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Bedford’s Got Talent shines a light on student superstars Page 11

Vol. 4 Issue 3/ Thursday, February 15, 2018 / Bedford Middle School / Westport, Conn. 06880 / BedfordUrsus@gmail.com

Budget Effort to Begin Henry Carson STAFF WRITER

The New Teen Problem Anastasia Thumser STAFF WRITER

Within the past decade, cigarette smoking has reached an all-time low among teenagers. While it seems that numerous health and wellness professionals have successfully persuaded underclassmen of the dangers of smoking, the frustrating concept is that vaping is now on the rise. With the revolutionization of the e-cigarette, students can now be seen blowing a puff of smoke out of their lips with the help of a thin device. This device, called a juul, allows gases to quickly dissipate into the air by being converted into vapor. This technique is called “vaping”, and has become a very prevalent issue in Staples High School. “I have heard a lot of stories about people [vaping] in the bathrooms and frequently. I have also seen teachers yelling at students outside the bathrooms for vaping,” said Evelyn Stevens ’21. A vaporizer is an electronic device that heats vaping materials, which consist of e-liquids, waxy concentrates that could include tobacco, or dried herbs, and transforms them into vapor. The vapor is inhaled by delivering chemicals into the lungs, which

can cross into the capillary beds that are inside your alveoli. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 16% of high school students vaped in 2015, or 2.39 million teens. In comparison, only 1.37 million kids smoked in 2015. There are

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Above, An Image of a Vape, which resembles a memory card. This image was sent to staff by Dr. Rosen to alert them about these devices. multiple reasons why vaping has become more popularized than smoking, with one of the main ones being anonymity. “We notice students vaping a lot less than when we noticed students smoking cigarettes here because vaping is a lot harder to detect. Unless they’re using lavored juuls, it’s very hard to come

across.” said Richard Franzis, the assistant principal at Staples High School. He also added that vaping is becoming a more frequent occurrence in Staples because students can easily enshroud it. “Students will actually charge their juuls in their computers during the day because they look very much like a USBport. Typically, if kids are going to vape during the day, they try to conceal it, so they’ll vape in the bathroom. Most of the kids aren’t bold enough to do it out in the open, but they will do it in the bathroom where they can conceal it.” Of icer Ned Batlin, a Westport Police of icer, thinks that vaporizers generally have a marketing ploy that is meant to appeal to kids. “More than 85% of e-cigarette users ages 12-17 used lavored e-cigarettes. The lavors are the leading reason for youth to use. More than 9 out of 10 young adult e-cigarette users said they use e-cigarettes lavored to taste like menthol, alcohol, fruit, chocolate, or other sweets. The companies that make the e-cigarettes are targeting you people. The lavors they market are designed to attract the youth. Do I look like someone who needs to smoke a pineapple or fruit punch e-cigarette? That’s the kind Continued on page 2

New Water Tank Draws Controversy Natalie Bandura STAFF WRITER

This fall, the Planning and Zoning Department approved Aquarion’s—Westport’s main water provider—proposal to construct two new water storage tanks on North Avenue across from Staples High School. The town’s water comes from the Fair ield water treatment plant, travels through interconnected distribution systems, and is stored in the water tanks in Westport. The current water tank, constructed in 1956, is in critical condition. It has become a necessity to replace the worn down tank since it serves as the sole water provider for the entire town. However, residents who live close to the planned water tank construction site along with opposition members who are uneasy about the construction, expressed a number of concerns about neighborhood aesthetics: ive years of

Below is the company logo for the company at the center of a big debate.

As you’re probably sitting here in the caf, I will keep this short. After all, you are one of the hundreds that have just been pursued by the “Ursus” staff, trying frantically to hand out their copies of the third issue of the paper. You probably are eating a muf in, chatting with friends, or inishing your homework. But I am going to ask you to look around. Look at the building, the books in your bag, the teacher walking down the hall with handouts she made for her students. All this-the paper, the staff, the lights being on, the homework you should have done in your backpack-is connected to the budget. If there are changes to the budget, this school changes. And you deserve to know about it. The budget is complicated; it doesn’t just appear. The superintendent and her building principals and staff come up with and revise a plan, with all of the building maintenance, school materials, salaries, and bene its in it. As of now,

they have already completed the plan for the 2018-2019 school year. This plan becomes the BOE’s budget for the year, and it must be approved by a group of elected of icials who oversee inances and the RTM, a group of elected of icials who give inal approval. Each year the budget gets made and approved, but lately federal and state aid to Westport has decreased, and getting money to the schools has become a point of con lict and discussion.” “We have the funds this year we require to operate all of our programs and to fund our necessary supplies, textbooks, and educational materials,” said Dr. Colleen Palmer, Superintendent of the Westport Public School District, “However, every new budget year brings additional challenges.” Many areas affect the budget, and its increase each year. Changes in our country’s health care costs are a big issue, seeing as the 81.5 percent of the overall education budget is focused Continued on page 9

The current water tank, constructed in 1956, needs to be replaced and the plans are for a bigger 39 ft. tank. Members of the opposition challenged construction, increased traf ic in the lothe need for the construction of two cation of multiple schools, and the inditanks, each three times as large as the vidual worries of neighborhood residents current tank. “Why are we tripling the about the water tank’s short-term and water storage when the population is long-term impacts on their houses and Continued on page 2 properties.

Inside News Opinions Centerspread Features Games A&E Sports

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News Thursday, February 15, 2018

Watertank continued cont. from page 1 predicted to be stable and even decline?” asks Mrs. Kuku Fleming, a Westport resident and member of the water tank opposition. While the current tank was once adequate for the town’s water needs, times have changed drastically, and building two, larger tanks is essential not only to provide suf icient water supplies for Westport residents, but also for the town’s safety in the case of a ire. “The present tank was built in 1956- a time when Westport had a smaller population and those people lived in smaller houses. Fast forward to 2018 – our town has more people, who use more water, and much larger homes, which require more water to extinguish a ire in. Add to this the fact that the largest use of water in Westport during the summer months comes from people watering their lawns. I don’t think anyone in town had a lawn irrigation system in 1956,” said Westport Fire Marshall Nathaniel Gibbons. In 2011, the Saugatuck Church caught on ire, taking Westport ire ighters several hundred thousand gallons of water before it was saved. “We drew that 1956 tank’s water level down to the bottom. While we didn’t run out, it was close. And it was a good thing it happened in November, because if people had been watering their lawns at the same time, we would have run out of water and lost the church,” said Fire Marshall Gibbons. An Aquarion study found that ire ighting water supplies would have a 300% increase in the Saugatuck shores area, and would also go up substantially in every region of Westport. Furthermore, maintaining a single tank

Staples High School

Water tank

The water tank is on North Avenue, a very busy road ϔilled with school trafϔic. would result in a massive disruption to Westport if it ever malfunctions because the city wouldn’t have water access for the duration of its repair. Rather than waiting until the tank no longer functions, building two tanks now will rid Westport of the possibility service interruption and provide assurance and stability in water access. “There’s no margin for error,” says Fire Marshall Gibbons, “Having a second tank would give the town a ‘backup’ in case the irst tank needs to be repaired or taken out of service.” While the opposition con irms the need for a water tank replacement, many questions arise regarding the location of these tanks and the magnitude of the construction. “The question is, why here, at this densely populated, beautiful neighborhood with ive schools? People move to this town because of Staples, the crown

jewel. Will you build this ugly thing across from the crown jewel?” inquired Mrs. Kuku Fleming. Aquarion Director of Public Relations Peter Fazekas answers these questions. “Aquarion’s property on North Avenue has been a water infrastructure site for more than 60 years. As a gravity-fed system, the water tanks have to be placed at certain elevations. To move the tanks anywhere else would cause substantially more disruption because the distribution system would have to be reengineered. We reviewed all our options and our North Avenue infrastructure site still makes the most sense for the town of Westport,” he said. Because Aquarion already owns the North Avenue property, it’s the most eficient and least costly alternative. If the construction site was to be moved, water bills would rise for all Westport residents. After the proposal was approved, the

