by: Megan Keleher
During the week of February 13-February 19, 33 Wethersfield students took a journey to Belize, arriving at the airport at 4 in the morning on the 13th to getting home at 12 at night on the 19th. Being 6 days you may think this trip was short but waking up early each morning and going to bed so late, these 6 days were the longest days of their lives, in the best possible way.
This trip was action-packed, there was never a dull moment from the second we got off the plane in Belize and took our first steps in the 85 degree weather to almost missing our flight back home to Hartford.
The first full day we were there, we traveled by boat to the New River Lagoon and took a tour of the Lamanai Ruins (a Mayan temple), then came back and went to the pool.The second day we traveled to the Cayo Region and enjoyed cave tubing and ziplining through the trees in the jungle.
The third day, still in Cayo Region, the group visited the Xunantunich Ruins, similar to the Lamanai ruins but with a much more breathtaking view. On this day we also visited the Chaa Creek Natural History museum, where we saw beautiful butterflies and learned so much about them.
One more amazing experience we had on the third day was visiting a local elementary school. From giving out school supplies to dancing to blowing bubbles and playing soccer with the kids, it was truly an experience of a lifetime that many WHS students will look back on and never forget.
Day 4 was a full-on traveling adventure. This day was exhausting journey by bus, by boat, and by van; but it was all worth it in the end because we made it to the beach in Ambergris Caye. Seeing the light blue sparkly water finally made it seems like we were on vacation.
Day 5, was easily one of the best days. At the beach in Ambergris Caye the group went snorkeling at Hol Chan Marine Reserve where we saw all sorts of fish, barracudas,stingrays, and some even saw dolphins. Later that day, we went snuba diving in the same spot. It was so amazing and a once in a lifetime experience for many of the students on the trip.
Erin Nargi says her favorite part of the trip was “Snuba diving because it was so cool and an amazing experience”. One thing she did not like about the trip was “The freezing cold showers in each hotel, that was the only thing I would change everything else was perfect.”
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 Logan Miller & William Malizia
On December 18, Surgeon General Jerome Adams, made an announcement stating, “I am officially declaring e-cigarette use [vaping] among youth an epidemic in the United States.”
The amount of students who vape is increasing at alarming rates. It was reported by the FDA in 2018 that 3.26 million highschool and middle school students were currently using e-cigarettes.
What’s the Purpose of Vaping?
Vaping is supposedly meant to be an alternative to smoking regular combustible cigarettes. With claims like having less chemicals than an ordinary cigarette, but less chemicals is not the same as having none.
To further counteract vapes “anti-smoking” ideal, it has been found in studies that people who vape actually have an increased chance of smoking regular cigarettes. As stated by Yale Health Researchers, “Vape devices have not been proven to help adults quit smoking.”
Why is this so Bad?
One word. Nicotine. Between 2017 to 2018, the amount of high schoolers vaping has increased 78% (11.7% to 20.8%), and the amount of middle schoolers vaping has increased 48% (3.3% to 4.9%).
Within a one month period, 11% of high school seniors, 8% of sophomores, and 3.5% reported using nicotine with a vape device. These teen epidemic of e-cigarette abuse is similar to the regular cigarette use of teens in the 1940’s and 50’s.
One of these e-cigarette companies, Juul, are under a lot of pressure by the FDA for “marketing and sales practices that seemed aimed at teens and young adults” These devices with their sleek design and colorful lights, how can they legitimately say it’s not marketed towards children? And with a harmful and addictive chemical like nicotine, it is dangerous to say the less.
How it Affects Us
Our young brains are very sensitive to the effects of nicotine. Nicotine can be very damaging to a young individuals brain development, it can impact one's own memory and attention processing. Unlike with cigarettes there are many “health unknowns” with e-cig use.
Another serious problem with nicotine is the addiction that quickly follows suit. Becoming an addict is like losing your freedom of choice. You’ll quickly find yourself under the control of your vaping device, not your own free will.
As warned by the FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, MD, “We cannot allow a whole generation to become addicted to nicotine” but with companies like Juul, with one pod having the same nicotine content as a pack of cigarettes, the problem has only just begun...
WHS and Vaping
Vaping at our school is not tolerated. As it states in the student handbook on page 33, it is a second level offense for the “use of tobacco products including e-cigarettes.” So don’t think that the rules only apply to combustible cigarettes, you will still get in trouble.
If you’re caught vaping the first referral is two extended detentions, second is two days of in-school suspension, third is a five-day suspension, and getting a fourth referral brings you into the third level disciplinary category which consists of another five day suspension just for the first referral.
Any student should also keep in mind that all vape paraphernalia found is confiscated and not returned to the student and/or family.
The Law and Vaping
After a brief interview with our School Resource Officer, Officer Knapp, the law says that any violation of the law for anyone 16 and under is an arrest. 15 and under is an arrest or the individuals are sent to the Community Review Board (CRB).
Students who are the ages 16-17 recieve a $50 fine their first time, but from then on the fine is worth $100. Students that are 17 can be offered to see the CRB. once there it’s up to them what happens. Usually they must do some kind of P.S.A., but they could also be required to do community service, counselling, and drug tests.
Students the ages 18 and up are not within any violation of criminal law, so they face school discipline.
The biggest advice I can give? Just don’t start. If you have and want help, there are many resources to help you, simply speak to your school counselor, nurse, administrator, or resource officer.
by: Scotty Giannini
On Monday, January 28, the Career Advisory Board (C.A.B.) had its first meeting since November in the Library Media Center. At this meeting members brainstormed ways to get students more involved with the school and career planning.
