Features

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Ryan Figueirido works on one of the Dell computers at the help desk.

by Jason Meserve

Ryan Figueirido and Bruno Capitao work at the tech help desk.

The Hudson Public Schools distributed Chromebooks for the first time ever this year to grades 8-10.  The school wanted a place for students to go to if they have any problems with their Chromebooks, so they formed a help desk. As they explored this idea, faculty and administrators visited Shrewsbury High School to look at their help desk and see what they do with iPads.

The tech help desk fixes any problems with Chromebooks and computers, including bugs, lag, and any other software and operating system problems.  They also try to reach out and fix projectors for teachers. The 4 members of the tech help desk are sophomores Bruno Capitao, Ryan Figueirido, Jack Napoleone, and Kelsey Kahn. 

Members of the tech help desk all have a passion for technology, and all volunteered for this job. They love handling and experimenting with technology. All kids in the program are self taught.

Some specialize in fixing the physical problems in the computers, and others specialize in fixing the software-related issues. Bruno Capitao fixes the software-related problems and helps with Aspen difficulties. He is now learning about fixing the physical parts of computers and learning the new operating system on Chromebook.

Each student also has to come up with an independent study project to work on for each term. For example, Capitao is making an app that stores a person’s achievements, records, and strengths for future jobs or college.

The tech help desk is open during Blocks B, D, and E lunches, so if you have any problems with software or your computer, go over to the tech help desk next to the office. If you’re interested in joining or learning about the program, you can ask media teacher Lynda Chilton about it.

 

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HHS soccer team and HHS alumni come together and take pictures with friends, teammates, and coaches.

by Lily Clardy

The HHS soccer team hosted the first annual alumni game on Friday, November 24. Alumni from past reunited with their old teammates, friends, and coaches.

 

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A senior works on his college applications in his Common Application account. | by Dakota Antelman

by Bianca Chaves

Seniors simply have too much work and not enough time to do it.

For many students who are applying to over five schools, the multiple college essays to write and test scores to send require a great deal of time and effort. All this time working on school work and college applications adds up to a lot of stress for the seniors.

For seniors like Sam Pinto, this is hard to organize. “It’s a lot of whenever I find free time,” Pinto says. “I am always trying to not procrastinate and get it done.”

Pinto is applying to five colleges, varying from state schools to private universities. On top of that, Pinto is in all honors and AP classes, a member of the cross country team, and an employee at McDonald’s. “Per week,” Pinto explains, “I probably work on college stuff for like 3-4 hours.”

English teacher Amy Vessels thinks, however, that students need to start sooner on the revision of their college essay, since many students need to write 3 or 4 drafts before it is ready. She feels that most students are not used to spending that much time on revision, so they often do not leave enough time for that process.

Though students are given a month to work on college essays in class, it is often not enough. They have to find time to work on their essays outside of class, meeting with teachers after school and completing many drafts.

English teacher Elizabeth Albota said that the college application time should be a time where students should work harder and spend more time on school work.  

Albota also says that once college application time is over, the students will have less stress and more free time, so they should sacrifice a few months so they can have a promising future.

That sacrifice is biggest for those who apply to the most colleges. Senior Leah Bonner is applying to 13 colleges, mostly consisting of state schools. Stress can also come from sports and extracurricular activities, which makes college work and school work hard to get done.

Her application deadlines are spread out, but she still has sports, school work and clubs to keep up with. Bonner has two jobs, she plays golf, she is president of the ski club, and she’s in spirit committee and junior boosters.

Senior Clem Doucette is applying to 14 colleges. He finds time to work on college applications either on nights when he doesn’t have a lot of homework or on Sunday mornings.

Doucette is in Hud-TV. He spends around two hours a day at the studio after school, and sometimes Doucette finds time to work on college applications and essays there. “There’s a lot of down time and lots of computers, so it’s easy to get work done there.”

Doucette has written 14 college essays and had between three to four drafts for most essays. For the common app essay he wrote around eight or nine drafts.

