Many people would like to know how to fix a car, but have no clue on how to do so. Brien McMahon High School will soon have a mechanic program that will allow high school students to learn the basics on how to get a car running again.
In order to begin the process of this program, Scott Hurwitz, McMahon principal, is finding ways to stay organized so students can understand the steps as they go. Since McMahon has no space for a car inside, nor does it have the materials that are needed, Black Bridge Motors, an auto shop, has agreed to take 15 students after school who will take a bus over to Black Bridge shop and be taught maintenance.
According to Hurwitz, 50 students want to get involved in the program, but because there isn't enough room in the shop to fit all of the students, he wants to rearrange field trips to mechanic shops and set up internships. Scott Gilbert, from Black Bridge Motors, has an idea that the students can raise money to buy a used car that doesn't run and let the kids work on it to make it work. That way, they can have the chance to bring the car to auto shows and promote the work that the students have done. Although ideas have been proposed, it is not likely that they will happen due to the rearrangements teachers are doing.
Edward Grillo, who is a physics teacher as well as the supervisor of the Robotics club, and William Pierce, Art teacher, and David Pascoe, the chief of ROTC, will all be supervising the program. They will be collaborating to create a guideline. “I believe cultivating programs such as this help broaden our school’s ability to provide meaningful and relevant real-world experiences for our students.” says Grillo.
Plenty of students are unsure of what they want to do with their life after high school. Many of those students are either doing poorly in their classes because they have no goal to accomplish or they don't have any motivation for themselves to get where they want to be. Hurwitz has proclaimed as: “What I want for them is to have an attempt to try to create a vision for their postsecondary life for students who are thinking they want to become a mechanic. Our idea is for the kids to spend half a day in school and the rest somewhere working with their hands.”
The majority of the students here at McMahon are book smart, they have good grades, they have their goal set, or they know what they need in order of accomplishing their goal. On the other hand, many students learn by doing things hands-on. “ I have a family member who was a horrible student in high school, and who ended up dropping out. He is now working on placing sprinklers in public spaces and makes over $100,000 a year. When he was in high school, he couldn't pass any math or science test, but now that all of the objectives are involved in something that he enjoys doing...he is now teaching new sprinkler fitters how to do this work,” says Hurwitz.
This program is useful for students who would rather fix their car themselves, instead of paying a mechanic. It can also give the students an opportunity to strive at school with the help of techniques from the shop.
Whenever I was asked if I was attending McMahon’s production of Mamma Mia, my punctual “yup” was always followed by an eager “which weekend are you seeing it?” Prior to investigating for this article, it was easy to reply with a naive “why does it matter?”
But it does, because despite Mamma Mia being McMahon’s only theatrical performance of the year, all four female lead characters are double casted, resulting in two incredibly different shows.
Double-casting is when two actors are both cast as the same role and take turns playing the role on alternating performances. Unlike an understudy, both people are able to perform the role regardless of the absence of one.
Handed an incredibly talented group of girls during auditions back in November, it was no question as to why Frank Arcari felt inclined to put together two completely different casts of female leads for this year’s big production of Mamma Mia. This is the sole reason the four female lead characters are double casted.
“I had a talented enough group of girls that I could literally pick two, three, even four casts if I wanted to. And they could all pull it off, but in different ways,” said Arcari.
Being a female heavy show, only the lead female characters are double casted, and they’re able to come together to bring their character to life; bouncing ideas of a scenes execution and working together reveals its benefits.
“You get ideas from each other…Like when we start blocking the scenes, we did it very differently but we’ll be like ‘Oh I like that’ー’I like that.’ And another time, I took one of Lauren’s dance moves and she took one of mine, and it worked out really well,” said Victoria Papadopoulos (‘21), who plays Sophie Sheridan alongside her double cast Lauren Kelly (‘21).
Under other circumstances, being a double cast for someone entails you help one other in a way no one else in the cast would be able to.
“For me, I missed the first two weeks of rehearsal cause I was at a study tour for CGS. So it was a relief that someone else was my part and could help teach me everything I missed,” said senior Olivia Lapine who plays Rosie alongside her double cast senior Anastacia Negron.
While being a blessing, a double cast also comes with its difficulties of an unsaid competitiveness and insecurities of being compared to one another.
