All posts by The Hawk

HMS Theater Returns to the Spotlight

By Paulina Leskow, ’24

Staff Writer

After almost three years, and a global pandemic, Hanover Middle School’s theater program is back in the spotlight. The school’s production of Annie Jr., which tells the story of an orphan girl living in a rich man’s mansion with a desire to meet her real parents, took the Hanover High School stage March 23-25. Based on a 1924 comic strip, the musical was created for Broadway in 1977; the “junior” version is adapted for length, younger voices and bigger casts.

HMS students held both acting and technical roles in order to assure a smooth running production with fantastic music and acting performances. The show was directed by music teacher Dustin Lindsay with the help of HHS teacher Mr. Fahey and many others, including students from the HHS Drama Club.

Sophomore Marie Fortier, the assistant stage manager for the show, said the high school students tried to help their younger counterparts “feel more comfortable in a space they haven’t been in as often.”

“I was able to help the show go from scene to scene,” she added, “whether it was moving set pieces, helping with props, or answering the questions of the middle schoolers.”

Junior Baylor Speckmann, the show’s prop master, said, “I thought it was a great experience to be able to work with the middle schoolers and serve as a role model.” 

It is so great to see theater coming back to Hanover schools; the high school performed 13: The Musical in November and the Brothers Grimm Spectaculathon for the Massachusetts Educational Theater Guild festival last month. Be sure to check out the summer musical of Nemo Junior, scheduled for August 11-12.

Star Wars Movie Franchise is Dying, But the TV Shows May Save It

By Abbey Kinzel, ’23

Staff Writer

If you asked someone what movie comes to mind when you think of science fiction, they are likely to answer Star Wars. The franchise is a classic in the world of sci-fi and is referenced in many other movies and TV shows. To a lot of people, the series will never get old. But to me and many others, it has become repetitive over time and the direction taken with the storylines in the latest movies has been very questionable. Rotten Tomatoes still thinks the franchise is the best thing since the invention of the iPhone. But while the visuals may be good, from a plot and canon standpoint, the recent movies have been appalling. At the beginning of a film, we’ll learn about the newest characters and what makes them who they are, but then later they’ll do things that don’t make sense. You could say it’s “character development” but I think there is little to no development at all. I’ll get into that more when I discuss the latest three films.  I’ll start by going over every Star Wars movie in order of release date, and then touch on the television shows. It may be that, despite the place in pop culture the Star Wars movies hold, their future may be better on the small screen.

Star Wars: Episode IV-A New Hope (1977):  This is a classic for multiple reasons: unforgettable characters, quotes that are still relevant, a villain that has become a staple of pop culture and the introduction of a very influential weapon, the lightsaber. And who can forget the Death Star, the Millennium Falcon, “It’s a trap,” C3P0 and R2D2? Of course, after you watch it for the 17th time, you lose that feeling of excitement and pure joy. To quote my cousin after we were forced to watch it with our younger cousins, “Wow . . . It’s just like the first 200 times I’ve seen it.” Rotten Tomatoes gives this a 93 percent fresh rating, but my opinion at this point is probably a little more mixed.

Star Wars: Episode V-The Empire Strikes Back (1980): Ok look, trust me, some of these I watched tons of times when I was a kid, like A New Hope, The Phantom Menace and Revenge of the Sith. But that doesn’t mean I’m not going to go hard on them. This isn’t one of them. All I remembered before I rewatched it recently was carbonite, Boba Fett and Darth Vader. After seeing it again, I realized I had forgotten about Leia kissing Luke for some reason that still puzzles me, Yoda (yeah he’s in here), the Planet Hoth, XT-XT’s, AT-AT’s and Lando. It has a good plot twist, but it’s a plot twist that has been ingrained into Star Wars fans’ heads forever. This movie wasn’t the best and greatest, it did feel better story-wise than the first. That’s probably why this movie is actually rated one percent better on Rotten Tomatoes than A New Hope.

Star Wars: Episode VI-Return of the Jedi (1983): This installment wraps up the original trilogy (although creator George Lucas always had ideas for prequels in his head). Episodes 1-3, made almost 20 years later, tell the story of Anakin, Luke’s father. But episodes 4-6 serve as Luke’s story. The film features the rescue of space pilot Han Solo, the death of Boba Fett and Yoda, and the reveal of the real evil Darth Sidious aka Emperor Palpatine. With Darth Sidious defeated and Darth Vader dead, Luke and his friends have officially defeated the empire for good. Now it’s time for the prequels. This has gotten 83 percent on Rotten Tomatoes.

Star Wars: Episode I-The Phantom Menace (1999): This starts the story of Anakin Skywalker, and we meet him when he is a little kid. Obi-Wan Kenobi and his master Qui-Gon Jinn are escorting Padmé Amidala, queen and senator of the planet Naboo, who Anakin later gets a crush on. We are introduced to Darth Maul and he dies 45 minutes later. We are also introduced to the second best character in the franchise, suspected sith lord Jar Jar Binks. Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon sense that Anakin has the force and want to train him. Anakin wins a race, Qui-Gon dies, Anakin blows up an empire space station, and Anakin is evaluated by Yoda and other Jedi masters. Yoda says  he is too old even though Anakin is like 6 or 7 years old, but Obi-Wan convinces them to let him train Anakin. This movie received a 51 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The kid actor that played Anakin is named Jake Lloyd, and after this role he was bullied intensely at school for his portrayal, leading him to quit acting in 2001 and get into legal trouble later in life.

