Former Boston College basketball star leads clinic for girls grades 3 – 12

Sarah Behn, who runs the Sarah Behn basketball camp, came to the Manchester-Essex High School to help girls from grades 3 to 12 with their basketball skills on Sunday Jan. 16. With Sarah and her three counselors, the girls split into four groups, by age, to practice and perfect the basic basketball skills necessary on the court. Throughout the duration of the clinic, skills in agility, ball handling, shooting, and conditioning were all strained for the players. At the end of the clinic Behn reviewed with the girls of what they learned, and then as a final gesture gave out some prizes to those lucky winners before the boys clinic started right after.

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‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part One’ makes for a spectacular, moving installment of ending

As the first half of the finale in the epic Harry Potter saga, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part One,” directed by David Yates, accomplishes its goal of being a thrilling first installment in a pair of movies already proving to be spectacular representations of the book itself.

By Maura Driscoll

INDEPENDENT EDITOR

  As the first half of the finale in the epic Harry Potter saga, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part One,” directed by David Yates, accomplishes its goal of being a thrilling first installment in a pair of movies already proving to be spectacular representations of the book itself.

  Picking up where the last movie, “Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince,” left off, “Part One” starts on a high note, as Harry and members of the Order of the Phoenix hilariously take protective measures, by transforming themselves to all look like Harry himself, to safely transport themselves to the Burrow.

  But their trip is not burden free, as not too long after they all take flight, Death Eaters are upon them, with Lord Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes) at the helm.

  The harrowing escape is just the beginning of the action-packed adventure that main characters Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe), Ron Weasley (Rupert Grint), and Hermione Granger (Emma Watson) go on together in their quest to destroy Lord Voldemort’s seven horcruxes.

  Perhaps the most important quality of the new film is the improvement of the acting. In the past, characters like Harry Potter were portrayed as silly and unbelievable due to the unfortunate acting from actors like Radcliffe, whose weepy reaction to the news of Sirius Black’s escape from Azkaban in the third film was more cringe-worthy than sad.

  However, Radcliffe, Grint, and Watson all step up their game individually with the ability to give moving and phenomenal performances as their characters, with exceptional chemistry.

  Finally, a Harry Potter film with emotion and depth has been made. Most apparent in the relationship between the three main characters, in the adorable yet incredibly frustrating sexual tension between Ron and Hermione, and any scene involving Dobby the house elf, “Part One” conveys a poignant sentiment that was previously unattainable in the film series.

  Though some could argue that the film drags in some spots, as over 100 minutes of it take place in the wilderness with just Harry, Ron, and Hermione present, the cinematography presented is positively breathtaking and makes for an enchanting plunge into the realm of Harry Potter and his world.

  Cliffhanger ending aside, the riveting penultimate to the revered Harry Potter series is one that leaves the viewers satisfied yet craving more.

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Students express understanding of social reform through song

In teacher Jennifer Coleman’s Sophomore American History classes, students were assigned a project where they had to form groups, and write a song of any genre using original lyrics about topics regarding the social reforms of the Second Great Awakening. Students could choose from topics involving temperance, women’s rights, education and the change in care of the mentally ill.

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Hollywood has bad habit of recycling ideas

One would think that with such a creative and evolving culture, it would be possible for Hollywood to come up with new and original ideas for the latest films and movies.

By Maura Driscoll

INDEPENDENT EDITOR

  One would think that with such a creative and evolving culture, it would be possible for Hollywood to come up with new and original ideas for the latest films and movies.

  Instead, Hollywood is relying on previously trademarked ideas of other successful franchises and series and capitalizing on that success by remaking the concepts.

  Undoubtedly, television and movie studios are flooded with potential ideas from Hollywood hopefuls, begging for their crazy proposals to facilitate their big breaks.

  Even if studios choose not to draw new concepts from screenplays or other submitted material, millions of published works exist from which original films and shows can easily be conceived.

  Why is it then so difficult for these entertainment masterminds to find a fresh new idea to make into a movie or television series?

  For example, the first movie directed by Sam Raimi and starring Tobey Maguire in the “Spider-Man” franchise came out in 2002, and by 2007, two more films were made. Now, just three years later, Columbia Pictures has scrapped plans for a fourth Spider-Man film and has opted instead to reboot the series, with an entirely new cast and director, despite the overwhelming success of the previous films.

  How is it possible to reboot a franchise, with a planned release date in 2012, only five years after the last movie was made?

  Obviously, fans won’t be happy about the sudden alterations to their beloved series, and even those who aren’t diehard enthusiasts of the web-slinging superhero will have no choice but to compare every aspect of the new film to the old versions.

