Educational budget cuts limit progress

Throughout the history of the United States schools have been giving the nation’s youth opportunity and knowledge through standard education.

By Nick Bouwer

INDEPENDENT EDITOR

  Throughout the history of the United States schools have been giving the nation’s youth opportunity and knowledge through standard education.

  In the beginning of the nation, the three R’s (reading, writing, and arithmetic) were taught to the population as the standard of education.

  This system of education has changed drastically since then, allowing students to expand their future opportunities further in many different areas of learning such as art, foreign languages, and physical education.

  The modern day school system has also made great leaps in special education which has allowed for many young impaired or disabled children to succeed in life.

  The economic dip that has plagued our country has taken a toll on the states and towns of America and they have been made to enact cuts in their budgets in order to reach spending deficits.

  Education is the first system that is looked toward when making cuts because many people feel that a standard education today can solely consist of those three R’s that were taught in schools during the 1800s and 1900s.

  These modern times require educated young people to help us get out of our depressions and further the progress of our nation; therefore, there is no rational reason as to why the old system of education could be used successfully today. Cutting away from those educations will not give us the opportunities created by intelligent young people to further progress and will leave many to waste their potential on something else.

  An example of recent budget cuts that will have incredibly negative effects on the school district and those that live around it is Georgetown’s list of proposed school budget cuts that were released in February.

  They are aimed at reaching an overall reduction amount of $872,089. 

  In order to reach this goal, Georgetown’s Superintendent Carol Jacobs has proposed the cutting of foreign languages in seventh grade, physical education and nutrition courses for middle school and high school, special education aide, reducing the art staff, and many others.

  The drastic amount of cuts that will be enacted on their system will negatively affect the school’s accreditation and will also decrease many students’ chances at getting into college and furthering themselves in finding their passions in life.

  Also, Florida’s Republican governer Rick Scott unveiled plans in February for a state budget last week that would cut as much as $3.3 Billion over the current fiscal year from education.

  Education should be the last to be looked at for budget cuts in any situation because the future of the older generation relies on the younger generation’s success.

  Without a good education, those generations cannot succeed, disabling society from progress and further modernization.

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SCORE projects provide real-world experiences for seniors

Every year the Senior Choice of Related Experience (SCORE) project has been available as an opportunity for seniors to experience an internship in the world of adulthood.

By Nick Bouwer

INDEPENDENT EDITOR

  Every year the Senior Choice of Related Experience (SCORE) project has been available as an opportunity for seniors to experience an internship in the world of adulthood.

  The internship begins for all seniors April 8, where they are required to intern for 30 hours a week until the end of May.

  SCORE counts for 25% of all senior’s final grades, determining for some whether they graduate or not.

  According to the head SCORE adviser Martin Stephan, the project has been around for years.

  “SCORE has been around for decades and decades and decades. When I first started the classes were much smaller and the project was much more of a privilege for the strong senior students. If you had below a C+ in a class, you couldn’t participate,” Stephan said.

   Over the last few years, SCORE has changed, becoming a requirement for all seniors to graduate while allowing them to gain much experience in real-world jobs.

  “The most common project is an internship as a teacher’s assistant, but I think the most interesting one’s are when the students take the internship into their own hands and do something they really want to do. For example, Tatiana Lyne is creating her own CD because music is what she wants to do in life,” Stephan said.

  Lyne agrees that the most interesting internships are often outside of school.

  “There are just so many internships people can find. I’m really excited to learn about what everyone is doing,” she said.

  Unique internships outside of school include senior Ashley Amero working as an intern at Beverly Hospital in the radiology department, senior Aidan Ostrowski working at a ceramics studio in Beverly, and senior Sarah Brown working with commercial photographer Debbie Gravina.

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Ceramics students visited new wing of Museum of Fine Arts

Thirty-eight ceramics students and four chaperones traveled to the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston for an art-oriented field trip on January 11. The trip focused on ceramics and works from the Cape Ann area in addition to other highlights of the new galleries.

