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the LION’S


Non-Profit Organization U.S. Postage PAID Boston, MA Permit No. 54523

Volume 30, Issue 5 140 Brandeis Road Newton Centre, MA 02459

Newton South High School’s Student Newspaper · Newton, MA · Established 1984 · January 22, 2014

APT attacks Newton history curriculum for anti-Semitism, Saudi-funded propaganda Nathaniel Bolter & Sasha Kuznetsov Sr. News Editors

The dispute over allegations of antiSemitism in the Newton Public Schools’ (NPS) history curriculum has escalated recently in light of continued protests and actions by the organization Americans for Peace and Tolerance (APT). Americans for Peace and Tolerance, founded by Charles Jacobs, a political activist and co-founder of the educational Zionist organization The David Project, has led the effort against NPS in recent months, issuing statements and advertisements accusing the Newton history curricula of anti-Semitism. On Friday, Dec. 13, APT received syllabi from 9th and 10th grade Newton history teachers, which they had requested under the Freedom of Information Act. Jacobs said APT had run the advertisements, which urged readers to contact Mayor Setti Warren and School Committee vice-Chair Matt Hills using their provided phone numbers and emails, in the fall of 2013 to educate the community. Several instances of misinformation, however, were found in these ads. The alleged anti-Semitism first came up in 2011 when a South freshman, who requested not to be named, complained to her father that she had been assigned an article falsely claiming that Israeli soldiers killed Arab women. “I did not know if that was true or not because I did not ever hear about that, but I just wanted to make sure, so I asked my dad ‘Do our soldiers actually kill and torture Arab women?’ My dad said ‘No, of course that’s not true; where did you hear that?’” the student said. “He got really upset because he did not want me thinking — because I almost did think — that that’s what happened.” The student’s father met with history teacher Jessica Engel, history department head Jennifer Morrill and Principal Joel Stembridge to request that the passage that had concerned his daughter be removed. The passage, part of an essay in a binder of resources called The Arab World Studies Notebook (AWSN), was subsequently removed from the curriculum, but not as a result of the parent’s complaint, according to Morrill. “In the early 90s, we were moving to a point in education where we were trying to not just teach about Europe. We were try-

Left to right: Dennis Hale, Charles Jacobs and Ahmed Mansour, directors of Americans for Peace and Tolerance, the group challenging the history curriculum.

Public Domain

In December, APT received syllabi, which it requested under the Freedom of Information Act, from 9th and 10th grade history teachers.

ing to have a more multicultural education, and teachers were looking for good sources. The Arab World Studies Notebook came into Newton Public Schools when we were looking for more sources to teach parts of the world that we hadn’t taught well before. [Now] there’s so much good stuff out there, [so] we didn’t need it anymore,” Morrill said. “It was outdated; there were parts of it that were biased … as a resource it was no longer needed.” This incident captured the interest of APT, which took out advertisements in the Boston Herald, Newton Tab, Metro Boston, Jewish Advocate and Boston Globe in the fall of 2013 identifying several texts, handouts and maps in the Newton curriculum, claiming that they perpetuate anti-Semitism. Hills, however, says these claims are invalid. “Every single allegation and accusation … they have brought up in their periodic attacks over time have been a complete distortion of what the material actually reads. Words are inserted, words are left out, words are fabricated altogether or the context is not given in a way that completely distorts the meaning,” Hills said. “This is not an example of very controversial material being taught and we are defending our right to teach it, this is an example of a group with an agenda … looking to score very cheap points on

very, very distorted pieces of information.” Two Newton temples have also rebuffed APT’s claims, and three Jewish advocacy groups, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), Combined Jewish Philanthropies (CJP) and the Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC), released a joint statement decrying the efforts of APT. “Based on a careful review of the materials at issue by ADL and JCRC, there is substantial reason to believe that the allegations made in the ad are without merit. The ad misinterprets certain elements of the materials and lacks reasonable context,” the statement read.

Several claims in APT’s advertisement contain quotations that are taken out of context, altering their meaning. The ad cites a handout entitled “A World Where Womanhood Reigns Supreme” and accuses it of teaching lies in saying “Miniskirts and plunging necklines represent oppression.” The ad omits the first half of the sentence, which reveals that this is not what the author is asserting — rather, it is the opinion of several Muslim women whom the author is depicting. The author is informing, not proselytizing. ANTI-SEMITISM, 3

Library renovation in planning




Global Update The Roar’s briefing on everything from the Sochi Olympics to Ukraine.



SNAP Challenge Freshman Jake Meisel writes about eating on $45 a week.



1 in 1,800

Junior Naomi Bergelson is this month’s 1 in 1,800 student.




January 22, 2014|page 5


A Glimpse of the Globe Information compiled by Roar editors from CNN, The Economist, BBC, Al Jazeera, The New York Times, Twitter and the rest of the Internet.

Russia: what is actually happening? News The Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics in Russia, set to start on Feb. 7 and continue until Feb. 23, have led to many internal security conflicts within the nation. Although Russia has received many threats from neighboring countries in the North Caucasus, the danger of attacks seems to have only increased during the preparation for the Sochi Olympics. Chechen rebel leader Doku Umarov, a radical Islamist militant, called for increased violence against Russia, especially with the upcoming Olympics. Umarov took credit for two recent bombings in Volgograd, Russia. There are unconfirmed reports that Umarov was killed in a security operation. In late December, two suicide bombings occurred in Volgograd bus and railway stations. Earlier in the year, in October, a suicide bomber in Volgograd killed six people when she blew

herself up on a bus. The December suicide bombings led to at least 30 deaths and 60 wounded. Following the attacks, Russian President Vladimir Putin visited Volgograd to meet with victims. He condemned the attacks and promised more security before the Olympics. The 2014 Sochi Olympics are set to be the most expensive Olympics in history — the games are estimated to cost $50 billion, compared to the estimated $40 billion spent on the Beijing Olympics. According to President Putin, a great deal of the money spent has been going toward ensuring that the Sochi Olympics are the safest games in history. Russian government officials have set up a security zone that is over 60 miles long, implemented thorough identification checks and sent drones to keep the Sochi streets safe. Recent reports say that the

Russian government is taking DNA samples from women in the North Caucasus who come from a radical background, although those reports are unconfirmed. Russian officials have cracked down on possible threats, making many more arrests and investigating foreigners coming into the country. Beyond the foreign threat, internal conflict within the nation has only become more tense. President Putin has faced criticism that he does not allow for basic human rights; in the face of this criticism, he rescinded the ban previously placed on any protests not related to the games in and around the site of the Olympics. Such a ban also encompassed showings of “non-traditional sexual relations,” which led to backlash from gay rights activists. These activists called for a boycott of the Sochi Olympics. Other social conflicts have

come to light because of the upcoming games. After over two years in prison, two members of the Russian band Pussy Riot were released from jail. The band members were originally imprisoned because of their irreverent performances. After their releases, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina, two of the three Pussy Riot members, said they would focus their efforts not on music anymore, but on demonstrating against the Russian government. In addition, U.S. and other foreign officials have been warning tourists against going to the games in fear of security threats. A video was recently released by an Islamist militant group that took responsibility for both the Volgograd bombings as well as promised another attack during the Sochi games. Putin remains steadfast in his confidence that the games will be safe and protected.

An Overview: The problem: The 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi have been threatened by radical Islamist groups intending to terrorize the games and by internal social conflict. The response: Russian President Vladmir Putin has tried to implement as many security measures as possible, sending thousands of armed guards and constructing miles of security borders.


Nonsensical News: Hide-and-seek, hide-and-stuck Hide-and-seek is a classic childAccording to the article, the man hood game, but recent developments have was hoping to surprise his brought the game under fire due partner by jumping out of the to health hazards. machine, but fate delivered an According to a BBC unexpected twist. “It was just article, a naked man in a game gone wrong,” Sergeant Mooroopna, Australia called Michelle De Araugo said. in the cavalry – police, fireIt took 20 minutes to fighters, paramedics and a free the man from his legsearch-and-rescue squad endary spot using a cutting– to help dislodge him edge process described from a hiding spot for the as “using olive oil as a books: a washing machine. lubricant.” Professional Few details were given hide-and-seek players about the naked hide-andshould learn from the seek pro, other than his naked man, remembering incredible talent regarding to always carry a bottle of the the game. magical stuff. Public Domain

this week

Following the implementation of new legislation restricting the right to protest, antigovernment protesters in Kiev, Ukraine vow to keep fighting the new law. Astronomers say they have found evidence of a gas filament stretching millions of light years across space. This discovery supports cosmological theory that galaxies are a part of a larger network made of dark matter. Leaders of US Congressional Intelligence Committees suggested that NSA leaker Edward Snowden, who was granted asylum in Moscow, has been working with Russia since before he was even hired by the government. In South Korea, over 20 million people have had their credit card information stolen by a computer contractor working for the Korean Credit Bureau, an organization that assigns credit scores. The thief was later arrested.

Fun and informational.

The best corner

As if the NFC Championship title wasn’t enough, the Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman felt that he deserved another title: the best corner in the game.

“Don’t you open your mouth about the best or I’m gonna shut it for you real quick,” Sherman shouted during a post-game interview with a terrified Erin Andrews.

page 6|January 22, 2014|THE LION’S ROAR|THELIONSROAR.COM

Editorials|VOLUME 30, ISSUE 5

The Cat’s

Meow All the news that’s fit to print ... and then some!

