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Volume 39, Number 1 / October 2011

Student voice of the Westhill community

“The test of good journalism is the measure of its public service.�

Marching Band takes home the Yamaha Cupp. 3

Top minority AP scores in state p. 14 /special report Occupy Wall Street p. 18 limelight Mr. DeFeo curates street art exhibit p. 31 /scatterbrain Inside sports initiation p. 39



Westword 2011-2012 Staff

October 2011


Editor-in-Chief Lainey Sidell Associate Editor Mallory Hart Managing Editors Katie Beauleau, Anjali Khetan, Victoria Sandolo Creative Designer Ariel Shaulson Photo Manager Gerald Morgan Ombudsman Josh Friedman News Editors Bradley Darling, Joely Mass, Tara Sarkar Viewpoint Editors Sophie Handler, Naomi Sabbah Feature Editors Jamie Eimbinder, Zoe DePreta Las Noticias Editors Heide Hernandez, Michelle Menacho Supplement Editors Samantha McNichols, Daniela Rumlova Limelight Editors Nicole Frederick, Lauren Schechter Express Editors Jessica Freedman, Danilo Machado Special Report Editors Ryan Daly, Mackenzie Eisen Scatterbrain Editors Rachel Katz, Connor Matheny Sports Editors Peter Dawson, Ethan Peikes, Grace Sullivan Photo Editors Naina Bakra, Alex Cooney, Will Kesler, Calvin MacDonald, Laura Rey Head Pollster Dixita Viswanath Head Illustrator Stephanie Wilson Verification Managers Andrew Krowitz, Luis Kumandari,

Natasha Hoherchak, Nick Morelli Copy Editors Jeff Anderson, Ashley Berland, Matt Frederick, Gabby Frieser, Dana Gordon, Lauren Pollack Las Noticias Copy Editor María del Pilar Menacho Pollsters Colin Morgan, Christiana Provenzano, Aman Samra, Shaina Shaulson, Brianna Skorvanek, Marissa Skorvanek, Zoey Villalba Reporters Julie Arditti, Julia Busto, Stephanie Carde, Nicole Dupuis, Kristina Goodrich, Ankita Mukherjee, Carly Pierre, Sahouda Smith, Kianna Thompson, Julia Zimmerman Sports Reporters Jack Barkin, Brandon Curto, Cameron Curto, Will Herrmman, Nicole Pellicano, Jonathan Pollack Illustrators Katelyn Conte, Sydney Olshan Photographers Melanie Alswanger, Jessica Berstein, Emma Hart, Sara Hollenberg, Rachel Klein, Elizabeth Maneta, Shaina Shaulson, Mickey Sottile, Lauren Wilson Sports Photographers Mike Bodall, Risky Villagomez Distribution Managers Drew Lang, Steven Lee Fundraising Manager Aaron Katz Business Manager Ayesha Hafeez Technical Manager Ross Alter Professional Consultant Dave Ruden Co-Advisers Mr. von Wahlde, Mr. Wooley

Online Editor-in-Chief Skyler Ross Online Managing Editor Sam Lagasse

Online Editors Jason Gallant, Will Hart, Claire Howlett Videographer Tucker Jepsen

Westhill High School 125 Roxbury Road Stamford, CT 06902 (203) 977-4894

3 9 14 18 21 29 31 36 39 42

What’s inside

News Marching band wins first place at MetLife stadium Viewpoint Should students athletes have to take gym? Feature Project Opening Doors proves promising Las Noticias Programas que Westhill se ofrece para estudiantes hispanos Supplement Westhill survival guide Special Report Occupying Wall Street: timeline, summary, and student analysis Limelight Art teacher Mr. DeFeo curates street art exhibition Express Meet Abby Hubert, Artist of the Month Scatterbrain New varsity athletes initiated by teammates

Sports Boys’ soccer forfeits three wins, makes recovery

Announcements Congratulations to... Mr. Wooley on his marriage to Kris Sealey on October 9. If you have an announcement you would like published, please send us an email at westwordwhs@ Editorial Policy

The Westword will be guided in the publication of material by a concern for truth, human decency, and human benefit. It is published during the school year by the late night staff, along with the Journalism and Communications classes. Letters to the Editor, advertising requests, comments, criticism, or suggestions are always welcome. The views expressed in Viewpoint and on the OpEd page may not necessarily represent the opinions of The Westword.

Editorial Board consists of Katie Beauleau, Bradley Darling, Peter Dawson, Mackenzie Eisen, Mallory Hart, Heidi Hernandez, Claire Howlett, Anjali Khetan, Sam Lagasse, Skyler Ross, Daniela Rumlova, Victoria Sandolo, and Lainey Sidell. The editorial can be found on page 17.


Katie Beauleau / Managing Editor

The Class of 2011 is long gone. Do we miss them that much? Front and back cover design by Ariel Shaulson / Creative Designer Front cover photo contributed by Mark Ira Back cover photos by Gerald Morgan / Photo Manager



Band marches to first place

Elizabeth Hendrickson / Staff Writer

Marching band wins 2011 Yamaha Cup at MetLife Stadium Ariel Shaulson, Ankita Mukherjee, & Julia Zimmerman

Creative Designer & Reporters

On October 15, the marching band took home the 2011 Yamaha Cup in the 3A class. The Yamaha Cup is an annual competition hosted by the United States Scholastic Band Association, in which 59 different bands competed this year. This year’s competition was held at MetLife Stadium, home to two professional football teams: the New York Giants and the New York Jets. The marching band, which is comprised of 50 students, boarded a bus at 6:45 a.m. in order to get to MetLife Stadium on time. Under the direction of Mr. Miner, the marching band achieved first place with a score of 81.85, defeating six high school bands from Connecticut, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania. In addition to finishing in first place within its class, Westhill was also recognized with first place awards for best percussion, music, and visual presentation. Each band is scored on color guard, percussion, ensemble, visual, music, and overall effect. Out of the six categories, Westhill took first place in four. Eight judges critique the bands, each making deductions for specific aspects of the performance. Bands are then given

scores out of 100. Westhill’s score of 81.85 was not only the highest score achieved, but was also two whole points higher than the second place team. “We practice [for] about fifteen hours a week outside of school,” Mr. Miner said. In addition, the marching band meets during the school day in band class, and there is a Winter Percussion afterschool activity from November to April. “We are always striv-

a good show,” junior drum major Hayley Siegal said. Despite this confidence, the marching band was happily surprised by its victory. The band members had been unable to watch their competition perform, and as a result they could not gauge how they could expect their performance to place. “Every little detail is counted in competition,” senior flute section leader Kassandra Montene-

“The surrounding bands were looking at us and wondering who we were, the small band from Connecticut with a big sound and a huge trophy. ” —Kassandra Montenegro, ’12 ing for perfection,” senior drum captain Joe Fong said. This is the third consecutive first place finish for the marching band this year, following victories against Sheehan High School and Brien McMahon. Unlike previous victories, Westhill’s victory in the Yamaha Cup was achieved in competition against a larger number of schools, therefore making this a much more valuable win. The performance itself lasted eight minutes and consisted of three songs titled “Newrhythmics,” “Layers,” and “Echoes.” “After we performed, we knew that we had, had

gro said. “[MetLife] Stadium was a huge venue for all of the band, and nerves were hitting harder than ever, which became a mental battle for some people throughout the performance.” Because the Yamaha Cup is such a desirable performance opportunity, it is extremely difficult to get a spot, thus Westhill went up against the cream of the crop and performed with amazing success.” “Winning the Yamaha Cup was one of the most incredible experiences of my life! Seeing myself on the jumbotron at [MetLife] Stadium was one of the proudest

moments of my life. I had goose bumps!” freshman Laura Gerson said. The Yamaha Cup competition was both a mid-season climax for returning upperclassmen and a model for underclassmen showing them what they work for. The experience gave the younger band members exposure to a large scale and prestigious competition. The marching band hopes to maintain its undefeated record for the rest of the season. “Championships are in a couple of weeks, so we’re trying to improve for the show as much as we can,” junior vibraphone player Zoe Finiasz said. The road for the Westhill marching band is far from over, but the feeling of accomplishment at such a large scale event will last forever. “We’re basically like a family because we spend so much time together,” said Finiasz said. “The surrounding bands were looking at us and wondering who we were, the small band from Connecticut with a big sound and a huge trophy,” Montenegro said.

Marc Ira / Contributer

4 Administrator discusses governance council News

October 2011

Josh Friedman Ombudsman

Westhill is one of 11 schools in the Stamford Public Schools system to have school governance councils. These councils allow members of the community to help make decisions regarding the schools. Twelfth Grade Administrator Mr. Jason Martin speaks of what is to come for Westhill’s governance council. The Westword: How has the administration reacted to the state mandate to create a governance council? Mr. Martin: We are very excited. The governance council provides another way for us to communicate with parents and the community and to get more people involved. It is the way the school should be, and I think that it will really boost our efforts. School policy should be transparent and this makes it official.

TW: Do you think that it will positively affect Westhill? JM: Ultimately, the goal is to improve student achievement. However, these changes will probably improve slowly, as in any initiative of this kind. Immediately, I hope and expect that we will see a positive change in school culture. This is not something that is quantifiable, but I do think we will see improvement this year with the involvement of parents and teachers. It’s the type of initiative that can take school culture from good to great. TW: Has there been an enthusiastic response from teachers and parents? JM: Absolutely. We have seen a really great response from parents. At the community forum we held on September 12, the turnout was so good that we had to turn parents away. So many parents have expressed interest in becoming involved with the council. As for the faculty, we have had quite a few

teachers inquiring about the council. Everyone sees its value, and hopefully it will give everyone a voice. TW: Has the council attracted parents from many different communities in Stamford? JM: On the ballots we have a very diverse group of parents, though most of them are women. So in that way it is not extremely diverse. Otherwise, we have a pretty decent representation. As the governance council gains momentum, I expect people will see the work we are doing and want to get involved. TW: The state’s education reform law requires teacher and parent involvement, but it also provides the option for nonvoting student members on the council. Will students be invited to participate? JM: Before we can figure that out, the council has to be formed. As a council, we will determine a process to choose students if we make

Juniors face parking predicament Peter Dawson Sports Editor

This year, there has been a great increase in the number of problems that juniors are having with parking on campus., as multiple students have been fined. “There have been multiple announcements made to keep juniors from parking in senior spots and four tickets have been issued,” Mr. Martin, who is in charge of parking, said. “[Problems began to arise when] juniors were parking in the numbered spots assigned to seniors, not in the junior parking lot next to it,” head of security Mr. Wright said. This problem is being combatted by ticketing those who have parked in senior spaces and also by giving the violator a purple warning sign. A second offense results in an orange sticker and a larger fine. A third offense would revoke the student’s parking privileges, and he or she would not be allowed to park on campus again. “As long as they are not using anybody else’s space and are in the overflow lot, they shouldn’t have any problems parking and should not receive any fines,” senior administrator Mr. Martin said. Upon hearing that there were fines being given out for parking in the wrong spaces, many juniors have gone to the of-

fice and asked for a parking pass. “[Parking passes are] not [being given out to juniors] yet, but juniors should ask in the office,” security guard Mr. Mancuzzi said. No passes are in fact being given out. The school administration maintains that it is possible that it will start to give out junior passes and assigned spots, but not at the present time. According to Mr. Mancuzi, who is tasked with controlling and patrolling the parking lots, the escalation in problems is caused only by students not parking in their proper spots. He has a list of which cars are permitted to park in each specific senior spot. “When I find a student parked in the wrong space, I put the purple slip on their windshield and report it to the office, where they take care of it and may issue a ticket,” Mr. Mancuzi said. According to him, there are no tags or passes for juniors to put on their cars to park on campus, but if juniors do drive to school and use the junior lot, they should have no problem parking on campus. The general consensus is that if the juniors stay in their designated parking or faculty spaces, there will be no problems. According to Mancuzzi, the rumor that the juniors will lose parking privileges altogether is not true, unless these infractions continue.

that choice. But I expect we will. TW: Why do you think Westhill has not been meeting the minimum yearly progress in math and reading required by the state? JM: There are so many factors that affect student achievement. But every adult from the central office to every sub that walks into the building needs to improve his or her work ethic. We all need to do more work and align our philosophies to improve our efficiency and promote school-wide collaboration. TW: When will the council be up and running? And when will the first meeting be? JM: It has to be formed by November 1. Westhill, like many other schools, was required by the state legislature to do so. The first meeting will probably be in early November. The council has to be created first before we can decide this. There will also be a representative from the [state] department

of education coming to speak to the council to brief everyone on procedures. TW: Do you think the administration would have any interest in including student government in some capacity with the council? JM: That will depend completely on which areas the council wants to focus on. If they think it could be helpful, then they definitely will. The council will become an entity of its own and will make these decisions on its own. I am sure they will definitely look into the idea. TW: For how long do you think the council will advise the administration? JM: If it is effective, it may continue indefinitely. Each member will serve a two year term. I believe at the end of the third year, big changes can be put into effect by the council. They will have the opportunity to recommend these changes to the Stamford Board of Education.



Software slows down students Windows 7 update prolongs computers’ login time Stephanie Carde Reporter

According to the Windows website Windows 7 is “designed to sleep, resume, and reconnect to your wireless network more quickly, so your PC is ready when you are, and has under-the-hood tune-ups that can boost your PC’s overall speed and performance consequently.” This is not the case for most computers at Westhill that operate on Windows 7. After trying to log on several times, I found that the average time for a computer to log on is about four minutes. Though this does not seem like much, when those four minutes are combined with the time that is spent walking to the media center and getting situated, this four minute delay turns into about ten minutes of lost class time. Head Media Center Specialist, Ms. Benedict, is well aware of the situation with the computers. “Of course its a large problem,

especially when you are trying to teach classes. Downtown is trying [its] best to figure out what the problem is. They put Windows 7 on all of our computers to upgrade them. Whenever a new software is installed there are some unseen problems that need to be straightened out,” Ms. Benedict said. Many students find the delay frustrating. “They are really slow, [I] sit there for 15 minutes and I

and be more motivated to put forth our best efforts in school,” senior Nataliya Korostensky said. The problems with Windows 7 seem to solely revolve around the delay in speed of logging into and loading accounts. Internet connection or the speed of the computer once everything has finally loaded have not become issues. Even though there are problems with the new computer

“The incompetence of our school computers is disappointing because they are necessary in today’s day and age.” —Nataliya Korostensky ’12 can’t do anything at all,” junior Joe Gayda said. “The incompetence of our school computers is disappointing because they are necessary in today’s day and age. If we could improve the speed of our computers maybe we could also improve the rest of our school, our grades,

software installed throughout the school, some students actually prefer it over last years software. “Even though the school computers have become very slow, the newer versions of Microsoft Word and Powerpoint have made it easier [to] complete my school work,” junior Victoria Rapisarldi said.

October 2011


Good Month Bad Month Column by Danny Lubowitz and Matt Brown

Good month for...

Bad month for...

Breast Cancer Awareness During the month of October, people around the world raised awareness for breast cancer. Huge organizations such as the NFL are recognizing the fight against breast cancer and is encouraging fans to give hope to the thousands of individuals fighting for his or her life. If you can, please help spread awareness of the prevention of breast cancer.

BlackBerry Users October has been a stressful month for Blackberry users. Problems in the BlackBerry network, such as glitches in BBM and internet connections, have outraged many of its users. During this time of technical difficulty, Apple has released its new iOS 5 operating system which is proving to be far superior to BlackBerry’s faulty system.

United States Citizens It has been officially declared that Sarah Palin will not be running for President. Finally, we will no longer have to worry about a politician in office who does not accurately know the story of Paul Revere’s midnight ride. Looks like someone should have spent a little more time paying attention in United States history class!

Brad Pitt Brad Pitt’s newest movie, Moneyball, has been a hit this month. The movie is about an Oakland A’s general manager, Billy Beane (played by Pitt), and his use of statistics to change the game of baseball. Moneyball also features actor Jonah Hill as Pitt’s assistant. Even at 47-years-old, Shaina Shaulson / Photographer Pitt shows us that he can still shine STALLING SOFTWARE Sophomore Yarnel Zalle waits for a computer to log into his account in the on the big screen. media center. The computers have recently been updated with the Windows 7 operating system.

Insurance Companies According to statistics from several insurance companies, the most costly week of the year for insurers is the week of Halloween. Halloween-related claims are over two and a half times higher than that of an average day; claims for mischief night are three and a half times as high. Because of various causes of destruction, such as egging and vandalism, claims made in October are one and a quarter times higher than the average.

Boston Red Sox Fans After being ahead of the wild card race by a whopping nine games, the Red Sox faced one of the worst collapses in the history of baseball when it lost 12 out of its 20 games in September, finishing a disappointing one place shy of the American League Playoffs. Unfortunately, Boston fans are going to have to choose another team to support this October while their beloved Red Sox sit at home and do the same. Stephanie Wilson / Head Illustrator



October 2011

BRIEFS Hamilton named interim superintendent

Dr. Winifred Hamilton, who was voted as Stamford Public Schools’ acting superintendent on June 7, was appointed interim superintendent on September 27. She will serve the position until a permanent superintendent is found. Dr. Hamilton was chosen to temporarily replace former superintendant Dr. Starr by a unanimous vote by the Board of Education. As acting superintendant, she planned to hold the position for only 90 days; however, now as interim superintendent, she will hold the position until a replacement is found. Dr. Hamilton served as deputy superintendent under Dr. Starr from May 2008 until he departed in the summer of 2011. “The district plans on searching for a superintendent of the same caliber and strength [as Dr. Starr]. In the meantime, I know the operations, individuals, Board, and Board policy, so I was asked to step up during the transition,” Dr. Hamilton said last June.

Interact club hosts blood drive On October 14, Interact, in association with the American Red Cross, hosted its annual fall blood drive at Westhill. From 7:25 a.m. to 1:10 p.m., students and faculty ages 17 and over were invited to donate a pint of their blood. Students chose to donate blood for a variety of reasons. “I want to give blood because I had a family member who needed blood, so it’s always good to donate,” senior Jesse Latorraca said. “I want to give blood because I want to make a difference,” senior Pascal Medor said. “It’s an easy thing to do to help people,” senior Nick Taylor said. The blood drive is one of the club’s biggest events of the year, with over 40 students donating blood. Just one pint of blood can be used to help three different people who are in need of a blood transfusion. Interact will host another blood drive in the Spring. Bradley Darling and Joely Mass / News Editors

GHE receives grant from NFL Lainey Sidell Editor-in-Chief

In June, the Go Healthy Early (GHE) club received a $2,500 grant from a National Football League (NFL) campaign called Play 60. According to its website, Play 60 “encourages kids to be active for 60 minutes a day in order to help reverse the trend of childhood obesity.” The money from the grant will be used in a number of different ways, including providing a free grab-and-go breakfast for students during CAPT week and new improvements in the fitness center. “Every year, we choose a different theme to focus on, and this year it’s breakfast. No one ever eats breakfast, but it’s a really important meal,” junior vice president Julian Edwards said. To promote this theme, GHE will provide a “graband-go” breakfast, comprised of yogurt, granola bars, and water, to students taking the CAPT tests this March. After this year’s CAPT scores are released, the club will compare the scores to last year’s scores to see if eating breakfast made a positive impact on students’ ability to think clearly. Money from the grant will also be used to enhance the fitness center. New bungee cords, iPod

Anjali Khetan / Managing Editor

FINANCING FITNESS The Go Healthy Early club plans on allotting portions of its $2,500 grant toward a free breakfast for students during CAPT week in addition to augmenting the current fitness center with new weights and prize-incentives for utilizing the gym to stay fit. speakers, and weights will be purchased to add to the equipment. To spark students’ interest in fitness, GHE will reward students who have logged the most time in the

fitness center, according to junior president Matt Schwartz. Prizes include an iPod and gift cards. Gym teachers Ms. Birch, Ms. Cikatz, and Mr. Lamour will be

staying after school in the fitness center to record student participation. The fitness center is open on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays until 3:30 p.m.

