Monthly Archives: March 2016

OPINION: The Metamorphosis — Philosophy

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Kafka’s The Metamorphosis (Screenshot by: Keegan Douglass)

By: Keegan Douglass

In 1915, German author Franz Kafka wrote the Absurdist novel The Metamorphosis, which depicts the story of a man named Gregor Samsa – who unexpectedly turns into a human-sized cockroach – and the life of his family after his transformation. While, on the surface, the initial concept of the novel may be disturbing, it actually has a deeper meaning, discussing both religion and the life of a disabled individual.

In the early twentieth century, those who suffered from any disability, such as Down syndrome or autism spectrum disorder, were ostracized by their families and friends, and were often put into asylums in order to keep them far away from “normal” civilization and to protect them. In the novel, Kafka attempts to tackle this issue by the use of metaphors comparing Samsa’s transformation into an insect to the life of someone with a disability.

In the opening third of the novel, Samsa attempts to call out to his family, who worries about him, as he had not woken up at his regular time. His family, however, is unable to understand his calls, since he had been transformed into a cockroach, yet he still clings to the idea of being “in the circle of humanity” (Kafka 21).

The use of the word “humanity” is meant to show the dehumanization of both Samsa, and those with disabilities. Essentially, the novel shows that individuals who suffer from some sort of physical or mental deficiency are often shunned by loved ones.

Samsa spends the majority of the novel in complete isolation, with his family and friends refusing to speak to him, as they believe it is pointless and that he wouldn’t understand them anyway. Despite them knowing who the giant cockroach actually is, they still ignore him, and treat him like a threat, or a disgusting animal. This depiction of Samsa’s life is meant to show the life of a disabled person, from that disabled person’s perspective – something that had not been done previously.

Mary Shelley attempted to express many of the same ideas through her novel Frankenstein, by showing the life of a monster abandoned by his creator. Kafka expressed most of the same sentiments, but through Absurdist writing styles.

Kafka tackles the idea of a Christ figure – someone who gives up his/her life in order to benefit loved ones, or the human race in general – by having Samsa starve himself to death by the end of the novel.

Samsa witnesses his family deteriorate because of his presence, and so he ends his own life in order to allow his family to continue living happily, despite their cruel mistreatment.  This heroic suicide makes Samsa a Christ figure, much like the character Sydney Carton from A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens, who gave up his life in order to save a family from death by the French rebels.

Kafka reflects both the life of a disabled individual, and the noble death of a selfless individual. This novel expresses a life that was not understood by the majority of the public and thus hidden away. Not only is it a statement about disabled individuals, but it could stand for any group of discriminated people.

The novel could be overlooked because of its unsettling nature, but should be further studied, as it expresses a progressive stance on life that has been silenced in the past. The Metamorphosis is one of the great philosophical novels of the twentieth century and is a literary masterpiece of both absurdism and individualism.

Right Balance

 

pic River Wright

River Wright (Photo by: Kaitlyn Johnson)

By: Kaitlyn Johnson

Conditioning and training the body for a sport can be very difficult due to the heavy load that students face. Freshman River Wright of Attleboro High School (AHS) is one of these young athletes. He pushes himself to decrease his swim competitive times but still keep up his grades.

Wright started swimming at the age of ten. Owen Wright, River’s older brother, was the reason he started. His older brother, who has cystic fibrosis, has been competitively swimming throughout his high school career, which influenced River’s decision to start the sport after moving from Helena, Mont. to Attleboro, Mass. in 2008.

River is part of the AHS 6-2 Boys Swim Team and also belongs to a local swim team, the Bluefish Swim Team. He helped AHS’s team go from eighth in the league, last year, to second in the league by last Feb. 7.

“I value academics more though,” said Wright as he spoke about his future career. For college, Wright plans to go to Stanford University in Calif. He knows getting into this school will be challenging, but is willing to work hard toward his acceptance.

When he isn’t focused on dropping times and putting in work at the pool, Wright is focused on everyday teen activities. Balancing his academic, social and athletic life can be very challenging, but he has his priorities. Wright said, “I put homework before swimming and skip [practice] if I have to.” If he is behind in a class or has a lot of homework, he sits out, always putting school before swim.

