Six students are performing at All-State Music Festival on March 20-22 at Symphony Hall in Boston, Massachusetts. Seven students from Hudson High were selected to audition to participate in All-State, and six made it. Usually schools are lucky to get one or two of the students selected to audition, according to chorus teacher Jeannette McLellan.
“It is always very competitive. There are many extremely talented and serious music students in Massachusetts,” McLellan says. Students have to achieve a high enough score at their district auditions to be invited to audition for states. The six students this year were not invited to audition last year, so they have worked hard to be accepted for this year.
Some of the students participating in All-State have been hoping to go to All-State since eighth grade. Most of the students who made it are juniors and seniors with one sophomore.
The students worked hard to prepare for the auditions. “I spend time with them if they request it, working on the audition piece. And, all the work they do in Camerata, Band, and Chorus is the foundation for their success.”
It takes serious dedication and patience to go all the way to the states. “All six students are serious music students who have been in band and/or chorus for 4 or 5 years at least. Several take music (piano, violin) outside of school as well.”
“This has been a goal of mine for three years,” junior Andrew Nugent said. He has been practicing twice a week for four years to reach this level. “I feel honored to participate.”
Senior Sarah Hollis held a benefit volleyball tournament Friday, February 28, in the HHS gymnasium. All proceeds went to the DCF Kids Fund, which is the organization she chose to work with for her Social Justice service project
Social Justice students are required to do a service project throughout the year for a cause that means something specifically to them. Hollis chose to work with the topic of child abuse. “I love love love children. And the thought of children being abused or neglected breaks my heart,” said Hollis, “and anything that I could do to brighten these childrens lives, I wanted to do.”
She decided to support the DCF Kids Fund which supports over 40,000 children across Massachusetts who have been abused, or left alone, providing them with basic necessities and many enrichment opportunities. Supporting so many children, the DCF Kids Fund is really in need of donation money and supplies, and a volleyball tournament proved to be a great way to raise money for this great cause.
The night of the tournament was a success. Eight student teams, 2 referees, and many supporting spectators participated in the event. Each team had a creative name and uniform that uniquely represented them as they went through the single elimination games. Each game was played to 25 points; math teacher Mallory Masciarelli and Dan Fahey served as referees. The last two surviving teams, Spiked Punch, and Ballsagna, played an intense three games. Spiked Punch won in the third game, 25-21.
But they weren’t the only winners. Hollis raised over $350 to donate to the DCF Kids Fund with the help of student participation and many generous donations. “I was shocked at the outcome for the event, and I raised so much more money than I could even hope for,” said Hollis.
Last year the tenth grade class exceeded expectations on the MCAS test with over 60% of the grade scoring in the advanced category, and this year the tenth grade class is hoping for similar results. Like last year, the teachers have run MCAS prep sessions since February 3, and they will continue through March 13. The sessions focus on the long composition and reading comprehension.
According to English teachers Amy Vessels and Susan Menanson, the attendance numbers are about the same as last year with 6-9 students a session for the long composition and nonfiction sections. Unfortunately, the attendance for the poetry sessions on Thursdays is lower. Students need to attend these sessions, since MCAS data from previous years show that students struggle with the poetry sections of the test.
“Most students have trouble with open response questions, and they seem to have quite a bit of trouble from Poetry. I think that as a school system we haven’t done a lot to help students with poetry reading, poetry interpretation and analysis of poetry,” said Hobbs. “There are a lot of challenges, and we’re hoping that students want to and will do well on the MCAS. We would like to see more participation because there’s a lot to be gained from doing well on the MCAS.”
Benefits that come from succeeding on the MCAS include the John and Abigail Adams Scholarship. The John and Abigail Adams Scholarship gives non-need-based state-supported undergraduate tuition waivers to students who score advanced in one category (Math/English) and at least proficient in another (Math/English) on the tenth grade MCAS. In 2012, 55 students received the scholarship; in 2013, 58 students; and in 2014, 57 students did.
“I definitely want to prepare for it because it gets harder every year. I have a hard time comprehending poetry, so these sessions are very helpful,” said sophomore Brenda Chaves.
Students also have trouble comprehending questions from nonfiction articles. In the past, students have struggled with deciphering charts and graphs, so attending these sessions can help them develop some sort of strategy.
“I try to focus on getting students to pick out the main details because the test will have answers that will include some details but not the main one, and that often trips students up,” said Vessels.
All tenth grade students have written many essays since middle school, but some students still have problems successfully writing the long composition.
“Students struggle with topic development, and the whole grade is based on topic development,” said Menanson, “so if they don’t get thesis statements, topic sentences and lots of details they won’t do well. We want more students to come for help, but it seems like they can’t be bothered to get the help they need.”
