Note from the Editor: This is an article in a series called "Wethersfield Heroes," where our students work to highlight and honor those in our community going above and beyond amidst the tumultuous year. If you know someone that you would like to nominate as a Wethersfield Hero, please contact Mr. Martin at email@example.com.
by: George Zack
If you’re at all familiar with the town of Wethersfield, you have probably heard the name Ken Lesser before. Ken Lesser has been one of the most active members of the Wethersfield community, dedicating much of the past ten years to virtually every corner of the town, and working with the schools, residents, and even politicians to make this town a better place.
And why does he do this? To give back to the community he loves.
Lesser has lived in Wethersfield for over a decade, and he has always been giving back in his own way.
Six or seven years ago, he began to ramp things up. Around 2016, Lesser helped start the Wethersfield Mayor’s Charity Ball, which raises money for multiple charities in the town, especially for those who are considered food insecure.
According to Lesser, “We have almost 25% [of our kids considered food insecure], and I thought that was a really high number in our middle class town, so from there I started the Wethersfield mayor’s charity ball to raise money for hungry kids.”
The Ball also raises money for senior citizens in town, as well as providing preschool scholarships for families who cannot afford to send their children to preschool, and according to Lesser, the Mayor’s Charity Ball has “raised in six years, over $120,000.” As he says this, a subtle expression of joy and pride begins to show on his face.
A few years later, Lesser decided that one of the best ways he could continue providing for and giving back to the community was by becoming a member of the town council, where he would have more resources and a wider reach to sustain his work, and he ended up running in the 2017 town election, where he won a seat.
“I ran to make a difference. I believe politics is all about helping people, and when you are in office you have the chance to help people with different things, and I like giving back to the community I live in and to try and make it a better place”.
Lesser wants his community work to benefit everybody, and when he was elected to Town Council, he took leaps and bounds towards doing so. Lesser reflects on this saying, “Being in elected office really is a nice opportunity to learn more about the town. We get lots of reports about different things going on in town, and it gives me, and all of us serving, an opportunity to try and enact good things that help everybody in town.”
Lesser feels the most impactful thing he was able to accomplish while on Town Council was helping lead and create the Wethersfield Veterans Commission. According to Lesser, there are over 1300 veterans in town, and while on the council he learned many of them were considered poor or in need of a variety of services. Naturally, he wanted to do something about it, and so with the help of his colleagues, the Wethersfield Veterans Commission was born.
“I was the advocate, sponsor, and driving force for that because I believe we need to help our veterans as much as possible, and that’s why the Commission was started”.
Lesser’s contributions to the town don’t end there. Lesser was appointed to the Wethersfield Board of Education in 2019, and has been on ever since. He has worked closely with the WHS community, acting as coordinator for the youth career advisory board, and also as one of the driving forces behind the leadership club here as well.
Lesser hopes that his work on the career advisory board providing lunch and learns, job shadowing, and internships for students will give them a glimpse into what could be their future.
As head of the leadership club, Lesser works with students to help them discover their natural leadership skills and nurture them to make each student a leading and also serving member of their community. This all culminates at the end of the year in the club’s yearly project. Last year, students made care packages for senior citizens in town to help them stay safe during the pandemic, while also providing them with necessities to save them a few trips to the store.
This area of both leading and serving in the community is Lesser’s area of specialty, and spreading his knowledge and experience with the next generation in the leadership club is what he considers to be his most important accomplishment as a member of the Wethersfield Board of Education.
Ken Lesser has played a big role in shaping much of the great community work that has, and is still being done in Wethersfield. He has truly reached every person in some way shape or form, and will continue to create an impression on the town that lasts for generations to come.
If Ken Lesser isn’t a Wethersfield Hero, I don’t know who is.
Note from the Editor: This is an article in a series called "Wethersfield Heroes," where our students work to highlight and honor those in our community going above and beyond amidst the tumultuous year. If you know someone that you would like to nominate as a Wethersfield Hero, please contact Mr. Martin at firstname.lastname@example.org.
by: Riley D'amato
“My mom is from Mexico, but I grew up only speaking English, and feeling like there was a whole piece of culture that I missed. When I would go to Mexico, I would feel uncomfortable that I didn't know the language. And I had this one aunt that would always smile at me and always hug me and always make me feel welcome. I got to learn what the felt like, that it didn't matter that we didn’t speak the language, there was always one person that made me feel welcome.”
And these memories and events of her childhood shaped Kim Bobin into exactly the Wethersfield Hero she is today.
Now she is working with families to learn English. As the Family and early childhood coordinator of wethersfield, Mrs. Bobin teaches in an interactive way by helping adults who don't speak or speak very little of the language, to schedule doctors appointments and fill out job applications. While with the kids, they learn basics like shapes and clothes, preparing them for kindergarten overall.
These families can feel as isolated like Mrs. Bobin felt when she was in Mexico. To add on top of that, the COVID pandemic did not help that isolation at all. Families had little contact with people outside of their little pod and there weren't opportunities to expand that small bubble.
To combat this she said, “During COVID, we do outside playgroups, so then when they see me and they are not sure who that lady is, I sing one of the songs we do. And they make the connection, ‘oh this is the lady from zoom’, and i think that is the best part, when their little eyes light up.”
And that connection allows them to have a love for learning and a want to learn at a young age.
She also said, “My favorite part of being with the kids is, on Zoom, I tried to learn to say hello in the different languages. What I do is on Thursdays I log into the adult education class and the babies are on zoom. There are 2 babies from Bosnia, I say good morning, dobro jutro (good morning in Bosnian). And the mom goes to get the babies and they gasp.”
And the special thing about this program is it intertwines child learning and adult learning into one. When the children learn, the adults learn, and vice versa.
And the larger portions of these students are younger and are more sizable now than ever. When Mrs. Bobin started, there were about 175 kids in k-6 who spoke foreign languages, now 8-10% of the total student population does. This growth is something that makes this program so important. These kids getting ready for kindergarten without, or a minimal language barrier is such a big thing for them to stay on par and exceed expectations in school.
With the work that Mrs. Bobin does on a daily basis for the town and families in our Wethersfield community, many families can smile a little wider and feel a whole lot more welcome.
Note from the Editor: This is an article in a series called "Wethersfield Heroes," where our students work to highlight and honor those in our community going above and beyond amidst the tumultuous year. If you know someone that you would like to nominate as a Wethersfield Hero, please contact Mr. Martin at email@example.com.
by: Yvonna Rodriguez
No matter when you attended Wethersfield High School, there is one voice students past and present can pick out of a crowd. That is the voice of gym teacher and coach Richard Scoppetto, better known to his students as Sco.
Mr. Sco has been a part of the Wethersfield community for longer than most current WHS students (and some teachers) have been alive. Not even he himself knows exactly when he joined our community.
