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THE WESTON HIGH SCHOOL

OURNAL 115 School Road, Weston, CT 06883

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PERMIT NO. 95

WESTPORT, CT 06880

January 2014 • Year MMXII, Issue IV

Gun Control

tween the years of 1995 and 2006. In the years before the laws were imposed, Australia had 13 similar events, in which over 100 people died. Since the laws were imposed, no gun deaths fell into that category. A similar phenomenon was seen in Britain after 16 children and their teacher were killed by a gunman in Dunblane, Scotland in 1996. The British government banned the

In the wake of a slew of horrific massshootings, gun-control became one of the top agendas for many Americans. Gun-control advocates say that they want to find a “common sense” solution to American gun violence . But would their proposals actually be effective in limiting gun violence? Let’s consider one of t h e

most famous men in history: Gandhi. The man that preached peace above all else, said: “Among the many misdeeds of the British rule in India, history will look upon the act of depriving a whole nation of arms, as the blackest.” The first step in seeing from our point of view is understanding why we oppose these “common sense” measures, and why many of these bills face massive backlash when passed. There is a common misconception that citizens want to be armed to be able to hunt game. The overwhelming reason a law-abiding citizen wishes to be armed is for self-defense, whether that be from an assailant, foreign invasion or tyranny. Of course, an

invasion or tyrannical dictatorship of the USA is unlikely, but, it allows Americans to be sure of the fact that in the unlikely event that their way of life is infringed by a tyrannical government - foreign or domestic - they would be able to defend their rights.

Note, we don’t advocate the use of deadly force to prevent a non-violent crime. We advocate the use of reasonable force - as judged by our justice system - when one’s life or health are clearly in danger as a result of criminal attack. Many gun-control advocates use the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary to promote their agendas. Some like to claim that if the guns used by the shooter had been illegal, this tragedy would have never happened, yet, that firearm was not legally obtained. Adam Lanza - the perpetrator - stole the firearm from his mother, after killing her; he committed felonies before ever leaving his house. The fact that not a single person at SHES was armed meant every human life inside that school was at the mercy of police

continued on page 12

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response time. Adam Lanza took their lives into his hands, and they could do nothing to defend themselves. One of the two shooters at Columbine High School, Eric Harris, also used illegally obtained firearms to massacre students in a gun-free zone. In his journal he had written, “Go ahead and change gun laws. How do you think we got ours?” Similar to the former prohibition of alcohol and the current one of drugs, gun bans would simply enlarge the black market and make it more profitable to smuggle black market weapons. The real problem, rather, is other social issues such as the war on drugs. Massive amounts of illegal drugs are smuggled in through pipelines despite billions being spent on defense. These pipelines could just as easily become firearm pipelines if that becomes more profitable. Consider the amount of gangs and their involvement. The FBI’s website said that, “according to the 2011 National Gang Threat Assessment report, gangs are responsible for an average of 48 percent of violent crime in most jurisdictions, and up to 90 percent in others.” These issues must first be solved, as banning firearms and leaving these in stark relief will only provide further rises to these

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Save the National Parks

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Written by Kei Pritsker and Alex Ishin

a r e exponentially higher. The same Harvard study indicated that the American murder rate is roughly 15 times that of other wealthy countries with much tougher laws controlling the private ownership of guns. As an anonymous editorial writer for the New York Times put it: There’s another important difference between this country and the rest of the world. Other nations have suffered similar rampages, but they have re-

acted quickly to impose new and stricter gun laws. For example, in 1996, a “pathetic social misfit”, as labelled by a judge at trial, killed 35 individuals with bullets from a semiautomatic weapon. Weeks later, Australia was working on gun control laws banning assault weapons and shotguns, and subsequently tightening licencing programs. After those laws were invoked, studies show that firearm homicides dropped by an incredible 59% be-

opinion

traditional and less urbanized than the North. An article in the New York Times explained that, in comparison to the United States, no other country in the world has more guns per capita, with almost 300 million civilian firearms currently in circulation across the country. Studies from the Harvard School of Public Health, as well as other studies conducted by top institutions throughout the country, have showed that where there are more firearms, there are more homicides. In the case of the United States, those numbers

Against

out and about

12, 042. There have been 12,042 deaths from gun-related violence since the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School on December 12th of 2012. 12, 042 deaths that could have been prevented, if only tighter regulations were enforced on both the purchase and accessibility of guns for American citizens. But to criticize gun control in the United States, one must first get a sense of what regulations are in place, or more practically, what regulations fail to exist. One important feature of U.S gun policy is that it is the laws differ by state without a federal standard. The more lax states do not require firearm permits or registration. They may even allow individuals to carry their guns in plain sight and also empower the possession of semi-automatic weapons, called assault rifles. On the other end of the spectrum, states with stricter codes necessitate permits with background checks and prohibit both semi-automatics and high-capacity magazines, or ammo carriers that can fit a ridiculous number of bullets. It isn’t uncommon for these states to grant some level of authority to local governments, permitting them to implement stricter regulations. Yes, it’s safe to associate these formerly mentioned states with the South, which is generally more

For

around the campus

Written by Micah Zirn and Anisha Khosla

The student body weighs in on this pressing issue


JANUARY 2014 | EDITORIALS-IN-CHIEF 2 the infinite possibilities they present to the public. Have you lost or broken a set of keys or pair of sunglasses? Simply create or download the design from online, and the 3D printer does the rest. 3D printers can create customized gifts that you are unable to find for sale in any store, along with clothing, furniture and appliances galore! A video created by Mitchell Moffit and Gregory Brown from the YouTube handle AsapSCIENCE, describes the process like, “stacking sliced bread [except] in reverse. After putting one layer down, and then another is built on top of that, and then so on until the [entire] loaf of bread is put together.” On a more technical level, 3D printers operate by creating very small layers of chosen material, usually plastic, metal, or concrete, in increments of 100 micrometers, with some high end printers being able to print at 16 micrometers, for much more intricate and delicate designs. With this level of detail possible, 3D printers have successfully utilized molecules for

printing, creating pharmaceutical drugs in the process. They are able to organize the drugs, such as ibuprofen, in a way that maintains the desired effect of the drug. These super-printers also hold a lot of potential regarding medical advancements. In need of prosthetic limbs? With these printers, consumers have the ability to ensure their prosthetics are customized specifically to them, rather than basic, mass produced limbs. Even more amazing, 3D printers have the possibility of generating replacement bones for patients! Researchers at Washington State University have been able to print bones for orthopedic and dental patients. The structure acts as a bridge when place near the bone, and then, “helps the bone repair itself, then dissolving with no ill effects”, states Sarah Boboltz in article for the Huffington Post. Technological advancements such as these are just the beginning! In 2014, it is projected that new advancements such as Google Glasses will become a household item. The glasses are described by FuturTimeline.net

as an augmented reality head-mounted display, which allows for hands free access to the internet. The glasses are also able to take photos and record videos. The sleek design allows for everyday use, so that consumers can integrate these futuristic glasses into their lives as easily as possible. These glasses essentially replace smartphones, music players and tablets for the onthe-go individual. These glasses open the doorway for easier communication with people. Simply ask aloud to call someone, and the glasses oblige no hands necessary. With all of these advancements, it is exciting to think about what new inventions will be around the corner. These devices will possibly alter everyday norms, making it common practice to simply print out a new pair of shoes, or take a picture without having to lift a finger. If there is one thing to take away from this, it’s that 2014 will be a year full of cool new improvements that will help many aspects of daily life, and it is sure to be a year to remember.