Before Doucette received his ACT test scores in early November, he was worried how his scores compared to the students who were accepted to the Ivy League schools.

In addition to the essays and test scores, students also face the financial stress of applying. Doucette explains that application fees can be as much as $70, with most of his being $70.

Stress is affecting the seniors and their school work. “It’s basically constantly working,” Pinto explains, “like balancing it with sports and McDonald’s and school, so yeah I don’t have much down time basically.”  

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Libby prepares his team for the playoff game. | by Chad Crogan

by Lily Clardy

Senior A.J. Libby could not wait for football playoffs this year.

He would not be playing, since his high school team was eliminated earlier in the season. But the fifth grade team that he coached made it all the way to states.

Libby has been coaching these kids for four years. “They started off not even knowing how to hold a football,” Libby said, “and now they are running plays, doing tackles, and it’s just so great to see how the kids have improved over the years.” He is proud of all of the kids and their improvements. He loves to watch the kids play.

He started coaching because of his father. His dad was the head coach of a team. He needed some help, so Libby offered to coach. He enjoyed it, so he stuck with it.

Despite his busy schedule, A.J. is committed to the team. “After my practice, I go right over to coach,” Libby said. While most of Libby’s teammates head home after practice, he runs drills, practices individually with them, and helps each kid improve on different skills. He mainly works as an offensive and defensive line coach, but he also works with special teams and linebackers. Libby said he teaches them “which way to step and how to block, and what kind of stance they should be in.”

From coaching Libby has learned new techniques for his high school team. “In games, if I step the wrong way, or I put my head on the wrong side of the person I’m trying to block, I almost instantly realize that’s not what I’m supposed to do,” he said. “I am able to realize things I am doing wrong more easily because some of the things are something I basically just taught the kids how to do.”

Libby uses approaches that he learns from his high school coaches to help the kids. “I spend too much time around Coach Mac,” Libby said, ” so I use a lot of the phrases he uses, with the kids, and I teach them other things like blocking techniques.”

Assistant Coach Mike Nanartowich, who has been working with Libby for about three years, says that Libby connects well with the team. “ A.J. isn’t much older than the kids,” Nanartowich says. “The kids always say, ‘Since A.J. is doing it, we should do it.’”

Libby feels like he plays the role of a big brother. That connection motivates the team even during tough workouts. One day at practice, one kid refused to do the army crawl, but Libby went over to him and tried to convince the kid that it would be fun. Once the kid said okay, Libby got down in the mud and did it with him.

Coaching has become more than a volunteer opportunity for him. This experience has guided his career choice. He wants to be a high school teacher.  “Knowing that your making an impact on the kids,” Libby said, “and knowing that maybe if you hadn’t taught them some things, they might have never learned it.” The power of that connection has made a lasting impact on him and the kids.

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Junior Pat Fortuna and eighth grader Charles Togneri edit a film at HUD-TV. | by Clement Doucette

by Clement Doucette

Climbing the steep, difficult path up Mount Wachusett proved to be more challenging than any of us had anticipated. My senior mentor, Bruno, led me and my eighth grade friends up the mountain. As new high schoolers, we were inspired by the accomplishments of our senior mentors; we heard their stories of college applications and fond high school memories.

Now, as a senior, I see a startling disconnect between the upperclassmen and the eighth graders. Generally, the two groups are isolated from one another, rarely communicate, and as a result, the eighth graders tend to be the subject of generalizations by the upperclassmen.

“There’s a lot of [eighth graders] that are really intelligent and nice,” said eighth grader Alessa Maiuri. “However, they still get the title of the ‘eighth graders’ and are overall a generally despised grade.”  

The geography of HHS only exacerbates this growing problem, since it relegates eighth graders to their own section of the high school.  The program of studies prevents underclassmen from enrolling in many of the same elective classes as upperclassmen. Consequently, many older students are unaware of the accomplishments and talents of younger students. These two groups can only interact through after school clubs and activities, or through team-building exercises such as the ones held during my eighth grade year.  

“I think some of the upperclassmen don’t classify [the eighth graders] as being part of the high school, even though they sort of are,” said Maiuri.  

