December 20, 2006
Sounds of the Season She’s preparing juniors Ghosts get trampled
for the HSPA science test by Mustangs
takes the stage
page 4 page 3 page 8
Spotlight Rosa Parks High School
413 12th Avenue
Paterson, NJ 07514
December 20, 2006 Rosa L. Parks School of Fine & Performing Arts Volume 12, Issue 2
Will uniforms become the norm? school earlier,” Ramirez said. “We won’t have to
Editor-in-Chief worry about what to wear in the morning.”
Could school uniforms be on the horizon for But other students felt that wearing a uniform
Paterson Public Schools? infringes on their right to express themselves.
This fall, the district asked parents to complete a “School uniforms are a restraint [on]
survey concerning school uniforms. The purpose of individuality,” said Junior Jessicalynn Ramos.
the survey was to “collect information” regarding Other students agree with Ramos’ views on
the proposal. The survey was created in June of freedom of expression. “[School uniforms] won’t
2006 and was given to students in September to let us be unique,” said Sophomore Josue Segarra.
take home. While many students may feel that school
The school uniform would consist of a golf uniforms conﬂict with their free speech, the law
shirt with a school logo, and a pair of khaki pants. states otherwise.
Although it is only an idea, students at Rosa Parks The issue of dress code came up in a recent
were very vocal about the idea of wearing school Kentucky court case. In that decision, the judge
uniforms. wrote: “Style and taste in clothing … may be
Maria Peña, a junior, said if students wear one of the ﬁrst ways in which children learn to
school uniforms, “we won’t have to ﬁght over who express their individuality and engage in self-
has the better outﬁt.” Spolight / CHRIS ARROYO
Staff Writer Najila S. Johnson models
Another junior, Arlene Ramirez, agreed school However, he explained that the Free Speech
what a school uniform might look like
uniforms might be beneﬁcial. UNIFORMS page 3
“If we had school uniforms, we’d come to
District considers GPA district called the homes
of teachers and students,
distributed ﬂyers at school,
requirement for 2012 and posted a notice on the
district website about the
Leilani Lee Morales community forum.
Hundreds of students,
PATERSON – The Board of Education is seeking input on a
proposed district policy which would gradually raise the 2.0 minimum parents, teachers and
grade point average required for all students participating in extra- coaches turned out for
curricular programs in 2012. the meeting to get more
The proposal to raise the GPA incrementally information on the proposed Spotlight / LEILANI LEE MORALES
Instrumental Major and JFK band
policy and speak their mind member Jasmine Mottley is concerned
Index to 2.75, or a C+ average, would go into effect six
on the issue.
years from now, if approved. The school board held about the proposed GPA policy
a community meeting on Nov. 16 to allow parents, Currently, the minimum
Arts..........p4 teachers, and students to express their opinions on GPA to participate in extra-
curricular activities is 2.0, or a C. At Rosa Parks High School, if a
Opinion....p7 the matter. student’s GPA is under 2.0, he or she is put on academic probation and
The Board of Education made an attempt to get
Sports......p8 the word out about the 7 p.m. meeting held in the not allowed to participate in any ﬁeld trips or after school rehearsals.
auditorium of John F. Kennedy High School. The GPA page 3
2 News Spotlight
BRIEFS Students practice peer
A poetry slam will be held at Rosa Parks
leadership on faculty
High School. It’s the ﬁrst fundraiser of the
Najila S. Johnson
year for the Class of 2008. Staff Writer
This poetry slam is open to young adults Students had the chance to teach
reading original and interpreted pieces of the teachers a thing or two at a recent
poetry. Hopeful students can try out Dec. 20 faculty in-service meeting.
in front of the Class of 2008 advisors and Typically, in-service meetings
student ofﬁcers. are for teachers to improve their
All are welcome to this event, which will techniques or learn about school
take place on the evening of Jan. 18 in the policies. But last month, the teachers
Lou Costello Theatre. got an inside look at how one of our
- Najila S. Johnson
school’s clubs operates.
