Melrose High School, Melrose, MA

Melrose High School, Melrose, MA

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Feature Student: Francesca Rizzo

One of this month's featured student is senior Francesca Rizzo, who has been named President of this year's MHS Drama Club. Including the achievement of President, Rizzo had a life changing opportunity to volunteer with the organization Habitat for Humanity this past summer. This organization helps people who do not have homes by recruiting a number of volunteers who will participate in building houses for those in need. Rizzo had the opportunity to make a difference by traveling to Lafayette, Louisiana to do just that. Once in New Orleans, she was joined with a group of 15 other students from around the world and NCCC and AmeriCorps members.  Together they traveled 3 hours from New Orleans to their work site in Lafayette, Louisiana.

"From 8:00am until 3:30pm we were on the worksite. By the end of my trip we finished framing, raising all of the walls, and getting the house ready for a roof," says Francesca.

Although the work was hard and the Southern heat was tiring, the result was rewarding.

"As cliche as it may be, Habitat really did change my life. When I met the family that would be moving into the house we were building, I really understood why I was there."

She recalls a 17 year old boy she met, who would be moving into the home she was building.

"He has been working at a fast food restaurant since he was fourteen to help contribute to the family's bills. When we asked if he planned on attending college, he said that he wasn't sure because he might have to stay home and work. We don't realize how lucky we are. I never take anything for granted anymore."

Along with the work of building the home, the volunteers took educational trips as well.

"We went on a bayou tour, went to traditional Cajun restaurants, made endless amounts of trips to Super Walmart (there were at least four in the town we were in), attended a baseball game, and went to a homeowner's ceremony," Rizzo says.

Her trip to Louisiana a success and a reward. Rizzo, who wants to major in Philosophy and minor in Peace Studies, is passionate about the work she has done for Habitat for Humanity. .

"I want to keep programs like this going. I want to work for a nonprofit... perhaps even Habitat for Humanity!"

Now back at home and in her senior year at MHS, Rizzo has been  appointed the President of the Drama Club.

"I am thrilled to be the President of the Drama Club this year! Being the President is being the face of the Drama Club; one of the spokespeople for the program. The President has to embody the program,"she says of the title.

Anticipating an exciting year for productions, with Shakespeare's "Twelfth Night" as the fall production, an original production for winter's METG Drama Festival, and "Beauty and the Beast" for the spring musical.

If you don't want to audition, why come see the shows!

"The drama club has some seriously fierce actors and actresses as well as a killer crew this year, you don't want to miss it!"

With the amazing experience working alongside Habitat for Humanity and an exciting year ahead as President of Drama, Rizzo has begun her final year at MHS on a high note.

If you, a friend, or family member are interested in experiencing and volunteering for Habitat for Humanity,   Rizzo says that she would "strongly encourage them to check out Habitat's website for volunteer opportunities!"

By: Thea Burke

Review: Boyhood

Filmed over a span of twelve years, Richard Linklater’s Boyhood is possibly the best way to explain human adolescence to an alien species.
Boyhood follows the fictional life of Mason, played by Ellar Coltrane, and shows him from age six to age eighteen. Mason’s sister, Samantha (Lorelei Linklater), mom (Patricia Arquette), and dad (Ethan Hawke) each age on screen as well. The film’s soundtrack acts as a timeline for viewers, too. Pop songs from 2002 to 2013 are cues to each new era in the characters’ lives and give almost subconscious background.  
The film moves from year to year in Mason’s life, only showing big events like his reconnection with his father, their move to a new city, and of course, his first relationship. Instead of a defined plot, each character is simply trying to better themselves or in Mason’s case, grow up without a hitch. The story goes as far as Mason pursuing his passion for photography, but stays constant by an array of horrible step fathers for the antagonists. Never as outlandish as the queen of Snow White or any typical parent-villain, the film’s hardest moments are difficult to sit through because of their reality. Due to this life-like structure and Linklater’s (director of Before Sunrise, Dazed and Confused and School of Rock) seamless, realistic dialogue, Boyhood is like sitting for almost three hours in someone else’s shoes, and it’s incredible.
The movie is set in suburban Texas, which is surprisingly relatable to any American town. With a voyeuristic view into the life of a middle class boy, Boyhood’s only misstep may be that it stays in that realm. It’s a coming of age film if only boys have to conquer their teenage years. The story never really touches on how Mason’s older sister, Samantha, is affected by their family’s problems and glosses over her stake in teenagedom. The closest it gets to a female perspective is Olivia, Mason’s mother, living out her dream as a professor, but always failing to keep a balance with her home life, until she is eventually crying about how fast her son has grown up. Although this one-sidedness could be considered a downfall, the film is indeed living up to its name.

