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.
Arlington High School’s Justin Bourassa auditioned and was accepted to participate in the hit reality TV show Jeopardy!. In addition to being a trivia genius, Bourassa is also an English teacher, and Track and Cross-Country coach. He traveled to Los Angeles during the first few days of school, September 5th and 6th, to film his episode of Jeopardy!. After many months of diligent studying and auditions, the air date for hisepisode is almost here. The students of Arlington High have waited several months to witness their beloved English teacher take the stage in the classic hit show.
On December 20th, 2017, at 7:30 pm, the Young Democrats Club will be hosting an official screening of Bourassa’s debut on Jeopardy!. Students, teachers and alumni can gather in Old Hall to celebrate the talents of Mr. Bourassa. Pizza will also be sold. At this same event, the Arlington Food Pantry will be collecting canned, non-perishable goods for the holiday season. The night is a combination of charity and trivia to make for one spectacular evening.
Although a significant publicity campaign for the event has embarked, all Arlington students and alumni are encouraged to attend and invite their friends. Due to Bourassa’s impressive reputation at Arlington High, as he is beloved by students, a large attendance is expected from current students as well as Arlington High alums, who will already be on their winter breaks from college. Do not forget to come support Mr. Bourassa as he participates in the competitive, nationwide broadcast of Jeopardy! on December 20th in Old Hall!
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.
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 upholds—its 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, Shapiro—also a member of the student government, Journalism Club, and Model Congress—cautions 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.
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.
Saturday, September 16 was Town Day, an event that signals the end of summer and brings the many families of Arlington to the town center. With more than 200 businesses, organizations, churches, and schools from Arlington and surrounding towns, each represented by stalls along Mass Ave, this occasion, (the 41st annual Town Day), offered members of the community a chance to support familiar Arlington institutions while discovering new ones that pique their interest.
Set on a stage at the steps of Town Hall, the performances by local musicians are, for many, the main event of the day. Arlington High’s own Jazz Band and Madrigal Singers gave a stunning performance, playing pieces from a variety of genres. The two groups teamed up for performances of “Sweet Home Chicago” by Robert Johnson and “Crazy in Love” by Beyonceˊ. As part of the Jazz Band’s performance, the ensemble played “Cave Canem”, a piece composed and conducted by AHS junior Julian Carpenter, percussionist for band. When asked about the creative process that went into composing his piece and the work the band did to be performance-ready so soon after the start of the school year, Carpenter noted “jazz is about improvisation, but more importantly, listening to each other”. In the mere two weeks before the performance, Julian was impressed by how the they had “grown tighter as a band than [they] even were at last year’s town day”. He added,”I am very excited for this upcoming year with my peers.”
Venice Mountain-Zona, also a junior at AHS, offered her perspective on the performances as a member of the Madrigal Singers. “There’s something very special about performing at Town Day,” she said, “because it is an audience of our biggest supporters. Everyone’s so energetic and having such a good time and it just makes the experience that much more unforgettable.”
With participants from the Arlington PD to the Arlington-Belmont Crew to the restaurant Bistro Duet, and stunning musical talent, the 41st Town Day was a resounding success. It will be another year of evolution for a bustling town before the 42nd Town Day rolls around.
Devin Wright (right) with exchange student~Courtesy of Devin Wright
Raina Sheldon (left) with exchange student ~Courtesy of Raina Shelden
Liz Pegram (left) with Rafi Diamond (center) with group of exchange students ~Courtesy of Liz Pegram
Devin Wright (right) with exchange student ~Courtesy of Devin Wright
Liz Pegram (right) with exchange student ~Courtesy of Liz Pegram
Maren Larkin (right) with exchange student ~Courtesy of Maren Larkin
Devin Wright (middle, left) and Liz Pegram (top, center) and Rafi Diamond (far right) with group of exchange students ~Courtesy of Liz Pegram
By: Miles Shapiro
Recently Arlington High school participated in the Spanish exchange, a program where students from Barcelona, Spain attend school in Arlington, Massachusetts for two weeks. During this time, Spanish students live with an Arlington High School student and their family. The exchange students attend classes along with the child from their surrogate family. Participants of the exchange all know some level of English, however, adeptness ranges from limited, to extensive understanding. Even within the brief amount of time this program lasts, American students report to have developed deep connection and friendship with their exchange students resulting from near constant proximity.
When asked about the societal disparity between the U.S. and Spain, student hosts report that Spain has a considerably more welcoming culture than may be expected. “[The exchange students] are much more accepting to people of different sexualities, different races, and political ideas” reports one AHS student. The ample contrast between Spanish and American daily life also serves as a vessel for students to gain a level of cultural awareness that they would not traditionally have access to.
The trip was equally a physical and social exchange as students explored each others differentiating opinions and ideas. As Spanish students admitted they were surprised by the vast amounts of homework given to American students, Arlington High goers, in turn, were astonished to learn of the the megar homework load their exchange students recieved by comparison.
