Her platform is what Senator Bernie Sanders appealed to in 2016, the liberal ‘fringe’ that is now the “political mainstream.” She’s a social justice seeker; both pro-choice and pro-affirmative action, vowing to fight for people of all walks of life. She’s an environmentalist who just announced support for the Green New Deal. She brags to be a law-and-order candidate - as a District Attorney, Harris looked to clean up “surgically precise racism” and a broken prison system. She’s not a socialist, but, despite supporting universal healthcare and higher taxes on the wealthy, believes in free market capitalism.
She rose to fame pressing Brett Kavanaugh on the Senate Judiciary Committee, and has been the first major candidate to call the President a racist explicitly.
You have to win New Hampshire if you want to be the nominee - but its residents won’t vote for over a year. Regardless, microphones are positioned in the crowd for eager “granite state-ers” to voice their grievances. They came prepared.
Harris’ energy was a vibe. She walked in to ‘T-Shirt’ by Migos, bursting into the LGBT pride-flagged-draped, old New England church all smiles and excitement - an eagerness for the job at hand. Her 5’2”, pantsuit with sneakers self is visibly human, and it’s early on in a brutal process - but she’s having fun, enjoying every minute of it. Kamala is as cool as they come.
Her first question comes from a mom in the front row whose son has a life threatening disability, and while he grows, the bills follow. Harris is not a biological mother herself (though twitter dubs her momala) but here she acts like one. They have a human exchange, heavy in eye contact - as was her answer in substance, “Thank you for being so brave as to share that.” She then gave over five minutes worth of statistics and concrete information as supplement - citing a bill she had supported in the senate to take drug companies’ patents if they abuse price mark-ups.
Obviously i’m not a grieving mother against gun violence, a seventy year old union worker trying to make ends meet, or an illeagal immigrant fearing my future outside the lines of D.A.C.A. (all of which spoke), but I was lucky enough to ask Senator Harris some questions, which I plan on trying at every rally I attend until election day 2020, (if I’m able to).
When I was writing my first article for PrideTime, I researched the mental health epidemic - what I found was staggering. It’s troubling, clear and present, yet most candidates don’t have a platform for doing much about it. This question was important to me, and led to our best exchange.
“Suicide rates over the last 15 years or so have steadily been on the rise, partly because of the many shortcomings the mental healthcare system offers its patients. What as president would your administration would do to change this?” I ask.
Harris made a great effort to keep eye contact. She nodded along as I spoke - maybe it was just being a politician, but it felt genuine - I have to say. “Yes, definitely - well that’s a great question, thank you for sharing that. I feel very strongly that we should have a national policy on mental healthcare, and substance abuse treatment - on demand.” She later detailed how she would implement this, “we as a country have not created enough resources, or incentivized for people going into those professions,”... “especially the rural areas of our country, which have some of the highest need for that treatment.” She promises to back telemedicine, that mental health would be a priority for her - especially under the umbrella in her proposed medicare system.
It’s early. It will be a long campaign. But all I could think about was who her party put forward last time around. Hillary never made me feel good. She just didn’t have that exciting ethos around her - had I asked her that same question, I know it wouldn’t have really mattered to her. Politicians are essentially actors, obviously, but Mrs. Harris’ showed me she really took interest, on a personal level, especially by urging me to follow up. Even if I might not necessarily agree with her on policy, she was ostensibly passionate, hopeful about what this journey could bring her, and what she could bring to a country full of people just like me - who are just looking for answers.
All subjectivity aside, I would be an objectively proud American and first voter if the KKK-backed, “grab ‘em by the p---y” President was forced to debate a gangsta rap & weed indulging black feminist (who walks out to Migos), for his job.
Mirabella (‘20) stands second from the right
BMHS junior, Lauren Mirabella, has been a part of ROTC for the past three years. She hadn’t planned on joining ROTC until her brother, an ROTC alum, pushed her to step out of her comfort zone. And, step out of her comfort zone, she did.
