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.

Patriots Strive for Another Super Bowl Win

By Andrew Carroll

The Patriots are back in the Super Bowl for the fourth time in the last five years, and for the ninth time in the Brady-Belichick era. Many thought the Patriots wouldn’t get there this year, but their 37-31 overtime win over the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC Championship clinched the spot. If you ever doubted Brady and Belichick, then you were wrong. Since 2001, this has been the most dominant dynasty in sports history.  Nine trips to the Super Bowl, five wins, and now a chance for their sixth Lombardi Trophy, which would tie the Pittsburgh Steelers as the winningest franchise in the NFL. No sports team in the salary cap era will ever be able to replicate this. The way the Patriots have been able to compete for the Super Bowl year in and year out is unlike anything ever seen before. Belichick is arguably the greatest coach in the NFL, and Brady is the best player in league history.

In Super Bowl LIII next Sunday, the Pats will face the Los Angeles Rams, who defeated the New Orleans Saints in overtime for the NFC Championship. The Rams are led by a 33-year old head coach Sean McVay, fourth-year quarterback Jared Goff,  running back Todd Gurley (an MVP candidate), and Aaron Donald, one of the best defensive players in the league. No strangers to the game, I believe the Patriots will not be impacted by all the “Super Bowl distractions” this week. But the Rams, on the other hand, will be dealing with media day, an extra week of practice, and an extended halftime — all of which could all be a factor in the game. In an early prediction, I am going with the Patriots because of their outstanding play of late. But the Rams, who definitely have the firepower to shut down the Patriots, should not be counted out.

Side Note: The Patriots defeated the St. Louis Rams in the 2002 Super Bowl, 20-17, which started this unbelievable run.

YEAR IN REVIEW: Tea Time with Tim

By Tim Sullivan

2019 has finally arrived! The new year brings a fresh start for everyone and gives us a chance to reflect on the events that took place last year. There were a lot of memorable moments from the entertainment world in 2018, dare I say, a lot of tea . . .

Famous Births 

Arguably the most talked about pregnancy of the year was Kylie Jenner. Although rumors abounded, she and boyfriend Travis Scott kept it a secret right up until their daughter, Stormi, was born. The news was finally broken on Feb. 4,  three days after birth. Scott and Jenner are still together.

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Across the pond, Prince Louis, the third child of Prince William and Duchess Kate, was born April 23. The royal couple has an older son and daughter.

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Kim Kardashian and Kanye West also had their third child, a baby girl named Chicago, on Jan. 15.

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Famous Deaths 

Sadly we lost some of the greats in the last year, from the pioneer of comic books to a critically acclaimed rapper.

Aretha Franklin “Queen of Soul,” 3/25/52 – 8/16/18

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Burt Reynolds Actor, Oscar Nominee,  2/11/36 – 9/6/18

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Stan Lee Marvel Comics Creator, Appeared in Marvel Films, 12/28/22 – 11/12/18

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Penny Marshall Actress, Director, 10/15/43 – 12/17/18

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Anthony Bourdain Chef, Televison Personality,  6/25/56 – 6/8/18

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Mac Miller Rapper, 1/19/92 – 6/7/18

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Stand-outs on Screen 

This year’s blockbusters included “Crazy Rich Asians,” “Avengers: Infinity War,” “Incredibles 2,” “Black Panther,” and, my personal favorite, “Bohemian Rhapsody.” These films crushed the box office, earning anywhere from $200,000 all the way to well over $1,000,000,000. One of the biggest names in TV Shows this year was Sandra Oh in “Killing Eve.” She was also the first Asian-American woman to be nominated for an Emmy for outstanding lead actress in a drama series, according to Vail Daily.

High Risers on the Music Charts 

Childish Gambino, Cardi B, and, of course, Ariana Grande released some of the most notable tunes of 2018. These include “I Like it,” “This is America” and my personal favorite, “Thank you, Next.” Artists like Drake, Post Malone, Camilla Cabello, and Shawn Mendes also topped the charts.

Scandals in Entertainment 

There was more to talk about this past year than just Ariana Grande and Pete Davidson breaking up; some serious scandals also occurred in 2018.

Tristan Thompson got caught red-handed on video cheating on pregnant girlfriend Khloe Kardashian just as the star was about to give birth. After their daughter, True, was born, the two stars decided to work it out and are still together, healing for the sake of their family.

