A New Type of Scholarship
With college right around the corner, students are filling out scholarships as soon as they become available. Some students are getting academic scholarships, others are receiving ones for sports. However, there is a new type of scholarship in the making, with a new school even giving out full rides. UC Irvine is the first school to pay for an entire students tuition, for e-sports. Yes, a college is giving scholarships for students to join their video game team, most significantly for a game called League of Legends.
League of Legends is a five person versus five person video game that allows its players to step inside a realm of different creatures and champions to ultimately claim victory for seizing the other team’s “nexus.”, or the primary objective for each team’s map. As crazy as that is, if one’s college team can win the collegiate tournament, the five players will take home $100,000.
Most people would deem this ridiculous, but those who engulf their time and energy into video games are ecstatic about this new opportunity. Video games require a significant amount of effort, practice, and skill, much like physical sports. Whether or not video games should be considered sports is another debate.
This is just the beginning. More and more colleges will soon jump on the e-sports scholarship train and start redefining how some students pay for their college tuition. Avid player of League, Steven Boynton, shares his thoughts about the new form of scholarship being offered, saying, “I think it is pretty cool that colleges are noticing League of Legends and seeing it as challenging, both as physically and mentally as other sports.” The scholarship is meant to be seen as similar to an academic or athletic scholarship, as gaming requires the same hard work that the other two categories require. Another avid League player, Ethan Hanna, knows just how much hard work gaming takes. He has worked very hard to achieve levels of academic and athletic success, as well as his video game hobby. He shares some thoughts about the new scholarship opportunities, saying, “The fact that more and more colleges are going to start giving out e-sports scholarships is very exciting. Many more students are going to be able to afford college because of skills that they have worked hard to master.”
Whether or not you consider yourself to be a gamer, there are now opportunities for a variety of different skills. So give gaming a chance; you may surprise yourself with a new hobby, while paying for college at the same time.
What Is Art?
Art is not a simple three letter word that means drawing and painting. In fact art is a broad range of everything we may just know as people. When asked, Mrs. Plude said, “Art is a part of our culture, as well as other cultures; it makes us who we are.” Art is something that symbolizes more than just paint brushes and sketch pads. Art symbolizes freedom, strength, creativity, and so much more. Of course such symbols vary from person to person. Mrs. Mikucki, one of the health teachers as well as the Giving Back Club Advisor, said, “Art symbolizes the evolution of human emotion.”
Since the beginning of time, art has been of existence. Whether that is through a song, a poem, a painting, a drawing, and even a simple photo that captivates the emotions that are felt by the photographer, it has existed. Ms. Hudson said, “Even back to the earliest cave painting, artists, both visual and performing, have used their gift of creative expression to document cultures, document civilizations, challenge societal or political happenings, and/or challenge traditional thinking.”
That’s the beauty of art, it’s timeless. A painting painted fifty years ago will hold the same beauty it held at the time it was made. Over the course of this time, although the painting may have not changed, the way we look at might have. It’s the same concept when it comes to reading a book. A book read by an individual in high school will hold a specific meaning and message. Over time, as that person goes through the course of their life, they may re – read the same book. In that second reading new details will appear. Ones that were not read the first time around but are now perfectly clear. The meaning of the text will change as well as their personal interpretation. Some may not understand why such a thing occurs. The simple answer is that as we change and grow so do our thoughts, ideas, and beliefs leading us to see things in a different light.
Art is every book we’ve read, every movie we’ve watched, as well as every song we’ve listened to. All of these hold the emotions of the artist themselves as well as their vision. Mrs. Skutches said, “What art symbolizes is different for every person. It is based on their vision.” They gave the artist a sense of freedom, allowing them to run as far as their imagination allowed. Art holds no boundaries. There are no rules when it comes to art. It gives us the ability to push ourselves to limits we didn’t even know existed and then even farther than that. It is amazing how one picture, one painting, one song as well as poem can tell us so much about the person who was brave enough to put their hearts and souls on display for the world to see. That’s what also makes art interesting. There will never be two original pieces of art that are the same in meaning and execution. That also applies to the people taking in the work of the artists of our world. Two people will not see the same painting or photograph and interpret it the same. No two people will listen to the same song and get the same feeling from it either.
Every painting ever painted, every song ever sung, every poem ever written are inspired from the emotions and souls of their artists, allowing our interpretations to be skewed as well. Art is not a simple term. Art is a term that holds everything we know.
In this fast-paced world with information available within milliseconds, smartphones have become epidemic. Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, Vsco, and the many other beloved apps have enabled people to communicate and share their lives virtually.
Although social media has effectively connected the world, it inarguably worsened social skills. While we are skilled at formulating text messages, tweets, and Instagram captions, we have become socially inept.
The idea of social media is to spread ideas and reminders rapidly and to put them in a place where everyone can conveniently view them.
Junior Sarah Luzzi states that she believes social media has bettered society. Luzzi says, “Social media allows people to spread ideas fast. Twitter is beneficial when it comes to school because there are so many reminders about clubs and sports. This helps to build a sense of community.”
For example, with @manestreetmirror tweets and reminders, students are never behind on what’s for lunch, or what time a football game begins.
But there is the flip side: Sophomore Mark Wootton says, “Social media destroys face-to-face communication and could be negative.” It has been found that teenagers have become so consumed by social media and texting that they lose the ability to communicate and act in real life experiences.
Dating norms, for one, have drastically changed. Today it is extremely rare for teens to ask each other out on dates. Dating has been replaced with “talking,” and rather than having a nice chat over ice cream, you Snapchat your chosen person instead.
Most people enjoy using social media for entertainment, but some use it in the absolute worst ways. Sophomore Roger Bernard points out, “It can hurt people ‑ people can cyberbully.”
Bernard also says social media can negatively impact people in an academic aspect.