When asked about some of these difficulties with her Rosie double cast Olivia Lapine, Negron responded with, “definitely competition and the idea that you wanna be better than your double cast.”
However, Arcari anticipated this. According to him, everyone except the Sophie and Donna's were unaware of which cast they were going to be apart of. As a result, the pairs of double casts needed to understand they had to perform to their best and that was the most important thing.
“They found out three weeks before the show. They couldn’t form up in teams, couldn’t be competitive to be in ‘this cast or that’. They just have to get along and learn from one another and perform their best,” says Arcari.
Regardless of their differences, it was important for each performer to understand that they were on that stage as a result of their love for theater, and less about being better than the other.
“It all works out once you come to terms with the idea that you are two different people and you play the role differently. We realized that we shouldn’t be competitive, but instead we should want to push each other to be the best,” continued Negron.
The Cast that opened last week on March 8 and 9 at 7:30, and will perform again on March 16 for the matinee at 3:00 includes…
The Cast that performed this past matinee March 9 at 3:00 and will continue on this upcoming weekend for performances on March 15 and 16 at 7:30 include…
“We do the shows so differently, like when you come it’s two completely different shows. It’s so exciting, and that’s one of my favorite parts of this show: nobody plays the part the same. Even the people who are single casted, they do it differently,” said Lauren Kelly.
If you’re on the edge of whether or not to see both casts, definitely go! With a different dynamic each time, you’re sure to have a blast every time!
“Sheep shove, sheep grunt, sheep don’t think to look up front,” proclaimed BMHS Principal Scott Hurwitz.
This intriguing statement was read on Friday, March 1, 2019, at Brookside Elementary School. Students from Brien McMahon High School’s Senior Adolescent Literature class, led by English teacher Dani Brown, trekked up (a largely unshoveled) Highland Avenue to Brookside, in order to partake in the district-wide “Read Across America” event.
This event entailed a high schooler, administrator, or district official reading a noted piece of children’s literature (including the works of Dr. Seuss) to a class of elementary schoolers from Brookside. Notable attendees included Hurwitz, Roton Middle School Principal Joseph Vellucci, Norwalk Chief of School Operations Frank Costanzo, Anthony Allison of Norwalk ACTS and Janine Goss, Norwalk Director of Humanities.
“Today is a day that you can spotlight the great things that actually go on every day here,” says Brookside Principal Sandra Faioes. “So everyday here, we try to get kids excited about reading, everyday we try to have kids apply the skills that we are teaching them in different ways, so today is a culminating event that captures what we try to do here… literacy and promoting literacy is really at the heart of the school, and making reading exciting, just because we know how important being a good reader is, how it ties into being a good writer, and how it is that you rely on those skills when you start getting into complex content areas, when you go to high school.”
The walls and ceiling of the school were lined with colorful decorations. Inspirational posters depicting the likeness of the Cat in the Hat and other noted characters in children’s literature adorned the sides of the library. A copious amount of books were situated on the shelves of the room, while a unique group of students and adults mingled nearby. The atmosphere was cheery, jovial, and positive - which served in stark contrast to the bleak, overcast weather outside.
“I’m kinda happy. Its cool that I am a high school student coming here to read to kids, having a good environment with the children,” said McMahon reader Thaddeus Burrus (‘19).
Following a breakfast in the Brookside library for the readers, the elementary school students were funneled into an assembly with librarian Audra Good, who introduced the readers and PrideTime reporters to the school populace. Afterwards, she announced “Charlotte's Web” as this year’s “One Book for Brookside,” an annual event in which a selected book will be distributed for free to all students. The announcement was met with a very high level of joy and enthusiasm from the elementary schoolers.
“They are so excited, and having that with the One Book kickoff, they looked forward to that reveal today… it’s great,” said Principal Faioes. Roton Middle School Principal Vellucci was similarly impressed. “I just said to the secretary that it's so wonderful to see the kids be so excited about reading, and I’m really more used to the older kids. So it was great to come in and see the enthusiasm for reading.”
After the assembly, the guests were led to their assigned classroom, where they read their piece of literature. “It went really well, the kids enjoyed the book a lot. I think it was because [the book included] dinosaurs, and the dinosaurs were really colorful. They were excited to see pictures,” said Burrus.
