BMHS Pridetime Reporter
The teacher is fed up with the student. She keeps telling the sophomore to put the phone away so she dials security. As the student leaves the classroom, Mr. Sellers, McMahon’s mild-mannered security guard, comes to escort the student into ISS.
In the halls, you will find Sellers passing knowledge to students. Sellers spend a large portion of the day “Just trying to talk to them about being themselves, being positive, and not letting negatives ruin how they go about their normal day.”
To Sellers, the challenge of being a security guard is in keeping everyone safe and letting the kids know that security is here to protect them.
”We as security guards are not against them,” said Mr. Sellers.
Mr. Sellers went on saying his high school experience as a lot different than what he witnesses now going on saying, “when I was in high school we had these things called monitors. We had a little bit more freedom, kids had more respect, kids didn't do the wild thing that they do nowadays.On top of that, we had less, so we did what we were supposed to do.
Sellers chose this job because of how he could get involved with the students without being a teacher. “I saw a change in the behavior of young adults, they were getting into a lot of negatives.I've been working here for three years now and I’ve noticed change”
Apart from being a security guard during the day, his other occupation is being the female basketball coach after school which he realizes is a big responsibility.
Sellers spend much of his time making sure the team reflects McMahon on and off the court.” And also making sure they’re good students in the class, was Mr.Sellers response when asked what's his favorite McMahon moment. As he just likes to see the facing of the students going into the next chapter of their life.
For Many teachers getting the basics through the student's brain could be tough, now imagine trying to teach students a whole new language. That’s what Mr. Mirabal does and I had the pleasure of sitting down and interviewing him.
When asked how he found out about this Spanish teacher job position Mr.Mirabal said: “There are places online where teachers upload their resumes and get updates when jobs are available and one appeared about Mcmahon, I've been here for 5 years”.
Being from the Dominican Republic helps Mr. Mirabal a lot since he’s a Spanish teacher. “When teaching the higher classes it gives me an advantage because I could deal with Spanish at the different levels,” said Mr. Mirabal.
When you walk into his class you would think that everything is under control but even the best could have some challenges. “Getting students to understand and preserve their culture and what they already have. That student whose first language that isn’t Spanish understand the need of having a second language. That's a challenge”, Mirabal claims.
“Being that I teach the higher up classes, my goal is that the students pass every time they take the harder tests (Ap, Uconn classes). Not only to get the material but also to understand them. When my kids come back from taking a test I want them to think that the test was easy which meant I did a good job preparing them.” Mirabal said after being asked what his goal is when teaching Spanish to his students.
Upon working here Mr. Mirabal claims the school's diversity and the community as being a positive. “To me, that's a big deal, I have students from different cultures and backgrounds in my classes. Everyone brings something different to the classrooms.”
Outside of school, Mr. Mirabal is very relaxed. “I want to travel after I retire, I want to teach kids that don't go to school. When I retire that is one of my goals.”
BMHS PrideTime Reporter
Many people may not be aware of the many clubs Brien McMahon has to offer. But here’s a club that does good for the community that you may possibly have heard of.
Key Club is a club in which many young students are able to join at any point. In this club you are able to do volunteer work for your community and to fundraise money for other places in the world.
“I joined Key Club because I love helping others and doing work for the community. What Key Club generally means to me is building friendship and helping out in the community.” Michelle Porcheddu (‘19).
Key club is a part of key club international that is student run and in are involved in to do better in their community. Many students were brought to the club by how they can be more involved in their community and how they have the chance to help out and be a good citizen.
“I really like helping the community around us, and seeing people happy about what we can do or are able to do together.” says Jesly Cortez (‘18).
“I joined after volunteering for a community clean up with Jasmine Portugal, and I really enjoyed the feeling of helping out and bettering the environment.” Pooja Parikh (‘18).
At McMahon, key club does so much in our community, such as going down to Brookside to go by helping the teachers out with the kids after school and they’ve raised money to Sendai places such as hurricane relief.
