Gymnastics Team Falls Below Radar

By Lilah Vieweg

The Arlington High School gymnastics team is often overlooked by students and teachers alike. Because their meets are rarely announced or their triumphs published, many students are totally unaware of the team’s existence.

When asked about this lack of knowledge about the gymnastics team, junior team captain Emily Smith-Kaufman replies, “I think maybe because there aren’t a lot of people who do gymnastics and because the team is really small, people don’t pay as much attention to it.”

“We are a lot better than people think we are,” says Smith-Kaufman. “ Last year, I wish people had come because we broke the school record, and we have done a lot that people don’t recognize.”

Says sophomore team member Karenna Ng, “I think what we do is pretty cool. I wish more people at AHS knew about us, because we work just as hard as the other teams.”

Sophomore team member Katja Ampe explains, “It’s an American tradition to watch football. It’s not a tradition  to watch gymnastics. I think generally more people attend the other sporting events, but also, that’s mainly because people don’t know that we have a gymnastics team.”  Unlike other sporting events at AHS, gymnastics meets are free.

“I really like the sport, because it’s physically hard, but it’s also mentally hard,” comments Ampe. “I mean, some sports are nice, but they aren’t as scary. In gymnastics, you have a four-inch wide piece of wood, four feet in the air. That is scary, and half of it is knowing that you can do it.”

Unlike other sporting events, gymnastic meets are free.

 

Chengdu Students Experience Arlington High

By Eveline Ho

Students from Chengdu, China visited Arlington High on January 24th. This event was the result of a collaboration of the two parties involved in China and Ms. Ritz at AHS. The mandarin students led the 32 visitors around for a full school day to learn about what Americans study and shed some light on our culture.

The program helps “promote an understanding between two very different cultures”, notes Ms. Yuen, the Mandarin teacher at Arlington High. The foreign exchange students are a part of the Chengdu Foreign Language School. They are the only school who are permitted to tour AHS due to the large quantity of students. They spend their vacation to come to America.

They are quite surprised when they find many differences between our schools.

“An American’s student life is more relaxing and follows their heart because they choose the courses that they’d like, but in China, we can’t actually choose the courses that we like. We must learn all the courses, nine courses a day… When I saw you guys playing the violin, I was really surprised because we don’t have these kinds of classes in China,” said Jane Kan, a Chinese foreign exchange student.

“I think that the biggest difference between China and America is that the people here have more freedom. We have to follow teachers, parents, and do homework,” voiced a male student, Sherlock Li.

These students  were quite happy to see the different foods in the cafeteria, the free time in Old Hall, and the many different classes here.

The freedom of speech in America is often taken for granted. These foreign exchange students greatly value their time in America, especially seeing the ability of students here expressing what they feel in public.

“You can’t always live in one atmosphere; you have to change and see the world. Because China and America have a lot of differences,  it is important to see where the differences are from,” said Kan.

Ruby Xu, a supervisor for the exchange students,  shared, “I think now we must get to know  the culture of the East and the West due the diversity of the world.”
This program is expected to continue. Students from China will visit every two years.

Hockey team honors Catherine Malatesta

 

unnamedBy Anna Hinkel

On Sunday, February 12, the Arlington varsity boys’ hockey team took on Hingham at Northeastern’s Matthews Arena in a game to honor Catherine Malatesta.

The game started out fast. Cully Curran, assisted by Drew Malatesta and Kevin Ouellette, scored the first goal during the first period.

Throughout the rest of the first period, through the second, and into the beginning of third, the score remained the same. Both teams were playing hard and the game was close.

Then John Piggot, with an outstanding pass from Michael Curran, scored the second goal for Arlington. The fans cheered and the stadium came alive again.

Desperate to somehow come back, Hingham pulled their goalie in favor of putting an extra player on the ice. This sealed the deal for Arlington, when Kevin Ouellette scored on an empty net, assisted by Cully Curran and Michael Curran.

At the end of the game, Drew Malatesta was named Player of the Game, chosen for his assist of Cully Curran in the first period.

Arlington finished the game with a 3-0 lead, making their record 10-0-1.

Art Raises awareness

By: Lauren Murphy

Ian Miller, a junior at AHS, is using art to battle mental health issues within our school. He is organizing young artists to come together and create a mural that will offer support to students struggling with a variety of mental health issues including anxiety, depression and substance abuse.

Andrea Razi and Jessica Klau are the social workers at the high school who are available for students in need of extra support with mental health issues. The guidance department is another resource which can help students.

