If you’re reading this, chances are you’re a usual visitor of PrideTime's blog, which is exactly why you should continue reading this article. Since their invention, newspapers and magazines have been a way of educating the public on current events. Here at McMahon, this responsibility falls upon the shoulders of the students.
Since its start in 2014, the PrideTime Magazine has published countless articles pertaining to the interests of the McMahon community. All articles, ranging from sports and school events, to makeup and social media trends, are both written and edited by students through a system of reporters and editors. The program, however, isn’t orchestrated by students alone.
English teacher Mr. Carroll has been administering the magazine from its start. In his time, Carroll has spoken about giving more control to the students. He says he aims to change the program to be more student-oriented; both by the students and for the students.
Though he’s not suggesting the program being completely student run, Carroll says he wants the program to be more student-based. In the final quarter of the school year, he’s has put his ideas into action, placing a new responsibility upon the students by instituting a new classroom dynamic, where editors, who switch off every class, take control from the minute the bell rings until the final minute of class.
As a member of PrideTime, I’ve seen it in action myself. Editors take control of the 90 minute period, from start to finish, taking on full responsibility for answering questions and guiding fellow editors and reporters in their daily tasks. Instead of asking Carroll questions, we ask the editor in charge for the day; instead of asking Carroll for advice on a new direction for our articles, we ask our leading classmate.
This opportunity has effectively constructed a bridge between editors and reporters; during the school year, we reporters usually turn to Mr. Carroll and our group editors. Now, we must reach out to different students for guidance and advice.
PrideTime reporter and social media manager Victoria McCaffrey (‘19) offered her input on the matter: “I think that it’s good to give students a voice and leadership role in the classroom, but it’s also more difficult to communicate with Carroll.”
Editor Kristina Casubolo (‘19) had similar thoughts about the new change, which she renders to be beneficial in skill building: “I’ve learned about what it’s like to step into teachers shoes for a period; how to be a better leader and keep the attention of the class, or at least, try to.”
In general, Casubolo agreed on the newspaper being primarily run by the students, but says there’s a limit. “As long as there’s boundaries within student power, I think it’s fine. However, I don’t think Carroll should be completely off limits; if someone needs him, he should be available.”
Considering that the PrideTime Magazine is the official newspaper of Brien McMahon, it makes complete sense to have it mainly run by students. Students should be able to take up the responsibilities of organizing the program, and for the past five years, students have. In doing so, we’ve proven ourselves an able group, ready to adapt to whatever changes Carroll has in mind for the program. What will these changes be exactly and what will they entail? Stick around and we’ll find out together.
Inside the halls of Brien McMahon High School roam over 1,663 students. Of these students, about 300 of them are members of the Center for Global Studies. CGS is an interdistrict magnet school inside of McMahon that focuses on teaching the languages, culture, history, and literature of China, Japan, and the Middle East. Students can choose to focus on the Chinese, Japanese, or Arabic language and eventually travel on overseas study tours.
Whether you’re an incoming or current student, or even a parent at McMahon, you may wonder students have chosen to attend CGS, why they've chosen the cultures they did, and what they can say about the program. To answer these questions, read on-- learn what a student from each language has to say about the school and their experience.
Victoria Papadopoulos (‘21) chose to immerse herself into the Japanese culture. After taking the language in middle school, she chose to stick with it. Papadopoulos says what made her join was the information session she attended:
“Alumni shared how the challenges of learning a completely new language and traveling with your classmates, with a host family, or hosting a family in the US, was one of the best experiences they ever had,” she said.
Papadopoulos (‘21) says she she hopes to gain more knowledge of the world that surrounds her through her involvement in the program.
“I hope to meet new people that are completely different than myself; understand and observe different viewpoints on life and politics. Overall, know how to effectively communicate with people who speak the same language, or not, and build great relationships with them,” she said.
