THE WESTON HIGH SCHOOL
OURNAL 115 School Road, Weston, CT 06883
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October 2012 • Year XII, Issue I
Much Ado About NEASC
The story behind this mysterious omnipresent acronym Sarah Gruen ‘13 Emily Weyrauch ‘13 Editors-in-Chief When students were asked about their knowledge of NEASC, the most common response was one of uncertainty, confusion and disinterest. Some could define the terms stood for by NEASC, but could not figure out the purpose of this organization. Few students completely understood the entity that is NEASC. These results are a reflection of the discrepancy between administrative and student knowledge, and a lack of a grasp of the importance of this process. In fact, every student in the school has been somehow involved in NEASC, whether they are aware of it or not. The New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC), is one of six academic accreditation associations in the nation. According to the NEASC website, the goal is to “[serve] the public and the educational community” by “establishing and maintaining high standards of educational excellence” and “utilizing
evaluation processes which focus on self-improvement through effective peer review.” This goal, simply put by Weston High School Principal Lisa Wolak, is to “look at every component of the school to identify strengths and challenges.” This is not the first time that Weston has undergone a reaccreditation process; in fact, every ten years, WHS is required to put necessary committees together and assemble a clear image of the school in preparation for NEASC’s arrival in the spring. “WHS today looks like it does because of NEASC. That’s why we have the new science wing and lab periods, the art wing. There are certain components of other facilities that need to be updated. Although NEASC is not the only reason these things have changed, it is a big part of it.” said Wolak. In reality, students have been an active part of the accreditation process, whether they are aware of it or not. One of the most noticeable changes of this NEASC period is the new mission statement and core belief system,
English teacher Christine Cincotta is the steering comittee chairperson. Photograph by Emily Weyrauch discussed extensively in Advisory periods earlier in the year. “The mission statement articulates what has always been the spirit and the goals of the school. It outlines
what we do.” said English teacher Michael Mezzo. “We recently, as a school, redefined our core beliefs: ‘inspire, innovate, inquire.’” said Wolak. “To do this, we
started at the departmental level, brainstorming different ideas. It was a process that took multiple months, as there was a lot of back and forth. There were commit-
tees to work on it.” Moreover, “student government was also involved in the redefinition of mission statement and core beliefs process” said Wolak. Students were brought a draft of the core beliefs, and they voted on whether or not those beliefs reflected their vision of the school. By including so many groups of people in this redefining process, Wolak was able to create “something that represents us.” Parents, too, have taken an active role in bettering our school. Mary Hassett, a parent on the committee involving student evaluation, thinks that “parent involvement is vital to the NEASC process. A parent will have a different perspective on an issue than a student or a teacher.” Just as students helped to define core beliefs, parents also participated in establishing the goals of our school. “I love the redefinition of the core beliefs (inquire, innovate and inspire). I think it embodies WHS. In the past few years, the curriculum has been designed to promote critical thinking, which is a Continued on Page 4
Ni Hao and Zai Jian to Joanna Li
WHS COMPANY’s The Crucible takes center stage
patriotism for each week. Li also noted many differences in the classroom experience. In China the school day begins at 7:30
iPhone 5: toy or technological must-have
Pledge of Allegiance everyday; in China, students watch the national flag rise only on Monday mornings and that is the extent of
and ends at 5:30, after which the students generally do about three hours of homework. There is also a study hall after classes in which teachers rotated offering extra help. Unlike American students, Chinese students do not really have an athletic focus, but rather mandatory daily exercise hours and bi-weekly PE class. Another big difference is the culture within the classroom itself. In China, the classes are much larger—generally about 50 kids—and speaking in class is not encouraged. Li was surprised at the extent to which teachers push students to articulate their own thoughts and opinions in class. Though there are differences in
classroom techniques, Li saw many similarities between her classroom and that of Ms. Wong, the Chinese teacher. Li was impressed that “Ms. Wong organized the class well” in a way that allowed the students to participate and learn key Chinese phrases. Li learned a lot about our culture, and she will bring American customs and teaching styles back to China. It seems definite that the tie between our schools will continue to grow with a pen pal and foreign exchange program. Overall, Li “really enjoyed the atmosphere of the school and appreciates all the staff, teachers, and students for being so friendly” during her stay.
Freshmen on varsity teams are the future of WHS sports
Are the Democratic and Republican National Conventions worth the money?
Students bid Ms. Li farewell. Photograph by Emily Weyrauch
out and about
Weston High School opened its doors to a visitor this past month. Hailing all the way from Qingdao China, Ms. Joanna Li immersed herself in our culture for thirteen days, attending classes at our school and living with the Wolaks. Through this visit, Li hoped to strengthen the relationship between our school and our sister school in China, the very high school that was visited by Weston students a few years ago. Furthermore, Li would like to organize a trip for her students to visit our school and pos-
sibly to start a foreign exchange program in which a select number of Chinese students would study at Weston for two years. Li has taught English for 35 years and wanted to “study differences and similarities between school systems in America and China.” Many of the customs that seem so normal for us—such as drinking water cold—were strange, exciting and, well, foreign to her. Li was both excited and surprised by the festivities of an American football game. Most intriguing to Li was the practice of putting one’s hand over one’s heart and singing the national anthem. Similarly, she was surprised that we say the
around the campus
Zoë Zegers ‘13 Staff Writer
OCTOBER 2012 | EDITORIALS-IN-CHIEF
JOURNAL 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 only the second month of school out of a school year that will last eight. So far this year, we have completed an additional 1/32 of our high school experience, so congrats, I guess. It seems like we’ve changed so much in what has turned out to only be about a month. Freshmen feel more confident and indifferent, sophomores feel like upperclassmen, juniors feel like seniors, and seniors are desperately await-
Olivia Clark Daniel Muller Section Editors Liz Lepore Katie Mitchell Copy Editors
Benson Kane Michael Sitver Business Managers Elaine Hong Media Manager Andrew Jorge Matthew Risoli Faculty Advisors
Brandon Abrams Chloe Mandell Evelyn Chodock Anisha Khosla Scarlett Machson Madeleine Purcell Ben Roth Sarah Tessler Michaela Troiani Boni Wagmeister James Willis
ARTISTS&PHOTOGRAPHERS Asra Ali Ursula Alwang Bianca Corjuc Jordan Ellis-Sayegh Jack Hamilton Sarah Levin Jenna Klaassen Ryan Major Connor Mulcahey Lilly Scrimmager
Sarah Gruen ‘13 Editor-in-Chief Lesson number one in “How to Make a Senior Cringe 101” is “The Art of Asking The Question.” As soon as an adult, or any person for that matter, hears that you are a senior in high school, it’s like a lightbulb goes off in their head. Eureka, I imagine them saying to themself, I can ask “The Question!” “The Question,” designed to incite panic and anxiety, can be asked in a variety of ways, ranging from creative and sensitive to blunt and downright invasive. I have found that the style with which one asks “The Question” is a true reflection on the asker—that is, a senior has honed their ability to deduce what information is desired by simply the tone and choice of words the asker uses. In my work in the field, I have come across a variety of interrogation styles, the most common of which I will share with you. The ‘I haven’t a clue what to ask’: This style is recognizable by the characteristic that the conversation usually starts with a somewhat vague statement rather than a question. Something along the
ing the merciful ending of a long drawn-out joke with a punchline three years ago. We’re settling in; that’s how it goes. Freshmen are starting to walk semi-proudly in the tracks that they have gently begun to tread for themselves, and the rest of us trudge, with varying degrees of optimism and self-worth through the monotony of high school life.Most of us will follow this infinite
2 heart of this school year, when in actuality we have only advanced one month on the calendar. We’ve already had a pep rally, multiple fundraisers, gloriously successful sports games (First win over Pomperaug since 1990? Impressive.), the friendly visit and departure of a kind Chinese teacher, multiple stressful tests and papers, and our own personal victories and defeats. We’ve done
Another Inconvenient Truth looping path until June, perhaps occasionally boldly straying only to be gently nudged back into place. What bothers me is the noticeable dichotomy between observed progress and actual advancement. That is, it feels like w e are well into the
a lot, if you think about it. We do a lot every day. And then there is time, which does not seem to reflect this perceived experience. One day can change so many things, yet it only is marked down as another insignificant tickmark, easily mistaken for a
lines of: “So…college is coming up soon for you. You must be excited.” Usually, the person inquiring about college in this situation hasn’t interacted with too many seniors, and is looking for you to jump in. “Yes,” they hope the senior replies, “and I’m applying X University, where I plan to major in Y and go on to become a Z.” Of course, rarely does it happen that the senior tells of their life plan, so the conversation can become real awkward real quick. The people asking mean no harm. They likely want to tread lightly, and are as scared to make a mistake by offending you as you are annoyed by them bothering to ask. The ‘I was a college counselor in my past/ present life: The questions here are direct and pointed, usually following one after another in a dizzying string of sheer terror. “So, what is your reach school? Your safety? How do your SAT scores compare to the school average? City or country? Big or small? How do you define big? Really…that’s an…interesting choice.” If you choose to give them the desired information, namely your school of choice, often they will speak with feigned expertise unless they are alum of that school. “X College? Ah, yes. I’ve heard nice things about the campus in that lovely state. And their writing—no, science—program is really great. Just fantastic.” You may find yourself intimidated by these askers. They seem to know a lot about this process, perhaps more than you do. It may be that they,
