Holidays At J-DHS

Meghan Evans, Mara Durkin, Zoe Potamianos

Staff Writers

Jamesville-DeWitt High School students and staff are expressing their love for the holidays in many ways this year. From candy surprises to decor in classrooms, the J-DHS community is ready for the holidays.

The J-DHS French Club celebrated Christmas by having a contest of Buche De Noel. Buche De Noel is a traditional  French Christmas cake which looks like a log. The cake looks like a log to represent the tradition of burning logs in a fireplace during the holidays. This contest was judged by the French teachers based on three categories including best taste, most log-like, and most creative.

Teachers in the school are also celebrating these holidays by decorating their classrooms. English teacher Terri Eaton decorates her classroom because she “loves the holidays”. “I think it helps kids get through the day seeing the fun decorations. A lot of students enjoy the happiness and excitement of the decorations,” said Mrs. Eaton. “It puts everyone in the holiday spirit and and in a positive mood,” said senior Markos Petkopoulos. “She has the Jewish corner, the Kwanzaa corner, and a lot of Christmas, so she is accepting all religions and holidays… when I am in there I am happy and feel ready for the christmas season,” said sophomore Janna Vanvranken.

Students are sending their love and appreciation to each other through candy grams. The Spanish club is selling one for 50 cents and two for $1. The profit made from this sale will be donated to the Holy Cross trip to El Salvador. The Bust-A-Move club is also selling candy grams, one for $1. Their profit is going towards breast cancer research. “Everyone is loving the idea of surprising their friends because it makes them smile and gets them ready for the holidays,” said junior Ana Dieroff, member of Bust-A-Move. This is the sixth year that Bust-A-Move is selling candy grams at J-DHS during the holiday season. “The sales are going a lot better than we thought, especially since we are competing against the Spanish club,” says junior Mia Antonucci.

Check Out DeWitt Wegmans' Latest Expansion

Julian Galletta and Harland Kissel

Staff Writers


The Wegmans in Dewitt has expanded even more. They have moved the sandwich bar and coffee station, and added a Mexican bar and drink station. The original buffets and the more recent Burger Bar are still in the same place. These new expansions to the well known store have attracted many new customers, and older customers are returning for a new experience.

Max Chirco, a junior, has enjoyed the expansion very much, but says it has come with some costs. “I feel like they are trying to over-do themselves, and they are just doing too much with the expansion,” he said. But when we asked him about his favorite foods, he said, “The maple bacon onion burger is the best thing in the world, I want to marry that burger, and I love the seasoned herb fries.” Senior Owen Farchione also doesn’t like the expansion very much. “Now it’s all about trying to make profit, it just doesn’t feel as homey anymore.”

There is a lot more space for people to shop and eat now at Wegmans, because the store is now spread out, although the amount of customers coming to the store has also increased. “Wegmans is more efficient now, because they have hired a couple more people since they’ve expanded,” said junior Jakob Ellithorpe. “The part where you actually shop is the same, but once you get over to the deli area and where they have the already-made food, then it’s a lot more crowded,” said freshman Elena Fitzgerald.

With these new additions to Wegmans, there have been many conflicting opinions among the shoppers and diners. Overall, many new and old customers agree that Wegmans has improved and become one of the best places to get a meal or to get your groceries. It has definitely changed its original look to a more complex, attracting look, but the customers seem to like it a lot. The Wegman family will be making more and more profit as countless amounts of customers will now be entering Wegmans not only to shop, but to have a bite to eat.

J-D Dominates Editorial Cartoon Contest

Jacob Marshall and Marcus Payne

Staff Writers

On Oct. 17 English teacher Courtney Romeiser AP Language and Composition class submitted cartoons for the Cartoon and Editorial Contest sponsored by the New York Times. After waiting for a little over a month, the results of the contest came in and are posted outside the library along with all of the other cartoons created by Jamesville-DeWitt High School students. Out of 800 entries, seven students from J-DHS were recognized for their work. This was more than last year, when only three students were recognized. “I was happy,” said junior Mark Davis, one of three students in the top 8. “It only took 30 minutes to an hour to complete,” Davis said. His cartoon showed the cost of making clothes in a third world country and compared it to the cost to buy clothes in America.

Juniors Emma Kesselring and Eden Shiomos were the other two top 8 winners from J-DHS. They both said that they were surprised that they won and that they would not do it again. Shiomos said, “If I do it again my second idea would not be as good as my first.” Shiomos cartoon was a vending machine full of guns. She drew it because she felt that it was a “major issue.” Kesselring’s cartoon was two pictures of a google search of Stephen Paddock and Philando Castile.

Juniors Michael Sizing and Nancy O’Connor, both runners-up, were “happy” and “surprised” that they won. “I put a lot of thought into mine,” said O’Connor; “I knew I was not that good of an artist so I had more thought and less art.” Unlike any of the other participants, Sizing said he would do the contest again. “I almost won, I feel like if I could do it next year i’d probably win,” said Sizing.

Along with the five students listed above Michaela Fay and juniors Emma Buck and Grace Martin were recognized with an honorable mention. Buck’s cartoon was of an Earth’s grave which said “At least we tried (kinda).” Martin’s cartoon shows Trump putting a paper towel down in a pool of water in attempt to help the flooding from the hurricanes in Puerto Rico.

