News

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Entrance into polls at Hudson High | by Siobhan Richards

by Brian Twomey

On March 1, I interviewed several voters as they exited Hudson High School’s polling station. These five voters told me whom they voted for, why they voted for that candidate, and who they thought would win the primary.

 

  1. Tom

 

2. Kevin

 

3. Victor

 

4. No Name

 

5. Married Couple

 

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by Dakota Antelman | statistics via Town of Hudson

by Dakota Antelman

 

When Hudson voters head to the polls for the Massachusetts Democratic and Republican presidential primary elections on Tuesday, recent polls suggest they may break with trends set in the 2008 and 2012 elections. 

A Suffolk University Poll released on Sunday projects Republican businessman Donald Trump to win Massachusetts as a whole by nearly 20 percentage points. Trump has won every state that has voted this year except for Iowa and has maintained his lead over rivals Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz even as the once crowded field of Republican candidates has thinned. A different Suffolk University Poll released on Monday gives Democrat Hillary Clinton a 9% lead over her key liberal opponent, Bernie Sanders. 

A win for Trump would reflect a change in loyalties among Republican voters in Massachusetts and, closer to home, in Hudson. On the contrary, a Clinton victory would mark the second time in the past eight years that the former Secretary of State has won Massachusetts.

Records of how each of Hudson’s seven precincts have voted in the past two presidential elections helps illustrate presidential politics inside Hudson, while also helping to contextualize the potentially historic upcoming 2016 primary.

 

Hillary Clinton won Hudson and won Massachusetts in 2008. When that year’s primary ballots were cast, Clinton remained in a neck-and-neck race with Barack Obama for the Democratic nomination, an honor Obama eventually won. 

Clinton dominated in towns across the state, winning handily in Hudson and eventually beating Obama 56% to 41% state-wide. 

Mitt Romney won Massachusetts’ Republican primary, beating eventual party nominee John McCain 51% to 41%. Likewise, Romney, who was governor in Massachusetts in the early 2000s, won Hudson. Nevertheless, Romney suspended his campaign in the weeks following the Massachusetts Primary as McCain began to cement himself as the Republican favorite.

2008’s results in Hudson represented a base of Republicans and Democrats with intense loyalty to their party’s “establishment” candidates. In 2008, both Clinton and Romney were seasoned politicians with power within their own parties.

 

 

In 2012, Barack Obama ran an unopposed primary campaign as he hoped to extend his presidency through another term. He won Hudson with little voter turnout. 

In the jam-packed Republican race, Mitt Romney won Massachusetts for the second straight election cycle. He won Hudson’s votes by a wide margin, beating Ron Paul and Rick Santorum by nearly 1000 votes each. Though his margin of victory in Massachusetts as a whole was smaller, Romney soon coasted to the Republican nomination and eventually lost to Barack Obama in the general election. 

Voter turnout among Democrats was understandably low in the 2012 primary with no challengers to Obama within his party. On the Republican side, though Romney eventually won, the small groups of anti-establishment Republicans that sprung up early in that election season were beginning to gain momentum. That brought nearly 1,400 Republicans to Hudson polling stations that year. Tea Party figurehead Michele Bachmann lingered through the primary season and gathered a handful of votes from Hudson. Ron Paul earned over 150 votes in Hudson that year as well following his work in 2008 to cultivate libertarianism within the Republican party. 

by Dakota Antelman | statistics via Town of Hudson
by Dakota Antelman | statistics via Town of Hudson

 

Voter turnout is regularly low during primary elections. Only 339 Democrats and 1,383 Republicans cast ballots in 2012. In total, only 1,721 of Hudson’s 19,000 residents voted. Four years earlier, when both parties had contested primaries, only 5,821 Hudson residents voted in the primary election.

Polls for this year’s Democratic and Republican primary elections open at 7am Tuesday morning and close at 8pm Tuesday night.

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The set of Spamalot. | Stephanie Petrovick

by Stephanie Petrovick

The Drama Society has two upcoming plays. The first is Two Rooms, and it is being performed on February 25 and 26 at 7 p.m. in the Mini Theater. The second and bigger production, Spamalot, will first be performed on March 4 in the auditorium.

