Safe Zone stickers disappear

By: Claire Kitzmiller  

 

In early April, several teachers came into school and immediately noticed their safe zone stickers were gone. It appeared that someone had come in the nights before and scraped the stickers off of the walls and doors.

Most stickers were taken from outside of classrooms, but some were from the inside. The teachers’ main concern was not the damage to their property; it was the hateful statement that was being made.

Drama teacher, Michael Byrne, was very concerned because he believes, “It’s a simple but really clear statement that almost every teacher has made that their classroom is a safe zone.” He knows it is an important validation for students who are unsure.

The incident also worries Byrne because “it’s a statement to students and faculty that it’s not as safe as maybe we thought it was.” The school responded immediately and gave all teachers new stickers.

The GSA also held a discussion with the freshman class about the issue and safety through the school.

In an email sent to the AHS community, Dr Janger stated, “The administration realizes that the secret removal of safe zone stickers has caused many within the AHS community to be upset and concerned for their own and others safety and well-being.  This matter is being taken very seriously and that a thorough investigation by the  administration, the town and the Arlington Police Department is well under way.”

This has been a concerning time for many students and staff at AHS, but the administration is doing everything it can to make AHS a more inclusive and accepting school.

 

 

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AHS students take a stand

 

DCCF4CC2-CDA9-4392-909B-2F88B5491B80By Maya Pockrose

The 45th United States Presidential Inauguration took place January 20, 2017. One day later, protesters flooded the streets of Washington, D.C. to participate in the Women’s March on Washington.

AHS sophomores Claire Kitzmiller and Lily Snyder DiCesare are among many students who attended women’s marches. AHS Junior Tyler Dyer attended the March, too – as well as Inauguration.

Dyer and his mother won two tickets to the Inauguration, hoping that Clinton or Sanders would take the win. However, the pair still opted to attend the Trump Inauguration because Dyer felt he “has as much right to be there as a Republican does” and acknowledges the historical nature of the event.

The experience was “interesting” for Dyer, who describes being somewhat “scared” at times. He wore an outfit displaying his dissent, a shirt with the (rather politically bold) phrase “I’m A Gay Russian,” featuring plenty of rainbow patterning, and a telltale pink hat.  He received “plenty of looks” from others at the event, but nonetheless enjoyed the experience, noting that it was “empowering to be there”. Other than these looks, Dyer reports that he did not receive any negative reactions.

For Dyer, the experience reminded him that “things do change,” that “you shouldn’t be afraid,” and that “if you disagree with somebody, you have every right to speak” your mind.

Dyer also attended the Women’s March the next day. He was motivated to attend because “women’s rights are very important”.

His experience at the March was “way more positive than Inauguration”. The march, by contrast, had a vibe of togetherness and positivity, which Dyer described as “quite empowering,” noting that the sheer amount of people in attendance was “extraordinary”.  He mentioned, also, that “cis people had…huge representation,” which “they have the right to,” while there was a lack of “trans inclusivity.” Overall, however, he notes that “there was a lot of LGBT acceptance.”

Claire Kitzmiller, sophomore, attended the Women’s March in D.C., as well. She, like Dyer, says she was hesitant to go at first, being “a little worried about what would happen” and prepared “in fear of pickpockets and violence” when she did decide to go. She decided to attend because she “started to see the effect Trump has had on so many people.” She says she “knew how important it was to go”.

The experience was “amazing” for Kitzmiller. As previously mentioned, Kitzmiller had prepared for the worst, but “got the opposite”. “If anyone even dropped something,” she recalls, “someone would pick it up for them.” The attendees were kind and all “came together for the same important cause.”

The march was a learning experience for Kitzmiller, as well. She says that “the only way to make a change is to forget our differences and petty problems and work together peacefully to fight for what we believe in”.

Lily Snyder DiCesare, also a sophomore, attended the march in D.C, also. She “felt motivated as a gay woman to defend [her] rights,” adding that “as a white person of privilege, [she] wanted to do what [she] could for those…less privileged” than herself. Snyder DiCesare “found the experience very empowering”.

Banners color community

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Isabella Scopetski’s Banner hanging in Arlington Center

By: Claire Kitzmiller

Beautiful banners will wave on Massachusetts Ave. in May to greet pedestrians and drivers. The banners were created  by students in Arlington. High school art teacher, Annie Rebola, describes them as “a really nice burst of color”.

In January ninety-five students from all over Arlington, submitted art to be hung around Arlington center. Of the ninety-five, twenty submissions were chosen to be turned into banners six feet tall and four feet wide. Students were encouraged to use any media as long as it stayed two-dimensional.

The theme this year was Compassionate Community. Students, ages 12 to 18 living in Arlington, were asked to submit art encompassing this theme. Rebola commented, “It couldn’t have been a better theme for the climate right now.”

Art director, David Aditto, said, “It ties into the communities response to hate…Arlington won’t stand for that.”

The contest began in memory of Gracie James. Gracie James was a student at AHS  years ago, when she died in a car accident. Her family wanted a way to celebrate her life. In remembrance of Gracie’s love for art, the banner competition began.  The bottom of each banner  will read “This project was funded by the Gracie James foundation”.

When asked about the projects and its origin, Aditto, said, “It’s a wonderful way to commemorate her life.”

Martina Tanga has been the key organizer of the project for the past two years. Tanga spoke at a reception for all of the artists who submitted to the project. Matina helped to chose the theme.

The judges of the contest were Selectman Joseph Curro, Graphic Artist Jill Manca, and the chair of the Public Art Committee Adria Arch.

 

AHS shows off talent

By: Eveline Ho

Arlington High will be having a talent show Friday, March 3rd. This will be held inside the Lowe Auditorium. This event will present the public an opportunity to check out the gifts AHS students have to offer.

Doors will open at 6:30 PM, and the show will begin at 7 PM. It is expected to last around 2 hours.

Tickets are $10 and will be sold at lunch. They will be $15 at the door. Tickets for kids 12 and under are $5 at the door. The child should be present to confirm purchase.

Food and beverages will be available for purchase.

There are expected to be about 14 acts this year.

This event was organized by Mr. Amirault and the Junior Class Officers – Nat Heitman, Olivia Graceffa, Laura Kirchner, and Gayatri Sundar Rajan.

Money profiting from this event will go towards the Junior Class to fund events.  

 

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.

 

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”.