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Denebola » Ariel Rivkin 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 Extracurriculars shape student lifestyles http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/12/06/extracurriculars-shape-student-lifestyles/ http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/12/06/extracurriculars-shape-student-lifestyles/#comments Mon, 06 Dec 2010 07:25:03 +0000 Ariel Rivkin http://www.denebolaonline.net/?p=5156 South students are always busy, whether participating in sports teams, becoming members of one of the numerous clubs, or hacking away at their constant load of homework.
But for some students, the majority of their time outside of school is spent in a completely separate environment with different people, attitudes, and activities.
The time spent outside of the South community can be beneficial in many ways, but it also has negative aspects.
Senior Sam Zoloth spends 13 hours a week participating in crew at Community Rowing, located on the Charles River.
Zoloth feels that the intense commitment outside of school at Community Rowing creates stress and other negative aspects.
“It takes so much time and a lot of people at school are just really ignorant of the sport, he said. Zoloth wishes that fellow students and friends understood the commitment of rowing, he said.
“I sometimes get made fun of at school for doing crew and some of my friends mock me when I wear US Rowing clothes and think that I just row in a row boat.
Participating in a demanding activity outside of school has also affected Zoloth’s friendships.
“I played soccer for South before I started Crew, and since then I have lost some of the friends that I made around soccer. It was definitely hard to lose friends just because of a sport.
Despite some of the difficulties Zoloth has faced, he does believe crew has provided very positive aspects to his life.
“It is stressful, but crew has really helped me with time management just because the sport and the schedule are both so rigid and demanding, he said.
Zoloth also enjoys the practices and friendships that participating in such an intense activity outside of school has provided.
“I get a lot of satisfaction out of our practices, we do such hard things like running up and down the Harvard stadium steps, he said.
He also likes the fact that he is engaging in an acitivity that is new and different from what other students at South participate in. It sets him apart from others.
Zoloth has also cultivated new friendships with individuals who are different from students at South.
“At CRI, there are a lot of kids from private schools, and kids with other opinions and personalities. It is cool to meet all different kids of kids because it broadens my horizons.
In addition to Zoloth, senior Charlotte Sall spends eight hours a week participating in NIFTY, a Jewish youth group.
As the Religious and Cultural Vice President, Sall is one of the seven Sall saiDespite Sallís dedication, she sometimes finds it frustrating that students at South still do not know the organization or her efforts.
“People really do not know what NIFTY is and think that itís just another youth group, but to me it is something that I am so passionate about,Sall said.
Sall feels that students are simply unaware of her commitment and the energy spent on NIFTY.
“I spend so much time on NIFTYÀ“I go away for events from Friday afternoon to Sunday night, and people just do not know about that commitment, which can be hard sometimes,Sall said.

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Student political activism heats up http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/11/02/student-political-activism-heats-up/ http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/11/02/student-political-activism-heats-up/#comments Tue, 02 Nov 2010 06:30:38 +0000 Ariel Rivkin http://www.denebolaonline.net/?p=5006 Politics. It is not a word that excites many of today’s young adults, especially judging by the tiny 18 percent young voter turnout in the recent midterm elections. But for some of South’s current and recently graduated students, politics is not just exciting; it is a passion.
While many teenagers relaxed poolside and spent time with friends during the summer, senior David Altman was waking up early, putting on a shirt and tie, and commuting to the State House where he interned for Senator Cynthia Creem.
Interning in the State House during the summer may not be at the top of the typical teenagers “to-do list but for Altman, it was simply following a life-long interest.
“I’ve always been interested in politics. I really liked watching the presidential debates in 2004 and again in 2008, and liked watching the national conventions. I just wanted to find something really interesting to do during the summer so I emailed the office of Senator Cynthia Creem as well as the office of Ruth Balser, Altman said.
Altman was offered to intern in multiple offices; something not usually offered to young adults. But Altman felt Senator Creem’s office would be best.
“I chose to intern for Senator Creem because it’s a bigger office and I felt I would get a better experience, Altman said.
Altman, who helped Creem with her reelection campaign, felt that the experience was unique. ¨“I went to debates, met voters and made calls, but I also got to meet interesting people like Martha Coackley and Deval Patrick, Altman said.
“I felt really lucky to be able to have the experience. Even though I wasn’t getting paid it was really cool to be exposed to such intelligent people.
Alongside Altman, 2010 South graduate Isaac Freedman also worked for Senator Creem’s reelection campaign. Freedman, who now attends Colgate College, intends to major in Political Science and credits his experience at South for getting him involved in politics.
“I got involved during my junior year in high school when a teacher suggested that I get involved in the Mayor campaign in 2009. I took his suggestion and started campaigning and had a great time, Freedman said.
To continue his interest in politics, Freedman took AP Government during his senior year. It was this class that helped Freedman further his interest in politics.
“It was a great class and I learned so much and I was fortunate enough to be chosen to participate in a student government day at the State House, Freedman said. “I met Senator Creem there and decided that I really wanted to get involved.
Freedman enjoyed his experience campaigning.
“It was a great experience, Freedman said, “I was able to see a whole different side of the world and I realized that the world goes beyond South. I liked knowing that what I was doing could really have an effect on a number of people’s lives and I had an opportunity to change lives for the better.
Through politics and interning, Freedman had the opportunity to learn from the people whom he visited.
“I loved campaigning¦the best part is going door to door and seeing that we’re all pretty similar even though we have different ideologies or may word our views a bit differently from one another, Freedman said.
In addition to Altman and Freedman, South senior Catherine Martin, is also greatly interested in politics. After spending a year working for the House of Representatives, Martin brought an interesting perspective regarding politics back to Newton.
“In DC I heard countless debates and bills that they were trying to pass. It was really exciting to see legislatures being passed because those are going to affect many people’s lives, Martin said.
“I was on floor of house when the health care bill was passed. That was really interesting,
After returning from Washington DC, Martin is still involved politically as she is a member of the United Newton Youth.
“Were a small group of kids who discuss important issues and speak with adults about the benefits or harms that those issues can cause. Most recently we worked to make sure that ballot initiative three was not passed¦Luckily it wasn’t, Martin said.
Martin enjoys speaking with different people regarding politics.
“I think it is really important to get involved and realize that not everyone thinks the way we do in Newton, it’s weird to meet someone from South Carolina who is completely against your opinions. It’s an experience which really makes you think and I don’t think a lot of kids have that opportunity, Martin said.
Many Newton South students who are of age to vote took advantage of the recent governors’ election and voted. Senior Jake Eisenberg, voted in this past election.
“It was really cool to vote¦it was really cool to feel really involved. I think it’s important for everyone to get involved because we can make a difference, Eisenberg said.
With the Martin’s dedication, along with Freedman and Altman, South may very well soon graduate a future mayor, governor, or even President.

