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Denebola » Shayna Sage 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 Diary of a blood donor: a before and after account http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/04/14/diary-of-a-blood-donor-a-before-and-after-account/ http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/04/14/diary-of-a-blood-donor-a-before-and-after-account/#comments Wed, 14 Apr 2010 04:26:01 +0000 Shayna Sage http://www.denebolaonline.net/?p=4052 I am writing the first portion of this article the night before I am scheduled to donate blood at the South blood drive. I have loaded up on protein, iron, water, and I’m all set and ready to go! I have eaten chicken, strawberries, a peanut butter sandwich, bread, frozen yogurt, and drank lots of water.

I am nervous to donate blood tomorrow, since I do not handle needles very well. However, I am willing to undergo 15 minutes of queasiness if I can help save a life. v
Several of my friends have asked me why I have chosen to donate blood and my answer is always the same. My uncle died of leukemia in November and there was nothing I could do to help him. The worst part of all: I never got to say goodbye. Even though I could not save my uncle, I now have the opportunity to save someone else’s life by donating blood.

A less serious reason that I want to donate blood is due to my obsession with medical television shows.

After six years of watching countless seasons of Scrubs, Grey’s Anatomy, and CSI: Miami, I have become fascinated by medical procedures. Donating blood will allow me to be a part of a medical cause, and further, indicate what my blood type is, which is a fact I have always been curious about.

I am nervous and excited, but must go to sleep now to make sure I get enough sleep for tomorrow!

April 8, 2010

To quote Borat, donating blood was a “great success! I walked into the gym and waited anxiously for my turn. I was surprised and happy that there were so many people there to donate blood.

All paticipants had to have their finger pricked in order to test their iron levels. For me, this was the worst part, but it was not as bad as I had anticipated.

I luckily passed the test, but others were turned away due to insufficient iron levels or other problems. After this, the nurses sat me down and began to draw my blood, and before I knew it, it was over.

Despite being a little dizzy and lightheaded after the donation was complete, I can confidently say that I will donate again whenever the opportunity arises.

I can attribute part of my success to the fact that I had my Ipod blaring music in order to distract myself. A friendly suggestion for the faint hearted: utilize your Ipod if you give blood.
Playing soothing music is very helpful and makes your donation experience more pleasant and enjoyable. The helpful nurses and volunteers around me constantly made sure that I was relaxed; they continually reassured me that everything would be okay. This made me feel comfortable donating blood and I felt completely safe. The smooth and stress-free process helped me concentrate on the positive outcomes of this experience.

I know my blood will be used to help save a life, somewhere in some way. This was one of my motives for participating in the blood drive in the first place.

After my bag of blood was filled to the brim, I got to lie down for a bit and recuperate. Once I was able to sit up for a while without feeling dizzy, I was given tons of cranberry and orange juice, water, and snacks such as crackers and shortbread cookies.

After enjoying my snacks and relaxing for a few minutes, I walked out of the room feeling accomplished and proud. Next year, I hope to volunteer for the entire day as well as donate blood once again.

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Just how rounded is too “well rounded”? http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/02/10/just-how-rounded-is-too-well-rounded/ http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/02/10/just-how-rounded-is-too-well-rounded/#comments Wed, 10 Feb 2010 08:40:58 +0000 Shayna Sage http://www.denebolaonline.net/?p=3631 For many freshmen, club fairs can generate some serious discomfort. Colorful posters and display tables line the cafeteria walls as energetic students solicit names of unsuspecting freshmen for their club emailing lists.

While some students join clubs that genuinely interest them, others join because of various parental expectations or pressure to buff up college resumes. Still, others join for free J-Block food.

Those reasons notwithstanding, this chaotic event tends to play a two-fold role in the school community. First, it allows clubs to showcase their work and recruit new members. More importantly though, club fairs allow younger students to explore interests and to get an idea of what they might want to pursue in the future. By Senior year, every student will inevitably find his or her niche. It is all a question of where to start.

“I think it is important to be involved in something you actually care about, junior Emma Schulman said. “It’s not fun if you join something that you aren’t interested in.

Schulman thinks that it is acceptable to join “a bunch of clubs, as long as it is not for the wrong reasons.

This attitude begs the question: is it better to be involved in many activities or to be dedicated to a single one?

In the typical South student’s quest for a “well rounded schedule of activities, it is often hard to see the true benefit of being involved in the community.

Sophomore Paris Caldwell believes that overbooking after-school activities has more benefits than meets the eye. “I choose to do [various clubs and athletics] because they help me manage my time and keep me on track.

Oftentimes the significant time commitment associated with clubs and sports allows students like Caldwell to better organize and manage their time. “Extracurricular activities help me release stress from school work, she said.

Others, like junior Max Clary, involve themselves in extracurricular activities simply for the thrill.

“I enjoy what I do, Clary said. “I do feel pressure to do more [at South] but I put that pressure on myself.
Senior Liza Barnes, recently voted “Most Involved by her class for senior superlatives, has found her involvement at South to be very rewarding.

