around, Staples students are forced to find other cookie sources—and there is no question that students will go to great lengths to get them. “I used to like Thin Mints,” Maddy Rozynek, who gets cookies from her voice teacher’s daughter, says. “But I grew out of that stage, so now I like Samoas and Tagalongs. They’re baller.” Cara McNiff ‘14 also gets cookies from younger scouts. “The daughter of one of my mom’s co-workers happened to be selling them this year so that’s how I got them,” she says. “I like Samoas and Thin Mints the best. I tend to switch off. My mom likes Trefoils, but I’m not about that life.”

Ben & Jerry’s unexpectedly unveils Core CLAIRE QUIGLEY ’14 Opinions Editor









n Monday, February 24, Ben & Jerry’s made a revolutionary announcement, one that shocked the public and threatened to change the course of history forever. They call it “Core.” This new line of ice cream features new flavors with soft centers of either fudge, raspberry jam or caramel. On their website, the ice cream tycoons promise their buyers that “you can customize each and every spoonful while you lose yourself in ice cream utopia.” Currently, there are only five new flavors available with the core center: Hazed and Confused, Peanut Butter Fudge, Salted Caramel, That’s my Jam, and Karamel Sutra. “Ben & Jerry’s really nailed it this time. I highly recommend trying them as soon as possible,” said Joey Schulman ’14. With this new line, not only can buyers indulge in two flavorss in one pint, but also enjoy a filling g center running down the middle of the entire container, from top to bottom. Every spoonful packs a punch. Many students have already purchased the treat at the local Stop and Shop on the Post Road in Westport and said they were thrilled with what they tasted. “I absolutely loved it. Loved it so much. I seriously wish I had some of that ice cream right now, because I loved it so much,” Sophie McConnell ‘14 said.




am nS

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life Charlie Chocolate Mr. Froyo

The cold war

Students choose between frozen yogurt and ice cream CONNOR HARDY ’14 Sports Editor









he Yankees vs. the Red Sox, Coke vs. Pepsi, Edison vs. Tesla. These storied rivalries have been around for centuries going back and forth, trying to gain the support of the American people. The most prominent rivalry in Westport has not been around for centuries, but a decade or so. Frozen Yogurt, or “froyo,” vs. Ice Cream. The fight has recently been moving in favor of froyo. BaskinRobbins, Maggie Moo’s and Ben & Jerry’s used to be cornerstone ice cream parlors in Westport. Today, all three establishments are gone. They’ve been replaced by Top This, Sweet Frog, and Pinkberry. “...tastes fresh, it’s all made for you, and they have the best flavors,” raves Shannon Berry ’15 about Pinkberry, one of two frozen yogurt places in downtown Westport. Froyo World owner Sharon Brockwell takes a more nutritious approach to her love of froyo, saying, “I have always preferred frozen yogurt over ice cream due to the lower fat content and the many health ben-

efits.” According to livestrong. com, these benefits include both improved digestive and cardiovascular health. Even though the yogurt itself is healthier than ice cream, once numerous toppings that go along with it are added in, the calories and benefits tend to even out. Brockwell’s favoritism isn’t limited to the health benefits but expands to these “many great flavors and toppings, so you can indulge without the guilt.” Froyo World has been open since June of 2012 and is one of five froyo places in Westport alone. Despite the recent success of froyo, ice cream is still a stalwart of the dessert community. Sunny Daes moved in several years ago, joining Carvel. And BaskinRobbins can now be found at the Southport border. “Sunny Daes is my favorite ice cream parlor in Westport because they have a large variety of hard ice cream flavors,” Katie Twombly ’16 said. Despite the health benefits, variety, and all other factors that split the two, Chelsea Mullen ’16 chooses ice cream to avoid the crowds. “There are about 10 froyo places in Westport, so it’s nice to have something else.”

Ben and Jerry


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Bye bye bread

Passover means abstaining from favorite foods JULIE BENDER ’15 Staff Writer


liminating pasta, breads, bagels, crackers and all other foods containing chametz can not only be unappetizing but also inconvenient. When Passover rolls around, it usually calls for big family get-togethers, strict food restraints and prolonged seders in which everybody gathers around the dinner table and reads from the Haggadah. Most of the common knowledge about Passover concerns

the substitution of leavened bread for matzah. During this time, the school cafeteria is usually stocked up with matzah in an attempt to ensure that all students can stick to their diets if they choose to celebrate the holiday. With many distractions and few temptations during the school day, keeping Passover can be manageable. However this year, with the holiday falling mostly during April vacation, it will be even more difficult to follow the rules. Renee Reiner ’15 always follows Passover’s food constric-

tions, but this year it is going to be even more of a challenge. “It is pretty inconvenient that passover is over break because I am going away during it, so it will be much harder to follow the passover rules,” said Reiner ’15. For others, the placement of Passover prevents them from being able to have a seder at all. Maddie Bernstein ’15 said that because she will be away visiting colleges during most of Passover, she will be unable to celebrate. Regardless of the holiday’s placement, there are still many families that are getting together

to have seders. And although there are many people who are negative about this holiday, some students are still able to look on the bright side. “I really like looking for the matzah, and I like the history behind the foods on the platter,” said Everett Sussman ’15. Reiner has a similar outlook on the situation. Although she admitted to disliking the diet restrictions that come with the holiday, she appreciates the time that she gets to spend with her family. There are even ways to make the matzah itself more enjoyable.

Max Bortniker ‘15 said that he likes putting peanut butter and jelly on matzah. Many families have also created their own special traditions over the years. They concern everything from the foods that they eat to what they do at the dinner table. “The women in my family have a tradition of singing a song called the daiyainu, which my uncle has dubbed the eleventh plague. It's truly ear-shattering, and always looked forward to after it's done,” said Charlie Jersey ’14.


