Advertisement of love through tattoos ends up foolish, ridiculous

Despite all the love that Susie may feel for Johnny now, it is just plain foolish to ignore the possibility that it won’t last forever. Clearly, Susie’s choice to permanently ink her body with a heinous tattoo proclaiming her love for Johnny after only knowing him for just under a year is absolutely ridiculous.

By Maura Driscoll

 INDEPENDENT EDITOR

  Despite all the love that Susie may feel for Johnny now, it is just plain foolish to ignore the possibility that it won’t last forever. Clearly, Susie’s choice to permanently ink her body with a heinous tattoo proclaiming her love for Johnny after only knowing him for just under a year is absolutely ridiculous.

  How does one know that his or her once passionate love affair won’t crash and burn within just a few months? And when it does, how will he or she cope with having a painful reminder of what once was, on top of mending his or her broken heart?

  This firm stance on tattoos with the names or faces of boyfriends, girlfriends, husbands, or wives does not extend to the idea of tattoos in general. In fact, I happen to be a major advocate of tattoos. I believe that some things truly are worth having on one’s body for the rest of his or her life.

  As a matter of fact, not all names or faces used as tattoos are necessarily reprehensible, either. For example, people often view inking oneself with the name or picture of a lost loved one as, rather than foolish and ridiculous, sweet and endearing.

  Granted, there are always exceptions to the rule. I’m not narrow-minded enough to think that there are absolutely no relationships that exist in which love will be lost and tattoos will be regretted, but it’s always better to be safe than sorry.

  Some may call me pessimistic, unable to accept that perhaps some people are so truly in love that it is entirely appropriate to tattoo themselves with the name of their significant other, but I prefer to view myself as a realist.

  Forgive me for believing that only in fairytales does everything work out for the best, and that there is plenty of time in one’s life to have regrets.

  It’s impossible to know that you will be with that special person forever, as things are constantly changing, and feelings for another person are no exception.

  Why risk the grief of potentially regretting a tattoo that just serves as a reminder of your possibly unlucky past?

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Ski team has strong showing mid-season

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Word change in ‘Hucklebery Finn’ subtracts from meaning of literary classic

The fine line between constructive adjustment and deleterious alteration has always been a controversial and much debated one in the publishing world.

STAFF EDITORIAL

  The fine line between constructive adjustment and deleterious alteration has always been a controversial and much debated one in the publishing world.

  That said, the debate over the consequences of manipulating original text is brought to a head when such alterations are directed at an American literary classics such as Mark Twain’s “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.”

  The issue was brought to the public’s attention most recently by Louisiana-based publishing company NewSouth Books, when they announced their plans to replace the N-word with “slave” and “Injun” with “Indian” in future publications of “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.”

  Supporters of the change argue that the insensitive implications of both words interfere with the accessibility of the story in American school systems, as their presence has resulted in the book’s banning in numerous academic communities.

  Regardless of the word’s controversial associations, however, the connotations and meaning they add to the story are an essential part of the plot’s core revelation when depicting Jim, an African American slave fighting for freedom in the heavily segregated region of the American South.

  Today, censoring is often accepted as a necessary tool to appropriate specific aspects of society to a diverse demographic.

  The prudence of such alterations must be questioned, however, when their instigation alters the central message or purpose of a work.

  English department head and Mark Twain scholar at Auburn University at Montgomery, Alan Gribben, who was inspired by the amount of teachers confessing they were unable to incorporate the book into their curriculum because of its “offensive” language, will oversee the change.

  Gribben defends the alterations, which he knew would be received with mixed reviews, saying, “This is not an effort to render ‘Tom Sawyer’ and ‘Huckleberry Finn’ colorblind…Race matters in these books. It’s a matter of how you express that in the 21st century.”

  The company plans to have the edited edition of “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” in circulation in the American market by February 2011.

  Such alteration of original text, and ultimately, the intended purpose, is unnecessary and unjustified, especially when only done in order to increase its accessibility for a few conservative school districts.

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ASR students present research from summer internships

Members of the Authentic Science Research class have recently been giving presentations on the work they did at their internships last summer.

By Caroline Wood

INDEPENDENT STAFF

  Members of the Authentic Science Research class have recently been giving presentations on the work they did at their internships last summer.

  According to ASR and biology teacher Dr. Maria Burgess, students participated in a variety of research-oriented internships.

