Wildcat Tracks http://wildcattracks.weston.org The Student News Site of Weston High School Wed, 24 Jun 2020 22:41:17 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.5 Run for Hope fundraiser conducts virtual raffle in place of postponed event http://wildcattracks.weston.org/2847/news/run-for-hope-fundraiser-conducts-virtual-raffle-in-place-of-postponed-event/ http://wildcattracks.weston.org/2847/news/run-for-hope-fundraiser-conducts-virtual-raffle-in-place-of-postponed-event/#respond Thu, 18 Jun 2020 18:08:35 +0000 http://wildcattracks.weston.org/?p=2847 Weston High School sophomores Tally Zeller, Emilia Tutun, and Julie Hohenberg created an event called Run for Hope, which has been postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It was supposed to take place on April 4. 

We aren’t able to have an event until further notice,” Tutun stated. “We are waiting until social distancing is over so we can actually host a big event.

Run for Hope is a fundraiser to raise money for veterans. The students’ main goal is to raise money for NECHV, the New England Center and Home for Veterans. 

“We want to raise money for veterans and anything they need,” Tutun said. “Hopefully the money we raise will help fund wellness programs, tuition, meals, and housing support for veterans in need.”

Even though the actual event is postponed, Zeller, Tutun, and Hohenberg are still finding ways to help NECHV.

We were able to continue the raffle virtually and raise over $2,100,” Zeller said.

The raffle caught the eye of businesses in the area who were willing to donate to the cause.

  We have received more donations from local businesses after our raffle like Canobie Lake Park, and Rice Burg,” Hohenberg said.

Since the virtual raffle was so successful, the students are planning another one soon. 

“We are currently working on a virtual fundraiser based on the NECHV’s current needs,” Hohenberg said. “They have sent us their Amazon wish list, which includes necessities for veterans who are residents there, and we are looking at ways to fundraise and purchase these items on their wish list.”

Zeller, Tutun, and Hohenberg are also thinking about how they can help veterans who may be struggling in this quarantine. 

“We are also considering fundraisers for sponsoring meals for the veterans residing at the facility, or for veterans who have not had a chance to grocery shop and meal-prep during this time and need a safe and sanitary place to eat,” Hohenberg said.

Although there is no official date for when Run for Hope will happen after quarantine, the students are remaining positive with their thoughts about the event.

“We will revisit the chance of hosting an in-person fundraiser and look at what is happening with COVID-19 this summer, fingers crossed!” Hohenberg said. 

 

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Dr. Henry publishes new book ‘Teaching While Black’ http://wildcattracks.weston.org/2949/showcase/dr-henry-publishes-new-book-teaching-while-black/ http://wildcattracks.weston.org/2949/showcase/dr-henry-publishes-new-book-teaching-while-black/#respond Thu, 18 Jun 2020 17:59:21 +0000 http://wildcattracks.weston.org/?p=2949 English Teacher, Dr. Matthew Henry, recently published his first book called “Teaching While Black” on Tuesday, February 4. To celebrate Black History Month and Week at WHS, Henry held a poetry reading for faculty members and students to enjoy.

Although this is Henry’s first book, he has published about 100 pieces of  poetry and short stories since 2003 in journals, magazines, anthologies, and online. Henry explained his experience in the writing process.

“Usually I’ve seen, heard, read, or otherwise experienced something that I want to record and process,” Henry said. “Sometimes I am purposefully trying to make a statement about an event, person, or idea. But sometimes I just think something is profound and is a story to be retold.”

Henry’s favorite quote from his book addresses racial injustice in the world today.

 “…‘only 300?’: a student’s take on Harriet Tubman’ ends saying, ‘…i hear you. / now shut… up, and sit down.’ At this moment in time, that is my favorite line in the book because it succinctly addresses my feelings regarding the racist ignorance pouring out of the mouths and online presence of too many people in this country right now,” Henry wrote. 

From the reader’s perspective, English teacher Henry Moon elaborated on how the book enhanced his outlook on issues at WHS. 

