One Huge Step For Our Future

Staff Writer

Maeve Dougherty

Although the transition from eighth to ninth grade can be overwhelming, many freshman can tell you the change from middle school to high school is not as bad as it may seem. Most kids are stressed out at the beginning, but once they get a routine down high school become easier.

Many students describe the transition as being tough at first, but routines make work loads much easier. “Once you get into a routine, everything gets so much better,” said freshman Mya Nicotra. We won’t lie and say that going into high school is perfectly easy. Anyone who’s gone through the transition knows that it’s not. However, getting help after school with teachers during activity period is how many students keep up with their work.

Staying on top of homework is a big part of high school success. Due to block scheduling, students have two days to complete homework assignments. “Don’t procrastinate on your homework, do it the first day you get it.” said Lauren Parker. “Definitely do your homework the day you get it.” said Josh Aitken. If you can’t complete an assignment in one night, then you always have the next night to finish it as well.

Many current freshman who participate in school sports teams noticed that being a part of a team can help with feeling comfortable in the high school. For some, teammates can help you find your way around the school. “My teammates walked me around the school before it started,” said freshman Sophia Ferris. “You get to know the upperclassmen and you always have a friendly face in the hallways, which is really nice,” said freshman Emily Gorzynski. Along with getting to know other people in the school, joining a sports team can also help with time management. “You have to schedule your time good to have enough time to do your homework,” said freshman Timmy Scheftic.

Overall, the transition to High School can be difficult, but it’s not all as bad as it seems.

Current and Former J-DHS Students Celebrate Dressember

Miriam Zoghby, ‘22

Staff Writer

Millions of people look forward to December, not just for the holidays, but for the annual tradition of Dressember.  Starting Dec. 1 and lasting until the end of the month, many women and men wear dresses or ties each day to raise awareness for human trafficking. Human trafficking is the action or practice of illegally transporting people from one country or area to another, typically for the purposes of forced labor or commercial sexual exploitation. Millions of people around the world agree that human trafficking needs to be abolished everywhere and the organizers of Dressember want to bring attention to this important cause.

The Dressember organization partners with other institutions such as The International Justice Mission and A21 to help raise funds for the rescue and rehabilitation of modern day slaves and to end human trafficking. It was started by one girl who decided she would try something new and wear a dress every day of December just as a fun challenge for herself.  However, this gained so much attention she figured it could be put to good use the next year. Her friends decided to join her that following year and together they raised money to donate to IJM and A21. Dressember has grown every year since she started it, and now it is an entire organization.

Dressember’s partners both focus on ending human trafficking and modern day slavery. The IJM is a global organization with a plan to eliminate the slave trade everywhere. IJM focuses on rescuing slaves, working with the police on throwing slave owners in jail, and putting the slave trade out of business. A21 is also an organization that is eradicating human trafficking through awareness, intervention, and aftercare in the efforts to end slavery everywhere for the rest of time.

2018 J-DHS graduate Lauren Westfall and her friend Tim Kaiser participate in Dressember

2018 J-DHS graduate Lauren Westfall and her friend Tim Kaiser participate in Dressember

Millions of people participating in Dressember this month have many reasons for doing so. Dressember is not just for advocates of this movement but for anyone who wants to participate in the campaign through soliciting donations or spreading awareness. While some have a reason for participating such as having a strong opinion about modern day slavery, other participants just want to take on the challenge and donate some money for a good cause. “I’m participating in Dressember because one of my Young Life leaders did it two years ago, and brought to my attention that slavery is still very prevalent. It’s one of those things that once you hear about it you can’t help but try to stop it,” said Lauren Westfall, 2018 graduate of Jamesville-DeWitt High School. This is Westfall’s second year participating in Dressember and as much as it’s a long month of dressing up, she believes it’s definitely worth it.

Both men and women that participate in Dressember usually set goals for their fundraising. Last year the Dressember campaign made over $2 million as a whole. “This year I set my goal for $600 and so far I have raised $436. Each year I have raised more money and I believe last year I raised over $1,000,” said Maddy VanHusen, 2016 J-DHS graduate. Anyone can donate money to the Dressember campaign by donating through a friend participating or by going to the Dressember website and donating. Even a small donation can make a huge difference to help the movement.

