By: Dimitri Shaposhnikov, Ryan Zwick
School lunch has always been a hot topic of discussion, especially when it comes to the quality of lunch. We asked a group of seniors some questions about lunch, the purpose of these questions was to find out what the students think should be changed, added, or removed.
One pressing question we had for seniors was; is the food this year better than the food from last year? Sarah Gordon, said that they thought it was about the same quality as last year, while everyone else at the lunch table said that they thought the food was decent. One suggestion from Sarah Gordon was for the cafeteria to provide taste tests for students to try and give feedback on the food.
The next question we asked was, ¨Do you think the food is healthy?” Sarah replied, ¨No but we think that they are trying to make it better.¨ Recently, WHS has started to offer a program called student choice, and many of these choices are fairly healthy. For example, with student choice you can now order different types of burgers including regular, bean, chicken, etc.
Two seniors Alyssa Pearce and Lucyne Grigorian, agreed that increasing the duration of lunch would be a positive change. The seniors agreed that lunch should be about 10 minutes longer because often times, the lines to get food are very long. Adding an additional 10 minutes to lunch would allow for students to have time to get their food, and finish eating.
We’ve come to the conclusion that although WHS school lunches are decent, there are definitely some improvements to be made.
By: Emily Litke
HDFS 1070 Individual and Family Development is a course normally taught at the University of Connecticut as a semester course for a large sum of $1,800. This price is what a normal 3-credit course would cost a student at Uconn.
However, for the same three credits and a much more in depth approach to the class, you can take this class at Wethersfield High School for only $125 as a full year class.
As a former student, Family and Individual Development was a great stepping stone to college level classes. It gives students a jumpstart on college credits and allows them to apply real life situations, from their own lives as well as research from case studies, to their work and class discussions.
Mairead Breton, who took this class as a Junior in high school, stated “The independent and self driven work in the human development class allowed me to be prepared to succeed in a typical college class and get used to the way that assignments are given.”
Mrs. Bailey, who is a certified ECE teacher with a masters in education and an undergraduate in Family Consumer Sciences Education, has been teaching this class for 2 years now. She states that “Students will have an understanding of Individual and Family development through the lifespan, as well as learn about societal factors and family influences that affect development.” She also states that “By the end of the year, I hope my students appreciate the diversity in families and different cultures.”
As a full year class, this class goes very in depth into human development through the lifespan, family diversity, as well as influences that affect development. Students will be able to analyze concepts by relating them back to their own personal experiences as well as learn to read and write at a college level with depth and insight, and be able to give credit for what has been read.
Each semester, this course requires a minimum of 10 community service hours. Mrs. Bailey puts a large emphasis on the fact that the volunteer work that is required in this class is what makes it stand out from others, stating “Volunteer work is what sets this course up as different. It allows students to work in a field they may be interested in one day and possibly make a good impression for future careers.”
At Uconn, this course is required for any student going into a degree in human services, like psychology majors, social work majors, and so many others. However, even if you decide to major in something else, the credits can still be used towards any of the required elective classes all students must take.
By: Jake Lepore and Zeeshan Haider
As of September of 2018, Wethersfield High School has a new english elective, Myths and Legends, that is available to all current and future upperclass students.
The class, taught by long-time WHS teacher Mrs. McKenna, has students plunge into the world of mythology and cultural tales so that they can see the importance of the stories and the influences that they have had on our world.
If you are worried about the class only focusing on Greek and Roman stories that everyone knows, don’t worry because this class covers multiple pantheons and cultures including Egyptian, Chinese, and Norse. As you journey through the different cultures, you will find many similarities between them and this includes the lessons that they teach.
Mrs. McKenna exclaimed, “I love that there are so many different myths and legends for every culture, yet many of these stories have similarities. You can find common elements in stories from different cultures and time periods: hero’s journey, sacrifice, themes, etc.”.
Myths and Legends is similar to other english electives in terms of the number of projects and papers that students will complete throughout the year. The semester course is broke up into four main parts,(myths, legends, fairy tales, and folk tales) and each part includes creative writing assignments and projects that display the students’ knowledge in each section of the class.
“It is about the same amount of reading and writing as the other senior English electives. We read many excerpts and passages from bigger texts, focusing on myths, legends, fairy tales, and folk tales. Students read a choice novel that is inspired by a classic fairy tale. We write several papers which involve creative and analytical writing.”
