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Vol. XXIX · Issue IV
Newton South High School’s Student Newspaper · Newton, MA · Established 1984 · November 14, 2012
CAUGHT IN THE TORRENT
As online piracy becomes increasingly popular among students, questions arise over the effectiveness of national and schoolwide efforts to combat intellectual property theft graphic by Ravi Panse
Hyunnew Choi & Joe Joseph Sr. News Editor, Editor-in-Chief
Two terabytes: the amount of information contained in approximately 2,000 copies of the Encyclopedia Britannica or an average academic research library, and also the amount of software and media senior Greg* has illegally downloaded over the course of his high school career. According to Greg and other members of the South community, online piracy of media and software, also known as torrenting, has become commonplace among students due to the prevalence of technology in today’s society. In recent years, this increase in online piracy has raised questions over what should be done at South as well as on a national level to combat online piracy and whether what has been proposed or enacted has actually proven effective. Online Piracy on the Rise The website of the Federal Bureau of
Investigation (FBI) defines online piracy as any action that “robs people of their ideas, inventions and creative expressions,” a trend that the FBI qualifies as a “a growing threat — especially with the rise of digital technologies and Internet file sharing networks.” A recent study conducted by Columbia University verified that this trend toward online piracy tends to be stronger among the younger generation. The study stated that 70 percent of 18- to 29-year-olds said they had bought, copied or downloaded unauthorized music, TV shows or movies, compared with 46 percent of all other adults who had done the same. Instructional technology director and business teacher Brian Hammel said that online piracy has become much more accessible given the abundance of present day technology. “It’s so easy now to take other people’s ideas and put them out there,” he said. “We’re in an age where the deluge of information is immense.”
Senior Charlie Yang also said the advancement of technology has made pirating much simpler and therefore more expedient. “I never watch TV anymore,” he said. “I can just stream it or download it — it’s just way more convenient.” According to sophomore Eliza Beth, in recent years, the effects of a rising trend in piracy have become more tangible. “I used to always get CDs for people on their birthdays,” she said. “Now that’s not a cool present anymore because people can get all their music online for free.” Monetary Motivation The decision to pirate comes easily to students not only because of convenience but also because of practical reasons, according to Hammel. “We’re talking about product A, which is $100, and product B, which is free,” he said. Sophomore Sophie Menashi agreed that students are attracted to online piracy as a free alternative to purchasing content. “A
lot of high schoolers don’t have the money to buy all of their movies and music,” she said. “So the way to get all of it would be to pirate and use torrent sites.” Yang said that he does not feel remorseful about pirating from large music companies because he feels his act will have little to no financial effect on the targets of his online piracy. “Most of the artists I download from are probably rich enough,” he said. “I sometimes feel bad, … but I do it anyway.” According to Hammel, however, the pecuniary aspects of online piracy have had disastrous effects on music companies in particular. “From a business standpoint, the music industry has completely fallen apart,” he said. “There was a hunger for an alternative way to get music, and it’s partly the industry’s fault for not keeping up with the new way people wanted their content.” Although creating an accurate picture PIRACY, 4
INSIDE THIS ISSUE:
Racial Groups The Roar looks at racially homogeneous social groups within South
Senior becomes U.S. citizen, reflects on what it means to be American
Classes designated as inadequate bar students from college athletics
NEWS 3 FEATURES 8 EDITORIALS 14 CENTERFOLD 16 OPINIONS 21 COMMUNITY 25 SPORTS 28
november 14, 2012
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news volume 29
november 14, 2012
1mil South Spots Frosh Play The freshman play, “Self Portrait,” will be performed on Nov. 15, 16 and 17 at 7:30 p.m. The play is a collection of 10-minute skits with the common theme of identity. Canadian College The South guidance department will sponsor an informational meeting for parents of juniors and seniors who would like to know more about attending a college or university in Canada on Wednesday, Nov. 28 at 7 p.m. Marc A. Jacques, the Economic and Academic Affairs Officer at the Consulate General of Canada in Boston, will be a featured presenter. Newton Inspires The PTSO will host Newton Inspires, an evening promoting ideas and community, on Wednesday, Nov. 14 at 7 p.m. Notable speakers will include NPR host Tom Ashbrook, Boston Globe film critic Ty Burr, extreme athlete and author Jothy Rosenberg and Newton Public Schools Superintendent David Fleishman.
a 60 percent increase over the current funding, would cover repairs to streets and sidewalks to help bring Newton’s main roads back into efficient condition
.5mil would add four new police officers as well as new cruisers and techonology to prevent house break-ins and help reduce the number of bikeand pedestrian-related accidents
4.5mil would go toward covering enrollment growth in Newton Public Schools, including costs for additional teachers, professional development and technology
Mayor Setti Warren proposed an $8.4 million tax levy limit override to fund a list of projects that would help Newton schools and facilities. The proposal will be under Question One on the ballot in March 2013.
2mil would fund the relocation of the Newton Fire Department’s Wires Division and the rebuilding and the renovation of the fire headquarters in Newton Centre
Teachers question NEASC standards Julie Olesky & Sasha Kuznetsova
Sr. News Editor, News Contributor Teachers and administrators have begun preparing for the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC) evaluation in 2015, when a team of teachers will visit South to assess its teaching quality and mission by talking to students, faculty and parents. NEASC, a high school and collegiate accreditation committee, evaluates all high schools and colleges in New England according to its own criteria. In order for a school to receive accreditation, it has to meet a minimum set of NEASC standards. NEASC members visit schools for four days, gathering information for 14-16 hours a day, from the beginning of the school day until after school activities end. After each school day, the members write up the information they gathered about the school, and by the end of the evaluation process, compile it into a collaborative report. Principal Joel Stembridge, who was a former assistant and a chairperson for NEASC surveys in schools other than South, said that visiting other schools has allowed him to improve South’s curriculum. “I love seeing other schools and seeing the programs they have designed to help solve their problems and then thinking about our school in relation to that,” he said. “You learn a lot about yourself when you get to view yourself through a different lens.” Music teacher Ben Youngman took part in evaluating Duxbury High School as part of NEASC the week of Oct. 22. According to Youngman, NEASC creates valuable opportunities for a school to improve according to NEASC’s standards. “It’s pretty thorough and [NEASC’s] standards are pretty
set,” he said. One standard NEASC encourages is a unified curriculum in order for each department to be organized in the same way. According to Stembridge, “a teacher coming in the door has a simple way of understanding what the course is intended for them to teach, and they have the experience of teachers who have taught the course before. The idea is so that all students will benefit from the best practices the teachers are employing because together we’re better than any one teacher.” Although Stembridge said that NEASC benefits school systems because of its specific standards, math department head Steven Rattendi said he believes that several of the standards are not applicable to South. For example, Rattendi said that NEASC requires every student to take at least one year of a heterogeneously grouped core subject course. “There’s such a diversity of [those] skills sets that it would be very difficult to have everyone in the same classroom,” Rattendi said. “It just doesn’t seem to make sense, at least from a standpoint of student learning. Being able to meet everyone’s needs in that wide range would be quite difficult.” Stembridge agreed that some aspects of NEASC do not benefit all schools. “I like it as professional development, but I don’t necessarily agree with every indicator that NEASC sets forth,” he said. “Part of the reason why I do it is because it helps me understand what NEASC is asking for schools to do, and I get ideas for how different schools have solved some of the problems that NEASC presents.” According to English teacher Robert Jampol, NEASC has changed its evaluation criteria in a way that encroaches on South’s independence as a school. “Now NEASC comes in with a whole
bunch of criteria that we may or may not approve of, … but we don’t have any input into the criteria for how NEASC judges schools,” Jampol said. “Since this is such a strong school, I don’t see why [NEASC] should come in.” History teacher Rachael McNally also finds it frustrating that the focus and requirements of NEASC tend to change every 10 years. “It takes a long time to make changes at school and an amazing amount of work,” McNally said. “You would hope that this change could last 20 years, but what seems to happen is that you work to make the change, you make the change and then it’s time to make a new change. I’m not opposed to the constantly evolving need for new ideas and ways of doing things, but if every 10 years we bail on the stuff that was considered so important, that just seems suspect to me.” Despite disapproval of some of NEASC’s enforcements, the evaluation benefits the school’s status. According to Stembridge, having NEASC’s evaluation is a plus on a student’s college application, as NEASC also assesses most colleges. Jampol, however, said he does not believe in that attending a NEASC accredited school will help a student get into college. “People will accept students from South regardless of NEASC,” he said. Despite the changing expectations of NEASC, according to Youngman, NEASC helps teachers and administrators focus on their school’s goals and values. “If we as a community can come together, figure out [what we want to accomplish as a school], put it down on paper and then live by it, it would just make this school even better than it already is,” he said. “It would give us a sense of community, which is what we need more than anything.”
november 14, 2012
Online piracy widely practiced among students PIRACY, from 1 of online piracy’s effect on the music industry is difficult, a study by the Institute for Policy Innovation supports Hammel’s claim, estimating that music companies suffer $12.5 billion of economic losses due to pirating every year. Menashi said that she is aware of the cost of pirating, which is why she does not pirate content. “I know that the music and movie industries are suffering because of online piracy because a lot of their revenue comes from selling music and movies,” she said. “I know it doesn’t seem like it has a big impact now, but in the future, while more and more people are going digital and not paying for their music and movies, it will have a big impact.” The Wrong Thing to Do? According to senior Wendy Ma, the increased prevalence of online piracy lessens the guilt one might feel after pirating another person’s content. “It’s so widely available and so many people do it that it just doesn’t seem like a big deal anymore,” she said. For Menashi, online piracy is an act equated with theft, and to her, the act stems from student’s lack of support for artists. “If you really like something, you’d think you’d want the person who created it to get some retribution for that,” she said. “When you take what artists have made for free, it’s kind of going against that.” Hammel said that the issue of online piracy is very complex, which explains why moral objections have not stopped students from pirating content. “It’s a huge multi-layered problem, and I don’t know that it really boils down to are you a good person or a bad person or do you have morals or not,” he said. “I think it’s deeper than that, and it requires a lot of thought. Every situation is different.” Hammel agreed that the act of online piracy feels less direct than that of actual theft. “[A person who pirates content] doesn’t get that direct sense of ‘Oh, I’m hurting some business,’” he said. “In a way, you don’t feel bad about it.” Legal consequences for pirating copyrighted content can include hefty fines and in some cases jail time, a truth that many students choose to ignore. Yang said that although he is somewhat aware of these consequences, this awareness does not faze him. “You hear all these stories about people getting fined disproportionate amounts of money, and if it hasn’t affected you, you feel like it doesn’t exist,” he said. “It just seems so far off.” Librarian Marnie Bolstad agreed with Yang in that students have a mentality of “it would never happen to me.” “[The laws] simply are not enforceable, and students intuitively know that,” she said. On the other hand, Menashi said she thinks the risk in pirating content is too great to justify the act. “[Online piracy] is illegal, and I don’t want to do something illegal. I know it doesn’t seem like a big thing, but it is a legitimate crime,” she said. “Usually, once a year, they find someone who owes an incredible amount of money just to make an example, and I don’t want to even have a chance of that happening to me.” Despite how detached some students might feel from the consequences of online piracy, Greg said that he has had to deal with the legal implications firsthand. Greg said his extensive pirating has resulted in two warnings from his Internet provider. “Basically, a company will go on the torrent and copy all of the IP addresses of people downloading their content,” he said. “Then they will contact [an internet provider like] Verizon and contact me.” Sophomore Adam DeAngelo said he knows of other students that have had similar experiences. “One of my friends got a phone call from Comcast [about pirating],” he said. When he received his first warning, Greg said he did not feel scared, but rather completely undaunted. “My mom forwarded me the email
warning; she was sort of freaking out,” he said, “and I was like ‘Oh, well, it’ll be ok.’” A Battle Headed South For Greg, the legal action taken against him by Verizon did not discourage him from online piracy in general, but rather convinced him to start pirating at school, using public Wi-Fi, as opposed to at home. Newton Public Schools instructional technology director Leo Brehm, however, said that he has not noticed an increased trend in online piracy on the school network. “We’re not actively hunting it down,” he said, “but we do monitor the network for that sort of traffic.” Although the Newton Public Schools Internet Safety Policy explicitly states that any student caught “using the [school] network in a manner that would violate any U.S. or state law,” such as online piracy, “may have her/his network access privileges suspended and may also be subject to a disciplinary action,” Greg said administrators are doing nothing to enforce this policy. Greg said that instead of targeting online piracy, administrators have chosen to focus on controlling other uses of school Wi-Fi, making it easier for him to take advantage of the network. “The school can block Facebook, but they don’t block pirating sites,” he said. Beyond the actual act being committed in the school Wi-Fi network, the trend toward online piracy has raised questions over whether South should be doing more to educate students on the principles behind online piracy. Brehm said that Newton’s public school system does “run a curriculum about copyright infringement and intellectual property and what they means” in grades K-8. “I would hope that we are building a foundation that’s reinforced through the curriculums at all schools,” he said. Within South itself, some students and faculty members have brought up a connection between the anti-plagiarism program and efforts to stop online piracy. Librarian Jennifer Dimmick said she sees plagiarism as the next step in the deterioration of morals after pirating. “At the highest level, it’s all about intellectual property rights,” she said. “Pirating is just getting something that you didn’t pay for that is copyright protected, and plagiarism is the next step of incorporating it into your own work.” As of now, there are no measures in place to directly connect online piracy and plagiarism in South’s curriculum. Dimmick said the specificity of the antiplagiarism curriculum leaves little “luxury of time” for linking ideas to online piracy, though she believes students could benefit from such education. “We get through the anti-plagiarism technicalities and hope that we have a little extra time to say … ‘It’s just like the other side of your life where you’re listening to music, where you know if you take [something for which] the artist is not getting paid, that’s piracy,’” she said. “It helps to link the two because the students can relate to the issue of music and videos and online piracy. They at least know what it is, and it feels less academic and dry.” Senior Wendy Ma said that there is a connection between online piracy and plagiarism, but that ultimately, online piracy is impossible to regulate. “Torrenting is a type of stealing, sharing, so you could make the same argument with lies cheating and plagiarism, but [online piracy] is something that’s always there — something you can’t prevent.” Menashi agreed that piracy is a personal issue that South should not address. “I don’t think that South should interfere with piracy because South doesn’t and can’t interfere with every aspect of a student’s life,” she said. Beth added that a problem in combating piracy and plagiarism together is that the acts PIRACY, 6
The Roar surveyed 204 students on Nov. 6 concerning online piracy Have you ever pirated content before?
If yes, what do you mainly torrent?
Are you aware of the legal implications associated with online piracy?
november 14, 2012
On Nov. 10, the City of Newton held India Cultural day, a celebration of Indian music and art that city officials hope to make an annual event
It was a time for Indians in Newton to come together and show off to the community how rich the culture is. - Saranya Ramadurai, Class of 2014
photos by James Wang
Check out more photos of the India Cultural Day online at www.thelionsroar. com, or scan the QR code to the left
The Results Are In Eric Allegro
Stay Classy, America
Democracy is at hand. On Tuesday, Nov. 6, millions of Americans went to the polls to voice their opinions. Millions across the country also sat at home and watched the results on their favorite and/ or most trusted news channel. My family alternated between MSNBC and Fox News for most of the night. Fifty percent of voters ensured a fairly close victory for the incumbent, President Barack Obama, who will have four more years in the White House. Mitt Romney, who only received 48 percent of the popular vote, was defeated, but he kept his head high and delivered an uplifting and gracious farewell speech to his supporters in Boston. The actual election was unsurprising. Almost everything went according to the polls’ predictions. The only interesting state was Florida, which went back and forth between candidates the entire night, leading to speculations from analysts across the political spectrum. Obama won by a wider margin than projections indicated, in part due to his strong performance in the swing states of Colorado, Nevada, Ohio and Virginia. Romney sorely needed to win these states in order to be truly competitive. Most importantly, what has really changed after this election? Obama is still the president of the United States, Republicans still hold a majority in the House and Democrats still hold a majority in the Senate. There is still only a minor political presence from third parties, even though the views of most people in this country align better with a third party than with a major party. Yet, the belief persists that a vote for a third party is a waste, which is a shame because most people end up settling for a candidate rather than voting for the one with which they agree the most. This leads me to the topic of 2016. Who is the strongest candidate for the next presidential election? For the Democratic Party, it is probably Hillary Clinton. Her failed run in 2008 has probably only left her with a greater desire to enter the race. The Republican Party has many more options. Potential candidates include popular New Jersey governor Chris Christie, former Florida governor Jeb Bush and Florida senator Marco Rubio. Yes, not much has changed, but in my opinion, no news is good news. The next four years will not be terribly exciting, but they will be better than the last. Personally, I am pretty happy with recent events. Stay classy, America.
november 14, 2012
G OO D INTENTI N G O NE BAD S
Food waste increased after the federal government instituted a policy requiring schools to provide fruit and vegetables with all meals Fiza Ansari & Anisha Dam News Contributors
“Take a fruit” has become a common phrase echoed through the lunch lines of the cafeteria. The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, which was inspired by Michelle Obama, requires schools to serve meals that include a compulsory serving of fruits and vegetables. South has recently begun to institute this law, which was created for the purpose of promoting balanced meals and healthier eating habits. A sudden increase in food waste, however, has created skepticism about the policy’s effectiveness among students. Sophomore Nooriya Cheema said that forcing students to take fruit with their lunches only encourages waste. “Everyone shouldn’t be forced into taking fruit, because when you force someone to take a fruit, they are probably going to dump it,” she said. Although custodian John Lawless said he acknowledges the positive intentions of the law, he said he has consistently had to clean up after students who leave behind uneaten fruit. Like Cheema, Lawless said food waste is an inevitablility, considering the nature of the new policy. “This policy could encourage benefits of healthy eating but a lot of waste is being produced. More than anything, it just comes off as
an arbitrarily imposed mandate by those in charge,” he said. “Most of [the fruit] either ends up in the trash or on the floor or smashed to the walls. The trash bins are full of uneaten fruit, and … there is more fruit thrown away this year than any year before.” Junior Matthew Joe said the subpar quality of the fruit also discourages students from consuming what has become a required part of their lunches. “I buy lunch almost every day, and I also throw out the fruit mainly because the fruit is not ed-
“By eating fruit, the kids are getting vital nutrients which are good for their health,” Petrizzi said. Cafeteria staff member Joy Bocci said that unhealthy eating habits of high school students have prompted the enforcement
This policy could encourage benefits of healthy eating, but ... there is more fruit thrown away this year than any year before. - John Lawless, custodian ible. Both the quality and the taste are terrible,” he said. Cheema agreed with Joe and said that the fruit’s poor quality is her primary reason for throwing it away. “It’s not that I want to intentionally dump food, but the fruit is genuinely tasteless and inedible,” she said. Wellness teacher Lisa Petrizzi, however, said that students should consider the nutritional value of fruit before throwing it away.
of the policy. “I most certainly believe that this is a good law and will promote healthier eating among high school kids,” she said. Bocci said that South’s administration must find an effective way to save the fruit and make better use of it. She said that finding these alternative uses would help with the waste management. “I don’t agree with all the waste that is being created as a result [of this policy]. Children are throwing away the healthy fruits
photo courtesy of public domain
and vegetables without realizing how much they are wasting,” Bocci said. “The school should install bins around the cafeteria where students can deposit uneaten fruits. So instead of throwing away the uneaten fruit, why don’t we just collect it and either donate it or reuse it? This way we would probably cut back on the waste.” “The fruit should [be collected] and given to people who want it or donated to local families in need,” Petrizzi agreed. “It’s a waste of food that other people [who needed it] could be eating.” Cheema said that though the school can indeed take initiative to create solutions to the waste while still enforcing the policy for its health benefits, waste will most likely continue to be a concern as long as the policy is in place. “Just because one kid is going to eat the fruit doesn’t mean that we have to spend the resources to buy fruit for 100 kids who are ultimately going to throw it out,” Cheema said. “The cost and waste of production clearly outweigh the health benefits.”
