by: Mark Zocco and Megan Kelleher
At the end of students’ junior years, NHS is the talk of the academic world. Everyone goes around asking with anticipation if their peers received that incredible opportunity and letter inviting them to apply for the National Honor Society.
Many stop and ask around, what are some of the requirements for the NHS? Look no further, because we sat down with a teacher who is also a council member for the NHS, reads over, and decides who gets accepted or rejected into the NHS.
We sat down with Mr. Moger, and spoke with him about a few frequently asked questions about what the council members are looking for in a model NHS student. “I believe that NHS members are students who are the leaders of the school, whether that be in or out of school. They should be the role models in the classroom, on the sports field, in the library, and everywhere for that matter,” said Mr. Moger.
He also said, “As school-wide leaders, the students need to take the initiative to help solve problems before having to get a teacher or administrator involved with certain school-oriented or personal issues.”
Now to the question that comes across most kids minds when it comes to the admissions process, what kinds of grades do you need in order to be considered for the NHS? You need to have at least a 3.5 GPA to be considered for the NHS, which is a B+ overall average. This means that you need to start working hard early on in high school to get your GPA where it needs to be to be invited.
Mr. Moger also went on to say that, “NHS members should be honest, hardworking, and perform to the best of their abilities. Granted we all have our bad days but as a general rule they should be putting forth their best effort academically as well as socially.''
After receiving a letter stating you meet these academic requirements, your next step is to complete an application packet along with a personal essay in order to be a full fledged member. First, to get this packet, you will have to go to Mrs. Neimic’s room and pick up the application along with any other handouts that she may have, she is located in room 110.
Next, your personal essay should be about you and either your academic, social, or personal life experiences could be compared to the four pillars of the NHS. The four pillars are scholarship, leadership, community service, and character. Together, the essay and application will be the two deciding factors on you getting accepted into the Wethersfield High School chapter of the National Honor Society.
Want more information about NHS? Talk to your school counselor or any of the NHS faculty advisors for more information.
By Stephanie Breglio
WHS business courses are crucial in preparing students for the future and building basic life skills that may not be taught in other core classes or electives. New WHS students or even any student may wonder what the benefits of business courses are, or if they should be enrolled in one. The answer-- according to WHS students and teachers, is yes.
Senior Rachel Gopaul is one of these students who says “yes.” Rachel stated that taking Career Prep and Personal Finance was, “Eye opening in terms of looking for college stuff, getting used to gpa and looking into future careers.”
WHS offers many options for business courses amongst the 3 teachers; Mrs. Griswold, Mrs. Ricardi, and Mr. Palazzo. The courses include Intro to Business, Career Prep, Personal Finance, Marketing I, Marketing II, and even more.
Basic and fundamental skills needed for the future that are taught in these classes, especially Career Prep and Personal Finance, may be surprising to some. They include resume writing, financial goal setting, learning how to save money, filing tax returns, learning how to use the program Excel, and even learning how to fill out a check and the parts of the check.
“I absolutely encourage students to take multiple business courses throughout high school because no matter what field they end up in, there will be things that they learn in the business courses that will apply, whether it’s soft skills or the math that we us,” said WHS Business Teacher Mr. Palazzo.
Mr. Palazzo mentioned that one of his graduate students came to him years later talking about what they learned through Excel and they said, “I was one of the first people who when I got the job was able to teach others how to use it.”
People who don’t take many business courses/business courses at all may not realize how much they really help students. I encourage all students to take business courses if they have the choice. It may help you in the future even if you are unaware of that right now.
By Shandaly Benjamin
There are so many responsibilities that come with becoming a senior in high school. There’s not only having college stuff to worry about, but also having to set an example for the freshmen, sophomores, and juniors.
Us incoming seniors are very overwhelmed with the responsibilities given to us. On top of having to apply for college, we have to keep up with our classes.
Our WHS counselors and teachers have been a big help towards us seniors and our college decisions. They have been by our side, taking us one by one and going over the college application process. They have shared all the deadlines, requirements, opportunities for financial aid, and more. In addition, they are always willing to fit us into their schedule to help us even when their super busy.
“My counselor Mrs. Conoscenti, helped out so much. She wants to hold my hand through all of this and I’m actually thankful because I got really overwhelmed in the beginning of all this.” Said WHS senior Shaniya Menns. “I cried actually. I had a mental breakdown, it was like really bad because I got overwhelmed about where I should go, tuition, [and] financial aid.”
Not only have our counselors offered to walk us through the college application process, our teachers have been a big help too! They willingly take the first couple of classes to explain the Common App, Naviance, and FAFSA. Our counselors and teachers work together to introduce more ways in which the application process can go smoother.
“Mrs. McKenna helped me out a lot, she helped us sign into Common App. She helped us get started with that. She also had my counselor Mrs. Conoscenti come in and speak to everybody else about both the Common App and Naviance.” said Shaniya Menns
Being a senior also makes you at the top of the school. Us seniors have to set an example for the freshmen, sophomores, and juniors. We try to keep the school spirit alive and show other students that it’s okay to ask for help when it’s being offered at school.
I asked Shaniya how it felt being at the top of the school pyramid, she said, “I don’t look down on people below or younger than me, but I do try to give them advice if they ask me for it.”
Wethersfield High School teaches us that we shouldn’t look down on anyone, especially if they’re new to the school. They teach us responsibility, courage, respect, support, and unity.
Shaniya Menns offered the following advice to seniors, “It will be overwhelming, it’ll be so overwhelming, you don’t even understand. But if you have a good guidance counselor and your mom or dad have been to college and they can help you through, ask them. It’s a lot to take in by yourself.”
School Counselor Mrs. Jennifer Lindsay also offered advice, “Senior year it’s really more of an individual look. We schedule senior interviews with students to get an idea of what their plans are, what they’ve decided to do. We offer help sessions with students on creating a common app account, completing a common app. We help students edit their essays, we write letters of recommendation, work with students about narrowing down their list about colleges they want to apply to. It depends on the need of the students. Sometimes students are very independent, they feel like they want to do this on their own, they got this, and some other students are more nervous and so they spend a little more time in my office and whatever works for them works for me.”
