Served And Satisfied

Georgie Paparo, ‘22

Staff writer

“Lunchtime!” Most students favorite time of the day. The time they get to see their friends, chatter, listen to music and most importantly, eat! Lunch time is the glorious 30 minutes of freedom students are provided each day. However the back bone of lunch time are the lunch ladies. Each day they work hard to make lunches for the students to devour and enjoy.

From food to fashion, the lunch ladies notice each thing, “The crazier things I’ve seen since I’ve worked here is some of the styles of kids that have passed through the colors, and the short skirts, we’ve had the gothic look for awhile and now we have what we grew up with,” said Rita Vedsted, head of lunch staff.

Not only do the lunch ladies see it all but they also may have some mind reading abilities, “I think the students favorite foods are definitely popcorn chicken and domino's pizza...if I ran chicken everyday and pizza everyday you guys would be happy,” said Ms. Vedsted. However, while the ladies cant make pizza and chicken everyday they still work hard to make all other lunches served, just as tasty.

Students rushing into the lunch line only see the prepared food, what they don't see is the behind the scenes jobs. “We like to make the lunches fresh, sometimes we prep the nights before but usually not,” said Vedsted. “...sometimes it takes us a whole morning,” said Vedsted.

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From 5:30 a.m. until 1:30 p.m., the lunch staff is cooking, cleaning, and contributing to the all around team effort of J-DHS. The lunch ladies don’t rest until lunch is served.

Looking Through the Perspective of the Co-Presidents

Theresa Grosso, ‘22

Staff Writer

Fidel Martinez (Top) and Ana Dieroff (Bottom)

Ana Dieroff and Fidel Martinez are Jamesville Dewitt High School’s senior Co-Presidents. They both have big duties that they must take on headfirst to help and make our school a more fun and positive place.

Senior Ana Dieroff is one of the two co-presidents here at J-DHS. Dieroff not only takes part in student government, but is also a tri-sport athlete. She competes year round and does gymnastics in the fall, indoor track in the winter, and lacrosse in the spring. Dieroff also explains that getting older and getting through club sports has freed up more time and given her a chance to branch out and do other things she loves to do. While serving as our co-president, she is also apart of Key Club, Science Club, and Bust-A-Move.

Senior Fidel Martinez is also one of our co-presidents. He is a yearly student-athlete as he does cross country in the fall, and indoor and outdoor track. He tries to focus on one thing at a time when juggling all his responsibilities. Time management has helped him become more organized and stay on top of everything. “As co-president of the student body, I come up with events that we can do,” said Martinez.

Co-presidents at J-DHS have to set up all the school dances, pep rallies, and extra activities that go on outside of school.“My main goal is to really increase and improve school spirit,” said Martinez. As co-presidents, they have a lot of authority, which means a lot of duties. They seem to have no problem limiting phone usage and staying organized to help our school become a better place.

Martinez is also apart of the Positivity Project club. He is one of the Directors of Communication, meaning that he has to work the Positivity Project Instagram. This means that he makes sure that the message gets out about the trait of the week.

Martinez and Dieroff both agree that the student body government works well together and they all get along, making it easier for their responsibilities to get done. The main goal for the co-presidents is to make our school a place where all people want to be, and to make everyone feel like they belong here. “Make sure all the students are happy with J-D and that nobody feels like they don't like where they go,” said Dieroff when describing what she wants for J-D.

Both Co-Presidents are trying to help make our school even better than it already is. After all, we are J-D!

Junior Spotlight: Eva Wisniewski

Maeve Dougherty

Staff Writer

Balancing student government, school sports, clubs, plus making time for friends and family can be tough, but for Eva Wisniewski, a junior here at Jamesville-DeWitt High School, it’s an everyday task. Last year as a sophomore Wisnewski started a club called Hope For Hounds, became a student government member managing the social media for the group, on top of running cross country in the fall, being a part of indoor track in the winter, and outdoor track in the spring. Beyond all that, Wisniewski loves spending time with her family.

As a Co-Director of Communications for the student government, Wisniewski manages the social media accounts for J-DHS, and runs the Instagram and twitter accounts for the school. Wisniewski enjoys working with everyone involved in student government. “I get to talk to everyone at school, I get to hear different opinions and figure out what I can do to help other people.” said Wisniewski.

Eva Wisniewski created a club last year alongside senior Amanda Semmel, called Hope For Hounds. The club volunteers at the local dog shelter, Helping Hounds, which is a non profit organization that takes in and sells rescue dogs.

Wisniewski enjoys spending time with her friends and family apart from her school, life. “We have dinner as a family every night.” said Wisniewski. Her family also has dinner with their grandparents often, and spending time with each other is always valued. Wisniewski also makes time to spend with her friends. “We go shopping, go to the movies, and sometimes we’ll go have a photo shoot and fun things like that.” said Wisniewski.

Junior Eva Wisniewski is a very busy student and yet manages to stay on top of school work and accepts her responsibilities as a student government member and a leader within J-DHS.

Senior Spotlight: Stella Heflin

Jacob Marshall


The Senior Spotlight for this week is Stella Heflin. Stella is a dedicated student who works extremely hard in and out of school. She’s also the President of National Honor Society and contributing member of the Jamesville-DeWitt Cross Country Team and the Track and Field Team.

Before her junior year Heflin moved to J-DHS from Columbia, Missouri, where she went to Hickman High School.“ It was a tough transition, but I met a lot of nice people, especially with my cross country team,” said Heflin.

Back at Hickman High School, she started to run cross country. Recently she placed 100th in the Section III Manhattan Invitational and she plans to continue her success on Nov. 3 as her and her team takes on sectionals

Heflin is very busy with cross country, NHS, and just getting her school work done. “I don’t go on my phone a lot and just work from when I get home until I go to bed,” said Heflin.