Two Rooms is this year’s festival play, and it is small, with only a four-character cast. Two Rooms is the story of a man who is taken hostage by terrorists, and his wife builds a room that she believes is an exact copy of the room her husband is being kept in. She tries to talk to her husband in this room, and the story shows the different events in both copies of the room.

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Costumes for both plays. | Stephanie Petrovick
Spamalot is the next big play produced by the Drama Society. If you liked the movie “Monty Python and the Holy Grail”, then you will like this play as well. Spamalot follows the quest of King Arthur as he collects knights from across the land and brings them with him on a quest for the Holy Grail. The group faces many wacky obstacles, and it contains funny and ridiculous characters.

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Peru Crew with their host families.

by Brian Twomey

Starting this year the Germany/Peru trips will be held on alternating years. The Peru crew is going this year, and next year will the trip to Germany, instead of both groups going in the same year.

June Murray, one of the leaders of the Peru crew, and Whitney Nielsen, a leader of the Germany trip, had similar feelings towards the new system. They both believe that it will help the trips significantly. The hosts in Germany and Peru are also in favor of the year switch.

Murray believes that the alternating years will help ease the workload on the leaders by giving them more time to make plans.

“I believe that part of that is because, I’m older. Taking a bunch of kids to the Amazon every year, it’s grueling. It’s a lot of work. Being able to take a year off, to plan for the next year, is beneficial to not just me, but for my state of health as well. And we felt the school should offer an opportunity for kids to travel every year. It’s an important opportunity for high school students. So with a way to zigzag it and have Peru go one year, and Germany another, then that would fill the need for kids to have the opportunity to travel every year,” said Murray.

Nielsen agreed. “This time last year we were all frantically planning the field trips and emailing people in Germany and making phone calls in German. Now we can breathe a little bit and make more long term plans. Now this time next year we will be doing those things. It’s just good to have some time off in between,” said Nielsen.

Senior Monica Anderson, who attended the Germany trip last year, understood why they couldn’t go again. “I had gone into the trip knowing that I wouldn’t go again, simply because of the cost of it. I wasn’t sad for myself when I found out it was the last one, but I felt bad for some of the other people who may have wanted to go next year,” said Anderson.

They also believe that the amount of students attending will rise.

“It will give the kids a chance to save up for more than a year. Maybe some kids who didn’t think they could afford the trip now if they are planning two years ahead would be able to afford the trip if they save up,” said Nielsen.

More students attending the trip makes it easier to prepare for events.

“The main reason that we all agreed to switch it was to make sure more students go on the trip. If we’re going to rent a bus for a handful of students, we might as well fill the whole bus. It would be more cost effective. It should save the families money,” says Nielsen.

Even though both groups will take a year off, the connection with these countries will still be strong.

“Mrs. Smith is very close with some of the teachers in Germany. Some of us are even Facebook friends. We like our relationship with the Germans,” said Nielsen.

“Of course it’s hard not to spend time with friends physically, but my friends Iquitos will be friends whether we are physically together or not. An example of that is when we used to travel to the peruvian amazon every year until 9/11. The last trip we made was in 2002 quite frankly because it was just too difficult to convince people that it was safe to make a trip that was that isolated.

You gotta remember, we have no contact with the outside world. No emailing, no cell phones, if you go on this trip you are going for 10 days to the jungle with no contact with the outside world. There was a lapse of time from 2002-2014 when I didn’t go on this trip.

In 2013 a group of students began hounding me about why we can’t go to the amazon. I said, ‘You know what, I’m going to check if my contacts are valid. They were, and they arranged the trip.

In 2013 when we got off the planes I am literally crying hugging Ricardo, Luis, I couldn’t believe I was back there. Even the baggage man remembered me from 12 years ago. He threw his arms around me and said, ‘Teacher, teacher, you’re back!’ It was an insane moment.

We don’t have to be in the same location to care about one another, and they talk about the students from Hudson High School like his kids,” Murray remembers.