Even though he practices on the weekends, they’re more often in the morning, which gives him time to hang out with friends. Also, he has good relationships with the other swimmers, and some of his friends are a part of the team as well. Practices are a time for Wright to see his friends but also a time for hard work.

Although where he goes in his swimming career isn’t the most important, he still has done very well. Wright was Agonswim’s weekly wonder in his age group on December 18-20, 2015.

Wright’s favorite stroke is the butterfly. According to Swim Outlet, “To some people this stroke seems downright impossible,” but for Wright it isn’t.

“Self satisfaction after a race,” is Wright’s favorite thing about swimming; his least favorite thing is how much time it takes up and how time consuming it is. Having two practices every day takes up most of his time, but being proud of his times after a race is worth it. He is most proud of his 200 Individual Medley (IM), a time of (1:52.37), at the New England Senior Championships presented by Greenwood Swimming.

STUDENTS NEED SUBSTANCE (PART 1: Democrats)

By: Abigail DesVergnes

It is safe to say that this election has been one of the most controversial of all time. The rules of the game have been re-written by the candidates and each individual is competing on a new playing field.

The dynamic of the debates are changing and becoming a form of entertainment. Families are now gathering in their living rooms with popcorn and wine to submerge themselves in the new “reality television show.”  

As the debates and primaries continue, are voters grasping the most important part of the election — that next Nov. America will elect one of these candidates as President of the United States? What has been lost throughout this entire process is the substance and how each candidate really stands on the issues.

In part one of “STUDENTS NEED SUBSTANCE,” readers will understand how Democratic candidates, Hillary Clinton, former Secretary of State and U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders stand on issues such as college affordability, immigration, health care, climate change, and gun control.

It is safe to say that Clinton has the support of Washington while Sanders is backed by much of the youth population. The most amazing stat coming out of the Iowa Democratic caucus is that among voters between the ages of 17 and 29, Sanders won 84 percent of the vote to Clinton’s 14 percent. Although Sanders is gaining the youth vote, Clinton continues to earn more votes. In the recent March 15 primary, she defeated her opponent in all five states, including Florida with a 31.2 percent lead.

Sanders poses a threat to Clinton as he claims to run as a progressive alternative. Although the two candidates are competitive, their stance on the issues are similar. Often, Clinton’s outlook on each issue is “one-upped” by Sanders’ sometimes unrealistic claims.

Clinton wants to give $17.5 billion to states to invest in higher education and supports free community colleges; Sanders wants to make all public colleges free. Both agree, however, that there needs to be a stop to the federal government profit on student-loan repayment and college needs to be more affordable.

“The cost of college education today is so high that many young people are giving up their dream of going to college, while many others are graduating deeply in debt,” said Sanders in a recently televised democratic debate.

Health care is a major factor dividing the Democrats from the Republicans but something that the two Democratic candidates share some-what similar opinions on.

Both are seeking out and supporting ways in which each American can be provided with the option of free health care. While Clinton is looking to further support Obamacare, Sanders would like to replace the current president’s plan with a single-payer health care system.

“Build a wall” has been tossed around in the Republican party throughout this primary season. As democrats, both candidates strongly disagree and are seeking out alternative options. They support a path to citizenship and are seeking out ways to implement the estimated 8 to 12 million illegal aliens residing in the United States and the 700,000 new illegals who enter each year and remain in the country.

“What we have to do… is to find a way to celebrate our diversity and debate our differences without fracturing our communities,” said Clinton.

The list of issues could go on forever, but it’s important that voters fully understand the thought process behind each candidate. In the graph below there are clear descriptions on the candidates’ views on each issue and how they plan to implement them if elected president.

 

Issues Hillary Clinton Bernie Sanders
College Affodability All info from:  https://www.hillaryclinton.com/

The New College Compact Plan.

  1. Ensure no students have to borrow to pay for tuition, books, or fees at a public 4-year college.
  2. Enable Americans with existing student loan debt to refinance at current rates.
  3. Hold colleges and universities accountable for controlling costs and making tuition reasonable.
All info from: https://berniesanders.com/?nosplash=true

“ It’s time to make college tuition free and debt free,”

  1. Make tuition free at public colleges and universities.
  2. Will stop the federal government from making a profit on student loans and using the money to lower student loan interest rates.
  3. Substantially cut student loan interest rates. He plans to lower the rates from 4.29% to 2.37%.
  4. Allow students to refinance their student loans at lower interest rates.
  5. His plan would require colleges to meet the maximum level of financial needs of low income students.
Immigration Comprehensive Immigration reform with a pathway to citizenship.

