October - South Brunswick School District

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October - South Brunswick School District
the
v king
vibe
Volume 11 - Issue 1
September-October 2009
South Brunswick High School
750 Ridge Road
Monmouth Junction, NJ 08852
inside
the
vibe
vibe:culture
Contribute to the entertaiment section!
Writers meet on Wednesdays in A205 with Mr. Honig.
GYMNASTICS
VICTORY
page 11
ILLEGAL
IMMIGRANTS
FACE
DILEMMA
page 7
SBHS HAS
“HOMECOMING
FOR
THE HOLIDAYS”
Keith Zients
2010
Top to bottom: Marching Band members at Homecoming,;
students cheering at pep rally; Football players in action/ PHOTOS
BY Saadia Ahmad (‘10)
RUSH HOLT
VISITS SBHS
page 3
On October 2, 2009 South
Brunswick High School hosted
its annual Homecoming game and
defeated Woodbridge High 14-7 in
stunning overtime fashion. Aside
from the game, the night hosted
many other colorful events.
Students were greeted at the
game by a tailgate party hosted
by seniors, Christian Baros, Jon
Foss, Zack Fingerhut, and Joe
Myers. Hotdogs, hamburgers,
chicken, and baked ziti (courtesy
of Baros’ mother) were all popular menu items. The music blasted
and smiles lit up the faces of every
student there.
“I think that the tailgate party
really set the tone for the rest of
the night, I just wanted everyone
to get in a good mood and enjoy
the game,” said senior Joe Myers
excitedly.
Students filed into the stadium
before game time and before senior Kyle Morse had the chance
to kick the ball to begin the game,
the air was filled with the shouts
of thousands of students, parents,
and fans. What was originally
forecasted to be a cold and rainy
night, turned into a not only dry,
but unseasonably warm game.
The game was locked at 0-0 until senior Willie Roberson scored
on an 8 yard run up the middle in
the 2nd quarter.
The score was at 7-0 going into
half time, and Roberson had this
to say about his scoring play, “It
felt really good to score on Homecoming, I knew almost the whole
school was out there. I’m glad I
could help them all see a win.”
Roberson was a winner in more
than one respect that night however. At halftime there were several
performances: the marching band,
the float parade, and the announcement of homecoming court.
The king and queen for the
2009 Homecoming were seniors
Willie Roberson and Brianna Olsson respectively.
Olsson felt it was an honor to
be crowned on that night,
“It felt amazing, thank you everyone who voted for me.” chimed
Olsson.
Also during the half time show,
each class and some clubs designed floats to be paraded along
the track for display. The theme
for this years’ floats was holidays,
the seniors with Valentines day,
the juniors, Independence day,
the sophomores hosted Halloween and the freshman had New
Years’ Day. In addition to this,
the Dead Presidents Society had a
Presidents Day float, and the Psychology Club showed off a brainthemed float. The student council
also brought a December holidays
float with Christmas, Hannukah,
and Kwanza all in one.
As always, the Marching band
gave a memorable performance.
The music that echoed from the
band continued into the cafeteria for the Homecoming dance.
Underclassmen seemed to enjoythemselves at the dance.
“I had a lot of fun after the
game. I got to dance off all my
pent up energy,” said sophomore
Janae Baker.
The Vikings won the Homecoming game 14-7 in overtime.
Attention all SENIORS:
If you want to include a quote along with your portrait picture in
the yearbook, email your quote to: [email protected]
by NOVEMBER 5th. Any quotes emailed after this time will NOT be
included.
2
September-October 2009
From the Editors’ Desk
Welcome Class of 2013! As we head into a double-digit
school year, we also begin a more reader-friendly Viking Vibe.
As new Editors-in-Chief, we’re excited to make changes (but
you can refrain from giving us a premature Nobel Prize). It is
our duty to make reading the paper something students look
forward to, and as the times progress we try to make that easier;
the e-Vibe, electronic edition of SBHS’s newspaper, will be upand-running again this school year with help from our editorial
staff. Layout Editor Ektaa Sanghvi, Sports Editor Justin Berger,
and Editors Saadia Ahmad and Tajah Ebram all contribute their
ideas to make the newspaper live up to its potential.
For those seniors who have been buried in college apps for
the past couple of months, consider this issue a catalog of all the
happenings you have missed around SBHS. Make like Balloon
Boy and float away... into the first Vibe of the 09-10 year.
Thanks and keep reading,
Samantha Orlan (’10) and Roshni Shah (’11)
Co-Editors-in-Chief
the viking vibe
news
New Newspaper Staff
Above (from left to right): Samantha Orlan
(‘10), Roshni Shah (‘11) Below from left
to right: Ektaa Sanghvi (‘12), Tajah Ebram
(‘10), Justin Berger (‘11), Saadia Ahmad
(‘10) / PHOTOS BY Saadia Ahmad (‘10)
and Ektaa Sanghvi (‘12)
the viking vibe
2009-2010 Staff
Co-Editors-in-Chief
Samantha Orlan and Roshni Shah
Sports Editor
Justin Berger
Layout Editor
Ektaa Sanghvi
Illustrator
Alyssa Chrysafis
Editorial Staff
Saadia Ahmad and Tajah Ebram
Staff
Maximillian Beckerman, Kyle Berger, Shivani Bhangley,
Oleksandr Burnashkin, Zachary Cohen, Sarah Elzeini,
Rachel Finkelstein, Breona Garrison, Carli Holden, William
Johnston V, Cassandra Joiner, Melissa Katz, Caitlyn
Kovacs, Lauren Lally, Aaron Lassin, Danielle Libassi,
Catherine Lordi, Annie Lu, Gregory Madia, Arashdeep
Mahal, David Mariano, Rory Monaghan, Victoria Montiero,
Michael Muha, Bisma Muhammed, Suman Naringrekar,
Juan Perdomo Jr., Sanjana Proddutur, Elizabeth Puzio,
Nicholas Quaranta, Maria Riegel, Rohini Sengupta,
Rebecca Shapiro, Jacob Stern, Morgan Sturgeon, Cindy
Tang, Nicole Tyburczy, Carissa Walters, Michael Weber,
Shanel Williams, Katherine Wright, and Keith Zients
Advisor
Andrew Loh
The Viking Vibe welcomes article submissions and
letters to the editors, which may be delivered to Mr. Loh or
dropped off in his mailbox. Submissions can also be sent to
[email protected] The Vibe reserves the right to edit,
shorten or comment on any material submitted to the
publication. The opinions expressed on the editorial
page do not necessarily represent the views of
the advisor, editorial staff, faculty, administrators
or the Board of Education.
Students interested
in journalism are also encouraged to join the
Newspaper Club, held every Tuesday in room A204.
