Baseball captains Carter Cirone hope to lead team to tournament

Leading the baseball team under new coaching this season are senior captains Craig Carter and Dominic Cirone.

Cirone and Carter bring experience to the team because they have each played on the team all four years of their high school career. Both have played even longer through town leagues.

“I started playing baseball when I was 4, but I didn’t start playing the organized game until I was 6 and joined Little League,” Carter said.

Cirone, who has been playing the sport since he was 5, said that the town league is important to developing young talent.

“Playing through middle school helped me get to know the sport and work on aspects of my game that needed work,” he said.

On the field, Carter described himself as a utility player, one who can play nearly any position if he is needed.

“I can play different positions depending on the game situation; anywhere from right field, third base, first base, or pitching,” he said.

Cirone stated that he also plays a variety of positions if needed such as catcher, pitcher, second base, and short stop.

“I think it’s important to be versatile, especially with our new coach this year it makes his job easier if he has a lot of options to choose from,” Cirone said.

According to Carter, the team’s goals are to qualify for the state tournament and “ultimately make a run for the title.” Cirone agreed with this goal and also said he wants to “create a reputation for the team that will make younger athletes enthusiastic to play.”

After high school, Carter will attend the Massachusetts Maritime Academy, but he has yet to decide whether he will play a sport in college. He has the option to participate in any of the three he played in high school: baseball, basketball, or football.

Cirone plans to try out for the baseball team of whichever school he attends in the fall. Even if he doesn’t make the team, he wants some association with the sport.

Head coach James Weed said his captains will be his largest asset going forward, as they know the team and can help him get to know its strengths and weaknesses.



Fantasy Supreme Court prepares students for AP exam

Approaching the Advanced Placement exam, the AP United States Government class is participating in a fantasy Supreme Court league.

AP U.S. Government teacher Jennifer Coleman hopes that the fantasy league will help students grasp a better understanding of how the United States federal court system works.

“For AP test, we focus a lot on past Supreme Court cases, so I thought that paying close attention to the current court would help prepare the class,” she said.

Coleman stated that the present judicial system is changing precedents set by their former counterparts, making it an ideal time to study this branch of government.

“We have a Supreme Court right now that is making monumental decisions that could affect the rights of all U.S. citizens, especially students,” she said.

According to junior Tyler Quade, the league is educational, yet still fun.

“The league makes you do a lot of research. It is important to know all of the justices and their opinions or rulings on past cases,” he said.

Participants are expected to make accurate predictions for each justice of the Supreme Court, on whether he/she will overturn or uphold the decision made in a lower court.

The class has been predicting outcomes of a select few cases such as Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Abercrombie & Fitch.

According to Coleman, the winner of the league will receive bonus points on their next test. That being said, the league is not just restricted to students.

“Our league is specifically students in the class, but I also opened it up to any faculty who wanted to join. Anyone can participate in a league, ours is exclusive [to members of the class] though,” she said.

Junior Nathan Evans found that the idea has helped bring excitement to an otherwise bland topic.

“The fact that some extra points are at risk really helps get everyone involved. I have found that it encourages me to learn more about the Supreme Court of the United States,” he said.


Student athletes partake in sportsmanship conference

Six students traveled to Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass. in order to participate in a sportsmanship conference.

The conference, which took place on Nov. 21, hosted students from schools located all across the state.

Athletic Director Kelly Porcaro attended the conference and selected the students who participated:  juniors Brandon Bartlett, Hunter Flood, Ethan Andersen, Sydney Christopher, Julia Bonaccorso, and Kara Hersey.

“I always take juniors and ones that are involved in multiple sports. I try to pick some athletes that play traditional team sports and some that play more individual sports,” Porcaro said.

Bartlett said the conference was not only educational but entertaining as well.

“I think that the MIAA, who sponsored the conference, did a good job teaching us what student athletes had to do in order to help encourage good sportsmanship, but they also kept us entertained,” he said.

According to Bartlett, the conference included a magician and motivational speaker who taught the participants about the importance of sportsmanship off the field.

“It seemed bizarre at first, to have a magician at a sportsmanship event, but he had a touching life story that really made an impact,” Bartlett said.

Hersey explained how athletes aren’t the only ones who need to promote sportsmanship.

“The speakers were really fun but effective. They got us to think about ways we could make our fans more active while remaining positive to both teams,” she said.

According to Porcaro, the key to good sportsmanship is starting it early and leading by example.

“The main purpose of the conference was really to bring awareness to sportsmanship. It starts with little kids and carries all the way to professional athletes. If we can start early, it makes a big difference,” Porcaro said.

Porcaro emphasized the importance of sportsmanship; according to her it’s not just specific to high school students but an essential trait for life in general.


