Open Mic Performances

IMG_2380Some of the open mic performers and audience pose for a picture after the event. Photographer: Juliana Bird

By: Juliana Bird

On April 28th, there was an open mic event that included performances from interested students here at AHS. Students were encouraged to perform spoken word/acoustic or original work. There was a variety of performances that included Italian, Latin and Japanese poetry to original poetry, a series of Calvin and Hobbes, a picture book reading, and everything in between.

Mrs. Kitsis and the Student Library Committee organized the event to give students from AHS a chance to express their love of poetry and expose their original work. It was quite a success with over 15 readings and 25 audience members.

The structure of the event was unique. Students in the audience who hadn’t signed up for participation ahead of time could spontaneously fill out a participation form and read a poem. There was a variety of poetry books scattered about to spark inspiration. The accepting system allowed for about six impromptu performances.  

To start off the show, senior Jacob Deck sang a ballad and playing the harp. The event coordinator then performed the first poem: Ophemandius by Percy Bysshe.

Over the course of the event, there were many different poems read in their native languages. Junior, Owen Niles, read two poems in Italian and then summarized their meanings to the audience. Junior, Amelia Ostling also read a Latin poem written by one of the only female Latin poets. In addition, Mandarin teacher, Ms. Yuen, read an ancient Chinese poem from 600AD about the beauty of the swan.

Teachers performed poetry as well. Mrs. Kitsis read the Jabberwocky picture book. Mrs. Walsh-Bradley read an original poem called Ode to Coffee that she had written last minute that morning.

All of the performances were well done whether they were spontaneous or not. The Open Mic Event of 2017 was a success and the Student Library Committee hopes to continue the tradition in years to come.


Cancer Never Sleeps

By: Maya Pockrose

The Arlington Relay for Life is taking place on June 11 at AHS. The event is open to everyone, including students, families, and community members. Participants form teams and walk or run laps around a track, keeping at least one team member on the track at all times. Money is raised by participants to benefit the American Cancer Society.

The public is welcome to join the event at the AHS track. The even will last (for many) from 6pm-11pm. For those participating, the event begins at 6pm on June 11 and ends at 6am on June 12.

The overnight stay is meant to symbolize the experience of a person undergoing cancer treatment. It begins at sunset, which is meant to represent the diagnosis and the dark feelings that come with it. The representation of the beginning of actual cancer treatment is around 1 or 2 AM, because people are tired and want to give up. Participants cannot give up, just as those undergoing treatment cannot give up.

The end of treatment comes at 4 or 5 am. Though he/she is still tired, the patient (or Relay participant) realizes he/she will make it through. Finally, the sun rises. The patient sees the light and can begin to take back his/her life and start anew. Participants will be relieved to know the morning has almost arrived, and will feel the exhaustion felt by a person who has finished treatment.

Money raised at Relay supports the “research, education, and programs and services offered by the American Cancer Society, which works on cancer that affects all ages. [This] research money has funded 47 Nobel Prize winning researchers early in their careers,” says Julie Rauseo, Community Manager at the New England Division of Relay for Life. Rauseo got involved with Relay For Life roughly 8 years ago as a Team Member. She then progressed to the position of Team Captain and joined the leadership planning team. She “wanted to a job where [she] had a greater impact on people’s lives, so [she] applied for a job at the American Cancer Society.” Rauseo doesn’t organize Relay just at AHS. She also works with Bedford (“largely planned by students”), Billerica, Tewksbury & Wilmington, and Buckingham Browne & Nichols School in Cambridge.

Rauseo was personally impacted by cancer at a young age, when she lost her second grade teacher six weeks before the end of the school year. The following summer, a classmate of hers was diagnosed with leukemia. In addition, she’s had multiple family members diagnosed with it and believes that “it is just a disease that affects too many people.” She also lost her dad after he battled for 20 months with Pancreatic Cancer. It was hard for Rauseo. Instead of letting the feeling envelop her, she decided to make a difference to combat cancer. 

The great thing about Relay is that it’s a chance for AHS students to support a very worthy cause while becoming closer to one another and building community. It can be difficult to know how to help when a problem looms as large as cancer does, but Relay provides a constructive, informative, and fun way to get involved and make a difference. And remember not to complain about the event’s prolonged hours; it is a reminder to us that “cancer never sleeps”.

Community Service Abounds at AHS

By: Sam O’Keefe

The 40-hour community service graduation requirement at AHS stands as one of the most familiar and least contested items on each student’s lengthy to-do list. Giving time, energy and attention toward people, events, and organizations within Arlington and nearby communities, while asking for nothing in return, illustrates a common value rooted in the school’s environment and culture. With plentiful churches, fundraisers, food banks, townwide and community events, and those in need, ample opportunities present themselves for students to volunteer.

Surely when students are able to engage in service work that appeals to them and their interests, a more fulfilling experience results. And students at AHS prove that community service comes in interesting, varied forms.