“Our phones can distract us from learning,” he says. “When you are trying to study and do homework and your phone keeps buzzing with texts and notifications it distracts you from your work.”
How much is too much? Junior Rochelle Holness argues that social media can be good depending on how you use it, but make sure to never let it take over your life. Holness says, “It’s good to take a picture when you’re at a concert or on a trip, but make sure to put your phone away and actually enjoy life.”
Although it is enticing to capture life’s finest moments, it is more important to fully experience them. Holness adds, “Do not let a phone consume you, and don’t let the fear of not getting a perfect picture to Instagram get in the way of living.”
Another key component of social media which people tend to get caught up in is “likes” on apps such as Twitter and Instagram. These likes are used as a way to show approval, and to show that one literally likes the photo or the tweet.
Although flattering, this can negatively affect one’s self-esteem. Access to celebrities’ accounts and photos can lead people to compare themselves and their bodies to others.
Sarah Fitzgerald says, “It is easy to look at people and especially celebrities’ lives and appearance and feel self-conscious about yourself. It is important to live your own life and not dwell on others through means of social media. People should not go through life competing for the most likes.”
We live in a world controlled by smartphones, and people are starting to realize that the art of interacting with one another in person is headed towards extinction. So next time you find yourself surrounded by beauty or in the presence of a fascinating person or thing, remember to prioritize life experiences over a Snapchat story, Instagram, or tweet.
It’s Never Too Early to Start Preparing For College
The student who is sleep deprived, always talking about the SAT’s, and constantly checking PowerSchool between classes, is most likely a Junior in high school. The over-used phrase, “This year is the most important year for academics,” is one that eleventh graders have set in stone. In the blink of an eye, we’ll all be dressed in caps and gowns holding diplomas. It is never too early to begin the enticing and nerve-racking college searching process. Juniors, now is the ideal time to search schools online and sign up for college visits!
When searching for the perfect school, Mrs.Litzie in guidance suggests considering a school’s size, location, and their majors first. Mrs. Litzie says, “It is important to evaluate where a school is geographically speaking. For students who are undecided in their major, understand that that is perfectly fine.” Mrs. Litzie provides some advice for Juniors that will lead them into the path of success. “Prepare for the SAT, and keep your grades up. Khan Academy is an excellent SAT prep site as well as Terc database which Mrs. Pellegrino offers on the Foran website.” Mrs. Litzie also dives into different elements students should be prospering in. “It is important to get involved in community service and school activities. Colleges love to see students who devote their time and put great effort into a couple of clubs or activities rather than signing up for every single club or activity and not being an active participant in them. Colleges enjoy seeing well-rounded students.” Mrs. Litzie also expressed that talking to your guidance counselor about college would be an ideal start. She also stresses using the Naviance site as it is a wonderful tool to utilize throughout the college hunt.
Junior John Lickteig communicates how he began the college search process. “First, I evaluated some of my personal preferences. I am looking for a big school and one that is in the realms of Connecticut. I am also considering schools based on how well their programs are academically.” Lickteig recently visited UConn and spoke about how visiting colleges is a great stepping stone in helping decide what school is the best fit for you.
Raquel Guimaraes expressed how considering a certain major and passion is extremely important amidst the college searching. “I’ve visited art schools because that is something I am passionate about and want to go into.” Guimaraes also provides some valuable advice while visiting colleges. “Make sure when you are visiting a school to keep an open mind and talk to the students who attend that college to get a real feel of what it’s like to be a student there.”
Juniors, get on Naviance, schedule a meeting with your guidance counselor, and start preparing for SAT’s! When starting this process try not to become overwhelmed, it is a journey intended to be exciting. The winter of Junior year is an excellent time to start looking because there is still approximately a year to explore colleges before having to hand in applications. Start with simple steps such as evaluating a school’s location, majors, and size. Remember to keep your GPA up, take action in preparing for the SAT’s, and be an active participant in clubs, sports, work, or community service!
Drugs and Alcohol on the Brain?
The human brain is one of the most complicated organs in the body. It’s made up of many different parts that work together to preform different functions. Drugs and alcohol can affect the parts of your brain that are necessary for life-sustaining functions. These effects can also contribute to addiction, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
As students of the Milford Public School System it isn’t outrageous to assume that we’ve had information about the dangers of drugs and alcohol drilled into our brains from a very young age. However, one of the things most of us probably won’t forget is in middle school health class when we were allowed to put on the “drunk goggles” and explore what it’s like to walk, run, and, yes, even play catch, with our vision impaired to the same extent of someone who’s highly under the influence of alcohol. This method of learning seems to be something that sticks with most students even as they go into middle school.
It’s a part of the AP Psychology curriculum to review the effects of drugs and alcohol on the brain. On Friday, November thirteenth, Mrs. Digiacomo’s Psych class dove deep into learning about the effects on the body systems and the neurotransmitters of the brain that drugs and alcohol have. In order to demonstrate the negative effects of drugs and alcohol, the period three students participated in a real world exercise.
The activity began in room 203, Mrs. Digiacomo’s room, with a lecture and a discussion. Officer Taylor was kind enough to give the class a lesson from the perspective of the criminal justice system and its approach to people that abuse drugs and alcohol. To further emphasize these points, Officer Taylor brought in “drunk goggles”, goggles that simulate the vision impairment that being drunk can cause, and a pedal car. “Using the goggles and being able to drive the car was a great learning experience and I won’t ever drink and drive.” Says Senior, Nicole Stefan. The class then moved from the classroom to the gym where they participated in an obstacle course as well as played catch and basketball with the goggles on. Cedrick Lingane says, “It was funny how people thought they knew where things were but were actually way off because of the drunk goggles. Seeing that mad me realize that when someone drinks, you should never let them get behind the wheel no matter how much they say they are fine to drive, their judgment is bad.”
