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Denebola » Hye-Jung Yang 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 State tackles bullying in public schools http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/12/06/state-tackles-bullying-in-public-schools/ http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/12/06/state-tackles-bullying-in-public-schools/#comments Mon, 06 Dec 2010 11:40:48 +0000 Hye-Jung Yang http://www.denebolaonline.net/?p=5102 To fulfill a requirement set forth by a new Massachusetts anti-bullying law, Newton Public Schools (NPS) held a training workshop on bullying for all staff members at Newton North December 16. Entitled “Bullying Prevention and Intervention, it was broadcast live to the remaining 20 schools in the school system.

The new state mandate comes in light of a number of suicides resulting from severe bullying. The law, which passed 38-0 in April, requires that schools provide written action plans for bullying, that districts provide anti-bullying training to all faculty members, that staff members report all instances of bullying, and that all high school students engage in anti-bullying education starting next fall.

The goal of the workshop, according to Newton Partnership Asst. Project Director Jenny Gamson, was “to learn about bullying and understand how it plays out in the school environment. It began with a 90-minute lecture from speaker Dr. Elizabeth Englander, Executive Director of the Massachusetts Aggression Reduction Center, who discussed the scope of the bullying problem and stressed the importance of acting upon any instances of bullying.

The lecture was followed by a 30-minute question-and-answer session, in which staff members watching the broadcast were able to e-mail in their questions.

“Having everyone hear the same information at the same time was very positive, Gamson said. “Dr. Englander is a compelling speaker and I think most people were very engaged.

Bullying prevention is an issue that NPS has been working on for a long time. In 2009, Deputy Superintendent Paul Stein created an Anti-Bullying Task Force, and before the mandate was passed, the Newton Partnership had already been planning a training workshop on the importance of students’ social and emotional well-being.

“It was easy to make the connection to bullying prevention and intervention, since, at its most basic level, bullying prevention is about respect and tolerance for others, Gamson said.

“Bullying is something that we are very serious about, and it didn’t take a law for us to focus on this, as housemasters and teachers have been focused on this prior to this year, Principal Joel Stembridge said.

NPS and the Newton Partnership will continue to be active in bullying prevention. According to Stembridge, NPS is currently developing a curriculum for student anti-bullying workshops, which will likely consist of 10 to 12 45-minute workshops per year. The Newton Partnership will continue holding training workshops for staff members to inform them of NPS bullying policies and reporting procedures. It also plans to create a website in early 2011 containing this information for the benefit of students, parents, and faculty.

“I believe that, over time, we will see changes in the school culture, Gamson said. “The concept and understanding of the important ‘Ëœbystander’ role is still relatively new in our school culture, but this is beginning to change, and as it does, we will start to see a reduction in bullying behaviors.

“South does a very good job of working with community members around respect and tolerance for differences, Stembridge said.