Her favorite thing, though, is growing through the program; learning, observing and traveling. She went on to explain CGS’ influence on her as a person. “Being a part of CGS has changed my perspective in the world. It opened my eyes to how global issues connect to our politics and issues today,” Papadopoulos remarked.
Chris Gong (‘20) takes Chinese part in due because of his heritage. He says he expected to develop a better understanding of the culture, “I’ve always wanted to learn my own language, because, growing up, my family mainly spoke English to me. CGS gave me the opportunity to get back to my roots and explore my native culture,” he said.
One of Gong’s (‘20) favorite things about CGS is the exposure to all kinds of people from all over the world, and, in his own words: “you can’t forget about the potlucks.”
Malaury Bien-Aime is a sophomore studying the Chinese language as well, and credits her involvement to wanting to step out of her comfort zone. She hopes to use Chinese a future career, as it's “said to be the most spoken language.”
Bien-Aime ('21) says CGS helped her meet new people and diversify her views of the world. “I’ve become more aware of the reason why certain cultures do what they do; it’s shifted my perspective. There are so many different ways of living outside of the American ways--you have to keep an open mind,” she said.
Aubri Ancona (‘21) studies Arabic through CGS and says that the language just seemed very “unique and cool” to her. She says that being apart of the school changed her perspective on many things. For instance, her involvement shifted her career aspirations for the future, “It made me rethink what I wanted to do in life, and I’m considering wanting to become a translator or working with foreign affairs,” she shared.
As for study tours, Ancona is a huge fan. Recently, she went to the Middle East for a study tour in Qatar and Morocco, “We studied Arabic, lived with host families, and did so many things that students my age can’t say they did,” she revealed.
The biggest impact CGS has had on Ancona, she claims, is the shift of perspective she’s experienced since her admission. She says, “CGS has 100% changed my perspective of the world. I never appreciated how different we all are in the world until I got to CGS.”
All in all, the benefits of being involved in CGS are many in number: whether it be the thrill of learning a new language, culture, enjoying study tours, or diversifying your friend group, the Center for Global Studies has it all.
Impressed by Abubo’s piece and curious as to how she had been one chosen from many suitable artists with profound works that I have seen propped up in art classrooms, I asked the Department Chair for Visual Arts, Mrs. Ritz Swain, what the selection process for art shows entail.
Swain told me that the students are selected for the district-wide art show for their work ethic, grade and how deserving they are for being recognized.
However, “the Brien McMahon High School art show, because we have more slots available, is really more about showing off the different levels of our students and really showing off creativity and talent. Like, work can be really creative, but not that skillful, and then some work is really skilled, but not that creative. So this show sort of shows you all of the aspects of art,” Swain explained.
On May 30th, from 5-7pm, the Brien McMahon High School art show will be taking place. Mrs. Ritz Swain says of the upcoming show, “I think it’s a good place to go to be inspired and a really great way to just be a part of the community.”
Not only that, students who wish to take an art class but are unsure of which class is right for them can see the work from photography, drawing, and more and choose accordingly.
In agreement with Swain, Abubo says, “When I went to this last art show, I saw a lot of really good art and I’m sure the next art show will have a lot more, too.”
Is it just me or did we all leave our toxic relationships in 2019? Yanderli Amarante (‘19) sure did. If you also did, I’m proud of you because it takes a lot to leave something and someone that you’ve known and been with for so long. It takes a few times leaving before realizing that that type of relationship isn’t what you deserve. Nearly 1.5 million students nationwide experience physical, emotional, and verbal abuse from a dating partner. Self-worth is something that everyone should have but doesn't. Yanderli Amarante found her worth during her last year of high school.
Q: Have you ever been in a toxic relationship?
A: Yes. The relationship was very toxic and draining. But I was in love and stayed longer than I should’ve.
Q: What is a toxic person to you?
A: Someone that blames you for every little thing. Everything would be your fault even if it wasn’t.
Q: When was the toxic relationship?
A: We started off as best friends for two years, then started dating for another two and a half years.
