Child Life and Creative Arts Therapy Program – Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital at Westchester Medical Center

By AMANDA SMYTH (8th grade WMS)

Many people think all hospitals are sad, depressing places. However, when you walk into Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital, you might be surprised by the cheery environment. There are multiple children’s works of art on display, there is a stage for performers, there are giant fish tanks and there are hallways lined with donated doll collections and sports memorabilia.  There are also art pieces from multiple donors on display. The Children’s hospital helps the patients to feel better in a nice environment, mostly thanks to the Child Life and Creative Arts Therapy program.

The Child Life and Creative Arts Therapy program at Westchester Medical Center was created in 2006.  This program was developed to help patients in the Children’s hospital cope with their illnesses through art therapy.

“Our patients and families love the art studio and art therapy program,” Gabrielle Bellettieri, the art therapist who created this program, said. She added, “Over the years we have offered more creative modalities including music therapy, creative writing, photography.”

Even though this program is fairly new, it has helped so many people, patients and their family members alike. This program can also be considered “the fun part of the hospital” because it helps to bring joy to the patients.

There are opportunities for people ages 16 years and older to volunteer in the art therapy program at the Maria Fareri Children’s hospital.  Some ways people can volunteer include:

  • Playroom volunteers assist with activities in the playroom such as arts and crafts and play sessions
  • Bedside volunteers provide art activities for patients in their room
  • Craft cart volunteers bring the craft cart to patient rooms

If your passion is art and you enjoy working with children, then this is a great way to volunteer and be surrounded by the things you love.

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From Under the Sea to the Metro Awards


Westlake High School made history yet again, selling out all five shows. Their spring musical, Disney’s The Little Mermaid, drew in a whole new crowd, kids. It also drew the attention of The Helen Hayes Metropolitan Theater Awards, or Metros for short. The Metro judges came to four out of five performances and nominated two of our castmates for awards: Senior, Olivia Schettino and Sophomore, Dean Kapica.


Schettino played the role of Ariel, a curious mermaid who falls in love with a human and trades her voice to the evil sea witch, Ursula, to become human for three days. Her outstanding vocals scored her a Best Female Vocal nomination. “I was overwhelmed by relief,” Schettino exclaimed, “And happiness!!”


Kapica, who played the role of the fat and funny Chef Louis, was nominated for Best Cameo Appearance. “It’s an honor and a privilege and I’m extremely happy,” Kapica noted, “I thank Mr. Cutrone for everything and I want to thank everyone for the support; it’s an honor.”


“I am very excited that two of our cast members were recognized and given nominations in their respective categories. Olivia is an incredible talent and did a fantastic job as Ariel. I’m also very proud of Dean Kapica in his incredibly funny comic performance as Chef Louis. The whole cast did an amazing job and it’s a thrill to have some people singled out and recognized,” Philip J. Cutrone, director of The Little Mermaid said.


There are 53 schools participating in the Metro Awards this year ranging from Bergen County, New Jersey to Westchester County, New York.


The nominations were announced Tuesday, May 16 at 7:00 on The school with the most nominations was Archbishop Stepinac High School with 18 nominations.


Last year, Archbishop Stepinac High School and Hastings High School led with 14 nominations, including Outstanding Overall Production. Also last year, Westlake scored four nominations: Actress in a Supporting Role (Carina Papa as Betty Rizzo); Outstanding Male Vocalist (Anthony Minda as Teen Angel; Best Male Dancer (Mike Anderson as Kenickie); and Best Stage Crew.


The 19th annual Metro Awards are June 12 at SUNY Purchase. The lead actress and actor nominations are required to sing 16 bars of any song they performed in their show. Also, any show that’s been nominated for Outstanding Overall Production gets to perform a little bit of their show for the audience.
Although none of Westlake’s Nominees will be performing at the Metros, they have accomplished something even bigger: representing Westlake theater. They’ve both done a terrific job with their roles and the cast and crew wishes them the best of luck at the award ceremony.

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Are Pro-Sports Leagues Properly Handling Domestic Violence Cases Against Their Players?