Key club helps in their community by going to events nearby where they need help. Coming up the many members will be going to a Courage to Speak event and will be volunteering to take care of kids who go with the parents, and they will also be having a fundraiser at the South Norwalk Ice House to raise money for the organization they see fit.
BMHS PrideTime Reporter
Elias Pardo, Eli as most know him, is not only one of the most athletically gifted juniors at McMahon but in the entire school achieving amazing individual accomplishments for both varsity soccer and indoor track. He is now currently looking forward to the upcoming track and field season to add to his accomplishments for the year.
Standing at 6’2, Pardo blows past most expectations when it comes to his speed and agility both on the field and track. Pardo qualified for states for indoor track this past season in the 300 meter, long jump, and as a part of the 4x200 team. As the outdoor season began this past Monday, Pardo said, “I feel like I've become a better athlete and hopefully I have a successful outdoor season.”
On the soccer field, Pardo lead the Senators in scoring with fourteen goals in twenty games, four of which he scored two or more goals. However, while the individual statistics were impressive, they weren’t enough to carry an injury-riddled team to the state tournament. Nonetheless, his tremendous season didn’t go unnoticed by opposing coaches as Pardo rewarded with being named the 2017 All-FCIAC Boys Soccer Team.
This was Pardos first season ever playing soccer for McMahon and had his teammates to thank for his spectacular season.
“All FCIAC was a huge honor and as corny as it is, my teammates were a huge part of me accomplishing it. No one really knew me but all my teammates believed in me and made the season a lot of fun.”
Pardo explains the amount of fun he had and when asked, ‘why having fun playing was so important to him,’ he said, “I wasn't having much fun playing academy, I wanted to have fun playing again like I used too.”
He went on to say that he was ready to quit soccer altogether, but after spending some time with his uncle this summer who convinced him to play for McMahon, he stated, “I’m happy with my decision.”
Pardo has been contacted by schools such as the University of Iowa, High Point University, and Southern Illinois University, all interested in acquiring a dominant forward with Pardo’s skills.
Unfortunately, he says that he currently has no interest in playing college soccer.
“I don't want to feel like I'm obligated to play, that isn't very compelling to me at the moment.”
However, he didn’t rule out the possibility of running track for college if the situation presented itself.
“yeah I would, so depending on how these next couple months go that would be a possibility.”
Pardo has just finished four months of physical therapy, which concluded March 19th, 2018 for a dislocated elbow he suffered while performing a backflip after getting overly excited.
“Well usually I can do a pretty average ‘backflip,” he said jokingly, “but I messed up and dislocated my elbow.”
Now all eyes are on him to see what he is able to accomplish in the outdoor season.
BMHS Pridetime Editor
Wednesday March 14th, was the day football captain Thaddeus Burrus solidified himself as one of the weight room legends of Brien McMahon. During halftime of the student faculty basketball game, Football Head coach, Coach Queiroga announced Thaddeus Burrus was about to squat 505 pounds and instantly students came running out of the gym to see something legendary. In a crowded weight room filled with screaming classmates filled with echoes of “Let’s go” and “Let’s go Thaddeus” filling the air, the junior successfully squatted 505 pounds.
Thaddeus has been playing football since the 7th grade. His coach John West, showed up at his house and made sure that he played. The thing Thaddeus loves about football is the distraction it serves in his life. “I love that I could get away from all issues and I also love the bonding and relationships you get from being on the team.”
Thaddeus a junior, was voted by his peers to be one of the captains for the football team. Thaddeus is regarded by many of his teammates as hardworking and mature.
Michael Macari ‘19, a fellow captain described Thaddeus as the physical leader who pushed everyone to work their hardest. “I’ve been playing football with Thaddeus since we were little, he loved to have fun and his grades were not the best but he realized he had to get himself together, and he did that. He became a leader in the classroom, got his grades up, matured as a person, and became captain.”