Miller wants to present the resources of AHS in a visual way that will inform students as well as promote creativity.

The inspiration for this project came during a student council meeting back in the fall. Arlington Youth Health and Safety Coalition discussed the mental health issues students often battle  and how the community can better support them. As the discussion wore on, “we found that  awareness of resources in the school and throughout the community were severely lacking,” Miller says.

Trying to find a way to effectively inform students of the mental health resources available, Miller says the group “tossed around a few ideas and the mural is the one that stuck”.

From there, the project has been put into motion. If all goes according to plan, the mural should be executed in the Links hallway by April vacation and “feature resources in our community that can help students [with] a variety of issues”.

Miller is hoping that this mural can be a positive and engaging way to promote dialogue about mental health while creating a piece of art for all students to enjoy.

 

Foreign Languages Share Fun Facts

By: Juliana Bird

February is worldwide National Language Month. In honor of this, the National World Language Honors Society (NWLHS) of AHS is providing the school with fun facts about the languages.

Throughout the month, members of the NWLHS will be submitting facts about their designated language to the officers, Eleni Blanas, Sharon Lincoln, or Peter Mitri. Facts can be emailed to these officers. These facts will be read out loud over the announcements every morning during the month of February, so keep an ear out!

National World Language Honors Society President Eleni Blanas says that the purpose of the language facts is to “promote foreign languages throughout the school, and to gain knowledge of different cultures.”

Each member of the NWLHS who submits a fact about either the Latin, Spanish, Mandarin, French, Italian languages will gain points towards graduating with NWLHS credit. They will be accepting three facts per language for submission.

 

Bands Battle Saturday Night

By: Maya Pockrose

The 11th annual Battle of the Bands will be Saturday, January 28th, 2017 at 7:30pm at the Regent Theatre.

The six bands performing are Giulia and Caroline, Haley Wood & the Greater Good, Error 404, Saturn VI, Star-67, and Insight. Tickets are $15 in advance or at the door.

The STAND Club organizes the event, which is a fundraiser. The money will be donated to the  organization Save the Children.

Paul McKnight,  teacher and advisor for the STAND Club, says,“The situation in Syria and the Syrian Refugee crisis are issues on people’s minds as well as the millions of displaced people, especially kids. We want to support and recognize them this year.”

McKnight says,“We’re calling this the 11th annual event. We have done at least 11.”

To audition, bands had to fill out a form and submit a CD or links with 3 songs. There was no cost to submit audition material.

In addition to the band performances, there will be a raffle. “The Arlington businesses are very generous,” says McKnight, in their donating raffle materials.

Last year, the prizes were assembled into baskets to raffle off. This will likely be the situation this year, as well. The raffle helps to generate more money for the cause.

Each band gets 20 minutes to perform. Although there is no intermission, there will be about five minutes between each band. The event usually ends between 10:00 and 10:30pm.

For McKnight, who plays music and was in a band during high school, playing in the Battle of the Bands was the first time he got to “show [his] classmates what [he] did in [his] spare time,” in high school. For him, aside from the fundraising aspect of the event, giving bands the chance to play is the best part.

Each year, there are typically students who may never have played on such a large scale. “They’ll come up, and they’ll be really thankful,” he says. That’s the part that is “most rewarding” for McKnight..

There will be a prize for the winning band, but it has yet to be determined. A cash prize is a possibility, and, of course, “bragging rights,” says McKnight. In years past, music store gift certificates have been given as prizes.

McKnight will “very possibly” be performing at the event this year. The Educated Guests, a band comprised of AHS teachers, will “definitely be performing,” for about 10 minutes towards the end of the event.

Battle of the Bands is open to the community. Although he realizes that $15 can be a lot, McKnight stresses that the event is a fundraiser and that this year’s bands are a good bunch. It’s a family-friendly event and is open to students from other schools besides AHS.

Team Skates at Fenway

hockeyBy Anna Hinkel

On Wednesday, January 11th, the Arlington High boys’ varsity hockey team played on their biggest stage yet: Fenway Park, home of the Boston Red Sox, which had been transformed into Frozen Fenway, a massive outdoor ice rink, for the two weeks of January 3-16th.

Arlington High was selected to play against Burlington High at Frozen Fenway; they were the first public high schools that were not from Boston to be chosen.

Other teams that played from Massachusetts include the Boston Bruins, Boston University, and Boston College.

The game was meant to be for entertainment, not competition, therefore, the outcome would not affect either team’s record. This did nothing to take away the Arlington High boys’ desire to win.

