by: Aaron Maher and Francesco Moline
The end of an era approaches at a fast pace, after 20 years of WHS Principal Mr. Moore being in office, it’s safe to say that his management of his school could not have been any better.
Overseeing the renovation construction with a keen eye, as well as his reaction and efficacy throughout the Coronavirus pandemic are just a few of the many obstacles he has overcome during his time as a principal. He truly is and shall be remembered as a legend to the Wethersfield High School community.
It won't be easy to fill such big shoes, moreover it will take a surplus of experience and professionalism to even begin to fill them, which brings us to congratulate our new Wethersfield High School Principal, Mrs Siobhan O’Connor, who has been in school administration for quite some time, most recently as the Principal of Highcrest Elementary School.
She first started as a teacher where she grew up in Windsor, then went on to oversee different educational settings and eventually she was promoted to Principal at several different schools. Diving deeper into her credentials, Mrs. O’Connor specifically started as a social studies teacher in Windsor High.
When we interviewed her, she made sure to stress that classrooms should be fun and enjoyable, so that kids are willing to learn, and therefore be more successful, which she learned during her time in Windsor. Despite this however, she understands her position as someone who will be leading a very prestigious high school. One promising thing about Mrs. O’Connor is not only her view of education, but her commitment to the class. When we asked for her thoughts on the transition from being teacher to administration, “Once you get pulled from the classroom there's no going back.”
We then conducted an Interview with Superintendent Michael Emmett, where he mirrored Mrs. O’Connor’s stellar credentials with her history as a classroom teacher and administrator at multiple school levels. Of course, Mr. Moore is and always will be irreplaceable, but to compare Mrs. O’Connor with Mr. Moore is at best inappropriate, they each have their different strengths which will surely be made clear next year when she is comfortable in her job.
Mr. Emmett told us that they have a good relationship as co-workers, and that he personally vouches for her skills and mindset.
After interviewing Mrs. O’Connor herself, as well as the influential Mr. Emmett, we went ahead and asked one teacher who had been on the committee that voted for the new principal, Mrs. McKenna. We specifically asked for her viewpoints on the decision, she agreed with it and believed it was very well thought out.
We also asked her what she thinks makes Mrs. O'Connor a great fit. She answered that she “thought she fit well because of her past experiences. Not many of the other candidates had nearly the amount of experience she has had”.
Being a principal at all three levels of public schools, it was surely an influential factor in the decision. Be sure to welcome Mrs. O’Connor when you see her in the hallways!
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: 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: 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: 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: Krysta Szymecki and Tarsja Tibbs
Due to COVID and lockdowns around the world, students have had to participate in virtual learning. Virtual learning is a way for students to get their education without the risk of spreading the virus through computers.
Nowadays, students have options on whether they want to go to school in person, go to school completely remotely, or do both. “I also think that [virtual learning] is easier because you kind of get to work at your own pace.” Says Natali Rios, a senior at Wethersfield High School in Connecticut.
“I like that with virtual learning I can work when I want and actually use my study halls how I see fit (sleeping, reading, eating, working, etc.) instead of sitting in a classroom silently.” says Lauren Peruta, an 18-year-old senior at Wethersfield High School in Connecticut.
Learning online has been hard on everyone and many teachers have recognized that everyone's situations are different, which have benefited many students.
Senior Camille Barone said, “Something I like about online learning is how easy-going some of my teachers have been, they understand that some people have a lot on their hands right now and try to make it less stressful for us.”
Another issue some students face with online learning is the teaching strategies that are being used now. Last year, pre-Covid there were many different ways for kids to stay interested and attentive to their class, such as group projects, little games, and many more other ways. Now, there are just not many ways for teachers to keep their students involved while teaching.
Overall, both students and teachers are affected by this new way of learning. To ask students flat out if virtual learning is better or worse than in-person learning would be unfair. There are pros and cons for each student, and each person has had a unique experience with learning online.
By: Dana Andrews
Physical activity is more important than ever now with the pandemic and being at home in front of a computer screen.
Students at Wethersfield High School who learn in person and remotely that are enrolled in Physical Education have great opportunities to get active.
“Remote learners engage in an at-home physical activity using an app called PLT4M, which the WHS PE staff has used to create Strength & Conditioning programs that closely resemble our in school curriculum. As for health, students complete a series of interactive online lessons via a web-based program called EverFi.” WHS Physical Education teacher, Jeffrey Russell said.
If you’re learning in person, there are many fun activities.