Erin O’Brien, class of 2016, speaks highly of her experiences as president of the Do-Something Club’s AHS chapter. As a member and subsequent leader of this club, O’Brien has demonstrated her commitment to it and all the activities in which it involves itself. With other members of the club, she has made birthday and holiday cards for homeless shelter residents, held gift-wrapping fundraisers for the Arlington Food Pantry, cleaned up the Arlington bike path, cooked and served meals at soup kitchens like Haley House and via the food service program Arlington EATS, along with many other activities. The club president speaks for her club, explaining that volunteering, “takes us out of the ‘bubble’ we sometimes live in by reminding us that other people are facing problems much bigger than ours.”  For her, and surely for many others, community service brings an enlightening view to those who become involved, giving them a more comprehensive view of their community and world.

Rebecca Choi, class of 2016, has certainly developed that more complete, empathic perspective. As the daughter of a pastor, Choi is accustomed to her church and its abundance of children. To be of assistance, she helps out at Sunday School and takes care of the kids, while acting as an emergency babysitter. She writes, “I have always had a heart for little kids, and I am always ready to serve.” Kids are important to Choi, and this is what makes her so inclined to volunteer and make a difference. The young woman notes how she has seen hardships personally, which have inspired her to undertake and value community service and its benefits. She explains, “Since I was young, I have seen my parents help so many people (Korean immigrants in particular) and I know that has been a major factor in my life.”

Her understanding of the struggles of others has led her to pursue meaningful work. When asked what one of her most memorable experiences is, she recounts a time while she was a counselor at the Uber St. camp in inner-city Philadelphia: a camper told her that she wanted to work at a nail salon when she grew up. While there certainly is nothing wrong with a career at a nail salon, Choi could see the intelligence and potential in this little girl; that was when she knew how much of an impact teachers and counselors like herself could have on those little kids, which brought her comfort.

That passion for positivity and leaving a significant footprint is shared with Alvina Napit, class of 2016, who has immersed herself in several service projects and organizations throughout her high school career. As a student who moved to Arlington from Nepal, finding community service opportunities aided with her difficult transition. She helped collect donations last year for a Nepalese earthquake relief fund. She has also shown her enthusiasm for kids and helping them pursue their interests by volunteering at the Arlington Community Education program Summer Fun, a summer camp program for kids entering first-ninth grade.

A veteran volunteer, Napit has spent her last few summers working all five weeks of the camp, engaging with children in their specialized classes and during recess on the field. Napit reflects on her service work, explaining that, “it has helped me gain confidence by trying something new and getting a sense of achievement…[and it has] also given me the opportunity to develop social skills to work with other people.” She appreciates the positive effects that her service efforts have brought to herself as a person. In conclusion, she states how, “my enthusiasm to volunteer has given me a sense of achievement and motivation, and more importantly a change in myself.” It seems that community service can oftentimes reap mutual benefits for the givers and the receivers.

And for Erin Ay, class of 2016, and Claire Kitzmiller, class of 2019, this intrinsic motivation to help others and be rewarded in such a unique way appears strong and purposeful. Throughout her four years of high school, Ay has volunteered with the Arlington-Teosinte Sister City Project (ATSCP). Ay has enjoyed her ventures with the ATSCP as she’s been able to help provide scholarships to children living in Teosinte, El Salvador, as they pursue higher education. She also recognizes how these efforts have helped strengthen the bond between sister cities Teosinte and Arlington. As an AP Spanish student, Ay was able to connect to the organization and to the ethnicity of the students, learning more about a different culture, and, similar to volunteers previously mentioned, gaining a wider perspective of the world and its issues. Ay has also filled important roles within the American Diabetes Association, fundraising and bringing together the diabetic community.

Kitzmiller has already exceeded the 40-hour service requirement in her first year of high school, spreading herself into many different forms of volunteering. She has a passion for kids, similar to Rebecca Choi. As an experienced dancer, Kitzmiller has taken it upon herself to direct all the dancing knowledge she has learned onto the fledgling dancers. Assisting her teacher at the Deborah Abel’s dance studio in Lexington, the freshman has helped prepare students for performances, encouraged them to create choreography, and made sure that they are focused on dance and collaboration.

There is no doubt that a multitude of community service opportunities exists. I asked all who I interviewed for this article a question, and that was: “What makes it worthwhile to do community service for you?”.  While I received various responses, there appeared a unifying theme: the singular, intangible feeling of accomplishment and pleasure resulting from doing good for others. O’Brien couldn’t have put it any better: “I love the unmatched feeling of productivity after being part of a service project.” I also asked my interviewees if they planned to continue volunteering in college, to which all affirmed yes. Community service for them, and for many others, has become an enduring, personal value.

The 40-hour graduation requirement that appears daunting to some has been surpassed by these impressive volunteers, and also by many other students, who have amassed hundreds of hours of service. Yet, seasoned volunteers will attest that service work is so much more than numbers and figures. It’s about that indescribable, powerful feeling that individuals experience when they take that important step, when they give themselves wholly to whoever or whatever needs help.


Cross Country Teams Host Race

By: Claire Kitzmiller

On Saturday, June 11th at 9:00 AM, the boys’ and girls’ cross country teams will be hosting a 5K run/walk. The race is open to all levels of athletes/ non-athletes. The cost of registration is $20 until June 9th. After June 9, the fee increases to $25.

The course begins at the skating rink, loops around the reservoir and ends back at the rink. It is a beautiful course, without any hills.

Fifty percent of the proceeds from the fun run will be donated to the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute’s Barr Program in memory of Catherine Malatesta. The other fifty percent will support the Arlington cross country teams.

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