Principal cancels Senior Slump, incites upperclassmen wrath South students have exploded in uproar against the administration’s latest announcement. Principal Soel Jembridge sent out an email this past Tuesday, saying that the popular senior trend, Senior Slump, is canceled this year. The senior class has mobilized to try and overturn the decision, reaching out to local media and preparing a blackout demonstration in the coming weeks. Senior Don T. Laikwork said that the decision “is completely unfair. I mean, the seniors before us got to slump. It’s a right of passage, and now Soel is taking that away from us and future generations.” In the email, Jembridge cited the detrimental aspects of the tradition to the school. “There can be other traditions, less detrimental to our community, that can come to replace and be even more cherished than slump,” he wrote in his email. Upperclassmen are not the only ones angry about the decision. “Both my older siblings slumped their senior year, and they would always tell me about how great it was,” freshman Nevil Gonslump said. “Now they’ll never respect me because of Soel.” The issue quickly became national headlines, showing up on Fox News, MSNBC, and CNN. There were also several irate emails sent to Jembridge. Students are now wondering whether a senior prank will end up happening this year, given the administration’s track record.

No snow day proves challenging for most students, faculty Superintendent Cole D. Hearted’s decision to not call a snow day during the recent storm Polar Destroyer 3000 left the Newton community shocked, and caused mayhem for most commuters. According to the weather, a total of 19.14125 inches accumulated during Polar Destroyer 3000, which covered the entire Northeast. Most South students were sure a snow day was going to be called. “I was hearing from all my Needham friends, my Brookline friends that school was canceled. I thought maybe there was a mistake, but then when I woke up the next day, whadda ya know? I had school,” sophomore John Johnson said. Newton Public Schools was the only school system above the Mason-Dixon line open during the storm. The commute that morning was challenging for almost everyone, according to senior Conny Plainer. “It took me, like, 30 minutes to get my Starbucks this morning. 30 minutes. I almost thought about just going to school without it, that’s how bad it was,” she said. “I missed the first half of a math test. But hey, you gotta do what you gotta do for Starbucks.” There were a total of 2,500 car crashes reported during the storm in or around South, which puzzled officials since there were only about 500 cars driving that day. Students have called for a boycott of school next storm, Suzy, regardless of Hearted’s decision.

Editor Discusses Roar’s 30 Years

Carly Meisel poses for PETA Photoshoot

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Recent APT inquiries misguided, found dramatized and unnecessary As detailed in The Roar’s reporting, the organization Americans for Peace and Tolerance (APT) alleges that the Newton Public Schools (NPS) history curriculum includes Saudi-funded materials demonizing Israel and Jews. A student’s complaints over a passage read in her class sparked APT’s interest, and in 2013, the group took out ads in various publications decrying Newton’s history curriculum. In December, the APT received syllabi from all 9th and 10th grade history teachers to review the curriculum. The Roar feels that APT’s efforts are extreme and misguided, all in the name of peace and tolerance. Every student has the right to clarify the source of an article and question the validity of a claim, and this is an essential part of learning and part of what makes South such an exceptional school. APT disrupts this cycle, assuming that students are unaware that they are reading texts from diverse viewpoints. Introducing different opinions in the classroom can spark debates, explore different sides of an argument and help students

gain a deeper understanding of global issues. It is in the students’ best interest that we supplement textbooks with a myriad of opinionated sources. If there is confusion about a text’s slant, this should be clarified within the class and school it should not call for an outside organization’s auditing. APT did not consult with the student body at either high school, instead it merely heard what it wanted to hear from one student and continued to escalate claims. In APT’s accusations and advertisements, texts are often taken out of context, and there are omissions, contorting the passage’s original message and misleading the reader as to what students actually learn from the reading. The Roar staff thinks that APT took a very dramatic, unbalanced approach to attacking a very respected, acclaimed public school system. APT should not make assumptions about an education based on texts alone. Newton teachers are qualified individuals and capable of presenting biased information as such. There is no such thing as “unbiased.” It is important to feel comfortable

Editorial Policy

with the material presented in the classroom, but it’s even more important to feel confident in the way in which it is presented. In another time, it’s certainly possible that Newton could fall into the situation where part of the curriculum is inappropriate – any school could. But that time is not now, and should it ever come, the effort to modify the curriculum should be student–and–community–driven. Personal phone numbers should not be published to the public; The Roar feels that is immature and tactless. A curriculum review should not become an attack on specific individuals. If APT really cares about peace and tolerance, shouldn’t it consider spending its time and money assisting school systems with fewer resources and curricular options? According to its website, one of APT’s core goals is “to educate Newton public school students about the threat posed by Saudi hate propaganda to peaceful coexistence and mutual understanding within our society.” We ask, then, if the APT would consider its own material to be propaganda.

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 funding comes from advertisers and subscriptions. 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.

January 22, 2013|page 7


THE Editor considers end of tenure on EDITOR’S The Roar, paper’s 30th anniversary DESK Kylie Walters Editor-in-Chief

My phone rings. I don’t recognize the 617 number, so, of course, I wait. (Phone conversations are not at all my forte.) Maybe they dialed me by accident and they’ll realize when they hear my voicemail recording. One missed call. But then it rings again — once, twice and three times. I pick up just before the caller is sent to voicemail. “Hello?” a deep voice says. Why is a grown man calling me? “Hi, this is Kylie. Who is this?” “This is Danny Gifford, the Editorin-Chief of The Lion’s Roar.” My heart stops and my mind races. Why is Danny calling me? Was my last article that bad? Did I do something wrong? “I’m calling to ask if you’d be interested in becoming a Senior Section Editor for Features.” I was speechless, but I managed to say “YES!” more enthusiastically than I think Danny expected. And the rest is history. That’s a conversation I doubt Danny remembers the details of, but it’s one I’ve yet to forget. In that moment, when the big, bad Editor-in-Chief believed in me, a freshman with a surprisingly low level of confi-

dence in her journalistic skills, my life was likely changed for good. I was given a job and a voice in a world that had previously told me I was too young to have either. Fast-forward three years and it’s hard to remember the days when I was afraid to walk into the Roar room. 2014 is the year in which I will leave The Roar for good. From graduation to college, it’s a year that carries a notable significance for me. But 2014 marks an e ven greater milestone for The Lion’s Roar: its 30th year of existence. It’s hard to know how to celebrate the aging of a newspaper, and I’m not sure why 30 years is any more important than 29 or 31. But I do know that 30 years is a testament. It’s a testament to The Roar’s endurance and betterment over the years. It’s a testament to the abilities of South students, who for years have produced a nationally-competitive, professional newspaper in only their free time. In 1984, the year The Roar was founded, I was negative 12 years old. My conversation with Danny was just one

small blip in my blip of a tenure on a paper that provides an immeasurable number of blips for an ever-growing number of high schoolers. The Roar’s 30th anniversary reminds me of what I love about being a part of something bigger than myself. The Roar changes every day; traditions fade, new ones replace them, advisers and students come and go. But some things will always be the same, and the past will always be remembered, as The Roar is both a record of history and part of history. I feel humbled to participate in a newspaper that is as professional, transformative and accomplished as The Roar has become. Unlike many pursuits, The Roar is one that is strictly finite. We are a high school newspaper, meaning that upon graduation our members are never to return again. There are other newspapers out there and endless opportunities to continue journalism, but there is only one Roar, and we can only be a part of it for a specified four years of our lives.

One day I will hear of some young Editor and I will smile, knowing that he or she does what I used to do and lives for and loves The Roar like I did.

Newton-Beijing Jingshan School Exchange Program Have you always wondered what it would be like to live half-way round the world in another culture? Then experience Chinese New Year and Tomb Sweeping Day as a Beijinger! Spend a semester in China during the spring of 2015 as a Newton exchange student. While in Beijing, China you will:

I have spent the past four years motivated by my peers but also inspired by the generations of students who worked on The Roar before me. Through The Roar, I feel a common bond with people who graduated from this high school three decades ago. One day I will hear of some young Editor and I will smile, knowing that he or she does what I used to do and lives for and loves The Roar like I did. And instead of waiting until graduation to realize that my time on the The Roar has expired, I will vow now to devote my last few months on The Roar to helping sustain and improve upon the 30 years of progress that are already in place. It is my sincere wish that The Lion’s Roar will get stronger year after year and will always be a part of Newton South. Beginning with a comprehensive redesign of many elements of the paper in this very issue, I hope to be able to say that I gave The Roar everything I could in return for what it has done for me. I will be sad to go, but I feel as grateful to be a part of The Roar’s history as I do to be a part of The Roar’s present. I am so incredibly indebted to The Roar that at this point I’m confident that if I saw I live lion I would attempt to hug it, mistaking it for this newspaper. Happy 30th, Roar. Thank you for the blips.

Volume 30

The Lion’s Roar

Newton South High School’s Student Newspaper 140 Brandeis Road Newton, MA 02459


Yonatan Gazit

Kylie Walters

Managing Editor

in both Chinese and English,

Dina Busaba

Mandarin experience is preferred but not required. Applications, due March 3rd, are available upon request by emailing your world language department chairs or the program director at: If you cannot go on the Exchange, but would like to host a student or teacher next fall, please let us know.

Business and Production

Chief Copy Editor

Jordan Cohen-Kaplan

Julie Olesky

Charlotte Huth

Section Editors Sr. News Editors

Sasha Kuznetsova Nathaniel Bolter News editors David Li Amelia Stern

Sr. Centerfold Editors Faith Bergman Hyunnew Choi

Graphics Managers David Gorelik Olivia Hamilton

Sr. Sports Editors

Sr. Features Editors Carly Meisel Parisa Siddiqui Features editors Sophia Fisher Maia Fefer Shelley Friedland


Ashley Elpern Paul Estin Brian Baron

Jack McElduff Darren Trementozzi Sports editor Lizzie Fineman

SR. OPINIONS EDITORS Veronica Podolny Jack Rabinovitch

Photo Managers Katie Asch Dylan Block Sofia Osorio

Aaron Edelstein

page 8|January 22, 2014

THE LION’S ROAR|THELIONSROAR.COM Columns, rows and squares Each take a digit, falling Between one and nine.




bad haiku by Tony Vashevko & Rob Hass puzzles courtesy of



4 9




2 5

8 4






1 6

3 8




4 3
















9 6 3



16 18

15 20























2. Barrage







4. Vast time periods 5. PC “engine” 7. Passage to the tooth




6. Paradigm

9. Join up

is here! See if you can find all the words Word Search Winter about January, Winter and everything snow.