Following his reading, Chief of School Operations Frank Costanzo was pleased with the day’s events. “I don’t remember doing it when I was in elementary school, because we don’t celebrate enough in school… it’s good for kids to just have something different, different people speaking to them, reading to them. It’s something we celebrate in Norwalk and will continue to.”
Janine Goss, K-12 Director of Humanities within Norwalk Public Schools, thinks that Read Across America Day is an important event to put on. “It’s very rare that we as a district can all come together because we are such a large district. To come together for one purpose, in something that really matters, and this is something that we all have in common - reading is so important, it’s something that we all love, and that we can help to inspire all of our kids.”
The choir room was swarming with anxious students as they awaited their turn to audition in front of the Chambers or the Women’s Ensemble Choir.
Friday, February 22 was the beginning of week long auditions to determine next year’s choir placement.
The school requires at least one art credit; choir is a full year course that is able to fulfil that credit if singing is something you enjoy. You aren’t required more than year of choir to acquire your art credit, but for students who are looking to be apart of a more advanced level ensemble, these auditions are mandatory.
The four choirs in McMahon can be compared to a hierarchy in which: Chamber Choir and Women’s Ensemble are on the top tier as being the elite ensembles, advanced choir is in the middle, and freshman choir as being on the bottom and where most first year choir students are placed.
Those looking to climb the choirs must undergo these these auditions.
Choir director Frank Arcari opens up the auditions to all his students and provides any student ability to audition into these higher choirs.
Arcari sent out a listing of students on all his Google Classrooms on the night of February 21. Next to the names is either a “first period” or “fourth period” indicating which time Arcari is hoping to see the student for their audition.
B day block one and four are during the higher choir classes: first period is Chambers and fourth period being Women’s Ensemble. Students are expected to sing a song in front of their assigned ensemble; this year’s song is titled “My Spirit Sang All Day” by Gerald Finzi.
“When I first found out I was like: ‘Wow great, I have to sing in front of the entire Women’s Ensemble, and that’s terrifying.’ I spent at least like two hours practicing,” says Sarah Chute, a freshman choir student who was told to sing for fourth period.
Chambers and Women’s Ensemble looks at specific critiques like…
The student sings in a quartet, or a group of four singers which are comprised of a soprano, alto, tenor, and bass. These four singers must hold their part during the entire song and ultimately should come together to create a harmonious sound.
Depending on how the student does, Chamber Choir or Women’s Ensemble (depending on which period the student is auditioning in) discusses whether that individual belongs to Advanced, Women’s, or Chamber Choir.
“Everyone in Women’s and Chambers has gone through this process. I still had to sing a solo in front of advance choir last year. The auditions are not a big deal. You just have to go in, have fun, and keep a smile on your face.” says Chamber Choir member Lauren Kelly (‘21), who is able to empathize with the nerves the entire process invokes.
In the end of the day, the final placement of the students is Arcari’s call. However, he believes discussing an individual as a group teaches his students what to look for when auditioning, and more importantly: to create a passionate spirit amongst the ensembles.
“Collaborative music making is reliant upon other people’s performance, so if they don’t have drive or ambition, it’s not only affecting them but everyone else. If you’re not good at math, that’s on you. But what this is group project every minute of everyday,” says Arcari with regards to the importance of keeping a passion amidst his choir’s hearts.
Over time the idea of sports has changed dramatically. Now McMahon offers a club called Unified Sports which gives kids with special needs the opportunity to play sports and compete against other schools.
They usually start their day off with a warm-up and stretching, then some dribbling drills, and take some shots then end with a scrimmage.
Unified Sports started about four years ago at McMahon. They compete in sports such as soccer and basketball. The team competes with differents schools that have the same program.
“From what I can remember we’ve played Stamford, Masuk, Ludlowe, Norwalk High and definitely a few others,” says senior captain John Gatt.
Most kids enjoy different parts of the club whether competing, training or interacting even if you've been a member only a year.
“This is my first year and it's been a great experience so far because my favorite part of it all is playing and hanging with the kids,” says Julia Bale (‘21).
“I've been apart of the club for two years. My favorite part of the club is bonding with the players because it's the best feeling to see them in the hallways and watching their faces light up,” says Meghan Sisk (‘21).
