Category Archives: Opinion

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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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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Is There Room on Library Shelves for Controversial Books?

By Teddy McCrann, ’23

Staff Writer

In recent years, a debate has resurfaced within the American public school system over the presence of “controversial” books in libraries across the nation. For years, classic books such as 1984, Lord of the Flies, and Catcher in the Rye have been pervasive in English literature classes, as they teach valuable and timely lessons on society and human interaction. It was not until the 21st century and the current wave of heavy censorship regarding children’s entertainment that books such as these were even considered to be taken off of the shelves of public schools. While many of these books do contain significant levels of profanity and mature references, they more so teach American students, high schoolers in particular, not only how to read at a more advanced level but also to become aware of societal injustices and the American reality. The question remains: are these books so controversial that they should be stripped from shelves and classrooms nationwide?

Based on a recent survey taken by CBS News, more than 1,600 books were banned from school libraries across the United States in the 2021-2022 school year alone. From Massachusetts to California, in 138 districts across 32 states in total, students were forbidden from reading certain novels that have had a significant presence in English curriculums for the past century. A specific example of one of these novels is Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird, which was published in 1960 and has since become one of America’s most widely read stories focusing on the foundations and consequences of racism and prejudice within our nation. It delves into the intricacies of community living and how divided individuals can be regarding situations of morality and compassion. Lee’s novel has been banned from school libraries due to the presence of racial slurs as well as Atticus Finch’s character being perceived as a “white savior,” a theme that critics argue has roots in the imperial idea that whites, or Europeans in colonial times, can solve everyone else’s problems. Both are believed to have negative effects on students. The use of racial slurs and promoting any kind of racial supremacy holds no place in American society and its school system whatsoever; however, many believe that a novel such as To Kill a Mockingbird teaches extremely valuable lessons to students, specifically in judging someone solely based on their character and nothing else. I personally read To Kill a Mockingbird in my sophomore year English class and had no issue handling its use of slurs or mature content, although I recognize a classmate of color might be impacted differently. I greatly enjoyed the novel as we mainly focused on analyzing the characters and Lee’s various messages and themes. Nevertheless, I do believe that discussing societal issues, past and present, through a novel like this and recognizing criticisms of it is a fruitful and necessary aspect of the educational process. 

Book banning in today’s society mostly stems from parental concerns over the material that their children are exposed to in school. A significant number of books that are forbidden show similarities to To Kill a Mockingbird through the use of profanity, while others are banned due to their suggestive and mature content. Some of these books are dystopian classics, such as Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, while others are much more relevant today regarding LGBTQIA+ expression and celebration. An example of one of these works is a memoir written by George M. Johnson called All Boys Aren’t Blue, which focuses on racial and sexual identity and has been banned in 29 school districts due to its content. CBS has found that 41 percent of books that were banned in the 2021-2022 school year contained content on gender and sexuality, with many school officials attributing this to political pressures from state officials and parents. While many agree with these people and desire to keep school literature free from this type of material, others find that books on gender and sexual identity are good for representation of the diverse people in our society. 

The resurfacing of the debate over book banning is no surprise as recent years have brought an increase in sensitivity regarding race, gender, sexuality, and other mature topics within entertainment and especially literature. As this has reached public school systems, more and more books have been taken off the shelves of school libraries out of concern for the students’ well-being and beliefs on these sensitive subjects, even though some of these works have been embedded in American public school curriculums for the past century. While I believe people have a right to differing opinions on sensitive subjects, I have personally found that reading “controversial” novels teaches valuable lessons and also helps to lead healthy discussions on sensitivity and perspective within all aspects of our society.

Top Five NH Mountains for Skiing, Snowboarding

By Paulina Leskow, ’24

Staff Writer

Winter has finally arrived, meaning that people are hitting the slopes for skiing and snowboarding. There are so many ski resorts that make up the New Hampshire Skiing region, some people may not be aware which mountain best suits their ability and preference. Here are the most popular ski resort rankings for anyone looking to hit the slopes this winter.

Starting at number five is Gunstock Ski Resort. Gunstock is a four-season ski resort that offers 227 acres and 49 trails. It is located in the lake regions of New Hampshire, offering a beautiful view of Lake Winnipesaukee. Although Gunstock is a beautiful resort with amazing views and fun trails, it does have its flaws. When one comes in and starts skiing early in the morning, skiers and snowboarders experience nice, powdery snow, however, as the day goes on, the slopes become icy and dangerous to ride on. By lunchtime, riders are going down ice-filled hills with a fear of falling and bruising on the ice. All in all, Gunstock is not a bad ski experience, especially if one is willing to wake up early and head over. 

