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.

 

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.”

Freshmen Host Open Mic Night

By Isaiah Donovan

The Freshman class council has been planning their first project of the year. On Friday, December 8th, the Freshman class will be hosting an Open Mic Night from seven pm to nine pm in Old Hall. Tickets can be bought for 5 dollars at the door or at all three lunches at Arlington High School during the week leading up to the event.

The fee covers all food and entry costs, meaning that once a participant has paid to enter, they can have as much food as they wish. The Freshman class council has already secured a donation of ten pizzas from Andrina’s and plans to purchase five more. They are also in the process of acquiring a donation of snack foods from Stop and Shop. Students can sit on picnic blankets and watch the shows or participate themselves.

When talking about participants, Freshman Class President Lauren Bain noted “all you have to do is anything with a microphone.” Possible acts could be “singing, poetry, instrumental pieces, rapping, comedy.”, added Bain.   The freshman student government hopes “It will be a very low key night and a lot of fun,” according to President Bain.

Witches In Arlington Post-Halloween

By Lauren Bain

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The Crucible (1368)
Photo credit John Soares

Autumn in the Lowe Auditorium of Arlington High School typically means a few things: Freshmen Orientation, Speech and Debate Club competitions, college visits, class assemblies, Japanese exchange student performances, and, of course, the annual fall play.

Michael Byrne, a seventeen-year veteran teacher in the drama program and a part-time theatrical aficionado, has chosen this year’s play to be Arthur Miller’s The Crucible. The work, which, according to Byrne, “resonates in the time in which we’re living,” follows a story that took place roughly 24 miles northeast and 325 years ago, in the midst of the Salem Witch Trials.

Aside from the inevitable romantic facets, The Crucible explores ideas of mob mentality, as well as the ramifications of blame, lies, and betrayal, all of which Byrne sees remaining pertinent today. “This play was written in 1953,” he states, “so why do we have to reexplore it in 2017? I think the notion of the damage that lies can do is something that is relevant today. And scapegoating, whether that be scapegoating ethnic groups or religious groups, or people of different sexual orientations or gender expressions, I think that a lot of people are being scapegoated in our world today.”

Above all, the climate that Arlington High School’s Theater Program strives to create, coinciding with that of the school as a whole, is one that is encourages all students to freely express themselves. In fact, a hallmark of the High School is the longstanding professional reputation its Theater Program upholdsits glory years continually lengthening under Michael Byrne’s direction. The program’s increased prominence has made Byrne aware of the need to push students, too. “Well, certainly, the most important thing is that [the school environment is] a safe one but also one where they can be pushed to take risks and dig deep into characters. You’re not going to take risks if you’re in a safe environment.”

Past performances that have taken place at Arlington High School (AHS), ranging from Hello, Dolly! and A Christmas Carol, to Peter and the Starcatcher and Crazy for You, have not failed  to outdo their predecessors. Miles Shapiro, a junior who portrays Giles Corey in the play, lends an insider’s perspective to acting in The Crucible. “AHS has an exceptional theater program,” Shapiro commented. “The plays are consistently well rehearsed and directed. The production value is fantastic and the shows have an level of professionalism not always seen in high school shows. AHS has always been a community that supports the arts, and we are very grateful to live in an area where artists are allowed to thrive and do what they love.”

As for the cast’s dynamic, Shapiro couldn’t have supplied a more glowing review. “The atmosphere among our cast is fun, energetic, and extremely supportive. Strong friendships are formed across all grades and the cast makes time outside of rehearsal to bond. As soon as I enter rehearsal I feel immediately comfortable to be myself and there is no hostile energy or discrimination.” Earlier last week, the cast went on a field trip to Salem, both to grasp the historical context, and to deepen their bond as a theatrical unit.

Now an upperclassman and experienced in the ways of high school, Shapiroalso a member of the student government, Journalism Club, and Model Congresscautions that involvement in the play deepens the seemingly insolvable mystery all students face: balance. “The play is a huge time commitment, and it is a lot of work, but it’s all worth it,” he notes. Despite the perpetual uphill climb of managing time, Shapiro and Byrne both encourage students to look at the plusses that they believe overwhelmingly trump the minuses.

Shapiro preaches his open-call-like testimony to students at AHS by encouraging them to try as much as they can during their four short years. “To the aspiring actors/actresses at AHS, I urge you to get involved as soon as you can. The people in the Theater Program are one of the kindest, most accepting groups (of people) I have ever been a part of, and we would love for you to be part of our community. If you are skeptical, try doing crew first, or working with the publicity committee to get a sense of what the program is like. If acting is really something you’re passionate about don’t waste any time, and take every opportunity to do what you love.”

Byrne suggests, “Be patient with yourself. Everything you do and experience should inform your performance on stage. Every person you meet can expand your own horizons; you can learn so much from other people. Be a sponge…learn everything you can from dancers and singers and actors and comedians, and other people you see on the bus. Everyone is an opportunity to learn.”

You can see Shapiro in The Crucible this Friday, November 3rd at 7:30 pm, and this Saturday, November 4th at 2:00 pm and 7:30 pm in the Lowe Auditorium alongside castmates Matteo Joyce (John Proctor), Bella Constantino-Carrigan (Elizabeth Proctor), Dana Connolly (Reverend Samuel Parris), Laura Kirchner (Abigail Williams), and Ben Horsburgh (Reverend John Hale).

Tickets ($8 for students and $12 for adults) will be sold at all three lunches everyday this week at the high school, in the main office of the High School, online (ticketing fee will be applied), and will be available at the door of the theater before you enter.

The entire cast is elated to have their countless hours of hard work pay off this weekend, and hope to see as many Arlingtonians support the Theater Program as possible.

Project Brings Unity

By Claire Kitzmiller

From September eleventh to eighteenth, students at Arlington High School and the greater community participated in the Unity Project. The project was an installment of 32 PVC pipes circled around one central pipe. Each pole had an identifier on it and students and members of the greater Arlington community were invited to wrap pink yarn from the center to pole to each outer pole that they identify with.

AHS drama teacher, Michael Byrne discovered the project on Facebook. Byrne said the project was created by two women who are “responding to the division in our country right now.” Byrne teamed up with AHS math teacher, Johanna Begin and they applied for a grant with the Arlington Education Foundation to bring the project to AHS.

Students were invited to wrap their yarn around each pole with an identifier that they felt represented who they are. If there was an identifier that is important to someone but was not on one of the poles, participants were invited to write that identifier on a board next to the project. So many identifiers were added, that people started to write them in the pavement.

Byrne and a group of students chose a list of 32 identifiers including, “i am a Conservative, I am a liberal, I am single, I am in a relationship

The week of the installation was full of events embodying unity within the community. On Wednesday the 13th. The Do Something Club held a bake sale to aid hurricane relief in the country. On Friday the Madrigal singers performed at the project after-school and on Sunday there was crossfit training and yoga on the front lawn.

On Thursday night, a rain storm caused the structure to collapse. The yarn absorbed a great amount of rain, making it too heavy for the poles to hold it. Byrne responded to the fallen structure positively by taking class photos on it and inviting the madrigals to use it as a stage.

Byrne thinks this is an important project because, “We do have disagreements but you don’t have to hate someone you disagree with” and “We can still disagree with each other and respect each other.”

A majority of the school participated in the project. Teachers brought their classes out and students went after school to participate in the Unity Project. While this project is over, Byrne frisées more throughout the year, this project is “one of many moments of  conversation and activity that happen throughout the year.”

The project received the Dawn Moses Memorial Grant, a non monetary award, recognizing innovations in education. The Arlington Education Foundation unanimously chose the Unity Project as the recipient.