Tag Archives: featured

Is Social Media Bad for Us?

Throughout the school district, the question of whether screens and social media are unhealthy for teenagers has been deemed an important topic this year. Under the slogan “Choose Presence,” the district is working to educate students and families about responsible use of social media while at the same time encouraging everyone, at least once in a while, to tune out and log off.

Earlier this month, the school administration presented the documentary Screenagers to parents and students to start a conversation about technology and to inform audiences about the dangers of spending too much time in front of screens. In the documentary, film director Delaney Ruston highlights how screens can quickly become a distraction, limiting the ability of teenagers to interact with one another and perform well at school. Today, unlike their parents, American teenagers are being raised and educated in a world where millions walk around engrossed with their cellphones and many classes have online assignments. Naturally, this results in an entirely new set of questions, dangers and opportunities in the digital age.

Personally, I think it is fair to say that there are many valid drawbacks to digitizing so much of our world. I believe that too much screen time can easily detract from the parts of life that are much more fulfilling when experienced without screens. I think that visiting my grandmother on her birthday will always be better than sending her a quick text, and I also believe that only so much can be conveyed in terms of emotion and meaningful conversation in an app. Likewise, quick access to the unlimited revenue of information that is the Internet means someone using a phone or tablet has access to both the very best and the very worst kinds of material. For this reason alone, it’s pretty scary for me to see five-and six-year-olds with their own tablets or smart phones.

I think that there is no shortage of reasons why screens might be dangerous if accessed too much or if used without mindfulness. However, I also think that technology deserves much credit for the equally long list of all that it does offer. Screens such as laptops and tablets have allowed for instantaneous research and all variety of functions available through apps. I cannot imagine how many hours a day I would lose leafing through library books to find information for research projects or essays. Likewise, I strongly believe that social media has opened doors for long-distance friendships and connections. I also have not personally noticed any significant difference in the way that my classmates interact and in the way that adults raised without cellphones communicate.

One of the reasons that I most value screens and social media is the opportunity that both offer for personal growth. In an unprecedented way, access to apps that allow teenagers express their creativity, learn more about global news, or see windows into the lives of people on social media from all over the world provides a glimpse of the world at large with one click of a button.

Ultimately, I think that we have much to learn about how to balance the digital world with the still important tangible world. However, I do not think that we have to face this issue with only fears about what could result from a world immersed in technology. Personally, I would argue that we have the power to use technology to grow our understanding of the world and ourselves in a very exciting and positive way.

2017 Homecoming

Every year, Homecoming is one of the most highly anticipated events of the year at Hanover High School. This year was no exception. The weekend of events features football, performances by the marching band and cheerleaders, a party for staff and families and,  of course, the dance.

Events kicked off with the Hanover Huddle and football game Friday night. Victor Costa and Katie Halpin were voted Homecoming King and Queen by the senior class. The football team beat Pembroke, 14-13.

Organized by the Student Council, the Saturday night dance proved to be a fun and entertaining night. The music was provided by Hanover High School’s very own, Aidan Burke. Students were able to take photos in the cafeteria against a backdrop created by Mrs. Curley’s Partnership in Art classes to celebrate Inclusion Week.  This special week, held this year to coincide with Spirit Week, focuses on making all students feel they are an important part of the school community.

All grades were able to attend the dance for a fee of $30 and all students were required to take a breathalyzer test before entering the dance. Students had a great time and had minor suggestions such as using the whole gym to have more room and to having more teachers at check-in in order to cut down the time of students waiting in  line. The wide majority of students said that they had an extremely fun night and that they can’t wait until they get to go again next year.

Photos by Mr. Steve Ryerson. You can find more, plus videos of Vox and cheerleading performances, on the Hanover Schools social media pages.

After Slow Start, Patriots Slide into First Place

Despite a rather slow start to the season for the defending Super Bowl Champions, the New England Patriots are starting to find their rhythm. After opening up the season on an embarrassing 42-27 loss at home to the Kansas City Chiefs, the Patriots responded with back-to-back wins over the New Orleans Saints and the Houston Texans. A  heartbreaking home loss to the Carolina Panthers, 33-30 on a last-second field goal, put the Patriots at 2-2. Then on a short week, they went down to Tampa Bay and beat the Buccaneers in a Thursday night matchup.

Going into Sunday’s game against the New York Jets, everyone knew what the Patriots weakness was, and it was on the defensive side of the ball. Statistically they have been the worst defense in the NFL, allowing over 440 yards per game. Teams led by pass quarterbacks are thriving against New England’s defense, which has allowed more than 324 passing yards per game. The run defense isn’t any better, allowing 115 yards per game, 20th in the NFL.

