Authors Posts by Dakota Antelman

Dakota Antelman

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School committee chairperson Michele Tousignant Dufour names the four finalists for the Hudson superintendent job at a meeting on March 7. | Photo courtesy HudTV

by Dakota Antelman

Arlington’s Laura Chesson made her pitch to be the next superintendent of the Hudson Public Schools (HPS) on Wednesday, offering more than 20 years of experience in analytics that, she says, may help the district with its budget and state rating.

After visiting Hudson’s schools throughout the day, Chesson sat down with community members Wednesday afternoon for a Q&A and returned Wednesday evening for a public interview conducted by the school committee.

The sitting Arlington Assistant Superintendent began working with district budgets when she became the Principal of Maynard High School in 2008 and has since also gathered experience analyzing, reporting, and responding to MCAS and other data that the Massachusetts Department of Education collects.

“Being able to analyze data is critically important as a superintendent,” she told the Big Red shortly after speaking to the community in a public Q&A. She later added, “Sometimes, it just raises more questions for you, and if you can’t analyze that data, you can’t see what those questions that you need to ask are.”

Chesson started her education career as a math teacher, working first in New Mexico before briefly moving to Hudson. After she left HPS in 1997, she worked as an administrator in four different districts, including, most recently, Maynard and Leominster.

The Arlington Public Schools are roughly twice the size of the Hudson Public Schools in terms of students served and buildings occupied. As a result, the budget Chesson has helped draft each year has consistently been nearly twice the size of the Hudson budget, which has hovered around 30 million dollars for several years. | by Dakota Antelman
The Arlington Public Schools are roughly twice the size of the Hudson Public Schools in terms of students served and buildings occupied. As a result, the budget Chesson has helped draft each year has consistently been nearly twice the size of the Hudson budget, which has hovered around $30 million for several years. | by Dakota Antelman

Her current job in Arlington has often utilized her skills in data analysis and budgeting. Last spring, she and her fellow Arlington administrators worked through months of deliberation to add six million dollars to their budget for the 2017 fiscal year. This year, she once again helped compile her district’s budget.  

“There were things that we felt like we needed to add into the budget to meet our goals,” she said, later adding. “In order to add approximately $800,000 worth of things, we had to cut $730,000. So my ability to be able to look at and understand the budget enabled us to decide what we needed to cut and what we needed to add. My ability to analyze data helped with that.”

Hudson itself is facing budget cuts for the third straight year after the district cut roughly $750,000 from its budget in 2015, cutting parts of the elementary band program among other things.

As parents and staff fear further budget cuts, many also call attention to the state of special education in the district.

“We have significant issues that are constantly being addressed and readdressed,” said Maureen O’Brien, the mother of three HPS students and a special education teacher in the Worcester. “Consistency is always a question for me as a teacher, and a parent, and a friend of a lot of people in the special education community.”

Hearing O’Brien and several other citizens throughout the now months old search process, the school committee followed suit also brought up this topic in their public interview with Chesson.

“Special education and general education have to work in a partnership,” Chesson told the Big Red after the Q&A and before the school committee interview.  “I have worked very closely in that partnership for the past five years, even though my role isn’t in special education.”

Indeed, Chesson lacks the resume experience of the three other candidates that the school committee initially picked as finalists. She is the only Hudson finalist to have never worked as a special education teacher, coordinator or paraprofessional.

She did, however, fill the shoes of her current district’s special education administrator when that administrator went on maternity leave last year. Before that, she had also worked in a three-person teaching team early in New Mexico that integrated special education students and teachers with their general education classmates and colleagues.

by Dakota Antelman
by Dakota Antelman

“We were fully included, so I had students even with severe cognitive disabilities that were members of my class,” she said of her work there.

Their interviews with Marco Rodrigues of the Worcester Public Schools, and Chesson, complete, the committee did announce on Friday morning that their fourth finalist, Jahmal Mosley, had withdrawn his application for the Hudson job after taking a position in Nashua, NH.

They will now interview Brett Kustigian of the Quaboag Public Schools on Wednesday, March 29, before they vote to appoint a successor to sitting superintendent Jodi Fortuna the next day.

The Big Red will be following the superintendent search until after the vote to appoint. Check back regularly for updates as the district holds new interviews and meetings!

