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!

Featured image: https://www.collegetransitions.com/blog/college-application-season-is-here

Winter Sports: Hockey Wins State Title, Wrestler Makes School History

The Hawk Staff

After an exciting season of winter sports, Hanover High has two state champions and many strong performances in the books.

Boys hockey, ranked third in the state, captured the Division 3 state title with a 5-3 win over top-seeded Marlboro at the TD Garden on March 20. They started the playoffs March 5 with a 5-0 win over Old Rochester Regional High School, ranked 30th. Next they overpowered 13th seeded Dracut with an 8-0 win on March 8. For the round of 8 on March 12, Hanover topped 6th-ranked Medway 2-1. In the semifinals on March 15, the Hawks beat second-seed Scituate 2-1. The team rallied behind the slogan “unfinished business.” Their last trip to the Garden was cancelled due to COVID in March 2020; they were declared co-state champions but wanted the full Garden experience this time. And they got it, in front of a huge cheering section of fans.

Arnold, coach Russ Lindsay, and Mann

Sophomore Anthony Mann earned the first wrestling state title in school history at the Division 3 tournament Feb. 18-19. He won his title match in the 138 lb weight class with a pin early in the third period. Mann and senior Garrett Arnold both advanced to All-States on Feb. 25-26. Mann lost in the quarterfinals and Arnold lost a tough match in the first round.

Boys basketball and girls hockey qualified for the tournament but fell in the early rounds.

Boys basketball, ranked 20th with a record of 9-11, kicked things off with a home win over Advanced Math & Science Academy on March 1. The Hawks beat AMSA, ranked 45th, by a score of 66-28. The team then faced 13th seeded Oakmont on March 4, failing to advance after a 65-55 loss.

Girls Hockey vs Scituate Feb. 23

Girls hockey, ranked 31st, lost a gutsy first-round matchup against second-seeded Braintree High School on March 3. The team fell 2-1 with a goal scored by Abigail Hanna. This was the team’s first solo season after pairing with Cohasset in the past, and they finished with an impressive 8-8-2 regular-season record.

Other HHS teams recorded some strong performances to round out their seasons.

Marvin Felix finishes strong. Photo by Robin Chan, Wicked Local Photos

For indoor track, HHS sent several athletes to the the Division 4 state finals at the Reggie Lewis Center on Feb. 17. Freshman Hannah Geary finished fifth in the 1000 meter run, sophomore Sophia Foley finished 11th in the mile, and junior Jillian Farrell was 19th in the two mile. The 4×800 relay featuring Geary, Foley, junior Anna Mahoney and sophomore Ayla McDermod finished 14th. Sophomore Marvin Felix earned 8th place in the 55 meter dash.

In gymnastics, HHS finished fourth in the Patriot League championship on Feb. 13. Meghan DeRice, a junior, placed 4th in the individual vault and floor competitions. Freshman Emma Lyons tied for 5th on the bars and sophomore Morgan Sullivan earned 2nd place for floor.

The swim and dive team, which competes with Marshfield, sent senior Caris Mann to the state championship in two individual events: the 200 IM and 100m breaststroke. Mann earned personal records in both events and 10th place for the breaststroke. The 400 freestyle relay, which Mann also competed in, finished 14th. Overall, the girls finished 18th out of 41 teams.

The HHS Dance Team travelled to Worcester Tech High School on March 5 to compete in the 2022 MSAA State Dance Tournament. 

While the girls basketball team fell short of making the tournament, they were led by top scorers Dani Tilden and McKalah Gaine, both seniors who were also named Patriot League All-Stars. Senior Caroline Moody earned the Sportsmanship Award and senior Rachel Meehan won Scholar Athlete.

According to athletic director Mr. Hutchison, students participating in sports this winter season earned an average grade point average of 3.8.  This impressive achievement includes each winter program, including every level of each sport, earning MIAA Academic Excellence Awards with the highest level of awards earned by the girls’ swim and dive team and dance team. 

Wrestling photos courtesy of Mrs. Arnold

Girls Hockey photos

More boys hockey photos

The Gray Area of Sportsmanship: Winning at What Cost?

