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December 2010

NHS Expands Cultural Opportunities his fall Newtown High School was selected as one of only 40 schools in the nation to have been accepted into the Hanban–Asia Society Confucius Classrooms Network. With this immense honor, Newtown is given the opportunity to expand worldwide cultural awareness and education on a level deeper than ever before. The Hanban-Asia Society Confucius Classrooms Network is a national network that helps to improve Chinese language courses as well as encourage and support partnerships between American and Chinese high schools. This network is particularly prestigious, and Newtown’s acceptance is not only an honor but a tribute to the time and effort that many people have put into the partnership that Newtown shares with Liaocheng. However, acceptance did not come easily. Newtown High School was rejected upon its 2009 application to the network, and spent the next year improving the program to make it apparent that the partnership was strong. Newtown High School Assistant Principal Jason Hiruo headed these efforts as the head of Newtown’s Partnership with Liaocheng. Acceptance in 2010 reflected these efforts, and even then still bestowed a great honor the partnership. Acceptance into this network was based on multiple parts of Newtown High School’s partnership. The success of the partnership with Liaocheng, the success of the mandarin program at Newtown High School, and the willingness of the Newtown community and high school staff to support the program all

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INSIDETHEHAWKEYE

MATT JENSEN

NEWS PAGE 4

Dr. Janet Robinson, Dr. Linda Gejda, Mr. Charles Dumais, Mr. Jason Hiruo, and Mr. Tom Brant arrive and are greeted by students at Liaocheng Middle School No. 3.

Help Too Late: The Devastation of Bullycide

Kiely Kuligowski

egan Meier. Tyler Clementi. Phoebe Prince. Sladjana Vidovic. Brandon Bitner. Jaheem Herrara. These are just six of the over 4,250 teenagers between the ages of 10 and 24 that commit suicide each year as a result of bullying. The list of victims goes on and on- each story just as heartbreaking as the last. There are stories of families agonizing over the loss of their child, photos of white crosses standing stoically with ribbons and pictures pinned to their surface and sobbing friends and family kneeling nearby. There are articles about friends and peers asking themselves over and over if they could have been the one to stop the harassment, the ones to prevent their friend from going over the edge. But is this enough to stop bullycide in the U.S? Is simply telling these tragic stories enough to stamp out

bullying completely? This is the question that parents of bullycide victims as well as parents across the country are asking themselves, and the consensus is no. In the case of Megan Meier, her parents are working to instill stricter regulations on social networking sites. “There needs to be some sort of regulations out there to protect children. Parents can only be in so many places and so many times,” Tina Meier said on Good Morning America Weekend Edition. “I wish there were regulations with these forums. There’s got to be something.” Tina and Ron Meier have been working with Congresswoman Linda Sanchez to amend the Bill of Rights. They want to put into motion the Megan Meier Cyberbullying Prevention Act. This act outlines specific,

stricter punishments for cyber bullies. Megan’s story is, like all other suicides, heartbreaking and infuriating all at once. Megan was ‘friended’ one day by a sixteen year old named Josh Evans, who claimed he was home-schooled and did not yet have a telephone, therefore limiting their contact to Myspace. com and AOL Instant Messenger. This boy pretended to be her friend as they messaged back and forth. Her family reported that since the contact had begun Megan had been happier and her self-esteem had improved. But the messages slowly began to take a different tone. One reportedly read, “I don’t know if I want to be friends with you any longer because I hear you’re not nice to your friends.” The messages then began to target Megan, posting bulletins on a public wall bearing messages such as, “Megan Meier is a slut. Megan Meier is fat.”

A Little Night Music

Holiday Eating Tips

Getting Lost in NHS

Staff Writer

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AMERICANPROGRESS.ORG

Increasing Gas Prices

Constructive Criticism

CHINESE DELEGATION

FEATURE PAGE 7

ARTS & LEISURE PAGE 15

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HANNAH MARET

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contributed to the recognition. Nonetheless, the most crucial and impressive part of NHS’s application was the partnership with its sister school. The partnership between Newtown High School and Liaocheng No. 3 Middle School began in 2008. In the two years since then, it has exceeded expectations. What most partnerships take five or even ten years to do, ours took less than two, mostly due to the dedication, hard work, and support of everyone involved. This made Newtown High School stand out among the hundreds of other applicants. Our school showed that not only can we have a successful partnership, but we have a staff full of devoted people who want the partnership to excel. Hiruo, head Program Coordinator of the Newtown China Initiative, or NCI, is extremely pleased to be accepted into such a network. “Being a Confucius Classroom puts us on a global map,” Hiruo said. “Not only are we a model school, but we are also a regional hub for New England.” And that it is. Newtown High School is now considered to have one of the best international programs in the country. Our school will now receive support from the Asia Society in any way possible, such as language lessons, professional teacher development, cultural opportunities, or providing extra staff. Other schools in the area and around the world are now turning to us for help on how to create or further their own international relationships. One school in particular that welcomes Newtown’s

Volume XIV Issue III

SUGARLOAF.ORG

Managing Editor

GOODREADS.COM

Abbey Doski

Newtown High School

SPORTS & HEALTH PAGE 18

OPINION PAGE 20


NHS Grad Finds Sideline Success

Emily Dutt Web Editor

HAWKEYE STAFF

10-11

Editor-in-Chief Danielle Villa ‘11

Managing Editors Abbey Doski ‘12 Hannah Maret ‘12

News Editor

Kaitlyn Connolly ‘11

Feature Editors

Emily Ashbolt ‘12 Megan Duero ‘12 Rachel Musco ‘12

Arts & Leisure Editors

Anna Hodge ‘12 Aidan Sherman ‘11

Sports Editor RJ Roman ‘11

Layout Editor

Katelyn Dandrea ‘12

Web Editors

Emily Dutt ‘11 Matt Jensen ‘11 Cat Sherman ‘11 Justin Villamil ‘11

Staff Writers

Hannah Barrett ‘12 Kate Bartel ‘13 Kelley Baylis ‘13 Courtney Campbell ‘13 Rebecca Dutsar ‘13 Sarah Eichler ‘13 Megan Evans ‘13 Kiely Kuligowski ‘13 Sally Martinelli ‘13 Emily Morrell ‘13 Jennifer Radatovich ‘12 Nicole Small ’13 Masthead Design and Illustration by Lilly Rodriguez, ‘11 The Hawkeye is produced by the journalism classes under the direction of Mr. Marc Kenney. Editorial and advertising offices are located at Newtown High School, 12 Berkshire Road, Sandy Hook, CT, 06482. Letters to the editor that do not reflect the opinions of the staff may be dropped off in the main office in the The Hawkeye Mailbox. All letters must be signed.

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yle Lyddy is superman. Sure, he may not sport the tight red and blue spandex uniform on a daily basis, but he has definitely accomplished enough in his short lifetime to be considered super. Lyddy has lived in Newtown all his life. He graduated from Newtown High School in 2005, and is a 2009 graduate of the University of Connecticut, where he majored in Sociology. During his four years at UConn, he was the manager of the UConn Huskies men’s basketball team under head coach Jim Calhoun. Lyddy started keeping a journal to himself about his “once in a lifetime” opportunity. He recorded events he witnessed, which he described as “things that people and even huge fans wouldn’t know about unless they were there.” He never intended for his journals to be made into a book, but in 2009, Lyddy published From My Seat, a book that highlighted the 2008-2009

up-and-down season of the team and gave people an inside look on the everyday life of a Husky. Lyddy contacted almost 100 literary agents but soon realized that he did not want to endure the long process of publishing a book, and decided to self publish. “What I had written, I felt was time sensitive,” Lyddy said. After publishing, Lyddy created a website to market it, met with journalists, and went on radio shows to promote the book. “The book had some great feedback. UConn fans are a passionate group, and I think those who had purchased the book, felt it was a good inside look at the program,” he said. Lyddy claims he had no expectations for the book, but he has now sold over 1,000 copies, which was a “great surprise”. Being a manager and publishing the book really helped Lyddy become the man he is today. “I learned on a day to day basis really how to interact with

people. While I was a manager, there were players and managers from all over the world. It was a very diverse group, but it forced you to interact and learn about the cultures that all these people came from,” Lyddy said. Maybe his experience with the Huskies is what helped Lyddy get his job at the Newtown Youth Academy. Currently, he is the program coordinator at the NYA, and recently, he started a program for elementary school students during the half days at the beginning of every month. Lyddy started the program after Ken Good, director of NYA’s programs, gave him the idea. They both knew the half day of school at the beginning of each month was possibly an inconvenience for parents. Starting a program where kids could play and parents didn’t have to worry about leaving work early or getting a babysitter seemed to be a happy medium for all involved. The half day activity is set up in the field house of the NYA, with everything from soccer to dodgeball, and kickball.

During the first two sessions of the half day program, on October 6 and November 3, the varsity, junior varsity, and freshman field hockey teams volunteered time to help out and play with the elementary school kids. For the upcoming sessions, Lyddy hopes to reach out to some of the winter sports teams and have them volunteer, or even try to get the word out to individuals that want to volunteer their time. Lyddy’s goals for the program are to keep energy and enthusiasm high from volunteers to kids and vice versa. He also mentioned how he wants the half day program to be like a mentorship program. “I hope elementary kids will look up to older ones, and the older ones will interact with kids that feel left out,” he said. The program that Lyddy has started appears to be a success for everyone involved. His start at the NYA has included nothing less than achievement, and Newtown has a lot of great things to see from him in the future.

LMC and Career Center to Allow iPods Hannah Maret Managing Editor

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ewtown High School Student Government members created a petition at the end of November requesting a re-evaluation of the electronic device policy that was updated by the Principal’s Advisory Council (PAC) at the end of last year. Among the adjustments to the policy was a rule designating that iPods would not be allowed in the Library Media Center in order to eliminate a potential distraction. However, Student Government presented the idea that allowing iPods in the LMC will actually decrease the noise level and help many students focus. Part of the petition reads, “We all agree that iPods can be distracting when used at a high volume, but they can also be beneficial to those of us who find it hard to concentrate in the library when studying.” Secretary Luke Shearin presented the petition to Assistant Principal Jason Hiruo who

advised that it be taken to PAC Chair Eugene Hall. Hall invited Student Government, in this case represented by Shearin and member Don Morrissey, to attend the PAC meeting on Wednesday, December 8 to make a presentation. Senior Lauren Berko, who wrote the petition and collected signatures, explained her motivation for being involved with the proposal. “If I’m working and there are two people talking next to me, I can’t concentrate,” she said. “It will be quieter if people are independently working.” The faculty’s opinion on the matter is varied. “It’s a difficult question to answer,” English teacher Abigail Marks said. “I agree that the library should be a place for studying. Not having iPods helps foster a sense that it is a place for studying.” On the other hand, Library/Media Specialist Tiffany Cotroneo expressed her disagreement with the rule. “I have found that they

tend to help students actually focus,” she said. At the conclusion of the Student Government presentation during the PAC meeting, the Council discussed the proposition. Members of the Council were impressed with the presentaion and were open to reevaluating the policy. Hall explained at the meeting that the policy was changed at the end of last year because the LMC was categorized as a learning environment where such devices, like iPods, could be distracting. “The LMC was considered an academic area, like classrooms,” Hall said. “It got caught under that umbrella.” Career/College Center coordinator Kitty Latowicki explained that she is not against the use of iPods in the Career Center. “I have no problem with an iPod,” Latowicki said. “They [students] do focus.” Special Education teacher Katherine Matz agreed that allowing iPods would be

beneficial from the perspective of the community as a whole. “It makes us consistent with the town library,” she said. Ultimately, the PAC recommended that the NHS administration revise the electronic version of the NHS Student Handbook to allow iPods in the LMC and Career Center. The policy will be revised to reflect the PAC’s suggestion. Hall was pleased with the presentation and encouraged them to approach the PAC with any other ideas in the future. “Student Government representatives Luke Shearin and Donald Morrissey (both Juniors) did an outstanding job presenting their case,” Hall said. Shearin, as well, was happy with the outcome. “The Student Government, Lauren Berko especially, and I worked really hard to argue our point and I think it shows with the result,” Shearin said. “I think everyone, teachers, students and librarians alike, will be happy with the new policy.”

A Soggy Situation: Lecture Hall Floods Courtney Campbell Staff Writer

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he Lecture Hall is a simple, unguarded place. Yet somehow one simple object and one simple toss can turn this place into a soggy situation. On an unknown date, an NHS student threw an object at one of the sprinklers, breaking it and sending 100 pounds of water around the room. NHS custodians were on the case quickly after the incident occurred. Head Custodian Jimmy Young was the first to reach the

incident. “As soon as I heard the news I literally ran to the Lecture Hall and immediately began to work,” said Young. In order to stop the flooding, Young needed to remove ceiling tiles to find the source of the problem. Opening another sprinkler was also necessary to reduce the water pressure. It took ten minutes to find the correct shut off valve to turn off the sprinkler completely. However, the Lecture Hall was fortunate as the flooding could have been much worse.

“Normally when one sprinkler opens it will set off a chain reaction with the others,” said Young. If that was to happen, the Lecture Hall would have been faced with even worse conditions and a time consuming clean up. Luckily, there were minimum damages made to the hall itself and only the broken sprinkler needed to be replaced. However, cleaning up thirty minutes of pressurized water was no easy task. It took five hours to clean up the soaked carpets and chairs, leaving the

Lecture Hall closed for two days. The school day was not disturbed by the flooding and went on as usual. There was minimum disruption to the classes being help in the Lecture Hall. Students and teachers who had study halls there during those days were moved to other places such as the cafeteria. “They caught the kid,” Young said. Even though this crime caused a small disruption to the school day, it was not ignored and this story ends on a high note.


Newtown Lights Up For Holiday Festival Kate Bartel Staff Writer

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he 25th annual Newtown Holiday Festival was held on Sunday, December 5 from 11 AM to 5 PM on Main Street. Festive decorations and holiday carolers welcomed the season as families strolled along the street’s stone sidewalks. The festival was organized by Newtown Youth and Family Services, which sold tickets for $15 per person and $25 per family. Layne Lescault, the festival’s chairperson, stressed the importance of tradition in the festival. “The 25th Annual Holiday Festival marks a quarter century of family-friendly activities and celebration in support of Newtown Youth and Family Services,” Lescault said. “It is through Newtown Savings Bank’s generosity that this event continues in Newtown.” There was a huge turnout this year due to many events and activities for the entire family to participate in. The holiday house tours kicked off the big day at 11 a.m. The tours are always a hit among locals. The houses included this year were 7, 32, 38, and 50 Main Street. The homes were professionally decorated especially for the festival.

Beth Agen, Executive Director of Newtown Youth and Family Services, said, “Parents love to see the decorations in their neighbors’ homes.” After walking or taking one of the busses provided by Trinity Church, families stopped by Edmond Town Hall to take part in numerous traditional Christmas experiences. Newtown Savings Bank sponsored the Victorian Tea at Edmond around midday. “The Victorian Tea delights young and old alike each year,” Lescault said. Edmond also hosted performances of The Nutcracker Ballet at 12 and 2 PM by the Newtown Centre of Classical Ballet (NCCB). “The Malenkee Ballet Repertiore Company dancers rehearse for ten to twelve weeks for at least an hour and a half each week. I coordinate the music, cast and choreograph the show,” Jennifer Johnston of the NCCB said. Many high school students participated in the festival such as Newtown High School junior Lauren Bauer, who performed in The Nutcracker as the lead of Spanish Hot Chocolate and also of Uncle Drosselmeyer. “I love that NCCB gets to put together shows for the Nutcracker Ballet in the festival,” Bauer said. “It’s an awesome

SUE RUBINO

SUE RUBINO

experience for everyone and it only gets better each year.” While young and old alike ooh-ed and ah-ed at the choreography and costumes of the ballet, younger kids made their way down to the town hall’s gymnasium. It featured pictures with Santa, arts and crafts, and other fun activities for children. Right next door at the C.H. Booth Library, Newtown Parks & Recreation held a gingerbread contest and festival of trees. “Everyone loves the

festival of trees and gingerbread houses. It really is a great day,” Beth Agen said. Many of the kids still weren’t tuckered out around 4 PM, so families headed back down Main Street towards hot chocolate and carolers from the Newtown High School choral group, Singers. Sophomore Kamryn Harmeling, a member of the group, described her own take on the festival and emphasized the amount of work that was put into it.

