Tuesday, May 9, 2017

The Pajama Game Review

By: Brock Harrison

Marshwood’s The Pajama Game is wrapped up– and here's everything you need to know. The Pajama Game is a musical that was performed at Marshwood High school this spring. The show ran from March 25th to April 1st. The play brought the 1950’s to South Berwick, telling the story of an extremely efficient pajama business.

The story of The Pajama Game is one of love, frustration, and triumph. The story takes place in the midwest, disclosing the lives of factory workers, more specifically, those in the pajama making business. When a new manager from the city gets hired, Sid Sirokin (played by Ethan Martin), all of the female workers seem to fall for him. Despite Sid having all of the women at his fingertips, he is most intrigued by the one that refuses to admit that she is interested in him. Babe Williams (played by Ava Magoon), a hard factory worker and leader of the grievance committee, shows no interest in Sid at first, despite his attempts. As their love blossoms, Sid is faced with the dilemma of Babe’s committee demanding a 7 & ½ cent raise. Despite his efforts, Sid is faced with the choice of his girl or his job.   

The production starred familiar faces from the previous few years’ shows, such as Ava Magoon, Ethan Martin, and Trevor Stanley. Additionally, new faces include Jamin Colbath and Jason Glidden. Ms. Tanya West, a performing arts veteran and long time chorus teacher at Marshwood High, continues to hold the reigns of the spring musical, serving as the director and producer of the piece. West has done numerous successful musicals at MHS, proving herself to be an essential part of the arts here at Marshwood High.

To the uneducated eye, a high school musical does not seem to be a HUGE endeavor, but most people are surprised when they find out how many people are involved with the production. Between dozens of sponsors, countless helpful parents, the cast, crew, director, and even the stagecraft class, it's truly a team effort to make the magic happen.  Senior Ben Beers, a student in Ms. West’s stagecraft class, played a big part in making the set. “It was surprisingly difficult to build the set for this show. I never realized that it was truly this complex.”  Beers combined his artistic and carpentry skills to help build set furniture, as well as painting numerous posters and signs.

The graduation of last year’s seniors was a large loss for the theater program and many underclassmen have had to step up in positions that they wouldn’t have considered last year. There was also the addition of some students that have never even been a part of theatre  before– such as Jamin Colbath who decided to audition for a supporting role, and has always been around people in theatre. Jamin earned the role of Max, one of the more important Sleep Tite factory assistants. Colbath has definitely proved himself to be talented in the arts, despite his own doubts. “When I joined crew last year, I didn’t see myself performing on stage, but here we are” said Colbath. Jamin’s family and friends were certainly a positive influence upon him, encouraging him to try new things and step out of his comfort zone.

This production was definitely a different style show than Marshwood’s musicals of the past, but it certainly did not disappoint. The next generation of performers are extremely promising, keeping fans intrigued and excited for what’s to come.

Late Start Change Beginning May 11

By: Tommy Wilder

Have you heard that Marshwood will stop having late start days? If so, you’ve heard correctly. Starting May 11th, in an effort to make up time missed to snow days, there will be no more late start Thursdays. Maine law says that underclassmen need to have 175 school days by the end of the year, and seniors need 170. The school hadn’t expected so many snow days, but since we had 6 snow days, we had to change the school schedule.

This change will affect the entire district, not just the high school. Since this is district wide, the buses pick students up at the normal time every day of the week. This begins on May 11th and continues through the rest of the school year. Thursdays will include a 45 minute advisory period that students can use to work with teachers for extra support. Classes on Thursdays will go from 84 minutes to an hour and 45 minutes. The school initially tried to make up the missed time by adding 15 minutes to the end of every school day for the rest of the year, but the state declined that proposal.

Mrs. Shelley Smith, a wellness teacher at Marshwood, thought it would be more effective change the Thursday schedule rather than going to school on Saturdays or adding two days onto the end of the year. “I think it’s a good compromise,” she said because this plan will help the seniors to graduate on time. She, and many other teachers, is unsure how the extra time for periods 2, 4, and 6 would affect her classes. “In general, late starts are a great during the school year for teachers and students,” she explained.  Mrs. Smith thinks that there will be some students who are upset about the loss of their Thursday morning sleep in time. Although, she has heard more positive than negative comments about it from students.

Marshwood freshman Joe Lewis said he thought a lot of students would be a bit angry but he said, “I think it’s a good idea.” He explained that he would prefer earlier Thursdays over coming in at the end of the year pushing summer vacation back further into June. Joe found out about the late start from his teachers and peers.

School will begin at 7:30 rather than 9:00 on Thursdays starting May 11th. If you have any questions about the schedule, be sure to check in with your teachers or your advisor.

Surprising New Technology at Marshwood

By: Mikayla Karkos

Marshwood High School’s staff includes a very inspirational and talented member, Ms. Tatyana Wolterbeek. Ms. Wolterbeek works as an ed-tech, a part time physical education teacher, and is the coach for the girl’s softball team. She faces a struggle, however that no other staff member in this school faces.  Ms. Wolterbeek was born without a hand and in December 2016 began living with a robotic prosthetic hand. Nevertheless, some things she faces throughout everyday life can be difficult, however, nothing gets in her way.

