Many students here at McMahon are probably familiar with the different music department branches such as: Choir, Orchestra, and Band. However, these aren’t the only classes that a student can join relating to music. Every winter season, students from the band department gather together for Winter Percussion to compete against other schools. Daniel Piro (‘19) is probably one of the experts to talk to when it comes the band department. In this Question and Answer, Piro will give us on what is like to be a member of Winter Percussion.
Q: What exactly is Winter Percussion?
A: Winter Percussion is a form of the marching arts that is similar to marching band. However, there are a few differences: Winter Percussion is only for percussion instruments, such as, snare drum and marimba. It is performed in a gym rather than on a football field and it involves much more expression, choreography, acting, etc.
Q: When did you start competing for this?
A: McMahon’s competitive winter group started in the winter of 2015, which was my freshman year, with the help of my brothers Ben and JT Piro and many others.
Q: How long do you guys practice for?
A: We practice four days a week. On Mondays the front ensemble comes in for 3 hours (5:30-8:30), on Thursdays both the battery and front ensemble practice for the same hours, and on Saturdays we either have shows (which can take up the entire day), or we have a rehearsal for 11 hours.
Q: Is there any big competitions you get ready for?
A: Currently, we are still trying to learn and piece together our 2019 production, entitled “Ding”. As of this moment, we have four shows this year: March 9th at Shelton High, March 16th at Jonathan Law High School, and April 6th Winter Percussion Championships at Westhill High School. Additionally, we will be performing at the Westside Band Concert at McMahon on February 6th at 7pm.
Q: What’s your favorite thing about being a part of this?
A: For me, Winter Percussion has been kind of like an escape from school work where I can do what I love, having fun doing something more intricate and, in a sense, more difficult than marching band. My instructors have not only been my teachers, but have become some of my most influential friends I have ever had. Without Winter Percussion, I wouldn’t be who I am and I wouldn’t have the opportunities that I do today.
Q: Would you recommend people to join?
A: I strongly encourage people to join! This group is for anyone, regardless of their experience level. We have had people who have never touched an instrument before, and people who plan to be music majors in college. We encourage anyone who is interested and willing to dedicate time on this.
Q: How can someone join?
A: Unfortunately, we cannot take anymore members for this season because auditions are now closed, but we still encourage students to join next year! All they have to do is come to the band room and talk to Mr. Secchi.
Follow the BMHS Winter Percussion on instagram @mcmahonpercussion
There’s a lot to think about when it comes to making a decision on which college to attend. While every student has different desires, there are some necessary questions that apply in order to make this big decision to some Senators becoming college student’s.
Considering these factors (and deciding which of them are the most important, and the ones that are not) can help you decide whether a school is right for you or not, like if the school is big or small, or how much walking distance is it from your resident hall to your class.
Most of these questions can be used to find more information about potential colleges and universities. If you don’t know how to answer these questions yourself you can ask admissions counselors or even look at the university’s website.
What to Ask Current Students:
What to Ask Alumni:
Thinking about college? And how excited you are about moving and living independently? Let's
talk about homesickness. Adjusting to a college workload and moving away from home is very
difficult. A lot of college students don’t have the luxury of heading home whenever they want, so when you’re really missing home, what do you do?
A Brien McMahon alumni is helping us, high school students, see the other side of being a
freshman college student. Erika Folgar, 18, is now attending her first year at Vassar College in
New York. Although she is living in housing there and New York is only an hour drive, she can’t
always come home every weekend. She was kind enough to let us know by answering some
questions about how she deals with homesickness and how college is going so far.
How has your transition been moving from your home to a small college?
A: I feel like leaving home to move to college, big or small, can be a difficult transition. Leaving
what you’ve known for your whole life to dive into a new scene of academia can be really
challenging. However it wasn’t my courses I was worried about, I was most nervous about
making friends. I wasn’t ready to leave my friends from Norwalk. I attended a pre-orientation
where more than 60 other students and I spent an entire week finding our way around campus
and getting to know each other, before other students came onto campus.
When was the first time you actually felt homesick?
