Thursday, February 3, 2011

Schools Are Failing Their Students

By Alexa Ritacco

February has arrived. School is most definitely in full swing and the work is starting to pile on. Most of my weeknights are spent tackling mounds of homework. While doing all this work, it really makes me wonder if it’s all worthwhile. I can’t help but ask the question of: when will I ever need to use this stuff in the future?
I’m not planning on being a science or math major so why should I have to take courses for upper math and sciences? The same question can be asked to someone planning on majoring in the math or science field. Why should they have to take upper level English or History courses? I’d rather have the option of taking more interesting courses that could actually benefit my future. I’m not saying to eliminate math and science completely from my schedule, but for math I could take a statistics or economics class and for science I could take a course on conserving the environment or something along those lines.
Senior Mariah Cody is planning on studying bio-medical engineering in college. She takes advantage of the numerous upper level math and science courses offered here at Oyster Bay. What’s missing? For her intended major it is essential to have public speaking skills along with the ability to produce case and lab write ups. Courses that teach those skills could be created and not only benefit future science majors, but it would fulfill any English requirements that are needed to graduate.
Fortunately, our High School does an excellent job of offering interesting courses that could possibly spark interests for majors, and give ideas for the future. In most schools the problem is that most schools don’t offer many courses that can be applied in real life.
High schools across America lack courses that help students to become better prepared for their future. The education system needs to become more interested in the students’ futures. If changes were to be made where students could take courses according to their interests it could be one of the most beneficial change to ever grace the educational world.

Is MTV Good Again?

By Daphne Lacroix

These days, it is difficult to find television shows that are not based on shameless themes and distasteful morals. Programs such as the Jersey Shore, the Real World, and bachelor-type shows such as Rock of Love exploit desperate human behaviors for high ratings and fame. Needless to say, our generation is establishing a fairly bad reputation, if all you watch is MTV and VH1.
Recently, however, I have noticed an increase in shows emphasizing generosity, community spirit, and socially enlightening values. The Buried Life, a series focusing on four friends as they travel across North America to complete a list of "100 things to do before you die," emphasizes the need to live in the moment and to experience what life has to offer rather than drowning in the monotony of everyday life. This bucket-list type of show demonstrates the extent to which a few friends are willing to go in order to experience life to the fullest. From asking out the girl of their dreams to helping a classroom full of underprivileged students raise enough money to buy a computer, the Buried Life boys exemplify community spirit.
Documentary-rooted series such as the World of Jenks, True Life, and 16 and Pregnant take a different approach to informing the youth. These shows attempt to place the viewer in other people’s shoes to provide insight on the difficult, original, and atypical lives of various people. Though some argue that series such as 16 and Pregnant glamorize teen tragedies, after watching many episodes and seeing the harsh realities of the girls and how truthfully their lives were represented, it is undeniable that there is definitely educational value to the series.
Furthermore, the show If You Really Knew Me, centered on the popular and controversial Challenge Day program, shines a light on the difficulties faced by high school students and the value of communication. As the students reveal their problems, worries, and insecurities, they realize that they are not alone and that various other students undergo struggles as well. Though there is also a great amount of criticism of the show based on people’s view on the effectiveness of such honesty and openness, I feel like the ultimate impact of the series is clarifying, truthful, and deeply influential.
Though most televised series seem to be regressing in values and themes, the recent increase in inspirational and gripping shows is proof that, somewhere, there is still a moral conscious in American media.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Natalie Reichman is Awesome

By: Christyn Binder

Natalie Reichman, a current senior, is excited to begin a rigorous BOCES art program. She feels her full Monday through Friday routine of portfolio prep, costume design, graphic design, and art history as well as sculpture will give her an edge when it comes to art school college preparation

“The whole experience is amazing.” She even goes so far as to compare her substantial BOCES college prep to the necessity of our college essay writing class here at Oyster Bay High School.

“I wanted to fully immerse myself in art and with people as dedicated as I am,” claims Reichman. Reichman feels that BOCES is a more realistic experience in preparation for college; as well as an opportunity for more studio time to prepare her portfolio.

Getting into the BOCES program has been one of Reichman’s desires for the past two years, since she found an advertisement for it in the OBHS “Little Shop of Horrors” playbill.

“I knew that this was an important step in the right direction” says Reichman. She asked around and found that some of her fellow cast members had been involved in BOCES programs. Reichman did her research and wrote to the superintendant in her junior year but she was denied the opportunity to apply.

However, Reichman did not give up; she applied again this year and succeeded. After going through the process of trying to get the school to comply with her request for BOCES Reichman does not regret her decision at all. In fact, she believes that BOCES is an extreme asset to our high school community and therefore should be more readily accessible and better advertised. She learned she needed to advocate for herself and feels that any student interested in taking advantage of a BOCES program should embrace that same necessary sense of self promotion.

A New Era in Oyster Bay Athletics

By Alessandra Puccio

Along with many new teachers in our school building this year, we also have two new administrators joining the staff of Oyster Bay. As of July 1st, 2010, Len Kies is now the new Athletic Director in the Oyster Bay-East Norwich School District.

Our previous Athletic Director, Dawn Cerrone, was a physical education teacher for 23 years before becoming an athletic administrator in Oyster Bay. Kies, on the other hand, has never taught a physical education class, and in fact was a social studies, a fifth grade, and a sixth grade teacher for seven years at Rocky Point Middle School, prior to his job here at Oyster Bay.

Thankfully, Kies has plenty of experience with athletics, from being a student athlete in both high school and college, and being the Athletic Director in the Rocky Point School District for six years. Ironically enough, Kies played baseball at St. Johns and Oneonta during college, two schools which have recruited baseball players from Oyster Bay in the past few years.

Kies did not always plan to have the athletic driven career he has today. In fact, after graduating from Syosset High School, he planned on becoming a lawyer, until he realized his passion for coaching and athletic administration.

As the district’s new athletic director, Kies is planning on making some changes to Oyster Bay. At his previous district, Rocky Point, the cheerleading squad won six straight regional championships. “I’m on the state committee to legally make cheerleading a sport, an incentive that should be passed by fall 2011,” said Kies. “Whether or not it has the official title, I still call cheerleading a sport.”
In fact, over the next few years, Kies is planning to enter the cheerleading squad in competitions. He also would like to develop a Physical Education elective, like a Strength and Conditioning Class.

Kies has also spoken of an athletic probation policy for student athletes. “A probation policy has been talked about, but on a very low level. I have been in a district that has a very formal policy, with an appeals program, and no loopholes,” said Kies. By loopholes Kies means, if a student does not do well the fourth quarter, they cannot play in the first quarter of the next year. “I don’t know why students feel they can slack off in the fourth quarter of the school year, but maybe if we threatened their playing time in the next fall season, they would shape up a bit,” said Kies.

Other staff members of the Physical Education department think that the idea of an athletic probation policy is a good move for Oyster Bay. “Playing on a sports team is a privilege, and student athletes should be expected to behave and act a certain way,” said physical education teacher, and basketball, softball, and volleyball coach, Erin Egan.

Despite his tough guy demeanor, in his spare time Kies is really just another average, college football watching, Taco Bell eating guy. He, like any other standard man of this era, cannot be without his cell phone. In fact, when asked what three items he would need on a deserted island, instead of answering with necessities like food and water, Kies first asked if there was a cell tower with good reception for his smartphone.

