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THE WESTON HIGH SCHOOL

OURNAL 115 School Road, Weston, CT 06883

NON-PROFIT ORG. U.S. POSTAGE

PAID

PERMIT NO. 95

WESTPORT, CT 06880

December 2013 • Year MMXII, Issue III

It’s The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year

beach!” Hope you have a great time, Nupur! Florida is a popular holiday destination, as students and their families look to escape the harsh cold of the New England winter. Other warm and sunny holiday des-

her [ancient] grandpa, who is pushing 100.” She plans on, “hitting up the beach,” and , “meeting tons of cool, new Floridians.” Senior Ally Mcnamara will be at home this break. She plans on, “chilling at home, watching Christmas [and other] holiday themed movies.” She’s excited to “spend time with family and relax at home with [loved ones].” Although some seniors such as Meg Fitzger-

SPOTLIGHT

Homework Over Break: The Audacity!

months and are very excited to do some fun, wintry activities. Senior Claudia Hason plans on going to a fun dance club in New

Y o r k City with friends over break called the Copa Cabana. Hope you have a great time, Claudia! Other seniors are not as lucky, and will be trapped under the pressures of college applications over break and finishing their semesters strongly by studying for exams. Holed up in their beds, wrapped in blankets, they’re the ones with bloodshot eyes from

Remembering JFK

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staring at a computer screen 24/7. Regardless of your activities this break, we hope to hear some great stor i e s from t h e student body when they return to school i n J a n u a r y. And what about some teachers, huh? The meticulously put together and in complete control of the stress in her life Ms. Christine Cincotta plans o n , “traveling with [her] in laws [...] Mr. and Mrs. Cincotta [so they] don’t feel left out.” She will also be heading up to New Yo r k City to watch Wa i t ing for Godot. Hope you have a great time! History teacher Mr. Bill Moeder plans on, “taking care of [his] kids, see[ing] a few movies, watch[ing] football and [enjoying] a few sodas. [Preferably] with three ice cubes.” We recommend Dr. Pepper! Wildcard math teacher Mr.

Kevin Buckley has been invited to, “Mr. Moeder ’s house [to]

sing Christmas carols [with fellow Math teacher] Kevin Joyce.” Clearly Mr. Moeder is not aware of these plans. Buckley states that Moeder also lives in, “a hood.” Buckley also plans on going to, “Sherwood Island, [and] if the weather is nice, [he plans] on going swimming. [But] if it is cold out, [ h e

will] g o ice skating.” Buckley would like to remind the readers that, “this is the season for giving. Giving is receiving.” Wise words, Mr. Buckley! It is clear that a lot of students and teachers are planning on having a great time over break. The Journal staff wishes everyone a great holiday break, with well wishes for the New Year!

Basketball Preview

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Should School Start Later?

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By Natalie Quiles and Anisha Khosla

sounds like a great time, Mr. Sinatra, what are actual Weston students doing over the deliciously long holiday break? For Junior Nupur Daptardar, it will be a sunny week spent in gorgeous Florida. Daptardar excitedly said she will be, “at Disney, chilling by the

the water is warm, and cars can drive up hills without getting stuck in two feet of snow! Others feel at home in the cold, and will be headed out to ski this holiday break. Senior Luke Fleming tells us that “ I will be going to my grandparent’s house in NY to go skiing.” Armed with a thermos of hot chocolate in one hand and cashmere mittens in the other, Weston students hit the slopes, whether they be in New Yo r k , Ve r mont, Colorado, or all the w a y o u t to the S w i s s Alps. While the beachgoers will come home equipped with their new tans, these snowlovers will be seen with their rosy cheeks and frostbitten fingers! Not all students are so lucky as to travel however. Many around the campus

children are, “dashing through the snow,” on a socalled “one-horse open sleigh.” Although this

ald and Gillian Ryder plan on simply, “skiing,” and ,”travelling,” respectively, others others have been [planning their break for

opinion

golden,

students are choosing to stay home this holiday break, as they are swamped with studying for midterms, doing homework, or writing college apps. Senior Jack Kerns reports that his plans for break are “pretty boring,” as he plans on “sleep plus Netflix.” The simplicity of lying in bed, with no obligations to fulfill is a beauty that is only awarded to us a few times throughout the school year. Senior Amore Panton is ecstatic about, “going to Florida to visit

sports

tinations include Turks and Caicos, Hawaii, and the Cayman Islands, where t h e sand is

out and about

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, folks. According to Frank Sinatra ,


DECEMBER 2013 | EDITORIALS-IN-CHIEF 2 ing to the mall, in order to avoid the disastrous and life threatening mob that are holiday shoppers. In the past, I looked forward to buying gifts for friends and family. Deciding that so-and-so would really enjoy this book, or what’s-his-face would totally appreciate that new Pokémon game. Not anymore. I praise the online shopping gods for providing an oasis to those who have served their time in the outlet malls, the department stores, the craft shops. There is no thought more calming than the knowledge that, from the comfort of my own home, I can order every gift I need to buy. Every. Single. Gift. I will no longer arrive at a holiday party with bruised elbows and scraped cheeks, from fighting at the department store for a pair of moccasins. Black Friday shopping is a time when unsuspecting consumers are tricked into thinking they’re getting a good deal. A recent broadcast by News 12 explained how mega stores such as Walmart and K-mart are known for producing equal, if not even better deals throughout the entire year. For example, an Oster 8-speed blender from Walmart was adver-

tised for $16.95 during their annual Labor Day sale. Yet, on Black Friday was listed for $19.95. Regardless of advertising, stores will still have “amazing, door-busting-deals” year round. It seems so ridiculous to me how people, year after year, will flock in droves to the stores. The assumed angry mob will trample, stampede, man handle their way through innocents and devils alike, eyes focused on this life consuming deal. Blackfridaydeathcount.com, an entire website dedicated to reporting all the deaths and injuries from Black Friday shopping, reported that seven people died this year while Black Friday shopping. Seven people. How has it come to this? At what point did it become more important to stand in line for hours, in the end to leave bruised and battered, rather than enjoy the quality time spent with loved ones? Why have we become a culture that is so obsessed with material objects that we would rather face death than sit with the great aunt you see maybe once a year? Obvious, this generalization may not apply to everyone. Some may be sick of being around the same people, and having the same conversations.

Which often time consists of a 20-questions game of your future. Where you’re going to school, who you’re dating, how your grades are. The endless repetition can become this incessant droning in the back of your head, a buzzing beehive lodged inside the deepest recess of your ear canal, waiting for the moment you finally break and react in a lessthan-civilized-manner. In these cases, it is completely understandable. It is commendable, those of you who use Black Friday as an escape. But for those of you reading this, who are , I hope you take one thing from this editorial; please value the time you have with your family now. Life is unpredictable. That fact is obvious, but often times forgotten. Do not assume that you have all the time in the world, that you’ll see them during Easter, or the Fourth of July, or some other general family gathering. Barrel through the boredom or annoyance you may feel with certain family members. You never know when you will see someone last, and that uncertainty should prompt you to enjoy the time you have with them now. Cherish the time you have with them now...because you never know when it may end.