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Page in honor of Adam London gains state-wide support http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/10/28/page-in-honor-of-adam-london-gains-state-wide-support/ http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/10/28/page-in-honor-of-adam-london-gains-state-wide-support/#comments Thu, 28 Oct 2010 06:10:09 +0000 Ariel Rivkin http://www.denebolaonline.net/?p=4847 It has been over a month since the Newton community lost Adam London in a tragic car accident. The effects of his death, however, have left lasting impressions not only on students in the South community, but also on students all over Massachusetts.
Nearly three thousand people have shown their support by liking the “A Promise to Adam page on Facebook. The page was created to spread awareness quickly in an attempt to prevent “risky behavior and driving.
The site prompts Facebook users to take a pledge to drive safely.
By utilizing Facebook and the internet, students living in other towns and cities have become aware of London’s accident and safe driving.
Scarlett Hao, a senior at Lexington High School learned about the accident from the Boston Globe and was deeply affected by the story.
“I’m one of those people who always speed home at night to make curfew but I think it’s important to be aware of what I’m doing because what happened to London could happen to anyone, she said.
The content on the Facebook page helped Hao understand what was important. “I liked the Facebook page because I think it’s important to be safe, Hao said.
In addition to students from other towns, the Facebook page has caught the attention of students from other school systems. Students who attend private schools have shown their support by liking “The Promise to Adam page on Facebook.
Olivia Pierce, a Sophmore at Newton Country Day School learned about the accident from a fellow student at her school.
“One of the girls in my grade is really good family friends with [London's] family, Pierce said.  “She spoke to us and told us about what happened and encouraged us to make a pledge.
Even though Pierce hasn’t made a pledge yet, she liked the Facebook page out of respect.
“I liked the page in order to show support and to learn more about what happened, Pierce said. “It’s so important to be aware of what happened to Adam because it’s so awful and terrible.
“Especially now, when I’m signing up for driving lessons and preparing to get my license, it’s such a big reminder to drive safely.
Similar to Pierce, Lexi Knopf, a senior at Beaver Country Day School  [BCDS] liked the “A Promise to Adam page because she feels that it is “important for people to know what happened and to be aware.
Knopf, who learned about London’s accident through their mutual friends, learned about the page when one of her friends who goes to Newton North suggested it on Facebook.
“I read the information and watched the videos and completely agreed with what it said, Knopf said. “I didn’t know Adam personally but I had mutual friends with him and they made me more conscious of driving at night.
“Seeing how upset my friends were made realize that even one accident can have such a big effect on the community.
Some of Knopf’s friends at BCDS have also liked the page.
“We all know people who knew him and we all talked about it, she said. “He was a guy who was in our community, and to see how big of an effect his death had on everyone made us think about responsibility.
Knopf said that the information on the page has helped her become a better friend, explaining that she is more aware of how her friends get home and ensures that they are safe.
In addition to high school students, the Facebook page has caught the attention of younger kids.
Amanda Graf, a student at Bigelow Middle School in Newton liked the page after learning about the accident.
“I heard my brother and mom talking about it in the car, Graf said. “I liked the page because it’s just so sad.
Graf feels that the accident has helped her think about the future.
“I didn’t know Adam personally, but as someone who lives in Newton it made me think that when I get my license, I need to drive safely, especially at night, she said.
It’s clear that no matter is we are younger, older, live in Newton or far away, that we can all learn from London’s death.
Thousands of people have already learned how to drive safely from the facebook page.
Hopefully, awareness will only increase over time.