“‘Teaching While Black’ brings many issues to light that many of us have always known about but never articulated,” Moon said. “In many ways, it affirms what I have observed and experienced as a teacher of color teaching in a predominantly Caucasian school.”

In addition to Moon, junior Zoe Fernandez commented on how the book and Henry influenced her life.

“Through both his teaching and writing, Dr. Henry has opened many eyes to the many perspectives of reality. As a student, it was really refreshing to come into his class each day and not know what to expect. There’s always something more to learn from Dr. Henry,” Fernandez said. 

Moon and Fernandez’s positive responses to Henry’s work is an example of one of Henry’s goals for the book. 

“If someone changes how they treat other people as a result of something they read in there, then I’m happy. If they simply look at the world differently in some way, sweet,” Henry said. “I would like people to read it and be impacted by it, preferably for good.”

Moon commented on how Henry’s work not only was a good read, but also how it addressed important issues regarding race.

“I enjoyed his book quite a bit. His poems were so funny and powerful and provocative that it would be nearly impossible not to engage in discussion after reading them,” Moon stated. “That said, issues of race are notoriously difficult topics to discuss, and not everyone is willing to engage in dialogue about them, let alone reach some kind of communal understanding. As a professional, I’ve always been incredibly impressed by anyone who can do something as momentous as publishing a volume of poetry while teaching full time.”

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Senior Photo Gallery http://wildcattracks.weston.org/2858/showcase/graduation-special-2020/senior-photo-gallery/ http://wildcattracks.weston.org/2858/showcase/graduation-special-2020/senior-photo-gallery/#respond Thu, 18 Jun 2020 01:06:55 +0000 http://wildcattracks.weston.org/?p=2858
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Senior continues her passion for music business at NYU http://wildcattracks.weston.org/2923/showcase/senior-continues-her-passion-for-music-business-at-nyu/ http://wildcattracks.weston.org/2923/showcase/senior-continues-her-passion-for-music-business-at-nyu/#respond Wed, 17 Jun 2020 00:00:39 +0000 http://wildcattracks.weston.org/?p=2923 While some students use their college years to figure out what they are passionate about, senior Lea Sarnblad is looking forward to her college career at New York University in the selective major of music business. Despite the stress of the application process, she managed to get accepted early decision. 

“This program is unique, combining many different and interesting elements. It is made up of a music core, business core, and a music business core mixed with a few art classes,” Sarnblad said. “My program is mostly for people who want to work behind the scenes in the music industry.” 

Sarnblad expressed her interest in the internship opportunities the program offers, especially noting her interest in interning for Sony Music, PR agencies, and other labels.  

 “Last year, they brought Khalid to a class. He talked about his experience. They bring in

a lot of artists and the people that are behind them. It’s kind of a non-traditional major, but I’m really excited,” Sarnblad said. 

Sarnblad explained how courses at WHS have helped her prepare for college. 

 “I’ve taken a rigorous enough courseload that I am excited to enter the program,” Sarnblad said. “I think that because of the diversity of what I’m studying it’s not going to be so daunting that I won’t be able to manage.” 

One of Sarnblad’s teacher over the past four years, music teacher Therese Provenzano, explained Sarnblad’s dedication to WHS’ music program. 

“She has attended all concerts and outside events without pause and has been one of the most active and energetic students,” Provenzano said.

Sarnblad’s teachers and friends are all confident that she will succeed in this program. 

“Lea is the type of person to completely know what she wants out of life. Once she’s set her goal, she will work her hardest to achieve it,” senior Ryan Aldrich said.

 Sarnblad’s teachers and friends described her as motivated and driven. She sets her mind to something and won’t stop until she gets there. Provenzano described Sarnblad as, “Responsible, dedicated and attentive.” 

Provenzano explained her perspective on this unique career choice. 

“It is a wonderful career but takes a lot of dedication and energy. Anyone wanting to pursue a music degree should do it for the love of their craft and music,” Provenzano said. 