 

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Community Council sits in front of the 27 trash bags of gifts that they collected for the Holiday Coalition | Photo by Denise Reid

by Austin Temple       

Founded in 1993, the Hudson Holiday Coalition grants underprivileged families, including children, the ability to receive donations in the form of gifts during the holidays.  

After a 2 year hiatus, Hudson High School has become part of the Hudson Holiday Coalition again.

When the coalition had first started, school nurses took the job of trying to find families who were less fortunate or were having trouble at home. They would then take donations from countless organizations, businesses and families. But due to recent budget cuts, the nurses could not run it anymore.

Then two years ago, DJ Collins from Hudson Appliance stepped up to take the job of running the organization.

From early November to Christmas Eve, Collins worked on helping families find sponsors. This means finding the people that will be able to donate and to meet the specifications of what the family is looking for on Christmas.    

In early December, homeroom teachers were accepting donations from students to raise enough money to sponsor a child or family, which was around $60. Each teacher received a list of items that were specific to what the child(ren) wanted for Christmas.

The money would then go to the purchasing of gifts, and even some classrooms had students that volunteered to do so. Popular gifts were clothes themed around Disney, Star Wars and cartoons. In addition, some children wanted gift cards, instruments, board games, puzzles, arts and crafts, and video games.

History teacher Mary Beth Cashman has been a part of it for 7 years with the help of Patty Noyes. But after Noyes left, the school did not participate. Cashman sought to bring it back last year but had missed the deadline for it. Eager to start it back up again, she knew who could help her with the process. “I remembered earlier this year and knew a good group of students to sort of help would be Community Council, since I am an advisor,” says Cashman. “So it kind of has been resurrected after a couple year hiatus.”

After the gifts had been purchased, Community Council gathered them and readied them to be given to the families. In total, 27 bags from the high school were given to help the coalition, each with several different gifts. Afterwards, Collins spent much time making sure that each bag had what the family had asked for.

“It was overwhelming to see the caravan pull up to the distribution location completely filled  from front to back with toys and bags,” says Collins. “A huge thank you to HHS for their help on paying it forth to our community.”

The coalition had helped 190 families receive gifts this year, a staggering amount compared to last year’s 140. Hudson High School will continue to provide families gifts so that they too can have a wonderful Christmas.

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BEST GROUP PICTURE - Allison Waddell and friends pose in front of their limo.

by Allison Vickery

The Prom All-Nighter has been a big tradition in American high schools for many years, but lack of participation has made the school question its continuation.

All juniors at Hudson High School are invited to the Prom All-Nighter. A junior does not have to go to prom to go to the all-nighter. However, not a lot of the junior class attends the All-Nighter after prom.

“We’ve seen a declining participation in the time that I’ve been assistant principal. But that’s something that the Home and School Association is very much aware of. And they really try to change the way that they do the All-Nighter in ways that will attract more students and raise the participation,” says Assistant Principal Josh Otlin.

The administration are not the only ones who have noticed the decrease in attendance.

“Last year, I think there were not that many students, which was probably a big turn out for them,” says junior Darren Otte. “It really does affect how fun it is because I feel like if there’s more people, there’s more things to do.”

The Home and School Association is well aware of the decrease in attendance from the juniors and their guests over the past couple of years.

“Last year there were 87 students, that would be juniors and their guests. Five years ago we had over 200,” says Head of the Home and School Association, Lori Bruneau.

Declining participation is not the only reason the Home and School Association considered cancelling it this year.

“They were worried that there was not enough interest from parents and enough willingness from parents that are willing to pull this off. The last couple of years they’ve had a really tough time recruiting parents to volunteer. They scramble, and they’re begging last minute for volunteers,” says Otlin.

Even though the decrease in student participation is a growing concern, the problem is finding enough parent volunteers to keep the All-Nighter going.

“This coming year was the first time we thought about cancelling due to lack of volunteer help more so than the lack of student participation,” says Bruneau. “It takes a lot of parent volunteers to make this happen, and once word got out that it may be cancelled parents step up to volunteer.”

Despite the declining attendance, administration believes the event has real value.