DMV services relocated

Anjali Khetan Managing Editor

As of August 12, Connecticut’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) has altered services and hours of 10 full-service branch offices, including the Norwalk branch that serviced a large amount of Stamford residents. Certain services have been removed from DMV locations in Danbury, Enfield, Hamden, New Britain, Norwalk, Norwich, Old Saybrook, and Winsted due to budget cuts, according to ct.dmv. gov. In addition, layoffs, eliminations of vacant positions, and forced retirements were put into place as part of a more fiscally restrictive plan. “Most definitely there will be effects on customers, but our goal is to maintain the core services we provide to the millions of people statewide,” DMV Commissioner Melody Currey said in a July 15 news release. Knowledge

tests, eye tests, road test, and the issue of identification cards for non-U.S. citizens, are now only offered at the Bridgeport, Waterbury, Wethersfield, and Willimantic locations. Students who would

includes modifying the hours of service to open earlier in order to cater to the needs of working citizens who may only be able to go to the DMV before business hours begin. An August 10 Connecticut

Layoffs, eliminations of vacant positions, and forced retirements were put into place as part of a more fiscally restrictive plan. have taken license tests at the Norwalk DMV are now forced to take their test at the Bridgeport branch, which is over twice as far from Stamford as the Norwalk location is. “It is just going to be harder for people to take [tests]. Everyone is going to bunch up at Bridgeport and the system is going to go slower,” junior Alex Ortiz said. “The agency has been reviewing operations for several months with a focus on finding ways to regionalize some services and reduce costs,” Currey said. This

DMV news release stated that the service and time changes will be implemented even if state union employees do not ratify the new policy. These measures are part of a cost-cutting plan, which is expected to be completed over the next two years. In addition to the regionalization of services, the Connecticut DMV seeks to supplement a website with the hopes that online transactions will minimize costs and maximize efficiency. As of now, the plan also includes a means by which citizens may scan

necessary documents and submit them online. Seven-letter vanity, or personalized, plates may also be offered to increase drivers’ opportunities to purchase customized license plates. Furthermore, as of July 5, drivers under the age of 18 are no longer required to take the 25-question written exam prior to obtaining their license. Commonly known as the “Teen Final Exam,” this test was put into effect in October 2009 but removed because the “[The] DMV considers the required road-skills test before a license is issued to be a stronger measure of whether a teen has learned the basic safety skills necessary to operate a motor vehicle,” according to the CT DMV in a July 3 news release. “I think this is smart. The permit [test] is where you learn the rules and regulations, not the license [test],” junior Dominique Sabaoan said in response to the removal of the Teen Final Exam.


October 2011


Health advocates visit Westhill briefs Christina Sabia Staff Writer

On October 14, the Chicoine family visited Westhill. The canadian family came to Westhill to encourage students to join their Wellness Revolution. The goal of this challenge is to promote a healthy lifestyle. In May, the Chicoine family, from Wakefield, Quebec, decided to embark on a marathon promoting health. The family of eight plans to run across Canada and the United States, a journey totaling 12,500 miles. Currently, Dr. Ed Chicoine is running with five of his children, Dayna, Ben, Karina, Jake, and Whitney. Mother, Gaye, and oldest daughter, Tanya, are back home managing their familyowned health-food store. The year-long run started, and will end, in Vancouver, British Columbia. “From Vancouver, we [are running] across the prairies into Ontario, then to Toronto, up to Ottawa, all the way to St. Johns,” Danya Chicoine said. “From St. John’s we [are running] into the States down to New York, continuing on into San Antonio, and all the way to San Francisco, and then back to Vancouver.” To date, the family has run approximately 6,000 miles in relay fashion. Each day the family cumulatively covers about 50 to

60 miles. “I [want to] contribute more to this world,” Jake Chicoine said, describing the reason he is running across two countries. “We want to challenge, inspire, inform, encourage, and provide a solution,” he said. Dr. Ed Chicoine, who has worked as a chiropractor for the last 28 years, was motivated by his frustration. “According to statistics, in the United States 127 million [people] are overweight, 60 million people are obese, and 9 million people are morbidly obese,” he said. According to their website,, the Chicoine’s goal is to have one million people sign an online petition to demand change from the food, fitness, and health industries, along with the government. By registering with a username on the website, supporters can gain free access to instructions on how to maintain a healthy lifestyle while assisting the cause. Westhill was the second school that the Chicoine family visited, and their presentation was open to third, fourth, and fifth period gym and health classes. “[The presentation] was a great experience, and everyone should try [their reccomendations],” freshman Matthew Cameron said. Cameron plans to stop drinking Diet Coke after the Chicoine family shed light on its harmful effects.

English POD sessions no longer held at Westhill Project Opening Doors (POD) requires all students taking an AP English class to attend at least one Saturday review session. In past years, these sessions have been hosted at both Danbury High School and Westhill. This year, Westhill will not be hosting any of the Saturday review sessions. As a result, Westhill students must travel to Danbury to attend all English sessions. “It’s not fair that they are not going to have any at Westhill. Danbury was a long drive that added on two more hours to the trip,” junior Vincent Filardi, who attended an AP English review session on October 15, said.

Back-to-school dance

Anjali Khetan / Managing Editor

RUNNING THROUGH THE HILL Ben, Dayna, Ed, Jake, Karina, and Whitney Chicoine family show that they are “Westhill and Proud” (above). Karina gives a presentation to a fifth period gym class October 14 (below).

Cafeteria snack bars offer more choices Matt Hofmann Staff Writer

Over the summer, new snack bars were constructed in both cafeterias. The modifications allow the snack bars to sell more foods, including full meals. The snack bar in the Raynor cafeteria is a window, while the one in the Finch cafeteria is now a room. With these renovations, the new snack bars are able to sell full meals. “While there are many good choices at the snack bar, students like to purchase the chicken patty and cheeseburger because both food items come with a side of french fries. Business is definitely better. There has been an increase in lunch sales since the snack bar offered full meals in two different locations,” Leah Battinelli, a manager of the cafeteria, said.

In addition to the meals, new beverages are also being introduced, such as Cool Tropics drinks. While cookies, chips, and slushies are still popular items to purchase at the snack bars, students enjoy the range of options. “The cereal bars are not only good, but also filling. Prices are reasonable and fair,” junior Nicholas Gonzalez said. Prices for lunch have increased, but the cost of snacks and drinks remain the same. The purpose of implementing the new snack bars is to give students a broader selection of snacks. “It is a wider space,” junior Melissa Ahumada said, allowing more room for food. In addition, it gives the cafeteria a better chance to display food to attract students to buy from the snack bar. “I like that I can offer more products to the kids,” food

In years past, Westhill has had only two annual dances for all grades: Homecoming and Winter Formal. This year, the Senior Class hosted a back-to-school dance on October 14. The dance was planned to give Westhill students another social event, as well as a means by which the junior and senior classes can raise funds. With around 400 students attending the event, the upperclassmen were able to make approximately $1,300. The Habitat for Humanity club also benefited from the dance by raising funds from providing a coat check system for students.

Board of Education candidates forum

Shaina Shaulson / Photographer

SNACK BAR CRAVINGS New snack bars in both Finch and Raynor cafeterias now offer full meals in addition to snacks.

service worker Linda Pizzimenti said. “[Chef James Bryant is making] spectacular food while still

cooking healthy,” Battinelli said. Chef Bryant wants kids to like the food with the additional benefit of trying to be as healthy as possible.

On October 18, a public forum was held at the Government Center as an opportunity for candidates running for Board of Education seats to present their platforms and respond to questions. Candidates Karen Murphy, Gary Klein, Julia Wade, June Corridor, Michael Bayonne and Jackie Heftman all had a chance to answer the same questions from his or her standpoint. Candidates also addressed the changes they plan to make should they be elected. Elections will be held on November 8. Tara Sarkar / News Editor



October 2011


Do athletes deserve a time out from gym?


Students discuss the controversial issue of whether or not athletes should be exempt from the physical education requirement. Tessa Grebey Staff Writer

With so many course requirements to fulfill and so many extracurricular activities to participate in, it’s a wonder that students are able to successfully manage everything going on in their lives. It seems repetitive that student athletes have to focus on completing the mandatory requirement of one year of gym. Athletes should not have to fulfill the requirement for gym. From football and lacrosse to cross country and track, there is a wide variety of sports teams available for students to participate in. Practices for all sports teams are held multiple times a week, and student athletes put in more time working out at prac-

tice in one week than they do at gym class in one month. Therefor, taking away a whole period for physical education is redundant. Participating in a gym course is tedious for those students who already get exercise from sports. “If you’re on an athletic team already, why do twice the work?” senior Jennifer Rodriguez said. Not only does the gym requirement take valuable time away from athletes, but it also tires them out before practices, meets, or games. This extra exercise could negatively impact performance in any situation. Although some would argue that gym is necessary for all students, there is a valid reasoning behind the fact that athletes get enough physical exercise from Westhill sports. Eliminating the

requirement for athletes would not be unfair, as all students still gain the benefits of exercise— whether it be through sports teams or gym class. “Athletes spend their whole afternoons working out and training, which is the same thing they would be doing in gym class

ther case, the benefit of staying fit is granted to all students, and removing the requirement for athletes would be highly beneficial. Other than the added physical activities, athletes take just as many courses as other students do. By dedicating a period of their day

anyways. Why make them do it twice when they could be filling that time in with academics?” junior Taylor Johnson said. In ei-

to the gym requirement, athletes are losing the option of taking another class, or having a study hall to complete all their work. “With

“Athletes spend their whole afternoons working out and training, which is the same thing they would be doing in gym class anyways. Why make them do it twice when they could be filling that time in with academics?” —Taylor Johnson, ’13

all my extracurricular activities, I don’t have time during the afternoon to finish my homework. It would be beneficial to have a free period during the day to work on it.” junior Raymond Biancardi said. Practice after school takes up time that would otherwise be used for homework and studying. If athletes were given the opportunity to exchange a gym class for another academic class or a free period, they would have additional time to spend focusing on school work. In general, athletics lead to well-rounded academic lives. Participation in sports is an added commitment on top of school careers, and should be treated as credit for the requirement. Students on sports teams should not be forced to dedicate a full year to a gym course.

Which athletes, if any, should be exempt from gym? Varsity




Junior Varsity

PRO None





Out of 200 students polled. Poll conducted by Colin Morgan, Brianna Skorvanek, Marissa Skorvanek and Zoey Villalba



October 2011

Dana Gordon Copy Editor

Since Weshill first opened its doors, gym class has been a requirement for all students, athletes and non-athletes alike. Though there has been talk of this policy notbeing applied for athletes, the fact of the matter is that gym should always be a requirement. “This topic has been considered many times while I have been principal and it probably will be again,” principal Ms. Figluizzi said. For your typical

should have to take gym because it creates equality for everybody. Athletes should be forced to take gym so they’re not left out,” sophomore Joe Aunce said. Giving student athletes a “get out of jail free” card while making the others take gym is wrong. What about the students who exercise and participate in sports that aren’t connected to Westhill? Some students are involved with other organized activities after school that require physical fitness, such as Irish dancing or long boarding. “I thought about it for a while, and fundamentally,

On the field In gym class

“Everyone has to [take gym class]. Just because they do a sport after school doesn’t mean they shouldn’t have to participate in class.” ­—Kiara Kallaway, ’13 Westhill student, gym has always been an obligatory class. Just as English is required for four years of high school, gym is mandatory for one. Why should this change now? Some student athletes complain that since they spend their free time exercising and being a“Westhill and Proud” athlete, taking gym is a waste of their time. However, not all athletes have this mind-set. “Everyone has to [take gym class]. Just because they do a sport after school doesn’t mean they should not have to participate in class,” junior Kiara Kallaway, a member of the track and field team, said. Not only is exempting a particular group of students from gym unfair, it is also against policy. According to the State School Healthy Policy Database Chapter 170, Sec 10-221a, all high school students require one credit of physical education for graduation. “State law requires all students to take gym. The only area of concern is that athletes can get injured in gym, which is unfortunate, but yes, they should take gym,” athletic director Mr. King said. By dropping the gym requirement for athletes, the school would unknowingly be imposing the formation of cliques. Dividing the “jocks” from the rest of the student body would only be supporting the stereotype that the athletes “rule the school,” and lower the morale of the rest of the student body. Students who do not participate in sports may believe that since they are not athletic, they are inferior to those who are. “They, the athletes,

I agree that the athletes should not have to take gym class. Practically speaking though, it would be very hard to apply because some kids skate, others dance [outside of school]. Students do other high-end physical activities after school so it makes the opinions of things very hard. I do agree with it [fundamentally],” Ms. Figluizzi said. “I think if they’re a full-year athlete, they should be exempted. If not, then gym for you,” track and field coach Mr. Page said. Perhaps this is the best compromise for the issue at hand. If a student is involved with Westhill athletics all three seasons, then an exemption is understandable. For those students who are only involved in one or two sports and still complain about gym, get over it! Students would view the dramatic changes of separating the physically weak from the strong by exempting athletes from gym class as the school placing students into one of two groups: the fit athletes or the unhealthy teenagers. Many people taking gym would feel discriminated against just because they are not involved with a Westhill sport. Also, the students that would be forced to take gym would feel scammed and pressured to take up a school related sport, regardless of whether or not they actually enjoy it. Peer pressure is already a problem at schools across the nation and by allowing specific students exemptions from gym would only add to this growing issue. Students would be pressured by the athletes and other


Photo illustrations by Gerald Morgan / Photo Manager

ATHLETES AND GYM TIME. Senior Liza Fahey illustrates the commonalities between activities done in gym class and after-school sports.

students willing to join a team to get out of gym even if they did not want to. Sports teams would eventually become just a way to escape the physical education requirement. The student body not involved with Westhill athletics might feel obligated to become an athlete and join a sports team, and might even go as far as to

drop out of other after school activities that they have a true passion for just so they could get out of gym class. The situation also differs on which athletes should get to miss out on gym class. Should only varsity athletes be exempt from physical education, or all teammates? Where should the line be

drawn? The bottom line is, the gym class requirement should be here to stay, no matter if the student is an athlete or not. Physical education is an important course at Westhill and there is no reason why the administration should treat certain students differently than others.

Social center



October 2011

Students fail to use media center to its full potential Genesis Fernandez Staff Writer

All of us have gone to the media center at one time or another. Some do work, while others just go to hang out with friends. The question that comes to mind is whether or not the media center is being used properly. The reason some students

don’t take advantage of the media center is because they simply don’t know about its available resources. “Students tend to only use the internet for projects.” Media Center Specialist Ms. Benedict said. According to Ms. Benedict, students do not take full advantage of the media center, as there has been

What do you spend your time doing in the media center?

57% Talking to friends 23% Using the computers 17% Studying/homework 3% Reading/loaning books

Out of 200 students polled. Poll conducted by Colin Morgan, Brianna Skorvanek, Marissa Skorvanek and Zoey Villalba.

a decrease in books being checked out lately. English teacher Ms. Tobin frequently uses the media center and believes it would be convenient if the school had a better reference area. “In elementary school we learn how to use our library voices; people forget them when they get to high school,” Ms. Tobin said. The Media Center Specialists constantly must look after the students who behave in an immature manner. Another way to make sure the media center is used to its full potential would be to keep fulltime security guards in the media center. This would ensure that all students stay on task, behave, and come use the media center only when permitted to. Media Center Specialist Ms. Sherman believes that the media center has a lot to offer. There are many books available that students aren’t checking out. One change Ms. Sherman would like to see is more students reading on their own. The media center receives new material every few months,

Naina Batra / Photo Editor

Talking instead of typing Students chat in media center instead of utilizing all it has to offer. which gets featured in the display next to Ms. Benedict’s office. “[We are] trying to do the best we can do to have everyone use the library correctly,” Ms. Sherman said. A luxury she would like to see added is new furniture, including padded chairs, some bean bags, and even a cafe available to students. She said the relaxing atmosphere would be similar to the mood in Barnes & Noble.

However, according to Ms. Tobin, such luxuries will just encourage students to hang out and do nothing in the media center. “When classes aren’t in here doing work and when there is no supervision, people just slack off,” junior Marvin Zelaya said. Perhaps if more security is enforced, the media center will become less of a hang out spot and more of an intellectual enrichment center.

Westhill should consider a rotating schedule

Danielle Davis Staff Writer

Monday through Friday, students have the same classes at the same time. A rotating schedule would be better because it would keep students interested and chal-

lenge them to start and end their day with a different subject each day of the week. Students may find this scheduling method beneficial because it offers students a new way to organize themselves and stay productive.

Photo Illustration by Naina Batra / Photo Editor

Rotating schedules Student advocates for a new schedule alternative that would provide more excitement during the day.

Teachers may approve of this scheduling system because it can work to fit their needs as well. They may want to have a guest speaker come to their classes, and sometimes speakers have tight schedules and only have a certain time they can come to speak. With a rotating schedule, teachers can offer a different time for the speaker to come in. Some students love the idea of a rotating schedule. They wonder how it would feel to have a math class second or third period instead of fifth. There is also the burden of having the same first period class every morning. Unfortunately, not all busses come to school on time and time can be taken away from the classroom as a result. “Occasionally, I get to school late in the morning and the tardies add up and become absences. If we had a schedule that rotated our classes every day, I’m absolutely sure I wouldn’t have as many tardies in that class,” senior Abdoollah Louis said.

Having the same first period every day is hard for both students and teachers. Periods one and seven can be the most difficult because students are tired in the morning or worn out by the afternoon. Rotating classes would create a balance so teachers wouldn’t

day would not be ideal,” guidance counselor Mr. Milas said. High school is the time to gain experience that will help prepare you for whatever you plan to do after graduation. Whether that means going to college or entering the workforce, you know for

“Occasionally, I get to school late in the morning and the tardies add up and become absences. If we had a schedule that rotated our classes every day, I’m absolutly sure I wouldn’t have as many tardies in that class.” —Abdoolah Louis, ’12 have a hard time everyday trying to get students to soak in. Guidance counselors may agree that class rotations are beneficial as well. “I would say that sometimes people are better focused during different times of the day. For example, if someone is not a morning person, having the same first period class every-

sure that every day will not be the same, so why should the school day be? Adding a rotating scheduling system to our school would be beneficial and help students adjust when it comes to facing the unpredictable real world. All in all, it would be a positive change for Westhill.



