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Denebola » Daniel Fuchs 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 Latino Student Union brings culture to South http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/12/06/latino-student-union-brings-culture-to-south/ http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/12/06/latino-student-union-brings-culture-to-south/#comments Mon, 06 Dec 2010 06:05:08 +0000 Daniel Fuchs http://www.denebolaonline.net/?p=5182 Throughout Newton South’s history, student unions such as the Jewish Student Union, the Asian Student Organization, Gay/Straight Alliance, and Black Student Union, have spread cultural awareness, organizing events and activities to not only connect members of their own communities but to inform other students about their interesting cultures and lifestyles.
The Latino Student Union (LSU), which began last year, now joins this group.
Much like other student unions and cultural groups, the LSU plans to organize events both inside and outside South.
“We are going to do a lot of community service events in Boston, senior Ismael Algerin, who organized the club along with two other students, said.
One such plan includes working with a church in Boston to which one of the members of the group has a connection.
Though it is a Latino group, anyone and everyone is encouraged to participate in any way they can. “The club is open to everybody, Algerin said. “Anyone can contribute.  
In terms of other future plans, the Union has a variety of possibilities and ideas in the making. “We would love to organize a Talent Night, said Algerin. “It would be similar to the Asian Night that the ASO organizes.
The Latino Student Union technically began two years ago, as the Latino Club. “We went to a few exhibits at museums, Latino Club advisor Viviana Planine said. “But as the founders went off to college, there was a slight loss in interest.
The following year, Algerin and two other students approached Planine and math teacher Javier Mendez about creating the student union. “I have offered my room as a space for Latino students to meet, plan cultural activities, socialize, interact, and get to know each other, Mendez said.
This center for Latino culture was one of the main reasons that the club was created. “We realized that we wanted a safe haven for people of a different culture, Algerin said.
Latino culture is becoming increasingly influential in American culture and life, and the Latino Student Union seeks to address this. “I really think that the language [Spanish] is not felt as much as it should be, Planine said. “Spanish is a new second language in this country.
That influence can be seen in everything from music and literature to typical encounters throughout Newton. “I see people in places like Whole Foods and I have conversations in Spanish with them, Planine said.
The founders and advisors of the club hope that the LSU can build a strong Latino presence in the school and inform many students about the culture.
“We want to make people more aware of how diverse the culture is, Algerian said. “We want to have events that are not only interesting but symbolize important parts of our culture.
Most of all, the Latino Student Union hopes to emphasize their pride in their culture. “The language is not just something in the classroom, Planine said. “It is alive, it is life.

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Chinese teacher experiences nation’s past http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/11/02/chinese-teacher-experiences-nations-past/ http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/11/02/chinese-teacher-experiences-nations-past/#comments Tue, 02 Nov 2010 05:25:27 +0000 Daniel Fuchs http://www.denebolaonline.net/?p=5024 China has had a tumultuous history in the past 65 years or so, experiencing massive changes in nearly every aspect of its culture and structure. Lijian Zhao, Chinese teacher and Technical Assistant at South, has seen much of it happen.
Zhao, who lived in China from 1945 until her departure to America in 1991, remembers very little about her early childhood, which occured during China’s involvement in World War II.
“I remember the airplane bombings, Zhao said. “But I don’t remember much else.
Zhao’s life in China was particularly influenced by the Cultural Revolution, a period during the 1960s and 1970s when Chinese culture and governmental structure made incredible shifts.
The movement led by former president Mao Zedong involved support groups called the Red Guard.
Zhao supported this movement, which was spearheaded by Chinese youth.
“I was very active in rebelling against school authorities, Zhao said.
“No rules or regulations could bind us.
After the Revolution, however, Zhao saw what she felt were flaws that had developed in Chinese culture, education, and society. She felt she had been betrayed by Mao Zedong.
“When I was young, I was an optimist, Zhao said.
“We did not understand our mistakes until 1976 [, the death of Mao and the end of the Cultural Revolution]. The Red Guard was just a scapegoat.
Zhao worked as a university professor during the 1980s and recalls the significant differences between the American and Chinese education systems.
“Chinese teachers spend spare time with students, Zhao said.
“Teachers often organize outings and picnics, and I enjoyed that student-teacher relationship.
Disciplinary action in Chinese schools was also incredibly different.
“Chinese teachers tend to be stricter and yell much more than American teachers, Zhao said. “They enforce many more rules.
During this time as a professor, even after the Cultural Revolution, Zhao witnessed many changes within China’s education system.
“There was a major resurrection of learning as graduate schools resumed, and colleges enrolled more students. Chinese education had been revived.
In 1991, Zhao embarked for America for personal reasons.
Following a visit to China this past summer, Zhao looks at present-day China with overall optimism, even despite its past.
“China’s economic situation is a lot stronger, Zhao said.
“China is able to organize many international activities.
Zhao remembers the major differences between society and freedom in China and America.
“In America, you can do anything you want, Zhao said. “I can speak whatever I want to speak.
Even so, Zhao remembers her past fondly. “I had a wonderful life.

