Thursday, January 10, 2019



A movement has spread across Washingtonville High School: the new hydro flask trend. A hydro flask is vacuum insulated stainless steel water bottle. This unique bottle keeps the beverage inside hot or cold for hours on end.  How did it all begin?

The creator of this invention is a company called Hydro Flask and it is located in Bend, Oregon. It was founded in 2009, when they launched the first ever all insulated bottle line up into the market. By 2011, the company had already reached one million sales, which was only just the beginning. The company also supports multiple non-profit organizations that promote eco-friendly causes such as the Pacific Crest Trail Association. Hydro Flask donated 25,000 dollars to this worthy cause that helps preserve and protect the Pacific Crest Trail located in California.

The most popular container is the bottle, which comes in multiple colors and sizes, although there are other containers that have a variety of colors as well. In fact, consumers can even customize a container if they’d like. The customization of the hydro flasks consists of mix matching different colors, lids, and sizes. 

Students from all grades seem to be acquiring these bottles. Whether it is because they have become trendy or just the convenience of keeping beverages at a single temperature, they sure are gaining popularity. Two notable teams have also shown a liking to these canisters here at WHS, the swim and track team.

Julia Laquidara, a senior on the girls swimming team, stated that “All the seniors received matching hydro flasks with the school colors on them. I always wanted them and it was really cool that they made that one of our senior gifts. Now I can show my Wizard pride while keeping my beverages cool.” 

Hydro flasks can also show an even more personal side of owners by adding stickers, an activity that the track team does. “We trade stickers with each other and if we’re at big meets we can get them signed by famous athletes. It may sound corny but it’s like being able to carry a story around with you. Every sticker and signature has a memory tied to it that I know I’ll never forget,” said Elizabeth Kocienda. 

Keeping a drink warm or cold is crucial, especially during a long school day or workout. Overall, hydro flasks have many aspects that consumers can benefit from. As the year progresses look out for new designs!



A cool delightful breeze whistles up against your skin, the sun cocoons your body in a shell of snuggly padded toastiness, and your lungs rejuvenate with fresh air from the scent of new pavement, and freshly cut grass. You relieve your body of it’s permanently secured sitting position, and let out a fulfilling stretch of your sore, car transfixed muscles. Your mother and father hand you a box or two from the trunk of the car as you begin walking towards a building, not just any building: the building which contains the room where you will spend the next four years of your life. You have reached your destination. You have just begun college.

Isn’t that such a nice image? We all think about our first day of our college experience and hope that it can begin as memorable and perfect as that. Now let’s step into reality, and discuss what it will cost to actually get to this moment.  How much money will have to be raised, spent, or loaned to finally experience that moment. Is it stressful thinking of a way to financially construct that moment leading to the prosperous path of the college experience?  If you don’t know how you are going to pay for college, or aren’t happy with your current way of paying for college, you should know there is a much more viable solution to your financial problem.

For decades students have attempted, and in many cases acquired paying for their college degree through the notorious format of scholarship grants. The problem is, these limitless educational cash grabs are inconceivably difficult to find. Students will spend days upon days searching for scholarships with most of them having limitations they cannot possibly hope to qualify for. What ends up happening, according to Christopher Grey, the CEO of Scholly, is, “You have students drowning in debt and scholarships that go unawarded. The system is broken.”  Is there really no practical solution to the madness experienced by so many college applicants all over the world?

Well, strap in, buckle up, and get ready for a sweet smooth ride on the primrose path to educational ecstasy, as we take a financial journey to the scholarship promised land.

Forget the once atrociously awful application process towards scholarships one would question they actually qualify for. Now with the obligingly accommodating service known as “Scholly,” as seen on ABC’s hit show Shark Tank, students finally have a legitimate way of finding scholarships they personally qualify for. As of January 7th, 2019, “Scholly has helped students win over $100 million in scholarships and aided many in reducing their debt.” (The Philadelphia Tribune). By computing basic and meticulously specific information, Scholly uses categories and complex algorithms to match multiple qualifying scholarships within a matter of minutes. Once received, students can immediately begin the scholarship application process without all of the searching, and with all of the filtering and control you desire.

Scholarships have the opportunity to be the quintessential source of paying for college. If the application process is not done right, they can be incredibly stressful and immensely discouraging. With the help of Scholly, for the outstandingly low price of $2.99 a month, students can now eliminate the once impossible task of the infamous scholarship search by answering a few questions, getting their results, and clicking “Apply Now." 