Wearing a dress or tie for a whole month is definitely a challenge for many people partaking in this fight to end human trafficking.  “It’s definitely a struggle to wear a dress for so many days, especially trying not to rewear dresses, but I have a lot of friends who let me borrow some and who have donated which makes the challenge worth it,” said freshman Kali Leslie. Some people find new ways of wearing their dresses such as adding a sweater over or adding accessories like necklaces and scarves to make it seem like they haven’t worn the dress before. Men sometimes even wear dresses including a local pastor named Kyle Pipes, instead of wearing ties for 30 days. This way he gets more attention from others and helps raise awareness. Wearing a dress every day takes commitment, but at the end of the month it is a tremendous feeling to know they accomplished their goal and conquered their challenge.

Although many people are participating in Dressember and raising money to end this problem, others can help to make a difference as well. Dressember is just one month out of the year that focuses on making a difference for this campaign. All together with the help of Dressember, other foundations and movements around the world, human trafficking can successfully come to an end.  

Students and Faculty Share New Year’s Traditions

Sydney Balotin, ‘22

Staff Writer

Three, Two, One… Happy New Year!  Dating all the way back to 2000 BC, New Year’s has been celebrated for many generations. Many Jamesville-DeWitt students and faculty have special family traditions they observe every year.  These range from parties, to special foods, all the way to unique ways to celebrate the New York City Ball Drop.

Sophomore Nora Prosak stays lowkey when it comes to New Year’s Eve.  “My family and I go to church...we go out to dinner, and then when we get home, my sisters go out with their friends and I sleep over at my friend’s house,” says Prosak. She likes to stay up all night with her friends to get the full experience of the night.

Freshman Nick Trivelpiece is the opposite. He likes to invite his friends over and celebrate the New Year with them. “We invite people we know and care about over to our house to have a big party,” Trivelpiece said.

New Year’s isn’t only about celebrating the New Year, it’s about culture and religion as well.  “We all get together as a family and we make a . . . Greek spinach pie and we hide a coin in it and whoever gets the coin in their piece has good luck for that year,” says senior Chryssa Tzetzis.  

The J-DHS faculty also has traditions for the New Year.  “My New Year’s tradition in my family is the [Robert] Burns dinner, where it’s the most famous poet from Scotland, so we have a dinner in his honor.  Traditionally there’s a soup, haggis… and a lot of singing and telling of poems”, said J-DHS earth science teacher Charles May.

English teacher Joseph Dechick also has traditions for the New Year.  “We tend to have kind of a big meal on New Year’s Day as a family, and we like to have a bean dish as a part of that meal because beans are supposed to bring good luck,” Dechick said.

The New Year comes in all shapes and sizes.  As Ferris Bueller once said in the 1986 John Hughes film, “Life moves pretty fast.  If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you might miss it.”

"Halloween" Returns and So Does a Madman

Everly Kessler

Managing Editor

For forty years Haddonfield has continued on undisturbed and safe from the madman himself. Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) has spent every waking second training and preparing for her demon’s inevitable return. But no amount of preparation can truly ready her to face the infamously evil and blood-thirsty Michael Myers in round two.

Ever since Laurie survived his first malicious attack, Michael, captured and institutionalized, has been plotting his next and final attempt to finally kill the one that got away. When his transfer bus arbitrarily crashes, Michael is free and itching to put back on the mask and make a dramatic return to Haddonfield. This Halloween night Laurie will be put to the ultimate test and her life’s work will prove or disprove the rightfulness of her obsession.

This horror thriller is sure to chill you right down to the bone just in time for the spooky holiday the movie is named after. It will be virtually impossible to keep your eyes open as Michael Myers hunts, terrorizes, and kills.

Forty years away had not weakened nor discourage the bloodthirsty monster, but everyday has made him grow hungrier and hungrier and more restless to kill once more. Amidst the horrors Michael creates, viewers get to experience the love and care sharen between a mother and her daughter. Laurie used her own near-death instance to prepare her daughter from a young age to teach her how to protect herself, a quality she will carry with her throughout her life, thanks to her protective mother.

Just as Michael escapes all Laurie can think about is the safety of her daughter and granddaughter and does all she can to make sure they are as best out of Michael’s way as possible. No matter how hard Michael tries for Laurie she will never let him get to her girls and would even risk her own life to save theirs.

 The audience trembles as the mere image of the blood-thirsty Michael Myers reappears after all these years to haunt them once again. Knife in hand, jumpsuit worn, mask on, and sanity off, Michael Myers puts on a gruesome show that viewers will be sure not to forget.

