Monthly Archives: December 2013

Lobe Stretching: Fashion Trend

A collection of gauges and plugs. (Photo/Bri Burley)

A collection of gauges and plugs. (Photo/Brianna Burley)

By: Brianna Burley

Throughout history, society has found ways to elaborately express individual style through such things as fashion trends, hairstyles, and body modifications.

Body art, like tattoos and piercings, in particular, have proved to catch the attention of those who seek to have a unique persona. Body modifications started trends through all ages and “cliques” of society.

At first glance, it may seem as though lobe stretching is most popular in teenagers and young adults who are fans hardcore metal and punk rock. However, lobe stretching can be found in all ages or groups.

Musicians like former American Idol contestant Adam Lambert and Gym Class Heroes singer Travis McCoy both wear fashion plugs, which are put in the stretched lobes.

“Some of my favorite bands have plugs and I want them too,” said Ally Marceau.

While some may consider lobe stretching a recent fad, it has actually existed for thousands of years, prevalent particularly in Eastern cultures. For example, the Moai statues at Easter Island display an early indication of earlobe stretching, as well as the Buddha and Tutankhamen’s burial bust.

lobe stretching is the process of expanding healed piercings to fit increasingly larger sizes of jewelry. The process of ear stretching can be performed in various ways and methods,  yet some are more dangerous than others. Two of the most popular methods include the taper method and the taping or wrapping method.

The taper method is the process of using a tapered material with the size of the initial piercing at one end and the desired size at the other end.

Tapers are most commonly made of materials such as acrylic or plastic. However using such materials can be detrimental to ear health due to hazardous chemicals in the materials. It is safer to use tapers and plugs made of materials like steel, glass, titanium, and wood.

The taper method is also risky because the uneven weight of the taper could pull on the healed piercing causing misshaping, tearing, or other further damage.

To start the procedure, acquire a taper that is the correct gauge.  Gauges are measured in respect to millimeters and gauge sizes run from an 18g to a 00g, however, it is possible to stretch the ears further.

After finding the correct taper, lubricate the smallest end with a water-based lube and proceed to insert into the piercing.  The piercing will feel uncomfortable and sore for a week, but should heal completely in a month, in which time the piercing can be re-stretched to fit a larger gauge.

The alternative method of stretching ears is the taping method. This procedure is ideal for those who look to stretch to larger gauges. It is performed by wrapping medical tape around the initial piece of jewelry and then increasing the amount of tape and size of jewelry when the piercing has healed and further stretching can begin. This method of stretching has proved effective against blowouts or when the ear lobe brakes due to stress on the lobe or thinning of the lobe.

However, in using any of the stretching methods there’s always a risk to having a blowout or other permanent damage to the ear. AHS Nurse Cindy Ennes has seen students come to her office because of infected ears due to ear stretching. She says most infections come “from them touching [their] ears a lot, poor healing, over manipulation, exposure to germs, and putting inappropriate objects into the piercing hole.” The only way to avoid damage is to stretch the piercings slowly and appropriately, being sure to let the ear heal completely. Otherwise, expensive surgeries to prepare the broken earlobe will be needed, costing thousands of dollars.

Lobe stretching can have some gagging in disgust, while others may admire the style for evocative beauty.

“It all depends on the person,” said sophomore Brec Stoer.

At the end of the day, as the saying goes, “beauty is in the eye of the beholder.”


Christmas Movies

By: Sasha Nieves

AHS student's favorite Christmas movie, according to the survey. (

AHS students’ favorite Christmas movie, according to the survey. (

Christmas time is one of the most anticipated times of the year for many students, not just because of the presents, hot cocoa, or the warm light from Christmas trees, but because of the memorable Christmas movies that come around only at “the most wonderful time of the year.”

“I love Dec. especially because of all the countdowns ‘til Christmas that just play Christmas movies over and over. I wait all year for this,” said Ann Spence (12).

