Should high school students own cars? Con

By Melissa Moore

Though owning a car can provide some freedom, the associated liabilities and costs outweigh any advantages.

Purchasing a car is expensive.  Pre-owned cars can cost anywhere from $1,000-$400,000, with the average price around $10,000.

Today, gas in the United States costs an average of $3.867 per gallon, and the price is only climbing. Especially while saving up for college, paying money for expensive gas is a waste.  Many high school students can spend up to $50 a week on gas.  If, instead, he/she saved that money over a year, he/she would have an extra $2,600. 

Besides gas, owning a car is expensive.  The average cost for insurance in Massachusetts is an average of $1,113 each year. For someone who owns a car junior and senior years, he/she spends an extra $2,226.

Adding up the above costs, this person has spent almost $15,000.  Tuition at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst is $12,991 for the 2012-2013 school year.  If that person did not own a car, he/she would have saved enough to pay for his/her first year in college.

Even discounting finances, owning a car can be a hassle.  High school students are still able to go places and have fun.  Do they really need to have their own car to get to the movies or to their friend’s house?  Often, another friend will be going to the same place, and the two can carpool.

Carpooling also prevents greenhouse gases from being emitted into the atmosphere and keeps the world a safer place.

In the summer, typically the time when teenagers most desire the use of a car, alternate ways of travel do exist.  Many times, kids can actually walk to their desired destination and, especially during the summer, avoid the inevitable beach traffic.

For farther distances, kids can bike to their destination.  Biking is a fun, simple way to get from one place to another while also getting a bit of exercise.

When one wants to travel farther than a bike will allow, the train is nearly always an option.  With the student discount, the train is a cheap, fast way to get to downtown Rockport or Boston and has a variety of times to return.


Seniors recieve college adminission decisions

Class of 2012 acceoted to many colleges despite high competition

By Melissa Moore

Seniors, having been accepted to a broad spectrum of colleges, had a “very good year” for college acceptances, guidance counselor Sharon Maguire said.

“I’m so thrilled with you all,” she said.  “The best part [of hearing about acceptances] is seeing you rewarded for your hard work.”

According to senior Sam White, the record high number of applicants to many colleges caused the perception that people have done worse.

“In reality, people have done as well as can be expected,” he said.

Senior Peter Goulakos agreed that the seniors have received many acceptances.

“I think everyone at least has one school they feel they could go to,” he said.

After applying to 10 schools, Goulakos was accepted to Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Rochester Institute of Technology, Tufts University, University of Massachusetts at Amherst, and Boston University.

According to him, he is most proud of being accepted to Tufts.

“I felt awesome and thankful when I got the acceptance,” he said.  “I didn’t think it would happen.”

Goulakos expects to attend either Boston University or Tufts.  The other schools he was accepted to are more specific and in an “engineering bubble,” whereas he would receive more diverse education at Boston University or Tufts.

“I don’t want to get too specialized too soon,” he said.

White, also having applied to 10 schools, was accepted to Oberlin College, Bard College, University of Vermont, University of Connecticut, and Skidmore College.  He was waitlisted at Tufts University and the Conservatory of Music at Oberlin College.

Upon receiving the letter from Bard, White’s first reaction was “I’m going to college!”  He was “very excited.”

When White saw the envelope from Oberlin College, he was “very excited and almost in disbelief.”

“I was amazed,” he said.

White will likely attend Oberlin College next year; however, he is going to see if he gets off the waitlist at Tufts. 

“Oberlin was my top school when I saw it.  I had a good gut feeling,” he said.  “As for Tufts, I really liked it, and I want to see if I can get in so I can make a more educated decision.”

According to Maguire, all waitlisted students should contact the school with any additional information that would improve admissions’ view of them, let the school know if it is their first choice, and ask if they had any blatant weakness in their transcript.

“You need to sell yourself again,” she said.  “Present yourself in a positive light and let them know you are passionate about the college.”

For students denied admission, Maguire said not to worry.

“Three weeks into September, you will be so excited that you won’t be able to imagine you could have wanted to be someplace else,” she said.

Maguire wanted to remind students that college is “what you make it.” 