When people think of Wizard Nation, who is the first person that comes to their minds? Usually, it is someone who is kind, respectful, and involved in the school.  If no one comes to mind,  just take a look at the Wizard of the Month program that Washingtonville High School has started called,“Pride, Passion, Purpose.”

It is actually not that difficult to achieve this prestigious accolade. The Wizard of the Month is nominated by someone in the school that believes their candidate illustrates all the characteristics of a true Wizard. One senior is chosen, one underclassman in any grade, and two staff members. The people who are voted “Wizards of the Month” truly represent kindness, achievements, and, most importantly, portray what an ideal Wizard is supposed to be.  

It is also not difficult to nominate someone for this distinction. If a Wizard wants to nominate someone, all he or she needs to do is fill out the required form on the high school website located under the announcements. Simply put the name of the person that is being nominated, their grade, if they are a staff member or student, your name and why that candidate deserves special recognition.  It’s that simple!

Now most people are probably wondering what the Wizard of the Month will be getting out of this deal. If voted Wizard of the Month, the recipient will receive a Wizard Nation t-shirt, a lunch with fellow recipients and Mr. Connolly on the last Wizard Wednesday of the month.  Also, an added bonus for any senior who wins this position, is the fact that he or she will also receive a reserved parking spot for that entire month! 

Mr. Connolly, principal of WHS and creator of this initiative, is extremely excited about this new program.  He excitedly expressed, “I really wanted to recognize students that not only excel in their academics and extracurriculars, but also school pride and other aspects that make Washingtonville special.  These things can sometimes go unnoticed.” Sometimes good students aren’t always recognized because they don’t necessarily participate in the more popular programs at WHS, but Mr. Connolly and other staff members wanted people throughout our school to be appreciated no matter what activities they participate in.  

Overall, a Wizard just has to be compassionate, determined, and prideful of where they came from and that is what this program is here to help accomplish.  There are many people in our community that represent what a true Wizard is and now they can be recognized and appreciated with the Wizard of the Month initiative.  If  you know someone who truly embodies what a Wizard should be, nominate them for the Wizard of the Month!



What did you eat this morning?  Eggs?  Bacon?  Some pancakes?  Maybe nothing?  Adults have always told their children that breakfast is “the most important meal of the day” but, is it really?  

Getting up in the morning is a struggle for most people. In particular, teens these days are extra difficult to get out of bed.  Perhaps this is because they juggle doing homework all night, waking up at the crack of dawn, sports, clubs, community service, chores and more.  No wonder it’s such a struggle to get up.  Not only getting up, but they must have enough time to get dressed, grab the homework, make a lunch/grab lunch money, and get out the door on time for the bus or to drive to school.  This often leaves little to no time for “the most important” meal.  

In a poll of 100 students at Washingtonville High School, 65% of students say they do eat a breakfast in the morning. The other 35% said they don’t bother eating at all.  On average, teens on a school day would eat breakfast, but not necessarily sit down and eat a full hearty meal.  They are more likely to just grab a granola bar and a a piece of fruit, or a bowl of cereal.  If they’re lucky.  Now the question has become, are there actually any benefits to eating breakfast,  or is no breakfast the way to go?

Although many words have a literal meaning such as “afternoon” (after the noon, 12 o’ clock), splitting “breakfast” into “break fast” seems like a little bit of a stretch to many. No it doesn’t mean it’s a fast break.  It actually means that with this meal, one is breaking the overnight “fasting.” Every night adults should be getting around eight hours of sleep.  Kids  and teens should roughly receive nine to ten hours of sleep a night.  Regardless, that's a lot of time to go without eating in one day.

“The body uses a lot of energy stored for growth and repair through the night,” explains Sarah Elder, a dietitian with the BDA (British Dietetic Association).  “Eating a balanced breakfast helps to up our energy, as well as protein and calcium used throughout the night.”  In other words, by the end of the night, you are pretty hungry whether you realize it or not.  

“Breakfast kick-starts your metabolism,” states WebMD, “helping you burn calories throughout the day.”  Breakfast can also help start the full awakening of the body.  Once it takes in that energy, it will feel more refreshing, and much less sleep-deprived.  This meal restores the energy that was used up overnight.