Mrs. Digiacomo has been teaching AP Psychology for three years now. Her favorite part about the lesson was “seeing the practical applications of the knowledge that Officer Taylor shared with the class”. She also enjoyed the video clips he brought in and the stories he shared about his encounters with people under the influence of drugs and alcohol.
Traveling abroad is a goal for many high school students, but is typically put off until college. Seniors Lindsay Broderick and Julia Mahroos were fortunate enough to be able to go on mission trips this summer to Costa Rica and Belize. They helped out young children in orphanages and taught some English.
Broderick describes her experience in Costa Rica as life changing. “When I came home, I honestly felt guilt for everything I had. I saw that these kids were living with the bare minimum. They barely had a roof over their head, and the clothes they were wearing were hanging off of them. Hearing people complain about not getting the new Michael Kors watch is now absurd t me. How could you be upset about not getting a designer watch when some kids are grateful to get the clothes that don’t even fit them and even torn? I realized that all the petty things that used to upset me don’t matter in the grand scheme of things.
The focus of the volunteer work Broderick did was at an elementary school in Cartago. In the two weeks she and the other volunteers were there, they fixed chairs tables and desks, repainted walls, and removed hazards from play areas and school grounds. They also would cook for the kids, do arts and crafts or help teachers keep students focused in class. The volunteers had a hand in teaching English to first and second graders, while building relationships with the young Costa Ricans.
Along with the elementary school, Broderick worked at an orphanage, playing games such as soccer and helping to clean up the areas they lived. “We had to clean up the closets of kids that had lived there years before; we did laundry and even made meals. The ages ranged from age 4-17, but many of them were around 10.”
Mahroos traveled to Belize with thirty five other volunteers from her church, Vertical Church in West Haven. “We built a community center without modern technology. We had to do everything by hand, mixing cement, and transporting cinder blocks by hand. We also did a summer camp for the local kids. We put on skits and did arts and crafts and sang songs. It was amazing seeing how intrigued the kids were, by us simply interacting with them.”
Mahroos says she sees life with a whole new perspective now. “When arriving back in the states, it felt amazing to be in an even remotely air conditioned building. I began to appreciate even the simplest of things such as running water, flushing toilets, and cell phone service. I now view everyday as a blessing and truly understand how fortunate I am.”
These experiences that Broderick and Mahroos had, have affected the way they now live their life. Both now have a more narrowed down focus on what’s important to them. Their trips have now become a fundamental part of who both of them are.
The class of 2016 prom was a huge success! The juniors showed up decked to the nines and ready to party. Prom was held at the Trumbull Marriott where the theme was “A night in Paris”.
A photo booth provided juniors with pictures to take home and savor the memories of the day. A professional photographer was also in attendance where students could have a formal picture taken.
The King and Queen, Patrick LaPenna and Erin Dillman, celebrated their victory at the Shelton Sports Center, by ice skating, playing laser tag, and going mini-golfing. The sports center provided the perfect venue for juniors to enjoy themselves and burn off some calories from the ice cream and candy bar at the dance. “I would just like to thank everyone for putting together an outstanding night. Everyone looked absolutely stunning. It honestly felt like a dream coming true, and I am happy to have experienced that with my best friend right by my side,” said Dillman.
Upon arrival, juniors and their dates put their tickets into raffle bags. Some prizes were GoPros, a TV, a Macbook, and various gift cards. All Foran juniors were able to play in this raffle, whereas anyone attending who was not a junior could be participate in a different one. Some of these prizes included gift certificates to spas, gift baskets, and jewelry. The largest and most desired prize was a 2005 Toyota Camry. Tori Edwards was the lucky winner.
From the junior class, thank you to all the parents and chaperones who worked so hard to organize and plan the special day for the class of 2016.
Maren Sanchez Moves Milford
Almost one year ago, Milford lost a beautiful soul. Vigils were held, tears were shed, and cross-town rivals came together to support each other in light of such a horrible tragedy. We received condolences from other high schools and communities, and we were grateful to receive such beautiful messages. We wore endless amounts of purple. We pinned purple, black, and gold ribbons on our backpacks. It was all to honor the life of an incredible girl named Maren Victoria Sanchez.
She was born on August 26, 1997, and she grew up in Milford. Fun, energetic, and uplifting are only a few words which could describe her. She was a singer, and her performance of “Home” by Phillip Phillips at Jonathan Law showed just how incredibly talented she was. It has come to be the song which will always make us think of her.
She was also an actress, and she participated in the school plays as a member of the drama club. Anyone who saw her act said she lit up the stage. The Law Drama club was doing “Little Shop of Horrors” last year, and Maren was supposed to play a puppeteer. The play was dedicated to her when it was performed.
Maren was extremely gifted and involved in the community. She was a member of the National Honor Society and the manager of the swim and softball teams. She was the president of her freshman and sophomore class. She had a passion for photography, and she attended the prom in the previous year as a photographer. She was greatly admired for her dedication and work ethic.
Tragically, we lost her on April 25th, just mere hours before she was supposed to attend her prom alongside her classmates and have the time of her life. We were shocked, heartbroken, and grief-stricken. It was unbelievable that something so terrible could happen to someone so amazing. She was taken away from us far too soon. She had aspirations to be a veterinarian, and she deserved to live a long, happy life in which she could continue to inspire those who were lucky enough to cross her path.
In the wake of such a horrid incident, the Jonathan Law community stood together and became a force to be reckoned with. They sang Maren’s favorite songs in the hallways, and they kept her in mind when they competed on the field, court, track, or rink. The athletes told themselves and their teams, “Let’s play for Maren”. They attended the “Music for Maren” concert, which the radio station Star 99.9 held in the Law auditorium. A Great Big World performed some of Maren’s favorite songs at the event. They went ice-skating at the Milford Ice Pavilion for the “Skate for Maren” event, and celebrated their precious time with their classmates, the way Maren would have if she had been here. They dedicated a garden to her on the campus, and they congregated around it to pay tribute to her life. Law inspired us to stay strong and support each other, and Foran, as well as the entire Milford community, salutes them for their courage.
