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Warrior Woof 11/7/18: Ranger

Our first featured pet is Ranger! Ranger lives with me (Katie Coviello), Susie, who’s a freshman, and my mom, a Spanish teacher here at Matignon. I don’t like to say I’m his owner; we’re (best) friends. Ranger is a Sheltie-Chihuahua mix and is three and a half years old (his half birthday is coming up on November 21st). Ranger’s favorite toy is a stuffed chili pepper and a rope called “my toy.” (We made a mistake while training him to respond to the names of his different toys.) During the day, Ranger can be found sitting in strange places, sleeping in blankets that aren’t his, jumping through hoops at the dog park, or harassing people at Market Basket or Lowe’s, his favorite stores. Ranger may be less than two feet tall, but he has the biggest heart of any dog around!

 

 

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The PSAT: Standardized Testing Dissected

This past October 10th, Sophomores and Juniors across the United States participated in the PSAT/NMSQT (Preliminary Scholastic Assessment Test/ National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test), a nation wide standardized test issued in school by the College Board. This test serves the purpose of assessing students skills in order to, help prepare them for the SAT, qualify them for National Merit Scholarships, and help students consider which AP courses to take. The Test is divided into 4 timed sections, all multiple choice. Students are given 60 minutes for the English comprehension section, which is comprised of articles and excerpts to read through and interpret, students are given 60 minutes.The writing section tests students on grammar and the ability to observe or create structure within a paragraph or sentence, students receive 35 minutes for this portion. There are two math portions, math without a calculator, which tests skills in basic algebra, geometry, and mathematical principles and math with a calculator focuses more on data sets, graphs, and algebra 2. Although calculator is in the name of the part, one is not required for any of the problems. No calculator and calculator math are 25 and 45 minutes respectively and both have 4 write in answer questions using a special scantron to input numbers. Factoring in breaks the test takes roughly 3 hours.

For this test my fellow students and I were required to arrive at school at 8 am. Students were given the test in homeroom, and we were required to bring two #2 pencils. Our homeroom teacher passed out test booklets and answer sheets. Before the test began we all filled out our information on our answer sheets and reviewed the rules of the test. Attached to the answer sheet is a release form to sign stating that you will adhere to all the rules of the PSAT/NMSQT. The test is made up of reading, writing, no calculator math, and calculator math, in that order. A common complaint about the reading section is that many questions will ask for the reasoning behind a previous answer. A useful trick I used on these problems was to use the multiple choice reasons to my advantage, using not only the text evidence but whichever answer and reasoning best fit together. The writing section has the second shortest time limit causing stress for many students. A tip I and other students found useful was to focus on the underlined words rather than reading the whole passage at once, as not all of the text is necessary to read unless specified in a question. The no calculator math portion is daunting however if you brush up on your basic properties of algebra and geometry it can be much easier. The calculator math portion gives more time to complete each problem, and allows use of a calculator, however many of the problems take more time to solve using the calculator. A tip many juniors gave me was to try to solve everything without a calculator and also use it to check work. In the 21st century teenagers are connected to people across the country through social media, as such PSAT memes, images of text posts that make fun of or reference the passages or mathematical problems featured in that years test are a popular topic of discussion. Although the memes are tempting, sharing the test’s contents is strictly prohibited and is a breach of the release form. Upon finding out a student breaks the agreement, College Board will cancel their test scores, the point can be made that contracts signed by minors are not legally binding, but the counter point can be made that College Board is not legally required to send you your scores. Memes aside, I do not endorse sharing content, having your scores cancelled before your test is even graded is like leaving a bad review on a product before purchasing it.

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Class of 2022 Elections

“Freshman class is not only a grade, but one fourth of our Matignon Community”

The freshman class elections were held during mod C on Thursday October 18th. The freshman all met in the auditorium to hear their peers campaign on why they should be elected to be a class officer. The senior class President, Secretary, Treasurer and Intermediary were in attendance. Mr. Welsh opened the assembly with encouraging words for all of the candidates. Then, the senior class officers each explained what their respective role does. No one ran for class intermediary. Any students that do not win the spot they are running for, will have the option of campaigning the student council for the spot of intermediary. The council will choose who receives that spot, not the students.  

The first spot to be announced was Treasurer. Two students ran and each one made the promise of not foolishly spending the money that is to be raised. Secretary had the same turnout, two students. A common theme with the candidates for Secretary was that they wanted to “connect with their fellow students” and “let their opinions be heard”. All four candidates had prepared speeches and made the point that they wanted to serve their classmates.

