Hornets varsity football defeated by Austin Prep

The Hornets Varsity Football team played Austin Prep on October 5th, 2012. T

hey battled until the end, but the final outcome was a loss of 19-32.

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Track co-op, shared field space creates sense of community with Gloucester High School

By Fiona Davis

  Cooperation with Gloucester High School that began in the spring with a track co-op and expanded this fall to a shared use of Highland Field for football games is an upstanding example of sportsmanship and should be highly commended.

  The towns of Essex, Manchester, and Gloucester are now not only close to each other in proximity, but are unified through athletics.

  Through the track co-op, athletes from both schools received the opportunity to pursue new activities and reach new levels of success in a sport where higher participant numbers translate to higher achievement and a fun team experience.

  Gloucester’s willingness to invite athletes to participate on the track team and to accommodate them seamlessly into the program is a testament to the kindness and forethought of the athletes, parents, coaches, and administrations of both schools.

  In return for Gloucester’s favor, Manchester Essex will share field space with the Fishermen, who now play home football games at Highland Field due to renovations to Newell Stadium in Gloucester.

  Repairing Newell Stadium will benefit track athletes through the much needed rebuilding of the track.

  The ability of the school community to recognize Gloucester’s need for a field and offer to share fields shows compassion and cooperation between schools.

    Both of the schools’ actions set an example of sportsmanship for students to follow and to build upon in years to come.

  When a school reflects the positive attributes it wishes to instill in its students, it shows responsibility for and awareness of how its actions affect students.

  The ties between the two schools help to facilitate the creation of further opportunities for collaboration, not just in athletics, but also in community initiatives and town government.

  Efforts to unite the two schools should be maintained in order to continue fostering a sense of community across town lines.

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On the Ballot: Should marijuana be legalized? Con

  By Fiona Davis

With a handful of states poised to legalize marijuana in November, the debate over the drug is certainly a trendy one, especially among younger generations.

  While the validity of arguments for marijuana’s medicinal properties is scientifically accepted, the core of the marijuana issue rests not in how helpful it can be for medical reasons, but in how the legalization of marijuana has affected youths and businesses in the recent past and the repercussions legalization has today. 

  Children and teens are impressionable, thus with talk of legalizing marijuana, it is not surprising that teen marijuana use is rising as teen’s negative perception of the drug is falling, according to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health.

  When Alaska legalized marijuana in the 1970s, teen marijuana usage spiked to two times the national average, according to NBC News.

  Teens are not the only ones who now think marijuana is safe; a large percentage of the general public now views marijuana as a relatively safe drug, yet the Office of National Drug Control Policy reports that 374,000 people enter the emergency room each year with a primary marijuana problem.

  Furthermore, in California, one of the first states to legalize marijuana, law enforcement officers report that marijuana dispensaries are causing serious crimes and are detrimental to other nearby businesses.

  “Assaults, robberies, murders, drug dealing, sales to minors, loitering, heavy traffic in retail areas, and increased noise are criminal byproducts resulting from California’s medical marijuana distribution,” the California Police Chiefs Association’s Task Force on Marijuana Dispensaries said in a “White Paper on Marijuana Dispensaries.”

  These crimes make previously prosperous business centers far too dangerous for shoppers, harming the already struggling economy.

  Many policymakers expect increased tax revenue from the legalization of marijuana, but in a CNBC report, Asa Hutchinson, former head of the Drug Enforcement Administration and former U.S. Congressman said, “Marijuana was made illegal because it is harmful; citing revenue gain as reason to legalize the drug emphasizes money over health and ignores the significant cost burdens that will inevitably arise as a result.”

  In states where marijuana is already legal, the results of easy access to the drug have proven only to be crime, economic detriment, and dangers to teens, the effects of which have been felt across entire communities.

  Common sense would dictate that these dangers outweigh marijuana’s benefits, but perhaps just as marijuana impairs the judgment of its users, the pro side of this argument has been impaired by ignorance of the facts.

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District’s strategic plan sets goals for student achievement

By Fiona Davis

  Before the school year began, parents, faculty, and district staff members were hard at work formulating a new strategic plan, according to Superintendent Pamela Beaudoin.

