Middle school language teacher starts crocheting club

Foreign Language teacher Doris-Ann Vosseler started a middle school club that teaches kids how to crochet. Members of the club were all new to crocheting and Vosseler taught the basic steps.


Middle school class launches bottle rockets

On Monday November 21, 2011 the seventh grade engineering class went to the Memorial School field to launch bottle rockets. The students had spent weeks building and preparing the rockets to be launched and were excited to finally see them fly.


Representative from the Art Institute of Boston speaks to art students

Norman Dandridge, a graduate and admissions representative of the Art Institute of Boston and Lesley University, speaks to art students about college level art study. The Art Institute of Boston also offers classes for high school students.


8th Grade Class learns why they should attend North Shore Technical High School

On Wednesday, October 19th, the MERMS 8th grade class gathered in the auditorium to listen to reasons why they should attend high school at North Shore Technical School.  Two students and a North Shore Tech freshman advisor informed the middle school about what can be expected.  Many students took interest, saying that this was a good way to spread the word.


9th grade physics class constructs velocity lab

On Friday November 4th, Deb Nolan’s B Block Physics First class had freshman students working with advanced equipment to learn about velocity.  The students worked together to release little cars down a track and find the time at certain points on the track.


Field Hockey Ends the Season with an Awards Banquet

Field hockey gathered on November 16, 2011 for their annual post-season banquet. The night started out with an ice cream social and ended with awards. The new captains for the 2012 season include: Nicole Bradley, Kelsi Field, and Maddi Bistrong.


Author-in-residence shares innovative techniques with creative writing class


By Isadora Decker-Lucke
Author Áine Greaney has been working with English teacher Gloria Tanner’s creative writing class once every three weeks. She applies her real world experience to her teaching and helps the students to further develop their writing skills.
Greaney published her first short story in 1996 and since then has produced a number of short stories, essays, and four books. “I’ve moved away from short stories. I now write short essays, and I’m working on my third novel,” she said.
When Sue Krause, the school’s library teacher, opened the opportunity of inviting Greaney in as an author-in-residence to all English teachers, Tanner said she “jumped on it” and is thrilled to have this experience for the students.
Greaney is also excited to be here. “I couldn’t resist, are you kidding?” she said.
Greaney is a working writer, and she assists the class work through the writing process. Freshman Lauren Coogan, a student in the creative writing class, loves getting feedback from a professional author.
“Oftentimes she will help a student get out of writer’s block,” Coogan said of Greaney. “She helps us to use our minds and be creative in styles of writing that I have never worked with before.”
During the classes she comes into, Greaney talks to the students about their most recent writing assignments and helps them make corrections. Not only does she assign a project to the students, but she also does the assignment as well so that she can work through the writing process with them.
Right now, the class is working on uncomfortable place essays. Greaney read out excerpts from her piece, and then gave the students a chance to give her constructive criticism. After, volunteers from the class did the same with their own pieces.
“I love to work with new writers, it’s very exciting!” Greaney said. “I learn a lot about writing by reading their stories.”
Tanner and her class feel the same way about Greaney. “Because she’s a published writer, she’s had to learn how to motivate herself. It’s a very solitary profession, and she has insights that I think are very helpful to the students,” Tanner said.


Day in the life of a drama kid: student prepares for opening night of ‘1776’

By Morgan Kennedy

Independent Editor

Run lines. Project. Move stage right. Cheat out. Take five. From the top. These are only few of the hundreds of phrases senior Savannah Repucci hears during a typical drama rehearsal.

According to Repucci, a day in the life of a drama kid is hectic and tiring, but fun and well worth the time.

Her usual day of rehearsal for the drama club’s upcoming musical “1776,” in which she plays John Hancock, president of the Continental Congress, goes as follows:

2:15 p.m. Repucci grabs a quick snack and runs lines in the auditorium until rehearsal starts at 3.

3 p.m. Drama director Gloria Tanner addresses the cast about how the day’s rehearsal will run.

3:05 p.m. Warm up. “Often times we do a physical warm-up with things like stretching and jumping jacks to get our bodies moving. Then, we do a vocal warm-up led by our musical director Loli Marquez-Sterling,” Repucci said. “Finally, we do some tongue twisters to practice diction and projection when saying lines onstage.”