Okay, so breakfast is pretty important.  But what is the ideal meal to consume at the early hours of the day?  Should this be a grand feast to fill up the gas tank, or a small snack to keep one going until lunch?  It's more like the story of Goldilocks: something in between.

The real answer depends solely on one’s daily routine.  The type to rush around in the morning are the “grab-n-go" breakfast eaters,  then there are people who sit down and take time to make something a little more substantial. However, there is a middle ground here. 

Since most Americans have little to no time getting breakfast that’s not from a fast food chain,  a solution to this is simple:  any free time, either over the weekend, or the night before, one can make a nutritious, filling, and healthy breakfast.

One quick breakfast remedy is to make a fruit smoothie. Chop up favorite fruits, such as bananas, strawberries, and raspberries.  Even vegetables, nuts, and eggs, could work.  Then, blend the ingredients together with some milk, cream, or water.  Place that in the fridge and it will last for weeks.  In the morning take out a travel mug/cup, fill it up and go.

Adding fruits, proteins (eggs, bacon, sausage, and ham), dairy, and grain (oats, wheat) are key elements to a great tasting, and healthy breakfast.  To find more "the-night-before" recipes, go to  These recipes are healthy and give you enough energy for the day ahead.  The most important meal of the day can now be the greatest.



It is no secret that along with the crisp air, the smell of peppermint and pine, and the twinkling lights that winter brings, comes the dreaded flu season as well.  It is safe to say that almost everyone has figuratively experienced feeling under the weather, as the weather itself has literally shifted  drastically to the frigid damp temperatures known for this time of year. 

The New York State Department of Health identifies the months of October through the following May as the New York State flu season.  This is the approximate time period in which the influenza virus outbreak is most active and prevalent.  Influenza (the flu) is a highly contagious respiratory infection. Unlike the common cold, the flu can be a very serious illness, at times resulting in hospitalization, pneumonia and, in extreme cases, death when not taken care of properly. 

Symptoms of the flu include fever, headache, muscle aches, cough, sore throat, nausea and tiredness. Although both illnesses have many symptoms alike, the common cold usually consists of more coughing, sneezing, a runny nose, a sore throat, and occurs over a longer, more gradual period of time. 

Unfortunately, both the common cold and the flu are extremely contagious airborne illnesses, which does not mix well with a high school packed with thousands of teenagers that are confined to a small room for eighty-four minutes at a time. Walking through the hallways of Washingtonville High School during flu season is almost as bad as sitting in the doctor's office waiting room; the virus is everywhere. 

As if high school is not difficult enough, trying to not only complete the work, but understand the material and receive good grades, all while attempting to participate in extracurriculars, having the flu can make all of this seemingly impossible to keep up with. Meaghan King, a senior at WHS, suffered from the flu in the beginning of December, missing four consecutive days of school. “It took [Meaghan] approximately two full weeks to catch up assignments and completely understand the lessons [she] missed while [she] was out sick,” King tells about her struggles. 

Having the flu or the common cold has real, undeniable effects on students and their studies. Devin Keith, a medical scribe at Washingtonville Pediatrics explains, “Student can become fatigued, unable to sustain attention, affected by gastrointestinal symptoms such as vomiting/diarrhea, experience a change in appetite which could affect their mood, and may become a distraction to others around them.” According to Keith,  Washingtonville Pediatrics deals with so many patients with upper respiratory illnesses, the number may even reach the thousands. 

The best thing to do when experiencing any respiratory illness symptoms is to see a physician. Although the flu and the common cold are highly contagious, one can take steps in preventing the contraction of these illnesses. Washing your hands often, disinfecting shared materials in school before and after use, abstaining from sharing food or drink, and receiving the flu vaccine are a couple of practices that can be used. 

Washingtonville is in the midst of it’s flu season, but hopefully no one else has to suffer too badly from these horrid illnesses. There are many Purell dispensers throughout WHS for a reason, so don’t be afraid to use them!



Famously known as the Superintendent of Schools, Roy Reese is the big boss of Washingtonville High School and all schools in the area of Washingtonville. Although he sounds intimidating, there’s more to him than an important titles of all schools. He helps out stressed students by bringing his dogs to calm the mood of the students.  Roy’s dogs bring comfort and joy to people’s faces.

Why do the dogs care for the students well being? You could assume that dogs are considered the most social pets, but did you know that Mr. Reese’s dogs are certified therapy dogs? They are similar  to service dogs, although both dogs go through different training regiments and pick up divergent habits or traits a person is conducting.  

