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.

J-D Students Return To El Rancho Grande


Brevin Scullion and Kaleb McCloud

Staff Writers



Jamesville-DeWitt High School students have been participating in a mission trip to help a community in El Salvador through Holy Cross Church for many years. For seven days J-DHS students experienced the ways of life for those in El Salvador, along with trying to help improve the living conditions for them.  

El Salvador is located in Central America. Known for its struggling economy and warm climate, many people have difficulties in every aspect of their life. Though El Salvador has a murder rate 22 times that of the US, according to ABC News, students felt very safe while there. “Since I have been going for so many years, I’m used to all the traveling and the area. Even the first timers felt safe and welcomed,” said junior Tanner Gunn whose parents are chaperones. “We were in a better part of the country so there was really no need to worry,” said junior Grace Thomas. Students also dealt with the intense heat while doing tough labor. This may have been a hardship at first, but after a while it was easier to deal with, said junior Daniel Prucha. “It was really hot and it was very fatiguing working in it, but we kind of just got used to it,” said Prucha.


In the village of El Rancho Grande, students helped dig trenches, paint restrooms, and build a school.“ It felt good building a school for the children,” said junior CeCe Hatem; “it was very important that we did this for them.” While helping the people of El Rancho Grande, the students got to connect with them a more personal level. “One woman said that we were the answer to their prayers,” said Prucha. They also had an annual soccer game with the students facing some of the children in the city. The children won.


Students ate many different styles of food while staying in El Salvador. “Every night there was a different meal, but they were sort of similar, including a meat portion, rice, and bread,” said Hatem. Students said that they were surprised when they tried the food and found out it was very good. “Eating brought us closer together with the people of El Salvador. It was a great time for us to sit down with and talk to each other instead of doing work,” said Thomas.

When it was time for the students to leave, many students didn’t want to go.  “We left with a greater appreciation for what we have,” said Gunn; “every time I go, I can’t wait to comeback the next year.”

J-D Students Prepare for the Long Haul

Momo LaClair and Paige Stepanian

Staff Writers/ Photographers

J-D Students Prepare for the Long Haul

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!!


Brian Williams Finds His Calling In Search And Rescue

Jillian Risavi and Ali Durkin

Associate Producers


Since the 1960s, the Civil Air Patrol, a branch extending from the United States Air Force for kids age 12-20, has consisted of more than 50,000 cadets all throughout the U.S. Fewer than 1 percent of those cadets earn the General Carl Spaatz award, one of the highest honors in the program. Yet, one of Jamesville-DeWitt High School’s very own students made the cut: senior Brian Williams was presented with the award on Dec. 27.

Williams, now referred to as Cadet Colonel Brian Williams, entered this program at age 12, after seeing it advertised at the New York State Fair. After being introduced to the program and all the different things it had to offer, he became interested in learning more about its aerospace engineering and emergency services aspects. His primary service is search and rescue, as aircontrol is of lesser interest to him.

Williams commutes to Albany twice a week, where he is stationed, as this is the closest outpost to him. He also goes to a once-a-month Saturday session. He spends at least two hours in meetings and classes that contain lessons and training courses, which consist of drills and information that could be used in real life scenarios. He also participates in physical fitness activities. Over the last six years, Williams has been serving across the Northeast, climbing the ladder and his efforts were recognized earning him this award.

Throughout this program, he says he has found himself growing and developing into the person he is today. He has learned better communication skills, public speaking skills and confidence through this program. One way that he improved these skills was speaking with veterans. “This is my favorite part about being in the program ,since I learned many things about the veterans that even their relatives didn’t know about,” said Williams.

Williams excelled in all areas of the program, therefore he became qualified for the award.

As the future nears, Williams plans to carry the skills he has acquired along with him as he will study physics and forensics at Hilbert College where he has been accepted. Hilton, in Buffalo, NY, specializes in forensics science. Williams plans on applying his future knowledge of forensics science to search and rescue and hopes to possibly make a career out of it.

