New school year brings class additions, removals

Classes removed due to lack of interest to make room for new course offerings

 

By Marian Siljeholm 

INDEPENDENT STAFF

 

For the new school year, some courses were removed to make way for new classes in nearly every department.

Due to budget allowances, science department chair Erica Everett is once again teaching AP Environmental Science, which was renewed after years of student interest.

Everett is excited about resuming the class. “In previous years, I would discourage students from signing up because I knew there wasn’t enough money for it, which was sad especially because the school building is such a wonderful example of environmentally friendly architecture,” she said.

In the technology department, after successfully applying for a $7,000 grant from the Spaulding Education Trust, physics teacher Steve Cogger was able to purchase the necessary equipment to begin Electronics, a semester based class, which will center around projects and hands-on labs to teach students about electronics from basic to embedded microcontroller levels.

“I was excited to take Electronics because I took Robotics last year and wanted to learn about the electrical side as well,” senior Eric Wright said.

The new Financial Algebra class, taught by DECA teacher Dean Martino, will incorporate geometry, Algebra I, and Algebra II skills to interpret and solve mathematical finance and business models including stocks, banking, debt and investments.

“I wanted to help kids learn how to not only solve the equation but also create an equation based on practical information,” he said.

Despite these additions, a few classes will not be returning this year. Morning gym, which was previously held before school, was removed due to lack of interest.

“It was impossible to follow the curriculum because of small class size. The students were not benefiting from the extensive PE curriculum,” physical education teacher M’Lena Gandolfi said.

History Through Film, a course created by social studies department chair Daniel Jewett and taught for seven years was replaced with honors psychology, taught by U.S. History and AP Psychology teacher Lauren Dubois,

“[The class originated from] interest in the course based on sign-ups for AP Psych in the past. The pace will be different, and we will eliminate a couple of the units. I am hoping it will be a very discussion and project-oriented class once we get things going,” Dubois said.

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High school student body elects new class presidents

By Sofia Del Valle

INDEPENDENT STAFF

 

Last month, high school students voted for their 2011-2012 class president, and four students who previously had not held offices were elected.

Before students handed in their ballot, all candidates presented a speech to fellow classmates explaining why they were best for the position.

According to all four class presidents, they share a common goal to ensure that their class is financially stable by the end of the year. Though all students are required to donate a fixed class due each year, presidents are responsible for raising additional money by organizing fundraisers. They also execute other tasks to improve the overall high school experience for their class.

Calvin Lamothe, junior class president, said, “Our class really has no money. Our base goal is to make $25,000 dollars, but we want to exceed that and do as much as possible to make sure we’re in a good position for senior year.”

In order to achieve this goal, Lamothe said the junior class will be hosting bake sales and possibly a battle of the bands as well as a silent auction.

According to senior class president Andrew Randall, “This year we want to achieve our goal of raising $25,000-$30,000 in order to have a great senior trip and provide prom for everyone.”

As for the senior fundraising possibilities, “We have a few ideas that we can’t disclose, but everyone will find out soon!” he said.

Freshman class president Meghan Conway acknowledged that the first year of high school can be intimidating, but she said she wants it to be the best freshman year possible and she wants to make sure everyone is included.

According to Erik Rajunas, president for the sophomore class, his prior involvement with Student Council played a part in his win.

“I feel like I have the devotion,” he said. “I have a really strong urge to help this class.”

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Green Team: New sustainability projects, course, on-site

By Austen Coviello

INDEPENDENT STAFF

 

With the start of a new school year, the Green Team has many changes planned, according to Spanish teacher and Green Team adviser Eric Magers.

Green Team Scholars 2.0 is a new course in which students can work on individual sustainability projects while learning about the environment, according to the Green Team Scholars course description. Green Scholars 1.0 and Green Interns are still running this year as well.

“As of right now, the program has exceeded my expectations,” Magers said.

The on-site compost facility designed by junior Jackie Rose and senior James Kamins, Magers said, is also a big accomplishment for the Green Team this year because it will allow the school to control a big portion of its waste.

Another Green Team accomplishment is the vegetable gardens that were added last year. According to Magers, people have stolen from the garden on multiple occasions. Over Labor Day weekend, he said, three cars full of people took about 10 bags of produce.

“People seem to think our gardens are community gardens, which is very strange to me,” Magers said. “I am just disgusted.”