Fay, a sophomore, decided to do the contest when her teacher Mr. Phillips mentioned it to the class, but it was not mandatory. “I saw an article on disability rights and it gave me the inspiration for my cartoon. My grandma is blind so to me disability rights are really important,” Fay said. She learned that making a cartoon is not nearly as easy as it appears. Fay said that it takes a lot of research, composition and planning to get the article right. She is looking forward to doing the contest next year because she will have help from Ms. Romeiser and work on it with other students.

This is the second year Ms. Romeiser’s AP Language and Composition class participated in the cartoon contest. The students choose their topics based on the issue they wanted to show based on an article of the New York Times.

There are many reasons Ms. Romeiser has her students participate in this contest. It helps them with “learning terminology” and “gives the participants a broader audience, and lets them use their skills and talents in different ways,” she said. There were a lot of different cartoons on many different topics like gun violence and sports but most of them were political. “Politics, Presidents response to hurricanes, President issues, sports and North Korea,” were some of the common themes, according to Ms. Romeiser.

All 82 of Ms. Romeiser juniors participated in the editorial contest. The students were easily inspired by things happening around the world in the news that were covered. Both Sizing and Emma Galletta chose to draw political cartoons. Sizing drew a picture of Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un playing tug of war over at pit of nuclear weapons. Galletta’s was one of Trump golfing. “Donald Trump is golfing on nice green grass and on his golf ball it says immigrants. He is hitting it towards the hole and where the whole is the flag is torn up and the grass is dead,” said Galletta.

Both Sizing and Galletta’s cartoons have a deeper meaning. By Sizing showing Kim Jong Un and Donald Trump playing tug of war over a pit of weapons symbolizes that “If one of them pushed (the) other just enough that one of them would basically destroy the countries.” Galleta said her cartoon represents how Donald Trump is taking immigrants from a good place (America), and kicking them out to a worse place.

Junior Sawyer Parker’s cartoon had yet another theme. Her cartoon was based on the topic of climate change. She had four different mini pictures drawn on the sheet of paper. Three of them were about the hurricanes that just had happened and the fourth one was of Trump saying that climate change was not a problem.

Junior Max Chirco’s cartoon attacked the idea of racial profiling. His cartoon was a police officer telling Martellus Bennett to get on his knees and Bennett responds by saying “I thought I was told not to take a knee?” “It plays off the stereotypes of A. racial profiling, and B. the players aren't allowed to take a knee in the NFL,” said Chirco.

The editorial contest makes an impact on people outside of Ms. Romeiser’s class. All of the issues the students drew about show people their thoughts and ideas on what’s happening in the world today. “It’ll help shed some light on the fact that things aren’t perfect in America and we’re still working to make it better for everyone who lives here,” said Chirco.

The Lion King Roars its way into Syracuse

Johnny Keib and Tanner Burns

Staff Writers

On Oct. 27, the award-winning Broadway show “The Lion King” came to the city of Syracuse. Human actors bring the Disney cartoon to life through masks, costumes, and puppets set against a backdrop of African cultures.

Everyone that saw the musical raved about how good it was. The majority of students and teacher’s favorite scene was the famous opening act. This is where every performer goes down the aisles in full costume and up on the stage for the scene “The Circle Of Life.” “I personally got chills, it was really great and very emotional,” said junior Chloe Loewenguth. Senior Griffin Cook thought the opening scene was great, but he did have one complaint. It was not about the show, it was the theater itself. “I really wished that I had more leg-room,” said Cook.

Syracuse itself might seem like an odd place to host a Broadway play, but according to a story on News Channel Nine it was specifically chosen for the show. The people in charge wanted to scale down the original Broadway musical. They thought the Landmark Theater was the right place because of its smaller features.  This version of “The Lion King” is also touring other theaters around the country.

Costumes resemble characters very well during all Broadway performances. However, the task for the makeup artists and costume designers is even more challenging for this show because they have to transform humans into the animal characters they play. Despite the challenge, in “The Lion King” they did such a good job that it caught the eye of many people in the audience. “The attention to every single detail was amazing,” said science teacher Rich Adler. Sophomore Amirah Britt also agreed that the costumes were amazing.

Even though the “The Lion King” has come and gone in Syracuse, even though it will be back again and it will probably bring a sell out crowd. The actors gave the J-DHS staff members and students who saw it an unforgettable experience.

Roots & Shoots Spruces Up J-D

Brooke Taylor, Emaline Mason, and Yasmine Powers

Staff Writers

Have you ever heard of a club completely dedicated to improving campus life by environmental improvement and beautification? Well, if you’ve heard of Roots and Shoots, then you have. Roots and Shoots is a national organization that focuses on making environmental improvements at both high schools and colleges, said club adviser Jim Tuck.  The club was started seven years ago, and has been on and off through the years. Mr. Tuck only took over advising the club three years ago. Last October, the four current club officers: seniors Amanda Hamernik, Cameron Howe, Jeremy Wells and Eileen Tan approached Tuck seeking to plant a vegetable garden by the school. The officers implemented the garden on their own last April and have been taking care of it since.

