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THE CAFETERIA PART II

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MARCH 2010 VOL. I, NO. VI vikingcall.com

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The Viking Call

The Library’s New Chapter by Karen Hranek and Sophia Montgomery

Athletes of Excellence by Ashley Soulchin

Ms. Nardelli checks the after-school sign-up book to see if there is an open slot. Photo by: Greg Alfaro A library: a place to quietly study, read, or cram for that history test next period. Upper Merion’s library is no exception. But, as some of the student body is already aware, our library has recently undergone a change. Plastered on doors and walls are posters alerting us the fact that students must now sign up during the school day for one of fifteen slots if they want to stay after school and study in the library, . While this may seem insignificant to those who do not frequent this knowlege-filled area, it has caused quite a stir among the regulars. According to Ms. Nardelli, the head librarian, this new policy was introduced for several reasons. First, the safety of the students in the library was recently jeopardized when a fistfight broke out. To limit the degree of unruly behavior, the

News

Don’t Let it Snow

administration set a limit on the number of students allowed. Secondly, Ms. Kauffman’s, the library aide’s, hours were changed, and it became her job to cover the library after school alone. However, without the help of a professional, she is unable to supervise a full library. While turning away students from the library when it has exceeded capacity is not the most desirable job, Ms. Nardelli and the rest of the library staff understand that it is necessary to ensure everyone’s safety. “It’s unfortunate that it’s come to this,” remarked Ms. Nardelli when asked about the new policy. “I think that the library should be an open place.” She further explained her unhappiness at the administration for not providing a fully qualified library professional to monitor the library after school. With that professional, the library could once again be an area without a restricted capacity. The librarians would like to eventually

A&E

increase the number of available slots, but full, open access does not seem possible without a paid professional on duty. Upper Merion Principal, Mr. Bauer explained, “Our hope is to keep the library accessible after school for students who need to use the available library resources without creating an unsafe environment with too many students and not enough staff members.” In addition to his desire to preserve a studious environment, he also expressed the hope that signups will allow the staff to better understand how to help individual students with various projects. He further voiced his concern about the recent overcrowding problems due to students hanging out and socializing in the library instead of studying. Winter sports teams waiting for practice and students in after school meetings Continued on Page 5

Opinion Editorial

Gaggle Gossip: Bathroom Breaks

by Christina Pham

by Kaylie Granoff

Five A.M. wake up phone calls, massive amounts of hot chocolate, and several hours of sleep later, the familiar feeling of joy spreads through the student body. Although the occasional two-hour delays brighten anyone’s day, the tranquility of spending

Take a moment, step back, and evaluate where you stand. In life, that is. Are things going according to plan? Is there a plan? As bright, talented young adults, we have huge potential to be great contributors to society. We

“¿Puedo ir al baño?” I can honestly tell you: that is the phrase anyone in any Spanish class in Upper Merion will know by heart. No, we can’t say “I forgot my homework” or even tell you the date, but we can spit that phrase at you like it’s part of the alphabet. What does it mean? (For the 2 out of every 10 students who are NOT taking Spanish),

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by Rachel Steinberg

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Career Lens: Art Teacher

On February 12th, many tuned in to view the opening ceremonies of the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics. We watched thousands of athletes from hundreds of countries march into a domed stadium with pride illuminating their faces. Every one of those men and women is a demonstration of athletic excellence for his or her home country. Some athletes who demonstrated their superior skills from team USA were skier Lindsey Vonn, speed skater Apollo Anton Ohno, skier Bode Miller, figure skater Evan Lysacek, and snowboarder Shaun White. International stars that have made US headlines include Canada’s hockey player Sydney Crosby, Russia’s figure skater Yevgeny Plushenko, Japan’s speed skater Jung-Su Lee, and Korea’s figure skater Kim Yu-Na. America’s own Shaun White has certainly earned his title as king of the half pipe. Viewers rushed toward the television with the announcement of the men’s half pipe competition in anticipation of White’s next move. “My favorite sport to watch is the half pipe. I just like to watch Shaun White because, well, he’s Shaun White,” says freshman Sam Paradis. White definitely pleased people like Sam when he stole the gold during the half pipe finals. With an amazing first run, and a close-to-perfect second run, a nation embraced victory, and White earned himself his second-ever Olympic gold. Skier Bode Miller made his third Olympic appearance at the 2010 games. “Bode Miller is my favorite Olympic athlete,” says sophomore Kaitlyn Hill. And Kaitlyn has good reason to admire Miller. He competed in multiple events, earning himself silver in the men’s super G, a bronze in the men’s downhill, and a gold in the men’s super combined. With all of Miller’s accomplishments it is clear that he has come a long way from the 2006 Winter Olympics, where he allegedly skied drunk. Two US Olympians, skier Lindsey Vonn and speed skater Apollo Anton Ohno, started their Olympics on a positive note, but ended singing a different tune. Vonn started her set with a gold medal in the women’s downhill and a bronze in the women’s super G. Though expected to win numerous gold medals, Vonn’s 2010 Olympics did not go as planned. She crashed in the women’s super-combined, injuring her hand, and during her next race she straddled a gate, earning her nothing but a disqualification. Even with her two disappointing runs she still touched millions, with her determination and skill. “My favorite athlete is Lindsey Vonn. She’s so determined despite the fact she went through an injury. Even though she broke her finger she never really gave up, she just kept going,” says freshman Jackie Nikpour. Unlike Vonn, Apollo Anton Ohno did not walk away from the Vancouver Olympics with a gold. However, he did walk away, or rather, skate away, with two additional pieces of jewelry made of both silver and bronze. When Ohno won the bronze medal in the men’s 5,000 meter relay, he became the most decorated American winter Olympian. But Ohno’s 2010 Winter Olympics ended on a negative note when he became disqualified from his favorite event, the 500-meter.


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NEWS

Don’t Let it Snow Snow Fuels Hot Debate by Rachel Steinberg Continued from Front Page

a whole weekday off amidst a winter wonderland makes one ecstatic. So far, 2010 has not failed in supplying this feeling. Call it whatever you want, the “snowpocalypse,” “snowmageddon,” “thunder snow,” “February fury”…THAT snowstorm affected the various areas on the East Coast and many other regions of the country in an unusual fashion. In fact, the cancellation phone call that usually comes at 5 A.M. was made the day before. This year Philadelphia broke its record for amount of snowfall during a winter season with approximately 72 total inches. This mass haplessly gave the student body something they have never seen, a six-day weekend. After failing to accumulate a snow day at all in 2009, back-to-back snow days over a holiday weekend gave Upper Merion students more than they could have asked for. This snowstorm, however, did not just affect the Philadelphia area. In places such as Washington D.C., Virginia, and Baltimore, schools were closed for the entire week. But, places like these expect some sort of snow accumulation throughout the winter months. On the other hand, in Dallas, Texas, the chance of snowfall is highly unlikely. So when they were hit with 8 inches of snow on Thursday, February 11th, it was as if it was the blizzard of the century. Without proper experience and snow removal tools, they, too, had to go to the same drastic measures that the East Coast did. Even though we thought that the snow was done for February, the student body was in for a shock with another snowstorm in late February that called for

an early dismissal and another snow day. This unusually high amount of snow has brought mixed views from the student body. With spring sports, longer days, and the final countdown to the end of school, the sheet of white interfered with many people’s expectations. Despite this, sophomore Lizzie Furino stated that she, “loved the snow and is happy that it didn’t taken away from spring break.” With a love for long breaks to catch up on work, she added that, “the six day weekend was awesome.” Junior Clair Cundill agreed with Furino, “Our break in February was nice and relaxing and came at a good time so I don’t really mind the two extra days at the end of the year.” However, freshman Eddie Veneziale contradicted her statement, claiming that he “likes the snow but not the cancellations for sports as well as the school year ending two days later.” Grade level also seemed to have an effect on ones perspective of the snow. Senior Lara Cohen agreed that, “It is great because it really doesn’t matter for the senior class.” Although students are both apprehensive and ecstatic about the snow, teachers, such as Mr. Larkin, are extremely upset because, “It really really really stinks because the teachers have to come back on the following Monday [after school is out]!” Sorry teachers, but there’s no way out of that. So far, 2010 has accumulated far more snow than in recent years. Although the joyful snow day is appreciated by almost everyone, the future effects from that day of bliss often stir up a commotion and test whether the day off was truly worth it.