When favorite chains are nowhere to be found in college JESSICA GROSS ’15 Web News Editor

When it comes to picking a college, it’s important to use your head, go with your gut, and listen to your heart. But what about your stomach? There are so many factors to consider during the college process: location, size, diversity, etc. It takes a lot of brainpower to narrow down a list of over 4,000 schools to just 10-15. Maybe it is time to give our noggins a break and let our tongues do the talking—pun absolutely intended. Chain restaurants are a gift to mankind; their food is fast, flavorful and fun. They’re also just about everywhere: many fan favorites are right here in Westport. But what happens when your favorite fast food isn’t right down the street? The Staples senior class is all about college right now. Many students have already made their decision about where they will be heading this fall and for some, it will be a fairly long trip. “There’s nothing better than a nice burger from McDeezys or Five Guys,” said Andrew Marriott ’14, who will be heading to Nashville, TN this fall to attend Vanderbilt University. He sincerely hopes one of the two will be close in case of cravings. While Marriott is in luck with both his burger joints (there are 11 McDonald’s and two Five Guys within a five mile radius of campus), others are not so fortunate. Griffin Noyer ’14 will be trekking all the way to Colorado Col-

lege, and his caffeine fix may take a hit. “They don't have a lot of Dunkin Donuts’, which is whacksauce,” Noyer said. “And I only realized how much I’ll miss it now that I won't have it.” Fortunately for Noyer, CC has two coffee shops of its own, Colorado Coffee and the Chas Coffee Cart, as well as five Starbucks and over 20 cafés within a five mile radius. But after all, college is a learning and growing experience, and it’s important to keep an open mind. Juniors currently looking at schools have stated that, at least for the moment, food is not one of their deciding factors. “I don’t think food is as important as other aspects of college like location, size, and the quality of education,” said Diyab Khan ‘15. Abby Lustig ‘15 agreed. “As long as there’s pizza, Chinese, and sushi, I’m good.” But even seniors whose previous haunts won’t be as available to them are keeping in good spirits. Robby Gershowitz ‘14 will journey to Atlanta, GA to attend Emory University, where he may have to hunt for some alternatives. A lunchtime burrito may have to come from Moe's Southwest Grill rather than Chipotle; a craving for a chicken sandwich may mean a trip to Chick-fil-a instead of Wendy’s. Gershowitz is making the best of the situation. “I am interested in trying some new southern chains that I have never eaten at before,” he said.


Features Inklings / March 28, 2014 /


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A&E March 28, 2014


Staples indulges in the scandals of (fake) D.C. EMILY WOLFE ’15 Staff Writer


hether you are watching each episode on live TV with the changing Twitter trends readily at your fi ngertips, or late at night on a dangerously obsessive Netfl ix splurge, there is one type of show that seems to have taken its reign over all screens. D.C. political dramas. “Shows like House of Cards provide an exciting, although incredibly unrealistic, alternative to the boring old-white-man landscape of the current Congress,” said Daniel Kasseff ’14, a fan of

political TV shows. Kasseff said that he loves these shows because they provide a unique and dramatic narrative on how politics in Washington D.C. work. While we are constantly informed through second hand sources about the events happening in real life Washington D.C., we never get to see what really happens behind the closed office doors of our nation’s capital. Nora Cowherd ’15 said, “Even though it’s fiction, it sort of feels like we get an inside look on Washington politics.” People like to feel like they are in the know, and while political dramas are not even remotely

true, fans love the ability to open up Netfl ix on their laptops and instantly fi nd out all of the scandalous secrets of (fake) D.C. While the word “fan” may describe some viewers of these shows, a more accurate term would be “addict.” “Every single episode ends on a cliff hanger,” Claire Sampson ’15 said, “they just drop bombs throughout the show that don’t even get resolved by the end of the episode.” Sampson explained that the plots of shows like Scandal and House of Cards seem to be specifically sculpted in a way that physically prevents people from not

The magic of Disney revisited Top three Disney Channel originals from your childhood SOPHIE DE BRUIJN ’14 Breaking News Managing Editor



YOU’RE WATCHING DISNEY CHANNEL: Colby Siegel ‘16 re-enacts the classic magic wand Mickey Mouse drawing, airing for the first time on October 7th, 2002.

he childhood of the average Staples student can be defined in different ways: Tamagotchis, the mustard yellow Westport Soccer Association’s recreational jerseys, or even the smell of popcorn and cotton candy at the Yankee Doodle Fair. But nothing brings a teenager back to the good old days before homework and standardized testing faster than the Disney Channel Original Movie (DCOM) theme song. Such classics as The Even Stevens Movie, Cadet Kelly, and The Luck of the Irish spark fond memories of a Disney channel before it became consumed by Miley Cyrus, Selena Gomez, and Demi Lovato. Rather, our screens were graced by the innocent Hilary Duff, the hilarious Raven Symone, and a pre-Transformers Shia Labeof. These are the top three DCOM favorites of students at Staples.

watching the next episode. Fans of all political shows agree that with all of the dramatic twists and suspenseful issues, it takes an enormous amount of willpower to close their computers and not continuously click the ‘play next episode’ button until the season (or series) ends. While the exaggeration and unrealistic qualities of political dramas are clear, they do help some students get a better understanding of certain aspects of the government and how it all works. “We always learn about all of these terms and concepts in AP Gov; but it’s hard to fully understand words on paper,” Cowherd

Halloweentown Although this Disney Channel classic definitely got more air time in October, it remains a year round classic for many students who grew up in the DCOM era. Halloweentown, which originally aired in 1998, tells the story of Marnie Piper who, with the help of her grandmother Aggie, uses secret powers to defeat evil forces in a town populated by witches, warlocks, and monsters. Dayna Gelman ‘14 recalls Halloweentown as being her favorite Disney Channel movie and often fantasized about what life was like as the leading character, Marny. “There’s something about the first Halloweentown movie that will always make it my absolute favorite,” she said. “It’s timeless and has such an original story line. As Paris Hilton would say, this movie is hot.”

The Lizzie McGuire Movie Hilary Duff will no doubt go down in history as one of the only Disney starlets to emerge from the company without performing at least one stint in rehab. And of course, the Lizzie McGuire Movie was the undoubtable peak of the Metamorphosis

said. “Political TV shows portray many things that we’ve been learning with an interesting plot so it sort of brings life to boring government terms.” These shows not only take the gov textbook to a whole new level, but they make people, who may not have otherwise had an interest in the government, fi nd themselves in a heated debate about the political issues going on in the latest season of Housesss of Cards. Kassef said, “I think these shows have the power to get students to develop a greater appreciation for government issues and make them more inclined to learn about how the system works.”

singer’s Disney Channel career. Lilly Howes ‘17 recalls the film as being her favorite. “When I was younger it made me want to go to Rome so bad,” she said. Fellow student Lexy Iannacone ‘15 also has a soft spot in her heart for the movie. “It was the best because of the realistic beginning, the love story, and of course the music,” she said. “It was all intriguing.”

