Ben Stock Performs at Annual RHHS Talent Show

By Ariana Ramos

RHHS junior, Ben Stock, blew away the audience with his singing ability at this year’s talent show.

Stock said he was overwhelmed with positive feedback, and realized that his hard work and preparation had finally paid off.

The new RHHS celebrity makes songwriting sound easy, admitting that he only spent a mere hour writing the song titled I was I (You Were You). He perfected it over time with more practice.

Diligent and motivated, preparation for Ben wasn’t so much of a hassle, and he seemed very confident in what he was doing.  

“I prepared by practicing as much as I could everyday and perfecting every lyric and note to make sure it sounded good,” said Stock.

To prepare for the show, Stock said he does scales on the piano to get a good feel of it until he’s comfortable enough. Unlike some performers Ben did not have any nerves, admitting that he didn’t have stage fright. Ben’s key to overcoming this fear was having complete confidence in himself.

Why didn’t Ben perform at other shows?

He said, “I never felt like it was something I wanted to do in the past years and I wasn’t as committed to working on music as much as I do now.”

Now however, students are eager to hear more music from Ben, and can’t wait for next year’s show.

Senior Deanna St. Germain who attended the talent show said “Ben was honestly so good, and his song had a lot of meaning to it. I would definitely come back next year just to hear him perform again.”

Ben was really open minded when asked if he’d consider music as a career.

He said “I would like to do something in music and I guess if I have a good opportunity to make it a career I will.”.

As a matter of fact Ben is currently working on his next new song, and hoping to record it in a studio.

 It’ll be interesting to see where Ben ends up with his musical ability. His humble and positive attitude definitely steal the show. RHHS students can’t wait to hopefully see his performance next year.

Technology Expands at Rocky Hill High School

By Reva Shah

As the world is becoming more involved electronically, so is Rocky Hill High School. With the construction there are new smart boards in most classrooms and all the students have  been given their personal chromebooks. There is controversy on whether the technology is beneficial and helpful, or unnecessary for the students.

“Chromebooks are useful because they help with homework and essays because of the availability we have with them- everyday in our backpacks,” junior Matt Emmanuel said.

“They are difficult because they definitely make our backpacks heavier and are difficult and annoying to bring to every class.”

Regarding school the chromebooks may be helpful, but they are not convenient.

“The only complaint I’ve heard is that the internet is still too slow. The school needs to buy a bigger and better service. I don’t think there’s enough bandwidth,” chemistry teacher Brian Schlosser said.

“I’ve heard that students’ chromebooks’ just stop working. My friend had to get a replacement one which then stopped working too,” junior Andrew DiMatteo said.

The IT workers have definitely been a lot busier ever since the chromebooks entered Rocky Hill High School.

“There’s lots of awesome things these kids can be doing on their Chromebooks, but they’re teenagers too,” Schlosser commented.

“I think the teachers don’t know what else the Chromebooks can do. When we get the trainings on Chromebooks they teach us the same things every time.”

Schlosser thinks the trainings should be different by focusing more on what teachers are able to do with both the technology and children, rather than just computer basics.

“The new smart boards sometimes bug out in my precalc class and don’t always work that well- or maybe it’s just the teachers,” DiMatteo said.

“You can’t force a teacher to learn about something they don’t want to,” Schlosser explained.

“I used to be terrified to use it because I thought it was a lot more complicated than it actually was.” He thinks this may be the case for other teachers as well.

“The wires. People trip over the wires and it looks messy. But besides that I personally love the smart board.”

If teachers were educated in the ways smart boards should be used, students would benefit from the technology in their classes even more.

“Phones are useful because they enable you to communicate with other people. I can talk to my friends so easily,” DiMatteo said.

“I think phones are being used to play music. I think phones are being used to encourage smart phone zombies,” Schlosser said, disagreeing with DiMatteo.

“I feel like it takes away from human interaction. It’s an interesting cultural shift,” Schlosser said.

