By: Jackson Dino, Editor-In-Chief
On Saturday, November 16, 2019, Brien McMahon High School Head Custodian Charlie Wyatt tragically passed away at the age of 49.
Mr. Wyatt was born in Norwalk on July 3, 1970, and graduated from Norwalk High School in 1988. A music aficionado, Mr. Wyatt served as a gospel DJ on WJDZ 1350 AM Radio Station in Bridgeport after continuing his education at the Connecticut School of Electronics in Stamford. In addition to his responsibilities as Head Custodian, Mr. Wyatt served as President of the Local 1042 Facilities, Maintenance, and Security Union (UPSEU), dedicated to securing health benefits and improved working conditions for its members. During his life, Mr. Wyatt was a man of faith, serving as a member of the Shiloh Baptist Church in Norwalk during his childhood, and later, the New Vision International Ministries in Bridgeport until his passing. Additionally, he worked as a tutor at the VITAM School in Norwalk, where he assisted in the academic needs of students.
Mr. Wyatt’s impact on the McMahon community cannot be understated. “I’ve known him for many years,” recalled BMHS Assistant Principal Dr. Marie Allen. “He was my night custodian when I was at Briggs. And then, being over at facilities, I’ve worked with him here for the past three years. He has always been a very compassionate person, a very caring person, very good to all children. He used to mentor children, and he used to talk to kids all the time, telling them to get to class, asking them how their grades are, ‘how’s your family,’. I’ve even seen him go in his pocket and give kids money for lunch if they didn’t have enough.”
McMahon senior Anthony Mayhew offered Words of Hope at Mr. Wyatt’s funeral. Mayhew had long known Wyatt through the New Vision Ministries, establishing a connection with him through religion and music.
“I’ve known him basically all my life,” confirmed Mayhew. “He was a person with this personality that was larger than life, but he also remained humble at the same time. He was the type of person that would be caring and considerate to other people. If he had to help somebody, he would focus on them, and if you were someone he knew and cared about, he would also make sure that you were all good. If you were just somebody that he just met that day, he would still be nice and sincere.”
“Charlie’s been here about a year and a half,” indicated BMHS Principal Mr. Hurwitz. “I [learned] about him through Grievance meetings. If there was something an employee was upset about, there would be a meeting. And as the head of the Custodian Union, Charlie would be at those meetings. In those meetings, I got to really respect him… I always found him to be really balanced, incredibly civil, he was a gentleman. While the topics of the meetings where contentious, the nature of the meetings were not necessarily contentious, and I think Charlie always set a tone at those meetings.”
“Charlie was hired as the Head Custodian. So it’s very hard - when you don’t have a lot of money in the facilities budget, to make [McMahon] the way you want it, he fought really hard to get all the supplies we needed, he assembled a crew, he was able to hire some guys here, who work very closely together, and they work closely with him,” continued Dr. Allen. “And I must say, this past summer, and the summer before last, they shined this building up, and made it look a lot better, and a lot cleaner. Of course, they’ve always had to come behind kids who are not respecting the building, and taking care of the facility. That’s been a big struggle. Not just in the cafeteria - and this year, the cafeteria has been wonderful, the kids have been doing a great job - but kids destroying the bathrooms. So, it gets pretty frustrating when you really work hard to clean an area, and then people come behind and destroy it.”
Principal Hurwitz understands the level of caring that Mr. Wyatt had for McMahon students. “He always had really positive things to say about the students. I get the sense that he really cared about the kids in this building on a human level. Whether he knew them or not, he was always rooting for kids, and always recognizing what was the best for [them],” Hurwitz maintained.
“Even though he’s gone, his spirit is still with us. It’s just like for anyone who passes that you deeply care about. Their body is with the Earth, their soul is gone, but a piece of them is always living inside you,” reasoned Mayhew.
By: Lesly Temal, Reporter
At Brien McMahon High School, students have the privilege of being served both breakfast and lunch, thanks to the cafeteria workers. The cafeteria workers come to school early in the morning, around 6:30-7:00 AM, just to prepare all the meals for the students here at BMHS. To prepare lunch for the students it takes about 4 hours, while it comparably takes about 2 hours to make breakfast. It takes a lot of time and effort to count the money students give to cashiers and stand up for most of the day.