“Although I haven’t gotten a chance to really speak with the new athletic director, from my position, I feel he really wants every team to win, and go as far as they possibly can,” said senior and girl’s varsity soccer captain, Mariah Cody.

Enjoyable School Lunches

By Bryan Gross

Generally school lunches have always been looked down upon by students. Nevertheless Oyster Bay offers up many hearty choices for students to choose from. This year students get to try macaroni and cheese, twin tacos, pasta with meatballs, chicken calzones, hot dogs, chicken nuggets, philly cheese steaks, salads, and sandwiches.
“School lunch really isn’t as bad as people make it out to be. The best is calzone day,” according to senior Ryan Maier.

For the past few years the system of ordering lunch has changed. Now students must scan their school IDs then pay for their food. This new system has caused a number of problems. The primary problem is wait time. Scanning your ID takes longer than just buying your lunch with money alone which causes huge line buildups.

Pat Burke, senior at Oyster Bay High School stated, “Although the lunch lines are usually large, it is worth the wait!” New additions have been added to the school lunch menu, frozen yogurt has made an appearance. The Oyster Bay lunch staff puts a lot of effort into their menu. Each year new items have been added to keep things fresh and up to date.

According to senior Chris Kulis, “Although I am big on running I love to eat; the school lunches keep improving and getting better!” The majority of students at Oyster Bay are happy with the school lunch situation. There is always new food to choose from and the staff is friendly.

Oyster Bay Cell Phone Use

By Bryan Gross

All the school districts on Long Island have placed strict rules on cell phone use in class. In today’s society cell phones have become widely used and popular amongst all people. Back in the day you’d only see adults having cell phones, but nowadays almost every student in Oyster Bay has one.
The use of cell phones in class has caused many issues between students and teachers. It can be frustrating for teachers when they are trying to teach and a student is texting rather then paying the slightest bit of attention. The use of cell phones has become an epidemic. According to Ryan Maier, “I’ve seen cell phones being used in pretty much all my classes. Everyone texts.”
The problem is students are getting yelled at by teachers for getting a text message, but it turns out it was from one of their parents. Taylor Zinman, senior at Oyster Bay High School said, “My mom always texts me during school. She just loves checking up on me.” Parents now take part and text their children for quick and easy responses, but they do not realize that they are distracting their child’s education. Cell phones are a great invention, but they cause a myriad of underlying problems as well.
In Oyster Bay there have been many restrictions placed upon cell phone use. If a student is caught using a phone during class time they will receive a warning. If they are caught again then their phone gets confiscated by their teacher. Cell phone strictness at Oyster Bay really depends upon the teacher. Certain teachers have placed signs around their classroom restricting cell phone use, while others are more lenient. According to Chris Kelly, “I couldn’t imagine texting in my AP Gov class. Mr. Levorchick is not a fan of cell phone use during class time at all.”
According to Mrs. Perullo, “I think it would be okay if cell phones are restricted to a certain area, just not in my class room.” Cell phones have become an increasing problem in Oyster Bay. Strict policies have been placed upon use, but are they enough? Only time will tell.

Baymen Accept the "Challenge"

By Alessandra Puccio

A new challenge has slid into Oyster Bay High School. On November 8, five seniors from Oyster Bay participated in the Long Island Challenge, a teen Jeopardy program for the high school students in Nassau and Suffolk County.

Representing Oyster Bay High School were seniors Mariah Cody, Diana Vlavianos, Joey Heaney, and Joe LaCorte. Leading the team was captain Claire Bouchard, also a senior. Although participating in the Challenge program is an honor, two of the five seniors chosen were not necessarily excited to be chosen for the prestigious television show.

When first asked by Pontillo to be a part of the Challenge, Cody said, “My original thought was, how am I going to be able to answer trivia questions with so many people watching?” Vlavianos, on the other hand, said that she felt nervous when first approached by Pontillo about participating, but was ready for ‘the challenge’, so to speak.

While on the Challenge, the Oyster Bay High School students were asked questions from a myriad of topics, ranging from math and science, to history and literature, to current sports and pop culture. Prior to November 8, the five students practiced answer trivia questions after school every Friday, along with practicing “buzzing in”.

The team’s episode of The Challenge will be airing in January on MSG Varsity. “This was a great opportunity to be on television and compete. I think it will build up much school spirit for students to see their peers on The Challenge,” said Pontillo.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Longer Days Ahead?

By Halsey Quinn

Shortly into the new school year, President Barack Obama has announced that he would like to make the school year longer for U.S. students. "We now have our kids go to school about a month less than most other advanced countries. And that makes a difference,” Obama said. Countries such as Japan, Korea, Germany and New Zealand have the best student achievement level. They require an average of 197 days of school a year, while the average in the United States is 180.

Education is an aspect addressed by the state; therefore, Obama cannot directly affect the country’s schools. However, federal government still has the power to influence schools, especially through the poverty aid that many of them depend on.
Along with his idea of lengthening the school year, he also announced that the worst teachers have “got to go,” unless they show quick improvements. "It is time to start rewarding good teachers and stop making excuses for bad ones," he announced, while suggesting higher pay for the better teachers.

Those who support Obama have an argument it would benefit it would have for American students. The bar has been set high by many foreign countries, and Obama believes that in order for American’s to have a better future, the school year should be extended.

According to Obama, the largest barrier would be money. Better pay for better teachers for a longer amount of time would increase costs for school systems. Critics of this idea argue that a longer school year would bring down many industries that rely on a long summer break to stay alive, as well as summer camps. Also, many businesses rely on students to work during the summer months, but will be missing them for a month more if there is a longer school year.

“The breaks really refresh people,” says Elizabeth Manning, a sophomore at Oyster Bay High School. “When you get into the hard high school classes, the breaks let you catch up on things and give you a moment to breathe.” Most students would likely agree with Manning’s view on the issue.

Dr. Lisa Mulhall, the assistant superintendent of Oyster Bay – East Norwich schools, presents ideas such as “redesigning the concept of school ad altering the way we use the resources of space and time,” as another option to keep students competitive in the global economy. “Perhaps in the future, students will be able to extend their learning through virtual classrooms and online learning opportunities that take place beyond the traditional school building,” she says.
Brianna Gallagher

A controversial cultural center is expected to be built extremely close to Ground Zero, the site of the September 11th, 2001 terrorist attacks. Although many think that this center is in fact a mosque, it is basically an Islamic YMCA, complete with basketball courts and other activity rooms. The only thing that sets it apart from any other YMCA or recreation center in New York City, is that this “mosque” is complete with an Islamic prayer room. This prayer room is posing as the epicenter of an international dispute. Many people have different opinions about the construction of this “troublemaker”, including students at Oyster Bay High School.

Dylan Rankin, Junior at OBHS, feels, “It is too close to Ground Zero, many families are still grieving the loss of a family member and building a mosque will not help them get over it.” Almost every other student interviewed agrees with him. Jillian Boccia stated, “It’s almost like the Islamic group that wants to build the mosque at this location is praising the 9-11 attackers, and that’s not right.” Its seems that most of the students at Oyster Bay High School are taking the sides of most Americans, the side that is totally against the building of a mosque on Ground Zero.