“I chose activities that I thought would open the most doors for me, she said. “As Class Officer, I have had the opportunity to interact with students, faculty, and administration as well as various businesses in the Boston area.

Barnes has enjoyed her involvement in so many areas of the school community. “Dance team allows me to support other aspects of the South community such as sports games and school spirit, Barnes said. “These have allowed me to be involved in as many school events as possible and have made my high school experience what it was.

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Google threatens to pull out of China after hacking scare http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/02/10/google-threatens-to-pull-out-of-china-after-hacking-scare/ http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/02/10/google-threatens-to-pull-out-of-china-after-hacking-scare/#comments Wed, 10 Feb 2010 07:54:19 +0000 Justin Quinn http://www.denebolaonline.net/?p=3695 Due to recent hacks into its system, Google has threatened to pull its search engine from China. The hackers tried to break into the company’s software and the email accounts of several Chinese human rights activists on January 12.

Since its creation, Google has had a history of censoring its search results in China in order to comply with the government’s regulations. After the hacking incident, Google is unsure of its future in China.

“We launched Google.cn in January 2006 in the belief that the benefits of increased access to information for people in China and a more open Internet outweighed our discomfort in agreeing to censor some results, Google’s chief legal officer David Drummond said.

If Google follows through with its plan, it could potentially lose billions of dollars, which would be harmful to Google China because of the large market at stake.

China, Google’s largest global market, is worth about $1 billion and has around 350 million users.

“We have decided we are no longer willing to continue censoring our results on Google.cn, and so over the next few weeks we will be discussing with the Chinese government the basis on which we could operate an unfiltered search engine within the law, if at all, Drummond said. “We recognize that this may well mean having to shut down Google.cn, and potentially our offices in China.

The Tiananmen Square Massacre is one example of topics that have been deemed too controversial for Chinese search engines. When searched, there is no information on the event due to Google’s compliance with the Chinese government.

On the 20th anniversary of the massacre, many web pages across the country were forced offline for eight days for providing information on the event.

Now, after the recent hacks, this could all change.

“We look to Chinese authorities to conduct a thorough investigation of the cyber intrusions, United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said in a speech she delivered in Washington. “In an interconnected world, an attack on one nation’s networks can be an attack on all.

Clinton called for an investigation of the attacks and spoke out against the censorship enforced by the Chinese government and others around the world, including Egypt, Tunisia, Uzbekistan, and Vietnam.

“The private sector has a shared responsibility to safeguard free expression. This needs to be part of our national brand, she said.

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Whatever happened to “family friendly?” http://www.denebolaonline.net/2009/11/25/whatever-happened-to-%e2%80%9cfamily-friendly%e2%80%9d/ http://www.denebolaonline.net/2009/11/25/whatever-happened-to-%e2%80%9cfamily-friendly%e2%80%9d/#comments Wed, 25 Nov 2009 05:59:24 +0000 Shayna Sage http://www.denebolaonline.net/?p=3253 American media culture has no doubt changed since the days when TV first started out. In 1956, for instance, Elvis Presley was only shown waist-up on the Ed Sullivan show because his provocative dancing, deemed too inappropriate for the public, caused much discussion and concern. Only 50 years later, TV shows are exploring topics such as sexuality, teenage pregnancy and homosexuality, and viewers have certainly been affected by these unorthodox themes.

For a long time, TV producers were reluctant to include homosexual characters in their shows due to widespread discomfort with the subject. In 1997, however, when Ellen Degeneres “came out on her sitcom, she undeniably paved the way for homosexuality in mainstream media.

In following years, shows such as Dawson’s Creek and Will & Grace began to incorporate gay characters into their plots, and more recently, TV shows aimed at teenagers such as Glee, Gossip Girl, Degrassi, The OC, and The Secret Life of the American Teenager have further explored such issues by focusing on the individual struggles and triumphs of the realistic characters.

A recent survey taken by the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation found that out of those who say their feelings toward homosexuality have become more favorable in the past five years, about one-third credited characters from TV.

“I think that the portrayal of homosexuality in TV shows can have either a very negative effect or a very positive effect, depending mostly upon the TV show and its content, junior and Gay-Straight Alliance president Rebecca Penzias said. “Some TV shows just show sexuality as something that is very fluid, which I think is generally very positive.

Shows that portray gay characters, such as the recent TV hit, Glee, can arguably influence viewers in a positive way by allowing them to gain a new perspective on those with different sexual orientations.

“It makes people more confident about who they are and unafraid to be themselves because they see that in these shows, they are readily accepted, junior Anastasia Lymer said. “Seeing this kind of diversity on TV makes people feel more accepted.

Junior Phoebe Huth feels that though the new trend has some positive aspects, there could be other ways of portraying the idea of sexual diversity on teenaged based shows. “I feel like homosexuality isn’t positively portrayed in teen shows because they always have the ‘Ëœtoken gay guy’ or a character like that, she said.

“They feel like they need each type of person to fit a stereotype instead of just portraying the teen experience. 

