AHS Students Attend Semester Schools

By Claire Kitzmiller

Every year, juniors at Arlington High School have the option to spend half the year at a semester school. A semester school is a high school where a small group of students from all over the country come to study for one semester. Few students take advantage of the unique opportunity, but those who do find the experience unforgettable.

There are eleven schools that students can apply to all across the country. Some examples  include CITYterm in New York City, The Mountain School in Vermont, Chewonki on the coast of Maine, and The Island School in The Bahamas.

Students apply during January through March the year before they plan to attend and find out whether or not they have been selected at the end of March. The application process includes questions about students’ educational interests, personal interests, and reasons why they want to attend the school.

Several students at AHS attended different semester schools across the country during the fall of 2017. Maya Pockrose attended Chewonki on the Maine Coast, Clara Tully attended CITYterm in New York City, and Jessie Cali attended The High Mountain Institute in Colorado.


Maine Coast Semester at Chewonki


The Chewonki school is located in Wiscasset, Maine, on the coast. The school focuses on science, sustainability, and farm life. Students live in cabins heated by wood stoves with seven other people; each cabin does two weeks of farm chores, starting at 6:30 am each morning. Students also take part in work programs, field trips, wilderness trips, and cooking.

For field trips, students visit different environments while answering prompts in field journals. Twice a week, students also engage in work programs, which include helping the maintenance crew, working on the farm, writing for the blog, working in the kitchen, and pulling out invasive species on campus.

AHS junior Maya Pockrose attended Chewonki during the fall of 2017. Pockrose was able to take many classes that corresponded to AHS classes such as Pre-Calculus, Spanish, and A.P U.S. History, but Pockrose also got to take classes unique to Chewonki. For science she studied “Natural History of the Maine Coast.” For the course, Pockrose learned about species and ecosystems local to the Maine Coast with the opportunity to visit the unique environments on field trips.

During the weekends, Pockrose spent her time going on walks, playing music, spending time with friends, and sometimes cooking dinner. She also went on special trips including a five-day wilderness trip, 2-night solo, and an outdoor leadership weekend.

Pockrose decided to apply to Chewonki because “the community, setting, and academics really appealed to [her].” Pockrose says, “the experience was truly life-changing and it’s a great opportunity.”


The High Mountain Institute


The High Mountain Institute is located in the Rocky Mountains in Leadville, Colorado. Students focus on leadership and sustainability while being immersed in the unique cultures around them. Students lived in cabins, chopping their own wood for heat while engaging in hands-on learning. The students also go on two eighteen-day backpacking trips while continuing their classes on the canyons and mountain peaks.

AHS junior Jessie Cali studied at the High Mountain Institute in the fall of 2017. Cali took classes such as AP U.S. History and Pre-Calculus, but she also got to take unique classes including “Ethics of the Natural World.”

Cali was drawn to the school because of the time outdoors, backpacking trips and location. Through the program Cali states that “I learned how to advocate for myself and develop closer relationships with teachers, and [how to] become comfortable and confident being my true self,” giving her, “control over my academic, social, and emotional success.”



CITYterm is located in New York City, held at the Masters School in Dobbs Ferry, forty minutes from Grand Central Station. Students spend every other day in New York City, applying in-class learning to the diverse, urban setting. Students study an interdisciplinary curriculum, including classes about the Urban Environments of New York City. During classes, students design projects and address complex problems related to the city.

AHS junior Clara Tully attended CITYterm during the fall of 2017. Tully was drawn to the school because she has always been “fascinated by New York City” and heard incredible reviews about it. At the school, Tully learned how “to ask really great questions…[and] how to be an effective group member.” Tully’s favorite part of the experience was “the amazing friendships [she] formed with not only [her] peers but also the teachers.”


To find out more about semester schools, go to the website https://www.semesterschools.net/


Students Travel Abroad For February Vacation

By Isabella Scopetski, Chloe Jackson and Claire Kitzmiller

The week of Feb. 18, Arlington High School students traveled overseas to take part in school organized trips meant to connect exploration and enjoyment with education and hands-on learning experiences.

AHS sent students to northern Italy, Switzerland and South Africa and many of the participants came back enthused and passionate about their experiences. Each trip involved more than a year’s planning and fundraising by the adult organizers, chaperones and parents.

Musical Italy Trip

Students in honors level Jazz Band, Honors Orchestra or Madrigal Singers traveled to Europe for 11 days to tour northern Italy and part of Switzerland. The three groups performed six concerts while abroad and prefaced the trip with a “farewell concert” performed at Arlington High the week before their departure.