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U.S. issues alert for travelers http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/10/28/u-s-issues-alert-for-travelers/ http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/10/28/u-s-issues-alert-for-travelers/#comments Thu, 28 Oct 2010 06:04:32 +0000 Daniel Fuchs http://www.denebolaonline.net/?p=4916 The State Department sent out an alert in early October for American tourists planning to travel to Western European countries such as Britain and France.
Britain’s Tourism Department did the same, raising its own terror watch level for citizens and tourists traveling to France and Germany.
Both European and American government agencies have reason to believe an attack from terrorists in Pakistan or Northern Africa is being planned after a captured militant who may have ties to the September 11 hijackers, Ahmed Siddiqui, provided information detailing plans for attacks across Europe. A number of other terror suspects and sources have verified the intelligence.
“Current information suggests that Al-Qaeda and affiliated organizations continue to plan terrorist attacks. European governments have taken action to guard against a terrorist attack, the State Department said. European governments have begun to track suspects across the continent.
Governments such as France and Japan, have been quick to issue their own alerts for tourists traveling in Europe and stand by the State Department’s initial warning. Other governments, such as Germany, are annoyed by the alerts.
“There is no dissent that we face an intense, abstract danger, one German official said to the New York Times. The Pakistani government, as well, expressed criticism over the alerts, calling them “politically motivated.
Few citizens seem to be frightened by the risks of European travel.
Many Americans have not altered their plans to travel, made clear by the lack of change in shares of major US-Europe airline companies, such as Delta, United, and Continental Airlines. At this point in time, however, many airlines believe that it is too early to tell how Americans will react.
The US State Department made it clear that they do not wish to send tourists away from Europe, but rather urge them to be wary and alert when traveling to European countries.
“US citizens should take every precaution to be aware of their surroundings and to adopt appropriate safety measures to protect themselves when traveling, the State Department said.

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Student-run language center http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/09/30/student-run-language-center/ http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/09/30/student-run-language-center/#comments Thu, 30 Sep 2010 05:01:58 +0000 Daniel Fuchs http://www.denebolaonline.net/?p=4695 In almost any subject at South, you can find some sort of tutor or service, whether it’s in the Writing Center or Science Center. One subject that has been sorely without this kind of extra help, however, is world language. That is, until now.
This year, room 6154 will now be open as a Language Center, a new resource for students.
“It’s student tutoring, hopefully in all blocks, senior and founder of the center Sammie Gross said.
“Upperclassmen and students in advanced language courses will help students with regular work or before tests. Gross’ goal is to create a resource fully open to students for additional support. “If teachers are unavailable or swamped with work, the Language Center is available for support, Gross said.
Gross hopes to have tutors in all languages available for students, though tutors in Russian and Latin are still needed.
The center will be open within the coming weeks, once blocks have been filled with student tutors.
The schedule is almost full, according to Gross, but if anyone is interested in tutoring, there is space available.
The idea for the Language Center began as Gross saw the wealth of other resources available to students’€the Science Learning Information Center, the Math Center, the Writing Center’€all incredibly helpful in many students’ success in their curriculums.
“I spent a lot of time in SLIC and MLIC and saw how valuable they were. Why not a language tutoring center? Gross said.
The idea for the center also stems from Gross’ fascination with world languages.
“I really like languages and world cultures, Gross said. “I knew I wanted to work in the
Language Department senior year.
Senior Adrian Montagut, who will be tutoring in French, has a similar interest in world language, and believes that this Language Center will be beneficial to students’ global knowledge.
“Learning languages helps us think outside the box, Montagut said. “It allows us to gain a world perspective.