Unified Sports creates an environment where kids can feel free to express themselves and get to meet new people to create bonds with.
“I would say I developed a special bond with Ralph Laguerre, we would text and facetime and even though he graduated last year, we still keep in touch,” said Gatt.
Unified Sports connects to special-ed by giving them the opportunity to play in team sports that otherwise they wouldn’t normally participate in. It is all about connecting students with and without disabilities through team sport.
Lights, camera, action! Emily Rooney is a sophomore at Brien McMahon High School in CGS. With the upcoming production of “Mamma Mia!” Emily has been cast with her first-time lead in a BMHS play as the role of Donna Sheridan.
“Any sort of person would love this show because the music is so appealing to all audiences,” says Rooney.
She stated with confidence in her eyes. With fun songs for kids like Super Trooper, Dancing Queen, or Mamma Mia! and more for adults who were around during the whole Sonny & Cher time (1960s-1970) who would enjoy songs like Waterloo, Voulez Vous and The Winner Takes it All.
“I think it appeals to all age ranges, especially teenage girls because it takes on the fantasy of having some guys chase after you and finally having to end up with one of them,” Rooney says while laughing out her words.
With Rooney playing the role of Donna there’s no doubt that there are some similarities between the two.
“Donna and I are both very much stubborn and can hold grudges, but also the fact that Donna just wants to have fun and I just want to have fun too connects us there also,” she says.
Donna has many good and bad qualities which makes her the unique character she is which gives Rooney a lot of fun while playing her.
“I definitely love the fact that Donna is a free spirit and how she always wants to have fun but she doesn’t know how to act when Sam comes back after being in love with him for 21 years after he broke her heart, like calm down sis!” Rooney says, fed up with her actions.
The expectations Emily Rooney set for herself is one of her biggest challenges and that some others around her also have. Being a sophomore in a young cast for a high school play there’s a lot to uphold.
“There’s still a lot of seniors whom I look up to and some alumni whom I know are coming back that I definitely don’t want to disappoint,” Rooney said anxiously. Trying to present herself as a leader is one of the hardest things to work within the production.
Mamma Mia! is a female-dominated musical when it comes to the leads. If not cast as Donna, Rooney has a different approach of where she would like to see herself in the play.
“I would definitely want to play Tanya because of her song ‘Does Your Mother Know’, and it’s just so fun”.
With this being her first lead role in a McMahon musical, she is still highly experienced as a sophomore. She was featured in BMHS production of “Hairspray” as a part of the ensemble. She also does Crystal Theater year-round, mainly in the summer, and takes part in a lot of their shows. Along with all her acting and singing experience between the two, she also takes vocal lessons with Joe Santaniello at “Santaniello Vocal Studio” in Norwalk, CT.
“I think how our school's production of Mamma Mia! makes it unique is through all of the character relationships we do a lot of extra studying into why would this person say that and how does this affect their relationship. So I think the cast members can connect to their character more and to the person, they play opposite with and that chemistry on stage will set Brien McMahon aside from everybody else.”
With BMHS bringing the Mamma Mia! production to life we get a taste of the talent here many have yet to see.
Brien McMahon’s School Governance Council (SGC) is a committee that consists of multiple students, teachers, administrators and parents. According to the Connecticut Department of Education, “School Governance Councils provide a remarkable opportunity for Connecticut schools to engage with families and community members in the essential dialogue about student achievement and preparing all students for success."
Meeting approximately once a month, the SGC includes members such as Class of 2019 President Victoria McCaffrey, Principal Scott Hurwitz, McMahon teachers such as Ms. Tom, Mr. Seuch and Mr. Scalise, and parents such as Lisa Dunn or Amy Rooney.
On February 26, 2019, the School Governance Council met and discussed topics such as the school budget, the UCONN health report, the Black Bridge Motors Program and the Comprehensive School Climate Inventory Survey.
Despite the absence of several members - notably Class of 2020 President Olivia Bartilucci (whose seat was temporarily filled by junior Caitlyn Hocker) and Scalise - the School Governance Council had a busy agenda.
