Boys invite dates to prom in innovative, unique ways

Although prom is still two months away, boys began to ask their dates far in advance – and in extremely creative, cute ways.

By Kyle Marsh

INDEPENDENT EDITOR

  Although prom is still two months away, boys began to ask their dates far in advance – and in extremely creative, cute ways.

  Every year students attempt to find interesting ways to ask their special someone to the prom, but this year, students are creating elaborate, even time-consuming plans to ask others to prom.

  Junior Casey Weld was of the first to ask his desired date to the dance. In order to ask senior Olivia Colpoys, he had to involve the school administration.

  According to Colpoys, she was in AP Government when she was called down to the main office.

  “Mrs. Lumsden was there and quietly said to me that I needed to go to the auditorium to see Mr. Lee. I was really confused. Then I walked in and the first thing I saw on the projector was ‘Will you go to prom with me?’ and I saw Casey with flowers and gave him a big hug,” she said.

  In order to ask his senior girlfriend Rachel Jones, senior Alex Ray created a scheme that also involved advanced planning.

  According to Jones, she was on her way home from the gym when she started to see eight different signs on Route 133. The first said “Rachel Jones,” the next, “will,” until the signs put together said, “Rachel Jones will you go to prom with me?”

  “I held the last sign in her driveway with a rose. She was so excited and very, very happy,” Ray said.

  Senior Alex Porter asked his girlfriend, junior Caroline Bernier, in an equally creative way.

  According to Bernier, Porter asked her to go to Friendly’s for dinner. In the fence on the bridge over Route 128, Porter placed red plastic cups that spelled out “Prom?”

  “The bar was set really high after Casey asked Olivia. I think that pushed Alex to get creative, and he did really well; I loved it,” Bernier said.

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Enrichment Fund provides technologies to younger classrooms

In addition to funding Humanities Week and the sustainable garden at the high school, the Enrichment Fund granted classroom technology in district elementary schools, according to advisory board chair Susan Beckman.

By Kyle Marsh

INDEPENDENT STAFF

  In addition to funding Humanities Week and the sustainable garden at the high school, the Enrichment Fund granted classroom technology in district elementary schools, according to advisory board chair Susan Beckman.

  The Enrichment Fund approved a grant for $40,000 in December 2010 to purchase interactive whiteboards for first, fourth, and fifth grade classrooms, according to Beckman. The boards were installed in January 2011.

  The whiteboards, called ActivBoards, are interactive learning systems that allow students to answer teachers’ questions using a cell-phone sized clicker, according to advisory board member Sandy Marsh.

Fourth-grade teacher Laurie Colpoys added that the clicker system is extremely efficient because teachers can create lessons and questions on the spot, compared to the old system where clicker lessons had to be predesigned.

  The boards also allow teachers to manipulate images and words, customize text, and view videos using the “ActivPen.” The goal of the technology is to access all learning styles for students, according to Beckman.

  “When you look at the 21st century skills, people clearly need to know how to utilize technologies. It engages all the learners and leaves no kids behind,” Beckman said.

  “It is enticing and interesting. It brings learning in front of kids in the classroom the way they are used to looking at a computer at home,” Marsh said.

Beckman said the feedback from teachers has been positive.

  “They say it has really invigorated them. It has gotten teachers that have been teaching for a while excited about teaching again,” she said.

  “[The boards] are unbelievable. They definitely have increased the kids’ attention and interest. Everything is so efficient now,” Colpoys said.

  “All my lessons are right there; it really moves the lesson along quickly. I can’t imagine teaching without it now,” she said.

  The boards are part of the Enrichment Fund’s main plan to fund long term goals for the district through strategic initiatives in humanities, sciences, technology, engineering, and math, according to the Enrichment Fund’s website.

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Interact Club works to raise awareness for hunger, prisoners

After much research, Interact Club will be hosting three different events to raise money and awareness for global issues, according to junior club president Melissa Moore.

By Kyle Marsh

INDEPENDENT EDITOR

  After much research, Interact Club will be hosting three different events to raise money and awareness for global issues, according to junior club president Melissa Moore.

  Moore said the first event was inspired by her sister, Caroline Moore (2010 graduate), who gave Melissa Moore an information packet about the organization.

  The event involves working with Amnesty International, a Noble Peace Prize-winning campaign devoted to protecting human rights, according to its website. Students write letters to governments around the world against actions which deprive citizens human rights.

  The Interact Club will be writing letters to help free political prisoners in Burkina Faso, China, Guatemala, Myanmar, Papa New Guinea, or Romania through Amnesty National, according to Moore.

Members of the club are excited about the unique event.