The vice president spot on the council had three candidates. A recurring theme with all of the candidates, not only vice presidential candidates, seems to be connecting with the student body. The students running for the VP spot on the council focused on topics that ranged from yearbook planning, Tag days, and feminism. Each student had a sound and hard case on why they should be the next student body vice president.

When it came time for the Senior President to introduce the freshman presidential candidates, a surprising five students campaigned for the spot. Some candidates had previously served on a student body while others had never gone to a private school before. Each student brought something original to the table.

The voting results were scheduled to be announced on Friday October 19th, during the afternoon announcements. Somehow the voting system could allow students to vote more than once. Out of a class of around 90 students the council received 117 votes, a whopping 123% turn out. A re-vote was called to take place over the weekend. At the end of the day, on Monday, the winners were announced: Abby Reddivari for Treasurer, Madison Fallon for Secretary, Domenic Hoxholli for Vice President, and Gracie O’Connell for President. Congrats to all of the freshman class officials and all of the candidates who ran!

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Block Day Schedule

The new block day schedule has just been incorporated into our school. On Thursdays and Wednesdays all mods are an hour and a half long. On Wednesdays we have just the first four mods. If we were to attend all our mods that school day would be much longer than its supposed to be! Then, on Thursdays we have the next three mods, each for one hour and thirty minutes as well, and the occasional assembly mod. Just like the regular schedule, the block days also have rotations. For example, if on Wednesday we start with Mod A, next Wednesday we will begin with Mod B. There are varying opinions about this new block schedule. Some people like it because much more can be accomplished during these long periods. For instance, many science classes have labs on these days because there is just the right amount of time to complete them. However, other people dislike these long mods.Others say that the these long blocks are too long and tiresome. I agree with both opinions. The block mods are great for labs and tests because we get enough time to complete them. But staying in one class for an hour and a half can be quite boring. I would say I am more in favor of the block mods because not only do we get enough time for certain assignments and tests, we also don’t have to do homework for every single class everyday since we only have four or three classes during these days. Overall, I think the new block day schedule is a great idea and I look forward to its continued use in our school!  

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Theatre Review: Dirty Dancing

Dirty Dancing Returns… Again?

By: Angelina Kemmett, ’18

If critics crushed the 1987 movie Dirty Dancing, why would it be revived on stage?  The answer is simple: decades-long audience adoration that shows no signs of slowing.  In reality, it is not a review from a professional that makes a performance sink or swim, but fan response.  Case in point: the recent ABC network reboot of the movie was universally panned by reviewers and casual watchers alike, who were skeptical even before its airing.  Enthusiasts of the original movie just could not find it in them to enjoy this rendition.  Though Dirty Dancing: The Classic Story Live on Stage does not pose all the same problems as the ABC live version, it is not free of missteps.

Dirty Dancing starts off almost right away with a scene transition and does not take a break the rest of the show.  These shifts are frequent and jarring, often making for a narrative pace nearly as offbeat as Baby Houseman before her dance lessons.  Erica Philpot provides dazzling vocals as Elizabeth (especially in her rendition of “We Shall Overcome”), but her songs often seem out of place, merely used to cover up the moving of various set pieces.  The dancing that accompanies other set changes makes much more sense, given that Dirty Dancing should be, like its source material, a play about dance, not a musical–a distinction some cannot seem to grasp.

Not all acting is created equal, as one finds in the audience of Dancing. The leads overact the show’s drama, replacing emotion with monotonous yelling.  A handful of lines are briefly started incorrectly, then fixed on a second try. This is strange to see in a play where many of the lines are taken directly from the movie it is based on–a play I could lip sync at parts just from having seen its preceding film.  In addition, Kaleigh Courts (Frances “Baby” Houseman) struggles to open a door and seems to be cursed with a broken dress. She handles her wardrobe malfunction like the professional she is, keeping her cool and coming on for the performance at the Sheldrake Hotel with the frock looking to be pinned together in the back.  Another character quickly steps on stage and back off again, appearing to have mixed up his cues.

What does everyone presumably go to see a play called Dirty Dancing for?  The dancing!  In that area, there is no disappointment.  Every dancer, from principal character to ensemble, is tremendously skilled.  Their training shows in each effortless step. Anaïs Blake shines as Penny, stealing the show with her incomparable stage presence and dance prowess.