Students skeptical about Rachel’s Challenge

On the morning of April 20, 1999, two teenagers at Columbine High School murdered 10 students, one teacher, and then killed themselves. These were random and senseless acts against society that left a dark mark on the history of our nation. Rachel Scott was the first person killed in the attacks carried out by 17-yearolds Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold. As a gentle, caring person, Scott’s death sparked a nationwide movement of kindness and compassion that has touched millions of students, numerous celebrities and entertainers, and two presidents. Rachel’s Challenge reached Westhill on October 3 and several assemblies were organized to accommodate the large number of students and faculty in attendance. In the assemblies presented by Rachel’s Challenge representative Kristi Krings, students learned that Rachel Scott had written an essay for her English class shortly before her death, urging people to be open-minded, look for the best in others, and start a “chain reaction of kindness.” Ms. Krings challenged Westhill students to start their own chain reactions, to choose positive influences, and to

dream big. As students living our lives wedged between textbooks and athletic equipment, we tend to make due by simply ignoring the messages of the masses, those which demand from us the performance of acts of kindness and respect. On April 20, 1999 the world community witnessed the impact of such levity and ignorance in

whose role in soliciting the partnership between Westhill and the Rachel’s Challenge program has been essential, is currently working with students to develop projects for effectively influencing the Westhill community in its creation of a friendlier, more stable social climate. Ramos said, “The club is coming up with many projects. For example, we are planning to

The bottom line: The majority of Westhill’s student population are having trouble applying the ideas of Rachel’s Challenge to their everyday lives. dealing with the intolerant and hateful behaviors of others. Rachel’s Challenge was brought to the Westhill community so that students might realize the harmful implications of their negative treatment of others. When asked about the ways in which the Westhill community could change to improve students’ treatment of one another, assistant principal Mr. Ramos said, “Everyone could always be a little kinder and [more] helpful.” Ramos,

have a a Day of Kindness and a Day of Acknowledgement and are working [to make] the club grow. Also, there is a possibility that Rachel’s Challenge [will be] coming back next year for the second part of [its] two year program.” As a community, we must realize that Scott’s message is necessary. Just as the organizers of Rachel’s Challenge strive to create positive culture change in their addresses of students throughout the country, the Westhill commu-

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nity must also strive to develop an environment which encourages a benevolent and non-threatening exchange between students. In the weeks following the Rachel’s Challenge assemblies, we have already seen outbreaks of violence, as well as displays of harmful and disparaging behaviors. For those students who felt touched or personally affected by the message of Rachel’s Challenge, the past couple of weeks have been especially counterproductive. Recent efforts of students and faculty to establish Friends of Rachel, a club dedicated to the promotion of Rachel Scott’s compassionate ideals, have, unfortunately, been overshadowed by an air of animosity which has come to define our school’s social environment. When questioned about the recent displays of aggressive student behaviors, Principal Figluizzi said, “There were two altercations [during the weeks following the Rachel’s Challenge assemblies] and we did go through with normal disciplinary action, and then we suggested that the students involved join Friends of Rachel. We didn’t twist any arms, we didn’t force them to go to the club meetings, but we did encourage

[them].” Encouragement to become involved in an after school activity, however, will not remedy the whole issue. Acceptable social behaviors are often learned as students interact among their peers. We laugh and gossip as groups; thus, a change in the behavior of a single individual has the potential to tremendously impact his or her entire community. Figluizzi also stressed the importance of students’ responsible behaviors in dealing with their peers. “I would like to see the school community become more sensitive to each other, and [to see] kind things happen more naturally and people go out of their way to help other people because I think that, every day, we have so many opportunities to do that,” Figluizzi said. Members of the Westhill community must realize their ability to become an individual link in a “chain reaction of kindness.” If Rachel’s Challenge taught us anything, it is that every student has the power to make a difference in the lives of their peers. We must always keep in mind that a simple change of attitude can go a long way in the establishment of an increasingly positive culture in the Westhill student community.

Please submit op-eds and letters to Lainey Sidell’s mailbox in Room 224 or email them to The Westword would like to thank security for staying after school with us.



Environment Heroes encourages recycling There is a wide variety of clubs at Westhill, each with its own goals and agendas. The main goal of the Environment Heroes club is to raise awareness about the importance of preserving the Earth and to do as much as possible to save environment we live in. As co-president, I feel very strongly about taking care of Westhill and the Stamford community. I think it is important for all students to realize how important it is to “go green”. Everyone has heard the phrase before, but no one seems to care about taking action to help the planet. Reducing, reusing, and recycling are just three simple ways that everyone can play a major role in bettering the environment. Additionally, these actions can be applied directly at Westhill. Over the past few years, our city has made a larger effort to make the recycling process more accessible. Stamford is lucky enough to have a single-stream recycling system which many people do not take advantage of. This system allows for all recyclable products to be making it extremely easy for students to recycle.

There are many recycling bins in our school, in which students can throw out their paper, bottles, plastics, metal, cansand more. Unfortunately, the janitors who empty the bins throughout the building every day after school have been mixing the recycling garbage with the regular trash, defeating the purpose of the school’s recycling effort. The Environment Heroes plan on talking to the janitors about this problem at hand, and will hopefully devise a way to make recycling at Westhill more effective. The work of the Environment Heroes also extends to the community outside of Westhill. Several organizations througout Stamfrod are always looking for environmental volunteers. The club plans to participate in park clean-ups and other volunteer opportunities at places such as the Stamford Museum and Nature Center, the Bartlett Arboretum, Mill River Park, and Cove Island Park.. The Environmental Heroes always does their best in taking care of the environment no Reducing, reusing, and recycling matter what the location or are just three simple ways that situation, and hope that the rest of Westhill everyone can play a major role will follow our lead. in bettering the environment. - Tara Sarkar, ’13 —Tara Sarkar, ’13 President of Environment Heroes

Student elections cause

Seventh period AP Government is interrupted by the predictable bombardment of afternoom announcements. Amongst the incessant chatter and anticipation of the ringing bell, the phrase “senior class president” initiates a wave of silence. Students turn to look at each other with faces of bewilderment. Comments such as “I never received a ballot” or “when did the voting take place?” pervades the room.

Realistically, a few missing votes may seem trivial when one considers the comprehensive scale of a class president election. However, if several classes report never receiving ballots or of never being informed of the voting time period, the election process has ceased to be efficient. The very foundation of democratically-based election rests in the participation of the people represented, in


Realistically, a few missing votes may seem trivial when one considers the comprehensive scale of a class president election. However, if several classes report never recieving ballots or being informed of the voting time period, the election process has ceased to be efficient.

which every individual ideally has an equal opportunity to play a role in student government by casting a vote. It is without a doubt the responsibility of officers of

the student council to engage the entire senior class during the election process. Although the candidates for class president were all given the oppor-

an assembly, they must also extend the same courtesy to their voters and engineer an effective method of distributing and collecting ballots. Otherwise, this unintentional form of political exclusion will continue to frustrate members of the student body who wish to have their voices heard and create apathy toward future senior class events. —Joanna Kouzck, ’12



A look into Project Opening Doors

Mallory Hart

Associate Editor

Since 2007, Project Opening Doors (POD) has sponsored Westhill’s Advanced Placement (AP) courses in the English, math, and science departments. POD receives funding from the National Math and Science Initiative, as well as from other private divisions, including the Connecticut Business and Industry Association, and Exxon Mobile. POD’s goal is to increase enrollment in AP courses, specifically for underrepresented student populations, including AfricanAmericans, Hispanics, females, and students who receive free or reduced lunch.

The program incorporates extra workshop sessions after school, and on Saturdays for students, intensive training for teachers, and incentives for both. AP teachers in math, science, and English are given $100 for each of their students who receive a qualifying score of a three, four, or five on the AP Exam. In addition, students are given $100 for each qualifying score on the AP Exams in math, science or English. “Students absolutely benefit [from Saturday sessions, after school tutoring, and the practice AP Exam for English]. Especially after the practice tests, we know what to target and we target those concepts and skills, ” AP English Language & Composition teacher Ms. Denninger said.

POD has received criticism as a result of the stipends in teachers’ salaries. “A student who gets a 5 in Calculus is not only the result of the AP Calculus teacher, but the Honors Pre-Calculus, the Honors Geometry, the Honors Algebra 2 teachers. The whole chain is responsible, so that’s why I think [most teachers are] very much against it. Who is to say the teacher who motivated the student?” AP Calculus AB teacher Ms. Funt said. Thus far, POD has been highly successful in accomplishing its initiative. According to Project Opening Doors’ 2011 results, Westhill High School is ranked number one in the state of Connecticut for total minority qualifying scores in math,

science, and English AP Exams. “I’m extremely proud of Westhill High School. The students here are proving to us that the project can work,” POD President Dr. Cam Vatour said. “I know that I am seeing an increase in diversity in my classes, which is really nice. When I first started teaching AP [biology] eight years ago, I would have ten middle class white students, and now I have a much larger class with a much better representation of the diversity at Westhill,” POD Lead Science Teacher Ms. Florio said. According to Dr. Vatour’s speech to Westhill students, families, and teachers at the POD recognition ceremony on October 13, 207 Westhill students received

qualifying scores in math, science, and English on the 2007 AP Exams, while 397 Westhill students did so on the 2011 Exams. It is notable that as a result of the POD grant, the AP English Language and Composition course for juniors was opened to the Class of 2010, which makes up for a large portion in the increase in scores. “The fact that we are continuing to maintain high numbers of students earning three, four, or fives, even with a larger and more diverse population, I think suggests that the hard work [of teachers] is paying off,” POD Lead English Teacher Ms. Wheeler said. As Westhill is increasing the number of students enrolled in AP courses, POD’s goals are being met.

Percentage of increase of students passing AP Exams in math, science, and English from 2010 to 2011

On the 2011 AP English, Math, and Science Exams, POD’s 23 schools accounted for 18.7% of all students taking exams in CT, and 11.8% of all qualifying scores.


POD 7.80% CT

Data courtesy of Project Opening Doors 2011 Results

Katelyn Conte / Illustrator

After Dr. Vatour’s speech at Westhill, The Westword was able to sit down with him to discuss the success of POD at Westhill. The Westword: How long did it take to structure the Project Opening Doors program? Dr. Cam Vatour: We are in the fourth year of operations, so this goes back roughly six years. Six years ago, there was a notification sent out by the National Math and Science Initiative inviting states to apply for grants to work on Advanced Placement programs in math, science, and English. Connecticut was one of 27 states that applied. The National Math and Science Initiative gave out six awards nationally and Project Opening Doors was one of them. So, in that first year, we basically hired a staff and we began reviewing potential schools. By that,

I mean we sent teams out to do site visits, we had interviews with administration, met with the superintendent, and we interviewed teachers and the guidance department to see if they were sincere in their interest in Advanced Placement. From those site visits, we made a selection of schools that became Cohort One. We chose nine schools for Cohort One and Westhill was one of them. Then we began the formal program, which meant that the teachers were brought together during the summer for intensive training and then the students were given additional work in terms of tutoring and extra Saturday practice sessions, and we began the entire process of working intensely with the staff. In the second year, we added ten more schools for Cohort Two and in the third year, we added four. So there are 23 schools. The commitment

5.75% CT w/o POD

to Westhill is a five-year commitment. That will be five years for Westhill. TW: What were you aiming for at the beginning of the program? CV: What we were aiming for is what we are aiming for now, which is increasing the number of students choosing to take Advanced Placement in math, science, and English and showing that if they take them, they will succeed. Making sure that we got to all the students, if you look at Advanced Placement across the country, you will discover that it is largely populated by white people, and that the AfricanAmerican, Hispanic, and young women are not well represented in the AP rings. This project said: wait a minute… you women, African-Americans, and Hispanics are just as bright as white males

and we need to show it. We need to provide access, we need to provide support, and guess what… they will succeed. So, our project is showing that this year. Project Opening Doors showed a 27% increase in the number of qualifying scores for its 23 schools. The state of Connecticut showed less than a 6% increase. We’ve done that for three years running now. We are three to five times greater in terms of percentage increase than the state. When you break the data apart and look at the minority students and females, it is even more dramatic. We are definitely doing something that we think is working. We are getting some incredible success stories from students; they are coming back and telling us that AP made the difference. TW: Do you think that Westhill can be a model school to other schools in POD?

CV: Yes, and as a matter of fact the National Math and Science Initiative has mentioned Westhill in other sections of the country in terms of the progress that can be made when a group of teachers and kids decide that they are going to make something happen. And what is so significant about Westhill is that it is a very big high school, it is one of the top four high schools [in terms of size] in the State of Connecticut. It is number one [for qualifying scores] in math, science and English for minority representation. So it is demonstrating that it can be done in a big school and that is important.

To read the full interview, visit


October 2011


Meet the new administrators

Gerald Morgan / Photo Manager

Lauren Schechter Limelight Editor

Administrators Ms. Bjork and Mr. Ramos replaced former administrators Mr. Manka and Ms. Nordin at the start of the this school year. The Westword sat down with them to talk about what they hope to accomplish, their new jobs, and their high school experiences. The Westword: What was your initial reaction when you found out that you were going to be working at Westhill? Ms. Bjork: I was extremely excited because most of my career has been spent at Westhill in various roles. I started [at Westhill] as a teacher and before I left I was a department head, so I am excited to be back as part of the leadership team. Mr. Ramos: I was looking forward to it. I was excited to come to a new school. It’s exciting and a little nerve racking, too, because you have to meet all new people. But I think that’s true for anybody starting a new school, even freshmen. TW: What is your favorite aspect of being a Westhill administrator? MB: That’s hard because I love it all. I really enjoy my contact with

teachers in their classrooms and I love my work with students. MR: My favorite part of my job is meeting kids and getting to work with kids. It’s just a lot of fun. TW: What is your least favorite part about your job? MB: Paperwork, endless paperwork. MR: I think the part that is most difficult is having to discipline students. It’s not something that anybody likes to do. The student is not happy, and when I call the parents,

involved in what we are doing at Westhill because I think that what we are doing at Westhill fabulous. MR: To be honest, there isn’t anything glaring that I’m like, “I wish this was different.” I haven’t thought that yet, [but] that may change the longer I’m here. For now that hasn’t crossed my mind, so that’s hard for me to answer. TW: What kind of high school did you go to? How was your school different from Westhill? MB: I went to a very small school

“If kids really invest themselves in learning [during] high school, then their continued learning will be really fruitful.” ­—Ms. Bjork they’re not happy. I mean, obviously we would rather everyone do everything they’re supposed to do and not have to worry about that stuff, but that’s not always the case. TW: What is one specific aspect of Westhill that you would most like to change? MB: I don’t know that there is much that I would like to change. I think I want to see continued involvement of all groups of students in various activities that are offered at Westhill. I would love to see more parents become more

in a small town in a semi-rural town [in New Jersey]. The name of the town is New Providence. I had only 180 students in my graduating class and it is not much bigger than that now. It was not diverse at all. MR: I actually went to Danbury High School, and at the time, it was a lot like Westhill. There were about 2,300 to 2,400 students, I think. Now Danbury’s closer to 3,000. It was a big school, very diverse and in many ways it really was much like Westhill. TW: Why did you choose to be-

come a school administrator? MB: I love the idea of change and I wanted to be a part of making and continuing positive changes at Westhill and Stamford High. I enjoy facilitating the work of teachers as they put different programs in place: implementing new curriculum and experimenting with new ways of engaging more kids in higher-level courses and supporting students who have various learning needs. I love being a part of their work and supporting them in any way I can. I see myself as the support system to make everybody’s day as clear and free of clutter as it can possibly be. MR: My first job was at Danbury High School as a business teacher. As a teacher, I became very involved in different aspects of the school and got to work with a lot of the administrators very closely. Once I started doing that, I really found school administration to be interesting. TW: If you had the chance to go back and relive high school, would you? MB: No. That’s probably why I became a teacher, because I would want no one to have the same high school experience I had. MR: Yes. I was very shy, [so] I really didn’t get involved in very many clubs and I was afraid to try

new things. So I think if I had the chance to go back again, I would really make it a point to try to join as many clubs and organizations as I could and meet as many people and make the best of it. TW: If you could give a Westhill student only one piece of advice, what would you say? MB: Enjoy as many of the opportunities available, academic or social that you possibly can. If kids really invest themselves in learning [during] high school, then their continued learning will be really fruitful. MR: I think it’s important for students to get the idea of “I can’t do something” or “it’s too hard” out of their minds. [Students] should just take the time and look for others that may be able to help them or other resources online that could help them. They could find that they could really do anything. In my example, I wasn’t necessarily the strongest person in math in high school and as I got older and went to college, I got much more confident in math. I think it was just a confidence issue for me. I think if people get that idea of “I can’t do something” out of their mind and just try it and if they’re really having trouble find help somewhere, then they would be okay.



What to wear ‘white’ now

October 2011

Photo illustration by Laura Rey / Photo Editor

Sophie Handler Viewpoint Editor

Do you love white jeans and can’t bear to pack them away after the first Monday of September? And what about the white halter sundress that was a go-to piece all summer? Well, here’s a news flash: white can be worn into the fall, as it carries a crispness that matches the season. Forget the old “rule” about not being caught dead in white after Labor Day. In fact, it might never have been a rule at all. Historians have actually been unsuc-

cessful in tracing its origins and it seems that the rule is actually more of a fairly recent custom than long-standing rule, gaining its most influence during the second half of the last century. Perhaps even our great-grandmothers were happily donning their whites all year round. It is true that white cotton does seem much cooler than dark cotton does on a hot summer afternoon, and an all-white look begs for sunny days of lounge and leisure. The custom may have grown from practical considerations in hot climates or driven by clever fashion

executives looking to get shoppers back into the stores to spark fall sales. So toss the rule and keep wearing those whites. The key to wearing white in the fall is mixing it with rich knits, leather, and other “warm” accessories. Pack the flip-flops away and tuck those white jeans into some tall brown boots to be paired with a belted tunic or a chunky sweater. Opaque tights are everywhere this year. Put a dark pair of these tights under a white dress and top it with a cropped cardigan for a great transitional look. White summer tanks are staples for layering

items in cooler temperatures and a crisp white shirt always looks fresh tucked into wide-leg jeans with a skinny belt and heels. The same “rule” applies to guys. Cardigans and sweaters are very popular during the fall and winter time in men’s fashion. They look especially appealing in shades of white. “I have a cream cardigan that I always wear in the fall. I think white clothing is okay to wear, especially if it has a pattern on it.” senior Charlie Ainbinder said. However, there still are “rules” concerning exactly which

whites are appropriate for the chilly weather. Steer clear of lightweight fabrics, such as linen, until next summer. Instead, reach for the white fisherman’s sweater that’s been hiding in your closet for the past several months. Offwhite and cream hues harness the last bits of sunlight before winter and beautifully complement autumn colors. Try pairing your favorite jeans with an off-white blazer or any fall sweater with a cream colored scarf. By following these tips, you’ll prove that wearing white is the new “thing” for fall.

The Hungry Vikings It was a Tuesday night. Our column application was due in 16 hours. A new year was upon us. The sun was rising in the East Side of Stamford. The Rainmaker had left the building, but a young warrior had emerged from the North. Songs had been sung of his eating abilities, and women swooned at his every bite. We were excited when we heard of a new pizza place on Selleck Street, one by the name of Rico’s Pizza. Though we have no idea who Rico is, his place had been making headlines in the papers due to its legal feud with Colony Grill regarding the similarities of their pizzas. We were in the mood for some pizza, and we wanted to see what all the fuss was about. We were hungry, and we are vikings. As we pulled into the Selleck Street strip mall comprised of a Panda Express and a laundromat, we saw our target. As walked into the establishment, we were sur-

Column by Andrew Krowitz & Seamus Ronan

prised by its cleanliness. The pizza joint, which has been around since last spring, is mainly take out, though there are a few tables and chairs for eating in. Accompanied by our chauffeur, we sat down and were immediately served by our kind waitress.

the benefits and deficits of Rico’s Pizza compared to Colony Grill. Colony, which has more of a bar setting, has larger tables and focuses on patrons. Rico’s delivers and accepts credit cards, which Colony does not do. Rico’s is a quick bite while Colony is more

Rico’s, unlike Colony, has a menu with a large variety. Not only does it have many pizza toppings, it also has a fine selection of sandwiches, all at $5.95, wraps, and salads. Not those to shy away from healthy eating, we ordered a green salad at $7.25, along with three separate pizzas. As we waited for our food to come, we took in the lovely scenery of the East Side. We also discussed

of a sit-down environment, although we chose to sit and enjoy the Rico’s experience. In terms of service and setting, we would say it was a toss up. Colony provides a comfortable atmosphere, but it can be a hassle on the weekend, with a wait of up to 45 minutes for a table. And it can often be frustrating to pay by cash only, especially with a large party. We strongly recommend Rico’s to

We dug straight into it, and not a sound was heard except for that of two vikings plowing through the delectable thin crust pizzas. Surprisingly, it tasted exactly like Colony’s famous pizza.

those looking for a tasty delivery. It is affordable, accepts credit cards, and will deliver anywhere in Stamford. When the salad finally arrived, we were prepared to dig into something luxurious. Much to our pleasure, the salad was quite refreshing and served as a perfect appetizer while we waited for the hyped-up pizza to arrive. After a slightly exaggerated period of time, the waitress came out of the kitchen, which seemed to be twice the size of the restaurant. She then brought us three perfectly cooked thin crust pizzas, straight out of the oven. We had a bacon and hot oil pizza, a mushroom and meatball pizza, and a sausage and stinger pizza. A cheese pizza costs $8.50 and each additional topping costs $1.50. We dug straight into the pizzas and not a sound was heard except for that of two vikings plowing through the de-

Rico’s Pizza:

Price: 3 out of 5 Service: 3 out of 5 Food: 5 out of 5

lectable thin crust pizzas. Surprisingly, it tasted exactly like Colony’s famous pizza. It was a little less cooked and had a little more grease, but we found it to be extremely delicious. Within minutes, all 18 slices were gone. We sat down and reflected on our meal. One bite had been enough for the Hungry Vikings to declare the pizza a success. The pizzas were a crowd pleaser, and Rico’s popularity can only continue to grow from here. As we paid the check, the waitress drew our attention to a flyer next to the counter. Rico’s is apparently expanding to open a 60-seat dining area with a bigger kitchen. They claimed to have been so popular and stretched for room that expansion was the only reasonable step. We walked out into the cool breeze, our stomachs full of pizza, and knowing that this year was going to be a good year. Yes, we’re back Westhill.