As the President of NHS, Heflin is responsible for coordinating with Mrs. Bond and Mrs. Ennis and the other officers, running meetings, and organizing meetings and events. She is also responsible for making sure everything is running smoothly in NHS. Recently, Heflin organized a school-wide food drive for NHS and is trying to plan ideas for the Hoops for Courage basketball game.

Since Heflin is a senior and her high school career will be coming to a close, she has applied to five different schools that are out of state for early decision. She also wants to study environmental science or atmospheric science and plans on getting a PHD.

Madame Amankwah Studies Abroad in Belgium

Hannah Brooks

Staff Writer

Jamesville-DeWitt High School French teacher, Madame Amankwah, traveled to Belgium this summer for three weeks. She received a scholarship to study abroad at the University of Liege located in Wallonia, Belgium. This major public university is ranked 7th nationally in Belgium, and its official language is French. It attracts students along with many renowned scientists and philosophers to study on its campus. Due to the university’s reputation, the city is nicknamed “New Athens.”

At the University of Liege, Mme. Amankwah became a student again. She said, “I embraced it. I took my studies. I was like a student and I made sure I went to class on time. Most of the time I was the first student because I was just so excited to learn.”  She took French intensive courses along with cultural courses which enriched her knowledge of both the French language and the Belgian culture. To add to her experience she spoke French the entire time she was there, resorting to English only rarely.

Mme. Amankwah loves to learn and enjoys being in an academic environment. While in Wallonia, she made sure to embrace the culture and everything Belgium had to offer. She ate some of Belgium’s famous foods. The two she remembers most were the fries and the waffles. Belgians take immense pride in their waffles and fries, and their distinctive cuisine is known all over the world. Popular waffles in Belgium include the Brussels waffle and the Liege waffle. Liege waffles are richer, denser, sweeter, and chewier. The fries in Belgium are traditionally dipped in mayonnaise which may seem odd to American tastes.  Mme. Amankwah visited different cities and took pictures whenever she could to fully gather the beauty of Belgium and everything it had to offer.

As a dedicated professional educator, Mme. Amankwah’s primary advice was about learning.  She said, “Learning is not just for you, the young people. I have been learning and teaching a long time. Everyone should take advantage of opportunities like that.”  She emphasized the fact that anyone can and should take all opportunities to learn and to develop themselves as people. Amankwah stated, “There are so many opportunities out there and everyone should take advantage of them.”

A new face behind the scenes: J-DHS's night security guard

Elsa Hardt

Staff writer

Every school district has the common goal to ensure their school is safe and protected. Evening security guard Keith Love makes that goal possible at Jamesville-DeWitt High School.

Love arrives at J-D at 2:45 p.m. and guards the school until 11:00 p.m.  He describes his job as establishing a “presence” in the school by assisting community groups in the school after hours or doing rounds through the building.  He makes sure all doors are locked and no one is in the school that should not be. Being in the building for eight hours after the end of the school day leaves plenty of time with nothing to do.  Love fills his time with reading, keeping up with his favorite sports teams and watching bits of games in the school.

Things get more complicated when multiple events run simultaneously. Games bring extra traffic inside the building. “I have to direct folks that are not familiar with the building — where they need to go, where they need to be, where they shouldn’t be and where they can go,” said Love.  As evening security, he works closely with the head of night maintenance, Ms. Dee Warner. She is his main contact for any problems that happen over night. Love also works with Athletic Director John Goodson in order to coordinate plans for sporting events in the building.

Before working at J-D, Love worked security at Syracuse City schools. Since Love works at night, he spends all his time during the day with his two year old son. “The schedule worked out for me. My two year old son is my number one priority,” said Love.

To become general security in a school or building, New York State requires a security licence. Applicants then have to go through the state for fingerprinting. Outside of security, Love has background experience in the military for ten years. Love believes that safety is the most important part of the job. “It’s my job to make sure no one is in danger even when the school is closed,” said Love.

Even when students are not present in the school, Night Security Guard Love is there to secure and ensure that J-DHS is a safe place to be.

J-DHS Student “Spills the Tea” With Bedouins

Max Fagelman

Staff Writer

Most people of Jewish faith experience a twinge of excitement when thinking about visiting Israel for the first time. Over the summer junior Rachel Wells visited Israel for five weeks to explore the country and its people.

Rachel Wells (left) and her brother, Ethan Wells (right)

As part of their final year experience at Camp Seneca Lake, Wells and her friends traveled to Israel.  As her first time visiting Israel, this was a eye opening experience. The trip began in Jerusalem where they stayed for a night before heading south to Eilat. Over the course of the five weeks, Wells stayed on Kibbutzim (a collective community based on agriculture), the Negev desert and youth hostels in the north. Being surrounded by so many types of people is a key part of living in Israel. As Israel is a nation of seven million living in a space roughly the size of New Jersey, unique culture is everywhere you turn.  

For Wells, seeing Orthodox Jewish people praying at the Western Wall was the most interesting and spiritual part of her Israel trip.  “After seeing [the Western Wall] and seeing people pray, there is kind of an awakening,” said Wells.

Israel boasts a large variety of activities to do, as the far north of the country has a ski mountain and the south has a desert. It takes just seven hours to travel from the north to the south allowing for many activities to commence, especially when visiting for an extended period of time like Wells.

Wells said the most amazing experience was “being with all my friends and getting to travel around for five and a half weeks.” The group visited all the major sites in Israel including the Dead Sea and beaches along the Mediterranean, which Wells says were her favorite part. “They are beautiful, the most beautiful beaches I have ever seen,” said Wells.  While visiting the Negev desert she slept under the stars and had the opportunity to sit down, have tea and chat with a bedouin about his coffee business.