She also explained how each counselors goal is to make sure each and every student has a plan. A plan after high school in which the counselors are willing to help us prepare for. No matter if the student is going to community college, 4 year college, marines, etc. The counselors at WHS want to help us plan our next step and make our transition into young adults easy.
We couldn’t thank our teachers, counselors, and others, enough for the amount of support they have given us seniors during such an important time of year.
The beginning of your senior will be overwhelming. You will cry, you will lose sleep, and worse of all, you will stress. But without a doubt, Wethersfield High School will prepare you for the real world.
By: Sammy Ritter and Jade Iaco
Marketing is one of the most popular career choices. In Wethersfield High School, the perfect club for that is DECA, which stands for the Distributive Education Clubs of America. This club is an organization for students who are interested in marketing, management and other business careers. Members can develop career and leadership skills while building self esteem and learning better team skills.
Most of the Wethersfield High School DECA students love being in it because it is an amazing opportunity for them to get a head start in the business world. “DECA was previously an upperclassmen club, however, this year it is open to underclassmen, who are taking a business class." says DECA Coordinator for WHS Mrs. Ricardi
You do need to be a current member of a marketing or business class to join. DECA holds fundraisers for the club so they can go to the different events for a lower cost. They get together after school on Mondays for meetings and they plan for competitions, fundraisers, field trips and events such as the annual WHS food drive. They get to learn how to make each of their marketing ideas even better and they get to see how everyone has a different idea and a different sense of style with their projects.
DECA events are aligned with the National Curriculum Standards in the careers of marketing , business management, finance, and hospitality. They competitive events are composed of a written component for example an exam or report and an interactive component with an industry professional judging. There are many different marketing categories that the high schools can choose from. Some include Career Development Project, Community Giving Project, Sales Project, Integrated Marketing Plans, and Entrepreneurial Plans.
This is a positive club with a lot of benefits. One of the benefits includes the trips. The DECA club has been to many places for the competitions such as Utah, California, Florida, and Tennessee. “My favorite place that we went to was Salt Lake City because I would never had gone there on my own, so it was a great experience.” said Mrs. Ricardi.
DECA competitors come up with the themes and and how the projects will be organized for competitions. Mrs. Ricardi is only there to help them with any questions that they may have and give guidance. Some of the competitions require them to come up with an invention and make a three minute video presentation.
The main DECA challenge is called Entrepreneur of Tomorrow Challenge, this asks you to create entrepreneurial proposal of a new product idea that goes with a specific market. The competitions involve people from all different schools from different cities and states. They all come together in one state or city to compete for a prize.
If you have any questions about anything to do with DECA or even just the marketing classes then go see Mrs. Ricardi in room 217. She will give you all of the information that you need to join the club that will prepare you for your future in marketing.
by: Mrs. Kristen Mucinskas, UCONN ECE Site Representative
The internal deadline for the UConn ECE assisted application and enrollment process ends May 24th. If you have not completed your application yet, and need help, please see Mrs. Mucinskas in room 338.
Any students intending to take a UConn ECE course next year must complete the online enrollment process prior to June 7th in order to meet the enrollment deadline this year.
ALL applications and NETID activations need to be completed by Friday, June 7th, or you will incur a $25 late fee when the system re-opens in the fall.
See Mrs. Mucinskas in room 338 with any questions.
By: Kavi Khadar
Coming this fall, Mrs. Campbell will be teaching a brand new UCONN ECE digital imaging course open to next year's students.
As a college course, the workload will be a bit more intensive; however, Campbell has her syllabus outlined for what the course will bring.
“There are a lot of team projects, problem-solving, and cross-curricular activities. I have already met with the professors at UCONN and they are very enthusiastic about WHS joining the faculty,” she said.
Taking this ECE course can prep you for college, and if you're looking to major in anything involving graphic design, this is the class for you!
It’s necessary to take the regular Digital Imaging class prior to taking this course so here’s what you can expect. The class involves taking your own photos with cameras that Campbell provides. You'll then take those photos and bring them into Photoshop or Illustrator and edit them to perfection.
It doesn't stop there. After editing the photos, you’ll have the opportunity to put these photos on various items like shirts, mugs, tiles, posters, stickers, key chains, etc. As a student that took the normal digital imaging class, I wish I could have had this great opportunity to take an ECE class in Campbell’s classroom.
I asked why students should consider taking this class after Digital Imaging and Campbell said, “This will give the students opportunity to earn college credit and advance their skills and understanding of various tools of communication.” I can confidently say that these attributes are going to be and important in life and especially college.
You can find out more about this course by stopping by and talking to Mrs. Campbell in room 23A down the tech hallway or Mrs. Mucinskas to get the sign up sheet for UCONN.
By: Shantall Teran
Seniors in most schools including Wethersfield High School have the opportunity to graduate early. This is only allowed if the said senior has enough credits and will be able to meet their required credit by the first semester.
What we don't see when our seniors graduate early is if they enjoy it or find it meaningful. Is it beneficial to them and do they regret their decision. Same goes with our seniors who had the opportunity but didn't take it.
When a senior decides to graduate early, they are not allowed to participates in any sports of the next semester but they are allowed to participate In senior activities like prom and senior picnic. To be able to graduate, you have to be meeting the credit requirements by the end of the first semester to be able to graduate at the end of the semester.
This year, it has not seem that there were many students that had graduated early. I spoke with school counselor Mathew DeGuire. He told me that typically there are at least five kids every year who graduate early, “We typically have 5-8 seniors graduate early per year, but that could change by the year.” He had also told me that kids graduate for many reasons. “This depends on the student. There is a wide range of reasons for a student to graduate early including work, start college early, travel, etc.”
I spoke with two seniors of 2019 who have decided to graduate early. Arelis Herrera said she initially decided to graduate because she had enough credit but also because she had a plan for herself. ”Everyone’s different but for me personally I already know what I want to do with my life and never really cared for the high school experience so I knew it’d be a waste of time when I can instead be spending time doing what I love and working”.