1. One who gives in 8. A bird with a down-curved bill 10. Upward movement 12. Drink container 13. Photography

3 5


3. Tactical board


2 5





7 6











v 8





6 7

Crossword courtesy of





1) Blizzard 2) Carols 3) Cold 4) Frosty 5) Hockey 6) Hot Chocolate 7) January 8) Snowmen 9) Senior Slump 10) Skating 11) Skiing 12) Sledding 13) Snow 14) Snowballs 15) Mittens

light metering system 14. Cereal grains 15. Venues 16. Feel contrition 17. Peruvian beans 18. Accord 20. Postpone 21. In a difficult manner

10. Ancient Greek markets 11. Food supplier 15. Minimum detectable sensation 17. Disciple of Jesus, author of first Gospel 19. Cathedral city in Cambridgeshire

Embarrassing Roar Staff Photo of the Month:

The Roar will miss Carly Meisel as much as she loves Chad Michael Murray and the Red Sox.

page 9|January 22, 2014|THE LION’S ROAR|THELIONSROAR.COM


Freshman Reflects on Snap Challenge

Campus chatter: what is the point of homework

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Is it okay for seniors to slump?

YES, IT’S OK By Tom Howe

All students come face to face with the same question second semester senior year: to slump or not to slump? With college applications sent, staying focused in school becomes even more of a challenge, which is completely understandable. Everyone knows the story about that senior with a devastating case of senioritis who has their college acceptance rescinded during their final hurrah as a senior. That story is sad. No one should let the seemingly grade-free euphoria get to their head to the extent that an admissions officer has to slam the college’s door in their face. Enjoying second semester, however, is important. Seniors are still students, which means they should continue completing their assignments and going to class. Cutting back a little, however, is fine. Seniors have spent the roughest, most stressful two-and-a-half years fighting for each point in hopes of having an edge in the college admission process. With what seemed to be their futures on the line, seniors completely wore themselves out. A six-month break is only healthy. Slump is the perfect opportunity for seniors to take off their blinders and explore material beyond the classroom. Many schools across the country reserve the seniors’ second semesters as time to work on jobs, projects or anything extracurricular. The WISE program at South provides similar opportunities. But not every student can participate because of busy schedules.

The second half of senior year is for exploration. The freedom between high school and whatever comes next brings a rare opportunity, so schoolwork should not be a top priority. As well as grabbing opportunities, seniors should really focus on relaxing. Whether or not your plans are to head to college, the years following high school are pivotal. Cutting back on work and spending time with family and friends can help ease whatever transition awaits. But it is not just interacting with others that is relaxing — you also have to let yourself relax. Things as simple as getting more sleep or eating breakfast more often can go a long way to improve mental health as seniors’ brains rejuvenate before the next step. Slump is not for everyone. Some people still enjoy learning; some people cannot handle the lack of incentive; some people are on waitlists. Regardless, it is not the seemingly disappearing schoolwork that makes slump so important, but it is rather the opportunity to have free time. A space opens up that is wide enough for any senior to dive into whatever ideas they have while simultaneously hanging out with friends and tearing through hours of Netflix. Seniors should take advantage of this freedom. So who cares? Blow off your reading, forget about that test, feed your dog your homework. Slumping comes around only once a lifetime, and you do not want to miss out.

graphic by Sophie Galowitz

NO, IT’S NOT By Hattie Gawande

Senior slump is a depressing concept. For three -and-a-half years, we work hard at South: we do hours of homework nightly, go to J Blocks in order to understand difficult concepts, take notes and make study guides and flashcards. And then — months before we graduate — we quit. Why? Because working hard doesn’t matter anymore if colleges won’t see our grades. The implication is that without the threat of consequences — without the invisible hand of the college admissions process keeping us in line — we don’t care about education. All we care about is getting into college. And that idea may well be true. But in many aspects, it’s sad. First, it reeks of entitlement and ingratitude. We get a great education at South. Right next door, in Boston, it’s a different story. Out of the 320 school systems in Massachusetts, Newton is ranked in the top percentile. Boston is in the bottom percentile. The difference is in the teaching. Sure, you might dread physics class or English class every day, but we have great teachers compared to the rest of the state, certainly compared to the rest of the nation. We are lucky to get the education we’re getting, one that sets us up not only to get into college, but also to do well in college and beyond. Senior slump takes that education for granted, assuming that a South education is valuable only as a stepping stone to get into college. Moreover, senior slump is profoundly illogical. It dismisses the importance of

education and affirms the importance of college. If we care so little about education, then why do we bother pursuing for years of it after high school? The answer most would offer is that a college degree is essential to getting the jobs we want. That thought, too, is illogical: if we dislike the education required for the jobs we want, why should we like the jobs themselves? Senior slump, beyond being ungracious, reveals that we’re all total sheep: we seem to hate high school, but we trudge through it as long as we have to because we think we need to go to college to get a decent job. Research reveals that college can’t even guarantee jobs; nearly 40 percent of college graduates end up in jobs that don’t require a college education. And most graduates don’t find jobs that relate to their major — three-quarters of graduates end up in jobs that have nothing to do with their degree. You know where the real labor shortage is? Medium-skilled jobs: jobs that require on-site training, vocational schooling or an associate’s degree, but no four-year college degree. There is no need to bother with that classroom education stuff if you don’t like it. Senior slump is a tradition, but it lacks rhyme or reason. It’s disrespectful to our teachers, and it’s predicated upon illogical, unsupported assumptions about education, college and the job market. If you don’t like high school or learning, don’t slump — drop out.

page 10|january 22, 2014


Phones: A Student’s New Best Friend BY Charles zou

photo by Katie Asch

On some rare and joyous occasions, we are blessed with a canceled class, allowing for an hour of peace and quiet on a normally busy school day. I walk to 6167, muttering under my breath about the one term standing between me and true free blocks. Once I plop myself into a chair, I take out my homework only to realize that I have no idea how to do it. After that, I am left with nothing to do and the excitement I felt earlier descends into boredom. In these situations I can not help but look longingly at students watching videos or playing games on their cell phones.

Having a cell phone would solve both of my problems: I’d be able to look up how to solve the problem I was stuck on and, if I managed to finish, I’d be relieved of my boredom. Situations like this play out far too often for me, leaving me with the sinking feeling of precious time slipping away. The fact that I don’t have a phone is simply due to me deciding it was unnecessary. However, lately cell phones seem to become more and more useful in school, forcing me to revise my opinion of them. No longer used for just calling and playing games, phones have taken a more promi-

nent role in the classroom. In English, we are often encouraged to take out our phones to search for the definitions of words. I have been in classes that take surveys and polls online. Using an app called Socrative Student, which has become quite popular among teachers, is common in classrooms nowadays, but I am not able to participate. Teachers often assume that their students have cell phones and so use them for certain aspects of their classes. Deciding that it will save paper, they find it convenient to let students take pictures of classwork with phones instead of making

copies. More and more teachers are realizing the value of cell phones, and, though I think it is unfair to make them required or a regular part of classes, teachers seem to use them effectively to supplement their work. It may sound like I am just being bitter, but I actually do support the use of cell phones for educational purposes. According to a poll conducted by the Pew Research Center, 73 percent of Advanced Placement and National Writing Project teachers said their students use phones to complete assignments. Since many students already own cell phones, it is convenient to use them. I never understood why in math we would be forced to learn to do the work by hand when we could easily find the answer with our calculators — if you have the tools, why not use them? The solution, as I see it, would be for the administration to distribute devices to allow teachers to incorporate them into the classroom. Other schools already have such a system, giving things like iPads to their students for educational use. Such a system would both increase the morale of a bored student during a canceled class and allow students to access online resources and information.

My Week Eating on $45 BY JAKE MEISEL


t wasn’t like I expected: I thought I was going to be nearly fasting for a week. I thought it was going to be exciting. I thought one week would be enough time to get a pretty good feeling of how a person who relies on the SNAP program to get money for food lives. I thought a lot of things. I was wrong. Let me start from the beginning. SNAP stands for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and is the modern day equivalent of food stamps. 47 billion people in the US rely on it. In 2009, SNAP benefits were increased as part of President Obama’s stimulus package. On Nov. 1, these benefits expired and people’s aid was cut. For the average family of four on SNAP, benefits were slashed by $36 a month. After watching a video of a floor speech where Congresswoman Jackie Speier argued against the cuts and spoke about how she had lived on SNAP before, I decided it would be worthwhile to try it. At this point, many advocates of SNAP have done the week-long test, dubbed the “Snap Challenge.” I decided to use the money that an individual would get from the stimulus version of SNAP and then imagine what it would be like without that extra money. I went to the grocery store to try to find healthy and filling food that wouldn’t cost much. I had $45.16 to spend for the whole week. My list included, among other things, a couple boxes of cereal, pasta, milk, bananas, potatoes and chicken. Soon I unraveled the first of several misconceptions about which I had read. My week on SNAP money was not horrific. When politicians talk about food stamps, they question whether it is enough to live on without getting malnourished. Yet the government agency that runs SNAP says that SNAP benefits are enough to live healthily. But even with the stimulus money, the food is enough to sustain but not satisfy. I kept a journal throughout the whole experience to record my thoughts, and there were not many times when I wrote that my stomach was aching from hunger. But

