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MARCH 15 , 2013 Vol. LXI, ISSUE 3

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Massapequa High School 4925 Merrick Road Massapequa, NY 11758

Superintendent Sulc to retire after 44 years in district BY JOE ZAPPA EDITOR-IN-CHIEF

one hundred students each year, indicating a possible need for re-structuring down the road. Despite these challenges, Mr. Sulc believes “our expectations and standards have grown over the last ten years, and our kids have proven time

or fourth lowest amount of money per student each year, Mr. Sulc is confident that the “quality of our instructional staff and the scope of our AP and music programs provide far better opportunities for students than local private and parochial schools.” Undoubtedly, more money to work with does not always ensure better results, and the successes of this district attest to the capacity of dedication and talent to overcome fiscal boundaries. Regardless, that does not mean that more money could not open some doors. In an ideal world—one in which there are no monetary constraints— Mr. Sulc would upgrade the district’s facilities by adding new science labs, a TV studio, athletic facilities with allweather surfaces, and a swimming pool. He would also institute a more advanced alumni network, expand interdisciplinary learning, and research the possibility of a kindergarten through second grade environment in which students could Superintendent of Schools, Charles Sulc, committed his career to improving Massapequa advance to the next grade at their own pace. These are Mr. Sulc’s greatest viAt last year’s senior citizens per- and time again that they can meet those sions for the district, but that which he formance of Hello Dolly!, a group ap- standards.” He is particularly proud of has accomplished already is enough for proached him and told him they had seen the school’s recognition as an AP Honor a lasting legacy. many different high school productions Roll school, which demonstrates everAs the years go by, Mr. Sulc will on Long Island and held Massapequa’s increasing opportunities for students be remembered as an adamant supmusicals in the highest esteem of all. to take more challenging courses, as porter of ever-increasing opportunities Mr. Sulc said that compliments such as well as the success of students in those for students, an integral player in the these augment his pride in the fine work courses. In addition, he lauded Mass- expansion of district technology and its and commitment of students and staff. apequa’s special education program as use in the classroom, and most of all, as However, the path to success has “one of the finest on Long Island and a fair, candid leader. Mr. Sulc’s advice to not been easy. Like any district, Mass- in New York.” He is proud that the Mrs. Lucille Iconis, his successor, says apequa has faced many challenges over district offers opportunities to kids of a great deal about him: “I told her to be the years, and continues to face several all ability levels to make the most of herself, to utilize the skill sets of a great today. Mr. Sulc cited the tax cap, which their education. team of people surrounding her, and to could “impact the district’s ability to In fact, though many may not always be fair.” A true team player and cater to students,” and declining enroll- realize it, Massapequa School District a champion of his students, Superintenment as obstacles we must overcome as has always made the most of its re- dent Mr. Charles V. Sulc shall not soon a community. Unfortunately, enrollment sources—relatively limited as they may be forgotten. across the district is dropping by about be. Though Massapequa spends the third BRANDAN LAWRENCE//THE CHIEF

It is said that the average American will change jobs at least three times in his lifetime. In contrast, Superintendent Charles V. Sulc will retire this year after forty-four years in education; he has spent every one of them working to better the lives of Massapequa students. Mr. Sulc began his career as a math teacher, and became chairperson ten years later. Though he often missed teaching during his years as an administrator, he took the job because he “wanted to bring [positive change] to other kids,” than just the one hundred or so students with whom a classroom teacher gets to work. As Superintendent of Schools, Mr. Sulc elaborated on his earlier sentiments, saying “the ability to affect the education of almost eight thousand students” is the most rewarding aspect of his job, and that what he does is just “an extension of the work one does as a classroom teacher.” Clearly, his passion for having a positive impact on kids drove him throughout his entire career. Even clearer than his passion for helping students may be his pride in the Massapequa community, and that which students, teachers, and administrators have accomplished together. He insisted that it takes “a combination of factors to build a strong school system: parents, students, and staff” and that we as a district “have evidence in each and every area of the strength of our programs and the success of our kids.” Though he admitted that he does not love politics, Mr. Sulc certainly has charisma; his candor and genuine amiability would make anyone feel comfortable talking to him. He also paints an attractive picture of Massapequa Schools, and he does so with good

reason. As he pointed out, “our athletic programs have ongoing success, and the athletes do it in the classroom too; we send several students to All-State or All-Eastern for music every year, and the quality of the musicals in this district is outstanding.”

State cuts put district under pressure to reduce spending BY NELSON GOMEZ


Despite the spending restrictions that Massapequa School District put in place last year, limited income and a hike in spending continue to haunt the district—a story all too familiar to Massapequa residents. Primarily to blame for the six million dollar deficit are the state government’s decisions to cut millions of dollars in state aid as well as enact a two percent tax levy cap. “We’re outraged — our local legislators were outraged that the governor would do this to a region like Massapequa,” Deputy Superintendent Mr. Alan Adcock said. “We are seriously being shortchanged by New York State.” Without enough revenue to offset hikes in pension and insurance premiums imposed by the state and federal governments, the school district is currently 3.8 million dollars in the hole for the instructional budget alone.

At the unveiling of the proposed general budget on February 7, the Board of Education made it clear that a wide assortment of factors mostly outside of the school district’s control have contributed to the massive spending gap. In order to make up for such large losses, district administrators have attempted to reduce energy costs, consolidate bus routes, and cut wasted and unnecessary supplies. “We have put in energy performance contracts to burn more efficient [fuel]...we’ve refinanced some of our bonds to get lower interest rates,” Mr. Adcock said. Still, it is not enough. Without creating a budget that raises spending above the tax levy, more spending cuts may need to be made to the instructional budget, which could result in less popular courses no longer being offered, clubs and other extracurricular activities being shut down, and an increase in class sizes in the event that any teachers

are laid off. “You can’t make up a loss in revenue by taxing for it because there’s a state cap in place. So the only thing most school districts can do is to cut expenditures out of the school district’s programs,” Mr. Adcock said. Although the district can propose to raise spending above the tax cap, enacting such a measure would require a supermajority vote — over sixty percent of Massapequa residents would need to approve such a budget. “We can’t exceed it unless we get a supermajority where sixty percent of voters support it, which, in Massapequa, over the last forty years, only happened three times.” Despite the budget woes that are being dealt with, bittersweet relief could be found by unexpected means. With enrollment declining by about 150 students each year, teachers may be laid off, reducing the costs of salaries while keeping class sizes at current levels.

“Declining enrollment helps us a bit,” said Mr. Adcock. “In educating less students, it would cost us less to continue to provide those programs.” This is merely a reiteration of last year’s budget crisis, and as long as the two percent cap remains in place, local educators, administrators, and residents will continue to face the frustration and disappointment of having to constantly reduce spending each year. Ultimately, the fallout from these new spending constraints has yet to be seen entirely; most of the excess has already been trimmed from the budget, and it seems that instructional program cuts are the district’s only other option. There is hope that few programs will be affected, but the future of Massapequa’s education and the pride that revolves around it will remain shrouded in a cloud of uncertainty until the administrative office unveils its instructional budget.

MARCH 15, 2013



CARE club hosts good ol’ time at Shindig in the Barn BY MELANIE SHEEHAN COPY EDITOR


The gym was filled with laughter, cheers, and plenty of plaid on Thursday, February 28 as the CARE Club hosted the annual Shindig in the Barn. Students donated ten dollars each to participate in the event, and a total of over 500 dollars was raised for families in Massapequa affected by cancer, according to CARE Club President Alex Lettieri. Longtime callers Lou and Sue, who brought square dancing to Massapequa and have participated in the annual event since the 1970s, were working the floor all evening. “This is one of the best square dancing high schools in the state,” Lou said. “It has always been a high-energy evening.” Competition was also fierce, as MHS students were all dressed up in western attire for a good time and a good cause all vied for the honor of “Last Square

Standing.” Ultimately, Matt Beck, Nick Vinberg, Ally Dumas, Jamie Ahrens, Tim Woods, Colleen Brown, J.B. Beck, and Brianna Falcone triumphed. Seniors Nick Petrik and Kathryn Maisch won the individual competition, in which students competed by dancing the “Funky Monkey.” Win or lose, all of the students had a wonderful time dancing and even learning some new moves, including “step to an ocean wave” and “circle eight.” “It’s an awesome time,” senior Shannon Cooney said. “Shindig in the Barn was a great success! Everyone who participates really gets into it,” Lettieri said. “The most important part is that the money that was paid as an entrance fee will go to someone in our community that is currently battling cancer.”