“Students in person get a wide range of activities that are similar to our curriculums offerings in a regular school year along with some new leisure/social games to address the social and emotional needs of our learners. Our offerings include units such as golf, archery, leisure games like corn hole & Kkan Jjam (frisbee throwing game), as well as badminton and pickleball.”
Safety is on everybody’s mind today, and it is a top priority when students are in physical education class. Limiting class sizes and sanitizing equipment are a few of the ways safety is implemented.
“All of our games and activities are spaced out while indoors or outdoors to allow for safe social distancing. Also, all of our equipment is sanitized before and after use and we try our best to limit any shared equipment.
by: Adrianna Uccello and Elma Huzejrovic
The transition alone from middle school to high school can be difficult to begin with, let alone without the help of COVID. In middle school, teachers are much more lenient with you and in my opinion, middle school was all around easier. When transitioning to the high school, you can see that things are much different.
Now, with COVID being brought into the picture, school life looks much different. With some students being full remote and others participating in the hybrid schedule, there is a broad variety of how students are participating in school this year.
Not only is school different in the aspect that there are full online students and also part-time in school students, there is also the added aspect of lunches, clubs, sports, etc. being altered.
Since we are seniors this year, we got to experience the “normal” school life for three years but as for freshman this is not the case.
We had the opportunity to interview freshman Racheal Chamberland, and ask her questions regarding her transition from middle to high school during COVID-19.
When asked about how things are different from the middle school to the high school, Rachael said, “It was much different than I expected…(the middle school) is much smaller, and you have all like your four class together, and in high school you have to walk around the whole building, but like I got the building pretty much… and in high school you’re pretty much expected to do everything on your own.”
Students are able to be much more independent now especially with COVID in the mix, because half of the student body is home everyday.
When asked about the move to high school with COVID affecting how class worked, Rachael said, On a google meet, sometimes it’s hard to focus”. Students are participating in either a fully remote learning plan or a hybrid learning plan, where half the students in the school are in school on Mondays and Tuesdays, no one is in school on Wednesdays, and the other half of the student body is in school on Thursdays and Fridays.
With losing a day of school on Wednesdays, Rachael provided some pros and cons: “You lose a day of school, but it’s easier to catch up and meet with teachers because we have a lot more time.”
Students have Wednesdays at home to work on missing assignments, but it takes away from the in-class learning time students had before COVID.
When giving advice to incoming freshman for next year, Rachael said “To not be nervous, I know it’s hard because I was so nervous, and you always get nervous on the first day, but I really like the environment here, and I really enjoy being at WHS rather than middle school.”
Students and teachers are still unaware of what the next couple months will look like due to COVID, but everyone is doing the best they can given the situation!
By J’Von Cooper
What is art?
That’s a loaded question, with many ways to answer it. Yet, considering the sizable amount of students participating in the arts here at Wethersfield High Schools, it begs the question.
With art existing in so many forms, is there any way to define it?
Well, according to the people participating in those programs, there are just as many answers as there are people being questioned. However, there is at least one constant within all of them: Emotion.
As Andrea Haas, one of three art teachers at WHS put it, “Art is whatever you want it to be.” She continues to specify, “I see art as a means to send a message. Make an emotional change in the person viewing it.”
That’s how many of her students view art. As Senior Brianna Boucher said, “Art is meant to mean something”, or in other words, elicit enough emotion to be meaningful. This theme of eliciting a reaction echoes through many of the people interviewed, including an unexpecting source.
Jeffery Roets, the current play director and English teacher, had a similar response to the aforementioned people interviewed, and a little more.
“Arts not only reflects our emotions, but makes us question them.” he said. “It makes us feel something.”
Well, if so many people feel so many different ways about art, what is concrete?
Well, as seen by the people interviewed, art means something. What that something is may be different depending on whomever you ask, but it means something to somebody, with everyone saying something.
By: Natalia Travaglini & Eliza-mely Martinez
Studying can be a very hard thing to do for students. There are so many different techniques, tips, and methods to studying. Students are told they need to study for a test, but they are never really taught how to actually study. We were given different techniques, but most of the time they dont really work for us.
Depending on the type of learner, for example being a visual, auditory or kinesthetic learner, some studying methods will work amazing and others will not work at all. We interviewed two seniors at Wethersfield and asked them about their studying habits and any tips they have for others.
When talking to Haley Dellafera, a senior at Wethersfield High School, about her studying habits, we asked how she studies and it varies depending on the topic she is studying for. For math, she studies by doing problems but for English, she studies by using Sparknotes and Quizlet.
Many students struggle with studying, Haley Dellafera struggles with finding the motivation to study. During our interview she said, “Actually finding the motivation to get up and studying for my test has always been a problem for me.”