Left: The winner of the Gingerbread House Contest at C.H. Booth Library Top: A Nutcracker welcomes those on the house tour at 7 Main St. “We’d been preparing for the festival for the past few weeks, staying after school for extended rehearsals and taking our music home to study,” Harmeling said. “It was totally worth it, too -- the festival itself was gorgeous, as it always is. Choral music truly adds to the winter spirit!” Around 5:30 PM, families hopped in their cars with smiles on their faces and cups of cocoa in their hands, looking forward to the wonderful experiences next year’s holiday festival would hold.

Homeroom Intramurals Aim to Unify School Matt Jensen Web Editor

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new weekly program at Newtown High School turns an ordinary homeroom into 10 minutes of friendly competition within each grade. Homeroom Intramurals began on October 19, starting with freshman homerooms. Homerooms of the same grade will face each other in competition one Tuesday a month, and the winner of each week’s competition receives a free breakfast. “[The competition] is organized as a communitybuilding activity,” Brett Nichols, NHS school counselor and one of the Intramural’s program advisors, said. “We’re taking advantage of homeroom time to unite the school community.” Nichols and NHS history teacher Jason Ferrier proposed the idea to the rest of the staff in September. They then designed the first competition, which called for students and homeroom teachers to name all of the clubs that took part in the Club Fair on September 21 in 10 minutes. Nichols and Ferrier chose the Club Fair activity because it “promot[ed] awareness of what our school is accomplishing,” Nichols said. The winner of the first challenge was biology teacher Tara Kalberer’s freshman homeroom. Other winners

DUMAIS.US

The winning sophomore homeroom in the most recent intramurals. included science teacher Melissa Torrance’s sophomore homeroom on October 26, business teacher Vivian Sheen’s junior homeroom on November 9, and physics teacher Kim Lowell’s senior homeroom on November 17. Physical education teacher Laura McLean’s freshman homeroom won the start of the second challenge on November 30. Each grade had the same challenge, and each grade’s winner received the free breakfast of Munchkins and Gatorade during the next homeroom. Nichols also posts a photograph of the winning homeroom on the school blog. But according to Nichols, the breakfast and publicity are not the only rewards. “They’re happy just for winning,” Nichols said.

Freshman Jill Lyon stated that the competition helps NHS students in more ways than just winning breakfast. “They get kids motivated to do stuff that benefits the community,” Lyon said. Junior Brett Linley agreed that the program has positive impacts on the school, adding, “It’s good because it gives a purpose to homeroom.” Even though Homeroom Intramurals are optional and participation depends solely on the homeroom teacher, Nichols said that over 50 percent of all homerooms participated in the Club Fair challenge. He understands that some homerooms might not participate due to time

spent in other discussions during homeroom. Still, Nichols and Ferrier are promoting the new program around school. In addition to the staff e-mail and blog entries, they also posted flyers in the school’s hallways and made announcements over the loudspeaker in the morning. Currently, the Intramural program is funded independently. However, the club advisors hope that the breakfasts will soon be funded through Student Government. They have not yet received final confirmation of this, but they did not want to “stall the activity” by waiting for a definite source of funding. Nichols hopes to expand the program beyond the paper challenges now that the new gym is open and available. Instead of naming clubs, homerooms might meet at the gym and pick one representative for a grade-wide basketball shootout. He would not reveal any specific plans for upcoming competitions, as all activities must remain secret before the homeroom’s scheduled competition day. However, he and Ferrier are both open to student and faculty input on the program, including ideas for new competitions. Nichols received some negative feedback about the program from the staff

during the senior homeroom’s first competition. Because the competition took place during conference week, November 16 was a half-day and homeroom was only five minutes long instead of 10. Because many homerooms did not have time to complete the challenge, the competition was extended through the next homeroom on November 17. However, Nichols summed up the staff ’s feelings as “excited, even a bit competitive” about the new program. He hopes this is a sign that Homeroom Intramurals will become a permanent fixture at NHS, but he is not sure if this will happen for certain. Nichols is pleased that the program is already “uniting homerooms [and] uniting the school.” He recalled serving the winning senior’s homeroom breakfast on November 18 as a good example of this unity. “Dr. [Steve] Malary’s homeroom was right across the hall from Mrs. Lowell’s homeroom. Now Mrs. Lowell is a competitive person, but when she saw Dr. Malary standing in her doorway, she invited his homeroom in to share the donuts,” Nichols said. “This shows [the competitions are] not about winning, but about celebrating,” he added.

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2010

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Constructive Criticism Matt Jensen Web Editor

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atience is a virtue necessary for survival at Newtown High School. Students must wait to find a free computer in the library, while teachers must wait for their students to grasp a difficult concept. And everyone must wait in long lines to buy and pay for lunch. This year, patience is even more important, as the completion of the new expansion has been almost continually delayed. However, NHS Principal Charles Dumais expects that the waiting will not last much longer, although no official date has been set for the opening of either the expansion. “Our philosophy is very clear—you show us a finished building, we move in,” said Dumais on the new policy of not setting a definite opening date. Because of this policy, students and staff anxiously awaited the large sheet in front of the new gymnasium to come down. The sheet had been placed in front of the gym after the anticipated opening of November 29 was not met. It was not until December 10 that the new gym, fitness center, dance studio, and health rooms (along with the existing locker rooms and pool) officially opened for student use. Physical education teachers spent the first days of the gym’s opening giving tours of the new facility to students. Winter sports teams then practiced in their home court, pool, or mats for the first time this season. The delay in the gym’s opening was primarily due to a wiring issue in the locker room fire alarms. The alarm malfunction needed to be fixed in order for the new building to pass a town inspection and open for use. Even though the gym is open for use, not all of the work there is finished. Only one side of the new bleachers have been installed, restricting students to using half of the gym until the second side of bleachers is

installed. Also, plenty of sheetrock remains in both the gym and the adjacent stairwell, and the weight room equipment still needs to be moved from room C187 to the new fitness center. The new layout of the gym area might be a bit confusing to students who remember the old gym’s layout. The “back gym” behind the main gym is the location of the new fitness center. The old fintess center is now a new dance studio, complete with mirros and padded walls. Gym teachers expect to use this room for dance, yoga, and other related activities. The new physical education offices are located off of the dance studio. Students will no longer have to walk through the locker rooms to talk to gym teachers. The pool, locker rooms and health room are all in the same location, as is the side gym. Before the gym opened, winter sports teams held tryouts and practices elsewhere during the week of November 29. The boy’s swimming team traveled to Oxford (where the girl’s swimming team practiced during the fall), where other teams went to the Newtown Youth Academy or Reed Intermediate School. The first home games in the winter are scheduled for December 15 (wrestling versus Stratford and boy’s swimming versus New Fairfield), while the first game in the new gymnasium will take place on December 20 when varsity girl’s basketball plays against Weston. While students can peer in to the new expansion from the gym foyer, Dumais does not expect the new addition to open for student use until sometime after winter break. Because there are no partitions between the gym and the new building, access to the gym is severely restricted so students do not enter the new building. Students cannot enter the gym area unless accompanied by a teacher, and security is patrolling the gym. After the new building receives its certificate of occupancy, construction workers must complete a “punch list” of items that still need work. For

MATT JENSEN

Access to the gym was restricted due to further construction in the new building. 4

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instance, some of the furniture, cabinets, computers, and other fixtures still have to be installed. Some ceiling tiles still need to be installed as well, and the whole building needs to be cleaned to remove the sawdust and grit from the construction. Also on the punch list is preparation of the food area. Chartwells must organize the area, perform another cleaning, and pass a health inspection to serve food at the new cafeteria. Dumias said the new building will not open unless food can be served there. The final step of the transition, which will likely take place sometime after winter break, is moving classrooms into the new building. Teachers will pack up their classrooms on a Friday after school, and movers will transport the boxes to the new building over the weekend. Dumais’ goal is that students will walk in to school on the following Monday to completely unpacked new classrooms. “We don’t want to lose [any] instructional time for students,” Dumais said. Dumais hopes that this move will take place before midterm exams, as he does not want grading the exams to be delayed by the move. A move before the start of second semester would also prevent the school from having to change second semester classrooms, as the school had to do for first semester. Meanwhile, the new track and artificial turf field opened on November 23. The first game on the turf took place the next night, when Newtown football lost the SWC Championship 42-0 to Masuk. However, the field might not be fully finished, according to Dumais. A section of the turf near the edge of the track is slightly depressed, and the town may want to fill in the soil under that part of the turf next spring. But to fill in the patch, an entire section of turf would need to be torn up and replaced. “The fix is worse than the problem,” Dumais said. With the stadium opening over six weeks after its expected completion date and the expansion running three months behind schedule, Dumais understands that patience is running out due to the delays on the construction. “The school has been inconvenienced quite a bit,” he said. Dumais further commented that Morganti, the main site contractors, is working hard to meet deadlines. However, sometimes that is not possible without changing the “quality of work” done by the subcontractors. “If we can have an inconvenience now, we can avoid it for the next 20 years,” he said. Still, Dumais said the inconvenience will be worth it. “Once you see the [new] building, it’s exciting,” he said.

MATT JENSEN

Crews work on resolving fire code issues in the new stairwell necessary for the new gymnasium to open.

Bacon, Egg, and Perfect Attendance Courtney Campbell Staff Writer

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o not be late! Never cut class! Students should keep in mind these things of they want in order to be rewarded with something every marking period. The Positive Behavioral Intervention and Supports (PBIS) are a group of teachers and faculty members that focuses on rewarding positive behavior. They came up with the idea to reward the students with perfect attendance. They want to promote positive student and staff behaviors and to improve academic outcomes. Currently, their goal is to lower class cuts by fifty percent in two school years. For the first quarter, 316 students had perfect attendance. The PBIS team is hoping that that number will rise every quarter. “We expect that students attend all of their classes. We wanted to reward students who meet this expectation. If receiving a reward helps motivate students, great!” said Dr. Jennifer Hoag, NHS school psychologist and a member of PBIS. In order to help with that goal, PBIS honors students with perfect attendance in the first marking period. Every marking period students will get a chance to earn a different reward for having zero absences. For the first quarter they were provided with breakfast sandwiches from the Newtown Deli. Students had a choice to choose a bacon, egg, and cheese sandwich or an egg and cheese sandwich. The Juniors and Seniors with perfect attendance received their breakfast sandwiches on Friday November 19.

Sophomores got theirs on the following Monday November 22 and Freshman got theirs on the next day, November 23. Choosing the breakfast sandwiches was a simple decision, as it was the most economically stable choice. “The PBIS team has a very limited budget, therefore, we thought of rewards that students would like but were also economical. Breakfast sandwiches fit the bill,” said Hoag. Eligible students were contacted via e-mail about the reward to insure that only the students who had perfect attendance got a sandwich. “Students were required to show their student ID’s to receive their earned breakfast; therefore, if students were not on the list, they could not receive a sandwich,” said Hoag. PBIS tried to find those students who did not come to the lobby to pick up their sandwich. This is to assure that every student was able to get the reward they deserved. The PBIS program is new this year at NHS. It is based off of a national initiative to reward positive behavior instead of punishing negative behavior. In addition to the reward for perfect attendance, the program runs a website that highlights positive behavior among staff and students. The program also renforces positive values through the use of “HAWKS” murals and posters around school. The only way for students to receive the reward is to have perfect attendance, so students are reminded not to cut their classes. “We hope that more students earn a perfect attendance award,” said Hoag.


NHS Culture Expands to Global Scale CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 Classroom Network is our sister school in Liaocheng. Being accepted into this network shows delegates in China that Newtown is serious about continuing the partnership. It also encourages them to continue our partnership and make it as successful as possible. In addition to this, being a Confucius Classroom means completely revamping the partnership and NHS in hopes of taking advantage of the opportunity to improve. Hiruo carefully selected eight NHS staff members to become a part of the NCI team and help plan, organize, run and publicize the partnership. One of these members is Tom Brant, NHS school psychologist. Brant works closely with Hiruo to see that all the behind the scenes work gets done. Primarily, Brant is in charge of coordinating the trip that the partnership takes to New York City in February, overseeing the additional members of the NCI team, contacting other universities in China to see if they would be involved in the program, and other logistics of the trip that our sister school will make to NHS in February. Currently, Brant’s major focus is finalizing the itinerary for the arrival of our sister school delegates. This is the third year that the Chinese Delegation will travel to Newtown High School, and this year the pressure is on to make the experience not only memorable but par to the expectations of the Confucius

Classroom Network. “We have to look at the practicality of it,” Brant said. “There must be built-in flexibility. As their needs change, our plans have to change accordingly.” However, Brant welcomes the challenge. “We know what we need to do if we want to consider ourselves a role model school. Internal pressure alone drives us all to do everything we can for this program.” Another crucial member of the NCI team is NHS English teacher Amanda Friedman. Friedman works closely with both Hiruo and Brant to prepare for the arrival of the delegation. Her main job is heading the NHS student ambassador program, called NLAP, or the NewtownLiaocheng Ambassador Program. Friedman works with the student ambassadors to plan the itinerary and come up with alternatives, as well as spreading cultural awareness and understanding of the partnership throughout the school and community. “This year is a landmark year,” Friedman said. “As we move to a global model, it is important for us to solidify the process of the partnerships, and at the same time improve ourselves to give our school the opportunity to continue to grow.” Her primary interest in the next year is to get students more involved. As this partnership and others start to develop, it is crucial that the interest level for such programs must grow as well. Armed with a new team

of dedicated staff and students and the Confucius Classroom title, Newtown High School is focused making this year as successful as possible. We not only want to have successful visits to both schools, but will use the time in which educators from both schools are together to expand the program even further. For both sides of the partnership, this year is already vastly different from the past. Liaocheng is brining approximately 40 delegates to NHS in February, a group twice as large as last year, and spanning grades 5-12. Newtown in turn is taking 24 students, teachers, and administrators to China in April. While this is not all that much larger than the group that traveled to China last year, this is the first year that students from Newtown High School, twelve in total, will go and be a part of the delegation. Also, this year’s trip to China will be a two week excursion, almost twice as long as last year’s trip. Even with these changes, everyone involved is still eager for more. Currently Hiruo is looking into expanding both sides of the partnership to include students K-12 in both Liaocheng and Newtown, creating an even stronger partnership between the two districts. At the high school level, Hiruo and the NCI team are in the infancy stages of planning a Chinese summer institute program, which would focus on culture, language, community awareness, and has the possibility of travel. In addition, there will be other changes to help create a more complete understanding of the Chinese culture. Newtown High School will offer a third year of Mandarin and partner with a Chinese dance troop. There is also a possibility of partnering with Yale and Columbia University, who will provide mandarin tutors for NHS students and professional development for teachers. Newtown High School mandarin teacher Hong Ding

CHINESE DELEGATION

Dr. Janet Robinson, Dr. Linda Gejda, Mr. Charles Dumais, Mr. Jason Hiruo, and Mr. Tom Brant arrive and are greeted by students at Liaocheng Middle School No. 3.

also has plans for the future. He hopes to create a more constant exchange between his classes and our sister school to give his students and the entire school a better understanding of the Chinese culture. “I wish that everyone can join in and be a part of this partnership,” Ding said. As if this was not enough, Newtown High School’s new reputation has given it honor of being selected as one of four schools across the nation to pilot the Japan Initiative. This program, as a part of the Japan Society, is the basis of what could become a second partnership with Japan. The pilot program consists of an online social networking project between high schools in America and Japan. Newtown High School Social Studies teacher Amy Repay was chosen to head the pilot program along with Hiruo, as it will be run out of her Multicultural Perspectives class in the second semester of this school year. Students who sign up for her class next semester

will complete a “Day in the Life” project, which will then be sent to students in Japan. The project aims to create dialog between the two countries and give students a better understanding of life outside of their country. “We are mainly going to focus on the experience,” Repay said. “We want to see what we can learn from each other.” This is just one of the many new partnerships that Newtown High School may be starting in the next few years, and is a direct benefit of the Confucius Classrooms Program. Even with all of this to consider, the main focus right now is still on the partnership with China and the upcoming visit in February. The NCI, NLAP, and Newtown High School are diligently working to ensure that this visit is the beginning of a new phase in the partnership. “Beginning a partnership with China was such a big step forward,” Brant said. “Now we will determine the success of this program for many years to come.”