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Faculty Focus: Michael Kennedy http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/10/28/faculty-focus-michael-kennedy/ http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/10/28/faculty-focus-michael-kennedy/#comments Thu, 28 Oct 2010 07:08:59 +0000 Ariel Rivkin http://www.denebolaonline.net/?p=4885 Questions about college? Before opening another one of Fiske’s guides or running to your guidance counselor for the umpteenth time, consider speaking with English teacher Michael Kennedy, who has experience with some of the nation’s best universities.
Notre Dame? Check. MIT? Check. Tufts and Harvard? Got it.
You might be wondering if this is the same Mr.Kennedy who was your hardest English teacher ever, and the answer is yes.
But there is much more to Kennedy than an impressive resumé and high grading standards.
His passion for diving not only led him all over the country, but also eventually opened his eyes to his true calling.
A springboard and platform diver in high school, he continued diving in college at the University of Notre Dame where he was a four-year letter winner and the Midwest Conference diving champion in 1985. Kennedy then attended the Fletcher School of Tufts University, where he also coached diving for three years. He also coached diving at MIT during this period.
When he learned that Harvard Diving was in need of a new coach, he applied for and received the position. He coached there from 1988 until 1992 and “loved it.
“I was very happy and content at Harvard, Kennedy said. “I ran the facility, hired and trained the lifeguards, recruited divers, and advised three students¦I really turned an avocation into a vocation.
Kennedy did not simply coach divers how to jump, twist, and turn into a pool. He taught the sport from a unique perspective.
“I trained with Olympic coaches and learned that there is a science to diving. I incorporated the physics of motion into the training and tried to teach the divers to see diving in a more scientific way, Kennedy said.
His coaching style was very successful, as he sent divers to nationals every year.
Despite finding great success within the sport, something was missing for Kennedy.
“Because the diving world is so small and rarified, the endpoint was clearly in sight, Kennedy said. “After some time I kept wondering ‘Ëœwhat more might there be?’
It was on a training trip to Venezuela that Kennedy first thought about becoming a teacher.
“We were on the trip and one of my student athletes turned to me and said, ‘Ëœyou should really be in the classroom.’ And that was the first time I ever thought ‘Ëœ that that might work, Kennedy said.
He had every right to think that it might work. Teaching had been in his family’€his mother was a professor of English and his father a professor of Engineering. Kennedy’s own love of literature had always been evident.
“I was fascinated by literature¦my family would spend summers on Walloon Lake in Michigan right next to the Hemmingway property. There was no TV, only one radio and I read all the time, he said.
This fascination with literature convinced Kennedy to become an English teacher.
A few years later, Kennedy stopped coaching and came to South. It was here where Kennedy did his practicum with English teacher, Robert Jampol.
“Blame it on Mr. Jampol, Kennedy said between chuckles. “Well, I should say thanks to Mr. Jampol’s great leadership and instruction¦I came here and knew that this was the place I wanted to work.
Kennedy found the environment at South to be unique. “The student body is smart and likes to excel, learn, be led, exchange ideas and debate, he said. “I wanted to teach and learn¦I get to do both here.
Kennedy is still satisfied that he made the switch from the pool to the classroom.
“Literature is so multidimensional. I couldn’t get on a diving board and see things differently, he said. “It gets to a point where you feel there’s not much more to learn, but I read books all the time. Reading keeps me engaged in my personal pursuit.
As a teacher, Kennedy wants to help guide students toward pursuing their own passions and introduce them to new ones.
“I don’t want the kids to memorize and spit out facts. I want them to learn something for life, he said. “I want them to improve their reading skills and how to clarify their thinking.
Now, Kennedy lives in Cambridge in his “blended family consisting of two young children and their two mothers.
“We travel and hike together, Kennedy said. “We even ‘Ëœbaptized’ the kids in Walloon Pond soon after each child was born.
Kennedy also hopes to take his kids and their two moms to Colombia, his favorite country in South America.
From the pool to the classroom, Michael Kennedy has lived an exciting life, but has many more students to shape and teach.

