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October 26, 2012 O

Founded in 1933


Investigating a College Application Controversy EđĎğĆ LđĊĜĊđĞē ’14

Web News Editor ollege alumni sport their school’s colors, cheer for familiar mascots, and attend reunions, all to maintainin a connection with their alma mater. But for the children of these graduates, the school connection can extend beyond logo wear and nostalgia. It is an unspoken truth that “legacies,” or students whose parents or other relatives attended a college, can gain an edge in applying to that same school. “People always say to me, ‘You’re so lucky that you’re legacy. That means you’re definitely in’,” said Rusty Schindler ’13, whose parents attended the University of Pennsylvania. However, this perceived advantage is not easily defined or quantified. Certain schools, like McGill and Caltech, say they do not take legacy status into account. Others seem to weigh it; the question is how heavily? Some feel that legacy gives no benefits in the admissions game. Charlotte Breig ’12, who now attends Penn, applied to the school early but was deferred. Due to her initial deferral, Breig believes that she did not receive any advantage due to her parents’ Penn diplomas. Schindler, who doesn’t plan to


apply to Penn, also feels that legacy is no longer a significant asset. “I once went to college counselor to see if my chances of getting in would increase from being a legacy, and she basically laughed in my face,” Schindler said. “Penn has no trouble filling their freshman class. They don’t need legacy applicants.” But according to a 2011 study by Michael Hurwitz, a doctoral student at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, an applicant whose parent attended the college as an undergraduate would have a 45 percent higher chance of being admitted to a school than a student with no family connections. A 2010 article in the Daily Pennsylvanian, Penn’s student newspaper, cited that 28 percent of legacy applicants were admitted to Penn in 2009 while Penn’s overall admit rate was only 14 percent. Jake Felman ’11, whose parents both attended the Wharton School of Business at Penn, applied to Penn early. “Everyone indicated that if I decided to apply early decision here,

being a legacy would help me,” said Felman, a Penn sophomore. “I definitely benefitted.” Elaine Schwartz, director of the Staples guidance department, said that legacy policies differ depending on the school. Information about an applicant’s parent’s education is not included on the common application but would be in the supplement, which varies among schools, Schwartz said. Although palpable benefits are hard to define, at certain schools, legacy applicants receive extra information sessions and tours through the alumni departments. Until this year, Penn offered informational Alumni Advising sessions to legacy applicants through the Penn Alumni Admissions Resource Center (PAARC). But the change has no effect on the actual admissions process, according to Joanne Kahan, President of the Penn Club of Fairfield County. Deborah Slocum, a guidance counselor at Staples, said thatat some schools, legacy can give a

“Preferences are supposed to be related to students overcoming disadvantages. Legacy benefits a group that deserves preferences the least.” — Richard Kahlenberg, a senior fellow at the Century Foundation

Inside the Issue

A Look at the Babysitter’s Club

boost to students who are already within the range of admissibility. Schwartz added that legacy status often weighs more when a student applies early decision to a college. However, qualifications do not fall by the wayside in legacy admissions. Deborah Grabfield, head of a college consulting firm and a former admissions officer, emphasized that in her experience, all admitted students were qualified and admitted with the expectation that they do well and graduate. Legacy was something that would come into play mainly when deciding between equally qualified applicants. Some students oppose any perks given to legacies. Kevin Coughlin ’13 felt that familial preferences are unfair even when used to consider equally qualified applicants. “A tie-breaker is the difference between getting into your top choice school and getting rejected,” Coughlin said. “These kids basically have the same GPA, same SAT scores, and are going to say the same things in their supplemental essays. When you take that into consideration, [a legacy advantage] doesn’t seem so harmless anymore.”


Greater chance of acceptance if parent has attended the institution.


acies Probabilty of leg , accepted to Penn al rm no e th le ub do rate

0% MIT legacies are given no preference in admission

Continued on page 5


The Rec Soccer Phenomenon



NEWS October 26, 2012


Third is the Worst Lack of Food, Early Closings

NO ENTRY: Several students vie for entry through a doorway that has been closed during third lunch.


Leave Students Angry JULIA SHARKEY ’13 & ANDREA FROST ’15 Features Editor & Staff Writer


fter a tiresome 65 minutes of listening to your Spanish teacher ramble on about the uses of the preterite tense, all you can focus on is how you’re going to take to tame your hunger. Siri Andrews ‘13 comes across this problem often as she faces the challenges of third lunch. “I eat breakfast so early, so that by the time I get to third lunch, I’m starving. I’m a teenage girl, I need food,” said Andrews. Many other students such as Georgia Nicklin ’16 agree with Andrews that food often runs short during the last lunch wave and students can’t always get into the kitchen to actually buy food. When Nicklin has third lunch, she said she sees a shortage of bagels, fruit, salad, and chips compared to other lunch waves. This forces her to have to settle for available hot lunches or wait in an endless line for a sandwich. Even the sandwich line doesn’t always guarantee happiness as students walk out of the cafeteria, students said. There too, students said, you’ll likely find a shortage, only this time it will be your favorite sandwich toppings: ciobatta rolls, salami and provolone. Julia Tziolis ‘13 said she knows walking into third

lunch that there will be no ciabotta rolls left. “And it gets even worse when I see that empty tray with just a lonely chicken pesto sign sitting in the window,” said Tziolis. Not everyone agrees that third lunch poses a problem for Staples students. According to Frank Rupp, director of Chartwells Dining Service, there is an adequate amount of food left during third lunch. He said he spent the lunch period at Staples recently and observed a shortage of hummus cups but not much else. All of the hot lunch products were there, he said. Principal John Dodig added that it’s important not to waste food; too many leftovers would not be good. Students say it’s not just food shortage that’s the problem; the kitchen’s gates often close as many as 10-15 minutes before the end of lunch, meaning students can’t buy anything. Students rush to get food, but sometimes they’re just too late, or they realize they want something else when they’re finished with their main lunch. “You don’t have as much time,” Nicklin lamented. Cafeteria employees, including Rupp, disagreed that the doors close early during third lunch. To cope with all the issues of what they consider to be third lunch chaos, Staples students have experimented

and have found different ways to cope. Some take the approach of Nicklin and pack lunch on days when they have third lunch. (Freshmen especially can take note of Nicklin’s approach because she has noticed that, “being a freshman, and getting pushed to the back of the line, just makes third lunch that much harder.”). They can aim for simpler lunches more likely to still be available, like apples, chicken tender sandwiches, chocolate milks, “oh, and PB and J,” said Kevin Watt ’15. Another option: they can follow Alec Maki’s ’13 third lunch style. What does he do? “Starve.”

ALL OUT: The container that normally holds french fries sits barren at the end of a recent third lunch. A MESS LEFT BEHIND: A table remains covered with trash late in third lunch.



Setting An Example

Inklings / October 26, 2012 /


Are Parents Sending A Mixed Message With Tailgating? BEN REISER ’13 & JAMIE WHEELER-ROBERTS ’13 Managing Editor & News Editor


t’s a cool Friday night in October. Football players navigate the turf faster and faster as they hear shouts and hollers from the white-clad audience. The band plays; the cheerleaders leap. All is well at Staples High School. In the parking lot, though, just before the game, there’s a party with red Solo cups, car trunks decked with coolers and grills, tables stocked with potato chips and sandwiches. But the partiers aren’t students stealing a forbidden drink before the game. They’re parents. Despite Staples’ dry campus policy, which forbids alcohol on campus, there have been reports of parents—from Staples and elsewhere— drinking on campus both during Friday night varsity football games and at tailgating events held prior to the games. Tim, a parent who asked that his last name not be used,, admitted to drinking alcohol prior to at least one high school football game. “It’s American to drink at a tailgate,” Tim said. “I don’t see the problem with drinking a beer or two before a football game. It’s not like I’m going to an event like Back-to-School Night or one of the school plays.” Principal John Dodig said police have informed him in the past that adults were seen during games drinking in the wooded area behind the field. Other parents said that they too have seen adults drinking, at games or at tailgate parties in the parking lots. According to Dodig, Board of Education policy specifically prohibits alcohol consumption on school property. While he said he has never actually seen it, he would remind tailgaters of the policy if he came across any activity.

“There’s nothing wrong with adults drinking; it’s part of Western culture,” Dodig said. “Just not on school grounds.” Not everyone has seen tailgate drinking or believes it happens. For example, varsity football co-captain James Frusciante ’13 said he doesn’t think parent drinking occurs at parent tailgates or at actual games. “In my three years of varsity football, the stands have never once been anything other than a motivation,” Frusciante said. Athletic Director Marty Lisevick said he also has never actually witnessed parents drinking at any game, but the possibility is so real that it’s the chief reason he employs a police presence at the games. “Stuff like that [alcohol consumption] is misplaced at a high school event,” Lisevick said. “That’s why I have eight to ten police officers at the games.” Students’ reactions to the prospect of parents drinking at or before games was clear: no one wants to see it. Some said it was unfair, others that parents drinking at a school tailgate was just bizarre. And seeing one’s own parents participating in tailgating, some said, would be humiliating. Generally, parents drinking is okay, Julia Greene ’15 said, “but if they got drunk at a game, I would be wildly embarrassed.” Matthew Bader ’15 posed a question: “If we can’t do it, why can they?” The message from most adults was the same: parents set examples for their children, and drinking at a high school sporting event reflects poorly. Said Karyn Morgan, assistant principal for the freshman class, “Practice what you preach. If you want your kids to do the right thing, you have to be doing the same.” Many agreed. “It’s not a great example to set, especially at a sporting event,” said Joanne Proctor, a parent who dropped off her middle


PREͳGAME CELEBRATIONS: A group of parents tailgating before a recent Staples football game. school-aged children at the Sept. 21 football game against Bridgeport Central High School. For Patrick Kelly, president of the Gridiron Club, a volunteer organization dedicated to fundraising for the Staples football program, there is too much student drinking at all sporting events around Fairfield County, not just football and not just at Staples. “Parents and fans have an obligation to set a positive example and follow the guidelines regarding alcohol on school property,” Kelly added. According to Westport Police and D.A.R.E. Officer Ned Batlin, Westport does not have an open container law, nor are there any federal laws on the subject. If containers were brought to a football game, Batlin said, the school staff would have to take appropriate action. “The Westport Police Department wants the entire community

to be able to enjoy the lights in a fun and safe environment,” Batlin said. “We hope everyone makes safe and responsible decisions.” He added that there is no town ordinance for public intoxication, but if individuals were to be caught drinking on campus, they could be charged with Breach of Peace or Disorderly Conduct, both state laws. The people charged would then likely be deemed a danger to themselves or others and sent to a nearby hospital. “The person must be acting in a way that meets the standard to use those charges,” Batlin said. “Intoxication itself is not a violation of the law.” Batlin said as well that police officers arrive on campus before the start of a large event to provide additional security and that they do patrol parking lots as well. Rebecca Burton, a parent of two Staples graduates, was responsible for checking admission tickets before

fans entered the Sept. 21 Bridgeport Central game. She said that she did not allow parents or students to enter the game with beverages of any sort. “Not even coffee,” she said. “It’s supposed to be a wholesome family event. This is a game, not ‘wanna drink?’” Tim, the anonymous parent, said the tailgating issue masks much larger problems in the community. “Drinking is something that’s kept pretty hush-hush in Westport,” Tim said. “We know the kids at Staples are drinking, we know that there are parents who are throwing back bottles of wine every night, but I’m still the bad guy because I want to enjoy a beer with my buddies at a tailgate?” Tom Prangley, father of three Staples students, offered the most direct advice: “If you want to have a drink, stay at home.”