Peer Leadership is a group of
juniors and seniors who would
A CITY OF LIGHTS be considered role models. Their
job is to develop activities to help
PATERSON - Rosa Parks High School Spotlight / NAJILA S. JOHNSON
break the ice with the freshmen at Faculty take part in a Peer Leadership Activity. Above:
students participated in the City of Paterson’s upcoming orientations. But the Physical Education Teacher Cheyenne Fulmore role
annual holiday parade. peer leaders wanted to ﬁrst test their plays with Peer Leader Andrea Perdomo, a senior.
The parade featured Rosa Parks High icebreakers, tolerance builders and
School’s own concert choir, which performed release therapy-based drills on the faculty. The staff enjoyed the exercise called
the classics, “Have Yourself A Merry At the Nov. 28 meeting, the eleven “Special Gifts.” The teachers wrote their
Little Christmas” and “Somewhere In My students were divided into four groups, as names on a sheet of paper then passed it to
Memory”. was the staff. Each group participated in short the person next to them. The person then,
The crowd also jammed to the tunes exercises that freshmen would participate in. anonymously wrote something positive on
of John F. Kennedy and Eastside High For example, one exercise was nicknamed that person’s sheet. By the time everyone got
Schools’ marching bands. That was followed “IALAC” which means I Am Lovable And their papers back, they were delighted with
by spirited words by City Councilman Ken Capable. In the activity, a student wears all of the nice comments that they received.
Morris a vertical sign around their neck with the The two coordinators, Ms. Amy Bria and
acronym, IALAC. That person role plays a Ms. Mary Fierro, discussed with Principal
- Najlia S. Johnson target of abuse. The other members of the Sharon C. Smith the idea of presenting the
group role play by saying something negative peer leadership workshop at the meeting and,
about the “victim” causing him or her to tear according to the staff, it was a huge success.
The feedback from the staff was very
FUTURE TEACHERS CLUB off a piece of the sign.
This act was symbolic of how a person positive. Library Media Specialist Mrs.
feels every time someone says something Joanne McCoy said the workshop was
Students interested in becoming teachers
negative. At the end, the members had to “fantastic” and “helped people learn to treat
and participating in unique experiences
say something positive so that the torn others kinder.”
should consider joining the Future Teachers
Club. away pieces could be taped back together.
Members recently took a ﬁeld trip to However, the exercise demonstrated that the
the Newark Museum. The students perform sign is never the same as it was.
Enjoy the holiday break!
community service activities, such as
working closely with the mentally disabled,
to become well-rounded individuals who are
ready to take on the role of being teachers.
Meetings are held each month. For more
information, students should contact Mr.
Michael Ollo and Ms. Yvonne Nambe.
- Najila S. Johnson
School reopens Jan. 2, 2007
Spotlight News 3
Spotlight On: Ms. Nadarajah
knowledge of science on the High School Proﬁciency Assessment.
The science portion of the test is no longer a “ﬁeld test.” Students must
now demonstrate their knowledge of science in order to graduate.
But for students that are questioning whether or not they’ll succeed
on the test, Ms. Nadarajah has the answer. In fact, she started preparing
students in December by taking time out of each class to teach and
review the basics that will appear on the HSPA.
Ms. Nadarajah, who teaches Chemistry to all juniors in Rosa Parks
High School, is reaching out to some of her students to help teach
other students. She’s asking for their help to make the process more
efﬁcient and fun.
“It helps them [learn] faster,” Ms Nadarajah, who added that she
chose certain students to help teach others in the class about concepts
on the test.
A science teacher for almost two decades, Ms. Nadarajah taught
for almost 10 years in her native country Sri Lanka before she came
here to the U.S. Ms. Nadarajah has been teaching at Rosa Parks High
Spotlight / LATAVIA GONZALEZ School ever since.
Chemistry Teacher Ms. Inthumathy Nadarajah is working hard to Before becoming a science teacher, Ms. Nadarajah was a science
prepare juniors for the new HSPA Science test this March. demonstrator at a university that she attended in Sri Lanka.
“I love science, “ Ms. Nadarajah said. “It’s everything around
Latavia Gonzalez me.”