Often, the pets need to be re-certified and renewed every year. The tests for the animals can be extremely difficult, although all three of Roy’s dogs persevere and pass to help people in need! Mr. Reese’s dogs can detect a student’s anxiety and will quickly trot its way over to the troubled individual. Like any affectionate dog, it’ll rub its fluffy fur against concerned student as the anxiety and worries they had once obtained dissolve into nothing. 

The name of the three musketeers of Washingtonville are Tucker (Australian Mix), Toro (Husky), and Minnie (Border Collie-mix). Although the trio has been brought  into Washingtonville, they’ve also travelled to different schools, hospitals, nursing homes, hospice homes, as well as assisted living areas. 

The activities Mr. Reese undertakes with the dogs keep the man busy. The male used to own a pack of five to seven dogs although, as time has passed, the animals passed away. Despite this, Roy has a deep connection with his dogs and states that he can “speak dog." How interesting that the superintendent is famously known in his position, but not about his dogs and communicative ability with them.  Roy is just more than his famous position in office.  He’s a friend and an intelligent man to learn from, and has the heart of a saint. 

Friday, January 4, 2019



Often throughout their lives, people take things for granted, especially during the holiday season. People have Christmas cheer in December, enjoying time with family, friends, and trading gifts with each other.  Warmth and cheerfulness is in the air as they talk and enjoy time with family and friends across the dinner table. Almost all people have that certain Christmas that has sentimental value to them. Three years ago was my special Christmas and it was quite unique from the common Christmas story.

George Lanzot for the WIZARD WEEKLY
One of the parents from my hockey team told me about a program called Families for Families. It was a program where people give gifts to others who are in an impoverished state. Immediately, I decided to participate.  We were given a list of families in need and set to work.  Perhaps what surprised me most was the fact that these families didn’t ask for video game consoles or expensive jewellery.  All they requested were simple needs: coats, gloves, hats, food and a maybe even a board game.  On Christmas Eve,  my family drove me to the homes where the presents were to be delivered.

As I entered the city of Newburgh, the environment  was quite astonishing. There were no doors on some houses, windows were cracked or covered with wooden boards, and the cold environment sneaked its way into homes. Most of the homes were not adorned with bright lights, inflatables, or holiday ornaments. Sparingly, I found a few blinking lights or a wreath on the door of a home or two. This feeling of despair turned into one with a glimmer of hope. The look on the faces of the people who received the gifts changed me as a human being. 

It was at that defining moment I realized that those families living in poverty and deprivation appreciated everything, while the more privileged human beings often took things for granted.  There was, however, one specific family that touched me most of all. 

The aforementioned family consisted of a mother, father, grandmother, and five siblings crammed together in a small home. As I entered the cramped space, the walls enclosed my heart.  Before I knew it,  my father and I were carrying the gifts toward a hospital bed that housed a young child.  She suffered from some sort of lung problem and she had an oxygen mask covering her mouth. Sadly, the girl was like this due to an accident that happened at the hospital in the past.  Although she could not speak, the way she blinked at me were words themselves as they sunk into my body. This is a feeling I will never forget as I imagined the gifts we delivered to her and her family filled their hearts with happiness like every other family.

As we were leaving, we spoke to the young girl’s mother and she reached for my hand to give thanks. As I looked back at the girl again, I saw the joy in her face and a light that surrounded her. Her mom further shared her daughter's tragic accident. The nurse on duty at the hospital had removed her breathing tube but carelessly stepped away to take a phone call which resulted in her losing oxygen and becoming disabled. Despite their challenges, the family expressed their devotion and love for one another and seemed to persevere on faith alone.

With conviction I must state, an enjoyable Christmas isn't always about having a large dinner with family or getting the gifts you wanted. It's about the appreciation of the gift, love for one another and the spirit of life.  This was the special Christmas that made me think about my life decisions, the appreciation of others and the true principles of love.



The giving season may come to an end after Christmas Day for many, but for a few students at Washingtonville High School, it has only just begun.  With many kids wanting to do something other than be squeezed by relatives, the girls' varsity basketball team provides a great option for them.

Bright and early at the high school gym, kids are running in every direction with a basketball in their hands, each of them attempting to shoot a basket which seems to be sky high above their heads.  Screams of laughter and joy echo across the gym until a loud whistle blows to gather everyone’s attention.

