Hush Little Baby Juniors' Baby Project Discontinued

Many students are thrilled with the drastic change of the well-known ‘baby project’ for juniors in health class this year. Rather than having to carry around a baby that simulated a real-live-3-month old, juniors simply make a powerpoint that illustrates taking care of a baby for three months. The change seems to have angered the seniors, who have already had their turn to struggle with the plastic infant, yet has left the rest of the grades ecstatic over being saved the trouble.

Previously, the project had involved an electronic baby, “which simulated what it would be like to take care of a three month old baby. Students would have the baby overnight and during the school day; this mimicked the responsibility of being a single parent in high school,” said gym and health teacher Mrs. Kural.

Mrs. Kural told us about the new project, “Now, the new project is pretty much the same idea, students partner up and take home a baby in the sense that they pick a scenario/ situation, from whether they are married or not, what the financial situation it, how many kids they are having, etc. Then, they create a powerpoint that details all of the items they have to buy that are necessary in raising a newborn for the first three months of life, from a nursery to clothing,” said Kural. The groups are given a list of things needed to buy to start off, and then they calculate the overall cost of taking care of the child. Kural said, “They are shown how much of a financial burden or responsibility it is to have a kid in high school.”

Kural could not say why the project changed other than the fact that the maintenance of the electronic babies was costly.

Many students think the new project is easier. “I would rather do the one I did; it was a lot easier,” said junior Rachel Brown.

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A Disgrace to the Game The Travesty that is the NBA All Star "Game"

The NBA All-Star Game has turned into a complete disgrace to basketball. While the annual Presidents’ Day Weekend event has always been a high-scoring affair, the lack of defense over the years has progressively turned this so-called ‘basketball game’ into more of a free-shoot round.

While it is great seeing all of the stars of the league in one arena, there comes a point where the game is hardly classifiable as basketball because the competitive nature of the sport is evaporated by the players’ lack of willingness to play defense. It’s great watching Russell Westbrook light up the scoreboard for forty-one points and witnessing sharp shooter Kyle Korver drain seven three-pointers, but if all of those points and highlight plays are uncontested-are they really that impressive? No, they are not. Anyone in the NBA can score when they are not being properly guarded, All-Star or not.

Every player in the NBA can make jump shots and dunk a basketball, especially those talented enough to play in the All Star Game. However, they should definitely play defense as well to show the world how talented they really are. The All-Star Game should be inspiring for younger children and teenagers that look up to these players as role models on and off the court. Years ago, the All-Star Game was much more meaningful to people; many athletes have stated that they used to look forward to the game because of how magical it was seeing the collection of players playing together in a somewhat competitive environment. Now, hardly anyone is as touched by the event in the same way. I have been a basketball fan my entire life, and when I played the sport at no point was I, or anyone I knew, inspired by the All-Star Game. Over the past five All-Star Games, the average total score between the East and West sides is 302.4 points- lending 151.2 points per team per game. However, the five All Star Games from 1985-1989 that featured the likes of Michael Jordan, Kareem-Abdul Jabbar, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, and other legends, yielded a scoring average of 278.2 points, which puts each team at about 139.1 per game. While a difference of 24.2 total points per game might not seem like a substantial difference over thirty years, it absolutely shows without coincidence how the game has lost defensive presence. No major offensive rule changes have even occurred since the implementation of the three point arc in 1979, so there is no real reasoning for the padded offensive stats in the All-Star Game.

I admit, it is great fun seeing cool dunks and a million three-point shots. But not only are there two other events for highlight reel dunks and three point shooting, the decline of the All-Star game gives great defensive players no opportunity to showcase their skills. While I do not see a sudden willingness of the players to “try” in the All-Star Game, it would undoubtedly make the game more interesting.

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The Paris Project Playwright Andy Paris Visits MFS' "Laramie Project" Cast

On Thursday, February 12, Andy Paris, one of the five playwrights of The Laramie Project and The Laramie Project : Ten Years Later, paid a visit to the MFS cast of his latter play (full disclosure: this writer is part of the cast).  Paris spent three hours with the actors doing “moment work.”  A “moment” is a scene constructed from a certain point in time to tell a specific story or part of a story.  Since The Laramie Project: Ten Years Later is in the “moments” format, the workshop was helpful to the actors.

When asked about the intention of the workshop, Paris said, “I was looking for a sense of people thinking about the different elements that tell a story and feeling empowered by knowing their goals.”  In accordance with this mission, Paris had the cast members create a list of the “Elements of the Stage” so that they had a sense of all of the tools available to them as actors that go beyond the text.

In addition to that list, the cast members did a series of group moment work under Paris’s direction in order to put their new knowledge to the test.  Paris spoke to the importance of working as a cast.  “I think that a group of people who are working together and are aware of each other and their surroundings is a powerful element on the stage.”