turns a forty-minute break from schoolwork into a six hour session of back to back Gossip Girl epi sodes. The worst is when you start a new show, and get hooked. You lose track of all responsibilities, all time, and by the time you check your watch, it’s 4 am and you’ve finished two seasons. Now, I have heard stories about those who can handle their Netflix addictions. ApparAnisha Khosla ‘14 ently they can just go on, Editor-in-Chief watch a twenty-five minute episode of That 70’s Show and then go back to their work. But I have I have a love-hate yet to meet such a person. relationship with Netflix. The fact of the matter is I love the fact simple: with great power that I can watch TV and comes great responsibilmovies any time I want ity. The problem is, the to. I love that I can find minute we lay our hands all seasons for a show in on the power, all sense one place, and glide be- of responsibility goes flytween them easily, with- ing out the window, and out needing to hunt for a we’re left with a feeling of different DVD. But I hate panic as we try to budget the automatic play fea- time for both homework ture. The evil contraption and sleep (and possibly that immediately starts just one more episode). playing the next episode Another aspect of after you finish your cur- my ever so complicated rent one. This feature relationship with Netflix

is the selection available to me on Watch Instantly. Many of the movies are old, and unless I have previous knowledge on something, I tend glance over it. The newer titles tend not to be big, blockbuster films, but rather those that you remember hearing about, but never remembered to see. Some are good and others are, well, not so great, but for most, it’s easy to see why they weren’t in popular demand. While there are a few of the big movies available, it usually takes a year or so to show up on Watch Instantly. With TV shows, there is a lot more variety. Though current shows will not keep up with the most recent episodes, the shows available are relatively new, and have been heard of at some point or another. Shows like American Horror Story and New Girl are available for people to get caught up on before they begin the current seasons. The availability of all seasons in one place makes it easy to catch up on a show, or watch a missed

season or two. However, the TV selection is the opposite of the movie selection, as new programs like Orange Is The New Black and Breaking Bad are available in full, while classics such as Friends and Seinfeld are missing. However, Netflix has found a way to make up for their lack of titles, and this is through their “taste preference” system. A user need simply to rate titles that they have seen out of five stars, and based on these ratings, Netflix suggests titles to watch next. This mechanism exposes previously unknown titles based on their similarities to titles that are more known. Combined with a relatively recent feature of creating various profiles for the different users under a certain account, I have been able to use this feature to discover numerous new shows and movies. Unfortunately, I just spent the day watching 3 seasons of Nikita, and I now must start my homework… Ah, how I love Netflix.

J OURNAL THE WESTON HIGH SCHOOL

EDITORIAL BOARD Anisha Khosla Sarah Gruen Natalie Quiles Emily Weyrauch Editors-in-Chief Editors-in-Chief

AROUND THE CAMPUS Michael Kalmans Steve Friedman Aaron Pomerance Michaela Troiani Section Editors Section Editors

OUT & ABOUT

Elliott Eglash Scarlett Machson Senior Section Editor Emily Goldberg Caroline Maretz Section Editors Editor Section

SPORTS & ATHLETICS

Andrew Parks Lucy Chestler Micah Zirn SectionEditors Editor Section

OPINION&COMMENTARY

Erin Major Olivia Clark MicahMuller Zirn Daniel Section Editors Editors Heydar Ensha Liz Lepore Chase Troxell Katie Mitchell Copy Editors Copy Editors Benson Kane

Michael Sitver Michael Sitver BusinessManagers Manager Business Elaine Hong Hong Elaine Media MediaCoordinator Manager Mathew Risoli

Andrew Jorge Faculty MatthewAdvisor Risoli Faculty Advisors

STAFF WRITERS STAFF Anisha Khosla Bobby Eddy Ana Flooks Heydar Ensha Eliza Reinhardt Eric Hirsch Scarlett Machson JamesIelusic Willis Sarah Lucy Chestler Cristina Manna

Jackson Marvin Rachel AsraSpencer Ali

ARTISTS&PHOTOGRAPHERS Bobby Eddy Tyler Thompson Lauren Solinsky

ARTISTS & PHOTOGRAPHERS Elaine Hong Claudia Hason Elain Hong Claudia Hason

Natalie Quiles ‘14 Editor-in-Chief Winter is beautiful. That is a simple fact. Newly fallen snow, covering everything in fluffy tufts. The chilly air, which makes every lungful feel like a glass of cool ice water. And the season of giving, regardless of which holiday you celebrate. This time of year is popular for donations, volunteering, and giving to loved ones. This time of year is terrifying. Never before have I been shoved out of the way, in order for a mother of five to grab the last of the Superhero toys. Never before have I needed to bulldoze my way out of Target, after a riot had started in the Electronics section. Never before have I needed to plan an escape route while head-


around

the campus

Teachers Assigning Work Over Break: What’s the Big Idea?

When is homework fair, and when is it too much? Photo courtesy of News Works Heydar Ensha ‘14 Copy Editor With the Pilgrim-Jewish wonder Thanksgivikkah over, students came back, rested from the rejuvenating magic of stuffing and menorahs, or were they? With the amount of assignments doled out before the holidays, did they really receive a true break? Were they even able to find the Great Pumpkin, or the Great Dreidel? Mr. Joyce, Weston High’s calculus and pun theory teacher, said that the only homework he assigned was to spend time with family. This noticeably troubled Barnaby Kirque, a student of Mr. Joyce’s AP Calculus CD class. “I find it ridiculous, I already have enough on

my plate what with the CAPT exam coming up, and it’s not going to study itself,” he said as he threw up in the air several College Board CAPT review books. Hyperventilating, he persisted, “And now, I have to spend time with my family, outrageous, OUTRAGEOUS!” Kirque unfortunately stormed off in tears before the interview was finished. He would come back a minute later to pick up his review books with his mascara running. Other students did not have the same emotional reaction. Barnaby’s sister, Candle “Understanding” Kirque opined, “teachers give too much work over break…they need to take into account that the allotted time given to students

for break is exactly that— a break from school.” When asked if her workload for Thanksgivukkah was out of the norm, relative to other holiday breaks, she responded, “I didn’t have as much work over Thanksgivukkah as I normally do which is aight. Last winter break, Mr. Blank made us read a whole book…Not that I’m bitter or anything.” (Name redacted under the No Snitchin’ Policy as stated in the WHS Street Bylaws.) She then passiveaggressively repeated how she was not bitter, enforcing her point. She continued, “I had a lot of work over Thanksgivukkah and I was also studying for the SATs… I was able to spend time with them [my family], just not as much

as I would have liked.” Candle “Woolen Sweater” Kirque also reported that she “barely had any time to knit.” She adamantly added, “That’s a crime.” Although no arrests will be made at Weston High School, many students were upset by the homework that was due the following Monday after break. Unfortunately, many of those students were unwilling or uncomfortable to talk about their workload. An anonymous student reluctantly divulged, “we ain’t gonna talk, we’re all playin’ D and D.” The anonymous student further explained, “We’re not playin’ Dungeons and Dragons, ya bonehead, we’re playin’ deaf and dumb. We’re all too scared to talk about the work teachers are givin’

us. They got eyes and ears everywhere.” The student then yelled loudly into the air, “I’m no rat! And that Marlon Brando, uh, I mean Terry Malloy, is one handsome man; he’s just misunderstood is all.” When asked who “they” were, the student replied, “Hey, I’m just a longshoreman is all, I gotta look out for of my wife and kids.” The student then walked off into the fog, muttering, “Why didn’t Marlon Brando ask me to Evergreen?!” One student was able to answer some questions on the record. Andrea Yankovich, a “sEnYyurR,” seemed to “have no issue with teachers” giving work over break. “However,” she continued, “giving kids work and expecting them to complete all of it over break is unfair to

those of them who are visiting family members they rarely get to see, or on vacation, etc.” Perhaps the work over break is a necessary consequence of attending a rigorous, blue ribbon school. Classes are intended to be challenging and lost time simply can’t be afforded. Says a “señnñïîér,” “Who cares about work? I’m a $xyrsgluzzzhlr (slang for “sglenior”). After this year, I’ll never have to learn again!” But for the rest of the school, who don’t know what a “college” is, they’ll just have to power through their work while juggling everything else in their lives.