Sabatino D’Agastino, conductor of the Jazz Band and Honors Orchestra, and Madaline Kitchen, conductor of the Madrigal Singers, collaborated in planning the trip to Italy over a year in advance. Preceding the trip, the conductors worked closely with the parents of the students going on the trip to plan nearly a dozen fundraising events.

Students performed in venues including a Roman Catholic church, a Swiss conservatory and an Italian music-specific high school. Between concerts, the groups toured the cities and regions of Milan, Varese, Lugano, Verona, Lake Como and Lake Maggiore.

The groups were accompanied by tour guides Guiseppe and Lorenzo Tarzia, two brothers based out of southern Italy who are knowledgeable about Italian culture, history, food and geography.

D’Agastino found the most rewarding part of the experience was “witnessing [his] students being so happy on and off stage.” He sees the trip as “a great opportunity to learn about other cultures…to perform with other musicians all from over the world…to socialize… [and] to learn how to be on their own.”

“Traveling is one of the biggest favors we can do for ourselves in terms of gaining experience, becoming more understanding, and growing love for our fellow humankind,” Kitchen said. “Performing in unfamiliar circumstances always helps improve musicianship.

Jazz Band members Joanie Cha and Nico Riley called the trip a “once-in-a-lifetime experience” and reiterated it was “a great bonding experience for everyone involved.”

One concert on the tour was held at an Italian high school of music. Each student attending the school must study two instruments throughout high school, along with their core classes. Arlington High musicians had the opportunity to talk to the Italian students who attended their concert, as well as sing with them on stage in an encore of “Bohemian Rhapsody.”

“We were with kids who didn’t speak the same language, [yet] we were able to connect through music,” said Cha, a Jazz Band saxophonist. For them, the most rewarding part of the experience was when everyone was on stage together and “there was a universal respect for each other as musicians.”

Not only was the music fulfilling for Cha, but simply having the privilege to “learn so much about people who [they] didn’t even know went to [their] school” was truly a gift.

While performing in new venues each concert and touring European cities were major aspects of the trip, senior Caroline Dressler’s favorite part about the trip was “getting to know everyone better,” a sentiment shared by the many students who participated.

South Africa Trip

A group of 46 students, 37 from Arlington and nine from Ashland, travel around 20 hours to South Africa. After a minor hiccup because of a delayed flight out of Boston, the group was able to spend a day exploring Paris as well as South Africa.

The students spent time working with kids at Elkanah, a private high school with grades 7-12, Atlantis, an after school program similar to a Boys and Girls Club, Table View Primary School, grades 4-7 and Ysterplaat Junior Primary School, kindergarten to third grade.

Junior Izzy Manion valued “being able to play with the kids and showing that you made an impact on their lives,” while junior Ellen Gerberick loved when she first walked in to her sixth-grade class and “all the kids’ faces just brightened.”

In addition to assisting classes in several South African schools, Arlington students visited Nelson Mandela’s prison cell, botanical gardens and penguins on the beach. They hiked Table Mountain and Lion’s Head and also set up a street store to donate their own personal clothing to the South African homeless.

Gerberick and Manion are eager to travel to Cape Town again and established lasting bonds with the teachers and children they worked with in Cape Town. Gerberick added “it’s good to experience a new culture and to step into someone else’s shoes, even if it’s a little uncomfortable and emotional.”

Latin Italy trip

Eight Latin language students and two teachers traveled to Italy to enrich the learning they’ve done in class . The group landed in Milan and traveled to Florence for three days before driving to Rome for another two. Latin teachers Cassandra Mea and Veronica Quinn began planning the trip with their students a year before they left.

In Florence the students traveled with a tour group, comprised of students from other schools. The group visited historical landmarks including the Birth of Jesus, The Statue of David, El Duomo and The Church of Christ. In Rome, the students traveled to the Pantheon, the Colosseum and the Spanish Steps.

Sophomore Alevia Doyle decided to go on the trip because she loves Latin and was interested in seeing all of the places she had been learning about. Doyle’s favorite part of the trip was “getting to know different people [she] would not have talked to at school.”


Oscar Movies Review

By Eliza McKissick



Oscar Winners

Best Picture: The Shape Of Water

My Final Order for “Best Picture” Films

  1. Call Me by Your Name
  2. Get Out
  3. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
  4. Dunkirk
  5. Phantom Thread
  6. The Post
  7. Lady Bird
  8. Darkest Hour
  9. Shape of Water


Lady Bird:

Christine “Lady Bird” McPherson  is a senior at a Catholic high school in Sacramento California. The film follows the outspoken Lady Bird as she navigates her way through friendships, relationships, family drama, and the pressures of being a teen.