MHS brainiacs hit the studio and compete on television BY JOE FIOLA


Not too many people would be able to recite the name of the secondlargest city in Brazil from memory, but the contestants who participated in MSG Varsity’s The Challenge are far from ordinary. The Challenge is an academically based game show that pits some of the brightest high school students from the tri-state area against each other. The questions cover a wide range of subjects including history, math, current events, pop culture, literature, art, sports, and the sciences. Jared Cotter, a songwriter and past American Idol semifinalist, hosts the show. On February 15, Massapequa’s Long Island Challenge club traveled to a recording studio in New York

City where its matches against Friends Academy and Farmingdale High School were to be recorded. Seniors Joe Zappa, Robyn Tse, Chris Bonetti, and Carl Surrow competed in both matches. Juniors Mike Novet and sophomore Jacob Koch were present as alternates, but they did not compete. Each game consists of four separate rounds in which the questions are structured differently and are assigned various point values. The final round, known as the “Complete 180,” is worth a total of 180 points and often allows one of the teams to stage an exciting comeback victory. Gaining momentum in this round is crucial, as answering the first question correctly grants a team uncontested access to the next two. The other rounds, though they are worth fewer points, offer a more level play-

ing field and allow each team an equal opportunity to answer each question. Commenting on her team’s prospects, Long Island Challenge advisor Rena Drezner coolly said that “it all comes down to the questions” that are asked. She was certainly right, as was exemplified when Carl Surrow dominated the second round of the match against Friends Academy in which he used his vast knowledge of global geography to correctly answer ten questions in a mere 60 seconds. Massapequa went on to defeat Friends Academy by a comfortable margin of 335 to 275. The match against Farmingdale, however, proved to be less successful. The score was neck and neck throughout the first three rounds, but the Dalers were able to pull ahead during the decisive “Complete 180” and won by a

score of 370 to 240. Irrespective of the outcome, each of the contestants from Massapequa still did a fine job. Chris Bonetti, for example, impressed the audience with his answers to the chemistry questions presented in the third round. Though he didn’t compete, Mike Novet felt his team “went and performed very well.” He humorously adds that he would “hate to see all our seniors leave after this and put all that responsibility on me.” Though a jokester, Mike, like the rest of his teammates, is a very talented individual and will surely carry on Massapequa’s commitment to excellence as he competes in The Challenge next year.

the team receives instruction from club adviser Mr. Daniel Bachman—a law, government, and history teacher—and two attorney advisers, Mr. Brandon Draper and Ms. Brenna Stripe. “They are the reason we are so successful,” club president Kiera Reilly said. “Mr. Draper went to a trial on his

to the mock trial team, these advisers also help the team’s students with other tasks. Mr. Bachman writes letters of recommendation for many of the students and Mr. Draper proofreads their college application essays when they ask for his help. Despite the help from their advis-

fine for them. The hours of preparation they put into each case allows them to succeed, and professional guidance from an experienced attorney in Mr. Draper and a current law student in Ms. Stripe—both of whom are alumni of the Massapequa law program—cannot hurt either. Given this formula for success, Mr. Bachman is confident in his team’s ability to go all the way this year. “I think the team has the potential to win every trial put in front of them,” Mr. Bachman said. “They are the hardest-working, most dedicated bunch I have ever had. Other teams watch them in awe as they stand up to recite their opening and closing statements from memory. The seniors have lived up to every ounce of potential I thought they had and more, the juniors are following their example, and the sophomores are learning a great deal. There is a real team spirit about them and everything has come together.” All eyes will be on the mock trial team throughout the next few rounds as they seek to win the county championship for a second year in a row and eventually advance to the statewide stage of the competition. Regardless of the final outcome of their season, their dedication and talent have already made Massapequa proud.

Mock trial team poised to sustain its county title BY JOE ZAPPA EDITOR-IN-CHIEF

Massapequa High School’s mock trial team seeks out another county championship title birthday last year and said that it was the best way to spend his day. Ms. Stripe provides a fresh perspective on cases, given that she is currently a student of law at St. John’s University, and Mr. Bachman is more than a coach—he is a mentor who puts his heart and soul into this team.” Beyond their obvious dedication

ers, the team’s lawyers and professional witnesses have quite a bit of work to do on their own. “We memorize any five minute speech we give,” vice president Angela Williams said. “We also add parts to our case that occur during trials, so we need to think on our feet.” Clearly, whatever the students have been doing is working out just


Last year, the mock trial team laid down the law and demonstrated to the rest of Nassau County’s teams exactly how a court case is to be prosecuted; the team won its first-ever county championship by vanquishing Roslyn High School in round seven of the Bar Association Mock Trial Tournament. Unfortunately, they fell just short of a trip to the All-State conference after losing to Suffolk County champion Floyd High School in the Long Island championship tournament, but they are back in the courtroom this year and have begun an impressive run to what should be an equally—if not more—successful season. On March 4, the team won its fourth round case against Midreshet Shalhevet High School. With this win, they advanced to round five, in which only eight teams from Nassau County remain. Three more wins would mean a second consecutive county championship, and one more would mean an unprecedented Long Island championship and a ticket to the State Championship. Unlike most of the other teams on Long Island, the students who compete for Massapequa’s mock trial team prepare for an average of at least five hours a week over three days. At practices,


MARCH 15, 2013



Cyber Cafe: more than a “rainy day” option March 15, 2013 Vol LXI Issue 3

The Chief Editorial Staff EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Joe Zappa MANAGING EDITOR Jessica Graff ASSISTANT MANAGING EDITOR Nelson Gomez CHIEF COPY EDITORS Joe Fiola Meghana Rao COPY EDITOR Melanie Sheehan PHOTO EDITOR Brandan Lawrence ADVISOR Elyn Coyle

The Chief Editorial Policy

The Chief, the student newspaper of Massapequa High School, is an open forum to discuss the student body’s issues and concerns. Members of The Chief will make every effort to publish following the legal definitions of libel, obscenity and invasion of privacy. Consistent with the first amendment of the United States Constitution, the staff also will refrain from printing material that may incite students, be a violation of MHS’ Student Code of Conduct or disrupt school operations. The editorial board of The Chief welcomes and encourages submitted letters, stories, cartoons and/or any other student feedback to the editor. Please send all submissions to mhsthechief@gmail. com. Letters sent by email may need to be verified by student signature before publishing. •Although letters to the editor are not printed, names will be published upon request. The Chief has the right to deny publication of any editorial, column, review or comment. •Grammatical and/or spelling corrections will be made; however, the content will not be altered. All columns, reviews or commentary are strictly the opinion of the writer and may not represent opinions held by the school board, administration, sponsors, parents, student body or advertisers. However, all editorials reflect the viewpoint of The Chief editorial board. Distribution: 1600 copies

Massapequa High School 4925 Merrick Road Massapequa, NY 11758

Eating healthy is hard. There is no doubt about it—the mere mention of pizza, French fries, or cookies is enough to tantalize the palate, and when faced with the decision between these foods and a serving’s worth of fruit or vegetables, most people will choose the former. Unfortunately, this preference for junk food is the very reason the Massapequa Lunch Program puts these deleterious delights in front of students every day. “Any director would be thrilled to get rid of unhealthy foods and replace them with healthy options,” Assistant Director of School Lunch Ms. Kathie Martin said, “but the kids need to buy it. We need to pay our bills.” Although Ms. Martin would like to offer students nothing but the healthiest choices for their in-school meals, she has to make sure that at least some of her products will be eaten. The open campus lunch system already draws the majority of students away from the school cafeteria for lunch; disposing of all fried food and desserts—the students’ favorite options—would drive the notfor-profit school lunch program out of business. However, students need to be aware of what they are putting in their bodies, and how it could impact them. Though it is incumbent upon students to make the final decision as to what they will eat, the school should play a greater role in educating students about healthy alternatives to the aforementioned diet destroyers. More significant awareness about poor nutrition in the school community would not only impact students’ health, but it would also draw more students to the cafeteria where—unbeknownst to many of them—there are healthy, tasty, and inexpensive alternatives.

Members of The Chief were surprised to find out that the cafeteria offers Boar’s Head cold cuts on various types of bread every day of the week. For 3.75 dollars, a student can purchase a Boar’s Head sandwich with milk and unlimited fruits and vegetables. This meal is not only cheap and healthy—it is also appetizing. For only 2.50 dollars—less than half of what students will spend off campus almost anywhere—one can buy the hot lunch of the day (such as a hamburger) along with milk, some form of bread, and fruits or vegetables. Unfortunately, many students are unaware of the cafeteria’s better offerings. “I’m honestly surprised that the cafeteria serves Boar’s Head sandwiches, and, considering how cheap it is, I would definitely try them sometime,” senior Spencer Schiappa said. Spencer brings up a serious problem facing the school cafeteria and the general goal of getting students to eat healthier—most students don’t even know what is available to them, let alone how the food they are eating impacts them. It is essential that administration begins to educate students about their nutritional options during lunch. Just as there are annual awareness assemblies urging students to avoid alcohol and drug use, there should be assemblies urging them to avoid self-abuse through constant consumption of fried food and sugary snacks. “I think it is always going to be an attractive option to leave the building and go out,” principal Dr. Barbara Williams said. “However, it might help if the students know that there are healthy options available to them in the cafeteria.” In a poll which surveyed sophomores and juniors, students were asked which healthy options they would be

most likely to eat if the cafeteria offered them next year. The choices were Greek yogurt, trail mix, mixed nuts, and fresh fruit. While each choice received substantial student support, the most popular was Greek yogurt, which 34 percent of students polled selected. “I like Greek yogurt because of the various flavors and how healthy it is for the body. It has tons of nutrients that keep me energized throughout the day,” sophomore Brooke Peco said. “I would definitely go to cyber cafe more if they had Greek yogurt or other healthy choices considering it’s really hard to go out and find meals that aren’t fatty or greasy.” The Chief realizes that most students do not consider eating in the cafeteria optimal. Students want to get out of the building for forty minutes during the day, and most of their friends do too. We recommend that every student tries eating in—which also means eating healthier and cheaper—once a week. On days that students do not want to eat in the cafeteria, we strongly recommend that they try to bring a sandwich or another healthy meal from home from time to time, because eating more healthily can have a positive impact on one’s confidence, energy level, and—of course—one’s health. For the school’s part, we urge administrators to consider awareness assemblies about eating healthily. Furthermore, we hope that at those assemblies the school will advertise its healthy eating program, and continue to augment that program through the introduction of new choices such as Greek yogurt.There is no doubt that such changes would be well worth the resources used to enact them—for one fewer obese child, the money spent will have been justified.