  The plan consists of a unified approach to school improvement that combines community partnerships, resources and school climate to achieve core values of whole child and student achievement, she said.

  “It’s all interwoven…if one piece isn’t really working, then the other pieces can’t work,” Beaudoin said.

  According to both Beaudoin and director of student services Allison Collins, the plan is a team approach.

  “In terms of student services, our contribution to the strategic plan is that we work in partnership with general education… we work together to support the students,” Collins said.

  In order to facilitate achievement for all students, Collins said she has been working to implement programs for students with learning challenges, physical disabilities, economic hardships, and social difficulties across the district.

  “We have some programs that have been implemented to help students who otherwise might have a hard time remaining in the district…and also trying to bring students back who might need a specialized placement,” she said.

  Curriculum director Scott Morrison said the new plan emphasizes meeting the needs of all students.

  “If you handed out medium T-shirts to an auditorium full of people, they would fit some people perfectly, but for others they would be too large or too small.  It is the same idea when instructing students.  It is a tall order trying to make sure we form instruction to fit everyone,” he said.

  According to Beaudoin, improving the school climate is an important part of the plan that will develop the student achievement aspect.

  Collins said she hopes to create a welcoming environment for all students.  According to her, students can help in accomplishing this goal.

  “I do think students have a responsibility…I would like to see students…work with some of the students who have learning and social challenges by being welcoming and supportive and taking peer leadership roles,” she said.

  According to Collins, developing community involvement in the district will also aid the staff in promoting the strategic plan.

  “Community partnerships is having the community develop a better understanding of what is happening in the schools so that we can better work towards our goals for children in the community,” she said.

  Finance director Avi Urbas said the school must be thoughtful in investments in people and resources in order to capitalize on contributions from taxpayers in the community.

  “Resources are a big part of public education, and we have one of the best school systems in the state.  We want it to continue to improve, but there is a lot of funding that goes into making the school system work.  We have to balance improvement with fiscal responsibility,” he said.

 

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Spanish teacher transitions from elementary to high school

  By Sarah Beckmann

  After spending eleven years teaching foreign language at Manchester Memorial School, Maggie Sears started her first year at the high school teaching Spanish level I, III, and IV.

    According to Sears, she “was ready for a new challenge,” and decided to take on the upper-class students.

  Sears is an undergraduate of Barnard College in New York. She spent a semester in Sevilla, Spain, during her educational career and also received her master’s degree from Salem State.

  A couple of key differences separate the high and elementary schools for Sears, such as the rotating schedule and the learning pace, she said.

  Spanish teacher Michelle Magaña emphasized these changes as well. “I think that another difficulty, which I would say for anybody coming to the high school, is the rotating schedule,” she said.

  Magaña continued, “I think [the shift in ages] is really going to be a tough part of her job…adjusting how fast to move, because she’s used to moving at a much slower pace with the little kids,” she said.  

  Sears said she is impressed with the effort and dedication of her students. “I’m used to having to push [the elementary kids] a little harder than you have to at the high school,” she said.

  Junior Olivia Bean said, “If I don’t understand something, she [will] come over and help me.” Bean also commented on Sears’ kindness. 

  Sears said she enjoys teaching in general.

  “I love learning from my students. I love inspiring kids to want to learn more about Spanish and want to travel to Spanish-speaking countries,” she said.

  5 FUN FACTS:

  1. “I have three children ranging in age from high school to pre-school.”

  2. “I grew up on Cape Ann, and I still really enjoy the beaches and the woods and the slower pace.”

  3. “Most of my friends that are Spanish-speaking are Dominican.”

  4. “One of the things I’ve always wanted to do is to spend a year teaching in a Spanish-speaking country, like the Dominican Republic or Mexico.”

  5. “Probably one of my biggest dreams is to be in Mexico for El Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead, Nov. 1st), but it doesn’t work with a teaching schedule, so it would be tricky to pull it off while I’m working.