Between the superb acting and the horrors of Michael Myers, “Halloween” is a must-see film that is sure to keep you gripping the edge of your seat and watching through your fingers. Viewers will leave the theatre unnerved with a newfound sense of fear and with the hope that Michael Myers won’t be making any guest appearances in their nightmares.

A Bite and a Half: a review of A La Mode

Andrej Dovciak

Contributing Writer

Easy to miss but hard to forget, A La Mode provides a delightful lunch experience in a charming setting. A range of items on the menu will satisfy a variety of tastes for all times of the day. As the name may suggest, anyone paying a visit to A La Mode can order from a wide selection of ice cream flavors and toppings, as well as sandwiches, paninis, soups, smoothies, milkshakes and more.

When entering the cafe, there is an overall pleasant vibe given off by the yellows and off-whites of the walls, although starkly contrasting are the maroon chairs and booths. The cute setup of A La Mode includes a long counter that separates the customers from the cooking and a large chalk menu detailing the diversity of dishes available. Along with booths that could accommodate up to four people, there are a few tables including a tall table with barstools for two.

Although the ambiance of the cafe is welcoming, the real highlight of the experience is the eating. The food is far more than sustenance as the portions are quite considerable. When ordering a whole sandwich, be aware that you are really receiving closer to two. The Albakurkey Turkey, a sandwich including “hot roasted turkey, bacon, avocado, melted cheddar cheese and homemade green chile mayo on stretch bread” is just one of the tasty selections a patron may enjoy during their excursion to A La Mode.

The quality of the meal is matched by the service. The staff are pleasant and hard working so any mistake or error in your order will be taken care of swiftly and neatly. There is no reason to fear disorganized management or incompetent staff at A La Mode. A hankering for a solid meal from lunch to dinner can be easily dealt with by the staff of A La Mode. If the address, 331 Nottingham Rd. Syracuse, NY, is not convenient, don’t worry for A La Mode also delivers if you call 315-446-6716.

A List of Cages: The Final Stand Between Love and Hate

Sondrine Blusk

Contributing Writer

The realistic fiction book A List of Cages by Robin Roe is a one-of-a-kind novel full of amazing detail and figurative language so powerful it will put you in the main character's place. It’s about the struggles and horrible cruelties inflicted upon a young teenage boy in foster care. The main characters, Adam and Julien, show the importance of friendship and love/hate. While this book does handle heavy subjects like death and abuse, there is nothing else like it.

The story starts off with Adam and Julien meeting again at school. After Adam had fostered Julien before, he was ecstatic to see him, so he went to great effort to get closer. However, as Adam starts to push to get to know Julien better, he begins to notice things that seem a little off. Julien doesn’t want Adam to visit his house, where he lives with his uncle, Russell. And why does Julien feel so uncomfortable - almost paranoid - about getting changed in front of other people? Is there a reason Julien doesn’t like going home? Also, why on earth would Julien be having thoughts like this; “If I really had powers, I could turn off pain the way I can shut my eyes. But I can’t. I feel it. Skin doesn’t get thicker. Instead, it remembers.” As Adam and his friend group start to “adopt” Julien into their lives, their suspicion and curiosity grows more and more. Eventually, Adam witnesses the horrible truth of what goes on behind closed doors and windows. Julien’s odd behavior and strange tendencies start to explain themselves, and now there’s only one question on the group’s mind; how do they get him out of that house?

Even though A List of Cages deals with heavy topics, it also promotes positive messages. Lessons include helping others, seeing things not only at surface level, the gift that is life, and the power of kindness. This is demonstrated in the quote “I'm dizzy. I'm here. I'm alive.” and “Hate ricochets, but kindness does too.” In the end, one big question is asked of Julien: “What keeps you trapped?...What keeps you from living the life you want? What keeps you from being free?” This plays into the title; A List of Cages, and his answer is an insightful one that makes one ponder.

Overall, A List of Cages by Robin Roe is a spectacular book that deals with topics not meant for young children, but has great messages and inspires hope.. Whether it’s your kind of book or not, it’s a must-read, and you’re guaranteed not to be disappointed.

J-DHS Heads to The Movies

Shiela Phoha and Theresa Grosso

Staff Writers

Among the new movies to come out in the theaters this year, three have been commonly talked about among the students at Jamesville-DeWitt High School. “The Grinch,” “Halloween,” and “The Hate U Give,” each with a different genre and plot. Although these movies are all different, students say they have enjoyed these movies.  

