Faces Project Unpacks Identity

Faces Project Pic

By: Claire Kitzmiller

Students taking Arlington High School’s Race, Class and Identity class created a project that illustrates the many layers of their complex identities. The project has been displayed in the Media Center at the school.

The students took pictures of themselves and a laser etched their images into individual pieces of plywood. On the other side of the etching, the students created a visual representation of their true identities. Some students collaged images of groups they are a part of or symbols that represent what is important to them.

The course goes beyond the face level of race and identity. Students learn to understand the many layers of one’s race and class and how that affects their identity. The course is taught by AHS teacher, Kevin Toro who created the project hoping to “deconstruct the physical judgements and prejudices that we have towards people.” The project is intended to show students that there is more below the surface, identity is made up of more than just one’s appearance.

Toro chose to display the project for the school because, students and staff at AHS “need to pay attention to our prejudices and our implicit biases” against other student and people in the community. According to Toro, the project was important because it “was a conversation starter and that’s what Arlington needs.” While Arlington is a very accepting town full of diversity, racial bias and discrimination is still very prevalent. The project is meant to address the problems that many students are still unaware of.

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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.

 

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.

Ayla Rose pursues singing career

IMG_4629By: Chloe Jackson

Seventeen -year- old Ayla Rose, a junior at Arlington High School, is tackling her musical goals professionally. Ayla records her music, typically categorized in the blues genre, at various studios, combining her vocals and skills on guitar.

  Her ambition and talent has been recognized by the magazine Pop Matters, which features an article on up and coming soloist  “Ayla Rose”.

   This past year, two of her singles were released, including “Give Me One Reason”, available on Spotify and Apple Music.

At a young age, Ayla found herself musically inclined, partially due to the musical aspirations of her father, who is also adept in the music field. Although she does not participate in school related activities pertaining to singing, such as drama, chorus, and other groups, Ayla continues to devote her time to pursuing her music.

   Singing as a career is not Ayla’s end goal, but “as a hobby” she will continue to work on it. A preferred genre of Ayla’s is R & B, although she plays and sings a variety of music.

       At the moment, Ayla is a soloist, releasing her own music within the past few months. However, she has been in a band and is open to the possibility of forming one again.  

Ayla enjoys “doing what [she] loves and hopes other people will enjoy it”. She inspires other teenage artists with her individual success at such a young age.

 

Manion Sells Slime

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By: Jessie Cali

Videos of people playing with “slime,” a Silly Putty-esque toy, have taken over the internet. Inspired by the videos, Arlington High School sophomore Isabel Manion has started making and selling her own slime to AHS students.

Manion was shocked by the high prices of slime on the internet, so she began looking into how she could make it herself. “It wasn’t something that people at school were really making, so I decided I would give it a shot,” said Manion.

Manion started off by posting on her Instagram to gauge interest for the products, and her followers were excited about the idea. Manion began selling her slime through Instagram, but she says that “now people will approach me in school with slime requests”.

She has started experimenting with adding glitter, foam balls, and other goodies to her slime.

Manion’s homemade slime typically sells for about $3.

Students Rebuild New Orleans

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Abandoned lot in the Lower 9th Ward. [Courtesy of Henry Walters]
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Slavery memorial (and Katrina). [Courtesy of Henry Walters]
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Abandoned hospital (it would cost the city more to take it down, so they leave it)               [Courtesy of Henry Walters]

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Courtesy of Lulu Eddy
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Courtesy of Lulu Eddy
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Courtesy of Lulu Eddy

By: Claire Kitzmiller

In 2005, devastation surrounded hundreds of people in New Orleans, Louisiana, when hurricane Katrina struck. After twelve years, the city has not been fully rebuilt.

During this past April vacation, a group of students from the Follen Unitarian Church in Lexington went to New Orleans to perform a variety of services. The students rebuilt houses, gardened, mulched, and  participated in dialogues about racism.

They worked with service groups, NOLA Tree Project and Edible School Yard.

Several of the student who went on the trip are from Arlington High. Sophomores, Isabella Scopetski, Lulu Eddy, and Henry Walters are part of FUUY, Follen Unitarian Universalist Youth.

 Outside groups have done the majority of the rebuilding of New Orleans, because of the government’s insufficient funding.

The trip is important to Scopetski because she “learned a lot to take back to Arlington to better the community”.

Walters enjoys the work because he knows he is making a difference and helping people. Walters said, “You take a lot from it by giving.”

The theme of the trip was “Intent versus Impact”. Students learned the importance of asking what is needed instead of assuming.

Even though the people in New Orleans have experienced so much devastation, Lulu Eddy says, “It fills me with happiness to see how friendly and happy everyone living there is.”

The New Orleans community is grateful and welcoming to all those who offer their services and help.

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.

 

 

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.