Visiting Spanish students also seemed to display an adoration of U.S. public transportation, particularly in respect to how much faster and more efficient it is than in Spain.
Participating in any of the diverse assortment of exchange programs is a rewarding experience that allows students to make international connections while providing them with a taste of the world outside their own limiting social bubble.
Dozens of Arlington residents circled the high school track accompanied by family and friends on Saturday, June 10, in a show of defiance against a deadly disease that has taken so many held so dear.
Arlington’s Relay For Life, one of the thousands of Relay For Life events held annually across the globe, raises funds for the American Cancer Society. The American Cancer Society uses the donations collected through these events to fund cancer research and support for those diagnosed with any of the multiple types the disease.
This year, 57 teams participated in Arlington’s Relay For Life, raising a total of $114,806.46. Leading the pack, with a donation total of $28,537.48, was “Keepin’ Up With The Joneses” . Team members Clara Tully and Cade Johnston explained why the team was participating. “We’re walking for Courtney Jones, who passed away in January,” Tully said. Johnston added, “Courtney never wanted anybody else to suffer, so we wanted to carry that on and make sure no one else has to be in pain like she was.” “Last year I walked [the Relay] with Courtney,” Tully explained, “so this year I’m walking in honor of her.”
Julia Hazen, a member of team “Up All Night for the fight!”, also told of a personal connection with the effects of cancer. “I’m participating because last year my mom had breast cancer,” she said, “and it’s just really important for me to raise money for this cause because if she didn’t have the supports and the research done by this foundation, she might not be here today.”
Members of team “Alvin 2.0” jumped at the chance to explain why they were taking part. “We are relaying to raise money for cancer research because we care about this very important cause,” said team member Maya Pockrose. Several other members of the team explained that they were participating because they had lost relatives to cancer.
Lasting from 6 p.m. Saturday until 6 a.m. Sunday, Arlington’s Relay For Life touched participants with both the sorrow of loss and the joy of survival. It brought a town together in an effort to do the incredible: stop cancer.
On the week of May 21, a red, totaled vehicle was placed on the front lawn of the high school. The car had two dummies that were victims of the crash, both portrayed as fatally injured as a result of not wearing their seat belts.
The Director of the Massachusetts Highway Safety Division, Jeff Larason said that, “Massachusetts has one of the worst seat belt use rates in the country. We are #45. We want people to recognize the importance of wearing their seat belts, to understand the very real dangers of driving unbelted, and to put their belts on every time they are in the car whether they are a driver or a passenger”.
The car was displayed on the front lawn of the high school because teens have a much lower rate of wearing their seat belts than adults. From this position in the front of the school, the wrecked car is visible to anyone who passes by on Massachusetts Avenue.
Larason says, “We chose to focus on seat belt use because it’s the one thing you can do to protect yourself from other drivers.” Larason conducted a unscientific study at the intersection of Massachusetts Avenue and Pleasant Street in which “23% of the drivers… were not wearing their seat belts”. Larason hopes that having the mock car crash on the front lawn will help to diminish this large number.
This is the first year that the Massachusetts Highway Safety Division has displayed a vehicle. The Division has participated in the Click It or Ticket program for almost 20 years according to Larason.
This program is targeted towards teens or young adults, aiming to increase seat belt use. May is when the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration conducts their national Click It or Ticket campaign. The car was towed to the front lawn by AAA New England and provided by the junkyard “Car Heaven” in Berlin, Massachusetts.
On Saturday, May 13th, Student Council partnered with Arlington Youth Health and Safety Coalition to organize the first ever “Spring Fling”, an event for AHS students to relax and de-stress.
The event, held behind the Robbins Library, was free. It had many activities including yoga, painting, sidewalk chalk, and performances from live acoustic musicians. There were also free burritos donated by La Victoria and Anna’s Taqueria.
The main goal of this event was to build community for AHS students. Isa Dray, a sophomore, helped organize the event. It was important to her because Student Council was trying to create more “give back” events, “events [where we’re] not asking anything from the students. We just want them to come and have a good time,” Dray says.
Katherine Barker, a senior, chaired the event with Dray. For her, the goal of this event was “to be more inclusive and find ways to celebrate the diverse interests of the student body”.
Freshman Ella Simring attended the event and enjoyed it immensely. Her favorite activities were the sidewalk chalk and the “enlightening” bubbles. Simring felt very comfortable at this event. She said, “There was a nice, chill vibe around in general, and you didn’t have to put on any sort of façade or pretend to be someone else there; it felt very safe and welcoming”.
With the support of Karen Dillon from Arlington Youth Health and Safety Coalition, as well as AHS Social Workers Magali Olander and Chelsea White, the event ran smoothly. Barker is interested in continuing this event in the years to come. Simring and her friends are looking forward to coming back and would “even be willing to help out with setting up”.