From Under the Sea to the Metro Awards

By EMMA SCHULZE

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 lohud.com. 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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The Senior Experience

By MACKENZIE MAHER

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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Westlake Indoor Track and Field 2016-2017

By MANNY CORONA

As the winter sports season draws to a close, the Westlake Track and Field team is extremely happy with all the results from the season. However, with the League and Westchester County meets behind us, there are still more challenges to come, such as Class B and State Qualifiers to follow.

 

Nonetheless, the team has once again grown together to become one big family made of strong individuals who always leave their best efforts on the track and jumping mats and in the throwing circle and sand pit. Although we are the only team to practice outside in the dead of winter, we are not worn ourselves, as we tackle old standing records and bring titles and hardware home.

 

Each meet has been looked forward to; maybe not the one happening on the day of Super Bowl Sunday, but the will to compete and compete with our very best is there. Led by amazing coaches, Devon White and Martin Rodriguez, and by great leaders on the team, it is almost impossible to think that any dream is out of our reach.

 

The team likes to showcase the hard work that’s being put in, to show off the dedication in numbers, color, athleticism and to make those who believe in us proud.

 

Thanks to those who put in the hard work and made everything possible, we were able to put together an amazing team that makes the future look bright. As long as the athletes gave it their all, continue to give it their all, and left it all on the track, there was never disappointment on any of our coach’s faces.

 

There have been many results throughout the season and records broken that are inspiring:  

 

Girls at the League Meet:

 

Nicole Izzo, advanced to the 55m dash finals

Mary Lyons, 2nd overall in the 600m

Alexandra Leitch, 3rd overall in the 1000m

Joelle El Hamouche,5th overall in the 1000m

Arianna Edwards, 2nd overall in the 1500m

Faith Summers, 2nd overall in the 3000m

Julia Remo, 1st overall in shot put

Julianna Castellano, 2nd overall in shot put and 3rd overall in weight throw

Cynthia Briggs, 3rd overall in shot put

 

Guys at the League Meet:

 

Eric Nieves, 2nd place overall in 55m dash

Kane Lyons, 3rd place overall in 55m dash

Kane Lyons, 2rd place overall in the 300m

Manny Corona, 2nd place overall in the 3200m

4x200m team (Eric Nieves, Brian Kelly, TJ Policarpio, and Kane Lyons), 1st overall

Peter Vogel,1st place overall in high jump

 

Records Broken:

 

The girls 4×400 school record relay time was broken at the Ridgewood Winter Games – Faith Summers, Mary Lyons, Colleen Bradley and Arianna Edwards

 

Mary Lyons broke the 600m school record at the League meet
Julianna Castellano broke both the shot put (section 1 kickoff meet) and weight throw (league meet) school records

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Westlake Volleyball

By SOPHIA DIMICELI

On November 5, 2016 the Westlake Varsity Volleyball team took home the Class B Section 1 title for the first time since 2008.

In order to make it this far, the Westlake Wildcats had to beat every other team in the league.

“I was so nervous to be back,” Junior Laine Peterson said, alluding to the team’s loss in section finals just two years earlier. “I knew everyone was going to have to work extremely hard to pull off this win.”

This especially tight-knit group of girls proved that putting your heart into a sport and a team really pays off. Senior Captain Kelly Martin says that the feeling of winning was “indescribable. It was probably the most rewarding moment of [my] entire life so far.”

The team, of course, could not have made it as far as they did without the help of their amazing coach, Carmen Bates, who was awarded the Conference 3 Coach of the Year.

Coach Bates wasn’t the only Wildcat recognized though: Senior Kelli Kinlen was given an All Conference Honorable Mention; Sophomore Sydney Roell was awarded All Section; and Senior Captains Caleigh Carr and Kelly Martin were awarded All State.

The Westlake Varsity Volleyball team’s 2017 season was one like no other. Overall, the Westlake Volleyball team had an amazing season and they hope to be back at the section finals next fall to defend their title!

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Westlake Homecoming 2016

By VICTORIA AVILES

On Saturday October 8th, Westlake students cheered as they left the football field, winning their 6th game yet.

In the school week leading up to the big game, students all dressed up to show their school spirit in a collection of fun outfits. Wednesday was a day for all students and staff to showcase their American pride. On Thursday, freshman dressed up in cowboy boots and western clothes; sophomores dressed in their best tourist clothes; juniors dressed preppy and seniors battled in mathletes vs. athletes. These were just some of the fun outfits students wore to show their school spirit. Friday was the annual color day, representing each grade level, seniors taking the school color: blue. 