Can Advanced Placement students bear the weight?

The rigorous Advanced Placement (AP) courses offered at Massapequa High School have contributed greatly to the school’s academic identity. AP classes offer high school students a unique and challenging educational experience that allows them to grow intellectually while presenting them with the opportunity to earn college credit. Over the past three years, Massapequa students have been performing exceptionally well on AP exams. As a result of their hard work, Massapequa High School has once again been named to the College Board’s prestigious AP Honor Roll. The district was selected based upon criteria that evaluated its ability to increase student enrollment and performance in AP while ensuring that students of all backgrounds can access these rigorous courses of study. Though Massapequa students have risen to the challenge presented by college-level course loads, we must evaluate whether or not they are being appropriately rewarded for going above and beyond what is traditionally expected of high school students. Under the current weighting system, a student receives an additional five points on his

average for AP classes. Mr. Michael Quigley, AP Coordinator and Executive Assistant to the Principal, attests that the current weighting system was designed to “come close” to the system that was used prior to the implementation of numerical averages. Though he is not sure that “five is the perfect number,” he feels that it is “difficult to get people to agree” on a specific weighting system. Rather, Mr. Quigley reminds us that “college representatives prefer to see students challenge themselves with the most advanced courses available to them.” Since he believes most students enroll in AP courses under the impression that they “can meet the challenge,” he argues that the weighting system “should not be at the forefront of the decision” regarding whether or not to take AP. Senior Lena Pollich agrees.“AP looks better on college applications.” She feels that the current weighting system is sufficient because “the kids know what they’re getting into” and understand that they must “stay focused.” That being said, AP weighting still maintains a place of importance within our school community. Certain awards

and distinctions, such as being named to the honor roll or being invited to join the National Honor Society, are predicated on a student’s ability to maintain a specific GPA. As such, the AP weighting system must also attempt to correlate a student’s grade in an AP class to that which he would receive in a Regentslevel course. However, some students argue that the current system does not do this effectively. Mike LiBretto, a Massapequa alumnus, posits that “the current weight on [the] numeric system doesn’t accurately represent the academic prowess of each student. From what I understand, it is now more beneficial to one’s GPA to [take] Regents-level classes.” Junior Tom Sarant believes that the weight should account for not only the increased difficulty of AP examinations, but also for the workload such courses entail. “While some classes such as physics curve tests to compensate for the harder questions, AP weighting should also account for the extra hours that AP students spend working on a substantial amount of homework,” Tom said. Perhaps one reason why it is so difficult for people to agree on an ideal,

standardized protocol is the fact that each AP class differs in scope and difficulty. AP Calculus BC covers more material than AP Calculus AB, for example, yet each course currently receives the same amount of weight. Since each AP class is different, it is only logical that each one should be weighted differently. Dr. Paul Hesleitner, who teaches both AP and Applied Regents Chemistry, suggested that the “curriculum associates from each department meet together with the Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction to decide on the weighting for each course.” He feels such determinations should be made “comparatively between disciplines and should be based upon each course’s level of difficulty relative to Regents.” Such dialogue would be likely to precipitate a more equitable weighting system that properly rewards students who strive for academic achievement and challenge themselves to the highest degree possible.

MARCH 15, 2013



The perverted portrayal of perpetrators in the media BY MATT COLOZZO STAFF WRITER

receive images of the killer’s face, and hear information about his background, including where he came from, information about his family, and his past. Then, in the gruesome wake of police reports, detailed descriptions of the

perpetrator of the Sandy Hook shooting front page prominence and claimed that he was obsessed with violent video games. The same publication asserted that the killer had a “bunker” where he spent hours playing the virtual role of a mass killer. Even worse, the tabloid brought in a psychiatrist who claimed that “there is no doubt that what children watch affects their behavior. It isn’t healthy for children to watch people destroying other people.” These kinds of statements, however, have never been proven by any study. According to the Washington Post, there is no correlation between video game spending per capita and gun-related homicides in the world’s ten largest video game markets. Before the media uses tragedies as a platform to promote stricter gun control laws or to blame other media such as video games for the violence, it should focus on what really matters—providing any semblance of solace for the victims’ families that can be provided. It is simThose who have wronged society should not be glamorized and displayed on front covers ply unethical to report on certain topics just to increase viewership and make clear that the media should not jump on killer’s arsenal, how he used it, and even money off the backs of innocent lives. excessive details of a story before all the sound bytes of terrified seven year-old The identity of the mass murderer and facts come to light. children emerged. Finally, issues such the political debates sparked by his acThe real storm comes after the as gun control, the treatment of people tions may be important, but they are far first reports. A few days afterwards, with mental disabilities, and—most less important than the families of the media outlets began to analyze mo- ridiculous of all—the effects of violent victims, and the media would do better tives, make comparisons, draw conclu- video games upon children, were thrust to pay more attention to the people most sions, and engage in all possible forms into the limelight. affected by these terrible occurrences in of politicization. Audiences started to The Sun, a British tabloid, gave the the future. BRANDAN LAWRENCE//THE CHIEF

When thinking back about each massively publicized tragedy involving the loss of innocent lives, whose name do you remember first? Sadly, it is usually the perpetrator’s. Then more details come back--perhaps the gunman’s arsenal, the body count, or even what the killer was wearing. These are all very grim and shocking aspects of a story filled with much more pain than a spectator watching the media coverage could possibly comprehend. Unfortunately, the real people who need the public’s support—the crushed families of the victims—take a backseat in the first few days, or even weeks, of the 24/7 coverage of mass murders. The manner in which these tragic events are presented is completely unacceptable. One of the things I remember hearing as news broke regarding the Newtown shootings was “around the clock coverage.” Any sparse details, even unconfirmed rumors and misinformation, were broadcast to audiences worldwide, thus making the carnage the lead story. This also makes the killer, the person who deserves the least amount of attention, into an infamous cultural icon. It is sickening to think that media coverage can skew the focus so far away from what matters most—the victims and their families. In the case of the Sandy Hook

shooting, misinformation spread rampantly in many of the first reports of the event. The gunman’s name, his relationship to the school, the number of people harmed, and other important details were reported erroneously. It should be

Pressure to be perfect: has the bar been set too high? BY MEGHANA RAO CHIEF COPY EDITOR

personal identities and lay the foundation for future success. Students often burn-out because of the intense competition to succeed. Perhaps there is a way to reach our goals through which we’re


“Whatever, I’ll just wing it,” has become the catchphrase of many students lately, and we’re not just saying this because we’re lazy. Expectations for students have become particularly high on Long Island. In light of the recent recession, it has become all too clear that having a college education will make employment more stable. Consequently, many media outlets have reported that applications for colleges have increased markedly. In addition, many excellent school districts on Long Island have contributed to the creation of a highly competitive culture; Long Island students have grabbed top spots in the international Intel competition every year since 2006 according to Stonybrook University. Good grades in school alone will no longer get students into a good college. We must prove that we are “well rounded,” which means, in addition to studying, we have to excel in many extracurricular activities such as sports, music, or volunteer work if we ever want to get into our dream schools. Due to all of this pressure, I have come to believe that I need to look like the perfect student in the eyes of colleges. However, in an ironic twist, the more I try to become perfect, the harder it becomes to meet my expectations. I don’t have enough time to put as much effort as I would like into everything that I do. Some days, among SAT prep, choir rehearsal and extra help, I don’t get a chance to get started on my homework until seven or eight o’clock in the eve-

ning. At that point, my energy has been sapped and I just can’t seem to think clearly enough to hand in my best work. I realized the error in my ways when I read noted author Alfie Kohn’s

In a sea of faces, a typical Massapequa student tries to make himself stand out. opinion piece in the New York Times entitled, “Reconsider Attitudes About Success.” In this essay, Kohn argues that real learning is more valuable than “simply achieving.” He states that the current school systems focus too much on “achieving” rather than real learning. “Students suffer intellectually as well as psychologically because the pressure to succeed academically leaves little room for exploring ideas,” Kohn said. That “room for exploring ideas” is crucial because that’s where students grow, not just intellectually, but emotionally; that is where we form our own

kinder to ourselves. Students will have more room to explore if they are well rested and have more energy. So how does one do that? Common laws of physics explain that time and energy are alike in that both are limited. Unlike time, however, energy can be renewed. If we work to effectively utilize our energy in the day, we will be more successful in accomplishing our goals. To start, the easiest way we can get more energy is to get more sleep, which is restorative to the body. This is actually easier said than done given the

number of tasks for each day’s limited hours. There are times when I am up late studying and although I am falling asleep at my desk, I force myself to stay up, telling myself that by doing so, I’m bound to do well on the test. Consequently, because I am so tired, I cannot remember anything when I actually take the test; staying up to study proves counterproductive. When I am tempted to stay up again for another test, I force myself to go to bed, and get up early the next morning to study. I’ve found that this method is much more effective for retaining information and performing well on exams. This principle of relaxing applies equally to extracurricular activities, not just exams. For example, instead of rushing to get homework done before a big track meet or rehearsal in that small amount of time before the event starts, those students should just take that time to relax. By doing so, they will be able to clear their heads and will most likely do better because they are calmer. Furthermore, we can literally fuel ourselves by having healthy snacks throughout the day to renew our energy, thus improving our focus. But, the most important thing that we can do to combat the pressure of being the perfect student is to realize that there really is no such thing as a “perfect student.” The moment that we stop working to make our resumes look more attractive and start working to make ourselves happier is when we will truly be the most successful.