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Practices at Sweeney conveniently resolve scheduling issues

By Isadora Decker-Lucke

  As fall sports kick off, finding times and places for teams to practice becomes more of an issue.

  With two turfs and four high school teams needing practice and game times on a field, fitting everyone in can be hard.

  Practice at Sweeney is a slight inconvenience, but the field is helpful as an extra location for practices, even if the grass is uneven and too small to play games on.

  A solution, on some days, has been to schedule one team at Sweeney Park. This decision allows more teams to practice at convenient times, such as right after school.

  The alternative to practices at Sweeney is having a later practice on the turf, but those practice times can be inconvenient for some students who cannot get a ride and end up having to stay at the school all day.

  While practicing on the turf would be normally preferable to practicing at Sweeney, having late practice on the turf is much more inconvenient for students.

  With the presence on Eastern Equine Encephalitis in the area, practicing at dusk when mosquitoes are out can be very dangerous.

  Another potential health issue with late practice is sleep deprivation. After practice, athletes have to go home, shower, eat dinner, and finish homework. If practice ends at 8 or 9, it is usually very late by the time students have the chance to get all of those things done.

  Playing on a turf field can be a bit different from playing on grass, especially for sports like soccer and field hockey where the ball is on the ground for the most part. However, both turf and grass can benefit teams in different ways.  

 While practicing on a turf field is often preferable, the occasional Sweeney practice never hurt anyone.

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Physical education department welcomes new teacher

  After the departure of M’lena Gandolfi from the physical education department, the school hired Thomas Durfee, a 2012 graduate from Salem State University.
According to Durfee, he picked the physical education field because he is excited to see the enthusiasm on the students’ faces when they walk into class and because he always enjoyed gym class as a student.
“It just made sense to go into this field when thinking about my teaching career,” said Durfee, a football player in high school.
Sophomore Emily Callahan said she appreciates Durfee’s teaching style and manner in class.
“I love how he takes the time to help students with their skills at a sport before jumping into games. He actually makes gym class fun and relaxing,” she said.
Durfee said his main goal is for students to take away an appreciation and enjoyment of gym class.
“I want to just promote the benefits of being physically active and to help students find any kind of activity that they enjoy. I want students to be able to bring things outside of the classroom, to be physically active and to lead a better lifestyle,” he said.
According to Sophomore Sophia Sortwell, Durfee is helping her have a positive gym class experience even though gym is not her favorite course.
“Mr. Durfee has made me hate soccer a little bit less by setting up fun games for us to play during class and by never putting any negative pressure on us,” Sortwell said.
Durfee said he makes an effort to stay physically active on his own in order to set a good example for his students.
“On the weekends I like to grab a few friends and head down to the field to play touch football or something fun like that,” he said.
Durfee said his love of exercise stems from his belief that exercise is good for one’s general well being.
“Physical activity is the best medicine,” he said.

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Boys’ soccer aspires to make state tournament

Carolyn Heslop photo

By Carolyn Heslop

With a solid preseason under its belt, the soccer team starts the season off with a strong record off 3-2, according to varsity coach Robert Bilsbury.

  The team’s goals for the season include staying focused on the match at hand and working to get better by showing improvements as the season progresses, Bilsbury said.

  “Another major goal for our team this year is to make the state tournament because this hasn’t been done for about six years,” senior captain Chris Xavier said.

  Overall, the team has a nice balance between talented young players and older experienced players, according to Bilsbury.

  He also said that as opposed to having one star that rules the field, the players are all on the same page and are continuously working together as a team.

  Senior captain Alex Walder said the team is already exhibiting strong ball movement and better communication while on the field. The team finished last season 2-18, so the team is already off to a better start, he said.

  Although Bilsbury said that comparing seasons is not his favorite thing to do, he said that this year there have been fewer injuries than in the past. This means there are more players ready and able to play, he added.

  Xavier also said that some of the team’s strengths this year include a large number of players who really know how to put the ball in the net, as well as a strong defensive line.

  “We have really good talent and team chemistry that is really going to help us going forward in the season,” Bilsbury said.

