Ever-accelerating technological advances have made websites such as Facebook, MySpace, Formspring, and Twitter increasingly accessible. However, only a few people claim to partake in all of these hip online networking experiences. One of these technological fiends, Sophomore Alanna Milshtein, has every networking account imaginable—from Formspring to ooVoo. Most South students are like Milshtein, having countless internet social networking accounts, each of which represents a different way to interact with the world. The average South student spends roughly two hours per day on social networking sites. Many students, including Milshtein, do not realize the potential harm of these accounts. Milshtein believes, however, that social networking sites are harmless and argues that “people are not skeptical on the Internet!” To prove her point, Milshtein created a fake Facebook account. Her fake identity, Steven Li (a “freshman at Newton South High School”), had just moved to Newton from Chicago. “After creating the profile I friended a bunch of people and they all accepted thinking went to the same school!” Milshtein said. After a week, Steven Li had about 183 friends and chatted with five people about various things relating to school. “This is a prime example of how some students at Newton South are just not cautious enough online,” Milshtein said. “But the internet acts like a mask, which allows students to become someone else.” It is a place of true anonymity. A popular site called Omegle lets strangers talk to other strangers.”On Omegle, you can be anyone you want to be,” Milshtein said. “I have chatted with many people using fake identities in the past.” Role Playing Game (RPG) sites like omgpop, World of Warcraft, and Gaia Online are also very popular among teens.They require a person to embody a new identity to compete in the game. Blizzard, a popular RPG gaming industry, has become a lucrative market by creating social networking websites that depend on pseudo personas interacting to compete at various gamesThis masking of true identity makes social networking popular. Anonymity, however, is a double-edged sword. “Being anonymous makes it easier to bully people because the bullies don’t worry about getting caught,” Milshtein said. This social networking period of the Internet age has people putting more trust online than ever before. “Many students think that by going online, they can be someone else,” Milshtein said. “I am way more confident online than otherwise.” Formspring, honesty box, and other applications that allow anyone to ask or give comments anonymously have been popular. Students at South seem interested in both giving and receiving feedback about themselves. However, many students receive hurtful comments.“When honesty box first came out, I was excited because I thought people would be telling people that they liked each other and giving compliments,” Milshtein said. “In reality, I would get messages saying ‘you’re fat’ or ‘you’re so annoying, you have no friends;’ and then I began hating honesty box.” Although teens love the Internet, it has downsides. Being cautious about people you interact with online is necessary, because the person behind that cyber screen could be anyone.]]>
On Friday, March 11, an earthquake reportedly measuring 8.9 on the Richter scale hit Japan, triggering a massive tsunami. Early that morning, 300 were predicted dead, but by the afternoon, the death count had risen into the thousands, and the magnitude of the earthquake was raised to 9.0. A 0.1 increase on the Richter scale is actually an increase of about 30 percent because the scale is logarithmic. As of March 19, approximately 7,500 deaths had been confirmed, and 12,000 people are missing. Officials expect both numbers to rise.Because Japan suffers frequent earthquakes, most buildings are built to withstand earthquakes under 7.5 on the Richter scale. This earthquake, however, was far stronger than anyone could have prepared for, and also triggered a devastating tsunami.The tsunami hit Japan off the coast of Sendai, creating waves of up to 33 feet—the worst natural disaster in Japan’s recorded history. Devastation, destruction, depression, cannot even begin to describe the horror of the disaster. Videos of the tragedy depict cars filled with families being swept right off the highway, people trying to outrun the raging tsunami, and countless homes being destroyed. In one video, a little boy wails for the mother whom he will never see again.“Shocked” was the only word sophomore Hikaru Yonezaki could come up with when she heard the news about the disaster.“I have family and friends there. My grandparents and relatives who live in the west (around 500 miles away from the area hit) said they felt a shake, but they seem to be doing OK,” Yonezaki said.Japan is suffering from not only a terrible earthquake, hundreds of aftershocks, and a tsunami that that had washed away thousands of homes, but also from a potential nuclear meltdown from a reactor complex..Japan possesses few energy sources and generates a quarter of its electricity through nuclear power.