THE WESTON HIGH SCHOOL
OURNAL 115 School Road, Weston, CT 06883
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February 2013 • Year XII, Issue IV
Where Do We Draw the Line? Examining new security measures at WHS
Steve Friedman ‘14 Staff Writer Every day, people flow in and out of the doors of the Weston High School, Middle School, Intermediate School, and Elementary School. It’s something that hasn’t received much attention in the history of the school system until the recent and shockingly close-to-home tragedy at Newtown. No one wants anything similar to happen again, and naturally, Weston looked at its own schools to see what could be improved in order to better protect students. Quick change was administered in a matter of days after the tragedy, and students at WHS soon became aware that they could only enter through the main doors in the morning, and once the school day had commenced, anyone entering was required to ring a buzzer by the front to gain entrance into the school. Furthermore, an armed police officer has been present at the school every day in order to keep stu-
dents as safe as possible. With every action, however, comes criticism, and not everyone is happy with the new bolstered security. Kei Pritsker, a junior and one leader of the Young Politicians club of WHS, voices concerns of many that locked doors may be ineffective against an armed intruder (at Sandy Hook, the attacker broke in through a window). He dismisses the locked doors as a “huge inconvenience,” and claims that even one armed police officer may not be enough in the case of a real emergency. That being said, Pritsker and many others, both in our immediate community and in the world, stress that the real issue is one of mental illnesses, and that the school administration as well as the US Government at large should focus on mental health instead of increasing security measures. Zack Weinstein, another junior and active member in the Young Politicians club, is also against the new security measures, but for different reasons. He claims
that the chances of anything similar to the Newtown incident happening to Weston are too low to be worth the cost and the
on mental health. Weinstein adds that “there’s certainly something to be said about doing everything in our power to
Locked doors and officers are the new normal at Weston High School. Photograph by Emily Weyrauch inconveniences, while also agreeing that more emphasis should be put
protect the lives of our high schoolers, but if this is the goal we wish
to achieve, where do we draw the line?” Millions could be spent on security technology and constant, omniscient eyes on every square inch of school property, but that would be overly excessive, so the right balance of efficiency and effectivity is certainly a topic of importance. Principal Wolak responded to some concerns, especially those of the effectiveness of the door, saying that while the buzz-in system does not fully address the issue, it “provide[s] a level of safety and control over visitors in the building and prevents people from wandering in.” She gives assurance that the Weston Police and other security experts were involved in the decision-making process, and that, as they receive further input, there will be additional security; the matter of the safety of Weston students will not be forgotten easily. In her presentation at the Board of Education Budget meeting, Ms. Wolak stressed the important direct correlation between students’ assurance of safety and
being able to learn. She mentioned that, in the core belief statement of the school system that “speaks to our commitment to providing a safe and intellectually challenging environment... the word “safe” was purposely placed before intellectually challenging.” In the same speech she pushes for additional safety monitors at the school, noting that the school renovation that took place several years ago failed to match the expansion of the school with an expansion of security. In fact, there used to be three security guards ten years ago, one of them being Ms. Hicks, the current school secretary, but the expiration of a grant that was paying for the third guard resulted in only two guards protecting the school, so now there is a school twice as big with fewer people protecting it. Ms. Wolak also noted that the district is looking for a “school resource officer,” which is simply a title for an armed police officer assigned specifiContinued on page 4
GSA, Young Politicians team up in gay marriage debate
Celebrity baby fever
Calling all non-athletes...we have sports for you! sports
February break, no more?
everyone to get married, there is no reason to stop it at the halfway point.” Izzy Kerr added,
ligious institution can deprive people of that.” The discussion also turned to property rights of private religious or medical institutions when considering gay patrons. Summers said, “When the government begins to dictate what people can and can’t believe, that’s dangerous.” The debate, although lacking in complete organization, seemed to culminate in a greater understanding between both viewpoints. Malcolm McClintock, moderator of the debate, Continued on page 3
Point/counterpoint: gun control in Weston opinion
riage were very reactive. Steve Friedman, member of the GSA, said “Unless we make it illegal for
“Marriage is already a legal matter, and the issue at hand is human rights.” The conversation started with a bang, and the discussion continued to be heated for the duration of the two-hour debate. A climax of the discussion was when sophomore Justin Summers said,“Our rights come from something above the government [...] I don’t know if marriage is a right, but equality is. We must continue that equality in front of the law since marriage is legal.” Junior Ross Cohen added, “It is a basic human right--no re-
Blackout/ Whiteout the potato
A survey conducted of attendees of gay marriage debate
out and about
At 8:00 p.m. January 15, the Young Politicians Club and the Gay-Straight Alliance set up a presidential debate-style discussion in the auditorium on the topic of gay marriage. A poll of the attendees before the debate showed 87.5% support of gay marriage, while 6.25% was against it and 6.25% was in the gray area. (See chart.) Kei Pritsker of the Young Politicians club opened up the debate.
As one of only two individuals present from the non-100% supporting gay marriage side of the argument, he began by stating his opinion, “What does supporting gay marriage really mean? Marriage is when two people come together and make a pledge of their love-- the government should not be involved at all. [...] Some people have the personal opinion that gays can’t get married, and the government has to pick a side: is gay marriage marriage or is it not? Either way, it will cast out the other party.” To this, the supporters of gay mar-
around the campus
Emily Weyrauch ‘13 Sarah Gruen ‘13 Editors-in-Chief
FEBRUARY 2013 | EDITORIALS-IN-CHIEF 2
THE WESTON HIGH SCHOOL
EDITORIAL BOARD Sarah Gruen Emily Weyrauch Editors-in-Chief AROUND THE CAMPUS Michael Kalmans Aaron Pomerance Section Editors
OUT & ABOUT
Elliott Eglash Senior Section Editor Emily Goldberg Section Editor
SPORTS & ATHLETICS
Andrew Parks Micah Zirn Section Editors
Emily Weyrauch ‘13 Editor-in-Chief It’s weird that we’re in high school. These are supposed to be the wonder years. These are the years of The Breakfast Club and Grease, of young Matthew Broderick, of warm apple pies. Yup, we’re living it right now. From the moment we start calling ourselves a teen when we round up from twelve and
OPINION&COMMENTARY Olivia Clark Daniel Muller Section Editors Liz Lepore Katie Mitchell Copy Editors Benson Kane Michael Sitver Business Managers Elaine Hong Media Manager Matthew Risoli Andrew Jorge Faculty Advisors
STAFF WRITERS Lucy Chestler Evie Chodock Steve Friedman Anisha Khosla Carolyn Kren Chloe Mandell Scarlett Machson Jack Seigenthaler Sarah Tessler Natalie Quiles James Willis
ARTISTS & PHOTOGRAPHERS Katherine Marra Lilly Scrimmager Tyler Thompson Stephanie Wengel
Sarah Gruen ‘13 Editor-in-Chief It seems that all of humanity has this massive black cloud over its head. Okay, maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration. But our generation lives in a pretty difficult time, and whether we caused the problems so apparent today or were handed them by our predecessors, we’ve had (and will continue to have) an unhealthy dose of issues to overcome and many important decisions to make. I know that over the past year, especially, I’ve had to make some tough choices, and I honestly don’t know what life would be like today if I had taken a different path. I have no spirit guide sitting on my shoul“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, cocurricular 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
a half, we become--to many--the “same” as the commercialized teens that the media sells to us, that we see on TV and in movies. I’m sorry, but we are not the teenagers of High School Musical. The media tries to make the experience of growing up a universal one. Everything happens to everyone, and there are a few archetypical molds from which each of us blossoms. But not really. Imagine growing up in a world without the media. We would not know what to expect, except maybe from hearing stories from friends and siblings. We wouldn’t have this societal pressure to act a certain way because that’s what “teens do” because the expected behavior of teens is something that the media made up in order to make sense of us. And I think trying to make sense of teenagers is the least
logical thing to do with us. Because people tend to think of teenagers as these active hormonal volcanoes. And that’s not necessarily true. We are humans too--somewhere between childhood and full-blown suit-and-tie adulthood (here’s hoping we never get there). We are normal people who are just trying to figure ourselves out before it’s too late. So cut us some slack. If the media is giving us these expectations of teens, society is imposing on us an insane amount of pressure. This is the socalled "time of our lives," but I'm not feeling it. Instead, and I think I speak for a fair amount of students, I feel like I'm waiting for something. Like I'm on the uphill track of a roller coaster, eagerly anticipating the liberating initially scary drop that begins the rest of my life--real life.
