With the help of the Guidance Department head Shelly Borg and Goldrick Housemaster Henry Turner, South teen Camille Brugnara screened the film Breaking Free From Depression on April 5 2011 as a part of the Just Think Teens Making Smart Choices Expo.Starting on April 4, the Expo was a week long fair held in various locations around Newton. The Expo’s highlights included seminars on students making healthy lifestyles and serious concerns such as depression. “The [screening] was something that Camille wanted. She felt it important for the community to have access to this,” Borg said. “We know that people always have concerns about depression and this was a good way to reach them.”After working with Doctor Naja Reily, the producer of the film, on spreading word about depression and conqueroring it, Brugnara asked to be in the film herself. She was then put into the movie. “It felt good to [be in the film], because I felt like I could potentially make a difference in peoples lives who are suffering from mental illnesses,” Brugnara said. 85 people showed up for the film including members of the South community and faculty from other schools.After the showing of the film, Camille and her mother gave a presentation on depression, Camille’s struggle through it, and facts and statistics. Doctors Andrew Aspel, Steven Litwack, and Naja Reily were present at the screening to give medical insight on the disease. Breaking Free fromDepression followed teens and young adults from all different walks of life that had one indelible fact in common; they were all diagnosed with clinical depression.
Statistics show that 154 million people suffer from clinical depression, one in five teens in the US suffers through depression at least once and 80% of those kids go through this disease without being diagnosed or medically helped.
New England Patriots offensive tackle Matt Light hosted the movie. Light ushered the audience through the stories and personal accounts of teens that were dealing with depression.
“If you have an actual physical illness that people can see then they look at it differently as opposed to a mental one. It’s like I’m just sad. It’s a lot more than that,” explained Caroline Hanly, an 18-year old in the film.
Among the various teens interviewed in the film was Brugnara. Her parents saw the first signs of depression through her anger at a very young age.
“My parents noticed that I was a very angry two year old,” Brugnara said in the film.
The film then followed the signs and symptoms of depression which range from; lack of sleep, loss of appetite, withdrawal from the public, impulsive anger, mood swings.
“It felt like no matter what I did, none of my emotions would release,” Jachobie Cosom, another teen from the film, said.
The film then took a much darker turn as it examined the thoughts of suicide that most people going through depression go through.
“You feel like you’re on a cliff. You feel like you’re on a cliff and you’re ready to jump and you know no one is going to stop you,” Cosom said.
“You just want to get rid of everything that you’re feeling. And just be done with everything. You never look at the positive things,” Hanly said.
“I tried to kill myself and that’s the realest it ever got with depression and me. And then I vowed to someone I love a lot that I would never try it again,” Igor Frieire, a teen interviewed in the film, said.
“Learning from yesterday, living for today, and loving tomorrow,” is how Cosom describes his view on life after his stint with depression.
Burgnara also has had her moments of triumph over her depression. She explains in the film that after being with depression she took up the hobby of glass blowing, a form of art in which the artist morphs hot glass into what their imagination wills it to be.
“In life sometimes we try and focus on everyone else and pleasing everyone else, when sometimes we have to take time for ourselves and treat ourselves with love, kindness, and respect. A key aspect [of overcoming depression] was the importance of art and sports. Having an outlet for emotions,” Brugnara said.
Borg counted this screening as a great success and “wonderful” use of the expo. “It takes a lot of courage to talk about something you’ve suffered through,” Borg said. “It was a gift for us to hear about and for her to talk about.”