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Summer internships and projects offered valuable lessons http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/09/30/summer-internships-and-projects-offered-valuable-lessons/ http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/09/30/summer-internships-and-projects-offered-valuable-lessons/#comments Thu, 30 Sep 2010 06:01:08 +0000 Ariel Rivkin http://www.denebolaonline.net/?p=4670 After the school year ends, many students choose to spend their summer days lounging by a pool or simply just chilling.
Although that is totally acceptable, some students take advantage of the empty and flexible summer day and participate in productive activities.
Some students, such as Grace Kim and Adam Scherlis, both South seniors, interned at Harvard University, assisting professors with different projects.
Kim, whose first language is Korean, assisted a professor comparing English and Korean literature.
She met her employer at a conference and was offered the position since she had knowledge of both languages. Kim chose to spend two months working for this professor because she is interested in English Literature.
“I want to major in English Literature, Kim said, “but I also want to explore other types of literature as well. Since I’m fluent in Korean, I thought that it would be interesting to work under a professor of Korean Literature.
By interning at Harvard, Kim felt she had an opportunity to work with literature in a more analytical sense than a school class could offer.
“The internship helped me understand the connection between different types of literature.
Adam Scherlis also worked at Harvard this past summer yet he worked in a totally different  environment.
Scherlis helped Harvard physics professor, John Huth complete a course book for a General Education (sometimes known as “Gen Ed) course on Primitive Navigation.
“I did illustrations and a bit of research, Scherlis said.
Scherlis found the job to be “a lot less structured than how he originally expected. Instead of working in an office he “worked from home most days while only “going into Cambridge a few times a week to check in.
“The rest of the time we collaborated via email, Scherlis said.
Scherlis learned of this unique opportunity from a friend and South graduate.
“Professor Huth’s son went to South, and I knew him through various clubs and teams. I got in contact with him looking for any summer research opportunities he knew of, and he mentioned that his dad [Professor Huth] was looking for somebody to help out with Primitive Navigation, Scherlis said.
Scherlis feels very lucky to have been able to have such a job. He found the job to be both challenging yet exciting.
“The nature of this job meant that I did extremely varied work, illustrating anything from clouds and stars to Micronesian ocean-current charts, Scherlis said.
“It was also challenging academically; many of the research projects required high-level math that I had only recently covered.
Despite the challenging work, Scherlis believes that he gained a lot of useful knowledge. “I loved  [the job]. I learned a lot about organizing work and staying productive; working for a salary feels very, very different from doing homework. I was much more interested in the work, but I knew I couldn’t slack off. I also took a more active role in deciding what I would be working on. That was a challenge but it was a definite benefit too, Scherlis said.
Near Harvard University, senior Shervin Rezeai interned at Children’s Hospital in Boston.
“Over the summer, I was a Summer Intern at Children’s Hospital Boston, researching specifically in the Immunology department, Rezeai said.
“I received this internship through some networking, which is really the best way to ensure a spot in a laboratory for a high school student.
Rezeai added, “otherwise, I would have had to compete for spots with post-graduate students, which, with my low level of experience, I obviously cannot do. I have a neighbor who works at Children’s Hospital, and whose Principal Investigator is the father of one of my friends, Rezeai said.
Immunology interested Shervin after concluding his Advanced Placement Biology course.
“I wanted to revisit and grow an appreciation for a particular subject that I only glanced over a few times before the AP. Immunology was the perfect field; I only knew the very basics, Rezeai said.
Rezeai greatly enjoyed his experience working at Children’s Hostpital and wants to continue next summer.
Rezeai worked for a scientist who showed him what it is like to work in a lab and appreciated the benefits of working in an Immunology lab.
“I learned more than I would ever imagine about the immune system, but more importantly, I learned basic to intermediate laboratory techniques, techniques I can take with me to my college lab courses, Rezeai said.
He added, “The benefits were not only studying the immune system and learning techniques. I was introduced to dozens of interesting young medical students, all of which gave insight on the college process and how to plan for a career in the medical field.
Senior Jenny Gerstner had an interesting two month internship this summer at the United Nations in New York City.
“The UN is undergoing huge renovations so they have records and videos and archives that they need organized, Gerstner said.
Her work involved organizing the information and entering it into the new database.
“It was really independent work. No one gave me checkpoints along the way and it was up to me to tell them when I was finished, Gerstner said.
Gerstner appreciated the independence that her internship offered, claiming she “liked how flexible it was and how she was able to “get lunch and do things when [she] wanted.
She expresses that the experiencing was “eye-opening, especially because of the interesping people she had the opportunity to meet, such as the Queen of England and the Secretary General.
Her experience as an intern was extremely valuable, as she explains that she “learned to work more strategically and how to work in a professional setting.
While some students chose to work in a more serious environment, students such as seniors Kathy Zhou and Daniel Lawrence, opted to work on projects in a more creative setting.
Kathy Zhou traveled to China to help out at an elementary school.
“I went to China to help teach the kids English. I also was able to take Chinese classes and my Chinese improved a lot, Zhou said.
Zhou, an AP Art student here at Newton South, enjoyed working on creative projects at the elementary school.
“I painted a mural at the school. It was really cool to make something for others to appreciate and I think it came out really well, Zhou said.
Kathy got the idea of painting a mural from a previous employer, known as “Sidewalk Sam.
“Here in Newton I worked for this artist named Sidewalk Sam and when I told him that I was going to China to help out with an elementary school, he suggested that I leave my mark in some way like painting a mural, Zhou said.
Although many students such as Kathy Zhou traveled near and far for various reasons, senior Dan Lawrence chose to remain in Massachusetts to work on completing his first album.
“I recorded an album with my friend Max Alper. Max and I had been playing music together and performing at shows and things, so recording just seemed like the natural thing to do, Lawrence said.
The recording of the album, called “Global Drift, was an exciting process. We recorded the drums and guitar together in an afternoon with the help of Zach Levine Caleb. I then recorded my vocals over the course of a week in Cape Cod. The recording process was not particularly challenging, Lawrence said.
Although exciting, the recording process forced the duo to make important decisions.
“We made some tough aesthetic decisions. In the end we chose to go with a very low fidelity sound and record to cassette tape rather than to digital. I like the way it sounds though and I’m very pleased with it.
As Lawrence practiced his music and continued to perform at shows at his friend’s house, he acquired new skills.
“I really expanded my abilities as a live performer. I learned to screamand kick stuff all over on stage¦ basic punk rock technique, Lawrence said.
Whether students were across the world or fewer than twenty minutes away from Newton, many people  spent their summers exploring new fields and opportunities, achieving great feats along the way.