We're just waiting for something. All through high school that's what we're doing: looking toward the future instead of living for the moment. And that's what we are conditioned to do. That is how we are taught to think in order to be successful. But were waiting for what? And what is success? Chances are, we won't one day awake from our hibernation or emerge from our cocoon and suddenly be the person we have been waiting to become, The person we had been building up for. People seem to forget that life doesn’t start after high school, upon graduation day. Life doesn’t start on the first day of college or on the first day of your job. It started from day one, and you’ve been living it ever since. You’re not waiting, and you never have been. Get going.
der helping me navigate the murky waters of my conscious. I have no power to predict the future, and I hear psychics were hit hard by the recession and are hard to come by. I have no robotic switch that can determine “right” and “wrong” for me, nor do I have a breezy, “be as it may” attitude that would allow me to shrug off big decisions and saunter through life. Maybe it’s a blessing, maybe it’s a curse that humans were given this great capacity to choose. In our nation, choosing— our clothes, food preferences, friends, thoughts, beliefs, moral values—is an unalienable right. I am the first to admit that I too often take this right for granted. But it sure is a hassle to know that, positing choice as a right, we have the responsibility to do what is good. And as an eighteen year old used to many mostly black and white, relatively inconsequential choices—Mac or PC, ACT or SAT, Asian salad or quesadilla—I freeze when faced with something that is not simply inherently good or bad, right or wrong. When I do have to make a choice that tests my
and society’s very values, especially a choice that is contradictory in and of itself, I can’t help but panic. Who am I to decide what is morally correct? Am I selfish to think that my judgment is somehow better than another person’s? I feel a bit petty lamenting my greatest woes when people are faced with lifeor-death decisions regarding war and genocide and poverty. I also think that time is pretty darn precious and pretty darn fleeting, and the more time I waste examining every imperfection of opposing arguments, the less time I spend doing something. While we must consider our options and not rush into any kind of rash decision, patience is really the great luxury of those who aren’t suffering. There is this impossible balance of never having enough grounds to make a fully informed choice and throwing away time that could be spent doing that something. I have no perfect formula for when to push the button (it’s that whole not being a robot thing). I really don’t know any better than any of you. So what does all of this philosophical stuff
have to do with that great, big, black cloud? I think that what I’ve determined is that we here in Weston aren’t faced with too many major tests of self. Maybe once in a blue moon do we have the metaphorical midterm exam, that one decision that counts for 10% of who we are and makes all of the other choices seem disappointingly inconsequential. It is easy during this “exam” to forget how much everything else counts—the 90% of those small decisions that you make every day and determine who you are as a person. We can’t just save our best critical skills in waiting for something big to happen. Indecisiveness and indifference built that cloud. We have the responsibility to be aware of our place on earth and make a conscious effort to make it a better place. It’s sometimes very difficult to do the right thing. We are all tempted to choose what is easy over what is “right,” and there are consequences and reactions to every action. There will be rain, or even storms as that black cloud passes. But it is the only way for us to eventually see the sun.
TITLE IX NOTICE prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex, race, color, ethnicity, ancestry, national origin, marital status, age, disability, religion, sexual orientation, and gender identity in employment as well as in the provision of all services, programs, and activities. The Board of Education’s Policies and Regulations regarding non-discrimination can be found on the District’s website: http://www.westonps. org/page.cfm?p=2775 The District’s Title IX Coordinators monitor compliance with this law and 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). 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 non-compliance, may contact the District’s Title IX Coordinator, or the building based Title IX Coordinators. District Coordinator Lewis D. Brey Director of Human Resources and Internal Counsel 24 School Road Weston, CT 06883 (203) 291-1412 lewisbrey@ westonps.org Weston High School Coordinator
Daniel Doak Assistant Principal Weston High School 115 School Road Weston, CT 06883 (203) 291-1643 email@example.com Weston Intermediate School Coordinator Doreen O’Leary
Assistant Principal Weston Intermediate School 95 School Road Weston, CT 06883 (203) 291-2702 doreenoleary@ westonps.org Hurlbutt Elementary School Coordinator Kim Kus Assistant Principal Hurlbutt Elementary School 9 School Road
Weston, CT 06883 (203) 291-1451 kimkus@westonps. org Weston Middle School Coordinator Michael Bernardi Assistant Principal Weston Middle School 135 School Road Weston, CT 06883 (203) 291-1451 michaelbernardi@ westonps.org
Alternatively, or in addition to the Title IX Coordinator(s), inquiries regarding Title IX may be directed to the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights, the federal agency charged with enforcing compliance with Title IX: Boston Office Office for Civil Rights US Department of Education 5 Post Office Square, 8th Floor Boston, MA 02109-3921
Correction: in the December 2012 issue, “Holly Jolly Traditions” was written by Sarah Tessler, and “Conflict Captures Media Attention” was written by Evie Chodock. We apologize for the error.
Got February Break? We Don’t! Evie Chodock ‘15 Staff Writer
worth the removal of February break. Sophomore Chloe Mandel feels that, “it’s not good to switch things up, and having a
break in February is a great way to relieve the stress school causes students. Also, having a shorter break gives us less of a
chance to go anywhere.” Megan Grotto agrees, saying, “I think we should have February break and just cancel April break be-
cause no one can go anywhere in April because of all the spring sports.” There are some students who wish to rebel against
Weston High School students are more stressed than ever. What better way to relieve your stress than having a nice long break to look forward to in February? Well, this year, students and faculty members will not have that pleasure; the annual February break is no longer in existence, as voted on by the town of Weston. Some students dream of a longer summer. But is this newly formed reality really worth the cost of our beloved February break? Sophomore Kristen Rivera believes the change is for the better, stating, “Right now it may seem terrible, but once it's June and we get to go on summer break a week earlier than normal, it will all be worth it. Plus, having a long weekend in February is still enough time to take a ski trip to Vermont or a quick visit to Florida.” Weston High School students hard at work during B3’s trip to Nicaragua in February 2012. Others believe that Photograph by Alexa Levine a longer summer is not
School Dance 101 Anisha Khosla ‘14 Staff Writer Perhaps one of the most anticipated perks of being an upperclassman is the participation in Counties, the local Sadie Hawkins Dance, which took place earlier this year. Junior girls from Fairfield, Westport, Weston and Wilton participated in the event, which was strictly black tie, thus, the ballroom of the Stamford Marriott was filled with hundreds of teenagers in ball gowns and tuxedoes. However, despite the high levels of anxiety leading up to the event—the search for the perfect dress, the renting of transportation— many felt that it fell short of their expectations. In the hope of offering some advice to danceattendees in the future: Do plan your outfit in advance. Take it from experience, things never go as planned on the day of the event, so the more planning that is done ahead of time, the better. Ladies, if you plan on attending, begin your dress hunt in early November. One thing that many found helpful was the creation of a Facebook group, which included all of the girls
in the grade. The group allowed for girls to post pictures of the dresses that they were considering so that there would be no need for a “Who Wore It Better” segment the day of the dance. By beginning the hunt for a dress early on, you can guarantee that your dress is the right choice, and thus plan the rest of your outfit accordingly. Do not tire yourself out prior to the dance. The venue featured limited seating, with just a few tables set up within the ballroom. If you weren’t lucky enough to land yourself one of those early on, it was unlikely that you sat down at all during the dance. For girls who chose to wear incredibly high heels, this posed an issue in terms of comfort. Even the guys, who did not have their feet elevated 30 degrees above the horizontal, complained of weariness after the first hour. The dance was also strict on time of attendance; no one was allowed in past 8:30, and the guests were not allowed to leave until 10:30, guaranteeing at least two hours of being trapped in a room with hundreds of kids you don’t know. So, do yourself a favor,
and rest up in advance. Do eat beforehand, because the food provided is minimal. No matter how many spring rolls you eat, you will always feel hungry. The food got cold rather quickly, and was never reheated, so the refreshments stayed at a lukewarm temperature throughout the night. Eating dinner beforehand guarantees that you won’t die of starvation and provides you with some much needed energy for the dancing portion of the evening. And finally… Do not attend if you have no intention of dancing. As I briefly mentioned earlier, it is one of the two activities available to you, and I promise you that standing around for two hours is not as much fun as it sounds. Make sure you and your date are keen on getting on that dance floor and making complete fools out of yourselves for the sake of entertainment, because otherwise you may not have the grand time you were expecting. The evening is really what you make of it, so make an effort and you will be rewarded with a night to remember.
the revised schedule and plan on taking an extended vacation anyway. This raises the concern as to whether enough students will be present in school to have normal classes. Unlike the unscheduled cancellation of February break a few years ago, students and their families have known about this change in scheduling for the entire school year. However, there are some families that have booked vacations from last year, before the cancellation was announced, and other students participate in community service trips that take place only in February. There seems to be no compromise that will satisfy the entire student body and faculty. However, teachers plan to continue with their curriculum during the week of February 17-23, regardless of any prior plans and students who will be missing substantial amounts of school will be required to make up work they miss at another time.