Over the summer the four club officers maintained the garden. “We would come up to the high school every other day, during the summer and water the garden, and weed it out,” said Tan, the club’s president. The garden is located just outside the vice principals’ offices and can be seen from Spanish teachers Simone Pacilio’s and Henry Cline’s classrooms. Everything grown in the garden is fully organic.  The vegetables they grew over the summer were harvested three weeks ago,  and they gave the harvest to the cafeteria. In the garden, the officers grew assorted peppers, carrots, and spinach. The cafeteria staff incorporated the summer vegetables into one batch of soup, and only had a few pieces left over to put into a salad. Although the garden has only been functioning for a short time, people have tasted a positive difference from that first usage of the produce. “I definitely saw an improvement in the taste of the soup,” said Tuck, who has eaten the cafeteria food for his entire time at J-DHS.

Rita Vedsted, district manager of the cafeterias for 17 years, was quite pleased with the turnout of using the clubs’ vegetables in the school’s soup. “I made a really nice soup with all the fresh veggies, and it was a hit. The spinach they gave us was actually better than what I buy at the store. You could taste the freshness.” said Vedsted.

The cafeteria only received one batch of vegetables, so it won’t affect the budget of the cafeteria. Hamernik, the club treasurer, has very clear goals for the club. “We wanted to bring some form of fresh, good food without GMOs and pesticides into the school, and also other places if we can bring it to them, like food pantries,” said Hamernick.  

Though the harvest was successful, the club faced some struggles. “We need to make sure none of the roots of plants are attacking other plants’ roots, trying to kill them off.  Which, we had a bit of an issue with, with the lettuce, because it didn't grow that well, but other than that all of our other plants are growing pretty good,” said Hamernick. Another issue was that the garden had few people to maintain it. “The maintenance was only kept up by a couple people,” said Tan.  Fortunately, the garden only faced one incident with an animal. “There was only one pepper that got eaten by a deer, but besides that [the garden] was secluded enough so that we didn’t have a huge animal problem,” said Tan.

With winter on its way, many of the vegetables will die because it is an outdoor garden. However, not all hope is lost. “Some plants are meant to be grown during the winter time, and they come in the spring, we might grow them over the winter. But still, winter is definitely our hardest season,” said Hamernick.

Originally the Roots and Shoots members wanted to donate the fresh vegetables to the Food Bank. Although that didn’t happen with the first batch, they plan to donate parts of the crop after they expand the garden.

Despite providing enough vegetables for the school’s soup, the garden itself is only 4 feet by 8 feet. This year they’re looking to expand the garden and gain new members. “We’re trying to get (Principal Paul) Gasparini to expand the garden for years to come,” said Cameron Howe, vice president of the club. This is the garden’s first year of producing vegetables and the club officers are looking to continue growing produce in the garden. Trying to gain new members that are underclassmen has proven to be a struggle.  All of the club’s members are seniors and they’re looking for students to overtake the club after they graduate, and maintain the garden. They meet every Thursday and Friday during Activity Period in R07. “Please let us know if you’re interested because this is our biggest concern; who will maintain it after we graduate.” said Hamernick.


SPARK trip to NYC

Mara Durkin, Meghan Evans, and Zoe Potamianos

Staff Writers       



For the first time in three years the Jamesville-DeWitt High School musical group Spark went on an overnight trip to New York City from Sept. 20- Sept. 21. Spark adviser Beth Quackenbush put together a brief trip for her students so they could work with Broadway stars on Broadway and so take their performances to the next level.

There is a lot to do in the city, and the 30 Spark musicians took advantage of that to have as much fun as possible while still performing and working hard. Students had dinner the night they arrived, then saw the Broadway musical Miss Saigon. They worked in the studio the next day with performer Travis Ward-Osborn from Miss Saigon to improve their performance. After that, they explored the city.

Senior Nick Kuci enjoyed the musical; “it was amazing. It was probably one of the most visually appealing shows I’ve ever seen, which had an actual helicopter in the show.” The chorus officers, junior Hayley Quackenbush, senior Markos Petkopoulos, sophomore Alex Yoo, senior Catherine Cargian, junior Sam Burton, and senior Jeremy Wells picked the show Miss Saigon because they knew it was an emotional show and it had really good reviews. All of the students enjoyed not only the show, but the city in general. “It was really fun. We learned a lot and the show was a great experience,” said senior Kellen Mulvihill.

Mrs. Quackenbush used to bring her students every October to New York City but recently stopped doing it. She decided to do it again this year so the Spark musicians could work on Broadway with Broadway stars. “It just takes us to the next level,” said Mrs. Quackenbush. She also thinks it’s important to take a group of kids who need to perform together on a trip because they get to “spend time and bond together as a group.” Sophomore Pranathi Adhikari also agrees with Mrs. Quackenbush.  “It was really fun because we all bonded and we also got to work on our music so it made us a better group and our performances are going to be better now,” said Adhikari.


J-D Gets Spooky for Halloween

Momo LaClair and Paige Stepanian

Staff Writers

Now that the fall season has arrived, the students of Jamesville-DeWitt High School are in the Halloween spirit. From pumpkin carving to apple picking, they want to do it all. With Halloween only a couple weeks away, the students and staff are counting down the days until the spookiest night of the year.

For many, a favorite attraction during the Halloween season is Fright Night at the Fair.