Alyssa Chrysafis
2010
Finally the 2009-2010 school
year has begun and the Vibe staff
welcomes new students who help
make The Viking Vibe come to
life. The change in staff brings
changes to the paper. The advanced students in Newspaper
and Internet Journalism have had
opportunities to show interest in
leading the staff as editors.
“The new editorial staff is chosen by the old editorial staff. For
editor(s) in chief, students interested nominate themselves, and
we have a meeting where the old
editorial staff basically discusses
and picks the new editor(s) in
chief,” said junior and Co-Editorin-Chief Roshni Shah.
Last year, Anita Modi (‘09)
led the pack as editor in chief and
passed her knowledge and love of
the paper off to senior, Samantha
Orlan and junior, Roshni Shah.
Orlan and Shah work together
as Co-Editors along with sophomore, and layout editor, Ektaa
Sanghvi, junior and sports editor,
Justin Berger, and senior editorsat-large, Tajah Ebram and Saadia
Ahmad.
Ebram said, “Mr Loh asked
who was interested in becoming
an editor, and I volunteered and
learned the software. Later in the
year I tried to make myself available and useful to the old editorial
staff to show that I could make a
successful editor.”
The new editors dedicated
themselves to learn the programs
and procedures of producing a
great paper. Last year, the editors
practiced and apprenticed to gain
experience in their positions.
“I wanted to become an editor
because it’s a rewarding experience,” said Sanghvi.
The editorial staff carries most
of the weight of the paper on their
shoulders. The editors are responsible for deadlines, layouts, editing the articles and making sure
that students submit their articles
before the print deadline.
“The layout and editing aspect
of the paper are my favorite. It’s
really exciting to see what you
have been working on for a month
finally be in print,” said Orlan.
“As part of the editorial staff, I
play a part in making sure that the
Viking Vibe comes out the best it
can be: interesting stories, eyecatching layout and hopefully no
typos,” said Shah.
Shah and Orlan were editors
of the newspaper last year. The
mix of grade levels amongst the
editors makes it easier for them to
help the incoming staff members
over the year.
With The Viking Vibe under
new management, the editors are
striving to increase the amount of
people who read it and make it
more reader friendly.
news
September-October 2009
SBHS Holds Violence
Prevention Week
October 19-23, SBHS participated in Violence Prevention
Week as required by the NJ Department of Education. The theme
for this year was “Don’t stay silent, speak up against violence”.
The student assistance program teamed up with FCCLA
and Art Honor Society for violence prevention week as a part
of their service responsibility to
the SBHS student body.
The sole purpose of this event
was to make students aware that
violence is a problem and can
come in many forms. Throughout
the week, cyber-bullying, gang
related violence, dating violence,
and relationship abuse were
among the topics addressed.
“The whole point of the week
is to get people thinking about violence,” stated student assistance
counselor Mrs. Cleo Lowinger,
“and not only this but we want
students to act against it and not
just stay silent about the issue.”
Freshman Ayanna Hennix decided not to stay silent. In light of
violence prevention week Hennix
wrote a statement for VTN about
her brother from Newark, NJ who
was killed in May 2006 as a result
of gang violence.
“He was in a gang and wanted
to get out. The only way out of a
gang is by dying,” Hennix stated,
“My brother wanted to leave and
go to college to start a new life.
That’s why they killed him. He
was shot five times.”
Hennix felt encouraged by Student Assistance Counselor and
mentor Ms. Pamela Major, to tell
her story.
“I want others to learn from
what happened to my brother,”
insisted Ayanna, “Losing him
was a terrible feeling and I hope
that others don’t have to experience the feelings that violence
can cause.”
Although gang violence may
not be a problem at SBHS, it is
important that Ayanna wasn’t silent and spoke out in order to discourage all forms of violence.
Ms. Lowinger is concerned
about students who are in some
way connected to a gang.
She said, “The important part
about Annaya’s story is that she
has decided to speak. We need to
expel the myths that violence is
positive.”
Throughout the week, there
were several activities organized
by the student assistance program, FCCLA, and Art Honor
Society. Of these were videos on
VTN, posters throughout SBHS,
and tables set up outside of all
lunches. These activities were
used to educate students on how
to prevent violence. Purple ribbons were also handed out to students and staff who support violence prevention.
The FCCLA club stands for
Family, Career, and Community
Leaders of America. It is a national organization that focuses
on teen related issues including
teen violence.
Senior and club member Mona
Mostafa said, “Almost every student in our school can relate to
violence in one way or another.
Violence Prevention week is a
way for SBHS to recognize that
violence is a worldwide issue and
should be prevented.”
The Art Honors Society also
rallied around this cause. They
used their artistic abilities and
worked with FCCLA to create
posters focusing on the themes of
violence prevention week.
“I’m glad Art Honor Society got involved,” stated senior
and Art Honor Society member
Sharae’ Bennett, “It was a way for
students at our school to speak up
against all types of violence and
help the school community become a better and safer place. ”
GRAPHIC BY Alyssa Chrysafis (‘10)
Tajah Ebram
2010
the viking vibe
3
Rush Holt Visits Social
Studies Classes
Rush Holt with SBHS students, PHOTO COURTESY OF Mr.
Stefan Moorhead
Ektaa Sanghvi
2012
During Constitution Week,
Congressman Rush Holt visited
South Brunswick High School.
He spoke in Mr. Stefan Moorhead’s Honors U.S. History class
and Mr. Marc Lifland’s Academic Government and Economics
class. While visiting, he talked
to students about the importance
of the Constitution and answered
questions that the students had.
As a Congressman of the 12th
Congressional District, in which
South Brunswick falls, students
were able to meet their representative in person.
“I think it is important for my
peers to be exposed to government officials because it gives us
insight into how the government
works, and also the government
directly impacts our lives and it
is good to be well informed,” said
sophomore Brian Tesser.
Not only did students find his
visit beneficial, but teachers did
as well.
“Students get to see one of
their representatives in person, as
opposed to on TV. They get to see
a political figure close up, while
being able to ask questions and
interact right there in the room is
a big plus,” said Mr. Moorhead.
“Any time students get an
opportunity to interact with significant governmental officials
is beneficial, not to mention that
Congressman Holt is involved
in education in Congress, very
bright, and has a lot of insight to
share with students,” said Principal Mr. Timothy Matheney.
His presentation provided the
students with more insight into
the course curriculum.
“In our course we talk about
the relationship between politicians, the people and the constitution. It has a direct relationship to
the course material,” said social
studies teacher Mr. Lifland.
As a part of the Education and
Labor committee in Congress,
Mr. Holt visits about one school
per week.
“I represent 700,000 people,
many of which cannot vote which
includes students. Part of my
job is to reach out to society in
the 12th Congressional District.
More than that, I like it. I like
interacting with students,” said
Congressman Holt.
“A lot of my friends are interested in politics, and Rush Holt’s
visit was inspiring to them,” said
Sophomore Dan Levin.