Gay Marriage Debate (continued)
Continued from page 1
said, “I thought the debate went well, or at least in my opinion better than expected. Although at times we got highly distracted and there was the occasional yelling, it wouldn’t have been a successful debate otherwise. Behind all the distractions and intricately constructed sidebars, the heart of the debate was around the legitimacy of gay marriage. In the end we achieved our goal of discussing the controversial issue.” James Willis, leader of the Young Politicians, agreed. “There were a few kinks here and there to work out but that is because it was our first [debate] as Young Politicians is a fairly new club [...] The discussion did get pretty heated at times. There were walk outs, profanity, and some raised voices [...] but I think it went very well overall.” Pritsker added, “The yelling didn’t bother me too much I could tell that everyone was very passionate about the topic which is what matters most.” The relationship between the clubs, although new, was highly successful, according to the groups’ leaders.
Said McClintock, “I love the newfound relationship between the two clubs. I’ve always seen clubs at WHS as different entities, so to see a collaboration such as this is something I’d like to hold onto. The GSA, being tied to an issue that is closely related to politics,
of time, the club plans to organize more debates. “I think these types of debates are a great way to accomplish the goal of the Young Politicians group to kill political apathy within our school. It’s certainly great to see my peers weigh in on such a critical issue,” said Pritsker.
Members of the GSA voice their opinions. Photograph by Emily Weyrauch will attempt to hold onto the political center of the WHS students,” he added. The Young Politicians and GSA may not have another gay marriage debate in the works, but the Young Politicians hope to “cooperate again with the GSA in the future,” according to Pritsker. Although this debate-the first one run by the Young Politicians--was planned in a short period
Casey Sollazzo, president of the GSA, said, “I think WHS is pretty accepting of the concept of legalizing gay marriage. WHS may struggle with using derogatory terms, and being 100% tolerant at all times but overall I think it is a pretty accepting atmosphere and certainly everyone in the GSA group is there to provide comfort to anyone in our community that needs it!”
FEBRUARY 2013 | AROUND THE CAMPUS
Kiss Me, Kate Takes the Stage Jack Seigenthaler ‘14 Contributing Writer Weston High School’s Company is well into the rehearsal process of the perennial musical theater classic, Kiss Me Kate. “We’re really excited to be starting up again after the success of The Crucible,” said Company president Sarah Gruen. “It’s already looking like another brilliant Weston High School Company product. The show-withina-show (with a score by Cole Porter) tracks the opening of a musical version of Taming of the Shrew in Baltimore, a production featuring a formerly married pair of fading stars—Fred Graham (Jack Seigenthaler) and Lilli Vanessi (Dianna Jean Sturgis)—who find themselves helplessly falling in love once again, despite the presence of Lilli’s formidable military fiancée, General Harrison How-
ell (Walker Edelman). Meanwhile, players Bill Calhoun (Bobby Eddy) and Lois Lane (Annabelle
Chase Troxell) show up to collect Bill’s gambling debt and set their sights on the near-bankrupt Fred
the Weston High School crowd come March. “Kiss Me, Kate is a classic musical and a rollicking good
Actors sing a song from Kiss Me, Kate in a late-night rehearsal. Photograph by Debbie Rehr Shea) are in a feud of their own: Bill can’t seem to leave his gambling behind, and Lois is insisting he do just that, or she’s moving on. When gangsters (Kevin MacWilliams and
instead, the stage is set for an unforgettable story. The score is filled with recognizable hits, and, according to Theater Director Damian Long, will surely please
time: a blend of backstage farce and high romance, with an unbeatable score by the legendary Cole Porter. We’re very excited to present it here at WHS,” says Mr. Long.
After casting, the group moved right into the rehearsal process, a significant commitment for those involved. Often, practice demands 10-15 hours a week. “We rehearse a lot, but it’s worth it in the end,” says Caroline Cannon, who plays the effervescent hairdresser Hattie. “Everybody who’s a part of this show loves being on stage and working together to put up a great production.” “Cole Porter is a genius of the theater,” added Ross Cohen, playing the energetic costumer Paul. “The show-withina-show is something to which all the actors can connect, making the rehearsal process a lot of fun for everybody involved. Despite Company’s enormous dedication of time to Kiss Me, Kate, there have already been some significant challenges the cast and crew have faced in terms of losing rehearsals. This, of course, comes on the heels of The
Security (continued) Continued from page 1 cally to the Weston campuses. Another presentation at the budget meeting noted that Darien, New Canaan, Ridgefield, and Wilton all have a school resource officer and that they can prove to be very useful. Their main purpose is to defend those in the schools, but that is not the limit of their job description: “law related education” and “law related counseling” are their other duties. Education refers to the officer serving as an occasional guest speaker in classes and “promot[ing] healthy behavior through positive relationships with students,” while counseling involves working with guidance counselors and students, and facilitating conflict resolution. Potential improvements include a security audit, in which professionals come and look at the schools and make suggestions on how to improve their security. It was one of these same audits that suggested the sign-out sheet for the students who leave in order to better keep track of everybody, and the security cameras that
have helped prevent theft throughout the school. Another topic of consideration for us students at WHS is that these changes are not limited to the High School; the Middle School, Intermediate School, and Elementary school have also seen some preventive action put forth. The main difference with the High School and the schools dealing with younger children is that, as Ms. Wolak puts it, “the people who come into [the high school] have two destinations. They have the main office, or they have Guidance. That’s it. On the other hand, there’s a lot more parent traffic in the other buildings.” Parents who go in to help out with younger students go to classrooms all over the schools, which creates a “more robust guest-list” as a challenge for K-8 schools. All things considered, there is no doubt that there is an earnest force doing everything in its power to protect those at the schools in Weston, and for that, despite all debate, we can be nothing but grateful.
Crucible, when Company lost a pivotal stretch of rehearsals just weeks before opening in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. “We’ve lost 5 or so rehearsals since the show began due to a number of extenuating circumstances—from snow days to a lack of power in the building. This adds up in terms of hours pretty quickly,” said Gruen. However, she doesn’t foresee it as a problem by the show’s opening. “Not only does Mr. Long know what it takes to put together a production, but the actors are devoted to doing what needs to be done to ready Kate by opening night. The Crucible was a great example of how our cast and crew can come together to put on a wonderful show, in spite of any setbacks,” said Gruen. Kiss Me, Kate opens March 15th, 16th and 17th, and will run the following weekend, on the 22nd and 23rd.
Midterm Recap Tr The hig ends: h you ar er the grade e in you kn , the more o expect w what to on mid term • The h igher th s. grade you’re e in the les s study , you do ing .
Thoughts from a Freshman
Caroline Kren ‘16 Staff Writer Ninth grade:
• Students started studying one week before midterms. • Students’ prioritized their midterm studying schedule. They studied their hardest subjects first. The classes most students studied first are science, social studies, and math because of the great quantity of material learned and because those were their hardest classes.
Photograph by Lilly Scrimmager
• Students studied the same amount of time as the ninth graders. • Students did not prioritize for hardest subject to easiest subject as much as the ninth graders. They first studied for the class of their first midterm test, and so on, and so on.
• Students procrastinated! • Students already knew the difficulty level of midterms from past years, so they only focused, not on their hardest subjects, but on what they thought their hardest midterms would be.