  “The students spend the first quarter and a half really looking hard for their internships.” she said. “They pick an area of interest that they are interested in research-wise; they research it to understand the topic better, and then they look for internships where people are doing research in that area, locally.”

  According to Burgess, internships last summer included cancer studies, tissue engineering of blood vessels, protein binding, and emotion regulation in kids.

  Senior ASR student Laurel Edington, who interned in the Oncology Department at Massachusetts General Hospital, was able to go to meetings with doctors, watch a bone marrow harvest, and watch a bone marrow biopsy.

  “The work I did was more clinical,” Edington said. “I entered data into a database that collected information about patients with acute leukemia.”

  Senior Kyle Marsh interned in the Jackson Building of Massachusetts General Hospital with mentor Dr. David Sweetser, a pediatric oncologist.

  “Our lab looked at a specific type of leukemia called acute myeloid leukemia,” Marsh said. “I tested one specific gene in about 41 samples called CKIT gene to see if it was a cause of AML.”

  The research that Marsh and her mentor conducted will be published, and Marsh will be listed as an author.

  These internships are a critical component to the ASR class, according to Burgess. The students have the opportunity to get insight into the different kinds of thinking required to do research, to see how scientists think, and to start participating in that way of thinking.

  “This experience will help me pursue a career in science. It taught me responsibility and independence,” Marsh said.

  The school will have posters around the school advertising the seminars, which will be given during A block for any interested students, faculty, or community members who want to attend.

  “We have had such an independently motivated group of kids this year,” Burgess said. “This experience has given them the confidence to go for something and really succeed.”

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‘Black Swan’ unnerves with complex plot, creepy characters

From the opening scene to the finale, one thing about Darren Aronofsky’s movie “Black Swan” is clear: it isn’t your average thriller.

By Kaitlin McDonagh

INDPENDENT EDITOR

  From the opening scene to the finale, one thing about Darren Aronofsky’s movie “Black Swan” is clear: it isn’t your average thriller.

  Based loosely on the ballet “Swan Lake,” the plot follows the life of Nina Sayers (Natalie Portman), a young, beautiful ballerina who desperately wants the part of the Swan Queen in her New York ballet company’s production. In order to do this, Nina must dance the part of the White Swan and Black Swan, two completely different roles.

  Everything about her perfectly fits the role of the White Swan; she is timid, fragile, innocent, and her dances are perfectly coordinated. Yet in order to land the role, she must also embody the seductive, wild Black Swan, a dark role in which Nina has no experience.

  After managing to convince her director, Thomas Leroy (Vincent Cassel), that she has a sinister side to her, Nina lands the part. As the movie progresses, the audience slowly learns just how twisted that part of her is.

  As Nina becomes more and more invested in her role, she begins to hallucinate violently and imagine scenarios that never happened. She becomes paranoid, believing fellow ballerina Lily (Mila Kunis) is out to sabotage her and steal her part.

  Portman plays her role perfectly; she embodies not only the insanity affecting Nina, but also the personalities of the White Swan and Black Swan. Throughout the movie she completely changes, morphing from an innocent, timid girl to a dark, warped woman.

  The changes taking place in Nina represent the differences in the White and Black Queens; Nina becomes so obsessed with perfecting her role that her personality mirrors it.

  Not only is the main character dark, but the aspects of the filming and scenes play a large role in the disturbing atmosphere. There are no warm colors; every scene has a gray overtone, and the only light colors depicted are on Nina’s clothes, which are primarily light pink, white, and light gray.

  The music and sound effects also play a part in creating a creepy tone. While the music of “Swan Lake” climaxes as the tension in the scenes increase, often the lack of music is what adds to the suspenseful effect the most.

  Often in thrillers, the trepidation that builds in the music lets the viewers know when to shield their eyes from a frightening scene. In “Black Swan,” there is no music to act as a warning. The only clue is the sound of rustling feathers, which is frequently disregarded because it lasts for only a couple seconds.

  The filming is imprecise and often frenetic, adding to the creepy, slightly schizophrenic atmosphere the movie takes on. When a violent image is about to appear, there is no warning as there often are in thrillers.

  The multiple, complex layers of “Black Swan” leave no way to escape confusion; the film’s deeper meanings can only be reached by slowly sorting through each chilling, evocative scene.

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Ski Team starts strong, looking forward to rest of season

With a combined boys’ and girls’ record of 3-11, the ski team is already exceeding expectations during its first season at varsity level, according to coach Chris Ahearn.

