Chorus, band concert draws crowd

The high school band, chorus, and The Soundwaves performed at their annual Spring Concert on April 14. This was the last concert for the seniors participating in the music program, so they received special recognition from their classmates and teachers during the concert […]

The high school band, chorus, and The Soundwaves performed at their annual Spring Concert on April 14. This was the last concert for the seniors participating in the music program, so they received special recognition from their classmates and teachers during the concert. The chorus performed first, singing “Down to the River to Pray,” “There Will Be Rest,” and “Let the River Run.” They were followed by The Soundwaves, who performed “No Rain,” “Lullabye (Goodnight, My Angel),” and “Africa.” After a brief break meant for setup, the band performed, beginning their show with “Oh Canada,” followed by “The Star Spangled Banner.”

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College process should start earlier

With the May 1 deadline rapidly approaching for seniors’ final decision on which school to attend next year, many are still waiting to hear from top choices or deciding between multiple schools. Most would not be in this position had they started the college process sooner.

STAFF EDITORIAL

  With the May 1 deadline rapidly approaching for seniors’ final decision on which school to attend next year, many are still waiting to hear from top choices or deciding between multiple schools. Most would not be in this position had they started the college process sooner.

  According to guidance counselor Sharon Maguire, freshmen and sophomores are introduced to their Naviance account and provided with personality and interest surveys to see what types of careers they would be compatible with. Some students choose to begin to discuss secondary planning, such as college.

“While we do introduce the topic of college, we are aware that we don’t want to present this to stress or worry our students. We want them to enjoy their high school time and get involved in activities that they’re interested in,” she said.

  Starting to figure out where one might be interested in applying is an intimidating task for freshmen or sophomores, but the more familiar they are with different schools and what factors students should look for, the easier the process will be during junior and senior year.

  Underclassmen should have at least a few meetings with a guidance counselor to discuss not only types of colleges they are interested in, but also to establish academic goals.

  Students will have a better chance at getting into reach schools if they know what grades they will need for all four years of high school. This will inspire them to work harder and help them choose what level of classes and number of APs they want to take as upperclassmen.  

  Guidance gives great tools to students through Naviance, but the intimidation of the process makes students wait until junior year to start looking at schools.

  Current seniors should be brought in to talk to underclassmen about strategies for searching for colleges. The process is fresh in seniors’ minds, and underclassmen need specific tasks they can do to start figuring out what schools they might be interested in. Merely signing up for Naviance is not enough.

  Some students take initiative and start the process early. Others blow it off until the application deadlines arrive. The ones who need help are those who want to start looking but are not sure how.

Increased guidance interaction during freshman and sophomore year will largely benefit these students and reduce stress later throughout the application process.

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Boys invite dates to prom in innovative, unique ways

Although prom is still two months away, boys began to ask their dates far in advance – and in extremely creative, cute ways.

By Kyle Marsh

INDEPENDENT EDITOR

  Although prom is still two months away, boys began to ask their dates far in advance – and in extremely creative, cute ways.

  Every year students attempt to find interesting ways to ask their special someone to the prom, but this year, students are creating elaborate, even time-consuming plans to ask others to prom.

  Junior Casey Weld was of the first to ask his desired date to the dance. In order to ask senior Olivia Colpoys, he had to involve the school administration.

  According to Colpoys, she was in AP Government when she was called down to the main office.

  “Mrs. Lumsden was there and quietly said to me that I needed to go to the auditorium to see Mr. Lee. I was really confused. Then I walked in and the first thing I saw on the projector was ‘Will you go to prom with me?’ and I saw Casey with flowers and gave him a big hug,” she said.

  In order to ask his senior girlfriend Rachel Jones, senior Alex Ray created a scheme that also involved advanced planning.

  According to Jones, she was on her way home from the gym when she started to see eight different signs on Route 133. The first said “Rachel Jones,” the next, “will,” until the signs put together said, “Rachel Jones will you go to prom with me?”

  “I held the last sign in her driveway with a rose. She was so excited and very, very happy,” Ray said.

  Senior Alex Porter asked his girlfriend, junior Caroline Bernier, in an equally creative way.

  According to Bernier, Porter asked her to go to Friendly’s for dinner. In the fence on the bridge over Route 128, Porter placed red plastic cups that spelled out “Prom?”

