Category Archives: Opinion

Snow Days: One Senior says BRING IT ON!

By Sean Meehan

When it comes to snow, myself, and the rest of the Senior class, for the first time in years, are all down on our knees praying, that’s right, PRAYING for as many snow days as possible. Why, you ask? Simple, the Senior class here at HHS is the one group of individuals in the entire school district that does not have to make up any snow days, regardless of how many we may have this winter. I have waited years for this winter, and now it has arrived. In conclusion, in response to your question “What is your opinion on snow?”, I say….BRING IT ON!

snow day2
The view from Mrs. McHugh’s door on Jan.3, 2014.
Photo by Mrs. McHugh
Mrs. McHugh’s husband shovels out their driveway on Jan. 3, 2014.

Virtual High School: For Independent Students

By Calley Madison

Photo by Mrs. McHugh
Calley works on her VHS course in the library.

Here at HHS, we offer a program called “Virtual High School.” Virtual High School classes are for classes either not offered at HHS, or classes you wish to take in place of classes for school.  There are math, science, English, humanities courses and language courses. There are college level, honors and AP. In the fall, I took a course called “Career Awareness,” which helped me learn about the profession I am interested in, and soon I will be starting “Contemporary Issues in American Law and Justice.”

The class is entirely online and you get one period a day in the library to do the work, but it is not as easy as it sounds. The classes can have a wide variety of work, from barely any to an overwhelming amount, and you need to be very on task and work well with time. You see, each assignment is due by a certain day, and if you post late, points will be deducted. The assignments can be essays, group projects, discussion posts or just word searches but either way, your teachers look for the effort you put in.

If you get behind for some reason, you can let your teacher know — my VHS teacher, Mrs. Allen, gave us her e-mail, cell phone and home phone number — and you can access the course from home. Yes, the VHS website can be accessed from any computer  with just your username and password.

Your classmates are one of the most interesting parts of VHS. Your classmates can be from anywhere all around the world. I have people from Romania, Turkey, England, Washington, Florida and Massachusetts in my class. You can message these people and  learn many things about them, where they live, and how it differs from us here at HHS. You also discuss topics with them and work together on some projects.

I really enjoy taking VHS classes because I am very on-top-of-things and organized, also because it really makes me feel as if I am learning better. The VHS courses are challenging, they expect you to manage your own time, stay organized, and take tests and quizzes like real classes. I would certainly take another VHS class in the future, not because it’s a relaxed atmosphere, but simply because I learn better alone and managing all my own things on my own time.

A VHS class is not for everyone. If you are easily distracted, disorganized, and do not work well with a deadline, you’re going to feel trapped and overwhelmed. In this circumstance, risk is not always the best choice, and you should talk to the librarian, guidance counselor, and parents before trying to enroll in a class.  

Matt’s Declassified College Application Survival Guide

One day during senior year, it strikes you — the real world is drawing closer and closer. The past four years of your high school experience and all of the memories that you made throughout begin to flash before your eyes. The college process is here, and it’s time to prepare yourself; it’s application time. These are a few tips that will help you through the process, whether you’re a senior preparing for college or even a freshman who has just started high school. This is Matt’s Declassified College Application Survival Guide.

After completing my own process of sending out a few applications, visiting some colleges, researching majors, and seeking information from other sources, I can safely say that it can all be done without much stress; time management is key. With all of the stressful and time-consuming activities clogging your everyday life, it is hard to put much thought into college until the last possible moment. I understand that everyone, including the seniors, still have time to figure out what they may want their futures to entail. But I highly recommended you start as soon as possible.  My advice to you is to begin researching what you’re interested in. Begin research as early as you can, I began my research when I was a freshman. Find jobs that may interest you when you’re older, jobs that will fit who you are. The better you know yourself and what you like, the easier the college process will be. If you like helping people, you may go into a medical field. For those more sociable, business may be of interest to you. Another thing I would highly recommend is deciding what type of college best fits you. Colleges cover all sorts of different spectrums — large, small, beautiful city, beautiful campus, sports, clubs, etc. You may also want to keep in mind the distance you would be willing to go for college. For me, I wanted to stay in the New England area. Not only did I want to stay around here because it would be cheaper on travel expenses, but I also wanted to stay closer to home because I’m too much of a momma’s boy. But that’s just me, everyone is different and I want to encourage you to chase your personal college dreams.