By Teddy McCrann, ’23

Staff Writer

In recent years, the reputation of youth sports as a fun and enjoyable experience for kids has been tarnished by overly aggressive coaches and a focus on winning at all costs. These types of coaches value performance over development and, either directly or indirectly, have influenced their players to demonstrate poor sportsmanship. An example of this type of behavior was seen in a Connecticut high school girls basketball game this past January, where Sacred Heart Academy, under coach Jason Kirck, beat their opponent by a whopping 88 points in a 92-4 win. As a result of this game, Kirck was given a one-game suspension for demonstrating poor sportsmanship and “disrespecting” the opponent, Lyman Hall High School. In my opinion, Kirck fully deserved the suspension after emphasizing the negatives of youth sports.

Many can argue that Lyman Hall High School’s team was simply not evenly matched with Sacred Heart and deserved to lose, similar to many professional sports teams that fail to perform and lose by significant margins. Although this mindset is relevant to the situation, the fact that this is youth sports and not professional provides a different outlook on the suspension of Kirck. No high school basketball score should have a point differential of 88 points, as this type of result can be avoided even if the teams are unevenly matched through a program the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference calls “Class Act.” This voluntary program educates coaches on how to manage high school games and scores in a manner that is respectful to the other team. According to Newsweek, Sacred Heart is not involved in this program. This is the first sign that supports the suspension of Kirck, as he and his program have made no effort to uphold sportsmanlike ideals and behaviors during games. 

Additionally, it was reported that Kirck and his team were still running fast breaks in the fourth quarter on long outlet passes. Fast breaks are when a basketball team “pushes” the ball up the court and increases the tempo of the game, ultimately looking to score more. At this point toward the end of the game, Sacred Heart had to have been winning by 60 or more points, which is ridiculously out of reach for the other team. Kirck had no regard for slowing the game down and respecting Lyman Hall.

While society has become more coddled in recent years, and more people are cautious of not treating younger kids and teenagers too harshly, it is still important to allow kids to have fun while playing sports and especially important to teach beneficial life lessons in the process. Allowing your players to “disrespect” and beat down another team on the court or field is not teaching these important life lessons, and will actually inspire a whole new generation of coaches who take their jobs way too seriously. By now, Coach Kirck has served his suspension and hopefully learned from his mistake, but the debate over whether certain youth coaches take it too far will be prevalent for many years to come. 

Source: https://www.newsweek.com/high-school-basketball-coach-serves-1-game-suspension-after-team-routs-opponent-92-4-1666978

First Live Show in Two Years is the Comic Relief We All Needed

By Norah Kelley, ’24

Staff Writer

Hilarious. Stunning cast. Amazing performance.

These were some of the comments from audience members who attended the HHS Drama Club presentation of Spamalot the Musical Feb. 11-13. For each of the three performances, the first live shows at HHS in two years, the theater was filled with family, friends, teachers, and students. 

Rehearsals began in November for the show, based on the 1975 movie Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Led by Mr. Fahey, Mr. Wade and Mr. Harden, the cast and crew put in many long hours to make the show a success.

“Spamalot was an incredible return to the stage for HHS Drama!” said Mr. Wade, the Vocal Director. “Students performed, ran tech, and played in the pit band, which showcased all of the talent and skill the performing arts has here at HHS.

“All together,” he added, “this was an amazing team effort that resulted in a creative, wacky and fun-filled production that our community greatly appreciated.”

Sammy Burke, a senior in the cast, said the experience was one she’ll never forget.

“I had so much fun in Spamalot,” she said. “The music was so much fun to learn and will be forever stuck in my head.”

Olivia Morin, a sophomore cast member, called her time spent on Spamalot “awesome.”

“After not being in a production for two years because of Covid, it was really nice to be a part of something so fun and exciting!” she said. “Not only did I have so much fun getting to act, sing, and dance, but the cast and crew made it even more memorable.”

New members of the club found out what makes it so special, and many are excited to be a part of upcoming productions. 