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Marco Rodrigues speaks during his interview with the school committee on Monday night. | Photo courtesy HudTV

by Dakota Antelman

The Hudson School Committee kicked off the final stages of its superintendent search Monday by hosting a Q&A and public interview with Marco Rodrigues of the Worcester Public Schools. In both appearances, Rodrigues listed transparency and communication as priorities should he become superintendent. 

The Worcester Chief Academic Officer and experienced public school administrator told parents, staff and the school committee that he values communication between parents and their student’s school as well as communication between teachers and their colleagues.

During the evening school committee interview, speaking before a largely empty room, he also noted how he would work not only to spark dialogue but also to make it more effective.

“It’s very important that the superintendent of the school is a person who the community knows,” he told the Big Red earlier in the day. “[The community needs to] know that he or she can be accessed, and [they need] to have opportunities to have forums where they can actually have conversations with the superintendent.”

While sparsely attended, the conversations that HPS parents, staff and school committee members did have with Rodrigues centered around familiar topics from the past four months of the superintendent search — special education and the budget.

Rodrigues brings experience as a special education coordinator and executive director of the Central Massachusetts Special Education Collaborative among other things. He described his approach to special education.

“The challenge is that each individual is so different that you never have two students who are alike,” he told the Big Red after the Q&A. “Different students have different needs, and some are more extensive than some teachers can provide. So it’s a balance of understanding who the population is and our day being grouped together and us providing our teachers with the best resources for teaching those students.”

During the Q&A itself, he went on to apply his philosophy to Hudson and the system of state ratings of public schools.

“For Hudson, when you look at the aggregate data from the state, you don’t look the greatest,” he said. “But when you look at the high school and the middle school and Forest Ave and the other schools individually, the schools are different, and the needs may be different.”

Near the end of his school committee interview, he circled back to a topic that had come up at several points during the day. As Hudson faces the threat of budget cuts for a third consecutive year, Rodrigues tackled the topic of finances head-on.

“There’s not one district in the commonwealth that doesn’t have a budget issue,” he told the Big Red. “The cost of education continues to rise, and you often don’t have more revenue to support that increase in need.”

If selected for the Hudson job, he said he would bring a “zero base budget” approach from Worcester to HPS. The system, which he helps operate on a yearly basis as a WPS administrator, requires his district to draft the budget “from scratch” every year, allowing his district to regularly reevaluate its spending choices.

“It’s about looking at every dollar that is being spent and making sure that it is being spent in a way that is providing the students with the best experience that they can have in the Hudson Public Schools,” he said.

At the beginning of his closing statement during Monday’s interview, Rodrigues complemented HPS on the quality of both its instruction and its facilities. Speaking earlier in the day on a similar topic, he noted how those two assets could come together with the effective communication and engagement he advocates.

by Dakota Antelman
by Dakota Antelman

“A school like this is very open to activities through the evening,” he said of Hudson High. “That’s the way all the schools should be. We have all these structures for school. We have to use them for community purposes as well. That’s when you start that dialogue of ‘It’s OK to be here. It’s OK for you to participate, and it’s OK for you to know what your child needs to do and needs to have to be successful.'”

Their day with Rodrigues completed, the school committee will now host similar Q&As and public interviews with other finalists — Brett Kustigian, Laura Chesson, and Jamal Mosley — before they vote to appoint a successor to current Superintendent Jodi Fortuna on March 30.

The Big Red will be following the superintendent search until after the vote to appoint. Check back regularly for updates as the district holds new interviews and meetings!

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The Hudson ELL department updates a board with the home countries of students. Since the Brazilian economy crashed in 2015 and 2016, a growing number of students from the country have been emigrating to Hudson.

by Dakota Antelman

by Dakota Antelman

He wanted to buy more than candy bars with his daily salary. But that’s all he could afford in Brazil even while working at a sushi restaurant.

In October of last year, a male student, who has asked not to be identified by name, and his family decided to leave Brazil, a country marred by nearly a decade of economic depression and political corruption. He was the first to emigrate, landing in this country with only a basic understanding of English and just one family member here.

Meanwhile, the rest of his immediate family is back in Sao Paulo, Brazil, gathering money to join their son in Hudson.

His experiences match those of several Hudson High School students. They come from different parts of Brazil, but the majority of them are here because they saw no economic future for themselves in South America.