• Students procrastinated and yet studied a decent amount. • For those who barely studied: They know that because it is senior year, it probably won’t affect them getting into college, so they only studied a little for the classes they need to bring their grade up in. • For those who studied: They want to continue to do well on midterms. • Students know the midterms’ difficulty.
Every person studies differently. I started studying about a week and a half before midterms, because as a freshman, I didn’t really know what to expect. I studied by going over test, quizzes, notes, and reading the subjects books’. Many students also used another method. Like many freshman, Susanna Clark, said that “for key terms/vocab words, [she] used flashcards.” It turned out, that that helped a lot. But that’s not all. Nour Shubber, a sophomore, said that, “one way [she] studied was by highlighting all the topics that were going to be on the midterm in different colors: green = understand, yellow = need to review, and pink = need to study more and don’t understand enough.” Right before my first midterm I was so nervous. I had a few minutes before class, and like my other classmates, I was quickly reviewing. It turned out that the test was not as bad as I thought. Clare Foertsch, a freshman said, “The midterm was a lot easier than I expected! Some parts were harder than others, and during those parts I had a brief moment of panic, but after that everything turned out fine, and I was glad that it was over!” While interviewing the sophomores and upperclassman, I found that many of them said that they were prepared and thought that because they had experience taking the tests, they knew what classes they had to study the most for. All in all, it turns out that practically all freshmen freak out over midterms, and that the higher grade you’re in, the less you freak out.
Out and About
Our Guidance: Don’t See “Parental Guidance” Scarlett Machson ‘16 Staff Writer Is there any reason to see a movie that has absolutely nothing new to offer? This is the case with “Parental Guidance,” which uses the same old formula, has characters that are nothing more than stereotypes, and employs any last-ditch effort for a laugh. It’s a movie that uses every cliché in the book to force an unoriginal and bland conclusion. There is almost nothing new about it—no risks taken, no twists, no unique way to tell the story differently, and nothing to set “Parental Guidance” apart from all the other feel-good family romps that we’ve seen in the past. “Parental Guidance” centers around Artie Decker (Billy Crystal) and his wife Diane (Bette Midler), who are an aging couple babysitting their grandchildren for a week while the children’s parents are out of town. However, parenting methods have changed since their time, and they are woefully unprepared for the task of disciplining children in a world where spanking is outdated and the term “maybe you shouldn’t do that” has replaced just saying “no”. This is a very interest-
ing plot on paper, and it’s certainly true. Parenting has changed a lot in the past few decades, and we all remember how insulting these strategies were to our intelligence when
tal Guidance”. The plot is interesting enough – and relevant enough – to really strike a chord with its audience, and tell a humorous and engaging story at the same time. But the
Billy Crystal and Bette Middler star in the new flop “Parental Guidance” Photo courtesy of time.com we were growing up. And this is a point that the film does bring up. No matter how child-friendly adults try to make the world, kids will still be kids, and sometimes they do just need to be told to shut up. And this is what upsets me the most about “Paren-
reason it fails is that it has no new ideas. Why should anyone be invested in a film that doesn’t offer anything new? We know exactly what the characters are going to do; we know where the plot is going. It’s the same story we’ve seen a million times before,
Golden Duo Hosts Golden Globes Chloe Mandell ‘15 Staff Writer The Golden Globes, one of the most highly anticipated events of 2013, was watched by millions on January 13th. Co-hosted by Tina Fey and Amy Poehler,
Picture-Musical or Comedy, Best Performance in a Musical or Comedy (Hugh Jackman), and Best Supporting Performance in a Musical or Comedy (Anne Hathaway). The top winners of TV were Homeland and Game Change, also winning 3 awards each. Homeland, the story of an ex-Marine
about Sarah Palin, won Best Miniseries or Television Film, as well as Best Supporting Performance for actress Julianne Moore and Best Supporting Performance for actor Ed Harris. Other winners of the big screen included Argo, for Best Picture and Best Director (Ben Affleck), and
The stage is set for the the 70th Annual Golden Globe Awards Photo courtesy of sourcefednews.com the Globes were never short of laughs or surprises. The top film of the night was Les Misérables, which won 3 awards: Best
and it’s just not interesting anymore. The only way anyone could be surprised by anything “Parental Guidance” has to offer is if they had spent the last century under a rock with
turned convict, was awarded Best Series-Drama, as well as Best Performance awards for actors Damian Lewis and Claire Danes. Game Change, HBO’s film
Django Unchained, which won Best Supporting Actor (Christoph Waltz) and Best Screenplay. Steven SpielContinued on page 6
their fingers in their ears. The characters are all forgettable and lacking in unique or complex characteristics. And the movie doesn’t respect them enough to give them real screen time to develop these characters. They just show up, say “I’m the
smart workaholic” or “I’m the shy one” and leave. Do I even need to say what these characters are going to learn by the end of the film? The characters have all been used so many times before, all of their interest has just been sucked away. The humor is dull and contrived. There are a few jokes early on that made me laugh, but the film just seemed to give up after that, and goes into a downward spiral. The comedy stops being clever and instead becomes stale and repetitive, and by the end of the movie, it resorts to clunky slapstick and humor so crude that only a very small child could possibly be amused by it. But not only is “Parental Guidance” not very funny, it tries too hard to hammer its message in, and the serious moments are slow and sappy. What’s worst is that they often have no connection with the scenes that came before, and don’t at all impact the ones that come after. There’s no attempt made to integrate comedy and drama; the scenes seem simply thrown together haphazardly. A scene that felt like the climax appeared in the middle of the film, and the real climax came out of nowhere, as if the film had just decided they needed to wrap up the
story as quickly as possible. There is however, one element of the film that was well done. Gedde Watanabe, playing restaurant owner Mr. Cheng, delivered possibly the only interesting performance in this movie. More than interesting, actually, because whenever he was on screen, he made the audience laugh hard. Of course, he probably only got about five minutes of screen time, but every cameo was a breath of fresh air. Unfortunately, his character relied on some mildly charged stereotypes. But Watanabe was the only actor who seemed to care about what he was saying. He was so invested in his part that it was hard not to laugh at what he had to say and the over-the-top way he said it. All in all, “Parental Guidance” isn’t necessarily a bad film. Nothing is absolutely horrible in it. It’s just dull, dull, dull. We’ve seen the story before; we’ve seen the characters before. There’s pretty much no reason to buy a ticket to see it unless you really don’t mind paying money to see the same thing you’ve already seen. But considering all the great movies that are out right now, this is one you can definitely avoid without really missing anything at all.