Freshman Nora Prosak visited the popular event for the first time this year. “It was pretty fun, it was a new experience,” says Prosak. After traveling through three different haunted houses at the fairgrounds, Prosak said the clown-themed one was her favorite. Freshman Courtney Keough also took a trip to the Fright Night attraction. “It was really realistic. I was holding onto the person in front of me the whole time, choking them because I was so scared,” says Keough.  

Although many J-D students enjoy the spooky set up at Fright Night, some have traveled even farther to experience more terrifying haunted houses. Freshman twin sisters Olivia and Audrey Norden both have a love for haunted houses, and traveled to one in Pennsylvania this past season. Filled with hayrides, black outs, and a haunted carnival, the trip to the house was “weirdly eerie,” says Olivia Norden. “It was very very scary. They could touch you and take you and put you into cages. Fright Night couldn’t compare!” said Olivia Norden.

Several students have been taking part in fall activities outside of school, like apple picking, pumpkin carving, and baking fall desserts. “I like to do corn mazes (because) I think those are cool,” says senior Lexi Gambacorto.  For seniors like Gambacorto, finding the perfect costume for the annual Halloween Parade at school is a big deal as well. “I’m so excited, since my freshmen year it’s always been a big thing,” says senior Paige Petrell. The underclassmen are also very excited for the parade. “I can’t wait, It’s always really funny and I like to see the costumes,” says sophomore Christof Deboni.

Many are unsatisfied with the fact that Halloween is on a Tuesday this year. Since it is on a school night, some students are worried they won’t be able to stay out late due to homework and having to get up early in the morning. “It’s sad (because) I don’t feel like many people go trick or treating unless it’s on a weekend,” says junior Mark Davis. “I’m kinda excited, but kinda sad that it’s on a Tuesday this year (since) it’s a little harder to make plans,” says sophomore Andrea Sumida. However, senior Caelen Constantino says she is “so excited” for Halloween. “I’m still going to love it and it will probably still be the best day of my life,” she says.     

The students aren’t the only ones that are excited for Halloween at J-DHS. Coach Jeff Ike is very excited for the fun-filled holiday. “(I) love Halloween. It’s awesome,” says Coach Ike. This year for Halloween, he will be following his daughter around going trick or treating. Even though he’s usually not home, he always makes sure to leave out candy for trick or treaters.  Coach Walter Dodge is also gearing up for the uncanny night as well. “I have a costume in my mind that I’m working on already,” says Coach Dodge.

Red Ram Color Run

Ali Durkin and Mia Potamianos

Assistant Producers


As the autumn leaves turn bright red and orange, add a splash of even more color into your fall at this year’s second annual Red Ram Color Run on Oct. 29 at Jamesville DeWitt High School. This run consists of a 5k course around the J-DHS campus and surrounding neighborhoods, as well as a one mile walk through a wooded trail. Along with the scenic courses, this run gives runners the opportunity to be sprinkled in multicolored powder making the experience more lively.

You can sign up for this run at or you can register on the day of the event beginning at 7:30 a.m. The run that begins at 9 a.m. with all the proceeds going to the JD Booster Program and the Girls Varsity Lacrosse team. If running isn’t your cup of tea, there are also opportunities to volunteer by directing traffic, holding signs, handing out water, and throwing powder at the runners.


Senior Advice

Katie Tzivanis and Mariyana Van Arsdale

Staff Writers

After four years of Regents tests, Common Core, and late nights studying, the seniors are finally getting ready to graduate. This time has allowed seniors to contemplate what they should have done differently during their time at Jamesville-DeWitt High School, and the situations and classes we wish we had been given advice on.  

Whether it be advice on studying or procrastination, our seniors have the experience to preach on it. “I wish I had known some of these things when I was a freshman, it would have saved me a lot of time and energy,” said senior Cynthia Henchen.

If there is one thing all seniors can agree upon, it’s sleep. “If there is one thing I needed more of these last few years, it’s sleep,” said senior Gabrielle Tanksley. Getting a good amount of sleep is all about time management.

To those students who question whether all of this is worth it, senior Jake Harron has some advice, “Challenge yourself in different fields to find what your true passion is. You have to come to school anyways, you might as well take advantage of it,” said Harron. The students who end up finding their passions early on are the ones who take a wide variety of classes and actually indulge themselves.

“If I never took EDD, I would never have found my love for engineering, now, 3 years later I’m going to Syracuse University to major in civil engineering,” said senior Nate Fathers. Nathan Fathers is a perfect example of someone who took advantage of J-DHS’s course offerings and ended up finding his passion.

Each senior has dealt with this at one time or another, it’s the big bad disease that everyone falls victim to: procrastination. “Do your homework and especially try to do it the day it’s assigned, procrastination will get you nowhere,” said senior Adobea Addo. The pressure of a due date, if time is managed well and homework is done the day it’s assigned, can largely decrease.

As these seniors head off to graduate, they left a little wisdom for all the underclassmen. They should use it wisely, for before they know it they’ll be graduating too.

Test Taking Advice

Sofie Brutseart and Lucy Falso

Staff Writers

With AP, Regents and final exams looming, many students are beginning the process of studying in order to do as well on the tests as possible. Teachers, counselors and older students all have their own advice for underclassmen studying for the tests.