  “I think it’s a really great idea. It’s not something I would have thought of; it’s really different and raises awareness to a problem that no one really knows about,” junior Katerina Eichenberger said.

  The second fundraiser involves working with Partners in Health, an organization devoted to bringing medical aid to people in need. This year Partners in Health has been working specifically in Haiti.

  In order to raise money for Partners in Health, the club will be hosting a walk around Manchester on April 30. The money will come from pledges rather than a cost to partake in the walk, Moore said.

Interact Club members said the walk will be hard work, but worth the effort.

  “I think it may be a little more work than usual, but a lot of people in our school understand why we are doing this. I feel the community will be involved as well,” Eichenberger said.

  Members praise Moore for her creativity and organization.

  “She has a lot of innovation, and she works really hard,” former Interact Club senior president Olivia Peterson said.

  “She is really taking charge and working to help the group grow,” Eichenberger said.

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11 DECA students qualify for Internationals

After attending the DECA State Development Conference, 11 of 41 students have qualified for the International Conference from April 29 through May 4 in Orlando, Fla.

By Kyle Marsh

INDEPENDENT EDITOR

  After attending the DECA State Development Conference, 11 of 41 students have qualified for the International Conference from April 29 through May 4 in Orlando, Fla.

  Juniors Meghan Azadian, Caroline Bernier, Anya Ciarametaro, Kelly Dodge, Nick Douglas, Megan Gardner, Eliza Rohner, and seniors James Caviston, Miranda Johnson, Reed Parkhurst, and Ian Towle qualified for Internationals.

  DECA teacher Dean Martino particularly commended the work of Johnson.

  “She may have set the state record. She scored first place in her written exam, first place on her second exam, first in her first role-play, and second in her second. She ended up being first place in the state,” he said.

  Although 11 students qualified, the DECA program finished with 24 individual medals, which recognize students’ individual work. Thirty-one students also made the “top 10” in their events.

  Senior Corey Bradley was one of these students.

  “Even though we did not initially qualify, if another team decides not to attend Internationals, we have a chance of going,” she said.

  According to Martino, individual students have to take a combination of written exams and “role-play” situations, in which they have 10 minutes to read a hypothetical business case situation and prepare their presentation. The students then have 15 minutes to present their project and answer questions from the judges.

  Students in teams of two have 30 minutes to prepare their role-play.

  According to Martino, the level of competition was extremely high.

  “Overall, the competitive nature of this year’s state conference saw a lot of very good performances from students across the state,” he said. “We did very well.”

  Martino also said the resources for role-play were challenging.

  “We tend to use as many graphical representations as possible, but the type of indicators that they were left with had little information to make graphical representations,” he said.

  Martino was happy with the amount of students who qualified for Internationals; however, he wishes more   students are able to attend.

  “I would love to qualify all the students that could have made it. It would be a fantastic opportunity to have the whole team travel. They put a lot of effort into it; the competition is tough,” he said.

  Martino said the main accomplishment of the conference was the DECA program’s performance on the competency test, which is a written exam. All 41 students passed the exam.

  “It was great that everyone met competency,” Towle said.

  Seniors Alex Carr and Marc Shields, and juniors Lili Shotwell and Jeff White also attended States, although they did not qualify. They attended the conference and competed in the “Quiz Bowl” competition, which “is jeopardy for marketing and management,” Shields said.

  Overall, Martino was extremely content with the outcome of the event.

  “I am very proud of our competitors. They always represent our school with dignity and class,” he said.

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11 DECA students qualify for Internationals

After attending the DECA State Development Conference, 11 of 41 students have qualified for the International Conference from April 29 through May 4 in Orlando, Fla.

By Kyle Marsh

INDEPENDENT EDITOR

  After attending the DECA State Development Conference, 11 of 41 students have qualified for the International Conference from April 29 through May 4 in Orlando, Fla.

  Juniors Meghan Azadian, Caroline Bernier, Anya Ciarametaro, Kelly Dodge, Nick Douglas, Megan Gardner, Eliza Rohner, and seniors James Caviston, Miranda Johnson, Reed Parkhurst, and Ian Towle qualified for Internationals.

  DECA teacher Dean Martino particularly commended the work of Johnson.

  “She may have set the state record. She scored first place in her written exam, first place on her second exam, first in her first role-play, and second in her second. She ended up being first place in the state,” he said.

  Although 11 students qualified, the DECA program finished with 24 individual medals, which recognize students’ individual work. Thirty-one students also made the “top 10” in their events.

  Senior Corey Bradley was one of these students.

  “Even though we did not initially qualify, if another team decides not to attend Internationals, we have a chance of going,” she said.