The Foran student body and faculty were hand-in-hand with Law. We made sure to honor their loss in any way we could, whether it was putting Maren stickers on our sports helmets, paying tribute to her on our post prom T-shirts.
Today, Maren’s spirit lives on in everyone in this town. It will be one year since she has been gone, but her legacy will live on for years to come. The 5K Run to Benefit the Maren Sanchez Memorial Scholarship Fund will be held Saturday, April 25 at Jonathan Law.
There will also be a carnival to benefit the Maren Sanchez Memorial Trust Fund on May 29th to May 31th at Walnut Beach. Please make your way over there for the Memorial Weekend and enjoy your time with your friends and family.
In the past year, the Milford community has been brought closer, and we have Maren to thank for that. We will honor her beautiful life to best of our ability, and we will continue to stay grateful for those who are in our lives today.
Hey everyone, I’m here to talk about everyone’s number one bae…Netflix. If you aren’t caught up with the lingo, “bae” means “before anyone else” and I think we can all admit that a weekend full of Netflix is our not so guilty pleasure. This month I’m going to talk about some of our student’s favorite shows to binge on. There’s a very large range so buckle up!
Everyone loves Netflix but I think all of us find ourselves a little overwhelmed with all the options. I’m going to share some of our fellow students’ favorite shows that you should definitely check out!
Let’s start out with some Netflix original series. These are some of the most popular ones out there. The first show is titled “Orange is the New Black.” The show is based on Piper Kerman’s memoir, “Orange is the New Black: My Year in a Women’s Prison.” It portrays a real life prison and will get you hooked in minutes.
Aley Phelan gave her opinion saying, “OITNB is a perfect mix of comedy and drama! It keeps you entertained with its cliffhangers and character back stories.”
My personal thoughts on the show are that it is very well made and appeals to many different audiences.
The next original series that has been suggested by peers is House of Cards. It’s an American political drama set in present day Washington, D.C.
I caught up with Drew Lenz, who had a lot to say about this riveting series. He says, “House of Cards is a sensational political drama that showcases the corruption of government as well as the influence and impact officials in Washington D.C. have on America. It centers on the senator turned president and his wife who embody every quality you would want to portray in a sinister yet bold leader.”
Drew then went on to talk about the actor Kevin Spacey, who plays the main character Frank Underwood. “He was a real jerk in the show but he plays the part perfectly and there is something about him that you cannot get enough of.”
Drew’s opinion and description of the show represents what a good choice it’d be for a Saturday night at home.
Next I want to touch upon the T.V. show must-see classics. The first show would be the iconic Gossip Girl. If you haven’t seen this show I don’t where you’ve been but it’s not too late, Netflix can save you. It follows the lives of privileged teenagers on the upper east side of New York City. The ruthless and mysterious Gossip Girl keeps the character and the viewers on their toes throughout the entire series.
Fellow GG fan Hanna Birenbaum said, “Gossip Girl has inspired me to become the fabulous person I am today. People frequently mistake me for Blake Lively, it’s such an inconvenience.”
Now you may ask how did Gossip Girl make her so fab? That’s a secret I’ll never tell, xoxo AF.
Moving on to the next monumental show Netflix has to offer, “Friday Night Lights.” FNL is based in the small town of Dillion, Texas. Its main focus is football but the show contains many more quality story lines and life lessons. The inside look at Texas football is also an interesting aspect. This show is so universal that mostly anyone can connect to it somehow.
Marykate Fallon, an avid FNL viewer, said, “Friday Night Lights is a life changing show. Coach Taylor and his wife connect with other characters in a new way. The friendship bonds are so strong and heartfelt. I almost felt like I knew Tim Riggins, Texas Forever!”
Last, I’ll end with some throwback shows that never get old. The first show is “The Office.” Some of us never got around to appreciating its hilarity while it was still on television and that’s why Netflix is here to help. The Office stars Steve Carrel who portrays the main character Michael perfectly.
Chris Gunzenhauser, an Office enthusiast, said, “I love The Office!! Its subtle humor sets the show apart from most comedies, which is why it was/is so popular.”
It’s a perfect pick-me-up to watch at any time. If you haven’t already, I highly suggest checking it out.
The next throwback is another classic. I chatted with Hanna Gerlander, a “Friends” addict, who said, “I love the show because it has both a mature and simple sense of humor, opening it up to all audiences! I think people should watch it because it is such a well-rounded show that has so many aspects almost anyone who watches it will enjoy!”
Her explanation is reason enough the log on to Netty and check it out.
All the shows listed are awesome, entertaining choices. I hope that you all enjoy the descriptions and are able to check them out. Netflix is only $8.00 a month and supplies so many options. We love you Netflix, thanks for all your amazing options.
Guns on Campus
Every day you hear about more and more sexual assaults and violence going on at college campuses. This is a very relevant topic due to many seniors heading off to college in the fall, while the rest of the grades will be headed off not too long after.
With that in mind, should college students as well as faculty be allowed to carry firearms on campus as an additional school supply?
Would this really stop sexual assaults and violence or will it just add to it?
This is a very controversial topic and there are pros as well as cons to both sides. Right now, no law permits or prohibits guns on campus, and so far legislation has failed to pass on this subject on 55 occasions in 29 states, although bills are still pending in 10 states.
Lawmakers in several states where legislation has failed plan to reintroduce it.
To emphasize a con, binge-drinking and drug abuse is apparent in college and even though it is not supported, it occurs. Drinking and drug use impairs judgment and alters your mind. If students had guns during the time they were under the influence it could bring unwanted violence that would not occur if they did not have guns at all, supporting the statement that when guns are on campus, the injuries and deaths that will occur could most likely be from negligent and reckless behavior, potentially increasing murders on campuses.
