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Denebola » Josh Nislick 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 Faculty Focus: Christopher Bender http://www.denebolaonline.net/2011/04/14/faculty-focus-christopher-bender/ http://www.denebolaonline.net/2011/04/14/faculty-focus-christopher-bender/#comments Fri, 15 Apr 2011 03:48:47 +0000 Josh Nislick http://www.denebolaonline.net/?p=5832 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.

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.

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Winter doldrums clinically classified as disorder http://www.denebolaonline.net/2011/03/23/winter-doldrums-clinically-classified-as-disorder/ http://www.denebolaonline.net/2011/03/23/winter-doldrums-clinically-classified-as-disorder/#comments Wed, 23 Mar 2011 04:45:46 +0000 Josh Nislick http://www.denebolaonline.net/?p=5604 As the color green becomes increasingly evident across Newton lawns, South students joyfully say farewell to a long, cold winter.

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.


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A good sign for students http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/11/02/a-good-sign-for-students/ http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/11/02/a-good-sign-for-students/#comments Tue, 02 Nov 2010 06:20:17 +0000 Josh Nislick http://www.denebolaonline.net/?p=5010 Room 6116 is silent, but class is in full swing. Students communicate by flashing hand signals across the room; there is not the slightest trace of sound. It is in this sanctuary that Peter Hershon, born deaf, teaches his students sign language.
It is Hershon’s first year teaching at South, but he has already made an impact on the school. Though he is a skilled signer now, Hershon was not always allowed to sign so freely.
When he was born deaf, his mother was advised to teach him how to lip read instead of sign. Hershon was discouraged from using sign language at all during his childhood, and when he attended the Lexington School for the Deaf, there were particularly strict rules on signing.
“If we were caught signing, we would be expelled from school, Hershon said.
“It was very scary. We signed wildly at night when we went to bed. I guess that I was mischievous but it was necessary for my communication needs.
Not all schools were like Lexington, though, and when Hershon attended a college for the deaf, the only one in the world at that time, he was finally allowed to sign.
Hershon loved signing in college and decided to pursue a career in teaching.
Hershon has taught sign language at all levels, including high school students for the past ten years. He feels very strongly about having the opportunity to teach.
“I feel that I was born a natural teacher, he said.
Hershon has been teaching for a large portion of his life, and therefore his class seems the same as any other at South. While it would seem that his disability would have a profound effect on his ability to teach, students do not see Hershon’s deafness as a weakness.
Sophomore Caroline Zola, for example, loves the learning environment that Hershon provides and she has enjoyed his class so far this year.
“I don’t think of him any differently than any other teacher, Zola said. “His deafness doesn’t limit his ability to teach. He can still do PowerPoints and write on the board.
Senior Tess Levy, though unsure at first what it would be like to learn without verbal communication, now feels that Hershon’s deafness “does not impact the class that much.
“He seems to have no trouble getting things across to us, Levy said. “I don’t always remember he can’t hear because the class goes pretty smoothly.
Herschon does not think his deafness hinders his students’ ability to learn, but rather that it actually helps them.
“I’m a very skilled signer, he said, “and I understand the deaf culture. To be able to bring my experiences to a group, it’s very encouraging to students because it helps them understand.
Hershon knows that communication is crucial in teaching, and he views his deafness as being a helpful tool for his students to comprehend and embrace sign language.
He remembered one time in particular when the class could not understand an idea.
“The students weren’t grasping a concept, he said. “There was a lot of confusion at first, and I wasn’t voicing it out, so I explained that if they had any questions they could write them down.
Hershon said that this practice of writing notes back and forth to one another was good for the students to establish communication and understand the language better.
An important aspect of sign language is silence, and this is why Hershon wants his students to learn how to converse exclusively through signing. “I encourage them, and I want to tell them that they don’t need to whisper, just sign.
One of Hershon’s biggest goals is to get students to embrace visual communication and learn to let go of just speaking to one another.
Being deaf, Hershon has learned to recognize moods and study facial expressions, and he thinks very highly of the power of visual interaction.
Hershon understands, however, that abandoning spoken language is extremely challenging for his students.
“It’s hard to go from hearing to visuals, Hershon said. “It’s difficult to set up sign language once English has already been there.
Yet sign language still has an appeal. Part of what makes sign language so fun is the uniqueness of it. “I really like sign language because it’s completely different, and it’s more open for discussion, Zola said.
Hershon knows that he is putting students out of their comfort zones. “This is a new world for them¦being able to see the language, he said.
Along with learning the language, Hershon wants to pass on to his students a connection to the deaf community. Hershon uploads YouTube videos about sign language from the internet because he wants his students to see other deaf individuals and expose them more to the deaf people around them.
Hershon has really enjoyed his time so far teaching at South, and the learning environment that South provides has also affected him.
“I have learned a lot of things about the school here; the power of the community, the camaraderie, the idea of integrating together, the diversity and all of it running together, Hershon said. “It’s something that sticks with me, it’s very powerful.
Diversity defines South, and Hershon is just another part of the distinct society that has developed at the high school. “I think it’s awesome to have a deaf teacher at South, Zola said.
Hershon, however, feels that South can do more to embrace the deaf community. “I would like to see the school expand more into the deaf studies. To have teachers more aware of deafness as a culture and a language.
Hershon also knows that there are many misconceptions about deaf individuals, such as that they cannot drive, dance, or even that their inability to hear is not completely true.
“It’s amazing how much people misunderstand, he said. “We can do the exact same things that hearing people can do. The only difference is that we can’t hear. Deaf people can be doctors, they can teach, they can be business owners, there are many different professions just like people who can hear. There are endless opportunities.
Hershon understands how special it is for his students to learn about sign language and its role in society. He is grateful to be able to pass on his knowledge about signing: “it’s been a gift from God to be able to teach.

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