Cameron Kelly ‘18 captain of the 2017-18 football season had a few things to say about Thaddeus as well, he expressed “Times in practice when people fooled around, and either myself or other captains don't talk, Thad will step up and say it’s time to work … and during conditioning it's the effort I see in Thad that others will follow.”
Football games may start in September making it hard for him to fully lead right now doesn’t stop Thaddeus from leading by example in the weight room. He makes sure he is working hard but he also looks to make sure people are lifting in good technique.
“You could be strong but if you have terrible technique, you leave off 25 pounds of weight you could’ve lifted because of bad technique” commented Burrus.
Thaddeus was always advanced when it came to putting large numbers in the weight room. As a freshman he was able to bench press 180 pounds, clean 185 pounds and squat 350 pounds. In order to get stronger, Thaddeus consistently went into the weight room and looked at his numbers looking to improve them. Thaddeus was able to improve by now being able to bench press 295 pounds, clean 205 pounds, and squat 505 pounds.
Head coach Coach Q stated,“The thing I am most proud about Thaddeus is how he handles himself in school and in class. His teachers always come up to me and tell me how respectful and hard working he is.“
All FCIAC, All-State, and winning games are all goals for Thaddeus this season and he plans to help his goals become reality by not just working on strength. He’s looking to get in shape by running and indulging in track this spring season.
By: Carlin Barton
The recent shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida that resulted in the death of 17 students and faculty members has undeniably sent a wave of discontent through the country. High school students from Stoneman Douglas, joined by students across the U.S., have decided to take matters into their own hands and demand legislative change regarding gun control. Students fearing for their safety in school have taken to the streets and held marches and walk-outs from school, encouraged by supportive teachers, parents, and even celebrities.
PrideTime had the opportunity to interview Ashley Mendoza, a junior at Everglades High School in Miramar, Florida, on her experience participating in a walk-out protest organized by students at her school, and how the Stoneman Douglas shooting affected her friends, family, and herself as well as what she hopes for the future in terms of gun control legislation.
PrideTime: “How was your school impacted by the shooting in Florida?”
Mendoza: “My school was highly impacted by the shooting as it took place in our own county, just thirty minutes away from our school. We felt personally attacked that it occurred in our own backyard. Kids were terrified returning to school the next day. The energy was incredibly tense and full of grief considering many people knew the victims and were even friends with many of them. We were afraid as well because the reality that it could happen to us became so much more clear. The whole county was on code yellow with barely any movement allowed. Days have passed and our hearts are still broken.”
PrideTime: “Did your school choose to walk out/protest? What did your school do specifically?”
Mendoza: “Our school did choose to hold a walkout. Our principal announced that a nationwide walkout was going to happen the day before. We went out to our bus loop near the main street and marched 17 minutes in honor of the 17 lives. Many took posters and banners taking the time as a moment of protest. Some even decided that just 17 minutes in our own bus loop was not enough and even jumped the fence to walk out to occupy the city streets in protest.”
PrideTime: “When did your school’s protest/walk-out take place?”
Mendoza: “It took place on February 21st at 12:00 pm.”
PrideTime: “When did the students in your school realize they wanted to walk out/do something to act?”
Mendoza: “Just the day after the shooting, students had already decided to take action. Students and faculty from all across the county set a date and a time to walk out in unison.”
PrideTime: “Why did students in your school decide to protest?”
Mendoza: “The students in my school decided to protest in order to take a stand. We all knew we had to do something to catch the attention of those that seem blind to this issue. We want change! We were not going to let this pass, especially in our own community!”
PrideTime: “Did the students in your school act alone, or did they have support from teachers? Were there any disciplinary actions that occurred as a result of the protests?”
