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Denebola » Ashan Singh 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 MVP sees final year http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/12/06/mvp-sees-final-year/ http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/12/06/mvp-sees-final-year/#comments Mon, 06 Dec 2010 11:25:22 +0000 Ashan Singh http://www.denebolaonline.net/?p=5108 Long-running program, Mentors in Violence Prevention (MVP), was cancelled this year after the funding grant expired and the program lacked adequate supervision from South staff.
Following 11 years of service to both Brown and Oak Hill Middle Schools, Newton South upperclassmen will no longer be holding seminars in eighth grade classes, educating students on the dangers of bullying and sexual harassment.
Initially run by wellness teachers, Bill Fagen and Michelle Coppola, Newton South MVPs underwent an application process in order to gain the title of an MVP as well as undergo two full school days of training.
Following the training, MVPs split into groups of roughly three, and were paired with eighth grade classrooms from Brown and Oak Hill, where they visited three times a year for hour-long seminars.
Last year, after the grant had run its course, Fagen and Coppola managed to continue the program in a smaller fashion without compensation. However, after Coppola’s departure this year, Fagen was unable to continue the program himself.
“Mr. Fagen did a really great job with [MVP], said principle, Joel Stembridge, “but it takes hours and hours and he is just not able to continue to maintain the integrity of the program without being compensated for it.
That being said, Stembridge has made it clear that there are efforts in order to somehow bring MVP back to Newton South.
“Its something that we’re thinking about – how we’re going to maintain or replace it – even with reduced funds. We’ve identified it as a loss, and we’re feeling that loss this year, he said.
“I joined MVP because I really enjoyed the program when I was in eighth grade. Not only is the anti-bullying and sexual harassment curriculum important, junior Lindsey Walters said, “but it is also cool to be a positive role model for students who are about to make the transition from middle school to high school, she said.
While the curriculum was heavily focused on the effects of sexual harassment and hazing, both MVPs and eighth grade students often looked forward to the last five minutes of the seminars where there were opportunities to talk to the eighth graders about high school.
“I do think that it helped people¦, junior Grace Nathans said. “I seriously think that MVP brings up some issues that the kids haven’t really thought about before. If nothing else, it is nice to get high school kids into the middle school just to set a good example.
Mentors in Violence Prevention was founded in 1993 at Northeastern University, initially as a program for student-athletes to educate others on “gender violence as well as “school violence prevention. Eventually the program grew beyond just student-athletes, and all students were able to apply to become MVPs.
Starting in 1999 at Newton South, Mentors in Violence Prevention quickly became prominent at Newton South, where middle school students looked forward to hearing seminars from high school students, and high school students are granted the opportunity to give back to the local middle schools.
“What’s good about MVP is that we had these question type things where there wasn’t a specific correct answer, Nathans said. “This made it extra thought provoking because it wasn’t a simple yes or no answer. It really brought up the shades of gray in relationships, which is something we wanted to make clear to the kids before they got to high school.
A staple at South, Mentors in Violence Prevention offered more to eighth-graders than simply an escape from the repetitive middle school routine: it gave them an opportunity to ask questions about high school, and really connect with high school students about the intimidating environment of high school.
“Whenever we end sessions early, Walters said, “we spend the last five or ten minutes answering questions people have. We talked about everything from what the best electives are to how the lunch schedule works.
Regardless of MVP’s cancellation this year, South MVPs are still hopeful of it’s return.
“I’m really upset it was cancelled, Walters said. “I’ve talked to Mr. Fagen though and he’s working on getting it back for next year, which would be awesome.