Ms. Wolterbeek was born in Ukraine. The doctors said her undeveloped hand was a likely result of the catastrophic Chernobyl nuclear accident of 1986. Ms. Wolterbeek was adopted, along another young boy who was affected, and raised in the United States. Growing up she has had to deal with assumptions, people staring, and asking questions. She feels that a lot of people take their bodies for granted; however, Ms. Wolterbeek has never let this get in her way.

When Ms. Wolterbeek originally applied for a prosthetic, the insurance company denied the claim. They said she had lived without it for so long doing so well that she didn’t need one. However, the arm that she is constantly using, was over worked and was causing stress on her body. So she reapplied in July and was approved for her new hand in December.  Her new hand was made specially for her, and hers is the second myoelectric hand in the state of Maine. It is battery operated and is capable of 32 different hand positions. Her muscle twitch can tell the hand what to do, but it takes a lot of practice. She’s so used to only using one hand all the time, she is working on training her brain to use both. There is an app on her phone connected to her hand that she can choose positions and the hand will cooperate.

There are many simpler prosthetics used by many others locally. Mr. Brice Karkos of Rollinsford NH, was unfortunately diagnosed with a staph infection in 2014. The source of the infection was in his ankle, so after extracting the disease from his body, it was still trapped in his ankle. The doctors amputated from just below the knee. “Phantom pain and people staring are the only issues I have” Brice explained. He thinks a larger more complicated prosthetic in place of his leg would be unnecessary. He can still fix cars, ride four wheelers, and work with computers just as he could before.

Ms. Wolterbeek provided insight into some of her challenges, some of which are sadly unavoidable for her and other people with prosthetics or born without limbs. There is the fear of people staring and judging. She said “having people stare at you is something you can’t escape and you also cannot tell what others are thinking. People who don’t understand tend to stare and it is noticeable.”

Although people have negatives that go along with a prosthetic, this does not phase Ms. Wolterbeek when it comes to working as a PR teacher, ed. tech and softball coach. In fact, she doesn’t even use her prosthetic at practice! She is talented enough to catch, throw, and bat all with one hand! She takes the prosthetic off for periods of time because of some swelling, but her body should adapt eventually and allow her to wear it full time.

Mr. Paul Mehlhorn, the principal at Marshwood High School, thinks very highly of Ms. Wolterbeek. He admires the fact that she doesn’t expect any accommodations and always finds a way to meet expectations. He said “we hired Ms. Wolterbeek as a softball coach because of her certification, her experience as an athlete, her care for kids, and the admirable fact that she never let her physical limitations interfere with her work.”  

Ms. Wolterbeek plays a great role at Marshwood and has a positive impact on her students while setting an admirable example. If you haven’t gotten the chance to meet her yet, you can find her in the gym, in classroom E203, or eating second lunch in one of the pods. “I think it’s a great thing for students to see that it is okay to be different and you can still be successful” expressed Mr. Mehlhorn.

With Hard Work Comes Great Success: Another Win For Brad Beaulieu

By: Hannah Horton

Bradley Beaulieu is senior wrestler and student at Marshwood High School. He has been wrestling for fourteen consecutive years, winning many titles along the way. He has won four Regional Titles, four State Titles, three All State Titles, and four time All American titles.  He is a four time New England placer, a two time New England Finalist, 2017 New England Champion, and a 2017 National Finalist. That’s about 23 titles altogether.  
Athletic director Mr. Rich Buzzell, who has watched Brad over the years had nothing but positive things to say about Brad’s performance over the years: “Brad is one of the most focused individuals. He has a great deal of control and poise. He plans very well which leads him to success in wrestling.” Buzzell stated that, “Brad sends a good message to kids that with hard work comes great success. The whole school is so proud of how much time he has put into wrestling and everything he’s accomplished.”

Zach Eastman, a senior who has been wrestling all four years of high school with Brad, added that Brad “works very hard. He’s always focused. When he is on the mat he’s in there to get better. He always knows when it’s time to mess around and when it’s not.” Zach said that Brad as a wrestler is “tough and determined, and that Brad never gives up.”

A junior at Marshwood who is Brad’s girlfriend, Molly Glidden has grown up with wrestling in her family because of her brother Eric. She understands the effort and hard work that’s put into wrestling. If Molly could use three words to describe Brad as a wrestler they would be: “dominant, knowledgeable, and dedicated. He knows what he’s doing he knows where he is on the mat. He counters the moves tested on him, he’s really good with everything about wrestling. He handles cutting weight very well.”

Wrestling has become a huge part of Brad’s life he stated that, “wrestling has changed me for the better I’d say. The life lessons I’ve learned are the ones that I’ll carry with me for the rest of my life. Some are the ability to stay calm in stressful situations, or learning that you can achieve anything with hard work. Wrestling has taught me patience, gave me a work ethic, and has humbled me greatly.” Brad plans on wrestling in college at Old Dominion University in Norfolk Virginia, which is a division 1 school. He will be attending with a scholarship.