Senior Rachel Hall had a different reasons for graduating, “School always stressed me out, there was a period of time when I would throw up everyday before school because I was so anxious and couldn’t control it. I figured instead of being in class all day I could work and learn communication skills and e-commerce and other things while getting paid and saving for my future.”
I asked both the seniors on how they felt while in school knowing that they had to graduate earlier than most of their peers. Herrera said, “I didn’t feel like I had more on my plate than students not graduating early, if anything I had less academically. It was stressful knowing that adulting was coming sooner for me so decisions had to be made quicker but other than that it was a relief”.
Hall also expressed the same feelings, “I didn’t feel like I had more to worry about becasue I feel like everyone worries just about the same when it comes to passing but I did worry a lot just to make sure I got all the credits I need in time”.
Now that they are graduated, I wanted to see how their life is now and it’s generally all good. “My life’s been so much more enjoyable since I graduated. My whole life changed due to personal life issues but it was perfect timing because I got to take a break and gather myself before working. Now I’m really focused and ready to start college in the fall.” Herrera says.
She also talks about how shes able to persue her carrer now, “I definitely have more time and freedom to do what I want. I love having more time to focus on modeling and music”.
Hall says “It’s been good since I graduated early, I’ve been working full time, saving money and since I have no test or projects or exams I can have fun and enjoy myself after work and what not”.
Both of these graduated seniors don’t regret their decision they are happy that they chose this but Hall did express missing her friends “I don’t regret it one bit, however I do miss my friends and I miss being around people my age and all the goofy fun moments high school had with it”.
Herrera wants to tell upcoming seniors “If you know what you want your future to look like already and are able to work on it now then graduate early if you can and stay focused! Don’t slack off just because you’re almost at the end but have fun.”
Hall also had some advise for upcoming seniors “High school is like your last chance to have fun before u go out and become an adult so enjoy it!”
Senior Auna Foster and Danielle Colbath are seniors who decided to not graduate. Foster decided to stay to have the “senior” experience, “I didn’t want to miss out on other school activities/ experiences that happen later in the year”. Foster does not regret her decision.
Colbath wants students to figure out what’s best for them, “Do what feels right for them, if they have a plan in place after or school isn't their best strong suit, then graduating early then that might be the best option”.
Foster needs you to know that the last semester isn’t even the hard part. “It’s not as hard as you think, just don’t slack. Keep working/keep yourself busy , so you don’t have room for procrastination or laziness”.
These seniors are just some examples of what you could experience if you decide to stay or graduate early. It is important to realize that were all different with different circumstances.
If your someone who would rather work or start you college education earlier than it could be a decision for you to consider. If you want to take more classes, be around friends and have the senior experience than you might want to stay. Make sure to stay focussed in what ever you decide to do its okay to not have a plan but it can be very detrimental if you decide to procrastinate your life.
By: Ariana Tessier and Calista Margiotta
Being two seniors here at WHS, there are many classes that we have had to take. However, there are many classes that seniors have taken that they enjoy going to and enjoy taking. Students LOVING a class...yeah, weird right?
Eight seniors who shared with us their favorite classes and why they enjoy these classes so much. This will also give the upcoming seniors and other students here at WHS to hear about classes that they may be interested in taking in the future.
WHS senior Lauren Christie’s favorite class is Current Issues. She said, “I get to learn about things that are beneficial in real life.” This class benefits Lauren and she always is looking forward to going to spend time in that class. With other students we polled naming the same class, it’s safe to say this is a popular class amongst seniors.
Dante Burgos had a lot to say about Speech, saying “I feel as though it’s a great class especially for students who have problems speaking in front of large groups. It is also a great class before you go off to college because it is a good tool to have to be comfortable talking in other groups.”
Paige Contenta´s favorite class is Journalism which is a class we both take and enjoy.
Matt Iallonardo talked about his Calculus class and said, “This is my favorite class because I enjoy the teacher.”
Dino Alihodzic is taking AP Psychology this year and although it is an advanced class and very hard, he said, “This is my favorite class because I love Ms. Niemiec and the class is always fun.”
To conclude the portion of this article with interviews, we end with Grace Amoruso who’s favorite class is the challenging Uconn ECE Composition and Rhetoric. One of the benefits of going to Wethersfield High School is being able to take college level classes and using those credits in college.
Entering senior year can give you a great opportunity to take the classes that you have been interested in throughout your other high school years, but haven’t had the chance to take.
What's your favorite class? Did it make this list? Comment below!
by: Kevin Rascius
IBM is reaching out and making a difference at Wethersfield High School. Science teacher Mr. Kess runs an interesting independent study called, “Mastering the Mainframe.” This independent study provides seven WHS students with the incredible opportunity of learning how to use mainframe computers and setting them up for future success in the field of computer science. The independent study gives students the chance to learn about these computer systems and gives students real-world application of this knowledge. The students access IBM’s mainframe computers through laptops and are advised by Project Manager Christopher Zack from IBM.
Mainframe computers are essential tools in the real world, they are used primarily by large companies for critical applications, transaction processing, storing important information, and so much more. As Mr. Kess said, “Mainframe computing is something that doesn't get alot of attention, but is a huge, huge part of the finance community.” 92 of the world's top 100 banks use mainframe computers, there are 30 billion business transactions handled by mainframes everyday, and they handle about 87% of all credit card transactions. “Mainframes are secure, they are fast, and the whole point is to crunch data. It’s incredible what mainframes do, they're in the background, we don't know realize what they do, but everybody touches them everyday when they make a credit card transaction or book an airline ticket.” (Christopher Zack) Mainframe computers are a key component of our everyday lives, yet very few people know about them. They handle our most important transactions and store the most vital information because they are fast, secure, reliable and dependable. Tests have shown that they can survive an earthquake with an 8.0 magnitude on the Richter scale, these are built to handle the extremes.