“Breathe deeply, get a lot of rest,” said guidance counselor Will Hartley. He says students should be getting 8 hours of sleep a night. Although this is not always realistic on an average school night, it is extra important the day before a big test and in the months leading up to them.


Junior Alice Woods says the first thing she does when beginning to study is to buy review books for the subjects that have them. “For a normal test I always read through all my notes in one sitting. If it’s for AP I buy a review book,” said Woods. Review books for Regents exams will soon be available to buy in the Jamesville-DeWitt High School school store, open Mondays and Wednesdays. Review books for other subjects are also available to purchase at most book stores, including Barnes and Noble. One of the most important things to do when starting to study is to give yourself plenty of time to start, so get those review books soon!


The methods of studying that work differ for most people but there are some helpful tips to get started. When working to memorize information, English teacher Terri Eaton says repetition really helps. “Say it out loud over and over. Read it, write it, say it, do it more than one way,” said Mrs. Eaton. It also can help to make personal memory devices such as acronyms or even songs or sayings. Sophomore Matt Scibilia says he also likes to make quizlets to study with. When it comes to studying for essays and short answer responses on a test, it’s important to know the format, the types of questions generally asked, and the type of responses the test makers are looking for. Mr. Hartley also recommends that students do finger exercises to prepare yourself for a long period of writing.


With most students taking exams on several different subjects, it can be difficult to manage studying for all of them. “Prioritize what the most important exams are,” said Mr. Hartley. Woods says she usually spends a couple hours a night studying each subject. “I usually go with the hardest class first,” said Scibilia. “Do chunks of it each night,” said Mrs. Eaton. “Don’t try to do like, all math one night and all something else another night. Break it up.”


The night before a test students should get a good night's sleep. In the morning, a good breakfast is important. “Drink a cup of black coffee and maybe have a couple of eggs and some wheat toast,” said Mr. Hartley.

During exam week, it’s natural for students to be stressed or nervous about their performance. According to Mr. Hartley, some good methods for relieving stress are taking walks and listening to music. He also reminds kids to put things in perspective.  “It’s not going to matter in 5 years, none of it,” said Mr. Hartley. “Just do your best,” said Mrs. Eaton. JD RamPage wishes the best of luck to students taking exams in the coming months!

New Movies Hit the Big Screen

Sofie Brutseart and Lucy Falso

Staff Writers

Disney’s newest installment in their live-action remake series, “Beauty and the Beast,” premiered on March 16. Jamesville-DeWitt High School students went to theaters to see Emma Watson star as Belle in the classic Disney movie.

Most students were impressed by how good the remake was. “It was magical,” said sophomore Sawyer Parker. In fact, some students say that the remake is better than the original. Sophomore Shannon Beaudry said the CGI was impressive; “They really brought it to life.” Sophomore Grace McGuire prefered the use of real actors over animated characters because “it felt like you were more into the movie.”

Most who saw the movie had very little criticism to offer. “They auto-tuned a lot of the songs and I didn’t think it was really necessary,” said freshman Emma DeForest. “The voices just sounded a little fake,” said junior Elijah Theus. Beaudry wanted a little extra epilogue. “Did they get married? Did they have kids?” said Beaudry. “Otherwise I was satisfied.”

Students were eager to share their favorite parts from the film. “I liked the library scene the best because it was so cute,” said sophomore Piper Markowski. Many were also impressed by the opening scene and musical number “Belle.” It introduces the audience to the show, and students thought it was very well done. In addition to the songs that are well known from the original film, and the Broadway adaptation, the film added two new songs to the “Beauty and the Beast soundtrack.” One song in particular stood out to students: “Evermore,” sang by Dan Stevens who played the Beast.

Many students enjoyed seeing Emma Watson and thought that she did the best job of portraying her character.  “Emma Watson did really well as Belle,” said freshman Katie Sizing. “I love Emma Watson,” said Constantino, “She has a beautiful singing voice.” Freshman Teddy Mulvihill also liked Emma Watson but “was disappointed with the actor who played the Beast.”

While “Beauty and the Beast” received great reviews, some people are skeptical about the next remake in the live-action series, “The Little Mermaid,” which will not be produced by Disney. “I saw the trailer, it’s nothing like the story,” said Beaudry, “I’m not excited for it.” “Two thumbs down,” said Parker. Although “Little Mermaid” remake is not being met with high expectations, many are hoping for other classic Disney films to get a remake. Both DeForest and freshmen Sophie Pro and Alex Yoo would like to see a “Mulan” remake.

Charity Basketball Event Succeeds

Scottie O'Bryan

Staff Writer

On March 3, the Jamesville-DeWitt High School staff faced off against Niko Tamurian and the CNY Central crew in J-DHS’s Main Gymnasium. The friendly game of basketball was all in the name of charity, and though the Red Rams staff dominated the court and won the game, the real winners of the night were the two charities who received all of the night's’ proceeds: The Shamrock Animal Fund and the Central New York Autism Society.

There were many activities that night to raise money for the causes, including a 3-point shot contest, a 50/50 raffle, and a half court shot contest. The proceeds of the basketball game were divided in half among the two charities, each of which were chosen by both of the teams.

CNY Central’s portion went to the Shamrock Animal Fund, a group which helps Syracuse and Central New York pet owners that have financial limitations pay for veterinary care for their animal companions.