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Where is my vote? http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/06/10/where-is-my-vote/ http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/06/10/where-is-my-vote/#comments Thu, 10 Jun 2010 09:10:52 +0000 Daniel Fuchs http://www.denebolaonline.net/?p=4518 Corruption; fraud; disappointment. A cold wind has swept through the world this last year, a result of the malicious desires of very powerful figures. Voting booths in countries around the world- such as Iran, Britain, Honduras and Iraq- were rigged, tweaked, and declared invalid. Politicians have abused their relationship with their country’s citizens. Thousands upon thousands have been deprived of a meaningful vote in their elections- of their voice being represented in the government. In the United States, people demand “Vote or Die. Outside of this country’s privileged boundaries, people are willing to die to make their votes count.


Perhaps the most violent and public display of a tampering with ballots, the June 2009 Iranian elections resulted in incredible controversy.

The race, which was essentially a contest between incumbent Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, a member of the Abadgaran Party, and Mir-Hossein Mousavi, a member of the Independent Reformist Party, ended in a landslide 62% win by Ahmadinejad.

While there is no concrete evidence of fraud, a great deal of evidence has been presented that shows that the election was, in fact, rigged by Ahmadinejad’s party in some way. It is not clear how or to what extent the results were rigged or tweaked, though according to reported results, Ahmadinejad won every single province.

The results were announced a mere two hours after polls had closed, which seems odd due to the 40 million ballots cast. There were also irregularities between polls and the election results themselves; some polls indicated a victory for Mousavi, whereas others that predicted a victory for Ahmadinejad indicated results that were vastly different from the final election results.

The Internet was shut off across Iran both during and after elections for some time, despite massive protests from the Iranian people following the election. Many nations or international groups, including the United States and European Union have expressed doubts over the results.


The Independent High Electoral Council of Iraq- or IHEC- has declared the Iraqi parliamentary elections, held in March 2010, legal despite major controversy.

The three largest of the political parties in the election were the al-Iraqiya Party, which previously held 37 seats on the Iraqi parliament, the State flaw Coalition, and the Iraqi National Alliance, which previously held 128 seats.

Before the election, there were major changes in the structure of voting to allow for a more democratic process; the “open list ballot was used, meaning that voters would choose individuals for specific seats rather than voting only for parties. In January, over 450 candidates were banned due to associations with the Ba’ath party, which Saddam Hussein led.

Polls released before the election predicted a win by the State of Law Coalition, though in the end, the al-Iraqiya Party won the majority of seats, taking 24.92%–or 91 seats. By comparison, the State of Law Coalition took 24.22% (82 seats), and the Iraqi National Alliance took 70 seats.

There were multiple fraud allegations after the elections, accusing Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’€a member of the State of Law Coalition’€of rigging the elections, registering 800 million fake names to vote. In April 2010, a recount was issued, and in May, the IHEC, an organization supported by the International Foundation for Electoral Systems, declared that the results were not fraudulent.


In the aftermath of the military coup against former President Manuel Zelaya, Honduras’ November 2009 elections became the center of global controversy. Five months earlier, President Zelaya was exiled from the country following scheduling a poll to discuss assembling citizens to rewrite the nation’s constitution.

Many nations and international organizations, including the United States and the United Nations, have both condemned the action and placed embargos on Honduras. Venezuela declared that it would shut down shipments of oil unless the former President was to be reinstated. Robert Micheletti became the de facto leader of Honduras until a new leader could be declared.

The election ended in a landslide 56.56 percent victory for Porfirio Lobo, leader of the National Party of Honduras, followed by a 38 percent vote for Elvin Santos of the Liberal Party of Honduras. Candidate Carlos Reyes withdrew from the election, declaring the results fraudulent. Many citizens also believe that the near-60 percent result for Lobo was false. Despite condemnation of the coup, several nations, including the United States, have declared support for the elections due to the effectiveness of the transition and the fairness of the elections themselves.


One of the biggest voting problems during this election was that the electoral roll had not been updated in several cities, meaning that hundreds of eligible voters were incorrectly not registered to vote. In addition, citizens out of the country, namely in New Zealand, did not receive absentee ballots in time to place their votes.

Typically, each parliamentary region of the UK votes for a Parliamentary Minister. The leader of the party with the most votes will then be given permission by the acting Monarch to begin forming a government. In this election, however, it became clear that a “hung parliament’€in which there is no clear majority in terms of votes’€was imminent.