This independent study is very different from any other class at Wethersfield High School, as it culminates in a competition sponsored by IBM that can result in obtaining “Digital Badges” that acts as credentials to recognize students achievement and contribution. These badges are a tangible item that proves to potential employers that you have the skills to work for them. Project Manager Christopher Zack from IBM said, “Ideally, students will get those badges. The goal here is to complete the course, and earn the badges. The badges are an incredible thing to take away from this. This contest identifies the people who have the potential to be mainframers, and get their names out there as candidates to be mainframers.” In the competition, hundreds of students compete, and are asked to complete a multitude of challenges and projects on a mainframe computer. Successful students in the competition can earn these digital badges, and win other prizes such as Amazon gift cards.
With this independent study, IBM and WHS expose students to an amazing job opportunity in a rewarding and important field. These students are getting a free jump start on a potential career in the field of computer science, and IBM is getting a head start on training the next generation of mainframe programmers, and identifying possible future employees.
The independent study has just begun this semester, and Mr. Kess and Mr. Zack hope to make it into a half-year elective by the beginning of next year. As it is an independent study, students try to meet with Mr. Kess once a week but do most of their work in their own home. In order to do well in this class, students must be responsible and self motivated. While the course may sound difficult and very ¨techy¨, both Mr. Kess and Mr. Zack encourage anyone with any interest in the field of computer science to participate. The class can shed some light on what “computer science” means, and presents an amazing and free opportunity for all Wethersfield Students.
All in all this independent study and future WHS elective provides an incredible opportunity for students. If you are curious about computer science, enjoy a challenge and love the thrill of competition, this class is for you.
By Katie Galusha, Manager of Choralaires
Most people know about what the Choralaires are up to during the months of December and the last couple months of the year. But what do we do in between? In short, a lot of music is involved.
Let us start with the general description of Choralaires: An auditioned-entry choir with 23 (6 basses, 6 tenors, 6 altos, 5 sopranos) spaces available. This is an honors choir, so with membership in the choir, you gain an honors credit. By being a Choralaire, you are also a member of concert choir. We’re also the choir with the infamous field trips for an array of concerts we have been asked to perform.
So, the Choralaire literature that is performed is usually a Capella. In the Christmas season, we have staple songs that you must learn and memorize for the rest of the years as a Choralaire. The rite of passage is when you learn “We Wish you a Merry Christmas.”
On a day-to-day basis, we rehearse all of our music. With the amount of music we perform, it is strongly suggested to practice in some way at home as well. When we are first handed music, the group tends to sight-read the music. This year’s phantom of the opera medley had a full sight-read run through, the first day it was handed to us.
This class gives you an opportunity to make some of your closest friends, as the chemistry within the group grows as the year progresses. On the rare occurrence that we have a substitute, you find the Choralaires rehearse at least one song, and then continue to play music in some way, or continue to sing from their literature. You form a great appreciation for music of all genres.
The audition process for Choralaires is the key component in order for you to be enrolled. You are able to audition in June. Your first opportunity to audition is freshman year. If you audition and make it in, you are a member in the group for the rest of your time at the high school. You obtain/accept the responsibility and demands of choralaires when you audition for the group in June.
Senior, Mackenzie Stevens (Alto II) states, “We are all so close that I think when you get put into the group, you’re at first saying ‘what is going on, what are these people doing?!’, because there are so many inside jokes [made] and euphemisms [that we all use in conversations now], its all really good.”
After the first couple of months, the group as a whole, make memories that we all cherish and laugh with one another about.
“We all work really well together. We know when to crack down when we need to, and we know when it’s okay to goof off with one another, so we can mix those together and still get a lot of work done” said Senior Alto II, Emily Raffalo.
The audition is nothing to be afraid of either. You sing the National Anthem for Mr. Scott P. Rioux (Choral Director) and all of the members of the same gender. Then, you sing with some of the members, display your vocal range, and get tested on sight-reading, along with pitch matching capabilities. All auditions within the group are never discussed with others.
We are never allowed to discuss auditions. At the end of the day, Mr. Rioux makes the decisions for the group.
“No one talks badly about you. No one will insult the way that you sing, so if you think that as soon you leave, that is not the case. We really appreciate people who come because it’s scary. We’ve all been in that position so we know what it’s like. So, yeah don’t be scared. We’re not [there] to judge you, and we know exactly how you’re feeling [while you audition].” states Raffalo.
My biggest advice is to audition! You will not regret it. You do not even have to have been involved in any choral group prior to your audition. Auditions are held in early June, so keep an eye out!
By Evan Copeland, Jaron D’Costa
Shakespearean Studies is a semester long English elective class offered for students to take in their senior year at Wethersfield High School. It is a class that entirely studies the work of William Shakespeare. It is taught by English teacher Mr. Marc Pfister.
The class studies many plays throughout the semester, including the tragedy play Hamlet and comedies like Midsummers Night Dream. In the class you take an in-depth look at both the works and life of William Shakespeare and how his life and circumstances may have influenced his work.
At the beginning of the class we start off with Hamlet, which is probably the most famous play that we do not get to study in underclass or junior english or most elective english classes. Being able to study the comedies is interesting because it is a side of Shakespeare writing that we also do not get to study.
For the final exam the class splits into groups and presents a scene from any play that they have read in class. Acting in the play was fun and exciting. It gives the students a chance to act out the play in a way that they see fit. They get to experience an idea of how it was for shakespeare's actors to memorize and act out the lines.
We asked Mr. Pfister about the class, which he has taught for sixteen years, and when asked who he would recommend the class for he said ¨anyone that is interested in knowing why Shakespeare is the best writer of all time, and why the plays are supremely popular.¨ About the plays read in class he said that he believes studying Hamlet is an absolute requirement, and then the choice of comedies will vary from year to year. What is often read however is Midsummer Nights Dream, Taming of the Shrew, Much to do about Nothing, Merchant of Venice, and As You Like It.