too, have a senior as well, and are just looking for another viewpoint. My best tip for dealing with this “type” is to smile and respond vaguely—or pretend you’re choking on a cookie or something and bolt. The sympathetic downer: Few to no questions, or “reassurance that no matter what, there is a school for everyone.” Perhaps the person asking this question was rejected as a
Anxiety With a Capital Question Mark teen. Perhaps this person is a psychologist who has seen many a client get rejected. Either way, you may feel slightly depressed or anxious after leaving this conversation. When they hear you are applying to X State University, they cluck their tounge and smile gently. “You know what,” they say as they pat your shoulder, “there is a school for everyone, and it will all work out. You may find your first choice is not the best choice after all. Your family will probably love you either way.” Seriously? you ask yourself, Is she for real? Like asker number one, this person likely means not to offend or imply that you are stupid. They think that by being kind in a not-too-hopeful way, they are preparing you for a likely rejection. Don’t let it get to you. If there is
speck of dust. How is it that we can live years in minutes, or live only a minute in years, yet have no proof for the rest of the world? We feel like we have aged and matured in this time, yet nobody else would know the difference. It is a blessing or a curse or both, depending on one’s point of view. Would we want it to be any different? We are one month down, seven to go. No matter how much we may wish for things to be different, we cannot speed up time-to expedite the process of getting where?-- and cannot slow it down to get a minute to catch our breath. Like it or not, we have time as our fixed guideline around which we are forced to mold our lives. It is one thing we cannot change. What we can do is do our homework, see our friends, or not. Keep doing whatever you’re doing, or change it up. Just realize that time only moves so fast, and the least you can do is make the most of it. anything to take away from this conversation, it is that everyone and their mother has an opinion on your chance of acceptance. You know your odds, so don’t let this person get you down. The ‘my dog-sitter’s best friend’s cousin’s Chinese food deliverer’s plant psychologist went there!: These people are excited. They assume that you are in college before they ask questions, and have an arsenal of family and friends and memorized acquaintances who are somehow affiliated with the school. “X College?” they say, their face lighting up, “I know someone who went there!” or “I know someone who works there!” or, my personal favorite, “I know someone who interviews there!” These people are eternally positive about the college process, especially their involvement in it. If they offer an opinion, nod and smile. If they offer help, accept it. Odds are they will not remember they offered. They like thinking that they are invested in this process by having some kind of connection to you and your interests. The reality for most of us seniors is that the reason we hate “The Question” is because we don’t have “The Answer.” As much as we would love (or not love) to respond to all of these queries, most of the time, we can’t. We are as uncertain as the asker. Take what you will from these question/answer sessions, and push the rest to the back of your mind. The last thing you want to do as a result of all of these questions is question yourself.
We’ve Got Spirit, Yes We Do! The Crucible
Takes Center Stage
Emily Goldberg ‘13 Section Editor The halls of Weston High School bled blue and gold on Thursday, September 6 when the students came to school decked out in their colors for the Trojan Kick-off. The Kick-off pep rally consisted of performances by Chillingsworth, a band made up of WHS Juniors, the National Anthem sung by the choir, speeches from Mrs. Wolak and the school’s co-presidents, Oliver Parker and Charlie DiPasquale, as well as an introduction to all of the teachers and departments, with an emphasis on the new teachers, and, finally, a student versus faculty dodge ball game, which the students won. As each grade cheered louder than the next for their respective class, it was evident that the effort the students and faculty, led by Mrs. Wolak, have put in these past few years to intensify school spirit has been effective. This was confirmed when the entire student body and faculty left the gym after the pep rally to walk a unity lap around the track and form a WHS with their bodies. The faculty, wearing their new, gray “Super Fan” shirts, joined hands with the freshmen to complete a circle around the rest of the students; it must have been a great sight from above.
Jack Seigenthaler ‘15 Sarah Levin ‘13 Staff Writers
Co-Presidents Oliver Parker and Charlie DiPasquale at the first pep rally. Photograph by Sarah Levin “School spirit has increased drastically. What started as an almost-dead school my freshman year has turned into a place for a supportive and exciting student body,” said senior Daniel Muller. Junior Isabelle Schwartz had nothing but positive reviews for the Trojan Kick-Off event. “I thought the pep rally was really fun and well planned out! The unity lap and students versus teachers dodge ball are always fun,” she said. “I thought it went well!” Senior Brandon Abrams exclaimed, adding, “The
dodge ball was funny as usual but I feel like some more fun senior events at pep rallies could make them more interesting.” The fervent school spirit that the school year started out with has students looking forward to Homecoming, which is scheduled for Monday, October 22 to Saturday, the 27. Each year, the student council votes for an overall theme; this year’s theme is board games. The students’ reactions to this theme are extremely positive, considered an improvement
from recent themes which included music genres, cereal, and U.S. cities. “I think that the board game theme is really fun, and exciting as well as nostalgic,” said sophomore Anna-Kennon Kingsmill. Abrams agreed that the theme “was a good and original idea” and Schwartz also believes it to be “cute and creative.” For the homecoming event “Deck the Walls” and themed dress up days, each class has its own subtheme. This year, the Continued on Page 4
This fall, for the first time in over a decade, actors and audience members will feel the bright lights of the Weston High School stage… together. “This time, we’re doing what’s called a thrust stage, where the audience is seated right on the stage with the actors. We’re almost constructing a new theater,” said Damian Long, WHS COMPANY’s advisor and director. On November 9, 10, and 11, COMPANY will perform The Crucible, Arthur Miller’s riveting drama that tracks the infamous Salem Witch Trials of the 1600s. “We’ve had a proscenium stage up until now, where the audience is on one side of the actors looking up,” Long says. “This thrust stage is something I’ve always wanted to do here.” This isn’t a new concept for Weston High, according to longtime Director Et Meritus Doris Fiotakis. “We did a play called Story Theatre very successfully with the audience onstage about 10 years ago,” says Fiotakis. “The Crucible is full of
intimate scenes, and this intimacy lends itself to the tighter setup of a thrust stage. There aren’t a lot of moments in the show that are broad or bombastic.” The famed playwright wrote The Crucible in the McCarthy era, where many Americans were “blacklisted” often with no reasonable cause. The themes that run through the heart of The Crucible were crafted for that place in time, but, according to Ms. Fiotakis, they still ring true today. “It’s a play that everyone should be exposed to. Ideas like blind belief, abuse of power, and the malicious effect of lies cement its significance and its importance.” Mr. Long and Ms. Fiotakis have personal connections to the play, both having seen it, participated in it, or produced it several times. “I first saw it when I was 10 or 11 years old,” says Mr. Long. “It stuck with me, and I revisited it throughout my schooling and professional years, both acting and directing it. It’s a wonderful play, and it offers a lot of opportunities for the actors involved.” Continued on Page 4
Evelyn’s Declassified School Survival Guide Everything You Need to Know to Survive Freshman Year 4. Make use of your quiet study periods
Evelyn Chodock ‘15 Staff Writer
While they can be a fun time to socialize with friends, it is an even better time to do work. That does not suggest isolation or antisocial behavior. You can find a balance between having fun and getting things done. The more you do in school, the less you have to do at home.
As we welcome the 20122013 school year, Weston High School welcomes its new freshman Class of 2016. Once the initial fear of entering a new school and confusion over the new schedule subsides, high school is an awesome experience. However, it can be a substantial, and often stressful, adjustment. But with a few tips, making it through High School is easy.
5. Don’t be afraid of the upperclassmen
They really are here to support you. They were once freshman, too and many have taken on the commitment of supporting the community that our school and Ms. Wolak have been advocating.
Manage your time well
High school can be a lot of work, so being organized is critical. Use your time efficiently.
2. Enjoy your newfound freedom
While the benefits of being in high school are great, they are not permanent, so be careful. Take your freedom seriously
Freshman year can seem overwhelming... Artwork by Asra Ali and do not squander these precious opportunities.
3. Take full advantage of all WHS has to offer High school is a time to
experiment with new things and find what you love to do. Chemistry teacher Mr. Chappa, the freshman class advisor, recommends “Get[ting] involved with something new! Weston
High has such a wide array of extra-curricular activities; whether it is athletics, COMPANY, or clubs. Pick something that interests you and get involved.”
6. Take advantage of teachers’ extra help times
Do not be afraid to ask for help. Teachers are available before and after school, as well as during their free
periods. They sincerely want to see you succeed.
7. Prepare ahead of time for midterms and finals
Although they may seem like a never ending nightmare, with the proper preparation you are sure to do just fine. Remember to start studying early, in groups or with friends, and take advantage of review time in class to ask your teachers any questions. Your grades often reflect how much you have prepared. Remember, while high school is a new and exciting experience, it should be taken seriously. Even though college is not in your immediate future, it is right around the corner. While high school is all about having fun, it is also about developing the discipline for learning, so experiment with new activities and pursue your passions.
