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◆ Friday, Jan. 18, 2013 • Volume 91, Semester I Special
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Newton North High School, 457 Walnut St., Newtonville, Mass. 02460
Mayor turns hobby into job Julia Moss Mayor Setti Warren ’88 discovered his passion for local community leadership when he served as class president at this school for all four years. In fact, Warren said, “My experience in high school serving as class president had a great influence on my decision to go into public service. I carry that experience to this day.” Warren said one incident in particular that he helped to resolve as class president greatly impacted his future career path. According to the Newtonite at the time, groups of black and white students came into a drug-related conflict in which 30 white students attacked a METCO bus. “Mayor Theodore Mann asked me to do something about this,” Warren said. In the aftermath of the incident, Warren said he created orange ribbons “that students wore in solidarity” and played a large role in an anti-prejudice program, Ethos for Equality. “The most rewarding aspect of serving as class president at North was providing leadership by
and communication at a difficult time,” Warren said. “That translates into what you have to do as mayor. You bring people together to solve problems.” Today as mayor, Warren continues to give back to this school, the place where he learned to love public service and discovered his talent for it. Recently, he met with members of the design and visual communications classes to discuss their project—designing a Pedestrian Alert System for Ethiopia. In addition, Warren has mentored his student interns, who have simliar interests in local government that he displayed at their age. “Working in mayor Warren’s office was an amazing experience,” said junior Riley Heiman. “He taught me that public service is truly about helping the public. If someone is having difficulties, then it’s up to the City to help solve it.” In the end, Warren said, “Being mayor is an incredible way to serve the community in my hometown. It’s an amazing job and a fantastic city.”
courtesty Winnie Chen
Giving back: Mayor Setti Warren chats with senior Felege Gebru in the Tiger’s Loft.
Graduates pursue passions Julia Moss Participation in extracurricular activities at this school have inspired many alumni to pursue high school interests in their studies and careers. by
Energy: Physical education health and wellness teacher Mike Bower helps freshman Olanne Healy during class.
Physical education health and wellness teacher Mike Bower ’90 discovered his passion for fitness as a high school student, he said. Bower said he first began regularly working out and lifting weights as a way to prepare for sports at this school. According to Bower, he found that he greatly enjoyed working out. “I decided that I would educate myself on fitness in every way I could.” Bower said his high school interest in fitness influenced the choices he made at Hobart College and in his career. He played sports at Hobart, took exercise classes and became certified in personal training.
“I am lucky that my favorite hobby connects so much to my career,” Bower said. “I am a teacher who understands what it means to be a North athlete.”
After actively participating in this school’s Greengineering program, Sam Shames ’10 went on to major in material science and engineering at MIT. “The research skills I developed during Greengineering and then extended during my Senior Year Project have been instrumental to my success at MIT,” Shames said. Shames’ experience with Greengineering inspired him to join the biodiesel club at MIT and helped him to get a research job, he said. Most importantly, Shames said, Greengineering “was the first place where I became passionate about the work I was doing. I have continued to channel that passion at MIT.”
Deb Vogel ’91 pursued her high school passion for dance by founding Newton’s All That Jazz Dance Studio in 1998. Vogel said she began dancing at the age of three and continued to pursue her love of dance while a student at this school. “Everybody knew me as a dancer at North. It was just part of my identity and very much defined me throughout my whole life,” she said. After graduating from Bowdoin College in 1995, Vogel said, she taught dance at a local dance studio and at local private schools and then opened All That Jazz Dance Studio. Vogel said she encourages current students to pursue the passions and hobbies that are meaningful to them. “Don’t think that when high school ends that you automatically will have to give up whatever makes you happiest.”
Interests bring students together, further learning Hilary Brumberg As high school students, it feels like not a lot in our lives is up to us. by
column Most of us wake up to our blaring alarm clocks, slam the snooze button at least a half dozen times, get up, go to school, come home, eat dinner, do homework and go to bed. Rinse and repeat. One of the few things we get to choose is what we do in
between these obligations. For many of us, outside interests are where we meet our friends, follow our passions and take pride in ourselves. Hobbies can also be an opportunity to meet people who we might not otherwise meet. For example, maybe the kids you are in karate lessons with or play Dungeons and Dragons with don’t take the same classes as you, aren’t in your grade or don’t even live in Newton. If it weren’t for your mutual love of karate or gaming,
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you would never have become friends with them and would have never learned from their diverse experiences. There is only so much that can be learned in a classroom. Yes, students can gain a great deal of knowledge about birds and snakes in biology classes. But the students may only truly understand these animals once they’ve competed in birdwatching tournaments and raised snakes in their own living rooms. Through hobbies, we stu-
dents apply the knowledge we learn in the classroom and in life to gain an intimate appreciation of specific activities and subjects. In addition, students often feel pride in their successes as a result of their hobbies because these successes truly belong to them. Unless you have an amazingly perfect memory, there is no way that when you are a little old lady in a rocking chair looking back on her life, you will remember every test you
crammed for, essay you wrote the night before it was due or every homework assignment you half-completed. However, chances are that we will fondly look back on completing our junior theses. Similarly, you will remember with pride the times you went to Nationals for horseback riding or ballroom dancing. In the end, hobbies give you the freedom to pursue your interests and to go beyond the parameters of school to discover your true passions.
2 ◆ Newtonite, Newton North
Friday, Jan. 18, 2013
Jacob Fauman participates in chess competitions Kristian Lundberg Though the rules of chess are fairly rigid, during one of senior Jacob Fauman’s first competitive tournaments in Queensland, Ohio, his opponent was quite willing to bend them. “I was beating a kid who had a higher ranking than me, and he was a favorite to win the tournament, so when I started winning he became really desperate,” Fauman recalled. “He offered me money to resign, and then he offered to give me the physical clock,” both of which are highly frownedupon enterprises in the world of chess. So what did Fauman do? “I mean, there’s really no accepted practice for doing anything like that, so I still beat him,” Fauman said, laughing. “But at my current level, whether you win, lose or draw, people tend to be good sports about it.” Given all that he has accomplished throughout the course of his chess career, the fact that most others take losing fairly well should probably come as a relief. Fauman, the reigning high school state co-champion, also by
was an integral part of a team of students from this school that won its third State Championship in the past four years last spring. Moreover, as an eighth grader Fauman finished in second place in the K-12 Championships, which is to local chess competitions what the Super Bowl is to intramural football. “Though coming in second place was the best I’ve ever done there, I’ve placed in the top ten fairly consistently since then,” Fauman said. These successes are a testament to Fauman’s years of honing his skills and developing different strategies to use in gameplay. Senior Winston Huang, a teammate of Fauman’s on last year’s title-winning squad, has seen Fauman’s talent firsthand. “You can never assume anything with Jacob because he’s such a brilliant player,” Huang said. As Fauman points out, the battles of chess occur just as often in the mental game as the one played on the board. “Chess is all about identifying a weakness and pursuing a
goal,” Fauman said. “Though it sounds like a cliché, the most important thing in chess is coming up with a plan.” According to Fauman, the overall game strategy begins as early as the opening moves. “There are different openings that people play, and they can determine how the game will turn out. For instance, you can get draw-ish games out of drawish openings,” he said. “When you meet a chess player for the first time, one of the first questions you ask them is, ‘What kind of opening do you play?’’’ Fauman opens by moving the pawn in front of his queen, an uncommon move because most begin by moving the king’s pawn forward, he said. “The queen’s-pawn opening tends to create a more lively, interesting board. I usually play pretty aggressively, so I use my openings to try to advance my strategy,” he said. Fauman said he mainly participates in local weekend tournaments, many of which have cash prizes, and he now spends much of his time training to further polish his skills. But he added that his main motivation
Checkmate: Senior Jacob Fauman practices chess in the Learning Commons last Friday. is just the fun he has playing the game. “Chess is really cool because it involves a certain way of thinking critically and logically,” Fauman said.
“A lot of people think of chess as impractical because there aren’t any real jobs in chess, but I like it because there’s a systematic thought process that it requires.”
YouTube video editing captivates Franklin Lewis Alex Feit For the most part, “Super Smash Bros. Brawl” for the Nintendo Wii stands simply as a multiplayer fighting game with scant evidence of a plot. Yet where many only use the game to engage in mindless button smashing for hours on end, senior Franklin Lewis sees a drama. Instead of merely acting as a typical consumer of games and playing the title repeatedly, Lewis has taken his childhood love for videogames and converted it into a productive enterprise. Under the YouTube pseudonym “ElectroBlade,” Lewis uses the characters in the game engine of Super Smash Bros. to create short videos called “machinimas,” complete with story arcs and masterful cinematography. He also gets paid to do it. With around 1,700 subscribers to his personal account and over a million views across a few different channels, Lewis managed to get enough recognition that he now receives a stipend for each gaming video he posts to YouTube. His videos caught the attention of Machinima, a popular gaming channel on YouTube dedicated to spreading gameplay videos, product reviews and machinima-based content, according to Lewis. In essence he is doing what many gaming fanatics could only imagine: playing video by
After school: Senior Franklin Lewis edits a video using iMovie Friday, Jan. 4 in the Library Learning Commons. Machinima, a popular gaming channel on YouTube, pays Lewis to post simple videos of him playing videogames. games for money. Lewis began his career with video games when he was five years old and began playing Pokemon on his GameBoy Color. From that point on, Lewis became an adamant follower of Nintendo franchises, playing many of their action and role-playing games and owning several of their consoles and gaming devices. However, in seventh grade,
Lewis started making the transition to posting gaming videos on YouTube by accidentally discovering the art of machinima. “I remember that one day when I was playing ‘Super Smash Bros. Melee’ and messing around with the characters, I thought it would be cool if I made voiceovers,” Lewis said. “Then I found out about machinima afterwards when a few friends showed it to me.” Soon after, Lewis created
a YouTube page and started posting simple videos of himself playing video games. In eighth grade, Lewis made his first experiment with machinima entitled “The Legend of Olimar,” documenting the fictional adventures of one of the playable characters of “Super Smash Bros. Brawl.” Soon after, Machinima sent him an offer to post the series on its channel. As a result, the five-episodelong “Legend of Olimar” eventually became his most popular series, amassing hundreds of thousands of views across multiple channels. “I thought it was pretty amazing when I got messaged by them to post videos,” Lewis said. “I honestly did not know what to think.” On average, Lewis said that all of the scriptwriting, filming, voice-acting and editing that is involved in production can take months, especially if he needs to contact others over the Internet for help. “The length of time it takes to make a video really depends on the type that I am making. “For a short six minute video, it might take about a month to get everything prepared. For a longer 10 minute video that is part of a series, the process might take a few months,” Lewis said. The sheer devotion that it takes to post a short video to the Internet has forced him to take
The Newtonite, founded in 1922, is the official news source of Newton North High School, 457 Walnut St., Newtonville, Mass. 02460. Editors in chief — Hilary Brumberg, Jay Feinstein, Perrin Stein News editor — Amanda Hills Sports editors — Ryan Condon, Jacob Schwartz Arts editors — Leah Budson, Peter Diamond Features editors — Malini Gandhi, Gloria Li, Julia Oran Freelance editors — Douglas Abrams, David Kwartler Opinion editor — Connor Vasu Talk of the Tiger editor — Julia Moss Associate editors –– Samantha Libraty, Kristian Lundberg
Photography editors — Maliha Ali, Nina Kaplan Production manager — Jordan Robins Advertising managers —Philippine Kugener Business manager — Philippine Kugener Circulation manager — Eyob Gizachew Online editors — Alex Feit, Nicky Kaufman, Alex Potter Advisers — Tom Fabian, Derek Knapp, Amanda Mazzola Production adviser — Tom Donnellan Publications adviser –– Kate Shaughnessy News staff — Jared Perlo Features staff — Isatou Marenah
a hiatus from machinima since junior year, with the stress of the college application and obtaining a drivers’ license having taken its toll on Lewis’ hobbies. Still, Lewis intends to return to YouTube in the near future, with the upcoming release of “Grand Theft Auto V” offering him an opportunity to make a new style of machinima for his channel. “I still have a few ideas for videos that I would like to make,” Lewis said. He said that he might also tend to his other minor interest of posting his own art to deviantART.com, a website where users post fan-art based on movies, television shows, video games and comics. The massive YouTube gaming community consumes Lewis’ types of videos with vigor. Further, as the fourth most subscribed to YouTube channel, “Machinima” was originally founded to post the same type of videos that Lewis currently makes. Regardless, even if the money and attention is good, Lewis says that he makes videos simply out of the satisfaction of creating something worthwhile. “I post videos I work hard on to Machinima because I get joy out of finishing big projects, especially ones that many people around the world can enjoy,” Lewis said. “Even if I wasn’t getting paid, I would still make them.”
