Jail trip teaches seniors about consequences of bad choices

Seniors traveled to the Middleton Jail in two groups for the annual field trip that teaches students about poor choices.

By Laurel Edington

INDEPENDENT EDITOR

  Seniors traveled to the Middleton Jail in two groups for the annual field trip that teaches students about poor choices.

  Chemistry teacher Keith Gray, who has chaperoned the trip for five years, said, “I think the point of students in general going is to see that they’re one bad choice away from ending up in a place like that. For seniors, I don’t see it as scared straight. I see it as more of a matter of fact: this could happen, just don’t make a bad choice.”

  The first group of students went on March 17 and the other group went on March 25.

  As each group entered the jail, every student went through the metal detector and then Deputy Jason Faro and Lt. Steve Driscoll met them to talk about the jail. They talked about the importance of showing respect to the inmates, which included not yawning, sitting up straight, and not fidgeting.

  Afterwards, the students traveled into the jail to the visitor’s center to meet with inmates.

  Two inmates, Willy and Coco, met with both groups. These two men had over 50 years of time in jail combined because of drug use.

  Each told about how their imprisonment had emotionally hurt their families and themselves. Neither can find a respectable job when they are released and they haven’t seen family members in years. Bubba also met with the second group. He was in jail because he was involved in prostitution.

  On March 17, the seniors weren’t able to go to the control center and walk through the jail because an inmate had to be removed from his cell.

  “The prison staff was going to do a forced move of an inmate, and that’s something that the general public is not allowed to see. It can become violent with the inmate and the staff,” Gray said.

  Students found the trip enlightening.

 I thought that it was a very realistic, tangible experience,” senior Christine Walder said. “The trip made everything about jail more realistic. It also showed that, unlike many TV shows that exaggerate everything, jail is just as bad as it is made out to be, if not worse.”

  Senior Noah Prince said the trip was fascinating.

  “It was all very interesting, and some of it was very sad or disturbing. I couldn’t really feel any connection to what they were saying, as I will almost certainly never be in their position,” he said.

  Assistant Principal Paul Murphy said that the trip is a valuable experience.

  “I think it’s important for everyone, not just students, [visit] prison because one bad decision could send any one of us there,” he said.

  Freshmen will be visiting the jail on April 8 and May 6.

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Underclassmen, seniors should take final at same time when in senior classes

Underclassmen who are either looking for a challenge or want to double up in a subject and are taking classes with seniors should be able to take the final early with the seniors before S.C.O.R.E. starts.

By Laurel Edington

INDEPENDENT EDITOR

  Underclassmen who are either looking for a challenge or want to double up in a subject and are taking classes with seniors should be able to take the final early with the seniors before S.C.O.R.E. starts.

  Once the third quarter is over, seniors are no longer in school full time—they are on S.C.O.R.E. and only come back to school to take their AP classes.

  When seniors are gone, teachers either have no students to teach or very few underclassmen left in the class.

  After the seniors are on S.C.O.R.E., the other students in the class should do other educational activities for fourth quarter grades, but they should not have a final on that material at the end of the year.

  Teachers shouldn’t force these students to be tested on more than the rest of the class since these students have already chosen to push themselves intellectually.

  The underclassmen in these classes have done everything the seniors have done and should be tested as such. It’s not fair if they have to take a final on more material with more to study later in the year and have it count the same amount as the final the seniors take.

  Every student in senior classes should review at the same time and take the final at the same time. Younger students should only take the final with the seniors, however, if the class is specifically a senior class.

  For example, honors physics is a class typically for seniors that some juniors decide to take to challenge themselves. On the other hand, precalculus is an honors class for juniors, but some seniors take it based on their schedules from the past three years. The juniors in the physics class should take the final with the seniors, but the juniors in the precalculus class need to take it as a normal final.

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Local boutique sells discounted designer items

Jimmy Choo, Tory Burch, and Dooney and Bourke shoes and clothes, all at discounted prices, can be found in Mint, a local store in Beverly on Cabot Street that sells used high-end clothes and accessories for more affordable prices.

By Laurel Edington

INDEPENDENT EDITOR

  Jimmy Choo, Tory Burch, and Dooney and Bourke shoes and clothes, all at discounted prices, can be found in Mint, a local store in Beverly on Cabot Street that sells used high-end clothes and accessories for more affordable prices.

  This shop is not a thrift store but rather a “unique boutique” that only sells designer brands. Some prices might still be considered high, but realistically are a steal for these labels.