Efforts to combat online piracy fall short PIRACY, from 4 vary with specific qualities of each person. “It’s definitely about the type of person you are,” she said. “You could have a really good student that never plagiarizes but likes to watch movies [illegally] online.” According to Dimmick, online piracy even on a personal level reflects directly on the values South is instilling in students. “If somehow ,somebody did go after a student [for pirating], right away, the question arises of ‘What is Newton South doing teaching about copyright policy?’” she said. “[As a student,] you are a representative of this school, whether you are doing schoolwork or not.” Beth said that the trend in online piracy is related to plagiarism in that it reflects a more general failure of the average student to comprehend the principles of exchanging information morally. “I think that we’re becoming too comfortable taking information from lots of
places and not understanding what we’re getting,” she said. “Everyone takes photos, stories and information from everywhere, especially because of the Internet, so everything is sort of losing meaning, and that’s a little troubling.” The National Perspective In recent years, national attacks on online piracy have expanded beyond South, culminating last October in the creation of the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) bill. As its title suggests, SOPA was a direct response to online piracy that would make it easier for companies to censor websites. The proposed legislation proved largely incapable of preventing online piracy and thereby incited widespread national backlash that was echoed in the South community to varying degrees. Dimmick said that legislation such as that proposed in SOPA is impractical and she does not see it affecting students. “It is so easy [to pirate] that I think ultimately, they’re going to
have to relax some of these stipulations.” According to Greg, these national laws target the wrong people. “I think [lawmakers] should not go after the consumer, they should go after the distributor,” he said. “It’s sort of like arresting people for having a joint as opposed to going after the Mexican drug cartels.” Menashi said that if the trend in online piracy continues to develop, laws like SOPA will only emerge more frequently and with tighter regulation. “Right now, the level of piracy going on is pretty high, but there’s no strong enforcement to stop it; as the piracy trend increases, laws are going to get stricter,” she said. “I know that SOPA was trying to eliminate piracy, but it infringed on first amendment rights, so I feel like the more the trend continues, the more push there is going to be to enforce laws that aren’t good for the internet as a whole.” *Name changed to protect student’s identity
november 14, 2012
A RAIN CZECH
The Prague trip’s recent cancellation highlighted the program’s unique opportunity as a cultural experience Nathaniel Bolter & David Li News Contributors
Next April’s Prague trip has been canceled because of an insufficient number of available advisers, prompting a discussion over what differences there are in the alternative travel programs open to students. In past years, the Prague trip has offered students the opportunity to participate in 10 historical and cultural workshops which take place within Prague, Czech Republic, as well as in a variety of other cities visited including Amsterdam, Netherlands and Berlin, Germany. According to history teacher and Prague trip adviser Jamie Rinaldi, the Prague trip’s cancellation was due to his and other advisers’ involvement in other educational and mentoring programs that do not allow them to leave for the eight-day time period. He said that this cancellation is temporary, however, and the program should be offered again next year. Special education teacher and Prague Trip adviser Jennifer Braman said that the trip attracts students who want an opportunity to study history in a different environment. “I think that [the Prague trip] appeals to kids who like learning experiences where they’re not just learning about history but
actually going to see it,” she said. According to senior Keegan Stricker, who went on the Prague trip last April, a heavy focus on culture makes the experience unique. “The one thing about [the Prague trip] that kind of makes it so special is that you’re experiencing these three entirely different cultures from Europe in an educational fashion while still [having] wicked fun,” he said. Junior Joey Cohen, who said he was looking forward to attending the Prague trip this year, said that his interest in educational and international travel opportunities made the trip appealing. “Going on a trip out of the country, especially to Europe, is awesome [for] someone who enjoys history,” he said. Rinaldi said he does not think the cancellation of the Prague trip will have a large impact on students because the cancelation is not permanent. “I don’t really know if there is anything to be missed out on,” Rinaldi said. “Twenty students won’t go to Prague. I guess that’s the obvious answer.” Stricker said that despite plans for holding the program next year, some people, such as this year’s graduating seniors, will miss out on the opportunity altogether. “What [participating students] gain from [the Prague trip] is so much, and it
really sucks for those people that [don’t get to go],” Stricker said. “It’s a big loss.” Other travel programs offered to students include the Nicaragua and Peru trips, which world language department head Suzanne DeRobert said maintain the social aspect of traveling abroad, but instead strongly emphasize service and language immersion. “[The Peru and Nicaragua trips] focus primarily on community service. [Students] have a whole list of community service projects,” DeRobert said. “The programs are also linguistic programs, meaning that we expect that the students are going to be speaking the language while they are abroad, so that is a major component,” she said. DeRobert added that because language and service shape the structure of the Peru and Nicaragua trips, they are not as educational as the Prague trip. “The Prague trip is very much linked to the school curriculum, so [students] prepare,” she said. “I know they do a lot of readings, and they watch a couple of films
together, so they really study the history of Prague and the [surrounding] region.” In terms of other travel programs at South, history teacher and adviser for the Washington D.C. “Close Up” trip Robert Parlin said that while “Close Up” does offer a historical experience, the Prague trip and other travel programs are significantly different because they focus on international travel rather than domestic travel. “[The ‘Close Up’ trip] has a very narrow focus on politics and U.S. government whereas the other trips are more about experiences, meeting people from other countries and helping out in places in need,” Parlin said. Stricker said that the Prague trip is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity unlike any other program offered at South, and he wishes more had been done to try and preserve the trip for this year. “[The trip] offers such a unique perspective, and I think that is just so valuable,” he said. “To cancel a trip that gives so much opportunity to witness firsthand the history that we’ve been learning about [is] just a pretty bad move.”
photos by Emily Ho
Senior Keegan Stricker traveled to Europe over April vacation last year and visited historical sites in Amsterdam, Berlin and Prague, including the Prague Astronomical Clock seen above.
features volume 29
november 14, 2012
Students with disabilities take extra measures to navigate South’s crowded hallways in the five minutes between classes
By Maia Fefer and Sophia Fisher photo illustration by Yu-Ching Chang and Kylie Walters
Despite faculty accomodations, students with disabilities, such as freshman Marianne Mahoney, struggle to navigate crowded halls in the five minutes of passing time alotted at South.
he 135 minutes of passing time between each man year, said that she too has struggled to travel between a different time, but its a little bit easier for them,” Wade class leave freshman Jacob Epstein, who does said. classes with only five minutes of passing time. In order to not have a disability running from one room to There is work to be done socially, however, accordprevent injury to herself and others in case of a seizure, the next. “For me — and I walk at a fast pace — Liverman took the elevator instead of the stairs between ing to Liverman said. When walking through the halls, going from the 2000s to the 6000s and back on WednesLiverman said that hearing jokes about her epilepsy or floors at South. days is a tough trek, and that usually takes seven minutes other disabilities offends her. Now, nearing six months without having a seizure, just to get through the hallway,” Epstein said. “I think it’s “The only thing that bugs me is that people say, Liverman is again able to take the stairs. Liverman said challenging for everybody to make it where they’re sup‘You’re so retarded’ or when [someone] said, ‘She had a that when she took the elevator, it was challenging to posed to be,” Epstein said. seizure, and it was the funniest thing ever.’” make it to class on time. According to students with disabilities, this hallway Kristine Stone, one of three inclusion facilitators “[When I took the elevator], I would be late to a lot trek can induce an extra layer of anxiety for both logistical of my classes because ... I’m not the only one that needs to at South, agreed with Liverman that South generally acand social reasons, though teachers and administrators commodates students with disabilities very well. “Newton take the elevator,” Liverman said. “Other people need to are working to alleviate unnecessary stress. South is a very including place where students can feel use them too. It just took a while.” Freshman Marianne Mahoney travels through free to be themselves and to go where they want and be in Senior Andrew Schneider is visually impaired South using a motorized wheelchair. the classes they want to take,” Stone said. and said he often struggles to navigate the halls of South “When people don’t pay attention, they bump into Stone said there is nevertheless room for improvebecause of crowding. me,” Mahoney said. ment in terms of social interaction at a school as busy as “Because people are in the way, ... I bump into Mahoney moves from class to class South, and particularly in a hallway setting. with an inclusion facilitator, an aide who “We can all work as student, staff and There are a lot of people in the hallways trying to get to helps her navigate the halls, Mahoney said faculty toward being one community that classes, and I can’t travel as quickly as them. that the presence of an aide makes passing really embraces each other and which takes time more manageable. the little time it takes to say hello or to -Marianne Mahoney, Class of 2016 “Whenever I’m walking down — well, zooming smile,” she said. down — the hallway, my aide is always with me,” Mapeople with my cane,” Schneider said. “It’s a little hard to Wade agreed that students with disabilities would honey said. “[The presence of an aide] makes me feel a lot walk in the hallway.” benefit from South students making a concerted effort to more comfortable because when people bump into me, Struggles in the hallway do not extend to classroom be more aware of others in the halls, though that is not then [the aide] is there.” learning, though, according to Liverman. “Our school as always possible. “The only way that [Schneider] knows Mahoney’s brother, sophomore Pat Mahoney, a whole is really great with people with disabilities and that people are in front of him is with his cane ... If they agreed that inclusion facilitators have been beneficial. “It’s disorders, and they accommodate anyone that has a disdon’t move out of the way, it’s hard for him to negotiate definitely helpful that she has an aide with her who knows ability or disorder extremely well,” Liverman said. “In my which way to go,” Wade said. “If the kids are not paying the school,” Pat said. “That’s probably one of the biggest case, [because] my meds make my memory awful, [teach- attention and don’t see him, they might not even move things that is really helping her.” ers] let me have extra time, and they want me to take in out of the way either.” Tardiness, Mahoney said, continues to be a probnotes [when I take] quizzes.” According to Stone, accomodation of students lem, despite the help the school provides. “There are a Denise Wade, who teaches students with visual with disabilities will take effort, but could create a more lot of people in the hallways trying to get to classes, and I impairments and works with Schneider, agreed that the positive atmosphere in the hallways for all students. “Any can’t travel as quickly as them,” Mahoney said. At Brown South administration has worked effectively to alleviate student with any disability or injury can be accommodatMiddle School, Mahoney was permitted to leave class the struggles of passing time for disabled students. “The ed for if everyone is willing to work to make it happen,” early to avoid crowded hallways. administration will let [disabled] students use maybe the Stone said. “Smiling at anyone you see [and] opening the Senior Avra Liverman, who was diagnosed with elevators that the [other] kids can’t use or ... let them pass doors is a big help for everyone, not just kids with disepilepsy after she had multiple seizures during her freshat different times, so that they get to their classes maybe at abilities.”
november 14, 2012
Mika l Mind
Freshman Mikaeel Yunus proves his abilities above grade level photo by Kylie Walters
Freshman Mikaeel Yunus excels in AP math and science courses typically offered to seniors and dreams of one day being an astrophysicist.
Jill Oliver & Parisa Siddiqui Features Reporter, Features Editor
While many of his classmates in the sixth grade were learning the basics of factoring and pre-algebra, Mikaeel Yunus, now a freshman, had already scored a 730 on the SAT Math Level I subject test. Yunus’ academic intensity and positive outlook from a young age have inspired his community, according to his teachers, classmates and family members. Yunus said that math has always been a particular strong suit of his. “[My sixth grade math teacher] encouraged me to skip seventh grade math. There was a lot of peer pressure because one of my friends ... was going to be in eighth grade math that year, so I skipped a grade,” Yunus said. Yunus’ interest in and talent for math also led him to take the AP Calculus AB exam in eighth grade. As a freshman, Yunus is enrolled in AP Calculus BC. Yunus’ calculus teacher, Charles Petrizzi, said that Yunus’ outlook has contributed to his success in this college level course. “You have ninth grade classes, and then BC Calculus is usually for twelfth graders,” Petrizzi said. “[Yunus’] attitude is very enthusiastic, and [he is a] very proactive student.” Yunus said that behind his achievement lies a passion for mathematics that motivates him to delve deeper and deeper into the complex field. “What I like about math is the logic behind it,” Yunus said. “It’s a set of rules that a bunch of remarkable men and women have found over the years that basically explain how nature works by applying those rules to any situation you’re given. It’s remarkable that math can apply to the real world when it’s just a bunch of numbers, letters and equations.” This enthusiastic approach to exploration carries over to science courses as well, according to Yunus, who is taking AP Physics C: Mechanics after a summer studying physics at the Center for Talented Youth at Johns Hopkins University. Initially, Yunus said he felt extra pressure to succeed in his science class this school year due to his age. “[Then], I started to
talk to more and more seniors. They’re really nice people,” he said. “They’re always willing to help when [I] need it.” Competition, in addition to collaboration, has motivated Yunus, according to freshman David Zhang, a friend of Yunus’. Zhang said he encouraged Yunus to start taking more challenging classes as a sixth grader by competing with Yunus academically. “He likes to challenge himself, and so do I, so I wanted him to have more of a challenge because the classes he was taking were easy for him,” Zhang said. Beyond earning high scores in the classroom and on standardized tests, though, Yunus said his hobbies have always been unlike his peers’. When Yunus was seven, he wrote a book entitled “Just Me and My Special Sister.” Yunus said the idea for his story about his relationship with his autistic sister, Emaan, came from another book he had read. “The author, she talked about ... her younger brother
One of my dreams is to help contribute to the discovery of what the true nature of dark matter is. - Mikaeel Yunus, Class of 2016 with autism and how they got used to life together,” Yunus said. “My mom actually showed that to me when I was seven, and I said ‘I want to do that,’ so we sat down one day, and I started writing.” By the time Yunus was nine, his family had self-published his story in a picture book and donated hundreds of copies to students with special needs. In 2008, President and First Lady Obama recognized Yunus’ work. Yunus’ father, Mamoon Yunus, said that meeting the first lady was a key moment of affirmation in Yunus’ life. “I would say his [greatest] accomplishment [was] to write the book, to present it to her and to get a letter back a month later from the president encourag-
ing Mikaeel to follow his dreams,” Mamoon said. Besides gaining notoriety, Yunus also inspired readers and fueled his own self esteem, according to Mamoon. “[Publishing the book] made him feel like he was doing something very positive,” Mamoon said. “[Yunus] taking what he has learned with dealing with his special needs sister and trying to educate people who may be facing the same issues in their house, I was very happy about that.” Yunus said he credits his parents with much of his success, from helping him publish his book in elementary school to encouraging him to take college level courses as a freshman. “My father, from the very beginning, has been helping me with mathematics and science. He’s always inspiring me to challenge myself and go further in the SATs and AP Calculus,” Yunus said. “My mother was an inspiration throughout the years. She was the main driving force behind my English achievements, and I’m really thankful to have parents who are always cheering me on and supporting me.” Yunus’ mother, Zehra Mooraj, said, however, that her son is primarily selfmotivated. “It’s an internal drive. He wants to succeed. He wants recognition and encouragement from teachers because he’s a hard worker,” Mooraj said. In the future, Yunus said that he hopes to attend Massachusetts Institute of Technology or Stanford University and then to translate his love of math and science into a career. “I’m aiming for astronomical engineering and astrophysics, just working with spacecrafts. One of my dreams is to help contribute to the discovery of what the true nature of dark matter is,” Yunus said. Some of his goals, however, have changed. While just seven years ago Yunus was writing a picture book at home with his mother by his side, Yunus said he now hopes to take the message and carry it even further. “I might write a sequel eventually,” Yunus said. “It’s not going to be a picture book; it’ll be a little longer.”