“Nuclear facilities in Japan … were built to withstand earthquakes, but not a 9.0 earthquake,” CNN contributor and research associate James Walsh said.The cooling systems of Dai-ichi and Dai-ni, two nuclear power plants on the east coast of Japan, have failed, causing explosions that emit radioactive vapor. Although the radiation emitted is not very harmful according to safety officials in Japan, everyone within an 18-mile radius of the power plants has been evacuated as a safety precaution. Noriyuki Shikata, spokesman for Prime Minister Naoto Kan, asserted that the nuclear situation was “under control.” Since then, a state of emergency has been declared for the two primary nuclear plants. “The nuclear explosion was completely unexpected. I had believed that the Japanese built those nuclear power plants in safe areas with rigid securities, and I still believe that. Even so, the explosion happened, and it was massive, too!” Yonezaki said.Despite the current nuclear anxiety, experts do not expect a repeat of the disastrous 1986 Chernobyl meltdown in Ukraine, which is considered the worst nuclear meltdown of all time. Unlike Chernobyl, the Japanese reactors are enclosed by containment vessels to guard against eruption.Although the magnitude of the nuclear explosions was not as bad as Chernobyl’s, Japan’s fear of nuclear radiation is increasing. The effects of the explosion have yet to be fully determined, but there is no doubt that the nuclear radiation will cause human fatalities in years to come. The disaster has prompted other nations around the world to reconsider their use of nuclear power. Until now, there was bipartisan agreement in America over nuclear power, but many politicians are not so sure anymore. “I think it calls on us here in the US, naturally, not to stop building nuclear power plants, but to put the brakes on right now until we understand the ramifications of what’s happened in Japan,” Senator Joseph I. Lieberman, the Independent from Connecticut and one of the Senate’s leading voices on energy, said on CBS’s “Face the Nation.” Massachusetts, which generates 11 percent of its electricity using nuclear power, is host to Pilgrim Nuclear Generation Plant in Plymouth, whose operating license will expire in about a year.According to Dori Zaleznik, the Newton health commissioner, there is a chance that the radiation could drift from Japan to the US, but it is fairly unlikely. Countries closer to Japan, such as Russia, are much more worried.In addition to the nuclear-related health concerns, Japan’s economy has been severely harmed by the impending disaster and many companies have halted production. The Nikkei Stock Average, the index of the Tokyo Stock Exchange, has fallen over 2,500 points since the earthquake hit Japan.“Everything is happening so fast. In the east, there’s a shortage on food, electronic power, gas, everything. Even things like clothing. They don’t have enough of that—and they’re running out,” Yonezaki said. Her concerns echo those of many Japanese citizens. There are concerns that the shortage could eventually expand all over Japan as people evacuate to the west, which could further impede economic recovery.]]>
Lupo grew up in Newton and has spent her whole life here.
Although Lupo originally graduated from Newton North High School, she loves Newton South equally as much and thinks it is “a great school. As a student at North, she played softball and enjoyed hanging out with friends.
Lupo has grown very attached to the public school system in Newton. She feels that she can connect to the students on a more personal level because of her own experiences as a student in the same system.
She is able to use her knowledge and experiences of the Newton schools as a way to understand the students that she interacts with on a daily basis. “I really enjoy being with the kids. I have a real attachment to them, Lupo said.
When Lupo first began working, she worked in the Human Resources department for the Newton Public Schools.
She got married and had kids, and once her children graduated high school and were headed to college, she decided that she wanted a full time job.
Since she really loved living and working in Newton, she sought a job at Charles E. Brown Middle School, and was employed there starting in 1987.
Since then she has worked in the main office of many schools. Now, after twenty-three years, she is the executive secretary of Newton South High School and loves her job.
Her favorite part of being involved in the Newton school system for so many years has been “watching the middle school kids from Brown and Oak Hill mature and graduate.
Lupo explains how many of the graduates that she has known since 6th grade have made a point to visit her and update her with news.
In addition to her passion for working with kids, Lupo also has many hobbies and interests. For example, in her free time she likes to pick up a book and simply read. “I read a lot and I absolutely enjoy it, Lupo said.
A newfound interest of Lupo is computer games. Several students began giving her recommendations on a few fun games. Now, whenever she has spare time during her busy life, she grabs her computer and plays. “I try to keep th computer at a distance, or else I could play it 24/7, Lupo said.
Though she loves these various activities, Lupo insists that her favorite thing to do is to be with kids, expressing the fun she has chaperoning events or just spending time with students throughout the day.
Lupo misses having more interactions with students at South.
