Las Vegas Massacre

Murphy Foss and Tarky Lombardi

Staff Writers

Tragedy struck the city of Las Vegas on Oct 3, 2017. A lone shooter on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino reigned terror down on a crowd of 22,000 at a Jason Aldean concert. Aldean was the final act of a multi-day country music festival in Vegas. The shooter, 64 year-old Stephen Paddock, left 58 dead and hundreds more injured, making this the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history. He used the 23 guns he had brought up to his suite over the course of previous two days. Most of these firearms were either fully automatic or had been converted to automatic by devices that Paddock had legally purchased.

The shooting has raised concerns over gun control, even here at Jamesville-DeWitt High School and what the solution is to our gun violence issues. “Gun control doesn’t work,” said junior Quinn Walton, “there are still other ways for people to obtain firearms if they are restricted.” Some people, like freshman Inika Gajra, think gun control is necessary.  “I don’t think mentally ill people should have guns and guns should be harder to get in general,” said Gajra, “automatic weapons should not be available to the public.” Senior Leah Netti agrees with Gajra, “these things just keep happening, we need gun control in order to put an end to this,” said Netti.

Despite the divide on issues like gun control, it appears as though there may be room for compromise. “There is no need for automatic weapons to be on the market,” said Walton, who is an avid hunter, “no hunter I know uses an automatic weapon or has the need for one.” Some citizens, like junior Jakob Ellithorpe, think the best thing we can do as a country right now is to come together, “we all just need to stand together,” said Ellithorpe, “we need to work together to find solutions that will benefit our country as a whole.”

Paddock had been planning this horrific event for a while. He had even set up cameras on the door of his suite and in the hallway outside so that he would know when police officers and SWAT operatives arrived. He even sent his girlfriend, Marilou Danley, out of the country to visit her family and wired around $100,000 to her in the Philippines. However, she says she saw no signs that Paddock was planning anything of this sort and claims to have thought that the money he had sent was a way of breaking up with her.

Because there is no way to know when and where the next mass shooting will take place, so schools have to be prepared. Legislation could take a while to pass, so schools are looking for their own solutions to stop active shooters. “Being prepared for emergencies is really important,”

said Principal Paul Gasparini, “(Dave) Nylen, (Will) Dowdell, and I met with a first responder yesterday to go over lockdown drills and we had an awareness meeting with our teachers.” Other CNY schools like Baldwinsville are taking it a step further, going through active shooter scenarios with teachers. “Our primary goal is to keep students safe at school,” said Principal Gasparini.

Paddock himself was a retired accountant, who had made a lot of money over his career. He was a big time gambler, gambling up to a million dollars in one night. He spent a lot of time on the road, most of it in casinos. Paddock’s own brother was completely shocked by his actions, describing him as someone who loved video poker, cruises, burritos, and country music. However, he had only started gambling after retirement as he had no children and plenty of money to play with.

Legislation could take a while to pass, places such as schools are looking for solutions to stop active shooter. “Being prepared for emergencies is really important,” said Jamesville-DeWitt High School Principal Paul Gasparini, “Mr. Nylen, Mr. Dowdell, and I met with a first responder yesterday to go over lockdown drills and we had an awareness meeting with our teachers.” Other CNY schools like Baldwinsville are taking similar measure, going over drills with teachers in case of a shooter. “Our primary goal is to keep students safe at school,” said Principal Gasparini.

 

State of the School 2017

Spencer Schultz, Jenna Vespi and Jillian Risavi

Editor-in-Chief and Producers of the Ramfeed

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Once again, Jamesville-DeWitt High School is ranked as one of the premier schools in New York State by U.S. News and World Report. Yet, the administration is committed to maintaining the success J-D has achieved in the past by improving different facets of the school. “We’re standing on the shoulders of giants, and looking forward into the future,” says Principal Paul Gasparini.

The Flock, J-D’s student section, has led the charge on reinvigorating school spirit. After a two year hiatus, the club is back in action. Club president Paige Petrell emphasizes that the Flock hopes to “put the enthusiasm back in all school events, big or small.”

While spirit for sporting events has been greater than ever, participation in other school-sponsored events, namely the Homecoming Dance and J-D Day, is a different story.  Though there has been limited excitement for J-D Day in recent years and the Homecoming Dance has already been cancelled, Mr. Gasparini asserts that school spirit is at an all time high. While Mr. Gasparini says J-D Day is definitely still a go, he is working with Student Government to change things up, by maybe creating a music festival called RamJam. “We are developing a stronger and stronger feeling of unity. Students want to support each other,” he says.

As the number one ranked sports program in Central New York according to Syracuse.com, it is no surprise J-D athletics remain supreme. J-DHS student athletes not only succeed on the field and on the courts, but also in the classroom. This year, J-DHS received a citation from Assemblywoman Pamela J. Hunter, who congratulated J-D for being a school of distinction in New York State. “All of our athletic teams are athletically superlative; our students are achieving students. They set goals, they’re ambitious, they work hard.” says Mr. Gasparini.

In the past two years, the art department has suffered major losses in their staff, with the retirement of longtime teachers Carlos Benedict, Carl Wenzel and Steve Pilcher. Leaving big shoes to fill, the hunt was on to find adequate replacements who would be capable of continuing the success of the J-D Art Department, and that was found in Jacob Brodsky, Ashlee Childers, and Mark McIntyre. They’ve done “a really nice job taking the program to the next level,” says Mr. Gasparini.

J-D’s technology program has also been on the rise in recent years. Our Project Lead the Way program is responding to a rise of interest in STEM classes with the addition of 24 new computers in Room B05. “Girls Who Code” has been a contributing force behind that increase in participation, by encouraging more female students to take part in the technology department. “It’s very important for us to get more young women involved in technology and our girls who code, both in the middle school and the high school, have helped to push more young women into that field,” says Mr. Gasparini.