Though the pressure to win wasn’t there, it was different and daunting to be under big lights and more on display than normal. Not only did they want to win for themselves, but also wanted to win to prove they could perform in a higher level stadium, not just in local indoor rinks like Arlington’s Ed Burns Arena.

Everything in a rink is controlled, the temperature and the quality of the ice, especially. One would expect the conditions at Fenway to be less than exemplary, but the ice was smooth and well-kept, despite the high 50s temperatures.

The only thing that was really affected was the depth perception of the players, which was thrown off slightly by the bright lights of the park.

At a local rink, the spectators are usually just parents and fans from the school, such as classmates and maybe people from the opposing team’s town.

At Fenway, there is a huge crowd, people from both towns and some people who just come to watch a game at Fenway. There is no home team; it’s neutral ground for both teams.

This was a change of pace, but it was also amazing for them to play at Fenway – a once in a lifetime opportunity.

The Frozen Fenway experience would not have been complete without some behind the scenes perks for the team, which they got. The team dressed in the clubhouse and went  into the visitors’ batting cage. They also viewed all the old and new framed photos.

The team came out of this with not only an incredible experience, but also with a 6-3 win.

Senior Michael Curran had one goal. Sophomores Dara Conneely, Cameron Ryan, and Joel Hanley all had one, and freshman Brendan Jones, who provided all the information for this article, scored two goals.

AHS Students Take PACTS and PSATS

By: Maya Pockrose

The Pre-SATS and Pre-ACTS took place at AHS on Wednesday, October 19th, 2016. According to Lester Eggleston, who organized both tests, 280 students took the PACT and 235 took the PSAT, leaving about 82 Sophomores and 84 Juniors that didn’t test that day. These students were instructed to go to Old Hall and take a practice test that would not be scored.This was the first year the PACT was offered at AHS or anywhere else.

The difference between the two tests is the age group for which they are designed. The PSAT is normally for Juniors, while the PACT is the norm for Sophomores.

In the past, when only the PSAT was offered, students sometimes had not taken the math classes in particular necessary to do well on the exam. The tests are now designed for specific grades, so students are testing with their peers.

One person primarily responsible for administering two different tests for hundreds of students at the same time is bound to produce some confusion. Some students were rumored not to have been able to finish or take their tests. There were, in fact, students who did not get to take the test, confirms Eggleston, due to confusion involving students and teachers.

However, any student that spoke to Eggleston directly was allowed to test, and there were enough actual tests to accommodate anyone who wanted to test that day. Anyone who wanted to finish the test was given the opportunity to do so, but there were students who didn’t finish testing because they chose not to.

The decision to take the tests during school rather than at other times was made by the administration, which was trying to reduce the number of obstacles involved in taking the test, such as transportation, conflicts with jobs, sports, or family trips, etc. Since AHS has been administering the PSAT for a number of years, a poll may be taken at some point to see if students would be available at other times instead.

Overall, according to Eggleston, testing went well. The biggest challenge was offering two different tests on the same day, including two different registration processes, fees, and timings. Based on feedback and discussion with the administration, some changes will be made next year.

Interestingly, the PACT is a relatively short test. Students spend nearly as much time filling out surveys at the beginning as they do completing the academic testing portions, which surprised some. The survey sections on the actual test are reportedly shorter.

The ACT is trying to prepare students for careers rather than college. While college is a path to a career, the ACT want students to focus on strengths, what they enjoy, etc., which the ACT administrators believe will naturally lead to a student’s college decisions. However, this does not mean that AHS will be adding vocational courses. Rather, the test may allow students to get a better sense of what electives may attract them.

Students are able to look at their individual scores, as well as see the grades of their peers as a whole.

The PACT will be offered again next year. Changes for next year include timing (starting earlier for both tests), holding to more firm deadlines for registration (this year, some students were enrolling on test day itself, which is “kind but not real world,” according to Eggleston), and more preparation and training for staff regarding the administration of the test.

One student felt that, while she understood this was the school’s first year administering this test, the test “really could’ve been run better”. In this student’s case, and in many others, testing began over two hours late. Students were asked to arrive at school at 8:30am but didn’t enter their testing rooms until at least an hour later. Some students weren’t allowed to eat lunch until completion of the test, causing some students to have lunch at 1:30pm.

Another question that circled the halls on test day was whether the answer sheets were lost at any point. The truth is far less intriguing than one might have been led to think. The blank answer sheets were lost for roughly 20 minutes on test day. They are shrink wrapped, Eggleston said, and when one teacher went to pick up the materials for his/her room, he/she took all the sheets as opposed to just the ones for that room by accident.