Baby Fever! Sarah Tessler ‘16 Contributing Writer We’ve all heard the news, and with Kate Middleton’s royal baby on the way, baby fever is hotter than ever! On December 31st Kim Kardashian confirmed via her blog that she and rapper Kanye West are expecting a bundle of joy, stating, “It’s true!! Kanye and I are expecting a baby. We feel so blessed and lucky and wish that in addition to both of our families, his mom and my dad could be here to celebrate this special time with us.” They also announced that their child is to be born in July. Now fans of Kardashian as well as West are thrilled with the news of a new addition to their favorite celebrity’s family tree! Across the pond there is even bigger news of a baby on the way. In December, St. James palace reluctantly announced that The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were expecting a royal baby. Middleton was admitted to a hospital in early December for hyperemesis gravidarum, a severe form of morning sickness with
The Royal Couple are expecting a baby this July. Photo courtesy of blog.zap2it.com symptoms such as nausea and extreme weight loss. The royal couple was not planning on releasing their baby news to the public, however due to the curiosity surrounding her stay in the
hospital, they found it was most appropriate to debunk any rumors that may have formed. Middleton stayed in the hospital for several Continued on page 6
FEBRUARY 2013 | OUT AND ABOUT
School in the Dark
Actually Solving Problems
Fall Out Boy
Golden Globes (continued)
Continued from page 5 berg’s Lincoln won only one of the awards for which it was nominated—Best Performance in a Drama (Daniel Day-Lewis)– and Silver Linings Playbook’s Jennifer Lawrence won only Best Performance in a Musical or Comedy. Pixar’s Brave took home the title of Best Animated Film, beating out several other popular animated movies such as Wreck-it Ralph
Hotel Transylvania. As for the small screen, Lena Dunham’s Girls won for Best Comedy: Musical or Comedy, and Dunham herself won for Best Actress. And though Downton Abbey lost Best Drama to Homeland, Downton’s Maggie Smith won for Best Actress, beating Nashville’s Hayden Panettiere and Modern Family’s Sofia Vergara. This year’s awards show was full of surprises. and
Continued from page 1
Take Five: Hits and Misses
Elliott Eglash ‘13 Senior Section Editor Before I get to the good stuff, I’d like to take a moment to talk about disappointment. It may seem a bit heavy for this column, but any dedicated music fan knows the unique, piercing let-down that comes with an unexciting release from a favorite band. On that note, two recent releases have left me feeling decidedly disappointed. The first is The Strokes’ new single, “One-Way Trigger” seems to have been devised as an all-out assault on the ear. The first seconds of the song sound like something out a retro videogame soundtrack, with a dash of polka thrown in, and the results are as discordant as you might expect. What’s more, lead singer Julian Casablancas adamantly refuses to stick to his wheelhouse, that tried-and-true throaty low register, eschewing it for a strained falsetto. The song finds its footing, briefly, when it ditches the new elements and reverts to a more classic Strokes style. But the groove is gone as quickly as it appears. From a band who produced such lovely, wonderful songs as “Hard to Explain,” and “Under Cover of Darkness,” this song seems like a step in the entirely wrong direction. Another recent disappointment came from Ra Ra Riot. The band was once known for putting
the “alternative” in alternative rock (for instance: they had a cellist), but their latest album, “Beta Love,” finds them abandoning their uniqueness for an entirely mainstream aura, and it does not suit them well. The titular single, with its heavy-handed use of
could take a hint from the Local Natives. In recent years, they’ve moved away from their acoustic aesthetic, and found a comfortable home in the fertile ground between indie and folk, with a healthy dash of psychedelics thrown in. Their new album, “Hummingbird,”
The Joy Formidable’s new album cover. Photo courtesy of pitchfork.com synths and feel-good handclaps, seems to have come straight from the 80s. The lyrics, too, feel as insipid as the music: “I might be a prototype, but we’re both real inside.” They may have been aiming for robot rock opera, but they only achieved a pale simulacrum of the lively, creative pop they were known for. One can only hope that they’ll see the error of their ways, and return to 2010’s “Orchard” for inspiration. It seems that The Strokes and Ra Ra Riot
consistently strikes a new tone, and it pays off. The single, “Breakers,” features a simple guitar riff, pulsing drums, and incessant wailing in the background. But it builds with a very unique intensity, which is reflected in the lyrics—“breathing out, hoping to breathe in.” The song is simple, but it’s all the more powerful for it. Meanwhile, Tame Impala’s latest album, “Lonerism,” is yet another example of a band exploring new influences, while simultaneously finding success.
The band uses the album to expand on the simple psych rock of past releases, and integrates an expansive and unique style, one that can only be summed up as eternally cool. The song “Feels Like We Only Go Backwards” sounds like a warped “Sgt. Pepper’s;” its slow pace, its trippy lyrics, and its trance vocals dripping in reverb give it a very vintage style. But, what’s more, it manages to be catchy and innovative, at the same time. The song is not to be missed. Lastly, The Joy Formidable’s “Wolf’s Law” is a success. The band stays true to its hard rock influences, but abandons the simple, unburdened catchiness of “The Big Roar” for a more mature sound. True, there are no standouts here. The pulsing urgency of “Whirring,” and the upbeat exuberance of “Cradle” are conspicuously absent. But the album is a slow and steady study on the value of restraint. And, indeed, the band is able to develop a remarkably full sound for a trio. Singer Ritzy Bryan is as alluring as ever, imbuing her mystic, personal lyrics with a brutal directness that is, at times, arresting. The overall result is pleasing. Their last album may have been a blazing supernova—captivating in its intensity—but this album is a picturesque sunset, and its artfulness will be all the more impactful for its simplicity.
BSA Considers Lifting Ban on Gay Scouts
Emily Goldberg ‘13 Section Editor
Pregnant Celebrities (continued)
A pregnant Kardashian enjoys a night out with West. Photo courtesy of awomensclub.com Continued from page 5 days and further required a period of rest to battle the severe morning sickness. The excitement of this news has also spread within the walls of Weston High School. Many students are anxiously awaiting the birth of the royal bundle, including freshmen Maddie Shore, exclaiming, “This royal baby has been super exciting for everyone here in Weston, I think it’s a good way to lift the spirit after all the holidays are over.” It’s nice to see that even in other countries, news of a
royal baby is brightening the mood for everyone, too. Along with America and England, the celebrity baby boom has hit Spain. Latina singer/songwriter Shakira has given birth to a baby boy. A statement released by Shakira on her website reads, “We are happy to announce the birth of Milan Pique Mebarak, son of Shakira Mebarak and Gerard Pique, born January 22nd at 9:36pm, in Barcelona, Spain.” It seems that all over the globe, celebrity babies are taking the world by storm.
On Wednesday, February 6, the national executive board for Boy Scouts of America decided to postpone their vote to end the existing ban on gay membership. The decision to postpone it until May was made after a three-day meeting to debate the issue and much concern over the reaction of the different sides. The Boy Scouts of America is an 103 year old organization that focuses on mentoring, lifelong learning, faith traditions, serving others, healthy living, and building character. Their policy banning homosexuals has varied in wording over the years, but has always been in place and even won a Supreme Court case, Boy Scouts of America
v. Dale, in 2000. Since that case, youth membership has fallen 21% and adult leader membership dropped 14%. Before the meeting, two executive board members, Jim Turley and Randall Stephenson, said publicly that they support a change on the ban. Also, President Barack Obama told CBS anchor Scott Pelley regarding the BSA, “My attitude is...that gays and lesbians should have access and opportunity the same way everybody else does, in every institution and walk of life.” In general, Weston High School students agreed with Turley, Stephenson, and Obama before the decision was delivered. “I support lifting it because I see no reason not to, and the BSA should only block admission to someone if there is a hard reason for
it...the default should be open, not closed,” said junior Benson Kane, who is a Boy Scout. However, he did not think it would really impact the organization if the ban was lifted, “The BSA is run from the bottom up, not the top down. The individual district committees and scoutmasters run mostly free of any central authority. While the national BSA authority might adopt a resolution in favor of orientation-blind admission, actual implementation will be up to the whims of the local leaders, many of whom are of the social conservative variety, and are unlikely to sponsor openly homosexual candidates for leadership positions,” he said. Others not involved with the BSA had nothing but contempt for the ban. “I don’t support the
ban because anyone of any sexual orientation should have the same rights as anyone else. That’s what we’re about as Americans and that’s how it should be,” said senior Brandon Abrams. However, other Boy Scout leaders and politicians supported the ban. Texas Governor Rick Perry, who is actually an Eagle Scout, has publicly stated that he does not see a reason for the BSA to change their policy. Additionally, the Mormon Church, the United Methodist Church, and the Catholic Church are in support of the ban. No matter what the decision ends up being, gay rights are progressing. Both France and England approved same-sex marriage recently, joining the nearly dozen countries that allow same-sex marriage.
Sports and Athletics
An Impressive Track Record Micah Zirn ‘15 Section Editor The High School track team in Weston is naturally not the subject of much talk; during the winter, the meets are always away and regardless it isn’t a spectator sport, especially among other students who offer an essentially non-existent fan base. In spite of this, over one hundred students– a broader involvement than that of any other school sport–come out to participate on the team. Hovever, what makes the program extraordinary is its remarkable talent and the abundance of this talent. The vast majority of Weston’s college-bound athletes and acclaimed sportsmen, in the All State, All Northeast, and All American tiers,— have been in track and field. After the 2009-2010 school year, Weston sent several athletes to compete in college. Stephen Piscatelli, a distance runner, is currently racing at the University of Pennsylvania. Two other runners of the same year, with whom he shared several relay records, are also part of university track programs of the same
status: Ryan Gilmore at New York University, and James Bloom at University of Rhode Island. The following year, Stephen Vento was recruited by the University of Connecticut. Brad DeMarco, who was the captain of the Cross Country and track team through the 20112012 school year, now races at Connecticut College. After his graduation, the captainship was filled with another star,; senior David Stankiewicz, who excels at 800 meters and up, has numerous offers from upper-echelon universities. Yet these only mark the individual accomplishments of certain
Weston track athletes. The distance team-the members of the track team who specifically run long-distance events-is unquestionably superior to that of any other school against which they compete. When I asked a friend why he would be competing in the upcoming Varsity meet, as he was only a JV runner, he responded modestly, “I’m about the 11th or 12th runner on our team– at any other school I’d likely be in the top five.” The next generation of Weston’s track runners appears more than capable of upholding the tradition. Sophomore miler
Cole Clark set several freshmen records and is on track to be highly esteemed runner throughout high school and has high hopes for racing at an elite program in college. In the past few years, broken records have not been a rare occurrence; Sophomore Simeon Okoro, who competes in short distance events, set several freshman records as well. Current freshmen, Nathalie Feingold and Rhémi Toth earned their place at the top of Weston’s leader board this year for their age. With all of this talent, it’s no surprise that the team pulled out an impressive win at SWCs.