to flags that individuals can use to express their mood. The latest up dates to texting technology however, have been the introduction of the seen and update features. I was first introduced to these through the WhatsApp application: a popular texting mechanism overseas, where individuals with smartphones are able to text each other at no charge. The Anisha Khosla ‘14 app allowed individuals Editor-in-Chief to see the last time the person they were talking Since the concept of to was online, whether instant messaging was they received a message, introduced, technology and when the other indihas undergone a constant vidual was typing a mesevolution, with each year sage. Similar updates bringing further updates have since been added to and enhancements to the Facebook messages and users experience. There iMessages on Apple dewere first the smiley fac- vices, notifying individes that individuals could uals when their texts and use, later followed by messages were received, animated faces provided read, and when the perto you by the medium son they were talking to you were instant mes- was responding to them. saging over. Texting was This additional informasimilar: smileys were in- tion simultaneously sattroduced using common isfies our subconscious keyboard characters, need to know more and then more recently about what is happening replaced by emoji: ani- in a virtual conversation, mated pictures of every- while putting us more on thing ranging from faces edge. By having access

to this information, we have now become more hooked than ever to our phones and messaging devices. If we see that someone is responding to us, we feel the need to wait and see what that message says. Gone are the days when a message would be sent and we would be left wondering if it was seen or not. Before, we could move on with our lives (in most cases anyway) after a message was sent. We’d simply walk away and check back later to see if a message was responded to. Now however, we are drawn in, making it difficult to escape. The typing symbol lingers at the bottom of the screen and the curiosity is far too overwhelming to simply walk away. On the other hand, these additions continue to add to the stress and anxiety an individual may have during the course of a conversation. They may send what could be considered a “risky” message, be notified that the recipient has read it, and then see no response. Previously, if such a

situation occurred, the sender could comfort themselves with the knowledge that perhaps the recipient did not receive their message, and justify a lack in response. However, those days of opaqueness are gone, and have been replaced by full transparency. The additional information merely adds to our previously present anxieties as opposed to eases them, which was most likely the intent of their implementation. There are of course ways to avoid letting an individual know their message was read. Ways to preview the message, decide whether you are up to the conversation and make another move accordingly. However, the entire process of adding this information has simply made it so that we are more and more conscious about our moves online. Not only are our words examined, but also now our behaviours can be taken and overanalyzed completely. In other words: texting has finally managed to become stressful.

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 Section Editor Section Editors

OPINION&COMMENTARY

Erin Major Olivia Clark MicahMuller Zirn Daniel Section Editors Editors Section 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 Brandon Flooks Olivia Eliza Reinhardt Caroline Cannon Scarlett Machson James Willis Mackenzie Dafner Lucy Chestler Kendall Kirk

Cristina Manna Rachel AsraSpencer Ali Bobby Shin Eddy Lucy

ARTISTS&PHOTOGRAPHERS Tyler Thompson Lauren Solinsky

ARTISTS & PHOTOGRAPHERS Elaine Hong Mackenzie Dafner Elain Hong Claudia Hason

Natalie Quiles ‘14 Editor-in-Chief Happy New Year! *cue blaring noisemakers* With the end of the holiday season already past, it is up to the New Year to ensure endless motivation and high energy. Meaning all of those New Year’s resolutions you started almost a month ago? Keep it up! 2014 is going to be a year filled with amazing opportunities, new advancements and exciting plans. Already there have been developments that have begun to change lives. In 1984, Chuck Hull developed the first working 3D printer for 3D Systems Corporation. Recently, 3D printers have been getting much more hype due to


the campus How YOU Can Help Build a Library in Africa Graphic provided by Rachel Spencer

around

Rachel Spencer ‘14 Staff Writer Perhaps you’ve noticed the boxes sitting in the lobby. Or the one on the front counter in the Main office. Maybe you’ve seen the colorful flyers decorating the T. We’re doing a book drive. In the United States, the literacy rate is 99%. We are constantly surrounded by the written word, feeding us information. Maybe it’s possible to learn mathematics and sciences without reading, if you pounded the information into your head with a hammer for an hour a day, sure, why not? But history? Speaking realistically, the picture’s not worth a thousand words. We take words for granted. I can’t tell you the last time I texted the full phrase “by the way” in an iMessage. But in

Africa, books are scarce, and literate adults scarcer. A literate person, as defined by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) for statistical purposes, can read and write a simple statement about their life. In 2008, the literacy rate in Africa was 63. The region below the Sahara has the lowest youth literacy and enrollment in secondary school rates in the world, 72% and 34%, respectively. Seven in ten men in the Sub-Saharan region are literate, and only five in ten women are - you do the math and that’s only three in five adults that can read. While it’s true that literacy rates have been increasing over the past twenty years, so has the population. In 1990 the literacy rate in Africa was 53%, and although it increased to 63% by

2008, the number of illiterate adults increased from 177 million to over 200 million. In Sub-Sahara Africa, 47 million youths (ages 15 to 24)

materials. Many teachers are required to teach math, science, and history without textbooks, greatly limiting the students’ resources beyond

“In Sub-Sahara Africa, 47 million youths (ages 15 to 24) are illiterate, and 53 million children and adolescents don’t attend schools because there are not enough materials ” are illiterate, and 53 million children and adolescents don’t attend schools because there are not enough materials to provide a sufficient education to make a difference. With limited supplies, it may be possible to teach a child to read and write. But many African adults lose the ability to read without sufficient

the word of the teacher. Literacy is considered the most important tool for bringing a community out of poverty. Some believe it is a human right. It equips people with the ability to advance their learning. Adults who can read have greater education and employment opportunities and are better able to address problems

in their communities and develop solutions. The African Library Project encourages communities in the U.S. to collect and sort books to send to partner organizations in Africa that set up stable libraries all over the continent. So far the ALP has created 1,165 libraries and collected over 1,267,000 books. This is a great opportunity to get involved in our global community and future. The WHS National Honor Society is organizing a book drive to contribute to the cause. The goal is to collect about 1,000 gently used children’s books to send over to the English-speaking country of Ghana. In addition, we hope to raise $500 to pay for shipping costs. There are multiple ways that you can help. You can drop off old

books you’ve outgrown that are laying around your garage or attic in a dusty old box. There’s not much sentiment in letting the pages rot away. Too often books are sent away to crowd landfills instead of making their way to little open hands, eager to learn. So instead, you can leave those books in a box in the front lobby or the main office. Perhaps your parents already cleared out your childhood bookshelf. You can stop by the lobby before or after school on days NHS is selling baked goods. What better way to spend a few bucks than on a delicious cupcake, fudgy brownie, or tempting cookies, knowing that the money is going towards the education of a generation? Help out, get involved. Whether it’s donating books or money, YOU can make a difference.

5 Reasons Why Second Semester Will Be Better Than the First Steve Friedman ‘14 Section Editor E v e r y o n e knows that more is better. Why have only one when you can have two? That’s why the entire school is ecstatic for the second semester of the year—it’s like a second serving of your favorite meal: education. Here are five ways students at WHS are making the most

out of second semester: 1) Ditching old friends. Contrary to the words of the national icon Drake— “no new friends, no new friends, no new friends,” students are throwing out their old boring friends just as rapidly as they are their 1st semester notes. Social cliques dissolve as students mingle with peers to whom they haven’t paid any attention before, and form

grudges against their former best friends. Sophomore Daniel Radcliff commented, “It’s not that my friends wronged me in any way, it’s just that they’re so… first semester, you know? I’m over them.” These new partnerships allow for creative synergy group work among other buzzwords, and ensure that everyone will have a constructive second half of the school year.

2) More bake sales: Students’ hunger for baked goods is growing just as fast as their hunger for knowledge. Clubs, classes, kids, and everyone else are preheating their ovens and preparing all the best treats for their fellow students as second semester kicks in. A recent poll suggests that 97% of all students at WHS list more bake sales as the number one factor in determin-

ing their academic success. There may come a time when a critical amount of bake sales per week is reached and the fundraisers will have to start competing with one another. Which organization makes the best Rice Krispy Treats? Second Semester holds this answer and more. 3) Wardrobe planning: In an impressive display of organization and planning,

almost every student at WHS is making extensively detailed plans for every outfit they’ll wear during the second semester. Many are making graphs detailing which socks, Sperries, and ankle jewelry they will wear each day of the week for every week until the last day of school. Factors such as climate patterns and social trends are being taken into account us


JANUARY 2014| AROUND THE CAMPUS

4

Two Seniors Have Already Graduated This Year- Here’s How and Why

While others buckle down for second semester, two are already moving on Michaela Troiani ‘14 Section Editor