“I think cell phones are awesome. I think cell phones can be really useful, really valuable. But sometimes we’re allowing people to get away with too much,” Schlosser explained.

Rocky Hill High School Teachers Take On A Student’s Perspective on Learning

By Vinny Cassarino

Ellen Donahue and Kristen Carroccia are among several teachers at Rocky Hill High School who are taking courses at a local college to improve their teaching and advance their careers.

English teacher Ms. Donahue currently attends Southern Connecticut State University to obtain her degree in Educational Leadership after six years of college.

Math teacher Kristen Carroccia has also been attending Southern Connecticut State University to increase her educational degree.

Teachers that have been taking classes have a different approach on teaching due to experiencing learning from a student’s perspective.

A student perspective has changed teachers’ philosophy on the best way for a student to learn new information.

In addition, a student’s perspective has given insight for teachers, such as Ellen Donahue, on how to keep her students entertained and learning to high standards.

Donahue’s current educational purpose is to learn more about becoming a leader, such as a principal.

A teacher that teaches K-12 is not required to obtain a master’s degree in order to keep their certification in teaching. Therefore, Donahue chose to attend college in order to improve her degree and teaching skills.

Donahue and other teachers in Connecticut teaching K-12 need to renew their teaching license every five years, otherwise they will expire.

Despite the class’s leadership position purpose, she has directly used the information in her classroom.

“The information and skills that we are learning can easily be applied to my role as a teacher,” Donahue says.

Donahue has recently obtained a Master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction with a focus on the technology aspect of teaching.

“This degree definitely helped to improve my teaching and allowed me to become a more effective teacher,” Donahue said.

This is Donahue’s second masters. Her first degree taught her how to involve technology in her classroom in order to help students reach their academic potential.

Donahue said that being a student in college and a teacher does add stress to her daily life, but it is worth it.

Donahue said, “Furthering our education is important. If the opportunity presented itself and if it was the right time for that person in their life, then I would say that going back to school is a positive experience.”

Kristen Carroccia is also working towards a degree in educational leadership.

Carroccia is attending Southern Connecticut State University to obtain an educational certification needed to become a vice principal, principal or curriculum leader.

A typical educational leadership course will take an average of between one or two years to complete, depending on the amount of classes taken per semester.

Carroccia has the goal to increase her level of certification, but, being in school has tied back into her classroom, she said.

“Just being in classes has allowed me to have professional conversations with other teachers – which allows for reflection, in return bettering my teaching,” Carroccia said.

For example, by being a student herself, Carroccia has learned that the best way for a student to learn is through teaching another student.

She said she has learned that humans retain 95 percent of what they are taught by teaching that skill to someone else and only 10 percent of what they read.

Therefore, Carroccia said she has been able to use these facts from college and apply them to her own classroom.

For instance, Carroccia has incorporated more group work to her lesson plans for more efficient student learning.

Carroccia said,  “I do my best to plan out my time to make sure that everything can get done but I’ll admit I’m not able to get everything done as quickly as I would like since I do need to get my coursework done as well.”

However, Carroccia said that the increased workload has been well worth it and has benefitted her and her students.

Carroccia said she encourages other teachers to go back to school because it will positively affect their teaching.

“It gives me the opportunity to work with teachers from other school districts and really think about things from a whole school level, not just student to teacher,” she said.

Rocky Hill High School Hosts Annual Habitat for Humanity Trip to New Orleans

By Vanessa Cardillo

Every spring at Rocky Hill High School, a group of students and teachers go on a field trip to New Orleans. This field trip is set up through the Habitat For Humanity program, and everyone who participates goes to build houses for victims of Hurricane Katrina.

“About 70 students applied this year, one of our bigger groups” said Ms. Rosenberg, one of the main coordinators of the annual NOLA field trip.

Each year, the trip enables 48 students to travel to New Orleans and participate in community service projects there.