“How The Grinch Stole Christmas” is a classic Christmas movie, and creators have just recently come out with a new one, “The Grinch,” directed by Yarrow Cheney and Scott Mosier. “The animation is a lot different obviously… it was just really good animation,” said junior Brendan Coyle, when asked about how the screen quality differed. Senior Jakob Ellithorpe said, “There’s more singing in the new one.” They both agreed by saying the new movie had better screen quality compared to the old movie which came out in 2000 and they both saw it a day or two after it came out. When comparing the two, Coyle and Ellithorpe both liked the original better. Junior Riley LaTray hasn’t seen the new movie yet, but hopes to see it soon with her friends. “I loved the old Grinch and I’m getting excited for Christmas so I want to go see the new one,” LaTray said.  

Again, creators have come up with a new movie from the past; this time it’s the movie “Halloween.” “Halloween” directed by David Gordon Green is a mystery/horror film. It’s a new version of the 1978 movie, with better quality. Junior Gavin McCaul was a big fan of the movie.  “I liked how it was full of action the whole time… like he just started killing people right off the bat,” said McCaul. Junior Payton Shumpert said there were a lot of jump scares throughout the movie, that went along with the music build-up making it scary. Shumpert also adds that the older “Halloween” was scarier than the newer one. “Back then the movie was more realistic,” said Shumpert.

“The Hate U Give” started as a book and was adapted into a drama/thriller film recently directed by George TIllman Jr. Freshmen Katie Donaghue and Ally Dettor have seen the movie and also read the book. “I think it was extremely relevant (to today’s society) and it was interesting because it gave a different side of an issue that is really important,” said Donaghue. Dettor added, “It explained a real life issue in society that needs to be talked about.” Junior Tasha Bazile has yet to see the movie but hopes to soon. “I want to see “The Hate U Give” because I feel like just being in society and being black… It intrigues me to see how it (life) is portrayed in the movie,” said Bazile.

These new movies are becoming more popular among the J-DHS students within all age groups. Students are talking about them among their friends, and are super excited to see many new movies come out!

The Recess Coffee Craze

Grace Evans

Staff Writer  

Hot Chocolate from Recess Coffee

Hot Chocolate from Recess Coffee

Recess Coffee is a trending cafe located in both the Westcott Neighborhood and Downtown Syracuse. They first started roasting coffee in Westcott in 2007 and expanded to Downtown Syracuse in 2015. According to, they purchase their ingredients from respectable farms to ensure the quality of their products.

Freshman Kerry Dunn ordered a Nutella Mocha Latte, which is a mixture of Nutella, espresso, and milk. “I’d never heard of it before, so it was a new experience,” Dunn said. Overall, she was satisfied with her order, even when she was bouncing off of walls wishing she’d gotten decaf. Dunn gave her experience an 8/10.

Freshman Cleo Shiomos ordered an Iced Mocha Java, which is a combination of coffee and hot chocolate. “There were more choices for drinks,” Shiomos said when comparing Recess Coffee to other franchises, such as Starbucks. Shiomos rated her experience at Recess Coffee a 7/10.

There weren’t many warm beverage choices for non-coffee drinkers, so I ordered a hot chocolate. It was very hot when I first got it, but by the time we found seating it had cooled down. In my opinion, it didn’t taste much different from hot chocolate you can find in stores.

We went at 3 p.m., which appeared to be one of their busiest times, however we ordered an had our drinks in about a total of five minutes. Indoor and outdoor seating were available but the large crowd made it difficult to find a seat. “There were a lot of people, so they didn’t have time to clean the tables.” Shiomos said. She thought the environment was sanitary, despite the crowd.

Along with warm and cold beverages, Recess Coffee also sells baked goods, bagels, sandwiches, and wraps. Although our drinks went over well, the same can’t be said for the orange chocolate whoopie pie we tried. “It smelled like fish… the inside had no flavor” Dunn said. She gave it a 1/10.

Recess Coffee was definitely worth the trip, especially if you want to try something new. The customer service was very good and we will definitely return in the future. However, we suggest you stick to their drinks rather than exploring their pastry section.

Witches in the Walls: Foreign Horror Gems of 1977

Samuel Phillips

Contributing Writer

1977 was a great year for art-house horror, best remembered for David Lynch’s debut feature, Eraserhead, a surrealist black and white trip into the distorted mind of one of the great American directors. However, two lesser-known international directors released equally groundbreaking work in 1977 as well. These are the zany Japanese horror comedy, Hausu (House), and the dark, twisted Italian cult film, Suspiria.