Help Too Late: The Devastation of Bullycide CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 Megan, who had a history of depression, found the sudden turn of her ‘friend’ too much to bear. She hung herself in her bedroom closet on October 16, 2006. Six weeks after Megan’s death, the Meiers discovered that Josh Evans had never existed. He had, in fact, been 50-year-old Lori Drew, a neighbor and longtime friend of the Meiers. Drew’s daughter had been friends with Megan, before turning on her and teasing Megan mercilessly at school. Drew had formed the fake account and, with her daughter’s help, befriended Megan, then bombarded her with nasty messages, ultimately sending Megan over the edge. Tyler Clementi is yet another heart wrenching story. The eighteen-year-old had just begun his freshman year at Rutgers University in New Jersey when he was filmed by his roommate having a homosexual encounter in his dorm room. When the video was spammed out across the internet, Clementi found having his secret blown out was too much too bear. He sent a chilling update to his Facebook status a little before 8 pm announcing, “jumping off the gw bridge sorry.” No one took it seriously, and by 9 pm, Tyler Clementi was found floating facedown in the Hudson. Tyler Clementi’s death seemed to light the spark of the flame that is roaring across the country. Schools, senators, and parents are putting their foot down. A new wave of prevention seminars, assemblies, and tips has surfaced, and this time, the government is taking a different approach. ““We’ve got to dispel the myth that bullying is just a normal rite of passage, or an inevitable part of growing up. It’s not,” said President Obama.

“We have an obligation to ensure that our schools are safe for all of our kids. Every single young person deserves the opportunity to learn and grow and achieve their potential, without having to worry about the constant threat of harassment.” The White House plans to host a conference next year to raise awareness and equip students and adults with tools to prevent bullying and harassment. Here in NHS, there is a zero tolerance policy on bullying. Prevention steps have been taken, with new bullying lessons added to the Health curriculum. “The curriculum is adjusted every year to be more relevant. One of the main goals is to get kids to think and communicate,” said physical Education teacher Kathy Davey. The health curriculum was most recently updated in May of 2009 to include more bullying prevention lessons. Bullying is also addressed in Guidance classes. Dr. Hoag, the school psychologist, said, “Lessons, such as the one developed for our Guidance classes are meant to help students gain perspective and learn what they can do to intervene.” Bullying is wrong. Everyone knows that. But sometimes knowing that it is wrong does not stop people from doing it- they ignore what is right and move ahead with thoughts of ruining someone’s life. Bullies don’t realize that the cost is exactly this- a life. Did Megan Meier pay enough? Did Jaheem? Did Tyler? Programs are being instilled across the country, students and parents are speaking pout louder than ever, and more and more schools are adopting zero tolerance policies. Hopefully it will be enough to dispel this epidemic sweeping the U.S, before it’s too late.

December

2010 5


Going Down the Flow with the Debate Team Emily Morell Staff Writer

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low, theory, turn, constructive, underview, case, and contention are just a few of the key terms used by members of the debate team. On most Wednesdays and Thursdays in English teacher, Jacob Thomas’ room, members meet to perfect their debating skills, prepare for tournaments, and, according to Thomas, teach debate veterans how to teach the new members. “My goal is always to teach the older debaters to run the team; they are much better teachers than I am,” Thomas, the debate team advisor, said. Debating is a specially formatted system that involves more than just argumentation, and thus leaves much to be learned. “We don’t just argue for the sake of arguing. Being reasonable is very important,” Thomas said. Junior Linda He explained the importance of reliable research in debate. Two major sources that debaters use to successfully back up their positions are philosophy and government. “You have to know a lot of philosophy and why government

functions the way it does,” He said. Confidence and speaking skills are also crucial aspects of debating. Members of the debate team said that those interested in improving these skills should consider getting involved. Junior Andrew Argraves shared how being on the debate team helps develop basic speech skills as well as academics. “If you’re a college nerd it’s a bonus,” Argraves said. Linda He agreed with Argraves and continued to explain how her guidance counselor is impressed by her participation in the debate team. Debate team stands out from other after school activities according to He. “It’s definitely a time consuming extra curricular activity,” He said. The debate team steadily prepares for their monthly tournaments. Although this schedule may not seem vigorous, the team admits to working hard and feeling the stress. “We’re at a disadvantage. If they [students] start younger, they have a better chance in the tournaments,” Thomas said. Thomas encourages any interested students, especially underclassmen, to join. He explained that if students join

the debate team as freshmen or sophomores, they will have more time to prepare and learn debating techniques and have a better chance of improving their skills. There are two different forms of debate that students can choose to participate in. The National tournaments are in the Lincoln-Douglas form of debate, which consists of oneon-one debating and focuses mostly on issues of morality. The second type of debating is Public form, which is two versus two debating. Debates in Public primarily deal with current events. Students can pick from either form of debate, depending on which form they are more comfortable with. However, students can only prepare for one style of debate. “It’s impossible to prepare for both,” Thomas said. Joining the debate team has many benefits, like improving speech and confidence skills, gaining a better knowledge of government and philosophy, grasping different points of view at a fast pace, and even making new friends. “Once the tournaments are over we just hang out. As cliché as it sounds, we’re like a family,” He said.

High Heels in School? Hannah Barret Staff Writer

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igh heels have been a fashion staple for women since the 17th century. The 21st century woman knows how to endure the pain of squeezing their foot into a small shoe. Wearing these painful pumps has dangers, but also it’s the personal choice of those wearing the shoes. Teachers at NHS are known for wearing heels, so are some students. Dee Cupole, RN, says that high heeled shoes are dangerous. “Students should be comfortable and wear low, flat shoes.” said Cupole. “They aren’t appropriate for school.” High heels are inappropriate in two ways. High heels are associated with formality.

Heels are worn on dates, to fancy parties and on the red carpet. “Heels are worn when you get dressed up for dates”, Cupole claimed, “and high schoolers aren’t going on dates.” The other way heels are inappropriate is they’re dangerous. Mrs. Cupole has seen ankle injuries and foot injuries many-a-time. Students carrying a 30 pound backpack or even worse, a shoulder bag are already at risk for back injuries in their adult life, and when combining that with high heeled shoes, kids are at risk for problems when they hit adulthood. It’s not only teenagers who are endangered. Adults who wear high heels every day whether or not it’s for work or play can cause some serious problems. Later in life..

Some dangerous high heels! 6 Feature

ASKALEXIA.COM

Physical Education aficionado and teacher, Cheryl Lombardo, admits that she wears high heeled shoes when not in her “phys ed attire”. But, she also knows that “If someone was to wear them everyday for 8 hours a day, then yes, it would probably cause some problems to the ligaments, tendons and muscles on and around the foot area.” But she also says that everything is okay in moderation. Like chocolate cake, too much of it can harm you, but some of it is perfectly fine. From a health standpoint, heels are a big no. But what about style? As mentioned before, high heeled shoes are known to be worn by adults. Some high school students are spotted wearing the shoes as well.In the cold winter months, the dangers of slipping and falling on ice are multiplied when one is precariously balancing on the heel of the shoe. With many students still riding the bus to school, walking to the bus stop while wearing high heeled shoes can be a nearly impossible “feet”. Imagine going down a flight of stairs wearing roller skates; you’re out of control and certainly in danger. The same goes for wearing heels. You are not as well in control of your steps as you would be wearing a flat shoe. The dangers outweigh the benefits, and in high school, you are already under a lot of stress, so why stress out your body even more by hurting your feet? The bottom line is that high heels in high school should just not happen.

JEN RADATOVICH

The Chinese Banner in New York City.

Experiencing the World through a New Perspective Jen Radovitch Staff Writer

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he year 2010 is coming to an end, and everyone is signing up for next years classes. Math? Check. English? Check. Science? Check. Social studies? That seems like a lot of work. Why not add a fun class to next years schedule, like Multicultural Perspectives? Multicultural Perspectives is a class offered to sophomores, juniors, and seniors. This course looks at three broad ethnic groups, Native Peoples, Hispanics and Asians by examining their historical experiences, defining cultural practices, and exploring contemporary issues facing each group. It appeals to students interested in racial relations, have an interest in history, or those who just want to broaden their horizons. “Anyone who is open minded, wants to learn about different cultures, is accepting of other people, or someone who wants to be more accepting should join” Multicultural Perspectives teacher Amy Repay said. Repay explained how important it was to add this particular class to the school’s curriculum. “The class has always been in the booklet, but no one has picked it up because the enrollment was never there. I started teaching it because I want to expose students to a different world, a world that is not Newtown and not 97 percent white,” Repay said. Junior Leah Febbraio joined the multicultural class because she felt as though Conversations on Race only covered a small portion of some of the racial backgrounds. “Racial tolerance is a big issue in this world, and it is largely driven by ignorance. Knowledge about different ethnicities is the first step in creating a peaceful and accepting community,” Febbraio said. “The reason I chose to take multicultural perspectives was because I liked the idea of the class and I heard so many good

things about conversations on race and how this class is almost a continued version of Convo,” NHS junior Josh Branchflower said. Multicultural Perspectives is a class that offers different views on cultures. “I also really like discussing different cultures and learning about them to. This was the perfect class because it’s not all just sitting in a class room and taking notes, we interact with everyone and have class discussions every class,” Branchflower said. “It really means the world to me to teach kinds who are sheltered, and have very little interaction with other cultures. You can get more out of this class then you do a textbook,” Repay said. Students get to experience culture hands on. There is a trip to Danbury High School where students get to experience the different learning environment of a diverse school. There is also an opportunity to go to New York City, to experience Chinese culture by eating at a real Chinese restaurant and experience Jewish culture at the Jewish History Museum. Repay wants her students to walk away from this class as more tolerant, empathetic individuals. “Put yourself in someone elses shoes. I want them to understand why having an Indian as a mascot is rude and degrading,” Repay said, Repay admits that there are many rewarding aspects to teaching the course. Her enthusiasm and expectations for next year’s classes are clear. “Exposing students in Newtown to different cultures in depth to create a true understanding and appreciation of those cultures is very rewarding. I love the exchanges with DHS. I love seeing how my students have grown in the last year since most took Conversations on Race last year, although one doesn’t need it to take Multicultural Perspectives,” Repay said.

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Pumping up the Prices kelley baylis Staff Writer

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2.79, $2.85, $3.06, $3.10. To most people, these four numbers can have a big influence on everyday life. Gas prices have always been changing. In 1990 prices were as low as $1.20/ gallon, but by 2008 had elevated close to $4. The change in just four years is remarkable From 1990 to 2008, there was a 234 percent increase in the gas prices. If this sky high percent increase is compared to an everyday teenage item, such as an iPod classic which costs $249, in 18 years, with the same

percent increase, people would be paying $830 for an iPod. Few people would ever consider paying $830 for an iPod. However are constantly forced to pay whatever the price of gas is, whether it is $2.50, or $10. When Newtown High School math teacher, Lisa Carpenter was asked about how much she paid for a gallon of gas when she was in high school, she laughed and said, “Well I will have to think about that one.” Since gas prices have changed so much over the years, it took Carpenter a little while to remember the exact price she had paid when she was 16, which was $0.59.

From teenagers going to the mall, to parents driving their kids to soccer practice, and people driving into the city for work, the price of gas affects everyone. Gas prices especially impact teenagers in high school with cars. For some teenagers, if they want to drive their own car, they also need to come up with money in order to pay for gas. This can be a major problem if the teenager does not have a job. Seniors at NHS have the privilege of being able to drive into school every day. NHS senior George Delia explained the circumstance re-

quiring the rapid increase in gas prices. “I have my own car, which means I have to pay for my own gas. Due to the fact that I pay $65 a week just to fill up my car, getting a job is necessary,” Delia said. Another senior at NHS, Connor Chilson, paid $3.21 the last time he went to the gas station. Although there are many teenagers who are forced to pay for the own gas, there are also some students whose parents provide money for gas. Senior Alex Scarpa said that her parents pay for her gas, $72 a week. Students who do not

stop? It is just so good. On the other hand, consider some budget-friendly options so your wallet doesn’t drain out as quickly as your coffee is drunk. “The most popular, commonly ordered drink, especially around this time of year is probably the Peppermint Mocha,” says Carolyn, an employee at the Starbucks of Newtown. To put things in perspective, all holiday drinks ordered at Starbucks are the following prices: Tall costs $3.75, Grande is $4.45, and a Venti costs $4.75. Therefore, if a tall holiday drink was bought everyday for the month of December, a total of $116.25 would be spent. An entire year would be $1, 368.75. A Chai Latte is $2.95 for a tall. If a tall chai latte was bought every day for a year, the total would be $1,076.75. Some simply prefer a regular good ‘ole cup of joe. The figures are as follows: tall is $1.75, Grande is $1.96, abd a Venti costs $2.07. If someone bought a tall

regular coffee everyday for a year, that person would spend a total of $638.75. Think about what else six hundred dollars could be used for. Maybe that laptop you’ve wanted, a flat screen TV, or a new winter wardrobe. Make coffee at home! Starbucks fancy coffee can be made right in the comforts of your kitchen, enjoyed the same way, but cheaper. Plus, less gas would be used which means saving more money and bettering the environment at the same time. It is a win- win! First and foremost, www.starbucks.com is a great place to go to buy Starbucks goods. Some of these items can even be bought at the shop itself. “Starbucks VIA Ready Brew” is fairly new to the shop. It is instant coffee in a little packet. All that’s needed is to add water and Starbucks coffee is born. This is sold in many flavors, which include: Christmas Blend, Mocha, Iced Coffee, and many, many more. The website states: “It’s made with the highest-

quality, ethically sourced 100% Arabica beans.” In the boxes that hold 24 servings, the prices range from $19.90-$21.90. Twentyfour, 12 ounce cups of coffee bought from Starbucks at $1.75, is $42.00. Making it at home is a savings of at least $21.00! In addition, you can buy any of the loose or bagged Tazo tea. Even lattes can be made at home. The website sells chai latte concentrate. It is 64 ounces for only $9.90. They even offer automatic shipping of your favorite coffees delivered to your home if you choose to set that up for yourself. “I love the taste of Starbucks, but the fact is, it is so expensive, it prevents me from going there more,” says Kelsey Rahamlow, a junior at

have cars and drive everyday also have an opinion on the increase in the gas prices. Sophomore Colby Chilson explained her thoughts on the prices. “Since I will not get my license for another few months, the price of gas really does not affect me. Although, I am hoping that when I do start to drive, the prices will come down,” Chilson said. Gas prices will always have a huge influence on people. Whether teenage drivers, drivers who have had their license for many years, people will always be hoping that the price of gas will be lower at the next gas station than the one they just passed.

Starbucks Owns My Wallet

sarah eichler Staff Writer

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tarbucks may be raising your caffeine level, but it is definitely not increasing the amount of money in your wallet. In fact, it is doing the exact opposite. People are dependent on Starbuck’s unique drinks, whether it’s coffee, tea, hot chocolate, or the next new drink this popular coffee shop introduces. It is becoming an expensive addiction to much of the nation. Let’s crunch some numbers to find out how much people are really spending to fuel this tasty fix. And, look at possible alternatives that still satisfy the love of Starbucks, but still keep people’s spending in control. Everyone has their favorite drinks or pastry treats. Whether it’s the frappuccino, marshmallow dream bar, or the chai latte, it all adds up. The quality of the food and drink is one of the best, but is it worth the price? This article is not to discourage people from going to Starbucks. Really, who could

HTTP://WWW.FLICKR.COM/PHOTOS-

Coffee Prices at Starbucks. NHS.