Spirit: A School of Thought Andrew Parks Section Editor Most people don’t think much about going to a boys basketball game on a Wednesday night or a girls volleyball game on a Friday night. Students go to these games because all of their friends said they were going to go. Yet for the players, attendance at the games means so much more. School spirit at our sporting events is a big factor in the outcome of the games. The more support the team has, the better it tends to do. Charlie DiPasquale, senior and captain of the boys basketball team, recalled a home game a week ago against Stratford. The team lost by a score of 56-54 – a mere two points. DiPasquale commented that “if even thirty more people had shown up to the game to show their support and had been loud and spirited, that may have given the team the encouragement to pull out a win.” Unfortunately, many people feel that the
Sports for Non-Athletes
Lucy Chestler ‘16 Staff Writer
David Stankowitz competes at the Wesleyan Invitational Meet. Photograph courtesy of Lee Kalivas
school spirit has dropped off from previous years. The school co-president Oliver Parker has his own theory as to why attendance has dropped off
this year. “I would say it is mainly due to the lack of senior attendance and leadership. With the seniors attending sporting events, other grades are bound
Senior boys cheer on their classmates at Powderpuff. Photograph by Tori Zaharoff
to follow as we are the role models of the school. However, attendance has only been measured in the first semester of the school year which happens to be the busiest time for high school students, particularly seniors, and we should see great things this [second] semester.” However, Parker’s copresident, Jordan Berger, has a different idea entirely. Berger disagrees that school spirit has dropped off this year, saying, “that the general school atmosphere last year may have had more school spirit, but from what I’ve seen after attending various sports events, the school spirit at sporting events is equivalent to, if not better than, it was last year.” Regardless of what people think about the attendance at sporting events this year, the importance of large crowds supporting our athletes is not diminished in the slightest. The moral support that is given to the teams as a result of a big, rowdy crowd encourages them and pushes them Continued on page 8
Many students want to be part of the sports scene at Weston High School, yet several are discouraged due to the commitment or feel that they aren’t good enough. However, there are many ways that students can become involved without playing an official sport. Of course, all students are welcome to come and support WHS by watching and cheering on the teams during their games. An enthusiastic fan section gives a great home team advantage, but more importantly creates a spirited school and a sense of unity. Managing a team is also an ideal way to still be connected to school sports, without actually participating in the competition. These positions have many responsibilities, such as keeping track of the stats or score, distributing uniforms, and most of all, helping to keep the team organized. Without actually playing the sport, managers are still a part of the team and still get to interact with the teammates at all the games. It is also very easy to
volunteer for the Boosters Club. The Boosters Club helps support all WHS athletes by providing such things as uniforms, bags and other necessities needed for each sport. It also maintains the turf fields that Weston athletes play on. Volunteers can help sell candy, drinks and snacks at the Booster Barn and indoor concession stand– an extremely enjoyable place to be during a heated homefield match-up. Several students get a thrill out of these activities and also helping with fundraising events. However, these opportunities don’t have the option of being active and playing recreational sports with friends. The school offers a rec soccer team, and is working toward establishing a recreational basketball team as well. Additionally, the weight room is open after school for students to exercise. There are several after-school fitness programs too. Evidently, there are plenty of options for students who don’t want to take part in official school teams, which allow nonathletes to participate in school spirit and others to stay active and fit.
Are you choking? I can help! Aaron Pomerance ‘13 Section Editor Cardio-Pulmonary Resuscitation, commonly known as CPR, is one of the most important emergency life-saving skills that is in use today. This process, which for a while was only taught to EMT’s and other professional healthcare providers, is now taught to and required for many professions: teachers, coaches, babysitters, and other supervision-related positions. At Weston High School, CPR certification has been a requirement for all students as long as I have been in school. Certified PE teachers (Coach Lato, Mrs. Wilson, and Mr. Richetelli) teach students the signs that indicate choking or other conditions that require CPR. In addition to recognition, students must learn how to respond quickly and effectively in both situations. This segment of the PE curriculum is controversial in that many people question whether or not students should be required to pass
these exams and be certified in CPR. After all, every coach and a majority of the teachers are already certified. Ms. Wolak said with absolute conviction, “Yes. It is a life skill—and fulfills our school-wide expectation of mental and physical wellness—as well as our goal that our students be contributing members of a global society.” Senior Emma Halper, who is also a local lifeguard, added, “CPR saves lives; the more people that know it, the more lives will be saved.” WHS students agree that CPR is a universal lifesaving technique, and they adamantly defend this program as an integral piece of the school’s curriculum. Although CPR is an essential skill, is it necessary that this life-saving technique be taught in PE, where the unit often breaks up the physical activity of the normal PE curriculum? It can, instead, be taught in health class, where the unit seems more appropriate. Senior Andrew Parks Continued on page 8
FEBRUARY 2013| SPORTS AND ATHLETICS
Ski Team Hits the Slopes School Spirit James Willis ‘15 Staff Writer The Weston High School ski team is off of an excellent start this season. Before the first race, there is a lot of preparation. They first have to embark on intense workouts called dry season. This aims at getting the racers in shape before they get on the slopes. Head Coach Rich Fanning says “much of our pre-season training is based on balance and strength exercises since we don’t have much snow early in the season to ski on. We have found that a few weeks of hard drylands can make a big difference in the skiers once we do get on snow.” In addition to dryland practice, there is a lot of practice on the slopes. The entire ski team went on a trip to a mountain in Vermont called Smugglers Notch. They stayed in condos by the mountain and trained for two days. Coach Fanning said “Smuggs is a great opportunity to learn a lot in a short time and we don’t want to waste any time up there with out of shape skiers. I also am a firm believer in getting the team out on snow as soon as possible. The way I see it is some skiing, even if it’s just on a short patch of snow, is better than no skiing at all. Just getting out and sliding around helps redevelop everyone’s ski legs and gets any silly stuff sorted out, like realizing your boots hurt this year or your poles are too short.... that kind of thing. It’s important to get that stuff sorted out
before we take off for VT. We, as coaches, always come home from Smuggs amazed at how much improvement we see in the team in those two days and we feel that is the most important part of our pre-season training.” The team recently had its first race. The race was at Mt. Southington in Plants-
The first race is always a tough one for us. Everyone is nervous with the first race jitters and we have a lot of new racers this year.... [who are] new to high school racing and in many cases entirely new to racing. It was great to see both JV teams place first on the [mountain] in our first race too.” Congratula-
Anna Dickstein who finished 19th. The boys varsity team was lead by junior Jon Buddenahgen and senior Kieran Wrynn who were 6th and 8th, respectively, on the mountain out of 210 boys. For the JV teams, there was a big improvement from the first race. For the girls team, senior Emily Robbins had the best time
Continued from page 7 even further to play well. Not only that, but games with big crowds are fun not only for the players but also for the students who are cheering in the stands. There are sporting events, such as basketball in the winter or football in the fall, where the stands are packed with cheering students, yet there are just as many games with
poor student turnouts. As the winter sports’ regular seasons begin to wind down, the playoffs bring the need for more spirit and support than previously required. Attendance at games could mean the difference between a state or SWC title and going home empty handed, so be sure to go support our teams this winter and during the spring. Go Trojans!