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Opposing Viewpoints: The mosque at ground zero is unnecessary and draws attention http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/11/02/opposing-viewpoints-the-mosque-at-ground-zero-is-unnecessary-and-draws-attention/ http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/11/02/opposing-viewpoints-the-mosque-at-ground-zero-is-unnecessary-and-draws-attention/#comments Tue, 02 Nov 2010 09:25:14 +0000 Ashan Singh http://www.denebolaonline.net/?p=4960 Rather than padding an argument with the security of The Constitution’s flowery, scholarly language, take a look at the argument from a more ethical standpoint. Sure our Bill of Rights ensures our protection of religious freedom, but when it comes to a situation as such, who is counting?
The attacks on September 11, 2001, marked the worst attacks on our country since the Pearl Harbor bombings during World War II. You would think different steps would be taken regarding the aftermath of such instances, but it seems the opposition prefers to profess the first amendment to its entirety.
In reality, the matter of the construction of an Islamic Center in close proximity to Ground Zero, is one that should undoubtedly be dealt with a significantly higher degree of sensitivity. If you want to attribute your preconceived notions to party loyalty, I’d like you to keep in mind that I generally am in favor of more liberal political ideologies. With that being said, it honestly seems that the construction of the Islamic Center so close to Ground Zero seems to not be the best idea for both those affected by the attacks of September 11 who are opposed to the construction, as well as the patrons of the Islamic Center itself.
Without a doubt, there are no legal issues regarding the physical building of an Islamic Center, as a matter of fact, I’m not completely opposed to the idea- I’m just simply pointing out the negative aspects of the whole matter, which significantly outweigh the positive.
Think about it this way: not as a matter of religious freedom but rather as a matter of moral principles. Imagine a meat shop opening the middle of a city where the whole population declared themselves vegetarian. Depending on how you look at it, it’s a slap in the face to both parties. In one way the meat shop owner is saying, “Ha! We are the only store selling the food you have devoted your lives to resisting. Or, the vegetarian community of the city would laugh in the face of the meat shop owner with the knowledge that not only will their business be unsuccessful, but they would essentially be a laughing stock of the community.
While my comparison has its flaws like any other, the main components present a direct example of the issue at hand. The building of an Islamic Center in close proximity to Ground Zero could very easily be considered a slap in the face to the community working in the area around Ground Zero. By looking at it that way there is a general assumption that the entire Islamic community was behind the attacks of September 11, which is incredibly false. However, it was after all, Muslim extremists who were the perpetrators, and the construction of a mosque has only served to inflamed anti Islam sentiment in the US, ultimately hurting the vast majority of Muslims who are guilty of nothing.
The presence of an Islamic Center close to Ground Zero serves as a painful reminder to the people of New York City of a group of brainwashed men who misleadingly bore Islam on their back as the driving force behind their actions. While many acknowledge that it was NOT Islam that attacked the United States on September 11 2001, the presence of an Islamic Center still reminds the people of the community what happened that day.
With the amount of publicity that has erupted from the issue, the Islamic community of New York City is simply making a mistake by continuing the construction of the Center. With the national attention gained from the matter, the Islamic community behind the construction is asking to be a target of unwarranted acts of hatred and unnecessary notoriety. I understand that they have the right to profess their right of freedom of religion, but it would honestly work against them in the long run.
With that being said, I have absolutely nothing against any decision to build an Islamic Center in close proximity to Ground Zero. But to me, it just seems unnecessary, and not the best idea for either party: It’s unnecessarily reminding the community around New York City of the attacks of September 11, and it’s setting the Islamic Center up for needless sabotage.