During the short period during which they were lost, the organization instructed AHS staff to photocopy extras and have students start marking answers there, but once the real sheets were found, answers were put on the real sheets. Seeing as this was a fluke incident, it likely won’t occur again in coming years.

Students taking the PSATS had already filled out sections in their English classes to speed up testing, so if those had been lost rather than the blank answer sheets, it would have been more of an issue.

The district believes that the more opportunities that students get to be put in this testing environment, the better prepared students will be when it counts.

The invention of PACT gives kids a chance to compare their PACT and PSAT scores and make a conscious decision about which test they want to take for college admissions.

There’s no need to take both, “ruining all your saturdays for your junior and senior year”, as Eggleston rather accurately put it. Instead, he said, you can make this decision based on the practice tests, which is why students take them. If you perform much better on one than the other, you can choose to take that test rather than the other. The PSATS and PACTS offer valuable experience for Sophomores and Juniors that can help them make the right choices about their education.

“Citizen of the Month” Inspires Community

By: Isabella Scopetski

Each month, Arlington High School students nominate their peers for the Citizen of the Month Award. The student council President, Junior, Emily Brown is chair of the Citizen of the Month committee, developed by the students involved in student council.

The initiative got off the ground November  2016. “We basically take nominations from other students and teachers in the building,” relays Brown. “Then we read through them all and decide who is going to be citizen of the month for each month.”

Brown referenced the morning announcements and the daily post as the current displays of these student nominees. In the process of choosing students to be citizens of the month, Brown and her fellow committee members must select a student who, “contributes to a positive environment at AHS”. “Positivity and helping others” are mainly what embodies the outstanding citizens, recalls Brown.

The “award” itself, Brown feels, is, “helpful in promoting unity [and] bring[s] everyone together as a community”. The project is meant to “bring about a more positive environment as a whole by recognizing people who are doing that and encouraging others to do the same,” reflects Brown.

“Student council is taking over bulletin boards [in the front lobby],” adds Julia Aleese, sophomore and  member of the committee. Brown assures that soon enough there will be pictures of the highlighted students throughout the year in the front lobby and hopefully announced on the student council website. Emails are sent out monthly as well, recognizing the new citizen of the month, with an attached google form for students and teachers to nominate more of their students and peers.

For Brown, the committee has been a great asset to the student council because they have been “delving into other areas and working on the actual school environment, and not just… specific events that happen for one day and then are over”.

Brown and Aleese enjoy the uniting quality of the committee and commemorating people who may not always be in the spotlight. Aleese agrees that she, “enjoys seeing that there are people who do good things.” She feels it “inspires people to do things just to make a more positive community”.

Vandals Destroy Property

By Claire Kitzmiller

This November, students in the Downs House were rushed out of the school because  smoke billowed out of the second floor girls’ bathroom. Vandalism has always been an issue at Arlington High School but in the past few months, it has reached a peak. Teachers’ cars have been targeted and keyed, car windows have been smashed, classrooms have been vandalized, and a bathroom has been set on fire.

A faculty member has had her car repeatedly vandalized on school grounds. Officer Porciello, the school safety officer, has reason to believe a student is causing the damage because everyday, the teacher parks her car in a new location, and still it is vandalized.

Two faculty members have even had their rear windshield windows smashed. Porciello is cautious before saying the smashing is caused by a student, because the windows were smashed on Mass Ave. He thinks it could be anyone.

When talking about the ongoing investigation of the vandalism, Porciello said, “The biggest asset is the student body, because there’s definitely more than one person who knows who’s doing it. People talk about stuff.”

Porciello says there are two ways to catch whoever is vandalizing the cars. Someone reports it to him, or someone is caught in the act. There is an ongoing investigation into the vandalism of faculty members cars, but no one has been caught yet.

When someone is caught, he/she will be charged for the penalty which is “malicious destruction of a vehicle”. The severity of the punishment is based on the cost of the damage.

The fire in the girls’ bathroom is also an ongoing investigation. The evidence shows that the fire was set on purpose. It is being considered arson, a serious offense.

When students smoke in the bathroom, they often smoke close to the stall, so they can quickly throw their cigarettes in the toilet. The fire in the bathroom originated on a piece of furniture, relatively far away from the stalls. This causes investigators to believe that the fire was started intentionally.

When asked about the investigation, Porciello said, “I’d like to ultimately catch the person/people who are responsible for doing this destruction, but at the end of the day, the number one concern is to make sure that whoever is doing it, stops doing it.”