“Weston High School is committed to providing a safe and intellectually challenging environment that will empower

students to become innovative thinkers, creative problemsolvers, effective communicators and inspired learners prepared to thrive in the twenty-first century” states the WHS mis-

sion. That is the set of skills students are expected to uphold this June when they are handed their diploma and leave these halls. However, a new trend is on the horizon: graduating a se-

mester early. Yes, you read that right. Two seniors in the class of 2014 have chosen to make this decision that has had many students in the senior class saying, “Why didn’t I think of that?” For a senior who has all their required credits fulfilled (which are 4 credits of English, 3 credits of Math, 3 credits of Science, 3 credits of Social Studies, 1 Fine and Performing Arts, 1.4 Physical Education, .6 Health, and 1.0 Technology for a total of 24 credits), this can be a very promising option. This gives them the opportunity to get a head start on college, gain some real life work experience, or travel if they want. Recent WHS graduate Ryan Bigelow is doing just that, leaving soon to travel New Zealand. For others, it was purely out of convenience. “My parents announced on September 3rd that we would be moving

to Utah that weekend. After some consultation from the school and myself, they agreed to rent a house here until January, [as long as] I agreed to graduate early.” says Benson Kane, who graduated in early January. “[My main motivation was] getting my parents not to move so soon and allowing me to graduate from Weston instead of some other school.” There is, after all, a pride that comes from graduating from a prestigious National Blue Ribbon high school. The idea of graduating early comes with both perks and downfalls. “College is definitely a totally different environment. Just from an academic standpoint, I have to say, I miss the dynamic of a high school classroom where you can really develop a relationship with the teacher and the other students,” adds Kane. He is currently attend-

ing Brigham Young University in Utah. Whatever the motive behind early graduation, whether it be a desire to go out and explore the world, or the desire to end high school as soon as possible, early graduation seems to appeal to many students. Especially if a senior or junior feels ready to apply the skills they’ve learned in Weston Public Schools to the real world before starting their adult life. After all, isn’t this the goal behind the senior internship? To implement the life skills they’ve gained and have a job that will engage and excite them, while preparing them the future? Plus, who wouldn’t like to be exempt from finals if they have an A or better in a course? Although only two students chose to check out early, the notion that graduating early is an option if all the credits are in line, is an inviting one.

5 Reasons Why Second Semester Will Be Better Than the First (continued) ing advanced formulas created by some of the brightest students in the school. When asked why they are choosing to spend hours on hours on such a relatively insignificant part of their lives, WHS senior Chaz Traxxel retorted “how can I even begin to prepare for AP exams if I don’t even know which snapback I’ll wear on May 8th?” 4) More folders: Weston High School doesn’t have a Blue Ribbon for nothing; its students are highly

successful, and the key to that success lies in folders. WHS students reportedly had an average of 5 distinctly colored pocket folders for each subject in the previous semester, and the numbers are predicted to rise in the following semester. Math is easier to learn when you have a blue folder for problems with addition and a yellow folder for problems involving subtraction. It’s that simple. 5) More Prezis: As technology advanc-

es at an exponential rate, perhaps the most incredible and pragmatic tool yet is Prezi, the stunning slideshowalternative to Powerpoint. Students are prepared to blow their teachers and fellow classmates away with jaw-dropping visuals, including slides in the shapes of circles and mesmerizing arrows that transition between each slide. Second Semester promises to utilize almost exclusively Prezis as the presentation medium.

Students are gearing up for success second semester Photo courtesy of melissamiko.com


JANUARY 2014| AROUND THE CAMPUS

5

From Zzzz’s to A’s - More Sleep Could Mean Higher Grades

Anisha Khosla ‘14 Editor-in-Chief

Picture this. It’s six in the morning and your alarm starts to blare. You either sleep through it, the lucky deep sleeper that you are, or you’re woken with a start. The snooze button is slammed, and back to sleep you fall. Two minutes later, the blaring is back, interrupting that lovely dream you were having about chocolate cake. The snooze button is slammed a second time, and the process keeps repeating itself for about fifteen minutes, until you final muster the energy to keep your eyes open for longer than twenty seconds. You move on to the next struggle: getting out of bed. No matter how warm it is outside, though this phenomenon is a thousand times worse in the winter months, the world outside of the blanket is much colder than the world inside of the blanket. The cold holds nothing for you: school, homework, and projects. That’s incentive enough to stay warm, refuse to get out of bed and fall right back to sleep. Sound familiar?

"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

Lack of sleep is a major health issue facing both students and working adults across the country. It’s even been labelled a public health epidemic by the Center for Disease Control. According to a study from 2009, almost 45% of individuals between the ages of 18 and 25 have admitted to unintentionally falling asleep during the day at least once within the month that the study was conducted. 4.5% of the participants in that same age bracket admitted to nodding off or even falling asleep while driving; not only putting themselves in

Only 8 percent of high schoolers think they get enough sleep on the average school night. danger but also those around them. At the high school level, these numbers are even worse. A study in the Journal of Adolescent Health from 2010 found that only eight percent of high schoolers thought that they got enough sleep on

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

their average school night. That means 92% of high schoolers across the country consider themselves to be sleep deprived. These 92% are living with borderline-to-serious sleep deficits that could lead to things such as daytime drowsiness, depression, headaches and poor performance in school. The authors

guidelines exist, the foundation describes a minimum of nine hours a night to be optimal for adolescents, with eight hours being labelled as “borderline,” and anything under eight hours considered unsatisfactory. Lead study author Danice Eaton, Ph.D., of the Centers for Disease Control and

Twelve of eighteen students at WHS admitted to having fallen asleep in class before. Photo courtesy of Soda Head

of this study also found that 10 percent of adolescents sleep only 5 hours a night, and 23 percent sleep only about six hours on the average school night. These findings were consistent with those from another study in 2006 conducted by the National Sleep Foundation. The authors of that study stated that while formally accepted sleep

Prevention stated “the natural sleep-wake pattern shifts during adolescence, making earlier bed time and wake times more difficult. The result for students with early school-start times is a chronic sleep deficit.” Students across WHS have confirmed the above statistics, with eighteen of twenty students interviewed claiming to receive

TITLE IX NOTICE 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 noncompliance, may contact the District’s Title IX Coordinator, or the building based Title IX Coordinators, for more information: District Coordinator Lewis D. Brey Director of Human Re-

sources and Internal Counsel 24 School Road Weston, CT 06883 (203) 291-1412 lewisbrey@westonps.org WHS Coordinator Daniel Doak Assistant Principal We s t o n High School 115 School Road Weston, CT 06883 ( 2 0 3 ) 291-1643 dandoak@westonps.org Hurlbutt Elementary School Coordinator Kim Kus Assistant Principal Hurlbutt Elementary School

less than eight hours of sleep a night and exhibiting symptoms such as drowsiness and fatigue during the course of the school day. Several of the students expressed their belief that the lack of sleep was impacting their schoolwork. The switch to a later start time in Weston is actually quite feasible. Over two years ago, the Wilton Public Schools launched a program under the name of SLEEP – Start Later for Excellence in Education Program – that managed to successfully push back the start time for high school students in Wilton. The results have been that students are generally performing better in both the middle and high schools across the school district. According to Lisa Bogan, a member of the League of Women Voters of Connecticut and an advocate for the later start, both teachers and students are in favor of this new schedule. Ideally, if this were to be implemented in Weston, the start time for high school students would be pushed back an hour, meaning that classes would

9 School Road Weston, CT 06883 ( 2 0 3 ) 291-1451 kimkus@westonps.org WIS Coordinator Doreen O’Leary Assistant Principle Weston Intermediate School 95 School Road Weston, CT 06883 (203) 291-2702 doreenoleary@westonps. org WMS Coordinator Michael Bernardi Assistant Principal Weston Middle School 135 School Road Weston, CT 06883 (203) 291-1512 michaelbernardi@westonps.org

start at 8:40 and then end at 3:30. The middle school would also have these start and end times, allowing the shared busses for the middle and high school students to continue. The biggest

Drowsiness and fatigue during school hours has been shown to cause lower grades in students. obstacle that would come with implementing such a change is the change and shifts that would need to be made to bus schedules, as well as arranging sports practices and afterschool activities. However, it can be done, as shown by the Wilton Public School system. Bogan described the challenge as “a logistical puzzle (they) managed to put together,” with benefits far outweighing the difficulties that came from such a change. If Weston were to consider such a change, based on statistics, it can be assumed that similar success would occur, accompanied by very appreciative students and faculty.

