JD Students Prepare for a Long Haul

Momo LaClair and Paige Stepanian

Staff Writers/ Photographers

With seven more weeks until spring vacation, the students here at Jamesville-DeWitt High School still have a long way to go until break.

Many students are struggling to accept the amount of time they have to spend in school before April 21, the beginning of spring break. “It’s going to be hard to get through this long stretch without a break,” said sophomore Lucy Falso. “It’ll be extra difficult right before break because of the end of the marking period,” said freshman Kailey McKenna. Marking Period 3 ends April 13, and report cards will be sent out April 20. Many teachers will be giving tests and projects and submitting students’ final grades right before break. “I’m going to be studying a lot, staying after with teachers and petting my dog to deal with all the stress,” said freshman Olivia Norden.

With lunch being the majority of students’ favorite part of the day, staying motivated in the classroom will be hard. However, some students have thought of coping strategies to keep them focused this next month. “Playing basketball and working our hardest to make it back to states will keep me going,” said sophomore Gabby Stickle, member of the Jamesville-DeWitt Varsity Girls Basketball team. Also, with spring right around the corner, spring sports are in full swing. “I’ll be happy to play baseball even though school will be tough,” said freshman Matthew Alexander. Spring also means the countdown until graduation has begun. “The fact that I’m a senior and graduating in like 15 weeks will make these next few weeks go by a little quicker,” said senior Payton Riley.

The spring weather is also a factor that may motivate some students. “When I wake up in the winter I’m mad because it’s freezing cold out but now that it’s getting warmer, it’ll be better,” said sophomore Payton Shumpert. On the other hand, some students see the warm weather as another reason on why they don’t want to be in school. “It’ll make me want to get out of school and go outside,” said Lucy Falso.

Although there’s still a long time until our next vacation, we do have March 23 and March 30 off due to Superintendent’s Conference Day and Good Friday. To the students at J-DHS: Hang in there!!


J-D Students Take On the Rap Game

Staff Writer

Johnny Keib

The Soundcloud is an audio distribution platform that has blown up over the past few years. Rappers from all around the world have used Soundcloud as a stepping stone toward fame. Grammy Award winner Chance the Rapper started off on Soundcloud. He still posts his newest songs on Soundcloud. Within the Jamesville-DeWitt High School community there are several up and coming rappers hoping to follow in the steps of Chance.

One of these people is sophomore Leah “Savage Lele” Nagar. Nagar has two songs out right now on Soundcloud. She first started rapping when she saw that her ex boyfriend Caleb “Lil Cozy” Fleming was in the game. “I like to rap, too. I’m just going to start freestyling and see if I can come up with some good songs and I dropped some,” said Nagar.  Even though Nagar enjoys rapping now, she does not see herself doing it as a profession in the future.

  junior rapper "T-Flex"

junior rapper "T-Flex"

Caleb “Lil Cozy” Fleming was the first rapper to put his songs on Soundcloud at J-DHS. He is also the most famous. Cozy’s song “Never Going Back” has been listened to almost 5,000 times on Soundcloud. Fleming followed an unconventional route to his rapping career. The first rapping he ever did was when he was attending Nottingham High School. At lunch, he and a few of his friends would have friendly “rap battles.” A rap battle is when two people or groups of people make fun of each other in rap form. Fleming liked this so much that he thought he should make his own song. In the future Fleming hopes to rap a profession. “It would be the best job in the world,” said Fleming.

Another rapper at J-DHS is Alexis “Lil Gambo” Gambacorto. She first burst onto the rap scene when she was featured in a song with Savage Lele called “Dipset remix.” Lil Gambo is interesting because of her style. She raps with a pace that is almost relaxing while she talks about her feelings. “It makes the rap more real,” said Gambacorto. Gambacorto first took inspiration from Drake, her favorite rapper.

The newest rapper on Soundcloud from J-DHS is Evan “OG Miles” Allen. Just this past week he released his first song on Soundcloud called “Jekyll & Hyde.” His favorite part about rapping is telling a story. “I enjoy telling a story in the form of art and music and in a way it conveys a message to people.”

