Tag Archives: 2014-2015

The Santa Conundrum: How Long Will the Magic Last?

This article was originally printed in November 2014.

I’m someone who always reads the last page of a book first, and the spoilers before I watch the next episode of The Walking Dead. For me, the ending is interesting, but how we get to that ending is the real payoff. So it shouldn’t be much of a surprise that when I was 10 or 11, I begged my older brother to tell me the truth about Santa. When he did, I wasn’t crushed; I didn’t feel fooled or lied to. I felt that a new world had opened, one of getting to play Santa while my younger sister still believed, staying up late on Christmas Eve to wrap presents with my mom and older siblings, being trusted with secrets. I had become, if just for a few hours one night a year, one of the grownups.

My daughter, Amelia, is 10½ and she still believes. A recreation of the royal gown she saw on TV? Santa can make that. A life-sized stuffed rhino that sells for $900. Santa can make that. She’s pretty good at understanding the value of money in everyday situations, that we can’t always afford to buy everything we want at the very moment we want it. But where Santa is concerned, all bets are off. He’s Santa, after all. He can make reindeer fly! He can do anything!

derek
Derek, the Elf on the Shelf, with his friend Barbie (or it could be Bella from Twilight, not sure).

A week before Thanksgiving, she’s already written a letter to Santa for her Elf on the Shelf to deliver. Nicknamed Derek, the elf lives year round with her Barbie dolls but in the weeks before Christmas, he’s supposed to travel nightly to see Santa. (I know this goes against the Elf on the Shelf tradition, but that’s what she decided and who am I to fight it?) It’s not enough for Derek to deliver the notes that Amelia writes, he has to bring one back from Santa too. Imagine how hard it is for me to disguise my handwriting so my pre-teen doesn’t suspect it’s me writing the notes, or forging the hoof-print signature of Rudolph. And beware the wrath when I forget to “deliver” Derek’s letter. I sometimes wake up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat, groggily scribble a note from Santa, and then tiptoe into Amelia’s room to leave it with the elf. It makes for a very nerve-wracking holiday season.

Amelia's note to Santa in 2010: Dear Santa, my elf on the shelf is not moving. Does he come to the north pole much?
Amelia’s note to Santa in 2010: Dear Santa, my elf on the shelf is not moving. Does he come to the north pole much?

I don’t want to ruin the magic and mystery for her, so I try to tweak it a little. I tell her, “Santa brings what he thinks you need. He’s got to spread his toy-making time and elf labor force’s efforts among all the children in the world.” Or “maybe Derek was too tired to travel to the North Pole last night; he didn’t want to leave his girlfriend Barbie.” But there are already plot holes in the story. Last year, I tried to convince her that Santa leaves gift receipts when she got a pile of clothes (from Grandma Santa) that were too small. And she almost lost faith in him when he brought her the wrong action figure from The Hunger Games (She’s team Peeta, not Gale, jeez, EVERYONE knows that).

If Santa disappoints her again this year, this may be the end of the whole deal. On one hand, I know it’s an inevitable part of growing up, but on the other hand, it signals the end of a chapter in her life, when Santa, the Tooth Fairy and the Easter Bunny were real and holidays were magical times. Will she be okay with the truth, like I was, or will she be upset that the magic isn’t real? My hope is that she will understand the reason behind the story of Santa, the idea of giving to others without expecting anything in return, that the magic that made reindeer fly can exist in real life when we do good things for other people.

That may be a lofty idea for a 10½ year old to grasp, so just in case, I’ll spend the next few weeks scouring the malls for an affordable recreation of a royal gown and the biggest stuffed animal that I can fit in my car.

 

Look Back to 2014: The Evolution of “The List”

It’s been some time since I was a Christmas punk. I was a whiner and a complete brat in my formative years, a  true tinsel-time terror. I wanted this, that or whatever cheap plastic toy made in China.  My list was filled  with toys I’d end up breaking within a week (I played hard, don’t judge) and I always wanted more. Luckily, I have matured over the years and I’m no longer a whiny brat. (If I saw “kid” me, I would full force dropkick little me in the face). Thus with being a big boy now, my list has decreased to, like, some boots and a new phone. But in truth, it’s all I need. When we were kids, more equaled better, definitely quantity over quality.