A survey was conducted of 50 students from AHS to figure out what Christmas movies were their favorites. Elf came in first with 21 votes, How the Grinch Stole Christmas with 13, Polar Express with 7, Home Alone with 5, and The Santa Clause with 3.

Elf is a movie about a human (Will Ferrel) who believes he is an elf after living in the North Pole for the majority of his life. When he enters the real world he finds himself having trouble adapting to the human lifestyle.

Brandon Tetu (12) said, “Elf is probably one of the funniest movies I have ever seen.  Will Ferrel is hilarious and does a great job.”

How the Grinch Stole Christmams, based on the popular children’s book by Dr. Seuss, is about a green spiteful Grinch who despises Christmas and tries to steal all the presents from every house and person he knows in town. In the end, he finds himself feeling love and guilt and his heart grows to twice its size.

“This is by far the cutest Christmas movie. It’s so funny when the Grinch is mean but in the end of the movie has such a perfect ending,” said Morgan Marchand (11).

The Polar Express is an animated movie about reigniting a childhood faith in Santa Claus. In the movie, a train picks up dozens of children and takes them to see the real Santa Claus to help them believe again. They all witness a real Christmas miracle. The movie also features a very memorable and well written soundtrack.

“Every year my sisters run around the house singing the songs from this movie, they are obsessed. It is a great movie though; it makes me wish I was a kid again so I could still believe in Santa Claus,” said Jaide Carlson (11).

Home Alone is a Christmas movie about a young boy who is left behind when his large family miscounts and leaves him while they go on vacation. During his time alone, he enjoys the first few days of freedom but is then stuck with the job of saving his home from two thieves who try to rob the house. In the end the boy realizes how important family is and feels true joy when they return home for him on Christmas morning.

“I used to watch Home Alone all the time when I was little because I would imagine all the things I would do if I were left alone during Christmas and just imagine how awesome it would be,” said Jason Ross (11).

The Santa Clause is a family comedy about a divorced father (Tim Allen) whose relationship with his son is mended when he becomes the new Santa Claus and takes on all the challenges of filling in St. Nick’s shoes.

“A lot of people may not agree but this is a perfect Christmas movie because Christmas does have a lot to do with family. It’s not just about getting presents,” said Chelsea Callahan (11).

Tis’ the Season

By: Julianna Araujo

Emerald Square Mall, a popular Christmas shopping spot in North Attleboro, Mass. (Photo/Juilanna Araujo)

Emerald Square Mall, a popular Christmas shopping spot in North Attleboro, Mass. (Photo/Juilanna Araujo)

With the morning of Dec. 25 fast approaching, excited children are fantasizing about the piles of gifts that will be laid out under the sparkling tree, while their frazzled parents are desperately grasping for ideas to make sure there are gifts to be opened. Every year, men, women, and children from the early days of Nov. through mid-Dec  run from store to store trying to find the perfect gifts for their friends and family.

“I dread the weeks leading up to Christmas because I’m going to be on my feet for hours running around the mall trying to find the perfect gifts for my family to make their Christmas special,” said Attleboro parent Stephanie Sakalian.

Throughout the holiday season, parents simply strive to make their families happy come Christmas, although, as children become teenagers, the gift giving and finding process seemingly becomes much more complicated than it needs to be.

“I need my kids to tell me exactly what they want, if they don’t, chances are I’ll buy something they absolutely hate and I’ll be right back where I started even returning the gifts I worked so hard to decide on,” said Attleboro parent Paulo Araujo.

Nowadays, the top rated Christmas gifts are gender neutral, as technology has taken over the younger generations. This year, some of the most asked for presents are smart phones (iPhone or Droid), laptops, and the newest gaming systems.

“Electronics are the best gifts in my opinion, everyone loves them and while some might be expensive, they’re the “go to” items on top of everyone’s list,” said Nikki Purrier (11).

Along with the desire for technology, another easy gift for children is simply needed clothing. With new trends hitting stores month after month teens are easily satisfied.