Many SBHS students are interested in politics. Not only can
politics have exciting aspects,
but it is arguably vital in today’s
world.
Representative Holt advised,
“Start now. Get involved at a
young age. Young citizens have
every reason to be involved. Politics can often be fun and exciting. Also, your future depends on
it. It’s really that simple. Every
American has an obligation to
be somewhat involved. Politics
is the way you balance competing interests. There are probably
three hundred million ideas out
there, and politics is the compromise of these ideas.”
Overall, Representative Holt’s
visit provided students with an
enlightening experience.
“I felt that Representative
Holt’s visit was incredibly beneficial and it was influential because
I have always had an interest in
politics and meeting a crucial
part of the American government
was very exciting for me,” Tesser
said.
Mr. Matheney said, “Representative Holt conveyed the humility
and intelligence that characterizes
his service to the district. He has
visited SBHS a number of times,
and thinks highly of our students
and staff.”
4
September-October 2009
the viking vibe
PEER Retreat Heralds
“Promising” Year
news
HiTops Retreat a “Great
Experience”
Rachel Finkelstein and
Morgan Sturgeon
2010
PHOTO BY Elizabeth Puzio (‘10)
Greg Madia and Keith Zients
2010
On September 13 the senior
Peer Leaders left for Camp Johnsonburg for two and a half days.
When the 64 Peer Leaders loaded
their luggage onto the buses they
did not know what to expect for
the next 48 hours. After settling
into their cabins at Camp Johnsonburg, everyone ate lunch and
got right to work.
Peer leaders and advisors alike
felt something great immediately
upon arrival. There was a sense of
warmth, welcoming, and friendliness prevelant throughout the entire trip.
“I immediately felt very comfortable with my group. The environment really played that up,”
said senior Megan Baguchinksky.
Seated at circular tables and
in rooms with at least three beds,
there was no choice other than to
get to know the group.
Peer leaders got into their Tgroups, which are the eight-person classes that meet every other
day. The bonding started with a
monster activity, where the eight
different T-groups had to create
some kind of monster with themselves using the minimal amount
of body parts to get across a distance of five yards. Therefore,
physical togetherness was enforced. That activity set the tone
for the rest of the trip.
Several of the Peer Leaders
noted a euphoric feeling postretreat, despite the ill-smelling
bunks.
As senior Alex Reinfeldt put it,
“It smelt like my lacrosse pads at
the end of the season,” but the trip
was still an overall successs.
The next set of activities were
very emotionally and mentally
challenging. Each Peer leader
gew acquainted with each person
in their T-group as well as their
pods (Peer Class blocks). The
groups came together because of
all the talking they did with each
other. After opening up and sharing different things about each
other and their lives, the leaders
learned a great deal about one another.
“There are so many facets to
peoples lives and personalities
that I would never have even
guessed before [the retreat],” senior Bindi Patel noted regarding
some of the activities.
Peer advisor Ms. Rosemary
Woods said, “The retreat allowed
seniors to know people that they
normally wouldn’t know. It made
them trust these new people and
allowed them to be familiar with
those sensitive feelings of getting
to know people. This way since
they have those feelings intact
they will be able to relate to the
freshman.“
With that said, the outlook for
the rest of the year is promising
for all the peer leaders and their
freshman.
On September 8, 34 seniors
gathered at 7:15 a.m. to start their
journey toward becoming HiTOPS leaders. While the group
was on the retreat, they developed
knowledge to promote sexual
health awareness in their peers.
HiTOPS advisor and physical education teacher Mr. Jesse
Martinez said, “ On the retreat we
did team building and leadership
activities, and learned to work together, which are all core components of HiTOPS.”
The HiTOPS Teen Prevention
Education Program (Teen PEP)
is a peer sexual health education
program that is utilized in nearly
50 public schools and community
based organizations in New Jersey as stated on the organization
website.
Senior Amy LaCorte said, “The
HiTOPS retreat was the highlight
of my summer. Through the program I got to meet people that I
never would have talked to otherwise.”
Teen PEP deals with unplanned pregnancy, HIV/AIDS,
other sexually transmitted infections, homophobia reduction,
dating violence, date rape, sexual
harassment and the impact of alcohol and other drugs on sexual
risk taking according to www.hitops.org.
To teach all these difficult topics, a lot of progress needs to be
made in the short time of the retreat.
Mr. Martinez said, “As a group
we grew in a variety of ways,
we are definitely all closer after
sharing personal items and learning about where each other came
from and their backgrounds.”
The trip wasn’t all serious
though, there were lighthearted
times as well.
“One experience that stands
out to me on the trip was the night
hike where kids partnered up and
hiked through the woods at night
and I jumped out and scared a lot
of them,” said Mr. Martinez.
Senior Joshua Bagley said,
“It was a great experience to be
with everyone in the program, we
all bonded and learned so much
about each other in such a short
amount of time.”
According to the website numerous studies have shown that
peer education is an effective way
to help youth develop healthy behaviors not only in sexual health
but also in violence prevention
and substance abuse prevention.
Behavioral science research suggests that people are more likely
to hear and believe messages intended to change behavior and attitudes if they believe the messenger is similar to them and faces
the same concerns and pressures.
“This group functions really
well together, and they each have
a lot to offer. As a program the
kids bring a lot to the SBHS community,” said Mr. Martinez.
The ‘09-’10 HiTOPS educators / PHOTO COURTESY OF Advisor Elaine McGrath
news
Freshman Orientation Eases
Transition Fears
Samatha Orlan
2010
Many students’ minds were
on vacation from school this past
summer. However, many incoming freshmen could not say the
same. On June 26 and July 31, a
majority of SBHS’s new freshmen class entered its doors for the
first time. The Freshmen Orientation gave students a healthy dose
of everything they need to know
about high school from 8 a.m. to
2 p.m.
Junior Brooke Sassman volunteered on the latter of the two
days and commented, “The [orientation] is a lot longer than [in
previous years], it’s more like a
full school day and they spend
time in the classroom.”
This year’s orientation took
a turn in the academically structured direction.
Class of 2012 and 2013 Assistant Principal Mrs. Patricia Abitabilo said, “In the past, it was a
day of team building and games.
Two years ago we added more
of an academic component, and
now there are six sessions run by
teachers and each taught a skill.”
The Class of 2013 was split up
into two groups on the aforementioned days as not to overwhelm
the teachers and Student Ambassadors that staffed this daylong
event. After a half-hour tour,
freshmen talked in small groups
about the perception of peers in
school.
Teachers discussed policies and
procedures, including the backpack policy, dress code, integrity
violations, and absence rules.
Freshman Robert Puzio learned,
“The policies are generally similar except that enforcement seems
to be stricter, with harsher consequences, particularly regarding
cell phones.”