In the ever-changing environment that defines our high school, Mr. Gasparini has a positive outlook on the year ahead. “I am excited for this year. We have a great student body, we really do.”

Pink Out for Breast Cancer

Scottie/B.T. O’Bryan and Jamie Boeheim

Editor of Production and Assistant Producer

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In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Jamesville-DeWitt High School is currently having its 7th annual Pink Out. Every year, 20,000 people will be diagnosed with breast cancer and 40,000 people will die from the disease. Breast cancer mostly affects females; 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime. The goal of the Pink Out is “...not just for money, but for awareness,” said English teacher Terri Eaton. The students who design the shirts and sell breast cancer awareness items must be seniors in the English Corporate Communications class.

Each year the school raises different amounts of money. Items such as shirts, bracelets, donuts, and stickers were sold during pre-sales at the entrance of the school. Senior Ryan Evans helped to sell the shirts in the large cafeteria for two days of the week and said the Corporate Com class reached their goal of selling 250 shirts, and sold 256. In 2016, almost $1,000 was raised and donated to the Baldwin Foundation located in Syracuse, NY and this year, each grade will vote to decide where the money will go. The only requirement that Mrs. Eaton and the other Corporate Com teacher, Mrs. Gallivan, have is the money raised must be donated to a location organization.

Every year, each Corporate Com student is required to draw a Pink Out shirt design and the class votes on the best one. Senior Markos Petkopoulos had the winning shirt design, and said it was “ inspired by the famous street-wear brand, Supreme and their famous box logo design.” Evans also said that the fundraising is “for a very good cause and is important for students at our school to be aware of breast cancer.”

For those who missed the initial order forms, less than 50 extra shirts were ordered. You can buy them for the same price, but it is on a first come first served basis! Make sure to purchase a shirt for the Pink Out school day on Friday the 13th and for the J-DHS Boys Varsity senior night football game that night.

New Weight Room Equipment

Everly Kessler and Francesca Chirco

Staff Writers

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After 13 years of running, biking, and working out on the same exercise equipment, Jamesville-DeWitt High School students and teachers arrived this fall to find new equipment in the weight room. During the summer, new treadmills, stationary bicycles, rowing machines, and yoga mats were bought to replace old and worn out equipment.  

The newly added equipment includes three treadmills, three rower machines, three bikes, and three elliptical machines that were purchased from Advantage Sport and Fitness in Ithaca, NY. The rower machines offer an extensive full body workout, great for building cardiovascular endurance.The treadmills and bikes are modern with large screens that show information about the workout being performed. They also have features that allow users to sync their phones to listen to music and watch Netflix shows or movies while exercising. Also shown on the screens are calories burned, heart rate, distance traveled, and duration of workout. On the bikes, users can choose from a variety of trails/modes and create accounts to track their progress and race their friends. ”The graphics are really cool and make the workout better,” said freshman Gunther Schnorr.

The fitness center is not only used by athletes and teams, but is also used by phys. ed. classes and faculty. “Mostly students use (the fitness center), but it’s great because about 10-12 staff members also use it frequently. Many people use the fitness center because it is free compared to the price of a gym membership,” said  physical education teacher Cara Goldberg. When the old equipment could no longer suffice, coaches and physical education teachers came to Athletic Director John Goodson to request new machinery. As this idea gained supporters, fundraising efforts to purchase the equipment began. The JD All Sports Booster Club was informed by phys. ed.  teachers, especially Ms. Goldberg, about the need for new fitness center equipment. The booster club began to plan and organize fundraisers and events to raise money. Jodi Schwedes, Booster Club vice president and PTG president, was one of the many people who took an active role in raising funds for the equipment.

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During the December 2016 Booster Club meeting, the members agreed to pledge a large sum of money, $18,000, from different fundraisers to update the fitness center. With help from JD parent Jim Smith, owner of Sports Center 481, who donated $25,000, the goal was exceeded. With a total of $43,000, there was enough money to purchase the new equipment and to buy new yoga mats.

“The old equipment was difficult to use and it didn't always work right,” said junior Kelvin Huynh, who has already used the new equipment into his workouts. The updated equipment is giving both students and staff the chance to improve their workout, to try some new exercises, and to even incorporate technology into their routines. The use of technology is helping to keep users pleased and wanting to come back to the fitness center to maintain healthy and active lifestyles.

Though the new equipment is up and running in the fitness center, there are a few technical issues with internet connection and the downloading of software that need to be resolved. Despite these minor issues, the new equipment offers more diversity in one’s typical workout and it allows users to enjoy their time in the gym. “It’s all about the experience and having fun while working out. The new equipment makes me want to workout,” said sophomore Riley LaTray.

 

The Students Have Spoken

Lucy Falso and Sofie Brutseart

Staff Writers

Slate Two member (from left) Luke Smith, Ana Dieroff, Nancy O'Connor, Katie Sullivan, Katie Lutz, Alex Pomeroy, John Bridge, and Joey Armenta.

Slate Two member (from left) Luke Smith, Ana Dieroff, Nancy O'Connor, Katie Sullivan, Katie Lutz, Alex Pomeroy, John Bridge, and Joey Armenta.

Despite not even having a full slate on the due date, Slate Two took the win for Jamesville-DeWitt High School Slate on J-D day, Friday, May 26. They managed to put together a “hardworking and loyal” slate.

This slate is made up of juniors John Bridge and Luke Smith who are Co-Presidents and juniors Katie Lutz and Joe Armenta who are Co-Vice Presidents. There are also sophomore Ana Dieroff and Nancy O’Connor who are Co-Directors of Communication. Lastly, there is freshman Alex Pomeroy who is Secretary and Freshmen Katie Sullivan who is Treasurer.

