Diverse Businesses and Organizations Meet Musical Talent on Town Day

 

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Junior Julian Carpenter Conducting AHS Jazz Band ~Courtesy of Olivia Carpenter

 

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Lulu Eddy (right) and Hamish Swanson (left) supporting AHS Girls Volleyball ~Courtesy of Isabella Scopetski

 

By: Michael Graham-Green

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.

 

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Spanish Students Exchange Lives With American Students

 

 

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.

Town’s Spirit Shines In Relay For Life

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Members of Team “Alvin 2.0” – (from left, rear) Abby Mooney, Karenna Ng, Alexandra Tse, Maya Pockrose, Emina Hamzic, Juliette Stokes, Jackie Smith, Sowmya Yelleswarapu, (front) Grace Biondi

By: Michael Graham-Green and Patrick Gallagher

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.

Car wreck warns drivers

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.

 

Students De-Stress at Spring Fling

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courtesy of Karen Dillon
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courtesy of Karen Dillon

By: Lauren Murphy

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”.

Art shows talent

By: Lulu Eddy

From April 3-14, sculptures, paintings, and mobiles were displayed in the teachers cafeteria. These works were from Ms. Rebola, Ms. McCullough, Mr. Moore’s classes. Each student from Art I, Art II, Mixed Media, Painting, Portfolio Prep, Digital Photography I and II all have at least one work present in the show that was chosen by their teacher.

 

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”.

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.  

 

Gymnastics Team Falls Below Radar

unnamed-1By Lilah Vieweg

The Arlington High School gymnastics team is often overlooked by students and teachers alike. Because their meets are rarely announced or their triumphs published, many students are totally unaware of the team’s existence.

When asked about this lack of knowledge about the gymnastics team, junior team captain Emily Smith-Kaufman replies, “I think maybe because there aren’t a lot of people who do gymnastics and because the team is really small, people don’t pay as much attention to it.”

“We are a lot better than people think we are,” says Smith-Kaufman. “ Last year, I wish people had come because we broke the school record, and we have done a lot that people don’t recognize.”

Says sophomore team member Karenna Ng, “I think what we do is pretty cool. I wish more people at AHS knew about us, because we work just as hard as the other teams.”

Sophomore team member Katja Ampe explains, “It’s an American tradition to watch football. It’s not a tradition  to watch gymnastics. I think generally more people attend the other sporting events, but also, that’s mainly because people don’t know that we have a gymnastics team.”  Unlike other sporting events at AHS, gymnastics meets are free.

“I really like the sport, because it’s physically hard, but it’s also mentally hard,” comments Ampe. “I mean, some sports are nice, but they aren’t as scary. In gymnastics, you have a four-inch wide piece of wood, four feet in the air. That is scary, and half of it is knowing that you can do it.”

Unlike other sporting events, gymnastic meets are free.

 

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.