Hausu (1977)

Directed by: Nobuhiko Obayashi

Japanese Comedy/Horror

Available on Blu-ray and DVD

“Ah, bananas! Bananas everywhere!”

It is hard to describe this eccentric Japanese horror staple to those uninitiated to Japanese art and culture. Obayashi’s wacky, stylistic choices with editing and cinematography make the viewer say, “What am I watching?” The story is handled in a cynical, almost childlike manner that contrasts shockingly against scenes of dismemberment and trauma. Hausu includes many common themes from Japanese anime and manga such as schoolgirl fantasies, screwball humor, and unexpected shifts in tone and mood.  But that is not to say the film is unenjoyable for American audiences. In fact, this campy cult classic is one of the great horror comedies, not only in Japan, but worldwide.

When Gorgeous (Kimiko Ikegami) leaves school for summer vacation, all she can think about is how excited she is to go on vacation with her father, who has recently returned home from Italy. But when her father brings home his new fiancee, Gorgeous feels betrayed and decides to visit her aunt in the countryside with her six friends. While her aunt’s country house seems idyllic in nature, something more sinister lurks in the walls.

Obayashi proves himself as one of Japan’s finest directors with Hausu, experimenting with a variety of cinematic techniques that are usually considered gimmicky, like stop-motion action sequences and hand-drawn animation. These special effects fit in so seamlessly because the film embraces its own cheesiness.  In fact, it goes out of its way to add gags that do not even fit into the story. At the same time, however, the story is layered with dark metaphors, like the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, as well as messages about stereotypes and love. In Hausu, director Obayashi performs a delicate balancing act between beauty, humor, and grief that adds unexpected sophistication to an otherwise simplistic horror plot.

Hausu is full of memorable moments that make it highly rewatchable. On my third viewing, I found myself still giggling like a little kid. One moment involves a character turning into a pile of bananas. In another, Kung Fu, one of Gorgeous’s friends (yes, those are actually the character names) gets into a fight with flying, flaming logs. And another scene involves a watermelon and a well which you have to see to believe. The soundtrack by Japanese pop band Godiego complements the frantic pacing of the film’s outlandish moments perfectly, with smooth jazz, upbeat pop, and a simplistic piano motif used over and over, but never in the same way. All of these elements elevate Hausu over the average horror comedy.

Yes, this film is dated, with special effects that come across as so fake you can not help but laugh, and yes, this film has many familiar horror tropes, like the damsel in distress and the haunted house. By no means is Hausu a perfect film. But as a fun experience, it is a fantastic choice for the Halloween season and an essential watch for horror fans.

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Suspiria (1977)

Directed by: Dario Argento

Italian Slasher

Available on Blu-ray, DVD, and on Tubi (streaming with ads)

“Suzy, do you know anything about...witches?”

Known for its brutal, dreamlike violence and varied color palette, Suspiria throws its viewer into the action and never lets up. Unlike generic horror action, Suspiria is thoughtfully composed and planned to build up extreme amounts of tension before releasing. In the opening scene to the film, shots from within the woods suggest a dark presence. Red lights reflecting off of falling rain look like dancing sprays of blood. This attention to detail is what makes Suspiria an cinematic achievement in the horror genre.

Dario Argento crafts and paces his film to match its dark story. Suzy Bannion (Jessica Harper) is a new arrival at a prestigious ballet academy when a series of murders occur at the school. Suzy, seeing that no action has been taken, decides to unravel the mysteries of the academy for herself. Argento takes his time telling Suzy’s story, taking notice in the little details as he experiments with a variety of film techniques. The most noticeable of all is the attention to color. Shot completely on Technicolor, the film’s colors are vibrant. Sharp pinks and reds fill the dance studio, and when night falls, the hallways of the school become rich greens and deep blacks. The deeply saturated color adds a dreaminess to an otherwise dark, brutal film.

The violence of Suspiria is brutal and intense, but it never becomes excessive. Characters die in a variety of creative ways, but deaths come sparingly, after long stretches of tension-building narrative. Argento’s film provides an onslaught of tension that many horror films struggle to incorporate. The deaths are bloody and fun, but never once do they feel inappropriate or gratuitous.