Tenth grade is a crucial year for MCAS testing, and it’s important that students feel prepared so they aren’t nervous when taking the test.
“I feel more confident after attending these sessions because they’re a good refresher and good practice, and we’ve taken these tests for years so as long as you know what to expect there’s really nothing to worry about,” said sophomore Morgan Nelson.
While tenth grade is the important MCAS year, eighth graders also have their own English MCAS this year; however, they haven’t been having any practice sessions.
“This year, the school received a smaller grant than in the past, so we chose to put those funds into supporting the program for 10th graders, first, who need to pass MCAS to graduate,” said Curriculum Director Todd Wallingford.
Teachers want their students to do well and pass the MCAS, so they can graduate. Every year they are surprised and excited by the test scores.
“It’s like trying to predict the winner of a football game,” said Hobbs. “I think everyone is capable of doing well on the MCAS, and I hope that everyone will do well on the MCAS.”
MCAS sessions are still available until next week, so for any students who need help there’s still time left to get it.
A brand new text-messaging system called SchedU is now being offered to the students of HHS; it provides notifications about a student’s class schedule every morning.
The system sends out a text with the student’s schedule between 6:00 and 6:30 every morning, even adjusting to snow days. SchedU is not an app and works on all types of cellular devices. The program comes in two forms; a free version which offers standard texts notifying users with their schedule at the start of each day, and a premium version which allows a variety of other features (such as the ability to see schedules for future days and an end-of-the-year countdown); the premium version, however, costs $5.
The service was created by four students at Nashoba High, Adam Vigneaux (the designer and manager who maintains the efficiency of the system), Eric Watterson (creator of the SchedU logo and most promotional content), Tristan Taylor (in charge of communicating with advertisers) and Katie Agretelis (writer of special communications to be sent out to users).
“The idea for SchedU came up at the beginning of the school year,” says Adam. “ I came up with the idea for an automatic text every morning with your class schedule. The problem was forgetting my schedule and the solution was SchedU.”
“I had to learn how to do everything before I could actually do it. If I wanted to add a new feature, I would have to spend double or triple the amount of time on it that an experienced programmer would.”
Despite the rough beginnings, Adam and his team have adapted and learned how to organize the system with ease. “Over the five months I’ve been developing SchedU, I went from clueless to experienced in a new programming language. It has been a great learning experience and a very rewarding extracurricular activity.”
The immediate response to SchedU was not strong.
“It isn’t easy to get people to sign up for SchedU,” says Adam. “The first 40 users were my close friends. The next 60 were mostly people in my grade. After that, we had to expand our horizons: we went to freshman study skills every day and signed a bunch of freshmen up; we talked to total strangers in the cafeteria; and we used a number of other strategies to convince people to sign up.”
In the end, their hard work paid off. As of January 2014, there were a total of 347 members at Nashoba High consisting of students and even teachers.
With such a strong reaction from their own school, the SchedU creators looked to expand. Presently, SchedU is now offered to students at HHS, Tahanto and Bromfield, as well as Nashoba High.
After hearing about SchedU from a friend, freshman Lindsey Dalrymple decided to sign up. “I’m constantly forgetting my schedule every day, so it seemed like a great way to get organized. It also seemed really convenient,” says Dalrymple.
“[The website] was very clear and easy to follow. I didn’t have any trouble finding my way through it. I was surprised at how quick and easy [signing up] was. It took very little time, and I had no issues with it at all.”
Dalrymple has been using SchedU ever since then and completely loves it. “Every day it has been consistent and on time, making my days much easier and making me a lot more organized. I really like the program,” says Dalrymple. “I told many of my friends about it, and they decided to get it, too. They really like it a lot, and we all agree it takes a lot of stress out of mornings.”
As SchedU continues to grow in size and popularity, Vigneaux is unsure about its future.
“I will be graduating at the end of this year, and it will be more challenging to run SchedU from college,” says Vigneaux. “I hope to keep it going at least at Nashoba. We have some ideas about getting an investment and launching SchedU as an actual business, but those ideas are very tentative.”
All things aside, the SchedU creators could not be more thrilled with their experience in making this program.
“I couldn’t do it without the support of my business adviser Tristan Taylor and my marketing officer Eric Watterson,” says Vigneaux. “In the end, I have to thank God for giving me the idea for SchedU because so many good things have come from it.”
Junior Ashley Johnson will be participating in the Miss Teen USA Pageant . The picture on the left is her evening gown and the one on the right is her interview outfit. Listen to what she has to say about the process in this interview.
Mole Day, October 23, is an important day in the science world because it celebrates the number 6.02 x 10^23.
