1 T H E December 20, 2004 PROPH ET September 11 Memorial Dedicated ON MONDAY, DECEMBER 6, THE UNION Catholic September 11 Memorial was dedicated. The memorial has been an ongoing project of UC alumnus Teddy McKeown ’04. “Ted’s perseverance in pursuing his project had left a lasting legacy for Union Catholic, said humanities teacher Mr. Cahill, “and a great way for our students to remember the September 11th tragedy.” The ceremony began with Boy Scouts of McKeown’s troop presenting the colors. McKeown spoke about what made him decide to start this project, which took him almost a year to complete. “Those who died represented each of us, for they Nicole Straffi came from every walk of life,” he said. “Like us, they had dreams.” McKeown explained that the project was part of this Eagle Scout requirement. Even though he did not know anyone directly affected by September 11, he wanted to make an “everlasting mark” on UC. The stone, which reads “In loving memory of those lost on the tragic day of 9-11-01. God bless America,” was blessed by Deacon Lynch, and the memorial was accepted for the school by Principal Sister Percylee Hart, R.S.M. More than forty teachers, students, and Boy Scouts attended the moving ceremony. “I was (continued on page 6) UNION CATHOLIC REGIONAL HIGH SCHOOL December 20, 2004 In this issue: Mrs. Schurtz’s Christmas message 2 UC’s charitable clubs 3 Faculty college guide 4–5 Honor roll 8–9 Sophomore Day of Recollection 10–11 Sports 13–15 Christmas, Christmas, Christmas! 16–28 Movie reviews 29–30 Calendar December 22 Early dismissal December 23– January 2 Expressions and Momentum Take First Place Laura Mortkowitz, Katelyn Primich, and Karen Rivera UNION CATHOLIC’S EXPRESSIONS AND Momentum received first place awards in the American Scholastic Press Association’s (ASPA) annual competition for last year’s literary magazine and yearbook. The ASPA receives entries from high schools around the country and awards points in certain categories: content coverage, organization, design, presentation, and creativity. Expressions’ success was very rewarding for its new moderator, English teacher Mr. Leib, and three coeditors, Cheryl Ritter ’05, Ewa Hausbrandt ’05, and Lauren Moore ’04. “It was hard last year because there was a new moderator and new editors,” said Ritter. “Over the last year we’ve learned from mistakes and been able to improve Expressions. We hope to make it better.” Returning co-editors Ritter and Hausbrandt (continued on page 7) School closed for Christmas Vacation December 25 Christmas Day January 1 New Year’s Day January 3 School reopens The Prophet 2 To the UC Community: Christmas has always been my favorite holiday. Growing up in Bethlehem (Pennsylvania), it was almost impossible not to love the holiday. A huge Christmas tree was prominently placed on the bridge connecting the north and south sides of town. Trees adorned all of the posts on the bridge and at the four corners of intersections around town. Wreaths of four red candles marked the four weeks of Advent and were placed on each of the three bridges spanning the Lehigh River. Candles shone in the windows of Moravian College and in the homes of the townspeople. A life size crèche was located outside the library. Last and, clearly, not least was the star. Atop the mountain sat the illuminated Star of Bethlehem. When the scene was transformed by snow, it was a scene out of “It’s a Wonderful Life,” magical and miraculous. Memories of Christmases past! Christmas is still my favorite holiday. I am still awed by that Star. The Star of my birthplace reminds me of the star that shone in Bethlehem, Palestine, two centuries ago. The celestial star heralded the dawn of a new age, an age of peace and good will. It was a beacon to wise men looking for their way. It provided hope and direction. It gave light where there was darkness. It proved that miracles do happen to those who believe. May the light and hope of that star shine in your life during the Christmas season reminding you of the love of Jesus. Mrs. Schurtz, Director of Campus Ministry The Prophet is a publication of Union Catholic Regional High School, Scotch Plains, New Jersey. Letters to the Editor Want to share your opinions in The Prophet? The Prophet accepts letters from all members of the Union Catholic Community. Letters to The Prophet must be signed. However, we may withhold your name upon request. The Prophet reserves the right to edit letters for clarity and length. Letters may be placed in The Prophet mailbox in the main office or given to any editor. Contributions (articles, photographs, cartoons, etc.) are also accepted. Please see Mr. Leib in Room 206 or an editor for details. Editor-in-chief: Laura Mortkowitz News Editor: Megan Stahlberg Features Editor: Liz Colombo Amanda Arciero April McKee Stefanie Messercola Sara Backof Amanda Parker Kaitlin Butler Johnna Plunkett Lee Comeau Katelyn Primich Toni Anne Corsi Karen Rivera Kristin Davie Merissa Rose Nicole Desiato Jillian Hernandez Marisol Ruiz Jasmine Marshall Nicole Straffi Ryan Wallace Ashley Martin Ally Walls Faculty Advisor: Mr. Philip Leib 3 December 20, 2004 The Spirit of Charity in UC Clubs Marisol Ruiz IN THE PAST MONTHS, UNION CATHOLIC CLUBS have been hosting and participating in a variety of charitable events. Various clubs serve those around them, whether they are classmates or strangers. The Environmental Club The Environmental Club, based on students’ responsibility to “act in harmony and interdependence with all creation” as stated in its mission statement, has performed several acts of charity since the beginning of the school year. On Saturday, October 16, the club directed “The Union Catholic Litter Pick-Up Day.” Fifty-one UC students and faculty took part in the day’s activities, picking up litter on school grounds and recycling. The Department of Environmental Protection’s Clean Communities Program contributed $6 to the club for each student who participated. In turn, the club will donate the money to families in need. The Environmental Club also held a fundraiser sponsored by the Human-i-Tees Company. Each item sold resulted in the conservation of ten square feet of rainforest. The club received $5 for each t-shirt sold and 50% of the profit for other items. Students who sold at least one item contributed to the preservation of an additional 100 square feet of rainforest and received a personalized reward certificate. All the money raised by the club will be donated to the Christmas drive “Toys for Tots—Coats for Kids.” “If we train our students to be environmentally conscious, we are helping them to take care of the earth, even if it’s just by planting a tree,” stated Sister Mary Raymond, moderator for the Environmental Club. SMAC The Student Movement Against Cancer (SMAC), a new club at UC, has taken part in many acts of charity this school year. The club’s first fundraiser, Denim Day, was held on Friday, October 8. Megan Dyckman ’07, the executive director of SMAC, stated the fundraiser was held to participate in the Lee National Denim Day, “a national fundraising day, where companies around the country collect $5 from employees who wear denim.” Similarly the group hosted a UC Denim Day, collecting $1 from anyone who wore denim. More than $800 was collected, including donations by freshmen who were not required to pay since it was Freshmen Field Day. The money was donated to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. The club plans to hold a dance in early March, with the funds raised being used as donations for cancer research and institutions. The club also is planning a fundraiser called Tape a Teacher for the spring pep rally, where three or four teachers will be taped to the wall and students will buy tape to see which teacher will last the longest stuck to the wall. SMAC was founded with the intent to raise money for cancer research and treatment centers, and making students aware that they can make a difference. The most important fundraiser for SMAC will be The Relay for Life, an overnight event to raise money for the American Cancer Society. Teams of people will come together at schools all around the country and take turns walking or running laps. Cancer survivors will run first; for the remainder of the day the objective for each team will be to try and keep at least one team member on the track at every moment. “The Relay for Life represents the hope that those lost to cancer will never be forgotten,” according to the American Cancer Society’s website, “that those who face cancer will (continued on page 6) The Prophet 4 UC’s Faculty College Guide Kaitlin Butler THANKS TO ASSISTANT PRINCIPAL MRS. McCoid, Union Catholic students pressured for college decisions have a new resource to turn to. Called “Union Catholic Faculty and Staff College/University Resources,” the Faculty Resource (available soon on the UC website) lists staff members, their colleges, majors, degrees, and other extra information. The list will be updated frequently as the information changes or expands. “The guide is a resource for students so they can talk to teachers and learn what their schools were like,” said Mrs. McCoid. When students discovered that she attended Boston College, they were more likely to approach her with questions that Institution Bloomfield College Boston College Caldwell College Chestnut Hill College Clark University College of Saint Elizabeth DeSales University Florida State University Hamilton College Hiram College Kean University Faculty/Staff Member Mr. Venezia Mrs. McCoid Miss Scutieri Miss Piasecki Mrs. Lubin Miss Webber Mrs. Andrews Mrs. Vogt Mr. McManus Mrs. Addison Miss Webber Mr. Leib Mrs. Andrews Mrs. Doherty Mrs. Caffrey Mr. Wright Mr. Bruno Mrs. Schurtz Mrs. Carolan Mrs. Addison Mr. Frio Mr. Gresco Mrs. Dellanno Miss Eger Mrs. Hofmann Mrs. Nunes could not be answered with a college brochure. Mrs. McCoid found that other teachers shared her experience and thought that this information should be more accessible to students. “Students can learn about the schools through UC faculty,” said religion teacher Mr. Tanyag. Both seniors and juniors can benefit from the Faculty Resource and all students can learn a little bit more about the faculty. Even extra eager sophomores and freshmen can look through the list and pick up a few ideas. “We could relate to our teachers better,” said Edward Sagendorf ’07. “Now we can learn even more about them and what they were like.” Major(s) Adjunct Professor Sociology, Criminal Justice Degree(s) earned BA Assumption College for Sisters Mr. Wright Elementary and Moderate Special Needs Education, Psychology BA Computer Science Social Studies, Elementary Education Chemistry English Educational Technology Elementary Education Liberal Arts Acting English, Psychology (minor) English, History BS BA BS MA MA in progress BA MFA BA BA English, Secondary Ed BA Mathematics BA Political Science, History BA Holocaust Studies 6 credits Secondary Education, English, Philosophy Psychology Speech and Theatre Acting Music Exercise Science English, Philosophy (minor) Dance, Religion Geoscience Math Education BA BA BFA BFA MS BA BA BA BA, MA LaSalle University Montclair State University Muhlenberg College New Jersey City University 5 Institution Northwestern University Rowan University Rutgers University Douglass College Salisbury University Seton Hall University Faculty/Staff Member Mr. Leib Mr. Cahill Mrs. Dixon Mrs. Tomshe Mrs. O’Donnell Mrs. Dixon Mrs. McCoid Miss Piasecki Mr. Wright Mrs. Ferraro Mr. Mariano Mrs. Vogt Mr. Fay Mr. Wright Sr. Catherine Springfield College St. Francis University St. Peter’s College Mrs. Whitehead Mr. Gresco Mme. Brennan Mr. Reagan, Jr. Major(s) Law History Psychology December 20, 2004 Degree(s) earned JD BA MA BA BS BA History, Political Science Health, Physical Education Psychology, Sociology (minor) Education Administration MA Education Administration MA Religious Studies BA