If you have the chance to speak with Brad make sure to congratulate him on his success with wrestling. As a school we are so proud of everything he’s accomplished!

Middle Schoolers Marching into Marshwood High School

By: Corbin Herrick

Marching band is not just a place to learn and enjoy music. It is also a way for incoming high schoolers to get their foot in the door and find where they belong before the start of classes in fall.

Members of the marching band host an annual open house to recruit new members for the fall season. The students are asked to make a good impression on incoming students to create a friendly environment where students feel safe. Marching band veteran, Carter Richardson explained, “basically you act like a mentor for the kids that are just coming in and you set a good example to try to make it as fun as possible to recruit as many people for marching band as you can.”  Richardson is a 5th year snare and bass drum player for the marching band. Carter explained: “my brother was in [marching band] as an eighth grader and all his friends were in it. So, he wanted me to join.” Like Carter, a lot of students begin participating in marching band when in 8th grade and continue through their high school years.

Another student who started their marching band experience in 8th grade is Sofi Latta. As a sophomore at Marshwood High School, Sofi has participated in marching band for 3 years. During her sophomore season, Sofi was promoted to drum captain and was put on snare drum.  Sofi’s experience contributed to this success.

“The open house is a chance for students, who either haven't done marching band before or think they may be interested in marching band, to come and check out what it’s all about, learn a little bit about how to march and get a taste of what the music is for next fall,” said band teacher and conductor Mr. David Graichen. “The open house in a lot of ways can be a low pressure way for somebody to come check out marching band.”  

One of the most common difficulties among marching band members is the ability to march and play at the same time. Carter explained that it, “takes a toll on your brain and your physical ability.” Another challenge among marching band students is staying positive. “Sometimes the music and drill can be extremely difficult and all you want to do is give up and go home,” said Sofi. “You have to remember that even though it’s hard, you have to keep persevering and trying your best. Everyone in the band must try their hardest or else the show won’t look or sound good.”

A universally enjoyable part of marching band is making new friends and spending time with their peers. “I met my best friends through band. The staff is incredibly supportive, and I just love being surrounded by people with the same passion as me,” said Latta. Along with making new friends, marching band is a place for students to find a place to feel comfortable as they make the transition into high school.

The marching band open house was on Wednesday, April 26 at 6 pm at Marshwood High School. If you didn’t get a chance to attend and are interested in learning more about marching band or want to join, see Mr. Graichen in H220.

Mrs. Higgins is Retiring, Recognized With Award

By: Angelica Mills

Beloved art teacher at Marshwood High School, Mrs. Patricia Sevigny-Higgins has decided that it is her time to retire from being a full time art teacher. “There’s something internal within every teacher that they just know when it’s time,” said Mrs. Higgins. During their retirements, she and her husband plan to travel more and to visit every national park, and of course Mrs. Higgins will be more focused on her own artwork as well.

Marshwood will miss her as a colleague and the students as a teacher. “I am very sad that she is retiring,” responded junior Hannah-Belle Menard, a former art student of Mrs. Higgins. “She was my first art teacher here at the high school, and Mrs. Higgins taught me many different styles and techniques that I still consistently use today.”

Although she’s retiring from full time teaching, Mrs. Higgins said that she will be returning for half of the day in the mornings next year school year, but she doesn’t know if it will be more than just next year.

Mrs. Higgins has also won the Maine Art Education Association’s 2018 Distinguished Educator Award, in her last full time year of teaching.  “It’s very humbling, but also hard to accept. There are many great art teachers,” explained Mrs. Higgins, “I am happy about it.  I have worked hard for 32 years, but not any harder than any other art teacher.” Mrs. Higgins is deserving of the award.

Of course Mrs. Higgins will be missed here at Marshwood High School, but she has made students’ experiences in the art department a great one. We all wish her well in all of her future endeavors, and some students will even be lucky enough to see her on their schedule for next year.   

New Proficiency Based Diplomas for Incoming Freshman Class

By: Brett Gervais
Starting next year at Marshwood, the incoming freshman class of 2021, will have new requirements for graduation. Marshwood is transitioning from the credit system currently in place, to a new proficiency based diploma system, in order to comply with Maine state law. This proficiency based diploma system, allows for teachers and administrators to measure a student's proficiency in each subject and track a student's progress. Students will have to meet these proficiencies before moving on to the next class or grade level.

Mr .Mehlhorn, Principal of Marshwood High School,  explained, “Maine state law requires proficiencies in eight content areas, Marshwood currently meets seven.” These eight content areas as listed in the Maine statute are content areas that state schools should be educating students on in a variety of ways. These content areas are: Career & Education Development, English Language Arts, Health Education & Physical Education, Mathematics, Science & Technology, Social Studies, Visual & Performing Arts, and World Languages.

Marshwood currently does not require a world language for graduation. To comply with state law, and meet the Department of Education's content areas, students will now require a world language to graduate. Another change for students will be the requirement that for every year in high school, students must take a math, science, & English class. The workload for students will likely increase as a result, but Mr. Mehlhorn expressed that the transition to the new system will provide more support for students.