While trying to pinpoint the start of his teaching career, he said, “I'm not sure when I started at Wethersfield High School. I started at Deane [Silas Deane Middle School] when it was a junior high and I student taught there and then I filled in for Joseph Cottone, the one they named the field [Joseph T. Cottone Field] after because he got sick.”
Mr. Sco is the epitome of dedication. He spoke to me about the effort he went through in some of his earlier teaching years. “I was the first teacher to teach special Ed here and PE. So I'd be at Deane, come here to teach a class then go back to Deane then come back here all in one day,” he said.
His dedication to his job became even clearer to see when he said that he has only had 7 sick days in the last 48 years.
While the exact start of his teaching career is unknown, what is known is the lasting impact he has had on Wethersfield High School students past and present. I spoke to members of WHS to try to understand the depth of his impact on our community.
Andrea Moyano, a senior at WHS who has had Mr. Sco as both a teacher and a coach, says he has impacted her life greatly over the years as her tennis coach. “Sco would often say to the team ‘not think, do’ or something along those lines,” she said, “he would try to get us out of our heads because we would overthink and mess up hits we could do in our sleep. I definitely try to use that in all aspects of life, especially moments when I'm really stressed or anxious.”
Joining a sports team in high school is hard, but it's even harder when it's a sport you haven't played before. That was the case for senior Alani Adams when she decided to join the tennis team last year. “Sco impacted my life by making me believe in myself when I didn't think I could learn a new sport,” she said, “he inspired me to keep trying and keep learning.”
Siobhan DeGray, an English teacher here at WHS and a member of the 2001 graduating class, was fortunate enough to have had Mr. Sco as both a teacher and a soccer coach. “Class was always interesting,” she said, “He never shied away from difficult or uncomfortable questions during health class.”
Someone who has been in teaching this long clearly must love their job, and after speaking with Mr. Sco it's clear to see that he enjoys teaching more than anything. “I come to work and have fun every day,” he told me, “I've never thought of retiring. Maybe when the fun goes I go.”
Towards the end of my interview Mr. Sco spoke to me about teaching as a whole, and the impact it has had on him. “I learn every day, but not from me. I dont think ive learned anything in the last 20 years from me. But I learn from these teachers and I learn from the students every day,” he said.
Mr. Sco is a pillar in the Wethersfield community and the impact he has had on our community will be everlasting.
by: Rosario Tine and Michael Laperriere
Wethersfield High School is full of extraordinary staff members who make up the community of the school. Each staff member brings their own unique touch into WHS. They try their hardest to make WHS a safe and welcoming community to all and provide each and every student the best 4 years of their life. There isn't a lack of effort from teachers to make a connection with students, however there are two members of the staff that Michael Laperriere and Ross Tine would like to spotlight, Mr Maltese and Mr. Martin.
Trumpets and drums from the marching band echo in one ear, while rowdy students chant ¨Let's go Eagles” in the other.
It’s all in a day's work for Mr. Michael Maltese.
Mr. Maltese is Wethersfield High School’s assistant principal and athletic director who does a lot of the behind the scenes work that most kids don’t see. Almost every student in the school will recognize Maltese, not only as a figure of authority, but as a leader and mentor.
Maltese has been an icon at Wethersfield High School for 10 years now, heavily involved in the Athletics Department. Most students participate in a sport at WHS, which makes a strong community.
When asking Maltese about the athletic aspect of Wethersfield High School community, he said, “Well I think athletics or any clubs and extracurricular activities gives students a chance to show community and school pride, you get to exemplify what it means to be part of something greater than yourself.”
Being a part of a group such as a sports team is crucial to the high school experience, it can be an outlet from many problems that a high school student might face.
Maltese is passionate about student development and he believes that athletics is a great way to shape a student into a better person, “We are teaching many things beyond the sport itself. We are teaching life skills, teaching how to have teamwork, and how to act win or lose .''
Being a student-athlete is never easy with juggling schoolwork while competing everyday can be a struggle, but having these skills taught through sports certainly makes a student a more responsible individual.
Being at this school for as long as a decade, there are sure to be personal highlights and accomplishments he has experienced though his tenure here, when asking him this he had this to say, “We were building a unified sports program which didn’t exist when I came to Wethersfield High School, giving a chance to some individuals who may not be able to be on a competitive varsity team, a chance to play with other people and compete in front of a crowd and seeing the pure joy on those individuals' faces is something I would be most proud of.” Unfortunately, since COVID-19 broke out in late 2019, the unified sports program has been put to a pause, hopefully as more vaccinations are distributed the program is incorporated back into the school.
Maltese isn’t just a staff member at Wethersfield High School, he goes above and beyond to make sure each and every student has an opportunity to be a part of something bigger than themselves. His dedication to working may go unnoticed by some. Maltese is certainly a key part at WHS, we thank Maltese for all he does here.
Students stress about an assignment by saying phrases such as, “Oh no Martin, this is due at the end of class?!?” Or just because of the daily teenage challenges they face.
It’s all a daily occurrence for Mr. John Bernard Martin III (JBM3)
Waking up at 5:30 in the morning Martin gets ready for the first of his many jobs, being a Crossfit coach. Then at 7 o'clock, he goes straight to Wethersfield High School ready to teach. Even with all the demand Martin faces as a teacher, he still manages to find time to help his students
Martin has been an English teacher here at Wethersfield High School for 9 years. To him, one of the most notable things he has experienced in this school system is the large amount of support he consistently receives from the staff, even noting “This is the first school I ever felt at home in.”
The previous school districts Mr. Martin had worked in had left him yearning for a community that he can call his own, something that he found at Wethersfield.
But getting to be everyone's favorite teacher and person hasn't always been easy for Martin.
“When I got here I was not a good teacher, I often look back at what I taught and how I taught it and especially how long things took, and I'm so ashamed that I laugh.”
This is very surprising given his accolades and work outside of the school, but ultimately it shows his humbleness and his ability to recognize his flaws and especially do everything to amend his flaws. “I'm ultimately competitive.”
He goes on to elaborate his drive to be the best teacher he can be and fight for kids to enjoy the content that he's teaching, while at the same time is competitive with himself to become a better teacher and person.
Through his hard work and determination, he earned the district's teacher of the year award and a state finalist for the award in 2020.
When asked why he became a teacher and why he has such a profound impact on Wethersfield High School and its students, he said, “High school was not a fun four years for me and often times, I felt like I wasn't good enough, but it was the teachers that I had that helped me to see what I failed to see in myself.”
Martin has been on a mission to ensure that each and every student feels worthy and feels as if they are good enough. Through his bubbly personality and hard working nature, you can walk through the halls of WHS and see why students love him. The number of kids that go into his room just to talk is astounding.