On the contrary, a pro of this topic would be that men and women involved in sexual assaults would be able to defend themselves, thus preventing these cruel occurrences.
Another advantage: Students would feel safer on campuses and the stress levels and anxiety would decrease. For example, students walking to and from class late at night alone might feel safer.
The Justice Department says one in ten sex assaults involves a weapon.
An additional point is that anti-gun groups claim that campuses remain relatively safe environments. Therefore, they say that introducing guns can only lead to accidents or unwelcomed danger.
Others argue that guns are not necessary and there are numerous alternatives that are not as severe. For example, they argue that pepper spray, a pocket knife or, a tad more severe, a stun gun, would be better. If used in the right way it is not as easy to seriously injure a person or put their life at risk, where a gun can end a life in a matter of seconds.
Experts in sexual assault argue that women at a college or university are typically assaulted by an individual they know, so if there were access to a gun, they would seldom be tempted to use it. Mass school shootings have occurred more times that they should have in the United States and it puts thoughts in peoples’ heads, if someone, a faculty member or student, had a gun at the time of the tragedy would it have been prevented or would more mass shootings occur?
An anonymous student said, “Civilians should not carry guns on campus. That is what campus police officers are for.”
SATs Bring Unwanted Stress
The SAT’s, commonly known as Standardized Aptitude Tests, are coming up on March 14th, May 2nd and June 6th! According to the College Board, “The SAT and SAT Subject Tests are designed to assess your academic readiness for college. These exams provide a path to opportunities, financial support, and scholarships, in a way that’s fair to all students.” They are also the major stressors of juniors and seniors applying to college, since almost all colleges require it for admissions. When asked about the upcoming SATs, Maddy Flader, Junior, said, “I’m really nervous for it because it basically determines if I’ll get into a good college.”
The SAT tests your knowledge of math, reading and writing, which is is broken up into three categories. The math portion of the SAT includes questions on arithmetic operations, algebra, geometry, statistics and probability. The critical reading section requires reading passages and sentence completions. The writing section includes answering multiple choice questions on identifying errors and on improving grammar and usage. It also includes writing a short essay.
Preparing for the SATs can be very stressful and time consuming. The most effective way to prepare for the test is to take practice tests. College Board provides a book named “The Official SAT Study Guide”, which contains ten official practice tests and practice essay questions. Setting a daily study routine is also proven to be very helpful. Also, cramming for the exam is not recommended and will only cause more stress.
Katya Furda, Junior, said, “I’m preparing by taking SAT prep courses and utilizing online practice tests.” CT Speed School and First Choice College offers courses right here in Milford, CT. There are multiple sites that provide free SAT practice tests that are easily accessible.
Some people may not score well in some sections as others and that is normal. In order to get the best possible score you can on each section, it is helpful to break them each up individually to study for. It also really helps to know the structure of the test. The way that the multiple choice portion is set up is that the questions are in ascending order from easiest to hardest. So spend your time making sure you get the easier questions correct and tackle the hard questions if time remains. Rushing through the test to get to the hardest questions will have a negative impact on your score. Also, if you answer the easier questions correctly first; it will allow you to be able to skip or guess the answers without it impacting your score too much. However, keep in mind that the SAT doesn’t give points for questions you do not answer and they give partial credit for wrong answers.
The SAT may be very stressful and time consuming but remember to relax and breathe. If you don’t get a score you like, you can always take it over again. Colleges only accept your best SAT scores, so it will not be the end of the world if you got a bad score on your first time taking the test. Study hard and good luck on the test!
You Can’t Stop Foran Drama
Foran Drama Club took breaths away in this year’s musical, “Hairspray”, on February 20 through 22. The stars of the show were Tracy, played by Samantha Martinez, Link, played by Chris Gunzenhauser, Penny, played by Jenna Lang, Amber who was played by Julia Kopstein, Motormouth Mabel played by Amber Price and of course Velma, who was played by Hanna Gerlander.
The basic plot of the musical is centered on Tracy Turnblad, who is a plus size girl living in Baltimore in the ‘60s. She watches the Corny Collins show every day and decides to attend an audition to be on the show. She is denied because of her weight but obtains a role a few days later.
She sets out to integrate the show with the help of her blossoming love interest, Link, and Motormouth Mabel. She encounters many roadblocks from Amber and Velama but Tumblad ultimately wins the Miss Teen Hairspray contest.
I attended the matinée show on Saturday and was immediately blown away by Martinez’s vocals during “Good Morning Baltimore”. It was very clear that she had rehearsed their lines and dance moves until it hurt. She perfectly depicted Tracy’s spunky and rebellious attitude and looked good doing it.
Even though Matthew Cassidy, playing Corny Collins, had a microphone malfunction for almost the whole play, he stayed very professional and in character and still belted out his song lyrics. Aside from the amazing acting of the main roles, the ensemble added so much more to the vibe of the play. They all knew their dance moves and added some comedy as well with different facial expressions. The cast put their own flare on the character.
Kopstein is new to drama club this year but definitely didn’t look new to the stage. She engulfed herself in the role of Amber Von Tussle and sang every song with excellence. Her silly body language when not involved with a speaking part let the audience see what Amber is like without talking. She did a wonderful job and I think we can all agree that we hope to see her again next year.
Also new to the drama stage is Gunzenhauser. He was perfectly cast as Link and looked adorable playing the part. He looked at home on stage and seemed to love every minute of it. His best songs were “It Takes two” and “Without Love”. He and Martinez worked very well together in these songs and it really showed their full potential.
Sadly, Gunzenhauser is a senior and will not be able to put on any more Foran plays – but I sure hope he continues acting throughout his life.
