Goings-On At AHS by sofiaie


									Electronic Update #10

Arlington High School
869 Massachusetts Avenue
Arlington, MA 02476

March 10, 2008

Dear Parents and Guardians,

Poetry has been on my mind since having Poet Laureate, Robert Pinskey, here at AHS for our First Annual
Favorite Poem Celebration last week. (See below for more details.) George Orwell wrote in his essay, The
Unicorn and the Lion, that poetry is “is a kind of family joke, with little or no value outside its own lan-
guage-group.” Without knowing that quote, I think I had a similar sense of poetry being trivial (compared to
other modes of writing) throughout high school and college. And then I became a teacher. It shocked me to
see how powerful poetry was, how much students appreciated reading, writing, and learning it.

I learned firsthand the power of poetry early in my teaching career from a former student at Brighton High
School named Elizabeth W. Elizabeth was an immigrant from Vietnam, with a Vietnamese mother and an
American father. She was charming and bright, and learned English quickly. Like most immigrant children
she was the spokesperson for her family, and was out of school as often as she was in. When she was absent
for several consecutive days we sent our truant officer to find her, but the whole family had moved to
Texas. I heard from other students throughout the year that Elizabeth dropped out of school and had a baby.

About a year after she disappeared, Elizabeth came back to Brighton High School to re-enroll, proud mother
of a newborn son, named Johnny. “Do you know why I came back to school?” she asked me when she re-
turned to my classroom. I shook my head, unsure of what the answer would be. “Do you remember the
poem called Mother To Son?” Of course I remembered the Langston Hughes poem about a hard-working
mother advising her son that life “ain’t been no crystal stair,” and that he had to work hard the way that she
had all of her life. Elizabeth said, “I always loved that poem, and I knew that I had to work hard if I wanted
my son to be a good man. I came back to school to get my education and be a good mother to my son.”

That’s always been a special moment in my teaching career. It made all those “teachers touch the future”
bumper stickers very real. The work we do in classrooms must be not only for the upcoming test or the stan-
dardized exam, but also for the quandaries and obstacles that students will face as they become adults.

Goings-On At AHS

Favorite Poem Project
As mentioned above The Favorite Poem project was a wonderful success. Robert Pinskey encouraged us to
be poets and to appreciate poetry. He read a great poem about Michelangelo, the Renaissance artist, feeling
disgruntled about how hard the work was of painting the Sistene Chapel ceiling, and how he felt talentless
because of the physical difficulties involved with completing the job. It was a wonderful poem for high
school students to understand that even great artists can become overwhelmed by circumstances beyond
their control. Many thanks to Elise Frangos, ELA Curriculum Director, for bringing this valuable event to
AHS. Elise worked with Rebecca Walsh and several other teachers and staff members on the project, and
their goal of celebrating poetry was certainly achieved through this assembly.
Electronic Update #10

Arlington High School
869 Massachusetts Avenue
Arlington, MA 02476

MADD Assembly
Many thanks to Elizabeth Oppedisano for bringing the multi-media Mothers Against Drunk Driving presen-
tation to AHS. This was by far the best show that MADD has produced. Traditionally, these presentations
are “sensational,” focusing on grim statistics and tragedies. The first half of this year’s presentation focused
on the issues that face teen drivers on a daily basis. The presentation repeatedly and effectively told teen
drivers to: slow down, not talk on a cell phone while driving – the teen speakers in the film made the point
that drivers can be so distracted by talking on a cell phone, that it is practically the same as driving drunk --
keep the number of passengers in a car at a minimum, and to see the police as people who are trying to pro-
tect them, not harass them. The presentation was received well by both audiences, and I hope the lessons of
the film were internalized by all students.

Athletic Update
It was tremendously exciting to watch the play-off games in basketball and hockey during the post sea-
son. Win or lose, our students showed both their determination and athletic prowess throughout each of the
games they played. Ted Dever, AHS Athletic Director, files the following end-of-season report:

•    Our winter season came to an end Thursday night as the Girls’ Hockey Team ended their run for a state
     championship losing in the semi-finals to St. Mary's of Lynn. Our girls had an outstanding season win-
     ning the GBL championship. Kelly Curran, Rebecca O'Quinn and Kim Hayward were All Conference
     while the Sullivan sisters, Emily and Kylee, along with Victoria Messuri and Amelia Dineen were All

•    Our Boys’ Hockey Team made the tournament with a strong second place finish in the GBL. The boys’
     season ended with a hard fought 2-0 loss to St. Bernards.

•    Our wrestlers won the GBL and sent 6 of our boys to sectionals: Gus Fahey, Matt Curran, Greg Kita,
     Matt Willey, PAt Cronin and Brian Flynn. Matt Willey advanced to States.

     Our Gymnastics Team won the GBL and Olivia Baldwin and Brooke Anderson were named as All-

•     Our Boys’ Track Team has an outstanding 5-1 record and had Antony Taylor chosen as a league All
     Star. Our girls finished with an overall record of 3-2-1. All Stars include Carolyn Mayer, Zoe Green-
     berg, Catherine Harrington and Emily Chicojay.

•     Our Girls’ Basketball Team improved each game and almost made the Division 2 tournament. Emily
     Pillemer and Cherelle Flynn were named as All Stars. Our Boys’ Basketball Team made the tournament
     with a great finish, winning five of their last seven games. The team upset Masconomet in the tourney
     before falling to Westford. All stars include Brain Emerson and Bobby Reeves.

•    As always our hockey and basketball cheerleaders did a great job. Special thanks to our cheerleader
     coaches and Ellen Reynolds, Donna Kirkland, Dave Kim and Peter Cushing for helping with tourna-
     ment coverage; our fans were great.
Electronic Update #10

Arlington High School
869 Massachusetts Avenue
Arlington, MA 02476

     Spring tryouts begin March 17th. All students need an updated physical in order to tryout. Please make
     sure your athletic fee is in before the 17th. The fee is listed on our web site.

Course Selection Sheets / Program Of Studies
The course selection sheets for 2008 – 2009 will be distributed to 9th, 10th, and 11th Grade homerooms on
Tuesday, March 11. Students will have time over the next week to confer with their current teachers about
recommendations for next year’s courses. Parents need to sign off on selections so that students return them
to their homeroom teachers by Tuesday, March 18. Students will meet with their guidance counselors in the
final weeks of March and early April to make their preliminary schedules. It is our hope that schedules will
be ready by the end of the school year. If they are not, schedules will be mailed to students at the end of the

Midterm Warning Notices
We are at midterm. Warning notices will be mailed out, rather than delivered by hand to students, so please
watch your mailboxes. The House Deans report hundreds of warning notices bring sent out by each House
Office. The third term ends Friday, April 4.

 Red Cross Blood Drive
The AHS Student Council is holding its annual Blood Drive on Wednesday, March 12. Contact Sue Briggs
at: sbriggs@arlington.k12.ma.us for more information.

Parent Advisory Council
The third PAC meeting of the year will take place on Wednesday, March 12, at 7:00 PM in the AHS library
media center.

 Freshman / Sophomore Semi-Formal
Ms. Ortwein and Ms. Rakowski, the freshman and sophomore class advisors, have provided the following
information for the semi-formal: Tickets will be sold starting Friday, March 7th during all three lunches
outside of room 404.Tickets will cost $20.00. Payment can be made in cash or check, made out to the AHS
General Fund. The semi is only for AHS students.

Students must have signed contract in order to go to the dance. If the student has a guest, the guest must be
an AHS student and must sign the contract. Contracts are being given out in homeroom on Thursday. Please
be sure to sign your child’s contract before he / she returns it. Students must arrive by 8:30 and cannot leave
until 10:30 unless there is prior discussion with the dean. Emergency number to call that night to reach the
dance: 617-966-6071

Mrs. Ortwein and Ms Rakowsky can answer your questions. nortwein@arlington.k12.ma.us or dra-

Prom dresses and tuxes are not necessary. This should not be a big expense for clothing, flowers, limos,
etc. The goal of this event is for students to have fun at a school social event. Students may come as indi-
viduals or couples. We encourage students to not wear jeans and boys should wear a tie. All School rules
apply. Parents will be contacted with any problems that arise.
Electronic Update #10

Arlington High School
869 Massachusetts Avenue
Arlington, MA 02476

IMPORTANT: Prestige Portraits will be at our dance to take professional portraits. They have a new
‘online program’, which means that no payment is required to get photographed. Simply have portrait taken,
student will receive a password, and may go ‘on line’ to view, select, and order portraits of their choice. Be
sure to remind your student to get photographed! Groups are encouraged as well.

Students should not bring large amounts of money to the dance, and must be careful to look after any cam-
eras, cell phones, etc. they bring to the dance. There will be several chaperones at the dance, as well as a
police presence, but we cannot take responsibility for student property left unattended.

Any Grade 9 or 10 parent who would like to submit a baked good to be served at the dance, please do so on
March 14, the day of the dance. Deliver to the Main Office or Room 404 by 2:00 PM. We hope that as many
parents as possible will donate.

 No School Friday, March 21
There are no classes in Arlington Public Schools on Friday, March 21, because of Good Friday. School re-
sumes on Monday, March 24.


Charles Skidmore, Principal
Arlington High School
869 Massachusetts Avenue
Arlington, MA 02476
t. 781.316.3591 || f. 781.316.3504
e. cskidmore@arlington.k12.ma.us

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