Thanks to the Italian progressive rock band Goblin’s haunting theme, Suspiria in many ways feels like a dance. Guttural singing overlays a light synth which, in turn, overlays the twists and turns the story has to offer. Coupled with the visual delights, Goblin’s soundtrack helps make this slow-paced film accessible to today’s young viewers.

Overall, Dario Argento pulled out all the stops with this horror classic. It is fun, intense, tension-wrought cinema at its finest, a textbook example of solid horror. With the recent release of its American remake, now is a perfect time to watch this gem.

J-D Concert-goers Jam Out at the Amphitheater This Summer

Francesca Chirco


Over the summer, thousands of Syracuse locals, including many students and staff from Jamesville-DeWitt High School, enjoyed music ranging from Zac Brown Band to Weezer at the St. Joseph’s Amphitheater.

Many saw this as an opportunity to spend time with friends and enjoy their favorite performers at a venue close to home. “I like how I’m able to see my friends from my school and other schools because it’s at such a good location,” said sophomore Audrey Nordon. Others use it as a place to get away and relax for a few hours. “I like how you can be at the Amphitheater but feel like you’re outside of Syracuse,” said junior Riley LaTray.

For many, the Amphitheatre is a prime spot because of the added benefits the location provides. “I think one of the best parts of the venue is the sunset,” said English teacher Terri Eaton. Others say it is the food, which ranges from Dinosaur Barbeque to wood grilled pizza.  “I really like the food even though it is not inexpensive,” said LaTray.

Social studies teacher Megan McGee is a frequent attendee of concerts. She has attended a total of six concerts at the Amphitheater this summer.  She ranks Zac Brown Band as her favorite concert because she had great seats close to the stage, which allowed her to enjoy the concert. With a wide-range of experience from attending numerous concerts, Ms. McGee enjoys the “outdoor live music” that the Amphitheater provides.


Both biology teacher Nancy Raicht and math and computer science teacher Jay Lang attended the Weezer concert. Both commented that the best part of the concert was when Weezer sang “Take On Me” while in a boat on the stage. For junior Gabby Modesti, Dave Matthews Band was a favorite. She even got the chance to go backstage to meet the lead singer. “He was really down to earth and friendly. It was really cool to meet him,” said Modesti.    

Local concertgoers will look forward to next year’s season which will provide more opportunity to enjoy outdoor music practically in their backyards.

Ways to Stay Busy in Syracuse Over the Summer

Lucas Bort, Reinaldo Colon, and Michael Bratslavsky

Staff Writers


The final bell is approaching fast, and students who have worked hard all year are ready to be released. With the weather no longer freezing, there are many activities around Syracuse for students to do over their summer vacation.

Taking a mental break after the long school year ends is a big part of students’ summers. Relaxing is a top priority for many. “I just want to be away from school,” said freshman Thomas Sabatino. “I’m gonna sit around a lot, then travel to Slovakia, and then come back and sit around some more,” said freshman Andrej Dovciak.

If it isn’t snowing, there are various activities that you can do outside. “I’m gonna go biking, do some fishing, tennis,” said social studies teacher Vitaliy Yanchuk, who loves to be outdoors in the summer. Senior Ben Fleet said he plans on hiking a lot and having a lot of campfires. Other activities that can be fun and relaxing are grilling and swimming.

July 4 is a day when lots of students and staff spend time with friends and family, which is a great way to stay entertained. Biology teacher Samantha Ross will be meeting with her sister and family that day. Sophomore Riya Sharma plans to be with her friends that day as well. “We have a ball, we always roast s’mores,” said Sharma who loves to do these things with her friends every year.

The Jamesville-DeWitt High School Varsity and JV Soccer teams also have a summer league that many of the players will participate in. Dovciak looks forward to participating in the games.  Sophomore Aakash Yalamanchili said that his favorite part about summer is the J-DHS summer league. He plans on working out and conditioning before the games start to get him ready to play.

The New York State Fair is also an attraction that comes to Syracuse, so visiting that for a day can be very fun. Freshman Keeley Riley and Ms. Ross will be going there during the summer as well. Riley said that going to the fair is by far her favorite thing to do in Syracuse.


Many students at J-DHS also have travel plans. Junior Allia Mitchell is going to Chicago this summer to watch a baseball game. Sharma is going to Italy for a vacation with her family. Fleet said that he may be traveling to Cape Cod and spending time with family there.