there were a few times throughout the week that I felt sort of moody due to what must have been unsatiety. This leads me to the second thing that I was wrong about: the SNAP challenge isn’t exciting and would be even more dull if you did it for a month. Looking at my journal, there are fewer entries as the week progressed. On day one, the challenge was an exciting new thing. By day seven, I only had a couple entries because it had lost its appeal and just became what I did. Over time, it became clear to me that if I did the SNAP challenge for another month it would be much more painful. Not physically painful, but mentally. Most South students probably know what it is like to have a week, two or even longer where there is no time to rest, and you are trying to finish work only so you can go straight to sleep. Someone who is getting six and a half hours of sleep probably isn’t getting brain damage from lack of sleep, but doing the same thing day after day can get painful; rest is necessary. People who live on SNAP every day don’t get that rest. Basic survival should not be our sole standard, stopping malnutrition is a good step and a necessary one, but it is not enough to be the only one. Some say that people who are on welfare could be people who refuse to work and prefer to just take in government benefits. The problem with this argument is that people on SNAP (unless they have an exemption, such as being elderly) have to work or will only be able to receive benefits for a limited amount of time. Saying that a good portion of people on SNAP take benefits because they are too lazy to work is not true. People take it because they need the money for food. It is hard to live on SNAP with the stimulus benefits. There was no need to make it any harder. The people who are in these positions don’t deserve that. Put yourself in their shoes. How would you feel? If you don’t know, then try it. You might not get the whole picture, but at least you will get some of it. Trust me, it is worth it.


by the numbers


people recieving SNAP funds




1 5.


of America’s population


households living on SNAP money


recieved per person on average


spent by the government on SNAP anually Data gathered from the United States Department of Agriculture

January 22, 2014|page 11



9 Halfway through the school year Long weekend

campus chatter The Lion’s Roar asked...

What should be the goal of homework? How well is that goal accomplished at South? “The goal of homework isn’t to learn on your own; it’s to reinforce what you’ve gone over in class. I think that South takes an approach where students should learn everything on their own as well before the class starts, which takes a lot of time and ends up being not productive.”

Shows coming back from winter hiatus Senior slump Post-Christmas sales

- Rebecca Shaar, Class of 2017

“Homework should aid us to fully understand the concepts we learn in school by forcing us to practice and reinforce the lessons ... South fails to acknowledge that we have homework coming at us from all directions and not just one teacher.”

- Hannah Barbash-Taylor, Class of 2016

Hollywood award shows

“I think the goal of homework should be a reviewing or studying so that you can be better prepared for tests, but also reviewing the concepts you learned in class so that you will be able to better retain the information, and I think South approaches it very well.”

Cafe Fresh Instagram direct messaging


DOWNGRADE Polar Vortex Midyears Patriots losing AFC championship game Bridgegate No more holiday drinks at Starbucks No parking spots College spam Snow over the weekend Snapchat leak

- Jae Lee, Class of 2015 “Teachers give homework because it’s feedback for them so they can know what they’re doing in the class, and if everyone’s doing bad on their homework then they know they’re not teaching.”

-Mason Spence, Class of 2015 photos by Alexa Rhynd

“The Wolf of Wall Street” BY Kylie walters


ore than anything, “The Wolf of Wall Street” is a film of excess. Going into the theater, I had heard opinions of the movie that fall on all parts of the spectrum. I had been warned not to see it with my parents, and with good reason. With levels of cursing and cocaine that exceed all else I’ve seen, “The Wolf of Wall Street” is a repulsive, engaging representation of the psychotic lives led by a group of the most corrupt, indulgent and wealthy stockbrokers imaginable. Akin in many ways to “The Great Gatsby,” “The Wolf of Wall Street” follows the rise and fall of Jordan Belfort (Leonardo DiCaprio) as he works his way up the Wall Street ladder and accumulates a fortune through questionable practices. “The Wolf of Wall Street” is the type of movie that I doubt I’ll ever see again but one I enjoyed nonetheless. Albeit a little long, I found the viewing experience to be dramatic and exciting. By the end of the movie, Belfort and his cast of greedy Wall Street loonies are nothing

“The Wolf of Wall Street”

Donnie Azoff (Jonah Hill), left, and Jordan Belfort (Leonardo DiCaprio) first meet in a diner. short of detestable, and rightly so — they are pathetic, abusive criminals. As Belfort becomes more and more addicted to his lifestyle of, well, addiction, it is obvious to viewers that the collapse of his laissez-faire lifestyle is looming. This inevitable conclusion, however, is drawn out to allow for simply more loathsome, immature behavior.

“The Wolf of Wall Street” is worth seeing, but it walks a fine line between glorification and shame and might make you question why some scenes were included in the first place. The movie was thought-provoking, well-filmed and entertaining, but it’s also sort of sick.

Trouble Ahead

The Roar examines the impact of concussions on students’ lives and the measures taken to properly treat them

By Faith Bergman


certain type of injury can work wonders for the lazy teenager; it can postpone quizzes, turn tests into projects, eliminate homework, allow them to skip days or weeks of school at a time and provide the perfect excuse for sleep any chance they get. This injury is a concussion. But with all those perks come constant headaches, fatigue, nausea, struggles focusing, restrictions against TV or videogames, no sports and in extreme circumstances, only eating and sleeping. According to several students, concussions can be a serious obstacle for a high school student because of the many restrictions required for recovery. They often take a long time to heal, and in the meantime most timepassers are off limits, making the long recovery feel even longer. Sports are a common cause for concussions at South, according to athletic director Scott Perrin. Senior Daniel Friedman, who is on South’s varsity soccer team, got his concussion playing goalie by hitting his head on the ground as he dove to save a ball. Senior Emily Kaufman also got her concussion while participating in South sports. Kaufman plays on the volleyball team and suffered her concussion “from colliding with another player during warm-ups before an away game.” Right away Kaufman met with her teachers to discuss how they would deal with her concussion, as she was a first-semester senior and needed to complete all of her work on


concussions, normally [the guidance counselors] “It took me a lot longer to complete every get a pretty extensive outline from the doctor, assignment, but I knew I had to do them all in like a lot of doctors offices have something — a order to keep up with my class,” she said. “When checklist of things that the kids need,” he said. I was in class, it was really hard to read and In order to instate the protocol, a doctor’s focus on anything because I would automatically note needs to be given in to the school, get dizzy.” specifying details about the concussion and the Many said that concussions make it course of action that those doctors wish to be nearly impossible to keep up with schoolwork. followed. Sophomore Anna Kim said she received her As part of recovery, students are restricted concussion when she was “kneed in the head” from doing most stimulating activity. during soccer season. Friedman’s concussion lasted for six months, “It was definitely harder to do well in school for those few weeks,” she said.“My The way concussions damage the head always felt kind of foggy, and it was really hard to focus.” brain is different in everyone; they But not all concussions at South are have multiple ways of damaging the sports- related. Junior Isabel Schulman’s was caused by a car accident. brain, not just one single type. “I have had my concussion for about two months, and I still have it,” she said. - Dr. Mark Kieran “Most of my tests didn’t count because my concussion had a really strong impact on my ability to remember things.” and during that time he was “excused from Concussions are handled seriously at reading, writing, watching television or playing South, and there is a certain protocol that the video games. Anything mentally stimulating was school follows when dealing with them. “We considered bad.” take [concussions] very, very seriously. I Schulman said her doctor restricted t’s the number one issue in youth sports her from most schoolwork. “I went to the today, particularly in contact sports, and we neurologist and got a lot of tests done and they don’t see it any other way,” Perrin said. gave me passes to get out of work, homework According to guidance counselor Aaron and tests,” she said. Lewis, the school gets involved with concussed Dr. Mark Kieran, students to ensure a proper recovery. Pediatric Neuro-oncologist “When kids get at Dana-Farber/

Children’s Hospital Cancer Center said that treating concussions is crucial, as the severity of a concussion is often overlooked. “They cause damage to the brain in a whole bunch of different ways. They interrupt the neural circuits and sometimes they don’t always heal completely, [which] can sometimes cause a longterm kind of decrease in intelligence and brain function,” he said. In determining what actions need to be taken for the student, the doctors consider the individual and the severity of their concussion. “The way concussions damage the brain is different in everyone; they have multiple ways of damaging the brain, not just one single type,” Kieran said. Perrin said concussed athletes are taken very seriously. “It’s a very strict protocol in terms of how we evaluate them and how they get let back onto the field. Newton South’s number [of concussions] are among somewhere at the top, because anything that even starts to show signs of a concussion is a means for us to act.” As long as the concussion is documented, a protocol will be placed, “offering accommodations, which is extra time like on tests, quizzes and assignments, if kids need someone to take notes for them, really anything that they need based on the severity of the concussion,” Lewis said. Schulman said that her teachers helped along the way during her recovery. “My teachers

were very understanding and didn’t count my tests but also made different ways for me to receive points like extra homework and a project instead of a quiz.” Kaufman agreed that teachers were very helpful in ensuring she was doing all right, and they made sure to “check in on [her] regularly.” Concussions need to be treated, no matter how intense or tolerable they may seem, because improper treatment can cause damage to the whole body and other complications, according to Kieran. “[Concussions] sometimes cause small microinfarcts where you start to kill parts of the brain off [if they are not treated properly],” he said. The recovery process was tough for some students, though, because of the many restrictions and challenges involved. “I didn’t want to believe I had a concussion for a while so I went on with my day normally,” Schulman said. “This just made the concussion worse and has lengthened my recovery process.” Friedman said that all the restrictions alone were challenging, but on top of that he still had to deal with the symptoms. “The hardest thing I dealt with while concussed was probably the constant headaches, nausea, bright lights, loud sounds and fatigue. In general, concussions suck,” he said. “Concussions are a big deal, and it was something that was kind of taken lightly for many years,” Perrin said. “I think we’re seeing the consequences of that now, so that’s why we sort of lean on the side of caution.”