The next resort on the list is Cannon Mountain. Cannon Mountain is located near Echo Lake in central New Hampshire. This resort has some of the most beautiful mountains and snowy trails imaginable. The only problem is that these conditions are not consistent throughout the whole winter. The conditions depend on the day, and good skiing weather is very hit-or-miss in this region. If you happen to arrive at Cannon Mountain on a beautiful day with amazing conditions, you will have the time of your life riding down the mountain. 

Ranked third is Cranmore Resort. Not only is Cranmore a great place to ski and snowboard with groomed surface conditions and great views, but it also contains many amusements all yearround. In addition to skiing, one is able to ride a rollercoaster as well as take a trip on a zipline. It is a great place to visit with family and friends, and the penguin mascot can always make your day. Cranmore could be a place to go for a weekend trip, with people more interested in the thrill of amusement parks, not just skiers. 

Second on the list is Pats Peak. If you like long, scenic routes on the mountains, Pats Peak is the perfect place for you. It takes about an hour just to get down the mountain. That may seem extremely long for non-skiers, but for those passionate about the sport, this is paradise. Riding calmly through long paths freshly coated with snow sounds like the perfect getaway on a nice winter day. In addition, Pats Peak is located in Southern New Hampshire, one of the closer resorts in the region, so you don’t have to be stuck in the car for hours upon hours just to go skiing. When looking for a nice, calm ski journey, Pats Peak is just the right mountain. 

Although all of these ski resorts are pretty great places to ski or snowboard, Waterville Valley resort is by far the greatest of them all. Waterville Valley is located in the center of New Hampshire, and has a whole village revolving around the ski resort perfect for the winter, and even the summer. All of the ski routes are based upon ski level and vary in length, depending on your preferences. This mountain also introduced a new ski lift that holds six people, as opposed to the standard four-person lift. Lessons at Waterville Valley are very effective and memorable, and it is a great place to go with family, or alone. Waterville Valley is the perfect place to ski or snowboard no matter how advanced you are, and no matter if you prefer long or short trails.

HHS Ski Club: If interested in joining the newly active school ski club, please contact the author at

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‘Saw’ Movies are No Longer Cutting It

By Abbey Kinzel, ’23

Staff Writer

The Saw movie franchise has been a classic for family movie nights during the Halloween season. The first Saw movie in itself was touchy, even when it was first released to theaters. James Wan’s Saw came out in 2004, and it showed a new perspective on the genre of horror. Most of the horror movies at the time were slashers and began with the words killer, bloody or evil. Torture and traps were not a mainstay of horror since it can be hard to balance a plot and such torments. Saw movies normally center around one person or a group of people in a series of “trial traps” that will test others or themselves. However, the most recent entry strayed from this formula.

Many people consider the Saw franchise to be more in the genre of thriller than horror, and some say it’s too outrageously funny even to be considered scary. “The Saw movies don’t feel like they’re horror movies,” said senior Erin Shea. “It’s more like The Hunger Games, so it’s more thriller than horror.”

Saw (2004): It’s hard to say what category this movie falls into because it is a lot of different things. It’s gruesome and serious, but the editing makes the movie less scary and more ridiculous and laughable. Recognizable actors are Danny Glover, famous for movies like Lethal Weapon and Predator 2, and Cary Elwes, who starred in The Princess Bride and Stranger Things. The editing is on the same level as Taken 3, however Saw is just a little bit better. “2004 editing was pretty bad so it was kind of funny,” said Makenzie Conward, a senior who was encouraged to watch the original recently. During the film, I kept switching between laughing and being serious, I just couldn’t take this movie seriously for more than two minutes at a time. And for a split second, Cary Elwes’ character, Dr. Lawrence Gordon, breaks his American accent and becomes British for one word. Maybe it was the fear?! Rotten Tomatoes rates Saw as 49% on the famous tomato-meter. This is justified as this is a cool movie for its time and budget, but tries too hard to be serious.

Saw II (2005): This movie tries to be more brutal than the first one but the circumstances for the group trial are dumb and not fleshed out. The only recognizable character is actor/singer Donnie Wahlberg as Eric Matthews. There’s gore, but we learn that some of the traps are inescapable and are just glorified executions. Some of the characters are stupid and unbearable, while others that are “smart” can’t see the obvious word play of Jigsaw in the beginning of the film. Despite this criticism, the creators make a really good connection to the first movie, and present a surprise twist at the end. I felt like death when I watched this movie; it hurts to watch how uncalculated every move is. Rotten Tomatoes gives a 37% rating and I think this deserves a lower rating, like 27%. After watching this movie again recently, I feel like I needed financial compensation.