Roseanne Barr’s reboot of her popular sitcom “Roseanne” was quickly canceled following a racist tweet that Barr sent out about one of President Obama’s former staff members. ABC claimed that her tweet was quite inconsistent with their values and something like that could not just slide by. The show attempted to continue without her by killing off her character.

Demi Lovato, who has struggled with addiction for years and gotten clean several times, almost lost her life this year. After being brought back from overdose with Narcan, Lovato entered rehab and is now well over 90 days sober.

Marriages

The last topic of Tea for 2018 is Marriages, and this past year we had a lot! All of these couples seem very happy and I wish them the best for the future.

Prince Harry and Former Hollywood star Meghan Markle tied the knot in May.

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Supermodel Karlie Kloss and Joshua Kushner got married last October.

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Justin Bieber and Hailey Baldwin had a whirlwind love story that ended up with the two married in 2018, exact date unknown.

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Just before Christmas on Dec. 23, on-again off-again couple Miley Cyrus and Liam Hemsworth finally exchanged vows.

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Nick Jonas and Priyanka Chopra also got married in December.

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2018 was packed with events, births, deaths, and media that rocked the entertainment world! This past year was totally one to remember and no one knows what 2019 will bring. Will the teapot fill with new scandals? Only time will tell.

Featured picture from Kingfisher.agency

YEAR IN REVIEW: 2019 Sports Predictions

By Joe Clinton

The year of 2018 left us with a lot of memorable sports moments that one can only hope 2019 can live up to. The Philadelphia Eagles won their first ever Super Bowl, the Boston Red Sox  took the World Series after an 108-win season, and breakout superstar Kylian Mbappe led France to the the World Cup crown. Add in championships by the Washington Capitols, Golden State Warriors, Alabama, and Villanova, and 2018 was a tough year to beat. Will 2019 measure up? Here are my predictions for the new year starting off with a few sports that are already in season.

NFL

Already in the divisional round of playoffs, there is less for me to predict here. But I think the Super Bowl this year will be a contest between the New England Patriots and the New Orleans Saints. It was very hard to resist throwing the Eagles in that mix, as they seem to have that “it” factor to make it through the playoffs as an underdog. But I think that the Saints will top the Patriots, 35-28. The dominant offense of Brees, Thomas, Ingram, and Kamara will be too much for the Patriots defense to handle when it comes to crunch time.

NBA

The question everyone asks is whether there will be a team capable of competing with the Golden State Warriors. Although their 27-14 record so far this season is a rough start by their standards, I still believe there is no one who will be able to top them when it comes to June. My Eastern Conference Championship will be the Boston Celtics over the Toronto Raptors in seven games. The Celtics, of course, have had their issues early on but all that talent and strong coaching will come through during the playoffs. I see the Warriors from the West topping the Houston Rockets in six games and then ultimately winning the NBA Finals in six games as well.

NCAA Basketball

This is always a hard prediction as there are just so many teams out there and so much that can change in the season. I’m going to start off with predicting my Final Four with Duke, Michigan, Gonzaga, and Texas Tech. Teams to still watch closely include Virginia, Tennessee, Michigan State, and Kansas, all currently ranked higher than Texas Tech. I think the defense of Texas Tech will set them apart from the others during the tournament. My championship game will be Michigan beating Duke, 75-70, behind a 25-point outing from Ignas Brazdeikis.

NHL

I don’t know much about hockey so I just took a peek at the standings and saw the Bruins in third place in their division. This is good enough for me to believe they’ll make a run in the playoffs and find their way into the Stanley Cup again. I predict they’ll face off against the Calgary Flames. And sure, why not? I predict they’ll win the whole thing this year simply because I don’t know enough to say anyone else.

MLB

With Opening Day still far off, this discussion really is up in the air. So my ALCS will be a rematch of last year, the Boston Red Sox and the Houston Astros. The Yankees will fall short simply because the American League will be such a powerhouse next year. Unfortunately, I do not see the Red Sox returning to the World Series, and predict a matchup between the Houston Astros and the Los Angeles Dodgers. For the Dodgers, it would be their third trip in a row to the title game.

