By Olivia Tyler (17)
On Friday October 7, 2016, the Wethersfield High School DECA chapter attended their first conference at the Aqua Turf in Plantsville, Connecticut. As an opening activity to the season, they participated in various events and spent the day with members from other chapters as an introduction to the season.
“This trip gave students the opportunity to find out about DECA, meet new members, and join together as a team”, said Mrs. Ricardi, marketing teacher and DECA advisor at WHS.
DECA (Distributive Education Clubs of America) is open to all students enlisted in a marketing course at WHS with the goal of competing in the annual national conference. According to the organization, “DECA prepares emerging leaders and entrepreneurs for careers in marketing, finance, hospitality and management in high schools and colleges around the globe.”
The conference was used to prepare students for April 2017’s DECA National Conference in Anaheim, CA .
Events were varied with all events from a personal selling event to a “Dress for Success” event. Within these workshops students were able to get a hands on experience with judges and students that they will later compete against.
Mr. Palazzo, business teacher and DECA Advisor, said, “I enjoyed the Dress for Success workshop because of the mock interviews.”
The DECA Conference is intended to be a yearly event for students. Mrs. Ricardi, DECA Advisor, said, “Of course [WHS students will return], I think it was valuable for students and something we continue to look forward to yearly!”
Isabel Correa (18)
Amongst the many clubs at Wethersfield High School, one of the largest clubs is Pieces Literary Magazine. For those who may not know “Lit Mag”, it is a club that is advised by Tracy Riordan, who pieces together the work of artists and writers to make a magazine.
“It can give a place where artist and writers can hang out with other artist and writers, and be appreciated for what they do because there's only a few who get recognized in the school,” Advisor Mrs. Riordan said.
This year, members are working to complete the first magazine for January. The magazines will be available at the media center. Co-presidents Sara Truex and Belle Opper plan to sell them for 50 cents a book to help fundraise for the group.
Other plans for Lit Mag include promoting the club, starting drawing and writing warm-ups to boost creativity within the group, and possibly having school bake sale this December.
In the community Lit Mag has collaborated with the Keane Foundation to bring out creativity to the youth of Wethersfield, CT. Lit Mag gives a positive reputation to Wethersfield High school around the town.
Mrs. Riordan said, “It shows the youth that the older kids care about them and that the high school isn’t as scary as they thought it would be.”
Currently, Lit Mag is making bags made out of fabric and yarn for students in Haiti. The club is helping Haiti after the destruction caused by Hurricane Matthew.
This natural disaster caused buildings to collapse, contaminated water sources and created food shortages. The bags are perfect for not only for school supplies, but also to carry grains and other food sources.
Lit Mag also plans to aid other parts of the world like Rwanda, Africa. Soon, the club plans to make themed boxes and send them to Rwanda with art and writing supplies. The club is planning to Skype with the school to help them plan their first few days.
As you can tell Lit Mag is making a difference in the world and, most importantly, bringing a positive reputation and acceptance to the school.
By Angela Sollima (17)
Practice, focus, and dedication have always brought us to the top. Performing music by Lynyrd Skynyrd, The Beatles, and Steve Miller Band, the Wethersfield High School Marching Band is coming at you with their 2016 Field Show called “FLY”.
This year's field show is dedicated to assistant director Mr. Ned Smith who unfortunately passed away this August. Mr. Smith was a very kind soul and was a true motivation to this band. He would always be there at every practice and would encourage every individual in the band to succeed. He was a kind-hearted, charismatic person and we will truly miss him.
The preparation and practice schedule has been pretty intense for every member. I spoke with a Wethersfield High School Marching Band member Brianna Platania about her opinion on our upcoming competitions and how well she thinks we have prepared to kick some behind this season.
“I would say the most exciting event happening this season is the fact that we will be going to Nationals this year. This is our senior year and I feel it would be a great way to end the season,” said Platania.
The schedule for the season is typically the same every year, but now will end later because we will be attending the USBANDS Nationals Competition on November 12th, 2016 at MetLife Stadium.
However, as orderly as they look on the field, behind the scenes at rehearsal is where they face most of our difficult challenges. Focus is the aspect that the band may lack the most at times, but we always manage to stay positive and spread good vibes throughout the band season.
“I feel that we need to work on helping separate individuals in the areas where they need the most help. If everyone steps up and realizes where others need the help, we will be able to succeed at a much higher level” Platania said.
Personally, the Band is like one big family. We are all such great friends and I wouldn’t have wanted to spend these four years of high school with anybody else. It just feels so great knowing how much we’ve progressed from August until now. Platania. said “I just honestly love being with my friends, which makes the experience ten times better. Also, having that feeling of accomplishment that runs through your body as the audience gives us such a great reaction, it’s awesome knowing that all our hard work has really paid off.”