It's a wonder he has time to get any work done, but the students at Wethersfield High School truly know Martin as a Hero, whether it be academically or socially.
by: WHS Journalism Students
A note from Mr. Martin: With this week marking our Thanksgiving holiday, I wanted to give students the space, time, and opportunity to speak to those both in and outside of the school community in a show of gratitude. Please read, enjoy, and have a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend.
I'm thankful for my sister, Abby. She is able to make me laugh when I am sad and is always willing to watch a movie with me. She is so fun to be around and understands my humor unlike anyone else. Thank you, Abby!
- Ella Alger
I am thankful for Mrs. Fitzgerald. She has helped me since freshman year to make sure that I pass with good grades. She has always helped me and was willing to help me before or after school as well. Thank you for your hard work and gratitude.
I am thankful for my parents because they help me with anything I need help with and they teach me things. My dad and I do projects together and he teaches me about the different tools. Thanks, mom and dad.
I am thankful for Mrs. Becker. Not only did she grow my love for Italian culture, but treated myself and fellow classmates as much more than just her students. She is that one teacher I feel I can turn to when in need of advice or simple words of encouragement. So, thank you Mrs. Becker for all you have done and continue to do as the amazing person and teacher you are.
I am thankful for Mrs. Niemic. Though I've only had her as a teacher for four months, it is so easy to tell the kind, generous and warm hearted person she is. The way she is understanding and patient with her students is a wonderful quality and one that can be hard to find. Psychology may be hard to learn, but somehow, in someway, Mrs. Niemiec has a way of making it fun. So, I thank her for constantly resonating positivity within the classroom and bringing light into each and every day.
I'm thankful for Mr. Sand. He makes his students feel like family and creates a safe environment where everyone's free to experience the way they feel. His jokes are always good for putting you into a good mood and he is an all-around amazing guy.
I’m thankful for my mom. She cares for me and checks on me every day even when she’s the one who I should be checking on. I don’t mean this with any disrespect; you can sometimes be frantic, but it goes to show your love for me. I’ll forever love you and will never be able to truly show you my full appreciation for you.
I am thankful for Mrs. Foley! She not only taught me a lot of school-related things but helped me out with lessons in real life. Mrs. Foley is always someone I can go to cheer up and have a good time. Thanks, Mrs. Foley!
I'm thankful for my family. My family has been with me through the good and bad times. They have made many sacrifices for me and my brother so we can succeed in life. And I am really thankful for this and to have them in my life. Thank you for everything mom and dad.
I'm thankful for Mrs. Conoscenti. Throughout high school, she has helped me so much, whether it was with my schedule or any other issues. She has also been extremely helpful this year during my college application progress. Mrs. Conoscenti has guided me through this process and answered any questions I have had along the way. Thank you for all you've done, Mrs. Conoscenti!
I’m thankful for my best friend, Sky. They are always there for me, at my best and worst times. I don’t know where I’d be without them.
I’m thankful for Mr. Moger. He always helped me whenever I needed it, and helped me to get grades I was proud of. He’s a great teacher and one of the best I’ve had.
- Liam Stec
I am thankful for everyone in my life. All the struggles I have endured and each person has had such a profound impact on my life. To my Dad, he has been my rock for life and the work he does for me brings me to tears. To my teachers and coaches, thank you. Mrs.Becker, Mr.Martin, Mrs.Troy, Mrs.Ryba you all have had an impact on me that words can not express. To Coach Bagdasarian by sticking by me during my worst times on and off the field. Thank you all.
I’m thankful for my family. They have been supporting me and unconditionally loving me for my entire life. We always stick together through good and bad times.
I am thankful for Mrs. DeGray. She is always there for me when I need someone to talk to and genuinely cares and listens to me. I can always talk to her about things that interest me like Marvel movies and my favorite actor Richard Madden. She is also an amazing teacher who helped me a lot when I had her junior year.
I am thankful for the opportunities that soccer has given me. All through high school soccer has been a place to go whenever I needed to, I have met great people through the sport that have made lasting effects on my life and will continue to in the years to come. This year especially being a part of the High school team really showed the brotherhood and community that we built up throughout the year, if it weren't for soccer then none of these relationships and experiences would have been possible. Thank you soccer for all you have taught me and given me.
- Michael LaPerriere
I'm thankful for my classmate David Gregorian and him allowing me to have his Chromebook charger. Without his assistance, I would not have been able to complete my work in a timely fashion. He helped me in a tricky situation and I appreciate his assistance.
- Liam Stec
I'm thankful for my classmate, Liam Stec. I honestly never got particularly close to Liam but I knew of him and I knew he was a good stand-up guy but that was all. Recently he wrote a thank you letter to me about how I helped him recently. I think that just saying thank you for the little things in life goes a very long way. Thank you, Liam.
I'm thankful for Mr. Sand. Not only is he an amazing teacher but he makes every day better with his jokes and personality. U.S History was always my favorite class and the highlight of my day. We learned so much in his class, besides learning about U.S. History, we learned how to be better overall humans and show empathy.
I’m thankful for my Journalism teacher Mr. Martin. I'm thankful for him because he's always full of energy which can make anyone's day better. He is also very understanding that students have lives outside of school, and is always willing to help. He genuinely cares about his students and passing his class. He can joke around and take jokes, which not many teachers and people can do. He also has an amazing shoe game. But overall, he is a very kind and nice person, and I'm happy to have him as my teacher.
I'm thankful for Mr. Baggs. Not only is he a great coach, but he’s also like a second father to me. When I was stressed out about the college process, he calmed me down and explained that I had plenty of time for an opportunity to present itself. I also know that I can talk to him about anything that doesn't relate to school or Baseball. I just believe that he's a very reliable and trusting person. Thank you, Coach!
I am thankful for my family, as is. They are the reason I have what I have, and how far I have gotten. It's just a simple thing like this, I am just glad to be here, and be alive.
I am beyond thankful for Mr. Spessard. Yesterday I won a state championship and the last thing on my mind was studying for my physics test the next day. But thanks to Mr. Spessard I had a note card to use on my test so I did not need to study and I was able to celebrate with my team.
I'm thankful for my family, always being there and always proud of me for the things I accomplish. Especially for pushing me to be my best and try my hardest. Thank you for everything you do!
I am thankful for Mr.Carr. He was my international studies teacher last year. Coming to school in September for the first time since March of 2020 was very nerve-wracking. I had Mr.Carr's class first period, and walking into his room on the first day and getting a big hello was reassuring. I was often the only student in the classroom while the rest of the class was learning from home, but Mr.Carr always made me feel welcomed! Thanks for everything, Mr.Carr!
I'm thankful for Mr. Kess. I'm so glad I was able to have him as my computer science teacher and mentor while he was here at WHS. He largely shaped who I am as a developer, and what I learned from him through his CS classes and clubs is invaluable. Thank you, Mr. Kess! Wishing you a long and wonderful retirement!