To celebrate Mole Day, chemistry teacher Erin Cothran’s class exploded pumpkins. “In chemistry we write balanced equations which can create molar ratios. The equation used to explode the pumpkins is gone over in class, balanced and discussed, then we go outside to see it in action.” In total, six pumpkins were exploded that spelled out M O L E 2 3.
In addition to exploding pumpkins, Cothran’s class goes over a handout that relates the entire day to the curriculum standards and listens to the “Mole Day song.”
Mole Day is the science department equivalent to “Pi day” that the math department celebrates. “This number allows scientists to quantify numbers of atoms, molecules and even ions in substances. It is a way for us to work with amounts of elements and molecules that we can actually see, so it is really important,” Cothran said.
Students seemed to be excited about exploding the pumpkins and look forward to doing it again next year.
Halloween arrived earlier on Wednesday night as Hudson High School students kicked off the season of costumes, candy, and trickery, with the annual Haunted Physics Lab.
Honors and advanced placement physics students, dressed as ghouls, presented a variety of interactive physics projects to the hundreds of local families, students, and teachers in attendance.
This year, the Haunted Physics lab enters its seventh year, but it wasn’t always such a big event. “When I first started here, they already had the [Haunted Physics Lab],” said Robert Van Buren, the event organizer and Hudson High School teacher. “What I wanted to do is make it bigger and bigger each year, building off the year before.”
The Haunted Physics Lab is centered around one theme – Halloween. “We have taken the idea of Halloween and applied it to a variety of projects,” said senior Johnny Petrovick. “ There is liquid nitrogen ice cream, fake blood, a pumpkin man that interacts with the kids, all projects that appeal to kids and fit the Halloween theme.”
Students from Van Buren’s advanced placement and honors physics classes create the multitude of fun, kid-friendly projects each year; providing a great opportunity for students to showcase their knowledge of physics in a fun and challenging setting.
The Haunted Physics Lab has been in the making for the past several weeks. “Planning is a difficult process,” said senior physics student Connor Roberts. “We are using a lot of projects from previous years, so we have to make repairs and add on to those projects so they work properly. We also build new machines, so there is a lot of work involved there. It has been a long run getting to this point.”
Each year the students design and create a new project that will be incorporated into the event in future years. Van Buren, a former engineer, pushes his students to create an original project. Students research a particular aspect of physics, and then they build a test, and go through the testing process, until they create a whole new project.
This year’s projects ranged from a Van de Graaff generator to a concert, performed on a theremin and guitar. “Each project is different and shows a different element of physics,” said Van Buren. “Every station is managed by students, so it allows students to master knowledge on a specific aspect of physics.”
Above all, the Haunted Physics Lab aims to create an interest in science for younger kids, by highlighting the interesting and fun projects and illusions involving science. “The event is a really great way to bring the more obscure parts of physics to the public, in an interactive and interesting way,” said Roberts.
“The lab allows an application of science to the public. Physics usually happens in these far off places, but this event allows us to bring the science to the public,” said Van Buren. The fun, kid-friendly projects are a great way to start an interest in kids from a young age, so they will possibly pursue science in school or even for a career path.
This year’s Haunted Physics Lab was an overwhelming success. A young boy leaving the Lab may have put it best: “That was the coolest science lab ever.”
I recently surveyed 150 students in grades 8-12 to see how students would feel if Mr. HHS returned this year. Spirit Committee has considered hosting this competition again, depending on how many students would pay to see the show and how many kids would sign up for the competition. Hopefully these results will help Spirit Committee decide what their next step will be in regards to the competition.
The new part time Career Pathway Specialist Scott Darlington has developed a new resource for juniors and seniors, which he refers to as the Career Pathway Center. There students can get guidance and resources that will better prepare them for life after high school.
Darlington is at all lunches, every day. He walks around telling students about what his program offers, and his new stand, located outside the main office, has additional information.
Darlington is also in the process of establishing H block, a paid internship with local businesses.
“We don’t educate students about careers, but expect them to choose a career after high school,” Darlington explained.
Although, the development of H block is still in the beginning stage and many of the specifics have not yet been finalized, such as the businesses involved, Darlington has confirmed, the internship will take place during February and April break, and students will be paid minimum wage.
Statistics show that under fifty percent of students that graduate from Hudson High get a college degree. Darlington’s goal is to target these students that don’t get a degree at a four-year school and to help them explore alternative careers or schooling options.
Darlington’s philosophy is you don’t need a college degree to succeed. He believes, “Everyone has something they love, but making a career of it doesn’t always require a college degree.”
Darlington believes the Career Pathway can benefit all students, even those who are planning to go to a four-year school. Seventy percent of students that start college never get a degree. Oftentimes financial situations change, or students decide that college isn’t for them.