The Cafeteria: Part II by Tamerah Slaughter and Callie Rosenfeld

Last issue, we took a look into nutritional requirements. We have had the inner workings of the school’s fruits and vegetables on our menus for nutrition initiative. This month we twenty years and some schools are just broadened the scope to explore the wave starting to have it,” says the Assistant to of change in schools across the nation. the District Director of the Food Services, Although many conspiracy Sandy Shoffner. With over thirty years of theorists within the student body would experience in feeding kids in the district, like to think otherwise, Upper Merion is one Food Services Supervisor, Frances school among many that have embraced Hendrick, a registered dietician, strongly a healthier school lunch program. believes that Upper Merion’s wellness Maybe it is not a small world, after policy measures up well against other all. These pioneers. changes to the Upper menu are not M e r i o n revolutionary, s c h o o l s but they are currently the result of shadow the an obesity National trend that School Lunch is sweeping Program’s across the guidelines of nation at an using “100% alarming rate. fruit juice and providing an Currently, the appropriate United States amount of tops the list as protein, eight the most obese fluid ounces country in the The view of the cafeteria after school of milk, and world, with Photo by: Greg Alfaro acceptable a whopping 30.6% of its population weighing in amounts of fruits and vegetables,” at twenty percent or more above their Shoffner said. In fact, Mrs. Hendrick and average weight. And no wonder. We live a group of dieticians initiated a health in a society where one can go nowhere and wellness policy that is followed without hearing that catchy McDonald’s in all Upper Merion schools today. ‘Filet-O-Fish’ jingle that you’re You might be asking yourself, probably humming as you read this. does the nutrition program at schools But Americans have drawn affect a child’s eating habits? Is this the line at our schools, where between lunch program the sole factor is a teens thirteen and thirty-three percent of weight? The truthful answer is no; adolescents are obese. How does our as Mrs. Shoffner stated, “One meal a school compare to others attempting day does not make children obese, it’s to combat these inflated numbers? the life style at home that contributes “We are a forerunner in our to their weight and eating habits.”

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by Tamerah Slaughter

So much for global warming. This was the sentiment of many members of the student body as we dug ourselves out from over four feet of snow back in mid-February. Nobody had thoughts of melting polar ice caps in the thirty-degree weather we enjoyed that weekend, especially when forty-nine out of fifty states lay covered in a blanket of snow. Many might think that the snow means global warming is a gross exaggeration, a ploy by the government to curb wastefulness and clean up the environment (imagine that). But it’s just not that simple. A rise in global temperatures should mean less snow, right? Not so. The 2009 U.S. Climate control reported that it has been tracking the movement of large-scale snowstorm systems across Northern America for the last fifty years. These same storms were intensified by the hotter air created by global warming because warmer air can hold more moisture than cold air. Or so they say. Surprised? Many Americans would be. In the aftermath of the snowstorm(s) of 2010 the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was under fire from angry politicians after a review conducted by the government showed several data miscalculations and exaggerations. But it retains its original review from back in 2007, stating that things needed to change in order to slow down the progression of global warming. But science and politics collide on the issue. Conservative politicians, who have always been skeptical on the

matter of global warming, use the snow-blanketed United States as proof of the fallacy that is global warming. In response, scientists everywhere express their annoyance at those quick to jump to these conclusions. Said Brian Korty, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service; “You cannot use a system or systems over a short period of time to describe if there is global warming. It is measured over a long, long period of time. This is a little speck in that duration.” Staudt of the National Wildlife Federation in Reston, Virginia believes that it will take many winters to determine what effect global warming has on weather systems. “I feel strongly,” he said, “that we’ll get an answer in the next twenty or thirty years.” There are still other opinions in the matter that support the idea that global warming exists, but believe it is a natural chain of events not caused by human influence. This belief is called natural variability, and it claims that the Earth naturally goes through fluctuations from time to time, much like the economy. Professor of atmospheric science Richard Lindzen supports this claim, saying, “The Earth is always getting colder and warmer. It’s always changing. In fact, this is true of any fluid-covered planet.” That being said, cleaning up the environment is never a bad thing, so whether or not global warming is as big a threat as we first assumed is not neccesarily the point. Although there are many voices in the controversial global warming issue, we will most likely have to wait years to know the full story. In the meantime let’s brace ourselves for whatever next winter may bring, and set our sights on a warm spring.

The Viking Call CO-EDITORS-IN-CHIEF Mounika Muttineni, Tamerah Slaughter, Amanda Grace ADVISER Jenny Williams NEWS Callie Rosenfeld*, Steinberg

Rachel

ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT Lisa Vagnoni*, Powell Davis, Tommy Krauss, Nir Shtuhl, Courtney Smith SPORTS Ali Swider*, Stephanie Palmer, Shiv Patel, Kishan Persaud, Fran Rafferty, Mike Shannon, Ashley Soulchin OPINION EDITORIAL Sam Rapine*, Kaylie Granoff, Christina Stewart, Elissa Salamy

STUDENT LIFE Erin Venable*, Janella Datu, Karen Hranek, Paige Mitchell, Sofia Montgomery, Deepa Prasad PHOTOGRAPHERS Dallas Stevens, Greg Alfaro, Mounika Muttineni LAYOUT Joyce Rasing, Purswani

Karishma

WEB PAGE SPECIALISTS Andrew Attanasio, Rushlau

Geoff

Editorials reflect the view of the writer and not that of the staff. Letters to the editor are welcomed and can be directed to The Viking Call at: Upper Merion Area High School 435 Crossfield Road King of Prussia, PA 19406


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ARTS Oscars, Explained by Lisa Vagnoni