Vaping cont. from page 1 of lavors the companies are making,” he says. Studies have shown that teens are more inclined to vape because it presumably has less health risks. The materials inside an e-cigarette supposedly contain organic compounds, which are much less likely to be exhaled in normal breath. Therefore, they are much easier for the lungs to handle than smoke from a normal cigarette. Franzis con irms that, “[Vaping] is a signi icant issue here. I think a lot of kids are using vaping cigarettes or electronic cigarettes who probably wouldn’t turn to tobacco, because they think it’s a ‘healthier’ alternative to smoking. I think they’re being fooled by the fact that it’s bargained as ‘safe’, when in fact it’s more concentrated than regular cigarettes.” Of icer Batlin agrees that vaping is not nearly as safe as it is claimed to be on the market. He too says that the issue of underclassmen vaping is huge, because it’s a gateway. Kids start out vaping because they think it’s cleaner, but then they become addicted to the nicotine. Then they realize that cigarettes are cheaper than e-cigarettes. In Connecticut, the number of kids who used a tobacco product were going down, but they’re now going up because of the e-cigarettes.” The assumption that vaping is safer than smoking, has also been called into question by scientists at the University of California. In 2015, they conducted a study which seemed to prove that vaping also provided numerous health

risks for users. The scientists advised an experiment in which they replicated the extract from the smoke of e-cigarettes and used it to treat human cells, and then compared those cells to the ones left untreated. They found that the ones treated with the nicotine-free smoke developed 50 percent more damaged DNA strands and died far sooner than the untreated cells. Further research concluded that the damage in DNA could interrupt the cell’s repair process, increasing the risk of cancer. With all the negative aspects vaping provides to students and Staples High School as a whole, staff members are undoubtedly trying to convince and incentivize students not to vape. The methods they use vary depending on each circumstance, but they usually include suspension, education programs, and various punishments from the staff. “Many times what will happen is that we’ll get staff members who will go into the bathrooms here, and then they will bring those kids down to us. We also tell the staff members what to look for in terms of when students are bringing juuls into class, and we sent out pictures of juuls to keep teachers informed,” says Mr. Franzis. “We’re also in the process right now of coming up with some educational programs here at the high school,” he adds. “I know Mr. Damico is really invested in educating kids about vaping, and I imagine our health program has been informed to include education about vaping as well. And yes, it is true that it’s

illegal for students under 18 to have possession of any smoking products or materials. Could we call the police on them? Yes, I suppose we could, but we often don’t do that unless we catch someone selling them at school.” In addition to staff members being against the idea of students vaping in high school, many students are also opposed to the fact that their peers continuously vape. “I overall don’t think that high school students, especially underclassmen, should be vaping, but if juniors and seniors want to do it outside of school, that’s not my issue. But I think no matter who it is, it is completely inappropriate and shocking that they leave class to do it.” said Stevens. Megan Kleiner ‘21 says, “I think staff members should be hyper aware of this problem. Staff should be taught about what vaping does and more importantly what it looks like so they can spot it. I also believe there should be a harsher punishment for vaping. It’s a problem that I think is only going to continue to grow.” Mr. Franzis also hopes that staff members can gain control of the issue, but he recognizes that it’s going to be a challenge. “Unfortunately, no matter what we do, kids are always going to try risky things because they think they’re immune to the side effects. However, the simple fact is that they are just as susceptible to the pitfalls as anyone else, and because of that they should be more cautious of their actions and their decision-making.”

opposition appealed to the PURA state agency, or the State of Connecticut’s Public Utilities Regulatory Authority that sets the rules and regulations Aquarion must abide by, and are currently awaiting their decision, which is expected to be revealed in a couple months. “Since June, the residents have been asking for Aquarion to give a list of alternative locations with the cost and beneit of each. We haven’t been given any for seven months. They didn’t consider more advanced technologies or disruptions to neighborhoods. During the pumping construction project, people’s houses were vibrating, which isn’t right for their well-being. And when we saw the water tank debate published in the Norwalk Hour instead of locally, it was discouraging. We’re asking for more transparency from Aquarion and P and Z,” said Mrs. Fleming. Another concern is the amount of trafic that will result from the lengthy construction process. “There will be worse traf ic on North Avenue, and that will have a trickle-down effect to many critical junctures in town,” Mrs. Fleming said. Director of Public Works, Peter Ratkiewich, agrees that increased traf ic is an issue. “The concern is that a daily in lux of workmen and equipment to the site will aggravate the traf ic conditions that exist during morning and afternoon rush hour. A Working group of concerned citizens and town of icials are currently working with Aquarion to determine that impact, if any, and if necessary to formulate strategies to mitigate any adverse effects,” he said. While they refuse to alter the planned construction location, Aquarion has arranged a detailed landscaping plan meant to mask the water tanks and preserve the esthetics of the neighborhood. “This is by far the most detailed planting design we have ever undertaken for a water tank project in any town. Aquarion will meet with the Town of Westport Police Department and the schools to review and discuss traf ic control requirements during construction. All construction work will take place on Aquarion property and not in the roadway. As with any construction project, it can be inconvenient for residents, but we will work diligently to communicate project information to residents. Ultimately, these water tanks will have an expected infrastructure life of over 50 years; to build anything less than this would be a disservice to town residents,” said Public Relations Director Fazekas. Additionally, it’s important to remember that no major construction project comes without dif iculties for many, especially neighbors. These problems, nevertheless, won’t last in initely, and soon we will all reap the bene its of accountable and suf icient water storage. Fire Marshall Gibbons explains, “Our town is pretty fully developed so wherever these tanks end up, they will be in somebody’s backyard. I have a lot of empathy for what the neighbors are going through, but someone is going to have to live next to the tanks. As citizens in a community, we all have an obligation to make sacri ices for the common good. Some people live next to schools, water treatment plants, I-95, cell towers, high tension lines, gas lines, etc. – all challenging ‘neighbors’ but all vital to provide the modern life we all live. I believe that sacri ices that bene it the ‘all’ should be shared.”


Opinions

Ursus

Thursday, February 15, 2018

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Vaping Education Must Increase According to Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, vaping has increased 900 percent since 2010. Due to this statistic, and since it relates directly to the lives of teen agers, the “Ursus” staff thinks that vaping needs to be talked about more often in middle school health classes. Bedford health teachers need to start building an army of students who make smart, informed decisions, therby creating a generation of students who will think before they decide to vape and who can help spread the message that vaping is not safe. Middle schools across America should increase the amount of education about vaping and smoking. Teaching students about vap-

ing before they go to high school will give them the opportunity to say no to vaping before it’s too late, and teens who become addicted to tobacco through a device often think is “safer” than cigarettes. Vaping can be addicting, and in

Editorial some cases, illegal. Therefore we need to control the amount of vaping in schools. In order to do this, the “Ursus” staff also thinks teachers need more training to detect vaping students and activity. Dr. Adam Rosen had the right

idea to circulate pictures of vaping paraphenalia to the Bedford staff. If teachers know what to look for, they will more easily be able to limit the amount of vaping in school. We also think that schools should think about increasing the penalties for students who bring vapes to school. If the consequences are greater, students might be less likely to do it. Tougher consequences could help students receive the message that vaping in school is not tolerated. With more education, more training for teachers to detect vaping, and an increase in the consequences schools can apply, schools can limit the amount of vaping at school.