‘It’s a hearing world’ M


Katie Beauleau Managing Editor

Michael Lovrity is a senior at Westhill High School. He plays sports, takes AP classes, tutors after school, and is excited about his new driver’s license. In many ways, he is a typical teenager and is living a normal life. However, there is one difference that separates Michael from his classmates: Michael is deaf. The Westword sat down with him and his sign language interpreter, Marion Crowley, to talk about his life and challenges. The Westword: Approximately how much can you hear? Michael Lovrity: I don’t have 80 percent of my hearing, so I hear 20 percent. Marion Crowley: But with his hearing aid, it increases the amount of things that he can hear. TW: How old were you when your parents first realized that you were hearing impaired and how did they realize it? ML: I was two years old. They sometimes would call my name but I wouldn’t turn around. They [took] me to the doctor to check me and they found out that I failed the audio test. TW: How did this affect your childhood and early school life? ML: I had delayed speech skills. I had to learn without it being natural. The other kids, they learned through their parents, but for myself, I had to be taught [language] directly. MC: And he had to go to speech classes for many years in elementary school. TW: What classes are you currently taking? How do you manage to perform academically at the same level as students who don’t have a disability? ML: I take two AP classes, psy-


chology and English, one honors, and one CP [class], pre-calculus. I also have study hall and weight training. Last year I had straight A’s for all quarters and I got accepted into the National Honors Society. MC: I know that’s a wonderful achievement for any kid to get into the National Honors Society, but for a deaf kid, it’s amazing. TW: What are some challenges that you face in the classroom? How do you overcome them? ML: Most of the time, when the kids talk from behind me, I have to turn around and look at their lips because I can’t understand. So that’s one of the challenges. Another challenge is that when the teacher is speaking I always have to pay attention to him. So I can’t take notes because I would miss what he is saying. TW: What does the school system do to help? ML: They provide me with an FM system, which is a microphone, and they give me special hearing aids for when I’m at school. TW: You have an interpreter who uses sign language to communicate to you what the teacher is saying. How does the academic relationship between you, your teacher, and your interpreter work? ML: On the first day of school, my interpreter gave a paper to the teachers that listed the requirements. For example, if they want to show a movie, it needs to be closed captioned so that I have equal access as the other students. Over time, we develop a relationship and the teacher always has to wear the microphone so that I can hear them better. TW: Do you think that getting information from your interpreter instead of directly from the teacher affects you? ML: No.

H TW: Is there any subject that you find most difficult due to your disability? ML: I would say English because sometimes, for instance, there are idioms that I don’t understand that normally, a hearing person would. If they gave you a paragraph, the student would find the idiom but for me, I wouldn’t find that because it’s not natural for me. MC: Hearing kids generally learn English from their parents. From the time they’re born, they’re always listening. Even when the parents aren’t talking to them directly, the kids are always listening. When you’re deaf, you don’t get that. So what Michael said, the idioms, colloquialisms, Michael had to really study to learn, whereas other kids would just know them from conversation. TW: Is a typical day for you different from any other Westhill student? ML: No. TW: How would you describe your high school experience? ML: My freshman year, I would say, was the worst year because I didn’t accept the fact that I was deaf. But my sophomore year, I started to accept the fact because my skills were getting better. Last year, I would have to say, was the best experience that I’ve had in high school and hopefully this will be a better year. I’m starting to make more friends and be able to socialize with them. MC: Most kids who have Michael’s degree of hearing loss go to schools for the deaf but his parents decided, when they found out he was deaf, that they wanted him to go to regular schools all the way through. TW: Why did your parents decide that? ML: I’m not really sure, to be quite honest. I think it was because they wanted me to learn



English and be with other hearing people. MC: Because it’s a hearing world. TW: Do you ever feel like people treat you differently? ML: Sometimes. Some people who are going to meet [me] for the first time, they wonder if [I] can actually hear, or they ask, “What are those?” [points to hearing aids]. They talk slowly and I tell them, “You don’t have to talk slowly. Talk normal to me. I just have to get used to your lips.” TW: Do you ever feel self conscious of your disability? ML: Sometimes. TW: Are you involved in any extracurricular activities or sports? ML: I tutor math, specifically Algebra two, after school every Tuesday and Wednesday. Last year, I did wrestling. Freshman year, I did baseball and other clubs like Interact and the Art Club. TW: Do you feel like you’re still able to be independent? ML: Yes, because I just

October 2011


L got my driver’s license so I feel a lot more independent. TW: Is there anything you’d like people to know about you or your disability? ML: I think that people should not be judgmental and think of me as a normal person because who knows the inside of that person if you don’t talk to that person.

Katie Beauleau / Managing Editor Katelyn Conte / Illustrator

Special Report:


Occupying Wall Street

On September 17, twelve protestors gathered on Wall Street in New York City to voice their objections to social inequalities and economic injustices. Over a month later, their numbers have swelled by the thousands, and the movement has spread across the nation and world to cities such as Boston, Los Angeles, Washington D.C., and Rome.

Student Polls:

Do you agree with the message behind Occupy Wall Street?

12.5% 87.5% NO YES Do you find this method of protesting effective?

Photo courtesy of Mr. Johnson

WESTHILL WITNESS Chemistry teacher Mr. Johnson attended the Occupy Wall Street protests on Saturday, October 16 near Zuccotti Park, NYC. Max Eber & Brian Pollack Contributors

The protests that began in New York City as a response to the growing economic inequality in America have now escalated to a whole new level. The movement, aptly named, “Occupy Wall Street” had been going on relatively peacefully for about a month up until October 16. Apparently, this method did not satisfy the protestors demand for change. On the same day, Substance News reported 175 people were arrested in Chicago for refusing to leave a public park after its closing time, and several New Yorkers were also arrested following an incident outside a Chase bank. The message has even been received across international borders. On October 15, a violent pro-


Protests begin in Zuccotti Park, NYC.


test in Rome caused approximately $1.39 million in damages to the city, according to Bloomberg News. While extreme forms of this effort are new, the idea of the protest itself is not. Occupy Wall Street does not have any single founder or leader; rather, it is a compilation of citizens uniting to speak up against what they see as wrong. The catch phrase of the rallies, so to speak, has been “99 percent,” referring to the vast majority of the American public that is economically outweighed by the elite class. According to a study at the University of Southern California Santa Cruz, the wealthiest 1 percent of Americans, exemplified by Wall Street bankers, own the overwhelming majority of both private and financial wealth in this country. For over a month now, protes-


tors have been calling attention to these statistics, which they believe undermine the basic American principles of equality and fairness. The protests are a symbol of the vast inequality between the classes in America. The movement has swept around the world as today’s youth and other conscientious citizens of the 99 percent rally against the 1 percent. The demonstrations are attempting to expose that the very wealthiest citizens pave the road for the majority’s economy with selfish interests in mind. According to The Guardian, Occupy Wall Street movements have erupted in about 1,500 cities in 80 different countries around the world. Citizens are attempting to defy unjust systems that have been the norm for years and have decided to attempt to balance the scales of wealth.

Filmmaker Michael Moore is the first celebrity to visit the protests.

24 Videos are taken of police officers using pepper spray to control crowds.

68% YES NO 32%

Out of 200 students polled. Polls conducted by Aman Samra and Becca Shaulson.

Public Poll:

Does the general public side with the protestors? 18%





Neither oppose nor support


Have no opinion


Poll fromThe LA Times, out of 1,026 phone calls, conducted on October 15-16.

Over 700 are arrested after stampeding the Brooklyn Bridge. Occupy Boston launches.


29 After its contents are agreed upon unanimously by the protestors occupying New York on that day, The Declaration of the Occupation of New York is released as an official document stating the protestors’ grievances.

Timeline on both pages compiled from,, and

Special Report: Occupying Wall Street

October 2011

Student Opinion:

Occupy Wall Street has affected thousands of cities in countries world-wide and has proven to have a global affect. Moreover, Occupy Wall Street also has a very local effect. The Occupy Wall Street movement is important because it represents the complaints of the average American that the government should protect. The protestors are rallying against Wall Street companies that are controlled by the wealthy, and the fact that they have been using their power to protect their best interests and not those of the common man and lower class. Many of the protestors are recent college graduates who cannot

find jobs in this volatile market, and are sitting at home with their outstanding student loans. These unemployed graduates could be us, Westhill students, in several years. In high school, we are preparing ourselves for our future jobs; jobs that may not even exist. The thought that we may be slaving away in school to no avail is horrifying. Previous generations were always taught that graduating from college or graduate school would secure them a good, wellpaying job. But now, what good is a degree if it doesn’t increase your employment chances? The value of college has decreased substantially, while its monetary value has increased. According to, the average debt for

graduating college seniors in 2008 was $23,200, and over the previous four years it has increased by six percent annually. If this trend continues, current freshmen at Westhill will be looking at an average of $44,040 in debt if they grad-

that this will become the average, the commonality, the reality. Though we can never expect to be guaranteed jobs, it is scary to think that many of us will be out of work after graduating college. Years of cost-cutting measures tak-

In high school, we are preparing ourselves for our future jobs; jobs that may not even exist. The thought that we may be slaving away in school to no avail is horrifying. uate from a four-year college. The average cost of attending a fouryear college for one year, including room and board, in 2009-2010 was $21,200. Students have graduated with two years worth of debt in previous years, but what is scary is

en by Wall Street have resulted in a concentration of wealth among the small, elite upper class. In fact, 99 percent of us fall into this category, so it is impossible to deny the negative effect that this economy will have on us.

By the numbers: 1% of Americans posses 42%


Raised by protesters

of the country’s wealth


Americans live without health insurance

U.S. cities holding similar Occupy protests



October (continued)

8 Protesters and security have an

exchange, causing the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington D.C. to close.




Arrested while crossing the Brooklyn Bridge

Data courtesy of,, my,, and

Occupy Los Angeles launches. Protestors try to enter Financial District and are met by police barricades.

Protesters marched on NYPD headquarters




It is very important that Wall Street and society alike recognize what is in store for our generation. The Occupy Wall Street protests have done an incredible job of this, evident in the international coverage it has attainted. Recent bailout packages given mostly to banks by the government have failed to create the jobs they were intended to. These packages demonstrate how government actions and policies will take drastic measures to help the rich, no matter how little the lower class is affected. Hopefully, these protests will have been well worth it and Wall Street and the government will take steps toward reducing unemployment and creating a better future for us.


Plans for globalizing protests are made.

14 Plans to evacuate Zuccotti Park

in New York City for cleaning are postponed due to enormous protestor turnout.


unemployment rate

Managing Editor


Anjali Khetan


college students began the protests on September 17

The Occupy protest spread to Europe, including protest in Italy, Spain, U.K., Belgium, Germany, and Sweden.

19 The NYPD announces that disciplin-

ary action will be taken against an officer accused of using excessive force against protestors.



October 2011

Buy a Westword t-shirt for $10! Interested? Stop by Room 224 5th period or email westwordwhs@

Suppl emen t’s SCHO




Survival Guide to:


October 2011

Tip #1:Prepare yourself for change With time comes change. Whether you notice it or not, you will undergo many changes during your time at Westhill. These changes can be for the better or the worse. No matter what, it is important to come to terms with the fact that you might eventually grow into a new person.

Have you changed since you came to Westhill? Three seniors share their stories of how they have changed over the course of four years in high school.


Throughout my first year of high school, I was rather lost. Being tossed into a school of 2,400 kids was difficult at first, but I learned to adapt to my new surroundings quickly. I tried to get involved right away and joined Westhill’s tech crew. It took me all of one performance to realize that it just wasn’t the right fit for me. The spring of my freshman year, I joined Westhill’s theater program, The Northstar Playmakers. My first show was Beauty and the Beast, and I had a blast! I instantly made more friends and found myself developing into a stronger, more confident

student. I was even a soloist dancer as a freshman. It was an honor to have such a feature as an underclassman. I took honors and college preparatory classes when I was a freshman, but by the time I was a junior I found myself excelling in Advanced Placement classes. Through extracurricular activities and classes I have chosen to take, I have found myself to be a much more confident and studious person than I was as an underclassman. My time here at Westhill has prepared me to soar into college and beyond. —Stephanie Wilson

Since freshman year, I think I have undergone many changes. I came into Westhill as a somewhat shy person who only knew people from my middle school. But through my four years at Westhill, I have gathered a great group of friends. I would not say I have done the best academically since freshman year, but I did discover my passion for cooking, which has now made choosing colleges easier for me. In my home life, I have since moved to

Shippan to live with my mother, due to the divorce of my parents. This has shaped my high school career seeing as though I had to learn to make friends with people who could give me rides or learn to navigate the city bus system. Moving to Shippan allowed me to figure out how to get home or to other places in Stamford without relying on my mother, who at the time was working, which made it hard for her to pick me up. —Jameson Felderman

“Since I came to Westhill four years ago, I’ve changed very little. I think that this is an amazing accomplishment because a lot of kids change during their time in high school. The only changes that I have experienced have been gradual. I’ve become much more mature and much more confident in myself than I was my freshman year. As a freshman, I was quiet and reserved. I didn’t know anyone [at Westhill other than] my brother. Secondly, it was my first year and everyone knows that

the upperclassmen always try to look intimidating to scare the freshmen because they are new. I’ve learned how to ignore such things that happen at Westhill. As a freshman, those things may seem cool and exciting because we don’t see these crazy things that happen in middle school. But now that I am a senior, I am used to many of these things that occur at Westhill, such as fights. These things are old now, so I don’t really pay much attention to them. ­ —Cristal Campos








Supplement october



Tip #2:Make each and every second count

Your four years at Westhill will be some of the most important and fastest moving years of your life. Every year is as crucial as the next, and making the most of each year will ensure smooth sailing during your time at Westhill.

Westhill checklist

Although students take different paths during their high school careers, there are certain goals that all students should attempt to accomplish to make sure they are getting the most of their time spent here. This outline is a guide of what goals each student should meet during all four years at Westhill.


Fulfill all credits that count towards graduation. Buy a yearbook to remember your time spent at Westhill. If you’re planning on taking the SATs, sign up in either early September or October. If you plan on attending college after high school, find out application deadlines and requirements for your choices. Plan out options for your future, and work with your guidance counselor to finalize your post-high school plans. Spend time with your friends, enjoy your last days at Westhill, and buy your cap and gown.


Study for the SATs by buying a study book or visiting the College and Career Center for additional aids and resources. Get a job to make extra spending money and continue investing in your future. Start touring colleges or piecing together your post-high school plans sooner rather than later so you are not stressed out during senior year. Challenge yourself with collegepreparatory, honors, or Advanced Placement classes. Enjoy yourself and go to prom.


Strive for A’s in most of your classes. Get to know your new Westhill community by attending sports games. Challenge yourself with college preparatory or honors classes. Join a club or a sports team. Learn your way around Westhill, so that you are not late to class. Work with your guidance counselor to create a resume including both academic and extracurricular achievements. Establish good relationships with teachers; you might need a recommendation later.


Create a financial plan for your future; Whether you are going to college or have other plans in mind, it is important to plan ahead for your financial security. If you’re taking a class that prepares you for an SAT subject test, study throughout the year and sign up to take the test in April or June. Explore summer internships and job opportunities. When creating your schedules for junior year, enroll in as many challenging classes as you can handle. Make sure to study hard and pass the CAPT test.

Photo courtesy of



October 2011

Tip #3:Stay calm and try not to panic The most important thing to remember when trying to survive any situation is to stay calm. A typical day at Westhill is f illed with stress, whether it be from schoolwork, teachers, or friends. Therefore, it is crucial to your well-being to stay calm and to try to be as stress-free as possible.

Stressless school year The largest part of a student’s day is spent in school, and it is also where the most stress is generated. Here are a few tips on how to de-stress after a grueling day at Westhill.

Surround yourself with media: Take a quick break and check out Facebook, watch television for a few minutes, or read a book or magazine. A quick media break will relax you and leave you ready to take on schoolwork. Eat a snack: A light, healthy snack will reenergize your mind and increase your dopamine levels. Both of these benefits will leave you feeling less stressed. Try a bunch of grapes, a glass of orange juice, or a few crackers and slices of cheese. Write: Writing can be very therapeutic. Keep a journal, compose poetry or music, write a short story, or just doodle. Writing is a great way to release frustration, because no matter what you’re writing, you’ll feel bet-

ter afterwards. Exercise: Running, jogging, or walking outside or inside are all fast and easy ways to make yourself feel less stressed. A small study break including a short walk outside can do a lot of good. The fresh air will rejuvenate you, and the exercise will release endorphins into your system that will make you feel more

energized. Socialize: Laughter is one the best ways to get rid of stress. Call up one of your friends and tell them what’s on your mind. Homework dates are a great way to hang out with friends while still be-

ing productive. Meditate: Sitting in a quiet room for a few minutes can be surprisingly invigorating, especially after a long, hectic day. Try sitting on a pillow and playing some quiet music while you reflect on your day or just daydream. Whether you’re organizing your thoughts or just thinking of nothing, meditation is sure to drain the stress from your body.

Photo illustration by Katie Beauleau


October 2011

Tip #4:Be resourceful


Westhill offers many ways for students to get ahead. Utilizing this support will help ensure that you come out on top and make your ride through high school a little bit smoother.

Stiles Alexander Staff Writer

Some students may ask their guidance counselor to help with changing courses, while others prefer to talk to them about personal problems. “Guidance is there to make sure that your personal life is in order. They look out for your academic well-being and help you to pick the right courses as well,” Guidance Department Head Ms. DeLuca said. Guidance counselors can also help students determine what they want to pursue after high school. “It’s unrealistic to ask [students] what they want to do for the rest of their lives, but I like to ask them about their talents and guide them toward a direction. Doing well academically keeps the door open,” said guidance counselor Ms. Levin. “If they don’t have a career plan in mind, that’s okay, too. Everyone in guidance has different skills; no one has them all, but we work as a team to help

The ideal guide

you, or at least point you to another guidance counselor who can.” Although not all students plan to go to college after graduating high school, it is still important to have a relationship with guidance counselors. Guidance counselors can also help students decide what other option to pursue after high school. If a student wants to become a mechanic or electrician, he or she may not need to go to a four-year college. However, students do need an education to get jobs in such professions. Guidance counselors can help find what higher education is needed in order to practice certain professions. One of the duties of a guidance counselors is to help students make good choices that will help them in the future. “Students can take full advantage of their guidance counselor by going to them for personal issues and academic purposes,” guidance counselor Ms. Collins said. The best way to stay connected to guidance is to communicate as of-

ten as possible, letting them know what it is they can help with. “I use my guidance counselor to change courses, check my credits, and to make sure I stay on task with my

assignments,” junior Frandy Cadet said. It’s important to have a strong relationship with guidance counselors from ninth grade all the way through senior year. “High school

counts toward your future, unlike middle school. Your grades are important. The easiest way to fail is by not attending class, so go!” Ms. Collins said.