I interviewed one of our cafeteria workers, Mrs. Barbra, asking what she most liked about working at McMahon. “I look forward to seeing the students during breakfast and lunch time and I feel very happy talking with them.” she said. Mrs. Barbra has many positions in the cafeteria: she works as a cashier during lunch shifts, serves breakfast in the morning, and also helps out in different places throughout the day.
The cafeteria workers work very hard to provide enough food for students so we don't starve. Students should appreciate how hard they work for us, and how dedicated they are to their jobs. The cafeteria workers, such as Mrs. Barbra, enjoy talking and interacting with students, who are waiting in line to pay, or receive their food. For all of their effort to helping the school and supporting the students, reward them with a smile!
By: PrideTime editor, Kam Bryan.
Autumn is the season between winter and summer where the temperature isn’t warm, but it isn’t freezing cold either. It’s just right. In the US, Autumn, or “Fall” is the time of year where people get to witness a beautiful thing called change. The leaves turn color and begin to fall from the trees, adorning parks and sidewalks. But apart from that, what is it about this season that makes people so joyus? I’ll let you in on a couple of things: the colder nights mean fire pits and bonfires, which people can’t resist. Hot chocolate and cozy sweaters? They become the new pb&j… another thing people can't resist.
Aside from the aesthetic of leaves, pumpkins, fluffy hats and pinecones, there are many activities you can do. You could spend the afternoon apple picking with your family and make your own apple cider. The next day, you could make a leaf pile as tall as a tree and jump into it, getting lost in a sea of reds, golds, and oranges. You could even go on a hayride or travel through a corn maze if you’re feeling adventurous. For those more into simple pleasures, layer up your bed with extra blankets, bake a tray of seasonal cookies, or spend the evening cozied up in your nook and a cup of tea. No matter whether you’re an introvert or extrovert, age 17, 27, or 70, there is something for you to do!
Mrs. Okrentowich, an English teacher here at Brien McMahon, says “Fall always makes me appreciate that I live somewhere where I can experience the change of seasons.” I’m sure Ms. Okrentowich isn’t the only one out there marveling at how interesting and inviting change can be. In the US, our state is considered very lucky. Cities like San Diego or states such as Florida don’t experience seasons such as Fall or Winter while we do in New England. To most people the idea of not having a winter may seem magical, but people living in the warmer states would be more than ecstatic to get away and experience the cold, snow, and rain.
By: Lancy Fleurancy, Reporter
When I first joined McMahon’s journalism class, I assumed it was all about making video interviews, but it is much more complex than that. The journalists here at McMahon are a group of students who are responsible of BMHS PrideTime. PrideTime is the school newspaper where us reporters, editors, and blog editors contribute ideas and work as a team to fulfill the audience. Being apart of the journalism team means you have to be committed to your work and considerate of the work of those around you. There are many great opportunities for journalism and if you want an inside scoop of what writer life is at McMahon is, keep reading.
PrideTime Editor-In-Chief, Jackson Dino, hard at work
Former student, Bryanna Perez, explained how her experience was like in journalism during her years at McMahon. “My favorite thing about Journalism was being able to create stories that interested people. In particular, people that were more known around the school because of sports, art, and other clubs.” Said Perez. She had been in journalism for her sophomore year as a reporter/editor, chief assistant editor in her junior year and senior editor in her final year.
“My experience was amazing. I created a name for myself through my writing and visual concept of the magazines. I was able to meet new people and make new connections.” Continued Perez. As you can see, journalism can help you get more involved with the school, improve on social and writing skills, and have a fun time while doing it all. PrideTime has categories from movie reviews, to students/teacher’s lives outside of McMahon, and even useful tips. This is a class you wouldn’t want to miss out on.
PrideTime Reporters and Editors preparing their next articles
Bryanna and many other former McMahon students who took journalism, recommend this class for future students and so would I. Even though it wasn’t what I thought it would be, it is rather enjoyable. The students in the class always find a way to communicate and build ideas, sometimes inspiring others with those ideas. Journalism is important to the world because it tells us what’s current and relevant in today’s time. Make sure to choose journalism as an elective next year!
Brien Mcmahon is all for its unique take on highschool. As many of the students here know, McMahon has plenty of clubs and programs. One major program in McMahon is CGS. CGS is a globalized program that gives kids from other cities and in the district of Norwalk, a chance at learning a distinctive language, literature and history on an international perspective. Language options are: Arabic, Chinese, and Japanese. Center for Global Studies gives you highschool experiences on things that are hard to find elsewhere. CGS offers study tours to the country of your desired language, which many highschools do not. Realizing the abundant amount of opportunities you can get from attending this program is quite mind opening. Many colleges look at programs like CGS because of their take on a world wide perspective.