Paris will attend opening night of the show on Friday, March 6, and will answer questions from the audience.

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Fall from Grace Brian Williams Ruining Trust

Brian Williams, the acclaimed anchor of NBC’s Nightly News, has been suspended for six months without pay due to his embellishment of his involvement in a shot down helicopter in Iraq in 2003.

Williams, who had been drawing an average 9.3 million viewers nightly, and recently signed a 5 year contract extension worth about $50 million, admitted his embellishment after the engineer of the shot down helicopter, Lance Reynolds, as well as other crew members, stated on Facebook that Williams was not on their aircraft. Williams had told the story of him being on the shot down copter on Letterman in 2013, and ever since, crew members have refuted his story. Williams responded on the February 4th NBC Nightly News Broadcast, admitting his embellishment, and profusely apologizing. However, many current and former military members, as well as the majority of the general public, were outraged, and demanded repercussions for Williams.

Due to his suspension,Williams will be losing out on about $5 million, and likely will never regain his role as anchor for the NBC Nightly News. This is a big fall from grace for the largely recognized top news anchor in the world, and it is hard to see Williams ever being viewed as such ever again. Some would say this situation is unfortunate for Williams, but in actuality, Williams has nobody to blame for this debacle but himself.

This is a situation that never should have occurred, and is an unfortunate embarrassment for NBC. However, if NBC is suspending Williams for 6 months without pay, they may have well just fired him right away, as opposed to suspending him, and prolonging Williams’ inevitable departure. Williams’ reputation as news anchor and journalist is forever soured, and him being put back on the air in his previous position would sully the reputation of NBC’s news cast. Any news station that would hire Williams would likely meet the same fate in terms of the reputation of their news, therefore making it extremely unlikely that Williams ever regains a prominent anchor role ever again on any station. This serves as a prime example of the monumental importance of truth in the media, and the potential consequences that the breaking of trust between the media and the public can have. Any major, reputable journalist that breaks the trust he or she has with their audience immediately lowers their standing in the eye of the public, and that can never be regained. This situation, although sad and unfortunate, is a prime example of the importance of honesty and trust in the media, and the consequences that breaking that trust may have. For being such a talented and smart man, Williams made a dumb decision in his embellishment of this important story, forever tarnishing his journalistic integrity.

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Johnny Rehab Johnny Football Enters Alcohol Rehabilitation

After years of excessive partying and drinking, NFL Quarterback Johnny “Football” Manziel  finally checked into an alcohol treatment facility.

On Wednesday, January 28, the twenty-two-year-old media favorite  admitted himself into rehabilitation to “improve” himself and to “figure out his value system,” as his adviser Brad Beckworth informed ESPN: “Johnny knows there are areas in which he needs to improve in order to be a better family member, friend and teammate, and he thought the offseason was the right time to take this step.” Although Manziel intends on fully fixing his apparent alcohol problem and completing a rigorous course of rehab, Johnny Football will also be ready to play the game he loves come training camp.

This upcoming NFL season will be Manziel’s sophomore campaign, where he will have to again fight for the starting job as quarterback for the Cleveland Browns, who drafted him 22nd overall this past draft. Manziel started three games in the 2014-2015 season after replacing Quarterback Brian Hoyer in week fifteen after the team’s play deteriorated. In addition, Manziel’s performance in the games he started were not that spectacular, which does not bode well for him when he will compete for the starting job next season. Also, many rumors circled around Johnny Football about parties he threw with teammates, one of which resulted in his and Wide Receiver Josh Gordon’s missing of a mandatory team meeting, resulting in a one-week suspension (the last week of the season) for both players.

If Manziel wants to prove his worth in the league and to his team, he will have to be totally disciplined in regard to his alcohol intake. The suspicions that substances have hindered Manziel’s play are too much of a worry for the Browns, and if his antics continue, Johnny Rehab will surely be looking for a new job, sooner rather than later.

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Shafferposition Mr. Shaffer Heading to the Classroom

Middle school Shaffer Theory dictates that Mr. Shaffer, like an electron, can be in an infinite number of locations at the same time. Beginning next year, though, his electric dynamic may be more localized to the classroom.

Shaffer, Middle School Director for the past twenty-two years, has recently decided to devote himself exclusively to teaching English. Shaffer noted that while he has “immensely enjoyed being the Middle School Director”, he also loves being an English teacher and sports coach. “I’ve been an administrator, at MFS and other schools, for the past thirty years,” said Shaffer. “It’s simply time for a change.”

Shaffer admits that it will be a difficult transition, as the responsibility he feels towards the wellbeing of the Middle School is simply “in [his] blood.” But he also wants to “focus [his] energies in a new area,” teaching English.