The Roar took photos of a sampling of students who have endured concussions to represent the extent of young adults affected by this injury.

photos by Katie Asch and Sofia Osorio

page 14|JANUARY 22, 2014


powerless By Charles Goodfriend Student grapples with a six-month-long recovery from a soccer concussion photo illustration by Sofia Osorio


ather yourself. Focus on the ball. Jump. Hope — that somehow you will out-jump that six-foot-five senior to head the ball clear. These thoughts raced through my head as I saw the ball arching through the air toward me during my first varsity game. After that moment, the experience is pretty much a blur apart from the intense pain that shot through the back of my head. Diagnosis: concussion, and six months of utter boredom with occasional eating frenzies. During those six months, I did nothing significant. I sat around in my room, overjoyed by finding a new crack in the ceiling or spotting a fly that managed

I walked out of the appointment terrified and overwhelmed by the countless restrictions the doctors had set: no television, video games, running, biking, trumpet and no music. I was not even allowed to read. The only thing I was permitted to do during the two weeks following the appointment was sit in absolute silence in a dark room. Only after two weeks could I begin to try to move around or attend one class. The trickiest part of the ordeal was not being able to think. When you have a concussion, your brain does not work the way it should. All the things you take for granted, like remembering why you went

Concussions can lead to depression. All of the symptoms of concussions ... can create an incredible feeling of frustration and disappointment. to get through the window. After my collision, the doctor told me to take it slow, which meant no playing sports and lots of paying attention to how I felt. Looking back, I wish I had more strongly acknowledged the pain I was feeling. The signs were there: the noise in the hallways was too much, and I could not remember my schedule. I slept for 20 hours straight after taking the PSAT. My parents finally decided it was time to visit a concussion clinic. The doctors asked me to say the months backwards, walk in a straight line and spell simple words to measure my ability to complete everyday tasks. I failed most of them, and my head was pounding from attempting these simple tests.

downstairs, working patiently with others and running a mile, were beyond my ability. I was, in a sense, a gigantic baby. I slept all the time and only woke to eat. I felt helpless. But being helpless drove me to want to do things even more. I missed soccer and running. Basketball season came and went, passing me by. Playing trumpet hurt too much. All of the ways that I used to relieve stress or take a break were taken away from me. Many people do not realize that concussions can often lead to depression. All of the symptoms of concussions — sensitivity to light, bad memory, anxiety, vision problems and nausea — can create an incredible feeling of frustration and disappointment. Although I was fortunate

High depression rate found in retired NFL players By Hyunnew Choi Nearly 40 percent of retired National Football League (NFL) players who have been concussed showed varying symptoms of depression, according to research presented at the meeting of the American Academy of

Neurology. This rate was found to be almost three times higher than that of the general population. Although previous research has indiciated a connection between concussions and depression, Nyaz Didehbani, a psychologist at the University of Texas at

enough to have the ability to go on long walks and occasionally go out with friends, the frustration I often felt was unbearable. On March 15, I was cleared to run again; it was finally time to get back into a regular routine. But even this was not easy for me; I needed tutors to help me catch up in school. A lot happens over the course of six months, and finals were just around the corner. I needed to get used to going to school and doing homework. I was out of shape, too. My first run was torture. I had six months to get back into shape before soccer season began. Finishing school on a good note and coming back strong for the next soccer season were my goals, and I was determined to achieve them. But I had everything stacked against me. For one, I could not get by the way I used to. Because I had not been in class, I could not study the night before a test and be confident that I knew the material. Looking back, my concussion gave me a chance to hit the restart button on my life. That doesn’t mean, however, that I want to go through the experience again. I am still fighting those jitters whenever I go up for a header, and I continue to feel lasting effects from that one collision. But I am ready for that next time I hit my head; if I do, I will know how to best handle the situation and heal faster. Concussions are one of the worst injuries in sports, but, in the end, the injury and the healing process are a part of the game you play. I will always cherish the fact that, in August, I was able to walk back onto that soccer field to play the sport I love.

Dallas, researched the effects that occur as concussed players age. The group performed neuropsychologic examinations on 59 men, comparing 30 retired NFL veterans to 29 age-equivalent adults who have never been concussed. Didehbani reported that 12 of the 30 veterans (40 percent) indicated cognitive symptoms such as sadness, selfcriticism and suicidal thoughts. Other significant differences

Charles’ story by the numbers

1 2 3 6

between the athletes and the control subjects included loss of energy, changes in apetite and problems with concentration. Gary Pace, director of the May Center for Education and Neuro-rehabilitation of Brockton, Mass., said multiple concussions can lead to more significant deficits. “The brain becomes more vulnerable to more long-term kinds of brain injuries, which results in some of the depression

st varisty basketball game: site of the collision

weeks spent in complete darkness and silence

impacts on his brain: against the right, front and back of skull

months restricted from participating in sports

we see in individuals,” he said. According to Didehbani, his study “[highlights] the need to educate individuals and families about somatic and psychologic symptoms associated with depression and to thoroughly assess depressive symptoms throughout the lifespan in professional athletes.” Information from Neurology Reviews and

page 15|January 22, 2014|THE LION’S ROAR|THELIONSROAR.COM


SASA club plans fundraisers, events for year

two students revealed in common app

pAGE 16


History teacher Jonathan Greiner brings enthusiasm and engaging discussions to his classes

photo by Sofia Osorio

Greiner, pictured above, teaches his junior AP U.S. History class as students look on and engage in what they describe as a rewarding conversational classroom structure.

Sakshi Das & Shelley Friedland

Features Reporter, Features Editor During his first year as an eighth grade history teacher, Jonathan Greiner experienced what he said would be a nightmare for most teachers. “I had this bag of candy ginger, and I pass[ed] it out to all the kids, and they were eating it, enjoying it,” Greiner said. “[When the kids were done eating], I said ‘Oh, just throw it back to me’, which was stupid, because [a student] was going to throw a bag of candy. He threw it, and the bag somehow exploded in midair and candy flew all over the classroom and all over the kids.” In that moment, Greiner said he realized he had built a community of kids who trusted him. Instead of descending into chaos, the entire class laughed and picked up the candies. “[That was] when I first felt like a teacher, even though I made a big mistake,” he said. After teaching seventh and eighth grade history at the Lawrence School in Brookline, Greiner came to South and is now teaching two AP U.S. history classes and two ninth grade world history classes. According to students, Greiner’s friendly and lively personality makes his classes unique and has improved the overall classroom environment. “‘Energetic’ is definitely the word to describe [the classroom environment]. Our class … has a nice balance of the loud kids and then the more quieter people,” freshman Anastasia Haidar, who is in Greiner’s world history class, said. “Then there is Mr. Greiner who brings everyone together. Even the quiet people really open up and want to talk.” Junior Mira Li, who is in Greiner’s

AP U.S. history class, said that Greiner creates a relaxed and healthy environment in the classroom. “[The class is] very laid back,” she said. “He’s very conversational and very interactive. It’s very chill and … low pressure.” According to history department head Jennifer Morrill, Greiner’s love for history is what makes him a great teacher. “He is an incredibly smart, energetic [and] skilled teacher, who I think is very excited about history. From what I’ve seen of him, he’s very good at pulling kids into that excitement by making kids engage in the discipline of history, thinking historically,” she said. Li said Greiner’s middle school background has influenced the way he teaches. “[That’s the] reason he’s so engaging,” she said. “Middle school is more fun than high school, so because he came from middle school, I think that that’s why he’s so engaging to listen to.” Greiner said the transition from younger to older students has been a positive one. “I had been doing the same thing for nine years, and I was excited to move to a high school just to teach older students and teach different curriculums ... I decided this was a good time to try something new,” he said. Because Greiner has been teaching U.S. history for his entire career, he said teaching world history has been a refreshing change. He became aware of his passion for history during his high school and early college years. “There aren’t that many jobs connected to history really, and so luckily, I enjoy teaching a lot,” Greiner said. “Part of what I think really attracted me [to teaching] was being able to think about history

and use history on a day-to- day basis.” Although teaching wasn’t his first job, Greiner has found it to be fulfilling. “I’ve done lots of boring jobs. I’ve worked on a yacht … I’ve worked in a restaurant, and not to put those types of jobs down … [but I felt] I [knew] everything there is to know about [those jobs]. With teaching, you never feel like you’ve mastered it, so ... you can always be getting better and always be improving,” he said. According to Greiner, it is hard for people to know whether they are going to like teaching before they try it. “I think you don’t really know until you’ve taught for a year or two … and the first year I did it, I realized I loved it. [Teaching] is engaging and fun. It’s hard work but worth it.” Greiner said that he tries to keep his class engaging and interesting. “I think [my typical class] is lively and loud, and I talk too fast … It goes at a fairly lively and engaging pace,” he said. “I hope people would feel like it was rigorous, it was hard and they were working at things that were good but also reasonable. That’s what I always aim to be: rigorous but reasonable.” History teacher Jamie Rinaldi said that students seem to respond well to Greiner’s teaching style. “He has a really positive reputation. Kids love his energy, his enthusiasm [and] his commitment to the community,” he said. Greiner often sets up discussions between students, a feature Morrill noticed in one of Greiner’s AP classes. She said this conversational set-up demonstrates his skills. “[During] the class I saw most recently, he had the kids talking to each other. He’s very smart, but he pulls the kids

into the conversation and I think shows them how smart they can be,” she said. “He sets up the discussion and he’s very clear with the kids how they’re going to have the discussion and what he wants them to do. He’s setting up a mechanism for the kids to do the hard work, but he sets it up so well that they can actually do it.” Greiner said he aims to reach out to as many students as possible. “I really like the moments where students are trying to figure something out on their own, and teaching is all about figuring out how [to] reach the most number of people,” he said. “It’s kind of like a guessing game [to figure out] what activity [I can do] that’s going to reach the most number of people.”

