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Staples High School

Vol. 87, Issue 8

April 12, 2019

Join the discussion. Photo by Lia Chen ’20

BOE appoints Anthony Buono Acting Superintendent of Schools Audrey Bernstein ’20 News Editor

Allie D’Angelo ’20 News Editor

BOARD OF EDUCATION PLANS FOR 2019-20 The Board of Education discussed budget proposals for the 2019-20 school year on April 1. Plans include reducing the district budget by $450,000 and cutting the amount of staff members by 10.

Decreasing enrollment, merging middle schools results in fewer staff positions “Although we’re anticipating that there may be some people that get laid News Editor off, we’re hoping that we can mitigate that by retirements we’re receiving, and Lia Chen ’20 people that resign and may move to another area of the country,” Assistant Arts Editor Superintendent Anthony Buono said. The administration plans on finalizing staffing assignments for the estport Public Schools will 2019-20 school year and notifying reduce staffing by at least 10 any staff who may be let go before positions for the 2019-20 school the start of April break, as information year due to the merging of Coleytown about resignations and retirements Middle School (CMS) and Bedford Middle typically peaks at this time of year. School (BMS) Bayers has met and decreasing with 10 individuals “Combining the two schools is enrollment who do not have across the a position secured more efficient, so we don’t need d i s t r i c t . for next year, with as many teachers.” According the intention of no-CMS Principal Kris Szabo to the budget tifying them well proposed by enough in advance the Board of that they can beEducation, there will be a total reduc- gin searching for positions elsewhere. tion of six teachers due to enrollment: “I think some teachers knew it was a one elementary school teacher, one possibility,” Bayers said.“Though they were high school teacher and four core class- disappointed, they were also appreciaroom teachers at BMS. This will save the tive of our willingness to support them.” town $450,000 from the school budget. The consolidation of CMS and BMS The other four positions cut will be com- will lead to further changes in the current prised of paraprofessionals, custodians team structure at the middle schools. A and health aides. Despite the merge, team usually consists of 90-100 students according to Director of Human Re- and four core subject teachers (one for sources John Bayers, the district is not language arts, social studies, math and planning to cut a CMS administrator. science). Currently, there are two teams

Maya Brodows ’20


of students at CMS and three teams at BMS for each grade, meaning there are a total of 15 teams among the three grades. Next year, the number of teams will reduce to three regular teams and one larger team per grade for a total of 12 teams. Coleytown Middle School Principal Kris Szabo believes that the consolidation of schools will effectively utilize the space still available. “Going into the 2019-20 school year, we were going to reduce staff anyway because we just didn’t have enough kids,” Szabo said. “Combining the two schools is more efficient, so we don’t need as many teachers.” CMS and BMS have also witnessed a decline in enrollment, but Westport administrators emphasized that this is not related to the CMS mold situation. “Before the CMS situation came about with the building condition, we were already dealing with enrollment issues related to that school,” Bayers said. “CMS could have classes of 15-16 kids and BMS was up in the 20s, so there was an inequity in terms of class sizes.” Bayers emphasized that choices for layoffs are primarily based on the duration of a teacher’s time in the Westport district, not on their teaching capabilities. “It’s important to note that all of these people are valued members of the teacher’s group,” Bayers said. “It has nothing to do with performance.”

The Board of Education (BOE) voted unanimously (7-0) to appoint former Assistant Superintendent Anthony Buono as the Acting Superintendent of the Westport Public School District on April 8. Buono began working on April 9. “I’m honored to accept the position until [the BOE] is able to find a suitable replacement,” Buono said to BOE members. Buono will serve as Acting Superintendent of Schools until the BOE employs an Interim Superintendent of Schools or a new Superintendent of Schools, or through a duration mutually decided upon by Buono and the BOE. BOE Chair Member Mark Mathias and Director of Human Resources John Bayers emphasized that an exact timeline for appointing a new Superintendent of Schools is unclear. “We are in fact looking for an interim Superintendent of Schools,” Mathias said at the BOE meeting. “We don’t yet have a date for when that would occur.” While there is no exact date, the BOE expects to appoint an Interim Superintendent before the end of the 2018-19 school year, according to an email sent by Mathias to the district on April 9. The BOE is unclear on the involvement of Buono in the decision making process of choosing a new superintendent. “That is a Board decision about how they want, and who they want to include in that process,” Buono said. The BOE voted on three motions regarding Buono’s appointment, including approving the separation of former Superintendent Colleen Palmer from the BOE, appointing Buono and authorizing Buono to perform the responsibilities outlined in board policy. Public comment was not permitted in the discussion. Until a new superintendent is hired, Bayers, Assistant Superintendent for Pupil Personnel Services Tina Marinno and Chief Financial Officer Elio Longo will be helping Buono to fulfill the Superintendent and Assistant Superintendent roles, according to Bayers. Continued on page 2

RTM plans to vote on single-use plastics, styrofoam ban Natalie Bandura ’22 Staff Writer

The Westport Representative Town Meeting (RTM) will vote on an ordinance banning single-use plastics and styrofoam materials in food service

businesses in favor of compostable, recyclable alternatives on April 23. RTM Representative from District four Andrew Coabella, along with nine co-sponsors, proposed the ordinance, aiming to limit harmful plastic waste products in the environment. The ban was unanimously approved by the Ordinance and Environment Commit-

tees, and requires at least 20 out of 36 RTM votes to become mandated. “The purpose of the bill is to reduce, reuse and refuse single-use plastics,” Coabella said. “To me, it’s reckless when you’re taking something that is so toxic, and you’re giving it to someone without their consent, without their need, without their use, and then you’re just throwing it away.”

Because there are no landfills in Connecticut, most of Westport’s trash is sent to Bridgeport, where it is burned. This releases toxic emissions and uses much more oil than is needed for burning most other products due to plastic being a non-renewable oil-based product. Continued on page 4

Inside the issue News Opinions Features Arts Sports

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Hannah Schmidt ’19 argues against the proposal for reparations to slave descedents proposed by some democrats.

70 North Ave., Westport, Connecticut, 06880

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Boy Scouts of America has expanded their Students share their favorite trends to program to include girls, welcoming a few be on the look out for in the coming Westport students. months.

April 12, 2019


Local briefs Poppy Livingstone ’21 Assistant Creative Director

April All-State Music 13 Festival The Connecticut Music Educators Association will host the All-State Music Festival at the Connecticut Convention Center in Hartford on Saturday, April 13. Staples musicians will perform in jazz bands and choirs at 1:00 p.m. and bands and orchestras at 3:30 p.m. Tickets will be sold at the door for $25 each. Admission is free for children under the age of six.

April DIY pots and planting 13 workshop

YMCA board addresses concerns in swim facility Kaela Dockray ’20 News Editor


embers of the Westport Weston YMCA have expressed concern with the air quality in the YMCA’s swim facility beginning in the fall of 2017. According to CEO of the YMCA Pat Riemersma, complaints have included coughing, increased inhaler use and red or swollen eyes after spending time in the pool area. In response to these concerns, the YMCA board held two meetings on March 9 and March 20 to discuss mechanical problems in the swim facility and receive input from members. “The YMCA has always put the people’s health first when it comes to an issue like this,” an anonymous swimmer for the YMCA’s swim team said. “As people who come to the YMCA regularly are starting to be physically affected, they have taken notice right away.” The Parents Club of the YMCA’s swim team, the Water Rats, sent an email to members on March 19 explaining the measures that have been taken to resolve concerns with air quality. “In the fall of 2017, our pool was closed due to poor, pool area air quality,” the email wrote. “Since that time, changes were made to the ventilation or HVAC system to address the issue.” According to the email, YMCA members have continued to voice concerns with the air quality after changes were made to the ventilation system. Mia Fraas ’19, a swimmer for the Water Rats, has experienced shortness

of breath as a result of the air quality. “I first noticed this problem when I joined the swim team in the spring of 2017,” Fraas said. “The air quality has been a constant issue since then, but has been significantly worse on random days. I find it hard to stop coughing even hours after practice has ended.” As the YMCA’s next step in addressing these complaints, Riemersma explains that they plan on conducting an air modeling test to see how the air circulates throughout the swim facility. “We’re now trying to get as much information as we can from our members to see what their reactions are to the pool,” Riemersma said. “Once we get the air study done, if there are more things we can do to the ventilation, we will look into doing that.” Additionally, the YMCA has and will continue to make short term adjustments based on members’ feedback. They have lowered the temperature of the pool by a degree and, according to Riemersma, plan on requiring that all swimmers shower before entering the pool to help prevent chloramines, or chemicals that create a chlorine odor and often cause discomfort and sickness, from arising. “We are keeping a log of any incidents that are reported,” Riemersma said. “Lowering the temperature was a small adjustment, but it seems to have had a big impact.” However, according to Fraas, past solutions have not been successful in resolving air quality concerns. “Many swimmers on the Water Rats have been to the doctor about discomfort while breathing and a lingering cough,” Fraas said. “Some people have even stopped workouts or left practice early as a result of the air quality.”

April vacation will begin on Saturday, April 13 and will end nine days later on Sunday, April 21. The final weekend of April break includes the first night of Passover, Good Friday and Easter Sunday.

You April “If Leave Me” 25 book talk The Westport Public Library will host a talk between authors Crystal Hana Kim and Sybil Steinberg about Kim’s new book “If You Leave Me” on April 25 from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. in the Saugatuck Congregational Church. The book is Kim’s debut novel and centers on a romance during the Korean War. The event is free and does not require prior registration.

Some swimmers have struggled acclimate to these conditions. “I just re-moved to the team two years ago,”the anonymous member of the Water Rats said. “When I came back it was really hard getting used to [the air quality]. One practice I thought I was going to throw up.” According to the anonymous swimmer, a member of the Water Wrats was sent to the emergency room after experiencing extreme breathing difficulties in the pool area. Riemersma explains that the swim facility is in compliance with Connecticut’s state and local health regulations and does not threaten the safety of residents. “In any swimming pool, you’re going to have people who have issues with the environment,” Riemersma said. “There are a few components we will continue to work and improve on, but it’s not an environment that isn’t safe.” Fraas, however, believes these conditions do not create a safe environment for some swimmers. “I definitely believe that this issue poses a threat to the safety of residents who do high cardio, aerobic workouts on the pool deck for prolonged amounts of time,” Fraas said. “However, I do not believe that residents who spend short amounts of time on the pool deck without aerobic workouts will experience the full effects of the air quality and are therefore not at risk.” Although Riemersma believes the conditions in the pool area are safe, she hopes to create the best environment possible for all members. “We have made a lot of small changes along the way,” Riemersma said. “We are continuing to work towards an environment where everyone feels completely comfortable in our facilities.” to

Photos by Kaela Dockray ’20 YMCA POOL In order to deal with complaints about the pool, the YMCA has lowered the temperature by one degree. Additionally, they plan to require that members shower prior to swimming.

Earthplace will host a nature class on DIY pots and planting on April 13 at 1 p.m. Earthplace naturalists will teach students how to create biodegradable pots out of newspaper that can be planted directly into the ground. Seeds from native plants will be provided for the pots. This class is part of the ‘Saturdays at Earthplace’ program. The event is free, with no pre-registration required.

