Get immersed in “The Secret Life of Bees”

If you have been craving some warm, weather then imagine yourself in South Carolina, on a honey bee farm with a warm loving family of African American women and you have the basic plot line of “The Secret Life of Bees.”

“The Secret Life of Bees” is the story of a fourteen-year-old white girl named Lily Owen who runs away from her abusive father with her black nanny Roasaleen and finds safe haven in the large pink house owned by three African American women.

The story covers a wide spectrum of ideas about life and how people treat one another. Topics such as racism, feminism, and finding where one’s home is are greatly explored, leaving the reader feeling more whole yet entirely sad after finishing the book.

Throughout the story Lily learns to be a strong girl who follows her own path on how she views other people, black or white, and she works to overcome different social stigmas that are constantly being placed on the ones she calls family.

Although “The Secret Life of Bees” was written over 10 years ago by Sue Monk Kidd, the issues of racism that are seen in the stories setting of 1964 are still an issue in today’s time. The messages that the book can give about life are ones that anyone could benefit from.

In addition to the vague ideas that undercurrent the entire book, there is a ton of amazing imagery in describing the south and what surrounds Lily.

Whether Kidd is creating an image of the way the peach trees sway in the moonlight breeze or the happiness Lily feels when she smells pancakes cooking on the stove, Kidd delivers every word with a casual ease, which can bring the reader right into the scene.

Not only is the book wonderful unto itself, a movie was made in 2008 starring Dakota Fanning as Lily. The movie stays true to the book and leaves the viewer with a similar wholesome feeling and a desire to have some honey.


Thinking about going vegan

Although being a vegan can sometimes be connected with just eating pasta and foods that are unhealthy but are technically vegan, the Raw Till 4 form of veganism removes that dilemma.

Not only are the people on the Raw Till 4 diet not killing helpless animals, they are also making healthier eating habits that can change a person’s well-being for the long run.

On the Raw Till 4 diet, one can only eat raw foods such as fruits like apples, pears, pineapples and bananas – lots of bananas especially – and vegetables like cauliflower, spinach, and potatoes and many more.

Then, after four in the afternoon, they are allowed to eat something that requires some form of cooking but still fits under the vegan category.

The Raw Till 4 diet should be seen less as a quick solution to weight gain but more as a lifestyle. Those on it often talk of the difficulties in sticking to it in the beginning but after a while they will notice that they, “feel incredible, [that it] keeps their body in balance and harmony, and keeps their weight where they want it,” the Raw Till 4 website said.

While some critics of the diet such as Christopher Wanjek from Live Science may have said, “The most apparent problems are the nutritional deficiencies,” The Raw Till 4 diet removes the limited choices of foods that one can eat on a strictly raw diet.

Fad diets come in and out of style very quickly often because they do not work long term and when someone is on it they cannot enjoy themselves, but on the Raw Till 4 diet, the idea is less about being hungry all the time but instead being full on fruits and vegetables, according to the Raw Till 4 website.

With the vegan world becoming more front and center recently, many people in the blogging and YouTube world have joined in on this way of life.

Youtubers like Freelee the Banana Girl and Essena O’Neil talk lengthily on their channels about their experiences with Raw Till 4 diets and have “What I Ate Today” videos that go over all the fun ways one can enjoy vegan foods.

The more ideological side of the vegan diet focuses on having no animal byproducts, and there are a number of reasons for doing so.

Whether it is because humans do not really need animal products to begin with in their diet – think of gorillas – or because the idea of killing an animal even in a humane way is still a life taken, one who might start the Raw Till 4 diet for health reasons will then continue to do it for more moral reasons, like feeling bad for the horrific way the chickens are treated at factories.

Short documentaries and speeches can be found on YouTube as well. Some good ones to check out would be “101 Reasons to Go Vegan” and “If Slaughter Houses had Glass Walls.”

Both of these videos focus on the removing of animal products from one’s diet, and even if one is not thinking of becoming a vegan, the videos are still very informational as to where the meat people eat comes from.


Student Governments

At the beginning of the year, each grade chose their student government leaders to fundraise and organize events for their senior year prom and Senior Week.

In the freshman class, advisers Josh Wladkowski and Kara Brown have been working with the officers Abigail Fitzgibbon, Will Cole, Faith Palermo, and Michael Conlon to raise money for the upcoming years of high school.

So far, they have raised about $3,000 in varying fundraisers, their most profitable being the candy gram fundraiser which involved the whole school buying candy canes for Christmas.

