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: Emily Litke
As a member of Environmental Club, you will help out with activities such as Earth Day cleanups, field trips, fundraising, Source to Sea, and so much more.
The goal of this club is to promote environmental welfare in the school and outside in the community. In the past, the club have started recycling campaigns to get people to recycle more in the school. They also participate in the Source to Sea clean up at the Wethersfield Cove every fall to help ensure a cleaner Connecticut River.
Sydney Ouellette, senior and vice president of Environmental Club, said, “Eco club is planning a lot of exciting projects this year, including the annual Earth Day clean up with the Connecticut River Conservancy.” She also mentions, “We are currently selling Earth Day t-shirts to raise money for the Eleanor Buck Wolf Nature Center, who will use this money to upgrade enclosures for the animals, buying food, veterinary bills, and so much more!” The t-shirts are pictured below and are only $15.00, so make sure to get yours!
It is also mentionable that the club is planning a possible field trip and if it happens, they will be going to Boston in late spring to participate in a whale watch and learn more about the environment around them. The Environmental Club is fast growing and always welcome to new members, see Ms. Norris in room 410 for more information.
By: Katie Galusha, playing the role of Jane Banks in Mary Poppins
Reason #1: Expectations are going to be met, if not exceeded.
The issue with Mary Poppins as a show is the expectations that audience members have. It is also very cool to see the magic from your childhood come to life, which makes that a big demand for special effects.
But WHS English teacher and director Jeff Roets has been aware of this problem, yet was very crafty with fitting it onto our stage.
“We are limited to our stage. Projections for the scene landscapes, and the peninsulas on each side of the stages create space. The need to have levels on stage in order to create some magic and come underneath places for entrances, also make some space backstage. We cannot make big pieces unless they stay on stage the entire time.”
Senior Jared Kauffman has the amazing opportunity to use his talents to portray the narrator of the show, Bert. The role of Bert calls for a lot of energy and expectations that are set by audiences as well.
Senior Katie Ginter will play Mary Poppins and was willing to share her thoughts with playing the lead role.
“In a regular show, if you are a lead, you hang out in the wings and are in the show half of the time. But in this show, these particular leads [Mary, Bert, Children] require a lot of stamina, because you need to be on stage quite a bit.”
The children and Mary are in almost every scene, and Bert coming in a close second. The task of being ‘on’ is quite daunting.
Much like Bert, Mary Poppins requires a lot of energy, and has many expectations. Neither Kauffman nor Ginter disappoints, even for a Disney fan like me.
Ginter has acquired the persona of Mary with the sass and strictness that Mary Poppins is known for.
“Definitely both [sassiness and strictness are important to Mary]. To be a little sassy and kind of poke fun at the Banks parents. But I think they [sassiness and strictness] are both are quintessential to her being.”
Junior Hailey Baranowski gets to play one of the two kids, Michael Banks. As we’re teenagers, the transition from teen to child can be difficult.
“It can be a little harder sometimes because [Michael is] a boy. So, switching into that mindset too when you’re on stage, and acting the way a person in a different country of that age would, while still being appropriate, is challenging. I just need to try and get rid of that teenage mind while doing lines, and really become a child.”
Baraonowski went from long, run-on-sentence lines as Yente in Fiddler on The Roof, to quick, witty, and humorous responses as Michael this year.
Reason #2: An opportunity to see some ‘on stage magic.’
The stage effects within the show are simply amazing. The stage crew have a lot of responsibilities for the ‘magic’ to come to life. Thus far, they have not disappointed.
There are still some finishing touches regarding props, but it will be worth the wait.
“The tech guys that we have helping us are really good figuring things out hands-on, but they needed to see something first, and as did I. I saw what I wanted in my head, but had no idea how to get it there. So we watched a lot of Youtube video, a lot of other schools and companies that have been really good about putting stuff up. That’s been really helpful [with designing the set and stage effects]” said Roets.
Along with the ‘magic,’ the scene changes will be very quick making the show run with fluidity that a broadway performance has accustomed to.
Reason #3: Iconic Music That EVERYONE knows.
Mary Poppins has all of the songs you know and love from the movie, plus some beautiful and fun additions. My personal favorite additions are “Brimstone and Treacle,” and “Being Mrs.Banks”.
The pit, with Dave Dion conducting, is full of very talented individuals. The introduction of the pit was a difficult addition in our 9-hour rehearsal during the last day of February Break, yet very flexible and adaptive for the needs of everyone within the pit and on the stage.
Many lines in the show are spoken over some music, so the majority of the show relies on trust between the actors and the pit.
After speaking to Ginter, Baraonowski, and Roets, make sure to watch out for the musical numbers “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious,” “Being Mrs. Banks” (Sung beautifully by Junior Lauren Lesser), and “Let’s Go Fly a Kite”.
