Wednesday, February 14, 2018

PATROLLING THE PARKING LOT

By MELISSA NOLAN 

Using the front parking lot at Washingtonville High School is a privilege for all seniors who complete the required assignments to obtain a parking pass for the year.  Seniors are thrilled to discover that they get to park in the front of the school for their last year of high school.  Unfortunately, with limited spots in the lot, some students feel the need to park in spots that are prohibited.  These spots come with consequences- and not good ones. 

MELISSA NOLAN FOR THE WIZARD WEEKLY
Every year, there seems to be a problem with students bending the rules to fit their own needs as far as parking is concerned.  The majority of people who do this are the ones who have late arrival.  This is when students get the chance to come into school a period or two late.  Since the parking lot gets filled by around 7:15 every morning, the late arrival students have to battle it out for the final spots. 

Interim Assistant Principal, Ms. Diamond-McGorman, is in charge of the class of 2018’s parking infractions.  In other words, when students try and park in illegal spots, such as the bus garage, handicap or visitor spots, she is the one that deals with the situation.  McGorman explains, “The first offense of parking anywhere other than in student spots in the senior lot is a lunch detention, a phone call home, and moving the vehicle.”  She also adds, “The second offense is a call home and central detention.  Any subsequent offense will result in the loss of your parking pass and parking privileges on campus.” 

In the beginning of the year, McGorman points out, “We had a handful of problems and then again when the semester changed.  It never completely goes away, and there are at least 1-2 violations a week.  I would say it remains a steady problem but most students are not repeat offenders.”  Furthermore, many violations include driving too fast in the parking lot, pulling through spaces to exit and driving the wrong way through the lot all leading to consequences that could be avoided in the first place. 

Students parking in illegal spots.
In  January, senior  Sydney Fernandez, decided to park in the staff parking lot because it was a cold day and she was going to be late to class.  As a punishment, Sydney got central detention after claiming, “I parked there three times and instead of telling me the first time to move my car, they waited until my third offense to give me CD.  It was a lose-lose situation and now I’ve learned to get up a little earlier to get a spot.”  Sydney, among many other students at WHS have realized their car misconduct and plan on fixing it in the future. 

Since seniors are halfway through their last high school year, drivers should be mindful of where they park and the way they drive.  For the rest of the year, students should learn from their mistakes and drive responsibly and resourcefully.  Remember- parking is a privilege! 

BLAST FROM THE PAST

By KELLY TOM

Students of Washingtonville High School have always felt a tremendous amount of pride for their building.  It is no surprise to learn that this pride also extends to the Middle School and all three elementary schools.  Victoria Stone, a senior at WHS, stated, “I miss those days; I’d say elementary school was the best.”  Here at Washingtonville, there are three incredible elementary schools and much debate over which one is the best. 

Taft elementary, the biggest of the three schools and currently boasting 785 students, is often believed to be the best, particularly by former students.  Victoria Stone, a Taft graduate stated that “my school was the best because the teachers were the nicest, [and] I liked everything about my elementary school.”  Taft was beloved by all their students.  Michaela Warren, also a senior at WHS and Taft graduate, claimed,  “The best part about Taft was the people I got to grow up with.  There isn’t a single thing I didn’t like about Taft.”  

KELLY TOM FOR THE WIZARD WEEKLY
Taft Elementary got its name from the 27th president of the United States, William Howard Taft.  Michaela’s favorite part of Taft was all of 5th grade particularly when they got to shoot off bottle rockets that took weeks to make.

Former Round Hill students have different opinions about which school is the best.  Ryan Waaland, a senior at WHS reminisced, “I used to go to catholic school until 5th grade and I hated catholic school.  When I moved over to Round Hill, I began to love school and still do to this day.”  Ryan is currently ranked 5th in the class of 2018 and is a Round Hill graduate.  Round Hill Elementary, which was founded in 1968, currently has 540 students according to niche.com. Many students at Round Hill remember playing a game called mumball every Friday and it was an “absolute favorite,” according to Kate Rocke, also a Round Hill graduate.

Little Britain Elementary, although the smallest of the three schools with only 468 students, is also believed to be the best, according to alumni.  Abby Evans, now a senior at WHS, claims, “My favorite memory from elementary school was spending recess with my friends.  Little Britain is the best because the teachers are also kind and enthusiastic, so classes were always fun.”  

Elementary school is often remembered with nostalgia. Abby stated, “When I was in elementary school I enjoyed it; the structure of it made learning fun and when you’re younger you get less homework.”  Although growing up has its perks, nothing compares to being in elementary school.

GSA RETURNS TO HYDE PARK

By SAMANTHA PRYDE

The Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA) is one of the most dedicated clubs in the school.  President of Washingtonville’s GSA, Kaitlyn Metichecchia, describes the club as, “A safe place here in the school, open to all students, particularly those who are looking to create change.”  Their goal is to improve the school and community environment through education, while creating a safe space for all students regardless of sexuality or gender expression. 

SAMANTHA PRYDE FOR THE WIZARD WEEKLY

Last year, the Washingtonville GSA hosted the fourth annual LGBTQAI+ Youth Conference for all of Orange County.  The turnout for this event was the largest ever seen and all of the members were proud to educate the community and other school’s GSAs about bullying and stereotyping. 

On top of hosting such an amazing conference, members also participated in “No Name Calling Week.”  All of the members created boxes which were supposed to be representations of themselves; all of the boxes were different and creative.  The outside of students’ boxes showed how they present themselves to the world, but the inside expressed how they really feel about themselves. 

Once the boxes were created, they were then sent to Hyde Park to be displayed in the FDR Presidential Library and Museum by GLSEN, (An organization dedicated to improve the education system that allows LGBTQ+ students to be bullied or left behind).  They also teamed up with Jewish Family Services of Orange County, which is an organization that welcomes all members across the county, and connects them to resources and services that can provide support and comfort.  Jewish Family Services explained that the point of the projects are so “...the local teens have a chance to work individually, with a group, and then have the experience of being part of something larger.”  Proud of their work, the club visited the museum to see their boxes on display. 

Masks to be displayed at Hyde Park.
This year, the members continued to participate in No Name Calling Week, but did something a little different-- they created masks instead of boxes.  Kaitlyn stated that “ the mask project was mainly focused on spreading kindness” but some members “...took it as an opportunity to express themselves through art.” 

Sophomore and second year member of the club, Jenna Saporito, was proud of both projects’ impacts because, “It was a good way for us, as a community, to convey how others impact the way we portray ourselves to the public eye with the stuff they say.”

On March 19th, the Washingtonville GSA will return to Hyde Park after school to admire their masks being displayed, along with anyone else in Orange County who would like to see them.  All of the members are proud to have worked on something so important to them and are excited to see what is in store for next year.

AS SNOW MELTS AWAY, SPRING SPORTS COME OUT TO PLAY

By EMILY NAGLE

On February 2nd, also known Groundhog’s Day, Chuck the groundhog predicted an early spring this year.  Much to the dismay of teachers across the district, students have been infected with the dreaded disease known as spring fever.  As it continues to spread at an alarming rate, athletes are gearing up and getting ready to rumble.  

All athletes experience that “first and final” feeling.  This season, some Wizards will pick up a sport for the first time; for others, it will be their last.  Seniors, Ally Beck and Erin Wilson, are two scholar athletes at Washingtonville High School eager to begin their final season while having positive outlooks and extreme optimism. 

EMILY NAGLE FOR THE WIZARD WEEKLY
Many people are unaware of the proven fact that the off-season makes or breaks an athlete.  Some might even say, “The grind doesn't stop.”  Indeed, it doesn’t stop as practice makes perfect, and there is always room for improvement.  Beck, a year round softball player expressed, “I played in travel tournaments almost every weekend over the summer, and to assure that I wouldn’t rust over the winter, I practiced a few times a week with my travel team, along with at home drills.”

Senior, Erin Wilson, currently holds the Washingtonville High School hammer throw record.  She voiced, “I am actually working towards beating my own record in my final season, as I have been lifting more and have been working on my speed.  It truly would be an amazing feeling.”

Although this is their final season as Wizards, Beck and Wilson will both be continuing their athletic careers in college.  Earlier this year, both athletes committed to colleges:  Ally Beck will be attending the University of Hartford, and Erin Wilson will be attending Monmouth University in the fall of 2018.  