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South students model for new store http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/09/30/south-students-model-for-new-store/ http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/09/30/south-students-model-for-new-store/#comments Thu, 30 Sep 2010 11:04:52 +0000 Ashan Singh http://www.denebolaonline.net/?p=4619 This past March, Buckingham Browne & Nichols eighth grader Zach Rosenberg and his father opened up Zape: a clothing boutique geared towards the urban-chic style of Newton teenagers.
The creation of the store came as a result of a bar-mitzvah gift from Rosenberg’s father. “The idea came up about five years ago, Rosenberg said. “I love making up cool designs so my dad and I put our heads together and thought maybe we could open up a store together.
Together, both Rosenberg and his father worked to bring in new brands, designers, and apparel to increase the store’s popularity. In doing so, they recruited fashion designer and model, Antoinette King who is currently Zape’s manager. King sits with Rosenberg and coordinates the brands that will be sold at Zape.
“We’re working on getting our deal with Converse, said Rosenberg, “and then hopefully skateboards and longboards.
Since Zape’s opening in March, press coverage on the store has been in abundance.
“We’ve gotten calls from national TV shows like Oprah, Nate Percus, and the Today Show, said King. “We now want to have an event here every Saturday–basically, I want to market this store as a shopping and hangout spot for the whole tween industry.
Due to the store’s overwhelming publicity, King finds that it is wise to have the kids of Newton involved in the whole enterprise. She employs kids from around the area to spread the word about Zape and help raise publicity.
“The fact that [Zape] is in Newton, it’s just wise to use the people that are in the area, King said. “We’re right here in Newton and we’re able to show people in Massachusetts what Newton has to offer, that there are cool kids and hip gear here too.
This past Sunday, Zape had its first major photo shoot in downtown Boston. Freshmen twins, Lauren and Matthew Levy, Danna Zinger, Sophomore Omer Fine, as well as Juniors Roy Milstein and Elizabeth Goodstein all served as models in Zape’s first venture into professional advertising. Using South break dancers and Boston scenery as a backdrop, the models “took a pictures through different poses, outfits, in alleyways, bridges and streets of Boston, Goodstein said.
Following the photo shoot, the staff of Zape really hopes to keep pushing fashionable new merchandise to the youth of Newton.
“Zape in itself is about change, King said. “Fashion is about change, too, it is forever changing; fashion is what you make of it.
Rosenberg hopes that Zape is just the start of his dreams.
“Working with everyone here is amazing; it’s going to be a good lesson for my future, Rosenberg said. “I want to expand the store-hopefully set up new locations. And I want to have my own clothing line.
Both Rosenberg and King have high expectations for the future of Zape, and both hope that it can be integrated within the South student’s sense of fashion.
“[Zape] certainly has it’s own unique style and there are many people at South who would love to shop there, Goodstein said, following her photo shoot.

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Mendelson: Madeleine Reed & Yuji Wakimoto http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/06/10/mendelson-madeleine-reed-yuji-wakimoto/ http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/06/10/mendelson-madeleine-reed-yuji-wakimoto/#comments Thu, 10 Jun 2010 12:19:10 +0000 Ashan Singh http://www.denebolaonline.net/?p=4419 This year, seniors Madeleine Reed and Yuji Wakimoto have been selected to receive Newton South’s annual Danny Mendelson award for exceptional athletic achievement and sportsmanship.The awards commemorate the life and athletic accomplishments of former South athlete Danny Mendelson. 

Reed, a three-season athlete, has led her teams as captain of Girls’ Cross Country, Girls’ Ice Hockey, and Girls’ Outdoor Track and Field. Her participation in all three programs throughout her four years at South has shown her to be a valuable asset to the community.

She has been a dominant and steady contributor to the Outdoor Track and Field team, which won All-States last year and came in second this year. She was also part of the squad that won All-States in 2008.

In Track and Field, her personal achievements include qualifying for Nationals in the girls’ 2000-meter steeplechase and being a Dual County League (DCL) All-Star in all four years of her involvement on the team.

Additionally, Reed is also an All-American in both Track and Field and Cross Country. She runs the two-mile and the steeplechase.
As well as being a phenomenal runner, Reed excels in the hockey rink. She was a DCL All-Star for four years, almost leading the Girls’ Hockey team to a tournament success.

She was also an important member of the Girls’ Cross Country team, being a DCL All-Star.

Reed led the team all the way to the New England’s meet.

As well as being a fantastic runner, Reed is also a great person. She is not a selfish athlete; she cares deeply about her teammates and their performances.

Reed works hard in practice and has incredible work ethic. She encourages everyone who looks up to her on her sports teams.

She also had a leadership role as captain of all three seasons, and helped to improve her team, leading by example, practicing, and playing hard everyday.

“Madeleine is one of those kids that comes around every so often, Athletic Director Scott Perrin said. “She’s just special in how she does [off the track and out of the rink] and how she performs in the sports she plays.

Out of the many candidates that were contenders for the award, Reed was chosen for her outstanding achievements in South’s athletic program. Her hard work and leadership is certainly a model for all future athletes who will compete for the Lions.