Sha’Quanna Mack, a senior, said “[Ms. Nadarajah] is really one of
Science teacher Ms. Inthumathy Nadarajah is hoping that her passion the teachers who tries to prepare students for real life.”
for science will help prepare juniors for their big test this March. “She knows a lot and can teach kids a lot.”
This year’s junior class will be the ﬁrst to be tested on their
CONGRATULATIONS GPA page 1
to the newest members of the The Board of Education is considering the idea of gradually raising
National Honor Society: the minimum to a 2.1, 2.2 and so on. The proposal is in response
to low standardized test scores. The district must meet the federal
requirements of No Child Left Behind, which states that all students
must have 100% proﬁciency on standardized tests by 2011.
But some students, coaches and parents are concerned that some
students may not meet the higher GPA requirements and as a result,
become ineligible to participate in clubs and sports.
“I believe kids in Paterson could do much better than [how] they’re
doing,” said Board of Education Commissioner Errol Kerr at the Nov.
However some students who earn well above a 2.0 GPA are
UNIFORMS page 1 concerned, such as Junior Jasmine Mottley, an Instrumental Major at
Clause doesn’t cushion a student’s “generalized and vague desire to “It scares me,” admitted Mottley, who is also a member of the
express her [or his] middle school individuality.” Kennedy marching band. Mottley attended the Nov. 16 meeting along
In other words, public schools have the right to enforce a dress with the other band members.
code within their school. The courts feel that students have other Although the policy wouldn’t go into effect until after Mottley
methods or forums to express themselves, such as writing for a school graduates, she said she would be concerned if it went into effect
newspaper. next year.“My GPA is where it needs to be but what if it [went]
The idea of requiring school uniforms is gaining popularity across borderline?”
the nation and many public school districts are considering the issue. At the meeting, some parents and coaches expressed that the
In fact, public schools in Jersey City have required students to wear a district should provide tutoring for the students who do not meet the
school uniform this year. district’s minimum GPA requirement to participate in extra-curricular
Paterson School District ofﬁcials have yet to make a decision on activities.
the proposed policy. Members of the Board of Education said they will consider that idea
and will hold additional meetings on the proposed policy.
4 Arts Spotlight
Rosa Parks gets into the holiday spirit
Drama, Dance, Vocal, Piano, and Instrumental students perform
Spotlight / LEILANI LEE MORALES
(left) The Snowﬂakes speak to one another; (top center) Dance Majors Elias Benitez and Jennifer Florentino; (top right) Senior
Mercedes Lopez plays piano near the stage (bottom right) Matinee shows packed every seat in the Lou Costello Theatre
Leilani Lee Morales
A collaboration of the school’s actors, The good sister Ellisandra, played by dance number when freshman Elias
dancers, singers, and musicians helped this Sophomore Najla Johnson, and the bad sister Benitez lifted up freshman Jennifer
year’s annual holiday production come to Tempesta, played by Brieanna Clarke, were Florentino.
life. both in search for three snowﬂakes. The ﬁrst
The production – “Sounds of the Season” to earn all three snowﬂakes could become • The crowd clapped when Piano
(with cuttings from Legends in a Snowfall by snow queen and rule the weather for all Major Anastasia Andrej played “Up
Claudia H. Haas) – was held on Dec. 14 in the eternity. on the House Top.”
Lou Costello Theatre. Matinee shows were The sisters went through a series of events
also held daily for the entire week leading up to earn their snowﬂakes. But in the end, the • The Instrumental Majors performed
to the show. good sister earned the three snowﬂakes and the opening song as the students
Some of the Paterson schools that attended becomes snow queen, the bad sister was were being ushered in to their seats.
daytime showings included Great Falls whisked away, and the mother returned
Academy, School 29, and A Whole New home. • The Vocal Majors were a big hit
World Pre-school. The Dance, Vocal, Instrumental, and Piano with the younger students as well.