The Tech Prep program was
introduced to the students, as it
is new to both the freshmen and
the upperclassmen. Basic high
school knowledge was covered
in “The Real Deal” informational
session about A and B days, interim reports, how grades are calculated and how homework affects
grades.
Social Studies teacher Mrs.
Freshmen participating in trust activities
/ PHOTO BY Saadia
Ahmad (‘10)
Roxann Clarke-Holmes said,
“[Come the first day of school],
students will be more aware of
the lay-out of the school and expectations.”
“I Need Help” taught students
about HAP and the Homework
Help Center. HiTops and PEER
members familiarized the freshmen with the two programs and
their respective goals for the students.
Freshman Kristin Lally said,
“[PEER and HiTops] sound fun.
I look forward to PEER because
it seems like we will do fun activities with friends, meet new
people, and we get time off from
gym.”
The day ended with several
ice breaking games to mesh the
students from Crossroads North
and South.
Mrs. Abitabilo said, “I hope
students get a feel for what an actual high school day was like and
observe what the school looks
like with 655 of them in the halls.
I want them to have a sense of
comfort and not to think of the
high school as cold and huge.”
Mrs. Abitabilo suggested ways
to change the orientation for subsequent years, “I would like to
make it two days instead of one,
have more class sessions, team
building activities that are more
than just ice-breakers. I would
also like for it to be held at the
beginning of the school year or
just before instead of July.”
She also mentioned how students were thankful that they were
taught about the rules, such as
the dress code and ID’s, prior to
the beginning of school and they
were impressed that they school
was not as big as they thought.
Students also provided feedback
about how helpful the day was
in terms of teaching them how to
take notes, organize their planner
and prepare for tests.
Sassman said, “I hope that they
have a basic idea of where they
are and where to go. It’s a good
experience to ease them into their
first year of high school.”
Overall, they declared the day
a success.
Mrs. Clarke-Holmes remarked,
“It really is very beneficial for the
incoming students.”
the viking vibe
September-October 2009
5
SBHS Prepared for Possible
Swine Flu Outbreak
ILLUSTRATION BY Alyssa Chrysafis (‘10)
Melissa Katz
2011
With the sudden outbreak of the
H1N1 virus (commonly known
as Swine Flu) across the world,
the paranoia that has accompanied it has spread just as quickly
as the flu itself. According to the
Center for Disease Control and
Prevention (CDC), the swine flu
is a new strand of the flu virus
that originated in pigs and was
recently detected in humans in
the United States in April 2009.
Symptoms include, fever, runny
nose, head or body ache, chills,
fatigue, vomiting, or diarrhea.
“If a student experiences these
symptoms, they should come see
the nurse immediately. If they experience these symptoms at home
they must stay home from school
until 24 hours after their fever has
broke, without the help of medicine,” school nurse Mrs. Mary
Gentzle said.
As of the October 9 newsletter from the superintendent of
schools, Dr. Gary McCartney reported, “At the moment, there are
no reports of significant illness
due to flu like symptoms.”
Even though there have been
no confirmed cases this fall,
South Brunswick is taking a proactive approach to preventing the
spread of harmful germs during
this upcoming flu season.
“I am getting the flu shots for
both the swine flu and seasonal
flu. I am taking precautions to
prevent me from getting sick, this
season. I am washing my hands
more frequently, sneezing in to
my sleeve, and using hand sanitizer so I do not spread my germs,”
junior Grace Troccoli said.
The school has placed disinfecting wipes and liquid hand
sanitizers in every classroom and
have set up hand sanitizer dispensers throughout the school.
On a routine basis, the janitorial
staff disinfects the desks, tables,
chairs and floors in order to keep
them germ-free. Every morning
on VTN, the nurses put a segment on about staying healthy,
and have put out a flyer that is to
be posted in every classroom that
denotes flu prevention tips.
Since other schools around
the country had to shut down because of the large population of
students infected with swine flu,
South Brunswick is preparing for
the worst. The district is requesting that teachers create lesson
plans to cover six days of classes.
In case school ever shuts down,
students would be able to access
these lessons online and complete
the allotted assignments. In accordance with state requirements,
these day would count as full days
of school, according to Assistant
Principal Mr. Peter Varela.
“We have to be prepared and
ready for worst case scenario,
and this program would be an alternative in case school has to be
closed. The best part is the program would meet state requirements and we would not have to
make up the days later on in the
year. The administration is also
taking into consideration that
some students at our school do not
have access to computers, and we
are working to figure out a plan
to accommodate them,” Assistant
principal Mr. Varela said.
“The easiest way to prevent
getting sick is to cover your mouth
when you cough and sneeze and
wash your hands routinely for 20
seconds with soap,” Ms. Gentzle
said.
As of right now a vaccine
preventing swine flu was made
available to the public starting on
September 30, 2009. It has been
advised by the CDC that everyone receive both the seasonal flu
vaccination and the swine flu vaccination.
Unless the patient has a confirmed case of swine flu, it has
been advised that everyone gets
the swine flu vaccination. The
school nurses and select teachers have attended a clinic that has
certified them in giving the vaccine.
“The best advice I can give
is if you have the symptoms of
the flu, stay home,” Mrs. Gentzle
concluded.
6
September-October 2009
the viking vibe
news
Mr. Scheese & Ms. Lassiter: New Deans at SBHS
PHOTOS BY Ektaa Sanghvi (‘12)
Above Dean Lassiter and Below Dean Scheese pose while working
Ektaa Sanghvi
2012
At the end of the 2008-2009
school year, Mr. Michael Scheese,
former business teacher, was promoted to the Dean of Students
for the 9th and 10th grades. Before becoming Dean, Mr. Scheese
taught Advanced Computer Applications, Intro to Web Design,
Advanced Web Design, Computer
Applications, Multimedia Design,
and Senior Internship.
“The new position will be a full
time job. This means that I will
not be in the classroom teaching
anymore. I will certainly miss
the good times I have had over
the years in the classroom, but I
am very excited about the new
responsibility and adventures this
new position will hand me,” said
Mr. Scheese.
His new position involves
working with the Assistant Principal for freshman and sophomores,
Mrs. Pat Abitablo. Together, they
will ensure a safe, educational,
and successful school year.
The process for becoming Dean
of Students was rigorous, and
took a few years to complete.
“A couple years ago I went
back to school to earn my Master’s Degree in Educational Ad-
ministration. I worked alongside Dr. Maribeth Edmunds at
Monmouth Junction Elementary
School and Scott Horowitz and
Jaymee Boehmer in the 10th and
11th grade office here at South
Brunswick High School,” he
said. “Through these internships,
I gained so much valuable knowledge that will help me with this
new position. Now, I have my
Master’s Degree and when I saw
the posting for the dean position I
decided to apply. They reviewed
my application and resume, and
then requested to have an interview with me. Several days after
the interview process was over, I
was informed I got the job.”