4 News

Inklings / October 26, 2012 /

Eating Disorders

The Story Behind Staples’Secret Struggle


from other stresses,” Viviano said. “I don’t think it varies too much from school to school.” According to an article by Reuters Health, nearly one third of high school girls and 16 percent of high

Web News Editor and News Editor


n the eyes of those who suffer eating g disorders, a hamburger doesn’t look like two all-beeff patties on a sesame seed bun. n. Nor does it look like an inviting iting entrée. To most patients, ts, it doesn’t even pass for dinner. nner. To them, a hamburger is nothing but an n unnerving amalgam of fat and calories, the pinnacle innacle poison that could uld ever enter their bodies. es. “I couldn’tt have cared less about ut taste or hunger or anything,” ything,” Dustyn Levenson on ’14 said, “as long ass I was skinny.” Levenson was first diagnosed with anorexia nervosa at 12. Like others at Staples who suffer from this disorder rder and others, she hass been treated at a number mber of hospitals in her journey towards ds health. There are re many causes of the disorders, stuudents said, and they m a y have begun yearss in the past. Another junior nior girl, who asked to be unnamed, nnamed, cited the pressures of high school as one aspect that led ed to her more recent eating disorder. sorder “I’ve always had a tough family situation,” she said. “When I started high school and had the additional work and pressure, everything just blew up.” Eating disorders are usually the result of a broader problem, such as depression or anxiety, according to Tom Viviano, a Staples psychologist. The disorders “are similar to any other compulsive behavior. The person feels a great deal of inner stress,” he said. “Their eating rituals make them feel in control of one aspect of their life. While they believe they can’t control everything, food is one thing they

can have cont rol over.” ViviaPHOTO BY KATIE CION ’14 no says that the p pressure mayy not necessarily school, il come from f h l but b der. I was told by that it can also come from out- my instructor that I had ‘more side sources. to carry’ than other girls—diA senior girl who also rectly implying that I wasn’t wishes to remain anonymous thin enough,” she said. said that she had struggled “Even though at the time with eating disorders since her I was less than 100 pounds at sophomore year. To her, high five foot three.” school was not the main presViviano said that no matsure to eat less, but she under- ter what type of environment stands it can push many girls it is, eating disorders can be to want to look perfect. In her found in every community. case, an extracurricular activ“Even in a low-pressure ity created stress. school—if such a thing exists— “Dance caused my disor- the student could be suffering

school boys show symptoms of an eating disorder. Twelve percent of the girls and four percent of the boys surveyed admitted to vomiting to control their weight. Seven percent of the girls and six percent of the boys also admitted to binge-eating at least once a week. Levenson said her treatment was successful, finally, after multiple hospital stays. However, therapy did not yield the same results for the other junior girl. Prescribed medications led to a 30-pound weight gain, which led to a cycle of dramatic weight loss and gain. Levenson experienced some of the same phenome-

“I couldn’t have cared less about taste or hunger or anything as long as I was skinny.” — Dustyn Levenson ’14

MISSPELLED WORDS OF WISDOM: An encouraging message is seen on a girl’s bathroom stall.


non, she said. “At the hospital programs they would literally plumpen you up and send you on your way,” she said. “You would just lose all the weight and go through the cycle again.” Eventually, treatment took hold, Levenson said, but friends were always important in her recovery. “They were the first ones to pick up on [my disorder] and they were ultimately the ones who shared their concern with my parents, which is how they found out,” she said. The other junior girl also considers her friends to be a primary source of support. “They allowed me to vent and were just there for me,” she said. “They told me that I was beautiful and that I shouldn’t be afraid to eat. I was able to sit back and joke about how I shouldn’t be afraid of a sandwich.” After overcoming their battles with their eating disorders, the girls now offer advice to their peers. “For someone who thinks t h at eating disorders are glamorous, they’re not,” the anonymous junior girl said. “Don’t skip meals, don’t count calories, don’t do that to yourself.” The senior girl has similarly encouraging advice. “Don’t look down on yourself. Keep your head up high,” the senior girl said. “You should rather be happy and healthy than starving and miserable.” And, to Levenson, no lesson is more important than the one she learned about herself. “I know a lot of people look at me and automatically think I’m ‘that anorexic girl who was in rehab for three years,’ and honestly I couldn’t care less,” Levenson said. “Yes it hurt at first, but if there is one thing I’ve learned, it’s to be confident in myself and I am confident that I am more than what people make me out to be.”


Inklings / October 26, 2012 /


Close To Home

Issues That Affect Students in This Election ALEXANDRA O’KANE ’13


Staff Writer nly once in high school do people get to experience a presidential elec-

tion. Whether freshmen, seniors, or anyone in between, students know this election is important. Some will vote for the fi rst time, others will understand politics for the fi rst time, and still others will see the effects of certain policies that they didn’t know about before. No matter where it is in this cycle that students fall, teachers and students alike agree that being an informed citizen is of vital important. “Policies affect all of us,” AP Government teacher Joe Jelen said. “For example, everyone is here for an education, and both candidates have a vision of what education in our country will look like.” This election presents two candidates with radically different stances on a huge variety of issues. While some may not pertain directly to those at Staples, issues such as the economy, education, and social policy are important and interesting to Staples students. Teachers tend to see that students should be generally interested and knowledgeable about the campaign. “It has been a hot Communication Time topic in my classes; we track the polls and look at how they relate to the electoral college,” Jelen said. Suzanne Kammerman, another AP Government teacher,

senses students’ interest based on the good questions they are asking in class. Cole De Monico ’13 disagrees. While he hopes that students care about the election, he doesn’t know that they do. “I don’t see a lot of political activism at Staples. I think kids generally don’t care about this election,” De Monico said. “I’ve heard a variety of reasons, the top two being ‘I can’t vote’ and ‘I don’t like politics.’” According to national statistics, less than half of eligible youth voters are registered to vote, and in 2008, there was a 51% voter turnout for youth voters. Youth voters are defi ned as eligible voters in both high school and college. These statistics do not reflect the pertinence of the issues that the youth should be voting on. According to Jelen, education is probably the issue that most connects with Staples students. For example, President Obama has passed bills during his presidency to make college more affordable. According to The New York Times, Obama passed a bill that eliminated intermediate fees involved with paying student loans. Some Staples students are in the midst of applying to college, and others will be doing the same within just a few years. Remaining on top of this issue of education will help students make informed decisions to vote for the candidate who will help them the most.

“Education is the key to a capable citizenry – the election may decide whether or not some students will be able to go to college,” De Monico said. Kammerman stressed the importance of the economy – especially job creation – as an issue that Staples students can relate to. “Before you know it, all students will be in the job market,” she said. Therefore, looking into the specifics of each candidate’s platform on improving unemployment and creating jobs, may be vital to, someday, being able to fi nd work. Furthermore, De Monico and Kammerman mentioned social policy as an issue that students are generally very interested in. These issues – especially abortion, gay marriage, and religion – are so prevalently covered that students tend to be passionate about them. “The verdicts on these issues will likely be decided by the next president,” Kammerman said. This means that students should be aware of the candidates’ points of view, as well as their own. Students react differently to these issues. “I usually don’t understand political issues, especially

those about the economy,” Kassidy Greer ’16 said. “I know who the candidates are, but everything else goes over my head.” On the other hand, Luis Cruz ’15 likes learning about the election in school. “I don’t usually look into politics at home, but, when I learn about the issues in school, it’s interesting,” he said. According to Kammerman,

students should choose something that they would like to know more about to begin learning about the election. “It’s easy to learn the basics,” she said. “Utilize social media: follow a candidate on Twitter, like Politico on Facebook, or even go right to the candidate’s website. The more you hear, the more you will ultimately be able to understand.”


Inklings Political Aptitude Survey 20% 32.5% 92.5% 35% 95% Answered correctly when asked how Long the Term of a U.S. Senator is (six years).

Correctly answered within 1 percentage point when asked to name the current employment rate in America.

Correctly named the Could not name the country the United States current Speaker of the is currently in the process House (John Boehner). of removing troops from (Afghanistan).

school shouldn’t be based off how much work your parents or grandparents did when they were in college,” said Olivia Stanley ’13. At the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), legacies are not given special consideration for this very reason. “MIT as a meritocracy is a central tenet of our culture and philosophy,” said Stuart Schmill, Dean of Admissions at MIT. “Legacy admissions are very counter to that notion.” According to Schmill, most alumni take pride in the absence of legacy preference. Schmill added that MIT’s fundraising seems unaffected despite the absence of legacy preference, although some colleges may be motivated to consider legacy to bolster alumni donations and build a wealthier student body.

Kahlenberg sees this favoritism, which benefits specific socioeconomic groups, as beyond unfair. He views preference towards legacies as a policy that disproportionately benefits an economically prosperous white demographic. “Preferences are supposed to be related to students overcoming disadvantages,” Kahlenberg said. “Legacy benefits a group that deserves preferences the least.” An anonymous 2008 Staples graduate who was a double legacy at her Ivy League college was aware of the stigma that often accompanies this family connection to a school. Despite her success at the university, as evidenced by her award-winning academic work and graduation with honors, the student recalls attempting to keep her legacy status under

Could not name the two U. S Senators representing Connecticut (Joe Lieberman and Richard Blumenthal).

Legacy Practice Leads to Controversy Continued from page 1 “Legacies do make sense for distinguishing between applicants,” said Blythe Lewis ‘13, “but I think there are other ways to make the choice.” “Just because your parents went to a school doesn’t make you any more eligible,” added Tory Scordato ’13. “Being a legacy doesn’t make you any more qualified to get into the school.” Richard Kahlenberg, a senior fellow at the Century Foundation, a nonprofit research organization that analyzes social and educational institutions, disagrees with any benefits granted to legacies. “Admissions should be based on merit, not whether or not a parent attended,” Kahlenberg said. Many students share this perspective. “Getting into a

wraps. “In my experience, many of my peers, upon learning that I was a legacy, seemed to believe that I had been admitted more on personal connections than qualifications,” she said. “Despite having worked hard through college and graduating summa cum laude, I still felt the sense that people assumed that I was admitted largely because my parents attended.” Legacy favoritism may be controversial, but it does help a school forge a bond with alumni. Grabfield felt that legacy consideration was a way for colleges to stay connected with graduates. “Colleges like the idea of a family tradition,” added Slocum. However, alumni do not necessarily expect benefits to be awarded based on a family

connection. Diane Lowman, an alumna of Middlebury College and alumni interviewer for the school, didn’t expect any special advantage to be given to her son Dustin, who now attends Middlebury. “I didn’t see [legacy] as a shoo-in,” she said. “I’m aware of alumni kids who applied and didn’t get in.” Throughout her son’s application process, Lowman was cognizant that Middlebury had to be a good fit for Dustin as individual, not just as the son of an alumnus. Slocum and Schwartz advised that students only apply to a school if they are genuinely drawn to it, not solely because they have a legacy. Admissions officers at Penn, Caltech, Williams, and Harvard declined to comment on legacy admit rates and policies at their schools.



OCTOBER 26, 2012


Democrats by Default W

upwards of 120 student email addresses at Club Rush. Over 75 percent of them were bounced back mind? Progression, youth, as errors. The club is curchange, honesty, gener- rently made up of 20 students. osity, minorities. And “Republican?” Traditional, old, white, wealthy, Christian, uptight. EDITORIAL There’s a definite double standard amongst If you’re a Republican, many Staples students when it comes to political and you post a Facebook affiliation. Democrats are status or a tweet comviewed as socially accept- menting on how well Mitt able and considered to Romney is doing during a debate, you’re a target. embody positive ideals. Republicans are Expect backlash. The stescorned, mocked, reotypes become apparent. Republicans become laughed at. It’s not ill-intentioned, people-hating, gay-bashto be sure, and maybe ing, racist, rich people. If you’re a Democrat, not even conscious, but people attach a stigma however, you’ll rack up to being a Republican. the ‘likes.’ Even vitriol, if Young Republicans, a it’s liberal, brings smiley club at Staples, received faces. hen you hear “ D e m o c r a t ,” what comes to


“Silver Crown Award” for from Columbia Scholastic Press Association 2011 “Crown Newspaper Finalist” Columbia Scholastic Press Association 2011 First Place “All-American” from National Scholastic Press Association 2010-2011

All the opinions, news, and features in this paper are those of Staples High School students. Inklings has a circulation of 1,800. The paper is a member of the Columbia Scholastic Press Association, the Natioanal Schoalstic Press Association and supports the Student Press Law Center. All letters to the editor must be signed before they will be published. The editorial board reserves the right not to publish letters and to edit all submissions as it sees fit.

Editors-in-Chief Rachel Guetta Ned Hardy Managing Editors Chloe Baker Ben Reiser

People will disagree with each other, and people should disagree with each other. That’s fine. But sometimes, at Staples, dissent seems to bring out the worst in people. Students with Romney stickers plastered on their laptops shouldn’t have to be self-conscious about their political beliefs. So why are they? It’s almost a knee-jerk reaction. The only things most students “know” about Mitt Romney are from the @yaboymitt Twitter account. Maybe that’s why members of one AP Gov class obsessed earlier this week over his coiffed hair. How is this a basis for denouncing Romney’s views or those of anyone else in the GOP? It’s igno-

Features Editors Rachel Labarre Deanna Schreiber Julia Sharkey Haley Zeldes

Web Managing Editors Cheyenne Haslett Jordan Shenhar

Arts & Entertainment Editors Greta Bjornson Sophia Hampton Claudia Landowne Sara Luttinger

News Editors Danny Cooper Hannah Foley Will McDonald Jamie Wheeler-Roberts

Sports Editors Molly Barreca Aaron Hendel Simon Stracher Bailey Valente

Opinions Editors Callie Ahlgrim Kate Beispel Katie Cion Erik Sommer

Web News Editors Ryder Chasin Eliza Llewellyn Web Opinions Editors Bailey Ethier Eliza Yass

Republicans are scorned, mocked, laughed at. rant. Some of the myopia comes from peers. Nobody wants to be the one Republican at the lunch table. Some of it is parentinduced, which makes sense. If your dad commands you never to mention the name Romney

Web Features Editors Sophie de Bruijn Chris Ramey Web Arts & Entertainment Editors Claire O’Halloran Caroline Rossi Web Sports Editors Sami Bautista Joe Greenwald Photography Editors Alex Greene Rose Propp Business Managers Ellie Mann Alex Spector Copy Editors Jake Landau Emily Greenberg

at the dinner table (actually happened, according to a library-dweller), you’re bound to have some bias. Some of it may even come from teachers. Rumors abound of certain classes in which it’s easier to snag an A if you display liberal beliefs. You’re entitled to your own opinion. No one’s trying to convert you into anything you’re not. But there’s a way to develop your own political beliefs, and then express them, while being respectful and openminded of others and their beliefs. We can’t all agree, and we shouldn’t all agree. Be passionate. But be informed.