Perseverance led these athletes to have future careers in the highest level of competition for college sports.  This goes to show that simple hard work and dedication will make dreams become realities.  Good luck to all Wizard athletes in the upcoming season!

FOOD IS A NECESSITY, NOT A LUXURY

By ROBERT EICHNER

According to FeedingAmerica.org, a non-profit organization lifting American citizens out of poverty, “41 million Americans struggle to feed themselves and their families” each year.  It is no coincidence that this statistic is almost equal to the 40.6 million Americans living below the poverty line with just over $9,000 in annual income. 

Poverty and hunger go hand in hand, and are often a direct result of several other issues that make access to food quite challenging.  Demographics, unemployment, and physical disabilities can make acquiring nutritional food an unimaginable luxury for so many.  Perhaps the most devastating notion is the fact that ⅓ of the 41 million Americans in poverty are children.  This epidemic is often swept under the rug resulting in rising statistics; something must be done.

ROBERT EICHNER FOR THE WIZARD WEEKLY
Here in Washingtonville, St. Mary’s Church, in conjunction with the community,  has taken up the task of  helping to provide food and other necessities to the less fortunate in our area.  The Country Kids Food Pantry is a nationwide organization coming to communities like ours and setting up food pantries for anyone in need of nutritional assistance.  John Flores and his team of volunteers and church members help feed over 125 families.  This is an impressive average of 400-600 people every month.  They provide canned assistance instead of financial assistance to take starvation at its source.

The food pantry provides its services every 1st and 3rd Wednesday of each month and is open for 6-8 hours each day in order to serve as many people as possible.  Volunteer, Matt Nieves, describes the experience as “an opportunity to give back to the community in one of the most genuine and personal ways possible: nutrition.  The gift to continue life is endless and will never be forgotten.”

Volunteering is not the only way to help continue the mission.  Every community member can help by supplying the Country Kids Food Pantry with financial and canned donations or the precious gift of time.  The organization will never turn down volunteers as the hunger epidemic continues to grow.  Food is a necessary part of life and should not become a luxury for any American.

There is hope in sight as unemployment rates have “steadily decreased to 4.9 percent which is extremely low considering 2014’s rate of 6.6 percent,” according to the National State Conference Of The State Legislature.  As for the 4.9 percent who are still unemployed,  “We will continue to help and provide assistance to any that may be in need in our community,” proudly informed Max Kissack, president of the Community Service Club at the high school. The Village of Washingtonville is prepared to fight the war on starvation to make sure not one man, woman, or child in our community goes hungry.

CULTURES UNITE TO MAKE A CHANGE

By TAYLOR FAGAN

Washingtonville High School is filled with opportunities for students to learn and make new friends.  One up and coming club within WHS is The United Cultures Club.  This club is run by everyone’s favorite gym teacher and wrestling/football coach, Mr. Lee, along with Ms. Constable and Foreign Language teacher, Mrs. Matias. 

TAYLOR FAGAN FOR THE WIZARD WEEKLY
Students of Washingtonville High School may be wondering what the purpose of this new cub actually is.  Coach Lee informed, “The whole club is trying to make sure that every culture in the school is represented fairly and basically have some type of exposure.”  Members of the club also hope to “...make sure that everyone has a voice and that every culture is appreciated,” stated Lee.  

Students involved in The United Cultures Club are immensely passionate about making Washingtonville High School a better place for every individual.  Senior, Abigail Charmant, claimed that the club’s mission is to “Integrate multiple cultures and dive into diversity and to learn and appreciate the different backgrounds and traditions of our peers.” 

The United Cultures Club has big plans to create a better environment for all students.  Having a voice and standing up for what one believes in is a big part of The United Cultures Club.   Each and every student participating has the desire to have their voice heard.  

With the assistance of the club advisors, club members have the ability to change the school climate for the better.  Anyone interested in becoming a member of The United Cultures Club should see Mr. Lee, Ms. Constable or Mrs. Matias.  Everyone is welcome.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

KISS AND TAIL

By EMILY NAGLE

EMILY NAGLE FOR THE WIZARD WEEKLY
Love is in the air as Valentine's Day quickly approaches, and what better way to spend the holiday than smooching pooches at local pet shelters and humane societies? Well, this February, the Blooming Grove Humane Society is giving community members the opportunity to do just that when they host their Love a Pet supply drive from Monday, February 12th to Friday, February 16th.  