Many of us await eagerly the results of “Oscar Night,” and see fit to voice our opinions as to who deserves what, and why, or praise the winners and pity the nominees without having a complete grasp of just what is being awarded, let alone by whom. This much is clear: The Academy Awards are forms of recognition given out every year by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, simply known as the “Academy.” But who is the Academy? In the early 1920s, this honorary organization was founded by thenjuggernaut MGM in order to “mediate labor disputes and improve the industry’s image.” [1] Today, it comprises nearly 6,000 members housed in one of fifteen “branches,” which are organized into actors, cinematographers, writers, makeup artists, and the like. Prior to the ceremony, members of each branch vote for the winners according to their discipline. Membership in the organization is and always has been by invitation only. The largest source of controversy this year has been the increase of “Best Picture” nominees from 5 to 10—a move that was intended to make the event more accessible in the minds of the average moviegoer, but has fueled accusations of gimmickry. Specifically, that the purpose of this decision was to increase DVD sales by allowing more distributors to print “nominated for Best Picture” on the covers of their releases. In addition, the voting

method for this particular award was changed from a first-past-the-post model to one of instant-runoff, which is intended to glean a more accurate picture of the opinions of the voters Palo Alto High School sophomore Ryan Lee’s impression of the event is buoyant. “An Academy Award is the biggest honor anyone in the movie industry can get. And the ones giving them out are qualified professionals.” Upper Merion language arts teacher and amateur film historian Vincent Valaitis has a more pragmatic view of the affair: “I approve of the Oscars’ original intent-- that is, to make money. To draw attention to the movie business and attract new customers.” Reception of the award ceremony inside the filmmaking community remains frigid. “The results of the Academy Awards don’t represent the opinion of the majority of the world’s filmmakers and theorists. I don’t want to call the event a sham, but the changes instituted this year are only working against the respectability of the whole thing,” says independent filmmaker and teacher of Visual Storytelling at the College of the Canyons in Valencia, CA, Mike Ott. Film student Walter Vargas, who calls the Academy Awards “silly” and “a meat parade,” isn’t planning on watching the event, and “doesn’t care who wins what,” as “even Ben Affleck has an Oscar.” 1: Wiley, Mason, and Damien Bona. Inside Oscar. New York:

Preview: Bye, Bye Birdie at UMHS by Courtney Smith

Losers’ Guide to “Post-Hardcore” by Nir Shtuhl Hello readers! This month, instead of reviewing some album by some band you’ve never heard of, I’d like to review (in a different sense) an entire genre of music. This month is all about post-hardcore. Post-what? Post-hardcore started around the mid-‘80s when bands began to branch out from the limiting confines of hardcore punk at the time. Some of the first bands to be classified in the genre include Hüsker Dü and Fugazi, who both used hardcore punk (i.e., screaming with loud drums) as a background to build from and create their own style. Now, post-hardcore has evolved to include a wide variety of bands which have roots in many different styles, such as pop, emo (the good kind – yes, there is a good kind), indie, and even jazz. But the more you use the prefix “post-” the more pretentious you sound. While this is true, post-hardcore is a reasonably efficient method of musical classification, even though it can refer to such a diverse range of styles. Usually it helps to research a little deeper into a band before trying them out. Or you could, you know, just listen to the music. The best way to find out if you like something is to try it. If you say so, Mr. Fancypants. How do I know what’s good? How do you know what to listen to? The same thing you have done for the past five issues of this paper: listen to me, of course. Bad post-hardcore (which, nowadays, seems like a genre all on its own) includes bands like Senses Fail, Bullet for My Valentine, and The Used.

These differ greatly from good (read: respected) post-hardcore bands such as At the Drive-In, The Fall of Troy, The Blood Brothers and Chiodos. At the DriveIn sounds more like early post-hardcore than the other bands mentioned, hugging its rock roots a little closer. The Fall of Troy, one of my personal favorites of the genre, mixes in progressive rock to create a style very few others share. Both the Blood Brothers and Chiodos draw from pop music, but they do not sound alike. I recommend trying out all four of these bands if you are interested in this genre of music, as once you know what you like it is easier to find more bands you might enjoy. Sounds great! One more thing; you must have an idea of where not to start. As with any style of music, or any type of art for that matter, one must ease into it. Keep in mind, these are quality albums, but experiencing them first would be analogous to trying to run a marathon on your first day of training: you won’t finish, it won’t be pleasant, and the experience will deter you from tackling the task again. Mongrel by The Number Twelve Looks Like You resembles a compact, near-forty-minute marathon, sprawling aggressively through irregular time signatures and dissonant chords. A great album, but one must be conditioned to it first. The Sound of Animals Fighting is one of my favorite bands, but their three albums are all very different and extremely experimental. On their first album, Tiger and the Duke, Rich Balling, the main man behind the project, did not let any other members hear the songs as they were being produced; each member recorded his part separately.

Read Me: Beautiful Creatures

by Tommy Krauss

The Conrad Birdie Fan Club pledges its allegiance to Birdie. Photo by: Mounika Muttineni On March 18, Upper Merion’s 2010 spring musical, Bye, Bye Birdie began its three-night run on the UM stage. Here is a preview of the show: ALBERT PETERSON, played by Steven Copp, is a middle-aged man who owns his own record label called Al May Lou. “He is a very paranoid person who likes to put his work before his love life. He is extremely quirky,” says Steven. Albert’s sole purpose is to send his only client Conrad Birdie off to war in style because it will be the end of his career. ROSE ALVAREZ, played by Gigi Watson, is the secretary to Albert for the Al May Lou Company. “She is confident, classy and funny. She is looking for what every woman is looking for, a commitment,” says Gigi. Rosie has stood by Albert through many years and she feels that their relationship has become more than just office work. The problem is Albert does not seem to catch on to her signs. CONRAD BIRDIE, played by Vince DeSanto, is your typical rock star.

He’s got the looks, the girls, and the fame. Vince says, “Conrad is a rock star who wants to control his own life because he’s Got A Lotta Livin’ to do. All he wants before he reluctantly leaves for the army is one last kiss… or more if he can.” Conrad has everything he could want, except the power over his own life, and that is his mission throughout the show, to control his own life. KIM MACAFEE, played by Olivia Rodenbaugh, is your typical teenager. She is president of the Conrad Birdie Fan Club of Sweet Apple, Ohio and she has a steady boyfriend, Hugo. “Kim is the awkward daughter who thinks she knows it all. Love is just something new in her life,” says Olivia. After going steady with Hugo, Kim feels it is time to let go of all things childish such as the Conrad Birdie Fan Club. Little does she realize that Conrad Birdie would be coming to her town to kiss her goodbye as he leaves for war. HUGO, played by Evan Rieger, is Kim’s boyfriend, and quite possibly one of the only teenagers in Sweet Apple who

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Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl’s Beautiful Creatures is set in the small town of Gatlin, Georgia where women dress in peach colored moo moos and people refer to the Civil War as the “War of Northern Aggression.” Gatlin is a town full of old souls and even older secrets. Ethan Wate has lived in Gatlin for all seventeen years of his life, eagerly awaiting the day he can finally leave. He refuses to identify with the concept of a southern “hick,” instead choosing a more genteel lifestyle. Ethan also dreams of a girl he loves being ripped out of his arms into ominous darkness. Lena Duchannes is a girl who is frequently expelled from schools for her refusal to conform, and who dreads the day she turns sixteen. She, like Ethan, experiences dreams of someone being taken from her. Oddly enough, Lena has just moved to the small town of Gatlin to move in with her socially reclusive uncle, Macon, who is the talk of the town. On Lena’s first day of school, Ethan recognizes her from his dreams and falls in love with her on the spot. If only he knew what he was getting himself into.

The book jacket reads, “Some loves are meant to be…others are cursed.” I think this love is a little more than “cursed.” Beautiful Creatures can be compared to Twilight, though Creatures stands as far more original, and subsequently more entertaining. Judging by the plot and writing style, the novel is likely to be characterized as “young adult literature,” which detracts slightly from the maturity and respectability of the work. Though teenagers are the writers’ target audience, they sold themselves a little short in the department of character development. Despite its obvious weaknesses, the book is such a page-turner that I plowed through its 600 pages in under a week. It successfully takes you on a journey to a land full of deep southern accents and deeper peach cobbler. It might not be on par with Catcher in the Rye or even Interview with the Vampire, but Beautiful Creatures is worth a casual read when you just have the urge.

