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!