Sarnblad is looking forward to moving to a new city to begin this new program.

“I’ve lived in Weston for seven years now, and I’m excited to move to New York and meet new people. [I want to] branch out a little bit,” she said. 

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WHS teachers adapt to school from home http://wildcattracks.weston.org/2934/news/whs-teachers-adapt-to-school-from-home/ http://wildcattracks.weston.org/2934/news/whs-teachers-adapt-to-school-from-home/#respond Tue, 16 Jun 2020 23:59:14 +0000 http://wildcattracks.weston.org/?p=2934
History Department head Kerry Dunne enjoys time outside in her garden. (Kerry Dunne)

With Weston School From Home slowly coming to an end, teachers’ lives have also been changed since the start of the pandemic. Many teachers have had to change their teaching plans and work to make their lessons accessible online.

“The district started off with everything being asynchronous and there had to be instructions so that students could do [their assignments] without their teachers walking them through it,” math teacher Andrea Gettys said.

As learning has changed drastically in the past months, teachers have dealt with success and defeat while using these new tools. 

“I’ve really struggled to make group class Zoom meetings work and I don’t really think I succeeded in that. I still need to learn and overcome the resistance to students showing their faces,” physics teacher Gita Foster said. “I get why [students] don’t want to show [their] faces all the time, but I find it difficult to teach when I don’t see faces.”

Although their schedules remain busy, teachers have been using other activities to stay mentally and physically healthy through the quarantine.

One thing I have done for stress management is a lot of gardening. I worked at a garden center in high school and college and have always been a gardener, but [I] really ramped it up a bit this year and tried to get outside and work in the yard for an hour or so every day. As my own pandemic project, I am making a YouTube video on the last day of every month showing how my garden is growing,” History department head Kerry Dunne said.

Other teachers have used the times when they’re not working to do other activities.

“I’m afraid I’ve been too busy to pick up any new skills, though I have gotten pretty good at sewing face masks in my spare time. I’m cooking a lot more meals, so I’m trying a lot of new recipes,” English department head Kate Lemons said.

Although these times have been hard, teachers have still found ways to stay positive with their personal lives despite social distancing. 

“I’m the kind of person who does better exercising in the morning. I couldn’t do that during regular school, but with School From Home I can, which has been good,” Foster stated. “I’ve been cooking a little bit more and have tried a couple of new recipes.”

Teachers who coach sports teams have been connecting through virtual chats and Zooms to stay united.

We have been running optional dryland workouts for the swim team three days a week.  Ms. McCarty has been developing and leading the workouts. I did a few and was sore for the next few days! We also had a team viewing of the season slideshow on Zoom,” head swim coach and math department head Jim McLaughlin said.

With the hard times occurring in our country, teachers are hoping for students to remain positive and strong. 

I think his country is facing very difficult times with both COVID-19 and the difficult civil rights problems that we have witnessed recently,” Gettys stated. “I think it has been hard for all of us. I hope that we find a way through these difficult times that will allow us to emerge stronger and more thoughtful, inclusive, kind, and kinder to our planet.”

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Track and field stars to compete in Ivy League http://wildcattracks.weston.org/2925/showcase/track-and-field-stars-to-compete-in-ivy-league/ http://wildcattracks.weston.org/2925/showcase/track-and-field-stars-to-compete-in-ivy-league/#respond Mon, 15 Jun 2020 19:40:01 +0000 http://wildcattracks.weston.org/?p=2925 After four years of team and personal accolades, two members of Weston track and field will continue their careers at Ivy League Universities. Starting with next spring’s track season, senior Bharathi Subbiah will be doing long and triple jump at Yale, while fellow senior Peter Diebold will run mid-distance events at Harvard.

Diebold explained what excites him about beginning collegiate track and field. 

“Being able to train and compete on a team with other athletes all around my level or higher is what’s most exciting to me,” Diebold said. “Also, being in a place where everyone has similar ambitions means that there will be a mutual respect and understanding between the athletes, giving us all something in common.” 