Melanie Alswanger / Photographer

A HELPING HAND Guidance Counselor Ms. Bunn shows senior Eddie Iadanza how to use Naviance, an online resource to aid seniors apply to college.

Tip top tutors Katelyn Conte Illustrator

Period Eight Period Eight tutoring, one of the most popular tutoring programs offered at Westhill, is a free, once a week after school tutoring service offered by the National Honor Society (NHS). NHS members act as tutors for students who are looking for help in any subject. “The two main benefits are that it’s free and we have great tutors working here,” Period Eight Coordinator senior Jon Berman said. Not only is this tutoring free, which alleviates a common problem for students who can’t afford the high price of many outside tutoring programs, but students can also get help in any subject at any level. “Kids don’t have to pay to get a great tutor that they might have otherwise [paid for],” Berman said. Students can take advantage

of this program by simply going to the media center any Thursday after school. Career Center If you have a class in the Finch building, odds are that you’ve walked by Westhill’s College and Career Center. “The College and Career Center is a place where students can come and find out more about planning their futures,” guidance counselor Ms. Levin said. There is a wide variety of information that students can find, including hard copies of books about colleges, standardized testing, military options, and other various careers. Thanks to recent renovations, there are 20 new computers for students to access websites to help plan for the future. Each fall, admissions representatives from nearly 100 colleges visit the College and Career Center to conduct information sessions. General Electric has provided

the career center with new furniture, computers, central air conditioning, and a TV set. Students can use the career center as long as they have a pass from their guidance counselors. Success Program Another popular tutoring program is the Success Program. This is an after-school tutoring program that students can apply to be either a tutor or to be tutored. Students can easily sign up for Success, and they can be nominated as a tutor by a teacher or counselor if they are taking college prep, honors, or AP classes. “The Success Program is great because it gives students the opportunity to work closely with their peers who can relate to them and oftentimes can present material in a new way that the students can understand better. It’s less intimidating to get help from students than from teachers,” said senior Blair Downey.

Gerald Morgan / Photo Manager

HARD AT WORK Senior Silvia Staiano tutors a student in Italian at Period Eight, one of the many tutoring programs offered to Westhill students free of charge.



October 2011

Tip #5:Build a strong community

Being a part of the Westhill community will improve your high school experience. You should build a positive relationship with the resources and people around you. At Westhill, this translates into having school spirit. Viking pride plays a key role in maintaining the strong sense of community that we pride ourselves on. Make sure to attend these four school-related events in order to get the most out of your time at Westhill.

Junior Prom

Dance the night away

Westhill hosts many dances throughout the school year. This year, the premier of the Back-to-school dance was a success enjoyed by many. Be sure to attend the Homecoming Dance and Winter Formal in November and February. Prom is also another dance all students should go to, as it is an event everyone enjoys being a part of. Dances are a great way to spend time with friends and unwind from the stress of school. “The experience of a Westhill dance provides students [with] a taste of the diversity found in the school. It’s a great way to meet new people and enjoy a Friday night in a safe environment,” senior Kassi Montenegro said.

Relay for Life

Become a philanthropist

Relay for Life is a charity event that many Westhill students look forward to attending each May. It is an overnight cancer walk intended to increase cancer awareness and raise donations to find a cure. Many Westhill students have attended this event, as it has become one of the biggest charity events the Westhill community participates in. “It is a fun way to raise money with friends for such a good cause. It is [also] a good way to be involved in the school community, since you [have the opportunity to] meet a lot of people in different grades. It’s nice to all come together and give back,” sophomore Katherine Kelly said. Relay for Life creates many memories and friendships that you will never forget.

Softball game

The Mystery of Edwin Drood

Photo Illustration by Ariel Shaulson / Creative Designer All photos credited in previous issues

Cheer on the Hill

The homecoming game is a great way to show school spirit and support for the Westhill football team when they face our city rival, Stamford High. Attending the homecoming game, or any of the various Westhill sports games, is an amazing experience. You are able to bond, share memories, and create friendships with people who share the same passion of cheering on Westhill. “It’s all about the school spirit; the games really show your school pride. Plus you can bond with others over the pride you have toward your school,” junior Ryan D’Amico said. Westhill spirit is strong because of the fact that we all come together to support our school.

Support the arts

During the year, Westhill hosts two productions; a fall drama produced by the English department, and a spring musical put on by the Northstar Playmakers. Students and teachers work very hard to bring such high caliber performances to the Westhill stage. It is important to attend them and show our support. “By attending a play at Westhill you are not only supporting the arts, but you are supporting and cheering on your friends who have spent hours on a production. It’s no different then attending a sports game to cheer on your friends,” junior Richard Westfahl said. Be sure to attend a Westhill show and discover the talents that many students have that you never knew existed. Briefs by Stephanie Carde / Reporter


October 2011

Tip #6: Think about the future


Although life after Westhill seems distant, the four years you will spend here will go by in a f lash, which is why it is important to think about your post-high school plans while you still have time. We have prepared a quiz that can help you decide what the next possible step is after Westhill.

I want to continue my education and get a job.

What are your goals for the future?

What kind of lifestyle is important to you?

When do you plan on getting a job? Straight out of school.

I want a somewhat stable and secure life.

I want to get a job eventually, but I am not too concerned because it is the experience that counts. When working on a group project, you are more likely to...

Take orders from others.

Take charge and execute ideas.

I’m not really sure what I want to do after high school.

I want an exciting life full of surprises.

As a child, did you always have only one career in mind?

Create the concept.

You might want to consider joining the military.

You might want to go into trade school.

The United States military is one post-high school option that has captured the attention of many students, especially those in the JROTC program at Westhill. The military is a very diverse place that is divided into various groups. Students can chose between the Army, Navy, Airforce, Marines, and Coast Guard. Besides being an infantry soldier, students can chose between pilots, medical service technicians, and can gradually move up the ranks to a higher position. The military is a viable option for those looking to fight for their country.

Trade school is perfect for students with a specific career in mind. It is usually around two years in length, which can give a working career a jump start. Trade school is a practical way to quickly enter the workforce with enough preparation for a variety of occupations such as a plumber, chef, beautician, electrician, mechanic, carpenter and much more. However, trade school is not for everyone; the careers are hands-on and physically demanding. Trade school stands as a very good option for many students graduating from Westhill.

Yes, I was always passionate No, my career options changed about sports as a child. almost all the time.

You might want to go to college. College is a popular posthigh school plan amongst Westhill students. Endless majors provide equally endless options of career opportunities, making this level of higher education practical and popular. The college application process is all about finding a school that is right for you economically, socially, and academically. Students, assisted by guidance counselors, submit applications between November and January. Although the application process is often stressful, it is well worth it once you get in and are finally able to go.

You might want to pursue an You might want to pursue a athletic career. gap year. Those who have always had a passion for athletic activities should consider pursuing an athletic-related career. Whether a student is interested in becoming a sports journalist, athletic trainer, or even a professional athlete, the most important thing in all of these careers is a passion for sports. Students can pursue sports-related degrees at most regular four-year colleges. However, it is helpful to show an interest in sports while still in high school by either joining a sports team, becoming a sports manager, or starting a sports blog.

Gap years have become increasingly more appealing to students as the pressures of getting into college have increased over the years. Students can take a gap year to work, volunteer, travel, or stay at home to develop post-high school plans. Gap years give graduated high school students a chance to prepare for adulthood, become more cultured, and sort out plans completely so that a year at college or trade school is not wasted. Students should definitely consider this option if they feel like they need a break to fully develop ideas for the future.

Illustrations by Sydney Olshan / Illustrator

n w o n k d a h u o y h s i w u o y o d t ? l l i h Wha t s e W o t e m a c u o y e r o f e b “Don’t look anyone in the eye.” ­­ — —Aidan Hart ’14 “How to open this type of locker because it’s impossible and I still can’t get it. I gave up.” — Jill Greenberg, ’15 —

“I wish I knew that —Lau there we — ren Cori re never tt, ’13 enough pa rking spa ces.” “I wish I “I wish I knew how knew how —M easy it is — s m —Emi — ax Grable all the ha to make m ly Jetter, llways ar r, ’13 istakes he ’12 e.” re.” “I wish I kne —M w to walk on the r ax Eber, ight side ’13 of the ha llway.”

“I wish I knew geometry and Algebra II.”­­ — —Justo Karell ’13 “I wish I knew how hard it is to change your classes.” — —Stephanie Preising, ’13


Westhill High School 125 Roxbury Road • Stamford, CT 06902 • USA Manufactured for The Westword Made in 224 • All rights reserved. • WHS 707051

Illustrations by Danilo Machado and Stephanie Wilson

Las Noticias


Programas proporcionados NOVEDADES para estudiantes hispanos Baile del regreso a la escuela

Estos programas que proporciona el colegio Westhill son puestos en funcionamiento para todos aquellos estudiantes los cuales provienen de países de América latina. Con estos programas aquellos estudiantes pueden compartir más de su cultura, sus costumbres y tradiciones de cada país. A estos programas extracurriculares están invitados todos los estudiantes que quieran ser parte de actividades con las cuales pueden recrearse de una manera sana y divertida y los estudiantes pueden hacer muchos más amigos y amigas y pasar un muy buen tiempo compartiendo momentos que no olvidaran. Los clubes para estudiantes hispanos no sólo transmiten una señal de compañerismo a los estudiantes sino que también les ofrece una ayuda a ellos en el ámbito académico y les abre muchas puertas para recrearse y librarse del estrés producido por el colegio y las tareas.

Embajadores Latinos / Latino Ambassadors Según la señora Supple, la creadora de este programa fue Orquídea Saso hace 7 años. Fue creado para ayudar a los estudiantes hispanos de WHS para poder relacionarse con países de latinoamérica en una ayuda comunitaria. El programa también brindaría ayuda a los padres de familia con problemas de idioma. Las actividades que se realizan son muy divertidas como: Open house para los padres, ferias universitarias y noches latinas. Se realizan también campañas con el fin de recolectar dinero para viajes y para confeccionar camisetas a usarse en campañas comunitarias. Este grupo se reune todos los jueves de 2:10 a 3:30. Se invita a todos los estudiantes que quieran ser parte de este programa. Los estudiantes que tomen la decisión de unirse al club tendrán la oportunidad de realizar y organizar con éxito su vida y convertirse en mejores personas.

Career Center los lunes a las 2:15 Los estudiantes que tomen la decisión de unirse al club tendrán la oportunidad de realizar y organizar con éxito su vida y convertirse en mejores personas.

Club de Español / Spanish Club

Salón 205 los martes a las 2:10 Este club fue creado con el fin de tener una subcomunidad en el colegio. Quieren que el objetivo principal sea crear una familia en este club que tiene una serie de actividades.

Según la señora Méndez Orozco, este club fue creado con el fin de tener una subcomunidad en el colegio. Quieren que el objetivo principal sea crear una familia en este club que tiene una serie de actividades. Por ejemplo, para el día de las brujas decoraron calabazas y van a ir a una casa embrujada. Para cada estación tienen actividades culturales y también comen diferentes platos típicos de cada país de latinoamérica. Realizan juegos intelectuales y didácticos y comparten por medio de charlas acerca de su cultura. Las reuniones son todos los lunes en el salón 205 de 2:15 a 3:15. El club es altamente cultural y les da la bienvenida a la diversidad. No se necesita hablar sólo español porque en el club se habla tanto español como inglés. Julio Pacheco / Escritor

En años anteriores, Westhill ha tenido sólo dos bailes anuales: Viniendo a Casa e Invierno de Etiqueta. Este año los muchachos que están por graduarse organizaron un Baile de Regreso a la Escuela que se realizó el día 14 de octubre. El baile tenía el propósito de darles a los estudiantes otro evento social, así como también la oportunidad de recaudar fondos para las clases de los grados 11 y 12. Más de 400 estudiantes concurrieron al evento social y los caballeros encargados de la organización colectaron alrededor de $1.300. El club de Habitat for Humanity también se benefició de este nuevo baile al recaudar dinero al ofrecerles a los estudiantes asistentes servicio de guarda abrigo.

Westhill ya no ofrecerá más las sesiones de puertas abiertas para proyectos

Puertas Abiertas para Proyectos requiere que todos los estudiantes que estén tomando clases de AP (Cursos avanzados) de inglés asistan por lo menos a una clase de repaso que se dictan los sábados. En años anteriores estas sesiones se ofrecían tanto en la escuela secundaria de Danbury como en Westhill. Este año, Westhill no las ofrecerá dichas sesiones. Como resultado de ello, los estudiantes de Westhill tendrán que transportarse hasta Danbury para asistir a dichas sesiones de repaso de inglés. “No es justo que no las den en Westhill. Danbury está lejos y le añadiría dos horas más al viaje”, dijo el alumno Vincent Filardi de onceavo grado quien asistió a la sesión de repaso para alumnos de AP (Cursos avanzados) del 15 de octubre.

Donación de sangre

El día 14 de octubre, el club de interacción, conjuntamente con la Cruz Roja, organizaron su colecta de sangre anual en la escuela Westhill. Desde las 7:25 de la mañana hasta la 1:10 de la tarde, todos los estudiantes de 17 años para arriba fueron invitados a donar una pinta de sangre. Los estudiantes decidieron donar sangre por una serie de razones: “Yo quiero donar sangre porque tengo un miembro de mi familia que necesitó sangre, por lo tanto siempre es bueno donar”, dijo el estudiante de duodécimo grado, Jesse Latorraca. “Yo quiero donar sangre porque quiero hacer la diferencia”, manifestó el próximo a graduarse, Pascal Medor. “Es una manera fácil de ayudar a la gente”, expresó el estudiante del último año, Nick Taylor. La colecta de sangre es uno de los eventos más grandes del año del club, con más de 40 estudiantes donantes. Cada pinta de sangre puede usarse para ayudar a tres personas diferentes que se encuentran en la necesidad de una transfusión de sangre. El club de interacción volverá a organizar otra colecta de sangre en la primavera. Tara Sarkar & Joely Mass / Editoras de News

30 Acostumbrandose a un nuevo ambiente Las Noticias

Octubre 2011

Billy Silk Reportero

Es muy difícil ser estudiante de escuela secundaria. Hay que estudiar, ayudar en la casa, trabajar, practicar deportes y más. Pero, es mucho más difícil ser un nuevo estudiante recien llegado de los países de América Latina. Por ello, no sólo hay que hacer todo lo que hacen otros, sino también hay que aprender un nuevo idioma, adaptarse a una nueva cultura y hacer nuevos amigos. Porque es un gran desafío, la escuela secundaria Westhill hace muchas cosas para ayudar a esos estudiantes. Una de ellas es la clase para los nuevos estudiantes de los países de América Latina: “Español para Hispanohablantes”. Está diseñada para los estudiantes que hablan español en casa. En ella, mientras la mayoría de la clase es en inglés para los de los Estados Unidos, para los inmigrantes hispanos es en español. Las clases ESL, o inglés

como segundo idioma, ayudan a los estudiantes a aprender inglés. En esas clases hay estudiantes de todo el mundo con una diversidad de idiomas. Según Ms. Ayoub, una profesora de ESL:s “Hay estudiantes de todo el mundo quienes hablan muchos idiomas diferentes, por lo cual, solamente hablamos inglés, porque no podemos hablar todos los idiomas de los estudiantes”. Ms. Romanova, otra profesora de ESL, explicó: “Hay grupos diferentes en ESL. Los principiantes, que agrupa a todos quienes nunca hablaron inglés en una clase y los que sí han hablado inglés están en una clase diferente”. Un estudiante de ESL es César Arboleda, quien es de Colombia. Arboleda dice: “Es difícil venir aquí, pero tengo mucha familia en los Estados Unidos, lo cual lo hace más fácil”. Dice: “La escuela secundaria es un buen colegio. A mí me gustan los estudiantes porque son simpáticos”. También, dice: “Me gusta que haya tantos deportes aquí. En

Colombia, me gustaba hacer deportes. A mí me gustaría hacer lo mismo aquí”. Arboleda dijo que las clases ESL eran un poco difíciles al principio, pero él está aprendiendo rápidamente. Explicó que las profesoras usan fotos para mostrar lo que significan las palabras. Pero también hay otras clases en las que no hablan inglés. Arboleda dijo: “La clase ESL es para aprender inglés. Además, existen las clases bilingües en Matemáticas, Ciencias y Ciencias Sociales”. La diferencia es que en ESL se habla sólo inglés. En las clases bilingües, los profesores hablan inglés y español. Arboleda dice: “Me gustan los profesores y las clases son muy fáciles”. Por otro lado, el añadió: “Hay demasiada tarea”. Por todo ello, parece que Arboleda y los otros estudiantes nuevos de los países de América Latina se están adaptando bien. Algunos de ellos hablan en un grupo con la Señora Jaramillo, una asistente social en Westhill,

tados anteriormente mencionados. El motivo de la contradicción por parte del tribunal federal al aprobar la ley causaría confusión o conflictos en las relaciones diplomáticas y la política nacional. The New York Times dice: “El tribunal también falló en bloquear la entrega de una provisión de muchos contratos con inmigrantes ilegales no ejecutable y una sección que considere un crimen grave para un inmigrante ilegal el realizar una “transacción de negocio,” como renovar una licencia de conducir, con cualquier entidad gubernamental en el estado”. Los hispanos se sienten acosados, como lo expresa Jannette Aragon, del doceavo grado, diciendo: “La ley de Alabama es muy tonta en muchas maneras. Muchos inmigrantes trabajan cosechando, limpiando casas y haciendo trabajos que los americanos no harían. La mayoría de los negocios donde empleaban hispanos están perdiendo dinero por la ausencia de los hispanos que han huído por miedo a la ley”. La inmigración en Alabama está fuera de control, por lo cual se propuso esta ley a la corte en primer lugar. La estadística y el censo han mostrado que la población hispana ha aumentado en un 145

por ciento y que en cifras sería 185.600. El Huffington Post publica el resultado del Censo: “Censo de los Estados Unidos muestra a los hispanos como grupo que representa cerca del 4 por ciento de la población del estado, pero algunos condados en el norte de Alabama tienen grandes comunidades y escuelas hispanohablantes donde la mayor parte de los estudiantes son hispanos”. Esta cita muestra

Ariel Shaulson / Editora de fotos

CLASES DE ESL Señora Romanov enseña un clase de ESL en hora cinco. Estudiantes hablan de los políticos americanos. la cual declara: “Les dicen que no hablen español todo el día, entonces es agradable tener este grupo para que ellos puedan hablar español, incluso si sólo es por una semana”. Tienen reunión los viernes durante el período 4. Hablan de adaptarse a la vida en América y a la escuela secundar-

ia Westhill. Dice Arboleda, quien es parte de este grupo: “A mí me gusta este grupo mucho. Hay otros estudiantes de latinoamérica y podemos hablar de algunos problemas. También, la Señora Jaramillo es muy simpática y útil”, concluye diciendo César Arboleda.

cias entre estudiantes hispanos que llegó hasta 5.300, y el jueves, alcanzaron alrededor de 1.200, lo cual se considera normal”. Esto muestra cuán aterrorizado, asustado y serio está respondiendo el público hispano en Alabama a la ley. Las escuelas trataron inclusive de convencer a los padres hispanos para que hicieran que sus niños volvieran a la escuela porque la ley no se aplicaría a ellos. A este re-

de hablar sólo de ello, nosotros tomamos medidas para asegurar que a nadie se le permita violar el sistema e ignorar nuestras leyes”. Este diplomático trata de convencer que el Gobierno trata sólo de proteger los derechos de todos y él dijo que la ley era una manera de hacer todos nuestros derechos iguales y equilibrados. “En realidad yo pienso que es un acto de miedo que tienen un grupo de americanos y que están mal informados. Piensan de nosotros como si fueramos un peligro, pero en realidad estamos acá por la misma razón por la que vinieron nuestros ancestros”, manifestó Yonnatan Carrillo del onceavo grado. Por último, la ley inmigratoria de Alabama se ha convertido en un destructor de vidas para el público hispano y un ecualizador público para el Gobierno. El Inquisitr hace una última observación: “Ayer fue una victoria para Alabama. El tribunal acordó con nosotros en una mayoría de las provisiones que fueron desafiadas”. La ley fue aprobada parcialmente por el tribunal de apelación el 14 de octubre 2011. La gente hispana espera lo peor pero desea lo mejor en el futuro debido a esta ley que es activa contra la mayoría de ellos.