Following a vote on the Excellence in Education Award, Hocker promised that she would take a leadership role in an upcoming school grounds cleanup on April 27th. Also discussed was the school budget, which has been under scrutiny by the Norwalk Common Council. “What I am hearing is the initial look is that the budget will not be funded at the full level by the Common Council… there will be approximately a $1.9 million budget cut,” said Hurwitz.
Furthermore, SGC councilmembers deliberated on improving parent participation in the Comprehensive School Climate Survey. “The Comprehensive School Climate survey is the survey we give out every school year to students, staff and parents… Last year we had 154 parents respond, less than 10% of our total parent group... Students will do it through a variety of classes,” clarified McMahon’s principal.
“You have to tell [parents] why it's important for them too,” asserted Ms. Tom.
As a final measure, the results of the UCONN Health Survey of BMHS’s air quality were discussed. Seuch believes that the air ducts in the locker rooms are original to the building, and the ducts throughout the school have not been cleaned in the last 15 years. Other issues that hinder the air quality of the school include birds nesting in ventilation, and uncleaned tunnels (circa 1962) beneath the building.
“There has been mold in this building,” Principal Hurwitz says. “The rooms had not been cleaned. Someone went back in that room in August, and saw mold growing on the desks. The area was bagged and cleaned by professional cleaners. It it had been left longer, we may have had a bad situation. But there is no sense that that is what the problem is here [in regards to the UCONN report].”
Regardless, members of the School Governance Council are hopeful that their efforts are improving the school - as demonstrated by McCaffrey’s crusade to repair McMahon’s bathrooms last fall.
“[It was] very encouraging in today’s meeting, I think we are moving in the right direction,” said Principal Hurwitz.
For students at Brien McMahon High School, eating lunch in the cafeteria is an inevitable and unavoidable aspect of their daily education. Every day, hundreds of teenagers who make up the body of our student population filter down to lunch in four “blocks”, each a half-hour long, to eat and socialize without the imposing adult supervision one deals with in class.
Naturally, with such a large daily influx of constrained and claustrophobic teenagers, each lunch wave tends to leave a large mess of discarded food, various spills, overturned trays and other substances.
Brien McMahon High School employs a team of custodians that vigorously attempt to clean the cafeteria during the limited time they have between each lunch shift.
“[We only have] about three minutes,” says head custodian Charlie Wyatt. “[When] they added the fourth block, it went from five minutes to basically between two-and-a-half, three minutes. So all we can do between lunch waves is basically run through and wipe off all the tables. We don’t have time to sweep the floors.”
What is puzzling, however, is a noticeable, long-term issue with cleanliness in the cafeteria, that clearly has not been taken care of by the custodial staff. It is not uncommon to see plastic chairs coated in gum or crumbs, uncleaned tables with unknown substances pooling on it, and perhaps most disturbing: the undersides of tables and counter-tops, which features an assortment of rotting, weeks-old food and gum.
Nauseating, isn’t it? “Yep,” admitted junior Aqui Diamandis. These concerns are not unjustified, either - ECube Labs warn that uncleaned garbage is an “ideal breeding ground for bacteria, insects and vermin” that “increase the risk of you contracting with salmonella, which causes typhoid fever, food poisoning, enteric fever, gastroenteritis, and other major illnesses.”
“The undersides of the tables are scraped every summer, as part of the summer work we do. We don’t scrape under the tables during the year, unless we have extra time during one of the breaks, like spring break, or what have you, and we notice that there is a problem. Then we take care of extra stuff like that - this is not part of the daily cleaning of the tables. However, we might want to encourage kids not to put the gum under the tables. They are defacing property in this building at an extreme level,” Wyatt discloses.
Gum on the underside of a table I frequent during my lunch block
McMahon’s custodials staff are plagued with other issues as well. “We don’t have enough custodial staff to sweep the floors,” states the head janitor. Furthermore, students have been defacing the bathrooms - “tearing the hand towels down of the wall, stuffing paper towels in the toilets, causing a flood - that’s what one of my custodians is cleaning now” - which, in the words of BMHS administrator Marie Allen, “takes away from [janitors] doing their job,” as they are forced to move away from their assigned duties in order to clean the restrooms.