  Another ridiculous example of Hollywood’s creative laziness is the fact that a “Mean Girls 2” sequel is about to be released – straight to DVD. Why anyone thought it would be a good idea to create a new version of “Mean Girls,” lacking all the actors that made the original so perfect, is mind boggling.

  This attempted extension of the “Mean Girls” brand is simply a studio’s way of trying to milk the success of its predecessor and to lure in viewers, who are attracted solely because of the title. Its plot is just like any other emotionless bore of a movie about high school girls and their catty drama – is the name “Mean Girls 2” really necessary?

  It’s time for Hollywood to start pooling its imaginative resources and stop creating useless remakes and reboots of old series.

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Student awarded for year’s worth of extensive community service at Beverly Hospital

Sophomore Maggie Lehar received the Beverly Hospital President’s Volunteer Service Award, which included a certificate, a letter from President Barack Obama, and a pin for volunteering 50 hours in one year at Beverly Hospital.

By Caroline Wood

INDEPENDENT STAFF 

 Sophomore Maggie Lehar received the Beverly Hospital President’s Volunteer Service Award, which included a certificate, a letter from President Barack Obama, and a pin for volunteering 50 hours in one year at Beverly Hospital.

  “I volunteered in the Child Development Center and now I am volunteering in Patient Transport,” Lehar said.

  According to Lehar, the atmosphere was friendly; everyone working there was kind and always willing to help.

  While working in the Child Development Center, Lehar found her work very enjoyable.

  “It was like a day care for young children. I basically played with the kids the whole time,” she said.

Lehar is currently volunteering in Patient Transport where she brings patients to different parts of the hospital.

  She said she loves volunteering in Patient Transport because of the enjoyment she gets out of talking with the patients and being able to help them.

  “Volunteering is definitely something I want to continue doing. I have really enjoyed it, and it has been a great experience!” she said.

  Lehar hopes to have a future career as a doctor or medical personnel.

  “I’m not sure exactly what I want to do yet, but I know I want a career in the medical field,” she said.

  According to Lehar, she has attained a great amount of experience from volunteering. “Just the feeling I get knowing what I’m doing is making a difference is awesome, even if it’s just a small one,” she said.

  Lehar’s guidance counselor, Karen D’Amour, said she was “very excited” to hear the news

of Lehar’s award.

    “The true purpose of community service for graduation is to have students learn how to be good citizens and active contributing members of their community, be it local, national, or global. Maggie is certainly very deserving of this award and sets a wonderful example to others,”she said.

  D’Amour noted that the majority of high school students “not only meet the 40-hour community service requirement but exceed the requirement.”

  “This is the case with Maggie Lehar and a number of our other students. In fact, some of our seniors have completed over 100 hours of community service,” she said.

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Alex Walder dives for Manchester Essex at swim meet

Manchester Essex High School Swim Team had their first swim meet with the diving team.  Alex Walder is the only member and is the captain of the diving team. The meet was against Lynnfield High School and took place in the Lynnfield Pool.

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Band and Chorus perform for the high school

On Thursday, December 23rd, 2010, high school students gathered in the auditorium for the annual Christmas vacation music assembly. The high school chorus first took the stage to sing in their final concert of the year. After the chorus sang, the a cappella group Sound Waves sang favorites like “Bad Romance” by Lady Gaga and “Can You Feel the Love Tonight”. The high school band then played their holiday set list for their last performance of 2010.

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Four students to perform in District Festival after auditions

Four Manchester-Essex students were selected out of 1,110 to represent the school in the Massachusetts Northeastern District Music Festival on Nov. 20.

By Caroline Wood

INDEPENDENT STAFF

  Four Manchester-Essex students were selected out of 1,110 to represent the school in the Massachusetts Northeastern District Music Festival on Nov. 20.

  According to the official press release of the Massachusetts Music Educators’ Association, Inc., more than 50 public and private schools sent musicians to audition and 450 students from grades 9-12 were selected to participate in the Festival Concert.

  “Thirteen students auditioned for Districts this year nine were vocalists, and four were band members,” choral director Donna O’Neill said.

  The students participating in the Festival Chorus are senior Piper Browne, senior Connor Hoff, sophomore Ian Gillis, and sophomore Leanne Ciccone. Both Browne and Gillis were additionally recommended for All-State.

  “Congratulations to the four who made it and special acknowledgements to Ian and Piper for their All-State Recommendation,” O’Neill said.

  The All-State Auditions will be held at the end of January, according to O’Neill.