Of course this change is bittersweet for students and Mr.
Scheese, alike.
Mr. Scheese as a Dean allows the students to have a chance
to connect with another adult in
the building.
After six weeks of working
together, Mrs. Patricia Abitablo,
assistant principal of the tenth
grade, said, “Mr. Scheese is a
great man with a wonderful disposition. He is calm under pressure and can do fourteen things at
once, and he does them all with a
great smile.”
Suman Naringkari from the army will aid Ms. Las2011 siter in her current position.
Ms. Lassiter describes how she
After nine years as an Eng- has “a plethora of responsibililish teacher at South Brunswick ties. I aid the assistant principals
High School, Ms. Yoshi Lassiter with discipline, management of
received the position of 11th and the school, behavior, attendance
12th grade Dean.
issues, and Project Excel 10. I
Excited to be a part of a new ac- bring the teachers outlook to the
ademic arena, Ms. Lassiter stated table.”
that she had various experiences
Ms. Lassiter holds a strongleading to this point in her life.
willed, high-spirited attitude to“Well, I’ve been teaching Eng- wards her occupation, not comlish for a number of years. Com- plaining about what she must face
munication is key in my line of day-to-day.
work, I must articulate success“I have no problems in my
fully to parents, students, and line of work. The only difficult
administrators. For such things, thing is when I see young people
English skills are vital,” Ms. Las- fall short of sound decisions, and
siter explained.
then they do not take ownership
Ms. Lassiter also had an im- for their faults and mistakes. They
pressive thirteen years of work in blame someone else. That is hard
the military, still ongoing, unique- for me to understand, because as
ly contributing to her promotion a soldier, you cannot point fingers
to Dean.
at anyone else.’
“In the military, I do career
As Dean, Ms. Lassiter states
counseling, creating contracts, that she will most definitely
and providing guidance to reserve create a positive difference for
soldiers, much like guidance South Brunswick High School.
counselors at our school. This
work takes place in Fort Dix,”
Ms. Lassiter state, “Commonalities exist between life of a dean
and the life of a solider. In both
the army and my position, there
must be structure, set regulations,
and discipline.”
This solid, firm persona shaped
features
Undocumented Immigrants
September-October 2009
PHOTOS BY Tajah Ebram (‘10)
Tajah Ebram
2010
New Jersey legislators are proposing a bill to allow illegal immigrants to pay in-state tuition
as opposed to out of state tuition
for universities in New Jersey. If
passed, this would allow undocumented immigrants who have
lived in New Jersey and have
graduated from a New Jersey
High School to pay in state tuition at any public university. The
legislation also asks that students
sign a waiver to indicate that they
will adjust their status as soon as
the opportunity becomes available.
In light of the outstanding
tuition and fees that continue to
rise, it is no surprise that the over
430,000 undocumented New Jersey immigrants are actively advocating for the passage of this
bill. Among these advocates are
SBHS alumna (05’) and present Rutgers University student
Marisol Conde-Hernandez who
has lived in New Jersey since she
was 18-months-old as an undocumented resident.
Conde-Hernandez revealed, “I
knew very well of my undocumented status since the age of
five. My parents told me to be
very cautious about who I shared
that information with, and they
made me understand that higher
education was my only opportunity to succeed.”
Social Studies teacher Mr.
Ramon Quinones commented on
the bill, “It’s different for a student like Marisol, I remember
her as a freshman here. Students
like her shouldn’t be treated like
someone who has been here for
only a month whether they are illegal or legal. There needs to be
something in the bill to help residents.”
With this initial push to attain
higher education, Conde-Hernandez took the necessary steps
to maintain a successful career
at SBHS like any other college
bound student.
With some lighthearted laughter Conde-Hernandez reminisced,
“I was in HiTops, in the Latino
the viking vibe
7
Bill for In-State Tuition
Cultural Club, President of the
French National Honor Society,
First Chair in band for flute, and
on the Steering Committee of The
National Honor Society.”
Once in college, she became
equally as submerged in working
for immigration reform and for
passage of the in-state tuition bill.
In doing so, she became secretary
of the Hispanic American Club at
Middlesex County College and
got involved with related advocacy groups like New York State
Youth Leadership Council, The
Latin American Legal Defense
and Education Fund. With these
organizations, she lobbied legislators in the Assembly and Senate to get the bill out of the Senate
Budget and Appropriations committee and posted on the general
floor for debate and vote.
Conde-Hernandez stated, “My
role in this movement is in sharing my story. It really is about
educating people about the issue
altogether because there are so
many misconceptions that arise
out of fear and ignorance. Antiimmigration sentiments originate out of ignorance; ignorance
meaning simply not knowing.”
Is anti-immigration sentiment
high in the U.S?
In March 2009, New Jersey News Room commented on
Gov. Corzine’s panel that was
convened to show support of
the In-State Tuition Bill by saying, “They face an uphill battle
to get the proposal through the
New Jersey Legislature, given the
state of the economy and the fact
that… anti-immigrant sentiment
is high.”
The in-state tuition bill remains in the Senate Appropriations Committee. Anti-immigration attitudes remain high in the
U.S., therefore Conde-Hernandez
continues to work hard to fund
her out-of-state fees for Rutgers.
“I was 13 when I had my first
job but lent too much money to
my family and I paid rent to my
parents,” said Conde-Hernandez,
“so currently I work about 45
hours per week during the school
year and I have been financially
independent since 18. I’m not
only funding my education but
living expenses as well.”
The College Board demonstartes that out-of-state tuition and
fees at Rutgers University amount
to $21,488 dollars as opposed to
the in-state rate of $11,540 dollars. Illegal immigrants, whether
they’ve been residents for several years or just a few months,
are forced to pay this large difference.
Becoming a Citizen
In addition to working in order
to fund her education as required,
Conde-Hernandez has been trying to obtain citizenship. However her journey toward citizenship
has been block by federal restrictions.
She recounted her experience
trying to obtain citizenship, “In
the U.S. One must become a legal permanent resident first; after five years of legal permanent
residency, one can then apply
to become a naturalized citizen.
Current laws do not allow me to
even apply to become a legal resident; immigration law is federal
policy, not state. Therefore, for
me to have an opportunity to become a legal resident, there needs
to be some kind of reform/change
in immigration laws that would
make me eligible to apply.”
Without citizenship, CondeHernandez will not only pay
nearly $22,000 dollars in tuition,
but she is deprived of countless
other benefits. She cannot drive,
build credit, take out loans, obtain
health insurance, travel abroad,
obtain housing in a good apartment complex, or qualify for financial aid.
SBHS Senior Response
Still, some current SBHS students, seniors especially, are
questioning and speculating about
such a bill.
