Drama Programs are Growing; Are Budgets Keeping Pace?

By Callia Gilligan

Theater. Whether musicals or plays, theater is an art form, a way of telling a story. Theater can be colorful, sad or happy, include big dance numbers or stay simple with minimal choreography and small casts.

Some say Broadway doesn’t have the same appeal it used to, others say there has never been a better time for it. I think both are true. Playwrights and directors have steered away from the classic sound of Broadway musicals such as those written by Rodgers and Hammerstein or  Stephen Sondheim. Many new and somewhat foreign technical aspects, themes and concepts have been added to Broadway, with shows such as Hamilton, Dear Evan Hansen, Mean Girls and Be More Chill. These shows have pop-rock scores and are drawing in younger audiences. Are classic musicals fading? Yes. Is Broadway dying? No.

In addition to driving up the box office, these trends in theater have encouraged more young people to participate in their high school drama programs. As a theater kid myself, I think this is great. Drama departments are always better with bigger casts. This however, requires a bigger budget.  If you look at television shows like Glee that are set in high schools, the music and drama programs are often underfunded. But does this reflect real life? Are real high school drama programs underfunded? This got me thinking about our school. Do we have a self-sustaining drama club? What about other schools? Is high school theater on the South Shore adequately funded?

So, I took to the Internet, emailing drama teachers from schools around the South Shore and requesting interviews. Mr. Christopher Lacy, drama club adviser at Norwell High School, is very experienced, having directed 89 shows in 18 years. The budget allocated by the town to the drama program each year is $10,000,  according to Mr. Lacy. “The rest is funded from box office sales,” he said. Norwell does not perform musicals, which are often more expensive than traditional plays, but that is not because of the cost, Mr. Lacy said. “People these days really only know musicals,” he added. “We could do this but we won’t because I am first and foremost an acting coach and non-musical plays are a more effective vehicle for that purpose.”

When asked if the drama club could benefit from increased funding, Mr. Lacy replied, “Of course, more is always better.” Yet, Norwell seems to get by on its budget and box office receipts; the drama club does not conduct any independent fundraising.

Mrs. Gwen Chapman, Director of Fine and Performing Arts in the Pembroke School District, reported that the school committee budgets $9,500 to the drama program each year. This is $500 less than what Norwell is given. How much can you do with $500? A lot. Securing the rights to perform a show varies from $75-$250 per performance depending on the license. If it costs $250 and a high school chooses to perform the show three times, that’s $750 from the budget. That’s before adding in the cost of sets, costumes, pit orchestras, etc.  The majority of the drama budget is spent on the fall musical, which Mrs. Chapman said costs around $13,000 to produce. The drama club holds one large fundraiser every year that raises about $1,000-1,500 and covers 10 percent of the drama budget. Even then, the club is just barely producing one musical. The cost of putting on any additional shows must be funded by ticket sales, Mrs. Chapman said.

Mrs. Anita Levy-Sisk, the drama teacher at Hingham High School, is in a more difficult budget situation. The town does not provide a budget to the drama club, though some stipends are given. The school relies largely on the its box office sales to produce the next show. The fall musical brings in a lot of revenue ($4,000-$6,000 in profits) but they are lucky if their spring play breaks even, Mrs. Levy-Sisk said. The majority of their budget is spent on securing rights for the performances, so the school runs 3-4 fundraisers each year to supplement profits from ticket sales.

Hanover operates on a different model than these other schools. In 2015, the town created the Hanover Performing Arts Company (HPAC). Operating under the Family And Community Enrichment (FACE) department, HPAC centralized production – and funding – for musicals for grades 1-12. This move established drama programs at each of the elementary schools for the first time, and began to develop a foundation for the future of performing arts in the district, according to FACE director Kelly Lawrence.

At the high school level, the drama program is part of the curriculum, meaning, it’s funded by the school budget as other classes are in the school. The Drama Club, which puts on a festival show and spring play each year, is a separate extra curricular similar to The Indian or Robotics Club. The school provides a stipend for the adviser, and the club, like all others, is “supported mainly through fundraising efforts,” Lawrence said. The Drama Club operates independently except for the annual musical, which falls under the umbrella of HPAC. Additionally, the Drama Club receives from HPAC the assistance of a coordinator experienced in stage management and the support of its “infrastructure and resources.” Budgets for school shows are “set depending on the needs of each,” Lawrence said. HPAC is a self-funded division of FACE, Lawrence continued, supported by student fees, ticket and concession revenue and grants for resources used to support all productions. The HPAC coordinator position is funded by FACE, Lawrence said. “At this time, (HPAC) is unable to support that cost without increasing fees to student/families.”