Psychology, Secondary Ed English BA PreMedicine/Biology BS Marketing, Business Administration BS Math; Science Comprehensive Education BS Theology, Scripture MA Social Studies, English, Religious Studies, Moral Theology BA, MA Physical Education BS Health and Fitness, Physical Education BS French BA Education Administration and Supervision MA Telecommunications Engineering English, Journalism English Mathematics Family Studies Mathematics, Philosophy (minor) Geology ME BA BA BS BS BS Stevens Institute of Technology Mr. Fay Trinity College University of Delaware Mrs. Caffrey Miss Wood University of Mary Washington Mr. Marino Mr. Reagan, Jr. University of Maryland University of Scranton Mrs. Mullin Miss Berlinghieri University of Wisconsin—Madison Mrs. Hofmann Walden University Mrs. Carolan Some graduate credit MA in progress Curriculum and Instruction Therefore the Lord Himself will give you this sign: the virgin shall be with child, and bear a son, and shall name him Immanuel. Is. 7:14 The Prophet 6 projects,” plans on having two blood drives, one on December 7 and one on April 5. Students must be at least seventeen years of age, and must weigh at least 110 pounds to participate in the drive. Blood donations will be made to people in shelters, or anyone else who may be in need of blood. On November 18, the Health Club encouraged students to give up smoking as part of the Great American Smoke Out. Students signed up with a buddy in the nurse’s office and made the decision to quit smoking. Club members also urged students to participate in nonsmoking activities during the day, and ignore the urge to smoke by chewing gum. For World AIDS Day, December 1, the theme was “Women and AIDS.” Club members made and sold pins to students, and the proceeds were donated to a local AIDS organization. Although the club has already helped a lot, Mrs. Ball, the school nurse and club moderator, feels more needs to be done. French Club On November 22, the French club hosted a bake sale during lunch. French 4 seniors ran the sale, though all members helped with the baking. The club earned more than $300, which was matched by an anonymous donor. All of the proceeds go to the Bed and Blanket Campaign of Covenant House, New York, a refuge for runaways. Before Christmas vacation, the club will host the Christmas Luminaria, a Christmas liturgy, during which the members of the club present luminaria, fashioned after French lampions. Charitable Clubs (continued from page 3) be supported and that one day cancer will be eliminated.” The event will take place on May 20 at Scotch Plains–Fanwood High School and UC will be joined by Scotch Plains–Fanwood and Westfield High Schools. The Relay for Life raised a total of $100,000 last year. “It feels great to be able to help people who work so hard every single day to try to find a cure to a disease that affects everyone in some way or another,” said Dyckman. Latin Caribbean Club In October, the Latin/Caribbean Club held a two week clothing drive for poor people in Nicaragua. Mrs. Serioux, moderator of the Latin/Caribbean Club, began the clothing drive when she received a newsletter from El Centro Hispano Americano in Plainfield, a nonprofit organization that helps immigrants and raises funds annually to send two shipments to Nicaragua, one in October and the one in May. The center asks for items such as clothing, office equipment, toys, tools, and bicycles. The center was able to send a large shipment of donations. About ten students from UC participated, including five members of the club. An orphanage for teen girls in Nicaragua sent back pictures of themselves with the items that were sent in gratitude for the donations. In December, the club will have a water project for Ecuador. Students will build a large water container in the shape of a whale providing water for eighty needy families in Ecuador. “Last year was not too great, but this year we are trying to improve and do at least three charitable events,” said Mrs. Serioux. “Acts of charity teach students to give and share with the poor. Charity helps them understand that there are people who are willing to wear donated clothes, even if they are already used.” Health Club The Health Club, which “encourages students to be active in community September 11 Memorial (continued from page 1) very proud of Teddy and his accomplishment,” said Amanda Bleka 05. “It will touch many people, and will be something for everyone to enjoy for a long time.” “Members of the class of 2005 were freshmen on 9-11,” said Director of Development Mrs. Thorton. “It’s nice that before 7 they graduate they have a memorial they can visit.” Since the seniors experienced the tragedy while at school, this event was especially important to them. “I clearly remember exactly where I was when the attacks happened,” said Kelly Rapolas 05. “It was the first time I felt like I belonged at UC because of the way that everyone bonded together.” December 20, 2004 ten points somewhere.” Mrs. Dwyer had moderated Expressions until her retirement in 2003. For several years the magazine has won a first place. “I was worried,” admitted Mr. Leib. “Mrs. Dwyer had set a very high standard. I was very pleased with the results.” The school yearbook, Momentum, received a first place for the ASPA’s annual yearbook competition, with 850 points. For the last four years the UC yearbook has received first place under English and yearbook teacher Ms. Webber. “The editing by the students really helped,” said Ms. Webber. This year’s goal for the yearbook staff is to “once again come in first”; however they would like to score higher. Laura Cash ’05 and Ali Steinbach ’05, coeditors and the only returning staff members, hope to lead the yearbook to another first place. “Organization and getting this done by the proper deadline is what made last year’s yearbook such a success,” said Steinbach. “Creativity is definitely an important factor in making the yearbook successful.” Expressions and Momentum (continued from page 1) intend to lead Expressions to another first place award this year. “They did a wonderful job [last year],” said Mr. Leib. “I’m hoping they’ll do even better this year. I’ll be giving them more responsibility, but I’m sure they’ll be up to the job.” Receiving 940 out of 1000 points, Expressions won its first place award and finished just ten points short of first place with special merit. Moderator Mr. Leib’s goal for this year’s magazine is to “make up those The angel went on to say to her: “Do not fear, Mary. You have found favor with God. You shall conceive and bear a son and give him the name Jesus.” Lk 1:30-31 The Prophet 8 400 Make Honor Roll Nicole Desiato ON NOVEMBER 30 AND DECEMBER 1, 400 STUdents were acknowledged for making the Honor Roll: 27 seniors, 32 juniors, 40 sophomores, and 43 freshmen made First Honor Roll; 61 seniors, 78 juniors, 46 sophomores, and 77 freshmen made Second Honor Roll. “The trend has been that the largest number of students make honor roll in the first marking period,” said Assistant Principal Mrs. McCoid. Because of the large number of students honored, the first marking period Honor Roll Breakfast was held on two days. Students and their guests gathered to listen to Principal Sister Percylee Hart, R.S.M., Assistant Principal Mrs. Andrews, and Junior Guidance Counselor Dr. Jakubik. “We want to honor those students who’ve walked the walk and attain their Honor Roll status for the first marking period,” Sister Percylee said during her speech. Freshmen Guidance Counselor Sister M. Eloise Claire said a prayer and congratulated the freshmen on a job well done in the first marking period. Lastly, there was the traditional reading of the names by Assistant Principal Mr. Reagan (seniors), Dr. Jakubik (juniors), Assistant Principal Miss Piasecki (sophomores), and Guidance Counselor Mrs. Dixon (freshmen). This year, the administration changed the requirements for achieving Honor Roll. Senior First Honors Judy Ann Adan Kara Beaufort Amanda Bleka Jessica Bonafide Laura Cash Thomas Childers Elizabeth Colombo Toni Anne Corsi Katherine Czado Alexis Dedousis Elyssa DiGiovanni Lisa Marie Fedorochko Jennifer Feeley Jo-Arabelle Flores Ewa Hausbrandt Darryl Jon Lasin Karina Linares Mark Manuel Lauren Maseda Thomas Mintel Laura Mortkowitz Vincent Napolitano Patricia Niziolek Kelly Rapolas Cheryl Ritter Alison Steinbach Andrew Timmes Marybeth Tran Junior First Honors Dawn Aliparo Jacqueline Arce Louis Caruso David D’Apolito Last year, the requirements for getting onto First Honor Roll were a GPA of 3.6 and no grade below a B. Second Honor Roll requirements were a GPA of 3.0, no grade below a D, and only one C or C+. This year the requirements are a GPA of 3.75 and no grade below a B for the First Honor Roll, and GPA of 3.25 no Ds, and only one C or C+ for the Second Honor Roll. With the new requirements, getting on the honor roll will be more prestigious than it was before the change was made. “It’s good because it’s supposed to be an exclusive thing, and if everyone gets into the Honor Roll, then it’s not,” said Victoria Deresz ’06. When applications for college are sent, a profile of Union Catholic is also sent, showing colleges what it takes for a UC student to make Honor Roll. “We changed the honor roll requirements to reflect the change in grades being achieved by our population,” said Mrs. McCoid. “We want to make it more rigorous, but people of all levels can still make the honor roll.” Since many UC students will meet the higher standards of a 3.75 and 3.25 GPA, the difference in the number of students making the Honor Roll is insignificant; therefore the same students are being honored at a higher level. The first marking period Honor Rolls: Carolyn Moran Ashley Mujica Danielle O’Brien Nicole Palumbo Angela Richardson Marisol Ruiz Alexandra Slomko Olutomi Sodeke Christopher Varga Mark Vyzas Allyssa Walls Sophomore First Honors Melissa Barat Katherine Bernet Laura Rose Biondi Andrew Brothers Kaitlin Butler Michael Cacoilo Steven Cardadeiro Alison Carulli Elizabeth Casserly Charles Defendorf Brianna Dugan Megan Dyckman Estuardo Erazo Sara Ferreira Kelly Gallucia Heather Heaney Erin Hughes Danielle Kania Olena Lyashchenko Bryan Marques Rebecca Mehringer Dianne Navoa Christina Palumbo Amanda Parker Gina DiCosmo Amy Dooley Kazimierz Filus David Fordham Meaghan Geislinger Bradley Gelles Courtney Harris Lesley Hendricks Kristina Hoover Norah Janson Alexandra Johnson Melanie Kelliher Justin Klosek Matthew Kolar Marissa Mavroudas Katherine McGhee Ashley Meyn Michael Mirza 9 Cintia Pereira Erica Patela Stephanie Rigor Julia Rivas John Rotondo Kimberly Schanz Rakhi Vyas Freshman First Honors Colleen Anderson Stephanie Arrojado Sylvia Balabusta Justin Cogoan Kristin Cassidy Reina Castro Kristen Colletti Michael DiPaolo Jacqueline Dworak Taylor Fields Gabrielle Geller Sedona Horning Nicole Johnson Christopher Jones Michelle Kus Tony LaRocca April Llamas Melanie Magella Michael Mastrola Julie Mohammed Hosam Morsy Gabriela Moura Alexander Niziolek Monica Opliac Alicia Palmieri Prapti Patel Catherine Paternostro Elizabeth Peach Monica Picca Cynthia Ritter Marissa Rondinone Jillian Roth Stephanie Savino Elisabeth Scherer Angela Sessa Nicole Siano James Trollo Nicholas Vislocky Allison Whitefleet Christopher Wytenus Kaitlyn Zofcin Keith Zukowski Senior Second Honors Kenneth Abel Denise Aliparo Sara Backof April Ann Bacunawa Beth Ann Bodek Justin Brennan Danielle Chapla Joseph Cicchino Jenner Cole Chanel Collins Cristin Collucci Megan Conheeney Danielle Cooley Vanessa Cruz Kristin Davie Brian De Oliveira Casandra DePalma Raquel Dominguez Juliana Dos Santos Alexis Duca Kristine Eppinger Kimberly Feil Melissa Ford Jeanine Freitas Kristy Glavasich Leana Gonsalves Louise Gonzalez Paul Goscicki Monica Grabowski Stephen Grabowski Steven Holts Natalia Ikheloa Oliver Joszt Lindsay Keogh Natasha Larrinaga Jasmina Marshall Sophia Rose Mavroudas April