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Denebola » Amrita Rao http://www.denebolaonline.net The Award-Winning, Official School Newspaper of Newton South High School, Newton, MA Fri, 17 Jun 2011 02:00:19 +0000 en hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.0.2 Track and field: the most underrated sport http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/06/10/track-and-field-the-most-underrated-sport/ http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/06/10/track-and-field-the-most-underrated-sport/#comments Thu, 10 Jun 2010 06:05:30 +0000 Amrita Rao http://www.denebolaonline.net/?p=4591 Track isn’t a sport. It’s basically an activity to keep kids with nothing better to do occupied. Some people join track if they don’t make the cut for another varsity team. Others join just to stay in shape during the off-season. There is really no actual skill involved. Really, though, how skilled do you need to be to run around in circles? Track is not a sport. Right?


Think Gladiator-esque Greco Roman god-like humans participating in the early Olympics and tell me that those people weren’t athletes, that track is not a sport. Track and field is one of oldest forms of athletic competition.

Running, jumping, and throwing are fundamental aspects of human physical prowess. Without expertise in these three fundamental components of physical fitness, humans would not be successful in survival, let alone recreational sports.

Newton South High School is known for many things: excellent academic programs, an elite arts department, BJ Novak, the scavenger hunt, and the number one sports program in Massachusetts. Wait, what?

While the recognition came as a shock for some, South’s track team managed to beat out all competitors not only in win-loss achievement, but also in commitment, participation, and consistency.

“We want firsthand information. We don’t just look at the broadsheets or just at a school’s reputation, said the 25-year-old Sports Illustrated editor and writer for high school sports. “Obviously, [South's] track program, as well as cross country, were excellent. That kind of consistency stood out.

Apparently track is a sport, and apparently our team is pretty damn good.

The list of state, regionally, and nationally ranked alumni and current athletes from the track team is long and impressive. What is even more impressive, however, is the athletes’ and coaches’ dedication to the team. They are dedicated to the team’s success, to be sure, but there is a deeper commitment on the track team that is not found on many other teams. Perhaps this commitment is the reason for their reputation as a cult, but South trackies and their coaches believe in something stronger; they believe in the integrity of the sport of track and field and in their duty to uphold this integrity.

The team is a very tight knit community in which members are encouraged by others to work hard and achieve their best during practices and meets. This is no easy feat as practices are grueling and very tough with guaranteed at least one person to throw up on a hard day.

You really do make a lot of friends from running track even from other schools as well. People always hate on track for not really being a team sport but if track is not a team sport then neither is tennis or swimming. During track meets you are reliant on others to help the team by doing well in their events.

Now for those who still do not get it track is more of an individual sport made up of usually 17 events (sometimes more with relays) in which placing in an event gives your team points. Without those points you will lose to the other team, which has amassed more points than you, therefore the team learn to trust and place trust in their teammates to do their job and pull their weight.

Track is also one of the most specialized sports out there. The team is divided into throwers, jumpers, and runners, with runners divided into sprinters and distance, and sprinters divided into short and middle distance. This diversity increases the amount of trust put into your teammates to do what they have to do. Not everyone can pole vault or run the two-mile.

Although this contributes to the team’s “cult status who can argue with their track (pun intended) record?

During the past four years both the boys and girls teams have been outdoor track DCL champions. Even with the loss of countless important seniors the team year after year is able to produce some of the best runners in the state and add to their success. Not
to mention the girl’s 4xmile relay team won nationals last year. That’s right the fastest four-mile runners in the country.

So for all those haters out there on in fact the oldest sport in the world why don’t you join the team and experience it for yourself.

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Volume 49: That’s What She Said http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/02/10/volume-49-that%e2%80%99s-what-she-said/ http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/02/10/volume-49-that%e2%80%99s-what-she-said/#comments Wed, 10 Feb 2010 08:50:12 +0000 Claire Pezza http://www.denebolaonline.net/?p=3613 Hey Ladiezzzz, we know, it’s hard to believe, but the illustrious Volume 49 has come to a close. Because every good “farewell article needs at least one cliché, we’ll say it’s been a wild ride. We wouldn’t have it any other way, though.

The volume began with that semi-awkward Article Ideas meeting at Amrita’s house where we surprised you all with your favorite flavors of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream. Remember, we covertly hid the ice cream flavor question in amongst other weirder ones in our first staff-wide email? “Do you sleep with a stuffed animal at night? “What’s your favorite season? and of course, “Best Ben and Jerry’s flavor? But don’t worry, we know we’ve gotten weirder since then.

Vol49 managed to produce what was arguably the first March issue in the history of Denebola that didn’t suck, and the epicness continued for all glorious eight issues afterward. So let’s recount the g00d timez, shall we?