Q: Why did the relationship end?
A: It ended because we argued every day. Everyday it was something new. It got to the point where I didn’t want to argue anymore. It hurt me and I didn’t want to hurt anymore. He also did things behind my back, and I was not going to deal with that so I left.
Q: What does your self-worth mean to you?
A: At first I didn’t know what self worth was because I kept going back and believing him when he would tell me that he was the only guy that would like me and my body. It got to the point where I said I think I deserve more and decided to love myself. My self worth means a lot. Nowadays people are treating girls like they’re nothing, but in reality without us, boys would be lost
Q: Do you think boys are intimidated by your worth?
A: Boys don’t know girls worth until they tell them and show them. You have to let boys know your expectations and what you’re not going to deal with. Let them know that you’re not going to put up with the things you’ve done in the past.
Q: Could you ever do a toxic relationship again?
A: Never. I know better now. Toxic relationships drain you. It takes away your glow and your happiness. I need to maintain my happiness because i’ve been unhappy for so long.
Q:How do you want your next relationship to be different?
A: Obviously couples argue. But I don’t want to argue 24/7. That is not healthy. I want us to understand each other and communicate more because communication is key.
From watching Youtube videos everyday to two years of finally getting a perfect touch to her lip gloss, at age 16, Jada Morgan (‘20) made her dreams come true after creating her own lip gloss line.
As many would know, starting a business isn't easy at all with people bringing you down, a low income family, and balancing school, but Morgan did it.
Pastor Rolita James from A Passion For The Truth Church, inspired her to be “someone” as her story has much meaning to Morgan. Pastor Rolita James began from gangs and a struggling life to a successful travel agent. Morgan also wants her story to be heard to benefit others to follow their path onto finding your dedication and passion.
On April 26, Jada Morgan launched her website, JustJade, which was a special day for her.
When asked how Morgan would describe herself, she said she is determined, divergent, and dedicated. It came to stress, worrisome, but it all paid off at the end.
“When I saw the the first person who bought my product, I couldn't believe it. I started screaming and jumping. It felt amazing that someone was interested on what I dedicated myself to.”
Morgan’s business has just started, but it's only the beginning of great things to come. “For the future of my business I will open a boutique which will be worldwide.” Her favorite product is named “Joy” after her mother (Joyia), this product isn't just a beautiful color, has a strong meaning to it. “Stay positive and joyful no matter going on in life.” Morgan wishes to help women who are struggling in life by hiring them to give them an opportunity to get them out of state of being broke. “I know what it's like having money issues and not being able to live life because money puts a bound on people.”
Message From Jada Morgan’20’: It's never too late or too early to start your dreams. Stay focused, stay driven and you’ll be unstoppable.
Shop at her website, all products are organic ingredients for natural beauty. More products are coming soon. Summer is coming in and so are body sprays and lip scrubs. For the fall season chapsticks, lipstick and more. Stay tuned to see what else Morgan will create next.
I was scrolling through Instagram one day and I came across a post on a throwback account, @VelvetCoke. It was a compilation of what high schoolers wore in the 60s, taken from LIFE Magazine.
As I scrolled through the account more, I discovered that this account had posts of the same idea but not just of high school students, but of people everyday. There were posts of people in the busy streets of New York City in the 60s, all the way to the rich kids of Beverly Hills in the 2000s.
As I looked at what people wore, I started to notice the styling difference, the different accessories, and even the makeup looks from each decade. With this in mind, I came up with the idea of doing the same but a 2019-present version. Here are few snapshots of what students wear everyday in
The most outfits I’ve seen throughout McMahon are very casual. Many students seem to go for the “laid-back” type of outfits, which you are more comfortable but still look presentable, as pictured here. A typical casual outfit consists of jeans, (ripped or just plain), a basic sweater or t-shirt and sneakers.
Taking a look more closely, especially the style among girls, I started to notice that shoes play a vital part in an outfit. Shoes are the part of the outfit that people tend to notice first. The most common are, Vans, Converse in various styles (ex. color variations, high and low tops), and Adidas Superstars.
These shoes are the most popular among the students in McMahon, but fashion does come with a price. Vans’ prices can range from $50-$80, Converse’s prices range from $50-$100, and Adidas´ prices are from $80-180.
In the picture on the left, we see a few McMahon students with Chuck Taylors and Adidas Superstars on. These are known to be the “go-to” shoes because no matter what outfit you chose to wear, any of the shoes will match.
Now talking about the boys of McMahon, many seemed to go for the athletic and laid-back look. Many boys tend to wear basketball shorts or sweatpants and a t-shirt or a sweatshirt. It is a very comfortable look, especially when you’re sitting in two-hour classes all day.
As seen in the picture above, here one McMahon boy. Obviously, he is wearing basketball shorts which is most commonly seen on many of our guys and we can’t blame them. It looks very comfortable!
Sometimes, boys wear jackets over their sweatshirts since it does get cold out and also, in the the building as well.
On good days, many students like to show off their style. Inspired by the Instagram, “street-style,” many go on social media for outfit inspiration. Designers like Virgil Abloh, the creative director of the brand, OFF-WHITE, stepped up the idea of street-style as his designs are seen on celebrities like Bella Hadid, Justin Bieber and many more. Many McMahon students really abide that kind of style and it adds a little uniqueness to the typical everyday high-school wear.
There are two types of ¨Instagram Street-Style.¨ There is the “Parisian It-Girl” look which the outfit focuses only on neutrals and nude colors. The other type is the “NYC Street-Style Look” in which, it consists of overlaying shirts and sweaters, cargo-typed pants and ripped jeans. Many influencers come from New York City and are the main inspirations for street-style.
Taking photos of McMahon students’ outfits really made me notice the difference, and the evolution of fashion in school and in our society in general. Looking back, fashion will always be evolving and I can’t wait to see what it would be like 20 years from now.
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.”
By: Bryanna Perez
The South Norwalk pop teen sensation artists (South Boyz or SB), who were last seen in an interview with PrideTime in October of 2018, have now hit the billboard charts of the local community, aka SoundCloud, as viewership increasingly rises.
Back in 2018, three boys with big aspirations and goals decided to create a home music studio using their oldest pair of apple headphones and a macbook laptop.
For South Boyz, making music turned into a serious endeavor. What was at first a fun hobby quickly became a way of life. Going forward, they want teens from all over the county to enjoy what they believe is good quality rap music.
Rick Arce ('19) photo credits to Marco Ceci
Back in January, the boys were invited to be the opening act for local artist, Kirarc, at a small venue in Darien.
“I felt honored that somebody would come out of their way and just give me that opportunity. It made me feel like I was doing something right,” Alan Montgomery (‘19), who goes by the name, Creflo, said.
However, because of the fact the the Venue had found out that the band was from Norwalk, CT rather than Darien residents, they shut down the concert leaving lots of fans, including the artist themselves, disappointed.
“Basically, it got turned down because too many people knew about it, it blew up. A couple of Stamford kids’ mom found out what we were doing and it became a bigger problem then what it was. With that, the owner of the venue in Darien found out that we were kids from Norwalk and after that they didn't let us perform,” Andrew Trujillo (‘19), who goes by the name SB Drew, explained.
However, that didn't stop them, the boys brought their ideas together on how to involve their local listeners into creating a fandom. Some of the ideas that they have in the process is creating merchandise and ‘clean’ versions of their music to be played in all settings.
With the failure of being able to open up a concert due to misunderstandings, the boys took this time to figure of what they needed to do in order to become more successful and eventually try again.
“We had to improve on our background knowledge on rap music and it's origin with the development. We structure our music way better now, and we found new flows by being able to count beats,” Andrew mentioned.