  According to Martino, individual students have to take a combination of written exams and “role-play” situations, in which they have 10 minutes to read a hypothetical business case situation and prepare their presentation. The students then have 15 minutes to present their project and answer questions from the judges.

  Students in teams of two have 30 minutes to prepare their role-play.

  According to Martino, the level of competition was extremely high.

  “Overall, the competitive nature of this year’s state conference saw a lot of very good performances from students across the state,” he said. “We did very well.”

  Martino also said the resources for role-play were challenging.

  “We tend to use as many graphical representations as possible, but the type of indicators that they were left with had little information to make graphical representations,” he said.

  Martino was happy with the amount of students who qualified for Internationals; however, he wishes more   students are able to attend.

  “I would love to qualify all the students that could have made it. It would be a fantastic opportunity to have the whole team travel. They put a lot of effort into it; the competition is tough,” he said.

  Martino said the main accomplishment of the conference was the DECA program’s performance on the competency test, which is a written exam. All 41 students passed the exam.

  “It was great that everyone met competency,” Towle said.

  Seniors Alex Carr and Marc Shields, and juniors Lili Shotwell and Jeff White also attended States, although they did not qualify. They attended the conference and competed in the “Quiz Bowl” competition, which “is jeopardy for marketing and management,” Shields said.

  Overall, Martino was extremely content with the outcome of the event.

  “I am very proud of our competitors. They always represent our school with dignity and class,” he said.

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Graduates tell of success in journalism

Former editors-in-chief Emily Browne (class of 2003) and Nick Brancaleone (class of 2005) came to speak to The Independent staff to discuss their collegiate and professional experiences in journalism.

By Kyle Marsh

INDEPENDENT STAFF

  Former editors-in-chief Emily Browne (class of 2003) and Nick Brancaleone (class of 2005) came to speak to The Independent staff to discuss their collegiate and professional experiences in journalism.

  According to journalism teacher Mary Buckley-Harmon, she invited the graduates so the journalism students could see the relevance of journalism and English skills after high school.

  Browne attended Northwestern University in Chicago, where she majored in magazine journalism.

  After graduating, she worked as a press assistant for a politician in Washington D.C, for the attorney general of New York City, and on a political campaign in Manchester, N.H.

  She is now living in New York City, working for Sunshine, Sachs & Associates, a public relations firm that represents actors such as Ben Affleck and Demi Lovato, according to her sister, senior Piper Browne.

  Brancaleone had a different experience. After graduating from high school with “three great years of journalism,” he attended Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University, where he majored in public relations and minored in business.

  After graduating, he worked at Holmen Public Relations in New York City, which was a very “cut-throat environment. You are really thrown into it, and you have to shine, or you are thrown out,” he said.

  Currently, he is working at a fishing cooperative stationed in Gloucester. Brancaleone said he is considering getting his MBA or moving on to a “normal” business environment.

  Both Browne and Brancaleone credit much of their success to their high school journalism class.

  “AP courses and journalism were very helpful. You know how to construct a sentence, and your professors will be impressed by you right away,” Brancaleone said.

  He credited his editing, interviewing, and basic writing skills to his high school English and journalism classes.

  Browne shared similar thoughts.

  “Nothing has helped me more than writing skills. A lot of people don’t have them. I can communicate and get what I want so much better,” she said.

  Students in the journalism class were thankful for the experience.

  “I thought it was really great to get their perspective, after having done exactly what we do and taken their skills beyond the classroom. It was also beneficial to ask them specific questions about their college experience with journalism, if they chose to pursue it, and their jobs after graduation,” senior Maura Driscoll said.

  “I thought it was really beneficial because I never really realized how journalism affects not only communication careers, but many other writing classes in college,” junior Ellen Burgess said.

Buckley-Harmon also found the talk helpful for the students.

  “They said everything I would have scripted for them. It really shows how the skills that they use in high school apply to their jobs – whether it be speaking, listening, writing, or simply treating people well,” she said.

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New system of announcements ineffective, disruptive to students

After a series of changes in the morning announcement schedule, the administration settled on giving the announcements at the beginning of second block.

By Kyle Marsh

INDEPENDENT EDITOR

  After a series of changes in the morning announcement schedule, the administration settled on giving the announcements at the beginning of second block.

  The morning announcements are now emailed to teachers after the Pledge of Allegiance is pronounced over the loud speaker.

  Initially, announcements were reported at the beginning of first block, immediately after the Pledge of Allegiance, also over the loudspeaker.

  According to Principal James Lee, they were then changed to be announced at the end of the block after a teacher introduced the idea at a faculty meeting. However, more teachers complained about it being disruptive to class lessons, so the announcements were then changed to be at the beginning of second block.