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The Athletes of Excellence by Ashley Soulchin

Continued from Front Page The disqualification call was for a debatable push that allowed him to get to the front and place in second. Regardless of whether or not Ohno’s disqualification was legitimate, it cost the 27-year old a silver medal in a race that could have potentially been his last. The Americans were not the only athletes to excel. Russia’s Yevgeny Plushenko undeniably challenged the other male figure skaters of every competing nation. Because of his intricate and risky moves, most people expected Plushenko to end the day with a gold. To the surprise of audiences and the Russian powerhouse, Plushenko took second to American Evan Lysacek. Frustrated, he could not walk away without a dramatic finish, and further shocked viewers during the medal ceremony by awarding himself with a “platinum” medal. Although he did not obtain the gold, he did not fall short of flair. South Korea’s Jung Su-Lee posed possibly the toughest competition in the short track portion of men’s speed skating. With his determination and speed, Lee became a pesky speed bump to every male speed skater on the track. Returning to South Korea with three total medals, two gold and one silver, it is clear that Lee pushed Apolo Ohno and other skaters to perform to the best of their abilities for any chance of placing a medal. Another tough competitor from South Korea was figure skater Kim YuNa. Yu-Na competed in women’s figure skating and won the hearts of millions through her grace and skill. The judges were won over as well, and she returned

home with a gold medal around her neck. Many players in the NHL take off for a week to participate in the Olympic hockey. One of those players was the Pittsburgh Penguins’ Sidney Crosby. Though Crosby has been playing for Pittsburgh for almost five years and has led his team to win the Stanley Cup, when it came to the Olympics, Crosby went back to his roots and played for Canada. Unfortunately for the Americans, his skill was present during the final game against the US. In an explosive overtime performance, Crosby scored Canada’s winning goal, snatching the gold. Needless to say many Penguins’ fans booed for the first time at the sight of Crosby scoring a last second goal. The Winter Olympics ended on Sunday, February 28, 2010, and it is fair to say that they were nothing less than expected. “Since the first ceremony, I have been watching it every free second,” Sam Paradis says. And why not watch the Olympics every free second? All viewers, no matter what age or gender, no matter what location, devoted time to enjoy their nation’s Olympians and their monumental efforts. For Americans, excitement came when Shaun White landed his final jump, there was heartache from news of Apolo Ohno’s disqualification and Lindsey Vonn’s injuries. But more importantly, audiences around the world got to watch thousands of dedicated men and women display their love of the game, and it is this unending passion that has inspired us all. We, the people of America, the people of Canada, the people of Europe and Asia and South America and Africa, were able to watch athletes of excellence live out their dreams.

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SPORTS

Saints Bring Back Hope

by Kishan Persaud and Shiv Patel

Four years have passed, and the lingering effects of Hurricane Katrina still roam the streets of New Orleans. The hurricane devastated many lives and homes and dug the city into a seemingly endless black hole. The city waited for a moment that could bring back its inspiration in life and revive it from its traumatizing events. Citizens joined together and slowly rebuilt New Orleans, but still, its heart and soul were not fully recovered. But, the memories of the losses incurred by Katrina softened a little as the New Orleans Saints came to their 2009-2010 football season. Starting off strong, the Saints built up an undefeated record through fourteen of their season games. They posted the best record in the NFL in addition to being credited as the number one ranked offense in the National Football league. The team entered the season with a background history of no Super Bowl visits and barely any playoff appearances. The Saints stunned the crowds as they slowly picked off opponents one by one, and, as they continued to win, the cheer

and joy was gradually restored to New Orleans. Such positivity was apparent as the fan base grew enormously with almost every one of their games sold out. The Saints’ lost their last two regular season games because they benched their starting players to save them for post-season. The team defeated the Super Bowl runner-up, the Arizona Cardinals, in the first round by a huge deficit. In the second round of playoffs, they defeated NFL idol Brett Favre and his fellow Minnesota Vikings in an overtime thriller. The Saints had finally earned their first Super Bowl appearance. They would face the Indianapolis Colts. The Saints upset the Colts, leading to their first Super Bowl win in football history. This victory renewed happiness and hope to the people of New Orleans. Immediately after the victory, the streets filled with joyous triumph. The Super Bowl success established a proud landmark to the city of New Orleans after a long period of hardship. This event will establish a long lasting memory and bring families, friends, and fans closer as they cheer on their team and their community to maintain the spirit of victory.

Spring Sports Preview (article on page 7)

The Snow Day Chronicles by Deepa Prasad

It’s Friday, and I awake from my as one of the few responsibilities she slumber to a glowing white bedroom; the dislikes, saying, “I know no matter which clock reads 10:36 AM. Possible scenarios way I call it, someone will be unhappy.” running through my head include the The next morning, Dr. Jamula rises imminent zombie apocalypse, or that from her slumber at 4:30 AM to consult my dad attached thousands of helium with our building and grounds supervisor, balloons to Mr. Remelius. A my house detailed Accuto make it weather forecast float above is prepared for the clouds, her, designed like in specifically the movie for important Up, but people making certainly important not a snow decisions. She day – that then speaks is much too with the far-fetched. superintendents I n of Norristown the past and Colonial m o n t h school districts, a l o n e , Snow in Upper Merion Township to discuss however, I Photo by: Greg Alfaro matters of the have been Central Montco proven wrong not once, not twice, but Technical High School. Finally, by 5:00 three times over. My sixteen years AM, she makes a decision, taking into of life have been highlighted by the consideration the transportation situation invention of the iPod and the election of both students and teachers, and of Barack Obama, but I am most wakes us (or in my case, my parents) proud to say that I lived during the with her groggy voice if it is good news. ever-elusive double snow day of 2010. While I spend my snow days Although a boon to my personal snuggling by the fireplace, watching academic calendar and mental health, “Arrested Development” on DVD, Dr. Jamula our superintendant Dr. Melissa Jamula and the administrators trek through the refers to snow days as “the bane of [her] rough weather to work almost every time. existence!” It is her decision to delay, Hopefully you now can empathize dismiss early, or close school altogether with the tumult that is severe weather when a weather emergency is on the for a well-intentioned woman like Dr. horizon. When we are neglecting Jamula. But I will continue sleeping our homework the night before a big with a spoon under my pillow for the storm, Dr. Jamula is in full panic duration of my high school career. mode. She cites making this decision

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Photo by: Greg Alfaro

Phillies Pheeling by Fran Rafferty

What a ride the past two years have roster included signing pitchers Jose been for the Philadelphia Phillies. From Contreras and Danny Baez and the return World Series Champions in 2008 when of former Phillies third baseman Placido they paraded down Market Street in a sea Polanco. New addition Brian Schneider of red, to last year’s repeat as National is a large upgrade to backup Carlos Ruiz. League Champions, the journey has The Phillies lineup will also see the certainly been sweet; however, it is a new reappearance of multiple players from the year with a team’s previous much tougher playoff stretches road to come. such as Jimmy Rollins, Ryan While other Howard, Chase NL East Utley, Jayson teams have Werth, Carlos revamped Ruiz, and Shane their rosters, Victorino. the Phillies made a few In a statement offseason on the Phillies moves like website, Jimmy shipping out Rollins says, young righty “The 2010 Kyle Drabek Phillies may be to Toronto better than the and sending Charlie Manuel and Aaron Rowand 2009 team.” Cliff Lee, the Photo courtesy of: Shayla Lamond We can only left-handed hope Jimmy’s predictions stud from last year’s playoff run, to come to pass as the Phillies strap in for Seattle. In exchange for this, the Phillies another big season on the diamond. Who received arguably the best pitcher in knows, maybe Market Street will turn the league today, Roy Halladay. Other red for another parade this November. offseason adjustments to the Phillies’


