by: Sarah Karwic
Many people are familiar with the boys hockey team at Wethersfield High, but are unaware that there is also a girls hockey team. The team is a collective of 18 players from Avon, Southington, Newington, Litchfield, RHAM, and Wethersfield, 5 of which come from Wethersfield.
Wethersfield became involved in this team through current WHS senior Paige Muscillo. Muscillo states that when she was a sophomore, she received an email asking if she would be interested in joining the Avon-Southington co-op team. Since joining, she has loved being a member of the team and bringing in other Wethersfield players.
The team has not been immune to the changes brought by COVID-19. In their practices and games, they have had to make adjustments to comply with new regulations. According to Muscillo they “went from regular practice with masks, to only four players and a coach on the ice with masks.” In their games they have made accommodations to playing with masks, Muscillo stated, “One of the biggest differences from years before is wearing a mask on the ice, with mask breaks every 10 minutes. Due to this, it really slows down the game which can either work in our favor or the opposite.”
Off the ice they have had to make adjustments in the locker rooms. According to Muscllo they are still allowed to use them, but depending on the rink they are at and the size of the locker room there are limits to how many people are allowed in it. At the Newington arena they are only allowed to have 15 people at a time.
Spectatorship has changed too. Each player is allowed two guests, but only at home games.
Despite all of the added troubles caused by COVID-19, the team is going strong. The team is currently ranked second for their conference and fifth in the state. They have also only lost three out of fifteen games this season, so they are not letting COVID-19 ruin their season.
By: Owen Gagne
It has been over a year since Wethersfield Public Schools closed due to COVID-19 and the CIAC (Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference) has officially allowed us to have races. Coach Jeff Sanborn, head coach of girls and the boys distance squad, is going to speak on the topic and tell us more.
There has been lots of speculation about the upcoming outdoor track season, but as of March 1, the CIAC has allowed for races and sent out schedules. Coach Sanborn said, “We are going to have dual meets only, no invitationals, and 6 of the 7 meets will be at home.”
This is great news for all track athletes, especially considering last year's season was cancelled entirely.
This outdoor season will be a lot different than the indoor season WHS just had. Coach Sanborn told us that some guidelines have changed, for example the team does not need to wear masks during races. Also, unlike the indoor season, there is a set schedule for the team to follow and WHS can race other schools rather than just intersquad.
Training in the outdoor season will also dramatically change for athletes in field events from what it was like in the indoor season. For those training for the field events (javelin, discus, high jump, etc.), there are facilities outdoors that become useful to them and there are dedicated coaches for each event rather than just a head coach.
Distance and sprint training will stay similar, but with some minor adjustments because the track is now available for workouts instead of the parking lot.
Compared to previous outdoor track seasons, WHS has significantly less people on the team. “Our numbers are down, we got the rosters this morning and we have 30-40 kids on each side fewer than what we expected to see,” says Coach Sanborn. This puts pressure on certain athletes because WHS does not have the depth that they are used to having when put in competition.
Although the team has no invitational meets this year, the state and state open meets will still be held normally, but there will not be a New England meet. This changes up how the coaches will set up meets because rather than having one athlete focus on qualifying for New Englands, they will focus on helping the team win a state championship. For example, instead of that athlete focusing on only the mile, they will run the 4x8, mile, and 3200m events.
For this outdoor season, Coach Sanborn plans on focusing more on training in the first three weeks because, unlike previous years, there is a week and a half break between indoor and outdoor rather than 6-9 weeks. With this change, he expects athletes to perform a lot better early on in the season than usual. Also, with the young team that WHS has, he expects a lot of improvement from his athletes throughout the season.
This outdoor season is an interesting one, but every athlete is looking forward to it. You can click here to find the team schedule and results as the season progresses. Nothing has been said about spectators yet, but since 6/7 of the meets are home, show up and support if allowed!
by: Ajla Turnadzic
While the class of 2021 were just juniors when we found out about COVID-19, no one really thought it would affect our senior year. However, when our senior year did begin, everything began to change.
The hybrid model caused most seniors to just want to stay home. While on the other hand, a few of them stuck to hybrid this entire year.
I got to speak to senior Lejla Guster, who has learned in the hybrid model for the whole year. While she said she was in the Wethersfield Public Schools her whole life, she never felt like a year was more different. For some seniors, it was a very “off” year and a year that caused them to lack motivation.
March 13 2020 is when it was announced that we were going into quarantine. This was announced via email by Superintendent Micheal Emmett. I asked Guster on how she felt on that day, “It was such a weird day, I remember waking up and I was excited because I was thinking that having a couple days off will be great. I didn’t think much of it.” The two week quarantine quickly turned into four months of remote learning and another almost eight months in the hybrid model.