  The announcements were changed to be delivered via email instead of oral presentation for teachers thought students did not listen to the announcements, Lee said.

  The morning reports used to be a great way to start the day for students – they could sit down in their first class and listen to the day’s various activities without interruption.

  Most importantly – they could actually listen to the school’s happenings. The vocal projection of an administrator’s voice made sure all teachers did not begin class so the announcements demanded everyone’s attention.

  Now, this is not the case. The current announcements at the beginning of second block are largely ineffective.

  Teachers often simply neglect the announcements in an effort to begin their lesson. Having the announcements at the beginning of the block seems to disrupt the flow of the day, acting as an interruption.

  Failing to utilize an effective system for announcements merely leaves students clueless – many do not know updates on clubs, sports, prizes, events, or happenings around the school.

  Organizations also rely on the announcements to get information to members about meetings, dates, events, etc., so when this information is not delivered, even more problems arise.

  Although it may be true that students did not initially listen to announcements attentively, the new system is even less effective; thus, it may be better to return to the older system of projecting the announcements over the loudspeaker.

  This provides a simple, coherent way to deliver information to the student body. It also helps to unite the school community – all students and teachers are hearing the same announcements, leaving less room for discrepancy or misunderstandings.

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DECA hosts ‘winter-wonderland’ themed semi-formal

DECA hosted its annual winter semi-formal with a “winter-wonderland” theme in the cafeteria, and according to senior DECA officer Heather Burgess, the dance was largely successful.

By Kyle Marsh

INDEPENDENT STAFF

  DECA hosted its annual winter semi-formal with a “winter-wonderland” theme in the cafeteria, and according to senior DECA officer Heather Burgess, the dance was largely successful.  

  “At the last minute we were having a little trouble deciding whether to have [the dance] or not because we weren’t selling tickets right away, but it turned out a lot better than we imagined,” she said.

  Tickets were sold for $15 in school, and 131 students attended the dance. Students were automatically entered into a $10 iTunes gift card raffle when they purchased their tickets.

  According to DECA teacher Dean Martino, DECA raised $800.

  “I thought the dance was very successful because of the number of people who ended up coming.  A lot of people bought [tickets] at the door,” senior Alex Carr said.

  When students entered the dance, they were given a stamp on their hands and a water bottle.

  “I thought it was awesome how they gave [water] to you when you got there and put numbers on the caps.      

  They were able to reduce their resources, and everyone was able to quench their thirst,” senior Hannah Beardsley said.

  DECA decided on the theme of “winter-wonderland,” but according to Carr, Burgess led the planning and decorating.

  “I knew I wanted to do a lot of white and blue with a lot of snowflakes,” she said.

   The cafeteria was divided into two separate areas in order to create a divided section to create privacy for students, according to Burgess.

  DECA created a “Facebook corner” so students could have a place to take photos, complete with snowflakes and Christmas trees, she said.

  “It was really nice to have an area for dancing and an area to chill,” senior Joseph Mussachia said.

  In addition to the set up, students enjoyed the disk jockey, DJBJAY.

  “I liked how the DJ set up a dance off between the boys and the girls,” freshman Brittany Smith said.

  The winners were senior Molly Friedman and junior Jeff White. They each received a T-shirt, crown, and a $10 iTunes gift card.

  “I liked the song selection, and the DJ was very energetic,” White said.

  DJBJAY played mostly hip-hop, pop, and techno songs, including songs to get the crowd involved, such as “ChaCha Slide” and “Teach Me How to Dougie.”

  “Overall I thought it was a lot of fun; I would definitely say this dance was better than the other dances we have had in the past,” junior Kathleyn Carr said.

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Art teacher is one of 19 artists selected in seARTS show

Art teacher Marion Powers was one of 19 artists selected to have a piece of artwork showcased in a show sponsored by the Society for the Encouragement of the Arts (seARTS) at the Cape Ann Medical Center in Gloucester.

By Kyle Marsh

INDEPENDENT EDITOR

  Art teacher Marion Powers was one of 19 artists selected to have a piece of artwork showcased in a show sponsored by the Society for the Encouragement of the Arts (seARTS) at the Cape Ann Medical Center in Gloucester.

  The show was established in July, but the open house was held on Nov. 20.

  SeARTS is a non-profit organization devoted to “re-establishing Cape Ann as a world-class center for working artists,” according to the organization’s website.

  Powers said her piece will be up for a year in the existing show, and then the work will be replaced by new artwork.