As a result, the three major party leaders began discussions to determine how the new government would be formed. In the end, Gordon Brown, former Prime Minister, sent his resignation to the Queen, suggesting to her that David Cameron be given the responsibility to form the new government. Sub-sequentially, the other candidates, Cameron and Clegg, each formed a coalition for their own parties to form the new government.

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The crash of chaos; how would Newton South react? http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/05/21/the-crash-of-chaos-how-would-newton-south-react/ http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/05/21/the-crash-of-chaos-how-would-newton-south-react/#comments Fri, 21 May 2010 04:02:49 +0000 Laura Haime http://www.denebolaonline.net/?p=4325 Imagine if the superintendent, the principal of South, and the two assistant principals were all involved in a fatal accident.

The faculty members were on their way to a conference with Newton North administrators to lessen tension between the schools. The car slipped on an icy road and struck a tree on the side of the road, leaving all of the passengers dead.

With the death of the most powerful figures of the school, who takes control? What happens now?

Fortunately, Superintendent James Marini, Principal Joel Stembridge, and the two assistant principals, Mary Scott and Purnima Vadhera, are all safe and sound and capable of doing their jobs. This type of scenario, however, is all too real for the people of Poland.

On April 10, all 96 people on board of the Polish Tupolev Tu-154M aircraft died when the plane crashed in northwest Russia. The passengers were on route to Russia to attend the Katyn Massacre of 1940memorial.

The President of Poland, the Chief of General Staff, the President of the National Bank, and the deputy foreign minister were among the deceased.

If such a situation occurred at Newton South, the result would end in chaos.

Without the assistant principals, the schedules for next year would be left unorganized. The assistant principals construct the schedules for both students and teachers, structuring classes to fit student teacher needs. These women spend hours, days, and even months making schedules that students often do not appreciate and complain about. Without schedules, however, the school itself would have no basis on which to function.

The assistant principals also organize MCAS scores, which determine a student’s ability to graduate, and they transcribe students’ GPAs to Naviance, an essential aspect of the college application process.

Furthermore, since the assistant principals coordinate the students’ transportation, such as bussing schedules and senior parking permits, the majority of the students would not be able to get to school.

The principal’s absence would also cause frenzy. The principal has endless responsibilities, and without him, the school would be left without direction. Since the principal is often referred to as “the bottom line, and approves proposed policies, nothing could be enacted without his presence.

The superintendent is the end-all-be-all in terms of the Newton Public Schools. He oversees the functions and operations of the entire system.  The vacancy of the position would both affect the budget distribution and it would abruptly haltthe progress of the school itself.

This catastrophe would also disturb the school in ways other than day-to-day functions. Without supervision or regulation, students and teachers alike could be tempted to rebel.

The Polish government took immediate steps to respond to the disaster. The country’s lower parliamentary chairman, Bronis-Baw Komorowski, istaking the role of President until a new election in several months.

Candidates for the election have not been formally announced, though Komorowski, as well as the former President’s brother, have expressed interest in running.

An investigation of the crash site has also gone underway, during which two black boxes were recovered, revealing that the pilot tried to land the plane in incredibly difficult weather conditions despite warnings from air traffic controllers.

But how would South reorganize its administration?

Initially, there would be an intervention from the School Committee, which would likely appoint an interim superintendent. Unlike Marini, the current interim superintendent, who is qualified and was carefully chosen for the job, the new temporary superintendent would have to be chosen in a hurry, preventing the School Committee from making an appropriate decision. The interim superintendent would serve until a new superintendent could be chosen, just as Dr. David Fleishman was, but this process takes months.

The school currently has a system that deals with the principal’s absence. For example, since the principal is visiting the Jingshan School in China at the moment, the Assistant Principal Scott, is acting as the surrogate principal. If the assistant principal is inaccessible for whatever reason, one of the housemasters takes over. Each housemaster is assigned a term in which they would act as principal, should an unusual situation arise. Thus, the housemasters would take turns acting as principal until the School Committee chose a new principal.

This process would take several months and likely cause a great deal of stress for students, parents, and faculty alike. Schedules would have to be reworked, grades resubmitted and transportation organized.

For Poland, this tragedy paralyzed its country and its people. The response, however, has been surprisingly efficient, and it seems that in the coming months Poland will eventually recover politically, though the people may forever bear the grief of the lost lives.