Come see Mary Poppins, March 8th and 9th, at 7:30pm, and Sunday, March 10th, at 3:00pm, to see all the magic you love and all the numbers that you never saw coming in that show.
Tickets can be purchased online at https://www.showtix4u.com/events/215 , $10 for students/Seniors and $14 for adults. If you do not buy your tickets online, you can purchase tickets at the door, however prices may vary.
By: Auna Foster and Melanie Cohen
On February 28 during Period 4, Mrs. Duggins and the Brothers and Sisters United (BSU) are holding a “Hair Show” at Wethersfield High School. This show is one of the many segments being held at the school to celebrate Black History Month.
This show is meant to inform the students of Wethersfield High School of the history of black hair in America, and the many different hairstyles that are popular in the African American community. Not only will students be able to see all the unique hair designs, but they will also be informed on different “do’s and don’ts” when it comes to addressing black hair and asking questions about it.
According to Time Magazine in 2017, a 17 year old Massachusetts high school student named Jenesis Johnson was told by a school administrator that she could not wear her hair in an afro because it was “extreme and faddish and out of control.” Another occurrence happened within the same year in Kentucky, where a school attempted to ban dreadlocks, cornrows and twists but never succeeded.
There are many positive outcomes with this show. Not only will the show address hairstyles but also share the history behind them. This is a great way to bring awareness to students about embracing your natural hair, especially with it being a way to break the stigma many people of color face.
Everyone is welcomed and encouraged to come to this event, in hopes of both educating the bright student of WHS, and building a bridge when it comes to culture shock, and diversity.
by: Kenan Mujic and Matthew Zapata
The Journalism Club, led by Bryce Cox and Kayla Platania, is a club that writes for the Eagle Eye, the school paper and meets after school every Monday from 2-2:30 pm in Room 30.
Sophomores Platania and Cox, graduating in 2021, created the Journalism Club at the beginning of 2018-2019 school year as they were very interested in writing for the school paper, so they turned to Mr. John Martin, an English Teacher at Wethersfield High School, to help them create and run the club smoothly.
Cox describes this club as an opportunity to learn more about Journalism without any academic school work or stress outside of school grounds. It gives students the opportunity to take the class without actually taking the class.
Cox also mentioned that this club gives underclassmen and juniors the opportunity to do some sort of journalistic writing without taking the actual class, as Journalism is only offered to the seniors and not underclassmen and juniors.
Co-Leader Platania is currently urging students to join the Journalism Club as it gives students a voice and the club gives them an outlet to speak their minds. The club gives students the opportunity to promote events and issues that are currently present in the school.
There are currently about eight to ten members of the Journalism Club, and Cox and Platania are always looking to bring in more members to the club to add more depth and stability.
Be sure to be on the lookout for flyers posted around the school containing information about the club and who you should contact if you are interested in joining or have any questions.
If you are interested in joining the club or have any questions about how it works, please be sure to stop by Room 30 or contact Sophomore Co-Leaders Cox and Platania at email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cox and Platania look forward to seeing new and motivated faces next Monday, February 4th, 2019 in Room 30 right after school!
by: Tea Hima and Kelly Scales
Wethersfield High School Debate Team participants are filled with nervousness and excitement as they prepare for the Osterweis Debate competition at Yale University on April 7, where they will face some of Connecticut's most fierce and challenging teams.
The WHS Debate Team has been around for decades and it is currently a member of the Connecticut Great High School Debate, which is sponsored by Civil First. Although the team has a small number of members, the WHS team is well known because they meet regularly in preparation for tournaments and for having sponsored a novice debate tournament in previous years.
Teams from around Connecticut participate in debate tournaments monthly and compete for different awards such as¨Best Speaker.” Team awards are based on how high each judge rat them and on how many points they are willing to give based on their presentation. Traditional monthly debates use different debate techniques than the ones at the Osterweis competition.
The traditional debate has three rounds, where participants debate the affirmative and negative side of the resolved, as well as a side of their choosing for the third round. The Osterweis Debate has four rounds and is in what is called a parliamentary format, where the two sides debated are the government and opposition. Much like the affirmative side in traditional debates, the government must support the motion, while the opposition opposes it.
If you enjoy debating political issues, then join the WHS Debate Team for their tournaments and the Osterweis Debate on April 7. Please contact Mr. Pryor at email@example.com with any questions or to join the Debate Team.
By Brianna Dreger and Lindsey Clark
Do you have a passion for arts, crafts and creativity? The National Art Honor Society (NAHS) is a club that will help young artists’ artistic and creative skills flourish. They use their creativity to make the Wethersfield community bright and colorful. The club is advised by Andrea Haas, an art teacher for Level III and AP art classes.