Smart House Undoubtedly one of the most underrated Disney Channel movies of all time, Smart House, tells the story of a father and his two children who move into a futuristic, state-of-the-art home appropriately dubbed the “smart house” after the untimely passing of his wife. While it starts as fun and games with holographic walls and on-demand smoothies, the operating system forcibly tries to assume a maternal position within the family, much to the dismay of the children. Julian Brooks ‘14 is the self-proclaimed biggest fan of the film. “The part where the house turns into a spiraling tornado mom always freaked me out, but who wouldn’t want a house that can make you milkshakes?” he said.

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Sunny styles forecasted for spring


t hink we can all safely say

we’re ready for our winter clothes, although so flattering and comfy, to go back into the attic next to all of the middle school fashion faux pas that never deserve to see the light of day again (i.e gauchos, fluorescent sugar lips, and Abercrombie everything). These snow days have been wonderful, but it’s time for sunshine, flowers, new beginnings and all the delightful things that come with spring- including new fashion trends. Now, this new season doesn’t require a “What Not To Wear” style closet exchange- just a few new pieces to help acclimate to the warmer weather (in style, of course).

Pastels Although pastels are a universal spring staple, this year they’ll get a twist. Go all-out pastel by picking one color scheme and incorporating it into a few different pieces of your outfit. For example, if you’re a blue kind of girl, go for a pair of super pale blue jeans, with a more saturated top and a vibrant handbag. Pastels can be amped up with icier, shiny hues and split up with simple colors like white and nude. If you’re looking for some great pastel pants, AG makes every color imaginable. And boys, don’t feel left out! Pastel pants and gingham, collared shirts are an easy, trendy way to brighten up your spring looks too!

Tea-Length Skirts Of course it’s always nice to show off your toned legs after months of hibernation but this spring, smodesty is key. Tea length is defined by Glamour magazine as “[Falling] about three to four inches below the knee.” Students should aim for just below the knee to the mid-calf area for an appropriate, but youthful look. “I’m so sick of always wearing the same short skirts. It’s fun to mix it up sometimes with longer ones,” Brooke Berlin ’14 said. Although it seems that women’s trends are getting longer and more modest, men seem to be baring more skin when spring rolls around. “I like rockin’ the short sleeve and tie when the weather gets warmer. But only if Bauks does it or Alex Miller…,” social studies teacher, Eric. Mongirdas, said.

Embellishments Spring doesn’t always have to be sweet. If you’re a more rebellious dresser, you’re in luck because everything from sweaters to jeans are being embellished this season. Designers like Philip Lim and Tibi showcased bedazzle-clad models this previous fashion week. Pair a light sweater with embellishments along the neckline with a pair of jeans for an effortless look for school or a skirt for nighttime. “I generally stay away from any studs or stones but I’d like to test them out this spring in a less in-your-face way,” Lauren Raifaisen ’14 said. If embellishments seem


ELIZA YASS ’14 Web Opinions Editor

a little frightening, start by trying out clothes with a little bit of beading detail, then work your way up to bolder embellishments. Just remem-


What feeds the obsession? The Chipotle phenomenon DANIELA KARPENOS ’15


Staff Writer

he menu isn’t long, but the options are endless. First, there’s the classic burrito with which you have a choice of guacamole, salsa, cheese or sour cream; a choice of grilled chicken or steak; a choice of pinto or black beans; a choice of rice. And this is all just for one item on the menu!

Consider these variations alongside those of the Burrito Bowl, the Crispy Taco, the Soft Taco, the Salad, and the Chips and Guac, and you can barely keep up. It’s Chipotle, which encourages customers to begin with the basics and customize their meals to mouthwatering perfection — and students are more than satisfied. “The food is so good, and

literally any combination is going to be delicious,” Addy Fowle ’15 said. And, luckily, Chipotle is rumored to open in Westport in the near future. On his popular blog, “06880,” Dan Woog was one of the first to bring to light this potential development. “Word on the Compo Acres Shopping Center sidewalk is that the new tenant in the old Oaxaca

ber- if you suddenly feel like you’ve gained a few extra pounds when you got dressed this morning, your embellishments have probably hit

overload. So, take off those black sweaters, retire your favorite Frye’s and open up your heart and closet to spring!

restaurant space will be Chipotle,” Woog wrote in his article. If these developmental plans are carried out, Chipotle will neighbor well-known establishments such as Trader Joe’s, Robeks Juice, and Winked Monkey (to name a few). “Chipotle will get a ton of business from students,” Sarah Rountree ’14 predicts. “It’s healthy, good, and affordable, which is something hard to find around Westport. If it opens here, I will definitely be going a lot more.” Unfortunately, as of right now, the closest Chipotle resides in Fairfield — a good twenty minute drive for most Staples students. For Emily Phillips ’15, this doesn’t pose too much of a problem when it comes to the reward at the end of the road: a bowl with white rice, black beans, grilled chicken, cheese, and salsa. “I usually go to Chipotle two or three times a week,” Phillips said. “The drive is definitely worth it.” Rountree, on the other hand, does not often venture out to Fairfield’s Chipotle due to the

distance. But, when she does, she orders the vegetarian option. “I love that they have an op-

“The food is so good, and literally any combination is going to be delicious.” -Addy Fowle ’15 tion other than meat, and that it still tastes just as good,” Rountree said. “I recommend the guacamole on top. You can’t go wrong with guacamole.” Whether it be with its zesty guacamole, crispy corn chips, or heaping bean burritos, Chipotle is bound to accrue a wide range of Staples students. Fowle speaks for all Chipotle-fanatics when she jokes: “If Chipotle opens in Westport, I’ll probably go every single day and spend all my money.”

