Project lights Darkness

By Claire Kitzmiller

On January 19, 2017, at 5:30pm people all across the country will gather in and around theatres to participate in the Ghostlight Project. The Ghostlight Project is a movement across the country to bring light to the darkness.

The movement is “to make or renew a pledge to stand for and protect the values of inclusion, participation, and compassion for everyone, regardless of race, class, religion, country of origin, immigration status, (dis)ability, gender identity, or sexual orientation.”

A physical ghostlight, is a light, required in many theatres, that must stay on when all others lights are off, to prevent an accident in the darkness. A ghostlight provides safety and security among the darkness.

On January 19, Michael Byrne, AHS Drama teacher, invites students students to sing, read a poem or play an instrument to bring light to the darkness. This will be taking place in Byrne’s classroom.

When asked why Byrne is participating in the project, he responded, “I think it is important to have voices heard.” Byrne believes in the power and unity of having a common goal with people all across the country.

Byrne said, “It’s just this sort of statement of safety about who you are and safe to be who you are regardless of race, class, religion, country of origin, immigration status, (dis)ability, gender identity, or sexual orientation.”

The Ghostlight Project states, “We aim to create brave spaces that will serve as lights in the coming years. We aim to activate a network of people across the country working to support vulnerable communities.”

The Project is not limited to January 19 at 5:30 pm. It is an ongoing mission, trying to accomplish equality and tolerance across the nation. This is a new project that may continue into the end.

Students Head to Cape Town

By: Eveline Ho

History department teacher Melanie Konstandakis will be the advisor for a trip to Cape Town, South Africa. The trip will take place during February break, 2017, from the 16th to 28th. Other chaperones include Mrs. Bavuso, Mr. Bavuso, Ms. Daley, and Mr. Mahoney, a geography teacher from the Ottoson.

The purpose of this trip is to “help students connect to a culture very different from their own and experience a different part of the world,” says Mrs. Konstandakis. Students will learn to develop a sense of self confidence and “inspire students to know that they can make the world a better place,”announces Mrs. Bavuso.

This trip was open to any AHS student willing to join. Students of many age groups will be attending. The total cost of the trip is $3250, and there are currently  42 participants this year.

Students will be expected to perform community service for Cape Town and do site work.

During day four, students will hike up Lion’s Head, a mountain in Cape Town with an elevation of 2,195 feet.

On day nine, the students will experience a tour of Robben Island, an island about 4.3 miles(6.9km) off the coast of Cape Town.

On their last day in Africa, before returning home, the students will go on a safari.

There will be two freshmen on this trip. The freshmen share their thoughts before the trip. “I am very excited and I am very lucky to be able to have this opportunity to see all the cultural diversity in Africa,” says Lillian Hempel. “I’m kind of nervous… we’re the only two freshmen. It’s going to be kind of dangerous, but it’s a good experience,”Lena Goodnow adds.

Africa is expected to be an interesting experience for these students! There is no room for more students this year, but the trip is anticipated to be available again in a couple of years.

Styrofoam… Still Here?

By: Lauren Murphy

Every week, Arlington High School alone sends nearly three thousand styrofoam lunch trays to the dump. These trays take 500 years to naturally decompose, and they release harmful chemicals into the atmosphere, tarnishing our air quality.

According to the Green Restaurant Association, plastic and styrofoam materials make up 25-30% of the waste found in landfills. Many wonder, why then does AHS, amidst this recent push for a “green community”, continue to dispose of roughly 600 styrofoam trays per day?

“The problem with compostable trays is that you actually have to compost them; you can’t just throw them in the trash,” says Food Service Director Denise Hunt Boucher.

Composting waste requires organization of the school’s trash and specific machines which AHS does not have access to at this time. Boucher continues, “And we don’t have the facilities to do washable trays. There are some school systems that have the reusable ones. They have huge kitchens with the machines that they can wash and sanitize the reusable ones but we don’t.”

It is also a matter of budget. On average, styrofoam trays cost about 3.5 cents each. Switching to a compostable alternative would nearly triple the cost per tray.

Arlington Public Schools has managed to make progress with styrofoam waste within the elementary schools. The Brackett and Pierce schools have developed programs which allow them to replace the styrofoam lunch trays with a compostable substitute. Boucher explains that at Brackett “they actually compost them. We buy the compostable trays for them” .

The Brackett School began a partnership with Whole Foods Arlington in 2013, in which families in the community volunteer to deliver the school’s compostable waste to Whole Foods. From there, Whole Foods delivers the waste to a Bio-Digester in Marlborough, MA.

Still, Boucher remains hopeful. She says, “Obviously, no one wants to throw this much styrofoam away everyday. We know it’s not good.” She says that if a solution were presented that made sense in terms of budget and accessibility, that she would support it completely.