April April 13-21 vacation

Inklings News


Weston YMCA Pat Riemersma has heard and considered complaints about the YMCA pool. Members have reported conditions including coughing and irritated eyes.

BOE appoints Anthony Buono Acting Superintendent of Schools Continued from page 1 “We will pick up each others pieces that maybe needed, particularly for Dr. Buono,” Bayers said, [...] But, if the Board is successful in finding an interim, then they’ll reconvene and appoint an interim and Dr. Buono will return right back to his other position.” Because of the planned collaboration, Buono does not foresee struggles adjusting to his new position. “With an interim, everyone is pitching in a little bit. Many hands makes light work,” Buono said. Bayers also noted that the difficulty of dividing the work will be reduced because of the school year nearing its close for students. The appointment of Buono follows Palmer’s leave of absence due to a medical emergency announced on March 25. “On behalf of [the BOE],” Mathias said at the board meeting, “I want to thank [Palmer] for her dedicated service to the Westport Public

Staples High School |

Schools over the past three years.” Westport Selectwoman Melissa Kane attended the BOE meeting and supports Buono’s appointment. “I think he will do a wonderful job,” Kane said. “I think he’s been a good administrator since arriving and I’m very thankful that he’s agreed to take the position while we’re looking for either an interim or a superintendent.” Kane noted Buono’s efforts to help the district and has no concerns regarding the installation of the Acting Superintendent. Prior to holding the position as Assistant Superintendent, Buono worked in the Branford Public Schools District for 14 years as principal, associate superintendent and assistant superintendent. Kane praised the swift changes the BOE has made to adjust to the district’s current circumstances. “I am glad we’re moving on right now,” Kane said. “It seems like that’s what needs to happen. I am very thankful for all of [Palmer’s] good work for the district but it seems like we’re doing what’s right for the district right now.”

ACTING SUPERINTENDENT The BOE announced on April 8 that Assistant Superintendent Anthony Buono will serve as the Acting Superintendent on a short term basis. Buono previously served in Branford for 14 years as principal, associate superintendent and assistant superintendent.

Photo by Jarret Liotta for WestportNow

Inklings News

April 12, 2019


Connecticut legislature moves to legalize recreational marijuana Lili Romann ’19

A bill to legalize cannabis for adult use was passed 10 to eight by the Connecticut General Law Committee within the Connecticut General Assembly on March 14. Another bill was passed, which will modify the medical marijuana program to broaden the package of bills that would eligibility for people with illnesses. legalize, tax and decriminalize Legislators have encountered backrecreational marijuana was lash in legalizing the drug. They have proposed on March 14 by Connecticut raised concerns about failing to genHouse Democrats. This would legalize erate high profit through sales, the the possession of 1.5 or less ounces of danger of highly concentrated marcannabis to adults 21 and older, and ijuana in dab pens and edibles and expunge records of people with minor insufficient methods of drug testing. drug charges. It also proposes outlawing Despite concerns, many Westport cannabis-laced edibles, as these may residents support marijuana legalization. appeal to children. “With ConState Reprenecticut looking sentative and to make expen“We must also proactively protect Chairman of the sive but necessary our residents’ safety and financial Public Health infrastructure imwellbeing by limiting Westport’s Committee Jonprovements, leathan Steingalizing marijuamarijuana business to one berg believes na makes sense, medical marijuana facility.” that legalizing as it can provide recreational a great source -RTM Representative marijuana in of more tax inGreg Kraut Connecticut is income as seen in evitable because states like Coloof similar efforts in nearby states rado,” Ethan Vosper ’19 said. “With pubsuch as New Jersey and New York. lic opinion greatly in favor now of legal Steinberg aims to create marijuana, it just seems like a no-brainer.” strict regulations prior to legalA ban on retail sales of recreational izing recreational marijuana use. marijuana was proposed on March 5 at “I’m concerned about the level of the Westport Representative Town MeetTHC,” Steinberg said. “I think we want ing (RTM) by representatives Jimmy Izzo to limit that. I really want to control and Greg Kraut. This followed the RTM’s the product, like we do with medi- approval of a medical marijuana dispencal marijuana, the packaging, the la- sary in Westport last year. The dispensabeling, the marketing and all those ry was approved by the Planning and things should be as clear as possible.” Zoning committee on June 18, 2018. Breaking News Editor


“Westport set up medical marijuana dispensaries to proactively aid the health of our residents,” Kraut said, “so now we must also proactively protect our residents’ safety and financial wellbeing by limiting Westport’s marijuana business to one medical marijuana facility.” Steinberg believes that the ban may be premature as he sees the bill to be a work-in-progress. “Even if we passed it tomorrow, it would be years away before we implemented,” Steinberg said, “so let’s see what the bill looks like before we basically take it off the table.” If a dispensary retailing recreational marijuana opens in Westport, it will likely be located in the same building as the medical marijuana dispensary, opening up at 1460 Post Road East, across from the Sherwood Island State Connector. This is due to the established infrastructure, and the experience that Advanced Grow Labs, the supplier for the soon-to-be dispensary, already has. “[Advanced Grow Labs] know[s] how to deal with marijuana,” Steinberg said. “They’re one leg up on anybody who’d be starting from scratch.” Representative of District 7 Jack Klinge believes that recreational marijuana should be legalized in Connecticut, as he sees no correlation between its legalization and the entrance of other illicit substances to the state. Kinge, however, is opposed to the potential location of the retail sales. “I can see us being the destination of I-95,” Klinge said, “as the most convenient place from Portchester [New York] to Rhode Island to get on and get off and load up on your marijuana.”

Local briefs April Little Black Dog Night 26 of Comedy Little Black Dog Rescue will present a night of comedy at the Westport Inn on April 26 from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. They aim to raise funds for dogs in need. Little Black Dog Rescue relies on donors and focuses on the rescue and care of black dogs who otherwise might not survive.

April Westport Library 27 Maker Faire The Westport Library will host its eighth annual Maker Faire on April 27 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The Maker Faire is an all-ages, free gathering that combines aspects of science and art. The event is meant for those interested in technology, crafting, engineering, science and art. This years attractions include ‘Game of Drones’, a drone racing competition; The Great Duck Project, which aims to print the world’s largest 3D printed duck, and interactive exhibits around Fairfield County. Volunteer jobs are available at

April Staples Players One 27-28 Act Festival Staples Players will host its annual One Act Festival on April 27 and 28 in the black box theater. The festival features over twenty unique plays directed by and starring Staples students. The event is the culmination of Staples’ directing course, in which juniors and seniors learn how to direct and stage theatrical pieces. Tickets will be sold at the door.

April Westport Women’s 27-29 Club Art Show The Westport Woman’s Club will host its annual Art Show from Saturday, April 27 through Monday, April 29. The show will feature a variety of local artists and their works, some of which will be available for purchase. Artists will donate a portion of their sales to fund the Westport Woman’s Club community initiatives. The show is free and open to all visitors. Infographic by Tallula Taylor ’21 | Staples High School

April 12, 2019

News Photos by Serena Ye ’20

Inklings News

RTM plans to vote on single-use plastics and styrofoam ban

Continued from page 1

Westport Public Library works to complete renovations Serena Ye ’20


Web Arts Editor

he Westport Public Library has been under renovation since September of 2017 and will officially be back open on June 23, 2018. Totaling up to $21 million dollars in new upgrades and features, the goal of the library’s “Transformation Project” is to foster a stronger sense of community between people from all walks of life, and to make a creative space for original ideas. These renovations include a new open stairway from Jesup Green, an outdoor cafe, music production studios and a larger Makerspace: all within the space of the old library. Y’S WOMEN (LEFT) The Westport Y’s Women hold

chapters in towns across Fairfield County and currently has over 300 members active in community service. Communications Director Merel Spiegel and Executive Director of Library Renovations Bill Harmer hope that the club will be able to hold weekly meetings in the new library’s private meeting rooms. THE FORUM (BELOW) The Forum is the project’s

biggest undertaking, housing a capacity of 600 people. It will feature one of Connecticut’s biggest video screens, a grand piano and The Westport Public Library’s signature logo. This area hopes to serve for a variety of purposes for the town such as concerts, stand-up comedy shows and movie nights.


level cafe will be completely transformed into a bigger dining space with an updated food menu, as well as an outdoor terrace cafe near the new stairway.

State Representative Jonathan Steinberg believes that the ordinance, if approved, will bring positive change not only to Westport, but to all of Connecticut. “I’m very excited about this bill,” Steinberg said. “What we’re doing right now here in Westport is groundbreaking and hopefully will be an example to the rest of the state about what we need to do to get rid plastic pollution.” There are several exceptions to the ban, notably the allowance of plastic utensils, due to the difficulty and cost of creating alternatives. Additionally, food service businesses that lack access to proper dishwashing facilities will be excluded from the ban. An exception would also be permitted to any student who is handicapped or has a mental disability and requires the use of a straw. Not all Westport residents support the ordinance. During its first reading on April 2, Westport citizen Iain Bruce voiced his concerns with the ordinance due to its inadequate evidence, ambiguous language and excessive costs associated with the ban. “Substituting one kind of item or tool for another will only change the nature of waste, not its volume nor its frequency,” Bruce said. “People who are inclined to throw plastic out of car windows will also throw paper and other materials.” Others believe that the single-use plastics ban is an important step towards protecting the environment. Staples has already taken action to limit the use of single-use plastics, through the elimination of plastic straws from the cafeteria earlier this year. Madeline Harr ’22 believes that plastic utensils at Staples should also be included in the ban. “I think the use of plastic [utensils] in Staples High School is just entirely too much, and we waste a lot of [them],” Harr said. “I really think we would benefit from more recyclable materials. The environment is really suffering right now and it could use our help.” Coabella believes that while the ordinance would be a step in the right direction, there is more that younger generations can do to help the environment in the future. “I think today’s youth [is] very aware of our surroundings, is very aware of our waste,” Coabella said. “If we don’t do anything about it, we’re in a lot of trouble, so we need to be able to jump on board. And I think the students today going into college and graduating are going to make the change.” Photo by Natalia Bandura ’22

THE CHILDREN’S SPOT The children’s library

reflects the Westport Library’s theme of circles in their “dot dot dot” logo, that can be seen throughout the whole renovation. The acoustic tiling paneling on the ceiling is also recurrent throughout the whole library to help preserve sound.

Staples High School |


cusses an ordinance that would ban single-use plastics in Connecticut at the RTM meeting on April 2. Steinberg supports the proposal.