The Roar follows four seniors with different interests as they navigate their way through the college process over the course of the school year and will reveal their identities and final college decisions in June. Emmy* finished her applications to all the Canadian schools to which she is applying, including University of Waterloo, University of Toronto, McGill University and McMaster University. Emmy said her new goal is to review part of an application each night for the American schools on her list, which include Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Northeastern University, Columbia University and Carnegie Mellon University. Although she still has work to finish, Emmy said she is happy with her progress. “I’m actually feeling pretty comfortable,” she said. “The Canadian application is so simple that it’s not stressing me out at all.” Tyler* has submitted early action applications to University of Massachusetts - Amherst, University of Vermont and University of New Hampshire. Tyler said he has also been working on his 15 supplemental essays for Brown University, Dartmouth College, The George Washington University, College of William and Mary, Union College, University of Richmond, University of Virginia and Wesleyan University. Tyler said that submitting his first application brought on a variety of emotions. “When I pressed submit, it felt like there was a lot of weight taken off my shoulders,” he said. “[But] I feel kind of nervous because it’s out of [my] hands.” Greg* recently faxed his application to the athletic office at Boston University and is now waiting to hear from the college’s coach of his chosen sport. Greg said because he is applying as an athlete, his application process is not very stressful. “[Applying as an athlete] took a lot of the stress away because it sort of helped me figure out where I want to go by figuring out which schools were interested in me as an athlete,” Greg said. “I feel pretty confident that I’ll probably get in.” Heather*, who has already applied to the theater department of Fordham University, University of the Arts in Philadelphia and the theater conservatory of Roosevelt University in Chicago, is now perfecting her four audition pieces for the other 11 schools she will apply to and audition for in the coming months. Heather’s top choice is Boston University. Completing the work has been difficult, and Heather said she is proud of herself. “I feel like I’ve been struggling ... and preparing, and finally it’s now starting to click,” she said. *Names have been changed
november 14, 2012
Patience throughout the ages Lili Kadets
The Quotation Collector
“Each morning when I open my eyes, I say to myself: I, not events, have the power to make me happy or unhappy today. I can choose which it shall be. I have just one day, today, and I’m going to be happy in it.” – Groucho Marx Recently, I began reading Gretchen Rubin’s New York Times bestseller, “The Happiness Project.” Besides the book’s high ratings, its jacket, with a vivid blue background and mellow, yellow font, initially drew me to check it out of the Newton Public Library. I guess one might say that I judged a book by its cover, or, more accurately, that I chose a book by its cover. But boy, am I glad I did. I haven’t put “The Happiness Project” down since I started reading. Rubin, an accomplished Manhattan writer, went on a yearlong quest to find greater happiness in her life. She devoted each month of the year to tackling one aspect of her life that she felt needed improvement: money, marriage, family, spirituality, energy and others. With specific, personal goals and determination, Rubin hoped that she would feel more joy after 12 months. Each page of Rubin’s book inspired me more than the previous, and one point particularly stuck out: Rubin’s set of twelve commandments. These commandments are a set of daily reminders Rubin used to bolster her self-awareness and keep her on track toward happiness. My favorite commandment that Rubin proposes is, “Act the way you want to feel.” Here’s where Marx’s wise words fit it. Both Marx and Rubin argue that all humans, even teenagers, have the power to control their own happiness. So, whether or not we trip down the stairs or fail a math test, we have to act the way we want to feel. Naturally, while reading Rubin’s book, I felt empowered to start my own happiness project. Sounds daunting, doesn’t it? How can we be expected to overcome the bruises from the stairs or the confidence blow from the math test? Do we really have the power that Marx and Rubin suggest? With gusto, I say we do. Most days, I’ll admit, I wake up in the morning and do not say, “I, not events, have the power to make me happy or unhappy today,” as Marx claims to do. And I don’t know if it’s just me, but it often seems that homework, athletics and college applications determine our happiness at South. We stay up late, feeling miserable about late history essays, and no matter how much we smile or giggle, there’s no hope of our moods changing. But I’m here to say that we still need to try. Each day that passes is a day we can never get back, so we can’t let the small things define us. So the next time you’re feeling overstressed, overworked or overtired, do a couple of jumping jacks to reinvigorate, or chat it up with some neighbors and smile.
gAME As professional gaming gains popularity, students experience both the lucrative and addictive aspects of eSports
Managing Editor When senior Kevin Zhu gets onto the field, he feels the pressure of hundreds of eyes on him and money on the line. When the game begins, that same pressure pushes him to play his best. Zhu is not a professional athlete in the traditional sense, though. He is a member of the ever-growing world of electronic sports (eSports), or professional video gaming. “I think eSports is on the rise; there are more people who are watching or playing eSports games,” he said. “The exposure of the field [has gotten] bigger.” For several students like Zhu, gaming has become more than sitting on the couch with a controller, growing into an interactive, competitive spectator sport. Because of such a development into a powerful form of modern media, however, excessive gaming and addiction have led to problems for some devoted gamers. ESports companies such as Major League Gaming (MLG) which hosts annual, nationwide tournaments, have boomed, developing the cult of professional gaming into a robust, billion-dollar industry. According to MLG statistics, its viewership among 18- to 24-year-old males is almost twice that of traditional cable TV networks, such as MTV, FX, Comedy Central and TBS. Shoutcasters and announcers become minor celebrities within the community and professional players are paid in six figures. Concurrent with a trend toward high profile gamers, students like Zhu are becoming more and more common as the professional gaming scene has developed in recent years. Zhu said that he has made over $6,000 playing a popular strategy game, “StarCraft II,” competitively in tournaments around New England. For Zhu, the best part of the tournaments he competed in was the opportunity to meet people in the community that he had only previously met online. “I mainly participate in online tournaments, but I also have traveled to live events,” he said. “At [those], you get to meet personalities who are behind their gamer tags. You’d think gamers are intro-
photo by Joe Joseph
vert nerds that hide behind the internet, but they’re actually really cool people.” Junior Daniel Friedman, who played on a semi-professional Call of Duty team for a year, said he generated revenue a different way: through posting YouTube videos of himself playing games. “One day, I bought a capture card that you could record gameplay with and started recording myself,” he said. “I ended up getting over 3,000 viewers on a few of my videos, and suddenly sponsors started talking.” Friedman said that he received a sponsorship from Turtle Beach, a company that specializes in making gaming headgear, but could not sustain the sponsorship due to academic obligations. “My grades started falling, and my parents took away my Xbox,” he said. “Once I stopped making videos, there wasn’t a point in sponsoring me anymore.” As gaming as a lucrative venture has become widespread, gaming addiction has done the same, especially in countries where gaming is more mainstream, such as Japan and South Korea. According to a survey conducted by the National Information Society Agency, 14 percent of Koreans ages 9-12 suffer from gaming addiction. Deaths from gaming addiction, while rare, are high profile in the media. According to neurobiology teacher and gamer Jordan Kraus, gaming helps activate a neurological function known as the “reward pathway,” which is a special system that releases dopamine, a chemical that induces pleasure, into a gamer’s body. “The same way food, drugs or sex induces the reward pathway, activities like gaming or sports can activate it,” she said. “Because the frontal cortex is underdeveloped in teenagers, ... there could be a kid who decides, ‘I’m going to stay up and play games all night instead of studying for my biology test tomorrow,’ and that’s when it becomes [an addiction].” While the problem is less serious at South, elements of gaming addiction still exist among students. Senior Evan Feldman said that games have sometimes exacerbated his issues with self-purpose. “I sometimes think, ‘Why do I game? To get better, to improve and win. Why do I try to get better? Because it’s
something to do.’ I can’t come up with anything else, and it bothers me that I can’t,” he said. Zhu and Feldman said that they are not addicted to gaming; they also said, however, that gaming sometimes wastes more of their time than they intended. “There are plenty of times where I’ll be playing games and suddenly think, ‘Oh no, it’s one in the morning, and I haven’t done my homework,’” Zhu said. “On the other hand, I always try to put academics first. I’m not taking this professionally as a career, so it’s not that big of a problem.” “I don’t think I’m addicted,” Feldman said. “I play games for fun, and because they’re fun, I play as much as I can within reason. There are plenty of people who play more that are worse off than me.” Feldman’s mother, who asked not to be named, disagreed. She said that gaming has put a significant strain on her son’s academic and social life.“On the weekends, he sometimes plays for 6 - 8 hours ... I think he’s totally addicted, but he does not agree,” she said. “He does not remember that he needs to eat. He gets home from school and sits in front of the computer until I get home from work. He is missing meals. He was a big reader, and he read in English and in Russian, but he does not read anymore … He’s not allowed to have his laptop in his bedroom anymore because otherwise he plays with his friends all night and [doesn’t] sleep.” Feldman’s mother said that Feldman’s gaming addiction causes him to not live up to his potential as a student. “Sometimes I tell him, ‘You go to school and learn, but you’re not learning up to your abilities, you’re achieving less than your bright mind allows,’” she said. “This is the best time [for him] to learn: when he’s young.”
To read an expanded version of this article, scan the QR code to the left or go to thelionsroar. com
november 14, 2012
Social segregation The Roar investigates racially homogeneous social groups and seeks to explain their existence at South, a school that many students and teachers report to be devoid of racism By Carly Meisel and Kylie Walters ‘Where in Boston do you live?’ is not an uncommon question to be asked of Newton resident and junior Destaye Bereket. According to Bereket and several students and teachers, this question represents the highest degree of racial sterotyping at South. Though Bereket and several other students said that racism is not an apparent issue at South, they have observed a lack of racial diversity within social groups at lunch tables and beyond. According to experts, these racial divisions can stem from both subconscious processes and outside influences. Senior Kyra Visnick said that the racial homogeneity of social groups is not a result of racism. “There’s nobody saying … ‘You can’t sit with us,’” she said. “In most classes, kids tend to sit with kids in their racial group. [Students] … gravitate toward people of the same race.” Visnick said that in her AP English Language and Composition class, racial divisions are far from subtle. “On the first day of school, our teacher and everyone in the class noticed that all of the Asian kids were sitting on one side, and all of the nonAsian kids were sitting on the other side,” she said. Senior Josh Nislick, who is in Visnick’s AP English Language and Composition class, said that this physical divide between Asian and non-Asian students developed outside the classroom as a result of previous relationships. “It’s not like it was 20 people who didn’t know each other. There were friendships and relationships already in place when that happened,” Nislick said. “People are generally friends with people of their own race, or they had been before, and when they entered that class, they just sat with the people who they already knew.” Leadership and Diversity teacher Edward Jackson agreed that racially homogeneous groups at South are not the result of active segregation. “Inclusion isn’t always given enough consideration, but as far as pre-meditative ... exclusion, I don’t see that [at South].” Psychology professor Sam Sommers, who researches race and social perception at Tufts University, said that these racially uniform groupings occur beyond South as part of a greater national trend. “This is not a unique phenomenon to teenagers,” he said. “High school is not unique, but it’s also so famous for people seeing each other in terms of categories, whether we’re talking about race and ethnicity or whether we’re just talking about the athletes versus the kids who are involved in drama.”
Sommers said that racial categorizations can result from mental shortcuts that people use to simplify the world. “The world is a complicated place. There’s a lot to think about and a lot to sort through on a daily basis,” he said. “We like to group objects into categories because it makes it easier to think about them.” Bereket agreed with Sommers that high school students often create racial boundaries through subconscious processes. This year, Bereket transferred to South from the Community Charter School of Cambridge, which had a student population of 67 percent African-American last school year, as reported by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. “There are cliques [at high schools], and I don’t know if they are purposefully doing it based off of race,” she said. “I don’t think they think about it. They just do it.” Senior Josh Nislick said that the mental shortcuts Sommers mentioned develop at a young age. “At an earlier age, you look for people who maybe look like you or say
In an interview with the Public Broadcasting Service, Tatum said that the media exaggerates differences between Caucasian and African-American culture and widens social boundaries, particularly at a place like South, where 69.2 percent of students were white last school year, according to South’s school profile. “If we’re talking about white people living in predominantly white communities, it is certainly true that many people will grow up without having direct contact with people of color,” Tatum said. “And because they don’t have that direct contact, the information that they have is coming to them largely from secondhand sources, maybe from the television they’ve watched, the movies they’ve seen, the jokes they hear people tell, the casual comments they hear relatives making.” Several students and teachers said that though they do not believe students are actively avoiding friendships with those of other races, there is still a fault in South’s social fabric that requires fixing. Accepting and understanding people of other races in social and academic settings may not be enough of a priority for students, they said. Junior Michelle Tian said that longstanding social groupings will not change without substantial effort. “[The racial boundaries] definitely should get changed because it’s really nice to have a really diverse group of friends, and I really like meeting people from different cultures, from different ethnicities and learning about their cultural values,” she said. “At the same time, it’s really difficult to change.” Although students would benefit from more racial integration, Nislick said, South’s administration has no role in enforcing changes. “Students would probably benefit from getting new perspectives or spending time with different people,” he said. “I don’t think it’s up to the administration to impose more diversity and mix in social groups.” The most productive way to break down racial boundaries is through discussion, according to Sommers. “If there are more unconscious processes in place, then talking about those things and making them conscious and actually putting them on the table [can help alleviate the problem],” he said. Sumner said that solving the issue hinges on cultural awareness. “We have the right avenues to address [racism at South],” she said. “Some people might call it racist that you don’t have multiculturalism expressed across the curriculum, but … we’re working on it.”
For a student perspective on racial grouping at South, turn to page 24 the same things that you do, and that could be grouped by race.” Even if they mean no harm, students sometimes go too far, making inaccurate and unfair assumptions based on race, according to METCO adviser Katani Sumner. “People assume most students of color are in METCO,” Sumner said. “Not everyone does, but your first guess perhaps is METCO. We have a significant percentage of students of color who actually live in Newton.” Mental categorization of races begins during childhood, Sommers said, but many maintain the habit through their teenage years and into adulthood, in part explaining assumptions about METCO. “We actually think about people, in much the same way [as when we were younger], even if we don’t like to admit that,” he said. “Upon meeting people we very quickly put them into categories.” Nevertheless, racial divisions in high school do not develop exclusively from innate processes, but are also impacted by media and popular culture, according to Beverly Daniel Tatum, author of “Why Are All The Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?”
november 14, 2012
The Roar talks with three alumni about their professions and how their time at South impacted their lives
By Shelley Friedland and Feli Kuperwasser
Josh Altman ‘97 photo courtesy of Josh Altman
After a year and a half working at Bridgewater Associates, a California hedge fund, ‘06 graduate Ben Gifford decided to try his luck at an entirely different enterprise: muffin making. A valedictorian at South as well as at Datmouth College, where he studied philosophy, Gifford opened Double or Muffin with fellow South alumnus Sean Pears soon after leaving Bridgewater Associates in 2012. According to the Double or Muffin website, the premise of the business is that “you buy a muffin and flip a coin. Heads, you get a second muffin for free. Tails, you keep the muffin that you already bought. Double, or muffin.” “Once the idea came into existence, there was more a question of ‘Why not?’” Gifford said. “It was such a powerful idea for both of us that
Ben Kurland ‘02
photo courtesy of Ben Kurland
‘97 graduate Josh Altman is one of the most successful real estate agents in the country. Altman plays a starring role on the BRAVO TV show, “Million Dollar Listing.” Altman said that after graduating from South, he wanted to be an entertainer, prompting his decision to move to Los Angeles after receiving his B.A. from Syracuse University. “I started from the bottom, and I paid my dues … A couple of years after working in the entertainment industry, an opportunity to work in real estate came up, and I ended up just running with it. I never looked back,” he said. “Now, I’ve been in real estate for about 10 years. I work in Beverly Hills, and I’m probably the top real estate agent in Los Angeles.” Altman founded his own real estate agency, The Altman Bros.,
we thought, ‘It’s either now or never that we’re going to do this.’” Gifford said he encountered a lot of support as he transitioned from a hedge fund employee to a muffin business owner. “A lot of people were into the idea. A ton of people bought apparel, which is the main source of revenue, actually, for Double or Muffin,” he said. “It just was met with kind of an overwhelmingly positive response.” Gifford said he never before dreamed he would become a muffin maker but that he has no regrets about his career change. “I’m pretty sure all throughout South I wanted to be an astronaut,” he said. “Starting Double or Muffin is one of the best decisions that I’ve ever made.”
‘02 graduate Ben Kurland is now a professional actor and recently played a supporting role in the Academy Award-winning silent film, “The Artist.” Kurland started acting at the age of 9. By the time he entered South, Kurland had acted in over a dozen plays in the Greater Boston area, including “Anne of Green Gables,” in which he had a starring role, and “Stop the World, I Want to Get Off ” at Boston University. While at South, Kurland built on his acting experience through South Stage, where he said one role particularly stood out. “We did a production of ‘Once on this Island,’ and I got to play an evil god called Papa Ge in that musical, and that was a lot of fun,” he said. After leaving South, Kurland attended
with his brother, ‘95 graduate Matt Altman, and has sold over $100 million in listings in 2012. Altman said that he never considered real estate as a career during high school. “I had a great group of friends, good teachers and, all in all, it was a great time and a great high school experience,” he said. “It’s important for when you’re in high school to have fun and learn as much as possible because, chances are, the people who think they know what they want to do in high school don’t end up doing that.” Altman said that finding a gratifying profession is key to happiness. “My goals [coming out of South] were just to be successful and happy with what I do. Success doesn’t always come with money, and more importantly, I wanted to be doing something that made me happy and that I enjoyed doing.”
Ben Gifford ‘06
photo courtesy of Ben Gifford
Emerson College, then transferred to the University of Southern California’s School of Theatre, from which he graduated in 2006. Kurland has been in Hollywood ever since. Before “The Artist,” Kurland appeared in two films, “Sinners” and “Taps,” as well as various TV series. Looking forward, Kurland said he wants to work on more period pieces and original screenplays as well as “more intriguing and inspiring films.” “[I want to act in] things that are less about popular culture and entertaining audiences and more to be provocative and make people consider more things about their lives and humanity,” he said.
november 14, 2012
Elliana Golijov is...
Relationships Love: not for the faint of heart
Every issue, The Roar randomly selects a student and explores what makes him or her unique
Learning to Lead Senior Elliana Golijov works toward her goal of becoming an educator through leadership roles at school and beyond
photo by Jordan Cohen-Kaplan
Senior Elliana Golijov, who aspires to be a teacher, devotes 12 blocks a week to working with young children in South’s preschool.
Caroline Zola Sr. Features Editor
When senior Elliana Golijov was in second grade, she changed her given name, Anna, to Elliana. “Because we speak Spanish in our family, we pronounce [Anna as] ‘Ana’ with a very open ‘A,’” Elliana’s mother, Silvia Golijov, said. “When she started kindergarten, her friends were calling her ‘Anna’ or ‘Annie,’ … so, in second grade … she changed her name,” Golijov said. Elliana went on to demonstrate a high degree of willpower in school, Golijov said. “She made the whole elementary school [call her Elliana]. At some point, I think teachers didn’t even know she had been Anna before, and I think ... it shows that she’s very determined,” Golijov said. Elliana said that her determination reaches beyond just her petition for a name change and that she strives to overcome bias and prove herself in and outside of the classroom. Besides changing her name, Elliana said she has made a conscious effort to maintain her parents’ Argentine roots in other aspects of her life. “I eat Spanish food, I speak Spanish, I understand how [Hispanic culture] works,” she said. Elliana had never eaten a s’more, for example, until her freshman year but said she never felt she was missing out. “People are like ‘Oh, you know, that’s really weird. That’s kind of late,’” she said. “I’m like, ‘Yeah, but at the same time, I’m having all of these foods from my country that you’ve never heard of.’”
Golijov agreed that Elliana embraces her identity. “She identifies with other kids with whom she shares that ethnicity,” Golijov said. “It became part of who she is.” As one of three captains of the varsity cheerleading team, Elliana said she has worked to eradicate assumptions about cheerleaders. “As a team, we work really hard to build our own reputation based on respect, not the stereotype of what we should be,” Elliana said. “I try really hard to do well in school, to defy the cheerleader stereotype.” Fellow cheer captain and senior T’Lani Tyler said that Elliana’s passion for the sport is evident in all of her leadership decisions. “She’s just always putting her best foot forward and inspiring us to be better cheerleaders,” Tyler said. This passion for working with others has carried over into Elliana’s work in South’s preschool over the past three years. This year, Elliana is an early childhood education major, which means that she spends 12 blocks each week in the preschool. For Elliana, this work is all about leadership. “It’s just so important to educate people as much as [you] can, to empower them to make their own decisions,” Elliana said. “[Preschool] is the time in life when [students are] becoming their own selves .” Early childhood education teacher Jennifer Dolan said that Elliana’s determination and patience contribute to her ability to work with children. “She’s one of the most motivated high school students I’ve ever met,” Dolan said. “She’s very pas-
sionate about the world of education. She really wants to become a teacher, … and I think she works really hard to connect with the kids.” Elliana’s advisory teacher, science teacher Derek Van Beever, said Elliana also works to share her best self with peers. “I can always count on Elliana to be very thoughtful and give her insight, and she’s not afraid to express her opinions in front of a group and stand by her convictions,” Van Beever said. Elliana said she credits her confidence in interacting with different types of people to her cultural background. “I’m privileged because I can be Spanish but never treated unequally for that,” she said. “At the same time, I can still understand Spanish, [so] I can relate to the minorities.” Elliana said though she feels blessed to have two cultural influences, American and Hispanic, this combination also leaves her with lingering questions. “I have this weird privilege where I can shift between relating with minority people by being Spanish and then with white [people] by my skin color,” Elliana said. “What does it mean to have that privilege? I’m still trying to figure it out.” Ultimately, though, Elliana said she tries not only to act within cultural expectations but also to determine her own beliefs. “People really care about what other people think of them,” Elliana said. “[But] I really don’t care what people think of me … I feel like I’m in this place where I care more about being happy.”
EDITOR’S NOTE: Every issue, The Roar publishes a different anonymous student’s perspective on relationships. The views expressed in the “Relationships Column” do not reflect the official views of The Lion’s Roar, nor are they intended as a guide or source of advice for others. There is a common misconception among high school students that relationships are easy. But relationships take effort and commitment, which can be strenuous for any two high school students. I have been in a relationship for almost two years, and I could not be happier with the deep connection my girlfriend and I have. While I enjoy every day of our relationship, maintaining the connection is nevertheless challenging — unbearably so sometimes. Just as a flowering plant needs pruning to grow, serious relationships require attention and care to flourish. When I spent two months away from my girlfriend last summer, our relationship suffered from separation and lack of attention. After seeing her on a regular basis during the school year, saying goodbye to my girlfriend and knowing that we would be separated was awful. While I was away, maintaining our relationship became increasingly difficult, and the day of my return home seemed like it would never arrive. The tension in our relationship grew, and my girlfriend and I began to argue. Fighting with someone about whom you truly care is the absolute worst. We yelled at each other until we couldn’t take it any longer and had to hang up the phone. I just wanted give my girlfriend a hug and say, “I am sorry,” but I was miles away. I tried so hard every day to reassure her that it would be no time until we saw each other again, but honestly, even I didn’t believe that. We talked every day via text message, telephone and Skype. Talking hurt: the more we communicated, the more I realized how much I missed my girlfriend. It took more effort than I ever expected to keep up the amazing relationship we had worked so hard to grow. Eventually, the summer passed, and I came back home. The moment I saw my girlfriend, I felt like we had truly succeeded. We had lasted the whole summer, through every strain and every fight. We had shown ourselves that with hard work and commitment, our relationship could endure any challenge. Relationships can be a great thing, as I have found at the same time, however, they can be exhausting and require countless hours of work and dedication. I feel very grateful for the strong connection that I have had with my girlfriend these past years, even though there are some days where I feel I just can’t deal with the challenge. With school and sports, choosing to have a relationship is adding another ball to juggle. It can weigh a person down sometimes, but in the long run, being with someone about whom you care is a true blessing.
editorials volume 29
november 14, 2012
Online piracy carries moral implications
Meow by the Roar Staff
All the news that’s fit to print ... and then some!
Sandy catches students off guard Many students were surprised by the severe impact of Hurricane Sandy at South, claiming that after reports of overcrowding at the Newton Free Library due to those displaced by the storm, the Northeast had hit Rock Bottom. When freshman Patrick Star found out that Hurricane Sandy had the east coast, he was starry-eyed. “That’s just not possible. Sandy’s supposed to be in Texas,” he said. “The Atlantic Ocean is no place for her.” Junior Sponge Roberts found the two schools days off relaxing, but he questioned the government’s effectiveness in dealing with Sandy. “If it were up to me, I would have just sponged up all the rain,” Bob said. Freshman Squid Ward was equally distraught. “All the humidity messed with the acoustics of my clarinet,” Ward said. “It was a very depressing time for me.”
Student develops heart condition during election When the presidential election resulted in a victory for Obama, some elated members of the South community took their happiness to an extreme level. Among the overzealous celebrants was senior CrayZola Crayons, who said she suffered a heart attack when the election was called in favor of Obama. “I think I started to feel my heart palpitate when we got to Ohio,” she said. “By Alaska, I passed out.” Crayons said that is was not so much her investment in the electoral process that made her emotional but rather her love for the President. “I will eventually be his wife, so that means I get to be the First Lady!” Cola said.
Students rebel at Teabarn Violence erupted at a local Reflections-sanctioned Teabarn event on Nov. 10. After a strongly worded argument, angry students threw over two dozen boxes of tea out of the house. “It was a necessary revolution,” senior Indie Pendants said. “Everyone deserves a say in how much free tea they get. We takes these truths to be self-evident.” Students said the tensions began when coordinators refused to allow them to move into a neighbor’s house. According to junior Adam Adams, further restrictions such as choice of tea, amount of water given and quartering troops have also raised rebellion. “Give me a venti chai or give me death,” he said. “This policy is almost as ridiculous as my name.”
Computers have fundamentally changed the way we perceive products. When a company releases a physical product, it can, with few exceptions, assume that the number of products it creates is equal to the number of products on the market and thus proportional to the amount of profit the company will earn. With the rise of the digital world, however, music, movies and software exist only in the abstract sense on a consumer’s hard drive and can be copied at will. Using a simple command on a computer, anyone can do what the laws of physics never before allowed: create something from nothing. Among students at South and teenagers especially, online piracy has become as prevalent as it is convenient. As noted in The Roar’s article beginning on page one, students often choose to pirate not because they see the price of a product as expensive or unfair, but because they believe that the proprietors or artists behind a digital work will make more than enough money from all those that do buy their work legally. With this in mind, The Roar asserts that piracy is inherently unsustainable; it relies on the assumption that for every person who chooses to pirate a piece of software, there will be countless more who pay for a legitimate copy. Such an assumption is invalid; according to research done by Forrester Research and the Institute for Policy Innovation, the music industry earns 6.9 billion dollars a year but loses 12.5 billion due to piracy. Moreover, the idea that an individual’s actions have no impact in the larger scheme of things is illogical. Take elections, for example, where
voter participation is important. One could say that voting in non-swing states is a moot point because votes there have liitle effect on the general election. Yet if all eligible voters decided to stay home on election day, the nation’s electoral system would fall apart. The Roar does not endorse students’ many justifications for piracy, including the argument mentioned previously that successful producers already make enough money. Students may say that they previously owned the product in question (e.g. TV shows because a student pays for cable TV), that a company is obligated to release product updates free of charge or that pirating is entirely moral after one has exhausted “free” sources, like YouTube and Spotify for music. These arguments, written out on paper, only appear to The Roar’s editorial board to be complex excuses to evade the truth that consumers must purchase goods on the terms of the vendor, not of the buyer. Another argument that arose during an editorial board discussion was the idea of prior ownership. If, for example, someone who legally bought an album online lost access to the computer on which the material was stored, he should be free to pirate the materials again.This argument, though more credible than others, has its own flaws. If that same person bought a new iPhone, however, and then misplaced it, he would have no right to go back to the Apple store requesting a new one. Here, a gray area arises, however. While the Apple store has no way of conjuring up a new iPhone with no loss of materials, users do have such an ability. Nevertheless, just because
one can do such things does not mean that one should. Even with all of this knowledge, most of The Roar’s own editorial staff admits to having pirated content over the past year. The Roar acknowledges that teenagers will be teenagers and that despite moral and practical obligations not to, a majority of students in the school will pirate materials anyway, just as there are always eligible voters who stay home. The Roar does not and cannot claim that it has a solution to such a widespread problem. The Roar does, however, maintain that students should receive more education and put more thought into the ramifications of piracy. Students who pirate software should understand to a full extent that they are not within the limits of the law, and thus are subject to the moral and legal responsibilities of their actions. Furthermore, The Roar hopes that South’s administration realizes that piracy is a problem at least as pervasive as bullying and much tougher to crack than plagiarism. Administrators’ time and resources should be allocated accordingly. Software piracy is not a problem solved by laws and policies, however. Such reactive measures ultimately do not solve the problem. The Roar believes that more proactive approaches, such as educating students about the unsustainable nature of piracy, are the best course of action. The Roar hopes that when a student chooses to pirate music or stream movies, the moral implications come to mind not as an afterthought but as an important consideration.
The Lion’s Roar, founded in 1984, is the student newspaper of Newton South High School, acting as a public forum for student views and attitudes. The Lion’s Roar’s right to freedom of expression is protected by the Massachusetts Student Free Expression Law (Mass. Gen. Laws Ann. ch. 71, Section 82). All content decisions are made by student editors, and the content of The Lion’s Roar in no way reflects the official policy of Newton South, its faculty, or its administration. Editorials are the official opinion of The Lion’s Roar, while opinions and letters are the personal viewpoints of the writers and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Lion’s Roar. The Lion’s Roar reserves the right to edit all submitted content, to reject advertising copy for resubmission of new copy that is deemed acceptable by student editors, and to make decisions regarding the submission of letters to the editors, which are welcomed. The Lion’s Roar is printed by Seacoast Newspapers and published every four weeks by Newton South Students. All of our funding comes from advertisers. In-school distribution of The Lion’s Roar is free, but each copy of the paper shall cost one dollar for each copy more than ten (10) that is taken by any individual or by many individuals on behalf of a single individual. Violation of this policy shall constitute theft.
november 14, 2012
Editor reflects on academic career to explain election season apathy
EDITOR’S DESK Jenny Friedland Editor-in-Chief
I was born either a week early or 11 days late. According to doctors, the former is true, but Massachusetts voter registration authorities tend to disagree. Since I won’t be blowing out birthday candles in celebration of my newfound adulthood until Nov. 17, I spent the morning of Nov. 6 calculating derivatives in math class instead of going with my father to cast my vote. Throughout the majority of the campaign, the unfortunate timing of my 18th birthday dictated my relative indifference toward the national election. By mid-October, I had watched exactly one half of a presidential debate (I thought I had watched a full one until I realized I had fallen asleep somewhere in the midst of tax discussion). As I was unable to vote, watching presidential and vice presidential debates and reading newspaper articles on political issues hardly seemed a priority, though I did all of these things to a limited extent. In other words, I may have wanted to care about politics, but what good was knowing that Romney favors a trickledown economic approach when I lacked any formal say in whether he would direct our economy for the next four years? I felt as though lacking a full grasp of electionrelated information wasn’t really going to
anyone; the important decisions belonged mache adventures actually taught me a to those with the power to vote. great deal about ancient Egyptian cultural Now, however, I have realized that customs and technological innovations my understanding of why we should that impacted world development. bother to be informed was flawed, and in My point is that in fifth grade, we order to come to this realization, I had to were still learning for the sake of learnthink of political issues in a context with ing, not because there was a single day which I am much more familiar: school. on which our knowledge was to culmiAfter more than a decade in the class- nate. Even when there was a quiz or test, room, I can safely say our enthusiasm that I have at least rarely wavered. We a basic knowledge weren’t yet burnt In fifth grade, we were of formal educaout. tion, which allowed As highstill learning for the sake me to reflect on the schoolers, we seem progression of my to do much of our of learning, not because academic career learning because of there was a single day on in hopes of better constantly pressing understanding my which our knowledge was deadlines. We have relative apathy this an inflated sense to culminate. election season. that our learning In my elemenwill determine our tary school years, I grades on specific jumped out of bed each morning, excited at assignments, which will determine our the prospect of coming home with knowledge term grades, which, of course, will deterof circuitry, octopuses, ancient Egyptian mine how the rest of our lives work out. burial rituals and more. Life was exciting. I I know now that the thirst for can now tell you that circuits come in series knowledge I expressed in my elementary and parallel forms, the plural form of octopus school days should take precedence over has sparked a raging debate (take your pick: the reward-based cramming of informaoctopuses, octopi, or octopodes) and that tion to which I have grown accustomed. papier mache makes a half-decent mummy By that I mean that just as tests and sculpture. grades should not incentivize our school While this information might seem learning, the opportunity to vote on a trivial to others, I found that my papier single day after a long election season
Volume 29 The Lion’s Roar
should not dictate whether we are politically informed. Reading a few articles this fall was worthwhile, leading to a better understanding of the country in which I live. We should learn so we can educate others when they ask about circuitry or Obama’s immigration policy. The dialogues that shape public opinion should be ours to seize. With this newfound perspective on knowledge, I decided to watch the third presidential debate — without falling asleep this time. No, I’m not a radically better person for having done so, but I’ve gotten over my bitterness regarding my ill-timed birthday, at least a bit. Now that President Obama has won, I have at least some sense of the direction in which our country’s headed (at least according to what Obama said on Oct. 22). Not having been able to cast a vote was disappointing, but I know this election cycle wasn’t all wasted on me. I cared enough to be informed about my country’s political issues, despite having spent the morning of Nov. 6 in math class. In the same way, the quest for knowledge in all aspects of our lives should not rely upon a single day or expectations for hard-and-fast, immediate impact — whether we’re circling candidates’ names on a ballot or answers on a multiple choice exam.
