Category Archives: Entertainment

Jonas Brothers Rock Fenway

By Norah Kelley, ’24

Staff Writer

Three brothers. Fenway Park. A sold-out show. 

It was a dream come true for me and a stadium filled with screaming fans who were excited to see the Jonas Brothers perform on October 1 as part of the Remember This Tour. Country singer-songwriter Kelsea Ballerini opened before Kevin, Joe and Nick took the stage.

The Remember This Tour went across the country, performing in 42 locations throughout the United States. It was a completely sold-out show, but since the venues for all 42 locations on the tour were outside, the Jonas Brothers tried to keep their fans safe from COVID-19. 

I was unable to watch the entire opening act, but from the last few songs that I heard, Kelsea Ballerini sounded great. She’s famous for Half of My Hometown, with Kenny Chesney, and I Quit Drinking.

Soon after Kelsea Ballerini was finished performing, the Jonas Brothers came on and started the show!  I’ve listened to all of their songs and was excited to be able to see them in concert, especially after the crazy year everyone went through. 

The Jonas Brothers performed new songs that came out recently, along with some of the songs they wrote when they first became a band in 2005. The show included Remember This (their newest song), What A Man Gotta Do, Burnin’ Up, and Year 3000. Jealous and Cake By The Ocean, songs from their solo careers, were performed as well.  Also, since they were in Boston, they played Sweet Caroline as a special treat just for the fans. 

For me, the show was amazing and I can’t wait to go back to another one. Seeing the Jonas Brothers live in concert was so fun, and I am so glad that I had the chance to go. Now, it’s time to wait for new music to be released. Fingers crossed!

Chess Chat: Protecting Your King

By Cole Gannon, ’22

Contributor

The first in an occassional series about chess strategy, written by members of the HHS Chess Club

When facing a good chess player, there is one move that will protect your king from checkmate for at least the better half of a match, if done correctly. 

Your first move needs to be to move the pawn in front of your king one space forward. Then, move the bishop on your kingside in front of your king.

After that, move your kingside knight to the front of your line of pawns. Now, is when you can do something called castling. In one move you can move your king next to your rook and then flip your rook on to the other side of your king. 

This will protect your king from immediate checkmate and give you time to defend.

If you are intrigued, like playing chess, or just like competition then join the Chess Club. Anyone is welcome and no experience is necessary. Meetings are Thursdays before school in room 225 at 7:15.

Questions? Ask Dylan Rice, Cole Gannon or Mrs. McCusker.

Banned Books Week Highlights “Dangerous,” “Offensive” Titles

By Mrs. McHugh

HHS Librarian/Advisor of The Hawk

Who gets to decide what you’re allowed to read?

That’s the question the American Library Association asks each year during Banned Books Week. A national group of school, public and university librarians, the ALA started the program in 1982 as more and more books were being challenged by parents, religious leaders, or politicians who believe those titles should be removed from the school or public library. The challengers argue that readers, especially students, should not have access to this “dangerous” material.  

What are these “dangerous” books? Why are they being challenged? According to the Banned Books Week website, the book George by Alex Gino was the most frequently challenged book in 2020. The story of a transgender student seeking acceptance in school, George comes under fire for its LGBTQIA+ content and because, critics say, it conflicts with religious or community values. In fact, books about LGBTQIA+ issues have long been among the most challenged. The picture book And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson, about two male penguins who adopt a chick, was among eight books on the 2019 top ten list cited for homosexual content.

In 2020, the ALA noted, challenges shifted toward many books dealing with racism and police violence. Among the 10 most challenged were Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You by Ibram X. Kendi and Jason Reynolds, All American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely, and The Hate You Give by Angie Thomas. The books were criticized as being biased, political and anti-police.

Other arguments that critics have used to launch challenges are that the books promote witchcraft (the Harry Potter series by JK Rowling), disruptive behavior (Captain Underpants by Dav Pilkey), profanity (The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood) or sexual activity (Looking for Alaska by John Green). Books that deal with rape, sexual abuse, alcoholism, drug use, suicide or other serious issues are often called too mature for students. 

Librarians, book sellers, publishers and readers fight these challenges, sometimes in the courts. But the fear is that frequent challenges will result in self-censorship, making authors think twice before tackling sensitive topics, or librarians and teachers wary of including controversial books on their shelves.

Many of the books mentioned in this article can be found in the HHS library which, like all libraries, sets selection policies for choosing books. There are many factors considered when adding books to the library, including the age and social/emotional development of students, the needs of the curriculum, and the quality of the book. But isn’t choosing just some books for a library a kind of censorship? Librarians say the difference is that their focus is on including the varied interests and viewpoints of their communities, rather than excluding topics that are controversial or sensitive. 

Some books that have been challenged end up being accepted as problematic, requiring honest discussion and reflection before being used in a classroom. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, for example, uses racial slurs that, while appropriate for the setting of the book, can be upsetting to readers. It also has been criticized for promoting the idea of a “white savior,” where the white characters are the heroes who rescue the African Americans who are incapable of saving themselves. Educators in recent years have begun asking what other books might better address the issues of racism and discrimination. Is this the same as banning a book? Or is it an evolution of our cultural norms? 

Who gets to decide what is appropriate? That’s the question at the heart of Banned Books Week. If a book upsets you, should you have the power to keep others from reading it? If you find it offensive, can you demand it be removed from the library or classroom? The American Library Association says no. By commemorating Banned Books Week, which was  held this year from Sept. 26-Oct. 2, the group argues that students and adults alike should be free to read whatever interests them — no matter how dangerous somebody else thinks it is.