“[College] is only the first step in your path.  If you follow your passions, you’ll be a happy, productive person.  [The guidance department] wishes you all the best.  We want all to be happy,” she said.


Graduates return, advise juniors, seniors on college process

By Melissa Moore

  Returning to the high school on Jan. 6, graduates Rebecca Lynch, Connor Hoff, Kaitlin McDonagh, Olivia Dumont, Amy Fraser, and Rachel Jones advised high school juniors and seniors on the college process. 

  Lynch is one of the 42,000 students who attend Pennsylvania State University in State College, Penn.  She “absolutely [loves]” her college, especially the school pride.  Though “it’s been hard” to be so far away, she has “grown a lot” from not being able to return home so often.  She advises juniors to take tours of colleges, and seniors should “think of the person [they] want to be in four years and choose the school that will best help [them] get there.”

  According to her, the high school prepared her very well for college.  “The high and challenging expectations plus balancing school and extracurriculars prepared me so well for the workload and how I spend my time,” Lynch said.

  Hoff attends Salem State University in Salem, Mass.  About 8,000 students, both undergraduate and graduate, attend the university.  Hoff enjoys his school because “everyone is so open” and “the teachers are committed to helping [students] succeed.”  Hoff advises juniors and seniors to “not worry about [college].”  They should “take it seriously, but…not stress,” he said.  Though he initially “did not want to go to Salem State,” Hoff “ended up loving Salem and [plans] on staying.”

  McDonagh, at Connecticut College in New London, Conn., especially loves getting to know new people “[she] never thought [she] would be friends with.”  McDonagh advises that incoming college freshmen should “be confident and go up to people and introduce [themselves],” she said.  According to her, high school “definitely prepared [her] for college.”  Connecticut College is smaller, with about 1,900 students.  Though its size can “feel a bit claustrophobic,” it also “gives [college] a homey feeling,” she said. 

  Attending the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, Dumont advises that seniors should enter college “with an open mind.”  She has enjoyed “meeting new people” and has “made some incredible friends at school,” she said.  “There’s a brotherly-sisterly bond between all the kids who live on my floor,” Dumont said.  According to her, the high school workload best helped prepare her for college, because she has “much less work and a lot more free time.”

  Fraser attends Fitchburg State University in Fitchburg, Mass.  About 4,500 students enroll at Fitchburg State.  Being about an hour away from home, Fraser is “far enough away that [she is] experiencing something new, but [is] close enough [to] come home easily.”  She asserts that juniors should “start the process early” and “take advantage of the time [they] have.”  According to her, the biggest difference from high school is “being completely on your own.  It forces you to grow up faster and take more responsibility.”

  Jones, one of 4,000 students at Roger Williams University in Bristol, Rhode Island, enjoys the liberty college offers compared to high school.  According to Jones, she enjoys having late classes and taking merely one or two classes a day. 

  “There is a lot more freedom in college,” she said.  “I really like having such a flexible schedule.”

  Senior Aryanna Tiberii was relieved to hear about this freedom, and the meeting “relaxed” her about college.

  “Before, I was stressed about whether I could manage a job or two, but now I definitely think I can,” she said.

  According to junior Coco Bradley, the college meeting was “definitely helpful.”

  “All of the information will be useful when I prepare to apply,” she said.


‘Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close’ portrays real, raw feelings

By Melissa Moore

  Make sure to bring some tissues.  “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close” is filled with emotional intensity and will not fail to make people cry.

  Based on the book by Jonathan Safran Foer, the movie follows 9-year-old Oskar Schell (Thomas Horn) in his quest to make sense of his father’s death. 

  Oskar and his father, Thomas (Tom Hanks), were very close.  Thomas always set up “reconnaissance missions” for Oskar, in which Oskar had to find clues to solve the puzzle his father had set up.

  A year after Thomas’ death in the Sept. 11 attacks, Oskar finds a key in his father’s closet and believes it to be another reconnaissance mission his father had set up before he died. 

  Therefore, Oskar goes on a wild goose chase to discover the lock that the key opens so he can keep his father close for as long as possible.  This leads him on his greatest mission ever, forcing him to wander all over New York City and talk to hundreds of people.