Editorial Cartoon

Ursus is Bedford Middle School’s student newspaper. It prints 500 copies, ive times a year. All content and opinions come from the newspaper staff and do not re lect those of the teachers or administrators of the school. STAFF Natalie Bandura Julia Berg Henry Carson Finnegan Courtney Paige Farlow Samantha Felner James Fiffer Nick Fischel Leilani Fleming Matthew Fleming Merel Kanter Nikhil Kanthan Jocelyn Kessler Jaiyana Khan Max Kirkorsky Betti Kobak Nicholas Lolis Lyah Muktavaram Ava Porretta Dylan Rhoads Naomi Rosen Curtis Sullivan Anastasia Thumser Evan Trock Rachalle Ubaldo Lucia Wang ISSUE EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Tierney Kugel

Westport is currently debating if, where, when and how it will rebuild a water tank that supplies water to the area of town near Staples High School. Neighbors want it elsewhere, Aquarion wants it where the old tank currently exists, and the Ursus staff was evenly devided on what it thinks should be done. The topic became the subject matter of staff member Matthew Fleming’s editorial comment.

Layout Staff Natalie Bandura Henry Carson Finnegan Courtney Anastasia Thumser Nicholas Lolis ADVISERS Stephen Rexford Samantha Gettings F

CONTACT US bedfordursus@gmail.com

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Bedford Middle School 88 North Ave. Westport, CT 06880 203.341.1586

Speak Out Finnegan Courtney & Natalie Bandura STAFF WRITERS

Mr. Jason Frangenes, Grade 8 Science “Geddy Lee because he was the most in luential bass player for me growing up.”

If you could invite one famous person to dinner, who would it be?

Zachary Rybchin, 8th “John McCain, because is he a very sensible, hard-working person and I agree with his views and I would like to see him before he passes away.”

Mr. Brian Kurtz, Grade 6 Science Harrison Browne, 6th

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Max Ardrey, 7th

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“Gordon Ramsay because his food looks “Ben Franklin because he was a cartoonvery nice and it’s stellar and I would ist and he put lightning in a bottle, which want him to judge my cooking.” is very cool.”

“Jane Goodall because she has done an amazing job at getting people to look at animals differently and she’s very inspiring and she also knows how to talk to chimpanzees.”

Letters to the Editor The paper welcomes letters to the editor. Send letters via email to the address below or drop off letters in rm. 113. Please keep letters under 175 words. Your letter may be shortened and edited for space.

Crown Finalist, 2017 as awarded by the Columbia Scholastic Press Association

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Opinions Thursday, Febuary 15, 2018

Why you should care about

News Background

Info behind a hashtag Betti Kobak

STAFF WRITER

Samantha Felner STAFF WRITER

#Metoo. A sexual harassment and gender inequality “hashtag” being posted all over social media. Posting this hashtag means that you have experienced gender inequality or harassment, and you want to join and support the movement. You see, mostly women in their late teens and on are experiencing this. So, why should middle school students care about #metoo? It is important that students are informed about gender inequality and sexual harassment, so they are able to learn early on that this is unacceptable. Students later on in their career, or very

We need to know how to stand up. rarely in lower school and high school, have experienced harassment like this, and it is bene icial for kids to know about since it is something that can be inevitable in our society. “It is very important that kids are informed about harassment and gender inequality, it is the early education irst and foremost that helps kids understand how to treat and respect people. Middle school kids are at their most impressionable age, and it is so important that kids understand. When children

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grow up, more towards girls, when they join the workforce, they cannot be held back because of their gender, and they need to know how to stand up,” said guidance counselor Sarah Harding. Although more common in older teens, harassment and inequality is de initely not inevitable to middle school children. Ms. Harding, says that she has de initely heard of unwanted attention, and underlying inappropriate treatment at school. I think It is particularly important that students are aware of the extreme nature of sexual harassment and gender inequality early, so that they understand and know that it should no longer be something that happens every day in our society, going unnoticed.

If you tend to take the occasional scroll on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram, you may have seen the widespread hashtag #MeToo. These two words have a meaningful purpose: The hashtag was popularized when actress Alyssa Milano tweeted to her followers to “write ‘me too’” if women have “been sexually harassed or assaulted.” This tweet coincided with the Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein’s investigation for sexual harassment and assault allegations. Within hours, the #MeToo went viral. During the next few days, over 12 million had used the hashtag and were speaking out about their experiences. This movement was originally created by activist, Tarana Burke. She launched the #MeToo movement to help underprivileged people of color who were affected by sexual abuse. She had been working on the movement for a long time, and it was Alyssa Milano who helped her bring the movement worldwide. It started with celebrities speaking out and now it has grown to touch every corner of our society: in churches, in the government and politics, in the military, gymnastics, and other athletics, and in the arts. The world is realizing that this problem needs attention, and it needs to be stopped. The Women’s March was recently organized in New York City and around the country, and many women protested in order to have a voice in the world. Celebrities too are using their voices not only verbally through media, but also with their actions as well. At American entertainment awards, celebrities protested by wearing a certain color or object. The purpose of the hashtag and the movement is for women to speak up who have not usually voiced their thoughts before. They want to shame the perpetrators and stand up for the victims. According to RAINN.org, every 98 seconds, an American is sexually assaulted, and still most abusers are not held accountable for their actions. The more people who share their stories, the more people won’t feel shamed and scared; they will feel empowered to ight back. When more awareness is brought upon this issue, it lets people know that sexual harassment and assault are problems needing attention. The world is evolving, and it is possible that “we actually have the opportunity to hand out children a different world,” as Michelle Williams said. The act does not just affect adults; it also plays a large role on children and how they are brought up.

Before You Judge, Learn What Happens in Workshop Curtis Sullivan STAFF WRITER

I’m Curtis Sullivan, and I am in Workshop. Workshop is a small group that attends a three period meeting, once a week, to work on a projects like ilmmaking, designing utopias, creating debate teams, or working on another topic of special interest. We solve puzzles, we talk with each other, and we hang out. However, rumors and questions have started spreading about “Workshoppites”: how people got into Workshop, what goes on in Workshop, and who Workshop kids are. Most of these are false. This is actually what goes on in Workshop: A normal day in Workshop starts when you enter the front door of room 107 at the beginning of second period, just beyond the cafeteria. Yes, I am telling this in the second person for the sake of explanation. You signed out of your classes during homeroom. A puzzle and picture is displayed on a board next to the SMART Board. Here you must solve the puzzle, and write a caption for the picture. If you complete both, you get a Jolly Rancher. Next, we have a meeting. Here we talk about what we did over the weekend, read a text, and discuss lots of topics. Okay, it’s second period and now we go to work on our projects.

Common stereotypes and falsities students place on their peers in Workshop. These next two periods are spent improving and discussing our work. We don’t just “watch YouTube,” we actually do projects, and we learn things about ourselves from these projects, like how I can get engaged in cool topics and end up hurrying to get my actual project inished. How we got into Workshop is hard to explain, but I will do my best. It all starts in second grade. A few things happen

here. One time we get pulled from classes for 45 minutes a week to work on a packet. I remember being pulled to take that packet. It was hard, challenging, and seconds turned into hours. Some were easy, some were challenging. Another thing was the OLSAT testing. And inally, there are teachers looking at how students spend their free time. It’s a complicated process. And that shows Workshop students don’t know how to

get into Workshop either. So to people asking us, “How do I get in?” The answer is that we do not know, and you should ask Mrs. Rao, the Workshop teacher. We are also subject to stereotyping. Everyone always says “You’re so smart ‘cause you’re in Workshop.” We are not necessarily smarter than anyone else. I know a lot of BMS students who are super smart but aren’t Workshop; we just take learning a different way. So please do not accuse us of anything, we are just like you. One time, we were doing group work in LA, and my partners handed me their sheets saying “Yo, you do this. You gotta be smart, ‘cause your in Workshop.” Ugh! Not this again! I thought. We eventually worked something out, but just know, we are not in Workshop because we are smart; it is because we take learning a different way and show extreme interest in learning about our passions. Rumors about Workshop, they are pretty much myths. Being called names like “Filthy Workshopian” and “Smart Alec,” as well as expecting us do all the work are common occurrences for people in Workshop, and it is mean-spirited behavior. A lot of Workshoppites get offended by this and it must come to an end. Therefore, I am writing this article not just to Workshoppites, but to the haters, teasers, and doubters.