Closing the Book on Open Campus Michaela Troiani ‘15 Staff Writer On June 18th 2012, the newly revised limited open campus policy was officially implemented here at Weston High School. Since then, there have been mixed opinions among the student body about its implications on the new 2012-2013 school year. To clarify, “the open campus policy is decided upon by a Board of Education subcommittee. A motion is presented twice, and the meeting comes to a vote,” said Weston High School Principal Lisa Wolak. In this case, the limited open campus policy, policy 6112.1, was voted 7-0, all in favor. There has been somewhat of an outcry from the freshman and sophomore classes over the new rules regarding unassigned time. Some sophomores believe it is unfair that they aren’t able
to leave the campus during their free periods when last year’s sophomores were allowed to do so. “I don’t understand why the sophomores this year can’t go out especially if last year’s sophomores were able to,” said sophomore Sophie Shrager. Other sophomores don’t mind the fact that they aren’t allowed to leave campus because there are many other ways to spend your free time. Many students take advantage of other resources that Weston High School offers, using open gym, staying in the lobby, going to extra help, or going to the library. “Well, I can see why they wouldn’t allow the freshmen and sophomores to go out. Most of us don’t have licenses or cars, and don’t really have the need or means to go out,” said sophomore Gabe Lillianthal. Whether they take advantage of these options is entirely up to them.
Students take advantage of the library during a free period. Photograph by Lilly Scrimmager Clearly, some sophomores are bothered by this new policy, but there are others who are not bothered by it. In addition, issues have arisen concerning the requirements for juniors and seniors leaving open campus. The majority of students are perfectly fine
WHS Spirit (Continued) Continued from page 3 seniors have Candyland, juniors have Monopoly, sophomores have Jumanji, and freshmen have Clue. Students have mixed opinions about how well their subthemes relate to their grades and if they will be good for dressing up. “I think our grade’s theme is creative and out of the box; it represents
us well, as innovative thinkers,” said Kingsmill. Conversely, Abrams was not as certain about the subthemes belonging to the right grades. “I don’t think Candyland is the best choice for the seniors because it can be difficult to dress up as candy for some people. Clue is a game seniors could have fun dressing up as while freshmen
or sophomores won’t go to the extreme to dress up too crazy,” he said. Schwartz has a mixed opinion and thinks, “Monopoly will be fun but a little tricky to dress up for.” Junior Meg Fitzgerald agrees. “Monopoly will be hard to dress up for but I think it will make for some really exciting outfits. I can’t wait for homecoming!”
The Crucible (Continued) Continued from page 3 Mr. Long admits that there will be challenges directing this show in a “thrust setup.” “The staging is very
vironment helps along the tension and heat of the show as it progresses.” Despite the extensive preparation on the part of the students to run The
Actors are learning to work with a thrust setup. Photograph by Emily Weyrauch different, because each side of the audience has to get an equally good show, resulting in a lot more movement on stage,” says Mr. Long. “But this en-
Crucible on in November, not everyone may have chance to see it. “One of the liabilities of this setup is that we’ll only be able to seat about 150 people per perfor-
mance. We’re adding one or two more shows than we usually do, but we encourage people to visit the website and get their tickets sooner rather than later,” says Mr. Long. Because of the limited seating, tickets can only be purchased either at school the week leading up to the performance or online at whs-company.com. After the overwhelming success of the 2012 spring musical Guys and Dolls, COMPANY is anticipating a strong turnout for the fall drama, according to COMPANY President Sarah Gruen. “All of us are really excited—this drama has so much tension and strength. It is both challenging and rewarding for us actors to portray such flawed and complex characters, and because of the intense viewing environment for the audience, it will be a very engaging and powerful performance.”
with the sign in/out process but, according to Wolak, “The complaint I hear is that we raised the GPA requirement for leaving campus to a 2.67. If the Board passes a policy, it is my job to reinforce it. The requirement that we had before, 2.0, was pretty
low for a GPA anyhow. The fact is that students’ grades should be higher than that.” It states in the Limited Open Campus policy that “freshmen and sophomores are required to be present in school during all scheduled school time. Junior and senior students with
an unweighted grade point average of 2.67 in the immediately prior quarter are permitted to be absent from school during Unassigned Time.” It is also expected that the students maintain a positive attendance record, operate motor vehicles safely and legally, and follow all school rules. As for the options available to sophomores, some are aware of things like open gym, but don’t really find the need to use it. Said sophomore Danielle DeCanio, “I do sports after school anyway, and I use my free time to do my homework.” So, even if open gym isn’t for you, there are other activities you can do to pass the time. No matter what grade you are in, there is no shortage of activities in which to participate this school year. There’s something for everyone! How will you spend your next free period or quiet study?
Continued from page 1
great way to get students to think outside of the box and apply what they have learned in other classes to current assignments.” said PTO executive board member Nadine Kerns. Added Elise Major from the Standard Six committee, “I believe the participation of student and parent representatives adds value to the process because we are the ‘customers’ if you will, thereby able to offer some feedback on the efficacy of these services.” It may seem due to this most recent two-year intensive period that NEASC has an off and on period, but this is not the case. “It is a two year self-study, then a five year report. We are never NOT in the cycle of improving.” Wolak clarified. Currently, we are in the “self-study” portion of this improvement cycle. WHS has set up committees of teachers and students to evaluate every aspect of the school community. English teacher Christine Cincotta is the steering committee chairperson. “My role is to oversee the entire process, under the direction of the administration and the district.” explained Cincotta. Under the direction of Cincotta and the steering committee, teachers are now undergoing an intense self-reflection process, an important tool in learning and improving. “One of the most important things a teacher can do is to be selfreflective.” said Cincotta. “That is what this process encourages. It encourages teachers to look at practices, how it affects student/teach-
er/administration/community relationships. It is a great way to help out teachers.” Said Wolak, “There really are no downsides to the re-accreditation process. It forces you to examine every aspect of the school community. Being able to reflect on yourself as a person, an organization, a team, or a school is very important, and NEASC provides a structure through which this reflection is done.” Kerns agrees. “There should be a partnership between the student, parent and school and this is an excellent way for all of those entities to have a voice.” Not only teachers are hard at work bettering our school for the NEASC evaluation. Asra Ali, the student representative for the standard 4 committee of NEASC, “gives student feedback on the evidences and evaluation that teachers and parents gather.” Though she feels that the accreditation is important, and some changes, like “new features on PowerSchool and clear expectations” are good, there is not much substance in all of the new rubrics and unit overviews. “I feel like I’m being spoonfed with an empty spoon,” said Ali. Still, despite this “lack of substance,” Ali likes that NEASC results in students “getting a lot more feedback about performance.” The work of students and staff alike will culminate in an intense four-day period (April 7th-10th) during which twelve to fifteen representatives from the NEASC organization will visit and evaluate the school. “NEASC representatives ob-
serve classes through the lens of a student. ‘Let’s be Jane Doe for four periods’... they interview students, parents, and teachers.” said Wolak. Because of the structure of this visiting period, students will interact with these NEASC representatives. “Students should be honest and give their opinions. Give constructive criticism.” If you have something to say, advised Wolak, “go ahead and say it. It will only help us.” Most importantly, “People need to be honest about the process. We need to be honest and transparent. It is the only way for us to improve.” Wolak, Mezzo, and Cincotta agree that “this is serious.” “This will be the blueprint of what happens at this school.” Wolak said. Also, Wolak wants students to realize that the changes being made are not simply for the purpose of “putting on a show for three days.” said Wolak. “As the principal of Weston High School, I want the school to be a certain way. But we are not just doing it for NEASC; it’s a bonus.” Hassett agrees. “I think the NEASC process forces the staff and administration to take the time to look really closely at their common practices and practices of other teachers in different departments.” Much behind-the-scenes work is being put into the accreditation, but Wolak and Cincotta want students to know that this arduous process yields results. “It is a tiring and extensive process,” Cincotta explained, “but it will prove to be a rewarding process.”
Out and About
The Casual Vacancy takes Muggle bookstores by storm
Katie Mitchell ‘13 Copy Editor Author J.K. Rowling, famous for her bestselling Harry Potter novels, of which more than 450 million copies have been sold to date, released her latest novel, The Casual Vacancy, the first book she has published outside of the Harry Potter series. The Casual Vacancy follows an election in a small British town after a member of the Parish Council dies unexpectedly, opening up the town for a war that has been building for years: rich against poor, teenagers against parents, wives against husbands, teachers against students. The novel was on presale since April, and was released September 27. There is little doubt that it will be a bestseller for quite some time, as it reached #8 on Amazon’s Top 100 list on April 16, with over 2 million preorders, before the book has even been released. While the publisher, Little, Brown and Com-
The Casual Vancancy hit the shelves on September 27th, and is sure to sell millions of copies. Photo courtesy of time.com pany, and Rowling herself were very secretive over the book, following the same policy used with the Harry Potter books of not allowing any advanced
copies or reviews for the media, the publisher stated the novel is “blackly comic, thought-provoking and constantly surprising”, leaving many wondering if
younger J.K. Rowling fans should think twice before picking up her latest novel. Rowling herself had confirmed from the beginning this book would be aimed
for adults, and startlingly different from her prior works: there’s no magic, no wands, but a darker plot with characters and a world easily relatable for adults.