One of the most significant changes will be how students receive grades. To switch to proficiencies, values will need to be given for what is or is not proficient. This new proficiency based system raises the question whether or not the letter grade system will still be used. Letter grades probably won't disappear overnight, although letter grades are predicted to slowly fade away as school systems implement new, improved ways to give students grades and feedback. Mr. Mehlhorn said he thought that, “students, parents, and teachers will struggle with the grade system changing.” Adhering to the formal letter grade system or implementing a new grade system is still being decided upon by the school board.

Mrs. Amy LaBelle, guidance director at Marshwood High School, explained that, “teachers will have a separate, proficiency based tracking system that will be accessible to guidance counselors,” but may not be immediately available to students and parents. The tracking system will allow teachers and guidance counselors to follow a student's progress, and ensures each student receives the specific help they need. Mrs. LaBelle also said that there are students at Marshwood now, who are able to graduate based on credits, but may not be college ready. She thinks the proficiency system will help students be more prepared for continuing their education or entering a career.

Mr. Mehlhorn explained that, “proficiency is not just a high school issue,” as it ensures students are ready for the world beyond high school. And he thinks the most important, positive change will be the ultimate benefit for the students. He explained that the new system will reinforce policies and goals Marshwood already follows, help give students more support, and improve consistency with each teacher's grading standards. This new system will help identify students who are below proficiency,  and allow for immediate intervention, before students fall too far behind. This new system will help teachers and administrators solve specific problems directly and swiftly. In the big picture of things the goal is to make sure each student receives an equal education, is proficient in the required content areas, and is prepared for future education or a career.

Some changes are sure to come next year at Marshwood, and the changes will directly impact the incoming freshman. The new proficiency based system will be implemented starting next year, and adjustments and improvements will be made over time.  What we know for sure is that in 2021, Marshwood graduates will receive a proficiency based diploma.

Committee Explores School Starting Later

By: Krista Marr
Contributing Editor: Mrs. Doucette

Starting around November 2016, the school board created a committee to explore the possibility of the school day starting later, every day. This process is just in its beginning stages. The committee is exploring the possibility and is hoping to make a recommendation to the board within the next year. There are still a lot of details to iron out and ‘what ifs’ that need to be addressed.

If school were to start later, the dismissal time would also have to be later to allow the school day overall to remain the same length. Marshwood Assistant Principal, Mr. Chris Stauffer had concerns that pushing the school start back might not be a way to increase the number of hours students sleep at night. Most students are already staying up late; if students thought they could “sleep in” that might result in staying up later.

Changing the school starting time would greatly impact juniors and seniors who are in vocational programs at schools like Dover, Somersworth, and Sanford. The students who are in the morning programs would still have to be present in time to catch the bus going to these schools.  The students would have to begin each school day, potentially, at the current starting time or earlier to catch a bus.  

Even with a later daily school start, we could still have something equivalent to a late start Thursday. This would take the need away to have teacher workshop days since to allow teachers to have that weekly collaboration time.

Paul Pollaro, a junior at Marshwood High School, said that starting school later, “is a beautiful idea… absolutely gorgeous thought.” Even with the knowledge that school would get out later if we start later, he agrees that it could be great. With the later start students could sleep more at night and not be napping in class due to getting up so early. Paul has noticed that late start Thursdays, improves his day and his ability to stay awake and focused during classes.

There seem to be a lot of what if’s at this point in time. Mr. Rich Luciano, a member of the subcommittee and science teacher at Marshwood High, said he’s interested in seeing what this change could potentially do to change the school. He explained that the committee is not sure if all schools in the district would start later or just the high school. One concern is that if elementary schools started earlier, young children would be out for the bus very early in the morning. If all schools in the district started at the same time, it could create new transportation issues.

Committee member and science teacher at Marshwood High, Mr. Rich Luciano, is looking forward to seeing what this change could do for the school.

With this time change, this could also have a huge effect on time for family and friends. If the high school was dismissed at 3:00, and say the average time families eat dinner is 6:00, that leaves three hours for students to do any after school activities and get help with school work. After dinner it could be 7:30, and if teens are falling asleep around 10:30-11, that gives them a little more than three hours to do any chores, homework, and be a little social. Staying up late to finish homework or have time to talk with your friends could come into play; which means students would still be losing sleep and be tired for the next day.

Mr. Stauffer said, “I don’t know what we could improve for our students with a later start that would help them become more successful in their future.” For example, when you have a job, it’s usually set hours.  The only thing that will change is you. He explained, “being flexible, being able to adjust helps to open up doors of opportunity and we have to adjust to things we don’t like.”

An organization called, “Start School Later” has taken up in Maine.  So far, according to their website, four towns have agreed to begin their high school day at 8:30.  Biddeford has switched to a later start time this school year, and Portsmouth will be switching next school year. The Marshwood committee can now watch how these schools will handle having their initial start time pushed back, how this will affect the school day, students and staff.  Seeing how these schools cope with this will help to determine if Marshwood makes the change as well.     

When the Student Becomes the Teacher

By: Natalie Galvin

At Marshwood two juniors, Milena Calcagni and Michaela Flanders, are stepping beyond their everyday experience as students and into the role of the teacher.