  “It’s the start of something new because they will have it annually. SeARTS is trying to connect with multiple businesses, and the medical building was the perfect place to start,” she said.

  A committee of three jurors chose the 19 pieces of art.

  “I called the piece I submitted ‘Green Circles;’ it was inspired by Malaysia,” she said.

  The painted piece contains various golds, yellows, and greens in a somewhat abstract orientation of circles.

  “I am currently doing a colorful series right now on circles of paint. To me, the colors represent different countries that I have been to,” Powers said.

  She said her art has always been inspired by travel; Powers has traveled to Greece, Bosnia, Japan, Ireland and India, among others.

  According to Powers, she enjoys creating art outside of school.

  “I like having the balance between professional work and teaching. If you want to be a better teacher, you have to keep working at your craft,” she said.

   Her students admire her accomplishments in art outside of school.

  “I think it’s really great that her passion for art extends beyond of the classroom; it is really great to see that she is doing free-lance work as well,” senior Olivia Rice said.

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Humanities week provides fun, interesting performances

Looking back on the 10-day Humanities Week, students praise librarian Sue Krause for her hard work organizing the program.

By Kyle Marsh

INDEPENDENT EDITOR 

  Looking back on the 10-day Humanities Week, students praise librarian Sue Krause for her hard work organizing the program.

  “I think she did a great job. She really put together a program that was very interesting that let the school see a wide range of the humanities,” senior Christine Walder said.

  “She did a great job choosing the performances. Everything was so engaging, and people looked forward to all of the performances,” senior Isolde Decker-Lucke said.

  Humanities Week hosted various authors including Ha Tran, author of “Empowered by Hope,” an account of her escape from the Vietnamese Civil War. She moved to America with her husband (from an arranged marriage) and two children; she said she “never stopped fighting.”

  Other authors included Mike Tougais, author of “Survival Lessons: Triumph over Adversity,” and Eric Jay Dolin who wrote “Fur, Fortune, and Empire” and spoke to the sophomore class about the history of the fur America.

  Krause also selected performers such as the Navy Rock Band, Ayla Brown, and African Drummers.

  Others included the speed painter “Art Hero,” slam poet Taylor Mali, and film directors Noah Hutton and Josh Fox.

  Hutton and Fox discussed their respective documentaries “Crude Independence” and “Gasland,” which explore the issue of gas drilling in America. Fox’s Gasland was nominated for an Academy Award, according to Krause.

  According to various students, the Navy Band, Brown, Tran and Mali gave the most interesting performances.

  Senior Olivia Dumont particularly enjoyed the Navy Band. “I think it gave a new perspective to people that were considering the military as a career path. They were so fun and exciting,” Dumont said.

  Krause agreed. “They were the nicest men, and I just loved the way they interacted with the kids.”

  Brown, former Boston College basketball star and American Idol finalist, sang and spoke the next day.

  “She had a good story of success, but it would been more influential if she didn’t just talk about herself the whole time,” Decker-Lucke said.

  “Her whole presentation lacked a message… ‘You can applaud for that,’” senior Maddy Huleatt said.

  The next day Tran spoke about her escape from the Vietnam Civil War.

  “She was so inspirational. I thought her story was very touching,” senior Corey Bradley said.

  “Her genuine care and generous heart was shown in the way she spoke,” Dumont said.

  On Friday Dec. 3, slam poet Taylor Mali performed his poetry. Most students found the act comical.

  “He was hilarious, but a few of his comments were border-line inappropriate for high-school students,” Walder said.

  “Taylor was so intelligent to be able to do what he does. He was a dynamic speaker; I love the way his voice commanded the audience,” Krause said.

  Teachers had mixed opinions about Humanities Week.

  “I think it is good for students at our school to have a variety of educational experiences. However, it was difficult maintaining momentum in my classes due to the frequency of the assemblies. But, Mrs. Krause did a great job,” math teacher Richard Brown said.

  “It was a big disruption. On the other hand, I thought it was great that students were able to be exposed to things that they often do not in school,” math teacher Stephen Levinson said.

  History teacher Lauren DuBois said, “I think they did a good job trying to alert teachers so they could adjust accordingly.”

  Levinson agreed and mentioned the scheduling was well organized.

  Principal James Lee said that Humanities Week changed to a two-week program after scheduling issues arose from last year’s one-week event.

  “Within the next few weeks, we will meet with Mrs. Krause and the department heads to see if some other structures will work better for years to come,” he said.

  Overall, Krause said she was happy with the outcome of Humanities Week.

  “I enjoyed booking it and putting it all together. When the students take time to come over to me and thank me, it’s a nice feeling; I am so happy they all enjoyed it,” she said.

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