We interviewed current student in this class Sydney Ouellette who finds the class enjoyable. When asked why she took the class she told us, "I wanted to read more Shakespeare; I’ve read Macbeth, and Julius Caesar, and As You Like It, so I wanted to read more.” We asked what made the class different from other English classes that she has taken, “It only focuses on one author and all the other english classes I’ve taken revolve around topics like American literature and humanities; I think it's nice in this class we focus one one author because we can really dive into his works.”
Shakespearean Studies is a great class to take if you have interest in Shakespeare, especially if you haven't read Hamlet yet.
By: Tanya Messenger
ELL stands for English Language Learners, a program that is given to students at WHS that come from different countries, who speak different languages and English is their second language.
We have amazing teachers that teach this program, Mrs. Malizia and Mr. Mirizzi. Mrs. Malizia has been teaching for five and half years at Wethersfield High School and Mr. Mirizzi for five years. Mr. Mirizzi was quoted saying “I love this job. I feel that I am not only helping students with their homework, I try to help them beyond academics.”
Most of the time the students that Mr. Mirizzi and Mrs. Malizia will work with have parents that do not speak English, and they need help with personal issues as well. The parents of the kids may ask them questions such as, what doctor they can go to, where they should go to get glasses or find a dentist. Mrs. Malizia has also assisted students in filling out job applications, as well as college applications and more.
In this program, both teachers help students complete their homework assignments, check to see what assignments were not done and need to be completed, they love helping their students. Mrs. Malizia especially loves it when her students show that “They understand something that they hadn't understood before they came to class.”
In this program, they do a lot of fun activities such as a Cultural Feast that takes place twice a year, where most of the students participate and bring in a favorite dish from their own culture. They also have a gingerbread house decorating day which students enjoy. Mrs. Malizia said “Once we had a group of students teach their native dances to each other and (us) after school in our auditorium.”
This program is important to the WHS students who come to the school with very little English language skills. These students only have few years to learn English when other students have been learning English since birth. These students are learning the basics of English, and are expected to understand what is going on in their classes.
Many teachers do not realize how fast they talk and that these students are not proficient readers. That is where ELL teachers come in and try to break down the lessons so that their students can understand them. “Every student should have a chance to succeed and they try to give them the tools to do that!” said Mrs. Malizia
By: Kat Neilan
“I want to create a learning environment for my students where there are no boundaries and they can do and make anything they imagined. To be comfortable and expressive as they dig deep into their creative side as I stand aside and let them do their thing. Letting students decide their projects is key in the classroom.”
Karl Bayek, an art teacher at Wethersfield High School aspires to teach young adults how to discover their passions through art. Art is a therapeutic gateway for people to convey their true emotions and adoration for it without rules or qualifications to follow. Art has no grade, art has no rules, the vision you create is the rulebook to art.
When listening to Mr. Bayek I thought to myself, how does one grade and judge a students art if there is no REAL criteria to art? Turns out, when coming to grading art it is all mostly based on how much effort was shown in the piece. No, not every line has to be crisp and every painting can’t be Picasso’s. It is simply how much passion the person laid out on the canvas.
Teaching a class full of rebellious, hormone raging teenagers is no walk in the park. If anything it is more like a frantic sprint. Trying to keep up with the new fads to prove that you are not a dinosaur fossil of a teacher like the students might think you are. The act of teaching itself is a position that is not appreciated enough in this society and adding the fact that the students are teenagers is what makes it even more uncredited. A teenager’s mindset is that they know what’s best and that they are at the age where being told what to do is a BIG danger zone. One command turns into an hours long sessions of arguing why they shouldn’t do/listen to what you have to say, now put those students in an art room.
When it comes to art, the majority of students turn their heads the other way and run for the hills. Their family mistakes their sailboat for a pancake on a stick during Pictionary, utterly discouraging their confidence in their art. Now I’m not blaming Pictionary for the dislike for high school art class, teens simply either have no artistic abilities at all and have no interest in the classroom or they want to learn and expand their knowledge more in the classroom...so how do you balance this out?
“Creating projects where there is just a basic set of qualifications to follow is what I think is the best way to teach students. From that point I can receive many different perspectives on the idea and see how different each art piece is from the students.” From this interview it is clear that art is a form of expression. Teaching others how to do art doesn’t exist but instead expanding the depth of the creative mind can allow students to do the teaching themselves. The art teacher is in the passenger seat of the car and students are the driver. They can make anything their mind desires with the help of a professional to tweak out the details.
Although art personally is far from my strong suit, discussing the performance of teaching this free spirited skill was really fascinating. Teachers alone deserve more respect professionally and personally for their great work but the extensive lengths art teachers go for their students to help envision their ideas is what makes the dream work in the classroom. I know I have a safe outlet to go to in my school where I can make any artistic idea come to life with the help of Mr. Bayek’s selfless efforts to make each student feel in control.
by: Amanda De Jesus and Jenna Colon
Wethersfield High School has many electives for juniors and seniors, one of them for seniors is Journalism.
Journalism, which is taught by Mr. John Martin, involves writing for newspapers, magazines, and online. We interviewed him on the basics of his Journalism class.
¨They're going to learn everything I know about journalism,¨ Martin said. “In this course, students will learn how to write for the web, design the web, and write in different styles for many different readers. They will even learn how to write a multitude of articles from short pieces to long forms.”
¨If a student hates writing, I hope that this might be the first class where they actually enjoy it.¨
Martin enjoys hearing about what his students write about because it varies from some things he knows nothing about, and can learn about, to things he loves too.
¨I want to give every student the opportunity to try this class and then decide if they want to do this sort of job or not,¨ says Martin when asked about the effect this class has on students and his role towards that. He went on to say that even if they don´t want to succeed in journalism he still loves that feedback, but also when they do want to continue with their journalism career.
This course can really help students discover more about themselves. Whether it's that they absolutely love writing articles about topics they love or that it's not for them and they don't want to do anything in that field. We highly encourage you to try it out and see how you like it, who knows you might find your future career!
By: Sedina Begic and Nyah McCall
Seniors and teachers of Wethersfield High School were asked if they preferred the shorter period schedule during the 2015-16 year or the current block schedule we have now. They answered why they prefer one schedule over the other and whether or not it was hard to adjust to new schedules.