Staff Artist Olivia Crosby Advisers Anne Fernandez Mary Elizabeth Fulco Julia McNamee Stephen Rexford Correspondence and Subscriptions: Inklings 70 North Ave. Staples High School Westport, CT 06880 Phone: (203) 341–1994 Printed on recycled paper


Inklings / October 26, 2012 /

The Connecticut Senate Race

Murphy’s the Man As a teen who follows politics and watches cable news 24/7, I understand that most other teens don’t follow politics. Most of my friends don’t even know who Chris Murphy is or even what he’s running for. But I do. I have met him personally, and I support him all the way. Or at least as much as one can without being old enough to vote. When I met him, the one word that came to my mind was chill. He was laidback and talked like just any regular dude. He was an average Joe at a deli counter, who happened to be running for Senator. The way politicians should be, open and straightforward. Something that’s sadly a rarity nowadays. For anyone whom I’ve lost already, and has no idea who Chris Murphy is, I’ll tell you. Chris Murphy is a respected Democrat with three terms of experience representing Connecticut’s fifth district in the House of Representatives. In the State Senate, Murphy was an early supporter of gay marriage, championing legislation permitting civil unions in 2005. On the federal level, Murhpy helped reform congressional ethics; a bipartisan office now ensures that our representatives avoid corruption. His opponent, Linda McMahon, may be able to outwrestle him, but he has the political experience she’d kill for. If you haven’t already seen one of her many out-of-pocket advertisements, Linda McMahon is the millionaire CEO of World Wrestling Entertainment. Yes that’s right, the women who

brought the world wrestling TV is now aims to be your United States Senator. Scared yet? You should be. For me, it’s not the fact she is a multimillionaire or a successful businesswoman, I actually applaud that. I’m happy she was able to rake in all that cash. I just don’t like that she’s trying to buy her way into office. According to the New York Times, McMahon has spent over $65 million campaigning to be elected since 2010. You know how much you could buy with 65 million dollars? She could feed an impoverished country, but instead she’s buying her own throne. Murphy is literally being drowned out in big money by a ratio of five to one. I wish the phrase “you can’t have everything” applied here, but sadly I guess if you are as loaded as Linda McMahon you can have anything you want. Using her unlimited piggybank, McMahon is obscuring Murphy’s superior intelligence and experience with deceitful attack ads. Lots and lots of negative ads. They’re everywhere.. You can’t escape them, wherever you go, they are there. These false ads, claiming everything from “he’s in the banks’ pockets” to “he didn’t even show up to meetings when he was in Congress,” are making it impossible for him to get his point across. Personally, I’d sleep better knowing that our representative for the next 6 years empathized with Main Street. It feels unlikely this person would be a multimillionaire living in a mansion.

McMahon has the Plan Enter an arena where hot-headed idiots bluster their way through sensationalized battles for the sake of attention, where big egos duke it out on broadcast television, where America’s finest men and women wear ridiculous suits and claw at, sucker-punch, and pummel each other, emphasizing crowd reaction over true competition while complaining that what they do is, in fact, a real sport, where a motley assortment of has-beens, wannabes, and never-weres prowl on the sidelines, trying to make sense of the carnage with their “brilliant” “analysis” of “issues.” Oh, and everyone’s really rich. Linda McMahon has no experience in this arena. She just ran Monday Night Raw. Sure, she has never served in office before, has a sketchy financial history, and has had her share of issues connecting with voters who can’t merely smother their problems underneath a titanic load of Benjamins. But Linda McMahon knows what it takes to succeed in the Senate. After all, she ran the closest thing America’s got to Capitol Hill: World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc. McMahon first burst into the ring as a Tea Party favorite in 2010, back when it was fashionable to spend lots of money explaining why the government shouldn’t spend lots of money. Two years after getting easily knocked out by her opponent, former Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, she’s back and better than ever with a creative and refreshing campaign strategy: Spend even more money! In the ten minutes of Wikipedia research it took me to fill this column with bad wrestling jokes, Linda McMahon’s campaign will have spent roughly $4,000. In total, she’s spent over $77 million in the past two election cycles. But Linda McMahon knows what she’s doing. She took a run-down, familyowned business and created a multibillion dollar empire. She’s not the perfect

candidate,but she’s good enough. And it helps that her opponent is even worse than she is. Chris Murphy has been mud-wrestling in the House of Representatives for six years, and yet bills he’s written have been signed into law exactly zero times. For those keeping score at home, that’s a dead tie with Hulk Hogan and the late Randy “Macho Man” Savage. Murphy has been nothing more than a liberal flyweight, voting with his Democratic Party a whopping 93 percent of the time while receiving no major leadership roles in the House. Now more than ever, America needs strong leadership and intelligent, independent thinkers on Capitol Hill. Chris Murphy is just a generic cheerleader for Team Democrat, chanting popular fight songs like “Raise Taxes, Raise Spending,” “Who Needs Oil Anyway?” and the crowd-pleasing “Republicans Hate Women!” He has no ideas and solutions other than what he’s memorized off the official Democratic platform. When I approached him at a campaign rally to ask a basic question about his views on education during the apex of Connecticut’s school-reform debate, he dodged the question. When I asked him to clarify, he walked away. Linda McMahon, for all of her issues, would not walk away. Linda McMahon is a fighter. She’s bold enough to buck her party’s views on social issues, voicing her support for gay rights and abortion. She’s slogged through the triumphs and trials of successfully building a unique business. She owes her fortune to the American spirit of innovation that rewarded her individuality and hard work. All she wants is to preserve that America for the builders, dreamers, and doers of our present and future. And if she could handle The Undertaker and CM Punk, she’ll have no problem wiping the floor with the likes of Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse and Saxby Chambliss.




Inklings / October 26, 2012 /

Never Too Old To Trick-or-Treat



rick or treat smell my feet. Give me something good to eat. If you don’t I don’t care, I’ll pull down your underwear. Don’t you miss it? Hearing that nostalgic phrase is something that still reminds me of exciting moments from my childhood which can be attributed to only one holiday, Halloween. Do you remember when you were first told about it? You got to go around to ever y house on the block, and they had to give you candy. All you had to do was dress up as a superhero. It sounds almost too good to be true. And it’s such a small price to pay for such a great reward. You don’t even have to bribe me to dress up as a superhero. If it were acceptable, I would do it everyday. I remember walking down my street in California not even questioning the fact that I was dressed up as a masked ninja. All I knew was that if I did it, I got candy. That’s logical kid thinking. And picking out Halloween costumes has to be one of the most fun activities in the world. Think back to when you were searching for the right one.

There were the scary ghost, ghoul, zombie, and costumes. Then d Dick i k Cheney h h there were the hilarious sumo wrestler, Stewie from Family Guy, and Charlie Sheen costumes. But you have to pick the right one. Every kid knows the better costume you have, the better chance there is you get two pieces of candy instead of one. And that extra piece of candy might as well be the difference between life and

death. That is the adrenaline-filled goal of Halloween. Get as much candy as possible by any means necessary. “When people left out buckets of candy saying take one, I took the whole bucket,” recalls Spencer Carr ’13. That may be a little rude. But I can’t blame him. Candy is everything as a kid. The only reason people pretend it isn’t a big deal now is because they think they are “too

old.” Well, let me clue those people in: you are never too old to trick or treat. Why would you think others would look down on you for having the time of your life? Why would you give into peer pressure and try to forget the joy of Halloween? I would much rather spend a night sinking my teeth into sweet Hershey’s chocolate than watch girls act drunk in revealing costumes.

Just a little head’s up to girls; Wonder Woman actually wore clothes. And trying to justify not going trick or treating because you are going to a party is no excuse. No party has ever been able to outdo Halloween. Have you ever been at a party that has taken up an entire block? Has a party of yours ever stopped traffic? Ever attended a party that the cops don’t even try to stop? I didn’t think so. So, let me give you a little advice. Put the beer down and go pick up a costume. Every explanation teenagers use for not trick or treating can be easily thwarted. The only somewhat reasonable excuse is Devon Lowman’s, who says, “I’m too busy oiling my abs.” In which case, I understand. You have to keep the girls happy. But other than that rare scenario, I expect to see all of you out and about next Halloween. I’m sorry but it needs to be said; Halloween is a joyous time that is forgotten with age. Maybe that is why kids are always so happy and adults are always walking around hunched over with a scowl on their face. Did that ever occur to people? It’s just a theory, but I think I’m onto something here. So if you are ever feeling downtrodden, sad, or stressed, and you need to have a good time, just remember one thing. You are never too old to trick or treat.


Senior Year: It’s Not What You Think

If one more junior comes up to me and says, “You’re so lucky to be a senior,” I will straight-up punch him or her in the face. As someone who has been through the misery of junior year, I know it sucks, but take comfort in knowing that the fi rst semester of senior year is much, much worse. We grow up thinking that senior year will be the best of our lives, the year that we can fi ll our schedules with culinary and darkroom and all the frees we can rally, the year that we don’t have a care in the world and can chuckle nonchalantly at

the silly underclassmen. I’m here to destroy your dreams. It’s not so simple. First of all, grades still matter. Every college is bombarding us with the importance of “rigorous course loads.” We’re not just sitting around and playing Slime Soccer in the library. We’re in the library doing more coursework than any underclassmen brain can possibly imagine. I know a lot of juniors will read this and be extremely indignant at my ignorance of their research paper woes and fi rst ever APs. And that’s fi ne. Believe me, I’ve been there. But here’s the catch. You can be the best student in the world. But as far as senior year goes, no matter how much schoolwork you get done, there is always something left to do.

Two words: college applications. You fi nish your college essay. Great! Now fi ll out the common App. Once that is done, the number of forms you owe to guidance could suffocate a small dog. What’s next? Supplements on supplements on supplements. Let me give you some samples: (1) “Susan Sontag, AB ’51, wrote that ‘Silence remains, inescapably, a form of speech.’ Write about an issue or a situation in which you remained silent, and explain how silence may speak in ways that you did or did not intend.” (2) “What outrages you? What are you doing about it? Think lo cally.” (3) “Sports, science, and society are filled with rules, theories, and laws like the Ninth Commandment, PV=nRT, Occam’s Razor,

and The Law of Diminishing Returns. Three strikes and you’re out. I before E except after C. Warm air rises. Pick one and explain its significance to you.” (4) “So, where’s Waldo really?” This isn’t even to mention the stress that comes along with the biggest decision of your life. We have no idea where we’re going to be this time next year, and it’s scary. True, there is a certain je ne sais quoi that comes with being a senior. The sweatshirts, the section, the slogans, it’s all very glamorous. All of a sudden waiting in the sandwich line is for lesser humans, and freshmen cower in your presence (not really, but we like to think so). Senior year is built up so much that it almost has to be at least a little good. We’ve worked

for three years to get here, and we deserve a little recognition. The problem is that after the fi rst few days, we no longer care about recognition from our younger peers. We want recognition from universities. So we bury our heads in Calculus textbooks and use bottomless cups of coffee as our allnighter fuel. Hopefully, the promise of senior year will unfold in the form of second semester. But until then, tread carefully while around us. You never know when someone’s close to a breaking point. If you thought this was a rant, wait until you come across someone who’s had even less sleep than me- and I guarantee they’re out there. It’s one o’clock in the morning right now. I consider that early.



Inklings / October 26, 2012 /

Missing Gym Is Not a Vacation


eing exempt from gym class for an extended amount of time is the everlasting hope, dream and goal of many Staples students. But does it really live up to its expectations? I can assure you that, due to the newly developed guidelines for gym credit requirements this year, being out of gym for over 10 days is simply not worth it. For those of you who try to get out of swimming, I strongly advise against it because wet hair is much easier to deal with than reading books about health and writing essays or anything of the sort. Because of a difficult longterm illness, I haven’t been able to participate in gym for the entire first quarter. When I first realized that I’d be granted a hiatus from sprinting to math class soaking wet after swimming, or struggling to pull on my jeans after sweating from running the dreaded mile, I was ecstatic. Something positive had finally come from my being sick! But after the first gym class this year, I felt differently. The 10 day rule has always been in effect but it was decided this year that it would be strictly enforced because it was noticed that students were not fulfilling the three gym credits necessary

GRAPHIC BY NATE ROSEN ‘14 for graduating. This rule states that if students are not able to take part in gym class for more than 10 days in a quarter, they must take an alternate assignment or make up the missed physical education classes at another time, such as over the summer, during a free period later in the year, or during senior year. Honestly, who in their right mind would rather be in school running laps, doing push-ups, or playing good ol’ badminton, than soaking up the sun’s beautiful

rays during summer vacation? That would be complete and utter insanity. So, when given the option, I decided to tackle the alternate assignment. After all, how much effort was a physical education teacher really going to put into choosing a project for an injured student to complete? The devastating answer: more than you would ever think. For my alternate assignment, due at the end of the quarter, I have to: (1) Choose a book about a topic

relative to exercise or health. (2) After every 25 pages in the book, record my thoughts, reactions, and questions about the reading. (3) Write a report (minimum of four pages) answering questions about the book and my opinion on it. (4) Make a poster illustrating the book’s health related topic. Dave Gusitch, head of the Phys. Ed. Department, recommended I read the book “Spark” by John J. Ratey and, not wanting to spend time picking out a book

myself, I just took his advice. You can imagine how thrilling it is to force myself to read this book about the effects of exercise on the brain. “Wow, I can’t believe I’m so lucky. I get to be sick AND read and write a report AND do a project on this amazingly interesting book!” Although the gym teachers don’t see it this way, I think it would be reasonable to say that I am being penalized for being sick. I can tell you in a second, I would rather be healthy and able to participate in gym, but because I’m not, I have to do a huge project on top of my other massive quantities of schoolwork! Aside from adding an unnecessary load to my already massive pile of schoolwork for academic classes, this assignment gives me a feeling that writing is being used as a punishment. Since I am a fan of writing, it angers me greatly to see this aggravating assignment giving the wonderful art of writing a bad name. I even think that the stress that this project is causing me is furthering my sickness. Ironic? I think so. There is one positive outcome of reading this book and doing this assignment, though. Whenever it’s time to go to sleep, and I’m not yet tired enough to crash, I just pull out “Spark” and try for the hundredth time to get past the first 15 pages.