The most powerful memory of her five week adventure would be all the nights at the kibbutzim and getting to meet so many different types of people. It is different living on a kibbutz because everyone uses everything together and they are all combined. Wells explains that they “always think about the welfare of the whole kibbutz and not themselves.”

Embracing a new culture and many different types of people can be eye opening. Going to her religion’s most sacred place in the world and enjoying it with her friends truly made for Wells a great and memorable adventure.

Wells gives three tips if you are looking to travel to Israel: “Remember a hat, bring water bottles (it's really really hot), and be open to new experiences.”

Trae Farrington is Recognized for his Accomplishments

Julian Galletta and Harland Kissel

Staff Writers

Senior Trae Farrington is a one-of-a kind student at Jamesville-DeWitt High School and Onondaga-Cortland-Madison Boces. Many people know him as a star runner, participating in both cross country and track. Other people know him as one who never stops working hard and is always looking on the bright side. Some may not know however, that Farrington won an award called “Tools For Success” for the auto body repair class in the BOCES program. According to BOCES, the students were awarded based on their “excellent skills in automotive technology, math and science skills, as well as for their outstanding classroom participation, attendance and attitude.”

Of the four automotive classes at BOCES, Farrington was selected from the body repair program to win this award. “This award is a gathering of all your different achievements, attendance, how well you do your work, test scores, etc. It takes all of that into account and determines how much of a well rounded student you are,” he said. Every student in the four classes at BOCES were competing for this award. “My class has 18 people in it and I was selected out of that,” said Farrington.

Farrington, who is also a technician at East Syracuse Chevrolet, has gained many skills through the program at BOCES. “I learned how to repair dents, I learned panel straightening and structural stuff,” he said. Farrington was selected as the recipient of this award because to not only understand the mechanics of a car, but also his ability to successfully fix the car.

Though Farrington says that trades like this are dying and few people can do the kinds of things he can, it makes him like the field even more. “There’s a sense of pride knowing that I possess skills that not a lot of people have,” he said. Farrington and his friends are the people who can do these tasks, and they work together to repair some of their own belongings at school. “We just bring stuff in and fix it ourselves, that’s how we get by,” he said.

At J-DHS, English teacher, Joseph Goldberg, had the opportunity of having Farrington in his English class as well as his Mythology class. “I am extremely proud of Trae's prestigious accomplishment,” said Mr. Goldberg. Farrington doesn’t just have the mechanical skills to get the job done, “He can likewise carry on an intelligent political conversation, has a wonderful and witty sense of humor, and he can get along with people of every stripe,” said Mr. Goldberg.


Farrington will be graduating alongside his fellow classmates on June 24 and plans to attend the BOCES college program in the fall. “After graduation I’m going back the BOCES in the adult education program for welding...since I’m certified I can either transfer that into the body shop industry in the mechanical field, or I can go anywhere else that requires welding,” he said. With the skills and techniques Farrington has learned, he plans to continue on the same career path he started on.

J-DHS Students Dominate at Feats of Clay

Marcus Payne & Jacob Marshall

Staff Writers


Twenty Jamesville-DeWitt High School students traveled to the Onondaga Community College campus to participate in the 31st annual  Feats of Clay competition. This competition consists of six events: the cylinder stack, mugathon (Mug Production), no hands throw, blindfold throw, pot put and coil building. Out of 25 teams in the competition, J-DHS came in third.

The competition starts off with the cylinder stack. Four students rotate on and off a potter’s wheel. They each throw a cylinder, take it off of the wheel and stack them up. The tallest cylinder wins the competition. “There was a lot of teamwork involved to help us win,” said sophomore Joe Hodge; “we worked as a team and tried our hardest."

Next is the mugathon (Mug Production) where four students rotate on and off the wheel making mugs. The school that makes the most mugs in five minutes wins. After that is the no hands throw. Four students start with 25 pounds of clay on the wheel and they have to throw a bowl without using their hands. “It was very fast paced and I had to (concentrate) and I had to put a lot of effort during the mugathon,” said sophomore Gabby O’Hara.

In the blindfold throw, two students work together, one of them with a blindfold on, to create the tallest cylinder they can out of five pounds of clay. The pot put is where four students throw the mugs made from the mugathon into trash cans 20-30 feet away from them. Points are awarded for the number of mugs that land in the garbage can.

The last event is coil building, where all 20 students work together to make the tallest cylinder tower they can out of 100 pounds of clay. This year J-DHS threw a cylinder 68.5 feet, which is a new record for them.

They got off to a rough start in the competition because they didn’t place in the top 5 in the cylinder stack, mugathon, and no hands throw, so they didn’t earn any points. They built up their confidence in the blindfold throw and pot put, scoring 7 points in each event. In the last event, the Coil Building, they scored three points and so finished in third place with an overall score of 17 points. East Syracuse-Minoa was second with 21 and Altmar-Parish-Williamstown was first with 23.

Ceramics teacher Mark McIntyre chaperoned the students for the competition which he has done for the past two years. In the last two years, the students placed second and fifth in the competition.

J-DHS has participated in all 31 years of the Feats of Clay competition and Mr. McIntyre says they will continue to do so. “It’s a good showcase of JD’s skills in the ceramic arena. It's a fun field trip and students can see artwork from other schools displayed in the professional art gallery,” said Mr. McIntyre. Although they did not win this year’s contest, the J-DHS students are very optimistic about next year. “I’m looking forward to going back-to-back in the (blindfold) throwing competition,” said junior Carter Kowalczyk. JD has never won a Feats of Clay competition but Mr. McIntyre is confident that they will soon.