  In Horn’s breakout role, he flawlessly captures and portrays Oskar’s emotions. While in his search, Oskar is obsessed with finding the answer.  Because of this, he can come off as rude and impatient, overly-inquisitive and refuses to take no for an answer.  Partway through the film, it can be assumed he has Asperger’s through a reference to a test with “inconclusive” results. 

  Between Hanks, Horn, and Sandra Bullock (Oskar’s mother), the acting in this movie never fails.  The actors never break from character and are able to portray an incredibly believable story.  The characters are raw and real.

  Bullock and Horn create the feeling of a family suffering from loss and show the hole left behind by the sudden death of their beloved husband and father.  The entire movie is intensely heartbreaking, yet unexpected twists and turns keep the story moving. 

  The script, written by Eric Roth (“Forrest Gump,” “The Insider,”), is unpredictable yet remains realistic. Lines go from extremely harsh to loving and caring in a matter of minutes, but it works because of the incredible acting.


Field hockey players travel to Arizona

By Melissa Moore

Instead of sitting down to a turkey dinner, four Manchester-Essex students opted to play

Courtesy Anna Heffernan

field hockey in Arizona at the National Hockey Festival over Thanksgiving break.

Juniors Kelsi Field, Megan Jones, and Coco Bradley and sophomore Anna Heffernan attended with their club teams.  Field, Jones, and Heffernan went with Cape Ann Coalition while Bradley played for Northeast Elite.  Jones and Heffernan played on the same under 16 team, and Field played for the under 19 team.

According to Heffernan, she definitely enjoyed knowing Jones would be on her team.  Though knowing someone else helped at the beginning, her team of 16 got “really close,” eating meals and going shopping together. 

Jones also enjoyed getting to know her team.  According to her, the team dynamic was incredible.

“This was one of the closest teams I’ve ever been a part of even though we had only spent a couple hours of practice with each other prior to the tournament,” she said.  “We all came together so quickly on and off the field.

Field attended “Festival” to see what competition may be like at the college level.  According to her, the level of play was much higher than in high school.

“The players on my team were insane, so I knew the competition would be just as tough,” she said.  “The atmosphere was intense and sort of intimidating at first, especially seeing all the scouts…but it was also fun.”

Field’s coach was the Tufts University field hockey coach, Tina McDavitt.

Despite having two girls from Watertown on the team (Manchester-Essex field hockey’s rival), everyone was “really nice and accepting,” Field said.

Bradley, playing for Northeast Elite, was “so excited…but very nervous because [she] didn’t know the girls on [her] team,” she said.  According to her, the atmosphere was incredible.  Everyone strived to play her best and had “a great attitude.”

Jones, Heffernan, Field, and Bradley all recommend aspiring field hockey players to attend “Festival,” describing it as “an amazing opportunity,” “an awesome experience that allows you to learn a lot about field hockey,” “a cool environment,” and “so much fun,” respectively.


Girls’ soccer ends with best season record in years

Courtesy Aryanna Tiberii

By Melissa Moore

Independent Editor

Ending the season with a record of 5-9-2, the girls’ soccer team was extremely successful, senior Kirsten Coale said.

“This season was better than any others I’d been a part of,” she said.  “Our record was the best out of the four years I’ve played.”

Along with senior captains Jelisa O’Hara and Anya Ciarametaro, senior captain Jess Crossen attributed the team’s success to the new coach Alvi Ibañez.

“The season went very well this year because of the new coach,” she said.  “He knew his stuff.”

The season highlights were the team’s win against Georgetown and their tie with Hamilton-Wenham, Crossen said.

“In past years we did quite badly against them,” she said.  “[This year] we used the things we learned to keep up with them.”

The range of standout players goes from freshmen to seniors, Ibañez said.  They include, on a consistent basis, O’Hara and sophomores Sophia Guerriero and Casey Cook.  O’Hara and Cook were selected Cape Ann League All-Stars.  Cook was also named an All-League player.

According to Coale, Cook and O’Hara are fabulous players.

“Casey Cook is probably one of the best players I’ve ever played with,” she said.  “Jelisa plays an incredibly important role…and has amazing ball control.”