Habe Conlon: Lake Effect Poetry Contest

Lucas Bort, Reinaldo Colon, Michael Bratslavsky

Staff Writers

Sophomore Habe Conlon represented Jamesville-DeWitt High School as one of the top 20 finalists in the Lake Effect Poetry contest. Around 2,000 students from states all over America, including Texas and Wisconsin, submitted their poems to this contest.

Conlon was very pleased with his results. “It’s pretty was neat how putting it in the contest ended up,” said Conlon. Earlier in the year, his English teacher Matthew Phillips had recommended the contest to his class for them to submit any poems. Later on, Conlon received a surprising email saying he had been named a finalist. Mr. Phillips was also very glad that Conlon had been recognized. “I was just very very’s well deserved,” said Mr. Phillips.

His award winning poem “Deep River” was a reflection on both American history and society. Conlon said that this poem took a mere 10 minutes to write. Conlon never really has a specific topic to write about, he says he just writes whatever happens to be on his mind.

Conlon has been writing poems for several years, since he was first assigned to in English class. When he found writing poems more enjoyable, he started to progress and write more poems in class, at home, and in electives such as Creative Writing.

The process of poetry can have some struggles but in the end it pays off, according to Conlon. “You need to get it going, and once it does, you just go with the flow,” said Conlon. He gets inspired by anything that’s on his mind, and makes it into a poem, even if the initial step to begin can challenge him.

Mr. Phillips said that Conlon has improved over his time with him. “His use of language is really unique and he finds inspiration in a lot of regional and historical language use and music,” said Mr. Phillips.

Mr. Phillips has had Conlon in class for two years now. Mr. Phillips had Conlon as a freshman in his creative writing class and now has him in his sophomore English class.  Conlon was Mr. Phillips’s first student to ever be named a finalist in this contest. “I work with all the students a little bit here and there but Habe’s stuff is Habe’s stuff.” Most of what he comes up with are his own unique ideas. “He takes a lot of care with it,” said Mr. Phillips.

Although his teachers knew about his writing skills, not all of his friends knew. “I didn’t know he was a poet, but I knew he had artistic abilities,” said sophomore Gavin McCaul. “I’m proud of (him) and I knew (he) could do it from day one…,” said senior Murad Amurlayev.

Conlon hopes to keep having fun writing and encourages himself to continue to become a better poet. Poetry is something that Conlon would like to do in the future. “(I would) like to keep doing it when I want to and it’s just sorta something fun to make it worth while and to just make it happen,” said Conlon.

To read his award winning poem, go to


Super Bowl LII

Harland Kissel and Julian Galleta

Staff Writers


The Super Bowl made history this year for two reasons: The Philadelphia Eagles beat the favored New England Patriots, and it was the first Super Bowl held in Minnesota’s new stadium. Freshman Tyler Aitken was excited that the Eagles won their first Super Bowl, after losing to the Patriots in 2005. “It was such an exciting game, and Nick Foles led his team to victory. He deserved the MVP and he got it,” said Aitken

Many students wanted the Eagles to win because they like the team, or they just don’t like the Patriots. Aitken predicted an Eagles win “because they have a better set of options of offense.” Senior Lexi Gambacorto agreed with Aitken, citing rumors of cheating associated with the Patriots. “The Patriots are little cheaters, like is the ball deflated? I don’t know,” she said.

However, freshman Samson Myshrall predicted a New England win; “the Patriots are gonna destroy the Eagles because they have Tom Brady,” he said. He also joked in his prediction of the score: “70-0 Pats.”

The Eagles demolished the Minnesota Vikings in the NFC championship game, winning 38-7. The Patriots were heavily favored to beat the Jacksonville Jaguars in the AFC championship game, but the Jags played their hearts out and nearly beat the Patriots, as they were up 20-10 in the fourth quarter. But in the end, the Pats pulled off yet another comeback victory and shocked the country, winning the game with a final score of 24-20. Finally, the Patriots somewhat “magical” run ended after being defeated by the Eagles 41-33 in the Super Bowl.