Get to Know Greiner Birthplace: Joliet, IL Favorite Hobby: Cooking Dog’s Name: Rocco Dream Vacation Spots: Tokyo and Fiji

page 16|JANUARY 22, 2014



PAST Events


May- Holi $1175 rased Proceeds → Nyaya Health in Nepal


photo by Katie Asch

SASA club leaders engage members during a Thursday J block. The club discusses fundraising and membership during their meeting.

SASA focuses on fundraising efforts Sophia Fisher

an open atmosphere. “People are really motivated to do stuff for [the club], and One afternoon last May, students’ people are really enthusiastic, and all the laughter filled the air as colored powder kids there really want to help out with the flew in South’s parking lot. These festivities events … Everyone’s very welcomed.” she were part of the Holi celebration organized said. “Even if you’re of a different culture by the South Asian Student Association or you’re new to the club or anything, it’s (SASA). Holi, the traditional Hindu fesvery open and welcoming.” tival of colors, involved throwing colored SASA donates the money that it powder at fellow students. makes from their fundraisers and events. “At the end, everyone looks like the Club members vote on which charities to same color … It’s showing brotherhood support with the proceeds. and people coming together,” senior and “Right now, their goal seems to be SASA co-president Harry Nanthakumar primarily geared towards fundraising for said. “I’d never celebrated it before, but I certain charities that are in the South Asian had a really fun time there.” region, and they all have a noble cause,” “There [are] so many people who physics teacher and faculty adviser Hema come and enjoy it, and it’s just really fun to Roychowdhury said. “They might be prowork and help out there for the whole day viding medical aid to the poor.” and also to see everyone have fun,” senior and SASA public relations officer Jina An said. People think that SASA is At the time of the celebration, SASA only for Asian or Indian had only been meeting for about a month, but the club raised $1,175 from Holi alone. people, and we’re trying Two South alumni from the class of 2013 founded SASA last spring to educate to show it’s for everyone. students about South Asian culture. - Along Jamir, Class of 2015 “[The founders] wanted something that could spread South Asian culture and something that could show off where they’re from and who they are as [people],” The charities SASA has supported Nanthakumar said. include Nyaya Health and Helping Hands, The club is made up of board nonprofit organizations that provide members, including co-presidents, public healthcare to rural Nepal, as well as Banrelations officers, treasurers, junior repgladesh Rehabilitation Assistance Commitresentatives and an art director, as well as tee, an organization that supported victims regular members. of a building collapse in Bangladesh. Though SASA is composed mainly Although South had an Asian Stuof juniors and seniors, freshman Yuval dent Organization (ASO) when SASA was Dinoor did not find the meetings to be founded, Nanthakumar said that SASA’s “clique-y,” as she had expected. founders wanted a more “targeted” focus “The upperclassmen were really in- on South Asia. viting,” she said. “They’re all really helpful “SASA focuses much more on South and nice, and they’re pretty knowledgeable Asia, and [with] ASO … there’s mainly a about what they do, and they have really Chinese-Korean sort of affiliation,” he said. creative ideas.” Although Nanthakumar said he finds An agreed that SASA promotes SASA to be successful so far, he also said Features Editor

planning fundraisers takes considerable effort. “Organization for various events is a lot of work,” he said. “We work really hard bringing everything together and making it as enjoyable as possible.” The relative newness of the club may also complicate affairs for SASA, according to An. “It’s still a new club — very new — and we don’t have a set system or tradition,” An said. “But a lot of people are working really hard to … set a solid base so that it will continue after we leave.” Club member Along Jamir said recruiting members is one of the club’s main goals. “We’re trying to attract more people, because we have lots of upperclassmen this year,” he said. “People think that SASA is only for Asian or Indian people, and we’re trying to show it’s for everyone.” While Dinoor agreed that an increased number of participants could help make the club more inclusive, she said that SASA’s close-knit community is one of its greatest assets. “I hope they manage to continue on the path they’re on while still keeping the small-community atmosphere, because I feel like that’s one of the biggest perks of the club,” she said. Roychowdhury said she hopes that the club will remain an open, relaxed place for students. “I want it also to be a place where kids don’t just come to sit and plan ... but also to have fun and relax,” she said. “Every once in a while, do events; the Diwali event was a very fun and relaxing time. So, have fun while doing things for a good cause.” “More and more people are starting to learn about who we are as people and what SASA has done,” Nanthakumar said. “Although there aren’t many of us, our culture is rich in heritage, and it’s something that we cherish and we want to share with others.”

Nov.- Diwali Potluck Proceeds → Helping Hands in Nepal


Dec.- Stocking Stuffer Sale Proceeds → A cause to be announced

photo by Anjali Oberoi



April- Zamaana Dance Performance May- Holi

JANUARY 22, 2014|page 17


THE COMMON APPLICATION The Roar will follow four seniors as they navigate through the college application process and will reveal their identities and and college plans as they make their decisions By Parisa Siddiqui


photo by Dina Busaba

enior Phil Levine-Caleb, formerly referred to as “Ryan,” has officially been recruited to play Division III basketball at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minn. Scouts from Macalester had seen him play last year and then contacted him about being recruited to the school’s basketball team and about applying Early Decision. He had also sat in on a class while visiting the campus. “It [felt] good. I was expecting to get in,” Levine-Caleb said. In late October, the Macalester admissions department prescreened his academic record and told him he would be accepted, though the acceptance was not made official until later. Before his admission was confirmed, he had been also talking with coaches at Fisher and Pomona Colleges. He is thinking about majoring in economics Levine-Caleb also was invited to the Macalester accepted students day in the spring. “There is [one] in April, but it’s not mandatory or anything, so I’m not sure if I’m going to go,” he said. Levine-Caleb said that he is looking forward to the rest of the winter, particularly the basketball season; he is a captain on South’s varsity team. “I’m looking forward to ... being able to slump [and] not doing any of my work,” he said. “Financial aid already happened in the admission, but I need to not fail my classes,” he said. “I’m in, so I just need to sort of graduate.”

The RoaR asked senioRs:


llison* has been accepted to her two top choice schools, University of Vermont and University of Massachusetts - Amherst. She applied to both Early Action. She finished applying to Connecticut College and Skidmore College for regular decision in late December. Allison also received early acceptances from Emerson College and Clark University. “I think UMass - Amherst and UVM are both very solid options, but I’m going to wait to hear from the regular decision schools before I make any decisions,” she said. “But if I don’t get into them, UVM and UMass - Amherst are solid choices.” Allison said that both schools have good programs in psychology, sociology and communications, all of which she is interested in studying. She said that she is currently focused on applying for scholarships and financial aid. Additionally, Allison said that she is focused on maintaining her grades throughout the rest of the year. “I have to maintain my GPA so it looks good for the regular [decision] schools,” she said. Allison said that she felt relieved once she got her acceptance letters. “I’m a lot calmer now that I have some acceptances,” she said. “UVM and UMass - Amherst are not my safeties, so I know that I have solid options if I don’t get into other schools regular decision.”

“Definitely the waiting for decisions.” - Anjali Oberoi

What has been the worst part about the college application process? photo by Sofia Osorio


photo by Sofia Osorio

enior Elliot Martin, formerly referred to as “George,” has officially been accepted Early Decision to his top choice, St. Lawrence University. He therefore had to refrain from applying anywhere else after he received his acceptance letter over winter break. “It felt pretty great. It was nice to be done,” he said. Martin was given some aid from the university. “I’m not applying for any financial aid, but I did get a Presidential Achievement Award,” he said. The award is presented by St. Lawrence to students who have demonstrated excellence in academics and co-curricular activities, according to the school’s website. According to Martin, he intends to visit the St. Lawrence campus in Canton, New York again. “I’ll definitely visit again at some point ... just to go there and because my dad wants to go there,” he said. He is also probably going to go to an accepted students weekend if there is one in the future. Martin had applied to St. Lawrence undecided and said that he still is not yet certain what he will choose as his major. Martin said that he is looking forward to a slower paced and less stressful second semester. “Hopefully, [it’ll] be a more relaxed end of the year, which will be nice. College is definitely a lot to look forward to,” he said. “It’s definitely weird to think that I’m going to college.”


graphics by David Gorelik

ennifer* has been accepted to her top choice of MIT Early Action. “So far, [MIT is] my top school and I’d really like to go there, but I’m just waiting for the other schools, but my heart’s pretty set on it,” she said. Because she was accepted to MIT, she decided to apply to only two other schools for regular decision, Harvard and Yale. “If I didn’t get into MIT, I would’ve applied to a lot of safeties and things like that, but those are the only schools I’d really consider over MIT,” she said. Jennifer is filling out financial aid forms and plans to look into scholarships soon. “Part of the decision — if I get into the other schools — will be comparing financial aid packages,” she said. According to Jennifer, she was both pleased and surprised when she received her acceptance. “There was just so much disbelief, because I didn’t do much of my other apps,” she said. “When I got in, it was incredible.” Jennifer said that her parents were part of the decision to apply to Harvard and Yale. “My parents were really happy for me, because [MIT] was my top school, but they also really pushed me to apply to the other two schools because they wanted me to have options and they didn’t want me to feel pushed into going … because sometimes even if it’s a great school, it may not be the best fit for everyone.”