The plot, which is based in part on Legends Majors performed in between the drama The youngsters helped to sing “The
in A Snowfall, concerned an overworked scenes. Among the show’s highlights were: Twelve Days.”
mother named Faith (played by Sophomore
Qyera Parks), who was suddenly transported • When the Dance Majors came on “The show was wonderful, very spirited,
into a winter wonderland. There, she meets stage and danced to some catchy and totally appropriate for the season,” said
two sisters who both want to become snow holiday tunes. The crowd was Math Teacher Mr. Joseph Grich.
queen. especially captivated during the ﬁrst
Spotlight Arts & Entertainment 5
Vocal Majors take the stage at NJPAC
NEWARK— The Rosa L. Parks High School concert choir shared
the stage with Arts High School of Newark this month at the New
Jersey Performing Arts Center.
The two concert choirs came together to sing beautiful songs of the
season, which was the name of the Dec. 10 performance. This was the
ﬁrst time that the Rosa L. Parks Concert Choir had the opportunity to
perform at NJPAC.
First to take the stage was Arts High School of Newark and their
Advanced Choir. Their principal, Dr. Norma Fair-Brown, informed the
audience that the school was the nation’s ﬁrst visual and performing
arts school and was now celebrating its 75th anniversary. Dr. Fair-
Brown then introduced their choir, which sang many classical songs.
Afterwards, Principal Sharon C. Smith and State Superintendent of
Paterson Schools Michael E. Glascoe took the stage to introduce the Spotlight/JACQUASIA PRYOR
(above) Vocal Majors take the stage at NJPAC alongside the
Rosa L. Parks High School Concert Choir. Ms. Smith informed the
Arts High School of Newark’s Advanced Choir
audience that the school was celebrating its 20th anniversary.
Each song by the Rosa Parks Concert Choir was followed by the a combined choir. They sang: “Hallelujah” “Rudolph the Red Nose
poetic voice of School Facilitator, Ms. Yvonne Nambe, who described Reindeer” and “Jingle Bells.”
the seasonal songs the choir sang. The songs were: “Ave Maria” “Ride “It was a stellar performance,” said Ms. Smith after the show.
On King Jesus” “Joy to the World” “Tidings of Comfort and Joy” and Physical Education Teacher, Mrs. Patricia Lionetti agreed. “One of
“Somewhere in my Memory.” the most outstanding shows I have ever seen. I’m so glad I got to be
Then the two choirs took the stage and performed together as a part of it.”
Video game systems compete for your money
Ashlee Coleman Another cool feature of the PS3 is that it includes eight categories of
media options: Users, Settings, Photo, Music, Video, Game, Network
Gamers, brace up for a full throttle battle between archrivals Sony
The graphics are considered by many to be the best out there next
to the Microsoft X-Box 360. It actually looks as if you’re watching
These two game empires
have been going at it for
Enjoy smaller home units? Then, the Nintendo Wii is strictly for
years. And this holiday
you. It is approximately the size of three standard DVD cases stacked
season, shoppers will be
together. The Wii is much cheaper than its competitors running for
torn between the two,
unsure which console best
The Wii is backward compatible with all Nintendo GameCube
ﬁts their needs.
software. This allows the gamer to play all of his or her old games in
But, don’t worry, because
the system. The graphics are also similar to GameCube.
true gamers are about to
The remote is a one-handed controller that uses a combination of
be schooled in and out on
The Sony PlayStation 3 costs $499 accelerometers and infrared detection to
every aspect of the Sony
sense its position in 3D space.
PlayStation 3 and the Nintendo Wii. (pronounced WEE)
In the end, it all boils down to what
The Sony PlayStation 3 (PS3) comes in two versions (Basic and
type of personality the gamer has. For
Premium) and runs for approximately $499. They’re basically the
gamers that enjoy graphics and feeling
same, but the Premium costs about $100 more and it consist of a
like they’re actually part of the game,
chrome trim, built-in Wi-Fi, ﬂash card readers, and an internal 60 GB
get the Sony Play Station 3. But, gamers
hard drive instead of the normal 20 GB.
who enjoy something simple, small, and
Sony stated that every PlayStation1 (PS1) and PlayStation2 (PS2)
traditional with occasional changes then,
game that detects its system’s Technical Requirements Checklist
the Nintendo Wii is the perfect choice.
would be playable on PS3 at launch.