Students aren’t the only ones that have exciting plans for the summer.  Many teachers have things to look forward to. Science teacher Kevin Sommer looks forward to spending a lot of time with his children. “I like to take my kids on adventures,” said Mr. Sommer who goes fishing, hiking, and to the Herkimer Diamond Mines with his kids. Mr. Yanchuck plans on renovating a house he recently bought as well as taking a week-long vacation.

Summer is a great time to unwind and have fun, so be sure to enjoy any activities after a long and tiring school year.

One Last Ball for the Class of 2018

Tracey Edson and Katie Cappelletti

Staff Writers

The Jamesville-DeWitt High School seniors are ready to have one last ball. Senior Ball will be held on Saturday, June 2 from 7 p.m. until 11 p.m. The DoubleTree By Hilton Hotel in Carrier Circle will host the seniors, as it has for the last few years.

At the DoubleTree, everyone will be seated at tables of eight to 10, but if a group does not have that many, they will be combined with another small group. Tickets for J-DHS seniors are $25 but all other attendees have to pay $50. There will also be a DJ who will provide music for the guests throughout the night. The DJ for the night is Ben Stroh, who is working with the BPS Pro Audio Company.

At the reception, fresh fruit, and cheese and crackers will be served, followed by a starter Caesar salad. There will be three different entrees that the seniors can choose from: Chicken Rockefeller, Sirloin Steak or Cheese Ravioli. There will also be Vegan and Gluten Free options available upon request. Alongside the dinner there will be fresh rolls with a variety of flavored butters. To end the night, there will be a Chocolate Mousse Bomb Cake. Senior Ryan Evans attended ball last year and is “looking forward to the dessert.”  There will also be soda and water will be served all throughout the night.

After the dance portion of the night is over, seniors will have the opportunity to attend an after party at Mattydale Strike-N-Spare Bowling Lanes. The party will be from midnight until 4 a.m. with a Casino theme. At the party there will be over 75 raffles that students will have the opportunity to win. The prizes from the raffles are laptops, TVs, gift cards, cash prizes, and more. “I’m hoping to win a nice TV that I can bring with me to college,” said Lainey Foti.

Although this night signifies their high school careers coming to an end, seniors are looking forward to a fun time.  “I’m excited to spend time with my friends and enjoy one of the last events of high school,” said Kasey Vaughan.

"John Lennon and Me" Comes to J-D


Tracey Edson and Katie Cappelletti

Staff Writers

Three, two, one, action! The Jamesville-DeWitt High School Drama Club is bringing “John Lennon and Me” to the Auditorium on May 17 and 18.

“John Lennon and Me” was written by Cherie Bennett and is based on the novel “Good-bye, Best Friend.” This play has won many national awards throughout its years of production because it deals with such important issues of life, death, power and first boyfriends.

The story revolves around a 13-year-old girl named Star. She is a Hollywood-wannabe who loves the Beatles but she was born with Cystic Fibrosis, and that assures a young death. She spends most of her time in a hospital where she meets Courtney, who soon becomes her best friend. Courtney is a pretty cheerleader who does not appear to be very sick.


In addition to the two main characters, Star and Courtney, there are about eight other characters who contribute to the plot. Each person contributes different attributes to help show the meaning of the play, which is living life to the fullest.

At J-DHS, Star will be played by sophomore Alethea Shirilan-Howlett, who has been a part of the Drama Club for two years. Throughout the play she will be demonstrating the daily life and the difficulties that a person with Cystic Fibrosis has. “People with Cystic Fibrosis usually have a lot of coughing fits, so that’s a big part of the play,” said Shirilan-Howlett, who hopes to continue Performing Arts in college.

Courtney will be played by senior Emily Ashe. This is Ashe’s fourth year as a part of the Drama Club. “This is my fourth year involved in it and at the beginning I was roped in by accident but I loved it so much that I kept coming back,” said Ashe.

This show was selected by all club members, as many of the shows are. “We were looking for a show that combines both dramatic and comedic elements, so you have a few laughs and a few tears are shed but it’s a nice play that comes together,” said social studies teacher Jordan Berger, the club adviser.  

He enjoys both the teaching and directing elements at school, “We have a lot of freedom in choosing what plays were able to do and finding something that the students can connect with and they really enjoy it,” said Mr. Berger.