Nearest Chipotle locations 340 Grasmere Ave Fairfield, CT 06824

71 Post Road Darien, CT 06820

A&E Inklings / March 28. 2014 /


Jazz band rarely toots its own horn JENNA MCNICHOLAS ’15 Staff Writer


hey have won countless awards and accolades, and they pack a full house at every concert. Yet they are rarely on Good Morning Staples, or have posters hung up around school enticing you to go to one of their performances. The Jazz Band is the best kept secret at Staples, not counting the secret bathroom and the fact that room 2044 is never above 20 degrees fahrenheit, of course. But unlike room 2044, the Jazz Band is a pretty hot commodity in the Staples music world. “You have to audition for the band at the beginning of the year, and it is a pretty selective group,” Jackson Ullman ’14 said. Once the first round of auditions are over, the selected group unfortunately does not get handed a golden ticket by Randy Jackson and go to Hollywood. Instead, the selected band members are

informed by Mr. Mariconda, the band director, and practices begin every Thursday for three hours. “We spend that time working on around six to eight Big Band pieces that we use for competitions and performances,” Jackson Ullman ’14 said. Ullman ’14 is a senior member of the band, and a huge contributor. In fact, instead of going down the route of some musicians and going to Hollywood, Ullman ’14 will take his trumpet and piano skills to Nashville, Tennessee, where he will be doing a joint program with the Music School at Vanderbilt University. “Nashville is one of the biggest music capitals in the world. Many artists are coming through the city, and I think that it will give me many opportunities to perform, and I’ll also get exposure to the music world,” Ullman ’14 said. Other Jazz Band musicians like Ian Hubbell ’14 and Chris Copeland ’14 plan on continu-


MAKE SOME NOISE: From left: John Corde ’17 (right) and Jackson Ullman ’14 (right) on the trumpet, Upper right: Drew Cohen ’16 on the saxophone. Lower right: (From Left) Tristan Forbes ’14 and Jansen Van Arsdale on the trombone. The Jazz Band rehearses “Spain,” “How Can You Lose,” “Yardbird Suite,” and “Search” in prepartion for their next concert. ing their music career in college, which was developed in the Staples Jazz Band. The talented Jazz Band’s

“I know there is a number of practices will soon come to an end, and the group is looking to people that have never heard us see some Staples students in the play, and I would like them to get a chance to,” Ullman ’14. crowd at their next concert.

One Acts to be a ‘singular sensation’ KAILA FINN ’16 Web A&E Editor


ach year, Staples Players does a range of shows, from the heartbreaking romance to slapstick comedy to bonechilling drama: they cover it all. In the spring, the one-act play festival will add to this range, each play creating a unique ambiance and character. Actors are just now going through the audi-

tions, call-backs, and will soon start embarking on the journey of student-directed show splendor. Out of the thirteen one-acts, some will be comedy, such as “Airport Hell” and “Family 2.0,” a few will be dramas like “Letters from Quebec to Providence in the Rain,” and some are a charming combination of a few genres like the dark comedy, “Sorry,” or various romantic stories. Although not as large a production as the major musicals,

these one-acts are similar, as Caroline Didelot ‘16, a student auditioning, said, “It's pretty much like working with Mr. Roth, it's just there is less time, and we aren’t putting on a two hour show.” There are certainly a few tweaks though. As Didelot said, there are fewer practices and each play is a shorter duration because each one-act is simply one scene with only a handful of characters.

Also setting it apart from major productions is the fact that these are student-run and student-produced. Isabel Perry ‘15 discussed how active directors are in the process. Way before rehearsals start “directors are working on dissecting their scripts to decide beat changes, stakes, objectives, and general blocking,” she said. Many directors are taking the Theatre 3: Directing class, making these plays part of their

learning, plus a new experience. For most, it is their first time in this position: a hefty task for a student new to the world behind the curtains. While the directors have much more than the stress of the stage, Julia Mandelbaum ‘16 recognizes the benefits of studentrun, saying, “It's a really comfortable environment. You work closely with the student-directors to develop characters and you get to play around a little more.”

22 A&E

Inklings / March 28, 2014 /

Junior Boys on Prom


Dances exaggerate gender differences GRACE MCCARTHY ’16 & MARGAUX MACCOLL ’16 Staff Writers


he vibrant flames of candles flicker in a crisp breeze that rushes off the dark ocean. The waves embrace the shore and slink away, almost, but not quite, touching a marking in the sand. Sprawled across the shore, awaiting a certain girl, reads, “Junior Prom?” “I remember feeling excited,” Julia Woods ’14 said with a giddy grin, about how she was asked to junior prom. Zac Polin ’14 recalled how he wrote his prom proposal on the inside of his car window. As his potential date slid into the car, he rolled up the window slyly. “Don’t worry,” he put his hands up defensively and added, “she said yes!” From the asking process to getting ready for the big day, there are clear gender differences when it comes to dances. From the start, girls seem to care significantly more than boys. As to why Polin, chalks it up to boredom. “The prom itself isn't fun,” he said dryly. Lauren Raiffeisen ’14 gave a girl’s perspective saying, “I definitely think girls get more excited

than guys because I know I love to get dressed up for different events.” Guys don’t seem to be as meticulous in the preparation process. When asked how long it takes to get ready for the dance, Oliver Hickson ’15 said bluntly, “Ten minutes.”

“We, girls, start worrying about the dances really early - nearly five months beforehand.” - Julia Woods ’14 When Olivia Jones ’15, who was sitting beside him, was asked the same question, her eyes diverted to the table and she paused. Quietly, with traces of embarrassment in her voice, she said, “Seven hours.” This answer evoked a bright laugh from Hickson, who leaned forward and corrected her, “More like twenty four hours!” A similar response occurred when Polin was asked what he did to get ready. There was a long silence, and a puzzled look spilled across his face. “I put on a suit,” Polin said with confusion lining his words,

clearly not conceiving what else there could be for a person to do. Chris Mckinney ’14 said similarly, “I bought my suit the day of the dance and was rushing out the door.” Jones, being a girl, had a slightly different perspective. “I woke up at 7 o’clock- I was so anxious- then I got my nails done at 10am and you’re trying to relax, but it’s so stressful,” Jones said. She looked up and chuckled softly, repeating, “It’s just so stressful.” This stress begins months before the actual dance. “We, girls, start worrying about the dances really early nearly five months beforehand,” Woods said. Guys don’t think about for it nearly as long, with Polin saying, “We tend to think about it about two months before.” While all the girls interviewed agreed that most girls loved dressing up for the dance, Lauren Raiffeisen ’14 added lightheartedly, “Guys are usually just excited for the after party.” Mckinney acknowledges that girls worry more about getting ready for the dances, but he makes sure to add, admitting he is very sentimental, that dances are really all about “spending as much time with your friends as possible.”