Gerlander has been doing plays since sixth grade and is truly at home on stage. She played a perfect Velma, of course. Gerlander is very good at playing the villain in shows because her vocals are perfect for it. She can belt out notes and hold them for minutes. Her stage presence is very professional. Even when she isn’t talking, you know she is playing her part to the fullest.
While talking to Gerlander after the play she wanted to say that, “I am really proud to have seen how far we’ve come in the past four years and how lucky myself and all the seniors feel to have started our careers on Foran’s stage.”
Price killed it on stage for yet another year as well. Her big and bold personality fit Motormouth’s part flawlessly. I was particularly moved when she was singing, “I know where I’ve been,” because she became so into the song that she was crying. I think I can speak for everyone in the audience during the show that she truly moved us. It is amazing that she felt her character so deeply.
All in all, it was another brilliantly performed musical by Foran Drama Club. Let’s not forget about the tech crew, who were not seen but were definitely just as important. All of their hard work really paid off. Hats off to everyone that contributed to the production.
Sexual Activity in Teens
For over a quarter of a century, abstinence-only education has been taught in schools and funded by the government. Abstinence-only education is not the right way to teach sex education to teenagers. A 2004 review by Advocates for Youth showed that abstinence-only education had negative effects on youth and showed they actually did have sex and they didn’t use forms of contraceptives. Sex education should be improved by informing teenagers that sex is not taboo.
In 2006, 87% of U.S. public and private high schools thought that teaching abstinence in required health education courses would be the most effective method to avoid pregnancy, HIV, and other STDs. This does not mean that these schools taught an abstinence-only curriculum.
Maddy Flader, a junior at Foran says, “Abstinence is the most effective way to prevent pregnancies. If you were to get pregnant, your social life would decline, people would see you in a bad light, and you wouldn’t be able to participate in activities that you previously were a part of.”
Though abstinence may seem the most logical and effective way to prevent disease, infection, and pregnancy among teenagers who are not ready for such responsibility, teenagers need to be taught the complete information surrounding reproduction and good decision making.
Sex education in middle and high school mostly teaches students about the medical aspect of sex, such as going over the reproductive system and teaching about STDs and STIs. Rarely does the curriculum go over sexual scenarios in order to educate teens so they don’t find themselves in undesirable situations.
Also, there is a lack of education about sexual orientation. The Real Education for Healthy Youth Act covers these ideas in more depth. The act, introduced in February 2013, would require inclusive education on gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, protection from domestic and sexual abuse, and how to create and maintain healthy relationships.
Teaching tolerance and decision making surrounding sexual education is among the most important aspects of the curriculum. Tolerance and moderation covers not only sexual interactions or romantic relationships, but has to do with adult life in general. Health is one of the most important classes that a teenager will take. Health is a requirement in Connecticut, though unspecified for how long or for which grades. Classes such as Home Economics and Personal Business are electives, but these three combined cover the most important topics for a teenager to know after graduating high school. Many teenagers get their information about adult life mostly through their peers and family members.
Websites that kids go to all the time – Twitter, Tumblr, etc. – give kids more information about sex and gender than actual sex ed. Sex education is more than just handing condoms out to kids and telling them not to have sex. Sex education should cover safer practices for same sex and opposite sex couples. Sex education should also teach tolerance for gender and sexual identity. It’s so much more than just STDs and STIs. A recent working paper from the Rand Corporation speculates that access to new media (digital videos, blogs, social networking sites, mobile phones and commercial websites) results in more exposure to sexual content and in more contexts than traditional media.
Furthermore, teenagers become confused about when to start having sex. “Deciding whether to have sex or not at a younger age is a really big and serious decision. It needs to be thought through completely. Usually kids that do have sex in high school have not thought it through completely and are not prepared, it just happens!” said Mrs. Hart, a health teacher at Foran High School. Even though abstinence-only education is taught and encouraged, it is harder to enforce than it is thought to be. Due to being exposed to so much sex in the media at such a young age, teenagers have become very nonchalant about the subject.
Sex education should not be taught by-the-book. Sex is such a broad topic in adult life and one of the most essential subjects taught in schools. Limiting sex education to just abstinence-only diminishes the importance that sex has in life. Despite the extreme amounts of sex that the media portrays, from sexy hamburger joint commercials to the large amounts of light shed on the importance of attractiveness in celebrities, teenagers handle sex more maturely than ever. We are at a time where openness in sexual orientation, gender identity, and sex in general is respected and prevalent, especially in teens. STDs and STIs are important for teenagers to learn about, but they should not be taught in a way that scares kids away from sex completely and gives them bad connotations toward the subject, but in a way to educate them on how to be safe if they are going to have sex. Sex should be a topic open for discussion.
Most important, sex education should not shy away from any idea that will help teenagers have safer sex – and it should emphasize that they are okay for not having sex.
Black History Month in Persective
Black History Month is not something that should be ignored. The fight for Civil Rights is an important aspect of the United States’ history.
According to the Library of Congress, Black History Month was created in 1926 in the United States, when historian Carter G. Woodson and the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History announced the second week of February to be “Negro History Week.”
Bringing a national celebration to the local level can be difficult, but with the support of the Milford School District’s teachers and staff it has been a topic to talk about.
Ever since I was little, I looked forward to learning about and adapting Black History Month into our curriculum. Senior, Marykate Fallon agreed with me, saying, “I liked learning about [the fight for Civil Rights] ever since I grew up. The Emmett Till trial was eye-opening in the fact that it showed the brutality and unequalness of the time.”
Teaching black history at the high school level is very important. I think black history should be talked about and discussed in every class.
Along with the curriculum used during Black History Month, Mr. Tupka said that, “Throughout the government courses the students will definitely be learning about major court cases impacted by civil rights.” This definitely draws the civil rights movement closer to our school.
Not only is learning about impactful people important, but it is also important to see how far African Americans have come to get the freedoms that we enjoy daily.