On the due date to turn in the final slates, Slate Two was unaware that some members of their slate had left and started Slate One. The next day they got permission from social studies teacher Meghan McGee to extend the due date and put together a slate in one day. She said that although this situation was somewhat in “gray area” as far as the rules, she and Principal Paul Gasparini both thought the decision was for the best.  “Mr. Gasparini likes to have competition when it comes to who runs for student government,” said Ms. McGee. “He likes the kids to be able to vote. If there wasn’t that second slate the first slate would have run unopposed.”

Next year will be Bridge’s third consecutive year serving on the school slate. He and Smith have worked together in the past. On last year’s slate, Bridge was Director of Communications and Smith was Secretary. “We’re working on ideas from both platforms including vending machines, winter pep rally, along with the possible removal of styrofoam trays,” said Bridge. Protecting the environment through removing styrofoam trays from the cafeteria was originally part of Slate One’s platform, but Slate Two is considering implementing it into their own.

“I really want to fulfill both platforms, especially the study hall after school,” said Lutz. “That’s what most students want.” This year, library restrictions for after school use have grown more and more strict. This has caused some upset among student who want a quiet place to work or hang out after school. Slate Two is hoping to loosen these regulations or find an alternative location for students to go. They also are looking into a music festival and improving the school Olympics. “I was very active in that [the Olympics] this year as part of the sophomore class government, so I think that would be a lot of fun to expand,” said O’Connor who is Co-President on the sophomore slate this year.  

Everyone on Slate Two is thrilled by the win. “I was really excited because I have lost in the past and it was nice to be on the other side of it,” said Lutz. “I enjoyed student council this year and i want to continue to make a change,” said Smith. Slate Two is planning on having a great school year for the entire student body next year. “I want to see us achieve what other students want to be done,” said Dieroff, “ What people tell us would make the school better.”

Sullivan and Pomeroy are freshmen this year, so this was their first year running.  Both are excited to be a part of the school slate as early as they can be. “I was really surprised,” said Sullivan. “I didn’t think we were going to win because I never win anything.” Pomeroy wants to make sure that the goals set on the platforms actually happen. “ I hope that next year is going to be a great year and that we make student life at J-DHS a lot better,” said Pomeroy.

J-D National Honors Society Welcomes the Class of 2018

Alex Pomeroy and Connor Ball

Staff Writers

On April 26, 132 Jamesville-DeWitt High School juniors were inducted into National Honor Society (NHS). After saying a pledge and blowing out their candles, the newly inducted juniors joined the NHS community. They were met with loud claps of proud parents and family members.

“It was very much like a cult induction,” said junior Taylor Roadarmel. Roadarmel explains that lighting the candles and saying chants in unison reminded of her just of that. Besides her initial thought, Roadarmel said the ceremony was very nice and appropriate to honor all the students and their hard work.

Other inductees like juniors Meg Hair, Katie Lutz and Kate Foraker said the ceremony was very long but rewarding.

“It feels amazing,” said Hair. Roadarmel says she feels accomplished because it’s what many high schoolers strive for. “I feel it’s a very big accomplishment,” said Foraker. Having a different opinion is junior Maddy Sullivan, who says that the number of students inducted makes getting accepted less special since the number of inductees has grown in recent years.

For this reason, starting next year, the standards to get into NHS are being raised. “The faculty council voted to raise the academic standard to a weighted 93 GPA,” said counselor Diane Ennis who co-runs NHS. Students have differing opinions on whether the newly-raised standards are a good idea.“I feel like it would be bad for the kids who work harder in AP classes but don’t get as good of grades because they are in those classes.” says junior Jessica Spina.

Students must show and excel at the NHS four pillars: scholarship, leadership, character, and service. Three of the four pillars and easily shown in the classroom, but in order to achieve and demonstrate the service aspect of NHS, students are required to do ten hours of volunteer service during the school year. “I think I am going to work at the YMCA and help them with basketball in the city,” said Hair. Foraker is planning to help at Helping Hounds or the Samaritan Center, and Spina said she is going to work at the VA hospital.

Another requirement for NHS acceptance is writing two essays. One of the essays was about character and the other asked if you had a thousand dollars to give to a charity, which one would you donate to.

Also inducted into NHS was Jamesville-DeWitt High School social studies teacher Andrew Cottet, as the honorary inductee. Mr. Cottet was nominated and selected by J-DHS’s 2017 NHS class. “I was extraordinarily honored to be chosen to be the honorary inductee this year,” said Mr. Cottet.

Many students see NHS as a huge advantage to have on your college résumé. “It shows you’ve achieved a certain amount of academic excellence,” says junior Marie Saba. Similar to Saba, Sullivan said, “It shows colleges that you took extra steps in school and it wasn’t just about the grades you got, but what you did to help the community.”


From the J-DHS Rampage staff, congratulations to all of the new inductees!

The Regents Exam Is Making Changes

Tyra Carter

Staff writer

For the past few years, Jamesville-DeWitt High School students and students across New York public high schools have faced the math Common Core exams in early June. While math has been the hot topic of the new Common Core plan and has certainly received mixed reviews, the changes to the math curriculum in New York is part of a larger scope of changes coming to public education in the Empire State. Last year, changes were implemented to the English 11 Regents exam. Soon, changes will be coming to the social studies department as well.

There will be Common Core changes for the Global History Regents exam in June 2018 and August 2018. There will be a transition Regents which will be based on the current test model but will only test 10th grade material. It is also expected to be similar to the Advanced Placement exams, because of the more stimuli-based questions. The new Common Core exam will still be similar to the previous Regents exam, because there will be a DBQ essay, as well as  short answer and multiple choice questions. The new Common Core exams will be available in August 2019 or January 2020. “I find most of the changes are in verbage,” says head of the social studies department, David Bunyun. “The content is similar, just worded differently,” says Bunyun. Junior Rachel Setek is currently in AP US History and feels prepared for the US History Regents exam in June. “I think I’ll do well on the Regents exam because I’ve already been studing for my AP final,” says Setek.

