Tag Archives: 2015-2016

School Start Time Pushed Back 30 Minutes

After serious consideration about a later start time for Hanover High School, administrators have come to a decision. In the fall, the first bell will move from 7:25 am to 7:55 am, and dismissal will be 2:4 pm instead of 2:16 pm.

A few weeks ago, each grade was called down to have a discussion on the topic of start times. Mr. Paquette explained how waking up early has been scientifically proven to cause a multitude of problems for teenagers such as getting to school late, a decrease in grades, and even discipline issues. High schools across the country have adopted later start times, with elementary schools starting earlier because younger children naturally wake up early.

The most common argument students had was that a later start time, and therefore later dismissal time, would affect sports. But many schools in Massachusetts have start times as late as 8 am and their sports don’t interfere with schoolwork. The more controversial part of this new plan is how early release days may work. One proposal is to have half days start for students at 10am, and still end at the normal time. The teachers would go to meetings before the students come to school. Could this lead to weaker teacher performance on early release?

 

Whatever happens next year, remember The Indian will be here to keep you updated.

 

Review: Horrors of Atomic Bomb Retold in Heartbreaking Detail

I am fascinated by World War II, a conflict so huge that it seems to have a million different elements: D-Day, Pearl Harbor, the Holocaust, Japanese internment, Soviet sieges, and so on. No matter how many years have passed, or how many books and movies are bombmade, there always seem to be another story to tell.  To Hell and Back: The Last Train from Hiroshima by Charles Pellegrino recounts the dropping of two atomic bombs on Japan. Most of us know the basic details, which are often wrapped up in whether the US was right to unleash the nuclear age in an effort to end the war. This book doesn’t get bogged down in that debate. Instead it paints – in vivid scientific, physical and emotional detail – the impact on the cities and people devastated by them, that day and in the months and years since. The stories of Japanese survivors are heartbreaking, especially those who fled after the first bombing and sought safety in the city that became the second target. Can you imagine living through one bomb – a bomb that incinerated your family on the spot, flattened entire neighborhoods and left thousands with horrific burns and radiation poisoning – only to endure it again a few days later? For many people, survival was a matter of inches: a person shielded by a wall or tree may have survived while someone standing steps away was vaporized. The author follows a handful of survivors, much as John Hersey did in his 1946 book Hiroshima, as well as other notable participants such as the pilots who dropped the bombs. While Hiroshima is a powerful book, To Hell and Back goes farther and digs deeper. The 2015 edition uses modern language, making it feel less dated than Hersey’s book, but it also has the benefit of following up with eyewitnesses who lived into the ’90s and 2000s. It was powerful to read how the bombings continued to haunt the survivors, many fighting until old age for a ban on nuclear weapons and an end to war.

This book is especially timely given President Obama’s recent visit to Hiroshima, the first sitting president to ever visit the city. When he met with survivors and echoed their calls for peace, I pictured the men and women whose suffering and courage I had read about. The book gave me new insight into the use of the atomic bombs and made me rethink what I had learned about a terrible part of history. The book is 400 pages and some of the scientific explanations can get confusing, but it’s worth sticking with it for the eyewitness accounts.

Honoring Fallen Soldiers Around the World

How do you celebrate Memorial Day? Do you put up star spangled flags in your front yard to commemorate the nation’s brave, fallen soldiers? Perhaps you participate in a local parade, or have an annual barbecue with your family. Memorial Day marks an important day on which the people of the United States join in remembrance of those who have died for our protection. It is incredibly important to remember all of the courageous men and women who have defended our country, and I believe it is also valuable to take a few moments to honor foreign soldiers who died in their own fights as well. For this reason, I find it interesting to think about how our country and how foreign countries reserve days to commemorate their dead heroes.