We know that staying here past our bedtimes may seem entirely unappealing to the unseasoned outsider, but you can’t tell us that receiving 10 orders of scallion pancakes a night and the occasional ice cream cake in return for your efforts isn’t worth it. You just can’t.

No one quite knows how it happened, but we got through Grad unscathed. If anyone who’s not a Denebola veteran is reading this, we’re gonna do a little analogy, old school SAT-style. Grad is to Denebola as Wednesday is to the school week: the hump. Once you get through Grad you can do anything (though you still won’t be able to figure out what the status of the Book Review is). And now it’s time to brag a little. Not only were we unscathed, we made the biggest Grad issue in Denebola history. THE biggest (that’s what she said). And yes, Jesse, the front page did look better after you made their heads all the same size, we’ll admit it now.

The blackbird may sing in the dead of night, but he also came flying into 9202 one unassuming spring weekend paste-up when Mr. White decided to open the window. Sadly, only JSklar and JYoffe were here to see that go down, but we assure you our fearless advisor is fully capable of trapping a live, wild bird in a plastic bag.

We never used the phrase “SO THUG more than when we were copy-editing Fold, Feats wins for most cohesive section, and thanks to News for always being so prompt during Monday night send-ups (no, but we do love you guys. Seriously).

We laid pages to the rhythm of Alex’s persistent percussion and beatboxing, and Justin’s smile and BALLIN’ ad-getting were all we needed to de-stress ourselves in the midst of some classic Denebochaos, like the time the printer would only print in alien language (oh wait, it still does that. NICE!).

Now for the sappy part of our farewell (you knew it was coming, so no tears, please). The first time we had to stand up in front of the homeroom and yell at you guys to get ad$ was weird. We didn’t feel like your leaders; we were just some scrawny kids at South. But just like we grew up and learned how to run a paper, you guys grew up with us, learned how to make a paper.

We won’t lie. When we sat down to make the staff list last February, we had NO idea if this volume would work. What could we expect from a volume assembled primarily, and unnervingly, of first-timers? But what we found in this very same staff was a family. A weird, and really dysfunctional, but legitimate and loving family, too. We’ve definitely come a long way as a volume with regard to the paper, but also with regard to our relationships with one another.

We got to know each other so well that we could predict Tango Mango or Starbucks orders even before someone placed it and driving each other home in the middle of the night was practically expected. We knew whose phone was ringing from across the room based solely on ringtone.

So here’s to The Big Fifty coming up behind us. We’re not a track team (nor is Denebola a locker room), but we’re passing the baton. It’s been fun, but it’s time for us to go, so peace out, snitches. ILY, The SEs.

Oh, and never forget that Robbie’s soft spot is his velcro’€you will thank us for this tip later.

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South Girls’ Gymnastics team vaults to recognition http://www.denebolaonline.net/2009/12/23/south-girls%e2%80%99-gymnastics-team-vaults-to-recognition/ http://www.denebolaonline.net/2009/12/23/south-girls%e2%80%99-gymnastics-team-vaults-to-recognition/#comments Wed, 23 Dec 2009 06:30:48 +0000 Amrita Rao http://www.denebolaonline.net/?p=3332 Making a name for itself is not a top priority for the Girls’ Varsity Gymnastics team, coached by Greg Beaupre and Ali Rosenfeld.

Though some students may not know of its existence, the program’s acclaim is certainly no reflection of the team’s successes.

“[When we] tell people that we do gymnastics, they tell us they didn’t even know South had a team, senior Kate Margulis said. The program has quietly ascended to a higher status, however, reaching the state finals in 2006.

That season, the team broke through the barriers of anonymity. The Middlesex News referred to the Gymnastics team as a “Cinderella story, and the Gymnastics team was also featured in The Boston Globe for their unprecedented success.

The squad looks as though it could find itself back in the state tournament this year, with the core of the team returning.

“Six seniors have been with the team since our freshman year, so we know the rules and the ways [of the sport], co-captain and senior Cora Lee Visnick said of her teammates.

Co-captains and seniors Ariel Kirshenbaum and Sarah Berman agree that the team has plenty of invaluable experience.

“We have a strong returning line-up, and some very promising newcomers, Visnick said.

Promising newcomers like freshman Kyra Visnick, who has been competing in gymnastics for a decade, are bringing their seasoned talents to an already skilled roster.

While many low-profile teams struggle to replace their more experienced seniors when they graduate, Kyra is coming onto the team with just the kind of experience needed to ensure continued success.

Though the team receives limited support from the South community, the girls have compensated for this by forming a strong support network within the team itself: all members of the team enjoy intricate bonds with one another.

“We’re all so close, and that’s a feeling we try to create from day one, Visnick said.