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J-D Staff Compete In The Boston Marathon

Ali Durkin and Jillian Risavi




Social studies teacher Stephanie Rice and Teacher Aid Juan Martinez both competed in the 122nd annual Boston Marathon. The  26.2 mile race was on April 16 where they raced to the finish. The race began at 8:40 am that morning and racers continued to begin their journey in multiple waves.The day of the marathon, mother nature treated runners with torrential downpour in 39 degree weather and 40 mph winds to top it off. This year’s race was recorded to have the worst weather conditions in 60 years.

Mr. Martinez finished with a time of 2 hours 52 minutes and 38 seconds, while Ms. Rice finished with a time of 3 hours and 36 minutes. “I was pretty happy with my time,” said Mr. Martinez while Ms. Rice said “this is my slowest time running in the Boston Marathon,” which was most likely due to the harsh weather conditions, which would be one of the most difficult components for this year’s race. “This year was different from most years since this year had the worst weather recorded in a long time,” says Rice. “It was not ideal,” she said, “it was like a huge mud-pile.”

In preparing for this event, both J-D representatives stuck to strict training schedules, which typically means gradually increasing in miles every time you train. As the race closes in, runners will ‘taper,’ which means they begin to save up on energy and strength by reducing the amount of miles they run. Tapering starts around three weeks before the actual race.

After the race, they were both very relieved just to finish the race at all. “A lot of people had to drop out in the middle of the race because of the weather,” said Rice who passed numerous people who had to step out of the race. “The first thing I did after the race was go to McDonald’s and eat the biggest burger they had,” said Mr. Martinez. While Ms. Rice won’t be doing the Boston Marathon next year, Mr. Martinez said that he “will definitely run it again next year."

Spreading Pawsitivity One Guide Dog at a Time

Meghan Evans, Zoe Potamianos, Mara Durkin

Staff Writers


Senior Julia Schayes’s passion is working with animals and she demonstrates her love by volunteering with the nonprofit organization Guiding Eyes For the Blind.

Schayes found the organization through the internet after seeing a service animal ad in a restaurant. “It seemed like a cool thing to do and it was for a good cause,” said Schayes. Guiding Eyes for the Blind is an organization based in New York City that has been around since 1956. The organization has groups of people around the United States who teach people how to train their puppies to be guide dogs. Those who volunteer from Central New York get to raise and train a puppy until they're old enough to be a guide dog for the blind. Training usually takes 18 months.

Schayes began her journey working with puppies in February of sophomore year. “I thought it was a great opportunity since I want to become a veterinarian,” said Schayes. She has worked with one puppy since and is currently training her second. Both puppies were Labradors because Guiding Eyes for the Blind only trains German Shepherds and Labrador Retrievers. After Schayes finishes college, she hopes to continue training puppies.

As a volunteer, Schayes goes to classes most days to learn how to train her puppy. The regional manager of Guiding Eyes for the Blind trains them at the classes. Her classes last about one hour and they take place around different locations in Syracuse, such as Shoppingtown Mall. As part of the training, Schayes brings the puppy everywhere she goes and teaches it to behave around strangers.

Schayes has many responsibilities in order to train her puppy. She must train it to not jump on strangers, how to walk in stores, and to not scavenge things on the ground. “I also have to train it to do simple commands like sit and stay, which isn’t as difficult,” said Schayes. Schayes feels good about being able to help others by training puppies.

It takes a lot of commitment and responsibility to take care of a puppy. Part of the responsibility is caring for the puppy even during inconvenient times. Schayes spent a lot of her time caring for it, even though it affected her life at home and in school. “I was up until 1 and 2 a.m. all of the time last year because I had to do my homework and take care of the puppy,” said Schayes. Schayes also has to train the guide dog how to get along with other animals, and although her own dog, an Iran Shih-tzu, do not get along very well right now, Schayes says that it “is something we are working on now,” said Schayes.

In hopes to become a veterinarian, Schayes is enrolled in physics this year. Physics teacher Elise Jutzeler said that Schayes “is an all-around awesome person and a very hard worker,” said Mrs. Jutzeler.

Over the 18 months Schayes is responsible for the puppy, she grows a strong connection with it. Schayes was very sad when her previous puppy had to part from her. “I didn't think it would be as sad as it was, but it was very sad,” says Schayes. When Schayes leaves for college, she plans on leaving the puppy with her parents if she can’t bring it with her. “You get really connected with the puppy so it’s hard when you have to leave it,” said Schayes.

Mr. Berger and Mr. Blumenthal's Soulful Groove

Mr. Berger and Mr. Blumenthal's Band

Francesca Chirco, Everly Kessler, and Chloe Butler

Staff Writers

Teaching isn’t the only passion for social studies teacher Jordan Berger and band teacher Dan Blumenthal. When the final bell rings at Jamesville-DeWitt High School, they head onto center stage in their lives as musicians. The pair plays together in the band Sundrop Rise who performs at various venues around Syracuse. Sundrop Rise specializes in soulful groove music and they write and perform their own original songs.  

Mr. Berger and Mr. Blumenthal have been in the band together for three years and their common love for music allowed them to become more than just co-workers. Sundrop Rise officially started when the original members met their keyboard player at a festival for musicians and artists at Creek Walk in Downtown Syracuse. Then, three years ago, Mr. Berger started teaching at J-DHS where he met Mr. Blumenthal, who was the missing fifth piece for Sundrop Rise. Ever since, the band has been complete and they have gained popularity not only in the Syracuse community but also among J-D students and staff.