“My goal with doing and screening the movie was to let people know that you can overcome depression. And ultimately I hope that if I can help one person then they’ll help another and so on. Baby steps,” Brugnara said.]]>
By Liana Butchard and Jesse Feldstein3.34, 4.56, and 2.51 may just seem like numbers, but to some high school students at Newton South these numbers are their future. “How many honors are you taking?” As we start course registration for the 2011-2012 year, this seems to be the question that everyone is asking. Some people love answering this with the long list of difficult classes that they are taking next year. This isn’t true for other students, however, and hearing this bragging often produces a winner and a victim. There is the assumption that everyone takes many honors classes, but this corollary is more a myth than a fact. South is quite an academically competitive high school and many students push themselves very hard. The question is: how hard is too hard? There are many factors that should be considered before students add an honors class to their schedules.There seems to be common thought that everyone takes honors classes. “Only about half of the students at South take honors classes. You can get into good schools [colleges] without them,” guidance counselor Lenny Libenzon said. With all of the pressure that is put on so many students, it seems that some of them should just take a deep breath and relax. The classes that you take are not going to take over the path for what you do later in life. That being said, slacking off isn’t answer either; the point is to try hard, but don’t kill yourself. Other interests such as sports are important, too. Freshman Daniel Friedman plays soccer, wrestles, and runs track, meaning that he already has a lot going on in addition to his school work. “I want to stay a three season athlete, and doing a bunch of honors classes would be too much for me,” Friedman said.Numerous students are enrolled and continue to enroll in honors courses. Sophomore Kitty Crowley is taking two honors courses, and she finds them to be interesting and stimulating.“I pick honors courses based on whether or not I like them. The GPA is just an extra boost,” Crowley said. She believes that being interested in a subject is what should factor into whether or not a student takes an honors course. When Crowley makes her choice, she thinks about what will interest her regardless of what her teachers suggest. This year Kitty is taking honors chorus because she likes singing and music. Crowley figures, “If I was going to do it, why not get the extra credit? I enjoy chorus, and that is why I signed up, and the boosted GPA isn’t bad either.”Another thing to consider is the time commitment. Taking an honors class usually means at least an hour or two of homework per night. That’s not too bad for one or two classes, but any more and it will really start to add up. Staying up to all hours of the night isn’t a good idea. Most doctors say that teenagers need eight and one half to nine hours of sleep per night to really excel during the day. Countless hours of homework won’t get you even close to that. Many teachers like the Goldrick House-Master Mr. Turner agree that taking more difficult classes and then staying up way too late is not a good plan. “Honors classes are very challenging and require a lot of outside class time. Staying up until one or two o’clock every night is not realistic,” Turner said.Taking this into consideration, some students plan their schedule around getting extra time during the day to get homework done. Take freshman Anna Alsop who has chosen to take four honors classes next year, but is leaving several potential elective blocks open, so that she can have time do get work done during the school day. “Right now I want to take as many honors classes as I can, but I’m leaving a lot of time to deal with the workload. If I plan out my time then I think that I will be fine,” Alsop said.Many students will take an honors class in a subject that they hate just for the honors credit. “I’m not going to take an honors class just to take it. The honors classes that I’m taking are ones that I’m actually interested in,” freshman Emily Kaufman said. If a class or subject is enjoyable or interesting, then it is probably more likely that one would take away a lot from it. Kaufman thinks that it is silly to stress over an honors class that you don’t even remotely like or want to take. And the classes are stressful: “The more that you take, the more stressful it will be,” Turner said.Many students are often stuck in a conundrum about whether or not they will fit in the new learning environment. For all the irresolute students sophomore Jack Rice offers some personal advice. “I worry about what suits me. What am I capable of doing? It is absolutely an individual choice. Teachers and parents should only offer a suggestion, but I decide what classes I take,” said Rice.Often times, however, a student’s decision is influenced by the thoughts of a teacher. Christopher Jackson, a world language teacher at Newton South has been helping students make their choices for years.“It is only more work for no reason if you do not enjoy the material. That is why a student must express interest before I talk to them about the option of honors,” remarked Jackson. Jackson believes the “atmosphere is more productive” in an honors course because each student is genuinely devoted to the curriculum.“That doesn’t mean there is less stress. Students have to pick and choose because if they took all honors it would simply be too overwhelming,” said Jackson. “Ultimately students get more out of it and every method of teaching just seems to work in my honors classes.”Jackson believes that the enthusiasm is increased in an honors environment and the teachers are happy which in turn makes the students happy.In the end, the power is in the hands of each student. Regardless of how many—if any—honors classes you are planning on taking, they are something to think about carefully. Course selection is just one of many challenging decisions each student makes throughout their career at Newton South. Perhaps this decision can be utilized as a rare opportunity for a challenge.]]>