The meeting began with a quote from Ken Lesser, the Lead Organizer for the C.A.B.. The quote was from a Martin Luther King Jr’s sermon and talked about the ‘fierce urgency of now’. According to John Martin, an English Teacher at WHS, Mr. Lesser frequently begins these meetings with a quote to think about to get them started for the day.
New and exciting opportunities for students this year, there has been talk of bringing a forensics expert for the next in-school field trip and a careers fair in May which could have 30 or more employees, so keep your calendars open. Additional to this a newer member, Steve Bobbin opened up the idea for more field visits for students. Bobbin, an IT Network Administrator for CNC Software Tolland mentioned that they would love to send people over to get kids involved.
Santo Perrata, the VP of Sales and Marketing at United Tool And Dye here in Wethersfield has working opportunities for young adults in the area. According to Perrata, many of their current workers are retiring and their labor pool is changing. Opportunities like this can help create jobs for young workers in the Wethersfield area.
Superintendent Michael Emmett also mentioned that the high school is looking to bring WHS students dual credit opportunities by partnering with Goodwin College in manufacturing classes. Students would receive college credit from Goodwin college as well as the elective credit from WHS. Chairperson of the Board of Education, Bobbie Granato also had something to say about this, she said, “[The State of CT] is looking to grow manufacturing in Connecticut, and they are looking for educators and students to move students forward in all careers.”
Also don’t forget, this Friday, February 8th, 20 students will be going to Travelers for a job shadow experience. Students will spend the day touring and working the catastrophe vans that tour disaster areas for processing as well as exploring more careers within Travelers Insurance. For students interested in the insurance field or the van driving industry, this one’s a win.
By: Kareena Khadar
Have you ever set eight alarms just to snooze all of them in the morning? As much as waking up before sunrise should be illegal, there are a surprising amount of ways to help yourself wake up easily and on time. Here are some tips:
Have a Better Sleeping Environment:
Getting the right amount of sleep is very important for your body's health so it just might be a good idea to adjust your sleep schedule to tie in some of these tips and tricks.
by: Tanya Messenger
In Super Bowl LIII, the New England Patriots and the Los Angeles Rams will battle it out on CBS Sunday, February 3 at 6:30 pm. I interviewed students and teachers from WHS to see who they will be rooting for in Super Bowl LIII and how they are preparing for it.
Marc J. Mirizzi is a WHS staff member who is rooting for the Patriots at his house on Sunday. He is hoping that if Patriots win, Tom Brady will retire. Mirizzi will be “relaxing on the couch with chips and salsa and soda” to watch the football game.
Staff member Jacklyn Malizia told me in her interview that she is rooting for the Rams at her house in Wethersfield this weekend. Malizia’s husband and “his friends were Rams fans through thick and thin.” Mr. Malizia’s friends will come over on Sunday and they will have stromboli, chicken wings, and drinks to watch the big game.
Stephanie Breglio (class of 2020) is rooting for the Patriots at her friend’s house in Wethersfield. She watches the Super Bowl because it is a tradition, she has been watching it “since she was a little girl.” They will have appetizers and soda.
Interviewing senior Maddy Hickey, she was so excited to talk about the Patriots. She will be with her friends at First Church of Christ in Old Wethersfield watching the game and she said, “I’m going to have an emotional breakdown because the Patriots need to win again.” She watches the game because she has been a Pats fan her entire life. Maddy will be watching it on the big TV with all her Pats gear this Sunday.
My third interview with a student was Devon Sienna, who will be rooting for the Patriots. He will be watching at home in Wethersfield, CT. He said, “The only reason I watch it is because there will be food.” His dad will be watching it too, Devon probably will watch it on his computer.
Most students and WHS staff members will be rooting for the Patriots. If you enjoy playing or watching football, then this weekend on CBS at 6:30 pm get your friends and family to watch the two best teams battling to win. Who do you think will win?
By John Gregory
A lot of genres thrive and grow in the music industry. Genres that make u snap your fingers, groove all night, or just to listen to when your alone with your thoughts is the music of the world. Mr. Edward Krech, a long time record store owner of 40 plus years sells records consisting of R&B Soul, Rock n’ Roll, Blues and mainly Jazz.
By Lianna Montalvo
I believe most can agree that children are what brings town and communities together. As some might have cookouts others choose to dine out on a crisp sunny day, what other way to do that by bringing your children to an atmosphere made perfect for children.
Living Right at Live Right Wellness: An insight into The Business and Ventures of Owner Kerri Abronzino
By Chelsea Pinchera
In the recent decade, specifically the last couple of years, our world and society have shifted focus. In the past, America has been known as one of the most unhealthy nations, but we are starting to see a difference in this social reality.
From long days at school, to long nights at home, Tammy Luiz has put her family and her students first no matter what. Her determination is truly inspiring and has a long lasting affect not only with the kids she works with as a paraprofessional, but also her own children.
By Alison Fitzpatrick
For Bobbie Granato, Wethersfield was always home. Although she never saw herself returning to her home, nevertheless teaching at her old elementary school. Let’s bring it back to the beginning of how Granato got involved in education. She started teaching swim lessons at Mill Woods, those interactions with children are the things that decided it for her. She initially wanted no part of returning to her hometown, applying for a teaching job in Australia, but the economy brought her back.
By Ajla Ahmetovic
A staple in the Wethersfield community has been the Eleanor Buck Wolf Nature Center. A learning and education center that puts its focus on the environment and animals. A closer look into this small but impactful part of the community is taken in a written interview with the Director of the Nature Center, Patrick Telman.
Written, edited, and produced by Wethersfield High School students, covering all news and events.