This problem has taken a toll on her grades at certain times in her high school career. Haley mentioned it would be a lot easier to study if she enjoyed the topic, so she tries to find interesting subjects within the topic she is studying to make the process just a bit easier.
Since she studies differently for each topic, we wondered if she would keep the same studying habits from high school into college. Dellafera said she definitely wouldn't keep her habits. Most of the time she just tries to get by without reading the book or notes but in the end she can get by without it. In college, she thinks it's going to be a lot different and she has to read, learn, and retain the subject.
We interviewed another student from Rocky Hill High School when we asked Ianna Pagan if she believed her studying habits were good she said yes. Ianna explained that she had a good idea as to how she should study.
She usually starts by making sure if she is comfortable she has snacks to eat while she is studying. Then she starts to make a study guide that will make it easier for her to know what to study. In this study guide she writes example questions, tips to help her remember, and the hardest topic she struggles with. Ianna Pagan said “I think I will use my studying habits in college because it has never done me wrong, everytime I use this method I get a pretty decent grade”
We made sure to get more than one perspective about studying habits in high school and interviewed senior, Kassandra Vazquez as well.
Kassandra finds studying using youtube video explanations is the best way for her. A tip she has for other students who are struggling to find good studying techniques is studying for 30-45 minutes and then taking a break to avoid getting overwhelmed.
Although finding the perfect studying technique can be difficult, we hope that the tips and experiences shared by two of our high school students could possibly make the task easier.
By: Gabby Amoddio
Accounting is a full-year course offered at Wethersfield High School that is available to sophomores, juniors, and seniors and is taught by Joanna Griswold, who has taught multiple business classes over her years working at WHS.
In this course, students learn a variety of skills that are used by accountants. They focus on the bookwork for a service business in the first semester and switch to a merchandising business in the second semester.
If you plan on becoming an accountant when you’re older, this is a great opportunity for you. You get to experience the ins and outs of accounting without the stress of being in the actual work environment. It’s helpful to learn, in depth, the process of accounting and the basic terms that go along with it.
Even if you’re unsure about your future plans, taking Accounting can help you get a feel for what the career is like. After taking the class, you can decide if accounting, or any other career related to business and finance, is a good fit for you.
Another benefit of the class is that it is an official Capital Community College course. This means that passing the class can actually give you a college credit. All you have to do is fill out an enrollment form before a certain date and get above a C average.
The fact that it’s a college course can make the class difficult at times but It's good to get a feel for what college will feel like.
However, it is not a class that you can go into unprepared, as it asks a lot of students.
“Accounting is the type of class where you have to study 4 days before just to get a B,” says Kyle Martinez, a senior at Wethersfield High School. Martinez is currently enrolled in the class and just started the second semester.
Accounting is known as the language of business because it is how managers communicate the financial information of a business to people who will use it like shareholders and creditors. It is important to understand accounting first so you know how to properly run and improve your business.
Think Accounting may be for you? Make sure to sign up for it next year!
By: Dzenita Korkutovic
Myths and Legends is a semester course that is part of the English department. To learn more about this exciting class, I interviewed Mrs. McKenna, teacher for Myths and Legends and English department liaison. Here is a few questions I’ve asked her and her responses:
According to Mrs. McKenna, the class is “a semester long class that seniors take for half a credit and goes towards the English requirement for graduation. We study mostly Myths and Legends. We look at Myths from all over the world and look at the meanings behind them. We don’t look at just Greek mythology or Roman mythology, which a lot of people are aware of. We look at the deeper meaning of myths in general. As for Legends, we do a lot of real life legends meaning we look at how real life people become legends or become their own story.”
I asked if she would recommend kids to take the course and why. She said she would course recommend kids to take it. She mentioned they do lots of different things, students have a lot of choices within it. Even if you aren't a big fan of mythology, everyone can find something interesting in the class.
I wondered what kinds of activities or projects she did with the class. She named a few things that they do. She said they watch videos or read short selections of myths, legends, fairy tales and other things. All of this culminates in a big essay that they end up doing in real-life legends, or kids can pick someone within the topic to research.
When asked what students should know, McKenna said that she would want kids to know that it's not just about one culture or group of people, it's about many different ones. Also, you would look at American cultures because not many people know about them.
As you can see, the course Myths and Legends is an interesting class to take. From researching one culture to watching movies on a whole different culture, all students get to experience multiple cultures within the class.
Personally, I’ve been in the class for only a few weeks now and I love it!
If you have already taken the course, comment down on what you thought of the class!