When the time is approaching for you to begin sending out applications (either fall for early action or winter for early decision of your senior year), there are a few things you need to keep in mind: Deadlines, The Common App, Recommendations, and your college essay. The deadlines may be the most stressful aspect of the applying process, so procrastinators, take note! To find success with applications you must stay on top of deadlines at all times; colleges don’t want slackers! The common application is also very important, it is more or less your whole high school career on one application. This is the part of the applying process where you list your test scores, extracurricular activities, volunteer work, etc. This is what you will be showing colleges what you have accomplished these past few years, so don’t forget anything important! The recommendations are just a way of letting colleges know what sort of student you are from a teacher’s perspective. You have the ability to choose any teacher or coach that you think knows best what kind of student you truly are. I recommend choosing a teacher who you have shown true determination, well-maintained grades, and have participated positively in their class. The last part of the applying process is the college essay. The essay gives students the opportunity to show colleges both their writing skills and what has shaped them into who they are today. If there is a range of topics, be sure to choose one that best fits who you are as a person. Also, try not to stray very far from the topic at hand; keep your essay focused on what you are trying to prove or the change that you are trying to develop. Only add the necessary details, omitting anything that could distract from your overall purpose.

I hope these tips come in handy for anyone looking to manage the stress of applying to college! College is right around the corner for all of us so there is no better time to prepare than now. So what are you waiting for? Go do some research, visit a campus, and find out what interests you!

Changes to Pep Rally Didn’t Dampen Spirit

Leading up to this year’s annual pep rally, rumors ran rampant through the halls of Hanover High School. Students were speculating to each other about the supposed changes made by student council to the yearly rally, which has been infamous for flooding students with spirit and school pride at the end of a long, creative, and colorful spirit week. Some whispered about plans to boycott, and some mumbled about the possibility of not being allowed at the rally unless you played a sport. But regardless of whether every student was in agreement with the new changes, they all managed to give the new rally format a chance. Whether the rally was a success would be left up to the students to decide.

During years past on the day of the rally, students were encouraged to wear their class color to support their grade, and would also be sectioned off in the bleachers to sit with their coordinating classes in the gym at the end of the day. A series of events and activities would follow, participants being volunteers from each grade that would compete against each other.

This year, however, this classic routine was broken and changes were made to certain aspects. For instance, now, instead of being sectioned off by grade, students were allowed to sit wherever they wanted. In addition, the student population was encouraged to wear simply “Hanover” colors and apparel instead of their class colors. And instead of having volunteers from each grade participate in various events, seniors from each fall sports team were required to compete against each other in activities like tug-of-war and basketball knock-out.

Students at first disagreed with these changes, claiming that limiting the activities to only seniors who play fall sports is discriminatory against the students who don’t play sports. However in years past, everyone has always had a chance to participate, and nobody stepped up! Last year, I had the unfortunate experience of trying to convince my classmates to sign up for activities. There were so many spots and so very few students willing to take them! Not all freshmen were brave enough to step up and participate alongside seniors in front of the entire school, and with these new policies, they are spared from doing just that.

Though reactions may have been mixed both in anticipation to these changes and after they had been made, I personally think that these changes were much-needed and beneficial for the high school community as a whole. At the last rally, it took incredible effort on the part of the teachers to coerce the students down from the bleachers to join in the activities. But this year, the whole event went smoothly. The events segued easily one after another, with no awkward pauses in between while teachers rallied to cajole students down from the safety of the bleachers.

After the final shouts and screams as the rally fizzled to an end, students went home either satisfied or displeased with the outcome of the newly changed rally. In my perspective, the whole experience seemed much better in regards to its flow. It certainly did a great job of spreading spirit and pride through the students of HHS, demonstrated, if not by anything else, than by the echoing shouts bouncing off the gym walls as students hollered their excitement and pride for their school. The whole purpose of the rally, after all, is to bring together all of the classes as one and unite Hanover High in all of its diversity. And at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter which class is the loudest and most vicious, nor does it matter which grade wins at tug-of-war. It’s about being brought together in all of Hanover High’s blue, gold, and white glory. And I think the rally truly did accomplish that.

 

Federal Government Shutdown

For about two weeks the Federal Government was shut down. As just about any American knows, this was due to the inability of the House of Representatives and the Senate to reach an agreement on the Federal budget. Really, it boiled down to the fact that House Republicans wanted parts of the Affordable Care Act (sometimes called Obamacare) repealed, while Senate Democrats and President Obama want to make sure it stayed on the books. In the absence of a repeal of the Affordable Care Act, House Republicans would only consider a budget that “defunds” (de facto repeals) segments of the Affordable Care Act that they do not like. Mainly this includes the health care exchanges and penalty for Americans not having health insurance. Also, many Republicans were mad at the fact that pre-existing health  conditions can no longer be used as a reason to deny coverage. This may be well be because they have a financial interest or political connections to insurance companies. While Republicans are certainly not alone in this conflict of interest, to let it rise above their responsibility of running the country is reprehensible. In other words, the government shutdown can be viewed merely as a political squabble gone out of control.