When I was 14 or 15, I wanted video games and a couple of toys but most certainly not the absurd amount I once clamored for as a tiny loser. As the years went on, I mostly wanted clothes and adult stuff. Now that I’m a young strapping 18-year-old, I want very little. Which is good; I have enough things in my life that asking my parents for lots of things seems completely juvenile (I cannot stress enough how fast I would uppercut lil’ Eric) I feel the list evolves with everyone because as we are, unfortunately, destined to age, and as we do, our tastes and wants mature.

As per usual, I asked some of the fellow souls trapped in educational purgatory known as HHS what their favorite all-time holiday gifts were. Junior Sarah Powers had an interesting fave in that it was only part of the whole gift.  “There was a cow toy on a bike, and I saw the cow toy and went, ‘AHHH,  A COW TOY!’ and my parents wanted me to be happy about the bike but I wasn’t.” (I then led her to a padded room with her cow toy.)

Senior Nick Ricciarelli’s favorite gift was his Xbox when he was a young lad. “Yeah, I went pretty crazy for that.”

Senior Maya Collins’ favorite was the stuffed Minnie Mouse doll she got when she was three. She said she carried around for years and I suspect it’s still in her backpack.

My favorite response came from the mad chemist himself, Kenneth Decie. As I barged into the classroom to ask him this question, I saw that nothing had changed since I was in his class last year. The familiar smell of sulfuric acid, lithium, and red phosphorus wafted through the air. Anyway, when I asked him what gift stuck out in his mind, Mr. Decie said it was when he received the ultrasound of his son. It took me a while to mop up all the tears from the floor because that was a beautiful response. Well played, Ken, well played.

 

 

Stock Report: Apple, Inc.

Apple, Inc. was founded in 1976 with the purpose of developing and selling personal computers and has grown into a company that develops and sells its own consumer electronics. Some of Apple’s competitors are Samsung, Google and LG. Currently, Apple rules the market from a cellular standpoint with Samsung taking a dive after their Note 7 device was recalled with cases of exploding batteries. Apple is a large cap company worth $612.61 billion and is the most popular cell phone brand around the world with its iPhone. Apple dominates the consumer tech industry considering that I own an iPhone, Macbook air and an iPad.

Recent News

9/7/16: Apple Unveils iPhone 7

Apple unveiled its newest iPhone model in the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus. The iPhone 7 is the fastest iPhone to date containing Apple’s A10 chip. Some new specs are the upgraded cameras: iPhone 7 and 7 Plus have 12MP cameras, but 7 Plus has dual cameras. Each comes with upgraded screen resolutions and are both water resistant. Multiple reports reveal that the water resistance is much better than advertised. Both phones also come in Matte black, Jet black, Gold, Rose gold and Silver.

10/27/16: Apple, Inc. unveils Macbook Pro

Apple just announced its new Macbook Pro, which includes a touch bar on the top of the keyboard. This touchbar allows the user to access features such as volume and other controls as well as Touch ID. Touch ID is a feature that allows users to use their pre-loaded credit card or PayPal to purchase things easily from online merchants. The new personal computer is 17 percent thinner than its predecessor and has a 2x larger trackpad. It also includes Apple’s most advanced Retina display ever.

Stock

One share of Apple stock costs $113.72 with a $13.68 P/E ratio. Apple reported its earnings on October 28th and earnings are down. Based on recent news, the company is a bullish company and, despite declined earnings, should bounce back by the time the next iPhone season rolls around. For me, Apple is at a buy and will continue to be the most dominant electronics company in the market and gain Samsung customers looking for a reliable, safe phone. Overall, this company has shown what it is worth and will continue to win in the cellular and computer departments for years to come.

Kobe: The End of an Era

Any basketball player will admit doing this at some point in their lives, whether it be in a gym, driveway, park, or any other place with a basketball hoop. Back to the basket, pretending to look at a clock that isn’t there, imagining less than 5 seconds on it. Two or three dribbles, fake inside, turn outside, fading away from the basket, while shooting a high arching shot that you hope drops through the bottom of the net, hoping to emulate the person whose name you yell as the shot is in the air:

“KOBE!”