Before Students went to their individual house office for things such as dismissals and late arrivals they would go to the main office. During that time she got to see many more students than she sees now.
So, if you find extra time in the day, pop into the main office to say hello to her.]]>
Cowtown, written by Allison Moore and directed by senior Taryn Valley, was the opening play.
Two sisters, Trina and Abby, played by junior Madeline Schulman and sophomore Jaclyn Lebovits, have just moved from the city to Cowtown, and they are struggling through the hardships of a new school.
The second play was Why Do We Laugh? written by Stephen Gregg and directed by senior Allie Glickman. This play follows a couple’s lives at different periods from ages five to 67.
It tells a beautiful story about letting people into one’s life and the importance of memories.
The last play, July 7, 1994, was written by Donald Margulies and directed by senior Alexandra Lewis. July 7, 1994 is about a doctor named Kate, played by junior Tanya Lyon.
Her conversations with her patients reveal troubled lives that mirror the nature of society.
Compassion for her patients invades her thoughts when she returns home at the end of the day.
She wants to immerse herself in the peaceful and innocent lives of her two-year old son and her husband Mark, played by junior Jake Light. This play touches upon the serious problems and the hardships.
Amazingly, the One Acts were all student-directed.
Except for Jeff Knoedler and Joe Grassia, the tech director, South students did all the directing and acting; South students worked in the backstage crew as well.
“It’s mostly students. I was directing my friends, Glickman said.
Glickman first got interested in theatre when she was six years old. Wanting to try something new, she began to direct.
“I have always been very inspired by the directors I’ve worked with, or [by] watching other students direct. I wanted to be that inspiration to others, and I wanted to push myself and learn more, and now, I absolutely love it! Glickman said.
Normally, a director is an adult who orders everybody around, but in these student directed plays, that was not the case.
“It’s tricky to direct your friends because on the one hand, you really want to hang out with them and have fun, but on the other hand, you have this authority position and you have to take control, Glickman said.
Students had the responsibility and authority to produce a play, and it turned out to be wonderful.
“It was really good because the directors knew everyone’s group dynamics so it made the group cooperate better, making it a lot more fun! freshman Holly Higgins said.
Higgins played Beth in Cowtown. Even though it was a completely different experience to have a student, classmate, and friend direct the play, the actors did a great job of listening and following the director’s orders.
“They’re an amazing group of people and are so talented, and I didn’t want to disappoint them. I wanted to give everyone their moment to shine and to display who they were, Glickman said.
She wanted to make the characters and their acting stand out, making the play a balance of comedy, some “drama, and as honest of a piece as possible.
Glickman feels like everything she has done with South Stage and theater in general has led up to her directing this show.
“I learned so much and gained an even greater respect for this art form that I love so much, Glickman said.
“We all got closer during the whole process of producing the plays and that’s the great thing about theatre, Higgins said.
These short plays had such rich and diverse plots that at one moment the audience would be laughing, and at the next moment crying.
From the audience to the actors and stage crew, everyone had a great time. The One Acts were an amazing learning experience for all.]]>
At Melrose High Turner he was an outstanding student who loved history, biology, calculus and chemistry. Something else caught his attention. As one who loved both academics and athletics, he also swam for a club team as well as his high school team. “I did free style and butterfly, Turner said. “It was an excellent outlet. I had all kinds of travel opportunities and I made important friendships.
Turner’s father had been an elementary teacher and is now a professor. What pushed Turner to become a teacher himself was an added influence’€his three-year high school history teacher. “He was a great teacher, Turner said. “I respected him, and he was inspiring and made history come to life, says Turner. The impression his history teacher left was huge, and it shaped who Turner is and what he does today.
Following his academic and athletic passions, Turner chose the University of Massachusetts/Amherst, where he had numerous outstanding history professors both at UMass and in the greater Amherst area. “It was good value for money, said Turner. “I also had a scholarship for swimming.
Turner read history and swam all four years; he was elected captain of his team in his senior year. “We became Atlantic Champions, said Turner. “It was an opportunity to travel throughout New England and up and down the East Coast.
Asked about his most interesting college class Turner said it was one on political history. “The class had great depth, said Turner. “My professor pushed us to look for alternative voices in American history, he wanted us to know not only the politics and the ideas behind them, but the people who voiced those ideas. Turner not only learned about 1960s Civil Rights figures in a general sense but specific groups and individuals. “It got down to the level of Jewish women who had participated.