Saw III (2006): Saw III is a near direct sequel to Saw II. We pick up where we left off for 5 minutes, and then go into the actual plot of the movie. It is safe to say that most fans of the franchise consider this movie to have the dumbest main character to go through the Saw traps. In summary, and to avoid spoilers, all he does is yell at people; when he finally decides to help it’s too late, and they are already dead. He is an unbearable man to follow around for the duration of the movie and you are just hoping he dies early. And, of course, there is a “BIG” twist with the characters and some of Jigsaw’s past. But in all seriousness, it’s the kind of material a fifth grader could have pieced together halfway through the movie. In addition, we learn why some of the traps in this movie and the previous movie were inescapable. Rotten Tomatoes gave it a 30% rating and I feel like this score is deserved. It is very boring and hard to follow, the protagonist is impossible to cheer for, and the traps are just “fine.”

Saw IV (2007): If you somehow skipped the first three movies, you may be wondering why they are opening up some old guy for the first 6 minutes. It’s because the Jigsaw Killer is dead and his body has been recovered. And that is only the second twist of the movie early on. There are some returning characters from past movies and the Jigsaw killings are still going on despite the original killer’s death. For the entire film, we follow Lieutenant Daniel Rigg (Lyriq Bent) with trial traps against some random people. Daniel’s mission is to save Donnie Wahlberg, who is back as Detective Matthews. And it is revealed that one of Jigsaws’ disciples is continuing the killings for him. Rotten Tomatoes has an 18% as a rating. This rating should be a few points higher but, all in all, this movie wasn’t that great.

Saw V (2008): This film begins where the last movie left off. The audience continues to follow the newly revealed Jigsaw apprentice, who tries to kill the one person that might learn his identity. Along the way, we learn more of the original Jigsaw killer’s past and some of the apprentice’s past as well. The film presents traps placed along the way to try to stop any detectives or cops who are with the apprentice’s enemy. This movie has a slightly better story and traps than the last few, and you actually feel like you want the characters to survive. Also, a lot of the traps feel more like personal attacks than tortures meant to teach a lesson or change a moral value as we’ve seen in the previous movies. Despite all this, Rotten Tomatoes gives it a13%. I wished this film was rated higher, but it could be seen as reasonable. The movie was mediocre at best.

Saw VI (2009): This movie still follows the apprentice who had successfully killed his main threat. We also follow a man going through a trial trap who denied Jigsaw medical insurance months before he died, as well as following Jigsaw’s ex-wife who is carrying out Jigsaw’s physical will. There is not really an interesting plot line, it is like a filler episode of your favorite show, ensuring a new entry each year. It is a little boring and two of the storylines cross and start to become one toward the end of the movie. Even though this movie is rated higher than both Saw IV and Saw V, it feels boring and doesn’t add anything significant to the franchise until the very end of the film. Rotten Tomatoes rates it a 39% as a rating for this movie. This movie deserves a much lower rating, such as a 10%; it presents a sleep inducing atmosphere throughout. Again, I feel as if I need some financial compensation for this movie. I am expecting two checks in the mail in three weeks. 

Saw 3D (2010): This movie does the exact same thing as the last movie and picks up right where we left off, literally like an episode of a TV show. The apprentice almost dies in a trap that was made for them. They track down and try to kill the person who put them in that trap. We also follow a man who falsely claimed to have survived a Jigsaw trap, and he visits a Jigsaw victim support group, with all the other victims of Jigsaw traps, some we recognize and others we don’t. One in particular is Dr. Lawrence Gordon, who survived the first movie and criticizes the man for bringing a camera crew with him to the meeting. This man gets put through a trial trap with his wife at stake. The audience learns that there is another apprentice in the mix. This movie felt like a good end to a franchise, since it’s also called “The Final Chapter,” but as you can tell, it was not the last one. This movie feels a little bit more exciting than the previous films, but has the lowest Rotten Tomato score of all the movies at 9%. The rating makes me feel a little depressed and balances out my excitement.