Mendoza: “Thankfully, we had the support of all teachers and faculty at our school. Our own principal made the announcement and encouraged everyone to do what their heart told them was right. However, our faculty intended it on being a short walk out to just our bus loop. They certainly did not want those who jumped the fence and went out on the city streets to do so. Nevertheless, the police eventually opened the gates and accompanied the crowd out onto the streets to protect them. They did not receive disciplinary actions afterward. Staff was very supportive in letting our voices be heard- no matter how we chose to do so.”
PrideTime: “Why did you personally want to walk out?”
Mendoza: “I personally wanted to walk out because the shooting highly impacted me and changed my view on life. One of my friends was very close to one of the victims that tragically passed away. Seeing my friend grieving and just seeing the images on TV and all over my community honestly broke my heart. I cried many tears as I heard the endless stories and realized I cannot take life for granted. Now, I make sure to always tell my parents I love them before leaving the house and always reminding someone how much I care about them because I will never know if it is the last time I see them. Feeling this pain, I knew no community, no school, no human being deserved to ever endure this tragic event. I wanted to use my own voice to make a change.”
PrideTime: “What are you hoping these protests will change? How do you hope protesting will change our society/legislation?”
Mendoza: “I hope these protests will lead to future peace and safety. I hope legislation for tougher gun control including background checks and a higher age qualification is passed.”
PrideTime: “What do you hope for the future in terms of gun control?”
Mendoza: “I hope that we can increase gun control in order to make sure that guns do not fall into the hands of those intended to hurt others.”
Brien McMahon High School will be holding its own walk-out on March 14th, the one-month anniversary of the Stoneman Douglas shooting. The day is planned to be a nation-wide walk-out day that high schools across the country will take part in.
By: Rebecca Lubin
For many, being a freshman and entering high school can be nerve-racking. Having to worry about finding classes, teachers, schoolwork, and making friends can be overwhelming. High school is a whole new environment with new people, for freshmen especially, it may take a while to get used to but eventually, you will get the hang of it.
For DiLayni Dorcé this was not only her first time in high school but it was her first time going to high school in a new city as well. Originally from Stamford, DiLayni graduated from Scofield magnet middle school then she decided she wanted to come to McMahon.
“When I was younger my brother was in CGS. I love the community in Norwalk, so I told myself forget Stamford I’m going to Norwalk,” Dorcé said. Upon arriving in Norwalk DiLayni has noticed that there are better-looking guys here and the people are nicer.
“In Stamford, people get picked on more, people will just constantly pick on one person, but in Norwalk, everyone has a friend.”
After starting High School DiLayni has noticed that it’s actually easier than everyone says. “It’s easier than I thought. Everyone made it seem like it was gonna be hard. Just be nice to teachers, and do your work.”
Dorcé stated that the beginning of the year was especially hard because she was very suicidal and depressed and her dad was in rehab. But she realized that with all these classes she made friends with people who were going through the same things as her.
“The friends I have made are intelligent people. I don’t have much of a life but the life I do have is pretty cool, you know.”
The craziest things she’s had to go through since coming to McMahon was arriving at school on the day of the shooting threat and seeing the large absence of students. Other things are the guy she likes now likes her sister.
DiLayni really enjoys going to Mcmahon she says, “It's one of the better high schools because of the diversity, people here are generally nice.”
Her favorite class is study hall because she gets to spend time with her sister, but DeLayni noticed that kids here skip class a lot. “Its crazy how in this generation kids think skipping is better than getting good grades.”
After high school, DiLayni wants to become a wildlife conservationist.
BMHS Pridetime Reporter
At Brien McMahon High School every sports team gets some nice apparel with school logos for the sports season. Where do the designs come from? Not everyone knows. Patrick Coulter ‘20 was given the responsibility designing the logo for the football team and their apparel this year. The brains behind these designs has been designing for many years.
Patrick has been making designs since the 6th grade. “I’ve always loved to draw and do art. In the 6th grade I started a T-shirt business and that’s when I really started making logos and designs” , says Patrick.
Patrick’s business was called “Savage” he would get the shirts from Walmart for 5$, screen print logos unto them and sell them to classmates and teachers.