Sports staff — Sam Jones, Jonny Levenfeld, Liam Wilcox-Warren Opinion staff — Asya Grozdanova, Bennett Kaplan, Cyrus Vaghar Talk of the Tiger staff –– Charles Attisano, Eli Bock, Rosanna Gessel-Larson, Rachel Kronberg, Carina Wallack Art staff — Artem Aleksanyan Arielle Conti, Izzy Rosenblatt Photography staff –– Yarden Gavish, Rosanna Gessel-Larson, Amelia Goldstein, Lizzie Kenslea, Madeleine Lundberg, Lizzie McCarty
The Newtonite staff does all the reporting and photography to post content daily to its website, theNewtonite.com. Sign up for the Newtonite’s bimonthly email newsletter on its website at http://thenewtonite.com/newsletter/. In addition to this print Semester I special, the Newtonite will publish a print graduation special in June. To place an advertisement in the online or print version of the Newtonite or to contact us by phone, please call 617-559-6273. Readers can also reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org or at http://thenewtonite.com/contact.
Readers are invited to submit guest articles and letters to the editor. Letters and columns should be put in the Newtonite box in the main office or emailed to email@example.com. In addition, readers are invited to comment on articles posted to our website, theNewtonite.com. If readers are interested in contributing to the Newtonite on a regular basis, they are invited to start a blog. Applications can be obtained in 273. The Newtonite reserves the right to edit all letters, columns and blogs, which must have the writer ’s name, class and homeroom. The Newtonite serves as a forum for student opinion.
Friday, Jan. 18, 2013
Newton North, Newtonite ◆ 3
courtesy Caroline Nunberg, Elena Alfonsi
Dancing: Senior Caroline Nunberg dances with her partner, Sharon junior Steven Varshavsky, during the Eastern United Danceport Championship Saturday, Feb. 18 (left). Nunberg is also a captain of the dance team with seniors Piper Sharkey and Georgina Miles (right).
Energy defines Caroline Nunberg’s dancing style Malini Gandhi One hour before beginning their silver medal performance at the USA Dance National Championships for ballroom dancing last April, senior Caroline Nunberg and her dance partner Steven Varshavsky were far from meditating or receiving quiet advice from their coach. Rather, they were in their hotel room, the pounding music cranked up, jumping on the beds until they were red-faced and breathless. “The bed jumping before competitions pumps us up,” Nunberg said with a laugh. “Every couple has a routine they go through before competitions, and though we’ve tried meditation or quieter activities, nothing seems to get us in the right mindset like the fire of jumping on hotel room beds to music like little kids.” This fire and energy is what characterizes Nunberg’s approach to dance, said senior Audrey Derobert, who dances with Nunberg on this school’s dance team. According to Derobert, Nunberg is known for her bold, powerful moves and for the way she strides across the dance floor in a sparkling dress. “Watching Caro dance is a reby
minder that what she does truly is a sport,” Derobert said. “She has incredible strength, agility, speed and endurance, and she does it with a smile and heels. Caro’s the ultimate athlete.” And this fiery athletic approach to dancing has taken Nunberg far. The second place finish at the USA Dance National Championships last April was just the culmination of a long string of accolades at countless competitions, and this year, Nunberg said she has her eyes set on qualifying for Worlds. Yet long before the competitions, awards and fiery performances, Nunberg was a three-year-old attending weekly ballet, jazz and tap lessons. According to Nunberg, dance has always been a part of her life. Yet it was not until sixth grade, when she was first introduced to ballroom dancing, that she “really started to get into the sport,” she said. After a few years, she found a partner, Varshavsky, to dance with. They worked their way up to larger and larger competitions, where they began to receive positive attention from judges, she said. According to Nunberg, she and Varshavsky train at the Sa-
varia Dance Studio in Norwood, and their training schedule is unconventional. Their coach is from the Czech Republic and only comes to the United States a few months a year, so when he does come, her weeks are packed with dozens of hours of lessons. When their coach is absent, the duo practices together in the studio for about 20 hours per week. Nunberg said the situation with their coach is a challenge. “Most couples with coaches that stay in the studio can receive advice on technique on a regular basis,” she said. “Steven and I are at a disadvantage because we are not always certain when our coach will come next, so the information we can get is limited from time to time.” Despite this obstacle, their hard work paid off with their second place finish at Nationals last year out of a total of 44 couples, an experience Nunberg described as “thrilling.” Nunberg said she sees competition not as a distraction from the joy of dancing, but rather as an essential component that pushes her to take risks and challenge herself. “If there weren’t any compe-
titions, there would be no fire for me. The goal of acquiring titles pushes me to be a better dancer,” she said. Nunberg’s drive and passion for dancing has also led her to explore dance beyond ballroom dancing competitions. For the past four years, Nunberg has been an active member of this school’s fall and winter dance teams, which perform hip hop. This year, the fall dance team placed first at States and second at the New England Cheer and Dance Competition, both in the hip hop category. Nunberg said she never thought she would enjoy or excel at dancing hip hop with a group of students, which is “on the opposite side of the spectrum from ballroom dancing.” However, she said she has come to appreciate the different dynamic and intensity in each dance form. “When dancing hip hop with a group of other girls, there is much more collective energy. We all are moving together, and we build energy off each other in a sort of wide, dynamic way,” Nunberg said. “However, in ballroom dancing you have a very focused, face-to-face interaction with your partner,
and you create a different sort of energy that way.” In addition to providing her with another perspective on dancing, participating in this school’s dance team has also allowed Nunberg to pursue leadership opportunities. Nunberg was captain of the fall dance team this year and is currently the captain of the winter team. She said the experience of organizing and inspiring other dancers as well as simply dancing herself was “very exciting.” “I learned so much about how to work behind the scenes and how to lead and motivate a team,” Nunberg said. Derobert said that Nunberg’s passion for dance and leadership skills has made her a “phenomenal role model” for the team. “She’s a strong leader because she’s so driven, and she won’t let anyone else slack off. She makes the team better through example and hard work,” Derobert said. “This past season she was always willing to pull someone aside who had trouble with choreography, organize a team event or just get everyone excited. She showed how passionate she was time and time again.”
Brittany Tedford-Riley competes in horse contests Connor Vasu Ever since she was young, senior Brittany Tedford-Riley knew she wanted to ride horses. A family friend who rides horses introduced Tedford-Riley to horses through horse lessons, and she could not stop going back for more. According to Tedford-Riley, “I started riding when I was six, but I have always loved horses ever since I was little. Any chance I got to ride, I would take it.” Horse riding came naturally to her, according to TedfordRiley. “From a young age, I knew that was the sport for me. Honestly, I feel like that is the only sport that I’m truly good at. Other sports don’t really interest me,” said Tedford-Riley. Until her freshman year, Tedford-Riley rode English style, a type of horse riding in which the contestant jumps over obstacles while wearing traditional European garb, which includes boots, breeches and a jacket. English style is the equestrian event most commonly seen in the Olympics and New England, according to Tedford-Riley. Although she excelled in English style, making Nationals twice in that discipline, TedfordRiley had always wanted to ride by
western pleasure, a type of contest in which the rider dresses up in traditional western cowboy clothing and is judged on how well he or she guides the horse. However, western pleasure is much rarer in New England compared to English style, and instead is predominantly popular in the South and in the Southwest. This made it tougher to find a barn that taught western pleasure, according to Tedford-Riley. Eventually, she found a barn, Hillside Meadows, that taught western pleasure. Being one of the best riders in New England comes with a benefit: Nationals. TedfordRiley has been to Nationals in sixth grade, as a freshman and as a junior. “As a junior, I went to the western pleasure Nationals, but as a freshman and in sixth grade, I went to Nationals riding English style,” said Tedford-Riley. To earn a spot at Nationals, she needed to place in the top two in the New England Zones, a competition with people all over New England who have qualified. In sixth grade she placed second and she won the event as a freshman and junior. In qualifying for Nationals, Tedford-Riley became one of
the top 20 riders in her grade in English style, and later western pleasure horse riding. She did not place, but still competed on the highest level of Western and English style riding. “Winning zones and qualifying for Nationals three times were some of my best experiences with horse riding,” Tedford-Riley said. “In addition to riding western pleasure, I horse show year round, at least once every two months,” said Tedford-Riley. “In a horse show, you are judged on how well you perform certain patterns.” Tedford-Riley also competes in a competition called reining, which is different from regular horse riding. “Reining is different than other competitions because people are given a horse they are unfamiliar with to ride,” said Tedford-Riley. “This adds to the level of difficulty.” Tedford-Riley plans to take her equestrian skills with her to college, where many schools have equestrian teams or clubs. “I am planning on riding horses and being on the equestrian team in college, but also studying criminal justice,” said Tedford-Riley, although she is unsure about what school she will attend.
courtesy Britany Tedford Riley
At Hillside Meadows: Senior Brittany Tedford-Riley rides Nic, a horse she rode during cow shows over the summer.