Penzias agrees that TV shows tend to highlight stereotypes. “The biggest issue that I have with TV shows and their portrayals of homosexuality is that the characters tend to perpetuate stereotypes of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender individuals, she said. “I think the media should be using its advantage to conquer stereotypes and promote acceptance, not put additional pressure on LGBT teens to conform.

Senior Jamie Brotsky believes, however, that exposure to controversial subjects on TV can only be beneficial.

“I think people are becoming more comfortable with different sexualities and TV is trying to put it out there, Brotsky said. “That it isn’t such a bad thing.

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Alex S. Jones http://www.denebolaonline.net/2009/11/25/alex-s-jones/ http://www.denebolaonline.net/2009/11/25/alex-s-jones/#comments Wed, 25 Nov 2009 05:35:20 +0000 Adam Goldstein http://www.denebolaonline.net/?p=3260 Alex S. Jones is a journalist and and author. He covered the press for The New York Times, and is currently director of the Shorenstein Center at the JFK School, Harvard University. His latest book, Losing the News (2009) is reviewed in this Section.

Q: How did you come to run the Shorenstein Center?
The reason I came here, I was at the New York Times and I wrote these stories about the Bingham family [noted Louisville publishers who were selling their family newspaper], and I won a Pulitzer Prize.

And I was approached about doing a book on the Binghams. I went to my Editor at the Times, and I asked him what he thought, and he said, Why don’t you write a book with your wife? (She worked with Time magazine.) So that’s what we did, and the book was published. We were then persuaded to do a second book, on the Sulzberger family, which meant I had to leave the Times.

I knew about the Centre very well because it’s a singular place and a very important place as far as journalism is concerned. We do research, teaching and we engage the issues of the day. We are not just retrospective, backward, we try to engage what’s going on¦now.

Q: What is it like for you to run the Centre?

It’s fascinating, because the thing is that at Harvard, the Kennedy School is something like the nuclear core of public affairs. Just about anyone who is anyone in public policy or journalism makes it through here. This is where the students and faculty and the public’€most of these events are open to the public’€this is where they come.

Q: What did it mean to be around a newspaper as someone very young?

I’m in the 4th generation of a newspaper family, from East Tennessee. I grew up in a world of the small town in which my family owned the newspaper, and my father ran it, was the general manager, and my grandmother was the publisher.
By the way, the first two generations, if you count that way, were both women, which is very unusual; my grandmother and my great-grandmother. And they are both in the Tennessee newspaper Hall of Fame.

I’m from a little town, where Davy Crockett in fact was born. My grandmother got into the newspaper business because her husband, my grandfather, was a lawyer and an alcoholic, and he got drunk one night and signed a note for a tiny little newspaper, the smallest of three weeklies in this town, and my grandmother was adamantly against it.

But there was nothing she could do, and finally he was not able to take care of the family, and she had to go down and take it over. And she ended up owning both of the other newspapers.

She would tell me the story because the reason she was able to do what she did, own both of the other newspapers, was that they were drunk¦and she was sober. [Laughs.] Which is I think, pretty accurate.

We all ate together [in our family], and I can’t remember a night’€there were five of us’€when my father didn’t get a phone call, there was almost always someone complaining about something. Either complaining they didn’t get the paper, or, because of something in the paper.

And that’s just the way our life was. But it was a life in which we felt very deeply laced into the fabric of the community. In fact, my family still has that newspaper. We’re still operating this family newspaper in an environment where family newspapers have gone the way of the Dodo bird.

Q: Did you set type in the print shop?

I not only set type, I ran a Linotype machine, not only that I’ve got a mark here on my wrist from the hot lead. A squirt. They used molten lead to set the lines of copy, it was like a typewriter and steel letters would fall down a matrix, and molten lead would squirt up against them and be molded.

And if the little steel letters were not aligned exactly right lead would squirt through right on to you’€you remember that, vividly, believe me.

But the thing that really amazes me now is not that dramatic change in technology, and I was down there at the presses and typesetting machines every summer, down there in shorts and sandals, and my job was melting the lead from those used lines of type and then re-casting the lead into what we call ‘Ëœpigs,’ the bars of lead that were hung over the ‘Ëœpots’ where they melted, and made the lines of type.

In other words, I was twelve years old and basically wandering around operating a blast furnace. Now, you would probably get arrested nowadays if you tried or allowed a youngster to do something like that. But then, nobody thought anything about it.
My job was to go around and gather up the lead and put it in the furnace and melt it and then pour the liquid lead into the molds to create the pig. So I was working as a twelve year old with molten lead. That’s not a good idea! [Laughs.] Different times.
Q: What were the stories in your Greeneville newspaper?

It was a community newspaper, and it had all kinds of stories. The most popular feature in the newspaper was my grandmother’s Saturday column, which was called “Cheerful Chatter. And it was very much her’€she was a great writer; my grandmother ran the editorial page, and she was Hell on Wheels.
She was about five feet tall and this was the kind of woman she was’€She was in her eighties or nineties and she lived right next door to the newspaper. And there was a Sports editor, named Tiny Day. (His name was Claude but he was known as ‘ËœTiny’ because he weighed about 350 pounds and was absolutely immense.) My great-grandmother’€Tiny told me this story himself’€summoned him one day to her ‘ËœParlor’ in her house across the street.