A: I felt homesick as soon as my mom and cousin left campus on move in day. My roommate
hadn’t arrived yet, and wasn’t going for another week. I didn’t know my little dorm room could
feel so big when it was just me alone in it. I couldn’t go back to Norwalk every weekend because
it costs too much money and wouldn’t have helped me adjust. I just reminded myself that if I
stayed in my dorm and cried, I would miss out on an orientation event where I could make
friends. So, I put on a smile and left my room. I’d say I miss my family a lot more than home
itself, so I call my family every week and that helps a lot.
How are you adjusting to the school?
A: Vassar is a pretty unique place. I thought I wouldn’t fit in because it is labeled as an artsy,
super liberal college, and I don’t have an artistic bone in my body. But after finding the right
people, Vassar feels like a second home. Everyone I’ve met there has been really accepting,
supportive, and pushing me to do my best. The small size of the school definitely helps because
whenever I go, I always see a familiar face and feel comfortable.
Why did you choose Vassar?
A: I visited Vassar after I got in through an overnight program. Those few days on campus
showed me what a great, tight-knit community Vassar is. That and the generous financial aid
package were what made me decide on Vassar.
Did you ever think of going somewhere farther than New York for school?
A: Yes! I wanted to go somewhere really different, anywhere but Connecticut. Poughkeepsie,
NY obviously isn’t CT but appearance wise it’s pretty similar, which is sometimes disappointing.
What held me back was mainly the cost for traveling back and forth from home to school and
financial aid. Plus probably a little bit of fear that I’d hate being in a completely different city that
was so far away and wouldn’t be able to go home because it’d be a really long train or plane
What is homesickness?
Homesickness basically is a feeling of longing for one's home during a period of absence from
it. Meaning that however infrequent your thoughts are, you can still be considered “homesick.”
According to the oldest and largest survey of college freshmen, 66% of first year students report
feeling lonely or homesick.
If in the near future you find yourself missing home more than usual, know that this is very
normal and everyone may go through it as some point. It’s part of life and getting through it may
be difficult but it’s all about adjusting.
Pridetime Senior Editor
With WIZRD being Futures fourteenth project, people are pretty used to that auto-tuned sound of his music.
The most popular critique that people give after each of his projects is, “Every song sounds the same,” however, it's a lot more than that.
Multiple Future projects are more than just the music, he is attempting to self evaluate his life decisions.
This album was much different than his previous ones. It still had the feeling that he was self-evaluating himself but this time it was in a better light.
Multiple Projects he has tend to be a bit somber with a few songs that stand out as, “lit,” which has a different meaning to each listener.
The lyrics of this album almost sound like a valedictory address, as if he was the greatest in his class.
As usual, I enjoy the sound of this album, good beats, and some fire lyrics. There are three songs that stand out to me, and it helps that their features include good artists, not to take anything away from future.
Krazy But True- This is probably the cockiest song on the album. With lyrics like, “I'm god to you boys,” and, “Who is a bigger influence than me in fashion?” He also seems like he is coming at some of the other rappers heads with lyrics like, “I never depend on none of these rappers, they bite me anyway,” and, “Your ad libs and everything.”
Unicorn Purp (Feat. Young Thug)- I love the combination of Future and Young Thugs voices together and I loved their collab Super Slimey. This song really has nothing to do with the overall meaning of the album, it’s really just a bump.
First Off (Feat. Travis Scott)- I’m not really used to the combination of these two artist sounds together, but I liked it. This is just a classic Future sound adding Travis’s ad libs and the sound is a nice combo. Future also has more cocky lyrics in this like, “I make more than Dwayne wade baby.”
Overall I give this album an 8/10.
Everyone knows what the SATs are, but not many people know the importance behind them. With testing coming up March 27 or April 9, juniors need to show schools how prepared they are for college by measuring important skills such as reading comprehension, computational ability, and clarity of expression.
Here are 5 ways to help you improve your SAT score:
Keep these tips in the back of your mind when preparing for the SATs because they may help you. It may be a lot, but just think of what you’ll achieve by studying, and remember to reward yourself when completing a goal.
“As a Captain, I have to push girls and guide them in the right direction because they are cheerleaders, they are a voice of McMahon, people look at them to represent the school.” - Zanayia Dejesus
Zanayia Dejesus (‘19) accomplished one of her cheerleading goals as being a captain. She became captain her junior year, and has been a captain for two years now. Dejesus would have never thought that she would be on the team as a Freshman, better yet become a captain.