The club meets every Wednesday after school for a get together to plan for upcoming projects or community service opportunities, and to build their present projects. At the last meeting, November 14, they continued to make simple, yet stylish jewelry that they will be selling in December.
The members of NAHS recently had an event known as Paint Night which was on November first. It was an event where anyone can attend and paint, no matter what artistic skills you have. There were even snacks and drinks. The Paint Night was a huge success as eighty people attended the event.
“Paint night was a huge success and 80 people were in attendance. This includes parents teachers and students! We are planning another Paint Night for January or Februar,.” Haas said.
Paint Night is not the only event that has planning underway. There is a national exhibit where students of the NAHS can show off one piece of their artwork by submitting their piece by December fifth.
“Students are invited to participate in a national exhibit where anyone from all over the country who is a member of NAHS submits one piece of artwork and writes a brief summary about their artwork.” Haas said.
The members are even planning to have the Empty Bowls project which will take place in the spring and the NAHS will eventually culminate with a soup dinner event with all proceeds to benefit the food bank.
The members of the NAHS are also thinking about volunteering at Highcrest and Charles Wright to help out by hanging and taking down exhibits.
The NAHS members are working hard and bursting with ideas to help the community for this year and next year. Having the NAHS at Wethersfield High School allows artists to share their artistic qualities and uniqueness with the others while supporting the local community with different fun events and projects.
By Isabel Correa
On April 3, the Wethersfield High School’s Pieces Literary and Art Club is hosting a poetry slam. An event where writers and artists can come together and share pieces they have been working on throughout the year, however, you do not have to be a member to attend this event.
The poetry slam is called the Word of Mouth Poetry and Art Slam, and is being held at the local Wethersfield Public Library where doors open at 6:00 p.m. and the slamming starts at 6:30 p.m.
The newly named Pieces Literary and Art Club, formerly known as Pieces Literary Magazine, is run by current Wethersfield High School students, as well as their in-school adviser the librarian Ms. George. This year's presidents McKayla Dreger (president of the writers) and Christine Gallares (president of the artists) are not only glowing in pride but are very jubilant for this even being able to take place especially the new freshman members who have never experience an event like this before.
For those who do not know, Pieces is a club where writers and artists create pieces that will be shared with their peers to inspire others to create more artwork or poetry. Once one writer and an artist agrees to combine their work, they will ask Ms. George to edit their work as well as place both pieces on the same page in their magazine. Before the school year ends, the club produces a yearly magazine showing the amazing skills of the drawers and writers of the club, as well as how teamwork is used to create the stunning and colorful combined magazine that is distributed amongst club members, teachers and other students at the high school.
When being asked about the club and poetry slam in general, the president of the poets McKayla Dreger joyfully stated, “It’s a great opportunity for students to build their confidence and share their creativity with the community”.
Pieces is not only an after-school club but an experience for the diverse student body that takes place at Wethersfield High School. For the members who all come from different backgrounds, they learn to grow confidence in their work, as well as teamwork and learning how to place their emotions and daily struggles into artwork that others can experience as well.
So, if you are free tonight feel free to attend this public event at the Wethersfield Public Library, 515 Silas Deane Hwy, starting at 6:30 p.m. Do not forget to bring any writing or works of art to the event of you feel brave enough to slam. However, if you cannot make it to the event no fear because the pieces that will be slammed will in their Pieces Magazine, which is coming out in May or early June be sure to keep an eye out for the magazine and grab one to support the Pieces Literary and Art Club.
Good Luck Slammers!!!
By James O'Conner
Journalism student James O’Connor sat down with Mr. Tom Brown, a science teacher at Wethersfield High School, and passionate bike rider to give us some insight on what it is about the activity that so many find interesting based on his experiences.
The most rewarding aspect of the sport, according to Mr. Brown, is the meditative effects that are foregrounded when one takes the opportunity to expose themselves to the elements. Unlike the confines of a car, being on a bike stimulates all of your senses. You attain a much better view of your surroundings, besides just seeing them, and you are able to hear the sounds of the trail or town you are riding through. You can feel the air as you cruise through it, and you may even notice some pleasant smells in the air, especially in the coming season of barbecues.
The more personal exposure to nature can help to clear your mind of stress, and serve as a kind of reset button for your thoughts, Mr. Brown explained. He says that after riding he feels better emotionally, and usually ends up in a good mood. He also gets a better night’s sleep after a good ride. “[That] sensation of flying, as long as you’re in control, is a good feeling.”
Mr. Brown also noted how cyclists are usually friendly people. He recalled his tour of the UK, during which he rode from the top of Scotland to the bottom of England. All throughout his journey he would be cheered on and encouraged by other bikers who realised the significance of what he was doing. Even back in Wethersfield, he always shares a smile with passing-by bikers because they are aware of the fun that their sport brings them.