As said, most seniors were sick of going back and forth to school and online. This caused a ton of them to just stay online. However, for some that were fully online, it caused them to struggle with participation, studying, homework, etc. It was a hard adjustment because all of us were raised in an environment where all of our schooling was done in person.
We were all 7th graders when we first got our “own” chromebooks but we were 9th graders when we got to actually bring them home. Guster did stay hybrid throughout the year and said, “I would stay home sometimes just because I didn’t want to be alone in class. However, when I was in class with 1 or 2 people, it was still nice because I was able to work better.”
The whole year felt like a blur. Some may say, the virus ‘stole’ their senior year of high school and the events that were supposed to be held. Guster had said “We missed out on the pep rally which is what us as seniors were looking forward to. When you're a freshman or a sophomore, it doesn’t really matter to you”. This is the year that was supposed to be one to remember.
Now that thankfully we are coming to a full re-opening that is full time in school or full time online, this will cause us to all reconnect. This will cause the seniors to see each other one more time, those could be the last few conversations we ever have with our peers, classmates, and friends.
I asked Guster for her opinion regarding her input on seniors who choose not to come back and she had said, “High school is once in a lifetime experience and you will never be able to experience it again”.
By Gino Santilli
As COVID-19 numbers are declining and the number of vaccine applicants have increased, WHS has announced we will be making the transition to going back into the classroom full-time.
Underclassmen were welcomed into the classroom March 15 and upperclassmen are to be welcomed back March 29.
However, if students are still not comfortable returning, they are allowed to stay a full remote learning. Students, as of publication, will be returning and will be in school for a full five days per week.
Many seniors will be returning in hopes to obtain some of their senior year they feel was taken from them. Senior Joe Raposo stated about this year, “It was impacted very hard. I had to stay home and did not get the full senior experience of my last two years of high school and sports, as my senior basketball season was cut short.”
Many questions rose when the announcement was made that the kids will be going back to school. We are here today to answer some of those questions. We have interviewed John Gallivan and questioned his approach to full time learning.
When Gallivan was asked about precautions, he said, “I will continue to wear my mask, I have had the first dose of my vaccine already with the second one on March 31. I will maintain social distancing as much as possible. My reaction to the first shot was not great and I'm not looking forward to the second shot, but I also recognize that 24 hours of discomfort is a small price to pay to help return our school to normal.”
We then asked Gallivan how he would accommodate the few remote learners. He responded that, “I will continue to work with my online students the same way as I always have, whether there are 2 or 20. As teachers we need to make sure that remote learners are still getting the best possible educational experience. With Google Classroom, Khan Academy, and online discussions, remote students really are able to access the class and me as much as students who are sitting in the room.”
Many have wondered what some teachers' thoughts were about COVID-19 and the whole situation.
“Obviously it is a challenge to teach two distinct groups- students in the building and the ones at home. Nothing about COVID has been easy, and this is just a challenge that we need to overcome as teachers and as students. I think one day we'll look back on this and hopefully be more appreciative of the educational process and the ability to interact with our peers,”Gallivan said.
Thank John Gallivan for sharing those words of wisdom with us today. You heard it here first folks. Wethersfield High School is finally making the highly anticipated transition back to full time education. Stay tuned for updates on how this goes!
By: Chase Millen
Wethersfield High School offers several spring sports including baseball, lacrosse, volleyball, tennis, track and field, softball, and a few other extracurricular activities. A lot of the restrictions have changed in the past few months, and they will continue to change, so we must adapt.
In order to play any sport this spring, a waiver must be read and signed by the student as well as their parent or legal guardian to ensure that they are aware of the possible risks involving the virus and extracurricular activities.
It is always uncertain what might happen during the season. A team could get completely shut down for two weeks, or a team might get lucky and have nothing holding them back for the entire season. All sports will still be required to wear masks when they aren’t actively competing.
However, volleyball players are required to wear a mask even during competition because it is indoors, while every other sport is played outdoors and they don’t require a mask during active competition. Most sports will have a 16-20 game season along with a state tournament.
Each sport has a specific set of guidelines that must be followed. For example, in baseball, each team will use their own balls while on defense as well as disinfecting them regularly. Masks will also be required during close contact, so in the dugout or at a pitcher's mound visit. There will be no pre or post-game handshakes between teams, no sharing water bottles, a few obvious rules during the pandemic.
According to the Athletic Director at Wethersfield High School, Mr. Maltese, none of the spring sports should be impacted by the virus any more or less than any other sport. As long as all athletes follow the correct protocol, it should be a successful season.