J-DHS selected the CNY Autism Society, an organization which is dedicated to providing services and support for people with autism, in honor of Shawna Marzella, a beloved J-D booster-club leader and teaching assistant who passed away from a heart attack in December. CNY Autism Society is also working to educate families and communities about autism awareness in efforts to make the lives of those affected by it easier.

The game itself was very entertaining. Teachers traded their ties and lap tops for jerseys and play books while Niko Tamurian, who typically is reporting on the biggest sports news in the CNY area, was trying to make the highlight reel himself along with his news crew.

J-DHS students came out in big numbers to support the event. Senior Matt Cappelletti said the game was “definitely a success.” “It was a really good time. My friends and I all went out to watch our favorite teachers play a game of basketball, and it ended up being a good game,” says Cappelletti. Junior Buddy Boeheim said it was cool to watch his varsity basketball coaches, head coach Jeff Ike and assistant coach John Barlow, playing on the court; a role reversal of sorts. “Coach Ike and Barlow were putting in the the work. I could definitely give them some pointers, though,” said Boeheim with a laugh. Junior Luke Smith, who also was a player on this year’s J-DHS varsity basketball team, enjoyed the game as well. “It was a great atmosphere and I think everyone had a lot of fun,” says Smith. “All the teachers played really well...something like that should definitely happen again in the future,” says Smith.

Junior John Bridge agrees with Smith; “the charity basketball game was a really good idea (because) it brought the J-D school and community together for a great cause.”

Those looking for further information on the Shamrock Animal Fund and CNY Autism Society, or those interested in donating or volunteering opportunities, should visit their website links below.

Students Plan for February Break

Nick Mannion and Steven Baker

Staff Writers

February break is just around the corner and Jamesville-DeWitt High School students can’t wait set down their backpacks for a week. February break starts on Feb. 18 and ends  Feb. 26. It will have been 34 school days from the end of Holiday break to the start of February break, but to senior Matt Paul it feels like it has been “a year” since the school’s last break. “I can’t wait for February break,” said freshman Luke Hobika.

Many students have plans for February break. “I plan on chilling, and hanging out with my friends over break,“ said junior Carlena Torrens. Sophomore Eric Benaroch agreed with Torrens. “I’m looking forward to chilling with my friends, and staying home,” said Benaroch.

Students at J-D are going to a variety of places for vacation over break. Sophomores Bobby Galusha and Marc Baum and junior Sydney Baum are going to Aruba together with their families over break. All three said that they can’t wait for February break. Sophomore Jordan Archer is going to Cancun, Mexico with her family. “I’m going to enjoy the warm weather over break,” said Archer.

Fun can be had in Syracuse over break. One event students are looking forward to is the Syracuse Men’s Basketball game against the Duke Blue Devils. The Syracuse Men’s Basketball team plays the Duke Blue Devils on Feb. 22. “The Duke vs Syracuse games are always awesome. I remember when they first played in the dome and we won in Overtime,” said junior Anthony Ciccone. “The Orange are 16-11 and this game against Duke is a must win if they wish to keep their tourney hopes alive,” said senior Josh Kowalczyk.

Many students at J-D are also participating in the annual week long trip to El Salvador. On this trip students will be given the chance to help out various communities in El Salvador. Senior Matt Cappelletti, who is going to El Salvador for his second time, says that the trip is really fun, and an “amazing” experience. Juniors and seniors are eligible to go on this trip, along with sophomore Tanner Gunn, who goes with his family. In total 90 students and leaders from Syracuse will be going on this trip; J-DHS students will be accompanied by students from Christian Brother’s Academy, Fayetteville Manlius, and Cazenovia. This trip is organized by Holy Cross Church and Young Life.

On the trip students will be playing with the local children, helping run clinics and doing a lot of manual labor, like digging wells and building schools. “Last year we cleared a field for irrigation, it will be cool to see what we do this year,” said sophomore Tanner Gunn. Junior Kelsey Braun is going to El Salvador for her first time this year. Braun says she is “scared” and “doesn't know what to expect.”

J-DHS English Takes on Playwriting Festival

Sofie Brutseart and Lucy Falso

Staff Writers

Jamesville-DeWitt High school students in several English classes and electives wrote their own 10-minute plays, which they submitted to the Syracuse Stage Young Playwrights Festival. Winners will get the chance to see their plays performed live.

High school students throughout Central New York were given the chance to participate. All plays are due February 14, Valentine's Day, and semi-finalists will have the opportunity to attend a workshop at Syracuse Stage to discuss and critique their plays. Seven finalists will also get to see their plays performed by Syracuse University drama students, in a festival. “It’s pretty cool that they get to see them come to fruition on stage,” said English teacher Courtney Romeiser who had several of her sections enter. In addition, Ms. Romeiser says every kid who participates gets a t-shirt.

Students in creative writing, AP Language and some 10 honors English classes were required to join the contest and were all given around three class periods as well as time outside of class to complete the assignment. This sparked mixed reactions.“I think it was one of the dumbest assignments he has given, especially because we got no instruction and had to do it all on our own,” said sophomore Emma Galletta. “It did not better my knowledge of the English language at all,” she said. Sophomore Eden Shiomos also did not enjoy the assignment.“It was kind of hard because we had to get to around eight to 10 pages,” said Shiomos.