Lip Dub Receives Lukewarm Welcome to WHS Steve Friedman ‘14 Section Editor Electronic music has been becoming more and more popular among today’s youth, with a recent example being the bass-heavy genre of dubstep. The WHS student body in general has warmly embraced the music that

kind of sounds like it could be the soundtrack to ‘Transformers’ if you think about it, which is why it comes as a surprise that the newest subgenre, Lip Dub, received such an unenthusiastic greeting at Weston. But how did Lip Dub, which sounds like regular dubstep, but with more “lip” in-

volved, arrive at WHS? In an attempt to unify the student body and boost school spirit, the student government decided to orchestrate a school wide lip-dub music video, but the idea proved to be unpopular among many students. “I’m more into post-trap ironic chillwave right now, so yeah, I’d rather not

be a part of anything lip-dub, you know?” reasoned WHS Senior Michael Bright, while other students explained that they were just trying to fight “the Man.” However, not all were against the idea. School Co-president Zack Zeigenthuler confessed that he thinks “lip dub is the next big thing. Don’t be surprised when Skrillex

or Taylor Swift or anyone like that comes out with a hit lip-dub single and we’re all here standing in the dust.” Zeigenthuler added that while he prefers alternative house-step glam-pop soft rock for easy listening, in his opinion there is no substitution for Lip Dub when it comes down to a matter of anatomical electronic dance

music. Whether the mixed reaction to the newest musical fad is a sign of Weston’s eccentric music tastes or a lack of school unity, it’s clear that WHS won’t be making a music video anytime soon.


DECEMBER 2013 | AROUND THE CAMPUS

COMPANY Begins Production of ‘‘Carousel” Steve Friedman ‘14 Section Editor Company is the largest club at WHS, and it’s more than just a club. Every year it puts on two mainstage productions; a fall play and a spring musical, along with smaller student-run events such as Dialogue. Company has already had a succesful year with their fall production of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night. Company gave the show a modern twist by setting it in the 1920s, which brought it classic antiquated bigband dance music and stylistic sets. The show proved to be a huge success, but WHS’ drama club hardly rested before beginning the next project, the spring musical. This year, the decision of what play to perform brought along some debate and controversy, as previous drama-god and English department-head Doris Fiotakis, now retired, was not present to guide the process through. When Mr. Long, the advisor of the club and director of the plays, announced that Company would be doing Carousel, a renowned Rodgers and Hammerstein musical, some Company members voiced a strong disliking of the decision and brought the choice into public speculation. Many members of the club had little to no knowledge of the play personally, but when a few students spoke out against it, many more grouped together in a terrifying sort of theatre-mob mentality. Company aficionado Andrew Yankelevich exclaimed excitedly that “I have no idea what

this thing is about, but I know I despise it!” Mr. Long dealt with most of the criticism steadfastly and unbreaking, but when he eventually got the impression that there wasn’t enough support to put on the show, he decided to listen to the student voice and go back to the drawing board. He gathered all of Company in the auditorium to share his own thoughts and hear some of the student’s individual voices, and ultimately it was apparent that the amount of students who either supported the choice of Carousel or didn’t know anything about it but trusted Mr. Long’s judgement far outweighed the minority of students who were against it. And thus, the musical was revived, with a dramatic commencement before auditions even begun. The sudden test of democracy within Company is relatively unheard of before this, and brought some issues and confusion along with it. Mr. Long commented that it was a “learning process for me, too, having stepped into [Ms. Fiotakis’] shoes only this year”in an emailannouncement to all of Company. Ms. Fiotakis’ absence isn’t the only change in COMPANY this year; Erik Paul, the school’s orchestra and choir director will be taking over the role of musical director for the show after several years of noninvolvement. Such changes promise to make the upcoming production of ‘Carousel’ even more exciting and unprecedented than the shows usually are.

Perspectives: Weston and Beyond

Natalie Quiles ‘14 Editor-in-Chief The past two editions of this series have focused on the general scope of stress within Weston High School, and the view of stress from a reputable member of the guidance staff, Ms. Meghan Skelton. Now, the radius has widened, and this edition will focus on stress within nearby surrounding institutions. The Guidance Program Director from Greenwich High School, Mrs. Sarah Smith*, gives her opinion on stress within

to finish work, [when] they aren’t ready for a test[...], if they have a hard time getting up after not getting enough sleep, [if] school feels very high pressure [for them], [or from] the increased expectations for college preparation.” And how have the adults in their lives helped to alleviate or advise students on how to deal with their stress? Smith describes parents as being able to, “help [students...] not take on too many obligations or too much work [....Parents] can help [students] seek help from school or

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with WHS social worker Meghan Skelton, Skelton described how the WHS guidance staff works with many different organizations year round to ensure that students dealing with stressful situations are cared for both in and out of school. Weston High School shows a large difference between how the staff reacts to students dealing with stress. Smith does not describe how far the guidance staff at Greenwich High School will go to help their students through rough patches. The guidance staff here at WHS

dealt with early enough. Smith says that, “preventing stress by taking on reasonable course loads and a reasonable activity load is very important.” Smith’s main thought while describing why not dealing with stress early enough in an adolescent could be detrimental was that, “stress in high school affects grades on transcripts; if it could be dealt with in elementary and middle school, those grades don’t have as much of an impact on options after high school.” Clearly, Smith does not refer as directly to a

goes above and beyond their basic job description, working with organizations such as the Department of Child and Families, the Juvenile System for truancy cases, the Weston Youth Services, and mobile crisis and therapeutic resources. Clearly WHS takes a more holistic approach to their students dealing with stress and other issues. After choosing not to answer a few questions such involving how stress affects students of different ages, Smith concluded the interview with a brief description regarding the importance of stress prevention and what happens when stress is not

student’s mental health, preferring to mention how “college ready” they would need to be. Two other Guidance Directors from New Canaan and Darien High Schools were asked how their schools deal with stress. Both have yet to provide responses. A senior from Staples High School in Westport, CT, Lamont Johnson, was also questioned in order to understand stress from a student’s opinion at another nearby school. Johnson stated that, when faced with stress from school work, he will usually go play, “sports or go to work. [Johnson] thinks the best way to combat mental stress is through

Studious teens Photo courtesy of Elaine Hong her school. Smith, who is from both New York and Connecticut, has worked within the Greenwich school system for about 15 years, and chose to become a school counselor due to her, “desire to help people and make their educational experience a good one.” Smith cites some of the main ways she has seen stress manifest itself among students within Greenwich through, “difficulty concentrating, difficulty sleeping, headaches, stomachaches, [and] self medicating with drugs or alcohol.” Smith continues, describing the reason students chose to often skip or avoid school from when they, “need

community resources.” Parents are clearly meant to be supportive by directing their students to other sources of aid. As far as the guidance department is concerned, they help students, “through counseling, decision making, [and] relaxation exercises.” Unlike the staff at WHS, Smith does not describe her guidance staff as putting as great a focus on helping kids outside of school. Smith states that they suggest students participate in, “nonacademic work over the summer, [meaning] getting a job, volunteering, relaxing, reading, [and generally] expanding their horizons.” In the previous interview done