Of course, not all seniors view the eighth graders in this way. Clubs such as HUD-TV have been successful in connecting students from different grades. Still, these benefits are not extended to all students, as only a fraction are members of these clubs.  

Wellness teacher Dee Grassey taught at Hudson High School during the mentor program’s heyday. She noted that the mentor program acted as an important bridge between upper and lower grades and supports its return.  

“I know they’re coming from a middle school to a high school, which is difficult,” said Grassey.  “Of course, puberty is a big issue, which has to do with their maturity.  I know that those are all factors, and I do think that they need a big brother or sister.”

Although the mentoring program would make the rough transition between middle and high school easier, it requires dedication and input from the seniors.

“The problem with senior mentoring is that seniors have a lot on their plate,” said Grassey.  “What I’ve seen consistently is a problem with keeping it up throughout the year.  It’s that commitment.  The program starts off really great, but by this time of the year, it’s gone.”

Commitment is a problem within any extracurricular activity. Without a system to hold members accountable, students that are not passionate either lose interest or drop out of the program. Others become bogged down with coursework and other extracurriculars.  Senior Ariana Jordan-MacArthur expressed these concerns.

“I just remember it being a really, really fun trip,” said Jordan-MacArthur. “However, I don’t remember being all that connected with my senior buddy.  I mostly just remember having fun with my friends.  I do know that the buddies were there; they were just not really that interactive.”

Despite these issues, Jordan-MacArthur wants to see the program return.  “I would love for [mentors] to come back, and I would love to be [one], too.  I know that our class is very spirited and likes to involve everybody, so I think that if we did bring that back, we would have a lot of people who would be willing to be mentors for the eighth graders.”

Still, any interaction between senior mentors and eighth graders is better than none.  Giving attention to the school’s youngest students could make them feel accepted in the school community.

“With every class, you have that core group that need more help or guidance.  Children sometimes learn more from other children than they do from adults,” said Grassey.  “That’s why I think mentoring programs are so important.”

Despite the efforts of staff members, students must build those connections between the grades. These connections need to be natural and unforced.  Bringing back the mentoring program could build these valuable connections that both eighth graders and seniors desire.

“You can hold meetings and think up great ideas,” said Grassey. “However, if the students don’t follow up with it, there’s nothing one person or an advisor alone can do.”  

Although the program needs to have some degree of structure, providing interested seniors and eighth graders with an interest survey could pair like-minded students. Having an eighth grade mentee or a senior mentor with similar interests would make these students more willing to talk and to continue the program.

When I participated, my mentor and I did not share much common ground, and as a result, I did not learn as much from him as I could have.  The keys to a successful mentoring program are natural conversations, shared interests, and meaningful dialogue.

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The Hawks walk in arm in arm for their last game of the season against the Marlborough Panthers. | by Siobhan Richards

by Siobhan Richards

The Hawks played in the annual Thanksgiving Day game against longtime rival Marlborough High School, on Thursday, November 23. Despite being tied 6-6 at halftime, the Hawks lost to the Panthers 27-12.

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Nancy Tobin speaks in a Hudson High classroom

Nancy Tobin speaks in a Hudson High School classroom. | by Dakota Antelman

by Dakota Antelman

Nancy Tobin spoke to the friends her son Scott left behind as they all mourned his death at his funeral.

She held those teens and twenty-somethings close and promised to support them if they ever needed help with the disease that took her son — substance use disorder.

“Don’t let this happen to you,” she said. “If you need me, come find me. I really would be there. I would be the person who would go and pick you up and take you to a rehab.”

Roughly eight months later, she was speaking to teens again, not at a funeral, but as a guest speaker in a Hudson High School Wellness class. Indeed, Tobin has taken her story public, joining a growing community of people touched by substance use disorder working to prevent future addictions by describing their struggles.

Families Tell Their Stories after Their Loss

Tobin said she speaks both to process her grief and to help others avoid the trauma she experienced in losing her son.