And he was very frightened of her, she was a formidable character; she once said to me, I have always thought of myself as a tall woman.

And Tiny said he walked with great trepidation into her Parlor, and she sat there glowering at him, said, Sit down! And he sat down, and she picked up her cane and went Wham! And kept whacking him, and said, Stay off my damned flowers! [Laughs.] You see, he was parking his car where she had flowers. That’s the kind of person she was, she treated everyone that way.

Q: How would you compare your experience working on that paper, with working on the New York Times?

An interesting question. I worked on two newspapers, that one and one even smaller, and I feel like everything important that I learned about journalism I learned before I went to the Times. These were lessons I learned about reporting and fairness, ethics and facing people as a reporter who are powerful, confronting them with information that is going to make them mad’€things like that you can only learn the hard way.

I don’t mean I knew everything, I certainly didn’t know the way to do journalism the way The New York Times expected me to do it. But I knew everything that was really important, essential. It is comparable to being able to write to being able to twitter and operate the web, the newer technologies in an effective way.
Learning how to write is something you can apply to anything. Those other skills are much easier to learn, but if you know how to write grammatically and clearly, that’s going to be an enormous asset to you and not something you can learn easily.
I think it happens both by study and learning in school in a formal way and by reading, I believe by reading more than anything else. I have no idea how what I just said is going to play out in time to come but it is the thing I believe what I learned with those two smaller newspapers. I came with certain principles; I had a standard against which I could measure whatever was to follow. Measure, and then apply.

Q: So do you believe there has been a major shift in standards, in principles and practice, in journalism?

Of course many things have changed, and they’ve changed over time and, more recently, abruptly. Digital technology is the future, we know that.

My book is essentially not about what’s happening so much as journalism values I feel are important, and I hope can be retained in this new digital world. I believe the values are more important than the way they show themselves, whether digitally or on paper or whatever. The point is that these traditional values belong in a digital world. Exactly how they can be applied is the question.
Q: What was the business transition from those East Tennessee newspapers and The New York Times?

The business was the same business, but just a different scale. The “plan was selling advertising to support the operation and, also, to do a public service in the form of producing news that people needed, news that was important. That, plus the sports page, comics, and the crossword puzzle.

The model is broken for The New York Times and my family’s newspaper in the same way. It is a model that was based on there being a near-monopoly on things like classified advertising for cars and houses and things like that. Having the dominant advertising distribution vehicle in a community meant something financially.

You know for the last several decades in many communities there has only been one newspaper, and that newspaper has done very well, thank you.

Now, you have a situation in which the revenue stream which formerly supported this public service mission is greatly threatened by the fact that classified ads on Craig’s List is free. How do you compete with free?

The web does things better than any newspaper on print can. The idea of searching for a house or a car by looking over classified ads rather than going on line and searching digitally makes no sense. Some may do it but that’s certainly not the future.

And that shift has cost newspapers dearly because that was a huge source of revenue. That’s pretty much gone, they’re doing their own on-line search centers and are working to make some money from that. Many in really bad trouble however have big debts, largely because they have gone and bought other newspapers, at inflated prices, and they have these debts on the books.

They are in bankruptcy and how they will solve that is they are going to have to stiff the people who loaned them the money.

Q: Will these print newspapers need to change how they write so it is more like the web?

Well, my belief is there will be two different things. I think that newspapers like traditional ones offer something useful, and they would be wrong if they change. They are a place where people go to get news that they trust, and that is not calculated to appeal to young people’s tastes as calibrated by humor or style.

If you are going to try what’s really going on with health care reform’€and you care about it because it involves decisions about insurance and your children and spouse and parents’€you will go to a place where you feel the information is reliable, and gives you the nitty-gritty.

You may go to John Stewart for being John Stewart, a witty and imaginative and satirical “take on an issue or individual. His insights may help you better understand a topic or acquire a new perspective on an issue. But you’re not going to go to him to find out how to deal with health care reform, what it will mean for you. But that doesn’t mean you don’t go to John Stewart, if you see what I mean.

I believe there will be a form of news much more of the web culture as I’ve described. Think of it this way, when television went into the news business’€which was not as you may know immediately’€basically they started by having newspaper people read newspaper stories on television.

It was movement, it had to have pictures supporting voice, it was a style of writing that was much more concise and not in standard newspaper style. Much more condensed, stories were much shorter. But it was true to the medium, and people began over time to explore the medium’s potential.

TV? People sit back and watch, it’s entertaining but if it doesn’t move, if the screen doesn’t have something that speaks to you why, you flip the channel.

That is why policy is something television rarely touches, because policy rarely has engaging pictures, or if it does, it’s done in a way that is not very valuable’€often it’s something anecdotal, the story finds someone who exemplifies an issue and the television way is to do a dramatic rendering of that.

