Monthly Archives: February 2016

Young and Opinionated

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AHS Seniors Hunter Wain and Sarah Nasah Photo by: Abigail DesVergnes

By Abigail DesVergnes

Only a fraction of area high school students are eligible to vote in Tuesday’s presidential primary, but plenty of them have strong opinions on candidates they support.

And, like voters of all ages, that support runs the gamut.

A recent informal poll by the Bishop Feehan High School student newspaper, The Rock Report, found a tight race between Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Bernie Sanders.

Of 273 votes, Sanders, the self-proclaimed democratic socialist, narrowly edged out Trump, the billionaire developer, 94 votes to 92.

Democrat Hillary Clinton, the former first lady, U.S. senator and secretary of state, polled a distant third, with 32 votes.

Issues run the gamut, too.

“I’m looking for a president who will do something about the many issues plaguing our country, including income inequality between men and women as well as the top 1 percent, and for that reason I support Bernie Sanders,” Feehan senior class president Dan Krauth said.

Attleboro High School junior Andrea Machowski is worried about the country’s fiscal health, and looks to Trump’s business experience.

“With only 1 million dollars, he was able to build his billion-dollar empire,” Machowski said. “A leader like Trump would benefit our nation and save us from our national debt.”

The global threat of terrorism is a hot-button issue, but there’s no single approach to blunt it, and no single candidate to take it on.

AHS junior Ally Beard supports Clinton.

“Hillary’s experience with foreign diplomatic relations is unmatched by any other candidate, due to her experience as secretary of state,” she said.

AHS senior Owen McKenna, who plans to vote in the Massachusetts primary, has a very different take – and, it’s Republican.

“Due to his strong support with national security, I’m voting for Marco Rubio,” McKenna said. “I believe it’s time the country comes together to defend against the threat of terrorism.”

High school students are not unlike adult voters, in that they weigh national interests and self interest, and look for where the two might converge.

As students plan for college and their lives afterward, many consider the obstacles they will face along the way.

AHS junior Jacob Vieira supports Republican Ted Cruz, and his reasoning is straight-forward.

“His simple flat tax is estimated to build over 5 million jobs within the U.S.,” Vieira said. “This is extremely important, as I will be joining the work force within a few years.”

And, with the average student loan debt from a four-year college totaling $26,000, according to collegescholarships.org, tuition is an obvious concern.

It’s an issue AHS senior Lexi Barboza will face soon.”I plan on attending Worcester State next year, and as a student I agree that college needs to be more affordable,” she said.
Sometimes, candidates and their supporters just share core beliefs.

Feehan sophomore Kevin Baker is anti-abortion, and has attended the March for Life rally in Washington, D.C.

“Ted Cruz’s pro-life stance is the reason I would vote for him,” Baker said.

AHS senior Hunter Wain is a member of U.S. Rep. Joseph Kennedy III’s Congressional Youth Cabinet. And like Kennedy, D-Brookline, who represents much of the Attleboro area, he endorses Clinton.

“I plan on voting for Hillary because I support her moving forward with the Affordable Care Act,” Wain said. “As well, she’s aware and ready to take action about the issues our country is facing, such as equality for all.”

It has not escaped high school students that this has been an unconventional and unruly election year.

AHS senior Hunter Araujo offers an optimistic look forward.

“It’s time the people of this country come together, listening and working with each other and implementing the best ideas from each political party to make our country a better place,” Araujo said.

 

 

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Problems with Slideroom

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Slideroom Portfolio Website (Screenshot by: Keegan Douglass)

By: Keegan Douglass

Students applying to art-oriented colleges will need to submit a creative sample, or portfolio, for their chosen school’s consideration. Through the new online college applications, portfolio submission is done through Slideroom.

This website offers another easy way to quickly submit application materials, although there is currently a downside – that Slideroom hardly works and has numerous bugs preventing it from achieving its ultimate goal of easy, convenient application submission.

Just like any other website, Slideroom requires a username and password. This is achieved easily, as there aren’t any password requirements and students do not have to plug in too much information.

The problem with Slideroom arises when students actually begin to create their portfolio. There is no point in trying to upload any video or audio clips to Slideroom because the file size threshold is too small. If a video is over 10 Gigabytes (GB), students are not able to upload that video.

If the major regards film, it is likely that a student will have to submit a shortened version of their piece. For Emerson College and Northeastern University, the minimum length for a film is five minutes, which is already over the 10 GB limit, so students will have to either upload the film to YouTube, or just not submit that film in particular.