Jigsaw (2017): This movie was a little unexpected when the trailer dropped and it did a bit better with ratings. A group of people are shown being killed off in a barn somewhere in the countryside, and with each person dying in the group, a new body is discovered. The police, to ease the public’s fears, say that the original Jigsaw killer is still dead and not coming back to life. So they dig up his grave and open his casket and realize that his body is missing. So I guess it is viewed as a big deal. The film revealed a brand new character who is never seen again. Even though there was a seven-year gap between the previous movie and this one, it did better in the theaters than the previous film. It has some twists and subversions that might make you question “Who is really behind the killings now?” It is a good comeback from where the franchise left off, but I don’t think people will be waiting every seven years for another Saw movie to come out and be just as good. Rotten Tomatoes gave it a 39%.

Spiral: From the Book of Saw (2021): With the story by Chris Rock, this movie makes me feel more sad than scared. The plot of the movie is that cops are being kidnapped and put into deadly traps, and Rock is a detective leading a team trying to find the killer. They make it clear that the original killer is dead and can’t be the one behind the killings; you don’t say, next thing they are going to say is the sky is blue and that grass is green. Besides Rock and Samuel L. Jackson, his father who is a retired detective, there is famous Canadian magician Chris Ramsey. The story is fine, and the traps are cool, I guess? However, the part that makes me the most sad is that, at this point in the franchise’s history, most fans only watch the movies for the new take on the traps and less for the story itself. Any future movie has to find a way to subvert people’s expectations. Rotten Tomatoes has a 37% as a rating, but I think this movie deserves better.

Saw X (2023): This is an upcoming addition to the Saw Franchise, but there is almost no news so far other than the fact that Tobin Bell, the actor who plays one of the Jigsaw killers, is reprising his role. Everyone is getting excited since it is coming out in the month of October, part of the annual Halloween season. Yet the movie hasn’t even been released yet…

Visit to Philly Reveals Charms of City Life

By Teddy McCrann, ’23

Staff Writer

This past September, I took a trip down to Pennsylvania with the main purpose of touring different colleges in and around the Philadelphia area. Initially, I was not very excited as it was a very, very long drive from Hanover and I’ve never been too fond of the hustle and bustle of life in the city. I now stand corrected. After spending a couple of days exploring Philly, I discovered that I’m actually quite fond of the city and its diversity as well as the hundreds of restaurants, shops, and historical sights it holds. It only took a small trip for my opinions to completely change, and if you’re not fond of urban life like I was, I definitely recommend giving this city, at least, a chance. 

The author poses with a Philly landmark

Walking through one of the main drags of Philadelphia, Benjamin Franklin Parkway, was definitely a highlight of the trip. Although it’s a little hectic crossing the double lanes of traffic and rotary exits, the views and atmosphere are unmatched. Lined up and down the street are graceful and vibrantly-colored flags that pay respects to the hundreds of nations of our world, which I found to complement the already welcoming atmosphere. I think this stretch of the city epitomizes one of the more famous nicknames of Philadelphia: the City of Brotherly Love. These feelings only grew stronger as I approached the Philadelphia Museum of Art at the end of the parkway and, of course, the all-mighty state of Rocky Balboa from the Rocky movies, which took place in Philadelphia. The fact that the people of Philadelphia loved the Rocky movies so much that they erected a statue in their honor makes me laugh, but I also appreciate this sense of “brotherly love” that comes through in the people’s love for their city. I’ve come to realize that this love for one’s home is present in not only Philadelphia, but in many cities of our nation — especially Boston. Urban life is hectic but it definitely promotes a sense of family and community amidst such a diverse group of Americans.

A huge benefit of living on the East Coast is that its ties to American history run deep in the foundations of cities and towns which have been around since before the Revolutionary War. Examples of these cities are Boston, New York, and Philadelphia. After going on this trip, I think Philadelphia is possibly the most historically rich area of the entire country, aside from Washington D.C. I traversed many blocks in order to see the Liberty Bell as well as Independence Hall, which is considered the birthplace of America after the Declaration of Independence was signed there in 1776, almost 250 years ago. The fact that such large metropolises, now modernized and changing every day, are hundreds of years old and hold such historical significance to our nation really illustrates how much America has developed and achieved over the years. Cities like Philadelphia and Boston are representations of America’s accomplishments and the community-fueled foundations in which it was built upon, which I have grown to love. 

As much as I did enjoy Philadelphia, don’t worry, I’ll always be a Bostonian at heart. My exposure to the chaotic yet welcoming atmosphere of this city has changed my views on urban life in general; there is so much to offer, from local restaurants to historical landmarks. While our cities are certainly not paradises, and have socio-economic problems different from suburbs like Hanover, they are important to American identity and history. After this trip, I definitely see myself going into the city more often and, if you’ve been nervous of the hustle and bustle, maybe you can give it a chance too.