With using the tips from this article, it shows that it is possible to have your Starbucks coffee and stay in control of your wallet, as long as you follow the tips in this article!

Seniority: The Column A monthly column about the trials and tribulations of senior year By Dani Villa, Editor-in-Chief

MEGAN DUERO

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t’s that time of year again. Seniors are getting acceptance letters from colleges with rolling admissions or early decision/ action programs, and are happily flaunting their secure positions at those of us who don’t know. The number of collegiate hoodies or shirts, proudly displaying the name of the chosen school, have multiplied over the past month, turning Newtown High into a mobile college fair.

This is slowly killing me. I’ve never been patient. Never. I was always that kid squirming in line to get to the playground, the one anxiously staring at the clock during those last, agonizing, few minutes of last period on a Friday, and that person who irately clicks her nails against any surface available, in a display of the utter irksomeness of waiting. I am, in short, the equivalent of a car horn in human form. Loud, obnoxious, and a painful reminder that something is going wrong. Don’t get me wrongI’m very happy for everyone who has gotten it to college. But as an impatient worrier,

waiting these next few weeks for college decisions is going to be treacherous. For every smiling face of the college-bound senior I see an awful reminder of my current unknown future. So for now, I suppose, my advice for this month’s column would be the weather this storm, this waiting period that has thrust itself upon us. -Stay positive while you wait for the results from the colleges you applied to. Waiting is not fun. But keep doing your best in classes while you wait, and maintain your optimism. If you can’t

believe in your application, why should colleges? If all of your friends are accepted, and you are stressing out while you wait, don’t forget to congratulate them- the wait is horrendous, but every acceptance needs to be celebrated- even if yours is still pending. And if you didn’t get in to your top choice, don’t panic. You still have options! Don’t get upset over rejection; look at it as an opportunity to explore other possibilities. -Don’t count down day-by-day for results. This only makes the waiting longer. Trust me. This only height-

ens the paranoia, discontent, and general nausea that comes with waiting for college results. Furthermore, do not let this information get into the hands of people who want to irk you, for example a sister who happens to enjoy watching panic attacks (that’s you, Natalie. Mom said to stop). This information will be used against you. -Don’t have panic attacks. This is bad; you will find out soon enough, and the results won’t ruin your life. Don’t let college freak you out too much. Sure, it is important, but your college experience is whatever you make of it, not where you go.

December 2010 7


Peer Leadership Hosts Blanket Drive Megan Duero Feature Editor

W NHS students organize a food drive.

RACHEL MUSCO

Thanks For Giving On Thanksgiving Rachel Musco Feature Editor

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ewtown High School accepted donations for the school-wide Thanksgiving Food Drive from November 16 to November 19. This will ultimately benefit needy families and local food pantries through the Women’s Center of Greater Danbury and the Newtown Food Pantry. The Executive Council members of all classes worked together to organize a system of donations that everyone at NHS could actively participate in to help families. Each class adopted two families in need that will receive the donated nonperishable goods. “The hope for the food drive was to feed families in need through the Women’s Center of Greater Danbury.  We also hoped to have every student in the school involved in helping others who were in need,” junior class advisor Elizabeth Ward said. Individual Executive Councils also assigned all the homerooms in their grade specific non-perishables in order to guarantee that the school was able to sufficiently supply for all the families during Thanksgiving. Executive Council members and class advisors also added extra incentives for the freshman and junior classes such as a breakfast for the freshman homeroom with the

most donations and a parking spot at school for the junior with the most donations. But the real reward for students was giving back to the community and those who need it most. Social studies teacher and sophomore class advisor Jessica Blake agreed. “Mrs. Swann and I did not give any tangible incentives to the sophomores because our council believed the incentive was helping out those in need,” she said. In hindsight, the first school-wide community service event was without a doubt successful. “I was absolutely impressed  with the turn out. We had 42 boxes of completed food ready to go. When I looked at all the boxes, I felt honored to work in a school with such commitment to their community and helping others,” Ward said. “The entire experience was amazing and I am forever grateful to all who donated their food, time, and energy.” Physical Education teacher and freshman class adviser Cheryl Lombardo was impressed by the overwhelming amount of NHS student donations. “All the advisors were really taken aback by how much food was brought in for the families. We are very proud of the entire student body for coming together to support people who are in need for the Thanksgiving holiday,” Lombardo said. The number of generous donations truly reflects the

attitude of NHS students and the willingness to help others. Social studies teacher and senior class advisor Amy Repay reflected on the positive effect the drive had on NHS. “I think the food drive made students realize the importance of giving to others in need.  When we got the names of particular families and knew the ages of the children it made my homeroom really want to do something,” Repay said. “It showed that if we all work together as a school amazing things can happen.  We were initially only supposed to fill eight boxes for families but we collected five times that!” “I think the food drive was a great way to get the whole school involved in helping the community during this time of year when it is most important,” junior vice president Kayla O’Leary said. Even students who were not directly involved in the planning of the food drive, like NHS junior Jess Haitz, saw it as a beneficial event for students and those in need of help. “I believe that the drive had a positive impact on NHS. It reminded us that there are alot of people in our own town that need help. It was an eye-opener,” Haitz said. Hopefully, the NHS Thanksgiving Food Drive will be just as successful next year as it was this holiday season.

hen walking into Newtown High School, one of the first things an individual sees are flyers- and lots of them. However, from November 5 through 23, a different flyer graced NHS’s walls besides the usual “Join our club!” ones that are seen every day. This new flyer advertised the Peer Leadership Blanket Drive. Sophomores Lillia McEnaney, Kristen Campbell, Kiera Cohane, and Kate Bartel, came up with the idea of a blanket drive when they learned that everyone in Peer Leadership needed to do some kind of fundraiser. The drive would benefit the Salvation Army. “We decided to do the blanket drive because we felt that the holidays are a great time to give back to the community, especially since so many people are struggling this time of year,” Bartel said. Cohane added, “We wanted to help people who aren’t fortunate enough to have heated homes, or any homes at all. It’s hard knowing that there are people out there who don’t have a warm place to go at night.” To kick off the drive, the girls printed and placed flyers all over the school advertising the drive and got a notice placed on the school blog. They also made announcements every morning, and placed collection boxes in the lobby, library, and main office. The group of girls was hoping to raise at least 50 blankets to donate to the Salvation Army, if not more. “Overall, we were hoping not only to raise blankets for those in need, but also to teach the students at NHS not to take

blankets and warmth for granted,” McEnaney said. Unfortunately, the blanket drive was not as profitable as the girls had originally hoped it would be. “We thought that since there was such a high demand [for blankets] from shelters this time of year, the NHS students would realize this and make a good effort. However, only 20 blankets were donated,” Campbell said. Nonetheless, the girls are still hoping that their blanket drive had some kind of lasting effect on the students, despite their lack of donation. “One of our goals with this drive was to open NHS students’ eyes to the environment they live in, and maybe it would even encourage them to start their own drive of some kind in the future,” Cohane said. Yet at the end of the day, each of the girls expressed a sense of accomplishment for their achievement, even if it was small. “It’s just good knowing that we were able to help someone out there stay warm, especially with the approaching winter,” Bartel said. The blankets, after the Salvation Army collected them, were sent to shelters throughout CT and given to anyone in need of something warm this winter. As the first blanket drive ever at NHS, it was a positive sign to see that students participated, and the girls hope that in the future there will be an even larger turnout. “Giving back to the community is incredibly important. We have so much in our lives that we take for granted, such as warmth, so to be ale to give that to another individual is truly rewarding,” Campbell said.

Holiday Season Service Rebecca Dutsar Staff Writer

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uring the holiday season, most people spend time thinking about all the gifts they will receive, all the wonderful food they will eat, and the fun activities they will do. Unfortunately, many people do not have the money for everything they want and need during the holidays because of the economy. At NHS, there are several different ways that students are taking action to help make the holiday season better for those who are financially unable to help themselves. “There are some people in unfortunate situations who are sadly unable to care for themselves or their families, and donating does no harm to us but greatly helps to relieve their

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burden,” says Newtown High School sophomore Sheridan Marmo. This year many clubs started different drives asking for donations for worthy causes. One of the clubs, SADD recently held a food drive, gathering canned goods and non perishable food items to give to local pantries. The program also collected toiletries to give to Danbury Women’s Center. All of the homerooms in NHS will be pooling together to collect toys and other items needed for the winter to donate to the Newtown Department of Social Services on December 16th. Each class will be assigned to a specific age group and will be responsible for bringing in donations appropriate for that given age. Although the main focus for the holidays is to help

the needy, the Ecology Club is trying to help the planet. The club is collecting recycled goods that they can use to help wrap gifts. Some of the materials they are looking for include twine, ribbon, bubble wrap, small boxes, tape, paper bags, old cards, large fabric scraps, red or green paint, glue, holiday stickers and old posters and maps. These donations should be given to Mrs. Baumgartner in the science office. The club is offering to wrap Christmas gifts for free with the materials collected on December 18th at Edmond Town Hall. Besides NHS club sponsored events, there are other ways to donate to charity to help others in need. The FAITH Food Pantry is always in need of donations of non perishable food items, toiletries and cleaning supplies. These are given to those living in Newtown who do not

have the basic needs for living because they are financially unable to support themselves. Another way to donate is to collect gently used appliances, electronics, furniture and clothing, and donate them to a nearby Goodwill center so that others who can’t afford to buy new materials can purchase them in decent condition at much lower prices. Due to general feelings of good will, the holiday season can spark much more generosity. Guidance counselor Mr. Nichols has a reason for why most people donate more during the holidays. “The holiday season brings up more opportunities to donate. It sets some sort of tradition.” NHS freshman Nicole Chaloux said that it is more important to donate during the holiday season.

“Everyone can have a special holiday because the holiday season is a special time of year and only happens once a year.” Many feel that this is true, because the holidays are a time for family, friends, love and doing good deeds, such as donating to others who may not have as happy a season. Sophomore Laura Hunter agrees saying “I’m quite fortunate compared to other people; therefore I feel the need to donate.” Donations and giving to charity doesn’t have to be done only during the holiday season. It is also important to donate to the needy throughout the entire year. Sophomore Lauren Gagne said “I like to donate, but the holiday season doesn’t make it a better time to donate. People need stuff all year round.”


The Beginning of the End: Deathly Hallows Part I Casts a Spell on Audiences

WARNING: CONTAINS SPOILERS, READ AT YOUR OWN CAUTION Dani Villa

Editor-in-Chief

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t isn’t every movie that can create lines of fans who wait hours before a midnight premiere; a sold-out midnight premiere, to boot. It isn’t every movie that can inspire its audience to don socially unaccepted robes and attach owl Beanie Babies to their shoulders. It isn’t every movie that can, with the first few seconds of film, instigate a theater-wide round of applause. But, then again, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1 is no ordinary movie. Hallows was released on Friday, November 19 to soldout showings across the nation, beginning the goodbye for what has become one of the world’s most profitable franchises, and effectively closing all ties to the light-hearted wizarding world of Harry Potter’s past. Hallows was by far the darkest film in the series. Gone was the grand Hogwarts castle, happily nestled along bucolic hills, where young witches and wizards learned magic, made friends, and learned a lesson or two about life. Enter a stark, winter-y Harry Potter, full of danger

and frustration. The movie picks up where the sixth one left off- the death of a key figure has sparked the Dark Lord Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes) and his evil minions, the Death Eaters, to fully launch war against the wizarding world. Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe), along with his friends Hermione (Emma Watson) and Ron (Rupert Grint), are thrust into a new reality as they search for Horcruxes: pieces of Voldemort’s soul contained within seemingly harmless objects. Like a football. Or a dolphin. After a crashed wedding, invasion of an empty mansion, a break in at the Ministry of Magic, and several close encounters with death, loss-of-soul, limb splicing, and detention, Hallows cuts to about an hour of the mundane English country-side as our heroes search for Horcruxes. Of course, being magical teenagers who have probably never had to do their own laundry, tension and frustration mount after months of stalemate. This leads to an angsty, hormoneriddled showdown between our heroes, and turns our trio into a pair.

But, being targeted to a 10-20 year old audience, the friends cannot stay apart for long. Once united, they can finally crack down on some Horcrux destroying. However, while they do this, Voldemort is still terrorizing the rest of the world, and has turned the wizarding government against our favorite boy wizard (that’s Harry, in case you hadn’t caught on). The movie ends with an emotional whammy: it combines the death of a beloved character with Voldemort’s possession of an unbeatable wand. Double bummer. As previously stated, Hallows is dark. The death rate directly correlates with the length of the movie (probably about one character every three minutes), and there are moments of genuine suspense (five words: old lady becomes giant snake). While it certainly earns its PG13 rating, the film should not be missed. It provides a worthwhile commentary on discrimination and bias, and presents an entertaining demonstration of their impact on any society. Hallows also allows the viewer to delve into the

psychological aspect of Harry, Hermione, and Ron’s journey. The film does an excellent job of portraying the claustrophobia and consuming pessimism that finds them on their seemingly fruitless and lonely journey. And, of course, the visual effects are stunning. The series has infinitely advanced in its display from the first movie; the visual feats have become more difficult with each movie. For Hallows, producers had to create an immense, believable snake, countless fighting scenes, battles in the air (on a motorcycle), a snake-like face for Voldemort, and various spells and magic. The acting has also made leaps from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, released in 2001. Gone are the painfully adorable Watson, Radcliffe, and Grint, who moved their heads with every spoken line and frequently gave over-dramatic stares into the camera. All have matured with their characters, and have finally succeeded in creating well-performed and believable characters. Fiennes is, as always, equally delightful and terrifying as the sadistic Voldemort. To any die-hard fan,

the movie was perfect. This is most likely due to the movie’s adherence to the book’s details. However, this has led to the splitting of the book into two films (hence the Part 1) and is why this Hallows ends after about two and a half hours. That is most likely the film’s biggest downfall; an hour-long trek around the woods becomes as tedious for the viewer as it is for Harry. While the length can become a bit much, the emotion presented with the film is enough to overcome this. There are genuine moments of happiness, comedy, and sorrow (any of the multiple deaths and maimings). Perhaps the sweetest moment came from a shortlived montage where Harry and Hermione dance together. This reporter may or may not have cried about six times throughout the film’s entirety (full on noisy, choked sobs). Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1, is certainly worth the ten dollar admission price. It has successfully emerged from the series, and is an entertaining film that will gain views based on its quality, not just its name.

Undesirables No. 1 (and 2 & 3) Compiled by Hannah Maret, Managing Editor

In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows as our heroes flee Voldemort and the Ministry of Magic, they become the wizarding world’s top “Undesirables.”

Ronald Bilius Weasley

Harry James Potter

(Rupert Grint)

(Daniel Radcliffe)

Youngest son of the Weasley clan, Ron has always felt dismissed as the insignificant and unaccomplished child. So when disappointment and confusion combine to produce the illusion that Hermione has left him for Harry and that his friends do not need him, Ron endures a test of loyalty. Yet, ultimately, his vulnerable but pure heart persists and helps to reinforce the bonds that exist between the three friends. His humble heart, however, is only one aspect of his amiable personality. Ron’s true reputation is for his humor. Whether through sheer stupidity, or his endearing, impressionable tendencies, he inspires comic relief with a few hearty laughs.

Consumed by teenage angst, Harry embarks upon the treacherous and frustrating journey of uncovering and destroying the seven horcruxes that make up Voldemort’s broken soul. Along the way, he battles the frustration of being left with what seems like a series of dead ends and comes to appreciate the comfort of companionship. Despite the fact that the burden inspires Harry’s heated, and sometimes unfiltered, anger, we still see his sensitive side shine through in his occasional efforts to diffuse tension, and even with a few unexpected dance moves.