 “This musical was just great and a funny experience, becoming close to everyone,” said Paulina Leskow, a sophomore in the cast. “I can’t wait to do more plays in the future!” 

Seniors in the cast were very sad that this was their last high school musical, but they ended with a bang and finished with an amazing and funny show that kept the audience laughing the whole time. 

“I am so glad I got to be a part of Spamalot!” said senior cast member Bella Kelley. “It was a super fun experience and I loved being part of such a funny production!”

As Mr. Wade said, “We look forward to continuing our successes on the stage here in years to come. Kudos & congratulations to all involved!” 

Super Bowl’s Long-awaited Hip Hop Show a Hit

By Abby Van Duyn, ’24

Staff Writer

The Los Angeles Rams won the Super Bowl last Sunday by defeating the Cincinnati Bengals 23-20. Millions of fans were excited to watch the game, but many were even more excited by the halftime performance that showcased hip hop and rap for the first time. Featuring Eminem, Snoop Dogg, Dr. Dre, 50 Cent, and Mary J. Blige, the show was labeled by many on social media as the “greatest halftime show of all time.” Among the songs that were performed were “The Next Episode,” “California Love,” “In Da Club,” and “Family Affair.” The choice of artists brought in many viewers of all ages, old and young. 

“It’s crazy that it took all of this time for us to be recognized,” Dr. Dre said in an interview. It was time that Super Bowl halftime shows started to highlight different genres of music other than pop, he added. Although many pop music halftime shows have been a big hit, fans of hip hop and rap have been waiting a long time for their favorite genre to be showcased.

The performance was very nostalgic for many viewers, as it catered to an older group of people than the halftime show usually does. The stage was set with structures representing Tam’s Burgers, Randy’s Donuts and the Compton courthouse. It made the performance feel like Los Angeles was inside as well as outside of SoFi Stadium, located in Inglewood, Calif. 

The artists vowed that this performance would open doors in hip hop and give opportunities to the artists in the genre. All the artists agreed that the NFL was too late in acknowledging this genre and giving them center stage. Viewers seemed to agree: the Super Bowl gained a total of 112 million viewers, the most it has had in five years.

Author Tells Stories Often Overlooked by History

By Mrs. McHugh

HHS Librarian

Author Ruta Sepetys calls herself a “seeker of lost stories.”  Her award-winning novels shed light on people and events often overlooked in history. “Through character and story,” she writes on her website, “historical statistics become human and suddenly we care for people we’ve never met, we can find their country on a map, and then—the history matters. Through historical fiction we can give voice to those who will never have a chance to tell their story. “

Sepetys’ passion comes through in well-researched, powerful stories suitable for both teens and adults. Whether set in one of Stalin’s Siberian gulags, a New Orleans run by the mob, or a crumbling Cold War dictatorship, her books explore the depths of human cruelty and resilience – often with a teenaged protagonist. She sometimes has multiple characters tell the story, reminding us that history has many different perspectives and layers. Her author notes, giving historical context and shining a light on her motivation for writing, are as interesting as the novels themselves. If you like historical fiction or even just thrilling stories of survival, check out her books.

Between Shades of Gray follows 15-year-old Lina who is sent with her family to a Siberian gulag (prison) when the Soviets invade her native Lithuania. As she struggles in unimaginable conditions – including brutal treatment from guards, meager food rations and extreme weather – she vows to share the story with the world. Sepetys was inspired by the experiences of relatives who were among the millions of people who Stalin deemed enemies of the state and sent to Siberia during his regin of terror (1922-1953). Many never made it home. This book was made into a movie called Ashes in the Snow.

Salt to the Sea is a story of the largest maritime disaster in history, killing more people than the sinking of the Titanic or Lusitania. It was largely ignored by history, though, overshadowed by so many other stories of World War II. As the Nazi losses were mounting in 1945, thousands of German civilians fled the rampaging Russian army. They flooded two ports in hopes of evacuation, joining countless wounded German soldiers on overcrowded ships. When the Wilhelm Gustloff was sunk by Russian torpedoes, it took more than 9,000 people – mostly women and children -with it. Sepetys tells the story from four points of view, drawing a complex picture of the hatred among nations that led to, and resulted from, that awful war.