  As soon as shoppers walk in, they are immediately face to face with a fabulous pair of leopard-print Jimmy Choo stilettos, for an astounding $235. Although $235 may sound expensive, it’s a mere fraction of the price of these shoes at a department store. A similar pair from Neiman Marcus retails for $695.

  With a little searching, one can unearth a hidden treasure.

  A precious navy blue Dooney and Bourke satchel that retails for over $150 is priced at $26, and Citizens jeans, which typically cost between $150 and $250, are $25.

  With shoes, purses, and clothes galore, this shop is a fashion addict’s heaven.

  In a basket off to the side lies a gorgeous deep purple Marc Jacobs tote bag that is a girl’s dream for a “cheap” $435. Right next to it are multiple Coach purses and a handful of small Louis Vuitton bags, all in the classic pattern.

  Next to the purses is a shelf full of jeans organized by size.

  Mixed in with the Citizens and Seven for All Mankind jeans, are a small amount of perfect True Religion jeans, all for around 10%-30% of their original prices.

  Every item in Mint is high-end, in great condition, and ready to be a special part of someone’s closet.

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Art students create valentines for elderly

Under the direction of art teacher Marion Powers, high school and middle school art students made over 60 valentines to give to the elderly at Sunrise Assisted Living.

By Laurel Edington

INDPENDENT EDITOR

  Under the direction of art teacher Marion Powers, high school and middle school art students made over 60 valentines to give to the elderly at Sunrise Assisted Living.

  Powers got the idea because her mother had resided there and Powers always brought the residents things during the holidays, especially Valentine’s Day.

  “When some of the students had extra time, I would mention it and they would make cards and I would deliver. I found that Valentine’s Day was especially a special time,” she said.

  Students from all of her classes made these cards.

  Senior Christine Walder used old magazines to cut out hearts and make a collage. On the inside she wrote “Happy Valentine’s Day.”

  “I thought that it was a very touching idea, and Mrs. Powers explained that valentines can bring back many memories for people in the nursing home. Even though it only takes a few minutes to make a valentine, it’s something that they can think about for a long time,” she said.

  Other students put small messages in the cards.

  Junior Jamie Rynkowski wrote “I hope you have a wonderful Valentine’s Day!” because “I know how important it is for someone in a nursing home to still feel like someone is out there thinking of them,” she said.

  Powers delivered the valentines on Valentine’s Day.

  She said she was going to deliver them over the weekend, but since Valentine’s Day was on a Monday, she went right after school.

  “They were so happy. They were staring at them and they all said, ‘Please, please thank the students and let them know how much I appreciate it,’” she said.

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Art students create valentines for elderly

Under the direction of art teacher Marion Powers, high school and middle school art students made over 60 valentines to give to the elderly at Sunrise Assisted Living.

By Laurel Edington

INDPENDENT EDITOR

  Under the direction of art teacher Marion Powers, high school and middle school art students made over 60 valentines to give to the elderly at Sunrise Assisted Living.

  Powers got the idea because her mother had resided there and Powers always brought the residents things during the holidays, especially Valentine’s Day.

  “When some of the students had extra time, I would mention it and they would make cards and I would deliver. I found that Valentine’s Day was especially a special time,” she said.

  Students from all of her classes made these cards.

  Senior Christine Walder used old magazines to cut out hearts and make a collage. On the inside she wrote “Happy Valentine’s Day.”

  “I thought that it was a very touching idea, and Mrs. Powers explained that valentines can bring back many memories for people in the nursing home. Even though it only takes a few minutes to make a valentine, it’s something that they can think about for a long time,” she said.

  Other students put small messages in the cards.

  Junior Jamie Rynkowski wrote “I hope you have a wonderful Valentine’s Day!” because “I know how important it is for someone in a nursing home to still feel like someone is out there thinking of them,” she said.

  Powers delivered the valentines on Valentine’s Day.

  She said she was going to deliver them over the weekend, but since Valentine’s Day was on a Monday, she went right after school.

  “They were so happy. They were staring at them and they all said, ‘Please, please thank the students and let them know how much I appreciate it,’” she said.

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ASR student qualifies for semifinalist in research competition

Senior Authentic Science Research (ASR) student Kyle Marsh placed in the semifinals for the Intel Science Talent Search for her summer internship at Massachusetts General Hospital.

By Laurel Edington

INDEPENDENT EDITOR

  Senior Authentic Science Research (ASR) student Kyle Marsh placed in the semifinals for the Intel Science Talent Search for her summer internship at Massachusetts General Hospital.

  Over 1700 entries were submitted at first; then a group of scientists narrowed the number down to 300 for the semifinals.