Hermione Jean Granger (Emma Watson) Although Harry may provide the courage and destiny in the pursuit of Voldemort’s destruction, Hermione is undoubtedly the brains of the group. She ensures the safety of the three friends in their travels through her preparedness and practicality, which, like her beaded bag, seem bottomless. In addition to her logic, Hermione possesses the delicate ability to empathize as she interprets and reacts to the confusion and frustration that that often burden Harry and Ron. Even though sometimes her relationship with Ron seems to be dictated by her stern disapproval, the underlying tender regard is always close to follow.

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Holiday Recipes Treats to enjoy with friends and family during the holidays

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nother cookie recipe! I know, Recipe: Candycane Sugar Cookies we’re flooded with cookie recipes From The Kitchen Of: Cat Sherman this time of year, and I can’t be Ingredients contributing to the general health of the nation by adding just one more. 1 tsp peppermint extract 1 1/2 sticks butter (soft) Just remember, when you’re lying in 2 1/4 cups all purpose flour 1 cup sugar a hospital with clogged arteries, that it Red food coloring 1 large egg was all worth it. I included this recipe because of its simplicity. And really, it’s a lot of Preheat the oven to 375. In a large bowl, mix butter and sugar together and beat egg in separate fun to make. It took me and my little small bowl. Add beaten egg and stir. Stir in peppermint and vanilla extract and then gradually mix in sister just a few minutes to get things the flour until smooth. Split dough in half and add red food coloring to one batch. rolling (she’s eight, and already a m Roll out both colors of dough into about 5-6 inch strips. Twist white and red dough, and curve the better chef than I) and immediately we realized that it is, more than anything, a top into the shape of a candy cane. Put in oven for about 8-10 minutes. family recipe. The end result tastes good – i probably not on my top ten list of “world’s most amazing cookies” but definitely passable and a – lot less complex than anything else you’d find of the same caliber. Straight from the kitchen of Cat Sherman, the creativity of the recipe is amazing. I’d back these wholeheartedly just on virtue of them being so unique and so much fun. ulled A

Recipe: Chorizo, Fig and Blue Crostini From The Kitchen Of: Newtown High School Culinary Ingredients 1/2 lb Chorizo 1/4 blue cheese, crumbled 1T chopped fresh thyme 1/2 cup slivered almonds

1 jar fig jam One sourdough or plain baguette Olive Oil (extra virgin

For the crostini: thinly slice the baguette on the bias. Brush lightly in a small splash of olive oil and toast in a 350 degree oven until crisp and golden. Let cool. For the topping: Remove chorizo from casing and crumble. Saute lightly in a small splash of olive oil. When cool, toss chorizo with blue cheese and thyme. Set aside. To assmble: spread a thin layer of fig jam on the crostini. Place a heaping spoonful of topping on the jam. Sprinkle with toasted almonds. Serve warm or room temperature.

T

M Hot

8 cups apple cider ½ cup packed brown Dash of ground nutm 6 inches stick cinnam 1 teaspoon whole all 1 teaspoon whole clo

In a large saucepan c brown sugar, and nu place cinnamon, allsp teaspoon cloves in ch to the cider mixture. Reduce heat; cover a Remove spice bag an in mugs.

his recipe came from the NHS Culinary, a Neumeyer-Hoagland original. With my first bite, I became an instant Neumeyer-Hoagland convert, and confidently expect them to be teaching something to Emeril fairly soon. Though I initially had my doubts about chorizo (never being a huge fan of any sausage of any kind), this turned out to be the second most brilliant addition. The first, naturally, being the fig jam spread across the top. At points, the collision of flavors is nothing short of unsettling, however, follow the recipe and you’ll have, within a very short time, an hors d’œuvre dish that everyone will enjoy. Hopefully. I’ll admit that the flavors may be a little off-putting to begin with. It’s a refined sort of taste one’s buds must adapt to. Of course, the real difficulty lies in crumbling the blue cheese properly, and figuring out what “with the bias” means. (It means cutting the bread diagonally). For all it’s seeming complexity, however, the recipe is really quite simple and delicious in it’s simplicity. Highly recommended. Try it out! 10 Feature


To usher in the holidays, Aidan Sherman and Justin Villamil took a look at some of the most important holiday recipes (or at least ones that tasted alright) and test drove them. The purpose? To share their experiences with you. And, you know, the tasting good thing.

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ny holiday baking scheme in the United States is going to be hideously and unfairly skewed toward Christmas. I noticed this long 8 ounces egg noodles 1/3 cup sugar ago – around the time I started saying 1 cup raisins 4 cups half & half “happy holidays” to people instead of 5 eggs 1/4 cups dark brown sugar “merry Christmas” and got funny looks 1 cup sourcream 1/4 cup cinnamon from people for it. 1/2 cup butter (melt then cool) Obviously, I was very excited when Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter 13 x 9 x 2-inch glass baking dish. Spread uncooked noodles Aidan and I decided on a traditional over bottom of prepared dish and sprinkle with raisins. Whisk eggs, sour cream, butter and sugar in Jewish recipe. The source, The large bowl until smooth. Whisk in milk and pour mixture over noodles. Let kugel stand 5 minutes. Mix Hawkeye’s own Anna Hodge, invited me in her recipe submission to become a cornflakes and brown sugar in bowl; sprinkle evenly over kugel. Bake kugel until set in center, convert, and when cooking, I did just about about 1 hour. Sprinkle the dark brown sugar and cinnamon over the kugel while baking. Cut that. into squares. Serve warm or at room temperature. The recipe is an odd one. First because t actually calls for ¼ cup of cinnamon an amount which I personally found totally unconscionable. ¼ cup? That’s like… a lot. But, faithful to Anna as always, I plunged forward into a world of spice fiends and came out triumphant. Moreover, however, the recipe just sounds wrong. I found myself pouring a milky Apple Cider egg mixture full of sugar into a pan full of uncooked egg noodles and for a brief moment wondered if Anna was trying to kill me. Here’s a helpful hint: don’t worry about it. Even if it seems insane, follow the recipe to the letter. The result is incredible if you do it right. Another hint: when Anna says “¼ cup of brown sugar,” feel free to add just a touch more. It works out nicely in the end. Kugel is something completely unfamiliar to me. The finished is sweet but substantial. This is a dinner dish with a dessert background.

Recipe: Noodle Kugel From The Kitchen Of: Anna Hodge Ingredients

I

know Recipe: Iced Pumpkin Cookies i t ’ s From The Kitchen Of: Justin Villamil trite, some might Ingredients1 1/2 cups white sugar 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flower even say 1 tsp baking powder 1 can pumpkin puree combine apple cider, 1 tsp baking soda 1 egg utmeg. For spice bag: overdone. 2 tsp ground cinnamon 1 tsp vanilla extract pice, and the 1 P u m p k i n 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg 2 cups confectioners’ sugar heesecloth and tie; add 1/2 tsp ground cloves 1 tablespoon melted butter Bring to boiling. cookies? For 1/2 tsp salt 1 teaspoon vanilla extract and simmer 10 minutes. the holidays? 1/2 cup butter, softened nd discard. Serve cider Really? Yeah, and, 1) Preheat oven to 350. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, ground cloves, and salt; naturally, we’re all set aside. 2) In a medium bowl, cream together the 1/2 cup butter and white sugar. Add pumpkin, egg, and 1 tired of the constant teaspoon vanilla to butter mixture, and beat until creamy. Mix in dry ingredients. Drop on cookie sheet by barrage of pumpkin: tablespoonfuls; flatten slightly. 3) Bake for 15-20 minutes. Cool cookes, then drizzle glaze with fork. To pumpkin pie, pumpkin Make Glaze: Combinde confectioners’ sugar, milk, 1 tablespoon melted butter, and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Add milk cookies, pumpkin soup, as needed, to achieve drizzling consistency. pumpkin spice coffee, pumpkin ice cream, pumpkin bread… We get it, pumpkins are classic. However, when I encountered this cookie recipe early on in my life, I fell instantly in love. Depending on how you bake it, these cookies can come out with a little extra crunch (just leave it longer than the recommended time) or with a pleasant give to them. While not ideal for gift bags, etc (the icing tends to smear) this recipe is nonetheless essential in any holiday cooking repertoire.

n sugar meg mon lspice oves

December 2010 11


Newtown’s Holiday Treats The Hawkeye’s guide to the best beverages and sweets around town at a few of our local restaurants.

Beverages Starbucks

Gingerbread Latte Peppermint Mocha Eggnog Latte Peppermint White Chocolate Mocha Peppermint Hot Chocolate Caramel Brulee Latte Christmas Blend

$3.75

prices based on smallest size

Panera Peppermint Mocha Peppermint Hot Chocolate

$3.29 $3.99

Dunkin Donuts $1.85

Gingerbread Latte Iced Gingerbread Latte

$2.19

NEWTOWN.PATCH.COM

On Friday, December 3rd, over 1,000 people gathered together at Ram’s Pasture to witness the annual tree lighting (above). The chilly night was warmed with beautiful voices of NHS choral and A Capella groups. And of course, Santa Claus was a big hit with everyone!

Town Tree

Lightings To the left, is Sandy Hook’s tree, beautifully lit up among the Saturday night sky. Jim Ternan from Knights of Columbus was collecting toys for the charitable toydrive.

Our Favorites “My favorite dessert-drink duo is the Caramel Brulee Latte from Starbucks and the Gingerbread man from Panera. The latte tastes a lot like Starbucks’s Caramel Macchiato, but it has a richer taste. And who doesn’t love Gingerbread around the holidays?”-Emily Dutt “My absolute favorite drink around the holidays is the Peppermint Mocha at Starbucks. The peppermint syrup is a favorite at my house and we add it to everything! The Cranberry Bliss Bar is my favorite treat. The icing is really light, so it’s not an overload of sugar.” - Cat Sherman

NEWTOWN.PATCH.COM

Desserts

Starbucks Polar Bear Sugar Cookie Peppermint Brownie Holiday Gingerbread Cranberry Bliss Bar

Starbucks.com

$2.25 $2.45 $2.25 $2.25

Panera Mint Crinkle Gingerbread Man Gingerbread Bagel Cranberry Walnut Bagel

$1.69 $1.99 $1.25 $1.25

Dunkin Donuts NEWTOWN.PATCH.COM

Gingerbread Man Cookies at Panera 12

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panera.com

Gingerbread Donut Sprinkle the Cheer Donut Gingerbread Cookie Gingerbread Muffin

$0.99 $0.99 $0.99 $1.09

Above shows a picture of Dave Jossick, left, and Joe Farrel, to the right, preparing the tree in Hawleyville for its first ever tree lighting which occured on Sunday, December 5th.


Featured Playlist Mr. Kristofer Kelso

This is Kristofer Kelso’s first year teaching Spanish I and II at NHS. Kelso is looking forward to a successful year working with NHS students. Aside from his passion for the Spanish language, he loves music. He explained how he mostly enjoys older songs with meaning rather than the recent and popular rap on the radio. 1. Summer Nights (From Grease) – John Travolta and Olivia Newton John “When I was younger my sister would listen to it constantly.” 2. Brown Eyed Girl – Van Morrison “I just think it’s very sentimental.” 3. Build Me Up Buttercup – The Foundations “This was the song that was dedicated to my friend who died at the age of 20.” 4. Unforgettable – Nat King Cole “It’s a very touching song. They edited his version so he and his daughter could sing in a duet after he died.” 5. Need You Now – Lady Antebellum “When my friends are together they always sing this song. It grew on me.” 6. Because You Loved – Celine Dion “I just adore her.”

Teacher Profile: Diana Pistritto

Jen Radatovich Staff Writer

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iana Pistritto is an interesting and well rounded person. She went to three different colleges, two of them being in Spain. She attended Central Connecticut University down in New Britain, and was able to study abroad at the University of Leo’n Spain and the University of Salamana Spain. Pistritto double majored in the languages of Spanish and Italian. Pistritto can not pick a favorite language. “Both of them are my favorite,” said Pistritto. Besides just teaching languages, Pistritto loves

going to the beach, riding motorcycles, and eating food. “My favorite food is the Italian Parmiginana. It’s eggplant parmesan, but unlike the American version it is baked, not fried,” Pistritto said. Pistritto goes back Italy every year to visit her mother, father, and brother. She is biased towards Italy because that is where her family and friends are. “I like Italy more for the weather, my social life, and relationships with friends. I like the United States more for work,” said Pistritto. “There is not a lot of work in Sicily. Down there you are not paid well, and there is no set time for you to get your paycheck. You can be working for five months

without any pay,” Pistritto said. Pistritto taught in Italy for a little while.

“I would teach English to kindergartners up to eight graders. Then, I would

teach Italian to American college students who were studying abroad,” says Pistritto. Now, teaching Italian I and II at Newtown High School, Pistritto is working on Italian Day scheduled for later in December. On Italian day, students will research the Italian culture, the Italian language, Italian Sports, and Italian Fashion. Then the students will create a poster about their topic, make a t-shirt for Italian day, and celebrate t he Italian culture. Pistritto is the pictureperfect teacher. From having traveled around the world, to loving to ride motorcycles, she is like no other teacher at Newtown High School.

Kate Bartel

become a neurologist. Her Western Studies teacher, Larry Saladin, said, “Michaela is a pleasure to teach. She works extremely hard, is an active participant in class discussion and she really sets a great example for other students.” Not only is she a great student and the proud recipient of the Newtown Rotary Award, Guinee also won several academic awards at Newtown Middle School and was recognized for having one of the top 25 GPA’s in her class. A model student, Guinee participates in NHS soccer and indoor track, while helping special needs children to play soccer on the side. “Michaela was definitely one of our best players this season,” freshman Bella Saraceni,

NHS Soccer team member, said. “She always had a great attitude and overall positive outlook during games and practices, even when we weren’t doing our absolute best.” To top it all off, she is an active member of Student Government and a CCD teacher for first graders at St. Rose School. “Michaela is one of my best friends,” freshman Brooke Newton said. “She tries hard in everything she does and whenever I’m with her we have such a great time.” Michaela continues to perform as a model student, athlete, and citizen. “She has a bright future here at Newtown High School,” Saladin said.