In the words of Rowling’s publisher, Michael Pietsch, “This book isn’t Harry Potter. It’s a completely different concern.” However, it’s no secret that Harry Potter fans will make up the majority of the reading audience, whether it be to support their favorite author, or to see what she can accomplish outside of Harry Potter. Senior Daniel Muller says, “I’m really interested in seeing what she can accomplish outside of the Wizarding World, and if she can become just as renowned for Muggle literature.” Junior Greta Guthrie agrees saying, “I have no doubt that she is capable of writing another novel with great characters and an interesting storyline.” There is some debate, however, as to whether or not younger Harry Potter fans should wait to pick up what will be a drastically different work of fiction. Junior Bobby Eddy feels that “it’s important to note that as [Harry Potter] proContinued on page 7
Election Update: The Road to November Madeleine Purcell ‘16 Staff Writer The 2012 U.S. election season is in full swing; during the last week of August and the first week of September, both the Republican and Democratic parties held their national conventions, where candidates from both parties were officially nominated. The Republican convention was set to kick off in Tampa, Florida on August 27, but was postponed to the following day, due to Tropical Storm Isaac. Regardless, the convention continued on, with speakers such as former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum, Mrs. Ann Romney, former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Governor Jeb Bush, and vice presidential nominee Representative Paul Ryan. Florida Senator Marco Rubio introduced the Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Mitt Romney. One of the most talked-about speeches of the convention was that of veteran actor Clint Eastwood, who improvised a con-
versation with an imaginary President Obama, symbolized by an empty chair. CNN reported, “His ad-libbed speech later in the evening was decidedly political, bitingly satirical and more than a bit, well… rambling.” Nonetheless, his “interview” with President Obama sparked more than 20,000 Twitter followers of the handle “Invisible Obama,” an hour after Eastwood’s speech. The Democratic National Convention was held in Charlotte, North Carolina, beginning September 4. Notable speakers included women’s rights activist Sandra Fluke, First Lady Michelle Obama, and Minority Leader of the House Nancy Pelosi, who led a presentation of the women of the House. Vice President Joe Biden gave a speech recounting his up-close, personal observations of the President in a variety of scenarios. San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro was the first Latino keynote speaker at a Democratic National Convention. One of the main speaking highlights of
the Democratic National Convention, other than the President’s own remarks, may have been former President Bill Clinton’s speech nominating President Obama. Dubbed “Politics’ Comeback Kid” by NPR, Clinton has played a role in every Democratic convention since 1972. As much as the former President’s endorsement was beneficial to Obama, it could also be detrimental in some ways. Says The New York Times, “For days, some Democrats have lamented that Mr. Clinton outshines the president he is trying to help, a conclusion Mitt Romney has encouraged.” Nevertheless, for many Democrats, hearing Clinton speak was a welcome contrast to the Republicans whose past President was noticeably absent. In hindsight, the Republicans may have been at a slight disadvantage for going first. In this age of instant information and social media, every statement uttered at the podium was subject to public scruContinued on page 7
A Tribute to Neil Armstrong Scarlett Machson ‘16 Staff Writer Neil Armstrong, the first man to go to the moon, died at age 82 on August 25. While Armstrong managed to stay out of the public eye for most of his life, no one in America, or perhaps the world, can forget the moment he stepped onto the surface of the moon and said ,“That’s one small step for… man, one giant leap for mankind.” Armstrong was born on August 5, 1930,
in Wapakoneta, Ohio. He later attended Purdue University, where he studied aeronautical engineering. Armstrong met his wife, Janet Elizabeth Shearon, at Purdue and they married in 1956. After graduating college, Armstrong became an experimental research test pilot. He was chosen by U.S. Air Force to fly a “space plane” when it was completed because of his skill as a pilot. Armstrong served as Commander of Gemini 8 in 1965 on his first space mission, which encountered difficulties
Artwork by Emily Weyrauch
OCTOBER 2012 | AROUND THE CAMPUS
with its altitude control while in orbit. Fortunately, Armstrong and the other crewmembers were able to bring the craft back to earth without any casualties. On July 16th, 1969, Armstrong was launched again into outer space: this time to become the first man to go to the moon. Eugene “Buzz” Aldrin and Michael Collins were also members of the Apollo 11 mission. The three landed on the Moon on July 20, 1969 and spent about 21 hours at the “Sea of TranContinued on page 7
OCTOBER 2012 | OUT AND ABOUT
The iPhone 5 Debuts to Acclaim and Apathy
Michael Sitver ‘15 Business Editor With two million sold in the first 24 hours, Apple’s iPhone 5 is already a huge success. The new iPhone, unveiled at an event on September 12th, has been completely redesigned. The device is 20% thinner, and far lighter. The screen was extended by ½ an inch, while pixel count of the screen was increased to maintain it’s high resolution. The body of the phone has been precisely manufactured out
ments came from the inside. For example, newly designed chips brought increased speed. The camera’s performance was slightly boosted from that of the iPhone 4S, and new features were introduced. Photos can now be taken without interrupting video taking, and an easy new panorama feature allows for quick panoramas (also available on the iPhone 4S via the iOS 6 update). 4G LTE bands have also been added to the phone to offer increased cellular connectivity on the device.
and generally unappealing in my opinion”. Some students were also upset about the change of connector, which renders millions of accessories useless without the purchase a $30 adapter. Barrett Fitzgerald, a sophomore, said, “it’ll be a bit cooler, but it’s not “noticeably lighter”, “noticeably faster”, or “noticeably thinner.” One student looking forward to it is junior Asher Greenberg, who cited its’ new size and 4G capability as the most exciting new factors. Sophomore Brendan Mulcahey
Connor Mulcahey takes advantage of the iPhone 5’s new panorama feature. Photo courtesy of Connor Mulcahey of aluminum to provide a more visually appealing and durable build than the previous aluminum and glass mix. To account for the minute differences in each body, Apple has engineered a system involving 725 different inlays to custom fit each phone and create the best body possible. Other major improve-
Many students are excited about the news, but some were quite the opposite. Dana Mitchell, a junior, said, “they are much better for guys than girls. Girls don’t have big enough pockets to hold the phone”. Also echoing this concern was senior Sarah Dietzman who said, “it’s bigger than the previous models which is annoying
agreed “because it allows for the ability to see all of an HD video without black bars on the top and bottom”. The new processor, design, LTE, and larger screen make the iPhone 5 one very exciting phone for many, but in the words of Jackson Marvin, sophomore, “It’s alright, but it’s no flip phone”.
Cloud Atlas Set to Rock the Box Office Elliott Eglash ‘13 Senior Section Editor “Cloud Atlas,” a movie based on David Mitchell’s 2004 criticallyacclaimed, genre-defying epic of the same name, is due for release in late October. Already, it has attracted a remarkable amount of critical attention and public fascination. The story spans 300 years, and has six different subplots, ranging from the adventures of a 19th century American in the South Pacific to a 1970s tale of corporate espionage and intrigue to a science fiction narrative focused on cloning. However, each story is interrupted halfway through by the next, and, after the sixth, the novel moves backwards in time to complete each story. The book was noted for its beautiful language and excellent storytelling and for the amount of information it asks the reader to remember. Many of the stories are begun in one place and completed hundreds of pages later. Hence, creating a movie adaptation of the novel seemed challenging, if not impossible. However, Lana and Andy Wachowski (who co-directed the “Matrix” trilogy) and Tom Tykwer were up to
the task. The trio wrote the screenplay, assembled an ensemble cast, including Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Jim Sturges, and many others, and directed the film. In an interesting piece of casting, the actors are
Indeed, money was a pressing issue for the directors, who were funded primarily by foreign investors. The directors had trouble getting funding from Warner Brothers because of the complexity
It’s that time of year again. Summer vacation is just a fond memory and the new school year is in full swing. It’s time for football, MLB playoffs, light sweaters, falling leaves, and of course, fall television series. This September, the most talked about new shows are comedies, ranging from a show about an OB/ GYN to one about a surrogate mother carrying a baby for a gay couple. The Mindy Project, which premieres on Fox on September 25th at 9:30 p.m., is a comedy about Mindy Lahiri (Mindy Kaling), a young, successful OB/GYN who, unsuccessful with love, sets out to get her personal life back on track. Lahiri, who according to fox. com is “funny, impatient and politically incorrect,” is determined to change everything about her life-
style, from the amount of books she reads to her punctuality. Washingtonpost.com gave this new comedy an A- and said, “It’s a losing proposition but a winning show.” Senior Sarah Gruen, who is already familiar with Kaling from her role as Kelly Kapoor on “The Office,” is looking forward to watching The Mindy Project. “I want to watch the Mindy Project because I read Mindy Kaling’s book and it was hilarious,” Gruen said, adding, “Kelly Kapoor is a really funny character, so I think it’ll be a great show.” Another show that fills a Tuesday night slot this fall is NBC’s The New Normal. The New Normal stars Andrew Rannells and Justin Bartha as Bryan and David, a loving and successful Los Angeles couple who want to have a baby. Singlemother Goldie (Georgia King) moves to Los Angeles with her daughter “to escape her dead-end life
Cloud Atlas is set to be epic in its scope. Photo courtesy of realitybyrach.com set to play multiple roles throughout the film, appearing as different characters in different storylines. This move was made by the directors to represent the eternal recurrence that is ubiquitous throughout Mitchell’s novel, and also to reduce casting costs.