The Super Bowl LII was one of the most intense yet, as both teams shattered records in front of 67,000 fans. Some of the records included 1,151 total yards combined, and the most yards by a quarterback in a postseason game, which was set by Tom Brady with 505 yards. The Eagles took the lead early on, and were still leading by half time. The real action started in the second half. The Patriots outscored the Eagles 14-7 in the third quarter, and cut the lead to 3, trailing 29-26. They then went up 33-32 after a touchdown catch by tight end Rob Gronkowski. The Eagles took the lead back after a controversial touchdown catch by tight end Zach Ertz, and went up 38-33.

The Pats went scoreless the rest of the fourth quarter, and the Eagles made a field goal. Tom Brady looked poised for another one of his last minute comebacks after the Eagles gave the Patriots the ball back with just over 2 minutes left in the game. However a game-saving strip sack by Eagles defensive end Brandon Graham made the Eagles the 2018 Super Bowl Champs with a score of 41-33.

Justin Timberlake performed at halftime, singing a medley of his seven most popular songs from the last few years: “Cry Me A River,” “Suit and Tie,” his most popular song “Can’t Stop The Feeling,” and many more. Many students felt disappointed this year with the performances. “I really just don’t like Justin Timberlake,” said Myshrall.

Myshrall remained positive after the Patriots’ loss. “They’ll come back and win the next year, like they do every year,” he said. Even though his team lost, he enjoyed other parts of the Super Bowl, such as the commercials. “I liked the Eli Manning and Odell Beckham one, and the Mountain Dew and Doritos one,” he said. Aitken had a different opinion on his favorite commercial. “I liked the Tide commercials,” he said. In the end, the Super Bowl was watched by many people here at J-D, and it was definitely one to remember.


Winter Olympics

Tim Skeval, Murphy Foss, Tarky Lombardi

Staff Writers

Currently, the very best athletes on the planet are in Pyeongchang, South Korea to compete against one another in the XXIII Winter Olympic Games. Just over 200 countries will participate in over 100 different events, in what is the most globally celebrated sporting tradition in history. The sporting events in Alpine Skiing, Biathlon, Bobsleigh, Cross Country Skiing, Curling, Figure Skating, Freestyle Skiing, Ice Hockey, Nordic Combine, Short Track Speed Skating, Skeleton, Ski Jumping, Snowboarding and Speed Skating started on Feb. 8. The United States sent 198 of its best athletes to compete for gold.

The entire Winter Olympics span from Feb. 8 to Feb. 25. Even though the opening ceremony is on the night of Feb. 9, the first event, curling, begins on Feb. 8. “I find curling to be very entertaining and it is something I will definitely watch more this Olympics,” said sophomore Sam Fetchner.  Last year the US curling team finished second to last, only ahead of Germany. “I think they’ll be able to get the job done this year,” said junior Nolan Kinahan; “I really enjoy watching the hockey team though.” This year the U.S. hockey team doesn’t have any NHL players on the roster, only college students, “I think it’s pretty cool, we get to see who the new faces of the sport will be,” said junior Turner Pomeroy.  One of the more popular sports among Americans is figure skating, “I really enjoy watching the skaters’ new routines and jumps,” said freshman Avery Young. This year all eyes are on American phenom and first-time olympian Nathan Chen; “he’s my favorite skater,” said Young.

“I’m very excited to watch the games this year,” said junior Josh Greenway. Some of the school-wide favorite events include Ski Jump and Bobsleigh. “I got the chance to meet to Jamaican Bobsleigh team, so I will be cheering for them in Bobsleigh, but in all other events I will continue to cheer for my country,” said senior Alex Payne. Both the U.S. and Jamaican Bobsleigh teams will begin their strive for gold starting Feb. 18.

