COVID Infects Favorite TV Shows

By Kylie Campbell, ’22

Staff Writer

After the COVID-19 outbreak in March 2020, the world came to a stop. That included the filming of many fan-favorite TV shows. As people’s lives around the world changed dramatically, families spent more time indoors. People watched a lot more television, increasing their anticipation for new episodes of their favorite shows. Finally last summer, with social distancing and daily testing, many television shows and movies resumed filming. New seasons of popular shows came back this year including “Grey’s Anatomy” and “This Is Us.” These two shows, like many others, surprised fans by incorporating Covid-19 storylines. Fans had differing views on whether or not they liked this approach.

As a long-time supporter of “Grey’s Anatomy,” I was disappointed to see the virus incorporated into the show. I usually watch TV as an outlet from the real world. Especially since Covid-19 has increased stress and anxiety, I would have preferred a show that didn’t remind me of our world’s current situation. Although “Grey’s Anatomy” is a medical show and wanted to try to depict the lives of health care workers, I was disappointed to see the depressing cycle of death caused by Covid-19 to be portrayed in my favorite show. 

I also have been a strong supporter of the show “This is Us” throughout the last couple years but I have shied away from the very realistic season they have created for 2021. I feel as though incorporating the virus takes away from the intense storylines about the Pearson family which have built up over the past seasons . Although I believe real-world issues are an important aspect to be addressed, I feel as though they now have taken away from the original plot of the show. 

Even though I disliked Covid-19 being brought into these shows, some people found it reassuring to find their favorite fictional characters coping with the virus as well. And some good came from it. In “Grey’s Anatomy,” beloved characters who had left earlier in the show were able to come back due to Covid-19’s existence. 

New Library Books Offer Great Stories, Diverse Perspectives

Mrs. McHugh

I’d need at least a million dollars to buy all of the books I’d like for the library. Each month, I read reviews of the latest releases, and I add to my ever-growing wishlist the titles that I think students might enjoy – or might benefit from. But even though the Hanover High library is thankfully well-funded, there’s never enough money for all of them. When I buy new books, I have to prioritize, and I’m usually drawn toward ones that are not just good stories or sources of information, but also shine a light on diverse perspectives. In recent years, I’ve purchased a lot of titles about African Americans, the LGBTQ community, immigrants and refugees. Reading can be an escape from real life, but it also can be a great way to learn about new people, places and things you haven’t experienced  If I find a book that broadens a reader’s world, while also keeping them engaged, I consider my mission accomplished. These five very different titles fit the bill.

Sadie by Courtney Summers is a thriller about a teenaged girl who seeks revenge on the man that killed her little sister. As you learn about her quest, told from her point of view and that of a journalist investigating the case for a podcast, you see the dark impact of poverty, drug use and child abuse. It’s a mystery that highlights the dire circumstances many Americans are mired in. If you read this, let me know what you think of the ending. I hear the audiobook is pretty cool too.

A Land of Permanent Goodbyes by Atia Abawi is a fictional story about a teenaged boy fleeing Syria after years of civil war. Written by a journalist, herself a refugee from Afghanistan as a child, the story makes real the news stories we may read – or pass by – about the thousands of people displaced by violence.  These refugees lose their homes, possessions and loved ones only to trek to other places that may not let them in. If a country does accept them, they still struggle to find jobs, homes, and their place in a foreign land. This story is partially told by Destiny, similar to how The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak is narrated by Death. It’s an interesting way to make one boy’s experience more universal.

Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo is the latest novel from the highly popular author who wrote The Poet X and With the Fire on High. She focuses on the experiences of Dominican teens in the U.S., often torn between the traditions and expectations of two very different cultures. They also face stereotypes and obstacles that come with being immigrants and people of color. Even if a reader can’t find the Dominican Republic on a map, they can still relate to teens who feel pressured to do well in school, fulfill their parents’ expectations and struggle with relationships.

The Silence Between Us by Alison Gervais is about a deaf teen who transitions back to a traditional school when her mom’s job moves them across the country. A senior with big dreams of college, Maya struggles to fit in with her hearing peers who don’t understand that while she’s limited, she’s also very capable. This novel gives a glimpse into deaf culture, a community that relies on its own rich language (American Sign Language) and believes being deaf has qualities and benefits worth celebrating – and certainly not just fixing. It’s an enlightening perspective for many of us unfamiliar with the experiences of the hearing impaired. 

Everything Sad is Untrue (A True Story) by Daniel Nayeri is a quirky and wonderful book that I hope finds its audience. Based on the author’s life, the novel follows Khosrou and his family as they flee religious intolerance in Iran and end up in Oklahoma. The boy, highly influenced by the Arabian Nights and other stories from his homeland, spins tales for his new classmates about who he feels he is (smart, worldly, brave) versus what he seems to be (poor, smelly, weird). As a narrator, Khosrou is informal and irreverent, flipping between the present and past, with frequent tangents that have you feeling like you’re sitting beside him in conversation. Through his stories, you get a sense of his rich, complicated life in Iran, the strangeness of becoming a refugee, and the resilience needed to live through both.