In a division one program, Subbiah explained how she feels she can better improve her abilities in competition. 

“I’m just excited to start training because in high school it is more general training and less time,” Subbiah said. “In college, classes are more spread out and I can focus on training for just my event along with competing at a higher level.”

Both expressed the time and effort they put in to get to where they are today. 

“Between band requirements, school work, and track, there was rarely a time to really slow down and take a breath,” Diebold said. “Whether that was needing to do homework or pep band every Friday night, clearing my schedule of free periods junior year, or going months without eating sugar, it has been extremely challenging to keep up with it all.”

All the work Subbiah and Diebold have done to earn a spot on collegiate track has been noticed. Math teacher and coach John Monz explained what the two have done over the course of their careers. 

“Both are consistent, hard workers and [they] never miss a practice, but both also do extra work on their own,” Monz said. “Peter has done a great deal of weight training, stretching, and physical therapy on his own time. Both work out hard on their own during the fall, which is their off-season, to get ready for the track season. During the indoor season, they are willing to travel to whatever facilities we can get into at odd times to get their training done.”

Neither was alone in achieving their goals. Subbiah explained how they had people helping them along the way. 

“Coach Monz and coach Montrose have both spent a lot of time with us making sure we get individual training and letting us know that we share the team’s successes and failures,” Subbiah said. 

Despite all the work they have put in and mentors they had to succeed in track and field, both understand it isn’t the singular priority. Subbiah explained why she chose to attend Yale over other universities.

“I thought about Georgetown, Brown, Williams and Dartmouth,” Subbiah said. “I chose Yale as they have great academics and they specialize in the field I wanted to major in, while still allowing me to compete against division one runners.” 

As both Subbiah and Diebold prepare to leave Weston for the Ivy League, Monz expressed his confidence in the two succeeding in college.

“I anticipate both to be as successful as they wish to be,” Monz said. “They know how to work hard and to compete successfully. I have full confidence in each of them.”

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COVID-19 and its effects on the Theater Company http://wildcattracks.weston.org/2927/showcase/covid-19-and-its-effects-on-the-theater-company/ http://wildcattracks.weston.org/2927/showcase/covid-19-and-its-effects-on-the-theater-company/#respond Mon, 15 Jun 2020 16:52:13 +0000 http://wildcattracks.weston.org/?p=2927 The closure of WHS and all schools in Massachusetts this year has had dramatic effects on school sports and extracurriculars for the remainder of the school year. One of which is the spring musical “Mamma Mia,” which was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“I am super super sad about all of this. ‘Mamma Mia’ is one of my favorite musicals and I’m so sad I wasn’t able to perform with all of my friends one last time,” senior Helen Townsend said.

Drama department head Anne Slotnick explained her feelings about the cancelled production. 

“As the director, it’s been hard to let this show go and accept that it won’t be produced, but at the same time, all of my decisions are made with the students’ best interests at heart,” Slotnick stated. 

Even though the show will not be happening this year, students still have amazing memories from the Theater Company. 

“I wouldn’t really trade [it] for anything else. We’re an incredibly tight knit group and being an officer is an amazing way to make sure that a sense of community continues through your four years at the school,” senior Eric Sakkas added.

Regardless of the current circumstances related to COVID-19,  T. Co still has exciting plans for future shows.

“I do not have any specific titles solidified yet,” Slotnick stated. “…but I do know that we’ll plan to stick to our current schedule of a full length fall straight play (non-musical) in November, a winter one-act play in March, and a spring musical in May. My goal is to announce the fall play by the end of this school year.”

Even though the musical wasn’t able to happen, students are still hopeful that they will be able to take part in some of their other traditions.

“The last musical is a huge time for closure for seniors to make their final memories in T. Co, [however] we have a whole bunch of end-of-the-year traditions that are super important that we think will still be able to happen in the fall,” Townsend said. 