Kobe Bryant is an icon, plain and simple. His smooth turnaround-and-fadeaway jumper has become as iconic a move as any in basketball history. Entering the NBA straight out of high school, at only 18 years old, he had his struggles. However, he quickly became a star. For the majority of his 20-year career, Kobe dominated the NBA, winning five NBA championships, two Finals MVPs, and one Season MVP Award. He also was an 18-time All Star and a 15-time member of the All-NBA team. However, in the last three years of his career, Kobe was plagued by a combination of ankle, knee, and shoulder injuries, which caused his play to turn for the worst.

Kobe played his last game ever April 13, as his Lakers faced the Utah Jazz. It was a who’s-who of famous people in the crowd, with spectators such as Kendrick Lamar, Kanye West, Jack Nicholson, Lamar Odom, and several others there to see the legend’s final game. There was an emotional tribute video played before the game, sending all fans through a rollercoaster of emotions. Then, game time arrived. And, in a typical Kobe-esque way, the icon scored 60 points (on a Kobe-esque 50 shot attempts), including two game-winning free throws with 10 seconds left, sending his career off in a perfect fashion.

I’ve always hated Kobe. As a Celtics fan, you have to. The number of game winners, daggers, and clutch buckets he has had against the Celtics provokes tears from many loyal Boston fans. However, I can’t help but be sad at Kobe’s departure. He stood for an era of NBA basketball that can never be replicated. The NBA of the 2000s was filled with passion, intensity, and hard, talented basketball, all personified by Kobe Bryant. His deathly passion and relentless attitude is one that can only be comparable with the great Michael Jordan, who Kobe emulates closer than anyone ever will in the NBA. I can’t think of the NBA without Kobe in it. It just doesn’t make sense. However, as one era ends, another begins. As fans, we will have to see who will be the next face of the NBA. Some say it’s already Lebron James, or Steph Curry. No matter who it is, Kobe Bryant will always stand alone (or maybe just with Jordan) as one of the most influential NBA players ever. So, grab a ball, take a couple dribbles, and shoot a fadeaway for Kobe. I sure will. No matter how much I hated when his  shots went in.

Book Review: Room by Emma Donoghue

The majority of this book takes place in (surprise, surprise) a single room. When I first learned of the highly restricted setting of Room, I was a little dubious. How would an entire book written about a tiny space keep me occupied and interested for 321 pages?!

Well, I need not have worried. I picked up this book on a Thursday night and finished it by Sunday. Emma Donoghue creates a powerful story with page-turning action so intense that I was forced to ignore my math homework to find how Room ended. The book is told from the point of view of Jack, a young boy of about 5 who has lived his whole life in a 12 x 12 foot room containing only a bed, bathroom, bookshelf, and small kitchen area. The only light Jack has ever seen comes from a small skylight in a corner of the ceiling, and the only other person he has even spoken to is his mother. Jack’s mother remains unnamed throughout the story, referred to simply as Ma.

Besides being adopted, Ma had lived a pretty normal life complete with summer trips to the beach, playing with her older brother, and going to college. This all changed when she was kidnapped at age nineteen as she was walking home from her college library. Her abductor brought Ma to a shed in his backyard and locked her in, coming only in the night to bring food and sexually assault her. Ma endured this silent torture on her own for two years before she became pregnant with Jack. After giving birth to a healthy son, Ma’s life once again had a purpose. She taught Jack how to read and write, played games with him, and tried to provide him with the best childhood possible under the circumstances. Old Nick, Ma’s name for her kidnapper, continued his nightly visits but Ma kept Jack hidden in a wardrobe to protect him.

As Jack grows up, his future with Ma becomes less certain. Old Nick loses his job and his house is in danger of being foreclosed. Ma and Jack need to escape, and quickly. Mother and son hatch a brilliant plan and . . .

Oh come on, I can’t ruin all the fun! You’ll have to read Room for yourself and see if you found it just as thrilling, well thought out, and shocking as I did. The author also wrote the movie version of Room that currently can be found only in a few Boston theaters, giving hope that the film will hold true to the book’s tension, mystery and wonder.

Spirit Week, Homecoming Show HHS’ True Colors!

As students filled the gym decked out in their class colors of yellow, white, black, and blue, people screamed and chanted on Friday afternoon of October 25th. Seniors on the gym floor engaged in semi-humiliating, yet hilarious, competitions — all part of the pep rally that ended Spirit Week and geared us up for Homecoming weekend.