The cast of Kaling’s The Mindy Project. Photograph from tvfanatic.com and small-minded grandmother (Emmy and Tony Award-winner Ellen Barkin),” according to nbc. com, and ends up becoming the surrogate mother for Bryan and David. This comedy has
many Weston High School students anxiously awaiting its premier. “It looks really funny,” said sophomore Chloe Mandell. “I’m going to watch The New Normal because I think it’s an interesting premise.
Conventions Continued Continued from page 7
Summer Olympics Recap Chloe Mandell ‘15 Staff Writer For many people, the highlight of their summers was going away on vacation or to camp. But for millions of others, it was the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, England: the biggest sporting event of the year. From July 27th to August 12th, people all over the world watched over two hundred countries battle it out for the bronze, silver, and gold. Team USA topped this year’s medal charts, winning 46 gold, 29 silver, and 29 bronze medals. China was not far behind, with 38 gold, 27 silver,
of the script. Said Lana Wachowski, “As nature abhors a vacuum, the system abhors originality.” Still, despite these financial troubles, the film finished production, and has been making a
Continued on page 7
The New Normal in Fall TV Is Laughter A Look at This Season’s Hot Shows
Emily Goldberg ‘13 Section Editor
OCTOBER 2012 | OUT AND ABOUT
Well really because I think it’ll be funny and I like the cast also,” said Gruen. “No tantrum is too loud, no diaper is too dirty - Nick, Chris and Gary are up to the challenge,” says nbc.com’s
description of another one of their comedies coming this September. Guys with Kids, which airs at 8:30 p.m. on Wednesdays, follows Gary (Anthony Anderson), Chris (Jesse Bradford), and Nick (Zach Cregger), three fathers in their thirties who are trying to hold on to their youth and balance their social lives with being responsible and taking care of their children. Nick and Gary’s wives, Emily (Jamie-Lynn Sigler) and Marny (Tempestt Bledsoe), are also major characters who offer their own advice on parenting. “To me, Guys With Kids looks like another sitcom with the same things all over again,” said senior Daniel Muller. “I’m not gonna watch Guys with Kids because it sounds stupid,” Gruen said bluntly. While some are more highly anticipated than others, only time will tell how students will react to these new shows.
Drawing by Bianca Corjuc and 23 bronze. In third was Great Britain, winning 29 gold, 17 silver, and 19 bronze. The top ten also included Russia, Korea, Germany, France, Italy, Hungary, and Australia. Contributing to the USA’s high medal count was swimmer Michael Phelps, who won four gold and two silver medals – breaking a world record by becoming the most decorated Olympian ever — as well as the rest of the swim team, including swimmers Ryan Lochte and Missy Franklin, who both won gold for the United States. The men’s basketball team also won gold against Spain in the finals,. The U.S women’s
Casual Vacancy (Continued Continued from page 5 gressed, the books brought in more adult themes and elements. If a young reader has finished the Harry Potter series…it shouldn’t be too difficult a transition into The Casual Vacancy” and Senior Emily Goldberg agrees, feeling fans should not “be discouraged from reading the book, because if it interests them and it is at a level that they can understand, then there’s nothing wrong with reading a book geared towards adults.” Other Weston High School students feel that younger fans may not be prepared for what The Ca-
sual Vacancy really is: a standalone novel. Guthrie hopes fans won’t see it as an eighth installment to the series but will “prepare themselves for something new, something that is a compete departure from the dragons and wizardry of Rowling’s previous work,” and Muller agrees adding, “I don’t know if young readers will appreciate this sort of literature the way adults can.” Whatever the reason fans are choosing to read The Casual Vacancy, there can be no doubt that J.K. Rowling has another success on her hands that will entrance readers as surely as the Harry Potter novels did.
Cloud Atlas (Continued)
Continued from page 6
buzz in the cinema world. “Cloud Atlas” is set to have its US premiere at the New Yorker Festival, on October 6th. There is already a fair amount of hype surrounding the movie, and a number of mixed reviews from Europe, where it has already been released.. The film, according to The Guardian, is too complex for those who haven’t read the book, and not faithful enough to the book to satisfy those who have. Says Benson Kane, junior, the movie will be either “completely fantastic or completely awful. Given the
scope of the project undertaken, I think it’s going to be very polarizing.” Still, the movie has something for everyone, including historical drama, science fiction, or post-apocalyptic narratives. Moreover, the movie’s scope and production values look epic enough that viewers may be able to bear the mental burden of six storylines, as well. If the film turns out to be a failure, though, perhaps its kind will find success in another time. As one of the protagonists, Robert Sixsmith, says in the novel, “I believe there is another world out there. A better world.”
gymnastics team won gold in the team competition and earned silver and gold medals in the individual all-around. Team USA won gold in many other events, including track and soccer. Overall, this year’s Olympics were a way for people all over the world to come together over a love of sports. From the first second of the opening ceremonies to the last second of the closing ceremonies, everyone seemed to be enjoying the event. Though this was the first games for some athletes and the last for others, both the athletes and the spectators can agree that the tradition of the Olympics will never die.
tiny. Comments made by Paul Ryan, for example, were almost immediately checked by bloggers friendly to Democrats. Additionally, any discrepancies were highlighted in various media and spread across the internet. This gave the Democratic party a clear forewarning that all of their speakers’ comments would be subject to the same scrutiny. Overall, there were no remarkable surprises from either party. The real work will begin in the debates, which are set to take place in the coming weeks, and where actual platforms will be compared and contrasted. For many Americans who have yet to decide between the candidates, the conventions offered very little substance to sway their vote.
Armstrong Tribute Continued
Continued from page 5 quility”, an area of the Moon named for its slightly blue coloring. Armstrong and Aldrin spent about two hours outside of the lunar capsule. Before leaving, Armstrong and Aldrin also set up an American flag, which appears to wave in a world with no wind. The crew of Apollo 11 returned to Earth on July 24, 1969. It was an occasion that was broadcast over television sets across the globe, with an estimated 430 million viewers tuned in. One of them was Ms. Fiotakis, the head of the English department at Weston High School. “It was unbelievable,” she recalls, “Our mouths were open; we were totally amazed. We were proud…over the moon. It was amazing for our generation. We had grown up with science fiction films and airplanes were really just in their infancy.” Her reaction was similar to most.. Regardless, Armstrong did not see himself as a hero and had no interest in the public spotlight; he was a humble man and never wanted to be praised for his accomplishments. On many occasions, Armstrong would say that the lunar landing was a result of the work of the hundreds of individuals who made the Apollo missions possible. In spite of his own humility, Armstrong became
a true American hero.. Later that same year, he was given the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the most prestigious honor that can be awarded to a civilian. However, Armstrong never again returned to space after the famous Apollo 11 mission. Instead, he continued working for NASA in the research and technology department until 1971. After resigning from NASA, he became a professor of engineering at the University of Cincinnati, where he worked for eight years. Armstrong died due to blocked coronary arteries on August 25, 2012. “ He became an icon,” said Ms. Fiotakis. “He represented the hopes and dreams of all of America at the time.” Though it has been over forty years since the Moon Landing, Armstrong’s legacy has endured. “He was the bridge connecting man to space,” said Weston ninth grader Chris Gallardo. Following the death of Armstrong, President Barack Obama said, “Neil’s spirit of discovery lives on in all the men and women who have devoted their lives to exploring the unknown—including those who are ensuring that we reach higher and go further in space. That legacy will endure— sparked by a man who taught us the enormous power of one small step.”
The Crucible Hogwarts and Accusations School of Witchof Witchcraft craft and Wizardry Seth MacFarlane
Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart
Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes
It’s Electric! Boni Wagmeister ‘14 Staff Writer Gather your crew and go to the Electric Zoo, an event like no other. This year’s electronic music festival was a huge success. Artists such as David Guetta, Axwell, Tiësto, Skrillex, Above & Beyond, Benny Benassi, and Bloody Beetroots DJ Set played on four platforms on NYC’s Randall’s Island Park. More than 100,000 people attended the three day event, many jamming to music for thirty-six hours straight. This past summer, a group of students from Weston High School attended Electric Zoo. “Electric Zoo was crazier than a real zoo,” said senior Chase Pomerantz. Senior Rich Prackup said, “In order to go to Electric Zoo you should definitely be interested in dubstep, electro, and house music, dancing, and partying with an enormous crowd of people for over eight hours.” Senior Will Glaser said, “I got the general admission pass and I couldn’t have been happier. Everyone there was awesome. I listened to Adventure Club for over an hour.” Some students even made it to the front row and had their pictures taken by a profes-
sional photographer. There are four stages back to back, with artists performing throughout the entire day, instead of for just a few hours. Glaser said, “With four groups playing all at once, everyone was spread out across a giant park, so there were no giant crowds, which I liked.” Mia DiMeglio, on the other hand, liked “the music and the people.” Prackup agreed, saying “I would have to say that my favorite thing about Electric Zoo was definitely listening to all my favorite artists, especially Skrillex in the finale at the end of the night,” he said. Besides relishing in the electronic beats, attendees were able to get their faces painted, wear eccentric clothing, meet new friends, dance endlessly, relax in the grass, eat great food from some of New York’s finest food trucks, and more. “To go to Electric Zoo you have to have the ability to move hard for 12 long hours. It’s insanity”, says Pomerantz. Westonites have the advantage of being able to attend this music festival without having to travel far. Many attendees fly across the country just to experience this outrageous event. “Without a doubt, I’m going next year,” said Glaser.