  According to ASR teacher Maria Burgess, Marsh is the first ASR student to place in the Intel competition.

Intel’s talent search is the top nationally recognized scientific research competition.

  “Intel used to be the junior Nobel Prize,” Burgess said.

  Marsh worked at MGH researching genetic factors that cause acute myeloid leukemia.

  During ASR class for the first two months of school, Marsh worked on a research paper about her internship for the contests.

  “We first entered the Siemens competition. This paper took us about two months to write. Then when it came to Intel, we used the same paper. I sent it to my mentor, Dr. David Sweetser, who is a pediatric oncologist at MGH; he looked it over and made some suggestions, which were very helpful,” Marsh said.

  The ASR class never looked online to see if anyone placed, so Marsh received a letter notifying her of qualifying for the semifinals.

  “I was absolutely thrilled!” she said. “When I got the big package in the mail I had kind of a hopeful feeling, but I just thought it was going to be an informational packet or something. But when I read the letter I could not stop smiling.”

  She called Burgess as soon as she found out.

  “I shrieked with joy,” Burgess said. “I’m absolutely thrilled for her. I could not be more proud of her.”

  Both Marsh and Burgess shared the news with the ASR class.

  “I’m so proud of Kyle for making it to the top 300. It’s such an incredible accomplishment and the perfect way to top of her extremely successful high school career,” senior ASR student Olivia Dumont said.

  The top 300 was narrowed down to 40, but Marsh didn’t move on.

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Graduate competes on ‘Worst Cooks in America’

Class of 2003 graduate Jeff Longcor recently finished filming for “The Worst Cooks in America” and was eliminated due to his inadequate pork and asparagus dish.

By Molly Friedman

INDEPENDENT EDITOR

  Class of 2003 graduate Jeff Longcor recently finished filming for “The Worst Cooks in America” and was eliminated due to his inadequate pork and asparagus dish.

  When not on television, Longcor works as a senior associate for Maxymillian Technologies that performs civil and environmental construction projects. 

  Longcor, who made it through two episodes, said he “never really found the spotlight but loved surprising old friends who would turn the channel on at the right time.”

  He learned that the Food Network was in search of chefs for the show when his roommate brought it to his attention.

  In order to apply for a position, he wrote to the producers of the show, explaining how he needed to save him from himself. The e-mail also served as an apology to his family and friends who have suffered through his cooking.  

  According to Longcor, he tried out for the show as a joke, not expecting to make it onto television. His roommate accompanied him to the interview to vouch for his lack of skill, and they both captured the producers’ attention with their laid back personalities and the disastrous Mexican dish Longcor made the night before.

  Once on the show, Longcor said he was portrayed at the “quiet” and “shy” member of the group. He said it didn’t take him long to forget about the cameras, which made it easier to focus on the task at hand.

  According to chemistry teacher Keith Gray, he believes Longcor being on the show fits his personality perfectly. “He was such a fun kid and to see him on TV was so cool.”

  In New York City Longcor met the group and was surprised with the “diverse group of smart, fun, and talented participants.” Rather than turning against each other, the group came together and still keeps touch, he said.  

  Before filming, the Food Network gave the members of the show a crash course on basic cooking techniques, which Longcor was “grateful” for.

  Longcor had some prior knowledge of the culinary arts from his mother, special education teaching assistant Ginny Kiefer, who described him as “a believer that it all goes in the same place so it doesn’t matter what it looks like or what things you pile and slop together.”

  When it came to his elimination, Longcor was “disappointed” in himself because he tried to “improvise while helping others out but wasn’t ready to do so much at once.”Recalling his elimination Longcor highlighted on the fact that he was trying very hard to impress judge Robert Irvine and lost focus. Irvine commented on his lack of attention to following directions which resulted in his failure.

  “The chef thought it was overcooked, but I thought it was the best thing I’d ever eaten,” he said.

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Seven student-bands perform during Green Team concert

In a Green Team-sponsored event, eight bands played during the Envirojam, a concert in the high school’s auditorium to finish off Earth Week.

By Laurel Edington

INDEPENDENT EDITOR

  In a Green Team-sponsored event, eight bands played during the Envirojam, a concert in the high school’s auditorium to finish off Earth Week.

  Junior Chloe Gothie organized the event.

  “I have been working on Earth Week for my Green Team Scholars project along with many other events, and we decided it would be a fun idea to have [a concert] after the week of midterms along with the spirit of Earth Week,” she said.

  The money made at the concert will go to the Green Team’s account.

  According to Green Team leader Eric Magers, the club made $350.