One of the many historical parks closed due to Federal government shutdown.
One of the many historical parks that was closed due to Federal government shutdown.

What the shutdown meant for Americans is that the vital, often forgotten government services of which they have come to rely upon every day were unavailable for their use. The largest example of this was the National Park Service. It’s easy to forget the wealth of historical places and outdoor open spaces that the American citizen is lucky enough to use for free. There are plenty of national parks in the Boston area that were directly affected by the shutdown. One of the best examples is the Lexington and Concord park. The Battle of Lexington and Concord was arguably one of the most important battles in American history. To have it closed to a political squabble is a travesty. Not to mention the countless school field trips that have probably been rearranged last minute. Of course, the federal government was unable to pay these expenses if it did not have a budget.

However, this does not mean that the federal government was shut down entirely. “Excepted” functions, as they are called, were still in operation. “Excepted” functions were mainly ones that are important to the preservation of life or property. For example, this means that while the National Parks were closed, there was money available for security to make sure that no one went into the closed parks. In other words, it really cost money in order for the federal government to be able to save money. Also, the military was wholly unaffected by the seeming “shutdown.” Finally, and this was the part that made most Americans’ blood boil, the Health Care online exchanges opened anyway because funding for them was already appropriated in the long term federal budget. These hotly debated online exchanges are simply ways for Americans to directly compare different insurance rates in a central location. Before the implementation of these exchanges, it was sometimes impossible to receive a straight quote on the cost of health insurance. In the eyes of the Republicans, the point of the shutdown was to prevent these exchanges from being opened. That also proves the irony and general pointlessness of the shutdown. Simply put, Republican political jockeying achieved nothing at all.

Ultimately, the shutdown was truly insane when one considers all of the people who were involuntarily furloughed. While all the politicians on Capitol Hill were being paid, around a million other federal workers were not. These workers have families to support and, with no paychecks for two weeks,  had to come up with way alternate ways to make ends meet. In fact, numerous blog articles focused on how federal workers should prioritize paying their bills. While Congress did guarantee back pay when the government reopens, it did not help workers who had bills due during the shutdown. Why, in this bad economy, was it necessary to put people out of work just to make a political point? It never was. In the end, the federal government shutdown benefitted no one and really just hurt average Americans. Not members of the wealthy “one percent,” but members of the working class “99 percent.”

 

Make Memories at This Year’s Homecoming Dance!

Tis’ the season for warm sweaters, apple picking, and terrifying haunted house rides; what could be better? One simple solution to that question would be: Homecoming! As the first month of school fades to October, there is always one thing on every high school student’s mind: ‘What in the world should I wear to homecoming?’ Now, all jokes aside, this high school event is (in my opinion) the best that the school has to offer. I am a senior here at HHS and I would like to cordially invite students of all ages to this event, as it is going to be a night to remember. Even as cliché as that may sound, it’s true. This is an event that truly introduces you into the whole “High School Experience.” Whether it be meeting new friends or seeing old ones on the dance floor, there is so much that can be taken from it.

In years past homecoming has raked in a lot of kids. The exciting festivities range from not only the thrilling football game but to the wacky and crazy music that may be played.  I remember one year students cleared a circle for others to have a dance off, everyone’s jaws dropped for that one student who could break dance. Another year, everyone in the gym was swinging their arms dancing to ‘Gangnum Style.’ At other times I remember my friends and I would always be in a group dancing and having a great time. There is a lot to be taken from this dance: the memories, the superb food, the pictures, and most importantly; the dancing. What’s better than food and dancing with your friends? Now I understand homecoming isn’t for everyone, but I would suggest attending this year whether it be your first, or last year attending. If none of that has sold you, just know that I have never heard of someone regretting going to the Hanover High School homecoming.

For this event it is highly recommended for you guys to dress up in a suit and tie, or dress pants and dress shoes. For you girls, it is simply a semi-formal dress and usually heels. Before the dance begins students will be breathalyzed at the door and will be motioned to gather around the cafeteria to take pictures and meet up with friends. After, doors will open and the dance will commence. The dance usually runs about three hours, 7:30 to 10:30. In years past we have had no problems and safety has been well-maintained. The dance is a safe and friendly place where all students are welcome. So what are you waiting for? Get up and practice those dance moves! Homecoming is just around the corner!