Mr. Brown believes that biking is a good introductory sport, being low-risk for injury and easy to maintain. Those who might not be comfortable with running as a primary exercise may find biking can provide the same physical benefits while also being more comfortable to adjust to. He has previously worked with students to help acclimate them to a point where they could ride comfortably and confidently.
Of people who are skeptical about taking up bike riding, Mr. Brown said he understands that the sport can seem intimidating. Some may be scared or discouraged by the hazards associated with the activity, or have had poor experiences in the past and are no longer open to the idea. But he is adamant that the beneficial qualities of bike riding far outweigh the bad.
Even for people with disabilities, Mr. Brown is assurant that they can experience the thrill of taking out a bike. He mentioned that he is looking to make plans with an organization that specializes in bicycle modifications for the disabled. “Even with severe impediments, you could get a bike that could work,” he said of the idea. He stands by the adage that a positive attitude helps instill you with the energy necessary to take on any such task.
The WHS Bicycle club meets on Tuesdays and Fridays in room 401. With Spring on its way, the club will be riding soon, so don’t hesitate to take the opportunity.
By: Lorien Touponse
“A good leader can engage in a debate frankly and thoroughly, knowing that at the end he and the other side must be closer, and thus emerge stronger.” These words spoken by Nelson Mandela illuminate the reason why we debate. The Debate Team is a club at Wethersfield High School that teaches and develops public speaking, curiosity, organization, leadership, and so much more.
Mr. Pryor has been the WHS Debate coach for six years and absolutely loves it. He enjoys watching the students engage with one another. “I work with a fine group of young men and ladies. They want more than just what the classroom offers.”
Students commit their time and minds to this club. Usually they will spend one or two afternoons, during the week, discussing what they can continue to improve on and they ask questions. They also spend one full Saturday every month debating at another school. Mr. Pryor says, “They don’t get paid and they don’t get extra credit, but they do get the satisfaction of being part of an intellectual community to share ideas and to discuss major issues of the world today, in a civil environment.”
He also explains that this club does so much more for you than you might think. It is a good extra curricular activity to have on your college resumes, and it is also a great way to improve public speaking skills and ability to lead with an open mind. But beyond that, it instills values in students. “Never give in and never limit yourself. I think that is one thing that debate really helps young people realize and understand. The core values of debate are curiosity, courtesy, organization, and collegiality,” says Mr. Pryor.
According to Mr. Pryor, there are some common misconceptions that go along with debate, such as the idea that everyone in debate is a “geek”. But Mr. Pryor says that it couldn’t be further from the truth. “This year we seem to have more athletes on our team than anything.” Mr. Pryor encourages all to join because, “You never want to look back and say, ‘I wish I had …’.” Debate Team is a fantastic club filled with fantastic people and those who join get a lot out of it. Their next meeting is Tuesday, February 13, and their next debate is Saturday, March 3. If you are interested, come to the next meeting or email Mr. Pryor with any questions using firstname.lastname@example.org.
As a previous student at Wethersfield High School, it was clearly evident that Mrs. Griffin was passionate about her after school activities.
Being a female, sports weren’t exactly an option at WHS. Neither was wearing pants, which she describes as being “a huge change”, as skirts were mandatory. “Things changed quite a bit” she says.
Most females would spend their time after school in clubs. In Mrs. Griffins case, the Phoenix magazine was one of her outlets. Being a staff member of the Phoenix, she describes the process of how much effort went into the yearbook and the magazine.
Done on a real newspaper press, the magazine and yearbooks were printed in house and cut out by hand to look perfect. A full print shop was opened and the amount of work described to make the old yearbooks was immense.
The Yearbooks are now completed online through simple templates, that are described as “a piece of cake” compared to the old system. Students used to have to handwrite entries, and had most of their time consumed as a yearbook staff member.
Griffin graduated from the University of Hartford and got her degree in Instrumentation (automation and running factories).She transferred into United Technologies for her first line of work. Working in the plating lab and designing prototypes from huge sheets of acetate, down to simply designing onto computers was a massive change, and one that occurred right in front of her eyes.
Brought by United Technologies, Mrs. Griffin took an IT approach and landed herself a career at Wethersfield High School in 1998, working in the computer lab.
Although you can catch her behind a desk at the library most days, her love for computers is unmistakeable. Shown in the interview below, she has a passion for code and for making sure everything gets done on time.
Her other passions outside of the workplace include an active gardening life, tending to her birds, and sailing with her husband down in Old Saybrook.
There is no doubt that Mrs. Griffin is the right candidate to run the yearbook. Here is an interview with her about her career.
Written, edited, and produced by Wethersfield High School students, covering all news and events.