Tag Archives: featured

SENIORS: Friendships Forged Through Sports

By Joe Clinton

Senior Staff Writer

Sports have been a huge part of my four years at Hanover High. I’ve played baseball, soccer, basketball and rugby, and I couldn’t imagine not being a part of these teams. 

I made my closest friends on these teams. Your teammates become your family for three straight months and they take you through ups and downs of the season. This past fall, I started playing soccer with all kinds of new kids that I was never really close with. And when the season ended, I had 20 new friends that I would’ve never met outside of high school sports. 

Along with the family feel of high school sports comes a unique opportunity that you will never again have in your life. This opportunity is being able to wear your hometown team across your jersey and see the community rallying around you. This was something I truly took for granted until the end of my final basketball season. After playing my last game in the sold-out Hanover High gym, I realized how much it really meant. How much our teams mean to the community. How much our teams shape the youth athletics of this town. Representing the place you have lived in your whole life is really only something you get with high school sports.

Featured photo used with permission of DJ Meads Photography

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.