Tate Kokubo Skates Ahead

By: Wyatt Dupont

Tate Kokubo is an upcoming sophomore at Arlington HIgh School, but unlike most high school students, he is well on his way to becoming a professional skateboarder. However, Kokubo does not bust himself with ideas of fame and sponsors but rather skating purely for the fun of it.

Kokubo began skateboarding when he was eight-years-old and gained recognition from one of his local skate shops, The Boardwalk, which has since closed.

Over the years, Kokubo continued to draw the attention of others, accumulating sponsors form Maximum Hesh Skate Shop, Matix, Converse, and Fancy Lad Skateboards. As he progressed, Kokubo began to compete in skate contests, including Tampa Am, an annual skateboarding competition in Florida that attracts amateur skaters from all over the country.

Although Kokubo does not currently have any contests coming up, he will most certainly compete in more in the future. Kokubo has even had a skateboard part put out by Matix that is on Thrasher Magazine’s website, a famous, monthly skate magazine that has been around sing the 80s.

In addition, Kokubo has a part in Fancy Lad’s Is This Skateboarding video which is also up on the Thrasher website.

Q: “So, how has skateboarding impacted you? I know that may be too general but like, where has it taken you and who have you met?”

A: “It has taken me from New York to as far as California. I have met tons of awesome people throughout the time I’ve been skating. I think it is safe to say I have close friends in every city I have traveled to.”

Q: “Ok, any pros or notable skaters?”

A: “Yeah, I have met quite a few. One of my favorites is Donny Barley, and he is now a good friend of mine.”

Q: “Describe or tell why you like skateboarding.”

A: “I like skating because there are no rules. You can do it however you want and no one can tell you that you are doing it wrong.”

There are four levels, starting with Shop, the Flow, then Am, and finally, Pro. Kokubo considers himself to be Flow, meaning that he receives free products from companies and is also sponsored by several. Regardless of what “level”, Tate does out and skates for fun.

 

 

Students Rally for Unity

 

By: Isabella Scopetski and Eveline Ho

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Photo taken by Eveline Ho
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Photo taken by Eveline Ho
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Photo taken by Eveline Ho

Sophomores Isa Dray and Lucia Voges called upon their fellow spyponders on November 17th to join them outside on the front lawn of Arlington High School in a peaceful rally to unify the student body. Dray and Voges are deeply invested in the Student Council, Dray confessed she would not have known how to go about organizing such an event.

As the students congregated, Dray and Voges greeted their peers and briefly expressed their gratitude toward the speaker and the students that came out to support each other.

The microphone was handed to the principal of Arlington High School to kick off the rally. Dr, Janger humbly spoke to the importance of unity and that it is, “important for us to remember that we are all welcome here”. He felt that, “if we are going to be a diverse democratic community… we need to understand what is going on.” Having awareness for others and nurturing Arlington High as a “safe and positive space for everybody”, is how we will achieve unity in Janger’s eyes. The student body, listened with attentive ears as Janger went further to say that “[the students] are the culture of this school” and it is these 40-50 people that showed up whose uniqueness adds to this diverse culture we cultivate at AHS.

Next to speak was senior class president and Model Congress president Elsa Rothenburg, Rothenburg pushed the importance of “individuality” and self-acceptance. She nodded to Dr. Janger’s “rich community” of “passionate students”. Senior leaders of the Teenage Republicans, Ben and Taso showed up with the inspiring message, “We all live in the same community… We all come together as one”. GSA members Bella and Tyler declared, “The fight isn’t over until everyone has equal rights”. Several students and teachers spoke of their own messages and stories, all requesting for order and unity from the community.

The Unity Rally ended with all the speakers singing, “Lean on Me”, by Bill Withers alongside the crowd of their peers. The song was lead by Mrs. Daley, faculty advisor for the Young Feminist Alliance, who guided the participants in singing. Post-It notes were handed around for people to write inspiring messages on to pass around inspiration and encouragement. These Post-Its are posted on a board in front of the Media Center for all of Arlington High to get a chance to write something and make someone’s day. It is the small acts of kindness that reflect unity in the AHS community.

Caroling Spreads Joy

By: Claire Kitzmiller

On Friday, December 23 and Thursday, December 22, Jolinda Alderuccio will take her level three french classes caroling throughout Arlington High School. She will take her A block class on Thursday and her D block class on Friday.

The classes will be singing a variety of Christmas songs and some class favorites. The students will sing a range of songs including “Rodolphe Au Petit Nez Rouge” and “Aux Champs Elysées”. The classes will sing in the main lobby, on the fourth floor of the Fusco house and on the sixth floor.

Alderuccio says she’s been taking her French classes caroling ever since she’s taught at AHS. She also took her classes caroling before she transferred from the Ottoson Middle School to AHS. It has been a tradition she has carried throughout most of her teaching career.