A&E Inklings / March 28. 2014 /





March 28, 2014

March Madness takes Staples by storm PHOTOS BY JUSTINE SELIGSON ’15

GRANT SIRLIN ’16 Staff Writer


t’s 6 p.m. on a Sunday night, but it isn’t just a typical Sunday night. Ryan Baer ’16 sprints for the TV remote, pushing away the empty Gatorade bottles and tomato-sauce stained pizza boxes in his path. He quickly flips to CBS for the start to his most awaited night of the year. It’s Selection Sunday. After waiting for what seemed like hours, his favorite team’s seed flashes on the screen: the Duke Blue Devils are ranked third in the Midwest Region. “Are you serious?” he exclaims, then slams a basketball against the wall. The madness of March has begun. Selection Sunday brings out an array of emotions. For many, Selection Sunday is a joyous occasion. It’s a wedding. It’s a birthday. It’s a retirement party. For others, the day is unfair and heart-wrenching. It’s a failed test. It’s a sick dog. It’s a funeral. Duke third? Louisville fourth? Kentucky eighth? It’s a funeral. However, whether a 16seed or a one-seed, everyone still has hope at this stage in the game. Twenty-two days of possibilities. This year’s Selection Sunday was a wild one with screaming headlines: Can the Shockers complete the first perfect season since the 1976 Indiana Hoosiers? Is Louisville’s seeding far too low? Can Stephen F. Austin be this year’s Cinderella story? Does Michigan St. have a legitimate shot at the title? Time for the bracket-busting to begin. It’s March Madness. Selection Sunday.

Billion dollar bust It’s 2:15 on Friday afternoon, and the first game on Day Two is coming to a close. Staples students storm through

the hallways, wreaking havoc as 14th-seed Mercer threatens to upset three-seed Duke. One of these students, John Fincher ‘16, is shocked as he exits exercise science and immediately fixates on his MacBook computer. Once he reaches the chaos in the bus area, he finds himself watching helplessly as his bus departs without him. Five minutes later, he’s still looking at the scoreboard, standing out on the sidewalk, and there’s an emphatic 0:00 on the clock. Mercer has done the unexpected. “There goes my shot at a billion dollars,” he sighs. Bracket-busting galore. This upset left millions around the country asking for answers, and Staples students too. “I was completely shocked when Duke lost. I had them going to the Final 4. Upsets can really mess up your bracket,” Ben Foster ‘16 said. Yet, March Madness shocks the nation time and time again. Each year, people think their bracket is flawless, and each year the college basketball gods say no. Suddenly, an update streaks across the bottom of ESPN: 0 perfect brackets remain out of 11-million plus entered. It’s yet another year with no perfect bracket.

One last shot It’s 3:07 on Sunday afternoon and it’s time for tip-off for one of the most highly anticipated games in the NCAA tournament. The Shockers of Wichita State continue their strive for perfection as perennial powerhouse Kentucky looks to put an end to the Shockers’ madness. Fritz Schemel ’17 clicks on his friend’s TV, praying for a Wichita State win and some more green on his bracket. After a strong first half performance by the Shockers, he’s sure that his Sweet Sixteen pick is a lock.

MAD FOR MADNESS: A group of freshman boys intently watch the action in the library (above) and the hallway (right) to see what teams dominated on March 20w, the first day of the NCAA tournament. Every period, students can be found throughout the school glued to their computer screens.

“Although they had a lot of people doubting them, I think after the first half a lot of people, including me, were confident that they could not only win the game but contend with top teams later on.” However, with 0:03 left in regulation and a 78-76 Kentucky lead, just one shot remains for Wichita State’s un-

defeated season. Fritz and his friends huddle, screaming at the TV and hoping for a bracket-saving game winner. Hoping for greatness to happen. Would Wichita State answer the critics and prove why they’re 35-0? Or would Kentucky show the country that mid-majors cannot hang with

the big dogs? The answer was riding on this one vital shot. A statement shot. Finally, the ball was inbounded and an open threepoint hook was lofted high into the air. Hearts were broken and dreams were shattered as the ball pounded off the back rim. It was all over.

Inklinations SARAH ELLMAN ’15 Staff Writer

What are your plans for March Madness? “I’m going to watch as many games as I can, especially the good ones, and try to follow my bracket to see how well it does. I’m also gonna root for UNC and hope they’ll go far in the tourney.” - Noah Prince ’15

“I made a couple different brackets with my friends and one with my family. I have money on all of them, so hopefully I win something.”

- Peter Blevins ’14

“I hope to watch as many games as I can, especially with my friends, so we can compete to see who’s doing better with their brackets, and ultimately just enjoy the games and hope for upsets.” - Jack Greenwald ’14

“I’ll make a dope bracket, watch the games with my friends, and will be rooting for Arizona the whole way through.”

- Jake Melnick ’15

“I’m a part of a bracket tournament from my dad’s office. I’ll also constantly be watching the games because my family literally has it on the TV 24/7.”

- Maggie Fair ’15

Sports Inklings / March 28, 2014 /


Sports uniforms in vogue KELSEY SHOCKEY ’14 Web Sports Editor


oining a team consists of gaining friendships and a competitive outlook on and off the turf. But of course, who could possibly forget about the cool uniforms? Elizabeth Coogan ’14 plays for the field hockey team and loves the skirts she and others wear as part of their uniform, which she says is the best at Staples. The skirt, she said, adds a feminine flair. “Also, the tank top jersey and the skirt remind me of summer.” Besides field hockey, other teams that are most well known for their cute uniforms are the

cheerleading team with their big sparkly Mickey Mouse bows and the girls’ tennis team with a club look. Or, as described by Cassie Feldman’14, “they’re girly and have a preppy style to them.” Let’s be real here. Athletes have a lot of swag when they show off their team logo wear. Girls’ golf team? “A little bit of class,” team member Faith Garcia ’14 said, in reference to the blue and white polo shirts and waterproof rain jackets. For the most part, boys said they don’t care about what their uniforms are. In fact, they don’t even have an opinion on girls’ uniforms, which you would

think would catch their attention. What matters is how they themselves appear in the uniforms. “We look really good with our volleyball uniforms; that could just be the people wearing them though,” volleyball player Ben Cion ’14 said. Although this may be the case, there are some who are very critical. “The new uniforms we got this year didn’t even compare to the old ones. The racing shorts were too long and baggy and got in the way when running,” Justin Donlon ’14 said. Some teams are luckier than others because they receive


new uniforms every year. “Last season, we got mandatory Nike zip ups, and they made a big impact. It was great to have a uniform and have all of the girls wearing the same thing, since it really made us look like a team,” girls’ swimming and diving captain, Gabbie LeBlanc ’14, said. Unlike swimming, the girls’ lacrosse team sticks with the same uniforms. “There is a rule that the school can only provide new uniforms every three years,” Meredith Hood’14 said. Old is not always a problem. Sometimes former uniforms appeal to sentiment.