“We were trying to live there. My dad has a job at the court, but things were bad because everything is expensive and the payment is low,” the male student said. “My aunt was over here, and she said the life is better here. So we came here and are trying.”

Brazil’s Economy Crashes

by Dakota Antelman
by Dakota Antelman

While much of the rest of the world was struggling with the Great Recession in 2008, the Brazilian economy was booming. It ranked sixth out of all countries in 2011 after seeing its economy grow by 7.5% the previous year, according to the New York Times.

But in 2014, investigators exposed a then decade-old illicit system of financial kickbacks between the Brazilian government and one of its largest oil companies, Petrobras. Company officials fixed prices, inflated costs and got involved in a series of bribes allegedly worth $3 billion.

At the time, the Brazilian government owned 51% of Petrobras, and the Brazilian president at the time the scandal broke, Dilma Rousseff, had once been the company’s chair. She and other members of her Workers Party used illegal Petrobras money to fund their own campaigns.

The scandal prompted massive protests, violent crowd control measures by government riot police, and, eventually, the impeachment of Rousseff and dozens of other government officials in 2016. But the responses in the streets and courtrooms were not enough to curb the economic devastation the scandal wrought.

Average monthly income in Brazil plummeted to its lowest point in three years according to Trading Economics. The unemployment rate nearly doubled from 6.5% in January 2015 to 12% by the end of 2016 and, between March 2015 and March 2016, the Brazilian Real lost nearly a quarter of its value when compared to the U.S. dollar.

“You just got used to it,” the male student said of the economy. “Everybody has to struggle to pay the bills. Politics are crap too. Everybody [the politicians] steals money. Everybody would go to the street to protest, but that didn’t help. So we just had to keep going. That’s why my dad decided to send me here because he knows that it won’t change.”

Indeed, economists predict the crisis will get worse before it gets better. Trading Economics predicts that the unemployment rate will climb to 12.3% this year, potentially leaving nearly 12.5 million people without work in Brazil.

Brazilian Economy Pushes Teens to Hudson

by Dakota Antelman
by Dakota Antelman

As the unemployment rate rose in 2015 and finally spiked by nearly 3% in a matter of months in early 2016, many of the teens now studying at HHS saw their lives changed.

A female student who also requested anonymity is one of those teens. She emigrated to the US in August 2015, just as the Petrobras scandal and the subsequent recession began to intensify. Her father had been working in the same job cutting metal in a factory for at least 12 years but was suddenly seeing coworkers laid off or fired at an alarming rate.  

“The company was just firing everybody, and my dad got scared because he thought he would be the next person,” she said.

Her mother faced a similar situation. She had been working in the same job for two years after she was laid off in 2013. Before they left Brazil, the female student’s mother saw similar cuts taking place in her workplace.

“My parents had good jobs,” she said. “They had their lives there. But they were scared because the economy was decreasing and decreasing. They knew that there would come a time where they would be fired; they wanted to prevent that by coming here.”

The female student’s parents now work as manual laborers in the region.

“My dad especially, he doesn’t like to stay at home and not work,” she said. “It makes him feel bad, so he got the first job he could here.”

While the male student’s father enjoyed more job security than the female student’s parents, he too was impacted by the struggling economy. In fact, the male student’s family was close to selling their car as a way to make ends meet before his father visited Hudson where his aunt lives.

“My dad came here to visit my aunt, and he saw everything,” he said. “He saw the school, the houses, and my aunt talked to him a lot. He got back and said, ‘We’re going to move to the United States,’ and we said, ‘You’re lying.’ Three months later, I was in an airplane.”

Since arriving in the US, the male student has begun working a weekend job. He now enjoys more economic independence than he did in Brazil.

“Thing are so expensive, so even if I have money in Brazil, I can’t get anything,” he said. “I can just buy candy. Here I can buy a car if I want to.”

Students Adjust to Life in the US

by Dakota Antelman
by Dakota Antelman

While students are excited to live in the United States, where the economy is better and the political system is more secure, they have not necessarily enjoyed a perfectly smooth landing in their new country.

The female student spent time in three schools in different states at the beginning of the 2015-2016 school year. 

“For a person who didn’t speak English, that was really hard,” she said. “I would make a friend and then change everything.”

Both students’ families, likewise, struggled to leave their homes behind.