In terms of day to day work, Mrs. McKenna stated, “It varies by the unit. Many times, students choose a topic to investigate and report to the class. We read a variety of different sources, many of which are online. These provide us with a great variety of myths, legends, fairy tales, and folk tales. Most of the assessments involve writing: posts, essays, creative writing, and projects”.
What puts this class in a different category though is the freedom that students receive when it comes to writing. In other english classes, students are forced to write about a certain theme or book but in Myths and Legends, Mrs. McKenna allows students to pick what stories and ideas they want to write about, resulting in students working harder because they are writing about something that they are interested in.
We have both been involved in the class and we know from experience that this course is great to take before college because it resembles the freedom that you have beyond high school learning, and it focuses a lot on what students are interested in reading and writing about.
Myths and legends is a class that we believe everyone should take if they have the chance because it is different than the other senior english electives, as it doesn’t force students into reading one book or writing one specific way. This class is available for seniors during both semesters and students can either choose to be in level 1 or level 2.
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: Tea Hima and Kelly Scales
Spring sports are just around the corner, which means Wethersfield High School students have been preparing for tryouts that start on March 16. One sport to be on the lookout for this season is Girls Tennis. We interviewed senior Paige Contenta and asked her what’s in store for the team this upcoming season.
Contenta is very excited to see what the season brings us, “We have a lot of new freshman girls that are super interested. The team has been helping them with their strokes and they have a lot of potential.” The team has has off season practices at the Newington Tennis Center in order to prepare for the spring season.
Although WHS has many rivalry teams, such as Glastonbury and Rocky Hill, they are confident that the new girls coming in will fill up the spots on the lineup and help lead the team to victory. A major goal the team has is to win All State, and in order to do so they need to win against Rocky Hill. The team will be working hard throughout the season in order to accomplish this goal.
The season ends in late May, and the team will be playing 15 matches with other schools across Connecticut. In early June, the girls will be participating in team states as well as individual states.
If you are interested in trying out for the girls tennis team, please see Mrs. Kremer and Mr. Scopetto with any questions. If you’re not interested in sports, then come out and support the team at their first match of the season right here at WHS on April 4 at 3:45! You won’t want to miss it.
By: Alexis Szymecki and Matt Iallonardo
On Tuesday March 5, the 28th ranked Wethersfield Boys Basketball team played fell to the 5th ranked Amity High School.
The Wethersfield boys were coming off an exciting win over the Rocky Hill Terriers, earning the last spot in the State Tournament.
Eager to earn another win, the Wethersfield boys came out with heart. By halftime, the Eagles were down 24-21, but still in the game.
Derek Tenney, senior captain for the Eagles, said “At the end of game we settled for some bad shots, and they made their free throws and we didn’t.”
The boys continued to battle in the second half, and were leading 42-40 in the beginning of the fourth quarter, but their lead slipped away due to Amity’s fast-paced offense. The final score was 57-48, and Wethersfield was eliminated from the tournament.
Senior captain Dante Burgos said, “Some things I would change in the final game was definitely execution and plays and being able to finish easy shots. I feel like defensively we played a really good game and offensively we played good but just didn’t play good enough.”
This year the team was thought to have a successful season. “We made playoffs so that was a success, but we definitely could have been better. We lost some close games that we should’ve won, so overall it wasn’t a bad season but it could’ve been better.” said Tenney.
Burgos was proud of the team on and off the court. “I believe that throughout the season there was a lot of growth and maturity from my teammates and I. We made a lot of progress and had a lot of kids step up during the right times...obviously the season didn’t end the way we wanted to but I do think there was some success during the season.”
It was a hard fought season, and we wish the best of luck to our three senior players who played their last game on Tuesday. We look forward to having an exciting season next year, with Luke Latina leading the way.
By: Grace Detrick and Valentino Fazio
Josh Malizia and Riley Grenier play for the Volleyball team at Wethersfield High School and are excited for the upcoming 2019 season, starting up in the next couple of weeks.
WHS seniors Riley Grenier, Josh, Malizia, Kevin Rascius, Mason Sunquist, and John Schiavone will be returning this season, joined by seniors John Tine and Luke Kelleher, who will be trying out for the team this year.
“My expectations for this season are to work as a team and make states and go decently far.” Grenier said. This seems like a very good goal for them to try and achieve this year after making it to the quarterfinals last season.