Changes in the Algebra 1, Geometry and Algebra 2 Regents exams have been made in the past years. In 2014, students took both the old integrated Regents exams and the new Common Core exams. On the new tests, the emphasis is no longer on procedure, but is more focused on being able to communicate, justify and explain the work. “Students have to be able to think more abstractly and be able to explain the reasoning behind the work they're doing,” says head of the math department, Susan Techman. Sophomore Niko Dimkopoulos will be taking the Algebra 2/Trigonometry Regents exam in June. “It’s been a good year and I’ve worked really hard, so I feel prepared for the test.” says Dimkopoulos.

The new Common Core English Regents exam was officially administered in 2016 for the junior class. On the new exam, there is still multiple choice and writing, however, the types of questions being asked are different from the old Regents. “I think the focus in the writing in particular has changed,” says head of the English department, Connie Myers-Kelly. There is more rhetorical analysis on the new exam instead of literary analysis. “I think our students were well prepared because we’ve known about the change.” says Myers-Kelly.

With staff and students working hard to prepare for these exams all year, hopefully J-D students will experience a smooth transition to the new exam formats.

End of the Year Tips

Evan Blust

Staff Writer

As we approach the end of the school year, some students may want to slack, but now is one of the most important times to keep your grades up. A lot of the time, students’ grades will drop towards the end of the school year. Here is some advice from your fellow students to keep this from happening.


“Time management,” said sophomore Ben Virgo and, “...don’t cram,” said senior Melissa Gao. These two individuals have similar ideas. At the end of the year, it’s important to use your time wisely. You may not have much homework but this provides you with time to study for those important AP and Regents tests. Don’t wait until the night before a test to study. It’s proven that looking over your notes little bits at a time helps a person remember something better.

 

“Keep it up,” said sophomore Ian Freezman,” Don’t slack and thinks it’s the end of the year so it’s not important. This marking period counts the same as the others.” Freezman provides us with some good information. All marking periods count the same. It affects your GPA and your overall average for the year badly if you slack so keep it up.

 

“Don’t stress out,” said sophomore Muhammad Musaab and Gao said,” Have a little bit of fun because it’s the end of the year and you’ve been working hard.” Even though you need to keep working hard, have a little fun. This doesn’t mean skip school or class or not do your homework. It means add a clever joke into an assignment as long as it’s relevant and flows smoothly, or try to relax and the occasional whisper in class won’t hurt. Also, if you stress out it makes life more difficult. Just take it easy and as said above manage your time and you’ll be ok.


“Keep your priorities in order,” said freshman Haberle Conlon,” keep a solid and maintained approach both academically and athletically, the whole spectrum.” It is fun to think about what you’re going to be doing over the summer, but school and athletics are first priority because it is not summer yet.

Hit the Waves at Junior Prom

Marissia Potamianos and Jamie Boeheim

Staff Writer and Editor of Promotion

Last year's junior prom had a simple black and white theme. How will this year's Hawaiian theme transform the auxiliary gym?

Last year's junior prom had a simple black and white theme. How will this year's Hawaiian theme transform the auxiliary gym?

Jamesville-DeWitt High School juniors get to celebrate the end of two stressful weeks of AP exams by enjoying a fun and relaxing Hawaiian beach luau. The Hawaiian-themed junior prom will take place on Saturday, May 13 in the Auxiliary Gym from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. Tickets will be sold for $40 during all lunches, and $50 at the door. Students are looking forward to a night full of dancing and friends.

 

Scanes Family Entertainment will be in charge of the music and the lightshow that will be played during the prom. Juniors Hannah Smith and Mary Austin both agreed that the DJ sets the mood for the dance. Austin went on to say that she hopes the DJ plays songs that she knows so she can “sing along with her friends.” Smith said that she would like to hear more “upbeat songs because it’s weird when they play songs like ‘The Hokey Pokey.’”

 

In addition to the music, there will be a photobooth with props, fresh fruit kabobs, fried mac and cheese bites, Hawaiian ham and cheese sandwiches, a chocolate fountain, and lots of decorations. The junior class slate has worked very hard through various fundraisers to make sure that the gym is going to look as tropical as possible. “I’m really excited about the decorations. The gym is going to be completely transformed into a Hawaiian paradise,” says junior president Spencer Schultz. When students walk into the gym, they will be handed leis. Other decorations and props include floaties, a balloon arch, and flowers hanging from the ceiling.

 

The majority of students look forward to dressing up and taking pictures. “I’m super excited to see all my friends in their dresses,” said junior Riley Burns. Many girls look forward to finding a dress and the whole dress shopping experience. Junior Lexi Phillips found her dress at Forever Bridal which is in Destiny USA. Other girls got their dresses from Boom Babies, Lord and Taylor, The Princess Shop in New Hartford, and some even ordered online. There are numerous places where people can find their dresses, and a common concern is whether or not someone will have the same dress as them. “There’s an Instagram account where people post their dresses. It’s very convenient because you know if someone already got the dress you want and it prevents people from buying the same dress as you,” said Burns.

 

There are many exciting events to look forward to the night of prom. Most of the students at J-DHS are looking forward to “being with friends and having a fun night.” People also said they are excited for pictures before with their friends and dates. Locations vary from houses to country clubs, but Phillips said her pictures are at Thornden Rose Garden. Junior Luke Overdyk is looking forward to eating all the food and said specifically, “there better be a chocolate fountain.” Having fun with friends, dressing up, and eating all are just a few parts of the Hawaiian-themed prom that J-DHS students are looking forward to. Prom begins at 7 p.m. in the Auxiliary Gym, have a fun and safe night!