“I think clothes are a really easy present as long as you tell your parents exactly what you want and of course your size so you don’t have to go through returns,” said Jason Ross (11).

Parents may struggle more finding the perfect gifts for their daughters. “For Christmas I like when my parents get me makeup, purses, or perfumes; I’m pretty easy to satisfy. I think my mom makes it a lot harder than it needs to be,” said Allie Lucier (11).

Another difficult aspect of the gift giving process is stuffing stockings with small items that suit children’s and teen’s needs.

“Finding the perfect gifts for stockings is, in my opinion, tedious work; they can’t be too big or expensive, so usually I just give my kids chap stick or deodorant, simple drug store items,” said Attleboro parent Jane Leek.

Despite the struggles and stress the holidays bring, the end result shows on children’s faces as they open those gaily wrapped boxes. The matching looks on their parent’s faces after they watch their children’s happiness are worth all their endeavors.

2013 Most Wanted Christmas Gifts




Oakley Sunglasses Pets (kitten, rabbit) Purse
Cologne Headphones Scarves
Shaving kits Video Game Systems (Xbox1,Playstation 4) Jewelry
Video games Nike shoes, Van shoes Make up
Football Phones (Iphone 5, Galaxy 4) Perfume
ESPN magazine subscription Money, Gift cards Duvets
Clothing Clothing Heels (gift certificates to shoe stores)
Drake concert tickets Laptop, iPad Salon gift certificates (hair and nails)
Football cleats Texting gloves Nicholas Sparks DVD/books

High School in France

Friends Justine (left) and Alison (right). (Courtesy of Alison Hernandez)

Friends Justine (left) and Alison (right). (Courtesy of Alison Hernandez)

By: Cameron Merritt

Alison Hernandez is a terminale, the equivalent of a senior, at the Lycée Edgar Faure in Morteau, France, along with friend Justine Frésard. On Sept. 4, the 17 year-olds entered their third and final year of high school, after having spent four years in collège, the French version of middle school. In France, the school year starts in early Sept. and ends in late June, and in between, students have two-week vacations in Oct., late Dec.-early Jan., Feb. and April.

Traditionally, the French school week starts on Monday and ends on Saturday, with a half day on Wednesday, but Hernandez said that very few schools she knew still held Saturday classes.

Lycée Edgar Faure starts at 7:55 a.m., and closes at 5:20 p.m., except on Fridays when it closes five minutes early. Students’ lunch is from 11:55 a.m. to 1:25 p.m., which Hernandez and Frésard consider necessary because it can take a long time to eat, since the entire school has the same lunch time. Most students purchase their food in the cafeteria, or at La Mieu Du Val, a popular food stand just off campus, which sells baked goods during breakfast and lunch.

During the lunch break, students can eat in the cafeteria, where they hang out, do homework, or play games, or go to the Salle Polyvalente, similar to a study hall, where they can do homework, study or talk. When the weather permits it, many will spend the time outside, where some students also smoke, perhaps one of the more prominent differences between U.S. and French schools.

The school’s student body is relatively the same size as AHS, but Hernandez’s region of the Franche-Comté is mostly rural, so students enroll from all over the department, or county, of Doubs. The school’s biggest claim to fame is its nationally-renowned specialized watch-making program, only one of three in the entire country. Students who want to specialize in watch-making travel from all over France to attend. Dorms are provided for those students who come from other parts of France, with about 300 students living on campus.

As students enter high school in France, they are separated into different séries, similar to college majors, of the baccalauréat, the all-important high school test for students in the country. The three main sections are scientific, which involves the study of math and science, économique et social, involving the study of math, economics, and social sciences, and literréaire, which involves further classes in French, foreign languages, philosophy, and history.

Each program is meant to help students be involved with what they want to study in université and which careers they’d like to pursue. Each individual séries determines how many hours of class time and what kinds of classes the students will take. All students in the same program will have the same schedule of classes at the same time, and only with those students in their program. Hernandez is in literréaire, or L, and she takes seven hours each of her two main courses, philosophy and English, along with four hours of history and elective courses each week. Frésard is in économique et social, or SES, with six hours of class time every week in each of her core classes, and four hours of math and history. There is no set amount of required hours each student has to do every day. Similar to colleges in the U.S, schedules for students depend on their courses.

“I have classes on Monday morning but I have the afternoon free. I have six hours of classes on Tuesdays, four hours [on] Wednesdays, eight hours [on] Thursdays and five and a half on Fridays,” said Frésard.

“It’s the head teacher [principal] who decides our schedules,” added Hernandez.

Léonie Chassel, another terminale, L student and friend of Hernandez, says that it can be rare to see friends from another section and any meetings, at all, are very brief.

“I only [walk by] them, I don’t get to talk to them,” she said.

The average school day for Hernandez starts when she wakes up 6 a.m., her bus arrives around 7:10 a.m., and it takes about 45 minutes to drive to her school.

“On the morning bus, almost everyone sleeps,” said Hernandez. “When Justine and I can sit next to each other we talk, but sometimes we can’t so we have to sit next to other people. [When that happens,] I just listen to music and try to rest a little.”

Buses drop students off at a spot near the school, and from there it’s about a five to ten minute walk to the campus. The school is divided up into three main building; one for the school’s administrators, another for the sciences, and a third, large building for most of the other courses.

Once inside, students must go to the classrooms quickly as classes start almost instantly. Each class is 55 minutes long, but sometimes she will have the same subject twice.

“That’s why I say that some days I have two hours of English,” said Hernandez, giving an example.

Her favorite classes are philosophy and English, which she describes as “very interesting,” as she loves the two subjects and does well in them. She wants to pursue a career involving the English language, which she is nearly fluent in. Students take two foreign language courses; she also takes Spanish (“not my favorite” said Hernandez), and previously studied German.

Another subject she has is Sport, or P.E. class, for two hours every week. It’s not her favorite, but she does enjoy aspects of the class, which is good considering it’s a part of her baccalauréat, though only minimally.

“My favorite [activity] last year was probably dance because it was funny and we had to create choreography and we thought we were professional dancers,” said Hernandez with a laugh. “This year my favorite is badminton, [and] I’m actually pretty good at it!”

There are after school sports teams as well, and students have the option to take more sport classes, but she says high school sports aren’t as popular in France as they are in America.

After her final classes, buses start to arrive around 5 p.m. Some students participate in the few after-school activities offered, such as intramural sports and the magic club, however, with a 45 minute bus ride ahead of her, plus a few hours of homework, Hernandez doesn’t feel she’d have the time for such activities. If she could though, she would want to be in a debate club, or music, though she admits she’s not good at singing.

French high school students also begin the process of learning to drive. The French process is much more gradual than the U.S., and while students begin lessons at 16, they cannot receive their licenses until they turn 18.

“Justine is a bit ahead of me because she started sooner, but we’re both allowed to drive with our parents and we have to wait until we’re 18 to take the test,” said Hernandez based on her and Fresard’s current driving situation. Neither have their own cars, in fact, they say they may not even need one at the moment, as both plan to go to a university in the city.

Last year, their school welcomed a foreign exchange student from the U.S., a girl named Nora, for six months. Hernandez, who became friends with her during her stay, said it was quite the learning experience for both Nora and their classmates.

“It was nice because she was different,” said Hernandez. “I remember her saying how tired she was by the end of the day because she wasn’t used to having classes until 5 p.m. She was shocked the first time she saw a student smoking in school. What surprised us the most about her is how ‘free’ she was, like how she casually talked to teachers and talked to people she didn’t know in the hallways.”

When she thinks of high schools in the U.S., she thinks of cheerleaders, football players and prom, saying “they are just symbolic of what we think of when we [the French] talk about the U.S.”

Comparing the two school systems, Hernandez said that she overall preferred the American one for its after-school activities.