Patrick gets inspired by everyday things he sees in life and he says he likes to “put his own spin on his logos.” Coulter has made Jack Majors ( sophomore 20’) posters for class office campaigns.
On the way to a football tournament Coulter overheard captains and coaches talking about apparel so he decided to design the logos, for inspiration, Coulter looked at LSU, Oregon, & Georgia and thus decided on making an M with an american flag pattern.
Coulter may have a bright future in the design field. Patrick states “ right now this is just a hobby, but it’s something I would like to pursue in college.I want get a job in the graphic design/ advertisement field.”
BMHS PrideTime Reporter
Brien McMahon’s club, The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People or as most of us know, NAACP, enforces new ways to improve the Brien McMahon society as well as community service outside of school. NAACP has been an civil rights movement formed in 1909 along with many youth programs formed through the years having many organizations throughout the United States.
The club is run by advisor Mr. Garrish along with club president Michelle Menard (‘19) and vice president Fatou Muteba (‘20 ) . Their goal is to send out the message that this club doesn’t involve just black people, but speaks to the diverse community at McMahon and would hope for many members.
“This club is important because racism and inequality is still a huge deal in 2018, so we have to promote equality of all people. Right now we’re educating ourselves and others about important African American figures because of black history month, says club member Nicole Ostaszewski (‘20).
NAACP’s purpose is to raise civil and racial awareness at Brien McMahon and our community as a whole, in addition to promoting the beliefs of the wider NAACP.
Garrish, the advisor, explains the overall hopes for the future of the club. He says, “Right now we are in a bit of a rebuilding mode, and trying to gather student interest and participation. We are working to plan some upcoming events. This year we helped put on a field trip to Bridgeport for a debate between Harvard and Howard Universities, as well as helped to organize and participate in some community events.”
February is known as Black History Month. During this month, NAACP recognizes black leaders who have fought for our civil rights today. On the announcements there is usually a recognition to people like Malcom X, Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King Jr., and many more.
If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.
“The morning announcements idea was brought up by one of our new members who joined not too long ago. Doing these announcements, we wanted people at McMahon to just remember they are in a diverse school for a reason, and it's all because of our past civil rights activist,” says Menard.
Merchandise is sold like sweaters and t-shirts to help fund the club so they can go to national conventions as well as for raising money for causes outside of school. Members as well as people outside the club can purchase gear.
“Joining the NAACP will not only be counted for as an extracurricular activity at McMahon but helps a lot when it comes to colleges, it shows them that you are apart of an organization that looks to benefit rights as well as being apart of one of the most important clubs at McMahon. Along with that, if you are a member and participating in our events can earn you scholarships,” says Menard.
If you would like to join the club, meetings are held in Mr. Garrish’s room 2104 usually every Wednesday from 2:30-3:15. You can join the google classroom, 13vawc or simply email Mr. Garrish at email@example.com.
BMHS Pridetime Editor
In only her first year of teaching Culture and Conflict in Literature, Ms.Molinelli has completely changed the way the half-semester class is taught and received recognition for it. The Connecticut Association of Schools awarded Ms.Molinelli with a Certificate of Appreciation as her class ventured out to raise $1,500 for Hurricane Relief for Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico, and the British Virgin Islands.
Because of the class being an elective, Ms.M had free will of how she would design the class, instead of analyzing and writing about culture and conflicts in different books and current issues, Ms.Molinelli asked her students if they were willing to go in a different direction. The class would be considered a ‘civic action’ class as they would participate in hands on projects and activities. Students themselves come up with projects, and write letters and proposals for chosen issues.
Elizabeth Murphy ’18 who took the class first semester stated, “We (the students) were about 90% in charge of everything, Ms.M gave us connects and who to talk to, but we came up with projects and what to say/present.”