Practices and games will be affected the same as the winter sports. If any player or coach tests positive, contact tracing will be done to determine whether the athlete or the entire team will be temporarily shut down to quarantine.
Maltese believes that if all sports follow guidelines, then they should be just fine, however, golf has the lowest chance due to the fact that it is easier to stay six feet away from teammates and opponents. Also, due to the fact that ten out of the eleven sports teams will play outside, spring sports will hopefully not be impacted too much. After the basketball teams and wrestling were ended prematurely this winter, we all are hoping that no other team has to go through what those teams had to go through.
By: Anis Nurkic
COVID-19 is a global pandemic. COVID-19 has killed over half a million people in the US over the past 12 months, but little has been said for teens that have the virus.
What happens to them? What are the effects? I interviewed a 16 year old Hartford-area student to find out.
“COVID hit hard,” he said. “Personally for me, I had all the known symptoms from fevers, to headaches, to even body chills. I usually woke up really early in the morning and had to start my day off by quarantining myself from the rest of my family,” he said.
I also wanted to know some of the changes he had to make to his day, after he got the virus. “I could not really leave my room at all, and having a younger sibling. I definitely did not want to risk anything further. I could not even eat dinner with my family at the dinner table because I was so sick and exhausted. I could not stop coughing and breathing in and out was the worst,” he said.
What would be the first thing you would want to do once the pandemic is officially over? Vacation? Eating out? Spend time with friends and family? The options are endless. “As soon as the pandemic is over, I would love to first spend time with my family and friends, and go out on road trips with them. I surely do miss it,” said the 16 year old.
With the recent anniversary of COVID-19, we all have been able to remember what life was like pre-COVID. No masks, no mandates, absolutely nothing. You could have parties with hundreds of people and do whatever you wanted with how many people you wanted. The big question, and as proved by our 16-year-old COVID survivor, is it is just not worth the risk.
Trouble breathing? Fever? Cough? Those symptoms of COVID-19 will start to knock you out sooner than you think.
Even with the horrible effects of the Coronavirus, we can definitely reflect on this experience once it is over. Whether you caught the virus yourself or not it still is important to understand how thankful we should be for staying healthy at times like this and at our best.
When COVID-19 is all gone and wrapped up, it is going to be a great chance to start something like a new life. The possibilities of what to do and with whom are endless. From vacation to eating out, to spending time with family and friend,s and even birthday parties; it will all be possible.
Leave a comment down below about what YOU would like to do post COVID-19 and if you could change something about the current situation what would you change.
By: Samara Irizarry and Shanelle Lewis
Wethersfield High School has given many students opportunities for their future once graduating. Students are given local scholarships (Dollars For Scholars) that benefit those that reside in Wethersfield. Unfortunately that is not the case for CREC Open Choice students that also attend WHS.
Capital Region Education Council (CREC) is an organization that creates high quality programs for people within cities such as Hartford. This has given a window of opportunity to Hartford students to study in suburban towns.
The Dollars for Scholars program has been assisting local students at Wethersfield for years now. It’s always been a go to since it’s only requirement has ever been to attend school at Wethersfield and be a resident of the town. However, nobody has taken the time to consider the students that spend the bulk of their academic years at Wethersfield school’s as CREC open choice students in these scholarships.
This was until five former students of WHS: Erin Robles, Yasmin Lazu, Amayia Giscombe, Lauren Mcalister and Kiara Lazu, took the initiative to start The Primary Project.
This project focuses on the needs of CREC students at the high school who can’t qualify for a Dollars for Scholars scholarship simply because of their residency. They're creating a new scholarship to help relieve some of the financial burden of college these students may have to carry without it.
We interviewed members of the team and they sent their shared responses.
“The Primary Project promotes visibility and education on diverse cultures that students might not be aware of. Wethersfield is a majority white town and we want students to hear the stories of their BIPOC peers’ that may be different to their own,” says Yasmin and Amayia.
Open choice students at WHS have also expressed their opinions towards this. “I feel like not being able to apply discriminates against the choice students. In a way it reminds us that we are not part of the community although we attend school at WHS and have friends here. It’s sad, but The Primary Project will change that,” says WHS senior and open choice student Lynn Blot.
CREC Students have made major contributions towards the Wethersfield Community and this program's goals will help amplify their voices.
The Primary Project has three main pillars that they follow: yellow, red and blue.
Yellow represents community. “CREC students are a crucial part of our town because they participate in town events, do community service, and contribute lifelong connections.”
Red is for advocacy, “In our years at Wethersfield High School we have seen a need for both students and staff to advocate for marginalized communities.”
And finally, blue for culture. “We believe it is important that students recognize and value their own cultures as well as all the cultures around them.” The Primary Project uses these core values to help determine recipients of their scholarship.
