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News June 2010


Students present their independent studies May 27, students taking an independent study course such as graphic design, photo journalism, and human ecology presented projects that showcased their year’s work. The presentations began at 6:30 p.m. and each lasted about 10 minutes each. The students completed reflection papers the day following the presentations. “From these, I learned how to improve the program,” Ms. Packo said. “All of the mentors are volunteers, and we do it for the love of learning. I believe that most of the students did learn from [their experiences] this year.”

Holocaust survivor visits Westhill

June 3, Westhill hosted a Holocaust assembly for selected students. Speaking at the assembly was Andy Sarnaky, of the Jewish Federation of Greater New Haven and a Holocaust survivor from World War 2, who shared his experiences from the war and the concentration camps. History Department Head Dr. Forbes asked any interested teachers to sign their students up for the assembly. Various social studies classes, including Civics, Modern World, and U.S. History attended the assembly. “Whenever you have personal contact with a person who lives through a historical event, it makes it real,” Dr. Forbes said.

Psychologist talks to AP Psychology classes June 7 and 9, Dr. Yael Sank, a certified psychotherapist trained to deal with trauma, spoke to the Advanced Placement (AP) Psychology classes. Drs. Ellen Berman and Erin Oaks also spoke to the students. Dr. Sank talked about her experiences working with patients who deal with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and dissociative identity disorder (DID). She also discussed ways to treat these disorders, such as Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing. “I think [the presentation] was a good experience. We were able to meet someone who practices psychology and who applies what we learn in class to [her] job. [Dr. Sank] also discussed her experiences with her patients who had multiple personality disorder, and that is something that we cannot learn in the classroom,” junior Aarushi Jain said. At the end of the presentation, the students and AP Psychology teacher Mrs. Kousidis had the opportunity to ask questions. Briefs compiled by aLANA KASINDORF, JAIME MANELA, Skyler ross, and Nikolai Anerud Photos By Alana Kasindorf / Photo Editor

Samantha Rushovich / Photographer For want of a computer Westhill students are able to rent laptops from the Media Center. The computers are preloaded with software, such as Microsoft Office, and students are able to bring them home. However, the Media Center asks that laptops be used for school assignments only.

New laptop rental program introduced MIKE MASIARZ Staff Writer

The Media Center now owns 20 laptops that are available for students to use for free. Recently, a new program was introduced in which laptops are offered for weekly rentals, and students have already started taking advantage of this opportunity. The laptops are not only allowed to be used in the Media Center, but they can also be brought home and used off of school grounds as well. The laptops include software such as Microsoft Office and are capable of connecting to the Internet. The Media Center asks that the laptops are only used for school assignments. According to Media Center Specialist Mrs. Sherman a lot of students have already started borrowing laptops. “I think this new opportunity will benefit students who aren’t able to own a laptop and give them a new 21st century way to do their school work,” sophomore Patrick Hamon said. Although some students are

worried that the laptops will get stolen or lost, Media Center Specialist Ms. Lopez is not too worried. “[The laptops] are locked in the back room in the Media Center and it would be hard to break in and steal them,” she said. Freshman Chris Kober said, “It’s a good opportunity for kids who don’t have computers at home, and [it] could benefit Westhill in many ways. But they must realize that this new project could turn bad if laptops begin missing.” According to Kober, he has daily access to a computer, but if his computer was broken he would ask to borrow one from the Media Center. The Media Center has a very strict policy on returning these laptops on time. A waiver is signed by students before they rent the laptops that states that the students are responsible for them. If there are any damages or if the computers go missing, the school will not cover the cost. Waivers are available at the front desk in the Media Center and have to be signed by the student and his or her parent or guardian as well. Also, for every day that the laptop is handed in late, the student is charged a fee of $1.

The laptops were ordered by Head Media Specialist Ms. Benedict. “It is a great investment and allows for each child to have an easier way of doing [his or her] school work,” Media Center Specialist Mrs. Sherman said. However, there are kids in school who still haven’t heard of this new program or gotten the chance to use the laptops. “This is something completely new to me. I have never heard of this before, it hasn’t really been advocated in the Media Center or in school. However, I think it would benefit Westhill in that students who don’t have the opportunity to use such technologies at home will get a chance to and, as a result, [they can] improve their grades in school,” junior Kirsten Eriksen said. The program has been around for over 12 years. Ms. Benedict said “This program has been in existence for a while, but new Dell Mini’s were ordered recently; ten last year, and ten this year. The Media Center was able to afford these laptops by using money from their media center budget.


Students present their independent studies Holocaust survivor visits Westhill Psychologist talks to AP Psychology classes mIKE maSIaRZ Staff...