Features

Ursus

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Thursday, February 15, 2018

Answers to Familiar BMS Questions

What Happened to the Red 7th Grade Pod? Lyah Muktavaram STAFF WRITER

Many have wondered why BMS seems to be a pod short. The “pod,” which is located at the end of the 7th grade hallway, is made up of several classrooms across the hallway, but the team doesn’t have a physical meeting area. “The Red 7 classrooms are, for the most part, next to one another and on one level. Having students change loors for core academics is not optimal considering our space,” said principal Dr. Adam Rosen. Though there have been changes to BMS, the reason for the pods started with the original design. “The new BMS was originally designed to be a grade 5-8 school with two teams per grade level, which is why BMS was constructed with eight pods to serve eight teaching teams,” said Dr. Rosen. This means that when the school shifted to hold grades 6-8, there were nine teaching teams, but only eight physical pods. Since there are more classrooms, there was room for those classrooms to serve as a team. The layout includes 8th grade teams close to the of ice, and 6th grade teams near the bus lot, and 7th grade teams in the middle. With this setup, 7th grade was given one pod fewer. Despite the fact that some students don’t like getting into the pod, the adjustment is fairly easy. “Before I had a

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The Butterϔly Garden is where the “missing pod” should have been. lot of trouble getting to my classes because the red pod doesn’t have an actual pod, but now it is a lot easier,” says Tanvi Gorre, a 7th grader in the red pod. She along with others, expected the transition to be harder because the core classes would be spread apart. Another one of the dif iculties that students face is the decision of when to go to their lockers. “I think it’s harder to decide when I should go to my locker and when I shouldn’t,” said Tanvi Gorre. The

Hot in One Room, Cold in Another? Nick Fischel

STAFF WRITER

Do 8th grader George Kocadag’s words sound familiar? “I think the heating system could be better and there should be some sort of air system or controller in each room. Sometimes I go to one class and it’s freezing, but then on the same day I go to a different class and it’s hot.” According to Dr. Adam Rosen, BMS runs on an HVAC system with several heating and cooling zones. Each classroom has a single HVAC unit–the thing that goes on and off during class or what you’re not allowed to place your binders on. The units all communicate with zone controllers to provide equal conditioning. So, each classroom does not have individual heat control, which can lead to occasional inconsistencies. The BMS heating system really is complex and includes many different types of components which don’t always present direct ixes. Most students don’t have a strong opinion about the temperature, but almost everybody does notice some anomalies every once in a while. “Last week my social studies room was like a re-enactment of the ice age, but other than that I think it’s fairly consistent,” said 8th grader Amy Ginzburg. Dr. Rosen says the maintanence staff is constantly working to both maintain and adjust the system. How is an issue resolved? First the malfunction must be reported so that a maintenance ticket is sent to district HVAC specialists who come to BMS. “In most instances, the issue is resolved quite quickly by addressing the software that communicates with the HVAC units, or opening up units to repair closed

lockers for the pod are spread out across the hallway, and some are even on the lower loor. As a result, students ind it challenging to create a method they can use to get their materials and arrive to class on time. However, after the irst

What’s in the room in the gym? Paige Farlow

STAFF WRITER

The school is full of secrets, one of which being the mystery behind the locked door in the gym. Locked by one key and surrounded by multiple doors, the inscrutable vault is an enigma to the outside world. Is the mysterious vault a locked door in the gym that teachers can go to get away from the students and have some quiet time to themselves? Many students do not know of its existence as teachers never share any information about it to their pupils. There are occasions when it is unlocked and students in gym get a glimpse inside as LA and social studies teachers disappear behind the double doors, but this rarely happens and students are left to theorize what is hidden behind the door. Perhaps something crazy such as animals the teachers could play with whenever they are stressed—or something enjoyable like a pool table, foosball table, or maybe even table tennis!

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weeks, students start getting into a routine with going to their lockers or planning ahead. Though the team might not have a physical pod, the team still has found ways to work productively. “The feedback I’ve received by speaking with students and teachers is that the lack of the physical pod structure does not give students or teachers too much of a hard time,” said Dr. Rosen. Teachers were able to ind ways to get the team functioning as a normal pod. For example, team meetings are held in the science room. For the future, to build one pod would run into the millions of dollars; understandably, the Town of Westport would probably not spend the money for that. Still, there may be a time in which BMS decides to remodel the school. “BMS could become a grades 5-8 school with two teams at each grade level. Then each team would have a pod,” said Dr. Rosen. Besides small dif iculties, the team is a learning community in which students are able to grow. Tanvi Gorre agrees. “The best part about red pod is the teachers. They can really relate to you and help you when you really need it.”

Perhaps there is a “teachers’ buffet” with a unlimited supply of fresh, 5-star meals. For all anyone knows, there could be a creepy crypt where teachers bury misbehaving students. As our imaginations run wild, we ind out that the truth behind the secret door is not so exciting. The room is towered high with books for book groups, along with stacks of chairs. “It’s also a storage area for cleaning supplies, cardboard, book carts—anything that can’t seem to be thrown out or stored elsewhere,” said Mr. Stephen Rexford, an 8th grade LA teacher. To add onto to this, there are multiple spiders, gravestones, and skeletons from the Monster Mash. One of the interesting parts of the room is the peculiar metal staircase, pushed against the side of the room leading to the roof of the school. No student or teacher we talked to has ever been up on the roof. Which leads to another question: what is on the roof of the school?

An old trick: a cold ice bag tricks the thermostat into thinking it’s colder to supply more heat in the 8th grade Red Pod. valves, leaking tubes, broken fans, etc.” Dr. Rosen said. Only several years ago BMS was discovered to have an improperly installed HVAC system. “As a result the zone controllers were damaged, thus preventing proper communications between the software managing the system and the numerous HVAC units throughout the school,” Dr. Rosen said. All the wires and controllers have been replaced since then and the system has improved. “In all, while the system has been improving over the past ive years, it will always be a large complex system that will require daily maintenance and upkeep,” said Dr. Rosen

No burried students who have misbehaved, but there are Monster Mash skeletons. Can you see it under the ladder that leads to the roof?