  The remaining students who auditioned were freshman Molly McCoy, freshman Alexandra Valenti, sophomore Loyd Waites, freshman Noah Gilbert, junior Morgan Kennedy, junior Savannah Repucci, junior Caroline Wood, junior Emmett Snyder, and junior Erik Keefe.

  “I am so proud of all the students who auditioned. They showed a tremendous amount of dedication and hard work,” O’Neill said.

  The waiting room was where everyone warmed up. “I was very nervous looking at everyone else and listening to them singing, but it was important to keep your confidence and not psych yourself out,” Ciccone said.

  Each school had an assigned number and when, the number was called with a certain voice or instrument part. At that time, the students would wait in line for their turn.

  Junior Savannah Repucci said waiting was extremely nerve-wracking and a bit intimidating.

  Soon after, the students went into a classroom alone with an adjudicator, sang their prepared song, and performed a few measures of sight singing. As students said the sight singing was the hardest part.

  “It was hard because you can’t memorize anything specific, but luckily Ms. O’Neill had helped us to prepare for that,” Ciccone said.

  Although not all 13 students were selected for Districts, most had high scores that just missed the cutoff.

  “I thought it was a great experience, and I’m definitely planning on trying again next year,” Repucci said.

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Art teachers generate visual, performing arts website

High school art department members worked to make a new visual and performing arts website that showcases student artwork.

 By Laurel Edington

INDEPENDENT EDITOR

  High school art department members worked to make a new visual and performing arts website that showcases student artwork.

  Art teacher Caroline Epp was the main creator of the website, www.thearts.mersd.org.

  “I took everything I had and put it all in one place,” she said. “It’s another place to display student work. It shows the community what is going on. We wanted to be a school in the digital [online] discussion.”

  She works on the website while other teachers send her information and photographs to include.

  The website uses both pictures and documents to explain what is happening in the arts department.

  “Within any department, often people outside the department don’t know what goes on within that department. There are a lot of things going on in the arts, so we’re able to highlight and let the community and the people within the school be abreast with everything that is happening,” art teacher Marion Powers said.

  Community members are able to learn about the art department through the website.

  “It’s nice that the site can also let the community see what the school and students are doing in the art department,” senior photography student Maggie Cellucci said.

  The website also includes the performing arts, such as drama, band, and chorus.

  Drama director Gloria Tanner said she hopes “that it creates buzz–that it demystifies what we are doing and inspires more kids to get involved because they can see what we’re doing. It gives kids credit for their work.”

  Not only does it provide examples of artwork, but the website also has information about each class.

  Epp said she included course descriptions and curriculum documents on the website.

  The website incorporates information about the elementary, middle, and high school.

  There is information and student work for each level of the school system—kindergarten through fifth grade, the middle school, and the high school, Epp said.

  Powers, Epp, and art teacher Tamera Burns worked on the website during a professional development day.

  They looked at sites from other schools, such as Ipswich and Marblehead for inspiration, Epp said.

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Students deserve grade rounding

With the majority of students working rigorously to obtain respectable grades, the fact that teachers are no longer able to round a student’s grade if he/she is a tenth of a point away from a higher grade is somewhat harsh.

STAFF EDITORIAL

  With the majority of students working rigorously to obtain respectable grades, the fact that teachers are no longer able to round a student’s grade if he/she is a tenth of a point away from a higher grade is somewhat harsh.

  According to Principal James Lee, the grading policy changed due to an inconsistency in the way teachers were grading.

  “Some people would round while some wouldn’t round, and in essence, there was a gap between 89 and 90 for instance. There was no grade assigned to the values between 89 and 90, so all we did was close the gap,” he said.

As a result of closing the gap, the grade needed to obtain a B, B+, A-, etc. was increased by .5.

  While keeping uniformity with the way teachers grade is completely logical, rounding should still be allowed if students now have to earn .5 points higher than last year in order to obtain a desired letter grade.

  For example, if a student were .2 points away from an A-, these .2 points below could have easily been lost simply by getting a couple of test questions wrong that may have been unfair, passing in homework a day late and receiving a 0, or answering an open-response test question in a way that was not exactly compatible with what the teacher was looking for.

  Teachers ultimately can assign any grade they want, so in theory, teachers could override the grading program and give a different grade, but this is not encouraged, according to Lee.

  Even though rounding is technically not allowed, it should be permitted to diligent students.

  The fact that students who are often doing more than what is asked of them receive a B+ because they are a tenth of a point away from an A- is unfair; rounding should be awarded to those who show ambition and integrity.

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