By Nick Bouwer

INDPENDENT EDITOR

  Thirty-eight ceramics students and four chaperones traveled to the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston for an art-oriented field trip on January 11. The trip focused on ceramics and works from the Cape Ann area in addition to other highlights of the new galleries.

  According to ceramics teacher Tamera Burns, students were taken on a tour of the newly opened Wing of the Americas.

   “The major focus of the tour was beyond the new wing. It was a focus on ceramics to help educate students on the art form in general and give them a chance to observe different types of work dating back from before the discovery of America to works of modern artists of today. I think it’s a world-class museum, and the trip was incredibly good,” Burns said.

  Ceramics student senior Aidan Ostrowski liked the trip.

  “I think we learned a lot, and I’m looking forward to the next field trip we take there. It’s definitely important for students like us to witness work like that and learn from the masters,” Ostrowski said.

  According to senior Matt Bouwer, the collection of classic Mayan ceramics from outside Guatemala were favorites of the classes.

  “I think a lot of people liked the works featured in that exhibit because they were beautifully done and a marvel to look at. I certainly learned a lot from them and felt they were a great benefit to see in comparison to my own work,” Bouwer said.

  The museum opened the new wing last November and is solely dedicated to exhibiting American fine art from its early beginnings to present day.

  On its opening day alone, the Museum hosted a free full day event which welcomed approximately 14,000 visitors. 

  Among the highlights of the many pieces featured in the exhibit are a collection of classic Mayan ceramics from outside Guatemala, a collection of colonial New England furniture, silver, and portraits; and a collection of Winslow Homer paintings.

  The $345 million expansion and renovation adds 49 new galleries that display more than 5,000 objects, twice the number of American works that the museum had on view.

  The exhibit begins in the wing’s basement with the Americas before Christopher Columbus, then climbs three stories through revolutionary Boston to 19th-century manifest destiny landscapes to the abstract existential paintings and works of the past century.

  The Museum has also integrated technology into the exhibit, using flat screens to greet visitors at every level and to introduce what is held on each floor.

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Staff art project a hit last year, less popular this year

Five years ago, art teacher Marion Powers started a project for her students now known as the “page project.”

By Nick Bouwer

INDEPENDENT EDITOR

  Five years ago, art teacher Marion Powers started a project for her students now known as the “page project.”

  “A number of years ago Mrs Hunt was in the Library and she was throwing away boxes of books, and I thought it was almost sacrilegious to throw out so many valuable books. So I began to think and of course the light bulb went off in my head to create a project for the students with them,” Powers said.

  According to Powers, the idea is that students get a page from one of the books and work on a noun, adjective, or adverb in that page and create a piece from it, using the page itself as the background of the piece.

  Powers thought of the idea to incorporate teachers into the project last year during Humanities Week, and  the “staff art pages project” evolved.

  “When we had Humanities Week last year, I was trying to find a way to involve the faculty in some kind of artistic project, especially the ones that say art is so distant from them because I know anyone can do it, but the main reason for it was to bring faculty closer together in this enormous school,” Powers said.

  27 faculty members participated last year and 17 participated this year.

  According to senior portfolio student Caitie Pallin the project was a success last year but lacked participation this year.

  “I thought it was definitely a success last year because teachers put time and effort into it. This year, however, I only saw a few that were very impressive, and a lot that you could tell didn’t have any effort put in them at all. Mrs. Tanner’s page stood out to me the most because it was really well thought out using the words ‘reading by torchlight’ and it looked like she worked hard on it,” she said.

  Senior portfolio student Olivia Rice also said that it was not as much of a success this year.

  “I think it was a really good idea Mrs. Powers had to do this, but it was easy to see which teachers put an effort in the project and which decided it wasn’t worth trying. I definitely think I saw the different types of personalities teachers had through their work. Mme Kendrick’s page was my favorite because it sent a really good message about the word “listen” and was really creatively made,” she said.