Additionally, members of the program have reported gaining support from Wethersfield High School as well as working closely with social studies teacher Doris Duggins and the school's BSU (Brothers & Sisters United) club. Principal Tom Moore and other staff members at WHS have also conveyed their support towards The Primary Project.
Team members Amayia Giscombe and Yasmin Lazu say, “It’s been exciting to see how staff, students, and members of our town have expressed their support.”
The community of Wethersfield can help bring awareness to The Primary Project. You can support them by following their Instagram page (@theprimaryproj), sharing their posts or messages, or even purchasing their t-shirts and hand designed stickers in their store.
For further information and to buy apparel and gear to support their vision, visit The Primary Projects website: https://www.theprimaryproj.com/
By: Morgan Cathcart
Wethersfield High School offers two nutrition classes, the first, Nutrition I, specializing in baking, the other, Nutrition II, specializing in cooking. This class is open to all students, however, prioritizes upperclassmen. It is taught by Mrs. Leuschner and Mrs. Bailey, both of whom are trying to make the best of this unusual situation.
The WHS nutrition classes have changed drastically since the COVID-19 pandemic hit. Shifting to a hybrid model, nutrition teacher Mrs. Leuschner has had to find the best way to teach these nutrition classes.
“The biggest thing that has changed is so much stuff that we have to do online, and I have so many students that are cooking or doing labs at home,” WHS nutrition teacher Mrs. Leuschner stated.
What was once a hands- on and team-driven class is now individual from home. Students have the option to provide ingredients themselves or can pick up kits from school with all the ingredients they will need for the weekly lab.
Full remote WHS junior Emily Messina says that “Mrs. Leuschner has made a fun learning environment despite any challenges of being at home. I have learned many new cooking and baking methods, even while being at home!”
Despite all of the changes and challenges to this class, Mrs. Leuschner is still finding the positives. “It is really hard, but there is always a benefit. The benefit is, I only have a couple kids in here. I have a lot more individual time with the kids that are in, so that has been really really great,” Mrs. Leuschner said.
Even through all of the challenges and changes with COVID-19, Mrs. Leuschner has proven that one thing remains: Everyone needs to eat, and you might as well eat something fresh, creative, and made with care. Interested in cooking and the culinary arts, talk to Mrs. Leuschner or Mrs. Bailey to hear more about our Nutrition courses at WHS!
by: Ava Ahmetovic
Living in a pandemic is not the most convenient for the lifestyle most people want and need. Most are confined to the four corners of their house.
Since the pandemic started, you can’t see your family, you can’t travel, and you have to keep a mask on 24/7. So if the pandemic was going to end, what is the first thing you would do?
People who we used to see everyday are no longer in our life as much! Family is so important that people will wait outside hospitals to see family from their hospital bed window.
For Mr. Martin, an English teacher at WHS, he just wants to see his family. He said, “I have not seen my family in months, and have not hugged my mom in a year. The first thing I would do is spend more time with my family.”
Most families are split up because elder people can’t be around everyone 24/7. “I want to spend time with my parents, brother, sisters and their families,” said Mrs. Niemic, a psychology teacher at WHS. Lots of people would agree for family time to be the #1 thing to do when the pandemic is over.
There’s always amazing places to see, and go but with a slight travel ban we are to live and admire where we live and for most that may not be enough.
Traveling would probably be the #2 things on people list on what to do after the pandemic. Social studies teacher Mr. Sand said, “I will travel anywhere! But this is the longest I've gone in the last forty years without being on a plane or leaving New England.“
Traveling definitely is a luxury and expensive for most. If you’ve got an eye for good prices and the heart to travel good for you! Gracie Leahy, a current student also said, “I'd travel the world with my friends.” Nothing better than to kick back with some friends on a tropical island.
“I am taking a trip to Hawaii! I want to visit a volcano, learn more about the culture/lifestyle, and go coral reef diving. My plan is to make it happen in the summer of 2022,” says Brandon Chatfield, a science teacher.
We can use this experience to reflect on how grateful we are to have been healthy for the pandemic, and we can also use this time to grieve on our loved ones who put up a good fight. In the end when the pandemic vanishes, there will be plenty to be happy about whether you spend time with family or travel. The world has endless possibilities for new experiences.
by: Chris Pinchera
In a year where nothing is guaranteed, I'm looking to see how students and teachers feel online school has affected the school community and how we learn.
How do teachers see online schooling? Is it effective, is it more difficult and are students getting as much as they are putting in?
I took these questions over to one of the most respected teachers in our school, English teacher John Martin. I wasted no time in our interview and tried to figure out what it was teachers were struggling with in this online stint.