“I can either sit in the corner of a room with a blanket over my head and cry and never want to move; I fight that feeling every single day of my life now,” she said. “Or, I can stand up and I can say, ‘I’m going to go on, and I’m going to go on because my love is that strong — because Scott’s love was that strong.”

Tobin struggled alongside her son for years. He was first exposed to opioid painkillers after a terrible car accident in his senior year left him with bone breaks in his ribs, feet and wrist, a bruised lung and a concussion among other things.

He still graduated from Hudson High School that spring and moved on to Franklin Pierce University in the fall. His addiction worsened, however, once he was at college.

Over the next five years until his overdose, Scott asked for help. Unfortunately, many of the treatment centers his mother sought for him turned Scott away, saying they had no open beds.

As her son struggled to get help, Nancy Tobin said Scott told few people about his addiction.

In speaking publicly, Tobin hopes she fights the stigma surrounding drug use that she said caused Scott to keep that pain quiet.

“It’s one more thing, that, if they let it out into the open, they’ll lose any bit of credibility that they once had,” she said about drug addiction. “That’s a very hard thing to be in a situation like that. Again, why do we do that to people?”

By Dakota Antelman

She continued, saying that stigma persists even though recently soaring drug overdose rates have included several young people killed in Hudson alone.

“It still makes people very uncomfortable, and that discomfort makes people want to sort of still turn their head and wink and whisper about it,” Tobin said. “[They say], ‘That happened because so-and-so was hanging around with the wrong people,’ or that it was bound to happen because of something that they have heard. There is a lot of rumoring and a lot of talking. That’s the piece that has to change.”

Despite the stigma, Tobin realized her story’s effectiveness even mere minutes after her presentation to Hudson High School students. She hugged students who, she said, trembled as they thanked her and told her they knew people who struggle with addiction just as Scott did.

“I will never forget looking around into those students’ eyes and seeing them looking right into mine and feeling as though they were as open to hearing me as I was open to telling them whatever I could that might be of help to them,” she said. “They don’t feel that it’s a joke. They don’t feel that it needs to stay in the shadows. They know it’s real, and that’s what they looked like. They were afraid.”

In addition to her presentation at Hudson High School, Tobin was involved with a recent vigil for overdose victims in Marlborough. Marlborough mother Kathy Leonard, who also lost her son to an overdose, organized that vigil and currently runs a support group that Tobin attends for families of overdose victims. She has also worked with the executive director of the Addiction Referral Center, Marie Cheetham, on fundraising and awareness events for the center, which provides care for recovering addicts.

After her presentation in Hudson though, Tobin said she wants to focus mainly on small-scale, person-to-person conversations going forward.

“I want to really bring this idea of getting rid of the stigma and getting people to realize that it’s everywhere,” she said.

Addicts Tell Their Stories during Recovery

While Tobin provides the perspective of a grieving parent, Dot Fuller speaks as a recovering addict.

Fuller, like Scott Tobin, was a member of the Hudson High School Class of 2012 who struggled with heroin addiction. She remembers getting high with him when the two were younger but had been clean for just over a year when Tobin overdosed.

Part of her recovery, Fuller said, has involved separating herself from the community and acquaintances that she knew while she was using. As a result of that separation, she did not immediately know her friend Scott had died.

Fuller followed in Nancy Tobin’s footsteps, also speaking to Hudson High School Wellness students just days after Tobin’s talk.

Reflecting on her own experience as a student in Hudson, Fuller noted the absence of similar drug use prevention education even just five years ago.

“People came in, but they were all old and no stories hit home,” she said. “Maybe it just wasn’t as relevant when I was in high school, so that’s good that they’re doing more stuff about it now.”

Fuller struggled with drug addiction earlier than many of her classmates. While Nancy Tobin said Scott did not use harder drugs such as heroin until college, Fuller vividly remembers feeling out of control before even starting her sophomore year.

“It turned into a job — like a career — just getting high, not wanting to be sick anymore but not being able to do anything, even to take a shower without getting off E,” she said, using an expression used by many addicts to describe the feeling of emptiness and lethargy when sober. “I was well into that stage by the summer before sophomore year.”