Inklings News


April 12, 2019 Editors-in-Chief

Sophie Driscoll & Melanie Lust

Managing Editors

Have an opinion about an article? Write a letter to the editor at

Bailey Blaikie & Layla Wofsy

Web Managing Editors

Elliot Kaufman & Maddie Phelps

Business Directors Caroline Donohue & Emily Stone

Creative Director Carolyn Gray

Breaking News Editors Daniel Harizman & Lili Romann

Associate Managing Editors Amanda Kaplowitz & Alex Sprouls

Social Media Directors

Cate Casparius & Bri Zeiberg

Assistant Creative Directors

Katie Howard & Poppy Livingstone

Broadcast Directors Zach Horowitz & Jack Shapiro

Outreach Manager Kaya Leitner

Assistant Business Directors

Emma Dantas & Will Matar

News Editors Maya Brodows & Kaela Dockray Audrey Bernstein & Allie D’Angelo

Opinions Editors

Zach Strober & Lauren Wasserman Nicky Brown & Siri Kanter

Features Editors

Roxy Augeri & Dana Perelberg Chelsea Fox & Emma Van Riper

Graphic by Melanie Lust ’19

Arts Editors

Lia Chen & Jack Dennison Kevin Ludy & Rachel Suggs

Sports Editors Eli Corenthal & Lys Goldman Hannah Bolandian & Andreas Lolis

Web News Editors Lily Kane & Eddie Kiev

Web Opinions Editors Sophie Casey & Marlo Von der Ahe

Web Features Editors Ali Korn & Remy Teltser

“Mega middle school” should foster unified social identity


ven under regular circumstances, it took time for us to feel comfortable in middle school. Under the “mega middle school” plan, Coleytown Middle School (CMS) students and staff will move to Bedford Middle School (BMS) next year. We imagine that many students will feel nervous to tackle this uncharted territory.

Web Arts Editors Maya Reiner & Serena Ye

Web Sports Editors

Lucy Arrow & Alex Massoud

Advisers Joseph DelGobbo, Mary Elizabeth Fulco & Ann Neary Silver Crown Award for Newspaper from Columbia Scholastic Press Association 2017 Gold Medal for Hybrid News from Columbia Scholastic Press Association 2017 Silver Crown from Columbia Scholastic Press Association for both print and online 2015 Pacemaker from National Scholastic Press Association 2013 All the opinions, news and features in this paper are those of Staples High School students. Inklings, a curricular and extracurricular publication, has a circulation of 1,800 and is uncensored. All letters to the editor must be signed. The editorial board reserves the right not to publish letters and to edit all submissions as it sees fit. The editorial board determines all editorial opinions, which are authored faithfully by the Editors-in-Chief. Inklings reserves the right to not publish advertisements that promote products that could be harmful to student health. The paper is a member of the Columbia Scholastic Press Association and the National Scholastic Press Association and supports the Student Press Law Center.

Although the merge presents logistical challenges, it does provide an oppor-

tunity to build a united community. The “mega middle school” can allow students to form long-term relationships with people they would not have otherwise met before high school. To accomplish this social growth, administrators must prioritize the creation of a shared identity among all middle school students. CMS students must feel welcome at BMS. The district plans to place BMS and CMS students in integrated pods. We believe this is an appropriate first step. Side-by-side learning will allow middle schoolers to grow together. Outside of classroom lessons, middle school students can get to know each other during non-academic activities. The “mega middle school” can create a sense of unity by including all students in traditions from both schools.


For example, Penny Wars, grade-wide Rube Goldberg projects, the Academic Bowl and the Talent Show give students opportunities to show their school spirit in an accepting environment. The community will need time to remedy the inevitable problems associated with the merge. But we must remember that middle school students often pick up on cues from adult role models. If we speak about the plan in positive terms, they will feel excited about it. Therefore, we must rally together to leverage the unique social opportunities presented by the “mega middle school.”

The editorial board voted unanimously in favor of this opinion.


70 North Ave. Westport, CT 06880 203-341-1994 Decisions of Inklings and Westport Public Schools are made without regard to race, color, age, sex, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, marital status, disability or any other discriminating basis prohibited by local, state or federal law.


“The administrations should not separate pods/teams by school. BMS and CMS students should be mixed as much as possible.”


“Before the school year begins, there should be an open house with all students so they can meet each other and feel more comfortable.”


“BMS and CMS could have joint field trips or team bonding activities so the students can become more unified.” | Staples High School


Inklings News

April 12, 2019

Builders Beyond Borders trips discourage meaningful volunteering Melanie Lust ’19 Editor-in-Chief


or two years in high school, I was both fortunate and unfortunate enough to be a member of Builders Beyond Borders (B3), the non-profit organization that aims to increase participation in local and global community service. Although I was grateful for the opportunity to travel to foreign countries, our experiences abroad were trivial and unnecessary. These service trips are a symptom of a larger, nationwide issue called voluntourism, where groups of privileged teenagers attempt to immerse themselves in a different culture and help impoverished communities. On the surface, this seems like a good idea; the trips are obviously well-intentioned. In reality, however, the service involved does little to help. Many members of my B3 team described our foreign trips as culturally enlightening. However, the majority of our “cultural awareness” experiences were superficial. Trips often resulted in countless social media posts featuring white teenagers posing with impoverished children of color, but they did not result in a real connection with impoverished communities or a better understanding of poverty. The clearest example of this issue occurred during my second B3 trip, when my team traveled to the Dominican Republic. As an excursion, we all agreed we wanted to visit the poorest village in the country—which happened to be near our site—to gain a new cultural perspective. In the village, the scores of emaciated children and dilapidated households were saddening—but the behavior of my teammates, many of whom

gawked at the children as though they were spectacles, was also disturbing. We learned nothing about the villagers’ plight when we popped in on our tour bus, took pictures and left without so much as interacting with them or leaving them supplies and food. Of course, B3 organizers’ priority is to keep volunteers safe. They placed many valid restrictions on where we could go and who we could interact with. However, these constraints on time and freedom prevented us from fully integrating with the communities where we worked, so we could not develop the connections necessary to best assist them. As a result, poor Hispanic children became tourist attractions a n d

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profile pictures instead of actual friends. In terms of our projects, we contributed so little to the actual construction of the building that it felt like we were not needed. On both sites where I worked, dozens of villagers put in tremendous time and effort into each project, naturally outpacing the work of 20 inexperienced teenagers. I remember asking a Dominican construction worker how long he typically worked on the site. He said he had been there since 6 a.m. and planned to stay u n - til 7 p.m.,

Graphic by Melanie Lust ’19

and all construction workers followed this schedule for weeks until the project was complete. In contrast, B3 builders— who work on average from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m., enjoy half-hour lunch and snack breaks and leave after eight days—put in very little time into each project. We also worked with less vigor and skill than the local builders. Not a single member of my team had any training or experience with construction, and I imagine this is the same case for most of the other B3 teams. No matter how “enlightening” this experience may be for high schoolers, the bottom line is that we did not and could not contribute meaningful manual labor because we are not manual laborers. Had we not attempted to lend those communities physical labor, and had we instead simply given money and supplies to local builders, I am confident the buildings we worked on would have been more robust and durable. B3’s goal is commendable and its participants all have the best intentions at heart. However, it is impossible to achieve proper cultural understanding over one week, and it is impossible for a group of young, inexperienced teenagers to contribute relevant labor to a construction project. The money B3 participants raise to pay for their flights and construction materials—which typically amounts to over $2,000—would be better spent sending supplies and aid to these foreign countries. B3 already requires service hours in Fairfield County and should emphasize these local volunteering efforts over foreign service, as students can contribute much more to our community by virtue of living in it.

Inklings News


April 12, 2019

Banning recreational marijuana dispensaries pose health threats Maya Brodows ’20


News Editor

s of Nov. 28, 33 states have passed legislation legalizing marijuana in some form. With Connecticut on the cusp of legalizing marijuana, many Westport residents have questioned whether or not recreational marijuana shops should be permitted in our town. The argument seems obvious to me: recreational marijuana shops should definitely be allowed in Westport. First of all, weed will be smoked whether it is purchased off the streets or in a shop. In a 2017 poll done by Marist College, it was found that 44% of Americans say they have smoked pot recently and will continue to do so. Whether marijuana comes from the street or a well-regulated dispensary, it is clear that weed is an inevitable part of many lives. Further, the market for legal marijuana is huge and can benefit commu-

nities. According to The Denver Post, legal sales of cannabis products in Colorado amounted to $1.51 billion in 2017. The tax refund collected from the sale of legal marijuana was a staggering $247 million. It pays to legalize weed. Considering Westport is currently in a bit of a crisis with the mold situation at Coleytown Middle School, the tax revenue the town could collect from a dispensary would be put to great use. Weed could literally fund our education by restoring CMS. Hopefully parents worried about an in-town dispensary care more about their child’s education than stores that can only sell marijuana to legal adults. Additionally, natural, untainted marijuana is much safer to ingest than alcohol. Although the actions exhibited while on marijuana are often unsafe and can result in injury, there have been no deaths, the CDC has reported, caused

directly from the ingestion of marijuana. In contrast, alcohol is legal and alcohol poisoning kills six people every day. It is nearly impossible to overdose on marijuana because, according to a Wiley study, a fatal dose of THC is anywhere between 15 and 70 grams. Since a typical joint contains around half a gram of marijuana, someone would have to smoke between 238 and 1,113 joints to overdose on marijuana. Of course, some people counter by pointing out that synthetic marijuana can be deadly even if very little is ingested. While this is true, the risk of dangerous synthetic marijuana dominating the market is eliminated once legal dispensaries come into play. Street marijuana follows no standards. Those who purchase marijuana have no idea what it may contain, meaning it often can be unsafe. But in a regulated Connecticut store front,

the estimated amount of THC in the marijuana, as well as other active ingredients it contains, would be listed on the package, according to section Sec. 21a-408-56 of the state’s marijuana guidelines. If the marijuana is regulated, it will be safer. People opposed to having a recreational dispensary in Westport fear the availability of weed will negatively impact their children. However, survey results released by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment indicate that nine months after Colorado legalized cannabis sales to the general public, usage among teenagers actually dropped. This was primarily due to the fact that high school students no longer felt marijuana was an exhilarating risk, and thus didn’t feel the need to take it as a way to rebel. By not allowing recreational marijuana to be sold in Westport, citizens will exacerbate pot problems, not eliminate them. To be safe—and smart—Westport must allow for a recreational dispensary.

Graphics by Poppy Livingstone ’21 & Will Roschen ’19

Prioritize standard course loads over expensive, unnecessary AP exams Roxy Augeri ’20 Features Editor

May. For upperclassmen around the building, instead of taking in the warm weather, most students can be found crouched over textbooks and notes at the library. AP testing is on the horizon and many will put aside all else to prepare for the daunting exams. While many slave away to gain credit for their future pursuits in college, you will find me kicking back and enjoying my freedom. Taking the AP tests in high school to many seems vital, but the stressful, costly, and time-consuming exams shouldn’t be what high school students are worrying about during the spring. Instead, students should be using the time to improve their fourth quarter grades and preparing to crush their finals in all classes. The appeal of taking these exams is clear: show colleges that you are capa-

ble of handling a challenging course load and shave off your college class requirements. However, the chance of the university of your choice accepting that credit is slim. For example, according to the New York Times, Dartmouth has recently ceased offering AP credit. They cite their reasoning for this change to be because they “want a Dartmouth education to take place at Dartmouth.” If prestigious schools such as this are no longer offering credit, there is no reason to take the tests in hope of shaving off the course load at the university of your choosing. Even if a college is willing to offer credit, there’s no guarantee you will pass the exam. Denise Pope, a senior lecturer at Stanford Graduate School of Education, investigated how AP courses were taught throughout the country. When asked by “Stanford News” if the material remains consistent across the country,

Pope explained that other than the actual AP test in May, the material taught in each course can vary greatly. Because of this, you might actually not be well prepared for the all-important test. Additionally, the tests also come at a stressful time of the year, interrupting spring sports and activities. The end of the year should be a time for students to unwind and pat themselves on the back for all the hard work they have done throughout the year; not try and cram an entire year’s worth of material into their brains for an exam that isn’t going to count for their final transcript. Instead of stressing over something that isn’t going to count, students should instead put their efforts into their finals, which count for 10 percent of their grade. Many people value their AP classes higher than other classes, and oftentimes grades suffer as people put aside their work in

honors or A level classes in order to study. Along with this, the exams are expensive. It’s not realistic to expect every student to dish out hundreds of dollars in order to take a test. Students should be taking challenging courses and showing universities that they are prepared to enter academic life at the school. However, stressing over an expensive test in high school shouldn’t be the way they go about this.