When we asked Grenier what he was most excited for this season and why he enjoys being on the volleyball team, he said, “I’m most excited to just start playing again and I love the team and the vibe we put off.” This team seems like a really fun one to be on and it would be a good time to try out since the team will be losing possibly seven seniors when they graduate this year.
Malizia told us about what seniors graduated after last season and what affect that will have on the team. “Camden Johnson, Matt Amoddio and Kieran Senk graduated last year and I will especially miss Kieran because we would always would fool around last year and have a good time.” Grenier added to that by saying, “Losing people has some effect on us but if we have the right pieces to replace them we’ll be ok.”
“I talk to Riley and Kevin about the upcoming season all the time and I think we are going to win the state championship, or at least be in the state championship game. That's been our goal since sophomore year when most of us joined the team. I think we should go 15-5 and have a fantastic season”. Malizia said. Grenier and Malizia both had similar goals and expectations for this season so we hope it will be a successful one for the team!
To sign up and be a part of the team, tryouts are March 16. You can get your yellow card as soon as possible before tryouts. Make sure to be there for the first game on April 1!
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: Paige Contenta and Kaitlyn Swoverland
The Wethersfield Boys Swim & Dive Team are entering states, Saturday March 9 with a 11-1 record in Division M.
The Swim & Dive team came out of an undefeated season last year in hopes for the same results this season, but team fell to Hall this year, their only loss of the season with a score of 93.5 to 92.5, which Co-Captain and senior Caleb Skowronek said was their hardest meet by far.
Skowronek said, “None of our other meets were that close because a lot of top tier swimmers graduated and we were coming out of an undefeated season. I think some people weren’t ready for a meet that close, and the team was very different after that meet.”
He feels his team has grown from this loss and has came out as a stronger and better team. “Obviously I would have liked to have gone undefeated, but I feel the season was very successful. We put in a lot of hard work at practice, averaging 6500 yards, which is about 4 miles, 6 days a week. I think we’re really going to see the benefits from that at states,” said Skowronek.
Wrapping up the regular season, Skowronek hopes to see improvement for each individual swimmer swimming at prelims and states.
The boys swim team has put up so much work in order to get to states, and they want to give it their all. Skowronek says, “I think we’re at a very good place going in but we won't know for sure until the meet actually happens.”
States is a very competitive and exclusive event in swimming. “The top 36 swimmers in every event in each respective class swims at prelims, and the top 26 swim at finals on monday.” said Skowronek.
When you make the state cuts there is a lot the boys have to do to prepare for the big days. Every boy shaves all the hair on their body and tapers themselves. “We shave as well which reduces the amount of drag and it makes the water feel very different, which is a huge advantage.” said Skowronek.
They want to make sure they are prepared for the big day, so when they taper they dramatically decrease the amount of yards they swim in practice each week. This allows for their muscles to repair and rest before they work them to their max during states.
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: 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: 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: 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: 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: Ashley Anduha and Mark Nieves
Career Preparation is a class at Wethersfield High School that involves planning for your future. It is a class available to any grade and it is taught by business teacher Mr. Chris Palazzo.
Palazzo describes this class as, “Providing students with the opportunity to learn about future careers, the opportunity to gain experience with interviews, gain experience with potential employers. It gives students the opportunity to dive deeper into their interests.”
It is an amazing class for every student’s future, even if you know what you want to do after high school. Career Prep still prepares you for your career because you learn things that are very important.
Palazzo recommends that every student at every grade level take this class. He says it can be very good for freshman who have never thought about what is next after high school but also for seniors because you are on your way to graduating and this class can put you a step ahead in your next path in life.
It is an eye opening class for anyone who hasn’t really gotten involved with school because you realize the importance of things like extra curricular activities so it pushes students to get more involved.
In this class, you learn things that are very important for when you go to interview for a job and Palazzo describes this as a major benefit to this class, “All students get the opportunity to develop a resume, write a cover letter, a follow up letter, having the experience of talking with potential employers, learning about careers that will one day provide them with a paycheck and help them make sure that their happy with their future.”
In this class there is a segment called “Mock Interviews” that you prepare for throughout the semester. Before you start your mock interview, you build a resume full of information about your job experiences, skills, awards education etc. as well as a cover letter and with this you meet with a mock “interviewer” and you get a grade based on how you do in the interview. It is a good way to work on and realize any struggles you had with the interview.