While Shaffer has taught a section of sixth grade English throughout his tenure as Middle School Director, upon assuming his new role he hopes not only to teach more Middle School classes but also to teach in the Upper School. “I plan on teaching a senior elective, both in the fall and in the spring,” said Shaffer.

As to whether or not he will retain his well-documented ability to be everywhere simultaneously, Shaffer simply said, “Yes. Yes I will.” Some things never change.

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Cha-Cha-Cha-CHIA MFS Teacher Builds "Chia House"

Chia house

MFS Science Department member Andrea Robinson is not only a biology teacher, but also an inventor. She made a “chia house” that is based on the same concept as the commercial Chia Pet, but she used her own method rather than the company’s. Robinson made the model house by putting chia seeds in sponges and then bending the sponge to emulate the shape of a house.

Robinson says, “This chia home is a replica of the earth house I want to live in one day”.  If Robinson’s wish comes true, then one day in the near future, not only will her house be unique, it will also help the earth by giving the planet more air.

Many people around the school were surprised and fascinated by the concept of a chia seed house, and were even more amazed when they saw a picture of it.  Ms. Applegate, who works in the business office, said “that’s a pretty neat invention.”  Mrs. Edmund said that she liked the idea because it’s “good for the environment.”  Even students were taken by the invention. Senior Adam Mohsen-Breen said, “I would love to live in a house made of chia seeds.”  Megan Le can even imagine herself living in a chia house and feeling “like a fairy princess.”

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UnderiNFLated

edsaid

Ed Said: Edward Gelernt’s comments on the world

This week: DeflateGate

At least during Watergate Nixon had the courtesy to go on air.

This past Super Bowl ended in thrilling fashion.  Jermaine Kearse’s pinball 33-yard catch with 1:06 left set up Marshawn “Beast Mode” Lynch’s surefire go-ahead touchdown, which never happened because a boneheaded Seahawks playcall allowed Patriots cornerback Malcolm Butler to make a spectacular interception.  Ensuing was a nail-in-the-coffin encroachment penalty on Seattle lineman Michael Bennett.  Shortly thereafter was the awarding of the Stanley Cup, which was rushed to Arizona when the football players began playing hockey and engaged in an all-out line brawl.

Yet even in light of all this drama, Bill Belichek still faced questions about DeflateGate in his postgame press conference.

The scandal filled the news for the two weeks leading up to the Super Bowl, as questions about whodunit pervaded the football cosmos.  Interviews, videos, and speculation were among the “evidence” used to “convict” or “exonerate” Belichek, Patriots’ quarterback Tom Brady, the New England equipment manager, the Seahawks, the refs, the fans, Left Shark, President Obama, Michael Jackson’s doctor, or anyone else whom people love and hate.

But whether Tom Brady asked for his footballs to be inflated to 13.5 psi, 11.5 psi, or 86.2 kPa is at this point as irrelevant as the irrefutable superiority of the metric system is to Americans.  The organization facing public outcry ought not be the Patriots.  It’s the NFL that needs to take the heat.

According to league rules, each team keeps 12 footballs in its locker room before each game.  After the referees check the balls’ pressure to verify that they are within the legal range of 12.5-13.5 psi, the teams have enough time before opening kickoff to do whatever they want with their balls with no one watching.

This entirely unnecessary provision is not remotely the only instance of pigskin pig barrel rules.  When Lynch didn’t get handed the ball in the waning moments of the Super Bowl, he was unhappy with the situation.  He planned initially to wear pimped-out gold cleats, but because of the NFL’s strictly enforced uniform color policy, he had to wear boring black-and-green cleats when not getting the handoff.  Had he refused to comply, Lynch would not have been allowed to play until he took off his flashy shoes.

His initial punishment would have been more severe than that of Ray Rice.  Let that sink in.

This past season brought to line only a few examples of the absurdity underlying the operation of the No Fair League.  From Roger Goodell’s spectacular mishandling of the aforementioned Ray Rice scandal to Dez Bryant’s should-have-been-catch in the playoffs, the league that grosses over $9 billion and is the weekly engrosser of the nation’s attention is gross.  Its absurd rules, inefficient operation, and command of blind love in spite of its terrible reputation is rivaled only by the US government.  Perhaps Goodell should run for president – our economy might benefit from some deflation.

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What’s Next? Super Bowl Recap and NFL Offseason Preview

In a game that will surely be remembered for many years to come, the New England Patriots won their fourth Super Bowl in thirteen years when they defeated the Seattle Seahawks 28-24 two Sundays ago.