4 ◆ Newtonite, Newton North
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Friday, Jan. 18, 2013
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Friday, Jan. 18, 2013
Newton North, Newtonite ◆ 5
Sports bring Shannon Fitzgerald’s family together David Kwartler Freshmen on the varsity team are often bench-warmers, but as a freshman, junior Shannon Fitzgerald said she had the opportunity to take her love of lacrosse to the next level. “The sport, whether it’s soccer or lacrosse, doesn’t matter. The objective is to win and the only way to win is to win as a team,” said Fitzgerald who has been a member of this school’s varsity soccer and lacrosse teams since freshman year. Fitzgerald was exposed to sports at a young age. Her mother played three sports at this school, and her father and siblings have played lacrosse for most of their lives. “Seeing my siblings succeed with sports made me want to work just as hard as them,” said Fitzgerald. “I grew up across the street from the Albemarle Field, which pushed me into becoming an athlete.” Her parents built an ice rink and encouraged her to skate. In addition, bonding with her siblings pushed her into sports and “made me realize how a sports team is like a family,” said Fitzgerald. Her first team sport was kindergarten soccer, and her mom taught her game strategy using Barbie dolls to show tactics and moves, according to Fitzgerald. Despite her mother ’s efforts, “during games, I would be all over the place, lost in my own imaginative world,” said Fitzgerald. “I’d just kick the ball whenever it came to me and only half the time it would go towards my own goal.” Fitzgerald’s lacrosse career started in third grade, when she played for the Newton Girls Lacrosse U11 team. The summer before freshman year, Fitzgerald tried out for soccer, working hard to try to make JV. After tryouts and scrimmages, she was accepted onto varsity. “I knew that practicing with people who are more skilled than you can make you a better by
courtesy David Arnold Photography
Girls’ lacrosse: Covered by Needham defender Taylor Thomas, junior Shanon Fitzgerald cradles the ball in a 17-9 loss at Needham May 23, 2011. player,” she said. Although the coach told her not to expect playing time, she replaced a senior who was injured in the first game of the season. Fitzgerald scored the only goal of the game. She has been an active member of the team since then. In addition to playing sports at this school, Fitzgerald runs lacrosse clinics for elementary school children and represents this school on the Newton Girls Lacrosse Board, a committee that contributes to promoting youth lacrosse in Newton. “I enjoy coaching kids because of how much I am able
to learn from them and to stay connected to the community,” she said. The effort she puts into coaching is rewarded with the “faces that light up suddenly when they understand what I am teaching,” she said. She also plays for the Revolution Lacrosse 2014 team. The team helped her to further progress her lacrosse skills to prepare for her future, she said. According to Revolution Lacrosse director Lukas Cash, “She has an amazing personality, contagious smile and inspiring athleticism.
“She made the commitment to reach her best and never lost sight of her goal.” According to Cash, Fitzgerald’s personal success does not overshadow her teammates. Girls’ soccer coach James Hamblin said Fitzgerald frequently scores hat-tricks in games, a small personal mark of triumph, but her most significant recognition is being named the number two player on the Bay State Conference All-Star team and the number eight player in the All State Soccer Team. “The most important thing is playing as a team,” said
Fitzgerald. “You believe in each other and you’re there for each other. It’s all about being a good teammate and pushing others towards their goals, having faith that everyone is doing their job and that we’re not going to quit on each other.” One of the most important parts of sports for Fitzgerald is that she considers her soccer team her family. “We support and stand up for each other like siblings,” she said. Since freshman year, feeling like a part of something more significant than “just a group of girls playing soccer” has made the sport meaningful for her. Students who have graduated even come back to have dinner with the team during vacations, Fitzgerald said. On a similar note, her favorite day of the year is Senior Day, the last home game of the season for seniors. The team decorates the school and gathers all the spirit they can. “Although saying goodbye is sad, our whole team is there for one another,” she said. “Seeing the look on their faces when they see the decorations is what makes the hard work worth it.” For Fitzgerald, the most difficult part of playing sports is dealing with losses. “I hate to lose more than I like to win,” she said. The hardest part of the sport to deal with is the responsibility after a loss, according to Fitzgerald. After a loss, “I feel as if I didn’t do my part to help the team to win,” she said. When the team lost to Lincoln-Sudbury in the quarterfinals of the State Tournament this fall, “I cried the whole way home,” said Fitzgerald. In the near future, Fitzgerald plans to complete her fourth year of varsity soccer next fall. In addition, she has agreed to play lacrosse at John Hopkins in Baltimore and will attend in the fall of 2014. Cash believes, “Hopkins is very excited to have Shannon, as they know she will contribute early as a Blue Jay.”
Cooper Jackson fences in national competitions Samantha Libraty To begin, fencers salute each other. Then, the referee calls “En-garde,” and the bout commences. Quick feet, swords flying and a touch of the tip sends a ringing buzz through the crowd. “Everything about fencing is amazing. You need to be really fast and precise, and you need to think very fast on what action to do next in the middle of a match,” junior Cooper Jackson explained when talking about his love of fencing. Jackson currently fences at Boston Fencing Club in Waltham with coach Ed Ballinger, a member of the 1976 US Olympic Team in Foil and a two-time Men’s Foil National Champion, according to Boston Fencing Club’s website. Jackson said he started fencing competitively a year and a half ago, after a long hiatus from fencing. “I love to fence because I love the sport.” He began fencing again because he said he “missed the sport.” Jackson takes lessons four times a week for three hours per day, he said. “Recently, I have started doing competitions outside of the State, such as in Vermont and Washington State, as well as a national event in Reno, Nev. I’ll be attending later this year,” Jackson said. Jackson is a foil fencer, which by
means he uses the foil, the most common fencing weapon. It is light and flexible. The other two fencing weapons are the saber and épée. The foil is used as a thrusting weapon only. A point only counts if the tip of the sword touches the opponent’s target zone, which includes the entire torso and groin areas. Heads, arms and legs are considered off target. The goal of foil fencing is to obtain the most amount of points from touches. “I started fencing when I was eight because I thought it was really cool to be sword fighting. In the movies, it’s really intense and really cool,” Jackson said. His coach, Ballinger said, “Cooper is a tremendous athlete, and his fencing will improve when he realizes and uses his athleticism.” “He is a very nice young man, but when he competes, I wish he wouldn’t be so nice because you can see his basic personality coming out. Sometimes, you have to disguise that and put it aside when you fence,” Ballinger said. In addition to being a strong fencer himself, Jackson also helps to foster other kids’ love of fencing when he referees junior matches, he said. Ballinger said, “Jackson does a great job with refereeing. “He helps the young kids
courtesy Cooper Jackson
En garde: Junior Cooper Jackson fences with Day eighth grader Tiffany Luong last Tuesday at the Boston Fencing Club in Waltham. really understand the rules of fencing, which will help them to improve their fencing,” he said. Jackson was also involved in this school’s fencing club last year, he said. “I helped out in the club because there wasn’t a seasoned foil fencer. I helped teach drills to the people who didn’t really know how to fence with a foil,” he said.
Jackson said, “Unfortunately, I didn’t have the time this year to be part of the club, but I strongly suggest that everyone try out the sport through the club at school.” The fencing club meets Wednesdays after school in the cafeteria. Sophomore Aris Vanderpool is the officer, and Latin teacher Elise Goodman Tuchmayer is the adviser.
Jackson said it is important to become involved in an activity outside of school, like he is with fencing. “I think it’s important to have something outside of school because it makes you meet new people,” he said. “It also makes you feel like you belong to something important, which I think everyone should feel about something.”
6 ◆ Newtonite, Newton North
Friday, Jan. 18, 2013
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Life is only once– do not neglect yourself. Check out multimedia content and additional stories related to this special on our website, theNewtonite.com.
Friday, Jan. 18, 2013
Newton North, Newtonite ◆ 7
For Bethany Lehman, photos can send powerful messages Jacob Schwartz Photography might seem simple to some––just aim, shoot and you’re done. However, junior Bethany Lehman has shown how it is much more. Currently taking Photography Major II at this school, Lehman has experimented with many aspects of photography in order to transform her photos. Many of Lehman’s projects vary in terms of the subjects, settings and other aesthetic factors. “The goal of each project depends on what kind of project I’m working on,” she said. For example, at times Lehman said she tries to send a message through her pictures. “I’ve done a couple of projects where I’m really focusing on getting a message across, like a publis service announcement type project, or social action photographs.” Senior Kyle Hartman, who knows Lehman from photography class and Theatre Ink, also commended her technique. “She likes to do things simply, but in a very interesting way.” One of Hartman’s favorite projects of Lehman’s was one in which she took shots of the inside and outside of a dollhouse. Hartman thought the project was unique because in many of the photographs, it was hard to tell that the setting was a dollhouse rather than an actual house because of Lehman’s carefully executed angles and other techniques. Lehman said she was satisfied with the dollhouse project’s final result. “There is definitely a creepy and ethereal kind of mood going in those pictures, and that’s not something that everyone sees by
Tripod: Junior Bethany Lehman sets up a camera.
courtesy Bethany Lehman
Alien Invasion: Lehman took this picture for photo class.
when they look at a dollhouse,” she said. While Lehman said she sometimes uses photography as means of voicing opinions, she doesn’t always think pictures speak louder than words. “I think all medias are equally powerful,” she said. “There are some things that must be said in writing, but there are some things that just get too complicated to put on pen and paper, and that’s where photography comes in.” In many of Lehman’s more personal photo projects, some self-examination was necessary. “I’ve done some introverted photography, where I’ll focus on a really personal aspect of my life and take photographs of something that represents that.” Even in more objective projects, “it’s really impossible to get behind the lens and shoot anything without leaving a personal kind of fingerprint it,” she said. “All of my work is going to be shot through two lenses, if you want to think of it that way. My biased lens, and whatever lens I’m using on the camera at the time.” Photography has also changed the way Lehman looks at things. “Photography lets you develop a third-eye type of awareness that stays with you even when you’re not holding the camera, although you often wish you were,” she said. Photography teacher Ron Morris, who has taught Lehman for much of her high school career, said, “I would say she is very imaginative with her work,” he said. Morris said one of Lehman’s projects that stood out in his memory was one where a friend
of Lehman’s posed as a fashion model. “The result was very striking,” he said. In this assignment, Lehman was supposed to emulate a professional photographer’s work. Lehman chose to emulate Erwin Blumenfield, a former fashion photographer for Vogue magazine. “I had a really big focus on the lighting and the definition of the model’s face and make up, which I also designed and did, to imitate some of his art.” Morris also said he has noticed Lehman excel with both film and digital photography. “She is really good on the computer, and her digital photography skills are impressive.” Lehman’s aunt first introduced her to photography. “My aunt is a photographer, and she used to let me mess around with all of her equipment and cameras whenever she was taking pictures of family events.” Lehman recalls that her first photo was “probably of the floor or the wall. I was just learning.” A 2000 Kodak film camera was Lehman’s first camera. “It was one of the boxy square ones, where you take a picture that instantly shoots out the bottom and develops in about a minute.” Now, Lehman is experimenting with film, digital, macro and telescopic lens. “You know, anything I can get my hands on I want to try,” she said. Lehman may have many different interests, but she does know photography is “definitely, definitely a passion. I don’t even understand the word hobby,” she said. “Why would you spend hours doing something you don’t need to do, if it’s not a passion?”
Jesse Metzger explores outdoors through hiking Gloria Li Perrin Stein “It is a combination of the challenge, the scenery, the mountains, the simplicity of everyday life and the people I get to spend time with that have made the experiences amazing,” junior Jesse Metzger said regarding hiking, his favorite pastime. Metzger said that the outdoors have been a large part of his life, especially because his family has traveled to New Hampshire for as long as he can remember. While in New Hampshire, he said he often hikes. He furthers his love of the outdoors and gains outdoor skills through this school’s hiking club and through Camp Kabeyun, which is located in Alton Bay, N.H, he said. As an officer of the hiking club with juniors Kerry Brock and Eliana Gevelber, Metzger helps plan the trips to mountains in the area, such as the Blue Hills. Recently, for an overnight trip to Lonesome Lake, Metzger and the other officers spent significant time planning the trip by communicating with club members, coordinating transportation and finding certified faculty to chaperone, among other logistical tasks. Brock said that Metzger taught her “how to be chill and take a step back and enjoy the world,” she said. Both she and Metzger said they enjoy the view of the outdoors that hiking gives them. Brock said, “The exhilaration when you reach a peak and can look around for miles and see how high you’ve gone is what’s by
most appealing about this activity,” Brock said. Metzger agreed with Brock, and said that his experiences at Camp Kabeyun give him this unique perspective on the outdoors. This past summer, Metzger was a counselor in training at Camp Kabeyun, which he has been attending since he was eight years old. For his job, Metzger led younger kids on hiking trips. During previous summers, Metzger was a camper at Camp Kabeyun, where he went on trips with other campers. The trips varied in length from one to six days. “During my years as an older camper, my friends and I would go on longer, more difficult trips, but this past summer I was often back on easier trips with younger campers,” he said. “The trips can be very challenging, but they’re usually incredibly rewarding and a ton of fun, often because of the other incredible people on the trip.” Metzger’s most memorable hiking experience happened when he was a part of the Bear Program at Camp Kabeyun. He climbed Mount Katahdin, the tallest mountain in Maine, with a small group of peers. This peak marks the end of a 10-day hike through the final 115 miles of the Appalachian Trail, which includes the “100-Mile Wilderness,” the most remote part of the 2,200 mile-long trail. After summiting Katahdin, Metzger said he remembers reflecting that, “Kabeyun taught me to be cautious and respect the mountains and the peak, with its amazing views and exposed rocky ridges. Summiting
courtesy Jesse Metzger
On the trail: Junior Jesse Metzger hikes on the Dingle Peninsula in Ireland. was the perfect end to the trip.” Metzger said another memorable experience with Camp Kabeyun was a canoe trip on the Allagash Wilderness Waterway, a 92-mile long corridor of lakes and ponds in Maine. Through his experiences at Camp Kabeyun, Metzger said he gained much knowledge. For example, he said he finally understands that food tastes exponentially better after a long day of hiking. In addition, he said he found out how to remove SPAM from its can, “which previously
seemed a daunting, impossible task,” he joked. On a more practical note, Metzger said he learned how to perform basic tasks such as lighting a camping stove, setting up a tent, purifying water, navigating with a compass and hanging a bear bag. Although Metzger said he values his experiences at Camp Kabeyun, he decided that this summer, he will either do volunteer trail work or attend a kayaking school in Ottawa, Canada. “It was a very tough
call,” he said. To explore the outdoors even further, Metzger plans to spend second semester at the High Mountain Institute in Colorado, which is a school that integrates aspects of the outdoors into its academic curriculum. In addition, students go on three 10 to 14-day backpacking trips throughout the semester. One of these trips is a telemark skiing trip in which the students build snow caves. “I am really excited for these trips and this opportunity,” Metzger said.
8 ◆ Newtonite, Newton North
Faculty outside Matt Anderson plays, coaches Ultimate Julia Moss For many Ultimate Frisbee players, the term “team sport” connotes much more than passing to teammates and attending a few team dinners. According to science teacher Matt Anderson, the coach of the boys’ Ultimate team and an avid player who has competed nationally, “Ultimate is all about the spirit of the game. There is this sentiment of respect and understanding, and camaraderie is important to the sport.” Ultimate’s unique spirit and core values are part of the reason that Anderson has been passionate about the game ever since he was a freshman in college, he said. In fact, he joined an Ultimate team during his first week at Penn. State. Anderson said he had a high school friend who started at Penn. State a year before he did. “He was playing Ultimate, and I figured that if I played Ultimate when I went there I would know people,” he explained. The Ultimate team soon became Anderson’s niche at Penn. State. “Penn. State is a big place, and you can really get lost there. I decided that Ultimate was what I was going to do. I quickly became close with the team, and we had a great time practicing at school and traveling on weekends.” After college, Anderson remained a dedicated player. He traveled to Australia for a year and a half, where he played in a league in Sydney and participated in additional tournaments. Back home in the United States, Anderson became involved in Boston’s Ultimate scene, participating in various competitive teams. As a member of the team Death or Glory, Anderson twice traveled to Sarasota, Fla., where he competed in the by
National Championships. Over the years, Anderson has formed friendships not only with his own teammates, but also with Ultimate players from opposing teams. “We play competitively, but never at the expense of respect for the opponent,” Anderson said. “For example, if you make a mistake or are a little rough with an opponent, no one holds it against you. There is still this sentiment of friendliness and respect off the field.” Today, Anderson continues to play on Ultimate teams and coaches this school’s boys’ Ultimate Frisbee Team during the spring season. “I play in the Boston league and on various other teams during the summer and spring leagues and on the national level with other teams. The national level teams are club teams that you have to try out for and generally play at a more competitive level than the league teams,” he said. As the boys’ Ultimate coach at this school, Anderson has conveyed the values of the game to his student players, he said. “A benefit of my experience coaching is trying to impress upon student players how important it is to respect their opponents,” Anderson said. Acccording to Anderson, senior Nick Roberts “lives and breathes Ultimate.” Roberts, who has been a member of the team since he was a freshman, said, “Matty’s a great coach. He spends a lot of his time with the team and has a lot of insight. He’s been my coach for the last three years, and he’s really helped my game and my experience I’ve had on the team.” Roberts said that as a coach, Anderson emphasizes Spirt of the Game. “Spirit of the Game is what we call the integrity that every player upholds as they
play the game,” Roberts explained. “The Spirit of the Game is what makes Ultimate such a unique sport and culture.” Roberts added that Anderson works to ensure that all members of the team demonstrate Spirit of the Game. “Matty and our assistant coach will sit people or punish them somehow if a player is out of line and playing without any Spirit. It is natural for arguments to get heated, but when kids are playing completely out of line, Matt has showed that the Spirit of the Game being upheld and the respect for the game matters a lot more than a win or a loss,” Roberts said. Anderson’s passion for Ultimate inspires the students he coaches to pursue the sport. In addition to valuing the spirit of Ultimate, Roberts, like most of his fellow players, is passionate about the physical aspects of the sport, he said. “There’s also no better feeling than laying out and catching a disc in the end zone, or jumping over another player and snagging it from them,” he said. Junior Mac Hecht has also played Ultimate for this school since he was a freshman and plays for multiple club teams through which he has competed in Junior Nationals. “One of my favorite things about Ultimate is that there are no referees, and the game therefore depends on good sportsmanship and Spirit of the Game,” he said. Hecht added, “Ultimate is also great because of the sense of community that comes with playing the sport. I know people all over the country who I’ve played with or against on multiple occasions.” In the end, Anderson said, “Ultimate is a good life lesson.”
Offense: Science teach Matt Anderson do of the Beyonders during an Ultimate Fr
courtesy Kevin McGrath
Creativity: Martha’s Vineyard inspires English teacher and librarian Kevin McGrath’s paintings and sketches. In addition, McGrath illustrates children’s books.
Anthropomorphism defines Kevin McGrath’s work Samantha Libraty Paddling across the light blue brush strokes of the open water, the elephant and his grasshopper friend search for an island off in the distance. The poster of librarian and English teacher Kevin McGrath’s painting, named “It was another fine mess he had gotten himself into,” hangs in the Library Learning Commons. Outside of school, McGrath paints and sketches for his own enjoyment and sells his works. McGrath said his love of art and painting began when he was very young and has continued throughout his life. “It’s important that you do what you love to do. This is something for myself on my own schedule, something I want to do instead of something I have to do,” McGrath said. He said, “I really like doing it for myself, but I have also illustrated some children’s books.” by
McGrath has illustrated The Bike Ride by Nelson Goose and Leonard Beetle’s Sole Ride by Jodi Supino Elliot. McGrath’s wife, Cynthia McGrath, who is also a painter and art seller, said, “I think Kevin enjoys it so much because he has such fun, silly thoughts in his head that it must be great to bring them to life. “The greatest satisfaction has got to be making people laugh. The captions are so clever, and his work is so original that you just can’t help but laugh.” Cynthia McGrath sells her artwork on Martha’s Vineyard during the summer. “When Kevin got his own art show booth next to mine in 2001, you could hear people laughing all day,” she said. Martha’s Vineyard was where Kevin McGrath said he first began to sell his art and take it more seriously. Cynthia McGrath said, “I was living on the Vineyard and showing my own work four days a week during the summer at outdoor events. We had just started dating,
and he went with me to Martha’s Vineyard. “Kevin started sketching in a notebook to pass the time and have some laughs. He’d paint caricatures of some of my customers or create animals that looked like people or people that looked like animals,” she said. The first painting he sold was of a pig laying on the beach on vacation called “They may bake her in a pan or fry her in a skillet, but they’d never take away her vacation.” He sold it in Martha’s Vineyard in 2001. Anthropomorphized animals, which have human-like personas, are Kevin McGrath’s signature creative pieces. “It all started with this pig who now hangs in a Superior Court judge’s chambers,” Cynthia McGrath said. “The judge said the reason why she wanted to hang it there was because sometimes the tension gets so heated in the courtroom that when she orders the lawyers to her chambers, she wanted to have artwork there that would get them to
lighten up,” Cynthia McGrath said. Currently, McGrath’s large original paintings are sold for $400 to $900 at his wife’s Martha’s Vineyard art show, online and at other art shows in the area, he said. His prints sell for $22 to $45 at shows and online. Children’s books and original artwork are not the only displays of McGrath’s creativity. Technology specialist Chris Murphy loved his artwork so much that he printed a few pieces on large posters to hang in Ware, he said. Murphy said, “I am part of a group that put on a festival in downtown Ware in order to attract residents and outside communities to visit the downtown.” Three posters were hung up on an empty storefront, he said. Unfortunately, these posters were stolen, but the store owners received other gifts in their stead. “I really like McGrath’s artwork. I think it is funny and really good,” he said.
, Jan. 18, 2013
Newton North, Newtonite ◆ 9
e the classroom Nurses, secretaries form knitting club Hilary Brumberg After a long day taking students’ temperatures, warning them of the perils of drugs and STDs, answering phones and communicating with administrators, a few nurses and secretaries at this school head over to the Newton Free Library for their weekly knitting club. The club, which includes health assistant Debbie Donovan, nurse Rozanne Milner, Adams House secretary Lorene Shapiro, Beals House secretary Cheryl Stover and former nurse Kathleen Walsh, meets every Monday and started three years ago when these faculty members realized that they all enjoy knitting. Donovan, founding member, enjoys the knitting club because “it’s nice to get together with other people. We enjoy being together, knitting and being creative.” During meetings, members work on their current projects and help their friends. While knitting, the collection of nurses and secretaries “chat about everything,” she said. The club’s conversation topics include weekend activities, knitting projects, current events and family, according to Donovan. Donovan said that she works on easy or intermediate projects during club meetings, but does more advanced projects at home. Milner, another member of the Monday knitting club, praised Donovan’s knitting abilities. The bond between the members of the Monday knitting club “has gotten stronger, and we get to know each other better,” she said. Milner said she pursued the hobby because it is a “creative and therapeutic by
courtesy Matt Anderston
osses the disc away from Buzz Ellsworth risbee tournament in California.
activity.” She enjoys participating in the group because “everyone is very outgoing and friendly.” Stover, who is a founding member of the knitting club, echoed Milner’s appreciation for the club. She said that she finds it to be a “relaxing and social time with my co-workers.” In addition to the social benefits of the club, Stover said that her knitting abilities have improved as a result. “Knitting is not my best craft,” she admitted. “The other members can help me if I have questions and mentor my knitting.” Donovan participates in Thursday knitting nights at the Sheep Skate Yarn and Craft in Dedham. She has participated in this group for about five years and has become friends with the other regular members. “I like it because I get to meet people from other towns and people you would not otherwise spend time with,” Donovan said. She explained that the Thursday club is essentially the same as the Monday one, except with different people. “We talk about everything and have a lot of good laughs,” she said. In addition to knitting for themselves, family and friends, the Thursday group occasionally knits items to donate to charitable causes, according to Donovan. Donovan said that one of the most cared for items she has knit was a blanket, which
she gave to her nephew’s son, Caleb, when he was born three years ago. “It was difficult to make and had to be perfect or else the diamond-shaped pattern would have been thrown off.” Now, Caleb “loves the blanket so much that he drags it around everywhere,” according to Donovan. “It’s so cute.” However, a hole has formed in the blanket, but the boy refuses to allow Donovan to fix it, she said. While she is proud of her final products, Donovan admitted that she sometimes finds knitting to be arduous and frustrating. “ When I make something, it has to be perfect,” she said. Even so, Donovan urges everyone to knit and join the Monday knitting club. “Try it. You’ll like it. It’s a good hobby because it’s useful.”
English teacher decorates sweets, owns tracycakes Hilary Brumberg “I really don’t like to bake,” said special education and English teacher Tracy Harmon ’91, who is the owner of tracycakes, a home-based bakery in Framingham. “I like to decorate cookies, cake pops and cupcakes,” she said. “Baking doesn’t come intuitively for me because it is pretty precise and formulaic. It goes against my creative, artistic nature.” Harmon explained that tracycakes “started like any mom baking business. I made stuff for my kids’ birthdays, and people kept asking me, ‘Can you make stuff for my birthday?’ Then, people suggested I start selling it.” During the summer of 2011, Harmon decided to focus on tracycakes instead of teaching summer school. She sold her decorated baked goods to friends and family, setup up a website and created Flickr and Facebook accounts to post pictures. Since then, Harmon takes on about one order each week during the school year and more during the summer. Although tracycakes offers cupcakes and cake pops, the small business specializes in cookies. Harmon offers five shortbread-based flavors: lemon, orange, chocolate, almond and vanilla bean. She charges three to five dollars per cookie, with a minimum order of a dozen, depending on the size of the cookies and the number of colors and details of the decoration. Although most of her orders are from local family and friends, Harmon occasionally makes cookies for people who do not live in the Boston area. In those cases, the cookies must be individually bubble wrapped and shipped, which “can get really expensive,” she said. Harmon said that although there is a high demand for her intricately decorated cookies, she decided to keep her baking as a hobby and not as a highly profitable business. “I try to keep a rule that I do not take and keep orders that will be stressful and I will not enjoy,” she said. A local store asked Harmon to make by
courtesy Tracy Harmon
Edible artwork: English teacher Tracy Harmon elaborately ices sugar cookies. novelty cookies to sell at the store. However, she explained that with the retail opportunity comes “a whole legal side, including getting licensed and insured, that I don’t want to get into,” so she turned the offer down. Harmon is also currently in contract negotiations with a department store, whose name she cannot disclose, to make cookies for product launch parties. Although
it would be “really good advertising,” she wants to make sure that the company understands that orders “can’t be bigger than what I can realistically manage. “They can’t call me in the middle of the month when I am teaching and expect me to drop everything,” she said. With the current size of the tracycakes business, Harmon can manage her own finances by keeping all of her receipts and
giving customers invoices. “Most of the money goes back into the business anyway because it’s a hobby and not meant to be profitable,” she said. In order to have such a profitable cookie business, Harmon constantly expands her cookie decorating and baking repertoire. She learns techniques online from blogs and videos. “You can find anything on the Internet these days,” she said. Harmon has hundreds of cookie cutters, which she keeps in containers labeled based on the type of shape. “My cookie cutters are out of control. The problem with a home-based business is that the materials start to take over your house.” Harmon said that one of the strangest orders she had was for cookies that look like Bridgit Mendler, who plays Teddy on the Disney television show “Good Luck Charlie.” “I’m not good at making cookies look like people,” Harmon said. “They turned out like scary blonde ladies, but the nineyear-olds were happy with it. Having a plate of many Bridgit Mendlers looking up at me for a couple days was kind of creepy.” The cookies were for Connections director Jodie Whidden’s daughter’s ninth birthday party. Widden said the “cookies were delicious, and my daughter was very happy with the cookies.” Jen Vereker ’92, who has known Harmon since they attended this school, hired Harmon in July to make New York Yankees cookies for her boyfriend’s birthday, though they “slipped in some Red Sox ones for fun,” according to Harmon. Vereker, the owner of Vereker Designs, said she chose tracycakes to make her cookies instead of a larger business because she, too, is a small business owner. “I do whatever I can to support the other local, small businesses. I believe it is crucial for our disastrous economy, and it’s good karma.” Additionally, “Tracy takes pride in what she does, unlike most major corporations who wouldn’t be too concerned if you were less than happy with your purchase.”
10 ◆ Newtonite, Newton North
Friday, Jan. 18, 2013
Role playing gives Spencer Bronk creative outlet Gloria Li While many students express their creativity by splashing bright colors onto mundane pieces of canvas or by detailing figments of their imagination in written works, sophomore Spencer Bronk does so via role playing games or RPGs. Bronk said RPGs are exciting and adventurous especially because of his role in game development which “uses a lot of dice, a surprising bit of math and quite a lot of wit.” Currently, Bronk plays Age of Wonder and said he enjoys it because “it’s the RPG with the least constrictions on character building.” Bronk’s friends first got him to play the game. He said he has come to know the game’s developer, Merlin Carey. This relationship between him and the developer has allowed him to change it for the better. Bronk openly discusses and criticizes rules as well as changes them around in the game whenever necessary, he said. Although Carey, who is Bronk’s friend from elementary school, used to organize and lead games, Bronk and his two friends, sophomores Molly Dalzell and Samantha Taylor now create each game themselves, according to Dalzell. According to Bronk, In the game, a Game Master, or GM, makes a campaign idea for the players to each follow. The players, then each make characters with different skills, races, ages and personalities. The gamers are each required to think inquisitively and often have to make decisions by
in the moment. The GM is also “often forced to think on his or her feet,” Bronk said. Bronk said, unlike most other RPGs he plays, including Dungeons and Dragons and Talisman, Age of Wonder does not need a board and has fewer constrictions, which “allows for more creativity.” Bronk typically creates twisted and sneaky characters who do not trust other people and are apathetic. Often times, Bronk will develop characters that are orphaned at an early age. “It’s fun to play with the characters’ emotions and to bring them alive,” he said. One character that Bronk created was orphaned at birth because his mother gave him to an old, greedy merchant. He farmed the land by day and worked with his adoptive father to make clothing to sell by night. He was beaten if he did anything wrong and often went without supper. This turned him into a cold-hearted man who grew up to steal and pick-pockets for a living. Eventually, he killed his fake father. “I made him until this point, and allowed him to grow kinder. Later on, this character of mine even gained a few friends,” Bronk added. Taylor referred to GMs as people who need to “learn how to describe things in intriguing manners” and who will determine how characters within the game will each react to different scenarios. She noted the difficulty in the GMs having to do all of the above while providing an entertaining storyline.
