Cascino has had many fascinating experiences worth sharing. He was born in North Chicago and lived there through high school graduation.
At the end of his high school career, he initially only applied to one school: University of Michigan.
His mother made him apply to more schools, however, leading Cascino to quickly fill out applications to Harvard and Haverford.
Cascino was accepted to Michigan, put on the wait list at Haverford, and told by Harvard that his application was past the acceptable deadline. After some time, he was accepted into Haverford.
After much deliberation, he decided that Michigan was too big of a school for him, so he decided to enroll at Haverford. He could not be happier with his decision.
“I am so thankful that mom did what she did. She was the reason that I had such a great college experience¦I give her all the credit. Cascino said.
In college, he was almost certain that he wanted to be a history teacher. During his time at Haverford, he took a philosophy class with an incredibly inspiring teacher.
“I still remember his name. He’s my mentor and I think about him almost every day, Cascino said.
In 1982, Cascino’s girlfriend introduced Buddhism into his life. Since then, it has played a significant role in his life. To this day, he chants very morning.
After college, he worked as a commodities broker, then as an electro-mechanical engineer.
He retired young after making a fortune as an engineer, but had to come out of retirement when he started a family. He taught first in Boston, but eventually came to Newton with his son.
A very interesting part of Cascino’s identity is his hair. He has been growing a beard since he was 20 years old, and only cut it once during a two-year span. Neither his kids nor his wife have ever seen him without it.
Aside from his distinguished physical attributes, Cascino has many personality traits that make him unique, specifically his ceaseless excitement for life. He is always looking to seize new opportunities.
Once, as a joke, he auditioned to be in a ballet for Wang Center Stage with 400 other applicants. He was selected first because he fit the costume. Out of the 400 people who applied, he was one of twelve to be selected.
Another way in which Cascino takes advantages of life opportunities is traveling.
Throughout his life, he has been as far west as Hawaii and as far east as Moscow. He has loved these experiences and it is clear that hopes to have many more, as he says he hopes to live to be 100.
Cascino is effective in taking his experiences and his enthusiasm and channeling them into the classroom.
“He teaches in a different way. He is really relaxed and flexible, and he gets you to think about math not just in terms of numbers, but in a more theoretical way, junior Jenny Gerstner said.
Cascino believes that the best part of his life is that “ everything worked out in the end. He feels lucky that he met his wife and that they started a family. He loves his life both at home and in the classroom.
“I have one of the most important jobs that a person could have, and I feel so lucky to be able to watch such smart, dedicated people learn and grow. I am so happy with how my life turned out and I wouldn’t change a thing, Cascino said.]]>
Many students feel that they are unable to fulfill a homework requirement late at night.Â Instead, they wake up early in the morning to complete it because they believe that they will do better work after a good night sleep, even if it means waking up at four in the morning.Â For junior Danya Ravid, this is a regular occurrence.Â Whenever she has a big paper due the following day, she sets her alarm for five because she is too tired to put out her best work at one in the morning.
“When I wake up, all I want to do is go back to sleep, but I fight the exhaustion, get up, and get my work done Ravid said.
Once she finishes her paper and other last minute work, she usually has enough time to complete her typical morning activities as well as time to listen to her “morning song before heading to school.
Other students wake up early because they are involved in early morning activities, such as sports practices.Â Hockey and Swim teams, both outside and inside of school, are regularly required to attend practice as early as six in the morning.Â Junior and Hockey player Dean Carney wakes up at 4:55am to leave the house at 5:10am.Â He quickly picks up a friend and arrives at the rink for practice at 5:30am.Â This gives them a half hour to prepare mentally and physically for the hour-long practice.
“Our goalie’s grandfather always brought doughnuts for after practice which was always something to look foreword to, Carney said.
After this morning treat, he goes home, showers, and runs to the car, trying to get to school by 7:20am, giving him, his brother, and his friends plenty of time to get there.
Sophomore Sarah Conklin, a swimmer for Shamut Aquatic Club,Â wakes up at 4:40am for swim practice in Framingham where they swim, lift weights, and does other conditioning exercises.
“ I just roll out of bed, walk into the car, eat an apple on the way there and then brush my teeth there, Conklin said.
Morale at the beginning of such an early practice can be low. However, as the practice progresses, the morale increases.
“It’s mellow when we first get to practice because everyone is so tired. It’s usually really quiet until we jump into the pool or start lifting weights. My Coach also helps by putting on music and getting really goofy to get [practice] going, Conklin said.
Although there are benefits to practice, having such an early practice has negative aspects as well. “It’s hard sometimes especially on Friday’s when everyone is so happy to get out of school, and I still have to wake up early the next morning…The swimming is hard but its not that long of a practice and a lot of team bonding goes on because were all doing something that isn’t usually done, Conklin said.
These students are the rare few who are able to wake up and get going without much sleep.Â Throughout South, there is a common theme of people having a hard time waking up.Â Some students sleep in to the last possible moment, or sleep through their alarm clock’s loud buzzing.