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STUDENT LIFE

The Race for Space Beating Spring Boredom by Janella Datu Drive. It’s that force that impels you to do certain things. When asked what drives and motivates students to go to school, the consensus was quite simple. “I have to go to get into college I guess,” explains Andrew LeGendre while Kira Reddi agrees, stating, “If I don’t go, I won’t graduate. I’ll get in trouble. Wait I shouldn’t say that. Here... how about because of my thirst to learn.” Yes, but what if barriers as simple as parking spots step in the way of that ‘thirst to learn’? With more students acquiring their driver’s licenses and gaining access to a car, the battle for a parking spot turns into a full competition. Though it may sound ridiculously improbable, it does tarnish an attendance record quite easily. Some students are lucky enough to have a reason to come to school early. “I have zero period, thus, I have the motive of coming to school earlier than the typical student. This normally ensures a spot in the Candlebrook parking lot,” explains Dom Enz. Of all the parking options, Candlebrook seems to be the hot-spot. Though parking in the senior lot now, last year Andrew LeGendre often parallel parked by the curb near the Candlebrook lot. He explained, “I thought it was closer, plus you don’t have to walk up that big hill,” referring to the hill by the baseball field. When asked for his reason for parking in the Candlebrook lot, Dom Enz agreed, “For one, it is closer and secondly, it’s closer.” Abbie Demecher disagrees. “I parked at Candelbrook for a week and realized that I didn’t like it as much as I liked the spots by the baseball field. Now, I parallel park on the curb by the baseball field. I feel that it’s not necessarily shorter, but less muddy. The sidewalks are sideways, and that the hill is much more convenient.” Andrew LeGendre remembers, “It sucked on rainy days. Now it is so much better. Oh and I remember Herm (Mike Rothenberg) spilled his cup of noodles when he slipped on ice.” Kira Reddi explains, “I parked on the curb by Candelbrook, mainly wherever I could find a spot. I usually got there around 7:30. I had countless tardies that I served

by Paige Mitchell

Photo by: Nicole Cresse

multiple detentions for. Even though I came in late every time, I just went to bed late and couldn’t get to school earlier no matter what I tried. This year I have a senior parking spot behind the school by the tennis courts. I like the spot compared to last year, but I wish the doors were held open a little longer so I don’t have to walk all the way around the school to get in.” As the remaining number of days in the school year falls into the doubledigits, the number of parking spots available in the Candelbrook parking lot goes from the double-digits to zero faster than the pink unexcused late slips can be filled out. Here are a few tips to help you get a parking space this spring: Find the perfect schedule in accordance to the traffic lights and follow it. “On a good day, I leave at 7:21. Any minute later, the timing of the traffic lights is all-wrong and I don’t make it to school on time because I hit all the red lights. Hence my many tardies.” explains Kira Reddi. Tracey Kline advises, “Get there early. Eat your breakfast on-the-go if need be.” Being that it is the most important meal of the day, you can’t just cut it out of your morning to save you time. Instead, pack your breakfast to go. Multitask. Eat your breakfast as you walk from the parking lot to the school. Abbie Demecher jokes, “Go to bed earlier and wake up earlier. Don’t be so lazy.” A good night’s sleep not only energizes you for a big test, but also will refrain you from moving at a slug’s pace during your morning routine. That will allow you to snag a good parking spot. Last, but most importantly, stay consistent until you see fewer spots free when you pull in. When that becomes the case, adjust your schedule to pulling into the lot a little earlier. Repeat when necessary. Good luck, and may the spirit of the race keep you anxious to get to school as the end of the year nears.

Career Lens: Art Teacher by Christina Pham Continued from Front Page

approach our fullest potential based in art since childhood. “Since elementary on our own skill, determination, and school, I have had hearing problems, so personal preference. Of course, there I have always been visual,” Ms. Bishop is no golden formula for success; explains. “As I went through middle school we all define success differently. and high school, I had this one ceramics Here, we will take a glance at the teacher career paths of three Upper Merion art who saidI should go into the arts.” teachers: Mrs. Burns, Ms. Bishop graduated from Ms. Bishop, and new Kutztown University with addition, Mr. Burkhart. “We approach our fullest a major in art education Mrs. Burns, and minor in ceramics, currently teaching potential based on our own which helped her land a ceramics, started her teaching position at UM. career at Upper Merion. skill, determination, and Mr. Burkhart, a new “I got lucky,” Mrs. Burns addition to the UM staff this says. She coincidentally personal preference.” year, did not decide to become started her art career at UM and ended up an art teacher until college. Before, Mr. working here also. She loved taking art Burkhart had done art shows and a lot lessons in sixth and seventh grade. In of traveling. He originally studied to high school, an art teacher took notice of become an art therapist. “Art therapists Mrs. Burns’ interest and asked her to help help people communicate through art,” other students in class. “She pushed me he explains. The turning point was in the to go to art school,” Mrs. Burns explains. process earning a degree in art therapy. Because she enjoyed working with students “To get the first degree in art therapy, in high school, Mrs. Burns decided to I had to student teach,” he explains, spend four years studying teaching, and “For some reason, I liked working she did the murals in Bridgeport. Later, with kids, so I stuck with teaching.” Mrs. Burns obtained a job here at UM. UM’s art teachers each took She now teaches ceramics and is inspired a different path, but we are lucky to by her students. “I’m really happy have them. Hopefully learning about when the kids feel successful,” she says. their experiences will allow you to Ms. Bishop, currently teaching art examine at your current stage in life, and consumer science, has been interested your priorities, and future outlook.

Spring break is approaching faster than the Easter bunny makes his yearly rounds. So, to avoid getting stuck doing spring-cleaning during your cherished hiatus from school, make sure you pack your week full of activities. To escape the boredom of numerous family gatherings and cabin fever, why not try some exciting and adventurous outdoor activities? Enjoy the spring weather while you can, because come the next week you’ll be back in your school desks. The first ideal spring break activity is a trip to a local amusement park. Whether with a group of friends or dragging along the family, an amusement park is the perfect outdoor activity with a mix of excitement and entertainment. This area has a variety of amusement parks, including Hershey Park, Six Flags, and Dorney Park. Regardless of what you base your decision on, like how high or fast the rides are, you’re guaranteed to have a great time. The next suggestion is to head to the shore for a weekend or a quick getaway. Though the water will be a tad cold for swimming,

there are plenty of other things to do on this mini-vacation. You can take a walk along the beach, shop on the boardwalk, or lay down and rest your toes in the sand. If you can’t to take a trip, don’t think you’ve run out of luck. Another great option is to simply play sports or games outdoors with friends. Many games, such as Frisbee and Wiffleball, are a lot of fun with little equipment needed. If you’re feeling competitive, you can even organize your own tournament or bet stakes on the game. Perhaps propose that loser buys pizza? T h e options are endless. Another outdoor option is to take a walk, run, bike ride, or even horseback ride through Valley Forge Park. So the next time your friend brags about his spring break trip to Mexico, just remember that there are plenty of fun options available in your own area. By staying active outdoors and following this advice, you can make your spring break far from boring.