By Morgan Kennedy

INDEPENDENT STAFF

  With a combined boys’ and girls’ record of 3-11, the ski team is already exceeding expectations during its first season at varsity level, according to coach Chris Ahearn. 

  “It’s great to have three wins already. We’re proving that we’re not only a varsity team but a winning varsity team,” he said.

  Previously a JV program, the ski team entered its second year as a high school sport and its first year as a varsity team this January.

  According to Ahearn, the team practices four days a week at Bradford Mountain, where their races are also held. The team began practicing on the mountain earlier this season to better prepare new and returning members for this year’s races.

  Junior Andrew Randall is enjoying the start of the season.

  “It’s been great so far, challenging, but exciting,” he said.

  According to Ahearn, racers are scored on a point system from 16-2. The top15 racers earn points for their teams. The fastest racer receives 16 points; the second fastest racer receives 15 points, etc. The team with the highest score wins the race. Racers are also scored individually and can earn up to 25 points per race. Individual scores are used to determine which racers are eligible for States.

  Sophomore Brian McAuliff said the team faced a challenge during their race on Jan. 26.

  “The course was brutal, and the snow was less than favorable; but it helped seeing a more difficult course, because now I will feel more comfortable on the easier ones,” he said.

  According to Ahearn, a goal for the boys’ team is to finish in the top three in the North Shore Ski League. They are currently tied with Masconomet for third place. A goal for the girls is to send a team to the state competition.

  The top 12 racers go to States, and three girls constitute a team. Currently in the top 12 are senior captain Molly Friedman, sophomore Megan Jones, and eighth-grader Alex Marshall.

  “If we can keep all three girls in the top 12, we would be able to compete at States, which would be huge for us. They are all very capable and talented racers,” Ahearn said.

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Students fearful of colleges unfairly checking Facebook profiles

As if the college application process is not stressful enough already, a new cause for concern has arisen among students.

By Morgan Kennedy

INDEPENDENT STAFF

  As if the college application process is not stressful enough already, a new cause for concern has arisen among students.

  Recently, college admissions counselors have checked the Facebook profiles of prospective students when a question arises on some aspect of an application.

  In an article from a recent issue of Teen Vogue, Amy Greenwald Foley, associate director of admissions at the University of Delaware, confirmed that the university has used Facebook to check the validity of students’ accomplishments.

  According to Foley, an admissions officer decided to check the Facebook profile of a student for proof of an activity mentioned in an interview. While on the student’s page, the admissions officer encountered photos of the student drinking at a party and immediately denied him the full-ride scholarship he was being considered for.

  Although posting inappropriate photos on the Internet is a major mistake on the part of students, it is not the job of admissions officers to snoop around students’ profiles and make radical decisions based off of information they were never intended to see.

  The recent fear of having their profiles viewed has caused some students to change the name on their page to prevent from being found by admissions officers, a sure sign that admissions departments are encroaching on students’ privacy.

  According to senior Piper Browne, this is also a burden, as it is sometimes difficult to switch back to the original name on a profile once it has been changed.

  Photos, videos, and other information on Facebook seen by admissions counselors are often viewed out of context and interpreted in an inaccurate manner.

  Is it fair for a student to lose a well-deserved opportunity based on a forgotten photo a friend posted two years ago?

  If a college has reason to question the validity of an application, the only fair option is to contact the school and family of the student in question and receive both sides of the story before making any rash decisions.

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Graduates tell of success in journalism

Former editors-in-chief Emily Browne (class of 2003) and Nick Brancaleone (class of 2005) came to speak to The Independent staff to discuss their collegiate and professional experiences in journalism.

By Kyle Marsh

INDEPENDENT STAFF

  Former editors-in-chief Emily Browne (class of 2003) and Nick Brancaleone (class of 2005) came to speak to The Independent staff to discuss their collegiate and professional experiences in journalism.

  According to journalism teacher Mary Buckley-Harmon, she invited the graduates so the journalism students could see the relevance of journalism and English skills after high school.

  Browne attended Northwestern University in Chicago, where she majored in magazine journalism.

  After graduating, she worked as a press assistant for a politician in Washington D.C, for the attorney general of New York City, and on a political campaign in Manchester, N.H.

  She is now living in New York City, working for Sunshine, Sachs & Associates, a public relations firm that represents actors such as Ben Affleck and Demi Lovato, according to her sister, senior Piper Browne.