The Travails of the Turkey on Main and Plain

By Norah Kelley, ’24

Staff Writer

Stan, the turkey who has been hanging out on Main Street and Plain Street for the past few weeks, has been causing traffic and making a scene. Almost every day around the time that school gets out, Stan likes to stand in the middle of the road and stare down cars. He was a pain when we first saw him, but he seems to have grown on everyone and become part of the community. 

This turkey has gotten a lot of recognition on town Facebook pages, but not as much as he gets while he stands in the street. Many people on Hanover Connect have mentioned this turkey, and he was even suggested to be the new school mascot! (Sadly, he lost out to the more regal and intimidating hawk) Community members have suggested a few other names for the turkey, including Joe, but it seems like Stan is sticking. 

I have seen Stan many times because he is normally right in front of my house, or on top of my dad’s pickup truck. He even has been seen on the power lines like a tightrope walker. 

People have beeped at Stan, and even gotten out of their car to shoo him away, but he keeps coming back. The beeping and yelling don’t get him out of the street, but seem to encourage him. I think this weird turkey loves the attention. Police officers have driven down Main Street and put on their sirens to try to get Stan out of the road, but that doesn’t work either. Many have pulled up just inches from Stan, but he stands his ground and won’t budge. The only thing that seems to work is to get out of your car and run at him until he moves into the safety of someone’s front yard. 

Many in Hanover have grown to love seeing Stan when they are driving home from school or work. At first, he was a pain to everyone, standing in the middle of the road annoying drivers who just wanted to get where they needed to be. But now whenever he is seen, at least for me and my family, we smile. He brings a little humor into some long COVID-19 days.

Please, don’t hurt Stan. This strange turkey just wants some attention, so please drive around him. And remember, beeping doesn’t get him out of the street, so if you’re in a hurry, you’re going to have to get out of your car and chase him away – or wait for another brave person to do it!

The Comfort of the 2000s Teen Drama

By Callia Gilligan, ’22

Staff Writer

Anyone who knows me is well aware that my most recent television endeavor was watching the six seasons of Dawson’s Creek in all its teen drama glory. And I would not shut up about it.

Dawson’s Creek is all about – you guessed it – Dawson Leery and his friends from his tiny hometown of Capeside, Massachusetts. There’s Pacey, the sarcastic and self-proclaimed loser, Jen, the derelict daughter who was shipped off to Capeside from New York City; and Josephine, who everyone calls Joey,  whose dad is a convict and whose mom has passed away. Joey is also Dawson’s childhood best friend. The show follows them as they navigate their trivial teen problems and spend the majority of each episode talking about all the ways they’ll solve them. 

Dawson’s Creek is not the best show that I have ever seen. It isn’t even really a good show. It focuses too much on an obscure idea of soulmates when the characters are 15 years old, rather than real teen issues or the actually interesting friendships the writers have established between the teens. The characters were far too self-aware to the point where none of them were realistic. Additionally, they talked so pretentiously that asking the audience to believe that they were teenagers, let alone real people, was almost too much. 

And I noted this, several times throughout my binge-watch. But, I just couldn’t stop watching. 

In a world that is so unfamiliar right now, many of us have been using TV as a method of escape. For me, those television shows have been almost exclusively from the early 2000s. 

During quarantine, I re-watched Gilmore Girls. And then I cycled through it a total of four times. When everything was uncertain, revisiting the wacky characters of Stars Hollow as they help young mom Lorelai raise her daughter Rory was far more comforting than anything going on in the news. 

But Gilmore Girls has its own issues. By the time you reach the seventh season, Rory is unrecognizable from the sweet, book-loving, 16-year-old that we met at the beginning. Emily and Richard, Lorelai’s parents, are as stuck up as they were in season one, Lorelai has become selfish, and the townspeople’s stalker tendencies are no longer endearing. That leaves Paris, of all people – comically selfish and abrasive – as the only redeemable character. 

Yet Gilmore Girls is addicting, the same way that Dawson’s Creek was. The simplicity and “nothing really happens” style of the show is what I craved. 

Shows like One Tree Hill, The OC, 90210 and of course, Gilmore Girls and Dawson’s Creek, are some of the most famous teen dramas, and they did really well when they initially aired, continuing for six or more seasons And they do especially well on streaming services nowadays.

There could be many reasons why this is the case. Some viewers might be revisiting them out of nostalgia for the late 90s and early 2000s. But I was born in 2004, there is no nostalgia there. 

For me, what is so enjoyable about a good 2000s teen drama is its simplicity. The stakes are arguably very low in these shows but there’s enough drama to keep it interesting and engaging. One of my favorite Dawson’s Creek episodes is in season two. Dawson reads Joey’s diary and finds out that she didn’t like being a part of a movie that he was making. And then they get into an argument about how Joey wasn’t honest and Dawson invaded her privacy. That’s it. That’s the whole episode. 

In my opinion, 2000s teen dramas are the ultimate escape. If the news is too stressful or I have a lot on my plate at school, spending forty minutes watching nothing monumental really happen on the television immediately puts me in a better headspace. It’s a source of reliability when everything else isn’t. 

So, no matter how bad Gilmore Girls got towards the end, it will never not be my comfort show. 

Featured image: https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2016/dec/10/why-i-love-dawsons-creek-tv-bim-adewunmi

Saying Goodbye to a Beloved Pet

By Mrs. McHugh

My house has been compared to a zoo for all the animals we’ve brought into our lives. Stop by these days and you’ll be greeted by two dogs, two cats, and an axolotl (Google it, it’s cool!). At different points in her life, my daughter has asked for a Flemish giant rabbit – which she got – and a pony, a miniature donkey and a therapy duck – which she did not get. Needless to say, we’re a family that loves animals. But one of the biggest challenges of bringing so many pets into your lives is losing them, watching them get sick, watching them grow old, having to say goodbye. We are facing that now with our 12-year-old dog Carly.

Everyone thinks their dog is the best, but Carly truly is. A terrier mix rescued from Puerto Rico, she was a year old and already a mother when we adopted her in 2010. We had been searching for a dog for months, one that would accept hugs from my daughter, then six, without biting her face off or running away to hide. We walked by Carly’s kennel in the shelter several times looking at other dogs. Finally, in frustration that other dogs weren’t the right fit, we gave her a try. She stood calmly at the kennel gate waiting for a leash, and then let us pet and play with her in the yard. We brought her home that day. Our lives were so much richer thanks to that decision.

A lapdog from day one, Carly spoiled us as pet owners. Never a barker, chewer or jumper – unless a squirrel was in sight -Carly loved every dog and person she met. She wasn’t super playful and definitely didn’t care to play fetch, preferring more to observe from the sidelines or cuddle up to the humans. But she let my daughter dress her, carry her, and hug her for years. She put up with the cats and was kind to the rabbit. She never needed training (which made our adoption a year ago of a 16-week-old puppy a huge shock). Even when she begged for people food, she’d do it politely and calmly. How could you resist those big brown eyes?

We loved her so much, made her such a part of our lives, that my family worked for several years to get a dog park built in my town. After three years of fund-raising, rallying the community and finding grants, the Abington Dog Park opened in August 2019. Of course, imagine our surprise when Carly decided a dog park wasn’t her thing. She was 10 years old at that point, so we couldn’t really blame her. She was tolerant beyond any reasonable expectation when we brought that puppy, Natasha, home in November 2019 – when she would have been within her rights to be mad at us for bringing this loud,  unruly creature into her life. But she took it in stride, as she took everything in stride.

In December, after noticing that she was lethargic for a couple of days, we took her to the vet, who diagnosed her with cancer of the spleen. She needed emergency surgery and weeks of recovery. It was heartbreaking to see her so sick, and I’m grateful we could afford her care. Finally, she returned to her usual self – bouncing along on walks, taking up half the bed, waiting patiently for a pizza crust or a French fry. She even ran and played with the younger dogs. The vet recommended chemotherapy, and she was tolerating it well. Until earlier this week, when we noticed her wincing as she jumped off the couch or into the car. We took her to the vet, thinking she’d need some pain medicine for arthritis, but they found that cancer had spread to her liver. We started palliative care, which means medication to keep her comfortable, and will probably only have another month or so with her.

We’ve lost small animals before – cats and the rabbit – and that’s been hard, but losing Carly feels so much worse. We brought her home for my daughter’s 6th birthday. This April will be 11 years since that day. She’s grown up with my girl, who’s now a junior in high school and thinking about college.  She’s carved a huge spot in our family and in our hearts.  We’ve cried, of course. We’ve reassured ourselves that we gave her a great life, and will continue to do so until her final day. When she’s  in pain, and no longer able to enjoy life, we’ll do what needs to be done. I don’t think I’ll be able to express myself then.

Pets bring so much joy to our lives – companionship, unconditional love, exercise, security, even therapy. The downside of the package is that, someday, we have to lose them. It breaks our hearts. But I know many of us wouldn’t give up a moment we’ve had with them, despite the inevitable outcome.

Carly  has enriched my life and made me a more loving person. Because of her, I became a community activist and “dog park lady.” I found space in my heart that I didn’t know was there. The organization that rescued Carly from Puerto Rico and sent her to the Northeast Animal Shelter, where we found her, is called Save a Sato. But this “sato,” or street dog, really saved me.

Update: Carly passed away on March 3, 2021  

Social Media: a Double-Edged Sword for Teens

By Natalie Mowbray, ’22

Staff Writer

While the presence of social media in daily life grows, concerns about it do as well. This generation of teenagers has grown up alongside the newest lines of cell phones and tablets, and an ever-changing array of apps to entertain, inform and connect them. With the click of a button, people can play games, share videos, livestream and more with people all over the world. Although it may seem like social media is a great communication tool to connect teenagers with their peers, it can also be a troublesome device for many as well.

According to the Mayo Clinic, social media use can “negatively affect teens, distracting them, disrupting their sleep, and exposing them to bullying, rumor spreading, unrealistic views of other people’s lives and peer pressure.” When behind a screen, many people can be tempted to say hurtful things and messages since there are no immediate consequences for these actions. These words can lower a teenager’s self esteem and lead to mental health problems. During a time in adolescent development in which teenagers are discovering their personality and growing mentally, online bullying can cause them to change in order to avoid being verbally attacked online.

When teenagers open up social media applications such as Instagram, they can see people posting pictures of themselves appearing to lead the “perfect lives.” Some even post digitally altered photographs of themselves using Photoshop to appear flawless to their Instagram followers. During a time in which adolescents’ bodies are growing and their lives consist mostly of school, some teens grow to resent their own bodies or the fact that their lives are not as seemingly perfect as some influencers. According to the Mayo Clinic, a small 2013 study found that older adolescents who used social media passively, such as by just viewing others’ photos, “reported declines in life satisfaction.” Although most Instagram or Snapchat posts are just glimpses of a person’s life, other users look at the posts and often feel like their own lives can’t compare.

Despite these negative aspects of social media usage, there are some benefits. For example, teens can be connected with their friends at all times, and constantly have access to educate themselves and to learn about their world. They have all of the necessary tools and information to navigate the world, and it makes learning much easier. In such a time where a pandemic prohibits people from seeing their friends and family and when school is held online, social media is a useful tool to help connect with peers and supplement learning.

A few juniors from Hanover High School shared their opinions on the ever-growing presence of social media in their lives. Molly McGlame, Kylie Campbell, and Meghan Enos cannot imagine their lives without their devices. “It is easier to communicate with friends and interact with people,” said Meghan. Kylie appreciates how easy it is to plan events and gather with her friends. “I like how simple it is to spread information quickly and efficiently to large groups of people,” she said. However, Gianna Rizzo and Sydney Patch shared that they don’t always enjoy the havoc that social media can bring into their lives. They stated that “social media can distract us for hours everyday, and divert us from getting our school work done.” 

In my opinion, social media is great whenever I want to talk to my friends or check up on other people that I haven’t spoken to in a while. But it can be too distracting when I am trying to get my schoolwork done. And when I scroll through pictures on Instagram for a while, I can start to feel as though my life is inadequate in comparison to the posts that other people make.

Whether or not social media is ultimately good or bad for teenagers, it can be said for certain that it impacts the teenage brain. According to Our Teen Brains, “the reward pathway” in the brain develops much faster in teenage brains than the other parts do. When teenagers engage with social media, it causes this center to light up and become activated. However, this is short term gratification that leads to their excitement when another person likes their posts, but also disappointment when they don’t receive enough “likes.” “Teenagers are often afraid of what others may think about what they post and don’t want to be judged in a negative light,” the website stated. “In this manner, increased social media often contributes to increased feelings of heightened anxiety and social stress.” The anxiety about what others may think of their social media posts can lead teenagers down a slippery slope.

As great as it may sound to be connected at all times, it is just as vital to learn how to disconnect sometimes and enjoy the present moment. Experts advise teens to take breaks every once in a while and disconnect from the devices and feeds. Additionally, users should remember that the lives shared on platforms such as Instagram are almost always superficial, and should not be mistaken for real life.

 

Featured image: https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/which-social-networks-should-you-focus-on

 

Pet Adoptions Soar During Pandemic

By Norah Kelley, ’24

Staff Writer

Every year in the United States, about 3.2 million pets are adopted. At the start of March 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic hit our nation, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) reported that pet adoption rates went up 58 percent. By the end of that month, adoption rates were up 85 percent. Time magazine named rescue animals as 2020’s pet of the year. People who felt isolated due to the pandemic, or who found themselves at home with time on their hands, adopted millions of dogs, cats, and other pets.

Here in Massachusetts, inquiries to adopt pets have been higher than they have ever been. At the Scituate Animal Shelter (SAS), 399 pets were adopted between January 1, 2020, and February 1, 2021. While that is a little lower than past years, Amanda Eddy Baker, the shelter’s Intake and Adoptions Manager, said, “The amount of inquiries and people looking to adopt has been a record high!” 

Jamie Mackinnon, a college student at Roger Williams University, adopted a puppy named Winston in September. She already had a dog, Lola, and decided to get another during the pandemic to keep Lola company. 

Winston

“The decision was not directly COVID-related,” Mackinnon said. “But the timing worked out because my mom had been working from home during the pandemic.” 

Like many others working from home, Mackinnon’s family had the time to devote to training and caring for a new pet. They also found their new pet cheered up what could be lonely days. 

Due to COVID-19, animal shelter operations have changed a lot. SAS, for example, cannot allow visitors without an appointment, so people cannot browse for an animal that catches their eye. “We do really miss having people come in just to tour the shelter and look at the animals,” Eddy Baker said. “We hope to get back to that soon!” 

Not only has the amount of visitors changed, but the number of volunteers has gone down. In the past, the shelter would be bustling night and day with staff and volunteers, but now only one volunteer is allowed in at a time. “Our volunteers have shown incredible dedication and hard work!” Eddy Baker said. “Sometimes the kennels are full of very messy dogs or there are 20 cats who need care. That is a lot of work for one person!” 

But SAS and other shelters are making the best out of a hard time and getting a lot of animals new homes during the pandemic. Every year, SAS adopts out more cats than dogs, and that trend has continued in this unpredictable year. There is still a worry that people will have to surrender their pets once everything is back to normal. When people are not working from home any more, will there still be enough time to take care of an animal? But if such unfortunate circumstances arise, Scituate and other shelters will be there to help those animals in need.

Pet Statistics | Shelter Intake and Surrender | ASPCA

Rescue Animals Are TIME’s 2020 Pet of the Year | Time

Super Bowl Halftime Show Gets Mixed Reviews

By Grace Van Duyn, ’22

Staff Writer

Many people watch the Super Bowl just to see the halftime show, which has over the years featured memorable, if not always enjoyable, over-the-top performances. But while many appreciated and understood Super Bowl LV’s performance by the Weeknd, many people were confused by its bizarre costumes and maze-like set. The Weeknd told Variety, “ the significance of the (dancers wearing) entire head bandages is reflecting on the absurd culture of Hollywood celebrities and people manipulating themselves for superficial reasons to please and be validated.” Super Bowl executive producer Jesse Collins explained how he and the Weeknd planned the show by saying, “instead of focusing on what we can’t do (due to the pandemic), it’s like, look at what the opportunities are because of the cards we’ve been dealt.” This same optimism is what saved the Weeknd from his difficult upbringings. 

The Weeknd, born Abel Makkonen Tesfaye in Toronto, Canada, lived in an apartment with two friends after he moved out of the house he grew up in. They shoplifted food and sold drugs in order to make enough money to survive. The Weeknd began his music career with the hope of making a small amount of money, and he has now gone on to sell award-winning albums and headline the Super Bowl. 

Even if this explanation still leaves you confused or unimpressed about his performance, we can all agree that we have been laughing at the memes and jokes about his performance. Some of the most popular memes about the Super Bowl are about the scene where the Weeknd is in the room with the mirrored walls. 

Here is what HHS students had to say about the show: 

“The halftime show was cool, but not as energetic as it should be for the Super Bowl.” – Anonymous   

“I thought it was cool and I liked the songs.” – Abby Van Duyn

“I thought the halftime show was very dizzy. I felt dizzy after watching it and thought the quality could have been better. I like the Weeknd’s music, but the halftime show was not nearly as good as I was expecting it to be -Anonymous 

“I thought it was boring.” – Maeve Sullivan

“I thought the Super Bowl halftime show was a little weird. I thought the way the dancers were dressed was kind of scary and I didn’t really understand why they were dressed like that. I also thought that the Weeknd could have sung a little bit better, I felt like he was a little off tune at times. Lastly I feel that he should have picked a few more better songs.” – Anonymous 

“I got bored and went to make myself a snack while it was on.”- Morgan Taylor 

“ I thought the concept was cool, but I didn’t really enjoy the music or the costumes they wore.” -Anonymous 

“I didn’t like the halftime show, I felt like it was a dud and there wasn’t much interaction with the audience as others did in the past. I think people like Lady Gaga and Bruno Mars were a lot better. The Weeknd just stood there.” – Abby Smith 

“I thought it was overall good! It was a little boring and I was expecting more because it is supposed to be the biggest show of the year.”- Anonymous 

“I thought it was cool and I liked the music.” – Shannon Taylor  

Featured image: https://www.chicagotribune.com/entertainment/music/sc-ent-super-bowl-halftime-review-0207-20210208-ie2smv3xwbg45l6vqxc4zrhlp4-story.html

Students Voice Concerns with Back-to-School Plan

By Caris Mann, ’22

Staff Writer

On February 1st, the Hanover School Committee announced that high school students will be returning to school in person for four days a week starting March 8th. Grades K-2 were the first to make this transition, and other grades will resume between Feb. 22 and March 1. New guidelines such as desks being placed three feet apart, instead of six feet, and weekly pool testing of students will be implemented in order to accommodate the plan. The transition may require some students’ schedules to be changed to ensure there are no classes that are too large for their classroom. There are also new guidelines regarding Zoom, where teachers will no longer be required to livestream their classes for any students at home. This means students who are quarantined or have COVID will not be able to virtually attend; instead, teachers will post or send home assignments for students to complete on their own. 

Students who don’t want to return can opt into the Virtual Academy, the high school’s fully remote program. In that program, students take all of their classes through online platforms, with HHS teachers facilitating the program. The School Committee asked that parents make this decision by February 5.

In a statement released Feb. 1, School Committee Chair Leah Miller said this plan allows for “students to resume as much academic normalcy as possible in a safe environment.” The plan will be implemented safely with the help “of the collaborative support of our teachers and families along with our school health, public health, and public safety departments,” the statement continued. 

Students at HHS have formulated their own opinions about the School Committee’s decision. In a survey, The Hawk asked whether or not students wanted to return full time, if they had any concerns, and if they had any other thoughts about the plan. Most of the respondents said they do not feel comfortable returning to school full time because of the reduced social distancing and lack of Zooms for quarantining students. However, the students seemed the most upset about the fact that they were not asked their opinions about returning back. 

Do you agree or disagree with the plan, and why?

“I agree with the plan because I think kids need to get back to school for their mental health and for their education.”- Ashley Stracco, ‘24

“I disagree because the coronavirus is getting worse and by letting us go back all four days, there will be no social distancing and even more quarantines. The chances of getting COVID from being in school will also increase.”- Anonymous, ‘23

“With the corona numbers higher, I don’t think that we should go back full time.”- Jay Champagne, ‘23

“I strongly disagree with the plan to reopen on the current day chosen. I disagree because changing the schedule again will do nothing other than cause more stress, anxiety and confusion to the students and teachers.”- Anonymous, ’22

“I don’t agree with it. While I believe we should go back at some point, the carrying out of the plan doesn’t seem well thought out at all, especially because there won’t even be an option for Zooms. Kids don’t social distance outside of school, so that just means more kids who could’ve been exposed are in the building at the same time and even closer together than six feet.”- Julia McGillivray, ‘22

“I personally strongly dislike this plan. I think that largely it was pushed forward by parents who are not in school and don’t understand the students’ concern. I want so badly to go back to school and to return to some bit of normalcy, but now is just not the time. Case numbers are extremely high and sending us back after February break and after everyone has traveled and gotten together is just poor timing. I really don’t think it’s a good idea.”- Callia Gilligan, ‘22

“No, I don’t agree at all, it was way too early to go back to school. We still have many cases in Hanover and many people are constantly quarantining. Teachers not providing zooms will also be a big problem because that will put kids weeks behind everyone else and just create a lot of stress. Also when we are in school during this hybrid model, we can’t even properly social distance six feet, but now with everyone back, we won’t be able to social distance at all. We will be mere centimeters away from other people. The CDC and medical professionals are still recommending everyone stay six to ten feet apart, but now there’s no way we can do that, especially during situations like lunch.” – Andrew Corbo,’22

“I was kind of surprised to hear that we are returning to fully in-person school. I think it will be beneficial to return to some normalcy. However, I think there are still many questions that students have about the new plan.”- Paige Dillis, ‘22

“I don’t think the plan to go back four days a week on March 8th is safe at all. Coupled with getting rid of the zoom option, it’s not fair to students. Our classes are already as full as they can be. … Band, and probably chorus as well, wouldn’t be able to have classes either. The regulations for music classes are much different than normal classes because we can’t wear proper masks while playing an instrument. We already rehearse in the auditorium and to be able to space everyone out ten feet apart and fitting up to 30-35 students in there, is a stretch. Trying to fit 65 students in there isn’t safe at all. It’s either one cohort wouldn’t be able to play for a day while the other cohort does, or the entire music department would have to wait until the spring, when there isn’t snow on the ground, to rehearse outside as a full ensemble. It’s not fair to the entire music department that because the district wants to be the first in the state to try this out, that it comes at the expense of the classes that are the only reason that some students even want to go to school anymore.”- Anonymous, ’22

“I can see why people are upset but I also think it’s a good idea to try to go back because we can’t be at home forever and we need to eventually go back and one school needs to be the first to find out if this is a possibility, so why not give it a try?”- Joseph Campo, ‘22

“I do not agree with the plan. Although it’s a nice idea in theory to go back to fully in person school, now is just not the time. Walking through the hallways, a majority of students I have talked to are all quite upset with the news for a variety of reasons. One that stands out to me is that the largest group of people in the school (the students) weren’t asked about whether or not they would feel safe going back now. Also, schedules at the school were not made for fully in-person schooling. I along with my friends, have classes that are already close to max capacity and with the addition of students from the other cohort we won’t be able to fit, let alone stay socially distanced.”- Christopher Manning, ‘22

“I don’t really agree with it for a few reasons. One is we are the town with the third most cases in Massachusetts and there are only three months left of school, so why change it?”- Anonymous, ‘22

“I would like to go back because high school isn’t just about learning, but it’s also a social outlet, and we’re missing that outlet by not being there as much as possible.”- Mike Losordo, ‘22

“Back in November, I wrote a very long email about coming back to school to our superintendent and principal of HHS. For context, from October to November my entire family tested positive for COVID-19, all except for me. During their quarantine, they were bedridden and very sick but thankfully recovered well and are okay now. Since I had tested negative multiple times, I had to quarantine another 10 days after my last exposure. My total quarantine was 24 days. This was weeks of not being in school, weeks without going to work, and weeks without leaving my room. I wouldn’t wish this on anybody.  People who know me know that school is my second home. It’s where I’ve developed into my own person and found success even in the hardest times of my life. People who know me know that I, probably more than anyone, want to be at school full time again. I miss normalcy, I miss my friends and teachers. I miss the resources at our school. . . . Most of all, I miss feeling successful and accomplished and organized. However, I would give this all up, I have been giving this up, for the safety of everyone. I would rather struggle, and go through the trials and errors of remote life, which I’ve found very difficult, than potentially put the livelihood of our students and staff at risk. With the emergence of the vaccine we could be so close now to beginning the journey of healing this country, and expelling COVID-19.”- Anonymous, ‘22

“My thoughts on this is that the return back to school is being rushed. I feel like we need to wait until the vaccine goes to the teachers. I also wish that the school committee turned to the CDC guidelines that explicitly state that we need to be six feet apart.”- Anonymous, ‘22 

What are your concerns about the plan?

“My concerns are the classrooms are already filling up with one cohort. I feel that there will be too many people in a classroom at a time.”- Jay Champagne, ‘23

“No option for Zooms makes it so kids will either come to school sick because they don’t want to miss classes or kids in AP or Honors classes would miss two entire weeks of school and be expected to catch up.”- Julia McGillivray, ‘22

“My biggest concern logistically is how everyone is going to fit in the school. Hallways, classes and lunches are already full and I don’t know how some of my classes are going to fit, even at a distancing of three feet. In addition, I’m concerned about how teachers will not be required to Zoom with quarantined students. I had a concussion at the beginning of the year and missed around four days of classes and it took me about a month to catch up on all my outstanding work and learn the material I had missed in lessons. If a student is quarantined, through no fault of their own, I find it really unfair that they will be expected to teach themselves and won’t have access to lessons.”- Callia Gilligan, ‘22

“Yes, the classrooms are very small, about the size of my basement/living room, and some of my classes have up to 30 kids. It’s a terrible idea to bring all these kids back, it will cause a lot more stress and it just will not go well. “- Andrew Corbo, ‘22 

“I think one of the questions would be about how all of the students will fit in the classes while still maintaining proper social distancing. The majority of my classes are very large, so I am just curious how the guidelines will be with so many people. I think another concern would be about how students will continue to learn if they have to quarantine. Since there will be no more Zooms during the school day, I think it will be even more difficult to stay caught up in a class if a student had to quarantine.”-Paige Dillis, ‘22

“I’m concerned for the safety of our teachers, students, and staff. I already don’t feel that safe in school under the actual regulations and precautions that we’ve taken, so I know that most students, and all teachers, will not feel safe or at all comfortable with this plan. We would have to break regulations to physically fit every student in each classroom, and I know that goes directly against the Board of Health’s advice and regulations. If the district’s, specifically the school committee’s, method to having us all go back “safely” four days a week is to break regulations and go directly against the advice of actual professionals and doctors, then they clearly do not have our safety or our best interests in mind. I don’t feel comfortable putting my entire family, many of them who have health problems, at risk.” – Anonymous, ‘22

“How are lunches going to work and what about classes that have a large amount of people in them?”- Joseph Campo, ‘22

“My only concern is that the school committee is just rushing into this to look good to groups of parents who don’t want their kids to be at home anymore during the school day instead of actually thinking about the people who would be going to school in this new environment.”- Christopher Manning, ‘22

“I feel as though people are only saying they don’t agree with going back four days because they just don’t want to and not because they think it would be best to be there only two days. I think once we go back four days, people will become accustomed to it, as they already did with a two day schedule.”- Mike Losordo, ‘22

“I have quite a few concerns as to what is going to happen with the classes that are already large in size and now have to combine with the other cohort because I would not like to be taken out of my class in the middle of the year but I think that is something that they just might have to do. Also, it is really concerning that teachers will no longer hold Zooms because if we are going back, more cases are going to be inevitable but, those students will have to catch up on work after the fact rather than attending classes virtually.”- Anonymous, ‘22

“My main concerns are falling behind due to no more Zooms, having to quarantine more often, the lack of social distancing, and the higher possibility of contracting the virus. As with the Virtual Academy, I’m concerned about the level of education, learning the new programs if I do switch over, if I will still get honors and AP credit for courses I’m already taking, if I’ll be learning things that I’ve already learned, and missing out on things due to a different curriculum.”- Anonymous, ‘22

Is there anything else that you would like to say?

“If this plan was thought out better and I felt safe, I would have agreed with it.”- Julia McGillivray, ‘22

“I appreciate the sentiment of the school but this feels rushed  and now just doesn’t feel like the right time.”- Callia Gilligan, ‘22

“The only reason we are going back so fast is because of the politics of it all. If the school committee actually cared, they would seriously consider the input of students and teachers who are actually in the schools and will be the most affected by it. But the school committee only cares about pleasing the parents because they are the largest voting block in Hanover and they want to help their reelection chances.”- Andrew Corbo, ‘22

“I think we are all trying to be optimistic about this plan, but I think we all still have a lot of questions about it too.”- Paige Dillis, ‘22

“I think that since students in other Hanover schools have already had success with going back four days, then every other school should be more than able to pull it off; especially since the high school holds students that are both physically and emotionally capable of protecting themselves during this time.”- Mike Losordo, ‘22

For more information about the new plan, please click the link below:

https://www.hanoverschools.org/district/news/return-school-plans-february-1-2021

 

 

Powerful Book Explores Racism in Quest for Better World

By Mrs. McHugh

“This is not a history book. At least, not like the ones you’re used to reading in school. The ones that feel more like a list of dates (there will be some), a declaration (definitely gotta mention that), a constitution (that too), a court case or two, and, of course, the paragraph that’s read during Black History Month (Harriet! Rosa! Martin!) . . . Instead, what this is, is a book that contains history. A history directly connected to our lives as we live them right this minute. This is a present book. A book about the here and  now.”

This declaration by author Jason Reynolds, in chapter one of Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You, reveals quite clearly that readers will get something unexpected. Few books promise to give you a definitive history of racism, and even if they tried, you’d probably require a dictionary, thesaurus and PhD to understand it. Not so with this book. It’s a young adult version of the 2016 book Stamped from the Beginning by Ibram X. Kendi, author, activist and founding director of the Boston University Center for Antiracist Research. Kendi asked Reynolds, a fiction writer whose books include All American Boys and Long Way Down, to translate his ideas for today’s teens.

The book starts in 1415, with a chapter titled “The Story of the World’s First Racist.” Going back this far is a good reminder that Black history did not begin with slavery or the Civil Rights Movement. Black history has roots in the ancient empires of Africa including the Mali, Songhai and Great Zimbabwe. The other point this chapter drives home is that racism is deep-seated, and it’s often influenced by profit as much as hate. Racism isn’t just the thoughts or actions of an evil person, but policies that impact trade, government,  and social norms. Systemic racism is not new, and its impact on how the world has been shaped cannot be overstated. “The construct of race has always been used to gain and keep power, whether financially or politically,” Reynolds writes. “… it’s woven into people as much as it’s woven into policy that people adhere to and believe is truth.”

The book continues through history, shedding some new light on the causes of the American Revolution (Great Britain banned the slave trade, but the American colonies didn’t want to), the expansion of slavery, the Civil War (the first enslaved men who tried to fight for the North were sent back to the southern plantations they escaped from), Reconstruction and the Civil Rights Movement. It discusses well-known figures – Frederick Douglass, Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King Jr.,  – as well as names that might be new to you – Angela Davis, Jack Johnson, Stokely Carmichael. It breaks down some of the mythology around the people and historical events that history textbooks have simplified over the years (for example, Rosa Parks was not just a tired old seamstress when she didn’t give up her seat on that bus).

Of particular interest to me was more recent American history, including the “War on Drugs” in the 1980s that many studies have shown led to harsher penalties for Blacks than for whites, something still represented in our prison populations today.  Another was a public school policy called No Child Left Behind in the 2000s, where schools in poor, mostly Black communities had funding pulled when they failed to meet certain standards – which caused them to fall even farther behind.

The book does an amazing job tying our history together, helping us better understand the causes and effects of racism in our country so we may better understand what’s happening in our communities today. The authors do so in a way that is conversational, engaging, and even inspiring. Their hope is that young readers, equipped with this new knowledge, will not only recognize racism, but become actively antiracist – not just bystanders in the quest for a better world, but leaders of that world.