With the hurricane disasters happening early in the school year, the students in her class took a vote on what projects to pursue and they decided to help out hurricane victims, in an effort to raise money for the victims they created a walk-a-thon. Not only did they raise $1500 for victims, Hurricane Heroes decided to match them and they ended up being able to send $3000 for Hurricane Relief directly to Puerto Rico.
The class also took on the issue of combating recidivism and making sure people who go to jail and get released they stay of out jail. The class collected professional wear such as suit and ties and sent it to places that helps former inmates.
Ms.M mentioned, “It’s all too often that students are focused on reading, writing, grades...I think people need to understand that there's life happening, and teenagers can be actively involved in doing things and could make a difference.”
Pridetime Reporter: Jun's Bien-Aime
What's that I smell when coming down the ESL hallway? None other than the room lead by the head of the cooking department Mr. Richard Barber.
Originally from Houston, Mr. Barber has been working here at Brien McMahon High school for a long time and also had the opportunity to start up the Cooking program here. Upon graduating High School Mr. Barber had a lot to do to get where he is today.
Growing up his Father was the President of Culinary Institute of America and his Mother was a cookbook writer. So cooking was always in his DNA. With parents so successful. Barber claims to not have been a good student. “There must be a ton of my old high school teachers rolling in their grave. I was not a very successful high school student, I did manage to graduate obviously and went on to college.”
“When I got out of school I went to the Culinary school of America, Michigan State, and Hotel school. When I got out of there I did some work in New York City. I was head of food and beverages, didn't do a lot of cooking but I was managing cooks and chefs. I also worked in many 5 star hotels including the Pierre, The Plaza, and managed more restaurants down in Soho, and up and down the east coast.”
After working many years in the Hotel business, it was time for Mr. Barber to settle down and do what he always wanted to do, teach.
While attending NCC Mr. Barber found out about the Brien Mcmahon job position. Stating the head of NCC told me this was something that would be happening. While getting my masters I found out about this.
“I was blown away by the opportunity. A brand new facility that I got the chance to design everything it was a dream come true. I’ve got a great support system here,” said Mr. Barber.
While working here there’s been a lot of things that Mr.Barber has admired.“There are too many. Every year it’s something. For me personally, it was going to the block schedule, spending more time with the kids. The product that they were doing is so much better. This year I see that these kids could cook.”
When asked how he would describe the student body at Brien McMahon, Mr. Barber responded, “It’s a reflection of our society. You got different types of people and I have noticed the climate has gotten better (fewer fights, problems) at least for me”
This job stands out a lot to Mr. Barber he went on saying “I get to teach a very important life skill to 120 kids every year. A lot of them use my skills after leaving.”
BMHS PrideTime Reporter
Attend undergrad at Princeton. Go to grad at UPenn. Empower girls one code at a time.
To most it would seem nearly impossible to complete that list in one lifetime. However, Jessica Jahnke has been there and done that. While many may recognize her name, there is much more to know about how the recent addition to the science department made it to McMahon.
For Jahnke, the journey began in high school.
“When I was in high school I tutored a lot and when I was in college I kept exploring teaching opportunities. I always liked science and I always liked teaching. I went to Princeton University for undergrad and University of Pennsylvania for grad. I had two older brothers and they ended up going to those two colleges so I knew a lot about them. For undergraduate, [Princeton] was a good university and I was really excited to get in so I couldn’t really say no. I liked the location, I liked what I could major in. For grad school, It had a really good program which I was really interested in. I was interested in teaching in an urban environment, so when the opportunity came I took it.”
After Jahnke’s college career came to an end, she hasn’t noticed many big differences besides the obvious discrepancies between student life and adult life.
“Time, having to take tests, etc. were problems, but there are different concerns now. It’s hard to say, I’ll think I’ll have a better perspective in a couple of years”
After the transition from learning in a highly competitive environment to actually being able to put into practice what she acquired, she decided to join the McMahon staff in ensuring a quality education for all students. Currently, Jahnke teaches four regular physics classes and one honors physics class.