J-D Day is on the Horizon

Alex Pomeroy and Connor Ball

Staff Writers

Heading down the final stretch of the school year, J-D students will be coming together to celebrate their hard work and all they have achieved this school year. On May 26, students will be dismissed early from classes and will be met with endless amounts of food and activities for the rest of the day at J-D Day.

 

Making this all possible is the this school year’s school slate, led by seniors Jake Risavi and Liv Behan. On this day, the two seniors have many plans. “We are going to have a lot of outdoor activities as we do every year, kickball games, a dunk tank and food that clubs set up,” said Risavi. Behan adds that they are returning the talent show on J-D day which was absent last year due to the beloved RamJam.

 

As always, along with the immense amount of outdoor activities, students will be voting on the school slate, after seeing running slates debate. “Campaign videos and will be shown in social studies classes and then on J-D Day there will be a debate between the two slates,” said Behan. She also adds there will be a table set up so the students can vote on a slate.

 

For freshmen and students who haven’t experienced J-D Day, older students have suggestions on how to spend your time. Junior Mary Austin recommends the sno-cones by the athletic loop, as she describes them as, “Sooo good.” Other students like spending time going through their yearbooks and getting signatures while everyone is together. If you’re trying to play some basketball, join sophomore Nolan Giblin, who plans on playing with his friends during J-D Day.

 

Many students, like Giblin, say the best part of J-D Day is missing school and being away from all the work. In opposition Behan says, “It comes before finals so it’s a day that everyone can relax and not have to do too much school work because all the classes are shortened.” In agreement Risavi says, “It’s a celebration of the end of the year and how great everything has gone for all of the students.”

 

For some students, this J-D Day means even more. Both Behan and Risavi have been planning J-D Day for many years and will have to say goodbye. “It means a lot. I wanted it to really be good because I think it’s very important to leave a lasting impact on the school,” said Risavi. Behan, who has been part of the planning for three years, finds it devastating because J-D Day is where the whole experience on slate started for her and this will be her last.

 

Have a great time at J-D Day!

Need a Prom Dress? Ask Ms. Goldberg!

Lucy Falso and Sofie Brutseart

Staff Writers

This prom and ball season, the Jamesville-DeWitt High School dress drive is back again with free dress options for juniors and seniors preparing to attend the school formal dances.

Junior Prom and Senior Ball are both momentous and important events for many students who choose to attend, but anyone going knows that formal dresses can be extremely expensive. That’s why physical education teacher Cara Goldberg runs a drive to make dresses available to students who don’t want, or are unable to pay, for a costly outfit themselves.  “There’s a lot of people who don’t want to go spend $500 on a prom dress to wear once,” said Ms. Goldberg. “People ask about it every single year.”

Ms. Goldberg has run the drive for about 10 years. Before her, guidance counselor Will Hartley was in charge, but she decided to take on the responsibility. 

Ms. Goldberg’s dress donations come from a variety of sources. Some come from former students or seniors who donate the dresses they have already worn to the prom or ball. Some come from friends or acquaintances. She also has a connection with a store called New York Bride, where she gets some dresses. The dress collection currently has about 200 dresses, and most are what’s in style this year. Already this year she has given away seven or eight dresses but plenty are left. “It will probably get more busy as the season comes to a close,” said Ms. Goldberg.

Students interested in finding a dress can find Ms. Goldberg during free periods or lunches to arrange a time to look at the choices. Any dress donations are private and stay between Ms. Goldberg and the student. Any students or teachers with old prom or ball dresses lying around are always invited to donate to the growing collection.


School dances are about having fun and making memories and Ms. Goldberg wants her drive to ensure that happens.

JCC Threats Hit Close to Home

Thomas Edson, Jillian Risavi, Ali Durkin

Editor in Chief and Assistant Producers

Across the country there have been over 50 bomb threats directed toward Jewish Community Centers in 27 different states, including New York, in the past few months. The threats are hitting close to home, as the DeWitt JCC has received three separate threats in a matter of seven weeks.

The DeWitt JCC offers daycare programs, and also has a gym and workout center for members to go get their daily workouts in, or participate in basketball, gymnastics, or other events.

The first bomb threat at the DeWitt JCC  was received on Jan. 18 over the phone, just after 9 a.m. Students and staff were immediately evacuated, following regular protocol. Shortly thereafter they were allowed back into the building. Senior Zac Ripich, who attends the JCC, said he thinks “it’s sick that someone would threaten a community center, especially because of their religion.”

The second phone call made to the JCC took place on Jan. 31 around 10:30 a.m. Again, those within the building were immediately evacuated. The second time around, students and staff were not allowed back into the building until it was cleared by police personal and K-9 units.

The most recent threat occurred on March 7, around 9:40 a.m, and the facility was put under lockdown. Police and K-9 units cleared the building and did a thorough search, resulting in nothing found.

According to J-DHS freshman Andrew Jeanetta, whose mom works at the JCC, two of the bomb threats have forced children and staff to take a bus over to the DeWitt Community Church, and another bomb threat in the parking lot kept all those in the building at the time trapped in the building until it was deemed safe to leave.

Jeanetta says the threats are scary because he doesn’t get the whole story until after school, so he spends his day wondering if anything has happened at the JCC. Jeanetta’s mom also has the fear in the back of her mind that something might happen each day she goes to work.


While J-DHS has a large Jewish population, only a small amount are involved with the JCC. Senior Eric Antosh, who also attends the JCC, said the security at the JCC is quite poor. “People can come and go so easily. I haven’t seen any changes, but I think they need to make some,” said Antosh, who regularly uses the gym at the JCC to play basketball. Junior Rebecca Teitelbaum does not attend the JCC often, however she agrees security should be improved.