Lacrosse girls on track for successful season

Starting the season with an 11-9 triumph over Marblehead High School, girls’ lacrosse team hopes to continue success, according to coach Sarah Holch.

The win against Marblehead was the first victory in the program’s history against that team. Holch believes the team’s seniors were to credit for the victory.

“All of our seniors had excellent games. In the past we have had a tough time at the start of the game, but this year our team came out 110% from the first whistle. I do not think Marblehead knew what hit them,” she said.

Holch was impressed by performances by senior captains, defensive players Lila Hughes and Sophia Guerriero, and goal keeper Katie Furber.

Continuing their success, the girls picked up two more wins. They won 13-9 gaianst Newburyport and 11-4 against Lynnfeild. They have reached double digits in score each game, and their current record is 3-0.

Attack player senior captain Brittany Smith has confidence in her team’s ability to shake off the rust and pick up where they left off last year. “I think our game needs to improve on our transitions from defense to midfield and then to offense. Once we accomplish that, we’ll be much better off,” she said.

According to Smith, the team is looking for two consecutive Cape Ann League title as champions. They also want to progress further into the state tournament than they have in previous years after getting knocked out in semifinals.

Co-captain, senior Taylor Meek, also an attack, thinks the team has a good shot because of an abundance of leaders. “We have a lot of senior leadership, not just the captains. This will help to ensure everyone is committed and able to contribute to our success,” she said.

Meek hopes to redeem the team’s losses against rivals such as Masconomet. Other rivals include Hamilton Wenham and Ipswich, whom the team beat last year.

According to the coach, these matches should be less of a problem this year. “I think we’ll do well against Girls Lax courtesy Sabrina PallazolaMasconomet and Marblehead this year,” Holch said.

Meek has confidence in what her team can do in the future. “We had two good wins last week and are looking for the same strength and intensity we showed,” she said.


Girls’ hockey battles for a spot in state tournament

In the midst of their regular season with a record of 6-6-2, girls’ hockey is fighting for a spot in the state tournament, senior captain Brittany Smith said.

Although this goal seems hard, Smith is confident in her team.

“In order to make it into the tournament, we need 11 more points with only 10 games remaining in the regular season,” she said.

Winning a game gives a team two points while a tie grants one point.

“We are in a better position (tournament wise) than we were last year, but it is going to be a very tough battle,” Smith said.

Upcoming games against Peabody High School and Shawsheen Valley Tech are vital to pushing the team to the tournament.

With Smith being the solitary senior and captain, the team is much young this year, according to coach Emily Hudak. “Gaining experience for our younger players has given us confidence against our stronger opponents,” she said.

Smith thinks this barrier will not hold them back.

“We need to come together as a team and figure out how to start the game with as much intensity we bring at the end,” Smith said.

It can be difficult to get together as a team when not all the players are from the same school, Hudak explained.

“The teams to beat in our conference this year are Beverly, Masconomet, and Winthrop,” Hudak said.

Even though her team is young, Smith knows they can come together to win these last couple games, including one against Masconomet. The girls lost to Needham on the 31st of January.

“Masco is always a good competitor, and we tied them the first time we played them this year. We are looking for a win the second time around,” Smith said. The game is Wednesday, February 5.


Students accepted into District Chorus

Six chorus members are in the midst of preparing for the Northeast Senior District Chorus, an audition chorus that contains members from around Northeastern Massachusetts.

Members who were accepted into the chorus include sophomores Alex Buck, Sara Rhuda, and Josh Ward, junior Tucker Evans, and seniors Lindsey Duff and Alexandra Valenti. Ward, Evans, and Duff were recommended for the All-State Chorus.

Auditions for the District Chorus were held at North Andover High School on Nov. 23.

According to Buck, participants had to practice and then perform a piece of their harmony part to a song and then do a six to eight measure sight singing. Sight singing is an unprepared solo given to the singer to read on the spot.

Rhuda explained that the chorus has a great atmosphere. “I really like it because you are surrounded by other singers that take it seriously and worked hard to get there,” she said.

This will be Rhuda’s second year in the chorus, along with Buck and Valenti. Duff and Evans are entering their third year in the district chorus, and this is the first year for Ward.

Donna O’Neill, chorus teacher, explained that this year has brought the most All-State Chorus recommendations for the chorus.

“I’m very excited and very proud. The students have worked very hard… they are all dearly talented,” O’Neill said.

The Senior District Chorus performance will be on Jan. 11, 2014 if weather permits.


Girls’ Hockey seeks success this season

The Co-op girls’ hockey team with Marblehead seeks to improve their record from last year, senior captain Brittany Smith said.

The teams’ record last year was 9-12-1, but both coach and captain believe the girls can improve this season.

According to head coach Emily Hudak, the teams to beat this year are Beverly, Masconomet, and Winthrop.