What Courts and Aaron Patrick Craven (Johnny Castle) lack in dramatic performance, they make up for in comedy, striking its timing like that of their dancing.  Courts’s physical comedy is especially hilarious, as she shakes her hips without rhythm and Craven’s character eventually joins in on her goofy hand motions. Other notable comedians are Rick Grossman (Max Kellerman), Owen Russell (Neil Kellerman), and Demitra Pace (Lisa Houseman).  Nickolaus Colõn’s (Billy Kosteki) voice, not showcased until almost the end, is unexpected and worth the wait.  He hits every note beautifully, causing a rush of applause.

The finale nearly erases every one of my issues with the play.  “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life” is infectious. Everyone in the audience claps along.  There are audible cheers as not one, but two love stories culminate in possibly the most famous dance sequence of all time–the second being the secondary storyline of Billy and Elizabeth, the two principle singers of the show, whose pining for each other during set changes leads to their eventual union, the best thing to come out of the play’s numerous transitions. Neil Kellerman is given more dimension, leaving Kellerman’s to be a Freedom Rider.  Most importantly, the “Dirty Dancing lift” is completely flawless.  Seeing that happen in real life is one of the best theatre experiences I have ever had.  If you do not believe me, go see the show for yourself and let the thunderous cheers of the audience tell you.  Dirty Dancing is worth it if even solely for that one scene.

Despite my gripes, I enjoyed Dirty Dancing.  It was mostly faithful to the movie, and I found myself invested in aspects of the story while watching that I had not been before.  It was a great deal of fun, if not the best play I have ever seen. As Hugh Jackman says in The Greatest Showman: “A theatre critic who can’t find the joy in theatre–now who’s the fraud?”  This critic will always have a great time at the theatre; if I could not, why would I keep going?  If you give this Dirty Dancing a chance, I assure you that you will find joy, too.
Dirty Dancing is playing at Boston’s Boch Center Shubert Theatre through June 17.

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Ava’s Goodbye

Well, the time has come for me to log out. Working on the Mirror has been a dream – a dream that Angelina and I created together. We started with a lot of ideas – meeting at a coffee shop over the summer and scribbling them all down. Although many were too ambitious to start with, they reflected our enthusiasm for this project. In the fall when we finally got our website and club started, it began to feel like our dream was being put into action.

The execution was a lot harder than we thought it would be and getting ready for a website release wasn’t as linear as we hoped. We needed time to develop ideas and build a structure that would last. I hope that’s what we did. We hit some road blocks, and some articles were written way before our website went live. But our staff remained dedicated and patient as we went along, creating content that made our website an instant success when it was completed in January. It felt amazing to publish our website, everything we had been doing had been leading up to that moment. Finally, all the hard work our staff had put in was available for everyone to see. With every organization like this one, there are things to work out, but we successfully continue to update our paper and publish the lovely news that everyone works on.

It feels weird to leave the Mirror so soon after its creation – part of me feels so unfinished. As it continues to grow, I know there will be so much more to do, more changes and improvements to make. I know the future is bright for the Mirror and part of me wishes I could stay just to ensure the success. But I’m not worried. We’re leaving our hard work in the charge of Gina and Maria, two upcoming seniors that will see the Mirror through even more growth. I know that along with the rest of the staff, they will build the newspaper up. They will move mountains and shatter glass ceilings – I can’t wait to see the future of the Mirror.

We were the beginning. I’m so proud of the simple idea that turned into several ideas that turned into a club and eventually into newspaper. Spreadsheets and assignments turned into articles, website themes turned into an online paper – this was the beginning of the Matignon Mirror as it exists.  It was the beginning, but only the beginning. I’m proud of the beginning, but I can’t wait to see the next step.

But anyways, this is goodbye for me. Thank you for supporting us along this journey. To our wonderful staff, thank you for all your hard work and dedication, for all of the amazing talents you’ve used here, for putting up with our shaky start, thank you. Thank to everyone for reading the Mirror, for following us on twitter, for clicking our links, for scrolling through articles or looking at photos, for enjoying the creative submissions, or sharing any of our content. You’ve made it possible for us to create the dream, and you make it possible for the reality to continue. Thank you for being here at the beginning, I hope you continue to support the Mirror as it grows. I know I will. Thank you, and goodbye.

-Ava Berarducci