I am thankful for Ms. McLaughlin, who stepped in as coach mid-season my freshman year and has continued coaching ever since. She has continued to push us in every single practice, which pays off both on game days and at competitions. Thank you again for everything that you do for our team Ms. McLaughlin!
Thank you for always understanding when you need a due date, and always allowing me to write about what I want. Thank you for being understanding.
I'm thankful for my friends, they help me through lots of things and keep me up and positive. This year I'm glad I grew closer to them. Growing closer and hanging out with them more has been really fun and made new memories and can't wait to make new memories this year!
I’m thankful for the lunch aides. They prepare hundreds of meals for the school 5 times a week. They put up with all the chaos that is in high school lunch. If you treat them with respect they will do the same back for you. Thank you lunch aids!
Im thankful for my mom because she is so helpful in any situation. She takes care of our family and feeds us every night. she also one of my best friends and I will cherish that forever.
by: Jessica Bianchi
Senior year is an exciting yet stressful time, especially when applying to college, which includes writing a college essay. The college essay is a narrative writing piece that helps college’s get to know you beyond your grades and achievements. Though, writing about yourself isn’t easy, so here are some tips to help write a great essay:
1. Your topic does not need to be something out of a coming of age movie. Students tend to think that they need to write about something life-changing, but that’s not the case. Pick one of 2021-2022 prompts that seems most fitting to you. You can pick a small moment from your life that describes your character well like a soccer game or dance recital.
2. Read other college essays. Not only can they give you some inspiration on what your topic should be, they help you get an idea of what the essay should look like. Specifically, some guidance on how to start and end your essay.
3. Don’t worry about sounding formal or rigid. That’s not to say you shouldn’t have proper grammar or correct spelling, but you can allow your voice to shine through. This is a chance to be yourself. Mrs. Lindsay, a guidance counselor at Wethersfield High School, said, “It should be an authentic replication of who you are” and “people who read it should know who you are and see you in it.”
4. Write and rewrite. Allow your first draft to be a practice run. Let your mind run wild with the topic you chose and write whatever comes to your head. Then you can dig through your piece and find the things that stand out to you. It could be something a friend said to you, an important object; make sure it represents or describes something significant about you.
5. Have others read it. You may read over your essay dozens of times and find no errors, while your friend finds five. Your brain fills in the missing pieces, leading you to believe that no edits need to be made, that’s why it's important to get a second pair of eyes. They can tell you when something doesn’t make sense, or even if a sentence may not be necessary.
The essay helps colleges know you. It’s a first impression that you get to redo and edit. So, show off your writing skills, but also express yourself.
by: Annika Brown
Here at Wethersfield High School, the students go to class, listen, and engage with their teachers, but no one ever questions why and how those teachers got to this point. I sat down with three well-known teachers and discussed the reasons they chose their profession and how they managed their way into the classrooms of Wethersfield High School.
The first person I sat down with was Mr. Chatfield, who teaches Human Anatomy and Physiology as well as Integrated Science. When asked, “What made you realize you wanted to become a teacher?” Chatfield responded, “At a young age I fell into the role of being a teacher, as I had a younger sister who I wanted to help with everything.”
He later goes on to say that in high school, he realized he wanted to be a teacher because he could “help people in the subject matter that he loves.” His goal was to be a role model and help others. He also went on to explain that he had thought of other career options like a vet, but ultimately that did not fit his personality, but to be a teacher he said, “you get to be nice, caring, you get to help others, you get too coach and it was just the type of environment I felt I could best fit.”
In order to pursue this passion, he got his undergraduate degree in a subject he was passionate about, which was biology. Then he went on to further his education by obtaining his masters degree in education because as he puts it, “This was my way of saying, I really want to be a good teacher, and not only be the type of teacher that knows his subject matter, but be a teacher who reaches students and knows what to do, to be their best teacher.” He not only wants to be able to teach a subject that he is passionate about, but also reach students on a personal level and be there for them as a coach and mentor.
The second teacher I sat down with was Mr. Sand. Sand teaches primarily upperclassmen in Civics and Current Issues. When asked, “What led you to want to become a highschool teacher?” His initial response was, “Uhhh, I have no idea.”
Initially, I was confused by his response, but then he went on to explain that he had no intentions to become a teacher in high school or the first two years of college. He first thought he wanted to become a physical therapist, but then he said, “It kind of dawned on me that maybe this is something I should do. My dad was a teacher so it kind of just happened naturally.”
I then went on to ask him “ Do you have a passion for what you are teaching?” and he said, “I have a passion for whom I am teaching. I try to use history to help kids grow, help kids be better citizens, and to help them with some of the issues they have. It’s all about the kids. Always.” Mr. Sand has a clear passion and love for his students and wants to improve their lives in any way he can.
The last teacher I sat down with was Mrs. DeGray, who teaches America Through the Eyes of Women and Journalism. When asked, “What led you to want to become a teacher?” DeGray had said that she originally didn’t want to be a teacher. “Plan A was that I was going to be a Journalist. I was going to travel the world and be a reporter for a warzone, make a difference,” she saids. She later went on to say there were not many jobs available for what she was looking for and the jobs that were available, she would have to move across the country for.
This was not something she was interested in because, as she puts it, “I had already met my husband. We were already engaged and trying to start a family.” Because of this, she started to volunteer here at Wethersfield High School. She helped several teachers with the school newspaper and technical things around the school. She goes on to say, “One day someone asked me, ‘Hey! Why don’t you go back to school and become a teacher?’ So I did.”
She applied to the University of New Haven and did her teaching internship here at Wethersfield as a building sub. When asked, “Would you say you found a passion for teaching your subject area or the students?” Degray replied, “I think both because even though my background was originally in journalism and broadcast news, I was kind of on a stage wanting to inform people everyday, and I think that’s a lot of what teaching is. It’s helping others to recognize their potential.”
She even goes on to say, “I feel like I'm on a comedy show trying to sell my curriculum and content in the most entertaining way possible but also trying to help kids realize their potential and what they want to do with their lives.” DeGray went on to say that she couldn’t imagine doing anything else but teaching. Her ultimate goal was not to be a teache,r but she knows that this is where she was meant to end up. DeGray uses her knowledge of literature to teach kids and try to inspire them in any way she can.
These are just a few of the many teachers we have at Wethersfield High School. Each one of them had a different journey getting to where they are today, but what they all have in common is that they all care about the well being of their students and want them to succeed. Chatfield, Sand, and DeGray are all great examples of what it means to be an amazing teacher.
by: Andrew McDonough
Have you ever wondered what it’s like to move to a new country? In our own Wethersfield High School community, there are many students who have experienced the immigration process first-hand. Dennis Gega, a junior here at WHS, grew up in Rimini, Italy, and came to Wethersfield at the age of 13 in 8th grade.
At first glance, Wethersfield was a foreign place to Dennis. Though the people seemed nice, the wide array of houses, neighborhoods, and roads designed strictly for cars contrasted deeply with the pedestrian oriented, apartment lifestyle Dennis was used to back in Italy.