By Briyanna Labbie (17)
In order to support the effort to bring education to Tanzania, Wethersfield High School’s Interact
Club is selling Asante Sana’s products for donations for the upcoming November and December holidays. Asante Sana For Education is an organization in Tanzania to bring free education to every child in the area.
All items are made in Tanzania. Selections for purchasing from Asante Sana include headbands, bracelets, small bags, necklaces, and more. Prices for the products range from $5-$20.
The Asante Sana (which means,“thank you very much” in Swahili) program was founded by Ashley Washburn in 2010 after a trip to Tanzania, in which she volunteered in primary schools and realized the desire of the youth to learn. All donations made to Asante Sana support building classrooms, offices, latrines, teacher housing, and recreational areas. Two new schools have recently been completed.
Asante Sana has other programs designed to give a student a quality education. One of these programs, called, “Students Empowering Students”, uses writing prompts from college students, Skype, and volunteer trips to Tanzania to help teach students English and computer skills, while also educating them about the outside world.
The Interact Club is “a club that focuses on community-based volunteer work,” said member Kady Allen, “but we also outreach to other organizations to make the town better as well...”
Besides partnering with Asante Sana, The Wethersfield High School Interact Club also partners with the Rocky Hill Rotary Club, and helps organizations such as “Source to the Sea” and the Mercy House in Hartford, CT.
Upcoming Interact Club events include a Car Wash on Saturday, October 29th and the Miles for Mercy run/walk that will be held on Sunday, October 30th from 9-12am on the Wethersfield High School Track, followed by the Asante Sana fundraiser throughout the next month.
by Kelly Lamo (17)
Mrs. Ricardi is the marketing teacher and DECA club advisor at Wethersfield High School. She has been teaching for 29 years and has been a great addition to the WHS staff and community for 14 years.
Mrs. Ricardi has had an interest for teaching and education since she was little. She started as a Special Ed major in college, and after experiencing concerns of not being able to find a job, she switched her major to business. After college, she landed a job where she was able to teach basic business and employability skills to students. Mrs. Ricardi described that experience and job opportunity, “the best of both worlds.”
As an educated consumer, Mrs. Ricardi finds the subject of marketing very important and enjoys teaching it to kids, as everyone is a consumer. She describes the importance of marketing as, “I think as a consumer you need to understand what businesses do and how they want to lasso you in.”
Teaching at the high school level is a passion for Mrs. Ricardi and she especially enjoys seeing students be successful and apply those skills that they learned in her class.
Mrs. Ricardi teaches both marketing 1 and marketing 2. In marketing 1, she teaches students the basic marketing principles that surround the marketing mix and general economic concepts. Marketing 2 is where students apply the skills. They also participate in a sales unit and a few specialized units that the students get to choose.
Mrs. Ricardi also runs the marketing club DECA. She says the club is not just for students interested in marketing, as the club draws from all of the business topics: including management, sales, and accounting.
Students participate in civic and social projects and they recently did a leadership workshop.
Members of DECA also have the opportunity to compete at DECA conferences or they can just be apart of the club. Those who choose to compete at the conferences self-study in certain areas, which directs to their learning.
Mrs. Ricardi believes DECA is a, “great application of skills, but I also love that they get to meet other people and network, which is key.”
DECA members recently competed at the state conference, and 19 WHS students qualified for nationals. Next up for Mrs. Ricardi and DECA members, is the national conference in Nashville, Tennessee, which takes place on the weekend of April 23-26, 2016.
by Stacy SantaCruz (16)
WETHERSFIELD,CONN.-- Coding Club is more than just coding, it’s everything. Our future social media will depend on it.
You may think, how beneficial coding will be in the future? Coding is what is in our social media sites now, for example Tumblr; Tumblr uses coding to be able to add special effects on your blog site.
Mr. Kess, a physics teacher opened Coding Club for all students to come and try with some or, no knowledge of coding.Coding Club is very essential to our everyday lives; because there will be a moment where you will want to look through social media to create your profile or something, but it’s all in code; it is also to help you and teach you step by step how to code, and how to use it in the real world.
Coding Club was made under the name “Technology/Coders Club” but coding itself in the club was made about 5 years ago.
“Coding Club is a place where you can come, and learn about coding, if you’ve only heard of it and never done it before. Or if you’ve done coding before, you can come and work on it there too. Sometimes, I’ll show people like, a specific example of something you can do, or, most times they will just work on some project of their own”, said Joseph Kess, Science/Physics Teacher at Wethersfield High School.