The most important project, Magers said, is encouraging sustainability throughout the school district. Senior Megan Azadian is currently working on this project with fellow Green Team Scholars 2.0 participants Kamins and Rose. Together, they are planning to “better the environmental awareness” of the students and faculty through signage, Azadian said.

A problem the Green Team has encountered is the cross-contamination of the different types of waste throughout the school, especially in the Lucidomatic, Magers said. This issue could potentially risk the contracts the school has with the waste collecting companies. The Green Team Scholars 2.0 students “will be able to change behaviors in our school district,” Magers said, “but it’s going to take a lot of time.”

“The Green Team has made a lot of improvements since I was in it two years ago,” said junior and former Green Team member Megan Jones.  “I am really amazed by the progress and new things it has done.”

According to Magers, the Green Team has many new accomplishments, but it still has more work to do.

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World Challenge: Students gain liberty, experience culture

Courtesy of Rachel Daley

 

 

By Kendall McCormick

INDEPENDENT STAFF

 

Eighteen students and three adult chaperones explored the mountainous regions of Ecuador through a World Challenge expedition this summer.  

The trip, which began in early July, lasted approximately one month. Eric Magers, the Green Team advisor, guided the journey with Audra Young, who works with World Challenge, and Josh Pinstein, a recent UMass graduate.

Throughout the expedition, the students completed a series of different phases including acclimatization, the main trekking phase, community service projects, and rest and reflection.

Before leaving they needed to raise money.

“The fundraising was tough at some points because we were always nervous about getting the right amount of money,” sophomore Sean Gutierrez said.

When July 3 arrived, however, they had reached their financial goal and were ready to head out into the South American terrain.

Magers said the students immediately took on the leadership role, while the adults took a backseat role. “The entire expedition was theirs. They got to do or not do whatever they wanted to,” he said.

During the expedition, participants took part in a variety of different activities ranging from horseback riding, to hiking up a volcano, to volunteering at a school.

According to Magers, as their community service project, the students painted a school for the native children. Sophomore Sarah Lewiecki said the community service project taught them to appreciate the things they had at home.

The students returned as changed people, according to Magers. “It was great to see them interacting and learning about this culture that is the majority of the world,” he said.

“I thought it was an eye-opener to see the differences,” Gutierrez said.

Sophomore Elizabeth Warren said since they’ve returned from the trip, the students have been much more thankful for what they have at home.

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New colds, remedies come with new year

By Dominique Noriega
INDEPENDENT STAFF
With the fall season comes the cold season, when red noses and empty tissue boxes are not an uncommon sight. They are, however, preventable ones.
 School nurse Cyndi Aldrich, who fell ill to a head cold last week, offered specific advice regarding to choosing medicine. She said always to check what the medicine does specifically before taking any in order to avoid the common problem of overmedication.

Aldrich said NyQuil, for example, should never be taken in the daytime because it contains an active ingredient that puts people to sleep. There are histamines for every possible cold, yet because there are so many, it is easy to take the wrong one.
According to Aldrich, the risk of taking the wrong medicine can affect one’s immune system. If someone intakes a medicine that is unnecessary, the medicine may not be as effective if needed to be used later.
Home remedies can be just as effective as medicines, according to Livestrong.com. Lemon helps reduce mucus while honey can smooth out the throat in the case of a sore throat. Gargling salt water also helps soothe a sore throat if done daily. Garlic has allicin which helps hide symptoms further as well, according to WebMd.com. Both lemon and honey are effective mixed with boiling water and crushed ginger.

Regular intake of Vitamin C can shorten the length of a cold although it cannot prevent one from occurring. Steamy showers and nose blowing also help clear sinuses. 

The key to preventing the common cold is to keep hands clean, avoid people infected, and not to share food at this time of year, Aldrich said. Whenever she gets sick, she changes her toothbrush to ensure she gets rid of all the bad germs. Hand sanitizer is only second best to soap and water for proper hand cleaning, Aldrich said.

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Online library catalogue transitions to new software

After a district-wide conversion last Friday, the school’s online library catalog switched from InfoCentre to Destiny, a web-based software that helps manage the library’s collection of books, according to librarian Sue Krause.

Destiny allows students and teachers to look up books both in the library and at home, according to Krause.
A student can search for a book based on its material type and check its availability within the school’s online catalog.