As time went on, and Dennis’s English developed, he would learn to adapt to “American culture.” When asked to discuss his overall experience in Wethersfield, he said it was “pretty positive.” He grew to like the area as a whole, and appreciated how people in town and at school were supportive toward his learning of English, and how everyone was quick to lend a helping hand.
Dennis still misses certain aspects of Italy, such as the food. When asked to comment on American pizza, Dennis went on to rate “Frank Pepe’s pizza a mere 6/10.” It’s “different,” he said. He commented on the struggle to “observe” and model others' behavior when he was trying to figure out how to orient himself in our community.
Learning how to speak, act, and even think like an American was something Dennis had to pick up along his learning process. While Dennis admired some nuances in American behavior, he did admit one key cultural difference that was somewhat of a shock to him, “People are more cocky in general in the US,” Dennis said. While he did note that there are benefits to having confidence, Dennis added that overestimating oneself was a quality that can have a negative effect.
Dennis had advice for teachers in approaching new students, “Just treat me normally.” Dennis added that he wished some teachers would treat students new to this country just “like the others,” and not make so much of an effort to go easier on them just because they are new. If you see Dennis in the hall, make sure to say hi. He’s a great, funny kid, just make sure not to talk pizza.
by: Christyan Cimino, Josh Barbara, and Chris Daley
School IDs, they are the big talk around the school. Do they have a purpose? Do they really work? Are they really keeping our school safe?
We had an interview with Wethersfield High School Principal Mrs. Siobhan O’Connor and Head of Security Mr. Mike Baribault to discuss the ID rule in our school. We asked where the idea for IDs originated. “It got a really big push after the Sandy Hook tragedy and different school security and violence incidents that happened across the country. Because before then we had no way of identifying students that came in, ID policies went throughout the country to show who belongs at schools and who does not,” said Mr. Baribault
Since then, WHS has been trying to increase the level of security in all schools and started with the IDs there. Mrs. O’Connor mentioned that she’s been wearing IDs since 1997 because of her job and that it will help us learn and get in the habit of having one in the future. In the student handbook it states, “All students are required to wear their ID on a lanyard on their person at all times.”
As an eye witness in past years, students walk into school with different colored IDs, other kids IDs, and even other schools IDs. This is a real problem that needs to be solved. We are told that the IDs are for our safety, but if I can get into the school with an invalid ID, then who else can?
The ID policy is not perfect, but WHS notices that and is making measures to adjust. This year, they made significant cosmetic changes to the IDs. This year they made the background color of them blue. Principal O’Connor said, “The IDs are blue this year so it identifies that you are supposed to be here this year. Some of the school shooting incidents were involved with students wearing IDs from past years that have gotten in.”
We know that the kids don’t like to wear our IDs because “It’s annoying,” or “it doesn’t go with our outfit,” and Mrs. O’Connor understands that. She is not trying to harp on us too much because then we won’t want to wear them even more. The administration would like us “to play a part in your own safety and security,” said Mr. Barabault. It’s a team effort.
To that, we started talking about what they were going to do to help fix these issues. They started to talk about how the IDs go much further than just to make sure that you go to the school. The IDs are also used just in case a tragedy occurs, the authorities can identify us.
All we wanted to show in this article is that we may not show it but we care about the IDs, we want to be safe, and we want to help. We want to inform the students about what the administration wants to do and we want to bring the student’s opinions to them too. There needs to be more communication between us and then more will be able to get done.
by: Connor Swanson, Brian Bianchi, and Shane Mazur
The United States is currently going through what is being considered a mental health crisis. Over the past 8-9 years, rates of depression and suicide have increased steadily, with little outreaching effort to stop it. A teacher from the Wethersfield High School social studies department, John Sand, has been vigorously at work, trying to implement a way to help young adults in Wethersfield Public Schools system.
These past few years have been an increasingly scary time, with now 4.58% of adults considering suicide. This number has increased every year since 2011-2012 and does not seem to be slowing down. This starts out in the youth years, and as a country, we would hope that there are people treating this and helping people with these thoughts but in reality, it is the exact opposite. According to Mental Health America, over 60% of this nation's youth with severe depression do not receive any mental health treatment.
This is where Mr. Sand comes into play, he has reached out to each of his classes, figuring out who would like to come together to help kids in the school get the help they need. When asked about this group, Mr. Sand described it as, “An informal gathering of students interested in helping the school address the rising mental health crisis that is gripping young people nationwide.”
He has support from Assistant Principal of grades 10 and 12, Tyler Webb. Webb has communicated with students as well, discussing ideas on how to improve mental health throughout the building.
The Mental Health Group would be a great addition to WHS because it provides help if they are struggling with their mental health or they have ideas that could help others in the school. Especially with our generation suffering through the COVID pandemic, a lot of people struggle with mental health concerns.
Mental health will always be a factor in our world and Mr. Sand created a group to limit this struggle with the students of WHS. If you are interested or would like more information, please contact Mr. Sand or Mr. Webb!
By: Jordan Schenkel and Ryan Mazur
Mrs. Lyth is more than just a normal, every day teacher, she focuses on helping kids who are struggling to manage their work loads during high school. She gives assistance on homework if needed and helps students create templates to organize their work and make their thought processes clearer. And no matter what she does it all with a smile and happy attitude, even on Mondays.
Mrs. Lyth sets a very good example on how to be proactive for yourself whether you need help with things in school or out of school. Mrs. Lyth also sets a very good example of how to work efficiently and save time. She will also read over any essays and will give suggestions as to what you should edit to make your essay even better.
After years of teaching at Wethersfield High School, her kind and helpful attitude has built up many friendly relationships between the teachers and students. In an interview with Mrs. Lyth, she told how she enjoys teaching here saying, “I love teaching here, I like the high school level because I feel like students can be more independent and take ownership of their learning.”
These opinions of Mrs. Lyth are not just from other teachers, the many students she helps to succeed all think very highly of her, especially her dedication to her job and her interest in teaching; which enforces this helpful attitude that creates these positive reactions from students. When asked why she wanted to become a teacher Mrs. Lyth responded, I wanted to become a teacher so that I could help people, students, young adults, be contributing members to their community and do the best that they can do.”
The evidence is clear, Mrs. Lyth is one of the nicest teachers you could meet. She is helpful and likes to inspire kids to do their best and sucede in their futures and her drive to help people be the best that they can be only enforces this. She is liked by the fellow teachers she works with and by the many students she takes care of. So I think I speak for us all when I say thank you Mrs. Lyth for everything that you have done for us and this school.
By: Ella Alger, Grace Lisella, Bella Tomaino
With the start of the upcoming high school basketball season upon us, players and teams are beginning their preparation. Exciting news from the CIAC on Oct. 29 stated that vaccinated players and coaches will not be required to wear a mask on the court.