Professional sports teams seem to take over many individuals’ lives, as the competition, excitement of the game, and likable players are often behind the attraction to these sporting events.


However, what seems to hide behind the spotlight of Sunday Night Football and summer baseball games is how these professional teams, and the league in general, handle issues involving their distinguished athletes, especially accusations of domestic violence and assault against them.


Recently, in October of 2016, Josh Brown of the New York Giants was put on the “commissioner’s exempt list” as investigators sorted through new documents involving an incident between Brown and his then-wife, Molly, resulting in a one-game suspension, Morgan Winsor and Julia Jacobo of ABC News report.


The player’s suspension included access to individual workouts, rehab and therapy – all with the supervision and permission of the Giants. According to Winsor and Jacobo, the team reported that Brown was working out his issues through counselling, and that they were “supportive of his efforts.”


Juliet Macur, of the New York Times, describes that Brown’s ex-wife reported over two dozen accounts of assault against her, “including at least once, Molly Brown said, when she was pregnant.”


Brown was dropped from the Giants after he admitted to the domestic violence allegation, stating “I have physically, verbally and emotionally abused my wife Molly…I have been a horrible husband and stepfather,” Almasy, journalist for CNN, captures.


According to police reports, Molly Brown didn’t speak to NFL investigators during the 10-month investigation of her allegations due to concerns that the Giants “would abruptly cut him and that…the team would try to brush it all under the rug and to create the impression that she was making things up,” Mike Florio, NBC Sports, reveals,


According to Steve Almasy, the baseline suspension for domestic violence claims in the NFL is six games, with consideration for mitigating circumstances. This fact raises the question of what the NFL’s role is regarding discipline for players with domestic assault convictions and allegations.


In 2015, Tyreek Hill, a fifth-round draft pick by the Chiefs, was convicted of strangulation and physical assault after a 2014 incident involving his pregnant ex-girlfriend after she was choked and punched in the stomach, Cindy Boren of the Washington Post reports.


Hill spoke in court in 2015, pleading: “ I wasn’t thinking. I just – I just reacted and hit her, choked her. I’m really sorry for that.” He too, like Brown, has been taking classes and “therapy sessions” which he says he is “dedicated be a better man” (Boren).


Despite this violent conviction, the wide receiver has gained an abundance of positive attention from football audiences after his successful season on the Chiefs as he continues with no current assault accusations.


However, the seemingly biggest NFL domestic violence case involved Ray Rice, who, on security camera footage, punched his fiancee, Janay Palmer, in a casino elevator which knocked her unconscious, leading him to drag her across the floor, according to ESPN writer, McManus. Not only were fans and speculators outraged at the actions of the running back, but rumors surrounding the NFL’s possible knowledge of the videotape soon emerged.


According to Don Van Natta Jr. and Kevin Van Valkenburg of ESPN, the Ravens and Rice’s attorney, Michael J. Diamondstein, consulted frequently with one another after viewing the tape, as the President of the Baltimore Ravens Dick Cass “did not request a copy of the video from Diamondstein but instead began urging Rice’s legal team to get Rice accepted into a pretrial intervention program.”


Rice was given a two-day suspension, pleaded not guilty “to an aggravated assault charge and applied for a pretrial intervention program to avoid prosecution,” McManus reports. The player was soon banned indefinitely from the league.


Players from the NFL are not the only ones who are commonly faced with domestic violence allegations; for instance, Jose Reyes of the MLB team the Colorado Rockies was arrested in 2015 over abuse charges after an argument with his wife Katherine.


Police reports state that the couple’s altercation soon “turned physical and resulted in injuries” when Reyes allegedly threw his wife into a sliding glass door and grabbed her by the throat, Thomas Harding of details. Harding continues by acknowledging that Reyes’s wife was transported to the Maui Memorial Medical Center for treatment and Reyes was “released on $1,000 bond and ordered not to have contact with his wife for three days, according to the report.”