Senior Lejla Mustabasić was asked which schedule she preferred. “Definitely the schedule we have now because we get an extra day to do our homework and it makes the day go by faster.” She also stated that, “I much rather prefer to not see every teacher every day. It’s good to have a break”
On the other hand, senior Cenia Diluvio had a different opinion on which schedule is better. When asked which schedule she preferred she said she liked our freshman year schedule better simply because “it was easier for me to pay attention because the class period wasn’t so long. I found it easier to do homework because there wasn’t as much and it was more convenient to see teachers everyday especially for classes like math.” she said.
English teacher at Wethersfield High School Mr. Martin also had a few words to say about our current schedule. He said that he prefers the current schedule. “The 84 minutes helps me do multiple activities with my students everyday.”
Next year, Wethersfield High School is planning on adding 15 minutes to the school day which will make school days longer. Although the periods are very long, it should be seen as beneficial because it is preparing Wethersfield High School students for how long classes will be in college. Whether you prefer this schedule or the old one, at the end of the day it is only benefiting us.
by: Jake Lepore and Zeeshan Haider
Through the Wethersfield Education Foundation, Monaco Ford donated a 2003 Ford Explorer to Wethersfield High School on September 19, 2018 so that students can learn basic automotive skills and have hands-on experience with a car.
The car is used in the Transportation & Alternative Energy class taught by Mr. Behn Sikora. Mr. Sikora is known in the school for teaching Tech-Ed electives like Robotics and Construction Technology.
Although it is a half-year class, Transportation & Alternative Energy covers all four modes of transportation, that being by air, water, space, and land. In each subsection of transportation, students learn about the different parts in vehicles that make transportation possible and the many ways that each section has changed over the years.
Thanks to the donation by Monaco Ford, the class now features a hands-on learning experience with cars. Students learn how to perform basic car owner tasks like changing the oil and they even get to rotate the tires as a group.
One of the most well received in class projects that students work on is the lawn mower disassembly. Students take apart lawnmowers in the automotive shop to see the many mechanisms that make the everyday tool so efficient. Personally, this was our favorite part about the class (car aside) because it was really interesting to see all of the parts and how they work together.
Mr. Sikora also shared his opinion on his favorite part of the class, and it is very similar to the thought of the students. “As with all the classes I teach, I love the hands-on nature of the class. I enjoy the different activities we complete in the class. I feel very fortunate to have students that want to work with tools and machines, a great facility and the ability to facilitate students learning. I enjoy learning with the students.”
When asked about the importance of the class, Mr. Sikora had a lot to say, and it showed how much he cared about this class and what he wanted students to get out of it.
“I do believe automotive skills are important because cars are a big part of our culture. I think it is important for everyone to know how to do basic maintenance on their car, including changing a tire, filling a tire, and changing oil. Even though cars are getting more advanced and more technological, there are still basic skills car owners should know.”
“There are so many career opportunities related to the automotive field, including sales, maintenance, engineering, technicians, welding, robotics, and programming, just to name a few,” Sikora said.
Senior Matt Accarpio, who was in the transportation class last semester, told us all about his experience in the class. “It was one of the best classes that I have taken in the school. It not only teaches you basic car knowledge, but it also teaches you how to use that knowledge and physically work on your own car”.
Another great part about the class is the attention that it’s getting. Shortly after the Explorer arrived at the school, a family donated a barely used Honda Civic and so now, future students have two cars to work on.
With the addition of the donated cars, the Transportation & Alternative Energy class is even better than it was before. This class is available for all students in the high school and you can take it in either semester, making the course a very attractive option for all students.
by: Logan Miller
Our school library is a great place for students to get work done while meeting up to talk to friends in a comfortable environment with many resources at their disposal, but there are many things some students may not know about it.
Location, Location, Location!
Since the school’s renovation there have been many major changes. The library used to be located in the English wing, but now resides beside the pool entrance, across from the fitness room.
The new area is a much brighter and more welcoming environment with a relaxed atmosphere. Maintaining this kind of environment is very important to our librarians, but it’s important for students to come here to get their work done while they meet with their friends. “I want it to be a comfortable environment, but I want it to be a productive environment” says Nella Szilagyi, our Teacher/Librarian.
Here to Help
Along with providing a safe and productive workplace for all students, there are many resources available. However, the focus of the LMC has changed from the stacks of books to technology, with a lot of energy goes into servicing chromebooks and helping students with printing.
When Mrs.Szilagyi first got here, she said that they were switching a lot of their media from VHS to DVD, but that only lasted a few years due to an increase in streaming. With online sources like United Streaming, over 90% of the LMC’s collection is online, and because of this the library is no longer buying reference books.
Even teachers are counting more on these streaming sources like Netflix and Youtube; thankfully our librarians are here to help them if they need subscriptions and such.
What’s on the Shelves?
Recently there has been an increased circulation of fiction being checked out. The same can’t be said for non-fiction, “For non-fiction, it’s hit or miss depending on if teachers require it for research.” said Mrs.Szilagyi.
Much of the books added to the collection over the past few years have been high interest non-fiction like Melaine’s Biography, and Tanisha Quarter’s The World and Me, also including national book award winners, but why has fiction been of such high interest?
Kids are into stories and many new novels have more diverse characters, like in the book by Angie Thomas’ The Hate You Give, a title that’s been very popular amongst our students. This diversity connects to the high school population; which also has a growing diversity.
Some people say we don’t read as much as we used to, but is that really true? I asked Mrs.Szilagyi this question and she said, “A lot of articles I’ve read have said that students don’t read as much, but honestly I think they read just as much, it’s just different types of things they read.”
But as important as it is for kids to enjoy what they read, the role of the school library is to guide students to things they are interested in, but also to things they typically wouldn’t pick up for themselves.