With all the struggles on the defensive side of the ball, the Patriots have had to rely on 40-year-old quarterback Tom Brady. Fortunately, Brady has been lighting it up this year. He has thrown 13 touchdowns and only two interceptions and is on pace to throw for over 5,000 yards this year. He leads the NFL, averaging 309 passing yards per game, with the help of his new weapon this year in Brandin Cooks. Cooks has been a great addition to the pass game this year, adding a downfield threat to the receiving core, something they haven’t seen since Randy Moss back in 2007. Chris Hogan leads the team with five touchdown receptions

On Sunday, their first AFC East showdown of the season, the Patriots beat the Jets, 24-17, and moved into first place in the division. This win brought them to 4-2 on the season, and saw the return of Rob Gronkowski who, after battling multiple injuries this year, bounced back well with two touchdowns.

Now the Patriots have a Super Bowl rematch this Sunday. The Atlanta Falcons are coming to New England, and we all know what happened the last time these two teams played. We should have a good game on Sunday Night.

Fun fact: Tom Brady became the most winningest quarterback of all time in the regular season, passing Peyton Manning, and Brett Favre with 187 wins.

French Exchange Students Visit HHS

For some, Friday the 13th can be a bad omen, but for Hanover High School, it will be an exciting opportunity to meet students from across the Atlantic. More than 20 French exchange students will be arriving to stay with families in Hanover and learn about  American culture. Later in the year, students from Hanover will get to travel to France and stay with the exchange students’ families.

This program was created in the last few years and has been well-received, having been approved by the town. The French students will visit sites like Plimouth Plantation, Salem and the city of Boston. They will also attend classes with their host students, so expect to see them in the halls the next few weeks.

The exchange is coordinated by Madame Dhomee and fellow Hanover French teachers Mrs. Youngsworth and Mrs. Greene. There are four main benefits to this program: educational, personal, historical and political traditions, and practical. All of these benefits combined turn out to be a great learning experience for all involved when it is critical for people in our world to have an understanding of others and compassion for all. 

Students Seize Chance to Take College Courses

How do you say hello in American Sign Language? How do you argue a point convincingly? These are just a couple of the questions that many Hanover High School students are investigating this year. Thanks to a new partnership with Massasoit Community College, students have the opportunity to take courses at the college level for both high school and college credit. Two of these classes, American Sign Language and Philosophy, have already proven popular among Hanover students.

For senior Nick Jones, American Sign Language provides a chance  to explore his avid interest in linguistics. Right now, in fact, Nick is studying six languages: American Sign Language, Spanish, French, Mandarin Chinese, Russian, and English. Learning ASL is unique, Nick said, because the language is composed of hand movements rather than verbally spoken words. In addition, ASL involves expressing oneself with the eyes as well as with the hands to convey meaning.

Nick’s ASL class has about 25 students, and runs Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at the high school. (Students have directed studies the remaining days) The teacher, Glenna Caliendo, was born Deaf, but is both verbal and very skilled at reading lips, according to Nick. She also wears a cochlear implant and is thus able to discern sounds around her. Unlike the majority of Deaf adolescents, Nick explained, Ms. Caliendo attended non-Deaf public schools growing up, meeting with a speech pathologist until the age of 18 and learning to read lips. Actually, it was not until college that Ms. Caliendo became familiar with ASL. Nick has already learned much about the language from Ms. Caliendo, including grammar and vocabulary, and he has also learned about the culture of the Deaf community.

“Unlike most people, I was aware that there was a Deaf community, but I didn’t know a lot about it,” Nick said. “They also don’t consider being Deaf a disability, and neither do I. They are truly like everyone else. They just can’t hear. But that benefits them in the sense that they are exposed to this entirely new culture that will embrace them with open arms.”

In the future, Nick looks forward to learning more vocabulary as well as performing skits in ASL at the end of the school year. Already Nick has been able to use what he has learned to communicate with and assist a Deaf person at a job outside of school.

Like the ASL course, the Philosophy class runs three days per week at the high school, and includes 12 students. For senior Lauren Gelly, philosophy has long piqued her interest.

“I took a philosophy mini course over the summer and AP Gov last year and I was excited to revisit the topics of logic and structured argument,” she said.

Lauren enjoys learning under her current teacher, Joshua Cabral, who has helped the students learn how to debate and ponder important philosophical questionsAccording to Lauren, the course has taught her more about herself and her peers. The class offers a unique learning opportunity as she is in class with a group of people with whom she normally doesn’t interact, she added.