“I grew up close to McMahon and I knew I wanted to move back to the area. When the opportunity came up, I was really interested in all the Pathway stuff at McMahon and all the teaching opportunities. I visited and really liked it.”
When asked about her first impressions of McMahon, Jahnke stated the following;
“McMahon is really big. My high school had 800 kids so McMahon is double that and was significantly larger. It is a really diverse community which you don’t really see a lot in this region. The kids are really motivated and it's beautiful and the environment is so positive.”
Jahnke may not have been a teacher for as long as most, but that has not stopped her from making an impact on those around her, especially young women interested in science.
“I think physics is intertwined with engineering and engineering was what I majored in when I was in college. One thing that interests me is trying to get women more interested in science and engineering.”
According to the National Girls Collaborative Project, Women make up half of the total U.S. college-educated workforce, but only 29% of the science and engineering workforce.
“I know when I was in high school I was the only girl taking these advanced computer science classes and science classes so trying to encourage other women is great. I know we’ve made a lot of large strides but there are some majors where women make up a small amount still. I’d like to try to do my part in trying to lower the gender gap.”
It is for this reason that over the summer, Jahnke worked with Girls Who Code, a nonprofit organization which aims to support and increase the number of women in computer science.
“There are clubs and summer programs in the community for sophomores and juniors. It was a really fun experience.”
“I guess since most of my students are seniors, try to think of what career you want after college instead of just thinking of a major. You get caught up in what college and what majors to choose but thinking beyond is super important.”
By: Brendan Duddy
Like most of the students at Brien McMahon High School, Eduardo Vargas (who is most known as Eddy) walks through the halls like the rest of his peers. What few know is that he is one of the best soccer players McMahon has to offer and what even fewer people know is the tragic event that happened to him over four years ago.
On July 26, 2014, at 6:18 in the afternoon, in Los Angeles California, Eduardo Vargas was hit and dragged for about 15 seconds by a red sedan. Vargas was on vacation visiting family when he and his cousin went for a bike ride, but while crossing a large four-way intersection Vargas was hit by a car that had sped through a red light.
Vargas explains, “She came out and put her hands on her head while I pulled myself out from under the car. All I said was, “Are you stupid?” Then I fell to the ground because I couldn’t walk and people came running over to me crying.”
When the police arrived, the women gave them a phone number in order to reach her. After she left, however, it was discovered that she had given them a fake number.
“My aunt happened to take a picture of where it all happened. You could see the car plates so the cops just traced her down.”
Vargas was rushed to the hospital, he had been badly injured as one might suspect. “I didn’t break anything, I just got burned really badly on one arm and slightly on the other arm.” He added, “The bottom left of my stomach was split open as well as under my knees. The side of my face was kind of burned too.”
He wasn’t sure what degree of burns he had, but he does recall being able to see his own bones.
Vargas was supposed to fly back to New York the next day but because of his injuries was forced to remain in LA for another two and a half weeks before he was able to go back home with a nurse.
By the time he was well enough to return to school, he had already missed two weeks and had lots to catch up on. “It was really hard catching up on grades and everyone kept asking me if I was fine.”
Vargas mentions, “I didn’t really wanna show them (his scars) because I didn’t like how they looked.”
He didn't let his scars ruin his soccer career.
It took six months before he was able to play in a full contact game and even the summer after he was still affected by the accident.
“The summer after I got hit I would play soccer with my sweater on everywhere I went because I had to wear a cast/bandage thing for a long time, I didn’t like showing it.”
Today, Vargas is no longer ashamed by his scars. He’s focused on becoming the best player he can become by accomplishing all of the goals he has set out to achieve.
Vargas had the opportunity of playing in a tournament about 3,500 miles away in London, England in late may of 2017. The tournament featured over 160 players on teams from over 20 different countries.
Vargas played so well that he was selected as one of the 16 standout players deserving of playing in the all-star game and one of two the Americans selected as well.