“My parents had their friends there,” the female student said. “They left my grandma, everybody there. I miss them too, but, my parents, they haven’t made a lot of friends here like they had in Brazil because they lost friends that they had known since elementary school.”

Still, for both students, the benefits of moving to the United States far outweigh the struggles of doing so. The male student said his private school outside of Sao Paulo, Brazil, was roughly the size of the Hudson High School library. It had 300 students.

“Everything here is so organized,” he said. “Everything is awesome. This school is public. If this school was in Brazil, only rich people would go to it.”

The female student hopes to go to college to pursue a career in medicine or teaching.

The male student also wants to go to college. He, however, wants to follow his father’s path into a career in the courts. He wants to be a lawyer.

Students See Futures in the US

Both students had to leave their families and friends behind, and they both had to learn English in a matter of months after their families decided to move.

The male student learned English through a mixture of lessons from his father, who was already mostly fluent, and by watching American movies with their original English dialogue.

Indeed, many of those movies do project a larger-than-life view of America and its society. Having left the economic and political stagnation of Brazil though, he said they have been more accurate than many would expect.

“It’s like a dream,” he said. “Everyone in Brazil dreams of being here. It’s like a movie.”

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Courtesy of CBS/Lionsgate

by Dakota Antelman

Four years after the events it dramatizes, Peter Berg’s portrayal of the Boston Marathon bombing and the manhunt that followed succeeds almost as much on its restraint as it does on its actual cinematic structure.

Patriots Day follows fictional Boston police officer Tommy Saunders (Mark Wahlberg) as he finds himself caught in the middle of several key events throughout the week of the 2013 bombing. The movie traces a linear path through the events, committing to film the bombing, the early hours of its investigation, the shooting of MIT police officer Sean Collier (Jake Picking), the Watertown shootout and the subsequent lockdown of the city of Boston to find the then fugitive Dzhokhar Tsarnaev (Alex Wolff).

In its timing, Patriots Day walks a fine line between honoring the victims of terrorism and pouring salt in their still fresh emotional wounds. Luckily, the movie’s star and producer Mark Wahlberg, a Boston native, knows this line well and follows it admirably.

While the bombing obviously plays a major role in the film, Berg takes few factual or visual liberties in his portrayal of it. Most notably, he turns to shots from ground level that emphasize the anguished faces of the bombing victims alongside the bloodied ball bearings and nails that wounded them. He uses few pyrotechnics and lets the aftermath of the bombings speak for itself.  In showing these shots and the cries of people watching their loved ones wheeled away on stretchers, Berg humanizes the people often reduced to figures in a crowd of nearly 200 who were physically harmed by the bombs.

Nevertheless, he does not sanitize the bombings. While his bombing sequence is marked by quick cuts between faces and tangled masses of victims, the hospital scenes that follow confront the gore of the attack head on. These shots are gut wrenching, fixating on doctors performing chest compressions, making decisions to amputate limbs, and working in hallways because emergency rooms are already filled to capacity.

In the early moments of the movie, Berg resists making the bombing seem stripped from an action movie and resolves to simply focus on its emotional and physical impacts.

As the movie continues, Berg’s development of two groups of characters on opposite sides of the story’s conflict further ensures that Patriots Day does not become an action movie rooted in reality. The movie offers a view of law enforcement as heroes, using characters like Watertown Police Sergeant Jeffrey Pugliese (JK Simmons) to show the risks officers took to apprehend the bombers. Likewise, Berg highlights the sacrifices men like Wahlberg’s character made by having him (Saunders) walk with a limp due to a swollen knee even as he breaks down barricades on Boylston St. and ducks bullets in Watertown.

Opposing law enforcement are the bombers themselves who Berg casts not as one-dimensional villains but human men who did terrible things. Tamerlan Tsarnaev (Themo Melikidze) is the mastermind behind the attacks and solicits the help of his brother Dzhokhar. Dzhokhar does, at times, question his brother, their intentions, and their methods, leading to one violent fight in a darkened roadway. At another point, Berg highlights Dzhokhar’s youth, including a scene where he tries to buy armfuls of snack food before a road trip — to bomb New York City.

Berg does not attempt to glamorize the brothers or what they did. Indeed, in humanizing them, he keeps true to the true story itself. The victims of the Boston Marathon bombing were not attacked by supervillains — they were attacked by mortal terrorists.