Philosophy students have already talked about how to form solid arguments and about stream of consciousness. Right now, they are concluding their study of logic and how to frame an argument. Lauren’s favorite topic so far has been learning how to disprove someone else in an argument.

Lauren, Nick, and the other Hanover High School students enrolled in American Sign Language or Philosophy seem to have already learned much valuable information that they can use in high school and in the outside world.  The partnership with Massasoit, which will include courses later this year in ASL 2 and Creative Writing, is part of the HHS Connect initiative, according to Principal Matthew Paquette.

“We hope to provide a more diversified educational experience that capitalizes on teacher expertise and provides greater student choice,” Mr. Paquette said. “As well, our vision is to provide even more opportunities for students to increase engagement and to demonstrate their learning in ways that our relevant to their interests and futures.”

Fall Sports Update: Homecoming This Weekend

Hanover High’s fall sports teams are deep into their seasons and working toward spots in post-season play. This weekend, we celebrate Homecoming with the football team’s  7 pm game Friday at the Harry Gerrish Memorial Field. Spectators will also be treated to performances by both the Cheerleaders and Marching Band.  In addition, members of the State Champion Rugby Team will be recognized and the Hanover High School Homecoming King and Queen announced.

Admission for the game is $5 for adults, $3 for senior citizens, and $3 for all students.  Two HHS Cheerleaders, Sammi Shisler and Lindsey Hillier, are leading a charge to Black Out Cancer.  The students have been selling long-sleeve shirts that they designed.  All proceeds from the sale will be donated to the local organization Wicked Good Cause.  Anyone wearing the Black Out Cancer shirt at the game will be admitted free of charge. Shirts can be purchased before the game at a table located next to the concession stand.

Football is 1-2 in league play with an overall record of 2-3.

In other sports:

Field Hockey is 5-2-0 in league play with an overall record of 6-4-1. The team has been playing well and will now be tested on the road, said athletic Director Mr Hutchison.  The team, led by captains Alyssa Wilcox, Abby Hammett and Alesandra Paluzzi, plays its final regular season home game on October 23.

Boys’ Soccer is 4-3-2 in league play with an overall record of 4-4-2.  They have won two games in a row and look to extend that streak with home games against Silver Lake and North Quincy this week.  Team captains are Garrett Madison, Joe Doyle and Ryan Hennessy.

Girls’ Soccer is 4-4-1 in league play with an overall record of 5-4-1.   They have two home games next week: Monday against Pembroke and Friday night against Rockland under the lights.  Captains areAlyssa Frates, Hannah Levin and Marisa Shoulla.

Volleyball is 3-7 in league play with an overall record of 5-8.  They play three home games in the next two weeks.  The atmosphere in the Edward M. Amaral gymnasium during volleyball matches is something everyone should experience, Hutchison said.  Varsity matches start after freshmen and JV games end, which is typically 5:15PM. Team captains are Taylor Scott, Morgan Lundin and Cassie Calabro.

Golf is having an excellent season.  They are currently 10-2 with three matches remaining. Team captains are Drew Cratty and Drew Zielinski.

Boys’ Cross Country is 3-3 on the season and Girls’ Cross Country is 2-4.  The seniors will run in their final home meet next Tuesday against Plymouth South.  A great spot to support the seniors and the entire program is on the hill at the opening of the middle school trail, according to Mr. Hutchison. Captains are Brian Hoyt, Kevin Talbot, Nick Courtney, Lauren Gelly, Sierra Little-Gill and Kristen Marchetti.

Cheerleading is approaching its competition season.  The competition team, led by captains Jaclyn Mignosa and Cammie Porzio, has been working hard to prepare its routine in hopes of defending its South Sectional Championship from a year ago.


For more photos, check out #HHStribe on Twitter


Should NFL Players be Fired for Kneeling During Anthem?

If you’ve tuned in to any NFL games in the past few weeks, you’ve definitely noticed the number of players sitting or kneeling during the National Anthem. But why are they doing this?

It all started in August 2016, when the San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick announced that he would not be standing for the National Anthem. His goal? To call attention to police violence and his opinion of injustice toward African Americans. This act caused an uproar of mixed emotions in the media and among fans. A handful of other athletes followed his lead, until this fall, when dozens of NFL players joined in.

Some players kneel, some sit, some link arms, and some don’t even leave the locker room. Since when has the NFL turned into a political podium to announce your stance on certain issues in the country? Most people want to turn on the television to watch a football game on any given night and witness two teams compete. Players are being paid to play, not to give their political views. And since when has making a political statement turned into disrespecting your country? The anthem stands for our country, and if you kneel or sit during it, you’re sending a message that you don’t like this country. If you feel the need to talk about politics, do it on your own time, not before a game on a stage where millions of people are watching.