  1. Storyline- 7
  2. Originality-2
  3. Acting- 9
  4. Realism/ accuracy- 10
  5. Resonance- 6
  6. Bonus: none

Total-  34/51… 67%

The overall plot of “Lady Bird” is far from original. There have been countless films released that touch on practically the same subject. That being said, what sets “Lady Bird” apart is the acting, and the accuracy of the relationships being portrayed. Lady Bird (Saoirse Ronan) and her mother (Laurie Metcalf) have a somewhat destructive relationship, something that many teenage girls, and mothers alike can relate to. Both Ronan and Metcalf do a tremendous job dedicating themselves to these characters. I definitely enjoyed the film, and I believe “Lady Bird” deserved to be nominated; however, in my opinion, the lack of originality prevents it from being a serious contender for the award.


Call Me by Your Name:

Set in the summer of 1983 in a small town in northern Italy, the film follows Elio Perlman as he comes to terms with his sexuality. Elio falls in love with his fathers intern, Oliver, but spends much of his summer trying to repress these feelings.

  1. Storyline- 10
  2. Originality- 9
  3. Acting- 10
  4. Realism/ accuracy- 10
  5. Resonance- 9
  6. Bonus: soundtrack-1

Total- 49/51… 96%

“Call Me by Your Name” was spectacularly done; the acting was incredible, the storyline was amazing, and the relationships portrayed were heartwarming. Elio (Timothée Chalamet) and Oliver’s (Armie Hammer) romance was beautifully captured; both actors did a tremendous job. The romance between Elio and Oliver was not the only well developed relationship: Elio and his parents shared a moving connection. Their continuous love and support for Elio added to the films overall storyline. I would label “Call Me by Your Name” as most deserving to win the award for Best Picture.


Darkest Hour

Based on true events, “Darkest Hour” follows Prime Minister of Great Britain, Winston Churchill, through his decision of whether or not to negotiate peace deals with Nazi Germany. Churchill was forced to make this decision just days after accepting the role as Prime Minister; he had to do so while dealing with opposition from his own party, skepticism from the King, and civilians who were not yet ready to fight a war.  

  1. Storyline- 4
  2. Originality-9
  3. Acting-9
  4. Resonance- 1
  5. Realism/Accuray- 8
  6. Bonus: filming-1

Total: 32/51… 63%

Full disclosure: I am not a huge fan of war movies, so going into this, I was a bit biased. That being said, my biggest issue with “Darkest Hour” was its plot. Churchill’s (Gary Oldman) struggle over his decision to either negotiate a peace deal with Nazi Germany, or fight for Britain’s liberty, is interesting, but not enough so to stretch it out over 2 hours. I feel like I could have gotten the basic premise of the film in a 20 minute clip. However, Gary Oldman does a great job in his role, and the filming was excellent. “Darkest Hour” was docked a few points in the accuracy section because of the scene with Churchill on the train. With some quick research it became clear that that never actually happened. Overall, the film was impressive, but not my top choice.



1940, Allied forces were trapped on Dunkirk beach by an encroaching German army. British and French civilian boats were brought to evacualte the soldiers, saving over 300,000 soldiers. The film spans between a few British soldiers fighting to get home, a boat with three British citizens sailing to Dunkirk, and a British Air Force pilot.

  1. Storyline-9
  2. Originality-9
  3. Acting-9
  4. Realism/Accuracy-10
  5. Resonance- 4
  6. Bonus: Soundtrack-1

Total: 42/51… 82%

Despite my general unenthusiastic attitude towards war movies, I genuinely enjoyed “Dunkirk”. The story is incredible, and the film does a great job capturing it. There is no real character development, but that could be a creative choice to show that in times of war one doesn’t really have the time to get to know their fellow soldiers. The soundtrack does an great job building up the suspense in a scene, and keeping the overall sense of nervousness present throughout the film. “Dunkirk” was not my favorite of the nominated movies, but it definitely deserved its nomination, and it was, altogether, an impactful film.


Get Out

Rose takes her boyfriend Chris upstate to meet her parents for the first time. Chris is anxious to meet them because he is black and they are white. Upon their arrival everything seems okay; Rose’s parents are doing their earnest best at welcoming Chris. Chris then begins to notice strange behavior from the families servants, who happen to be the only other black people on the farm. As the film progresses, the family’s motives appear to be more sinister than anticipated, and Chris decides it is time to “Get Out”.