In the United States, the last Monday of every May serves as a day to memorialize United States citizens who have died while in the U.S. military. Today, Americans tend to observe the holiday by visiting cemeteries, getting together with friends and family, and walking in or watching local parades. This day was declared a national holiday in 1971, but its origins lie in the period following the Civil War. This makes sense given the staggering amount of Americans who died after this internal war and the need that grew out of it for national cemeteries. Every spring following the end of the war, Americans picked up the tradition of laying flowers on the graves and saying words in memory of the fallen soldiers. These types of customs have evolved into the Memorial Day that we know and celebrate today.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the northern hemisphere, Russia has a similar day to our Memorial Day called Victory Day. Russia observes Victory Day every year on May 9, memorializing Nazi Germany’s surrender to the Allies in 1945. On that day, Russian citizens remember the millions of soldiers who died during World War II. European countries further west who fought with the Allies also celebrate the 1945 surrender, but call it V-E Day. Interestingly, because of the time difference between Russia and western Europe, Germany surrendered on May 9 Russian time and May 8 Western European time. So, Victory Day is celebrated on the 9th, while V-E Day is celebrated on the 8th.

In Israel, the people celebrate Yom Hazikaron on the fourth of the Hebrew month of Iyar, May 10 of this y ear. Yom Hazikaron translates to “Memorial Day” and is a day of remembrance for fallen soldiers and for citizens killed as a result of political violence and terrorism. Several thousand miles south, Australians and New Zealanders observe Anzac Day on April 25. Anzac Day marks the day of Australia’s and the Kiwi forces’ first military action during World War I.

Meanwhile, citizens in the Netherlands honor their dead on Dodenherdenking, or “Remembrance Day.” The May 4 holiday honors the Dutch citizens and soldiers who have died in conflicts since World War II. While the U.S observes a moment of silence on their Memorial Day at 3 p.m., those in the Netherlands honor their fallen with two minutes of silence at 8 p.m.

In a different part of the world, the United Kingdom celebrates their Remembrance Day on November 11, which was the day of armistice between Germany and the Allies at the end of World War I. (America marks that date as Veterans Day) To honor the day, UK citizens wear poppies,  a flower that bloomed even during the most terrible bombings and periods of chaos during the war. France also has a day of remembrance on the 11th of November which they call Armistice de 1918. On this day, the French honor the dead by laying flowers on soldiers’ tombs and next to French monuments like the Arc de Triomphe in Paris.

Celebrations like Memorial Day, Armistice, Dodenherdenking, and Victory Day are common in many more places about the world. Nations like Canada, Germany, and Belgium also observe days to honor their dead in ways similar to the United States. The commonality of memorializing the dead is a great indication of the humanity that lives on in the world despite all of the wars and conflicts. This Memorial Day, join in with this worldwide tradition and remember those millions of men and women around the world who died in battle protecting their countries with incredible bravery.

What Boston Sports Team Will Bring In A Superstar This Summer?

While the Red Sox are in the midst of an awesome season, Boston’s other sports teams are all in their off-season and looking to improve their respective rosters. As the summer approaches, we draw closer to the NHL and NBA drafts, NFL training camp and the MLB trade deadline. So a good question is, which Boston team has the best chance of acquiring a superstar player this summer? Some teams need to make moves to be competitive and vie for championships again, while others just need to shore up a weak spot or two. Here’s who I believe has the best chance of doing that.

First off, I feel the New England Patriots have the least chance of landing a superstar this summer. Now, the Patriots did make a huge move in acquiring former Chicago Bears tight end Martellus Bennett. He and Rob Gronkowski should be an elite tight end duo for the Patriots offense this season. The NFL draft has come and gone, and most elite free agents have been signed, so it seems the
Patriots have made all of their moves and are set on their roster. If the Patriots were to trade for some sort of a superstar, it’d come as a major surprise to me.

The Boston Bruins have missed the playoffs the past two seasons, both times because of a late-season collapse. The Bruins’ weakest link is their coach Claude Julien, and at the end of last season, they already committed to keeping him around. Of all the Boston teams, the Bruins have the biggest need for a game-changing superstar. Their roster just isn’t very good. The lack of solid defense is what held the Bruins back from generating a successful season. But I don’t think they’re going to get the superstar they need. I don’t have any faith in the organization of the Bruins. They haven’t done anything under General Manager Don Sweeney that makes me feel confident in them making a move for a big time player. The Bruins absolutely need to make moves to strengthen their roster, I just have doubts they will do enough to give us a winning product.