For more information:

https://bannedbooksweek.org/

https://www.ala.org/advocacy/bbooks/frequentlychallengedbooks/top10

The Show goes on for HHS drama

By Caris Mann, ’22

Staff Writer

After an unexpected year that provided many plot twists and turns, HHS Drama is ready to present its newest one-act play: 4 AM. The play by Jonathan Dorf is a “dramedy,” meaning that there are some dramatic and comedic moments throughout the piece with a varied cast of characters. There’s Frankie, the radio DJ, and Jane, the girl writing a letter to a knife company about why their product has failed her. There are two pairs of friends at sleepovers: Anne and Monica and Simon and Hale. The Monster Under the Bed runs into trouble with some Police Officers who storm a sleeping kid’s bedroom. The play also has a kid who witnesses a fire and a teen out for a morning jog. To top it all off, there’s Romeo and Juliet, two teenagers in love with each other but are afraid to make the wrong move. However, this odd group of characters all have one thing in common and that is the fact that they are all awake at the dreaded hour of 4 am. The play provides insight into how different people lead their lives during that last hour of darkness before sunrise and it does so with many comedic and heartfelt moments along the way. 

The play will be entered in the annual Massachusetts Educational Theater Guild Drama Fest. This year, with COVID guidelines, the Drama Fest had to be conducted differently. The process began with Zoom auditions and callbacks in January. This was quite different from the in-person auditions of the past. Students had to select a scene or a monologue to read and perform it over Zoom. After the cast list was announced, rehearsals began the following week — once again on Zoom. For a month, rehearsals were conducted via Zoom as it was the safest way to practice. Then, in March, it was announced that rehearsals could be conducted in-person and in the auditorium. This was a huge step forward because now the actors could have a space to work in and be able to interact with each other. However, guidelines were still implemented with actors having to work within their own set boxes on the stage and remain six feet apart. Google forms were also filled out for contact tracing before every rehearsal. In addition, the entire cast was not able to be in the theater together so different groups of actors were brought in at different rehearsals to work on specific scenes. For two months, rehearsals continued in person, with the cast unsure whether the final performance would be in-person or virtual. In the end, Drama Fest officials decided upon virtual performances, and cast members performed separate scenes that were filmed and then edited together. With the hard work of the cast, crew, and HHS Drama Teacher Mr. Fahey, recordings ended on May 12th with the video set to premiere next week.

By far, this has been the craziest year in HHS Drama. But even though this has been a long and unusual process, the end result is something to look forward to. This has been the first production in over a year, which is truly something to celebrate.

“At the beginning of the year, we were all missing the element of performing as a group,” said  Stage Manager Maggie Godin, a senior. “Getting to come in every day and seeing people in the theater again, building sets after school, and rehearsing scenes together has been really great.” 

Mr. Fahey shares the excitement, noting that many school drama programs were unable to perform at all this year. Pulling off 4 AM, though, took a huge commitment from everyone involved. While in typical years the Drama Fest one-act play comes together in about a month, this one took five months.

“We have spent this extra time creatively trying to figure out what to do and hitting roadblocks and trying to adjust,” he said. “We have also spent this time nitpicking every scene which is extremely important in theater. I am excited for the community to see it and I think that those who are involved are excited and believe 4 AM to have been a good experience.” 

However, 4 AM is a bittersweet moment for some in the cast such as senior Elise Falvey because this is her last show. “I’m extremely grateful that we were able to at least put on one show this year, even though it’s being done in a more nontraditional or unconventional way than usual,” she said. “I’ve had so much fun rehearsing and I’m really happy to finish senior year out with such an incredible and touching show.”

Make sure you tune in to watch 4 AM when it streams on Youtube!

Dread Nation: American History, with Zombies

By Mrs. McHugh

Zombie plagues have been the rage in TV, movies and books for years. But setting a Zombie plague during the American Civil War? Now that’s something new.

Justina Ireland turns historical fiction on its head with her two-book series Dread Nation. Titled Rise Up and Deathless Divide, the books explore the racial, social and economic impacts of the ‘War Between the States’ and give new meaning to the term Reconstruction, the period of rebuilding and reunifying society after the war’s end. While no book involving zombies can be historically accurate, the stories build on the real people, events and issues of the time to highlight the brutality of slavery and the inequality that remained as the country moved forward – and westward. As the author explains in her notes, she wrote the books to give voice to characters often left out of history.

The books focus on Jane and Katherine, two Black teens taken from their homes after the dead begin to rise during the Battle of Gettysburg. Like other children of their race, they are deemed inferior – and therefore expendable – and sent to boarding schools that train them to protect rich whites from the undead. (These boarding schools resembled the facilities that Native Americans were sent to in the 1800s, when the U.S. government stole their land and forced their assimilation) The girls excel in their training, but before they can be assigned to protect society ladies, they uncover a sinister plot to build a “utopia” to replace the Eastern cities falling to the zombie plague. This new community is founded on the principles of Jim Crow, the discriminatory laws that rose to continue the oppression of Blacks after slavery was abolished. This means Blacks have no rights and are assigned the most dangerous jobs and the worst living conditions.

Tough-hearted and quick to temper, Jane resolves not just to survive, but to find an escape. Light-skinned and able to pass as White, Katherine plays along with the cruel society in order to help Jane’s plan to secure their freedom. There are tense battles, sorrowful deaths, cruel betrayals, heart-wrenching romances and epic friendships. And that’s just in book one. In the second book, the main characters venture west. Alive but forever changed, one seeks safety and peace while the other pursues vengeance.

The books are a unique way to explore the issues of American history including slavery and Reconstruction, the government’s treatment of Native Americans, the cultural clashes that came with waves of immigration, expansion of the western frontier, and the search for the “American dream.” But if you aren’t really interested in the history, the books aren’t slowed down by it. The series provides enough action and adventure for any reader.

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.