He seemed to believe that one of the main challenges he's had to face over the course of the year is connecting with his students and building a safe learning community. “It’s so easy for students to log off and get their work done, but that's only half the high school experience,” he said. I couldn't agree more with what he said because we lack that joy of joking around in the classroom and those small times talking with teachers as people.
He also went on to tell me about the experiments he's had to do throughout the last year or so to see what works for students. Not everything works for all students and some stuff is just easier to other kids in an online setting.
That being said, I've experienced this first hand while talking to friends and other students, some things that they may find easy I may see it as a challenge because of the layout or maybe even just because I'm at home. When asked what students struggle with the most he responded in a fairly simple and expected manner by saying managing their time and all of their work.
I approached a friend and fellow student Rory Stickley and tried to find out his feelings on online schooling and he was quick to tell me he doesn't see it as being as effective as when we are in the building.
I asked him his biggest struggle in his final year of high school and he replied with, “The college process has been something that I feel like a lot of people weren't ready for, including myself, and it almost feels like everything was rushed.”
With decision day looming in a little less than 2 months, seniors find themselves scattering to figure what they want to do in the future while getting back to some sort of normalcy for their last 3-4 months of high school.
When I asked what he felt the school community was like in this time, he didn't hesitate to say, “Tt feels like it's not even there anymore.” He elaborated on losing his football season and what that meant to his teammates and the school itself.
With everything going on in a bizarre year there wasn't much that Stickley had to say beside.s “look where we are now” in a frustrated tone due to the fact that we still are yet to see much change.
Finding good in a bad situation can be very difficult especially when it's gone on as long as COVID-19 has, and the question that I and many others find themselves asking is: Will things change? Are we going to get what we want and what we deserve after a long and tortuous year?
With the virus numbers going down and vaccines being released we hope to see our peers and teachers walking through the halls just one last time before we move on.
by: Lauren Pickering
Many high school students start high school with the preconceived notion that their class schedules will be crammed from freshman year until junior year so that senior year seems like a cake walk. When beginning high school, students are told that the first three years will be the most important, but that is not necessarily the truth.
Starting high school, I envisioned as a senior I would either be sleeping in or spending the early afternoons out with friends. I wanted myself to be one of those seniors, but instead I have a chaotic schedule with every class period filled and a requirement to pass each if I plan to hold a diploma with my name on it and walk across the stage in June, and all because of a slow start during my freshman and sophomore years.
Although I hope that none of my peers are in the same position I am, if you are, I am here to give some advice to make your high school experience, and especially your senior year, less stressful and more enjoyable so that you don’t have to sweat until June 11 like I am.
To help give some insight to a less stressful high school experience, I asked Ms. Cynthia Bryan, a guidance counselor at WHS, for her advice for students with academics, scheduling, and approach to school.
“Freshman and sophomore year sets up a foundation for success, sets up study habits for later, and puts less pressure on you for graduation requirements senior year," she said.
Allowing students the time to adjust to the new environment inside of a high school, Bryan commented, “There is a limit to no more than 7 credits for freshman to allow an adjustment period and to help them be less overwhelmed. We strive to have students have balance in their lives, and that's why we purposefully chose this model for 9th grade students."
During my sophomore and junior years, I can remember having numerous study halls. Thinking back on this, if I had filled my schedule with the class requirements that I’m struggling to fulfill now, I would’ve given myself the senior year I have dreamed of. But would my stress level have been higher at that time?
I continue to ask myself if I had evenly balanced my classes would my senior year still be as stressful as it is now? Would I still be adequately challenged and enjoy my courses.
To answer this question, Bryan replied “Seniors need fewer requirements typically and students need to gear their schedule towards college requirements, if that is their path. We look at graduation requirements, and work on balancing the course load over 4 years, starting freshman year.”
Most colleges see senior curriculum of equal importance as the years before that. Students that are not planning on college still have equal opportunities for learning in high school and are offered assistance from their guidance counselors with future planning.
by: Michael Johannes
Typically, most teachers wouldn’t have the necessary time to be able to watch YouTube with their busy lives. They mainly have to grade and create work for their students which can take up to hours depending on how much work the teachers assign to their students. When teachers do have free time, some of them may not watch YouTube because they wouldn’t find their enjoyment there.
There are so many topics to watch on YouTube that teachers could watch anything, it depends on their interests of what they want to watch on YouTube.
WHS social studies teacher Mr. Sand said, “I watch a lot of travel videos.” He uses YouTube for travel since he goes on a lot of vacations to places. He likes to plan out his vacations and uses YouTube in that aspect by understanding the areas he is going to.