Senior and student council executive member Willie Roberson
was torn, “On one hand I wonder
if this bill could cause illegal im-
migrants to take spots for citizens
who pay taxes and should be able
to pay in-state tuition. On the other hand, I think it’s unfortunate
that people like Marisol had no
control over where their parents
chose to live.”
Senior Sharae’ Bennet agreed
in some aspects. “It’s hard to
tell the consequences of such a
bill but I don’t think it should be
passed if it is going to in any way
negatively impact college-bound
citizens. ”
Conde-Hernandez argued that
the bill would hardly affect citizens.
She said,“ the number of undocumented students who graduate high school is alarmingly low
and those who do graduate don’t
bother applying to college. Those
who do can’t even afford it.”
Others at SBHS support the Instate tuition bill out of a genuine
belief that education is key.
SBHS science teacher Dr. Mesut
Cakir agreed, “Education should
be readily available regardless of
origins, race… anything.”
Senior Aignee Griffith agreed,
“Immigrants are here already, I
don’t see the point in depriving
them of education. Then what
will we do with a large group
of uneducated individuals? That
doesn’t help America as a whole
for the future.”
The in-state tuition bill seems
to face both criticism and support
from the community and from
politicians, Marisol plans to continue advocating for the cause.
Conde-Hernandez admitted to
having fears about this process,
“I often wonder, ‘What if I’m at
the wrong place at the wrong time
and get deported?…What if I voluntarily leave because I get tired
of being so limited?’”
In spite of her doubts, CondeHernandez intends to press in trying to get the bill passed for in
state tuition.
“I know I am proof that higher
education is attainable and I want
every youth who is trapped in
the same system as I am to keep
working at it and to continue the
fight for immigration reform.”
Conde-Hernandez stated.
September-October 2009
the vking vibe
New Student ID Rule Elicits
Mixed Reactions
Tajah Ebram
2010
The new school policy on
student photo ID’s has been implemented since the start of the
2009-2010 school year when
students received ID tags in their
first day orientation classes. The
policy, as stated in the SBHS student handbook, requires that students “wear their school photo ids
at all times… If you do not possess your ID, disciplinary consequences may be imposed including suspension. There is a fee to
replace lost cards.”
Flyers around SBHS list that
this policy was implemented to
increase security, help students
get to know each other, and help
administrators learn students’
names.
Principal Timothy Matheney
has concluded, “I am very happy
with the student response. For
instance, yesterday I went to several classes last B day and found
that only one student didn’t have
his ID. That’s a pretty positive response right there.”
According to Mr. Matheney,
only a few consequential measures have been necessary so far.
The school has only had a few students who have had to purchase
ID’s because they forgot them a
second time and a few parents
had to drop them off to students.
“In addition to making it safer,
the ID’s can remove anonymities between students, and help
administrators identify them,”
said Mr. Matheney, “sometimes
students dealing with hall monitors or deans are reluctant to give
a name and now all they have to
say is ‘let me see your ID’.”
Sound familiar? In spite of the
benefits of the policy, some students still seem reluctant toward
it,
Senior Shelly Cohen insisted, “The policy isn’t that bad
but the way the staff enforce it
PHOTO BY Ektaa Sanghvi (‘12)
is too much. This morning I had
to miss class time and go all the
way out into the parking lot to get
my ID. Like, wasn’t I safer inside
the school without my ID than I
was walking outside alone to my
car?”
In an effort to have the policy
revised, Senior Stephanie Devito
formed a petition and submitted
a letter to Mr. Matheney in order
to request that students be able to
wear the ID tags on the hip. They
met in person to discuss it.
“I created my petition in order to
come to an agreement that makes
both students and faculty happy,”
stated DeVito, “The school administration is like a small government that must be reasonable
in listening to the people that dramatically outnumber them.”
In defense of her petition, Devito
argues that the ID tags have been
compared to cattle tags and dog
tags. She suggests that the school
sell the hip clips that teachers had
last year, in the school store. This
way, students can choose whether
or not they want to buy it. She says
that several students have signed
the petition already in agreement
with Devito.
Mr. Matheney insisted, “I am
always open to good arguments.
Students don’t have to form petitions to bring a good idea to me.
They can always make an appointment to speak to me directly.”
In spite of the negative sentiment expressed by some, other
students are indifferent.
“I don’t really care about the
policy by this point, said sophmore Jerod Ebram, ”It isn’t that
big a deal and I don’t care about
fashion and stuff like girls seem
to. I just don’t want to have to
ever pay for an ID because in the
past if I lost I wasn’t forced to.”
Mr. Matheney stated the best
benefit to the ID policy.
“We must work each day to
make a large high school feel
small,” stated Mr. Matheney, “The
ID tags help us to [do] that.”
features
She’s No Longer a Single
Lady
Roshni Shah and Zachary
Cohen
2011 and 2010
On August 15 two SBHS teachers, science teacher Ms. Alison
Cooper and mathematics teacher
Mr. George Miller, tied the knot
in the Grand Canyon. This came
as a surprise to most students on
the first day of school.
The couple met at South Brunswick High School and had been
dating for a couple of years.
“Most students were really
surprised because the relationship was private,” said Mrs. Miller, “The staff was much less surprised, because they had known
about us before.”
“When I heard that Ms. Cooper
and Mr. Miller got married I was
very confused. I so did not see
that coming,” said junior Alyssa
Maurin.
Junior Tara Fisher said, “I had
no idea anything was going on
between them. He mentioned her
in class last year once or twice,
saying how nice she was, but I
was completely shocked when I
found out.”
Mr. Miller planned to propose
while at Forth of July fireworks,
because it was his favorite holiday.
PHOTO COURTESY OF Mrs. Alison Miller
8
“On the way to the car to go to
the fireworks, he got down on one
knee and proposed to me saying
that he could not wait until the
fireworks,” said Mrs. Miller.
Once the happy couple had
been engaged the next step was
to plan the wedding.
“His parents had seen a couple
get married in the Grand Canyon
on helicopter tour, and suggested
it,” said Mrs. Miller.
Both were captivated by the
idea. The two researched having
a wedding in the Grand Canyon
and found that anybody was able
to do it.
Mrs. Miller was wearing a regular ivory wedding dress, and Mr.
Miller was rocking a white tuxedo
with Nike Air Force Ones. Following their wedding, the couple
honeymooned in Las Vegas.
There were no SBHS staff members at the wedding, but at the
engagement party on August 22
(technically their reception), there
were some staff members.
“I’m still getting used to being called Mrs. Miller. It takes
me a little bit longer sign passes
and respond when people call me
Mrs. Miller,” she said.
Now that they are married,
they have officially become the
Beyonce and Jay-Z of SBHS.
sports
September-October 2009
the vking vibe
9
Vikings Look Forward To Another
Successful Season
Greg Madia and Mike Muha
2010
The South Brunswick Vikings
reached the Group IV State Semi
Finals last year after finishing the
most successful season in school
history. The team started last year
by winning its first six games.