“It’s the largest size that we can go,” said Rosenberg.

However, if they could bring more students, they would, she said.

That means that, unfortunately, 22 students were denied the opportunity to partake this year.

The application process is a large factor in deciding which students will be asked to go on this field trip, Rosenberg said. It consists of a series of questions inquiring about things like why students would like to go, what they feel they will benefit from the trip, their qualities, skills, and what they have to offer, among other things.

“Students have to take the application process seriously, it’s a really difficult decision,” Rosenberg said.

“Word of mouth, people hear about the experience and want a chance to participate,” she said regarding the large number of people applying.

There is definitely a good reason for this, though, as students who have previously participated in the NOLA trip have been influenced to go on and continue to do community service work outside of school and even into their college years, Rosenberg said.

“It was the best time of my life,” said senior Amanda Carducci.

“We hope that students will get a sense of pride, doing good, and helping others, and a desire to help and give back, and have fun,” said Rosenberg.

Sleep Habits of High School Students Could Be Harming Their Performance

By Soren Devin

Almost ten percent of schools in the United States start just before 7:30, and Rocky Hill High School is one of them. The school has one of the earliest start times in the state of Connecticut. Starting at 7:20 in the morning and ending at 2:10, it is a schedule that leaves students feeling like the school day is a march through a swamp.

Passerbys walking through the halls in first period are able to observe many students taking power naps using their metal desks as pillows. One student who frequents naps in class, Steven Rugar, said “I have to skip days of school just to catch up on my sleep.” These early start times are causing students to stay home from school rather than nap in class to keep their sleep schedule in check.

“It’s causing me to not get work in on time and miss out on what we learn in class,” Rugar said. Starting our school at 7:20 a.m. clearly is a terrible idea for the students health. With most students dozing off after midnight, no one is able to receive the ideal eight hours of sleep teenagers require for proper growth and development. Many students are only achieving five hours of sleep at best.

Dan Goslin, a junior at Rocky Hill High School said, “I’ve failed tests that were early in the morning due to my lack of sleep, when I would’ve passed them otherwise.”

Lack of sleep is causing a mental block in the minds of Rocky Hill High School’s students, subsequently causing poor attendance and grades. Performance could be improved greatly if students were given the chance to receive the sleep that their adolescent bodies require.  

“Paying attention in my first and second period classes is becoming nearly impossible, dozing off is a guarantee for me,” Goslin stated again. Overall students are seen suffering from sleep deprivation, a serious issue that shouldn’t be ignored.

So why don’t school systems push back start times? A definite answer isn’t out there, as research is showing it is what our bodies need. Some people believe it is school sports not wanting to be pushed back, or others not wanting change.

Though one thing is certain, the health of students should not be blockaded by a health issue they have no control over.

Maddie Kovanda Performs at Annual RHHS Talent Show

By Amanda Carducci

Senior Madeline Kovanda’s singing and piano cover of “Can’t Help Falling In Love” by Elvis Presley, performed at this year’s talent show, generated lots of applause that night and talk during the next couple days.

“It has been one of my favorite songs since I first heard it,” Kovanda said.

The talent show, held Thursday, December 1, benefits the annual school trip to New Orleans where students volunteer with Habitat for Humanity. The show was sold out.

In an email exchange, Maddie said she first began singing at six and learned how to play the piano at seven.

“My father taught me how to play [the piano],” she wrote. “He taught himself how to play through knowing how to play the guitar and then taught me what he knew when I was old enough.”

“I continue to play and sing because it makes me happy and I appreciate having the talent.”

Even though Maddie has appeared in other performances, including two weddings, a few cabaret shows, and a RHHS talent show three years ago, she said she hasn’t always enjoyed performing in front of a large audience.

“It actually scares me, and I get extremely nervous,” Kovanda said.

“I think I get scared because I really don’t like being the center of attention and when I’m performing that is usually the case. I get very nervous about messing up and not doing my best.”

But that doesn’t stop her.