Freshman Sammy Boucher tends to do this.Â Whenever she oversleeps, her mom yells to wake her up and get her going to catch the bus.Â She gets ready in five minutes, only having time to dress in the first clothing she sees, wash her face, and brush her teeth.Â After this quick preparation, Boucher runs to the bus stop as fast as possible.
“I run to the bus and cut through a ton of peoples’ yards and usually get yelled at, Boucher said.
Despite the hurry and stress caused by this situation, she usually makes the bus and her neighbors rarely hold a grudge.
For most South students, the mornings don’t feel like a crucial part of the day because they are half asleep, and follow their typical routine without much thought.Â For a rare few, however, the morning sets the tone for the day: whether they’re stressed out from a rushed morning, excited and awake from a practice, or feeling accomplished and ready for school after completeing long overdue assignments.Â The mornings for these students define part of their life as a teenager and show who they are as students and athletes.]]>
In order to insure that every girl has her dream dress, juniors Sammie Levin and Rachel Davidson collect and donate used prom dresses.
For their bat mitzvah charity project in seventh grade, Levin and Davidson wanted to do something together that incorporated clothes and fashion. They decided to collect used dresses because they wanted every girl to feel beautiful for that one special occasion.
They began to publicize their project with fliers around Newton, in their temples and the Newton Tab.
They told donors to leave the dresses at Holy Cleaners, where the dresses would be dry-cleaned for free. That year, the fifty dresses were donated and given to various Jewish families and children services.
“Over the years, we’ve collected more and more dresses because we have been able to spread more and more awareness about it, Davidson said.
As the girls grew so did their project. However over time the girls felt it would be more appropriate to shift their focus specifically to prom dresses.
“From talking to the people at the organization, we found that some girls felt embarrassed about not having a dress to go to prom in, and thus wouldn’t go, Davidson said.
“I feel that while it is a small thing, prom is a coming of age event, and everyone should get the chance to feel beautiful and proud on this big day.
To this day, they have collected more than 150 prom dresses and donated them to an organization called Becca’s Closet, a non-profit organization that distributes hundreds of donated dresses to girls who can not afford their own.
Davidson and Levin are big contributors to Becca’s Closet, and love to see how their donations are affecting the lives and hearts of so many teenagers.
“Rachel and I went with our moms last year to one of their locations in Plymouth to drop off a bunch of dresses, and they were very appreciative and we were able to see all of the dresses they get and provide. We are still collecting dresses now so if anyone has any dresses that they no longer have use for, there is someone out there that would treasure it! said Levin.
The girls continue to influence the lives of many girls throughout Massachusetts and love the satisfaction, experience, and result of the incredible process in which they are involved.
“Recently, a girl contacted me about using a prom dress that Sammie and I had collected. It felt pretty good to be able to direct her to a warehouse that would have about 1,000 dresses that she could choose from. She would get to have the same prom experience as anyone else, and she would get to feel beautiful on that night. I liked that thought, said Davidson.
Davidson and Levin love their involvement in this program, and the fact that they are touching the hearts of so many girls who no longer feel the stress of prom.
Prom should be a night filled with memories instead of regrets and sorrows. Davidson and Levin allow every girl look forward to her Prom instead of feeling insecure about finances.]]>
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.Â 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.]]>
The Girls’ Indoor Track team maintains an undefeated record, and the boys’ team holds merely one loss this season.
The Boys’ team already boasts four runners who have qualified for Nationals.
These achievements show the dedication and perseverance that each member of the team puts forth each day during the winter season.
“As a team we’ve impressed a lot of people because they didn’t think we would be winning as much as we did, freshman Noah Rivkin said.
Similarly, junior Jeff Alkins was surprised by this year’s success.
“I honestly thought this year would be a rebuilding one, for the boys specifically, he said. “We have a lot of younger kids who have really stepped up to the challenge of running with and against upperclassmen, not to mention our junior and senior classes, who have done their best to fill the void left by the Class of ‘Ëœ09.
New teammates have stepped up as leaders and captains, according to junior Jojo Lee.
By the looks of their record, the emergence of new leaders has proved to be effective in the team’s success.
In addition to stepping into leadership positions and training newer runners, junior David Melly describes the new system as being more “injury-conscious.
Melly recounts how in the past years, there have been many issues due to injuries.
Recently, however, the coaching staff has made sure that each athlete is ready to run.
“We have been blessed with excellent, top-level coaching, and a constant stream of talent through the program, Melly said.
“The coaches, have all done a great job of setting goals for the team and individuals, not lowering expectations for us, Alkins said.
The team hopes to win, but it is also focusing on other goals such as the league sportsmanship award.
“Sportsmanship is a characteristic we value greatly in our program, junior Kathy O’Keefe said.
Despite the loss of many track stars from the Class of 2009, the indoor track team has persevered and is hoping to win the DCL Championships again this year.]]>