Junior Tim “T-Flex” Skeval is relatively new to the scene. According to Skeval the best part about rapping is “spitting bars and getting the ladies.” If you want to find him on Soundcloud he is on the page for M&J Productions. Later on Tim aspires to be a world renowned rapper “I will be famous someday,” said Skeval.

  senior rapper "Lil Gambo" (left) sitting with sophomore rapper "Savage Lele"

senior rapper "Lil Gambo" (left) sitting with sophomore rapper "Savage Lele"

The J-DHS community has its fair share of rappers who all have hopes of becoming famous someday. With the talent they possess it wouldn’t be surprising to see one of them performing in front of a sold out crowd leaving J-DHS alumni with their jaw dropped thinking I know him.

11 Things to Do Locally Over Winter Break

Lucas Bort, Michael Bratslavsky, and Reinaldo Colon

Staff Writers      

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Many students are staying in Syracuse during February break, and need things to occupy their time besides doing homework. Even though Syracuse isn’t the biggest city, there are numerous attractions that can keep you entertained for days on end.

Number 1/2: One hot spot for students over break is Destiny USA. There are lots of entertaining things to do there such as arcades, go-karts, shopping, and more. “It’s a good place to hang around and there’s a lot to do there,” said freshman James Saroney. One of the most popular things is to go to the movies. Watching a couple of films an be an eventful way to spend your afternoon.

Number 2/3: Some students like sophomore Simon Lesser, recommend taking small day trips all around New York. There are nice towns to drive to see some shops, or just to enjoy the scenery. The shops and boutiques that you can go to will make your day more exciting.

Number 4: The community at Jamesville-DeWitt High School is usually very busy when school is in session because of sports, homework, and club activities. Taking some time to go out to lunch or dinner is something that many people will be doing with their free time. “I’m really hoping to go try some new restaurants,” said student counselor Will Hartley. There are many food places to go try.

Number 5: Although break gives students a good week of relaxation, some students still prefer to practice sports. Although the high school basketball season is starting to wrap up, freshmen James Saroney and Nate Rindfuss want to get some shots up over break. “I like to stay home because it’s basketball season, primetime, it’s what I do,” said Saroney.

Numbers 8 & 9:  Although some people like to go out, some prefer to stay inside and be cozy in their house. DDP teacher Sara Brodbeck plans on using her free time to read and find some new music. She also plans on getting some work done, which is something that we all can do.  “I also plan on getting some work done for my classes,” said Brodbeck. Students are also catching up on homework. “I will do homework too, I have a lot of that,” said sophomore Aniket Maini.    

Number 10: The snowy weather in Syracuse is a key feature to living here, and hopping on a sled or skis and enjoying some outdoor activities is a great way to spend time. “I like to go skiing because it’s time-consuming fun,” said freshman Peter Hatton. English teacher Joe DeChick recommends skating and skiing because ”we can’t dictate the weather so mind as well get out and find a way to enjoy (it).”

Number 11: Bonding with family is one of the best ways to spend break. “I like being able to see my relatives who live around here when I don’t (otherwise) have time for them,” said senior John Dominicos. Our families are easy people we can spend break with, since during the busy week, we don't always have a chance to see them.

There are many things to do over break, and you should consider trying one of these 11 things to do. Remember to relax and enjoy your break.

New Movies Hitting the Box Office

Momo LaClair and Paige Stepanian

Staff Writers/Photographers


The wave of new movies released in 2018 have already brought in a wide variety of people to the theaters, including many students from Jamesville-DeWitt High School. Some popular movies both at J-D and for the public were: “The Greatest Showman,” “Pitch Perfect 3,” and Jumanji”.

“The Greatest Showman,” directed by Michael Gracey, brought in big crowds during the holiday break and beginning of 2018. Freshman Linda Shen saw the movie with a group of friends and loved it, even claiming it was her new favorite. “It was really good, a mix of music, drama, and good stuff made it a must see,” said Shen. Throughout “The Greatest Showman” many familiar faces make appearances. Award winning actor Hugh Jackman plays the lead role of P.T. Barnum. Zac Efron and Zendaya also have main roles in the film. “I absolutely loved watching Zac Efron and Zendaya act together. They have great chemistry,” said Shen. “The Greatest Showman” was nominated for three Golden Globes this year and won Best Original Song - Motion Picture.