But, there are a select few who believe that the answer to the How-Do-you-feel-about-this-mosque question is not a simple build/do not build it. Some feel that this problem has an answer entirely more complex. Some feel, that the Islamic people who are trying to build this center should not build this based solely on morals, but they also feel that it is not the government’s place to prevent the construction of this center, that it is constitutionally wrong. People like David Natale feel this way. He stated, “I believe they [the Islamic leaders] have every right to put it there. I simply believe it is not morally correct.” Before anyone’s mind is made up, Mr. Pontillo, Social Studies teacher at OBHS, says “Make sure you know the facts before you make up your mind, don’t just go along with what others are saying, decide for yourself.”

On Saturday, August 14th, 2010, President Barack Obama informally announced his support of the building of the mosque. Of course, his statement caused controversy amongst many Americans, and made many angry towards the President.
It seems as if everyone in America, from students at Oyster Bay High School to the President of the United States, has their own opinion about this mosque. One thing that everyone seems to manage to agree on, is the simple fact that this mosque will pose as a problem for weeks, months, and maybe even years to come, and will leave a mark on American history forever.

College Prep Guide: Staying Safe on Campus

Part 1 in a series of articles on getting you ready for life on campus.

By Daphne Lacroix

ABC Nightline recently reported that “A recent study from the Department of Justice estimated that twenty five percent of college women will be victims of rape or attempted rape before they graduate within a four-year college period.”

I was utterly shocked by this overwhelming statistic. As a high school senior currently visiting and applying to colleges, I started asking myself, “Will I be safe from crime at these prospective colleges,” and “How can such a tragedy be prevented from happening to me?”

Truth is, rape is not always completely preventable; even a conservatively dressed woman walking alone from class to class could be a victim. Shockingly, rapists do not always select their victims by their appearance. They select victims that are vulnerable and accessible, so oftentimes sexual attractiveness is not an issue.

Another myth is that if a woman would not want to be raped, she could fight off her attacker. Even if the rapist is not using a weapon, the element of shock, surprise, fear, and harm could easily overpower a victim. That being said, what can we do?

Though it is difficult to delineate specific steps to completely erase the chance of such a crime happening, there are certain precautions that can be taken. Though it may be difficult, try to stay with a group of people who know you when walking through campus and other populated areas. Walking alone, especially at night, through a campus can instantly make you a target.

Be aware. Though you may feel more secure listening to your I-pod or talking on your cell phone, understand that these distractions divert you and make you a more attractive victim. In the case where no one is available to walk you to your next destination, try to contact a safety service. Most colleges offer safety programs where you can call a phone number and have a fellow student or security guard accompany you through the campus, and offer Blue Light System, a security precaution where you can contact campus security in case of emergency.

However, not all campus rapes occur between complete strangers; up to 57% of the rapes occur on a date, and over 50% of victims and 70% of assailants had been using drugs or alcohol prior to the assault. Furthermore, men are more likely than women to assume that a woman who drinks alcohol on a date is a willing sex partner. 40% of men who think this way also believe it is acceptable to force sex on an intoxicated woman. Consequently, it is important to be in control of oneself and to abstain from excessive partying, especially in foreign environments. It is imperative to be aware and in control of uneasy situations and possibly prevent a tragedy from occurring.

Finally, increased communication about the subject is undeniably the key to widespread awareness. Statistical studies indicate that fewer than 20% of crimes of sexual violence are reported to the police. Embarrassment, confusion, and shock oftentimes stop women from reporting the crimes. Some women even believe that it is okay to be violated and that they perhaps even deserve it. The absurdity of this is simply astounding. It must be made apparent that any type of non-consensual action is, in fact, not acceptable and illegal.

Its Getting Better All the Time: Oyster Bay School Lunches

By Bryan Gross

Generally school lunches have always been looked down upon by students. Nevertheless Oyster Bay offers up many hearty choices for students to choose from. This year students get to try macaroni and cheese, twin tacos, pasta with meatballs, chicken calzones, hot dogs, chicken nuggets, philly cheese steaks, salads, and sandwiches.

“School lunch really isn’t as bad as people make it out to be. The best is calzone day,” according to senior Ryan Maier.

For the past few years the system of ordering lunch has changed. Now students must scan their school IDs then pay for their food. This new system has caused a number of problems. The primary problem is wait time. Scanning your ID takes longer than just buying your lunch with money alone which causes huge line buildups.

Pat Burke, senior at Oyster Bay High School stated, “Although the lunch lines are usually large, it is worth the wait!” New additions have been added to the school lunch menu, frozen yogurt has made an appearance. The Oyster Bay lunch staff puts a lot of effort into their menu. Each year new items have been added to keep things fresh and up to date.

According to senior Chris Kulis, “Although I am big on running I love to eat; the school lunches keep improving and getting better!” The majority of students at Oyster Bay are happy with the school lunch situation. There is always new food to choose from and the staff is friendly.

Editorial: Oyster Bay's Attendance Policy

By Mariah Cody

The new attendance policy has been at the heart of controversy amongst Oyster Bay High School’s student body. Most students agree that some sort of an attendance policy should be implemented, but there are so many special cases sprinkled within the foundation of this new policy that it is virtually impossible for the procedure to being fully embraced.

Those students in band are getting punished for doing what they are in fact supposed to do: attend scheduled lessons. Students in sports and classes with field trips will inevitably miss some class periods, and are too being punished for simply participating in their school. Oyster Bay High School is competing in the Long Island Challenge this year, and being a challenge participant, this recognition will only add to my acquired absences.

Another aspect of the attendance policy that troubled me was what defined an accepted and unaccepted absence. Car trouble was on the list, for unaccepted absence. This means that if my car breaks down I am still responsible for getting to school on time. So I guess that if my car breaks down, I should proceed to run to school to avoid getting marked for a cut. Everyone knows the best conditions for learning is being covered in sweat.

The appeals process is another questionable procedure for this new attendance policy. After you acquire more than the maximum number of absences you must go through an appeals process if you are challenging your attendance record to get credit for the classes you have exceeded absences in. This is great, for those special cases (band, sickness, field trip attendant, sports participant etc.) you will now most likely miss more school to rally for credit in a class that you rightfully deserve.

Dr. O’Hara and Mr. Imperial attempted to appease us by saying that even with all of these absences counting against us; it will still leave room for sickness, without adding enough absences to surpass the accepted number of absences. This policy can only be truly tested with time. If Dr. O’Hara and Mr. Imperial are in fact correct then these problems that I have discussed, will soon be forgotten.

Slash in Concert: A Review

By Daphne Lacroix

On Tuesday September 15th, former Guns N’ Roses and Velvet Revolver lead guitarist Slash headlined at Terminal 5 in New York City to a sold out crowd of fervent fans. Once ranked by Times Magazine as number two on its list of the "10 Best Electric Guitar Players of All-Time,” the chain-smoking top hat-wearing icon was sure to deliver a promising performance.

Stating that Slash is simply a great guitarist is definitely an understatement. Widely known around the world for his influential work in Guns N’ Roses and co-founder of the hard rock group Velvet Revolver, it is far more appropriate to call Slash a historical landmark, a guitar god, and a critical contributor to Rock N’ Roll.

