Love Simon: The Charming John Hughes Love Story For A New Generation

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By Miles Shapiro

After an extended hiatus in the 90s and early 2000s coming of age stories seem to have been granted a resurgence as of late with films such as “The Spectacular Now” and “The Edge of Seventeen”. On television in particular shows like “Riverdale” and “13 Reasons Why” have brought in massive following while also being reasonably well received by critics. This 1980’s teen flick renaissance continues with “Love Simon”, the story of a high school senior coming to terms with life, love, and all the other ups and downs of adolescence. It is refreshing how “Love Simon” features a gay protagonist, making it the first major studio romantic comedy to do so.

In the titular role of Simon, Nick Robinson radiates charisma; bringing debt and relatability to the films closeted lead. The screenplay by Elizabeth Burger as well as Arlington High School Alumni Isaac Aptaker crackles with youthful energy and provides a sappy but deeply honest portrait of adolescence and unexplored sexuality. The film bends to genre tropes unabashedly while at the same time, its unique voice and charm gives it a style all its own. Despite its contemporary setting, the films atmosphere, music, and visual palet give it a timelessly seductive feel and coaxes the viewer into a feeling of nostalgia.

The films supporting cast also shines with a slew of young talents as well as more well known names like Tony Hale and Josh Duhamel rounding out the well drawn cast of characters. The film is well paced and despite not necessarily breaking any new ground in terms of storytelling, this film is revolutionary for what it doesn’t show. Unlike many stories of inclusion that put their progressiveness at the forefront of the story, “Love Simon” is refreshingly restrained. The movie features a homosexual protagonist, but that is is not the story, it’s just part of it. Simon’s sexuality of course plays a large role in the film but the story is never compromised to make room for the message.

This film is not going to be competing at any festivals or winning any oscars, but that was not its intent. What this film sets out to do is tell a charming romance with just enough substance and heart to elevate it above its contemporaries. In this goal, the movie fully succeeds and in time will likely take its well deserved place as one of the more prominent entries in the teen film’s second coming as well as a welcome milestone in the journey to on screen equality.

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Arlington Girls Softball Team’s Season Heightens

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Photo of Ellie Demaree (senior)

By Chloe Jackson

The 2018 Spring Arlington Girls Softball Season has commenced, and the team kickstarted the new season with an impressive record. The varsity team, ranked 37th in the state of Massachusetts and captained by seniors Abi Ewen and Ellie Demaree, holds a 9-1 record and 6-1 league record.

Girls Varsity Softball consists of sixteen Arlington High student-athletes, began practicing on March 19th with coaches Matt and Dan O’Loughlin; they will continue to play until the end of their season in early June. The team practices six times a week excluding game days. Senior Holly Russell is excited for this year’s “good start” that will “continue to improve and get better” as the season progresses. The softball program also held a successful car wash on April 14th to earn funds for the team.

Each year, several Arlington players are awarded league all-star awards. Players Holly Russell, Abi Ewen, Emily Benoit, Ellie Demaree, and Katie O’Brien have received recognition in the past, and are likely contenders to earn the title for another spring season. The Varsity team has maintained an impressive 0.364 batting average, a 0.927 fielding average, and has stolen 44 bases. Meanwhile, the Junior Varsity and Freshman teams have also displayed notable starts to their seasons. Many eighth graders have been offered positions on the freshman team, bringing in a younger generation to the high school program. Freshman Coach Bob Bartholomew has introduced them the high school softball experience.

As senior Holly Russell reflects on her years playing softball with AHS, she is “shocked that it will be over soon.” However, as her last sports season ever as a tri-varsity athlete comes to a close, she enjoys her senior season on the softball team. The girls softball team continues to fight for each victory as their season progresses and the school year comes to a close.