“Her sports accolades speak for themselves, Perrin said.

Reed will be attending Boston College in the fall.

In his years at South, Yuji Wakimoto has been one of the most successful track athletes to ever walk the halls of the school, as he was a captain on the Boys’ Cross Country, Boys’ Indoor Track and Field, and Boys’ Outdoor Track and Field teams.

Wakimoto’s raw talent and hard work ethic has allowed him to succeed during all three running seasons. He even managed to compete with a serious foot injury during the indoor season two years ago.

Wakimoto experienced a stress fracture in his foot, a common but painful injury for track athletes that sidelined him for the majority of the indoor and outdoor season.

Wakimoto, however, was desperate to get back to running and helping his team. He made a full recovery for all three of his seasons this year.

This year, he was part of the 4×800 relay in Outdoor Track and Field that placed fifth in the state, and ran a personal record of 1:56 in the 800-meter run.

Wakimoto is known for his exceptional leadership skills, hard work, and dedication to the team.

He helped lead the Boys’ Outdoor Track and Field team to its fourth consecutive DCL championship, preserving its undefeated record.

His hard work and talent were rewarded as he was designated a DCL All-Star all three seasons this year for his consistently strong athletic performance.

“[Wakimoto] is a kid who scores a lot of points in particularly what was considered a rebuilding year, and [as] a young man who dealt with injury, he still brought the points, Perrin said. 

Wakimoto will be attenting the University of Rochester in the fall.

Both Reed and Wakimoto were chosen out of the many talented athletes at South due to their work ethic, talent, and contributions to the South athletic program.

Congratulations to this year’s winners of the Danny Mendelson award. 

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Senior tackles mountain http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/06/10/senior-tackles-mountain/ http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/06/10/senior-tackles-mountain/#comments Thu, 10 Jun 2010 07:08:52 +0000 Ashan Singh http://www.denebolaonline.net/?p=4554 When senior Sam Mankin was ten years old, she was audience to a girl giving a presentation about the Appalachian Trail at the library. Immediately, Mankin knew it was something she would definitely want to try.

At the beginning of the school year, as Mankin was deciding the topic of her senior W.I.S.E project, she initially chose to research the Appalachian Trail, and eventually hike it over the summer. “I thought it would be a good idea: a way to learn about myself. When the new pilot program came around, Ms. Weiner suggested I do that instead, said Mankin.

The new pilot program entails the student taking off fourth term in order to complete their project. Mankin’s decision allowed her to leave for the trail on the second of April and “through hike the trail through the remainder of the summer.

Before she embarked on the trail however, Mankin had her share of work and planning to do: “[To be prepared] I had to read a lot of books, I exercised, which didn’t really help me a lot, and found a hiking partner, said Mankin.

Using an online website, Mankin sent many people messages and talked on the phone to multiple hikers in order to find the perfect partner. After countless hours spent searching, she finally found a hiking partner in 27 year-old Heather Friedly. “She was definitely the best partner for me, Mankin said, “we had similar goals, and it seemed like we were going for similar reasons.

With a hiking partner down, hours of exercise done, and countless books read, there was nothing stopping Mankin from embarking on her highly anticipated journey. “I was really excited to go and everything, but I didn’t take into account how hard it would be to leave everyone, she said.

After minimal amounts of sleeping time the preceding week, Mankin’s journey finally went underway on April 2nd when she flew down to Atlanta along with her mother, father, and her older brother, to spend the first night with her Granduncle.

To begin the trail, Mankin hiked the first two miles with her family, however their departure made things really difficult. After the first day of her journey, Mankin was questioning whether she made the right decision to go on the trail, “After the first day, I didn’t know if this is what I wanted to be doing. I called my parents and they told me to suck it up, and that was exactly what I needed, said Mankin.

For the remainder of the trip, Mankin continued the trail with a positive attitude. “I initially started out doing ten mile days, but then I eventually managed to move it up to twenty miles a day, she said.

With Mankin’s new positive attitude, she allowed herself to enjoy more of the journey, “One of the coolest parts was getting to see the surrounding towns of the trail. I had never seen so much of the south and I didn’t realize that there was so much poverty and lack of education within our own country. So it was really eye-opening, she said.