When Slash’s first solo album hit the market over the summer, I was virtually first in line. A self-professed Guns N’ Roses fanatic and guitar player, I have always idolized Slash. In 2007, I met the rock star in person at a signing session for his autobiography entitled Slash, and in 2008 I saw him live performing with Velvet Revolver at Jones Beach. Needless to say, I would not miss the opportunity to witness the guitarist perform at one of my favorite New York City venues.

Taddy Porter, a hard-rocking quartet from Oklahoma, opened the show with a commanding presence.

“Word on the street is that Rock is dead,” stated lead singer Andy Brewer before leading the band into a powerful, hard-rocking, guitar-driven slew of loud, fast, and catchy songs. I was thoroughly impressed by the group’s overpowering electric sound and timeless feel; clad in tight pants, flannels, leather, and rocker attitudes, Taddy Porter could have emerged straight out of the early 70s’ hard rock scene with the likes of Cream and Led Zeppelin. Ultimately, the band definitely did an amazing job at revving up the exited crowd and kicking off an amazing show.

The second opening act, TAB the Band, however, failed to deliver. While the quality of the music was fairly good, the band’s stage presence seemed unbearably tame compared to the previous act. The lead singer seemed apathetic, the lead guitarist seemed over-enthused, and the rhythm guitarist, sporting a Justin Beiber haircut, simply seemed lost. Needless to say, the sold-out crowd of hard core Slash fans didn’t exactly react positively to the pop-rock ensemble.

After three hours of prolonged waiting, Slash and his group finally emerged onto the scene, opening with the first song off of his new album, “Ghost.” As soon as the guitar kicked in, the ambiance intensified as the crowd began jumping enthusiastically. It is undeniable that Slash’s presence was overpowering in itself; clad in black converse, tight leather pants, aviator shades and his signature top hat, Slash’s nonchalant swagger and unbelievable musicianship was simply amazing.

Throughout the night, Slash and the group performed a wide array of songs, ranging from early Guns N’ Roses material to signature Slash guitar solos and songs from the new album. This balanced mélange created a perfect blend for fans of every genre.

The second song, “Nightrain,” a GN’R classic, was arguably the biggest crowd pleaser of the night. As soon as the distinctive guitar introduction emerged, the crowd literally went crazy as the lyrics from the song were almost overshadowed by the singing from the crowd. “Sweet Child O’ Mine” also received widespread audience response. Arguably one of the most popular hard rock ballads of all time, the song truly captivated the audience with the hypnotizing guitar riff.

Though Slash was obviously the headlining act of the night, I was thoroughly impressed with his touring band. The lead singer, Myles Kennedy, former singer of the Mayfield Four, adapted every song with power and sophistication. After all, anyone who can successfully sing songs originally sung by reputed vocalists such as Axl Rose of Guns N’ Roses, Scott Weiland of Stone Temple Pilots, and Andrew Stockdale of Wolfmother is definitely a well-accomplished and impressive front man.

I walked out of the concert feeling absolutely surreal. The entire experience left me amazed and speechless. Though I’ve seen many Rock bands including acts such as the Rolling Stones, Beck, and the Who, this concert affected me on a much deeper level. The passion of the crowd, the musicianship of the artists, and the insanely high volume of the music altogether created an amazing atmosphere and ultimately proved that Rock is definitely not dead.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Book Review: Daniel X

By Aubri Juhasz

In James Patterson’s novel, Daniel X Demons and Druids co written with Adam Sadler, it is hard to draw the line between imagination and reality. Throughout this tale, Patterson seeks to weave his own fantasy into history to explain the unexplainable. His plot fills the missing chinks in the chain of the past, shedding light on the paranormal that modern society has no explanation for. He does this all through sixteen year-old protagonist Daniel X, an alien and alien hunter.

In this third installment of the Daniel X series, preceding The Dangerous Days of Daniel X and Daniel X Watch the Skies, world renowned author James Patterson writes yet another book that can be enjoyed by not just one audience, but many. James Patterson, author of over seventy novels, turns to co-writing to satisfy his many ongoing series and standalone novels. Daniel X is one of his three young adult series, and is not just enjoyed by high school students but readers of all ages. I strongly recommend reading the two preceding novels, though it is not necessary. In the beginning of the story, most of the characters and their affiliation are explained, but for those interested in a little catching up, I would suggest reading the following.

On planet earth, there is one simple explanation for everything that goes wrong. Murder, theft, disease, kidnapping, and so-called natural disasters are all the work of aliens. Aliens have inhabited the earth for centuries, changing their physical form to blend in, or using human beings as their puppets, all unnoticed by humans. But not all aliens are malicious, conniving, extraterrestrial bandits. Protagonist Daniel Hopper X from the planet Terra Firma belongs to a planet bent on the opposite. Their mission is to preserve the beauty of the earth and its people while ridding it of the aliens that plague it. Throughout history, certain people from Daniel X’s home planet have always been positioned to inhabit earth, while serving as the “Alien Hunter” or more formally referred to as “The Defender of Earth”. This was the sole purpose of Daniel X’s existence on earth along with his parents. But at the age of three, their typical American alien life was shattered.

While performing his duties on Earth, the Alien Hunter has only one source of information, as to who, what, where, and how the scum of the earth conduct their everyday lives. Referred to as “the list,” what appears to be a very thin laptop is really the most high tech, frequently updated alien database in the world. The aliens are ranked in order of increasing number from least dangerous to the most, and it is Daniel X’s ultimate goal to find and destroy the Prayer, who happens to be number one. However, his motives are not purely humanitarian, for the Prayer is not only behind some of the most gruesome crimes on earth, but also the murders of Daniel’s mother, father, and unborn sister Brenda, A.K.A Pork Chop. Daniel was able to save himself, from the invasion by exercising one of his many alien powers for the first time, the power to create. He transformed himself into a tick and escaped attached to the dreadlock of the praying-mantis like creature that is the Prayer. At the young age of three years old, Daniel was alone on planet earth. But his family was not gone forever. Daniel’s power to create allows him to create his dead parents and his old friends from the planet Terra Firm, to assist him at his will. He may have control over when and where they appear and disappear, but as for everything else, they are one hundred percent free-thinking humans. Willy, Dana, Joe and Emma serve not only as his friends and confidants but his team in his crusade for revenge.

Daniel is incapable of taking on the Prayer right from the start and seeks to hone his skill by working up the list. Through his encounters with the many different alien species that inhabit earth, Daniel gains more knowledge while discovering new powers and secrets about his family’s past. At the opening of Daniel X Demons and Druids, Daniel’s quest has brought him and his friends to the countryside of England, where they are on the hunt for a pyromaniac alien known as Phosphorius Beta, an alien responsible for almost every fire known to man. He is ranked as number three, and before Daniel can ever come close to avenging his parent’s death, he must fight fire with time travel.

This novel is clearly written and uses fairly simple language and terms to express its ideas. Furthermore the short chapters and large font size make it a fast and easy weekend read. Throughout the story, the author uses unexpected events to fill plot gaps that make for a riveting and enthralling read. There are really no other books out there exactly like it making the experience and story truly unique. In my opinion, the best feature of the book is how James Patterson creates interesting answers for the questions of life. Daniel’s ability to summon back those of the dead in their original form makes for interesting characters that experience unique situations and conflicts. I also enjoyed how the author incorporated historical and mythical events into the story through Daniel’s power of time travel.