  “The bar was set really high after Casey asked Olivia. I think that pushed Alex to get creative, and he did really well; I loved it,” Bernier said.

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Prepare your closet with spring fashion trends

Spring is in the air, and it’s not only the tulips that are in bloom but also the new spring fashion trends.

By Molly Friedman

INDEPENDENT EDITOR

 Spring is in the air, and it’s not only the tulips that are in bloom but also the new spring fashion trends.

It’s time for everyone to come out of their winter hibernation of sweatpants, jeans, UGGS, and winter jackets and transition to a more “springy” wardrobe.

  This season has been struck with a multitude of new trends including flowy dresses, sandals, shorts, bright colors, and fun accessories.  These new fads have taken over fashion websites and blogs in preparation for the spring lines.

A dress is a great way to put together a simple cute outfit in a hurry. Delias has a great purple ruffle dress for $44.50 that is included in their Tropical Paradise spring line. Pair it with some earrings, a layered necklace, and a pair of strappy sandals and you’re set for a day out under the spring sun.

  It’s time to let your body remember what it feels like to be warm and show some skin, but not too much!

  After spending endless hours in winter boots and slippers, our feet deserve to have some air and breathe. Gladiator sandals, flip flops, and wedges are all great options and can be used both during the day and at night.

  Urban Outfitters has a wide shoe selection ranging from sandals and heels to boots and sneakers. A nude color shoe is a necessity to any closet because it goes with every color and can be dressed up or down. Their Cooperative Canvas Strap Wedge, $48, is the right amount of height and comes in orange, nude, and black.

  No one wants to have their ghastly white winter legs forever, so invest in a pair of high waisted jean shorts from Free People for $117 and pastel chino shorts from J.Crew for $49.50 to allow some sun to color your skin.

  Hide your blacks and grays in the back of your closet and make room for your pastels and bright colored clothes. Spring is when everything is in bloom, so why not make yourself pop with a bright striped shirt for $45.90 from Zara and a cute pair of sunglasses?

  Accessories add to any outfit and can sometimes be the missing link needed to complete the look. Take a simple tank top and jeans look and add a statement necklace to make it come together.

  Anthropologie has a great selection of necklaces and bracelets ranging in price and styles. Their nuances necklace, $48, is a bold statement that can stand alone on top of a tank top or paired with a strapless dress.

  Break out your bags, sunglasses, and fedoras because spring is here and it’s time to get warm!

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VIDEO: Class of 2014 visits Middleton Jail

Each year the freshmen visit the Essex County Correctional Facility to learn about the consequences of bad decisions. In the past, seniors would visit the jail, but the school administration decided that it would be more beneficial for students to go at a younger age.

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Drama Club members achieve a year of firsts at Drama Festival

For the first time in Manchester Essex history, the Drama Club advanced to and won State Finals in the Massachusetts Educational Theater Guild Drama Festival with its performance of “The Complete History of America (Abridged).”

By Piper Browne

INDEPENDENT STAFF

  For the first time in Manchester Essex history, the Drama Club advanced to and won State Finals in the Massachusetts Educational Theater Guild Drama Festival with its performance of “The Complete History of America (Abridged).”

  After hosting the preliminary round, the club advanced onto semi-finals. “Although I had already advanced to semi-finals my sophomore year, the fact that we were moving on my senior year made it that much more special,” senior Drama Club president Maura Driscoll said.

  Although the group was very confident in their show, according to co director Gloria Tanner, when they announced their show was moving on to the state finals, Tanner and the group did not believe it. Part of their amazement was due to the fact that for the first time in 27 years, the third time in history, St. John’s Preparatory School did not advance to States.

  “We always assume that St. John’s is going to do very well, so the fact that we moved on and they did not was an amazing achievement for us,” Driscoll said.

  The club traveled to the State Finals on March 31 to April 2. “States was incredible. The whole experience was so amazing from seeing all the different shows, to hanging out with our Hamilton-Wenham friends, to staying at the Copley Marriot Hotel,” junior actress Morgan Kennedy said.

  The cast and crew were even more astounded when their name was called first at the award ceremony. “I was stunned. It was magical. I still don’t quite believe it…not that we didn’t deserve to win, but it is an amazing thing,” Tanner said.

