Gymnastics League Meet is Highlight of Strong Season

BFor the second straight year, the Varsity gymnastics team won the Patriot League Championship. In a season full of highlights, the league meet on Feb. 9 stands out for the dedication and heart shown by the athletes.

The league meet features all South Shore Patriot League high school gymnastics teams, which includes Hingham, Pembroke/Silver Lake, Plymouth, Scituate, Whitman Hanson, and Hanover. Coached by Keriann Hart and led by senior captains Julia Leskow and Abby Stone, the Hanover team entered the meet with an 11-1 season record. This meet was the team’s opportunity to demonstrate its strongest athletes’ skills and abilities and reward themselves with their progress.

By Juli Cocomazzi

This year, Pembroke’s Massachusetts Gymnastic Center hosted the meet. The Leagues meet is not only the largest, most challenging, and most competitive meet of the season, it is also the last meet of a senior’s high school career. It is a night of excitement, emotion and dedication. The whole team comes together and gives it there all no matter if they’re on the floor or cheering on their teammates. Gymnastics is a sport which requires concentration, willpower, and skill. Our talented athletes rise to the challenge and display their well honed skills they have been working on all season.

Pembroke/Silver Lake placed first with a score or 139.9, Hanover finished second with a 136.45, and Hingham came in third with a 134.9.

Placing second with a score of 136.45 in this arduous competition was no easy feat. Sophomore Kayleen Boutin and junior Sydney Thai were named All Stars, Boutin for vault and Thai for floor. Boutin  placed first on the vault, third on bars and first on floor. Paige Leigh, a junior, tied for third on beam. Thai tied for second on floor. Sophomore Delaney Condon finished fourth in the All Around competition. Senior Meghan Rice earned the Sportsmanship Award, and Leskow was named Scholar-Athlete.

Highlights of 2019 Oscars

The 2019 Oscar Awards Show had some great moments, wins and speeches. Let’s touch on some of the most monumental:

The Best Picture award is one of the most anticipated of the season. This year, there were eight nominees: Black Panther, Roma, A Star is Born, Vice, Bohemian Rhapsody, BlacKkKlansman, The Favourite, and Green BookGreen Book, a movie about the struggles of African Americans during the time of segregation, took the award.

  1. Writer/director Spike Lee won the first Oscar of his  long career for Best Adapted Screenplay for BlacKkKlansman. His speech touched on a lot of topics including Black History Month and the next presidential election. His speech ended with a call to action: “The 2020 presidential election is around the corner. Let’s all mobilize. Let’s all be on the right side of history. Make the moral choice between love versus hate. Let’s do the right thing!” This was a reference to his 1989 film about race relations called Do the Right Thing. His speech triggered a lot of controversy, including a response tweeted by President Trump, who called Lee’s comments a “racist hit.”
Spike Lee after winning the award for Best Adapted Screenplay

Some of my favorite and least favorite Oscar moments were from the short films! I enjoyed the animated Bao and I was really happy with its Oscar win. The acceptance speech was simple and full of thanks and gratitude. While I was happy with the win for Period. End of Sentence as it focused on some important topics, I didn’t have a great response to the acceptance speech. Some people were thrilled with Rayka Zehtabchi’s joke, “I’m not crying because I’m on my period.” I though it negated the whole purpose of the movie. It was a cringe-worthy moment.

The dumpling boy from the Pixar Animated Short “Bao”

Overall, I was, for the most part, pretty happy with the 2019 Oscars. I think it was a better awards show than many we have seen in recent years – even without an official host – and that is a huge accomplishment.

 

Winter Sports Roundup

Boys Hockey

By Ralph Stephens

Despite a strong season, the team bowed out of tournament play in the D3 South quarterfinals. With a record of 16-2-2, Hanover earned top seed going into tournament play. They received a first round bye and beat 16th seed Nantucket 4-2 on March 1 to advance to the quarterfinals. In a tough contest March 2 against 9th seed Ashland,  who finished the regular season 13-5-3, Hanover lost 2-0.

It was a disappointing finish a year after making it to the D3 State Final, but the season had a lot to cheer about. Senior captain Lucas Lanagan helped lead the team, and senior Kevin Chandler was solid in the net.

Girls Hockey

By Ralph Stephens

Seeded 20th in Division 2 South tournament, the team suffered a heartbreaking loss in the first round to end the season. Up against 13th seed Bishop Fenwick on Feb. 26, the squad trailed until midway through the third period before tying it up with two goals within a minute. The game went into double overtime before Bishop Fenwick pulled off the 3-2 win.