Featured image from nbcsports.com

YEAR IN REVIEW: Music

By Callia Gilligan

2018 was a long, long year that has finally come to a close. While it was a controversial year for, well, pretty much everything, the music world was thriving. The 61st Grammy nominations came out in December, and there isn’t one artist who doesn’t deserve to win on the Feb. 10 awards show. While I don’t enjoy a lot of the music that is mainstream today, I do love music. I wanted to put together a list of the most enjoyed, played and well-received songs by not only the general population of America, but also students in school.

To put together this list I started with the Spotify app’s “2018 Most Viral Songs” playlist. I then looked at the Billboard Hot 100 song list for the week of Christmas. There were 16 songs that appeared on both lists. I paired the songs into groups of two based on the number of weeks it was on the Billboard 100. I wanted to pair songs together based on their release date, so a song from January wasn’t going against a song from June. The one from January could have easily had a bigger following and I wanted to make it fair. I put eight polls on my Instagram story and invited people to vote for the best song of the pairs. With that, I narrowed it down to the eight best songs of 2018. Here they are, in no particular order:

1)  “Shallow” by Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper

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This song premiered with the movie A Star is Born featuring Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper, who also directed. It very quickly went viral, reaching #5 on the Billboard Hot 100 in its first weeks. On my Instagram poll, it was up against “Taki Taki” by DJ Snake. It was a close vote but “Shallow” won with 59% of the votes. Both the movie A Star is Born and the song Shallow have been well-received since their release, and both are worth a watch and a listen.

2)  “Sunflower” by Post Malone and Swae Lee

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Another song written for a movie, “Sunflower” debuted in October, ahead of the December release of Spiderman: Into the Spiderverse. The song peaked at number four on the Billboard Hot 100. The song won its poll against Bad Bunny’s “MIA”  by a landslide, with 86 percent of the votes.

3) “Sicko Mode” by Travis Scott

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This song was a collaboration with the likes of Drake and many others. It spent two consecutive weeks as number two on the Hot 100 until reaching its peak position at number one. In its poll, it beat out “Beautiful” by Bazzi with 63 percent of the votes.

4) “Better” by Khalid

Image result for better by khalid“Better” has spent a total of 15 weeks on the chart with a peak position of number 29. The low peak showed in the poll. It was a close race, topping Halsey’s “Without Me” by only two percent of the votes.

5) “Close To Me” by Ellie Goulding

Image result for close to me ellie gouldingA comeback for the British singer-songwriter, “Close to Me” has spent six weeks on chart. Even though it only reached 57 on the Billboard chart, fans loved it. It won its poll against Silk City and Dua Lipa’s “Electricity” with 64 percent of the votes.

6) “Lucid Dreams” by Juice WRLDImage result for lucid dreams juice wrld“Lucid Dreams” reached number one on the Hot 100. However, it barely beat out Maroon 5’s “Girls Like You” in the Instagram poll, winning 56 percent of the votes.

7) “Better Now” by Post Malone

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“Better Now” has spent 35 weeks on the chart, reaching as high as number three. It won its poll against Cardi B’s “I Like It” with 54 percent of the votes.

8) “thank you, next” by Ariana Grande

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How could it not be here? “thank you, next” is one of Grande’s many viral hits this year. It came in the wake of her short-lived engagement to comedian Pete Davidson. The music video had as much success as the song, parodying Grande’s favorite movies. The song references all of her past relationships and is an anthem to moving on. It’s inspired countless memes and prompted many jokes made by none other than Davidson himself on SNL. It won its poll against “Happier” by Marshmello and Bastille with 71 percent of votes.

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

YEAR IN REVIEW: Most Influential People

By Caris Mann

2018 may have come and gone already, but the people who have influenced us are  here to stay. The past year brought out many leaders in our American culture who have made an outstanding mark in our lives. Here are my picks for the 10 most influential people of 2018:

 

  1. Jordan Peele

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An actor, writer and producer, Peele showcased his skills as a first-time director. His movie, “Get Out,” was a huge hit, the story of the horrors that a young African-American man discovers at the home of his girlfriends’ parents. Not only is the movie famous for its scares, it also brought to light issues of racism that African Americans deal with every day. In the very beginning of the movie, for example, Chris and his girlfriend, Rose, are driving and accidentally hit a deer. The police officer asks for the driver’s license of Chris, but not Rose. Also throughout the movie, Rose’s parents make comments about Chris and Rose’s interracial relationship. Peele has received praise not only for the great horror story, but for the morals behind the film.

