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T h e

S a l e s i a n

Volume 18 Issue 3

S p e c t a t o r December 2016

Hello Students and Faculty, from the staff at the Salesian Spectator, the student-run newspaper of Salesian High School! Run by Paul Chen, Daniel Brandon, and Jon Cerini, the newspaper is seeking to enlighten the minds of all who attend this school. We are looking for any new members, as all students and their contributions are welcome. If you’d like to submit any material for The Salesian Spectator, send an email with your work as an attachment to salesianspectator@salesianhigh.org. Make sure you include your full name and year of graduation, so you can receive credit for it. Your name will appear in The Salesian Spectator’s credits section at the end of the issue to which you contribute. Thank you for reading and keep writing!

-- Paul Chen '17, Daniel Brandon '17, and Jon Cerini '17 Editors Daniel Brandon '17, Jon Cerini '17, and Paul Chen '17, Writers Jon Cerini '17, Paul Chen '17, Daniel Brandon '17, and Nick Singlar '17 Editor In Chief Mr. John Small

In This Issue:  Salesian News  Current Events  Welcoming Winter  AND MORE!

Help Wanted: New Writers Needed Jon Cerini '17 Attention to all aspiring writers of Salesian High! Now that the Spectator has been handed over to the Class of 2017, Daniel Brandon, Paul Chen, and I (Jon Cerini) look forward to this year’s experience with the school paper. We hope to add new columns for poetry, comics, short stories, advice, etc. We already have several great writers who keep the school up to date with current events in sports, culture, politics, and more but we could still use extra people to help. If you have any passion for writing, sharing news, or are possibly interested in a career in journalism, then talk to one of us to help strengthen the Salesian Spectator and make it even better!

Helped Wanted: AM Salesian Nick Singlar '17 A.M. Salesian is currently in search for new members. Our job is to broadcast the morning prayers and announcements to every homeroom and to make sure it goes off without a hitch (which does not always happen). Right now, A.M. Salesian consists mostly of seniors, so now more than ever do we need the help of the underclassmen. However, this does not mean seniors can't contribute. We need members ASAP, regardless of grade. You don't need any experience with computers, cameras, or AV equipment (although it helps). You will be taught on


the job. All you need is a willingness to join. To preface: it is a lot of work. We have a job to do every morning, and the entire school is watching. If you are interested, contact Father Bill or Br. Steve Eguino, or come to the A.M. Salesian Studio on the fourth floor before homeroom to talk to us directly. See you there!

NRG: Night of Renewal and Gathering

As a drummer for the Music Ministry, I have been able to watch the growth of NRG. It has inspired me in so many ways and has made me feel more faithful to God every time it happens. I remember the last twenty minutes of the first NRG as all of us sat in the wrestling room listening to Br. Steve Eguino say the closing prayer. For some reason, I think I’ll always remember those last moments on that first night, solely because of the amount of jokes being told, the amount of smiles and laughter all around. After such a fun night doing things the average teenager would call boring, it was ended properly in such a spiritual way. I remember Br. Steve DeMaio looking a bit teary-eyed thinking of how proud Don Bosco would be after seeing a perfect example of a Salesian oratory occur before his eyes.

Jon Cerini '17 On December 21st, the monthly school event known as NRG will make its third appearance in the school chapel. A time to reflect and worship God with live music creates an atmosphere of rebirth for all. Afterward will be a chance to enjoy snacks and games (sports) for the second hour with a final prayer before the end of the night. The popularity of NRG has grown dramatically. The first had around 30 Salesian students with a few female visitors. The second was indelibly different as groups and groups of people arrived at the chapel and gym. At least 70 people were there that day as the Music Ministry band sat in awe watching all the newcomers walk in. By the end of the night, most of us sat admiring how many people God could bring together for one typical night.

I can only imagine what the next NRG will be like; the number of people will increase, the food will be better, the music will sound even better and most importantly, the love for God will continue to flourish in a place of worship. So, come spend your Wednesday night at Salesian and come feel the Holy Spirit within you at NRG. As Fr. Pat once said, “you don’t have to do the wrong thing to have a good time.”