Ms. Pistritto at Italian Day

JEN RADATOVICH

Student Profile: Michaela Guinee Staff Writer

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Freshman Michaela Guinee

KATE BARTEL

ewtown High School freshman Michaela Guinee recently received a Personal Achievement Award from the Newtown Rotary Club for being an outstanding student. Guinee was honored to receive the award. “I work extremely hard in school and it felt good to be recognized for it,” she said. As many students at NHS know, awards can make a huge impact and really stand out on college applications, especially Rotary Awards. Michaela is also well aware of this fact. “I’m extremely interested in the medical field,” Guinee said. She aspires to attend medical school and

December 2010

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Arts & Leisure

Banding Together at NHS Anna Hodge &

F

Emily Ashbolt

or most students at Newtown High School, music is a significant part of life. Whether teens are listening to their iPods as they walk down the halls, participating in music classes at NHS, or preparing for outof school concerts or recitals, music always seems to find a way into the average students’ daily activities. Many students, however, take this one step further, by developing their own bands. And from casual jamming sessions to structured, concert holding entities, these students around NHS combine their musical abilities and display their skills as artists every time they get together to play. Take for example, Understatement, Smokebomb Mondays, and the recently formed, nameless as of now group consisting of juniors Brandon Hart, Skyler Bast, Stefan Hennessey, John Corsi, and

the most extensive and interesting selections of instruments throughout all Newtown’s bands. Nameless and having just started out as a group, juniors Stefan Hennessey, Brandon Hart, John Corsi, Skyler Bast and Jake Tolson have plans to eventually start performing for audiences, but according to Hart, they need to take baby steps first. “I believe that we have a ton of talent going into this band, it just needs to be focused,” Hart said. “We hopefully will start writing our own songs once things get rolling smoother, and then I’m hoping things will fall into place and we will land gigs. But right now we are sort of just a group of friends that gets together and jams.” Said guitarist Corsi, “We are just so young as a group, it’s all still trying to fall into place.” All of these bands have unique strengths and weaknesses, but they also have quite a lot in common. Take, for example, their similar musical genres. Alternative is a popular genre

SKYLER BAST

Jake Tolson, Brandon Hart, Stefan Hennessey, Skyler Bast and John Corsi are an up and coming group. Jake Tolson. Understatement, a structured band made up of juniors Scott Keating, Kyle Harrington, Kurt Liniger and Austin Ryder has been around since 2005. They have a great deal of experience having performed at venues such as Toad’s Place and the Webster Center, as well as in Battle of the Bands. According to junior Kyle Harrington, who created the band five years ago, one of the reasons he had for forming the group was his love for music. Once a two man group, Understatement grew into a four member band and after a few gains and losses, finally settled on the current lineup of members. While not quite as professionally experienced as Understatement, NHS sophomore band Smokebomb Mondays is rising to fill its own niche. This seven-piece band consisting of Danny Bittman on lead vocals, guitar and organ, Liam Reynolds on lead guitar, trombone, and vocals, Matt Spencer on drums, Tim Eames on bass, Harrison Buzzi on trombone, Pat Milano on trumpet and Jonah McKeown on saxophone certainly totes one of

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Arts &Leisure

at the moment, as it can often be a catchall for those loving classic rock as well as some funkier pieces. Understatement’s song line-up includes covers of popular bands such as Weezer, but they also play their own songs. Although they have only been together since the summer, Smokebomb Mondays has already put together an assortment of covers by bands such as Streetlight Manifesto and Catch 22, as well as writing their own original pieces. Many band members are inspired by artists that have come before them, talents that make them fall in love with music. For Skyler Bast, there were many gifted musicians lighting his way to get involved in the art. “My interests range from heavy metal (Between the Buried and Me) to rock (Red Hot Chile Peppers) to folk, classical/ orchestra (Sergei, Profekofiev), to flamenco,” said Bast. For him, it hardly matters- he just loves music. But amidst the guitar chords and drum beats, how do bands find time for the other parts of their lives as well? Keeping up with school, maintaining a social life, and

participating in extra-curricular activities is certainly enough to exhaust any individual at the end of the day. However, these musicians have to find time to fit their passion into their daily lives. Most bands won’t hesitate to admit that there are challenges when it comes to balancing a complex, multi-person hobby amid the daily duties high school students have to deal with. S m o k e b o m b Monday’s member Reynolds says that the size of his band creates conflict when it comes to organization. “We practice about once a week, usually on Fridays,” Reynolds said, “but it’s almost impossible to get seven people with crazy schedules together at once, so it’s difficult.” “I think we have only practiced all together once,” laughed Corsi when asked about his band. “We are just all so busy.” While the stability of Understatement means that the members are more accustomed to a constant schedule, this does not meant they don’t have problems also. “We try to practice twice a week, but sometimes we can’t even do it that much,” Harrington said. It is natural that with so many different activities on the average teenage plate, their bands could easily get the back seat. However, this does not make these talented students any less serious about their future musical careers. Many bands dream of one day getting radio airtime, performing at sold out venues, and making it to the big time. In this day and age, the professional potential for a band starts much smaller than holding a concert for talent scouts. Many bands find confidence and support through social websites such as Facebook, MySpace and YouTube. Understatement already has its own Myspace and Facebook pages to send out event invitations to performances and to give fans current updates about the band. These technological advancements allow these bands to get one step closer to hitting it big. After all, many musicians have been “discovered” via YouTube and Myspace. For example, Lilly Allen and Boys Like Girls were both signed by record executives after showcasing their talent through their computers. “The internet is so great for us,” Understatement bass player Keating said. “It gives us a chance to really connect with fans.” This does not mean that bands will only look to the internet to expand their repertoire. For Understatement, they plan on expanding their music to people far and wide. “We’ve got big things ahead of us, such as the benefit

ROGER SIEBER

Understatement has performed at places such as Toad’s Place and the Newtown Teen Center

show we are playing on December 5 in the NHS auditorium, and during spring break when we plan to travel everywhere from New Jersey to Massachusetts playing our music,” Keating said. Experiences like these are ones that Smokebomb Mondays and less distinguished bands look forward to. However, whether gigs are good, bad or ugly, these musicians will always have their band mates to fall back on. According to Harrington, the greatest aspect of collaborating with Kurt, Scott and Austin goes beyond the music. “You can learn from each other, and pick up new styles,” said guitarist Kurt Liniger. Added Harrington, “We all just have become good friends and I hope it stays that way. I love these guys, they’re like my family.” McKeown can say the same about the bond that him and his band mates share. “This band is me and my best friends,” he said. In terms of future plans, Hart’s band mate, Stefan Hennessey said, “If we start getting shows and we think we’re good enough to move on to bigger and better things we could stay together longer.” For Corsi, music has always been more of a hobby, but that does not mean it is not important to him. “I have been playing guitar for 10 years, since I was six,” He reminisced. Many of Corsi’s other band mates, such as Hennessey and guitarist Bast, have also been playing their instruments since childhood. “But, I can’t really see myself making it my future; it’s always been more of something I do for fun,”

Corsi said. Like Corsi, members of Smokebomb Mondays will continue to incorporate music into their daily lives, band or no band. All of these sophomores are exceedingly talented, and expect music to be part of their lives in the future. McKeown, Reynolds, Buzzi, Bittman and Milano are either in marching band, the wind ensemble, and jazz band, or even a combination of the three, with many of them “very interested” in possibly making it their college majors or minors. “It’s not just a hobby for any of us,” Reynolds said. “More like our job!” He laughs. “Bam! There’s my punch-line.” As for Understatement, hopes for the future far exceed prospective gig plans. “No matter what I study in college, I’ll always continue playing music,” said drummer Austin Ryder. Regardless of the fame, fortune, and future, most anyone who is in a band can tell you that it’s really all about the music, the feelings one gets while playing. “I, personally, am not content with just listening to the music I love. I want to experience the music,” Hart said. Being in a band is an excellent way to express passion such as this, and a great way to make friends and memories to boot. Continued Hart, “There are moments when we are playing a song where I just can’t help but smile because I am making music.” Fellow band member, Hennessey adds,“We love music, and the excitement of giving people music that can change their day- that’s why we do it.”

LIAM REYNOLDS

Smokebomb Mondays is an ambitious sophomore band.


History Comes to Broadway Cat Sherman Web Editor

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roadway has brought the tragedy of the nine African American boys accused of rape in 1931 to life through the musical The Scottsboro Boys. The musical has become controversal as some believe it ridicules the boys’ story, while others believe it keeps the story alive. The story of the Scottsboro Boys begins with the accusation that the men raped two white women on a boxcar heading towards Northwest Alabama. The boys spent years attending multiple trials and enduring the false accusation. After 45 years, the case finally came to a close in 1976 when Alabama Governor George Wallace cleared the last living Scottsboro boy. The play takes this unfortunate story and turns it into a musical inspired by minstrelsy. During Civil War times, a minstrel show was a uniquely American art form, built on racial stereotypes and blind bigotry. When the Scottsboro trials took place, minstrel shows were considered mainstream entertainment and extremely popular in the South. Using music and dancing, they ridiculed African Americans while entertaining the white audience.

The minstrel take of The Scottsboro Boys upset protestors. They stood outside of the theatre shouting phrases such as “We say no to racism- shut them down.” They continued to shout until the start of the show, and could still be heard until the music started. The leader of the protestors gave a speech to the audience relating the story of the boys to the Holocaust. But minstrelsy has evolved since the 1930s. It has now become a relic of the past that mocks what Americans were actually amused by back in the day. The Scottsboro Boys did just this as it took the audience through the boys’ story showing their raw emotions and letdowns. It started with the nine boys, two black men, and a white man. The white man wore a top hat like a ring leader, and the two black men dressed in circus clothes. The colorful circus clothes seemed to be offensive to the white characters since the boys were dressed in plain neutral colors. But I could see how the audience took offense with the ring leader being white. Some could view this as the only white actor is superior to

the black actors and that he is controlling them. Any white characters in the musical (besides the ring leader) were played by the African American actors. The minstrelsy was highlighted by these actors versus the African American ones that were somber and solemn. In my opinion, not one African American character was ridiculed. Apparently neither did the majority of the audience. After the show, crowds of people were waiting for the actors to come out of the theatre. Only one came out the main entrance: Forest McClenden who played many white characters. They bombarded him with compliments on the show and their opinions on the protestors. Audience members thought that the protestors were wrong and that the show didn’t display any sense of mockery towards the boys’ story. McClenden answered with gracious thank you’s for the compliments and said, “I wish they would come see the show. I think they’d really think differently after seeing it.” One of the audience members who waited to speak with an actor was an older woman from Westchester,

CAT SHERMAN

A group of protestors stand outside the theatre. New York. She waited in her wheelchair for the actors to come out and had a private conversation with McClenden. I later spoke with her, and she was delighted to tell me about her opinions on the play. She was touched by the musical, and was excited to see that a younger crowd was interested to learn about history. When she spoke

about the protestors she said, “I think it’s discouraging what they’re protesting about.They are defeating their own purpose of learning about black American history.” The Scottsboro Boys shows the terrors of racism in the 1930s and gives audience members the true story of the boys’ who contributed to the start of the Civil Rights Movement.

A Little Night Music is a Solid Performance

Justin Villamil Web Editor

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Little Night Music is one of Broadway’s least understood and worst-kept secrets. The New Yorker alone has run at least ten million advertisements for this, so when I got the opportunity to see it (without paying the exorbitant price – what up, parents!) I snatched at it blindly and held it close. After all, how often does one get a chance to see Bernadette Peters (winner of an Emmy, a Tony, a Golden Globe, and more) up close? The play takes place

in Sweden. The musical follows Fredrik Egerman (Stephen Buntrock) and Desirée Armfeldt (Peters) through a twisted tangle of love lives. Fredrik with his wife Anne (Ramona Mallory), Fredrik with Desirée, Desirée with the Count Carl-MagnusMalcolm (Bradley Dean) who is not with his wife Charlotte (Erin Davie), Fredrik’s son (Hunter Herdlicka)   with Fredrik’s wife, and on and on… Seriously, there’s something going on in Sweden. Probably, before trashing the show, I should mention

AMAZON.COM

The Broadway play, A Little Night Music, is a lighthearted commedy everyone can enjoy.

how incredible the lighting was, the sound, the production in general – it was all phenomenal. One sees immediately the allure of this particular production. Fundamentally, it’s just a well done musical. The major problem I have with the production was not the talent onstage, but the way they played the musical. To me, A Little Night Music has never been a comedy. The production we see is frivolous. Lighthearted. Except, totally not. Hugh Wheeler wrote the libretto, the book to the musical, and until you analyze the words themselves, the true darkness of the play doesn’t come through. At the end of A Little Night Music, Bernadette Peters and Madam Armfeldt (Desirée’s mother) Elaine Stritch got up and spoke briefly about a charity event (standard: donate to AIDS or we will kill you), during the course of which Stritch mentioned in passing that A Little Night Music was finally a musical she was proud to take part in – one she would like to see more of. It was, after all, a lighthearted comedy that everybody can enjoy. My heart stopped. I’ll be honest; I was thoroughly bored through act one. And act two was only marginally more interesting. Hugh Wheeler has always been a genius – after all, he masterminded Sweeney Todd, the hilariously

cannibalistic musical with more moral layers than a Kant essay – and so it surprised me to find nothing more than a cheap reproduction of He’s Just Not that Into You. It was, in a word, nauseating. Until “Send in the Clowns.” My first experience with this song was a prerecorded Ruthie Henshall. She was tall, attractive, with an unbelievable voice and gorgeous teeth to sing through, but her rendition was, frankly, irksome and meaningless. The second, Streisand, was more about proving how much better Babs is at singing than any deeper point about humanity. But then, from the darkness, came Judi Dench (she of James Bond fame). Dench’s version wasn’t about vocal talent (of which she has none) but acting. Beyond that, even, it was about understanding the reason why she was singing the lyrics. “Don’t you love farce?” Dench questions, in the song. Pause before “farce” comes, and when it does, it bites the skin. Why? Because the play is a farce. Desirée’s life is a farce. Love itself is a farce, and, in the end, when everything works out, the sad truth is that it doesn’t. Herein lies the true genius of Hugh Wheeler. Just because everyone ends up with the person the audience recognized as their perfect match

doesn’t mean the play has reached a conclusion. The real tragedy is that they have merely stepped back into the twisted web of their lives. For a brief moment, Desirée peeks out onto the spectacle that is her life and that moment, that one suspended, showstopping moment in the script is heartbreaking. In the reprise of Send in the Clowns, the line “don’t you love farce?” is swapped out for “was that a farce?” Answer: yes. That brief moment of clarity, when the world didn’t seem like such a happy, comedic place, existed only briefly. It was nothing more than a farce within a farce, which, I suppose, makes it the truth, doesn’t it? As I see it, A Little Night Music has always been more about a satirical poke at the idea of farce. It wasn’t a farce, it was tragedy as farce. And, of course, the production was played as a strict comedy to sell tickets without the darker undertones. Bernadette Peters delivered an amazing performance. It had everything: singing, acting, talent… But underneath, it wasn’t heartbreaking, and it wasn’t heartbreaking because we, the audience, didn’t understand how Desirée could suddenly be so sad. A Little Night Music is less of a comedy and more of a pitiful, tragic reality. Dench and Wheeler understood that. Peters and Stritch did not.

December

2010 15


Twenty NHS Students Qualify for Western Regionals Megan Evans Staff Writer

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usicians from all around Connecticut gather in one place every year to compete for a well earned spot on the Western Region Music Festival band, choir, or orchestra. This prestigious group features the most talented students from the western part of the state.

is always the most nerve-racking part of the whole process,” said Kamryn Harmeling, a sophomore who was accepted into the Western Regional choir.  Each individual must go in front of three judges and play for a nerve-racking 10 minutes. After the members are selected, band, choir and orchestra have one weekend to practice a selected piece. “When I found out that

Western Regional band. Reynolds was the top scorer of all the brass applicants. Fellow sophomore Patrick Milano also had one of the top scores as a trumpet. “I was really anxious but I’m really happy I made it” said Milano. Milano practiced his piece for about five months to be sure it would be perfect for his audition. There will be very high expectations for next year’s musicians.         Newtown High School is very proud to be the home of so many gifted students.

Hawk Squawk Your source for what's up at NHS

Thursday, December 23 to Monday, January 2 is Winter Vacation.

“Four For You Glenn Coco, You Go Glenn Coco!” To be like Glenn Coco purchase candy canes from Student Government during the week of December 13.

Top Twenty Qualifiers: Katie Cummings-Voice Jacob Eventoff-Voice

Make sure you start studying: Tuesday, January 19 through Friday, January 22 NHS students have midterms!

Carolyn Fagerholm-Voice Rachel Fintz- String Bass Ishaar Gupta- Voice Brian White on the trombone. Students from Newtown High School traveled to Brian McMahon High School in Norwalk on Saturday November 20 to audition. 38 auditioned and of those students only 20 were picked. “The Western Regional’s are a collection of the best musicians in Fairfield County,” Newtown High School senior Brian White said. “Getting accepted into the Western Regional is no easy thing.” White has tried out twice and only made it this year. It takes a lot of guts and a great love of music to stand up in front of judges and play your heart out. Each audition consists of three parts: a prepared piece, a scale, and a sight- reading a piece.   “The sight-singing piece

MEGAN EVANS

I’d made it, well, that was basically just another step in the process,” Harmeling said. After  the band has practiced a concert is held. This year the concert will be held at the end of the Western Regional’s Festival held at Canaan High School on January 14 and 15. “It’s not a lot of time to practice but that’s why the kids are chosen. The music is a challenge,” Newtown High School band instructor Kurt Eckhardt said. “These kids are playing at a collegiate professional level. It is impressive how a high school student in one weekend can sound so good,” Eckhardt said. Liam Reynolds, a sophomore at Newtown High School, was selected not only to be a part of the Western Regional Jazz band but also as the regular

Kamryn Harmeling- Voice Chris Hunter- Voice Mark Malia- Voice

On Friday December 3, Ferris Acres Farm Creamery sent ice cream for 75 freshman to enjoy for the ice cream social.