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Different schools, different attitudes http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/06/10/different-schools-different-attitudes/ http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/06/10/different-schools-different-attitudes/#comments Thu, 10 Jun 2010 07:02:04 +0000 Ariel Rivkin http://www.denebolaonline.net/?p=4564 All high schools consist of students, teachers, homework, tests, stress, sports, clubs, and theater. Despite these similarities, each school differs in culture.

The interests, behavior and interactions of students affect the culture of each school. Although close in proximity, public high schools such as Newton South, Newton North, Brookline and Needham each have their own unique atmosphere.  

Although a commonality for all high schools, the attitude towards partying differs for each school. “North kids are very bold, said Newton North junior Tiffany Chen. “The attitude at North is to live life to the fullest¦ go out and have fun and whatever happens, happens. North kids want to enjoy life, be young and carefree, said Chen.

Newton North junior Nathane Lamas agrees. “A lot of kids at North think that they are unstoppable and that nothing bad will ever happen, she said. 

Many South students such as senior Julie Katzeff, believe that South students take on a more cautious approach regarding partying.

“A lot of South kids know what to do and say to make parents and teachers happy but they still go ahead and do their own thing¦Many South kids butter things up to appear differently, Katzeff said.

South senior Hannah Floyd believes that this has to do with the college conscience culture at the school.

“In general, kids at South are more pretentious when it comes to school¦but there are kids who party like at all the other schools, Floyd said. 

South junior Danya Ravid, who attended Brookline High School her freshman year, believes that partying at Brookline High School is “more chill than it is at North and South due to the available and accessible public transportation and urban atmosphere.

“People hang outside much more and there is never really a specific place to party. Because the T is so close, people go all over in parks and fields, whenever they want, Ravid said.

In addition to partying, Ravid feels that the public transportation creates a more general relaxed environment with independent, urban and flexible students. “There are no school buses at Brookline, Ravid said. “There is no need since the train system is so good there. Everyone just walks home or takes the T.

Brookline High School junior Maya Tamir agrees. “Brookline is very open¦people are always walking around or sitting outside, Tamir said.   
Ravid believes that Brookline students acquire independence and responsibility by having available public transportation.

“[Public Transportation] helps Brookline students to be more mature and responsible. Because in Brookline, in order to get around you use the T so you have to know the correct times of the T. You learn to manage your time really well. Freshman year I had to take the T to school every morning so I had to be aware of when I needed to get out the door in order to be on time.

Although being aware of bus and train times might add to the stress of life, Ravid enjoyed various benefits of attending school in a more urban city.

“Now I realize that it was so helpful and amazing because I now know how to get to where I need to go¦I gained a lot of independence by knowing how to get myself places¦ I don’t think people at South are as aware in that respect, Ravid said. 

Ravid also feels that with the available public transportation, Brookline students experience different types of relationships with their parents regarding trust and academics. “The public transportation creates a more relaxed environment.

The parents just automatically know there is a way for their kids to get places. The kids take care of themselves more, and are more motivated themselves to do well, instead of kids being pushed by their parents, like at South, Ravid said. 

At North, attending sports events is a popular pastime. Lamas believes that the consistent and strong fan base of North students makes the Newton North atmosphere more familial.

“North is very, very, spirited. When it comes to school sports we have a great fan base. We have the sixth man at basketball games and we always wear orange and black, Lamas said. “We create a community that other schools don’t have.

Rather than attending sporting events, Floyd feels that many South students spend their time individually instead of as a community. “I think a lot of kids here are very committed to their school work¦they just don’t feel like supporting their school, Floyd said.

However, South Freshman Eliza Spiegleman believes that South students are spirited. “I think there are people who go all out and other kids who don’t really care. I think were pretty good about it. Spiegleman said. 

In contrast to sporting events and studying, many students at Needham High spend their time attending country music concerts together.

Needham High School junior Carolyn Moore enjoys how unifying the music is. “Country Music is very popular at Needham, We all go to country music concerts together, which is fun because everyone tailgates so its something different to do rather than the same old same old, Moore said.

The different cultures found at different high schools reflect the unique environments of every city, as well as the unique combination of people that inhabit it.