Q: What is it you are paying for with a newspaper?

Well, [the newspaper] is not assembled by magic, it’s the product of an enormous amount of work that is done to save you the trouble and time to do it yourselves. But a lot of people seem to spend a lot of time wandering and roaming around the web to find what you and I might locate in twenty pages of print.

Q: So you don’t believe in ten or twenty years there won’t be an overarching internet news source that has the same power as the Globe or Times?

There may be. But my guess is, it will be called, The Boston Globe, The New York Times, CNN, or something along those lines.

There may be some that come from a pure web place, and establish themselves. But having the web is not a news source in the same way; it’s an aggregator of blogs. That’s not what I am talking about.

It is not as though on line sources do not break news; they have a lot of people out there feeding them. But when, for example, The Huffington Post does something, the reason it has power is when these other news organizations pick it up, then its force is accelerated.

That process I believe will not change. These news making brands tend to be too valuable, they are the accumulation of past value. The trick is to adapt them, and keep the brand.

Q: Given those limitations, what would you judge the best news on television?

Right now I watch Katie Couric, I think they do more serious news than anyone else. They did a whole week recently on Afghanistan; their ratings plummeted of course. Some might say the interview with Sarah Palin was decisive, the ability and willingness to challenge is impressive.
But I think there will also be something on line, that reflects that culture, news as humor, as video games, blogging, something that will be irreverent. It won’t be accurate but that won’t matter, it will be fun and entertaining and that will be that.
What will be bad is that if only entertainment survives, and the other kind of news does not.
Why? Because I do not believe the former is enough, that will not get the job done because it is too easy to manipulate. It is too easy to be glib; to be opinionated without substance or substantiation, too easy to avoid reporting because reporting is expensive and talk is cheap.

That’s cable news in a nutshell. Cable news in prime time, especially FOX, is an entertainment channel so far as I am concerned. It is calculated to be entertaining with political combat as the entertainment; a kind of reality show. It has a narrative thread, a point of view, but these are entertainers.

If news were as entertaining and as crowd-pleasing as entertainment shows, we would have news shows in prime time. We’ve always had entertainment in prime time and that’s what the cable ones are doing where they are doing, whereas CNN, which is less entertaining is not doing so well in the ratings because it is competing with entertainment.

Q: How will this center influence our generation?

We are not geared to provide programs for teachers and students, as such. But we do recognize the world we are entering is a digital one. Our mission is to find ways to preserve the values of serious journalism in that digital world. To that extent, we are going to be reaching out to your digital generation, because that’s the world that is coming.

It also means we are going to try to preserve what the Shorenstein Center stands for, serious journalism on serious subjects; reported, not just talked about.

We are going to try to influence policy that supports that, find new economic models that will do that, best practices that will do it. We want to present to the public novel and engaging ways of presenting these principles and those individuals who are acting out those principles. We want those individuals sustained.
We don’t have the resources to reach directly to schools but what we can do, through media literacy efforts’€in every school’€is work to raise awareness, and you are always welcome to our events. They are, for the most part, open to the public, and we would love to have you here at them.

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A Community of Learning: English Language Learners http://www.denebolaonline.net/2009/10/21/a-community-of-learning-english-language-learners/ http://www.denebolaonline.net/2009/10/21/a-community-of-learning-english-language-learners/#comments Wed, 21 Oct 2009 05:30:26 +0000 David Han http://www.denebolaonline.net/?p=2993 The reasons seemed logical: better education, broader opportunity, more independence. Yet sophomore Alex Chen, who had lived in Guangzhou, China, all his life, was reluctant when his parents told him that the family was moving to America. Although he understood his family’s rationale for moving, Chen, 14 years old at the time, did not feel ready. He had never traveled before in his life, and his entire knowledge of America was based off of picture books he had read as a child.

“I had to go to a place I had never been to, he said. “I had to stay there for the rest of my life. He was given two weeks to pack his bags.

In an era of increasing cultural diversity and globalization , Chen’s story is not uncommon for students coming from foreign backgrounds. The English Language Learners (ELL) program provides support and guidance to students like Chen by helping them adapt to American culture and environment. The program offers sheltered English and History courses, as well as English pronunciation and support classes for students in the program. The courses range from beginner to advanced levels.

The Transition

ELL Director Carol McNally understands her students’ struggle of leaving their home country and entering an entirely different world.

“The kids are not here by choice, and that can make a transition period tough when you are 15 years old, she said. “It’s socially a difficult transition, and we try to help with that piece.

Junior and former ELL student Jessica Kang of South Korea remembers crying once during her first months at South because of the cultural disparity.

Having come to America only able to articulate simple expressions like her name and age at first, Kang claims the ELL program served as her central support group and “second home.

ELL students easily relate to one another despite their cultural differences because of their shared experience in America, according to Kang. She feels more comfortable speaking in English to ELL students because of this connection.

“People get the sense that they can rely on and trust people here, regardless of what language they speak or what background they come from, ELL teacher John Conte said. “Our goal as a program is for them to get that [support] from any student in the school.