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FEATURES October 26, 2012


Hello, PaƩy McQuone. You have 464 messages this morning.



Staff Writer

enior Skip Day has been a tradition for as long as anyone can remember. On this day, seniors trade backpacks, calculators, and alarm clocks for warm beds, remote controls, and homemade pancakes. After seven semesters, standardized tests, and college applications, seniors reward themselves for all their hard work with a day of rest. “I full–heartedly believe in the proud tradition of a senior class collectively skipping one day of school in the spring to get a little kooky,” said Matty Campbell ’13. According to Assistant Principals Mr. Micinilio and Mrs. Morgan, senior internships’ increasing popularity has caused students to plan a second skip day during first semester, since most of the seniors would be gone by the time the usual skip day happens. However, rather replacing the normal skip day that falls during second semester, a first semester skip day that typicall takes place the day after Halloween serves as an additional day off. Nicolette Weinbaum ’12 said that Halloween was an important factor in deciding on

what day the first semester Senior Skip Day, last year, would occur. “Essentially, everyone just wanted to recover from Halloween the night before, so a majority of the senior class said it was perfect timing,” said Weinbaum. While some students are happy about the first semester skip day, which allows them to partake in Halloween festivities without having to worry about school the next day, others are nervous about the chosen date. First semester senior year grades still matter just as much as any other year, and with college applications to worry about, a first semester Senior Skip Day sounds a bit risky to some. The administration agrees a skip day should only take place second semester. “I don’t think that Senior Skip Day is a responsible idea for first semester seniors because it’s an extremely busy time for us with our schoolwork and college applications,” said Harriet Jones ’13. “I think Senior Skip Day should remain a second semester tradition.” “If you get halfway through second semester and decide you want to be part of senior skip day, I understand that,” said

Principal Dodig. Dodig also believes that organizing two Senior Skip Days is disrespectful to the hardworking teachers that put in time to come up with lesson plans for students every day. Weinbaum agrees and didn’t participate in last year’s first semester Senior Skip Day because of her schoolwork and possible penalties from her teachers. “Mr. Aitkenhead made it clear that he would highly recommend us showing up to AP Environmental the next day. Otherwise, we had certain consequences,” said Weinbaum. “I think he was being pretty fair; I understood where he was coming from.” The key term in “Senior Skip Day” is “Skip.” Many parents, Principal Dodig said, call in sick for their children, giving them the luxury of missing school with no consequences for being absent. However, other parents do not condone Senior Skip Day. Cathie Sych, mother of Staples students Felicia ’13 and Matt ’07, believes that while seniors do deserve recognition for their hard work over the years, a skip day is not necessary. “I do not condone it,” Sych said. “Choices have consequences and you made a poor choice.”

A Once Popular Site Faces Decline ELLIE MANN ’13 Business Manager On Nov. 6, 2008, Gabriella Rizack ’13 was “doing homework.” On Nov. 16, 2008, Rizack was “with lindseyy.” And, on Nov. 28, 2008, Rizack told the Facebook world, “haha finally I got one again” regarding her Facebook account that she reactivated. These are only three of the many statuses that Rizack has posted since she got a Facebook in 2007. When asked if she is embarrassed about her previous Facebook activities, Rizack frantically nodded her head up and down, smiled, and said, “Extremely!” More recently, Rizack, and many other Staples students, have been using Facebook for entirely different purposes than when they were younger. Now, instead of posting statuses more than once a day, students use the site to “stalk people, to look at pictures and to chat with friends.” Rizack said that she now uses the social networking website mostly for school purposes. “Sometimes when I need help on homework, I will chat random people in my classes,” Rizack said. “It’s kind of awkward because, usually, I don’t really talk to these people in class, but I ask them questions at home.” Rizack also said that in addition to getting homework help, she sometimes makes a Facebook

group to work on projects. “A girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do to get her work done,” she said. Facebook’s launch in Feb. 2004 has allowed people all over the world to be able to share pictures, statuses, and wall posts with friends and family members. However, for many current high schoolers, Facebook is geared for more educational and work-related purposes. There are exceptions, and Lily Barsanti ’14 is one. “If someone has a question, they will text me,” Barsanti said. “If I have a question, I will text someone. Facebook is not meant for school.” The movement towards using Facebook for school is recent, students said. Sophie McConnell ’14 didn’t believe that Facebook was helpful for school until June 2011. In fact, McConnell didn’t even believe that Facebook was necessary at all. While some “Facebook addicts” have had their social networking website for seven years, Sophie McConnell just created hers two summers ago because she was “sick and tired” of communicating with friends and family through her outdated email address. “I basically didn’t get a Facebook or email because I thought I was being cool and different.

Then, one day, I woke up and was like, ‘You’re not cool or different; just make a Facebook.’ So, I did.” However, even after making a Facebook account, McConnell admitted that with school and several hours of dance each night, checking Facebook is not a priority for her. Staples Players have also tried to keep their Facebook usage down to a minimum. This year, Staples Players has put a lot of effort into decreasing their dependency on Facebook. “To say that you need a Facebook is not really acceptable due to the arguments surrounding Facebook’s possible impacts on grades and privacy with the service,” Players Vice President of Technology Matt Kresch ’13

said. They steered away from Facebook by creating a new section of called “Current Players Info” through Weebly, a free online website builder. Weebly allows Players to easily control the site and make edits through a very simple user interface. In past years, Players had experimented with using blogs but relied heavily on the Staples Players Facebook group. The Facebook group was used to disseminate all information to members of Players, such as the cast list,

weekly rehearsal schedules and any announcements that needed to be made. Players will no longer stay organized through Facebook, but will now do so through Weebly. One Staples Player who sometimes has difficulty logging off of Facebook and focusing on school is Alexandra Rappaport ’13. Rappaport is happy that her theatrical schedule will no longer be organized though a social networking website. “I don’t have the willpower to disable the website like some people do,” Rappaport said. However, Rappaport certainly believes that the amount of time she spends on Facebook has decreased since the seventh grade and will continue to decrease now that Players no longer uses Facebook. Nonetheless, Rappaport is still embarrassed by her Facebook activity from prior years and even said that her past Facebook life comes back to haunt her all of the time. “Once, I made an album titled ‘Bangs’ after I had just gotten a haircut,” Rappaport said. “It was simply an album full of pictures with me and my freshlycut bangs. Pretty embarrassing.” S e a n Clarke ’15 also believes that some of his past Facebook activities

have been embarrassing. “I used to play Farmville,” Clarke admitted. “I would be excited to harvest my crops each afternoon.” So, while there are still people out there lulled in by Facebook’s tempting qualities or who are using it for educational purposes, many people are starting to feel as though Facebook is not as prevalent as it was in the past, and the uses for Facebook are not the same. As albums filled with pictures from Photo Booth decrease, albums for projects and studying are on the rise. “My Facebook use has declined because I don’t upload Photobooth albums anymore,” Rappaport said. “I still go on, but the tab just kind of sits open. It’s kind of a comfort thing…so sad.”

Status Update: “I still go on [Facebook], but the tab just kind of sits open. It’s kind of a comfort sad.” -Alexandra Rappaport ’13

Features Inklings / October 26, 2012 /

KATE BEISPEL ’13 Opinions Editor


n 2011, 011, the town of Westport tport postponed ed all trick-ortreating g activities until Saturday, November ber 5, 5, due to potentiall safety risks caused by the infamous famous snowfall that never ever was. This year, ear, Halloween is being stolen again. O c t . 31, the he day synynonymous ous with candy and costumes, falls on a Wednesday night. ight. No matter the manner in which students celebrate the holiday, y, they will be expected ed to be present at 7:30 a.m. for the start of period od 5 on Thursday morning. “My Halloween night is pretty much dictated by the amount of homework I’m given in school that day,” said Meredith Hood ’14. The sentiments were echoed by many Staples students, who recalled the difficult balance between finishing their homework and the desire to celebrate Halloween. “Most kids will want to do something fun on the actual night of Halloween,” said Camille Shuken ’15. “But they also have to worry about homework and school the next day.”


For many seniors, however, studying and sleeping are something they are willing to compromise. “School isn’t going to stop my trick-or-treating,” said Greg Salamone ’13. “Nor will it stop my great costume.” According to Westport Youth Detective Serenity Dobson, the Westport Police Department will have a “visible presence” on Halloween night. Beyond the hired extra patrol officers covering the expected areas of high concentrations of

s k c Tri

tr ickor-treaters like the Gault and Compo Beach neighborhoods, there will be plain clothed detectives as well. These established precautions have done little to deter Staples students’ expections of parties on Halloween night. “I plan on going out and getting drunk,” said a senior girl who asked to be anonymous. “Halloween being on a school night only leads me to expect that parties continue on to the weekend as well as the night of Halloween.” According to Dobson, Hal-


Sometimes the houses we visit while trick-or-treating dissapoint us with their “treats.” Look above to see some examples of what nobody wants in their bag.

loween has been a relatively calm i ht iin W t t in i years past. t night Westport More crime has occurred on Mischief Night, Oct. 30., in the form of TP-ed houses. At Staples, however, the problems are expected to occur on the morning of Nov. 1. “I acknowledge that there will be parties going on on Halloween night,” Attendance Secretary Patty McQuone said. “That next day does not make me happy.” For many seniors, this particular Halloween celebration extends further than the typical holiday usually does. A majority


of colleges that offer early decision and early action application e plans require requ a Nov. 1 deadline. “This particular Halloween, for f r me at least, serves as a celfo ebration to t not only the holiday itself, itse but as a completion to part of the college process,” the anonyp mous senior girl said. m “I’m going to celebrate, “I and if I have to come to school hungover, then so be it.” Rumors of a first semester Senior Skip Day, taking the lead from a previous attempt by the class of 2012, have been running rampant amongst members of this year’s senior class, generating further excitement about the night. While this “holiday” is generally a second semester tradition, the increase in student participation in the senior ti internship program has int created create conflict with seniors being able to take a day off, creating a possible first semester skip possi day, according to Grade Level Asaccord sistant Patrick Micinilio. Pat The woes of late night activities extend beyond those of only students. Much of the Staples community will be suffering from a lack of sleep come Nov. 1. “I’m going to have to be taking my kids around trick-ortreating, extending my night later than a typical night,” Micinilio said. Oct. 31 is a date imprinted into the minds of people across America. Yet, the sentiment towards the holiday is often overshadowed by the six a.m. wake up call the next morning.


What treats does everyone enjoy receiving while trickor-treating on Halloween? See above to find out.

12 Features

Inklings / October 26, 2012 /

Inklinations: What do you think of how much teen babysitters are paid?

“If you’re a good baby sitter it’s completely fair. You’re taking care of someone’s kids, an d if you do a good job, I think the kids’ parents will realize that.” –Melissa Beretta ’14

t se its no u a c e b e ave it’s fin u get to h o “I think y d n a k of wor that hard the kids.” fun w ith y ’16 Banbur s e m a J –

While You W EMMA MURO’14

“I think tha t It’s better th it is a perfect amount. an working at a job be cause minim um wage is like $6. It’s also sweet b ecause you get free foo d.” –Louisa Fr eeman ’13

ero be p t h c u s too m ro to nothing i t i k n o ze ave “I thi . You d ther jobs I h t s e n o fectly h ared to the o s.” mp ulou and co is ridic y a p e h done, t 3 Dav is ’1 –Colin

Staff Writer abysitting often comes off o as the easieest teenage job, but many Staples students have found otherwise. If the awkward car rides home with the dad (“’s school?”) weren’t enough, the shananagins of youngsters can be stressful to say the least. Of course, kids will be kids, but the term “kids” tends to be more commonly associated with “monsters.” What babysitters go through rarely dignifies their pay – just take it from teenagers themselves. While they don’t strive to be Mary Poppins, Staples girls and boys, have had to deal with some pretty crazy situations. After putting the kids to bed, Emma Berry ’15 plopped into a seat at the kitchen table, only to be soon greeted by the dark silouhette of a man in the doorway. She flicked on the fluorescent lights only to illuminate the lanky body that stood before her. A disheveled man, wearing jeans that had seen better days, glanced limply at her. She soon discov-

ered the man was a relative of the family – one who didn’t speak English. “We just stood there and stared at each other for a good 10 minutes,” says Berry. On a scale of one to middle school relationships, that would rank a number nine on the awkward scale, hands down. However, not talking is a blessing compared to the fight Elizabeth Coogan ’14 witnessed between two siblings. The little girl, clutching her favorite plush dog in her hand, went face to face with her brother. Coogan used threats like “I’ll hide him so you’ll never ever find him again!” – cue the gasps from the audience – and the disagreement heated quickly. Of course, the escalating name calling, with names such as ‘Poopy’ and ‘Buttface’, led to a nearly fatal quarrel. In fact, it escalated so quickly, the little girl ran out of the house to hide from her brother. Coogan searched for the little girl frantically, pacing back and forth across the backyard. “I used every bribe I could think of: ice cream, television, an apology from her brother, but since she was mad, she wasn’t re-