Possible fundraisers the freshmen have planned are a social with the sophomores, a car wash, more raffles, a movie night, and a neon dance, according to class president Fitzgibbon.

Since it is the first year being on student government for the freshman, they have come across a few issues. “The biggest problem that we have encountered as a group is getting everyone on the same page and coordinating ideas,” Fitzgibbon said.

The sophomore class has raised around $4,000 in the past six months through smaller fundraisers like bake sales and selling things at different events around town according to sophomore vice president Zoe Brown. The sophomores also have plans to throw a possible dance and do some raffles to wrap up the year.

“It has been great doing student government this year. I think the group of officers is really organized and we communicate really well with each other,” Brown said.

The junior class has undergone a change in their class adviser because Thomas Durfee left midway through his year to finish up his graduate degree. Coach Bryan Shields and special education teacher Jill Levine took up the positions as the new class advisers.

After three years, the junior class has raised around $22,000. This year in particular their biggest fundraisers have been the holiday gift wrapping, selling snacks at different sporting events, and the Homecoming Dance according to class president Sarah Williams.

Some future fundraisers they have planned are a highlighter dance, a babysitting night, more bakes sales, and raffles.

“Being on student government is such a great experience. I love the people in it and planning events is fun,” junior class secretary Olivia Tyler said.

With their final months of their schooling coming to an end, the senior class is wrapping up their fundraising with around $18,000.

At this point in their year, they are busy working out what they want to do for prom, which this year is being held in Tupper Manor at Endicott College. They are still trying to find a DJ, but other than that they are just finalizing a few minor touches according to class president Meghan Conway.

To get to their $18,000 the senior class officers found their most profitable fundraisers to be the student art auction and a casino night fundraiser they had last year said Conway.

Since it is her final year in student government, Conway offered advice to younger officers.

“The best advice I could give to future class officers would be to start as early as you can and do fundraisers as often as you can. Stay organized and do things that people can be engaged in and excited about,” Conway said.


March Nutrition Month

March Nutrition Month offers an opportunity to focus on healthy eating and physical activity at home and at school. The cafeteria especially focuses on emphasizing healthy eating during this time.

Originally March Nutrition Month was started in 1973 by the American Dietetic Association to bring awareness to healthier lifestyles in a time when processed foods were becoming more commonplace in the average American household. The school started participating in the event about 10 years ago, according to the school nutrition director Sheila Parisien.

One way the cafeteria attempted to encourage people to choose healthy breakfast options was to put on a breakfast raffle where every time a student ate breakfast, his or her name was entered into a raffle for March 6, and there was a drawing for a winner for a week of free breakfast, one for the middle school and one for the high school.

The cafeteria also served healthy International Week meals. Throughout the month the cafeteria staff will be focused on stressing what the students are eating. Whether it is a sandwich with whole grain bread or real fruit and Greek yogurt in the smoothies served at breakfast, the staff will encourage healthy eating.

“We just want to help kids grow up healthy so they don’t have issues later on in life. Teenagers think they’re invincible and that they can eat whatever they want,” Parisien said.

Although the cafeteria does add more emphasis during March about nutrition, the cafeteria tries to focus on a having a healthy menu year round as well, Parisien said.

New regulations state that the cafeteria must offer certain fruits and vegetables year round, but Parisien wants the kids to have a choice in what they are eating as long as it’s a healthy option, and she encourages students to voice their opinion about what they want to see in the lunchroom.

Junior Lydia Parker is one student who has an idea on how to improve cafeteria eating and create a healthy eating experience.

“I think it would be really cool if they started selling bottled smoothies at lunch during the nutrition month,” Parker said.


Update on the Varsity Baseball

By Sarah Williams

Varsity baseball began the season with a 0-3 record.

As of March 19, baseball has been busy training to have a winning team.

In the first game of the season on March 11, they lost, 3-0 against Amesbury, in a recent press release coach Robert Garrett said, “The Hornet’s offense was unable to support sophomore Brandon Bartlett’s strong outing on the mound. Bartlett threw 6 and 1/3 innings, giving up just two hits and two earned runs while striking out seven. “

“Offensively, senior Liam Logue was 1-3 with a double, and junior captain Craig Carter and senior Mike Leobelenz each added a single,” Garrett said.

Their second game was a 15-6 loss against Lynnfield High School on March 12. “The Hornets jumped out to a 2-0 lead after the first half inning, but the pitching staff and defense was unable to hold the lead,” Garrett said.

In the game on March 14 they lost against Ipswich with a score of 14-3.

Baseball 3- from Brandon B

The team faces strong competition. “The bigger schools we play — Cape Ann [league schools], North Reading, Masco — they are always very good, as well as our rivals Georgetown and Rockport.”

“Our rivals like Newburyport and Georgetown are going to be tough opponents. They always have good teams,” senior Liam Logue said.

After the first week of the season, the team chose three captains: junior middle infielder and pitcher Craig Carter, senior pitcher Dominic Ceronne, and senior third base pitcher Kevin Carter.

Kevin Carter explained his role as captain. “It is up to me to lead by example and be approachable by all players on varsity and junior varsity with any issues they have. Sort of like a coach,” he said.

Ceronne added that the captains also get everyone organized like letting people know what time practice is.

Craig Carter has many goals for the team. “A goal would be to show up to every game ready to play and leave nothing on the field at all times,” he said “Baseball is a team sport, but when it is your turn to step up, it is up to you to deliver.”

Ceronne explained his goals. “Just work hard every day, get better at what we do, and try to win games. That’s what we strive for,” he said

“We really need to improve this year with our attitude and never quit mentality,” Kevin Carter said.


Updated Prom Article

By Sarah Williams

Prom is getting closer every day, and students of Manchester Essex are getting ready with dresses, proposals and spirit.

Prom is on Friday May 30 at the Black Swan Country Club in Georgetown. The tickets will be $25 for seniors and $50 for juniors and guests.

Music-wise, Jennifer Coleman said, “There is going to be a DJ. We hired Mr. Cook who used to work here,” which she said, “should be significantly better than the DJ last year.”

The food at this years prom will be buffet style with a choice between chicken piccata and fettuccini alfredo in addition to salad with a choice of sides.

There is not a particular theme this year, but the Prom Committee picked theme colors silver, gold, and black for the decorations.

  Students are excited for this year’s prom for a variety of reasons. Senior Hannah Parker said, “I am most excited for the pictures and the dancing at prom!”  The dresses this year are a wide variety of colors from soft pastel floor length dresses to frilly vintage.Prom Dress Perry Burnham   A majority of the girls will be wearing their hair up this year, whether to show off the backs of their dresses as senior Olivia Bean said or to keep hair in place throughout the night of pictures and dancing.

Prom Dress Ella Rodier


Parker as well as many other girls see the pictures as the best part. “I’m most excited to get ready and take pictures,” senior Ella Rodier said.

“The prom pictures make me feel like I’m going to the Oscars,” Parker said.

prom Black Swan Country Club

Prom-goers are excited for other reasons too.  “I am most excited for this year’s prom because it is my senior prom and the venue is going to be so nice,” Bean said.

The Black Swan Country Club is often used for weddings with a grand dance floor, plenty of seating and colorful lights.

Senior Alexandra Valenti said she was most excited about, “just spending time with friends.”


Varsity Baseball Update

Update on Varsity Baseball

By, Sarah Williams

Baseball has two major goals this year — to make the state tournament and to be more aggressive on the bases and offensively.

“We have to play much better than we did last year. We weren’t out of a lot of the games last year we, [but] just didn’t make big hits when we needed them,” four-year coach Robert Garrett said.

Last year the team’s record was 3 – 15. “I want to have a record above .500, and I do want to make the state tournament. I also want to win the annual Rockport Tournament. The only other goal I really want to accomplish is beating every team we play,” senior Liam Logue said.

Another goal for the team is, “have a winning season, make it to the state tournament and be a strong contender. [Also], beat Rockport in their annual tournament,” senior Kevin Carter said.

Garrett said that because all three of the captains graduated last year, the baseball team doesn’t have any captains until the team chooses mid-way through the first week of the season.

Impact players are senior Dom Serony, Mark Katcher, Kevin Carter, Logue; and sophomore Brandon Bartlett, according to Garrett.

Varisty Baseball; Mr.Garret

The hardest competitions this year, Garrett said, are, “The bigger schools we play: Cape Ann, North Redding, and Masco.  They are always very good as well as our rivals Georgetown and Rockport.”

“Our rivals like Newburyport and Georgetown are going to be tough opponents they always have good teams,” Logue said.

“This year I think we have a young team and a good nucleus of guys that know each other well by playing other sports together. I think that’s going to help us win some games that we couldn’t last year,” Logue said.

The first game of the season will be April 8.


Global Issues Update

Global Issues Picture  As many students may know thanks to the announcements and flyers around the school, the Global Issues class is working to end world hunger with the organization Stop Hunger Now.