Not surprisingly, upon graduation Turner chose to become a history teacher. “I wanted a job where I could make a difference, Turner said. He started off his teaching career in Lexington, where South’s former principal, Van Seasholes, encouraged him. “He believed the classroom was the central place in a school, Turner said.
At South, as Housemaster and American history teacher, Turner has liked the philosophy about the importance of teaching, including for those who are administrators. “Unlike other places, Turner said, “everybody teaches. He finds others at the school are enthusiastic about “working with people and making an impact on their lives. Administration and teaching go together for Turner; it encouraged him that at South he could still teach the subject that he loves and help others solve problems.
“I like the challenges of the job…every day my job here is completely different, Turner said. The element of surprise is important to him. “I like it that when I walk into the building, I don’t know how my day will end.
Turner reminisces about himself as a teen going through high school and tries to use his experiences to guide and help South students. He has experienced his fair share of high school drama and he even admits that in high school he “was kind of a geek. However, his sense of humor and comforting smile make Turner an engaging figure, popular with and admired by his many students.
Turner loves to connect with his students in as many different ways as he can. “The students push me as a teacher to seek new ways of exploring content…I make good connections with my students through this kind of exploration, Turner said. Which is what, for a real teacher, it is all about.]]>
“Whenever I go to a different country, I try to learn their culture and their ways so that I can fully experience everything, Jackson said.
Jackson’s international background has made him a valuable teacher in the world language department.
He incorporates lessons that he has learned from his travels into the classroom and often tells his class stories of his adventures.
He grew up in a small town in Vermont where everybody knew everybody. As a kid, Jackson would go skiing in the mountains of Vermont and enjoy the snowy scenery.
The high school Jackson attended provided him with few choices. “There wasn’t even a Spanish class! Jackson said.
He desperately wanted to escape and explore the world.
During the summer of his senior year in high school, he traveled to Latin America with some friends, which is when he first began to learn Spanish.
“ When I went to South America, I fell in love with the rich culture and, of course, the language, Jackson said.
After high school, he went to college at the University of Vermont. Although he greatly enjoyed learning there, he felt that he wanted to pursue a career that would connect the world.
That is why he chose to major in the foreign language of Spanish.
He took a year off of college to go to Seville, the artistic, cultural, and financial capital of southern Spain, to learn more about the Spanish culture and language.
Jackson did not initially work as a teacher and tried many other careers until he finally decided on teaching. “In order to gain experiences and wisdom, I tried many different things, Jackson said. His other jobs included working as a translator, instructor of technology, a business consultant and a plethora of other jobs.
So, how did Jackson begin his career in teaching? Jackson explains, “I have always wanted to be somebody that could make a difference in society and help many people.
Jackson got his teaching license in history, French, and Spanish when he was 40 years old.
Jackson chose to teach Spanish because he believes that Spanish is not really a “foreign language at all. It is a language that is the second most commonly spoken language in the United States.
Even though he has tried many different careers, he has found teaching to be the most fun and exciting.
He has been a teacher for 15 years and he has taught at South for 11 years.
“Teaching at South has been a very fun experience because I get to influence many other people, Jackson said.
When he first came to South, he was surprised by how many choices there were, as it was one of the best public schools in America.
Over the years that Jackson has worked at South, he has seen many different things, some good and some bad. Regardless, he is proud to be a part of South’s great learning environment.
“Kids think that we teacher have no idea what it’s like to be a teenager, but hey, I was once a teenager too! Jackson said.
Other than teaching Spanish and traveling, Jackson has many hobbies. “Outside of school, I like to play my guitar and sing, Jackson said.
He especially enjoys listening to country and folk music and playing the piano.
Jackson’s unique travel experiences, well-rounded interests, and passion for the Spanish language allow him to be a very respected member of the South community.]]>
FML, accessed at www.fmylife.com, displays posts from people around the world about everyday anecdotes and occurrences. The creators explain that the site is “a space where you can let it all out and unwind by sharing the little things that screw with your day, and maybe realize that you are not alone in experiencing day to day crap.
Some of the stories on the site are very sad and heart wrenching, while others are just profane or silly.
The most popular post on FML is, “Today, I received my passport in the mail. They got my birth date wrong. Then I picked up my birth certificate that I had sent in with the application. Turns out my parents have been celebrating my birthday on the wrong day for 16 years. FML.