Nonetheless, the movie hit the emotional points it was meant to and should be appreciated for its truth. Not many pieces of art show such an honest ensemble of characters and feel quite like Boyhood’s eerie world, too real to not exist off screen. Linklater’s latest film is an incredible look at the human experience, but it is in no way boring for earthlings who live it.

Overall rating: 5/5 stars

By: Devin Castaño

Melrose High Junior Elizabeth Hirsch qualifies for All States

Melrose — Elizabeth "Lizzie" Hirsch is known at Melrose High School as one of the school's top notch athletes, as well as for her kindness and academic achievements. In 7th grade, after playing basketball and soccer, two sports that she says she was "very mediocre" at, Lizzie found her passion when she joined the middle school cross country team. Now, as a valued teammate on the Melrose High Cross Country team, Lizzie has qualified to participate in the All State Championships. How exactly does one do this?
"I qualified for the race by finishing 15th at the [Eastern Mass division] race last weekend," says Lizzie.
"The top four teams and top ten individuals from each division go to All States, and I was one of the top ten individuals. It will basically be a huge race with lots of really fast runners from all over the state, held at Franklin Park."
For Lizzie, this is not a first time State Championship; it is her third year in a row that she has achieved qualification. Even if it is her third year the excitement an nerves of the race still run high.
"I am nervous, but also excited because I've had a good season and hopefully this will be a really good race."
As a member of the Melrose Cross Country team, it seems as though Lizzie will receive a lot of support from her teammates.
"I love my team; it is made up of some of the best people at our school and everyone is supportive of each other," she says fondly.
As well as having a team aspect, running also has personal rewards.
"Running still excites me now because every race is a different experience and a challenge. It is exciting to push myself to my limits and to see how the hard work of training can pay off. Another is the stress relief that running provides. If I am frustrated with school or angry at someone, I just run, and I feel a lot better afterwards."
As for her plans after high school, Lizzie is sure that she will incorporate running into her life. She hopes to run on a college team, and "after college I will definitely find a way to fit running into my life, even if I'm not on a team, since it is such an important part of my life and I really enjoy it."
As a prominent member of the cross country team and a kind person to all who know her, there is no one more deserving of the qualification for the All States than Lizzie Hirsch. In the next coming weeks, hopefully all of her hard work, training, and excitement will pay off once again as Lizzie prepares to take on the All State Championships at full speed.

By: Thea Burke

Melrose Masters "Safe Streets, Smart Trips"!

Melrose High School’s Andrew Dell Isola and Christian Poutre won the recent Massachusetts Department of Transportation’s PSA competition, a contest that included sixteen Massachusetts high schools.

“[Poutre and Dell Isola] had to promote pedestrian, driving and bicycle safety in sixty seconds or less, which is kind of ridiculous,” said Anthony DiBenedetto, the MHS Television Production teacher.

The Safe Streets PSA contest is one of many programs the school has participated in. Similar contests organized by the Middlesex District Attorney and State Fire Marshall are among the others. Poutre and Dell Isola walked away with first place and Paris Peterson, winner of last year’s fire safety PSA contest, took home an honorable mention.

“I try to alternate between kind of fun and goofy projects and things that are a little more serious,” DiBenedetto explained about TV production class. Public service announcements are only a portion of the fun projects they complete throughout the year.

“All of the music they composed themselves,” DiBenedetto said about his students’ video. With this particular project, Dell Isola and Poutre spent a week working in class as well as some time on their own. They even completed an original jingle which happily closes the video, “Safe Streets, smart tips, keeping you safe.”