Joseph Kess, Science/Physics Teacher, and an academic advisor of the Coding Club at Wethersfield High School, had said, “...so many things now essentially have a computer built into them,even smaller devices. That it is becoming a more and more important thing to learn.”
Everything is made up of code, whether you know it or not. There are devices that have code, that are in your everyday household; you just never noticed.
Joseph Kess, Science/Physics Teacher at Wethersfield High School, said, “ But now that we are headed into this, what they call the internet of things, where your thermostat is on the internet and your refrigerator is on the internet. Those devices, again now, require people; the manufacture process, who can write that really technical code again, because your refrigerator has a chip in it, but it’s not running Windows. So it’s kind of interesting that we’ve come full circle again, to where now it's a good idea to learn the real basic levels of coding and doing it by hand.”
“...I think it’s going to grow, I think there is more interesting coding, the Coding Club…”, said Joseph Kess, Science/Physics Teacher at Wethersfield High School.
This club was more made for those who just wanted to learn coding or even try something new. Coding is a universal process, that you can communicate and learn from; it would help you in anything from social media to more technical things, like writing your own code or making projects.
by Andreya Patinha (17)
Wethersfield High School Marching Band is popular at parades, football games, and competitions. But what about the jazz ensemble and honors band?
The jazz ensemble is a group of 16-22 students who enjoy playing jazz. Jazz ensemble has practice on Tuesday mornings before school starts at 7:40.
The honors band is a group of people who want to play at a higher level than the band. Pieces are much harder and complex. In the honors band there are generally between 30-45, which is a small wind ensemble. Honors band has practice on Thursday evenings.
Both of the groups, plus band and orchestra, are led by music teacher Mr.David Dion. He has been working here since 1999. He did not start the groups. Mr.Dion says that the past music teachers kept the jazz ensemble and honors band. It started sometime around the 1950’s.
At the concerts, students invite family and friends to see them perform. The concerts always ends with the audience clapping and them being a success. It may look easy but behind the magical melodies and perfect pitches, both bands put in a ton of hard work. Students practice with the full ensemble weekly and they have to find time to practice on their own time.
A trick that Mr.Dion uses to help students practice more is finding a piece that students will learn from. Most of the times, the students enjoy the pieces that Mr.Dion has chosen. He says “The songs that the students like, they practice and try harder and therefore they get more out of it. When the students like something it’s obvious and no doubt the performance will be better.”
Christina DeAngelo, a senior clarinet player in honors band said, “ The pieces we play for honors band are normally my favorites more so than the ones in the concert because they’re harder, which makes them more fun to play.”
The bands get invited to go to a adjudication festival every other year. These competitions are different than marching band competitions. In marching band competitions the other schools are constant. Southington and Cheshire High School just about always compete against WHS. At adjudication festivals the competition always changes. The schools are always changing.
The students like Mr.Dion. He shares stories when he was in high school and students share stories that happened now. I asked Mr.Dion what his favorite thing about being a music teacher and his response was perfect.
“This probably sounds cliche, but we play so much music and played in so many different competitions. It’s not the music isn’t important to me, I’ve heard all that before but watching students when they come in as a freshman and then leave as a senior. Not only do they become much better musician. Just watching them grow into adults and watching music become a part of that. Seeing how they take the things that they learn in music in terms of how it works together towards a common goal how to be self-disciplined, how to be a more effective member of a team, and how they take those skills and become adults when they leave as seniors. To me, that’s the most satisfying.”
Mr.Dion cares for the music department tremendously, he helps students play pieces while teaching them life lessons. The jazz ensemble and honors band is another way to show these lovely life lessons.
by Josh Machado (2016)
For their 2015 competitive season the Wethersfield High School Marching Band isn’t performing what some might call “traditional marching band repertoire”. Rather, their show features the iconic music of Led Zeppelin. Their show, entitled “Zeppelin”, begins with Black Dog, followed by Kashmir, and closes with a song everyone can sing along to; Stairway to Heaven.
“The show this year is really exciting. It’s a lot of fun to perform, and everyone in the band is really enjoying it,” said Maggie Fitzpatrick, a senior clarinet player.
The band begins prepping for their competitive season as early as July. A lot of work goes into coordinating their field show. The band spends over 10 hours a week working to perfect their program in hopes of improving their score and competing at their highest level.
The WHSMB travels to competitions around the state of Connecticut, competing with bands from states all throughout the northeast. The band is judged on different aspects of their performance, including their musical and visual execution. Each group is then given a score based on their performance.
The Wethersfield High School Marching Band has been competing competitively with bands across all of New England for roughly the past 20 years, according to band director David Dion.