AHS Responds to Recent Hate Crimes

By Claire Kitzmiller & Isabella Scopetski

On the night of Tuesday May 2nd, a group of young males broke into Arlington High and vandalized the school. Their actions consisted of breaking windows, smashing art show display cases, discharging fire extinguishers, breaking tables and smearing various “items” around school property. Additionally, the intruders spray painted three messages of hate on the outside wall of the school, consisting of two homophobic slurs and a swastika on a trash barrel. This detailed information was released to the student body by the end of the day on May 3rd in an email from Principal Dr. Janger.

The administration and the junior class council spent the day on Wednesday planning a response to the hate crimes. During the last period of the day, an assembly was held for all students and staff in the building. The assembly began with a speech from Dr. Janger who condemned the vandalism and reminded his students of how AHS fosters inclusiveness and positivity at its core.

“This vandalism is an attack on our entire community”, announced Janger, “hate speech and vandalism are the opposite of everything we stand for at AHS”. Further in his letter, Janger expressed his concern for the “students who feel particularly targeted by these symbols and words” and his sadness for the “vandals who feel a need to express hate in [the AHS] community”.

Throughout his message, Janger commented on the continual dedication AHS as a community has to “creating a safe, supportive, and inclusive community” which, he noted, “requires ongoing work, [but] Arlington High School is in a good place and moving in the right direction”. However, when events such as this extreme case of vandalism occurs, many wonder who these individuals are, and others ask themselves, how could these people be a part of my own community? It is disturbing and puzzling to many students that members of their own school, or even their own classmates, would display such violence for seemingly no reason at all.

During the grade-wide assembly, members of the junior class student government spoke to their peers, each reading a speech they had prepared during school that day in light of the assembly.

Junior Class President Neil Tracey spoke specifically about the “150 years of legacy to look at” when events shake the AHS community. “We need to talk about the good work that we do” advised Tracey, “because we are defined by that good work and not by the hateful actions of a few individuals”.

Junior Class Vice President Devin Wright responded to the events by saying “The one thing we should all have in common is wanting to make our school a safe and welcoming place for all who attended it”. “We are all just people trying to live our lives with the respect and safety that everyone deserves”, she added.

After the assembly, students and staff were invited to draw welcoming and uplifting chalk messages on the front of the building. Messages include, “Hate has not home here” and “You are loved.”

Many community members were surprised to see such hate in the community but many students feel the hatred expressed by vandalism in school everyday. One junior at AHS believes the vandalism is “just reflexive of how a lot of people think in our school but don’t usually act on.” It is upsetting to many students that the administration only takes action against the ever present hatred in the school, when it becomes visible to everyone.

After the vandalism, students and staff were forced to take a closer look at a problem that has been hidden to many. Biology teacher, Shannon Knuth said, “I think there’s a bigger problem here than what I really understood about.” Many students and staff who are not directly affected by the hatred at AHS, feel the same sentiment.

While the administration did have a quick and effective response to the vandalism at AHS, many community members recognize that the Arlington High School still has a long way to go.

AHS Compost

By Jessie Cali

Arlington High School is implementing a new pilot composting program in the school cafeteria. Every Friday, AHS students will have the option to discard their food scraps, napkins, compostable trays, paper plates, and paper food boats into collection toters lined with compostable bags in the cafeteria. Black Earth Compost, a compost collection service, will then process and distribute the contents to local farms.

During the pilot period, the Arlington Department of Public Works will cover the cost of the collection through a grant from the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection.

Maya Pockrose, a junior at Arlington High School, attended a semester school program in Maine this past fall where she was inspired to bring sustainable practices such as composting to AHS.

When describing her experience at the semester school, Pockrose said, “By harvesting and then eating much of the food we ate, then helping to compost it on site, we were able to clearly see the process and the nutrient cycle and how food waste could be used beneficially. No food scraps were wasted there, and when I returned to AHS I wanted to bring with me that same spirit of natural resource conservation and environmental awareness.”

Pockrose spearheaded the initiative, sending a proposal to Arlington sustainability coordinator Rachel Oliveri along with the AHS administration.