Boys Basketball
By Ralph Stephens

Some observers never expected Hanover, which graduated several key seniors, to be a contender this year. But the team played relentlessly all season, compiling a 17-3 record and winning the Patriot League Fisher Division title on Senior Night. Seeded 3rd in the Division 2 South tournament, Hanover kicked off the post-season with a nail-biting win over 14th seed Milton on Feb. 28.  The game came down to the final minutes, when Hanover pulled ahead 56-53. Junior Pat Damon had 21 points, while senior captain James Clarkson added 15.

In the quarterfinals March 3, Hanover hosted  6th seeded Scituate, a tough competitor in the regular season. In front of a standing room only crowd, the teams fought hard, exchanging their hold on the lead until Scituate pulled away late in the 4th quarter. Scituate took the game, 62-56.

The team was led by Clarkson, the Patriot League MVP, who also was named a league All Star along with Damon and seniors Michael Simon and Steven Simon. Clarkson also captained the team with seniors Joe Clinton and Andrew Carroll.

Girls Basketball

By Ralph Stephens

Led by a strong roster of returning players, Hanover played with heart all season but fell short of making the tournament.  The team was led by senior captains Erin Flynn, Janey Devlin and Kathryn Fallon. While the team will be graduating five seniors, sophomore starters Clare Connolly and Emily Flynn, as well as two freshmen who made varsity, help lay a solid foundation for next year.

Swimming & Diving

Senior diver Lauren O’Sullivan ended the season as the undefeated Patriot League Champion.  Led by captains O’Sullivan, Danielle Taft, Dan Greene and Olivia Reddish, the team sent several swimmers to the Division 2 State meet. The 200 Free Relay of senior Danielle Taft, freshman Caris Mann, sophomore Kelly Taft and junior Sarah Gavin finished 14 in the 200 Free Relay and 19th in the Medley Relay. Mann earned 9th place in the 200 IM and 25th in the 100 Breast. Danielle Taft finished 27th in the 100 Back.

Gymnastics

By Ralph Stephens

For the second straight year, the team won the Patriot League Championship. They defeated a tough Pembroke/Silver Lake team in their final meet of the season for the title. At the championship meet, sophomore Kayleen Boutin  placed first on the vault, third on bars and first on floor. Paige Leigh, a junior, tied for third on beam. Junior Sydney Thai tied for second on floor. Sophomore Delaney Condon finished fourth in the All Around competition. Team captains were seniors Julia Leskow and Abby Stone.

Wrestling

The team earned MIAA Educational Athletic Awards for Community Service on Feb. 1.

Senior Matt McLeod broke the school record for career pins while also earning his 100th win. He finished 6th in the D3 Divisional Meet in the 160 lb. weight class and earned a trip to All States.  McLeod also led the team as a captain, along with senior Pat Brown. Jack Long, a junior, won the South Sectional championship in the 195 lb. weight class.  Jack is only the second sectional champ in recent years.

Dance Team

by Ralph Stephens

The team hosted youth dance clinics and performed at home basketball games  all season to perfect their routine before competitions began. The hard work paid off, with a first place finish at the Braintree Winter Invitational on Feb. 16. The state competition takes place March 5 at Weymouth High School.

Indoor Track

Senior captain Alyssa Nee was voted MVP of the Patriot League. At the Division 4 All State Meet, she finished 7th in the 1000m with a time of 3:08.36. Sophomore Chris Pacino finished 13th in the mile with a time of 4:46.75

Ski Team

This team seems to fly under the radar every year, but its members don’t seem to mind. They’re having too much fun on the slopes. This year’s captains were seniors Mathew Meads, Harry O’Brien, Haraden Bottomley and Mikayla Chabot.

Patriots Capture 6th Super Bowl Title

By Andrew Carroll

Going into Super Bowl LIII, many people expected the matchup between the New England Patriots and the Los Angeles Rams to be a  high-scoring shootout. But the Pats’ 13-3 win over the Rams on Sunday ended up being a defensive battle instead.