However, some enjoyed the break from routine. “I liked it because it was directed less towards the AP (test), and more about having fun,” said junior Alisa Salbert who wrote her play about a murderous child. “I’ve never done anything like this before but I think it’s going to be a lot of fun,” said freshman Abby Morgan who is writing her play about a detective who is solving a case, for her creative writing class.

“It’s pretty open with topics. They can pick anything they want to,” said Ms. Romeiser. Although participants are limited to 10 pages of script, and only four characters, they are free to write about whatever topics they choose. “Some of the stuff can get pretty edgy,” said English teacher Matt Phillips. Students also have leeway with the format they choose to write in. For example, students can choose to write monologues, or short poems. “There’s always really zany fantastical stuff,” said Mr. Phillips. “We had a girl who a number of years ago did an entire play in Dr. Seuss style rhymes. We had a monologue where a girl was breaking up with her shoes.”

Teachers in the English department have had students participating in this contest the last seven or eight years, and Mr. Phillips says he has had award winners every year. The contestants who made semi-finals should be announced about a month after Valentine’s Day, however Mr. Phillips expects there will be winners this year as well.

The Academy Awards: What You Need to Know

Tracey Edson and Katie Cappelletti

Staff Writers

The spotlight will be on all of the nominees that will walking down the runway at the Academy Awards on Sunday, Feb. 26. Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone, the leading roles in the film “La La Land,” are just two of the many nominees for this year’s award ceremony.

There are nine films that are nominated for the Best Picture Award: “Arrival,” “Fences,” “Hacksaw Ridge,” “Hell or High Water,” “Hidden Figures,” “La La Land,” “Lion,” “Manchester by the Sea,” and “Moonlight.”

Jamesville-DeWitt High School’s Reading Films teacher, Joe Goldberg, has seen six of the nine films that are nominated for Best Picture. Of the six Goldberg has seen, he thinks that “Fences” was the best. Mr. Goldberg has yet to see “La La Land,” but thinks it will be a “very strong contender,” for the Best Picture. However, computer TA Hayley Nies did see “La La Land” and liked it.“I like musicals so I liked that part of it. I thought it was kind of all over the place,” said Ms. Nies.

Most of the nominees for Best Actor and one nominee for Best Actress are leads in the Best Picture Films. One of the exceptions is Viggo Mortensen, who stared in “Captain Fantastic,” which isn’t nominated for Best Picture. Four of the five leading actress nominees didn’t have their film nominated for Best Picture. These include: Isabelle Huppert for “Elle,” Ruth Negga for “Loving,” Natalie Portman for “Jackie,” and Meryl Streep for “Florence Foster Jenkins.” Emma Stone was the only one who’s film, “La La Land,” was nominated.

English teacher Joe DeChick, was a film critic before coming to J-DHS and part of his job was to watch the Oscars. “I think these are five really fine actors and some have been nominated before. If you take all the films and all the performances and you boil it all down to five nominees, they’re all going to be good,” said DeChick about the nominee’s for Actor in Leading Role.

There are many people around the world who will be watching these award presentations on ABC, including students and teachers at J-D as they hope their favorite films, actors, and actresses win an award. Freshman Riley LaTray liked “Hidden Figures,” and hopes it will win the Best Picture award. “In Hidden Figures I really liked how the women stepped up into their roles of being brilliant minds at NASA,” said LaTray.

If you are interested in learning more about the Oscar Awards, including other categories of awards go to

GamePigeon Takes iMessage by Storm

Alex Pomeroy, Connor Ball, and Sofie Brutsaert

Staff Writers

Since Sept. 13, 2016, students at Jamesville-Dewitt High School have devoted their free time to GamePigeon, a new IOS 10 iMessage feature.

“It’s spectacular,” said freshman Joe Staples.

After it’s release, the app quickly caught on. The majority of students found out about the app from close friends and continuous game requests. Freshman Pranathi Adhikari says all her friends were playing it. Sophomore Shannon Beaudry said she was curious about the icon that appeared and decided to give it a shot. “The update came and I was like ‘what’s this sign on my keyboard,’ and then I started to figure it out and… GamePigeon.” said Beaudry.

Many students play during school during their lunch periods or free time throughout the day. Games begin with a game request through iMessage. Then the players play back and forth in turns, and each player has as long as they want to respond. Depending on the game and the skill of the players, the number of turns can be many or very few. “It can take anywhere from an hour to a week (to play a game) depending on how long the person takes to respond,” said senior Mannish Duggal. Junior Michael Anderson says he usually plays after school when all of his homework is completed.

Most students agree that the best game available on the app is 8 Ball. In total, 33 out of 44 students said it was their favorite. “It really makes me think about how to use trajectory to get the ball in the hole,” said senior Haley White. According to junior Kelsey Braun it can be difficult to play, as many of the app’s games represent real world games, like 8 Ball and pool, giving them a different feeling from their real world counterparts.


Poetry Out Loud

By Mia Potamianos and Jenna Vespi

Poetry Out Loud is a comepition that strives to “encourage students to learn about great poetry through memorization and recitation,” according to their website. Students who want to participate at Jamesville-DeWitt High School’s school level are asked to select two poems from the Poetry Out Loud website to memorize and perform. From there, English teacher Matt Philips and his pannel of judges, comprised of J-DHS teachers, select two top students to move on to the regional level.

