NHS Induction

By CATE GIBBONS

Becoming a member of the National Honor Society is a high achievement for high school juniors and seniors to receive.

After completing the requirements of at least forty community service hours, participating in at least three extracurricular activities, and maintaining an average of 88 or higher by the end of the first quarter of junior or senior year, students find out who made the cut.

Mr. Paduano, the advisor of the WHS National Honor Society, chooses candidates who fulfill the requirements and meet the Principles: Character, Scholarship, Service and Leadership.

The induction occurred on January, 9, 2014 in the JS Whearty Theater in the evening. This year, the inductees included 49 juniors and 10 seniors, for a total of 59. The ceremony included performances by the band, the National Anthem sung by several senior Blenders, and many, many speeches.

The administrative staff, including Mr. Scheinker, Dr. Guiney and Mr. Paduano, all delivered speeches to kick off the night to celebrate the students’ honors. Emily Pisano, Tommy Leo, Pooja Aier and Joshin George, each representing one of the four main principles of NHS, also spoke to recognize the efforts of the new inductees and the value of being a member of the society.

For each induction, a senior member read a short boast about the inductee, who was then commemorated, by a lit candle, into a lifetime of membership with the National Honor Society.

Congratulations to all those inducted!

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Dedicating Talent

By CARINA PAPA

Annually, Blendors, Westlake’s singing group, donates their time and talent to the children of the Ronald McDonald House.

The Ronald McDonald house is a facility that houses sick children and their families who cannot afford treatments. The previous Ronald McDonald’s facility housed a total of three families, yet a relocation to Valhalla led to more space and more room for families. The new, improved Ronald McDonald house now holds up to twelve families, promising a greater number of people happiness and hope.

Westlake’s Blendors commits to singing at the Ronald McDonald house  to lift spirits, spread Christmas cheer, and support the sick children in need.

While performing, the Blendors are able to see dozens of smiling faces and people singing along in the audience, a sight that provides the group with the hope and happiness the Ronald McDonald house symbolizes. It is evident that with celebrating the holiday season with children, who haven’t had the most fortunate life so far, comes a great sense of fulfillment.

After singing a series of holiday songs, along with “the Bella’s Finale” from Pitch Perfect, the Blendors stuck around to socialize and spend time around each other and the children, which influenced the Blendors to realize the impact of sickness on many kid’s lives.

Shortly after, thank yous were given to the Westlake Blendors, the people who make the Ronald McDonald house as successful as it is, and the families who leave the facility with healthy children, sick children, and no children.

Dedicating their time and talent is no sacrifice for the Westlake Blendors. They enjoy making the childrens’ and parents’ days brighter in preparation for the coming of the holiday season.

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Reading Revolution

By MICHELLE BARBERO

Inside the traditional library, people are quietly reading and working within shelves of books. However, today’s reality does not seem to reflect this once popular tradition. Now, the library is full of people joking around with friends and not getting much work done at all. Replacing the heavy textbooks or the enjoyable novel, a student’s hand is equipped with an electronic device. Because of this shift among high school students, reading less has become more prominent.

Mary Knopp, librarian at the Westlake Library that is shared between both middle and high school students, agrees that when both schools are compared, “middle school students do check out more books than high school students.”

Even through there is a decline in teenagers’ reading, when high school students do read they benefit academically and socially. Jessica Nguyen and Analisa Caso, two sophomores, agree that reading advances vocabulary and Caso says, “reading also raises different ways of thinking.”

Genres such as fiction and realistic fiction help students in social situations because students can relate to situations that take place within writing. Caso believes that reading different stories allows people to “relate to characters” and their lives.

In addition, Knopp who is also the advisor of the Book Club at Westlake High School, revealed, “students really enjoy selecting books that they want to read and discussing these books outside of classroom with other Book Club members.” Students who share this common interest are able to share their thoughts and relate to each other.

Even though reading has a positive effect on students, factors such as advancements in technology have been distracting students from reading and decreasing the need for students to read for fun.

Caso believes that technology will consume everyone and she noticed that sadly in society, “bookstores and libraries are being closed down.” Nguyen also noticed that young people now go to libraries to socialize and not to read.

On the other hand, Knopp is not too sure about the effect of technology on society because technology makes “it easy for students to mark passages and look up unfamiliar vocabulary words. However, technology also has a negative effect in that students are impatient to get the answers that they seek.”

In the future, reading for enjoyment will either become extinct or change drastically due to the growing influence of technology on young people.

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English Honors Society Induction

By MARIA CASTELLANETA

Being inducted into EHS, or English Honors Society, requires a love for and devotion to reading and writing, as well as, made clear by the club teacher advisor, Mrs. Matthews, a drive for understanding literature.