Breaking Ballots: A Statement on the State of the Electoral College Daniel Brandon '17 Within the 2016 political scene, the topic of a “Rigged Election” has been widely


discussed. This topic spilled over into the public eye during the heat of the election, when Donald Trump made several tweets claiming that the election was “Rigged by the Media” while also condemning the electoral college system. Within hours, Trump supporters began vehemently opposing the Electoral College system. In a cruel twist of fate, this same system became the only reason that Mr. Trump triumphed over Hillary Clinton, who received the majority of the Popular Vote. This prompted a significant portion of Secretary Clinton’s supporters to begin the same path of behavior, citing the Electoral College as the only reason for her loss. Needless to say, the Electoral College system is NOT RIGGED, and this article aims to show the many pros presented by this system.

The primary reason that the system is not rigged is that it is outlined in the Constitution. The 12th Amendment states that an “Electoral College” be used to determine the President Elect; in this system, each system would be given a number of votes. These votes would be awarded to whoever won the popular vote in that state. By this process, a candidate could theoretically win the presidency through a majority of electoral votes, while still losing the Popular Vote. In fact, this process has happened four times prior to the 2016 election. The most prolific example was in 2000 when a shocking total of 500 votes in Florida cost Al Gore the presidency. Both candidates knew enough about this system prior to running their campaigns. This gave them enough time to plan their campaigns accordingly; it is not the fault of the system if a candidate loses the race.

The other reason is the broader view of the Electoral College system. It is true that the Popular Vote does hold weight in the election; however, it is quite narrow in its view. The popular vote merely represents how the whole of America feels about a certain candidate. The Electoral College, however, provides insight into how specific demographics feel about a candidate. Part of the beauty of the United States of America lies in the differences found in each state; for example, life in metropolitan New York is quite different from the more rural Texas, and both are poles apart from the mostly barren and icy cities of Alaska. Even politically, the Liberal stronghold of California is completely different from the Conservative Bulwark of Alabama, with moderate swing-states such as the Carolinas attaining qualities of both. Even in the realm of economics, each state differs. The very wealthy inhabitants of the state of Connecticut have very different concerns from those living in the economically challenged cities of Detroit and Chicago. The Electoral College system shows how each of these demographics reacts to the policies proposed by each candidate. This ensures that larger states such as California and New York do not completely tilt the “Electoral Scales” in favor of one candidate. In this system, each state is given a chance to make a real difference in the election, instead of being silenced by the much more populous states.


With all things considered, this view completely destroys the notion of a rigged election. Although the electoral system does have its flaws, with such states as Maine and Nebraska having unique districts which break from the system held in the other 48 states, it provides a much broader view of how the American public sees each candidate. As mentioned before, the Popular Vote does carry much importance; however, it cannot stand alone during the process of electing a president. The Electoral College system embodies the egalitarian and democratic ideals that were presented by the founding fathers when they founded this great nation.

Interview with Mr. Campbell Paul Chen '17 Me: How long have you been teaching? At which schools have you taught? Mr. Campbell: I have been teaching for ten years. Before I came to Salesian, I was teaching middle school at Immaculate Heart of Mary in Scarsdale, and prior to that, I taught at Good Shepherd in Manhattan, where I taught ELA and math for 5 years. Last year at Immaculate Heart of Mary, I was teaching strictly math. Me: What inspired you to become a teacher? Mr. Campbell: I was in business for over 25 years and I had come to a crossroads that gave me the opportunity to modify my career, if I chose to do so. I had always enjoyed teaching when I was in business because part of my responsibilities were mentoring and seminars. I figured I should think about getting a certification in teaching and becoming a teacher; and I love it. Me: How has Salesian treated you so far? Mr. Campbell: Salesian is and continues to be a wonderful experience. The culture here is incredible. The camaraderie among the ranks of students is something that is greatly appreciated. You don't necessarily see that in a typical, inner-city public school. It is nice to still be able to see that because it reminds me of the type of atmosphere that I

recall when I was in high school so many years ago.

PMC's: Corporate Saviors or Legal Assassins? Daniel Brandon '17 In the 21 century, few industries have been criticized, scrutinized and outright condemned more than the security industry. Since the inception of the first firm, WatchGuard International, in 1965 by retired members of the British Special Air Service (SAS), Private Military Companies (or P.M.C’s for short) have been widely viewed as treacherous and untrustworthy by the public. Private Military Companies are essentially firms that offer many security services including but not limited armed escorts of executives, combat training of previously hired employees, and armed defense of valued locations. These companies are primarily employed by large corporations who require bodyguard for business deals in war-torn parts of the world. In some cases, various nations have hired these companies to guard vital areas in foreign countries such as embassies or oil refineries. st

Modern media often portrays these groups, perhaps unfoundedly, in a negative light. In the television show, The Blacklist, a private security firm known as ‘Halcyon Aegis’ is portrayed as a company offering numerous highly trained operatives to serve large criminal groups with excessive wealth. In various comic books, mercenaries, and other private military contractors are often portrayed as villains who have no concept of the value of human life. In DC comics,


Slade “Deathstroke” Wilson is depicted as a cold-hearted mercenary who will go to any length to fulfill his contract. He is incredibly meticulous in his planning, and cruelly effective in his execution; his primary motive for his ‘work’ is to make money for himself and his family. He operates with the mindset of a contract-killer, chalking up killed witnesses and bystanders as collateral damage in an otherwise perfect contract. Conversely, Marvel comics depict a similar character, Wade “Deadpool” Wilson as a misanthropic and deranged anarchist who takes jobs considered to be "suicide missions." Opposed to the tactical and ‘professional’ demeanor kept by Slade, Wade relishes in destruction and anarchy, often using far more force than is required to accomplish a mission. Furthermore; his sole reason for continuing his work as a mercenary is that he sees his work as fun, not caring about his payment. In the Metal Gear Solid video game series, various Private Security Companies such as "Outer Heaven PMC," "Diamond Dogs PMC," and "Militaires Sans Frontières" are depicted as having largely good intentions. However, each group causes great destruction in the hopes of maintaining a balance of power with rival firms. In another very popular video game, Grand Theft Auto V, a P.M.C named ‘Merryweather Security Consulting’ is depicted as a shadowy group of mercenaries that are leased by the government to protect highly top-secret weapons. This group often oversteps its role as guards and acts more akin to a wellequipped team of assassins, preemptively eliminating potential threats

These negative depictions stem from common fears and reservations held by the

vast majority of the public. Chiefly, the public distrusts the corporate nature of these firms. Since P.M.C.’s operate in the corporate realm and must be leased by nations or other corporations, they are not bound by the same restrictions that apply to all other organized armies; this includes the aspect of loyalty to one’s nation. Civilians and some CEOs largely fear that said security companies could be swayed in their loyalties to a higher bidder. CEOs dread that this could mean that their respective companies would be suddenly dropped as clients for not being able to match the price set by rivals. Secondly, the public fears that the operatives working for these firms are nothing more than “trigger-happy psychopaths” or coldhearted misanthropes who are given an opportunity to get paid to satisfy their sick needs. This originated from an event in 2007 in which contractors from Blackwater Security Consulting murdered 17 Iraqi civilians while escorting a convoy employed by the US Embassy. According to Blackwater, the slain Iraqis had fired upon the convoy and the murders were justified; however, Iraqi authorities claim that the killings were entirely unprovoked as no weapons were found among the dead. This resulted in Blackwater losing its license to operate in Iraq and the vast scrutiny of the private security industry by citizens in all parts of the world. Lastly, the public fears the legality of P.M.C’s. Due to their complicated nature, P.M.C’s operate within a gray area of international law. According to the Geneva Convention, mercenary groups are illegal to use; if a nation is discovered paying mercenary groups, they will be prosecuted under the Laws of War, APGC77, Art 47. P.M.C’s, however, technically operate as security companies. This means that they are not employed as offensive fighters; conversely, they are hired to defend certain highly-valued locations. If enemy combatants are killed in said locations, the


contractors guarding them can claim selfdefense and would be exempt from prosecution. Despite this loophole, several nations object to employing these groups. Nations that do make use of these firms often face much public dissent.

