AHS to Introduce a Senior Lounge

By Eliza McKissick

Coming soon to Arlington High School is a lounge dedicated solely to seniors. This lounge will be located in one of the classrooms that is currently being used for community education and student groups. Seniors will be encouraged to go to the lounge during their directed studies, instead of crowding the cafeteria. Administration has been working hard to discourage students from loitering in the cafe, and a senior lounge may be the solution. Once the lounge is completed, it will be an environment where senior students want to spend time. Student council representative, Hikaru Koga, says that the lounge will be decorated with “murals painted by the art department, bean bags, coffee tables, string lights, and tapestries”. The senior lounge is to be seen as a perk of being a senior at Arlington High School.

While the lounge is still in the preliminary stages of planning, it has certainly faced a number of setbacks. Few have concerns with the logistics involved in running a student lounge. Jessie Cali, a junior at Arlington High School worries that “creating a senior lounge when the entire building is to be redone soon seems a bit pointless”. Junior Isabella Scopetski agrees; she suggested “make[ing] an even better, more thought out lounge in the new building”. Their concerns are shared by many; Arlington High art teacher, Mr. Moore, fears that the lounge will be prone to abuse from students. Junior Sammy Richardson agrees, she fears that the space “could get trashed, and [turn into] a really sleazy area”. For this reason, administration is looking into getting a monitor assigned to the classroom in order to prevent such action. In addition to the problem of students misusing the space, the classroom itself is in a state of despair. The doors need repair, and there is currently furniture being stored in the classroom that has proved difficult to remove. Turning this space into a senior lounge will be a challenging task, however, it is one that the Arlington High student government and administration have eagerly taken on.

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Students Participate in Intergenerational Book Club

By Ellie Crowley

In recent weeks posters for the Intergenerational Book Club have branded the windows, doors and walls of AHS in a successful attempt to raise the club’s profile. The club aims to “cherish [their] common interests of books” by “relating personal experiences” and “discussing [their] opinions” on the novels they read, according to junior Carlos Abreu. Abreu originally wanted to start his own book club, but learned of the IBC and immediately joined. He praises the originality of the intergenerational aspect of the club, as “club members pass an inclusive environment down to anybody that wants to join,” not solely students of Arlington High School, but additionally members of the Arlington community.

The IBC takes pride in creating a relaxing environment that the community can experience. The club was founded in 2013 by AHS students and town social worker Marci Shapiro. It was created to “connect two different groups in the Arlington community that have historically had very little interaction with each other,” teenagers and seniors, according to sophomore Adam Forbes. However, the club ended when the students running the IBC graduated. Fortunately, Forbes is Marci Shapiro’s neighbor. Shapiro asked Forbes if he would be interested in restarting the club, to which he enthusiastically obliged.

The club believes reading is critical “to clean the mind” and to serve as a reminder “that self care is really important for us to live long healthy lives.” Abreu’s experience entirely reflects the club’s goals, as “the first day [he] joined it gave [him] an immense feeling of inclusion, which impacted [him] as a person.”

Books read recently by the club include Boys In the Boat by Daniel James Brown, Walk In The Woods by Bill Bryson, and Cannery Row by John Steinbeck, a very diverse selection of novels that appeals to all audiences. The IBC “hopes new folks will be willing to just try out one meeting,” which take place once a month in the teachers conference room at 2:45 after school. If you’re looking for a means of relaxation and want to expand your community in Arlington, this is the club for you!

AHS Hosts Prom Dress Drive

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By Jessie Cali

Arlington High School’s Student Council is holding its second Prom Dress Drive on Thursday, February 15th in Old Hall from 3:00 PM to 5:00 PM.

With spring approaching, many Arlington High School students have started searching for dresses to wear on prom night. Facebook pages where students can post pictures of their dresses have become filled with gowns and rompers varying in size and shape. But prom apparel, particularly dresses, can be pricey; many new dresses cost upwards of $300.

