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Denebola » Nahuel Fefer 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 Survive the Drive gets mixed reviews http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/06/10/survive-the-drive-gets-mixed-reviews/ http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/06/10/survive-the-drive-gets-mixed-reviews/#comments Thu, 10 Jun 2010 12:02:18 +0000 Nahuel Fefer http://www.denebolaonline.net/?p=4462 The recent safe driving presentation, Survive the Drive, has received mixed responses from students who attended it. Survive the Drive founder Bob Green spoke to junior and senior classes about the importance of safe driving on May 24. Survive the Drive is an organization devoted to making apparent to teens the need for safer driving, providing risk-awareness, and delivering safe-driving presentations to schools in the northeast.

Senior Dave Paddock began organizing the presentation shortly after meeting Green at the Skip Barber Racing School (SBRS) in October of last year. When not delivering Survive the Drive seminars, Green, who used to be a racecar driver, works full time at SBRS teaching students how to drive high performance cars in a track environment.

South’s commitment to safe student driving has led the school to ask many groups to give similar presentations over the years. Green’s seminar focused mainly on the dangers of “Driving while Oblivious, that is driving while talking, texting, reading, or engaging in other activities. Green emphasized that not only are there rarely true accidents–only crashes–but that these incidents are all caused by human error. As he noted, “Cars aren’t smart enough to crash themselves.

No matter how necessary these warnings are, however, they often raise the question of what the best way to convey this important and often tragic message to high school students is.

As a teacher at one of the largest racing schools in the world, Paddock felt that Green was clearly qualified to deliver the presentation.

“I wanted him to speak here because he made a significant impression on me at Skip Barber and what he had to say and his presentation was a little different [than most safe driving seminars].

In a slight deviation from recent trends, Green tried to convey his message not through facts and figures or through emotional testimony but through his noticeable attempts to frighten students.

He did this by showing slightly graphic photographs, and by producing large amounts of sound without warning, either with his voice or by throwing things on the floor in an attempt to startle students.

Senior Matt Ma felt that Green’s message was important and his presentation adequate.

“It conveyed the message effectively due to his use of those graphic images, Ma said. “People tell us to drive safely all the time but those examples he showed gave us a clear picture of what could happen.

Not all students were impressed by the presentation, however. Junior Alissa Sage, for instance, disagreed with Ma.
“I do not believe the message was conveyed effectively. In fact, I couldn’t really tell you what message he was even trying to convey, Sage said. “Running around the stage and throwing around a Styrofoam head with a helmet attached to it did not have any effect on me.

Other students were unimpressed with the presentation for different reasons. Senior Ben Weissman noted that, “the whole presentation seemed kind of vague and general; there needed to be more graphic images and specific stories with details.

Many students felt that presentations of personal stories, such as the Mothers Against Drunk Driving presentation last year, are more effective in delivering a resounding message to young drivers.

“It needed to be a more emotionally-charged presentation but instead was just a ‘Ëœdon’t be a stupid driver’ speech, Weissman said. “It wasn’t memorable enough to have any effect on me.

Paddock believes that these seminars need to continue and be presented in different ways to appeal to different students.

“Some people ask me, why did you have to recommend this guy? People say we have a driving program every year, why? Paddock said. “As soon as people stop making mistakes that young drivers make, these presentations can stop.

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Speaker from Sudan inspires with life stories http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/04/14/speaker-from-sudan-inspires-with-life-stories/ http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/04/14/speaker-from-sudan-inspires-with-life-stories/#comments Wed, 14 Apr 2010 06:45:30 +0000 Nahuel Fefer http://www.denebolaonline.net/?p=4127 In 1987, at the age of 10, Gabriel Deng’s world came crashing down around him. He fled the remains of his destroyed village and began a four month odyssey to escape southern Sudan.

Despite numerous peace efforts, conflicts over resources, race, and religion persist there till this day.

Brought to South by junior Jenna Marks, Deng delivered his inspiring story to a packed auditorium on April 6. Deng based his presentation on three broad themes: escape, education, and aid.
According to Deng, in Sudan, Africans are treated as second-class citizens by the Arab controlled government and African Christians are persecuted even more.

Competition for resources such as water and oil exacerbated the conflict and turned it into genocide.

The detailed account of his escape astounded students. He was tending to his cattle when Arab militiamen from northern Sudan destroyed his village and massacred its inhabitants. Deng was shot at, but survived by pretending to have been dead and hiding among dead bodies.

Immediately after fleeing his village, Deng joined a group of refugees, who like him had escaped the carnage.
With the group, Deng braved the Nile on bundles of papyrus leaves and journeyed across the desert for almost two months before reaching relative safety in Ethiopia.

As Deng remembered his incredibly difficult journey he said, “As people died around me, I despaired, thinking I was next on this death row. I personally saw four children my age die. Altogether about 80,000 refugees made it to Deng’s refugee camp.