SOFIA LIAW BUSY ENGLISH WEEKEND

Jenna Vespi and Mia Potamianos

Editors of Promotion


 

Every year, Jamesville-DeWitt High School’s English Department promotes the opportunity for students to compete in Poetry Out Loud, as well as in the Shakespeare Monologue Competition. Fortunately, this year J-DHS thrived in both competitions, thanks to star sophomore Sofia Liaw.

On Friday, March 10, Liaw competed in Poetry Out Loud at the Everson Museum in Downtown Syracuse. After previously placing second in the regional competition, Liaw took on the state competition where she competed among 24 other students. Liaw competed in the first and second rounds and then was asked, along with seven others, to advance to the third round of competition. Unfortunately, she did not place in the top two, the only places awarded.  “We've never had a student go that far before, and she did well.” said English teacher Matthew Phillips. Liaw plans to compete again next year and is more confident now that she knows the basics of the competition. “Now I kind of know what types of poems they're looking for and what types of performances.” Knowing the contrast that judges are looking for in performers will help Liaw prepare and plan for next year.

Poetry Out Loud ended for Liaw around 4:30 p.m. and from there she went straight home to rest up for her next endeavor. The Shakespeare Monologue Competition took place the following morning, on March 1. Liaw competed as an alternate to fill in for a fellow J-DHS student, junior Rebecca Teitelbaum, who couldn't make it to the event because she had previously committed to participated to competing for states for Science Olympiad. Liaw found out she would be competing in place of Teitelbaum the week before the competition. Liaw said that if she had had more time, she could have been more prepared. However Liaw rose above this challenge and still managed to earn an Honorable Mention, placing her in the top 6. “Now that I know what (the judges) are looking for, I know how to contrast the sonnet and the monologue,” said Liaw as she looks ahead to next year.
 

With Liaw’s great success in both programs, she hopes to use all that she learned from this weekend of experiences to compete again next year and be as successful, or hopefully more successful, than she was this year.

Science Olympiad Caps Off A Successful Year

Jenna Vespi and Mia Potamianos

Staff Writers

On March 13 and 14, Jamesville-DeWitt High School’s Science Olympiad Team advanced to the Science Olympiad state championships held at Le Moyne College. At the competition,  15 students put their science knowledge to the test in 25 different events, ranging from written tests about anatomy to building events like towers and helicopters.

After a successful season placing third place at regionals, the J-DHS students who were selected for states went into the state competition with high hopes. Senior Dan Thompson strived for the team to place in the top 10 this year, after placing 19th last year.

Unfortunately, the team did not do as well as they wished, placing 25th out of 54 schools. “It was a bit disappointing, because our team set a goal to get top eight,” said junior David Chen. The two events that Chen participated in, helicopters and towers, were the team’s most successful events. “It wasn’t our best year ever, but it still was pretty good,” said junior Haley Morgan.

Looking to the future, the J-DHS Science Olympiad team continues to be optimistic as they prep to make next season even better.  

Pi Day Festivities at J-D

Scottie O'Bryan

Staff Writer

Pi, the famously infinite number which has grown into a celebrity of sorts within the mathematical community, is represented by the Greek letter “π”. The number is so acclaimed that it even has an official day dedicated to it, on March 14, to celebrate the the first three digits (3.14) of the never ending, irrational number. Since the first accurate estimate of pi is widely credited to Archimedes of Syracuse around 250 BCE, it seems very fitting that a high school in Syracuse, New York will be celebrating this day. On Tuesday, March 14, the advisers and senior students in Math Honor Society will be celebrating the special day along with the rest of the (math) world.

 

MHS has held Pi Day festivities after school since 2014. Last year was an exception since there was a snow day on Pi Day. This year, the celebration will be held in the Large Cafe during activity period.

 

The celebration is mandatory to attend for the 90 students apart of MHS, but is also open to all J-DHS students of any grade. MHS was split into three different groups to plan various activities throughout the school year. The group in charge of organizing Pi Day has a lot planned out for the celebration. There will be pizza, desserts, and fun festivities and competitions to watch, all free of charge.

 

MHS Co-President senior Thomas Edson is looking forward to Pi Day. “There’s been a lot of planning that has gone into it. The competitions will all be really fun to watch...I’m excited,” says Edson. There is three competitions that will take place on Pi Day: a pie baking contest, a pi recitation contest and a competition to find a solution to a math problem where the winner gets to pick someone to get a whipped cream pie in the face. The pie baking contest will be both cooked and judged by MHS students. The pi recitation contest, where students recite the numbers of pi for as long as they accurately can, consists of three finalists who had previously tried out to earn the chance to win on Pi Day. “We’re also trying to find a teacher that is willing to get pied in the face. That would attract a lot of students (to come),” says Edson. Edson says that they are expecting “a good amount of people” to turnout.


MHS’s Pi Day will be full of food and fun for any J-DHS student. “Pi Day is an important celebration within the math community,” says Edson. “The festivities we’re holding is just a really fun way to celebrate it.” He recommends taht anyone who is after school and looking for something to do should definitely come.

Baylor Football Scandal Highlights Prominent National Issue

Thomas Edson

Editor in Chief

Baylor University Football has become embroiled in a sexual assault scandal. McLane Stadium, the home of the Bears, could be empty for the next few years as a result if the NCAA chooses to suspend the program for the next few years. 

Baylor University Football has become embroiled in a sexual assault scandal. McLane Stadium, the home of the Bears, could be empty for the next few years as a result if the NCAA chooses to suspend the program for the next few years. 