MARCH 15, 2013



Movie industry applauds self at the 85th Academy Awards BY JOE ZAPPA EDITOR-IN-CHIEF

way with the Academy. The top acting prizes went home in the hands of Daniel Day-Lewis, who was named Best Actor for his performance as the titular character in Lincoln, and Jennifer Lawrence, who won Best Actress for her portrayal of fictional character Tiffany Maxwell in David O. Russell’s Silver Linings Playbook. Day-Lewis had been a lock for the award since the beginning of the

them, “You guys are just standing up because you feel bad that I fell and that’s really embarrassing.” Christoph Waltz and Anne Hathaway received awards for best supporting actor and best supporting actress respectively. Anne Hathaway’s performance as Fantine in Les Misérables was destined for an Oscar from the moment it hit the big screen, but Waltz’s win for his portrayal of a dentist-turned-bounty hunter was a bit of a surprise, as Silver Linings Playbook’s Robert De Niro and Lincoln’s Tommy Lee Jones were thought more likely to win the honor, according to the Los Angeles Times. For most, the greatest surprise of the night was probably Ang Lee’s win for Best Director for his work on Life of Pi. The leader of the night with four awards, Life of Pi told the classic children’s tale of an adolescent who survives a shipwreck on his family’s voyage from India to Canada, but must then overcome the challenge of several months on a raft with a tiger in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Lee’s ability to make a movie throughout most of which there is only one human character on screen clearly impressed the Academy enough for them to bestow this high honor upon him over Lincoln director Steven Spielberg; Spielberg was the favorite, especially early on in the awards season. This year’s Academy Awards certainly spread the love around, as Life of Pi won the greatest number of awards with a mere four. The acting awards went to actors from four different movies and the awards for Best Director and Best Picture each went to films unrecognized for acting. The Eighty-fifth Academy Awards may go down in history as the year in which no film truly dominated, and fanatical moviegoers will look forward to next year’s cinematic offerings in the hope that they will likewise be divided among the great number of fantastic films.


In the words of William Friedkin, “the greatest promotion scheme that any industry ever devised for itself” took place Sunday, February 24 at the Dolby Theatre, the home of the Academy Awards for the past thirteen ceremonies. The producers of the Academy Awards, often criticized for organizing an overly formal and boring show, sought to spruce up the show’s image this year by hiring Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane, whose tendency to crack jokes about many of the stars present in the audience was sure to give the show an edgier appeal. However, whether the host’s youth and mischief could offset the slow-paced conventions of the night and the predictability of the winners remained to be seen. MacFarlane’s propensity to entertain lies in his ability to shock audiences with the extent to which he will jump the barriers of appropriate behavior while striking comedic chords. The host did crack a few controversial jokes about the Hollywood community that drew laughter from the audience, such as his quip that the Argo operation was “so top secret that the film’s director is unknown to the Academy,” thereby mocking the Academy for snubbing Argo director Ben Affleck, whose film won virtually every important best picture prize of the awards season. He also described Django Unchained as a story about “a man fighting to get back his woman, who’s been subjected to unthinkable violence…or as Chris Brown and Rihanna call it, a date movie.” Unfortunately, several of his daring efforts seemed to rub his listeners the wrong way, and still other viewers thought he shied away from the inimitably controversial inclinations that make his comedic talent unique. Regardless, his name did have a substantial impact on the size and demographic composition of the audience this year. This year’s ceremony was the highest rated

of the last three years; the audience ages 18 to 49 grew by 11 percent since last year, and the male audience ages 18 to 34 grew a whopping 34 percent. Clearly, MacFarlane’s Family Guy audience tuned in. Senior Andrew Giustino enjoyed MacFarlane’s performance, although he acknowledged that it was imperfect. “While not every joke was a success, overall [MacFarlane’s performance]

Seth MacFarlane hosted the 85th Annual Academy Awards on February 24, 2013 was much more entertaining than those awards season; his method acting—a of many of the recent hosts. Some jokes style of acting preparation in which one may have been a little crude but they stays in character 24/7 throughout the were never anything too offensive and entirety of production—was universally the performance was often genuinely praised, and it has now won him three very funny and well done.” Best Actor awards, which puts him in a Aside from the edgy host, the Os- category of his own. cars brought little surprise to the table Day-Lewis’ acceptance speech this year. The greatest prize of all, best provided a great (and somewhat unexpicture, went to Ben Affleck’s Argo, a pected) laugh for viewers, as he joked somewhat rare pick given that Affleck that presenter Meryl Streep was actually was not nominated for director. It was Lincoln director Steven Spielberg’s first nonetheless an expected triumph, as choice for the role of the President, and the film had already won the award for that he was slotted to play her awardbest film at many other major awards winning role as Margaret Thatcher. shows. Though it lacked the character The twenty-two-year-old Lawrence’s development which gave films like Sil- acceptance speech was also comical, ver Linings Playbook and Life of Pi a though in a different way—she fell up very deep, personal feel, Argo’s formula the stairs on her way to accept the award, of witty dialogue, constant action, and and commenced her speech by thanking a little love for Hollywood went a long the audience for standing up, but telling

Prom expenses leave senior girls with empty purses BY JESSICA GRAFF MANAGING EDITOR

After the chilling coldness of winter, the anticipation of a summertime prom and a beautiful designer dress can drive a girl to daydream not just the semester away, but the money out from her purse. Each year students complain about the high costs of prom and all that it entails, such as the dress, corsage, tuxedo, limousine, after-prom plans, hair, nails and makeup. However, this year, after the disasters that have devastated many Massapequa families, parents are having a harder time scraping together money to make their little princesses’ dreams come to fruition. Hurricane Sandy left the Northeast with economic losses predicted to be upwards of thirty billion dollars. According to the New York Times, State Farm, the largest insurer for New York residents, estimated a total of 25,000 homeowner claims and 4,000 auto claims.

Driving through the wreckage that lined the front yards and streets of Bar Harbour, Nassau Shores and Harbour Green, one could only imagine the large financial losses and setbacks of hundreds of families. Entire homes were evacuated and families were forced to relocate or rebuild. After finally pulling from the financial depths of the recession in 2009 and coming together to rebuild communities damaged as a result of Superstorm Sandy, parents and teens are now scratching the bottoms of their pockets to pay for a one-night event—prom. While “every Sherri Hill design is made to the highest standards,” according to, it is also made with some of the highest prices. Many Massapequa students turn to designer dresses for their prom; the most frequently purchased include Jovani, Sherri Hill, and Tony Bowls, as seen in the Facebook group for Massapequa’s senior prom. “I think girls from towns like Massapequa are more likely to buy designer dresses

or dresses that are similar to designer dresses such as Jovani or Sherri Hill,” said senior Nicole Pitta. These may be the most wellfitting, body-hugging, and beautiful dresses on the market, but they are also usually the most expensive. “I don’t think a dress should be over 500 dollars considering that I will be wearing it for a few hours,” senior Kelly Daley said. However, finding a dress for 500 dollars may be considered a steal, depending on the brand. The average price for a Jovani dress, according to Amazon, is 300 dollars, and Sherri Hill dresses usually range from 250 dollars for short dresses to 700 dollars for long gowns. Amazingly, Tony Bowls dresses can reach a jaw-dropping cost of 5,990 dollars, according to newyorkdresses. com—and this is all before alterations! This prom night tab is quite large already, and no other expenses have even been added in yet. Prom tickets range from 80 to 125 dollars each for Long Island students. For a girl to get

her hair and makeup done, the average cost is 100 dollars before tips, and nails can be another 25 to 35 dollars before tips. Again, this does not even include the cost of the after-prom. “We already paid for a motel in Montauk that costs each person 200 dollars,” senior Nad Taglialavore said, “and the bus will be about 95 dollars per person, plus food.” After the year that Massapequa families have had, it will be much harder for students to meet the expectations of wearing a designer dress, throwing the best after-prom, and having the best hair and makeup. Spending over 600 dollars on a one-night event would be outrageous if times were perfectly normal, and Sandy had never occurred. The fact that Superstorm Sandy did detrimentally affect so many families this year brings up serious questions about whether the exorbitant expense of prom is justifiable.

MARCH 15, 2013



Lunch choices take a toll on academic performance BY FAITH GRAHAM

food is everywhere. “I think eating out affects my school performance because when I eat out, I feel sluggish and tired, but when I bring from home I feel healthier,” sophomore Lauren DePol said. According to the AERA, a standard combo meal of chicken tenders and fries, which is offered by a few restaurants within our area, weighs in at 900 calories. High school students should only be eating 2,400 calories each day. “I think that when my child eats a healthy lunch he does better in school because good meals give you healthy energy and concentration,” Massapequa mom Ms. Brunner said. It is true; healthy food can enable one to achieve academically. According to

a study conducted in the United Kingdom, unhealthy foods with additives are proven to increase hyperactivity. This causes students to feel overwhelmed in school as their brains are not able to concentrate on one task. “I don’t feel sick in class because I don’t eat unhealthily; some days I get frozen yogurt and that’s healthy; it’s not like I eat pizza and Chinese food everyday,” sophomore Katie Molly said in retaliation. She certainly does have a point. Eating out every single day is not necessarily a major problem as long as one is making the right choices. One can choose a salad instead of a slice of pizza. Another alternative is bringing food from home; at home people do not have a wide variety of processed foods

so they are bound to eat healthier. Lunch time is clearly always on everyone’s mind. Whether it’s only first period or even as late as sixth period, the countdown is surely to be in the back of one’s head. Sitting in a classroom for four hours straight is sure to make a student long for the delicious meal she will be eating. Far more often than not, people find themselves thinking of pizza, chicken tenders, french fries, tacos, or even a bag of chips. Considering such meals is fun and rewarding, but making these choices as an everyday habit certainly is not. It is important to remember to make the healthy choice when eating out, or to bring a healthy meal from home every other day.

trum, many experts and researchers believe that coffee has a largely negaHow many cups does one need? tive impact on a teen’s performance in One? Two? Three? Fifteen percent of school. According to, students today consume coffee in the consistent coffee consumers experience morning before school and throughout a wide range of symptoms when they do the day according to Centers for Disease not drink their cup of joe in the morning. Control. Although coffee is proven to have positive and negative effects on people’s health, experts are still debating whether or not it is beneficial towards teenager’s performance in school. Teenagers are purchasing and consuming more coffee than ever before. In fact, according to the National Coffee Association, the percentage of coffee drinkers ages 18 to 24 grew from 24 to 37 percent from 2002 to 2012. These college-age students consuming coffee often begin to drink it during their high school years. It can be made with assorted creams, chocolate, and caramel. It can be served hot or ice cold. Coffee has become a popular icon of the teenage culture. However, the consensus on whether or not it is beneficial towards school performance is mixed. According to a study on, consuming one It’s not hard to find one of these at MHS cup of coffee in the morning can increase both a teenager’s motor skills and These include drowsiness, intense irritaattention span, keeping them awake and bility, and an overall lack of energy. This alert in the classroom. This allows the goes to show that teens who consume students to have greater focus in class coffee reach a point at which they cannot and will lead to more class participation function without it, leading to a caffeine and higher grades. dependency that is very unstable and On the opposite end of the spec- harmful to their abilities in school. This

is harmful to the student’s performance, as they cannot function properly in class with such a wide variation in energy and alertness levels. There are two bagel shops within proimity of Massapequa High School. This a llows the students to easily purchase coffee. For some, it is a must-have for increased performance in school. “I have been drinking coffee for three years and I find that it helps me focus more in class,” senior Jon Grant said. Jon, who started drinking coffee in ninth grade, has had an increase in his GPA since then. “It allows me to go smoothly through the day while staying attentive in all of my classes,” he said. In some ways, consuming coffee is a great way for teens who have trouble waking up in the morning to get a boost. Not to mention, it is a much healthier alternative to energy drinks. That is, of course, when it is not filled with whipped cream and chocolate syrup. Jon also said, “Whenever I don’t drink coffee, mostly when I don’t have time, I become very sluggish and I have no energy whatsoever.” What this shows is that coffee consumers develop a caffeine dependency, and when they do not get their fill, they struggle. This is a problem for a teenager trying to get a good education. Coffee can also wreak havoc on teens. Drinking coffee in the morning may cause some students to become hyperactive, which will actually lower their attention span and cause anxiety to

skyrocket. “I chose not to drink coffee in the morning after a few bad experiences. It causes me to become overwhelmed with energy and then crash in the afternoon,” senior Tom Whalen said. Tom, a student who does not consume coffee, is a principal’s list student and an avid lacrosse player. “In the morning, I can’t keep my eyes on the board due to the energy.” It is also possible that coffee might just affect people differently than others. There are too many variables to coffee to give a concise answer as to its effects on school performance. It is possible that some teens can handle the intense caffeine levels and some can not. Some teens may need the boost in the morning due to a lack of energy, while others may be energetic in the morning and do not need it. Teens who like to add whipped cream and chocolate into their coffee may simply have performance issues due to the severe sugar rush, and not the coffee itself. It is not easy to come to an accurate conclusion over this topic, but one thing is sure: coffee impacts all individuals differently, and it is up to each student to determine whether coffee is impacting him negatively or not.

worse habits later in life. MHS students aren’t really children anymore, but elementary schools’ food may be a factor in habits that kids form. Other factors might be what the children eat at home and habits that they form there. According to the new University of Michigan Health System research, middle school children who regularly eat school lunches are more likely to be overweight and develop poorer eating habits and more sedentary lifestyles. They also had higher levels of low density lipid cholesterol, the less healthy form of cholesterol which contributes to heart disease. The children who regularly eat school lunches also reported consuming more fatty meats and sugary drinks. In addition to poor eating habits, those who regularly ate school lunches

engaged in less exercise, and also said they spent more time watching video games or watching television than the average healthy kid. “I believe childhood obesity is due more to environmental and behavioral issues than school lunch,” Martin said. “There are definitely more options today. Less fried food, less sugar, less salt, and more fruits and veggies. Education is the key to smart food choices.” Obesity rates are increasing and something needs to be done. Perhaps the solution is to remove all unhealthy options at school, so in that way, if obesity remains the same, we can be sure that that schools are not the problem.


The bell has finally rung; its lunch time! Many students find themselves wondering about where they will be eating. However, many may not know that their lunch choices will impact their academic performance. “Children who eat fast food three or more times per week perform lower on standardized tests in reading and math,” studies conducted by the American Educational Research Association demonstrate. This issue is certainly relevant to Massapequa High School, which is surrounded by restaurants on all sides. Whether one has chosen Zim Zari, Fredo’s Pizzeria, or the Bagel Café as her lunch spot, fast

Coffee: the wake-me-up that could ruin your GPA BY NOLAN FITZPATRICK JOURNALISM STUDENT


Wrong choices in the cafeteria could be a path to obesity BY ASHLEY WARNOCK JOURNALISM STUDENT

Obesity contributes to the number one cause of death in our nation: heart disease. Childhood obesity rates are increasing—nearly one in three children in the United States is overweight or obese according to the Children’s Disease Fund. This is a scary fact, and bad eating habits and lack of exercise are to blame. However, one must wonder if the food offered to kids in school is to blame as well. Students at MHS frequently take advantage of the open campus privilege, but others like to eat in the Cyber Cafeteria, where the health of the food is questionable. “I never eat in the school cafeteria because the food is so greasy and unhealthy,” senior Jessica Manson

said. Another student at Massapequa High School, senior Dana Demartino believes “the cafeteria offers both really unhealthy foods and really healthy foods. It’s up to the student to decide what she wants to eat, whether it’s healthy or not; its the student’s choice.” The Cyber Café does offer a deli side as well as a hot food side. “The Massapequa Lunch Program follows all the federal guidelines to a lunch menu. There are five components to a lunch: protein, bread, milk, vegetable, and fruit. Students must take three of the components, including either a fruit or a vegetable [for the meal to be considered a lunch],” dietician Kathie Martin said. It has been proven that bad eating habits that children form will lead to

MARCH 15, 2013



Energy drinks pump students up, then bring them down

Many admit to not even knowing what going to enjoy it.” Gus also admitted he they’re drinking. As it is, labels on didn’t know what the ingredients are. We all know the sound of our fa- bottles and cans are naturally extremely Phosphoric acid is a common vorite soft and energy drinks opening for small, and the average person would not ingredient in sodas and energy drinks. the first time. The fizz on your tongue take the time to read what those small, Phosphoric acid is, in fact, an acid. It and sweet taste is only part of the reason is regularly used to we keep coming back for more. Almost break down rust everyone knows that soft and energy and can dissolve drinks are unhealthy, but just how bad a nail in four days; are they? therefore, it will For every action there must be definitely cause an equal and opposite reaction. If soda wear and tear on and energy drinks taste so good, then the human body there must be some type of drawback, since it is also right? In fact, short term effects of soft a chemical that and energy drinks include jitteriness, breaks down calincreased heart rate, and caffeine addiccium, and will, tion according to the health and physical over time, weaken Some of the many energy drinks students buy on a daily basis education teacher, Mr. LaBella. bones, according “Moderation, that is the key,” Mr. seemingly insignificant words are. But to LaBella said. Many experts agree that oh, how significant those tiny words are. Another common ingredient is the key to a healthy lifestyle lies with Senior Gus Ocampo drinks energy potassium benzoate which has benzene moderation according to mhlearningso- drinks almost every day. “If it became in it. Not much is known about benzene, a huge concern then yeah, I probably though it is released from the exhaust Well, moderation of what exactly? would stop drinking it. Until then, I’m system of automobiles, coal, and oil BY LYNSEY PAGAN



Food fight: frozen yogurt versus ice cream BY JILL HAND STAFF WRITER

it too,” Alison Sonak said. Toppings also have a huge impact on the health value of frozen yogurt. Most Weigh to Go customers put toppings on their frozen yogurt. “People


Here’s a little food for thought: which is healthier, frozen yogurt or ice cream? Ads claim that frozen yogurt is a better choice than ice cream, but is it really as healthy as consumers think? Originally called “frogurt,” frozen yogurt was introduced to the US in 1971. Over the past few years, production has increased; as of 2012, frozen yogurt had become a two billion dollar industry. One main factor in the demand is that advertisements claim frozen yogurt is healthier than ice cream. The biggest attention grabber is that frozen yogurt supposedly contains probiotics; ice cream does not. Weigh to Go in Massapequa Park claims that their frozen yogurt has four types of probiotics in it. “I don’t know a lot about it, but I have heard frozen yogurt has probiotics, so that’s why I’d rather eat frozen yogurt than ice cream,” sophomore Nicole Feeley said. In fact, probiotics help maintain a healthy immune system. However, just how effective are probiotics? “Although companies claim that [their products] have these probiotics, it doesn’t mean they actually work,” nutritionist Alison Sonak said. The freezing process can kill most of these probiotics, which means consumers think they’re digesting probiotics, but the probiotics aren’t effective. “Even if the probiotics survive the freezing process, most probiotics don’t even make it to the digestive tract,” Vice President of Ganeden Biotech Incorporated Marshall Fong said. Some people feel that the advertising scheme employed by frozen yogurt companies is disingenuous given the limited benefits probiotics actually offer. “Companies shouldn’t say they have probiotics in their formula if the ingredients aren’t getting to where they need to go,” Nicole Feeley said. One popular frozen yogurt chain, Red Mango, realized that the probiotics weren’t working efficiently, so the company changed its formula. “I wanted a solution that allowed Red Mango yogurt

to exceed the qualifications,” Red Mango founder Daniel Kim said. Red Mango now uses the probiotic Ganeden BC30 which survives the freezing process and is more effective in the immune system.