After hiking through Georgia, Tennessee, and North Carolina, the 35-pund backpack and the strenuous hours spent hiking, the trail took a great physical toll on Mankin before she arrived in Virginia. “I was tired, she said, “I realized to respect my body and myself, and head home.

Mankin’s departure from the trail came not to her dismay however, “I know the trail is not going anywhere, she said, “I plan on section-hiking it for the rest of my life.

While she did not exactly complete her goal, Mankin has big plans for her future with the trail “My plan is to bring the ones I love throughout my life to the place I love (the trail), and be able to share that experience with them, Mankin said.

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Post-stamps from around the world http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/06/10/post-stamps-from-around-the-world/ http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/06/10/post-stamps-from-around-the-world/#comments Thu, 10 Jun 2010 05:12:28 +0000 Alex Ketabi http://www.denebolaonline.net/?p=4537 As indicated, this stamp celebrates the birth century of Mohammad Mossadegh, one of the most prolific, yet relatively unknown figures of 20th century. He was democratically elected Prime Minister of Iran in 1951, on the platform that he would nationalize the Iranian oil industry. Since oil was discovered in Iran in 1908, the British government chartered the Anglo Iranian Oil Company (currently BP) to monopolize the entire industry, giving only a minuscule percentage of the profits back to the Iranian people. Mossadegh declared that the British have no place seizing Iran’s natural resources while neglecting its people, and thus ousted the Anglo Iranian Oil Company. This prompted the British to get the Americans, predominantly the CIA, involved. In 1953, the CIA led a coup d’état against Mossadegh, inserting the young Shah (king) of Iran, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, as the absolute leader of Iran, in turn for his allowing Iran and Britain access to Iran’s oil. Over the next quarter century, the Shah led a despotic regime and was viewed by the Iranian people as a puppet of the West, leading to the Islamic Revolution of 1979 that established the tyrannical theocracy in place today. Many view the American-led overthrow of Mossadegh as a catalyst to the rise of Anti Western sentiment and Islamic Fundamentalism in the Middle East.
-Alex Ketabi

This South Korean postage stamp was one of a series released in 2003, “Traditional Korean Culture, which demonstrated and recognized Korean cultural and aesthetic heritage. Each stamp depicted an item of everyday life in ancestral Korea. This stamp, worth 190 won (the South Korean currency) is an example of the footwear sub-series; other sub-series included traditional headwear, furniture, and tools. Illustrated here is a pair of unhye shoes, which were traditional slippers for Korean women of royalty, the court, and the upper class, until the end of the Joseon Period. The outside of the shoe was typically silken or covered in cotton flannel, while the soles were cobbled from leather and the toes and heels embroidered. In terms of philatelic history, these stamps are remarkable as well as beautifully designed; for the first half of the 20th century, Japan controlled the Korean administration, including its postage, and after 1946, the American military administration took over the issue of Korean stamps for several years. The 2003 series embodies not only the rich history of the Republic of Korea, but national pride and a celebration of independence.
-Alice Lee

Lebanon has always been a touristic country. Some refer to it as the Paris of the Middle East. Post stamps from Lebanon illustrate many of Lebanon’s most beautiful and fascinating places. The images range in depicting different locations throughout Lebanon. One of the most popular images is the roman ruin of the Beqaa valley, Baalbek, dating back to the first century AD. The temples were excavated by a German archaeologist and have since become a major tourist attraction. Other images include a Crusader sea base built on water in the port city of Sidon, the fishing town of Byblos north of Beirut, the natural rock formation off the shores of Beirut, and an old Ottoman Palace that belonged to one of the Ottoman warlords before World War One. Before the civil war, Lebanon survived on a touristic-banking economy. These images were used to attract tourists from neighboring Arab countries and distant European countries . Lebanon has now been rebuilt to its glory of the 60′s and 70′s. Its downtown streets bustle with tourists from around the world. Lebanon showed its finest touristic locations as a means of alluring the recipient of a stamp to visit Lebanon.
-Joseph Busaba