The MLB’s new Joint Domestic Violence Policy, signed by Commissioner Rob Manfred and the Major League Baseball Players Association, was violated by Reyes, according to Manfred, which cost him a 51 game suspension from the league (Harding). After his suspension, the New York Mets signed Reyes in 2016 where he continues to play today.


The NFL and MLB’s approach to cases like these have seemed to cause a rift between fans, the media, and the public. Some feel that professional leagues should have no interference in the criminal, and specifically the domestic violence cases of their athletes, while others find it necessary to punish guilty players and impose stricter policies on those accused.


Josh Brown and Ray Rice no longer participate in the NFL due to their domestic violence cases, whereas Tyreek Hill and Jose Reyes continue to compete in their respective sports.


Whether or not these athletes received proper punishment for their actions, these cases and countless others justify why professional sports leagues need to establish clearer policies and stricter guidelines as to how to handle, or not to handle, these serious incidents.


Works Cited:

Almasy, Steve. “NFL Kicker Josh Brown Released by Giants after Admitting Abuse.” CNN. Cable News Network, 25 Oct. 2016. Web. 09 May 2017.

Boren, Cindy. “Tyreek Hill Is a Rising Star with Chiefs, but past Domestic Abuse Incident Still

Hovers.” The Washington Post. WP Company, 09 Dec. 2016. Web. 09 May 2017.

Florio, Mike. “Molly Brown: Giants Teammates Knew Of abuse.” ProFootballTalk. N.p., n.d. Web. 09 May 2017.

Harding, Thomas. “Rockies’ Jose Reyes Arrested, Charged.” Major League Baseball. N.p., 10 Nov. 2015. Web. 09 May 2017.

Jr., Don Van Natta, and Kevin Van Valkenburg. “Rice Case: Purposeful Misdirection by Team, Scant Investigation by NFL.” ESPN. ESPN Internet Ventures, 19 Sept. 2014. Web. 09 May 2017.

Macur, Juliet. “N.F.L. Shows It Doesn’t Really Care About Domestic Violence.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 21 Oct. 2016. Web. 09 May 2017.

McManus, Jane. “If Not the Player, Ray Rice Asks You to Forgive the Man.” ESPN. ESPN Internet Ventures, n.d. Web. 09 May 2017.

Winsor, Morgan, and Julia Jacobo. “NFL Puts Giants’ Josh Brown on Paid Suspension Over Domestic Abuse.” ABC News. ABC News Network, n.d. Web. 09 May 2017.

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The Senior Experience


The past 13 years of my schooling have all lead up to this moment: the moment when it was time for me to branch out away from the walls of Westlake High School and have a little sneak peak at what the real world had to offer.

Fourth quarter crept up quickly and it was time for all seniors to begin the senior internship. For me specifically, I had no idea what to expect when entering. I questioned: “What do I wear?”; “What do I bring?”; “What will I say?” These were only a few of the questions that ran through my head the morning of my first day.

Pulling into Westchester Community College Campus, it finally hit me, I was done with high school classes.

However, to my surprise, when I walked downstairs into the radio station to start my internship, I immediately felt like I belonged. This is where I wanted to be, and I was so excited to learn all the new things of the radio world and the real world.

Yet, also to my surprise, I was told that at 12:00 PM, on my first day, I’d be on air speaking. Once again, my mind entered a fanatic state: “ON AIR, SPEAKING? I AM NOT READY FOR THIS.”

Not letting my fear show, I went on air and pretended like I knew exactly what I was doing. The hour on air speaking went so fast, and I was actually sad my showtime was over for the day.

What I learned was that even though I was so afraid to do or say the wrong thing, I was prepared thanks to my years of learning how to communicate at Westlake. When I finished my first day, I was so excited to go back the following day to see what the next day and even month had in store for me at the station.

Capping off my third week of the Senior Experience, I have realized I wouldn’t want my senior year to end any other way.