Customers can choose their own flavors and toppings at fro-yo places in the area Ganeden BC30 is unique because of its structure, which is similar to that of a seed. The structure is effective because it has a natural shield covering it to protect itself from the heat and stomach acids within the body. With this shield, the probiotic can make it to its intended location—the digestive system. Other common probiotic bacteria, such as lactobacillus, acidophilus and bifidobacteria do not have a protective shield, so most of these probiotics don’t survive during production. As of right now Red Mango is the only Frozen Yogurt company in the United States to use Ganeden BC30. “We’re the healthy option,” Mr. Kim said. “Red Mango frozen yogurt contains active cultures that support the immune system and digestive health.” Red Mango also does not use preservatives and has no artificial flavors and colors. “Red Mango is probably the healthiest frozen yogurt place, but if you want to compare it to ice cream, it really depends on what ice cream you compare

have the choice to put their toppings on, but most of the time, the fruits are in the back and the candies are in the front,” Alison Sonak said. “It really defeats the purpose of choosing frozen yogurt over ice cream if people just load

burning. This chemical is also more infamously known for causing cancer in humans according to Everything has a long-term effect in addition to its simple short-term ones. These types of drinks are saturated with caffeine and certain people with health problems in terms of blood pressure, heart rate, and brain function could find their struggles worsening drastically from the chemical composure of caffeine according to Gus Ocampo wondered if heavy soda and energy drink intake had any long term effects on him, “I’ve gained a few pounds, and I crash even worse now. I barely notice any energy effects though.” Pay attention to how many energy drinks and soft drinks you consume, because moderation, is in FACT key. As Mr. LaBella says, “Stay healthy MHS!”

the frozen yogurt with candy.” Without toppings, frozen yogurt contains fewer calories than ice cream because frozen yogurt uses real milk instead of cream. The toppings, however, can add more sugar, thereby increasing the amount of sugar in frozen yogurt to that of a cup of ice cream with no toppings. More sugar that goes unused can be stored as fat, which adds more calories, according to There are many different types of frozen yogurt and ice cream. Realizing the negative effects of ice cream high in fat and sugar, Blue Bunny Ice Cream Company created a fat and sugar free, all-natural ice cream. “I always tell my clients that it really all comes down to which specific brands they compare in terms of frozen yogurt and ice cream. Consumers also need to decide if they want to cut back on sugar, calories, fats, or all three; then they can decide which products fit their preferences,” Ms. Sonak said. It comes down to this. People will choose what they like. “I honestly don’t care about which is healthier; I like ice cream better,” sophomore Olivia Geraghty said. “I like to eat healthily,” Nicole Feeley said, “so yeah, I’d choose frozen yogurt over ice cream.”

MARCH 15, 2013



MARCH 15, 2013



“Into the Woods” invites you into the Baldwin Auditorium BY NELSON GOMEZ


with a bunch of my friends and I’m happy to call them my family away from my real family.” Complementing the aptitude of the cast will be Massapequa High School’s pit orchestra, which is tasked with providing the score. “[The orchestra] completes the

handle the difficulty of the pieces they will play, and as such, fewer than thirty students from the orchestra and band programs are selected. “All the students have to be some of the better players in the building and have to be able to handle this type of music,” Mr. Stempel said. “However,


With winter slowly drawing to a close, Massapequa High School is gearing up for another one of its annual spring musical performances, Into the Woods. Into the Woods follows the journey of four fairy tale characters from “Little Red Riding Hood,” “Jack and the Beanstalk,” and “Cinderella.” Their stories are intertwined by the journey of a baker and his wife who hope to start a family, but are hindered by a witch’s curse that sets the story in motion. The show, the original Broadway production of which was nominated for the Tony Award for Best Musical, was chosen by director Mr. Kevin Harrington specifically because of the talent that Massapequa’s students exhibit. “Not many high schools would be able to put on a musical as complex as Into the Woods,” Mr. Harrington said. “We have many gifted, talented students who have tremendous voices and wonderful acting ability.” Preparing for and rehearsing the musical is a feat that requires a great amount of skill and effort. “It’s definitely a lot of work, but it’s also a lot of fun,” junior Anthony Romano said. “Once the show starts coming together we all have a lot of laughs on stage, and it really is satisfying seeing the finished product after all the time we put into rehearsals. This show is so different than a lot of the other ones out there, but Mr. Harrington has everything working to perfection. This is definitely a show you’re not going to want to miss.” Despite the laughs had among the cast, rehearsals are treated very seriously. As lead actors perform on the stage, Mr. Harrington will often stop a scene and attempt to direct them in a way that allows him to portray his vision for the show. “As the director, I have to create the vision for the piece, so to do that, I look at the text and figure out ways to communicate the author’s story clearly,” Mr. Harrington said. “Part of the trick to directing is to take the picture in your mind’s eye and make it come to fruition on stage.”

Along with the actors’ capacity to recite lines and portray body language that matches the dialogue, the singing is also admirable, with the actors belting out a wide range of notes in a staccato and occasionally anarchic fashion. “The harmonies are very difficult; the keys of the music are difficult; the

Cast members of the upcoming MHS Drama production, “Into the Woods,” rehearsing a scene with director, Mr. Harrington counterpoint within the songs and then to communicate the songs clearly is tricky...and the students are rising to the challenge of the work,” Mr. Harrington said. The variation in the singing style of the actors adds personality and flavor to each character, which makes the story more believable. The differences among the students’ voices are showcased in the utterance of the prominent line, “I wish.” Notwithstanding the challenges that the actors and actresses face, being part of the musical has provided some with a feeling of unity and pride in their ability, as well as the opportunity to befriend and bond with other cast members. “I’m proud to be part of this year’s musical,” senior Tom DiBlasio, who portrays Aladdin in the ensemble, said. “It’s really great to be up there on stage

musical,” pit orchestra conductor Mr. Mark Stempel said. “You have the soloists singing and you have us adding all the rest of the notes and sounds that are required of the show.” Orchestral rehearsals, much like those of the cast, are taken seriously, but maintain a cheerful mood. “Pit orchestra is just a lot of fun. It’s a really cool thing to do, and I really love it,” sophomore Ben Harrell said. Indeed, even after a slight mistake from one player that forces the orchestra to stop playing, light-hearted remarks such as “that was scary” come up on occasion. Performing in the pit orchestra is an opportunity that few students are lucky enough to experience. Because the songs in Into the Woods feature complex harmonies, unusual keys and eccentric timing, the orchestra must be able to

this group is definitely ready for the difficulty of it.” The musicians rise to the challenge of playing perplexing and complicated scores such as those in the show and do a tremendous job executing their performances. “It’s a really great experience,” junior Natalie Gramegna said. “It’s a different style, so it’s a challenge, but I enjoy it.” Into the Woods will be performed in the Baldwin Auditorium on Friday, March 15 and Saturday, March 16. Tickets will be sold at the door for twelve dollars. If the work that has been displayed so far is any indication of how successful the final performance will be, there is little doubt that this fairy tale will end happily ever after.