By: Emily Karwic
Wethersfield Studies is a half-year English class where students learn about the history of their town. This class, taught by Ms. Krawczyk, discusses the town’s geological formation, Native American history, Puritans, witch hunts, and more.
Ms. Krawczyk highlights that the course focuses on the students’ impact on the town, not just the past history. She outlines in her course information that, “Your past and current experiences in this town are contributing to the future history of Wethersfield”.
A class like this allows students to see further into the history of the town they’re a part of. Aside from learning about the town, the students complete projects and activities related to its history. Students also make posters about their own history in the town so that Ms. Krawczyk and their classmates can learn more about each other.
Throughout the semester students perform one-act plays, write a letter to the editor regarding an article in Wethersfield Life, and look at past yearbooks to see how much the school has changed.
Another thing students do to expand their knowledge about the towns past is attend either a Board of Education meeting or a Town Council meeting. In these activities, students will, “Compare and contrast what we learn about Wethersfield’s past, with our towns current issues of interest and concern.”
In asking more about the class, I learned that one of the most interesting things for Ms. Krawczyk is learning about her students and she enjoys them learning about how much the town has changed over the years.
This class poses a unique opportunity for the students to learn more about the town they live in. It’s available for seniors to take every semester.
by: Jillian Gray
With graduation right around the corner, seniors are starting to make one of the toughest decisions of their high school career. Seniors are getting their acceptance letters, and now it’s time to pick where they will spend their next couple of years.
There are many factors that students are looking at while they decide which college they want to go to, from looking at how nice the campus is to how much money it costs per year. With these decisions so close, I decided to interview a few of the seniors here at Wethersfield High school, to see how they are determining what college they want to go to.
Senior Mya Pellegrino is thinking of her living situation, saying, “I think the campus matters and how the dorms are. I don’t like using public bathrooms, and I also need an AC. That's why I chose my college”.
Although many people may choose their college based on the dorms, I got the chance to talk to Jacob Rivera. He expressed, “When I was going through the process, my main idea was to pick the college that was less money-wise. Since I would be in school for such a large amount of time, I knew the money would accumulate”.
When it comes to college, money is indeed a big aspect of choosing where to go in my eyes. With saying that Ellie Kieselback described how money and time was a big factor for her. Ellie said “I don’t want to spend years in a college, I wanted cosmetology school because it’s only one year.”
People may think of the cost, budgeting, and all the complicated aspects. When interviewing Kyle Edman he simply said, “I look at how nice the campus is.”
Graduation is coming up fast, and decisions are going to have to be made. There are many aspects that people think about while choosing where they want to spend the next couple years of their lives.
At the end of the day, you will make your decision based on how money, time, the campus, or even if you want to go to college at all. Comment below if you have chosen your college already, and what made you choose it?
By: Audrey Mainville and Kadin Joyce
In a recent WHS advisory, students were informed of the school’s Skills21 #EaglesBreakBoundaries movement.
However, many classes were left with little understanding of what each grade is supposed to do to exemplify it. In response, here is what #EaglesBreakBoundaries is, and what each student can do to be a part of it.
#EaglesBreakBoundaries is a media campaign that has been created by students in the Skills21 group here at WHS to push people out of their comfort zone. Every year, the group releases a theme that students have to incorporate into their project. This year's theme is Breaking Boundaries.
“Breaking Boundaries” is designed to motivate WHS students to gain a sense of independence, as well as responsibility. Ms. Coco, advisor of this campaign states, “Our group uses this program [Skills21], along with BlueEagle News, to reach our audience and try to create community by working towards a common goal.”
With that, here is what each class can do to participate in this campaign:
Freshman and Sophomores: The goal for the Freshmen and Sophomores is to reach out to the community. Volunteering and participating in town events are just some ways these underclassmen can exemplify this. The Skills21group wants them to reach out of their comfort zone, and make connections.
Juniors: The goal for juniors is to learn how to be financially responsible. Getting a debit card or learning how to budget money are examples of this. The Skills21 group wants juniors to focus on becoming more financially independent, and not always rely on guardians for money.
Seniors: As seniors approach adulthood, their goal is to take steps towards their future. This can include, applying and committing to a college, joining the military, setting up their own appointments, looking at places where they may be interested in living. All of this they believe shows independence and responsibility.
Students and people in the community are encouraged to take photos of themselves carrying out these activities! Show how you broke boundaries! Submit photos to firstname.lastname@example.org OR post pictures to social media with the hashtag #Eaglesbreakboundaries as well as a tag of your advisory teacher’s name and the year of your graduation.