Creation: Sophomore Spencer Bronk creates and plays role playing games with his close friends. Bronk said gaming has positively affected his educational experience and that “it became something to look forward to every week while at boring old school.” He accredits gaming to helping him think outside the box.
“Life shouldn’t be boring and monotonous. It should be as exciting and adventurous as the virtual world,” he said. Dalzell referred to gaming as “something that he really loves and that highlights his creative, imaginative side.” She also said
she believed that gaming seems “really valuable, especially to him.” Although Bronk enjoys gaming, because each complete game can span anywhere from two to four months, campaigns are often left unfinished. Bronk and his friends have never completed a full game campaign successfully. “The games we play have been broken up into sessions, which each last from three to five hours, depending on how ‘in the zone’ we are,” Bronk said. Ultimately, Bronk’s sense of imagination, reflected in his gaming, has been the motivating catalyst for his decision to pursue the other creativityfostering activities that he’s involved in. In addition to playing RPGs, Bronk also writes copiously and draws. He is part of creative writing and poetry clubs and recently finished a novel during National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo, in November 2012. Bronk also makes use of his time by reading, tree-climbing, playing lyrics and writing music with his friends. He even plays both the lute and the flute and his musical interests have led him to start a band that he’s thinking about naming “Jumped by Pixies.” Ta y l o r, w h o m e t B r o n k through gaming, tied Bronk’s passion for gaming to other interests the two share. “As someone who loves creative writing, gaming is the ultimate exercise in building a character and a personality to match that character,” she said.
Kaija Gahm enjoys participating in Teen Birders Perrin Stein Northern mockingbirds can mimic the calls of dozens of other songbirds: one second they can make the call of a song sparrow and the next the call of an American robin. A New York City resident even reported a northern mockingbird that mimicked the sound of a truck backing up. Sophomore Kaija Gahm, who is a birdwatcher, said the mimicking ability, the beauty and the intelligence of the northern mockingbird make it her favorite bird. “A pair built a nest on my street, and when my brother and I tried to peek into it to see the babies, the parents started to dive bomb us,” Gahm said. “It kind of reminds me of Newton parents.” Gahm’s interest in birds and birdwatching began three years ago when she learned about the Drumlin Farm Teen Birders from her friend sophomore Becca Webster. The Teen Birders is a group of about 20 kids between the ages of 12 and 18 who go on monthly trips to different birding hotspots. Not all students go on all the trips. Drumlin Farm instructor Becky Gilles, who teaches the Teen Birders, said the Teen Birders “get like-minded teens together to enjoy a day of being outdoors and learning about birds.” According to Gahm, the goal of the trips is to teach kids about birds and bird wathcing. “During the trips, the instructors point out a bird in a tree through a spotting scope, and then they let each of us look at the bird and the picture of the bird in the field guide, helping us understand the relationship between the real bird and the by
courtesy Kaija Gahm
Bird watching: Sophomore Kaija Gahm goes on birdwatching trip with other students who are passionate about birds. one in the book,” she said. In addition to the monthly trips, the Teen Birders participate in two annual competitions organized by the Massachusetts Audubon Society: Birdathon and Superbowl of Birding. The Birdathon is a fundraiser in which teams compete to find the most birds on a list of 270 species. Gahm has never competed in the Birdathon. However, she has participated in two Superbowls of Birding. In this competition, birdwatchers have 12 hours to find the most species on the competi-
tion list and to accumulate the most points. Point values are based on the rarity of the bird species. This year’s Superbowl is Saturday, Jan. 26, and Gahm said she plans to compete. Last year, the Drumlin Farm team won the Seekers’ award for finding 29 of the 30 birds on a list. In order to win the Superbowl, the Drumlin Farm team drove around northeastern Massachusetts and southeastern New Hampshire, going to specific hotspots in order to find the most number of birds on the
competition list. Similar to most bird watching competitions, according to competitions rules, three people on the Drumlin Farm team had to see or hear each bird before they could check it off the list. For rare birds, such as the townsend warbler, competition rules indicate that a team must call a competition coordinator to report the bird. One of Gahm’s favorite memories of birdwatching happened at last year ’s Superbowl of Birding. “We drove to a random guy’s house who had called in that a townsend warbler was in his backyard and invited all the teams to see it,” she said. “We were standing still for a while and then saw a quick flash of yellow. It was so exciting to see the bird for the first time and to check it off of our competition list.” In fact, Gahm’s first time birdwatching was at a Superbowl of Birding three years ago. “It was a stressful experience because everyone was running around frantically trying to find birds, and I had no knowledge of what was going on,” she said. Despite the chaos, Gahm said she found the experience fun and enjoyed the camaraderie of the other birdwatchers. As a result, she started participating in Teen Birders trips on a regular basis. “I like competitive birdwatching because it is really rewarding,” she said. “For example, last year, I saw a bald eagle during the Superbowl, and if I hadn’t spotted it, our team would not have been able to check ‘bald eagle’ off our list.” However, Gahm said her favorite part of birdwatching is seeing new birds and learning
to identify them. In order to keep track of all the birds she sees and the exciting memories associated with these discoveries, Gahm said she plans to start a lifer list, a catalogue of all the birds that she has ever seen. According to junior Eliana Gevelber, who joined Teen Birds on Gahm’s recommendation, Gahm’s “interest in ornithology is contagious.” At one point on a hiking trip, Gevelber said she “spotted a small bird in the nearby brush and called to Kaija. You could tell she was exploding with excitement as we scoured the pages of the field guide to determine the bird’s identity.” Similarly, instructor Giles said, “Kaija has a great sense of humor and is really fun to have on the trips. She is mature and calm in the face of unexpected obstacles. She is knowledgeable on birding.” Upon hearing Giles description of her, Gahm laughed, saying “‘unexpected obstacles’ refers to the time a few months ago when we drove our van into a cornfield after a rainstorm, and we ended up getting stuck in the mud. “We tried to push it out, but we ended up waiting two hours for a tow truck. We spent the time chatting, watching a crazy stunt pilot and randomly shucking corn into our lunch containers.” Adventures such as this keep Gahm interested in learning about birds, birdwatching and the Teen Birds. Thanks to her participation in the Teen Birders, the Birdathon and the Superbowl of Birding, Gahm said, “I used say: ‘There is a bird,’ but now I can say: ‘There is a black throated green warbler.’”
Friday, Jan. 18, 2013
Newton North, Newtonite ◆ 11
To study herpetology, Cameron Hunt raises snakes Leah Budson Light shimmers across the iridescent scales of a rainbow boa constrictor as it slithers across the cypress bark mulch at the floor of its tank, its body thin but powerful. Although some would be frightened to see the shiny pattern of the snake’s skin, sophomore Cameron Hunt knows there is nothing to fear. Nicknamed “BRB,” the rainbow boa constrictor is Hunt’s latest addition to his snake collection. Currently, in addition to BRB, Hunt has three ball pythons, although he has had as many as seven snakes at one time in the past. “I’m interested in animals scientifically because I want to become a veterinarian of herpetology, which is a vet that deals with small amphibians and reptiles,” said Hunt, who has been collecting snakes for about seven years. His passion for snakes began on a much smaller scale: when he was young, he and his father found and took care of smaller garter snakes in his backyard. “My dad was out blowing leaves when we found the first one,” said Hunt. “It was really small, and we kept it for a few days, feeding it worms. A little bit later, we found one that we kept in a 20 gallon tank.” “I didn’t have names for them because I didn’t want to become attached since I had to release them back later,” he said. “We only kept those for a few days, but the ones I have now are from Africa, so I of course do not release them anymore.” After a little while collecting smaller snakes, Hunt began attending reptile shows to purchase snakes. He attends a few expos a year. While at reptile expos, Hunt is able to view hundreds of snakes and choose a few to purchase. “Whenever I buy one I always by
hold it and make sure that it’s okay so that I don’t buy one that is aggresive or nippy,” he said. Holding the snakes before purchasing them has proven useful, considering that he has never been bitten by a snake, according to Hunt. “If snakes get unaccustomed to people, then they might be afraid when people hold them, which could cause them to bite, but that has never happened to me,” he said. With one of Hunt’s ball pythons exceeding five feet in length, many people might also fear the snakes’ ability to wind around someone and crush them––an action from which the “constrictor” gets its name. Hunt said that although strangulation is a potential issue, he offsets this danger by never draping the snakes around his neck. “If it was ever wrapping, I would be fine,” he said. “It starts to get dangerous when you see people with a boa constrictor that is around 10 feet. Then you need a person there to help you.” People also inaccurately assume that all snakes are venomous and that snakes are likely to hurt their owners, said Hunt. “Usually the only time people have accidents is during a feeding. When you reach in, they might think you are food,” said Hunt, who feeds the snakes frozen mice and rats. There are precautions you can take to prevent accidents. “I never feed with my hands. Some people think it is okay to dangle in food directly, but it’s just too close, so I use tongs.” According to Hunt, he only needs to feed his snakes once a week, making snakes a very easy pet to take care of. “The good thing about snakes is that they really don’t take that much maintenance,” he said. “Some of mine get really finicky
about eating and have gone for four months without food.” Traits like being finicky can be an element of a snake’s personality. “Each snake has different behaviors and a unique personality,” said Hunt. “However, I would never say that they like me in the way that a dog does,” he said. “They are tolerating you at most.” Despite this, he believes it is important to maintain a personal connection with the snakes, according to Hunt. “I think when you have a ton of snakes a lot of people do not view them as individuals any more, but I still do,” he said. “They definitely have distinct personalities. A lot of people talk about how it depends on what the parents were like or how they were brought up,” said Hunt. One of the only inconvenient elements of caring for snakes is the size the tanks take up, said Hunt. “Since we keep them in my living room, we have to move them every Christmas to put up our Christmas tree.” The Brazilian rainbow boa constrictor is currently the youngest and has to be in a separate tank because the humidity has to be kept high, Hunt said. Despite potential downsides like the amount of space taken up, Hunt’s mother Nancy Hunt pointed out benefits of taking care of snakes. “He is able to observe their growth and behavior,” she said. “He has the opportunity to see how their development aligns with what his expectations were from doing his research.” This scientific benefit is particularly important considering Cameron Hunt’s desire to become a veterinarian of herpetology. In addition to Cameron Hunt’s four snakes, he currently has two tortoises, three water turtles, an African clawed frog
courtesy Cameron Hunt
Ball python: Sophomore Cameron Hunt poses with one of his three snakes. He keeps his snakes in a tank in his living room and plans to be a veterinarian of herpetology. and tropical fresh water fish. This summer, the Hunt family bought a Cardigan Welsh Corgi, which is her favorite of Cameron’s pets, Nancy Hunt said. “Cameron has been interested in all types of animals, including reptiles since he was very young,” said Nancy Hunt. “Even though I personally am not a big fan of snakes, I was never concerned about Cameron’s safety as he does quite a bit of research before purchas-
ing any of his pets. “He prepares extensively for the proper habitat, diet and general caregiving requirements,” she said. “I know he takes it very seriously.” According to Cameron Hunt, in the end, both from a scientific point of view and from that of the average pet-owner, snakes are very interesting animals to care for. “They make great pets,” he said.