This is the 12th year the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation has partnered with the New York State Council of the Arts to put on the Poetry Out Loud 2017 Competition in New York. This is also the fifth year English teacher Matthew Phillips has organized the contest at J-DHS. On Jan. 5, five J-DHS students partook at the school level. Sophomore Sofia Liaw and junior Rebecca Teitelbaum earned first and second place, and will perform at Regionals at 6 p.m. on Feb. 10, at Onondaga Community College.

All of the students who participated had different backgrounds and reasons for their participation. “My sister [senior Melissa Gao] did it last year and it sounded like a fun event,” said sophomore Alan Gao. Teitelbaum, who won second place, approached Poetry Out Loud with a Shakespearean background. “I did the Shakespeare [monologue] competition last year and this was in my mind as a sort of continuation in the same spirit of things.” Liaw, who won first place, said she’s “enjoyed reading and writing poetry since sixth grade and recently became interested in the world of spoken world. Competing in Poetry Out Loud seemed like an opportunity I didn’t want to miss.”   

An element of the competition that caused anxiety for some was choosing which poems to recite from the Poetry Out Loud print or online anthology. “I tend to dislike older poetry, at least for the purpose of performance, because the archaic words don’t fit naturally in my mouth and the word order throws me off sometimes. So I just searched through websites until I found two I felt like I would have written, in terms of subject matter or word choice,” said Liaw. On the other hand, Teitelbaum’s method relied on luck. “I just went on the website and hit random until I found two that I liked.” Another component of the competition is that the order of the poems has to be determined beforehand. Sophomore Jo Womack used this to her advantage; “I picked two I already knew that would work well against each other.”

On the day of the competition, many participants were nervous. For Teitelbaum, “the nerves settled down after chatting with everyone.” Both she and Liaw knew each other from last year’s drama show were happy to see a friendly face. Liaw was more worried; “when we were waiting to be called, my heart must have been pounding at 120 beats per minute.” She ended up being first for both rounds of competition.

Whoever thinks Poetry Out Loud relies solely on having the poem memorized and being able to use expression would be wrong, at least as far as Teitelbaum is concerned. Her second poem, “Mirror,” by James Merrill was 44 lines long, and she performed it twice. During the middle of her recitation, the sounds of clapping and cheering could be heard from the library. “I had to sort of stop myself from laughing just out of distraction mostly,” Teitelbaum admitted. After this Teitelbaum had a few other distractions as well, but she kept going. “I was already in the zone, and I just tried to keep focus on the poem lines and try not to pay attention,” said Teitelbaum. The judges offered to allow Teitelbaum to recite the poem sans interruption this time, and she opted to do so.

Ultimately, all of the participants agreed that Poetry Out Loud was a wonderful experience and would consider doing it next year. For Regionals, Teitelbaum and Liaw are required to recite three poems at OCC.


Dance Your Way to the J-DHS Musical!

Lucy Falso and Abby Palin

Staff Writers

“Footloose” is coming to Jamesville-DeWitt High School with a modern spin on Feb. 9, 10, and 11.  This version is more in line with the 2011 remake, rather than the classic movie with Kevin Bacon, which came out in 1984.  Tickets are available for $12 per person.  They can be obtained at and in The Auditorium Lobby on Jan. 14, 18, 28, and Feb. 2.  Tickets will also be sold during lunches as the show gets closer.

The students of J-DHS are performing the musical, “Footloose,” for the second time since 2005.  The production staff of music director Elizabeth Quackenbush, director Shawn Forster, and producer Brenda Neuss are all working together to make sure that the performance runs smoothly.   

For the first time the production doesn’t have a paid choreographer and two students were asked to help.   Instead, the director Shawn Forster, is working with two experienced dancers, senior Jamie Rieger and junior Jenna Vespi. Mr. Forster finds dances online from different productions of “Footloose” and shows the steps to Vespi and Rieger. Vespi and Rieger are in charge of teaching the entire choreography to the cast.

Senior Kristina Bell is the star, Ariel in the J-DHS production and is excited to play the part.  “It has some deeper themes,” said Bell, “but also some funny, light-hearted scenes as well.”  Bell is most eager to thank her parents on opening night for being there for her throughout her four years of J-DHS productions.

Junior Colin Palladino is playing the lead character of Wren.  Originally, the part was supposed to be played by senior Nathan Fathers, but due to mono, he had to drop out of the musical because he was missing too many practices.  Palladino had to quickly learn the part due to the unexpected switch in characters.  He likes all of the dancing that is incorporated, but is very nervous about being able to learn all of his lines in time for the show.  “I think the most stressful part is being up on stage in front of all of my friends,” said Palladino.    

Mrs. Quackenbush chose “Footloose” because she thought it would be fun and upbeat for the kids and there would be a lot of opportunities to have the students involved.  She is enjoying the process of getting the musical to where it needs to be for opening night.  “I like those rehearsals when we get to review what we’ve already done,” said Mrs. Quackenbush, “but we get to go in and clean it and take it all apart and put it back together.”

Tickets for the musical can be purchased on the following website: