All posts by drewmurphy20

Boston Players, Fans Primed for Stanley Cup Final

By Drew Murphy

To say the Boston Bruins have been amazing this year is an understatement. Tonight, they begin their 19th Stanley Cup Final and have a shot at winning their 7th NHL championship.

The Bruins started out by grinding out the regular season, finishing second in their division and second in the whole league with over 100 points on the season. In the first round of playoffs, they faced the Toronto Maple Leafs,a league rival and Original Six foe. Over the years, the Bruins have consistently beaten the Leafs in the playoffs, including a miraculous comeback in 2013 when the Bruins scored four goals in the dying minutes of the first game of the opening round series . This year, the two teams went to seven games in a grueling battle that ended with suspension, bruises and blood. 

Next up was the Columbus Blue Jackets, another very tough team who happened to be coming off the most historic first-round ever. As the last-seeded team in the playoffs, the Blue Jackets beat the top seed in a four-game sweep. The Bruins again faced a team that would give them a run for their money.  The Bruins had a 3-2 lead in the series heading into game 6, which started off extremely fast-paced with plenty of scoring chances for both teams. Eventually, veteran forward David Krejci put one home, giving the Bruins momentum and the rest of the game was theirs. David Backes and Marcus Johansson scored and the Bruins won 3-0. 

In the semifinals, they faced the Carolina Hurricanes, an unlikely opponent that grinded its way through the early rounds. The Bruins took care of them in a four game sweep, getting contributions from all four lines and especially Tuukka Rask, the goaltender having one of the best performances in the playoffs.

Going into the finals against the St. Louis Blues, the Bruins are locked in and focused and know what they need to do to win. With contributions from 1st line All-Stars Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron and David Pastrnak to 4th line standouts Sean Kuraly, Joakim Nordstrom, Noel Accarica and Chris Wagner,  the Bruins will be in great shape. The fans and the team are ready for the Boston Bruins to bring home their seventh Stanley Cup.

YEAR IN REVIEW: Government Shutdown

By Drew Murphy

Happy Holidays! The U.S. government gave thousands of employees what amounts to a lump of coal in their stockings by partially shutting down at midnight Dec. 21. In a normal year, Congress approves a spending budget for each agency of the government for the following year by Sept. 30. This year, Congressional leaders and the President could not agree on a new budget because the President wants $5 billion included to build a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border; many in Congress oppose the wall. The shutdown is partial because 75 percent of government funding was already approved for the budget year that started on October 1, 2018. Agencies previously approved for funding include Labor, Energy, Defense, Health and Human Services, Education and Veterans Affairs. Some of the agencies affected by the partial shutdown are Homeland Security, Justice, IRS and other Department of Treasury offices. There have been 22 federal government shutdowns in the United States in the past 40 years, including three in the last year alone.

What is a shutdown? A shutdown happens when Congress fails to pass or the President fails to sign legislation to fund the federal government’s operations. In a shutdown, an agency no longer has the money to operate and must stop those activities that are not deemed essential. Many employees of the federal government are then furloughed, which means they are forced to take a leave of absence without pay. It is usually temporary, and once legislation is passed to fund the government, those employees can go back to work. More than 380,000 federal employees face unpaid time off in the current shutdown. This includes almost all of NASA, portions of the Commerce Department, Transportation Department, Treasury Department, Housing and Urban Development and Forest and National Park Service. Congress could pass legislation to pay these workers for any pay missed as a result of furloughs.

Other employees, referred to as “excepted,” have to continue to work without pay because their jobs involve the safety of people’s lives or the protection of property.  More than 420,000 federal employees, including workers from the FBI, the Drug Enforcement Agency, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and other law enforcement, must work through the shutdown. These workers are not likely to receive any compensation until it ends, and legislation will need to be passed to pay them retroactively. 

Are we at Hanover High School affected by this shutdown? For the most part, we’re not, unless you have a parent or relative that has to work for no pay or is forced to take time off. The National Parks are open, but garbage and waste is beginning to pile up. The Smithsonian Museums and the National Zoo are among the museums and monuments closed; I’m sure the current Hanover 8th graders are glad their field trip to Washington D.C. isn’t happening this month. Additionally, new homebuyers may not get loans they were applying for, delaying the purchase and sale of homes currently on the market in Hanover. If you were planning on keeping tabs on NASA missions and discoveries, you’ll have to wait. Employees that run NASA TV have been furloughed.  Additionally, if you were going to buy the next hot initial public stock offering, you’re out of luck as the Securities and Exchange Commission employees are also furloughed.

Hopefully, the President and Congress will do their job in the New Year and come to a compromise so that all agencies and employees can resume their normal operations.

Featured picture from cbsnews.com

Should Attending Sports Parades be an Excused Absence?

By Drew Murphy

Since the moment the Red Sox clinched the World Series, the debate began raging among students, teachers, coaches and administrators. Should students be penalized for taking a day off for the victory parade or should it be considered an excused absence? Teachers and administrators argued the absence would be unexcused and no extra time would be given to make up work. Coaches warned that students who skipped school would be benched.

The student handbook states that an absence is excused for the following reasons:  “medical/dental appointment, funeral, court appearance or legal appointment, driver’s license, college visitation, religious holiday or at the discretion of the Principal/Associate Principal.” Another example of an excused absence is a school-sponsored field trip. Wikipedia defines a field trip as “a journey by a group of people to a place away from their normal environment.”  If you plan to be absent for any sort of reason and get permission from a parent/guardian and notify the school, the Principal/Associate Principal can make a judgement call and excuse the absence. In my opinion, planning to be absent for the celebratory parade of a professional sport team isn’t that different from being absent for any other personal matter.

When a local sports team wins the top title in its league, it shows that hard work, dedication, and commitment lead to amazing results. The classroom is not the only place that these important lessons are learned. Although we have been lucky over the last decade to see an impressive number of wins by our sports teams, we don’t know that this historical phenomena will continue. What if this parade is the last one for decades?  In a world with such violence and hate, to be able to come together as a whole community and share pure happiness and joy together is priceless. Navigating public transportation, following directions, sharing joy and camaraderie with thousands of strangers is worth more than something you might miss in the classroom for one day of school.

You don’t have to be a fan to realize the significance that sports play in our society. The number of lives that sports change is truly remarkable. You don’t have to be a fan to celebrate the success of a winning team, but you do need to see that parades represent a historical time that we are lucky enough to be present for. No matter the circumstance, sports bring us together. Now that doesn’t mean administrators have to close schools like the city of Philadelphia did in 2018 to celebrate the Eagles Super Bowl win. But they should make the right judgement call and allow students who have permission from their parents to partake in what could be a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Featured picture from ESPN.go.com