Nueva ley migratoria en Alabama Giovanni Menacho Reportero

El gobierno federal de Alabama ha tratado de parar la ley presentada en el estado. El gobierno federal trajo a los funcionarios de Alabama para contradecir y prohibir la ley en su totalidad, la cual ya ha tenido a estudiantes y a trabajadores hispanos emigrando de sus pueblos y ciudades. Esto muestra el principio de una gran discriminación. La ley en su artículo undécimo publica una justificación en la que demanda que las escuelas en Alabama verifiquen el estatus migratorio de los estudiantes y de sus padres. La ley inmigratoria de Alabama es considerada la ley estatal inmigratoria más dura de todos los Estados Unidos. Esta ley es aún más dura que las leyes de Arizona, Utah, Indiana y Georgia que fueron tan sonadas. El Gobernador Robert Bentley firmó la ley en junio. La ley indica y permite a las autoridades detener a personas sospechosas de ser ilegales y les permite verificar el estatus migratorio de estudiantes en escuelas públicas. Los jueces en los otros estados han llegado a la decisión de bloquear todas las leyes de los es-

“Yo no apoyo la ley en su totalidad. Mi mayor preocupación son los niños afectados por las decisiones tomadas por los padres y los niños no pueden controlar las decisiones de los adultos”. —Señor Escobar los hechos sorprendentes que han asustado lo suficiente al gobierno como para que llegue a elaborar esta ley. El vocero oficial de Alabama dice inclusive que el estado se vió forzado por ley a actuar sobre el crecimiento rápido de la población hispana porque el gobierno federal lo ignoraba. The New York Times también indica que: “no obstante, en las dos semanas en que la provisión estuvo en efecto, los montos de asistencia variaron extensamente, con ausen-

specto el señor Escobar dijo: “Yo no apoyo la ley en su totalidad. Mi mayor preocupación son los niños afectados por las decisiones tomadas por los padres y los niños no pueden controlar las decisiones de los adultos”. El Huffington Post entrevista al vocero official de Alabama, Mike Hubbard: “En Alabama nosotros creemos conforme a la ley porque promueve la justicia y protege los derechos de todos,” dijo Hubbard, un republicano. “Por eso en vez



From the streets to the gallery Art teacher Mr. DeFeo organizes street art exhibition

Katie Beauleau Managing Editor

Mr. DeFeo, street artist and art teacher, is curating a street art exhibit called “On Every Street” at Samuel Owen Gallery in Greenwich. The gallery features almost 100 pieces by renowned street artists such as Banksy, Blek le Rat, and Mr. DeFeo himself. “What interested me about this opportunity was that I could do it in a community that’s close to [Westhill]. I really liked the idea of the show being outside of a big city and close to the school community. I thought that was really important, bringing an art form to a group of people who may not have as good of an access to it as people in Manhattan, L.A., or elsewhere,” Mr. DeFeo said. Mr. DeFeo began working on this exhibition at the beginning of this year when Lee and Cindy Mi-

lazzo, owners of the gallery and friends of his, first approached him about it. Originally, he turned down their offer. “It’s a tremendous amount of work to put [an exhibition] together. I’ve curated exhibitions before. Although very rewarding, it’s just very time consuming,” Mr. DeFeo said. However, he ultimately changed his mind and decided to curate the exhibition. He believed that the exhibition’s benefit to the community would make his time commitment and dedication worth it. The process of choosing art to display in the exhibition proved to be a daunting task. Through his work over the past 20 years, Mr. DeFeo has become friends with many street artists from shows and other various events. This allowed him to have a large pool of artists to pull pieces from. “I guess when you spend time in a particular area, you get to

know the participants, especially when you’re participating as well. I’m not just a bystander,” Mr. DeFeo said. Many different components went into his selection process. He found that it was difficult to select artists because it also meant leaving other artists out. Due to space limitations and other various concerns, he was unable to feature everyone that he would have liked to, but the show still has work from 32 artists. Before selecting artists, Mr. DeFeo decided what criteria should be represented. First, he wanted to show pieces from the artists that pioneered the early street art movement. He selected Keith Haring, Basquiat, Richard Hambleton, John Fekner, Don Leicht, and Lady Pink pieces for this purpose. He also featured up-and-coming artists such as Gaia, Ripo, and Above. Mr. DeFeo wanted to display a repre-

sentation of both genders, a mix of styles, and a variety of material. He chose to feature artists who work both illegally, who don’t receive money, and legally, who may receive commission, on the streets. For instance, Tom Otterness, who has been creating bronze public sculptures for years, had never previously been in a show with artists who work illegally until “On Every Street.” DeFeo also chose to display pieces by Michael Anderson, who incorporates street art into his own pieces. He first rips down paper billboards, posters, and other displayed papers and then catalogs them at his studio in Harlem before making his collages. “The imagery that you’re seeing in his collages, you very well may have experienced before when you were standing on a train platform or on a bus rolling by or on a highway overpass. I found that very interest-

ing and love his work and wanted to include him,” Mr. DeFeo said. Mr. DeFeo feels very privileged to have relationships with these artists because he has such a large admiration for them. For instance, Mr. DeFeo originally saw the work of Dan Witz in a book called Street Art, by Allan Schwartzman way back when he was in middle school. “I’ve been a fan of his since then and I’ve never forgotten that. I never lose sight of the fact that although I’m friends with him now, I looked up to him. I idolized him when I was a kid. So it’s been a real privilege to work with all of these different artists,” Mr. DeFeo said. “On Every Street” runs through November 3 and is located at 373 Greenwich Ave. “I really encourage everyone to go see it before it comes down. It’s really a good opportunity to experience this stuff so close to home,” Mr. DeFeo said.

URBAN FINDINGS Mr. DeFeo (above, center) curated and was featured in the street art exhibition “On Every Street” at the Samuel Owen Art Gallery in Greenwich. The show includes almost 100 pieces of artwork by well-known street artists and serves as a way to share this style of art with a larger audience. Top photos: Katie Beauleau & Mr. von Wahlde / Managing Editor & Adviser Bottom photos courtesy of



October 2011

Freshman discusses acting career

Josh Frieser / Contributed Photo

AS SEEN ON TV Freshman Josh Frieser has been featured in numerous commercials and TV shows. Pictured above is Frieser with Law and Order: SVU star, Christopher Meloni. Samantha McNichols Supplement Editor

Though many people may dream of having a professional acting career, this life is a reality for freshman Josh Frieser, who has been acting for as long as he can remember. The Westword sat down with him to find out more

about his experiences. The Westword: How did you get involved in acting? Who introduced you and at what age? Josh Frieser: I got involved in acting when I was about two-yearsold, so truthfully, I can’t say I entirely remember. My mom mostly got me into it. For as long as I can

remember, I have been acting. TW: What was your first professional acting experience? JF: The first professional acting experience I had was also before I could remember, but I was in a Teletubbies commercial when I was about two and a half. TW: What companies have you done commercials for? JF: I have done commercials for several different companies. The most well known would have to be Nickelodeon, MTV, Toys ’R’ Us, and Nautica. TW: What has been your favorite acting experience? JF: My favorite commercial that I did was a Rescue Heroes commercial. I did it with one of my best friends from acting, Joey, and there was an elephant in the commercial with us. TW: What was your most recent acting experience on television? JF: My most recent TV show was a soap opera a few years ago called Guiding Light. My most recent work was a Listerine radio

commercial. TW: Which acting medium is your favorite? JF: My favorite is definitely voiceovers. It is actually a lot of fun to sit in a room and read something off of a paper. It’s really great. One of my favorite things I do in voiceovers is something called “looping.” Basically what you do is you go into a recording room with three or four other kids and make the background voices for a movie. It’s really easy and very fun. TW: What do you like most and least about acting? JF: The thing I like most about acting is the way that you get treated on the set. I mean if you ever need anything [or] want anything, you get it. I love getting treated like that. I really can’t say I dislike anything about acting. It’s a lot of fun and a great experience. TW: Have you met any celebrities while acting? JF: I actually have met most of the somewhat famous actors and actresses that are my age. When I

was younger, I used to be friends with Abigail Breslin. I haven’t seen her since she moved to Los Angeles, but we used to hang out at auditions. Another friend of mine is Jake Cherry. He isn’t quite as big, but he was in Night at The Museum 2 with Ben Stiller. A few summers ago I did a movie called National Lampoon’s Dirty Movie with Chris Meloni from Law and Order: SVU. Another celebrity I have met because her sister used to work with my manager is Zoe Saldana. So yes, I have met a few. TW: What plans do you have concerning acting for the future? JF: My plans for acting in the future are mostly to work when I can. If I get asked to do anything, I will, but I’m not planning on pursuing a life in acting if I can’t. I would love to be a famous actor when I am older and never really have to work a day in my life. But if that doesn’t happen, I most likely will have a normal job.

State of the Art Column by Danilo Machado

Over the last 30 years, street art has invaded corners, roofs, and walls in cities around the world. The movement has gathered so much interest that these pieces of art have, almost ironically, found their way into traditional museums and galleries such as the Samuel Owen Gallery in Greenwich. It is here that Westhill art teacher Mr. DeFeo is curating and is featured in an exhibition called “On The Street,” which features over 30 street artists from around the world. After a very short walk from the Greenwich Train Station, the Samuel Owen Gallery greeted me with open glass doors. First to catch my eye was “Riot Police” by Blek le Rat, which shows an officer in sharp black and white contrast on a backdrop of bullet-like paint drips. This piece captures both visual, the paint splatters and stencil-style, and conceptual themes, such as that of authority, that were echoed throughout the show. Next to “Riot Police” were four pieces by Shepard Fairey, the

artist best known for his “HOPE” Obama poster and his “OBEY” Andre The Giant design. The pieces showed both the flat, contrasting style and the social message that Fairey is known for. The artist takes a stance supporting the democratic revolution in Burma in his portrait of Aung San Suu Kyi, which contains the statement “Freedom to Lead.” Also seen is the theme of totalitarian governments, as shown in “Obey Eye,” which reads “Never trust your own eyes, believe what you are told.” Fairey also pays tribute to pop artist Jasper Johns, known for his flags and targets, whose influence is seen around the exhibit. The tone of the exhibit was often in light of itself, with a sharp sense of humor and whimsy running throughout. This humor accents themes that are anything but funny, making you look closer at what you are laughing about. You can see this in the series of word play arrows by the artist ABOVE displayed hanging from the ceiling. Each sported a stenciled word juxtaposed with the one written on

the other side. My favorite combinations were “true/lies,” and “spel/ chek.” The whimsy and wit is also present in video-game cutouts of Space Invader and Banksy replacing the guns of a Pulp Fiction poster with bananas. Bansky, notorious for his hidden identity and razor-sharp commentary, had three more, slightly more serious pieces on display. The silkscreens encompassed not only the gripping aesthetics of Banksy, and street art in general, but a sense of his social awareness. One piece shows two children skipping through a field in police uniforms, and another shows a starving, naked child crying hand in hand with Mickey Mouse and Ronald McDonald. These slightly disturbing juxtapositions help us to think deeper about the roles of authority and corporations. Like Fairey, Banksy also references a pop artist, Andy Warhol, by taking his iconic “Campbell’s Soup Can” and turning it into a value storebrand can of soup. The themes presented are decidedly 21st century, making

Photo Courtesy of

STREET CRED The Samuel Owens Gallery in Greenwich hosts a gallery of international street artists, curated by Westhill’s Mr. DeFeo. The show captures the awareness and humor of street art, and features pieces from artists such as Bansky (above) and Shepard Fairey. this exhibit, which runs through Novermber 3, relevant to students. While most students won’t be found at traditional museums, the social messages and humor may bring them into the more contemporary Samuel Owen Gallery.

The show succeeded in encompassing distinct styles, subjects, and medias in street art and bringing them together in a coherent showing. Echoes of paint drips, juxtaposition, pop-style contrasts, and ironies leave you engaged, but more importantly, thinking.


October 2011

The ultimate talent show


Which show sings to students?

Dara Peterson Staff Writer

For years, American Idol has had viewers glued to television screens by producing sensations such as Kelly Clarkson, Chris Daughtry, Adam Lambert, and, most recently, Scotty McCreery. Along with its major success stories, American Idol also amuses viewers by inducing laughter with contestants whose first impressions will stick with us forever. For example, William Hung’s rendition of the song “She Bangs” by Ricky Martin was an instant hit after he

Andrew Krowitz Verification Manager

On April 26, The Voice premiered on NBC. This show differs from traditional singing competitions, by using a unique judging system. Originally adapted from an original Dutch television show, The Voice has now become popular in U.S. television as well. The Voice first promoted itself by bringing in a successful cast of judges, as well as Carson Daly as the show’s host. The four judges, Adam Levine, Christina Aguilera, Cee-Lo Green, and Blake Shelton, also served as vocal coaches for contestants. The show begins with

sang during his audition for the show. American Idol will begin to air weekly episodes in January. In the meantime, audition episodes must be pre-taped. The auditions shown on television are very selective; not everyone gets a chance to face the three judges, and not all who do get time on the silver screen. Viewers at home see a fraction of auditions. Only the very talented contestants along with other auditioners who aren’t musically inclined (included for entertainment value) receive air time. After the auditions have all taken place, the contestants who made it through go to Hollywood Week. Singers who proceed from there have a 14-week period ahead of them in hopes of making it to the number one spot.

blind auditions. The judges have the length of each performance to either choose the singer or let them go. If a judge chooses a performer, that person is one of eight members of that judge’s team. If multiple judges choose an artist, the artist gets to choose for his or her self which judge they would have as a coach. If no one chooses the artist, then the singer must leave the show. The most unique part of this show is the fact that looks and stage presence have no effect on whether or not a judge chooses the singer, since it is a blind audition. The judges aren’t permitted to watch the performance, only listen to the

Each week the number of contestants dwindle down until there are 12 musicians, which is usually comprise of people ranging in age and vocal styles. After receiving a position in the Top 12, the fate of each contestant moves from the hands of the judges to the votes of viewers. Unlike most television shows, American Idol airs two new episodes each week. The first show features performances by each contestant, allowing the viewers to assess each individual talent. The second show, which is aired the following night, focuses on the results of the previous show’s vote. The contestant who receives the least amount of votes leaves the show after one final performance, until there is one singer left standing who becomes the next American Idol.

performer’s voice. In the second round, two team members face off with one another, singing the same song of the judge’s selection. The judges then choose the strongest singer to move on to the next round. With eight people remaining, television audiences and judges have an equal say in who moves onto the finale, where the public then votes one of four contestants as the winner. On June 29, Javier Colon, a singer from Stratford, Connecticut, was voted as the winner of the first season of The Voice, earning himself a record deal with Universal Republic and $100,000.

Kristina Goodrich Staff Writer

Talent is everywhere; hiding and waiting to be discovered. These days, there are many outlets that can help talent break out to be found. One of the most popular outlets for being noticed is a television show called The X-Factor. The XFactor began in the United Kingdom in 2003 and has now expanded to the United States. Though the show mainly focuses on singers, but talents such as

rappers and dancers can also compete. The purpose of the show is to find an individual who is extremely talented, but also has that “X-Factor,” which is what makes them a star. There are four judges on the show, Simon Cowwell, Paula Abdul, Nicole Scherzinger, and L.A. Reid. The contestants who impress the judges during audition move on to the Boot Camp Stage. At this point, the judges have to pick 32 acts. Each judge is assigned a group of eight acts to mentor. Boot camp then leads to live shows. The prize for the finalist is a $5 million recording contract and, of course, an incredible amount of media exposure along the

Which show do Westhill students prefer to watch?

way. Not only is the show interesting to see so much talent in one place, but it’s also a good laugh. Viewers can be sure to find some of Cowell’s remarks amusing, as he continues his harsh persona onto the show. There is no age limit to audition, making the show open for more contestants. The show began September 21 and will conclude with the live finale on December 22. As of Oct 25, the live shows will begin, so if you’ve missed the audtion process, there is still time to catch up. The X-Factor is suspense filled entertainment; tune in to Fox Five to catch the show on Wednesdays and Thursdays.

American Idol

52% X-Factor


The Voice


Illustration by Stephanie Wilson / Head Illustrator



Choosing a stage

October 2011

Deciding between Westhill’s fall drama or Stamford’s All-School Musical Christina Sabia Staff Writer

Every fall, student performers anticipate auditioning for school productions. Unfortunately, many students are forced to choose between their high school’s drama and Stamford’s All-School Musical, which can be a problematic decision for any actor. Both productions require dedication to rehearsal schedules, which are significant time commitments. Stamford Public Schools has been sponsoring the All-School Musical since 2007, attracting students from elementary, middle, and high schools. Each year, these students perform a musical with the guidance of theater professionals, educators, and devoted volunteers. Past productions have been Oliver, Fiddler on the Roof, and Hairspray. Seussical has been chosen as this year’s production. Simultaneously, the English

department is preparing for its fall drama, The Laramie Project. It is common for students to audition for both shows. Because rehearsal schedules are nearly identical, many must choose between shows. This can leave a director without an actor after they commit to only one show. “I was really torn between the two, naturally. I had a lot of friends doing both, so that was an issue. Also, I didn’t want to upset either director, should I work with them in the future,” sophomore Aidan Hart said. The fear of disappointment is a frequent concern, because the director of Seussical will also be directing Westhill’s spring musical. “In all honesty, I feel like I was somewhat forced to do Seussical or I had no choice because of peer pressure and people mentioning that if I were to do Laramie, I would be ‘blacklisted’ for the Westhill spring musical,” se-

nior Kera Lalli said. In the end, all students have to make their final decisions. “Both shows had a lot going for them. Either show would have been a great experience. In the end, I chose Seussical because I had been doing the All-School Musical for a long time and I didn’t want to miss out my senior year,” senior Juliana Costanzo, who was cast in both productions, said. Lalli, who is a part of the AllSchool Musical, regrets having to choose between the two. “I really do wish I had done The Laramie Project because I feel like I would have a much better experience for straight theater. I have never done a straight play, and usually just participate in musicals,” Lalli said. Unlike Lalli, Hart decided to go a different route. “I wound up choosing The Laramie Project. My hope is that this decision doesn’t get held against me in the future,” Hart said.