  1. End family detention and close private immigrant detention centers.
  2. Defend President Obama’s executive actions re deportation relief for DREAMers and parents of Americans and lawful residents; extend those actions to additional persons with sympathetic cases if Congress refuses to act.
  1. Allow immigrants to purchase health care under the Affordable care act.
  2. A legislative solution to modernizing the immigration system will be a top priority

Sanders will implement a humane and secure immigration policy that will:  

  1. Dismantle inhumane deportation programs and detention centers.
  2. Pave the way for a swift and fair legislative roadmap to citizenship for the eleven million undocumented immigrants.
  3. Ensure the southern border remains secure while respecting local communities.
  4. Regulate the future flow of immigrants by modernizing the visa system and rewriting bad trade agreements.
  5. Enhance access to justice and reverse the criminalization of immigrants.
  6. Establish parameters for independent oversight of key U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) agencies.
Healthcare Expanding the Affordable Care Act.

  1. Make premiums more affordable and lessen the out-of-pocket expenses for consumers purchasing health insurance on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), commonly called the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
  2. Expand access to affordable health care to families regardless of their immigration status.
  3. Reduce the cost of prescription drugs.
  1. Ensure all Americans can access health care needed regardless of income
  2. A system that prioritizes the working class families.
  3. Patients will be able to choose a health care provider without worrying
Climate Change Meeting the climate challenge.

  1. Set national goals to have 500 million solar panels installed; generate enough renewable energy to power every home in America; cut energy waste in homes, schools, and hospitals by a third and reduce American oil consumption by a third.
  2. Lead the world in the fight against climate change by bringing greenhouse gas emissions to 30 percent below what they were in 2005 within the next decade and keep going.
  1. Ban fossil fuel lobbyists from working in the White House. Donations by the fossil fuel industry “give these profitable companies disproportionate influence on elected leaders.”
  2. End the huge subsidies that benefit fossil fuel companies.
  3. Create a national environmental and climate justice plan that recognizes the heightened public health risks faced by low-income and minority communities.
  4. Embrace a science-based standard for carbon pollution emissions reductions.
  5. Put a price on Carbon.
Gun Control It’s past time we act on Gun Violence.

  1. Strengthen background checks and close dangerous loopholes in the current system.
  2. Hold irresponsible dealers and manufacturers accountable.
  3. Keep guns out of the hands of terrorists, domestic abusers, other violent criminals, and the severely mentally ill.
  1. Take action when gun shop owners and manufacturers sell guns to those who are criminals or mentally disabled.
  2. Bring together rural states & urban states with common sense. Believes that guns in Vermont vs guns in L.A. have different motives — hunting and killing.
  3. Ban semiautomatic guns & gun show loopholes.
  4. Instant background checks: no guns for criminals or the  unstable.
  5. Voted YES on banning high-capacity magazines of over 10 bullets.
  6. Rated F by the NRA, indicating a pro-gun control voting record.

 

 

Outstanding Swim Coach and Physics teacher

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Attleboro High School’s Natatotium (Photo by: Kaitlyn Johnson)

By: Kaitlyn Johnson

Attleboro High School’s natatorium was named after William F. Dentch, a teacher and coach, who was committed to swimming. The natatorium was originally dedicated on June 19, 2002, with a plaque donated by the class of 2000.

Retired physical education teacher Mrs. Wendy DaSilva said, “Bill Dentch was one of the most loved and highly honored coaches in Attleboro High School history.”

Dentch devoted more than 20 years of his life to coaching the school’s swim team. He also taught physics for 34 years. Physics teacher Mr. Peter Tarsi, who had Dentch as a mentor, said, “His death was quite devastating; he was a soft spoken and devoted man, not only towards teaching but also swimming.”

Dentch formed the school’s first girl’s team in 1974, and coached until 1988.

Forming a girl’s team allowed girls at AHS to have the same swimming opportunities the boys had. His team had many victories. October 23, 1987 was Dentch’s 100th victory with his girl’s team, only 13 years after starting. There are only about 10 meets each season, so over those 13 years (100/130), left the team almost or fully undefeated. Even after retirement, Dentch helped with the girls’ technique when volunteering at the school.