The Humane Society has many support systems and volunteers that assist them throughout the year.  For instance,  the Washingtonville Middle School collects supplies year round and hosts their own supply drives and fundraisers.  These drives help support the animals in the shelter by providing a more comfortable lifestyle. 

Luigi the cat still needs a home.
The volunteers at the Humane Society are trying their very hardest to showcase some of the animals that are in need,  Joanna Ogrodnik, a volunteer at the Blooming Grove Humane Society expressed, “Hopefully our methods will bring in lots of supplies and make the lives of the homeless animals as comfortable as possible.  There are many ways the community can lend a helping hand!”

As a whole, the Humane Society hopes to gain a large response from the drive.   Ruthie Gannon, another volunteer at the shelter, articulated, “My experience makes me feel like I am making a difference to the lives of these animals. I feel like this will really bring a lot of positive attention to the shelter which will put a spotlight on the great needs of these loving animals.”

The Humane Society is not only in dire need of supplies, they are also looking to obtain more volunteers to help out on a daily basis.  Volunteer hours are Thursdays through Sundays, from 9 am to 12 pm.  All volunteers must have a signed permission slip that is available to pick up at the Humane Society at 2741 Route 94, Blooming Grove.  Volunteers under the age of sixteen must be accompanied by an adult over the age of eighteen.  Maintaining and caring for thirty cats and twelve dogs is no easy task so, the more volunteers they have, the better!

Piggy found her forever home.
Headed by Joanna Ogrodnik, and Ruthie Gannon, Love a Pet is the first supply drive organized by Washingtonville High School students through the Community Service Club.  There will be drop boxes located in the main office, the front desk, room 229, room 231, and room 154 of the high school. 

Supplies and volunteers are always welcomed outside of the drives.  Donations and help are needed year round.  This benefits the Humane Society drastically and gives these animals a more comfortable environment to live in.   This Valentine’s Day, show some love to those who need it most.  Let’s help find these animals their forever homes. 

GOING FOR THE GOLD IN 2018

By MELISSA NOLAN 

This year in Pyeongchang County, South Korea, the 2018 winter Olympics will be taking place.  This is one of the most well known events in the world.  It takes place in different countries every two years, alternating between the summer and winter games.  The Olympic Games consist of the best of the best in each sport.  From Michael Phelps, to Usain Bolt, all athletes have one goal in mind:  bringing home the gold. 

MELISSA NOLAN FOR THE WIZARD WEEKLY 
According to history.com, “The Olympic Games, which originated in ancient Greece as many as 3,000 years ago, were revived in the late 19th century and have become the world’s preeminent sporting competition.”  The first modern Olympics took place in Athens in 1896, and since 1994, the winter and summer Olympics have alternated every two years. Both Olympics consist of different sports, such as skiing, ice hockey, bobsledding, and figure skating in the winter, and swimming, soccer, fencing, and mountain biking in the summer, just to name a few. 

The symbol associated with the games is iconic and one that just about everyone recognizes:  the Olympic Rings.  The Olympic Rings consist of five colors- blue, yellow, black, green and red- that symbolize the, “union of the five continents and the meeting of athletes from throughout the world at the Olympic Games,” as explained by olympic.org.  Since 1913 when the first rings were created, they went through some slight changes, but in 2010 they were returned to their original design, as will be displayed this winter. 

The Olympic Games are always a special time for families to get together to cheer on their country.  Mrs. Connolly, an English teacher at WHS reminisced, “Watching the Olympics with my family was a tradition we looked forward to all year.”  She also added, “I loved the figure skating and the gymnastic events the most.  They were so much fun to watch and my sisters and I would spend hours pretending to be Olympic athletes ourselves.”  Mrs. Connolly still continues this tradition with her family to this day. 

Although the Olympics have been around for what seems like forever, senior Kristen Boerke has a different view.  She explained, “Nowadays the Olympics are something that I watch if nothing else is on.  I don’t really go out of my way to watch it.”  When she does watch, she really enjoys the bobsledding, hockey, and figure skating events because, “They are the most interesting and I have done the bobsled track in Lake Placid with my family.  It was where the 1980 Olympics were held.”