It’s no surprise to find the face of the Father of India cover the stamps of the country. Gandhi’s involvement in India’s quest for independence not only gives him the legacy as one of the most influential people to ever live, but also set a precedent of civil disobedience and nonviolent action that set a standard for some of the world’s most revered leaders. That being said, it is to nobody’s surprise that the face of Gandhi paints not just the stamps of the nation, but the currency as well. Following India’s independence from the British in 1947, the nation has worn her independence on her sleeve. Gandhi, the leader of India’s search for freedom, essentially became the face of the nation, giving way to his presence on national products.
-Ashan Singh

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Retirement: Judith Taub http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/06/10/judith-taub/ http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/06/10/judith-taub/#comments Thu, 10 Jun 2010 04:10:02 +0000 Ashan Singh http://www.denebolaonline.net/?p=4410 After 10 years of teaching at South, Family and Consumer Sciences teacher Judith Taub has decided to draw her career here to a close at the end of the 2009-2010 school year.

Born and raised in Waycross, Georgia, a small town by the Okefenokee Swamp, Taub knew since she was a little girl that she wanted to be a teacher.

“When I was younger I always loved to play school, and I always wanted to be the teacher; so it seemed to only make sense that I pursued something in education, she said.

Following graduate school at Boston College in 1970, Taub began her teaching career teaching seventh and eighth grade math and science. Following her initial teaching experience, Taub spent several years going back and forth between Philadelphia and Boston teaching fifth grade until she had kids.

After, Taub took a break from teaching, in an effort to raise her children. It was then that she learned how to sew, finding a new love for family and consumer sciences.

“I took a course in learning how to sew and I then realized that I wanted to be teaching home economics, she said.
Soon after, Taub went to the School of Fashion Design in Boston and also attended Framingham State College to obtain a degree in Family and Consumer Sciences.

When her youngest child started college, Taub resumed her teaching career in Lowell, this time in Family and Consumer Sciences. The following year, in 2000, when the opening was announced at Newton South, Taub was quick to jump on it. “The commute in Lowell was just too long, it’s much better at South, she said.

At South, students have naturally flocked to Taub’s class for it’s enjoyable, hands on atmosphere.

“She allows students to learn hands on. Naturally, this provides a more thoroughly enjoyable learning experience, junior Sam Zoloth said.

What intrigued many students was Taub’s evident love for what she taught.

“She’s a great teacher, and I can tell she’s passionate about her job and about food. It really makes the class that much more interesting, junior Grant Henderson said.

“I love just about everything at Newton South, Taub said, “the students have a genuine interest to learn, and are a really impressive student body. I’m very proud to be apart of this learning community.

Taub’s decision to draw the line in her career at Newton South is a result of her wanting to quit while she still loves what she’s doing.

“I do love my job and I want to stop while I still love my job, before I start feeling burnt out, she said.

The feeling of respect that Taub has for the school will undoubtedly be reciprocated. “She was very committed to what she taught and that passion was contagious and caught on in all her classes, said junior Rachel Davidson, “she will really be missed throughout the school.

Following her retirement, Taub has big plans to continue what she enjoys.

“I’d like to work on my sewing skills and do some volunteer work with it, she said, “hopefully something involving teaching sewing to inner-city students.

With the year almost over, Taub sees a bright future for Newton South and what it has to offer. “I have great admiration for Joel Stembridge and I feel like he’s really moving the school in the right direction. I feel very blessed to have the opportunity to teach in such a wonderful school with such amazing colleagues, she said.

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Step squad steps up http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/04/14/step-squad-steps-up/ http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/04/14/step-squad-steps-up/#comments Wed, 14 Apr 2010 04:30:52 +0000 Ashan Singh http://www.denebolaonline.net/?p=4026 Almost a year ago, it seemed like the glory days of the South Step Squad had ended. The ground-shaking performances at the annual pep-rally and the passionate routines recited once a year at Tertulia had simply become something for people to reminisce over.

“Freshman year, I remember seeing the step squad perform at the pep rally, and it being the one of those things that everyone looked forward to at every South event. The next year, I hardly saw them at anything. It was really disappointing, junior Sophie Bikofsky said.