This differs from the modified season teams saw last year, in which they were required to wear masks at all times with “mask break” timeouts implemented into the game. Sitting down with a few members of the Wethersfield High School basketball community, we were able to discuss how the upcoming season will differ from what we saw last season and how they will continue to stay safe this winter.
Jeffery Russell has been the head coach of the Wethersfield girls basketball team since the 2016-17 season, where he has helped lead his team to the state tournament each year and is no stranger to unusual circumstances. Back in March of 2020, his season was shut down due to the pandemic right before heading to the quarter finals of the state tournament.
Last year, the team was able to play a modified season that included the requirement of mask-wearing. When asked about his preparation for last year’s season, his goal was about getting “back to being a team again” and easing into the season, rather than the intense practices he has led in the past.
Additionally, when we asked how he would feel if masks were a choice again for this upcoming season, he told us, “My personal choice is yes. My youngest son still has some immune issues, so I mean I do just from a safety standpoint. They’ve never bothered me.” Masks or not, the girls basketball team is hoping to perform their same intensity on the court as we’ve seen in past years.
We also spoke to Coach Mark Bagdasarian, the assistant coach for the Wethersfield boys basketball team. Last winter, the boys already shortened season became even shorter due to a COVID outbreak on the team. They were forced to quarantine due to positive tests and close contact, which ended their season prior to the tournament.
For his preparation last year and this year he said, “How does it affect our preparation? It doesn’t.”
So it's just the same old season for Bagdasarian, no adjustments or alterations to the game plan, just play basketball. Furthermore stating, “I don’t like having kids wear masks, but I understand the reason for it.” Seeing that masks will not be in effect this season, Coach Bagsdasarian seems to be ready to bring the heat to the court.
Along with two of the Wethersfield basketball coaches, we also sat down with some players to receive their input on mask requirements from the past year and how they will feel having more breathing room outside of the mask this year.
We first met with senior Jack Frietas, who has been on the boy's basketball team since his freshman year and has played varsity since his sophomore year. When asked about masks affecting performance on the court, Frietas told us “I don’t think [masks] impact us at all, you just need to be in shape.” Frietas feels that masks do not affect a player’s performance during a game, instead “it’s just more annoying to have it on.”
From a players standpoint, running around at high intensity for 32 minutes with a piece of fabric on your face is not the most convenient experience in the world, so when players found out that masks would not be required for vaccinated players and coaches, they were most relieved rather than nervous. With COVID still being a present issue, taking other precautions will still be a priority. However, it puts players at ease to know that they will be able to get back to the game they always loved in the way it’s meant to be played.
by: Roshini Gopaul and Maddy Wickens
Wethersfield High School’s Drama Club is producing Almost Maine this fall, which is running on Thursday, November 11 at 7:30 pm, Saturday, November 13 at 7:30 pm, and Sunday, November 14 at 3:30 pm in the auditorium of Wethersfield High School.
After talking with Jeffrey Roets, the director of Wethersfield High School’s drama department and Almost Maine, we learned some interesting facts. “There are 9 scenes, and each scene takes place at the same time, a Friday night in January. It is all moments of awkward love. Each scene deals with the possibility of new love, the complications of existing love, envy, it has little magical realism.”
This show is produced by the WHS Drama Club, which is not just an ordinary club, it is a production for everyone to watch. They do auditions and get ready for showtime, which means they rehearse constantly.
One of the challenges that they faced so far with getting ready for showtime is the lack of participation. Many, including the director, have expressed their concern with the lack of males in the production. With this, they had to adapt and have some females playing male roles and changed some of the scenes to have females together in romantic love. When asked about how the rehearsal is going, sophomore Thalia Black, who plays Shelly said, “The show is going great, even though we look serious on stage, we crack up all the time.”
Another obstacle is there are kissing scenes with COVID and the regulation to wear a mask, which makes things difficult to do. So to convey that, they had to adjust and had the actors do shoulder and head blocking so the audience can assume there’s kissing when there is not. Senior Mia Sommers, who plays Sandrine and Rhonda said, “Wearing a mask has been a little struggle, glad to still do something like this even though it’s, fun process, I’m excited about the show.”
They are also working on cool special effects. One of them includes the Northern Lights. Kade Lippitt, a senior and sound technician for the show, said, “The audience can look out for stars during the nighttime scene and a shoe falling onto stage.”
Excited to watch the play? Get tickets on https://www.showtix4u.com as no tickets will be shown at the door.
The production dates are Thursday, November 11 at 7:30 pm, Saturday, November 13 at 7:30 pm, and Sunday, November 14 at 3:30 pm.
by: Molly Bowers
New this year at Wethersfield High is the Culinary Arts class, and it is unlike any of the other cooking and nutrition class the school offers. This class is for students that have completed both Nutrition Ⅰ and Ⅱ, but instead of simply just cooking in this class, it focuses more on the hospitality and business side of the cooking industry.
This new elective addition is taught by Andrea Leuschner, who has been teaching nutrition at the high school for 5 years. She studied fashion and merchandising at West Virginia University and then went on to work in the garment industry for more than 20 years, then working in every facet of the restaurant industry prior to teaching at WHS.
The Culinary Arts class is only open to students that have completed both Nutrition Ⅰ and Ⅱ. This class will last the entire year and is centered around the business and preparation behind cooking. The itinerary for the class this year starts with selling ready-to-bake and pre-prepared treats to the staff around Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. With the prolonged class, the students will have the opportunity to get a glimpse into the hustle and bustle of the cooking industry with possible field trips to test kitchens, but also the less glamorized portion of the industry. Like planning, budgeting, and even creating a logo.
With the class being a full year class instead of a one-semester course, there is a lot more time for the class to go through more content and complete more intensive projects. Leuschner said, “There are so many things I want students to learn in the class, but I think the main thing is to develop confidence in their culinary techniques so that students are able to make a variety of food for themselves and their family. Learning how to cook requires so many skills; problem solving, math, science, reading and creativity.”
Leuschner has a number of things planned for the students and class. Starting with fundraisers, and teaching the students the basics of food business and menu planning; Then around March there are plans for the class to run a mock restaurant within the nutrition room, to help the student practice and learn the different aspects and roles within a restaurant.
Want to try out the culinary creations at WHS? Click the following link to order apple crisp or pumpkin pie for the upcoming holidays!
by: Jack Freitas
This weekend at Castle Craig, the Hiking Club at Wethersfield High School partnered with the University of Connecticut to raise money for the Connecticut Children's Hospital. The club raised money all week leading up to the hike, finishing with a total of $611, it was more than a successful weekend for the Hiking Club.