CPR in Gym (continued)
Continued from page 7
Ski team members Greta Guthrie, Katherine Marra, and Ina Andresen. Photograph courtesy of Katherine Marra ville, Ct. The team was up against teams from all different divisions, including Guilford, Amity, Barlow, Prep, Ridgefield, and Southington. In regards to the first race, Coach Fanning said that “both the boys and girls are off to a great start this year. Our teams are looking better than last year, especially the girls. Both were third out of ten schools, which is an impressive start for the season.
tions to Shelby Merberg who had the best girls time. The second race of the season took place on January 29th. Both girls and boys varsity and JV teams placed first out of all teams in the Class S Division. Leading the charge for the girls varsity team was junior Shelby Merberg, who had the third best time on the mountain. She was followed by sophomore Hayley Singer who finished 16th and senior
on the team. Also, Eugenie Portner, Clemmie Fellowes and Frances Kleiner performed great and finished 6th, 11th, 12th and 27th, respectively. Also, both the boys and girls JV teams placed first out of class S teams. The boys JV team had two sophomores, Greg Portner and Jake Liebow, who finished 3rd and 8th, respectively. Freshman Sam Glasberg finished right behind them at 11th.
said that the CPR unit, as it stands, “takes away from the physical activity that PE offers students. It can be taught just as effectively in health.” The health curriculum has been very structured over the past few years, touching upon drugs, sex education, illnesses, and more. However, senior Sydney Weiss said, “the curriculum taught in health is pretty repetitive from year to year, so we could afford to set out a few classes for doing CPR,” meaning that CPR would no longer be a requirement for PE. Ms. Wolak, a bit uncertain about this question, disagreed: “I never really thought about this—I think so many of our students participate in sports, go to the gym, [and] have a sense of the importance of working out. I think it is fine that it is
during PE—there is limited time in health so PE is probably a better venue.” CPR is a skill that can save someone’s life. Emma Halper said, “unanticipated things happen all the time that call for attention, and if someone goes unconscious or stops breathing, it's important that there is someone there who knows how to save them.” Students who are CPR certified are more confident and prepared for emergency situations where an adult is not present. Those students that babysit are more likely to get the job if they are CPR certified—adults will trust their child to a WHS student because they know the necessary life-saving techniques. CPR is a necessary tool that every person should have, and it is great that our school offers to teach us at such a young age.
We Were Going to Make a Creative Title... ...But Decided to Do It Later Procrastination at Weston High School
Olivia Clark ‘13 Section Editor We all procrastinate. Every single one of us, at some point or another, puts down our textbooks and calculators in favor of a TV show, a “quick” Facebook check, or a Twitter update. In today’s world, there is an excess distraction stealing away our attention. But is the distraction of teens really a product of reduced attention spans, or is it caused by a lack of commitment to schoolwork? I’m here to say it’s not. Sometimes, procrastination might be a good thing, and sometimes, procrastination might be necessary. In every high school, students are becoming more concerned than ever about the college application process, and are loading themselves up with AP class upon AP class, a ridiculous number of clubs, and a plethora of community service activities. Students today are being pushed to their limits by the pressures of a society focused on the
next step, the next stage of one’s life. High school, in my opinion, is becoming less of a place where fun is had, less of an opportunity to explore one’s interests, and more of a pressure cooker preparing us for our final test: college. Stress levels in high schoolers are steadily increasing, and free time availability is most certainly on the decline as we pursue the highest level of higher education, our sights set on little else but that long-awaited acceptance letter. I’m not saying that hard work is unnecessary or wrong, but I am saying that sometimes there might be too much of it. Too much spreading ourselves too thin and trying to be a superhuman, well-rounded, college applicant, and not enough of enjoying our last days of being a kid. We need some time to decompress, to do something mindlessly entertaining and entirely unproductive when we should be looking ahead to the next day and to the next item on our list we can check off. I think we need to
Section Editor Micah Zirn procrastinates when he should be editing his section for the February edition of The Journal. Photograph by Daniel Muller procrastinate. For one thing, it takes your mind off that upcoming assignment, that next presentation that needs to be given, the grade that must absolutely be earned lest you get deferred from your university of choice. Don’t we do enough schoolwork during the day? Let your mind wander for a few minutes
and unwind. Perhaps a bit of Facebook prowling is your activity of choice, or maybe its scanning the Twitterverse for some celebrity gossip. For me, it’s Tumblr; scrolling through endless pages of photographs and art, sayings and recipes is more therapeutic than much else, and I can totally clear my mind during
those minutes spent clicking the “reblog” button. Senior Daniel Muller said Facebook “allows [him] to take a break from the hustle and bustle of everyday life” and to rid himself of a bit of the stress of the school day. Additionally, he said, “Although I can’t always hang out with friends when I need a break,
Facebook helps me talk to them instead.” Social media serves as a vehicle by which relationships are maintained in an age as busy as this one, an important function that has been all but forgotten. Senior Claire Cook added, “I watch Netflix and Hulu and check various blogs…Procrastination is definitely a bad thing, but I almost feel that I’m more productive under a time crunch.” Clearly WHS students appreciate the value of some quality procrastination every now and then (or, you know, every day). It really helps them de-stress and decompress after a long day of schoolwork and extracurriculars, and is a valuable part of the homework routine. So next time your parents come into the room and find you on Facebook or Twitter, make sure you tell them that it’s helping you to maintain your sanity and to take a step back from the strain of the day. I’m sure they’ll agree wholeheartedly. Procrastinate on, Weston High School!
Reading Between the Lines
A look at required reading at Weston High School Natalie Quiles ‘14 Staff Writer When students first think of English class, their reading list usually goes along with it. Whether it be The Absolutely True Diary of a PartTime Indian, by Sherman Alexie, for standard 9th grade English or Eaarth, by Bill McKibben, for AP Language and Composition, each student has their own opinion regarding required reading. When questioned, some students could not recite a single book that they enjoyed in English class, Others, such as Junior Taylor Leo, cite To Kill a Mockingbird, Romeo and Juliet and Twelfth Night as her favorites because she particularly enjoyed, "reading theatrical pieces...because it allows you to go along....as though you are part of the story." For the most part, students enjoy connect-
ing with the books they read in class on a personal level, rather than
non-fiction and short stories, but that she prefers fiction, “because it al-
cussed in class and relate to a wide variety of assignments,
the curriculum...and that feedback does play a role in our decisions when
Students read in Mr. Risoli’s English class (left); books in their natural habitat (right). Photographs by Emily Weyrauch reading analytical books, which are not able to grab most students’ attention. Olivia Hayes agrees with Leo, stating that within her English course, they mostly read
lows me to feel like I'm just reading for fun, and it is a nice escape from the rest of my school work." Books we read in school clearly need enough depth to be dis-
Ms. Cincotta explains, "We look for books that are grade-level and course appropriate...that complement and enhance our units. We ask for student feedback on books in
we revise curriculum." While searching for books to add into the classroom, teachers want something that will elaborate on the specific unit that they're teaching. "We
are always thinking about new books we could add to the curriculum. We want to expose our students to as many different voices and stories as possible. Often, even when I'm reading a book for pleasure, I am thinking, ‘How could this book be used in one of my classes?’" Keeping in mind the interests of the students, the selection process comes down to how well these selected books will complement the yearly theme and concept within the classroom, while enriching the student body. While the requirement of schoolwork and preparation for exams forces the focus of books to lean towards the drier side, some wonder if there should be a greater focus on choosing books that the students will enjoy, in order to promote recreational reading outside of the classroom, which will develop students’ intellectual growth.