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 Telephone: (617)289-0111 Email: OCR.Boston@ ed.gov


Out and About Bridgegate!

How will the New Jersey bridge scandal affect Christie’s presidential chances?

Caroline Maretz ‘15 Section Editor On September 9th 2013, the unthinkable happens: traffic builds up on the GW Bridge, and so naturally scandal ensues. The logjam incurred after the closure of two access lanes from Fort Lee, NJ to the bridge, which lasted four

problems and a lost child. When New Jersey’s Assembly Transportation Committee held a trial regarding the lane closures, numerous incriminating texts and emails were uncovered. On August 13th, NJ Governor Chris Christie’s deputy chief of staff—Bridget Anne Kelly—emailed a

Wildstein initiates the lane closures. Then, on September 9th, the mayor of Fort Lee—Mark Sokolich— tried to get to the bottom of the situation, but his message was ignored after it was first forwarded on to both Kelly and Wildstein. Further study of the messages proved that the lane closures were not

The massive traffic jam that resulted from the closure of two lanes between Fort Lee and the GW brige Photo courtesy of USA Today days. It delayed thousands of commuters, school buses on their first day of classes, and emergency vehicles on their way to reach three people with heart

director at the NY-NJ Port Authority—David Wildstein—saying: “Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee”. September 6th,

part of a traffic study (as Port Authority had said on September 16th). In fact, it supported the theory that the whole ordeal had been

a plot to get revenge on Sokolich after the mayor refused to endorse Christie in his campaign for reelection as governor (which he succeeded in, regardless). Therefore, although no evidence has directly linked the NJ governor to the bridge scandal, his reputation is still in question. Christie has remained adamant that “[he] had no knowledge or involvement in this issue, in its planning or its execution,” and that “[he is] stunned by the abject stupidity that was shown here”. He dismissed Kelly immediately upon hearing of her involvement, held a two-hour private meeting with Sokolich to clear the air, and issued a public apology. When he addressed the public on September 9th, Christie took responsibility: “ultimately, I am responsible for what happens under my watch, the good and the bad.” Still, how will this affect Christie’s future? He has already been reelected governor, and when asked if he would consider resigning over the controversy, he dismissed the idea as “crazy”. In addition, as of

Thursday, six different residents have filed lawsuits against Christie and his administration for missing work due to the traf-

I am, but I am not a bully”. Many New Jersey citizens were impressed that Christie took responsibility, while many more believed

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie claims to have had no knowledge of the plan, many believe that he was aware of the situation and should resign Photo courtesy of the L.A. Times fic. This ongoing nature of the “bridgegate” scandal hurts Christie’s chances for presidential election in 2016. Until Fort Lee, he had been highly respected for his “no-nonsense” ways and his bipartisan appeal. Now, his character is in question as the evidence suggests his involvement in petty politics as a bully to Sokolich. Still, through it all, he assures, “I am who

he knew of the affair and should resign. With the scandal so fresh, it’s still unclear exactly what the political repercussions will be for Christie. Is it possible that something as innocuous as traffic-delays could ruin the chances for a front-runner’s election to the presidency? This remains to be seen with Christie’s campaign for election in 2016.

Is Federal Legalization of Marijuana in Our Nation’s Future? Olivia Brandon ‘17 Staff Writer The legalization of marijuana has been a hotly debated topic for many years, and continues to be so. Twenty states across the country have legalized medical marijuana, including Connecticut. For possession, you face fines of up to ten years in jail at a time, depending on the amount and state you’re caught in. Any distribution or cultivation is a felony with heavy fines and up to twenty years in jail. In other states around the country, however, the law differs. In Idaho, any possession above three ounces results in five years in jail and a fine of ten thousand dollars. If there is any in-

tention to distribute, it is considered a felony, and actual sale or delivery is as well. However, in Colorado and Washington, the recreational use was legalized in 2012 for amounts less than one ounce. Across the country, more then 829,000 people have been arrested for marijuana related offenses alone. There are two arguments to be made for the legalization of recreational marijuana, both with valid points and passionate defenders. On the side against marijuana, people argue that marijuana produces emotionally crippled adults, and that we are feeding a society that needs drugs to help high anxiety and

panic disorders. It is a mind-altering drug that produces a distorted perception, and can create memory and

stances such as cocaine and heroin. It is true that, according to the National Institute of Drug Abuse, marijuana users are 104

Some also argue that the legalization of marijuana will lead to the legalization of harder substances. The general

Many people around the world believe that marijuana should be legalized for economic, political, and even scientific reasons Photo courtesy of huffingtonpost.com judgment issues. It has been claimed to be a “gateway” drug to sub-

percent more likely to use cocaine than someone who doesn’t use.

population would also be affected due to an

increase in second hand smoke, and some argue that by legalizing it, the drug will fall into kids’ hands. Also, by legalizing it, many argue that there will be an increase in stoned driving and other dangers. Marijuana has serious harmful effects on the skills required to drive safely: alertness, concentration, coordination, and reaction time. Marijuana use can make it difficult to judge distances and react to signals and sounds on the road. It is also much harder to test to see if someone has been smoking marijuana than drinking alcohol. Marijuana is also not “victimless,” as those who drive while high would not only endanger themselves but

Continued on page 7


JANUARY 2014 | OUT AND ABOUT

NSA Creates Encryption-Cracking Supercomputer

Cristina Manna ‘16 Staff Writer Currently the National Security Agency (NSA) is involved in a $79.7 million research program, which aims to build a new supercomputer that will be able to break practically every kind of encryption according to confidential documents Edward Snowden released. This would include encryption used in the protection of medical, banking, business, and government records. The computer will be extremely fast and have the ability to break the strongest encryption tools currently in use. Therefore the NSA would be able to break even one of the toughest encryptions in the world, known as RSA (named for those who created it). It is commonly used for encrypting e-mails and web browsers in order to help secure financial transactions. RSA is so common because it is very difficult to break and it cannot be done quickly on a classical computer. Building this computer has been an interest of many, especially for its potential use for medical purposes and for the NSA. There has also

been a desire to build this computer by the European Union and

The work being done in order to build the computer takes place in

The NSA supercomputer that Edward Snowden claims has the ability to break even the strongest encyptions Photo courtesy of Wired Swiss, therefore inviting the NSA to race for first place. “The E.U. and Switzerland have made significant advances over the last decade and have caught up to the U.S. in quantum computing technology,” according to Seth Lloyd, a professor of quantum mechanical engineering at MIT. However, there is still a lot of work to be done and the NSA is still far from completing this task.

rooms, which prevent electromagnetic energy from leaving or entering it (known as Faraday Cages in College Park, Maryland), and they are necessary in order to keep the delicate computing experiments running. With the race underway, it remains to be seen which organization will first succeed in developing the computer, and upon doing so, what the effects will be.

7

Marijuana Legalization (continued) also others who share the road. And lastly, marijuana is simply worse for you than alcohol or tobacco. On the opposite side of the issue, many argue that marijuana, in fact, is no worse than alcohol nor tobacco. Some even claim that alcohol and tobacco are worse than marijuana. A test done showed that in teenagers, the ones Protests in favor of the legalization of medical mariwho smoked marijuana had juana little to no brain damage Photo courtesy of Esquire compared to those who for recreational use, courts Around the world, maridrank alcohol and had can continue onto more juana is decriminalized in brain damage that would serious crimes. Also, the many European countries not only affect them at that use of marijuana has and South American countime, but later on in their helped patients (particu- ties. In April 2014, Uruadult lives. Also, tobacco is larly those with cancer). guay will become the first linked to five million There are contradicting country to nationalize deaths per year, while alco- facts regarding the ad- marijuana use and legalhol is to 88,000. Marijuana, dictiveness of marijuana. ize trade. Marijuana conin contrast, has been linked Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN’s sumers will be able to buy to zero deaths. Ever. In ad- Chief Medical Correspon- a maximum of 40 grams dition, theft would go down dent, has reported that only each month from licensed due to legal availability, and nine to ten percent of adult pharmacies as long as they it would be an additional users become addicted, are Uruguayan residents source of tax revenue to as opposed to thirty per- over the age of 18 and reglower the debt. The govern- cent of tobacco smokers. istered on a government ment is making 5.6 billion However, on the subject database that will monitor dollars off alcohol taxation of withdrawal symptoms, their monthly purchases. per year and 8.5 billion or Alan J. Budney, the co- Most countries still have it cigarettes. The FDA can author of a study said, illegal, however, for posregulate the sale of it in cer- “It’s very similar to what session and sale. The world tain amounts, and regulate people experience with to- will be watching Uruguay the quality and safety. In bacco.” Other studies have when marijuana hits the addition, thousands of peo- found tobacco’s withdraw- market to see if legalization ple are in jail for marijuana al symptoms to be worse is the correct way to go. use alone. By legalizing it than marijuana’s.