By Courtney FosterWhat do Abe Lincoln, Santa Claus, and Conan O’Brien all have in common? Check their faces. Now more than ever, the latest hot fashion is: the styling of facial hair.We see celebrities and teachers alike sporting carefully and diligently shaped beards. Although the stars may have their beards masterminded by expensive stylists, the unshaven educators in Newton simply have a different opinion: the beard selects the man, not the other way around. “I can’t say that I ‘chose’ it,” Physics teacher Alexander Kraus said. “I wanted facial hair, but not a full beard.”Others, such as Fine Arts Coordinator Jeff Knoedler go as far as to personify their beards.“I didn’t really choose my beard style,” Knoedler said. “It chose me.”Still, a select few not only give their beards personalities, but, in contrast, let their beards rule over them completely.“You don’t choose your beard,” French teacher Sebastien Merle said. “Your beard chooses you, and then you comply with what it has decided for you.”These teachers also come to the consensus that a hairdresser to tame one’s beard is unnecessary.“[My beard is created solely by] my face and me,” Knoedler said, as does Merle, denoting that his beard is “all [him].”Whether a recent development or not, it is clear that once a beard is grown it stays, for one reason or another.Kraus was looking to appear wise beyond his years when he chose to grow out his facial hair.“I’ve had the beard for about four years,” Kraus said. “I originally grew it to make myself look older. As a short, young teacher, it helped distinguish me from students. In my first couple years at South, the cafeteria workers thought I was a student and would charge me the student lunch rate until I corrected them.”Merle was taken aback when he realized he had the ability to grow a beard and continues to sport one for his own personal pleasure.“For most of my twenties, I wasn’t able to grow a full beard; it was really spotty,” Merle said. “I stopped shaving during Spring break two years ago, and much to my surprise, it looked pretty full. So I decided to keep it for a while. I haven’t shaved since.”For Knoedler, the beard is a relatively new addition to his look. He did enjoy how it looked on him when he grew it out two months ago, but outside influence from a significant other was involved in his decision to stop shaving.“[I’ve had my beard] since February break. I didn’t shave over vacation, then just decided to keep it when my wife mentioned she liked it,” Knoedler said. “How can I shave it after that?”There are discrepancies over the net effects of the beard on the wearer of the beard and those experiencing it from afar. Some believe a beard can only have a positive impact on one’s character.“There are only advantages to having a beard,” Merle said, although he did not specify what those advantages are.In contrast, others will have problems with their facial hair from time to time.“If it gets long, it can get kind of itchy,” Kraus said.Although Merle’s family would rather see his chin bare and hairless, his friends find his beard amusing and appropriate considering the steryotypic image of a bearded professor.“My family hates [my facial hair] with a passion,” Merle said. “My friends seem to find it quite fitting, considering my professorial occupation.”Knoedler’s son objects to his beard, but Knoedler himself is largely a fan of it and feels that it augments his already good looks.“My son complains it pokes him when I kiss him,” Knoedler said. “[However] I think I’m incredibly handsome. My beard really pushes my handsomeness over the top. My friends are all very jealous.”Beards definitely evoke a myriad of reactions amongst the ladies. South girls in general seem to have reservations about beards, preferring that guys shave or at most leave their beards modest and well kept.“Honestly, I like the clean shaven look best, but some guys can really rock the beards,” freshman Sophie Cash said.“I don’t mind beards, but only if they are short and neat,” sophomore Gil Blume said. “[But] once it goes lumberjack-long, it’s time to shave. Mr. Merle has the perfect type of beard. Just putting it out there” Blume said.One student, when comparing her father’s facial hair perceptions living in the Northern region versus the Southern region of the United States, believes opinions regarding beards are regionally developed.“When my dad came up here from down South, he said it was harder to get a job up North with a beard,” freshman Leah Jacobson said. “Up here, large beards mean creepy.” Still, unique and original beards are appreciated.“I mostly like facial hair when it’s entertaining or weird, but not really for attractiveness’ sake,” Cash said.Freshman Natalie Silverman has a strong opinion about who should and shouldn’t have beards. She believes facial hair on South students doesn’t make the cut.“I think that facial hair on students is gross,” Silverman said. “I mean, we’re still kids, kind of, and it’s just weird seeing a fifteen year old with a full beard and mustache. ”Even Silverman, though, will admit that the right type of facial hair on the right type of person can look attractive.“With more mature and older men, beards and mustaches can look good. Not like a lumberjack-man kind of facial hair, but something subtle.”Silverman shares a similar opinion with many others about the pros and cons of facial hair. She too is quick to highlight its benefits. Both in and outside of the South community, beards are definitely in style.“Someone like Adam Levine or Joe Jonas,” Silverman said. “That look is, well… sexy.”]]>