Jewel Calabro for the WIZARD WEEKLY
This is the annual kids' basketball camp for third to sixth graders. This is a fun-filled two day camp from 8:30 am to 1:30 pm and it runs through December 27th and 28th.  This event is a fundraiser for the girls' varsity basketball team.  

As the camp begins, Coach Steeves calls everyone to form a large circle to start the drills and warm ups.  “We started off today with some ball handling drills, just to get them used to handling the basketball,” explained Jim Steeves, the girls' basketball coach.  The boys and girls watch as the older players teach them the skills needed to play.  This includes “basic dribbling, handoffs, passing, and shooting,” exclaimed Annalee Dorozynski, "This is all you need to be successful.”  

These skills being taught to the young players are the same skills that the girls work on to improve their own games.  The campers attempt to do the same challenging drills the girls do during every practice.  This prepares them for what to expect in the their future basketball careers if they continue to play.  Afterwards, some more free shooting occurs until the whistle blows again, starting the relay races.  

Now relay races are not directly related to basketball, however, they “ …  are kind of just a break from the skills of basketball to keep some of the fun” for the younger students (Coach Steeves). The races keep the fun by using intense friendly competition and scooters, but they also add important elements of character needed to play on a team.  With the campers learning teamwork, dedication, timing, and good sportsmanship, they are ready for phase two.  After a quick snack, of course.

The extravagant knockout challenge is a favorite of the little Wizards.  It is a game where a line forms in front of a basket, while two people attempt to “knock” the other out by shooting a basket before the other person.  Once knocked out, the player moves to the next line with a new hoop to try again.  The most challenging part is going up against the older pros.  “They caught on quickly,” exclaims Madison Lares, a varsity team member.  She went on to say,  "A huge underdog twist occurred as the kids won in significant numbers, moving them onto the next, and final challenge of the day." 

Jewel Calabro for the WIZARD WEEKLY
The kids would play against the pros one final time. This very intense game, similar to knockout, but instead of going two at a time, it’s one player at a time.  The first one to go creates a shot which everyone else must attempt.  If one player completes the shot, the person who created the shot gets a letter.  Each letter ends up spelling “OUT”.  Once a player spells “OUT” they are, in fact, out.  The person who beat the creator, gets to create the next shot for everyone in the game.  This goes on until there is one man standing.

This last nail-biting competition was very close in the end. Regardless of the challenge, these young rockstar athletes beat most of the varsity team players!  No one is fully sure who won since the day had to come to an end once moms and dads showed up to pick up their superstar athletes.

This event was not just for the kids to kick some butt.  This was also a fundraiser for the girls' varsity basketball team.  One varsity player, Gisselle Tapia, stated that this money would help buy “the equipment, jerseys, or anything else we would need throughout the year.”

This event is beneficial for the team and the kids who come in each year.  The varsity girls “…may see in their future a career in child care, or teaching, or something like that.  I’ve had some girls in the past who have done that.  It’s a good experience for the varsity girls and the campers as well,”  Coach Steeves said with a smile on his face. All in all, it was a great day for all of the students who participated.



Fireworks popping, hearts warming, confetti flying, and voices all across the United States joined together in unison to utter those inspiring lyrics of Auld Lang Syne as they welcomed in the new year. 

Last week, as the clock ticked closer and closer to midnight, time meticulously slowed down for billions of people all around the world. For most, they sat at home, held their loved ones close, and watched as the nation's most prominent ball slowly relinquished its fetal position amongst the thousands of party hungry New Yorkers squeezed tightly into the crowded streets of Times Square.

Jesse Barringer for the WIZARD WEEKLY
However, those billion people tuning into the worldwide live event weren’t the only ones celebrating the countdown to 2019. In fact, there were an approximate 6 billion people across the globe, not sitting in their homes awaiting the long anticipated New York ball drop.

So if not sitting at home witnessing one of the world's most viewed events, what were the other hundreds of cultures across the globe doing to celebrate the coming New Year?

It might interest people to know that most, if not all other countries besides the United States, have at least one, if not many, New Year’s Eve traditions of which many have never heard.