  Brancaleone had a different experience. After graduating from high school with “three great years of journalism,” he attended Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University, where he majored in public relations and minored in business.

  After graduating, he worked at Holmen Public Relations in New York City, which was a very “cut-throat environment. You are really thrown into it, and you have to shine, or you are thrown out,” he said.

  Currently, he is working at a fishing cooperative stationed in Gloucester. Brancaleone said he is considering getting his MBA or moving on to a “normal” business environment.

  Both Browne and Brancaleone credit much of their success to their high school journalism class.

  “AP courses and journalism were very helpful. You know how to construct a sentence, and your professors will be impressed by you right away,” Brancaleone said.

  He credited his editing, interviewing, and basic writing skills to his high school English and journalism classes.

  Browne shared similar thoughts.

  “Nothing has helped me more than writing skills. A lot of people don’t have them. I can communicate and get what I want so much better,” she said.

  Students in the journalism class were thankful for the experience.

  “I thought it was really great to get their perspective, after having done exactly what we do and taken their skills beyond the classroom. It was also beneficial to ask them specific questions about their college experience with journalism, if they chose to pursue it, and their jobs after graduation,” senior Maura Driscoll said.

  “I thought it was really beneficial because I never really realized how journalism affects not only communication careers, but many other writing classes in college,” junior Ellen Burgess said.

Buckley-Harmon also found the talk helpful for the students.

  “They said everything I would have scripted for them. It really shows how the skills that they use in high school apply to their jobs – whether it be speaking, listening, writing, or simply treating people well,” she said.

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HS thespians rehearse for Drama Fest

Drama Fest is a competition hosted every year for multiple Massachusetts schools. Last year’s annual contest was hosted at Ipswich High School and this year the privilege of hosting it goes to Manchester Essex Regional High School. MERHS is hosting 7 different schools; Salem, Lynnfield, Malden, Melrose, Peabody, Gloucester, and Wellesley.

The Complete History of America (abridged) is the club’s Drama Festival competition piece which will be performed at preliminaries, Saturday, March 5, at 10 am in the MERHS auditorium.

The full festival falls on Saturday March 5, from 9am to about 9pm.

 The drama department urges you to come and enjoy the show!

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Ceramics students visited new wing of Museum of Fine Arts

Thirty-eight ceramics students and four chaperones traveled to the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston for an art-oriented field trip on January 11. The trip focused on ceramics and works from the Cape Ann area in addition to other highlights of the new galleries.

By Nick Bouwer

INDPENDENT EDITOR

  Thirty-eight ceramics students and four chaperones traveled to the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston for an art-oriented field trip on January 11. The trip focused on ceramics and works from the Cape Ann area in addition to other highlights of the new galleries.

  According to ceramics teacher Tamera Burns, students were taken on a tour of the newly opened Wing of the Americas.

   “The major focus of the tour was beyond the new wing. It was a focus on ceramics to help educate students on the art form in general and give them a chance to observe different types of work dating back from before the discovery of America to works of modern artists of today. I think it’s a world-class museum, and the trip was incredibly good,” Burns said.

  Ceramics student senior Aidan Ostrowski liked the trip.

  “I think we learned a lot, and I’m looking forward to the next field trip we take there. It’s definitely important for students like us to witness work like that and learn from the masters,” Ostrowski said.

  According to senior Matt Bouwer, the collection of classic Mayan ceramics from outside Guatemala were favorites of the classes.

  “I think a lot of people liked the works featured in that exhibit because they were beautifully done and a marvel to look at. I certainly learned a lot from them and felt they were a great benefit to see in comparison to my own work,” Bouwer said.

  The museum opened the new wing last November and is solely dedicated to exhibiting American fine art from its early beginnings to present day.

  On its opening day alone, the Museum hosted a free full day event which welcomed approximately 14,000 visitors. 

  Among the highlights of the many pieces featured in the exhibit are a collection of classic Mayan ceramics from outside Guatemala, a collection of colonial New England furniture, silver, and portraits; and a collection of Winslow Homer paintings.

  The $345 million expansion and renovation adds 49 new galleries that display more than 5,000 objects, twice the number of American works that the museum had on view.

  The exhibit begins in the wing’s basement with the Americas before Christopher Columbus, then climbs three stories through revolutionary Boston to 19th-century manifest destiny landscapes to the abstract existential paintings and works of the past century.

  The Museum has also integrated technology into the exhibit, using flat screens to greet visitors at every level and to introduce what is held on each floor.

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