Senior internships during the 4th quarter are the perfect placement to gain insight into what it means to be independent. In just a short three weeks, I have matured into someone who speaks fluently and confidently on the radio. Since I am going to major in communications at Sacred Heart University, radio is something I am definitely considering now. Without this internship, I would have never thought this would be a possible path for me. Being able to jump start what I want to do in life before college even begins has been an amazing opportunity for me and even for others who I have spoken to.

I have learned how to use all the soundboards at the station; I can speak on air without hesitation; and I know how to conduct myself in a professional environment. These are advantages that I will take with me to college this coming Fall.

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Stabbing at Texas University


On Monday May 1, 2017, Kendrex White, a student at Texas University at Austin, went on a stabbing rampage on campus, causing three injuries and one fatality.

According to Farmer, Mekelburg, and Jaramillo, authors of “Suspect in UT Austin stabbing charged with murder, had been committed before,” authorities revealed that White, 21, was committed to a neurologist for a psych evaluation not long before the incident; results deemed White normal.

Back at TU, students are appalled that White is the main suspect in this ongoing investigation. Witnesses of the fiasco described White as easygoing and always friendly, as stated by Farmer Mekelburg and Jaramillo. The journalists for the Dallas News captured freshman Rachel Prichett saying, “‘I heard people screaming. ‘I saw a guy standing there…holding a machete-type knife…He grabbed this guy by the shoulder who was facing him and stabbed him in the back, and so I turned around and started running away.’” More accounts of this atrocity have been documented as we wait to see what comes next at TU.

These appalling events have lead to a thorough investigation lead by the Dallas police, starting with White being held in custody on murder charges, without bail permitted.


Work Cited

Farmer, Liza, Madlin Mekelburg, and Cassandra Jaramillo. “Suspect in UT Austin stabbing

charged with murder, had been committed before.” The Dallas Morning News, Inc.,

ampus.  3 May 2017.

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Beauty and the Beast Review

Title: Beauty and the Beast

Rating: PG

Runtime: 2 hours and 9 minutes

Release Date: March 17th 2017

Grade: A-

Reviewed by: AIDAN GLENDON


Beauty and the Beast is a live-action remake of a Disney classic, with just a few slight changes. It still maintains the bone-structure of the original animated classic musical/romance/fairytale epic, but is a little darker and goes much deeper with the characters in its additional 45 minutes.


For the few who have never seen the original (shame on you), Beauty and the Beast is about a girl named Belle (which means Beauty) who is tired of her small town life. After her father goes missing, she races to find him in the forgotten castle of a long-withdrawn prince, who has been cursed to live as a beast. She takes her father’s place in the castle and must spend time with the creature. The beast must learn to love another, and another must love him back in order to break the curse, which has also turned all of his house staff into animate objects.


The movie is directed by Bill Condon who – unknown to me at the time – unsurprisingly helmed the Twilight movies. He brings a certain gloominess to the movie that is not present in the original, but he knows that his true audience is for all ages, not just the kids. This is evident in many ways, such as how the curse effects the castle, and in some song changes (said song changes add some much needed pathos). His style really drives up the stakes, making slight alterations to the beloved characters, which make them feel just a bit more real.


Emma Watson (Harry Potter franchise) starts as the titular beauty, with Dan Stevens of Downton Abbey fame as the titular Beast. The cast is rounded out by: Josh Gad playing Lefou; Kevin Kline as Maurice; and Ewan McGregor, Ian Mckellen, Audra McDonald, Stanley Tucci, and Emma Thompson as the beast’s cursed servants. And of course, the cast’s true MVP, Luke Evans playing Gaston.


For me, sitting in the theater watching my favorite childhood movie be redone in an inventive and interesting new take was amazing. It was just as good, if not better, than the original. It might be the extra run time, but the 2017 version seems to flow better. This one also boasts some new songs such as Days in the Sun, and my personal favorite, the beast’s heart wrenching Evermore. My only real problem with this movie is that it abandoned one of my all-time favorite songs from the original, Human Again, in favor of the more somber Days in the Sun.


All in all, this movie is absolutely fantastic, and one that I will most definitely see again (although probably not as many times as I saw the original as a child).