Whether you’re trying to catch up on some missed work, or simply want to read a book during your study hall, being an open space with plenty of seats, our amazing library is the place to be for all your academic needs!
by: Isiah Timmons
One of Wethersfield High School’s most recent class music production. Being taught by WHS teacher Michael Bowles is definitely worth your time. Here’s why:
Music production gives in-depth lessons about the composition of melodies and workings of sound and production. The amount of creative freedom in this class is endless. As a music creator this class definitely gives the best fundamentals of mixing, EQ’ing, and the musical process with the addition of fun.
Music Production prepares a great space for you to enter your creative process and to stop stressing about other classes and just create.
WHS student Katie Galusha said, “Music production for me was a lot of creative freedom. I didn’t feel like I was limited to do whatever the teacher said, because it was just like a general outline and then he said ‘take it and run’ and you could literally make whatever you want.”
Music Production students are greeted with a Mac computer, piano, and three different usable softwares Logic Pro X, Pro Tools and Garageband.
Music Production will help you improve your tracks and help you explore more into the field of music production. This class is definitely worth your time because it shows you the fun of sound mixing, chopping, folleying and creating sentences with different pieces of audio. Katie Galusha said “I’ve always gotten the music handed to me I never got to create anything, which was like, very cool.”
One of the most interesting projects I’ve done in this class is changing the mood of a movie trailer. This is done by changing the key of your music in the background from major to minor or visa versa. Major creating a more happy feel, while minor creates a sadder or fearful mood, using different sound effects and changing the entire ambience. For example turning a comedy movie into a horror movie, or turning a love story to a sci-fi movie.
Music Production holds many career choices, from foley artist, to music producer, sound designer, digital audio editor, radio broadcaster, or a digital audio editor. If you’re interested in any career involved with sound?
Music Production is definitely a class you should consider!
by: Danielle Colbath and Shantall Teran
Whether you graduated long ago or are in school now, homework can be remembered as a staple of the high school experience. For something that has been around for so long, the question of its usefulness and impact on the students is still up for current debate. Teachers around Wethersfield High School were questioned to get a closer look into homework and their thoughts.
Science teacher Ms. Alexopoulos was asked about her thoughts on homework, “I don't give homework often, if an assignment is not finished in class I will asked them to finish it in class”. Alexopoulos also brought up an interesting point that she includes homework as classwork grades. By doing this she allows for your grade to not be solely impacted by just homework, but instead their overall effort in the class.
Mrs. Duggins builds onto this idea. “I hand out homework to all of the classes as necessary, it's not a set schedule, but it's either going to introduce an idea, or inforce an idea that hasn't been completed in class and needs to be finished.”
Mr. Sand shared, “I'm not a big fan of very long drawn out homework assignments I understand kids often have 7 classes, if they get an hour of homework from each teacher it can be very overwhelming.” It seemed as though our teachers noticed that prolonged homework isn't beneficial.
The four teacher we question told us that in the past years they have changed their policies for homework. Mr. Mangino tell us “I give much less homework for most of my classes than I used to”. Mrs. Duggins also points out an important factor as to why her homework policies have changed. “I think that a lot of high school students are working, watching siblings, have a lot of courses, they have a lot going on in their lives as oppose to years past.”
The teachers that were questioned seem to share the idea that the amount of homework depends on the subject. Spanish teacher Mr.Mangino tells us “It's hard to acquire a language unless you're engaged in active conversation or reading.”
Time spent doing homework can be tedious and overwhelming. However with the right teacher, understanding of purpose, and a little extra time, it can be done to the benefit of your education. “in college you're not going to have to do homework so it creates the mindset of what does it take to do well in a class” is what Ms.Alexopoulos puts in perspective. What are your thought on homework as student? Let us know!
By: Justin Biraci
Students are constantly walking in after the bell in the morning with a coffee in their hand. Teachers tend to get the wrong impression, and think the students do not care about their class.
Many students who take the morning stop to a place such as Dunkin Donuts are often tardy to class. The coffee in the morning can wait, or you can try waking up earlier. Their craving for coffee gets them on bad terms with their teacher.
From the teacher’s perspective, the student could’ve had a better chance of arriving to class on time, if they did not stop for coffee. It makes the student look disrespectful and sends the teacher the wrong message.
“If you come to my class late, with coffee, you must leave it at the door” said Marc Pfister, English teacher at WHS.
Not only is it disrespectful, but it is interrupting the class when they show up late and walk through the door in the middle of a lesson. By coming in late, the student is saying that they prioritize their breakfast stop over their academic learning for that class.
Teachers understand when there is an emergency, or if you just accidentally did not wake up on time. However, if you are purposefully and perpetually showing up late, then it becomes an issue.
Some teachers will resort to punishments such as detentions or not letting them in the classroom. Bottom line, try to avoid getting into a bad habit of showing up to class late with a poor excuse such as your coffee stop.
If you want to succeed in class, then it is beneficial to have a good relationship with the teacher. The amount of respect you give to the teacher will be the amount you receive in return. Make sure to be on time in order to present yourself as someone who is willing to be engaged in learning.
by: Logan Miller
Curious about the Art Department, I interviewed one of the High School teachers, and asked some questions about any important dates, recent happenings, and generally how it’s doing.
To start off the art department has been doing very well lately. Some students have won some awards in the Connecticut Regional Scholastic Art Awards. Their work will be hung up at Capital Community College as a part of the National Art Program.
Teachers are very proud of their students who are in the Scholastic Art Awards, and the Gold Key work will be judged nationally.
Some upcoming art events include a Winter Paint Night planned for February 21 and then an Art Extravaganza with performance, art making, and exhibits on display of student work for the Youth Art Month. This will be on March 27th.
There will also be a National Art Honors Societies members exhibit at the Wethersfield Public Library, there will be work on display also at CCSU for the statewide art celebration, and a district wide art show in May, but those dates are yet to be confirmed.
by: Alexis Szymecki and Matt Iallonardo
Students all around the country struggle to keep themselves on track after winter break ends and the new semester starts. Using these five simple tips, however, can make your life a lot easier, allowing a much less stressful half of the year.