“The idea came kind of out of the blue,”explained Michaela, who teaches recreational teen ballet at The Dance Annex in Kittery, Maine. Flanders was approached by studio director Julie Hebb about teaching the class this January, and was given a month to choose the music and prepare. Michaela teaches the class on Tuesday nights to her peers, who she takes a class with the next day.

Milena Calcagni echoed Flanders in saying that “it was a surprise” when MMS music teacher Mrs. Kristine Bisson approached her about helping to teach an after-school songwriting class. Calcagni used the opportunity to complete her required 50 hours of community service, while Flanders officially works for The Dance Annex with an hourly pay.

Her students, according to Calcagni, “are creative and usually excited about learning things like how to write a rap and performing it for their friends.” For Calcagni, helping with teaching comes fairly easily.

For Flanders, however, teaching students her own age is not always so easy. She says, “I’ve noticed in the past few weeks an issue adjusting to the social dynamic. It’s hard to separate when we’re friends and when it’s time to focus and be treated as a teacher.” The idea that ‘the best way to learn is to teach’ is a popular one, but it might not always be the easiest way to learn when teaching those who are in all other cases their peers and equals.

Mrs. Kristine Bisson, the music teacher running the songwriting class with Calcagni, remarked how well students responded to having another student teaching them. She mentioned the value of student teachers, saying “when students have a teacher that is only a few grades higher than themselves, it gives them someone closer to their own age that can serve as a role model to them, which engages the students with what their learning.”

Overall, both Calcagni and Flanders balance their teaching with their own learning, using study halls and periods of time before and after school to prepare for teaching, and then using their time at home for keeping up with school themselves.

Though there are difficulties for Flanders in teaching, she believes that teaching others ballet has helped her as a dancer, saying “I’ve noticed that I’ll give a correction to someone’s technique that I’ll be applying to myself a few days later in my own ballet class.” Calcagni agrees, adding “I wasn’t much of a songwriter before the class, but I’ve definitely come out of teaching it stronger than I was. Maybe I will write a song now!”

Both Flanders and Calcagni agree that teaching has influenced their craft, their time management, and has taught them a lot about the role of the teacher. Teaching and mentoring options are offered in the guidance office and online, if people are interested in learning more about the opportunities available to them. “It’s hard work, but I’m glad that I do it - I would definitely recommend others take a look at what they can do!”

Teacher Jury Duty Holding Students Back?

By: Brandon Viel

Over the course of four months, Marshwood High School has had two teachers called in for jury duty. These teachers are Mr. Jeff Gardner and Mr. Ryan Smith. Being called to do jury duty greatly affects the way that these teachers are able to do their jobs.

Mr. Ryan Smith is an English teacher who was called in to do jury duty at the New Hampshire state court level. Though jury duty tends to be rather long, Mr. Smith was only out for 8 days. He said that jury duty is important, but it has its drawbacks. “While jury duty can be a rewarding experience, as it allows you to take part in the justice system, it is a frustrating experience as well as it interrupts your work and life.” Mr. Smith said that it affect his ability to teach his class, since he couldn’t physically be at school.

In this case, a substitute filled in for him, and he had to write daily plans for the sub to follow. The only way he could answer any questions that the students had was to be done digitally, which makes it harder for students. This was Mr. Smith’s first time being called in for jury duty. He did make an effort to get out of doing it, though. He talked to the judge and said that he want to be able to help his students prepare for the midterms that were coming at the time.  Mr. Smith served jury duty anyway.

Mr. Gardner is a Physics teacher who was called to do jury duty, just recently. Unlike Mr. Smith he has done jury duty before, but he wasn’t teaching at the time. Like Mr. Smith, Mr. Gardner stated the importance of jury duty, but also its negatives. He said it’s, “an important duty, but the court should consider a larger view. Be aware of the negative impact that on students not having a teacher for a month.”

This is the case, since when Mr. Gardner explained that there wouldn’t be a long term substitute available to take his place. The inability to have a long term sub to teach the class would not work very well. Though Mr. Gardner may not have the same long term substitute, there are plans for daily subs. Gardner also advocated that serving jury duty would be inconvenient for his students. With this excuse, Mr. Gardner was originally told serving jury duty would be pushed until June, when the school year had ended, but he was recently called back in.

Elaine Bachelder is a student in Mr. Gardner’s fifth period Physics class, didn’t seem to have problem with Mr. Gardner being out for jury duty, though she did say that it was, “annoying with how spontaneous it is.” She said that teachers leaving on maternity leave is more predictable, but with jury duty, there is no warning to when the teacher would be out until a student walks into the classroom.

According to a 2015 NPR article, 32 million Americans get called for jury duty every year, but the number who serve is much smaller. We can agree, as both teachers and students, that jury duty is important, but is a hindrance to the learning of students when teachers are called to serve.  Unfortunately, any teacher could be called for jury duty, and being a teacher, in and of itself, is not a reason to be excused.