For a Comedic Studies major at Emerson, part of the portfolio is submitting a podcast or an audio clip. That audio clip does not have a time limit, but it is near impossible to express comedic voice with the short threshold that Slideroom offers students. This means that students will have to upload their audio clip/podcast to another website, then submit the link in Slideroom.

The only type of media that Slideroom can truly handle is a still image or PDF. Sending in an essay or screenplay is no problem, but most other types of media are too large.

In each media selection, students are required to write a brief description of their work, but that is near impossible because Slideroom constantly deletes whatever is written. If students write a nine-word description, they may find the description completely erased the next time the portfolios are opened.

One of the few helpful features on Slideroom is the countdown to each school’s deadline. This allows students to keep track of how long is left before a portfolio must be submitted. The only problem is that the hourly countdown appears the day the portfolio is due, but it is a student’s overall responsibility to keep track of his/her deadlines.

The majority of the schools require students to pay a small fee for the submission of their portfolios. However, there are some schools – such as Emerson College – which allow students to submit creative samples for free.

Overall, in order to save major headaches and ensure a perfect finished project, students should stick to the old tried and true method of mailing creative samples to the school, until Slideroom works out its bugs. This will save students from annoying technical errors that Slideroom creates.

Scholarships

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Scholarship Applications List-Photo by: Jade Ford

By: Jade Ford

Between Jan. and April, seniors schedule multiple appointments with their guidance counselors to apply for scholarships.

“Students begin applying for scholarships around Jan., some applications are due on April 1, but some students wait to see what packages they can receive and what kind of aid is available to them,” said House 3 guidance counselor Ms. Leslie Hackbarth.

Students never have to worry about paying to apply for scholarships, since it is free to seniors and some juniors who want a head start. Some scholarships do have specific requirements for the students to complete.

“Each scholarship receives a lot of applicants and the money is tied to certain requirements, although the requirements are pretty reasonable,” said House 2 guidance counselor Ms. Kelsey Brindley.

The house offices of Attleboro High School (AHS) provide a lot of help when it comes to ensuring a fair opportunity to receive help to make it into college. “The house office handles everything and the students just have to apply and get all their requirements done. Other students who aren’t in AHS, but still in the Attleboro community, can also receive money from us if they have better requirements than those here who have applied,” said House 1 guidance counselor Mr. William Stiles.

Scholarship requirements are very diverse, ranging from community service hours, to athletics, or even family members in a specific work force. There are a few scholarships available to anyone, for students who do not meet specific requirements for certain scholarships.

“School within a School (SWS) students can absolutely apply; anyone part of the Attleboro community can apply for these scholarships.” said Stiles.

AHS does its best to spread the word to all the seniors about scholarship season. “Our guidance department does an excellent job of publicizing scholarship opportunities through social media and through our outlets at the school such as Daily Notices and through bulletin board postings,” said AHS Principal Mr. Bill Runey.

Keeping students updated and providing times at which they can meet with their guidance counselors helps the stress level remain low when it comes to applying to colleges and seeking the help many students need today.

The newest scholarship, not shown on the list of available scholarships and each of their requirements, is the BCEA $1000 Carlos Alves Scholarship, which was added this year. This is a typical scholarship for AHS; the highest scholarship is $5000 and the lowest is around $250.

“There’s a link on the school website that shows you all the scholarships and there’s also the Scholarship Foundation site which has everything there too,” said Brindley.

All the information regarding which scholarships offer the most and which offer the least is available on the Attleboro Scholarship Foundation (ASF) site. On Feb. 24, 2016, ASF members will talk to seniors in B2 cafeteria during all lunches about the scholarships.

Students can also check the Balcony for applications. “Aside from requirements and special preferences, these applications adhere to their deadlines,” said Guidance Director Mrs. Julie Little. The site includes requirements for each scholarship.

 

New Era of Friends

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Nicole and online friend Amanda (Photo by: Nicole Lavoie)

By: Nicole Lavoie

Through the internet and websites such as Twitter, Tumblr, Wattpad, or Instagram, people from all over the world are connecting. Teenagers from Australia are becoming friends with people in Poland, people from Connecticut are becoming friends with people in Massachusetts.

Through social media anyone of any age can log on and share their ideas and opinions on certain topics and connect with others. Teenagers have also found friends through bands, shows, books, movies, and YouTubers (people who post YouTube videos regularly and consider it part of their job).