FEBRUARY 2013 | OPINION AND COMMENTARY
Debating Weston’s Gun Control Laws Daniel Muller ‘13 Section Editor Several weeks ago, Weston made the national news when it was featured on NPR regarding the new gun ordinances it drafted; these ordinances, revisions of the 1990 ordinance the town passed, would require registration of all firearms in town, would require safe and secure storage of weapons when they are not being used, and would ban assault weapons, automatic weapons, and high-capacity magazines which are “not appropriate for our town for sporting purposes,” as reported by The Weston Forum. While the town has since eliminated the registration ordinance and tabled the bans until the state and federal governments have acted, Weston’s ordinances have been promising; they show signs of bipartisanship and change that could come to the country if everyone stopped thinking about themselves for a second. I know that I am a little biased, as my dad is on the Board of Selectmen. However, I know that I would feel the same regardless of my ties to these ordinances, based strictly on statistics; according to www.newrepublic.com, “there have been 70 mass shootings in the United States between 1982 and 2012, leaving 543 people… Seven of those 70 shootings occurred [in 2012]. Sixty-eight of those 543 victims were killed [in 2012].” The website also claims: “With more than 140 casualties (injuries and deaths), the toll from mass shootings in 2012 has been nearly twice that of any other year.” Anyone who can honestly look at those statistics and tell me that the country does need gun reform I consider to be blissfully unaware of the facts. Yes, I do admit that our country needs significant reform in mental health laws as well as video game culture; the omnipresent violence cannot be a positive force on the minds of young individuals who need an outlet as they age. However, as the Washington Post observed, “states with stricter gun control laws have fewer deaths from gun-related violence.” Laws that protect citizens are not there to infringe upon Second Amendment rights; rather, they are there because the primary role of
government is to protect and ensure the safety of the governed. Our country has arrived at the point, and has been arriving at the point for a long time, that we cannot stand idly by as one mass shooting after another takes hundreds of lives a year in the United States alone among developed nations. Frankly, I am sick and tired of the argument that any sort of gun regulation law infringes upon the freedoms of law-abiding citizens. It’s apparently all about freedom and more freedom and protecting yourself against a possibly tyrannical government in the future. America is not unique in this world; there are so many countries like it. I will mention Australia, the United Kingdom, and Japan as three examples. All three nations are free. They enjoy no fewer privileges as foreigners than we do as Americans, but here’s the difference: they all have strict gun laws. Australia, following a shooting spree in Tasmania, banned assault weapons and encouraged gun buyback programs. The United Kingdom, following the Dunblane massacres, banned private ownership of automatic weapons and most handguns. In Japan, most guns are illegal to
ond. But what I do think is needed is regulation. Too long we have blamed other issues for the gun violence and culture in our society. Like I stated earlier, yes, we do have other issues, but the fact is that none of these issues would be as important if guns were not so easily attainable in our society. So what do I propose and how does it pertain to Weston? Well, for one thing there should be heavier background checks. As the documentary Living for 32, regarding the mass shootings at Virginia Tech, indicated, it is incredibly easy to walk into a gun show, say you’re 18, and walk out with a brand new semi-automatic weapon. This shouldn’t be the case. Medical history should be evaluated. Mental health history should be evaluated. Background checks should be mandatory. Why is it more difficult in this country to buy medicine than to buy guns? There should be a series of exams to pass before obtaining a gun, just like the process to drive a car: there’s a written test, road hours, classes, and a final exam. Why are guns any different? Both are dangerous and should only be operated if the operator knows how to use them. Weston has tried to make a difference, and as a result the town has come under fire. Every member of the Board of Selectmen has received phone calls and emails from people across the country after the NRA published the phone numbers and emails of each representative of the town. What makes Weston unique, however, is that the town stood up for itself. Yes, maybe the gun laws will not go through, whether because of the District of Columbia vs. Heller decision or because of staunch opposition, but what the town showed the nation is that action has to start from the bottom and work its way up. The state and federal government will only act if they are shown that there are people who are willing to work within communities and to organize others for a cause, because only then will the government be sure that there is popular support for its issues. Only then will the government be supportive of and take action on this initiative, and in this way Weston has served and will continue to serve as a model for public involvement on a national scale.
Argument in Favor of Weston’s Legislation own and restrictions are abundant for those that are legal. While the United States experienced 12,000 deaths from firearms in 2008, Japan had 11. Australia and the UK both saw dramatic drops in gun-related crimes ( w w w. n y t i m e s . c o m ) . I’m not advocating the abolition of guns from American society all together. I believe that it is crucial for law enforcement officers to possess guns. I also think that it would be illogical to take guns away from everyone, as that would illustrate the tyrannical government that so many feel convinced actually exists. I think it’s too late for that; our fate was settled as soon as the first people interpreted the Second Amendment to mean that anyone could own a weapon, regardless of whether it fires one round per minute or sixty rounds per sec-
Benson Kane ‘14 Business Manager In the aftermath of an unimaginable tragedy, it can be all too easy for otherwise calm and rational people to want to make a knee-jerk, emotional response. The horror that occurred in Newtown in December has proved to
sault weapon” was defined to mean any weapon that shared purely cosmetic details with militaryissue weapons, such as pistol grips and retractable stocks. None of these banned cosmetic features would increase the lethality or even the concealability of a firearm. The Federal Assault Weapons Ban (1994), which Sena-
tween gun ownership and violent crime in countries internationally, suggesting (as other studies and statistics have) that firearm ownership can both deter and (in a worst case scenario) be used to stop crime. Laws preventing law-abiding citizens from owning weapons with which to defend themselves only serve to tell criminals that their prey
Weston selectmen David Muller, Gayle Weinstein and Dennis Tracey work on drafting the town’s own gun control laws. Photo courtesy of www.npr.org. be just such an incident. Armed with a semiautomatic rifle, a shooter did indeed commit a horrible atrocity. As has occurred after many such tragedies, those who see guns as inherently evil have decided to make an opportunity of the massacre, to capitalize upon the knee-jerk fear that has many Americans wondering if maybe the antigun coalition could be right, that maybe law-abiding citizens should not be allowed to own “assault weapons.” My purpose in this piece is not to try and win over those already emotionally set against the rights of Americans to own firearms; logic and reason is sadly not enough to overcome even the most irrational of deep-set beliefs. Rather, I implore those of you wondering if recent events may have fundamentally changed the American gun debate to see reason, to recognize facts and try and reach a logical conclusion. In American gun regulation, the idea of an “assault weapon” is purely a political construct. In 1993, Democratic legislators, seeking to extend already existing gun regulations past the ban of only fully-automatic weapons (“machine guns”), decided to create a new category of weapon to restrict: the “assault weapon”. “As-
tor Dianne Feinstein and many others in Washington seek today to reinstitute, banned weapons that looked scary. They were no more lethal than any other weapon that fires a single bullet with each depression of the trigger. According
won’t bite back. Case in point could be the UK (a country with much stricter gun laws than the US and a full ban on handguns). In England, there are 2,034 violent crimes per 100,000 people, as opposed to 466 in the US. The UK is hardly a third world country, the US is not being compared with, say, Somalia. The biggest difference between the two with regards to violent crime? Gun laws. For the ultimate contrast, a small town in Georgia called Kennesaw in 1982 made it a legal requirement for every head of household to keep at least one firearm in the house. After the law was enacted, burglaries in Kennesaw dropped 89%, while the entire state only saw a drop of 10.5%. Even today, the burglary rate in Kennesaw is still 85% lower than the Georgia or national rate. The reason isn’t all that hard to decipher: would you attempt to rob a house knowing that, should the owner be home, you could find yourself looking down a barrel? Our nation has seen many a trying time, but it’s quite rare that such a time strikes just as close to us as the Newtown tragedy did. We can cope with the aftermath in a rational or an irrational way, undertake action guided by logic or emotion. I for one plea for logic.
COUNTERPOINT Argument Against Weston’s Legislation
to Feinstein’s own statistics, assault weapons have killed 385 people in America since the Assault Weapons Ban expired in 2004, or about 48 people per year, a tiny number. On a yearly basis: in 2011, 323 murders were committed with rifles of any kind, while 496 murders were committed with hammers and clubs, and 1,694 murders were perpetrated with knives. Over a 12 month study conducted by the Clinton administration (data could not be found for 2011 specifically), guns were were used in defensive situations 1.5 million times, compared to 31,672 incidents of homicide and accident and suicide. Guns were used positively 47 times more often than negatively. In a recent analytical study, the Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy concluded that there is a negative correlation be-
FEBRUARY 2013 | THE POTATO
These professional photographs were taken during the blackout on January 31st and after the blizzard on February 9th. The photographs to the left artfully document the dramatic beauty of a day in the dark, while the photographs to the right demonstrate the sheer power of Mother Nature and the simplicity of white.
Ms. Greenbergâ€™s biology class celebrates their discovery of the cure to the common cold. Photograph by Emily Weyrauch
Mr. Joyce writes the last digits of pi on the whiteboard; unfortunately his students canâ€™t see it. Photograph by Sarah Gruen
Students perform an intricately choreographed flash-mob during second lunch. Photograph by Matthew Risoli
Albino bunnies frolic through the snow. Photograph by Emily Weyrauch
Scattered mini marshmallows float through the wind. Photograph by Sarah Gruen
View of football field or sock from Clorox bleach advertisement? Photograph by Andrew Jorge