The founding fathers of South Boyz, Alan Montgomery (‘19), Andrew Trujillo (‘19), and twin brother Carlos Trujillo (‘19), decided to build notoriety by promoting themselves more on social media and SoundCloud.
One of the major changes that has been made to South Boyz was the addition of three other kids who took their talent to the test.
“Our new members of SB are; Brian Andrade (‘19) (SB Brazy), Will Acuna (‘19) (SB Supreme), and JR (‘19) (SB Flexx), a high school student from New Canaan High School.” Andrew said.
While music that includes these new artists are still in the process of being recorded, the boys are taking a step further on focusing on their future music careers and goals.
After a couple of songs were shared across the internet, the boys renovated their studio and upgraded on equipment.
Carlos, who goes by the name SB Los, has been playing lacrosse for three years in highschool. He once had a love for the sport, however, as he got older different passions and emotions started to set in.
For Carlos, music became more important which meant that sacrificing time had to become a main priority.
“I quit lax to start working again and i'm still saving up money to get more things for the studio,” Carlos mentioned.
So far, the boys have saved up enough money to buy two new speakers, an audio interface, a new mic, a new midi keyboard, and they're in the process of renovating a small area in the house of South Boyz member, Alan Montgomery.
Outside of school the boys are very involved with sports and work. Andrew is the captain of the Brien McMahon Lacrosse team and both Alan and Carlos are picking up more shifts at both Chipotle and Rowayton Pizza.
“We’ve grown a lot as a group, more and more people want in on what we’re developing because to me, SB isn't just rap, it's a group that influences others to do what they truly want in life,” Andrew said.
To listen to more of their music you can follow them on SoundCloud at South Boyz.
Check out South Boyz’s new song, “City Boyz.”
During this past spring break, I, being an avid railfan and train enthusiast, was euphoric when offered the opportunity to travel on the United States’ newest passenger railroad service - Virgin Trains USA’s Brightline.
As the only privately owned and operating passenger railroad in the U.S. (All other passenger train services, such as our local Metro-North Railroad here in Connecticut, are owned by the government), Brightline represents a positive step forward for the profitable existence of rail travel - in the manner of Europe and Japan - in America.
Operating in Florida, Brightline runs from West Palm Beach to Miami, with one intermediate stop in Fort Lauderdale. It officially opened on January 13, 2018, and has planned an extension to Orlando International Airport in 2022 - with future plans indicating further expansions to Walt Disney World and Tampa Bay. Furthermore, in September 2018, Brightline announced their purchase of XpressWest, a private company that planned on establishing a higher-speed rail line between Las Vegas, Nevada and Victorville, California.
In an intriguing turn of events, Richard Branson’s Virgin Group, a multinational conglomerate, purchased a small minority stake in Brightline in November 2018. The company announced that Brightline would be rebranded into Virgin Trains USA, which, according to the South Florida Sun Sentinel, is due to Virgin’s greater brand recognition.
Through the purchase, Brightline was able to raise $1.8 billion, which is almost enough capital to complete the Orlando extension. An official rebranding of Brightline into Virgin Trains USA occurred on April 4, 2019, with the MiamiCentral station being redecorated in an extensive red color scheme to match Virgin’s palette. However, by the time I rode Brightline, on April 17, the rolling stock, merchandise and West Palm Beach and Fort Lauderdale stations had yet to be rebranded.
My journey on Brightline consisted of a round trip between West Palm Beach and Fort Lauderdale, where my family planned on taking a day trip to visit some of the latter city’s shops and restaurants. When searching schedules, I was surprised to notice that Brightline trains operated with great frequency, with only a 1 or 2 hour gap between most departing trains at the West Palm Beach station. Another pleasant surprise was the relative inexpensiveness of tickets, with the cheapest “Smart” class averaging at about $17 one way per seat - less than a round-trip Metro-North ticket from Rowayton (the closest station to Brien McMahon High School) to Grand Central Terminal.