The Boston Celtics were eliminated in the first round of the NBA playoffs this past season. As one of the most fun teams to watch in the NBA, the C’s season was successful despite losing in six games to the Atlanta Hawks. This off-season is huge for the Celtics as it seems their rebuilding process has come to an end and their young roster has major potential to continue to improve. But it’s almost impossible to contend for championships in the NBA without a superstar. The Celtics had the third best chance in getting the number one overall pick in this year’s draft. A trade from 2013 with Brooklyn sent Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Jason Terry and D.J. White to Brooklyn for three first-round picks and players. Brooklyn had one of the worst records in basketball this season and the Celtics had full position of their first-round pick. With a 15.6 percent chance of landing the number one overall pick, the Celtics ended up receiving the 3rd overall selection in this year’s draft. The Celtics will have to make major moves in order to get a superstar, but under the control of Danny Ainge, I believe they will do it. This off-season, the Celtics will figure out a way to bring in a real talented player to help them go deep into the playoffs.

The Boston Red Sox are contenders to go to the World Series as of right now. In no way am I saying the Red Sox are going to win the World Series, but they are absolute contenders. The Sox are the only Boston sports team that plays during the summer, but most definitely are the most likely to bring in a superstar. President of baseball operations, Dave Dombrowski, will be looking to improve the Sox come July when the MLB trade deadline approaches. The Red Sox offense is dominant and their bullpen has been very strong too. The Sox starting pitching is their Achilles heel. With major struggles from $217 million pitcher David Price, Edwardo Rodriguez still on the DL and Clay Buchholz constantly unable to last more than four innings, starting pitching is a major need for the Sox. The reason I believe they have the best chance to land a superstar this summer is because of the position they will be in when the trade deadline arrives. The Sox should continue their winning ways and, with the American League being relatively open, the Sox should be one good starting pitcher away from being the team to beat in the AL. Dombrowski understands how things have been for the Sox as of late. He’ll make the necessary moves. Barring major injuries or collapse, the Sox this summer should acquire a big time superstar player that will help them play long into the post-season.

Anything Goes: A Show Truly Worth Seeing

As a graduating senior, I have to say that one of my favorite memories of high school was being involved in drama club. Last weekend, I volunteered as an usher for HHS’ fantastic production of Anything Goes. The show ran from Friday, May 6th to Sunday, May 8th, and was directed by Mr. Harden, with assistance from Mr. Plummer and Mr. Schnelle. The show featured many talented performers, with lead roles played by Maddy Carroll, Billy Porter, Macy Hohenleitner, Justy Carney, Bruno Barbuto and Katie Scott. Other supporting roles and a strong ensemble also undoubtedly contributed to a successful show, with a strong energy and stage presence coming from every performer.

The Broadway classic takes place on a ship called the S.S. American, which serves passengers from the United States to England. Lead character Billy Crocker (played by Billy) disguises himself as infamous gangster SnakeEyes Johnson in order to earn a ticket on the boat to impress the girl of his dreams, Hope Harcourt (played by Macy), who is about to marry Sir Evelyn (played by Justy), a wealthy Englishman. As the play goes on, Hope realizes she is truly in love with Billy, who eventually confesses his sins for posing as“Public Enemy Number One.” Another unforgettable role was Reno Sweeney (played by Maddy), a famous nightclub singer also making an appearance on the ship, who realizes she is in love with Sir Evelyn, winning him over with the help of friends Billy and Moonface (played by Bruno.) Something I found very amusing within the storyline was that Billy’s angry boss (played by Alex Linn) was also riding on the ship, with Billy fearing he would get caught by him the whole time. Many other supporting characters such as a southern priest, two Chinese immigrants, Hope’s strict mother, the captain and purser of the ship, and Reno’s dancing “angels” also contributed to make the show so worthwhile.

Some notable songs in the show included “Friendship,” which was a completely non-romantic upbeat song sung by Billy, Reno and Moon; “I Get A Kick Out of You” sung by Reno about Sir Evelyn; and “Be Like The Bluebird,” an inspirational song providing comic relief sung by Moon when he and Billy are placed in the ship’s one jail cell. One of the most phenomenal numbers told on stage was “Blow, Gabriel, Blow.” It featured the entire ensemble, with excellent lead vocals by Reno. It was great to see the entire cast singing, dancing and acting together while having a great time doing it. We are truly lucky to have so much talent offered by our school’s students to result in such a high quality production. If you didn’t make an appearance at this show, I would highly recommend seeing the next one, because I promise the HHS Theatre Guild doesn’t disappoint!