Photo by Eliza Barr ’21 Graphics by Roxy Augeri ’20 | Staples High School

Inklings News

April 12. 2019


Slavery reparations prove difficult to finance, a means to attract voters Hannah Schmidt ’19


Staff Writer

everal Democrats running for president in 2020—including Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker, Kamala Harris and Julián Castro— are supporting slavery reparations as a priority in their campaigned agendas. This proposal entails closing the wealth gap and eliminating racial inequalities among the poorer African-Americans communities through various means, including “baby bonds”—a policy that offers government-funded savings accounts— that could provide over $50,000 for the lowest portion of income-earners.

As defined by the New York Times, slavery reparations allow subsequent compensation to people affected. However, as valuable as they may first appear to be, these proposed reparations seem like nothing short of a far-left swing to attract voters. Now, it is true that significant injustices do exist. Data from the U.S. Census Bureau shows the median net worth of African American households to be around 9% of that of white households. But it is unreasonable to think that this problem can be resolved by government involvement. In total, the government would likely have to spend between $5.9 trillion and $14.2 trillion, as stated in a report from Newsweek. Given that the en-

tire proposed budget is only $4.74 trillion, there is simply is not enough money to carry out such an initiative. It would also be incredibly difficult to determine who deserves compensation. Would it be direct descendents of slaves? What about people who were affected by Jim Crow? And how can we make sure everyone is accounted for and receives an equal share? The questions are numerous and controversial. Furthermore, Pew Research Center polls showed that these slavery reparations are an unpopular policy. Polls highlight that 51% of white Americans think slavery is not a factor in lower wealth. Only 48% of black Americans said slavery played a major role in their lower wealth levels.

Racial tensions certainly still exist, so I understand why 2020 presidential Democrats are attempting to use promises of reparations as a means to attract black voters. After all, appealing to racial issues has proven to be effective in the past. In fact, an article from NPR explained that responding to racial injustices, especially in the time of Black Lives Matter, was key for 2016 candidates to gain voters’ attentions. Addressing injustices in such a polarizing socioeconomic society is an important topic that deserves careful and in-depth attention. It is certainly a broad issue with many variables to consider, but slavery reparations are not the solution. They are not logical, attainable or comprehensive solutions to racial injustices.

Graphic by Poppy Livingstone ’21

Religious values should no longer excuse citizens from vaccinations Jake Navarro ’20 Staff Writer

One kid. Just one kid among thousands of others can infect an entire school of vaccinated students. All 50 states require a minimum vaccination requirement to attend public schools. The problem is that all 50 states also allow exemptions for medical reasons, and most states also have exemptions for religious reasons, too, according to According to the CDC, the 2017-18 school year exempted 2.2% of kindergarteners from receiving vaccines. This percentage has risen by 0.2% from the year before, especially as more and more students are being exempt from getting vaccines. This is one of the biggest problems regarding the vaccine controversy. Last month in Rockland County, 6,000 unvaccinated students were pulled out of schools after a measles outbreak occurred. The outbreak stemmed from an ultra-orthodox community where vaccination rates are low. With the lack of vaccinations among this population, another measles outbreak struck school students. This country cannot watch as one un-vaccinated kid contracts a n d

transmits diseases to hundreds of others, so the government needs to take action and make it a priority to mandate that everyone gets their annual vaccines. Although the right to religion is clearly stated in the first amendment, the government needs to create an amendment that allows the right to religion to be trumped in order to protect the overall health of humanity. Religions including Christian Science are opposed to using vaccines and instead believe that God will find a cure to their infections. These religions have around 450,000 people in total — resulting in a large population who aren’t receiving vaccines. Even though we must respect their religion, to ensure the safety of all students, the government must implement laws that require the children who are a part of these respective religions get their vaccines before going to school. Otherwise, these kids must be homeschooled by their parents so they are not able to infect anyone else. Although some religions believe that vaccines are unethical, they are crucial to keeping humanity safe from the threat of infectious diseases. Without governmental laws being passed, we may be plagued by outbreaks If we make vaccines mandatory, we would see a decrease in the number of students being removed from t h e i r schools due to sickness.

Photo by Eliza Barr’21 Graphic by Roxy Augeri ’20

Staples High School |



U.S. Department of Education reports students are less stressed than ever Alexander Toglia ’21

The United States Department of Education is pleased to announce that America’s students are less stressed than ever. Now, only 99.9% of students are stressed. They noted a reduction in stress by an entire tenth of a percent, and they couldn’t be happier. U.S. Department of Education researcher Graham Frazier observed this decrease first hand, reporting “there is absolutely nothing to worry about when it comes to students being overly stressed by school,” as he watched a freshman crying in a corner for her tutor because she was struggling to eat an apple without assistance. Mr. Frazier cited Gotts Ress IV as proof of the reduction in stress., Ress started a campaign to fire a teacher who dared to give him only an A instead of an A+, on his AP Chemistry quiz.. The student declined to comment on said campaign, but did say “Everything here is great! I am so happy with my life, especially since I decided to start taking Adderall to improve my focus. I’m sure the heart palpitations are nothing.” For more information, we followed up with Ress’ parents, who noted “Gotts is doing so much better now! With our forceful ‘guidance’, he is taking eight AP classes, volunteering in fifteen countries, and is an All-American recruited croquet player and has only needed therapy 8 times a week. It would just be tragic if all of our hard work of forcing our baby to suffer… I mean succeed, failed and he only went to Yale instead of Harvard.”

While it is obvious the vast majority of students are not stressed, our finest school administrators and counselors continue to work day in and day out to further reduce student stress. One highly-ranked school decided to give all students an AI-Enhanced stress relief blanket, that hugs students whenever it senses they are stressed. Mr. Frazier noted the blankets seemed to be quite successful. One student in a specially embroidered My Little Pony blanket gave Mr. Frazier the double thumbs up and gasped “I love my blanket” as his face turned blue from the intensity of the blanket’s hugging. Overall, the progress being made in student stress reduction has been excellent. Mr. Frazier’s observations have wholly supported this, with him even noting “we are on the verge of solving student stress in this country.” In fact, progress has been so excellent that the U.S. Department of Education now predicts that student stress rates will plummet by a whole quarter of a percent by 2025.

Photo by Poppy Livingstone ’21

Inklings News

April 12, 2019

Singer-songwriter Emma Charles proves to be another success story Maya Brodows ’20

of universal,” Charles said. “I like to think that when I sing my songs about my struggles, that everybody feels the same way, and that we’re all in this together.” Charles’ passion for music contaples High School has a long tinued at Staples, where she particlist of successful graduates. From ipated in Orphenians and Staples actor Paul Lieberstein ’85 to state Players. During her freshman year, senator Will Haskell ’14, it’s no surprise Charles also performed solo at a gala. “That [gala freshman year] was another alum is bound for greatness. While most college students enjoyed the first time I sung a pop song in long days at the beach and a week-long front of an audience at Staples which party during spring break, Emma Charles was a really big moment for me,” ’15 was hard at work. Specifically, she was Charles said. “That’s where it started.” Up until her senior year, Charles opening a show for singer Howie Day planned on maon a 12-city tour. joring in musical Charles is an “I like to think that when I sing theatre, but credup-and-coming its chorus teacher folk pop singer my songs about my struggles, Luke Rosenberg for songwriter who that everybody feels the same helping her realhas opened perway and that we’re all in this ize musical theatre formances for was not what she famed artists such together.” truly wanted to do. as Howie Day, Da-Emma Charles ’15 Rosenberg vid Ryan Harris encouraged and Tyler Hilton. Charles attended Berklee College of Charles to sing pop songs, as opMusic, where she studied harmony, ear posed to the musical numbers she training and music theory, all to provide was accustomed to singing in Players. “She was and I’m sure she still is an a foundation for her innate love of music. Music has always been a big part excellent actress,” Rosenberg said, “but of Charles’ life, with her mother being she seemed so comfortable just standfamed vocalist Rondi Charleston. At the ing on a stage with a mic and a guitar mere age of 8, Charles sang background or maybe a small band. It just fit I guess.” It wasn’t long after embracing her vocals for her mother and her jazz quartet at Lincoln Center. Around age 12 love of singing pop songs that Charles Charles began writing her own songs. decided to make songwriting a ca“I’ve kind of always been singing, al- reer, calling Mr. Rosenberg her “bigways been playing music,” Charles said. gest musical inspiration at Staples.” Rosenberg remembers not only Recently, Charles released a single entitled “Comfort in the Chaos.” This how hard of a worker Charles was, but song, like all her others, is based on per- also her ability to take criticism, which, sonal experiences. Because of this, she as Rosenberg notes, is a great accomconsiders song writing to be therapy. plishment for such a young musician. “She’s a brilliant young songwriter “For me, performing and writing music is very therapeutic because I am and a fantastic performer,” Rosenberg able to take an emotion that I have and said. “I can’t wait to see what’s to come transform it into something that’s kind and I couldn’t be more proud of her.” News Editor


LILYPAD VENUE Charles performed at the Lilypad in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in the summer of 2018. She held a show that family, friends and Boston locals could attend to hear her original music. Photos contributed by Emma Charles ’15

HARD AT WORK Charles is on a 12-city tour after spending many hours producing her music at the Berklee College of Music. She hopes to expand her fan base as she creates more music.

EXPANDING HER STAGE PRESENCE Charles performed the role of Sheila in “Hair” at Stagedoor Manor Performing Arts Center in Loch Sheldrake, New York.

STAPLES PLAYERS PRODUCTIONS Charles displayed her musical talent to the Westport community while acting in the show, “Sweeney Todd” in 2015 at Staples High School. | Staples High School

April 1


Graphic by Alex Sprouls ’19

JUNE 18 2018



Dana Perelberg ’20 Features Editor




Graphic by Carolyn Gray ’19

Staples High School |

Scouts BSA expands to


he Boy Scouts of America (BSA) Code of Conduct is as follows: Exercise sound judgement, demonstrate good leadership, and protect others. Generations of Boy Scouts have followed these guidelines, participating in activities that help them to meet new friends and learn about the world. This year, new members will be adhering to the rules of the Scouts. But while they share the same values as previous Scouts, they are a little different from the boys—they are the first girls initiated into the previously all-male organization. As of this year, The Boy Scouts of America are accepting girl members to all levels. The organization announced the change in 2017 but didn’t follow through until 2019. A branch of the organization known previously as “The Boy Scouts” has changed their name to “Scouts BSA” to solidify the decision. Last year, the Cub Scouts, a scouting organization that accepts elementary school students, accepted girls for the first time. The Westport Cub Scouts introduced a new den called the Webelos which included girls from the second to fourth grade. The den is led by Eric Overgard who has two children in Cub Scouts: his son, Alex, and his daughter, Vanessa. “My daughter, from the time she was three, was going camping with us, doing all the activities,” Overgard said. “She

constantly asked m I always had to sa right now.’ When th up I was very eage There are cu BSA troops in Troop 36 and Troo all boys while Tro “Units within Sc girl troops or they a Patton, Scoutmaste “There’s a really gre things both together and separately.” According to the official Scouts BSA website, “In Scouts BSA, young men and women go places, test themselves, and have one-of-a-kind adventures that can’t be The Westport gaging in activitie ing the annual cam “So that will b tunity to do pro junction with the Prior to the chan available for girls in Girl Scouts and th er, these troops d than the Scouts B and are often di Overgard explain troops are formed young and the same

Inklings News

12, 2019

o include female scouts

throughout much of the program which leaves few spots open for newcomers. “We tried several times to get [my daughter] into the Girl Scouts,” Overgard said. “It was difficult to find a spot for my daughter. Even back in first grade, we tried a couple times and we were never able to find a troop that she could join.” Gender Literature teacher Reilly Lynch acknowledged the Scouts BSA decision to include girls as a positive one but believes the acceptance sends a mixed message. “Optimistically, it is a national organization rec“She constantly asked me ‘can I ognizing that girls join’ [...] and I always had to say are fully capable of everything boys ‘no, girls can’t join right now.’” are,” Lynch said. -Webelos leader Eric Overguard “Critically, I think the execution and name contradict e found anywhere else.” that message to a certain extent. I’m troops will be en- not sure that creating gendered groups es together, includ- under the umbrella of the organization mping trip this July. necessarily constitutes acceptance.” be our first opporHowever, since Scouts BSA is not ogramming in con- planning to create co-ed groups, Patton em,” Overgard said, noted that he hopes there is enough nges, the only troops interest among girls to create addin Westport were the tional girl units and looks forward to he Brownies. Howev- working in conjunction with them. do different activities “Scouting to me is one big family,” BSA and Cub Scouts Patton said. “It’s great to get togethifficult to get into. er with people that have been doing ned that the Girl Scout other [troops] and swap stories about d when the girls are adventures that you’ve had separately e group stays together and enjoy experiences together as well.”

Photos contributed by Katherine O’Brien

BRIDGING CEREMONY Westport Cub Scout Pack 100 of Christ & Holy Trinity Church celebrated their Bridging ceremony which symbolizes the Webelo troop’s (ages 10-11) transition to Cub Scouts (11-18).

me ‘can I join’ [...] and ay ‘no, girls can’t join he opportunity came er to start a girl den.” urrently four Scouts Westport including op 139. Troop 36 is oop 139 is all girls. couts BSA are either are boy troops,” Craig er of Troop 36, said. eat opportunity to do

PASSING ON THE NECKERCHIEFS As a part of the Bridging ceremony, the new cub scouts are given their neckerchiefs, which completes their transition to Cub Scouts. Photo contributed by Eric Overguard

THANK YOU VETERANS Vanessa Overgard of Cub Scout Pack 39 wrote letters to veterans to thank them for their service and for allowing them to use the Veteran’s of Foreign Wars social hall for the annual bridging ceremony. | Staples High School

April 12, 2019


FeaturesNews Inklings

Essay contest prompts students to face topic of micro-aggressions Lily Kane ’20

Web News Editor


icture Westport. The first few images that might pop into most people’s heads are ones of sunny Compo Beach, picturesque Main Street or the beloved Sherwood Diner. But, Westport is also a predominantly white town To combat this, Together Effectively Achieving Multiculturalism (TEAM) is a group that works with Westport’s citizens with the mission of achieving and celebrating “a more welcoming, multicultural community.” One way in which TEAM strives to reduce prejudice is through their annual essay contest. The organization releases a new prompt every year that is open to all Westport high school students and deals with addressing racism within the town. This year’s prompt dealt with the topic of “microaggressions,” which are defined by psychology professor Derald Wing Sue as “the everyday verbal, nonverbal and environmental slights, snubs or insults” that come across as racist, derogatory or negative towards specific people based solely upon their identity as a minority. “Every year we look to relevant topics

that are in the news, and this year micro- dent at Staples, has been the victim of aggressions seemed to be getting more microaggressions. In his essay he writes, and more notice,” Susan Ellis, chair of the “I’ve come to realize that racist, sexist and essay committee for TEAM, said. “Once homophobic ideas are like weeds that the topic was suggested to the mem- need to be yanked out of the ground.” bers of TEAM Westport, everyone agreed Angela Ji ’19 won second place for her that it was relevant and important.” essay, titled‘Ripping off the Bandaid: MicroTEAM officially prompted students to aggressions and How we Address Them.’ “describe your experiences witnessing, “Microaggressions are a bit like findelivering and/or receiving microaggres- ger pricks,” Ji writes. “While they do not sions focused on race, ethnicity, religion, leave as large a mess as a sword wound sexual orientation in the form of and/or gender Jim Crow laws or “You really get to think through identity and deJapanese internscribe the likely ment would, they the whole cause/effect sequence impact that such are enough to of delivering microaggressions statements have make you wince.” and give ideas on what we upon the recipiIn addition to ents.” The prompt what she detailed should do about them.” then asked them to in her essay, Ji -Angela Ji ’19 believes reflect on steps that the they think organiprompt is relezations, schools or vant to the times. individuals could take to decrease or end “I like how it covers a broad spectrum said behavior. In particular, it asked the and asks you to argue for multiple asapplicants what they believe students pects [and] talk about your experiences should do to confront incidents of micro- and what you think we should do [...]” Ji aggressions when they occur, whether said. “You really get to think through the that be as initiator, victim or bystander. whole cause/effect sequence of delivThe first place award went to Chet El- ering microaggressions and give ideas lis ’19, whose essay titled ‘The Sound of on what we should do about them.” Silence’ touched the hearts of the judgThe other award winners include es with his detailed accounts of times in Daniel Boccardo ’19, who received third which he, as an African-American stu- place for his essay titled ‘Cactus in a Rain-

forest,’ and Olivia Sarno ’20, who earned honorable mention for her essay on ‘Deconstructing the Voice in my Head.’ In past years, the organization has released prompts dealing with topics of what it means to be a patriot to ways citizens can address racial inequalities in our nation. In fact, in 2017, TEAM made national news with its controversial prompt that asked students about their experiences with white privilege in Westport. While Ji did not apply that year, she can see how this year’s prompt holds many of the same complexities as the one from just two years ago, despite being much less disputed. “I think that microaggressions, much like white privilege, better encapsulate the minority experience here in Westport as opposed to more overt racism,” Ji said, “which is why I felt that the topic was significant and was compelled to share my voice.” Ellis, who also won first place in 2017, is working now to limit microaggressions around Westport. “When someone comes to me with blatant microaggressions where they should know what they are saying is wrong, […] those are the most important to call out.” Ellis said. “If you know what you are doing is wrong, but you are still doing it […] that’s where I think we can make the most change.”

GIRL POWER (ABOVE) Angela Ji ’19 and Olivia Sarno ’20 were both extremely passionate and inspired by this year’s essay topic of microaggressions.

AWARD CEREMONY (ABOVE) Chet Ellis ’19 accepts the award for first place with his essay, ‘Sound of Silence’ that focuses on personal experiences with microagressions.

SECOND PLACE (BELOW) Angela Ji ’19 won second place for her essay titled ‘Ripping off the Bandaid: Microaggressions and How we Address Them’ that focuses on the effects of microaggressions on daily life.

ANXIOUSLY WAITING (BELOW) Angela Ji ’19, Olivia Sarno ’20, Chet Ellis ’19 and Daniel Boccardo ’19 sit waiting patiently for the awards to be called.

GROUP POSE (ABOVE) The essay finalists pose with TEAM Westport Chair Harold Bailey and First Selectman Jim Marpe.

Photos by Lily Kane ’20

Staples High School |

Inklings News

April 12, 2019


Math Team allows students to hone abilities Maya Reiner ’21 Web Arts Editor


rom squash to football, there are an abundance of sports teams at Staples High School. After school, they learn new plays, practice fundamental skills and form bonds with one another. However, not all of the teams at Staples are played on a field, court or inside a gym. One such team is the Staples Math Team. These mathletes compete in various tournaments throughout the year. If their season is successful, they may qualify for the state level and even the New England Association of Math Leagues (NEAML). The team is composed of team members, captains and an adviser. They all have their own job and responsibilities that contribute to the team’s success. The three captains, Angela Ji ’19, Carter Teplica ’19 and

Math Team adviser Joanne KlouAniruddha Murali ’19, all strive to create a comfortable and welcoming atmosphere da recognizes the variety of ages, skill to encourage students to join the team. sets and personalities on the team. “The best part of being the Math “I try to make it a just as warm and welTeam adcoming place for is the everyone who “The group of students are very genuine viser s t u d e n t s ,” wants to join,” and down to earth. They work hard, but Klouda said. Ji said. “The “The group members are also like to joke around.” stualso really great -Math Team adviser, Joanne Klouda of dents are to be around.” very genJi tries to lead the team with positivity. uine and down to earth. They work “Captains are team members just hard, but also like to joke around.” The students feel similarly about as much as everyone else,” Ji said. “But, we do have additional respon- the club. Math team member Hansibilities in organizing meetings and nah Evan ’21 enjoys the balance berunoffs, recruiting members and an- tween fun and academic challenges. “I have definitely enjoyed my experiswering any questions that arise.”

TEAM PHOTO (TOP LEFT TO RIGHT) (TOP) Sahiba Dhindsa ’20, Anisa Prasad ’19, Carter Teplica ’19, Aniruddha Murali ’19, Angela Ji ’19, Tyler Edwards ’20, (BOTTOM) Max Montoya ’21, Julian Weng ’22, Hannah Even ’21 and Nasir Wynruit ’21 take a break from preparing for their state meet that took place on April 4.

ence on the team,” Evan said. “I love collaborating with others to figure out truly difficult problems and I look forward to going to Math Team every meeting.” The team meets twice a week in order to practice their skills, but each meeting is used differently depending on what the team is preparing for. “We have meetings on Tuesdays and Fridays and the people come and go depending on how much time they have,” Ji said. The adviser of the club plays a pivotal role in the day-to-day activities of the Staples Math Team. Klouda sets up the meetings, chaperones the team at every tournament and organizes the math problems students tackle, the bus times and the ordering of pizza. The captains also have a range of obligations. “The captains are sort of responsible for running meetings and making some executive decisions,” Ji said. “But we still sit and talk and do problems with everyone else.” Just like any sports team, there is a balance between serious work and relaxed fun, and the team bonds as they simultaneously improve their math skills. “Through Math Team, the way I approach problems continues to change,” Evan said. “I’m excited to see how the Math Team continues to change the way I look at math in the future.”