“While his escape was truly amazing, just as important and inspiring was his message of hope, resilience, and hard work, junior Ben Tolkin said. Deng stressed the importance of studying and working hard when he lived in the refugee camp from 1987 to 2001.

He explained that what motivated him to work and be resilient was something ingrained in him from an early age.

“My parents told me that 10% of what happens in life you can’t control, don’t worry about that ten percent. But 90% of what happens you can control, he said.

He took control of his life through education and hard work. He realized that education was his best chance at survival.

Through this realization he chose to begin schooling immediately after recovering from dehydration and snakebites in the under resourced medical facilities.

Even though his class met under a tree, Deng recalled the seriousness with which children behaved at school.
Education was, as he explained, the only way out of poverty and the only way to regain control of one’s life.
This is a stark contrast with our own school where we often take our education for granted.

Yet even the relative safety of the Ethiopian refugee camp did not last.

In 1991, civil war broke out in Ethiopia and the refugees were forced to escape from their asylum, which had now allied itself with Sudan’s oppressive government.

Despite being attacked and bombed as they fled, many refugees including Deng managed to reach Kenya. There they were frugally supported by the United Nations.

In 2000, Deng’s hard work finally paid off. Out of 17,000 young refugees who applied to the refugee resettlement program in the United States only 4,000 were selected, Deng was one of them.

Since then, Deng has attended and graduated college. He has successfully settled into the United States despite being supported by the government for a mere four months.

However what is perhaps most admirable about Mr. Deng is that after all the hardship that he has lived and struggled through, he still thinks of himself as privileged to have had the opportunity to live and to go to college in America.

He has not forgotten his struggles, and he has remembered those who are still in Sudan where the situation has only worsened.

To help these people, Deng is currently organizing the Hope for Ariang Project.

The Ariang Project is bringing schools and clean water to unprivileged villages in southern Sudan.

Deng’s presentation had a large impact on those who heard it. Perhaps most importantly, it made the topic of atrocities in Sudan more real and helped make students more aware of the issue.

Sophomore Jackie Lebovits is a great example of the large impact that Deng’s words had. “I find it remarkable how little I knew about what is going on there. After watching the presentation I want to find out more, she said.

The world community is relatively uninvolved in Sudan’s conflict.

Most countries and organizations state that they disapprove of what the Sudanese government is doing, but the situation has not yet improved and little is being done to change that.

By coming to South, Deng brought a distant issue up close, made it real, and paved a way for change.

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Greece brings down the Euro to $1.33 http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/04/14/greece-brings-down-the-euro-3/ http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/04/14/greece-brings-down-the-euro-3/#comments Wed, 14 Apr 2010 04:10:41 +0000 Nahuel Fefer http://www.denebolaonline.net/?p=4123 At a European Union summit in Brussels on Thursday, March 25, Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor, announced the European Union’s policy regarding a bailout of Greece.

Throughout late 2009, the Greek economy deteriorated as the government became  caught up in a number of scandals involving their economic situation.

In hopes of legitimizing his administration, conservative leader Costas Karamanlis called for an unplanned election two years before another election was required to take place according to Greek law. However Karamanlis’ move backfired and propelled the opposition, the socialist party, into power.

Soon after coming into power, the new administration announced that the budget deficit was twice what had been previously reported.

Immediately, almost all credit bureaus downgraded Greece’s sovereign credit rating, an evaluation of a potential borrower’s ability to repay debt, significantly.

This hurt the Greek economy even more and prompted international criticism of the Greek economic system.

In an international economy, one nation’s economic woes causes negative impacts internationally.

However, the spillover from Greece’s economic crisis to other members of the European Union was even greater because of their integrated economic system and use of the Euro.

Since November, when the real budget numbers were released, the Euro’s conversion value to the American dollar dropped from $1.51 to $1.33.

Greece’s economic collapse was not the sole reason for this huge decline.

Much of the decline results from uncertainty about a safety net for European nations belonging to the European Union.

Spain, Ireland and Portugal all have economies that resemble the Greek economy before it crashed, and their credit has also suffered.

The European economic situation makes to Chancellor Merkel’s announcement about a possible bailout in Greece even more pressing.

The European Union has yet to bail out a country using the Euro and the conditions of the bailout cut a fine line.

Although it ensures the availability of a bailout, Merkel emphasized that this bailout would only kick in as a last resort if the stability of the Euro was threatened or if Greece runs out of options.

Furthermore, one of the bailout’s conditions ensures that the International Monetary Fund must be involved.

Many nations, however, are wary of aid from the IMF as the organization often attempts to restructure the economies it tries to help.

Some nations are so wary of their help that they have taken the IMF’s money and then ignored all recommendations from the organization.

An issue of pride has also arisen. “If the only answer from Europe is to ask the IMF to help us then we are really, really, really poor, the leader of the European socialist party, who is currently in control of Greece and Spain said.

Merkel wants to get involved because of the IMF’s disapproval. By adding conditions to the bailout, Merkel tries to prevent any future bailouts.

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