With a pervading feeling that she would be punished by administrators or guidance counselors if she asked for help, and without dialogue about drug use in her school, Fuller remembers feeling disconnected from her school community.

“It was very isolating because Hudson High School was a school where everybody did sports,” she said. “Everybody was so focused on what college they were going to, so I was in Worcester a lot. I related a lot more with the inner city schools. Worcester was the closest.”

Fuller dropped out of Hudson High School before her senior year. In the ensuing years, she managed to get sober and hold a job at Tufts Medical Center. She frequented Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous meetings for support, but she once relapsed after nearly a year sober when she visited Hudson and felt a sudden urge to use again.

Now with close to two years of sobriety, Fuller feels like she has regained some of the control she lost as a teen. Still, she told students during her presentation that relapse remains a very real threat.

As she continues to push back against that threat, Fuller has made appearances like the one at Hudson High School a regular part of her life. She finds them healing.

“When I tell my story to people, I’m practicing honesty,” she said. “That’s one of the biggest things to me, to be honest with myself and be like, ‘This happened, and this is where I don’t want to go back to.’ Hearing myself say it out loud is like a reminder.”

Fuller said dishonesty was a major part of her addiction, in school and outside of it. She explained, “If you asked me what I had for breakfast, I would say a bagel even when I had cereal. It was just a habit to lie.”

In addition to her presentation at Hudson High School, Fuller has spoken at rehab centers she herself attended and visited the MCI Framingham Women’s Prison to make a similar appearance. She has also spoken at other Massachusetts high schools, including Bridgewater High School.

Though she insists these presentations help her far more than they help students, Fuller has seen her story’s impact on teens and addicts.

At one point, a group of people recognized her at a coffee shop after her presentation and thanked her. One said her brother was an addict. Fuller was able to connect that person with treatment opportunities.

“It feels good,” she said. “I’ll go back and visit programs that I’ve been to and speak as an alumnus of the program. When I then go to an AA meeting or something a year later and I see them, they say, ‘Yeah, I’m still doing good.’ That feels wicked good.”

Educators Hope Speakers Change Minds

Fuller and Tobin both found their presentations to Hudson High School students to be beneficial. They only made those presentations, however, because of the willingness of the Hudson High School Wellness Department to bring guest speakers into classrooms.

Wellness teacher Dee Grassey and Curriculum Director Jeannie Graffeo agreed, however, that those recent presentations were not the result of any major changes to the Wellness department’s approach to guest speakers. Rather, they said, simple scheduling issues often decide whether speakers come to Hudson High School.

Hudson’s rotating block schedule does make it difficult for guests to speak to all of a teacher’s classes, which often do not all meet on a given day.

Still, Grassey said the staff’s attitude toward such guest speakers has changed as substance use disorder has affected former Hudson students.

“We couldn’t just be [saying], ‘No, no, no,’” she said. “Kids have to hear real life experiences in order to connect. You have to be able to put yourself in that person’s situation and go, ‘I’ve done that. I’ve been there.’”

Having taught in Hudson since 1994, Grassey said the current wellness curriculum is much better now than it was years ago.

Nevertheless, she and other wellness educators agree that the schools need to devote more energy towards improving student health. Otherwise, Grassey fears, student drug use will only continue.

“I get it,” she said. “If it’s reading, writing and arithmetic over health education, health education is going to get cut. But I think the schools over the years have to take some of this responsibility that, when they’re not consistent, this is the stuff that happens.”

For Tobin, an educator herself, schools also need to change the atmosphere surrounding conversations about drug use.

“[Students] come here, and they can breathe when they come here because we don’t always know what goes on in their lives outside of here,” she said. “Let’s also make it a place where, if they need that kind of help, they can ask for it here and not be afraid of the repercussions.”

She proposed expanding drug use prevention education into Hudson’s middle school curriculum and bringing in public speakers to address staff in an effort to change faculty biases about drug use.