Coding Sisters

By: Benjamin Kahler

Girls Who Code is a club of students who are learning the basics on how to make computer programs and skills for coding. Computer coding is a system of signals used to represent letters or numbers in transmitting messages. The instructions in a computer program. Instructions written by a programmer in a programming language are often called source code.  Members of the club are Luci Albers, Ruby Albers, Sky Cote, Molly Ferguson, Zoe Janetos, Olivia Varner, Brooke Villinski, and  Nicole Villinski. The adviser is Valerie Nardone, who is a private consultant who works on computer coding projects.  

This local chapter of Girls Who Code is part of the original organization that was founded by Reshma Saujani.  Ms. Saujani founded this organization to “close the gender gap in technology” according to the  “about us” section on the organization’s website.

During their meetings, the Marshwood club has learned Javascript, made databases and brainstormed on a few projects. These projects will benefit the students at Marshwood High School.  Luci Albers, a senior at Marshwood High School, is one of the members of this local chapter.  She explained that the first project, “was a bus tracking program that they're trying to turn into an app from the website it is right now. You can track your bus’ location. Trackers are located on three busses so far and the results are successful.” Albers explained that the second project is  a carpool website for sports teams.  You can click on the sport you're in and then find rides to your practice or games. The current website is only a demo and it is still a work in progress.

Luci wanted to make sure we know that the MHS Girls Who Code club has “a lot of seniors graduating this year, so we would love to encourage underclassmen to join! We meet every Monday 2:30-4:00 and there is free candy and a super cute puppy that comes every week! It’s a lot of fun and is interesting and I encourage everyone to join!”

FFA Convention and Maine State Competition in May

By: Andrew Holsclaw

The Maine state FFA Competition is coming up on May 18-19.  Students are preparing, including Marshwood senior Tommy Wilder, who said “I am very excited to go to another convention and compete. They are a lot of fun.”  He is one of many students who will compete in Orono, Maine.  Students are from schools all over the state and many have been preparing since February.

Formerly known as the Future Farmers of America, FFA, it is a youth organization that makes a positive influence on the lives of young people.  According to their website, the value of the FFA is making “a positive difference in the lives of students by developing their potential for premier leadership, personal growth, and career success through agricultural education.” Over the course of the nearly 80 years this organization has been working with young people, “FFA and agricultural education have grown to encompass all aspects of agriculture, from production farming, agribusiness and forestry to biotechnology, marketing and food processing.”

The students attending the convention and competing have been putting a lot of effort towards preparation and spend extra time outside of school preparing.  Tommy will be participating in a new challenge of the competition known as, forestry environmental awareness and identification.  This new challenge is about seeing the environment of a forest, seeing what's happening, identifying what's wrong and deciding appropriate action.  He says “I will be competing in this event as one of the test subjects to see if they will use it in future events.  I have no idea what to expect.”

The competition takes place in Orono, Maine.  If you would like to join the FFA, contact your local chapter.  To find yours go to https://www.ffa.org/join/how-to-join and use this site to find a chapter near you.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Proposed State Budget Cuts Prompt Changes in District Spending to Increase Class Size

By: Natalie Galvin

On March 15, Marshwood district superintendent, Dr. Mary Nash proposed a revised district budget that raises class sizes and reduces the number of staffing positions for the Fiscal Year of 2018. These revisions were made in an attempt to prepare for the expected loss of $769,000 in state funding to the district under Governor LePage’s proposed budget for the state of Maine.

Governor Paul LePage released the proposal for the State of Maine biennial budget on January 6, 2017. In the briefing of the budget, LePage said, “Rather than spend money on a bloated administrative structure, we will direct funding to where it is needed the most: our students and our underpaid teachers in the classrooms.” This includes cutting out state funding for administrative costs, meaning that Marshwood is predicted to lose $769,000 in state subsidy. According to Mr. Paul Mehlhorn, principal at Marshwood High School, “what he wants to do is he wants to force districts into regionalizing the central office. It would be like York, Kittery, and us coming all together with a superintendent between us instead of three different superintendents.”  

The loss in state funding to several schools in the state of Maine is being proposed almost exactly after the 2016 election. In the election, Question #2 in the Maine-specific issues read: “Do you want a 3% tax on individual Maine taxable income above $200,000 to create a state fund that would provide direct support for student learning in K-12 public education?” According to Ballotopedia, this means that money would go into a direct fund that would be run by the Department of Education that could only be spent to directly support students. However, Governor LePage does not support this referendum, and delayed certifying the election result for this question - voters decided ‘yes’ by 50.57%. According to state representative Jennifer Parker (D), representing District 6 (parts of North and South Berwick), “the governor has chosen not to include that question in his budget.” She explained that, “there is talk that the Republicans in the House will not pass the budget if it includes question 2.”

The state’s budget will have a deep impact on the district budget, which is currently about halfway through its approval process. State Representative Heidi Sampson (R), representing District 21 (Alfred), and a member of the Education and Cultural Affairs Committee, said, “we will be meeting with the appropriations committee again this week...Basically, they are the ones who have to negotiate every line of the entire state budget.” The final budget is scheduled to be voted on by the state Congress in June 2017.