But Patriots Day is far from perfect. While Berg succeeds in his portrayal of the bombing, his restraint lapses when he portrays the Watertown shootout. While the shootout was chaotic, with hundreds of rounds of gunfire and several bombs thrown by the Tsarnaev brothers, Berg fictionalizes pieces of the confrontation. In reality, witnesses say, the brothers threw three bombs at officers. The movie would have viewers believe they threw more than that.

Additionally, in trying to include many voices in the story, Berg and his co-screenwriter Matt Cook delay the plot.  They weave the lives of officer Sean Collier, alongside those of Saunders, the victims, the Watertown police officers, and the Tsarnaev brothers. It would have taken a work of literary magic to weave these concurrent stories into a seamless screenplay. Patriots Day lacks that magic.

Nevertheless, Patriots Day remains a fantastic movie about a dense and difficult topic. The Boston Marathon bombing, the Watertown shootout and the decision to lock down the entire city of Boston changed the world. Notably, in the short four years since the bombing, more attacks have taken place around the world. Xenophobia has continued to find a safe haven in corners of our society, and the police, often idolized after these tragedies, have come under literal fire in Dallas and Baton Rouge.

Patriots Day is an imperfect but respectful reminder of the week that changed American lives. It is a must see.

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Marchers scale a fence on Beacon St. as thousands of their fellow marchers file out of Boston Common. The crowds were so dense that, in some places, it took nearly an hour for marchers to begin actually marching. | by Dakota Antelman

by Dakota Antelman

Marchers from across New England descended on the Boston Common earlier this month to protest President Donald Trump and support the various groups he insulted in his campaign or threatened with his policy proposals. 

Taking place the day after Trump’s inauguration, the march was one of hundreds across the world. It attracted, according to organizers and Boston Police, 175,000 people to the Boston Common and featured speeches from high-profile Massachusetts Democrats. Nearly a week later, more protests erupted across the country in opposition to a ban on immigration from seven predominantly Muslim countries.

Several HHS students and staff members attended. After the march, the Big Red spoke to two of these students about their experiences, their beliefs, and their hopes for the future.

 

Eva Tipps

The Women’s March filled the Boston Common with more people than many onlookers can remember. Like many other protests across the country, it surpassed expectations of attendance.

Elizabeth Warren, a US Senator for Massachusetts and a popular voice among progressive Democrats, headlined the pre-march rally at the Boston Common, delivering a speech in which she committed to fighting Donald Trump even though her party represents the minority in both houses of Congress.

Warren was, however, just one of several liberal leaders who attended the rally. Boston Mayor Marty Walsh declared on behalf of the city of Boston that he would fight Trump. Days after that speech, his words were indeed put to the test when Trump announced he would put pressure on sanctuary cities like Boston to turn over undocumented immigrants to the federal government.

Likewise, the two were joined by Senator Ed Markey who touched on similar themes in his speech.

Eva Tipps

As many marches were still taking place on January 21, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer falsely claimed that Donald Trump’s inauguration drew the largest audience in history in an aggressive briefing of reporters in Washington, D.C.

The next day, in an interview with NBC’s Chuck Todd, Kellyanne Conway, a counselor to President Trump, defended Spicer’s comments by saying that he had not lied. Instead, she said, “he used alternative facts.”

The events came after Trump had spent much of his campaign insulting the press and threatening to change libel laws in his administration. During the Boston Women’s March, some participants could be heard chanting in support of a free press.

Clement Doucette

Trump’s first week in office began with women’s marches around the world. It ended with protestors flocking to airports across the US to oppose an executive order by the president that banned immigration from seven predominantly Muslim countries for 120 days while the government developed “extreme vetting” programs for refugees.

Those protests were sparked when 12 refugees were detained at JFK Airport in New York City by officials citing Trump’s order and began to thin when a federal judge ruled that refugees in transit to the US should be admitted and as the White House announced that all foreigners holding Green Cards would still be able to enter the US.

For students and progressive leaders alike, the early protests against President Trump are and will continue to be a favored tactic in resisting a government over which their party has little control.

 

Eva Tipps

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by Dakota Antelman

by Dakota Antelman

In a year she dubbed a “great experiment,” social studies teacher Whitney Nielsen says she and her AP Seminar students have had to adapt to a curriculum unlike any other.