Where all music is celebrated: the Grammy Awards BY KATIE CRESSER STAFF WRITER

One night every year, all of the eyes in the music world are focused on the Grammy Awards. This year was no different, and the show definitely didn’t disappoint. Heartbreaker Taylor Swift opened the show with her hit “We Are Never, Ever Getting Back Together,” but with a twist. Swift recently broke up with boyfriend Harry Styles, a member of superstar British boy band One Direction. Both the relationship and split were highly publicized and Swift did little to end the talk around town. At one point in her performance, she imitated Styles with a British accent, insinuating that he wanted to get back together but was turned down. Swift’s was not the only notewor-

thy performance. Iconic singer-songwriter Elton John joined recent British sensation Ed Sheeran to sing Sheeran’s tear-jerking hit “The A Team.” The breakout group Fun. performed their inspirational ballad “Carry On,” while the Grammy’s special effects team really outdid themselves, creating rain on-stage during the performance that doused the band. Guitarist Jack Antonoff might not have liked the artificial rain, though, as he had trouble seeing. Other dynamic performances included Dierks Bentley and Miranda Lambert, Miguel and Wiz Khalifa, Mumford & Sons, Justin Timberlake, Maroon 5 and Alicia Keys, Rihanna, The Black Keys, and Kelly Clarkson. The Black Keys’ Dan Auerbach and Adele were the big winners, taking home four awards each. Skrillex,

Gotye, Jay-Z, and Kanye West were not far behind, with three awards each. Mumford & Sons won the biggest award of the night, Best Album, for Babel. The Song of the Year went to Fun. and Janelle Monet for the ubiquitous “We Are Young.” Fun. also took home the award for Best New Artist. Best Rock Performance and Best Rock Song went to the Black Keys for “Lonely Boy,” a song the band also performed at the ceremony. “I saw the Black Keys perform ‘Lonely Boy’ at Global Fest in September but hearing them perform it with the New Orleans Preservation Hall Jazz Band created a whole new feel for the song that left me speechless!” junior Brittany Garcia said. Carrie Underwood beat out teenage heartthrob Hunter Hayes’s “Wanted” with “Blown Away” for Best

Country Solo Performance. However, Best Country Album went to the Zac Brown Band for Uncaged. “I was so happy when the Zac Brown Band won Best Country Album. Zac and the other band members are such talented musicians; they definitely deserved to win,” senior Amanda Painton said. Inspiring singer-songwriter Frank Ocean continued his career, taking home the Best Urban Contemporary Album for Chanel Orange, which competed against Chris Brown’s new album, which was thought to be a sure winner. Drake’s Take Care won Best Rap Album. The show closed with a performance by Host LL Cool J, and music fans around the world began to debate who should have won and started looking forward to another great year of music.

MARCH 15, 2013



I wanna scream and shout and dance it all out BY MEGHANA RAO CHIEF COPY EDITOR

Fashion students created what could be “the perfect dresses” from recyclable materials that they will attend. Men generally dress up and girls spend months trying to find the “perfect dress.” There is even a Facebook group created where girls can post a picture of their dress so no one else will buy the same one.


Unanticipated drama has come up, but overall the group has been successful in making girls feel confident about the dress they chose because they generally received positive feedback from other

girls in the group. Unlike Senior Prom in which people take limousines to the hotel where prom is held, juniors meet at the high school and take coach buses to the party hall. During prom, people eat

dinner and then dance the night away, under supervision, of course. Many students are also looking forward to their plans for after the prom. Groups of friends usually go to the city or stay at home and hang out at someone’s house. This is probably the most memorable aspect of prom for most people because the pressure is off, since everyone is finally out of their formal clothes and no longer in the lavish banquet hall. Despite the anxiety that comes with prom, it is still an eagerly awaited night. It’s a time when people can get together as friends. “I’m just excited to spend a great night with my best friends,” junior Erin Kohler said. For girls, this is a really fun opportunity to look glamorous and sophisticated. “I’m looking forward to spending time with friends, but also to dressing up as well,” junior Rachel Heller said. Junior Prom should be an amazing night. Everyone will just have to wait until April 13 to see if it will meet her expectations.

High school heroes at MHS BY JILL HAND STAFF WRITER

They may not have super powers, but high school students can be heroes. From March 11 to March 14, students in the High School Heroes program will be attending elementary schools and teaching second graders for a day. In order to

High School Heroes will also develop leadership and public speaking skills. They will act as role models for the second graders and will be able to take charge as an authority figure. “I love working with kids, so I’m really excited to act as a teacher for a day,” sophomore Olivia Geraghty said.

Young students, like those MHS students will work with, eager to learn be in this program, students must attend a training session and obtain special kits filled with materials that they will need in order to teach. There are five lessons that will be taught that fall under the theme of “My Community.” The program is organized by Junior Achievement of New York, which allows students who desire to work in the educational field to have a handson experience in a classroom. Students will also learn basic techniques used in teaching and how to present lessons effectively. The second graders will take part in lessons entitled Money Moves, Sweet O Donuts, The Role of Government, A New Business, and How Does the Community Work?


with an animated film. STAFF WRITER & PHOTO EDITOR The trip is being organized by This year the Massapequa High the conductor of the Massapequa High School music department will be taking School Wind Ensemble, Mark Stempel, a trip to Disney World in Florida. The who has gone on the trip three times trip occurs every three years, ensuring before. This will be his second time that every student in the music depart- acting as the main organizer of the trip. ment will have the opportunity to partic“I am going to have some fun on ipate in the trip. The attending students this trip,” sophomore Andrew Lam said. are comprised of members of the chorus, “I’ve been looking forward to it for a orchestra, and the band ensembles. The while, and I cannot wait to go!” trip will last four days and three nights, A group of chaperones, which will and lodging is provided at the All-Star consist of district faculty members, will Music Resort. Each day, the students be attending along with the students. will attend a different amusement park. They will ensure that everyone has an There will be workshops for each exciting and safe time. ensemble in which the students will It is safe to say that all students learn about the production of animated and faculty members attending are truly movies. They will also have the oppor- looking forward to what is bound to be tunity to play music that will go along an unforgettable experience. ADVERTISEMENT


Once spring break is finished, everyone knows that the school year is about to come to an end. It’s a really busy time for juniors, filled with SAT and AP testing, but there is one thing that will be on everyone’s mind--the Junior Banquet, popularly called Junior Prom. This year, the Junior Banquet will be held on April 13, much earlier than in previous years; last year it was held towards the end of May. Regardless, it will still be an exciting night that celebrates the end of the most important year of high school. Everyone knows what prom is, but few people know the origin of prom. Prom is actually short for “promenade,” which refers to how guests literally used to march into the party at the beginning of a ball or a formal event in the 1890s. The affluent people of this time period used to hold lavish parties. Because middle class parents respected the way that these people conducted themselves during these events, they started to host formal dances in the elite colleges of the

Northeast as a means of teaching their children proper etiquette. The idea of Junior Prom is rather daunting to most juniors because this is probably the first major formal event

Last year, Junior Achievement of New York saw over 17,000 elementary and middle schools participate in its annual program. The purpose of Junior Achievement is to allow students to take part in career opportunities and help the community. “I look forward to teaching because I’ve always wanted to be a teacher,” sophomore Nicole Feeley said, “and I know it will be a great experience.” Despite the recent changes concerning the future of America’s education system, one can take comfort in knowing that the High School Heroes program will instill key values early on into our next generation of teachers.

MARCH 15, 2013



The 1950’s shooting at MHS: rumor confirmed BY CONOR MCMILLIN JOURNALISM STUDENT

They informed us about the shooting, and then dismissed us.” “I think that it was a result of taunting, bullying, and constantly putting Bruce down. Finally, Bruce just snapped,” he added. “I always felt safe in the school. I never expected


With the effects of the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre still being felt, many people are surprised by how something so tragic can happen so close to home. Well, on May 1, 1958, a fatal shooting took place in our own school. “Two fifteen year old schoolboys quarreled yesterday in this suburban Long Island community,” reported the May 1, 1958 edition of the St. Petersburg Independent. “Hatred welling within him, one waited for the other in the high school washroom this morning.” Both the victim, Timothy Wall, and the assaulter, Bruce Zator, were freshmen in Massapequa High School. Massapequa, a generally peaceful suburban neighborhood, was not too different in 1958 compared to present times. There were groups of people who stuck together, and also people who mostly kept to themselves. “I was sixteen at the time of the shooting—a junior. During that time, there were different cliques in the school,” former MHS student David Murray (Class of 1959) said. “Timmy was part of a clique called the Clovers, whereas Bruce was a loner. The Clovers were terrible to Bruce. They called him names, put him down, knocked his

books out of his hand.” On the day of the incident, Murray reported that Bruce, filled with anger towards his tormentor, hid a sawed-off shotgun under his overcoat, and waited for Timothy in the main hall bathroom. He exclaimed “You creep!” and shot Wall

The boy’s washroom where the shooting is reported to have taken place twice in the chest. “It was between homeroom and first period. I actually had my hands on the washroom door, opening it, when I heard the shot. I thought it was guys lighting fireworks into the toilets, so I left. I didn’t find out that it was a shooting until later,” Murray said. “After the shooting, they held us in the auditorium until about 1:30.

something like that to happen.” Knowing that something of this magnitude could happen in a such a simple place like Massapequa makes one wonder if it could ever occur again. However, the administration stresses that students should feel safe in MHS. Since the shooting in 1958, the school has become much more

Teaching for America’s future program BY RYAN SCHULTE


Look at some of the most successful people today, and a common denominator quickly emerges: education. Whether it’s Lady Gaga—who attended an elite Catholic school in Manhattan— or Harvard graduate Barack Obama, education makes a difference in successful, effective lives. Teach for America is an organization that tries to ensure that every American child has this common denominator. According to its website, Teach for America is a national organization that trains some of America’s brightest college graduates to teach in some of our nation’s poorest-performing schools. “This is an incredibly competitive program since top scholars across the country want to participate,” Principal Dr. Barbara Williams said. Only the best and brightest are therefore able to both be admitted through TFA’s highly selective admissions process as well as survive the organization’s rigorous training program. This program focuses on making Teach for America corps members highly effective classroom leaders; it covers topics everywhere from setting goals for classroom achievement to connecting with students’ families. Some critics say that the program does not offer nearly enough time to learn the science of education; Gary Rubinstein, a TFA alumnus, is one of those critics. “Teach for America has only five weeks of training, and I actually think that it could be enough time, but I don’t think they use the time wisely,” Rubenstein said in an interview with National Public Radio. “These student teachers sometimes only teach for twelve days, one hour a day, and the classes often

safe and secure. “Massapequa takes security very, very seriously. We have professional, retired policemen on campus, and we monitor all points of entry throughout the school day,” Dean Patrick Howard said. “We also have five additional staff members to monitor the bathrooms and periodically check the lots of the school and the perimeter of the building. We also coordinate workshops with the Seventh Precinct. They have our floor plans, and have walked the building so they can get to a certain part of the building as quick as possible.” The tragic shooting of 1958 will never be forgotten. However, should another threat ever arise, Massapequa High School is now properly prepared to protect the students and staff from harm’s way.