Mirabella found herself in ROTC. Before, she was shy and wouldn’t talk to anyone aside from her closest friends. However, after joining, that all changed. She soon became comfortable with many people both inside and outside of the ROTC family; learning to open up to them. Her confidence and belief in herself grew, allowing her to build new relationships.
Mirabella said of her personal growth in the program, “It has brought my self confidence up. I am not as shy. I have learned how to speak up for myself and, when needed, help encourage other people to do the same for themselves. I can make decisions for myself without second guessing my capabilities.”
Mirabella went on to describe the ways in which she has changed, thanks to the program. “ROTC has taught me how to respect myself and to know that I can go out of my comfort zone and succeed, or fail and try again without feeling self conscious. I have learned not to worry about what other people think of me and just keep moving forward,” she shared.
Lauren Mirabella wishes to pursue a career based off of all the things she has learned, and continues to learn, in ROTC. But, this wasn’t always her plan. In fact, her previous interests consisted of space, and for a while, she aspired to study astronomy.
“If you asked me years ago what I wanted to do in the future, my answer couldn’t be farther than me saying I wanted to join the Navy. Even though I come from a military family, I never thought I’d join,” she shared.
Since ROTC, her interests have shifted from exploring space and the great mysteries it holds, to the Navy and its importance in keeping our nation safe. “It [ROTC] brought out an interest in me that I really enjoyed and am really good at. I want to join the navy because I want to protect the country and I love being on the water.”
Still growing from her experiences in this program, Mirabella continues to learn more about herself and how far she can go. Her final words of wisdom were, “I encourage everybody to step out of their comfort zone and give ROTC a chance.”
ICEE: Fatima Avalos
Meet “Icee”, Fatima Avalos’ (19’) rides her beast of a car every morning to school. “Icee “ is a white 2004 Rough Country Jeep Wrangler with over 100,000 miles on it. She bought it used back in 2015 and she doesn’t regret it. She loves the versatility of her Jeep and how she can go anywhere with it. She's able to get up rough terrain with ease while all the little Honda civics are having trouble.
“If I see a steep hill or I am going down a road full of snow Icee can plow right through and get the job done.”
Her favorite part about the whole car is how you have the option to drop the top. She loves those summer days where she is with her friends blasting to some tunes on the highway with the wind blowing through everyone’s hair.
“It definitely is a very fun car to drive with your friends. The ability to take off the top just gives a whole new experience when driving”Although “Icee” is a beast it does suffer in other categories like speed. There have been many times where Fatima finds herself having to rush to work and her cars speed holds her back from getting on time. The car is not shifty at all and feels very heavy and Fatima claims that it is tough to turn and avoid things on the road because the steering is really stiff. This almost cost her some serious damage on her way rushing to work once.
“One time I was late to work and my car don't go fast but I was speeding to work and my car hit a pothole which threw my car off balanced. I almost flipped and tipped over but I got my balance and I hit a curb and a mailbox”
The “Icee’s” mobility is not the only thing that Fatima wishes could be better but also there is no space to store her things. When her parents need her to go grocery shopping there is nowhere to put the food. The back is also very tight so Fatima’s friend is going to have to be squished when carpooling. Nonetheless, she loves her car especially the look. The all-white looks very clean and that where she came up with the idea to call it “Icee” because it's slick and cool. Fatima will continue to make great memories with Icee as the school year closes.
Teachers at McMahon: Mrs. Peckham
Have you ever had a teacher that really cares about her students? If not, you haven’t had Mrs. Peckham.
Peckham has been teaching health one and two here for about 21 years. She loves teaching here because of how different everyone is and because of how much she has learned. She has a bachelor's degree in health and nursing science from the University of Delaware. Her masters are in Education and she is currently working on her Ph.D. in Psychology. Peckham isn’t just your average teacher though, she will always go an extra step for her students.
Peckham originally went to college to be an athletic trainer but wasn’t able to pursue that career because she could not put in the hours you needed to have in the training room due to her being on the track team.