In the band, Mr. Berger plays the rhythm guitar and is a background vocalist while Mr. Blumenthal plays the saxophone and occasionally the trumpet. Other band members include Tyler Dattmore who is the percussionist and lead vocalist, Mitchell Berger who is the lead guitarist, and Nate McCabe who plays the keyboard. The members all come from different backgrounds, but their common goal of making and sharing their music allowed them to come together as Sundrop Rise.


The band’s music covers a variety of topics, expressing meaningful and impactful messages through each song. Some of the topics covered are inclusion and justice for the environment and others as shown in their songs such as “Family Tree,” “The Journey,” and “Fountain of Youth.” “What I love the most is the bigger messages people get from the music,” said Mr. Berger.

As Mr. Blumenthal and Mr. Berger’s students learn of their band, they have shown interest in supporting them and some have even seen the band perform. A group of seniors including Catherine Cargian and Nico Modesti went to see Sundrop Rise perform at Dinosaur Barbeque this past January. The students were either in Mr. Berger’s economics class or take band with Mr. Blumenthal. The students really enjoyed watching their teachers play and feel that the experience was worth while. “It was really cool to see my teachers out of their element doing something they love,” said Modesti. The group found themselves pleasantly surprised by how good the band was and agree that they would go to another performance.“I thought they were a lot better than I had anticipated,” said Cargian.


Being in a band for Mr. Berger and Mr. Blumenthal is an outlet where they can express themselves through music with others who share and understand their passion. “I love the comradery of being with other people and the struggles and challenges that we go through together,” said Mr. Berger. For Mr. Blumenthal, he especially loves how the band is his outlet to showcase his own talents, which is a nice change of pace from teaching students how to hone theirs. They also agree that the thrill of performing, captivating, and moving an audience are the most beneficial aspects of being a musician. “To see how excited people are from our playing and to see their reactions is amazing,” said Mr. Berger.

Mr. Blumenthal comes from a significant background of music, as both of his parents were musicians and music teachers. So, from a young age he has been involved in and exposed to music. It was his parents’ guidance and influence that helped him to realize his passion for music and goal of becoming a music teacher. He attended Fayetteville Manlius High School and later went on to the University of Michigan where he majored in Music Education and minored in Violin and Saxophone studies. He did his masters degree part-time at Syracuse University while also teaching at J-D.

Although Mr. Berger wasn’t exposed to music growing up, he found his love for music in college at SUNY Geneseo after attending East Syracuse Minoa High School. There, he studied history and also found time to teach himself to play the guitar. By earning his masters at Nazareth College, he was moving closer to his goal of becoming a teacher. He also explored his musical talent by participating in a music project with his brother and a close friend. This is was the beginning of their music careers and the beginning of what would later become Sundrop Rise.

Check out Sundrop Rise during J-D Day and on SoundCloud!

Behind the Scenes: J-DHS Janitorial Staff

Jacob Marshall and Marcus Payne

Staff Writers

Every day the halls, cafeteria, bathrooms and classrooms are very clean thanks to the janitorial staff at Jamesville-DeWitt High School. Head Custodian John Baxter leads them, and although he has been working here for seven years, few students may know who he is.


In November of 2011 Mr. Baxter was hired for the position of head custodian at J-DHS. Mr. Baxter was pleased with the career change because it was a promotion, it was a lot closer to his home and his kids went to JD.  “J-D is rewarding,” he said “and I learned a lot here.” Since this is the first time that Mr. Baxter has been a head custodian it is a “different type of responsibility,” he said, but he loves it.

Because Mr. Baxter was hired as the head custodian without working at J-DHS before, he had to earn the respect of his colleagues. “I had to earn my spot. With the title doesn’t come the respect, you have to earn the respect,” said Mr. Baxter. Mr. Baxter isn’t the only one in the building cleaning the school. Fellow custodian John Wirth helps him throughout the school day as they both work from 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Custodian Matt Baldwin works the split shift from 11 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. There is also a night crew that works from 3 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. led by Head Night Custodian Dee Warner.  

When Mr. Baxter became head custodian, Mr. Baldwin thought that it was “cool.” “It was just a new experience going from one head custodian to a different one. And it was pretty cool to experience a new policy,” said Mr. Baldwin.

Mr. Baldwin has been working at J-DHS for eight years and four with Mr. Baxter. He comes in at 11 a.m. at the start of lunch and works until 7:30 p.m. He takes care of the cafeterias and after school cleans classrooms. Mr. Baldwin always has a lot of good things to say about Mr. Baxter. “He’s a good, fair boss, and pushes me to do extra work,” said Mr. Baldwin.

Likewise, Mr. Wirth was happy to have him around. “He gets the job done,” said Mr. Wirth. Mr. Wirth has worked at J-DHS for 25 years and the last six with Mr. Baxter. Mr. Wirth says that Mr. Baxter expects lots of hard work. “Mr. Baxter is a hard, rough, and good guy, he keeps me going non-stop,” said Mr. Wirth. Mr. Wirth says that the worst thing about the job is that he has to “work alone.” He cleans by himself and basically works the majority of his job alone.

At J-DHS some of the things Mr. Baxter does around the school is clean, answer the radio, bring paper for printing to printers, and just makes sure equipment in the building is running okay. He says it's very hard to plan his day due to his job being so busy. Each school day is different depending on the season.  In the winter he has to come in at 5 a.m. and put salt on the sidewalks and snow blow them. But in the fall and spring he can come to work from 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Daily tasks are to clean the cafeteria, classrooms, floors, hallways or anything else that needs it.

Mr. Baxter’s career could come to an end soon depending on when his son graduates from college. Baxter’s son can graduate from Le Moyne College in May of 2020. But if his son stays at Le Moyne to pursue his MBA, Mr. Baxter might have to work for an extra two to three years.

Mr. Baxter worked in the Onondaga Central School District, Department of Public Works for the  Village of Massena, Crouse Hospital as a Housekeeping Supervisor and in the Navy before working at our school. Crouse was his first job doing strictly janitorial work. Being a Diesel mechanic and Supply Clerk in the Navy he had to do some work that janitors would do but wasn’t a janitor. While in the navy he started doing janitorial work; he would put floors down, clean his barrack, and just every once in a while he would get stuck doing something a janitor would do. He also worked as a truck driver in the DPW, but he broke his back while working there. After that he started doing a lot of other things like secretarial work, mowing lawns, painting, and just overall custodian work.

Mr. Gualitieri Spotlight

Brevin Scullion and Kaleb McCloud   He-Me

Staff Writers

Cleanliness is next to godliness, and a good workspace is often described as clean and organized. However for Jamesville-DeWitt High School’s Guidance Counselor Clete Gualtieri, it’s the exact opposite. His organizational style is more of “a planned chaos.” For the last 24 years he has accumulated large amounts of papers, binders, and other work materials throughout each school year and now they are in various piles around his office.

When taking that first step into Mr. Gualtieri’s office, many students are shocked by what they see. “His office is really messy, and I was surprised when I first saw it,” said sophomore Alexis Leclair who is one of his students. “It’s not even organized, I don’t know how he ever finds anything,” said freshman Jillian Kordas. Surprisingly, some students aren’t bothered with his organization style. “It doesn’t distract me at all,’’ said junior Nolan Kinahan.

Even some teachers are in shock of how his room looks. “I was in awe of it,’’ said Spanish teacher Simone Pacilio; “It makes me want to clean my room.” But, even though they feel it’s too messy, they respect how he organizes his room. “Ask him to find anything and he will go to a certain pile of papers and he will know where it is,” said Guidance Counselor Laura Bond. “It’s just how the his brain works, he knows where everything and anything is,” said Sra. Pacillio.

Although many students and colleagues find it strange and are surprised by his room, that doesn’t bother Mr. Gualtieri. He has been organizing important files and papers the same way for his whole career, which began at Le Moyne College; “certain papers go to a certain pile,” said Mr. Gualtieri.  To the surprise of many, he doesn’t lose his belongings very often. “I have a 92 percent success rate on being able to find the things I need within five minutes,” said Mr. Gualtieri. “Besides the occasional slip of paper with a phone number on it, I‘m able to find what I need in a very short time, and whenever I lose something, it makes me perturbed,” he said.

Though he doesn’t mean for his office to always look the way it does, it usually ends up looking the same way every year. “It starts out as a mild mess in September, then I accumulate more stuff as the months go by,” said Mr. Gualtieri. “When the mail comes in from the counselors, I archive the mail that the other counselors don’t keep, and every so often a counselor comes to me to ask me if I have a piece of mail from several months ago, and it’s right there on my desk.”

With such a chaotic room you might have thought that it would be distracting to some students, but as it turns out it might just be the opposite. “It looks messy on the outside, but to him, it works so that’s all that matters,” said sophomore Nic Kemmis. Mr.Gualtieri explained that many kids don’t mind the messy work space, and some kids have even offered to clean his office for him. “Some students seem to be comforted by the fact that my organizational style is similar to theirs of their bedroom,” said Mr.Gualtieri.

Everyone has their own way of doing anything. Sometimes their way works and other times it doesn’t. For 24 years now his office has looked the same way and it always catches the eyes of students and colleagues. If there is one thing everyone can take away from Mr.Gualtieri's organizational style, it’s that his way works, maybe not for everyone, but it works for him.


Math Team Has Record-Breaking Season

Lucas Bort, Reinaldo Colon, Michael Bratslavsky

Staff Writers

After a successful season with the Jamesville-DeWitt High School Math team, six students were selected to compete on the Onondaga County Math Team at states. There was an A team and also a B team, both consisting of 10 students from local high schools, like Baldwinsville, East Syracuse-Minoa, and Cicero-North Syracuse. Seniors Somil Aggarwal and Billy Leiker participated on the A team, and came out victorious in the state competition. Senior Kangbo Li, junior Ben Catania, junior Albert Wang, and freshman Xavier Plourde (alternate) also participated, on the B team.

The state division win came as a surprise for the J-D contestants. It was the team’s first time winning their division. “It was really nice, it definitely wasn’t expected,” said Aggarwal. Most teams at the competition lacked members who had been there before, which is something that helped  the Onondaga County team excel. “We had a lot of experienced people on our team, and it was nice to know what we were doing,” said Leiker.

Math teacher and Math Team club adviser Michael Klemperer was very pleased with the performance of the individuals that made it to states, as well as the J-DHS Math team as a whole. They won against some of the best teams in the county, like Fayetteville-Manlius High School, during the regular season. “It was really good, it was the best year we have had in a long time,” said Mr. Klemperer. The J-DHS Math Team placed second overall in the county, behind F-M.

Although not all the participants were selected to compete in the state competition, many students gained a lot of experience. “Math team helped me to learn the basics to harder math,” said freshman Colin Revercomb. Along with that, Revercomb said that he learned a lot while working alongside upperclassmen that acted as “mentors.”

Another aspect that helped the team was their ability to work together.  Plourde said that the team was very diverse this year, consisting of students from all different grades. Li said that the team’s greatest strength was that everyone could help each other out and get along well. Leiker added that everyone knew each other pretty well and it was easy to talk with teammates.     

Many of the members on the Math Team said that they will use math in college and in their careers. Plourde says he already likes to use math a lot, primarily in his computer science class.  Catania said that he will most likely use it when goes into business. Aggarwal thinks that he will go into a STEM career so math will be necessary for him. “Math is valuable in pretty much any career you go into, so we will all be using it a lot,” said Leiker.