Now this isn’t just a program you join because you want too, you have to prove you’re fit to have this advantage given to you. The process is, sending in a written essay on why you’d like to attend, and what language you’d like to take. You’d also need recommendations from prior teachers you’ve had and send in your grades so that the administrators see what a dedicated student you are. CGS is very diverse with many distinctive kids attending the program. Many misunderstand the concept of CGS and what it is mainly about. Center for Global Studies is all about not only learning our country's history and cultures, but understanding other countries perspectives on various situations and learning about their past to become more multinationally educated. Ultimately it gives students a chance to learn something different than the “normal American education.”
Overall if your interested and dedicated on being educated on a broad level and not being minimized to America's history and take on situations, then apply to CGS! They’re a very welcoming and understanding program which makes you feel accepted.
As a student of Brien Mcmahon High School, I have known about Poinsettia and Mistletoe --two amazing occasions since I was young. Now that I'm a student at McMahon, I’m eager to take part in them.
Poinsettia and Mistletoe are dances for juniors and seniors which take place in the winter time. Students from McMahon and Norwalk High are usually joined at these dances. Poinsettia and Mistletoe usually take place in Stamford's Italian Center. Students tend to enjoy these events and have fun with their peers. Most students have probably gone to a party with friends or attend a Sweet Sixteen, but school dances are different. Everyone is invited, so exclusion is never something to worry about. Even more, strict parents are eased by the presence of administrators and staff members.
Senior Jalen Mullins ('20), has been to both Poinsettia & Mistletoe in the past 2 years. Mullins shared that he enjoyed getting dressed up for the dances, saying he was “feeling myself for the one time, a little pop out." Mullins attended Poinsettia for the first time when he was a junior. “It [Poinsettia] showed me how to have a good time and also showed the maturity with the students who were older than me,” he explained.
Mullins says he enjoys the "theme" of the dance-- having it in the winter time. He went on to share how he thinks the dances "bring everyone together, especially sharing the dance with Norwalk High so both schools can enjoy themselves.” Norwalk High and Brien McMahon usually don’t do much together so it's always different at these dances.
The tradition of these school dances has been going on for years now. Students think they should keep the tradition going for the future Brien McMahon students. Mullins says, “I think the tradition should continue whether new changes are made or added. I feel like it is a good opportunity for students to come together.”
Zheyla Jimenez Vasquez
In ROTC, it is expected of all of us to wear our uniforms once a week. My freshman year was a tough year with all the drastic changes, and on top of that I had to wear a uniform. It became very overwhelming, but I somehow came to manage it and now in my sophomore year I am not bothered by the uniform, I’m actually starting to enjoy wearing it. All the McMahon Senators in NJROTC have or have had an opinion on this matter. I went and interviewed two of our NJROTC Senators and asked them their views and opinions of the uniforms we are supposed to wear.
Kevin Jimenez Vasquez is a freshman at McMahon. Along with ROTC, he plays on the soccer team. This routine is all new to him, unlike for the upperclassmen, So I decided to ask for his input on the matter, “I feel like it's not so necessary or like I think that wearing it just for the ROTC class is enough not the whole day. I feel good wearing it, I don't have a problem with wearing it.” Vasquez also offered a suggestion to those in superior positions, “I would change having to wear the uniform the whole day and just have us wear it for a class.”
Then I asked Senior Nicole Perez, the CO of the unit; the highest authority position, her opinion on the attire, “At first I wasn't very happy about wearing the uniform but now I like it a lot because I'm more decorated and it makes me feel more confident. I know a couple freshman/NS1s that hate the uniform but there are a handful that were excited they received their uniforms. Some seniors still don't accept it. But the majority of us do. We like it because we can be very competitive and it's fun being able to compare uniforms seeing who has earned what. We also can accept it because some of us want to go into the military and being able to wear the uniforms makes us understand the importance of it and what we stand for." Perez then shared her first impressions of the program and doubts she had early on. Nevertheless, she's grateful for the connections she's made throughout her training, "My freshman year was interesting. I thought I would hate ROTC and I’m not sure what happened but as soon as I walked into the classroom on the first day of school, I was surprised that I actually liked the class. Quickly I became more involved with the community service events and made some lifelong friendships.” Perez is in favor of this tradition, so much so she has expressed interest in the uniforms to be offered in other patterns. Interests made her recognize the significance behind the attire, and keeps her motivated to pursue a future in the military. She voices her desire for more participation within the underclassmen, “I would love to get new uniforms like camouflage ones or the dress whites. As for improvements in the unit I want to find a way to get the freshmen more involved. I want to train my cadets so that they can learn to lead the unit once us seniors leave to me that's the most important thing at the moment’’.