For Graffeo, health is crucial to the success of a student body. As drug use persists and continues to kill many young people nationwide, she wants to bring a better awareness of student health into education.

“What’s the first thing we ask about children when they’re born — are you healthy?” she said. “As we go through education, one common piece is that sometimes we forget that and we focus on test scores. We focus on all these other things, and we forget the fundamental building block, which is health.”

As Crisis Continues, Those Left behind Speak to Save Lives

The Hudson Public Schools has said it will not release hard data on student drug use collected by last year’s MetroWest Adolescent Health Survey, meaning it is difficult to determine the immediate local impact of addicts and their families telling their stories. Still, Superintendent Marco Rodrigues said in a presentation on the data that drug use rates among Hudson students are trending downward.

Though school committee members and teachers agree that is a positive sign, the school committee also agreed during that same presentation that the Hudson Public Schools must keep working until those rates reach zero.

According to national data, that goal is a distant one. Last year, 64,000 people died from drug overdoses according to the New York Times, an increase of roughly 12,000 from just the year before.

by Dakota Antelman

Scott Tobin’s death earlier this year, unfortunately, made him the 13th Hudson resident since 2012 included in that year-end data, according to a Massachusetts Department of Health report. Thus, as she grieved, Nancy Tobin found a group of Hudson and Marlborough parents already grieving similar recent losses.

Kathy Leonard in Marlborough has spoken publicly about her loss as she planned the vigil Tobin helped with this year. Cheryl Juaire of Marlborough, who lost her son in 2011, actually formed an online support group of which Tobin is a member. And Erin Holmes, who lost her son in 2016, has also spoken publicly. She works with the Hudson Youth Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition to run events educating the community on the dangers of drug use.

Those are just a handful of the people affected personally by the opioid epidemic. In fact, the national community of grieving families and friends grows regularly as an overdose claims a new life every eight minutes, according to the 2016 data mentioned by the New York Times.

Though that is a community which, Tobin said, no one wants to join, it is also a community of people now eager to push through their grief and save lives by reaching into schools and other aspects of society.

“Something completely unfathomable has happened, and no matter how much I wish it to go away, it won’t,” Tobin said. “I just don’t want others to feel this. I just want to do something to help someone else with that big laugh that Scott had. I want that person to live.”

***

UPDATED: December 4, 2017 – 2:18 p.m.

There are programs and advocates available for those struggling with addiction and their loved ones.

MetroWest Hope meets on the second Wednesday of each month from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at First Church of Marlborough.

Addiction Referral Center (ARC) in Marlborough offers daily meetings and a drop-in center “to enjoy fellowship and a healing, healthy environment, where one can spend time with their peers.” They also offer referrals for treatment to those struggling with addiction or their families.

ARC also maintains a 24-hour emergency hotline (1-800-640-5432).

Learn to Cope meets weekly at 7:00 p.m. at the Hudson Senior Center. It provides support and education to families of those struggling with addiction. It also offers trainings in the use of Narcan, a drug that, when administered quickly, can reverse an opioid overdose.

Students struggling with addiction can also speak to their guidance counselor for support. Guidance Director Angie Flynn said that, while guidance would inform school nurses, administration and a student’s parents in such a case, a student would not be disciplined unless they violate Hudson’s substance use policy by carrying drugs on school grounds or attending school while high.

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by Veronica Hayward-Mildish

The start times at many high schools and the sleep schedules of teenagers don’t align, but some districts are trying to change that.

Teenagers cannot fall asleep until around 11 p.m.. With school starting at 7:30 a.m., this causes students to get around 6-7 hours of sleep. This isn’t ideal for the typical student.

Some schools, such as Ashland High School and the Westborough district, have taken this into consideration and pushed off their school times, so the classes start later in the day. This allows students to get closer to the recommended 9 hours of sleep that many of them weren’t getting before.

With 770 students, Ashland is slightly smaller than Hudson High School. The school started this conversation four years ago when they brought it up to the school committee. Once the school committee approved it, the proposal was brought into a research stage and, soon, to the superintendent. The research led them to push the school days back by 50 minutes, moving the start time from 7:30 a.m. to 8:20 a.m. The Westborough district is pushing their high school’s start time back by 40 minutes, to 8:10 a.m.