The Center Spread

6 Ursus

Ursus

Thursday, February 15, 2018

What is a Crush? Max Kirkorsky STAFF WRITER

According to Mr. Don Savage, health teacher at BMS, a crush is “usually a butter ly feeling you get when you are around someone.” Why is that butter ly feeling even called a crush? This reporter’s research found no particular reason why a crush is called a crush; however, as the name implies, it is a crush, and it takes a long journey for someone to go from crush to someone more important. In that process, feelings may get crushed. Why do we have crushes? Why do we care for some people more than others? Why do we feel this way? These are all questions pondering in some people’s minds on why they have crushes. According to The Debrief, a website on news, we all have crushes due to the limbic part of our brain. The limbic part of our brain is one of the parts of our brain we share with other animals. This part of our brain is also responsible for basic human functions, such as breathing and keeping our heart beating. This limbic part of our brain just wants dopamine, a chemical in your brain that affects your emotions, movements and your sensations of pleasure and pain. Dopamine neurotransmitters are located in the deep middle region of your brain called the substantia nigra. Your substantia nigra is a layer of deeply pigmented gray matter situated in the midbrain and containing the cell bodies of a tract of dopamine. “You are usually between 10 and 12 when you get your irst crush, around when you go to middle school,” says Mr. Savage. You get these feelings because of hormones called testosterone and estrogen. Testosterone is a

SURVIVING YOUR FIRST

male hormone that results in strong physical and romantic attractions to others. Estrogen does the same, but in females. These hormones are what cause you wanting to date your crush. These hormones are produced in the adrenal glands above the kidney. How do you know you have a crush on someone? That person usually makes you feel good about yourself, and you like to be around them. There is a hormone called oxytocin, and it is released when you’re around someone that makes you feel good about yourself, according to Mr. Savage. Oxytocin is released in the pituitary gland, which is a pea sized structure in the base of your brain. It is responsible for social bonds. “Oxytocin is also what bonds a child with their mom or dad,” says Dr. Cortright. A rule on a farm: never mess with a mama’s cow and her calf. Everytime the mama helps the calf, such as cleaning it, loads of oxytocin are released, so she is very overprotective of her calf. This is also true for us humans. When a mom’s baby is born, a lot of oxytocin is released, and she is overprotective of her baby. She always wants to be with the baby. So oxytocin is a hormone that is released to connect two people together. In the end, a crush comes down to a few things. It comes down to how your hormones, mainly testosterone or estrogen, reacts to a certain person. If there is a lot of testosterone or estrogen released, then your body will make you have certain attractions to others. If oxytocin is released, it will help to connect the two people, possibly two lovers, closer together. Then, and only then, will you know that you have a crush on someone.

Crush Imagine seeing that certain someone in the hall. Eyes meet, hearts start pounding, the world stops. Does this sound familiar? Then you are like one of many BMSers to experience the crush . Here are four articles about this middle school journey.

Listening Helps: Crush Aid Jaiyana Khan

STAFF WRITER

Have you ever had someone confess who their crush is to you? It can be a but nerve racking if you don’t know how to respond or what to do. It’s also a responsibility, because this person trusts you enough to tell you something they don’t want others to know. But what do you do to help your friend? According to Dr. Kelly Barker, a guidance counselor at Bedford, “The biggest thing you can do as a friend is listen and be an open friend.” Talk to them, and be aware of what they’re asking of you. Do they want advice, or do they just want someone to listen? If they don’t want to do anything about their crush, don’t push them. You shouldn’t try to force someone to do something they aren’t comfortable with, said Dr. Barker. If a friend wants to tell someone about a crush, realize this: The idea of confessing to having a crush is frightening. There’s always the fear of rejection lingering in the back of your mind. According to “The Guardian,” people are scared to confess to their crush because they fear that they will get a negative reaction, and be disliked by the person they are confessing to for having feelings for them. Tell your friend that no matter what reac-

tion they get from their crush, you’ll be there to hear it. This can give them a sense of comfort, and will let them know that they have you to fall back on if things go badly. If they confess to their crush, it can lift a weight off their shoulders. They won’t have to deal with the stress of their crush not being aware of their feelings. Make sure they know this, because it could give them the motivation they need. One thing Dr. Barker stressed was avoiding

the temptation to becoming a middleman or go-between. It may seem lattering that someone trusts a person with this job, but it is not a healthy role to play. People need to learn how to talk about their emotions directly. According to Mr. Don Savage, a health teacher at BMS, one of the most, if not most important thing for someone to know when interacting with their crush is to be themselves. He said you want your crush to get

to know you for who you are, not someone you are pretending to be. If it ever gets to the point of a relationship, and you aren’t being your true self, the truth will come out eventually, so it’s better to start out honest and true to yourself rather than cause issues later. Overall, the best thing you can do for your friend is to be there for him or her no matter what he or she decides to do, because that’s what friends do.

The biggest thing you can do as a friend is listen and be an open friend.” “You shouldn’t try to force someone to do something they aren’t comfortable with.” says Dr. Kelly Barker.

Dr. Kelly Barker.

BMS Crushes Rachalle Umbaldo STAFF WRITER

“Ursus” went out and interviewed students and teachers about their past crushes. It went well, mostly. Some people are too nervous about talking about their old lames, their “ irst loves.” But others do open up--mostly teachers--because for some students, the crushes are still too close in time and friendships could be affected. But here’s what we found. Ms. Sarah Harding, a guidance counselor, had a crush back in sixth grade. “I had my irst crush, and it was on my best friend at the time. We were in classes at school and we did ballroom dancing together. We had to dance together! I never told him my crush.” Spoiler alert, this boy was the best man at her wedding. Okay, but what about a student? Jake Fitzpatrick, an 8th grader in purple pod. He had his irst crush back when he was 11 years old in 6th grade. “I felt a bit nervous seeing her around or walking past her in the hallways, since we weren’t really friends.” A few months later, he lost interest because he knew that “she was out of my league.” PJ Shaum, an eighth grader in the red pod, had never had a crush before until this year. He said, “I have a crush on someone I am friends with. I act normal around her. Well, not normal, but ‘PJ’ normal.” He insisted that he has his own kind of “normal.” Julian Fiore, another eighth grade student in purple pod currently has a crush, but also had a crush right before this current one. He wasn’t really friends with this person, so he didn’t act a certain way. “When I saw her, I felt uncomfortable on the inside but showed con idence on the outside,” he reported. Julian had this crush for about a month, but got over it when gaining attraction for someone else. Another 8th grader, Thomas Sargent, said that he had his irst crush in second grade, and that he wasn’t friends with her because “she was out of my league.” He said, felt, and acted mostly normal; he only thought she was “hot.” A couple months later, he got over

it because he wasn’t attracted to her anymore. The younger grades were less willing to share, but 6th grader Rohan Wadhwani reported never having a crush before. He said this was because he has never found any of the girls in his grade attractive. Enough of the boys, how about the girls’ crushes? Jaiyana Khan, an 8th grader in the red pod, had a strong crush that lasted from the end of 7th grade until the beginning of 8th grade. “I acted like myself around him, since we were friends, but I felt comfortable

Ba-boom, Ba-boom, Ba-boom ... around him and enjoyed being with him,” she said. In October, she started having feelings for another person while still having feelings for her original crush. She tried and succeeded in getting over her original crush due to her newly found crush reciprocating the feelings. For Delaney Moody, an eighth grader in the green pod, her irst crush lasted from kindergarten to second grade. When asked about it, she said, “I got over him because I moved away. I was pressured into liking him in the irst place, so I thought I liked him when I really didn’t.” So much for long distance relationships. Overall, crushes are weird and confusing. The 8th graders at Bedford were much more willing to talk about their experiences with crushes than the 6th and 7th graders. This could be because 8th graders just have more experience with the topic, being older. What about your crush?

My Middle School Crush Merel Kanter STAFF WRITER

Crushes. Almost everybody has them. From a friend crush, to a ‘like-like’ crush, most people get them. Personally I have had quite a few crushes. Let me tell you all about one of them. I still remember the irst time I saw him– Language Arts, purple pod, irst day of school. I was immediately drawn to him because he seemed like such a nice kid. He wasn’t afraid to talk to a lot of people, constantly making conversation and proving his affability. I sat there analyzing him, silently hoping he would talk to me. He was well-liked and from what I had observed, he was very sympathetic and caring because he would talk to all the people in the class who seemed not to have many friends. At the same time he seemed so cool and funny. He just seemed to be con ident and comfortable in his own skin. After relentlessly thinking about the kid, I decided to

7

start talking to him to see if we would get along. I always assumed we would but I was never completely sure, so to con irm that this crush was the real deal, I needed to see how compatible we were.