Amanda Rubeo, a photographer for the Westlake yearbook, took pictures during Friday afternoon’s pep rally. Rubeo exclaimed, “It was an amazing experience that captured the true heart of Westlake spirit.” Rubeo is right, for everyone at the pep rally was overjoyed to cheer on their school, fall sports teams and especially the football team.

Lauren Schneider, a Westlake junior, joyfully said, “I love Spirit Week! It makes school so fun and brings the students of all grades together.”

Westlake High School’s 2016 homecoming game and Spirit Week proved to all of the students that our school come together as a whole in order to support all fall athletes and showcase their school pride.

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The Road to the States

By LAUREN SCHNEIDER

State semi-final title champions: that was a name that the Westlake Wildcats varsity football team hadn’t heard in years. Since 1983 to be exact.

All of that changed last year when the new head coach, John Castellano, lead the team of seniors and juniors, with select sophomore and freshman, to grab that title once again. The achievement was so grand it even lead the Mount Pleasant School District to dedicate a day to the Wildcats.

Now, one year later, the pressure is back on.

The Westlake High School football team is a part of Section 1, Class B.  The class ranks are relative to how many kids are in the school: Class A being the largest, Class B being the second and so on. The sections, on the other hand, are determined by which area the school is located in, with a total of 11 sections in New York state. At the very end of the season, when the state tournament game is played, is when each of the sections come together.

Back in November of 2015, our very own Wildcats made it to the state semi-finals, one step away from the state final held in Syracuse. It was a ground-breaking moment in the waiting for 33 years.

However, the varsity players can no longer shower in the glory of the past but only look ahead.

According to one of the team’s players, Nicholas Colabatistto, “We have a different team from last year, no doubt, but last year is in the past. We try to forget that so we can focus on this years goals.”

The Wildcats, as a team, hope to “win a consecutive section title, go farther than last year and win a state title.”

Being the second ranked football team in New York, making these dreams a reality are right at the players’ fingertips. The road to the state final is promising, but since it is still a while off, the team prepares to focus and take each individual game as it comes.

“We are just working extremely hard to play our best and go above and beyond,” Colabatistto adds.

With their, so far, six to zero undefeated streak, there is no doubt in the Westlake Wildcats varsity football team’s mind that they won’t only make it to state finals, but bring back home the gold with them.

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Headphones in, Art Mode on

By MIKAELA BIRCH

Once her headphones are in, Catie Lyons is in her own world, creating art that inspires the people in her life. Lyons admires anime art and pursues this admiration by illustrating her own characters, as well as drawing characters from her favorite movies and T.V. shows.

Lyons, a self-taught artist, knows how to bring her pieces to life by using vibrant colors, beautiful line work, and emotion. She first developed an interest for art at a young age, starting out as a “doodler.” Around the ages 11 and 12, anime inspired her to create her own illustrations of the anime style, and to this day, she continues to wow and amaze people she shows her art to.

“I’ve always loved anime. Even as a young child, I used to watch Pokemon and Yugioh, before I even knew it was anime,” the aspiring artist said. “Since I was little, I always loved the ‘look’ of the animation that was used in the anime that I watched,” Lyons added.

“It makes me happy that she found something that she really enjoys and wants to pursue,” Lina Lyons, Catie’s mother, said.

With each drawing Catie creates, there’s always something she wants to improve, especially components of the process that she struggles with. She also strives to create more “detailed” and “complex” pieces of work.

“Sometimes, if you feel a certain way, and don’t know how to handle it, drawing the way you feel helps to get those feelings out,” Catie explained, “and sometimes you just want to draw for fun, because you enjoy it, and enjoying what you’re doing gets you to improve and get better.”

According to Catie, depending on the complexity and how much time she has to draw, “it usually takes between 3 to 4 days, but sometimes it takes longer” for her to complete a drawing. “The longest it took me was a week and a half,” Catie added.

“She’s really good at it; it’s kinda weird how some people can’t even draw a straight line and she can do all the stuff that she does. And how much she likes to do it, even when she was little, she loved drawing and arts and crafts,” John Lyon’s, Catie’s brother, noted.

The thing about anime drawings/art that Catie loves the most are the eyes. “An anime characters’ main feature is usually their eyes; there are so many different types of shapes, sizes and even colors that make anime eyes an art form in themselves,” Catie described.

“The coloring she does is really good; she makes it look almost 3D with the way she colors everything in,” John said, as he explains what her biggest strength is when it comes to drawing.

There is never a time when Catie isn’t focused while she works on a drawing. “When she has her headphones on,” Lina said, “[she] literally can’t hear the world around her.”

While in her room, Catie puts on her headphones, “blasting music,” and allows herself to get focused and situated with the right mediums.

“I use regular number two pencils to start the sketching. Once that is done, I use black inking pens to sharpen the pencil lines,” Catie said, as she explained her drawing process. “After that it’s time to add color; for this I either use copic markers or prismacolor colored pencils and soft pastels for blur effects,” she added.