Musical movies must have been a crowd pleaser, for “Pitch Perfect 3” was also very popular among the students at J-DHS. Senior Alice Woods saw the musical comedy and insisted, “if you’ve seen the other two movies, you have to go see this one.” Freshman Kailey McKenna also saw the film. “It wasn’t like the other movies when it comes to singing, but it definitely had more adventure,” said McKenna. McKenna rates the movie four out of five stars and recommends it to everyone. Although many have said that the third movie wasn’t as good as the previous two, it was still very successful. “Pitch Perfect 3” is now the second highest grossing musical comedy of all time, just underneath “Pitch Perfect 2,” which is the first.

“Jumanji: Welcome to The Jungle” also did very well. According to Rotten Tomatoes, 90 percent of audiences liked the movie. Though it has the same premise as the original film where a group of kids find a jungle themed game and get sucked into the world of Jumanji, it’s not a sequel. It is an action packed, fun-filled adventure that is enjoyable for all ages. Math teacher Diane Huyck saw the movie with her whole family on Christmas Eve. “It was awesome, it was much much better than I expected...the movie was super fun,” said Mrs.Huyck. Senior Lindsey Young also enjoyed the new “Jumanji.” “I recommend it for everyone, the comedy was really good and Jack Black was really funny,” said Young. She rates the movie five out of five stars. Some familiar faces that you may recognize during the movie are: Jack Black, Kevin Hart, Dwayne (The Rock) Johnson, Karen Gillan and Nick Jonas.

With all of these fun and family friendly movies coming out, the box offices have been very successful. “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle” just recently passed the $800 million mark at the box office. “The Greatest Showman” also recently reached $126 million and doesn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon. Along with these already successful movies, there are many new films that have just come out or are coming out soon. Some highly anticipated releases include: “The Post,” “Maze Runner: The Death Cure,” “Forever My Girl,” “Paddington 2” and “Black Panther”. Be sure to check them out!

Rambunctious Steps It Up for their Fall 2017 Edition

Chloe Butler, Francesca Chirco, and Everly Kessler

Staff Writers

The Fall 2017 edition of Jamesville-DeWitt High School’s own Rambunctious Literary Magazine is out and available for purchase. The newest edition of the magazine encompasses not only literary pieces, but various art pieces as well, all by J-D students. In fact, the cover of the fall edition is the submission of aspiring photographer senior Everett Moss. The Rambunctious staff encourages both art and literary submissions in order to diversify the content to create a more balanced magazine.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          

As print editor, sophomore Will Guisbond is responsible for the design of the cover of the fall edition. Guisbond and his fellow staff members selected Moss’s work for the cover as they believed it supported the club’s new direction of including student artwork into the magazine. “The cover is very eye catching and the style leads us in a new direction,” said junior Sofia Liaw, who is the club leader and print editor.

The magazine includes student artwork, student writing pieces, and even a select bunch of six word stories. “We held our first ever contest for our magazine with the six word story contest,” said Liaw. In order to promote more submissions from J-D students, the staff asked teachers to encourage their students to enter their six-word stories. They then used these entries in order to select the top 10 best to be submitted in the magazine.

The next edition will feature a brand new contest (similar to the six word story contest from the November edition) and a brand new cover design. This edition “will be released sometime in March,” said English teacher and Rambunctious club adviser Matthew Phillips. If you would like your work to be featured in the next edition of the magazine, you can submit your pieces by google forms to jd.litmag.org by March 8 for the 2018 Spring edition.    

The literary magazine also took home countless ESSPA awards, including Gold Medals for All New York Best Literary Magazine for their Winter and Spring 2017 editions and Best New Publication for their online edition. The magazine is growing in popularity, as proved by their many individual and group awards won at the ESSPAs.

If you want to stay updated on the new magazines or just want to receive updates on the club, you can follow the club on Instagram and Twitter, @jdlitmag.

J-D Is Ready To Get Shook Up

Jacob Marshall and Marcus Payne

Staff Writers

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Jamesville-DeWitt High School is performing “All Shook Up” for their annual musical. Vocal Music Director and Assistant Director Beth Quackenbush and Producer Brenda Neuss both described  it is a play about “love” and full of “mistaken identities.” “All Shook Up” is about a girl, Natalie, who is in love with Chad, but Chad is not interested in her. Natalie disguises a man and befriends Chad to see what Chad likes in a woman. The play is based on Shakespeare's “Twelfth Night” and consists of a variety of Elvis songs. Almost all of the students agree their favorite part of the musical is the Elvis music. “Every song is one of his,” said Mrs. Quackenbush

The production and play process have gone smoothly even with new Director Brian Marcum. “He has fit right in with us because he’s super positive and his whole idea is we need to put on a really great show, but we need to have fun while we’re doing it,” said Mrs. Quackenbush. Senior Catherine Cargian, who is in the play, agrees. “I really like the new director, he has a lot of credentials and he’s very easy to work with even though he has worked with a lot of higher up people,” said Cargian.

Though the change in directors was unexpected, Mrs. Quackenbush is excited to work with Mr. Marcum. “He (Marcum) brings so much more to the table,” she said. He’s worked on Broadway, lived in New York City for years, and now lives in Fayetteville, NY. He performed in six Broadway musicals, including one with Hugh Jackman, and has also toured all over the country doing shows. “He calls Hugh Jackman a friend,” said Mrs. Quackenbush.

After New York, he took a job at the University of Oklahoma and is now on the Musical Theatre staff at Syracuse University where he recently directed and choreographed the play “Crazy For You” for Syracuse University’s Drama Department. He has also directed “Newsies,” “Mama Mia,” and “Hello Dolly.”

Mr. Marcum learned of the job opportunity at J-DHS through his wife who is friends with Mrs. Quackenbush. He’s very excited to be involved in the musical. It is the first high school performance he has put on and he looks forward to being part of the “Legacy of JD musicals,” he said.

Mr. Marcum believes his former experience can help the students in the play. “I think I bring a professional quality of work. Having worked on a higher level, I can teach them through a more professional process which is good for them to learn,” he said.

J-DHS students are very excited to be part of the play. Senior Jenna Vespi, who plays Miss Sandra, describes her character as the promiscuous museum owner that is a love interest to all of the boys in the play. Miss Sandra is new to town and Chad falls in love with her but she is too smart for him and doesn't like him back.

This is Vespi’s first year in a lead role, every other year she has been the dance captain of the ensemble. “It is easier being a lead role but is also bittersweet because I’m not dancing as much this year,” Vespi said. Rehearsal’s are every weekday from 3-6 p.m. and almost every single Saturday from 9 a.m.- 2 p.m.

Sophomore Alex Yoo plays Chad. “Chad is described in the script as the roving roustabout with the song in his soul,” said Yoo. Mrs. Quackenbush said that his look, persona, talk, acting and “hip swivel” are all the same. This is not his first lead role in his acting career, he also had lead roles in the middle school play. Yoo believes having the lead role is more challenging than others because there are so many “more lines and numbers than everyone else and it’s a lot of responsibility to know your stuff,” said Yoo. The musical has not only been hard for Yoo because he is the lead role but also because Mr. Marcum is a new director. “He’s choreographed six Broadway shows so a lot of his stuff is top-notch so we have to learn a lot of intense stuff but it’s gonna be a lot better than other musicals,” said Yoo.

Freshman Mena Coles-Carruthers plays one of the townspeople which is a chorus part. Her character is “in love with Chad,“ said Coles-Carruthers. She says that this play is harder than the others she’s done because “there is way more choreography, it’s more serious, and there are more rehearsals.” However, she also said that rehearsal has been going “very well.”

Tickets for the musical are currently on sale at jdmusic.ticketleap.com and cost $12. The musical will have a total of three showings. The first on Friday, Feb. 9 at 7 p.m., then on Saturday Feb. 10 also at 7 p.m., and lastly on Sunday Feb. 11 at 1 p.m.

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 redramcolorrun.com 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.