Through the past two decades the WHSMB has continuously set the bar higher, year after year. "I think the repertoire [the band] plays is more challenging [than years past]," said Matt Bronson, percussion instructor and graduate of the WHS marching band.
The band competes every Saturday from late September all the way up to their final, New England States Championship performance on the night of October 31st. Last year WHS came in 4th place, but students have higher hopes this year with “Zeppelin”.
by Veronica Catricala (2016)
Spinning flags, tossing rifles and sabres, and dancing are all part of the color guard life. Color guard welcomes everyone with any ability and is an activity that brings the group together.
Junior, Devyn Clark expressed, “I joined color guard because the activity seemed really interesting to me. I thought the whole idea of spinning to music was really pretty and neat.” Another new member, Lily Langdon (sophomore) added, “My friend’s parents told me to join because their daughter was in band. Last year I didn't do it because I thought I was going to the greater Hartford academy of the arts, but I didn't. I was wishing I had done it last year so I joined this year.”
With every sport, hard work and determination have to be presented and portrayed. Both Clark and Langdon admitted that this activity does not come easy and naturally. Clark said, “The hardest part of this activity is doing foot and body while doing the flag work. For example, knowing where your feet should be and what position they should be in.”
Langdon agreed and responded with, “The hardest part has been when I am having trouble with a move or toss and I want to give up. I think I'm never going to get it and it gets frustrating and seems hopeless, and useless to even try.”
Currently, the Wethersfield marching band is more than half way through the season. Each practice the guard improves tremendously, working harder each time we repeat a move or section of the show. If improvement wasn’t shown, what would be the point?
When asked about noticing selfimprovement along with team improvement, Clark stated, “Yes, I have seen improvement in myself and the team so far this season. At the very beginning of the season (band camp/practices) I had a hard time remembering all the work and putting it together. I also had trouble on tosses [releasing and catching] and being on time with the counts [of the work]. I think everyone on the team has improved on basics, staying focused, and looking professional during performances.”
Determination, hard work, and the passion to continue something you love to do are the keys to success in life. Color guard is a sport I can be completely engulfed in and direct all my
time towards. I am extremely happy to have welcomed new members onto this incredible team and that they enjoy it as much as I do.
by Matthew Burwell (2016)
Back in the 1990’s, Mrs. Susan Fennelly, a teacher at Wethersfield High School, started the “JETS” club. This club doesn’t play football or fly planes. “JETS” stands for the Junior Engineering and Technical Society.
The WHS JETS team consists of high school students who design products which assist people with disabilities undertake new and difficult tasks at work. The newly designed products are then entered into a national competition called the SourceAmerica AbilityOne Design Challenge. This competition puts other high school teams from across the country in a design battle.
In 2014, the JETS team collaborated with CW Resources, a notforprofit company which employs the disabled, to design “The Path” which won the Challenge National Championship. The PATH is a work station that helped a disabled man take on a more complex job at CW Resources and make more money.
The 2015-2016 JETS team is currently comprised of 40 students. They meet weekly to develop possible solutions to technical problems faced by a worker at CW Resources. The team helps students give back to the community by helping those citizens that need help most. As one of the new additions to the team, senior Piere Franklin, said “...the main part [of the club] is it's about helping people.”
The overall competition that the products are submitted to is the Source America Design Challenge. According to the Source America website this competition challenges “...the students and the nonprofits join together to brainstorm ideas and design workplace technologies that could create a more productive workplace or generate new job opportunities for people with disabilities.”
This is a national competition with more than 300 schools participating. Each team must create a product, an essay and video covering the design product and impact it has.
Judges then whittle down the submissions to five finalists. During finals presentation, the five teams are invited to Washington D.C. to present their projects.
Not only do the teams learn from other presenters, but see presentations from representatives of the disabled community. In 2014, WHS students saw a presentation by Gregory Gadson, a retired army colonel, and a star of the movie, “Battleship.” Gadson lost both of his legs serving in the military, but fortunately was the first military personnel fitted with a new prosthetic leg that power at the knee.
Over the years, the JETS’ projects have changed a great deal. At one point, the team built and flew model rockets. After that, the JETS national organization started sponsoring the competition for assistive technologies. Mrs Fennelly said that “...I asked the kids do you want to do rockets or do you want to go back to the [design] program and they decided that we go back to this program and that was fine with me.”
It is not an exaggeration to say the WHS JETS team is a shining beacon of hope. It shows all the good that can come from people, even of high school students, and illustrates the absolute best form of human nature, giving back to others. All members are proud to say that they are members of the Wethersfield High School JETS team.