Star Wars: Episode II-Attack of the Clones (2002): This second installment of the prequel trilogy is much better. Obi-Wan discovers a planet that makes clones of Jengo Fett, father of Boba Fett. There are also assassination attempts on Padmé. Jar Jar Binks is an ambassador, teenaged Anakin is tasked with keeping Padmé safe, and he acts really creepy. I’m surprised Padmé eventually gets married to this guy. Anyway, Jengo dies, and Boba decides to become a bounty hunter just like his dad. This one got 65 percent on Rotten Tomatoes.

Star Wars: Episode III-Revenge of the Sith (2005): Upon a recent rewatch, this is better than the first two movies. Anakin and Obi-Wan save Palpatine, kill this guy Count Dooku, and Padmé becomes pregnant. Anakin is torn between staying with the Jedi Council or helping Palpatine. Eventually Anakin joins the dark side since Palpatine manipulates him with the promise of finding out how to save Padmé, who Anakin dreams will die in childbirth. Palpatine orders the clones to initiate Order 66, which is basically the order to kill all Jedi and children with the force. Anakin takes over this one lava planet and is visited by Obi-Wan and Padmé. Anakin hurts Padmé and Obi-Wan & Anakin fight. Anakin loses the fight and is somehow still alive, even though he lost an arm and both his legs and suffered extensive burns. He is rescued and taken back by the dark side for recovery. After losing the will to live, Padmé gives birth to her twin babies. One of the babies was given to, I think, Padmé’s advisor, and the other was given to a part of his family on Tatooine. I don’t know, it’s really confusing. Padmé dies and the babies are officially given to the families and the movie ends. This movie ties up a lot of loose ends, but if anyone finds any new loose ends or plot holes let me know quickly. This movie received 79 percent on Rotten Tomatoes.

Star Wars: The Clone Wars (2008): Let me explain why I found it really hard to initially write this. This was one movie I couldn’t stop watching. It’s one of those movies where you can’t quite remember the plot of but you know it’s good. Surprisingly, it is the lowest ranked movie of all of them, getting just 18 percent on Rotten Tomatoes. It’s really hard to explain. The animation was fine but at times it looked cheesy and flat; some characters felt two-dimensional, dull and sometimes annoying; and the plot is spotty at times. I have zero clue why no one hates Jabba the Hutt’s ugly baby, since so many people hate the Ice Age baby. I found it very hard to stay engaged when watching this movie.

Star Wars: Episode VII-The Force Awakens (2015): Since it has been seven years since a Star Wars installment (and 10 years since a Star Wars movie with a Rotten Tomatoes score above 50), a lot of people forgot how good they could be and must’ve lowered their expectations. This movie wasn’t great or awful; it was just ok with an alright comeback. The characters are blah with just one standout, Oscar Issac’s Poe Dameron, who has recently appeared in the insanely good TV series Moon Knight. The plot is sometimes spotty and left open-ended which is perfect for building terrible sequels. Some of the characters don’t make sense, including a villain who is a man-child who has temper tantrums. It feels like this movie fooled everyone including Rotten Tomatoes, since it has a 93 percent rating. If you get rid of all the weird choices in this movie, it has potential to be good.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016): Rogue One is a prequel movie that comes directly before A New Hope. The only character’s name that I recognize is Cassian Andor, hero of the rebellion. This is one of the movies that you didn’t quite expect in terms of the ending. This movie introduced deep fakes to me in the form of Wilhuff Tarkin and Princess Leia Organa, the younger CGI versions of deceased actors Peter Cushing and Carrie Fisher. It’s really hard not to spoil this without spoiling A New Hope. This movie received an 84 percent on Rotten Tomatoes.

Star Wars: Episode VIII-The Last Jedi (2017): This movie has been memed to death thanks to Adam Driver and the weird things the directors decided to include. Basically, Luke Skywalker is a big jerk and tells everyone he is a jerk and he sucks, but Rey is like “but you don’t suck” and won’t stop begging him to train her. Finn and Rose’s storyline is just to extend the runtime and is one big waste of time. Also, Rose kisses Finn and the writers thought they could pull a fast one on us and have absolutely no romantic tension or show any romance at all. The producers also hyped up Rey’s parents as being important but it turned out they weren’t. I’m even more surprised that it got a high score on Rotten Tomatoes, 91 percent I really hate this movie. I laughed at the movie and they screwed up the story and destroyed my respect for the franchise.

Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018): I’m not going to say a lot about this movie. It was just a big letdown for me. The only person I cared about was Chewbacca, and I hated everyone else. There was the underlying feeling that they aren’t remotely redeemable. Also, can someone help me understand how, if you were cut in half at the waist, you are still alive? The only thing that kept me going were the references to other Star Wars films. Might I add this is the second lowest rated movie of all of them, earning a 69 percent on Rotten Tomatoes.

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019): Ok I literally laughed at this movie. There were giant plot holes, moves that didn’t make sense and almost all of the classic characters die. Having Rey’s parents be nobodies but her grandparents be somebodies just doesn’t make sense. Also, rewriting the force to make specific powers genetic is dumb and against canon; everything we thought we knew about the force and what the previous movies had established over the years was just thrown out the window. It pains me to watch the Skywalker saga go out with a whimper, and this movie received just 52 percent on Rotten Tomatoes.

How Do The Shows Help Star Wars as movies? You may be asking, if these movies keep going up and down with their ratings, how are they still pumping out successful TV shows like nothing happened to the franchise? Well, it’s because the TV shows have a completely different tone and story compared to the movies. The shows add more to the Star Wars films and fill in some plot holes, but they’re not just some bland productions to answer questions we didn’t ask. They get you invested and fearful when you think the protagonist’s story is going to end, even though we know which characters are going to make it. Shows like The Mandalorian, The Clone Wars, Obi-Wan Kenobi and most recently Andor are all respectfully rated in the 80s or above on Rotten Tomatoes. The Book of Boba Fett earned a 66 percent.