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Conflict Over Unfair Pay Leaves U.S Women’s Hockey Team Threatening to Boycott World Championships


“We have represented our country with dignity and deserve to be treated with fairness and respect,” Meghan Duggan, team captain of the United States women’s national hockey team, announced this Wednesday after conflict with USA Hockey.


According to Stephen Whyno, with ABC News, the team is currently threatening to boycott the International Ice Hockey Federation world championship over wage disputes.


The women’s team has won seven gold medals and ten silver medals in the world championships dating back to 1990 and have also achieved one gold and three silver Olympic medals, notes.  


The reigning team was supposed to arrive at training in Plymouth, Michigan on March 21 before the beginning of the tournament on March 31. However, according to ESPNW, “players said they believe meaningful progress was not being made in the pay negotiations and, as a result, informed USA Hockey on Wednesday that unless that happens, they will not report to Michigan.”


Captain Meghan Duggan asked the USA Hockey group to “fully support its programs for women and girls and stop treating us like an afterthought,” Stephen Whyno reports in the LA Daily News.


The team’s concerns stem from USA Hockey only giving the female athletes financial support “during the months leading up to the Olympics” despite their year-long training. According to Camila Domonoske of NPR, players were only paid $1,000 a month “for six months every Olympic cycle” with “virtually nothing else” for the years in between the games.


Chris Kuc further reveals in the Chicago Tribune that the group has been bereft of payment for “equipment, staff, meals, travel expenses, transportation and publicity.”


The hockey team is currently being represented by the Ballard Spahr law firm as they pursue a contract with USA Hockey for better pay that all players feel “is appropriate compensation” ESPNW states.


Many players have commented on the unequal treatment they receive compared to the U.S men’s hockey team, even in 2017. Captain and forward Meghan Duggan says that their training time and dedication to the sport year round is not being supported fairly and justly. She recently voiced that the team wants USA Hockey to support their wishes and to “stop treating us like an afterthought,” Whyno reports in LA Daily News.
Works Cited:

Domonoske, Camila. “U.S. Women’s Hockey Team Boycotting World Championships To Protest Low Pay.” NPR. NPR, 15 Mar. 2017. Web. 16 Mar. 2017.

Kuc, Chris. “U.S. Women’s Hockey Players to Boycott World Championships over Wage Dispute.” N.p., 16 Mar. 2017. Web. 16 Mar. 2017.

“U.S. Women’s Hockey Team Threatens to Sit out World Championships.” ESPN. ESPN Internet Ventures, n.d. Web. 16 Mar. 2017.

Whyno, Stephen. “US Women’s Hockey Players Threaten Boycott over Wages.” ABC NewsABC News Network, n.d. Web. 16 Mar. 2017.

Whyno, Stephen. “US Women’s Hockey Team Threatens Boycott over Wages.” LA Daily NewsLA Daily News, 15 Mar. 2017. Web. 16 Mar. 2017.

“Women’s Teams.” Team USA Hockey. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Mar. 2017.

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Has Wearing a Fitness Device Made Americans Healthier?


Some of the hottest gifts for 2016 include smart watches and fitness trackers, but are these health devices just a fad?

Maybe someone you know received the new “Fitbit” for Christmas or you might have even received an Apple watch, which has similar health tracking features. These companies have made a variety of affordable products that contain different features that are meant to help promote a healthy lifestyle.

The more expensive trackers have better features and to appeal to all ages, they also come in a variety of colors. Displaying features, such as steps and stairs climbed, encourages people to have the desire to reach a certain goal. Consumers can also compete with each other in regards to steps walked in a week or other similar activities promoting health, which makes that hassle of taking a few more steps all the worthwhile.

These companies are making millions off consumers to help them achieve a healthy lifestyle, but is it really helping?

Although these products make the buyers feel and seem fit, Dr. Cody B. Clinton of the Courier-Post explains that people who wear Fitbits and other health devices “did not show any statistically significant changes in blood pressure or weight.” Understanding this, why do people still have the desire to buy these trackers?

The answer to this is because it is a fad.