The state budget has a great impact on the proposed budget for the Marshwood School district. At the budget meeting on March 15, Dr. Nash said, “these cuts are so significant. They will impact every single one of our students next year. There’s no question. And that’s what’s at stake for us.”

In all schools, class sizes are being raised. This means that the maximum class size is increasing from 22 to 25 and potentially at the high school up to 27 students. Further, the minimum requirement of student sign ups for a class has been raised from 12 students to 15 students during the course selection period for the 2017-2018 school year. When detailing this increase at the district budget meeting, Dr. Nash said, “We could not make the magnitude of cuts necessary to reach $769,000 in additional reductions if we did not look at class sizes across the district...What we are trying to do as a team is wrap our arms around our students to make sure these measures have the smallest impact as possible on them.”

In addition to the class size increases, several schools in the Marshwood School District are facing staffing cuts. The high school is facing a staffing cut of two full-time and two part-time teaching positions, to be determined by the outcome of the students’ course selection. This has raised some concerns among students, including senior Cam Scharff, a student representative on the school board, who said, “the difficulty in raising class sizes lies in the loss of a more personal teacher to student relationship. Fewer students means that there is more academic intimacy between teacher and student, which fosters learning.”

Marshwood administration is also facing some staffing changes. The Director of Food Services position is being cut and will be replaced with the management company, beginning next year. Also, the Computer Technician Specialist position at the high school is being cut. However, both positions were proposed to be cut in the original district budget proposal on March 1, 2017, a proposal that presented the budget as if the district’s state funding remained about the same as this past year. The revised budget, proposed at the budget meeting on March 15, 2017, explains the district’s measures to make up for the lost state funding, with a focus on class size increases and the cutting of teaching positions.

The district budget, like the state budget, is still under debate. The Budget Validation Referendum (for the district budget) is scheduled for voting on June 13, 2017. If people are interested in hearing about the continuing process of revising the budget in person, the District Budget Meeting is scheduled to be May 17, 2017 at Marshwood High School. Before the District Budget Meeting, there is a public budget workshop to be held in the Learning Center at Marshwood High School from 5-7PM on April 12, 2017.

CyberPatriots Taking Security Serious at Marshwood

By: Corbin Herrick

After taking second at regionals and winning states, the Marshwood CyberPatriot club is making a name for themselves. The team consists of: Peter Adams, Ben Arenberg, Brian Austin, Maria Christian, Stephen Kaplan, Nathan Keisman, Noble Mushtak, Lowell Pence, Stephen Rezack, and Olivia Varner.
According to their website, “CyberPatriot is the National Youth Cyber Education Program.” It was originally created to help promote cybersecurity. In was “conceived by the Air Force Association (AFA) to inspire students toward careers in cybersecurity or other science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines critical to our nation's future.” In fact, students who participate in CyberPatriot are eligible for scholarships through the Northrop Grumman Corporation. “Since 2011, the Northrop Grumman Corporation has generously awarded scholarships to members of First Place, Runner-Up, and Third Place National Finals teams, amounting to over $300,000 in direct academic financial support to CyberPatriot competitors to date,”  the website describes.  

Marshwood CyberPatriot advisor and retired math teacher, Mrs.Virginia Wilson said “there are five competitions during the winter and they take place on Saturdays at the school.  The students have six hours to work with their teams to fix the vulnerabilities in the mock business set ups created by the program.  The teams must have at least two members and no more than six members.” She explained that this year, Marshwood had “three teams. During the competitions the students are allowed to look up information on the internet to help find solutions to the challenges, so they are learning new strategies while they are competing.”

Mrs. Wilson explained that students, “can participate in CyberPatriots without any prior experience.  There are training materials provided.  Also, we do our best to bring in knowledgeable mentors from industry or the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard to work with the team members.”  She said that this season,  “many of the professionals were extremely busy with work projects so the students helped each other.  They did an outstanding job with this and they performed very well in the competitions.  Some of our team members are very knowledgeable, but any interested student can learn from the program and participate.”

Students seem to enjoy being a part of CyberPatriot. Senior Ben Arenberg said his “favorite part would have to be the competitions.” His least favorite part: the practices. Those who would enjoy this club might be “interested in pursuing a career in Cyber Security or someone who is interested in Cyber Safety in general,” said Ben.

Another member of the team is Lowell Pence “I enjoyed my time participating in CyberPatriot. It allowed me to meet some professionals and get more exposure to the world of cyber security in businesses.” He explained that one of his favorite activities was “when Keith from the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard would come in and simply spread what he knows onto the board for us to take in.” Other industry professionals often teach the students.

For students interested in joining, teams meet on Friday afternoons.  According to Mrs.Wilson, “students sign up and join teams when school starts in the fall.  Interested students are welcome to our Friday afternoon meetings... The teams must be registered by the beginning of November.”  You can also talk to one of the current members to learn more.

An Outdoor Leadership Class Is Coming to MHS!

By: Tommy Wilder

Have you heard that there is an outdoor leadership class students can sign up for next year? The class will be taught by PE teacher, Mr. Scott Patch.  This class will teach students all sorts of outdoor skills such as hiking safety, knot tying, and compass and map reading. Students will get to go on hikes and even teach elementary kids all about it.