Coale wants to see how Olivia Lantz, the only freshman to make varsity, will do in upcoming years.  “She has enormous potential,” she said.

Crossen expects next year’s team to have much success.

“I think the team will do great next year because the coach will just keep teaching them more,” she said. 

“There are some great players coming up.”


Conflict in Libya: Should the United States have become involved? – Con

Korea. Vietnam. Iraq. All these countries are prime examples of American involvement that ended in nothing more than a cease-fire with few to no true results.

By Melissa Moore


  Korea.  Vietnam.  Iraq.  All these countries are prime examples of American involvement that ended in nothing more than a cease-fire with few to no true results. 

  The situation in Libya will end no differently.  Even if Muammar al-Qadaffi is ousted, little will be altered with American involvement.

  The United States’ interference in foreign countries throughout history proves that any success in Libya is unlikely.

Korea’s separation at the 38th parallel after World War II directly caused the Korean War.  America, supporting South Korea, entered the war too strong, causing China to enter the conflict to assist fellow Communist country North Korea. The war ended in a stalemate and the country remained split.

  In Vietnam in the 1960s, the United States supported the unpopular, pro-Western leader Ngo Dinh Diem, causing the majority of Southern Vietnamese citizens to despise America.  John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson strived to avoid involvement in Vietnam. 

  Johnson maintained a policy of limited warfare; however, the conflict quickly escalated to a full-blown war.  Few Americans supported the war, the United States ended the fighting with a cease-fire, and Vietnam was re-united under Communist rule after the Americans left.

  The conflict in Iraq began with American beliefs that Iraq was collecting weapons of mass destruction. Though dictator Saddam Hussein was overthrown in 2003, the country remains in turmoil. 

  These examples directly relate to the situation in Libya today.  The Korean War is a prime example of what could happen if Americans strike Libya too hard.  Qadaffi would not hesitate to call in any allies he may have to preserve his power.

  The Vietnam War shows how the policy of limited bombing and involvement is not successful.  Barack Obama plans on utilizing this strategy in Libya.  He wants to show that Americans will support the revolution with arms, but he does not want to commit many troops to the cause; however, this involvement could easily escalate to America being committed to supporting the cause with a large number of troops.

  As in Iraq, Americans hope to oust a dictator.  However, since Iraq is still in turmoil without a strong leader, the same is likely to happen in Libya. Even if America is successful in helping Libya, many coups d’état will likely take place.


‘The Source Code’ captivates, intrigues audience, elicits wide variety of emotions

Many people dream of being able to go back in time to fix a formerly bad situation. In “The Source Code,” this is Captain Colter Stevens’ (Jake Gyllenhaal) assignment.

By Melissa Moore


  Many people dream of being able to go back in time to fix a formerly bad situation.  In “The Source Code,” this is Captain Colter Stevens’ (Jake Gyllenhaal) assignment.

  Stevens wakes up on a train in the body of an unknown man.  He does not know who he is or how he got there.  Eight minutes later, the train blows up.  He then finds himself strapped in a capsule with a woman talking to him.

  The captain is a part of a new government program called the source code.  It allows people to go back and live the last eight minutes of a person’s life. Stevens’ job is to identify the bomber of the train, since this man is known to be plotting a much larger-scale bombing in downtown Chicago.

  Through trips back and forth Stevens must gather the clues necessary to determine the assassin.

  While on the train, the captain meets many characters, including a woman named Christina Warren (Michelle Monaghan), to whom he gets very close over his many eight-minute visits. 

  “The Source Code’s” soundtrack keeps the movie going and draws viewers into the movie, and the music beautifully parallels the events.

  All the actors play their roles commendably with few to no lapses in the credibility of the characters.  Each person seems genuine and stays true to his or her persona. 

  The script was well-written.  Despite the impossibility of the situation ever occurring, realistic lines make the characters come alive.

  Gyllenhaal, Monaghan, and Vera Farmiga (playing Colleen Goodwin) excel in their acting, supporting each other and making the movie both believable and intriguing.