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Who’s your daddy? Matty. http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/05/21/who%e2%80%99s-your-daddy-matty/ http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/05/21/who%e2%80%99s-your-daddy-matty/#comments Fri, 21 May 2010 05:02:49 +0000 Ariel Rivkin http://www.denebolaonline.net/?p=4317 It’s time for South freshman Olivia Siegel to leave her friend’s house when her dad, dressed in a bright blue shirt, khaki shorts, clean white Puma sneakers, cool sunglasses and a round black helmet, pulls into the driveway on his motorcycle. Siegel says goodbye to her friends and hops up behind her dad.

As her father instructs her on how to put on the helmet, a bystander recognizes the man’s voice, and for a very explainable reason.

Siegel’s dad is one of the most famous radio talk show hosts in New England: Matty in The Morning of Kiss 108.

Matty in the Morning has been the talk show host of Boston’s leading and highest rated FM morning show for more than 20 years. Matt Siegel has been the host of KISS 108′s morning show since 1981 and is consistently voted one of the nation’s top DJ’s by Billboard Magazine. More than 450,000 people from all over New England listen to Matty’s show at least once every week.

South freshman Olivia Siegel and senior Lilly Siegel, two of Siegel’s daughters, are avid listeners, as their dad’s job plays a large role in their morning routines.

“I do listen to him on the radio. Most mornings I do¦sometimes he really makes me laugh. Other times, I just want to say, ‘ËœDAD!’ Like when he says inappropriate things I just have to turn it off, Olivia said.

Lilly also listens to her father every morning before school. However, Lilly has a more nonchalant view of her father speaking publicly than her younger sister.

“It’s just something I have gotten used to, she said.

Many teenagers would feel uncomfortable being mentioned on live air. However, the Siegel sisters have learned to cope, for the most part.

“Usually it’s fine when he talks about the family but sometimes it’s just embarrassing, Olivia said. “He will sometimes say things that everyone just doesn’t need to know.

Lilly feels differently about being mentioned on air.

“There’s nothing much I can do about him mentioning us on the radio¦it is something that I have gotten used to. There is a big line of what is okay to say and what is too personal to say. I don’t think that there have been many instances when he has crossed that line, Lilly said.

As they have grown accustomed to being mentioned on live radio, the girls no longer find having a famous dad to be weird.

“It’s all I’ve ever known. When I was little I thought that everyone’s dad was like that. Now I’m just used to it, Olivia said.

Lilly shares similar feelings as her sister. “He’s been on the radio since before I was born so it’s nothing out of the ordinary for me, Lilly said.

There are, however, some instances when they are reminded of the differences between their dad and other teenagers’ fathers.

“Sometimes it is weird, like when we go out to dinner and some stranger will come up to him and tell him how much they love him, Olivia said.

The girls both feel that despite the occasional awkward situation, having a father who is connected to the music industry can provide perks, such as access to concerts.

“Concerts are always fun, Olivia said. “It’s fun to get together with my sisters. We’re all so excited.

Not only do the girls have access to events, but they also have been able to meet famous celebrities at some of them.

“The most famous person I have met is Lady Gaga. It was really cool to meet a celebrity in person and she’s one of my favorite artists so I was really happy and lucky to have gotten that opportunity, Lilly said.

When asked about some of the negative aspects of having a public figure as a father Lilly can only think of one. “The only downfall is when I am asked for tickets, Lilly said.

Olivia agrees, claming, “people think that just because [Matty in the Morning] is our dad that we can automatically get tickets for everything. It’s really annoying because it almost feels like I can be used. My Dad doesn’t give us tickets to any concert. He only allows us to go to the Kiss.he doesn’t want to spoil us, Olivia said.

Although their father is in the public eye, Olivia and Lilly view their father more privately.

“Just knowing how successful he became is really great. Yes it is cool having a dad that’s ‘Ëœfamous’ but I’m actually really proud of how far he’s come, Lilly said.

“He’s really goofy, Olivia said. “He’s the same person on the air as he is off of it…but to me he’s just my dad.

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LitchPod Productions: students find passion in filmmaking http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/04/14/litchpod-productions-students-find-passion-in-filmmaking/ http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/04/14/litchpod-productions-students-find-passion-in-filmmaking/#comments Wed, 14 Apr 2010 04:28:51 +0000 Ariel Rivkin http://www.denebolaonline.net/?p=4037 On a typical Friday afternoon most kids go home, hang out with friends, go to practices, games, or study. For seniors Josh Podrid and Adam Litchman, a typical Friday afternoon consists of filming, acting, and producing “magic.

Adam Litchman has been interested in film since he was 11 years old. It was only after meeting Josh Podrid during their junior year at Newton South High School, however, that the two began producing short films through their own production company called LitchPod Productions.

“I wanted to be a filmmaker all of my life, but I have been really living film my junior and senior year, Litchman said. Productions began after Podrid and Litchman met and started experimenting with Podrid’s camera.

As the two became familiar with filming techniques they began to publicize their works and LitchPod Productions was created.

The two quickly became friends as well as productive partners.