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Temple Avodah turns speaker away http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/11/02/temple-avodah-turns-speaker-away/ http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/11/02/temple-avodah-turns-speaker-away/#comments Tue, 02 Nov 2010 10:45:10 +0000 Hye-Jung Yang http://www.denebolaonline.net/?p=4935 For a month, Temple Beth Avodah in Newton had been billed to hold a talk between the founder of pro-Israel reform group J Street, Jeremy Ben-Ami, and interviewer Steven Maas, editor of The Jewish Advocate, on November 18. Following outcry from some members of its congregation, however, synagogue leaders decided to cancel the event a few days before it was to occur.
The location of the event was quickly moved to Memorial Spaulding Elementary School, and despite prior protest, it drew a packed house, forcing some attendees to sit in the aisles and on the stage.
According to Rabbi Keith Stern, a longtime leader of Temple Avodah, the synanogue leaders were extremely reluctant to cancel the event. It was only after a difficult discussion that they decided to do so, out of fear that hosting the event would negatively affect the community formed by members of the temple.
“Controversy is a reality in any group of thoughtful people with legitimate differences of opinions on politics, the leaders said in a letter released to temple’s congregants.
J Street, a progressive lobbying group that advocates a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, has aroused controversy since its inception two years ago.
The organization states that an end to the Israeli-Arab and Israeli-Palestinian conflict would be in the best interest of both the U.S. and Israel, and advocates the creation of a separate Palestinian state.
It also said it supports an American diplomatic policy in the Middle East and a concerted effort by the United States to achieve peace, regardless of whether it goes against the Israeli government.
While J Street claims to “represent Americans¦ who support Israel and its desire for security as the Jewish homeland, the group’s criticism of the Israeli government has stirred protest among the government’s supporters. In July, for example, the White House’s invitation of the group to a meeting with President Obama and leaders of American Jewish organizations stirred protest among mainstream groups.
The organization’s criticism of the Israeli government has not been its only controversy. For an extended period of time, J Street was accused of having received substantial donations and monetary support from multibillionaire George Soros, claims which they initially denied. After The Washington Post published a confidential list of J Street donors two months ago, however, Ben-Ami admitted to Soros’ financial support.
Some, angered by J Street’s stance and the actions it has taken, shouted out in protest at various points of the talk between Ben-Ami and Maas. Most listened attentively to the discussion, and at various points, applauded Ben-Ami’s remarks.
Ben-Ami supports the different points of view on the conflict. “There won’t be dwindling intelligence if you open coversation to various views, if you speak your mind, he said at the talk. “There is a chance to have vibrant community if you open doors to different points of view.

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Budget deficits cause stress among staff http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/10/28/budget-deficits-cause-stress-among-staff/ http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/10/28/budget-deficits-cause-stress-among-staff/#comments Thu, 28 Oct 2010 11:05:49 +0000 Noah Rivkin http://www.denebolaonline.net/?p=4768 Due to the renovation of Newton North and budget problems over the past few years, the Newton School Committee has been forced to make numerous cuts to staff positions at South across all departments.
As a result, secretaries, department heads, and teachers are finding themselves saddled with more duties than expected, dividing tasks among themselves that were previously delegated to former faculty members.
At both South and North, two department secretaries have been cut. Accordingly, all of the houses at South have taken on a department, and house secretaries have spread out the department secretaries’ previous tasks among themselves. Housemaster Donna Gordon, for example, took over the supervision of the campus aides, while Cutler House Secretary Janice Ingemi took on the role of supporting IT staff member.
“A big part of this problem is that a house secretary has to be in the house all day long, Ingemi said. “Being a department secretary and trying to do that work is hard unless you’re in the department¦ it’s a struggle.
In the case that a house secretary is absent, secretaries that work in the main office leave their own posts and cover the house office until 10:00 or 10:30 am.
“It is stressful¦ [and] we haven’t really gotten into the worst part of the year, Executive Secretary Bette Lupo said. “Sometimes stress comes from worrying how you are going to handle it, and I think that’s where we are now. We’re more afraid of it than we might be.
Unlike other secretaries, Health and Wellness Department Secretary Barbara Castoldi has not had to cover the jobs of another staff member at South. Part of the reason for this, however, is that she has her own lengthy list of duties, which includes scheduling buses, managing purchase orders, answering phone calls, and handling the budget for the wellness department.
“This is my ninth year here, and my job has grown immensely since I’ve started, Castoldi said.
South and North are not the only Newton schools that have been impacted by the budget cuts. Elementary schools are also feeling the strain, as there is only one secretary per school, which generally consists of 450 to 500 students. Before the budget cuts, there were a number of building aides that were able to help out in the main office; as many of these positions were cut, however, the remaining aides must now work elsewhere in the building.
According to Lupo, the increased number of tasks per secretary is part of a steady downward trend in the past eight or nine years. Not long ago, there were 110 members in the secretaries’ union; now, they are down to 90.
“The bottom line is, we’ve been doing more with less for a long time, Lupo said. “Over the past ten years, we’re slowly being eroded¦ [but] so far we’re been able to push ourselves.
Lupo, however, sees more than stress and busyness among the impacts of budget cuts and the increased number of tasks per staff member.
“The level of the kind of service that the secretaries want to provide to people [is] being eroded, she said. “The things that I used to be able to do for people, I just can’t do anymore. People need to be able to come to a school and feel welcome, but because of the stress and work we haven’t been able to provide those nice gestures to people.