Tune In

Column by Andrew Wallen

Singer and guitarist Tom DeLonge, singer and bassist Mark Hoppus, and drummer Travis Barker were the punk-rockers who did not want to grow up in the 1990s. All of that changed, however, on their newest album, Neighborhoods. It has taken blink-182 five albums and seventeen years, but its sound has finally matured. Its music, however, remains just as strong. The album features great drumming from Barker, strong, power-rock guitar from DeLonge, and the unique style of singing

that blink-182 fans know and have become accustomed to. DeLonge has a new edge to his voice. On past albums, his voice got tiresome, but on tracks such as “Natives” it sounds much stronger throughout the entire song. Blink-182 has not forgotten about its old fans, and it is the power rock on songs like “Up All Night” that will keep old fans happy. This song is metaphorical to the lives that blink-182 members find themselves living; lives that include responsibilities and families to take care of. Neighborhoods shows that blink-182 is done partying, but hasn’t lost its sound. Superb drumlines by Travis Barker on songs such as “Ghost on the Dancefloor” prove that the band is back, and better than ever.

Rating (in houses):

3.5 houses out of 5

Sara Hollenberg / Photographer

DECISIONS, DECISIONS Westhill students rehearse for the fall drama, The Laramie Project. The show consists of a series of monologues surrounding the murder of a college student.

Neighborhoods / blink-182 Best Tracks 1. Natives 2. Up All Night 3. Mh 4.18.2011

Leslie Feist is an artist that uses the beauty in her voice to attract listeners. With one of the most talented voices that music has to offer, Feist creates soothing music by combining tunes with poetic lyrics. On her fourth studio album, Metals, Feist sounds like her typical self, utilizing great vocals with a soft touch. Tracks like “Graveyard” and “A Commotion” display Feist’s vocal talent, keeping listeners on the edges of their seats, leaning in to hear more. On the track “A Commotion” she creates a conversation with herself at the beginning of the song, switching be-

Metals / Feist

Best Tracks 1. Graveyard 2. The Bad in Each Other 3. Anti-Pioneer

tween falsetto and tenor lines. However, this album is a bit limited. It is very repetitive, and it would be nice to hear her go outside of her comfort zone by trying heavier songs filled with more emotion. It is very rare to hear anger in Feist’s voice, but listening to the album, you know she is capable of expressing her emotions in a stronger manner. The album also starts to drag on a little bit toward the end, as the songs get increasingly similar. On the track “Comfort Me” the chorus goes on much too long and seems to never end. More or less, Feist stuck to what she does best on this album: showcasing her voice with acoustic guitars.

Rating (in medals):

3 medals out of 5

Photos contributed by: and Ilustrations by: Stephanie Wilson / Head Illustrator

Behind the curtain


October 2011


Freshman Aaron Bantum discusses his experience on “the big stage”

Aaron Bantum / Contributed Photos

Naomi Sabbah Viewpoint Editor

Freshman Aaron Bantum made his Broadway debut in seventh grade as an understudy in Finian’s Rainbow. Since completing his run on the stage, Bantum was cast in TV shows such as, Are We There Yet? and Law and Order: Special Victims Unit. The Westword sat down with him to explore what it is like to be a child performing on Broadway. The Westword: What show were you in on Broadway? Aaron Bantum: It was called Finian’s Rainbow. I got a call about the audition right after sixth grade. TW: What was the audition like? AB: They said, “go in, sing a song, and we have a dance prepared for you.” I thought it was going to be a hip hop dance which is my favorite kind, but when I got there it was more jazz and modern. I felt like the only kid who was not prepared and was a little intimidated. However, I got

a call the next day that said I got the understudy part. TW: How long was the rehearsal process? AB: We started rehearsals on August 31, [2009] and opened in October. TW: Do you remember opening night? AB: Yes, we all dressed really formal. It was exciting. TW: What was it like for you during the shows? AB: Since I was an understudy, I would hang backstage. During intermission, I would go downstairs with the rest of the cast and the wrangler would get us; she was the lady in charge of taking care of all the kids. I liked to call her the “strangler.” TW: Were you given the chance to go perform at all? AB: Yes. In January, we found out the show was closing. Everyone was really upset. The character I was the understudy for was named Henry, and the boy who played him regularly was Chris, [who] became like a second brother to me. He told me I deserved to have a show before

we closed. I had to rehearse a lot to prepare for it because for most of the run I was just hanging backstage. On January 7, 2010, I made my Broadway debut. It was very scary and exciting, but it went great. My whole family came, and my mom said afterwards she had been crying watching me. She told me everyone was coming up to her saying, “He’s an understudy?” TW: How has school fit into the process? AB: During Finian’s Rainbow,

Though it was sad, afterwards we had an after party and it was fun. TW: What is something that you will take away from this experience? AB: I really overcame my shyness through the process. Besides my fifth grade play, this was the only show I had ever been in. TW: What is your dream role? AB: I really want to be in the Lion King on Broadway. I auditioned twice; once before Finian’s Rainbow and once after. The first time they told me I was

“I felt like the only kid who was not prepared and was a little intimidated. However, I got a call the next day that said I got the understudy part.” —Aaron Bantum ‘15 I was home-schooled. But since then, I have been attending regular school. I prefer it because in home schooling there is no one to talk to. TW: Describe closing night. AB: Really emotional. During the bows, everyone was crying.

too shy, and the second time I was too mature. TW: What have you acted in since Finian’s Rainbow closed? AB: I was on a few episodes of the TV show Are We There Yet? as well as an episode of Law and Order: SVU.

TW: What is your favorite Broadway show? AB: I’ve only seen two; Finian’s Rainbow, which is the one I was in, and FELA! which is the story of Fela Anikulap Kuti, the pioneer for Afrobeat music. TW: What are your future plans for performing? AB: I have an agent and a manager who sent me on auditions. They are encouraging me to go to Los Angeles for pilot season, which is in March. This is when new shows shoot their first episode and then the channels decide if they like them. TW: Do you prefer Broadway or television acting? AB: I prefer television. TW: Do you have any family in the business? AB: My distant cousin is Tichina Arnold [an actress on Everybody Hates Chris]. I’ve never met her, but I went to a family reunion once and they gave us a family tree. Our great grandmothers are related somehow. Besides her, no. I have one sibling, a sister who is 20, who is not in the entertainment business.



Blind Spot You’re in my blind spot Following me too closely behind If I was to turn, Then we would collide. Whenever I need to move, I look over my shoulder, and I see you I start to yield, I need to turn I’m ready for a breakthrough. I’m weary now, I missed my turn long ago There is no point in heading down this dead end road I put my blinker on and begin to slow down You’re driving reckless now, Somehow, still in my blind spot. Yet I don’t care, I’m not going to stop And as I go to make my turn, you don’t come to a stop My stomach turns My heart drops You’re in my rearview mirror, But I wish you were not.

– Zoie Alexander, ’12 Artists, clockwise from bottom: Jaclyn Conte (’14), Danielle Caliboso (’12), Leigh Freedman (’14), Emily Eby (’13). All art on opposite page by Abby Hubert.

Artist of the Month

Abby Hubert

Junior Abby Hubert is passionate about art. Using anything from colored pencils to water color, she plays with the concepts of nature and story telling. She sat down with The Westword to tell of her influences, evolution, and plans for the future. The Westword: How did you first become interested in art? Abby Hubert: I first became interested in art through my grandmother, who is an art professor at Nassau Community College. She has always encouraged me and my art since I was little. Freshman year, I had given up on art, until I met [former Westhill student] Niki Taylor who completely pushed me and inspired me to do more. And then I met my boyfriend, and one of the first things I ever told him was that I loved drawing. TW: What has inspires your style? AH: I’m really into nature, and giving it an edgy feel. I also get inspired by fables and fairy tales, as well as comic books. Fantasy themes are so inspiring to me, and I get so lost in them. I went through a stage of playing World of Warcraft for a few years, and I think I ended up drawing fan art more than actually playing the game. TW: What media do you best like working with? AH: I enjoy colored pencils, water

color, and acrylic paint. TW: How has art influenced other areas of your life? AH: Art has really helped me make friends; I’ve always liked being known as the artsy one. TW: What are your short and long term goals as far as your art? AH: In the short term, I want to keep perfecting things, [and] always feel accomplished. In the long term, I want art to help me with my career. I want to keep it as a part of my life. TW: How do you think your work has evolved? AH: During middle school, I did a lot of portraits and sketches with pencil and paper. Since then, I’ve evolved to need color in my work. TW: Which of your pieces would you say is your favorite? AH: I have a lot of pieces that I haven’t completed that I want to get to, but I think my favorite is a quick sketch I did of a girl with a piercing turning into a zebra. TW: How do you want to be involved in art in the future? AH: I decided I wanted to become a tattoo artist, and went through a rebellious stage, thinking that I didn’t have to go to college, which upset my mom and everything went wrong. After realizing that I can probably be really good for the hair and makeup industry, I actually got better at my own art. I plan on doing freelance [art] if anything when I’m older, and take commissions from people for extra cash. TW: How would your friends describe your art? AH: I think my friends and family see my art in a different perspective, and a lot of the time they think it’s better than I think it is.




October 2011



Sporting a new look

Girls’ varsity athletes initiated by teammates

Mackenzie Eisen

Special Report Editor

A fat suit. A pair of gold spandex shorts. A bald cap. A kimono. While any of these items alone might seem out of place at Westhill, combined, they are the source of many laughs, stares, and doubletakes. They also happened to make up the outfit worn by sophomore Laura Heffernan on September 23, the day of her field hockey initiation. This process of inducting new players on varsity sports teams is a Westhill tradition, especially among girls’ sports teams. Seniors and other varsity players on the field hockey, girls’ soccer, and girls’ swim and dive teams dress up their new teammates in ridiculous outfits for initiation, which must be worn for the entire school day. Initiation usually occurs during the middle of the sports season, when school is in full swing and the girls may not be expecting this silly form of induction. For soccer players, this experience is especially intense. “We call their parents the night before to make sure they leave the door unlocked. We come to the house at around 5:15 a.m. We wake them up, and they aren’t allowed to brush their teeth, shower, put on deodorant, or makeup, or anything like

that,” senior Dana Johnson said. After buying their teammates breakfast, the upperclassmen dress up their first year varsity athletes and drive them to school to begin, as Johnson puts it, “a fun-filled day.” On top of having to model outlandish, random items such as clown shoes, rubber noses, and stuffed animals, soccer players are also forced to wear a sign with the player’s name and an action. Whenever anyone in school says the name of said player, she has to perform this action. “I had to pop, lock, and drop it all day. My knees were killing me,” freshman Jess Laszlo said. Those being initiated have mixed feelings about the process. “I’m embarrassed, very embarrassed,” Heidi Druehl, freshman varsity soccer player said. Still, initiation is regarded in a positive light at Westhill. “It’s a rite of passage,” Heffernan said. Many upperclassmen can still remember how it felt coming to school on the day of their initiation and try to recreate their whirlwind of emotions for the underclassmen they are initiating. Some believe that it’s only fair that every team member has a similar initiation experiences in order to have a sense of unification amongst the group. This also helps the freshmen to re-

Kayla Bratton / Contributed Photo

ABSURD APPAREL Returning varsity swim team members initiated their new teammates on September 14 with their own swimsuits, goggles, and caps. alize that although they might be wearing the clown make up this year, next year they will be on the other side of the process. “I’m excited [to initiate others in the future] because my younger friends are coming up to highschool, and I can’t wait to embarrass them the same way I was,” freshman Ashley Rich said. Still, it’s understandable that

some athletes aren’t comfortable with the embarrassment that comes hand-in-hand with initiation. “We don’t get too upset with them,” senior swim captain Megan Gray said about the girls who opt out of initiation. “We remind them it’s all about team spirit when participating, and that doing it shows you can be a team player and take a joke.”

Although initiation may be the cause of a few stares and double takes, it also to contributes something much more positive: team unity. This process of embarrassment brings teammates closer together, improving their relationships on and off the field and providing them with memories they will never forget. For some, that’s worth wearing a set of fairy wings.


The Morning Of

Arriving at School


The night before initiation, the girls who have previously been on varsity spend the night at a teammate’s house. The girls confirm who initiates who and pick out what each person will wear. The outfits are often modeled by team members to make sure the look nothing less than outrageous.

The initiators rises bright and early to catch the new team members before they awake for school. Once the team member is woken up, she is forced to put on the bizarre outfit that was planned the night before. She isn’t allowed to change how she looks or clean herself up. She will have to run a lap around the track for every article she removes.

Once they arrive at school, the girls are told to sing and dance with the rest of the team. The girls then parade around the courtyard in crazy costumes before the first bell rings, showing off how ridiculous they look. “It was great to see them strutting around school, and I think they kind of liked the attention,” senior field hockey player Sylvie Josel said.

Throughout the day, the initiated girls must obey the rest of the team. Whether the girls must bow down to the seniors or hop to class on one foot, it is the team’s day to control the actions that the new players are required to perform. Although this tradition may seem like an embarrassing duty to fulfill, the girls enjoy it in the end.

Briefs and photos contributed by Julia Busto / Reporter

A blind chameleon will still take on the all colors of its environment. The average woman spends one year of her lifetime trying to decide what to wear.


Scatterbrain October 2011

ty i r b e l e C @Lord_Voldemort7 The Dark Lord “Happy Birthday Eminem. I do not ‘love the way you lie’. Nobody lies to the Dark Lord, he always knows...” Oct 16

@JonahHill Jonah Hill If I could have one super power, it would be the ability to know all wi-fi passwords. Oct 12 @StephenAtHome Stephen Colbert “Why is 6 afraid of 7? Because 7, 9, 3. I’m not good with numbers.” Oct 1 @ConanOBrien Conan O’Brien A publisher just asked me to write my autobiography, but they want it to be about Johnny Depp. Oct 18 @ itsWillyFerrell Will Ferrell When you wish upon a star, George Clooney is a safe bet. Oct 16 @JimGaffigan Jim Gaffigan I don’t feel guilty about eating my kids’ after school snack. I feel guilty telling them their mom did. Oct 16 @rainnwilson RainnWilson “Idea: bluetooth earmuffs.” Oct 15

Deuces: Good looks: A verb used to describe Mad heads:

Used to signal one’s departure. Often accompanied by a peace sign. Example: When Marquis left the party he threw up a peace sign and shouted, “Deuces!” An expression used to show gratitude or critical thinking. Example: Cindy: “Don’t you have a debate meeting after school?” Meredith: “Good looks.” A large concentration of humans. Example: There were mad heads in the assembly today. I could barely find an open seat.


Describes a moment of happiness after successfully completing an action. Example: Lloyd got a 100% on his calculus test and yelled, “Sauce!”


A sarcastic phrase used either to reject or to deny Example: John: “Are you coming to tutor with me?” Will: “Shoya, I’m going to the mall.”


Used to convey utter disdain. Acronym for “shake my head.” Example: Those two kids just cut me in the snack bar line! SMH.

Spittin’ fuego:

Talking in a flirtatious manner. Also used to describe the way in which someone raps. Example: Look at Tanner talking to Molly, he’s “spittin’ fuego.”


Appearance, style, or the way a person presents him or herself. Example: The boy had impressive apparel. Swag.

The whip:

An automobile. Example: “Do you want to go to Garden Catering this afternoon? I got the whip.”

Photos courtesy of,, Stephanie Wilson / Head Illustrator

November . . . .

Andrew Krowitz / Verification Manager

o d o T month: t x e n


Daylight Savings ends on November 6, so don’t forget to set your alarm clock back and enjoy the extra hour of sleep.

JROTC will be sponsoring a food drive from November 1 through 18. Bring cans and nonperishable goods to help the less fortunate.

National Recycling Week, is from November 7 to 13, so help reduce, reuse and recycle. Use less water, use both sides of a piece of paper, and recycle as much as possible.


November 11 is Veteran’s day. Think of and remember all of our troops who fought to keep us safe.


Mickey Mouse’s birthday is November 18. Celebrate this famous cartoon character by watching one of the movies or TV shows that he starred in.

Westhill’s fall drama, The Laramie Project, will be playing from November 16 through the 18. Tickets will be $10 for adults and $7 for students.


This year’s homecoming dance is November 23, from 7 to 11p.m. The homecoming game will take place on Thanksgiving Day, November 24, at our home field.

November 20 is the Thanksgiving Day Parade in downtown Stamford. It will feature music, floats and giant balloons.

Kristina Goodrich & Daniela Rumlova / Reporter & Supplement Section Editor

The number of births in India each year is higher than the entire population of Australia. The dot above the “i” is called a tittle.


October 2011

Page of Fun


I There are several objects hidden in the pictures below. Can you find them all? Three pairs of sunglasses

A scarf Five baseball caps A dollar bill A viking helmet A necklace A “Westhill” shirt Gerald Morgan / Photo Manager

Someone taking a photo

A North Face jacket

A referee A football Four Trinity logos Three people wearing gloves A guy with dread locks A Nike sock Westhill’s quarterback Four people with crossed arms

Gerald Morgan / Photo Manager Stephanie Wilson / Head Illustrator Fun facts courtesy of

Virginia extends farther west than West Virginia does. Sound travels about four times faster in water than it travels in air.



Boys’ soccer recovers from forfeits

Brandon Curto & Nick Morelli Sports Reporter & Verification Manager

The Westhill boys’ soccer program has been improving over the last few years. The team has been focusing on one thing: winning. They have experienced challenges this year, including losing much of last year’s starting team. Many key juniors from last year have stepped up as seniors this year. The team started out the season with a 7-1 win against Darien, and quickly added on another win against Trinity Catholic. On September 24, after the first five games of the season, the Vikings had a record of 3-2. All seemed to be going well until coach Joseph Andrews was notified with disappointing news. A Westhill player was in violation of FCIAC rules by playing in an outside competitive soccer league. Due to this violation, the team was forced to forfeit all of their wins, plummeting their once solid re-

cord of 3-2 to 0-5. “I didn’t know what I was doing was wrong,” said senior Lester Seguro, the player in violation of FCIAC regulations. He feels devastated about the entire incident, and claims he had no idea that playing competitive games outside of Westhill could cause the disqualification of five previous games. Coincidentally, the exact same rule was violated by anoth-

come together as a team and win the rest of the games for a chance of making FCIACs and hopefully taking it all. Either way, it definitely won’t happen in the future,” senior captain Sebastian Rozo said. The Vikings are now 7-52 and` very much in the race for the FCIAC playoffs. Without the forfeits, their record would be 102-2. “I think that the forfeits have

A Westhill player was in violation of FCIAC rules by playing in an outside competitive soccer league. Due to this violation, the Vikings were forced to forfeit all of their wins, plummeting their once solid record to 0-5. er boys soccer player two years ago. “It’s my fault and I take the blame,” Seguro said. Players were stunned with the news. “We should have learned our lesson after it happened two years ago. When we all heard the devastating news we couldn’t believe it, but we knew we had to

given us motivation to win every single game. Each game is either make [it] or break [it] for us, and I think we have handled the pressure pretty well,” senior Eli Kisselbach said. The team has already made it to states and FCIACs. Their last game is against Fairfield Warde on October 26 at home.

Gerald Morgan / Photo Manager

BACK ON TRACK Senior captain Sebastian Rozo dribbles past a defender. The boys soccer team has been improving on its record after having to forfeit three games at the beginning of its season for an ineligible player.

Teachers embrace Adopt-A-Team Victoria Sandolo Managing Editor

Westhill is a large community made up of students involved in clubs, theater, athletics. Varsity sports dominate our school, as there are many for students to choose from. Due to the large number of sports offered, Westhill has not been able to fully support each team equally. Many that football players get support through the cheerleading squad. Since not every sport receives that extra recognition, a new program was created at Westhill to support each varsity sports team. Social studies teacher Ms. Miraballes came up with the solution and started the Adopt-A-Team program this past month. AdoptA-Team is a way for teachers and administrators to get involved in Photo Illustration by Gerald Morgan / Photo Manager supporting athletic teams that SUPPORT FROM TEACHERS Math teacher Ms. Khetan encour- work hard to keep us “Westhill ages junior Melissa Miles, a member of the volleyball team, as part and Proud”. of the Adopt-A-Team program. Each academic department

chooses a team at random to support. The departments may then decide how to encourage their team. The English Department has been buying breakfasts for girls’ soccer team on game days, while the Social Studies Department has been wishing the boys’ soccer team good luck on the announcements. “I came up with Adopt-ATeam as a way to bring some school spirit and positivity to Westhill. As a former Westhill student, I can recall when there was a lot more school spirit at Westhill, and [so I] wanted to make an effort to give teachers a chance to celebrate our student athletes. Many teachers were enthused and I expected that response,” Ms. Miraballes said. Not all teachers were open to the new program. “Initially, I thought the athletes don’t need anymore attention. When they told me the English department was supporting girls’ soccer though, I was very excited because they’re winners,” Mr. Lucas said.