Darlington want to help those students whose post graduation plans deviate from the traditional route of a four-year college or university.
Many students felt unsatisfied after the Homecoming pep rally.
Eighth grader Vicky Tuttle had much to say on the issue; from the start, she had very high expectations. “I loved participating all week in Spirit Week and couldn’t wait for this rally,” Tuttle says. “Once we got into the gym it really felt like our official start to high school, dressed up all in red and white, sitting with my friends, feeling like we’re a part of it.”
But Tuttle felt there were drawbacks to being in the youngest grade. “It seemed like it was all about the seniors,” Tuttle said. “They won every award, they were the loudest, and nobody else really got into it.”
Tuttle says that she was confused by her grade’s “Most Spirited” picks. She felt that those students had not really gone over the top for Spirit Week.
She also has some suggestions for possible changes. “There needs to be more entertainment involved in future pep rallies, like a cheer routine. There needs to be something to get the crowd involved and pumped up,” Tuttle says. “I really hope we can make them better.”
The cheerleading squad could not participate this year to the same extent that they did in the past because they did not have all the members they needed to perform their competition piece. One member was absent for a college visit.
Senior Andrew Hatch also felt disappointed. “Most rallies before have had more music, dancing, and entertainment, but this one was lacking.”
Energy level was not an issue in Hatch’s mind, as he felt almost everyone in the school was on their feet and screaming to win “Most Spirited,” for example. The problem, Hatch believes, was the fact that there was not a whole lot going on. “I was bored for much of the rally,” Hatch says. “We were kept in the gym for about an hour, but it seemed like there was only about a half hour’s worth of activities planned.”
Hatch, however, does credit the cast of Godspell for trying to liven the crowd. “The Godspell performance could have helped make up for [the lack of energy and entertainment], but many of the instruments were nearly impossible to hear.”
He also had some suggestions for upcoming rallies. “To improve future pep rallies, there needs to be more engaging and entertaining activities performed. The dance team, gymnastics team, or cheerleaders could create a routine for the rally. Local bands could play. We could also play games like we do during field day, or a creative skit like Turkey Day.”
Spirit Committee member Shay Waldsmith believes that a crunch on time and a lack of involvement were to blame for any issues with this year’s rally. “I think the rally went okay considering the amount of time we had to prepare,” Waldsmith says. “The preparation process was not as successful as we hoped. For this rally, many students contributed in the making of the banners.” However, the spirit committee definitely needs more members, according to Waldsmith. “The same people attend the meetings and the majority of them are females,” she says.
Waldsmith agreed with what Tuttle and Hatch had to say about students’ reactions to the rally.
“At times I got a little frustrated with getting ready for the rally,” she says. “I think everyone was thrown off when we heard the rally was going to be almost a month earlier. We were rushing to get the banner done. We did not have time to add words to the bottom of our banner. The seniors were also really disappointed that they did not have time to organize a skit. ”
For the future, Waldsmith believes that specific changes need to be made with these rallies. “I think the big thing to do in the future pep rallies is to give everyone more time to prepare,” Waldsmith says. “I do not want the only reason why we didn’t include traditions is because we didn’t have time. I also think more kids will catch wind of what is going on and join in on the planning. Kids need time to plan their outfits for spirit week so they can go full out. Overall, I think time is crucial in having a successful pep rally.”
Like Waldsmith, Spirit Committee adviser Pam Porter believes the fact that the rally was a month earlier had a lot to do with it not meeting the expectations students set. “With the new schedule, change in advising, and 5C it was difficult to meet with students and get the planning under way.”
In addition to that, there were a lot of things taken out as a result of the time crunch, like the senior skit and cheerleaders’ routine.
Porter also commented on student involvement. “Participation in planning has been down the last two years, especially boys,” she says. “My first year as an adviser we had our best numbers. I think students know that their will be a rally either way so they don’t care to help. However, if it was canceled I am sure tons of them would complain. ” It is this that Porter believes must be changed in order to improve pep rallies.
“I hate seeing students complain about the rally, the letters, or the t-shirt designs when they did nothing to help. I would like to see students make it better on their own. All of the events put on by Spirit Committee are supposed to be student run. In the past the only thing that has gotten students’ attention is the cancellation of event (like field day a few years ago). ” Porter believes that we, the students, must take charge of this issue and work together. “The student body has to take ownership over the events not just Spirit Committee. If that doesn’t change then I don’t think the rallies will.”
There are still a couple more rallies left to get ready for, such as the Thanksgiving pep rally and Field Day. With participation low, only time will tell if the students of Hudson High will be able to change the face of our school’s spirit.