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Community Emily Ho
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How relevant are the presidential election results to you as a student? (1 = extremely relevant, 4 = not at all relevant)
23% 35% 31% 11%
Most of South’s student body many students said that the p
hen senior Rose Taylor entered the voting booth on Nov. 7, nothing had changed; she was as invested in America’s political trajectory as ever. “If I had been asked two or three years ago and these candidates were the same, I probably would have said the same things,” she said. Though most South students are not old enough to vote, several said that President Obama’s election is nevertheless pertinent to their lives, now and in the coming years. History teacher Paul Estin said that those under 18 should begin caring about politics in the present they will have to care in the future. “There are … issues that, although they don’t make an impact on South students right now, are probably more important down the line,” Estin said. “Students are probably aware of things like environmental concerns, somewhat aware of civil rights concerns and definitely aware of things that directly affect them, like college scholarships.”
graphic by Dipal Nagda
For sophomore Jonathan Kirshenbaum, the economy is the most relevant issue as he thinks about moving from high school on to college. “We are the next generation to be coming out of schools, looking for jobs,” he said. “And I think that if we don’t have a stable economy or, rather, an economy that we believe in as college graduates, then our generation will be much less able to find sustainable jobs, which can affect us much later in life as we get older.” Sophomore Jasper Primack said he also believes that employment and the job market will impact the economy. “[At] some point in the near future, I’m going to be working in this country, this economy, and at the moment, we are in something of a minor state of crisis,” Primack said. The
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The results are in
The Roar surveyed 229 South students on Nov. 6 concerning election issues What political issue is the most important to you during this election season?
By Anastasiya Vasilyeva y is under the legal voting age, but as members of the future electorate, political decisions made now will impact their lives in the years to come
t is a part of recovering that.” ylor’s mother, Elizabeth Marks, agreed with Primack or economy should be a concern even to those who vote. “Kids are going to grow up and make a living in g changing world, and it’s very different than what up with,” Marks said. “What happens in the econoy relevant to that.”
cording to junior Michelle Tian, being invested in even when issues do not pertain directly to her life, core of her experience as a non-voting high school “Since total equality is impossible, I believe that should have equal opportunity. The whole gay marng, I don’t understand why people are so against it,” “Also, I’m pro-abortion, For me, these two, what I human rights, matter a lot.” mack said he has similar views on social issues, lly on gay marriage, which pushed him to care about s election, he said. n social issues, I do have a strong sense of direclieve in gay marriage and a lot of issues that Barack has endorsed and Mitt Romney has not,” Primack a student and a young person in America, I would ve in a country in which those views are expressed by dent.”
th a significant number of South students identifywish, relations with Israel comes up often in debates hose below voting age at South, junior Ethan Rucinand the issue is personal as well as political. “A lot of
people at South are extremely pro-Israel, and while I am not, it is clearly important to these people that we elect a leader who cares a lot about Israel.” Junior David Ter-Ovanesyan confirmed that his Jewish background prompts him to pay particular attention to foreign policy as it pertains to the Middle East. “The issue that matters the most to me is foreign policy because I’m Jewish, and I care about what’s happening in Israel,” he said.
Healthcare issues also hit close to home for junior Caroline Melly. “My mom is a doctor, so she’s really passionate about this stuff,” Melly said, “and there are some people in my family who have preexisting conditions, … so it’s a really important issue because it affects millions of people who don’t have a choice about it.” Should students get sick in the future, the care they receive will be dictated by Obama’s reforms, making interest in healthcare during this election season and beyond worth their while, according to Rucinski. “ A lot of people in this country believe that healthcare should be a product. We see this virtually nowhere else in the advanced and industrialized world. I personally believe that healthcare should be a service just like police, fire, or infrastructure,” Rucinski said. For Taylor, healthcare was the defining issue of this year’s senatorial race. “The health care law is my reason for choosing one senator over another,” she said.
Outside the Voting Booth
Still, there are those who say that being under 18, caring about politics is an interest more than a necessity. “I don’t
really think most kids at South care about the election because they’re not 18, so they feel like can’t really do anything about it,” senior Evan Hitchens said. While Melly said she sees Obama’s stances, particularly on healthcare, as relevant to her life, she understands why others might not. “At this point, since very few students can vote in the election, unless they’re specifically interested, there’s no real reason for them to be interested in politics,” she said. Primack, however, stressed that future voters need to start educating themselves today, as he has done. “Being under 18 doesn’t matter,” he said. “Students should have an obligation to make themselves aware about politics and the country because not only is it relevant to their future, it’s relevant to the future of every single person in the country, and whether they’re in middle school or high school, students should at least have some awareness of what issues can they care for and have their own opinions.” Kirshenbaum agreed with Primack that the future electorate needs to be educated and has reason to care even before reaching voting age. “Not caring is just going to make it that much harder to care and understand when [students] do turn 18, when they can vote,” he said. “Voting in an uninformed manner will just provide a weaker basis for what we’re voting for, and it wlll be a less accurate vote because people won’t really know what they’re voting for.” Whether students can or cannot vote, they should still take a long-term perspective and concern themselves with the issues America faces, according to Marks. “I can’t stress enough how relevant [politics are] to teenagers,” she said. “They’re going be the people running the world soon. You can’t start too young to be interested in that.”
november 14, 2012
Student volunteers in Democratic political campaign Dipal Nagda
Sr. Centerfold Edtor On a hot August afternoon, Senior Lily Ramin stood outside the New England Cable News studio for hours, all for the sake of someone else. That someone else was politician Joe Kennedy, a recently elected congressman for whom Lily was campaigning. “It was really nice seeing the atmosphere and the Bielat and Kennedy supporters where everyones out there holding signs,” she said. Since mid-July, Lily has been involved in Kennedy’s campaign for Congress in the Massachusetts Fourth Congressional District by making phone calls, visiting peoples’ houses and holding campaign signs. She primarily focused on phone banking calling a list of phone numbers and talking to the residents about voting for Joe Kennedy and volunteering in his campaign. “Phone banking early on is to see if they’re supporters of Joe, which way they’re leaning and which issues are important to them,” she said. Lily said she hopes that her volunteering has impacted the campaign in whatever small ways possible. “Even if I can’t vote myself, I would like to think that I influenced at least a few people,” she said. Lily’s AP U.S. Government teacher Thomas Murphy agreed that student involvement in campaigns is one of the best
ways for them to feel as though their voice is being heard. “If you’re really passionate about a candidate or a cause, there’s no better way to give life to that passion than getting involved in a political campaign,” he said. Lily’s drive to make a change started within a family that fostered her interest in politics. According to Lily’s grandmother Elsa Ramin, on Sunday mornings during previous years, Lily and her grandfather would watch political shows like “Meet the Press” and “Face the Nation.” “Her grandfather has had a big influence on her,” Elsa said. For as long as she can remember, Lily said, her family’s dinner conversations have been centered on political issues facing the nation. “In my family, there’s definitely opinionated people and just hearing all the different sides has been really cool for me,” she said. After watching political shows for several years, Lily said she began to recognize individual candidates and their positions on different issues. She found herself contributing more to her family dinner conversations and sparking her interest in politics. “I really enjoy taking part in that kind of debating and finding out what you really believe in, sticking to that point and really arguing for it,” she said.
According to her father, Bruce Ramin, Lily avidly followed all of the political races at both a state and national level in recent years. In the summer before her senior year, she decided to pursue her passion and contacted Joe Kennedy’s congressional campaign for volunteer opportunities. “Within the last year, her interest really flourished and developed,” Bruce said. Later in the summer, Lily also helped by canvassing, going door-to-door to people’s homes to raise support for Joe Kennedy. With a designated list of addresses, Lily went to houses of members of the Massachusetts community to see if they had already voted and whether or not they needed a ride to the voting booths. Bruce said Lily’s success in canvassing reflects a genuine care for others. “She can relate to all sorts of people in a genuine
photo illustrations by Dipal Nagda
Senior Lily Ramin made phone calls and held signs as part of an active effort to raise support and get more people to the voting booths.
way,” he said. “Lily really does care about people.” Senior Rena Heras, Lily’s friend, volunteered with Lily a few times and said Lily’s passion for politics made the experience more enjoyable. “It took me a while to get a hang of it, but she’s really good at it,” she said. “I had a lot of fun volunteering with her.” According to Lily, taking a friend along made her involvement in the campaign much more engaging. While she enjoyed volunteering on her own, Lily felt that she could contribute even more to the campaign while working with a friend. “It makes it ten times more fun if you’re volunteering with someone you know well,” she said. AP U.S. Government teacher Thomas Murphy said that Lily’s interest in politics is also reflected by her involvement in the school. He said she brings her experience with the Kennedy campaign into the classroom setting. “She asks good questions and is very much aware of a lot of the issues about the election,” he said. Though she is not old enough to vote, Lily said she hopes that her volunteer work has made a difference in local dialogue. “Trying to reach out to other people is really important,” she said. Lily’s adviser at Joe Kennedy’s campaign office, Drew Kramer, said that student involvement in political campaigns is crucial for gaining support from the community. “Students are really the backbone of our voter outreach efforts. Since most students cannot vote, it is a way for them to have their voices heard,” Kramer said. Bruce agreed that young citizens have an enthusiasm and passion that boosts political efforts.Though he never had a chance to volunteer when he was a student, he is proud to see his daughter volunteering. “She’s very idealistic, as many young people are,” he said, “but particularly her about government being a force for the good of people and objectives.” Even though Joe Kennedy’s congressional campaign is over, Lily said she hopes to continue her involvement in campaigns in the future. “As a citizen of a community, I think that voting and campaigning is not only a right but also a responsibility. That’s something I want to take advantage of and get involved in as much as I can,” Lily said.
november 14, 2012
Election 2 12
Two students provide perspectives on election results following President Obama’s win on Nov. 6
photo courtesy of Hattie Gawande
Hattie Gawande Centerfold Contributor
The 2012 election, many news organizations are saying, was a “status quo election,” as in, nothing really changed. President Barack Obama’s plans for the next four years differ little from that of the previous four years. The majorities in the House and Senate remain roughly the same. And the mere two percent separating Obama and Romney in the popular vote clearly shows that the nation remains polarized. This picture is vastly different from the picture we saw after the election four years ago. In 2008, “voting shifts” – differences in support for the left or the right between 2008 and previous elections – were overwhelmingly “blue.” Four years later, shifts are equally overwhelmingly “red.” In other words, while the country was liberalizing in 2008, most states have since drifted toward the conservative viewpoint. Nevertheless, I see more reasons for optimism now than we had after the 2008 election.The 2008 election was a (seemingly) huge, huge victory for the Democrats. The nation was swept up by Obama’s message of hope and change, and Americans seemed ready for such liberal policies as higher taxes for top earners, revamped health care and a move toward energy policies to reduce U.S. carbon emissions. We forgot, however, the nature of the deranged world of politics. Were Republicans going to accept the desires of the American people, expressed in no uncertain terms through both Obama’s election and the turnover of seven Republican senators and 21 Republican representatives in favor of Democrats, without digging in their heels and refusing to accept reality? Certainly not. Thus Congress spent four years arguing, filibustering, mudslinging and generally getting nothing done. Unfortunately, the mid-term elections of 2010 conveyed that radical conservative obstruction of progress was persuasive to voters. Sixty-three Democratic representatives — more than a quarter of total representatives — were booted in favor of Republicans
in addition to six Democratic senators and six Democratic governors. I could explain away the turnover by railing on about Republican slander of Democrats, but it’s more likely that Americans were frustrated by the unemployment rate (which could hardly have been expected to improve given the congressional gridlock) and unsure what to think of Obamacare, which had been passed eight months prior. In light of their comeback, many Republicans were expecting an easy win in 2012. The fact that they lost by a whopping 97 electoral votes — 126 if you count Florida, which I most certainly do — is very telling about where the nation lies on the issues, which gives me a lot of hope. First, I think that the election results are evidence that Americans are not as swayed by obstructionism as the 2010 mid-term elections seemed to indicate. The buzzword in politics these days is “compromise.” As a result of a push to end political gridlock, Democrats and Republicans have been desperate to prove to Americans that they’re the more likely party to compromise in order to get legislation passed (never mind the actual voting records of the candidates). The fact that Americans have decided — narrowly, but surely — that Democrats are more likely to broker a compromise has sent a very clear message to Republicans. In fact, some Republicans have already indicated willingness to change. Even John Boehner, the conservative Speaker of the House and most certainly a conservative famous for dissolving into tears while waxing poetic about how Democrats have smashed the American Dream, has said that he and other members of Congress are “ready to be led” by Obama and is even willing to talk about reforming the Tax Code (although he is as of yet unwilling to talk explicitly about raising taxes). There is hope for Democrats on the tax issue too, however. Americans have now twice elected a president who has said, over and over and over again, that he fully intends to raise taxes for top earners in the U.S. If Republicans attempt to block efforts by Democrats to raise taxes in the same capacity they did from 2008 to 2012, the public is not going to be happy. I think that Republicans will realize that and if they don’t, I think it’s safe to assume that they will feel the consequences in the 2014 mid-term elections. So sure, Democrats might not think the situation looks as promising as it did in 2008, and Republicans might not feel as cowed as Democrats want them to feel. Through the lens of ability to reach compromise and promote progress, however, Democrats have many more reasons to celebrate than they did four years ago.
photo courtesy of Jordan Cohen-Kaplan
Jordan Cohen-Kaplan Photo Manager
In a month or so, when the election talk finally subsides for good, both Republicans and Democrats will remember this election as being the most bitter and expensive in history. This election will also be remembered as a nearly clean-cut split of the electorate, with record numbers of white men voting for Governor Mitt Romney, and record numbers of African-Americans, Latinos and women voting for President Barack Obama. As a conservative, this election disappointed me; I was looking forward to having a president who really knows the economy inside and out. Romney’s business experience with Bain Capital, his turnaround work with the 2002 Salt Lake Olympics, and his efforts to balance the Massachusetts budget should all have impressed voters whose top concern was unequivocally the economy. But even though I fully supported Romney, I am the first to admit that he ran a rocky campaign and made mistakes from which he could not recover. In the Republican primaries, a moderate Romney was forced to play the role of a radical conservative in order to beat out far-right candidates, like Senator Rick Santorum. Republicans were seeking a viable candidate who could beat Obama, and Romney willing to do or say anything to get to the White House. It seemed the Republicans were “renting” Romney, and Romney was renting the Republican platform in order to get elected. In early October, when a leaked video showed Romney writing off 47 percent of the country, conservative and liberal analysts alike suggested the Romney campaign had died. But after the first debate, Romney began to run the campaign he should have been running all along. He began to connect with all types of voters, drawing large and energetic crowds. Although I am critical of Romney, I believe that Obama ran an incredibly negative campaign, seeking to tear Romney down whenever possible instead of explaining why the president to be de-
served to be re-elected. I watched a PBS “News Hour” special on the personal lives of the candidates and their rise to prominence. I saw footage of Obama’s famed 2004 speech at the Democratic National Convention, where he said, “There’s not a liberal America and a conservative America. There is the United States of America.” In his 2008 run for the White House, then-candidate Obama painted himself as an idealistic candidate who was going to put traditional partisan politics aside and bring “hope and change” to America. I felt optimistic about an Obama presidency. Yet in the first two years of his presidency, it became clear that Obama had no intention of working with Republicans. Among other things, Obama ran on a strong anti-war platform in 2008. He did, in fact, pull the troops out of Iraq in a timely manner, but he has also approved thousands of drone strikes that put civilian lives at risk. During his 2008 campaign, Obama was able to appeal to a wide voter base but has since been unable to keep his laundry list of campaign promises. Obama promised that the unemployment rate would reach 5.7 percent if Congress passed the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act of 2009. Yet by the time of the 2012 campaign, unemployment was at just under 9 percent. Obama also left his plan for the next four years unspoken during his campaign. Now, as Republicans recover from a devastating loss, I do believe that the GOP has run into an identity crisis. There’s no denying that America is not the same country as it was 10 years ago. In the 2000 election, Texas Governor George W. Bush received 55 percent of the white vote, which made up 81 percent of the electorate. Democratic candidate Al Gore won the AfricanAmerican and Latino votes, 17 percent of the electorate, by wide margins. In 2012 exit polls, Romney had a 20-point lead nationwide among whites, who made up 72 percent of the electorate, while Obama had over 70-point leads among both Latinos and AfricanAmericans voters, who made up 23 percent of the electorate. The Republicans will have to work hard to appeal to the rapidly growing slice of the electorate made up of minorities or the battle will only be uphill from here on out. To read more about Cohen-Kaplan’s political views, scan the QR code to the left or go to theraceto270. blogspot.com
november 14, 2012
SUIT UP By Andreas Betancourt “Skyfall” successfully blends traditional and modern elements of the James Bond franchise
dark, spindly figure illuminated by a bright (but far from dazzling) light walks down a hall with an odd, almost inhuman gait. If not for a brief few notes of the classic Bond tune, the first few seconds of Sam Mendes’ “Skyfall” would be more evocative of an alien abduction than anything else. And then, of course, Bond, played masterfully for the third time by Daniel Craig, steps into sharp focus, brilliantly blue eyes twinkling in a sliver of yellow light. The James Bond franchise turned 50 last month, and at the start of the new film seems to be on the cusp of undergoing a rather fitting mid-life crisis. Dark, serious and at times downright gloomy, “Skyfall” is certainly a Bond for the modern world. This latest (twenty-third) addition to the Bond collection marks perhaps the most substantial transmutation — and revitalization — in the series’ history. Gone are the days of Sean Connery’s grinning Bond singing on the beach: Craig plays a steely, stone-faced veteran whose graying hair and battle scars are noticeable, if not accentuated throughout the film. The real show-stopper, though, is Javier Bardem, who plays Raoul Silva, the twisted, effeminate computer hacker who will go down in history as one of the most memorable Bond villains. I don’t want to ruin anything — this is a performance that deserves be experienced firsthand — but this deliciously evil performance is squirm-inducing. Adele also lent her voice to the surreal, underwaterthemed opening sequence in what is a gorgeous exercise in restraint for her; her usually belting vocals are really nicely subdued. While the visuals are typically strange and not my favorite (that distinction goes to the excellent playingcard-themed opening of “Casino Royale” — be sure to check it out), they make for an intelligent, if not a slightly
graphic by Ravi Panse
overdone, combination of foreshadowing and color. “Skyfall” is very aware of our increasingly digital, increasingly globalized world and is a real break from the suave, secret agent globe-trotting in search of an elusive villain with a plot for world-domination. Silva, instead of planning abroad, traditional nuclear strike on a prominent U.S. city, goes after a few key individuals, making the film the most personal Bond to date. Moreover, Silva does the majority of his damage from behind his computer screen, and makes a point of calling MI6 an obsolete joke. This battle between the old and new is a constant throughout the film, captured nicely in an exchange between Bond and the new Q (Quartermaster), played by a very young looking Ben Whishaw, dripping with the typical witty, snarky dialogue of the Bond films: “Q: Age is no guarantee of efficiency. Bond: And youth is no guarantee of innovation. Q: Well, I’ll hazard I can do more damage on my laptop sitting in my pajamas before my first cup of Earl Grey than you can do in a year in the field. Bond: Oh, so why do you need me? Q: Every now and then a trigger has to be pulled. Bond: Or not pulled. It’s hard to know which in your pajamas.” In fact, a central plot point in “Skyfall” is the relevance of MI6, when, in a world apparently dominated by cyber-warfare, an organization based heavily in physical combat is still needed. (As we find out, it most certainly is.) Nevertheless, the film surely isn’t lacking many of the classic Bond features: fast cars, beautiful women, clever screenwriting, exotic locales, riveting chase scenes, beverages “shaken, not stirred,” plenty of “baddies” shot, moments of comic relief and Bond dancing with death all the while. All of these, however, are given a modern, often
more somber approach. Take the diverse locations — from Istanbul to Shanghai to Macau — for example. The vistas are gorgeous (the cinematography is especially well-done in a Shanghai office building, where glass walls and flashing blue advertisements spawn an almost enchanting house of mirrors and shadows) but are also, arguably intentionally, rendered much less important, with a shift toward the setting being more a function of the plot than an exotic location for audiences to yearn for. “Skyfall” acknowledges its past more than any Bond in recent memory. When the old Aston Matin — ejector seat and all — was revealed, the audience applauded. “Q” still gives Bond some gadgets, but they are more utilitarian and less intricate, another move toward seriousness. As “Q” puts it, “What did you expect, an exploding pen?” The audience chuckles. More than any of its predecessors, though, “Skyfall” has a story. For the first time, our favorite protagonist is given a backstory. He is a multi-faceted character, rather than a typecast movie hero. While from an objective perspective, much less is at stake (as previously mentioned, Silva is after people, not destruction on a global scale), but, at risk of sounding cliche, so much more really is at stake. Bond’s true mortality is not far below the surface (pun intended), and his inevitable escape from certain death is not quite so inevitable anymore. And, ultimately, this is what we need. Soviet missiles and swimming cars and horses on steroids are relics of the past, ghosts of a bygone area.Bond has not only morphed to remain consistent with the times, but has undergone a true metamorphosis, taking the series into a more real, albeit darker, place. Happy fiftieth, Mr. Bond. Welcome to the 21st century.