I would recommend this book to anyone who is looking for something a little different from the norm. If you are tired of romances and sparkly vampires, give aliens a try. They do not all bite.

The Air Force Comes to Oyster Bay

By Lil Manning

On March 3, 2011 all band students, ranging from fourth grade all the way to twelfth grade are combining their musical talents to form the Cavalcade of Bands. In this event each band will be performing a separate piece to show off their level of skill before coming together for a final group piece. Usually, each band has a separate night to perform the three or four pieces they’ve been working on for a few months.

Since the bands are separated, only the parents and siblings are able to hear the students’ work. But in the Cavalcade of Bands, that won’t be a problem anymore as Stephen Walker, the conductor of the 7th and 8th grade band, said: “One of the nice things is groups hearing the other performing groups. So normally in a concert, you have to wait in the band room, and you don’t get to hear the chorus or the other’s performing and then you go on and do your thing. Here, the idea is that everybody can hear everybody else.”

There are approximately 600 children when the bands are combined, Daniel Friedman, Director of Fine and Performing Arts, estimated around 1,000 people to be in attendance for the event. With this mass of an audience, the concert will be held in the Gymnasium. It will also be free like the usual concerts. Not only will the occasion be entertaining, but it will be an enjoyable learning experience for all the students. As Matthew Sisia, conductor of the Symphonic Band and Wind Ensemble, said, he hopes the concert will help the younger students see how much they will improve throughout the years, encouraging them to stick with the band and not give up.

The idea for a Cavalcade of Bands has been recurrent in Oyster Bay for years. Mr. Walker explained how he had started participating when he was only ten, sharing the stage with fathers and mothers of children who attend the school now. Though this will be the first time Mr. Sisia has done the Cavalcade in the eight years he has been teaching in the district, he believes that the event will be a hit, given that the students will be vigorously practicing for the months to come.

Carnegie Hall was an amazing event for everyone who attended, but the experience was only shared with those in the Symphonic Band and Wind Ensemble. The Cavalcade of Bands is an opportunity for everyone to join in on the fun.

Oyster Bay Blacked Out

By Alessandra Puccio

11:15 a.m. 5th period was dwindling down, students were finishing up DBQ essays, teachers were finalizing lesson plans for next period, all in the yellow fluorescent classrooms of Oyster Bay High School. The rain was thrashing down on the windows of the classrooms, the parking lot was flooding over; in short, it was pouring rain, just like it had been all week.

11:16 a.m. First went the lights, then the computers, and then came the announcement. “All students please remain in your classrooms. Do not go to your next class,” said Dr. Dennis O’Hara over the loudspeaker, and Frank Imperiale on the bullhorn, roaming the hallways. This was real. Oyster Bay High School was in the dark. Blackout.

Silhouettes filled the hallways: teachers looked outside in shock, the murmur of student voices traveled up and down the blackened staircases. What was going on? What happened? Why couldn’t we leave the classroom?

11:52 a.m. Dr. O’Hara entered classroom 204, AP World taught by Brian Soper. “Please proceed down to the gym,” O’Hara announced. Confusion filled 204. Students were hungry; most of them were supposed to be in lunch, not stuck in a dark classroom.
A mass of human bodies entered the second floor hallway. Students couldn’t be differentiated from teachers walking down the shadowy, windowless center portion of the school. Everyone and everything was blending together. Students morphed with backpacks, making them look hunchbacked. Students meshed with other students, forming a giant, shady blob, slithering down the murky lane of the high school.
Over 700 students entered one half of the gym. The power outage made it impossible to raise the curtain that was dividing the gym. Too many students were crammed into much too small a space. Teachers were guarding the exits, making sure students couldn’t escape into the rainstorm. The doors were open, releasing a cool breeze from the cloudy weather into the gym. The temperature of the room was staying regular, while the annoyance levels of the student and staff bodies were rising quickly.

Over 700 different voices echoed off the sound-diminishing walls of the gymnasium. Students and staff alike were telling tales of where they were when the power went out.

“I was in gym class, and we had to go down the stairs in the pitch black,” said sophomore Diana Moran. “It was pretty scary; people were falling, and no one could find the door to exit the stairwell.”

12:00 p.m. Not all the students were in the gym yet. It was getting warmer in the wood paneled gymnasium; more and more children and teachers are pouring in. The rain was coming down in buckets outside.

So many students. So many teachers. So many questions.

What was the cause of this power outage? According the Scott Lyle, Oyster Bay High School Head Custodian, branches had knocked down some wires in Oyster Bay, making many homes lose power, not just the high school. LIPA was working on getting the power back, while the population of the high school was huddled up in the gym.
People were getting annoyed. Some students were running around the gym, other students were just sitting down talking to their friends. Most students mentioned that this is the best Friday ever, while other students mention how hungry they are, joking that they may revert to cannibalism. Most students were not enjoying the blackout at all. In fact, everyone just seemed like they wanted to go home.
Andrea Lorusso, a math teacher at Oyster Bay High School, said, “I think that we handled this very well. I’m so proud of the students for not making a mess of the situation.”

Purple polyester masses of football players crowd around the gym, divvying up into their own separate cliques of students. Teachers clad in purple and yellow Oyster Bay Staff t-shirts posed as a force among the rainbow of student colors in the gym. Even in times of distress, members of OBHS showed unity, whether it was with their own teammates, or simply with their co-workers. Was it merely a coincidence that four different Oyster Bay teams decided to wear their uniforms on Friday the 1st? Or was it an omen to stay together during a hectic day at Oyster Bay?

Flashes of cameras explode in the gym, documenting this memorable day in school history. Students were getting antsy. It is 12:37 p.m. and we have been in the gym for nearly an hour.

At 1:00 p.m., the students were dismissed. Celebratory cheers erupted from the student body and within ten minutes, the school was empty of students.
It was a learning experience though. Anyone can agree that Oyster Bay High School is definitely more adequately prepared for the next emergency, following the memorable first day of October in the 2010-2011 school year.