“Overall, I think it is important to share my talent and I enjoy the rush of performing even though I feel nervous.”

Maddie confidently stated “I definitely think my latest performance at the talent show stood out to me the most. The song felt powerful and for some reason I felt more comfortable and at home than I usually do performing in front of people.”

As a senior in high school, Maddie is ready to embark on a new advantage in college with intentions of having music still be apart of her.

“In college, my main priority is to study to become a plastic surgeon. I’d like to take the whole aspect of creativity to a new level but I will definitely continue to practice music for the rest of my life.”

“I will always play and sing and if it unexpectedly takes me somewhere, I would be so happy.”

RHHS Classrooms Move Due to Construction

By Alexandra Fishberg

Rocky Hill High School will be completely reorganized when students return after midterms on Monday, January 30th.

The school has been under renovation since 2014, and many teachers have already moved classrooms once, if not multiple times.

Some members of the science department have been in their permanent classrooms since the second semester of last school year, while other teachers have been stationed in temporary rooms for just as long.

Renovations are requiring many teachers to move into new rooms either permanently or temporarily, so students must be aware of the changes to come.

Below is a detailed guide on which teachers will have new rooms and where these rooms will be located.

The new school layout will hopefully be beneficial to the staff and students.

 

Teacher Current Room Move Date New Room Temp or Permanent
Oberndorfer 326 1/20/2017 2074 P
Rosenberg 327 1/20/2017 2073 P
Dudis 328 1/20/2017 TC-7/8 T
Mertens 329 1/20/2017 208 T
Walsh 331 1/20/2017 1006 T
Dishnica S-212 1/20/2017 Hot Seat T
SS/WL Office 325 1/20/2017
Guidance Mezz. ? 2026-2033 P
Fagan 222 1/20/2017 3007 P
Janiga 221 1/20/2017 3045 P
DeBacco 1/20/2017 3006 P
Parsons 1/20/2017 3041 P
Dinerman 217 1/20/2017 3013 P
Czutcha 1/20/2017 3011 P
Bennett 330 1/20/2017 3015 T
Riccio 1/20/2017 3009 P
Ebert TC-8 1/20/2017 1004 T
Krauss TC-7 1/20/2017 2079 P
Castagna 322 1/20/2017 2077 P
Alternative 1004 1/20/2017 322A T
Portal Band Practice 1/20/2017 2016 P
BIR Library Off 4/7/2017 2112 P
Grous 2112 4/7/2017 CTE Office T

 

Donald Trump Causes Potential Conflict with China

By Colin Pavel

Who: President-elect Donald Trump, President of Taiwan Tsai Ing-wen

What: Donald Trump accepted a phone call from Tsai Ing-wen and proceeded to publicly acknowledge her as the “President of Taiwan” on Twitter. Critics worry officially recognizing Taiwan’s president contrary to the long standing “One China” policy could potentially anger leaders in Beijing that consider Taiwan to be part of China rather than a separate nation. They believe could increase tensions between the United States and China.

When: 2 December 2016

Where: (Affects the United States, China, and Taiwan)

Why: Many speculate that this was a calculated move by Trump to lead a more pro-Taiwan administration. However, the Chinese and Taiwanese governments, wanting to maintain the status quo and avoid conflict, suggest that he merely made a mistake rather than an intentional political act.

Fidel Castro Dies at Age 90

By Colin Pavel

Who: Fidel Castro, President of Cuba Raul Castro

What: Former Cuban leader Fidel Castro died at ninety years-old. The notorious dictator’s death comes before his brother Raul’s plans to step down as leader in 2018. The future of Cuba is uncertain as the Castros’ reign is concluding and the incoming Trump administration may take a different approach to relations than President Obama.

When: 26 November 2016

Where: Havana, Cuba

Why: Fidel Castro already retired from politics in 2008 due to his age and poor health. Many knew his death was only a matter of time, but his infamous legacy will live on.