In my opinion, the NFL should not fire players participating in this act, but they should start fining them, because it needs to end. If they fired every player who protested, an alarming number of players would lose their jobs and the NFL would be left very sparse.

This past Sunday, almost all teams protested in some way, many of them in response to President Trump’s comments of discontent with the players of the NFL. In my opinion, sports should be something you can watch where no politics are involved. People are tired of the protests. It is time for the NFL to unite as one, and resume standing for the National Anthem. We want to watch football again, not a political debate.


Field Trip Features French Culture, Amazing ‘Phantom’

Do you enjoy musicals? Are you a fan of mystery and extravagance? Regardless of whether you are drawn to musical theatre or not, The Phantom of the Opera on stage is well worth the ticket. With an iconic soundtrack, intriguing characters, and skilled actors and actresses, the play will entice all audiences, regardless of their interest in classic musicals.

Recently, a group of French students at Hanover High School took a field trip to see Phantom performed live at the Boston Opera House. The play is based on a 1910 French novel by the same name written by Gaston Leroux. The story has inspired many movies and play productions because of its dramatic and original plot.  In the story, a female performer at the Paris Opera House catches the attention of a masked composer who hides below the Opera to conceal his disfigured face. Christine, the singer who attracts the concealed “Phantom,” must choose between an admirer from her childhood and the mysterious, often unpredictable composer. Though the play contains elements of tragedy, the convincing performances by the actors, the beautiful stage sets, and the dramatic music make the experience of seeing the play exciting and suspenseful.

Before watching the play, French teachers Mrs. Dhommee and Mrs. Youngworth took their students to Brasserie JO, a Boston restaurant that serves French cuisine. Students ate from a delicious selection of foods, including French onion soup, a variety of sandwiches, and a plate of French desserts such as crème brûlée. Some even tried escargot—and liked it, for the most part!

Overall, the day served as an enriching learning experience, exposing students to aspects of French culture from baguettes before lunch to French literature performed on stage. It is uncommon for students to leave high school for the day to travel into Boston and experience so much culture firsthand, and it will be an unforgettable experience for all who attended. I highly suggest seeing The Phantom of the Opera when it comes back to Boston again, or wherever it finds you in the future!

Everything New from Apple’s iPhone Event

Above: Apple CEO Tim Cook Announcing Apple’s Latest Products

iPhone 8 and 8 Plus – No, there’s no 7S

As the successors to the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus and a cheaper alternative to the iPhone X, the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus bring a new design. Made with a glass back like previous iPhones, the new iPhone no longer has an aluminum body. The new glass back finally allows the iPhone to support wireless charging — but it can still be charged via the usual lightning cable if you don’t want to shell out the cash for the wireless charging pad (sold separately). Hopefully, though, this glass-backed phone fares better than the shatter-prone iPhone 4 and 4S of the past. This new design makes the new iPhones both thicker and heavier, although not by much.

Also new with the iPhone 8 is the A11 “Bionic” chip (Your best guess as to what “Bionic” means is just as good as mine). For the average user, just know this is 25 percent faster than the iPhone 7 and will remain fast for the next few iOS updates. The camera on the iPhone 8 also gets an upgrade, now taking better pictures in low light, with an improved flash that no longer leaves the background dark.

The iPhone 8 also bumps up the base storage size from 32gb to 64gb, which is good considering Apple raised the price of the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus $50 and $30 respectively. It comes in Silver, Space Gray, and Gold (No more Rose Gold, Jet Black, Matte Black, or Red). Overall this new iPhone feels more like an iPhone 7S than an iPhone 8, but it’s still a worthwhile upgrade if you’re in the need of a new phone. This also highlights the problem for Apple: iPhones have gotten so good, you rarely need a new one. Apple seems to have a solution to this problem and it ends in “X.”

iPhone X – Yup, seven ate nine

Yes, it’s pronounced “ten” not “x,” and yes, it’s $999. When the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus weren’t matching the rumors, Apple released the last trick it had up its sleeves. Marking 10 years of the iPhone, Apple says the iPhone X is the future, now. This iPhone, which was years in the making, is probably the biggest change to the iPhone since the iPhone 6 in 2014. Featuring an edge to edge screen which eliminates the iconic home button, it’s a bold move for Apple. Users now swipe up from the bottom of the screen to mimic the function of the home button. Also gone with the button is Touch ID. Formerly Apple’s default method of device unlocking, Touch ID is being replaced by the similarly named Face ID facial recognition system. Face ID is supposed to be 20 times more secure than Touch ID– and much easier to use. Now the user only has to look at the iPhone to unlock it. Apple says it should work even at night or if you put glasses on; just don’t have a twin. It can, however, tell the difference between you and a picture of you with depth sensors, so rest assured, nobody will use a family photo to get into your iPhone. Face ID seems to be a much easier way of unlocking your phone, but we’ll have to see how reliable it is when the phone is released in early November.