Despite these clear faults, it would be foolish to believe that these groups have no positive effects. Primarily, these groups want to fight. No one is forcing contractors to join firms; all contractors who join P.M.C’s have a genuine desire to fight for their firms. If there is a situation akin to the Vietnam War, these groups would be deployed in droves, eliminating the need for a civilian draft. Secondly, these groups are highly skilled and are very well-trained. Unlike other corporations which were started by small-time businessmen with a dream and a small loan, most P.M.C’s were founded by grizzled veterans of various SpecOps units. For example; the first P.M.C (WatchGuard) was founded by a former member of the British SAS, and the primary P.M.C in America (Blackwater Security Consulting, now Academi Inc.) was founded by a retired Navy SEAL. These CEOs passed on their SpecOps training to their top officers, who oversee the bulk of the training programs. Lastly, these groups are key to the demilitarization of many areas occupied by traditional troops. In recent times, American media sources estimate that the American government has withdrawn troops from areas such as Iraq and Afghanistan. In truth, these troops have been replaced by private contractors. This outsourcing of military roles to the private sector allows for governments to focus their active troops to areas which need their attention more. This prevents both spreading one’s army thin, as well as leaving semi-active areas unguarded.

In closing, I see these P.M.C’s as necessary to our success as a nation. We are approaching a time in which war is always on the horizon. As seen by recent events in North Korea, war can be declared in an instant without hesitation. We simply will not have enough troops to cover all of our fronts if a large multi-nation war breaks out; and the answer is not to reinstate a draft. As seen by the failure of the war in Vietnam, public agreement is needed for a war. If the public largely disagrees with a war, it is going to be increasingly difficult to achieve a victory when the dust settles. Instead of drafting unwilling teenagers and young adults, the answer is to lease P.M.C’s to defend key areas stateside and abroad while active duty troops are sent to attack. I firmly believe that the future of part of the military industry lies within the private sector.

Interview with Mr. Piro Paul Chen '17 Upon request, the Salesian Spectator staff brought Mr. Piro back for another interview. Me: When did you realize your calling to be a teacher? Mr. Piro: During seventh grade, I had a very good history teacher. My dad always loved history, so the two of them are what got me into the history aspect. For becoming a teacher, I always knew I wanted to work with kids and be a coach. I always liked helping others and passing on the knowledge that other people gave me. The beginning of high school is when I really realized I wanted to be a teacher. Me: Was your journey to become a teacher difficult? Did you have any second thoughts?


Mr. Piro: College and the preparation to get my certification from New York State, with all of the tests I had to take was tough. The challenge, at times, made me second guess my choices. I had to really ask myself, "Is this what I want to do?" I realized it is what I want to do, and I went through with it. The tests make some people really think. As rigorous and time-consuming as they are, the reward in the end is extremely fulfilling. Me: Where do you think your journey as a teacher at Salesian will go? Mr. Piro: I hope to work here as long as possible. I hope to be that likeable teacher to many students. At some point in my teaching career, I hope to move into administration, maybe become a principal or assistant principal. Like I said, I hope to work at Salesian for as long as I can and as long as I can give back to the students that is rewarding enough.

Behavior Correlates with the Fall Season Jon Cerini '17 All seasons come with different changes in nature that affect the living things around it. It is true that the winter can bring depression or sadness due to the lack of sunlight and warm weather to give us energy. The opposite in the summer or spring time where majority of people feel less dismal and more ecstatic. Most people do not know the affects that the autumn season may have on a human being. Everyone gets the good feeling when the leaves start to change color and the temperature becomes cooler; we realize it’s time for school, Halloween, Thanksgiving and vice versa. But how can these factors of the fall weather affect us emotionally, mentally or physically?