Sports and Athletics
Weston Boys’ Varsity Soccer A Season of Possibilities Micah Zirn ‘15 Section Editor As fall begins, so does the Weston High School boys’ soccer season, which has made sensational improvement year after year. This recent success warrants the expectation of a finish that the team hasn’t seen in a long time. Four seasons ago, coach Kevin Fitzsimmons took over a varsity team that was in shambles. However, the team needed more than just a turnaround to find success. Weston competes in the SWC, or Southwest Conference, where it is the 4th smallest school out of the fifteen-team division, many of which are size L or LL. For this reason Weston needs a great team, rather than a merely good one, in order to make headway in the division. In addition to the SWC tournament for the conference’s top 8 schools, the Varsity team can earn a ticket to the state competition if they are able to attain 12 points. Although the level of play in the State contest is easier because opponents are from schools of equal size, entrance to the tournament is very difficult, as the wins (worth two points) and ties (worth one point) needed for berth
must come from games against the tough competition of large SWC schools. “It’s harder to make the
isn’t only limited to senior Josh Karpen, captain Andrew Parks, and the other forwards; the roster boasts
the commissioner of baseball, Bud Selig, is making. Although baseball players are always adjusting something in their approach to the game, it doesn’t mean that the game itself has to change. Some adaptations can be favorable, such as the addition of the second
Varsity football captains at coin toss. Photo courtesy of Jack Hamilton
New School Year, New Captains, Same Old Sports Andrew Parks ‘13 Section Editor
State tournament than to win it,” said Coach Fitzsimmons. The program lost seven skilled seniors from last year. However, the Varsity team has several returning starters, a strong upperclassman presence, and even a freshman, Jordan Ellis-Sayegh As always, Weston has a vertically challenged lineup, so coach Fitzsimmons has implemented a passing and possession oriented game-play, making a point of keeping the ball on the ground. Scoring
dangerous mid-fielders, such as juniors Brian Lonergan and Sam Reuben, as well as seniors Max Singer and captain Oliver Parker. Additionally, the defense is extremely strong with a senior core of Dan Prorokovic and captain Jared Weisman. The team’s defense will be centered around captain Ryan Major in goal. On September 12th, the season began with a home kick-off against Immaculate. Normally, the Varsity team plays neck and neck
of the game , with Weston leading with a half-time score of 1-0. Everything seemed to fall into place in the second half of the game, and the final whistle blew with the scoreboard reading “Home 7 – Guest 0”. This auspicious start to the year indicates the explosive talent of the Weston team. Overall, if Varsity puts up enough wins and ties to earn a spot in the SWC and State tournaments, any result or finish is within their reach.
Autumn not only brings a new school year, but also means the beginning of another sports season. Football, field hockey, volleyball, soccer, most of these teams had been practicing for weeks before students walked into school on August 27. Due to the SWC and CIAC athletic conference rules, coaches are not allowed to work with the teams until just a few weeks before the season starts. To fill the void of potentially multiple months without training sessions, captains step up to organize team events in order to keep everyone in shape.
But is a captain’s job simply to keep players active in the offseason? Not according to Coach Berkowitz, who says that the captains are the leaders of the team, but also have a big role in the community. While on the field they need to lead their respective teams and set a good example of commitment and hard work, off the field captains also need to conduct themselves in a manner that exemplifies good character. Whether a captain is appointed by his or her coach or by the popular vote of the team, there are still a lot of leadership qualities that need to be acquired before the season starts. One of the
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New Adjustments to America’s Old Pastime Ben Roth ‘13 Staff Writer Baseball is a game of adjustments. Players are constantly making changes to their swings or their stances depending on what is working for them. The first baseman for the New York Mets, Ike Davis, has changed his batting stance several times throughout the course of the 2013 season. It seemed each time he would dig into the batter’s box, he would be showing off a new stance where he would be wider in his base or his hands would be held higher. Batters will try just about anything to succeed. Pitchers are the same exact way, as they will watch countless hours of video to see if they can spot a flaw in their mechanics. If baseball players are constantly making adjustments, do the logistics of baseball often change? The answer is no. The pitching rubber will always be 60 feet, 6 inches away from home plate and the base paths 90 feet. However, significant changes to the formatting of teams and
alignment are forthcoming. The wild card has been in place since the start of the 1995 season, allowing postseason berth for the top team in each league that fell short of winning their division. The wild card is a great way for teams without a real opportunity to win their division to stay in the playoff mix. In this way, the playoff races stay gripping and exciting, coming down to the very last day of the regular season. Just take last season for example. The Tampa Bay Rays and the Boston Red Sox were tied for the lead in the American League wild card on the final day of the season. The Rays were down 7-0 to the Yankees going into the bottom of the 8th inning. Concurrently, the Red Sox were up 3-2 to the Orioles with Papelbon at the mound, hoping to close the game and nail down the save. Within the blink of an eye, the Orioles came from behind to spoil the Red Sox playoff hopes. Just four minutes later, the Rays’ third baseman launched a solo home run in the bottom of the
12th inning; the 8-7 comefrom-behind win propelled Tampa Bay into the playoffs and sent a dagger straight into the backs of the Boston Red Sox. “It’s a good feeling knowing that one put us into the playoffs. When I saw it clear the fence, it didn’t seem real,” the Rays’ man of the hour, Evan Longoria, said ecstatically after the game. If it weren’t for the wild card, arguably one of the most exciting games in baseball history wouldn’t have taken place on September 28th, 2011. That is the simple beauty of baseball; anything can happen. It’s a sport where new and incredible events happen regularly, amazing fans that have been watching the game for their entire life. A baseball fan has never seen it all. Recently, Major League Baseball has allotted a second position for a successful but nondivision-winning team in each league, capitalizing on the excitement that one wild card slot has brought . This means that the top two teams in the wild card of each league will clinch
a playoff berth. Then, those two teams will compete in a one-game playoff with the winner advancing to the Division Series. This addition of a second wild card provides the fans with even more suspense. It can’t get more intense than a one-game playoff– the fate of a team’s season resting on a single game. In 2007, the Colorado Rockies and San Diego Padres tied for the wild card, calling for a one-game competition for playoff admittance. The game took 13 innings to complete and it concluded with a bang-bang play at home plate. Although that year the one-game playoff was a treat, it is something that will become a regular occurrence each year and keep fans absorbed in their team through all 162 games. Baseball’s reaction to the addition of the wild card has been overwhelming positive. “When we first went to a wild-card, I was skeptical. It’s become so wildly successful; I think this will be as equally successful. All of the baseball guys are for it,” says Washington Nationals Gen-
America’s Pastime (Continued) Continued from page 8
against this opponent; the team edged them out by one goal last year. This seemed to be true for the first half
The Weston Boys’ Varsity Soccer team preparing for the start of a game. Photo courtesy of Ryan Major
OCTOBER 2012| SPORTS AND ATHLETICS
eral Manager, Mike Rizzo. In its very first season, it is already adding a great level of intrigue. In the National League, there are five teams that are within reach of obtaining a wild card slot with around ten games left in the season. The 2012 season will certainly come down to the last game of the season and fans agree that this is the way it should be. The Houston Astros have been a member of the National League Central division since 1994 and been in the National League since the franchise’s establishment in 1962. However, starting in 2013, the Astros will be making the jump to the American League, joining the AL West and balance the number of teams in the American and National League at 15 a piece. As a result of this, there will be an interleague game every night. Each team will now play 20 interleague games a season and big interleague rivals will only play each other 4 times instead of the usual 6. The National League is at a disadvantage when they visit American League
ballparks because they normally do not play with a designated hitter. The designated hitter is often one of the team’s premier power hitters. However, the National League is built with a bench of utility players and their best eight hitters are already out there on the field. The leagues are also completely different. The AL is geared more for the long ball while the NL is more about “small ball” and the old philosophy of “get ‘em, get ‘em over, get ‘em in.” It is just unnatural for the two leagues to face off in 20 games. Also, it takes away the special, interleague element of the World Series. The Fall Classic is an acceptable event to have the National League face the American League. If this were to be the case, it would be incredibly interesting because it would be the very first time all year that the two leagues would be squaring off against one another. For these reasons, there are many disadvantages to increasing the amount of interleague play, a decision
Continued on page 9
wild card, as it will make playoff races very exciting and provide more drama to the season. There are few things better in baseball than a one-game playoff. with unbelievable suspense during every pitch. With one good addition comes an adverse one to match it; the expansion of interleague. Interleague has never been
a valuable aspect of the league, and its extension has intensified feelings of discontent. The two leagues just aren’t evenly matched and it doesn’t make for a good baseball game. Nonetheless, change in America’s pastime is not just limited to the players, but to the league’s structure and functioning.