Even though the program is mainly geared toward Westhill’s staff, it reminds students the importance of school spirit. “Attendance at games was much higher when I went to school here. Students were much more supportive of each at other sporting events too,” Ms. Miraballes said. As some Westhill teams have already won State Championships and FCIAC titles, it is pivotal to have a large number of fans to keep the teams motivated. Senior volleyball captain Jess Thibault said, “Every team likes having support, so we were really excited when we found out we’d have encouragement for every game.” Though this is only the first year of the Adopt-A-Team program, its founder hopes to expand in years to come. “In the future we even want to include other student clubs who compete or even participate in strenuous after school events, not just sports,” Ms. Miraballes said.

Captains’ corner


October 2011


Senior captains share their perspectives on the fall season Boys’ Soccer

Sebastian Rozo

Seamus Ronan

“This season our team is more of a family. We aren’t playing like individuals; it’s a team effort. We all have a great connection with each other and are playing very well right now. We are doing whatever it takes to get to FCIACs and States, and go as far as we can.”

Football “This season is tougher than last year, but we are more of a family. We have one of the hardest schedules in the FCIAC this year, according to the state power rankings. Our goals are to have fun and beat Stamford High on Thanksgiving.”

—Seamus Ronan

­—David Quito

Sam Lagasse

Cross Country

Girls’ Soccer

“As a young team, our goal is to qualify as many of our runners as possible for the State Open Championship. Also, to have our sophomores and freshmen establish a good base of training.”

“The eight new players and underclassmen are adapting well to the varsity style of play. This program will grow over the years. We have a great coach and great players. Our goals are to build a better relationship as a team, make it as far as we can, and of course, have fun.”

—Sam Lagasse

—Dana Johnson

Dana Johnson Nikita Sturrock

Field Hockey


“Our record is somewhat misleading this year. We have beat some of the best teams in the league and have proved that we deserve a spot in the FCIAC tournament. If the team works hard and practices hard every day, I still think we can make a run in tournament play.”

—Nikita Sturrock

Megan Gray Jessica Thibault & Anjali Khetan


“We are a very competitive team and get ready for competition during the football season. Our younger girls fit in great and we welcomed them with open arms. We face adversity with [getting support from] our own school, but we work hard every day and should be looked at like any other sport.”

“Our goals for this season are to improve together as a team. We focus on improving our times and getting more girls qualified for championships. Our team dynamics revolve around being a team player, coming to all practices, cooperating with the coaches and supporting each other in every race. It’s all about team commitment and hard work.”

—Megan Gray


“This season, we have been improving and working very hard. Our underclassmen have stepped up, and we look at them like they’re former varsity players. We want to make it to FCIACs and States and go as far as we can.”

—Felicia Kazantzidis

—Nicole Carrillo

Quotes compiled by Tim Longo & Brandon Curto / Staff Writer & Sports Reporter

Jennifer Peraza & Nicole Carillo

Gerald Morgan, Mike Bodall, & Sam Lagasse / Photo Manager, Photographer, Online Managing Editor



October 2011

Karate kids

Karanadze family brings Wadō-ryū dynasty to Westhill Tengo Karanadze, Nodaris father, purchased his own dojo in Westport. To continue to progress in their Karate career, Nodari and his brother Ilia , who is also a

Jesse Koretz Staff Writer

“It runs in the family” is a common expression used to compare the skills or attributes of family members. Whether it is parent to child or sibling to sibling connection, unique talents can be shared. In the Karanadze family, one shared gift is their success in Wadō-ryū. Wadō-ryū is one of the four original styles of Karate and was founded in 1938. According to, Wadō-ryū is different than other traditional types of karate because of its use of evasion techniques to avoid contact, ability to maintain balance, and ability to strike back quickly. This type of karate is one of the most unique styles practiced today. Nodari Karanadze is a current sophomore at Westhill and a gold medal World Champion in Wadō-ryū. “[I started this sport] because of two reasons. My father is very successful in the sport, and karate is popular in my home country,” Nodari Karanadze said. The Karanadzes come from Geor-

gia, a country known for its excellence in physical education. The country’s most popular sports are aggressive contact sports: rugby, football, and wrestling. A sport like Wadō-ryū does not come naturally to any person. It takes a lot of work to become a high-quality competitor. Nodari has been practicing this type of karate for eleven years in counting. When the family moved to America just two years ago,

World Champion and a freshman at Westhill, go to the dojo with their father at least three times a week. On days when he is not at the dojo, Nodari spends his time working out and getting stronger at the gym. The Karanadzes are very serious competitors. Tengo coaches Nodari and Ilia, as they follow in his footsteps. “[My most memorable competition was] two years ago when I won the gold and silver in two categories at the World Championships in Portugal,” Nodari said. Ilia and Tengo also placed in the top three of their respective

events in Portugal. Even though Nodari dedicates much of his time to practicing karate, he still shows interest in other activities. Nodari plays soccer and rugby in his free time when he isn’t practicing Wadō-ryū. Not only are the Karandzes competitors, but they are teachers as well, sharing their skills and techniques. Tengo and Nodari teach karate classes at Studio 44, Tengo’s dojo in Westport. Tengo has been teaching karate for 29 years, trained World Cup Champion teams, and is a world karate black belt 4th dan trainer in the Wadō-ryū system. Karate brings the Karanadzes closer together. The talents of Tengo, Nodari, and Ilia have been proven with the amount of titles they have won at such a high level of competition. Their constant practicing is an exclusive way of family bonding. Skills, hard work, and dedication have been passed down from father to son. Nodari plans to follow in the footsteps of his father by practicing karate for the rest of his life, as if the torch is being passed from one generation to the next.

Nodari Karanadze / Contributed Photos

ALL IN THE FAMILY Sophomore Nodari Karanadze is an international martial arts champion, winning awards in both the United States and Portugal, along with his father, Tengo, and brother, Ilia (left) who are also world champions in the sport of Wadō-ryū. The gold medals shown (center) account for less than half of his tremendous collection. Nodari and Ilia (right) have been practicing karate since they were young.

45 Eriksen kicks girls’ soccer into the playoffs Sports

October 2011

Drew Lang

Mateo Gallego

Athletes of the Month

Nicole Eriksen

Distribution Manager

With only three returning starters, girls’ soccer lacked experience early in the season. Anchoring the team is one of them, senior captain Nicole Eriksen. With only two goals allowed so far this season, Eriksen has led her team to a 10-1-1 record and a spot in the FCIAC and State playoffs.

Gerald Morgan / Photo Manager

NETTING HER GOALS Nicole Eriksen dribbles the ball down the field on October 18 in a game against Fairfield Warde. The game resulted in a 1-0 win for Westhill.

The Westword: What do you think has been the key to the team’s success this year? Nicole Eriksen: The key to the team’s success so far is the team’s dedication, because everyone is willing to do whatever they can to get the wins we deserve. TW: How long have you been playing competitive soccer? NE: I have been playing soccer since I was 10-years-old. TW: Who has been the person you have looked up to when it comes to soccer? NE: When it comes to soccer, the person who I have looked up to is my sister, because if she had

never started to play, I wouldn’t have either. TW: What has been the highlight of your Westhill soccer career so far? NE: The highlight of my Westhill career was definitely when we won [the LL State Championship] my sophomore year. TW: How has the team had to adapt from losing so many seniors and starters last year? NE: Our team has adapted well to losing so many seniors because, luckily, the freshmen are very talented and everyone else on the team was willing to step up their game. TW: How far do you see the team going in FCIACs and State tournaments? NE: The team is capable of making it very far into both States and FCIACs. There is no reason we can’t win it all. TW: What drove you to commit to Quinnipiac rather than other D-1 programs? NE: I committed to Quinnipiac because they have a beautiful campus, an excellent [physical therapy] program, and a talented

soccer team. TW: How does it feel to be captain of your team? NE: I feel like I have some sort of authority, along with the fact that [I have] four years [of] varsity experience. I can be somebody that the newer members can learn from. TW: What team do you see as being the biggest challenge to your chances of winning a FCIAC or State title? NE: Definitely St. [Joseph’s]. They have one of the best players in the FCIAC, but we can compete with them. TW: How has playing in a competitive FCIAC league prepared you for college soccer. NE: The FCIAC helps you stay in shape for your club season and strengthens you physically and mentally. TW: If you could play for any professional team, what team would you play for and why? NE: If I could play professionally, I’d play for the Boston Breakers in the [Women’s Professional Soccer league] because they are a very composed team.

Gallego helps turn boys’ soccer season around Danny Guerra Staff Writer

Senior Mateo Gallego is one of three captains of the boys’ soccer team. Gallego made varsity as a freshman, and is one of the top scorers on the team, having scored 15 goals in just 14 games. Now, his leadership and ability has helped team to a 7-5-2 record.

Gerald Morgan / Photo Manager

OVERCOMING ADVERSITY Mateo Gallego crosses a ball in a win against Staples on October 19, helping the team recover from three forfeits. For more informationabout the team, turn to page 42.

The Westword: At what age did you begin to play soccer and how did you start playing? Mateo Gallego: I’ve been playing since I was 5-years-old, actually. Now that I come to think about it, my first word as a baby was “GÓL.” I started playing soccer when my cousin introduced me to it. He was always pushing me to play hard because he saw potential in me. Ever since he introduced me to the game, I fell in love with it and never stopped playing. TW: How has soccer helped you in life? MG: Soccer has helped me become a mature person and has taught me many [character]

traits, like responsibility, respect, and leadership. TW: Looking back at your high school career, can you briefly describe year by year and your experience with the team? What keeps you motivated? MG: I didn’t really enjoy my freshman year. Even though I made varsity as a freshman, I didn’t get much playing time. This gave me time to view the upperclassmen that were starting and learn from their mistakes, so when I had my playing time, I wouldn’t make [the] same mistakes [that my teammate made]. Sophomore season was by far my favorite. That was the year I had the most individual success and felt like I proved a lot of people wrong and played beyond expectations. But I’m sure this season will be the best season; we’ve had a better squad in previous years, and the chemistry the team currently has is unbelievable. It’s like we’re a family. Also, I would say my biggest motivation is my family, they’ve always supported me and have helped me become the player I am today.

TW: Who’s your favorite professional player and why? MG: Oh, that’s an easy one; my favorite player would have to be Xavi Hernandez (midfielder for FC Barcelona and the Spanish national team). I don’t try to play like him, but I definitely learn a lot from watching him on television. TW: What are your strengths and weaknesses in regard to your skills? MG: One thing I’d like to improve is my endurance and fitness level. Even though I’m at a good level of endurance right now, I know I can do better. I like to push myself. I’m very comfortable in front of the net, I don’t fear the opposing goalie, and I’m confident in my shot. TW: What are your future plans for soccer? MG: Obviously, my ultimate goal is to become a professional [soccer player], but I understand that there are many steps I have to accomplish before any of that happens. So for now, I have my eyes set on playing soccer for a good college [that] can offer me good opportunities.



October 2011

Field hockey shoots for the playoffs

After not qualifying for the State tournament last year due to a 4-11 finish, the team Westhill field hockey team has now made it into the State tournament after defeating Fairfield Ludlowe with a score of 6-3 on October 21. “It was our senior day, so it was a lot of added pressure to win-

Greenwich. Coming in as the underdogs, the girls pulled off a 1-0 victory, followed by another 1-0 victory against Bethel. “It is very fulfilling to beat the good teams such as Greenwich. A lot of seniors [graduated] last year, which gave us a chance for a fresh start and a chance for the incoming freshmen and returning players to play more,” senior captain Nikita Sturrock said. Another difference between

ning. We all really wanted it, and I think every player did really well, especially all our forwards. It was one of the best games they ever played,” senior Sylvie Josel said. After a win against Fairfield Ludlowe to open the season, the girls took on league powerhouse

this year and last was the absence of a guiding figure. Despite starting the 2010 season as Head Coach, Ms. Lisy soon took time off for for maternity leave, causing her to miss much of the season. Lisy is back for the full season this year, leading the team to a better record.

Dalton Abel Staff Writer

“A lot of seniors [graduated] last year, which gave us a chance for a fresh start and a chance for the incoming freshmen and returning players to play more.” ­—Nikita Sturrock

“The strong play of the seniors as well as the freshmen who bring a lot of experience [is the biggest difference between this year and last year]. Unlike previous years, this year was the first one where incoming freshmen had actually played field hockey prior to high school,” Ms. Lisy said. Standouts this year include senior captains Allison Macari, Tricia Sass, and Nikita Sturrock, as well as seniors Haley DePietro, Sarah Ehrlich, Cam Sharnsky, and freshmen Jackie Forde, and Ashley Rich, according to Ms. Lisy “We have a lot of new freshmen this year who have helped, but we are also playing very well together because we all know each other. Most of us have been playing together for a few years. We help each other out and we all want to win, so it forces us to do better,” senior captain Tricia Sass said. The girls only have two more teams to face before the State tournament.

Gerald Morgan / Photo Manager

STEPPING IT UP Haley DiPietro runs the ball down the field during the game against Danbury on October 20. The team has beaten top competitors such as Greenwich and Fairfield Ludlowe.

Volleyball defends city championship title

Mike Bodall / Photographer

On October 17, the volleyball team faced crosstown rival Trinity Catholic and won 3-1 (top right). On October 19, the team hosted Stamford High in the game that would decide the City Champions. After Westhill lost the first two sets, the team had a comeback, and defeated Stamford 3-2. This win earned them the title of City Champs for the second year in a row.


October 2011


Out with the old, in with the new Despite loss of key players, girls soccer continues to excel throughout the season Andrew Wallen Sports Reporter

The team won the Class LL State Championships two years ago and placed as runner up in the 2010 season. It seemed that this year would start off shaky, considering the graduation of key players such as Kirsten Erikson, Tessa Dunster,

Despite the lack of starters from last year, the team won its first ten games. As of October 20, they are 10-1-2. Standouts this year include senior captains Allie Souza, Julia Busto, and Nicole Eriksen, as well as juniors C.C. Bingham, Nicole Pellicano, and freshman Jess Laszlo. Laszlo has led the team in scor-

The team has only given up two goals the entire season, leading many to believe that this could be Westhill’s year again. and Aulona Velaj, who now are continuing their soccer careers at college. Despite the loss of these players, the team has a large amount of underclassmen to fill the missing spots. Unlike last year’s roster, there are now three freshmen starting.

ing with 16 goals, averaging more than one goal per game. “I didn’t think I would be starting from the beginning of the year. The team has a good history and was just phenomenal in the past,” Laszlo said. “We want to get as far as we can in FCIACs, but we also want

to keep up the strong teamwork,” coach Dave Flower said. The team also graduated its 2-year starting goalie, Jennifer Osher. As a result, Souza has taken up the position. After playing the field for three years at Westhill, Souza trained in goal over the summer. “The transition has been great! Getting used to a higher level of play took some time, but the team has been doing well and I’ve been having a really good time,” Souza said. As of October 20, the team has only given up three goals the entire season. Westhill is on a bit of a tough streak however, winning only one of their past three games. The former champions are working their way back to the top, beating top FCIAC teams such as Wilton and Staples. As of October 20. the team is ranked third in the FCIAC.

Mike Bodall / Sports Photographer

STARTING OFF RIGHT Freshman Jess Laszlo dribbles the ball down the field during a game against Fairfield Ludlowe on October 20. Though the girls’ soccer team may have lost over half its starters from last year, new players are still working their way to re-proclaim the title of State Champions.

Out of Bounds Column by Matthew Katz According to, the average surgeon, who saves lives, makes an annual salary of $219,278. The average police officer, who keeps American citizens safe, makes an annual salary of $61,000. An average teacher, who prepares the future of America, has a salary of $43,450. The average NBA basketball player, who throws a ball into a hoop, makes an astonishing annual salary of $5.356 million. The average football player, who runs a ball into an end zone, makes a whopping $770,000 for only 16 weeks of work. The average baseball player, who runs bases for a living, makes a little over $3 million per season. Greed has swept through the world of sports and has appeared in the form of strikes. Professional athletes miss training sessions, games, practices, and sometimes whole seasons in order to make more money. They get national publicity and a larger salary for missing work. While, the doc-

tor in Illinois, who just saved the lives of Siamese twins, doesn’t get a raise and can’t risk a day off. This summer, in the NBA and NFL, “lockout” was a reoccurring theme. As the NBA and NFL labor agreements expired and the threat of having no seasons loomed. Players and owners were reluctant to sign a new agreement, which would allow them to make their multi-million dollar salaries. These athletes could not accept making $5.365 million dollars just for the sake of the locker room janitors and towel boys, whose salaries are small, but important. Chris Johnson, Tenessee Titan’s running back, can sit out of training camp and the pre-season because he demands $13.4 million a year. Was his previous multimillion dollar contract not good enough? Apparently, he didn’t care about how he hurt his team by missing practices and pre-season games. It is obvious this player was solely driven by his greed.

The need for more money by sports personnel is repulsive. I don’t want to sound arrogant, stereotypical, or lambaste of America’s sports leagues, but the greed and narcissism of these athletes is ridiculous. They want to be paid more than their already multi-mil-

sized contracts. The owners are no better than the players. I understand the world of sports is a business; without large contracts, your team can’t sign star players. Without good players, you don’t get wins. Without wins, you don’t get spon-

Players and owners were reluctant to sign a new agreement, in which would allow them to make their multi-million dollar salaries. They couldn’t accept to make $5.365 million just for the sake of the loceker room janitors and towel boys. lion dollar salaries. For what? For Alex Rodriguez, who gets paid $25 million a season, to strike out with his team’s season on the line? For Peyton Manning, who gets paid $23 million a season, to miss at least half the football season with a neck injury? The risks of injury and poor performance outweigh the need for monstrously

sors. Without sponsors, you don’t get money. Why should owners buy into the greed of their players? Why should they pay a player more for missing pre-season or practices? If teachers miss class, their students don’t learn and they gets penalized. If doctors don’t show up to surgery, his patient could die and they could face law

suits. Why should sports be any different? Why should players be able to miss work and get paid extra for it? Owners have their own greed as well. They discuss lowering the player’s payroll in the ongoing NBA labor talks. This isn’t because they think players are paid too highly, but rather the owners aren’t being paid enough. The actions of the personnel of major sports teams kill me. Their greed and constant push for more money ruins the integrity of the game. Football is about sitting around a television screen on a snowy December Sunday with family and friends cheering on your favorite team. Now, the world of sports has become a game of monopoly. Sports has become about who gets the biggest contract or endorsement deal. Sadly, the athlete who skips training camp until his owner gives him a raise gets every endorsement. The business of sports is appalling.

Non-Profit Organization U.S. POSTAGE PAID Permit Number 57 Stamford, Connecticut

Viking Sports Fall captains discuss hopes for season p. 43 /Athletes of the Month p. 46

Mateo Gallego

Nicole Eriksen

October 2011  

The October 2011 issue of The Westword, the student newspaper of Westhill High School in Stamford, CT

October 2011  

The October 2011 issue of The Westword, the student newspaper of Westhill High School in Stamford, CT