There has been some controversy over sending American athletes to the games this year due to high tensions with the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (North Korea). The games are being held roughly 50 miles from the Demilitarized Zone, which is a heavily guarded border separating North and South Korea. Tensions have been high between the U.S. and North Korea after an exchange of insults between President Donald Trump and the Supreme Leader of North Korea, Kim Jong-un. “I’m glad we decided to send athletes,” said Kinahan, “I don’t think that they’re in danger over there.” In the recent weeks tensions have cooled between North Korea and South Korea after they agreed to combine women’s ice hockey teams for the games and march together during the opening ceremony. “I think it’s cool,” said junior Adam Honis, “hopefully that means nothing bad will happen to the athletes.”

In the XXII Winter Olympic Games (2014), The United States won 28 medals, placing first overall in medal count, but third in gold medals behind Norway and Canada. Norway holds the the record for most winter olympic medals with 329, the U.S. is a close second with 282. “I think it would be fun if we could beat [Norway],” said Computer Technician Hayley Nies. In anticipation of the Games, Ms. Nies decorated the Mac Lab in an Olympic theme, “I love the Olympics,” said Ms. Nies, “I like the athletes’ stories and the hardships that they’ve overcome.”

Spend some break time watching the Olympics, which will be broadcasted on NBC, to cheer on our country. Click here to see the full schedule for the Games.  


Meeting Mr. Goodson

Tanner Burns and Johnny Keib

Staff Writers


Jamesville-DeWitt High School Athletic Director John Goodson spends most of his day scheduling athletic events and attending meetings with coaches and teachers. However, what Mr.Goodson likes the most about his job is helping kids achieve their athletic goals. “I like setting up a plan in place and trying to work through it and make it happen,” said Mr. Goodson.

Mr. Goodson’s daily routine consists of going into his office around 8 a.m. and getting a project done right away. Then, after completing his project he usually has a couple of meetings. “You’re in and out of meetings all day, and usually wrapping the evening around 10 at night with my last scheduled meeting.” said Mr. Goodson. He follows a very structured schedule to better the school. Mr. Goodson always wants to be organized and two seasons ahead of what the actual sports season is right now in terms of scheduling.

Since Mr. Goodson first came to J-DHS eight years ago, the sports programs have taken off. There have been nine state championships in the past 10 years in boys lacrosse, girls basketball, and boys basketball. He contributes part of the success to the structures within the school. “This is a place that really has a lot of structures, from code of conducts to academic ineligibility and all these things that help students be successful,” said Mr. Goodson. Another reason that Mr. Goodson believes J-DHS has successful sports programs is that he works closely with the Booster Club in order to fundraise.

With such a significant job within a school there are going to be people who think Mr. Goodson is great, but also some people who question his decisions. Varsity Boys Basketball Head Coach Jeff Ike thinks very highly of him. “I think he’s one of the top in this area, if not one of the best in the state,” said Coach Ike. Senior varsity football and baseball player Anthony Ciccone agrees with Coach Ike. “I think he’s a pretty good guy overall,” said Ciccone. However, some students question whether he supports all of the sports programs equally or favors the boy programs more.

Mr. Goodson hopes to make many improvements to the sports teams this year. He looks at it this way: “every sport is always at a different level. So like right now baseball last year made it to the sectionals but didn’t win the sectionals. So the goal this year is to try and repeat and get back to sectionals and win,” said Mr. Goodson.  

Mr. Goodson was born and raised in Clinton, NY and grew up playing sports, which made him want to be involved in sports when he was older. But he didn’t always want to be an athletic director. At first he wanted to be a football coach. Mr. Goodson played two years of Junior Varsity football at Ithaca College. After playing he was brought on to be the coach of the J-V football team as a student assistant. When his years at Ithaca were over, he headed out to the University of Northern Colorado for his graduate degree. Finally, he went to SUNY Cortland so he could become an athletic director. Mr. Goodson would then go on to be a physical education teacher at Geneva High School before becoming the athletic director at J-DHS.

There is no doubt that the sports programs at J-DHS have been very successful with him at the helm. However, there are some people who disagree with how he runs things. But as long as the sports teams are winning, it is tough to doubt his ways.