Katie McMorran- Voice Partick Milano- Jazz Trumpet Daniel O’Connor- Voice

Be on the look out for DECA selling NHS Super Fan t-shirts!

Kayla O’Leary- Voice George Primavera- Voice Liam Reynolds- Jazz Trombone Olivia Rowley- Alto Sax Katie Stawiasz-Oboe

December 6 through the 7 the band, orchestra and chorus preformed in the NHS auditorium.

Brian White- Trombone

Dazzled by On the Razzle nicole small Staff Writer

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n the Razzle, Newtown High School’s first play of the year came out Friday, November 19 at 7:30 PM. The play was directed by Katie McMorran and Megan Preis, seniors at Newtown High School. On the Razzle left the audience continuously laughing at the rich businessman Zangler, who was brilliantly played by George Primavera. Newtown High School sophomore Alex Shkreli said, “I feel like his [Primavera’s] play on words was what made the whole thing come together. Everything was so well acted out.” Students in the play should definitely be proud of their

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flawless delivery of lines. The beginning of the play took place in Zangler’s mercantile shop near Vienna in the 1890’s. The theme of the play, although not specifically mentioned, seemed to be to follow your dreams. This appeared to be the goal of Zangler’s niece Marie (Melanie Curtis), who wanted to marry Sonders (Matt Madden) because they were in love. But Zangler wouldn’t allow their marriage because Sonders, at the time, wasn’t rich enough. So he sent Marie off to Miss Blumenblatt (Kyra Smith), Zangler’s sister-in-law. Meanwhile, Christopher (Luke Shearin) and Weinberl (Ben Stoller), workers at Zangler’s grocery store, dreamed of being

‘on the razzle’. Another way to say, ‘living on top of the world’. Matt Hoeffel played Melchior, Zangler’s outgoing and sassy servant. On the Razzle was entertaining and the rest of the cast only added to its humor. Ishaar Gupta, NHS junior, played five roles in the play and made each one as funny as the next. Despite the play’s comedic nature, it could often get unclear for audience members. “I thought the play was very funny and full of talent but hard to follow at times,” said Newtown HIgh School sophomore, Anna Dilworth. This is a very true statement; the play was confusing at times and the message was hard to grasp. So the theme was

unclear. However, that didn’t take away from the puns Zangler repeatedly stumbled over. In the end the play ties up all loose ends very nicely. Marie and Sonders do end up together because Sonders’ rich aunt—who lives in Brussels and isn’t introduced at any time in the play—ends up dying and Sonders inherits all the money. “The play ended up better than I ever expected and the time we spent together in rehearsals simply working on our characters personalities really showed,” said cast member Luke Shearin, junior. “We all became very close as a cast and I feel lucky to have had such wonderful experiences.” On the Razzle was definitely worth seeing. There was great acting from our very

own students here at Newtown High School.

CHARLES DUMAIS

On the Razzle poster.


Sports

A New Season of The O.C. at NHS

RJ Roman

Sports Editor

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n the first day of tryouts for the Girl’s Basketball team the players knew that this was going to be a different season. The thoughts of getting a new gym was in the back of their minds as their new coach, Jeremy O’Connell instructed them through various drills. Although the idea of getting a new gym excited O’Connell it was not the first thing on his mind. Getting to know and coach his new set of players was going to be the challenge he faced at the start of the season. Fifteen years ago, Dave Johnson was the Bunnell Varsity

Girl’s Basketball coach. O’Connell was in his first year of teaching Physical Education at Bunnell. Before the basketball season started, O’Connell received a hand written letter from Johnson asking him if he would like to be the Assistant Coach. Humbled and excited, O’Connell took the offer and hasn’t looked back since. O’Connell spent 14 years at Bunnell coaching the girl’s team with eight of them being the head coach. Starting his 15th year of coaching O’Connell is excited to get to know his players and develop them as individuals on and off the court. When asked about what challenges he would face coaching a different team, O’Connell

Roman

Physical education teacher and new girl’s basketball coach Jeremy O’Connell.

answered the question with ease “The girls have been playing together for a while, so they know how to play with each other. The challenge is going to be for the players to get acclimated to my style of coaching,” O’Connell said. In the offseason O’Connell coaches girl’s AAU basketball in Newtown. Compared to High School basketball, AAU basketball has girls who are devoted to the game the entire year. “The thing I love about coaching high school basketball is that you get athletes who are playing other sports other than basketball. The two different programs have a different passion about the start of the season. That is the aspect of coaching high school basketball I love,” O’Connell said. O’Connell has a passion for the game that he believes the girls have not yet seen. “People see me during school and get the Physical Education side of me. The girls are going to see the true coach in me when we get into practice and the games,” said O’Connell. Coming to the Newtown program, O’Connell knew that expectations were high. He is expecting to be a dominating force in the South West Conference this year. With the talent of the team and his coaching energy, the duo hopes to bring home a championship to Newtown this year.

Roman

Take a look at the new gymnasium! Principal Dumais gave The Hawkeye a chance to check out the new gym. Comparing the new gym to the old one nothing looks the same. This gym is truly one of the best in the SWC.

Upcoming Home Events 12/20/10

G Basketball vs. Weston @ 7:00 p.m. 12/23/10

G Basketball vs. Joel Barlow @ 7:00 p.m. 12/27/10

B Basketball vs Ridgefield @ 8:00 p.m. 1/5/11

Hockey vs. Masuk @ 5:30 p.m. 1/8/11

Hockey vs. New Fairfield-Immaculate @ 2:10 *All Hockey games are played at Danbury Ice Arena

Reprint: Bats Boom, Pitchers Bust in Record-Setting April 2010 was regarded by many as the “Year of the Pitcher” in Major League Baseball, with six no-hitters and perfect games thrown and a season ERA of 4.08, the lowest in almost 20 years. Many pundits have stated that this is the end of the steroid era, and good pitching and “small ball” now win games over dramatic home runs. 15 years ago, baseball was also in transition, but this time it was heading into an offensive era. Batters slugged home runs at breakneck pace, smashing one record after another just as hard as they smashed the baseball over the fence. Of course, nobody had heard of steroids back then; but Smoke Signals (The Hawkeye’s predecessor) tried to find an explanation for the sudden burst of offense at the beginning of the 1996 baseball season. [Note: some content edited for accuracy and clarity.]

Matt DeNicola May 1996

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maller strike zone, smaller ballparks, bad pitching, bigger hitters, loaded baseballs, corked bats, and higher-altitude cities,” are the possible explanations Baltimore Orioles pitcher Mike Mussina offered Sports Illustrated for baseball’s explosion of offense during April and May. Smaller ballparks and juiced baseballs arise as a leading suspect in the barrage of offense. Consider Baltimore Oriole Brady Anderson, a leadoff hitter who has never hit more than 21 home runs in a season, has already knocked out 15 and counting [he ended the season with 50 home runs]. Take into account that he plays at a compact version of a stadium known as Camden Yards. The shrinking strike zone certainly drags games on,

but cannot be directly linked to a box score that reads more like a footballs score (Minnesota 24-Detroit 11, Montreal 21-Colorado 9). This season has already set records for the longest nine inning game between the Yankees and Orioles on April 30 [that record was since broken by a Yankees-Red Sox game on August 18, 2006]. The next game between the two went 15 innings until Tino Martinez ended the game with a home run just past 1:00 a.m. The ball landed in an empty seat, surrounded by a sea of empty seats, as the only fans left in the park were those who were sleeping. Offensive battles are exciting to watch every now and then, but who wants to watch managers battle each other in a four hour chess game of pitching changes and other various managerial moves? Managers have gone to great lengths to

increase a five run lead just to ensure a win this season. No longer is an eight run lead safe, as the Yankees proved in coming back from an 8-0 deficit to defeat the White Sox 9-8 on May 12. Juiced baseballs: the issue has been argued over for the last three years when the boom of the bats took off. Some blame the tighter wound baseball as the problem. Most of the skeptics behind this theory are probably the pitchers looking for any excuse to cover their horrendous outings. With the emergence of expansion teams and two more on the way, bad pitching is taking the rap and prototype sluggers of today like Cleveland outfielder Albert Belle [who hit 48 home runs in 1996], San Francisco outfielder Barry Bonds [who hit home runs in 42 home runs in 1996], Texas shortstop Kevin Elster [who hit 24 home runs

in 1996], Seattle outfielder Ken Griffey Jr. [who hit 49 home runs in 1996] and Chicago White Sox outfielder Frank Thomas [who hit 40 home runs in 1996] aren’t getting their due. All five are on record-breaking pace for one unimaginable feat or another, and at such young ages. [The major record of most home runs hit per year was broken by Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa in 1997, and Bonds in 2002. Bonds also holds the record of most career home runs, set in 2007. All three are accused of steroid use.] They are labeled the future of baseball. As anyone would tell you, a power hitter who wins games in heroic fashion is more marketable than an ace on the mound who can win 20 games a season. And while the hitters put fans in the seats, pitchers win games. April has emerged as an opening month packed full of offense as the last three years

have seen similar starts, but none so as eye-opening as this year. At month’s end over 828 home runs were hit. Is this remarkable stat merely a one month phenomenon or will the simmering start continue? [A total of 4962 home runs were hit in the 1996 season, a record at the time. The current record is 5693 home runs, set in 2000; the 2010 total was 4613 home runs]. Baseball’s latest trend does not look to cool down anytime soon as the game has turned into a hitter’s paradise. More aggressive hitters are swinging for the fences every time up and attacking anything within reach. The bullpen is relied on more than ever. Pitchers used to go seven innings and give way to a dominant closer and that would be considered a quality outing, now pitchers will get in five innings and the manager plays musical chairs with the relief staff.

dividinglinesports.com

There is also the argument of maple vs. ash bats producing more home runs. Let’s just leave that for the scientists. December 2010

17


Preview of Nighthawk Winter Sports Sally Martinelli Staff-Writer

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ith a great fall season already gone, winter sports teams are pushing forward for what is promising to be a very successful season. Wrestling Newtown High School’s Wrestling team owned the mat last season, and are sure to do so again this year. The highlights include six athletes medaling in SWC’s, winning the Platt Tech Team Tournament, medaling in the Staples Team Tournament, and having wrestlers hit high risk moves all season. Dan McIlrath, a math teacher at NHS who has worked with the team for years, and was an assistant coach last year, thinks the group will surpass last year’s expectations. “The entire Newtown Wrestling Team is who you should be looking to do exceptionally well this season. Everyone has high hopes,” he said. Captain Ian McEvoy added: “This

year we are looking at having a very successful team. We are excited, and hope this year is the best yet.”

Ice Hockey It is hard to believe that NHS Boy’s Hockey Team could ever top last season’s accomplishments. Ice Hockey skated all the way to quarterfinals in the state tournament, the farthest the team has ever gone. The team also beat Immaculate/New Fairfield, who is Division One. However, the group plans to do just that. “My hope for this year is that we win the SWC Championship title, and a State Championship. We are due.” Coach Paul Esposito said. Some key players to watch include Captains Hunter Kolyak, Matt Vitti, Alex Kelley, Brett Klein, Ted Beniot, and Goalie Mike Allwein. This talented group is sure to accomplish anything they put their minds to. Indoor Track In all track relays, it is important to have a good handoff in order

for the next leg to excel. The same goes for the Newtown High School’s Winter Track Team, as their awesome previous season is sure to come in play this year. “We had three Student-Athletes compete at the CT State Opens last year: Reagan Cerney in the 300m, Lauren Pettinelli in the 55m Hurdles, and John Wlasuk, who set a school rector of 53 feet 1.5 inches in the Shot Put,” Coach Doug Russell explained. Wlasuk went on to be the Class LL champion, and was named AllState. However, it is not just the super-stars who played a role in last season. “Another high point of last year was that the SWC began to hold JV meets, which we hosted at NYA. This gave students the opportunity to compete with athletes at the same level. We have many talented boy and girl athletes who I believe will progress and be successful.” Russell added. Boy’s Swimming Even if you went to a Boy’s Swim and Dive meet last season to escape the frigid temperatures and slush, it was nearly impossible not to get caught up in the excitement. The team placed third in States last year. The powerful senior class,

led by Captains George Delia, Conner Donnelly, Dan Hufziger, and Michael Hubbard, as well as many juniors and underclassmen, are sure to rock the block. Donnelly said, “As a captian, I hope to push everyone to work hard. We all want everyone to get best times throughout the season. Girl’s Basketball The Hawk’s Nest is constantly crowded due to the love for Newtown High School Girls’ Basketball. This amazing bunch had a good last season, but their legacy is incredible. NHS is the only school of the SouthWest Conference that has made the tournament every year since 1996, when the event was created. Jeremy O’Connell, a physical education teacher at Newtown High School and first year coach, says “The NHS basketball program is extremely successful, and I hope to continue their accomplishments.” Boy’s Basketball Newtown High School Boy’s Basketball Team call the Hawk’s Nest their “home” as well. Their regular season record of 17-3, and key wins against Kolbe Cathedral,

Norwich Free Academy, and Pomperaug (twice) is setting this season up to be a sucess. “I am very optimistic about this season, as we return some key seniors who saw a lot of playing time last year,” said varsity coach John Quinn. “Our junior class has improved considerably, while several of our sophomores will contribute a lot.” Players to look for includes captains Josh Engler, Sean Maher, Matt Datin, and juniors Josh Barrett, Kyle Wilcox, and Taylor Stemle. Cheerleading “To all those people out there who don’t believe cheerleading is a sport, come to one of our competitions. You will definitely see many elements of sports,” said senior captain Cat Sherman. From cartwheels to flying through the air in a stunt, these ladies put a lot of hard work and dedication into entertaining sports fans. And, their season spans more than one regular sport. “We have to cheer in the Fall for Football, and in the Winter for Basketball,” said Bryanna LeBlanc, a sophomore at NHS. A highlight of last winter’s season includes placing fourth out of fourteen squads in SWC’s.

Healthy Foods for the Holidays Turkey Trot Tradition Abbey Doski

Managing Editor

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he winter season is often dreaded by many who fold under temptation. The brownies, cake, and holiday cookies, all of which, eaten in small portions at one party or another, can really catch up to you, especially since the weather frequently discourages one from running outdoors or driving to a gym. So here are some healthy tips and alternatives to help keep your body in great shape through the holiday season. Let’s start with the main course for many at a holiday dinner: the meat. Whether you are eating a chicken, turkey, ham, or other meat, there are a few easy tricks to help make your meal enjoyable and healthy. Do not eat the skin of your meat, which is where all of the extra fat and calories sit. If you want a little more flavor, try baking it with fresh pineapples and basting it with pineapple juice. This is especially good on ham, but do not limit yourself there. Mix and match to find the best fruit or fruits that make your meal mouth-watering. After the main dish, many people turn to the side dishes. Be careful, because portion size here is key. Sides are never a bad thing, as long as one has the right amount. Try for about four to seven bites of whatever side you have as a general measuring trick. If you feel yourself craving one particular side, then balance it out and have a little less of the other sides. Overeating most frequently happens here with the side dishes, and that is what causes the majority of the excess carbohydrates and calories. It is also important with side dishes to consider what you are eating. Many people see

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green beans on their plate and immediately assume they are healthy. Green beans, if canned or soaked in butter or cheese, can be as unhealthy as a treat from the dessert table. This holds true for all other sides. When buying vegetables, get frozen or fresh products and skip fattening toppings. While all of this is somewhat easy for people to do, resisting the dessert table is a much bigger feat. Obviously, abstaining from desserts completely is the best option. However, there are healthier ways to still enjoy some holiday treats. Many companies now carry sugar-and-fat free products. While none of these will actually have 0 grams of sugar or fat, they sometimes have more than 75 percent less fat and sugar and still taste amazing. A personal favorite is Pillsbury Sugar Free Chocolate Fudge Brownie Mix, which tastes just like any other brownie but has more than 50 percent less fat and sugar. If you find yourself without sugar free brownie mix in hand, and too tempted to resist a holiday treat, then do n’t feel too guilty. Everyone should indulge themselves once in a while. Be sure to only have one of whatever it is you eat, whether it is one cookie or one piece of cake. Then be sure to exercise within the next 24 hours and preferably before you go to bed that night to burn off the excess sugar and carbohydrates in your body. Then, of course, there are the miscellaneous foods that often surprise you. If at a party, pick the vegetable and fruit platter over the chips and dip, and always try to get light dressing for salads. Simply being aware of everything that you eat can help to make this holiday season a little less painful come next spring.