“It felt really good, out of that many kids I was one to be chosen as an all-star. I didn’t know how it happened and on top of that I did well in the all-star game being recognized by the top Arsenal legends, Robert Pires and Thierry Henry.”
Traveling to different states and countries, playing with a higher competition was one step closer to playing in college. “Getting scouted onto an academy team was a major achievement because it’s given me more exposure, I feel accomplished.”
Vargas, now a junior, has either reached out to or been contacted by some of the top programs in the nation including 15th ranked Fordham University, 31st ranked the University of Albany, and 42nd ranked Elon University.
Vargas did have a word of advice for anyone that’s in a similar situation as he was saying, “Keep working hard and never quit. You have to overcome every obstacle of life if you want to make it big.”
Depression and an is a serious illness, about 20% of teens struggle with depression in the country.
Even in our school community, our own peers struggle with depression. Anthony Mayhew Jr, a sophomore, here at Brien McMahon high school is one of those students.
Anthony has his own ways of coping and overcoming his depression - one way that helps is singing.
Anthony has been singing for a long time. He started a YouTube channel and sings for his church’s choir. “It helps me with my range and tone.” For Mayhew (‘20) his church’s choir has become a family for him.He gets up every Sunday to go to church and sing.
“My depression used to get in the way of school and other things but now it's my fuel for music,” Anthony states.
He made sure he kept track of his depression so it didn’t bother him so much or get in the way of school. Two years ago, when Anthony started his YouTube channel, he sings about how he feels, makes his own music, and does covers of other songs. His YouTube brings him to a different place he says, it lets him be himself without face-to-face judgment.
“I try to face my problems head on and the music cancels out depression so I’m good there and I just do my best to keep busy." He is facing his depression by singing them out and facing them head-on. His music is a passion, it helps him get over his depression, he is a great student, and his music is helping him with that.
For many students, class is just the next hurdle to jump over. But for those who enter room 2103 a whole different experience exists. This is because when the door shuts in Mr. Epstein’s class, lectures turn into life lessons and many more.
For me being from Norwalk I just see it as another town but not for Michael Epstein. Growing up as a jokester and rulebreaker. Epstein recalls the best memories as a kid growing up in this city as “Playing in the backyard with all my friends, whole lot of boys on the block we played a lot of sports. From acorn fights we did in the woods, beating each other up, and having a good time.”
Sports played a big part on Mr. Epstein growing up “I played basketball, baseball, and soccer. Thankfully when I played my first Lacrosse game I played well.” With playing sports and understanding the dynamics it lead to him coaching at Norwalk High School, Brien McMahon, and Fairfield Ludlowe.
After graduating college, like many people, Ep had a hard time figuring out what to do next. Epstein was one of the many who had no idea what they wanted to do in their life. “Out of college I had no idea what I wanted to do. So I moved to Hawaii and did a whole lot of nothing, then I kind of looked back and said, “hey, I always worked at day camps and I'd rather work with kids than adults.” So I went back and got a degree in teaching.”
After many years away it was time to come back home. But it wasn’t easy at first, “I enjoy teaching here now, I didn't always like it initially. But I like being from Norwalk. I like the blue collared aspect of it. I relish the fact that i'm from here and work here.”
Brien Mcmahon lacrosse program had a big turn around when Epstein took the head coaching spot in 1996, both winning states in 2000, and reaching the finals in 2005.
“I was coaching at Norwalk High. then I got the head coaching job here at McMahon in 1996. The teaching job also opened up. I thought what was better than teaching and coaching in the town i'm from. The goal was to turn the lacrosse program around, and we did a good job at that.”
Since being back here in Norwalk, the town that made him, Epstein has noticed many changes in the city. “Everything has changed, It has become a little more urban. I think that we changed not for the better . Everyone is looking out for themselves, used to be communal. Now it’s a little more selfish,” Mr. Epstein said.