Yet another problem that custodians at McMahon face is a lack of effective cleaning products. “We have a very strong disinfectant called Q.T.3, which we use to disinfect areas - when there is vomit, or spraying down the doorknobs at night. Right now, that’s our only defense, as far as diseases are concerned. The green products are terrible - I don’t like the green products... We’re not allowed to use [Bleach] in schools. Bleach is the number one cleaning agent on the planet. And it should be used in schools and hospitals, but they no longer allow it. So they give us these ‘green products’... [that] simply aren’t that good. I’m all for preserving nature, but going green inside of a building is just not a good idea.”
In the future, one can hope that BMHS’s custodial staff receives the resources necessary to do their jobs to the best of their ability. As for the unclean areas in the cafeteria? Wyatt has promised that he will see to cleaning under the countertop as soon as he can. “I’ll take care of it… it will be cleaned.”
As a final message, he pleads with students and staff to not come to school if they are sick. “Take a day off, [just] take a day off."
How does your style represent you? Can you match these shoes to the staff member? Leave a comment down below with your guess!
Staff Member #1
This staff member enjoys bodybuilding in their free time.
Staff Member #2
This staff member likes “The Grateful Dead.”
Staff Member #3
This staff member is in a band.
Staff Member #4
This staff member says that they have the most plants in their room in all of McMahon.
Staff Member #5
This staff member likes the Boston Red Sox and snowboarding.
Q: when was the club established?
A: ”The club was established a while ago, under another name. The club was originally called the Gay- Straight Alliance. I joined this club my sophomore year.” Jax Garcia (‘19)
Q: What is the purpose of the club?
A: “The purpose of the club is to make a safe space for students who may not feels like they are accepted either at home or at school” Says Dan Turnbull (‘21). “The club can be used to get educated on LGBTQ news and getting involved in the community. Also the club allows students to make friend that are similar to them”. Says Garcia (‘19)
Q: What are some of the challenges you face as a club?
A: “One of many challenges we face as a club is talking about the different homophobia and transphobia that goes on in school or in the community. Another challenge we face as a club is promoting ourselves so people know about the club,” Says Turnbull. In the past, we have had our posters ripped off the wall by students who may not understand what our club or just the LGBTQ community is all about.
Q: What does promotion look like for the club?
A: We put up posters around the school, as of recently we got a lot of better with that because we weren’t doing a lot of advertising at point in time. Administration is also a very supportive of us, accepted and supporting us.
Q: Describe what a typical G.S.A meeting looks like?
A: First, we all will come in after the bell rings at the end of the day. Then, we all sign in and once everyone gets settled in, we will start to discuss a topic that we have planned out. For an example, in today’s meeting we will talk about LGBTQ health which we basically talk about how to stay healthy. Our club consists on watching movies, playing games, and doing all activities LGBTQ related.
Q: Why should one join the GSA?
A: I think one should join the GSA because it’s a way to make new friends, get educated on things you weren’t aware about in the LGBTQ community. Even if you are not apart of the LGBTQ community, no worries everyone is welcomed because you can make new alliance and have friends that are different from you.
Q: Any future plans?
A: “Yes, we are currently preparing a presentation for administration, we feel like the school provides sensitivity training on many things except the LGBTQ community, so our goal is to provide that,” says Garcia (‘19) and Turnbull (‘21) which will focus on giving them a better understanding of LGBTQ students. We plan on presenting it sometime in April. We look forward to it. We also are working with the Triangle Community Center (TCC), an LGBTQ Organization based out of Norwalk, CT.
Everyone is welcome to join the Gender Sexuality Alliance club, they meet every Friday at 2:15 in room 2051!!!
In an effort to drive up sales of the Brien McMahon High School yearbook, students in Mr. Scalise’s IB Business Management HL class are developing a special kiosk as a centralized location for yearbook resources.
“It’s a very good application of business,” says Scalise. “Also, there is a little bit of creativity… come up with your own idea, what will appeal to the kids?”
Last school year, 325 books were sold; at the time of this report, 217 have been sold this year, with it currently priced at $80.00. Scalise hopes to improve sales by roughly 25%, to 400 books sold.
“We actually have a real goal, and the more we sell, the more affordable the book is for next year… There is a little bit of a fear that if we don’t move the sales, we’re going to be in debt, and then if we were in debt every year, eventually we’re going to have to stop [the yearbook].”