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Broken bin wheel stirs trouble http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/10/28/broken-bin-wheel-stirs-trouble/ http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/10/28/broken-bin-wheel-stirs-trouble/#comments Thu, 28 Oct 2010 11:02:50 +0000 Hye-Jung Yang http://www.denebolaonline.net/?p=4779 A suspicious package sent to Mayor Setti Warren at City Hall put officials on alert and led them to shut down the building for a few hours on October 15. Upon opening, however, the package was found to be harmless, containing a broken segment of a garbage bin wheel and a note sent by a Newton resident irritated by the defective wheels.
The package, a large envelope with no return address, was in the shape of a cylinder, leading the mail carriers at City Hall to mark it as an object of caution. In response, the entire building emptied around 10:30 am and officials called the FBI and State Police to investigate.
After the teams X-rayed the package and tested for chemicals and explosives, however, they opened the package under safe conditions and deemed the object to be non-threatening. The building was reopened at 12:30 pm.
Defective wheels on garbage bins have been an issue in Newton for some time, according to the Boston Globe. Currently, residents can call into the city’s Department of Public Welfare to schedule a replacement time for wheels; some, however, are still dissatisfied with this solution.
According to officials, the commotion arose from an unintentional misunderstanding, and the Newton resident is not in trouble for sending the package.

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One School One Book inspires South http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/09/30/one-school-one-book-inspires-south/ http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/09/30/one-school-one-book-inspires-south/#comments Thu, 30 Sep 2010 11:03:15 +0000 Hye-Jung Yang http://www.denebolaonline.net/?p=4621 In past years, South students would read the all-school summer reading book over vacation and return to school in September to discuss and write about the book in their English classes. This year, however, in an effort to bring the entire school together, the English department decided to do hold an all-school event centered around This I Believe II called One School, One Book.
English department head Brian Baron, who drew up the initial proposal for the event, worked closely with English teacher David Weintraub, the administration, and the rest of the English department to set up the event.
“I really wanted to bring the community together, not only around books, but in general, Baron said. “I wanted a natural way to talk about ideas¦ we were committed to trying to do something for everyone and to draw the whole school together.
The event took place September 24 in the field house, with Principal Joel Stembridge reading his own This I Believe essay and a video of co-editor Dan Gediman talking about the importance of the book and thanking South for discussing it. The date of the event, originally set for September 10, the week of Rosh Hashanah, was moved to two weeks later in order to accommodate Jewish students who were observing the holiday.
“As it turned out, it was really good that we didn’t [hold the event on the 10th], Baron said. “We just wouldn’t have had time to do as well as we did it otherwise.
After the introductions in the field house, students split up to hear South students, parents, and other adults read their own This I Believe essays at different panels on a variety of themes, including the arts, politics and social action, and the environment.
Students then returned to their homerooms to work on their own essays.
Baron believes the event lived up to its original expectations. “I was really happy with the way it worked out, he said. “After the event, people were in the hallways talking about their experiences. There was an overwhelmingly positive response, especially from upperclassmen.
Among these students was senior Alissa Sage, who attended a panel on love. “I thought it was great that we got to choose a panel that we were interested in, and I loved hearing from the different panelists, she said. “There was such a wide spectrum of people, specifically with the seminar I went to, and I really enjoyed the different views about the same topic of love.
Sophomore Yoko Fukumara, who attended a panel on the arts, found the event inspiring. “I liked [the seminar] because I could connect with it, because it was the arts and I do music, she said. “It kind of encouraged me to work harder because there were people who had succeeded in their different fields.
Other South students wish that they could change a few aspects of their experiences. Senior Tomer Reiter, for example, felt that the event was not personal enough to make the impact it set out to make. “The seminars and homeroom discussions were supposed to fix that, I suppose, but my seminar had interesting speakers who spoke for 20 minutes and was just followed up with students stubbornly defending their beliefs.
Other students, despite enjoying the event overall, wish that they had more opportunity for debate and discussion.
“[Although] it was a relaxing break from the usual pattern of school days¦ I would have felt better if an argument or conflict had arisen, senior Shervin Rezaei said. “There was no real incentive for debate.
Despite minor concerns, Baron plans to hold a similar event next year, hoping to create a committee that includes the president from each class – freshman, sophomore, junior, and senior – and ask each to choose a book.
“There are always going to be things to change, he said. “[Next year,] I’d love to find a way for everybody to choose something they’re interested in¦ I’d like everyone to have a choice.

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Three years, $197 million later: Newton North opens doors http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/06/10/three-years-197-million-later-newton-north-opens-doors/ http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/06/10/three-years-197-million-later-newton-north-opens-doors/#comments Thu, 10 Jun 2010 12:14:36 +0000 Hye-Jung Yang http://www.denebolaonline.net/?p=4430 After almost three years of construction, the new building for Newton North is nearly complete.

In January of 2007, when the plan to rebuild the school on a different site was still in its early stages, Newton residents voted to use taxpayer money from South to help pay for the cost of reconstruction at $197.5 million, an amount which made the new building the most expensive school ever to be built in Massachusetts.

Now, more than three years later, the project is in its final stages and­­­ the new building is close to completion.

On June 1, Turner Construction turned over ownership of the building to the city of Newton, making any non-design-related damages the city’s responsibility.

The old building is scheduled to be demolished next March at an estimated cost of around $10 million, which will be funded for the most part by taxpayers’ money, as well as by savings.

According to Chief Operating Officer Bob Rooney, the building will be fully demolished and the site will be cleaned out by the end of July.

At the moment, however, North administrators are working on selling and auctioning off old, unusable materials that will not be transferred to the new school. A yard sale on June 5 sold items such as records and old sports equipment to raise money for the city’s general fund.

Called the “Great North Yard Sale, it was part of North’s Bringing Down the House, a three-day event meant to celebrate “student and community life at Newton North High School before the building closes its doors for the last time, according to the North PTSO website.

The celebration, which took place June 4-6, involved a commemoration of the theatre program, Theatre Ink, as well as an Open House exhibition and the closing of a time capsule.

Current students, alumni, faculty, and parents of current and former students all attended the celebration, reflecting on their experiences with North and how their lives would change as a result of the new school.

Alumnus David A. Ford, who attended North from 1983-1986, is among those who are sad to see the old building be torn down.

“I have a lot of memories of being in the building, he said. “I also have memories of running around the track field. I always loved to drive by here and I’m really going to miss seeing the old building.

Senior Louis Loftus, who will not be attending the new school this fall, is also sad to see the building go.

Younger students, on the other hand, seem to be more excited about the switch.

“I’m definitely going to miss all the theatre, and Main Street, freshman Caroline Loftus said. “But I’m still very excited about a new school, to start new memories.

Sophomore Emily Schacter agrees.

“I’m sad, but really excited, she said.

Despite differing opinions on the change to the new building, however, all current and former students, faculty, and parents have one thing in common: an appreciation for the strong academics, extracurricular offerings, and sense of community at North.

Parent Didier Putzeys, who has seen his four children graduate from North over the course of 10 years, most appreciates the diversity at North.

“[My favorite part] is the broad set of offerings, academic and social and cultural, he said. “[Students] are exposed to a variety of people, of cultures, of knowledge.

Interim superintendent Jim Marini, who attended North as a student from 1960-1963 and returned as a principal from 1990-1999, firmly believes that North is, and has always been, a place where students are nurtured and challenged and the community brings out the best in people.

“It’s a place where students can find their center, identify who they are as individuals¦ and are ready and prepared to move on to the bigger challenges beyond the school, Marini said. “It is a fabulous place where people are respected for who they are, included, and made to feel important.