“The stress of applying.” -Mackenzie Targett

“The deadlines.” -Chris Wu

photos by Parisa Siddiqui

page 18|January 22, 2014

Relationships: High School Boys: A Recurring Nightmare

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. I have been traumatized by high school relationships. I have liked two different boys in the past two years, and they’ve both ended up screwing me over in the end. Being led on hurts. I liked a boy last year who reciprocated interest in me until, suddenly, he didn’t. He then became distant enough to make me question his feelings for me, but friendly enough for me to think that we could go back to the way we were. The hope of normalizing the relationship left me allowing him to not treat me the way he should have; I accepted his excuses although they weren’t valid, we hooked up despite his aloofness and I defended him to my friends who questioned his intentions. We spent approximately six months in this hot-and-cold limbo; meanwhile, I was becoming increasingly emotionally involved. I needed to know the truth; so one day I asked him straight up what the deal was. As it turns out, he had known for some time that he didn’t want me. He claimed that he was afraid if he told me the truth, I’d get too upset and our friendship would be broken. I got over it, healed and started liking a new guy this year. My story with this year’s boy, however, went in too similar of a direction as last year’s. But this year’s boy promised me even more, giving me a greater sense of false hope. He promised we’d be together after he dealt with a lingering relationship; he swore he wanted me; he watched me get attached and made it seem like he was mine. Now, this is one of my best friends, so when he finally told me that he’d spent the past two months lying to me, I was crushed. Honesty from the beginning would have saved us the huge fight and subsequent hatred. I can barely look at him without feeling the same sting of betrayal and hatred, and I see him far too much to get over him cleanly. I don’t understand how these boys lived with themselves as I fell for them. They took advantage of my feelings, either from cowardice or selfishness. They capitalized on my vulnerability, and when they were done, I was left broken. I can’t wait until my relationships aren’t so juvenile, so concentrated and dramatized, so high school. As a senior, the beginning of senior slump marks the start of saying goodbye to high school. I’m going to take full advantage of this time, enjoying being single, avoiding emotional attachment and looking forward to college.


Born to Teach By Gabriela Taslitsky and Maggie Zhang

Ms. Lanckton

For as long as she could remember, Latin teacher Alice Lanckton said she has wanted to be a teacher. She has been teaching since 1965, after she received her doctorate. When Lanckton was a high schooler in the 50s, educated women she knew generally became teachers, social workers or nurses. “The gates were not open for women to become other [professions]. It seemed to me [that] the one I liked — because I love learning — was a teacher, and I thought right away that I’d like to be a Latin teacher,” she said. Lanckton said that when she was in 10th grade, she wanted to be like her high school teacher.“I had the best Latin teacher in the world ... I was very impressed to have a woman with a PhD ... teaching Latin,” she said. “I decided when I was in 10th grade that I’d like to become her.” photo by Kiana Lee

Art teacher Jeffrey Wixon said he decided to become a teacher during his senior year of high school. “[I knew I wanted to be a teacher] the day that someone said, ‘What are you going to do with the rest of your life? You need to apply to college; it’s December of your senior year,’ and I said, ‘I think I will be an art teacher,’” Wixon said. “I applied to the local college that used to be New England Teacher School, but is now Connecticut State University. I applied and I got in.” Wixon said he was also inspired by one of his own art teachers. “[I was influenced by] my art teacher. I had a crush on her, but she was a really good art teacher and she taught me everything I know about pottery and art,” he said. Wixon said he hopes his students use their knowledge of art and apply it to everyday life beyond high school.

Mr. wixon

photo by Neoreet Braha

Ms. Pellauer

English teacher Shauna Pellauer said she always knew she wanted to work with kids but never considered being an English teacher until she got a job at a youth mentoring program in her 20s. “A volunteer from my staff was going to miss a couple weeks of teaching his English classes, and I had to teach Julius Caesar to some eighth graders,” she said. Pellauer said that after her first experience teaching, she knew it was a profession she wanted to pursue. “I loved it and I thought, ‘Why am I doing anything else?’ From that moment, I enrolled in graduate school in teaching,” she said. Pellauer said that one of her high school English teachers also provided inspiration. “He just rocked my world. [He] challenged me, frustrated me and taught me a lot,” she said. photo by Neoreet Braha

From childhood, history teacher Jamie Rinaldi said he had a passion for history and politics. Rinaldi, however, said that he felt unsatisfied with his history classes. “When I was in high school, I was actually frustrated with my experience,” he said. “I generally found it to be the experience most people have that results in them hating history class, with the endless names, endless dates, the 50 matching questions, tests.” Rinaldi said his favorite history teacher changed his perspective. “I remember ... turning to a friend saying, ‘You know, I really think this year’s history class is going to be totally different than we’ve had in the past.,” he said. “His class certainly made me feel like, ‘this is something I could do; this is a model I could pursue.’”


photo by Neoreet Braha

jANUARY 22, 2014|page 19


Naomi Bergelson is...

Every issue, The Roar randomly selects a student and explores what makes him or her unique.

Changing LAnES

After suffering an injury that forced her to quit rhythmic gymnastics, junior Naomi Bergelson continues to strive for excellence in swimming and academics By Parisa Siddiqui


ne year ago, junior Naomi Bergelson was tumbling on mats, twirling long ribbons and performing choreographed routines. Now, she ventures to the pool twice a week and meets up with her swim coach to practice strokes. Naomi competed in rhythmic gymnastics from when she was nine years old until her sophomore year, when she sustained a back injury from a fall. An MRI revealed that she was close to getting a stress fracture in her back from her years training in ballet and gymnastics. “I almost got a fracture, so that’s why I had to stop. But [gymnastics] was a pretty big part of my life,” she said. Rhythmic gymnastics differs from regular gymnastics in that it is more like dance, and it

requires the use of ribbon, hoops and rope as part of the routines, according to Naomi. “It’s more about flexibility. It is about strength, but I would compare it more to dancing. There’s … a lot of acrobatic stuff with your equipment,” Naomi said. “I was pretty upset ... I had to deal with back pain. I could still do swimming, so in the end I was frustrated but also a little bit relieved because I had a lot more free time.” According to her brother, Daniel Bergelson, while Naomi enjoys her free time, she is still dedicated to athletics. “She is very persistent … and she’s very active. [Swimming] is something she started to do more after gymnastics ended,” Bergelson said. Naomi’s friend, junior Martha Midyana agreed with Bergelson. “She’s sporty and so

she gets really involved in things,” she said. Junior Minori Ito said Naomi has a strong will. “I’d describe her as somewhat adventurous. I’ve always known her to do what she wanted,” Ito said. Naomi now spends her time refining her swimming skills. After beginning lessons in elementary school, she restarted lessons in 2007 with a new teacher, Carol Murray. “She had already learned all her strokes, so I wasn’t really teaching her anything. It was more like coaching,” Murray said. According to Murray, Naomi’s previous experience with dance and rhythmic gymnastics has helped her succeed in swimming. “It’s very important to be on the dance and gymnastics side of things outside, because it just gives you a grace, and it’s just beautiful to see her body moving in the water,” she said. “When

you watch her [swim], she just makes it look effortless. It’s just beautiful to watch.” According to Murray, Naomi approaches swimming with an attitude that she applies to all areas of her life. “I think she has a zest for life … [that] is so important, and that’s why I think she excels in what she does,” Murray said. “She’s very well aware of what makes her tick. I don’t think she tries to reach goals she knows she can’t reach … she notices when she’s too stressed and she’ll back off to balance her life ... She doesn’t try to avoid challenges in life.” Midyana agreed with Murray. “[Naomi is] perseverant. She’s motivated,” she said. “She has her head in one place and she’ll stick to something.” Ito said Naomi has a unique zeal. “She’s a very passionate person,” she said. “That’s a quality

atie Asch photo by K

many people don’t have.” In addition to swimming, Naomi plays the clarinet for the school band and enjoys traveling, which may impact her future career choice. “Best case, I think I’d want to go [to college] for law … if I went for law, I’d want to do something with international law,” she said. Naomi also said that she hopes to apply to college in the United Kingdom. “I guess at some point, I’d like to travel for a few months. Just to get some of the places I want to see off of my bucket list. I think the main thing is traveling,” she said. “I really like to see new things.” Murray said that while Naomi’s main goals are currently preparing for college, standardized tests and AP exams, she will most likely continue swimming until she graduates high school. “She would love to go away to school, so it will be an end of an era for us, Murray said. “But she really loves [swimming]. It really shows in the lessons.”

page 20|January 22, 2014|THE LION’S ROAR|THELIONSROAR.COM


Boys basketball makes comeback for the win

Protests bring back Boys Gymnastics

pAGE 22



Three senior girls determine their future colleges by commiting to Division I schools for rowing