The pool gave schools and clubs around the area a place to swim. Other than AHS’s swim team using the pool, Bishop Feehan’s team and the Attleboro Blue Fish, use the pool.

Dentch was the founder of the Attleboro Blue Fish, a very well known local swim club. This team is known for pushing their athletes to be the best, and the best is exactly what they become, according to their website.

“Bill was a talented teacher, a valued colleague, who was never unwilling to share what he knew, a consummate professional, and a friend,” said former AHS teacher Mr. Peter Schoonmaker, who now teaches physics at Sharon High School.

 

AHS Clothing Swap

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Student Council Members (Photo by: Hannah Michienzi) 

By: Hannah Michienzi

Student Council members at Attleboro High School (AHS) held a clothing swap on March 4 after school for people in the community who are not able to afford clothing.

People who needed clothes came to the event and picked from a variety of clothing such as pants, T-shirts, pajamas, dresses, shoes, and anything else they needed. The clothing was donated by AHS students, faculty and people in the community who had clothing they didn’t need any more.

The night of the event, Student Council members set up tables in the B1 cafeteria and organized the clothes. There were tables that had clothing for men, women and children.

Student Council member Arianna Susi said, “People from all over the community came and were able to fill a bag with all the clothes they needed. People also came and donated $5 that went towards an AHS scholarship.”

“People didn’t just come from Attleboro,” said Student Council Hailey Patel, adding, “We had people at the event who came all the way from Foxboro to get clothing that they needed.”

When the event was over, Student Council members put any remaining clothes into bags that were then donated to clothing drives. Susi said, “Many people left with bags in their hands and smiles on their faces.”

 

 

New Mentality

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New Mentality Logo (Photo by: Lydia Robinette)

By: Lydia Robinette

Attleboro High School (AHS) recently added a new club – New Mentality (ANM). Since it is common that high school students are not well educated enough on understanding mental illnesses, they tend to make hurtful jokes and comments.

This club is trying to encourage their peers to “move away from people making jokes with mental illness as the punch line,” said senior Emily Tolburt. Dedicated to fighting the stigma of mental illness, ANM believe that “it’s [mental illness] a lot more common than people think it is,” she added.

Tolburt believes that it’s an important club for the school because “people going through a hard time have a place to go once a week to talk about things.” The club has around 10 people attending so far; each person makes it “a warm and friendly club,” she said.

ANM’s president, senior David Neary, says one of the club’s goals for the school is to give “people the courage to say something when they hear the (derogatory) jokes.” Another goal he mentioned is to simply “raise awareness of the club” around the school and to “have enough people come [to the meetings] to make a difference.”

The club’s bigger goals involve joining an “awareness walk,” which is a walk sponsored by groups or individual people who raise money and awareness for their cause.

The club’s relevance is given substance because of the amount of students dealing with a mental illness. Youth.gov says that four out of every five high school students “have the possibility for a lifelong mental illness,” and seventeen percent of them have some sort of emotional, behavioral, or mental disorder.

Some of the students attending the club share the belief that awareness of mental health and being respectful of it should be taught at younger age than high school, maybe even middle school. “It’s huge for that [mental illness awareness] to be taught at a younger age, because little kids can be really mean,” Tolburt said.

According to the National Center for Children in Poverty website, mental illness has the possibility to manifest itself in children as early as seven to eleven years old.

The club meets in 209A of A building on Thursdays. If interested in joining talk to Neary or the advisor Mrs. Jessica Yucatonis.

Attleboro High School Clubs Crossword Puzzle

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By: Kayla Lamb

Clues

Across  
1. Club for students of all abilities to socialize and play games  
4. Students plan and fundraise for Special Olympics school day games  
7. Elected students who conduct fundraisers and perform acts of charity  
9. Creates awareness, fundraises and provides support for students with cancer  
10. Self directed visual creative pieces made by students  

Down

2. Provides students with onstage/offstage education
3. Students learn the basics of electronics and participate in competitions
5. Students create and sell memory books for the end of each school year
6. Students lead, influence, and change the school
8. Students research world affairs and hold discussions dealing with global issues.
11. Provides students with opportunities to create, discuss, and view Japanese Manga
12. Provides students with an opportunity to look deeper into rhythmic writing