Sean Dunn, a senior at Wethersfield High School and the president and founder of the Hiking club, had this to say on why this hike was so special and important to raise money for the children in the hospital, “It was very important for us as a club because we had been researching ways to positively ignite change in the community and give back. Being able to use hiking as a means to raise money for children who are less fortunate in our own state meant a lot for all of us and we were blown away at the outpouring support.” Sean was a big part in helping raise this money by promoting and getting people involved.
This hike was not only important, but very fun and had a high number of people came out. Joe Bellas, a senior in high school and a member of the Hiking Club shared his thoughts on the hike this weekend. “I had an excellent experience alongside my friends. I think that Sean Dunn did an amazing job leading the group and I thought the hike was very fun.”
This hike turned out to be on a beautiful Saturday afternoon and gave the hikers some astonishing views. They hiked up to the top of Castle Craig and were joined by other hikers doing it for the same cause.
This club was one of the fastest growing clubs ever at WHS, already starting off with 68 students. You can join this club by talking with Mrs. Russo, Sean Dunn, or Sam Johnson. Although spots are rare and you might need to wait to be able to get in because of how many kids there are, it's an amazing club.
The Hiking Club meets every other Tuesday in Mrs. Russo room to discuss the future of the club and hikes they may attempt later in the year.
This is not the only fundraiser Sean and the club are planning. An exciting one that is upcoming is the dodgeball tournament they are hosting in winter. Since it is too cold to hike, Sean and Mrs. Russo still teamed up to find a way to raise money for the children in the hospital.
by: Alanna DePinto
On the fifth floor of Wethersfield High School, Mr. Jensen shows a documentary on the space shuttle Challenger to his statistics classes. Mr. Jensen shows the video every year without fail. To learn more about why this video was shown I interviewed Mr. Jensen and statistics student Emmeline Hong from his eighth period class.
Mr. Jensen started teaching Statistics in 1996 and started to show the Challenger video within 10-15 years after he started teaching. When asked why Mr. Jensen started showing this video to his classes, he said, “I want to make a point about extrapolation and I’m a storyteller.” Jensen mentioned it was an extreme case but the Challenger video showed a complete story on people following data and people with a political or a PR agenda. The video shows that data is something that carries heavy weight and people still ignore it.
When asked what exactly he wanted students to take away from the video he said, “Something I want students to take away is the seriousness of learning, that particularly statistics, if you really learn how to handle data well and accurately, you can have a huge impact.”
Jensen demonstrates with this video and with in-class activities that he wants to help his students make smart educated decisions without bias in their futures. Jensen wants his students to look at the data to come to conclusions and not be persuaded by outside pressure, because, at the end of the day, it could be his students handling data that impacts peoples’ lives in the future.
When I interviewed senior Emmeline Hong, she mentioned the video made her feel sad for the people who died and their families. When I asked what she took away from the video, she said, “I learned that you should never assume anything. You should always make decisions off of consistent data rather than what you hope will happen.” Emmeline Hong agreed that the video made sense being shown in class as it reflects on the ideas on analyzing data in Statistics. Hong also mentioned that with such a serious topic, it made the class truly feel real and impactful.
This is just one example of the many real life connections Jensen makes in his statistics classes. Mr. Jensen helps students in developing critical thinking while learning content. Students are not only pushed to learn statistics, but to understand the seriousness of what they are learning. If you are interested in Statistics, consider taking the ECE class with Mr. Jensen.
By: Liam Stec
Jeffrey Sanborn, the Wethersfield High School boys cross country, indoor track, and girls outdoor track and field coach at Wethersfield High School, has been coaching for over twenty years, and is a coach well-liked and respected by athletes and students alike.
Starting his running career at Wayland Academy and advancing to the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse as a collegiate athlete, Coach Sanborn is a highly qualified coach. He also happens to be the only openly gay coach at Wethersfield High School.
However, Coach Sanborn has not always been an openly gay coach at Wethersfield High School, having only come out within the past 10 years. When asked about how he came out and what prompted him to come out 10 years ago, he said, “I actually first did it because there was a bunch of bullying issues at the time”, even noting that, at one point, a student was beaten up for his sexuality.
After this, it became clear to Coach Sanborn that allies were needed, and somebody to look to, as well as someone who could be used as a resource for any questions and further education was needed, and Coach Sanborn decided to take on this role.
When asking Coach Sanborn what his number one piece of advice was to those who are coming out, his first piece of advice was “go find allies.” To be an ally of the LGBTQ+ community means to be a person who has a genuine, strong concern for the well-being of LGBTQ+ people, supports accepts LGBTQ+ people, and advocates for equal rights and fair treatment.
There are numerous sites out there to help educate others in finding allies and a common ground, and one of the number one sites for this is The Trevor Project.
The Trevor Project is an LGBTQ+ supporting site that explores topics that others may be uncomfortable to talk about, discussing topics of suicide, sexual orientation, gender identity, mental health, and community. It’s a place many have found as extremely educational and helpful, even having a built in feature where if you press the escape button three times it will be deleted from your search history.
Educating yourself as well as others is one of the most important ways to fight the adversities and inequalities still present in the fight for complete equality. This even means correcting peers, friends, family, and anyone else when you hear or see something inappropriate, however there’s a way to go about it and do it right.
As said by Coach Sanborn “Tell them it’s not cool and tell them why.” The most basic thing you can do is educate people, tell them why it’s not okay, but make sure to not attack them; if you attack them aggressively they’ll attack you right back.
One important thing for people to realize is that often it’s simple word choices that need corrections. “I’ve never heard anyone say anything in a negative tone, it’s just a language choice they’re not consciously aware of,” said Coach Sanborn. Their language is a product of the culture they’ve been brought up in.
Coach Sanborn said it makes you think, “How many times have you heard someone say ‘That’s so straight?’ Nobody ever has. So why is it okay to say ‘That’s so gay?’”
Unfortunately, this is present in everyday life in varying degrees all over as seen in the news this week with Jon Gruden and his emails. Jon Gruden was an NFL coach of the Oakland Raiders, who had several emails released calling NFL commissioner several derogatory names and homophobic slurs. It is the actions of figures as large as these that can hurt others the most and cause some of the largest and lasting damage.
This is one of the biggest contrasts between coaches and highlights the effects of coaches on people: Some like Sanborn can help others and encourage people to be who they are, while others such as Gruden tear people down for something as simple as being themself.
This isn’t to say that people are completely alone though, according to a new study conducted by Outsports, the University of Winchester and the Sports Equality Foundation, 95% of athletes surveyed said their teammates’ responses to them coming out were overall “neutral” to “perfect”. This means 19 out of 20 times, there will be a positive response amongst athletes, and even then a team never consists of only 2 people, there will statistically be those who support and embrace you for who you are.
Here are some sites for additional information or personal research
by: Allie Leahy
Attention Class of 2023! Class advisor Mr.Miller and class president Lily Bucchi, met with Eagle Eye for an interview about the information on upcoming events and news for our class!
The plans for the future look bright! For the rest of this year, Lily and the class officers will be holding fundraisers and they need our help!