I can still remember talking to him and feeling like no words would come out. My heart beat would speed up, and I would start rethinking everything I would say. I would think things like, Oh my god, why did I say that, that’s so weird! He must think I’m pathetic. I would never talk to him without planning out our conversation through and through, making sure I got every word right so I could come off as calm and collected. As time went on, I grew more and more comfortable with him. I started being myself more and realized that we clicked. We got along so well, and we could talk for hours on end. There was no better part to my day than when I was talking to him. But here’s the thing, crushes come and go. Even if your crush doesn’t ‘like-like’ you back, it’s not the end of the world. It’s in the fabric of human nature to be drawn to certain people, but they constantly change as you mature. Take me for an example, I had my crush in L.A. but once the bell rang, I was off to science and don’t get me started on my science crush.


8 Ursus

Features Thursday, February 15, 2018

From Here To There In 3 Minutes Tierney Kugel and Dylan Rhoads STAFF WRITER

Students sitting neatly at their desks, inquisitively referring to their notes, everyone’s attention on the teachers lesson, accomplished all before the bell rings. This is a fantasy for most Bedford teachers compared to what a classroom actually looks like after the bell rings. The reality is, when the bell rings, ive students are clustered around a desk talking. One student is talking with the teacher. Another student is playing a game on his laptop. Ten students wander into the classroom as late as three minutes after the bell, a few have late passes. Being late seems to be the constant struggle for Bedford students, and their teachers have a lot to say about it. When it comes to why students are late, teachers either blame the student or the clock. “For special subjects, people have to travel quite a while. People have to check with their friends, go to their lockers, talk to teachers, etc.,etc., and three minutes is a stretch,” said Mr. Don Savage, a health teacher at Bedford. However, Brian Kurtz, a sixth grade science teacher, argues that students are in control. “Students are usually late because they are talking to their friends in the hallway.” A lot of teachers believe that three minutes is enough time, if students don’t get distracted on their way to class. Exceptions are everything when determining a tardy. Tardies can become a serious problem if they start to add up. According to Mr. Savage, “For some students its out of their control. The exception is when people come from the other side of the building.” Mr. Kurtz says, “The only reason to be late to class is if you have an injury.” But no matter the case is, teachers know that everyone is late once in a while. All of this can be avoided through

Leilani Fleming STAFF WRITER

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Students heading to class. How many will make it there on time? proper planning and the power of focusing. If students know they are going to be a late, it’s best to talk with your teacher and explain the circumstances. According to Dr. Dan Cortright, “I’d prefer it if students checked in with me if they are going to be late because they have to go to their locker.” Other teachers prefer students do something in advance. Mrs. Lynne Karmen says, “Some kids don’t have the luxury of going to their locker between a class. You have to plan to go to your locker before class.” When students are constantly late, teachers have to enforce punishment. Some teachers just ask their students

to be more responsible. Mr Kurtz says “I tell them they are late, and we talk about why they are late.” Other teachers have more routine consequences. Mrs. Nicolina Pugliesi says, “I keep a tardy list so I can track tardies. When a student gets a certain number, they get a lunch detention.” For some students and teachers, three minutes seems like plenty of time to get to each class. But most agree that it really just depends on your own situation and schedule. There are exceptions, consequences, and ways to avoid tardiness. Dr. Cortright says, “For the most part, three minutes is enough time to get to class.”

Big Building Leads To Extra Pain

Getting Around BMS With A Cast Nikhil Kasnthan STAFF WRITER

Chances are we’ve probably seen someone in a cast or holding crutches, but do we really know what it’s like for them to go around school and do normal school things? Evidently, it would seem more dif icult to do regular school things, and it is. “It slows you down, it just takes longer to do things,” said Mr. Arthur Ellis, one of the school’s STEM teachers. “They have to be let out early from class, or they could be late to next class,” he added, which reveals a major disadvantage these students have. Leaving early from class means that it’s possible to miss out on important directions or assignments from a teacher. Despite all the troubles that ensue when wearing a cast, holding crutches or wearing a boot, it’s much better than what you would have to do without these advancements. “It’s very helpful, you use it instead of a wheelchair, which would’ve been the case 50 years ago,” said Mr. Ellis. Given that perspective from a teacher, it’s also an issue affecting students, and they have a similar experience. “It’s so much harder to do stuff. To get here I had to go across the school, take the el-

Assalting the Environment

evator and go across the school again,” described BMS student John Inglese, who was recalling his trip to the class he was in. With all these challenges, BMS does have a way to make things a little easier: You will get paired with a student helper, who will help with holding your binders. Still, there are other suggestions. “There should be two elevators,” Inglese sug-

gested. However, that suggestion may never take shape, as there is no plan to have another elevator in the school, and it was planned with only one elevator in mind. As you can see, having an injury can be a hassle, but remember that it’s better than what would be an even harder experience of being con ined to a wheelchair.

To help those on crutches, BMS has student helpers to carry binders.

This past few week everyone has appreciated the snow salt on area roads that help clear the way so schools can open—okay, maybe not the kids as much—but easier and safer driving conditions come with a price. Snow salt is used by town and state maintenance crews to lower the freezing point of water. Water normally freezes at 32 degrees Fahrenheit, but the freezing point drops to about 20 degrees with salt. Lowering the freezing point of water helps keeps roads wet, not icy, but this doesn’t help the environment. A big concern is how salt affects water quality. Some might assume that salt just disappears when all the snow and ice melts, but it does go somewhere. Itwashes away into lakes and streams and leaks into groundwater supplies. With salty groundwater, there are salty drinking wells. Too much sodium causes an increase in blood pressure, which can contribute to heart disease. This also creates a taste problem for others. It might be hard to imagine, but snow hurts animals too. According to Pete Fraboni, the Head of Harbor Watch, “The salt will most likely go into the water, and can poison the freshwater ish living there. Not many are able to survive in both salty and fresh water,”. We might eat some of these ish, and the salt that

Clear roads can dirty the waters

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they swam in makes its way into our bodies. When salt is sprinkled onto the roads, it can easily fall onto the ground, weathering and eroding the soil and hurting the health of trees and vegetation. This includes plants 650 feet away from the road. The sides of the road can become salt licks for deer and other creatures. This makes them more likely to become roadkill. Some wonder why we still use salt to clear the roads if it causes damage. A more environmentally-friendly solution would be welcome, but so far, there isn’t a completely harmless way to get salt off the roads. There are some ways to minimize the amount of salt used, like pre-wetting salt so that it’s easier for the salt to stick to the road. Pre-wetting also allows a more controlled application, which means that not as much salt is used. Snow plows also work, but they aren’t as speedy as salt. Shoveling is good for sidewalks and driveways, but sometimes people just don’t have the time, and prefer to use salt instead. Overall, snow salt is not good for the environment, which is why other methods are needed to protect deer from becoming roadkill, and ish from being poisoned.