McKee Stefanie Messercola Katelyn Murray Caitlan Norton Erin O’Conner Stephanie Pego Amanda Pitts Karen Rivera Alex Rodriguez Gabriel Rojas Merissa Rose Rachel Rota Kyle Schoendorf Kyle Simons Oliver Solano Jason Stafford Megan Stahlberg Nicole Straffi Ashley Styranec Robert Tandoc Ann Jaclyn Te Regina Topping Brian Vasquez Mark Vislocky Nichole Zoller Junior Second Honors Milton Aguirre Carlange Aimé Andrew Ballate Kristin Barko Nicole Battaglia Angela Belotta Michael Bento Julianne Berger Kevin Blaha Jasmine Bolton Mary Bricki Brandon Brown Tarrell Calloway Jonathan Cardadeiro Jessica Catananzi Alexander Cicchino Nicole Cousins Thomas Creanza Shannon Curry Carlos daCosta Nicole Desiato John Digilio Gregory Dorilus Christopher Esperon Gabriel Faria Caitlin Feeley Thomas FitzGibbon Gabriella Gomes Jamal Gordon Bryan Gray Lauren Hahn Kimberly Hannam Pamela Heaney Jackelyn Hernandez Angela Homs Daniel Hudak Katherine Hudak Steven Jacques David King Nicole King Brian Kratky Paul Latham Jill Lee Alyssa Lewandowski Brianne Lojo Bradley Lord Jennifer Loureiro Kevin Lubin Carl Luongo Caitlin Mahler Katherine Martinez Joseph Massaro Stephanie Mateiro Cassandra McLean Jessica Moise Hugo Moras Nicholas Morrisey Christopher Noble Obiajulu Nwizugbo Matthew Oliveto Melissa Patterson Matthew Peters Konrad Piatkiewicz Genna Pinto Stephen Popek Jessica Pribush Katelyn Primich Alexia Regman Steven Reis Paige Rusnock Joanne Schurtz Marc Seemon Michelle Simpson Sabina Soto Victoria Spellman Meredith Spera Anna Vicci Jillian Volkert December 20, 2004 Danielle Zoller Sophomore Second Honors Aerielle Belk Christie Brid Ashley Broderick Elizabeth Capriola Samantha Carbonaro Kevin Cassidy Sophia Cheung Bo Chu Kristian Cortizo Patricia Costa Edgar Cruz Philip D’Apolito Timothy Deegan Danielle Dimperio Kaitlin Eppinger Nicholas Ferreira Marvin Flores Matthew Flynn Kaitlin Foster Sean Gaynor Katherine Gigl Jillian Hernandez Jennifer Holtz Mitsu Illionet Katherine Kaczor Stephanie Kakaletris Andrew Kardach Ana Krawetz Edward Kuspiel Matthew Madurski Sherri-Nichole McLendon Jamie Mills Joseph Mintel Dwight Mitchell Regina Nicoll Darryl Parchment Angelica Poon Katelin Reaney-Perrotti Ruth Reviriego Kaitlyn Ryan Edward Sagendorf Aileen Salle Scott Sinclair Renee Tandoc Danielle Washington Kayla Zoleta Freshman Second Honors Jonathon Abel Stefani Acquisto Kenya Allen Jessica Ballate Christopher Bass Reginald Belcher Kaitlyn Bennett Michael Bowlby Christina Broderick Tiara Brown Michael Buczynski Alexandra Burns Amanda Caraher Kevin Cascone Jordan Colon Thabo D’Anjou Jaime-Leigh Dedousis Nicole DePrimio Mitcha DeSilmar Garrett DiGiovanni Mariangela DiPaola Aaron Doherty Caitlin Dugan Madeline Dulanto Marcus Dyson Charles Eke Eugenio Esquivel Danyla Frazier Jessica Gavilanes Natalie Geacintov Olivia Gerlitz Jeffrey Hand William Hannam James Harbison Samantha Hogan Victoria Hudak Asheem Jacob Robert Jacques Keyana Jones Jennifer Kelliher Ryan Kilkenny Michele Klimowicz Andrew Kocur Christopher Lau Sara Leso John Liguori Margarent Lowenberg Nicholas Marcketta Sara McDermott Megan McHugh Michael McKeown Trevor McPherson Marcella Naguib Jennifer Novle Brian O’Donnell Christopher Obara Aissa Oliva Carlo Palencia Milan Patel Xavier Pineda Jessica Riddick Theresa Rodrigues Deanna Rodriguez William Rosselle Rachael Scarola Kiersten Schiller Khristina Schultz Maggie Segotta Elissa Smart Christopher Smith Kevin Smith Samantha Solomon Michael Suarez Ivonna Thompson Eric Vandenberg Katlin Vargo Joseph Weresow Danaia Williams The Prophet 10 Sopohomore Day of Recollection Amanda Parker ON TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 16, THE SOPHOMORE Day of Recollection was held at the Nazareth Center of the Immaculate Heart of Mary Church. Days of Recollection are held annually for each grade, and focus on the students learning “about themselves, both as individuals and as a group.” Mr. Marino, religion teacher, took charge of the day, aided by the Peer Ministry. Also assisting were Assistant Principal Mr. Reagan and faculty/staff members Mr. Cahill, Ms. Eger, Ms. Matthews, Mrs. Palenik, Mrs. Schurtz, Mr. Tanyag, and Mrs. Thornton. The theme for the day, Chutes and Ladders, proved to be a rather straightforward premise, emphasizing the daily ups and downs of life as a teenager. The day began with Peer Ministers attacking the sophomores during homeroom, defacing the students’ hands with their initials in order to designate which Peer Minister’s group they were in. “I was kind of confused as to why we were being attacked by Sharpies,” Marvin Flores reflected. Following this traditional opening, the sophomore class gathered in the gym, where the class participated in some ice breaker games. One game involved splitting the grade into two groups, each one forming its own massive circle. In the center of each circle, students stood and shouted something they have never done to their peers. Upon hearing this, the students either remained where they were (if they also had not done the proposed action) or bolted across the circle, frantically searching for a new seat if they had done it. The student bringing up the rear was then designated as the one in the center, and the game continued. Following this game was a humorous, twisted version of the classic loved by all: Charades. Students who volunteered to act out in front of the entire class were escorted out of the gym where the Peer Ministers dictated their assigned performance. However, the volunteers had not been informed that in the next room, the entire sophomore class was being informed that what was about to be performed was supposed to be the volunteers’ bathroom habits. Concluding the morning gathering with a “pop” was a contest between two sophomores, Jamie Mills and Matt Madurski, who faced the pop rocks and soda challenge, during which each participant was required to maintain the largest amount of the mixture as possible (without swallowing!) longer than his or her opponent. Madurski claimed victory, while Mills casually sat back in observation. Following the short game session, Peer Ministers and faculty members escorted the students across the street to Immaculate Heart of Mary, where the remainder of the day took place. After receiving some food for thought, the sophomores retired to their designated discussion groups, and took part in a joint game of Chutes and Ladders. This version, yet again, was altered for the sheer enjoyment of the stu- 11 dents. Rather than individually oppose each other, the game was played as a team, requiring teamwork and group effort from the team members. December 20, 2004 spent in college, progressing to the tragic events of September 11 and the impact it had on his life. Captivated students hung on Mr. Marino’s every word as he delivered “some very valuable messages,” recalled Brian Major, such as “do things that you are comfortable with.” To conclude the day, the sophomore class filed into the Immaculate Heart of Mary Church and joined together in Mass to reflect the day’s events as well as its newly gained knowledge. Father Worth and Deacon Lynch led the Mass along with alter servers Brian Major and Michael Shields. Bringing the day’s events full circle, the sophomores exited the church to Green Day’s “Poprocks and Coke.” Sophomores recalled their previous Day of Recollection as “boring” and not very helpful. This year’s Day of Recollection for the sophomores was marked a success by Mr. Marino. “It seemed like the sophomores really got into it and had a great time,” explained Mr. Marino. “We learned things that worked and things that didn’t work.” Matt Pollock stated that the best thing he got out of it was that it “helped mend a hurting relationship.” Mr. Marino concluded, “We did accomplish everything that we wanted to. The day went great from top to bottom.” At times throughout the day, students divided into their assigned groups and participated in various discussions and activities covering diverse topics with their Peer Ministry leaders. One activity advocated the recognition of positive and negative qualities of each member of the group. A ball of yarn was tossed about the room, and each student who caught it was required to say one positive and one negative trait of whomever threw it. In the end, the tightly grasped yarn formed an intricate web, representing the bond among the students. One of the most moving episodes of the day was Mr. Marino’s speech to the class. Spanning a wide range of topics, Mr. Marino began with a reflection of his time For a child is born to us, a son is given us; upon his shoulder dominion rests. They name him WonderCounselor, God-Hero, Father-Forever, Prince of Peace. Is 9:5 The Prophet 12 Mrs. Carolan said she looks forward to the performances this year. “The script was the only one we read that actually made us laugh out loud. It’s a different kind of show than Pippin, but I think it’ll be really enjoyable.” PAC Prepares to Jillian Hernandez Honk THE UNION CATHOLIC PERFORMING ARTS Company will present Honk! as the annual spring musical this March. Leading the cast of 55, under English teacher Mrs. Carolan’s direction, are Andrew Timmes ’05, Katie McGhee ’06, Vinny Napolitano ’05, Alex Rodriguez ’05, Sophia Mavroudas ’05, Lauren Maseda ’05, Joann Tavares ’05, Jason Brubaker ’05, Natasha Larrinaga ’05, Kaz Filus ’06, Katie Czado ’05, Allie Slomko ’06, Brian DeOliveira ’05, and Victoria Spellman ’06. Honk! is a retelling of the story of the ugly duckling. The show chronicles the misadventures of a duckling known as Ugly. Due to his unusually large size, he attracts the unwanted attention of Cat, whose motivation is supper. One day, at Cat’s suggestion Ugly wanders away from the lake during feeding time, leaving behind a frantically worried mother. For the rest of the play, Ugly tries to escape Cat and find his way back home, enlisting the help of several animals along the way. Honk! differs from last year’s Pippin in a number of ways. While Pippin featured darker themes and a more stylized form of dancing, Honk! has more lighthearted themes as well as generic musical dancing with “duckage.” “It’s so different than last year,” said religion teacher Miss Eger, the play’s choreographer. “Last year we had one intact ensemble. This year the parts are more individualized.” Auditions were held in September and rehearsals began the second week of November. During rehearsal, cast members undergo “boot camp.” Practices begin with 100 jumping jacks, 50 crunches, 30 pushups, and arm circles. This training schedule, however, is merely the beginning; at the end of the year, the numbers of repetitions will double. “I love boot camp!” Miss Eger said. “It’s my favorite thing ever. We really bond as a cast and everyone gets in shape. It’s a great energy booster.” UC Gives Thanks Kristin Davie ON NOVEMBER 22, THE UNION CATHOLIC community gathered in the gym for the annual Thanksgiving Mass. Principal Sister Percylee Hart, R.S.M., reminded students that “where two or three are gathered in his name, Jesus is in their midst,” and introduced Father John Gloss of the Metuchen diocese, a former high school principal, to preside over the Mass. John Leustek ’06 delivered the First Reading, Gabe Rojas ’05 the Responsorial Psalm, Jasmine Kelley ’07 the Second Reading and Deacon John Lynch the Gospel Reading. In his homily, Father Gloss asked UC students to say “thank you” and said that everyone is “called to be thankful so we can be a service to others.” Jasmine Long ’07 read the Prayer of the Faithful. Bryan Gray ’06, Meaghan Geislinger ’06, Jessica Bonafide ’05, Brian DeOliveira ’05, Joe Varvara ’05, Jessica Espinosa ’05, and Rich Hernandez ’05 presented the gifts: a statue of Mary, a basket of food, and the American flag. Altar servers Joe Massaro ’06, Zach Davis ’06, and Brian Major ’07 presented the bread and wine. During Communion, the Gospel Choir performed, accompanied by Mr. Frio at the piano. Patricia