viewed the steroid era of baseball as a shameful part of its history that will hopefully be looked back upon as a fluke. The only outcome is shock and shame when these All-Star caliber players, admired by so many people both young and old, are revealed as fakes. On the flip side, the idea of steroid use brings suspicion to every high-octane athlete we see play the game. Some of the best players in baseball are not users of PEDs, yet the sports world labels them as “juicers”, taking away the credit they have earned. A prime example of this is Jose Bautista, who hadn’t hit more than 16 homeruns in a season until 2010 when he went on to hit 54 in that single season. Some of the players who have taken PEDs, such as Manny Ramirez, claim that their doctors or trainers gave them substances that they did not realize were PEDs. In a 2009 statement by Manny Ramirez, he states: “Recently I saw a physician for a personal health issue. He gave me a medication, not a steroid, which he thought was OK to give me. Unfortunately, the medication was banned under our drug policy." In this interview, he attempts to remove the blame from himself place it on his physician instead. This offense could potentially have been overlooked if he was not banned a second time two years later for the use of PEDs.? Clearly, Manny Ramirez did not care about the effect that the drug policy would have on his career. He earned his 2009 and 2011 suspensions through his own rash actions, and turned himself into an embarrassment to professional baseball. Ramirez’s drug habits resulted in a 100day suspension, and rather than face this punishment, he retired on April 8, 2011. Manny Ramirez is not the only top-tier player who has been accused of taking steroids. Earlier this season, on August 15, one of the most prolific stories of the year broke out when Melky Cabrera of the San Francisco Giants was caught using PEDs. The accusation and con-
viction of his acts brought the remainder of his AllStar season to a halt and caused him to lose any chance of winning National League MVP for the season. Not only did Cabrera use a PED, he then lied about the use and cre ated a website to try to prove that it was not on the list of banned substances; Cabrera could be sued by the MLB for fraudulence in response. Melky was the star of the team, and of the league, but when caught using steroids, he was instantly banned from Major League Baseball for 50 games. This suspension will not just carry on through the rest of the regular season, but will prohibit him from resuming play until the second round, the National League Championship Series, of the playoffs should the Giants make it that far. Melky’s absence from the team is clearly felt, though the Giants remain in first place for their division. The ability of a person to single handedly destroy his reputation, along with his fan’s hopes to see the player excel and earn an MVP is something that is not considered enough by players before they decide to use a PED. PEDs are a poison not only to baseball, but to the world of professional sports in general. Today, too many athletes come out of drug tests guilty of attempting to enhance their performance on the field or the court. One of the main questions to ask is: why do these high-paid super stars need to enhance their performance if they are already the best in the world? Some would say that it is to keep up with the money they are offered and to prevent being released by the club. Others argue that as long as the player plays at an average level, they are guaranteed the contract they are offered. All in all, PEDs are something that is taken extremely seriously in all sports, especially Major League Baseball, and for the integrity of the game, players need to abandon the thinking that they must take performance-enhancing drugs in order to be successful.
The Dead-Beat Era Brandon Abrams‘13 Staff Writer "So that there is no misunderstanding from my perspective, I will suspend any player who tests positive for an illegal steroid. There will be no exceptions. The [players’] union is aware of that and they accept it,” claimed Bud Selig, Commissioner of Major League Baseball, at a Congressional meeting in March of 2005. This announcement came just weeks before the 2005 season began, just one season after Major League Baseball announced that a new drug policy would be enacted. Controlled substances have been around in baseball for decades, but no ban on performance-enhancing drugs, or PEDs, were put into play until the 1991 season. In January of 2004, Major League Baseball strengthened its crackdown on PEDs, beginning random drug tests that would lead to a 10day suspension without pay if a test was returned positive. A second offense would be punishable with a 30-day suspension without pay, a third offense would result in a 60-day suspension without pay, and a fourth offense would result in a one year suspension without pay. As Major League Baseball became aware that more and more players were using PEDs over the course of the 2005 season, new, harsher punishments replaced the old, soft punishments on November 15, 2005. With the new changes, a first offense results in a 50-day suspension without pay, a second offense results in a 100-day suspension without pay, and a third offense results in an immediate lifetime ban from Major League Baseball. Why risk your career to take a drug you know you will likely be caught using? This is a question that the MLB owners and Player’s Committee members have asked the 67 MLB players who have been caught and punished for using PEDs. Those who love the game and want it to be played honestly have generally
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most important things to achieve as a captain is the respect of the team. which is crucial for team unity and success, as well as trust and camaraderie. Gaining that respect is harder to obtain when on a team of seniors, as a junior captain. That was the dilemma current senior David Freeman faced last year on the tennis team. “It was a bit hard at first, because it was somewhat difficult to assert
myself when there were seniors around, but now I have experience that will help me be a better captain this year,” says Freeman The benefit to Freeman’s position was that he could learn from any mistakes he made as a Junior, and apply them to being captain his senior year. “One big thing [I] learned last year that will help [me] this year is how to be loud without being mean or aggressive”, explains Freeman..
Being captain of a team is a learning experience; the know-how of being a leader is not gained overnight. While captains are a big part of the team, it is important to remember that they alone cannot ensure the team will succeed. In the end, the most important idea that will allow teams to succeed, progress, and improve is being aware that just because you are not a captain, does not mean you cannot be a leader.
Freshmen For the Win! Newcomers dominate varsity fields
Sarah Tessler ‘16 Staff Writer “Ugh. Freshmen.” We all know the term, and we are all aware of its associated stigma. It haunts the newcomers, sending jolts through their spines, and worry through their days. It gives power to the experienced, smiles and laughs through the hallways, or frustration at another’s ignorance. This label has been used for years, and the cycle continues. The phrase may be commonplace in the halls at WHS, but does it have a place in the sports field as well? Freshman athletes come in to each year with hopes and dreams of making the coveted
Ellis-Sayegh dribbling down the sideline. Photo courtesy of Jordan Ellis-Sayegh in the hall, but it’s clear that on the field, the team is one inclusive group. “They’re all really nice, really welcoming. I didn’t feel intimidated,” said Alwang. It is fortunate to see fresh men feeling involved, but is the feeling
Alwang training in the offseason. Photo courtesy of Ursula Alwang varsity team. However, there are very few lucky youngsters that make the cut. Yet the experience that freshmen have playing with their upperclassmen teammates is nothing short of unforgettable. When asked about how she felt making the Varsity Soccer Team as a freshman, goalie Ursula Alwang said “it was a really great achievement, and it’s something I should be proud of.” Freshmen often feel inferior to upperclassmen
mutual? The captains of the varsity girls’ soccer team feel freshmen are a great addition to the unit. “Even though [Ursula’s] young she’s already stepped up as a leader in the back,” explains Grace Mattison. It seems this welcoming feeling and appreciation for the freshmen can be felt on the boys’ varsity soccer team as well. Jordan Ellis-Sayegh, a contributing midfielder, expressed his contentment by saying he thinks “they were supportive,
not mad,” at his important role on the team. Jordan is the only freshmen on the boys’ varsity, giving him an edge, but what does this mean for his performance? Although he chuckled at the thought, Jordan feels that if he does not boost his game and attitude, the coach “is going to kick [him] off the team!” The boys’ soccer captains are overjoyed, and are especially focused on what Ellis-Sayegh can do for the future of Weston varsity soccer. Ryan Major, a fellow teammate of Jordan and a co-captain, is excited for the years to come, saying that when “he is a senior and has had four years of varsity experience, he will know what it's about and how to handle situations and solve problems.” When all the captains were asked about Jordan, it was clear that he is a great component of the team who is not only appreciated by his teammates for his great skills, but also valued for his confidence and drive. By the looks of it, it seems the freshman class is really making a presence on the sports field. They may get bumped into in the hallways, but with valued varsity roles on the sports field, they are at least appreciated somewhere!