3:15 p.m. Run Act One. “The show opens with a big company number called ‘Sit Down, John.’ It’s my favorite part of the show, because I love the music and the energy that goes into it,” Repucci said. 

4:05 p.m. Break time. Repucci gets a drink of water and talks with her cast mates.

4:10 p.m. Run Act Two. “The second act requires just as much focus and energy, if not more than the first,” she said. “Things get pretty serious as the issue of slavery is addressed and the resolution on independence is voted on.”

4:50 p.m. The cast listens intently while Tanner gives notes on the rehearsal. “She gives us feedback on what worked and what didn’t, so we can improve the next time around,” Repucci said.

5 p.m. She heads home after rehearsal, ready for dinner and homework. “It’s not easy, but I get to be a part of something really cool, and it’s so exciting when it all comes together on opening night,” she said.


Heavy backpacks: Avoid oversized loads, prevent back problems

Morgan Kennedy photo

By Morgan Kennedy

Independent Editor

By monitoring their backpacks’ weights, wearing them correctly, and taking advantage of lockers, students can alleviate the stress and strain of constantly carrying a bag full of books.

Senior Jared LaFontaine said he often finds his backpack too heavy to lug around.

“The stairs are hard enough, and carrying an extra 20 pounds on my back definitely doesn’t make them any easier,” he said.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, a student’s backpack should never be heavier than 10-20 percent of his or her body weight.

In a school where the majority of backpacks are over 20 pounds, nurse Cindi Aldrich suggests using the four minutes between classes to drop some books in a locker.

“They may not be able to change what they have to take home, but in school, students could go to their lockers more often and avoid carrying around so many books. That is what the lockers are for, so kids should be taking advantage of them,” she said.

Constantly carrying a heavy backpack can cause muscle spasms and back pain; however, the real problem lies in the way students are holding them, according to Aldrich.

“Whether it’s full of books or not, if you’re not carrying it correctly, it will create strain,” she said.

According to Aldrich, backpacks are meant to be worn in the middle and top area of the back. Students tend to wear them much lower, which may result in low back pain.

The American Academy of Pediatrics said, “always use both shoulder straps. Slinging a backpack over one shoulder can strain muscles.”

Contrary to common belief, scoliosis is a genetic disorder and therefore cannot arise from backpack use; however, the body can be thrown out of alignment by incorrect wear, according to Aldrich.

“Wearing it on one shoulder can distort posture and hip alignment. It’s much safer to evenly distribute the weight between both shoulders,” she said.


Laptops: Teachers should allow them in class

By Anna Tyler

Independent Staff

Laptops have been absorbed into the classroom atmosphere for good reason. Personal laptops allow the student to take notes faster than writing, which gives him or her more time to listen to the teacher and understand what is being said throughout the lesson.

Writing notes is considerably slower and may result in the student missing many important facts the teacher is saying because he or she is still writing what was said a few minutes back. Writing notes can also be very stressful and can inhibit the student from fully understanding the lesson.

Personal laptops end this stress and allow the student to feel accomplished and know that he or she did not miss anything the teacher said.

Many current high school students have the convenient advantage of using online textbooks. Instead of having to lug the textbook to and from school, students are able to leave the book at home and read the textbook off a laptop during class. This method, along with being able to remove six or seven notebooks from the backpack, saves energy and gives students’ backs a break from having to carry around the many textbooks required and each class’s notebook.

High school students already have enough to deal with and do not need to worry about accidentally grabbing the wrong notebook or textbook for a class. These unfortunate situations can add stress and anxiety to an already tense day.

The school is big on being green, and laptops allow for less paper to be used.  In saving trees, personal laptops actually benefit the environment by reducing the need for paper to be produced.

Computers permit a student who forgot to print his or her homework that was a typed assignment to show the teacher it was completed. This method can take a large amount of unneeded stress off of a student’s day. 

In an average class, more than half of the students possess personal laptops, which are mainly used to take notes. Most teachers do allow laptops, but have strict rules on what is and is not acceptable during class. Students do understand and try to abide by each teacher’s rules and can usually resist the temptation to check Facebook or play games…usually.