“It’s pretty common in American high schools since like the late 80s and early 90s after there was a series of really highly publicized drinking and driving deaths after proms,” says Otlin. “In response to that a lot of schools and parent volunteers started organizing after prom events as a way to minimize the likelihood or chances of students being injured and killed in accidents involving drinking or driving after the prom.”

The school wants to provide a positive, safe, social opportunity after the prom for students and to try to reduce the students making risky choices after the prom. The Prom All-Nighter prevents a lot of these choices from happening.

“A number of coaches, in the spring season, they tell their athletes to either go home directly after prom or participate in the All-Nighter,” says Otlin. “We encourage kids to make good choices after the prom, but we have a lot of students that are student-athletes. We certainly don’t require coaches to do that or expect them to. They take initiative, and we’re supportive of it.”

Setting up the Prom All-Nighter is a big effort. The Home and School Association, an organization made entirely of parent volunteers, has raised close to $8,000 through volunteer donations. A big portion of it is used for the Prom All-Nighter.

“The Home and School Association needs to make reservations for the venue,” says Otlin. “They need to book a lot of different vendors and performers and entertainers. They need to recruit a lot of volunteers for that night for check-in and sort of help over at the Wayside Racquet Club, where it takes place. And they also need to assemble a lot of supplies, some of which are donations and some they go out and buy. And then they need to do a lot of set up and do a lot of break down.”

The Home and School Association is made up of parents of students that attend Hudson Public Schools. It’s a small group of parents who are the core members. There is a group of elected officers who lead the group.

The Home and School Association are also the chaperones for the All-Nighter, which can make it awkward and uncomfortable for the students.

“There’s people watching you there, at all times, which is kind of weird,” says Otte.

Another issue that students also have about the Prom All-Nighter is what happens when you decide not to go, after you have signed up.

“Students show up. They do a check in process. They confirmed that they’ve signed up and preregistered. They can’t just show up after the prom. They have to be preregistered. There is a bag search. Kids get on buses, go over to Wayside, and we drop them off,” says Otlin.

Every year there are students who do not show up. According to Otlin, in almost every case, their parents are called, and the parent says that they were exhausted and decided to come home after the prom.

“There has been times where I haven’t been able to reach a parent or locate a student, but that sort of thing is on the parent. I can’t go track young adults down at night,” says Otlin.

Students understand the point of the All-Nighter and that parents are trying to create an environment that is safe from parties and bad choices, but sometimes students want to make their own decisions.

“I think they’re just trying to have us all get along, really. They are trying to really make it fun for all of us and have a safe environment, but not everyone is going to want that,” says Otte. “It’s kind of like an organized effort to get kids to go there, but it doesn’t really work out.”

However, there are other students who enjoyed their time at the Prom All-Nighter. A few students even went to this event who did not go to the prom.

“Every junior has a plus one, and my friend already had a date for prom. They were both juniors, and they were already going to the All-Nighter. So she invited me,” says junior Heather Alzapiedi. “I did have fun at the All-Nighter and will probably go again this year.”

Despite the rocky start this year, the Home and School Association is now ready for this year’s celebration.

“Home and School is making sure that they got the parent volunteers to pull this off. And they’ve got that now,” says Otlin. “But the other part is having the students turn out. I think Home and School has been pretty clear that they will run the All-Nighter regardless of how many students participate.”

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Currently, nine Massachusetts schools offer Capstone classes. Hudson is one of seven schools expected to add Capstone classes next year. (Information via College Board) | by Dakota Antelman

by Dakota Antelman

When students meet with teachers on Course Selection Day on January 29, there will be a new AP course in their book of studies — AP Seminar.

Part of a two-year rollout, AP Seminar will be the first half of the newly instituted AP Capstone curriculum, which is centered around college-level research. Seminar will educate students on research methods, while providing students with the opportunity to conduct a semester-long research project. Sophomores, juniors, and seniors will all have the opportunity to take AP Seminar next year. Students who complete the course will then be qualified to take the second half of the AP Capstone curriculum, AP Research, in the 2017-2018 school year. Like Seminar, AP Research will focus on research methods, culminating in a comprehensive 5,000 word paper.

Assistant Principal Josh Otlin celebrated the opportunities that AP Capstone provides.