“Student participation in the pilot is critical to its success,” Oliveri said on the new program,  “Food waste is a concerning global issue. The US wastes about 126 billion pounds of food per year. In Arlington, our food waste goes to an incinerator to be burned. In other parts of the country, food waste sits in landfills. Both release greenhouse gases which contribute to global warming. Composting is a much better option, as the food scraps and paper trays combine and biodegrade into a nutrient-rich soil supplement that supports new plant and tree growth.”


Six of the other Arlington Public Schools (Bishop, Brackett, Dallin, Peirce, Stratton, and Thompson), also have compost buckets in their cafeterias.

The goal of this program is “not only to improve our sustainability as a school but also to raise awareness about the environmental issues we are facing and how we can actually help,” Pockrose added, “Composting is an easy, attainable way to ensure that the nutrients in food waste go back into the earth instead of into landfills.”

 

AHS Students Create Online Magazine

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By Ellie Crowley

AHS students have always been known for their creativity, and are a continuous source of pride for the community with their art shows, music exhibitions, and theater performances. However, sophomores Maren Larkin and Molly O’Toole felt that the community was lacking the proper means to truly express their creativity freely beyond the high school. In the fall of 2017, the girls started Angelhead Magazine, which is “an artistic platform for the creative youth of Boston”—in other words, “an online art magazine for teens.”

Larkin and O’Toole first thought of the magazine after participating in a summer film photography workshop. After collaborating with other artists within the workshop for two years, Larkin says that “I started thinking about how cool it would be if we could all connect and share our art together.” O’Toole affirms this idea, saying “We wanted to create a space where the hard work and creativity of our peers is appreciated.” The girls’ motivation to to share their work led to the launching of Angelhead Magazine in the fall.

The magazine’s name was inspired by a line from the poem Howl by Allen Ginsberg. In Larkin’s words, “He writes about ‘angelheaded hipsters’ which struck me as kind of funny and interesting all at the same time.” Though originally unsure of the name, the pair kept returning to Angelhead Magazine, and it stuck. When asked if it has been difficult establishing themselves, Larkin says that it has been “easy and hard all at the same time. We definitely have a long way to go,” adding that they have published two bi-monthly collections since the launch. She explains that “one of the hardest things has been getting in touch with artists outside of Arlington—our first collection was almost entirely Arlington based.” However, O’Toole adds, “as we post more collections, and it grows, it becomes easier to get in touch with kids outside of our school and expand our circles.” The girls have also heavily utilized social media to reach out to local artists and found that teens are “very eager to contribute.” They realized that a significant amount of the content submitted has documented the local marches and protests, which adds a political aspect to the magazine that they hadn’t expected but greatly support. O’Toole notes, “We think that art and activism are closely tied, and often the best art is the kind that provokes social change.” The girls have loved the political additions and encourage artists to submit more because, in their words, “[activism] is very important to us and our vision for the magazine.”

Angelhead Magazine has received a great amount of support from the artistic community. Larkin adds that “I think it’s an idea that a lot of people have dreamt of pursuing,” and that she’s pleased that they have created a space to further connect the community. If you’re interested in checking out Larkin and O’Toole’s work, be sure to visit https://angelhead-mag.squarespace.com/.

Girls Frisbee Team Becomes a Spring Sport

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Clara Stewart, senior captain of girls ultimate team

By Eliza McKissick

This spring, an all-girls ultimate frisbee team was established at Arlington High School for the first time. Previously, girls could join the co-ed ultimate team; however this year there was enough interest to form an all-girls team.

Senior Clara Stewart was a captain of the co-ed team her sophomore and junior year, but has since decided to dedicate her time to forming the new all-girls program. Stewart says she spent a couple of years thinking about establishing an all girls program, but there was never a great push for it. However, this year Stewart explained that the “timing seemed right [and] there seemed to be enough interest.” With 18 girls on the roster, Arlington High was able to establish an all girls ultimate frisbee team

Junior Lilah Vieweg is new to ultimate frisbee, but is excited to get involved with the sport. Vieweg initially joined because she knew “everyone else would be a beginner, so [she] wasn’t too worried.” Other members agreed that they felt welcome to join, regardless of their experience level. According to Stewart, ultimate frisbee has a “great sense of community, where everyone is focused on helping each other succeed.” It is clear that this sense of community has made its way to the AHS girls team.

Since ultimate frisbee is not recognized as an MIAA sport, the team will operate as a club. For this reason, they will not receive school funding; however, they will be able to design their own jerseys and choose their team name. Stewart explains that the “team will be going through parks and rec to get field time.” Players will be responsible to pay for field time, jerseys, transportation, and any other costs that come with playing. Stewart shares that this can make it “hard to recruit since it can get expensive.” The team will be equipped with a few different volunteer coaches. Geoa Geer, who works at an ultimate frisbee organization known as BUDA,  and who is an ultimate world champion is one of the volunteer coaches. A few neighboring towns, such as Lexington and Newton, have girls programs already established. The Arlington High girls team will compete against these other teams in friendly scrimmages.

Equipped with excellent coaching and motivated players, the newly established Arlington High School all-girls ultimate frisbee team seems to be a great position for their first season.

 

The Truth About Standardized Testing: SAT vs. ACT

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by Isaiah Donovan

As students progress through high school, college plans loom on the horizon. For many, assembling a satisfactory curriculum is a source of unending stress. Of course, college is not in the cards for every high schooler, however the majority of students move on to some sort of further education. In their quest to condense their entire educational career into a single document, standardized tests become a way for students to express their knowledge, especially in cases where they are lacking in other areas. Standardized tests also may offer opportunity to receive merit scholarships and awards, which are crucial for many students.

Which Test Should You Take?

It is then that the true question emerges: What test to take? Most colleges and universities expect or require students to complete the ACT or the SAT. Every student has unique skills and areas of interest, and in truth, there is no test that will suit them perfectly. However, there are certainly aspects of each exam that many would find appealing over the other.

The History of the Test

Before an analysis, the history of these tests should be considered. The College Board was formed in 1900, and the organization set out to standardize the admissions process. Roughly 23 years later, Carl C. Bingham administered an altered version of the Army IQ test to Princeton freshmen, and was put in charge of a College Board committee to adapt the test once again. This exam would later become the aptitude test called the SAT (History of the SAT: A Timeline). In 1959, Everett Franklin Lindquist, a professor at the University of Iowa developed an alternative to the SAT, one that would assess a student’s current knowledge rather than their ability to learn. This ACT became more prominent over time, surpassing the SAT in the number of test takers in 2012. As of 2015, 1,924,436 students take the ACT that year, compared to 1,548,198 taking the SAT (Zhang). The SAT began to adapt its process to be more similar to the ACT, and focuses more on assessing current knowledge rather than future success.

A Common Misconception

Many students, particularly those around the east coast, suffer the misconception that the SAT is more widely accepted, or that the ACT is made for the middle of the country. In fact, the ACT is not only more prominent than the SAT, but is accepted by all universities across the country (Zhang). Whether or not eastern schools are biased toward the SAT is unknown, but there is very little evidence to support the claim.

The Key Difference

The SAT and ACT differ in many ways besides the number of test takers or areas of application. The different exam sections focus on varying topics. For instance, the ACT allows all questions to be answered with a calculator, while the SAT only allows a calculator on some portions of the test. This could be important for students with less confidence in their ability to solve more basic math problems. The ACT also has a dedicated science section centering on data analysis and scientific investigation. These aspects are important for many of the more analytically minded juniors and seniors. If they are skilled in these areas, they certainly have an edge entering the test, and those who are inclined to join engineering or math based programs in college tend want to show their affinity for the subject by displaying a high score on the ACT.

