Fifteen years ago, you could see him entertaining fans on the basketball court. Now, Christopher Bender watches over Newton South students as a campus aide. Bender graduated from South in 1995, and in 2010 he accepted a job as a campus aide for the school. When Bender was a South student, he enjoyed Math and English. “My favorite teachers,” he said, “Were Ms. Scott, my sophomore Math teacher, Mr. White, my junior English teacher, and Ms. Wiener, my senior Spanish teacher.”Today, Bender feels that South is similar to when he attended as a student, but he said that there were some significant differences. “School is bigger,” Bender said. “When I was a student there was no field house, and the school ended at the 3000s.”Not only is South physically different, but Bender feels that it has also developed academically and intellectually. He noted that South offers more programs and courses than it did when he was a student. “There’s more opportunity to succeed,” he said. “Without these programs, a lot of kids would fall through the cracks.”What Bender likes the most about the “new” South is the improved facilities, as well as the increased amount of technology. “When I went to South 90 percent of students were not on the internet,” he said, “And I remember watching a slide show with music in it, and it blew our minds. “The school does a good job of being technologically advanced.”As for the facilities, Bender is impressed with the way South has grown in that area. “The weight room used to be the size of a closet,” he said, “And the fields are in much better shape.”However not everything about the high school has changed for Bender. “There are the exact same teachers as when I went here,” he said. “They still seem young but you find out they’ve been here for fifteen years.”Coming back to South as an adult, Bender has a different perspective of South, and he views the school differently than he did in 1995. “As a student it was all about getting into college,” Bender said. “College doesn’t even really affect your life. Just because you don’t go to the one you dream of, it’s not a big deal.” Bender has a different perspective on college now, but he acknowledges that the burden colleges put on students has remained the same.Although the pressure from universities can be stressful, Bender feels that South’s greatest strength is its ability to prepare students well for college, just as it did when he attended the high school. “It’s providing a great education for people just like it did fifteen years ago,” Bender said, “Which I guess is the most important thing.”Bender believes that another aspect of South that has remained constant is its feeling of togetherness. “I think one of the strengths of South has always been its sense of community,” he said. “As you grow older you learn to value your friends, and students have pride in their school and those networks.”Bender is content with South in 2011, but he does feel that the school is missing something. “South used to have a Senior Show,” said Bender. “It was kind of a comedic spoof and it seemed like a lot fun. It would be a great experience for students now.”Aside from the cancellation of this show, Bender is impressed with the range of instruction the high schools is providing for its students. “South offers a very diverse education that you wouldn’t find at most other schools,” Bender said.]]>
After three months of frigid temperatures and sunsets at 4:30 PM, spring comes as a welcome relief and marks the end of the darkest season of the year.
Not only are the days beginning to get warmer, but more importantly they are getting longer.
A lack of sunlight is one reason why many people experience increased feelings of sadness and depression during the winter.
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a disease in which humans’ emotions are affected by a change in their environment caused by a new season.
This season is often winter, and the absence of light causes those who have SAD to feel depressed.
First discovered by Norman E. Rosenthal, this disease has a significant impact on humans, and those who have the disorder experience mood swings and negative emotions.
According to Richard Friedman of the New York Times, SAD is most common in New Hampshire, in which it affects nearly 10% of the population.
South’s AP Psychology teacher Sean Turley said that SAD changes students by affecting how their brains function.
“Much of the way our brains work is by chemicals reacting to their environment,” said Turley. He added that for those who suffer from SAD, their minds don’t function as well without light.
There is treatment for people with SAD. Light therapy is an effective way to help those with Seasonal Affective Disorder because it provides them with the light that their brains need but are missing in the winter.
Although most students do not suffer from the actual disorder, the darkness of winter seems to still affect many.
South nurse Gail Kramer agrees that light deficiency is the main issue.
“People leave their houses and it’s dark,” Kramer said, “And when they come home, it’s dark.”
Sophomore Sam Ludin said that winter makes his life more difficult.
“When you get home and it’s already dark, it’s depressing,” said Ludin.
Not only do the early sunsets seem to upset people, but the frigid temperatures are problematic as well.
Sophomore Adam Friedman said he feels down during the winter, and that what he dislikes most about the season is being indoors.
Snow contributes to the low spirits brought on by winter as well.
Despite the fact that it cancelled school, the winter of 2011 resulted in some of the highest snow accumulations in years.
The City of Newton was especially hurt by this year’s snowfall because of the amount of money it spent on snow removal, and there were issues about where to put all of the snow.
Newton residents also felt the pain of snow removal.
“When you have to shovel you whole driveway, it’s a pain,” Ludin said.
Still, the root of the depression caused by winter seems to lie in the lack of sunlight, but with the arrival of spring, the amount of light has increased.
The days have begun to grow longer, and with students setting their clocks forward for Daylight Savings the sun will be out much later than 4:30 PM.
With spring comes the return of smiles to South, and students feel that spring is a time of joy and happiness.
Turley said that spring can be a time of relief, and Kramer agrees.
“It is, absolutely. You see everyone smiling, hanging out,” said Kramer.
Although winter will inevitably return, students can enjoy warm weather and sunlight for at least the next six months.