American Hustle:

The most fun you’ll have watching a story you don’t care about Scarlett Machson ‘16 Section Editor Sometimes, no matter what the quality of the story is, a film can be carried through purely by the talent of its cast. This is the case in American Hustle, a movie that is burdened with a confusing, cluttered, and generally dull plotline, and yet still manages to create a highly enjoyable viewing experience. If lesser actors starred in this film, American Hustle would be another unremarkable semi-historical crime drama, and audiences would no doubt be bored senseless by it. Instead, the cast injects so much enthusiasm and energy into their performances that it’s quite impossible not to be caught up in it, even if

you’re not entirely certain what it is you’re supposed to be so excited about. American Hustle is based on the ABSCAM sting operation from the late 1970s, as FBI agent Richard DiMaso (Bradley Cooper) enlists the help of con artists Irving Rosenfield and Sydney Prosser (Christian Bale and Amy Adams) in order to expose corrupted politicians. In between all of this, however, Rosenfield also has to contend with his conniving wife, Rosalyn (Jennifer Lawrence) and his young son, struggling to find a balance between his tenuous home situation and his involvement in the sting. While the entire cast of American Hustle does a brilliant job, it is the women who really

steal this film. Amy Adams and Jennifer Lawrence both deliver fantastic performances, with

every other lackluster element just by their mere presence. That sort of entertainment that is fairly rare.

from comedy to sincerity. All in all, despite the intriguing characters, American Hustle

Christian Bale, Amy Adams, and Bradley Cooper star in the crime drama/ comedy “American Hustle” Photo courtesy of Chicago Now Adams holding the few emotional moments the movie has to offer while Lawrence provides the best humor of the film. Every time they’re on screen, they manage to make up for

In addition to entertainment value, though, the characters are also generally likable and relatable, and it’s easy to feel sympathetic to them whenever the film makes one of its seamless shifts

is fairly forgettable. The story wasn’t interesting enough for me to retain all of the details for very long, and I don’t really care enough about the plot to try and recall them. What I do remem-

ber is the performances, and I know I enjoyed them. The best way I can describe this movie is that it’s like a really long car ride: there are a lot of problems, it’s boring, you get lost a few times, and you lose interest in the sights pretty quickly. But as long as you’re sharing the ride with a bunch of people that you really enjoy spending time with, you’ll probably have a pretty good trip. That’s this movie in a nutshell. American Hustle is a pretty good trip. A few cleverly written lines given spot-on deliveries by great actors manage to make it an entertaining viewing. It’s nothing special and will likely fade into obscurity fairly quickly, but it’s certainly enjoyable while you’re watching it.


JANUARY 2014 | OUT AND ABOUT

8 Email your questions to be featured in a future issue!

The WHS Journal Presents the Ask Amy column!

askamywhs@gmail. com

Dear Amy, I was going to my classes the other day, and I realized there’s no A and F rooms. Like, my friends and I have science in G and H rooms, and English and History in E and D hallways, and like all the languages are in the C wing, and music and arts and stuff are in the B wing. Where are the A and F rooms? Because none of my friends know. -Sassy Stella

Dear Amy, We’ve been given scheduled appointments with our guidance counselors to pick courses for next year. How do we know which classes to take? How many do we need to take? How will the meetings go down? I DON’T KNOW HOW TO MAKE THESE LIFE DECISIONS. Sincerely, Frantic Freshman

Dear Sassy Stella,

Dear Frantic Freshman,

I’m going to try not to comment on the pseudonym choice even though it’s really irritating me. However, despite your inability to put together a decent letter, you have pointed out quite the mystery. Intrigued, I delved into the depths of our school handbook/planner. Venturing past the laminated cover page, the contact information I’ve never used, the calendars I never noticed before, the quarter schedule charts I haven’t bothered filling out since freshmen year, and finally the lunch schedules – always useful in the first two weeks of school – until I discov-

ered the secret map of the school that is in all the distributed copies we receive every year. The A wing was simple enough to find. A-1 and A-2 are the official letter-number names of the computer lab and classroom in the library. A-3 and A-4 are the rooms used for electives like Videography. The F-wing was a tougher nut to crack. I spent hours poring over that map, from north to south, east to west. I fear I now know the intimate details of the school layout. I’ve learned the names of our four courtyards – three are compass directions, and the fourth is Newton. Why? Why isn’t it the West Court-

yard? Was it built at the same time as the science wing, and thus dubbed after Sir Isaac? I don’t know. Mysteries, man. They’re quite mysterious. But there is not an F to be found on that map. I was forced to go out in the field. I’ve discovered that there is no F-wing. But directly across the Newton Courtyard, next to the boys’ bathroom, there is an office. F-10 stands alone in a sad, little nook. There is a space for it on the map, right next to E-4, unmarked. Where are Fs 1-9? The world may never know, but I’m tired of caring.

~Amy

IN

Why are you frantic? I don’t mean to abuse your emotions – or perhaps I do, I was sorely disappointed with Freshmen Friday this year – but you’re overreacting. Picking sophomore classes are easy. By the time you graduate you have to reach a certain minimum of credits in a subject, so take care of those first. Consider your regular academics. Are you in standard? How are your grades? Do you feel like you’re being adequately challenged? Do you en-

ter the classroom six out of eight school days and think, “I am so much smarter than these morons?” Ponder the answers to these questions when deciding whether to continue at the standard level or move up to honors. If you’re already in honors and feel you are being unnecessarily stressed as your academic performance spirals down into the F toilet, it may be time to consider taking standard next year. Now, as freshmen and sophomores, you have to take at least seven credits a year and

upperclassmen take six. Gym and health make up half a credit, then five are English, Math, Science, Social Studies, and a World Language (though English is the only one you need four credits of to graduate). What’s left are the electives. Choose something that interests you – it’s an optional course, so don’t take one that will remind you daily that you are wasting your precious youth!

~Amy

OUT

Ride Along

Kickboxing

MacDaddy’s

American Hustle

Spinning 2013

Second Semester Seniors

Broccoli Cheddar soup

Divergent Series

Second Semester everyone else

Italian Wedding soup

Macaroni Grill


of the

Preview Lucy Chestler ‘16 Section Editor Despite the travel advisories issued by the State Department warning American’s of a possible terror attack and poor medical facilities, as well as Russia’s controversial anti-gay laws, American athletes are preparing to compete in the 2014 Winter Olympics for which they have been training for years. The Olympics will be held this year in Sochi, Russia on February 7-23. Sochi is located in Krasnodar, which is the third largest region in Russia. Here are some highlights of the events that will be taking place during the two weeks of the Olympic games: Snowboarding: There will be 10 snowboarding events at this year’s Olympics (five for men, five for women), including a few new events. Athletes will be competing in the half-pipe, the giant slalom; the parallel giant slalom, which is where the athletes compete head-tohead on courses next to one another; slopestyle, which is a new event that features the