Four years. Fifty-two cases of rape. Thirty-one players. Seventeen cases of sexual assault. Nineteen players. A plethora of evidence of rape and sexual assault, and systematic cover-up by coaching staff and administrators has brought Baylor University and its football program into the national spotlight and put them under great scrutiny in the world of ethics and morals.

While Baylor might have the most egregious story, sexual assault and domestic violence have become prevalent across the nation. Anyone can be a victim of these heinous crimes. According to the National Sexual Violence Research Center, 1 in 5 women and 1 in 71 men will be raped at some point in their life.

According to a Gallup Poll, one in three women in the United States worry about being sexually assaulted. In addition, recent developments in the abbreviated jail sentence of former Stanford University swimmer Brock Turner over a rape he committed while in college have raised concern about how our country is handling this issue. Perhaps the biggest cause for concern amongst Americans is the fact that the current President bragged about sexually assaulting women, was recorded saying it, and was still elected even after those recordings were released.

The effects of sexual assault or rape on an individual are long lasting. “[Sexual assault and rape] can lead to stress and anxiety, and it isn’t uncommon for it to lead to depression, self harm, and even suicide because it is such a horrible violation,” said Jamesville-DeWitt High School Psychologist Elaine Howe. This is what makes sexual assault so horrific, and what concerns so many people.

Colleges and universities across the nation are required to report statistics about sexual assault and rape on their campuses. This allows for the problem to be identified, and for actions to be taken to prevent it. However, high schools are not required to report any incidents at the national level.

In New York State, schools are required to report cases of sexual misconduct through the Violent and Disruptive Incident Reporting system. This does not allow for completely accurate statistics to be collected on the issue as it pertains to most teenagers, so there is uncertainty regarding how big the issue is with teens, as well as how to handle it on a national scale.

“There are federal reports, like civil rights reports, that we are required to do. I think that any violence that happens in school, whether it be sexual violence or not, should be reported to some sort of clearing house,” said J-DHS Principal Paul Gasparini.

College campuses across the nation have begun to fight the issue with the It’s On Us campaign, which aims to get people to recognize, identify, and intervene in developing situations of sexual assault and rape, and to try and create an atmosphere free of these horrible acts.

As for the Baylor case, Mr. Gasparini said that he doesn’t think this is a new issue. “I think people look at it with a more critical eye. Nothing is just passed off (anymore). The Baylor problem could’ve happened 50 years ago and no one would’ve said anything about it.”

As this issue has come more into the public eye, many people and organizations have joined in the fight to end them. Locally, organizations like Vera House have made it their mission to not only provide for victims, but educate the public on the issue. Nationally, the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network works to provide many of the same services as Vera House. “People feel empowered to address these bad things that are happening in society,” said Mr. Gasparini.

At J-DHS, students have been exposed to different levels of information surrounding this issue. In health classes, Vera House representatives come in for a class and talk about the work they do. In addition, they educate students to recognize situations where sexual assault or rape can arise, and how to try and prevent it. J-DHS also has a club called Mentors in Violence Protection (MVP). Members of this club work with Vera House to inform the students and faculty of J-DHS through guest speakers and other educational opportunities.

As many students across the nation, including myself, prepare to head off to college in a few months, this issue is one that we hear about a lot. As a future college student-athlete, I will hear about this issue even more, since cases involving student-athletes seem to garner the most attention. However, it is crucial that we don’t focus on a specific group of people when it comes to addressing this issue. If we let the misconception that seems to be forming that athletes are the main perpetrators of sexual assault, especially on college campuses, it is highly possible that the issue will not be resolved or reduced. It worries me that this seems to be the major focus because there are so many perpetrators who aren’t athletes, thus making people even more vulnerable to becoming a victim of the crime.

I also spent the fall semester of my senior year volunteering at Vera House, where I volunteered side-by-side with some survivors of sexual assault. This was very eye-openning for me because I never would’ve guessed that any of these survivors had experienced sexual assault. In my time working with Vera House, I learned that identifying perpetrators and victims in cases of sexual assault is hard because there aren’t always signs that point to a person as someone involved in the case. This is what makes it such a difficult issue.

Just because cases involving athletes attract the most press, doesn’t mean that this isn’t an issue for the entire country. There are too many instances of sexual assault each day, perpetrated by a variety of people. According to Michigan Universty’s Student Life webpage, there is no typical profile for a rapist or perpetrators of sexual assault. We, as a society, cannot continue to only highlight incidents with athletes because athletes are not the only perpetrators of sexual assault. As awareness of sexual assault grows, spreading the word to fight this issue is becoming more prominent.


Throughout the month of March, organizations across the nation participate in the White Ribbon Campaign to spread awareness about the issues of sexual assault and rape. For more information about sexual assault and rape, the White Ribbon campaign, or how you can join the fight against these issues, visit www.verahouse.org, www.rainn.org, or www.itsonus.org.

Tuition Free SUNY

Everett Moss and Evan Blust

Staff Writers

Governor Andrew Cuomo has proposed a new plan to make the tuition of SUNY and CUNY schools in New York free for some students. This would be for all four years. To receive this benefit a student will need to apply to the state which will review their houshold income figures and decide if they qualify.  

Gov. Cuomo’s plan is to spread the change over three years. In fall 2017, free tuition would be granted to anyone with a household income under $100,000. The following year he wants to raise the household income cutoff to $110,000 and in 2019, he hopes to re-raise it to $125,000. If he raises it to $125,000, then 940,000 families will qualify.

He wants to bring this change to help families and students have less debt and better careers. “A college education is not a luxury – it is an absolute necessity for any chance at economic mobility,” said Gov. Cuomo. This $163 million plan will not cover all of a student's expenses. They will still have to pay for room and board and school supplies such as textbooks, pens, and binders. Part of this free tuition will be paid for by taxes.