opinions volume 29
november 14, 2012
Recently naturalized citizen reflects on his American identity James Wu
Managing Editor I walked into a stuffy government room lined with rows of plastic chairs that faced a wooden podium. Rectangular fluorescent office lights flickered on the ceiling and an American flag hung in the corner, its stripes folded across its stars. As I approached the registration table, a receptionist jotted down my name on a white sheet of paper and, handing me a rolled-up mini paper flag, told me to have a seat. In this room on a cold October morning, one hand holding a red, white and blue sheet of paper taped to a barbecue skewer, the other placed over my chest, I was to become a citizen of the United States. As I sat down, a woman in a dark gray suit came over to take my greencard and
graphic by Dina Busaba
information sheet. I never got either item back. She then proceeded to call up each person in the room (I was among about 40 other people present) to sign the necessary papers. After about four hours of what could only be described as ceremonial sitting, a distinguished-looking gentleman walked up to the podium and asked us all to raise our right hands and recite each part of the naturalization oath after him. I was going along with the act until he asked us to say, “That I will bear arms on behalf of the United States when required by law; that I will perform work of national importance under civilian direction.” Looking back, I really shouldn’t have been surprised to hear those words; I knew that U.S. citizens are subject to draft, but what was strange was that the promise came so nonchalantly, as if it was some sort of afterthought. No one had ever mentioned drafts when they spoke of America, and thus I had never entertained the thought of actually “bearing arms.” After all, becoming a citizen was a time of congratulations, of celebration; it was about life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, not a time of obligation, right? In Chinese, “United States” is pronounced “mei guo,” which, literally translated, means “beautiful land.” Nowhere in the idealistic description was any mention of “bearing arms” or drafts. The only American sounds I had ever heard were the rustles of the amber waves of grain and ringing of freedom. As the man continued his interminable speech I started to wonder how many other little things I had agreed to do just by signing a paper. How many articles had I not read closely enough? What had I signed up for in becoming a citizen of the country I live in? No matter how logical it was supposed to seem, how much sense it was supposed to make in the context, I couldn’t help but balk for a second. I listened closely for his next line: “And that I take this obligation freely without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; so help me God.” Awkward. The Pledge of Allegiance (most of which I had trouble remembering) followed. People clapped. Families hugged. After the whole affair, though, I didn’t feel different. I didn’t suddenly feel patriotic. I didn’t want to kiss the ground or wave my flag. The truth is, I didn’t feel any more American leaving that door than entering it. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t regret it one bit. Had you given me a choice
between becoming a U.S. citizen or staying a Chinese immigrant living in America, I’d choose the the former option every time (God knows what China makes you promise in their naturalization speech). But for the first time since I had been introduced to the idea of becoming a U.S. citizen, I realized the responsibilities that came with the rights I had so keenly signed up for: responsibilities beyond “bearing arms” that varied in importance and enforcement, from jury duty to voting. I realize now that despite being aware of these new responsibilities, I did not feel different simply because I was not different. I had plenty of experience being American. I was destined to be American the minute my parents decided that they would raise me here. I was American a month after I arrived as a five year old. I was already American when I entered kindergarten here in Newton. I didn’t assume an American identity by signing any papers or waving any flags. The responsibilities that I will be obligated to fulfill as a U.S. citizen are not what will come to define me as an American; I am an American because I live here and breathe here, and I consider this my home. Becoming a U.S. citizen was not about coming to a cultural epiphany in which I became proud and patriotic, bathing in the so-called glory of my newly found liberties. I received those liberties and those responsibilities when I came to America, not when I took my oath. I became a citizen to assert my allegiance to the nation I had already lived in for so many years. The obligations in the naturalization oath didn’t seem so scary anymore; I hadn’t suddenly signed up for a bunch of new responsibilities. I had been committed to those obligations the minute I arrived in America. Becoming a citizen did nothing more that put my American identity on a piece of paper. Obviously, I’m not excited to “bear arms.” I certainly do understand what it means, however, to protect and preserve the liberties that I had taken for granted all these years. To become a U.S. citizen is not to be patriotic or flaunt the American culture; it is to show respect for and trust in our government. Whether an American was born here or stepped on a plane like me, that respect should be the same throughout the population. Through that definition, I can now safely say that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion. So help me God.
november 14, 2012
A recent act of terrorism against education reflects a trend existent throughout history Edward Jackson
Leadership and Diversity Teacher By now, much of the world is aware that a 14-year-old Pakistani girl, Malala Yousufzai, was recently shot in the head by agents of the Taliban forces. According to nearly all news sources, the Taliban sought to kill her because she was an advocate for the education of women and the humane treatment of people in her village: Swat Valley, in Pakistan. The horrific attack on Yousufzai is a testament that terrorism against education is alive and well in many regions of the world, and girls as well as women are frequently the targets of these attacks on knowledge. The fact of the matter is that this type of barbarism against education is nothing new, a glaring example being the aftermath of the United States’ Civil War. To explore this topic further, we must travel back to the period between 1865 and 1920. The Southern part of the U. S. remained a region in rebellion. Through the efforts of some religious groups and individual educators, a skeletal educational network emerged to help the freedmen in many states. This system of education was important for recently freed slaves because teaching slaves or their children to
read and write was punishable by both imprisonment and fines. The result of centuries of such treatment left freedmen ill-equipped to deal with the radically changed world that they were entering. Unfortunately, during that time, many factions in the South felt the newly freed slaves should remain illiterate and be deprived of public educational opportunities. Even though postwar legislation theoretically extended basic rights such as equal protection under the law, voting rights and citizenship, the existence of former slaves was precarious at best. Learning to read and write was absolutely essential to the new citizens’ survival both short and long term. Many exceedingly brave individuals recognized this problem, and, often disregarding their own safety, stepped into the maelstrom in an effort to help new citizens acquire basic educational skills. Despite the fact that a standing army was assigned to the entire South after the end of the Civil War, violence was as common as thunderstorms in the summertime. This violence was often directed at the former slaves and their families, as well as those who would dare to assist them. Educators were particular targets because, even then, education helped to level the playing field. One such educator was a brilliant 17-year-old named Julia Hayden.
After attending Central College in Nashville, Tenn., she decided to start a school for children of freedmen in western Tennessee, certainly one of the most dangerous places to start such a venture. After only three days on the job, Hayden was assassinated by nightriders who murdered her in her own home. Though Yousufzai’s and Hayden’s situations are separated by 140 years and 7,000 miles, both are instructive. Even now, freedom, justice and education always come at a steep price. All of us must be eternally vigilant that these precious rights are not lost or compromised. Don’t stand on the sidelines and watch these rights eroded or usurped. Join organizations, stay informed and create forums, whether in your community, school or home. graphic by Sophie Forman
Language classes not translating into practical use Caroline Zola Sr. Features Editor
While packing my suitcase the summer after my sophomore year for a month-long trip to France, I double-checked my list of all the things I needed to bring home with me. Embarrassingly enough, the list read as follows: 1. Brand new French wardrobe, 2. Hot French boyfriend and 3. The skills necessary to earn an easy A in French class for the rest of my high school career. As it turned out, French clothes are expensive, French boys, though beautiful, tend to be obnoxious and the French language skills I learned during my monthlong stay did nothing to help my performance in French class at South. Needless to say, I was pretty upset. Although I was dressed in Gap jeans and lacking a boyfriend, I started out the school year optimistically. I had spent a month living with a French family totally immersed in French culture. I danced at the French disco, ate shark and snails, prayed at Sunday Mass, had dozens of French family members kiss me on the cheek at a family reunion and stayed up all night practicing French swear words and insults. I learned the rising and falling cadence of the French language, the low “e” sound of “oeuf,” the rolling “y” in “grenouille” and the lilting inflection of “Haha, une americaine!” Mostly, though, I learned to communicate. I entered France as a lost, confused and jet-lagged American. I would sit in restaurants or in my host’s bedroom, completely oblivious to everything around me. Despite my five years of French class, the colloquial
French language was alien to me. Slowly though, the static hum of a foreign language cleared. After three weeks, I could understand almost everything my host said. After four weeks, I could speak confidently, with a slightly less disgusting American accent. Naturally, I was shocked when I returned to the U.S. and continued to struggle in French class. Whenever I got a bad grade back, I would think, “How did this happen? I speak French!” Ultimately, I believe language classes at South are not suited to native speaking. Instead, they focus too much on grammatical semantics rather than on culture and practiced communication. Memorization has never been my strong suit. Yes, by the end of AP Biology, I could recite the steps of photosynthesis but only after hours of painful studying. In French class, memorizing the past conditional and plusque-parfait was even more difficult, and yet these tenses are rarely used in colloquial French. Instead of archaic tenses, students should focus on modern vocabulary words and French slang. This is not to say that everything you’ve learned in language classes thus far has been for naught, but I can pretty much guarantee the only tenses used in conversational French are present, past and future (and occasionally the imperfect). Never did I use the subjunctive, the conditional or the future-simple in France. I struggled to name and identify the objects around me. Yes, when I went to France I could easily say “If I had won the lottery, I would have purchased a yacht,” but I couldn’t talk about the waves when I sat on the beach or tell my host the foods I wanted her to buy from the grocery store. When I was out with my host and her friends,
the rapid speed of colloquial French was so overwhelming that, at points, I would just stop listening. Returning to French class, however, was the hardest part of the whole experience. A written quiz on the simple future tense will not help you communicate in a foreign country, but a quiz on a French movie scene will. Language classes should better include applicable vocabulary, listening exercises and speaking exercises. This year, I’m taking AP French and enjoying the class much more. The standardized AP curriculum includes reading modern French novels, watching French film and listening to modern radio broadcasts. While I still wish I was learning more vocabulary and doing more listening exercises, this standardized class is more applicable to conversational French than any class I’ve ever taken. Perhaps the class is more genuinely French because students at an AP level have the basic skills necessary to focus on modern linguistics instead of the basic tenses, but I believe that such skills should be better incorporated into language classes starting at the first level. Learning conversational skills will not only prepare students for an international experience but also make language classes more enjoyable for them. I have worked to maintain my communication skills, making sure to stay current on all the French slang and expressions I learned. I would like the language department at South to implement these modern communicative skills into the language curriculum, so that even though I didn’t leave France with a hot French boyfriend, I will still have the ability to communicate with one in the future.
november 14, 2012 Debating Death with Dignity
Student refutes claim that bisexuality is a myth Keegan Stricker Opinions Contributor
Most people feel attracted to members of only one gender. There is one gender with which they can get romantically involved. There is one gender that they can see themselves marrying, having a family with and living with for the rest of their lives as loving partners. For most people, the other gender is pretty much completely out of the question when it comes to romance. But then there are those who really can’t differentiate their feelings toward the two genders. Bisexuals find love as well as friendship in both men and women. They may be generally sided with a more gay or straight outlook toward their romantic life but could easily get involved with a guy they met at a party or a girl with whom they work. For bisexuals, finding a significant other is not limited to one half of the human population. When I first discovered that I liked both genders, accepting my sexual orientation proved to be no easy task. Although I could see myself dating members of the same sex — which I even-
tually began doing — I still found myself competing with them to win over members of the opposite sex. My “straight half ” governed much of my competitiveness in finding romance, yet I also saw myself trying to come off as more attractive to the same sex than members of the opposite sex. I was as confused as ever. In both cases, how could I compete for romantic partners against members of the same sex to which I was attracted? Ultimately ,I accepted my sexuality, and although questions stick with me even today, they have not lessened my attraction to both sexes. Some say that bisexuality is a myth, that one simply cannot love both men and women. Bisexuality, according to this theory, is just a phase at the crossroads of one’s love life. I am ambivalent about this. Considering that I’m a teen and that I’m in a period of my life when I’m still figuring out who I am and where I’m going, I fully understand and respect the notion that this may be just a stage in my life. My mind is still developing, and I have much to experience before I can truly determine my sexual orientation. I do see bisexuality as sort of a sur-
real phenomenon in humans because it is hard to believe that a person can have feelings for essentially anyone on the planet. It is entirely understandable that this doesn’t make sense to many people. At the same time, the psychology of a bisexual cannot be fully understood by someone who is not bisexual him or herself. Gay or straight, people can argue as much as they want that bisexuality does not exist. But if they haven’t harbored feelings for both genders at the same time, if they haven’t had a boyfriend and then a girlfriend, both of whom they loved, then how can they tell me that my sexual orientation isn’t legitimate? I completely realize that later on in my life, I may find more or complete affection for either men or women, but in my current perspective, neither gender appeals to me more. It may be hard to believe that bisexuality is real, but many do truly hold feelings for both genders. As for me, until I truly see myself finding one gender who I can see myself dating, and one that I cannot, I believe my sexual orientation lies in between homosexuality and heterosexuality. No matter the arguments against it, I am bisexual.