The first foreign New Year’s Eve cultured tradition brings us all the way to the European country of Denmark. It may be shocking to discover that one this country’s most celebrated traditions involves greeting “the New Year by throwing old plates and glasses against the doors of family and friends to banish bad spirits” (Sarah Wyland, Worldstrides Blog). Nothing like a bit of friendly vandalism and destruction of private property to celebrate the incoming New Year, right? Other than throwing glass kitchenware at friends' houses, Denmark’s other traditions are fairly heartwarming and happy New Year’s Eve rituals. It is also a common custom to “stand on chairs and jump off them together at midnight to 'leap' into January in hopes of good luck” (Sarah Wyland). 

Much like how the United States celebrates our New Year's Eve with parties and confetti, London, England also puts on quite a grand show. Feasts are held, parties are celebrated, and fireworks are lit. However, their most unique tradition includes their “annual New Year parade. Thousands of prominent artists from their respective fields and from different parts of the world come all the way to London to be a part of this famous parade” ( This is very similar to what America does for Thanksgiving with the “Macy’s Day Parade.” 

A much more romantic way of greeting the New Year in London, however, involves couples taking “a cruise to have an extended night-long celebration in the middle of the River Thames. Most of the cruise trips offer a midnight view of the London Eye fireworks show ( What better way to welcome in the new year than with a loved one by your side?  

In a slightly more subtle, and definitely less usual, way of celebrating the hours leading up to New Year’s Day, Spain in it’s masterful customary traditional glory, incorporates the tradition of eating “12 grapes – one at each stroke of the clock at midnight on New Year’s Eve. Each grape represents good luck for one month of the coming year” (Sarah Wyland). Other people of Spain also meet in big cities to “gather in main squares to eat their grapes together and pass around bottles of wine.” (Sarah Wyland).

So a year from now, at the end of 2019 on New Year’s Eve, remember a few of these global traditions, and maybe even try a few of them (If legal. For instance, do not throw glassware at neighbors houses) for yourself. New Year's Eve is a very special time of year for the entire world; everyone has something to celebrate, and something to reflect upon during the year leaving, and the year coming. Here’s to another successful year in 2019!



Gianna Dugan for the WIZARD WEEKLY
On Tuesday, December 18th, Washingtonville High School’s health classes were given the opportunity to meet the miracle that is Brianna Barker and hear her incredible story first hand. In one class period, just eighty-four minutes, a class of teenagers were enlightened of the life-changing difference one decision can make. It is a decision that every person can and should make: Whether or not to become an organ donor. 

Brianna Barker, a WHS alumni, had been struggling since the age of 7 with her life-threatening arrhythmias and cardiomyopathy, when one evening in June of 2011, at only 13 years old, she went into cardiac arrest. Luckily, her mother, Veronica Barker, and Washingtonville police officer, Charlie Martin, were able to administer CPR on Brianna until the ambulance arrived and could provide the help she needed.  

After 14 long days of fighting for her life, the doctors found a new heart for Brianna, one that could give her the life she deserved. Thanks to organ donor Kaitlyn Nicole Rouse, who was only 16 years old when she lost her own life, Brianna was given a second chance.

Brianna, her mother, Officer Martin, and Mr. Scott Wohl, talked to each of Mr. Lepere and Ms. Damiani’s health classes, educating the students on the importance of organ donation. Mr. Wohl spoke as a representative of Live On NY, “a nonprofit organization committed to helping New York live on through organ and tissue donation and to caring for the families touched by donation,” as it states on the organization’s official website. Mr. Wohl gave an extremely detailed and informative presentation of the process of organ donation from start to finish, while Brianna, Veronica, and Officer Martin spoke of their personal experiences. 

(Left to Right) Officer Martin, Brianna Barker, Veronica Barker,
Mr. Lepere, and Scott Wohl // Gianna Dugan for the WIZARD WEEKLY

Brianna’s story hits home for many of the students at WHS.  Mr. Lepere felt, “...many students were stunned. Having a former Washingtonville student, that roamed these same hallways, return to tell the story of receiving a heart transplant was a moment of shock and astonishment to them.” 

After watching the effects of the guest speakers, Ms. Damiani explained, “[Her] students' eyes were opened. People don't like to talk about the possibility of dying, and removing organs admittedly sounds gory, but it is a question each person will have no choice but to answer when they apply for their driver's license. Everyone should be able to make an educated decision.” 

Now a senior in college with her whole life ahead of her, Brianna Barker is the living proof of the remarkable things organ donations can bring to people and their families.