Gamers will be able to use memory sticks in the PS3 to store saved Nintendo Wii is cheaper
data from PS1 and PS2. than competitors at $250
6 Editorials Spotlight
A question of GPA
Why would the district raise There are so many unanswered
a bar that some students already questions with this proposal.
struggle with? This is why it is good that the
If a student is suspended policy would not go into effect
from playing on a team due for six more years. The Board
to insufﬁcient grades, where
should that student go instead of
practice? There are so many
Who will enforce the policy
at the various schools? unanswered questions
These are a few of the
with this proposal
Right to be unique
questions that must be answered
before the school board votes on
a 2012 proposal to increase the
minimum grade point average for Latavia Gonzalez
students to participate in extra- of Education is asking the Staff Writer clothes that they feel good in.
curricular activities, including community for input. The district has not yet made
athletic teams and clubs. But there are better approaches The district sees student a decision on the idea of school
At the Nov. 16 meeting, the to solving the GPA problem than uniforms as a starting point to uniforms. Before they do, they
public was given the opportunity raising the 2.0 minimum. success. But to the students who must create a clear, detailed dress
to express their opinion on the If each student’s strengths and would have to wear them, school code policy. The district needs to
idea, which wouldn’t take effect weaknesses are closely analyzed, uniforms represent the end of be speciﬁc and consistent on what
for six more years if approved. guidance counselors and teachers individuality. is permitted and not permitted
Under the proposed policy, could make judgments and follow The argument for school while wearing uniforms.
the changes in the minimum each student’s individualized uniforms is clear. District For example, students may
GPA requirement will be made improvement, rather than ofﬁcials believe requiring ﬁnd a variety of ways to “spice
in small gradual increments. generalized restraints. If students students to wear the same outﬁt up” the uniform to make it
But, this can still be a burden are making improvements, they – a polo with a school logo and unique. Some students might
on the students who have shouldn’t be penalized. khakis – will help create a safer wear thermals under their white
trouble maintaining the required There also should be some environment. They say that the crisp uniform shirts. Others may
minimum GPA of 2.0. type of tutoring made available uniforms will help distinguish wear punk rock accessories. Is
Some students are on the 2.0 to students. Suspending a student students from intruders. this OK?
mark now, or just barely above from a team or club does not Students should be Some students feel that
it. Sure, those students need an ensure the student will use their requiring uniforms would be
extra push. Every student is new free time to study. able to have fun and a good thing because it would
different. And a consequence When the students are kept decrease competition over
such as academic probation in mind, this way works just enjoy the clothes that clothes. Students might be
less concerned about fashion
doesn’t seem very supportive. ﬁne. Students will improve they feel good in and more concerned with their
There is nothing nurturing about at their own pace without
academic probation. compromising valuable high studies.
school experiences. However, most students want
The uniforms would give the to express their individuality and
LETTER to THE EDITOR faculty reassurance. But students
feel that wearing their own
they can’t do so through required
uniforms. As adults, they will
clothes gives them reassurance eventually have to wear uniforms
I am a freshman Communication Arts Major. I am excited
of being a teenager. or professional clothing.
to get to my junior year so I could work on the newspaper. Reading
Students want to express Teenagers should be allowed to
the Spotlight newspaper really inspired me to work harder. I am very
their individuality. They don’t be teenagers until they graduate
excited about journalism and I cannot wait to see the future editions
want to walk around looking high school. The district should
of the school newspaper.
like the classmate that sits across not require students to wear
The article written about the school computer ﬁlter
from them in Algebra 2 class. uniforms because students are
(“Website restrictions cause friction,” Nov. 30, 2006) is a good
Teenagers want to discover their still learning how to be adults.
article because it affects all of us at Rosa L. Parks.
own style. Students should be
able to have fun and enjoy the
Mark Rivera, Grade 9
When seniors slack, colleges take admission back
For some seniors, receiving a college acceptance letter means two Colleges should deﬁnitely be able to take back a senior’s admission
things: a start to freedom and an end to working hard. letter if the student fails to maintain the grades that they supplied the
Unfortunately, this attitude can get their admission school with in the fall. It’s false advertising.
snatched right from the palm of their hands.