Thankfully, South does not have to worry about rushing to appoint a new administration. Such a loss, however, would cripple the school for months.

The administration plays an essential role in our education that we as students often take for granted, and it is clear that without them, our entire system would fall to pieces.

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US and Russia talk nukes http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/04/14/us-and-russia-talk-nukes/ http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/04/14/us-and-russia-talk-nukes/#comments Wed, 14 Apr 2010 04:11:14 +0000 Daniel Fuchs http://www.denebolaonline.net/?p=4118 For the past year, both the United States and Russia have been engaging in talks to create a new nuclear arms agreement, named START (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty).

The previous 1991 START bill expired in December 2009. Both countries signed the bill on Thursday, April 8.

This new START bill will limit arms down to about 1,550 missiles and 800 launchers for each country.

The bill follows the 2002 Moscow Treaty, which limited arms to around 2,200 missiles.

The original START bill, written on the heels of the Cold War, limited arms to around 6,000 missiles and 1,500 launchers when it came into effect in 1994, halving the amount proposed in 1991.

This agreement, however, has come with much difficulty from both countries. The United States and Russia bring tension to the agreement even though they both have purposely remained quiet about the dealings.

Talks over the agreement actually began in April of 2009, but due to the continued disagreements between the United States and Russia, no settlement could be reached until March 26.

Both Bulgaria and Romania announced US military bases while the negotiations were going on, causing the Russian government to become cautious and hesitant during negotiations.

In turn, Russia stated that the government will pull out of the treaty if the missile bases are deemed a threat.

Russia has expressed interest in using the agreement to determine the difference between offensive and defensive weapons, but the United States disagreed with that proposal.

The issue was resolved in the preamble to the bill, which states that the agreement only applies to offensive missiles, even though there is a direct relationship between both offensive and defensive missiles.

Nevertheless, both Washington and Moscow signed the bill last Thursday. The bill went  through the two nation’s legislative bodies for ratification so that it could be signed on April 8.

It was unclear whether or not Russia’s legislature would ratify the bill due to some of the recent announcements coming out of Eastern Europe, such as the new bases in Romania and Bulgaria.

There were also doubts that Congress would ratify the bill.

While many Congressmen, including chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee John Kerry and Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, support the bill wholeheartedly, many Congressmen, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, expressed concern that the bill would limit US defenses and requested a modernization of nuclear facilities and testing before the signing of the bill.

President Obama, however, remains hopeful and enthusiastic about the new bill,  one of his biggest achievements in foreign policy.

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Seismic trend reaches Asia http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/03/24/seismic-trend-reaches-asia/ http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/03/24/seismic-trend-reaches-asia/#comments Wed, 24 Mar 2010 09:16:36 +0000 Daniel Fuchs http://www.denebolaonline.net/?p=3912 A series of mid-to-high level earthquakes occurred off the coasts of Taiwan and Japan from late February to early March, causing damage throughout the region.

A magnitude 6.9 earthquake struck off the coast of Okinawa, an island of southern Japan, which is part of a collection of islands known as the Ryukyu Islands on February 27.

The quake caused no serious damage other than rupturing some pipes on the island, though it did shake houses and objects in Okinawa and the rest of the Ryukyu Islands.

There were two reported injuries on the island.

The Meteorological Agency of Japan issued a warning for a possible six-foot tsunami hitting the island, though a tsunami of only 10 centimeters hit Okinawa.

The warning for the rest of the region was rescinded after the earthquake subsided.

The Ryukyu Islands experienced yet another earthquake, though it was only a magnitude 4.5 and had little effect on the region on March 7.

In Taiwan, a magnitude 6.4 quake hit the southern coast of the island on March 4.

The earthquake originated in Kaohsiung, Taiwan’s second largest city. The city was forced to suspend its subway system, as well as most activity in the southern region of the nation.

Many cities, including Taipei, experienced spotty telephone connections or power outages.

In the city of Tainan, fires destroyed a textile factory.

The National Fire Service in Taiwan estimates that about 64 citizens were injured, though no deaths have been recorded.

The quake, however, was unusually large for its location.

Both of the quakes were incredibly large for the region.

“This is the biggest quake to hit this region in more than a century, director of the seismology center of the Central Weather Bureau in Taiwan, Kuo Kai-wen said.

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