By Lizzie Fineman and Robby Fineman photo courtesy of Grace Smith

Seniors Grace Smith, Beth Yudelman and Caitlyn McDonald sign to their teams, University of California Los Angeles, University of Wisconsin and Boston College. As many seniors around the nation a phase where I didn’t think I was going to constitute a large portion of their college await the results of their college applicarow outside of high school. I actually quit experiences. Yudelman, although excited tions, seniors Caitlain McDonald, Grace for about a few weeks and then I got back about being a part of Wisconsin’s program, Smith and Beth Yudelman rest easy. The into it … just kind of took it from there, said she does worry about the time comthree rowers all secured positions on Divi- and then this ended up being what my path mitment. “I won’t be able to go out as much sion I caliber rowing teams at Boston Col- was,” she said. “It was kind of like a crazy and experience the regular college life that lege, University of California Los Angeles journey, but it got to this point.” everyone else is experiencing,” she said. and University of Wisconsin-Madison, Smith said her Smith said she respectively. decision to rejoin the shares some of this This trifecta currently at Com-CHOI squad stemmed from It was a very stressful pro- apprehension. “I work BY rows YOONCHAN munity Rowing Incorporated (CRI), a non- her boredom without cess because it was a lot of out a lot now, but I’m profit rowing club located on the Charles her teammates, practices just not really sure River. According to Yudelman, a coxswain, and the commitment. “I trying to sell yourself and what it will be like CRI is “a really competitive program and didn’t really know what just tell them everything when I get there. I’m one of the top programs of the country.” else to do with my time. I sure it will be similar that’s happening ... Smith was introduced to the sport by just felt like I was missing to what I’m doing now her parents, Jon and Tracy Smith, former a purpose and I needed a because I row six days - Grace Smith, Class of 2014 Olympic rowers. They were also collegiate direction to go. I missed a week, but it’s going to rowers at Brown University and Syracuse my team, too. I missed be a lot in the mornUniversity, respectively. my friends,” Smith said. “I like having a task. ings and wanting to go out with my friends Smith in turn acquainted McDonald I like having something to do.” late at night at college is going to be kind of to rowing when she took her to a winter McDonald was also unsure about a challenge.” practice. McDonald instantly fell in love whether or not she would pursue colOverall, however, Smith thinks that with the sport and followed suit by joining legiate rowing until this summer, when, being a member of the crew team will add CRI the next spring. Like Smith, Yudelafter travelling to a competition, she made to her college experience because she sees a man was first exposed to crew by a family a decision that it was a lifestyle she wanted close-knit team environment as not only an member; her sister also rows. to continue. “We took a trip to New Jersey athletic community but also a social one. Despite the girls’ love for the sport, and we also raced in Canada and I think McDonald agreed that the team none of the athletes were positive that they I really liked how competitive it was and I will bring unique social benefits. “It will would continue to row in college. Smith was ready to take it to the next level,” she definitely, for me, add to the experience said she once doubted the likelihood of said. because I know, going in, I’ll know some rowing in college. “I actually went through For all three rowers, the sport will people and I’ll be able to have that team en-

vironment that I’ve found myself to thrive in,” McDonald said. Each athlete’s recruiting process was a challenge, with all three having to reach out to different coaches and go through numerous email exchanges. “It was a very stressful process because it was a lot of trying to sell yourself and just tell them everything that’s happening, all your results and all your scores. It’s a long process. It took me a year to get to this point,” Smith said. “People think that I just waltzed into college but it was a huge process, making phone calls over the summer or sending emails.” Smith said that one of the worst parts of the recruiting process was the act of selling yourself. Grace’s mother, Tracy Smith, said the process is “kind of like a dating game with the coaches. You put your best cards on the table and then you continue to update them and keep them engaged and you just hope that it works out,” she said. Tracy said she recommends that other families looking for recruitment should shift the focus to the athlete. “Let the kids do the work. It sounds like one of the ways to turn off the coaches very quickly is to have the parents keep jumping in and calling the coaches and stuff like that. Let the athletes run the show.”

JANUARY 22, 2014|page 21



“I like outdoor better, just because I really like the 100m dash, and I just like it better when it’s warmer because running in the cold is not fun.”

Class of 2016 Indoor track Outdoor track

Students debate which track season is best By Clare Martin

Thomas Stephens


“I like how when you’re racing at an indoor track, everyone has to be in such close proximity, that there seems to be a lot more energy.”

Class of 2014 Cross-Country Indoor track Outdoor track

“[Indoor is]more festive, because everyone is sort of closed in a small space and it’s a lot louder.”

Sena An

“I like the distances I run for outdoor, and also outdoor season is where I learned how to run hurdles for the first time.”

Class of 2014

Class of 2016

Indoor track Outdoor track

Indoor track Outdoor track photos by Sofia Osorio

page 22|january 22, 2014


Defense leads basketball to win over Westford Jack McElduff Sr. Sports Editor

On Friday, Jan. 10, the field house stands were full, a pep band blared funk music and parents and students alike enjoyed a night of basketball. The boys basketball team hosted the Westford Academy Grey Ghosts last Friday in a game with big implications: lose, and the Lions would fall to 2-5, or win and creep closer to the .500 tournament cut-off line. The Lions rose to the occasion, as the whole roster contributed in a 51-39 upset of Westford, a team that came into the game with a record of 5-2. The Lions came into the game brimming with confidence, following a 60-43 win over Acton-Boxborough on Tuesday, Jan. 7. The Grey Ghosts entered off of a 69-62 win over the Lincoln-Sudbury Warriors. Though the game began with the Grey Ghosts splitting the Lions defense every chance they got, opening up on a 10-4 run. South kept clawing back, however, and a key three-pointer by junior Jack Groper as the first quarter expired kept the Westford lead at six. When the buzzer sounded, the Lions trailed 10-6. Though South entered the second quarter very much in the game, there was trouble defensively for the Lions. With a barrage of points for the Grey Ghosts, who opened the quarter on an 11-3 run to stretch their lead to 21-9. Westford had scored the first six points of the period. Down 21-9, the Lions began to chip away at the lead again. South neutralized the Westford offensive attack for the remainder of the quarter, but it was the Lions shots that brought them back into the contest. Scores by senior Phil Levine-Caleb and Groper kept the Lions within striking distance, and a key bucket by sophomore Alex Kiritsy cut the lead to 23-15 as the teams entered the half. Re-entering the court fot the third quarter ended up being the turning point for South. Junior captain Mark Karmiy scored six points for the Lions in the quarter, but he was assisted by his teammates as well. Three-pointers by Groper and junior

Senior Phil Levine-Caleb plows through three defenders on his way to the hoop, helping the team to a 51-39 win over Westford. captain Geoff Gray made this game a nailbiter, but it was junior Joe Esbenshade who came up with the biggest shot from long range. Esbenshade’s three put the Lions in the lead, 33-31, at the end of the third. Going into the fourth quarter, South led for the first time since their 2-0 lead in the first quarter, and it looked like the Lions would ride their newfound momentum to an easy win. The fourth quarter began with constant lead changes. Two more threes by Groper kept Westford in check, but the Grey Ghosts wouldn’t go down without a fight, even taking the lead at one point, 37-36. It seemed that the Grey Ghosts had taken control of the game. That was before a 15-2 run by the Lions to end the game. This run consisted not only of offense, but of smart, team basketball as well. Senior Ethan Meyer drew a key charge late in the fourth that gave South possession and preserved momentum. The Lions made their free throws down the stretch, which was a major contributor in their victory. The team went 8 for 10 from the line, with Karmiy going a perfect 6 for 6 as the Lions surprised the Grey Ghosts. Karmiy finished with 18 points, while Groper tallied 14. Stifling defense

Leading Scorers: Karmiy

18 pts


14 pts


10 pts


4 pts


3 pts

from all players was what contributed to a big team win. With the win, South improved to 4-4, and rose to 2-0 in the Dual County League. Ahead for the Lions lies their marquee game of the season. South will square off against Newton North at TD Garden on Saturday, Jan. 25 at 6:45 p.m.

photos by Aaron Edelstein

Boys gymnastics reinstated following protests Helen Haskin & Cyd Villavicencio Sports Reporters

Last year the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA) was planning on shutting down boys’ gymnastics entirely, but because of the efforts of schools in Massachusetts, including South, as well as gymnastics organizations around the country, the decision was overturned. Senior Matthew Lu, a three-year member of the gymnastics team, said the team’s immediate reaction was to fight the decision. “As soon as we heard [that boys gymnastics had been cancelled] we were outraged and we immediately decided to start rallying people together,” he said. Members of the South team and athletes from other schools in the state created peti-

tions, Facebook pages and wrote letters to the MIAA asking them to reconsider. According to senior captain Khashayar Dashti, overturning the decision involved persistence from all involved. “We had to sign petitions and we had to get people from all over the state to sign them online and offline,” he said. “We had to ask a lot of schools and athletic directors to write letters to the MIAA...and we finally overturned the decision.” The issue quickly escalated to the national level. “There was an outpouring of concern and support. And it was not just from Newton South and the other schools in Massachusetts, it was from the whole country,” coach Tom Steeves, who is entering his 45th season as Lions head coach, said. According to Steeves, the fight did not stop with athletes and coaches. “The president of USA Gymnastics got involved,”

he said. “National groups gave us support for continuing high school gymnastics.” Despite the overwhelming support, boys gymnastics is still not a widely popular sport throughout the country.

The president of USA Gymnastics got involved. National groups gave us support. - Tom Steeves, boys gymnastics coach According to Dashti, this is due to the fact that a only a small portion of Massachusetts public schools actually offer boys’ gymnastics. “Many people don’t know this: there are only seven teams in the entire state for boys

gymnastics,” he said. “The only states that offer boys gymnastics are Illinois, New York and Massachusetts.” Boys gymnastics has trouble getting new participants, and lack of interest continues to impair the team. With five seniors, two juniors and no freshmen or sophomores, the team is having trouble recruiting. “We don’t have a base, we don’t have anyone developing from the freshman and sophomore group,” Steeves said. “It’s upsetting.” On top of unsatisfactory numbers, most players who join the team have little to no experience. Both Dashti and Lu started gymnastics at South. “I personally had little experience before South,” Dashti said. Steeves believes that earlier exposure to the sport is helpful, and that teachers in elementary

and middle schools should get their students acquainted with the sport. “Part of the problem is that there isn’t any instructional base in the middle schools,” he said. Although the team is not sure of its future, Dashti said he is looking forward to a good season this year. “Definitely last year’s events had some publicity effects on the sport but gymnastics needs to see a very drastic change for it to actually start coming back to the country.” Dashti said. “This year we’re going to do really well,” he said. ‘This year we are definitely going to win some state awards and I hope this year we’ll climb up to fourth place [in the state].” Steeves has a confident outlook on the season to come, just a year after the turbulent MIAA decision. “The team is good and our players have skills,” he said. “I think we’ll do pretty well.”


January 22, 2014|page 23


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