The Super Score

Another key difference between the SAT and the ACT is the ability to superscore. Superscoring is the ability to choose certain scores from each section on a college entrance exam and form a composite score of all your highest score subcategories. (Note that is is distinct from Score Choice, the chance to choose the highest score on one test from all test dates to send to colleges.) Roughly 200 schools superscore the ACT (Safier, Colleges That Superscore ACT: Complete List), while roughly 900 superscore the SAT (Safier, Which Colleges Superscore the SAT?) .

The Subject Test

Sometimes the SAT cannot be taken alone. An SAT subject test is a specialty exam that focuses on a specific skill that the regular SAT does not put emphasis on, ranging from Literature to US History to Latin. Some of the most elite universities recommend taking at least two SAT subject tests as well as the SAT, and a few even require it in the application process. However, many of these same universities will accept an ACT score in place of an SAT subject test, making it a suitable choice for those who want to be competitive in the admissions process without the added strain of studying for more exams.

Test Length

The SAT and ACT also vary in time length. The ACT has a time limit of 175 minutes (215 with optional essay), while the SAT has a limit of 180 minutes (230 with essay) (Lindsay). The SAT’s time limit is only slightly longer, but is fit for two sections rather than the three of the ACT. However, the SAT has five reading sections compared to the ACT’s four.

The Price of Knowledge

An important aspect to consider, especially for students who wish to take their test of choice multiple times, is cost. The ACT costs $103 to take ($120 with the essay), while the SAT is priced at a lesser $80 ($92 with essay) (Cheng). This is an important aspect for families under financial duress, particularly if they plan to superscore with multiple tests. There are opportunities for fee waivers, but many students do not wish to undergo the hassle or embarrassment of applying. Moreso, the SAT subject test carries a $26 registration fee, which would otherwise be eliminated if the ACT is chosen.  

What It Comes Down To

There are many reasons why standardized testing can be a poor reflection of one’s intellect or acquired knowledge, from test anxiety to poor preparation. No matter a student’s opinion on testing, chances are they will have to take some form of exam if they wish to continue to another level of education. There are certainly valid reasons to take one test over the other, but ultimately it comes down to personal preference. The more comfortable a student is with the test they are taking, the better scores they will receive.

Works Cited

Cheng, Allen. “SAT / ACT Prep Online Guides and Tips.” SAT Cost, ACT Cost, and How to  Save Money, blog.prepscholar.com/sat-cost-act-cost-and-how-to-save-money.

“Here Are the High School Classes That Prepare You for the SAT and ACT.” Prep | The Princeton Review, http://www.princetonreview.com/college-advice/high-school-classes-prep-sat-act

“History of the SAT: A Timeline.” PBS, Public Broadcasting Service, http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/sats/where/timeline.html.

Lindsay, Samantha. “SAT / ACT Prep Online Guides and Tips.” The History of the ACT Test, blog.prepscholar.com/the-history-of-the-act-test.

Safier, Rebecca. “SAT / ACT Prep Online Guides and Tips.” Colleges That Superscore ACT: Complete List, blog.prepscholar.com/colleges-that-superscore-act-complete-list.

Safier, Rebecca. “SAT / ACT Prep Online Guides and Tips.” Complete List: Colleges That Require SAT Subject Tests, blog.prepscholar.com/complete-list-of-colleges-that-require-sat-subject-tests.

Safier, Rebecca. “SAT / ACT Prep Online Guides and Tips.” Which Colleges Superscore the SAT?, blog.prepscholar.com/which-colleges-superscore-the-sat.

Strauss, Valerie. “What Does the SAT Measure? Aptitude? Achievement? Anything?”The Washington Post, WP Company, 22 Apr. 2014, http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/answer-sheet/wp/2014/04/22/what-does-the-sat-measure-aptitude-achievement-anything/?utm_term=.af2f50a1611a.

Zhang, Dr. Fred. “SAT / ACT Prep Online Guides and Tips.” Do Colleges Accept ACT Takers as Much as SAT Takers? Is the ACT Disadvantaged?, blog.prepscholar.com/do-colleges-accept-act-takers-vs-sat-act-disadvantaged.