“Our goal is to continue to develop quality programs in all areas of the performing arts to increase our overall budget for the HPAC division,” Lawrence said.

While this model has done a lot for the drama program, I’m concerned about the reliance on fundraising and grants. In fact, when comparing drama programs at the four South Shore districts, it seems that while they’re supported in some way by their towns, they would undoubtedly be able to do more with larger budgets. Concerned with paying off costs and putting on the next show, clubs must spend time planning fundraisers that may or may not make enough money to meet their needs. Theater is so magical for the people involved, and it would be disheartening to think drama teachers are struggling to give this joy to their students. I wanted to know if my friends on sports teams had to fundraise as well. I was surprised that the answer was yes. Perhaps the bigger question we need to ask is not whether drama programs are underfunded, but whether all extracurricular activities could use more support.

D&D Club takes off at HHS

By Matthew O’Hara

The Dungeons and Dragons Club was founded in 2016 by John Salvucci and has quickly become one of the largest clubs in Hanover High School. It boasts around 20 active members who frequently attend its weekly meetings on Thursdays from 5-7 pm. The primary function of the club is to play Dungeons and Dragons, a fantasy role playing game that combines creativity, strategy, and luck. The D&D Club is divided into three separate groups, with each group running its own unique campaign. These adventures can vary from slaying dragons, to rescuing characters in peril, to arresting criminals, to any sort of adventure you can think of. D&D promotes creative freedom, allowing you to make unique characters with interesting skill sets. D&D also promotes team-building and cooperation, enabling members to make new friends with people from different grades, classes and interests.

Salvucci, who is now a senior, was inspired to play D&D after listening to a podcast by Wil Wheaton, star of the movie Stand by Me and Star Trek: The Next Generation. Salvucci petitioned the school to allow the use the media room for the club. While the club started out small, word quickly spread and the club soon had over 20 members, more than what anyone involved expected. Salvucci says his favorite part of every meeting is when “the D&D session ends and everybody stays inside the media room to talk about all the crazy things that happened in their campaigns, forcing me to usher everyone out of the room in order to finish up on time.” As the club founder and leader, he added, “the excitement and passion that everybody has for this club is phenomenal.”

HHS Drama Club Earns Trip to State Festival Semis

By Callia Gilligan

The Hanover High Drama Club has a lot to celebrate after reaching the semi-finals of the 2019 Massachusetts Educational Theater Guild Festival. Hanover performed the play “At the Bottom of Lake Missoula,” written by Ed Monk and directed by Mr. Collin Fahey. It is the story of a college student, played by junior Maia Arbia, whose entire family is killed in a tornado.

The Massachusetts Educational Theater Guild (METG) puts on a competition every year of 40-minute short plays. Schools from all over the state perform their plays in front of a panel of judges. The top two schools from  each of  the 14 regional prelims move on to the semifinals, with the hope of eventually making it to the state final.

For the second straight year, Hanover hosted the local preliminary round, a huge ordeal that requires coordination and cooperation from all parties. Kathryn Sheridan, a sophomore who took part in the festival, said that she enjoyed hosting the March 2 prelim, where 8 schools performed. “It’s cool to see people come to our school and perform on our stage,” she said.

Going into festival, there was a lot of anticipation for how Hanover would measure up against strong competition. The Weymouth High Drama Club won the state competition last year, and Hanover was set to compete against them in the prelim. Combining acting, lighting and music in unique ways, Hanover’s performance finished in second place behind Weymouth and advanced to the semifinals.

As you can imagine, Hanover’s accomplishment was huge! Kyle Knight, a junior, was at first shocked to find out they where moving on. “This is the first time for Hanover and it was really cool to be a part of a team,” he said.

After the prelim, Hanover continued to work to perfect the production. The cast worked on their projection, Sheridan said, and keeping “onstage connections with each other fresh.”