  “I mean, the decision is up to three judges, and it is all about who brings it. Our set wasn’t as large or amazing as the other schools, but our work showed in our acting and clearly the judges saw that,” she added.

  Not only did the club win the state championships, but a few members also won awards.  In the preliminary round, Driscoll, Kennedy, and senior Connor Hoff won awards for their outstanding acting performance. During semis, Driscoll, Kennedy, and Hoff won acting awards again; freshman Charlie Hoff won an award for excellence in lighting design, and junior Ian Gillis won for his violin playing and acting. In finals, Driscoll, Kennedy, and juniors Matt Corwin and Katerina Eichenberger won outstanding acting awards.

  The Drama Club consists of 31 members, including actors and tech crew. “The actors get all the praise, but the people who aren’t seen are just as important. They are the ones who keep the show moving and who keep it together,” Tanner said.

  The next round, which is non-competitive, is New Englands. The event will be held at Andover High School from April 16-18. Finalists from each state competition advance to perform with the finalists from other New England states. It  is not necessary to go even if a school wins States, but the cast and crew will be traveling to Andover this year, according to Driscoll.

  “Winning the entire competition still doesn’t even feel real. I can’t even describe how ecstatic I am with our performance and how proud of our cast and crew I am,” she said.

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Soothe, prevent chapped lips during dry weather

Chelitis, also known as chapped lips, is a commonly complained about nuisance. What causes chapped lips? How can you fix it? What are the best products to temporarily solve a life long struggle with dry lips?

By Nabila Mahmud

INDEPENDENT EDITOR

  Chelitis, also known as chapped lips, is a commonly complained about nuisance. What causes chapped lips?  How can you fix it? What are the best products to temporarily solve a life long struggle with dry lips?

  Before you decide to invest in a new lip balm, take a look into why dry lips occur and how you can prevent the problem.

  Contrary to popular belief, chapped lips are not just a result of chilly weather and crisp winds. This condition stems off of a deeper issue rooted in dehydration. Lips become dry from dehydration which leads to painful cracking and peeling.

    Commonly used products to solve the cracked lips problem include lip balms. Typically, when people do not have lip balm, the reaction is to lick your lips and saturate them in your saliva.

  Licking your lips is the worst thing you can do when suffering from cracked lips. The moisture in saliva is transferred onto the lips and proceeds to evaporate which further dries the lips.

  So what are the best products to use? If you do not mind the honey, eucalyptus smell, Burt’s Beeswax is the prime choice for you. Burt’s Beeswax has numerous different colored tints, shines, and flavors including clear to cater to each man or woman’s needs while still moisturizing lips. Normally, the price range is $3-10.

  If you do not desire a shine or if you are a boy then a fantastic choice for you is Carmex, typically $20-10. The balm hydrates lips without adding a girly shine.

  Another lip quenching balm is Neutrogena’s balm which is typically on sale for $8.99. Neutrogena’s product leaves the lips moist without constant application.

  The worst, but surprisingly popular, lip balm you can use is SoftLips which range from $2-10. The narrow shaped applicator requires numerous applications to cover the full surface of the lips. The coated balm moisturizes the lips for an extremely limited time. The attractive exterior distracts from the quality of the actual balm which is unable to satisfy chapped lips.

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‘The Source Code’ captivates, intrigues audience, elicits wide variety of emotions

Many people dream of being able to go back in time to fix a formerly bad situation. In “The Source Code,” this is Captain Colter Stevens’ (Jake Gyllenhaal) assignment.

By Melissa Moore

INDEPENDENT EDITOR

  Many people dream of being able to go back in time to fix a formerly bad situation.  In “The Source Code,” this is Captain Colter Stevens’ (Jake Gyllenhaal) assignment.

  Stevens wakes up on a train in the body of an unknown man.  He does not know who he is or how he got there.  Eight minutes later, the train blows up.  He then finds himself strapped in a capsule with a woman talking to him.

  The captain is a part of a new government program called the source code.  It allows people to go back and live the last eight minutes of a person’s life. Stevens’ job is to identify the bomber of the train, since this man is known to be plotting a much larger-scale bombing in downtown Chicago.

  Through trips back and forth Stevens must gather the clues necessary to determine the assassin.

  While on the train, the captain meets many characters, including a woman named Christina Warren (Michelle Monaghan), to whom he gets very close over his many eight-minute visits. 