“I wished that my school had more activities outside of the classes,” said Hernandez. “I feel like we go to school just for the classes and then we leave. [American schools] don’t, [they] have sport games, Prom & stuff like that. I’d like that.”

She also wished that her school held a graduation ceremony, which only some schools in France do, such as a private school her older sister Megane attended.

As for her own school system, there are a few things she preferred, like how she has the same people in all of her classes, the longer lunches, and having programs like her literréaire, saying that she liked the fact that she no longer had to take subjects she wasn’t so good in like math and science, and focus on those that she succeeds in. She felt that French students don’t care as much about what other people like, what they do, and how they dress, though acknowledged that bullying still occurs.

Asked if she had a final message for the students at AHS, Hernandez thought for a moment then said, “Go Blue Bombardiers!”

Insidious: Chapter 2

The movie poster for Insidious: Chapter 2. (IM Global)

The movie poster for Insidious: Chapter 2. (IM Global)

By: Julianna Araujo

On Sept. 13, the second installment of the horror trilogy Insidious scared its way into theaters across the country. Insidious I, released in 2010, was such a success that a second movie was already in high demand.

Directed by James Wan, the story picks up a day after the events that ended the first movie. Renai Lambert (Rose Byrne) is faced with the near impossible challenge of trying to piece together what evil spirit had possessed her husband, Josh Lambert (Patrick Wilson) causing him to kill the one source of help available in this supernatural mess.

Renai moves her family of three children into her mother in-laws house with hope that whatever was haunting them in their old home does not follow them; of course they were not so lucky. With spirits following their every move, Renai begins a terrifying adventure to protect her family and bring her real husband back.

Throughout the course of the 106 minute PG-13 film, mind boggling secrets about Josh’s past are uncovered, tying together all the loose ends of the first movie, such as who is the real killer and what exactly is possessing the family.

Insidious II surpassed what was expected at the box offices, collecting over $41 million in only the first weekend. Crowds continue to steadily flow into theaters to experience Insidious for themselves.

As the film concludes numerous questions are left unanswered, with a cliff hanger unveiled in the final scene. Announced two days after the second movie was released, an Insidious III is already in the works and set to premier within the next two years.

Insidious II delivers nonstop horror and suspense. It deserves four out of five stars because of the fantastic way in which viewers are engrossed in the film, already begging for more as the credits begin to roll.

AHS Football Grabs First Thanksgiving Win Since 2008

AHS QB Tim Walsh (12) attempts a throw during he annual Thanksgiving game. (Photo/Dave Clark)

AHS QB Tim Walsh (12) attempts a throw during he annual Thanksgiving game. (Photo/Dave Clark)

By: Cameron Merritt

For the first time since 2008, the Hilda trophy will return to AHS, as the Blue Bombardiers defeated the North Attleboro Red Rocketeers 34-19 at North’s Community Field.

“It’s honestly a great feeling [to win],” said Damon Belin (11), the running back who took the offensive MVP honors for the game. “It’s a good accomplishment for the whole team. It wasn’t just a one person effort, it was on everybody.”

North Attleboro won the coin toss and elected to defer and from there, the Bombardiers would go on to score on two consecutive drives. Quarterback Tim Walsh (12) took the ball himself in from 34 yards out to give AHS an early lead, which was made 7-0 by Mike Cannata’s (12) successful PAT.

On the resulting kickoff, the Bombardiers forced a Rocketeer fumble that was recovered by AHS’s Joe Deiratani (12) on their own 42 yard line. After a series of runs by Walsh and Belin, Walsh took it in again on a goal line sneak to make it 13-0 with 3:06 left in the first quarter. The score would stay that way as Cannata’s PAT came up short, pushed back by the wind.

The Rocketeers would respond in the second quarter, quickly shifting the game’s momentum. A long drive was capped off by a five yard touchdown run from Chris Hunter (12), making it 13-7 after the successful PAT attempt.

Then, Jack Blasé (12) picked off Walsh on the first play of the resulting AHS drive, setting them up in a very good field position at the Bombardiers 25 yard line, and a few plays later, Hunter ran in another touchdown, this one from two yards out, to tie it all up at 13-13.

But the Bombardiers would respond right back on the next drive, capped off by a four yard touchdown run by Belin just before the half to increase their lead to 20-13, following the successful Cannata PAT.

After the half, North received the ball and were eventually forced to punt, and the Bombardiers drove down field from their own 25, finally adding six more points via a two yard run by Tom Burns (12) about midway through the third quarter. Cannata’s PAT increased the AHS lead to 27-13.

In the fourth quarter, the Bombardiers faced a 4th & 13 at midfield and decided on a fake punt run by Walsh, who was stopped before he could reach the first down. The turnover turned into points for the Rocketeers when quarterback James Kummer (12) found Jake Lang (12) wide open for a 31 yard touchdown to bring the score within 10. However, a fumbled snap on the PAT followed by a failed attempt to run it into the end zone meant the Bombardiers would still hold an eight point lead.

That lead would increase to 15 when Belin ran in his second touchdown of the day from eight yards out with 2:53 left to play. Cannata’s PAT would bring it to 34-19, and after a couple more drives, the Bombardiers forced a North turnover on downs when Luke Morrison (12) and Andrew Carrello (12) sacked Kummer for a loss of 18. Taking the ball, they kneeled twice and allowed the clock to run out, sealing their second victory over their arch-rival this year.

“[This win] feels amazing. It’s unforgettable. It’s the greatest feeling in the world,” said AHS’s defensive MVP of the game, Ryan Bowen (12), an award that made the win even better, though he added he said he couldn’t have done it without his teammates.

Looking back at how much progress AHS had made since their 7-7 performance last year, Walsh said, “We went down with a seven game losing streak last year, so we just had [a strong] work ethic going into this season… I feel like the ‘Blue Pride’ in this town is back.”

This article originally appeared on

Eminem is Back

Eminem spray paints the word "bezerk" in his music video for "Bizerk." (Screenshot/Jonathan Kermah)

Eminem spray paints the word “bezerk” in his music video for “Bizerk.” (Screenshot/Jonathan Kermah)

By: Jonathan Kermah

It’s been three years since Eminem’s last solo album but he still manages to be a lyrical force with his new album The Marshall Mathers LP 2 (TMMLP2). Although Eminem wasn’t too excited about this album, it is something his fans will enjoy, even though this may not be his best.

MMLP2 is a sequel to Eminem’s highest selling album, The Marshall Mathers LP. Eminem described it as a revisit to the original MMLP and that’s what it feels like. The MMLP2 provides a sense of closure to the initial MMLP album released in 2000 with songs that show how he has evolved as a person over the years.

The biggest sense of closure and change is felt in his song “Headlights,” which shows how his feelings for his mother have matured compared to his earlier albums. The reflective lyrics say, “Mom, you’re still beautiful to me cuz you’re my mom,” which is totally different from previous albums where he talks about their extremely bad relationship.

MMLP2 has a total of 21 songs including his singles “Berzerk,” “Survival,” and “Rap God.” Other standout songs include “Bad Guy,” a sequel to the MMLP’s “Stan,” and “The Monster,” where Eminem and Rihanna team up for the second time, following their 2010 hit “Love the Way You Lie.”

Along with Rihanna, Eminem features other strong artists like Skyler Grey, Kendrick Lamar, Nate Russ, and Sia. All the artists provide the vocals to the chorus of the songs they are featured in except Lamar, who alongside Eminem, creates lyrical chaos with his creativity and quickly delivered lyrics in “Love Game.”

This album deserves four out of five stars. Overall MMLP2 is good but it could be better. The album still manages to be entertaining but there aren’t enough songs that blow the listener away compared to the standards of many jaw dropping lyrical songs Eminem has set with previous albums, but those standards are tough to live up to. With all that being said, this is still an album that most fans will enjoy.