WHS Tech Ed teacher Mr. Sikora said, “I watch a variety of topics, from news, automotive and entertainment.” He uses YouTube for church as well ever since the pandemic started.
Some teachers try to make their job easier to do and they do that by using videos to teach the students. There are so many videos on YouTube that some teachers could only use YouTube to teach their students on a topic.
Mr. Sand said, “I use it a lot.” He uses YouTube a lot to show videos to his students because it is better to see videos about the topic that he is teaching and the topic he is teaching is better to be seen then told.
Mr. Sikora said, “I use YouTube for teaching almost every class.” With what he teaches it is better for him since he can look for YouTube videos that will help him explain his lesson plan instead of taking the time to show his students what to do. There are also things that he can show on YouTube but can’t do in school, like showing what a factory looks like.
YouTube is widely used across the world and many teachers use it as well. Many people watch different videos and there is nobody out there who has watched the same exact videos and if somebody watches a lot of YouTube then you can get a good grasp on what that person likes.
by: Alecia DiCenso
After about a year of COVID-19, there is now a vaccine that hopefully puts it to an end. Many people feel indifferent about these two shots. Some people question the science while others are scared of the later symptoms. Everyone feels different about the vaccine and it is smart to respect everyone's decisions regarding it.
Considering teachers have to see several different students everyday, it could be interesting to see how they view the vaccine and their opinions on it. Starting in March, teachers can sign up to get vaccinated. Both of the teachers we interviewed are getting the vaccine, if others decide not to, that is perfectly fine too.
Mr. Roets is an English teacher at WHS who is getting his vaccine on Thursday. He mentioned that it is a “Risk vs. rewards.” He believes that there are more rewards over the risks. He isn’t worried about symptoms and is not allergic to most things, so he doesn’t believe that it will harm him, only decreasing his chances of getting COVID.
His wife has received both of the vaccines and his whole family will eventually be vaccinated. He believes the science behind the vaccine. In order to decrease or eliminate COVID, the majority of people need to get the vaccine in order for it to be effective. The majority of people he knows have questioned it, but haven’t said no to receiving it.
Nutrition teacher Mrs. Bailey is also getting the vaccine. She believes that the vaccine will be helpful. She believes it will be effective if seventy five percent of people get it. She thinks there will be a positive outcome. The process of signing up is hard and the dates are very far away, but she is hopefully.
She doesn’t believe that she will have symptoms, most likely just a sore arm. She compared it to the chickenpox vaccine showing she isn’t worried about it. Considering she works in the public schools system she could be exposed more and getting the vaccine will benefit her safety and everyone else's as well.
By: Audrey Buccheri
We can all agree that learning during this pandemic has been a big adjustment. For those of us that have learning differences and are used to receiving more support for both subject teachers and a Special Education teacher, the shift was even more dramatic.
Students with learning differences have plans put in place like a 504 or an IEP (Individualized Education Plan). These students often have modifications to ensure that they learn the information needed in a way that works for them. They often access accommodations and modifications like extended time, help with reading and/or writing, and modifications to assessments or tests, among others.
Some students with learning differences benefit from working remotely due to social anxiety and difficulty remaining on tasks, while other students are not able to manage their time at home.
For some teachers, like WHS special educator Mrs. Butler, a new focus on the whole student over grades has had to be the main focus in learning through COVID-19.
She said, “I think the pandemic has caused me to expand the way I support students whether it is virtually or in a hybrid model. I have changed my focus to be more student centered around wellbeing and mental health first and academic second.”
Focusing more on social and emotional health has been a big theme throughout the pandemic. During Spring 2020, people had to stop and spend time focusing on themselves because the busy life went away. This caused both students and teachers to do things they enjoy rather than their only focus being on school.
During this hard time, teachers need to remember that the home life for each student may look different. For some students, being home can cause a disadvantage if they have other distractions. For students with learning differences, it can harder for them to access the emotional support they can often get easily when in the building.
Mrs.Butler says, “I try to engage with students about their feelings first instead of asking them what their plan of action is, and I try to engage in different ways to match what will support the student best.”
Learning what will support the students best in their different situations has been a priority during this pandemic, showing the students that there is someone there to help.
By: Odin Wunder
The original transition from in-school learning to remote learning in March of last year was very challenging for both students and teachers. In the current school year, WHS started using a hybrid model which includes in-school and remote learning. Most students have adapted to these changes, but not everyone is working as productively as they would have without remote learning.
A great source of confusion for some students seems to be the school schedule. The school has started to use the hybrid model for students to come to school physically for two days a week, the rest of the week being remote learning days. This was originally quite confusing, but most students have gotten used to it since then.