This year, there are 92 countries participating in this Winter's Games.  It will not be one to miss, as the next time the winter Olympics come around will be in 2022.  Viewers can watch the opening ceremony on Friday, February 9th at 6:00 AM. The official games started on Wednesday, February 7th and will continue through Sunday, February 25th where the closing ceremony will take place.  Tune in to watch your favorite athletes compete, or to start a new family tradition of your own.

THE CLUB FOR ALL CLUBS

By SAMANTHA PRYDE
Hayley Jensen is undoubtedly one of the most outgoing students here at WHS.  She is only 17 years old and is a world traveler (traveling to over 2o countries), recipient of the Youth in Philanthropy Award, and is currently working towards her Girl Scouts Gold Award.  In addition to helping out in the community every month, Hayley has created her own club which she aptly named, “Club for All Clubs”. 

It all started last year in Hayley’s A.P. Language and Composition class.  On group discussion days, the class would talk all period about on going issues of the world.  Hayley observed that, most of the time, these issues directly related to the students in the class.  It was during these discussions when she realized how stressed the people in her grade were.  So, in true Hayley fashion, she took it upon herself to create a club where students who were not already part of a team or heavily involved in a club could go to get advice and make new friends.

SAMANTHA PRYDE FOR THE WIZARD WEEKLY
Jensen explained how, “... if you’re in stage crew, a sport, or any kind of club, you meet upperclassmen and so many different people and get to reach out to kids that you probably wouldn’t otherwise.  But if you’re not in any of that, you don’t have anyone else.  You don’t have any upperclassmen to go to and learn about their experiences.”  It was for these reasons Hayley decided this club was a necessity for WHS.

Starting on March 6th, the club will meet after school every other Tuesday, and anyone is welcome to come.  There will be different events held at each meeting.  Senior, and club officer, Kendal Lascar, helped Jensen create the club on the basis of non-stress.  “Each one of the committee members is in charge of one meeting day and the activity that they will do.”  For example, some days it might be “...a board game day or meditation day.”  Another idea that they came up with is a de-stressing day before the A.P Exams.  Anyone can come for a nice, relaxing time and to get advice and tips from the upperclassmen about the ominous exams. 

The Club for All Clubs’  goal is for everyone to have a stress-free and fun-filled time.  The club will be held in a safe environment so students can relax and talk about anything that is on their minds.  When people come to the meetings, they should not come with any preconceived notions about having to play a specific role; they should come with the hopes of meeting new people and getting a chance to talk, relax and decompress.  

NEVER FEAR, THE WRITING CENTER IS HERE

By TAYLOR FAGAN

One of the best attributes of Washingtonville High School is that each and every teacher offers extra opportunities for students to learn.  Mrs. Shewell, an English teacher at WHS, is one of the many teachers who provides extra help that is available to all students, not just her own.   This year, Mrs. Shewell and Mrs. Kaste joined forces to create a new learning hub known as The Writing Center. With the creation of this new center, students are now able to receive feedback on their writing outside of their classrooms. 

No matter what grade a student is in, everyone understands the stress of having to write an essay.   Whether it is writing a DBQ (document based question) essay for Global Studies, or a research paper for English class, every student will be assigned an essay at one point or another.  Students that find themselves struggling with any type of writing assignment and wishing they could get some extra help from professionals, should certainly take advantage.
TAYLOR FAGAN FOR THE WIZARD WEEKLY

The Writing Center is run by English teachers who are willing to aid students in creating  A+ writing.   The main purpose of the center is to improve upon all of the necessary writing skills needed for students to be successful.   Mrs. Shewell informed, “My main purpose is to help students identify issues they have with their writing on their own and give them skills on how to attack those issues and develop stronger writing.” 

With the overwhelming support from teachers, students feel the Writing Center can help them through the complications they are suffering from as far as writing is concerned.  Senior,  Amy Kristiansen believes, “...the Writing Center can help students develop better writing in many different ways.  It could especially help juniors and seniors to prepare a college essay.” 

The Writing Center is open every Tuesday and Thursday from 2:25 pm- 3:25 pm in room 122.   Any student interested in receiving help with their writing should be sure to sign up in advance.  The sign-up sheet is located in room 122. 

