By and for the students of Guilderland Central High School
Volume 64 Issue 3
Guilderland Center, NY 12085 February 2013
A night filled with music and Passion Elana DeSantis
There were more than a few moments during the Passion Pit and Matt & Kim show at the RPI Fieldhouse on February 11th where I was shocked that I was still standing. Whether this was due to the rowdy and rather unforgiving crowd or the pure amazement I felt at the spectacular showmanship both of these bands displayed, I’m not sure. What I do know is that the concert could easily knock anyone off of their feet. Once the floor of the Fieldhouse was filled to the brim with edgy hipsters and very intoxicated twenty-somethings (these two demographics highly overlapped), everyone realized there was no turning back. Squished somewhere in the ocean of bodies between a good friend and a sweaty frat boy, I found myself overcome with nervous energy and excitement as the lights dimmed and the shadows of Matt & Kim appeared on a shady bandstand. “Electric” was the only word sophomore Ashley Cleary was able to use to describe the energy in the room as the pop duo from New York walked on stage. From the opening number, the rhythmic and catchy jam “Block After Block” from Matt & Kim’s second studio release, Sidewalks, the electricity in the room revealed itself as a bolt of lightning shocking the crowd with remarkable live quality. For anyone who has heard Matt & Kim’s recorded tracks, seeing them perform is completely different and thrilling experience. From Matt’s remarkable ability to pump out synth melodies while belting out songs and responding to the
Michael Gouvakis, lead singer of the band Passion Pit, takes the stage.
crowd, to Kim pouncing on her drum stand every other song while still keeping rhythm, the pair’s remarkable stage presence and amazing musical talent blew me and my fellow concert-goers away. In between songs, the band did everything they could to create a connection with the audience, from having Kim dance on top of the crowd to creating a “Harlem
Shake” video which now has over two million views on YouTube. After numerous thanks and calls of appreciation from the two on stage, I got a feeling like we in the crowd were entertaining them as much as they were entertaining us. “It was insane, they were so connected to the audience” concert goer Becca Miceli recalled. “I felt like they really wanted
Photo courtesy of Haewon Hwang / The Journal
to be there.” Matt & Kim were able to slip flawlessly from their upbeat dance jams, such as “Let’s Go” to their calmer and more piano-driven melodies like “Daylight”, providing an excellent and engrossing listening experience which even after the last song was played left you asking for more.
A letter from an editor Justina Liu
“Where’s The Journal?” you’ve been asking. You probably got a lot of different responses—some funny, some sarcastic, some of them just “I don’t know.” This is an honest response. This whole year, we’ve tried to ignore the loss of Advisory, hoping that there would be no problems if we didn’t acknowledge the change. But this issue, we missed deadline after deadline. Everything fell through. We’re realizing that, without Advisory, we’ll have to talk about things
Teacher Spotlight, Students suffer from lack of sleep
What’s inside: Hallways 2 Around Town 4 Pop Arts 6 Centerspread 8 World&Cultures 10 Opinions 12 Fine Arts 14 Sports 15
that went unspoken before. What does of passion. a club mean to its members? Can a Maybe it’s time to be honest. club survive like it used to without A student once brought to The JourAdvisory? Are we a high school club, nal office a copy of this year’s first issue or are we something more? that he had gone through with a red pen. This article is a reaction, written Some of the staff was offended, some by the Associate Editor of Print of the staff was indifferent, and the rest Content. It was a letter from an edi- found it rather funny. Perhaps you have heard Journal staff tor to her colleagues. From a student members calling the newspaper you are to her peers. holding useless. An editor once said, We can’t publish this letter, we said, “The Journal is made to be made, not it’s too personal. But then we thought, read.” Earlier this year, a staff member suggested that we stop printing the paper, maybe others clubs and groups in and instead use the money to have parties the school are experiencing the same and buy nice chairs. disconnectedness, uncertainty and loss
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Pollution in China, Upcoming school trips
Yo Yo Ma, GHS Music Dept. Winter Season
Fine Arts 14
Dartmouth Relays, Ski Club, Andrew Platek
theJournal February 2013
Journal Students suffer from lack of sleep 2012 - 2013
The Journal is published by and for the students of Guilderland High School and is the school’s official student newspaper. We publish accounts of, and perspectives on, people, issues, and events that affect members of the school as well as the community. Although initialed by the writer, editorials reflect the majority opinion of the editorial staff. Reviews, columns, commentaries, and letters to the editor, however, represent the view of the individual writer and not necessarily those of the staff. Although we try not to solicit advertisements from competing businesses in a given issue, we cannot guarantee that a conflict involving advertising will not arise. Advertisers are solely responsible for the content of their respective advertisements. We are not responsible for printing and/or typographical errors that may occur in a given advertisement. We reserve the right not to print a given advertisement. Also, we cannot assure that columns, editorials, news, reviews or feature stories will not cover issues or events relating to any advertiser in this newspaper. We welcome signed letters from our readers. To be printed, letters must be of a reasonable length and contain neither libelous, slanderous, nor profane material. We reserve the right to reject any letter received. Unless otherwise noted by the editor-in-chief or the managing editor, all accepted letters will be printed in the letters to the editor section. We reserve the right to edit for length, grammar and content.
How to contact The Journal Mail: The Journal c/o Guilderland High School 8 School Rd Guilderland Center, NY 12085 Phone: (518) 861-8591 Ask for The Journal Email: email@example.com submit stories to: firstname.lastname@example.org -Print Management-
Editors-in-Chief Nina Obwald, Content Isaac Malsky, Design Managing Editor Haewon Hwang Asst. Managing Editor MaryGrace Graves Associate Editor Justina Liu Lead Copy Editor Mary Powathil
Editor-in-Chief Alexandra Sima Online Managing Editor Christine Bolognino Associate Editor Hannah Liu Webmaster Patrick Coonan
-ContentHallways Editors Sydney Campbell, Nicholas Schwartz Around Town Editors Bryce Goyer, Taylor Tewskbury Pop Arts Editors Julia Davidoff, Elana DeSantis World & Cultures Editors Emily Benson, Michelle Xiong Fine Arts Editor Luxi Peng Opinions Editors Andrew Fedorov, Laura Tang Sports Editor Brien Miceli Copyeditors Lexi Adams, Sam DeSantis, Joy Jing, Verina Mansour, Abigail Schnoor, Benjamin Segal, Alex Siracusa -DesignPhotography Editor Sam Pitkin Graphics Editor Rachel Gingrich Layout & Design Editor Jack Watson -BusinessBusiness Staff Brent Katlan Matt Scatena Distribution Manager Zachary Cleary Faculty Advisor Christopher Mazura
Homework, tests, sports, jobs, college applications, boyfriends and girlfriends. The list goes on and on. There is no denying it; high school students are just too busy. Every year, the workload increases, and the most notable consequence of the hectic high school life is a lack of sleep. With more and more things on their plates, high school students have to cut back on something to make time for all of their activities. That something is generally sleep. Recent research by the Journal of Adolescent Health shows that as many as two thirds of all high school students get less than seven hours of sleep each night. Doctors recommend that adolescents get just over nine hours of sleep each night, yet only a shocking eight percent of all teens get that much sleep. The scariest part of this situation is the danger of a lack of sleep. While it might seem that the only consequence is simply feeling a little groggy the next day, sleep deprivation can have serious
long term effects. Sleep deprivation has been shown to lead to memory loss (ironic, considering that the biggest cause of sleep deprivation is schoolwork), hypertension (high blood pressure), and a weakened immune system (again, ironic because if one gets sick, one misses school anyways). Another study found that adolescents who go to bed after midnight on a regular basis are 20 percent more likely to harm themselves than those who go to bed before 10 PM. So what is the solution? America, particularly the education system, needs to set its priorities. The teenagers of this country are being overworked and are suffering from stunted brain development, depression, and other issues because of it. On a related note, this sleep crisis is happening hand-in-hand with the childhood obesity crisis. A lack of sleep leads to lower energy levels. Kids simply do not have time or energy anymore to play outside and sleep. Andrew Cuomo recently proposed
to lengthen the school day even further. This would be taking a step in entirely the wrong direction. What the kids and teens of America need is not more school and more work. The children of America simply need time to be children. The first steps to achieving this are a shorter school year, a shorter school day, and reduced workload. Admittedly, this plan is intuitively counterproductive. But what is truly counterproductive is working the next generation of Americans into the ground before they even turn twenty years old. But, until any actual workload reduction takes place, the students of GHS and high schools across the country have a simple choice. On one hand, you can be the perfect student and do every assignment ever given regardless of how late you have to stay up, or you can set your priorities in a more reasonable fashion. School is important, but personal health can never be disregarded.
GHS senior travels to Haiti Abi Schnoor
Last April, senior Michaela Tersmette went on a life changing trip to Haiti. This year, she is going back. Michaela and a small group journeyed last year to Archaie, Haiti, a town in the countryside north of the capital, Port au Prince. They brought with them everything they would need and ended up leaving most of it in Haiti when they left. Supplies included clothes, shoes, balls for the children, hygiene supplies (toothpaste, soap, etc.), school supplies, medical supplies, and vitamins. Everything that they didn’t bring, they bought while in Haiti to help the economy. Most of their purchases included building supplies and materials to help build a medical clinic for a church. “What we do is hire the Haitian workers and work alongside them,” said Michaela while describing her experience. However, Michaela could often be found playing with the children around the worksites. “A lot of them don’t go to school, so they don’t have anything to do.” Spending all of her time with and around Haitians, Michaela learned some Creole, the language in Haiti, but she
also learned valuable life lessons. “[The Haitians] are the hardest working people I’ve ever met, and they are also the happiest. They taught me that happiness comes with the simplest of things, and to love every little thing.”
We were living how they lived. We were in the middle of it all. Michaela and her group were welcomed into the home of a Haitian family. “Their rooms became our bedrooms; we lived right beside them.” Where they stayed, there was no running water, and toilets came in the form of outhouses. “I learned to appreciate all the things I have at home.” They could only eat the food that they had brought or was designated to them, or else they had the risk of catching diseases. They had to take malaria pills because of the mosquitoes, and there were chickens and goats wandering around everywhere.
Above; Tersmette plays with a young Haitian boy. Below: Tersmette’s travel group poses with locals. Photos courtesy of Michaela Tersmette / The Journal
“It wasn’t like we went on a vacation and stayed in a hotel; we were living how they lived. We were in the middle of it all.” Michaela’s group only stayed for ten days, not giving them enough time to finish their project. Michaela will be going to Haiti on April 3rd, but she does not yet know what to expect. “We might be doing some cleanup work from Hurricane Sandy,” but other than that, she won’t know what she will be doing until closer to her departure. Going to Haiti and helping out definitely gave Michaela a new mind set for the rest of her life. She now intends to study water management in third world countries, but she will also never forget the lessons that the Haitians taught her about life and happiness. “You get to experience another culture, and it really opens your eyes to how much is out there in the world. I recommend everyone to take a trip like I did.”
page 3 (theJournal)
A letter from an editor Continued from Page 1 This is why The Journal serves no purpose, someone said. Purposefully or not, consciously or not, all-seeing or oblivious, that student who brought back the marked-up issue put his finger on the question that The Journal itself ignores: who are we, and what do we think we’re doing? In the beginning, some joined The Journal because they liked to write. Others wanted to be with their friends, others to make friends. The first time I wrote for The Journal was three Septembers ago, when I was a freshman, and back then, I just wanted to be part of the romanticized American high-school newspaper. We joined for different reasons, but no one entered The Journal as a journalist. And most of us didn’t try to become one, which was okay. Together, we used to dwell in room 31 during Advisory, when the academic world turned a little slower. Our advisor sat behind his desk, facing a room that was wonderfully full with students, a room with too few chairs. We talked about things that teenagers talk about, sometimes did homework, and when obligation nagged us to make a newspaper, it was still okay, because in a way we were together and none of us wanted to go. Even though we were just a high-school newspaper, co-existing under the fake identities of journalists and editors, it was still okay. In fact, it was the really great sort of okay. But budget cuts did away with Advisory, and now The Journal is disintegrating. You will rarely find the majority of the Journal in one place, and if you do, we will either be assigning stories that won’t get written, or complaining about stories that were assigned but not written. Today we had the second type of meeting. Less than half of the staff attended, and perhaps a fourth of the stories were
in—some of them unusable because they were outdated. The deadline was two weeks ago. Part of the problem is that we never see each other, so none of us feels obli-
gated in the way that we did before. We want the work to get done, but we just don’t do it. We’ve even lost the motivation to tell each other to do it. We could say that the loss of Advisory is killing The Journal—that The Journal will be a casualty of the war between education and money—but that isn’t entirely true. The Journal has been dead for a long time. It died because we gave it no reason to live. No one reads the newspaper, we said—it’s a joke. This idea was circulating even when I joined as a freshman, and probably long before that.
Though we didn’t know the purpose of The Journal, we knew our reason for publishing an issue every month or two. We were widows, routinely filing the claim form to collect the dead man’s war pen-
together, but we were never unified. We were never working for a common goal. So perhaps it’s time to let The Journal go. Yet those aren’t our words to say. The Journal’s motto has always been that it is not only published by the students, but also for the students. It was created to serve the school, but over the years, the students who made it have enslaved the institution, turning it into a stepping-stone, a social event, and a nice place to eat lunch. The truth is, The Journal is on the verge of collapse. The question is, do we want to save it? If the paper is to stay, the only option is to resurrect it. We’ll have to stop creating The Journal mainly for ourselves, and go back to its original purpose, stated in its founding motto. That purpose is serving our peers, teachers, and community. Students and even staff sometimes laugh off this purpose and say it doesn’t exist. But purpose has a way of revealing itself after the first step is taken, a step that we each need to take on our own. Photos courtesy of Jack Watson/ The Journal The first step isn’t sacrifice, sions—the right to write “The Journal” but investment. Take a leap of faith, on college resumes, to collect and hang and invest a part of yourself in thinking the awards that it wins each year off of about and writing for others. Write about a framework created by our predeces- the things that you talk about with your sors, to occupy its office, where we eat friends—students you don’t talk to might lunch and use the computers to do our find what you write interesting. Inveshomework, and when there was Advisory, tigate the things that make you mad or spend time with our friends. sad or ecstatic; tell a story to make other Nobody realized that without Advi- people feel the same way. Remember sory we’d lack the motivation to do the the readers, the ones who willingly get work to maintain the other rights. But yelled at by their teachers for reading The now we realize that without Advisory the Journal in class. Journal loses many of its perks, and the None of us can say that The Journal staff loses interest in keeping the dead serves no greater purpose, if we haven’t thing around. Advisory held The Journal really tried to serve.
Teacher Spotlight: Daniel McBride Trevor Laicha There are a dozen English teachers at Guilderland High School, but there is only one Daniel McBride. He teaches 10X, 10 Honors and AP Language and Composition. If you were lucky enough to have the grammar whiz you’ve witnessed his guitar prowess at the end of the school year. It’s an unusual skill for an English teacher to have and the story behind his guitar skills is much more interesting then you could even imagine. McBride grew up outside of Boston. He started playing guitar at the age of 12 and played in various bands throughout high school. After graduation the band had to break up as they were all headed in different directions. The bassist of Mike Gordon headed to the University of Vermont, where he later formed the band Phish. McBride headed west to Bard College in New York to major in English Literature. He continued to play guitar and joined a few bands but none lasted.
After he graduated from Bard, he formed Although Peacebomb never received a band named Peacebomb. widespread recognition the most famous In the following years Peacebomb venue is world-renowned. In 1994 Peacetoured all over the country. They played bomb played at Woodstock. It wasn’t the shows as far west as Colorado and as famous “3 days of music and peace” 1969 far south as the Carolinas. The band Woodstock show, but they still were able mainly toured as a solo act. However, Mc- to play at one of the most famous concert Bride met up with his venues in the world. old high school band Woodstock’s concert mate one time when promoter decided to There are a dozen English Peacebomb opened have 8 unsigned bands teachers at [GHS] but there for Phish. play on Friday afteris only one Daniel McBride. They also headlined noon, and Peacebomb in Maine, where Gwas one of them. At Love and Special Sauce about 3:00 pm, Mcopened for them. McBride suggests “defi- Bride and the rest of Peacebomb took nitely [checking] them out if you haven’t the main stage to play in front of more heard G-love.” than 100,000 people. Peacebomb also opened for EveryMcBride noted “Also, we were good thing. McBride remembers “We played friends with a number of the other bands in DC, Baltimore and Virginia with those who played, and it seemed as though the guys. They actually had a hit; they were musical scene we created together in the really a one hit wonder.” Everything’s one Hudson Valley in the early 1990’s finally hit wonder is the song, “Hooch”, which had its day in the sun,” he added. is in the movie Water Boy. Shortly later in 1994 Peacebomb broke
up. McBride and his girlfriend, who would later become his wife, moved out to California. He went back to school at Stanford University to get his masters degree. “I don’t want anyone to feel bad, I never would have gotten into their undergrad program,” McBride added. After Stanford, McBride found a job teaching at Saratoga High School in California. He taught there for 5 years. McBride decided to leave California to move closer to family and to move to a more affordable place. He was then offered a job at the prestigious Punahou School in Honolulu, Hawaii. Yes, that’s the high school President Barack Obama attended. Hawaii would not solve his concerns, so McBride and his wife decided to move east. They first moved to Albany, then to Altamont and eventually settled in Schoharie. McBride lives there today with his wife, 2 kids and his chickens. The artist has been fed.
theJournal February 2013
Around Town Crispy Basil comes to Guilderland Laura Tang Watch out pizza lovers! A new artisan pizzeria has recently expanded from Latham into Guilderland. Located on 1671 Western Avenue, Crispy Basil is the result of a refurbished Friendly’s, which closed down back in late 2011. Crispy Basil has opted to keep the same building structure, but redecorated the inside. They’ve changed the red theme to a light green, and have covered the floors in dark hardwood. I visited the pizza joint on a Friday, and it was quite busy with a dozen or so families and friends sitting at various booths. There was a clean atmosphere, filled with the delectable smell of pizza and the sounds of conversation. Near the counter was a glass display of their fifteen gourmet pizzas, which ranged from Mediterranean to Alfredo Broccoli to Eggplant Parm. Upon looking at the menu, I noticed that there was even a Cheese Burger pizza. The prices of the pizza are fair: you can either order a slice for $3 or a whole pizza for $13.99, $15.99, or $17.99 depending on size. My father ordered
the White Broccoli, which according to the menu was made of mozzarella, broccoli, ricotto, fresh garlic, and olive oil. I asked the person at the counter, who suggested Margherita, a vegetarian pizza m a d e of mozzarella, tomatoes, parmesan, garlic, o l ive oil, and fresh basil. Though the pizza had to be reheated since we bought it by the slice, it was still delicious and each pizza had a generous heaping of toppings. It had a thin, crunchy crust with fresh ingredients and was not greasy like other pizzas. Crispy Basil also offers other casual dinner options such as cold and hot subs, mozzarella sticks, calzone and stromboli,
mosphere offered here, with their basil plants and g reen theme. Although there isn’t table service, it’s a nice
wings, and other pasta dinners, although what sets them apart is really the variety of their gourmet pizzas and the healthy toppings they offer (I wanted to try all of the different types!). All in all, I loved the different fresh at-
casual restaurant, perfect for something between fast food and formal dining. The Friendly’s that used to occupy the building had been an icon on Western Ave for almost forty years. Can the new Crispy Basil match that legacy? Only time will tell.
A Little Gem in Little Italy Justina Liu
with a passive tongue toward Italian cookMy mother loves Italian. Though, ing. My Chinese grandmother is one to she is kind of Italian-lover who orders say, “If I can make it myself, it’s a rip off.” Chicken Parm in the same restaurant And my mother, I’ve already told you seven times consecutively. about Chicken Parm. This is why we ate at Katrinella’s BisSo, we were set up for success. tro. Mother was the only reason we eat The restaurant is tucked away in a out Italian, ever. corner of downtown Albany where Little The entourage consisted of my mom, Italy used to be. You have to use the my grandmother and myself. I am one back door to enter, go through a narrow tunnel of a hallway and through another door to find yourself in a dining area no bigger than the size of a classroom. There are only six tables in the restaurant, most seating either two or four. Because the restaurant is so small, you must reserve a table in advance. There is only one cook and one waiter for lunch (it is a three man crew during dinner.) And the waiter, named Jim, brought us perhaps the most spectacular thing in the whole meal. It was wrapped in a cloth napkin, tucked in a basket. I peeled off the covering and a cloud of steam puffed up from the round loaf of bread. Photo courtesy of Justina Liu / The Journal The bread is soft, moist and deceivingly Above: The entrance to Katrinella’s Bistro in Albany. stretchy. My grandmoth-
er tore off a piece and asked, “Is this raw?” Though the crust was crispy and brown, the inside was dough-like. Curious, I tried some. Definitely not raw, I told her. It is the type of bread that’s pure and wholesome enough to eat alone, but also receptive to other flavors. Along with the bread comes an olive oil dip with Parmesan, parsley and garlic. The olive oil is heated with the additional ingredients, and if you get to the restaurant, the olive oil too will be warm. In a later phone call, Chef-owner Joe Rogers told me that he mixes the dough from scratch each day and serves the bread hot out of the oven. Both times I’ve been there, the bread has been served just baked Hesitantly, she put a piece in her mouth. “No, I don’t think I can make this,” said my grandmother, reaching for another piece. My mother ordered the Italian wedding soup. There were bits of cabbage, beef and mini, polka dot pasta. The soup was forgettable, and my mother only remembers it as warm. The romaine lettuce, tomatoes, carrots and olives in the house salad were fresh and the house dressing was a vinaigrette with cranberries. The lettuce leaves could have been cut smaller, as they were large and unwieldy to eat, but whenever I did manage to get the right proportions of dressing and vegetables, the sweet, sour and savory blended worked together for a noble good. All entrées are served over penne
pasta. Of the many eggplant dishes, to which a unique section in the menu is devoted, I ordered the stuffed eggplant with vegetables and cheese served with pasta in marinara sauce. The tomato in the marinara sauce rose above all other flavor, rendering the sauce a little bit sour, the fresh sort that doesn’t make you pucker. The eggplant was slightly bland and in each bite I was hoping for some more flavor, or some more cheese. Chicken Tindari is chicken sautéed with vegetables served over penne in burgundy brown sauce with a touch of marinara. The chicken resembled chicken I’d eaten elsewhere, slightly dry, but pasta made the dish worthwhile. The sauce was just the right thickness and clung to the pasta, perfectly spiced while maintaining the freshness of the tomato. A notable thing about Katrinella’s is its reserved use of cheese. Unlike others Italian restaurants, Katrinella’s achieves its savory flavor through the careful pairing and proportions of spice and produce. This type of cooking should be commended; it is like wearing a midriff shirt— exposing everything, something few can pull off. The portions were also very large so we couldn’t finish it all. I decided against bringing home my leftover pasta, but my mother brought home her pasta, which I ended up eating. It tasted just as good cold, meaning that the food was truly exquisite and not just tasty because we were hungry and the food was hot. And my grandmother insisted on taking the bread.
page 5 (theJournal)
More Bread and Jam, please! Mimi Falcone “It’s always been my dad’s dream to own his own restaurant,” remarks Brooke Kolcow, who owns the fresh, up and coming café, More Bread and Jam, in Cohoes. Kolcow, a 2008 Guilderland grad and former Journal editor decided to go into business with her mother (a member of the GHS faculty) and father when the idea was first suggested. The family owned café is a “comfortable and cozy” environment, which attributes to the “café chic” style that Kolcow believes her restaurant embodies. The fairly large and informal stage towards the rear of the shop immediately entices you. The abstract wall art and make yourself at home seating is warm and inviting. These are feelings that go hand-in hand with the family’s environmentally conscientious choice to support other local businesses. In Cohoes, this trendy café is a refreshing gathering place for the community. “There really is something for everyone here,” says Kolcow. There are toys and kid friendly food; an aspect that most trendy restaurants don’t accommodate. This makes it easy for adults looking for a nice cup of coffee or tea to bring their children along and keep them entertained for a few minutes.
In Cohoes, this trendy café is a refreshing gathering place for the community. More Bread and Jam constantly has activities and entertainment scheduled. There is something going on every night of the week. Between live jazz brunch on Sunday and open mic night on Thursday customers are always satisfied. The restaurant is extremely supportive of everyone “with all different capabilities”, “veterans of the professional scene, or those who are just looking to learn a new instrument.” Anyone who wants to show off a new song, try something new, or get up
Above: the exterior of More Bread and Jam cafe in Cohoes, New York. and express themselves, is encouraged to do so. Brook does a great job at emphasizing the fact that “all ages are welcome” including high school students who frequently partake in the numerous musical and social events. Other events are also becoming more regular such as trivia, comedy, and even intense knitting sessions that are “really
fulfilling” and entertaining. Again, beginners are always welcome. While More Bread and Jam is quite new to the area, co-owner Brooke Kolcow and her family “hopes that it keeps growing. And slowly builds by word of mouth.” It is a bit of a drive from Guilderland, but if you’re in the area, or looking for something away
Photo courtesy of More Bread and Jam
from home, it’s worth the trip to pop in and see what’s going on. The new SUNY Binghamton grad hopes that in the future, “more people realize that Cohoes is a good town.” Ultimately, she hopes the stylish side lot café has a positive effect on the outside community in the next few years. As Kolcow sincerely expresses, “we’re here to stay.”
Dave and Buster’s: coming soon
The popular restaurant chain to open in Crossgates Mall Bryce Goyer
Do you miss the old days of running around the playgrounds of Jeeper’s or Chuckie Cheese’s? Do you wish you could still head there for a party without being judged by the families around you? Well there’s a new way to have a fun time and have food without disapproving glances and head nods from parents, Dave and Buster’s. Dave and Buster’s is a new restaurant coming to Crossgates in 2013. Dave and Buster’s have locations all around the United States but before this year the closest one to Albany was in New York City. Now with the newest
branch you don’t have to make the 3 of games to play. Of course the classics hour trek down to NYC. Instead you can of air hockey, Pac-Man, and Dance take the short trip to Crossgates Mall. Dance Revolution can be used as well Dave and Buster’s not only serves as new games such as Monster Drop up tasty, classic American cuisine; and the arcade versions of Doodle it also provides a Jump and Connect fun atmosphere. 4. Games can be Dave and Buster’s played just for fun Hamburgers and fries not only serves up go hand and hand with tasty, classic American or with the option cuisine; it also provides to win tickets that a joyous time. Stop a fun atmosphere. into Dave and Buster’s go to prizes. Prizes and experience a way include electronics to have fun before or such as XBOX 360 after you enjoy your tasty meal. Stop by and Wii Systems, household appliances the arcade and experience over dozens like blenders, NFL merchandise, and of
course plush or stuffed animals. Billiards and Shuffleboards are also Dave and Buster’s staples that allow for a more classy time of fun. Certain locations even include D&B Lanes, bowling lanes that allow participants to experience bowling to music and multi-media spectacles. You can even have a party at Dave and Busters so you can enjoy the craziness with all of your friends! Dave and Busters is sure to be a smash among people of all ages as it has something for everyone, great food and a good time.
theJournal February 2013
Pop Arts New shows debut with hopes of winning over viewers Katie Lamar
The Job, a new television show will be premiering on CBS on February 8th, 2013. This is been said to be a “realitycompetition television series,” with the host, Lisa Ling, being fairly acquainted with the world of television already. She was a co-host on The View, which was broadcast on ABC. The objective of the competitors is to win each challenge thrown at them to move on to the next level. The winner of this show would receive their dream job at their dream company. Yet, with this comes a twist. Through each stage the winner of each challenge will be given an on-the-spot offer to a very good job with a high income,
but would not be their dream job. They Red Widow is a new drama coming have to decide whether to take it or move to ABC on March 3rd, 2013. Based on on to the next challenge at a chance for the Dutch show, Penoza, Red Widow is their dream job. Ramon Monlea, a Junior about a housewife named Marta whose at GHS, has heard about the show and husband just was recently murdered. shares, “It seems like a Throughout the series very interesting show,” you find out what he Comedy Central always which is what most did for a living, why brings the most hilarious TV of America has said it he was murdered and shows I could ever imagine . to be. Becca Tucker, a what Marta does to freshman says, “The protect her family after Job is definitely one of the incident. Martha is the shows I will be checking in on from played by Radha Mitchell, who might be time-to-time, but doesn’t seem like it’s a known for her role in Silent House. This show I would feel the need to watch on a new drama series will consist of eight full regular basis. I guess we will all see what episodes created by Melissa Rosenburg. CBS has in store for us.” The Ben Show, a new sketch comedy
television series will be airing on Comedy Central on February 28th, 2013. Starring Ben Hoffman, the show tells about Hoffman and his life as he goes on different “Life Journeys,” through a series of different sketches. He seeks advice from his therapist, ex-girlfriend and father as he forms a band and does things such as volunteer. The show will be a half hour show and will include Ben Hoffman himself as the man who introduces it in the beginning. When asked about her opinion on the show, freshman Ellery Kemner stated, “I’m excited for The Ben Show, because Comedy Central always brings the most hilarious TV shows I could ever imagine. I’m psyched.”
Across 1. US gov. Intelligence Agency 4. Common house pet 7. Unable to (contraction) 11. German for one 13. Having to do with your nose 15. If only 16. Container for keeping dead relatives on your mantle 17. Alternative medicine procedure for cleansing 18. ______ colada 19. Stitches on clothes 21. End all key on keyboard (abbv) 23. Hearing aid 24. April 15th form (abbv) 26. Not later 28. Get rid of pencil marks 30. ______ Monty Python’s Flying Circus 31. Cut away 33. Heat source 36. Switch 40. Burn soother 41. Italian Public Radio (abbv) 42. Not one _______ ! 43. Loch _____ 44. Religious song, usually dull 45. Walking aids 46. US government conservation agency (abbv) 48. Remains 51. One who takes drugs 52. Mesozoic, for example 53. Vitruvian ____ 55. Common sandwich 57. Gradually move into something 61. On fire 63. Desert water 66. 2nd Roman emperor in the year of the 4 emperors 68. New York Times statistician ______ Silver 69. Public uprisings 70. L.A. ______ (videogame) 71. On the ocean 72. 4g cellphone network 73. Computer controlled video game character (abbv)
Down 1. Massachusetts University established in 1898 (abbv) 2. ______ and Madams 3. _______ Hathaway (actress) 4. Tin ______ 5. Common Enzyme suffix 6. Domesticated 7. Baseball cap 8. Antagonist in Sigourney Weaver film 9. Grandmother 10. Russian King 12. Space Agency Centered in Paris (abbv) 13. Bird homes 14. Loyal Collie 20. Mama _____ 22. Uncomfortable bed 25. Fry twice 27. To harden into bone 28. Son of Aphrodite 29. Peanut butter and chocolate candy
31. 32. 34. 35. 37. 38. 39. 44. 47. 49. 50. 51. 53. 54. 56. 58. 59. 60. 62. 64. 65. 67.
______ for gold Alcohol made from barley Sam ______ (Dr. Suess book) ______ and repeat Problems Had a meal Tap on the head Dock Teen spirit Long lock of hair Motor club (abbv) Bring together Food from heaven If only Penitentiary Zeus to Kronos Famous British boarding school established in 1440 Sea transport Leaves in hot water Drunkard Mineral Suffix Warlike Tolkien character
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RPI Fieldhouse: Passion Pit, Matt and Kim Continued from Page 1
After what seemed like an eternity break, (I used this time to locate friends which had been pushed across the floor by way of crowd surfers and drunken shoving) the more prominent of the two headliners, Passion Pit, took to the stage. This band had more to show than Matt & Kim, a full group of four complete with a drummer, bassist, guitar/synth player and lead singer, along with a larger lights display, so expectations were running high. To those unfamiliar, it wouldn’t be hard to write off Passion Pit as your cookie cutter electronic band, but after listening through a few tracks you would realize they’re much more than that. Opening with a fan favorite from the band’s most recent full length album, Gossamer, “I’ll Be Alright” was able to pump up the crowd from the wait. The lead singer and main composer of most of Passion Pit’s music, Michael Angelakos, seemed to hit every one of his dangerously high notes in perfect synchrony with the quality heard from the group’s recorded music. Having never seen them live before, I
was shocked that such a technologyoriented band could sound so good in person. After going straight into another hit from Gossamer, “Carried Away”, I was officially blown away. Jumping up and down to the great dance beats and soaking in the musical integrity Passion Pit displayed, this band proved to be one of the select-few in the music industry these days that probably sounded better live than on a recorded track. Despite the amazing talent and excellent stage presence, many people
Photo courtesy of Haewon Hwang / The Journal
Michael Angelakos, lead singer of Passion Pit
who attended the concert felt like they were lacking a huge connection with the audience. “Passion Pit definitely did not appreciate the crowd as much.” Miceli admitted. I got a similar feeling too, when after a major shove in the crowd caused Angelakos to stop and tell the fans to “cut the horsesh*t”. After a confused and somewhat defeated glance given by the lead singer at a bra thrown on to stage by a member of the crowd, you could tell that this wasn’t the band’s ideal venue. “I guess having to fend off angry crowd surfers and avoiding people throwing up could make it harder to enjoy the music,” Cleary thought in retrospect, “But you’re going to get that at any concert.” Despite the lack of intimacy with the audience, Passion Pit produced a thrilling and enthralling performance, and after an encore performance of the hit “Sleepyhead”, I really couldn’t complain about much. So maybe it was being kicked in the head a few times during the show, maybe it wasn’t, but if it is possible for music to knock you off your feet, these two bands would likely be able to do it.
Django Unchained: action packed nail-biter Jack Watson
Watching Django Unchained is like being punched in the face. I mean this in the most positive way possible. From the first scene where Django is splashed across the screen in massive red letters, Quentin Tarantino’s latest bizarre masterpiece is an unwavering bareback horseride of sensory overload that doesn’t leave a single moment for quiet and somber reflection. With every film released in the past year alluding to a deeper meaning or a higher understanding, 180 minutes of Jamie Foxx and Christoph Waltz shooting racists in the face gives the viewer a brief gasp of fresh air before knocking the wind from them with a swift kick to the gut.
The film opens with a band of marching slaves being led into the forest by two ill-tempered slavers. Suddenly out of the forest emerges our plot device, Christoph Waltz as Doctor King Schultz, riding a wagon which is sporting a giant tooth mounted on its roof. Doctor Schultz greets slavers, Doctor Schultz kills slavers, Doctor Schultz frees Django. And so the plot is set in motion. The dynamic between Waltz’ character and Foxx’s is immediately apparent, and emerges to be one of the most entertaining duos in recent history. Django serves as The Sarah Jane in the early minutes of the film, illustrating to the audience what Doctor Schultz does for a living (bounty hunter) and as to why he has given Django his
freedom (to track down the brittle brothers, a gang of outlaws). The duo goes on to infiltrate a plantation, kill outlaws, and thwart a mob come to lynch the pair after a mishap with a very angry landowner. Eventually this racially fuelled rampage leads to the Doctor agreeing to help Django’s long lost love, who is being held at a large plantation owned by a maniacal southern dandy by the name of candy played by the one and only Leonardo DiCaprio. Without giving the entire film away, Django stays true to its goals in that it plays out as a tale of African American revenge, love, and blowing holes through the aristocracy. There is not a five minute stretch in the film where a man is not afflicted with high-trajectory forced led
poisoning or ripped apart by dogs, not a moment where there is any ambiguity in the motivation of the hero, and not a moment that the audience is not being shocked by the signature over the top style of every movie Quentin has ever directed. It’s evident Tarantino has done with Slavery and Southern Antebellum culture in Django Unchained what he did with the Nazis in Inglourious Basterds. He completely does away with any grey areas morally between the protagonist and antagonist, rendering the movie nothing more that an extremely gory fairytale. At no point does the audience think to themselves “Is this wrong?” but instead roots for the hero with undivided attention.
The Hobbit: an unexpected movie gem Jake Hill
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, directed by Peter Jackson, is the first of three movies
Graphic by Gerard D’Albon/The Journal
to be released that chronicle the story of Bilbo Baggins as he goes on a rather unexpected journey. The trilogy of movies is based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s book, The Hobbit. These films act as a prequel to Jackson’s Lord of the Rings movie, just as The Hobbit was the prequel to Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings books. T h e Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey begins with Bilbo Baggins in his peaceful home in Hobbiton. Hobbiton is a cozy village where many Hobbits live; tending to their gardens, smoking their pipes, and living
relaxed lives in a very low key manner. Then, one fateful day Bilbo’s peaceful life is turned upside down. Early in the film it becomes evident that Hobbits, and especially Bilbo, are not very fond of adventure. However, after an unanticipated visit from a wizard named Gandalf the Grey, Bilbo is conned into holding a party for a band of dwarves. We soon find out that these dwarves are planning to reclaim their home, The Lonely Mountains, from Smaug, a dragon who took over the Lonely Mountains and the nearby village of Dale in an attack on the village many years ago. Bilbo learns that Gandalf has chosen him to act as a burglar who will help the dwarves with their plan. At first Bilbo is adamant that he will not join the party, but after a good night sleep he is inspired to help and so begins his journey. Jackson’s The Hobbit is also the first major release movie to feature High Frame Rate (HFR). The Hobbit was filmed in 48 frames per second, compared to the industry standard of 24 frames per second. The purpose of filming in high
frame rate is to reduce blur and make the scenes look more life-like. While it achieves this, HFR take a little while to get used to. For the first few minutes of watching the film, it seems as if the movie is being fast forwarded. However, once your eyes and brain adjust, the film seems more vivid and realistic than a typical 24 frame rate per second film. The Hobbit has a running length of nearly three hours, which allows Jackson to add many more details that make the movie a close representation of Tolkien’s book, and in my opinion, a better movie than it would have been if Jackson had made the film shorter and had, in turn, included fewer details in the film. Having read and enjoyed The Hobbit in book form, I was curious to see how the movie would compare. Over all, I thought The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey was a fantastic movie. The fantastic special effects and a good plot easily make up for the long running time and I would recommend it to anyone, whether you have read the book or not.
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When students have diffic and no respect, w
Justina Liu Walls that didn’t quite touch the ceiling divided what once was a supermarket. These divided spaces were classrooms in which teachers taught and students listened. Though often times they didn’t listen, and sometimes they just got up and left. This was the Ulster County BOCES Alternative High School (UCBAHS) where Mr. McBride, now an English teacher at GHS, taught in 1988. UCBAHS was where other schools in Ulster County could send students that were on the verge of dropping out, or any students they didn’t want, whether it was because of attendance problems, legal troubles, or for being so problematic “that the school districts were willing to spend the money to send them to our school,” says Mr. McBride. Many of the students had served time in youth prison, some even in adult prison. “The kids at the school were the same sort of kids I would have been intimidated by just five or six years previously, when I was in high school,” says Mr. McBride. A fight that required teachers to physically intervene broke out about once a month. “We were trained on basically how to take students down: pin them down,” says Mr. McBride. These students did not fear dropping out of school—most wanted to. There were exceptions, but very few. Students who didn’t fight their peers rebelled in other ways. The school had nothing to hold over the students as punishment. These students would not bend under the structure of a typical American education. “So, I really tried to cultivate an interpersonal bond with kids,” says Mr. McBride, “because the only way I could be effective at that job was to be an adult they wanted to listen to.”.
Hormones, Distractions & Detention When Lucas Balzer was in middle school, he got in trouble so much that the Hiawatha House secretary knew him on a first name basis. He pretended he was in the Crips, flashed gang signs at the Tawasentha House principal, and most of all, he talked back to teachers. It usually started with a small offense. Once, a teacher caught Lucas reading a book while she was lecturing. She told Lucas to put the book down and pay attention. Lucas replied, “No. I’m doing your job for you!” Call it sass, disrespect, or the lack of a mental filter—his words bought him plenty of detentions.
It was in middle school that he began to regularly get in trouble, around the time that his parents divorced. “I was like ‘Ehh, I don’t know what to do with my emotions ‘cause I’m going through puberty,’” Lucas says. There were too many distractions for him to have a heart for academics. “You’re racked by like hormones and puberty, and one leg is growing faster than the other leg, and your joints hurt ‘cause your growth plates are all messed up, and it’s like what is going on? Would that be a really motivating time for you?” said Lucas. He was uninterested in his classes and was stubbornly cynical. He couldn’t find a way of channeling his emotions besides acting out. He was punished for it, of course, but punishment had no sting. He wanted to get in trouble. At least he’d get to leave class.
popular groups among the students. Music bridged a lot of racial and cultural gaps and students tended to behave during music class. Outside of music class, emotions still flared and students still rebelled, but more often than before, those who Mr. McBride taught music to would calm down and return to class when he told them to. For some, music class with Mr. McBride was the only school-related thing that mattered to
Reaching students though music
them, so it was used as a privilege that could be taken away. The disobedience and disrespect that the students constantly emitted would push most teachers away, but student-teacher interactions at UCBAHS were more often than not interpersonal. Emotions weren’t held back, words rarely censored, and things out in the open. Mr. McBride got to know most of the students personally, some even intimately. The extent to which he knew and understood students at UCBAHS is less at GHS. The teacher’s responsibility to the academics is far greater. Next year at GHS, he will be teaching more than 100 students, more students than there were total at UCBAHS. There isn’t as much time to know each student, much less to have one-on-one interactions. The interpersonal interactions at UCBAHS don’t present themselves as much at GHS, at least not in the same way. The majority of Mr. McBride’s current students follow decorum. There is less opportunity—or desire—to form personal bonds between teachers and students. “I wish there were more aspects of that now,” says Mr. McBride. “I think that was a very positive aspect of my old job, even though it could be messy.” “Teaching is inherently a human activity, not just a job, which is one thing I personally like about it. To effectively do that, I think you have to have some personal rapport with students.” In the end, only ten percent of students graduated high school. About half of the boys eventually got involved in the legal system, and more than half of the girls had unmarried pregnancies. Mr. McBride has kept in contact with some students, and talked to others after they left high school. Despite how much they rebelled in school, or how their lives eventually turned out, some of the students
When Mr. McBride began his job as a teacher’s assistant at UCBAHS, he was in his twenties and an aspiring musician. He had no expectations one way or another, for it was his first teaching position. He had never felt what it was like to control a classroom: to command the attention of teenagers. But very few jobs could’ve prepared him for the day-to-day events at UCBAHS. The school wasn’t academically rigorous. The goal was to maintain stability in everyday interactions and get the students to graduate. Mr. McBride’s duties as a teacher’s assistant were not only to lecture students on academic subjects, but also to calm them down when they lashed out in anger, negotiate when they stormed out of the classroom, and when worse came to worse, chase them across the parking lot when they ran away. Because the teacher to student ratio was so high, there was time to sit with a student on the gym floor for an hour and talk through problems. He and all the teachers had to accept these kids that other teachers had rejected—because UCBAHS could not have operated otherwise. “I always felt that it was my job to like these kids, and some of these kids were very hard kids to like,” said Mr. McBride. After the school moved to a bigger building and bought some music equipment, Mr. McBride became an unofficial music teacher and gained a different type of respect from the students. At the time, he was part of the band Peacebomb and could play better music than the students, and became someone that the students wanted to listen to. “They didn’t see me as the enemy so much, even though I was the ‘enemy.’” He started by cobbling ensembles together— longhaired heavy metal guitar players with hardcore rap listening drummers. Music tastes began to mix; Mr. McBride learned a lot of guitar parts from Metallica and Slayer,
The students did not fear dropping out of school - most wanted to. There were exceptions, but very few.
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culty learning, no motivation, what can teachers do? later told Mr. McBride that they appreciated the program.“Whether or not they got a diploma, whether or not they avoided incarceration, whether or not they avoided teenage pregnancy, the program meant something to them. In many ways, we were replacing absent adults in their lives.”
Acting out, growing up Half a decade forward in time, Lucas is now in 11th grade. Of all the things he has been punished for within the walls of academia, Lucas says that he regrets nothing. He has no regrets, he says, because he’s happy with how his life has turned out. He has a good group of friends and runs track and cross-country. He takes AP courses and his average is in the 90’s. After he graduates from high school, he wants to enter the French Foreign Legion, get a French citizenship, and then go to college in France. He has a direction in life, and school isn’t so bad. “Wait— I do have one regret,” said Lucas. “Eating the cafeteria fish sandwich—you don’t mess with those.” Though he gets in less trouble now, he’s still clever with his words, and at heart, a hoodlum. He’s more strategic about his defiance; there’s a “cool-down” period for the administration, he explains, after which he can get in trouble again and suffer negligible punishment. Though, the biggest difference isn’t even the strategy, he says, but that he’s grown out of doing bad things because he’s either mad or sad. “Now, I do it because I think I’m right.” One of Lucas’ most hated rules in school is asking for permission to go to the bathroom. So, he leaves without a pass, and when the teacher calls him out on it, he offers an elaborate and offensive explanation. Recently, he has been citing the Geneva Convention, in which not letting someone go to the bathroom was classified as a form of torture. “So, I make the very fair assumption that my teacher would not want to be considered a war criminal and I go to the bathroom. And when I get back I say the same thing to them and they get pissed off because, apparently, they take pride in being a war criminal,” says Lucas. For this, he gets in trouble. But that phrase means little to him, for he believes that he always has the choice in regards to punishment: to physically resist, or accept and say to himself, “How is this even a punishment?” Also, after the first few detentions in middle school, he realized that he could use the time to read. School disciplinary action has done little to reform his beliefs. So, traditional authority figures—principals, teachers—continue to have little influence over Lucas. To him, the majority
of them try to exercise authority that stems from the threat of punishment, something that Lucas does not fear. But anyone who knew Lucas in middle school would say that Lucas is quite a different person now. He’s optimistic, athletic, and academically intrigued. Something certainly influenced Lucas Balzer.
Meaningful connections At UCBAHS, “any authority that staff had with kids at the school had to be earned in some manner or another,” says Mr. McBride. But at GHS, rules are generally followed. Anyone with a Guilderland Teacher ID can expect the greater half of the classroom to listen. If the teacher could get a student to sit down in class, to do his homework, the teacher could be said to be exceptionally influential. At GHS, the power to tell a student to sit down or stop talking is a given. It speaks of the influence of the school rules, but says nothing about the influence of the teacher. So, how much influence can a teacher really have? Mr. McBride deliberately leaves this question unanswered in his mind. “If I thought too much about it… or presumed that I was going to have an influence on students, I think this would be presumptuous, and might even shut down the magical process by which it sometimes happens.” But for the sake of this article, he thought about it, and explained his train of thought. One message he tries to convey through his teaching is that it’s cool to be smart. “Of
Recently, he’s been citing the Geneva Convention, in which not letting someone go to the bathroom was classified as a form of torture.
course, to be convincing in this portrayal it would require me to be both cool and smart—and I may be neither,” says Mr. McBride. And if he continues to ponder this, he could very well lose all of the “cool” and “smart” vibes, however weak or strong, that he once emitted. A teacher can also never really know what’s going to influence a student, says Mr. McBride. Sometimes students who did not participate in class will thank him at the end of the year for something he had forgotten about. Sometimes students who mastered the curriculum will remain unaffected. “So one never knows which seeds will be carried away by birds, which seeds will sprout only to wither in the noonday sun, and which
seeds will bear fruit; in fact its hard to tell what are seeds and what is just dust.” Still, he considers the amount of personal investment a teacher makes in his students—of honesty, of time, of commitment, of emotional availability—an important factor in determining influence. It’s an investment that often yields great return, he believes. “Among the more rewarding parts of my job now is when I feel like there is a personal connection.” But there’s less time and more students at GHS, and still only one Mr. McBride. The requirement of time in personal investment is harder to meet than before, especially because he has three young children. But he takes advantage of the more academically focused students that he now teaches, and makes his curriculum personal. “While I have all of you trapped here, I make you listen to 20th century string quartets and jazz music, become familiar with the fatherly image of Charles Mingus playing bass against the New York City skyline, read Romantic poetry and ancient Greek plays, and, in many other overt and covert ways, try to expose you to those things that have made my own life meaningful.”
It’s the little things Mrs. Kelly’s eyes—big and round, encircled by long mascara-painted lashes—would get even bigger as she feigned enlightenment before a classroom of seventh graders, because a student had correctly named all three subatomic particles. The small woman, often in a white lab coat, was a glimmer of light during Lucas’ gloomy middle school years. “Middle school really bummed me out because I really couldn’t concentrate on school with all the emotional stuff going on,” says Lucas. “But she kind of made academics an even viable thing for me.” Mrs. Kelly didn’t just teach science, she performed it. Every year when she taught atomic structure, she would “drive” around the desks and chairs in her “electron bus,” letting electrons on and off at each stop: motions accompanied by sound effects. Once, when the whole class brought in projects, Lucas remembers Mrs. Kelly stopping to analyze his desk, stare at it for a long while, and say, “That’s a very good project!” “You wouldn’t think it’d be that big of a deal,” says Lucas, “but it kind of adds up over a while.”
Graphics courtesy of Michelle Kang
theJournal February 2013
World and Cultures Beijing smacked with smog storm All time high air pollution levels leave government under fire Michael Zhu China is infamous for its environmental problems throughout the country, which is mainly attributed to its growing economy and population. However, on Saturday, January 12th, smog levels in Beijing soared to an unprecedented level, surpassing all previous reports of pollution and illustrating the persistent challenge faced by the new leaders in China. The U.S. Embassy constantly monitors smog levels in Beijing with the Air Quality Index, which uses standards set by the Environmental Protection Agency. Residents who follow the Embassy’s Twitter feed say that Saturday’s numbers were the highest since the recording began in 2008. Furious, Chinese bloggers immediately attended their posts, describing the smog level as “post-apocalyptic,” “terrifying,” and “beyond belief.” Officials called for residents to stay indoors and avoid exercising after the muddy air darkened the skies, which began on Friday. City authorities ordered factories to scale back emissions and sprayed water at building sites to halt further contamination of the already noxious air hanging over Beijing. Schools in several districts were ordered to cancel out-
door flag-raisings and sports classes, and in an unusual public announcement, Beijing authorities advised all residents to “take measures to protect their health.” Meanwhile, demand for face masks and air purifiers spiked, and hospitals saw surges of up to 30% in residents seeking medical help for respiratory and breathing problems. It was as if “all of Beijing looked like an airport smokers’ lounge,” said Edward Wong, a foreign correspondent for the New York Times. Pollution is severe in cities across much of eastern China. On state media lists of the most polluted cities in China, Beijing wasn’t even in the top ten. The worst city
was Shijiazhuang, the provincial capital of northern Hebei province, which endured eight consecutive days of horrifying pollution levels. Air pollution is a crucial problem in China because of the country’s rapid and steady pace of industrialization, heavy reliance on coal power, explosive growth in car ownership, and, at times, the apparent disregard for environmental laws. Air quality in Beijing is becoming an escalating alarm to China’s new and evolving leadership because it plays into popular antipathy over political privilege and intensifying inequality in the world’s second-largest economy.
Contrary to public belief, Beijing is acting, albeit slowly. Beijing proposed rules that would increase fines for vehicle emissions and force more factory shutdowns when smog reaches dangerous levels. Under the new rules, drivers could face 3,000 yuan ($482) in fines if their vehicles exceed emissions limits, and the construction of new cement and steel plants would be outlawed. The rules will also formalize previous measures, including shutting down factories, cutting back on burning coal, and taking certain vehicle classes off the roads on days when pollution hits unacceptable levels, the Xinhua news agency reported on Sunday. So as the people of China sit in their homes, what is in for them as the whirlpool of pollution swirls around them? Well, no one is sure right now, but the smog level inspired a song parody, which circulated online quickly. “Thick haze permeates every street in Beijing, the pollutant index is worse than the charts can read. I’m surrounded by buildings in a fairyland and I see people wearing masks all over the city,” go the lyrics. “Who is traveling in fog and who is crying in fog? Who is struggling in fog and who is suffocating in fog?”
Graphic courtesy of Gerard D’Albon
Salsa Latina, filled with sizzle and spice Isaac Malsky It seems that most everything on the menu of Salsa Latina is made up of the same four ingredients organized in different ways. Rice, beans, cheese, and ground beef make up nearly every dish. And it is delicious. If you are looking for a more diverse menu with rare things such as vegetables, you could go to Ichiban down the street, but I don’t recommend it. Located along Central Avenue, Salsa Latina is warm and memorable. As soon as you enter the door, the place seems cramped, but in a reassuring way. As if too many people found out about a hole–in–the–wall restaurant which now needs to expand. The booth seats are a little kitschy, and the South American soccer games blaring on widescreen TV’s in the background are distracting, but you didn’t come to have an intimate conversation, did you? Although the service seemed to be moderately slow, the salsa made up for it. Chilled in the fridge, it was crisp and spicy. Without anything else to put out the heat,
the only solution was to eat more. This works as a temporary solution but is a vicious cycle in the long run. The entrées are priced between $12 and $19 but the servings are generous. The menu includes all of the usual combinations found in Latin American food: tacos, enchiladas, and tamales. The Carnitas are especially good. Tender pork tips served with rice, refried beans, pico de gallo and grilled onions come on a plate the size of a small child and steaming hot. The pork tips are very fatty, but extraordinarily savory. Don’t go to Salsa Latina if you’re on a diet. You won’t last. The rice and beans are good but not extraordinary. They tend to get lost in the experience. If you want to sample a little of everything from South America, the Picada Paisa is for you. A combination of chicharon, chorizo, yucca, guacamole, tomatoes and potatoes, the platter will give you a good feeling of what it would be like if the food pyramid consisted of only of meat and grains. The most distinctive part of the platter is by far the chicharon,
or fried pigskin. Don’t get me wrong, I’m Jewish and eating chicharon is probably sacrilege, but it’s worth it. They’re chewy and difficult to eat, but once you eat one you won’t be able to stop. The first bite tastes like insanely meaty bacon, like the pig it came from was a world-class athlete. The dish does tend to be dry and does not come with rice and beans, which are badly needed. Other dishes, such as Carne Asada (grilled steak) or the Pollo al Carbon (charbroiled chicken) are well done, and the presentation of the Carne Asada is particularly nice, but where Salsa Latina really excels is in their pork. Eat as much of it as possible and then order more. It far outclasses pizza as the best cold leftover. Personally, I love rice, beans, cheese,
Graphic courtesy of Rachel Gingrich/The Journal
and ground beef. If I could live on any one dish, it would probably just be a pile of all four thrown together. Taking this into account, it is very difficult to mess up the dishes. By the same reasoning though, it is difficult to stand out and make your food memorable, yet Salsa Latina does this. I love you chicharon, and I always will.
World and Cultures
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School trips offer students unprecedented experience Emily Benson & Michelle Xiong and similar foreign countries are com-
This upcoming spring, students at GHS are preparing to pack their bags and travel all around the world over February and April break. Every year, several teachers organize international trips with EF Tours educational tour company to give students here a chance to see the world. This year, students are able to tour Italy with European History teacher Mr. Baker. GHS Senior Lexi Coy, a student who will be traveling on this year’s trip, voices her excitement. “It’s my first time outside the country, and I’m looking forward to seeing the other parts of the world.” Traveling abroad does not only offer an experience of a lifetime, but also things that the traveler continues to take with them, long after the trip is over. According to a survey done by EF tours, 92% of all students who traveled abroad with a school program claim that they feel more comfortable being immersed in an entirely new and different culture. “I feel that, through these programs, students are able to see how different
pared to their own,” Mr. Baker agrees, “and [students] start to have images of a wider, more interconnected world.” “Travel is essential to being a wellrounded citizen.” English teacher Ms. Audrey complies, “just seeing how others live, interacting with locals in different countries, and experiencing other cultures makes us appreciate what we have a little more than someone who might not leave his or her home.” Though she won’t be joining a group this year for a trip, Ms. Autrey is no stranger to travel having visited nine different countries on previous school trips. All the school trips are organized through the company EF Tours; teachers are instructed to recruit students but get the luxury of not having to plan to trip out for the kids. “Once we get to a country, EF has a tour director meet us at the airport and stay with us the entire time,” reflects Ms. Autrey, “it’s very helpful to have that person do all of the works so
we are free to enjoy the trip and get the most out of our experience.” Travel can be scary for some, but it’s an experience to remember for a lifetime. EF tours never fails to offer amazing and funny tour guides with educational, witty stories about the exotic areas of travel. And Guilderland offers some of the most creditable and kind teachers to have on a
When we were in...
Italy and Greece Sally Slingerland
Photo courtesy of Katie Love/The Journal
vacation so far away. Even if you’re not planning on going on this year’s trip, teachers start recruiting for the following year mere weeks after they return from their current one. And if you’re lucky enough to go on an international trip, keep your camera close by and your ears and eyes wide open, because it’s something you’ll never want to forget.
Paris and Rome Jackie Rogers
Never before having traveled out of the country, I didn’t know what to expect of the 2012 trip and my first glimpses of foreign land. I knew I would visit great tourist attractions and have fun with my friends, but what I didn’t expect was how my outlook on culture changed. Experiencing things like the ruins of Pompeii--not from a textbook--but from a few feet away helped me realize how tangible culture really is. I don’t know if I would have been able to experience Italy and Greece the same way if I had only traveled with my parents; stuck in the streets of Athens, and not knowing how to read the map. Traveling on the school trip left me with valuable memories, and showed me how the rest of the world is always within reach.
My trip to Europe will forever be one of the most exciting trips of my life. Is there anything better than traveling to some of the most beautiful cities in the word with your best friends? The answer is no, there isn’t. In a mere eight days, we traveled through five cities (something that would be nearly impossible to accomplish on your own), and soaked in the sunshine, culture, and gelato. Some highlights of this trip were climbing the Eiffel tower at night, shopping in Florence, and getting lost in the tiny city of San Gimignano. This trip has made me want to return to France and Italy later in my life, because they are the most beautiful countries I’ve ever seen, and I love how different life is in those countries compared to the U.S. Photo courtesy of Emily Benson/ The Journal
Photo courtesy of Taylor Tyksinski/ The Journal
Kate Middleton’s first official royal portrait revealed Royal family responds positively; art critics’ reactions vary Laura Tang Kate Middleton’s first official portrait, painted by artist Paul Emsley was revealed on January 11 at the National Portrait Gallery in London. The duchess sat for the artist twice, and specifically instructed that she wanted to be depicted in her natural, not official, presence. Interestingly enough, the green top worn by Kate in the painting doesn’t actually exist. It was invented by Emsley based on her other outfits. While the royal couple’s response to the portrait was very positive—the duchess remarked that the painting was “just amazing” and “brilliant” and Wil-
liam praised it by saying, “It’s beautiful, it’s absolutely beautiful”—the rest of the public isn’t so pleased. The response from art critics ranges
It’s quite natural, it’s open, it’s straightforward and very pure
from derisive to cruel. The editor of the British Art Journal Robin Simon commented on the piece: “Fortunately, the Duchess of Cambridge looks nothing
like this in real life. I’m really sad to say this is a rotten portrait.” Former editor of Art Review magazine David Lee also gave his opinion: “This is the most bland and predictable royal portrait in living memory.” Not everyone is attacking the painting, though. Many claim that the painting is well done and displays her casually as she appears. The president of the Royal Society of Portrait Painters, Alastair Adams, said the painting shows the natural side of the duchess. “It’s very human - when you look at it, the full face is in front of you, you look straight into the eyes and face,” he said. “There are no airs and graces,
there’s no background context to allude to success or power - it’s very much on a level of one to one with the viewer. It’s quite natural, it’s open, it’s straightforward and very pure - it’s immediate and not overly sentimental.” Although many of these types of opinions are to be formed by the individual, some of the students and staff from the Guilderland High School art department also have some input. “The painting shows her as how she appears,” says senior Gerald D’Albon. “The forms are portrayed well but the overall color and tone could have been more vibrant ,” suggests senior Joy Jing.
Journal February 2013
Pro Michelle Kang Grade school as we remember it is a place of safety, of learning, of play – and when a tragedy such as that of the Newtown, Connecticut gun massacre occurs, the suffering is amplified tenfold. One man with one gun destroyed an entire community, struck an entire nation with grief, and made millions of parents fear what was supposed to be the safest places in their cities. The tragedy has once again ignited a heated debate on gun control, and this is a perfect time to seriously review the undeniable benefits of gun restrictions. Where guns are readily accessible, they can more easily fall into the hands of the mentally unstable and others. In Colorado, for example, one doesn’t need a state permit to buy a shotgun, rifle, or handgun—and incidentally, that was the location of the 2012 Aurora movie theater shooting. In Arizona, one doesn’t need a license to carry a concealed weapon in public—which was where Gabrielle Giffords and several others fell victim to a mass shooting in 2011. Gun laws vary throughout the US, but most alarming is the incredibly easy purchase of firearms on the Internet: online, anyone from lawabiding citizens to terrorists can get just about any weapon they want without background checks, no questions asked. Now along comes this tragedy in Newtown, and what do gun advocates propose? More guns to protect themselves. They vehemently put forth their go-to argument that “guns don’t kill”—but the simple truth is this: guns are meant to kill things. That is what they are built for. Owning a gun is having the ability to kill someone—and only by restricting the availability of these firearms can we prevent these massacres. It may be true that mental instability takes a part in gun violence, but if these mentally unstable people did not have such alarmingly easy access to firearms, it is also undeniable that the massacres such as that of Newtown, Connecticut would also see a decline. Adam Lanza was able to commit his atrocious crime because he was able to access his mother’s semi-automatic assault rifle. Until the law is changed, more innocent people will die. We must disallow citizen ownership of assault and other military-type weapons. Guns and weapons that have rapid, multiple-firing capabilities must be banned. Gun owners when registering their guns must disclose whether anyone living with them has a serious mental illness, in which case, the guns must be locked and stored safely at another location. Serious limitations should be placed on online weapons sales. In other countries, the voting
public has been rightly persuaded by its failings as a society and has taken action against its national shame and grief. This is the law in Australia, for example, where no gun massacres have occurred
Kali Cavanagh Just recently, a woman in Loganville Georgia, located roughly ten miles outside of Atlanta fought off and saved her children from an intruder in her
since home by 1996 when shooting him. the government For law-abiding citiGraphic by Isaac Malsky created strict gun control zens like this who are laws following a terrible massacre. In the merely protecting themselves from UK as well, legislation imposing a unknown danger, having a fire arm can be total ban on private gun ownership (in more than just a petty convenience, it can response to a 1995 gun massacre in a be the difference between life and death. primary school) was passed and had just Guns have been under a great deal 14 firearm-related homicides last year; the of public scrutiny since roughly 1999, US, with a population only five times that the year of the infamous Columbine of the UK, had a staggering 9,369. There High School massacre. Adults and public have been at least 62 mass shootings in officials began questioning whether difAmerica in the past 30 years – and most ferent laws could have prevented Dylan of the killers got their guns legally. Klebold and Eric Harris from attaining While some people flaunt the Second the weaponry that they did. This boiler Amendment, it cannot be said that do- point topic went mainstream and was ing so justifies these murderers’ right to immediately faced by a difference of a gun. Some liberties must be restricted public opinion. The fact of the matter in in a good, safe society—and we are not this incident was that Klebold and Hartalking about a 1984-esque restriction on ris had violated nearly 23 firearms laws freedom of speech or privacy, but simply while amassing their stock of weapons. an attempt to limit weapons that kill in In recent years, public shootings have order to protect exposed victims. The become much more frequent, creating a problem with guns is fairly straightfor- sense of mass hysteria amongst society ward: they make it easy to kill or injure oftentimes over situations that could a person. Having guns does not endorse not have possibly been foreseen or preprotection, it enhances violence. Our vented by additional regulations. Events “gun culture” needs to become a thing as recent as the Aurora shooting show us of the past. Let it die with the old west. that shooters are not acting sporadically but rather meticulously. The Colorado shooter allegedly chose the movie theater specifically as it was a “gun-free” zone, thereby gaining the advantage and assurance that there would be no armed
patrons to derail his plan. The most recent Newtown shooting shows us that psychological wellbeing plays a large part in being responsible for weaponry, the argument however is that the weapons used were registered to Nancy Lanza, not Adam Lanza however the argument boils back down to the same question, would more regulations have prevented such a profound loss of life? Most Americans are painfully aware of the upsurge in violent crimes taking place in the United States. Increasing economic hardships and unemployment have left many desperate and dazed. Statistically speaking, a long-term increase in unemployment generally leads to an increase in violent crimes. In cities that previously thrived, most notably Detroit, violent crimes are up nearly 80% from 2011. Compared with 2009 reports, the number of first quarter homicides in New York City has shot up roughly 22% and there is limited spaces in the overfilled prisons across the country. The NRA (better known at the National Rifle Association) is an American organization that has historically supported and promoted firearm ownership, safety and self defense. The NRA sponsors training courses that promote safety and skill. Congressional staffers have named the NRA the most influential lobbying group in the United States, it’s political activity is based mainly on the belief that gun ownership is a civil liberty protected and upheld by the Second Amendment of the Bill of Rights. While there are many interpretations of the relevance of the Second Amendment and its application in modern day society, to the effect that it is worthy, the Amendment ensures and protects the right to keep and bear arms. When this Amendment was adopted in 1791, it served a different purpose and was exclusive to militia personnel. The modern interpretation of the Second Amendment protects an individual’s right to possess and bear arms. This interpretation was upheld by the Supreme Court in the landmark decisions District of Columbia v. Heller (2008) and McDonald v. Chicago (2010). Gun regulations have been a topic of discussion and a political fire pit for years. The National Firearms Act in 1934 imposed an excise tax on the manufacture and transfer of “certain firearms” while The Gun Control Act of 1968 began regulating the firearms industry and owners. If these regulations couldn’t prevent the tragedies we have already witnessed, why should anyone be so certain that regulations will work this time?
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The obligation of honesty Andrew Fedorov, editor Our role is that of impartial instigator. The role of the opinion’s section is to start a conversation. Our goal is not to present the intellectual landscape of an ideal school but that of our school. The only way to do this is to fully, accurately, and honestly present all the ideas in our school. Only when we know what we are dealing with can we begin to understand and solve our problems. The duty of the opinions section is that of the whole paper: showing truth. Our truth is not told with facts. It is the truth synthesized in your own mind in response to conflicting ideas. The school administration has limited our presentation of certain opinions citing the laws that limit free speech and the fear that some people will be offended by an opinion. We don’t have the right not to be offended. We have the right and duty to be offended when we find something to be wrong but not the right to silence
it’s source. The leaders of our school must show their fitness for their role by displaying their wisdom. The great intellectual martyr Socrates was considered wise because he admitted to being certain of nothing. It would be wise for our leaders to emulate this great man by denouncing a belief in the superiority of their own beliefs, displaying an openness to the opinions of others, and maintaining a belief that through debate comes discovery. Friedrich Nietzsche wrote “When you are hunting dragons beware lest ye become a dragon yourself.” When we try to preserve freedoms and fight for people’s safety and rights we must be careful that we don’t do it by cutting down our old shields and freedoms. We must make sure that you utilise them to their fullest ability to fight for what we believe. If we believe in honesty, we must be honest. If we believe in free speech, we must speak freely. If we believe in free thought, we
The role of the Opinions section
must think freely. If we believe in equality, we must let others believe for themselves. We need to ask ourselves whether we really believe in free speech, or whether we believe that only those who agree with us can speak? Rosa Luxemburg said “Freedom of speech is meaningless unless it means the freedom to speak of the person who thinks differently.” We must protect the rights of that person because in other places and other situations the person may be right and he may be us. We were told that the article would make people feel unsafe in our school. Can we feel safe in a school where we can’t express your opinion? Where what’s on our minds is not fit for our school paper? Where people are hiding thoughts hurtful to us? A false sense of security is the most dangerous thing of all. It is best if the existence of ideas we disagree with is revealed in a safe discussion environment like the Journal with the possibility
that someone’s mind might be changed. Only when we know that ideas we disagree with exist can we effectively avoid fighting a straw man. Closing our eyes to a problem is not the same as solving it. Shutting someone up is not the same thing as changing their minds. Feeling
Only with open eyes can we find clear solutions. safe is not the same as being safe. We cannot, like Oedipus, stab out our eyes for shame. We must face the unpleasant fact that some opinions do, in fact, exist in our community. We, as a community, can not live in blindness thus we must express all that we contain. Only with open eyes can we find clear solutions.
Disciplinary folly run rampant Isaac Malsky
On the Saturday prior to winter break, five students got extended detentions for trespassing on the grounds of Farnsworth Middle School. The students, who prefer to remain anonymous, received disciplinary action ranging from seven days to three weeks of out of school suspension. Despite the fact that none of the students involved posed any danger to the faculty, property, or students of the school, the disciplinary officers gave the student’s harsh punishments. The current penal policy of the school is ineffective and harmful to the students. Taking non-violent students out of school is detrimental to their education, the one thing that public school is supposed to provide above all else. “We went to play basketball. We forgot the ball. We went into the hallway about what to do and I proposed to leave. A teacher saw us and said that we weren’t supposed to be here. We left,” said one of
the students involved. Later, a number of the students who were asked to leave returned to the school but even the person who did not return to the school received 7 days out of school suspension. The students involved have admitted to trespassing and one to stealing a small sum of money. The school initially handled it internally. But now students are additionally being charged by the town. For young adults, the legal system needs to be a separate entity from the school. It is the school’s responsibility to provide an education–not to punish offenses that they aren’t equipped to handle. The distinction between a legal authority and an educational one can be blurred in earlier grades, but by highschool the school should leave pushinment to the courts. The school does not have enough authority to prosecute. Suspension serves no purpose other than to remove students from school. It sets them behind in their work and
distances them from a support system at school. It’s a catch 22. Good kids don’t get suspended but it’s the kids who misbehave who need the most help. Most of the students involved in the case at the middle school had no record, went to the school with no criminal intent, and showed regret for their actions. For misdemeanors, the police have a number of options at their disposal. The police have a number of less severe options while the school is caught between a rock and a hard place. The school has no punishments that they can issue between detention and expulsion except for suspension. Each of the students involved were given 5 days of out of school suspension before they were able to plead their case. In New York City by comparison, the MAXIMUM disciplinary response to entering a school building without authorization is 1-5 days of suspension. The school chose to act first and
hear individual cases later. If the same type of trial occurred in a real court, the case would proceed far more slowly and thoroughly, something that the students involved deserve.. The school needs to be subjected to the same high standards of transparency proven guilt as a real court. The goal of the school is to teach students, and suspending them for extended periods of time does not do any good. When students are suspended from school they are still required to go to night school if they are under 16. Night school only runs from 4:30 to 7:00 four days a week. It is no replacement for regular school. Suspensions should serve as a last resort, not to make an example of students who have otherwise clean records. Suspensions are a bandaid on an amputation. Sending kids away from school for several weeks will only amplify existing problems and make repeat offenses more likely. Misbehavior will only be
The spirit of holiday consumerism Vivian Dai
Every year, the holidays become more and more about spending money on presents than spending time with family. The quality of a kid’s holiday break is now often determined by that of the presents he or she receives. When your friend asks you how your Christmas, or Hanukkah, or Kwanzaa was, would you say, “It was great; I got to spend so much time with my parents”? Probably not. You would say, “It was great! I got everything I wanted,” or “It sucked; I didn’t get anything”. Somehow, over the years, these celebrations of faith, culture, and family have become mere excuses to get something, and giving material gifts to family and friends has become an almost mandatory practice. In fact, especially to young people, getting presents is probably the most important and anticipated part of the holidays. After all, would Christmas be so popular if there were no
presents under the Christmas tree and no such thing as Santa bring gifts to all the nice children? Would people all around the world, even in China, take the time to celebrate it in a secular manner if there were no presents involved? We all know in our guilty hearts that the answer is “no.” Of course, I’m not saying that gift-giving is a bad practice, especially since the giving is mutual in most cases; I’m just pointing out that perhaps too much time, effort, and money is being spent on trivial material goods (especially since we’re still recovering from the Great Recession) and too little thought is put into what the holidays are really about: love, joy, and time with loved ones—things that can’t be bought with money. Of course, during the holiday season, retailers aren’t exactly helping in discouraging people from over-purchasing gifts. As early as October, stores begin putting up various ads and putting out enticing
commercials boasting their spectacular holiday sales with “more savings than ever before!” Retailers often depend on the holiday season to make much of their annual profit, and they mold their display of products to fit to the desires of the consumer, so that during those few weeks in November and December—or even as early as September and October—parents, relatives, and friends flock to stores, malls, and online websites in search of the perfect gifts for their loved ones. According to estimates from the National Retail Federation, American shoppers were predicted to spend just under $750 on average on their holiday purchases this season, with a record percentage of shoppers buying online. On top of that $750, consumers were also projected to make a few more selfish purchases. Fifty-nine percent of respondents surveyed by the NRF said that they’ll take advantage of holiday sales to make non-gift purchases
for themselves and their families. Taken together, American shoppers were expected to spend nearly $140 on these purchases. So add those two numbers up, and you get a sum of $890. $890 to buy the smiles on your family and friends’ faces for a while, to satisfy them until their birthdays, or some other holiday—is it really worth it? Is the stress that comes with trying to find the perfect gift at a reasonable price worth it, when you could have just as much fun for less money hanging out with real live people instead of, say, your new iPhone? The winter holidays, and holidays in general, are simply becoming excuses to get presents from others, often without even acknowledging any feeling behind the gift. It seems that every time someone gives away a present just for the sake of satisfying of someone else’s materialistic desires, they are also giving away the true holiday spirit.
theJournal February 2013
Successful concert for GHS music ensembles
The Guilderland High School music department began the new calendar year with a concert on Wednesday, January 9. For the groups performing, however, it was the culmination of their work since September. Their effort showed in this highly successful concert, kicking off the exciting months ahead. This was a concert featuring some of the most select groups in the school. It began with the national anthem, performed by the Chamber Choir under the direction of Rae Jean Teeter. The choir went on to perform three more selections, the last of which, an arrangement of the holiday song “Baby, It’s Cold Outside,” featured choreography. Following the Chamber Choir was the GHS Wind Ensemble under the direction of Kathleen Ehlinger. The wind ensemble opened with “An American Fanfare,” composed by Rick Kirby, and continued with popular band composer David Holsinger’s “On a Hymnsong of Philip Bliss.” The next selection, “Model T” by Sammy Nestico, was chosen for
the program and conducted by student teacher Jon Keefner from Ithaca College. The Wind Ensemble concluded the concert with the extraordinarily difficult “Songs of Sailor and Sea” by Robert W. Smith. Ehlinger was thrilled with the Wind Ensemble’s performance. “The performance for the Wind Ensemble the other night was just fabulous,” said Ehlinger a few days after the concert. “The kids did a great job. In fact, I listened to the recording of it on YouTube and I had chills up my spine!” Between the Chamber Choir and Wind Ensemble were selections designed especially for this performance by Keefner. A percussionist himself, he organized a marimba trio performance, and in addition, he led student dancers and drummers in “Fume, Fume,” a traditional dance of the Ga people of Ghana. With this concert now in the past, music students can look forward to their future exciting performances. The annual Pops Concert, in which every high school music ensemble performs, is on
Saturday, February 2 at 7:30. The theme for this year is “Pops Swings In,” and all ensembles will perform jazz selections. For the Wind Ensemble, it will soon be time to prepare for the annual New York State School Music Association (NYSSMA) adjudication. At the NYSSMA festival, the ensemble will play three pieces and receive a rating based on their performance. The Wind Ensemble, as with all Guilderland music groups, has a history of tremendous success at NYSSMA, with many past groups earning highest “Gold with Distinction” designations. The choral department, too, has much to look forward to in the spring. In midMarch, the Concert Choir will travel to Washington D.C. to perform and be evaluated at a Heritage Festival. Guilderland nsembles have a record of excellence at Heritage Festivals; at a festival in Boston two years ago, both the Wind Ensemble and Chamber Choir earned top honors. At Heritage Festivals, young musicians work hard to achieve musical excellence in the presence of their peers. “The Heritage Festival combines musicianship
and friendship into one big conference,” says senior Casie Girvin, who performed at the Boston Festival with the Chamber Choir. “You work so hard to get there, and even while you’re there, but it doesn’t even feel like work because you get to do it with your best friends!” In addition, choirs from every district school will be featured at the annual Mayfest on May 14. Guest artist Diane Warner, founder and director of the Capital District Youth Chorale, will work with all the choral groups and conduct in the concert. For the Concert Choir, Teeter has selected Poulenc’s challenging “Gloria,” a six-movement choral masterwork that will be featured in all of their upcoming performances. On January 10, a sign on Ehlinger’s office door read “Great Job, Wind Ensemble and Chamber Choir!” The Guilderland music groups demonstrated their excellence in performance once again with their January concert, and will continue to challenge themselves musically in the spring.
Yo Yo Ma returns to Albany Symphony Greg Eckhardt It was a brisk but calm evening for the Albany Symphony Orchestra (ASO) featuring cellist Yo Yo Ma who played two pieces in his repertoire. First up was the world debut of Clint Needham’s Everyday Life. Next was the Elegy for Cello and Orchestra, composed by John Williams. The penultimate piece was Variations on a Theme by Haydn composed by Johannes Brahms, and the finale was the Cello Concerto in B minor by Antonín Dvoŕák. The program for the evening concert was filled with excitement, technicality, and awe-inspiring music. Commissioned for ASO, Everyday Life is explained by Needham as a life with four children, three triplets and one baby girl. The piece reflects all that you would encounter in a daily routine with four children. It’s full of exciting and crazy melodies, spine tingling brass, and enticing licks from the strings and woodwinds. The piece ends with a very powerful chord - the following silence was chilling. Everyday Life was followed by Elegy for Cello and Orchestra, by John Williams. The piece was Yo Yo Ma’s first performance of the night and led the audience through a heartfelt and emotional rollercoaster. The cello symbolized loss as it played heartfelt melodies and sung the most beautiful chords. Yo Yo Ma seemed to pour his own being into the music and moved the entire audience to a hush at the close of the work.
Johannes Brahms’ Variation on a Theme by Haydn was performed after Yo Yo Ma exited the stage. It was full of the typical chords and melody structures of a Haydn composition, but B r a h m s, an early romantic comp o s e r, assembled t h e piece with h i s own style. W hile listening, you can hear Brahms’ touch, as well as the subtle and significant changes he made to the theme. The
orchestra would leave you yearning to hear the tonic
Graphic courtesy of Gerard D’Albon
chord once again, the solidification of all of the chord changes, but then they would change keys and switch to a different chord. Dvoŕák’s Cello Concerto in B minor served as the finale, and was the star of the program. As a three movement concerto, the piece is filled with emotion. The first movement is dark and filled with angst, echoed by the cello when it first enters, before switching to a more happy melody played by the cello. These melodies are repeated over and over, almost seeking battle against each other. The second movement, adagio ma non troppo (slow but not in excess), is more peaceful and calm. This movement, sad and full of melancholy, is supposed to reflect Dvoŕák’s agony over the loss of his sister-in-law, Josephina. Halfway through, you hear a soli between the flute and cello that some would say represents Josephina and Dvoŕák. The third movement is a sort of march, meant to embrace all that is good. Themes from the first and second movements are reintroduced, and it ends with a climactic, triumphant B major chord led by the brass that gives goosebumps to the audience. The program for this evening with Yo Yo Ma was well planned; it offered many emotions and feelings to the listeners. Yo Yo Ma enticed the audience with his emotional and well-conceived playing. The praise he has earned for decades while playing the cello is well-warranted.
theJournal February 2013
Ski club delivers downhill thrills by Victoria Petkevichus “If you like to ski, have fun, and get out doors, Ski Club is the place for you” said senior John Keegan, Ski Club’s president. Living in the Northeast a common topic around the long, cold winters is skiing. We are surrounded by huge mountains that allow you to experience skiing or snowboarding, the most exhilarating outdoor activity you can encounter. One thing that makes Guilderland High School unlike most other school is our amazing Ski Club program led by the extremely capable Marilyn Davis. For seven Saturdays throughout the winter, we take day trips to different mountains such as, Stratton, Okemo, Pico, Mount Snow, Gore… you name it. What makes this club special is not just the amazing organization by Ms. Davis and the officers of Ski Club, but also the rare chance to visit so many mountains. For any skier or snowboarder, ski club is something you shouldn’t pass up. Thanks to our common interest, we have built lasting relationships here in Ski Club. If you have any concerns over joining the club I can personally put them to rest, the members of ski club will make you instantly feel welcome because they are some of the nicest, coolest and inviting kids in our school. And anyone that’s a member of the organization can tell you
just that. The opinions of anyone will be the same, Jake Dube another senior member, says “Ski Club is great, every weekend you’re doing something amazing with some awesome people… could you ask for anything more?” In a way Ski Club helps you get through the long weeks of winter and pushes you to the upcoming Saturday when you know you will be looking at a day full of skiing. Ski Club’s Secretary Matt Anderson can agree. “Ski Club is the best, you get to spend your Saturdays Skiing/Boarding with your friends and it’s always some- Above: Members of Ski Club on a recent trip. thing to look forward to during the week” a sign up sheet. Ski Club isn’t just a Club; Anyone interested in this club, I highly it’s something anyone who participates recommend you take the initiative and in holds dear. Senior Chrissy Bolognino walk into Ms. Davis’s room and pick up sums up everything perfectly with “It’s a
Photo courtesy of Victoria Petkevichus / The Journal
hard thing to explain, but this club means so much to everyone in it. It really is a chance to spend time and make memories doing something we all love!”
SMS basketball scores with its loyal athletes Andrew Kemp
Photo courtesy of Mohona Sengupta / The Journal
Above: Players battle for the ball in an early SMS basketball matchup.
In the days and weeks leading up to December 8th, anticipation and excitement filled the conversations of Guilderland High School’s recreational basketball players. A fresh season of the 9th-12th grade Saint Madeline Sophie (SMS) league, was almost upon the school. Participants were ecstatic for the return of the weekly league, with games being played on Saturday nights from 5 PM to 9 PM. Talk of the draft, would-be powerhouse teams, and the future SMS Champions swarmed the hallways of GHS. Now several weeks into the season, most players agree that the competitive, yet enjoyable action has lived up to the hype. While arguments over whose team was the best continued right up until gametime, opening weekend brought the talk to a near silent murmur. This was in great part due to the highly competitive and closely contested game-play that took place. With many fellow students and Guilderland residents in attendance, 8 out of the 9 teams participated in action on the 8th. Every one of these four games in the first weekend of play came down to the wire, with every single margin of
victory being in single digits. This set the tone for the following weekends of play, with the majority of the games coming right down to the final plays of the game, in do or die situations. With such equally talented teams, and similarly competitive games, no team has had the significant upper hand going into their weekly outing, leaving for all of the talking to be done on the court. Players around the league agree that any team can pick up a victory on any given night, and this is a key part of what makes the league so exciting and entertaining. Up to this point, almost every team has benefited from the relatively equal spread of talent, with 8 out of the 9 teams having gathered at least one victory. The Green team; led by Jack Hale, Matt Zelezniak, Billy Duncan, and the goofy yet tenacious play of Kedrick Weeden; has taken the most advantage of the close contests, winning their first 3 games by a total margin of 4 points. This consistent ability to hang on down the stretch has catapulted the Green team out to an early 3-0 league leading record. However, as the exciting action rolls on, only time will tell who can hold on the longest and win the SMS Championship.
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Photo courtesy of Pranav Nayak/ The Journal
Above: Guilderland junior Matt Pasquali competes at the Dartmouth Relays.
Catching up with the Dartmouth Relays
Indoor track team travels to New Hampshire to take on best runners in region Brien Miceli The Dartmouth Relays is a meet that all indoor track athletes look forward to. They get a chance to visit the famous Ivy League school for a weekend while competing against the top performing athletes in the Northeast. From Friday to Saturday, the indoor track team members are exerting themselves to their athletic capacity. Junior Matt Pasquali was especially looking forward to this event. Pasquali
As of 2/15/13
Suburban Council South Boys’ Basketball Bethlehem Guilderland Columbia Colonie Averill Park Mohonasen
13-2 11-5 8-6 6-9 5-11 3-12
Girls’ Basketball Bethlehem Colonie Averill Park Guilderland Columbia Mohonasen
15-0 12-4 12-4 7-9 6-8 3-11
earned an amazing 55.96 in his 400 race, placing him only a few seconds from the top runners in the region. Junior Knute Armstrong, another top distance athlete on the team, came in third in the unseeded two mile run with a time of 10:05.17. “I push myself very hard, especially during this meet,” said Armstrong, “because the competition is so fierce, and the athletes are very good.” Pranav Nayak earned a time of 1:32.74 in his 600 meter race, giving him
a good standing amongst dozens upon dozens of runners. “I liked the events I ran in,” said Nayak. “The venue was really neat. Dartmouth has a full 200 meter indoor track, and there were a lot of people which created a hectic, crazy and fun environment.” Runners aren’t the only ones to be celebrated at this meet. Senior Mike Hale placed 12th in the unseeded shot put, his furthest throw being 12.10 meters. Sophomore Lian Larson placed
6th in the unseeded triple jump, leaping 9.23 meters, the best jump of the day by a Guilderland athlete. Most of the indoor track and field athletes look forward to being able to run, throw, or jump at the Dartmouth relays. Regardless of how they perform, they always have a great time attending the meet, and meeting and competing against other athletes.
Platek plays like a professional Kyle Levy A rare occasion has str uck the Guilderland Varsity Basketball team this year. Andrew Platek, a freshman, is what some would say a star of the team. The coach, Ron Osinski, has never in his coaching career had a freshman on Varsity. When Platek was talking to the coach on the last day of tryouts he said, “Coach Osinski said he would not see me as a younger player. He would coach me and teach me just as another player on the team.” Not only is Platek a freshman on varsity, he is a freshman on varsity that contributes a lot to the team and is putting up numbers unlike many others. “Varsity and Freshmen are two very different aspects of basketball. In Varsity the people are bigger, smarter, and more fundamentally sound. There
are no mistakes while you are playing on such a big stage, especially playing in front of our very own Red Sea,” Platek stated when comparing his 8th grade year on the Freshmen team to this year. “Our team enjoys having Andrew,” said Brian Crupi, a senior and returning player on the Varsity team. “Not only does he help us on the court but he is funny and easy going off the court. He is always smiling and creating a positive mood.” “It was quite overwhelming at first, but now that we have a few games under our belt, I feel that my confidence is growing and I don’t feel as though I am the youngest or most inexperience,” Platek remarked, reflecting on his season so far. “Andrew is a great player and deserves every minute he gets.” Connor Burg, another returning senior stated. “It doesn’t bother me at all that he is a freshman and
getting time.” “ Platek gets a lot of time in games that some others do not.” Crupi said, “I don’t think anyone has a problem if a freshman takes their spot. We are all a team and do whatever it takes to win.” “It is difficult to place myself against others in my age group. There is much talent around the whole country. Mind you this is only a small part of New York, but I feel I have some talent that puts me above the average player,” Platek remarked. Platek averages over 10 points per game. “It feels great being on the team. Being around such great talent elevates my game so I can make the team better as a whole.” With 3 more years of Varsity basketball, Guilderland has a lot to look forward to in the future with Andrew Platek.