You know it’s “Guys’ Night” when it’s the night of Sophomore Sleepover… so here we are with this school year’s View From The Top. Now, first off, let’s get things straight – age is just a number. Laugh all you want guys, but if it’s one thing Dorf got right, it’s go young or go home.As customarily seen in other versions of the View From The Top, we have compiled what we feel are some good rules to follow as you underclassmen proceed with your high school lives. And so from the six of us seniors we offer six pieces of advice.One: As the weekend approaches, make sure you are making as many plans as you can so that when plan D fails you, you always have plans E and F. Don’t feel bad for having ditched plans C through G when plan B actually turns out ok. It’s all right Dorf, we still love you.Two: Always have a minimum of three sophomore girls walking you to class, trust us it looks really cool. Three: When she says “your turn” … It’s never your turn… run and hide. Four: Under any circumstances, even if you are “tryin-to-beat” “tryin-to-take-em-out-to-eat”, “tryin-to-meat?” do NOT double text.Five: Always bring your sophomore girlfriend to Chill, because as Dorf always says: “Just chill! It’s good for you, that’s genius!”Six: When you find everyone either puking or crying at the end of the Semi after-party, don’t worry, it was a good party! Just ask Curtis… Or call Jakerides… He’ll get you home safe.And now to give all you different grades some more broad adviceFreshman: Dorf managed to have four great years of freshman year, but not all of us are fortunate enough to have that opportunity, so cherish it while it lasts.Sophomores: I’m sure you know us all pretty well by now. To all you guys, we’re sorry Dorf took all your girls, tough break. To all you girls, Harrison Douglass is single and ready to mingle.Juniors: You got a lot of growing up to do. Individually we know some of you are good kids, but you really are a brazen bunch that likes to get a little too frisky at Tori’s house. Guys, sorry Dorf took every member of the naughty nine. Girls, just because we just told the sophomores, doesn’t change the fact that Harrison Douglass is indeed single.To all the fellas out there, it is encouraged that you start on Jake’s workout plan, guaranteed to get you a great arms and a sophomore girl (or you can just drive a 60,000 dollar car and shop at Bloomingdales.)To our very own Senior Class TWENTY ONE ONE LET’S GOOO. Its been a long time coming, who’s ready to get the hell out of this school? We are that’s for sure! 8 more weeks… Let’s make the most of them right?]]>
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.]]>
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.]]>
This outburst of joy was followed by a series of screams and subsequent phone calls to friends, who picked up their BlackBerries and shared the excitement.
BlackBerry in hand, Shait has joined the group of more than 41 million worldwide Blackberry users. Though consistently a phone of choice for many, holding nearly 15 percent of the world’s smartphone sales, BlackBerries are becoming an increasingly popular form of communication among students at South, particularly those in the senior class.
“I feel as though I’m one of the last people out of my friends who has gotten one,” Shait said. “I always see people on their BlackBerries, whether they are BBMing, playing Brickbreaker, or texting another person.”
As with most smartphones, the BlackBerry is not essential to a student’s education or daily life and now, though many high school students have BlackBerries, the phone wasn’t created for this purpose.
The Canadian-based company Research in Motion (RIM) has been producing BlackBerries since 1999, but its purpose and format has drastically changed since then. The first model was a simple two-way pager, intended for business use only. Over time, RIM further developed its capabilities to receive emails and eventually turned it into the technologically advance smartphone seen today.
Because of their capabilities, BlackBerries have long been the device of choice in the business world; many corporations still require employees to have them.
Over the past few years, however, there has been a shift in customer base as the demographic has grown to include a younger audience, evident in the number of users at South.
Senior Andrea Braver has been a BlackBerry user for about a year and a half, after getting her father’s old phone.
“For workers [like my dad], the phone serves as an electronic dog tag, in that companies have 24/7 access to their employees,” Braver said. “Initially, when my dad generously lent me his old phone… the BlackBerry wasn’t popular yet. However, within six months, a lot of teens got them.”
Unlike Braver, who was unaware of the phone’s capabilities, many South seniors getting BlackBerries now are attracted to the convenient and useful features such as internet access, email, BlackBerry Messaging (BBM), applications, a full keyboard, and occasionally the calendar.
The businessperson stigma of the phone has been removed to reveal a modern phone attractive to many students.
“I’ve noticed that a lot of people have them, and people get really into BBMing and even the cases,” senior and non-BlackBerry user Shireen Pourbemani said. “They can be a little ‘culty’ because it is easier to contact people with BlackBerries [through BBM].”
Despite this, Pourbemani would get a BlackBerry if she had the opportunity.
“They’re very addicting and you can never go back. I don’t want to say that I want one, but I secretly do.”
Though plentiful and useful, its features, apart from BBM, are not exclusive to the brand. And though none of these extra features are vital, countless students continue to flock towards it.