Runner Sonya Jampel learns lessons from sports Douglas Abrams “Keep going and persevere,” said sophomore Sonya Jampel. Jampel’s mother Sandra Marwill said that Jampel’s focus, perseverance and positive attitude has helped her become a nordic skier and a nationally ranked runner. In 2007, Jampel joined the Waltham Track Club team, which is coached by Joe Tranchita, this school’s track coach. That same year, Jampel competed in her first national competition, Junior Nationals, and came in 11th. Then in 2008 with Jampel’s help, the team ranked second in Nationals. “My experiences competing at the national level were extremely humbling. At my middle school, I would always come in first in races, but at bigger events I wouldn’t,” said Jampel. “Those races taught me that you can always improve.” Jampel said that being part of the Waltham Track Club has taught her leadership skills. “As one of the veteran members of the team, I would often help other kids with their running and encourage them.” In 2011, Jampel again traveled to the Junior Olympics in Myrtle Beach, S.C., and competed Saturday, Dec. 10, running the cross country course. That year, her team won Nationals. Last year, Jampel came in 17th in the one-mile event, running it in 5:39. According to Tranchita, “Jampel’s enjoyment of learning is the key to her success, sepaby
courtesy Jack Prior
Perserverance: Sophomore Sonya Jampel competes with junior Evie Heffernan in the Bay State Conference Championships Saturday, Oct. 27 at Norwood. rating her from other athletes her age. Sonya has a sincere desire to improve and to be the best that she can be. She is not afraid of doing hard work and even seeks it willingly to help her improve. “But the key is that she genuinely enjoys running, being and becoming a better athlete, no matter what the activity.”
In addition to the Waltham Track Club, Sonya participates in cross country and outdoor track. Overall, Jampel said she feels that racing for this school’s cross country team is just as challenging as racing for her club, despite the fact that it is not at the national level. According to Jampel, her ex-
perience on this school’s cross country and outdoor track teams have been centered around personal improvement. “In cross country, our coach sometimes spends 40 minutes reading off each of our personal records,” she said. “It is so great to see myself improve.” Additionally, Jampel said that she loves the team bonding involved in cross country and outdoor track. Although Jampel’s main sport is running, she is also a successful nordic skier. As a freshman, she joined CSU, Cambridge Sports Union, a highly competitive skiing club. She currently competes with the club regionally. “Some of the kids on CSU are crazy––they work so hard.” According to Jampel, CSU has taught her the importance of work ethic and independence, which has helped her as a student. “On CSU they do this thing called the ‘Goal Pyramid.’ On the top part of the pyramid you write your goal and then underneath it you write what steps you’ll need to take to accomplish it. I’ve found myself applying the pyramid to my schoolwork,” said Jampel. “The pyramid makes you realize what it’ll take to get what you want, and more often than not, makes it more likely that you’ll do it.” In addition to hard work, Jampel has learned about responsibility from CSU. “Through being on the team, I’ve had to step up in arranging rides, getting to practice on time and cor-
responding with my coaches because my parents started with as little information about skiing as I did, so they didn’t take control,” said Jampel. “This has made me feel more comfortable emailing teachers and peers.” Despite the fact that Jampel has been running for longer than she has been skiing she said she is still deciding which is her favorite sport. “I love aspects of skiing, and I love aspects of running.” Jampel also mentioned that she disliked the financial aspect of skiing. “I don’t really like that you need snow and equipment and money to ski. All you need to run is a road. The sport is a great equalizer. No matter what your background, you can run and see who’s fastest.” Jampel said she has learned to be an athlete not just from her coaches and peers but from her family. According to Jampel, one of the greatest forces behind her success is Marwill. She said that she encouraged Sonya to exercise from a young age. “When she was little, I pushed her in the stroller to the playground, and I would ask her if she wanted to jog beside me. Sometimes, she would jog with me all the way to the playground.” Marwill said that Jampel has grown in confidence since she was younger. “As a kid she would always say: ‘Mom, I’m afraid to race.’ All I would ever say was: ‘Just don’t be afraid. Just don’t.’ And then, I would see her on the starting line ready to go.”
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Sam Lam creates magic tricks Malini Gandhi Freshman Sam Lam never makes a conscious choice to sit down and create a magic trick. Rather, the tricks, which involve card manipulation and vanishing coins, seem to come to him by accident—almost as if by magic. “Magic tricks are something I just sort of stumble upon,” Lam said. “Usually, I am simply playing around with cards, and I start to notice patterns or put together techniques. The trick forms from there.” Lam has taken his passion for magic tricks far, spending his free time perfecting techniques, putting together tricks and performing at birthday parties. Sophomore Rudy Gelb-Bicknell, who is friends with Lam and who shares his passion for magic tricks, said that Lam’s combination of talent, as well as his personality, is what makes him a successful magician. “Sam is brilliant at slight of hand and is always showing me new, very complicated moves he has come up with,” GelbBicknell said. “In addition to his talent at tricks, Sam is also funny and adds a lot of humor and personality to his approach to magic.” But though Lam is now an accomplished magician, he first became part of the world of magic not as a performer, but as a gawking audience member. According to Lam, he first became interested in magic tricks upon observing a magician at a restaurant he went to as a kindergartener. “I remember watching the magician and noticing that whenever he performed, people around him were either surprised or shocked. I myself was perplexed.” Inspired by the puzzling nature of the magician’s tricks by
and eager to elicit a similar response of amazement from an audience, Lam looked into the art of magic, he said. His grandfather bought him a book filled with descriptions of magic tricks, and from there he began experimenting with tricks. Yet, after a few years of showing the magic tricks he learned to his amazed friends, Lam said he wanted to go further than simply copying tricks from books. “I realized that all the tricks I was performing were created by someone else, not me,” Lam said. “I decided I didn’t want to always be glued to other people’s tricks.” And so Lam began harnessing the techniques he had learned from the books over the years and putting them together into his own tricks, which he said provided a new sort of thrill. In fact, one of Lam’s favorite tricks to perform is a card trick he made up himself. According to Lam, the trick begins with a spectator selecting a card from the deck, and Lam gives them the option of signing their name on it so they are convinced that the card they selected is the same one that appears again throughout the trick. Lam then puts the card back in the deck so it is sticking out just a bit. Lam describes the phenomenon the audience sees next: “I tell them to watch closely as the card slowly starts to rise up, stopping a few cards from the top of the deck. “Then I rub the side and the card is suddenly second from the top. I hold up the deck so the audience can see that it is still is their card, and when I bring the deck back down their card is already on top.” Gelb-Bicknell also said that
creating one’s own tricks provides a new level of satisfaction. However, he noted that making up tricks has a practical use as well. “It is useful to put together your own tricks because you can personalize them and really match the trick to your own skill set,” Gelb-Bicknell said. “For example, if you are not good at dexterity, you can create a trick that doesn’t require as much of that.” Yet, while the process of putting together a trick is valuable, Lam said that the most rewarding part of magic tricks is observing people’s reactions to his performance, whether it be his family, friends or younger children at the birthday parties he performs at. “As a magician, my greatest hope is to get a confused face or laughter from the people watching,” Lam said. “Whenever I get this perplexed response, it feels really nice.” While Lam said he usually demonstrates some of his techniques to his audience, he never gives away the secret of a trick. Of course, there has been instances where Lam said his trick has “just fallen flat.” But according to Lam, “that’s just part of how it works.” According to Lam, there are two reasons why a trick could fail: either the idea itself is flawed or is not fully formed, or the magician made a mistake in the process of performing it. But no matter how much he practices and tweaks a trick, Lam said he can never make a trick faultless. “I don’t think a trick can ever truly be perfect,” Lam said. “There’s always more that could be done, a better way of performing it or a different path to go down. That’s part of the appeal of magic for me.”
Fan of cards: Freshman Sam Lam performs a magic trick Thursday. Lam became a magician after observing a magician perform a trick when he was in kindergarten.