According to James Lewis ‘16, a runner, “The new uniforms aren’t very well received actually. In track there’s nothing like a worn-in uniform, especially when we’ve had track legends like Henry Wynne and John Backus wearing them. Why would we ever want to switch?” Ultimately, a uniform is much more than just a piece of clothing. “A good uniform should make whoever wears it comfortable. More importantly, it should represent the school well to give the person confidence and pride for their team,” Hannah DeBalsi ’16, a Staples runner.

A first time for everything Emma Boland ’15 guards varsity lacrosse net a week after starting the sport CAROLINE O’KANE ’16 Staff Writer

It was March 19th, 2012 when then-freshman Emma Boland ’15 first stepped onto the Staples lacrosse field, having never played the sport. Less than a week before, Boland decided to buy a helmet, pads, and a lacrosse stick to try out for the freshman team. She hadn’t played soccer. Or hockey. Or basketball. Or track. “I chose to try out for goalie because running is not my forte,” Boland says. Boland recalls now that there were no expectations of making the varsity team, just a hope of playing with classmates and friends on the freshman team. That same day Boland purchased her equipment. she went to Sam Kratky’s house, a friend who plays lacrosse and has a lot of experience playing the sport, to shoot on Boland and as Boland recalls, “She basically taught me how to hold

a stick.” This one afternoon of experience was all Boland brought with her when tryouts began. While the tryouts were taking place, Boland was unexpectedly invited to play with the JV and varsity players. Boland decided to go with the f low and found not only her incredible talent in the goal, but additionally, the love that she quickly felt for the sport and those she began playing with. In the end, Boland made the varsity team, with no experience whatsoever. “It was crazy,” Boland said. “I was happy, surprised, and a bit scared.” “The first day I was so bad, I couldn’t even save a ball.” On day two of tryouts, Boland felt a bit more comfortable in the goal. By the third day she was asked to play with the older girls on JV and varsity. Day three was the biggest transition. Boland was soon playing against all experienced

stars who were committed to Brown, Columbia, UCONN, and Boston University for lacrosse. “I think learning how to play with and against some of the best athletes in the FCIAC shaped me into a good player from the very beginning”. Teammate Kratky ‘15 has nothing but positive ways to describe Emma on and off the field. “She’s assertive, tough, and not afraid,” Kratky said. “Our team may be down by 5 goals, but that will not faze Emma; her confidence and support is a key part to the team throughout any game.” The story of Emma Boland continues to impress, not only athletes who decide to pick up a sport that they have never played before, but also other varsity athletes. Lacrosse captain Caitlin Hoberman ’14 said she enjoys Emma’s drive to work hard every day at practice and throughout each game. “The girls were older and tougher than Emma when she first

started; however, I could always see her keeping up with them, not to mention the insanely hard shots that Emma would continuously stop from entering the goal.” Emma is aware that she cannot save every ball, but looks to stop the next one. It is her mental and physical

strength that combine, shaping Boland into the great athlete and team player that she has become. When teammates ask Emma “What’s going to happen?” in a game, scrimmage, or practice, Boland responds by cheering, “It’s not gonna go in!”

BEGINNER’S TALENT: Emma Boland ’15 blocks the ball during a girls’ lacrosse team practice after school on Monday, March 17. This is her third year playing on the varsity team. PHOTO BY CAROLINE O’KANE ’16


Sports Inklings / March 28, 2014 /

Running routes that run through Westport TAYLOR HARRINGTON ’15 Staff Writer


weat-stained t-shirts stick to the backs of parched Staples students, as they run alongside cars on the streets of Westport to shape up this spring season and celebrate the warm weather. “I love running outside so I can get some fresh air and explore nature,” Erica Hefneway ’15, a varsity track runner, said. For many students, it’s all about finding the perfect running routine and route because without it they may not be motivated to lace up their sneakers and build up those leg muscles.

Track captain Jack Scott ’14 said it’s important to him to shake up where he runs from day to day. “It’s boring to run on the same route every day,” Scott, who is partial to a scenic course near the beach he created, said. Also a fan of picturesque runs, Kellen Smithson ’14, another track captain, is excited to finally be transitioning from running indoors to hearing her sneakers hit the gravel roads as she runs down Bayberry. As students explore the many possible running routes throughout Westport, Smithson shares a safety tip that she takes into consideration when she runs. She advises students to avoid running on busy

MEEKER: The simplicity and balance between uphills and downhills makes this 5.88 mile route a Staples favorite.

roads, like Post Road, as much as possible and to run without music so they can hear oncoming cars. Perhaps this is a habit many Staples students should highly consider to avoid any reckless second semester senior drivers. From her experience as a track team member, Siobhan O’Loughlin ’15 makes a purchase recommendation for students. Wearing her Timex watch to monitor her workout anytime she runs, O’Loughlin thinks other students would benefit from investing in one, too. “It helps you track how fast you’re running, which will improve your workout.” O’Loughlin also encourages runners to mix up how

far they run. Twice a week she goes on “long runs,” which are about four to five miles. But, she tells students to refrain from doing this everyday so they don’t exhaust their bodies. Taking a day off or going on shorter runs can be a healthy balance after running a long distance the day before. As the season for wearing shorts and swimsuits approaches, students start experimenting with different routes throughout town. They must start to develop habits like wearing a watch and mixing up the lengths of the run in order to nail the perfect routine. After all, a beach body is a true necessity by the time summer rolls around.

LOCKWOOD: This 4.19 mile loop is favorited for the lack of hills, sharp turns, and the reasonable length. GRAPHICS BY TAYLOR HARRINGTON’ 15

BEACH: The Westport Compo Beach area provides a 3.74 mile run offering scenic views and landmarks such as the Minuteman Statue and the renowned canons.