Over time, the trend of buying these health trackers will diminish and some new health device will come about.

The trackers are fun to have and challenge friends to achieve the goals set. For now, these are moving America towards a healthier future because the fitness trackers encourage people to want to be more active; but, as far as weight loss for individuals, it does not do much.
Works Cited

Clinton, Cody B., Dr. “Wearable fitness tech: Fad or healthy trend?” Courier-Post, 2 Feb. 2017,

Jaspen, Bruce. “Wearable Fitness Devices Attract More Than The Young And Healthy.” Forbes, 11 July 2016,


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Are Gummy Vitamins Effective?


Children everywhere consume gummy vitamins daily. Parents assume that by giving their children these vitamins, the children are receiving the proper nutrition supplements that they should be receiving at their young age.  


However, in order for the kids to actually eat the gummies, they have to taste good. What people forget about before feeding kids these healthy treats is the reason why they taste so good: from the amount of the sugar they contain, rather than enough nutrients.  


It is proven that the excessive amount of sugar in these gummy vitamins can actually deprive the body of the nutrients parents are actually trying to give their children.


Here are a few of the reasons that gummy vitamins may not be the best choice for your child:

  1. They are like candy so are easy to overdose on
  2. Most are not regulated by the FDA
  3. They contain unnatural ingredients
  4. Gummy vites actually  have too much sugar which make them bad for your teeth


However, there is a silver lining – natural and organic gummy vitamins can be a sufficient way for children to receive a variety of vitamins. Organic and natural gummy vitamins are typically easy to digest and also delicious; more importantly, they are not as bad as the unnatural ones.
Sometimes gummy vitamins are simply supplements for the people who cannot take pills for various reasons.  But the bad outweigh the good; therefore, I feel that parents should reconsider the type of gummy vitamins they are giving to their children – go for the natural and organic instead of the sugary vites.

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Power Rangers Review

Title: Power Rangers

Rating: PG-13

Runtime: 2 hours and 4minutes

Release Date: March 24th 2017

Grade: B+

Reviewed by: AIDAN GLENDON


Power Rangers is the latest in a long line of both superhero movies and studios mining past successful franchises (TV or movie) and rebooting them for new audiences, while tapping into the old ones for the nostalgia factor. Based off of the EXTREMELY long running show (834 episodes, to be exact), with many variations of the name, Power Rangers tells the same old and tired superhero of finding powers, training, and battling an enemy that is both way too strong to defeat and way too evil to be interesting at all. But, this movie does it better than most.


Most superhero flicks take a way too underdeveloped character and spend more time on powers, gadgets and fighting, leading up to a spectacularly choreographed final fight with amazing special effects. Power Rangers does the opposite, delicately taking the time to introduce us to each character. Over the first hour and twenty minutes or so, the audience gets to intimately know each main character and see how this burden of power and responsibility weighs upon them. It is in the 3rd act where the movie begins to fall flat, with a final fight that seems a little too rushed.


The main team of rangers is made up of 5 teens, all of whom do their part to reflect the world we are living in today, not the world of 1993, when the show first aired. The main cast is rounded out by: Bill Hader as the goofy and borderline irritating sidekick; Bryan Cranston as the ancient mentor; and Elizabeth Banks as the villain. And credit to her, because her role may not be written well, but Banks does as much with it as she can. You can tell that even though she could be phoning it in, she is really doing her best to make her character interesting, a difficult task since her villain has no explained motivation and very little backstory.


Everything in this movie is very well done. The cast is so dynamic and fun to watch, the music perfectly sets the mood, and the effects and design are much better and smoother than the predecessor. Not to mention the small-town vibe perfectly sets the mood for the teenager-experience of the movie.


While a feature length Power Rangers movie was never really asked for, nor necessary, this film certainly proves relevant and fun. I went in expecting Transformers-level entertainment, but got so much more. And obviously, since this is a superhero movie, there is a mid-credits scene setting up a sequel, but it is one that I hope to see soon. I would be disappointed if this first installment were to be the last.

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