In order to help students save money while still finding the perfect dress, the Student Council created the Prom Dress Drive. A variety of new and gently used dresses have been donated to the event, mainly by AHS alumni and upperclassmen.

Devin Wright, junior class vice president and key organizer in the event, stated “We want to give people a local, cheap event for prom dresses,” and, referring to the difficulty and expense of dress shopping, said “It saves time and money for everyone.”

The event took place for the first time last year, but Wright believes that “this year it will be an even bigger success,” because it is a more established event, and the student council has made an intense effort to advertise the event, posting details on flyers around the school and utilizing social media (particularly Facebook) to spread the word.

Dress prices range from $15 to $70. Proceeds from the event go to the student council budget. This money is then used to fund student government events and trips.

The event may take place again if it is successful. “March 6th is a possible second date depending on how this first one goes,” says Laura Kirchner, Student Council President.  

Junior Prom takes place on Friday, April 27th, and Senior Prom takes place on Thursday, May 24th.

Arlington Students Represented in Lexington Art Exhibit

 

 

By Chloe Jackson

From January 13th to January 28th, the Lexington Arts & Crafts Society hosted the 22nd Annual Regional High School Artist Show. The exhibit was comprised of students from Burlington, Lexington, Bedford, Waltham, Winchester, Lexington Christian Academy, Concord-Carlisle, Minuteman Regional Vocational Technical, and Arlington high schools. The exhibit was full of  impressive pieces  displayed with pride to the public. With free admission and parking for the Parsons Gallery on Waltham Street in Lexington, the exhibit attracted parents, students, and many Massachusetts patrons.

Around fifty handpicked artists from Arlington High School were represented in the art show, accompanying pieces from neighboring school districts. Among many of the talented artists selected by Arlington High staff to have their work represented, was Eliza McKissick, a Junior in Mixed Media and Sculpture taught Ms. Rebola-Thompson. McKissick appreciated the opportunity to have her work displayed in a formal setting, and when visiting the show enjoyed the dozens of other “really fantastic pieces” on display.

A well-attended reception commemorating the hard work of these young artists was held on January 28th, the final day the exhibit was open, from 2pm to 4pm. Arlington High School art teachers Ms. Rebola-Thompson, Ms. McCulloch, and Mr. Moore worked to construct as well as deconstruct the display at Parsons Gallery before the opening of the show on January 13th. On January 28th, the reception took place to celebrate an end to the creative and thoughtful exhibit, contributed to by students and faculty.

Arlington High art teacher Ms. Rebola-Thompson continues to look forward to the annual event, where her students are recognized for their effort and talent. Rebola tells how she gleans much from the experience, affirming that “the art teachers get to connect with a bunch of different art teachers from around the local area and see what other people are doing in their classrooms.” Not only do the art teachers retain skills and information from the Regional High School Artist Show, but students also gain a positive inspirational experience, according to Ms. Rebola. Along with numerous members of the Arlington artistic student body, Rebola believes that, with an “eclectic and diverse” array of pieces, it was “wonderful to have students work out in the community and share their work with a greater audience.”

February Italy/Switzerland Trip Nears

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By Lauren Bain

From Thursday, February 15th to Saturday, February 24th, members of the Arlington High School Madrigal Singers, Honors Orchestra, and Jazz Band will embark on a performing trip to Italy and Switzerland. There, they will tour major cities throughout Italy and Switzerland, as well as their local churches, schools, and museums. Beyond venturing internationally as high schoolers, students will perform at the Teatro Santuccio in Varese, Italy, Tradate High School in Tradate, Italy, the San Giovanni Battista Basilica in Milan, Italy, and attend a three day workshop followed by a performance with Lugano’s Conservatory members in Lugano, Switzerland.

A large trip such as this takes time, organization, and money. The provided travel agency is organizing flights, hotels, meals, buses, sightseeing expenses, performances, and other critical details. Part of each student’s payment will go into covering these expenses.