Winter snowboarders doing tricks on rails, quarter-pipes and jumps. Shawn White and Chas Guldemond expect to be going for gold in the slopestyle event. Rounding out the events is the snowboard cross where four athletes ride at a time through a course that includes moguls, obstacles, banks and jumps. Alpine Skiing: There will also be 10 alpine skiing events at the Olympics this year. Both men and women will be competing in the Downhill event, which is the fastest and most dangerous, the Slalom, where the gates are close together, the Giant Slalom, where the gates are farther apart, the Super-G, which has elements of both downhill and giant slalom and the Combined event, which is one slalom run and one downhill run. With all events, the fastest time wins. Some US athletes with medal potential include Bodie Miller, Ted Ligety, Julia Mancuso and Mikaela Shiffrin. Freestyle Skiing: The US has

high hopes for many medals in Freestyle Skiing as the US continues to dominate this event with new tricks and combinations at nearly every event. The event includes five events for men and women – aerials, moguls, half-pipe, slopestyle and skicross. The US moguls teams is one of the strongest in the world. Look for strong performances from defending Olympic champion Hannah Kearney and 2010 Olympic bronze medalist Bryon Wilson. Both the half-pipe and slopestyle are new to the Olympics this year. David Wise and Maddie Bowman, who are both Winter X-Games champions in the half-pipe are strong medal contenders while veterans Bobby Brown and Tom Wallisch, as well as rising star Emilia Wint, are posed to bring home some medals for slopestyle. Figure Skating: Once again, the US plans to send a strong team to Sochi, lead by ice dancers Meryl Davis and Charlie

2014 Olympics

White, five straight national titles and two out of the last three world championships. Ashley Wagner, Gracie Gold and Polina Edmunds will represent team USA in the women’s figure skating event. Gracie Gold took home the gold in the national championships, with Polina Edmunds coming in second. Although Ashley Wagner came in 4th at the event, her strong performance during past competitions earned her a spot on the team. For the men, Jeremy Abbott and Jason Brown will be competing and Marissa Castelli and Simon Shnapir earn the top spot as the US pairs team. Speedskaing: Speedskaing consists of 10 individual events including the 500, 1,000, 1,500 and 5,000 for both men and women, in addition to the women’s 3,000 and men’s 10,000. Look for favorites Shani Davis in the 1,000 and 1,500 meter and sprinter Heather Richardson to be in medal contention.

Confessions of a High School Cheerleader Mackenzie Daffner ‘16 Contributing Writer We all know about the stereotype typical cheerleader depicted in high school movies and television shows like Glee or Bring it On, a majority of these characters are not as pleasant as one cares to admit. However after intervening some of Weston High School’s cheerleaders this stereotype has been shattered, in my opinion. I sat down with some representatives from the cheer team to get the story of what really goes on in the intense world of backflips and uniforms; what I dug up is rather surprising given what I had thought I would find based on what I had seen from pop culture. These girls would rather stay anonymous, but some of the opinions of Weston’s team that they wanted to voice included “We’re working on making the team into a family, but these are High School

Weston Cheer Team Photo courtesy of Mackenzie Daffner girls, so it can be tough! Although I know that at the end of the day we’re a team that gets great work done and that’s really important to us.” When discussing what it was like to be a flyer, meaning the girls who are being tossed up into the air, I was curious to know how dangerous the job was. One girl told me “the flyer needs to focus to do their job which is staying up, and if the flyer is dropped by her base (the girls caching the flyer safely) than anyone can be hurt, not just the flyer. This means that there needs to be a lot of trust between the team.” I also wondered about the

dynamics between the girls and what I found was that while there are some “cliques”, overall the Weston team is a fun and supportive group. Some girls even said, “We’re all in practice together for two hours or more a day, so we have to get through that together. I think that really keeps us together.” I really wanted to talk about how they felt that they were represented by pop-culture due to all the different stereotypes portrayed in teen movies, and they felt they don’t fit into the typical stereotype at all. One girl said, “Despite what everyone may think

we aren’t all stupid and blonde. And there isn’t any hairspray involved, at all!” Another girl told me “The football team and the cheer team don’t get to talk a lot. But going to games are fun and I wish we had a better relationship with the team, they all seam like really cool guys!” Overall what I got from the cheerleaders at Weston High School is that they are athletes like any other team, and they really want to be taken seriously by the school. In my opinion they all deserve it especially given their passion for the school and their sport.

Hockey: Team USA is once again poised to be a favorite in Sochi for both men’s and women’s hockey. As in past years the men’s team will consist of players from the NHL. At this time, the roster has not yet been released. The women’s hockey team features a mix of veteran and collegiate players, with an average age of 23. Cross Country Skiing: It’s possible that this will be the year that the US women will win its first ever medal, with strong athletes in the freestyle sprint and the 4x5kilometer team event and team sprint, classic technique. These women also like to have a lot of fun while competing (wearing striped socks and glittery face paint in the relays) and just might be the ones to watch in Sochi. Ski Jumping: This is the first time that there will be female ski jumpers at an Olympic game. The US team, lead by world cup leader Sarah Hendrickson and 2009 world champion Lindsey Van, has

established itself as a true contender for a gold medal. It will be an exciting event to watch. Skeleton: Noelle Pikus-Pace is a favorite to win the U.S. women’s second Olympic gold medal in skeleton and Matt Antoine has three world cup medals this season. Only three women and three men can qualify for this event. The team will be announced at the end of January Bobsled: Both the U.S. women and men’s teams have made the world cup podium this season and have the goal of sweeping the podium this year. Thanks to a partnership with BMW of North America, the athletes will be using the best equipment in the world. Up to three teams in each gender can qualify for the event, but only one team of each gender has a guaranteed spot in the games. The U.S. will also have teams in the Luge, Biathalon, Nordic Comined and Curling events. Good luck to all the athletes and GO USA!

The A Rod Dilemma

Lucy Chestler ‘16 Section Editor Alex Rodriguez had it all; fame, fortune, athleticism, and good looks, but will now and forever be known as a talented 18 year old from Miami that tried to cheat the system to be better than the best. A-Rod’s legacy just went down the drain because of his 162 game suspension for the 2014 season for using banned substances. Alex Rodriguez states “The number of games sadly comes as no surprise, as the deck has been stacked against me from day one.” A-Rod will be out for the entire 2014 season, leaving the Yankees to find another 3rd baseman. The suspension is the longest in MLB history. Tony Bosch, the founder of the Biogenesis anti-aging clinic, was responsible for giving A-Rod the banned substances and made a deal with MLB to turn over evidence against A-Rod and other players. In exchange, MLB offered Bosch immunity from prosecution and security detail, since Bosch claimed to be receiving death threats. According to MLB, Alex Rodriguez first contacted Bosch in 2010 and that he had been supplying A-

Photo courtesy of the BBC

Sports and Athletics

Rod with many types of drugs, some in the form of gummies that get absorbed directly into the bloodstream that were supposedly taken before and during the games. Bosch detailed A-Rod’s involvement with the drugs in an interview he gave on CBS’ 60 Minutes, and says he “shot the New York Yankees third baseman with steroids and instructed him on how to avoid detection.” For creating this sophisticated doping plan, Bosch was given $12,000 a month. A-Rod continues to deny all Bosch’s allegations. In a statement released after the ruling was announced, Rodriguez called the evidence against him “false and unreliable.” On January 13, three days after the ruling was made, A-Rod filed a lawsuit against MLB and the players union to reverse the suspension claiming the players union didn’t do enough to represent him and that MLB is out to get him. However, during the arbitration A-Rod did not testify and did not deny usage. Without A-Rod the Yankees will have $25 million more to spend on a new 3rd baseman and other players and pitchers, including Mashiro Tanaka


opinion

and commentary

Barcode Babies: The Generation of Tomorrow

Caroline Cannon ‘14 Contributing Writer If you could have a child, would you prefer brown eyes over blue eyes? What about how tall or short they are? Imagine a generation of ‘perfect children’. Competition in offspring will be at an all time high. The divide of the rich and poor will be extreme. The dynamic of the public environment will be unbalanced. The Oxford English Dictionary’ definition of a designer baby is, “a baby selected by prenatal testing to ensure the presence or absence of particular genes or characteristics.” On September 24, 2013, the patent for ‘gamete, meaning egg or sperm, donor selection’ was granted by the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). This patent allows for patients of small private fertility practices to pick and choose specific traits of a child from a computerized program developed by the up and coming firm 23andMe. This program offers a shopping list for prospective parents to click on characteristics such as muscle development, per-