“So many embarrassing things have happened to me this year. I can totally relate to some of the posts on FML, freshman Joe Joseph said, who has the site bookmarked on his computer.
“FML is pure entertainment, freshman Zoe Clayton said. “It makes me feel better because such bad things are happening to others and I’m glad it’s not me¦but sometimes I feel guilty, Clayton said.
Many people visit the site but do not post anything on it, demonstrating how simply reading the posts is as satisfying as writing them.
“After having a bad day, I turn on my laptop and browse FML. It makes my day ten times better, Clayton said.
The popularity of FML spurred the creation of similar sites, for example My Life is Average, known as MLIA. Like FML, it is a site where people can post their observations that are generally average, everyday things that happen to be hilarious.
An example of an MLIA post is, “Last night my mom was working on her Mac-book while eating dinner. She was eating Chili which she put cheese in. She took a bite and a strand of cheese got onto her Mac. I watched her clean off the cheese and then say ‘ËœHa look, Mac and Cheese.’ I’ve found another candidate for the greatest parent award. MLIA.
These stories are not only fun to read, but they also allow everybody to take a break from their busy lives and appreciate the little things in everyday life. “MLIA is funny because its just the little things in life that crack me up, an anonymous senior said.
Another website of the same genre is Texts From Last Night, or TFLN. As the title suggests, TFLN is a site where people can post funny, interesting, or bizarre texts that they receive. For example, a recent post was, “Almost accidentally stole a baby… explain later. Posts on these websites are not just limited to the Internet anymore. Due to their popularity, stories from FML, MLIA, and TFLN are now available on I-Pods, cell phones, t-shirts, and even books.
These sites serve as a form of therapy; for the people that post stories, the sites are a place to let go of stress and unhappiness caused by a situation, or a place to entertain, and for readers, the sites offer comedic relief and a break from their stress, mundane day.
“The best way to manage a super busy schedule is to have some free time to release stress. Reading FML helps me get out of a stressful world and just relax, Joseph said.
So if you’re feeling stressed, try catching the FML fever’€it’s spreading quickly.]]>
“Teens don’t recognize the value of money, and there is pressure to have certain things, such as electronics, clothing, jewelry, etc., English teacher Julie Stonehill said.
The recession that began in 2007 has many families cautious of heavy spending. “Money right now is a precious resource and it doesn’t grow on trees, Stonehill said. In today’s economy, it is very hard to have excess money to spend, yet teens are spending excessive amounts of money.
According to Teenage Research Unlimited in Northbrook, Illinois, the average teen spends about 85 dollars per week, which means the average teen spends about 141 billion dollars a year.
The federal government’s survey of over 4,000 high school seniors revealed that 32 percent used credit cards, and 43 percent have access to ATM machines.
Yet the vast majority of teenagers do not understand how to compare credit cards in terms of fixed or variable Annual Percentage Rates, finance charges, grace periods, and so forth. They may have a part-time job, but they don’t understand how to manage their money.
“There is a lot of peer pressure to get the latest stuff. Everybody just wants to fit in, freshman Ana Daurio said. Kids juggle pricey extracurricular activities and hanker for high-tech gadgets.
School trips, clothes, and shoes for rapidly growing bodies, refrigerators to fill, prom dresses, piano and guitar lessons, football uniforms and cheerleading outfits, and of course the latest iPods, can altogether cost devastating amounts of money.
The media has a large influence over teens. It overexaggerates the importance of a product to a teenager, and it often advertises that in order to fit in and be socially accepted they must have said product.
Increasingly, teens have been bombarded with marketing pitches for the coolest sneakers or jeans. Especially since the economy is down, many advertisements are directed towards teens because they know that adolescents are reckless when it comes to money and that they will probably buy the item being advertised.
The financial managing and business courses at South help many students understand how to manage their money. “[The class] helps me see my options for the future so I can make the right decisions with my money, freshman Nadav Hazan said.
The class allows students to learn what the real world is like and how to deal with difficult situations that involve spending money. In those classes, students at South learn to appreciate money and it’s worth.
In order to earn money, jobs may seem like a great solution. Unfortunately, it is not as easy as it seems. Many students are busy with extracurricular activities and are dealing with stiff academic pressure to get into college; they just don’t have the time to get a job.
Financial education is vital to help teens make good decisions about their money now and in the future.]]>