Dejesus’s grandmother got her into cheer when she was 11 years-old. Dejesus was a cheerleader on the Pop Warner Party City team, throughout elementary school and middle school.
As a freshman, a friend had asked Dejesus to try out with her. Dejesus ended up making the team, while her friend didn’t. She started freshman and sophomore year being a alternate, when someone is hurt or can’t compete in their competition, she would fill in for them. As a junior and senior, she has had the opportunity to compete. She’s been in all positions for cheerleading stunts, including a flyer. This year she’s a triple threat, a base, a flyer, and a tumbler. She can't be a back spot because she is too short.
Cheerleaders on the team look up to Dejesus and see her as a big sister. Former Cheerleader, Summer Hall (‘20), a cheerleader from Dejesus’s first year of being captain says, “Zanayia always has a positive attitude. You can always count on her to put a smile on your face if you are having a bad day. She is a great role model and she never gives up. When she became captain, she remained humble and didn’t act like she was better than the rest of us.”
“A cheerleader is a girl who represents the school in a positive way and tries to spread the school spirit,” says Dejesus.
She makes sure she’s a leader for the team. She isn’t afraid to admit her wrongs. She takes charge when no adults aren’t around. She feels that she is very motivated and encouraging to her teammates.
When asked how Dejesus benefits and impacts the cheerleading team, Ayanna McCoy (‘20) says, “She gives great advice when we are struggling with something. She always pushes us to be better at practice, to focus, and to never give up on the mat.”
Dejesus’ biggest inspiration is her coach, Kelcie W. She has coached eight teams, including Norwalk Packers and Xtreme Cheer. Dejesus and her coach have a great relationship. Dejesus expresses and says, “Kelcie being my first official coach, I know I can go to her with anything inside and outside of cheer. She’s very motivating, understanding, and most importantly fun.”
Going forward, Dejesus does not wish to do cheerleading as a sport in college. She is looking forward to going to college and majoring in nursing. She says, “I want to live a regular life as far as an academic student and not always have something on my agenda. To be a cheerleader you have to be 110% committed.” She feels that cheerleading is fun but it’s very time consuming and it’s like a job you don’t get paid for. Cheer has helped her over all with learning how to be a leader and learning how to manage time.
PrideTime Arts & Entertainment Editor
“Gaffney has taught me to trust yourself because you’re capable of doing whatever you set your mind to. Having a support group of others your age going through the same situation you are makes you feel like you have a safe haven,” says Ashley Orozco.
Orozco, a senior in The Matthew Gaffney Foundation, has been recently accepted into Colgate University and will be attending in the fall.
The Matthew Gaffney Foundation is a program in that provides college services to highly motivated, academically successful but economically disadvantaged students. Starting midway through junior year, the program helps with SAT tutoring, the financial aid process, college essays, and much more for no cost. Students in the Gaffney Program have been accepted and received financial aid (75% to 100% full scholarships) from top colleges and universities such as Harvard, Princeton, Williams and Bates.
As we are entering the second semester of the school year, the senior Gaffney students are being accepted into colleges, while a new group has been selected. This year, four individuals from Brien McMahon were given the opportunity to join this group: Daphne Ochoa, Shirel Salinas, Brianna Herrera, and Pamela Reinoso.
Ochoa says, “I was so happy when I found out that I had been accepted into The Gaffney Foundation. When we had the information meeting in school they talked about how competitive it was to get into this program, so I didn’t want to get my hopes up. Once I had been told I was accepted it felt like an accomplishment.”
Although the juniors have been recently accepted into this helpful, yet challenging program, they still have to work hard to reach their final goal.
“I feel like what I’m most nervous about is the amount of work it will be. One of the seniors explained how we are doing twice as much work than other kids, just because we got into the program doesn’t mean that doors will open automatically. However we do go one step at a time and that makes me a lot less nervous,” Ochoa explains.
Both Orozco and Ochoa agree that The Gaffney Program is an opportunity that shouldn’t be taken for granted.
When asked on what advice to give the underclassmen who are striving to be in a similar position, Ochoa said, “This isn’t something available to everyone and the fact that we have the chance to be able to be in such an amazing program is incredible. Junior year comes so fast, we need to work hard now so we have a better future once we leave McMahon.”