“We’re both very critical of each other and can be honest without any restraints…that’s what makes us such a good team, Podrid said.

Both understand that productivity is essential to the tiring process of filming so the young filmmakers usually spend Friday afternoons filming and some time on Sundays editing.

With the help of volunteer actors and participants, filming can serve as a bonding experience for the participants. Zack Litchman, a freshman at Newton South and the younger brother of Adam Litchman is one of the actors who is able to perform and bond with his older brother.
“He is a total natural actor, Podrid said. “Without any real prior experience, he stepped up in our films and took on a role of lead actor in all of our productions. His facial expressions are limitless and express true deep emotion, Podrid said.

Despite only existing for one year, LitchPod Productions has produced numerous short comedies. The acting in the films is improvisational, as Litchman and Podrid never write scripts.

The films always follow a plot outline, however, to ensure structure in the films. Currently, LitchPod Productions only produces comedies, but the two plan to branch out to different genres soon.

“¦In the future I don’t want to make just comedies. I want to make dark comedies and horror films, Litchman said.

The only thing stopping LitchPod from branching out is the need to acquire newer and better video editing and shooting equipment.

“We don’t have¦the equipment to make a decent film above twenty minutes¦. I am, however, for the most part, satisfied with the quality of our films. But of course we want to improve, Litchman said.

In order to improve, the production company, which is currently a non-profit organization, hopes that at some point, there will be incoming revenue.

“We do this because it’s what we love. We have no intentions of making profit of it really, we just do it because it’s what we enjoy, Litchman said.

“We are hoping to¦eventually make some kind of monetary benefit from this so we can upgrade our amateur video editing and shooting equipment, he added.

Although LitchPod does not have the necessary means to produce top-notch films right now, the filmmakers feel LitchPod Productions offers many benefits. Adam Litchman enjoys gaining experience through producing so many films.

“LitchPod Productions is one of the best things that has ever happened to me, Litchman said. “I have really begun to find my voice as a storyteller.

Litchman also believes that LitchPod Productions has taught him to be more proactive. “[LitchPod Productions] has motivated me to take initiative and make films¦One of the hardest elements of filmmaking for a student is to pick up a camera, Litchman said. And “doing is exactly what the filmmakers have been doing. LitchPod Productions entered its first film contest this past February.

“We entered our first film contest in February, but lost. I am not disappointed at all. It was an international competition, Litchman said.

Despite losing, Litchman and Podrid are not disheartened and remain proud of their films.
“Some people love to dance, some sing, others act. Adam and I…we love to create. We are visionaries who work until we have a finished product we are proud of, Podrid said. With the two producers heading to separate colleges in the near future, LitchPod Productions may need to pause producing.

“LitchPod may have to take a respite upon [our] acceptance at potentially different colleges, a struggle we will endure…but we plan to meet in Hollywood after graduation, Podrid said.

Regardless of pausing production or limited equipment, LitchPod Production remains a strong component of both Podrid’s and Litchman’s lives. The two filmmakers are excited about a new film coming out very soon.

“LitchPod productions is a way of living; it epitomizes passion, Podrid said.

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Living a double life: twins at South http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/03/24/living-a-double-life-twins-at-south/ http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/03/24/living-a-double-life-twins-at-south/#comments Wed, 24 Mar 2010 09:06:50 +0000 Sammie Levin http://www.denebolaonline.net/?p=3897 Due to their identical age and shared DNA, twins are always bound to be compared to one another. This comparison generally leads to sets of twins being labeled as “good or “bad. For example, in the infamous movie Eurotrip, brother and sister Jamie and Jenny are deemed “the worst twins ever, after an excess of Absinthe leads them to a scarring mistake. A more functional relationship between twins is portrayed in the countless Mary-Kate and Ashley Olson detective movies from their childhood, as they successfully work together to “solve any crime by dinner time.

But what are twins like in the real world, or more specifically, in the South community? How do the nature of their relationships affect their home and school lives?

Sophomore twins Isabelle and Simone Groper, who share many common interests and are best friends, are as compatible as the Olson sisters. “We’ve gone through a lot together, and I probably wouldn’t have gotten through any of it if I didn’t have Isabelle,Simone said. At school, however, Simone explains that she and her sister “aren’t really close at all, and even kind of act hostile toward each other as a joke in front of other people.

In spite of this, when asked how her relationship with Isabelle would be different if they did not both attend South, Simone reasoned that their relationship at home would not be significantly affected. “Despite the stupid fights that come up, we are always there for each other…she’s my best friend, Simone said.

Junior twins Ryan and Adam Sonnenberg have a similar relationship to the Gropers. “We are pretty good friends…there is no competitiveness between us, Ryan said. Due to their tight-knit bond and mutual friends, Ryan believes that their relationship most likely would not be affected if they went to different schools.

On the other hand, junior twins Matt and Jake Light, are not as closely bonded. “Jake and I have totally opposite interests. He participates in the theatre program while I partake in athletics, Matt said. Jake reiterated this point, claiming, “we are polar opposites in that you find Matt hanging around the field house and me hanging around the chorus room.