By having friends from different places around the world, teenagers are exposed to new languages, cultures and ideas. They even learn how schools work in these different places, but not only do they learn new ways of doing things but they can also escape from their daily lives. Sometimes people are even connecting with people in the same state but in neighboring cities that they might not cross paths if it wasn’t for the internet.

Internet friendships can help eliminate social classes in school environments because the students who originally didn’t mix before are now mingling and finding out that they have more in common than they thought. Most teenagers believe that students who like sports have nothing in common with those who like comics and anime but most of the time they have at least one common interest.

Teenagers go through many complications from family issues to drama with friends. Having an online friend who they trust can help. These online friends are people to talk to about things a teen doesn’t feel comfortable talking to their real life friends about. Their online friends might even be going through something similar or have gone through something similar and can give better advice than a friend who doesn’t understand the situation.

Some teenagers don’t feel comfortable talking to a parent about issues they tell their friends and with an internet friend they feel like they aren’t being judged and don’t have to lie about who they are. With an online friend what they say is more private than with an in-person friend who could spread rumors or tell others and have more people know then they want to know.

Blended Learning Initiative

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By: Hunter Wain

Like many schools in the Massachusetts area, Attleboro has a plan to establish Blended Learning, which is a formal education program where a student learns through the delivery of content and instruction from both digital and online media with some element of student control over the time, place, path, and/or pace.

“Technology helps the instructor to enhance the curriculum,” said Attleboro Public Schools Superintendent Mr. Kenneth Sheehan.

Sheehan described Blended Learning as half curriculum and half technology. For those who have visual, hearing, or motor skill impairments, Blended Learning helps because instructors will have access to assistive devices that will help the learning experience for the student.

“In a classroom today, 25 percent of the students do not learn as well with traditional teaching methods as they should, and 10 percent of the students in the classroom are bored,” Sheehan said.

Sheehan would like to see the students in the district have lighter back packs and plans to accomplish this is by ensuring every student receives a Chromebook. The technology today helps students learn the way that is best for them and gives a student more time to work directly with a teacher if extra help is needed.

“The technology today is a game changer for Blended Learning and changes the dynamic of the traditional classroom setting,” Sheehan said.

Students who are ready to move on in their class won’t have to wait for the rest of the class before moving on because Blended Learning students are able to learn at their own pace.

“The technology piece allows students to receive instruction in a different way than what the teacher may be offering,” Sheehan said.

The Attleboro Public Schools have begun their research on how to establish this type of learning in their schools but are unsure as to how Blended Learning will be funded. It could broaden the learning experience for Attleboro students greatly and have an outstanding affect on the district.

 

 

 

 

Searching For New Apps?

logo_ifunny iFunny recommended by Ashley Liriano

The iFunnyJ  is an app that keeps purchasers laughing from the users’ funny posts of celebrities with hilarious comments. Gifs along with videos can be uploaded with a post.

Domino’s recommended by Lydia Robinettedominos pizza

The Dominos pizza app is a useful tool for repeatedly ordering pizzas or ordering a pizza in advance for less of a wait time. The app also securely saves credit card information for quicker ordering.

5-0 radioPolice Scanner 5-0 Radio recommended by Hannah Michienzi

Get access through Police Scanner 5-0 Radio to the largest collection of live police, firefighters, aircraft, railroad, marine, emergency, and ham radios. Be the first to figure out important news, events, and major crimes taking place.

Flow Free recommended by Teresa TurnerFlow Free

Flow Free is a puzzle game of connect the dots. No lines can cross and the level must be completed in a certain number of moves. It’s a fun and enjoyable skill game to help pass the time.

asl appASL recommended by Kaitlyn Johnson

The ASL app has 800+ signs and phrases, from simple ones such as ABCs, numbers and gestures that can be used anywhere.  The app is free but additional groups of signs can be bought such as family signs or food. There are also free bundles such as colors. This app can teach ASL to beginners.

Traffic Rider recommended by Nicole Lavoietraffic rider

            Traffic Rider, available for all devices, is a game with a first person perspective, which allows a user to maneuver through streets and traffic to complete missions. One mode possible is the free ride where the user drives until the vehicle crashes, while having the capability to change how heavy the traffic is, the location, or the time of day.