Students and Teachers Respond to AHS Walkout

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photo by Isabella Scopetski
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photo by Isabella Scopetski

On March 14th, students around the nation walked out of their schools for 17 minutes to honor the victims of school shootings, specifically the recent shooting where 17 young lives were tragically lost at Parkland High School in Florida, and to call for gun control reform. Due to the snowstorm, however, many New England schools closed on the 14th, so those schools walked out at 10am the following day. 

Arlington High School students and faculty members each made an individual decision about whether or not to walk out. Some chose to remain inside while others organized the events, and still others participated in the walkout by leaving their classes and listening to their peers give speeches in front of the high school.

As the number of school shootings around the nation increases each day, students and teachers alike think about the best solution to a problem currently plaguing America. There are varying arguments regarding gun control and the justification of the second amendment. This article represents a sampling of student and teacher opinions regarding the effectiveness of the walkouts, as well as gun laws in America. This article is meant to expose the many layers of arguments which discuss the best ways to keep people safe.

Isa Dray

Ponder Page: What was your role in organizing the walkout?

Isa Dray: “I organized the AHS #NeverAgain walkout in collaboration with Laura Kirchner, Sophie Plotkin, and Gayatri Sundar Rajan.”

PP: What change do you hope to see in gun control laws?

ID: “Nationwide I think it is really important that we have stricter background checks, raise the legal age for gun purchase to 21 and repeal the Dickey Amendment, which prevents federal funds awarded to the Center for Disease Control from being used to advocate or promote gun control via studies of any sorts. This is a huge deal because it means that no comprehensive studies can be performed to assess the United States’ gun violence and gun culture. In Massachusetts, we need to continue to lead the way in gun reform by passing the Extreme Risk Protective Order, which would allow a judge to order a temporary removal of guns from someone ruled to be a danger to themselves or others. With many shootings that take place, family members or friends had prior knowledge or had seen signs of intent. Passing this bill is essential to making us safer and ensuring that guns only stay in the hands of those fit to carry them.”

PP: How do you feel about how the walkout went, reflecting from a week later?

ID: “I was really happy with how the walkout went! Seeing it all come together after two and a half weeks of hard work was very fulfilling. The event also went really smoothly thanks to the large support system we had and our comprehensive planning. I loved hearing the speakers; they all had really powerful messages and it was great to hear a variety of students speak. Having elected officials Sean Garballey, Dave Rogers, and Joe Curro, their listening to us and supporting us along with our community meant so much to me. It was really awesome to see AHS students come together for the second week in a row to show that this matters to us and to confront the reality that this could happen to us too, which is why we need to take action!”

PP: Further thoughts? Main takeaway?

ID: “I think it’s super important that people stay engaged. The national walkout to call for gun reform is not a one and done thing. We need to continue the momentum, keep this conversation in the headlines and continuously work towards comprehensive gun laws. Change doesn’t happen overnight and I encourage everyone to not let the walkout be the only thing you do. The biggest danger to this movement is the potential for it to die out if people do not stay engaged. Attend the March for Our Lives Saturday March 24th in Boston, attend the Young Dems workshops that are focused around contacting reps and making change, continue meaningful conversation with those around you, and pay attention for more walkouts scheduled for the coming weeks. Students are pushing for the Extreme Risk Protective order to be passed in Massachusetts by mid-April and we need to really work towards this by contacting our reps and demonstrating our frustration and commitment.”