 

9. Eminem

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The American rapper made his way back  to the top of the music charts with the August release of his album “Kamikaze.” The album was controversial for his usage of a homophobic slur and several disses aimed at other artists. Nevertheless, the album earned the number one spot on the Billboard 200. “Kamikaze” became the number one bestselling hip hop album of 2018 and was certified platinum in December.

 

  1. Oprah Winfrey
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The media executive, actress, talk show host, television producer and philanthropist made headlines a year ago with her speech at the Golden Globe Awards. As she received the Cecil B. DeMille award, given to someone who has made an impact on the world of entertainment, she discussed the #MeToo movement and race. She made an astounding impact on many people and remained in the media for weeks. People even encouraged her to run for president! (But Oprah being Oprah, she turned down the offer). She has been in the news more recently for the promotion of The Sun Does Shine, a book by a wrongly convicted death row inmate. 

 

7. Beyonce

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The American singer-songwriter has been an activist for black women for many years, but she took it to new levels with her Coachella act. Her act paid homage to women, heritage, culture, strength, and humanity. CNN even says that Coachella will never be the same again! Throughout her act, Beyonce paused to give lessons on politics and black culture. Fans were left in awe of her act, which forever rocked the world of Coachella.

6. Chadwick Boseman

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The actor, director, and producer is best known for his role as Marvel’s  T’challa, the star of “Black Panther.” Set in the fictional African country Wakanda, King T’challa protects his people from Erik Killmonger, his cousin who hates everything that Wakanda stands for. The film was not only well-received because of its plot but for its diversity. The film features a diverse cast that celebrates black pride. It even gives a nod to female empowerment with women warriors known as Dora Milaje. The movie was incredibly well-received and is up for the Golden Globe award for best motion picture. There is even talk of a sequel, which will most likely premiere in February 2021.

 

  1. Pope Francis
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Elected the 266th pope of the Roman Catholic Church, Pope Francis is one of the most influential because he has questioned traditional catholic views on homosexuality and atheism. Pope Francis has actually worked very closely with LGBTQ advocates and has chosen bishops who are vocal supporters of the community. He has encouraged parents to be more understanding of children who come out to them. 

 

4. Meghan, Duchess of Sussex

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American actress Meghan Markle made headlines when she married Prince Harry on May 19. In addition to her stunning wedding, she’s made news for her support of women’s rights. At the young age of 11, Markle became an advocate for women’s rights. She was watching a television commercial that said “Women all over America are fighting greasy pots and pans.” The commercial depicted women in the kitchen and Meghan believed that wasn’t morally correct. She wrote to the soap company, who changed it to “People all over America are fighting greasy pots and pans.” She is an incredible role model for young women and encourages women to stand up for themselves. 

 

3. Kendrick Lamar

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An American rapper, songwriter, and poet, Lamar earned four Grammys for best rap album, best rap song, best rap performance, and best rapper and singer collaboration. He also became the first rapper to win a Pulitzer Prize. His latest album, “DAMN,” earned Billboard music awards for best rap album, best rap artist, best Billboard 200 album, best streaming songs artist, best streaming song, and best rap artist.

 

2. Michael B. Jordan

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Along with Chadwick Boseman, Jordan starred in the film “Black Panther.” He played the antagonist of the film Erik Killmonger, earning lots of his praise for his role’s nuanced take on race relations. In the movie, Wakanda had been run a certain way for generations. The Wakandans had refused to help the outside world and kept themselves hidden. Killmonger completely disagreed with this view and fought for what is morally correct for everyone. 

 

  1. Donald Glover
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Donald Glover, otherwise known as Childish Gambino, is the most influential person of 2018. Glover is and American actor, comedian, writer, producer, director, rapper, songwriter, and DJ.In May of 2018, he dropped a track entitled “This is America,” whose lyrics and video highlighted perception of black culture and the violence against African Americans. His TV show, “Atlanta” challenges black stereotypes. He is a very influential voice in the debate over racism in America, and his work breaks many race barriers. 

 

Featured picture from nationallearning.com.au