Science Olympiad team advances to Nationals in June Lucy Arrow ’21

merous events that can vary depending on the category. The students have the opportunity to partake in the ones that fit their strong suit. Competitions consisting of geo“For some events you design and logical mapping, testing air quali- build something, which is both a technity and chemistry labs are not usually cal and a creative process,” Science Olymon the average weekend agenda of a piad member, Carter Teplica ’19 said. high school student. But for the StaThe events can take on different ples’ Science Olympiad team, these in- forms depending on the type of actricate events are actually the norm. tivities that are being competed. This season, the Science Olympiad “There are knowledge-based tests and Team at Staples has advanced to the na- building events,” Isabel Powell ’19 said. tional competition after receiving first “[Some] of the building [events] can be place against 60 planes, cars or even other teams in the machines that comstate competition. plete specific tasks.” “We all work really hard and With their state tiAlthough some it’s fun to support each other tle, the team will of these different while hanging out and getting be traveling to events could be Cornell Universithe work for just a to know each other.” ty in early June to member of -Sophia Lauterbach ’21 single compete against the team, collaboother teams from ration and commuall over the U.S. nication can be key in the national championship. in these competitions and in practices. “I’m really excited to travel with the “Since a lot of events are a figure-it-out team [to Cornell],” Sophie Lauderbach kind of learning, we all teach each other ’21 said. “We all work really hard and it’s how to do things which creates a realfun to support each other while hang- ly nice environment,” Lauderbach said. ing out and getting to know each other.” Despite the fact that this is the first In order to get ready for nationals, time the Staples’ Science Olympiad team the team will prepare similarly to the has had the opportunity to compete in regular season. The team has found the national championship, the Science that these preparations were help- Olympiad team at Bedford Middle School, ful in the past for the state champi- with Ji and Teplica on the team, had also onship and throughout the season. advanced to nationals once before. “We’re going to be preparing just Following the state championship, as we have been for states and invi- the Staples’ team reflected upon their tationals,” Angela Ji ’19 said. “Obvi- mistakes and successes and will focus on ously nationals is much more chal- those aspects in preparation nationals. lenging and the competition is more “I think we’re all working rigorous, but everyone is really excited.” much harder now that we’ve In the competitions, there are nu- seen how well we can do,” Ji said. Web Sports Editor

Photos contributed by Carter Teplica ’19

STATE CHAMPS (TOP LEFT) Anisa Prasad ’19, Emma McKinney ’19, Angela Ji ’19 and Carter Teplica ’19 sport their medals from winning the state competition. (TOP RIGHT) Sam Powell ’21 and Aniruddha Murali ’19 smile proudly with the winning trophy. It was the first time the team will advance to the national competition. (BOTTOM) The team got together for a group photo after winning first place in the competition. They will be heading to Cornell University in June to compete in the national competition. | Staples High School


Features Inklings News

April 12, 2019

Earthplace teen program connects teens with nature Molly Gold ’21 Staff Writer


fter school, some students leave the Staples halls, ditching their backpacks in exchange for taking care of animals. These students participate in Earthplace’s Teen Volunteer club. The club is made up of students in fourth through 12th grade and meets on Tuesdays and Thursdays after school. Members can either choose to attend both sessions or just once a week. “I have been volunteering with the animals at Earthplace since I was in fourth grade because it’s a great opportunity to learn how to care for nature,” Emma Borys ’20 said. “You get to work with our resident animals. You learn what they eat, how to keep their cage to best replicate their natural habitat and best of all, how to hold them. If you love animals, you’ll love Earthplace.” Earthplace is home to dozens of animals ranging from cuddly rabbits and guinea pigs, to hissing

Graphic by Olivia Valante ’20

cockroaches and tarantulas. While students typically spend the first 45 minutes feeding and cleaning the animals and their cages, the last 15 minutes of each meeting is reserved for many of the teens’ favorite part: playing or holding the animals. In addition to animal care, the teens also do some “trail work” in the warmer months. This includes taking down invasive plants, planting vegetables for the animals to eat and gardening. “I really like being part of the Teen Volunteer club because it gets kids outside and allows them to interact with the animals and really experience nature,”Weston High School student Maddie Clough said. Teens also have the option to be junior staff members at Earthplace. Junior staff members help care for the animals, as well as help plan and run various programs at the facility. In contrast to the Teen Volunteer club that focuses on animal care, the junior staff program focuses more on science and hands-on learning. “I was a junior staff member last summer,” Lenora Lofrisco ’21 said. “I thought that it was a very unique experience and a great way to spend time outside and really enjoy my summer.” The Teen Volunteer club brings students from across Fairfield County togeth-

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er. The group is under the direction of Associate Director of Nature Programming at Earthplace, Veronica Swain. “I think [Earthplace] teaches teens how to be responsible for something that is living and also gives them a chance to talk with other people who like the same things that they do,” Swain said. “It gives them sort of a safe place to be themselves and to hang out and to do something different with their time.”

Photos contributed by Veronica Swain

PLAYPEN PALS The members of the Earthplace Teen Volunteer group created an outdoor playpen for the indoor animals to experience the outdoors. These animals include turtles, rabbits, ferrets, bearded dragons, chinchillas and guinea pigs.

POND CRITTERS The group caught pond critters for the Family Day events where they create a pond touch tank that resembles a real pond in Connecticut. The animals were later released back into their habitats.

BIRDS OF PREY Students in the program helps organize the Birds of Prey exhibit by cleaning the cages, feeding and watering the birds and creating items of enrichment.

Inklings News

April 12, 2019


Lauren Wasserman ’19 Opinions Editor


t is time to exchange your mittens, beanies and boots for sundresses and skirts because spring is finally here. As every season comes and goes, so do new trends. According to Cosmopolitan, this spring, shoppers should be prepared for neons, bike shorts, pale blues, tie dye, bright orange and metallic plaid. But while runways and brands may show one side of spring fashion, students have their own opinions. “I always like whites for spring but I do love bright orange and hope to see that become a bigger trend,” Liv Pines ’20, co-owner of Instagram fashion account, said. While both Pines and Cosmopolitan have narrowed it down to orange, Bazaar has labeled this brightly colored spring trend, “Sunshine shades” including all vibrant, warm colors. Ali Green ’20, co-owner of instagram fashion account, wants to see lighter colors as well as neon. “I hope to see lots of light colors like pink and yellow,” Green said. “I especially love neon colors. I think they give a fun feeling.” While the two fashion instagrammers are confident in some trends, they’re a little wary about others. Metallic plaid has become more

popular, but is definitely not something you see everyday. “I don’t know much about metallic plaid,” Green said. Additionally, bike shorts haven’t worked out thus far. “I’ve seen bike shorts try and get off the ground but they still haven’t seemed to become big,” Pines said. In terms of mens’ fashion, there may be completely different trends this year. “I’m excited to see overalls, shorts and graphic tees,” Henry Koskoff ’19 said, winner of the “Best Dressed” senior superlative. While clothing may be considered the central part of spring fashion, this is not to ignore accessories. Shoes and jewelry are essentials. “I think this year there will be more rubber and jelly sandals,” Pines said. Jelly sandals may be a fun way to celebrate the warm weather, but this is not to say sneakers won’t be in. “I’m excited for Converse,” Koskoff said. In terms of jewelry, earrings are changing with the season. “Peope are starting to wear hoops more, so I think that will be a trend,” Pines said. From metallic plaid to bike shorts to jelly sandals it seems spring has a lot in store for fashion lovers. New trends will come, but others will stay.

Photo by Eliza Barr ’21 Photos contributed by Ali Green ‘20 & Liv Pines ’20

Spring fashion trends emerge from hibernation

SPRINGING INTO NEW TRENDS (FROM LEFT) Ali Green ’20, Henry Koskoff ’19 and Liv Pines ’20 all show off their favorite clothes for springtime. Green and Pines together run, an instagram account that features current trends. Koskoff was voted the superlative for “Best Dressed” in the yearbook.

Four things you need to know before seeing ‘Avengers: Endgame’ Eliza Barr ’21 Staff Writer

“Avoid things with bright lights and movement.” That’s what my eye doctor told me five years ago when she diagnosed me with aura migraines. Unlike the average migraine, mine are triggered by light sensitivity. But, in all my years of having them, I’ve only really been set off by one thing: space movies. So, knowing their effect on me, I’ve avoided them like the plague. But, on April 26, I’m directly disobeying doctor’s orders. Without hesitation, I purchased my ticket to “Avengers: Endgame” with complete confidence that the three hours and two minutes of the movie will be worth the headache. While my parents remain confused as to why I’d spend a school night risking pain and suffering, after realizing I was dead set on going, my mom saw fit to cancel my chemistry tutoring for that day. Unless you’re out of the orbit of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, you’re probably aware that Marvel has enticed a cult-like following with its past 20 films, all

of which culminate with “Endgame.” While I am not clever enough to add to the thousands of theories that have infiltrated YouTube, I can clue you in to the few things every person should know before they head to theaters. 1- Don’t tag along if you’re going to ask questions. As texted by my diehard Marvel friend, “DO NOT TALK TO ME DURING THE MOVIE.” With her words in mind, be cautious around the Marvel fans who have been watching their whole lives. Some would be

more than glad to call up Thanos to snap you to dust if you sit and ask questions. 2- Go to the bathroom beforehand. I’m not complaining about the length of the movie, but at a certain point you have to ask yourself who

Graphics by Katie Howard ’19 & Poppy Livingstone ’21

thought it was a good idea to produce a film over three hours long. Be warned: no intermission or lull in the action will allow you to slip out to the bathroom. 3- Keep your feet on the ground and your eyes towards Mark Ruffalo as he’s been known to slip up with a spoiler. Before the release of “Infinity War,” Ruffalo, who plays the Hulk, actually gave away bits of the ending, even accidently saying that “ever ybody dies!” 4-Don’t see the movie unless you’ve watched “Infinity War.” However, don’t fret. If you’re ready to sign your soul over to Marvel at long last, all you need is 11 days, two hours, and 17 minutes to watch every Marvel Cinematic Universe movie back to back. Delirium inducing, yes, but undoubtedly noble. So, go with these four rules in mind, and I’ll see you on the other side. | Staples High School

April 12, 2019


Inklings News

Mama Chow consumes competition as modern noodle delight Eddie Kiev ’20

Web News Editor


t Mama Chow in Southport, the first bite of bao is a jolt. The sandwich has crispy fried chicken with a savory orange sauce and sriracha, layered with refreshing pickled cucumber and carrot, all wrapped in a soft, steamed bao bun. Mama Chow is a local gem packed full of flavor and modern ambiance. The restaurant was founded by the Malaysian couple Kim Pak Chai and Chow Choi Wai, who also helped to open Mecha Noodle Bar in Fairfield. Wai, often referred to as “Mama Chow,” felt inspired by her clientele to open a restaurant that captured the essence of Asian hawker cuisine.