Kaitlyn Connolly News Editor

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or some, Thanksgiving means consuming excessive amounts of Grandma’s original stuffing and cranberry sauce. Others make it a tradition to watch the big football game. However, about 940 Newtown residents prefer to spend it participating in the town’s annual 5K Turkey Trot road race and 1.36 mile walk. Senior Mara Scallon ran in the 3.1 mile race. “I ran the Turkey Trot because my dad and I wanted to do a race together. I also enjoyed running the race even though I was between sport seasons,” Scallon said. Luckily for Scallon and the other participants, the cool weather conditions were in favor of the participants. At 7:45AM the start gun sounded west of 20 Churchhill Road and the runners were off. Randi Jackson, a junior at NHS, stated that the hardest part of the race was the beginning. “The hardest part of the course was coming out of the start because there were so many people running,” Jackson said. After the runners successfully made their way past the starting line, they headed towards The Boulevard and finished at the Newtown Middle School. Kevin Hoyt, an alumni of Newtown High School, was the first runner to complete the course in a time of 16:01minutes. With such a successful race, many would make the assumption that the Turkey Trot has been around for quite some time. However, this year was the first official year for road race and

KAITLYN CONNOLLY

Scarlett O’Sullivan and Randi Jackson lead the race 1.36 mile walk. The Turkey Trot Road Race and walk was started by John Godin, Mike Hornby and Mike Beaudry in 2009. Since the three men are runners, they recognized that the people of Newtown needed a race closer to home during the holiday season. “We have a few races one in June and one during Labor Day in Newtown. All the families are home during Thanksgiving, so I thought it was missing and having the race in Newtown would be something a lot of people would respond to,” said one of the organizers of the race, Mike Beaudry. In January 2009, the three wrote to the town proposing their plan. “There was a process that needed to be done in order for the town to ok the race,” said Beaudry. The three started first with the police department in order to create a traffic plan for the race. Next the three went to the state to get permits. On July 8 2010, their efforts were repaid: the town gave their approval. “I was really happy when I received the news. What was important was a race in town. We could have done it in Fairfield

Hills, but we felt it was important to have the race downtown,” said Beaudry. After the plan was approved the three embarked on a search to find sponsors. “We knew we needed to have a worthy cause in order to get the sponsors support. We assumed that we would have roughly 300 participants, so we told sponsors it would be a good day for business,” said Beaudry. Some of the original sponsors included Newtown Savings Bank, The Newtown Bee, C.H Booth Library, Stratton Faxon, United Savings Bank and BMW of Watertown. This year Poland Spring donated over twenty gallons of water for the volunteers to give to the runners. Lilly Rodriguez, senior at Newtown High School, was a volunteer at the Turkey Trot. “I ran in the race last year. This year I opted to help out at the water station in front of my house and hand out water to the runners as they went by. It was nice to help cheer on the runners,” said Rodriguez. All proceeds of the road race and 1.36 mile walk benefit the Cyrenius H. Booth Library. Beaudry’s hope is to have a good event for the town for years to come.


Opinion

If I Didn’t Procrastinate, I Would Have Thought of a Better Headline DANDREA

A student caught procrastinating during a free period. Dani Villa

Editor-in-Chief

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should be attempting to tackle my calculus homework. I should be trying to write that paper for my lit class. I should have started studying for physics three days ago. And I definitely should have applied to college about two months ago. Instead, I have planted my cheek in my palm and am blindly guiding Cheetos into my mouth as I stare at Lolcats, occasionally emitting a grunt-like laugh. It is time for a confession: my name is Dani Villa, and I am

a procrastinator. A, lazy, unmotivated, severe procrastinator. The earliest known moment of procrastination of my life occurred in the fourth grade. My class was assigned to complete two flipbooks, one on vertebrae and the other on invertebrate, to be due a week apart. The first book was due on a Friday. But Monday passed by- I had soccer practice. Then came Tuesday. Lizzie McGuire was on. “Well,” thought nineyear-old me, “I obviously can’t miss Lizzie McGuire. I’ll just do the project tomorrow.” Wednesday came

and passed. Thursday almost diduntil 5 PM, when I realized with a start that I had not done my Very Important Project. I leapt into action, gathering glue, scissors, paper, and my sister’s collection of National Geographic magazines (she still hasn’t forgiven me). I stayed up until 9 PM, which, to a nine year old, is the equivalent of staying up until midnight, but I finished my project, albeit a little hurriedly. And I got a 100 on it. I got a perfect score on that awful little catalyst of ghastly habits and bad behavior. At this moment, you may be questioning the judgment of my teacher. But I’ll have you know that although my work was late, it was off the highest fourth grade quality. Perhaps I do my best work when I’m stressed, in an odd sort of academic fight-or-flight. So, of course, when the second flipbook was due, I put it off until that Thursday night. And I got another 100. There it was. My own apple, plucked from Eden. The loss of my academic innocence. The gateway drug of bad academic deeds. Because I did not initially receive a poor grade on my first

procrastinated assignment, I never learned the repercussions of procrastination. I just kept doing it. The problem has only escalated in recent years. One would think that with my busy work load, I would have learned not to put off my work. Oh, no. That person would be very wrong. Along with my heightened ability to put things off has come a web of deceit. The kitchen table, which is where most school talk between my mother and myself takes place, has become my throne of lies. “So, did you get started on that paper you were telling me about?” No. I haven’t started it. “Oh yeah! It’s looking pretty good.” Or worse: “Young lady, should you really have been watching the Disney Channel? Just how much work do you have?” Tons. Unbelievable amounts. Painful, despairinducing amounts. But Wizards of Waverly Place was on. I clearly wasn’t going to miss that. The worst part is, there is no quick fix to procrastination. No patch to apply, no special gum to chew, no ProcrastinatorsAnonymous to provide me

with the necessary support network. Just me. I have to actually work at –ugh- personal betterment. Which is overrated, if you ask me. I suppose most teenagers are learned in the ways of procrastination. Of course, there will be anomalies to this societal truth; there is always that one kid that can finish the lab, assignment, or 20 paged paper two days after it is assigned, making every one else look stupid. What else would exist to make the rest of us panic over our assignments, the thematic papers on To Kill A Mockingbird, math packets, and biology projects that are tossed out of our minds until those last, frantic hours before they are due? But survey any large group of teenagers, and I guarantee you that a large majority will meekly admit to being as huge a procrastinator as I am. We are the masters of blatantly disregarding our homework until the absolute last minute. We have championed the art of delaying anything that involved work, school, or effort. We are the kings and queens of the counterproductive and the needless. Whatever. Transitioning to college shouldn’t be too hard, right?

Decking The Halls Too Early? Katelyn Dandrea Layout Editor

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all me a Scrooge, but I cannot stand to see holiday themed everything when it is still in sixty degree weather outside. To me, the holidays come with hot chocolate, snow, and sub-zero weather. Not dead leaves and pumpkins. However, our culture feels the need to shove the winter holidays in our face on November first. It is annoying to be constantly filled with holiday clutter everywhere. The day after Halloween, I went to the mall to buy my sister and mom a birthday present. What did I see? I saw wreaths, ribbons, holiday sales, and of course, Santa. Santa? Really? On November first? It just doesn’t seem right. I can’t stand to look at Santa and his helpers when I’m still wearing t-shirts and can still walk to the bus without needing a jacket. I am not the Grinch who’s out to ruin Christmas and everyone’s happiness. It’s not like that at all. I just think that the holiday season is a short time, and it

should be celebrated between Thanksgiving and New Years. Celebrating for a shorter time period would increase the spirit. After Thanksgiving, blast “Jingle Bells” in your car and watch some holiday themed movies. Embrace it while you can. I just don’t think it makes sense to rush it and abuse it. It seems like Christmas comes sooner and sooner each year. They skip over Thanksgiving like no tomorrow. In a few years, we’ll probably skip over Halloween too. For example, Stew Leonard’s in Danbury, CT put out Christmas trees for sale on November 1st. Too early? That’s a long time to deal with pine needles and keeping the tree alive. Another example of a too rushed holiday season is the commercials shown on TV already. K-Mart Christmas layaways and winter sales take over television programs. Sorry Wal-Mart, but I haven’t eaten my Thanksgiving turkey yet. Is your store that anxious that you can’t wait until the proper season? I consider the holiday season to be part of winter, and November to be part of fall. Not to mention the im-

mense anger I get when I’m driving through my neighborhood. About three houses in my neighborhood already had full out lights surrounding their property. before Thanksgiving. Too early? I think so. Lights belong with snow and chilly nights. I feel like America over exaggerates the holidays. We make more about the decorations, presents, and the idea of the holidays. Even though it’s truly about having fun with people you care about. We have Americanized holidays like no other. The media and retail stores just care about families buying presents as soon as possible, and our culture makes it a point to not give you a break. Everywhere we go, we are attacked with the holidays. All I’m saying is… there’s a time and place. I want to enjoy the holidays as much as anyone else… when it’s the holiday season. Fall just doesn’t seem right. I mean, my birthday is two days after Christmas, but you don’t see me bothering everyone throughout the two months beforehand. Just wait until the season is right, and I’ll have nothing to complain about.

LIFE.COM

Malls around the country decorate for the holidays starting in early November. December 2010

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Lost in the Halls of NHS Hannah Maret Managing Editor

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was under the impression that experience yields familiarity, especially when it comes to acquiring a sense of direction. I’ve become pretty comfortable with navigating the roads of my neighborhood, for instance. I know the shortest routes and can probably figure out all the ways to get from one place to another. Navigating Newtown High School, however, is a different story altogether. As a junior, I still find myself at a loss as to where certain mysteriously numbered classrooms are located, or which staircase I should take in order

to arrive back at my class on time after departing from the cafeteria. To be completely honest, it’s a little embarrassing when I fit right in with the freshmen on the first day of school, craning my neck in an attempt to read the little blue plaques beside every classroom. I could probably spare myself a bit of muscle stiffness if it weren’t for the lack of a predictable numbering system. The concept of evens on the outside, odds on the inside sounds so much simpler than it is, and is next to impossible to understand or explain verbally. Figuring it out myself with the benefit of a routine

Map of the lower and upper levels of NHS.

Students wander NHS’s hallways.

HANNAH MARET

schedule is one thing, but trying to explain directions to the occasional high school visitor is another challenge altogether. I was able to appreciate this challenge in its entirety during open house and parent teacher conferences. I volunteered to direct lost parents to their designated classes, but found that I needed the instruction as much as many of them. Luckily, along with the other Guidance Honors Association volunteers, I was rescued by the aid of the NHS map. I positioned myself in one place, held my map accordingly, and waited for struggling parents who looked as though they might benefit from some guidance. After learning the room in question, I studied the map furiously, and after a few “Ums” and “Hmms,” would point in

the appropriate direction. Or, at least, what I thought might be the general vicinity. Yet, despite any lack of confidence, a few parents came back for future assistance, so I must have established at least some credibility. Through the process of directing parents, I not only grappled with even and odd numbers, but also the letters used in the room naming system. In fact, just recently, I was informed that the rooms in the new addition would be named with a number following the letter F. Initially, I was perplexed. We have A and B, so why skip all the way to F? It took a few seconds for me to remember that the music and art hallway is referred to as C-wing, and a bit longer to recall the more isolated D-wing classrooms below that. Where E went is still a mystery to me. After almost two and

HANNAH MARET

a half years, I still struggle to understand the layout of a building that I spend at least seven hours of my day walking through. However, although experience has not helped me navigate, it has shown me that I am not the only directionally challenged one. Every once in a while, walking down the hall, there’s that kid who realizes that he or she is traveling in the wrong direction, and pivots on the spot to turn the right way. Or there is the poor lost soul who marches confidently into the wrong classroom as the bell rings. But that’s probably related to the order of the schedule on the given day, which is another obstacle for another op-ed. Regardless, who knows what will happen when the addition opens. One can only hope that the layout will be a bit easier to understand.

Too Cool For PowerSchool? Abbey Doski

Managing Editor

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, being the eager and gradeobsessed student that I am, run up the stairs the second I get home. I turn on the computer, and then proceed to bounce around my room, filled with anticipation until my worries can be relieved. My computer turns on in what feels like hours, and I immediately click on the little blue “e” that represents my life, or to any normal person, the internet. The mouse on the screen turns into an hourglass and the computer whines in protest as I begin to click the icon multiple times, frustrated that the window has not yet loaded. Finally the window loads, and I type in my username and password. At last, I have arrived at the place which I had been craving all day: PowerSchool. PowerSchool, new to Newtown High School this year, is an online gradebook in which students have complete access to their grades at all times.

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Opinion

At the beginning of this school year, parents, teachers, and students were excited to some extent for the program, which allows for fewer mistakes and surprises come report cards. However, the community-wide popularity of PowerSchool has greatly declined in the last couple of months, which makes me wonder if PowerSchool is actually an asset to NHS. PowerSchool allows students to see every single grade that they get in a class, and can monitor their overall class grades throughout the entire year. It also displays grades from as far back as fifth grade. This allows for fewer mistakes in the grading process. If a student notices a grade that doesn’t seem right, they can approach their teacher about it and see if she can find a mistake or get a better understanding of why they were given the grade they earned. This is an opportunity that my overachieving self may or may not have taken advantage of about twenty times so far

this year. Conversely, this practice can be very tiring and sometimes frustrating for the teachers. Some teachers get students constantly bothering them about why their grade is as low as it is, or doublechecking on assignments that they thought they had a better grade on, in hopes of weaseling out a score that’s a little bit higher. This can be annoying for many teachers who feel like they are unable to give a student a bad grade without hearing from them or their parents the very next day. Another feature of PowerSchool is that parents can access their student’s grades as frequently as they wish. It allows them to make sure that their child is keeping up in their classes, and be more involved in their academics. Subsequently, however, this could cause potential problems between a student and his parents if his parents do not understand the grades. Some parents may see that their child got a 50 percent on a quiz and

go ballistic, when in reality their kid got one question wrong on a two-question quiz. Simple misunderstandings such as this have already caused controversy with parents, teachers, and students, and are bound to continue. While there are definitely both pros and cons to the PowerSchool grading system, in my opinion it is one of the best changes Newtown High School has made in my entire high school career. PowerSchool has saved me on many occasions. I have found legitimate mistakes that my teachers have made that, when corrected, bump my grade up a letter grade. Imagine the relief on my previously panicked face when I see my grade go back up. I have also been able to see how many points a test is out of before I take it, so I know how “big”, or important, the test is. And more often than not, the panicked expression comes right back after doing just this. I am also able to get my

grades back on tests and quizzes much sooner than if I had to wait until the next day of school. There is no doubt in my mind that PowerSchool is a positive change to NHS’s academics. It eliminates confusion, because students can see everything that factors into their grade. It forces students to pay more attention to their grades throughout the entire quarter, so they try harder all year instead of the month before report cards come out in a sad attempt to boost their grades. And mostly, it lets paranoid people such as myself relax because they know what their grades are and thus do not have to wait through months of suspense and worry to find out. Granted, PowerSchool has become a slight addiction for me and many of my friends. However, the system has allowed for NHS students to be more actively involved in their grades and truly understand where they come from. This program should be used for many years to come.


The Hawkeye December 2010