Have you ever wondered how different Norwalk High and Brien McMahon are? To gain some insight, I interviewed one of the social workers at Brien McMahon, Mr. Matute, who has worked at both Norwalk High and Brien McMahon. He’s been working in Norwalk public schools for over 20 years now.
When asked about which school Matute prefers working at, he responded with McMahon. “I like working at both schools but I enjoy my time at McMahon because I’m more familiar with the staff and being a track coach here adds a plus. Furthermore, I am a McMahon graduate,” he said.
Matute went on to offer information regarding the resources that both schools give to the students. He says that he believes McMahon offers more to students, especially in terms of technology. “Students are given a chromebook their freshman year and are able to take it home for school-related work for all 4 years.”
Another thing to compare between the two schools is the counseling system. Matute shares, “At McMahon, school counselors can be found in the same office, with every grade having more than 3 counselors. Unlike BMHS, Norwalk High students only get 2 counselors per grade and they’re harder to find since they’re not all together. For example, depending on your grade, your counselor is put into houses, like House A or House D.”
One more important comparison between the two schools is the programs they offer. Brien McMahon offers the Center for Global Studies (C.G.S), a program that contains about 290 students. Students choose to learn Arabic, Chinese, or Japanese. Additionally, students travel on 2 week study tours to gain a better understanding of the world. CGS students come from all over Fairfield County; Darien, Ridgefield, Fairfield, Bridgeport, Stamford and more.
Where McMahon offers CGS, Norwalk High offers the the P-Tech Program, formerly known as N.E.C.A. P-Tech is an early college-experience high school from grades 9-12. Within the 4-year span, students graduate high school with a diploma with a no-cost associates degree in a competitive STEM discipline. Even more, International Business Machines (I.B.M) has partnered with nine P-Tech schools, six in the United States, one of which is NECA, three abroad in Australia, Morocco and Taiwan.
The rivalry between Norwalk High Bears and Brien McMahon Senators has been a conflict for a long time. However, it doesn’t always come down to what football or soccer team is better than the other, but what the schools can offer students to prepare them for the future.
Spirit Week is a time that unites the Brien McMahon community as a family and brings us together as a whole. Lately, students have been talking about school spirit dying. If this is true, the school has to do something different to revive students’ pride and participation.
Spirit Week 2019 was eerily the same as last year’s. Monday, October 1st, was Jersey Day. Tuesday was Superhero Day and Wednesday was Twin Day combined with #ThrowbackThursday. Last but not least, Brien McMahon ended off their spirit week with Red, White, and Blue Day showing their pride for this year’s football Homecoming game. Doing the same thing every year is not exciting and soon enough, the spirit week tradition at McMahon will reach an endpoint.
Brien McMahon junior, Rockelle Robinson, was interviewed and asked a few questions about school spirit. When asked about how spirit could be restored, Robinson (‘21) says she thinks the school should come up with “trendy” activities for the students, “This year’s spirit week was very basic and has been done before. As a student, I would like to see or do something new and fun.”
Robinson (‘21) was also asked what she thought the purpose of school spirit was. She says, “School spirit can make school a more enjoyable environment for students. Red white and blue day is my favorite day out of spirit week, as it allows for a chance for everyone to connect someway.”
Robinson (‘21) isn’t the only student who strongly feels that making this place more upbeat. Overall, there seems to be a sense of hesitation for Brien McMahon students to truly let go and allow their spirit to flow; not many students actually participate in spirit week.
Spirit Week is a fun time for Brien McMahon students. Halls are with bright colors and wacky outfits. But is it really an enjoyable week if not even half the school is showing their spirit? Instead of having only a couple of kids in a room coming up with ideas, McMahon should allow all of the students to be innovative and creative together. Let’s uplift our voices and make sure we are heard as one for next year’s Spirit Week!