Chen also believes ELL has helped with his cultural and educational transition. He recalls that speaking out loud was a challenge for him.
The program’s use of visual aids and interactive exercises has helped him adapt. ELL teachers not only teach, but also supportively push their students to succeed, Chen said.


Graphics by Chenzhe Cao

Another student in the ELL program, junior Tatiana Shallop, moved to Newton from the West African country Sierra Leone last January. While she was by no means poverty-stricken in her home country, a combination of political turmoil in the region and poor educational resources led Shallop and her family to make the move to America.

Though Shallop knew it was for the better, she was reluctant to leave.

“Africa is my home, and it is where I grew up. It was really hard for me to move to a different place, Shallop said.

Shallop came to America with a basic understanding of English from her studies in Sierra Leone. She is also fluent in Arabic and Krio (a mix of English, French, Portuguese, Spanish and Jamaican). In order to excel at South, English, the last language she learned, would be crucial.
“The school that I went to offered English and Arabic’€like how South offers French and Spanish. I am happy I learned English because it made it easier to come to South and learn with my peers, Shallop said.

Shallop is thankful that she can now enjoy the opportunities and personal freedoms which America offers. “When I lived in Sierra Leone, there was a lot of pain and suffering, because of the lack of facilities we all suffered, especially when the rebels came to overthrow, Shallop said. “Suffering went on in Sierra Leone a lot, but now, thanks to God, everything is fine. There is peace, love and harmony.


Both Chen and Kang, though they miss their home countries, also value the educational system offered in America.

“In Korea, the mothers bring their children to Hangwons [Korean private tutoring institutions]. Afterwards, it’s studying, studying, and studying, Kang said. “Regardless of what you want to do, you should study.

Currently a first violinist in the school’s String Orchestra and the keyboard player in her church’s youth group, she believes that there are many more activities to choose from in America than in Korea.

According to Kang, the intensely competitive nature of Korean schools did not provide a good learning environment.

“Even though I’m in a school with students, it seems like my friends are my rivals, she said. Kang remembers that her peers would pretend as though they hadn’t studied for exams to give others a false sense of confidence.

Chen shares the same concern with the Chinese educational system, where strict teachers expect students to memorize large amounts of information in short periods of time.

He also believes that the American educational system gives students more freedom to discover and pursue their interests.

“I feel privileged to teach ELL at South because students are really invested, Conte said. “They are at a place that they can get that information.

McNally agrees with Conte and believes that families usually come to America for the education opportunity, “often making great financial sacrifices to be here.

Preparing for the Future

Kang does not take ELL classes this year due to schedule conflicts and must attend mainstream History and English classes.

She credits her confidence and strong foundation in basic English to the ELL program.

“Even though mainstream classes are a lot more work than ELL classes, I feel good about challenging myself, she said.

While she no longer takes ELL classes, her former teachers are always available whenever she needs help. The ELL staff hopes that their students will gain the confidence and skills necessary to enter mainstream courses.

“The most important challenge is ensuring that students are not just learning content and language skills, but also learning to figure out the skills on their own so they can leave ELL and be successful, Conte said.

Even though Kang is not in ELL classes this year, she finds time during lunches or J-Blocks to maintain the personal relationships she formed in the program.

For now, Kang’s goal is to attend a good college, and she believes that she can do so thanks to the ELL program.

Chen, however, aims higher. “I will do something American and be successful and want to help my country, he said.

Having left behind their friends, family, and countries, Chen, Kang, and Shallop came to America to pursue their dreams.

“For most of my students here, their short-term dream is to get into a good college, Conte said. “We definitely help them get on the right road considering where they come from.

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Politicians discuss Obama and nukes http://www.denebolaonline.net/2009/10/21/politicians-discuss-obama-and-nukes/ http://www.denebolaonline.net/2009/10/21/politicians-discuss-obama-and-nukes/#comments Wed, 21 Oct 2009 04:12:26 +0000 Justin Quinn http://www.denebolaonline.net/?p=2907 “Every man, woman and child lives under a nuclear sword of Damocles, hanging by the slenderist of threads, capable of being cut at any moment by accident or miscalculation or by madness. The weapons of war must be abolished before they abolish us.– President John F. Kennedy, in his 1961 Address to the United Nations General Assembly.

Members of the Boston community congregated at the John F. Kennedy (JFK) Library and Museum to attend the “Presidency in the Nuclear Age conference sponsored by the Presidential Libraries and the National Archives on October 12.

The first hand accounts of historical events provided opportunities for people to broaden their knowledge of Nuclear Weapons. Although organized for students and teachers, the conference held an imbalance of students and people of an earlier generation.

The conference showed specially recorded video messages given by former Presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton, as well as former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger.

National archives also showed videos of presidential speeches given by Jimmy Carter, John F. Kennedy, Barack Obama, Harry Truman, and Dwight Eisenhower.

All of the panelists and moderators were esteemed political celebrities ranging from authors and journalists to White House employees.