  Bilsbury also said that along with the captains, seniors Liam Aldrich, Patrick Hagar, Walder, and Xavier, other key players include senior Will Nadai, junior Sean Gutierrez, and sophomore Lucas Firme, who serve as strong vocal leaders on the team.

  “We have gotten a really strong start to the season, and we are just hoping to play our best and improve as much as we can as the season progresses,” Walder said.

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Seniors face disappointment from lack of usual privileges

Courtesy of Carolyn Heslop

By Austen Coviello

Senior year is a long-awaited time in a student’s high school career that is filled with the promise of privileges never before experienced in three long years as underclassman.

From the first day of freshman year, the seniors seem to have it made.  They have the ability to sit outside on the balcony, basking in the sun while they eat their lunch.  They even have a whole room to themselves to socialize while working on homework.  This year, however, things are different.

As the class of 2013 entered its last year of high school, senior privileges changed drastically.  After spending three years cooped up inside for lunch, the only light at the end of the tunnel was the seniors-only outdoor seating.

Unfortunately, after a few short moments of senior glory, the happiness was ruined by the sight of juniors flooding the deck.  They were met by cries of denial from seniors when Assistant Principal Paul Murphy delivered the upsetting news: the juniors would be sharing the deck with the seniors this year due to a shortage of tables in the cafeteria.

Lunch on the balcony is one of the few highly anticipated privileges saved exclusively for seniors.  Freshman, sophomore, and junior years are bearable solely because of the opportunities of seniority presented in the final year.

Now, the juniors somehow speed to lunch, filling the tables and leaving the seniors shocked and disappointed as they sulk to the community room, which has a shortage of chairs.

As if not having a space for lunch outdoors during the few warm-weather months of the year is not enough torture for the senior class, another horror that met the class of 2012 upon entering the school year was the loss of the senior room for alternate uses.

The senior room has always been a secluded place for seniors to spend time together and work on schoolwork without the threat of interrupting underclassmen.  Without it, seniors are forced to remain in packed study halls with underclassmen instead of being able to spend quality time together in their last year of high school.

The lack of senior privileges during the 2012-2013 school year has created a wave of disappointment through the whole class. In order to feel like an accomplished high school student, at least a few senior privileges are necessary.

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Debate program finishes rebuilding, hopes for success

Isadora Decker-Lucke photo

by Isadora Decker-Lucke

  Plunging ahead into their 41st year, the Debate Team is looking forward to attending about 25 different tournaments this season and welcoming new freshmen to the team. 

  History teachers Jennifer Coleman and Jessica Tran are both returning as Public Forum teachers; history department chair Daniel Jewett is teaching Lincoln Douglas and the incoming freshmen, and history teacher James Wallimann is teaching the Congress class.

  Tran is now the director of debate, Coleman is travel coordinator and Wallimann is finance coordinator.

  The team is focusing on Public Forum, Lincoln Douglas, Congress, Extemporaneous Speaking, and Original Oratory this year, Coleman said.

  “We have high hopes for the team this year,” Tran said. She believes that the team can not only improve their record but can also increase enthusiasm and passion for the program.

  “I think we will start moving in the right direction, and I expect that in the next two years we will have very significant success,” Jewett said.

  While all four teachers agree that last year’s focus was mainly on rebuilding the program, they also all believe that the hard work will soon pay off.

  “[My goals for the team are] to have people qualify for both national tournaments, and I want the team overall to be healthy, have good experiences and have fun while winning,” Coleman said.

  There are 38 freshmen on the team this year, and many of the teachers see this as an indication of the program’s strong future.

  “I think that having so many freshmen is going to affect the team very positively in the next two years,” Wallimann said.

  “Our recruitment of 38 freshmen indicates that our efforts last year are paying off and that we’re headed in the right direction,” Jewett said.

  There are only seven seniors on the team this year, many fewer than in previous years.

  “It’s good because the younger students get to travel a lot more, but it’s unfortunate for them because there are fewer strong role models who’ve been in the debate program for four years,” Coleman said.

  Despite challenges, Coleman remains positive. “I am very much looking forward to this debate season!” she said.

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