Even with the change of location, Marini believes that the strong sense of community within the school will remain the same.

“What has not changed at North is the culture of the school¦ it is a place where the culture transcends time, individual people, and societal changes, he said. “This culture is permanent.

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Parents notified of student skips next fall http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/06/10/parents-notified-of-student-skips-next-fall/ http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/06/10/parents-notified-of-student-skips-next-fall/#comments Thu, 10 Jun 2010 12:12:09 +0000 Hye-Jung Yang http://www.denebolaonline.net/?p=4434 In the fall, South will make use of its first parent connection program, which will automatically notify parents if their children skip class or are late to class, as well as keep them updated on missing homework and major grades. Called ParentConnect, the program will be instituted at South, Brown Middle School, and Williams Elementary School.

Teachers will have direct access to the software and will be able to directly enter any new information students whenever they are tardy or skips class.

Instead of leaving students in charge of their own grades and patterns of attendance, parents will receive notification e-mails alongside each update on their child, essentially tightening parental control over students.

Among other objectives, the program aims to minimize the number of errors caused by miscommunications.In the current system, teachers report any student who skips class to his or her house secretary or housemaster, who is then responsible for informing the student’s parents. Teachers will now have direct control over student attendance and grades with ParentConnect, however, there will likely be fewer mistakes in communication.

Since this program will have a great impact on how South functions, the software will only be instituted as a pilot program: if administrators view it as a failure by the end of the next school year, it will be dropped. In addition, parents will not be obligated to sign up for and use the program if they have no interest in doing so.

Despite these efforts for a smooth transition, however, there is a generally negative response to the program from students.Students mainly believe that the increased control that parents will have over their children will be detrimental, rather than beneficial, as the program will heighten stress levels and hinder the development of responsibility.

“I think as high school students, we should at this point be responsible for all our actions, lateness and homework included, junior Julia Miller said. “Even though it’s probably a good idea for parents to know, there usually isn’t much they can force their kids to do.

Junior Alissa Sage agreed. “I think that this policy should be taken into effect based on various individuals, not the school as a whole, she said. “With high school comes a sense of freedom, and if a kid is skipping every history class, then his or her parent needs to know about it. But I don’t think that a parent needs to be notified if [students] have a missing homework or are late just once.

After a lengthy process and much consideration, the Newton school committee decided that ParentConnect would be an asset to Newton schools.

While the committee will have another meeting about the program Monday, June 14, it is almost certain that South will implement the program next year. Despite the negative response from students, school committee members hope that the program will turn out to be successful.

Some students, although doubtful, are willing to give it a try.

“I think that it might be a good idea, if it might provide an incentive for people not to skip since their parents might be notified, junior Adrian Montagut said. “But at the same time, it erodes student-faculty trust.

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Stembridge finishes first year at South, makes impression http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/06/10/stembridge-finishes-first-year-at-south-makes-impression/ http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/06/10/stembridge-finishes-first-year-at-south-makes-impression/#comments Thu, 10 Jun 2010 12:05:07 +0000 Hye-Jung Yang http://www.denebolaonline.net/?p=4469 In reflecting upon his first year at South, Principal Joel Stembridge believes that he has successfully achieved his initial goal of learning more about the South community.

“I don’t know if I’ve learned enough or if I will ever stop learning, he said. “[But] I really did try hard this year to be cautious about making adjustments without knowing the underlying issues and the history of how those issues were presented here.

Among the policies that Stembridge has instituted in his first year at South are a ban on eating in the hallways and lobby, a ban on unsupervised student activity in the building after school, and a stricter attendance and lateness policy.

These stricter policies were met with some resistance among students when they were first put into place. As the school year progressed, however, students have become more accustomed to thes changes and have generally respected them.

“I understand the reasons behind the policies and think that some of them are necessary, junior Grace Kim said.

Despite a mixed response to his new policies, Stembridge is excited to continue learning about and exploring South.