The 21st Century Diploma

by Halsey Quinn

This year, the Oyster Bay-East Norwich school district has introduced a new program that is designed to prepare students for their future in the 21st century. The 21st Century Diploma is a program that encourages students to develop and learn the skills that they will need for their future.
It consists of an online portfolio for each student, where they will keep track of activities they have completed for points. If they earn 100 points from the time students enter high school as freshmen to the time they graduate, then they will receive a special diploma, a 21st Century Diploma.
Six important aspects for life in the 21st century are considered to be: life-long learner, health and fitness, communication, work ethic, information technology, and global awareness. The activities are divided into these six areas that will help students develop these qualities. Although this program is designed to prepare students for the future, it isn’t all about new technologies. The program also emphasizes interest in the arts, in books, newspapers, Broadway shows, museums, fitness and more. In the end, they hope that the students who complete this program will become hard-working, well-round students.
Participating students will create an online portfolio, submitting proof of completed activities to earn points. To enter an upcoming activity, students can send a message to the administrators for approval. After completing the activity and submitting an artifact to their portfolio, a teacher will review it.
There are a group of teachers who have volunteered to review the projects. The subject of the activity will correspond to the teacher that reviews it. This brand new program is already in full swing. There have already been over 100 activities requested and approved.
The website, which is a link on the school district’s homepage, has a very helpful FAQ for those who have questions, or do not completely understand how the program works. According to the FAQ, not everything about the program is set in stone, there are a few flexibilities. Participants are not limited to the listed activities. They are encouraged to submit their own ideas for approval. An activity that is listed for a certain category can be counted for a different one if it also applies.
If you receive 99 points, it wasn’t all for nothing. If a student attempts the program, they will receive a certificate that notes how many points they earned. Also, because this is the first year of the program, seniors, juniors and sophomores will not have to earn the full 100 points by the end of their senior year. Seniors will only have to earn 30 points, while juniors are required to earn 60, and sophomores are required 80.
Since this program is new, and because it is being done locally, many colleges will most likely not be familiar with it. Along with your transcript, the guidance department will be sure to send an explanation of the program.
Aubri Juhasz and Joelle Lee are participants in the 21st century diploma program. They both believe that the diploma will be a nice addition to their college applications. “I’ve already requested 17 activities,” says Juhasz, while Lee is just getting started with it. “It looks like a really fun program,” she says.

Monday, October 18, 2010

New Staff Profile: Dr. Lisa Mulhall

By Bryan Gross

With the start of a new school year come new members to the Oyster Bay school district staff and the Board of Education. Dr. Lisa Mulhall is one such addition filling in the shoes of Dr. Laura Seinfeld as the new Assistant Superintendent. Dr. Mulhall graduated from Rutgers University, and got her masters in teaching and doctorate in leadership at Columbia University Teachers College.

Growing up Dr. Mulhall never knew she wanted to become an Assistant Superintendent. “I always thought I’d go to law school and become a lawyer, but my mom had a huge impact upon my career choice. She always said that I’d love teaching, and once I tried it, I fell in love,” said Mulhall. Mulhall enjoyed teaching so much; it was just a natural step to become an Assistant Superintendent.

Before becoming the Assistant Superintendent, Dr. Mulhall was the Language Arts supervisor in Cherry Hill, New Jersey. “It’s an extremely rewarding experience working in a small school where you can get to know everybody. It’s nice to see familiar faces and how close everybody is,” said Mulhall.

Dr. Mulhall decided to come to Oyster Bay mainly because of how much she admires our Board of Education. She loves working with Dr. Harrington because both of their visions are very similar. Mulhall’s two main focuses are teaching and learning. Her belief is that teachers must learn to teach and students must learn to learn. So far Dr. Mulhall loves Oyster Bay. She has talked to the administrators and hears how great the kids are.

Mulhall is a huge football fan. Since there is no New Jersey football team she’s a big Philadelphia Eagles fan. Traveling is also another hobby of hers. She has been to Venezuela, Guatemala, Peru, Mexico, Canada, Israel, France, Spain, and Finland. Back in high school, Dr. Mulhall ran cross country and ever since she has been running all the time. Mulhall was part of the Interact Club in her high school as well.

Dr. Mulhall is very enthusiastic about her position here at Oyster Bay and hopes to drive us in a good direction. The small size of our school and the friendly students should help Mulhall adjust nicely and enjoy all that Oyster Bay has to offer.

8th Graders Set to Serve

By Halsey Quinn

Every year there are a few seventh and eighth graders who step up to play for a varsity team. This fall season, this varsity tennis team alone has brought up two middle school students. Josephine Pinnock and Grace McNamara, two eighth graders, are competing alongside the high school students on the tennis team.

Pinnock, who was the manager of the tennis team as a seventh grader, has been playing tennis since she was about eight years old, and she plans to continue through high school.

“It is a lot harder than I expected, but it is a lot of fun,” says Pinnock. Tennis isn’t the only sport Pinnock plays. She plays volleyball, golf, swims competitively, and runs track and field. Like most students who compete on school teams, Pinnock occasionally finds it hard to keep up with academics while participating in sports.

Along with Pinnock, McNamara is also playing on the varsity team. Her mother got her playing tennis when McNamara was just two years old. She took lessons at her house until she was eleven, and plans to continue tennis through high school.

This year, as an eighth grader, McNamara is excited to be a part of the school team. “Matches are long, but I can get everything in school done no problem,” she says. In other seasons, like Pinnock, she is on the school volleyball team, and the track and field team. Outside of school, she also swims and dances competitively.

Being on a varsity team is a big commitment, and is much more serious than any middle school team. McNamara isn’t bothered by the fact that there isn’t a 7th/8th grade option for her, as she enjoys being on varsity. While Pinnock has fun playing on the varsity tennis team, she would still prefer a middle school team, or just a junior varsity team. One thing they both agree on is that playing for the varsity team is fun and exciting, and they both hope to have a good season.

Restoring Honor- Glenn Beck's DC Rally

By Aubri Juhasz
On August 8, 1963, from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, Martin Luther King Jr. offered memorable words of inspiration to a divided nation. This past summer on the 47th anniversary of this revolutionary event, another brave man stood tall and spoke from his heart, hoping for the same thing Martin Luther King Jr. hoped for, for his words to be heard. Glenn Beck has a dream too, and on August 28, 2010 he took one more step closer to it becoming a reality. At the strictly nonpolitical rally, Glenn Beck with many other influential people of the twenty first century were there, standing beside him, to support him on three simple beliefs, Hope, Faith and Charity.
Almost everyone that I have spoken a word to about the rally, either had no knowledge of its existence, or had the facts all wrong. I feel that this is the situation that most Americans are in also. This is a result of either two things, being oblivious to the current events of their country, or being misinformed. Following the rally, not a single newspaper to my knowledge had anything negative to say about the rally, but on the other hand they kept their articles short and relatively plain, most not even stating what the rally was really about. The 8/28 Restoring Honor Rally was a way for Americans from all different walks of life states to come together and pledge to restore honor to America. It was a rally to honor those of us who serve our country, and pay tribute to our great nation’s “heroes, heritage and our future”. The rally was centered around three simple beliefs. Each had a guest speaker, who Glenn Beck felt lived a life that best represented that quality.
To speak on the behalf of Faith was C.L. Jackson a Houston Minister, and a dedicated preacher to his parish for 44 years, who exhibits unwavering faith in whatever he chooses to believe in. For Hope spoke Major League Baseball player, Albert Pujols. After emigrating from the Dominican Republic at age 16, he grew up not only to be an all star baseball player, but to launch his own foundation. The Pujols Family Foundation is dedicated to “the love, care and development of people with down syndrome and their families”. He is a man that has always held onto hope. Lastly, Charity was represented by Jon Huntsman Sr., philanthropist and businessman playing a key part in the invention of plastic egg cartons and many other take out necessities. Huntsman has been a lifetime humanitarian, donating to various causes, such as the homeless, underprivileged and the ill. He is best known for the funding and creation of the Huntsman Cancer Institute, and has arranged in his will that after his passing, all his money be donated to charity.
Other than those attending to represent the values of Faith, Hope and Charity, there were many other influential people of the twenty first century standing beside Glenn Beck at Restoring Honor. These included Sarah Palin, Marcus Luttrell, and Alveda King. Sarah Palin spoke not as a political leader, but as a mother of a soldier. While Marcus Luttrell one of Americas true heroes shared his inspiring story of his survival, and being the sole survivor of his Navy seal team in Afghanistan. Alveda King, niece of Martin Luther King Jr., who has stood by Glenn Beck long before the rally was conceived, attended with the words that if her uncle were still alive today, he would have attended the rally proudly.
The rally was also supported by The Black Robe Regiment and Special Operations Warrior Foundation. The Black Robe regiment stood side by side, a group consisting of people of all different religions, Pastors, Rabbis and even a few Imams were there to support the message of restoring Honor and Hope, Faith and Charity. The Special Operations Warrior Foundation, worked alongside Glenn Beck to run this rally. The sole purpose of their foundation is to raise money to provide scholarship grants to the children of deceased special operation personnel. People were able to make donations to the foundation while at the event, and in that one day alone, raising over 5 million dollars.
On the morning of the rally, over 500,000 people made their way from all over the country, by plane, train, and automobile, to the Lincoln Memorial, to witness what they hoped would be a day of inspiration and honor. These people were not angry rioters, obnoxious or loud, but kind, considerate Americans yearning for change. At the start of the rally, many could not see the Teleprompters, or were sweaty and tired, but there was no shoving, or foul language, no littering, or fighting or arguments of any kind. The day was sprinkled with random acts of kindness, which showcased that compassion for others still exists. The Lincoln Memorial was swarmed with nothing but true Americans standing together, holding their American Flags up to dance in the breeze. As Glenn Beck sought to take the stage, a perfect v of geese spontaneously flew over the reflecting pool. I looked around into a sea of different colored and aged faces that surrounded me, all with the same look of joyful anticipation at the idea of the restoration of Honor, Hope, Faith and Charity. On August 28th, I saw the good in America shine through.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Livin' on the Bayou