Baseball winds up for a productive season SIMON STRACHER ’14 Social Media Editor

The key word for the 2014 Staples baseball team? Confidence. The current iteration of the renowned and largely successful baseball team is coming off a season where the team made it to the quarterfinals in the state playoffs, its best finish in several years. And now, with many starters returning, mixed in with exciting new players, the season looks bright for this experienced and confident team. “I feel positive vibes for every practice this winter,” outfielder Mike Moritz ’14 said. “I see young talent stepping up, I see seniors pulling their tools together for one last go round on the varsity squad…We’re all putting each of our games into 6th gear and we are going to march across the fields we play on and win,” he said. Others echoed Moritz’s unbridled enthusiasm. “The bar is set high this year as we expect to win two championships this year. Right now I think we’re the team to beat and until we lose that’s the belief we all have,” catcher Adam Dulsky ’14 said. “I think we have a great chance to bring home the first LL state title in school history,” he added “We’re all very confident and excited as we head into the new season,” infielder and captain Nick Vega ’14 added. The team’s strengths include its depth, which starting pitcher Carmelo Vallone called the most he’s ever seen while he’s been at Staples. “We have an extreme amount of depth, especially on the hitting side,” Vallone said. Additionally, with several returning starters, the team will be more likely to handle the obstacles thrown at them during the season, according to head coach Jack McFarland “Last year we had a lot of players on the field for the first time. This year we have a lot of “big game” experience under our belt,” he said. The “big game experience” that McFarland refers to is the state quarterfinal game that the team played in last year - the farthest Staples baseball has ever gone in the state tournament. The only weakness, perhaps, is not so much a weakness, but more of a problem that every Staples baseball team goes through in the past few years, according to Vallone. “Every year there is a four or five game stretch where we don’t play well,” he said. However, `Vallone believes that with the team’s unprecedented depth, this won’t be an issue this year. “I believe we will avoid that stretch this year because of our depth,” he said.


Inklings / March 28, 2014 /



Spring sports preview WILL DUMKE ’16 & JULIA GREENSPAN’16 Staff Writers


BLOCK IT: Emily Snow ’15 blocks the ball during a girls’ lacrosse team practice after school on Tuesday, March 18. The team started practice a week before tryouts at Ginny Parker Field.

ith temperatures rising, the competition for spring sports is starting to heat up. There were some great spring seasons last year, and spring teams are hoping to do just as well or even better. Boys Track: After a cold but exciting season of indoor track, the boys’ outdoor track team is ready to sprint into the spring season. Even with a slight upset during the Boys’ Indoor Track States competition, where they placed seventh, Captain Peter Elkind ’14 has high hopes for the spring season. “I'm confident that the team can be even better in the outdoor season than we've been indoors,” Elkind says. “As my teammates continue to improve as they did in indoor, we will be strong in the FCIAC championships as well as the state championships, so I'm hoping for the best.” Girl’s Track: Coming out of a very successful season, which also culminated in the girls’ first ever Class LL Indoor Championship, the girls’ outdoor track team is preparing for the next chapter. Coach Jesse McCray is expecting the best from them. “We lost a lot of seniors who helped towards States and FCIACs,” he said. “So we’re going to have to work in that area.” He also is looking to his underclassmen to pull through. “Sprints will be an adventure because we have a lot of freshmen who excelled in sprinting and hurdles in the Indoor season,” he said. Girls Lacrosse: With a fantastic season last year, the girls’ lacrosse team is looking forward to trying to repeat that success with an abundance of returning varsity players. Senior Captain Caitlin Hoberman ’14 hopes to lead the team into victory. “I think we will have a really strong season. The core of our team is still here and we have all been working together for so long that I think we can really compete in the FCIAC,” she said. The girls’

lacrosse team should be a team to watch as the spring season approaches. Boys Lacrosse: After an incredible season last year, the boys’ lacrosse team hopes to repeat their success in the spring season. Even with the loss of a few remarkable seniors last year such as Joey Zelkowitz and Colin Bannon, Senior Captain Patrick Lesch 14’ is staying positive. “I think the team will do great this year. We have high hopes after going so far last year and falling just short in the state championship,” he said. “The team is pretty excited to get the season going and we feel we have some unfinished business to take care of.” Boys Tennis: The boys’ tennis team is coming back this year with a lot of familiar faces. This senior-heavy team has a lot of potential, chemistry and experience that many other teams in the FCIAC don’t have. Of all the years Captain Luke Foreman ’14 has been involved with the program, he predicts that this year the boys will prevail. “We're deeper this year than we have been in the past; most of the team is at the same level, so we'll be strong all the way through the lineup,” he said. “This is the first year I can finally say that I'm confident we can take home both titles - I think we're definitely strong favorites to win States and FCIACs.” Girls Tennis: With months of preseason to help the girls prepare, the tennis team is ready for one of their best seasons yet. Senior Captain Melissa Berretta ‘14, sees this season as a turning point for the program. “This year's girls tennis team is going to be the best the school has seen in a very long time,” she said. “We had a team filled with young talent last year and with that time to develop, we have grown into a team that can really do some damage this year and in the post-season.” This team is one to look out for when the weather gets warmer because the girls will be striving for their long-deserved victory.

Nix the cliques or stay fond of the bonds MARGAUX MACCOLL ’16 & LIZ HOGAN ’16 Staff Writer & Assistant Photo Coordinator

As Sonia Klein ’16 approached the softball field last year, she slowed her pace. Her steps became heavy and tentative, and her thoughts were drenched in dread mangled with optimism. “I remember just hoping we would be one united team,” Klein recalled. But as she arrived at the field, her hope crumbled into disappointment. “Everyone was in little groups,” she noticed. “Everyone had friends already. Cliques are always kind of a problem because some people

are closer than others, but it still isn’t fun to feel isolated from members of the team.” Cliques tend to form on sports teams for various reasons, but their consequences and how they should be dealt with vary. Allie Mignucci ’15 defines cliques as a “a group with a lot of the same interests and sometimes excludes those that don’t have the same interests.” Indeed, cliques are typically regarded as exclusive groups and associated with negative connotations. Some people also view them as unavoidable. “People just tend to naturally gravitate to certain people or have a group of friends