*Name has been changed

Continued from page 4


DECEMBER 2013 | AROUND THE CAMPUS

Orchestra Concert Review

Natalie Quiles ‘14 Editor-in-Chief On Tuesday, November 3rd, the WHS String and Symphonic orchestra ensembles performed their winter repertoire of music for friends and family. Conductor Erik Paul, “wanted the audience to come away from the concert, “knowing that [the ensembles] have been working hard on music [and] that it sounds good. I would like them to say, ‘Wow, that was good’, and have no idea how much work was put in.” This yearly holi-

play, Paul, “whose songs based on difficulty and key signatures, and also [how] familiar the song is, whether the ensemble can connect to it.” Paul also chooses songs if they are reasonably challenging, so that the ensembles can work towards playing it better. Violin player from the String Orchestra and sophomore Taylor Kennedy, describes the rehearsal process as, “rewarding… The work [everyone] puts in is obvious, and I always have a really great time during rehearsals.” The concert began at 7:30pm, with family, friends, and spectators trickling in for

String Orchestra rehearsing Photo courtesy of CT Post day centered concert is something to look forward to for members of the orchestral ensembles. Members, who play the violin, viola, cello and bass, have been working on a select few songs since the beginning of the school year to create a successful concert performance and show off the skills of both the players and the conductor. When asked how he decides what music to

a few minutes before the lights dimmed and the string orchestra ensemble began their first song of the evening. The String Orchestra ensemble began with a whimsical rendition of Themes from Symphony No. 40, K.550 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Although the piece was challenging, the orchestra’s constant rehearsals truly paid off. They fol-

lowed with the adventurous and uplifting themes from Mission: Impossible by Lalo Schifrin and arranged by Larry Moore, and Captain America by Alan Silvestri and arranged by Sean O’Loughlin, which were true crowd pleasers and really, “interested the audience.” (Cass) The string ensemble completed their segment with a beautiful and soothing performance of Winter Wonderland by Felix Bernard and arranged by Bob Cerulli. After a quick transition, the Symphonic orchestra concluded the evening with a few complex pieces. Beginning with Prelude and Fugue in Dm from 8 Little Preludes and Fugues, BWV. 554 by Johann Sebastian Bach, the song immediately grabbed the audience’s attention and showcased the orchestras advanced skills. The group followed with Kyrie, from Requiem, K. 626 by Mozart a very dramatic and soulful piece. The ensemble completed their segment with two songs by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky, one being Symphony No. 4 in F Minor Andantino, mvt II Scherzo, mvt III and the other called Mother Ginger from the Nutcracker. Bass player and junior Brian Cass describes the symphonic orchestras rendition of Mother Ginger as his, “favorite part of the concert. I love the Nutcracker, and they played Mother Ginger very well.” The Annual Holiday concert was a success, leaving performers proud of their hard work and audience members impressed and excited for the upcoming holidays.

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Perspectives (cont’d)

Students choose to relax through exercise Photo courtesy of Phillip Martin Clip Art physical [release, such as running or other exercise], or any other activity [that is relaxing] for you.” In terms of his relationship with the guidance staff, it seems Johnson has a positive one. He explains that he goes in to talk to his guidance counselor about what is going on his life, “all the time. [Johnson] thinks it’s a great idea to [get other opinions] to help you decide what to do.” Johnson wanted to conclude by explaining that there is no “right way” of dealing with stress. “We all have our own ways [of dealing with problems]. Just because working out helps me

deal with stress doesn’t mean it [will] work for [everyone else].” Although there are blatant differences between how the guidance staff works with students, it seems that, as far as student opinions, students from surrounding schools deal with stress the same way. After reading through Johnson’s brief interview, Junior Erin Major agrees with his responses. Major states that she also does what she loves when she’s feeling stressed, such as “playing volleyball and hanging out with friends.” Sophomore Taylor Kennedy believes that, “do-

ing what you love,” is the best way to deal with stress. “Personally, I try to relax by watching tv or going for a walk.” Clearly there is a connection between how Weston students deal with stress in comparison to students from other schools, as all guidance departments care about the mental health of their students. While the stress levels remain high, it is a relief to know that our guidance department is doing everything they can to lower the stress of our student body.

TITLE IX NOTICE "No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance..." 20 U.S.C. § 1681 Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (Title IX) prohibits discrimination based on sex in educational programs which receive federal financial assistance. Athletics are one component of Title IX. Other programs and activities which may be included are: course offerings and access, co-curricular activities, hiring, retention, benefits, and leave. Title IX also protects students and employees, both male and

female, from unlawful sexual harassment in school programs and activities. In compliance with Title IX, and in accordance with other federal and state laws, the Weston Public Schools prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex, race, color, ethnicity, ancestry, national origin, marital status, age, disability, religion, sexual orientation, and gender identity or expression in employment as well as in the provision of all services, programs, and activities. The Board of Education’s Policies and Regulations regarding nondiscrimination can be found on the District’s website:

other federal and state laws that prohibit discrimination. The Title IX Coordinators investigate all complaints of discrimination and address all violations. The Title IX Coordinators also facilitate any measures that may be necessary to protect the complainant(s).

The District’s Title IX Coordinators monitor compliance with this law and

District Coordinator Lewis D. Brey Director of Human Re-

Individuals with questions or concerns about Title IX, other federal and state laws concerning discrimination, and/or those who wish to file a complaint of noncompliance, may contact the District’s Title IX Coordinator, or the building based Title IX Coordinators, for more information:

sources and Internal Counsel 24 School Road Weston, CT 06883 (203) 291-1412 lewisbrey@westonps.org

9 School Road Weston, CT 06883 Alternatively, or in ad (203) dition to the Title IX 291-1451 Coordinator(s), inquiries kimkus@westonps.org regarding Title IX may be directed to the U.S. WIS Coordinator Department of EducaWHS Coordinator Doreen O’Leary tion’s Office for Civil Assistant Principle Rights, the federal agency Daniel Doak Weston Intermediate charged with enforcing Assistant Principal School compliance with Title IX: Weston 95 School Road High School Weston, CT 06883 Boston Office 115 School Road (203) 291-2702 Office for Civil Rights Weston, CT 06883 doreenoleary@westonps. US Department of Educa (203) org tion 291-1643 5 Post Office Square, 8th dandoak@westonps.org WMS Coordinator Floor Michael Bernardi Boston, MA 02109-3921 Hurlbutt Elementary Assistant Principal Telephone: (617)289-0111 School Coordinator Weston Middle School Email: OCR.Boston@ Kim Kus 135 School Road ed.gov Assistant Weston, CT 06883 Principal (203) 291-1512 Hurlbutt Elemenmichaelbernardi@wetary School stonps.org


Out and About

Frozen or Not, It’s Still One of the Hottest Movies of the Season Scarlett Machson ‘16 Section Editor A film lush with stunning visuals, impressive musical numbers, and compelling characters, Disney’s Frozen is sure to melt the heart of even the most obstinate of Disney cynics. Frozen is the story of Princess Anna (Kristen Bell) whose determination and bravery are put to the test when she sets out to find and reason with her sister Elsa, the Snow Queen, whose powers over ice and snow have frozen their Nordic village in the middle of summer. Anna’s journey to fully understand her sister is paralleled with Elsa’s own struggle with her growing powers, as the film builds to a satisfying and brilliantly orchestrated reconciliation between the two.