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Clubs Forge Connections on Fields, in Classrooms, in Hearts

By Norah Kelley, ’24

Staff Writer

As a junior, I have been part of many different clubs and activities at Hanover High School. It has been fun to try out everything that I can, including writing for the newspaper and acting with the Drama Club, but the most influential part of my high school experience has been Unified Sports and Friendship Connection. These connected clubs promote the interaction of peer students with those in POST and RISE, the district’s special education programs for teens with severe disabilities.

RISE, or Reaching Independence through Support and Education, helps enrolled students build independence in academics, life skills and communications. Some students work with their teacher and paraprofessionals in a substantially separate classroom while attending elective classes with their peers. Others attend General Education classes for part of the day. POST partners with Bridgewater State  University to serve students 18-22 years old, focusing on skills to help with the transition from high school to adult life.

Since 7th grade, I have been a part of Unified Sports at Hanover High School. Being a peer in this club has been an amazing experience because all the students involved are wonderful people, always willing and excited to play. Three Thursdays a month, the group has practice for the sport of the season, which is soccer in the fall, basketball in the winter, and kickball in the spring. These practices prepare us for games against Unified Teams from other schools or games against the HHS staff. On the remaining Thursday of each month, most of the Unified teammates gather for Friendship Connection, where we play games indoors and do crafts. Many of the crafts are presents for staff in the school or put on display for students and visitors to see. 

Our first soccer game of the season will be on Oct. 20 on the Hanover Middle School soccer field. Fans are welcome to watch, and students are always encouraged to come play with us! The joy on players’ faces when they make a pass or score a goal is sure to bring a smile to all who watch.

To me, Unified has built so many meaningful relationships and connections with other students in our school. I feel like I have made a connection with all the students involved that has grown each time I come to practice. I am always so happy whenever I see anyone involved with this club, either in the halls at school or at our practices and meetings, and I can tell that the students, peers and teachers are always happy to see me. I’m so grateful that I’ve had the opportunity to be a part of it for so many years. It’s the thing that I look forward to the most. No matter what has happened throughout the week, I always know that Unified and Friendship Connection will put me in an amazing mood. 

Unified and Friendship Connection are always welcoming new peer members and would love to have more people join these clubs. If you are interested, practices are Thursdays from 2:30-3:30 pm, and we meet near the HHS media room. You can also contact HHS Spanish teacher Allyson Gately, who advises the clubs with Mrs. Janet Mann. The clubs hold a special place in her heart, Mrs. Gately says, “because “lifelong friendships are made.”

“The POST and RISE students bring the peer students so much joy, and vice versa,” Mrs. Gately adds. “It’s a beautiful thing to experience.”

Photos courtesy of Mrs. Gately and Mrs. Mann

‘What Are We Doing?’

By Teddy McCrann, ’23

Staff Writer

As a rising senior at Hanover High School, the earliest memory I have of a domestic terrorist attack in the form of a school shooting is Sandy Hook Elementary School on December 14, 2012. That day in Connecticut, 28 people were killed at the hands of a 20-year-old shooter, the majority of them aged six or seven years old. I was 7 years old at that time, and I am now 17. In those 10 years, there have been countless school shootings in America — too many — to the extent that they have become a regular occurrence. This is a significant issue in our country. To become desensitized to these attacks against children is something that I didn’t think could happen, but welcome to America. I am not here to bash our nation because I love living here and enjoy the freedoms we are granted; however, there needs to be a change. 

On May 24, there was another school shooting , this time at Uvalde Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, where 18-year-old Salvador Ramos horrifically killed 19 children and two adults. This is just unfathomable, and I cannot believe that someone was capable of committing such a heinous act against defenseless kids who were just going to school on a normal Tuesday. People across the country are pushing the government to institute change and prevent this from ever happening again, even though barely anything effective has been done to restrict gun laws in the past decade. The ability to purchase a firearm, especially if it is of the semi- or full-automatic class, at the age of 18 is ridiculous. The 18-year-old brain has not finished developing; if 18-year-olds in America cannot purchase alcohol due to their brains being underdeveloped, then how can they purchase deadly weapons? Considering that the majority of the recent shootings have been committed by assailants in their late teens and early 20s, it makes sense that guns should be more restricted by age to allow further development and maturing, among other reasons. 

It is barely comprehensible that this school shooting comes just a week after the Buffalo, N.Y., supermarket attack, where an 18-year-old gunman targeted a Black community and killed 10 innocent people out of racial hate and prejudice. What is happening? The combination of these two events within such a short time proves that our society needs to make a change and actually do something about the unwarranted violence that we have experienced. The gravity of the chosen targets in these shootings is impactful; the Buffalo shooting occurred out of hate for Black Americans and extreme racism, and in Uvalde, young children were killed. This cannot keep happening in a nation that preaches “equality” and the promotion of peace, and it makes me afraid for our future.

Three of the most devastating shootings that I remember are Sandy Hook, Parkland in 2017, and now Uvalde. The fact that I can recall these events and see that nothing has been done between any of them to prevent more shootings is not something I am willing to accept. Parents of young kids in America are scared, as they think that their child’s school is next in this chain of attacks and deaths. Not only are parents scared, but students are too. What school is next? Do lockdown drills really help to ease the ominous cloud of a potential shooting? Or do they accentuate the bizarre reality we have accepted as a nation? Personally, lockdown drills have become routine and normal, which speaks volumes about the state of our nation. School is a place to learn and socialize, not somewhere to be afraid for our lives.

Speaking to fellow lawmakers the day after Uvalde, Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy voiced frustration at witnessing another massacre like Sandy Hook. “What are we doing?” he implored of his colleagues. In recent years, the nation has done nothing to prevent school shootings, and this needs to stop, whether it be by enacting new gun laws or altering the process by which one obtains a firearm. I am not here to politicize the Uvalde shooting, but if something is not done about our outdated gun laws, then the future of our nation is in danger, as it has been for the past 10 years of my life.

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Graduating Senior Offers Tips for College Application Season

By Natalie Mowbray, ’22

Staff Writer

Although the fall of a new school year typically brings excitement and new beginnings, it can also be a time of great stress for seniors. As many of you know, this time of year sparks the beginning of the college application season. Between narrowing down lists, filling out applications and working on essays, it can seem overwhelming. As I just finished this process myself, I’m sharing some advice on how next year’s seniors can make this time of year less worrisome and more enjoyable.

For the majority of high school students, summer vacation is seen as the time of year with the least amount of responsibilities and stressors. But if you’re heading into senior year, take advantage of the opportunity that summer offers! As fall approaches, many seniors face the most rigorous course load of their entire high school career. To avoid an overlap between applications and school work, summer is a great time to get started on your application to-do list.

  • Begin writing your college essay over the summer. During the fall of senior year, you will spend your English classes editing and finalizing your essay. For the best results, come into senior year English with a pretty solid draft. You can get topic ideas and sample prompts from the Common App and writing tips from online sources such as Khan Academy.
  • The Common App opens on August 1st. Used by more than 900 colleges, the common app is a must for most students. Creating an account is straightforward and the majority of the information can be completed prior to senior year. This way, it will be faster to apply to all of your colleges. Your guidance counselor will hold senior workshops to help you complete the common application, so don’t forget to check your email!
  • Finalize your college list. To make the application season smoother, finalize which colleges you’re interested in attending. Don’t forget to include a range of schools, from those where you’re likely guaranteed admission to those that may be a reach. Although there is nothing wrong with including schools that might be out of your range, it is important to include schools that you should be admitted to and would attend. To sense which schools fall into these categories, the admission scatterplot on the platforms Naviance or Scoir will help. This data is limited to only HHS applicants which gives better and more personalized information.
  • Secure at least two letters of recommendation. One should preferably be from a STEM teacher and the other teacher should be a humanities teacher. Additionally, try to find a teacher that taught you during your junior year of high school. Although it is best to ask in person before the end of junior year, it is also acceptable to ask over the summer. Just ensure that the teacher knows your first college deadline – often. November 1st for many early applicants – so that you can apply on time.
  • Keep your grades up! It is a common misnomer that senior year grades are not important. However, poor senior grades or grades that have declined from your usual performance can negatively impact your chance at admission. Sometimes, you can be deferred from or are a borderline candidate for some colleges. Having exceptional grades during terms 1 and 2 can give you the boost needed to be accepted.

Although this portion of high school can be especially stressful, try not to be discouraged or overwhelmed. The guidance department is always available if you have questions or need help with applications. Speaking for myself, I went to guidance on numerous occasions to help me narrow down my list and write my college essays. Just remember you are not alone in this stressful task. Senior year is often cited as people’s favorite time at HHS, so don’t forget to cherish the last memories of high school while focusing on what will come next!

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