The semi-finals were held March 16 at Brockton High School, and Hanover entered the competition ready to take on the challenge.  While Hanover did not advance to the final, several cast members received accolades, including senior Fred Trankels for acting and Peter Bell, James Kadra and Will Nunnery for the accompanying percussion.

The cast and crew deserves a big cheer for all the work they put into this show. Festival is “a chance for drama and theater students to learn from and share with each other,” said Dr. Walsh, HHS Humanities director. ” It’s a day when lots of long-term friendships are made and students get to spend time with like-minded young theater artists.” Congratulations again to Mr. Fahey, Mrs. McEvoy-Duane and the entire cast and crew. 

Hopkinton Clinches D3 South Boys Hockey Title

By Kyle Faherty

Monday marked the end of another hard-fought South Sectional in Division 3 Boys Ice Hockey, as Hopkinton defeated Ashland 6-2 at John Gallo Arena.

Division 3 South is regarded as one of the stronger sections in MIAA boys ice hockey as more than 20 teams compete in the tournament that eventually leads to the Eastern Massachusetts championship. The Eastern Mass. champ moves on to the state championship at the TD Garden.

Unfortunately for Hanover fans, the Indians’ post-season was cut short. After winning the D3 South championship in 2018, Hanover had a strong season this year and earned top seed going into tournament. But in the quarterfinals March 2, 9th seeded Ashland beat Hanover 2-0, with both goals scored by senior Jackson Hornung.

Hopkinton, the 11th seed, outscored opponents 20-2 in the tournament, including three shutouts. On their way to their first D3 South title, Hopkinton beat teams that were heavily favored over them, including North Quincy, Bishop Stang, Coyle Cassidy, and finally, Ashland.

Hopkinton’s high-powered offense will continue into the Eastern Massachusetts championship where it will face Lowell, the D3 North champion. Lead by senior defenseman Steve Simoes and junior forward Sean Walsh, the Hillers will look to beat Lowell and advance to their first state championship in program history.

Hanover Hit by Worst Winter Ever! (If you’re a senior, that is!)

By Chris Acampora

Worst winter ever?

I can tell what you’re thinking: how could this be the worst winter ever? “There hasn’t been any snow this year, it hasn’t even been that cold out!” Well, that’s been exactly the problem.

Each year, winter is supposed to bring snow storms, which of course means winter is supposed to bring snow days. These surprise days off are absolutely necessary to the health and well-being of students and teachers alike. This is especially true for seniors, who aren’t required to make up snow days at the end of the year. In recent years, each senior class has been gifted multiple days off thanks to Mother Nature. But this year has been especially disappointing to the Class of 2019, which so far has only had one snow day and one two-hour delay.

HHS students have been seeing disappointing results from the online Snow Day Calculator this year

For most of winter, the snow we’ve gotten has been terribly timed, often coming on weekends and at night, keeping Hanover High students trapped inside and not canceling school — double bummer! We finally caught a break on March 4. Hanover received 16″ of snow, creating a long weekend that was especially well-deserved for students involved with boys hockey, boys basketball and the drama program.  All had big games and important events going on this weekend.  A special thanks to senior Donovan Dailey, who emailed Superintendent Matt Ferron on Sunday and was the first to announce that the snow day was official!

Although it’s late for snowstorms in March, anything is possible. It would be great to have at least one more snow day for the seniors to not have to make up!

Source for snow amount: https://boston.cbslocal.com/2019/03/04/how-much-snow-totals-boston-massachusetts-list-march-4/

HHS Band Featured in All-State Conference

If you noticed Hanover High’s musicians dressed sharply March 1, it’s because they were about to show their stuff in front of music teachers from across the state. The Symphonic Band was invited to take part in the Massachusetts Music Educators Association All-State Conference at the Seaport in Boston. The conference is a gathering of music educators who attend different sessions on best teaching practices. The HHS band was part of a clinic led by Charles Peltz, conductor of the New England Conservatory Wind Ensemble. Working with HHS band director Mr. Harden,  Mr. Peltz used the HHS band to demonstrate techniques. The band worked hard to prepare the music performed during the clinic, some of which is part of their repertoire for the MICCA Concert Festival. Their preparation included a class with Mr. Peltz at HHS earlier in the week.

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.