The two rarely see each other in school, and when they do it is just in passing, as they have never had a class together. “When we pass each other in the halls, he gives a friendly nod while I say ‘ËœHI MATT!’…he usually does not respond, Jake said.

Unlike Simone and Ryan, Jake thinks that his relationship with his twin would be positively impacted if they attended separate schools. “I think we would like each other more than we do, not that we don’t like each other already, Jake said.

The Light twins agree that their relationship at home is generally inconsistent. “Sometimes we get along perfectly watching TV, but when Jake is singing at night while I’m trying to sleep, a conflict is most likely to occur, Matt said. Jake added that they mind their own business unless they are playing Xbox 360, Wii, or basketball together.

Despite their differences and conflicts, Matt and Jake do share common interests, like music, video games, and sports, and have maintained mutual friendships with people they have been best friends with since elementary school.

Along with single gendered twins, twins of different genders also share unique relationships. Junior twins Nate and Samantha Kropp are a set of twins of the opposite sex. Nate and Sam partake in similar activities and despite being of different genders, are still compared and therefore compete with one another.

“We are constantly compared, Sam said. “We are both into sports, are friendly people and have similar grades. But the twins themselves also partake in comparing one another. “We compete a lot with grades, Sam said.

In addition to their competition, the Kropp twins have two very different personalities, which can sometimes lead to tension in their relationship.

“He’s much more outgoing and loud, Sam said of her brother. “I’m more shy and quiet.

These differences can lead to arguments between the two twins.

“She sometimes gets mad at me…She’ll get mad at me because I don’t stop talking in chemistry class, Nate said, referring to his sister.

Nate and Sam lead more or less separate lives at home.

“At home we don’t really talk about our personal lives, Nate said.

Sam, who agrees that the two don’t discuss their personal lives, believes that living with someone her age can have benefits.

“Even though we do fight, it is nice to have someone to talk about school and friendships,Sam said.

The nature of relationships between a set of twins varies greatly from set to set, but whether they are best friends or archenemies, “good or “bad, they share a connection that is distinct and unique from all other relationships impacting their lives both inside and outside of school.

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Disruptive atmosphere at library induces stress http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/03/24/disruptive-atmosphere-at-library-induces-stress/ http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/03/24/disruptive-atmosphere-at-library-induces-stress/#comments Wed, 24 Mar 2010 09:04:54 +0000 Ariel Rivkin http://www.denebolaonline.net/?p=3895 A typical library is a special place that provides the public with a quiet environment filled with a plethora of literature and other resources. Many use the library for its books, focused environment, and computers.

South’s library strives to provide the students with the same opportunities and luxuries. However, many feel that instead of providing an escape for students to easily focus on work, the library can, at times, be a stressful environment for students to be productive.

One of the factors that contribute to the stress accompanied with the library is the amount of people who congregate in the library as the day progresses. With so many people, noise and other distractions arise. Junior Max Ebb believes that only the first block of the school day is a good time to complete work in the library.

“The first block of the day is normally fine because a lot of people come in late instead of going to the library. After first block it gets very hard to work. There are a lot of distractions that make it hard to focus, such as friends and noise, Ebb said.

The librarians agree that the library can become noisy, but feel that there are numerous good times for one to complete work.

“First block of the day and the last block of the day are always great times for students to do work since all of the older students aren’t here, librarian Ethel Downey said.

The librarians have their own challenges when dealing with the library, a major one being managing rowdy students.

“It’s hard because we get kids with free blocks, cancelled classes and study hall. We’re aware that so many students use the library [but] it is a struggle to provide a variety of students with a place to do what they need to do, Downey said.

Another challenge South librarians face is dividing the library based on the needs of the students present.

“Libraries, more specifically school libraries, are on the cusp of a change because libraries are switching from the traditional library used for quiet reading to more of a studying center for completing homework, Downey said.

“We do take into account the students who want to sit and work so we have the quiet area in the back of the room, she said. “But that’s a constant struggle due to the amount of kids there are.

The noise students generate can make it difficult for other students to complete homework. Without a quiet environment in which one can concentrate, students’ attitude towards completing work shifts.

“With all the noise and other people distracting me from my homework it’s easy to say ‘ËœI’ll do it later’ and then just not get anything done, Ebb said.

But it is not only the amount of noise and people that contribute to the library being a stressful place to do homework. The shortage of computers makes it difficult for students to use their time efficiently. For nearly two thousand students at Newton South High School, there are only a few available computers located in the library. With such an uneven ratio, students who are usually motivated to complete work, don’t even get the opportunity to do so.

“Usually, if you want to use a computer, you spend ten minutes walking around just looking for an available one to use, senior Greg Penzias said.

The librarians acknowledge that the shortage of computers can cause stress for students at Newton South.

“The PTO has been really great; they update our computers¦ but on the other hand¦since they are so great, we have lines of students waiting to use them, Librarian Department Head Dorothy McQuillan said.

So next time you try to hide out in one of those wooden cubicles, bring a pair earplugs too.

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