  Foreign language teacher Stephanie Kendrick participated in the staff art pages project this year and last year.

  “I personally think that it is one of the most wonderful ideas to involve the staff in art because students rarely get to see what we can do with our artistic abilities. I think it was not the same appeal as it was to the staff this year as it was last year. This is because December is a very busy time for us, and I myself was late turning in my project and had doubts before that I would be able to turn it in,” she said.

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Common Christmas traditions based on pagan practices

Traditions like placing a star on the top of the Christmas tree, eating a chocolate “Yule log,” and the use of candy canes as decorations have been passed down for centuries, but their actual meanings at the start of their ceremonial use have been lost to many with time.

By Nick Bouwer

INDEPENDENT EDITOR

  Traditions like placing a star on the top of the Christmas tree, eating a chocolate “Yule log,” and the use of candy canes as decorations have been passed down for centuries, but their actual meanings at the start of their ceremonial use have been lost to many with time.

  A star or an angel is often placed on the top of the Christmas tree not because it “looks nice” or “completes the picture,” but because it is to represent the the host of angels or the Star of Bethlehem from the nativity.

  The tradition of placing an evergreen tree in one’s home at Christmas started in Germany in the 16th century.

  With roots in pagan beliefs before the birth of Jesus, the tradition was mainly in celebration of the winter solstice.

  According to the website All Things Christmas, the German priest Martin Luther was the first to embody the tradition of the Christmas tree as it is known today as the symbol for the tree of life in the Garden of Eden.

  Not long after Europeans began using Christmas trees, special decorations were used to beautify them.

   Candies and cookies were used predominately in this decoration process, and straight white candy sticks were one of the major confections used as ornamentation.

   During the 17th century, craftsmen created the white sticks of candy in the shape of shepherds’ crooks to represent the shepherds in the nativity scene.

  The candies were used as bribes for children to keep quiet during ceremonies at the living crèche, and the tradition spread throughout Europe.

  According to the website Enzine Articles many families today also enjoy a chocolate cake at Christmas time most often made in the shape of a log known as a Yule Log.

  Originally a pagan tradition as another celebration of the winter solstice, a Yule log was a tree branch, typically oak, for its slow burning properties.

  When the log fire expired, a piece of the log was kept for luck and as kindling to start the next Yule fire, when the next winter came along.

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AMC’s ‘The Walking Dead’ revives zombie apocalypse

Since the late 1960s, zombies have shuffled their way through Western film culture.

By Nick Bouwer

INDEPENDENT EDITOR

  Since the late 1960s, zombies have shuffled their way through Western film culture.

  Prevalent at one moment, then sometimes masked over by other fads, zombies have always been “alive” in all respects but by their definition in the minds of the living.

  The most recent fad that has caused many to stray away from the marvelous idea of flesh-eating, insatiably hungry dead people, is the obsession with the blood-sucking, and now disgraceful, curs we once with pride called vampires.

  Books like the “Twilight” saga and television programs such as “True Blood” have plagued us for long enough, changing vampires and other supernatural creatures from the terrifying monsters they used to be into benevolent, romantic, and “misunderstood” creatures who seem to have a knack for falling in love with teenage girls.

  Is the malicious, blood-curdling beast that is supernatural horror ever going to return? The answer to that question is yes, it already has, and this time, it is by the hand of our favorite flesh-eating friends, the zombies.

  On Halloween evening, the dead rose once again to meet the fate of the world in the “soon to be a hit” new series, AMC’s “The Walking Dead.”

  Written and directed by critically acclaimed Frank Darabont, the plot follows Rick (Andrew Lincoln), a deputy who is shot on duty, and wakes up from a coma after an unknown period of time (enough for him to grow a rugged beard) to find himself in an abandoned and vandalized hospital strewn with dead people.