In government classes, we discussed the Civil Rights Movement and the students really seemed to enjoy it. Sydney Ellis said, “I really enjoyed learning about Rosa Parks and her impact on the Civil Rights Movement.”
The videos about court cases and freedom marches were really impactful and highlighted the hardships that the African Americans faced. Mrs. Gilman said, “The most impactful topic for me was the civil rights movement, and seeing the amount of work that African Americans had to do to enjoy the rights given to them.”
Other school districts decided to celebrate Black History Month in a more historical and cultural way than we do at Foran.
The District of Columbia Public Schools, for example, announced that “During the week of Feb. 23, Seaton Elementary School in Ward 6 will celebrate Black History Month with a student assembly, after-school food celebration, and daily African-American history trivia. On Wednesday, Feb. 26, students will join together to recognize the talents and contributions of African Americans throughout history using dance, music, poems and art.”
Hopefully Foran will be able to come together and cherish the ideas of the struggles the African Americans faced to live life with the liberties we have today.
Establishing valuable school atmosphere has always been one of the most important factors in Foran High School. Many actions have been taken to strengthen school climate, but there are always ways to improve. A few select students and teachers decided to take initiative and find new ways to create this positive school atmosphere. Juniors, TJ Stuart and Julia Silvestri, attended a conference at Newington High School ran by the anti-defamation league and found ways to improve on this issue.
Stuart said, “The goal of the conference was to raise awareness of how to increase school climate. We learned how to improve school pride, be an ally to people, and how to create a good atmosphere so students can enjoy coming to school.” Stuart says one of the most important things they learned was how to use social media to spread light about certain causes and fundraisers. Millions of people, especially high school students, use twitter every day to find out world and local events, sport updates, and also just to see what friends are up to. Though, some of the down sides to social media are that some of the information that is put out there can cause conflict between students and therefore can cause bullying. Silvestri says, “By creating accounts that promote school pride and events that students can attend, it will build a stronger atmosphere and a more helpful and positive way to use social media. Mr. Brennan, Dean of Students at Foran High School, also attended the conference. Brennan was able to collect useful information in order to help the school climate and increase teacher and student relationships. Brennan states, “Foran High is a great school with many great students. The goal of us attending the workshop was so that students and teachers can work together to bring us to the next level.” The students, who attended the conference and Mr. Brennan, thought of a perfect way to do so. They created the, “Foran Climate Control Club” in which its purpose is to create a connection between students and teachers and to make sure school is a place where everyone wants to come. The goal of the club is to increase school spirit but also to help solve student concerns and create an overall positive atmosphere.
Another very important concept that was taken from the conference was how to be an ally to everyone. At Foran we have a zero tolerance policy for bullying. Decreasing the negative energy in Foran and forming strong relationships with students, peers, and teachers will not only help to create a better school climate but will also provide a helping hand for people who have experienced or are experiencing bullying.
Stuart and Silvestri both share that, “Going to this conference was remarkably helpful and the information we learned is only going to help make Foran a better place for not only the students, but everyone as a whole.”
No More Excuses
Prior to this school year, students have not had to follow an attendance policy. After many years of its absence, the district has passed a new attendance policy that has received negative feedback from the student body.
The new policy allows students no more than ten absences per semester, or 20 a school year. If a student is absent from school more than allowed, they will lose course credit in the class or classes they missed. The aim, of course, is not to intimidate the students, but to promote attendance in school and learning in the classroom.
The restriction on college visits also has many upperclassmen denouncing the policy. While it does seem unfair to be allotted only one college visit per junior and senior year, 20 absences is a lot for many students. A student is allowed to go on more than these two college visits; however they must be aware that the absences do add up (although twenty absences for the whole school year is quite a lot to begin with). Mr. Berkowitz, as well as others, is hopeful this new policy will promote learning in the classroom, and said “over 14% of students were absent more than 20 days last year.” With the implementation of these new rules, the number is expected to decrease and the number of students in the classroom should rise.
In the assembly regarding the new attendance policy, Mr. Brennan informed a concerned student body that there is an appeals process to justify the absences (in any circumstance). In order to combat the growing angst among students at Foran, Mr. Brennan assured the students that there will be no need for an appeals process if “self-monitoring and checking PowerSchool for absences” is taken advantage of.
One particular component of the new attendance policy was the issue of absences due to tragedies within the family (such as deaths). Of course in such circumstances it is necessary for a student to take temporary leave from school. Mr. Berkowitz does not want students to think they won’t receive course credit because of a death in the family, rather he wants to “help students get back on track” after their absence.
The Milford Board of Education passed this attendance policy in hopes of raising awareness for the importance of being in school. Mr. Berkowitz put to rest this new idea of a loss-of-credit policy by reassuring that other surrounding districts have similar policies. Because Milford had no structured attendance policy in the past, it was important to enact an attendance protocol so students would reap the benefits of spending more time in the classroom.
Mr. Berkowitz said this new policy should not be a problem for many students (seeing as how it wasn’t a problem for the 80 or so percentage of students last year who were not absent more than 20 days). The policy stands as “a message that we believe it is important to come to school. If you come to school you will learn more and academic achievement will improve” as described by Mr. Berkowitz and with the reinforcement of the attendance policy, the palpable sense of angst in the student body should diminish.
Goodbye October, Hello November
As we wave goodbye to October and welcome November it’s time to get excited for the holiday season that seems to sneak up on us all every year. Even though October is filled with haunted houses, fun costumes and apple picking, November is a month known to bring everyone together. It’s a month that we remember to be thankful for what we have but even more important November means FOOD! Turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, gravy boats and more but I better stop before I get carried away. Before all the holiday festivities begin I thought I’d give October 2k14 a proper send off by telling you some fun facts! Most people look at October as spooky Halloween filled days or the month that Christopher Columbus sailed the ocean blue but it is much more. For one example it is National Pizza, Cookie, Chili and Seafood month. Together those might not sound too appetizing but separately those foods are appreciated by many, including myself! Another cool thing about October would be that it is Lupus Awareness month. Lupus is a systemic autoimmune disease that can affect any part of the body. The immune system attacks the body’s cells and tissue, resulting in inflammation and damaged tissues. I had never heard of this till October came around and it’s so cool that this month can represent such a worthy cause. To close I hope that everyone had an amazing October and has an even better November! Cheers to another new beginning.