Out of the Easy takes places in New Orleans in 1950s, where the mob rules and crime thrives along with the rich culture of the city. Josie, 17, dreams of life far from the brothels where her mother has carved out a desperate existence. But as Josie strives for a way out, she becomes tangled in a murder investigation that tests her loyalties. The story explores what makes a family, the burdens of poverty and the gray area between crime and survival.

I Must Betray You is the most contemporary of Sepetys’ stories, taking place in 1989. The Soviet Union is on the brink of collapse, along with communism throughout Europe. Romania is still within the grip of a cruel, murderous dictator when 17-year-old Cristian is forced to become a government informant. He must decide whether to spy on his family and friends, or risk his life to fight for a better future. The story brings to life the fear, oppression and desperation of an isolated society, which was found in many Communist countries during the Cold War.

The Fountains of Silence follows Daniel, a wealthy 18-year-old tourist who visits Madrid in 1957, when Spain is ruled by a tyrannical general after a bloody civil war. Madrid is a beautiful city in a country ruled by fear and repression, but the affluent Daniel is slow to realize how bad things are. When he meets Ana, a hotel maid whose father was killed and mother imprisoned in the resistance, he falls in love. He also is drawn into the dangerous world of secrets she inhabits.

Black Authors Combine to Explore Modern Love, Friendship

By Mrs. McHugh

HHS Librarian

I don’t read a lot of romance, but I was intrigued by Blackout, a series of interconnected stories written by six Black female writers. The book imagines romance in many shapes and sizes among contemporary teens when a power outage rocks New York City. The project was the brainchild of Dhonielle Clayton, an author and leader of We Need Diverse Books, a nonprofit that works to increase representation of marginalized voices in publishing. While binge-watching TV and movies early in the pandemic, Clayton’s niece asked her “why Black girls didn’t get big love stories.” Clayton contacted her friends to see what they could create. The result is a sweet, short, engaging book that I believe many teens will relate to and enjoy.

Tiffany Jackson, author of Monday’s Not Coming and other thrillers, writes about a couple who is angry over their recent breakup when they are forced to rely on each other to get home in the dark. Nic Stone, author of Dear Martin and other fiction for children and teens, focuses her chapter on two boys admitting their feelings for one another amidst fears of what their friends and teammates might think. Ashley Woodfolk, who wrote The Beauty That Remains, among others, tells the story of two queer teens brought together while helping at a retirement home. (The depiction of the wise-cracking older characters was one of my favorite parts of the book). Clayton, whose work includes fantasy and realistic fiction, writes about whether two long-time friends can take their relationship from “like” to “love.” (This section has an after-hours adventure in the  grand New York Public Library which calls to mind From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg, one of my favorite children’s books). Famous for The Hate You Give, Angie Thomas writes about a school trip of teens from Georgia caught in the city — and in assorted love triangles (The stressed-out chaperone is funny). Nicola Yoon, author of The Sun is Also a Star, closes the book with a chapter about a girl intent on getting back her boyfriend before she meets a rideshare driver who reminds her of what she’s really looking for. The final section brings all of the characters – who we learn are siblings, cousins, neighbors and classmaters – together at a block party in Brooklyn.

In addition to celebrating love and friendship in all its forms, and elevating the stories of Black teens in a genre that often overlooks them, the book is a tribute to New York City. The city that never sleeps stays wide awake even during the blackout, providing an exciting setting for the stories. The highs and lows of the relationships are very true to life, and many of the teens are facing decisions about college and their futures, something most high school students can relate to.

If you like any of the contributing authors, you’ll probably enjoy this book. If you haven’t yet read their work, these stories may have you rushing to the library or bookstore to give them a try.

For more books like this, check out the Black History Month display in the HHS library

Some Schools Reach State Goal for Dropping Masks; HHS Not There Yet

By Paulina Leskow, ’24

Staff Writer

The year is now 2022. It has been almost two full years since our world shut down due to the coronavirus. The virus, however, has not stopped. With new variants continuing to emerge, the mask policy remains in effect in Hanover schools. Whether vaccinated or not, all students and staff must wear a mask in the school building and during sporting events. 