Every customer is greeted by Wai or her daughter and is seated at a table. The wooden paneling, metal chairs and pop music over the speakers contribute to a hip, contemporary feel. To start, I had the mushroom dumplings. I, personally, cannot stand mushrooms, however, Chow insisted that I try them. I followed her advice and I am so happy I did. The dumplings were incredible— the Pop-Tart shaped dumplings do not disappoint. A crispy dumpling wrapper holds an oozing mushroom and miso

contrasted well with the fresh bok choy. I enjoyed Mama Chow so much the first time I went that I had to come back the next weekend for more. This time, I tried the classic paitan ramen dish that Mama Chow had to serve. Paitan chicken ramen is a popular dish in Connecticut, but Mama Chow’s stands apart from the rest. Upon the first sip of soup, it was apparent that the broth had been steaming for hours. Layer upon layer of flavor pervaded the stock. The delectable broth coupled with the undeniable bite of ramen noodles did not disappoint. Usually, after drinking ramen broth, I feel bogged down and sluggish from the grease, but the paitan at Mama Chow left me refreshed. The familial atmosphere along with the wonderful food makes Mama Chow the obvious choice for a Saturday afternoon meal. This restaurant is easily one of the best Asian food experiences in Connecticut. Graphic by Lys Goldman ’21 Photos by Bailey Blaikie ’19 & Nicky Brown ’19

cream pureé. The crunchy exterior and soft interior makes for a perfect combination of pungency and saltiness. Next, I had a noodle dish. The restaurant serves classic noodle dishes such as pho and ramen, but also serves a myriad of more traditional Asian classics such as laksa and kon loh mee. The kon loh mee, also known as “KLM,” is a warm, decadent Malaysian noodle dish tossed in a savory sauce paired with tender pieces of pork shoulder, bok choy and pork wontons. The KLM was an incredibly well-balanced dish as the flavorful noodles

MODERN AND BRIGHT Mama Chow opened on March 1 and features a contemporary setting.

BITE OF FLAVOR Mama Chow’s “Dumplings Delight” has mushrooms and miso cream puree in a crunchy wrap. It is reccomended as a dish to share.

BAO WOW A Mama Chow specialty, their KFC chicken bao bun, features a balance of savory and spice.

A SOUP-ER EXPERIENCE The miso soup has various toppings including a hard boiled egg and mushrooms and is served in a broth.

Billie Eilish engages listeners with compelling, diverse vocals in debut album Hannah Schmidt ’19 Staff Writer

Avril Lavigne and Hayley Williams defined a certain female teen-pop star image in the early 2000s: flirtatious, innocent and cute. Nearly two decades later and Billie Eilish is impressively negating that standard in her own haunted, chilling and transparent gothic-pop style. The 17-year-old released her debut album “When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?” on March 29. Featuring 14 tracks, including an introduction to the album, “!!!!!!!” and two previously released singles, “bury a friend” and “wish you were gay.” Her influence rides on her own experiences of horror and nightmare, which her imagination translates into a masterpiece of a narrative. Many themes present in the album surround specific fears Eilish encounters, like the fear of separation, illustrated in “ilomilo,” which references a 2010 video game in which the objective is to get the two characters, Ilo and Milo, together. This album is seriously addictive. Eil-

ish’s music consistently offers this compelling juxtaposition between her airy, feather-like voice and the heaviness of the bass. Especially notable in this album compared to her existing EP’s, they compliment each other to perfection. “bad guy,” the first song in the album, sets a precedent for the rest of the album. Her voice, just barely a whisper, suggests intimacy while her lyrics put forward a powerful and superior young, female character. She also presents an abundance of diversity in this album as well, with blood-pumping tracks like “bad guy” and “you should see me in a crown” to more minimalistic, somber tracks like “8,” accompanied by a simple ukulele melody and the piano ballad, “listen before i go.” What is most impressive, however, is the fact that this entire album was written and produced by Eilish and her older brother, Finneas O’Connell. Their unconventional means to achieving such a fantastic album appeals to the everyday audience. This album isn’t bulletproof, though. Her, rather minute, difficulties lie in the slower songs, when she doesn’t have a heavy bass or a catchy melody to support her vocals, the songs

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nearly put me to sleep. Regardless, in instances like “xanny,” she creates significant shifts in tone keep listeners engaged through all three minutes. In 2002, teenagers listened to “Complicated” or “Sk8er Boi” and their adrenaline spiked. In 2019, teenagers alike respond to a different kind of angst, one that responds to how humanizing and realistically inspiring tracks are. There is no doubt that “When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?” has established Billie Eilish as one of the strongest icons of Generation Z.

Graphic by Katie Howard ’19 & Poppy Livingstone ’21

Inklings News

April 12, 2019


Birdman Juke Joint presents unique cuisine to Fairfield County Cate Casparius ’19 Social Media Director


familiar face from the food industry, with appearances in “Chopped” and “Top Chef,” will be opening a new restaurant in Bridgeport, Connecticut later this spring called Birdman Juke Joint. Chris Scott’s new restaurant is located at 2931 Fairfield Avenue, and aims to deliver “Amish Soul Food” to Fairfield County. The restaurant will feature Southern-like cuisine with a twist: soul food recipes containing an Amish flare. Scott grew up near Pennsylvania Dutch country and has family roots from the South. Birdman alludes to an individual on a plantation who tended to birds during the antebellum slavery era. Scott explained that once slavery was abolished, the Birdman rose up to become his own boss by becoming a chicken merchant and farmer allowing him to to surpass poverty. To acknowledge this history, the menu will feature entrees such as smoked and fried chicken with side dishes based on Southern agriculture. Sweets will not be overlooked, as Scott is most excited for the soft serve selection., according to Food and Wine Magazine. “I think I’m most excited about the desserts,” Scott said in an interview with

AN EGGY DELIGHT Biscuit egg sandwiches

Food and Wine Magazine. “Imagine all to the area, and about this restaurant. of your favorite classic Southern des- Personally, I am really looking forward serts spun into soft serve ice cream. to a new culinary style being added to Peach cobbler soft serve, buttermilk the area, something new that we havcornbread soft serve, just to name a few.” en’t seen in many different iterations.” Prior to investing in the Bridgeport Scott said that his biscuit recipe has had the most influence in his cu- location, Scott opened Butterfunk Kitchlinary experience as it’s been passed en in Brooklyn, New York, in April of down through seven generations. 2017 with his wife, Eugenie Woo. This “If you want to know a culture, eat restaurant featured a similar menu to their bread,” Scott said. “It’s like a love let- Birdman Juke Joint, however, high rents ter from my ancestors that I’ve never met.” forced the closing of the restaurant. Through this location, Scott wants to His brown sugar buttermilk biscuits even secured his spot on “Top Chef.” give back to the Bridgeport community Staples students are excited that a dif- and to the world. His goal is to show that ferent type of dining experience is coming there are people who care. One of his big charitable acts was to Fairfield Country. building a garden for “I’ve never rea nearby women’s ally had SouthBirdman will be successful shelter. He raised ern food because because it’s different than the money through there aren’t places other restaurants in the area.” multiple kids cookaround here that ing classes where he offer that type -Theo Gabor ’19 charged a small fee of cuisine,” Theo of $10. With the monGabor ’19 said. ey raised he, with “Birdman will be succesful because it’s different the help of students, built the garden. “I think one of the most powerful asthan other restaurants in the area.” English teacher Kim Herzog loves pects about Birdman Juke Joint opening a good crispy Southern chicken dish in Connecticut is that this is more than and is eager for Birdman Juke Joint just a new restaurant,” Herzog said. “Chef to open its doors to the community. Chris wants to engage with the com“Already, without the restaurant munity, and to support its growth and even being open yet, [ Scott’s] pop-ups its youth; in fact, without the restaurant throughout Connecticut have been sell- even being here, he already has. I’m reing out almost immediately,” Herzog said. ally looking forward to him becoming a “There is a lot of buzz about his coming part of the Fairfield County community.”



Cauliflower “Rice” and black eyed peas are Cinnamon and puff pastry dough are a brunch item, which Birdman Juke combine to make a Southern “soul food” Joint’s Instagram account suggests pairing topped with kale and gullah spices, showing that Southern food can be healthy. according to the restaurant’s Instagram. with a latte.


can be seen in Food Network shows like “Chopped” and is known for his Southern-style food, which he will be featuring in his Bridgeport restaurant, Birdman Juke Joint.


of the restaurant is fried chicken, which is always served with Southern style side dishes.

Photos contributed by Chris Scott | Staples High School


April 12, 2019

Inklings News

Boys’, girls’ tennis prepare to continue run of dominance Alex Massoud ’20

ter, so we’ll try to use some of those tips to continue their level of play,” Adam Greenlee ’20, a player on the boys’ team, said. Coach Kris Hrisovulos has quickly become one of the best tennis coaches in all of Connecticut, having led the boys’ team fter hours on the hardcourt, to five state championships and a career perfecting their serves and 177-8 record in nine seasons at the helm. Led by Hrisovulos, the Wreckers boys’ working on their backspin, dropshots, and whatever else they might want tennis team will try and reclaim the state to improve, the Staples boys’ and girls’ championship. “I am really excited for the varsity tennis teams are aiming to claim season. It is going to be tough because back the FCIAC and state championships we lost a lot of our top players, but we they have become so used to winning. got some very good new players that can do a lot of The boys’ tendamage to othnis team aims to er teams,” Eric fulfill the lofty ex- “We’re just really excited to be playStein ’19 said. pectations that ing all together again, and we’re Along with they have earned the boys’ tenfor themselves, excited for what the new members nis team, the winning an aston- of the team are going to bring.” ishing five consec- Alisyn Kercher ’20 girls’ varsity team has also utive FCIAC chamseen large pionships, as well as either being the outright cham- amounts of success recently. In the pion or co-champion at the Class LL 2018 season, the girls’ team went 16-1 state level each of the past three years. in the FCIAC during the regular season, While the team has lost sever- which preceded an FCIAC and Class L al key players from last year, includ- Championship. last year’s squad also ing Evan Fletcher ’18, who won the featured seven All-FCIAC players, and 2018 State Open Singles Finals, the four All-CIAC players, a number unteam remains confident that they can matched in the history of FCIAC tennis. The girls’ team is spearheaded by capcontinue the successes of past years. “We had some good seniors last year, tains Alyssa DiMaio ’20, Luiza Cocito ’19 but even though they left, they taught a and Lily Smith ’19. DiMaio has been both lot of the guys on the team ways to get bet- an All-State and All-FCIAC player in her Web Sports Editor


two years on the varsity team. PRE After falling in P Gree ARING T the state sinnlee O PL prep ’ A gles finals aring 20 hits a Y (LEFT ) Ada shot (RIGH last spring, for th m a retur T ) Lily Sm e regula t practic DiMaio e nah r i , s t h e a ’ part will be ner. it to her 19 prepa son. B s r team crim oth t trying to es to m h their beat Fair e girls’ a age avenge her n fi first loss with gam eld Ward d boys’ e of e 7-0 the s yet another easo in n. state championship for the team. The girls’ tennis team will look to their camaraderie and multiple years playing together to try and stage another great regular season and another deep regular season run. “We’re just really excited to be playing all together again, and we’re excited for what the new members of the team are going to bring,” Alisyn Kercher ’20 said. “We’re looking forward to what this season holds for us, and what we’re going to achieve this year.” While the tennis teams may not draw the biggest crowds at Staples, their run of success in both girls and boys tennis over the past half-decade has shown Photos by Tallula Taylor ’21 the Wreckers to be one of the best tenGraphics by Lys Goldman ’21 nis school in the state, and both teams will undoubtedly look to maintain their place atop the CIAC standings this spring.