According to Catie, drawing helps her feel more relaxed and tranquil when she is stressed; she simply enjoys it and noted that “it comes naturally” to her.

“Whenever she finishes a part of a drawing, she shows me with a big smile on her face, and says ‘I finished! Do you like it? Is it good, or should I add something?’ She ALWAYS wants to improve on her skills,” Lina said with admiration.

“I always think [her art] is really cool,” John said, “I always ask her ‘how do you draw like this?’ and she usually just says ‘I don’t know, I just did it.’”

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Stepping into Elena’s Shoes

By TAYLOR GARRITANO

Fashion is everywhere for her: she loves it, she tries it, she sets it.

Inspired by many celebrities and fashion experts, Elena DiDomizio, junior at Westlake High School, follows the footsteps of her passion by collecting, buying, and wearing high heels.

Whether it’s hanging out with friends, heading out for late night trips to New York City or attending family parties, DiDomizio shows her love for fashion by wearing high heels that fit how she feels.

Fashion has always been a fun hobby for DiDomizio, and her love for high heels makes her both unique and interesting.

DiDomizio states, “I’ve always loved high heels, especially my LouisVuittons. I’ve had a couple of fashion statements from him but his heels really spoke to me and screamed my name so that’s what made me want to collect them.”

Interested in the fashion industry, DiDomizio expresses herself and one of her passions when buying and wearing her designer heels. She has 6 pairs of LouisVuittons and 3 Guiseppe’s, and she wants to add more to her collection in the near future.

She wants to pursue buying luxury shoes because she has always liked to stand out, and in her heels, she can certainly do that. DiDomizio states, ”I wanted to pursue this because I love dressing up and always standing out, especially at the sweet 16s, I could brag about my high heels.”

Just about two years ago DiDomizio started her shoe collection. She became very involved with searching for these “pairs” of art created by many talented designers. She has even gotten many of her friends interested in her unique hobby, who now seek to follow her fashion sense.

DiDomizios best friend Lauren Johanson states, “Elena’s shoe collection is absolutely insane,” adding that she hopes to borrow shoes because of their beauty and how they make every occasion more memorable.

DiDomizio usually doesn’t let anyone borrow her expensive heels only because she worked hard to buy them and also because “if they got ruined in another person’s hand, [she] would regret lending it to them.”

Although not all friends and family members can borrow them, they still manage to awe over her collection, in shock of how bold and fascinating they are. Each pair represents the many different sides of DiDomizio’s personality, making her unique from everyone else.

“Heels are supposed to be worn not tucked away,” DiDomizio states, which showcase the best and most colorful sides of her personality. Knowing that DiDomizio doesn’t want to be “tucked away,” neglecting her heels, she now knows that expanding her collection will only be the next building blocks to her career.

This heel collection has driven her to pursue an education at FIT, the Fashion Institute of Technology, in New York City, which will further her interest and experience in the fashion industry.

“I would be really greateful if I was able to further my education at FIT for the next four years of my life; I don’t know exactly what I want to do there yet but hopefully over the next year I will,” DiDomizio adds.

Her talent in art and love for fashion indicate that Elena has a special spark that should not be wasted.

Marilyn DiDomizio, Elena’s mother, states, “Elena has always been a smart girl and stylish girl, whatever she wants to pursue she can.”

As she continues to expand her collection in the near future, she will only develop more passion for the industry. This will prove to help her find success in the fashion industry after she graduates from college and make a name for herself.

“My love for heels makes me want to design my own; my shoes would have to have a thin heel and must be strappy. The color I would choose is either black and white or something bold,” DiDomizio pictures.

Knowing this, we can all expect what the next step for DiDomizio is: creating her own personal shoe line.

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Star Athlete Becomes Star of the Stage

By EMMA SCHULZE

tbirds

 

Joe Ferri, known at Westlake High School as a football, basketball, and lacrosse star, is now the starring role in the 2016 Spring Musical.

Ferri auditioned for Grease because he loved the movie growing up. Once he found out Westlake’s spring musical was Grease, he was ecstatic and wanted to try something new. According to Ferri, he has acted before but not in theater, so he did have experience in the arts, but not a lot.  

The audition process for Ferri was unlike anything he’s ever done: “Sports I do on the daily, and I’m very familiar and comfortable with it. Going to try out for a musical I was so nervous and worried!”

For his audition, he sang the popular song “Grease Lightning” the night before over and over again making sure it was perfect for his entrance to theatre. 

Ferri remembered, “Going in, I really wanted Danny but the truth is, I didn’t think it would be reality.”

