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.Â Â
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.Â
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.Â
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. Â Â
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.Â
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.Â
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.Â
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.]]>
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.]]>
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.]]>
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.]]>
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.]]>