  Students made up seven bands, and Mike Forgette, a rapper from Gloucester, was the eighth act.

  Junior Sam White plays in “The Sam and Sam Band,” which opened the show.

  “My band wasn’t at its best, partly because we played first so the audience was still showing up,” he said. “There were also a lot of bands in a short space of time, so we couldn’t play all the songs we were planning on, but it was still a fun concert.”

  The event lasted from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.

  “One of the main problems was that we had to be out of the auditorium by 9 p.m., so some of the bands had to get some of their time cut,” Gothie said.

  Despite having to revise their sets, the bands were happy with their performances.

  Seniors John Houston and Misha Berkrot played guitar and sang. According to Houston, although the bands’ sets were cut, they all still did great.

  The bands could tell that the audience enjoyed the performances.

  “There was a good turnout, and the audience seemed to like everything from the acoustic songs to the rock bands to the rap groups and was engaged the whole time,” White said.

  Senior Miranda Johnson, who went to the concert said, “I thought it was really good, well put together, well organized, and all the acts were great.”

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Science students travel to Boston on field trip

Students in the Advanced Placement Biology class and the Authentic Science Research (ASR) class went on a field trip to Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s (MIT) library and a Boston University (BU) lab and research seminar.

By Laurel Edington

INDEPENDENT EDITOR

  Students in the Advanced Placement Biology class and the Authentic Science Research (ASR) class went on a field trip to Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s (MIT) library and a Boston University (BU) lab and research seminar.

  According to ASR teacher Maria Burgess, “Both classes are the two upper-level science classes in the school and they have the appropriate level of thinking for the field trip.”

  After the bus arrived late because of a scheduling error, the two classes visited the MIT library.

  Students and teachers learned about MIT’s database resources. They were taught how to use MIT’s website to find other research papers and sources. Then, they toured other parts of the school, such as a library where nobody can talk and the basement that holds hundreds of research books and journals.

  Burgess said she took the ASR class to MIT in 2003. After that trip, each year the timing was wrong and other things came up, and she wasn’t able to put the trip together again until this year.

  Because the bus was late, the group could only tour one lab at BU; they had planned to visit two.

  Following the library, they went to BU, and a research student quickly showed them around a tissue-engineering lab.

  “The lab tour was my favorite. I loved learning about scientists’ work with capillary growth and seeing where it all happened,” senior ASR student Noah Prince said.

  The group walked across the street into another BU building to watch a seminar on how axons, which are the means for neural (brain) communication, are related to autism.

  According to Burgess, it was worthwhile because during the presentation, students were able to see other researchers interact.

  While ASR students read the research paper about the seminar beforehand, the AP Bio students did not.

 “I wish I understood [the seminar] better because it seemed interesting,” junior AP Bio student Daria Shnider said.

  Future classes will go on the field trip in the years to come.

  Burgess said she wants to do it every other year so every group of students can go once.

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Art teachers generate visual, performing arts website

High school art department members worked to make a new visual and performing arts website that showcases student artwork.

 By Laurel Edington

INDEPENDENT EDITOR

  High school art department members worked to make a new visual and performing arts website that showcases student artwork.

  Art teacher Caroline Epp was the main creator of the website, www.thearts.mersd.org.

  “I took everything I had and put it all in one place,” she said. “It’s another place to display student work. It shows the community what is going on. We wanted to be a school in the digital [online] discussion.”

  She works on the website while other teachers send her information and photographs to include.

  The website uses both pictures and documents to explain what is happening in the arts department.

  “Within any department, often people outside the department don’t know what goes on within that department. There are a lot of things going on in the arts, so we’re able to highlight and let the community and the people within the school be abreast with everything that is happening,” art teacher Marion Powers said.

  Community members are able to learn about the art department through the website.

  “It’s nice that the site can also let the community see what the school and students are doing in the art department,” senior photography student Maggie Cellucci said.

  The website also includes the performing arts, such as drama, band, and chorus.

  Drama director Gloria Tanner said she hopes “that it creates buzz–that it demystifies what we are doing and inspires more kids to get involved because they can see what we’re doing. It gives kids credit for their work.”

  Not only does it provide examples of artwork, but the website also has information about each class.

  Epp said she included course descriptions and curriculum documents on the website.

  The website incorporates information about the elementary, middle, and high school.

  There is information and student work for each level of the school system—kindergarten through fifth grade, the middle school, and the high school, Epp said.

  Powers, Epp, and art teacher Tamera Burns worked on the website during a professional development day.

  They looked at sites from other schools, such as Ipswich and Marblehead for inspiration, Epp said.

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