HHS added the course this fall just under three years after it was announced by the College Board in 2014 as part of the new Capstone program. One of the newest AP classes available to schools, Seminar teaches students college-level research and presentation skills.

As thirteen students signed up last spring, Nielsen herself had to get trained in teaching the course which, she noted, features fewer lectures, fewer traditional assessments, and more student independence than many other AP classes.

“It’s definitely more skills based and project based,” she said. “There’s not really any particular kind of content that you have to know other than the vocabulary that goes with discussing research skills, which is cool. I really like that it’s interdisciplinary as well. Students can follow their passion a little bit and look at the entirety of the problem instead of saying, ‘We’re not going to talk about that because that’s psychology and we’re not learning that here.’”

Throughout the course selection process last year, teachers advertised the class as one unlike traditional AP classes. Furthermore, it continues to earn praise as an introduction to college-level research and presenting.

“I’m starting to learn a lot more skills than I thought I would learn,” said sophomore Austin Temple. “Trying to tell your story in front of a bunch of people who have no idea what you’re talking about and trying to explain it thoroughly is something that I think will help me going into junior year and senior year and into college.”

Among the highlights of the first semester of Seminar, Nielsen and Temple agree, was an assignment where each student had to give a presentation of their personal research project to an audience of administrators and guidance counselors.

“Having all the principals there was cool,” Temple said. “We all kind of hated it at first, but it offered a lot of insight because Mr. Otlin was really keen on telling us what we needed to work on and both Mr. McAnespie and Mr. Reagan had things to talk about as well.”

The course has had its rough spots, however.

Though she had taught AP US History earlier in her career before taking on AP Seminar this year, the class was new territory for Nielsen. She has no textbook at her disposal, meaning that she has to work with teachers from other districts to share and find practice materials for her class. Additionally, Nielsen notes that the College Board has been changing lessons and materials throughout the year even though this is the third year that they have offered the course.

In a recent case, she received an email from the College Board telling her and other Seminar teachers to delete a set of documents and download a new set for an upcoming project just a week after they were told to download them. Before that, she says, she would get “periodic emails” with updated rubrics or other class materials.

“It’s interesting how much the actual course is changing on the fly,” she said. “We’re not the pilot year. It’s been piloted, and schools have been running it for a couple of years now.”

As she looks back on the successes and these struggles of the course in its first two terms at HHS, Nielsen has realized that the school may need to revise the way it advertises the class.

“It was really sold as so different that everyone can succeed, but the caveat would be that you have to be a strong reader and writer,” she said. “That doesn’t mean you have to get all A’s on everything — you might not get things done on time or [you] might not follow the same process as other people. Those people would be fine. But you have to be a strong reader and writer to keep up in the class, or it will be overwhelming.”

The students who are currently in Seminar and will be returning to HHS next year will have the opportunity to take AP Research in the fall. Research is the culmination of the Capstone curriculum, and it omits the traditional exam in favor of a 5,000-word research paper and an oral defense of that paper. But with just over a dozen students eligible to take Research, Nielsen is unsure of how many students will decide to continue.

Nevertheless, she and her students agree that they have already enjoyed a first-of-its-kind opportunity at Hudson High School.

“High school is very different from college,” she said. “This class may help people prepare to at least have a leg up on that [transition].”

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Seizing control of the match, Bonina's opponent flips him on his side. After struggling on the mat for several seconds after this move, Bonina would be pinned, giving his opponent the comeback victory. | by Dakota Antelman

by Dakota Antelman

In the second of three matches at a tri-meet on Saturday, the co-op Hudson/AMSA/Assabet/Tahanto wrestling team lost to Wayland 52-15 at the Assabet RVT High School gym.

The remnant of a once dominant independent program, sophomore Joey Bonina was the only HHS athlete to participate in the match.

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The Washington St. Bridge as viewed from a pathway shortly downstream. | by Dakota Antelman

by Thomas Hydro

As the rest of the state is preparing for what could be a harsh winter, Hudson is preparing for a completely different kind of storm. At the beginning of November, work crews began preparations for the project that promises to bring Hudson’s newfound bustling downtown life to a standstill.

