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March 2008 Issue

Mock Trial wins state championship

By Denebola | Published: March 2008
On March 28, South's Mock Trial team won the Massachusetts Mock Trial Championship sponsored by the Mass Bar Association, against Pioneer Valley Performing Arts Charter School. Under the leadership of coaches Brian Hammel and Elliot Loew, students acted the parts of lawyers and witnesses. Actual judges scored their performance based on a number of factors.

The MCAS Controversy

By Denebola | Published: March 2008
By Pilar Quezzaire As a vehement opponent of standardized testing, I have always been leery about the purpose of MCAS. More generally, I question so-called “high stakes testing, or assessments that determine a student's right to either graduate from high school or enter college. Testing of this kind is used in many countries around the world, and while it provides some ease for educators and generalized standards for school systems to follow, it tends not to produce innovative or creative thinkers, a quality that I think sets the best-educated Americans apart from many other nations.

Opposing Viewpoint: Saved by the bell

By Denebola | Published: March 2008
By Wenqi Feng Early dismissal or late arrival? This, along with everything else that involves missing school, is a much debated topic among students and faculty, even though there are only a few half-days every year. Teachers and parents advocate late arrival because it supposedly gives three hours of much needed sleep to exhausted students and simultaneously prevents the public mayhem that would undoubtedly ensue from releasing students early in the afternoon. What these adults do not realize is that students would just use these three extra morning hours as an excuse to stay up three hours later the night before. Besides, who says we can only sleep in the morning? I have enjoyed some of my greatest naps in the afternoon.

Young lays out vision for the future

By Denebola | Published: March 2008
By David Han Looking into the future of Newton Public schools, Superintendent Jeffrey Young announced a process to create a vision for the Newton education system in the year 2020. The Strategic Planning Team (SPT), a 20-member committee, proposed a 12-year plan to prepare today's kindergarten class for the modern world. “This year's kindergarteners will be the graduates of 2020. What will the world be like? Young said. “All we can do is prepare them.
By Elissa Spinner It's six in the morning, and a loud, obnoxious, ring splits  through the peaceful silence of your room. You groan, swear at your alarm clock, and hit the blessed snooze button. This cycle continues five times until you realize you have only ten minutes to gather your things, finish last night's homework, grab some breakfast, and dash to the bus. This is the morning routine of many Newton South students. Every six weeks or so, this rushed routine is broken by a Professional Development Day. For students, this has traditionally meant getting out of school early. Now, it means coming to school late. What's better than sleeping in until 11 and only having three easy classes to breeze through before going home? Probably a lot, but as far as the school week goes, this is a pretty good deal.

Track team continues Dual County League dominance

By Denebola | Published: March 2008
By Nadav Swarttz The Newton South indoor track team posted one of its most successful seasons to date, with the girls winning the Dual County League (DCL) Championship and placing second at states, and the boys placing second at the DCL Championship and seventh at states. The girls' team went 8–0 this season, and placed second in All States, falling short of first by a mere four points. The boys' team finished the season with an impressive 7–1 record in the regular season, and lost the DCL Championships by just one point, 84–83, to Acton-Boxborough Regional High School.

Freak

By Rebecca Becker | Published: March 2008
Author: Marcella Prixley It is no secret that middle school girls are sometimes mean and often irrepressibly evil. When adult writers try to write about this meanness, or about teenagers in general, they often get it wrong. The dialogue sounds forced, the slang improbable, and the issues at hand cliched or unremarkable. (I remember reading a horrid book when I was in middle school called Maybe by Then I'll Understand, about which the less said the better). Alternatively, young adult literature often panders to its teen audience in the most cynical ways. Aimee Friedman's South Beach is a good example. It tells the story of two sixteen-year old girls and their largely unsupervised spring break trip to South Beach, Florida.

Don’t sweat it, clothing for peace

By Denebola | Published: March 2008
By Lucky Liyange Peace in the Middle East is only one of the goals of ambitious businessman Adam Neiman, the founder of the company behind No Sweat Apparel. The company sells everything from shirts and yoga pants to athletic and casual clothing. His small Boston-based company has been providing jobs to workers in Bethlehem. Neiman hopes to promote peace by giving some of the many unemployed Palestinians jobs with fair wages. He states that one of the biggest problems in the Middle East is that “young, Palestinian men have guns and no jobs. The Jewish entrepreneur hopes to combat terrorism by hiring unionized Palestinians. Both Israeli government officials and the Palestinian Authority have praised and assisted Neiman's work, believing he will help jumpstart the depressed Palestinian textile industry.

Newton to vote on $12 mil override

By Denebola | Published: March 2008
By Nathan Yeo Newton residents will go to the polls on Tuesday May 20 to pass judgment on a $12 million override aimed at providing funding for public schools. The Board of Aldermen approved the override by a vote of 20-3 taken just before midnight on Monday. The override would raise property taxes in Newton to make up for shortfalls in revenue. At the meeting, the debate revolved around whether to lower the cost of the override from 12 million dollars down to 9.1 million. Alderman Amy Sangiolo said the motion to move down to 9.1 million came after an announcement from the Mayor's office that in had found 2.4 million dollars in savings through healthcare saving and state aid.

Faculty Focus: Kara Henry

By Denebola | Published: March 2008
By Julia Lytle, Nicole Melton, and Claire Pezza Newton South history teacher Kara Henry easily relates to her students. Growing up in Newtown, Connecticut, Henry was a varsity athlete. She dealt with the pressure of being a student athlete, and understands how much time students commit to their extracurricular activities. She still appreciates her high school experiences and looks back on them fondly. Henry smiled as she recalled how she made her high school varsity lacrosse team as a freshman. “I had to stand on a table during senior lunch and sing 'ËœI'm a Little Tea Pot' with all eyes on me. In high school, Henry was a member of her school's swim team, diving team, and soccer team. Sports remained an important part of Henry's life when she went on to play lacrosse at Lafayette College in Pennsylvania and participate in one season of rugby. Henry also enjoyed sharing her college experience with her Pi Beta Phi sorority sisters. “I won a pie-eating contest. It was against another sorority. I still see friends from college and they will not let me live that down, Henry said.

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