Expenses will also be subsidized by fundraisers that the performing arts department are hosting throughout the school year leading up to the trip. Fundraisers include car washes, yard sales, spaghetti night, a Barnes & Noble performance, the Jazz Band concert, the Madrigals concert, and the sale of raffle tickets at concerts. This Friday, February 9th in AHS’ Lowe Auditorium at 7:00pm, a Farewell Concert will be hosted in celebration of this trip. The students have already completed many fundraisers and still have more planned.

The trip’s popularity took off under the leadership of Sabato D’Agostino and Performing Arts’ prior department head, Pasquale Tassone. D’Agostino, a Salerno, Italy native, is AHS’ instrumental director, who leads band and orchestra. Through the trip, D’Agostino and Tassone have deepened the ties between AHS students and international music education. To this day, global citizenship and education serves as a foundation of the Arlington Public Schools. Arlington World Languages department hosts the Global Competence Program, providing graduates with the ability to contribute internationally and employ a broad-minded mindset throughout their lives.

When asked about the benefits of performing abroad, Madalyn Kitchena, a choir teacher at AHS since 2014 and head of The Madrigals, replied, “Instead of just performing for our own community, you are among strangers and a very different culture. The students are representing their school, but also their state and country for others outside it, which brings its own pressures and personal expectations.” On the importance of a strong foundation of education in the performing arts, Kitchen notes, “Students brains are used in different ways than in other things, and that tends to enhance their abilities in other areas of school and life. It enriches their experiences, and since music has such a strong connection to emotions, I believe that participating in music creates or contributes to a more healthy mind and emotional state.”

If you are a student at AHS interested in the prominent Performing Arts program featured at the school, both Mr. D’Agostino and Mrs. Kitchen advocate for everyone to join. D’Agostino deems the program’s environment, “very relaxed, passionate and welcoming,” while Kitchen highlights how important music is to all parts of your life.
Fundraisers will continue to be held for this trip until February Vacation and will be broadcasted on the morning announcements. For more information about how you can help, email mkitchen@arlington.k12.ma.us or sdagostino@arlington.k12.ma.us.

AHS Students Compete in Battle of the Bands

By Grace Walters

On Saturday, Jan. 27, Arlington High School’s S.T.A.N.D club hosted the 12th annual Battle of The Bands at the Regent Theatre in Arlington.

Stereolith, Over Easy, Error 404 and Loudstreet battled it out for a title and cash prize. Each group rocked the house with hit songs like “24k Magic by Bruno Mars, played by Error 404, and “Today” by The Smashing Pumpkins, played by Over Easy.

The event lasted for roughly two hours, ending with a performance by a group of Arlington High School teachers, Social Studies teacher Glen Fant, English teacher Lianna Bessette, English teacher Justin Bourassa, English teacher Paul McKnight and English teacher Tim Martin, known as The Educated Guests.

Thanks to ACMi, every performance was video-recorded from various angles and by numerous camerapeople.

 

Getting to the battle

 

S.T.A.N.D club advisor Mr. McKnight held a meeting in early November of last year in which students inquired about the audition and selection process for bands who wished to compete in the event. Each band was required to send a demo tape featuring three songs no later than Nov. 18.

The band Over Easy described a demanding process for preparing for the show. Practice hours conflicted with the band members’ school schedules and the availability of a practice location was not always guaranteed.

“It’s tough, but it’s worth it,” says Over Easy’s guitarist and lead vocalist, Junior Cole Fanning.

“We’re not trying to win, we’re just trying to have fun,” Fanning added.

 

Fundraising for a cause

 

Juniors Devin Wright and Neil Tracey emceed the event. They introduced each band, adding a mixture of humor and witty banter between acts. Proceeds from the event were donated to Save the Children, a foundation whose goal is to aid children across the globe in areas such as education, hunger and the accessibility of resources.

Additionally, raffle tickets offered up prizes from restaurants and local businesses such as Menotomy Grill & Tavern and a variety of assorted baskets with themes like “Date Night” and “Treat Yourself.”  

A title and cash prize were awarded to two groups: the Judges’ Choice, who received $50, and the Audience Choice, who received $100.