By Ryan Cronin

History Channel has again found a ratings gold mine, this time in its new reality series “Swamp People”. History’s new hit along with new seasons of more experienced shows, such as Ice Road Truckers, and Pawn Stars, caused the network to achieve its highest ratings ever during the month of August. For its last episode Swamp People had 2.753 million viewers 1.7% of households watched the episode as well as 3% of households watching television in the 9pm-10pm timeslot.
The series documents the lives of Cajun “swampers” as they maintain a lifestyle that is over 300 years old. Although many of the men live off of the land for most of the year, the majority of their time is devoted to Louisiana’s 30 day hunting season for alligator. Alligator season is the main source of income for the Cajuns, and they have only 30 days to fill their individual quotas and earn a living.
The show follows seven “master hunters” and their hired guns as they search the famed Atchafalaya Basin for its bounty of alligator. Every Sunday viewers take a trip to Louisiana and find themselves thrust into the action of hunts for beasts that can easily rip limbs off human beings. The filming techniques in the show offer viewers a first person point of view as cameras seem to be on the boats alongside the hunters.
Most people who watch the show have never even heard about alligator hunting let alone know the importance of it on the economy of Louisiana. The men followed in Swamp People live a way of life that is seen and even described by History Channel as “primitive,” but it is a way of life that is all they have ever known and may be all they ever will know. Through Swamp People, History has opened a door to this unfamiliar world to millions of people every Sunday night.

A New Way to Go Green

By Aubri Juhasz
In an ever consuming society, it’s no surprise that many Americans find themselves taking in more goods than their homes can hold. Hence, things such as the garage sale and e-bay have grown in popularity. But for those of us that are too busy or technologically inept for the above options, their old stuff hits the curb at an alarming rate. However, in Oyster Bay, beginning on September 21st, opens a store that holds another option for those of us with a greener perspective.
Mill Pond Consignment, located at No. 9 Audrey Ave., is a convenient option to everyone here in Oyster Bay and across Long Island. They take almost everything you would find in a house such as mirrors, lamps, china and dining room sets, though they do not accept household appliances. In order to arrange your goods to be sold at this establishment, you have several options. Call them at 516-680-3203 or visit them at
Now a days, everyone seems to be attempting to “go green” in some way, whether it’s big things like running a home off solar panels, or simply buying a notebook made of recycled paper. No matter how many people want to cut back on waste there are some pretty obvious areas that we are neglecting. On trash collection night, the streets of a neighborhood may contain at least half a dozen articles of furniture that have no business being thrown out. If some Good Samaritan (or picker) doesn’t take it for themselves, this perfectly fine piece of furniture may eventually find itself rotting away in a landfill somewhere, when it could have been reused in someone else’s home.
In order to get your new or gently used unwanted furniture out of your house and off the curb there are several steps to follow. First contact Mill Pond Consignment by one of the above means. Once you have arranged for pickup, or dropped off your items, they will be on sale in the store for anyone’s perusing. After your item is sold, you will receive a 50% profit cut from the item’s sale price and receive a check of the balance on record by the 15th of the following month. Whether you’re looking to sell your gently used or new furniture, or just go green, you can feel good knowing you’re benefitting your wallet and the environment as well.

Hola, Bon Jour, Hello and Welcome

By Stephen Vlavianos

Mrs. Jackie Luciano is the newest teacher in the L.O.T.E. department. She is extremely well-educated, and well-cultured and will be a huge asset to our school because of the quantity of her life experience.

Stephen Vlavianos: Do you like Oyster Bay High School?
JL: So far it seems great. The staff and students have made me feel welcome.
SV: Did you teach at any other schools?
JL: I taught in the Brentwood school district. I have work experience at Brentwood High School and Brentwood R. Middle School.
SV: What made you choose to come to Oyster Bay?
JL: I was interested in a change of pace and atmosphere, and I am extremely pleased with Oyster Bay.
SV: How would you classify your teaching style?
JL: My main concern in teaching is to get the kids excited and keep them engaged. I am flexible in my teaching style, I just want to appeal to the kids and teach them as much as I can.
SV: Where did you attend college?
JL: SUNY Stony Brook.
SV: What was your major?
JL: Spanish
SV: What inspired you to teach foreign language?
JL: I have a passion for travelling to other countries, and I love the culture that comes with languages…I want to share that passion with my students.
SV: Do you have a background in any other languages?
JL: Well, I studied Italian, and I also taught English in Argentina.
SV: What is one thing your students should know about you?
JL: I have lived and traveled in and throughout many other foreign countries. I have studied art and culture, and I am extremely happy to be at Oyster Bay!

Homecoming Approaching

By Daniel Eng
The biggest football game in the Oyster Bay football team’s season is rapidly approaching. Not only is it the most important football game, but it is also the time for each grade to show off their school spirit. Leading up to homecoming, each grade competes in multiple events to show which grade has the most Oyster Bay pride. Students compete in events such as float building, hall decorating and of course the biggest one of them all, which is lip sync. Lip sync is where each grade creates a dance based on a theme that is chosen by the student council.
According to Ms. Danielle Urtheil, she has not yet had the meeting with the student council that decides the theme and colors. She will hold the meeting with all of student council towards the end of September. Spirit Week will begin on Monday,. October 25 and will run through the week and end on Friday, October 29. She announced that hall decorating will be Tuesday the 26, the pep rally will be Friday the 29 and Homecoming will be, according to Urtheil on the next Saturday, October 30. The winners of lip sync will perform their dance during the half time of the football game. Urtheil also stated that she and the student council plan on having sports events to raise money during the year.
“We are very excited for this year, because we have a bunch of fundraisers planned,” Urtheil said.