For more information contact Ms. Coco at email@example.com or BlueEagle News at firstname.lastname@example.org
By Antonia Vardal and Hailey Hodsen
An ECE humanities course titled “American Studies” may be coming to WHS in the next few years. This half-year class and half-credit course is described by UCONN as a “multi-disciplinary inquiry into the diversity of American societies and cultures.”
History teacher Courtney Bradley and English teacher Kristen Mucinskas plan to collaborate to teach students about history by applying it to modern literature.
Bradley says the history and English classes will eventually combine to form humanities classes. “I like the idea of having more of a humanities approach, which is not only how the world sees itself, [but also how] people just look at the world with a more holistic attitude.”
Currently, she has several students taking this class as an independent study, which starts its initial steps in becoming an official course. Bradley says that by doing this, she’s able to get feedback from them about the assignments and readings to improve the class.
Although it’s labeled as an ECE course, Bradley doesn’t want kids to assume they have to be an honors student to take it.
“[We’re] trying to pull more people in and show more people that you can do really good, amazing, interesting, academic work without the AP, ECE, or honors stamp.”
She plans to start off the course by connecting American citizenship and immigration to The Hobbit, which will be the anchor book for the rest of the course.
“Even though it was a book written by a British soldier after World War I about the war, we’re going to take a look at how that applies to American citizenship. That’s a totally different text than you might’ve expected, and we’re going to try and pull in a lot more kids from a bunch of different kind of social groups, almost regardless of whether or not they see themselves as top end kids for academics.”
If students are interested, they should talk to Mrs. Bradley or Mrs. Mucinskas about taking it as an independent study until it becomes an official class.
By: Bella Rende and Olivia Morais
Caps and gowns have been a topic of debate for years on end. Many believe caps and gowns should symbolize unity and be one color.
Another reason many believe it should be one color is to help many students feel comfortable identifying their gender. Although students have various opinions on the caps and gowns, teachers do too. To get a teacher’s perspective, we interviewed teachers from different departments in WHS.
When asked if she was aware of the cap and gown change, senior class advisor and math teacher Mrs. Belanger said, “Of course I'm aware of the cap and gown change as your advisor. We have changed colors from royal blue and white to a solid navy blue cap and gown. There was a long conversation about why it was a royal blue to begin with, I don’t really know because that’s how it’s been since I started here, but I think It’s a good change.”
Comfort and mental well-being is important in the school system. “I think it was changed to promote the comfort, well being of all students.” Said Mrs. Niemic.
When asked about the importance of the change, Belanger said, “I think it’s important to make sure that all students have equal rights and that no one feels marginalized. [Graduation is] a very important day, you have worked so hard for graduation.”
When I asked him if he agreed with the change, senior English teacher Mr. Pfister said, “Yes, I agree with the change, I think it was a perfect decision to make, especially because of students and their willingness to want to identify with a specific gender. It includes those students, and again it brings the senior class together and has them do something as a group for the final time.”
Many of the teachers have similar views on the cap and gown topic, that it is an important and necessary change to bring together the senior class and make all students feel comfortable on their special day.
by: Hannah Sullivan and Reece Skelly
Quarter Two has been a historically dark period of time for students all throughout the school. This can most likely be attributed to gloomy, frigid weather and an abundance of days spent out of school on breaks.
Throughout the quarter, we miss a whopping 10 days of school, excluding the inevitable days spent sick in bed brought on by the cold temperatures. As grades sink lower and lower, many students begin to question whether it’s even worth it to try to get them back up, or if they’d be better off going back to the comfort of their own bed.
The reality is, the quarter always ends, and things will get better. The best thing you can do is keep a positive attitude and try not to slip too far down. One way to do this is making sure you get to bed as early as you need to to avoid being tired the next day. Dragging around school only half awake is not going to help you learn and keep up your grades.
A healthy diet with lots of fruits and vegetables paired with 30 minutes of exercise a day can also help you stay energetic and alert throughout the day.
Another thing to keep in mind is that your teachers know this is a hard time for students and are always available for extra help. Communicating with your teachers will help them understand why grades may be slipping, and it will help you feel more accomplished. They will help you bring your grades up and get you back on your feet.
According to journalism teacher John Martin, “The most important thing is communicating with teachers, because if you use those breaks to get extra work done, you can be successful.”
So yes, we know it’s hard. We’ve all been there, in the heart of quarter two, wondering how you could have possibly gone from having straight A’s to failing half your classes. But don’t worry; you will get through this. Take care of yourselves and take advantage of the resources you have at this school, and before you know it, you’ll be back to getting the grades you know you deserve.
Written, edited, and produced by Wethersfield High School students, covering all news and events.