This movie is one of the most refreshing animated films to be released in years. While it does, on occasion, resort to the old templates for such a story, it manages to stray enough from the expected track to hold its audience’s interest, and throws in enough unexpected turns to keep them guessing. At its heart, Frozen is a story celebrating family, more specifically the bond between the two sisters, Anna and Elsa. Their relationship is recognizable and realistic, and the characters themselves are so interesting and sympathetic that there is a genuine element of tragedy when circumstance forces them apart. The songs in this movie are also beyond reproach. They may not have quite the staying power that the scores of older Disney classics like The Lion King

or Beauty and the Beast might boast, but they are still catchy, upbeat, and overall just sound wonderful. Idina Menzel as Elsa

wrenching emotion into her voice that it’s practically impossible not to get wrapped up in the experience. Other songs are just

Kristen Bell, Jonathan Groff, and Josh Gad lend their voices to the characters in Disney’s newest animated film Photo courtesy of The Atlantic is positively chilling in her performance, as the Wicked star injects such heart-

as charming, and though none of them may be destined to become house-

The “Girl on Fire” is Still Burning Strong in Catching Fire Sarah Ielusic ‘17 Staff Writer The Hunger Games: Catching Fire scorches the box office with a 161.1 million dollar opening weekend gross

their lives. And now, she must marry him to keep up with their “star-crossed lovers” façade. Soon after Katniss returns home from her tour, it is announced that for the 75th Hunger Games, a special event, the tributes will be cho-

hold tunes, that won’t stop audiences from humming to themselves for days after leaving the theater. Complementing these

her signature resistance as her world crumbles around her. The last 20 seconds of the movie ends with a shot of her face as a thousand emotions run through it, making it the best 20 seconds in the movie. Hutcherson becomes fully

Malone, who plays Johanna Mason – a sarcastic, callous, intrepid and blunt character who provides what few laughs can be found in the dark film. Arguably, Catching Fire suffers from the “something old, something borrowed” disease

songs is the magnificent animation, again, some of the best to come out of Dis-

ney or any animation studio in a long time. Every snowflake is accented and every ice crystal shines with iridescent light, a gorgeous reminder of the majesty of winter. The animation on the characters is also incredibly impressive. Even on computer-generated faces, the emotions are as clear as if we were looking at real actors. In this way, it is easy to forget at times that what you are watching is animated at all; the visuals are too enthralling to dismiss as simple pictures. Whether you’re a kid, a kid at heart, or just interested in a heartwarming story with beautiful imagery and enjoyable music to back it all up, Frozen is probably right for you. It’s a wonderful addition to the Disney archive, and hopefully a sign of more great animated films to come.

Typhoon in the Philippines Cristina Manna ‘16 Staff Writer On November 8, six islands in the Philippines were hit by Typhoon Haiyan, leaving thousands without homes or access to clean water or food. At least 5,000 people have been reported dead and 1,500 are missing. Over 3 million of the remaining

of dollars worth of crops were destroyed along with other damage was caused by the storm. In total the cost of the damage is $288 million, including $112 million from damaged crops and $100 million from damaged livestock. The United Nations has already raised over $131 million in relief aid with their ultimate goal being

Typhoon Haiyan devestated the Philippines, killing thousands and leaving even more without homes

Photo courtesy of The Guardian

The sequel to the blockbuster film “The Hunger Games” topped the box-office in its weekend release Photo courtesy of Flavor Wire income – and it deserves every penny it earned. Picking up right where The Hunger Games left off, Catching Fire tells the story of Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) as she goes on the Victory Tour with orders from none other than President Snow to quell the rebellious districts. It turns out, she doesn’t really love Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson), but rather was acting to save

sen from the existing pool of victors, meaning that Katniss is going back to the arena. There is never a dull moment in Catching Fire. It proves the power of staying loyal to the book, as almost everything in the movie is nearly identical to the book it was based on. However, most impressive was the acting. Lawrence astounds audiences with her perfect portrayal of Katniss, especially

comfortable with the role of Peeta, in particular Peeta’s inner strength and unwavering selflessness. Sam Claflin, who plays Finnick Odair, a water-loving tribute from District 4 and Katniss’ ally, flawlessly portrays the role of Finnick (and yes, make sure to beware the fangirls in the theaters during his appearances, or at least offer them a tissue or two). However, the real standout was Jena

that runs all too free in too many Hollywood films. However, Lawrence adds more than enough spice to stop the film from becoming just another Hollywood blockbuster. Overall, buy tickets for your local theater, and go with one of your friends and prepare to laugh, cry and to be glued to the very edge of your seat from the opening scene to the beginning of the credits.

survivors were displaced after the destruction of their homes with at least 1 million of these people being children. Many who didn’t lose their homes lost personal possessions from the flooding. “Right now we are on our third round of relief,” said Mayor Balida, the mayor of a small Philippines town that was affected by the storm. The survivors rely on the emergency relief that has been brought in from all over the world to provide them with day to day supplies. Millions

$301 million. The United States is one of the many countries that have already sent aide to the Philippines. This typhoon is believed to be one of the most violent storms to ever hit land. “I really thought it was already the apocalypse,” said Lily Montejo, an 80-yearold typhoon survivor. The people of the Philippines are grateful for the help that has poured into their nation. Now that the worst is over, the focus is on recovery and rebuilding what was taken from them by Typhoon Haiyan.


DECEMBER 2013 | OUT AND ABOUT

7

Remembering JFK:

Looking Back 50 Years on the Tragedy that Shook the Nation Caroline Maretz ‘15 Section Editor November 22nd, 1963. Americans everywhere experience the shock of having their youthful, promising president ripped away in an instant of chaos. John Fitzgerald Kennedy was assassinated. The country was shell-shocked and embittered; permanently a harsher, more cynical nation. How is it that a man in office for only 1,036 days could have such a lasting effect on the whole country? JFK represented hope and unknown potential to the nation. He was a war hero from the Second World War, the youngest man elected president, and the first Irish-Catholic to hold the office. He successfully sidestepped nuclear war with Russia in the Cuban Missile Crisis incident, and initiated the promising Peace Corps program to promote peaceful cultural exchange. Nobody could say with certainty how much he would be able to achieve and indeed things looked promising until his fateful trip to Dallas, Texas ended it all. Already beginning to campaign for reelection, Kennedy had planned a trip to Dallas

On November 22, 1963, President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas Photo courtesy of Wikipedia to speak of environmental and political issues. He disembarked from the plane, and got into a convertible with his wife Jackie, as well as Governor John Connally and his wife Nellie. They were driving through Dealey Plaza when three shots rang out from the direction of the Texas School Book Depository building and JFK received two bullets: one in the next, the other in the head. By 1:00 pm the President was declared dead. Turmoil ensued, and in a chaotic couple

of hours, Lyndon B. Johnson swore in as president, Lee Harvey Oswald was arrested and the news was broadcast to the nation. People were scared and hardened by the news, and only two days later Oswald was assassinated. Oswald’s murder, coupled with incongruous eyewitness accounts, and the trajectory and timing of the shots all contributed to conspiracy theories forming. These became such widespread that to this day, fifty years later, investigations are still

commonplace in Dealey Plaza. In fact, 59% of Americans today still

President Kennedy enjoying a sunny afternoon with family Photo courtesy of Dickinson

IN

OUT

Frozen

Delivery Man

Leggings

Actual pants

Ugly Christmas Sweaters

Normal sweaters

Hobbits

Beyonce’s new album

yearn for more knowledge, even with a video of the assassination (by

the famed Zapruder) to show precisely how the events played out. In any scenario, the truth remains that the President of America was killed and the nation was left permanently scarred. Perhaps it would hardly have mattered how effective or popular JFK was before he died, Americans might have mourned all the same for such a shocking loss of a figurehead. It made America, confident from success in the World Wars, suddenly feel vulnerable once more and all the more distrusting of the government, terrorism and people in general. The assassination of John F Kennedy may just have marked the moment in which our world shifted to the colder, harsher state we find it in now.