The game will forever be remembered for Seattle’s questionable play call that resulted in an interception with just over 20 seconds left in regulation. Seattle’s Jermaine Kearse  had just made a miraculous, circus catch that got them to within the ten yard line with just over 20 seconds left on the clock. Seattle then ran a running play that got them to the two yard line. What ensued may have been the worst play call in NFL history. Armed with a timeout and three chances to score, Seattle decided to throw the ball on second down, rather than choosing to run the ball with their elite back, Marshawn Lynch. This turned out to be a disaster, as Patriots cornerback Malcolm Butler jumped the slant route and intercepted the ball. New England then drew an encroachment penalty on Seattle, and kneeled the ball to secure the victory. Seattle head coach Pete Carroll has deservingly come under heavy scrutiny for the play call, as it was a stupid, and really indefensible call.

So what will the offseason bring for each of these teams? Seattle’s top priority this offseason will be re-signing their franchise quarterback Russell Wilson to a long-term contract. Multiple media outlets have speculated that his new contract could be the richest in NFL history, with an average annual salary of $25 million. In order to create sufficient cap room to sign Wilson to such a massive deal, Seattle will have to make tough decisions regarding some of their talented pending free agents, including guard James Carpenter, defensive tackle Kevin Williams, legion of boom member Byron Maxwell, and Super Bowl XLVIII MVP linebacker Malcolm Smith. Most, if not all, of these talented players will have to be let go to create the near $20 million in cap room needed to give Wilson a massive contract extension. However, Seattle has their core players signed long term, and will be able to be a force in the league for years to come.

As for New England, this offseason will be an important one for them. New England will likely decline the $20 million option on Darrelle Revis’ contract, making him a free agent. New England would love to retain the elite cornerback at a reduced price, but it is likely that a plethora of teams will have interest in him, which will make it difficult to re-sign him. New England will also need to re sign pro bowl safety Devin McCourty, running back Shane Vereen, linebacker Akeem Ayers, and kicker Stephen Gostkowski. The Patriots will surely be the team beat in the AFC East next season, and it is very possible that they will once again contend for a Super Bowl title.

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Prayers and Pistols The Militant Misrepresentation of Islam

The terrorist group known as ISIS continues to prove itself an organization of traitors to the religion they pretend to defend. Islam in its true form is undoubtedly a religion of peace, a religion adhered to by millions of faithful Muslims, including several people in the MFS community. The word “Muslim” itself literally means “one who submits to God.” But ISIS’s new comment that “We will reach America. Know also that we will cut off your [President Obama’s] head in the White House and transform America into a Muslim province,” is a reminder to all of us that Islamic radicals are not true Muslims in any sense of the word. Yet with all the terrorist groups who claim the mantle of Islam, from Al-Qaeda to ISIS to Boko Haram, everyday people are left unsure where the line between faithful person ends and violent zealot begins. To offer some personalized clarity on the matter, I sat down with a Muslim student, Senior Adam Mohsen-Breen, to get his take on the struggle within Islam.

WordsWorth: How do you personally define Islam, and more specifically your own faith?

Adam Mohsen-Breen: In general, I think Islam is pretty similar to other religions, like Christianity and Judaism. We all believe in one God. There are some differences in daily stuff, like praying five times a day, but I don’t personally follow that anyway! I pray maybe once a week. For me faith is very casual— I believe in God, but [the rules are] not a strict thing.

WW: Why do you think extremist Islamic groups have been so successful in the Middle East?

AMB: I think a big factor has been American policy. We’ve had troops there for twenty years. A whole generation of people have grown up seeing Americans as nothing but killers, who’ve killed their friends. I wouldn’t say that it’s the fault of America, but American policy has certainly influenced why we’ve had so many conflicts in the region.

WW: Do you think that actual Islamic doctrine has anything to do with extremism?

AMB: Absolutely not. I think it’s a perversion of the faith. It’s a cover by the extremist groups in terms of hiding the faults within Muslim communities.

WW: ISIS recently released a statement saying “We will reach America. Know also that we will cut off your [President Obama’s] head in the White House and transform America into a Muslim province.” As both a Muslim and an American, how do you respond to that remark?

AMB: In his last speech, I think President Obama really said it best when he reminded the nation that ISIS isn’t really an existential threat for America. Right now, they’ve just been grabbing oil fields in the Middle East. They’re not truly creating a Muslim caliphate. The media has overblown [the threat ISIS poses] to American society.

WW: Do you think Islam itself can ever remove the stain of the extremists giving it a bad name? If so, how?

AMB: More than anything, it’s just going to take time. We need time for average American citizens to get to know Muslims in the States. Islam is the fastest growing religion in the world, so as more and more people meet Muslims personally, and see that we’re not anything different, but just normal people, we’ll see that change. Only time can get rid of that fear.

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