The judging panel consisted of the five members of The Educated Guests who deliberated while the remaining attendees were able to cast digital votes.

 

And the winner is…

 

Each band played a maximum of eight songs, most of which were covers. However, band Error 404 surprised the audience with an original song entitled “Don’t Mess Around.”

As the show progressed, an increasing number of audience members gathered at the edge of the stage where they chanted, danced, waved cellphone lights in the air, and sang along.

The crowd was especially fervent when the band of teachers, The Educated Guests, performed “All Star” by Smash Mouth and “Shut Up And Dance” by Walk The Moon.

Junior Ben Clossey, the band’s drummer, said the atmosphere of the show was “very inclusive; it’s more about the music and less about who wins.”

At the end of the show, Wright and Tracey announced that the band Error 404—consisting of Juniors Sam Goldstein, Julian Carpenter, Quinn Connell, Joey Dalton, and Olivia Carpenter—won both titles.

 

World Traveler Sells Global Goods at AHS

 

By: Isabella Scopetski

On December 12th, 2017 there was a Global Goods Fair in the main lobby during all three lunches and after school. Twice a year Jacquie Rodgers, a retired teacher from Maynard, comes to Arlington High, bringing jewelry and other items collected from her travels around the world to sell, donating 100% of all proceeds globally and locally.

Rodgers is the founder of Global Goods; a non-profit organization currently working with locals in Guatemala, Uganda and Indonesia. Rodgers visits these places “most every year along with other countries such as Mexico, Ecuador, Thailand and Peru”. After teaching in Maynard for 31 years, Rodgers decided to focus her energy on Global Goods full time.

“It was very easy to switch because I was always helping students and now I am just helping other individuals.” said Rodgers (now 70 years old).

Upon developing the fundraising aspect of global goods, “it had a twofold purpose” Rodgers said “One was to be able to help out locally and the second was to expose high school students to global issues and the diversity in the world.”

The organization is run by Rodgers and her husband, as well as volunteers and students, all of whom receive no income, making it a true non-profit. Rodgers said she “didn’t know anything about running a nonprofit foundation,” so she has been learning and adapting on the job.

Rodger’s commitment to helping others derives from her innate curiosity of the world, different cultures and foreign languages, which she has perpetuated since childhood. “I’ve been fortunate to have many foreign guests stay at my house and to travel to over 100 countries.” said Rodger .

Rodger hopes “to be able to keep self funding global goods for many years and somehow to keep it going forever”. She feels  “very committed to [her] projects and in developing [the] global goods foundation.”

Rodgers attributes the success of her non-profit to the fact that “many people want to help others but don’t know how.” She said that “by buying items from Global Goods and hearing about the stories of the Artisans who make the goods, people know that they are helping.”

Rodgers “found that there are many people trying to make a difference in the world”. She thinks that “Students need to look around their own communities and maybe do a little research online to find places that need their help”; volunteer opportunities are not difficult to seek out. Every year she has at least one or two interns from her local high school to help out. Rodger believes that being open to volunteer positions in foundations local or global “will help them learn more about the world and themselves”

“I am a firm believer” said Rodger “that you need to go beyond your local area and explore other countries to really see what the world is about.”  And to Rodger, “need” is a relative term. From her unique perspective “We have needs in the United States… But the need in other countries is so much more severe that you really [should] see it to believe it”.

“I think I have a keen sense of the inequities of the world” added Rodgers, “partly because of my travel and also because of some of my personal friends”. Rodgers stresses the importance of using the life we have to help make other people’s lives better, while in turn improving the quality of our own life. She considers her circumstances to be “very fortunate”, and “by seeing some of the inequities of the world with my own eyes” she added “ I think I’ve been inspired to help more than I would have if I was just staying in the US”.

To quote Nelson Mandela: “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”  Rodgers believes Mandela’s statement best summarizes why she continues Global Goods.

“I have seen this in action and know that it may be slow, but it is so true” she said in reference to Mandela’s quote.