Within those six, the Vikings defeated the Sayreville Bombers for
the first time in school history.
Also, for the first time in school
history the Vikings went on to
be Co-Champs of the GMC Red
Division. The Vikings finished
9-2 last season and look to build
off the most successful season in
school history.
The Vikings already come into
this season with plenty of changes. First, Coach Rick Mantz decided to step down. That opened
the door for Coach Tarig Holman.
Coach Holman brings a different electric energy to SBHS. His
fired up mentality has the players
believing they can bring a state
title. Not only did the Vikings
lose Coach Mantz but also they
lost 12 valuable seniors from last
year. Needless to say, the Vikings
are a completely different team
this season.
With so many changes, one
thing has stayed constant; the
blue-collar work ethic South
Brunswick still follows. With a
summer filled with strength and
conditioning, 7-on-7 and training
camp, the Vikings are poised to
make that hard work carry over
to Friday nights.
This season’s captains are seniors Mike Muha, Carlos Alvarez, Willie Roberson and junior
Steven Mychalczuk.
Captain Willie Roberson said,
“This team has worked really
hard during the summer and it’s
going to be pay day every Friday
night.”
The offense is led by senior
quarterback Mike Muha. He had
a huge season last year and has a
ton of experience that will help
lead this younger team. A trio of
players will see time at running
back this year. Seniors Roberson
and Vaughn Matthews and sopho-
more Darryl Harper will all carry
the ball. Senior fullbacks Will Osley and Jeff Goldhagen are two of
the strongest guys on the team.
The offensive line is anchored
by sophomore All-Conference
tackle Bryan Stonkus. Others on
the o-line include seniors center Alec Mora, right guard Cody
Stephens, junior left guard Mike
Greco and sophomore right tackle Bob Spilatore. The wide receiver position is filled by senior
Zach St. Vincent and sophomore
Javon Tyree. The tight ends are
senior Adam Abdalla and junior
Mychalczuk. This offense has an
enormous amount of talent and
should overwhelm the rest of the
GMC.
The defense, led by coordinator Mr. PJ Jankowitz, will be punishing this year.
Coach Jankowitz said, “The
saying defense wins championships is true and we have a strong
defense and if we perform to our
level that I think we can perform
to, we can contend for a state
championship.”
The d-line will be nasty led by
senior defensive end Carlos Alvarez. The line also includes senior
Greg Madia, Junior Josh Berner,
Greco, and Stonkus. The linebackers are led by Osley, Abdalla
and Mychalczuk. These three
should be able to fly off the edge,
get to the quarterback and make
big plays. The self-proclaimed
“lock down” secondary includes
Roberson, Matthews, Harper,
Tyree, St.Vincent and freshman
TJ Taylor. Special teams are led
by senior kicker Kyle Morse, junior long snapper Craig Cleffi and
sophomore punter Dom Vialante.
Captain Carlos Alvarez said,
“We’ll make other teams pay for
trying to score on us. We will hit
people so hard.”
This team has a number of
weapons and the ability to be outstanding. After a first victory over
Manalapan, a tough loss to Old
Bridge and a thrilling overtime
victory over Woodbridge a tremendous opportunity lies infront
of the team. They have a ton of
ability and hopefully will take advantage of it.
PHOTOS COURTESY of Bill Gaze, www.bgsportshots.com and Saadia
Ahmad (‘10)
10
sports
the vking vibe
September-October 2009
Fall Sports Capsule
Justin Berger
2011
Boys Soccer
After graduating 12 seniors from a team that won the GMC-Red Division last season, the boys
soccer team is relying on a young lineup as well as several proven goal scorers on offense,
though the season is off to a disappointing start. Although their record is 7-9, the boys have
earned exciting victories over Edison and Woodbridge, in double overtime and comeback
fashion, respectively.
Girls Soccer
Led by captains Lauryn Strebeck, Lauren Viverito, Kailee Peskin, and Carissa Walters and with eight other
seniors, the girls soccer team has had an emotional start to the season. From their 9-5 record, 3 losses
have come in overtime and the other two by one goal. Perhaps the toughest challenge this season has been
replacing Walters, the All-Division, Conference, Area, and State defender for the first nine games of the
season because of an injured wrist. Upon her return, Walters made up for the lost time by becoming the
leading scorer, with six goals in five games.
Volleyball
Following a disappointing 2008 campaign, the girls volleyball team started fast this season, defeating Monroe
in their first game of the season. Their record has steadied out since that first win, hovering around .500 all
season. Led by seniors Jamie Thompson and Jill Asciolla, as well as the softball pitching duo of last season,
juniors Jill Blaine and Rachel Vogel, the team continues to fight in a season improved from last year.
Boys Cross Country
In a season, which was supposed to be a rebuilding year, losing most of last year’s top seven
to graduation, the boy’s have started 3-3 with wins over GMC rivals St. Joseph’s, J.P. Stevens
and Piscataway. Led by captains Nick DeNuzzo and Connor Scharff, as well as sophomore
standout Tyler Blackburn, the boys are looking forward to GMC’s on October 31.
Girls Cross Country
Following up on a season filled with accolades and accomplishments, including a GMC Red Division
Championship, State Sectional Championship, State Group IV Championship, and placing ninth at the
Meet of Champions, the girls Cross Country team return all but two runners including Captains Sophia
Ginez and Jenni Smilgis, Seniors Amanda Smilgis and Lyndsey Sample, and Sophomore Cayla Del
Piano. The girls, consistently led by Ginez and Del Piano, are ranked 9th in the state of New Jersey.
Tennis
The Vikings’ current record is 6-3. The girls placed 4th in GMC Tournament Individually, 1st Singles
player Alison Noll placed 3rd in the GMC and 2nd Singles player Erin Kurkela placed third. The 2nd
Doubles team of Leah Suttner and Irene Lin placed 4th. On October 6, the girls competed in the Central
Jersey Group IV team tournament against Rancocas Valley (Home) and on October 10 Noll competed and
won her matches in the State Singles tournament and Gabby Gagliano and Julie Sendner competed in the
state doubles tournament.
Field Hockey
The girls field hockey team qualified for the state tournament for the first time since its reinstatement at
South Brunswick. With a 9-6 record, the girls are ranked 4th in the GMC and played Metuchen in the
first round of the GMC tournament on Tuesday. Senior Kristen Zollo leads the team in scoring, with 10
goals and 2 assists as of 10/16. Although the team has no definite captains, Head Coach Danielle Matlack said, “Everyone steps up in different games.”