Theodore C. Sorenson, Special Counsel to President Kennedy, provided insight to the inner workings of the White House during the Nuclear Age.

Although the main theme of the day was the Nuclear Age, each panel debated over relevant sub-topics. Recent nuclear developments in North Korea, Iran, and Pakistan were mentioned and discussed. Former politicians from as far back as the Kennedy administration and political experts attended the panels.

To begin the conference, Assistant Archivist for Presidential Libraries Sharon Fawcett gave a welcome speech as a prelude to the day’s festivities. A pre-recorded video message from former President George H.W. Bush commended the efforts of the JFK Library’s current president Tom Putnam.

Caroline Kennedy, daughter of John F. Kennedy, gave a speech in memory of her father and his role as president during the nuclear age.
The topics of the day in chronological order included “The Race to Build the Bomb and the Decision to Use it, “Cuban Missile Crisis and the First Nuclear Test Ban Theory, “The Cold War and the Nuclear Arms Race, and, “Nuclear Weapons, Terrorism and the Presidency.

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Newtones lights with the stars http://www.denebolaonline.net/2009/05/13/newtones-lights-with-the-stars/ http://www.denebolaonline.net/2009/05/13/newtones-lights-with-the-stars/#comments Wed, 13 May 2009 16:52:48 +0000 Shayna Sage http://www.sandbox.denebolaonline.net/?p=2345 If you thought that recording a CD with Ben Folds was as awesome as Newtones could get, think again. Newtones, Newton South’s a cappella group took their intensity to the next level on April 25 at MIT’s Johnson Athletic Center when they shared the stage with Ben Folds, Sarah Barielles, and Hotel Lights. The concert was a great way to end April vacation because of its upbeat feel and the intimacy between the bands and the audience.

“The concert was incredible. We got to chat with [the other artists] backstage and [Ben Folds] is just the coolest, nicest guy. He is so down to earth, and he treats us like adults. I personally think he is a genius, so it is so bizarre to be singing for him. He is an amazing performer, so the entire night was a blast, and a great opportunity, said senior and Newtones member Maddie Sharton.

 Tickets costed 15 dollars at the door and seating was general admission. By the time the door opened at 7 pm the line stretched back as far as the eye could see, filled with fans and supporters of Ben Folds, Sarah Bareielles, Hotel Lights, and most importantly, Newtones.

 “It is huge that we could open for such an incredible artist. Recording was amazing, too, but the concert was a chance to perform for 3000 people, which was so much fun, Sharton said.This highly anticipated event opened with Hotel Lights, who came out with a new album on August 19, 2008 called Firecracker People.

Hotel Lights is an indie band with a star-studded crew. The founder, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist Darren Jessee was a former drummer for Ben Folds Five.

In addition, their music has been featured on the TV shows One Tree Hill and Grey’s Anatomy.

Musical celebrity Adam Schlesinger of Fountains of Wayne contributed by helping with arrangements.

Their soothing voices and harmonious tones created a relaxing atmosphere that prepared the audience for the musical styling’s of Sarah Barielles.As a special treat, Sarah Barielles preformed a new song that the crowd seemed to enjoy.  She also played her popular songs, “Gravity, “Bottle it up, “Come Round Soon, and the popular “Love Song.

Despite the fact that Barielles did not dance throughout her performance, she still managed to find a way to excite the audience and connect with them on a more personal level.

She also talked about the meaning behind her lyrics, which helped the audience bond with her and relate further with her songs. Barielles threw the audience a curve ball when she performed a cover of “Umbrella, by pop singer, Rihanna.

After a quick set change, the long awaited Newtones took the stage. Singing one of Ben Folds’ own songs, the group sang their well prepared (a capella, of course) version of “Evaporated.

Newtones’ short but sweet appearance during the concert brought chills to the audience and left them wanting more.

 This opportunity to perform with professional, world famous musicians did not just fall into the Newtones’ lap though.

“Ben Folds was inviting some of the a cappella groups to sing with him, so we decided to contact his people and bring it up… We figured nothing would happen if we didn’t assert ourselves. I guess it was a good idea, because we received an e-mail back saying that they would love to have us at MIT, said Sharton.“That was the largest crowd we have performed for so far, and maybe will ever perform for.  It was so exciting; in the beginning of the year none of us would have expected to record with Ben folds let alone perform with him, said sophomore Newtones member Rachel Schy.

Ben Folds took the stage after Newtones’ performance and wowed the crowed with his musical talents. The songs he played “Army, “Brick, “Zak and Sara, “Rock This B****, and, “You Don’t Know Me. Not only did Ben Folds play his songs, but he showed the audience some of the secrets of how he makes his music sound so authentic, which made him seem down to earth and approachable.

The combination of bands and groups that performed at the concert were a perfect mix of upbeat and relaxing songs that kept the crowd content throughout the entire event. “[The concert] was amazing, it was honestly unbelievable¦it didn’t hit me that we were doing [singing] until we were sitting back stage¦I think I can speak for everyone on Newtones by saying it was just surreal, said Schy. 