sonality traits, hereditary in a wealthy area already who have naturally acrisk of diseases such as sets successful parameters quired genes and those cancer, eye and hair color, for a child’s wellbeing. who have genes that were and height and weight. Now, with de- bought by their parents at Welcome to the signer babies, these chil- an online gene supermarworld of designer babies. dren won’t just have an ket. In school classrooms, This 21st century concept is coming to life as we emerge into the year 2014. Our job, as the Generation Z, in the state of Connecticut is to set limitations for the actions of developing designer babies. Hopefully the ideals that come out of our future laws on custom babies will later influence both New York and New Jersey to follow along. 100 years Pre-order your baby today! from now, when Photo courtesy of Patriots Newswire ‘everyone who is anyone’ is a designer baby, the break between environmental advantage, some won’t think its fair the upper and lower class- but a genetic advantage for a genetically altered es will be very evident. as well. That leaves those child to receive a 100% The couples who have the who aren’t genetically on an assignment where finances to conceive a de- modified designer babies. a non-genetically altered signer baby also have the These children, no matter child, while also very finances to raise their child where they live, will have smart, receives a 90%. in an affluent area, send- a genetic disadvantage. When it comes to voting ing him or her to private These kids will be con- for the President of the school. We know that by sidered nothing special. United States, a factor insending a child to a highly There will be a large dis- volved will be whether or ranked school and living crepancy between those not he or she was a design-

er baby. W h a t will be the new qualifications to enter the Olympics? Perhaps there will be two types of Olympic Games in the future, one for the genetically engineered and one for the ‘average’ people. Yet, there are some positive aspects to these barcode babies. In terms of the restrictions of the ‘designer babies’ law’, it can be understood that parents who are burdened with cancer and disease in their hereditary lines will want to ensure that their children will be free of those sickly genes. In this case, I deem the use of producing a ‘designer zygote’ to protect your child from the risk of disease ethical. Stephanie and Andy Nimmo lived a happy life with three healthy beautiful kids. A happy life, that is, until Steph birthed her fourth child, Daisy, prematurely. Daisy, having a rare genetic disorder called Costello Syndrome,

has turned the Nimmo’s life up-side-down. Daisy developed intestinal failure at the age of three. All of Daisy’s nutrition is received through a tube attached to the central artery in her heart. Stephanie was, “confronted with a situation which was not in the plan [… My] career went out of the window and I found myself a stay-at-home mother of a small, vulnerable girl with very complex needs.” Steph threw her old life away for her child Daisy. If Stephanie and Andy had the power to choose Daisy’s precancerous fate, I believe that they would’ve taken the route that ensured a happier life for both Daisy and their family, ultimately, a less costly, and disease free life. Other families and citizens of the world are faced with situations similar to the Nimmo’ today. Regardless of modern technology, there is still no cure for these diseases. With the option to conceive babies that are disease free, we can make sure that our children will have healthy, long and happy lives.

Improving Human Performance Physical Education Elective Class

Perfect for students interested in studying Physical Therapy, Exercise Sciences, or any Allied Health Profession in College. Topics include: Biomechanics, Nutrition, Exercise Physiology & Psychology, Injury Prevention /Care, Current Fitness Trends, etc

Talk to Mr. Richetelli for more information

Open to all students

Sign up for Fall 2014 in Guidance (Course #1425)


JANUARY 2014 | OPINION AND COMMENTARY

A plea to save national parks across America Photo courtesy of Travel and Leisure

Kendall Kirk ‘15 Contributing Writer The United States over the last two centuries has preserved over one million square miles in order to protect the beautiful nature found in every state of this great nation. There are over 59 national parks, open to the public for general enjoyment and reminders of the vast and untamed America that once existed. Unfortunately these parks and protected areas are threatened by the very people they should be protected by, the citizens of America. As the population grows and the need for more space increases, the lands that are so vital to the survival of countless species of plants and animals are being encroached upon. Over-development in nationally protected areas is a huge issue facing the welfare of America today, with brand-name companies in the mood to expand, along with the American people. The people of America need to become educated, and they need to see that developing these lands puts the natural beauty of our nation at risk. With 330 billion people to support, the nation’s resources are stretched very thin, and land is no exception. Of the 2.3 billion acres of land owned by the U.S., only 28% of it is conserved in protected areas, the rest is left to the devices of the American people. Over the years that percentage has decreased, as the demand of land rises, and now the lives of our national parks and protected areas are endangered. What happens when new roads traverse the protected area surrounding the Appalachian Trail? When the resources available cannot keep up with the growing demands? Will that 28% be reduced to 20%, then 10% and eventually 0%?

Many conservation organizations work tirelessly to pass laws and acts that protect our resources and some of them are proved successful when their efforts push bills into law. One of the latest additions to the long list of conservation laws was the passing of a bill package of over 170 bills called the Omnibus Public Lands Management Act. The bills protect a combined two million acres of wilderness in over seven states, and it created a new national system to conserve land. Though it is not recent, is the Alaska

with several other organizations to protect wildlife communities and conserve outdoor recreation centers, while the Nature Conservancy and the NPCA enact legislation and conduct research regarding conservation. Over-development in nationally secured lands is a growing issue in today’s society, and these organizations work toward conserving the precious lands that are in impending danger. The only way to prevent further development in our national parks is through govern-

“Of the 2.3 billion acres of land owned by the U.S., only 28% of it is conserved in protected areas...” National Interest Lands Conservation Act which marks 100 million acres of land in Alaska as designated wilderness. This act is known as one of the most significant concerning conservation as it doubled the amount of land protected by the Federal Government. Such large foundations that strive to preserve national wilderness include: the Conservation Law Foundation, the National Park Service, the National Parks Conservation Association, the Nature Conservancy and many more. These organizations work towards expanding and protecting our national parks as well as wildlife preserves that contribute to the overall well-being of American nature. They also prevent large corporations from developing in federally safeguarded areas. The National Park Service works

ment action, whether it be legislation or department involvement. A possible solution to solving the over-expansion could be consulting the Department of Interior, who works closely with the National Park Service and other conservation organizations to preserve land in the U.S. With the department’s help government action could be taken to reduce the development in protected areas and improve the quality of our national parks. The DOI also works with America’s Great Outdoors to maximize local involvement in conservation efforts. The Department of Interior would work with these organizations to produce plans (or legislature) that would benefit our national lands and prohibit development in such areas; the implemented legislation would also create more funding for our national parks, allowing

for better maintenance and access to the public. The DOI would also allow for more research and studies to be conducted to have a fuller understanding of America’s wildlife and wilderness. Hopefully these efforts will eliminate all efforts of development in federally secured areas; however, the will of the people will also be a contributing factor to the overall success of the cause. With the help of the Government, and its people, America can look towards a cleaner, more natural lifestyle, one that encompasses both the wild and the tame. Over-development in nationally safeguarded lands is a growing issue in America today, only 28% of the U.S.’s land is federally protected, and that number is slowly dwindling. With the help of conservation organizations and the Department of Interior, expansion in such lands can be stopped. Over-development must be eradicated; the beauty of America must be restored. Bill Bryson, an advocate of conservation writes, “In America, alas, beauty has become something you drive to, and nature an either/or proposition--either you ruthlessly subjugate it, as at Tocks Dam and a million other places, or you deify it, treat it as something holy and remote, a thing apart, as along the Appalachian Trail. Seldom would it occur to anyone on either side that people and nature could coexist to their mutual benefit--that, say, a more graceful bridge across the Delaware River might actually set off the grandeur around it, or that the AT might be more interesting and rewarding if it wasn’t all wilderness, if from time to time it pur-

How would you like to spend four years of high school sitting on your sofa in front of your IPad? An online school is an institution where students are taught entirely through the computer. Instead of getting your education in a building, you get it at home or even on the road. You watch your lessons, but you can also have opportunities to call, videochat or, possibly, meet with your teachers. The number of online schools is growing every year. In addition to a high school degree, degree programs are obtainable that offer online associates, certificates, bachelors and masters degrees. But is it more effective in the long run? Advantages of online schooling would be 24/7 access to all course material and time flexibility. Normally, students would have to rely on their notes but with the lesson on your computer, it is easier to

do. While there is flexibility in online schooling, there are deadlines that have to be met daily, weekly, and monthly and technological failures happen most often during testing or when trying to submit an assignment. Internet connection shuts down, computer screens freeze, disks memory fills and it’s up to the student to get it fixed as soon as possible. Of course, one big disadvantage of online schooling is deprivation of socialization. One of the best parts about going to school is being with your friends. By being at home, your best friend is your IPad. Freshman Taylor Greene said, “Online schooling may help kids to focus but it will deprive them of much needed social interaction. As a kid you meet pretty much all your friends at school”. Cassie Kelly, also a freshman, agrees: “Online schooling takes away the social expe-