Fall’s here, and along with the crisp and cool weather, it brings festive activities and events for spending our time. With school just starting and fall sports kicking off, this is a particularly busy time of year. We can all use some time to relax and enjoy with our friends and families. Senior Alison Steele said, “I like to go to football games and local carnivals and festivals”.
Indeed, the Foran football team will provide enough rowdiness and excitement for our Friday evenings. However, Connecticut’s fairs and carnivals are hot spots for this autumn season.
The annual Renaissance Fair in Norwich is definitely one to check out. It includes themed entertainment, from knights to jousting to rope walking. It’s a great way to become acquainted with the medieval times, and the fair even includes a marketplace with Renaissance-themed goods. The event is active on Saturdays and Sundays until October 26, and rates are $17 for adults (16+), $10 for youth 6-15, and free for kids under 6 years old.
Lyman Orchards is an all-time favorite for Connecticut residents. It offers an array of fruits to pick, as well as scenic golf courses and a market filled with delicious baked goods. October is the prime time for pumpkin and apple picking, which can be used for fall gift baskets, jack-o-lanterns for Halloween season, and of course, baking pies. So make sure to grab the family and get your share before the season is over!
Golfing is another relaxing and enjoyable activity offered at Lyman Orchards. They have three courses: the Jones Course, the Player Course, and the Apple Nine Course. They even offer instruction and practice for the beginners. Everyone’s favorite is Apple Barrel, the market at Lyman Orchards, which sells a wide range of pies and baked goods. My personal favorite is the Apple Crumb Pie. To top it all off, the four-acre corn maze is open until November 2nd. Be warned, though, it is hard to make it out of there!
Haunted Houses are often fun for a scare with your friends. Communities and organizations create their own frightening houses and display them to the public. Lake Compounce offers an unbelievable haunted house and graveyard. Rates are $31 for a combo pack, which includes access to the graveyard and rides of Lake Compounce. Everyone’s favorite Trail of Terror is also coming back this October in Wallingford. The trail is outdoors and the staff is made up of volunteers. The proceeds go towards providing financial aid for the community. It kicks off October 3rd, and will be open from 7 PM to 11 PM on Fridays and Saturdays and 7 PM to 10 PM on Sundays. The last date for the experience is November 2nd.
Before the wintry weather dawns upon us, be sure to enjoy the autumn season and all it has to offer.
The day of a school social worker can be an unpredictable one. Each day brings a new situation and more people to help. Ms. Soldi and Ms. Windsor are the school’s social workers who help students every day.
Ms. Soldi says that a typical school day is giving open service to students. They can be referred by parents, teachers, peers, or they can refer themselves. Someone who might come for help might be struggling academically, with relationships, problem solving, or with everyday life at school or at home. Coping with a divorce, helping with life skills, anger management, crisis intervention, impulse control, and emotional management are all common situations. Students may come for help once, or consistently.
Throughout a teenager’s high school experience, many are bound to feel alone and confused at some point. Ms. Windsor and Ms. Soldi are available to help. They encourage students to come during a study hall or their lunch period, unless it is an emergency.
More recently, social media has been a prevalent topic. Both social workers note that they have had more students talk to them about needing help with internet-related issues than ever before. “Many times kids post things without thinking about the effect or consequence,” says Soldi.
“Sometimes it’s easier to come to us for help than a parent. It isn’t a cookie cutter job. Everything we do is very student driven, and based off of their needs,” says Windsor.
Windsor says she knew she wanted to be a social worker in high school, but didn’t know she wanted to work with kids until mid-college.
“(Social work is) so broad, and you can help people in so many different ways. I loved it (working in a school) after my first internship.”
Soldi, on the other hand, knew what she wanted to do at a young age.
“I always knew since I was six years old,” she said. “What made me feel good was helping others. I always knew that. I didn’t know what it was called until high school. I didn’t think I wanted to work with kids though. I had a different appreciation after having kids.”
Windsor and Soldi both graduated from Southern Connecticut State University and Fordham University for their master’s degree.
They have an open door policy, and are available at extension 5117 (Soldi), 5118 (Windsor). Everything is confidential, and all are welcome.
As classmates are excited for a relaxing day off, Jewish followers all over the world are looking forward to celebrating a New Year to come. Rosh Hashanah, also known as “head of the year” and the beginning of “Judgment Day”, is the Jewish New Year, celebrated for two days: one starting at sunrise on September 24th, and the other ending at nightfall on September 26th. On Rosh Hashanah one greets everyone in sight with “Shanah Tovah,” which is Hebrew, meaning “good year”. Meanwhile, the sweet taste of apples and honey fill ones mouth, while the sound of a shofar, a hollowed-out ram’s horn, consumes the room. Eating apples and honey triggers a sweet new year. The shofar is used to awake the people and put them into a realization that “judgment day,” otherwise known as Rosh Hashanah, is commencing. Some fellow Jewish peers in Foran are celebrating the New Year in similar ways. Josh Teller, a senior, said, “I am having family tonight and going to services at Synagogue.” Ryan Michelson, a freshman, is also going to services with his family at his synagogue, while Shana Blatt, a senior, will be having a celebration at family dinner. Also, our principal, Mr. Berkowitz, said, “I will be traveling to see family and celebrate with them. I have many fond memories of spending Jewish holidays with my family.”