The lack of recognition may be attributable to gymnastics being overshadowed at the school by more mainstream sports.

After all, even at a school criticized for its lack of spirit, there was no shortage of spectators at the Thanksgiving Day football game against Lincoln-Sudbury.

The Gymnastics team has proved to South that success can come without full recognition and support.

“It’s pretty clear that we’ve come a long way, Visnick said.

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To drink, or not to drink? Caffeine craze hits hard at South http://www.denebolaonline.net/2009/12/23/to-drink-or-not-to-drink-caffeine-craze-hits-hard-at-south/ http://www.denebolaonline.net/2009/12/23/to-drink-or-not-to-drink-caffeine-craze-hits-hard-at-south/#comments Wed, 23 Dec 2009 05:28:31 +0000 Amrita Rao http://www.denebolaonline.net/?p=3370 A senior looks at the clock, 8:24 am. Nine minutes until the end of A Block. Nine minutes until freedom. Sitting in her first class of the day, BC Calculus, her eyes glaze over as she tries hard to focus on the convoluted derivatives in front of her.

All she can do, however, is think about how tired she is and how badly she wants a Venti non-fat soy latte. She looks over at the clock again. 8:34 A.M. The seconds hand rounds the 6, and she counts down the seconds until the end of A block. 3…2¦1¦The bell sounds, and students shuffle out of the classroom.

She and her friend make their way straight to the car. She turns the key in the ignition and the engine revs. Before slipping the clutch into drive, she turns to her friend and asks, “Starbucks or Coffee Corner?

Goodbye, hot chocolate. Hello, mocha frappuccino.

Every year more students leave school during free blocks and lunches to get coffee, raising concern among parents and teachers who are worried that this habit may lead to serious health implications.

The number of teen coffee drinkers has increased by 25 percent in the past two years, as cited by Dr. Mallika Marshall, medical reporter for WBZ TV.

In a poll conducted of 50 students, 19 students reported that they go out to get coffee four to five times per week. An additional five students said that they drink coffee over five times a week. Assuming that the poll is representative of the school’s student body, roughly 50 percent of students are consuming coffee four or more times a week.

“I’ve noticed just this school year that more and more high school students are coming in [to Starbucks] after school or during free blocks, Jeremy Boviard, a Starbucks employee and South alumnus, said.

Boviard notes that since he started working at the Starbucks in Waban in November 2007, he has seen a real change in the popularity of coffee with teens.  But what is causing this surge in coffee drinking?

Many teens go out and buy coffee for social reasons. Some believe that carrying around coffee at school is a symbol of coolness or popularity.

Teens may drink coffee to emulate older, more “sophisticated people, who are often the heaviest coffee drinkers, according to Boviard.

“There are girls who don’t even know what’s in a latte, but are ordering them just for the sake of it, he said.

Students may also see coffee as a way of labeling themselves for their peers. To be sure, there are some students who genuinely enjoy drinking coffee and do not consider their social image every time they step up to the counter at their favorite café or pour out their usual cup of Joe.

Trying to fit in is not always a bad thing, but some students are going out of their way to do something they don’t actually like and spending much valuable time, money, and effort on maintaining their coffee addictions, or coffee personas.

Many, including parents and teachers, are worried about the health risks that coffee may have on teenagers.

In a 2007 article on the health risks of caffeine, nutritionist and registered dietician Elisa Zied stated that too much caffeine can cause nervousness, insomnia, and high blood pressure. These coffee-related ailments prevail even more in teens and young people with lower body weights.

“Teens are getting addicted to coffee at an age when they can’t really understand the implications of the addiction, which affects them negatively in the long run, South parent Kimberly Thompson said.

Students often understand the risks of drinking too much coffee, and some try to control their addictions.

For a few unlucky teens, however, the addiction can rampage out of control and cause dependency.

They, however, are only teens in a mass of others that face a serious choice: to drink coffee or not to drink coffee. What will you decide?

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Terror attacks spark tension http://www.denebolaonline.net/2008/12/17/terror-attacks-spark-tension/ http://www.denebolaonline.net/2008/12/17/terror-attacks-spark-tension/#comments Wed, 17 Dec 2008 17:34:05 +0000 Amrita Rao http://denebolaonline.net/denebola/?p=612 Mumbai is the city that never sleeps. Its air is always filled with the intoxicating aroma of warmth, of life. Everywhere you go, there are people. Cars, motorcycles, bicycles, auto rickshaws, and pedestrians swarm the pot-holed streets crowding and jostling: all in a rush to reach some desired destination. The humidity clings to the skin and creates a thin layer of glistening sweat. The sounds of car horns and traveling salesmen can be heard at all times. The wealth and the boundless fortunes of the rich juxtapose, quite literally, the stench and poverty that characterizes more than half of Mumbai’s inhabitants. “Mumbai meri jaan, or “Mumbai is my life.