  “The Source Code’s” soundtrack keeps the movie going and draws viewers into the movie, and the music beautifully parallels the events.

  All the actors play their roles commendably with few to no lapses in the credibility of the characters.  Each person seems genuine and stays true to his or her persona. 

  The script was well-written.  Despite the impossibility of the situation ever occurring, realistic lines make the characters come alive.

  Gyllenhaal, Monaghan, and Vera Farmiga (playing Colleen Goodwin) excel in their acting, supporting each other and making the movie both believable and intriguing.

  Through unexpected twists and turns of the plot, viewers are incapable of guessing what might happen next.  Once the mystery of “The Source Code” unfolds, one will want to see the movie again to fully understand it and pick up on nuances that may have originally been missed.

  “The Source Code” is rated PG-13 for violence and language.

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6th grade art first to be displayed in art show

Art from each grade, starting with 6th, will be presented throughout the high school for parents and family to come and enjoy. Caroline Epp, who teaches art, photography, and printmaking, uses her own time to tack and staple all of the children’s best works of art to display boards […]

Art from each grade, starting with 6th, will be presented throughout the high school for parents and family to come and enjoy.  Caroline Epp, who teaches art, photography, and printmaking, uses her own time to tack and staple all of the children’s best works of art to display boards. Below is the schedule for the variety of art shows in the next few weeks:

4/11 – 4/15         6th grade

4/25 – 4/29         7th grade

5/2 – 5/6              8th grade

5/9 – 5/13            Photography

5/16 – 5/20         Ceramics, Printmaking, & Graphic design

5/23 – 5/27         Art foundations, Drawing, Painting, Portfolio, & AP Art

5/31 – 6/10         Senior advanced student showcase

In previous years the art shows were one big, combined show located in the gym of the old school. This was possible because the art department had a large amount of standing cardboard used to display art on both sides. Unfortunately, the cardboard was damaged on its way over to the new school. Soon after this dilemma occurred, there was a large donation of cardboard; Last year the it was used to display all of the art in one single show. Once again, the cardboard became unusable, so the National Art Honor Society created beautiful new tack boards to display the art. Epp says that in the future, she would like to return to how the art shows were put on in the past.

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New sustainability course connects students with community

A new pilot course titled “Green Scholars” is immersing students in the logistics of sustainability while they interact with the community. Founded by curriculum director Scott Morrison and Green Team founder Eric Magers, the honors level class assigns different projects to each student.

By Nabila Mahmud

INDEPENDENT EDITOR

  A new pilot course titled “Green Scholars” is immersing students in the logistics of sustainability while they interact with the community. Founded by curriculum director Scott Morrison and Green Team founder Eric Magers, the honors level class assigns different projects to each student.

  “It is an outstanding program that exposes students to the importance of recycling and taking care of our environment. It is very forward thinking. There are very few school districts across the Commonwealth that are taking part in this type of program. I’m pleased that we are on the cutting edge,” Assistant Principal Paul Murphy said.

  The course allows students to independently work during a school block. The grading system is based off of Status Reports where students explain what their accomplishments were throughout the work. Also, active participation is graded along with attending weekly meetings.

  According to Magers, the course is designed to engage and motivate students to become “proactive, innovative and entrepreneurial problem-solvers” who are able to address environmental challenges while employing critical thinking and leadership skills.

  The Green Team is a part of the green school alliance whose “mission is to create greener and healthier learning environments through education and awareness” according to its mission statement.

  The class, stemming from the threat of environmental issues, utilizes students by giving them each an individual task or project.  Each student is assigned a community partner who he or she can connect with.

     “Community partners are a crucial component of the Green Scholar program because they provide to the scholars a level of expertise in a specific content area.  Working in concert with the school, our community partners help the scholars to engage in skill building and allow the school and the community to work together toward a common goal,” Morrison said.

    The partners are specific to the project each student is assigned. Projects range from interacting with the community with tasks such as planting gardens, aiding restaurants in becoming more eco-friendly, and reducing waste in public areas. In order to raise awareness about the program, there are projects where students engage in business ventures such as producing environmental documentaries, and writing grants.

   “The program allows students to work independently on projects that have a clear purpose. Green Scholars allows students to feel as if they are actively learning something imperatively useful,” Manchester-Essex junior Shauna Rice said.

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