New coaches add perspective to girls’ softball team Maddie Phelps ’19 Web Managing Editor

Clink. It’s music to the batter’s ears: the neon, leather-covered ball strikes the center of the metal bat, blasting it into the outfield. The familiar faces of last year’s team look on proudly from the dugout as their teammate sprints to first base. But this year, new faces will be provided an additional layer of support. For their 2019 season, the varsity girls’ softball team will welcome two new assistant coaches and a promoted head coach into their tight-knit group. Mike Sciortino and Dana Seymour are the team’s newest additions, both starting their jobs as assistant coaches at Staples as preseason begins. While they might be new to this softball team, their experiences as ball players date back decades ago. Seymour, known to many Staples students as the female officer that helps protect the school each day, has been playing softball since she was a kid. While her talent pushed her to a career in college softball, her plans for the future quickly changed. “I only played one season with the Eastern Connecticut Warriors,” Seymour said, “because I went and started my career in law enforcement shortly thereafter.” After continuing to play in pick-up leagues and training young kids, Seymour’s softball career remained stag-

nant for a few years. Once the coach- [players] practice constantly on fundaing job presented itself, however, mentals,” Sciortino said. “And I want them she was eager to return to the game. to learn to enjoy themselves, to play loose, “Coming to Staples and seeing that to never be too high, to never be too low.” the assistant position job was open, I just Though he was an assistant coach wanted to jump on it. I wanted to get last year, Bob Olah is making his head back into it,” Seymour said. “I wanted to coaching debut for the 2019 season. Olah [be] part of spent sevsomething eral years and con- Photo by Alex Sprouls ’19 playing tribute with the any knowlTr iple -A edge, anyMets, anthing that other miStaples nor league n e e d s .” affiliate of Sciorthe New tino’s caYork Mets, reer is also and afnothing ter wards, short of went on to impressive. play proHe was COACHES CONFERENCE Softball coaches (FROM LEFT) fessional drafted by Dana Seymour, Mike Sciortino and Bob Olah discuss softball. the Sin- plans for the upcoming practice on April 2. All three As he begle-A Mets coaches have played either softball or baseball in colgins his team, a mi- lege or professionally. first season nor league as head team of coach at the New York Mets, after becoming an Staples, Olah expressed his confidence all-American athlete at Central Connecti- in the positive impact that both Sciorticut State University. With the position no and Seymour will have on the team. as a assistant varsity coach, he hopes to “I’ve known Mike [Sciortino] for over bring the knowledge of the game he’s ob- 30 years,” Olah said, “He has a great backtained throughout his extensive career. ground[...] I figured it would be really good “I want to teach the girls fundamen- for him to come aboard and help me assist.” tals, because even at the professional age, While Olah has not known Sey-

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mour for long, he has already recognized her potential in creating a positive environment for his players. “With Dana, who is fantastic, there is a relaxed feeling while playing here,” Olah said. “I want the girls not to feel any pressure, because softball is a game of failure.” One of this year’s captains, Semi Levin ’19, has noticed how essential the background of these three coaches will be in achieving an even stronger team dynamic. “Each of them have a different specialty,” Levin said, “And have all played somewhat professionally. Coach Bob is a great hitting coach, Coach Mike is good with the pitchers and Coach Dana specializes in infield.” Levin believes that team is more seasoned than ever before due the close relationships that have formed throughout the years. As a result, the team knows how to work with one another on the field. The addition of two new coaches, she said, will further help this strong team excel. “With the combination of new and improved coaches, and communication with the team, I think this will be a great season,” Levin added. In addition to highlighting the importance of having coaches with strong knowledge of the game, Olah emphasized their ability as former players to connect with the girls. “The benefit is that these girls have ballplayers, not just people that just wanted to coach,” Olah said. “They’re ex-ball players that know [the game] psychologically and physically. It’s a brand new atmosphere.”

Inklings News


April 12, 2019

Spring sports kick off with tryouts Remi Levitt ’21 Staff Writer


he overflow of lacrosse sticks pollute the cafeteria. The distinct neon yellow color of softballs peek out from backpacks. The crisp whacks of tennis rackets and cracks of baseball bats resonate through the air. The slapping of sneakers hit the outdoor track. These sights and sounds can only mean one thing: the spring sports season has begun. But before teams can conquer the field as a cohesive unit, tryouts must be held to determine the rosters. Staples students have now completed the tryouts for sports such as lacrosse, rugby, tennis, track, softball and baseball, with only limited spaces available for the prime varsity spots. “I had to try out during my freshman and sophomore year and both years were extremely difficult and extremely stressful,” Adam Greenlee ’20, a varsity boys’ tennis player, said. “You basically cannot lose a match if you want to make varsity.” The boys’ tennis tryouts are set up like a tournament because of the large amount of kids who are interested. “It’s extremely nerve-racking because if you have one off-day, you put your entire chances of making the team in jeopardy,” Greenlee said. “The reward for making the team, however, is that once you make ON THE MOUND Sam Robin ’19 winds up to pitch in the Wreckers’ preseason win against Oxford 13-0. Staples’ next game is at Wilton on Monday, April 15.

varsity you have a permanent spot on the team and don’t have to try out ever again.” The girls’ tennis tryouts operate in a similar manner. First, the player must decide if they want to try out for junior varsity or varsity and then tryouts for each team continue separately. The tryouts are based on the number of matches a person wins, but technique and attitude also have a big influence on team placement, according to girls’ tennis player Nicole Jamieson ’21. “I like the competition that [tryouts] bring, but sometimes they are a little nerve-racking since

tennis specifically is extremely competitive and hard to make,” Jamieson said. Another popular sport among the Staples community is lacrosse. When it comes to girls’ lacrosse, the tryouts are just as rigorous as tennis. “We do a lot of game-like drills [during tryouts] to see what situations girls can respond to on the field to see which team is most appropriate,” Kathleen Cozzi ’20, varsity girls’ lacrosse captain, said. “It’s a hard tryout because it’s a combination of a lot of running, scrimmaging and stick work.” For boys’ lacrosse, the tryouts run similarly to those of the girls,

Graphic by Carolyn Gray ’19

with the same hard work and competition. “Tryouts aren’t easy because everyone is going hard, but that’s what makes it fun,” Kevin Lynch ’21, a varsity boys’ lacrosse player, said. “Last year making varsity as a freshman was super cool because I got to play with people much older than me and the game was much faster.” Baseball is another sport that piques the interests of many Staples boys. According to varsity baseball player Adam Petro ’20, tryouts start right when the previous spring season ends, so that improvements over the offseason can be effectively measured by coaches. During tryouts, pitchers throw bullpens to showcase their pitching arsenals. Position players take batting practice and do defensive drills based on whether they play infield or outfield. “Baseball preseason always starts the bond of bringing me and my teammates closer together,” Petro said. “Personally, I don’t get nervous during tryouts because I feel so comfortable playing and it’s all about having fun.” On the other diamond, the softball team takes a similar approach to tryouts as baseball, but with a less stressful and more welcoming environment. “Tryouts are not too bad,” softball player Olivia Bernard ’21 said. “We just do a couple of basic drills testing our speed and arm strength. Our coaches are super nice and make it a great environment so there’s not too much pressure.”

Photo contributed by Chris Greer

ADVANCING THE BALL Max Eigen ’19 fends off a Glastonbury player to continue pushing down the field. Their game against Glastonbury resulted in their first loss, 6-8, after a three game winning streak.

Photo contributed by Shelley Burger

UP AT BAT Maddie McGarry ’19, a varsity softball captain, works on improving her batting techniques at practice in preparation for their game against Trinity Catholic on April 12.

Photo by Alex Sprouls ’19

Photo contributed by Kris Hrisovulos

Photo contributed by Mindy Gordy

RETURNING THE SERVE Bradley Sheppard ’21 hits the ball across the court which contributed to his team’s win against the Wilton Warriors on April 8.

PROTECTING THEIR LEGACY Olivia Gordy ’20 serves in her match. This season, the girls’ tennis hopes to defend Staples’ state title from last year. | Staples High School


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April 12, 2019

PLAYING DEFENSE (LEFT) Jess Leon ’22 waits for her turn to enter a drill during practice. Leon’s main position is left defense. CATCHING THE PASS (RIGHT) Leon runs to receive a pass from a teammate during a practice drill to improve changing sides on offense, which they struggled with in their game against Greenwich. They won that game 16-10.

s e l p a t n her S

so d l i u b on


Elle Fair ’19


Staff Writer

t just 14 years old, being surrounded by girls four years older can be quite intimidating. Some may call her the baby of the team, but regardless of her age or height, she is a giant of an athlete and a player to be reckoned with. Jess Leon ’22 made her second debut as an varsity athlete this spring when she made the varsity lacrosse

Leon worked a significant amount in the off season participating in a variety of clinics and a league play run team. Leon is one of five freshman who through Staples. She believes that her were selected for the varsity squad. effort in the off season fully paid off. Leon does have experience on a var“It was super exciting being selected for varsity,” Leon said. “It is re- sity team. This fall, she was apart of the ally amazing to be part of such a varsity field hockey team. Not only did competitive and talented team.” she make the varsity team as a freshman, Being on a varsity team comes with but she contributed and was a key factor in a state chammany new expepionship win riences and a lot and a near perof excitement. “I am most excited to just play fect season. Leon is excited V a r s i t y to continue play- lacrosse because I love the sport field hocking a sport she and to make friends.” ey coach Ian loves at such a -Jess Leon ’22 Tapsall was imcompetitive levpressed with Leel and for the talent as a freshman. friendships she will make this season. on’s “Jess was selected for the var“I am most excited to just play lacrosse because I love the sport and to make sity level due to her incredible friends and create memories with new speed and aggression,” Tapsall said. Her athletic skills and compeople in all different grades,” Leon said. mitments take up much of her time. Leon participates in both club field hockey and lacrosse during off

Photo by Eliz a

STRIKE A POSE (LEFT) Leon flexes for a picture before a preseason scrimmage against Weston. Even though she is the youngest member of the team, Leon’s defensive impact is consistently felt by opposing offenses.


seasons, but she still makes time for some of her favorite hobbies. When Leon is not on the field or with a stick in her hand, she enjoys relaxing with her family and friends. Gaby Gonzalez ’22 has been a close friend of Leon for many years. They enjoy hanging out around Westport and occasionally going into New York together. “Jess and I always have a fun time. She is super fun to be around and a very genuine and supportive friend,” Gonzalez said. Leon is the youngest of her family. Her two older brothers Josh Leon ’21 and Jake Leon ’19 also attend Staples and enjoy watching her play. “It has been super fun watching Jess in both field hockey and lacrosse. I have now grown to love both sports,” Jake Leon said. Being on a varsity team as a freshman is an accomplishment in itself, but Leon has goals for this upcoming lacrosse season beyond that just making the team. “I want to improve my skills as a lacrosse player and learn from the upperclassman both on and off the field,” she said. Leon has already made an impact on the team and has grown close with many of the older girls. “Playing with Jess is so enjoyable,” teammate Julia DiConza ’21 said. “She is the best teammate and always so energetic on and off the field.”

Barr ’2


GAME FOR GUS (MIDDLE) Leon defends in the Wreckers’ Game for Gus against Fairfield Warde. The game, which was in honor of Gus Cardello ’17 who passed away last fall, took place on April 6 and the Wreckers won 15-7.

Staples High School |

y c a g e l ports

HEAD IN THE GAME (RIGHT) Leon looks to recover and pass the ball up the field to her offensive teammates. The team’s next game is against Brien McMahon on April 13.


by Lys G


n ’21


Profile for Sophie Casey

Inklings April Issue  

Inklings April Issue