The recent terrorist attacks in Mumbai, India attracted widespread media attention around the world. More than 180 people were killed and the three-day assault rocked the nation. There has been much controversy over who is responsible for the attacks and international tensions have been reignited between India and Pakistan.

On August 14, 1947, the Islamic Republic of Pakistan was born and immediately following that India won its independence from colonial rule. There was a mass population transfer in which 17.9 million people left their homes. A series of religious and communal conflicts during this period led to the death of over one million people. The wounds from the days of partition have never quite healed.

The recent attacks in Mumbai are not the first of communal conflicts. In the past decade, there have been more than a few terrorist attacks in Mumbai and around India, receiving little to no international media attention whatsoever. Most recently, seven bomb blasts went off July 11, 2006 in Mumbai and over 200 people died, while 700 were critically injured. A total of seven people were arrested, and they were all supposedly members of Islamic militant groups. It was later discovered, however, that these men had been coerced into confessing. “Of course this is a deliberate targeting of Muslims, said Syed Ahmed Bukhari, the imam of India’s largest mosque.

In 2002, full-scale communal riots broke out in Gujarat, India. There were many atrocities committed on both sides. Hindu and Muslim extremists wreaked havoc on the state, pillaging, burning, raping, and killing many innocent civilians based on religion alone. Neighbors killed neighbors.

India is defined by its ethnic and cultural diversity. It is a nation characterized by its richly influenced background. The United States Government, represented by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, is attempting to intervene now, in a battle that runs much deeper than imaginable.

“This is the time for everybody to cooperate and do so transparently, and this is especially a time for Pakistan to do so, Rice said. Both countries are equally responsible for the ongoing violence that devastates the populations and both must be cautious and take appropriate action in upcoming decision-making.

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Obama ignites Kenyan pride while masking deeper conflict http://www.denebolaonline.net/2008/11/26/obama-ignites-kenyan-pride-while-masking-deeper-conflict/ http://www.denebolaonline.net/2008/11/26/obama-ignites-kenyan-pride-while-masking-deeper-conflict/#comments Thu, 27 Nov 2008 05:10:41 +0000 Amrita Rao http://denebolaonline.net/wordpress/?p=450 Euphoria filled the streets of Nairobi when news came in at seven in the morning that Barack Obama would be the next president of the United States.

Kenyans stayed up all night, tracking the latest election results and the distribution of electoral votes. That morning, after one of the longest campaign seasons in American history, Kenya’s dream was realized.

Kenya has claimed Obama as one of its own. Obama is biracial and his father’s native village is Kogelo, Kenya, a small village in western Kenya where his half-brother, step-grandmother, and various other relatives still live. Many Kenyans feel that he is one of them and they take pride in his heritage.

His picture is plastered on billboards and buses throughout the country, and you can often hear his name being chanted in the streets. The buzz  over Obama is contagious and it seems that everyone has caught on. The entire nation is whole-heartedly invested in the outcome of the election. The day after the election was declared a national holiday.

Through much of the hysteria, some Africans remain concerned that Obama will not come through for them as expected. In an article published in the Daily Nation, Kenya’s most prominent newspaper, columnist Priscah Edith Awino wrote that Obama should not be expected to be the “cure for Kenya. Awino writes that the election should inspire Africa to elect new leaders with Obama’s strengths.

After recent tensions over Kenya’s own election less than a year ago, Kenyans are looking forward to a leader that they can look up to for support and guidance. Riots broke out in January over the election of President Mwai Kibaki. The election was fiercely fought despite widespread corruption. The elections reawakened longstanding resentment towards Kikuyus, the privileged ethnic group in Kenya.

The recent U.S. election has partially reunited and eased the still very apparent ethnic strains. Perhaps the best way to eradicate these conflicts is through cooperation and the understanding of differences in a difficult time for all.

“Despite irreguliarities in the vote tabulation, now is not the time to throw that strong democracy away. Now is a time for President Kibaki, opposition leader Odinga, and all of Kenya’s leaders to call for calm, to come together, and to start a political process to address peacefully the controversies that divide them, Obama said responding to the conflict in Kenya.

African leaders and the African people are looking to Obama to address local, regional, and continental issues in Africa that have long since been put aside for other foreign policy issues.

Kenya and a number of other African nations have been, or are currently, ravaged by ethnic conflicts from within. Africans hope that since Obama has a direct connection with these issues, he will not ignore them.

Regardless of the cause or the ultimate outcome of the election, it is clear that President- elect, Barrack Obama, has reignited support for the US in Kenya and around the world.

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