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Avengers: Each Installment is Bigger, Better than the Last

By Abbey Kinzel, ’22

Staff Writer

A lot of Gen-Z movie-goers have said that the most iconic franchises are Pirates of the Caribbean, the live-action Diary of a Wimpy Kid, and The Avengers. The Avengers saga, part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, is by far the most successful of them all. I personally have seen all four movies in theaters with either my friends or my family, and each one tops the previous installment.

The Avengers (2012): Even though this is the first movie of the saga, it doesn’t have the highest score on Rotten Tomatoes. Disregarding that fact, it’s an amazing movie. Marvel was setting up these characters in stand-alone single movies that filled in their backstories and who they are as individuals. Having these six characters come together and defeat a common enemy and a giant space army was game-changing — and a little funny. Captain America, Black Widow, Hawkeye, The Hulk, Iron Man and Thor have to defeat Thor’s brother Loki and throwing a big ol’ space army into the mix was good for the runtime and for the consequences when The Avengers fail their mission. This movie has a 91 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, setting a goal for future Marvel movies. This is a modern classic, and I wouldn’t doubt that when Gen-Z become adults and have families, they are probably going to show this to their kids.

Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015): This was the most anticipated sequel in the summer of 2015. Avengers: Age of Ultron was a near direct sequel to The Avengers. Everyone’s the same, character-wise, but Iron Man made more of his suit of armor to combat different situations. They begin to show off  two new characters that might be added to the gang, “enhanced individuals” named Wanda and Pietro (they can’t call them mutants since FOX owns the X-Men franchise). The team has to defeatUltron, a rogue robot made by Tony Stark and Bruce Banner. And Ultron has a very elaborate plan to kill off the world population. That’s all I have to say about this movie without spoilers. It earned a score of 76 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, the third best in the saga. This movie was very exciting but there is always the feeling deep down that they will save the day. The same cannot be said about the next movie.

Avengers: Infinity War (2018): I believe this is the first movie that made me cry in theaters. I can’t say too much due to spoilers. After many events in some movies that began with the name Captain America, the newly separated Avengers team up with some runaways, criminals and new heroes to fight some big purple man’s armies. This big purple man’s name is Thanos and he is trying to collect the “Infinity Stones” little rocks with different powers that have been referenced or featured in the different MCU movies. A lot of people die and there is a lot of sadness in this one, which has a score of 85 percent on Rotten Tomatoes.

Avengers: Endgame (2019): Not surprisingly, this has the highest score on Rotten Tomatoes, and for many good reasons. One is that a lot of fan theories are confirmed in this movie; two, is that it references many storylines from the comics; and three, the CGI in this movie is downright gorgeous. Thanos returns in this movie and the same sadness and death are in this too. This movie has a 94 percent on Rotten Tomatoes and lays the groundwork for the next phase of the MCU.

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Benefits of Standardized Tests for College Apps Outweigh Pitfalls

By Izzy MacLellan

Staff Writer

Standardized testing has been around in the United States since the mid-1800s. In 2002, the use of annual standardized testing was mandated in all 50 states when President George W. Bush signed the “No Child Left Behind Act.” Over the years there have been many differing opinions on the use of standardized testing, but the ones that have caused the most controversy are the ‘high stakes’ tests, such as the SAT and ACT. As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, many high-end colleges and universities decided to waive their testing requirements; Harvard has even extended this to the high school Class of 2026. Many agree with this decision as they believe that these high-stakes tests put too much pressure on students and cause unnecessary amounts of stress. Although standardized tests do put a lot of pressure on students, they also provide several key advantages in the college admissions process as they showcase hard work, reveal improvement over time, and provide a benchmark for student performance. 

I understand that many parents and students believe that the pressure put on standardized tests is too much for teenagers, but I believe this pressure just pushes students to work harder. Kaplan, an exam prep website, states that students generally spend 10-20 hours a week studying to prepare for the SAT. While this does not seem like an extreme amount of time, it readies students for the amount of hours they will put into studying for college exams. A study by the National Survey of Student Engagement states that most college students spend an average of 10-13 hours a week studying for their classes. Another survey conducted by the news site, The Tab, found that New York University students spend about 8 hours a day studying during the week of final exams, which means they end up studying around 56 hours in just that one week. This shows that dedicating hours each week to studying for a high-pressure test prepares you for college. Students that score well on standardized tests demonstrate that they are willing to put in the hardwork and dedication to be successful at their desired university. Yes, these tests do put pressure on students, but the skill of studying and test-taking while under pressure is vital in the collegiate setting, so it is better to enhance this skill in high school through standardized testing rather than being unprepared for college life. 

Another important aspect of standardized testing is that it shows student improvement over time. Students are allowed to retake the SAT and ACT as many times as possible, allowing for better scores. High schoolers are able to familiarize themselves with these tests and the process of preparation before submitting scores for college applications. According to the College Board, most students improve their score the second time they take the SAT; if a student can improve their SAT score by 100 points or more, then they become eligible to earn an “Improve Your Score scholarship” that is worth $2,000. Many students use their ability to retake the SAT and ACT to their advantage. One of my close friends is an excellent student who didn’t score as well as they hoped the first time they took the SAT, but they didn’t get too upset given they knew that they could retake the test. They decided to dedicate many hours of studying to prepare for the next time they take the exam, and they were ecstatic when they received an excellent score the second time, showing that all of their hard work paid off.