Tall people

Every other album ever

Presenting: The WHS Journal’s new Ask Amy Column! Please send in your questions to

askamywhs@gmail.com

and you may be featured in our January issue!


DECEMBER 2013 | OUT AND ABOUT

8

One Year Later... Anisha Khosla ’14 Editor-In-Chief This past weekend, on December 14th of the tragic Sandy Hook shooting in Newtown, Connecticut. Horror struck on that day in such a disturbing way that the nation still struggles with its impact a year later. The anniversary, under the shadow of another school shooting just a day before at Arapahoe High School in Centennial, Texas, has prompted both the country and the surrounding community to step back and reflect on Sandy Hook, and its implications on the matter of

guns, mental health, healing and the human spirit one year later. Though efforts have been made through the course of the year, many would argue that gun reform has not made much progress since this time last year. In fact, statistics show that there have been over 33,000 deaths due to gun violence in the months since Newtown, and 23 mass shootings, with a mass shooting being defined as the deaths of four or more people by gun-violence (Slate.com). These numbers are alarmingly high, and they don’t look to be dropping anytime soon. President Obama

has been unable to persuade Congress, as he vowed to do in the aftermath of Newtown, to “come together and take meaningful action to prevent more tragedies like this, regardless of the politics” about gun reform. Even the efforts to expand background checks on firearm buyers have failed, despite the fact that the President signed 23 executive actions to strengthen existing gun laws and take related steps on both mental health and school safety reforms (CNN). However, some choose to remain optimistic for our future by evidencing the laws states have put into place in regards to gun

laws, after the lack of reform on the part of the federal government. Connecticut was one of these states to implement their own gun laws, as back in April, legislative leaders announced that they had reached a deal on gun violence prevention legislation. The bill, which has been considered amongst the “toughest gun laws in the country” (Weston Forum) mandates universal backgroundchecks for the sale of firearms, and expansion upon the state’s existing assault weapons ban. The law passed in April also demands updated safety within schools. The bill mandated the cre-

ation of a council to develop safety standards for new school building projects, and the development of state-wide school security and safety plan standards. The mental health aspect of the bill passed in April by Connecticut legislators focuses on providing outlets to help both individuals and families overcome obstacles by offering them accessible resources and support. As the legislative aftermath of the Newtown tragedy continue to develop, families who lost a child still recover from the devastation. Many are just beginning to share with the world the depth of the trag-

edy, through YouTube videos, interviews and other forms of mass communication. Even the surrounding community has made steps towards recovery. Back in October, Newtown began the project of tearing down the school and building a new one in the same area. The decision to build the new school in the same spot was made by the residents; they feel that it will be a symbol of resurrection. These stories are inspiring the American people to act, with the hope that in a year’s time, we will not be in the same place we were a year ago.

One year later, the Sandy Hook Elementary tragedy still evokes raw emotion and sadness. We will always remember those lost and keep them close to our hearts.

Olivia Engel, 6 Daniel Barden, 7 Josephine Gay, 7 Rachel D’Avino, 29 Dylan Hockley, 6 Chase Kowalski, 7 Catherine V. Hubbard, 6 Grace McDonnell, 7 Emilie Parker, 6 Anne Marie Murphy, 52 Madeleine F. Hsu, 6 Victoria Soto, 27 Mary Sherlach, 56 Benjamin Wheeler, 6 James Mattioli, 6 Dawn Lafferty Hochsprung, 47 Jack Pinto, 6 Nancy Lanza, 52 Jessica Rekos, 6 Caroline Previdi, 6 Avielle Richman, 6 Charlotte Bacon, 6 Lauren Rousseau, 30 Ana Marquez-Greene, 6 Jesse Lewis, 6 Noah Pozner, 6 Allison N. Wyatt, 6 Elaine Hong 12.16.13


Sports and Athletics Boys Basketball Preview: We got Game

Jackson Marvin’15 Contributing Section Editor With fall sports wrapped up and winter underway, one of Weston’s most popular sports is almost here: Boy’s basketball. Last year’s Cinderella story put Weston Basketball on the map, and this year, led by captains Asher and Ethan LeeTyson, Grant Limone, and Pascal Arvoy, the Trojans are looking to repeat, if not exceed, last year’s incredible run. I talked with the Lee-Tyson brothers to hear what two of Weston’s most outstanding athletes had to say on the expectations and goals they have for their upcoming season. JM: After last year’s incredible tournament performance, is Weston still an underdog in class M? ELT: I’d say we are. We definitely surprised a lot of teams in the tourney last year considering the fact that we had a very mediocre regular season and that Weston is not traditionally known as a basketball power. Having lost a very big piece in Charlie (DiPasquale), we are probably still going to fly under the radar a little bit which is fine -- it helps to motivate us. JM: Building off of that, Charlie Dipasquale was one of the team’s driving forces during last year’s run. How has the team adjusted without it’s leading scorer?

ELT: It’s obviously a lot different. To be honest, we are probably not going to have a 25 ppg scorer this year because we are so balanced. Charlie kind of had

of actually playing any defense and hope to get out on the fastbreak and throw lobs all game. We try to mirror the style of play in the NBA by not trying very

A College Athlete

in a state championship last year is something that’s really going to help us this year. While it hurts to lose Charlie as a scorer and a leader, it’s going to force

Last Years Basketball team Photo courtesy of CT Post to do what he did because we had some trouble putting points on the board last year. In my 4 years here, this is easily the deepest team in addition to probably the most experienced team that I’ve been on. Although it hurt to get so far and then fall short, that experience that our 11 returners have is going to serve us well. JM: What are the team’s goals for this year? ALT: Our team seeks to “get buckets” this year and “run n’ gun with the best of them”. We hope to avoid the tedious aspects

hard and hoping our talent is just enough for us to get by. Ideally we will defeat Joel Barlow in a fight, beat any challenger in the SWC championship and take State but we like to keep our goals more abstract. JM: What makes this a dynamic or unique team? ELT: Grant plays the 4 or 5 but he can step out and shoot the 3. It really opens up the middle of the floor for penetration when you have bigs that can shoot like we do. ALT: The experience we all gained from playing

us all to step up and play a bigger role in this team’s success. We’re all motivated to get back to Mohegan Sun this year and hopefully win it this year, we’re just going to use the loss to Valley last year as motivation JM: What should fans be expecting this year? ALT: While we take pride in shutting teams down defensively, we really want to get out on the break and run this year. We have a lot of good athletes and we want to play anup

Famous Jameis: Heizman Winner Jackson Marvin’15 Contributing Section Editor Less than a month away from the biggest game of his young collegiate career, Jameis Winston is awarded college football’s highest individual award: the Heisman. It took one game for Jameis Winston to cement the lofty expectations coaches and sportswriters around the nation set for Florida Sate’s red-shirted quarterback. In a telling performance, the Seminoles and their dual-sport quarterback demolished Pittsburgh 4113, as Winston went 25-27 on passing attempts, tallying 381 total yards and five total touchdowns. Two and a half months later, Jameis stands among six of college football’s finest at Radio City Music Hall, waiting for his named to be called as this year’s recipient of the Heisman Trophy.

The

nineteen-

year-old from Hueytown, Alabama captured media attention even before his historic season began with a quote that left a refreshing impression of a college football star: humility.

Jamesis Winston Photo courtesy of espn. go.com During an interview on August 11th, 2013, around the time last year’s Heisman Winner, Johnny Manziel, was making headlines for his off the field antics, Jameis was

asked how he would fare in the spotlight, to which he responded:”If I ever get Manziel disease, I want all of you to smack me in the head with your microphones”.