This past year, he sought out people such as Marshall Cohen, Mary Scott, and Charlie Myette, whom he knew had many years of experience at South and would be able to guide him through his first year.

“I knew coming in that South is a complex school, with layers of clubs and layers of opportunities, Stembridge said. “As different issues have presented themselves, I learn details about how particular programs came to be, how they are evolving, and ideas people have about where they need to be in the future.

With the experience he has gained from his first year at South, Stembridge would like to improve upon the levels of school spirit and stress at this school.

There are, however, many things he admires, among which is the complexity of the school.

“Complexity means different ways to help students, Stembridge said. “Students here are not complacent; there is a drive to see how programs change.

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Senate works on teacher evaluations http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/05/21/senate-works-on-teacher-evaluations/ http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/05/21/senate-works-on-teacher-evaluations/#comments Fri, 21 May 2010 10:01:34 +0000 Hye-Jung Yang http://www.denebolaonline.net/?p=4269 The South Senate recently passed a bill for a teacher evaluation system in which students will fill out two standardized evaluation forms for their teachers every year, once during midyear and once at the end of the year.

The evaluations for each department will be reviewed by its respective department chair, who would keep an eye out for certain trends or teachers receiving particularly bad ratings.

“[The bill] is essentially trying to give students more of a [chance] to voice their concerns or comments about a class and help to improve the classroom experience, Senate president Ben Chelmow said. “Teachers can take down what students are feeling and improve their classes.

Junior and Student Teacher Evaluation Committee member Rachel Leshin believes that one of the purposes of having teacher evaluations is to provide an anonymous way for students to contact their teachers.

“Some teachers say that if there’s a problem come see them, but that’s overly idealistic, she said.

The evaluations, which would most likely be put into effect at the end of this school year, will be mandatory for all teachers. The forms will include rating questions, such as for how well the teacher presented the material, as well as some short answer questions.

Due to the general nature of the evaluation forms, which will be standardized for all classes, there has been some concern as to their effectiveness in evaluating teachers across the board with the same form.

The committee, however, does not believe that this will be a problem.

“What I’ve seen of the evaluation is [that] it’s general enough that it can encompass all the different fields, Chelmow said. In addition, some teachers already have their own evaluation forms, which they may continue to use as long as the forms are approved by the Faculty Council.

So far, teacher response to this bill has been mixed. According to Leshin, some teachers from the Faculty Council were “very against anyone else reviewing [their evaluations], while others were enthusiastic about the idea.

“I think [teacher evaluations] would be fine as long as they are not used by the administration to punish or promote a teacher, history teacher Debbie Linder said. “They should be used by the teachers to re-evaluate how they teach.

“It’s going to take some talking because we have to get the evaluations right and more faculty perspective on it, Chelmow said.

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Student maintains positive attitude despite cancer diagnosis http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/05/21/student-maintains-positive-attitude-despite-cancer-diagnosis/ http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/05/21/student-maintains-positive-attitude-despite-cancer-diagnosis/#comments Fri, 21 May 2010 10:00:58 +0000 Hye-Jung Yang http://www.denebolaonline.net/?p=4271 Senior Naveen Sridhar had been feeling such intense pain in his left leg for two weeks that one Monday morning in December, he went to the emergency room to get his leg examined, no longer able to sleep at night.

Doctors took an X-ray of his leg and gave him crutches and painkillers for the time being, but noticed that one spot on the X-ray image looked odd. They sent Sridhar to the orthopedists, or bone doctors, at Brigham and Women’s Hospital for further testing.

At his first meeting with an orthopedist at the hospital, Sridhar received the news that the spot in his leg and the cause of his pain was most likely cancer.

“I have to admit I wasn’t shocked, he said. “I had already gone through all the possibilities of what it could be in my head a bunch of times.

As doctors were still uncertain, however, they took an MRI scan and a biopsy, and later confirmed that Sridhar had osteosarcoma, a type of bone cancer, under his left knee.