Additionally, Slotnick explained her enthusiasm for next year.

“I am most looking forward to the energy of a building filled with my students and colleagues. What I have missed most are the informal interactions – saying ‘hello’ in the hallways, talking to students at lunch, chatting with my colleagues in the English/History office,” Slotnick mentioned. “I can’t wait to hear about everyone’s summers and have actual face to face interactions.”

Finally, sophomore Elizabeth Crawford shared her excitement for T. Co in the next school year.

“I am most excited for the musical because no matter what the show is, it is always so fun when everyone comes together to try and build this huge show with choreography, staging, and music in such a short amount of time,” Crawford said.

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After possible cancelation, WHS students were able to help out New Orleans http://wildcattracks.weston.org/2843/news/after-possible-cancelation-whs-students-were-able-to-help-out-new-orleans/ http://wildcattracks.weston.org/2843/news/after-possible-cancelation-whs-students-were-able-to-help-out-new-orleans/#respond Mon, 15 Jun 2020 14:10:16 +0000 http://wildcattracks.weston.org/?p=2843 With under 24 hours before they left, the WHS students who signed up for the New Orleans service trip weren’t sure that it would happen because there weren’t any chaperones. But after the help of some sophomores, middle school art teacher Rebecca Kowalski and eighth grade learning specialist Megan Leddy agreed to lead the trip.

“It was definitely shocking for all of us. We were really excited to go. Actually, Ishika and I went to the middle school and tried to find people because we really wanted to go and experience that,” sophomore Isabella Desio said. “We were really glad that it did happen, but that was not what we were expecting.”

When approached with the offer, Kowalski was very nervous, but she said that she’s glad she could go on the trip.

“It was like riding the very first part of an exciting roller coaster. I felt like I had boarded the cart, and was click-click-clicking up a steep hill with no idea what lay ahead. There was a slow realization that it could actually happen,” Kowalski said. 

Since the trip was able to happen, students were able to participate in various activities around the New Orleans community.

“We went to the boys and girls club to help kids with their homework, and that was really impactful for me because of how different the education is down there, and how much work they do,” Desio said.

Along with helping out the New Orleans community, the WHS students got to explore the city.

“Besides from work, we went to museums and plantations, where we learned about the history of the city and culture of the south,” senior Kevin Ma said. “We were also invited to a neighborhood barbeque at 9th ward, and they lived at the place that was hit really badly during Hurricane Katrina. We walked up to the levee to see the height of the old one and height of the new one.”

Since this was Ma’s third time on the trip, he was able to reflect on his overall experience. 

“It’s interesting to see the same people grow or get older. For example, [there is one kid] when I was there [during my first trip], he was three, and now he’s five and a half, which is interesting to see how he’s computing,” Ma said. “It’s interesting to see different places every time because we don’t usually do the same activity.”

 

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Students continue to work towards Meatless Mondays despite setbacks http://wildcattracks.weston.org/2919/news/students-continue-to-work-towards-meatless-mondays-despite-setbacks/ http://wildcattracks.weston.org/2919/news/students-continue-to-work-towards-meatless-mondays-despite-setbacks/#respond Mon, 15 Jun 2020 12:45:46 +0000 http://wildcattracks.weston.org/?p=2919 Several months after planning the Meatless Monday proposal, junior Jackie Liu’s initiative was not approved to be implemented. Liu had presented her plans for the initiative prior to the pandemic, but has had to put her efforts on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Despite the current closure of school, Liu plans to continue advocating for the initiative in the fall.

“I’m working with the school nutritionist Charlie Kotofu as well as Chef Feller, and we’re going to try to do samples [of alternative protein options] in the fall and get the student body more acquainted with different possibilities and hopefully change the culture a little bit,” Liu said. 

Before WHS closed for the pandemic, Liu was able to meet with and present her plans for Meatless Mondays to Superintendent Midge Connolly. These plans included expanding upon to current “Beefless Mondays” to include not offering any meat on Mondays in the Cafeteria.