The town of Hudson has decided to rebuild the Washington Street bridge that sits right outside of the downtown area — the main route in and out of town. The construction plan was presented because of a project being undertaken by the Mass Department of Transportation (DOT) to widen roadways and make them safer for travel. The proposed plan is expected to cost around $3,000,000 and take approximately 14 months, with it being expected to be open to traffic in eight of those months according to a DOT handout.

Regardless of the intentions of the reconstruction, this project will surely cause many problems for many people.

As Hudson has welcomed new businesses to its downtown area like the Rail Trail, New City Creamery, and Medusa, it has become a buzzing town even on weeknights. But, with the bridge expected to be closed for around half of the construction process, these businesses could see a drop in business. Having difficulty reaching their destination may turn customers away from going to these businesses. This may be true for only a handful of people, but it still takes away from the profits of businesses in town.

In addition to this potential drop in business, this could make winter travel even more difficult for the people of Hudson. With one of the main routes in and out of town being closed down for the winter, drivers will have to find alternate routes on side roads that may become backed up, making commutes longer, and possibly more dangerous. And with the winter that may be coming our way, the construction may see delay after delay, drawing out inconveniences to the public even longer.

Another issue that this will cause is the bus routes to the high school will have to be changed. As a student who uses the bus to get to school, I can say that my bus and several others use the Washington Street bridge to get onto Brigham Street in the mornings. As construction begins and the bridge closes, the bus routes will have to be altered to find another way to get to the high school. Buses may need to begin their routes earlier to account for the additional time it will take to reach the school, meaning that kids will have to get up even earlier, depriving them of much needed rest before each school day.

The construction may be needed, but the timing is incredibly poor as winter begins to set in and students going to school rely on the bridge to get them to their destination every school day.

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Regan Gannon spins away from the defense of Hudson's Emily O'Neil in the second quarter. | by Dakota Antelman

by Dakota Antelman

Girls basketball came from behind to beat the Clinton Gaels at home Thursday afternoon. With the 48-44 victory, the Hawks snapped a three-game losing streak and improved their record to 2-4 heading into the new year.

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by Dakota Antelman

by Lilah Mercadante

Most of us have taken a selfie before, some more than others. There is nothing wrong with snapping a photo of yourself. The trouble comes when you post it on social media. I am an active Instagram user, and I would argue it is the most popular form of social media among my generation. Selfies appear in my newsfeed daily. With these pictures come a string of compliments consisting of emojis and words like, ‘hot’ and ‘babe.’ These comments are self-esteem boosters for the person in the picture.

Of course, what’s wrong with a little self-esteem boost? Isn’t it a good thing to build self-confidence? Yes. But it should be coming from yourself. When a flood of compliments flash on your screen, this boost is coming from other people. It is not inner love, created from self-appreciation. This is where the problems start.

We all know what that feels like if we have posted a selfie before. When you see the notification pop up on your lockscreen and you open the app to see a number next to a heart, it causes a happy reaction. The bigger the number, the better you feel about yourself.

But when this doesn’t happe,n we inflict negative feelings on ourselves.

What happens when you are used to getting 200 likes and 15 adoring comments on your selfies? What happens when you don’t? Every time someone prepares to post a selfie, they hold it in the same esteem as the ones they have posted before. So when they post a selfie and it doesn’t elicit the same response as previous pictures, they wonder, “What is worse about me now?”

Just a few weeks ago, I heard one of my friends say, “It [her selfie] only got 60 likes, so I took it down.”

This is what happens. A lack of positive response from the public can cause a person to feel ugly and bad about themselves. We disregard our own initial appreciation of the photo and replace those happy feelings with the worrisome and depressing feelings we get from public reaction. This reveals that we consider other people’s opinions to be more important than our own.

The silly thing about this is: it is our face and our body in the picture. It has nothing to do with anybody else. So why do we care? Beauty is subjective like art. Some people like modern art, and some people only like watercolors. Some people double tap only on pictures of brunettes, and some people scroll right past people who aren’t tan. Does this mean everyone has to be tan and have brown hair? Of course not.

As cheesy as it sounds, we need to love ourselves. If you post a picture only to get a small response, leave it up. Admire it. Next time you post a selfie think about how it is going to make you feel. Your lockscreen could be ambushed with likes and comments, or it could be sparse. Just remember my warning: Selfies may cause negative feelings, lack of self-esteem, and impending sadness.