“Courses like this have historically been available to students who go to the most elite private high schools – Phillips Exeter, Phillips Andover being some of them,” Otlin said. “At those schools, you would have a similar learning opportunity to what you have here with AP Capstone. I do believe very strongly that we should offer our students here at Hudson High School the same kind of opportunities that they could get at a private school.”

As Otlin describes it, AP Seminar and AP Research are true outliers compared to the rest of the Advanced Placement program. Though the first semester of Seminar will follow a familiar progression of lectures, readings, and exams, the second semester of Seminar, and the majority of the Research course, will allow for independent work as students complete their research projects.

Otlin adds, “It’s not the same kind of homework load as a typical AP class. Much of your work you’re doing is in the class during the day. That’s another factor that we want to be honest with students about. While it will be intellectually rigorous, it will feel very different.”

Principal Brian Reagan and Guidance Director Angie Flynn promoted AP Seminar at the recent AP Informational Night. However, because a teacher for Seminar has not yet been named, Seminar was absent from the meet-and-greet with AP teachers immediately following the event. 

Though Capstone is mainly offered in the United States, several international schools have adopted the program as well. Countries that offer Capstone classes are labeled. (Information via College Board) | by Dakota Antelman
Though Capstone is mainly offered in the United States, several international schools have adopted the program as well. Countries that offer Capstone classes are labeled. (Information via College Board) | by Dakota Antelman

Otlin says he and the administrative team currently in charge of implementing the Capstone program will continue to work to find a teacher for the position, while also beginning to actively recruit students for the class in the coming months.

“Step one right now is we need to identify which teacher we’re going to train this summer to take the course,” he explained. “Simultaneously with that, we need to start educating students and parents about this new opportunity.”

Seminar will likely only be offered during one block next year, adding to the difficulty of recruiting students for the course. Scheduling for the class will be difficult. Otlin understands that. Needless to say, getting students to sign up for the class is important to Otlin. Though he says he does not have a hard minimum for how many students it would take to run the class, he says 15 would be optimal.

For the students who do take the class next year, the Capstone program will also allow them to work towards a “Capstone Diploma.” The Capstone Diploma is an advanced diploma a student can earn by completing the AP Seminar and AP Research classes and exams, as well as four other AP classes and exams of a student’s choosing.

“I see this as another feather in a student’s cap that might perhaps put him or her over a kid that is competing for that last spot at a competitive college,” Reagan said of the Capstone Diploma.

Otlin agrees, adding, however, that based on past data, only a minority of students would be eligible for the Capstone Diploma.

The focus remains on the Capstone classes themselves. Next year, the first year of AP Seminar in Hudson, administration will be working with whomever teaches the class to offer the best experience possible.

“Any time you launch a new course, it’s quality control in that first year,” Otlin said. “You go in knowing that it’s not going to be everything you want it to be, but wanting to keep it above your minimum. That’s going to be a challenge next year.”

Otlin, Reagan, and the rest of the staff behind the Capstone initiative in Hudson are looking at this course long term. They are excited to see it develop and value how it fits into the existing framework of classes in Hudson.

“It’s title says it all,” Reagan said. “It’s a Capstone course. There are some other AP courses that we could offer, but not many. This to us was how we can compliment what we already have in the AP program. Because of that, this seemed like a really nice fit for us.”

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Hudson High School nurses Pat Emmons and Sue Bown practice adminestering Narcan. | by Allison Vickery

by Allison Vickery

Hudson, like much of New England, is in the depths of a developing epidemic of deaths, all caused by opioid overdoses. As a result, the Hudson Public School system has decided to begin stocking Narcan as a precautionary measure.

Naloxone, also known as Narcan, blocks or reverses the effects of an opioid in a person. This includes extreme drowsiness, slow breathing, or loss of consciousness. Narcan is used to treat a narcotic overdose in emergencies.

First the idea had to be approved by Dr. Jodi Fortuna, the Superintendent of Hudson Public Schools, and the School Committee. Then, the school physician, Ricardo Lewitus, wrote an order to Hudson’s school nurses to start stocking Narcan. All Hudson Public Schools will now stock it, and nurses will use Narcan to respond, not just to students, but to staff or visitors.