Pokémon hat represents Joanna Le’s love of anime Peter Diamond Every day, a student wears a hat designed to look like Pikachu, a character from the anime media franchise Pokémon, which she describes as a symbol of her love of anime, a form of Japanese animation. Freshman Joanna Le, a participant in the Japanese film and anime club at this school, has been interested in anime for years, she said. “I love that there’s a lot of variety in the genres in anime,” she said. “The plot is sometimes amazing and breathtaking, and debating about scenes with my friends is fun.” This school’s programs have fostered her passion, according to Le. “I love the anime club at North, and I love the people in it,” she said. “They’re awesome and fun and just all around wonderful. The times I have in that club are definitely moments I’ll treasure for the rest of my life. The upperclassmen have helped me a lot in my experience at North.” The officers of the club are juniors Eric Halin and Ned Martenis, who try to cultivate a love of the art form at this school, according to Martenis. Both officers enjoy sharing anime with younger students like Le, according to Halin. “I always love seeing someone new to the school find an interest that they enjoy so we can all bond over the animes,” he said. Martenis has been particularly impressed with Le’s participation in the club, he said. “Joanna is one of the most voby
Jay Feinstein, courtesty Joana Le
Artwork: Freshman Joanna Le draws on the white board during Japanese film and anime club (left). Le also creates oragami, a traditional Japanese paperfolding art (above). cal and enthusiastic members of our club, and she’s always one of the first to chime in on recommending shows to watch,” he said. Anime is a form of animation that arose in Japan in 1917, when director Junichi Kou’uchi created a two-minute cartoon video of two samurai soldiers in battle, according to a publication by Wayback Machine Internet Archive. Kou’uchi designed the piece with a level of exaggeration that had never been seen before in animation. Anime is a popular art form in the United States, largely due to the work of director Hayao Miyazaki, the creator of popular anime films “Kiki’s Delivery
Service,” “Spirited Away” and “Ponyo,” as well as the Pokémon franchise. Le’s interest in the art form existed before she arrived at this school, she said. She was initially captivated by the stories told in anime. Outside of her participation in anime club, Le expresses her passion by attending anime conventions, participating in marathons of anime-watching and by simply discussing the form of entertainment as much as possible, she said. At conventions, she said, “there are countless people playing anime and manga characters, and there are various events and lots of stands that sell original art or fan art.
“There are also people that are well known in the anime and manga world.” “My favorite anime is definitely ‘ Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicles,’” she said. “I would recommend that to anyone. It’s an amazing romance adventure project by Clamp, one of my favorite mangaka groups.” “Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicles” is a series of illustrated books that tell the story of a young archaeologist’s journey through Japan, according to a publication by Imagine Games Network. The terminology used by Le, mangaka, describes the exaggerated style of drawing that is characteristic of this form of
animation. An avid drawer, Le’s style of art, which she describes as “scribbly and simple,” is inspired by manga styles. Le’s love of Japanese arts extends beyond just anime. She has folded paper in the form of origami for years, she said. “I recently folded and created little trinkets for my teachers to hang on their Christmas trees. Also, last year I folded a lot to raise money for a trip to Quebec. “My origami is pretty typical for a learner, flowers and animals. “However, I also do this one form where I fold a bunch of individual triangles and put them together to make something, like a swan or a panda.”
Friday, Jan. 18, 2013
Newton North, Newtonite ◆ 15
Claire McEwen performs with energy, enthusiasm Perrin Stein Three years ago as an ensemble member of “Guys and Dolls,” freshman Claire McEwen said she discovered her love of acting and singing through the excitement, enthusiasm and passion of the seventh and eighth graders in the show. “I saw how much fun the older students were having, and it inspired me to want to do theatre,” she said. Last month, McEwen took her hobby of acting and singing to a new level by performing in Freshman Cabaret, this school’s all-inclusive freshman- only show. In the variety show, “True Colors,” which went up Thursday, Dec. 13 through Friday, Dec. 14 in the auditorium, McEwen sang solos in “True Colors” by Cyndi Lauper and “Valerie” by Amy Winehouse. In addition, she performed in “Getting Business Done,” a skit by acting director sophomore Elena Rodriguez. “It’s always so much fun to go from not knowing the songs and skits at all to being able to perform them,” McEwen said. From rehearsals to the two performances, McEwen said she loved being a part of Freshman Cabaret. “It was a great introduction into Theatre Ink, which is a very different experience from the acting I did at Bigelow,” she said. “Theatre Ink is more stressful than Bigelow Theatre because there are so many talented and experienced people.” Specifically, in “True Colors,” McEwen was a member of the ensemble, whereas in her last show at Bigelow, she was the baker’s wife in “Into the Woods.” This musical is filled with by
Singing: Freshman Claire McEwen sings “Valerie” as freshman Sophie Pels looks on. The two were among the performers in Freshman Cabaret, which went up Thursday, Dec. 13 through Friday, Dec. 14 in the auditorium. fairy tale characters who interact with the baker and his wife. McEwan said “Into the Woods” is her favorite show because she
enjoys the juxtaposition of the realistic and magical characters. “It was great to be such a main role in my favorite show,” she
said. McEwen said performing as the baker’s wife was difficult particularly because she had to act and sing at the same time. “I received a lot of help from the director, who was lovely,” she said. “Before we went over a scene, he always asked me: ‘Who are you, who are you talking to and what is your motivation?’ These questions really helped me get into character.” Incidentally, McEwen used these guiding questions for her Freshman Cabaret audition. When preparing for her audition, she said she first learned the notes to the song “Times Like These” from the musical “Lucky Stiff.” Then, “I thought through the three questions, deciding how the person singing would answer them,” she said. “Finally, I decided how to reflect the character’s personality through physical choices.” According to Rodriguez, a director of “True Colors” with sophomores Ashley Campbell, Liv Berlin and Leah Moskowitz, “Claire’s friendly energy creates a warm environment in which everyone in the show can learn.” In addition, “Claire was able to contribute not only her talent as an actress but a great energy to anything she was a part of,” she said. “She was able to take risks on stage, which is something that is difficult for a lot of young actors to master.” Similarly, Campbell said, “She is so talented, and I was so glad to be able to work with her. She worked really hard in every number she was a part of. She had a lot to bring to the table, including her beautiful voice and personality.” As a result of the hard work McEwen put in during rehears-
al, Campbell said, “throughout the process she grew in confidence. I could really see that from the beginning to the end. “When it came to the final performances she was so energetic on stage. I was really proud of what she accomplished. In addition to performing in school productions every summer, McEwen takes her love of acting to Shakespeare & Company, an acting day camp in Lennox, where kids spend two weeks preparing and performing selected scenes and monologues from Shakespeare plays. Last summer, McEwen was a member of a performance of various sections of “Richard III.” “Performing at Shakespeare & Company is really fun,” she said. “I get more acting experience, and I always meet lots of great people who are also passionate about acting.” In an effort to take her acting experience further, McEwen plans to perform as an ensemble member in “How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying.” Steve Borowka will direct the musical, which goes up Thursday, March 14 through Sunday, March 17 in the auditorium. The show is about a young, ambitious man, J. Pierrepont Finch, who reads the book How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying and rises from window washer to chairman of the board of a large, international company. In addition, McEwen plans to try out for “Blood Relations,” directed by seniors Anna Nemetz and Sam Raby, in February. “Honestly, I am trying to audition for everything,” she said. “Theatre Ink is a great place and I love acting, so I truly want to get involved.”
Black belt Henry Rolfe teaches younger students Leah Budson Not every karate student has met Chuck Norris and is a three time world champion, as freshman Henry Rolfe is. Rolfe has been interested in karate ever since a character began practicing the sport on his favorite television show, “The Proud Family.” Today, eight years later, he is a second degree black belt who also teaches karate classes at the Giroux Brothers Martial Arts studio in Newtonville. Rolfe primarily practices Chun Kuk Do, a karate style founded by actor Chuck Norris, who Rolfe has met each of the last three years at the annual Chun Kuk Do International Training Conference in Las Vegas, Nev. “It was a privilege and an honor to meet Chuck Norris, particularly because he is the founder of my karate style,” said Rolfe. “This style of karate is based around four values: discipline, integrity, loyalty and respect,” he said. “I have learned each of these values from practicing karate, and they really teach you what it means to be a decent person.” In addition to Chun Kuk Do, Rolfe practices Extreme Martial Arts (XMA), a style that combines elements of acrobatics and gymnastics with an emphasis on showmanship. “Karate has so many different angles,” Rolfe said. “There are ancient, traditional ways of practicing, and then there is XMA, which is much more fast paced.” The versatility of the sport is one of the things that sepaby
rates karate from other sports, explained Rolfe. “With other sports, there is usually only one way to play them and one set of rules you have to follow.” A second element that sets karate apart is its use of weapons, said Rolfe. He trains with nunchaku, bo staffs, kamas and swords. His main weapon for competitions are kamas, which are long sticks with curved blades at the end. Rolfe earned first place in his weapons event at the Chun Kuk Do International Training Conference last year and placed third for his age group at the Ocean State Grand Nationals in Warwick, R.I. this year, according to Rolfe. Rolfe said he competes in about seven tournaments per year. “My favorite part about competing is performing your routine really well and then being able to watch it back on video.” Rolfe is able to share his experiences gained from competitions with students he teaches alongside a second instructor in the Dragon, Eagle and Black Belt Club classes every Wednesday. In addition, he occasionally teaches the Dragon Class on Tuesday by himself. “I want to teach karate because it has changed my life so drastically, really shaping the person I am today for the better,” he explained. In his teaching, Rolfe said he hopes to help students not only with the physical elements of karate, but also with the values of respect and discipline. “I want to help students go far with karate and watch
it change their lives as it did mine,” said Rolfe. “I want them to have fun and make karate a massive chunk of their lives and something that they have to look forward to because that is what karate has become to me. “The best part about teaching karate is seeing that students are having fun and wanting to continue practicing it. Seeing that lets me know that I have done a good job teaching,” he said. Sophomore Jonah Samuels and South sophomore Danny Horta-Sohmer, both third degree black belts, often teach classes with Rolfe. “When it comes to teaching, Henry is very patient and knows how to explain a technique or drill very well,” said HortaSohmer. “In addition to that, he has a great sense of humor, which helps kids actually want to stay in the class. “I mean, who wants a boring karate teacher?” Horta-Sohmer said he enjoys teaching with Rolfe. “I like knowing that we’re helping students, whether it be teaching them to protect themselves or to improve their discipline.” During the four years that he has known Rolfe, “Rolfe has become more and more dedicated to karate with each competition and test,” said Horta-Sohmer. According to Samuels, this dedication is essential to Rolfe’s karate practice. “In addition to self-defense, the most important aspect of karate is self discipline,” Samuels said. Rolfe’s dedication is also reflected in his teaching, according to Samuels. “He is a very good motivaitonal and patient
courtesy Henry Rolfe
One handed: Freshman Henry Rolfe participates in national and international karate competitions and teaches karate at Giroux Borthers Martial Arts studio in Newtonville. teacher. He really connects with all the kids by asking them how their day was or how they were feeling before each class.” In the end, Rolfe said he enjoys competing and practicing karate and hopes that through
his teaching he can help others to appreciate it as he does. “Karate is a massive chunk of my life right now and not many people know about how cool it can be and what a great hobby it is,” he said.
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This is the hobbies special for volume 91 of the Newtonite, published in 2013.