There have also been some other changes to the original schedule. For example, the shortened remote learning days, where the schedule for the day had to be provided to the students by the teachers. There have also been days where the schedule was changed with little notice, confusing students as to whether it was an A or B day, or what schedule was being used for the day.
This is quite the problem, as students will not be able to learn effectively without a proper schedule. Wethersfield senior Lew Zelez was asked what their thoughts were on the remote learning schedule. They responded with this: “The remote learning schedule doesn’t give students time for breaks or time to catch up with assignments, which will lower productivity and learning overall.”
As he had stated, student productivity does not seem to be as high as it was with regular in-school learning. Some students find that remote learning has made them less motivated to complete school assignments, and as a result, are doing much worse in all of their classes as opposed to how they did before remote learning was put into place. Many of these students have switched from full-remote learning to the hybrid model because of this.
The education system overall is suffering in these times, which is seen in both the rough scheduling and the lack of student productivity. But these are not the only issues. Lew Zelez had more to say on how the education system has been affected by this: “The education system has been heavily impacted by remote learning which can be seen with how little the teachers are able to teach and how little the students are able to learn.” Judging by what he had said, the teachers are affected by remote learning as well, perhaps even more than the students.
Remote learning has had a major impact on the education system and the overall learning process. As of now, no one knows when the current pandemic will calm down, and until it does remote learning will most likely stay the same. If this is the case, then the current generation of students will be at a major disadvantage when it comes to the education that they should have received in their last years of school.
By: Aaron Cholewa and Aaron Guay
With spring sports right around the corner, many people are wondering how the Wethersfield High School baseball team will do or if they will even get to play. Given the success they’ve had in recent years, many are expecting another successful season, if. Seniors Eamon Coggins and Brendan Zaleski, as well as Head Coach Bagdasarian were able to provide their insight on the year.
Both ball players were in agreement that they just want to play baseball in the spring. “We’ve been robbed of that [varsity baseball experience]. I just want to play baseball, any sort of baseball,” said Zaleski. Coggins was very vocal that he too wanted the senior experience to play any form of baseball.
Coggins made it clear that he wanted to play a normal schedule with no travel restrictions. Brendan was able to provide some hope to Eamon, saying that the CIAC is predicting no geographical restrictions. He also added that this year’s schedule might be identical to last year's unused schedule.
The Zaleski and Coggins duo stated that pitchers and catchers can begin throwing on March 20-22. Then, the official tryouts will begin on March 29. With the season approaching quickly, some could be concerned about the team’s success. Coggins and Zaleski however, were not.
by: Andrew Labbe
Over the past year, there is no doubt that COVID changed our world, and especially the lives of high schoolers. With classes interrupted and activities often cancelled, so many still have the question, “Will there be a tennis season this spring?”
It may just be a hobby for some, but for others, it’s a possible career. There are some teenagers who spend countless hours every week practicing for tennis, hoping to improve themselves for the high school season. Due to the cancelation of last year’s season, Seniors this year are worried about missing their last tennis season.
According to WHS Tennis Coach Jeffery Roets, there will be a season, it will just look different, he said, “We will have a season (as of now)... The tournament will be the most different - no open class tournament like we've had in the past; boys will follow the girls' tournament model of head to head playoffs.”
While maintaining safety by limiting contact via removing the previous state tournament style, it will make it harder for individual team members to progress through the bracket to possibly become seeded.
When he was asked how the safety of the team members could be ensured, he said,“Ensure is probably a stretch - but tennis is one of the lowest risk sports and has been so defined since April of last year.”
His statement is proven to be true, since tennis is a low contact sport. Whether playing singles or doubles, there is a great deal of distance between the players.
The CIAC is positive that there will be a tennis season. In fact, they have already confirmed the first practice to be March 20 and the first contest to be April 3. If things go according to plan, the highschool might yet see another successful tennis season.
Although, if this year has taught us anything it is to expect the unexpected. Though the tennis season has already been scheduled to start, covid still has a chance to interfere. If cases start to spike in the US again, possibly due to the ever popular upcoming superbowl, the tennis season might possibly be canceled another year.
by: Tyler Burgos
The year of 2020 was wild, especially for the class of 2021. During the start of the school year, most seniors were looking forward to an outstanding sports season. For WHS, two standout student-athletes, Marcus Nieves and Nick Thompson, were both highly impacted for multiple seasons worth of sports, most notably the cancelled 2020 football season.
Before the cancellation of football, students held on to hope as the Department of Public Health went back and forth between decisions for months. By Dec. 25, the DPH said they would push football to spring and have practices and games then. When spring finally came around, they cancelled the season altogether.