During the college application process, many students apply to top schools, commonly referred to as ‘reach’ schools, which require excellent grades and GPAs. But the American school system does not have standardized grading, so grades and GPAs aren’t worth the same in every school across the nation. Standardized tests provide colleges with a common benchmark for student performance, and an even playing field for all students. This means that students from different backgrounds, schools, and regions can be compared through these tests on a consistent basis. For example, if a student from a more challenging school has a lower GPA than a student from a school that is less challenging, they can make up for their lower GPA in their college application with a higher SAT or ACT score. Standardized tests give students across the country an equal chance to show off their academic performance. 

Even though standardized tests like the SAT and ACT put pressure on students, they are proven to have several key advantages to the college admissions process as they showcase the hard work and improvement of students, and they provide a benchmark for student performance. 

As colleges continue to shy students away from submitting their scores, they prevent many students from experiencing the essential hard work and growth required when taking and retaking these high-stakes standardized tests. That takes away their chance to show off their academic performance on a playing field that is equal to students across the United States. Is it really worth getting rid of standardized tests in the college admissions process, when they have so many benefits to students and their academic growth?

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Mary Shelley: the Mother of Science Fiction and How Pop Culture Has Failed Her

By Leah Dillon, ’24

Staff Writer

Classic literature and science fiction are, to the inattentive critic, genres which seldom collide. And why would they? Classic lit is, to many, stuffy and overburdened with words, antiquated and boring to anyone with a social life. Science fiction presents itself as the opposite; it’s the storytelling of the future, full of ideas and potential. But what if those assessments are inaccurate? As hard as it might be to believe, a novel published in 1818 provides a vision of the future that remains cutting edge, still relevant today in its precautionary message. Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein tells the repeating tale of human error, of our tendency to extend ourselves further than we should, to mess with forces that we seldom understand in pursuit of selfish ambition. While many are familiar with the premise of a doctor and his pursuit of creating life, much of the pop cultural reception of Frankenstein is skewed, dramatized for the sake of marketing. Not once in the novel was the iconic line “It’s alive!” uttered, and few know that Frankenstein was the doctor, the real monster, while his creature was the unwitting victim. Through an exploration of the original source material, we can discover truths about today’s iteration of sci-fi and the nature of entertainment, as well as commentary about the relentless world that we live in. 

Mary Shelley grew up at the precipice of a new century, in a household fraught with enlightened ideas and conflict alike. Her mother, Mary Wollenstonecraft, was largely credited with the conception of feminist literature with her writing of A Vindication of the Rights of Women, and her father, too, was a radical thinker, giving the young Mary Shelley a hefty legacy to live up to. Though she never met her mother, who died just a few days after Shelley’s birth, it is evident through her writing and personal diary excerpts that her mother’s writing and ideas largely influenced her view of the world. Her mother’s writings inspired her to be fiercely independent, advocating for her own ideas and following her passions (namely, a married man), regardless of any pushback. These vividly independent ideas were conceived amidst a rapidly changing time period; in her lifespan, she viewed civil wars across the ocean and right next door, human rights movements aplenty (such as the one heralded by her mother), and radical change across the world. Countries colonized, and peoples were colonized, and those people rose up in rebellion. Corporations grew, economies boomed, and a working class languished. Individuals grew in power, and continued to grow. While Shelley saw herself as a reformer, far removed from her parents’ radicalism, her ideas still largely challenged the society that she lived in, as well as our society today. The trajectory of her life and the rapidly changing conditions of her world painted the backdrop of Frankenstein’s precautionary tale, which ultimately warns us about the pitfalls of individual ambition gone too far.

Beyond fitting into the framework of her time and challenging the ideas they perpetuated, however, the ideas behind Frankenstein remain cutting edge today. 

Prior to Frankenstein’s publication in 1818, science fiction did not formally exist as a genre. While it wasn’t unheard of to use the supernatural to ruminate on the natural circumstances which surround us, often through the lens of ancient Greek gods, fairies and ghosts, the merging of the supernatural with the scientific wasn’t as explored. Frankenstein changes this entirely. The story was largely inspired by the ideas of alchemy, a subject which blurs the scientific and the mythical. Alchemists sought to turn base metals to gold, to make an elixir of immortality and a philosopher’s stone, and most notably, to create new life from scratch. While these ideas are unfounded and ridiculous today, alchemy as a concept surfaced before most scientific processes and before the major sciences that we recognize today; we now view alchemy as the forerunner to chemistry. It was alchemy which drove scientists across the globe, and thus, Frankenstein’s story is framed.

Frankenstein follows the story of a young doctor, Victor Frankenstein, and his feverish pursuit of alchemy, his fascination with the mechanics of life and death. Ultimately, these special interests of his culminate in the creation of a creature, called simply “The Creature” or “The Being” (notably, not Frankenstein, as most movie adaptations would have you believe). The being was sewn together from a sundry mix of detached limbs and decaying body parts, selected from the most beautiful corpses that Frankenstein could find. “His limbs were in proportion, and I had selected his features as beautiful. Beautiful!” Shelley wrote. But as soon as The Being was reanimated, Frankenstein changed his mind about his beauty, and fled for the hills, hoping to never see the thing again. From here, the narrative unravels, revealing the real crux of the story, the conflict between a parent and his abandoned child, of the scientist and the monster he created. The Creature, who learned love from observing families, wants only for Frankenstein to love him despite his abhorrent appearance. Still, Frankenstein is overcome with disgust, and he rejects his creation once more. What follows are a series of injustices and a cycle of revenge that doesn’t end until both parties are in the grave. 