Student Council president Mike Meads stood looking out to the crowd announcing activities. Steph Flynn took shots on net in a shootout contest, eyes watching her careful aim and the ball’s subsequent swish through the net. Colleen Dowd and Trevor Doucette laughed with their team of senior class members during the saran wrap activity, struggling to run within the bunched up mess of four students clinched together tightly. The cheerleading team paired up with the football team, with captains Andrea Bilton and Michelle Leary leading them through a routine involving “hit the quan.” Within the 45 minute rally, people laughed and watched their fellow classmates put on quite a show.

The student council executive board was behind the planning and running of the pep rally. “The entire school participated with great enthusiasm and spirit!” said Meads. “This year’s rally and spirit week were the best the school has seen- the student and staff has unconditional love for our school.”

“It was rowdy,” addedd StuCo historian Lauren Gelly.

Leading up to the rally, students and faculty participated in the 2015 Spirit Week, carrying props, painting faces, and exchanging hair coloring sprays. Although this spirit week was cut short because of Columbus Day, the participation did not diminish. The week began with a burst of American Pride on Tuesday, the 13th. As the week continued, students were seen decked out in camouflage with face paint and camo hats galore, clad in pajamas with pillow and blanket in hand, and supporting class color day with boas dangling from shoulders and horns clutched in hands.

“The amount of participation was overwhelming and everyone had an incredible week of school spirit,” Colleen O’Neil said.

“My favorite day was definitely pajama day,” said Brennan Taylor, with Cassie Maver adding, “Spirit Week was lit.”  

To end a perfect week, students attended the homecoming football game Friday, and on Saturday, the homecoming dance. Friday night was frigid but students came out to watch Hanover beat Pembroke 48-12, and to see the senior homecoming court announced. The band played pieces of their Fantasia music selection, and when the game concluded the football boys fresh from their win gathered around the band in the stands, singing and dancing. As Michelle Leary, one of the cheerleading team captains, walked out from the field, she turned and said to me that someone should film the team going wild in song with the band, knowing it was a sight that may not ever come again.

Students left the school that night after the hometown win but returned less than 24 hours later, polished in tucked shirts and ties, clicking in heels with dresses, hair done. Homecoming has always been a traditional senior class fund raiser, bringing in revenue for the class preparing to graduate. “I thought the food was really good,” commented Ben Lee, a freshman who experienced his first homecoming, where the menu involved buffalo mac and cheese, a favorite by many.  

“Homecoming this year was a great success. We had the largest turnout in Hanover High history, with over 570 kids attending,” said Senior Class President Sarah Ryan. “This event was a major fund raiser for the senior class, and it was great to see the school come together and show their school spirit all week!”

“It truly made me proud to bleed blue and yellow,” remarked Callie Hoadley, reflecting the thoughts of many.

Spirit Week left as fast as it came. However, the essence of it, spirit, lives on through Hanover’s students and through their endeavors. We will see it throughout the whole year, not just spirit week, when the first hockey game rolls around, when girls basketball makes it to tournament, when the cast of the play has its final bow, when powderpuff rolls around, and Hanover Football runs onto to the field for the annual Thanksgiving game. The spirit will  be there when a group of students laugh together, working together as one, and when people join together to bring pride and respect to our little town. Spirit Week is legendary, but it is only one of many examples of Hanover’s strength.

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Inside Scoop: What Was Going On In The Gym?

The presence of police officers in the cafeteria and gym last Tuesday made many students at HHS curious about what was going on. We have the inside scoop! The police were here because an election was being held to fill a spot in the State Senate after the original senator, Thomas Kennedy, died. It is considered a special election because it was called to fill a seat that was unexpectedly left empty.

This was only a primary though, and it’s also only for the Democratic nomination. A primary is when voters choose a candidate to represent their party in the election. The two Democrats who faced off were Joseph Lynch and Rep. Mike Brady; results are still being tallied, according to the office of the Secretary of the Commonwealth to Massachusetts.

The winner of this primary will challenge Rep. Geoff Diehl, who is running unopposed as the Republican candidate. The final ballots for this special election will be cast on Tuesday, Nov.

Sources
 
Braley, Kalia. “Polls Open Oct. 6.” Hanover Mariner n.d.: n. pag. Print.
Newspaper Article
Scholastic News:.” Scholastic News:. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Oct. 2015. Website