The color of the leaves is remarkably and surprisingly a big factor in the change of mood/behavior. One might wonder how the leaves change color in the first place. According to observations and studies at SUNY ESF in Syracuse, New York, the color of leaves is dependent on aspects of the atmosphere. All year round, trees have mechanisms that help them make food so they grow. As this happens, chlorophyll in the leaves breaks down causing the leafy green color to appear. If the temperature, weather and/or daylight varies, the leaves are prone to change color. Now how does this affect one’s mood? If you’ve sat down and simply looked in awe at the splendorous trees during the September through November season, you might understand just how serene the sight can make one feel. Color Psychology is a not so known branch of mental science that conveys how our mindsets can change due to colors that envelope us. Several of these sociologists work in London to provide factual evidence of how the population reacts to certain colors.

Referring to their website, the color green resembles balance or refreshment. This may explain our acceptance and comfort with the normal leaf color of green we see daily. In the fall season however, we see red, orange, and yellow leaves. Orange is another average color, giving us physical comfort and content attitude. Red is also physical, but more of a confidence booster as it brings us excitement and passion to keep moving forward with strength. Yellow is the most important according to the researchers; it is the most emotional color, giving us selfesteem and optimistic values moving us forward mentally.


As we know though, all leaves eventually fly off the trees once winter approaches. An NPR botany study shows that this occurs due to abscission cells from stiff and old leaves. Eventually, trees have to let go of the leaves they carry and like scissors have to cut off old cells to create new ones in the spring season. After the falling of the beautifully designed trees everywhere, people may feel the exact opposite as they did when seeing the original colors. Losing yellow leaves specifically can cause negativity to a point of fear, anxiety or suicidal thoughts. This may explain why the percentage of deaths due to self-harm increases in the winter season. In the end, the fall season should be appreciated and admired much more than it is now. The splendor of the leaves and the colors may surprise you and maybe even save your life to a certain degree.

"Ask a Salesian" With Br. Steve DeMaio Jon Cerini '17 "Ask a Salesian" is a segment of the Salesian Spectator, where a writer presents a question to a Salesian. In this issue, Br. Steve DeMaio answered a series of questions. Question 1: How did you find your way to God and to the Salesians? What’s your story? Br. Steve: I fully believe that I didn't find God at all, but he found me! At 25 years of

age I entered Salesian formation with the desire to become a priest. I never once thought about the Priesthood, and I didn't know the Salesians until I was 24. I wasn't praying or going to Mass very often during the ages of 18-23, but God was present even though I didn't realize it. I was being guided even though I felt like I was in complete control. I look back now and see the decisions I was making and the experiences that I was having were preparing me for my life now. I never gave up the idea that I wanted to be a good person, and as I wanted to help others, God began to fill in the rest and show me where I would be the happiest. Question 2: In times of doubt, what’s the one thing that will always bring you back to God? Br. Steve: There are moments of doubt and loneliness, but I always return to my experience in Africa where I first met the Salesians and had a real encounter with the Faith. It was the first time that I really believed that God exists and everything I learned in my youth was true. I have had a few moments like that, which help me to hold on during times of doubt. Also, to always remember that God never tires of being merciful, no matter what, we will be welcomed home with open arms. Question 3: As the seniors rapidly approach graduation what is some advice on how to avoid sin as a college student? Br. Steve: Find a good group of friends that will help you to become BETTER. Do not change yourself to fit in or jeopardize your morals so you can make friends easier. Get involved in Campus Ministry, healthy activities and positive friendships. You do have a choice and the responsibility is yours to stay focused in college. Never give up in striving to be healthy, happy and HOLY. Who says you can't be a Saint?


The Salesian Spectator wishes you a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!


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