Students are frustrated because they have been working hard to pay for college, and now these kids are getting in for free.

There are some concerns about this plan. People are worried that colleges will replace their quality of schooling, with the quantity of students that will be attending. People are also nervous about whether or not this program will last with the costs of college rising. Another potential issue is that colleges will lose diversity because they will be accepting the students that can pay over the students that will be getting free tuition.

Although this issue affects the senior class of Jamesville-Dewitt High School, some are not aware of Gov. Cuomo’s plan. Some students guessed that this would affect less than 100,000 people. Some students think this is a good thing like senior Matt Schultz who said, “...Making SUNY’s tuition free could make it a really good option for a lot of people.” “Nowadays jobs require a college degree and by having this proposal people will have a better opportunity at receiving a job,” said sophomore Rachel Batizfalvi. Seniors Tyler Gabriel and Kaillee Philleo, who will soon be college students, think that this will help a lot of people.


However, some students have concerns about this. “The concept is a great idea, but the requirements are too low,” said sophomore Ben Virgo. He believes that the household income  cutoff should be lowered or else the government will be paying for too many kids and it will cost too much.

Science Olympiad Experiments with Competition

Tyra Carter and Tim Skeval

Staff Writers

The Jamesville-DeWitt High School Science Olympiad has yet again proved they mean business. The team placed third at regionals at Le Moyne College on Jan. 28 and is headed to states. States will be held at Le Moyne College on March 10 and 11.

At the competition, the club was divided into three teams: A, B and C team because there was too many students. Each team has different jobs. “I was on the B team, so I did building events such as towers and helicopters,” says junior Marie Saba who has been in the club for three years. “It’s a good learning experience and it looks good for colleges,” says Saba about why she participates in the club. Junior Somil Aggarwal thought the competition went well and likes the team aspect of the competitions. “I like the building events especially,” said Aggarwal who was on the A team.

Freshman Caleb Porter was on the B team and finished first in Ecology, fifth in Experimental Design and sixth in Micro Admission. Porter believes that since the club performed well at regionals, the success will carry over to states.

“I think it’s pretty cool we made it to states,” said senior Dan Thompson, who has participated on Science Olympiad all four years of his high school career.  “You learn a lot of interesting stuff and if you put work in, there can be good results,” says Thompson about his experience. Similarly, junior Owen Farchione, who participated on the A team, believes states will be a success. “I’m excited for it, I think we can win,” says Farchione.

“We did well, (but) I think we could’ve done better,” says Science Olympiad adviser and science teacher Michael Keenan. “I think it’s a great opportunity for the kids to compete in science,” he said. Science Olympiad allows students to learn about a ton of different branches of science, which could benefit them in the future.

Technology teacher and Science Olympiad adviser Lawrence Stroh was impressed with the performance of the club members,  “The kids went above my expectations based on their prep work and all the distractions tieing into the event,” says Stroh.


To prepare for states, the Science Olympiad club meets during activity period and studies for their next events with their teams.

MUN Brings International Holocaust Remembrance Day to J-DHS

Spencer Schultz

Editor of Production

In honor of International Holocaust Day on Jan. 27, freshmen Eva Schooler, Alex Pomeroy, and Pranathi Adhikari delivered a presentation after school through Model United Nations to recognize the lives lost during the worst genocide in history. “The oppression of people is so common throughout history and I think that it’s important to recognize such atrocities to assure that history doesn’t repeat again,” said Schooler, one of the speakers at the presentation.

Schooler, Pomeroy, and Adhikari spoke in depth about the atrocities committed during the Holocaust, sharing the daily struggles of Jews and other groups oppresed by the Nazi Regime. The presentation was aimed to last about 20 minutes. But, seeing the dejection in the faces of the small crowd that came to listen, social studies teacher and Model United Nations adviser Donna Oppedisano decided to take the floor before the presentation concluded, hoping to end on a more uplifting note.  

“One of the things that’s a struggle for people who hear about the Holocaust and teach about the Holocaust is the struggle of hearing so much of the negative and feeling so down about it,” said Ms. Oppedisano.  “I think, although it was a horrifying thing and the truth of it is ugly and dark, one of the things that gives me hope for the future of our world is that there are folks who stood up,” said Ms. Oppedisano.

The Righteous Among the Nations exhibit at Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum in Jerusalem recognizes those during the Holocaust who stood up in the face of great danger. Ms. Oppedisano told the story of one of these heroes: Sempo Sugihara of Japan.

Sugihara was a Japanese diplomat to Lithuania during World War II that saved the lives of over 6,000 Jews by issuing transit visas so they could escape to Japanese territory, risking his career and his life. As Ms. Oppedisano shared his uplifting story, she got choked up as she described how Sugihara rescued thousands by throwing visas out of the window of a moving train to swarms of Jews, desperate to leave the country before it was too late.

“I think it’s very important to tell that story, because it talks about what it means to resist oppression and to help fellow human beings in the face of great danger. And that can be a lesson for us all in the future that helps us to find our role as citizens and human beings,” said Ms. Oppedisano.

For one of the speakers, her presentation for Holocaust Remembrance Day was particular close to her heart. “Not only am I Jewish, but I lived in Germany for many years, so that definitely made it more interesting for me,” said Schooler. It was Schooler’s time in Germany that led to her concern for the Holocaust. “Much of what I know about the Holocaust comes from my visits to German concentration camps, where I was able to truly witness the terrible conditions Jews and others were put through,” she said.


In light of the recent election of Donald Trump and his comments regarding International Holocaust Remembrance Day, Schooler says it’s important that we continue to remind Americans about the Holocaust. “We have to constantly be reminded of the dark moments in our world’s past, to assure that such actions will not be repeated,” said Schooler.