When students arrive back to school from break the club will be finishing preparing the show. The performance will start at 7 p.m. on Thursday and Friday night and each will last an hour and a half. All of the proceeds that are made will be given to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. The tickets to the performances are $8 and can be purchased on


Upcoming Concerts

Momo LaClair and Paige Stepanian

Staff writers and Photographers

With spring in full swing, summer is right around the corner. This brings warm weather and opportunities for outdoor activities like concerts. Students and staff at Jamesville-DeWitt High School are already buying tickets for upcoming performances by their favorite artists.

To kick off the wave of concerts, hip hop artist and rapper Post Malone will be performing on May 26 at the Darien Lake Amphitheater. His music is really popular with teens across the country and at J-DHS. “He makes some really good songs, nice lyrics, and good beats,” said sophomore Gavin McCaul. One thing that makes Post Malone so interesting is the fact that he writes about a variety of topics in his songs. “I really like his music because it gives you a good mix of emotions,” said freshman Amber Hamernik. Out of all the shows coming to Upstate New York, the majority of students interviewed are most excited for this one.

Others at J-DHS are more excited for the country concerts coming to Syracuse. Zac Brown Band will be returning to the Lakeview Amphitheater once again this summer. They performed in Syracuse last summer and were enjoyed by many. “I went to ZBB last year and I really want to go again because it was really fun,” said freshman Audrey Norden. Sophomores Paige Keeler and Gabby Stickle are looking forward to seeing ZBB for the first time. “Their music puts me in a good mood and their songs are so catchy,” said Keeler. Some favorites among the students at J-DHS are “Chicken Fried,” “Loving You Easy” and “Homegrown.”

Luke Bryan will also be returning to the Lakeview Amphitheater on Aug.17, and not just the students are excited for this one. Social Studies teacher Meghan Mcgee will be attending this concert with her friends. “It’s going to be a girls night out,” said Ms.Mcgee. Norden is hoping to attend the concert as well. “I’ve been wanting to see him for a while. He has a good variety of songs.” Country fans like Ms.Mcgee are also excited to see Brad Paisley and Kenny Chesney, who are also coming to the Lakeview Amphitheatre this summer.

A big reason that the Lakeview Amphitheatre has had so much success is because of the prices of tickets to concerts. A lot of the concert tickets have been affordable for students and staff, especially lawn seats. Tickets for Brad Paisley range from $26 to $209, and Zac Brown Band tickets are starting at $55 this year. The amount of students anticipating concerts this summer really show how many are taking advantage of these prices.

These artists are only a fraction of the amount coming to the Lakeview Amphitheatre this summer. Imagine Dragons, Pentatonix, Dave Matthews Band, and many more are ready to come perform. Make sure to go out and see them!


Newsies Choral Festival 2018

Grace Paparo and Lily Loewenguth

Staff Writers

This year marks the 19th annual Jamesville-DeWitt Central School spring choral festival. This year the J-D music department has selected to sing songs from “Newsies,” a Broadway musical. As usuall the fest will feature the seventh and eighth grade chrouses, along with the high school groups of chorale, chamber choir, women's choir, and SPARK.

The concert will consist of 12 songs from the Broadway production. Preperation for the choral fest begins before school even starts. “Every year we elect chorus officers,,(and) over the summer I texted them and they gave me suggestions. “Newsies” was my favorite,” says choral director Beth Quackenbush. “It’s an amazing story about kids rising up,” said senior Catharine Cargian. A lot of hard work is put into memorizing the music, which starts in November,” said Mrs. Quackenbush.

The Broadway musical takes place in Long Island and New York City and is inspired by a real-life news strike that took place in 1899. Boys are out on the streets selling newspapers for money. Many of them don’t have parents and barley make enough money for food, so when the price of newspaper is raised by 10 cents, they go on strike. Because the story is about a group of boys, there are a lot of male solos in the choral festival. “We have a lot of talented guys not only in SPARK but in all the choirs,” said Cardigan. Senior Nick Kuci has been in the choral fest since middle school. This year he has multiple solos as Jack Kelly. “Seeing the Netflix version of the (Broadway) show definitely influenced the expression I put into my audition,” said Kuci. Another one of JD’s well known singers, sophomore Alex Yoo, has a solo this year. He also did some research before his audition. “I was going to try out for a solo to begin with, but seeing the show in class helped me better prepare on how I was going to audition,” said Yoo. The SPARK group will also be dancing during four of the songs and will even tap dance in one.

The concerts will be on April 6 at 5:30pm and again at 8pm in the J-DHS Osborn Auditorium. Tickets are available for $6 at