The new year brought about some new policies, which include the town of Hanover strongly recommending that people wear masks in common areas like restaurants. In addition, the state extended the mask mandate in schools until the end of February; it was initially set to expire in mid-January. The Centers for Disease Control has also shortened the quarantine time for asymptomatic people.

Although these are important policies, many would say the most significant one is that a school with 80 percent of students and staff fully vaccinated can go mask-free. Several schools in the surrounding area no longer require masks, including Norwell High School, Cohasset Middle School and Cohasset High School. Hanover High School is at 77 percent vaccinated, according to a recent email from Patricia Smith, the district’s director of health services. Cedar School, Center School, and Hanover Middle School vaccination rates are currently less than 60 percent, Mrs. Smith said. Once a school reaches the 80 percent mark required by the state, local officials can decide whether to drop or continue its mask mandate.

HHS students have differing opinions on masks at school.

“It would be safer to keep them on for a bit longer,” said junior Melissa Manning. “Even with everyone wearing masks, many people continue to get sick and having masks off would increase that rate of sickness.”

Another student, who asked to be anonymous, said that when enough people are vaccinated, Hanover schools should go mask-free. ”Once we hit that vaccination rate, those who received the vaccine will be protected, and those who did not can choose to either wear a mask or face the consequences of the virus,” the student said.

No matter what opinions you have about the vaccine, masks, and the coronavirus, it is always important to stay safe and help keep yourself and others healthy. The school district continues to administer pool testing and has begun at-home testing for students and staff who opt into that program.

Featured image: https://www.edweek.org/leadership/what-does-the-cdcs-new-mask-recommendation-mean-for-schools/2021/05

Drama Club Prepares One-Act for State Festival

By Callia Gilligan, ’22

Staff Writer

The Hanover High School Drama Club is alive and well and participating once again in the Massachusetts Educational Theatre Guild’s Drama Festival with their presentation of Badger by Don Zolidis. 

The METG Drama Festival is an annual theatrical competition. Schools gather together and each presents a 40-minute one-act piece, with just 5 minutes to put together and strike, or take down, their sets. At the end of the day, each play is scored and three winners are named. Drama Festival is a wonderful and exciting day, an event that HHS Drama annually participates in. 

In the past, HHS has presented shows such as The Scheme of the Driftless Shifter, an over-the-top comedy. In 2019, the club advanced to the semi-finals with its production of At the Bottom of Lake Missoula. Last year, due to the pandemic, the festival was moved to a virtual presentation. Hanover still participated with 4 A.M. by Johnathon Dorf, submitting a video of the performance. 

This year, with the festival returning to an in-person event scheduled for March 19th or 20th, Hanover is presenting Badger by Don Zolidis. The play focuses on four women working in a munitions factory during World War II and the challenges they face as women in the workforce. It is both a heartbreaking and uplifting story that paints a strong picture of the hardships of domestic life during the war. 

The cast is led by Sammy Burke (‘22) as Rose, Morgan Gentile (‘22) as Irene, Lauren Casey (‘22) as Grace, and Caris Mann (‘22) as Barbara. Any good show includes some romance and this play does not disappoint. Ben Manning (‘22) plays Tim, another factory worker who takes an interest in Rose, and Rose Giordani (‘22) plays Barbara’s husband, John, who is overseas fighting. The Chorus includes Erin Shea (‘23), Kendall Sherwood (‘22), Mary Longueil (‘22), Paulina Leskow (‘24), Addy Potter (‘24), Bella MacDonald (‘24) and Kaya Biunculli (‘23). The Chorus is the backbone of the show, taking on various characters and roles within the factory. 

Rehearsals are already underway with the direction of Mr. Fahey and the stage management of Karen Bell (‘22) and Paulina Leskow (‘24). This play is certain to be fantastic so be sure to catch it in March as part of the 2022 METG Drama Festival!

Featured image is the 2022 METG logo designed by Jashia Sikder of Brockton High School