This year, however, captain junior Chaela Jones was not going to let the South Step Squad fail to bring the excitement they used to bring to a crowd. “This year, I had a target. It wasn’t about having a lot of people, it was about having a small and tight group that was good at stepping: we had to bring the Step Squad back to South, Jones said.

Last year, the squad had a total of 15 members on the team, with four captains, three of which were Seniors (class of 2009) and the fourth was Jones.

After a forgetful performance at the 2008 pep rally in October, the squad quickly deteriorated when the captains realized that the Step Squad could not be their number one priority.
Eventually, captains stopped showing up to practices, and the members started to follow suit. “It was frustrating for me, Jones said, “I kept showing up to practice ready to work with everyone, but each captain was telling us to do different things; it just wasn’t good.

Despite the addition of junior Alex Gershanov to the squad last year, the team eventually disbanded, not even having a performance for Tertulia, the school’s annual talent show.
This year, with the help of Gershanov, Jones held a series of tryouts in order to fit her target of a “small and tight squad.

Following the tryouts, the squad was ready to start practicing with seven members, including both Gershanov and Jones. Due to commitment issues and the personal problems of some members, the team was cut down to four students.

The squad, now consisting of Jones, Gershanov, senior Flora Kim, and junior Kyla Kouadio are not the least bit bothered by the small size of the team. “I think we killed it at Tertulia, Jones said. “We all left our hearts on the stage, and really stepped like we never have before.
The squad, doing performances more and more often at South basketball games, has created a name for themselves, bouncing back from what many thought was the end of the South Step Squad.

“The [Step Squad] added so much culture to South. If they were gone, it would really take a lot out of what we look forward to at South events, Bikofsky said.

Next year Jones has big plans for- the Step Squad. “This year we were successful in keeping that small and tight squad that we needed. Now next year, I want to maintain a big and tight squad, where we have a lot of members, but everyone is still able to deliver. I need to find someone who can hold the squad down when I graduate, she said.

Now that senior stepper Flora Kim will be graduating this June, Jones looks to take advantage of the presence of Gershanov and Kouadio by naming them co-captains for the 2010-2011 season. “I want a young team, Jones said, “everyone should be trying out from all grades, but the team needs to still be there when I’m gone. This year, we definitely came back, not as strong as I hoped for it to be, but we still definitely came back. Next year, the team is going to be as strong as ever, she said.

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Students find homes around the building http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/03/24/students-find-homes-around-the-building/ http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/03/24/students-find-homes-around-the-building/#comments Wed, 24 Mar 2010 09:07:50 +0000 Ashan Singh http://www.denebolaonline.net/?p=3899 On any given day, it’s a safe bet that you’d arrive at school with some time to kill before your first class. Naturally, most kids try to congregate based on their specific social groups, and it’s become quite apparent that each group has found its place in different parts of the building.

Following tradition, the senior class continues to find their hangout spot in the Wheeler Commons, which has also come to be known as the fabled Senior Commons.

“It’s really convenient, senior Liza Barnes said. “We won’t block the hallways, and we’re free to make as much noise as we want.

Senior Stephi Dworkin agreed, claiming, “the senior commons is a nice place to meet up with everyone in between classes.

Despite the convenience of the relatively empty lounge featuring nothing more than a few couches, the presence of the commons seems far more respected due to the traditions that lay behind it.

“I don’t really know why we’re excited to have the commons; it’s really just tradition and an honor. No other grade really has a space where they can hang out, so it’s cool that the seniors get a designated spot, Barnes said.

The junction between the mixed media and photo room, considered as the “artsy hallway, has taken a far different course than the Senior Commons.

Rather than having an area dedicated to the presence of a specific grade, the hallway has been deemed home to students and friends with common interests centralized around the arts.

Students scramble to have lunch in and around the hallway, especially in the Mixed Media and Glass room. Clara Lorant, a sophomore, says she “loves having lunch in the photo and mixed media rooms despite the overall atmosphere being a “bit pretentious.

“It’s usually too crazy and there aren’t enough chairs, Lorant said.