The dance will be held on October 26th in the high school gymnasium. Tickets are on sale now and are $30! Get yours before it’s too late!

The Question of Change: P.E.

By Marijke Fulton and Jackie DeFerrari

The days of gym classes where we can just relax and socialize with friends may be long gone at Hanover High. The new gym class policy has caused a stir of annoyance among students, but others, especially teachers, deem it necessary. In the past, many students have viewed gym class as simply an elective, slacking off when it comes to participation, claiming that gym counts as barely anything on a transcript; however, that’s all about to change.

The new rules basically consist of three parts:

1) Students are now required to make up gym class when they are absent to avoid losing credit, (8/10 points for one makeup, 6/10 points for the next, 4/10 points for the one after that, and a detention for the last)

2) Students are now to be graded on participation, whether or not they’ve changed, and on their attendance. Each gym class is an opportunity to receive any number out of a maximum of 10 points.

3) Students MUST be wearing gym clothes that have been changed into in order to participate; “just sneakers” is not acceptable as of this year.

Now there are no jeans, skirts, dresses, heels, boots, or flip-flops allowed at all for participation credit, even for walking. (Then again, how many of us really feel like power-walking the mile in heels?)

The good news: our teachers will post on the bulletin board in the gym hallway which days are available for make-ups, and have graciously offered up extra pairs of clothing articles and shoes so we can at least participate…sadly, even then, there’s still no credit to be had.

When asked her opinion on the recent changes, HHS gym teacher Mrs. Bostwick commented, “I think it’s good; it holds people responsible and accountable for the decisions they make.”

HHS student Chris Greeley, who has stayed after to make up a gym class, calls the new gym rule a “good extra credit or make-up opportunity.”

One senior claims that the new rule is “annoying, but undoubtedly necessary …although it’s a bit strict, having to change every single class, no matter the time of day, and then having to stay after even if you forget your clothes in the rush to go to school at 7am, it at least provides structure so that students might be motivated to put in the extra effort for the grade.”

No matter what your opinion on the issue is, I think we can all agree that gym is getting more and more difficult to retain that ‘A’ status by the year. Many students feel that the new rules are too harsh for an elective, and that gym should be an easier class – that the severeness of having to stay after school (which could potentially cut into the clubs, sports, or other extra-curricular activities) in order to retain credit when something as simple as the changing into gym clothes isn’t put into action is a bit too much of an extreme.

However, is making PE more challenging necessarily a bad thing? It’s great to be active, it’s required by law in Massachusetts Public Schools, and the health benefits are immeasurable – the way in which exercise is executed, however, is what marks the difference between motivation and procrastination.

Complaints of  monotony in the singular class have been heard, and this year in particular, the upperclassmen have been given a wider range of activities to participate in, such as Ultimate Frisbee, tennis, and tennis baseball thus far. Still, many have claimed that “more fun” classes, such as capture the flag or dance, are still a high demand.

The idea of a more diverse gym class is much more widespread than just Hanover. According to their school website, Duxbury High in Massachusetts has multiple gym electives, ranging from Project Adventure, a course that allows students to participate in “cooperative game presentation[s] to the class, knots, belay techniques, and beginning level climbing…” and is “…designed to reinforce the importance of cooperation, communication, building self-esteem, self-confidence and decision making skills…” to a ‘Health and Nutrition’ course, specializing in “…addressing personal health and life issues. These issues…include AIDS/HIV, interpersonal relationships, human sexuality, refusal skills, violence prevention, drugs and alcohol, smoking, and family living issues.” and ‘Lifetime Individual Physical Education’, which includes “individual type sports: Archery, Golf, Badminton, Tennis, Yoga, Aerobics, CPR Training, and Weight Training…students learn the importance of maintaining a healthy life-style by participating in sports that they can continue throughout their lifetime. Students learn the skills, theory, and strategies needed for each lifetime sport.”

While it would be great for Hanover High to invest in similar activities, either monetarily or with support, the idea of simply creative and innovative P.E. elective options is on the table. That’s not to say that we’re unappreciative – we’re really immensely thankful for the effort of our teachers!

For the time being, whether we agree with it or not, gym is still a graded class, and like any class, work must be made up when you are absent, and you must come prepared. Good grades are possible, but the effort must be put in to get them.

So the next time you’re about to wear flip-flops to school on a gym day, think again. Your grade could depend on it.