Who is Mrs. Howe?

Momo LaClair and Paige Stepanian

Staff Writers and Photographers

As the school psychologist at Jamesville-DeWitt High School, Elaine Howe has a very important role in the community. With all of the recent issues with school shootings, her position as school psychologist has been brought to the attention of many.

One of the things that Mrs. Howe does as the school psychologist is make sure students feel safe in the environment. Since the Parkland shooting, students have become more and more concerned with their safety at school. Students haven’t necessarily been going in to talk with Mrs. Howe personally, but many concerns have been brought to her attention from school safety meetings. Mrs. Howe has been attending the school safety team meetings because she feels that it is an important position to take action. “It’s important to be an advocate for striking a balance and making sure students feel safe without it being so secure that it feels like a prison,” said Mrs. Howe.

Not only is Mrs. Howe an advocate for school safety, she also has many other responsibilities during the school day. She attends a lot of meetings with administration and parents of those students she is helping. Also, she tests and helps students who are receiving special education services. This allows her to identify learning issues some students may have so she can provide them with resources to help them succeed. To go along with this, she sometimes talks with teachers if their students are struggling. She does this in order to accommodate students’ needs in the classroom, while also keeping teachers informed.

Along with teachers, Mrs. Howe works with the school counselors on a daily basis. The counseling team and Mrs. Howe’s work go hand-in-hand, however their work differentiates in certain ways. “Mrs. Howe is excellent at evaluating and understanding students with any special learning needs,” said Guidance Counselor Clete Gualtieri. While Mr. Gualtieri is more focused on student counseling and college preparation, Mrs. Howe is more focused on helping students with their learning needs. Student Counselor Will Hartley also works alongside Mrs. Howe. “If there is a student that we can both help we will work together to try and support them,” said Mr. Hartley. The skills that are brought by the counseling team compliment the educational support Mrs. Howe provides, resulting in a well working group.  “We’re very much a team and we all work closely together, collaborating all the time to help students,” said Mr. Gualtieri.

In order to become a psychologist Mrs. Howe had to go through several years of schooling. She got her undergraduate degree at St. Lawrence University and got her bachelor’s degree of science and psychology. Then, she took her master's program at SUNY Oswego. As part of that training, she also had to do internships. She was an intern to a school counselor in the Oswego School District and also interned with a clinical psychologist that worked with veterans. After this experience she realized she didn’t want to go into clinical psychology and that being a school psychologist was the best fit for her.

Mrs. Howe has been working as a school psychologist for over 20 years now. However, not all of her years were spent at J-D. Her first jobs in school psychology were in a pre-schools and elementary schools around the area. Both of these jobs were different experiences than she’s had at J-D. While working with a variety of districts and ages, Mrs. Howe has seen many different ways her role can be implemented into the lives of students. At the pre-schools she worked at she was more involved in the students’ routine and did a lot more testing than she does now. Despite this, she still loves working in the J-DHS community.

Mrs. Howe is always available to the students and staff of J-DHS whenever you need it. Don’t hesitate to visit her if you need to talk or need help with a class, her door is always open.



Madame Amankwah To Study Abroad In Belgium This Summer

Ali Durkin and Jillian Risavi

Associate Producers


Part of being an effective language teacher means continually working at your craft and expanding your knowledge endlessly. This may mean traveling the world to immerse yourselves into new culture, talking with someone of a different culture, or even reading a book set in that culture. One of Jamesville-DeWitt High School’s very own French teachers is taking the immersion route: Solace Amankwah is traveling to the University of Liège located in Wallonia, Belgium to study abroad this summer.

For about three weeks this coming July, Madame Amankwah will be spending her time learning and experiencing the culture and language of Belgium. She is excited to enhance her knowledge to understand a “larger scope,” says Madame Amankwah, to bring back to her students at J-DHS. Madame will be taking courses to learn and develop her French speaking ability as well as courses on Belgium’s culture. These courses were selected by the scholarship program for her to take along with the other teachers who were awarded the scholarship.

There are some distinct differences in the French language in Belgium, when compared to other French speaking areas. Madame Amankwah finds learning and continuing to expand her knowledge crucial, and so she looks forward to learning more about not only the language, but also the culture, especially the food and arts.

“I think that this is a good opportunity for her, and that she will bring home some of her knowledge next year,” says senior Lainey Foti who has had Madame in previous years. “She is a quality teacher and I wouldn’t be at the level of French that I am now without her,” says senior French student and French Club member Lindsay Hair.

In order to qualify for this scholarship, Madame had to ask for two recommendations; one from Principal Paul Gasparini and one from LOTE Department Chair Hank Cline. “She is clearly a dedicated professional, she is clearly a master at the French language, she studies hard, and she is dedicated to people not only learning the language but the culture,” says Mr. Gasparini. “I think that it is important for language teachers to continue to improve their abilities and believe that her constant professional development will help bring better education for students at JD,” says Mr. Cline.  This is the second recommendation that Mr. Cline has written for Madame and he isn’t surprised that she has once again won this scholarship.

This is not the first scholarship for Madame, as she has done something similar to this before. She traveled to France over five years ago on a mission to expand her knowledge by studying the French language. She traveled along with other select teacher who were also awarded with the scholarship.

Coach Rice Rises to the Head Coaching Position

Tracey Edson and Katie Cappelletti

Staff Writers

The Jamesville-DeWitt High School Varsity Girls Lacrosse Program team has a new head coach, Stephanie Rice. After being an assistant coach to the varsity team, she has now been promoted to the head coaching position. This will be her third year with the Red Rams, but first year as head coach.