only have maybe ten or twelve students in them...this is not a realistic training model.” TIME Magazine’s Andrew Rotherham thinks differently. “The selection process and boot camp training produce teachers who are as good, and sometimes better, than non-TFA teachers, including those who have been trained in traditional education school,” he said in February 2011. One place where these “talented grads” are working is the New York area, where only ten percent of kids from low income communities will graduate from college and just one in five graduating seniors is even prepared for it. Even worse, only one in ten children in the Bronx will ever even attend college. There is hope, however. “I think this organization can expose the city’s students to a level of education they’ve never known before, which will ultimately be for the better,” senior Ben Dash said. Students in the Washington Heights Expeditionary Learning School, an institution whose faculty members include many TFA teachers, are indeed receiving exposure to this new “level.” In 2008, sixth graders entering the school read at a fourth grade level, but were reading at grade level just three years later. Further, ninety-five percent of seniors at W.H.E.L.S. are currently on track to graduate. The TFA effect is not only being felt in Washington Heights, but the entire city—reading levels of the area’s ninth graders are one full grade level higher than they were a decade ago, and graduation rates of African Americans and Hispanic Americans have risen twenty points. The organization is not completely responsible for all of these advancements, but it was definitely a major contributor.

The other perk of Teach for America is how many of its welltrained and experienced alumni eventually work in the American education system. According to Rotherham’s article in TIME, sixty-seven percent of TFA alumni still work in the field of education, earning numerous Teacher of the Year distinctions. “I have interviewed several Teach for America alumni, and these individuals have a very comprehensive understanding of education,” Dr. Williams said. “Teach for America has taught them how to be innovative and creative in the classroom, so they put together insightful lesson plans and really know how to connect with students.” In New York City alone, almost one hundred alumni are currently school principals and thirty-five graduates of the program currently serve as officials in the New York City Department of Education. “You can learn how to teach by either observing others teach or learning as you go, and Teach for America allows you to learn as you go. I think that makes you a better teacher,” college student Kelly O’Hara, daughter of mathematics teacher Kathleen O’Hara said. “Unfortunately, this program cannot affect all students,” Dash also said. Despite all of Teach for America’s advantages, this is indeed an obstacle that the organization simply cannot overcome. However, with corps members working in forty-six low income communities nationwide, it can be said that TFA is doing its best.

Do you feel safe at school? Send a letter to the editor. Send your opinion to:

TFA timeline

Timeline of Teach for America History, taken from the organization’s website: 1989-Wendy Kopp creates the idea of Teach for America in her Princeton University undergraduate thesis. 1990-500 corps members join the organization, beginning its work. 1990-TFA teachers begin work in New York City schools. 1990-TFA teachers begin work in the greater New Orleans area with 375 corps members. 1991-TFA teachers begin work in the Mississippi Delta with 9 corps members. 1992-TFA teachers begin work in Washington, D.C. and its surrounding area with 17 corps members. 1993-TFA teachers begin work in the greater Newark area with 166 corps members. 2003-TFA teachers begin work in the greater Philadelphia area with 119 corps members. 2008-TFA teachers begin work in Jacksonville 2010-TFA teachers begin work in Detroit with 100 corps members. 2011-TFA teachers begin work in Appalachia with 22 corps members.


MARCH 15, 2013

Scoring goals, baskets, points and commitment letters BY MIKE LETZTER SPORTS WRITER

Many high school students—both girls and boys—play sports all around the country. Those who are good start to think they could play their sports at the college level, but it’s not that easy. The truth is that most high school athletes will not have the opportunity to continue playing after they graduate. Not only must an athlete be among the most talented in his respective sport, but he should also strive to be a good student because good grades and test scores

SOCCER Hayley Burke- Marist Rosie DiMartino- Boston College Tori Maley- Rider University Emmalee Meyer- Villanova Erica Modena- Manhattan Nicole Epstein- UNC Greensboro Anna Seneta – University of Albany

greatly increase the chance of landing a sports scholarship. The following students have done an excellent job managing themselves both on and off the field. Balancing academics and sports is no easy task, and landing a spot on a Division I team is an accomplishment that very few individuals are able to achieve. Reflecting on her own experiences, future Villanova University student Emma Meyer said that “in order to become a Division I student-athlete I had to learn to manage my school work

and practices. I started taking harder classes so I wouldn’t be overwhelmed in college.” Less than five percent of high school athletes will find themselves on a Division I team roster. It’s a dream come true for these athletes to play in college. National Signing Day, during which Massapequa High School students signed and officially committed to the schools of their choice, was held on February 6, 2013. After months of waiting, their hard work and dedication finally paid off. Relief and satisfaction filled the room after students inked their

scholarships. College academics and sports bring a completely new challenge to these hardworking student athletes. “I obviously put in a lot of miles and hard work, and I am going to have to work even harder once I get to the next level,” recent commit to Lehigh, Ryan Cooney, said about preparing himself for the next level. The hard work and tenacity of these athletes will continue to carry forward, and their passion and drive to succeed will never die out.

TRACK & FIELD Ryan Cooney- Lehigh Bart Mullin- Manhattan

LACROSSE Danielle Doherty- USC Samantha DePasquale- Siena Kristin Yevoli- Stony Brook Paul Bentz- Stony Brook

SOFTBALL Danielle Gariglio- Rhode Island

BASEBALL Billy Schlich- Holy Cross Nick Fanneron- Northeastern

Andy Bentz: eat, love, tennis Liz Doherty and her A-team BY MEGHANA RAO CHIEF COPY EDITOR


he’s not competing, Andy is teaching younger children how to play tennis. Although tennis is a huge part of Andy’s life, he does not want to pursue a career as a professional tennis player; he expressed that he wouldn’t enjoy being so far from home all of the time. This in itself demonstrates Andy’s dedication to the game — he plays it for pure enjoyment over anything else. “My favorite part about tennis is

hockey goals. “During the off-season, I train with my club team and also keep in shape by going to the gym,” Liz said. “To maintain stamina for the running involved in the sport,

As a Nassau County All League and an All County Honorable Mention field hockey player and senior, Liz Doherty has accomplished a great deal as a student-athlete. She points to the support of her outstanding teammates and hard work as the main factors in her success. Liz began playing field hockey as another fun activity to engage in with her best friends when she was in fifth grade. Ever since, Liz has fallen headover-cleats in love with the sport. “My favorite part about the sport,” Liz said, “is having the opportunity to share field hockey with young aspiring athletes in my town.” For most student-athletes, the Liz, left, and teammate Lena Pollich, right benefits of sharing the field with others who have similar aspirations are nothing I go on long-distance runs through compared to the fact that those athletes the preserve.” As Liz pushes herself become a second family. Having a sup- to perform in practices, games, and port system in high school is one of the tournaments, it is commendable that most crucial factors in leading a suc- she is also an academic role model cessful academic career. The additional for the community. As a student-athlete with high support of a team not only encourages the student academically, but also drives grades, she plans to continue playing a student to become a successful athlete. field hockey at well-known SUNY “A popular quote among our Geneseo. After college, Liz does not school team,” Liz said, is that “‘Ohana believe that she will continue to play means family; family means nobody field hockey; however, she will never stray too far from the sport. “An adult gets left behind. Or forgotten.” Similar to any student athlete, league may interest me later in life,” Liz works hard in and out of school. Liz said. “Even if I do not continue While enrolled in challenging classes playing, I hope to continue coaching and Advanced Placement courses, Liz and share the sport with my children continues training to reach her field in the future.”



The world watched as Andy Murray won the gold for Great Britain this past summer in the men’s singles tennis final at the Olympics, as he redeemed himself from the Wimbledon championship loss only a few weeks prior. Soon after, Andy Roddick captured the hearts of every American as he gave an emotional farewell speech at the 2012 U.S. Open this past August, highlighting moments of his iconic career as a tennis player. In time, yet another Andy will be making headlines in the tennis world, and that will be Massapequa’s very own junior, Andy Bentz. Andy plays first singles for the boys’ varsity tennis team at Massapequa High School; he helped the team advance to the first round of playoffs last year. This season, Andy is hoping for the best, but knows that the team has to be more focused than ever. “I hope [the season] will turn out well, but it’s a tough conference this year,” Andy said. To get to Andy’s level of playing, it takes years of hard work, training, and dedication. Andy started playing tennis when his mom threw him into a group lesson at the age of six. He instantly Andy Bentz, a tennis superstar at MHS fell in love with the sport, and has been that anyone has a chance to win,” Andy playing ever since. In addition to playing for the said. “It’s just a matter of who wants it school team, Andy plays numerous more.” It’s certainly clear that Andy is tournaments outside of school. Although willing to do whatever it takes to suche has not played any recently due to ceed. With an attitude like that, he’s an arm injury, he has recovered and is bound to go far. anxious to get back to competing. When


March 2013  

The March 2013 issue of The Chief focuses on student health and food choices while providing its consistent, high-quality reporting.

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