opinion The Conventions: Worthwhile Rallies? Or Costly Parties? Benson Kane ‘14 Staff Writer With only 47 days left before the election at print date and the conventions firmly in the rearview mirror, I propose that we start a serious, bipartisan discussion over their very existence. According to television rating service Nielsen, both conventions were watched by an average of between twenty and twenty-five million viewers per night, seeing steep competition from the resumption of NFL football, and even an episode of TLC’s new Toddlers in Tiaras spinoff, Here Comes Honey Boo Boo. Clearly Americans know where their priorities lie. One would think that the ratings would be higher, given that American citizens paid for the giant party bashes. This year, the Treasury wrote a check for $17,000,000 to each major party organization to help cover the costs of the multiday extravaganzas. The Republicans like to make the case that they will bring down the deficit (estimated at $1,100,000,000,000) by cutting the federal sub-
The Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina. Photo courtesy of www.solarfeeds.com sidy for NPR; this would amount to savings of just over 10% of the money taxpayers spent on the GOP festivities. While NPR is surely not the eminent, post-partisan news source in our nation, would few
disagree that it provides more value to Americans than a few days of multimillion dollar partying? Given that the American people put such an investment into the conventions, there should,
The Truth Behind Club Fair Sign-Ups Olivia Clark ‘13 Section Editor On September 19th, the entire school was herded according to grade level to the New Gym, where students came across a maze of tables, topped with yellow signs denoting the different
raised: Are the students thinking about ways to get involved in our school community? Or are they simply after the free snacks? I witnessed students returning and signing up for clubs several times in order to get some extra candy, clubs that had previously
Students sign up for activities at the club fair. Photo courtesy of www.solarfeeds.com clubs available to students. It was time once again for the WHS Club Fair. As students got closer and closer to the tables, piles of candy and containers of cookies came into sight, and pulses quickened. Clearly, and perhaps understandably, a sugar rush was at the forefront of most students’ minds. So the question is
been virtually unknown to the student body, as well as the more popular clubs. For example, the Literary Magazine, which, in the past, has been widely (and unfortunately) unknown, saw over 60 new members sign up. A managing editor myself, I was thrilled to see this turnout, but I couldn’t help but think that the mo-
tivation for at least some of the students were the cookies, Kit Kats, and Dove chocolates displayed on the edge of our table. But the fact is, kids did sign up for the Lit Mag, and, even if they never turn up for a meeting, they now know that the publication exists. I do think a major motivation for students at the Club Fair was candy and treats. But the fact is, the desire for snacks forced students to take note of the multitude of clubs offered in our school. Students, be they freshmen, sophomores, juniors, or seniors, had to talk to the heads of the clubs and learn about their purpose and goals in order to receive the sugary sweet. Clubs definitely grew, and students certainly became far more involved in the school than they were before. Katie Mitchell, a senior involved in several musical groups, along with the WHS Journal, says, “I think the club fair is a good way to raise awareness about different clubs that students didn’t know were there before, but the majority of people who sign up for clubs (esContinued on Page 11
theoretically, be a way for candidates to showcase their proposals, their plans to make our great nation even greater. No such thing has occurred, however. As a cynic might expect, the tone at both conven-
tions was little different from what voters have already seen. Both Obama and Romney spent the vast majority of their keynote addresses slamming each other for a myriad of things. Obama presented
few solutions to real problems, Romney even less (though it could be said that voters have come to expect silence on that front from the governor). Instead, both parties focused on attacking their respective demons: the Democrats had the rich and the Republicans had the terrorists. In today’s uncertain world, Americans desperately need their presidential options to produce clear, strong plans to revitalize our country. Perhaps the conventions could have provided a platform from which either party could have had a defining moment, rather than an endless diversion from potential opportunities to polarize some voters, or Romney or Obama could have made an ideological stand. Had we seen such an event, perhaps the conventions could prove to be a useful taxpayer expenditure. In their current state, it seems odd that even the party brass would sponsor such a useless spectacle. In a government that quickly needs to become cost-conscious, taxpayer funding for these party bashes should be terminated, with extreme speed.
When Does It Stop? Was Lance Armstrong’s Punishment Justified?
Anisha Khosla ‘14 Staff Writer The question on everyone’s mind is whether or not Lance Armstrong was in fact under the influence of performance enhancement drugs during the height of his career. The U.S. AntiDoping Agency claims to have evidence supporting this allegation, but nothing substantial has been released thus far. Armstrong released a personal statement on August 23 stating he was “finished with this nonsense” and chose to end his fight against the devastating charges. As a result, he was stripped of his seven Tour de France titles along with those of all other races he had competed in since 1998. Many speculate that the allegations may actually be true, which is why he chose to quit the fight against the charges. However, the facts say otherwise. First, let’s examine our athlete: the world-renowned cyclist is known not only for being the winner of the
world’s most difficult biking tournament over seven times, but also for having done so after having overcome testicular cancer not even a year before his first win. Armstrong stands as an inspiration for millions, young and old, of overcoming the bad and going on to become something spectacular. Now we look at the villain, the CEO of the USADA, Travis Tygart. The allegations made against Armstrong were filed without a shred of proof, but the process in which the case is being reviewed acts otherwise. The fact of the matter is that the USADA has not provided any substantial evidence supporting their claims, and are going after Armstrong on pure conjecture. Armstrong addressed his thoughts on the reviewing process in his public statement made at the end of August: “If I thought for one moment that by participating in USADA’s process I could confront these allegations in a fair setting and—once and for –all—put these
charges to rest, I would jump at the chance… However I refuse to participate in a process that is so one-sided and unfair.” Armstrong provided numerous blood and urine samples during the years that he raced, and none of them support the USDA’s allegations that he was using drugs during his time racing. However, the USADA refused to accept those tests. What was the point of all of the testing if the USADA refuses to support the results? The reason the case was opened leads back to former teammates of Armstrong’s making the initial allegations against him. Why would anyone make such serious allegations without any proof other than word of mouth? Jealousy, plain and simple. Armstrong even addresses this in his statement: “The idea that athletes can be convicted today without positive A and B samples, under the same rules and procedures that apply to athletes with Continued on Page 11
OCTOBER 2012 | OPINION AND COMMENTARY
What Do I Believe In? Where My Views Come From
Daniel Muller ‘13 Section Editor All over the country, students are actively campaigning for Barack Obama or Mitt Romney. These students, not yet old enough to vote, are in fact creating a difference; when I was in 8th grade, I went with two of my friends to Scranton, Pennsylvania to campaign for Obama. I felt I made a difference, as evidenced by the support we received from people who were still undecided. As an 8th grader, I had no say in the political process, and no matter how much I wanted to vote, no one would ever believe that I was actually eighteen. Why should I care? My brother, sister, and I all grew up in a household with parents who care about the world around us. They have been Democrats for as long as I can
remember, and as a young child I wanted to be just like them. It was only natural therefore that I develop similar political values. The political views and sense of values are developed at a young age, when life and learning are all about imitation. I strongly believe that the environment one grows up in influences political opinion. When I travel with my family (because my parents promote cultural awareness and understanding), I often see people (in both domestic and international settigns) who can’t afford what many of us who live in Weston take for granted. I know this because my parents let me witness how people not as fortunate as those in Weston live. I know for a fact that seeing these conditions have influenced some of my opinions: the poor should not have to pay as high a tax rate, those who have a lot should give more,
Lance Armstrong (Continued) Continued from Page 10
positive tests, perverts the system and creates a process where any begrudged ex-teammate can open a USADA case out of spite or for personal gain or a cheating cyclist can cut a sweetheart deal for themselves. It’s an unfair approach, applied selectively, in opposition to all the rules. It’s just not right.” And it isn’t. It is not right that he has to give up his titles because of an al-
legation he cannot fight against, nor is it right that he may be banned from the sport entirely due to said allegation. Despite this, he remains confident and strong in the public eye, stating, “I know who won those seven Tours, my teammates know who won those seven Tours, and everyone I competed against knows who won those seven Tours. … Nobody can ever change that. Especially not Travis Tygart.”
Club Fair (Continued) Continued from Page 10 pecially those who sign up for a ridiculous number of them) are solely doing it for the food, and rarely show up to later meetings, as they don’t actually have an interest or feel committed to the club in question.” Is offering candy or baked goods in exchange for a sign-up justified? Maybe… maybe not. Do I consider this exchange a sort of bribery? In a way, I suppose I do. So should clubs be allowed to “bribe” students with sweet treats? My answer is yes. Even if the motive for joining the clubs may not be exactly what was intended by the creation of the Club Fair, I think that the Club Fair helps to raise awareness of
the extensive involvement opportunities available in Weston High School. This is not to say, however, that students only join clubs for the candy. Our student body is amazingly motivated and impressively inspired to get involved. The sheer volume of clubs, many of which are student-created, is a testament to this fact. In my opinion, the Club Fair was a success, and it should be continued in future years, with the sugar-rush factor included. If candy and cookies are what it takes for Weston students to get involved, that is a small price to pay. Who knows what new hobby might be discovered simply by tracking down a favorite sugary snack?
and safety nets should be in place to stop the poor from losing everything. Elliott Eglash, a senior at Weston High School, expressed his opinion; “I’ve been aware of my parents’ political views for a long time, but it hasn’t directly affected me… I like to think that I came to all my political decisions on my own.” Many people agree, stating that any thoughts they have are the results of their own experiences in the world and their own naturally-developed sense of morality and global workings. I concur, as I, like Elliott, like to think that my political views are my own and only my own, but am also aware that my parents and their political views shaped my outlook on the world. Without their prompting and guiding, I may never have become as interested in politics as I am now. My parents have definitely played a role in my development of politi-
cal views by fostering an environment that allows me to see a larger picture; I am then able to step back and take a sweeping look to find out what I believe in for myself. The next generation of voters is being shaped by this current generation of voters. Although a majority of this year’s seniors miss being able to vote by at least two months, the seniors get to witness the election process from a vantage point that will benefit us in years to come; we are old and mature enough to understand the process and viewpoints being conveyed, so those of us who may not have made up our minds will have no problem doing so this election season. Our generation’s manner of political development is crucial to the future of the next generation, and hopefully we will follow in the footsteps of our parents by setting a good example for future generations.
Movin’ On Up Freshmen Prefer the High School
James Willis ‘16 Staff Writer With over two hundred incoming freshman this year, there are many confused and frustrated new students. I myself have had struggles finding classes and getting used to the High School. I personally feel I am enjoying my time at the High School more than my time at the Middle School. A poll of fiftyeight freshman asked whether students prefer the high school or the middle school returned the following results: fifty-five preferred the High School while only five preferred the Middle School. When asked why, freshmen who preferred the High School stated they liked the varying
food choices and the wide range of classes available to take. Others discussed the number of clubs and sports available to all students as an improvement over the Middle School. However, the freshmen who prefer the Middle School express the benefits of the laid back feeling in the Middle School and the consistency of the schedule over the stressful workload and changing schedule of the High School. I predict that as the school year progresses, many of the freshmen who preferred the Middle School at the start may find their opinion shifting gradually to an appreciation of the High School. It is a challenging switch from the Middle School to the high school, though most people believe it to be a good one.