Students Head to Cape Town

By: Eveline Ho

History department teacher Melanie Konstandakis will be the advisor for a trip to Cape Town, South Africa. The trip will take place during February break, 2017, from the 16th to 28th. Other chaperones include Mrs. Bavuso, Mr. Bavuso, Ms. Daley, and Mr. Mahoney, a geography teacher from the Ottoson.

The purpose of this trip is to “help students connect to a culture very different from their own and experience a different part of the world,” says Mrs. Konstandakis. Students will learn to develop a sense of self confidence and “inspire students to know that they can make the world a better place,”announces Mrs. Bavuso.

This trip was open to any AHS student willing to join. Students of many age groups will be attending. The total cost of the trip is $3250, and there are currently  42 participants this year.

Students will be expected to perform community service for Cape Town and do site work.

During day four, students will hike up Lion’s Head, a mountain in Cape Town with an elevation of 2,195 feet.

On day nine, the students will experience a tour of Robben Island, an island about 4.3 miles(6.9km) off the coast of Cape Town.

On their last day in Africa, before returning home, the students will go on a safari.

There will be two freshmen on this trip. The freshmen share their thoughts before the trip. “I am very excited and I am very lucky to be able to have this opportunity to see all the cultural diversity in Africa,” says Lillian Hempel. “I’m kind of nervous… we’re the only two freshmen. It’s going to be kind of dangerous, but it’s a good experience,”Lena Goodnow adds.

Africa is expected to be an interesting experience for these students! There is no room for more students this year, but the trip is anticipated to be available again in a couple of years.

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Styrofoam… Still Here?

By: Lauren Murphy

Every week, Arlington High School alone sends nearly three thousand styrofoam lunch trays to the dump. These trays take 500 years to naturally decompose, and they release harmful chemicals into the atmosphere, tarnishing our air quality.

According to the Green Restaurant Association, plastic and styrofoam materials make up 25-30% of the waste found in landfills. Many wonder, why then does AHS, amidst this recent push for a “green community”, continue to dispose of roughly 600 styrofoam trays per day?

“The problem with compostable trays is that you actually have to compost them; you can’t just throw them in the trash,” says Food Service Director Denise Hunt Boucher.

Composting waste requires organization of the school’s trash and specific machines which AHS does not have access to at this time. Boucher continues, “And we don’t have the facilities to do washable trays. There are some school systems that have the reusable ones. They have huge kitchens with the machines that they can wash and sanitize the reusable ones but we don’t.”

It is also a matter of budget. On average, styrofoam trays cost about 3.5 cents each. Switching to a compostable alternative would nearly triple the cost per tray.

Arlington Public Schools has managed to make progress with styrofoam waste within the elementary schools. The Brackett and Pierce schools have developed programs which allow them to replace the styrofoam lunch trays with a compostable substitute. Boucher explains that at Brackett “they actually compost them. We buy the compostable trays for them” .

The Brackett School began a partnership with Whole Foods Arlington in 2013, in which families in the community volunteer to deliver the school’s compostable waste to Whole Foods. From there, Whole Foods delivers the waste to a Bio-Digester in Marlborough, MA.

Still, Boucher remains hopeful. She says, “Obviously, no one wants to throw this much styrofoam away everyday. We know it’s not good.” She says that if a solution were presented that made sense in terms of budget and accessibility, that she would support it completely.

Tate Kokubo Skates Ahead

By: Wyatt Dupont

Tate Kokubo is an upcoming sophomore at Arlington HIgh School, but unlike most high school students, he is well on his way to becoming a professional skateboarder. However, Kokubo does not bust himself with ideas of fame and sponsors but rather skating purely for the fun of it.

Kokubo began skateboarding when he was eight-years-old and gained recognition from one of his local skate shops, The Boardwalk, which has since closed.

Over the years, Kokubo continued to draw the attention of others, accumulating sponsors form Maximum Hesh Skate Shop, Matix, Converse, and Fancy Lad Skateboards. As he progressed, Kokubo began to compete in skate contests, including Tampa Am, an annual skateboarding competition in Florida that attracts amateur skaters from all over the country.

Although Kokubo does not currently have any contests coming up, he will most certainly compete in more in the future. Kokubo has even had a skateboard part put out by Matix that is on Thrasher Magazine’s website, a famous, monthly skate magazine that has been around sing the 80s.

In addition, Kokubo has a part in Fancy Lad’s Is This Skateboarding video which is also up on the Thrasher website.

Q: “So, how has skateboarding impacted you? I know that may be too general but like, where has it taken you and who have you met?”

A: “It has taken me from New York to as far as California. I have met tons of awesome people throughout the time I’ve been skating. I think it is safe to say I have close friends in every city I have traveled to.”

Q: “Ok, any pros or notable skaters?”

A: “Yeah, I have met quite a few. One of my favorites is Donny Barley, and he is now a good friend of mine.”

Q: “Describe or tell why you like skateboarding.”

A: “I like skating because there are no rules. You can do it however you want and no one can tell you that you are doing it wrong.”

There are four levels, starting with Shop, the Flow, then Am, and finally, Pro. Kokubo considers himself to be Flow, meaning that he receives free products from companies and is also sponsored by several. Regardless of what “level”, Tate does out and skates for fun.