The inductees included: Samantha Howard; Jeannine Ederer; Will Carr; Jordana Aberbach; Helen You; Youseff Sabha; and Emily Pisano.

Mrs. Matthews brilliantly highlighted each scholar’s accomplishments that proved him/her to be worthy of receiving the EHS award.

Samantha Howard, a junior, recalled, “It was a very nice ceremony, as it made each of us feel very accomplished in the wonderful mini speeches Mrs. Mathews put together for each of us.”

Mrs. Cavalli, the guest speaker, left the inductees with wise words that they are likely to remember throughout their life of education. She drew attention to the reason why students were receiving this award and informed the audience about how talented these students are. Mrs. Cavalli stated, “these students get it;” they understand that there is something about being able to understand reading and writing to the fullest that will take them a long way.

After a few other speeches and excerpts from some of the students’ finest works, the inductees accepted their awards with smiling faces and pride.

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Service Club

The newly revived Service Club has many exciting things planned for this year. Advisor, Mr. Nick DiPaolo, chose a wide variety of events for the students to partake in order to get them more involved in the community.

The purpose of the Service Club is to help those in the world around us in an easy and effective manner. One event that the Service Club is hosting is organizing the Julia’s Closet Dress Drive.  Julia’s Closet is an organization that collects prom dresses, bridesmaid dresses, and semiformal and formal gowns to be given to underprivileged girls in underdeveloped areas for their proms.

The Service Club would like to call on female Wildcats for their assistance with this project. Without donations from our generous faculty and students, this drive would be impossible.

Another upcoming event is assisting veterans with their coffee hour prior to the Veteran’s Day Parade that will be on Monday, November 11, at 9 AM. Members of the Service Club were asked to create gift bags for the veterans to thank them for their devoted service.

Other up-and-coming events the club is sponsoring is: Operation Santa; a Midnight Run; and a Blood Drive to help support the New York Blood Center, which is the sole provider of Blood for Westchester Medical Center and the Maria Farari Children’s Hospital.

Please help support any or all of the Service Club’s efforts!

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Literary Magazine

By MICHAEL FISCHER

Literary Magazine is a club that will showcase all of Westlake’s own art and writing contributed by students throughout the 2013-2014 school year. It will include poetry, short stories, essays, photos, paintings and drawings. The magazine, well-known as Scrap Paper, will be published in late spring.

Each spring, the haiku contest, hosted by English Honor Society, and the Art Show, on display thanks to all of Westlake’s Art classes, are two places where most of this work is spotted.

Submissions for the magazine will come mostly from English teachers whose students produce the best work, but this doesn’t just mean the kids have to be from honor-level classes. The work simply has to be creative, insightful and original.

This year, the Literary Magazine will consider submitting for competitions including the NCTE (National Council of Teachers of English) program to show excellence in literature (last year the competition drew over 400 entries) and the National Scholastic Press Association.

Student officers include editors, art directors and the treasurer; so far, the student officials are Michael Fischer, Julianna Rush and Chloe Burns.

If you interested in joining the team, contact the faculty advisor, Mrs. Gelard (Room 215).

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Westlake Chorus Heads to “Wicked”

By SHANNON FRISBIE

The Westlake High School chorus continued their tradition to see a Broadway musical on September 26, 2013; this year, they saw the legendary show, Wicked. Mrs. Melito and Mrs. Shultz chaperoned the class to dinner and the musical.

Late afternoon, the class took the train from Hawthorne to Grand Central Station. When they arrived, they walked to Dave and Buster’s for dinner, followed by the walk to the Gershwin Theatre for the eight o’clock performance.

“Wicked spotlights the untold stories of Oz’s most famous (or infamous) characters, namely the Wicked Witch of the West and her unlikely friend, Glinda the Good” (“Wicked – National Tour”). This Broadway classic redefines the backstory of the original, The Wizard of Oz. The show takes the audience through the life of the Wicked Witch of the West, Elphaba, screening all of the events, which in time, identified her as “wicked. ”

Good Witch, Glinda, is introduced as a spoiled rich girl who is the polar opposite to Elphaba. “Wicked effortlessly reveals that there are indeed two sides to every story” (“Wicked – National Tour”).

While they meet in college, Elphaba is passionate in seeking to undo the mistakes of the past, dark secrets and tragedies that shaped Oz. This musical features a relationship that changes the back story of The Wizard of Oz, while drastically alternating the classic movie’s understanding.

After the showing of the musical, the class planned to take an eleven o’clock train back to Hawthorne. Though, between the delays of walking time, they had missed the train and stayed at Grand Central until the next train to Hawthorne at twelve.