You Don’t Think Tom Brady Is Innocent, Do You?

Although Tom Brady continues to fight it, a federal appeals court ruled in favor of the National Football League and reinstated his four-game suspension for Deflategate. In the last 15 months there has been much discussion, debate and legal wrangling over the alleged deflation of footballs in the 2015 AFC Championship game when the New England Patriots beat the Indianapolis Colts.  Brady, I believe, is the most well-liked athlete in all of Boston sports. Because of his reputation, I think, fans are blinded to the fact that Brady is guilty. Before and during the 2015 AFC Championship game, Brady most definitely directed team equipment managers John Jastremski and Jim McNally to tamper with the psi of the game balls. I have read the Ted Wells report, which is the investigative report concerning footballs used during the game and that report is what NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell used to justify Brady’s suspension. Not many people have read the entire report, resulting in uneducated opinions on Deflategate. Based on my reading of the report, here’s why I believe Tom Brady should be suspended.

Pregame of the AFC championship game: Jim McNally has been employed by the Patriots for 32 years as a seasonal equipment manager. His responsibility is to deliver both teams’ game footballs to the officials’ locker room. Once brought into the locker room, the game referees use an air pump gauge to measure the psi of all 12 footballs that each team will use during the game. All game balls must be inflated between 12.5 psi and 13.5 psi. Once both teams’ balls were within the legal limit, they were ready to be taken to the field. McNally took the balls to the field without the consent of any of the officials, passing a bathroom on his way out of the officials’ locker room. This is something head official Walt Anderson said he had not seen in his 19-year career. Right before entering the field and out of sight of the officials, McNally took the balls into a bathroom which locks from the inside. He was in the bathroom for exactly one minute and 40 seconds. A study was done within the Wells Report to see if 11 footballs could be deflated in the time McNally was in the bathroom. Results showed that all people who participated in the study finished well under one minute and forty seconds, showing that McNally very well could have deflated the 11 balls while in the bathroom.

Half time of the AFC Championship game: During the second quarter, Colts linebacker D’Qwell Jackson intercepted a pass thrown by Brady. The football that was intercepted was brought to the Colts sideline and Colts officials felt that the ball was under-inflated. They requested at halftime that all footballs be tested for their psi level. Referees Clete Blakeman and Dyrol Prioleau tested the psi of the Patriots footballs and the results are in the chart below. Remember the legal amount of psi is between 12.5 and 13.5.   

Patriots Balls Blakeman Prioleau
1 11.50 11.80
2 10.85 11.20
3 11.15 11.50
4 10.70 11.00
5 11.10 11.45
6 11.60 11.95
7 11.85 12.30
8 11.10 11.55
9 10.95 11.35
10 10.50 10.90
11 10.90 11.35

Only four of the Colts footballs could be tested during halftime due to time constraints and all four of them measured between 12.5 and 13.5 psi on at least one of the two gauges used by Blakeman and Prioleau. A common argument is that because of the cold and rainy conditions, the balls were naturally deflated. The ideal gas law does not support that argument. Besides, if the weather was a factor, then why were only the Patriots’ balls under the limit? If the conditions were the reason for the loss of air pressure, both teams’ balls would have been deflated. The facts from the halftime tests show it was only the Patriots’ footballs which were deflated.