  After escaping from the hospital, weak and malnourished, Rick finds himself in a world where the majority of people he sees would happily gnaw on his face, rather than become acquainted.

  Finding a bicycle next to a gruesomely dismembered woman who tries feebly to grab at his legs to get a nibble, Rick travels to his house in disbelief.

  In an increasingly gory series of events, Rick, armed to the teeth, goes on a quest to Atlanta to find his family, whom he knows in his heart to be alive.

  Gritty, well written, and wholesomely thrilling, “The Walking Dead” keeps its viewers glued to their seats in front of the television.

  Filmed with an incredibly high budget, the plot develops in admirably beautiful but disturbingly deserted settings that vary from small destroyed towns, to apocalyptically vacant cities.

  The series is accentuated with an equally ominous soundtrack composed by Bear McCreary with the addition of different audio tracks by various artists every episode.

  The deadly series will not cease to entertain, giving lovers of horrific thrills a refreshingly new but timely experience in the life of someone struggling to survive the hungry dead.

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Field hockey team advances to Div. II North Finals

With a record of 21-1-1, the field hockey team dominated their regular season and ended their tournament season with a loss against Watertown last Saturday in the North finals.

By Nick Bouwer

INDEPENDENT EDITOR

 With a record of 21-1-1, the field hockey team dominated their regular season and ended their tournament season with a loss against Watertown last Saturday in the North finals.

  According to coach Andrea Slaven and senior captain Kyle Marsh, the team was leading in the first half with a score of 1-0, but the second half proved fatal with a score of 2-1.

  “I think we started out strong, and we were very dominant. The second half we were a little too comfortable with the lead and let Watertown score and capitalize on our mistakes,” Slaven said.

  “It was frustrating because it was almost the same situation we had last season in which we were ahead in the first half, and then in the second half, they started coming back and were just too strong in the end,” Marsh said.

Senior captains Olivia Dumont and Vicki Grimes said that even with the loss against their rival, the season was a success.

  “This year we were expected for it to be a building year, but we proved that prediction wrong and ended the season with a 21-1-1 record, which we should all be proud of,” Dumont said.

  “This season was absolutely a success. Our coach was really great this year, and she came up with a lot of new ideas to help us with our skills and our game on the field. I think next year we will continue the season with the reputation we have had. We’ve got some great talent coming in to fill our shoes, and I’m not worried a bit about it,” Grimes said.

  According to Slaven, the team improved from day one on the field, and the loss of 15 seniors next year will affect them but will not necessarily stop them from doing well.

  “I would have to say our seniors have definitely been an impact on how well we have done, but just about everyone has stepped up in one game or the other and done a lot. I think it’s going to be a difficult challenge, but I think we have some talent coming in from the freshman and sophomore levels, and I’m excited to see how next year will play out for us,“ Slaven said.

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Field Hockey

With a record of 9-0-0, the field hockey team is playing through the season undefeated.

By Nicholas Bouwer

INDEPENDENT EDITOR

  With a record of 9-0-0, the field hockey team is playing through the season undefeated.

  According to new coach Andrea Slaven, the team will go far this year.

  “They are a very talented group. They are very supportive to one another on and off of the field, and I think their support is going to carry them a long way in addition to their talent,” Slaven said.

  Senior captain Olivia Dumont also thinks positively of the team this season.

  “The team this year is so much better than I expected. After losing so many good players last year, I thought it was going to be a building year, but we have been doing really well and the season is proving to be great,” she said.

 According to Slaven, the team will take each game at a time this season, learning more regardless of wins or losses.

  “The team’s goals are the same as last year, to be Cape Anne League champions and to beat our rival Watertown,”  senior captain Kyle Marsh said.

  Slaven and Dumont think the strength of the team is substantial, but some skills still need to be developed.

  “We need to improve on ball movement as well as our pass connection on the field,” Dumont said.

  “Their strengths are definitely their camaraderie and their passing on the field. We also definitely have a lot of speed. I think one of our challenges is being as good on grass as we are on the turf,” Slaven said.