Brightline’s stations are all very modern, having opened within the last year. The structures are large and (aptly) bright, highlighted by a white and gray color scheme, with accents of yellow (soon to be replaced by Virgin’s red tone). The interior was minimalist, with an open space in the ticket hall and massive windows looking out on the tracks and streets of West Palm Beach. The building was very clean and clearly well maintained. I could not help but notice the stark contrast between Brightline’s bright, clean and comfortable trains and buildings, and the rigid, bare and (typically) dingy interiors of Metro-North rolling stock and stations.
When purchasing tickets on the touch-screen kiosks, we were assisted by friendly staff members. This was of great help due to the our relatively late arrival to the station, with our 11:30 a.m. train to Fort Lauderdale departing in only a few minutes. We were also confused with Brightline’s requirement to input all the names and birthdates of all travelers into the ticketing system (although inputting your email or other personal details were not required), but were nonetheless able to print our tickets successfully.
We then proceeded up an escalator and through a security checkpoint, where guards ran our bags through an airport-esque conveyor belt scanner (but without the extensive lines that characterize airport security). With only a few minutes to board, we did not have a great deal of time to enjoy the lounge/waiting area open to all customers, which also features a cafe.
The platforms, like the station interior, were clean and open. Announcements alerted us to board the already-arrived southbound train, which we proceeded to board. The rolling stock - SCB-40 Siemens Chargers locomotives, with custom multiple unit (MU) coaches - were colored black and yellow, and were seemingly free of the dirt and grime that seem to cling to trains in the northeast.
The train interiors featured relaxed environment, with a blue carpet and light gray seats (in effect, the exact opposite of the claustrophobic pressurized tube known as an airplane). Digital displays advertising Branson’s Virgin brands and providing information about the train were located sparingly throughout the cabin.
My family found seats at a table in the middle of the cabin (despite our tickets assinging us to different seats, a conductor gave us permission to move). The train was nearly empty, allowing us to relax in our comfortable seats as the train sped away. A server with a cart provided alcohol, snacks and drinks for purchase (although “Select” passengers can get unlimited snacks for free). The train itself was somewhat rocky, although not enough to spill any drinks. A security officer swept the train multiple times. Before we knew it, we had arrived in Fort Lauderdale in 37 minutes (faster than the 50+ minutes that we would have had to endure in a sweaty car on the highway).
After spending the day in Fort Lauderdale, we arrived back at the downtown station early, where we purchased our return tickets. We also spent a great deal of time in the station lounge, which was characterized by a plethora of modern seating overlooking the city area. An announcement alerted us to our return train, which we promptly boarded.
To our dismay, we found the West Palm Beach-bound train packed with people. Furthermore, our default tickets had separated us across the coach. While I believe this was just an oversight we made when purchasing tickets, it was still inconvenient to be split up, and this could certainly be an issue for families with young children. Regardless, we made it safely back to West Palm Beach, again enjoying the relatively short ride.
In short, Brightline/Virgin Trains USA is a clean, comfortable, stylish and affordable way to travel on the South Florida coast (despite some very minor flaws). The service, clearly inspired by European high-speed rail, travels at a rate faster than driving, and conveniently brings you to the downtown of each city. I hope to utilize this service again in the future, and I am excited to see what Branson is able to accomplish in expanding Virgin Trains USA.
A day in the life with Tyrese Brown is always an adventure when you have him on social media.
Tyrese Brown (‘20) isn't your average high school student. His personality immediately catches your attention. He's fun, outgoing friendly, and very outspoken about his opinion. Brown loves interacting and meeting new people which is what makes his social media personality stand out.
Tyrese’s social media account, Snapchat, has tons of followers/friends. On snapchat, he keeps them updated on his daily events. He posts positive quotes and things to keep people going which I find very important because today you see a lot of tearing people down and there's often humiliation on social media. Brown still brings out the positive in social media and actually help people have a better day.