When asked why, she has her classes caroling, she responded, “To encourage a spirit of community within the school…to encourage a love of languages for everyone, whether they’re taking a foreign language.”

Alderuccio often gets emails from staff members thanking her for the beautiful caroling. It always inspires a good mood in the students right before winter break.

The students singing always enjoy performing for their peers. Alderuccio’s former students frequently join her to sing along with her classes.

Donations Bring Holiday Cheer

By: Lauren Murphy

For the past 15 years, Mrs. Simmons and Mrs. Villano have infected AHS with the holiday spirit of giving. They have generously donated their time to organize a toy and clothing drive to bring holiday cheer to families in need. They collect donations early in December and the families receive their gifts in time for the holidays.

The drive works as part of a larger program through the Department of Human Services. Families in need reach out to the Department and devise a list of 5 clothing items and 5 toys for each of their children. The Department then distributes these lists to AHS groups that have agreed to help.

This year, our school donated over 125 items, spreading joy to many children in our community. Over the 15 years that this program has been run, hundreds of families have been helped.

Mrs. Simmons reflects on her years as an organizer saying, “Seeing the kindness and generosity of the Arlington High School Community makes this a very enjoyable experience and a pleasure to organize.”

Happy Holidays!

 

Parties Debate Questions

unnamedPeople in the picture from left to right: Tarangana Thapa, Adam Deakin, Jake Tamir-Pinsky, Sean Garballey, Ben Jacey, and Tasso Tsaousidis.

On Wednesday, November 2, in the small Arlington Community Media Inc. (ACMI) studio, two representatives from each club, The Young Democrats and The Young Republicans debated over the issues facing our nation today. The debate was hosted by students who work with ACMI, including producer and director Gayatri Sundar-Rajan, a junior at Arlington High School.

The moderator was senior, Taragana Thapa. The two representatives from the Young Republican Club were senior, Ben Jacey and senior, Tasso Tsaousidis. Representatives from the Young Democrats Club were senior Adam Deakin and senior Jake Tamir-Pinsky.

When Sundar-Rajan was asked how questions were chosen, she replied, “We tried to pick issues that high schoolers care about…as opposed to things that don’t affect us.” Each topic was chosen carefully to bring out the representative’s stance on issues that truly affect the students watching the debate.

Questions ranged from Massachusetts ballot questions to questions about the candidates themselves. At the beginning, Thapa focused on ballot questions,  especially ones pertaining to high school students. Candidates agreed on ballots questions two and four but were divided on question three.

Then, Thapa continued to national policies. The representatives were much more divided in this area of the debate. They were divided on policies such as minimum wage and student debt. The representatives didn’t always align with their party’s candidate in this year’s election, but more with the party’s traditional view.

Students from AHS were overall impressed with the performance of the students. Sophomore Savannah Curro said, “I think they did a pretty good job considering that we’re only in high school, and it’s really hard to get up in front of a camera…knowing that your fellow high schoolers are watching you.”

The debate was well organized and well put together. State representative, Sean Garballey, attended the debate and said he was impressed with how each representative performed.

Sophomore Neeraja Deshpande, agrees that the debate was a success and should happen again around upcoming elections.

Flags Wave for Local Heroes

The flags stand tall with each represented hero’s name taped to the post of the flag. Photograph By: Juliana Bird

By: Juliana Bird

On November 1st, 2016 flags were installed on the front lawn of Arlington High School in honors of Veteran’s Day. The Arlington Rotary Club was the organization responsible for mounting the flags. The Workplace Program at AHS, run by Peter Lundstrom and Bill Cronin, worked to put each of the 120 flags up.

Each flag represented who Lundstrom described as, “all the people that make a positive difference in our lives” also known as “a variety of heroes.” Those people include men and women who currently serve in the military, veterans, police, firefighters, first responders, parents, teachers, coaches, mentors, and community leaders in Arlington.

Lundstrom noted that the hope of this project was that “that the rows of American flags flying in the fall breeze will transform the field into a hallowed space to recognize the deceased and thank the living.”

From an outsider’s perspective, the flags are “magical” described a passerby, and “a good reminder of why we should be so thankful.” Lundstrom described the purpose as a “place of contemplation” for some and for others, “a place to run with their children through a sea of red, white and blue.”

The Workplace Program has been working for the Arlington Rotary since 2012. The group has done a number of other community service projects including, “cleaning up and planting flowers around some monuments in town.” Lundstrom believes that, “when one of our students gets to physically be a part of the construction of something important in Arlington that the community can see and enjoy, it makes them feel more “part of” the great town of Arlington.” They will, in addition, take down the flags on November 16th after Veterans day has passed.

These flags honored our veterans and loved ones throughout Arlington for sixteen days, however that love and honor does not cease after the flags have been taken down. In the words of Dr. Janger, “Thank you to Rotary for honoring our veterans” and thank you to the Workplace Program as well.