Harjot Singh

“I just feel like the walkout isn’t really going to accomplish anything. The walkout is a complete waste of time, and I agree that some things need to change, but having a bunch of kids walk out of the school is not going to bring this change. Most of the kids that I talked to said that they were just walking out just to miss class and a lot of others don’t know what they are protesting against. For why I didn’t walkout, that’s because I don’t believe in what this movement is about. I was inside and I had my 17 minutes of silence to pay respects to the 17 people that had died, but I don’t think that the banning of semi-automatic rifles and other firearms is going to help. I know that this is not what the main goal is behind the walkout, but that’s what it is becoming. People that I have talked to, that support the walkout, have said that this is what they are trying to accomplish. I believe that if all guns in general disappeared we would be in a good place, but that is unrealistic. With the ban of assault rifles, the only thing that would happen is that law abiding citizens would turn in their guns, and criminals would not, and then there would be a large group of armed criminals that have an advantage over unarmed law abiding citizens that use their guns for good. But onto the third question: I definitely did feel supported by the teachers in the school. In both classes, the teachers engaged in conversations with me and there was no judging except by a few other students but that doesn’t matter.”

Laura Kirchner

PP: Why did you decide to become involved with the walkout?

LK: “The National Walkout started being planned, and we noticed a lot of posts for other schools that were participating, but we noticed that there were no posts for Arlington High School, so we figured it would be better to have an organized event where we were all walking out with a purpose and we had a plan for what we would do with those 17 minutes rather than people aimlessly walking out, because it’s more powerful if we actually know what we’re doing and what we’re walking out for.”

PP: Were there any challenges you faced as an organizer?

LK: “We did have some trouble communicating with the administration, especially with the snow day, because instead of walking out with schools across the country we walked out with schools across New England. We all knew that we wanted to make it as soon as possible after the snow day, and we essentially said to the administration, ‘we will be walking out at 10 o’clock’ and we just had to organize with them; they of course wanted students to be safe during the walkout so we just had to figure stuff out with the police to make sure there was some separation between the community and the students, but then again we didn’t want the community to be excluded because it’s affecting the community as well every time there’s an event like this.”

Mr. Fant (history dept)

Last Wednesday, March 7th during A block I addressed my AP Governments students concerning the walkout. I told them that I was not personally offended if they chose to participate in the walkout and that I support them exercising their right to free speech;however, if they chose to walk out of the graded moot court assessment scheduled for that period, it would affect their participation grade for that assignment. I also told the class that I was doing so because I didn’t want to cheapen an act of civil disobedience by making it completely free from consequence.

Here is my reasoning.

When Henry David Thoreau wrote about his decision to not pay his taxes as a way to protest the war with Mexico in the 1840s he knew he would be arrested for breaking the law. In fact, when he was bailed out of jail by a relative within 24 hours, he was angry that he could not stay in jail longer because he believed that suffering a consequence for his act of civil disobedience gave it more strength and meaning. This is why Dr. Martin Luther King and Gandhi engaged in direct action and civil disobedience and suffered the consequences of fines and jail time for their causes.

Additionally, students have a constitutional right to disruptive protest in schools as seen in the Supreme Court Case Tinker v. Des Moines. When Mary Beth Tinker and her friends wore black armbands to school to protest the war in Vietnam, they intended to disrupt the regular educational activities of the school day. That’s the point of protest, not just to signal virtues, but to cause conversation hopefully change through disruption.

Rescheduling assessments (such as the moot court) or excusing absences to accommodate the walkout creates two problems. The first is that doing so would undermine the protest itself by separating civil disobedience from consequence, however small it is in this case. The protest would be less disruptive of the regular school day and therefore less effective.

I support the aims of this walkout and this student-led movement to make our schools safer by demanding more gun control. I am inspired by Arlington High School students and their willingness to demand action and take part in protest movements like this one. Furthermore, I am looking forward to participating in the scheduled rally on Inclusion Day and I imagine I will see a lot of AHS students at the March For Our Lives rally on March 24th when I exercise my own First Amendment right concerning the issue of gun violence.

My support for this walkout brings me to the second problem inherent in accommodating it in my class. Doing so in this case, because I support the movement, would set a precedent that all future walkouts will be sanctioned as well, regardless of what those walkouts are protesting. Public school teachers should be hesitant to punish or sanction speech no matter how popular or unpopular. Therefore, I plan on applying the same policy to future walkouts and protests which cause students to miss all or part of a scheduled assessment.