Coming out of his audition, Ferri felt confident. He steered away from all the buzz that was going around about who would be cast. Ferri noted, “I just stayed out of it and tried my hardest every night” and hoped to be cast as the role he wanted.

When Ferri found out he got the role of Danny Zuko, it was the best news he’s heard all year. He said he loves that role, especially John Travolta, who portrayed Zuko in the movie.

“I was actually at a basketball game getting ready to play and before I went on the court, I checked my phone to see if Mr. Cutrone casted the play and there I saw my name next to Danny Zuko. It was the greatest feeling. After that day, I studied the way John Travolta played Danny almost every night,” Ferri celebrated.

Because of this exciting moment in his life, Ferri’s friends and family were very supportive throughout his Grease journey. When he told his friends he wanted to try out, they thought it was a joke, but they still supported him by buying the majority of the house right seats for opening night. Although his friends were there for the first night, his family was sure to come to every performance and was always by his side.

Naturally, opening night came which left Ferri feeling really nervous and somewhat excited. He said, “I saw opening night as the night I get to prove to people that I can do more than just play sports.” He further explained that when it comes to sports, he doesn’t get nervous and is able to stay composed, yet the nerves hit him when he was going to perform the first night in front of a sold out audience!

Thankfully, the cast and crew were there to support him throughout his first performance.

Over the four months of rehearsing, the cast of Grease grew very close. Ferri said, “I love every one of my cast mates, and I’m so glad I did the play and met all these new people who I hope to stay connected with forever.”

Cast members were impressed with Ferri’s performance. Carina Papa, who played the role of Rizzo, said that at the beginning of the rehearsal process Ferri had to get the basics of being in a musical down, such as the way rehearsals were run and how to memorize all his lines. She also commented that he  improved a lot throughout rehearsals and his talent grew.

“His strengths were his lines and that he got off book really fast,” Papa added.

zuko

Another cast member, Rianna Cassone, who played the Pink Lady Babs, said that he brought a great energy to the cast and that he was really friendly, nice and easy to work with.

She also explained how he was “very focused on his performance and he was willing to learn.”

As one of Ferri’s cast mates, I personally have to say he proved to everyone that he can do more than just sports. He shined on the stage, and I couldn’t be more proud of him.

Over Spring Break, the cast got together to practice the show, which also showed Ferri’s dedication. He handled the rehearsals very well and began to understand how to put on a great show.

“We all pushed each other because we all wanted to do well,”  Papa said.

Mr. Cutrone, the musical’s director, said that Ferri impressed and amazed him, considering it was the first time he’s done a musical audition.

Cutrone said Ferri was cast as the role because of his “swagger” and his ability to say his lines in a “relaxed way,” which was very special. Cutrone was also impressed by Ferri’s dedication to the show and how he took it seriously.

Cutrone said that during the rehearsal process, Ferri would ask questions if he was stuck on how to deliver a line, which showed Ferri’s dedication and desire to exceed expectations.

Not only did he exceed expectations as Danny Zuko, Ferri also made a great impact on the Westlake Players, drawing in a different type of audience: the athletes.

zuko1

Opening night, one of the sections of the theater was filled with the football team. “He turned things around, which was also very impressive,” Cutrone noted.

Cutrone said that Ferri is a very talented young man, and  it was a privilege to work with him. Cutrone hopes to see him do the plays in the future.

Luckily, Ferri will be returning next year for the spring musical and he hopes to continue them throughout his life. He says they are “really fun and a great experience.”

Ferri’s advice: “People should try to go out of their comfort zone and try new things because you never know what you might like until you try it.”

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Senior Year Adventures

By MICHELLE BARBERO

April 18, 2016 marked the beginning of senior internships, and three weeks have already passed since then! At Westlake, 12th grade students are given the opportunity to leave the school campus and venture out into the working world. This year, 136 students decided to leave their comfort zones to gain work experience in potential areas of interest for the future.

 

With internships ranging over a variety of sites and fields of study, not having to go to class isn’t the only reason students enjoy internships. Taking on an internship, whether it be as close as Mount Pleasant or as far as New York City, gives students a chance to see if the major they chose to pursue in college is really the right one for them. It also gives students who are undecided on a major an advantage in finding a better sense of direction. Narrowing down on a major to study can be a very difficult process, so the senior internship aids in the process.

 

As my fellow classmates are beginning to adjust to what their internships entails, just as I am, the value of taking on an internship is becoming more and more evident. For example, after just three weeks of being at Westfair Communications, I already feel that I have a place and purpose in their working community, and I have been invited to take part in their events as well. This exposure gives students, like me, an understanding of the realities of the working world.

 

In June, students are asked to create a presentation on their expectations vs. the reality of their internships and what they were able to take from their seven week working experience.

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