Communication between McNally and Jastremski: On October 17, 2014, following a game against the New York Jets, Brady expressed to Jastremski and McNally how he disliked the inflation of game balls. The following quotes are from text messages between Mcnally and Jastremski. Jastremski: “Talked to him last night. He actually brought you up and said you must have have a lot of stress trying to get them done…” Talking to McNally, Jastremski refers to Tom Brady as “him,” indicating Brady told Jastremski to tell McNally to take more air out of the balls for next game. On October 23, 2014, Jastremski texted McNally: “Can’t wait to give you your needle this week :)” This obviously refers to McNally’s instructions to tamper with the air pressure of the game balls. The next day, Jastremski wrote, “I have a big needle for u this week.” McNally replied: “Better be surround by cash and newnicks….or its a rugby sunday.” Jastremski then texted:“Maybe u will have some nice size 11s in ur locker.” When interviewed in the Wells Report, both said that giving rewards (like “cash,” “new kicks” and “size 11s”) were a joke and McNally never received any extra benefits. Lastly on January 10, 2015, McNally texted: “You working;” Jastremski replied: “Yup;” McNally answered:“Nice dude….jimmy needs some kicks….lets make a deal…..come on help the deflator.” Jim McNally refers to himself as the deflator. I don’t believe it can be any more clear that Tom Brady was definitely aware and instructed Jastremski to have McNally tamper with the psi of game footballs. Once the story about the footballs broke to the media and became a big headline, Brady and Jastremski contacted each other at least once over a three-day period. Prior to the story breaking, they rarely communicated but once the news broke, they began to talk much more. Some of the exact text messages contain explicit vocabulary but if you wish to read them, they can be found on pages 74-94 in the Wells Report.

Based on all these facts and many other specifics in the Wells Report, I think it’s clear that Tom Brady was aware of the illegal activity going on and instructed it to happen. However, I think Brady’s suspension of four games was much too significant of a penalty. Major offenses like domestic violence and illegal substance abuse are common illegal actions worthy of a four-game suspension. The league was absolutely correct in suspending Brady for his actions, but the length of the suspension is absolutely wrong.

North Carolina Bathroom Bill Impacts Transgender Citizens

On March 23, North Carolina legislators passed a highly controversial bill stating that people using city bathrooms are only able to use the bathroom of the gender on their birth certificate. Additionally, North Carolina cities were barred from passing more general anti-discrimination laws. But the obvious consequence of this bill, signed into law by North Carolina’s Republican Governor Pat McCrory, is that the lives of transgender people in the state will be strongly affected. Under House Bill 2, the Public Facilities Privacy & Security Act,  transgender citizens are now prevented from using the bathroom of the gender with which they identify. So if a transgender person was born a female but lives as a male, he still will be required to use the women’s bathroom in North Carolina.

While Republicans in the state Senate voted in favor of the bill unanimously, Senate Democrats chose to walk out and simply not vote at all as a way to take a stand against the bill. The session to pass the bill was prompted by an ordinance passed earlier in Charlotte, North Carolina. The Charlotte ordinance included protections for sexual orientations and gender identifications, which meant in part that transgender citizens could use the bathroom that they identified with rather than the bathroom that their birth certificate mandated.

North Carolina Republicans have defended the bill by emphasizing the need for privacy and the need to protect women and children from biological males. Governor Pat McCrory tweeted about his signing of the bill: “Ordinance defied common sense, allowing men to use women’s bathroom/locker room for instance. That’s why I signed bipartisan bill to stop it.”

Some women and children have supported McCrory’s signing, such as junior Chloe Jefferson of Greenville Christian Academy, who felt sexual predators might try to take advantage of the law. On the flip side, the bill has had much backlash, both statewide and nationally. Several big firms in North Carolina have opposed the bill, along with North Carolina Democrats like Senate leader Dan Blue. Blue stated of the bill: “This is a direct affront to equality, civil rights and local autonomy.”

Nationally, many have reacted negatively, including well-known Americans like Caitlyn Jenner. Jenner, who was born male but identifies as a woman, released a tweet asking for others to join her in an effort to stop the bill. Likewise, National Basketball Association Commissioner Adam Silver warned that the location of the 2017 All-Star Game will be changed from Charlotte, North Carolina, if the bill is not repealed. Musicians including Pearl Jam and Bruce Springsteen have cancelled concerts in the state. President Obama himself, in fact, expressed his opinion at a press conference in London, saying that the bill was “wrong” and “should be overturned.”

And what do the presidential candidates have to say about the matter? Originally, Republican front-runner Donald Trump stated his opposition to the bill, saying North Carolina should “leave it the way it is,” especially considering the economic problems that the bill has caused for the state. Trump added to Fox News shortly after, however, that the decision is up to North Carolina. Fellow Republican candidate Ted Cruz supports the law, while rival John Kasich did not condemn the bill but said he probably wouldn’t have signed it had it come to him when he was governor of Ohio. Democratic candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders criticized the law and called for an end to discrimination against transgender people.