Mr. Matson (history dept)

PP: Do you believe in penalizing students for participating in the walkouts? (such as a lower participation grade)

Scott Matson: “As far as the penalties are concerned, I didn’t do any penalties, but I think it’s up to the individual teacher.”

PP: How effective do you think the walk outs are going to be in the near future, or long term?

SM: “I do not think they are going to be very effective. In my opinion, a majority of the students around the country don’t even realize what they are doing… they are just following what the social media is telling them to do.”

PP: Why do you think students are targeting the ‘wrong people’?

SM: “They are targeting people who are NRA members, who I know a lot of, and they have nothing to do with [gun laws in America].” Additionally, Matson thinks,“there are other issues that should be more focused on, like the whole social media issue” rather than the issue of gun control.

Milo Kiely-Song

Milo chose to participate in both AHS walkouts.

PP: What do you think about having a penalty on the walkout?

Milo Kiely-Song:“Here’s my thinking: it’s a walkout, if you are going to participate, you shouldn’t expect the full support of the administration … it’s not a school sanctioned event.”

PP: Why did you decide to walk out?

MK-S: “I decided to walk out because I absolutely believe that stricter gun regulations are necessary to make our country and our schools safer.”

PP: In what way do you think the walkouts will move things forward?

MK-S: “I think the walkouts will serve a twofold purpose: first of all to simply demonstrate the discontent in our country at the moment, especially among our generation … the generation moving into the position of being able to vote. Secondly … it’s a launching point, it spreads the word, it gets people involved and interested in the process of making change.”

PP: In what way do you find your own views to be different from other students at AHS?

MK-S: “I am a Libertarian. And Libertarianism is the belief in one’s own freedoms … property rights, land rights, etc. And in terms of gun laws for me, that means I do not believe in banning the distribution of guns in this market. I don’t think the government should have that much control over business and what they chose to sell. However, since guns are very dangerous, especially semi-automatic weapons, I believe that it us necessary for us to impose stricter regulations on the purchase of such guns. A lot of people talk about putting a ban on semi-automatic weapons being sold, and, personally, I do not think that is necessarily the best idea for us. Everyone wants to preserve their liberties, [and] nobody’s against that. And in this time of social and political turmoil, I think it is important to retain those liberties. And if we do implement stricter background checks and more comprehensive systems towards buying a gun, I don’t think we need to actually ban semi-automatic weapons to get the same result.”

PP: Why were you uncertain that your opinion would be valued or “fit” in my article?

MK-S: “I think I can have a lot of great conversations [here at AHS] with people who respect my opinions, but this is Massachusetts… which tends to mean that there are less people with more conservative outlooks and similar opinions to mine.”

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/

 

Class of 2020 Hosts Winter Craft Fair

 

Screenshot 2017-12-07 at 9.13.00 PM

By: Claire Kitzmiller

On Saturday December 16 from 9:00am to 1:00pm, the Arlington High School class of 2020 will be holding a Winter Craft Festival for the greater Arlington community. The fair is open for kids up to age 10 and costs five dollars per person. There will be a variety of crafts and activities for the kids including, gingerbread houses, paper snowflakes, snow globes and mug warmers.  

Sophomore Class President, Lauren Murphy said, “we knew we wanted to host an event for the greater Arlington community, beyond AHS.” The students officers were inspired by the annual Fall Carnival that is put on by the senior class.

Murphy says events like these are important because, “AHS is part of the larger Arlington community, and it is really rewarding to reach out and give back whenever we can.” The students are excited to spend time with little kids while putting on a fun event for them.

The Sophomore class council includes Lauren Murphy (President), Molly O’Toole (Treasurer), Dylan Fournier (Secretary), and Rob Marchant (Vice President). They are still looking for high school volunteers to run craft stations. Anyone interested can sign up at http://www.signupgenius.com/go/4090e4aa5aa29abfb6-winter.