Many students who have taken the class can agree that it is very helpful for them especially because they learn things before that nobody has taught them before. Not many people know how to make a resume, many don’t know what a cover and thank you letter are, and a lot have never gotten the experience to practice in a mock interview.
In conclusion, we highly recommend this class to every student who attends Wethersfield High School, It will be a great help in the future. You will not be disappointed after taking this class, in fact you'll thank us.
by: Kenan Mujic and Matt Zapata
The annual Hoops for Heart basketball tournament is set to happen after school on Wednesday, March 13 after school in both gyms at Wethersfield High School.
Hoops for Heart is a double elimination 3v3 basketball tournament with a winners and a losers bracket. The cost per player is $5.
The competition level will be very high and students are looking to take over the teachers success. A team of three students is out there trying to take over the big three of teachers, who have won the tournament three years in a row.
Head of Student Council and Physical Education teacher, Mr. Richard Scopetto, said that all the proceeds go to a good cause.
¨All the proceeds will go out to the American Heart Association. The number one cause of death in the United States is heart disease,¨ Scopetto said.
Although this tournament is for a good cause, don’t be fooled! There has been trash talking going on around the school, whether it is between students, or even students and their teachers. This tournament is meant for people to just come out and have a good time, as Sco said.
¨It's a good cause number one, but it's also a good chance for people to get together and have a good time in spite of the cause.¨
People can come out and take the focus off of their problems, and just play ball and compete for a few hours, and bring your talking and prove it on the court.
You can talk all you want, but your game on the court will do all the talking for you once the stage is set, and that's exactly how Sco explained it.
¨There's a lot of ya ya, at the end of the game there is no more ya ya, you can't talk bad to kids that beat you in the previous game!¨
If you are not coming out to play, make sure you come out and support the teams vying for the win this year.
Eagle Nation is excited for this tournament, and everyone is anxious to finally find out who will come out on top.
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: Dillon Aldabarca
On Friday, March 1, people wore green during the school day to represent a organization called Sandy Hook Promise so that people are reminded about what happened only a little over 6 years ago.
Sandy Hook Promise is a non-profit organization that was put together to try and prevent gun violence in the future so that no other family or friend had to deal with the feeling of loss due to gun violence.
It's unbelievable to think about how recently this tragedy happened, and WHS wants people to stop and think about how much people are still affected.
The “faces” of this campaign at Wethersfield High School are two current students: sophomore Audra Saladin and freshman Christyan Cimino.
“We want this to be long lasting.” sophomore Audra Saladin at Wethersfield High School said.
“We want this whole campaign to last longer than one week,” he stated.
This campaign does last this week however they want the effects of it to last a lifetime and their biggest goal is to spread awareness and be able to not be afraid to have a voice.
“If you have a problem you can come talk to you,” freshman Christyan Cimino said. These words showed just how much they care about this cause because they took it to a personal level.
This truly shows how genuine of a community we have here at WHS and everyone should know that no matter who you are, you always have someone you can go talk to no matter what the problem is.
“We are definitely looking for more people to spread the word,” Saladin added towards the end. If you have any interest in being a part of this cause, helping with future campaigns or even have questions about this campaign, don't be afraid to talk to Ms. Coco or your peers Audra Saladin and Christyan Cimino.
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: Erin Nargi and Taylor Pitchell
On Wednesday, February 13, 33 Wethersfield High School students embark on a journey to the beautiful country of Belize. The journey begins by arriving at the airport at 4:15 a.m. and taking off by 6:00 a.m. from Bradley Airport. After a three hour flight to Miami and then another two hour flight to Belize City, the group will reach their initial destination at the first hotel.
While there, the group will be staying in three different hotels scattered along the coast of Belize. The second hotel is even located in the middle of the jungle.
There will be lots to do including zip lining, cave tubing, scuba diving, hiking, and more. These will all ensure a very busy week for students and their chaperones.
A couple days in, the group will travel to a school and bring lots of school supplies for the young kids to use in their school day. They will play games and interact with the children for the majority of the day.
Belize is located on the eastern coast of Central America on the Caribbean Sea . The small country has a population of around 375,000 and can be compared to the size of Massachusetts.
Although the country is tiny, it contains a dense jungle with thousands of wildlife species and hundreds of offshore islands called cayes. Belize also has centuries of ancient history sourcing back to the Mayans, including several ancient ruin sites.
The students attending are very lucky to be able to have this experience and we wish them the best!
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.
Written, edited, and produced by Wethersfield High School students, covering all news and events.