Many students at Hudson High School want a later start time.

Freshman Julia Beatty gets 3 to 4 hours of sleep every night due to stress, so she naps whenever possible. She feels as if she would benefit immensely from a later start time.

“I would be able to do my homework because I won’t need to take naps after school.”

Though Principal Brian Reagan agrees with the research, there would still be major conflicts if the school changed the start times.

Since many high schools in our conference start at 7:30 a.m., there would be a conflict for sports teams because games would not start at the same time. This happened at Ashland, but the district solved this problem by pushing back the away games by about 30 minutes.

There’s also a conflict with buses. “The bus schedule is really tight,” says Reagan, “and if you adjust the high school start time and not any others, then they may become a cost issue.”

Although these may have been issues in Ashland, they still changed their start time.

“It was a great decision,” says Principal Kelley St. Coeur, who added that the attendance rates are improving. “I think it’s the best thing for kids, and in a year or two it will just be the way it is. We have some logistics that will be tweaked next year.”

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Superintendent Marco Rodrigues talks during a meeting of the Superintendent Student Advisory Committee. (Photo submitted)

by Dakota Antelman

Marco Rodrigues, in one of his first acts as superintendent, offered 12 students a seat on a new Superintendent Advisory Committee that encourages and facilitates student involvement in the district’s decision-making processes.

Meeting monthly at Hudson High School, the committee includes representatives from grades 7-12 and has already addressed issues ranging from the quality of cafeteria food to the possibility of a study hall for all grades.

“We want them to be part of the solution and perhaps better understand the process,” Rodrigues said of the group and the motivations behind its formation. “Sometimes, if there’s a problem, people will say nothing is being done. But, sometimes, nothing is being done because we can’t fix something now, but we can fix it in January, or it is something that we’re already talking about in the budget process.”

After discussing the idea during public interviews with the School Committee in March, Rodrigues solidified plans for the committee over the summer. He asked principals to select students for his committee who would not otherwise be involved in such a program.

From there, Hudson High School Principal Brian Reagan said he consulted with the school’s guidance counselors to identify students within each grade that fit that profile.

By Dakota Antelman

“[We were looking for] different types of students who may have an interest in leadership but maybe wouldn’t have run for student government or did run and showed interest but didn’t get elected,” he said. “There are a number of kids who, we think, maybe if we tap them, they might be good in that setting.”

In addition to the superintendent and the students chosen to advise him, HHS Assistant Principal Dan McAnespie has attended the committee’s first two meetings to potentially allow HHS administration to solve issues.

“Issues are raised, and we’re able to hear them first hand and see if we can’t address some of those issues or move them on to the Community Council,” Reagan said.

Already two meetings into their schedule, the committee will meet six more times before the end of the school year. As student representatives approach those meetings, Rodrigues said, they decide which issues get discussed.

“They need to go out and talk to other students about things,” he said. “Then whatever issues they want to bring to the table, they bring that and populate the agenda.”

Before the committee can gather those student concerns, however, Rodrigues and members agreed, it must focus on informing students that it exists.

“We don’t have the means yet to focus on getting the word out,” said senior representative Garet Mildish. “The thought was to use social media and, more importantly, to use posters which would have all of our emails so that you could contact members about an issue that you have. But we’re working on that.”

After just over one quarter of the school year, members and administrators are excited about the committee’s potential. As it continues to take shape, however, students say they are eager to see results, and administrators say they are looking forward to the new perspective students can provide on aspects of the Hudson Public Schools’ operation.

“When they have ideas, how can those ideas be incorporated into something that maybe the adults didn’t think of but the kids thought about,” Rodrigues said. “That is the kind of input that I want to see happening.”

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The Drama Society performs The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. | by Siobhan Richards

by Siobhan Richards

The Drama Society gave their last performance of the musical The Adventures of Tom Sawyer on November 21.  Over the four performances, 594 people attended the show.