With the score only 3-0 at the half, many were starting to question what was going on with both offenses. On the Patriots’ first drive, they moved the ball well until an ill-advised throw by Tom Brady led to an interception by Cory Littleton. But the Rams went nowhere with the ball and had to punt it away. On the second drive, the Patriots moved the ball well again and got within field goal range only to have Stephen Gostkowski miss a 46-yard kick to keep the game scoreless going into the second quarter. Gostkowski eventually returned to get the Patriots on the board with a successful 42-yard field goal kick before the half ran out. The Rams punted on their first eight possessions of the game, while the Patriots were able to move the ball with Julian Edelman, who caught every pass that came his way. He could not be covered the entire game and finished with ten catches for 141 yards and the Super Bowl MVP. 

In the second half, the Rams finally moved the ball into field goal range and Greg Zuerlein nailed a 53-yarder to tie the game at 3. The rest of the third quarter was back and forth, without a lot going on. But in the fourth quarter, the offenses started to move the ball and make plays. The Patriots brought pressure in the fourth quarter to make Rams QB Jared Goff think faster, and when he did, he struggled. The Pats sacked Goff four times and he was either pressed or hit on most of his throws. 

When the Patriots got the ball with about 9 minutes left in the fourth quarter, they needed a vintage Brady drive to score a touchdown to take the lead. The drive started on their own 31-yard line, and Brady hit Gronk on an 18-yard touch pass to get the drive going. After that, Brady went to Edelman on a 13-yard catch over the middle for another first down. You could see that Brady and the Pats started to figure out this Rams defense and Brady found his rhythm. A few plays later, on Tom’s best throw of the night, he hit Gronk down the seam for 29 yards on a perfect pass that landed the Pats on the two-yard line. On the next play, Sony Michel punched it into the end zone for the first touchdown of the game, making it 10-3. The Rams got the ball and moved it all the way to the Patriots’ 24 yard line. On 2nd and 6, the Pats brought a blitz and when Goff tried to throw it up to Brandin Cooks, he was intercepted by Stephen Gilmore. It was the play the Patriots needed to close out the game.

After the pick, the Patriots got two huge runs by Rex Burkhead and Michel. Both went for 26 yards leading to a Gostkowski 41-yard field goal to make the score 13-3. After a last attempt by the Rams, the Patriots got the ball back, and Brady took the snap, kneeled down and won himself his 6th Super Bowl. It is the most titles by any one player in NFL history, and tied the Pittsburgh Steelers with most wins by a franchise. This team was doubted all year long. I never shied away because as long as they have Brady and Belichick, they are always going to be in it.

Super Bowl Halftime Show Fizzles Out

By Lexi Rynning

I was very disappointed with Super Bowl LIII’s  Pepsi halftime show, featuring Maroon 5, Travis Scott and Big Boi. I went into the show with such high expectations and it did nothing for me. There was a lot of flash for very little substance. The song choices, which included Maroon 5’s hits “This Love” and “Girls Like You,” could have been better. I was bored. I wanted to jump around and sing along but I couldn’t because it was so unexciting. I hated the outfit choice of Maroon 5 frontman Adam Levine as well. It was a poorly executed halftime show with very little storyline, nothing to get me engaged. Yeah, sure, fire is cool, but if you don’t have anything backing it up, it’s pointless to include it in the first place.

I think that Travis Scott, best known for “Sicko Mode,” did a decent job but I feel like he should have cut out the curse words in his songs to make it a family-friendly concert. With all the words being bleeped out, you could hardly recognize the song. I was very upset with Big Boi’s performance. This is more of a personal gripe because when I heard he was performing, I got very excited to hear his hit song “All Night.” He didn’t even end up singing it.

I think the stage setup was very boring and static. With the huge budget they most likely had, the producers could have utilized more technology and maybe even some auto tune.  Overall, I think the halftime show didn’t live up to the hype, and many critics agreed, using words such as “bland” and “underwhelming” to describe it.The Atlantic magazine called it “designed to be forgotten.” 

Gillette Ad on Toxic Masculinity Causes Controversy

By Callia Gilligan

Gillette, a well-known Boston-based razor company, has recently put out a new commercial that does not feature razors. Instead, it draws attention to the idea of toxic masculinity.

If you haven’t already seen the video, watch it here.

What is toxic masculinity? While there are many different ways to describe the idea, at its root it is the notion of what it means to be a “real” man. This could mean not showing emotions, having a belligerent nature or having dominion over things. It is often believed that because the idea of being a “man” is so important, men act hostile or extra aggressive and repress their emotions. The Gillette commercial featured this idea and went into depth about how toxic masculinity influences societal norms for men.

There are many opinions on this commercial. Some say it was a way to call out men and make them feel ashamed. Others argue that it perfectly addresses a serious problem in our culture. Some are angry at the fact that the ad focuses on politics instead of razors. While everyone’s opinion is valuable and deserves to be heard, I’d like to share mine.

I personally thought the commercial was well-done and addressed issues that we as a country face. It talks about how society often uses the phrase “boys will be boys” to excuse aggressive or inappropriate behavior. Not only did it address toxic masculinity, but I thought it did a great job of addressing topics like victim shaming. People, specifically women, go through a lot to avoid getting sexually harassed. We are taught to not walk alone at night, to not wear suggestive clothing,  to train ourselves so we’ll be able to defend ourselves if ever needed. This commercial reversed that by making the point that behaviors such as cat-calling make people feel the need to protect themselves. It drew notice to the fact that this behavior will always be the attacker’s fault, never the victim’s. I also though the commercial did a really could job of addressing the societal norms that men and women are expected to uphold. I feel like some feminists can get a little to obsessed with the adversities that women face and ignore the fact that men can face similar ones.

Many people say that the commercial was unfair because it pointed fingers at men and made them feel poorly of themselves. While I do see where this point was coming from, I would like to draw attention to the decades of commercials that have sexualized or objectified women. Rather than exposing the problems with those conventional ideas, those commercials gave into them, making women feel poorly of themselves.

Overall, whether you liked or disliked the commercial, I think it deserves thought. I feel it calls attention to behaviors and norms in society that shouldn’t exist. It’s important to ask yourself: do you ever see, participate in or experience this behavior? If so, what are you going to do about it?

I congratulate Gillette for acknowledging the power of its media presence. They took a risk, making a commercial they knew might anger some, in order to spark a conversation — and maybe even a change — in society.

Mrs. McCusker: Reading is Key to her History

By Tim Sullivan

Mrs. McCusker’s love for books goes beyond simply reading in her free time. When she was a student in high school, she had her own personal “library” and would lend books to her friends! She went to Apponequet High School in Lakeville, a place she says has nothing but “farmers and cranberry bogs.” She spent most of her time in high school playing field hockey, basketball and softball.

Mrs. McCusker didn’t always want to be a teacher. She originally thought she wanted to do something directly related to books, majoring in business at Syracuse University. She worked in retail after graduation and eventually went back to school to get her Master’s degree in history and library science. After working as a librarian in Newton, she had a connection in Hanover and became the librarian for Center/Sylvester Elementary School. She was the Hanover High School librarian for many years, and then became a history teacher. Currently, she teaches junior World History and senior Humanities.

Along with her love for books, Mrs. McCusker loves history. She enjoys reading and speaking about it, and wakes up every day excited to share her passion with her students. Instead of focusing on facts and figures alone, she would rather make connections through history and create an environment in her classroom where students feel like they can “communicate and share ideas (and) voice their opinions.” She wants her students to leave her class prepared for college, skilled in taking notes, writing, synthesizing information and identifying main ideas.

Mrs. McCusker is married to a Curry College professor and has two children. She spends a lot of her free time on the sidelines watching her children play sports and she loves it, especially soccer. Her favorite television show is called “Men in Blazers,” a British broadcast of soccer highlights. She loves to travel with her family and usually starts her summers off that way. Both she and her husband don’t “do well” with summer, she said; they like having a schedule. After they travel, visit with family, and make a few trips to the Museum of Fine Arts, they get pretty bored. Mrs. McCusker tries to take a new class each summer as she believes it’s important to keep learning as you are teaching. Last year, she studied Islamic Art, and the year before, it was Colonial Africa. She takes pride in knowing the World History classes she teaches today touch on a wide range of places and not just the European and American history she learned in high school.

One of her favorite days of the year is September 1st, right before school begins. She thinks it’s sort of like a “second New Year’s Day,” another opportunity for a fresh start; most jobs don’t come with this luxury. Over the years, she’s found inspiration from her close friend and colleague, retired English teacher Mr. Hopkins, admiring the way he always sees the positive in everyone and believes every day is a new day. Mr. Hopkins would never say a bad thing about anybody, Mrs. McCusker said, and that is how she wants to live her life. She also pointed out that even though he taught a lot of the same material for over 30 years, he would never complain about reteaching the same book, instead, he saw the best in it and found something new about it every time.