Lily said, “We really need to do fundraisers to help raise money, and we also want to do merch. That’s our big one right now. We are also doing a lot of planning for the junior prom.”
This past week, some of the juniors met after school in the fifth floor hallway to decorate. This helps raise money for our class and the hallway looks great! They want thank everyone who came to help, but are hoping to get more of a turn out at the next fundraiser.
Mr. Miller says, “The rest of this school year will be the matter of collecting dues and trying to get fundraisers in. We have a lot of events planned for senior year, but the main event for this year is prom.”
Mr.Miller and Lily made it clear that paying your class dues should be of the highest priority. You can submit your dues directly to Mr. Miller in room 506. You are required to pay $25 every school year. This is a way to raise money for your class and helps pay for prom, field trips, and soon to be Class of 2023 merch!
Mr. Miller and the Officers will need this money very soon to start paying for activities that we all love. But, in order to take part in these activities, your class dues must be up to date.
Mr. Miller says, “Wethersfield does not keep the class dues, all of the money that’s left behind stays with the class, so class dues are really for the class. This money is then used for reunions.”
One of Mr. Miller's goals is to try and make all of the senior year activities cost free, aside from prom tickets.
We have our first ever prom coming up in approximately 6 months! Our Junior prom will be held April 30, 2022 at the Glastonbury Country Club. Get excited!
Please make sure your class dues are paid. Tickets will be on sale in the Spring. Prom tickets and class dues are seperate, you must pay for the prom ticket as well as your class dues in order to attend.
How are the class officers helping Mr.Miller?
Our class officers do a lot for us! They plan fundraisers, activities and most importantly advocate for us! Mr. Miller does a lot for us as well, but he could not do it without the help of our officers!
Mr.Miller says, “This is now the 10th or 11th year that I've done this, I try to be more hands off because it's the students class, so if things are going to get done, it's the students responsibility to get them done.” Our class officers do so much for us and e need to thank them!
Elections took place on Tuesday, Oct 12, in your WeConnect period!
Our class officers for this year are:
President: Lily Bucchi
Vice President: Kayla Shafman
Secretary: Lian Dunn
Treasurer: Hailey Lopez
By: George Zack
One of the latest and greatest additions to the WHS extracurricular scene is none other than our very own Chess Club.
This organization was officially added to the extracurricular roster in early 2021 by students Haley Day and Anne Hart. The faculty advisor of the club is Italian teacher Mrs. Becker.
Forged out of the fire of the pandemic, the Chess Club initially held all meetings completely virtually. According to Google Classroom posts from March 12, 2021 and Oct. 4, 2021, all virtual meetings were held on Google Meet, with games and activities on the sites Chess.com and Lichess.
Today, the club meets every other week, alternating between meetings in person in Mrs. Becker’s room (403) and virtually on the club’s Google Meet. According to Haley Day, this decision was made predominantly to reduce the risk of spreading COVID while still meeting on a regular basis.
The schedule is also designed to be more accommodating for those taking part in other extracurricular activities that may conflict with one of the time slots. If members cannot attend the 2:30 meetings after school, there are always the remote 6 PM meetings and vice versa.
For more insight on the club, we spoke with Day who shared that the club was founded largely with the intent of being a place where, “People who like chess can get together, hang out, play chess, share things they think are interesting, and have fun“. Since its conception, the club has grown to be 27 students strong.
The Chess Club invites new members of all knowledge and skill. A large number of the group are students who originally had little to no knowledge about chess, but are eager to learn. Multiple posts can be found on the Google Classroom page directed specifically for these burgeoning chess players, ranging from a simple chess tutorial posted on Mar. 16, 2021, all the way to a slideshow on how to use the Fried Liver Attack and Traxler Counter Attack.
According to Day, “[The club] is open to anyone. I was really worried that people would be intimidated to join because they thought ‘I don’t know anything about chess’“. She wants the club to be a learning opportunity for all members, regardless of knowledge and skill.
The events of each meeting can widely vary. Aside from just playing games online or against each other, club members also work together to solve chess puzzles, beat up some AI opponents, and even talk strategy.
If you are interested in joining, the club’s Google Classroom class code is BNQF64U. If you have any questions, reach out to Mrs. Becker, Haley Day, or Anne Hart.
By: Lena Uccello
In 2015, Wethersfield High School teacher, Susan Coco, introduced the blood drive. Held annually three times a year, the school continues to make a difference by collecting blood and saving lives.
Before coming to Wethersfield, Coco taught at Cheshire High. It was here that she first got involved with the event and officially began helping out.
“I really wanted to get involved with the school environment, so that was actually my first extracurricular activity I got involved in,” said Coco.
Though the drive was a way for her to make a difference within the community itself, the real reason behind Coco’s involvement was much more personal.
Her father, a life-long doner, would donate blood every 56 days. At a young age, Ms. Coco would accompany him to these drives and embrace the good deed he was committing. He set an example and gave her the motive to give back.
“He’s probably one of the main reasons why I thought the blood drive was a worthy cause, a worthy reason to get involved,” she said.
After her transfer to Wethersfield High, Coco realized the school did not host an annual blood drive, so she took a stand, got permission and made it happen.
Wethersfield High School senior Anisa Zoto has been working alongside Coco, at the front line of this event, for the last three years. With her love of the medical field and the help of her science teacher Mr. Chatfield, Zoto knew she had to take part in this cause.
“The blood drive isn’t necessarily me doing anything medically involved, but it’s still helping people which is all medicine is really,” said Zoto.
It was after the pandemic hit in 2020 that this event became nearly impossible. Blood banks became super low on supply and with that, the lives of all those in need became at risk.
“According to the New York Blood Center, which provides blood to hospitals in the greater New York City area, the gap between blood needed and what's being donated is now averaging around 8,000 donations per month.”
But this news didn’t stop Coco or the other coordinators at WHS from making it happen.
They found ways to hold the drive, no matter what it took. Instead of taking place during the school year, the team redirected to the elementary schools through summer break. It was important that they still be able to make a difference, even amidst the rising COVID-19.
With her passion and determination, Coco has already scheduled this year’s drive. As of now, it is planned to be held on December 15, 2021 from 7:40am-2:00pm. If you are interested in donating or volunteering, students, or teachers can sign up during lunch waves or email Ms. Coco at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Until you try it, you shouldn’t say no. Little reasons like I’m afraid of needles is not a good reason because if you were on the receiving end of needing blood, then you’re hoping that people are going to give,” said Coco.
As the saying goes, “you’ll ever know until you try,” so reach out and help. Don’t want to or cannot donate? Volunteer. There are always multiple ways to make a difference and you can be one of them.
As Zoto said, “It’s easy, it only takes a couple hours, and those couple hours save hundreds of people.”
Written, edited, and produced by Wethersfield High School students, covering all news and events.