Senior Shayna Sage has a total of 104 BBM contacts, 46 of whom are past and present South students and the rest of whom are camp friends.
“BlackBerries are useful because they allow us to stay in touch with foreign [camp] staff members throughout the school year,” Sage said. “It also enables you to send sound bites and pictures even faster than before. Who wouldn’t want that?”
In addition to South students, celebrities and politicians from Madonna to Barack Obama have been spotted with BlackBerries, creating a prestigious status for the phone. Twenty-year-old singer Sean Kingston even recorded a song with Soulja Boy and Teairra Mari called “BBM,” praising this popular feature.
Kingston took to his Twitter account to say, “If u got a BlackBerry, stand up rite now! This is yo’ anthem. Smash it. BBM me!”
Braver, who now sports a BlackBerry Touch, which is the newest model, vocalized a sentiment which stems from the status now attached to the brand.
“I decided, in order to keep up with the trend, I would buy the newest, coolest of them all,” Braver said, slyly smiling. “It’s all about staying on top.”
Smartphones users in general are on the rise. According to the International Data Corporation, third Quarter smartphone sales in 2010 have risen 89.5 percent from third quarter sales in 2009. Although other smartphones like the iPhone and Android-operated devices are certainly popular, many South students still turn to the BlackBerry as the phone and its competitive market continue to grow.
“I prefer [BlackBerries] to the iPhone because touch screens are really hard to type on, and I prefer it to the Droid because the Droid has so many unnecessary features and is way too confusing,” Shait said.
Senior Ashan Singh recently chose to buy a BlackBerry after deliberating between this and the iPhone. But he does not regret his decision at all.
“I really wanted a smartphone. Period,” Singh said. “And I realized I needed a keyboard so I chose my BlackBerry.” And while he mentioned the excessive nature of the phone, he noted that “it’s the cool thing to do.”
When purchasing a new phone, students are signed to a two-year contract, and as more people are swayed, the number of users increases even more. Although the Blackberry does not present any unique capabilities other than BBMing, it has carved a cult status at South. Users are locked into a commitment and wouldn’t have it any other way.
“Why would I choose another phone?” Sage said, looking up as her fingers click across her BlackBerry.]]>
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.
The progression of the Art and Music programs at South has occurred in lieu of the efforts of countless people, from the parents who assist these programs to the teachers who build their foundations, and finally to the students who push these programs beyond their limits.
From within this sort of family, there is one man in particular who has seen these programs at their heights and struggles. This artist and musician is Dr. Jack Rossini, a teacher who recently re-introduced himself to the South community.
Rossini has a vast history in the Newton Public School system. His career at South began in 1983 when he directed the band, working with Choral Director Helen Taylor and Orchestra Director Gordon Duckel. This was not, however, an opportune time to start teaching at a new school.
During the 1980s, the student population in Newton began to fall increasingly lower. There came to be fewer and fewer students at South, until only several hundred spanned all the grade levels.
All student groups at South grew smaller; the school-wide band had only 25 musicians.
This decline in students led to the schools not needing as many teachers to maintain a proper student-teacher ratio, so Rossini’s first tenure ended during a series of staff cuts.
Around 1990, he taught at Brown Middle School.
According to Rossini, this was a tough time for everyone involved in the Newton Public School system, and consequently, everybody suffered.
Fortunately, the 1990’s brought a “building decade,” and the student population began to increase once more. When Newton South offered Rossini the position of orchestra director, he took the job, and what began as an 11-musician orchestra in 2003 grew to a hearty 45 musicians within six years.
The band and chorus increased in numbers as well with the arrival of Ms. Lisa Linde and Dr. Benjamin Youngman.
Beginning in 2006, Rossini headed the Fine Arts department until his retirement in 2009.
With Youngman’s leave of absence to travel to China, Rossini returned to assume Youngman’s position as the director of three choruses and as the teacher of music theory classes.
During the time in which Rossini worked at South, much has changed in the Fine Arts department. Changes in student population have largely shaped and defined the progression of the Art and Music programs.
Currently, both of these programs are grappling with the effects of limited funding, and employees are working harder than ever to accommodate for the monetary losses.
Though art and music classes continue to increase in size, Rossini believes, “the student enthusiasm is still there” and are “on the upswing.”
Numerous awards have recognized the excellence of these programs, which is always showcased in the students’ high level of performance.
These artists have Rossini to thank for helping sculpt this inspirational pathway, which will provoke creativity in young minds for generations to come.]]>