In his 18th months of educating communities across New York State, Mr. Wohl explained, “Every 18 hours someone in New York State dies waiting for an organ donation.  Only 34% of eligible adults are enrolled as organ donors in New York compared with a national average of 56%.  New York ranks last among the 50 states in both enrollment and donation.” 

Becoming an organ donor is one simple yet important task that could potentially save many lives. Organ donation is truly a beautiful thing, and together we can live on. For more information on organ donation, visit 



2019 is finally here, so say goodbye to 2018. With the start of the new year, many people begin their new year’s resolutions. Whether that’s the beginning of a new diet, getting more sleep every night or just overall working on their mental health, people certainly do love using the beginning of the new year as a reason to change things in their daily lives. 

Alex Theofanides for the WIZARD WEEKLY
There are many mixed emotions on the ‘new year, new me’ situation. Some people believe that with the start of a new year, people are bettering themselves. Others may believe that resolutions can be a waste of time because of people not sticking to them a few weeks or months down the road. 

From 2018 to 2019 there has noticeably been two complete opposite opinions on the change of the year. “Everyone is always saying how they want their lives to change in the new year, but most don’t. I don’t know why people just don’t follow through with their goals,” Mya Lozada expressed with disdain. 

“Only around 8% of those who make a resolution are successful,” expressed Margee Kerr Ph.D. from Psychology Today. With such a low number, people can’t help but wonder why people even bother with new year’s resolutions in the first place.  With such a low number, people can’t help but wonder why people even bother with new year’s resolutions in the first place. 

With the world constantly altering, people choose to change themselves as time goes on as well, especially around the new year. Trends die out, different styles become popular and so much more new and intriguing things become prevalent. So, it still bares the question. Why do people forget about their goals and new interests so fast? 

There are many factors that play a role.  Consistency can be difficult, particularly when something else comes into play, like the new year. Planning to make a drastic change in someone’s life is something that can’t realistically happen in such a short amount of time.  People have very high expectations when it comes to the new year and the changes that it can bring when, in reality, no one’s life can reasonably change in a day. So having such high expectations makes it much easier to forget about it or not have the results that were hoped for. 

There are ways to keep one's goals, the most important one is keeping them realistic.  Plan things out, set small goals that will lead up to a bigger objective, and reward yourself for your accomplishments.  New year's resolutions can be fun and entertaining.  

2019 is finally here and this could be the year that people reach their goals and better themselves, but if not, there's always next year!



As the holiday season comes to an end, many people wonder when they should take down their Christmas decorations. Should it be the day after Christmas, the day after New Year's Day, months later, or never? 

Amanda Fowler for the WIZARD WEEKLY
Enriching the holiday season with Christmas lights began when Christmas trees were decorated with candles. This symbolized Christ being the light of the world, brought up by Christians in early modern Germany. Automated Christmas lights became popular and stylish in the early 20th century. 

Decorating the inside and outside of a house is a tradition more and more people seem to follow every year. According to multiple news outlets, the earlier people put up their Christmas lights, the happier they are. The truth is, for most people, the holiday season is one of the happiest times of the year and decorating only enhances that feeling. 

Whether people decorate their trees or their entire homes, the lingering question is when is the right time to take them down? To many, Christmas lights are not only seasonal. Lauren Gregg, a Washingtonville Senior, says “I prefer to have Christmas lights hung up all year round, especially in my room. I have color changing lights that actually help me relax after a long and stressful day.” 

The outside of the home, however, is the most debated concept. The outside of a house is seen by not only the owner, but anyone who happens to pass by. The fear that others may judge their lights causes many people to take their lights down soon after the holiday season has ended. However, if lights make people happier why doesn’t everyone leave them up? 

Well, aside from the judgement, many fear the joy that comes with the outside lights will fade if they are up all year. Celine Estrada, a WHS senior stated, “Christmas lights spread joy, joy in which the world so desperately needs. We need something to look forward to the rest of the year. The lights make me feel blessed to live in such a town that spreads so much positivity; it’s like a ripple effect. One house has lights up and the rest follow, sort of how kindness should be spread throughout the world.”

Overall, the amount of time holiday decorations are left up is solely up to the owner. However, if they are left up all year round, it could make the holiday season less special. Holiday decorations make the season a lot more vibrant and jolly, whether people take their lights down the day after Christmas, after New Year's Day, or never. Always remember to enjoy the scenery and embrace the holiday spirit for as long as you can.