When having to pick a different career, her grandmother had a big influence on her decision. Peckham loved that even while teaching, her grandmother still acted like herself around the students and never held back.
“I made the best decision of my life when I decided to become a health teacher. I chose to teach health because I wanted to teach a subject that would have a great impact on my students. My grandmother was also a teacher and I wanted to be just like her - she was the loudest, funniest teacher in the school.”
Although Peckham loves teaching, she loves going home to spend time with her family. She also tries to find as much free time as possible so that she’s able to do things that get her moving around.
“When I’m not working, I love to spend time with my family and I love cooking for them. I also like to read and I basically love doing anything that gets me moving and gets me outside.”
Her students also know that she is one of the teachers that truly loves her job. Meghan Sisk is a sophomore here at McMahon and is in Peckham’s house. She loves being able to have her as a teacher.
“Mrs. Peckham is personally the best outlet for me here at McMahon for advice on all my personal issues. Her compassion for others is incomparable to any other teacher I’ve ever had. Spending time in her classroom reminds me that teachers really do care about their students. I hope everyone is able to experience a class with Mrs. Peckham in their BMHS experience.” says Sisk.
Car of the Week: Camaro 2SS 1LE
Luis Avalos, a 2017-2018 graduate of McMahon, has a orange Camaro 2SS 1LE. And although Luis describes himself as funny, tall, outgoing, and most of all fast. Which would explain why he has his Camaro.
“It's fast and it fits me by the way I am. I live my life to the fullest, and I always want to run from point A to point B.”
Luis’s Camaro is manual and has a stock engine with a 6.2 liter, V8, giving him 440 horsepower to the rear wheels, this sports car is known to be a fast car.
Luis learned how to drive manual by seeing his friends and using friend’s car here and there to get to know when to shift gears and when to press or release the clutch. The hardest part for Luis learning to drive manual was getting use to the clutch on cars because there not all the same.
Luis is very into cars and is planning to do modifications to the engine giving it more boost to the rear end.
Luis got into cars when he was a senior at Brien McMahon High School, He got into cars because of a friend he met at the end of the street doing a burnout.
“People should know more about their cars so you can save money and time. You save money on taking it to get an oil change, and your time by taking it to the mechanic.”
The interior of this Camaro 2SS 1LE has 9 Boston Premium Audio speakers, cloth seats, only space for four people, and is a two door car known as a coupe. As many people know Camaro’s only come in coupe style. Luis acknowledges that the Camaro SS is not economical on gas mileage because of the size of the engine. But he is not ready to give it up anytime soon.
“I live my life a quarter-mile at a time,” said Luis Avalos.
As far as dessert goes, Hong (‘19) reckons her favorite would be an egg tart. Egg tarts have been popularized in China, but are also found in other Asian countries, along with Britain, Argentina, Portugal, and Brazil. Made with an outer pastry crust, the egg tart is filled with egg custard and then baked. Egg tarts are sold internationally in bakeries and pastry shops.
Chinese & Vietnamese Staples:
Every culture has their staples, or ‘must haves’; for Italians, it may be pasta or some kind of sauce. For Hong (‘19), she says that, “having rice or noodles is a must,” going on to say that her family eats soup “with every meal.”
Different kinds of rice:
Different kinds of soup:
Different kinds of noodles:
No Orchestra is the Pits
Annalize Bazzano (‘19) (left), Rachel DeLucia (‘19) (right)
For years, the plays at BMHS have had live music, and not just from the singing cast. Students from the orchestra and band audition every year to be involved in the play. Their goal? To make it into the pit orchestra and provide live music at every show; a life-changing experience that allows them to meet new people, learn new techniques and styles of playing, and more. However, this year, to the disappointment of many in the music department, we almost didn’t have a pit.
Annalise Bazzano (‘19), the first chair violinist and concertmaster in our orchestra, explained, “They [the music teachers] weren’t sure if Benson was going to want to do it [direct the pit] and they didn’t want to hire somebody else to do it.” Having participated in the pit for the past four shows, Bazzano went to the music teachers multiple times and fought hard to make sure we had one for this year’s show.