The budding stars season was running at an unbelievably smooth pace, demolishing a top five opponent in Clemson, and even pushing Florida State to the number two spot in the BCS, but Winston’s season hit heavy turbulence when he was accused of sexual assaulting another Florida State student last December. The news rocked the college football world, and the thirteen-day investigation left many fans—and Heisman voters—questioning how it would effect Winston’s season. It took Jameis sixty minutes to answer that question. With one of his best passing performances of the year, the Seminoles cruised past Syracuse 59-3, then set the Florida State record for points in a game with 80 against Idaho. After the

charges were dropped due to lack of convicting evidence, Jameis’ reputation was, for the most part, restored, though many are understandably polarized by the mere allegation that he was involved in something so disgusting. Nevertheless, with controversies and accolades officially in his rearview mirror, Winston can now focus on the only game this season that will take him from great to legendary, the BCS National Championship Game. Auburn’s miraculous victories against Georgia and Alabama positioned them well for a championship run, but their weak defense will need to step it up against the second-best offense in the nation. It will be a matchup of two very high-caliber offenses this January 6th in Pasadena, but don’t expect for Jameis’ (almost) perfect season to end on a less than perfect note.

Lucy Chestler ’16 Section Editor All your life, have you dreamed about playing a sport that you love at the school of your dreams? Well, many athletes here at Weston, had their dreams come true. You have worked extremely hard, throughout your life on the sports you love and its time that your hard work pays off. From the grueling practices, in the burning sun, to the long practices in the cold, wintery months, it is time that you get discovered and reach your dream to be a college athlete. During the recruiting process, you as the athlete need to know, that there are three levels of college athletics, Division 1, Division 2, and Division 3. Of course, division 1 athletic colleges are the one where the athlete most likely receives a full ride scholarship to make the dreams come true. Depending on, what sport you wish to play whether it is lacrosse, softball, baseball, field hockey, basketball, swimming, or football, the recruiting process is more than less the same but there are some differences. Lacrosse- There are a lot of very helpful hints, in obtaining a lacrosse scholarship. The first plan of action that you should take is to make a list of all the colleges that you would want to play for. This step could be done as early as the second half of sophomore year, the earlier the better! However, this step should be completed before the fall of your junior year. Next, the athlete should make contact with the schools you would like to play for by sending them your sports resume, and the schedule of upcoming lacrosse activities so they can come scout you. In your sports resume it is essential that you have the following; your academic and athletic goals, personal data, sport background and data, academic information, recognition you received, and references. The next step is to make unofficial visits to the colleges you put down; this should be done at the end of your sophomore year, and during

your junior year. While you’re at the colleges, make sure to schedule a meeting with the coach. Next, send updated academic information to the colleges. Lastly, at the end of senior year apply to the colleges, and wait for your dreams to come true for a scholarship. GOOD LUCK!! Softball- The first step to getting a college softball scholarship is again playing almost every day of your life, all four seasons, with travel teams, etc. But, just practicing like crazy isn’t enough. You have to be able to give a great answer to the simple question of WHY YOU? This one question can nail you a spot on the roster because usually a softball roster as 17-19 players and an given year only has spots open for 5-8 players, so the more answers you can come up with for the question the easier it is for the coach to pick you! Some areas that you need to think about while answering the Why you? Is are you a good enough student, are you a good enough teammate, are you a good enough daughter, and are you a good enough player? Under a good enough player there are attributes, that describe describe a good enough player; hustle, effort, determination, attitude, desire, cooperation, resiliency, physical fitness, adjustability and versatility, and skill. GOOD LUCK!!! And remember WHY YOU! BaseballTo earn a scholarship for baseball, you first need to develop your game plan and get evaluated by a third party like NCSA. The next great step is to post your academic/ athletic resume online. This is a great way for college coaches to access your information. Next, it is essential that tempo style of basketball. We have plenty of guys have can really stroke it from deep so look for a lot of 3 balls this year and plenty of quality celebrations. The boys’ first game is Saturday, December 21st vs. Bristol Central at home.


opinion

and commentary Security at WHS

Micah Zirn ‘15 Section Editor At the start of the school year, the superintendent made student safety a top priority. Many safety measures were put in place during the school year itself, demonstrating the belief of Weston administrators that security still could be improved. Only two entrances are open before school hours so that security officers can monitor the flow of people in and out of the school. What’s more, all students must clear out of the lobby before the start of school with the purpose of increasing visibility. Teachers guard all other school entrances. During the school day, students may only exit and enter the building through the front doors; they must sign in and out with a security officer as well. All entrances excluding the front entrance are locked and teachers can only come and go with key cards. Visitors must buzz to enter the school and then go

through a visitor process. Even the amount of security guards has expanded. It is clear that Weston has taken a number of measures to heighten its level of security, perhaps even going above and beyond the standard. However, are these measures enough? As the anniversary of Sandy Hook neared and Newtown commemorated its lost ones, these questions became especially relevant. But in the wake of the untimely and harrowing shooting at Arapahoe High School in Centennial, Colorado this Friday, December 13, a different question deserves to be asked. Can enough even be done to prevent tragedies like this one? I believe the answer is no. Despite the extensive security programs put in place at high schools around the nation, it is troublesome to accept that an individual with a concealed weapon and malicious intent can inflict serious personal harm and take lives. At the Arapahoe shooting, the perpetrator did not even attempt to

How safe is WHS? Photo courtesy of Blox Images conceal his weapon, which was a shotgun.Then, he fired several rounds in the 80 seconds of violence that took place before he claimed his own life. Fortunately, only one other individual was injured, a 17-year-old whose prognosis is currently critical and

uncertain. Given the situation, however, the perpetrator could have done more harm if it were his purpose. Following the Sandy Hook tragedy, of course, there was a public outburst regarding gun control. Thus far, gun possession is still legal although

background checks have become more established. Nevertheless, it is not always possible to prevent individuals from getting their hands on guns through other means. One the end of the issue, teachers and security guards are for the most part prohibited from

carrying guns on school property. After all, this defense would likely precipitate further tragedies. Karl Pierson, who was found to be the shooter in Arapahoe, carried out this perverse exploit with his debate teacher as a target. Although it is presently unclear whether Pierson exhibited any indications of this potential, it is not always possible to detect mental instability or volatility, if not to say sickness, in citizens, especially youths. I believe the conclusion is simple: only so much can be done to prevent tragedies like these. We can address gun control policies, increase the number of positions for professionals who can monitor the mental health of students, but an individual in possession of a firearm or other weapon can always find a way to carry out evils if that is his objective. What we learn most from Sandy Hook and Arapahoe is not only the sanctity of but also the fragility of human life.