“We decided that the Board of Health is going to buy Narcan for Hudson Schools. The school came to us to see if we would support it,” Dr. Sam Wong, Director of Public and Community Health Services, said.

Some people oppose public access to Narcan. In their opinion, it would encourage the abuse of heroin and many other opioids, even though few studies support this theory. The medical community widely supports Narcan being easily available, since it has been known to save many lives.

“I haven’t used it personally. But I’ve seen it on other people. The person is clinically dead, no pulse, not breathing, and then they install Narcan and start breathing again. It’s pretty amazing,” said Officer Roger M. Downing of the Hudson Police Department. “It’s pretty simple. It comes in a syringe. It gets administered through the nose. Then gets sprayed into both sides.”

Narcan is a nose spray and a shot; it is an antagonist to opioid drugs, such as heroin, morphine, hydrocone, codeine, oxycodone, methadone, fentanyl, hydromorphone, and buprenorphine.

“The number of deaths due to overdoses in Massachusetts last year had more than doubled from 2010,” explained Lee Waingortin, Director of Nursing in Hudson Public Schools. “It had become an epidemic, and the Department of Public Health had declared an emergency because of the opioid crisis.”

In comparison to the rest of the United States, New England has the highest rate of opioid addiction, for a variety of reasons. In an article from USA Today, New England police agencies reported “high availability” of heroin in their communities, 10% more in 2013 than 2008. That’s why schools across New England, including the Hudson School District, are stocking Narcan.

“I can speculate that we have a more concentrated population in this area. In cities, obviously you’ll see more drug traffic. Articles show and trace the drugs back to where they’re manufactured or where the plants are grown and used to make the narcotics. And it’s amazing when you see where it gets funneled, and a lot of them do get funneled to the Northeast, the East Coast or West Coast. When you’re talking Boston, New York, these major cities, or Worcester, even, where they easily distribute them from there,” says Hudson High School Principal Brian Reagan.

In 2010, there were 13,652 unintentional deaths from opioid pain relievers (82.8 percent of the 16,490 unintentional deaths from all prescription drugs), and there was a fivefold increase in treatment admissions for prescription pain relievers between 2001 and 2011 in both adults and teenagers (from 35,648 to 180,708), according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

According to the American Society of Addiction Medicine, the number of opioids prescribed to adolescents and young adults (ages 15 to 29) nearly doubled between 1994 and 2007. Every day, 2,500 American teenagers abuse a prescription pain reliever for the first time.

“It’s an issue, definitely an issue. But I think a small percentage of the students here are involved with it. But again one is too many. So it’s critical that I deal with it and the administration deals with it,” Downing says.

The rise in heroin is supposedly connected to the abuse of prescription drugs. Most of the people who have abused painkillers switched to heroin because it’s cheaper and easier to get. That also makes Narcan more necessary in Massachusetts schools.

Because of how well Narcan works, the White House Drug Policy office now urges first responders, such as police and firefighters, to carry it. The Hudson Police Department doesn’t carry and stock Narcan because it needs to be kept at a certain temperature.

Hudson in the past has had its struggles with opioid usage as any other school would. The district is taking precautionary steps.

“Any school district, no matter how big or small, rich or poor, has students who use drugs. We’re just like any other community. We’re not immune to that,” Waingortin says.

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The cast of Anne of Green Gables rehearse Act 1. | by Stephanie Petrovick

by Stephanie Petrovick

The drama society is performing the play version of Anne of Green Gables on December 5 and 6. This play follows the life of the book character Anne Shirley, an orphan who is adopted by mistake by siblings Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert, who live on the farm named Green Gables. The play follows her crazy adventures as she becomes friends with Diana Barry, sparks a rivalry with her classmate Gilbert Blythe, and tries to accomplish her dreams as she grows older. The play definitely seems to be coming along well, with the cast practicing every day after school, and it should prove to be a very fun play to see.

According to the director, Rachel Shaw, “The most difficult thing has been memorizing lines, because this is a very wordy script…I think it will go fine; I have faith [in the play]”.