“We ended up getting a meeting with [Connolly] and so I presented to her and we had discussions and answered any of her questions and concerns,” Liu said. 

Liu explained that she had not had high expectations going into the meeting, so she was not deterred by Connolly’s hesitancy with the initiative.

“She voiced that she had some concerns, which is very understandable coming from a pretty high up authority,” Liu explained. 

While the meeting did exceed Liu’s expectations, the initiative did not receive approval. Connolly is not the only person with concerns for the feasibility of the initiative. 

“Tess Sousa, the director of health services, is a little concerned about the financial risk of it because she doesn’t believe the student population is on board,” Liu said. “So she said that she would be on board if more students or a majority of the student population came to her and asked for it.”

Sousa expanded on the financial aspect of Meatless Mondays.

“Because we are a business and we are dependent on revenue, we have not yet recovered from lower participation in school food due to regulation, open campus, food delivery, and students bringing food from home. In spite of that, [cafeteria manager] Wendy Howard said she believes that we are starting to do a much better job of meatless meals.”

Despite these financial complications, the COVID-19 pandemic may change future meat purchases for WHS.

“We’ve heard from vendors that beef products may be less acceptable and accessible after we return, which might end up playing into our hands with regards to Beefless Mondays. This is due to virus outbreaks in beef processing plants that may have a long-term impact on beef production,” Sousa said.

While this might provide support to Liu’s campaign for the initiative, the future is very uncertain and discussions will not be able to resume until the fall. Despite these setbacks, Liu is still planning to continue to campaign for Meatless Mondays at WHS when she can.

“I really hope that this can become a reality,” Liu said. 

 

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WHS students adapt to school from home http://wildcattracks.weston.org/2916/news/whs-students-adapt-to-school-from-home/ http://wildcattracks.weston.org/2916/news/whs-students-adapt-to-school-from-home/#respond Sat, 13 Jun 2020 22:17:14 +0000 http://wildcattracks.weston.org/?p=2916 On March 11, students at WHS went home from school unaware that this would be their last time stepping in the building this year. In Massachusetts, schools are closed for the remainder of the year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Students have been adapting their schedules to work with this new form of learning.

“I like how the school was able to come up with an efficient and effective program so quickly. I know that a lot of other schools took much longer to come up with at-home learning plans,” junior Abby Cobb said. “I also have liked how we are able to have daily office hours with our teachers if we need extra help. I think the school is doing a really good job of providing us with resources overall.” 

Students have numerous ways that they can connect with their teachers and peers while learning in School From Home. The regular school day consists of assignments posted on Google Classroom, Zoom calls, and office hours with teachers. 

“I like doing Zooms each day more because I like learning interactively with my teachers and classmates more than individual work. I think it will feel more normal and I think it’s more fun than sitting at my computer alone without the help of my teachers or classmates,” freshman Haven Trodden stated.

Due to having to do school online, teachers have had to adapt the ways they teach. Although teachers try to keep things as normal as possible, digital school is still a very big change for teachers.

“Navigating seems like the right word to describe how we are trying to handle the current situation because we are all trying to adjust toward the right route in making School From Home work,” English teacher Elizabeth Riemer said.

In addition to adapting to School From Home, students are also digitally engaging with their spring sports teams at home. Most students have found being outside, baking, and watching TV are helping with the current situation. 

“I play lacrosse and we’ve been doing team Zooms and fun activities like pass around the week [where we pass the ball connectively through a video] and we got assigned partners to workout with,” Trodden said.

Although COVID-19 stopped the spring sports season from happening, teams are still managing to keep in touch virtually. 

“Our team has been doing weekly Zooms on Wednesday to stay in touch because we can’t practice together. We’re all really upset about the season being canceled, but it has been really helpful for everyone to stay in touch virtually and talk about what we’ve been up to,” senior Blaise Trodden said on the baseball team’s effort to stay connected. “It also has shown us what keeping in touch with our friends may be like next year when we’re at college in the fall.” 

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