If students think If an individual slacks off on his or her grades
According to a recent article in the San Francisco having fun is more and is able to keep their acceptance status, it is
Chronicle, colleges are starting to crack down on those students
important than getting unfair to waiting list. who were placed on the
college applicants who allow their grades to drastically
drop because of a bad case of “senioritis.” good grades, maybe It’s unfortunate that colleges have to resort to
Seniors shouldn’t ﬂip into “relax mode” as soon they should rethink revoking a student’s admission into college. But,
as they’ve received an acceptance letter in the mail. seniors should think twice before getting a bad
Seniors who want to successfully continue onto a path
applying to college case of “senioritis.” If students think having fun is
to a higher education shouldn’t be thinking of skipping altogether more important than getting good grades, maybe
class, letting assignments go, and falling behind in they should rethink applying to college altogether.
Rosa L. Parks High School
413 12th Avenue, Paterson, NJ 07514
• To publish news, information and opinion articles for and
about student, faculty and administration activities, interests,
• To maintain high ethical standards with regard to fairness,
personal and legal rights, responsibilities and accuracy.
• To provide a forum for free and responsible expression of
student opinion and present well-balanced, locally researched
coverage of issues of broader student interest.
Can you draw?
• To strive for excellence in the technical aspects of writing,
including grammar, spelling, clarity and precision.
• To welcome diversity and to increase the scope and depth of
our coverage to heighten mutual understanding in the school.
Spotlight is in need of artists Editor-in-Chief Najila S. Johnson
to draw editorial cartoons and David Bartley Leilani Lee Morales
graphics for upcoming issues. Chris Arroyo
News Editor Michael Urbaez
Please see Ms. Kane in the Staff Writers
Latavia Gonzalez Ms. Tara Kane
Mr. Willliam Ramos
library during Periods 8 & 9 Spotlight welcomes readers’ feedback. Letters to the Editor are
each day if interested.
published at the discretion of the staff. Letters may be mailed to the
school address above or left in Ms. Kane’s mailbox.
8 Sports Spotlight
END OF A PROMISING SEASON
Clifton outplays Eastside in Meadowlands match-up
Spotlight / JACQUASIA PRYOR
(Above) Paterson fans cheer on the
Eastside Ghosts throughout the game.
Spotlight / JACQUASIA PRYOR
(Above) The Ghosts’ wide receiver Davon Le Grier (#4) carries the ball down the ﬁeld; (Right)
RPHS students S’jone Cromartie, Alexis Hill, and Qyera Parks at school before the game waiting
for the bus. Paterson Mayor Jose Torres provided free transportation and tickets to the students.
EAST RUTHERFORD -- The Clifton Mustangs dominated the scoreless.
Eastside Ghosts during the state championship at the Meadowlands, “The game was very disappointing,” said Rosa Parks student
winning the game 26-0. Qyera Parks.
Although the Dec. 2 game was disappointing for Eastside fans, Clifton’s band performed “Ghostbusters” as a witty aim towards
there was an estimated 8,000 fans at Giants Stadium. Seas of orange Eastside. However, Eastside’s band got the crowed hyped with a
and blue ﬁlled one side of the ﬁeld while burgundy and white ﬁlled performance of the popular Jim Jones song, “We Stay Fly.”
the other. S’jone Cromartie, a Rosa Parks student, found the bright side in
Eastside fans wore comical bright orange “Dr Seuss-ish” wigs the situation. “At least the [Eastside] band was good!” she said.
and waved orange foam “number one” ﬁngers that were distributed
for free by Eastside High School faculty.
Among the Ghosts’ supporters were 16 students from Rosa Parks
High School. Paterson Mayor Jose Torres provided free transportation
and admission for the students, who came to the game prepared for the
freezing weather, using both instant hand warmers and warm blankets.
Some wore blue earmuffs and orange scarves to support Ghosts.
But Eastside didn’t have a chance against Clifton who led 14
points in the ﬁrst quarter of the game. The game was a non-enjoy-
able rollercoaster for Eastside, who almost scored after half time but
Please submit game
couldn’t make it happen.
In the end, the Eastside Ghosts still kept their spirit up, simply
happy to have made it to the championship game. Eastside fans yelled
their support for the team after the game even though the Ghosts were
schedules to Ms. Kane