NOT YOUR AVERAGE ART SHOW

By KELLY TOM

Every year the Parent-Teacher Association at Taft sponsors an art show at their  elementary school.  It is a time and place where not only student artwork is displayed, but where many students are given the opportunity to create works of art as well.  The National Art Honor Society donates their time to assist in the evening’s festivities adding to the fun and excitement. 

There were many creative stations run by high school NAHS members offered at the art show ranging from drawing, watercolor painting, clay sculpting and face painting.  WHS senior and NAHS member, Kayla Henriquez stated, “The face painting station was a big hit with the kids” and it was “also [her] personal favorite.” 

KELLY TOM FOR THE WIZARD WEEKLY
Owen Leonard, a third grader at Taft Elementary, had his Jaws watercolor painting displayed, along with many of his fellow classmates, in the showcase in the school’s gym.  He explained that “the Jaws logo was made by a stencil and then I painted red watercolor over it.”  Not only did Owen have his creative artwork on display, but he participated at some of the many stations at the show.  His personal favorite was the drawing station because, “I think I like drawing better because drawing is kind of easier than painting and you can just erase if you make a mistake.”  

Mrs. Held, advisor of the National Art Honor Society expressed, “It’s a wonderful opportunity for the younger kids to interact with the high school students and get to make art.”  NAHS provides the art stations and art supplies for the show, as well as the volunteers.  WHS sophomore and volunteer Joseph Whittle exclaimed, “It’s not just boring community service; its fun!”

“My favorite part is just getting the kids involved.  You can just have a regular art show where people look at art but, we actually get kids involved in [the] art which may have them want to do art [in the future] which I really like,” stated Henriquez.  Not many art shows allow students to not only admire art, but to participate in making it as well. 

Mrs. Held also stated, “I think it just showcases the talent and compassion that we have at the high school.  You know that these high school students are willing to come here and give up their personal time to be good and creative role models so that makes me feel really happy.”

The art show is an annual event, so art enthusiasts who where unable to attend this year should make a point of checking it out in 2019.  It is truly a night to remember for young and old alike!

SNOW WORRIES

By ROBERT EICHNER
ROBERT EICHNER FOR THE WIZARD WEEKLY
As flakes fall from the sky, students all around Washingtonville have one thing on their minds: snow days!  There is nothing better than waking up to the sweet sound of the school calling early in the morning to say there is going to be a day off from the mundane routine of getting ready for school.  With the next storm forming over the Tri State area, it is officially time for students to wear their pajamas inside out and hope for the best! 

Students at Washingtonville High School are no strangers to New York snow storms, and have become experts at predicting them.   The next storm is quickly approaching.  The outlook for Wednesday, February 7th is “looking great for sleeping in and having a nice cup of joe,” Washingtonville senior, Dylan Spaulding excitedly expressed.  With only two snow days out of six left, this storm has many wondering if the school day will be dismissed or approved.

Before speculating  on this important decision,  one must understand what actually goes into deciding if a school day should be cancelled due to inclement weather.  According to The New York Times, “Many school districts follow the National Weather Service with their advisories and warnings which plays heavily as a deciding factor in the cancellation of school days.” 

On a typical school day, the garage mechanics at WHS will start their day around 3:30-4:00 am when snow or ice is in the forecast.  They are tasked with the job of  “assessing the county roads and walkways for dangerous travel conditions, and reporting back to the school Superintendent and the designated district transportation official for review.”   Then by 4:45- 6 am,  “The decision is made whether school will continue as planned or be cancelled,”  The New York Times stated.

Many students think the amount of snow days left for a certain district plays a major role in whether or not the day is cancelled.  However,  “This couldn't be further from the truth,” expressed kindergarten teacher Megan Rhoe.  “District officials ultimately care about student safety and are willing to sacrifice a school day to stop the possibility of students and faculty getting hurt.”   

In the rare event that a district goes over their allotted snow days due to situations such as a state of emergency, the Governor of New York may need to step in and settle things.  Mr. Cuomo can lobby to the Board of Education and settle on less than 180 days of school required by New York state as a result of conditions that were simply out of the hands of human nature.

Armed with the knowledge of what goes into a the cancellation of a snow day, the predicted forecast for tomorrow seems to have a good outlook for a cozy snow day.  So grab your hot chocolate, turn on Netflix, and enjoy the free day given to students across New York State by the amazing Mother Nature.