Upon publication, Frankenstein was an immediate hit. From its unique framing device of being narrated through letters, to the brand-new genre of science fiction, to the unique ideas about ambition and natural human limits, Frankenstein was a breath of fresh air to the publishing industry, a far-cry from its contemporaries. Above all else, it challenged nearly all of the predominant political ideas of the time it was published. Victor Frankenstein’s downfall at the hands of human ambition greatly contrasted with the popular notions of expansion and growth; the idea that nature and the world at large are ours to take, that the strong should overtake the weak, that we should continue to take, to grow, to expand. The idea that we’ve surpassed mother nature in the act of gaining sentience, as if we aren’t a part of the animal kingdom ourselves, destined to die and feed the soil. Frankenstein asserts the opposite; it says that nature has a wisdom that humans weren’t meant to try to replicate. It says that we have a place to honor in the cycle of life, and everyone suffers if we don’t. It says that we, human beings, are limited, and that is okay. Victor Frankenstein is a lesson in himself, the cautionary tale of the novel. We aren’t meant to emulate Frankenstein; and yet, disturbingly, that seems to be the current trajectory of the human race, and it doesn’t seem to be changing. 

Pop culture has failed to adapt this book in a way that does the story and its messages justice, eschewing the more psychological fear of one’s own progeny and the evil in human nature for the much-shallower monster-horror present in most film adaptations. Frankenstein loses its soul to the modern media lens. And why wouldn’t it? A message about the limits of humanity’s ability to achieve, and the danger of the pursuit of greatness, is the exact opposite of marketable. It’s important to understand that so much of what we consume is dictated by our other consumption. Businesses and corporations who want to sell us our lives, entertainment included, for their own exponential growth, don’t benefit from a story telling us the danger of that level of ambition. Thus, the reconfiguration of Frankenstein’s story commences. The monster is called Frankenstein, not the doctor. Iconic and easily quotable lines like “It’s alive!” are interjected. The beautiful features sewn together to make something less beautiful are thrown away and Frankenstein becomes a symbol, a mask you can buy for Halloween. Thus is the engineering of Sci-Fi. No longer can we see the fears of our own nature. Instead, we observe the next biggest monster, fitted with more spikes and teeth and scales, or the next bit of cutting edge-technology, first imagined onscreen, then perhaps produced in our world. The message of Frankenstein becomes eroded and unreadable, when it is as relevant as it ever has been.

We see the consequences of Frankenstein play out every single day. Greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere, pumped there from the newest, fastest car they can make. Conglomerate corporations buying out their competitors, until every last dollar of yours is spent on only them (looking at you, Disney.) The cancer cells of one woman, Henrietta Lacks, taken from her without her knowledge or consent and being experimented on, and becoming a multi-billion dollar business for doctors and researchers, all the while her family doesn’t see a dime of that fortune. Now, more than ever, we humans step out of place and mess with things bigger than our understanding, making consequences bigger than our understanding. For what? Progress that hurts us more in the long run? An earth so advanced that it becomes unlivable? The decline of humans and mother nature alike? This isn’t progress. Such extreme ambitions, the want for such severe control, is not progress. Progress is learning to work with mother nature, to improve within our human bounds so that members of our own species prosper before we work on the next big advancement, or the next big buck. Progress is the understanding that one person or group of people should never be that powerful, as power corrupts. Mary Shelley knew this, and she warned us. Now, we are just beginning to live out its consequences.

Classic literature is called classic because, despite its age, it tells us universal truths about the human condition. Frankenstein is among these timeless truths; it’s our job to listen. Though classic literature might not be everyone’s idea of a good time, it’s certainly not antiquated, and remains valuable through the lessons it shares, the ideas it pioneers. The work of the past tells us the truths of our future, without the added lens of marketability. If only more people were willing to look to the past to understand our future, then maybe we would be better equipped to escape Frankenstein’s fate, and our own reality wouldn’t become such a precautionary tale. 

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The Sweetest Fundraiser

By Paulina Leskow, ’24

Staff Writer

With so many clubs at Hanover High School, there always seems to be some sort of fundraising sale going on: holiday carnations, T-shirts, bake sales and raffles. But by far the most popular fundraiser for years has been the sale of Hilliards chocolate bars. Sold by the National Honor Society, Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD), and even the Chess Club this year, the chocolate bars satisfy the sweet tooth of many while helping a good cause.

You can spot this fundraiser by the white boxes carried around by students throughout the day. Hilliards flavors include milk chocolate, dark chocolate, crispy, peanut butter and caramel. Clubs buy a box of 40 bars from Hillards, which has shops in Norwell, Easton and Mansfield, and then sell each bar for a little more than they paid. Long sold for $2 a bar, the price increased to $3 a bar this year, but that hasn’t hurt their popularity.

“The chocolate makes my day,” said junior Stella Schipper, noting it “helps to get through such a long double period of AP Bio.” 

Students who eat third lunch are also regular consumers of Hilliards chocolate, and more than one teacher has been known to go in search of a pre-lunch snack. Science teacher Mr. McLean said “Although I would rather you have a mix of carbohydrates and proteins, it does help my students energize themselves and gain focus for the rest of their day.” 

Winter Sports: Mann Repeats as Wrestling Champ, Track Sets School Records


Junior captain Anthony Mann won both the Division 3 Sectional and the State Championship for the second straight year, becoming Hanover’s first repeat state champ. Competing in the 145 lb weight class this year, Mann qualified for All-States, where he finished fourth, and the New England championships on March 4. Mann was also named league MVP and All Star. Last year, he competed at 138 lbs.

Senior captain Angel Bonilla, wrestling at 138 lbs, finished second in the D3 sectionals and 7th in the state championship. Senior captain John Ryan earned second place at sectionals at 152 lbs and made it to day two of the state competition before bowing out. Both Bonilla and Ryan were named league All Stars.

The team also sent freshman Conlan Geary (106), junior Austin Parker (170) and senior Griffin Gasdia (182) to the state tournament. Senior Jimmy Godin won the league Sportsmanship Award and Gaddis was named league Scholar-Athlete.

Indoor Track

The Hawks shattered several school records in a strong season.

Sophomore Hannah Geary placed second at the Division 4 championship in the 1000m and 12th at the Meet of Champions. Her performances set a new school record of 3:04. Geary also anchored the 4x800m relay team with junior Sophia Foley, junior Ayla McDermod and freshman Bella Ciccolo. They set a school record at the D4 championship. 

Junior Natalie Mutschler set school records in the shot put and 55 meter hurdles. She finished third in high jump at the D4 championship, qualifying for that event and the 55m hurdles at the Meet of Champions. Natalie also qualified for the MSTCA Individual Pentathlon on March 2, which includes the 55m hurdles, long jump, high jump, shot put and 800m run.

Foley, Geary and Mutchler were named Patriot League All Stars along with junior sprinter Marvin Felix. Seniors Anna Mahoney and Ryan Jones won league Sportsmanship Awards. Senior Michael DeMayo and junior Katelyn Farrell were named Scholar-Athletes.

Boys Basketball

With a regular season record of 13-7, the team earned 9th seed in the Division 3 tournament. The Hawks topped 41st seed North Reading in the round of 32 game at home March 4. The 54-51 win was powered by a strong second half from senior captain Jake Peterson. In the round of 16 on March 7, the team fought hard but fell short to 8th seeded Oakmont High School, 41-32.

The team, led by senior captains and league all stars Peterson, Charlie Carroll and David Quinlan, also defended its title in the Crosby-Couto Tournament over February vacation. Quinlan won tournament MVP and Peterson was named All-Tournament.

Senior Jacob Openshaw won the league Sportsmanship Award and senior Teddy McCrann was named Scholar-Athlete.

Boys Hockey

Ranked 7th in the Division 3 tournament, the Hawks kicked off postseason play March 1 with a 6-0 win over 21st seeded North Reading. With eyes on repeating the state titles earned in 2020 and 2022, the team advanced to the round of 16 on March 4 but fell to 12th seed Triton, 2-0.

The team finished the regular season 7-10-3, led by senior captains Ben Lines, Liam Joy, Liam Monahan, Ryan Coutts and Tyler Richards. Senior Ryan Coutts won the league Sportsmanship Award. Monahan was named Scholar-Athlete as well as an All Star with Lines and Richards.

Girls Basketball

Ranked 21st seed in the Division 2 tournament with a regular season record of 14-5, the team made it to the round of 32 in tournament play. They faced South High Community in Worcester on March 3, but lost 50-42. Junior Mary Kate Flynn led the effort with 22 pounds and 16 rebounds. In the preliminrary round on Feb. 27, the Hawks had home-court advantage against 44th seed High School of Commerce. Led by freshman Tess Madden with 21 points, the Hawks won 73-16.

Flynn, junior Olivia Damon and senior Mary Carven were named Patriot League All Stars. Madden earned the Scholar-Athlete Award and sophomore Cam Bradford won the Sportsmanship Award.

Girls Hockey

Behind senior captains Merri DeCoste, Cailyn McCarthy, Samantha Burke and Sarah Long, the team finished the regular season 7-11-1. They fell just short of qualifying for the tournament. McCarthy earned the Patriot League Sportsmanship Award and junior Eva Kelliher won Scholar-Athlete. DeCoste, senior Sarah Long and Sophie Schiller were named All Stars.


The team honed a dynamic competition routine during half-time performances of home basketball games. They earned first place at the Natick Invitational and fifth place at the MSAA State Championships at Framingham High School on March 4. Emma Schlumper won a league Sportsmanship Award and Riley McCormick was named Scholar-Athlete.


The Hawks finished third out of seven teams in the Patriot League meet on February 11. Freshman Natalie Frank led the effort, earning second place on the and floor and tying for third place on the beam with teammate Harley Delmonico, also a freshman. Junior captain Morgan Sullivan finished fourth on the floor. In the all-around, junior Jadyn Molloy came in 6th and senior Holly Rossi finished 10th.

Frank was named Patriot League Scholar Athlete and a league All-Star on floor. Sophomore Maddie Curtis received the league Sportsmanship Award, and Molloy earned league All-Star on beam.


Coming soon

Photo Albums

Girls hoop

Boys hoop


Captain America: a Hero We Can All Root For

By Abbey Kinzel, ’23

Staff Writer

The Captain America films are a collection of three installments with another on the way in 2024. They are stand-alone movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe that focus on introducing a character or concept and serve as a prelude to Avengers: Infinity War and Endgame. Captain America himself is a symbol of heroism and patriotism, but he also shows that having power doesn’t mean it can change you into someone else. 

Captain America: The First Avenger (2011): For me and my family, this movie was a big hit. We are fanatics about war movies, but this is one that will never get old for me. It is also likely the first movie I saw in theaters. This was the second Marvel-released film directly from the source, before the purchase by Disney. Iron Man , the first movie, was a solid 94 percent on Rotten Tomatoes and would make a lasting impression on moviegoers. Captain America: The First Avenger wasn’t as good as Iron Man, with a rating of just 79 percent on Rotten Tomatoes. It wasn’t bad, just not mind-blowingly amazing. It’s cool to watch at different ages and catch some of the concepts and details we missed when we were younger. There are a lot of references to World War II and what was considered “normal.” It explores concepts like propaganda versus reality, the propaganda the government was selling to promote the war compared with the undeniable reality the soldiers were facing on the battlefield. It looks at death coming unexpectedly in places away from the battlefield, as well as the concept of a good thing having an unexpected end and the idea of sacrifice. It also features the first onscreen appearance of an Infinity Stone known as the Tesseract.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014): This, too, was a movie I was too young to understand the concepts of when it first premiered. This movie did significantly better than the first Captain America as Marvel brought in characters from the original as well as the Avengers series. It explores concepts like corrupt officials in government positions or organizations and the idea that one person’s conspiracy about the people they are working for changes everything. It also dives into, uh, brainwashing . . . just straight up brainwashing. This movie has a 90 percent on Rotten Tomatoes and marks the midway point of the MCU’s Phase 2 of their movie lineup.

Captain America: Civil War (2016): Captain America: Civil War picks up almost where we left off in the Avengers film and marks the beginning of Phase 3. I couldn’t find anything about themes in this movie without giving spoilers. So if you were sick of me rambling about themes and concepts, then thank this movie. This one is a mix of excitement and heartbreak and it’s hard to feel serious, excited, and sad all at once. This movie has a 90 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, a tie with Captain America: The Winter Soldier. With a lot of conflicting emotions in this movie, the plot  of it defined the other movies in the MCU moving forward.

Captain America: New World Order (2024): This is an upcoming movie with Captain America as the star, of course. The release date is May 3, 2024 and there’s little info yet about the plot. The director is Julius Onah, a Nigerian-filmmaker and occasional actor who directed The Cloverfield Paradox.

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The Case for Bjork: Pop Music’s Most Eccentric Artist

By Leah Dillon, ’24

Staff Writer

Perhaps you’ve heard of her. Maybe you haven’t. Breaking records in her native country of Iceland, and eventually carving a niche for herself in the worldwide cultural zeitgeist, there’s nobody in the music industry quite like Björk. From her unique merging of new musical styles, the deeply intimate themes embedded throughout her whole discography, to her vivacious and strange personality,  Björk presents the music industry with one of the most artistic performers in recent history.  

Björk Guðmundsdóttir first began her music career at the age of 11 by releasing a collection of traditional Icelandic folk songs. Soon after, she rose to prominence within Iceland as the lead singer of alternative rock band, The Sugarcubes, among other punk and post-punk bands that she performed in. During her time in The Sugarcubes, however, Björk became dissatisfied with the limits posed by the guitar, and began seeking out other instruments and other styles of music through which she could actualize her artistic vision. From classical piano to electronic trip-hop, the burgeoning artist immersed herself in as many genres and instruments as she could find. While The Sugarcubes continued to top charts in Iceland, Björk herself remained relatively unknown in Europe and the Americas for the duration of her early career. All the while, her thirst for new music to immerse herself in led to internal tensions within The Sugarcubes, which culminated in her decision to leave the group in pursuit of a solo career. Entering the ’90’s, Björk embarked on the beginning of a long and fruitful artistic journey, now uninhibited by the conventions of a single genre and able to express ideas that were wholly hers.

Her debut album, named simply Debut, yielded a few hit songs, notably, “Venus as a Boy” and “Human Behavior,” which prevail as some of the most popular songs in her discography. Only two years later, Post was released, truly launching Björk into the wider musical world. Her style, which combined the emergent genre of electronic music and the then-waning genre of classical orchestra, was distinct and easily recognizable. “Hyperballad,” a song hailing from the album Post, exhibited this unique blend of genres, layering her three-octave voice over an electronic beat and a wide array of orchestral instruments, from the trumpet to the violin to the bass and drums. Her music also ruminated on themes that were seldom discussed in the industry at large; “Hyperballad,” for example, frames itself as the story of a woman who lives on a mountain and spends her morning throwing small objects over the edge of a cliff, exploring ideas of suicidal ideation in a tender and sympathetic manner. “I imagine what my body would sound like, slamming against those rocks,” she sings, “and when it lands, will my eyes be closed or open?” The song ends with her returning to the arms of her lover, remarking that going through this ritual of throwing small objects allows her to be “safe again.” “Hyperballad” exhibits a level of vulnerability and raw, unfiltered emotion that is absent from most of the music industry, which favors more easily palatable songs for its top charts and radio stations. “Hyperballad” is far from the only vulnerable song Björk has created; her whole discography is laced with a sense of intimacy that reads like a diary entry, or as a conversation between friends. Through and through, Björk’s discography shines with her unique artistic voice and deep sensibilities. 

While her records sold, and her music gained popularity, much of her work was dismissed by critics as strange, with Björk herself being largely written off as some batty Icelandic lady. In a sense, that assessment wasn’t wrong. Every piece of her work blurs the lines between genres and breaks well-established musical conventions. Her lyrics can be viewed as strange, and many of her beats are discordant. Her music videos are equally unusual, with one of her videos, “Pagan Poetry,” being an explicit tape of her own body (albeit heavily distorted, and hard to recognize upon first viewing). Her manner of speaking is notably off kilter, a fact which many interviewers chose to hone in on, as opposed to the actual content of her music. Many of these interviews and videographers seem to have skewed their depictions of her in order to favor the popular perception that she was strange; one such report narrates a video of Björk attacking a reporter, choosing to gloss over the fact that this reporter had been harassing her and her son for four days, further cementing the impression of her being erratic and unpredictable. Other interviewers have asked her invasive and condescending questions about her personal life, seeming to regard her as a spectacle or some exotic animal. “Isn’t she cute?” one interviewer asks the audience after having asked Björk whether or not she was going to get angry (in reference to the video of her attacking the interviewer). Many reviews go so far as to describe Björk as some sort of an alien. But once you peel back the flashy layers of clothes and makeup and discordant instrumentals, the discerning listener knows that she’s quite the opposite; of all music that has been released, hers is some of the most authentically human. 