Niziolek ’05, Monica Grabowski ’05, Alexis Dedousis ’05, and Albert Diaz ’05 served Communion as the Eucharistic Ministers. Father Gloss said the Final Blessing and the students returned to class. Peer Ministry coordinated the Thanksgiving Mass with a theme of gratitude in mind. “We tried to make it different with the Gospel Choir,” said Natasha Larrinaga ’05. “They were awesome and really brought it to life.” 13 December 20, 2004 Fall Sports Wrap-Up Ashley Martin and Stefanie Messercola UNION CATHOLIC WITNESSED ONE OF ITS BEST fall sports seasons ever this year. Boys and girls varsity soccer, boys cross country and varsity volleyball and gymnastics teams all competed very hard. Director of Athletics Mr. Reagan, Sr., could not have asked for a better season from all of the UC players. “I’m very proud of all the kids; they did an amazing job representing Union Catholic,” he said. “It was a very busy and exciting season for all of us here in the community.” The varsity boys soccer team, crowned Mountain Valley Conference champions, reached the semifinals in the NJSIAA State Tournament. Team co-captains Marco Messercola ’05 and Brian DeOliveira ’05 agreed that this year’s fall soccer season was one to remember. “It was great to have such a successful season,” DeOliveira said. “It was a pleasure to play my last year with this team.” “The team this year was one of the best UC has ever seen,” said Messercola. “We all really came together as a family, and we can be proud of our accomplishments.” The varsity girls soccer team, led by cocaptains Amanda Pitts ’05 and Ashley Styranec ’05, competed as a sectional finalist in the state tournament. “A lot of people didn’t think we’d make it this far, but we proved everyone wrong.” Pitts proudly said. “We had an amazing year and I’m very proud to have been a member of the team.” “Our team really grew as a whole and became closer,” noted Styranec. “I believe that helped us to play better and allowed us to have such a great season.” The boys cross-country team won the Mountain Valley Conference, and placed fourth in the Parochial B division in the NJSIAA State Tournament. Brian Guterl ’07 was ranked fifth in the NJSIAA state meet and was also named a Meet of Champions qualifier. “I was very proud to represent UC and make it this far.” The volleyball team reached the semifinals in the county tournament and reached the Group II semi-finals in the state tournament. Over the past few years, UC’s varsity volleyball has created a respected name for themselves. Team cocaptains Louise Gonzalez ’05 and Megan Conheeney ’05 could not have asked for a better fall season. “I was really happy,” said Gonzalez. “I’ve been waiting since freshmen year to be a captain. Looking up to the other seniors felt good, and it was a responsibility I could handle.” The gymnastics team competed as a sectional finalist in the state tournament. Cocaptains Cristin Colucci ’05 and Jessica Bonafide ’05 were pleased with the results of their last season at UC. “We had a promising season,” Colucci said. “I’m sad to be leaving it behind, but I know the other girls on the team will continue to do great.” Bonafide seconded that feeling. “We did well as a team and individually we did even better,” she said. “I loved doing gymnastics for UC. It will be a memory I’ll never forget.” Team member Alyssa Lewandowski ’06 placed fifth in the NJSIAA sectional meet. Soccer Coach Joe DeOliveira was named Star-Ledger Coach of the Year. In his eleventh season, he guided UC to its best record in history, a 16-2-1 mark. DeOliveira credits his assistants, Coaches Guzman, Lacson, and Ryan for much of the team’s success. “They have been a big help to me and as coaches we’re all on the same page,” he said. Michael Seamon ’06 captured the Union County scoring title this year with a 31-goal, 11-assist output. Brian Osbahr ’06 and Matt Cunha ’05 (eight goals) and Chris Varga and Chris Chaban (eight combined shutouts) were all also named top juniors. The Prophet 14 should also be strong during girls’ meets and co-ed meets.” Boys’ Basketball The boys’ varsity basketball team is enthusiastic about the upcoming season as they prepare for their season opener against Arthur L. Johnson High School on December 18. “Our younger players have grown up now and gained a lot more experience,” explained Chris Esperon ’06. “Our schedule should provide us with a lot of competition this year, especially against New Providence and Brearley.” The team has been working hard so far and is determined to have a winning season and make it far in the country tournament. Girls’ Basketball The girls’ varsity basketball team is one of the strongest in UC’s history. Following three consecutive trips to the Union County Finals, the Lady Vikings hope to return this season. “We lost a lot of our height this year after graduating our two starting post players, Lauren Huber and Ashley Whittemore,” said captain Katelyn Murray ’05. “This year we will definitely have to use our speed to our advantage and beat teams by running the ball up the floor more.” The girls open up their season on December 17 at Jonathan Dayton High School in Springfield. They encourage all UC fans to come out and support them as they look forward to another successful season. Cheerleading The varsity cheerleading team looks forward to supporting another great season of winter sports. “This year we are looking to compete more,” stated Michelle Holland ’05. The cheerleaders will compete at Rahway in February. They want to wish all of the winter sports teams good luck this season. Winter Sports Ally Walls Preview THE WINTER SPORTS SEASON IS ALREADY IN full swing as the holidays approach. Officially beginning on November 26, the weekend after Thanksgiving, the winter sports season includes varsity bowling, varsity winter track, varsity swimming, girls’ varsity and JV basketball, and boys’ varsity, JV and freshman basketball. The athletes, coaches and fans are all looking forward to another exciting and successful season. Bowling The bowling team is anticipating another winning season under new head coach Ms. Jacques. The team defeated Immaculata in its first match on December 13. “Our biggest competition is usually Roselle Catholic,” noted captain Judy Adan ’05. “This year our main goal is to get back the Mountain Valley Conference Championship.” Winter Track The winter track team looks bright as they prepare for a busy season. Under Coach Guzman, the team has been growing each season. “This season should be much more successful than last season,” said Jon Pais ’05. “My personal goal is to get a half-mile time of two minutes or less, but as a team, one of our main goals is to put together a strong relay team for the 800 meters.” The winter track team opens their season on December 19 at the West Point Relays. Swimming Both the co-ed swimming team and the individual teams look strong as they seek to improve on last years’ successes. Under head coach Ms. Marybeth Koza, the team is working hard at every practice to get better. “This year we have a lot more strong boys, which will help us succeed at the boys’ meets,” said Tom Creanza ‘06. “We 15 December 20, 2004 Catholic and Roselle Catholic are regional schools, students who come to UC from Catholic grammar schools usually know a lot of kids from their class that go to RC.” Though RC is considered our school rival, many individual sports have additional rivalries as well. “Even though RC is our main school rival, Rahway is our biggest soccer rival,” said Chris Varga ’06, goalie on the boys’ varsity soccer team. “We get psyched up to play against RC, but we haven’t beaten Rahway in the past nine seasons.” Girls’ soccer also has several rivals, including Governor Livingston and Scotch Plains–Fanwood. “GL and SPF are our main rivals because they are our best competition in the conference,” stated Ashley Styranec ’05. “When it comes to school rivalries in general, RC is our rival, but in the state tournament, Caldwell is our number one rival because they’ve beaten us three years in a row,” said Louise Gonzalez ’05, cocaptain of the volleyball team. “When we play our rivals, we just get psyched up; we psych each other up.” Mr. Reagan reminds students that while rivalries are fun, exciting, and competitive, they should never be taken “past the point of good competition.” As representatives of UC, it is important for all fans, players, and coaches to behave in a sportsmanlike way at all athletic events. UC’s Sporting Ally Walls Rivals IN PROFESSIONAL BASEBALL, IT IS THE YANKEES and the Red Sox. In college football, Michigan and Ohio State. In college basketball, North Carolina and Duke. Sports rivalries arouse passion in both the players and the fans. High school rivalries seem to create an ardor in athletes, students, and staff that is an indispensable aspect of the high school experience. Most Union Catholic students know that our school’s number one rival is the Roselle Catholic Lions, but most are not aware of just how long this rivalry has existed. The rivalry between UC and RC is fairly new, according to Athletic Director Mr. Reagan, Sr. “We never played against Roselle Catholic, with the exception of chance meetings in tournaments, until about eight years ago,” said Mr. Reagan, who has been involved with the Athletic Department for the past seventeen years. Before joining the Mountain Valley Conference eight years ago, UC was a member of the Watchung Conference. In that conference, some of our school’s main rivals included Elizabeth, Linden, and Westfield. Once UC joined the Mountain Valley Conference, RC became a “natural rival,” explained Mr. Reagan. “Since both Union She gave birth to her first born son and wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the place where travelers lodged. Lk 2:7 The Prophet 16 family, or hopping on a jet and flying to a summer paradise, by December 23, students all have one thing in common–they definitely need a break. UC Students Take a Break Katelyn Primich FROM DECEMBER 23 THROUGH JANUARY 2, THE one place Union Catholic students will not be found is in the classroom. As the Christmas season once again rolls around, UC students spice up their breaks by spending it in a variety of ways. “Sleep, it’s all about the sleep,” said Jessica Pribush ’06. Though not having to wake up to the blaring sound of an alarm each morning is a highlight, others find traveling is the best way to spend their break. “Every Christmas break I go with my family to New York State,” said Sedona Horning ’08. “It’s a great way to spend time with the people who really matter and just get away from the aggravation and hassle of home.” Whether going away with family or friends, sometimes a change of environment is a way to relax and really enjoy the Christmas spirit. “Over this Christmas break, I’m going to Florida for swim training camp,” said Erin O’Connor ’05. “It’s a really good way to stay in shape and it’s nice to relax in Florida with a change of weather and atmosphere.” Sometimes just slowing down and spending quality time with the people who matter is truly the best gift received in December. “Hanging out with my friends and family and enjoying their company is definitely the best part of Christmas break,” said Jon Cardadeiro ’06. For those who are not as lucky to go away, break can be a time to make some extra money. “Christmas break is the culmination of my December job of selling Christmas trees,” said Dave Fordham ’06. “It’s a nice way to pick up some extra money right when you need it the most.” Though working may not seem like a vacation to some people, for others it is still a step up. “Anything is better than school,” said Stephanie Guterl ’05. “At least at work you get paid to be miserable.” Whether spending time with friends and Semi a “Merry” Time for All Stefanie Messercola UNION CATHOLIC’S ANNUAL WINTER SEMIformal dance, “Christmas in the City,” was held on Friday, December 10. Students danced all night long to the music of DJ Pros and enjoyed a variety of food from a hot and cold buffet. Approximately 450 people were present at the dance, making this year’s semi one of the largest UC has ever seen. Many students were pleased that the dance was held in the gym, beautifully decorated for Christmas, accented by a black, white, and silver color scheme. Sister Ann Sullivan, Student Council moderator, said that the move from the cafeteria to the gym was inevitable. “Attendance has been growing for the semi, and the cafeteria was becoming too crowded,” she said. “The gym gives us more space to spread out. We were also able to use the balconies.” The Student Council, assisted by Sister Ann, Ms. Wood, and members of the Development Office, worked hard to make the evening such a success. President Brian DeOliveira ’05 was pleased with the outcome. “Student council members did everything from selling tickets to decorating the gym,” he said. “I’m glad that everyone enjoyed themselves and had a good time at the dance.” Humanities teacher Mr. Cahill enjoyed being a chaperone for the night. “I always like coming to the semi-formal,” he said. “It is a really fun event and all the students always have a great time.” “This semi was definitely one of the best ones by far,” said Alex Rodriguez ’05. “Everyone enjoyed themselves, especially the seniors.” 