they always hang out with or are comfortable with,” Camilla Broccolo ‘14, a member of the track team, commented. While she doesn’t see a problem with this, she understands why they can be such a source of distress to others. “Some people don’t feel the same way I do and feel offended and left out if they’re not part of these ‘cliques,’ causing tension between teammates,” Broccolo added. Paige Murray ’15, a lacrosse player, had a mixed opinion. “I think cliques can be both good and bad on a team. They can cause tension and awkwardness, but sometimes those who are in a clique work

better and help progress the rest of the team,” Murray said. However, cliques can be an exaggerated evil; in fact, some people don’t think they’re bad at all. Jayan Nandagopal ’16, who is on the swim team, views them as a beneficial development. “It’s a positive thing because you can pump each other up and do better when competing against each other as result,” Nandagopal said. Just like people’s opinions on cliques themselves, solutions to cliqueness are varied. Even though some people think the issue is unsolvable, others don’t think it should be solved at all. Murray offers a simple

solution to teams that struggle to be more united. “They should try team bonding activities,” she said. Gabby Perry ’16 recognizes why this may not solve very much. “It can be hard to do team bonding activities and sleepovers because some people don’t like some girls and don’t want to hang out with them outside of the sport,” Perry said. While some teams find cliqueness an issue, other teams are fine. Jack Foley, for example, speaks with unbridled enthusiasm about his water polo teammates. “We are uber tight,” Foley said.


The Wreckers



Page 27 spring sports preview

Rivalry runs deep in school sports JIMMY RAY STAGG ’16 Web Features Editor


e steps up to the line of scrimmage, directly across from his defender, as the crowd roars from both sidelines. He looks up, scanning his defender, with his eyes coming to rest on the bright red cardinal emblazoned on the side of the helmet. He looks back to his quarterback, and shoots him a nod. With a quick snap, he takes off down the sideline, a blur of navy blue and white, determined to beat his crimson-clad competitor. When the play ends, with Staples six points for the better, he stares into the eyes of his defender with a fearsome look that can only be born out of intense rivalry. Regardless of the sport, there are always certain teams, certain games where there is a heightened sense of competition, a higher drive to win. “When playing a team like Greenwich, you are always a little more pumped-up because you realize this is one of the biggest games of the year,” Nick Ward ’14, a football captain, said. “And you don’t ever want to lose to Greenwich.” Each person has his own defi-

nition of what makes another team a rival. Some, like Nick Vega ’14, a varsity infielder for Staples baseball, think that it’s purely based on a team’s past performance. Others, like Rob Vallone ’14 find it much more personal than performance. “I definitely approach games against Trumbull much differently than any other team in FCIAC. The baseball team has some bad blood with them,, and I certainly y have something to prove against them,” Vallone said. “Both “Bo oth teams m hate each other for different reasons and the games are definitely very heated, especially since they won FCIACs and knocked us out of States recently” Even though a personal rivalry can motivate and inspire better playing, Gabby Perry ’16, varsity softball and basketball player, thinks that making it too personal can make it an issue. “It can get to you if you let it. Sometimes you just want to beat [the other team] so badly that it gets in your head and affects the way you play,” Perry said.

For some, Trumbull is the enemy. For others, its Greenwich. Some coaches have decreed that ‘Red is the enemy,’ meaning any team wearing red uniforms (Greenwich, New Canaan, Masuk) are the enemy to Staples’ navy blue. Each team has tendencies and certain attributes to which they are known for, which contribute to their reputations. “I can’t stand Trumbull,, but I will admit that they might have the th he best bestt turnout tur urno nout ut for for all all sporting spoort rtin ingg events,” Vallone said. “Not only are there a lot of them, but they are loud and in your face and it is obvious that the Trumbull players feed off of thee


crowd’s energy and definitely have a solid home field advantage.” Staples is not exempt from these reputations. “I think Staples has a good reputation, and from a football standpoint I think our team over the past several years has been a team to beat,” Ward said. “We produce. We don’t lose that often. I think the football team has done this through wonderful coaching from Coach P. and his staff.” With a light-hearted look at the Porter th he matter, matt ma tter er,, Bryan Brya Br yann Po ya Port rter e ’14 er 144 aadddddd ed, “Staples without a doubt has a reputation for the best looking kids. Other towns want to be like us and often end up hating Staples out of jealousy.” Although Alth t ough thee winter win inte terr sports spor sp orts ts and winter and the wi wint nter rivalries are closing for the year, spring rivalries are blooming anew with the fresh aroma of hatred in the air. It’s now time for the white-clad Wrecker to take the mound, stare down a black and gold Trumbull eagle with that same fearsome look, and blow a fastball right by him.

InBrief Boys’ Baseball Team The baseball team opens their season with a scrimmage against the Seymour Bears, in French Park on March 29th. The team’s next home game is another scrimmage against Fairfield Warde on April 1st. The Wrecker’s are looking to tune up before starting the season on April 11th at home against Danbury.

Girls’ Lacrosse Team The girls’ lacrosse team looks to start their season strong with a scrimmage against Darien at 4:00 PM on April 4th at home. Coming into the season after losing many key players from last year, the Lady Wreckers look to show they are still among the best in the FCIAC.

Boys’ Volleyball Team Coming off a state championship win last season, and following the girls FCIAC and state runner up finishes, the boys’ volleyball team certainly has a lot to live up to this year. They open their season on April, 11th at 5:30 PM in the Ridgefield gym against the Tigers. After this state finals rematch, the Wreckers have their first home game on April 16th against the New Canaan Rams at 11:00 AM.

Boys’ and Girls’ Track and Field Teams Both of these teams are training and looking ahead to their first dual meet at 4:00 PM against the Greenwich Cardinals at home on April 10th. Both teams are coming off of strong Indoor seasons and looking to start the Outdoor season on the right foot.

Girls’ Tennis Team With many key players returning from last year, the girls’ tennis team gets their preseason underway at 4:00 PM on April 2nd with a scrimmage against Greenwich Academy at home. The regular season starts with an away match in Darien on April 9th at 4:00 pm.

Boys’ Golf Team The boy’s golf team has a long way to go before starting their season at 3:15PM on April 21st against Bridgeport Central and Harding at Fairchild-Wheeler Golf Course. The boys will look to build on the impressive season from last year and have six matches in the first nine days of their season.

VICTORY: Mike McGowan ’11 demonstrates Wrecker pride as he waves the stolen Cardinals flag with a block S taped over it at the 2009 Thanksgiving Day football game against Greenwich.

For continual updates on upcoming sports events, check

Inklings March 28