  Through unexpected twists and turns of the plot, viewers are incapable of guessing what might happen next.  Once the mystery of “The Source Code” unfolds, one will want to see the movie again to fully understand it and pick up on nuances that may have originally been missed.

  “The Source Code” is rated PG-13 for violence and language.


New lunch payment system helps reduce unpaid debt

In a time when school budgets are already tight, districts such as Framingham are feeling the economic stress of more than $40,000 in unpaid school lunch debt.

By Melissa Moore


  In a time when school budgets are already tight, districts such as Framingham are feeling the economic stress of more than $40,000 in unpaid school lunch debt.

  While Framingham’s situation may seem extreme, their problems are not unique. New York City’s school budget, a system that includes 1,600 schools, is currently straining under $42 million in unpaid lunch debts.

  In order to avoid the strain this deficit puts on the school budget, Manchester instituted a new payment system with the completion of the new building, changing the once cash-based transaction to an automated Internet system that enables accounts to be loaded and managed online.

  The changes were overseen by head of food services Sheila Parisian, who is satisfied with the convenience of the system. “I love it. There is less room for error than with cash, and it enables parents to see online what kind of meals the kids are eating on a daily basis,” Parisian said.

  While admittedly a smaller district than Framingham, Manchester’s district lunch debt stands at around $4,000.

Junior Anya Ciarametaro is content with the system saying, “You can buy anything you want with your account; that is, as long as you have money on your account. If you don’t, you get stern looks and a scolding. It’s a sure fire way to keep kids on track with payments.”

  Parisian also notes that the new system has helped to prevent life-threatening accidents, as any allergies are immediately shown on each child’s account when they purchase their meal.

  Junior Savannah Repucci is pleased with the efficiency of the system, noting that it eliminates the need to fumble with change and hold up the line.

  Repucci is not alone in her satisfaction. As of this year, the system garnered an overall student body use of 53%, which stands above the average public school’s use of between 40% and 50%. according to Parisian.

  While unpaid debts are taken seriously, Parisian emphasizes that overall, the system is in place to ensure that no child goes hungry. “Some schools would just give a kid a cheese sandwich. I think that’s awful. I want the kids to be able to eat lunch if they are hungry,” she said.


‘Beastly’ fails to enrapture audiences, falls short of predecessor ‘Beauty and the Beast’

The dying rose in “Beauty and the Beast” symbolizes the beast running out of time to overcome his challenge. If this rose represented “Beastly,” the human version of the Disney animation, it would have eventually died.

By Melissa Moore


  The dying rose in “Beauty and the Beast” symbolizes the beast running out of time to overcome his challenge.  If this rose represented “Beastly,” the human version of the Disney animation, it would have eventually died.

  “Beastly” follows Kyle Kingson, a gorgeous, spoiled high school boy who believes physical appearance leads directly to success.  However, upon crossing Kendra Hilferty, a strange girl who coincidentally happens to be a witch, he is transformed into an ugly beast until someone says the words “I love you” to him.

  Kyle, abhorring his new look, recedes into a secluded house where no one can see him, brooding in self-pity for losing his looks and any shred of hope his father could ever love him.

  Kyle’s father, a famous news anchor, never had time for him even when Kyle had brain cancer.  This nuance, however, is quickly forgotten in the plot.

  In his ugly, brooding state, Kyle finally remembers one girl, Lindy, whom he began to like.  Instead of actually talking to her, he follows her around New York City and camps out in front of her apartment before blackmailing her dad to force her to live with Kyle in isolation.  To prevent outside recognition, Kyle calls himself “Hunter.”

  The plotline progresses predictably with very few moments of potential success.  The script is average, barely intriguing the audience.  Only for brief instances is one completely captivated by the movie; instead, one’s eyes will be distracted by Kyle’s many markings.

  The word “ugly” should not apply to Kyle, even in beast form.  Though some scars slightly disfigure his face, he looks more like a henna model who recently got into a knife fight.

  The one redeeming quality in “Beastly” is the message: inner beauty is what truly matters.  This shines true and clear and, though slightly overdone, is still refreshing to hear.

  “Beastly” runs 86 minutes and is rated PG-13 for mild violence, profanity, and drug content.