The Library’s New Chapter by Karen Hranek and Sophia Montgomery

Continued from Front Page waiting for the bus had been using the library as a lounge or a place to start roughhousing. Mr. Bauer also pointed out that while the availability of spots in the general library area is limited, there is a supervised study program that meets in the library after school on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Fridays that allows more students to seek help from on-duty staff members. Students have expressed mixed emotions about this situation. Within the library community many are upset, but the majority of the student body does not seem aware that any changes have occurred. Despite the signs posted around the school, emails sent out, Pulse announcements, and additional broadcasts made over the loudspeaker during the school day, many students have not taken notice. Because of this, many have been denied access upon arrival at the fully occupied library. One such student, Julio Trejo, was surprised when he was turned away one afternoon. He had not realized that the policy had changed, so he had not signed up for a slot. Upon being denied entry, he asked if he could sign up

then, but was told that he could not because the library was already full. “Now I make sure to sign up in the mornings if I want to stay after school that day,” Julio explained. Conversely, the new policy has been beneficial for those able to sign up in time to snag one of the fifteen slots. “There aren’t as many students being noisy and distracting, which helps me get more work done,” says Linda Nguyen, a freshman, reflecting at least some success in one of the goals of the new policy. Is implementing a limit on the after school capacity of our library a good or bad thing? One could argue either way. On one hand, the preservation of a calm and safe environment for students to study is necessary to ensure student safety and a good place to study. On the other hand, only fifteen students are now able to experience this optimal studying environment. For better or worse, this policy promises to be a topic of debate between students, the library, and the administration for some time.

I Want My Cartoons! by Erin Venable

Hey Arnold!, Rugrats, Angry Beavers, Recess... Remember when cartoons still had

some substance? Recently there has been talk of “the good old days” when cartoons were “good,” meaning, before they reached their present form. Do you remember watching Rugrats and wishing you could join the babies in their misadventures? Or wondering what crazy schemes Pinky and the Brain would be up to today? Do you remember laughing at the Animaniacs, or being more than a little creeped out by the villains in Courage the Cowardly Dog? Or how about watching Pokémon, one of the most successful franchises in the world currently entering its 12th season? Cartoons today just don’t seem to compare to the epic quality of the old ones. Have you ever listened to your parents or siblings talking about the cartoons of their generation? They always talk about how cartoons worsened as they grew up and happily recall the cartoons of “the good old days”. When asked his opinion on cartoons from his childhood and today, Mr. Bugenhagen said, “I loved Bullwinkle. I still enjoy watching it. It’s smart humor that appeals to children and adults. I always loved the original animation

cartoons like Donald Duck, too. I don’t really watch cartoons now, but it seems like cartoons today are more about the stories, like soap operas. It’s hard to understand them without knowing the characters and events before each episode.” It seems that each generation cherishes the cartoons they grew up with and agree that the quality of current cartoons doesn’t compare. Junior Nicole Cresse remembers, “Doug was my favorite show. If it was still around, I would be set. Cartoons today just don’t compare to the old ones.” Junior Dylan Reimer had a similar comment, “I remember watching the first episodes of Pokémon. That stuck with me, I still watch it.” With the days of scheduled naptimes, free juice cartons, and mandatory finger painting long gone, it makes sense that students are thinking back on their childhoods. High school is a crossroads. Most are preparing to leave their hometown to pursue higher education or enter the workforce. With these big decisions on the horizon, it’s nice sit and reminisce about the screwy cartoons of our childhood as part of a more innocent time. As we grow up and move into the future, it is important to keep said cartoons in thought, and keep yourself grounded.

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All Your Macs Belong to Us by Sam Rapine

Now that my fingers have thawed after Mother Nature’s latest (and hopefully last) attempt to turn the United States into Canada, I feel it’s time to bring a few issues to light. Readers who’ve been following these ramblings since my first column will recall it contained a somewhat pessimistic outlook towards our virtual pioneering this year. We’ve come up on the half-year mark now, and our IT department has neither resigned nor sued. This is a good sign. I’m writing this article on my Mac, I admit it. The keys spring back to attention after every letter, which is already more than I can say for my personal laptop. Also surpassing my Dell (which may well be older than the Coolidge Administration) is the fact that the battery on the Mac generates more power than a hamster on a wheel jury-rigged to a turbine. I’ve been typing for half an hour now, unplugged, and the Mac is still going strong. But it’s the little things that get to me. The Hand-In Robot, for instance, seems to have become selfaware. Two incidents in the same week is pushing the envelope. And it’s just the beginning: Today it refuses to hand in your assignments. Tomorrow… don’t be surprised if it comes after you from the future with a spiffy pair of shades and an Austrian accent. If that’s the case, don’t expect to

e-mail the incident to anybody. You see, the good folks at Gaggle have decided that some words are just a little too dicey for us to use. Irrespective, might I add, of anything that needs to be said for the sake of a class. So if anybody asks… On your history report, 203,000 soldiers went on a very long vacation to England after theAmerican Civil War. They fell in love with life on the River Thames and decided to move there permanently. On your chemistry lab due tomorrow, keep in mind that anything with a pH reading lower than 7 is juice. I wouldn’t drink it. Welcome to health class. When two animals have a conversation, a baby is formed. Use responsibility and judgment, though. One might catch a cold. Perhaps there’s a risk of vulgarity. On the other hand, is utilizing an e-mail service incompatible with mobile devices, e-mail clients, and the curriculums of most schools this side of the Enlightenment really worth the outside chance that the odd miscreant would use a school-provided service to conspire illegal activity? Apparently so. Maybe there’s no accounting for the depths of stupidity. And it seems like we can survive. Like I said, it’s the little things that get to me. Like Cyberdine enlisting the help of the A-1 robot. Take my advice, and don’t let it out of your sight. He’ll be back.

Gaggle Gossip: Bathroom Breaks by Kaylie Granoff Continued from page 1

it means, “May I go to the bathroom?” Ah, there it is. We students know that phrase in English very well. It has many meanings: First and foremost, I am actually going to the bathroom to, you know, use it. Second, I’m going to go to the bathroom to sort of just check myself out in the mirror for five minutes because this lecture on square roots is going nowhere. And third, I’m not actually going to the bathroom, but I’ll wander the hallways far away from this class until I feel like returning. Let the class think what they want of my unusually long absence. The bathroom at school, when you DO actually go in there, is a very curious place. I can’t say much about the boy’s bathroom, because I have not, as of yet, ventured in there. (Never say never) But the girl’s room, I can speak of from experience. Okay, let’s start with the first definition of “¿Puedo ir al baño?” (I’m going to have you German and French students saying this in your sleep by the end of this article). If you honestly are going to the bathroom to, well, GO, then there are some common events that take place. You go in and the floor is always wet. Why is the floor always wet? Some things, even I can’t answer. Next, you go to your stall. Yes, you have a stall. It is the one you always go to, out of habit/safety/comfort/territorial issues, and you get defensive over it. God forbid, if anyone is in that stall when you arrive, you will either wait for it (that’s dedication) or you go angrily in search of a foreign backup. Out of the 8 stalls there, 3 won’t lock, 2 won’t have toilet paper, and 1 will have something moving in the toilet. So many choices in front of you, it’s impossible to pick. When you find one that is acceptable, you go in, touching as few things as possible, take in your surroundings. The graffiti is my favorite

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thing to check out. I like when someone writes something obscene or suggestive, or even friendly, and people answer it. You can watch the evolution of the bathroom stall conversations over a week. Curse words, emo words, song lyrics, etc, will be added to, crossed out, rewritten, altered. Not to mention the doodles! Some of them are sweet and heartwarming: flowers, kittens, and smiley faces. And others are, not so sweet and sometimes racy. But nevertheless artistic! The work that goes into bathroom graffiti sketches is incomparable. They must spend so much time on those, and what becomes of it? Every once in a while, it gets a half-hearted layer of paint thrown over it. You can still make out those cruel and offensive words that give the high school bathroom its “dirty reputation”. But it’s definitely been taken down a notch. After you flush, which takes about thirty tries; you go to wash your hands. Quick question: Is the bathroom soap, soap? I want an honest answer. I just want to know the truth. Is it really soap? The sinks are always rusted over and have some strange debris in them. And the mirrors are like pieces of metal that you can sort of make out your face in, barely. The lights flicker about 17 times and then you rush out because, honestly, who likes spending a long time in a high school bathroom? If you just use the bathroom excuse to just fix your hair or chill for a bit, be careful that you don’t lose track of time. There are so many question unanswered still: Why does it always seem like the last person you want to see comes in the same time as you? Why is the toilet paper made up of dust and air particles? And who took the time to lock ONE stall, and then slip out underneath it so no one can ever use it? Some things, the world may never know. Whoops, here comes my teacher… time to go fix my makeup. “Puedo ir al baño?”