Should School Start Later? Eric Hirsch ‘17 Staff Writer

other beginning at 8:37 am. The students who started school earlier reported inadequate sleep and said they struggled to stay awake during classes. This

differed. Students who started school earlier were tardy four times more often than students who started school later. In addition, they received significantly

From September to June, millions of students across America will adhere to the classic academic schedule: wake up early and stay up late. In some cases, high-school students will hear the alarm clock as early as five o’clock in order to get ready and catch the bus. Unfortunately, earlier school start times make this problem unavoidable in many cases. According to experts, teenagers are hard-wired to stay up late. With earlier starts to school, these teens are guaranteed to be sleep-deprived. In order to achieve the recommended 9 ¼ hours of sleep, a five o’clock wake up would require an eight o’clock bedtime. With heaps of home- Do students need more sleep to work efficiently? work and looming exams, Photo courtesy of Stack that’s just not going to happen. The fatigue that results has consequences for was contrary to the students worse scores on their tranboth students’ health and with a later start who said scripts. the educational system. they felt well-rested during However, despite New studies sug- the day. This was no sur- evidence of its detrimengest that sleepiness has prise considering the latter tal effects, many school detrimental effects on the received an hour more of administrators argue that academic performance of sleep on weekdays. Since the early start is necesstudents. In Massachu- students at both schools sary. Some say that startsetts, a 2004 study showed went to bed at the same ing school later would the consequences of early time, the difference in en- interfere with parents’ job school start times. The ergy is due to a difference schedules. An earlier start study compared 7th and in school start times. The means an earlier finish 8th grade students at two academic and attendance and therefore more time different schools- one be- results of the students also for parents to get to work. ginning at 7:15 am and the

Another reason for starting school early comes from athletic coaches who say that a new schedule would interfere with practices. But are scheduling

Parents who need to work should merely have their students take the bus. In addition, coaches need to move practices later to accommodate the new sched-

problems a reason to avoid moving school later? I argue no. The failure to start school later will have more consequences than benefits. As the Massachusetts study suggests, starting too early can have serious negative effects on the academic system. Furthermore, the suggested problems with starting school later are easily avoidable.

ule. Although athletics are an important part of highschool life, academics are the most important. However, that’s not to say teams won’t benefit from the new schedule. Well-rested and focused players are the first step to winning games. In addition, starting school later would have many advantages for students, parents, teachers and school systems. Data

collected over three years by the Center for Applied Research and Educational Improvement (CAREI) at the University of Minnesota shows that starting school later improved academic performance, reduced tardiness, and caused students to make fewer trips to the nurse. At the same time, teachers noticed that students were more alert and behaved in class. All of these benefits allowed the academic system to run efficiently and made life easier for students, teachers, and administrators alike. As for the parents, it has been shown that well-rested teens are less irritable and better behaved at home as well. Considering these benefits, it is clear that starting school at a later time is a smart decision. With consideration, it becomes clear that the current school schedule is based on habit and tradition that is no longer relevant in our modern day society. There is clear evidence that early school starts are damaging to the academic success of students and should no longer be a part of the school schedule. Starting classes later is a decision that could only improve the educational system and should be carried out immediately.


DECEMBER 2013 | OPINION AND COMMENTARY

I’m a Material Girl Scarlett Machson ‘16 Section Editor It seems that accusation is everywhere nowadays. Every time this season rolls around, that’s what we’re expected to learn from Grinch’s, from Scrooges, from practical-

love and family at this time of year. But should we be feeling guilty every time we eagerly await a particularly exciting present? Not at all! Keep in mind, it’s hardly our fault that someone cares enough to give us a gift during the

Paris Hilton doing her daily rounds Photo courtesy of Carola Ludolff ly every Christmas special under the sun. And especially so soon after Black Friday, it’s expected to hear people cluck and shake their heads at how people seem to be focusing more on the presents than the meaning of the season, how we should be more appreciative of the gifts that can’t be bought. So if everyone seems to be in agreement on this point, why do we still give presents to our loved ones? Why haven’t we all agreed to collectively dismiss all of the commercialism in favor of appreciating our families and friends over the holidays? Is it because at our core humans are terrible, greedy creatures who can’t resist the allure of a shiny new iPad under the Christmas tree? Not quite. It’s because at our core, we’re human, no more, no less. No one would ever suggest that presents can take the place of

holidays. And all of those mad rushes to the mall for that perfect present? Isn’t that just, in our own imperfect way, a demonstration of exactly how much we care for the recipient? Sure, in a perfect world, we would just tell the person how we feel, but we’re not really there yet as a society. So until the point where we get a little better, there’s no harm in using presents to express ourselves. It’s not the ideal, clichéd Christmas spirit we always hear so much about, but since it’s probably as good as we’re going to get, there’s no reason to feel like we’re doing something wrong by buying presents for people, not when it’s expected anyway. As long as we remember that, as good as gifts can get, the best things in life are still free, and we can enjoy the materialism as much as we want.

11

Cue Jaws Theme Song Rachel Spencer ‘14 Contributing Writer

They’re coming. You can run, but they will catch you. You can hide, but they will find you. As you tear your hair out, claw your face, and feel the wrinkles settle in your brow, they are sitting prettily in the corner watching their prey scurry in blind panic. One by one, they pounce on us. Between the blood curdling screams of the victims and the savage roars of the survivors, we find ourselves lost in circles of fear, anxiety, and envy. The college admissions have been unleashed upon us. A month and a half ago, we finished fiddling with our supplement essays and screaming at CommonApp until we declared them both hopeless, hit submit, and convinced ourselves the worst was behind us. We were so cute back then. To those underclassmen who may not know, most colleges have different options for those applying. Most are familiar with

in the spring time. You may be accepted (whoo!), you may be denied (aww), or you may be waitlisted, in which case you will wait another month or two to receive a final admission or rejection, and then you choose whether or not to enroll. Early Action means you send in your application in November and find out in December if you’re admitted, rejected, or deferred to the Regular Decision applicant pool. Early Decision deadlines and releases are around the same times as those of Early Action, except that your application comes with a binding agreement; you get accepted, you’re enrolling there. Your ED school is the place you want to go, your number one choice. Its admission decision holds special weight. The two-week onslaught of paranoia and anxiety began December 9th as the first wave of admissions emails were released. Some swam to shore and arose heroes. Others washed up on a deserted island to await salvation

splashing around for a gap year. Up on higherground, watching the flood creep closer, we could only hyperventilate in panic as we awaited our own Judgment Day, thoughtfully emailed to us, complete with the exact time. The rest of us could only fight that eye twitch we’d recently developed as we

& Jerry’s ice cream which you will finish. The truth of college admissions is that the people who work in those offices are evil. They destroy dreams for a living. No, not really. They’re hard working people pressed for time as we breathe down their necks and wail and whine as they try to ob-

Even the mailman is stressed Photo courtesy of College Essay Organizer

constantly check our email during that vague time period dubbed “ M i d - D e c e m b e r. ” If you get in your ED school, you don’t have to send another application and the blissful disease that is Senioritis can begin. But if you don’t, you find yourself swamped in those last minute applications you had told yourself a thousand times you’d have ready just in case, but in the end you just couldn’t take that chance. The regrets get you nowhere and all you can do is drive forward. Meanwhile your friends are posting “HAHA I WIN UNIVERSITY CLASS OF 2018!!!!!!!” And while you “like” that status on your iPhone Seniors eagerly awaiting acceptance letters in a fantastic show Photo courtesy of Vocab Videos of support, you’re scooting on your butt the Regular Decision or death come April. down the stairs to the process; you apply And for those remain- kitchen to pull out by sometime in Janu- ing, we briefly consid- that pint of Americone ary, you get a decision ered growing gills and Dream flavored Ben

jectively decide if we are a good match for that school. If you’re accepted Early Decision, it means that you have a better idea where you’ll be a year from now, and while that is a wonderful weight off your chest, there is much more out there you have yet to know. Those of us denied or deferred may be feeling a little lost, but all this is is a road bump. Chances are, no matter where we end up, we’re going to love college. It’s an entire future complete with new teachers, classmates, friends, a new home - it’s a whole other life we can’t know until we get there. And beyond that, the college you didn’t go to will mean about as much as that expired milk you didn’t drink - it holds little significance in the long run, but you’re glad in the end.


December 2013  

Read through the last Journal issue of 2013!

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