Get yourself Organized
Organization can be one of the most difficult, but most helpful aspects to a successful semester. Having a color coded folder and notebook for each class is a great way to keep your work in safe places so that it doesn’t get lost. Having the colors for each class makes it easy to find what you need while searching your backpack.
Along with organization, time management is an important factor, not only in your teenage life, but throughout life. If you are ever feeling stressed about your work, it is very helpful to take a step back and make a list deciding most important to least important. Using that list create a schedule for your day, and check things off as you go. Knowing you are getting your work completed helps relieve stress.
Get Assignments Done Early
Keeping track of your assignments using a list can lead to extra time in your day. Use that time to get assignments done early and then reward yourself with a relaxing break. Getting assignments done early not only ensures no late penalties from your teacher, but it also creates a relief knowing you won’t be pressed for time the night before it’s due.
Outside of school, it’s important to have times with friends allowing yourself a break. The second semester is always hard work, so it’s good to go out and let off steam while having a good time with friends. Being able to get your mind off of your work for a few hours can be very effective, because you can come back, and be ready to go.
Get Some Sleep
As teens we are overworked and often times don’t allow ourselves the amount of sleep we need. Getting a good night’s rest can help to refuel your body and allow you to start the next day feeling new and ready to take on your tasks. Again, resting your mind allows you to have a fresh look on your assignment when you come back to it.
These five tips will help you stay stress free during your second semester. Allow time for yourself, while staying organized and completing assignments early by managing your time. We hope you enjoy your last semester before summer begins.
by: Valentino Fazio
At WHS, I am an ALS Aide which gives me an opportunity to help kids with learning and physical obstacles in their classroom everyday.
I really enjoy being an aide because it makes me feel really good to help someone out that needs it. Everyday when I walk through the door and see the smiles on the kids’ faces it puts me into the best mood.
ALS aide and WHS senior Maddy Johnson said, “Being an ALS helper is fun but educational at the same time because you’re learning more than you would in other classes. It helps you learn responsibility and patience which are good skills to have in the real world. I love having it in the middle of the day because it breaks up my other academic classes by having somewhere to go that brings positive vibes to the day. Everyone is always smiling and welcoming. They are their own little family within the school and I love being apart of it and it really shaped my senior year and helped me.”
Senior Mark Accarpio added, “Being able to help out at the same time while having fun with these kids really brings joy to my day. Taking this class during my senior year has been one of my best decisions as it teaches me responsibilities that could be used throughout a lifetime. There is always positivity spread throughout our school and huge part of it is because of these kids in ALS.”
Being an ALS aide for me is fun and teaches me life skills at the same time. I enjoy my time helping out the kids and would recommend everyone to take this class if they get the chance.
by: Sedina Begic and Nyah McCall
Technology has become an important part of our everyday lives. It’s important to keep up with the latest technology as it is always changing. Here are four reasons why a computer class should be taken in high school.
Reason #1. Most occupational jobs require basic computer skills. It’s important to know how to at least use Microsoft Word to be able to write down important reports. As technology advances, the expectations of computer knowledge will too.
Reason #2. Want to become better at problem solving? Take a computer class! Taking such classes will further your creativity and improve your way of thinking. This will help you out in the long run so that you look at things outside of the box.
Reason #3. Communication! Some students don’t know how to write a formal email to a teacher. This is a super important skill to attain. You can’t start an email to your CEO saying “Hey Joe..” It’s just not professional. Knowing how to construct a professional email is very important.
Reason #4. It’s fun! Taking a computer class will have you more interested than you think. You will always be engaged in activities that are hands on. It is definitely more fun than writing a bunch of notes on U.S. History.
So if you are thinking of expanding your knowledge on technology overall, take a computer class. It will benefit you more than you know.
By: Paige Contenta & Kaitlyn Swoverland
Whether it’s halfway through the year and you’re taking your midterms or it’s simply the end of a unit and your teacher hands out a big test, it’s important to approach it properly and confidently.
Many students rush through multiple choice tests and circle whichever answer they first think of, not paying close attention to keywords or phrases within the question and answers.
1. Use the test to take the test. Within the test there are clues that give away answers. The test may have similar questions with the same answers or even have a statement in the question that gives away an answer to a previous question.
For example, a question might say “Neurotransmitters are a chemical substance that is released where?” and another question might say “What is a neurotransmitter?” and an option could be that it is a chemical substance that is released at the end of the nerve fiber. By using the test to take test it can help lead you in the right direction and is helpful for reassurance if you are unsure of a certain question.
2. By elimination, you are crossing out answers that are definitely not right to increase your chances of approaching the right answer. By eliminatinating answers that don’t correspond with the question you are narrowing down your choices, and you can use an educated guess to decide which answer you believe works best.
If you are given four possible correct answers to a question and you know that two of them are not right, then you can cross those answers off and have a 50 percent chance of approaching the correct answer.
3. Answer the questions you know first. If you are given a five page long test, it can be very overwhelming and stressful. By answering questions that appear to be easy, you are getting that out of the way so you can focus more on the ones you don’t know.
If you have a certain time limit to complete the test, you don’t want to spend too much time on any one question, so by answering the questions you know first it allows you to save time for harder parts of the test that requires more time and thought.
4. Check your work. If you have enough time after you finish your test, you should go back through each question and make sure you have the right answer that you think.
While taking a test many people may rush through and think of one answer and accidentally fill in the wrong bubble not noticing. It is very important to skim back through your test to make sure you filled in the correct bubble that you intended.
5. Make sure that you get a good enough sleep the night before the test. This is a big part in your performance for the next day. If you get a good night's sleep your memory recall will be much better and you will remember more things that you studied, then if you didn't get a good night sleep.
You don't want to be tired during a test and doze off, and circle the wrong answers. Getting a good sleep is a big part in making sure you are prepared and ready for the test.
These five tips will apply to and help a lot of highschool students. Every student wants to do well on tests and studying the right way is the biggest part in achieving that goal. Making sure you study is a push in the right direction when approaching a test.
Written, edited, and produced by Wethersfield High School students, covering all news and events.