As part of a chemotherapy treatment, doctors prescribed the chemicals Cisplatin, Doxorubicin, and Methotrexate, a combination which they told him was one of the most difficult to undergo.

“[It] kind of destroyed me that first round, Sridhar said.

Despite the fact that his symptoms seem to worsen with each round of the treatment, the pain in his leg caused by the tumor has almost subsided. In about a month, he will undergo surgery to remove the part of the bone containing the tumor, and receive another eight months of chemotherapy.

Throughout the process, Sridhar has maintained a positive outlook on his condition.

“I didn’t really think of it in the same vein as I had thought of cancer before, he said. “Before, ‘Ëœcancer’ was a big word, something to fight… now I feel like I’ve gone back to ambivalence over the whole thing.

In addition, doctors informed him that if the surgery and treatment went according to plan, there was a 70-80 percent chance that the cancer would die out.

As the date for the surgery approaches, however, and the details for the process are becoming increasingly clear, Sridhar finds himself becoming more and more apprehensive.

According to his doctor, the surgeons may have to remove a large nerve in his leg, which will lead him to lose sensation in his leg and perhaps never be able to pick it up unaided again.

“I didn’t know what bone cancer would entail, he said. “I’m hearing a lot of scary things and the seriousness of the cancer is really starting to sink in…when the doctor first told me I probably had cancer, I greeted it as¦ some bump in the road, not the biggest deal in the world. I was kind of wrong.

While some have decided to keep their cancer hidden from the people around them, Sridhar has, nevertheless, wanted to remain open about his condition and his experiences dealing with it.

“I don’t want to set a precedent where sick people bottle up their situations and sequester a part of their lives from everyone else, he said.

At first, he began telling one person at a time, but his parents later asked teachers to make small announcements to help ease his transition back to school after a two-and-a-half week absence.

Senior Tori Wilson, one of Sridhar’s closest friends and the first people that he informed about his cancer, was at first shocked by the news.

“I was very, very sad, she said. “I’ve known Naveen for a long time, and he is an amazing guy¦ it’s really hard to hear about one of your friends going through something like that.

As the news of Sridhar’s cancer spread among his classmates, senior class president Chen Cao got a posterboard and markers and organized a secret meeting in which anyone could come and sign the poster with messages of support. Cao later surprised Sridhar with the poster in his F-block class.

“The people who made a card for me and all the people who signed¦ that was great, Sridhar said. “It means a lot when people are really, genuinely interested.

Sridhar also mentioned his parents as a major source of his strength. “My parents have done a lot, he said. “They’ve been great and probably done more [for me] than I can remember.

Despite his wide support system and positive outlook, however, having cancer meant losing some things that once brought him pleasure.

His chemotherapy treatment, for example, not only brought him nausea and headaches, but also lent a metallic taste to all his favorite foods.

“Amid all my other awful symptoms, the inability to actually enjoy things¦ [meant] essentially losing a really big part of what made me happy throughout the days, he said.

Another traumatic time, according to Sridhar, was when his hair began to fall out in the shower due to the chemotherapy.

Later on, he began finding hairs everywhere and realized that he had to cut it all off.

In the face of all his treatments and symptoms, however, he has maintained a high morale. One thing he is pleased with, for example, is that he has become more adventurous in trying out “incredibly spicy, tasty foods as a result of his metallic taste.

In addition, he does not find his short hair much of a problem anymore.

“I know I will actually look like all the other patients at Dana Farber and the Children’s Hospital, he said. “I’ll have joined the club.

Senior Julia Sklar, one of Sridhar’s friends, is impressed with his optimism.

“He never really complains or asks why this has to happen to him, she said. “Here all we seniors are, disappointed about not getting into our dream colleges, as Naveen maintains a great sense of humor while simultaneously battling cancer. It really, really puts things into perspective and I seriously admire him.

“I’m not going to become a darker person to accommodate an illness, Sridhar said. “I’d rather continue to find the humor in things and smile, which are things you can’t really do if you let cancer win over your spirit.

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