Ursus

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Budget

Games

An Affair of the Heart

cont. from pg. 1 on the teachers’ salary and providing health care. In fact, according to a presentation to the Board of Education, an estimated 62 percent, or $2,957,857 of the Budget increase, ($4,792,856) will go into health care. Typically, the school budget increases 2 to 3 percent each year. This year, the estimated Board of Education (BOE) budget will increase by 4.19 percent. Although we don’t seem to be heading towards cuts, some cost reduction may mean the elimination of two buses from Coleytown elementary and middle school routes, reallocation of existing staff, and deferring maintenance, including carpet replacement, and interior painting, to name a few. “Important to note, the Board of Finance cannot target speci ic groups or programs to decrease/ cut,” said Dr. Adam Rosen, principal of Bedford. “They can only recommend a certain inancial amount to come off the total budget request.” If there are reductions, the board would try to reduce areas of the budget that have the least impact to classrooms as possible. Things like furniture, supplies, etc. tend to be in the irst wave of reductions. If the required cuts are deep enough, it could require a reduction in personnel in our district, but they would try their best to make those reductions in areas that would least impact our educational programs. “Therefore, each year we must present our budget and explain the need for the requested funds,” said Dr. Palmer, “I imagine that with the new federal income tax legislation that has passed, many citizens of Westport will experience an additional tax burden to the federal government, impacting the ability/ willingness of our residents to also shoulder increased local property taxes to pay for our town expenses, including education.” This budget is highly important to Bedford, and the easier it is to pay for it, the better. Not only does the budget pay for the salary and health care of the staff, but it also ensures all appropriate maintenance for a safe learning environment is sustained, and maintains all current class size guidelines of the BOE, and supports all current educational programs of the district. It starts off as a plan, a guideline. But this budget is the means on what our civilized, Westport schools run. “I have high hopes and feel con ident in our Superintendent, Board of Education, and Town of Westport leaders on the various board and committees,” said Dr. Rosen, “Westport enjoys a population of well-educated professionals in leadership and inance. While Connecticut is facing a dif icult and protracted inancial situation, Westport leaders anticipated inancial cuts and decreased funding and planned accordingly so the impact of such cuts were, by in large, ameliorated. I think we will continue to ind new ef iciencies to make certain our schools remain the crown jewels of the Town of Westport.”

Love is like a maze, full of twists and turns and dead ends. So at this Valentines moment of the year, here’s amaze to celebrate the crazy path the heart can take. START

Max Kirkorsky and Julia Berg

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FINISH

STAFF WRITERS

Words to Eat By

Henry Carson STAFF WRITER

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10 Ursus

A&E Thursday, February 15, 2018

Television Review

A DC Full of Conspiracy, Politics, and Threats Finnegan Courtney STAFF WRITER

This year, there have been a lot of good quality shows back for their second season. One of the shows “Designated Survivor,” which airs on ABC is worth watching. The show is set around the lone survivor of a catastrophic attack on the Capitol Building during the State of the Union. Tom Kirkman (played by Kiefer Sutherland) is named the new president and the drama begins. “Designated Survivor” was created by David Guggenheim and was released in September of 2016. It was immensely popular with watchers of the show and critics alike. The show is set around two main concepts: trying to put the government back together (the more political part of it) and investigating the attack and the conspiracy that lies within (the drama part). The conspiracy has a very shocking ending, which I won’t mention. The investigation ends a few episodes into the second season, and eventually moves on to another problem (which I won’t mention because of spoilers). The show also includes Hannah Wells, an FBI agent who is part of the investigation; Aaron Shore, Kirkman’s chief of staff; Alex Kirkman, his wife; and Emily Rhodes, Kirkman’s advisor, among others. The show feels very realistic, and you’ll probably put two and two together at some point, allowing you to see how close to reality it is. The show’s main star is Kiefer Sutherland, who plays President Kirkman and who starred in other popular TV shows such as Fox’s “24.” This show includes lots of new actors and actresses like Italia Ricci (known from “Supergirl”), Adan Canto (known from “X-Men: Days of Future Past”) and other new and young actors. “Designated Survivor” incorporates consultants who have worked in the White House or in politics, such as Kal Penn who plays Seth Wright, Kirkman’s press secretary and was President Obama’s former associate director of the White House Of ice of Public Liaison. One of the most interesting things about the show is that it’s based off realistic events. The designated survivor actually exists; former Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson was actually asked to sit out major events where both the House of Representatives and

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Kiefer Sutherland as President Kirkman. Can he help Washington recover from a devastating attack?

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Things are tough in real Washington D.C., but are they this tough? the Senate is together. “Designated Survivor” was one of 2016’s most highly anticipated shows, and it is now it’s one of ABC’s most popular shows. This show heavily focuses on politics, which I think is very appropriate for today’s political controversies. It will also appeal to middle schoolers because of the fact that they have recently become more interested in politics, especially with the presidential election and the turmoil that has followed. The show also includes exciting mysteries, bombshells throughout both seasons, and moments that will make you

say, “I never saw that coming!” The show has won a Critics’ Choice Award, a People’s Choice Award, and is a dark-horse Emmy candidate. Even if you aren’t a big fan of politics, this show might surprise you, with very indepth and realistic characters, amazing writing, and twists and turns along the road. You may be wondering why you probably have never heard of this show. The answer is, there are a ton of other excellent shows that came out in 2016, such as “The Good Place” and “Stranger Things” as well as countless

other strong shows. You’ve probably just missed this show. “Designated Survivor” is a very underrated show, but I highly recommend it,. Even if you don’t like politics, drama, or Kiefer Sutherland, just ignore your instincts. Give it a shot, or you’ll be kicking yourself after a horrifying development happens: it become a very popular show and you missed the entire series. “Designated Survivor” is a fantastic, fast-paced show that is one of the year’s best sophomore shows of the year, and if you do decide to give it a chance, I sincerely think you love the show.

Book Review

Love’s Power to Cross Borders Lucia Wang

STAFF WRITER

The romance genre, while it unquestionably appeals to many, doesn’t hold the perfect story for all middle schoolers. However, it’s Valentine’s Day - so why not give it a try? “The Sun is Also a Star,” written by Nicola Yoon, is the #1 New York Times bestselling novel about two teenagers in New York City and how they end up falling in love, despite their con licting views and problematic situations. Eighteen-year-old Natasha is stuck in quite a mess. Her family is originally from Jamaica, but she’s lived in New York City for most of her life. She has a best friend, she’s in her senior year of high school and ready for college. New York is her home, but it won’t be any longer when her family is revealed to be undocumented, and they are being forced to leave the country. However, Natasha is determined not to let this happen. She sets off across the city to solve the problem, but while en route she comes across a boy her age in a record store. Intrigued by Natasha, Daniel follows her, and as they walk he abruptly inds himself saving her from an accident. He invites her for coffee and she accepts, feeling she has no other choice. The boy, Daniel, has some issues of his own. His parents are Korean immigrants, and the only home Daniel knows is America. He stumbles upon Natasha while he’s on his way to an interview with a Yale alumni; a col-

The Sun is Also a Star, author Nicola Yoon’s second book. lege he plans to attend to become a doctor and then live a successful life, happily ever after. At least, that’s what his parents hope for his future. Daniel, on the other hand, prefers poetry and would rather pursue those dreams, amidst family con lict. Natasha, always practical, knows that true love or fate isn’t real. Love, especially, is all simply chemicals working inside the body. Everything can be backed up by science and fact; our lives aren’t determined by any sort of destiny. But her view is challenged after spending time with Daniel; a dreamer who is certain that he and Natasha are meant to be.

She’s falling in love with him, almost as much as he is with her, before she can stop and turn the other way. Then it’s back to reality, where frantic appointments to decide her future await. The novel explores the themes of powerful connections amongst people, such as love and the different views we have on the world. The latter part is speci ically elaborated on by the strikingly contrasting two main perspectives; Natasha and Daniel. Seeing through both of their eyes clari ies their situations and thoughts, and the reader is constantly on the edge of their sit to see how they will react to each other and the complications that thwart them. In addition to this, there are several snippets of other people and items to further captivate the reader. It also showcases relevant topics in the United States. For example, undocumented immigration and the ethnic mosaic of America has been an increasingly hot topic. It also touches upon the con licts that arise from there like stereotypes, racism and discrimination. While the general plot could be considered by some to be a cliche romance story, the author writes it to be authentic, thought-provoking and wonderfully entertaining. It puts the reader on an emotional roller coaster, one second full of joy at these characters and their successes, and the next your heart is thumping for what will happen. All in all, this bittersweet story won’t let you down - especially with the hint of love in the air as Valentine’s Day approaches.