PHOTOS COURTESY OF Bill Gaze, www.bgsportshots.com
sports
11
The Viking Vibe
March 2009
Gymnastics Team Looking Strong
Greg Madia
2010
The Girls Gymnastics team
is looking stronger than ever in
2009. With an 8-2 record the Vikings have team that dedicates
itself to being great. Led by captains Shannon Martin, Jenna
Mayfield and Amanda Klein the
Vikings continue to look towards
a state championship. As of October 11, 2009 the New Jersey Star
Ledger has ranked the Vikings as
third in the state.
The Vikings has dominated in
GMC competition, where the girls
have zero losses. In GMC meets
the girls have beaten Old Bridge,
Piscataway, East Brunswick, and
Monroe. Around the state the Vikings defeated #9 Somerville in
a great meet. And the most cherished victory came against rival
#6 Bishop Ahr when the Vikings
finally took them down. One of
the Vikings only losses came to
#2 Hunterdon Central.
The Vikings have a great senior class led by Shannon Martin,
Jess Macay, Amanda Klien and
Jenna Mayfield.
Captain Amanda Klien said,
“It helps when we all have been
together on a school team for six
years (Crossroads and SBHS) together. We have a lot of experience and care about each other,
our teammates and the team. We
know each other strengths and
weaknesses so everyone knows
how to help each other out.”
Steady contributions have come
from senior Shannon Martin on
beam and floor. Also, Amanda
Klein has done a great job on
floor. Sophomore Lindsey Carbone is always a great all-around
competitor and freshman Sarah
Capraro is just coming onto the
high school scene. The team is
really shining individually and as
a group.
Although these girls have done
a great job, when senior Jess Macay returned from injury the team
hit its stride. The 2008 second
team all-state selection, Macay
has been excellent. She has truly
given the team a burst. In an all
around competition Macay posted a 38.625, the highest score in
New Jersey this year. While doing
that she also set 2009 state records
on vault, beam and floor.
Senior Jess Macay said, “Breaking the state records were incredible. Floor and Beam has come easy
to me but breaking the vault record
was awesome because it was never
my strong point.”
Head Coach Mrs. Mindy Verderami and the team look to continue
their success. The senior class will
lead the Vikings into more important competition. The leadership
this team carries will transfer into
the GMC’s on October 24 and in the
month of November, the girls will
compete in the NJSIAA state competitions. This team should be able
to perform well and continue its success as a state gymnastics power.
PHOTOS COURTESY OF Bill Gaze, www.bgsportshots.com
S
sunday
SBHS - VAC 5-K Run
1
8
monday
2
9
tuesday wednesday thursday
SBHS - VAC 5-K Run
French Breakfast Senior Dinner
Cruise
3
16
NO SCHOOL- NJEA CONVENTION
4
5
6
11
12
13
18
19
20
Evening Confernces
VAC Meeting
EARLY RELEASE- PARENT/TEACHER CONFERENCES
10
PTO Meeting
15
friday
1A Senate Meeting
17
Site Council Meeting
College Planning Great American
Night for Grades 10 Smoke Out
& 11
EARLY RELEASE
Annual Thanksgiving
Football Game
(Home)
23
29
30
24
25
26
27
SATs
7
14
Powder Puff Powder Puff
Game Alternate Date
NO SCHOOL- THANKSGIVING
22
saturday
21
SBHS- Project
Graduation Craft
Show
28
12
September-October 2009
the vking vibe
PHOTOS BY Saadia Ahmad (‘10)
Strive for
Five
Saadia Ahmad
2010
On Friday, September 11th, the
main gym was filled with teachers dressed in robes with college
colors, the Class of 2010 wearing new senior shirts, and the
Class of 2013 attending their first
school event, the ninth annual
convocation. During one of the
first few days of each school year,
this event formally welcomes the
freshmen for the first time as new
members of the school community and recognizes the seniors’ last
year in the high school, as well as
recognizing their expected leadership roles.
The theme of this year’s convocation, as well as the main
topic of the speeches, was “Strive
For Five.” The theme was chosen
by the character education committee who, according to Principal Mr. Timothy Matheney, “integrated our five core values into
many aspects of normal operations.” Special education teacher
Mr. Martin Barbour suggested
the catch phrase “Strive for
five.”Large posters in black bore
the five qualities in gold, including honesty, kindness, respect, responsibility, and service.
Five of the speakers, all teachers, each gave a speech about
one specific quality. These teachers were recommended to speak
based upon “how they represented these qualities” with “input
from the staff.”
English teacher Mr. Mark
Ziminski gave the first speech
about honesty. He explained that
although students sometimes perceive their teachers to be unnecessarily tough, it is ultimately because they hope to bring out the
best in their students. If they had
other motivations, they would not
put so much effort into helping
their students.
Mr. Ziminski advised, “Seek
out a person who’s always honest
with you, not the 120-something
friends you have on facebook.
Find the people who are honest
and do your best to make them
proud.”
The next speech was about
kindness, given by the Assistant
Superintendent for Curriculum
and Instruction Mrs. Joanne Kerekes. She recounted a time during her freshman year of college
when her upperclassman roommate showed an act of kindness.
After her mother passed away, she
went home for a short time and
upon her return, her roommate
had decorated their entire room
the way Mrs. Kerekes’ wanted
and left a note saying, “Welcome
Home.”
Physical education teacher
Mr. Austin Holman spoke about
respect. He referenced his experiences as an assistant coach on the
football field to emphasize this
quality. “Respect all, but fear no
one,” he advised his team and his
audience that day.
English teacher Mrs. Yoshi
Lassiter spoke next on the quality of responsibility. As a First
Class Sergeant of the U.S. Army
Reserve, she compared responsibility to breathing, and that “once
it’s learned, it’s always there.”
“With what I do in both my
teaching and military career,
there is no compromise in maintaining high moral character,” she
explained, “It is important that I
model that as much as possible
because I know young people are
watching.”
The final speech was given by
music teacher Mr. Mark Kraft, who
spoke about responsibility. He emphasized the importance of “serving
each other” to build another’s and
one’s own success.
Following these speeches, the
audience watched a video about
everyday heroes, made by English
teacher Ms. Kristen Borsi, Special
Education teacher Ms. Kelly Boyer,
and Science teacher Dr. Roberto
DeBari. The video included historical figures such as Dr. Martin Luther
King Jr. and Mahatma Gandhi and
recognized the Monmouth Junction
First Aid Officers and Explorers and
SBHS alumni Brian DelGuercio
and Eric Cirulli, now students at the
University of Delaware, who helped
rescue a woman two years ago who
was trapped with her car on railroad
tracks as a train approached.
About this convocation specifically, Mr. Matheney commented,
“There was a positive response
from the ‘home-grown’ [theme].
This year’s convocation did the best
we have ever known.”
(Clockwise) Jenni Smilgis and Rachel Luddekke, Elizabeth Puzio and Samantha
Orlan, Students during the Senior Breakfast / PHOTOS BY Leah Runyon (‘10)

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