Four Years Behind the Screen

Photo courtesy of Ace Online Schools

It’s Up to You:

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Lucy Shin ‘17 Staff Writer review and work on homework assignments. Students take classes based on their own time, which is usually worked around their necessities. Students can also work at their own pace, instead of rushing to catch up or waiting for the rest of their class. There are also opportunities to review lessons, if you need to hear them a second or third time. Try asking your teacher to repeat an entire 56 minute lesson for you alone! Other reasons that students are attracted to getting high school degree online are the ability to access classes which some high schools do not offer and the opportunity to travel and be get an education at the same time. Online high school degrees are also attractive to students who are often ill or who have social issues.You can also improve your typing skills. Some disadvantages of online schooling are more difficult classes and technological failures. The rumor that online classes are easy is not true. The online classes are college-level classes. Many students new to online schooling aren’t prepared for the amount of work they have to

rience of school. We go to school to learn and interact with other people, but online schools only let you stay at home and interact with your family and your goldfish! Online, you only stare at a screen, but at school you can have fishbowls and group discussions, and the ability to present in front of a crowd.” I know that my Public Presentation class would not have been the same without the public element. Also, an online version of a PE class is not the same; you do not get much exercise. So is an online education more effective in the long run? Most would think of an degree earned online is no competition than a degree from a name college. However, according to a 2009 study by the Department of Education, 77% academic leaders rate online schooling equal or better than traditional schools. When it comes to job applications, a 2010 survey by the Society for Human Resource Management reported that employers approve 90% more of degrees earned online than they did in 2005. These statistics say online schooling is better, but would it be more fun?


JANUARY 2014 | OPINION AND COMMENTARY

For ownership of automatic weapons and virtually all hand guns. Once again, there was a drop in murders involving firearms. The trend here is simple: if we lower the numbers of weapons, we lower the death count. While efforts have been made on local and state levels to reduce these devastating statistics, the people of the United States have yet to see a proposal that could be approved and subsequently applied on the national level. The United States still deems it legal for an individual of age

Gun Control (continued from page 1)

the weapons that they are allowed to purchase, the government is not only denying citizens the right to protect themselves, but also violating the Second Amendment of the Constitution. For those of you who are familiar, the Second Amendment assures American citizens the right to keep and bear arms regardless of their service to a militia. But if you think logically, that amendment is out-dated. It was created at a time where an individual’s safety was uncertain, when an attack from another country or even hos-

on killing someone can do so using other means. People kill people— guns don’t. However, this does nothing to lighten the fact that firearms have no essentially no function but killing. We also must consider the detachedness of murder with guns. The act, which can be executed at a far distance, requires only pulling a trigger. Many murders are highly emotional, the wrongdoer briefly out of control, impulsive. It’s relatively easy to pick up a gun, aim, and fire. Perhaps these individuals would not go through

“Once a gun is purchased by an individual, there is no way for the government to prevent that weapon from falling into the hands of someone who could cause a lot of harm with it.” 18 or older to purchase a rifle or a shotgun from a federally licenced dealer. Background checks are lax, and thus once a gun is purchased by an individual, there is no way for the government to prevent that weapon from falling into the hands of someone who could cause harm with it. States, including Connecticut, have begun enforcing their own laws, and that needs to keep happening if we are to make any progress on a federal measure. Just as gay marriage started with legalization in the state of Massachusetts, reform in gun control can stem from powerful measures made on a state level. The role of the federal government is to hear the voices of the people. If multiple states insist on enforcing similar laws, all reducing access to guns, then the government will be forced to strongly consider a national reform is in the process. However, there remains those opposed to gun control. These critics argue that by controlling

tile outsiders was likely. Such attacks are nowhere near as prevalent today. Instead, individuals argue that they have the right to own a gun in order to protect themselves. The bigger issue here is the mentality of our country. Why is the recommended solution that we fight violence with more violence? Have we learned nothing from history? Trying to maintain peace is a far better way of avoiding violence than threatening others with violence if they chose to threaten you. The right to bear arms was included in the constitution not to sanction gun fanatics but to ensure the existence of militias. But even if this part of the 2nd Amendment were applicable, shouldn’t the U.S government’s ability to protect its people come before its devotion to the age-old Constitution? After all, guns are one of the most common nonnatural causes of death in America. Of course, the counterargument to this is that, in the absence of guns, an individual bent

with their intentions without guns handy. Not to mention, firearms are the most effective and efficient way for an angry individual to claim over twenty lives, as was the case in Sandy Hook. Thus the solution is simple. You, as a citizen, need to change. You can’t sit there and expect others to change around you. In order for a difference to be made, every individual needs to re-evaluate their definition of violence, and whether it is worth having this relatively easy access to guns for the sake of preserving every individuals right to defend themselves from an attacker, or whether we should be moving forward to a future focused on preventing attacks in the first place. If you want to make a change, you just have to show up and say so. Go to your next town meeting, write to your Senator, and say that you want tighter laws for access and purchase of guns. Your part is simple, but you can make a huge impact.

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Against

numbers. Unfortunately, many gun-control advocates seem to have the chain of cause and effect confused and reversed. In counter to this, some like to point at the UK as having very strict guncontrol laws and much lower numbers of gun

away,” is a popular saying among the pro-gun community. LEOs are first responders, arriving only after a crime has taken place. In essence they have no ability to prevent a crime. In response, some promote so-called “gun-free zones” in the

ried with him a shotgun with over 125 rounds of ammunition, molotov cocktails and a machete. Yet, the attack only had one casualty. Why? “He killed himself as a security officer closed in on him” NBC News reports. An armed officer intent

crime. It is true that the nation has a lower guncrime rate than the USA. However, consider the relative size and accessibility of the two nations. The American border is massive, and as the previous paragraph alluded, impossible to completely patrol and prevent smuggling. The UK on the other hand is an island, and a small one at that. It takes a relatively miniscule amount of manpower to patrol the border, especially considering it is surrounded by water, and in almost all locations a wharf or port are required for a waterborne vehicle to dock. As such it is majorly easier to patrol and prevent illegal firearms from entering the nation. Not only would preventing

hope that this would prevent gun violence. Yet, this very premise is based on a logical fallacy, the idea that criminals with the intent of committing a crime would be prevented by a law. They are inherently unlawful, and designating an area as unarmed will not prevent a crime. In fact it will do quite the opposite - rather than stopping a shooter it will rather reassure the perpetrator that no lawabiding citizen can stand up to them. In fact according to John Lott of the Crime Prevention Research Center in Washington DC: “‘With just one single exception... every public shooting since at least 1950 in the U.S. in which more than three people have been killed has taken place

on stopping the shooting forced the gunman’s attack to come to an end in a mere 80 seconds. Molotov cocktails are easily made from materials that can be purchased for under $20 and machetes are legal to purchase anywhere. Guns are not the only weapons that are used to cause harm. Take the Appalachian Law School incident of 2002. A gunman entered the school with a handgun and opened fire. Immediately, multiple students responded by running to their vehicles and grabbing their personal carry, legal firearms. Tracy Bridges and Mikael Gross held the perpetrator - Peter Odighizuwa - until Law Enforcement arrived. It is held by the Sheriff’s depart-

“Guns are not the only weapons that are used to cause harm.”

“The real problem, rather, is other social issues such as the war on drugs. Massive amounts of illegal drugs are smuggled in through piplines despite billions being spent on defense. These pipelines could just as easily become firearm pipelines if that become more profitable.” the flow of weapons into our country be difficult, but hundreds of millions of firearms are already within the borders. Finding and confiscating these weapons would be costly and near impossible. “When seconds count, police are mere minutes

where citizens are not allowed to carry guns.’” Arapahoe High School, Colorado: the location of a shooting on December 13th, 2013. A lone gunman, 18, enters the school with the intent to kill a teacher who had recently reprimanded him. He car-

ment that these actions saved multiple lives. It goes to show - if someone has the intent to hurt, they will carry it out, regardless of what weapons are legal where. The only way to stay safe is to even the playing field.


January 2014