Hooray for Hawe

By Diana Vlavianos

With the retirement of an Oyster Bay legend, Ms. Reilly, our school’s English department was at a loss and needed to hire a new teacher who exhibits excellence and is able to leave a mark on our school. Oyster Bay has certainly found that in Ms. Hawe, the new 7th grade English teacher. She is an extremely knowledgeable woman with a passion for her subject and quirks that will make her a dynamic addition to the English department.

Diana Vlavianos: What are you most looking forward to at Oyster Bay?
Emily Hawe: Getting to know the students, and to show them my classroom library which I have been building up all summer. Also, I’m excited to go to all the students’ activities like the sports games, and the school plays and such.

DV: Where did you attend college?
EH: Actually, I am from Virginia but I attended NYU for my undergrad with a major in play writing, and then I attended the Teacher’s College.

DV: What is your favorite aspect of teaching?
EH: Definitely having the opportunity to read more (I am such an English teacher), and also having the opportunity to teach writing to children and assist them in expressing themselves through their writing.

DV: Have you held any previous teaching positions?
EH: I taught at a public school in New York City. The school was smaller than Oyster Bay, and I taught eleventh and twelfth grade English there. I’m happy to be at Oyster Bay because I actually have classroom space! In the city I would have to teach in either the school library or the hallways...I made do.

DV: Being that you have previous teaching experience, what have you found to be the most challenging aspect of teaching?
EH: Hmm, that is a difficult question…teaching is just so rewarding…I would have to say that meeting different student’s needs is difficult. It is challenging to appeal to students who are at different levels, and to explain concepts such as grammar to a group of kids who have different understandings of what I am teaching.

DV: What is one thing that your students wouldn’t know about you?
EH: I’m currently working on writing a young adult novel, and in the past as a writer I have written plays and screenplays.

Hallway Navigation 101

by Paul Savary
It’s a new school year, and of course the hallways are filled with absolute chaos. Learning how to maneuver the hallways is an art which is usually mastered after a semester or two. The biggest problem is the pure obliviousness of students, particularly with the underclassmen.
So for the hallway inept, here is a guide on how to properly walk the halls of Oyster Bay:

1. Hallways are just like streets, you walk with your right shoulder closest to the wall, and this goes for the stairways as well.
2. If you feel the need to spark up a conversation in the halls, be courteous and move to the walls or lockers.
3. If you see a person walking right into your direction, just move and avoid the awkward shuffle when you have to move away from them last minute.
4. When walking with a group of people, condense if you see people coming towards you from the opposite direction.
5. There’s really no reason to run in the hallways, really, most teachers understand if you get to class within 10 seconds of the bell
6. When waiting for a teacher to come to the classroom, stay close to the walls and don’t just conjugate in a massive orb around the door.
7. To make it easier to get to class, know all the hallways and find the shortest route to class.
8. No matter what a teacher tells you, never go for a bathroom break in-between classes, you won’t have enough time to get back before the second bell.
9. Remember the hallway in between the lunchroom and library! It can cut a lot off of your walk to gym.
10. Wait for a clearing before crossing the halls to get to stairs.

I hope these tips can make for a better Oyster Bay High School, and less chaotic hallways. Have a great school year!

Editorial: A New Diploma for a New World

By Alexa Ritacco

For students on Long Island the competition for getting into college is extremely fierce. Most find it hard to set themselves a part from the crowd. Having the high grades won’t cut it, being involved in every activity won’t help as much as you’d think and a service trip to Costa Rica, although an excellent way to make a difference, will not be a deciding factor. So what can students do to gain the competitive edge? A new program called the 21st century diploma can definitely get you on the right track.
The program was just recently introduced to us at our grade level assemblies by Ms. Jill Walther. She has been working exceedingly hard on it for about 3 years. The program allows students to receive high school credit for activities they normally wouldn’t get credit for. Activities range from music lessons to participating in a 5K walk/run to even working a part-time job. All of these credits are then put onto a student’s transcript.
Depending on the class year, students are required to earn a certain number of credits before they graduate. Since seniors and juniors will not have the same amount of time as freshmen and sophomores to fulfill these credits, they will not have to earn as many. Seniors must earn 30 points, Juniors 60 and freshmen and sophomores 100.
In a recent student poll I took, 30 out of 50 students were interested in participating in the program, 5 were undecided, and 10 were a definite no. The main reason for no seemed to be a mix of laziness and “not having enough time.”
“It seems like something that could really help us,” said junior Boyd Warwick Clark, “But my only apprehension is whether it is actually going to make a difference or not.”
I feel this is a great opportunity that all students should take advantage of. Usually most colleges and universities place a lot of weight of the decision process on the high school transcript. Having all these different activities on a transcript would look exceptionally impressive. It allows the admissions counselor to see well roundedness right away.
This program can only help a student, not hurt them. The majority of high schools in the New York Area don’t offer this opportunity. If there’s a student out there who doesn’t take advantage of this program, they’re seriously missing.

New Attendance Policy Clarified

By Mariah Cody

Oyster Bay High School’s new attendance policy was implemented into this year’s 2010/2011 syllabus, but not many fully understand what this new policy entails. A letter was mailed home to every household, meetings were held, but questions and complaints are still lingering with what defines an excused and unexcused absence.
The new attendance policy was implemented because students cannot learn unless they are in their class. According to Dr. O’Hara, Oyster Bay High School is one of the last high schools in the area without an attendance policy. Although the specifications of other school’s attendance policies vary, the primary message to students remains constant: be in class.
The main controversies lie in what distinguishes an excused absence from an unexcused absence. According to the new attendance policy, excused absences include personal illness, illness or death in a family, impassable roads due to inclement weather, religious observance, quarantine, required court appearances, medical appointments, college visitations, alternative educational activities, personal reasons with the confirmation of a parent or guardian, and any other reasons that may be approved by the Commissioner of Education. Unexcused absences include vacation, truancy (absence without proper excuse), oversleeping, babysitting, cutting with parental permission, missing school with parental permission, car trouble, and illegal absence from class.
With every piece of legislation come guidelines and logistics. Early departure or lateness must include a parental note or phone call on the same day of the infraction. According to the new attendance policy, it is the parent’s responsibility to follow through on this twenty-four hour deadline. In the case of a chronic absence or lateness/early departure some form of medical confirmation is need in order to make that violation legal.
The number of accepted absences varies between half-year and full-year courses. For half-year courses the maximum number of absences is twelve and for full-year courses twenty-four. Upon the thirteenth absence for half-year courses and the twenty-fifth absence for full-year courses the student will not receive credit for the course. If there are discrepancies amongst the recorded absences, the student’s attendance record will be reviewed by the panel of teachers.
The new attendance policy follows a tight procedure, beginning with a code imprinted on the student’s record stating the nature of the absence (full day, class cut, tardiness, early departure) and ending when, and if, the student accumulates more than the maximum number of absences with a review from the school board.
If there are any further questions contact either Dr. O’Hara, Mr. Imperial, or Ms. Johnson.