  1. Storyline- 10
  2. Originality- 10
  3. Acting- 9
  4. Realism/ Accuracy- 7
  5. Resonance- 10
  6. Bonus: Content- 1

Total: 46/51… 90%

“Get Out” was spectacular. The filming was incredible, the blend of horror and political/racial satire produced a wonderfully unique film. What hurt “Get Out” in terms of my (possibly flawed) scoring system was the realism aspect. I decided to remain optimistic in my decision that the specifics of the plot would never happen. That being said, “Get Out” definitely made the audience think about racial injustice. The horror aspect of the film was not so much fear of a tangible person, but more a fear of the reality of racism, and of whites who are complicit in the exploitation of blacks. In the current political state that America lives in, this film was crucial. While “Get Out” did a tremendous job tackling major issues, I do not believe that it will win the award for best picture.


The Post

Katherine Graham, the first female publisher the Washington Post had seen, must decide whether or not to publish top-secret government files that expose the details of the Vietnam war, which the U.S. government’s  had previously kept secret. If the Post were to publish the leaked documents, they could be charged in federal court for Contempt. If the Post chooses not to publish they are abandoning the American ideal of “Freedom of the Press”. Graham must struggle with this decision while facing the doubt of many of her peers.

  1. Storyline-7
  2. Originality-7
  3. Acting-9
  4. Realism/Accuracy-10
  5. Resonance-3
  6. Bonus: none

Total: 36/51… 71%

The plot of “The Post” was fascinating. The film did a great job covering the events that transpired, and was definitely informative. Meryl Streep, who played Katherine Graham, did a fantastic job. However, there wasn’t anything that really set “The Post” aside from the other nominated films. I enjoyed it while I was watching, but didn’t think about the film once I had left the theatre. Overall, a decent film, but I do not believe it deserves to win the award for best picture.


Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Frustrated by the lack of action in her daughter’s murder case, Mildred Hayes purchases three billboards and platers a controversial message directed towards the chief of police, William Willoughby. By doing so, Mildred Hayes is waging war on her local police force. The film focuses on the grief of a mother mourning the loss of her brutally murdered daughter.

  1. Storyline- 10
  2. Originality- 9
  3. Acting- 10
  4. Realism/ Accuracy- 8
  5. Resonance- 6
  6. Bonus: Character development-1

Total: 44/51… 86%

The acting in “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” was outstanding. Frances McDormand, who played Mildred Hayes, gave an incredible performance. I appreciated the character development throughout the film. The audience was able to see Mildred working through her pain, Chief Willoughby coming to terms with his personal affairs, and Willoughby’s right-hand man, Officer Dixon, turn his life around. “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” did a beautiful job blending the juxtaposition between grief, redemption, and humor. This film was one of my favorites out of the nominated, and I would not be completely surprised if it won best picture.


The Shape of Water

Set in Baltimore during the 1960’s, the film follows Elisa, a mute woman who works as an overnight cleaner in a military lab. During her shift, Elisa discovers a new “asset” that has been brought to the lab. Elisa and this creature form an intense bond, and the film focuses on the development of their relationship.

  1. Storyline- 4
  2. Originality- 10
  3. Acting- 9
  4. Realism/Accuracy- N/A
  5. Resonance- 2
  6. Bonus: none

Total: 25/ 41… 61%

“The Shape of Water” was very visually appealing; the effects were stunning. However, the film lacked any character development. On top of that, the film was boring. The ending was predictable, and the lack of character development allowed the audience to anticipate each characters next move. The romance between Elisa and the “Asset” seemed so forced, and was a bit disturbing. Overall, I was not a fan of the film, and I do not believe it deserves to win the award of best picture.


Phantom Thread

Set in 1950’s London, the film follows renowned couturier, Reynolds Woodcook. Reynolds and his sister, Cyril, work together to maintain a tight regime in their shared business, The House of Woodcook. Reynolds finds inspiration in the various women who come and go from the House of Woodcook. All of this changes when Reynolds becomes fixated on Alma, a strong willed waitress who quickly becomes his muse.

  1. Storyline- 9
  2. Originality- 7
  3. Acting- 8
  4. Realism/ Accuracy- 8
  5. Resonance- 5
  6. Bonus: visuals- 1

Total: 38/51… 75%

The storyline of “Phantom Thread” was quite compelling. Daniel Day-Lewis, who played Reynolds Woodcook, did a fantastic job in his portrayal of obsession. The entire movie is composed of microaggressions between Reynolds and Alma, each trying to establish their power over the other. Unfortunately, the film gets worse as it progresses. The constant struggle in Reynold and Alma’s relationship grows old quickly. The film never reaches a true climax, and the issues plaguing Reynold and Alma’s relationship are never fully resolved. For me, this made the ending particularly unsatisfying. Overall, the film was well done, but left some to be desired.

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.

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


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


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/