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OPINION EDITORIAL

We Asked: Looks Like We’ll Have a “Glee”-ful Spring by Elissa Salamy

OUR INQUIRY: Which shows are YOU most excited about this spring? By far, The Viking Call saw the largest response to this poll with 279 responses. The numbers at the bottom of the graph represent the number of respondents who voted for each show. HOW CAN WE HEAR YOU: If you haven’t participated in a poll yet, be sure to check your Gaggle for e-mails from The Viking Call for future issues. In the meantime, make sure to watch all of your favorite upcoming TV shows!

Premiering this spring:

Returning this spring:


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Preview: Bye, Bye Where Were They Birdie at UMHS Then: Mrs. Fox by Mounika Muttineni

by Courtney Smith

Mrs. Fox is best known for her work along our hallways. But before she was an assistant principal, Mrs. Fox was a sixth grade math and language arts teacher, as many students will recall. Years before that, she enjoyed a teenage life in Philadelphia, where she attended the Philadelphia High School for Girls, currently the only public school for girls. Mrs. Fox shares her dynamic high school experience and explains how she came to be a teacher:

Continued From Page 3

Describe your personality in high school.

Sophomore Vincent DeSanto and Senior Gigi Watson star in the upcoming spring production. The show premiered on March 18 at 7:30 in the high school auditorium and runs through March 20. Photo by: Mounika Muttineni is not falling head over heels for Conrad Birdie; instead he is falling head over heels for Kim. “Hugo is a gentle, loving boy who only wants the affection of Kim,” says Evan. While Kim is running around with Birdie, Hugo is trying desperately to win her back, a difficult task when a rock star is in town giving your girl all the attention. URSULA, played by Amanda Vandenburg, is quite possibly the biggest Conrad Birdie Fan in Sweet Apple. “She is obsessed and in love with Conrad Birdie. Ursula is a crazy fan girl who would die for just a chance to breathe the same air as Birdie,” says Amanda. Wherever Birdie is, Ursula and her scream are not far behind. THE MACAFEE FAMILY, comprising of Harry MacAafee (Malik Elarbi), Doris MacAfee (Regina Burgher), and Randy (Deepa Prasad) are your typical American family. Mr. and Mrs. MacAfee are trying to handle the drama of having a rock star living in their house and trying to control a love struck teenager just itching for the chance to get away. “Mr. MacAfee is very spirit, but he is also very controlling,” says Malik. “Randy seems to be the forgotten child and does what she can to get a little bit of attention,” says Deepa. MRS. PETERSON, Anna McGahey, and GLORIA, Emily Szal are two humorous characters. “Mrs.

Peterson is Albert’s crazy mother who is always manipulating him,” says Anna. While Albert is trying to handle the loss of his company, Mrs. Peterson is doing all she can to separate Rosie from Albert because she understands what Rosie is looking for and does not want it. She introduces Gloria in the hopes of replacing Rosie and distracting Albert. “Gloria is a tap dancing secretary who thinks she is amazing and wants to get into show biz,” says Emily. The Teens of Sweet Apple, Ohio, are just as you could imagine they would be. The kids are tripping over each other to get a glimpse at their god, Conrad Birdie. The mere sound of his name makes them scream and dance. When Conrad comes to visit Sweet Apple the girls go completely bonkers trying to impress him and win his heart. In the beginning of the show all they can talk about are Hugo and Kim’s relationship as they become pinned, but once Birdie arrives that is all that matters to them. “I live and breathe Conrad Birdie,” says Kaitlyn Hill. “No matter what the era teens are still the same, crazy for rock stars!” says Gwynne Richmond. The Adults of Sweet Apple are completely against the whole Conrad Birdie fling. They do everything in their power to restrain the kids from Birdie’s influence but in the end they just fall for him as well. “Birdie is your typical rock star parents love to hate,” says Emily Wilson.

A Season of New Beginnings by Mike Shannon

Yep, it’s that time of year again. The season of warmer weather, rain, and allergies is back. But, of course, it brings a bit of sunshine: spring sports. Possibly the most anticipated return in Upper Merion spring sports is the baseball team, who battled in a state tournament for an extended, emotional season. Baseball is just one of many spring sports, however. Others include softball, track, and girls’ lacrosse. Who could forget that memorable baseball run that continued until the last full week of school? The team, under head coach Jason Darnell and assistant coaches Ryan Albright and Tony Funsten (or, formally known in the gym as TONY FUNSTEN!), was able to

finish the regular season with an overall record of ten wins and seven losses. The boys continued far into the playoffs, but lost in the quarterfinals of the state playoffs to a tough Abington Heights team. The UM team is coming back hoping for another great season. The boys have some key losses to the team, like Joel Paradis and Kevin Neufer. Luckily, these losses are balanced by the return of a talented group of juniors, including Kyle Gaffney, Ray Gambone, and Justin Cunnane, to support the equally able seniors of this year. “We have a great bunch of guys returning and coming up,” states senior Ryan Dolga. “We are hopeful to return to the playoffs and make a run like last year.

Continued on Page 8

“I was outgoing, friendly, involved. I had friends from all different cliques. In Philly, cliques were divided by neighborhood, and it was nice that I could break into many of them.”

What were some of your favorites in music and movies? “I was into alternative music. The Cure and Depeche Mode were some of my favorite artists. I remember going to a U2 concert, which was huge back then. In movies I liked Pretty in Pink, Valley Girl, The Breakfast Club, and some other classics.”

The 80s sound great; what type of activities were you involved in? “I played volleyball, basketball, and softball. I was on all varsity teams but I did it more to be involved and have fun. I was in National Honor Society and in Student Council.”

Did you have any jobs? “I worked at lots of different places. I worked at a roller skating center, at a flower shop, and later doing data entry in downtown.”

What were some of your hobbies or what did you do for fun? “I liked to go to South Street a lot with my friends. We would also go to Kelly Drive to watch the rowing, to all of the different ‘teen dances,’ and drive down to the Jersey Shore on the weekends.”

Since we recently had the semi-formal, tell us a bit about the dances you had at your school.

“The only dances we had were the freshman social, the sock hop, which was like the semi-formal, and the junior and senior proms. We also had a winter dinner dance. It was very formal in that it was catered, but it was open to all grade levels. People actually danced and even break danced. All the boys that came were usually dates or guests, and they came from all over the city.”

It sounds like you had a fun social life; how were you academically speaking? “I was like 40 something in class, and I took several honors courses. For me, it wasn’t just about school work. I liked to be involved too. Girl’s High was rigorous, and it specialized in college level classes, CP classes were our ‘lowest’ level of classes.”