A&E

Ursus

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Gabby Lantier and Margot Stack singing “Unwritten” by Natasha Bedingϔield.

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Ishan Prasad plays “Amazing Grace” arranged by John Newton.

A Night of Bedford Talent Evan Trock

STAFF WRITERS

semble was very popular and received a loud ovation. One act that stood out was 7th grader Joy Xu. She played Chopin, Fantaisie Impromptu in C# minor. After her performance, she received a standing ovation because she memorized this ive-minute piece.

Students and teachers who arrived at Bedford on the evening of Jan. 26 got to see amazing talent performed to a packed crowd. The “Bedford’s Got Talent” show, run by parents Kelly Konstanty and Damon Conte, started a few years ago. Each year the show has grown in popularity. The student hosts of the event were Nick Augeri and Jack Edwards. They introduced the acts and even did a lip sync of “Party in the USA” that was funny and entertaining. To kick off the event, Ishan Prasad played “Amazing Grace” on his bagpipes. “I get to see everybody else’s cool talents,” he said. When he led it off, everybody was surprised about the interesting instrument, an instrument he says he really enjoys playing. In all, 22 acts took the stage. Most of the acts were students, but there was also an act comprised of teachers: Mrs. Michelle Anderson, Mrs. April Harvey, Mr. Anthony Granata, Mr. Jason Frangenes, Mr. Matt Keeler and Dr. Adam Jack Edwards lip synched and emceed Rosen all participated. Their string en- the event with Nick Algeri.

Bravo!

“I like the opportunity to play in this environment and performing in general,” she said. Another performance that came to the stage and was applauded by the crowd was 8th grader Ellery Bodell’s performance of “Beautiful” by Christina Aguilera. “I love the talent show because I get a chance to express myself on stage, and I am not usually in the spotlight so I love it,” she said. Another performance that truly captivated the audience was 7th grader Jeffrey Pogue using “The Diablo.” A Diablo consists of two sticks connected by a string that is used to balance a spinning object shaped like an hourglass. His glow in the dark Diablo lit up the stage. In the talent show inale, all of our talented 7th and 8th graders sang “This is Me” from “The Greatest Showman.” The song was written by two former Staples students: Justin Paul and Ben Pasek. It was a truly fantastic and well-deserved ending to a star-studded talent show. Truly spectacular students performed this year, and we can’t wait for next year’s performance.

Jeffrey Pogue using “The Diablo” to light up the room and stage.

Ms. Anderson, Mr. Frangenes, Ms. Harvey, Mr. Granata, Dr. Rosen and Mr. Keeler play “Can’t Stop The Feeling” by Justin Timberlake.


Sports

Eagles Soar Over Patriots Thursday, February 15, 2018

Finnegan Courtney STAFF WRITER

The Super Bowl: An unof icial holiday where family and football fans gather to watch two teams battle it out for the Lombardi Trophy. In 2017, we had what was called one of the greatest Super Bowls in history. This year, we added another. The Philadelphia Eagles played against the New England Patriots. The Eagles had their chance to win their irst-ever Super Bowl ring. The Patriots had the chance to win their sixth Super Bowl ring. The Eagles, however, won the game and their irst ring, 41-33, by way of an incredible touchdown by the tight end, Zach Ertz, and a long ield goal by their kicker, Jake Elliott. Although the Patriots were favored, and Tom Brady threw for 505 passing yards, the Eagles pulled off the victory. The Patriots came into the season with 19-0 hopes; they ended the season 15-4, including the loss in the Super Bowl. They had loaded up in the offseason, mostly with the addition of receiver Brandin Cooks. In the irst game of the season, 19-0 hopes were lost when they were upset by the Kansas City Chiefs. The Patriots, however, would come back and be the irst seed in the AFC, thanks in part to questionable calls in favor of the Patriots in games against the New York Jets, the Buffalo Bills and, most notably, the Pittsburgh Steelers. They, however, rolled through the divisional round, 35-14 against the Tennessee Titans and came back in the Conference Round against the Jacksonville Jaguars, while Tom Brady played with a hand injury.

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Philly gets its ring. Zach Ertz (86) scores a game-winning touchdown to win the Super Bowl for the Eagles. Remember the questionable calls in son with low expectations. The Eagles clock said :00 on the Super Bowl scorethe regular season for the Patriots? It got off to a good start, going 10-1 until board in Minneapolis. came back to bite them in the Super Bowl they took a loss to the Seattle Seahawks. There was celebration for Philly and when Zach Ertz scored the game-winIt went downhill from there, as their heartbreak for Boston, as the so-called ning touchdown. MVP-candidate quarterback, Carson “Evil Empire” wasn’t able to ire their A similar catch was made by the Steel- Wentz, went down for the season with Death Star to annihilate the lying eaers’ Jesse James that was overturned and a torn ACL. It was a tough road to vic- gle from the sky. Fortunately, the Eagles gave the Patriots a win. The Eagles’ win tory for the Eagles, as they turned to had a Luke Skywalker in the form of put the inal nail in the cof in for the Pats their backup quarterback Nick Foles, Nick Foles. Yes, the backup quarterback as they walked off not champions. who hadn’t played a game this season. became a hero in Philly as he threw six The Eagles weren’t expected to make The Eagles somehow still hung onto the touchdowns in the three playoff games the playoffs. They proved everyone top seed in the NFC playoffs, but they and took a team that was thought dead wrong and went 16-3, including the weren’t favored in any playoff game. as a doornail in the irst round. They Super Bowl win. They signed receivers They played against the Atlanta Falcons, did not get shot down by any team. Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith in the the Minnesota Vikings and the Patriots. They soared, straight to being the world offseason and headed into the 2017 seaNevertheless, they persisted until the champions.

Super Ads Amuse Fans Nick Lolis

STAFF WRITER

According to Admeter.com, roughly 100 million people watched Alexa lose her voice, Eli Manning dance with Odell Beckham Jr, and Tide be everywhere. And there was a good football game to watch in between the commercials. As much as the kids liked watching the high-pressure game, they liked watching the commercials too. Some of Bedford’s favorites were the following: Mrs. Banic said, “The double commercial for the Doritos and Mountain Dew was my favorite because it had Morgan Freeman and Peter Dinklage and how they took

those two so seriously.” Sixth grader Everett Stickley said “I liked either Alexa’s backup voices or the bunch of Tide ads you thought weren’t Tide ads.” Mr. DeRosa said, “I liked the Danny Devito M&M ad because I grew up with Danny Devito movies and on TV; he is hilarious and a great pick to become an M&M.” This reporter thought the Alexa commercial was the funniest because the backup voices were very funny in what they answered to the questions, especially Gordon Ramsay venting his anger at the person who asked Alexa how to make a grilled cheese sandwich. “The recipe’s in the name, you [expletive deleted]!”

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This unexpected commercial presented a variety of expectations of the ad’s subject before revealing that, yes, it is a Tide ad. But isn’t everything?

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Giants quarterback Eli Manning and wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. recreated a classic scene from the 1987 movie, “Dirty Dancing.”

When an unlikely catastrophe occurs and Alexa loses her voice, the replacements offer solutions that are anything but ordinary.

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February issue 2018  

Bedford Middle School's newspaper

February issue 2018  

Bedford Middle School's newspaper

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