“We have hunger in our country and kind of in our area, so it’s something we can understand and it’s also something you can emphasize with because we can do every single day, and if we didn’t have food or resources, we can easily understand how difficult that would be,” Global Issues teacher James Wallimann said.

“I like the stop hunger now organization because not only can we give money to help these starving people but we can package the meals itself,” senior and Global Issues class-member Molly McCoy said.

In order to raise the desired goal of $10,000, the Global Issues class has planned different events and activities for staff and students to participate in.

Coming to an end February 14 is the Penny Wars, Wallimann said, “Grades six through 12 including the faculty [are] competing together to raise the most amount of money, and that’s for a month long, the winning class gets an ice-cream party.”

In February, the Global Issues will also be selling carnation flowers during the week of Valentine’s Day.

“We also have the teacher talent show coming up March 14, which last year raised almost $4,000,” Wallimann said. “An event I’m really excited for is the teacher talent. It’s really funny to watch your teachers be silly,” McCoy said.

A restaurant night is coming up also, sometime in February with Cape Ann Pizza

There will also be a packaging day in April where students will be able to package the meals themselves for the Stop Hunger Now organization.

“Right now we have $2,000, so we still have $8,000 to go, our goal is $10,000,” Wallimann said, “I feel with the Penny Wars, the teacher talent show, and a couple other things we will be able to reach our goal.”


Math Team

“Math team is fun. The meets are low pressure. You don’t have to be a math nerd to be on the team but just willing to try some unusual application problems,” math team member Madelin Dahlin said.

The Math Team has two goals this year, to “have fun and enjoy the challenge of some tough problems,” math team adviser Dan Lundergan said.

The math team meets every Thursday afternoon for practice, and on the first Thursday of every month they go to a meets, which take place at different schools around the North Shore.

To practice for the meets, “We’ll just review sort of general concepts and review some of the key formulas in those categories,” Lundergan said.

The math team practices number theory, algebra 1, geometry, trigonometry, and a variety of concepts within those categories, the highest levels being pre-calculus and trigonometry.

For each tournament about 15 Manchester students always go who Lundergan said are the “regulars.” As well, “We can have no more than eight combined juniors and seniors, so there have to be at least two freshman and sophomores,” he said.

When going to the tournaments, Manchester Essex usually competes against Pingree, Ipswich and Masco, which Manchester usually finishes behind; the team typically comes out ahead of Rockport, Pantucket and Hamilton Wenham.

There is also a state tournament for which students can qualify if they score above a minimum threshold. The tournament is usually held in April.

Students who go to the competitions get extra credit for their math classes.Math Team 2

“If you get three problems right, each right answer is 1 point, and we give you a point for showing up at the meet.  You get four extra credit points that your math teacher can decide how to apply,” Lundergan said.

If a student would like to join the math team, “A lot of it is word of mouth, but their teachers encourage them at the beginning of the year to sign up for the math team,” Lundergan said.

According to Lundergan, the math team also has a pretty open policy for sports and other activities that come into conflict with meets.


Small School Dilemma

Small schools, they have their perks, but they also have their drawbacks. A blessing or a curse, small schools can, at times, take away from what one might have received in a larger school.

In schools such as Manchester Essex there aren’t as many extracurricular as in a large school. With a small school comes fewer teachers, and with fewer teachers there are fewer opportunities.

Instead of being able to take just Spanish and French, larger schools may have Italian and Chinese as other options. In larger schools, students could learn to play the cello or violin in its school orchestra alongside the band in school assemblies. A possible Home Economics class where students could bake a pot pie or learn to carve and how to pay the bills, these opportunities come with having a bigger school.

A school with more students means more classes to fill which in turn means more opportunities.

In small schools students can also be blinded by the harsh reality of the real world. It’s easy to be the best at something when your only competition is five other kids.

In a small school students may not realize that there are a thousand other kids who like to make movies in their free time or break computer codes. It’s not as hard to become the smartest kid or the most theatrical when you are only going against five or six other kids in your grade. Granted, maybe you are one of the best, but it is hard to know for sure until you’ve gotten out into the world a little and experienced everything for yourself

In a small school your personal life can easily become everyone’s favorite topic for gossip. Whatever you’re trying to keep under cover can quickly become hit news around the school. One person tells another person, and soon a whole grade knows, and then, if it’s juicy enough, a good portion of the high school may learn about it.

In small schools word gets around whether it is someone going to the principal’s office or what you did last Saturday night. Your private life can sometimes be hard to keep private in smaller school communities.

Small schools definitely have their faults, whether we should look past them is the question. For better or for worse one can argue that a larger school is better.