The biggest change with the iPhone X is that its screen is now OLED. This means blacks are deeper, colors are more vibrant, and battery is better (The pixels of an OLED screen are actually off when showing the color black). Since the screen is almost edge to edge, it puts a plus-sized iPhone screen in the body of a regular sized one. The body of the iPhone X is also glass-backed like the iPhone 8, but to differentiate between the two, the iPhone X has polished stainless steel around the edges. It can also be differentiated from the iPhone 8 by its vertical dual cameras, which Apple claims are its best yet (the second camera being for 2x zoom). Unfortunately though, the iPhone X only comes in two colors, Silver and Space Gray, which seems boring considering Apple has been releasing new colors for the iPhone almost every year. It’s also both thicker and heavier, but most people will probably enjoy the greater battery life (2 hours more than the iPhone 8).

While this iPhone finally brings a huge change to the lineup, the X has one drawback. The$999 price tag is much more than Apple customers are used to paying, and its at the top of the phone price range. It’s a big risk, since people will either see the value in the new technology, or Apple will learn it just outpriced its average customer.

Everything Else – But wait, there’s more

Apple also released a Series 3 Apple Watch, and a new Apple TV that plays 4K content. The latest watch now can be used with or without your iPhone nearby, since it features its own cellular connection (identified by its red Digital Crown button). Apple also announced the arrival of iOS 11, which was released last Tuesday with changes to the iPad and redesigns to Control Center, Notification Center, and core apps like the App Store, News and Siri.

In Towers Falling, a Novel Approach to Understanding 9/11

The commemoration of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks have passed, but as we held a moment of silence for those who died that day, I wondered how much do students really know about what happened. To adults my age, it’s not history; it’s something we lived through and will never forget. And being in the Boston area, where two of the planes originated, many of us have connections to someone who was directly impacted by that day. But if you’re a freshman, you likely weren’t even alive; if you’re a senior, you may have still been in diapers. In both cases, you may have little understanding of the events beyond what’s been covered in history class.

That’s where media comes in, the countless documentaries, news specials, fictionalized reenactments and books hoping to shed some light on the story. Since I personally still have a hard time looking at pictures or video of the planes slamming into the World Trade Center, I naturally head toward books to help me not just understand, but to remember and, even after all this time, to grieve.

Unfortunately, for years, I couldn’t find any good books about what happened (and this is a librarian talking!). There were children’s books, inspired by a fireboat that helped rescue survivors in New York or a general push toward kindness and tolerance. There were adult books, dense tomes trying to follow the paper trail toward the attackers and their financial backers. There were books that recorded survivors’ testimonials, chronicled the hero dogs that helped dig through wreckage for body parts, or recounted the devastating effects on soldiers who fought in Afghanistan and Iraq during the seemingly endless War on Terror. There is a great novel, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safron Foer, about a boy trying to make sense of his father’s death in the attacks, but at 368 pages, it scares some students away.

Then I found Towers Falling by Jewell Parker Rhodes. Set in the boroughs of New York City ten years later, the book follows 10-year-old Deja in her struggle to understand why her father went “crazy” after Sept. 11, why he can’t hold a job and the family must live in a cramped homeless shelter. In school, her classes memorialize the attacks, but don’t really understand the ramifications, the effects still rippling through people’s lives. With the help of her friend Ben, whose father served in the military, and Sabeen, who has been bullied for being Muslim, Deja uncovers her family’s long-held secret.  She finally understands why her father is the way he is.

Although this book is geared for middle schoolers (grades 4-7 if you read the reviews), I bought two copies for the HHS Library. Sure, the main characters are younger, but I think many of us can relate to their confusion over something that adults feel was life-changing but is mere ancient history to them. When I read about Pearl Harbor or Vietnam, I feel the same sense of detachment that young people may feel about 9/11. This novel can help students explore and process their feelings about the attacks, and the memorial services that come every September. It’s done without being overly graphic or unnecessarily somber, and I would recommend that every HHS student devote the few hours it would take to read this short novel.