What was one of your most memorable experiences in high school? “During my freshmen year, the Challenger Space Shuttle blew up. It was completely unexpected and a huge deal. It was just a shocking moment like 9/11 that nobody saw coming.”

What is the biggest difference you see between teaching high school and middle school? “The students here definitely have more responsibility which is appropriate for their age. For me, when you’re a teacher you have a bigger group of colleagues. Here, my team really consists of Mr. Bauer, Mr. Fabrizio, Ms. Hoy, and Mr.Burnham.”

Finally, there’s been a lot of speculation about if you are actually sisters with Mrs. Helenski, would you like to comment on that? “Mrs. Helenski and I definitely resemble each other. But I am not commenting anything more about Mrs. Helenski.”

The Viking Call Is Calling You!

The Viking Call is looking for students who are interested in working on the newspaper next year. We need artistic students who want to take pictures, layout the paper, or draw comics. If you are strong in business or technology, you can help manage expenses or work on our website, vikingcall.com. If you like to write, you can do so for any of our sections: arts and entertainment, sports, opinion, global news, or school news. Working on the paper is a fun and fulfilling activity (that just happens to look great on your transcript), so stop by Ms. Williams’ room, B210, or e-mail jwilliams@umasd.gaggle.net to find out how to sign up for next year. Thanks for your interest and for reading, Amanda Grace, Tammy Slaughter, and Mounika Muttineni Co-Editors-in-Chief

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by Powell Davis

A Season of New Beginnings by Mike Shannon

Continued from Page 7

The Prom Fashion Show Line-up. Photo by: Dallas Stevens It’s all glam and glitz getting ready for prom. From the fabulous shoes to the stylin’ shades, prom fashion is hot. At this year’s prom fashion show, Kellie Manopello rocked a royal purple satin strapless gown with an empire waist splashed in a delicate rhinestones spray and an open back lined with lacing. Gorgeous! Ryan Flansbury flaunted his green vested tux. Gigi Watson was a vision in her ballroom style white dress with beading across the bodice and gathers in the skirt. Dom Enz, escorting Gigi, showed off his black tux and black vest, topped off with a white tie. Dressed in all white from top to bottom, Shiv Patel was looking fly with his date, Danielle Klingerman, Klingerman, herself dressed in a hot pink open back halter, and the couple was ready to steal the show. Montrez Lewis styled it up with a purple vest paired with his black tux. Did I mention his escort Stephanie Taylor with her jaw-dropping blue gown adorned with glamorous rhinestones? These were only a few of the pairs to strut their stuff down the lunchtime runway. So how does one get involved in

the prom lunch fashion show? Mrs. Yanocha explained, “You just have to give your class sponsor the names of ten boys and ten girls to be picked. If there are more models, it becomes a lottery.” She also described the differences between the show this year and the show in previous years, “Last year Men’s Warehouse was used, this year it was Tuxedo Junction.” As usual, the models did their own hair and makeup during the period before first lunch. What was the general response to the show? Male model and senior Montrez Lewis commented, “Overall, the show was a success. I think all the students did a good job of modeling, and the audience was very respectful.” Spectator Anthony Avery said, “The fashion show was thrilling; it had great fashionable clothing.” Junior Jasmine Sylla was also impressed, “It was cute! Everyone looked really pretty.” For this year’s prom fashion show, The Deb Shop provided dresses and Tuxedo Junction supplied tuxes, while Jane Kershaw of the Flower Girls contributed floral bouquets.

Video Game Club by Emna Bakillah

With all the different clubs and activities offered here at Upper Merion, you may not know about the Video Game Club. The Video Game Club started this year because of widespread requests from the student body. According to sophomore members of the club Dyana Baurley and Mckenzie Hollenbach, the Video Game Club is where students release stress from their crazy lives and just have fun. The meetings consist of students The Video Game Club deciding what they want to Photo by: Greg Alfaro play and then playing video games, either just for fun or competing in always welcomes any new members. tournaments against the other students The level of advancement in playing of Upper Merion. The video games played video games varies from person to vary; some popular ones are Guitar Hero, person. Some people have extremely Super Smash Brothers, and Madden developed gaming abilities, and NFL 10. While enjoying these games on others are still learning. Whatever the big screens of the LGI, students also level a participant is, the rest of have a place to socialize with friends and the club is always supportive and de-stress after a long hard day of school. never judgmental. As Mckenzie puts With around fifteen to twenty members it, “The meetings are pretty chill.” in attendance, the participants of the club The main goal for the future have a fun time. There is a strong male of the Video Game Club is to raise influence within the club, however many money and purchase its own gaming females enjoy the club as well. The mood systems. If you ever want to check of the meetings is very relaxing, and the out the Video Game Club and play meetings take place in a fun, enjoyable some video games or just unwind, environment. Participants of The Video stop by the iHelp room or LGI on Game Club is not too competitive and Tuesdays at 3pm. All are welcome.

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But everyone starts off with the same record, so we will just have to play our best.” This is especially true with the schedule of challenging games of the 2010 season. A few notable games are on April 8th and 9th against Kennedy Kendrick High School and Norristown High School, respectively. The softball team was also in the chase for championship glory last spring. The squad, coached by John Whitney and Katie Schneider, ended the regular season with a record of 11-6. Unfortunately, the girls lost in the first round of the playoffs; however, their spirit could not be diminished as the team looked forward to the next year. That time has finally come. Some big losses from last year include Jessica Moore, Nicole Kulp and Jordan Haines. The girls are confident, though, in maintaining a strong team led by Mia DiLella and Mariel DeSimone. “We had a good softball team last year, but hopefully we could go deeper in the playoffs,” Jenny DeSimone says. The ladies anticipate difficult games in the future, including Plymouth Whitemarsh on April 6th and Wissahickon on April 21st, but accept them in stride. “If we play the way that we did last year, we will be have no problem making it to the playoffs, but we have to take it one step at a time,” notes DeSimone. Coming around turn three is the girls’ track team under Joy Niemenski. “We have many assistants including Mr. Symonds, who will work with the long distance runners, Ms. Armenio, who will work with sprinters, and Ms. Bocella and Mr. Turlesky, both working with the throwers,” says Niemenski. The efforts of the coaches

and players was evident, with seven of the ladies qualifying for districts last season, including four individuals and the four by eight relay team, and Brianna Alvarez continuing to states. The girls hold many ambitions for the upcoming season: “We would like to see, as one of our goals, more girls make it to districts. The second goal of our season is to improve as individuals in the events each girl is participating, as well as to come together as a team to support each other during competitions and in practice.” Niemenski said. When asked about any records being shattered this year, she added, “I would love to see some of the records from 1982 made in 2010.” This objective is definitely obtainable, especially with the new leaders arising this season. “The seniors are the captains,” Coach Niemenski confirmed. “They teach the underclassmen how to work together as a team and not just for own personal gain.” The girls hope to push off the season with a strong start so they can pursue late into the school year. The ladies have many important meets and competitions to look forward to, like the Penn Relays on April 22nd, the Trojan Track Classic on May 6th, the Suburban One League Championships at Plymouth Whitemarsh on May 14th and 15th, the District 1 Meet at Coatesville High School on May 21st and 22nd, and, if they qualify, the state meet at Shippensburg University on May 29th and 30th. So, out go the winter sports and in come the spring sports. The baseball team strives for a district repeat, softball hopes for redemption, and girls’ track aims for districts. Looks like spring has more to offer than just April showers and May flowers.

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Strutting Your Stuff For Prom


Viking Call: March 2010- Issue 6