To get involved or for more questions about the Global Goods connection to AHS, contact AHS teacher Ms. Donohue who helps get clubs involved in helping Rodgers set up for Global Goods. Previously, the Dance Club connected with Global Goods and helped sell Goods while receiving 10% of all profits to fund their club.

To learn more about the mission of Globals Good and the travels of Jacquie Rodgers, you can visit: http://globalgoods.org/

 

D’Agastino’s Founder Visits AHS

By Max Fritsch

Last Wednesday, the Arlington High School Speakers Club invited Sam D’agostino, founder and owner of the prominent D’Agastino’s Deli Franchise, to speak in front of the group about the process of starting his business from nothing and tips on how to become successful in that field.

D’Agostino expressed to the group the importance of having energy, taking risks, staying motivated, setting new goals, having discipline, practicing good habits, and establishing good relationships with the customers. One of the most interesting things that D’Agastino told the group was that debt is necessary and not really a bad thing when it comes to starting a business. It took him five years to pay off the man he originally bought the property of his first store from, nearly 50 years ago. When one student asked how they could take advantage of what they want to pursue early, D’Agastino replied with some advice for all of the students: “First find something you are passionate in. Get an internship in that general area just so you can get a feel of what it’s like. Most importantly, ask a lot of questions.”

Club President Winston Chen said, “It was a great discussion, we talked about everything we wanted to.” Chen explained, “Not every talk will be about business; for example we are looking into getting speakers to preach on other subjects such as college admissions, real estate, and really whatever the students want to hear advice on.” With the club’s first speaker being a great success, Chen hopes “more people see this opportunity and come to future talks.” Chen then went on to explain that “the type of people that we made this club for are those who are enthusiastic, curious, and want to better themselves for the future.”

Class of 2020 Hosts Winter Craft Fair

 

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By: Claire Kitzmiller

On Saturday December 16 from 9:00am to 1:00pm, the Arlington High School class of 2020 will be holding a Winter Craft Festival for the greater Arlington community. The fair is open for kids up to age 10 and costs five dollars per person. There will be a variety of crafts and activities for the kids including, gingerbread houses, paper snowflakes, snow globes and mug warmers.  

Sophomore Class President, Lauren Murphy said, “we knew we wanted to host an event for the greater Arlington community, beyond AHS.” The students officers were inspired by the annual Fall Carnival that is put on by the senior class.

Murphy says events like these are important because, “AHS is part of the larger Arlington community, and it is really rewarding to reach out and give back whenever we can.” The students are excited to spend time with little kids while putting on a fun event for them.

The Sophomore class council includes Lauren Murphy (President), Molly O’Toole (Treasurer), Dylan Fournier (Secretary), and Rob Marchant (Vice President). They are still looking for high school volunteers to run craft stations. Anyone interested can sign up at http://www.signupgenius.com/go/4090e4aa5aa29abfb6-winter.

Faces Project Unpacks Identity

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By: Claire Kitzmiller

Students taking Arlington High School’s Race, Class and Identity class created a project that illustrates the many layers of their complex identities. The project has been displayed in the Media Center at the school.

The students took pictures of themselves and a laser etched their images into individual pieces of plywood. On the other side of the etching, the students created a visual representation of their true identities. Some students collaged images of groups they are a part of or symbols that represent what is important to them.

The course goes beyond the face level of race and identity. Students learn to understand the many layers of one’s race and class and how that affects their identity. The course is taught by AHS teacher, Kevin Toro who created the project hoping to “deconstruct the physical judgements and prejudices that we have towards people.” The project is intended to show students that there is more below the surface, identity is made up of more than just one’s appearance.

Toro chose to display the project for the school because, students and staff at AHS “need to pay attention to our prejudices and our implicit biases” against other student and people in the community. According to Toro, the project was important because it “was a conversation starter and that’s what Arlington needs.” While Arlington is a very accepting town full of diversity, racial bias and discrimination is still very prevalent. The project is meant to address the problems that many students are still unaware of.