Monthly Archives: January 2016

Carbon Copy Awakens

Star Wars Photo

Wow, the force awoke (Screenshot by: Keegan Douglass)

By: Keegan Douglass

 

A short time ago in a galaxy not too far away, Star Wars Epsiode III: Revenge of the Sith had a tagline claiming that “The saga is complete,” but that tagline has been nullified since director JJ Abrams released the most recent installment: Star Wars Epsiode VII: The Force Awakens.

This film features new characters, including ones who were in the original saga. Returning characters include Han Solo (Harrison Ford), Leia Organa (Carry Fischer) and Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew).

Both Han Solo and Chewbacca are used to their full potential, bringing their original best friend banter back. Leia, however, was only used as a way to please older fans. While Fischer’s performance as Leia is stellar, the character didn’t have anything to do, other than give a few reaction shots to any action occurring on screen.

The new cast and characters are perfect and will fit the new saga as well as the old characters fit the original saga. Rey (Daisy Ridley) serves well as the new Jedi Learner character, and Finn (John Boyega) has a perfect blend of both comedic relief and seriousness.

The saga’s new villain, Kylo Ren (Adam Driver), is an interesting character, but is a perfect example of what is wrong with The Force Awakens. The plot elements are exactly the same as the ones used in Star Wars: A New Hope (1977). Ren is a big bad guy, dressed in all black, wielding a red lightsaber, and wearing a dark metallic mask. That description is almost exactly the same as one that could be given to Darth Vader (James Earl Jones/David Prowse).

Major plot elements of The Force Awakens aren’t anything new to the Star Wars saga. There is a big battle station, which can destroy an entire planet, that the good guys must destroy in order to save the galaxy. This is something that has happened twice before in both A New Hope (1977) and Return of the Jedi (1983).

While the plot elements are too similar to be realistic, it fits the overall tone of the film. Star Wars never really was about plot, because each film told the generic story of rebels fighting against the greater evil, something that this film portrays incredibly well. No film is without its flaws, and the flaws of this film are minimal.

After going so long without a decent Star Wars film, The Force Awakens is a breath of fresh air, providing audiences with something that truly feels like a Star Wars film. Overall, this film was a great addition to the saga, but earning only three out of five stars because of the continued use of its clichéd plot elements.

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Robotics

Robotics-pic

Robotics team (Photo by: Alina Em)

By: Teresa Turner

Attleboro High School’s (AHS) Robotics Club competed on Jan. 9, 2016 in the FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) Res-Q challenge. The Robotics club was started last year by CTE engineering technology teacher Mrs. Keri Mcinnis and AHS math teacher Mr. Michael Brother.

“I thought for our first time competing that the students did a great job. They worked really hard, showed professionalism and problem solving skills while at the competition. I’m very proud of them,” said Mcinnis.

The FTC uses a point system in which the robots participating must fit certain parameters and complete tasks like climbing and picking up objects to deposit in buckets. The robots are manned by two remote control drivers and overseen by a mentor, which is another student from each team. Alliances are formed before each round between teams in order for the robots in the alliance to work together to score more points.

“It was really difficult [to build the robot] because we had a design and on the turn of a dime we realized it wouldn’t work. We had to rush a design and were actually just focusing on not breaking the rules,” said AHS sophomore Evelyn Mortimer.

The FTC competition starts with districts then goes to state, regionals, and finally nationals. Only the first place winners from each competition move onto the next stage of competition. After hearing they were moving onto the state competition, AHS sophomore Rachel Perrault said, “I was more proud of the getting there than hearing about it.”

At the competition, the Blue Bot Group team led by sophomore Jeffrey Matheson originally took second place, however, they were given the Inspiration Award, an award given to the team that displays the best overall teamwork and dynamic that embodies the challenge of the FTC program. The Inspiration Award allowed the Blue Bot Group to move on to the state competition. The set date for the state competition is Feb. 27, 2016 in Natick.

“When we first saw the other teams, I was a little bit scared of what they could do because I wasn’t too sure if they [the robots] could work. Some of the robots were drastically different than ours,” said AHS sophomore Andrew Brown.

The Robotics Blue Bomber Bots team led by senior Harsha Ogoti lost in the semi final round and will not move on to the state competition, but the team received the Connect Award. There was an award ceremony, during which ten awards were given out among the teams in the district.

“We plan on making it [the robot] smaller and more agile. We had a more box shape, this time we’re going for a smaller box shape. Having the robot be smaller would allow us to maneuver it more easily and it would lower the possibility of it flipping over,” said junior Alex Whittingham.

Before this year the Robotics club had only watched the competitions instead of competing due just creating the club with Ogoti as the president.

“It was a fairly new experience for everybody, it was an eye opener, but once everybody got into the heat of the moment, everybody stepped up to the plate,” said Ogoti.