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Nilhav adds a twist to Prozdor http://www.denebolaonline.net/2009/04/15/nilhav-adds-a-twist-to-prozdor/ http://www.denebolaonline.net/2009/04/15/nilhav-adds-a-twist-to-prozdor/#comments Wed, 15 Apr 2009 07:38:37 +0000 Shayna Sage http://www.sandbox.denebolaonline.net/?p=2210 When you hear your friends talking about Prozdor, we bet the words dancing, leaping, and twirling do not come to mind. Learning, interesting, and enriching typically come up instead.

The first three words we mentioned actually describe a class we take called Nilhav. Nilhav is a class that is unlike any other we take at Prozdor, combining dance, Jewish heritage, performance skills, and commitment to a group. Over the past three years, we have learned so much from this class and hope to carry the new knowledge with us when we leave next year.

In our opinion, the best part of Nilhav is the welcoming and friendly atmosphere. The minute we walk through the doors, our teachers, Abby Wolf and Aaron Beckman, always welcome us warmly.
Our friends, who we have grown closer to for the past three years, are also a huge component. They come from all over Massachusetts and parts of New Hampshire. The time we spend at Nilhav is important because we get to be with the friends that we only see once a week as well as practice for upcoming performances. The dances incorporate traditional Israeli Folk dancing with modern dancing such as step, ballet, and a little bit of jazz.

Our dances this year included the songs “Hilula by Sheva and “Mah Od Nevakesh by Gaya. The performance is about ten minutes and took us approximately five months to learn. The learning process was a fun experience because we not only learned the choreography, but also learned the importance of keeping a good attendance record.

On occasion we have extended practice to go over the steps and bond with the team. Sometimes, the teachers bring candy to share during lunch breaks when we talk about upcoming events and the progress of the team.

All of this prepping and practicing leads up to two performances: one in Boston at MIT, and the other at Martin Luther King Jr. High School in New York City. Nilhav has been performing at these two venues for ten years.

The New York event is always highly anticipated because we become even closer with our peers, meet new people, and learn from them. This year in New York we met a group, “Turkish Delight, who came all the way from Turkey for the event. It was shocking to know that there are people around the world who are the age that we are and do the exact same thing that we do, but from a different culture.
Another advantage to the events of the year is the experience of being dancers. With teamwork and cooperation, we have truly reaped the benefits of taking Nilhav at Prozdor.

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Branching out from the Student Center http://www.denebolaonline.net/2009/04/15/branching-out-from-the-student-center/ http://www.denebolaonline.net/2009/04/15/branching-out-from-the-student-center/#comments Wed, 15 Apr 2009 06:58:38 +0000 Shayna Sage http://www.sandbox.denebolaonline.net/?p=2172 Loud, overwhelming, and cliquish. These are just a few words that come to mind when asked what it is like to have a meal in the cafeteria, or “Student Center. I do make a daily appearance in the cafeteria, but it’s only to buy my lunch, not to eat it there.

The increasingly popular trend of eating outside the cafeteria contributes to a generally more enjoyable meal. My personal experiences in the cafeteria have involved getting up to buy something and not having a seat when I return, being caught in the middle of a food fight, and missing phone calls due to the lack of service in the Student Center.

Now, the point of being released for lunch is not only to refuel, but also to have a break from classes. The thirty minutes outside the classroom are a chance to unwind and decompress from the first half of the day, for kids to stretch their legs and take a breather.

I don’t see how anyone can relax in the cafeteria when you can barely even hear your own thoughts over the noise. I’m not a big fan of loud noises, and when I’m trying to cram for a test or do some last minute homework during lunch, the cafeteria is not an ideal place.

Another major deterrent to eating in the Student Center is its general cleanliness, or lack thereof. By the middle of long block, when lunch is in full swing, the floors can be pretty gross, almost sickeningly so. Walking across the lunchroom, you’re likely to encounter sticky puddles, smushed sandwiches, and cookie crumbs.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that there aren’t people trying to be clean; it’s just that the undeniable truth is, teens are messy. In the cafeteria, it accumulates over the course of a hundred and five minutes and, in my opinion, the sight of smashed French fries and old bottle caps strewn all over the place doesn’t really help me enjoy my meal.

The constant scramble for chairs is yet another downside to eating in the Student Center. People are always on the lookout for empty chairs to swipe’€or even occupied chairs to swipe. On occasion, I have seen students have their seats literally pulled from under them. The unnecessary commotion is not only ridiculously childish, but extremely disturbing to the people trying to eat.

The entire cafeteria experience is simply not enjoyable, and there are few reasons to endure it when there are alternative lunch spots. In a school as big as Newton South, there are many possible dining areas preferable to the Student Center where students can sit comfortably in any arrangement they want.
In the hallways and lobbies, students don’t have to sit on hard chairs at a traditional round table littered with food and various bits of trash. And there are the added benefits of cell phone service, a quieter and more relaxed setting, a plethora of available seats, and most importantly, no food fights.

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