17 December 20, 2004 Seniors Trim the Tree Nicole Straffi On Monday, December 6, the class of 2005 attended the annual Senior Tree Trimming Party. The invitations promised “carols to put you in the Christmas spirit. Games, food, and lots of fun decorating the ‘tree.’” For most seniors the night lived up to its expectations. Seniors arrived at the cafeteria at 6:15, where they saw the eight-foot tall Christmas tree. Students ate subs for dinner, played games, and won many door prizes. “I really enjoyed the games,” said Allie Whittle. “It made the night for me; it was a lot of fun to spend sometime with my friends to celebrate Christmas.” Each senior was given a Christmas ball to decorate and make his or her own, to be placed on the tree. A special prayer was read, and the tree was lit. The seniors and faculty joined together in singing “O, Christmas Tree.” “I’ve always liked Christmas trees,” said Gabe Rojas, “and the event itself was a lot more fun then it originally sounded like.” “This has been a tradition at UC for the past eight years,” said senior class advisor Sister Irma Gazzillo, who was in charge of organizing the party. “I think the seniors really enjoyed themselves and the night was a success. It was a great way to start the Christmas season.” As the seniors prepared to go home, many realized that this event would be one of the last times the seniors were together as a class, and their last Christmas at UC. “It was a beautiful thing to have the senior class together, because soon enough we will be going our own separate ways,” said Richard Hernandez. “This night will be remembered by all of the seniors who attended it for a very long time.” UC Decks the Halls Johnna Plunkett UNION CATHOLIC CONTINUED ITS ANNUAL tradition of each class decorating its hallway. However, this year many students seem less than enthused about the project. While some feel that decorating the hallway is a great idea, others feel that it is not. “Some of the hallways are very cliché and over done,” said Leana Gonsalves ’05. On the other hand, “I think that it is really festive and everyone is very innovative,” said Michael Brown ’07. The sophomore hallway tried to recreate New York City during the Christmas holiday season. The senior and freshmen wings used the theme Christmas town/ Winter Wonderland and the juniors were creative and fun with the Christmas lights. The planning for the hallway decorations started before Thanksgiving. Some classes waited a lot longer, causing some students to feel that the work was not distributed properly. “I think that hallway decorating is a very bad idea because Student Council for the most part did everything,” said Destiny Blair ’06. “Everyone else just walks around tearing everything down.” While UC students were divided on what they thought about the decorations, most of the faculty thinks that it is a great idea. “It’s a good opportunity for students to work together and put together decorations so that everyone can enjoy it,” said biology teacher Miss Meg Nuwer. The hallways were judged by several faculty members and the senior class won the competition, followed by the sophomores, freshmen and juniors. “I was really excited that the senior wing won,” said religion teacher and senior class advisor Sister Irma Gazzillo. “A lot of work went into it and I was proud to be a part of it.” The seniors will receive a free tag day on a date to be announced. The Prophet 18 tices such as exchanging gifts and the hanging of mistletoe. In the 1600s, Oliver Cromwell and his Puritan followers took over the government of England and rid it of Christmas. After the restoration of Charles II, the English restored the observance of Christmas. The pilgrims who immigrated to America in 1620 were even stricter than Cromwell. For a limited period of time in the seventeenth century, the celebration of Christmas was prohibited in England and much of English North America. In some areas anyone who celebrated the holiday would be fined five shillings for disobeying the law. When the celebration of Christmas spread to North America, the celebration was not as popular as it is today. The majority of the people considered the day to be a workday, though there were some areas which celebrated the holiday with special feasts and reunions. Some communities would also celebrate by giving small presents to people dressed in costumes who went from door to door in search of gifts. The exchanging of presents among families was very rare during the period. In the nineteenth century the industrial economy brought about a new middle class, based on the home and special relationship among families. Thus, with the intention of bringing families together, Christmas began to turn into a popular domestic holiday. It was not until June 26, 1870, that Christmas, in America, was officially declared a federal holiday, on which people had the opportunity to stay home and celebrate with the family. The Roots of Christmas Marisol Ruiz ALTHOUGH CHRISTMAS MAY HAVE STARTED with Jesus’ birth, the celebration of Christmas did not begin until the fourth century, hundreds of years later. But the holiday evolved from various pre-Christian cultures, some as old as 4000 years. Early Christians only celebrated Easter and did not consider Jesus’ birthday a holiday. However, during the fourth century, church officials decided to make the birth of Christ a holiday. Pope Julius I chose December 25 as the day for observance, in an effort to replace the pagan Roman celebration of Saturnalia. Beginning December 17, Romans held a week long festival in honor of Saturn, the god of agriculture. During Saturnalia, all businesses and stores were closed, the people would exchange gifts with one another and slaves would be freed for the week. At this time, Romans also celebrated the birth date of Mithras, the Persian sun god, on December 25, in gratitude for the extra daylight given to them after the winter solstice. Juvenalia was another holiday observed by the Romans who held a feast in honor of Roman children. Once the birthday of Jesus became a holiday, Christians made it a tradition to attend church every year. The celebration of Jesus’ birth was first known as the Feast of the Nativity, but was later named Christmas, a word derived from the old English cristes mœsse (Christ’s Mass). Centuries later the expansion of Christianity throughout Europe and the Middle East led to the spread of the Christmas ritual around the world. As a result, Christian traditions and beliefs mixed with the already celebrated pagan feasts and changed into the traditions that have continued to live on since. Christmas’ popularity continued until the Reformation, a religious movement of the 1500s that started Protestantism. Protestants criticized the Catholic Church, arguing that it still took part in pagan prac- 19 December 20, 2004 The Evolution of the Man in the Toni Anne Corsi Red Suit HE IS THE ROTUND MAN IN THE RED SUIT AND has his very own North Pole workshop. He enjoys milk and cookies and loves to give gifts. This jolly old man is the legendary Santa Claus. Santa Claus was not this widely loved man’s name from the start. The legend of Santa Claus can be traced to a monk named St. Nicholas. Born around A.D. 280 in Patara, in modern-day Turkey, Nicholas was admired for his kindness and piety. Legend tells that he gave away all of his inherited wealth and traveled the countryside helping the poor and the sick. Nicholas’s popularity spread and he became known as the protector of children and sailors. His feast day, December 6, the anniversary of his death, was traditionally a lucky day to get married or make large purchases. Toward the end of the eighteenth century, St. Nicholas began to make his way into American culture. A New York newspaper reported in 1773 that groups of Dutch families had gathered to honor the anniversary of St. Nicholas’s death. The Dutch Sint Nikolaas was often called by his nickname Sinter Klaas. John Pintard, a member of the New York Historical Society, gave out woodcuts of St. Nicholas at the society’s annual meeting in 1804. The engravings contained images such as stockings hung over a fireplace, filled with fruit and toys. In 1809, Washington Irving further popularized the Sinter Klaas stories in The History of New York, referring to St. Nicholas as the patron saint of New York. Sinter Klaas began to be described in numerous ways, including as a rascal with a blue three-cornered hat, red waistcoat, and yellow stockings. Clement Clarke Moore, an Episcopal minister, wrote a Christmas poem for his three daughters in 1822. Entitled A Visit from St. Nicholas and beginning with the line, “’Twas the night before Christmas,” the poem is largely responsible for the modern day image of Santa as a portly man with the ability to ascend chimneys with the nod of his head. The poem helped popularize the idea of a Santa who flew from house to house on Christmas Eve in a sleigh led by eight flying reindeer. Moore also named the reindeer and spread the idea of gifts being left for deserving children. Thomas Nast, the famous political cartoonist, depicted Santa in the 1881 Christmas issue of Harper’s Weekly as a rotund, cheerful man, with a white beard, holding a sack of toys for lucky children. Nast created the Santa with a bright red suit trimmed with white fur, a North Pole workshop, elves, and a wife, Mrs. Claus. Stores began advertising Christmas shopping in the 1820s and newspapers were creating separate sections for holiday advertisements by the 1840s. The advertisements often contained images of Santa Claus. Thousands of children visited a Philadelphia shop in 1841 to see a life-size Santa model. Later, stores began to attract children and parents with the opportunity to see a “live” Santa Claus. To raise money to pay for the free Christmas meals they provided to needy families in the early 1890s, the Salvation Army hired unemployed men, dressed them in Santa suits and sent them into the streets of New York to solicit donations. The bells of the Salvation Army Santas have been heard ever since in American cities. Although the idea of a gift-giving Santa Claus is a pleasant one, Jesus is truly the reason for the season and the best gift ever received. The Prophet 20 mick sold more than 2.5 million Rudolphs. In 1949, singer Gene Autry recorded a musical version composed by Johnny Marks. “The Twelve Days of Christmas”: First published in 1780, the song dates back to the sixteenth century. It beings with Christmas Day and finishes with the Eve of the Epiphany on