By Caroline Wood

INDEPENDENT EDITOR

“One of the helpful parts of the new management system is Destiny Quest, which not only shows the availability of a book but various covers of the book,” she said.
On the homepage of Destiny Quest, students can see the top 10 most popular books kids are checking out and 15 books that have recently been added to the library’s collection and where to find them, according to Krause.
“Teachers can use Destiny Quest as a resource to upload a list of books that are particular for a class,” Krause said. “When the list is online, students can have access to it from their computer at home, not just at school.”
According to Krause, the conversion from InfoCentre to Destiny took place because of a lack of updating. “Our previous management system was InfoCentre; however, we found out that it was not updating enough for our use of it and therefore would not be sufficient to use anymore,” she said.
“My hope is to work with students and teachers to help them learn how useful this new management system is,” Krause said.

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New teacher joins special education department, coaches JV soccer team

By Max Nesbit

INDEPENDENT STAFF

 

Recent college graduate Colin Cook is a new addition to the school staff as a special education teacher’s assistant and a member of the boys’ soccer coaching staff.

Cook graduated from Wilbraham and Munson Academy and then attended Springfield College, both located in Western Massachusetts.

This year is his first year working in a school system.

He is one of the youngest teachers on the school’s staff. “He is a lot more laid back than my other teachers, but I love the way he teaches, and his relaxed style helps me learn,” junior Hunter Coons said.

Cook can be recognized by his pink, yellow, and blue polka dotted backpack. “The backpack adds style and is hot to death,” Cook said.

In addition to his teaching assistant job, Cook also is the JV boys’ soccer coach and often assists coach Robert Bilsbury with the varsity team. “I hope my youth and experience as a forward can help the team win,” Cook said.

Bilsbury said Cook brings a new perspective to coaching.

“As a goalkeeper, I have always been focused more on the defensive side of the ball,” Bilsbury said, “Coach Cook brings excellent insight into the best playing options for forwards, along with a skill set of attacking moves and techniques that I am not able to demonstrate nearly as well.”

Cook made the All-State team twice for his high school soccer team and played a year for the semi-pro Massachusetts Twisters. He hopes to one day become a varsity coach.

“I feel like [Cook] has a very bright future in coaching ahead of him,” Bilsbury said.

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Teacher returns to special education department after six-year leave

By Carolyn Heslop

INDEPENDENT STAFF

  Returning after his departure from the school in 2005, special education aide and junior class adviser Jared Harvey rejoins the staff this year.

  Harvey graduated from Lafayette College in 2002 with a BA in English. Then from 2003-2005 he was an aide here in the special education department. At that time, he co-founded the boys’ lacrosse program, along with history teacher Dan Jewett.

  From 2005-2011 Harvey taught honors literature and senior language arts at Landmark School. Harvey compared his experience here to Landmark, noting that he now is able to have closer relations with a larger group of students in a much larger community.

  “The challenges for me are getting to know all of the students because there are so many more of them this year. The population has almost doubled,” Harvey said.

  Junior class president Calvin Lamothe had the opportunity to meet with Harvey regarding the junior class. “The first meeting went really well. He seemed really prepared and really energized about being the class adviser,” Lamothe said.

  Harvey appears to be extremely excited and enthusiastic about being the junior class adviser, according to junior secretary Dustin Ferzacca. “He came into our junior class meeting wearing a Tom Petty T-shirt, and I thought ‘This is one cool guy,’’ Ferzacca said.

  Harvey said his goal is to raise around $2,500 for the junior class. “He has some great fundraising ideas such as class dues, raffles, a spaghetti dinner, and coffee night,” Lamothe said.

  “I am excited to be back in Manchester, where I started my career, and I am excited to be working with so many familiar faces. Coming back to all my previous friends and co-workers made the transition much easier,” Harvey said.

 

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Middle school card making class gets into the Halloween spirit

Every Thursday middle school’s Spanish teacher Doris-Ann Vosseler runs a card making class for all middle school students interested..The club runs from 2:15 to 3:15 has been around for a number of years. Vosseler has extensive experience in the art of card making. The cards vary depending on the season, at this particular class students created Halloween themed cards.

 

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Journalism class meets to edit first issue

On Monday nights, the Manchester Essex Regional High School journalism class meets to edit and write stories for the school paper, The Independent.

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