Further down the artsy hallway is the chorus room, where students love to spend their free time during lunches and free blocks.

“You can eat there, listen to music, play the piano, and really get to spend time around other kids who really enjoy music, junior Jake Light said. “You’ll find that kids who aren’t in any chorus or music classes hang out there to be with their friends. Some actually end up making new friends. It’s not as loud as the cafeteria, not as crowded, and there’s always a place to sit, and you’re generally with people who you like hanging out with, rather then just who happens to be there [the cafeteria].

When the weather is warm outside, the courtyard serves a good spot for students during their free blocks. “It’s nice to get out for some fresh air after being cooped up inside all day, junior Anastasia Lymar said.

Lastly the library, easily the most populated area in the school year-round. Time and time again it has proven that no social group or grade has any form of dominance in the library.

As for the merit of actually getting work done in the library, senior Greg Gruener points out that he “like[s] coming to the library because [his] friends are here.

“It’s really the only reason I like to come here. It’s difficult to get work done unless you’re really, really focused, he said.

Hangout spots througout the school have developed in a way that there’s some place for everyone to feel comfortable.

Junior Jacob Gilbert, who just transferred from New Jewish Gann Academy this year believes “at first it’s tough for people to find a spot around the school to hangout.

“In the beginning, I just wandered a lot, but after a little bit, I realize that there’s a space for everyone in the school, Gilbert said.

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Slope siblings http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/02/10/slope-siblings/ http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/02/10/slope-siblings/#comments Wed, 10 Feb 2010 08:27:57 +0000 Jen Maxwell http://www.denebolaonline.net/?p=3656 Falling during races and consistently bringing up the rear would appear to cause anguish and disappointment among a team. This is not the case, however, for the South ski team.

Despite having the girls come in sixth place and the boys placing third last season out of seven teams, determination and a close-knit atmosphere remain in the hearts and minds of South’s skiers.

“The boys’ team put forth a great effort the whole time, and despite our third place finish, everyone was really proud, junior Max Carter said.

This year, the ski team is trying to establish a new environment in which they learn from one another, as well as attempt to take pressure off of their teammates.

This season the girls have placed fifth and fourth in two races, and three members have placed in the top 14.  They are quite confident in their ability to achieve their goal of finishing in fourth by the end of the year.

Determined and helpful, seniors and captains Drew Pinta, Evan Pearce, Zeba Race, and junior and captain Rachel Davidson lead inspirational pep talks on the long bus rides to instill confidence in their teammates, stimulating positive team chemistry, and promoting a close-knit community.

During each meet, the skiers cheer on their 24 brothers and sisters, regardless of whether they are on the course, at the starting blocks, or at the bottom of the mountain.

“We are the only team to cheer ridiculously loud at the top of Nashoba, and tackle each other at the bottom, Davidson said. “Our wrestling skills are almost equal to that of our skiing ability.

To bond better as a team, the skiers went to a ski movie premiere and have had many team dinners.

“It’s really been a huge help to remove some of the awkward tension that sometimes comes along with school teams, Carter said.

The coaches also help create a positive atmosphere by being supportive about mistakes and encouraging their skiers to reach for their goals. They help the team become a community and promote friendly competition.

“Although a skier goes down the course alone, ski racing, especially in high school, is very much a team sport, Pinta said. “Each person’s performance affects how the team does as a whole, and we all go though the stressful experience together.

Both Davidson and Pinta highly anticipate each race. “I start thinking about the next race lying in bed the night before. The pressure builds throughout the next day, and by the time I’m on the bus to the mountain, it’s hard to sit still, Pinta said.

Carter experciences similar pleasures from the skiing. “Ski team is my life, he said. “The people and the actual sport are a lot of fun to spend my time on, and the fact that we are so close is a big part of that.

Despite merely a few victories, the Newton South Ski team remains one of the most content and proud teams at South. They love the sport, the team, and the competition, and are definitely one of the closest teams in the school.

“Going through the experience of a race with the same kids for four years has made us extremely close, Pinta said.

“We have developed routines around each other. We depend on each other to get through the day.

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