Including the cost of dinner, the trip totaled in sixty-four dollars.  According to senior student Jordan Decker, “We didn’t arrive back until around 1:00 AM after missing the train, and even though I was exhausted and had to go to school the next day, the trip was an amazing experience and I got to see one of my favorite plays all over again.”

Works Cited:

“Wicked – National Tour.” Broadway.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 01 Nov. 2013.

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Italian Club

By ANALISA CASO

Westlake High School’s Italian club is about celebrating the culture surrounding Italy. Mrs. Caringi, the advisor, has decided that this year, the club is going to have special fundraisers and events to acknowledge the traditions that Italians practice. Aside from celebrating the Italian heritage, these fundraisers will also allow the students to raise money to support opportunities to go on class trips, such as a visit to Little Italy in New York City.

The current fundraiser the club is running is the annual Cannoli sale. In order to sample a taste of the Italian culture, anyone can purchase five delicious cannolis for ten dollars! In order to truly make this an experience that serves the students with an understanding of the Italian traditions, members of the club and students in Mrs. Caringi’s Italian classes actually make and stuff the cannolis with the cream, thus giving them “the Italian experience.”

The sale began on October 22 and will run for a few weeks. Come and support the Italian club by buying these delicious cannolis! You won’t regret it!

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Reborn

By MARIA CIRACO

The Reborn club invites all students to join and discuss our God.  Every meeting, we focus on a topic, such as stress or school, and we talk about how God can help us with it.  In other meetings, we talk about God’s works, like the creation of man, and how God knows each one of us.  These topics will help you grow closer to God, as you learn more about him and His great love for you.

Reborn club also involves prayer.  We pray for each other, school, friends and family.  Besides a closing prayer after every meeting, we are involved with “See You at the Pole,” which is a program that invites students to come to the flag pole and pray together.  This program will be starting in the after school in the Spring.

This club is also a place where you can meet people who are strong in faith.  Being in high school, it is hard sometimes to find people who you feel most comfortable around. Being a part of the Reborn club will help you meet great friends who will help you and pray for you.

Reborn meets every Wednesday, in room 100A, the Westlake Word Room.  New members are always welcome.

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Westlake JSA’s 2013 Outreach Walk-a-thon

By POOJA AIER

Save the date!

Saturday, June 8th is Westlake JSA’s Walk-a-thon in support of Vidya Vanam, a school for misfortunate children in Tamil Nadu, India. Come to the Westlake High School track from 1-4pm and walk in support of this respectable cause. Westlake’s Walk-a-thon is student-initiated and will serve as a non-profit event to better those affiliated with Vidya Vanam. Donations to Vidya Vanam are encouraged and can be made at the Walk-a-thon.

Vision

Vidya Vanam, established in 2009 as an education initiative, is an elementary school for children from tribal and underprivileged families living in rural India. The parents of these children are either illiterate or have had no formal education, and hence the sons and daughters represent first-time learners. It is our endeavour to help these children grow into literate, self-confident, motivated and emotionally stable human beings. Vidya Vanam provides children with the tools for self learning while simultaneously recognizing the rich cultural traditions of the villages. It strives to impart the elements of education that respect and nurture this cultural identity and instill in the children pride and respect for their roots, environment and culture.

Student Life

The day for the bus drivers begins at 7.00am, and they drive for about 25 – 30 kilometers, which is about 16 – 20 miles one way in the morning and evening to pick up and drop off the children. Because of the smaller size of the van several trips are required to get all the children daily.

The children are divided into Kindergarten, Elementary, and Middle School groups, each consisting of approximately 90 students.

Lunch is provided to the children each day; kindergarten kids take a nap in the afternoon; the students are also provided uniforms, which they wear three days in a week. There are a number of activities that occupy the children in the afternoon, which are both academic and extracurricular. These include, dance, drumming, games, art, craft and music.

The school communicates with parents regularly through a student diary. Many of the parents who cannot read or write get the help of people in the village to help them. At the end of the term the parents are given a written report. Since many of the parents are not literate, the teachers read out the report to them.

JSA’s Objective

JSA is a nation-wide organization that supports the education and practice of debate, public speaking, and leadership skills. One of JSA’s main principles is encouraging students to have a voice and made a difference, which is extremely present in Westlake’s chapter. The club’s students act enthusiastically to voice their opinions on just changes that should be made throughout the world and are initiating the support that this Walk-a-thon needs. Join the effort to make a difference and show your support at Westlake’s Walk-a-thon for Vidya Vanam by walking and donating to this worthy cause.

For more information about Vidya Vanam, please visit: http://www.vidyavanam.org/

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