Annalise Bazzano said, “I thought it was really unfair that they were ostracizing two-thirds of the music department and they were tailoring to only one part of it. The music department and drama department isn’t just choir. If they didn’t have a pit, they wouldn’t be allowing so many kids to do something that they absolutely loved. I couldn’t imagine not being in pit my senior year.” Bazzano continued, “Personally, I really love pit. I think it’s a fun, cool and different way to play than I’ve ever experienced. You’re playing music that you know relatively well and if you really love a show, having the opportunity to play that music is incredible because it’s like your dream coming true.”
However, being a musician isn’t one’s only option to being a part of the pit. In addition to auditioning for pit, Rachel DeLucia (‘19) has also earned the position as this year’s Student Pit Director. She said of her role, “It’s like an assistant to the teacher. Basically, I make sure everyone has the music, including hired professionals. I spent a few days making copies of all the audition music, I am also responsible for getting the word out so that people know when auditions are.” DeLucia also informed me of the requirements of pit; that musicians have to pay dues and sign a contract after they’ve auditioned and been selected for the pit.
Like Bazzano, DeLucia was affected by the idea of not having an orchestra. “I was upset. I wanted to do the pit, it’s my senior show,” said DeLucia.
Both DeLucia and Bazzano value the pit orchestra and recommend it to anyone who is interested. “It’s a really fun experience that you’ve never done before and that you’ll probably never do even if you play music in college, you might not ever play in a pit again. Being in pit puts a little vitality back into your playing and gives you a whole different comprehensive view on how to play music,” said Bazzano.
Accidentally in ROTC
When did you join ROTC?
“I joined NJROTC freshman year.”
Why did you join ROTC?
“The purpose of my joining ROTC was because of a scheduling mistake. I had no intention whatsoever to join in any military activities.”
Why didn’t you want to be in ROTC originally?
“I was scared of anything that had to do with the military.”
Do you enjoy it?
“As of now, I’m not involved in ROTC activities. I had to drop out because of a schedule change. I decided to stay in ROTC because I made a lot of friends and ROTC was like a family to me; not necessarily because I wanted to join any military branch.”
What do you like about ROTC?
“What I like about ROTC is that the teachers and classmates will push you even further than you can imagine–that’s only if you put in the effort and are motivated.”
What was the most difficult thing about being in ROTC? Was it worth it?
“The most difficult thing about being in ROTC was keeping up with everyone; it was kind of like a competition. No one wanted to be a lower rank and that’s what drove us all to better ourselves. Even though I was in ROTC for only a year, it was a very valuable experience; I learned a lot and enjoyed it.”
Have you had to make any sacrifices for this program? What kind?
“The biggest sacrifice was definitely going to BLT (Bootcamp of Leadership Training).
Four days and three nights in an army boot camp was definitely a huge step from my comfort zone. You had to cope with people screaming at you and honestly, it’s terrifying; you don’t want a Sergeant yelling in your face for not taking a shower in five minutes, or because you run too slow, or your posture is wrong. All of those things frightened me. It was so hard for some people, that they quit on the first day. I wasn’t going to quit, I had to be bold and continue. This experience taught me about responsibility, teamwork, and many other things that I will always be grateful for.”
Do you plan on doing anything involving ROTC when you graduate?
“No, I plan to move to Germany, go to college, and see from there where life takes me.”
Although you are no longer involved in ROTC, would you recommend ROTC to anyone?
“100%. Even if you end up hating it, you will learn so many things that’ll change how you view the world. I never regret being in the program and I’m grateful for the amazing people and friends I’ve made.”
What advice would you give those who are interested?
“The most important thing in ROTC is not to be the best, it is to try the hardest. This goes for anything, even BLT, they measure how much effort and determination you have. If you have those, you will not only be successful in ROTC, but also in life.”