January 5. Each of the twelve days has a religious significance. “God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen”: Said to be one of the oldest carols, it dates to the fifteenth century. The lyrics are traditional old English, and it is believed town watchmen who earned additional money during the Christmas season originally sang this carol to the town citizens. Christmas Music Fills the Halls Kristin Davie EVERY DECEMBER, FAMILIAR SOUNDS FILL THE air—children’s laughter, the ringing of bells and, of course, Christmas carols. But even a true Christmas carol connoisseur might not know that carols are centuries old. The word carol originally referred to a circle dance with singing until it later became associated with Nativity hymns. In the Middle Ages, town watchmen sang as they worked. At Christmas time, these men, who patrolled the street and called out the time, would form into musical bands and sing Christmas carols. At each house, they received rewards such as ale, cakes, and money. Eventually, people assumed that carolers brought luck to each house they visited and welcomed them. The custom, known as “wassailing,” soon flourished and eventually became the tradition enjoyed today. And so, The Prophet presents a history of some beloved Christmas carols and songs: “White Christmas”: Undoubtedly one of the most famous Christmas songs, “White Christmas” was written by Irving Berlin in 1942 and originally featured in the movie Holiday Inn starring Bing Crosby. The lyrics became popular among soldiers fighting in the Second World War and their families back home. “Jingle Bells”: This song was actually written in 1857 for Thanksgiving by a minister named James Pierpoint for children in Sunday school. The song became so popular, it was repeated for Christmas and reprised over the years. “Little Drummer Boy”: The lyrics contain 21 “rum pum pum pums.” The most notable interpretation was created by Bing Crosby and David Bowie, and was Crosby’s biggest hit since “White Christmas.” “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer”: It was actually a poem created by advertising executive Robert May. The marketing gim- Popular Christmas Gifts Merissa Rose WITH CHRISTMAS ONLY DAYS AWAY, SHOPPERS everywhere are gearing up to shop and putting in special requests for their own wish lists. Stores across the country have put their Christmas decorations up and are ready for the crowds of shoppers. So what merchandise has that “must have” appeal? Christmas ’04 is going to be all about the electronics when it comes to gifts. Digital music players and other electronics sales are projected to reach $108.8 billion this year, an eight percent increase from 2003. The Apple i-Pod is in high demand. A 20GB i-Pod holds up to 5,000 songs and the 40GB i-Pod holds up to 10,000 songs. Digital cameras will be found under millions of Christmas trees this year, overtaking DVD players as the top-selling holiday item in the wildly popular consumer electronics market. Cell phones, PDAs, and Sirius satellite radio are also popular items that consumers are picking this holiday season. Of course many of the electronic products being sold are quite pricey, but there are plenty of hot sellers to buy for your friends and family that won’t break your bank. A Halo 2 for X-box would be a great gift for any video addicts. 21 December 20, 2004 Worst Holiday As the Ball Jobs Ever Karen Rivera Drops MANY STUDENTS FEEL FRUSTRATED OVER THEIR jobs, or are looking for new ones this holiday season. The Prophet has compiled a list of the worst holiday jobs to avoid. Worst holiday job, hands down, is retail. Whether it be in a mall, a department store, or a specialized store, these places are the worst for working at this time of year. Topping off the reasons is longer hours. “My job requires me now to stay officially until ten at night,” said Alex Quesada ’05. Stores now require more time from employees to help out with the holiday rush, especially on the days off from school, most notably the Friday after Thanksgiving (known to retailers as Black Friday). Most stores open on that day at insane times, often requiring employees to set up before the doors open. And then there are the customers. “There are lot more customers coming to the store and they ask questions one after the other,” said Oliver Joszt, ’05. “They can never seem to find anything!” Customers are often rushed and tend to be more frenzied during the holiday season. Dressing up as Santa Claus is another bad job. Mall Santas deal with immature little kids who cry and wail, parents who press for more picture time and elves with ornery attitudes. It is not a job for impatient people. April McKee IN 1904, THE OWNERS OF ONE TIMES SQUARE began hosting rooftop celebrations to ring in the New Year. Who would have thought that one hundred years later, Times Square would be the New Year’s capital of the world and more than one million people worldwide would tune in via satellite to watch the infamous ball drop? The ball has become a symbol of the New Year for people young and old, which isn’t too surprising, considering that the ball has been lowered almost every year since 1907. The original New Year’s Eve ball weighed 700 pounds and was five feet in diameter. It was made of iron and wood and decorated with 100 twenty-five watt light bulbs. The only years that the ball wasn’t lowered to ring in the New Year were 1942 and 1943 because of the World War II. Despite the absence of the ball, crowds still gathered in Times Square and celebrated with a minute of silence followed by chimes, which rung out from an amplifier truck parked in Times Square. Since 1907, the ball has changed drastically. The latest ball, a geodesic sphere, measures six feet in diameter and weighs in at a whopping 1,070 pounds. It is covered with 505 Waterford crystal triangles, 696 multicolored Philips light bulbs, 96 high-intensity strobe lights and 90 rotating pyramid mirrors. This year, the crystal triangles that cover the ball, which travels 77 feet in 60 seconds, will be engraved with the names of those lost their lives in the tragic events of September 11, 2001. The angels said to [the shepherds]: “You have nothing to fear! I come to proclaim good news to you—tidings of great joy to be shared by the whole people.” Lk 2:10 The Prophet 22 Christmas Movie Reviews Kaitlin Butler, Nicole Desiato, Amanda Parker, Lee Comeau CHRISTMAS: TIME FOR CELEBRATION, GENEROSity…and movies. If you have already celebrated and already been generous, use these reviews as a guide to the fill the movies quotient at Christmas. Some movies are easily recognizable while some might become new favorites. Just pop in the video, pop on your Santa hat, pop some popcorn and settle down for some festive films. The Muppet Christmas Carol The Muppet Christmas Carol is the classic Charles Dickens story, The Christmas Carol, with a very Muppet twist. Michael Caine stars as the grim, miserly Ebenezer Scrooge, the businessman who believes Christmas is “humbug.” Visited on Christmas Eve by the ghosts of Christmas past, present, and future, Scrooge is urged to change his ways on Christmas and during all the year, especially towards employee Bob Cratchit (the delightfully-green Kermit the Frog). Scrooge learns lessons about his life and what money is really worth in this movie that is as fun for kids as it is for parents. The Muppet Christmas Carol also has some great songs and music, as well as some cool puppet humor. Directed by Brian Henson, and starring Michael Caine, Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy, the Great Gonzo, Rizzo the Rat, and Fozzie Bear. 1992 Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas Another chapter in the classic Beauty and the Beast story from Disney. Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas has fun, music, dancing household items, and great animation just like the original. This movie shows the story of the Christmas during the winter of Belle’s stay at the enchanted castle and introduces some new characters within the festive plot. As usual, the Beast is not happy about anything, and he especially does not want to celebrate Christmas. Of course, Belle is determined to make Christmas a special and happy time for everyone. However, the Beast’s scheming pipe organ, Forte, wants the Beast to be angry about this Christmas plan and will do anything to stop it with the help of his misguided sidekick Piccolo. Belle enlists the aid of the Christmas tree ornament Angelique to bring Christmas to the castle. Not a bad sequel to the original. Starring Tim Curry as Forte, along with Belle, the Beast, Lumière, and Cogsworth. 1997 It’s a Wonderful Life It’s a Wonderful Life is the “must-see” classic favorite on any Christmas. The feelgood film with a moral tells the story of George Bailey (James Stewart), a young man living in the early 1900s in the town of Bedford Falls. He grows up to marry his childhood sweetheart Mary (Donna Reed) and have a great family. However, when he takes over his family’s building and loan company, George has trouble keeping it from the filthy-rich hands of the horrible Henry Potter (Lionel Barrymore in a really, really good role as a nasty old man). Doing good for so many people has cost him much financially, and in despair George nearly ends his life until he is stopped by his bumbling guardian angel, Clarence (Henry Travers), who shows George just how much of a difference one man can make. Clarence tells George “Remember, no man is a failure who has friends….” It’s a Wonderful Life is actually based on the story The Greatest Gift by Philip Van Doren Stern. For some humor, keep close watch for the swimming pool sequence. Directed by Frank Capra. Starring James Stewart, Donna Reed, Lionel Barrymore, and Henry Travers. 1946 How the Grinch Stole Christmas Sweet and charming, How the Grinch Stole Christmas is Dr. Seuss’ truly unforgettable masterpiece for kids and parents who may have forgetten what Christmas really means. Straight from the “Seussical” storybook, this movie stars the unbeatably 23 mean “Mr. Grinch.” The Grinch lives atop a snowy mountain over Whoville, the happy town of fun-loving folk called the Whos who take Christmas to heart. The Grinch hates Christmas and decides that the best way to break the spirits of the poor Whos is to steal every holiday treat so that there can be no Christmas. Finally, little Cindy-Lou Who does something special to show the real reason to celebrate Christmas, and the Grinch will never be the same. Also has the classic song, “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch.” Directed by Ben Washam and Chuck Jones. Starring the voice of Boris Karloff as the Grinch. How the Grinch Stole Christmas Ah, a remake! From the 1966 cartoon How the Grinch Stole Christmas and ultimately the Dr. Seuss book comes this 2000 live-action version starring the very green and rather mean Jim Carrey as the Grinch. Complete with a fresh, colorful set and in general awesome costumes and design, this movie gives the cartoon masterpiece a modern makeover and does a fair job. The main differences that viewers will notice are the huge amount of background details and the larger role of Cindy-Lou Who (Taylor Momsen). The reason for the Grinch’s Christmastime blues is revealed and his horrible childhood memories come to light (nope, not in the cartoon or the book). Cindy-Lou basically becomes the Grinch’s only friend and the go-between linking Whoville to the green menace on the mountain. For the last part of the movie, the script comes almost word-byword from the book in a refreshingly faithful display. Kids will probably enjoy it but it’s not sure bet for an older crowd that grew up with the original film. Directed by Ron Howard. Starring Jim Carrey, Taylor Momsen, and the voice of Anthony Hopkins as the narrator. A Christmas Story Have you ever wanted something so badly that you told everyone about it? Every time someone brought up Christmas you just had to bring that gift up? Well, if December 20, 2004 you have, you can relate with Ralphie Parker, the boy in the movie A Christmas Story, who wants nothing more than a Red Ryder BB Gun for Christmas. With every chance he got, he told people about that one specific item, but no one thought it was a good idea to give it to him. They all told him the same thing: “You’ll shoot your eye out!” Throughout the movie, he tries to convince them that it really is the perfect gift for a boy on Christmas. Directed by Bob Clark, this movie based on the novel by Jean Shepherd stars Peter Billingsley, Melinda Dillon, Darren McGavin, Ian Petrella, Scott Schwartz, R.D. Robb, and Teddy Moore. 