Features Inklings / October 26, 2012 /

Big Bucks for Babysitting himself a workaholic, especially during the summer, when he rotates between three jobs. However, during the school year, Palumbo, an aspiring videographer and member of the Players tech crew, cannot squeeze in this demanding work schedule. Still needing a source of income, Palumbo turns to babysitting about once a week. While babysitting significantly increases the volume of his wallet, Palumbo isn’t a fan of the Friday and Saturday night jobs that compromise his social life. “I want to go out and live my life,” Palumbo said. Other student babysitters believe that the weekend hours are actually the most convenient. Katie Smith ’14 babysits around six to eight times a month and is paid anywhere from $10-$14 an hour. “To me, the best part about babysitting versus other jobs is that you can set your own hours and choose which jobs you would like to take,” Smith said. “You’re not locked into a set schedule, so you have a ton of flexibility.” While flexibility can be a perk of babysitting, the most rewarding incentive is the pay. Although the pay varies with each family, there are definitely unwritten rules when it comes to finding the right rate. “I don’t set my own rates, but people know they shouldn’t pay less than $10 an hour,” Palumbo said. “That’s just not cool!” Parents said they are sometimes unsure on wages for the students who watch over their kids. Stacee Casparius, mother of two young children, has a ballpark rate, but allows room for change depending on certain circumstances. “I’m never quite sure how much to pay the sitters,” said

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sitions these girls were put in would’ve shaken any babysitter’s confidence. The job is not always kicking back on the sofa and watching T.V. while the kids play quietly upstairs. “It’s just a lot of responsibility. You don’t really realize until you think about it,” says Katie Smith, ’14. “You’re already watching the kids – throw a pet in there and you’re basically responsible for the most important things in the parents’ life.” Taking responsibility for another person’s prized posessions comes with pressure, but also the capability to keep crazy situations at bay. Babysitting has its rewards, and it doesn’t hurt that these little “monsters” sure do make for great stories.

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sponding. I was pretty positive that she had been kidnapped or ran away,” said Coogan. Luckily, the little girl came back. “It was literally the most stressful five minutes of my babysitting career.” Having a kid that you’re responsible for in danger is a babysitter’s worst nightmare. But what about a puppy? Rachel Shapiro ’13 was babysitting one night for a sixth grader who had three dogs and a puppy. They were eating dinner when they started to smell something repulsive. About 30 minutes went by before they realized the puppy had diaherrea on not only the floor, but the curtains and the wall, as well. “The little girl told me to leave it because she wasn’t sure what to clean it with,” says Shapiro. “But when I was leaving I had completely forgotten about it. As I’m about to close the door, I hear the father say ‘It smells like ****’. I felt so terrible that I didn’t tell them!” Talk about a crappy situation. The unexpected p o -

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Features Editor & Web A&E Editor What other job can a teenager work for one hour watching TV while the kids sleep, only to receive the payment that can be earned after two hours of work at a minimum-wage job? In the current teenage culture, it is babysitting through which students can make the big bucks without the restrictions associated with getting a “real job.” Welcome to the Babysitting Club. Compared to the average job, babysitting often consists of better pay, fairer employers, and flexibility of hours due to the less demanding nature of Westport families. A study called “A Case of Teenage Babysitting in the United States” done by Nozomi Kawata of Nozomi Hokkaido University reports that, out of 40 university students, 20 males and 20 females “showed that 72.5 percent (65 percent male, 80 percent female) babysat in their youth and 90 percent had a teenage babysitter in their early childhood. A majority started babysitting around the age of 13-14 years and the peak time for babysitting was 15-16 years old.” This popularity exists because it is one of the only unique occupations that supports the balance of high school extracurriculars and academics along with an active social life. Alex Bookbinder ’13 spent multiple unhappy months working inconsistent hours at a retail store for minimum wage. It wasn’t until she quit that she found her calling: babysitting. Now working about 15 hours per week and making double her retail wage, Bookbinder is content and she no longer finds work to be a burden. “I can now support myself to live the typical lifestyle of a Westport teenager,” Bookbinder said. Tommy Palumbo ’13 calls

Casparius. “I usually pay them around $14.00 per hour, and I definitely feel the older they are, they should get a bit more.” Casparius usually hires her babysitters based on referrals from friends, but if students do not have these types of Westport connections, there are other ways to attain the perfect babysitting gig. One of these methods is right here at Staples and has constant opportunities awaiting. The College and Career Center’s Job Bank is a helpful tool for students and parents alike because it matches teens seeking jobs to employers who otherwise wouldn’t have the resources to find the help on their own. This “Bank,” currently consisting of 11 jobs, can be found on the Career Center tab at the Staples High School website. It provides job opportunities that range from babysitting to office work, exclusively for Staples students. “The Job Bank creates total success,” said Susan Fugitt, a College and Career Center coordinator. “People are so thrilled when they find our students.” Since it is often difficult for teens to find a “real job” in Westport that works for them, babysitting has proven to be the more realistic option, which keeps students coming back for more. Parents’ only care is that their children are happy, and once they find a good sitter, they want to keep them content. Casparius, like other Westport moms, will pay the price to find a good fit. “The sitter should definitely be able to balance having fun with the kids while keeping them safe.”








14 Features

Inklings / October 26, 2012 /

‘How Ya Doin,’ Fellas?’

The Unsung Qualities of Custodian Gerard Watt SAMI BAUSTISA ’13 Web Sports Editor


tall man with a wide smile stands in the cafeteria. As students pass by, he gives them the nod or a casual fist bump, accompanied by the occasional, “My man!” It is clear that beloved custodian Gerard Watt thoroughly enjoys being a part of the Staples community. But there is much more to his life than his experience at Staples. Before he came to America, Watt was a police officer in Jamaica. Once he moved to the


States in 1978, he became a U.S. marine. After he served his

term, he worked in many other jobs, such as a

bounty hunter in the BridgeportStamford area and assistant director of security at Norwalk Hospital. However, most memoH rable, Watt joined a band at age 28. Watt had h heard about a reggae band ccalled Affinity through his friend, one of the band members. Watt decided to give it a try and became becam the fourth member and second lead singer. Affinity was composed of four men includcompo ing Watt: ttwo percussionists and two vocalis vocalists. Based in Danbury and performed in various venues perfor such as Toad’s Place, Down the To Hatch, Tuxedo and Candlewood Tux Lake Club. The most striking gig, however, W Watt said, was when the band played playe at Danbury Federal Prison. “We were playing to basiw cally just prisoners and a few staff members,” said Watt. “It mem was something I will never forsomet get, starting startin with the level of security to ge get into the venue. There were things thing we weren’t allowed to bring in and an our equipment was searched. But wherever you’re contracted to play, you’re going to play. The show must go on.” s The band also made two records, record one of which was played to introduce Nelson Mandela, former president Mand of S South Africa, for his speech in Madison Square spe Garden. The name of the Gar song son was “Don’t Give Up African People.” Watt Af was wa not present when they used his band’s th song but says the news so made him feel great. m Watt stayed with the th band for six years until un the time commitment became too much m to handle. However, he is grateful for his decision gra to jo join the band. “You kind of fantasize about being on stage and it i feels good when you actually do it,” said Watt. actua “When “Whe there is adrenaline that starts pumping through you as you’re up thro on the stage, and you’re t getting positive feedback, getti it is incomparable. It’s like i nothing else you’ll ever exnothi perience.” perie Although he misses being part of the band, be Watt does not wish W to start performing again at this stage of his life. For now, being at Staples is enough. “Even when school was out, I just couldn’t wait for school c to resume, because I love coming to work,” said co Watt. “I have so much Wa fun right here. You can’t beat that. Not a lot of people can c say they have fun at work.” work. Watt arrives each morning at precisely 5 mo a.m. a.m in order to open the school and raise the flag. sc He H has to unlock every single door of the buildsi

ing, including the exterior doors, the interior doors, the hallway doors, and the stairway doors. As the school day progresses, Watt cleans up the cafeteria, wipes down the tables, takes out the garbage, and helps with any mishaps that may occur. He ends his day at 1 p.m. Since 2002, Watt has been working as a custodian for the Westport School District. He started at Greens Farms Elementary School for five years, switched to Coleytown Middle School for three years, and finally came to Staples at the beginning of last year. Just as the students advanced from one school to the next, Watt did as well. “It’s really satisfying seeing the transformation that takes place with the kids as they go from being in kindergarten to being on the verge of becoming adults,” said Watt, who remains friendly with students whom he first met when working at the elementary school. “When I was in kindergarten at GFS, Mr. Watt was working there as a janitor. He would always sing the song ‘My Girl’ to my friends and I,” said Jenna McNicholas ’15. “I was so happy to see him again at Staples. He always has a smile and asks me how I’m doing. I don’t think I’ve ever met a nicer man.” Even some of the parents recognize Watt from either GFS

or CMS and frequently approach him to catch up. “It makes me feel really good that I made such an impact, because they still remember me after all these years,” said Watt. According to Watt, being surrounded by the Staples community is the highlight of his day. “During school, the day goes by so fast, as opposed to when school is out and the day drags,” said Watt. “When the kids and staff are here, I talk to them and joke around. The day is much more enjoyable.” The feeling is mutual for many of the Staples students. It is not unusual for a student to walk by Watt and share a fist bump or exchange an inside joke. “We knuckle-touch every time I see him,” said Burim Trdevaj ’13. “He’s the man.” Henri Rizack ’14 agrees. “He’s a gentle giant with a great sense of humor and a beautiful laugh,” said Rizack. It is clear that the friendship between Watt and the students is genuine. “It goes without saying that I love them. Not very many people my age can interact with teenagers, and I think I can because I’ve done nothing but be myself,” said Watt. “I show respect to them and consequently it’s returned to me. If you choose to show respect, 95 percent of the time it’s going to come back to you.”

Did you know...? In 1978, Gerard was a US Marine. Gerard was in a lead singer in a reggae band called Af inity for six years. Before coming to America, Gerard was a police of icer in Jamaica. Prior to working at Staples, Gerard was a custodian at Greens Farms Elementary. Gerard gets to school at 5 in the morning.

Features Inklings / October 26, 2012 /


Staples School of the Free SOPHIA HAMPTON ’15 A&E Editor Where are you going?” “Oh, I have to go to the bathroom.” “You need the lavatory pass.” “OK. Can I have the lavatory pass?” “Nice try. Have a seat.” Though this brings a good laugh in “Mean Girls when protagonist Cady Heron adjusts to life in a public school, it’s something one would never hear at Staples. The freedom at Staples is so unique is part of what makes it such a unique school. Visitors have even compared the school to a small college. As in the above Mean Girls dialogue, at many schools one does need a bathroom pass to leave class, and attendance is kept much more strict. Staples’ students get the privilege of using laptops and phones during school, and instead of a study hall, there are free periods. “I love my new freedom in high school,” said Alex Suppan ’16, “I am not constantly being hounded by teachers!” Students from neighboring schools were surprised Staples offered so much. Jacob Robbins ’15 at Trumbull High School said, “I wish we could just go to the bathroom and not waste our time having to sign out.” Robbins said that he really liked the slogan “Respect or get Wrecked,” because he believes the “respect” we have at Staples is part of what makes it such a desirable school. Principal John Dodig acknowledged the unusual amount of independence students have. Dodig said, “They [people] are just not used to seeing students freely walking the campus, sitting on window seats, or in small groups on the floor working together on their laptops, or just talking to one another.” One of the biggest freedoms Staples’ stu

dents have is the privilege of a free period as opposed to a mandatory study hall. Dodig said, “Students at Staples should know that there can’t be more than a handful of schools in America that do not have study halls.” Fairfield Warde is part of the majority that uses study hall instead of free periods. Danielle Altchiler ’15, a student there, wishfully said, “Instead of having to awkwardly sit [in study hall], wondering if your music is loud enough for people to hear, you could be sitting in the common room with all of your friends.” Altchiler believes that it’s a huge benefit for students at Staples, “There isn’t gonna be a “study hall” in real life. There isn’t going to be a specific place to go when you aren’t sure what else to do.” Havi n g t h i s freedom at Staples gives some students the opportunity to catch up on everything ranging from homework to a missed meal. Sylvie Lexow’ 14 uses her free period to refresh herself before her next class. Lexow said, “When I had a free last year I

h a d enough time to do all my work at home, so during my free I would take naps in the cove (aka the theatre area).” Many students agree that having periods of time where we get to make our own decisions is part of why Staples’ students are so prepared for college and “the real world.” One might notice that walking down the hallway, students’ faces are brightened by gleaming screens from the various smartphones that are bringing them the latest gossip, news, or homework assignments. And the technology doesn’t stop once in the classroom either; many students have their laptops out during class to do various activities. Staples’ has its own public wifi network that allows for a student to be covertly checking their Facebook or playing Tetris while taking notes in class. Students at Staples may take this for granted but at Bridgeport Central High School where, according to their website, in order t o use the wifi students have to request access with an agreement form signed by a parent or guardian. At Trumbull High School, stated in the student handbook, personal electronic devices are prohibited on campus. Hamilton Kovtun ’15 embraces Staples’ freedom with electronics. Kovtun said, “In almost all of my classes, we incorporate Google Drive and smart boards on a daily basis. I

believe t h i s gives students a leg up when competing in the world because as we all know technology never stops progressing, so the way we learn shouldn’t either.” The trust placed in students at Staples’ is highly valued

“As long as the adults in the building treat students with respect and receive it in return, freedom is not an issue with me.” –Principal John Dodig and it’s part of what makes Staples so unique. “If I did not have that trust,” said Dodig, “we could not operate a school of this size with as few rules as we have.” Isabel Perry ’15 said, “I had a teacher [at Staples] who said that he didn’t care about texting or being late to class. It’s the student’s problem if they don’t want to listen to the material, and they fail the course.” It’s obvious that whatever Staples’ is doing is working. Having some of the highest test scores in the state and a diverse selection of classes and clubs, student’s can definitely feel the benefits. Meredith Bemus ’14 pointed out that having this much freedom has helped her personal organization skills because she has learned to balance sports, school, and extracurriculars. Bemus also said “The freedom at Staples High School has allowed me to become very independent and it has given me the confidence to be myself.” For Principal John Dodig, “As long as the adults in the building treat students with respect and receive it in return, freedom is not an issue with me.”



A&E October 26, 2012

A Tale as Old as Time TATIANA MORALES ’15 Staff Writer


isney. Almost every single student, and maybe every teacher at Staples High School has grown up hearing that famous name. Disney has been making movies ever since 1937 when “Snow White and the Seven Dwarves” was first brought to ttheaters. Disney has come a long way since then, but one of its most recent films in theaters, “Brave,” still contains a princess just like co “Snow “Sno White” did. Almost every single old Disney Dii sn movie contains the typical story where the princess meets mee a prince, gets married, lives happily ever after, fights off ssome villain, and sings some catchy catc songs. Not always in that order. orde However, there is a bit of t a d Disney difference between b back and Disney now. ba ck in 1937 a The newer movies fonew

cus on different topics now. For example, “Up” focuses on an old man living his and his late wife’s dream of traveling to South America. “Toy Story” depicts toys coming alive when left alone. These movies ignore the old Disney tradition of “magic.” Some people think the newer movies are better, and that the older movies are cliché and stupid. For example, some people don’t like the whole princess

“Who doesn’t like a fairy tale happily ever after?” meets a prince scenario. They’d rather watch something more modern and, in their opinion, more possible. Others like the older movies. They think that Disney is

losing its “magical” ways. I’m stuck in the middle. I can watch any recent movie and love it. But there has always been that soft spot for the old princess meets a prince movie. For one, they remind me of when I was little, singing and watching “Beauty and the Beast” or “Aladdin” with my mom. Plus, what girl doesn’t like a fairy tale happily-ever-after? T h e r e ’ s something about all the Disney movies that is just amazing because they all have the ability to bring us to tears. Remember when Simba’s dad died in “The Lion King”? Exactly. No matter what Disney comes out with next, it’ll b e m a gical.

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If you were a Disney princess which one would you be?

“Belle because she’s down to earth and gets an awesome guy in the end.” -Julia Greene ’15

“Little Mermaid because she has the funniest friends and Sebastian is the coolest.” -Kristin Scott, Staff

“Snow White because she’s nice, has lots of friends, and is super friendly.” -Elaine Wehmhoff ’16

a 17 ! m o h a l k O Tough Musical with Edgy Themes A&E

Inklings / October 26, 2012 /

ELLIE GAVIN ’14 Staff Writer


hen it comes to producing great theater, Staples Players has been hitting all the right notes for the past five decades. But sometimes a good production is an edgy production. How do the Players handle it when a show’s topics get tough? Throughout their history, the Players have done their fair share of “PG-13” productions, such as “Rent,” “West Side Story,” and “The Laramie Project.” These plays are theater classics, but they’re not always easy to handle. “Rent” involves heavy drug use and the AIDS crisis. “West Side Story” has intense violence, murder, and rape. “The Laramie Project” chronicles a deadly hate crime committed against a young homosexual boy. This fall Players is doing a production of “Oklahoma!”, a mostly upbeat tale of love and jealousy, that also includes some serious subject matter such as violence, adultery, and allusions to sexual assault. “Any time we do a show like that, I go straight to Mr. Dodig,” said Staples Players program director David Roth. “We take it very seriously.” A key moment in the show is a nasty altercation between Laurey and Jud that ends in a way that suggest there might be a rape. While it is not stated outright and it does not occur on stage, it can be assumed by the innuendo and nature of the scene. Roth said, “To a modern audience it might be assumed that that’s how the scene ends.” According to Roth, there is a fine line between edgy and inappropriate. For example,

“Rent,” which involves heavy drug use, is one of the more controversial shows Players has done. According to Roth, most important is that the topics are portrayed in a serious manner that discusses the consequences of dangerous behavior. “We wouldn’t want to potentially glamorize or make light of drug use,” he says. “It depends on what the show is about at its heart.” In addition to show choice, another big challenge for the Players is balancing the level of appropriateness of a show while keeping the integrity of the original show intact. “It is theater. People aren’t going to see a dumbed-down version,” says Clay Singer ‘13, who will play Curly in the show. “[However] if something gets to be too crude, we decide to change it.” One such modification is in the Players production of “Rent,” where the musical number “Contact” was omitted due to some very graphic sexual encounters. This scene is also omitted from the movie. For the most part, however, Players tries to keep the shows as close as possible to their true form. “Modifying a scene to make it more ‘appropriate’ wouldn’t do the show justice,” said Emily Ressler ’14, who is playing Laurey in this year’s production of Oklahoma. Another consideration when producing a high school production is the audience, which is filled with young students and their family members. “Ultimately, we have to sell tickets; we wouldn’t do a show that would close out all kids,” said Roth. In consideration of the po-

POW!: Bryan Gannon ’14 and Clay Singer ’13 rehearse a fight scene.


tentially young audience, Players tends to save more controversial shows for the spring and summer, when the audience is smaller than that of their major fall show. An additional precaution that they may take is to place a warning on the poster for the show that it may not be appropriate for all ages. Fortunately for Players, the Staples and Westport community are generally very accepting of the work they do, even if it is sometimes on the edge. “We’re lucky that our community accepts the productions that deal with more controversial topics,” said Ressler. “I

tendent. The superintendent later published a letter in local newspaper “The Wilton Bulletin” explaining his reasoning. “The script contains language that, while realistic, is graphic and violent. In our view, this approach turns powerful material into a dramatic format that borders on being sensational and inappropriate.” For a high school to give its students so much freedom with their performances is rare. What is even more rare is a theatre department that does such a good job walking that fine line. As Roth said, “I think we handle it pretty well.”

know a lot of people who have said that ‘Rent’ was their favorite show they’ve ever seen at Staples, but most schools wouldn’t allow their theatre program to put on a musical like that.” Indeed many schools not far away from Westport have shut down shows due to controversy. In 2007, 16 student actors from Wilton High School wrote a show called “Voices in Conf lict,” based on memoirs and letters of soldiers fighting in Iraq. The show was banned from being performed in the school by the principal and superin-

The Lengths Actors Go to Get Into Character ELIZA YASS ’14 Staff Writer Being someone else is hard work. Embodying someone else’s completely different life in a convincing manner is not easy. But the Staples Players master it (with a little help). Every year, cast members have to create character biographies: elaborate descriptions of the life of each character, created by the actor or actress. These biographies help them become the part they are assigned. Emily Ressler ’14 explains how they work. “Character bios force you to reflect on your character’s past and consider how that affects him or her at the time the show takes place,” said Ressler. This year, Staples Players will be performing Oklahoma. This is a mostly light show set in, of course, Oklahoma that tells the story of two conflicted romances. But there is a new spin on character biographies this year: the cast is being grouped into different “families,” rather than

completing the bios individually. There is a chart that explains how each member of the cast relates to one another. These relationships consist of boyfriends, girlfriends, spouses, parents, children and other family members. Maddy Rozynek ’14 plays a kind-hearted teen named Ado Annie. She explains her family in the show. “I was assigned to be sisters with Kelly Gore, and daughter of Katelyn Farnen, with an originally set father who is Bryan Gannon,” said Rozynek. Bryan Gannon was Rozynek’s father as a part of the show, but the directors added Farnen and Gore into the family as a part of the new assignments. The people in these families then not only have to describe their own past, but also describe the past of their relationships with the other members of the family. Details include place of birth, ethnic and religious origin, description of childhood, work history and history of relationships. Students also must reflect on how their past experi-

ences affect the way they act and feel in each scene. Assistant director Isabel Perry ’15 helped to create the families, along with the other assistant director Adam Mirkine, ’13, director Mr. Roth, and his wife, Kerry Long. “The ensemble can do research based on if they’re a farmer or a cowman and who is in their family. The bios will also help them justify actions and reactions onstage. It also helps with blocking or staging scenes,” said Perry. Will Haskell, ‘14 likes the new idea. “It is pretty cool, because for the first time I am actually thinking not just about who I am but how I relate to the girl I am dancing with or the guy standing by my side. It is also important to do this because of the social divide that exists in the play between the farmers and the cowmen.” With all of the players getting so attached to their roles, don’t be surprised if there are a couple of cowboys or farmers walking down the halls in the next couple of weeks.

PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT: Amanda Horowitz ’14 and Everett Sussman ’13 hard at work during rehearsal. PHOTO BY LIANA SONENCLAR ’14

COWBOYS AND GIRLS: Maddy Rozynek ’14 and Tyler Jent ’13 practice a dance scene. PHOTO BY LIANA SONENCLAR ’14


A&E Inklings / October 26, 2012 /

Examining Taylor Swift

‘Red’ is the New Black

Swiftly Becoming Obsolete



Staff Writer

Web Mannaging Editor


he first time I heard the lyrics “Drew looks at me, I fake a smile so he won’t see that I want and I’m needing everything that we should be,” float out of my headphones I knew I had found my new favorite artist. Taylor Swift has long been revered by countless teenage girls, but I am one of the few boys who can say, “I love Taylor Swift” with a straight face. And being the huge Taylor Swift fan that I am, I have long awaited the release of her newest album. Taylor Swift’s new album “Red” was released on October 22nd, and Swift perform one single each week in the four weeks leading up to the release of the album. Swift released a single from the album, “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together,” on August 13th and it quickly climbed to Number 1 on the Billboard Top 100. This was Swift’s first song to reach the number one spot. When the song was released, it appeared that Swift was distancing herself from her usual country background. Many people believe that Swift is making the move to more pop-oriented music in order to receive more interest on the radio. When I first heard “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together,” I didn’t know whether I would hate or love Swift’s new style. It wasn’t long before I came to love the song, and I argue that she did in fact keep up her country style. The only difference now is that her country twang is paired with the pop music that many people have come to love But on September 25, purist Taylor Swift fans could breathe a sigh of relief when “Begin Again,” a distinctively more country song, was released. This song was previewed on Good Morning America before being released to iTunes the following day. A week later, October 1, Swift followed this release by performing the title track “Red.” The key to making this album a success was its release of a song with one of the catchiest choruses of all time. There isn’t a day when I don’t hear the mutters of people singing “You gonna talk to your friends, talk to my friends, talk to me…” These words won’t only be heard coming out of the mouths of freshman girls, as many people would expect, but senior boys can even be heard singing this song. Recently Swift returned to her normal self as the songs “Begin Again” and “Red” were released. “Begin Again” is a song that follows Swift’s typical country motif but doesn’t bash her last boyfriends or complain about the boy of her dreams who doesn’t seem to notice her. “Begin Again” is a song, much like her others, that highlights Swift’s music with the slight beat of the drums and the strum of the guitar in the background. The title track, “Red,” is the perfect mix of the pop featured in “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” and the country featured in her old pieces like “Tim McGraw.” The song starts off with the more upbeat tempo that made more of an appearance in Swift’s new music but keeps her vocals as the centerpiece to the music. Overall this is an album with which all music fans, even those who may not have respected Swift before, can fall in love. With the help of “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together,” “Red” is set to go platinum with the lyrics that Swift’s young and innocent fans adore and the upbeat tempo that Modern America has come to love.

Buy it!

Lately, listening to the radio brings my faith in humanity down exponentially each time I tune into the most popular stations in the Northeast. Every minute that I am subjected to the ridiculous commentary on Z100’s “Elvis Duran and the Morning Show” or 106.1 BLI’s nasally commentators “Dana and Jeffrey in the Morning,” I mourn the loss of musical intelligence and lyricism. Taylor Swift plays a key role in this fierce opposition. The truth is always hard to hear, and I get that, but Taylor Swift’s so-called “music” is even harder to hear. The only thing T-Swiz has going for her is her hair, which is indubitably gorgeous. It’s blonde, and it can go either way—it looks fantastic whether it’s straight or curly. However, her songs do not contain the same harmonious beauty as her golden tresses. In fact, the majority of her songs are just middle school insults repeated a dozen times over and inspired solely by her hatred for the entire male race. Apparently, at the ripe age of 22, she has been rejected, offended and wronged by guys enough times to get six Grammys out of the deal. If I had to glean specific incidents based off her lyrical descriptions, I would say that these horrendous and monstrous ex-boyfriends have been “mean, and pathetic, and a liar, and mean” to Taylor, leading her to rightfully question, “Why you gotta be so mean?” While I sympathize with this mistreatment, I have to wonder what could have possibly happened to T-Swiz to make her love life such a nightmare. Did she not get asked to prom? Luckily, she’s not fooling anyone. Taylor Swift’s most popular song right now, “We are Never Getting Back Together,” makes it perfectly clear that she has zero experience in the dating world. Her lyrics in the new song, which is about an on and off relationship, are definitely catchy, yet they are the most unexceptional and generic account of a break-up. She may have had the genius idea of repeating her song title upwards of 10 times in her song, and even had the wisdom to add “never, ever, ever, ever” a few times too, but it just doesn’t tug at my heartstrings to hear Taylor Swift sing, “I say I hate you, we break up, you call me, I love you.” The truth of the matter is I don’t see any evidence of music in Taylor Swift songs. I see a young blonde from Pennsylvania with far too much teen angst and pent-up boyanxiety to express herself like a normal person. Music doesn’t have to be about being victimized by the trials and tribulations of adolescent heartache—especially not when you’re 22 and have had the good fortune to date both John Mayer and a Kennedy. My advice for TSwiz: Channel your misplaced anger into something else—maybe Disney channel movies, which tend to have the same heartbroken plot twists and weak insults as your songs. PHOTO BY SARA LUTTINGER ’13




There and Back Again

Inklings / October 26, 2012 /


Mixed Feelings About the New Hobbit Movie SIMON STRACHER ’14 Sports Editor


ilbo Baggins played a small role in “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy, setting the story in motion by giving the One Ring to his cousin, Frodo Baggins. Bilbo, however, will soon get his chance to shine: “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” debuts on December 14, 2012. The film – which, like the book, acts as a prequel to “The Lord of The Rings” – will chronicle Bilbo’s quest to win a share of treasure guarded by the dragon, Smaug. Along the way, Bilbo evolves into a mature and capable leader. In the guise of a fantasy epic, this tale is just a classic coming of age story. After the success of “The Lord of The Rings” franchise – in total, the three movies won 17 Academy Awards, including a record 11 for the Return of The King, and earned nearly three billion dollars at the box office students are generally excited for the prequel trilogy. “I read [“The Hobbit”] a few years ago and loved it... I’m psyched for this film,” says Lucas Jackson ’14. Connor Hardy ’14 adds, “I’m excited to see the story of how Bilbo got the ring and his adventures before

Ears: pointed slightly

AN EPIC JOURNEY: Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage) leads a company of dwarves into battle. Frodo came along.” The general population seems to be excited as well. According to film review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, 94 percent of 126,103 users want to see “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey”.

Coming of Age: 33rd Birthday

Favorite Colors: yellow & green

Avg. Height: 3’6”

Feet: covered in curly, brown hair


Like “The Lord of the Rings”, “The Hobbit” will be made into three separate movies. However, while “The Lord of the Rings” comprises three separate books, “The Hobbit” is just one. “The Hobbit”–320 pages in the movie tie-in edition–is also shorter than all three “Lord of The Rings “books.

Some students have raised concerns about the screen time devoted to a single book. Because “The Hobbit” contains less source material than “The Lord of The Rings”, “the expansion could drag it out too much and make it boring,” says Hardy. In addition, Hannah Myers ’14 thinks that splitting the book into three mov-

ies may make the movies too similar to each other: “I will be bored with six hours of the same story.” Others are even more critical. “It isn’t worth my time and effort to go and see three movies. I don’t even want to see it on DVD because it’s too damn long,” says Grayson Weir ’14. He adds, “It will take six hours to see three movies that are based on a book I could read quicker.” Even with questions about the artistic merit of splitting “The Hobbit” into three individual movies, students are still excited to see if director Peter Jackson can replicate the success of the original trilogy. Says Hardy, “My excitement for this movie is unmatched. I specifically am excited to see what they do with the dragon [Smaug]; dragons are awesome.” Jackson agrees, saying that “The first movies were so wellwritten and directed; I can’t wait to see what the director does with this great story.” It’s uncertain if “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” and its sequels will be as financially and critically successful as their predecessor, “The Lord of The Rings”, or whether it will be a box office dud like “Superman III”. Students’ reactions to the new trilogy are mixed as well. One thing, however, is certain: Everyone will be talking about Bilbo Baggins.



October 26, 2012

Complete Confidence

Homecoming Anniversaries

Staples Football Prepares for the Homecoming Game GABRIELLE FEINSMITH ’15

beat in the FCIAC. Members of the squad said Social Media Specialist Staples will be playing Wes- they are meeting all of the seniors Staples students are beyond thill during Homecoming this at the beach and then leading the excited for Homecoming, which year, with a current record of 4-1. motorcade back to Staples. “For will take place on November 10th. “Westhill has improved a great our halftime we are doing a mini It is a time for the entire student amount during the off season. I routine, probably with a dance, body to come together and show expect them to be a tough team jumps, tumbling and a pyramid,” that wants to come out and play said captain Olivia Stanley ’13. spirit for their football team. The Staples Wreckers var- hard,” said Nick Ward ’14, left The cheerleaders will, as they do at every other home game, try to sity football team is currently tackle. According to football players get the crowd going to cheer on undefeated with a record of 5 wins and 0 losses. The Wreckers interviewed, the team has been the Wreckers. This is the first year Staples will be playing against Westhill taking practice week by week. High School, and Staples expects Hopefully, they said, the expect- has lights for night games, which a victory. “We are going to win. I ed large number of fans during has been a huge event for the can’t recall the last time we lost a Homecoming will encourage the school. However, the game will Homecoming game,” said Marty team to play to the best of their take place at 10:30 a.m. For the Lisevick, the Athletic Director at ability. Their spirit gives players second second straight year, the motivation to work hard to avoid games have been in the morning Staples for the past 13 years. in an attempt to prevent underage According to those inter- disappointing the fans. Everyone seems to be getting drinking. In the past, there have viewed, there’s no question that the team has improved a great excited to watch the Homecom- been incidents where students were intoxicated to amount since last the point where they season. This year “We are going to win. I can’t had to be rushed to many team memthe hospital. “We take bers happen to be se- recall the last time we lost a the safety aspect of the niors, which means Homecoming game.” game very seriously,” the players, genersaid Lisevick. ally, are bigger and —Marty Lisevick, Athletic Director Although many stronger. The team students said they knows the expectations and how to work well with ing game and participate in spirit would prefer a night game, most week. “Homecoming is a great agreed the morning seems reaone another. Offensively, the team has way to hang out with friends sonable. “I’m a little upset that been playing very well. “Any time and support the school team,” the game is not under the lights, you’re dealing with kids with an said Miranda Brekke ’15. In past it would be an awesome experiextra year of football they know years, students have showed their ence, but I understand where the the plays much better,” said Lise- school spirit with pajama day, administration is coming from,” said James Frusciante ’13, a vick. Most say that experience is white-outs and black-outs. This year’s spirit week is Wrecker captain. the main factor in the team’s imshaping up to be as exciting as Players and other students provement this year. According to Lisevick, the usual. The Varsity Cheerleading agree the game should not be team’s defense has improved as squad has been actively prepar- missed. “Homecoming is going well. The team has been creating ing. “We are learning a brand new to be a lot of fun. I expect a lot of a lot of turnovers, fumbles and routine for Homecoming and Pep people to attend. It might even be interceptions this season. Their Rally, so we have been working as as big as the [first] game under improvement has left the Staples hard as we can,” said Alexa Davis the lights,” said Teddy Coogan ’15, Wreckers with the reputation as ’15, a member of the cheerleading a varsity quarterback. one of the most difficult teams to squad.

THE KICK IS GOOD: Robbie Wolf ’12 attempting a field goal in the snow during last year’s Homecoming. Photo by Autumn Driscoll for the Connecticut Post.

The Wreckers won only two games this season, but still prevailed on Homecoming, in front of a wspirited student body.


The long-haired look of the 80s was on full display at Homecoming, as Staples won 14-6.


The class of 1972’s the team had only 32 players suit up. Thus, the team lost all but two regular season games, Homecoming included.


This year’s game pitted Staples against rival Darien. At the time, it was routine for the band to be on the field during the pregame.





Inklings / October 26, 2012 /


Youth Phenoms Making An Impact

Freshman and Sophomores Tearing It Up On Varsity CLAIRE LEWIN ’15 Staff Writer unning, drills, running, offensive work, running, defensive work, and yet again, more running: it’s safe to say that the girls’ varsity soccer practice can be described as nothing less than hard work. Upperclassmen who have been on varsity for a couple of years are accustomed to these rigorous practices, but imagine how hard it is for the freshmen girls who make varsity. This year Olivia Gerrard ’16 was the only freshman who was able to land a spot on the varsity team as a midfielder. She is described by her teammates as a dedicated and hardworking player who thrives on her technicality and fast pace. It isn’t every day that a freshman makes varsity, but it is becoming more common. “The skills are getting better every year,” says Nikki Ross, last year’s coach of the varsity team. “It’s a big accomplishment for a freshman to make varsity.” This year’s talent was brought to a whole new level when sophomore Paige Murray ’15, who


had never played soccer before, made the varsity team. “I wanted to try out because Staples soccer isn’t just a team sport,” said Murray “Everyone becomes a family and is always so spirited every day, including at practice.” Murray worked hard over the summer in preparation for tryouts. She did Body Blast and Noga, and got training from one of her varsity soccer friends, Chloe Rosenfield ’15, which she credits as a major component to her success on the varsity team. The girls’ soccer team is split into three divisions: Freshmen, Junior Varsity (JV), and Varsity. Most of the time, the freshmen are put on the freshmen team, the more skilled girls make JV, and the most advanced players get to play on varsity. The girls who make varsity as freshmen are very special and have often been playing soccer for many years. Maggie Walsh ’15, who has been playing on varsity since her freshmen year, may not have started out as a star but worked herself

up to be a true player. “I wasn’t u vvery good at first,” said Walsh. “I was really aggressive, but I didn’t w have a lot of skill.” h Although the girls are clearly ttalented, most of them did not expect to make varsity during their p ffreshman year. “My first reaction was sshock,” said Meg Root ’15, a ssophomore who made varsity ffreshman year. “Then happiness, and then the anxiety p tthat came with playing with upperclassmen.” u Luckily for Meg, her fears of playing with juniors and seniors p tturned out to be unfounded. “Seniors are intimidating,” ssays Root, “but the upperclassmen on the team were so nice. m They were willing to drive me to T Wakemen for practice, and they W didn’t exclude the freshmen at all. d “They were really good at cchallenging me during practices, making me (try) to be as good as m tthem,” said Lauren Garcia ’15, PHOTO BY RACHEL TREISMAN ’14 who has been playing on varsity since her freshman year. Being on varsity as a freshYOUNG STUDS Lauren Garcia man not only has social benefits, ’15, one of the four sophomores as it integrates different grades, on varsity. but it also helps to improve the

girls’ skills. The coaches try to put in the most deserving players, no matter their age. On the varsity team, some students argue that it is not fair for a freshman to make varsity over an upperclassman. Some students, who asked to not be named, think that there were many upperclassmen who should have been placed on varsity. Students also speculate that some players receive an unfair advantage because they have had older siblings who have played on the team during previous years, players said. It is inevitable that there will always be controversy and speculation when it involves dividing people into teams, but there is one thing that is certain: to the girls on the team, varsity soccer can be described as a big family. “I can honestly say I think this year is the closest the Staples team has felt to me,” says captain, Siri Andrews ’13, who has been playing on varsity since her freshman year. “I always forget that everyone is not in the same grade, and I am so happy to be a part of that!”


STAPLES RECCERS? Team One lines up for a pregame inspection by referee Ben Cion ’14.

From Varsity to a Different Level of Competition- Rec Soccer Kelsey Shockey ’14 Video Editor Rec Soccer? Many students don’t even know that rec soccer for high schoolers exists. In fact, there are 40 players split between two teams this year. There is a great increase from last year, where there were only 25 students on one team. Unlike other sports teams, the trick is not to feature talent but teamwork. “It is really a beautiful game when you understand what it takes to make a team good,” Rec Coach Matthew Burris said. “A team with aver-

age players who play their positions and don’t hog the ball will usually beat a team in which one or two star players dominate the ball.” In rec soccer, Team One has seniors, sophomore, and some freshmen, and Team Two has the juniors and the remaining freshman. This is just how the numbers worked. In addition, players like to play with their friends. According to Burris, the goal of rec soccer is to provide a safe environment where players can enjoy the game safely without having to worry about their skill level. This means that there are no cuts as well as equal play-

ing time. “I like to play rec soccer because there are no vigorous tryouts and it is a good way to get active on the weekends,” Will Simpson ’14 said. “That is why it has gained popularity.” Last year, the four main high school boys’ rec teams were Westport, Wilton, Danbury, and Trumbull. Now, Ridgefield, Rowayton, and Stamford are also following the pack, along with the second Westport team. Coaches try to put equally competitive teams on the field and would prefer to have a score more similar to 2-1 than to 6-0. “Rec soccer gives me a great opportunity to play the sport I

was supposed to play when I was born. It is in my blood and in my ethnic background,” Francesco Martinovic ’13 said, among his team’s leading scorers. Timesaving conveniences for the players are that there are no practices, and more than half of the games are on the Wakeman fields. The two common themes to rec soccer’s popularity, players said, are getting to run around and exercise and having a good time with friends. Pensak described one funny moment when the dad of Jack Dobrich ‘13 gave his own son a yellow card for unsportsmanlike conduct.

“Another hilarious moment was when Cyrus Burris ’15 saved a goal by chasing down the opponent with the ball, unleashing a ferocious battle cry, then tackling the kid to the ground, and coming away with just a yellow card from the referee,” Pensak said. Players are competitive, all agreed, but have fun. “If I could describe the team in one word, it would be ‘spirited.’ They come with so much energy (as long as the games are in the afternoon), and sometimes they horse around like a pack of puppies,” Coach Burris said.

22 Sports

Inklings / October 26, 2012 /

Staples Hosts USA Rugby More Games May Come SOPHIE DE BRUJIN ’14 Web Features Editor


n Sept. 31, rugby fans packed into the Staples Stadium bleachers to watch the U.S. national rugby league team, the USA Tomahawks, battle their rival, Canada. “To have a national sports team come to play locally is an awesome experience,” said Jackson Yang ’13, a Staples rugby cocaptain. “The fact that it was rugby made it even cooler for me and the other members of the team that attended. “ The globally-ranked team came to Staples for the Colonial Cup, a fierce competition between the U.S. and Canada. The Tomahawks won home field privileges for the game after defeating Canada by a score of 34-20 on aggregate in the 2011 Colonial Cup. Staples was officially decided as the venue when athletic director Marty Lisevick got a request from Parks and Recreation through the Staples rugby coaches. Lisevick felt that the game would be a great opportunity for Staples students as well as future players to see high level rugby. The Tomahawks defeated the Canada Wolverines 36-14 and clinched the 2012 Colonial Cup. Their performance inspired Staples rugby players who were at the game. “Having these athletes come to Staples to represent our country gave me hope for opportunities on a national level,” said Tim Schroeder ’14. The Tomahawks found Westport thanks to their

Strength and Conditioning Coach and Fairfield resident, Ben Kelly, who owns a gym in the area. “Creating exposure for ourgreat sport in Fairfield county was the catalyst for hosting here,” said Kelly. Over 300 spectators crammed into the bleachers to

but it has definitely been growing in recent years.” According to the Interna-tional Rugby Board, global participation in the sport has increased 19% since the Rugby World Cup in 2007. In the United States, there has been a 350%

rugby. League differs from union by having 13 players per side instead of 15, and it also has a system of limited tackles similar to those in football. Rugby union has also maintained the use of scrums, where rugby league does not. Despite the differences, the team was able to find common ground and learn some valuable lessons about communication and strategy from the Tomahawks. “Our players were amazed at how well the team could run plays and how comfortable they felt out there,” said Cozzi. “This really showed the guys the value of working hard and how it can pay off in the long run.” Cozzi also noted the similarity of speed in Staples and Tomahawk players. saying that watching The Tomohawks showcasing their speed was really helpful in giving Staples players different ideas of how to use the fast players from Staples, Cozzi said Kelly maintains that rugby are is an extremely physical sport and a sport full of rich life lessons, and believes it deserves the attention it is starting to receive. The Tomahawks specifically are looking towards their own PHOTO COURTESY OF COLIN WATSON PHOTOGRAPHY. exciting future, as they recently READY, BREAK! Team USA huddling by the Staples endzone during their exhibiton against Canada. qualified for the 2013 World Cup next fall in England and France. increase since us up to a Division 1 high school The team hopes to return to Stawatch the game take place, an ex- participation team,” said Cozzi. citing turnout for a sport that has 2004. ples while preparing for the event. Although the Staples playKelly attributes this growth often gone unrecognized in the “The players really enjoyed to colleges such as UC Berkeley ers were thrilled by the game, the the hospitality of Staples high area. “It stirred up some more at- offering rugby scholarships as Tomahawks play a different kind school and Westport,” said Kelly. tention within Westport than the- well as the sport’s inclusion in the of rugby than do high schools and “I would like Staples to be the colleges across the country. sport is used to garnering,” said 2016 Olympics. home venue for the USA trainThe Tomahawks play league ing camps. The future looks very Staples co-captain Matt Yang. “Usually it gets overshadowed by more American sports, Cozzi ’13 has seen the growth at rugby, while Staples plays union bright.”

One Year Later ALEX SPECTOR ’13 AND JOE GREENWALD ’13 Business Manager and Web Sports Editor A year after a beloved football coach was accused of sharing pornography with his freshmen athletes, Staples football players say they haven’t forgotten him but they are focusing on this season’s challenges. Last November, freshman football coach and lacrosse JV coach Michael J. Pickering was arrested by the Westport Police Department on charge of distributing passwords for a porn website to his freshmen players. What followed was pandemonium, as those who defended “Coach Pick”, as he is known by players, created a Facebook page title “Free Pick” in response to the arrest. Both current and past players, close friends, and family members posted in this group asking for the release, calling it an injustice, blown out of proportion due to its proximity in time to the Sandusky rape scandal at Penn State. After primarily pleading non-guilty to the charges against him, Pickering, as recent as August 22nd, 2012, has been put on probation and had his charges of risk of injury to a minor reduced to reckless endangerment and breach of peace, according to the Stamford Advocate. Despite the widespread support and massive uproar regard-

Staples alone, saying that 15-25 more players were coming out for the team this year than in his freshman year. “I really feel its mostly because Coach Barahona has done a great job in improving the work ethic of the players and building

ing the situation last year, it seems that even though people remember Pickering, most have moved on. “Everyone has moved ved on and kind of forgotten about ut it,” said Jake Melnick ’15. “Butt everyone still loves him.” Senior defensive end Jared Levi ’13, echoed Melnick’s nick’s sentiment. “I haven’t heard ard Coach Pick’s name in a while but those who knew the real Pick ck knew it was a bad judgment call all and out of character.” After interview with over half a dozen players, coaches, aches, and administrators, the general neral consensus is that Pickering g was a great guy who made a terrible mistake. “He was a good man who loved kids, but he attempted something very dangerous,” Principal John Dodig said. “Becoming too friendly in the wrong way.” Staples football coach Marce Petroccio described the situation as, “Unfortunate for or everyone involved.” “He was a very good od person who made a very poor decision decision,”” Petroccio said. “I’m not really sure why he made the decision but we know he never meant to hurt the players and the program.”

The Coach Pick Scandal Revisited

Although Pick is still well liked amongst players of both the Staples football and lacrosse teams, many players declined comment. “It’s still a controversial issue and isn’t relevant to the current [Wreckers football] season”, an anonymous Staples football player explained. Many members of the Wreckers football team had a close connection with Pickering but they seem to have moved on as they continue to have a

magnif icent season. However people will always remember Pick. “It’s not as bad as it could have been. We all make bad decisions and he’s learned”, Melnick said. “Everyone still loves him”.

Sports Inklings / October 26, 2012 /


Deciphering the Cheer Lingo CADENCE NEENAN ’15 Staff Writer “Okay girls, let’s start working on our cupies -- starting with an awesome. Bases, make sure your arms are at extension height, and f lyer, remember to stay tight throughout. Ready, okay!” If the past sentence didn’t make sense, it’s understandable. One would have to be cheer-lingual to understand the code words in that peppy command. However, while confusing to most, to cheerleaders, those instructions are just another day in the life. “If you came to one of our practices, you would think we were speaking another language,” said Katie Kelly ‘14. And it’s true. Cheerleaders have a language of their own. They throw around terms like “scorpion,” “awesome,” “basket toss,” and “full,” while tothose outside of the team it may sound more confusing than Shakespeare. Starting with a term many of those outside of the squad may know, a “scorpion” is an extension of her leg behind the head of the cheerleader; as a result, the leg, arms, and back almost make a circle. This challenging move requires a lot of f lexibility in the back, shoulder, and legs, said Emma Mikesh ’16. Another term that is used frequently throughout cheerleading practice is a “full.” Used

ROCK STEADY Staples cheerleaders hard at work during one of the home football games. to describe the gymnastic stunt that most of the cheerleaders agree is the most difficult, this stunt is performed as the cheerleader f lips backwards, while completing a 360 degree turn to the right or left. Throughout the turn, her body remains completely straight. If this seems confusing, you’re not alone. Many people

lack knowledge of the cheerleading language. For example, when asked what an “awesome” is, football player Jack Greenwald said, “A cool dance maneuver.” While many of you may have agreed, an “awesome” is in fact a stunt where the f liers (cheerleaders at the top of the stunt) keep their feet together as they are lifted quickly


into the air by the bases (people lifting the f lyer). Understanding the cheer code is a difficult and longdrawn out process. Despite all the confusion in the behind-the-scenes, one part of the cheerleading language everybody understands: the cheers. Almost the entire school could sing along with

The Cheer Dictionary

“Blue, white, let’s go, let’s fight,” or “S-H-S, the Wreckers are the best.” And nearly all the cheerleaders themselves have a cheer they love, one that’s both a crowd pleaser as well as a squad favorite. “My favorite cheer is rock steady. I’m sure a lot of people know how that goes!” said Alexa Davis ’15.


Although it may seem like the Staples cheerleaders are speaking a foreign language when they discuss their moves, a simple breakdown of the cheer lingo makes it as easy as A, B, C.

[Scor·pi·on] /skawr-pee-uhn/ noun 1. Flyer extends one leg behind the head, forming a near perfect circle between the leg and head while being held 2. Venomous arachnid, having a long narrow, segmented tail

[Back hand·spring] /bak-hand-spring/ noun 1. A full rotation in which stunters flip backwards over their hands 2. See above.

[Awe·some] /aw-suhm/ noun 1. Flyers are lifted quickly into the air and put both arms into a high “V” shape 2. Inspiring awe, very impressive


H xc D om l E u Pr e c s e o i pg vie m i v e . 2 w ng 0




The Wreckers


ports Athletics Beyond the Field

When Sports Isn’t About a Team JOE GREENWALD ’13 Web Sports Editor Some would say Max Kantor ’14 is a small fish in a big pond. Not many know the Staples junior has caught over 400 bull and over 200 hammerhead sharks in his accomplished fishing career. As a gamesman, Max embraces the nature of the sport of fishing and thrives by the water. Max has fished all over, from Alaska to Iceland, from the Caribbean to Montana. According to Max, at Yellowstone National Park in Montana he causght well over a hundred trout in the span of five days. Of late, Max has strayed from the big game fishing he is locally renowned for. “Pretty much the only way I’ll fish now is fly-fishing both in fresh and salt water. It’s both more relaxing and more accessible,” said Kantor. Max is one of several Staples students who participate in sports not known for their popularity. At Staples High School, sports like football and basketball receive all of the glory. Sports like fencing, archery, and even fishing, however, are hidden from the spotlight. In the fencing world, the concept of

Senior Grant Jessup has no such fear as he takes to the cliffs, competing against himself as a rock climber. Jessup has been and is still well known as a pure athlete, but likes to push himself and stray from team sports. “I simply do it because I don’t have to waste my time with all that ‘team’ mumbojumbo stuff” said Jessup. The senior climbs at Carabiner’s Indoor Climbing in Fairfield. “Climbing really lets you push yourself to your physical limits. It is just as mental as it is physical,” Jessup said. As he grew in experience and skill in rock climbing, he ascended higher both figuratively and literally. “The highest climb I’ve done so far was a little over 350 feet,” Jessup said. The physical strain of a 350-foot climb, he stressed, cannot be described simply in words. Fishing and fencing demand strategic awareness and a keen eye, and rock climbing requires physical endurance and power, but no sports require the technique, skill-set, and swag that skateboarding calls for, according to skateboarder Jack Roof ‘13. Sponsored by One Day Skate-Shop and featured on skateboarding websites as well as sponsored YouTube videos, Roof is a

“I simply do it because I don’t have to waste my time with all that ‘team’ mumbo-jumbo stuff” -Grant Jessup ’13 “bowing down” after each match is evoked through Tessa Schroll ’13. Schroll has made a name for herself in the local fencing world. Schroll started as a seventh grader and was hesitant at first, but grew to love the sport. The apparel that came with competing didn’t hurt either, she admitted. “The head mask, the sword, and the glove, I must say, were quite invigorating,” said Schroll. After fencing at the YMCA for two years, Schroll turned up the heat as she began fencing at Fairfield Fencing Academy. Schroll hopes to fence in college and also predicts future success of the sport’s likeability. “It’s a very strategic sport, and I bet that soon it’ll become more popular,” she said. Swords might make fencing seem dangerous, but what about a fear of heights? The next sport might pose problems for some.

well-known 17-year-old and quite the pro. “My friend who was already sponsored talked to the guy at the shop and made it happen,” Roof said of his path to sponsorship. He took a liking to skateboarding at a very young age and practiced at the town skate park at Compo Beach. “Since I was about four I can remember getting on my board and heading to Compo [Skate Park],” Roof said. His first trick, he recalls, was a “shoveit.” A “shove-it” involves the skateboarder jumping into the air with his board, turning it 180 degrees, and landing cleanly back on it. “Now-a-days, my favorite tricks to do are hard-flips, heel-flip varials, and the occasional laser flip,” Roof said. All of these athletes are accomplished and highly skilled in a way unique to them, and that’s the way they like it. “It’s very cool being one of the few rock-climbers at the school,” said Jessup.

OBSCURITY AT ITS FINEST Tessa Shroll ’13 squares off with a fellow fencer. Right, Grant Jessup ’13 scales a rocky mountain.



Inklings October 26 Issue

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