Along with having a new head coach, the team has a new assistant coach, as well as a returning assistant coach. Coach Rice will be assisted by Megan Murphy, who is new, and Jeff Matt, who is returning for his second year. Coach Murphy played DI lacrosse at St. Bonaventure, and is part owner of Urban Life Crossfit. “She brings a different mindset and… she’s a good role model in terms of fitness,” said Coach Rice. Coach Matt grew up playing lacrosse and is coaching the offense this year. “He’s really good with the kids and is always very positive,” said Coach Rice.

With a new coaching staff the team will approach the season differently. “We have a great foundation of coaches and we have a lot of talent and younger kids who are rising to the occasion,” said one of the four senior captains, Jillian Risavi, who plays attack and the midfield positions. The girls returning to the team are looking forward to a successful season with their new teammates as well as with their new coaches. “Rice is a really good coach, she’s a lot more organized than we were last year, so practice is super efficient,” said senior midfielder Katie Lutz, who is also a captain.

The season is just getting started, but the team is preparing for the challenging games they will play. Their biggest in-league game is against Fulton and they will also face West Genesee and Fayetteville-Manlius, which will be non-league games. “I think we need to have a lot of progressional goals, first we have to win leagues, then win sectionals, then states,” said Coach Rice. “We’re focusing on improving ourselves so we can be the best we can be, in June.”

Although they have not been able to get on the turf much, they are continuing to practice everyday whether it be in the gym, the parking lot, or 481 Sports. The season opener is set for April 3, against Oswego at 7 p.m on the J-DHS turf.

Though this is her first head coaching position in New York, lacrosse has always played a major role in her life, because of her family. Coach Rice first started playing with her siblings in the backyard, when she was 5. Then in high school in Skaneateles she was coached by her dad. Following high school, she played in college at Hofstra University, a Division I program.   


Her brother, Kevin, played at Syracuse University (2012-2015) and is now playing in the Major Lacrosse League (MLL). One of Rice’s sisters played at Lehigh University. Her dad, who played lacrosse at St. Lawrence, also started the men’s lacrosse program at Jordan Elbridge about 46 years ago. He then was asked to be an assistant high school coach at Skaneateles High School, where Coach Rice played.

In high school Coach Rice played varsity lacrosse for five years, playing the midfield position. Throughout her high school years the team won four sectional championships, two state championship games, and fell short in the state championship game two other times.

In high school Rice was being recruited to play in college. “I went to (visit) Syracuse, Maryland, Hofstra, and St. Bonaventure,” said Coach Rice. Knowing she wanted to become a teacher she chose to stay in New York. She attended Hofstra University and was a part of the Women’s Lacrosse team for five years (2007-2011), redshirting her freshman year.

Coach Rice was looking for a teaching job during her last semester of college. While playing against William and Mary College, in Williamsburg, Virginia, during her senior season, she was approached by a coach who offered her the opportunity to become a coach for a team in North Carolina, as well as teach at a high school there. Coach Rice accepted the offer, and packed up her things and moved down to North Carolina after graduation. She spent four years there, at first teaching and coaching at a private school, then at a public school for two years.

After spending four years in North Carolina, Coach Rice moved back home, to Syracuse after accepting a teaching position at J-DHS. This also gave her an opportunity to be closer to her family and to coach in a place where lacrosse is more competitive. Though this is her first year as the head coach at J-DHS, her experiences playing and coaching previously will lead to a successful season for this team.

Syracuse Men's Basketball's Surprising Season

Michael Bratslavsky, Reinaldo Colon and Lucas Bort

Staff Writers

Going from an unranked team to the Sweet Sixteen, the Syracuse Men’s basketball team has defied this season’s expectations. Out of 17.3 million brackets submitted to ESPN alone, 82 percent of those had Michigan State advancing to the Sweet Sixteen.  But Syracuse was able to defeat those odds.

Most people at Jamesville-DeWitt High School can agree that Syracuse has had a good season, even though there have been some bumps in the road. “They didn’t play so well in the beginning, but played better in the actual tournament,” said junior Max Schulman. This year’s tournament has brought many great moments.  “Upsetting Michigan State was a great memorable moment,” said senior Marcos Taylor. This game was also Schulman’s favorite but more specifically, it was when sophomore star Tyus Battle’s step back shot to ice the game.

Even with a few mistakes, Syracuse was still able to make up for some of the bad losses earlier in the season and move forward. “It’s been a pretty rough start to the season, but the NCAA tournament is all that matters, and it’s great we could make it there,” said sophomore Jacob Barry.

There’s no consensus among fans about which Syracuse player was the best, but the most popular names that have appeared are Frank Howard, Tyus Battle, and Oshae Brissett. At the beginning of the season, many believed Tyus Battle was bound to leave for the draft but some people think he will stay. Some students, like freshman Thomas Sabatino, think that Brissett will leave after this season, especially after the numbers he is putting up in this year’s tournament.

Although the team’s offense has struggled at times this year, their defense has been a problem for their opponents to handle.  They have limited teams that normally score over 80 points, to just 50. In their round of 32 game against Michigan State, they held the Spartans to 53 points while they usually average 80.  Also, against TCU, they only scored 52 points which is very low compared to their average of 82.

Although this season has been exciting, students and staff are even more excited to see what next year will turn out like.  Syracuse has already landed two ESPN top 100 recruits, Darius Bazley (9) and Jalen Carey (37) as well as coach Jim Boeheim’s son, Buddy Boeheim, a former J-DHS student.  Junior Adam Honis believes that Buddy will eventually be the best player in college basketball. Many fans have high hopes for the end of this season and next season. “It should be back to back title runs,” said Schulman.