I can’t decide which filter to use for my Instagram photo #newtonproblems
My car’s in the shop so my mom had to drive me to school #newtonproblems
Hurricane Sandy blew away our Obama lawn sign #newtonproblems
No Trace isn’t going to be at TeaBarn #newtonproblems
I slept through the earthquake :( #newtonproblems
My Cape house was flooded by Hurricane Sandy #newtonproblems
Social issues and me
Massachusetts residents voted no on the Death with Dignity Act (Massachusetts Question #2), a vote that determined the legality of assisted suicide, on Nov. 6. The debate over the morality of assisted suicide revolved around two principles: the value of human life and an individual’s right to death. I don’t believe that the right to death is more important than the value of human life, but I do think an individual should have the right to die when life is unbearable for him or her. Supporting assisted suicide makes sense — but only under circumstances of extreme and incurable pain. It is only fair that individual autonomy is put above the duty to contine one’s life; life is only meaningful — in a non-religious world — to a society and to the individual. Our social structure is designed to protect the individual from harm; if death is the only way to protect said individual from harm, then it is only logical that death be a choice. The question that arises when discussing assisted suicide is over who should be considered eligible. Along with chronic physical pain and terminal illness, depression and other mental disorders that can cause immense pain should be taken into account. If a disease or disorder can be treated, that treatment must commence immediately. Imagine someone whose life passes by miserably each day, who has considered solutions from Prozac to shock therapy, none of which offer any relief. Serious cases of depression can cause as much pain and disability as physical diseases. When the world and all its medical miracles have failed, it is right to give individuals the chance to go out with dignity. People should go through official medical and psychological evaluations, however, to make sure that they qualify. Medical records, psychological evaluations and consultations with medical professionals are all necessary to determine whether someone is in the right state of mind to make such a difficult decision. Though I am pro-assisted suicide, the Death with Dignity Act did have some holes. The bill would have allowed a terminally ill patient to be given prescribed lethal drugs. The fact that a doctor would not be present when the patient self-euthanized means that the patient could either have abused the purpose of the drugs or much more likely, have suffered a painful death due to error. The patient could even have caused a non-fatal but seriously detrimental effect. Ultimately, assisted suicide should be a last resort offered when the patient has explored all methods of pain relief and is ready to finalize such a complex decision. The fact that the Massachusetts Death with Dignity Initiative did not go through is not necessarily bad. This step backward provided time for legislators to perfect the bill and ultimately, to develop a modern definition of what it means to control one’s body.
november 14, 2012
Racial divide reflected by classroom seating Anqi Gao
Managing Editor Instead of desks, my AP English Language and Composition classroom consists of two long conference tables with a wide gap in the middle, where my teacher stands. The first time I walked into the room, I chose a side and stuck with it. So did everyone else. As I sat at the table with classmates who also had dark hair color and monosyllabic last names, I realized that the kids around me were all Asian, and that many of them were my close friends. On the other hand, the line of faces on the other side looked distant, unfamiliar and, as I noted later, white. Given the choice to sit wherever we wanted to in class, we of course opted to sit with our friends. In a senior AP English course, seating charts seemed elementary. After all, we were all polite toward one another; we simply sat with those to whom we felt closest. This decision, for the most part, was totally subconscious; rarely do I walk into a classroom and spend a significant amount of time contemplating whom I’m going to sit next to. The racial divide in classrooms is a social issue that builds from the friendships that we form. I instinctively sat next to the other Asians in the class because they were my friends, not because they
were Asian. Like breathing, it’s a choice to which we don’t give much thought. But perhaps we should. Most students comfortably dismiss the racial divide in classrooms and social areas. Why disrupt an arrangement that allows us to confidently share our opinions when teachers tell us to “discuss with your neighbors?” I would love to offer the standard multicultural answer: that “exploring other cultures” is good, that segregation in the classroom shuts out potential perspectives, resources and friends. I should tell you that everyone should have a friend of every race and that we should all hold hands and celebrate our unprecedented racial and ethnic tolerance. But of course, nothing is as simple as that. Real life isn’t “Pocahontas.” Students identify with their race as much as any other trait, be that personality, appearance or anything else. As much as we’d like to help it, we will all judge a book by its cover, even if just a little bit. To amalgamate everyone into a single homogeneous group of multiculturalism is an impractical consideration, and to tell someone to “explore an exotic new culture” is condescending, if not racist. That does not mean, however, that we should consider a difference in race to be any more than that: a difference. Letting the so-called “racial divide” block us from potential relationships is illogical.
I would not, however, bridge a racial divide just because it exists. Forcing diversity for the sake of diversity only creates awkward relationships and unnecessary discomfort. On the other hand, students should not let race prevent them from making new friends, forming new relationships or having a classroom discussion. Many would regard racial divides to be a big issue, one that is as difficult to fix as it is to understand.
Such an approach is exactly the opposite of what we should promote, though. To regard the problem as daunting only makes it more difficult to solve. At South, where even the word “diversity” has more than one meaning, it certainly shouldn’t be seen as such. When I go to class tomorrow, I will sit next to someone from the opposite table. But I will do so not because of their race, but because I want to meet them.
graphic by David Gorelik
Homework-free weekend misses the mark Dina Busaba
Sr. Opinions Editor I spent my homework-free weekend just as I would have spent any other weekend. I saw friends, caught up on sleep that I missed during the school week and did some homework. Yes, I did homework during the homework-free weekend. But maybe that was just me; perhaps most of my fellow students spent the five days frolicking with their friends, unaware that school would be upon them with full force in a short time. It’s more likely, however, that most students had some foresight to realize that the so-called “homework/stress-free weekend” had its catch-22s. In theory, the homework-free weekend should have been a positive experience for students. The idea was a good one, formed with good intentions. In reality, it didn’t work. I’ll admit that the homework-free weekend did help me in that it gave me the opportunity to catch up on work. When it came to the classes that don’t check homework regularly or assign work to help us outside of class, I rarely did the work when it was due or relevant. graphic by Maggie Zhang
The homework-free weekend allowed me to focus on this outside work to learn the material we had covered in school. The weekend also could have been a chance for students to learn more responsibility. Instead, it gave them a free pass to slack off. Transitioning back into school was hard because the homework-free weekend felt somewhat like a vacation for us. Not only was it over a three day weekend, but the effect of coming back to school after a three day hiatus from any form of work came as a shock to students. It’s like coming back to school after a week of vacation not remembering how to write an essay, solve a math equation or take history notes. Spending the weekend lounging or partying or doing whatever is good only if you get eased back into the stress of school. Instead, we smash back into a wall of essays, projects and homework. Another problem was that many teachers were not fully aware of the terms of the homework-free weekend. Some teachers didn’t recognize what was going on because they don’t check their emails; some claimed they forgot. It seemed like some teachers faked forgetting so they could assign whatever work they wanted. Yes, the homework-free policy stated that teachers should not pull the long-standing tradition of assigning twice as much homework for Wednesday so that their schedules stayed on track.
How well this clause was enforced was a different story. Even after Sandy passed through Newton, many teachers were quick to compress their once spread out assignments into a small time period to make up for lost time. If a hurricane couldn’t stop the process, what made the administration think the homework-free policy would? Such practices are most common in higher level courses. Many of my friends said that AP teachers thought they were exempt from the homework-free weekend because of the course level. These students complained to other teachers who later emailed Mr. Stembridge. The entire homework-free weekend started more problems than it resolved. For students, it’s frustrating to be promised no homework but then have teachers find a loophole. The loopholes caused more problems and even more stress for students in the long run. Students who were expecting to have an actual “homework-free weekend” were greeted with the same work they had avoided on the Tuesday they got back, now with only one day to complete their assignments. As a first attempt at this new policy, the homework-free weekend wasn’t terrible. We accomplished the first part of the decreed goal: most students enjoyed themselves during the weekend. But the setup let teachers get around the policy too easily. Hopefully, the next attempts will be smoother, and students will be able to enjoy a homework-free weekend with no stress.
community volume 29
november 14, 2012
The Roar features a local organization or business that makes a difference in our community First Last
Regular headline regular headlineeeeeeeeeee The Centre Street Food Pantry provides food to many Newton residents in need, though its efforts have gone largely unnoticed at South Emily Ho
Sr. Community Editor
photos by Emily Ho
At the back entrance of Trinity Church, tucked away behind Gothic spires and stained glass windows, a small sign posted on the stone wall marks the entrance to the Centre Street Food Pantry. Although it is located in the heart of Newton Centre, the Centre Street Food Pantry remains relatively unrecognized by community members, according to volunteers. Still, they said, the pantry has fed over 650 people in the last year, and its necessity is only growing. The Centre Street Food Pantry, a nonprofit organization, works out of Trinity Church’s basement at 11 Homer Street. Unaffiliated with the church, the pantry served its first meal in January, 2011 and has been operating ever since. “Starting around 2009, a lot of the churches in Newton were seeing many more families coming to them asking for assistance with food,” Pantry President Patrice Wilson said. “So rather than dealing with it in a piecemeal basis, they got together and formed a committee to decide what should be done to help on an ongoing basis.” The committee set out to provide food free of charge to financially eligible families. Each family can receive a maximum of a three-day supply of food once each month. Wilson said that through her work at the pantry, she has been able to put faces to statistics. “When I first got involved, I kept hearing the Greater Boston Food Bank ad that kept saying that one in nine families in Massachusetts is food
insecure,” Wilson said, “and what that food insecurity means is [that] families don’t know where their next meal is coming from.” Although the pantry has a stock of food, volunteers agreed that supplies are used up quickly and would be insufficient without donations from the Newton Farmers’ Market and private citizens in addition to reduced rates for food purchases from the Greater Boston Food Bank. All of these efforts make a great impact, despite the pantry’s relative obscurity among Newton residents, Wilson said. “So
We want to help those families [by being] that food security source, so the families know they can rely upon us. - Patrice Wilson, Pantry President many people say to me, ‘You have a need for a food pantry in Newton?’” Wilson said. “And there is. Ninety percent of the families come from Newton, and they’re all eligible, so there’s definitely the need here.” Volunteer Edith, who asked that her last name be omitted, said she has seen the need firsthand. “Plenty of people who come here are [dealing with] problems they didn’t cause,” Edith said. “One man told me he was an expert in very old computer programming that’s no longer used. He no longer has a job, and he has
no more money to get retraining.” Despite the work of individuals like Edith, senior Alexandra Nesson said she had not heard of the Centre Street Food Pantry, though she considers herself to be a student who enjoys giving back to the community. “Maybe it’s not something [people] talk about very often,” she said. Volunteer Brad, who also asked that his last name be omitted, said that gaining popular recognition is beside the pantry’s main objectives. “[Families] are treated with dignity here, and that’s what I like,” Brad said. “The goal is to make a positive experience for the people that are shopping, so we try to keep a cheerful attitude.” Since opening, the Centre Street Food Pantry has made “leaps and bounds” moving toward that positive experience, according to Wilson. In February 2011, the pantry served 14 families, but in the following 18 months, volunteers saw an increase of approximately 10 families per month. Still, there is work to be done. “We want to increase the amount of food we give through, then increase the number of times [clients can] come,” Wilson said. “We want to help those families [by being] that food security source, so the families know they can rely upon us.” Edith said that though she gains satisfaction from volunteering at the Centre Street Food Pantry, she hopes that some day, her work will no longer be necessary. “[Right now, the pantry] is an important community resource for those who need it,” she said. “I suppose, in an ideal future, it wouldn’t exist because everyone would have a job.”
november 14, 2012
ONE WORD, ONE COMMUNITY
Every issue, The Roar asks members of the Newton community to expand upon a one-word prompt
photo courtesy of Esther Chang
photo courtesy of Lauren Forrow
photo courtesy of Sujatha Ramadurai
How often do we perceive beauty as perfection? But what is beauty if nothing lies beneath the surface? I learned that true beauty possesses depth and uniqueness. From my experience in learning how to oil paint, I discovered that there is much more to beauty than perfection. After swiping down the last stroke of paint, I leaned back, confident that my painting was complete. I waited for my art teacher’s response, but he offered no words of praise. Instead, he mixed a generous portion of pink paint, loaded it onto a palette knife, and without my consent, smeared the vibrant hue across the canvas before my eyes. I watched in horror as my work contorted from its former composition. All the hours of labor spent were now gone. Ruined. I stared at my once beautifully refined oil painting. The long streak of pink marred the delicate warm umber violin and disrupted all the fastidiously applied elements of color, size and proportion. My teacher then said, “Let go. Be bold.” Recovering from shock, I failed to comprehend at first. Dismayed, I stepped back and beheld my painting; what I gained, however, surprised me. The pink somehow added a pop that lifted the aesthetic value to a higher level, giving my painting a greater dynamic profundity. I felt I had gained insight into the creation of meaningful art. Upon seeing my change in countenance, my teacher handed me the palette knife, and I pursued head-on. Anyone can paint a realistic still life of the same violin, but to create an abstract representation is another story, requiring an individual style. True beauty, free from any idealistic perfectionism, is what makes something unique. So next time, before you judge beauty, see past the surface and find the inner beauty that lies hidden beneath the canvas.
Everyone wants to be beautiful, but beauty is complicated. So many different things can be beautiful in so many different ways. Passes in football games can be beautiful, language can be beautiful, an idea can be beautiful, etc. Even if you narrow it down to just what makes a person beautiful, it’s still not simple. There’s a difference between being physically beautiful and being a beautiful human being. People who are physically beautiful are attractive on the outside; they take care of their bodies and are lucky enough to have inherited good sets of genes. Beautiful human beings are fundamentally good or pleasing; they make others happy and inspire others to better themselves. These two kinds of beauty are not mutually exclusive, but a person can have one without the other. Just because someone looks good to you doesn’t mean you’d choose to hang out with him. Similarly, just because someone is kind and thoughtful doesn’t mean you’d think twice about him if you passed him on a busy street. But beauty is subjective. I find Ryan Gosling beautiful, but that doesn’t mean everyone else does. That can be hard to accept, especially when it comes to your own beauty. I know not everyone thinks I’m particularly beautiful, myself included. It’s hard. If someone tells me I’m ugly, how am I supposed to ignore him? How can I be beautiful if someone can say that I’m ugly and mean it? But just because some people don’t find me beautiful doesn’t mean I’m not. Everyone is beautiful to some people. Life should be about telling people when we see beauty in them. That way, we’d all find it easier to see that beauty in ourselves.
“Beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder,” my mother told me when I was a little kid asking her if I was beautiful. I accepted her statement for a while and then went through a phase of my own (mis)interpretation of beauty. Today, as a parent and physician, I have come full circle because I tell my children the same thing my mom once told me. Beauty is a poorly understood, ill-defined word in the English language. Broadly speaking, beauty is a combination of qualities pleasing to one’s intellect or moral sensibility. The perception of beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder and is dependent on age, personality, individuality and cultural background. To perceive beauty, one must have a mind capable of thinking along with favorable circumstances and freedom of expression. We often refer to the physical appearance of a person when we talk about beauty. Our youth are all too familiar with the physical characteristics portrayed by the media in carefully orchestrated, air brushed, photoshopped and drastically altered photos of models. These photos have led to a spectrum of physical and emotional problems in our society. Beauty is more than physical attributes, though. Beauty requires good physical and psychological health. We need to educate our kids to recognize their inner and outer beauty and to be able to take a positive look at themselves.
Class of 2013
Class of 2014
Next Issue’s Word:
november 14, 2012 Columns, rows and squares Each take a digit, falling Between one and nine.
bad haiku by Tony Vashevko & Rob Hass puzzles courtesy of sudokuoftheday.com
6 8 7
Word Search M E G R A T I T U D E J K F
F E I S H X U T T U R K E Y
ACROSS: 1. Quadrennial national address 8. 1985 Wii 9. Preceeds “pickle,” colloquially (2 wds.) 10. Fast food in London 13. Awkward interjection or TV show with John Stamos 14. It’s stranded in your ribosomes. Comes in flavors t, m, r and sn
Thanksgiving is coming! Search for some words about the festive feast to fulfill your fancy. Happy holidays!
Z J M S U S J P H F Y X R S P K N B Q Y X R F C W G E F P P L G N I F F U T S H V K D V U I O R P I A F A Y L B R E R P W V O A J U P Z L R M H R M I C M O Q L M U E J N L E R O D Z Z N R G R I Z S O V H C M Z R E N N I D V I A A U Y B E L I M U S L P F L T I G V L H Q E Z K C V O B Y U A T M K T R V Z A Q V O E P D S U O A P N C L Y H I K F S U P M O V B S J E E T P R N A S P M N R S H C A F H D C N N N X U P I G T R Q J P H G C J C B E K V X Z A T C O O A Q X C Z I U S L V K X X F F P M W I J B U E F I R B E V H R I P E K F K R U A C D A Z J V T D D A D X F L P C T F Z H U N J F N U J X S X J R N M N X K F I C N O C B V X M I S P J C 1) Cornucopia 2) Cranberries 3)Dinner 4)Family 5) Feast 6) Gratitude 7) Gravy 8) Harvest 9) Indians 10) Pilgrims 11) Plymouth 12) Pumpkin pie 13) Stuffing 14) Turkey 15) Yams
15. Year of the lord 17. Military brass 18. Location of NSPA 2012 (abbrev.) 20. ___-XING 21. Largest nation’s internet domain 22. Identical in all directions 25. Jetsam, 1773 party 26. 1 or 11 in “21” 27. Bargain hunter’s heavens (2 wds.)
By James Wu
DOWN: 1. Amount of power per unit area 2. A type of sightedness that requires glasses 3. One would do this to Jeeves 4. Gryffindor’s brains 5. River inlet 6. Jenkins, from “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” 7. West coast city (abbrev.) or feminine article 11. To go off like Vesuvius 12. Find him in the crowd 16. Tennis ties, or something one would chuck in a greeting 19. “against _____ of troubles” (2 wds.) 21. Sushi staple 23. The equivalent of a Rowboat’s motor 24. Close friend, or Arthur’s dog
Embarrassing Roar Staff Photo of the Month:
Oppan HyunNews style(ostrich photobomb).
sports volume 29
november 14, 2012
NCAA deems several South classes invalid Yonatan Gazit & Tony Yao Sr. Sports Editors
South administrators discovered over the summer that the National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA) has rejected the validity of some Curriculum II classes, meaning that South athletes who take these courses will not be able to participate in sports in college. Principal Joel Stembridge said that the NCAA has specific standards for the classes students must take in order to participate in college athletics. “The NCAA has a clearing house that approves courses from high schools in order for students to be eligible to participate in Division I or Division II athletics in college,” he said. “Students have to have 16 core courses that are defined by the NCAA in order to make that work,” he said. According to the NCAA website, high school classes are not accepted if they “are taught below the regular academic level.” Despite South’s U.S. News Education ranking of eleventh in the state, Curriculum II math and science courses such as Algebra I, Intro to Chemistry, Intro to Biology, and Intro to Physics did not make the cut. Science department head Gerard Gagnon said that the issue first arose this past summer. “[In] the third week of August, I was contacted by Mr. Stembridge saying … ‘We have this student, who is going to be playing a Division I sport, and there have been some issues raised in terms of his academic eligibility based on the course work that he had taken at South.’” The student Gagnon referenced, ‘12 graduate John Jennings, currently attends the University of Massachusetts - Amherst (UMass Amherst), where he was recruited during to play Division I collegiate baseball. Jennings, who has been cleared to participate in the league, said that South administrators have been extremely helpful in resolving his issue of eligibility. “Newton South went above and beyond to get this situation corrected, and everyone—from the principal to the guidance department—has worked very hard to get it resolved,” he said. Despite the solution to the problem, Stembridge said he is not supportive of the NCAA’s decision. “All of us were quite surprised and shocked that someone decided that South courses didn’t meet a basic eligibility, and it’s not something that we agree with,” he said. Gagnon also said he disagrees with the standards set by the NCAA, that South’s Curriculum II classes are more advanced than most in the country and that the decision was “short-sighted” and “ridiculous.” “Compare Newton South’s Curriculum II physics class to the physics class that’s offered at 150 other institutions, three from every state,” he said. “I think you’d see what we do is better than most places, even at the Curriculum II level.” Senior and boys basketball team captain Barak Swarttz said he was unaware of the NCAA’s decision, and after hearing of the decision, he said he is outraged that it may affect his future collegiate athletic career, given that he has taken Curriculum II classes. “I didn’t even know that this was happening,” he said. “That’s absurd.” Junior Josh Gordon, who plans to play lacrosse in college, said he was aware of the NCAA’s decision and has had to switch out of all of his Curriculum II classes in order to protect his future career as a college athlete. “[The NCAA’s decision] affected me because I was forced to take harder classes,” he said. Stembridge said that the NCAA eligibility center has to review a huge number of high schools and it can be tough to communicate with them at times. “Trying to help the folks at the NCAA understand who we are has been challenging,” Stembridge said. “It’s been very difficult to have a conversation with them because their setup is such that you only get information from them from their website, you don’t actually get to talk to somebody.”
photo by Jordan Cohen-Kaplan
Recent NCAA regulations will stop athletes at South who have taken certain classes from competing in college athletics.
Gagnon agreed that the NCAA has not accommodated South’s requests. “The issue hasn’t gotten resolved yet because the NCAA isn’t willing to consider our position,” he said. “They as an institution haven’t taken a look at our situation.” The Roar’s repeated attempts to contact the NCAA yielded no response. According to Stembridge, there is no guarantee at the moment that athletes at South who took Curriculum II classes will be able to play in college next year. “To my knowledge, all the students who have graduated from South [in the past] who want to be participating in Division I athletics are eligible,” he said. “Our goal is that this will be the same for every child going forward.”
It’s not fair for the NCAA to say that if you’ve been enrolled in a Curriculum II class, you can’t participate in the league. - Barak Swarttz, Class of 2013 Jennings, however, said that student who are performing at a high level should not have to worry in the years to come. “The NCAA has been extremely uncooperative,” Jennings said. “[but] I would say that kids who are actually playing at the D1 level and being recruited should be fine, because as far as I know, [South’s] Curriculum II classes are in the process of being approved, and good amount have already been approved.” According to Stembridge, some of North’s classes that are identical to the ones at South have been accepted. “We have people who have taught at North in those Curriculum II classes and at South in our Curriculum II classes, and surprise, surprise, there is virtually no differ-
ence between the courses.” Senior and boys soccer player Benyamin MeschedeKrasa said he disagreed with the NCAA’s decisions to accept North’s Curriculum II classes but not South’s classes. “It’s even more ridiculous if it’s just Curriculum II classes from South that are being targeted because that’s huge bias against South,” Meschede-Krasa said. “I understand that the NCAA is trying to get students to put academics over sports, but that’s not how to do it.” Swarttz agreed that North and South are so similar that the NCAA should treat them the same. “I don’t think it’s fair, especially that there’s two Newton public high schools. The standards should be the same,” he said. Gagnon said that ultimately the NCAA’s decision can be discouraging for students taking Curriculum II classes. “I think that the message that [the decision] sends is that [Curriculum II classes are] not real classes and many of these students are students that are risk averse anyways, they have hard feelings about where they fit in an institution that could be a little bit elitist,” He said. “So I think that the message that it sends is deplorable.” Meschede-Krasa agreed that the NCAA’s decision has the potential to devalue Curriculum II classes. “The Curriculum II classes are at a lower level, but [these classes] are taught in a completely different learning style,” he said. “It’s what these students need; it’s not a less difficult class.” Swarttz said he feels that students should not be restricted from playing at the college level simply because they take Curriculum II classes. “I think there’s a certain eligibility for athletes to keep up with their academics, but I don’t think a Curriculum II class should prevent a certain athlete from being eligible to play,” he said. “It’s not fair for the NCAA to say that if you’ve been enrolled in a Curriculum II class, you can’t participate in the league.” Principal Stembridge also said that South has not given up yet. “I think that all [these] emotions are there: surprise, shock and a little bit of frustration and dismay, but also determination,” he said.
november 14, 2012
winte s o ts review
By Brendan Duggan and Ben Tuval
Last year’s record: 2-18 “We’ve worked hard this summer and fall, gotten faster [and] stronger and developed team chemistry. Coach: Joe Killilea The main goal is for everyone to show up to practice and not just give 100 percent, but 110 percent.” Captains: Barak Swarttz, Jason -Barak Swarttz Karys, Jonathan van Vreden
Last year’s record: 3-2 Coach: Steven McChesney
Tr oor Ind
Captains: Kyra Visnick, Emily Caggiano, Jonee Harrison
“I’m really hoping that the track team this year bonds as a whole and can end in the state lead. This season, we’re coming in with a really strong base and a lot of new and exciting talent.” -Kyra Visnick
ey ock sH
Last year’s record: 7-13 “A worry that I have at the moment is starting off the season strong and falling off halfway through, like last Coach: Chris Ryberg year, when we started 5-0 and ended 8-12. This year, my goal is to make the playoffs.” Captains: Peter Block, Kevin -Peter Block Dober, Joseph Trask
Last year’s record: 8-12
Bas ket ba Gir ls
“We went in last year thinking we [would] try to make the playoffs, but we didn’t have smaller goals on the way to the big goal. This year, we’re going to focus on the little things.” -Kayla Burton
Coach: San Donor Captains: Kayla Burton, Tori Swartz, Charlotte Levine
Last year’s record: Girls, 4th in “We only have three male seniors on the team, so we state; Boys, 5th in state are a very young, up and coming team. One could Coach: Michael Swain say we’re in the rebuilding stage. However, we still believe we will have great results this winter.” Captains: RJ Hayes, -RJ Hayes Suzy Landon, Julia Goldberg Last year’s record: 7-12
Coach: Bill Fagan, Alan Rotatori
“It is going to be a little bit of a rebuilding year. We lost a lot of seniors, but there’s a good number of up coming sophomores and freshmen. Individually, there are some players [who] will have [a] really good year.” -Lucian Cascino
Captains: Lucian Cascino, Patrick Fabrizio, Will Kramer
photos by Jordan Cohen-Kaplan
Row, Row, Row Your Boat By Tony Yao
november 14, 2012 As the bell rang on a recent afternoon, junior Grant Balkema trudged out the school doors toward an awaiting minivan, feeling guilty, he said, that he was leaving his friends, who were headed toward South sports practices after J block. Wi t h i n 2 0 m i n utes, Balkema had already started his daily crew regimen at Community Rowing, Inc. (CRI) in Brighton. Balkema was not the only South student at crew practice that day or on countless others throughout the past few years. More and more South students have recently turned to competitive rowing at CRI, sometimes in lieu of joining South teams. Senior Eric Zhang, who considered joining CRI but instead chose to run cross country at South, said that CRI affords students the opportunity to row competitively, which they cannot do elsewhere. “It’s not like [rowers] are joining another team that is playing the same sport as they are [at school] now. They’re joining an organization that provides these students an opportunity to do a sport that they can’t at South,” Zhang said. Senior Jason Chari, whose rowing career at CRI began and ended last year, agreed with Zhang that rowers are not trying to spurn South’s athletic teams, but rather trying something new. “[Crew is] a completely different experience from sports [that school offers], where you’re always out on the field. It also lets students get away from Newton South, and CRI has kids from cities all over Massachusetts,” Chari said. “You feel good about yourself for trying something outside the box.” According to Chari, some students who leave South teams in favor of CRI are not seeking new athletic opportunities as their primary objective, but rather academic reasons. “A major incentive for rowing is it looks really good on your college application,” Chari said. “A lot of colleges will recruit for rowing, so if you get good at rowing, there’s a good chance you may get recruited.” The official website of US Rowing states that the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) permits up to the equivalent of 20 full scholarships per college rowing team, attracting the top rowers from organizations like CRI.
As part of a recent South trend toward rowing at the high school level, more and more students are leaving behind their orange and blue uniforms, sports equipment and teammates at South to join the crew team at Community Rowing, Inc.
For Balkema however, the goal of rowing has never been recruitment. Instead, he said he started rowing competitively at a friend’s suggestion after four summers of rowing for pleasure. “I really liked it, so I continued,” Balkema said. C re w r u ns ye arround, which limits students like Balkema from joining school teams in which they might otherwise be interested. “Freshman year, I did soccer in the fall and then I did track in the winter and spring. But this year, I think I am only going to do winter track,” Balkema said. Zhang said he is worried that South students’ leaving for CRI may be weakening the school’s athletics and the cross country team in particular. “I’ve known three people who left cross country their sophomore year to do crew,” Zhang said. “If they contributed to the [cross country] team, then them leaving [for crew] may seem kind of selfish.” Cross country coach Ted Norton said, however, that he is not overly concerned about athletes leaving the team in favor of crew. Still, Norton recalled one runner who left the cross country team this year after joining CRI last year. “My turnover is very rare,” Norton said. “If there’s another sport that [runners] like, I tell them to give it a try and mix it up a bit.” A f t e r t r y i n g out c re w, Chari said that he ultimately preferred the environment of South’s teams over that of CRI. “When I joined CRI, I felt like the group of people wasn’t very tightly knit. I felt that people were competing with each other for the top boats, whereas here at cross country at Newton South, it’s a completely communal environment,” Chari said. “People here are encouraging each other, and we’re all working toward the same goals. I find it a much more welcoming environment.” Still, there will always be those who would choose CRI over any South team, Balkema said. “I’ve been hearing that South is going to be starting a crew team, but the thing is it’s going to be very expensive to start because crew boats are very expensive,” Balkema said. “I wouldn’t join [South’s] team, though, because CRI’s team is definetely a lot better.”
NHL players are still locked out of the ice rink
Jack McElduff Sports Columnist
A few weeks ago, the National Hockey League went into a lockout for the second time since the 2004-05 season, due to the league’s failing to reach a collective bargaining agreement between the players and league owners. As a result, all games up to Oct. 24 were canceled. These debates beg the question: why should these overpaid athletes be arguing about money? Every NHL player makes way more than the average American. The smallest contract an NHL player can receive still totals around $750,000 a year. This “lockout” continues a trend throughout sports. Here’s a timeline of the “money issues” that have hindered sports throughout the years. In 1994, Major League Baseball went on strike, canceling its postseason and the start of the 1995 season. Fans immediately turned on the league as attendance dropped dramatically. Seventeen years later, the National Football League went into its own lockout, which spanned across most of the summer, canceling the Hall of Fame Game. That same year, the National Basketball Association got into a financial situation of its own when Derek Fisher and the NBAPA (NBA Players’ Association) disbanded from the owners, in a lockout of their own. This lockout shortened the past NBA season to 66 games from the usual 82. This is honestly disgusting to me. Think about the millions of blue-collar people who wake up and go to work every day and open up their paycheck at the end of the month with barely enough to provide for their families. To complain about how they deserve a $20 million deal, rather than a “measly” $19 million contract is shameful. These guys play a sport for a living. Some people wait their entire lives to work at something they’re passionate about, and some never get there. These whining men on skates need some pride, and they need it now if they are to save their reputations. Not all the blame should be directed towards the players though. The owners need to make a move. While NHL fans twiddle their thumbs, waiting for either the owners or the players association to cave in, these hockey players are busy playing hockey in their respective countries. The owners have to realize that listening to the players’ demands is far better than betting the NHL falls apart. But it seems like hockey in 20122013 may not be totally out of the question. The NHL owners are known for steering the NHL Players’ Association in the right direction. This group of owners persuaded the players to adopt the salary cap after the lockout in 2004, something the players said would “never happen”. Hockey fans out there should not lose hope just yet. There is a good chance there will be hockey this season. I know many Bruins fans are bitter following the aching loss to Washington in the playoffs last year. So hang in there. There was football in 2011. There was basketball in 2011. Why can’t there be hockey in 2012?
november 14, 2012
Upperclassman girls display football expertise on the gridiron By Helen Haskin and Alexa Miller
Senior Lauren Astrachan
photos by Jordan Cohen-Kaplan
Junior Mel Gundersheim
Junior Sammi Suga
Pro Comparison: Ray Lewis, LB
Pro Comparison: Victor Cruz, WR
Pro Comparison: LeSean McCoy, RB
Pro Comparison: Arian Foster, RB
Always dependable, Gundersheim simply does not miss tackles, and her name strikes terror in the hearts of opposing players. At the sight of Gundersheim, opposing quarterbacks, runningbacks and slot receivers are too scared to get on the field. Gundersheim’s hits are so vicious that she gets penalized more than James Harrison.
Suga is bringing her sugary sweet catching talents to the junior powderpuff team. Using her dancing background and speed to her advantage, Suga is the prototypical wide receiver. Not only does she catch any football in her sight, Suga also impresses with her touchdown dances, from the salsa to the dougie.
When Astrachan is not practicing bicycle kicks on the soccer field, she is knocking down defensive linemen on her way to the end zone. Her amazing vision, precise cuts and swift dodges make her one of the premiere running backs on the senior powderpuff team. Anyone who tries to tackle her will be in for a surprise.
With her blinding speed and tough mentality, Ramos fits the role of lead back perfectly. She even catches screen passes out of the backfield. Ramos is so quick that she does not need any blocking. With an athletic background in soccer, Ramos’ phenominal running back capabilities will make her a top contender for MVP.
The whole experience is just a lot of fun with the pep rally and a short day.
Being a junior, finally, this is all I've been waiting for. I can't wait to kick butt.
Last year was a fluke. We are definitely going to destroy the junior class.
Senior Elena Ramos
The juniors think they have a chance, but I wouldn’t be so sure if I was them.
South and Lincoln-Sudbury renew Thanksgiving football rivalry Lizzie Fineman & Tom Howe Sports Reporters
Mohawks hidden beneath their helmets, South football players will step onto the field Thanksgiving morning for their annual game. According to ‘12 graduate Sam Russell, the hairstyles are just one example of the traditions that make South's Thanksgiving game against Lincoln-Sudbury High School memorable. "You get a lot more alumni, and a lot more kids will come to the game, and people from the city will come to the game," he said. "A lot of people come to see us so the crowd's a lot bigger." Despite South's unimpressive record in Thanksgiving football games, fans and players said that the Thanksgiving football game brings out the best in the school's athletics and community time and time again. Both South and Lincoln-Sudbury compete in the Dual County League, and the teams have a historic rivalry. "In football, teams generally don't like each other, so I would say that any rivalry isn't very friendly," junior football player Ethan Meyer said. Lincoln-Sudbury has historically been a challenging opponent for South, according to head football coach Ted
Dalicandro. "LS is always in the playoff hunt, and whether we are or we aren't, LS always has to beat us to make the playoffs, and we tend to try to play the role of spoiler, and that can be important," Dalicandro said. "It really revolves around us playing an elite team in the state in our last game and trying to improve and win that one." Rivalry motivates South's athletes to rise to the occasion, attempt to defy the odds and play a competitive game against a tough team, Dalicandro said. "Historically, it's been pretty lopsided. I think there have been two wins in the past 15 years," he said. "We've been pretty competitive recently. By that, I mean staying in the game for most of it. But historically, they have been one of the best teams in the state, and they pride themselves in their athletics, and they are a good team, so it's always hard, always a challenge." This sense of rivalry, combined with timing, lends Thanksgiving games a unique sense of spirit and a large turnout, according to junior cheerleader Myanna Grannum. "Thanksgiving morning, most people aren't doing anything yet," she said. "It's during a short break, so most people don't go away like they do during the long winter break." Senior Nicholas Reed, who has attended the Thanksgiving game since
his freshman year, said he enjoys the environment of passionate fans. "It gives the football team a lot of extra support, and there's more fans than usual," Reed said. In order to publicize the Thanksgiving game, cheerleaders take it upon themselves to attract student spectators. "We try to put signs up and get everyone involved on Facebook, so people come and know where it's going to be and everything," Grannum said. Dalicandro agreed that a large crowd positively affects the players’ performance. "When you come out as a player, you get energized by a bigger crowd," he said. "We tend to always play better at night because the crowds are bigger and especially [at] the home games." Beyond the game itself, traditions make the Thanksgiving football game meaningful, according to Russell. "The day before the game, we have a team dinner [where] we bring the alumni back," he said. Ultimately, student and alumni turnout encourages players to perform at a high level, Meyer said. “For most people, I think it would [motivate them] because ... they want to prove to people that they are good, so they play their hardest.”
graphic by David Gorelik
november 14, 2012
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