Björk’s unrivaled creativity prevails to this day: just this year, at the age of 57, she released a new album, Fossora. In it, Björk appeals to the increasingly disconnected nature of our society, using fungi and mushrooms as a metaphor for the unseen connections between people, and urging us, the listener, to “find a resonance where we do connect” in spite of our differences. In today’s especially polarizing society, her message rings as urgent, but optimistic. “Hope is a mussel that allows us to connect,” she sings. Hope is a theme that extends through all of her music, even in her darker songs (such as “Hyperballad” or “Victimhood”). Even her older music yields messages and themes that are cutting edge today; her earliest music still prevails as the music of the future.

Björk is not only a rare musician, having blended several genres into her own eclectic style and possessing stunning vocals, but a rare person; somebody who sees through the veil of accepted conventions, and who dares to break them. While much of what she presents to the world is likely a persona meant to further her artistic vision, her art still challenges everyday conventions with a fierce individuality, and encourages the listener to do the same. Every song she writes is embedded with her unique artistic voice, one which dares the listener to break convention too, to live a life uninhibited by restrictive conventions and the thoughts of others. Björk dares the listener to examine every part of themself, the good, the bad, the ugly, and the unorthodox, and to live it wholly and unabashedly. She urges us to have hope, to connect. Above all, Björk asks us to be human. An artist isn’t just somebody who makes music; this is what makes an artist.

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School Tech Issues Cause Major Disconnect

By Ashley Stracco, ’24


At Hanover High School, many students choose to take high level courses, as well as participate in extracurricular activities. In fact, this year there are a total of 237 students who will take a combined 441 AP exams this spring. I am presently a junior at HHS and have availed myself of many incredible opportunities. As an avid participant in AP courses, the music and drama programs, debate, and community service, this school has offered me many great opportunities. It is a great place with much potential for graduates to have extremely successful futures in a multitude of different fields. However, this school is flawed. Since the beginning of the 2022-2023 school year, our school has been having issues with arguably the most important resource: WiFi and Internet connectivity. As a learning community, we have been informed that this issue will be fixed, yet this has gone on for far too long.  In a building with such a vigorous learning pace, issues with WiFi and Internet connection must be dealt with immediately.

The main issue of not having adequate WiFi is that we simply cannot access course curriculums. Recently, I was in my first period AP English Language and Composition course. In preparation for class that day, students had worked very hard on slideshow presentations. My group was all ready to present; however, we could not access our presentation as the WiFi would not connect. This inconvenience halted our class from moving forward that day and, therefore, left us behind pace.

Another junior, Aidan O’Connor, has the same issues in his classes. “The Internet has become a necessary commodity in many schools across the world, including ours, and the lack of proper networking has wasted countless hours of class time,” he said. I couldn’t agree more.

Another instance in which a curriculum cannot be accessed is in Virtual High School (VHS) courses. VHS classes are entirely online and students have a set time in the school day to work on them. Mrs. McHugh, who supervises VHS, says students frequently lost class time in terms one and two and have needed many extensions. “Many students have work or sports after school, so losing that in-school class time has forced them to repeatedly play catchup,” she said.

The lack of Internet access has contributed negatively to my learning process. In courses with such rigorous pacing, how can we expect students to keep up with their work without the most important resource? And how am I supposed to compete with students worldwide when it comes to taking AP exams when we have not even been able to complete the curriculum? What about the college application process? Without high scores on AP exams, how am I supposed to compete at being admitted into a top tier college or university that I have been looking at and touring? This is not my fault, nor my peers, so why should we be the ones who are being penalized? It isn’t fair. 

Internet access is vital to the world of research. While in the past, students would be expected to go to libraries and flip through multiple textbooks to research topics, it is a different world now. In this day and age, we, as students, are expected to have information at the ready. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, approximately 99 percent of United States public high schools have full WiFi and Internet access, so why don’t we? Instead of being taught how to receive information, students are taught from a young age how to decipher which information is reliable. Standards of education have shifted and students are expected to have facts and research at their fingertips at all times.

Not too long ago, I was in my AP Modern World History class attempting to research the similarities and differences between Asian Early Modern Era religions, but I hit the blockade of not having WiFi. I could not access the Internet for the entire class period; therefore, I had to complete the assignment at home. I am an extremely busy student, so this was a huge inconvenience. Situations like this occur daily; so much class time is wasted. Students are also becoming stressed due to the immense amount of homework that they now have due to inadequate resources. Once again, why should the students have to suffer if the current situation is not their fault?

The WiFi and Internet are also huge safety resources in schools. Since 1970, there have been 2,067 school shootings in the United States alone. In preventative training measures, students and staff are told if they hear information about a danger in the school, they must communicate through cellular devices to the rest of the school. How are we supposed to do this if even a mere text won’t go through? As much as the lack of WiFi and Internet is an issue in education, it is a grave danger for our safety. Recently, when asked about the issue, nurse Rosalind Davis stated that the only means of communication with the outside world that she is able to use during the school day is her office landline. This is very dangerous. If the school were to be faced with any type of emergency, we would not be equipped to handle it. Not fixing the issue is leaving the students, staff, and visitors of Hanover High School at risk or injury or worse. 

According to Superintendent Matt Ferron, in an email to staff in January, “our technology needs have increased exponentially in the past decade, and the hardware and capacity required to stay current are expensive and presently challenging to obtain.” In recent months, the district has prioritized upgrading hardware and data capacity, aiming to boost the Internet and WiFi in the short term while addressing larger infrastructure issues in the long term.

“This will not be fixed overnight, and it is likely that some of the major work will be done over February vacation,” Mr. Ferron wrote. “This project is our highest priority right now, and we are committing the resources to see short term improvement and long-term reliability.”

Curriculum Director Matt Plummer added in a recent interview, “Our IT Director, Mr. Michael Wildrick, just ordered two new servers to improve the network — which serves both HHS and Cedar School. Those servers will be installed as soon as possible!”

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