  Slaven looks forward to the season and feels the team’s goals are in reach.

  “I am really excited for this year and feel that we have a lot of potential to do really well. We’ve clearly had success and I think we can only improve from here,” Slaven said.

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Menomena brings experimental rock to Boston

Experimental rock group Menomena’s new album is called “Mines,” and on Thursday, September 30, the epic tones of their new LP made it clear they were not going to stay under the radar for much longer.

By Nicholas Bouwer

INDEPENDENT EDITOR

   Experimental rock group Menomena’s new album is called “Mines,” and on Thursday, September 30, the epic tones of their new LP made it clear they were not going to stay under the radar for much longer.

  Even though the band played at the small Royale club in Boston, with an incredibly cheap $15 general admission price, the high energy of the crowd was equivalent to one of a significantly larger venue.

  Originally from Portland, Ore. the group plays rock-based music, which experiments with the basic elements of the genre and pushes the boundaries of common composition and performance technique by using custom-made instruments and dramatic changes in temp.

  The 220-minute show was inviting and elaborate, with smooth transitions between the finely calibrated 15-song set list that included nine epics from “Mines,” and six from their two previous albums “Friend and Foe,” and “I Am The Fun Blame Monster.”

  Each member of the band charmed the audience, cracking jokes between songs and punctuating crowd favorites like “Muscle N’ Flow” and “Wet And Rusting” with improvised guitar and drum solos as well as many lyrical flights conducted by each member at one given point or another.

  Well-rehearsed doesn’t even begin to describe the way the band carried out its works of art to the crowd. Whether it was Brent Knopf unleashing his fingers on his keyboard, Justin Harris throwing down on his bass or sax, or Danny Seim tearing up the drums in a solo, Menomena left its crowd awestruck.

  Menomena also took time to praise the crowd and the opening bands, an experimental rock group called Tu Fawning and a psychedelic disco/new age NY band called Suckers. Menomena mentioned their appreciation for the groups and the Bostonian crowd multiple times.

  Each of the opening acts were equally spectacular, with one hour given to each band, preparing the audience for their main event and enlightening the ears of many to the elegant fluidity of Tu Fawning and the high energy of Suckers.

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Former engineer, technician joins science department

A new science teacher, Steve Cogger, has joined the faculty.

By Nicholas Bouwer

 

INDEPENDENT EDITOR

A new science teacher, Steve Cogger, has joined the faculty. Cogger teaches CP 12 Physics, Robotics, which is open to all high school classes; and engineering, a middle school exploratory.

Cogger was born in Massachusetts and grew up in Reading. He graduated from Reading Memorial High School.

Having the experience of teaching middle school for three years, Cogger is excited to be now in teaching middle school and high school classes.

“I really like the transition into high school because of the opportunity to work with students further along in their development of understanding in science and engineering,” he said.

With a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Cornell, a master’s in business from Rutgers and in the process of receiving a master’s in STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) education at Tufts, Cogger didn’t begin as a teacher.

“I first worked for 10 years as a design engineer in range of different places within the areas of Massachusetts and New York. I worked with a lot of different companies from start-up to multi international. I got tired of the routine of traveling so much, and I stopped doing that to become a certified BMW technician at BMW Peabody. I then worked with the FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) LEGO robotics team for kids at Andover High School and was a coach there, and that’s when I decided to go into education,” he said.

Cogger enjoys working with a new staff and students.

“So far it’s great. The staff has been really accommodating and helpful, and I enjoy working with the students because they want to learn,” he said.

According to students, Cogger is a likable mentor who makes class interesting and fun.

“He tries hard as a teacher to make sure everyone understands, and I respect that,” senior Eddie Neal said.

“I think because of Mr. Cogger, this year of physics will be great. I’m glad to have him as a teacher, and I know this year will be fun,” senior Dylan Parlee said.

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