Spearheaded by group members Kayla Cocchia, Sean Notley, Tatyanna Kelly and myself, the kiosk, located in the main hallway across from the library, will conveniently offer students multiple resources to assist in the yearbook-purchasing process. This includes forms for purchasing the yearbook, an online code, and cut-out pages from older yearbooks on display.
“If people have an interactive space where they can learn more information about the yearbook in a creative way, it will create more interest around the yearbook,” says Cocchia.
Additionally, flyers will be placed around the school, directing students and visitors towards the kiosk. Decorations and other locational indicators will be placed in the surrounding area, including a set of paper feet heading into Mr. Scalise’s classroom (where yearbook forms are returned). Notley also plans on creating a “sculpture” to compliment the yearbook stand.
According to current plans, the unmanned kiosk will open sometime before Friday, February 8th, and remain until the deadline for yearbook purchases arrives on Thursday, February 28th. If you are looking to purchase a yearbook, forms will be available at the new stand; alternatively, one could apply for the special online offer of “KIOSK” on the Jostens website. Any physical purchasing forms must be returned to Mr. Scalise in Room 1101 before the deadline.
The Art Awards Ceremony is coming up! Here are a couple of questions I asked Ms. Ritz-Swain about it.
As a first year teacher at McMahon, Oberacker learns something new every day. She sees teaching at McMahon as a great experience because growing up as a child, she has always wanted to teach high schoolers. Her very first year of teaching was at elementary school then after she taught at a middle school.
In high school, Oberacker was a very athletic student. She played soccer, basketball, and softball. When she graduated, she received a certificate for each.
Oberacker’s original plan for her future was to play basketball in a state school in New York. A knee injury changed her future. However, she saw it as an opportunity to pursue the teaching career she has always dreamt of. “If I had gone to college for basketball, I would not have gone to college for art,” says Oberacker.
As an art teacher, Oberacker’s inspiration comes from many things. She explains that she isn’t good at writing her feelings so she expresses herself through her artwork. “I don't think well with words. I think well with pictures so I like to express my feelings that way,” she says.
Alongside painting, Oberacker likes to travel. She has traveled across Europe for a month and also visited Australia. She experienced meeting new people and learning new cultures. “My traveling experience was fun so I look forward to visiting more countries,” she says.
Although it’s her first year, she has big plans. She plans on getting more involved at McMahon by starting up her own gay/straight alliance club. She hopes she can recover from her knee injury and coach basketball one day.
Five Fun Facts About Mrs. Oberacker
Natasha Garcia; Pridetime Reporter
Senior Sam Sumra is a gender queer student artist who lives in Bridgeport and studies Arabic in CGS. He's been drawing for a little under a decade. He when asked, was excited and ready to share his artistic experiences and influenced with all of you lovely Pride Time blog readers.
Q: What’s your name?
A: Sam Sumra
Q: What grade are you in?
A: Senior year.
Q: What first sparked your interest?
A: My interest in art was sparked when i was about 9 or 10, when my parents bought me a pack of one thousand crayons.
Q: Where do you get your inspiration from?
A: I get my inspiration from the internet, this one Greek nudist art book I got at the met, and when my surroundings are messy.
Q: How do you overcome artist block?
A: I overcome art block by going through old art, looking at other people’s artwork, and scouring the internet for any drawing challenges to get my creative juices flowing. I was in a rut actually fairly recently, but I found the spidersona art challenge and it helped me get creating again.
Q: How many art styles and mediums have you mastered?
A: I can draw cartoonist and realist and blends in between. I’ve been experimenting with oil paints, digital art and printmaking. I used to do a lot of pencil drawings and acrylic painting and bit of water color here and there.
Q: Who’s your biggest influence?
A: Georgia O’Keefe. Mostly because of one picture. She calls it abstract, I think it’s a vagina, but to each their own.
Q: What’s your end goal?
A: Probably to be either a graphic designer, storyboarder, or animator.
Q: What’s your favorite piece so far?
A: (refer to the gallery)
Q: Why do you create?
A: Because I was an anger issues kid growing up and I learned to vent my frustrations in a more constructive way and it stuck.
Q: Any final remarks?
A: Uhhh, I like to draw butts a lot.