1983 The Nightmare Before Christmas Stumbling upon something that isn’t understood happens to a lot of people. Take Jack Skellington from The Nightmare Before Christmas. He’s so sick of Halloween, that he goes for a walk and stumbles across Christmas Town. He’s intrigued, and decides to change Halloween into Christmas. He goes so far as to kidnap Santa and deliver some unwanted gifts to unknowing children. He gets all the goblins and ghouls from Halloween Town to help him, but nothing seems to be going right. The movie includes the voices of Chris Sarandon, Catherine O’Hara, William Hickey, and Glenn Shadix. 1993 I’ll Be Home for Christmas Ever wonder what Christmas is about? A lot of people do. But does anyone really understand its true meaning? Some people say they do, but in reality they don’t. They encourage the commercial image and materialistic views of Christmas. Kids think Christmas is about Santa and presents. Few are taught, or pay attention to, the Christian views of the birth of baby Jesus in the manger. In I’ll Be Home for Christmas, a college student is hurrying to get home in time for Christmas and, along the way, finds out the true meaning of Christmas has nothing to do with presents. And through this understanding, he learns a lot more about himself. 1998 The Prophet Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer Rudolph is an adorable reindeer who was born with a red, glowing nose. Because of this nose, the little reindeer is an outcast, and not liked by any of the other reindeer, who find his nose a disability, an abnormality. They cast him out from society and do not let him play any normal reindeer games. So, naturally, he runs away and, along the way, finds Santa, who is intrigued by his nose. He asks Rudolph to lead his sleigh on Christmas Eve, and it all turns out to be a happy ending. 1998 Home Alone Many parents, at one time or another, lose their children in a store or the mall or some place such as those. Most of those parents do not lose a son in the airport, resulting in them leaving him behind in a different country. Kevin McAllister’s parents, however, do. In the movie Home Alone, he’s left at home by accident when his family flies to France for the holidays. He learns to fend for himself and how to take care of himself, especially when he realizes he has money. Eventually, he has to protect his house from two robbers, Harry and Marv, who have set out to rob all the houses on his block. While all the drama is going on in Chicago where Kevin has been left, his mother, Kate, is busy trying her hardest to make her way back home from France. This movie, bringing out the comedy of Christmas, stars Macaulay Culkin, Joe Pesci, Daniel Stern, John Heard, and Catherine O’Hara. 1990 Home Alone 2: Lost in New York The sequel to Home Alone. As his family flies to Florida for the holidays, young Kevin McAllister gets on the wrong plane and ends up in New York, with his father’s money and credit cards. He checks himself into the best hotel and tries to have fun. But, alas, fun doesn’t seem to be an option this holiday season, as the burglars from the year before have returned after being released from jail, with plans to rob the biggest toy store in the city. Kevin, once 24 again, tries to mess up their plans, and they too begin what they failed to do before— kill Kevin. Once again, his family realizes he’s missing and sets out to find him in this comedic holiday movie, starring Macaulay Culkin, Joe Pesci, Daniel Stern, John Heard, and Catherine O’Hara. 1992 A Charlie Brown Christmas Over Christmastime, Charlie Brown sees only the materialism behind the holiday, the only thing people seem to pay attention to. No one really knows the meaning behind Christmas. So, Lucy suggests that he become the director of the Christmas pageant. He attempts to do it, but struggles, and is eventually sent to pick out a Christmas tree. He picks out the smallest, dinkiest, most shedding tree that he can and sets it down on the stage, earning yells and screams of protest from his friends. After that, he enforces the work of his good friend Linus to help him find out what the meaning behind Christmas really is. 1965 The Shop Around the Corner Among the staff at Matuschek’s, a gift shop around the corner, is Alfred Kralik, a likeable young man who is in love with a woman he has never seen before or met before. He doesn’t know her name; their love has been conducted through a post office box. When Klana Novak begins to work as a clerk at the shop, the sparks fly—both of them hate each other. Neither of them knows that Klana is the woman that Alfred has been writing to all along. This classic romance stars Margaret Sullavan, James Stewart, Frank Morgan, and Sara Haden. 1940 Frosty the Snowman A washed up magician discards his top hat in a school yard, and some students that have built a snowman place the hat on his head and he comes to life. Realizing that he’s going to melt come spring, a young girl and Frosty jump on a train to the North Pole. But the magician is following them, planning on getting his hat back and letting the snowman melt. Includes the 25 voices of Jimmy Durante, Billy De Wolfe, Jackie Vernon, Paul Frees, and June Foray. 1969 Jingle All the Way Arnold Schwarzenegger plays father Howie Langston, in search of the holiday season’s hot gift, Turbo Man (Daniel Riordan), for his son Jamie (Jake Lloyd). However, to his dismay, Howie becomes so overwhelmed with work that he does not begin his search for the desired item until Christmas Eve, leaving him with nothing but empty toy store shelves and a hopeful child. Directed by Brian Levant. Starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sinbad, and Jake Lloyd. 1996 The Santa Clause Scott Calvin (Tim Allen), a recently divorced father, inadvertently kills Santa Claus on Christmas Eve, leaving him with the duties of Old Saint Nick. Throughout the film, Scott must adapt to his new responsibilities while maintaining his sanity, despite the skepticism of divorced wife, Laura (Wendy Crewson), and her husband, Dr. Neal Miller (Judge Reinhold). Along for the ride is his son, Charlie (Eric Lloyd), who must not only cope with his parents’ divorce but also needs to bear his father’s secret. Directed by John Pasquin. Starring Tim Allen, Judge Reinhold, Wendy Crewson, Eric Lloyd, and David Krumholtz. 1994 To Grandmother’s House We Go Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen star as twin sisters Sarah and Julie Thompson, who, in order to make their overly-stressed out mother, Rhonda (Cynthia Geary) happy, embark upon an adventure to their grandmother’s (Florence Patterson) house. Along the way, the twins cross the path of two Christmas Capers, Shirley (Rhea Perlman) and Harvey (Jerry Van Dyke), who had been stealing gifts all season! Directed by Jeff Franklin. Starring Ashley Olsen, Mary-Kate Olsen, and Jeff Franklin. 1994 December 20, 2004 Jack Frost Jack Frost (Michael Keaton) attempts to maintain the balance of fatherhood, marriage, and a musical career. In the process, he gets so caught up in his work that he frequently misses out on important milestones in his son’s life. When his life is cut short by an unexpected car accident, he returns as a snowman in an attempt to mend his suffering family, wife Gabby (Kelly Preston) and son Charlie (Joseph Cross). Directed by Troy Miller. Starring Michael Keaton. 1998 Borrowed Hearts Eric McCormack and Roma Downey star as a rich businessman and single mother posing as husband and wife for McCormack’s potential business partner, who is very family orientated for the Christmas holiday. As Downey and McCormack fall in love, she discovers that all of the people that work for McCormack would lose their jobs, and are mostly single mothers like herself. In the end, McCormack realizes that having the perfect job and house is not as great as having the perfect holiday and a family. This movie is usually on television one night as part of ABC Family’s 25 Days of Christmas, and was released in 1999 (directed by Ted Kotcheff). White Christmas Bing Crosby, Rosemary Clooney, Danny Kaye and Vera-Ellen star in this 1950s classic about two entertainment duets who vacation at the same Vermont ski resort. As they become involved romantically, they decide to put on a concert to benefit the owner of the ski lodge, who was the army general of Crosby and Kaye in World War II. This musical includes the Irving Berlin including classics “White Christmas,” “Snow,” and “The Best Things Happen While Your Dancing,” and brilliant choreography to all of them. Directed by Michael Curtiz; 1954. Miracle on 34th Street This classic Christmas story is about a The Prophet young girl, Susan, living in New York City with her mother. Susan does not believe in Santa Claus, but a visit to the department store Santa, who might be the real Santa Claus, changes that. As she spends more time with Santa (her mother works at the department store), she begins to start believing in him and gets conflicting feelings from her mother, who doesn’t want her to believe and get hurt. Meanwhile, as Santa goes around claiming to be The Real Santa Claus, he is cited as crazy and is framed of a crime. On Christmas Eve, he is put on trial, and the judge eventually is also swayed to believe in Santa Claus as well. The original version, released in 1947, stars Maureen O’Hara as Doris Walker, Edmund Gwenn as Kris Kringle, and Natalie Wood as Susan Walker. The movie was directed by George Seaton. The remake, released in 1994, stars Elizabeth Perkins as Dorey Walker, Richard Attenborough as Kris Kringle, and Mara Wilson as Susan Walker. The movie was directed by Les Mayfield. 26 Elf Will Ferrell stars as a human adopted by elves in the North Pole in this Christmas comedy. When Buddy the Elf (Ferrell) realizes that his huge size means that he’s not an elf, he decides to go to New York City to find his father. As he reaches New York, he sees the human world through as a juvenile, and tries to form a relationship with his father, who is a businessman with no time for family. On Christmas Eve, however, Buddy’s father realizes that he loves his son, and has been missing out on a lot by always working. As Buddy, his father (James Caan), stepmother (Mary Steenburgen), half-brother (Daniel Tay), and love interest (Zooey Deschanel) save Christmas and help Santa (Edward Asner) on Christmas Eve in Central Park, all of New York City start appreciating the spirit of Christmas a little more. Directed by Jon Favreau; 2003. Mr. Bruno’s Top Ten Happy Holiday Flick Picks ‚ ‚ ‚ ‚ ‚ ‚ ‚ ‚ ‚ ‚ National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation A Christmas Story It’s a Wonderful Life Emmet Otter’s Jug-Band Christmas A Charlie Brown Christmas A Christmas Carol (1951) A Garfield Christmas Scrooged Nightmare Before Christmas The Star Wars Holiday Special (just kidding) 27 December 20, 2004 Traditional Christmas Stories Amanda Arciero FROM “JINGLE BELLS” TO HANGING STOCKINGS and baking cookies to wrapping presents, Christmas seems to make people a little more cheery. Part of what makes Christmas so special is the stories we grew up listening to. So gather ’round the Christmas tree and find out where your favorite Christmas stories really came from. A long-time favorite, A Visit from St. Nicholas (often called The Night before Christmas) was written by Clement Clarke Moore. “The Night before Christmas is my favorite because it brings on the anticipation of Christmas morning,” said Angela Belotta ’06. The story tells of a young child on Christmas Eve who hears a noise and later finds out that it was Santa and his reindeer. There isn’t much to this story, but it has been passed on throughout many generations. Another Christmas story that will make you feel warm and fuzzy while you are trying to get the winter chill out of your socks is the ever popular Frosty the Snowman. “I like Frosty the Snowman the best because it shows how children can take anything and make it enjoyable,” said Daniel Cowan ’06. This much loved tale is about a group of children who build a snowman who magically comes to life. They name him Frosty and play with him for a whole day, until he begins to melt. The children are very upset when Frosty melts, but they know that he will be back again next winter. Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer was written for the Montgomery Ward group of department stores in 1939. It was written by Robert L. May as a promotional gimmick. Much different from the song written by Johnny Mark, the original Rudolph was not one of Santa’s reindeer at all, did not live at the North Pole, and was not an embarrassment to his parents. He was brought up in a loving environment and was responsible with a good sense of selfworth. Santa discovered Rudolph by accident; he was distracted by the strange glow emerging from Rudolph’s house while he was delivering presents. Santa asked Rudolph to be part of the team that Christmas Eve because the thickening fog had been a problem in the past, causing many accidents. Rudolph helped to guide the sleigh and was later praised for helping Santa, and made an official part of Santa’s team. The Gift of the Magi was written by O. Henry. It is a beautiful story about a young, poor married couple who have two things of great value to the both of them, Jim’s watch and Della’s long flowing hair. On Christmas Eve, Della realizes that she only has $1.87 with which to buy her husband Jim’s Christmas gift. She decides that her husband deserves something that would cost much more than what she has for Christmas, so she cuts her hair and sells it for $20. When her husband returns home, he just stares at Della blankly. He gives her the gift he had bought her for Christmas, which were combs to put in her long hair. She gives him the chain, only to find out that Jim had sold his watch in order to buy Della the combs for her hair. Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer is not your traditional Christmas story. At all. In all actuality, it is a song. “This one is my favorite because the tune is really catchy, and it’s really different from all the other Christmas stories,” said Courtney Ceretta ’06. This story is about a Grandmother that was walking home from her children’s house on Christmas Eve. According to the song, Grandma had been drinking a little too much and had left her medication behind as she begun her trek home in the snow. The story goes on to tell how Grandpa had been dealing well with the tragedy of Grandma’s death and how the family wasn’t sure whether to open Grandma’s Christmas gifts or to send them back. “This is my favorite Christmas story because although it isn’t really a story, it’s funny,” said Jessica The Prophet Burton ‘08. This story is very different from your normal Christmas story, but it is loved by many, with the exception of grandmothers. Another Christmas tale with a different take on things is How the Grinch Stole Christmas, by Dr. Seuss. “How the Grinch Stole Christmas is definitely my favorite,” said Corinne Timko ’07. “It’s different from the rest of the stories and it makes me laugh.” The story of the Grinch tells about a green fuzzy man who hates Christmas. He decides to come out of his lair and ruin Christmas for the people of Whoville. During the process, the Whos actually get the Grinch to enjoy Christmas. This is a personal favorite of many, because of its rhyming text or just the fun story line. Last but not least, and by far the best Christmas story, is the birth of Jesus. The story most often told, a combination of the Gospels of Matthew and Luke, tells us that Mary and Joseph traveled by donkey to Bethlehem. Upon arriving, they found out that nobody had any rooms for them to stay in. One man was kind enough to let Mary and Joseph stay in the manger behind the place where the travelers lodged. The Angel of the Lord appeared to the shepherds in the fields and told them that the Lord had been born. It is said that the Three Wise Men followed a star to the place where Jesus had been born bringing gifts of frankincense, myrrh and gold. Christmas is a time of love and sharing amongst friends and families. These stories are guaranteed to brighten the holiday season a little more, whether hearing them for the first time as an infant, hearing them for the sixtieth time while stuck sitting be- 28 tween Uncle Alfred and Aunt Edna for the fifth year in a row, or passing them along to younger members of the family. Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night. In 2005, I Resolve to… Johnna Plunkett MANY MEMBERS OF THE UNION CATHOLIC community are beginning to think about their 2005 New Year’s resolutions. New Year’s resolutions are those promises that individuals make to themselves to correct bad habits. It may sound like a noble idea but people rarely keep their resolutions for more than a few weeks. The problem with New Year’s resolutions is that many people do not make reasonable ones. “I made a resolution to be nice to people,” said Chris Varga ’06. “That was a joke.” Many people make New Year’s resolutions knowing that they are not going to be able to keep them. For that reason, some people feel that the whole process is pointless. “I don’t believe in making New Year’s resolutions,” said social studies teacher Miss Kawalec. “I cannot even remember the New Year’s resolutions I have made in the past,” said Marybeth Tran ’05. “That goes to show how many of them I actually kept.” The key to a successful resolution is coming up with one that is realistic. Ask yourself the question, “Is it something that I can do?” New Year’s resolutions, if done correctly, can help to change a person. They opened their coffers and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Mt 2:11 29 December 20, 2004 ‚ THE PROPHET GOES TO THE MOVIES Laura Mortkowitz sion, slated for a 2006 release, will be far more interesting. ‚ Alexander the Not-So-Great THE EPIC MOVIE ALEXANDER THE GREAT, DIrected by Oliver Stone and starring Colin Farrell as Alexander, fell very short of its own hyped-up propaganda. The voiceover by Anthony Hopkins leaves him sounding close to death and brings the audience there as well. The length of the movie could have been cut by an hour and a half to keep the audience interested. Despite the tedious narration the movie begins promisingly enough, with young Alexander taming a wild horse, one that stays loyal to him throughout the many wars he wages. Alexander’s mother, Olympias (Angelina Jolie), is allegedly a sorceress and tells Alexander his true father is Zeus, which makes Alexander kin to the gods. Alexander develops a love/ hate relationship with Olympias’ husband, Philip (Val Kilmer), who has no love for Olympias, remarries a younger woman and then is killed, leaving Alexander the throne. The next two hours are filled with wearisome battle after battle as Alexander conquers lands farther and farther east. The longer they stay away from home the more soldiers constantly second-guess Alexander and entreat him to go home. The movie becomes so boring that often times the viewer can find him- or herself agreeing with the people who just want to turn back. The army finally does turn back following a battle in India after Alexander almost dies from an arrow wound. Do not go see this film and do not waste money to rent it when it is released on DVD. Hopefully the Baz Luhrmann ver- Go Straight to Sideways DIRECTOR ALEXANDER PAYNE’S MOVIE SIDEways is about mid-life crises, the search for wine, the search for women, and it begins and ends with a knock on a door. Depressed English teacher Miles Raymond (Paul Giamatti) takes his friend Jack (Thomas Haden), a washed up actor, on a trip to California’s wine country. Jack is there simply to drink wine and celebrate his last week before his wedding having the time of his life with Stephanie (Sandra Oh), a wine pourer he meets. Meanwhile, Miles, a divorced man with a failed writing career, wishes to start a relationship with Maya (Virginia Madsen), a waitress at the restaurant he frequents on his visits. Sideways can swing from being utterly humorous, when Jack chases down a golf cart yelling and swinging his golf club, to intensely serious when Maya speaks about her love for wine because it grows, just like people, and its taste grows better with age. However the week of fun turns sour when the girls find out Jack is getting married on Saturday, Stephanie breaks his nose with her motorcycle helmet, and the two crash Miles’ car to hide Jack’s bandages as the result of a car accident. Even though this movie is not filled with action, like The Incredibles or any of the Lord of the Rings, it delves into the human psyche. Payne explores relationships like The Prophet the confusing one between opposites Jack and Miles, and the content and understandable one between Miles and Maya that threatens to end horribly. 30 see who is still alive), have a hidden microphone installed (to monitor that they are not misbehaving), and possess a nifty feature: they can explode. To make the game more interesting, every six hours announcements notify the students who died and about upcoming “danger zones.” If anyone is found in one of these designated zones during the specified time, their necklace will explode. The story shows the different reactions these ninth-graders have under the pressure of not knowing who to trust. Some couples commit suicide, while others try to call for peace, and yet others kill ruthlessly. One group of girls, full of suspicions, actually kill each other off and the remaining one jumps to her death. However, the main character, Shuya Nanahara, finds himself teamed up with the girl his close friend (the boy whose necklace detonated) had a crush on, Noriko Nakagawa. These two join up with a former Battle Royale winner, Shogo Kawada, trying to break the system. Or is Shogo just pulling the strings so he can be the last remaining? Overall the storyline is very original and keeps the viewer interested from the beginning when Shuya remembers his father’s suicide, to the end when the game is finally concluded. Japanese Battle Royale THE JAPANESE CULT CLASSIC, BATTLE ROYALE, is set in an alternate universe where the adults, fearing the no-good youth of the nation, have passed the Battle Royale Act. The act allows one ninth-grade class to be sent every year to an undisclosed area to kill each other off, leaving only one victor. None of the students are aware of the Battle Royale Act and are brought on a school bus assuming they are going on a school study trip. However, a sleeping gas released in the bus knocks all the students out until they wake up in a school on a remote island. The game starts almost immediately after they are shown a video informing the students about the basic rules and regulations. Each student is given a bag with food, a compass, a map of the island, and a weapon (ranging anywhere from binoculars to a machine gun). The students all wear necklaces that check their pulse (to To all members of the Union Catholic community, their family and friends, the staff of The Prophet wish a Merry and Blessed Christmas and a Happy and Healthy New Year.