Tag Archives: featured

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.


Which Club at HHS is the Best Fit for You?

This article has been updated to reflect changes for the 2017-2018 school year.

Coming back this fall as a senior, there are a lot of things I am proud to have been a part of during my time at high school. For all the freshmen this year and even the returning upperclassmen, my biggest advice would be to take part in sports teams, clubs, and school events when you have the opportunity. Not only will you have something to write on your college applications, but you will make some of the best friends you will ever have and have a lot of fun. 

Here are the clubs we offer:

Art Club: Advised by Mr. Crawford (room 108), the art club hangs out after school and finds creative ways to express themselves through art. Whether you like to doodle, sketch, draw, paint or look through the viewfinder of a camera, Art Club may be for you.

Aviation Club: This club was started by a few students who had an interest in planes and flight. Students work with Mr. Matt Plummer (main office) to use flight simulators and work on aviation-related projects.

Be Better Club: Advised by our Guidance Department,  this new club brings students together to bring out the best in themselves and each other. The focus is on doing good within the school and community. Stop by Guidance for more information.

Debate Team: This club strengthens students’ skills in public speaking and developing arguments. Students travel to different schools to take part in debates, where they are scored on several aspects including preparation and delivery. The topic is set by the league and researched in advance, but students have to be ready for whatever argument their opponents throw at them. See the main office if you’re interested.

img_1886Dirty Work: Started two years ago, this club meets after school weekly to use their green thumbs to help better our gardens and communities. The plot they’ve tended, located near the school courtyard, has grown wildflowers as well as tomatoes, zucchini and other vegetables. Advised by Mrs. Emerson (room 215) and Mrs. Curtis (room 208), Dirty Work members have high hopes and big plans for expanding their garden and community impact.

Diversity Club: If you couldn’t tell by the name, this club is for absolutely anyone. This club allows you to express and embrace your diversity with other students in the school, always being respectful of everyone and their differences. Advised by Ms. Wade (room 120), the club provides a safe space for members of the LGBTQ+ community.

DSC_1083Drama Club: The drama club puts on a few big performances each year, directed by Ms. Snavely. This fall, students are working on the musical Oklahoma, which will debut in November. If you’re not comfortable being in the spotlight, you can always help behind the scenes as a member of the crew.

Fashion Club: Founded by Class of 2015 grads Haley Martin and Bruna Dacosta, the Fashion Club allows for students to express themselves through fashion, while keeping up on trends and starting new fads within the school. This club, advised by Mrs. Gallagher (Guidance),  put on a breathtaking fashion show just a couple years ago, and all who attended and participated were truly struck by all of the hard work the fashion club had put in.

Friendship Connection:  Advised by Mrs. Gately (room 308), this club is absolutely life-changing, and allows you to make incredible friendships with special needs students. This club participates in Special Olympics and Unified sports, where special needs students and their peers compete side by side. 

Green Team: This club is advised by Ms. Egan (Guidance) and comes together after school each Wednesday to collect all of the recycled materials from the bins all over the school. If you are looking for community service hours or would like to make a difference on our planet, join this club and be an advocate for reducing, reusing, and recycling.

img_1891LitMag: The literary magazine allows you to express yourself through short stories, poetry, essays, artwork and photography. Advised by Ms. Fay (room 208), the magazine is accepting submissions for the first issue.

Math Team: Math team travels to different schools to participate in meets. The math team director is Dr. DeFranzo (room 219), who helps students practice for the meets which are based around all different math topics including geometry, algebra, trigonometry and calculus. If you have a knack for math, want to sharpen your  skills, or you just like eating pizza with a cool group of people, join this team.

News Club/The Indian: If you’re reading this, you know that the News Club publishes all of its articles on its very own website, www.hhsindian.com. The Indian covers a wide range of topics, from entertainment to sports to politics. Anyone is allowed to submit articles, and there are deadlines every week for writers to follow. Meetings are held in the library every Tuesday. Advised by Mrs. McHugh (library), club members have also taken field trips to learn more about journalism.

blood1Red Cross Club: A few times a year, there is a blood drive that takes place here at our school and allows all who are eligible to give blood. This club organizes and staffs the blood drives and raises money for the Red Cross efforts in the community. It is advised by Mrs. Curley (room 110) and Mrs. Davis (Nurse’s office).

Robotics Club: This club, advised by Ms. Borgeson (room 116), focuses on learning about robots and technology. This club gets to play with our school’s very own robot, Nao, and participate at competitions.

SADD: SADD stands for “Students Against Destructive Decisions” and is a club that works with Mrs. Rapalje (Guidance) to stray from drugs, alcohol, and destructive decisions as a whole. One event the club has done in the past has been a Day of Silence, in which members vow not to speak the entire day to bring awareness to bullying faced by LGBTQ students.

Student Council: Student Council is for anyone and everyone. This club, directed by Mr. Hegarty and Mr. Centorino (room 308), is full of endless opportunities, whether you’re looking to do community service, organize school events, or just be a part of something in general. Elections for class officer and representative positions are held each spring, and students who do not get elected are recommended to attend meetings as honorary representatives.

Yearbook: Although yearbooks are mainly purchased by seniors, the staff includes all of the grades and recaps the entire school year with pictures and captions. Mrs. Coates (room 220) leads the club throughout the year to work on the keepsake that graduates will look back on for years to come.