Mr. Patch described the class as hands-on learning. The thing that made Mr. Patch want to start this class was the after school activity Hawks Outdoor Leadership Development, also known as HOLD. Mr. Patch wanted to get more students to learn about outdoor skills and involve students whose after school schedules, including conflicting sports schedules, could go on hiking trips, like to Pinkham Notch. Mr. Patch took a college course on wilderness safety and he is also a certified wilderness first responder.  These make him incredibly qualified to teach this outdoor leadership class.

In order to create a new course offering, teachers have to propose a course and get it approved by the school board. English teacher, Mrs. Stacie Cocola was at a school board meeting when the new class proposal was discussed. She said “I didn’t have a role [in the proposal] but I was happy to speak up for it.” Mrs. Cocola went through a similar process with the theater elective.  When the intro to theater class was developed, the board was concerned about it taking away from the extracurricular theater program. The fact is that the intro to theater elective gives students who would not usually participate in a play the opportunity to learn about theater and maybe get involved in an extracurricular production later.  Mrs. Cocola explained that the HOLD and outdoor leadership class could allow the program to flourish just like she saw in theater.

Mr. Patch, located in B205, would be excited to answer any questions you have about new outdoor leadership class. This class sounds like a lot of fun and if you are at all interested in learning about hiking, backpacking, or outdoor safety, you may be able to take this course as an introduction to those things. There are already 20 students enrolled for the first year of this class.

2016-2017 Enforcement of Marshwood’s Attendance Policy

By: Mikayla Karkos

In September 2016, both students and parents were a little confused by the increased strictness applied to the attendance policy. Marshwood administration had been more lenient in the previous years, but this year rules are more clearly enforced.

As of the 2016-2017 school year at Marshwood, the attendance policy stands as the following, according to page 17 of the student handbook: “excused absences are: Temporary illness documented by parent/guardian, illness documented by doctor, death in the family, professional appointments (court, lawyer, medical, etc., supported by legal documentation from these offices). religious holidays, all school related functions (field trips, co-curricular activities, concerts, etc), college visitations (must have documentation from college), pre-Approved Planned Absences (Pre-Approved planned absence forms are available in the main office) and extenuating circumstances approved by Administration.”

The policy has been  phrased this for many years. But this year administration began ensuring the policy was enforced consistently.  As Vice Principal Mrs. Kelly Glynn said, “it’s the law.” She said there was nothing new added to the policy this year, and that she doesn’t see the policy as being strict at all. “Attendance is the most important factor when it comes to being successful in school. When [we] have a building with over 800 students, having a clearly stated policy that everyone is engaged in is important. Attendance is the law, schools are required to have students be in school,”  Mrs. Glynn explained.  

Teachers weren’t specifically given new guidelines to follow this year. But, they were told to more consistently enforce the policy within their classrooms. This requires teachers to following up and call home when students are absent frequently and write a referral when a student is late or has an unexcused absence.

Two teachers who agreed that the policy’s consistency is important are science teacher, Mr. Vinny Johnson, and English teacher, Mrs. Erin Haemker. Mr. Johnson said “I enforce the policy in my classroom to ensure students are in class and in school, because that is their job. I think the policy is too lenient, and not strict enough. An absence is an absence, there should be no excused and unexcused. The credit should be lost at a certain number of absences based off the length of the quarter.” Mrs. Haemker said “I always follow up with referrals, because that’s what we are supposed to do. I am a big fan of consistency, and I like the way administration is applying consistency to the policy and to the expectations.”

Mrs. Haemker had some ideas about the policy that she thought could strengthen the policy. “I think that there should be a direct consequence for each absence and that [the policy] stays consistent throughout the school year. I think students should know in advance what the consequences are because it will show them it's important to be in school. Five absences is a lot. The consequences should start at the first missed absence.”

The student responses, however, disagreed with many viewpoints of teachers and administration. A sophomore at Marshwood, Lauren Franciose, said “I think the policy is too strict and it’s unforgiving. Administration needs to be more understanding of students’ personal reasons for missing school. They don’t take feelings or emotions into consideration, and they sometimes give unexcused absences for family emergencies.”  She conceded,  “I can see why it’s being enforced harder this year, there were too many students being absent and some lying about their reasons for being absent.”

In the past, students had emailed administration and wrote fake notes, pretending to be their parents excusing an absence. Students were excusing themselves from school and administration had to prove whether it was the student or the parents. That plays into administration really cracking down on attendance this year.

Overall, the students and the administration may have different opinions on this topic. But at the end of the day, administration cares about how the students can be successful and how they can help, even if it means having a disagreement or several pink slips. There are other ways to obtain a green slip rather than forging your parents signature, which could get you into serious trouble.

According to administrative assistant, Mrs. Leslie McDonnell, “if you bring in a doctor’s note, or a note from your guardians, you may receive a green slip. If you are an athlete, you must be here in school by 9am accompanied by a note in order to participate in any after school activities. When extenuating circumstances are present, a student must speak with an administrator to have their absence or dismissal approved.”