When talking with Nick Thompson and Marcus Nieves about how he felt, Thompson said,“I was angry, sad and mad on why they would push it back.”
Nieves then said, “It was pretty upsetting to see that it’s senior year and just knowing it's my last year. I know this year I could have projected more of my skills and talent so I can get more offers for college.”
Throughout the tough time, both athletes handled their emotions with help from Coach Matthew McKinnon, friends, and, most importantly, family. With all this help they stayed positive going into another season with the same problem of it being cancelled.
Even with the cancellation of wrestling, they both push not only themselves, but their teammates at practices to become better athletes. With them being outstanding teammates and athletes, they both felt and said, “ I wish I could’ve pushed a little bit harder at every practice, meet, and game. Just to show I'm more than what I showed previously.”
With the year coming to an end I asked whether they would pursue sports in college and where. Thompson said, “ I won't be continuing sports at a higher level but, I will be going to trade school and become an electrician.”
Nieves said,“ I will be continuing my sports career but, I am still undecided as of where I want to go.”
How One NHS Member Has Overcome Pandemic Related Challenges
By: Camila Nobre and Lorien Touponse
The Wethersfield High School National Honors Society, advised by Mrs. Niemiec, Mrs. Bellas, and Mr. Leone, has been around for quite awhile. Each year, the students are required to plan and implement community service projects. Due to the pandemic, this has been a challenging task.
One student, senior Kate Anzidei, worked hard to create a project that will allow her to impact the community while staying safe.
Anzidei, who has always been a kind and compassionate friend to her peers, has found a way to help her furry, four-legged friends! Her love for rescue animals inspired her to hand sew dog toys for a local animal shelter — The Connecticut Humane Society. By the end of the year, she hopes to make 30 of them.
The dog toys themselves are made of fleece. Anzidei hand sews them and each one takes approximately 45 minutes, depending on the size. She has created many different shaped toys including hearts, stars, and bones. Her hope is to create unique toys that dogs of all sizes can enjoy. Anzidei plans to hand stitch pet blankets along with the chew toys.
Anzidei said, “I wanted to think of a good way to give back to the community while being able to do it socially distant and I could also get other friends or family members involved if they were interested.”
Anzidei has always had a love for animals and has some rescue pets herself. The newest addition to her family is a small Boston Terrier named Nemo. Anzidei told us, “This poor thing came in awful condition and I felt very bad. We ended up getting him the [medical attention] he needed, so that’s why I really wanted to support the Humane Society.”
Her love of animals has influenced her to create a project to better the environment for dogs in shelters while following COVID-19 restrictions and guidelines to do so safely. Anzidei feels that there is always a clever solution to a difficult problem, and thinking outside the box allowed her to come up with this form of community service.
It is often said that helping others will make you feel good. With that in mind, if we all take a page from Kate Anzidei’s book, we can make the world a better place while improving our own lives.
For further information, visit the Connecticut Humane Society website: https://cthumane.org/
It may be more common than you think
by: Will Civitello
Teens everywhere are struggling to find employment since the start of the global pandemic. The lack of jobs has reduced the monthly income of a lot of young adults.
Some families that depend on their child's income to pay a portion of the rent and without the extra money on the table, the guardian is forced to take out earnings from their savings to pay rent.
Customers today like to have their kids stay away from any type of close contact. So, for job like a swim instructor, it is very hard to keep a steady pool of clients. According to the Congressional Research Service, the part time unemployment rate went up to 24.5% while the full time unemployment rate was at 12.9%.
Teen workers are at a severe disadvantage in today's time. With student loan debt, car payments, and necessities, there is not enough money to give them a stable financial foundation. “Due to the lack of kids who sign up for swim lessons due to the pandemic, my financial income has been limited. I’ve had to make sacrifices across the board” (Lee, Swim Instructor).
A plan that discarded teens, has been taken into place which is the distribution of the stimulus check. The amount that only gets bigger is given to people over the age of 18 and to people making a household income of less than $150,000.
Although this may have covered many people, there are still a number of people in highschool who are basing their whole college experience on if they can get a grant or not. If the financial status is not met then the applicant has no choice but to go to a smaller less noticeable school instead of their dream school.
With all this change such as a new lifestyle and how to interact with people coming at once, life is getting very difficult. Molding new solutions and coming up with ways to fill in the day become less and less unique. “[the loss of clients] affects my daily life because of the fact that I’m not working or being with the kids on a constant basis” (Lee, Swim Instructor).
As a community we can help support local small businesses which many authorities overlook. Many times the most significant business is the one of least notice. Look for fundraisers and events to support the community.
Written, edited, and produced by Wethersfield High School students, covering all news and events.