The atmosphere while tense was said to be supportive. According to the participants, the overall experience was fun all around. The competition was hosted at Lexington High School with 12 teams participating.

“It was pretty crazy we thought we would be behind the other teams, but when we got there they were in the same position as us. Everyone’s robots were barely working. It was whomever’s broke the least that did the best,” said senior Connor Harmelink.

The AHS Robotics Club found the experience to be not only fun but educational. The club said they enjoyed the experience and plan to continue to compete again next year.

Man On The Street: Do Teenagers Judge Their Peers By Their Actions When It Concerns Gender Identity?

By: Kayla Lamb

 

According to dictionary.com, a gender role “is a set of behaviors that indicates one’s gender.” For example, if a man acts “ladylike” he is seen as gay; if a woman is acting too “masculine” she is thought of as a lesbian. The students and faculty of the AHS community have a wide opinion on this issue.

 

Rachel Shuman

Senior Rachel Shuman

“No, because people like all different stuff. Just because a woman dresses like a tomboy, doesn’t mean that she is a lesbian.”

Charlotte Santaro

Sophomore Charlotte Santaro

“Yes. They [teenagers] feel like they should see that person in a certain way and when they don’t act a certain way, they judge them.”

Hanna Childs

Sophomore Hanna Childs 

“No, because gender doesn’t define what people do.”

Kelsee Dias and Corey Larose

Sophomores Corey Larose and Kelsee Dias

Larose: “Yes, but it’s more of a justification. If a guy wears a dress, people are shocked, but if a girl wears one, it’s okay,”

Dias: “No, because they’re human and they’re allowed to act a certain way if they want to.”

Mark Tennant

Hall Monitor Mark Tennant

“Yes, if a guy wears high heels, you tend to judge. If a girl cuts her hair short, people tend to judge. “

Tara O'Neil

Sophomore Tara O’Neil

“No, because it’s just how the person feels, not on how they act.”

Weston Pndolfino

American Sign Language Teacher Mr. Weston Pondolfino 

“Yes. Society has norms whether they’re right or wrong and when people deviate from the right or wrong, people can’t accept/understand that.”

Micah Hoo

Senior Micha Hoo

“No, because you can’t change your gender.”

Gabriel Craig

Sophomore Gabriel Craig

“No. If they [person] see themselves in a certain way, they should be able to act the way they want to. You should get to know the person before you judge them by their actions.”

A New Beginning

12+

Ms. Theresa Carpenter and three students (Photo by: Nicole Lavoie)

By:Nicole Lavoie

Only three years old, the 12+ Program was put in place by Mass. to help students with disabilities enter the community more independently. The program teaches students about life and vocational skills, while also allowing them to be involved in the community.

Transition Specialist Ms. Stephanie Forte wishes there were more programs like this and that they existed sooner.

The program was instituted when there were enough students to make a class. The students in the 12+ program stay until their twenty second birthday and then either live with their parents or go into group homes. There weren’t enough students to make a separate program in previous years, so they stayed in the programs they were originally in.

After growing up with family members who have disabilities, Forte and 12+ program teacher Ms. Theresa Carpenter chose to help make a difference in the lives of those with disabilities.

Forte attended Syracuse University and earned her Bachelor of Science in History and another bachelor’s in Philosophy. She went on to earn her Master’s of Science in Special Education. She worked in Essential College Prep (ECP) and Night School at Attleboro High School (AHS) before becoming the Transition Specialist. Forte enjoyed both experiences even though they were complete opposites.

Carpenter went to Boston University (BU) and earned her Bachelor’s of Science in Education. She also went to Lesley University and earned a master’s in education. Carpenter worked at Easton Middle School in the autism program before coming to AHS last Sept.

If she could go anywhere in the world with one other person, Forte said she “would take Mrs. Carpenter and go to DC to make more [12+] programs.”

The 12+ Program allows AHS students to service the community at places like the food pantry, Morin’s Diner, Habitat for Humanity, senior centers, and The American Legion. Assisting these places teaches the students appropriate behavior in a work environment. They visit different places in the community every day but transportation for the 12 students isn’t always easy. There isn’t enough staff or vans to easily transport all the students at once.

For these students every day is something new and isn’t a traditional classroom setting, thus making it the preferred approach to teaching. Although there are many challenges for Forte and Carpenter such as scheduling and transportation, they are kept on their feet with the amount of paperwork and planning that goes into the program. In their free time both teachers try to find more opportunities for their students, to see them succeed and grow as individuals.

SONGS FOR YOU Review

 

Ray Goren

Artwork and flyers for SONGS FOR YOU(Photo By: Prowo Kinkoue-Poufong)

By: Prowo Kinkoue-Poufong

SONGS FOR YOU is a new EP from young artist Ray Goren. At just 15 years old, Goren is gifted with the ability to not only to write and compose music, but to also play the piano and guitar.

The EP was produced by Grammy Award winning artist Steve Jordan. SONGS FOR YOU is made up of five songs, two of which are Goren’s single “Those Days,” as well as a cover of “Light My Fire” by The Doors.

In every song a variety of genre influences can be heard such as rock, soul, pop, funk, and gospel. The product they produce is unique and impressive.

When listening to Goren’s music it’s easy to forget that he is a teenager singing; he is gifted with a very powerful voice and doesn’t shy away  from using it.

Goren’s single “Those Days” is an upbeat, soulful song pushing for peace and freedom. This track greatly differs from the song “Down and Out,” which is a slow ballad detailing the emotional troubles life brings.

“Song for me” is a smooth and fiery sounding record promoting self empowerment.

The best tracks are by far “It’s On You” and “Light My Fire.” These tracks were simply performed with  a flare and passion that stands out above the rest.

“Light My Fire,” though a cover, was really made into an original because of  Goren’s own style. “It’s on You” is another slow, impassioned number about relationships and the feelings and issues that can come when there are complications.

Being so young, Goren has time to continue to improve his work and expand his capabilities and overall sound. It will be interesting and exciting to see what’s next for Goren.

 

What a Feeling

One Direction Picture

Made in the A.M. (Picture from: OneDirectionVEVO, YouTube)

By: Jade Ford

 

          Vocalists Harry Styles, Louis Tomlinson, Niall Horan, and Liam Payne of One Direction recently released their album Made in the A.M., which has brought a new sound to the well-known pop boy band. One song in particular, “What a Feeling,” has piqued the interest of their fans; with its new smoother sound and feeling of simplicity and desire to go along with the re-mastered One Direction.

The group previously had a more London pop and dance type of feel to their music considering their current license is under Sony Music Entertainment UK Limited. The group originally became famous through the television show X Factor, originating in the UK where they were born and raised surrounded by British music.

Although there have been rumors of different management over the past few years along with previous band member Zayn Malik departing the group, the remaining members decided to make their own rules. Made in the A.M. is the fifth album that One Direction has released, yet the first album as a quartet.

Individually, the song can be found on ITunes for $1.29, the full deluxe album with 17 new songs, including “Temporary Fix,” “Walking in the Wind,” “Wolves,” and the other fan-favorite “A.M.,” can be found on ITunes for $14.99. The regular album with only 13 songs, not including those previously mentioned, is $11.99.

Overall, the song deserves five out of five stars for its well written lyrics and a new and more soulful sound, as well as glorious harmonies.

One Direction has truly reached for the stars with their new album. Despite losing a band mate and creating a new routine, both in the studio and on stage, they still continue to work hard to create the best for their fans.

They make sure to express their love and gratitude for how much their fans support them on Twitter through responding to fans’ tweets and messages as well as tweeting their thank yous. Their new music has become some of their best by far, and they can only grow from here.

Aspiring Physicist at Attleboro High

mrs maurer pic

Circuit Diagram Sketch (Photo by: Kaitlyn Johnson)

By: Kaitlyn Johnson

 

Science teacher Ms. Marlene Maurer, who has an inspiration for anime, learning about the world, and, surprisingly, rats, is a new teacher at Attleboro High School (AHS).  She earned her undergraduate degree in Linguistics after changing from physics, and then her master’s degree in education at UMass Amherst.

She was certified in physics after passing the MTEL and taking additional coursework. Maurer teaches three physics classes one honors and two college prep, and one chemistry course. Physics is her favorite class to teach.

“Science is great, I like knowing how the world works,” she said. Maurer believes the best student is one who is curious and comes in each day ready to learn new material.

Maurer was born on Cape Cod.  But moved to Attleboro and enjoys the area much more because “…there was not much to do on the Cape.”

As a high school student she participated in the anime club, and the gay straight alliance. Now, as a teacher, she volunteers as the advisor of the anime club.

When she isn’t teaching science or advising the anime club, she spends most of her time playing with her pet rats Gadwia, Chubs and Pig. Making toys for her rats is one of the things Maurer loves to do other than improving her class and learning more about the world.

She believes that all students should always want to know more about their education. Maurer said, “Take control of your life and make it even better.” Teaching high school is difficult even for an experienced teacher but being new can help facilitate new ideas in a classroom.

Maurer believes the hardest part of teaching this age group is today’s technology. Even though it is usually helpful, sometimes it can distract students and cause them to fall behind; which is the last thing she wants happening.

If someone were to fall behind she would work with them one-on-one and, if helpful, she would provide them with a mentor student who knows the material. In her class she tries to keep the students involved and interested, knowing that as a teacher having her students want to work is the most important part of her job.

Only years ago she was attending high school and remembers the pressures students face throughout their four years. Maurer believes high school shouldn’t be a students peak. “Don’t let high school be the best years of your life,” she said.