Hudak has no doubt the team can find success if they work together. She thinks the team will depend on four players this year.

“Brittany Smith is our only captain and only senior. She is the leader on our team. We have three juniors in Caroline Hughes, Abby Dimare and Aly Hopkins who will see a lot of playing time,” she said.

Hudak emphasized that the most important goal for the team to achieve is unity. Because the girls are from different schools, she thinks once they learn to trust each other and play together they have great potential.

The team is composed of mainly young players this year, but Hudak has confidence they will do well. “We are a young team, so the more we get the young players incorporated in to our systems, the better we will be,” Hudak said.

The team’s goal is to qualify for the state tournament this year, according to Smith.


Cross Country Team Heads to All States

After a pair of successful Cape Ann League finishes, the boys in third and the girls in second, the cross country teams set their sights on All States, according to the captains.

The boys’ team finished their regular season with a record of 8-3, losing the Small League Champions title by just 3 points to rivals Hamilton Wenham.

“We were a contender for the [Cape Ann] Small League title the whole season,” sophomore captain Charles Davis explained. On Oct. 26, the boys’ team finished third and the girls finished second at the Cape Ann League Championships. “It’s the best finish in recent history. We now hope to bring the same success and improvement to divisionals and hopefully the All State meet,” Davis said.

Coach Andrew Migonis received the Boys Coach of the Year Award at the CAL Championship. This was a first for the team and shows just how hard the team worked. “I think [these are] the best boys’ and girls’ teams we’ve had so far,” Migonis said.

Junior captain Cameron Holley was excited by the improvement his team made this year. “This year was the biggest improvement that the boys’ team has seen in many years. We finished fourth in the overall CAL and second in the CAL Small,” he said.

After a successful Cape Ann League Championship, Holley thinks his team is running faster than ever and can’t wait until the team’s state qualifier and a chance to make a repeat trip to the All States.

Senior captain Fiona Davis attributes the success and their 8-3 record to the growth the team saw this year.          “We had a huge increase in the number of runners this year which is huge in cross country where numbers are everything. Having a big team raises the bar for everyone and pushes the entire team to improve,” she said.

The coaches believe their runners’ individual hard work outside of practice really helped them succeed this year. Coach Mark Dawson added that the girls’ team picked up some key players, including junior Olivia Lantz, which helped the team grow.

With what he says are the best teams they’ve had, Migonis is excited for what may come. “Like I said, anything can happen, but we are optimistic going into the qualifiers,” he said.


Professional Development day

Professional development days provide a break for students from school while teachers from all around the district come in to participate in workshops

According to Scott Morrison, director of curriculum, teachers attend workshops to hone their teaching skills.

“Many teachers offered to teach a class and then the others have signed up to take those classes. So it’s kind of like teachers teaching teachers,” he said.

Morrison said the professional development day was well received by the staff last year and has therefore made its return. “It’s really an exciting day,” he said.

“Some workshops we had were supporting student learning, behavior assessments, taking advantage of technology, and ‘Students Get out Your Smart Phones,’” Morrison said.

Erin Fortunato, a foreign language teacher, enjoyed the first workshop. “We learned things that we could actually use in the classroom. [The workshops] can be fun, but they can also be tedious,” she said.

The day consists of a morning session and an afternoon session. There was a session in between featuring a guest speaker brought to the school.

Jeff Bostic, Associate Clinical Professor at Harvard Medical School, was the guest speaker at this workshop. His presentation was titled “Building Better Brains.”

The guest speaker usually talks about the newest trends in teaching and teaches them how to be more effective in their teaching while connecting with their students.

Brian Carlson, a math teacher, thinks these workshops have potential to be really useful. “My only problem with [some workshops] is that they’re not really subject specific, and I’m left wondering how to apply what I learned to my class,” he said.

Teachers receive “professional development points,” which are needed for recertification by the state, for participating in these workshops, whether they are teaching or learning.

Morrison explained that teachers are required to continue training by the state and these workshops are the perfect way to earn points while maintaining a certain level of fun.

“We did some surveying of the staff after the professional development day, and the feedback was positive. Staff indicated that they would like to see us hold a similar event next year,” Morrison said.


Band Trip to NYC

  In the past, the high school band has invested in many trips to Montreal and Quebec; this year, however, they are staying inside the country. The class is heading to New York City to reward the members with an exciting adventure, band director Joe Sokol said.

  Sokol said the group plans to go see many famous attractions such as The Empire State Building, Times Square, Rockefeller Center, and the 9/11 Memorial. They plan to do fun activities such as ice skating at Rockefeller and going to see “Phantom of the Opera” on Broadway. He said this year will be pleasantly different than past trips to Montreal and Quebec. “I would say it’s non-stop fun, but all the band trips have been really great. It will be different, but good,” he said.