 

Guitar Tabs- ABBYUltimate Guitar recommended by Abby DesVergnes

The Ultimate Guitar Tabs app can be used for the iPhone and Android products. It has a variety of chords for guitar, bass, drums, and ukulele updated daily. The chords and tabs are rated with different levels of difficulty.

 

Taco Bell recommended by Abby SandsTaco_Bell_App-Icon

The Taco Bell app allows customers to send in orders right from their phone or tablet, making it more convenient for pick up. Ordering on the app allows customers to “skip the whole line.” The fast food restaurant’s app includes the whole menu, coupons, offers, rewards, and puzzles. When puzzles are completed, the app user is rewarded with additional coupons, gift cards, offers, or rewards. In order to unlock puzzle pieces, the app user must connect their Taco Bell account with their social media account/s and as they post, puzzle pieces are unlocked.

 

Final DraftFinal Draft recommended by Keegan Douglass

Final Draft app enables users to easily format a script according to specific screen-writing guidelines. It is primarily a computer application, but can be used on mobile devices as well. The app allows aspiring screen writers to easily create their stories, and is extremely user friendly.

AutoTube recommended by Jade Fordautotube

The AutoTube app is a different version of YouTube. On the regular YouTube app a viewer can’t exit out of the app or lock their phone while still listening to the video, without it shutting off. AutoTube is the new way of listening to YouTube videos.  Users can exit the app, use other apps, or lock the phone while still listening to the music or video. Though there are still pop up ads on the app when searching for a video, there are no video ads like on YouTube. Videos can be made into playlists and be put on shuffle, or a single video can be put on repeat.

 

Team streamTeam Stream recommended by Jonathan Kermah

The Team Stream app, a mobile edition of the website Bleacher Report, is a great app for sports fans. It allows users to follow favorite sports teams and players and scores of games are updated by the minute. There are also many articles for specific teams available as well as highlight videos.

Attleboro YMCA recommended by Kayla Lamb83886-ymca-of-greater-fort-wayne

The Attleboro YMCA app allows members to sign into the YMCA without carrying a card. The barcode of the Y membership card and schedules for the pool and courts are shown on the app. It is free in the Google play store for android phones.

 

unlacedUnlace recommended by Prowo Kinkoue-Poufong

Unlaced is an app that keeps sneakerheads up to date with all the latest news on sneaker fashion and releases. It connects users to all the main sneaker websites so their feeds can be seen at once.

Mayor for a Day

By: Teresa Turner

On Jan. 11, 2016 Attleboro High School (AHS) sophomore Collin Vermilyea spent his day with Mayor Kevin Dumas. During Attleboro’s first Blue Pride Palooza, Vermilyea’s parents won an auction and gave him the prize as a birthday present.

Vermilyea in semi formal clothes arrived the morning of Jan. 11 at 9 a.m., prepared to observe the world of a politician. “I learned a lot about how the city is run and how much work goes into maintaining it,” said Vermilyea.

He shadowed Dumas and sat in on his meetings, listening and sometimes participating in the discussion. Vermilyea said that most of the meetings focused on bigger projects like restoring parts of the area and planning events for this year.

“I gave my opinion on some of the elements that go into the restoration of Balfour Riverwalk,” said Vermilyea. He said that sitting in and participating in the meetings was not awkward because the discussions moved consistently.

Vermilyea described the mayor as “really nice and funny but when he was in meetings

he got all serious and went into business mode.” Dumas took Vermilyea out to Applebee’s for lunch. Dumas and Vermilyea enjoyed a casual lunch as they took a break from their busy schedule.

“Colin was certainly surprised to see how much happens in one day here at City Hall.  Further, as he left at 4:30, he certainly realized that we would be here still for several more hours getting our work completed for the day.  Colin couldn’t believe how quickly the day passed and had a new-found appreciation for what the mayor does and what he is responsible for every day,” said Dumas.

Vermilyea doesn’t want to be a politician and he would rather go into graphic design and advertising, but he still found the day to be interesting.

His favorite part of the day was, “sitting in the conference room with the people who plan the Fourth of July event because I got to learn how annual events are planned and when and where the event would be this year.”

During these meetings, he met people from City Hall, assistants of the mayor and other people Dumas works with from different city departments.

“I would certainly do this program again in the future.  I believe that it is important for young people to experience what happens in their local government and how it truly impacts their daily lives. Collin experienced the interactions with many city department heads who are working on issues, events, policies, and initiatives,” said Dumas.

There are high prospects that this “bid” item will again grace the next Blue Pride Palooza.