“I’m a musician, a music producer,” said Dell Isola, who wrote and performed the video’s music and jingle. “I used their slogan, which they liked.”

“I love the ability to produce a video exactly how I imagine it in my head” Poutre said when explaining why he loves his TV Production class. “Video production is something I will keep in mind for a career,” he added.

Dell Isola described his affection for the class, “I’ve always loved making videos and I’m also an actor.” He later stated, “I want to do music production and film production, so, having won that contest for both of those two things is pretty good.”

“It gives validity to what we’re doing,” DiBenedetto said about the award and his classes will continue the year in with competitive spirit.

By: Devin Castaño

Local Filmmakers Give Boston a New Scene

FADE IN: There is a spotlight on Boston and the focus is on its filmmakers. From documentaries to comedies, Boston has its fair share of hard working creators. Local directors had a lot to say about their experiences. Of course, they had a lot of advice for aspiring movie makers as well.
“Emmys don’t come around too much in public access” said Andrew Eldridge, the producer, director, and editor of NewTV’s “The Folklorist.” The series recently received an Emmy Award for Outstanding Historical Program. Eldridge, one of the show runners explained, “I’ve always had a passion for film making and television since I was thirteen or fourteen.”
A comparable story was told by David Ells of In the Car Media, who said, “I got my first video camera between eighth and ninth grade.” Ells progressed his skills through, “doing a lot of free hours of labor” and even completed his first documentary as his senior thesis at Gordon College. In the Car Media constantly makes advertisements, music videos, and short films out of the North Shore area.
Similarly, director-producer, Alecia Orsini Lebeda unveiled, “I have always wanted to be a filmmaker,” accrediting her passion to stories of a film project of her father’s. Lebeda got her start in Boston while in Los Angeles. “There was a job as a production designer in Sandwich,” she explained, and there was no one more qualified than Lebeda, who hails from the area.  She continues her work with her production company, Good Natured Dog, known for their web series, short films, and promotional videos.
Thanks to local movie makers, more and more outlets for young talent are occurring in the area. Eldridge recommended Open Screen, “[where] you can screen films for no charge,” at Coolidge Corner Theater on the second Tuesday of every month. Rightfully, the film community has grown for the world of narrative film and documentary film as well. The Salem Film Fest is a local event being held in March especially for enthusiasts in documentary film. Closer to home, cinephiles can appreciate an endless supply of free screenings at the Harvard Film Archive. There, they show works ranging from Markopolous to home movies dropped off by viewers.
As far as the cause for their successes, each filmmaker gave reason to believe that making films in Boston needs the same discipline as anywhere else. Ells said that it is all about, “finding the opportunities to practice,” as well as answering to my misunderstanding of using lights on a film set. Eldridge advised, “If you have an interest in it, surround yourself with people that have that interest.” Lebeda included, “[in film making], you kind of become a jack of all trades” and each skill will come in handy in making a movie, especially in Boston. “Director-producers are a big thing” She later added about the local film culture, “You end up wearing two hats.” And to young filmmakers, Eldridge said, “Make a ton of bad things. Get them out of the way and you take away something every time you make one of those films.”

“We’re storytellers” said Lebeda. Simply put, each Boston filmmaker hopes to tell a good story.

By: Devin Castaño

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Feature Student: Amanda Sampson

Attention class of 2015, you have a new President: Amanda Sampson. Though preparing to take on her new role as Senior Class President, there is a lot more to Sampson than winning elections and public speaking.
            “Whenever I have the time I like to knit, draw, and watch multiple seasons of Netflix shows.” states Sampson who otherwise has quite the busy schedule. Student Government, which she has participated in, since Freshman year keeps her involved with the school year round. Additionally, Sampson also is on the Cross Country team and the Tennis team, “I would say that I love running, but that would be a lie-- I really enjoy being on a team.” Sampson does not rest even on the weekends, on Sundays she teaches CCD to 3rd graders.
            Last year, Sampson served as Vice President for the class of 2015. She has also been a School Committee Representative for two years. This year she decided to run for President. “I wanted to run for Class President because I felt like after being on student government for three years, I had the ability and experience needed to guide us in the right direction.” Sampson said when asked about her decision to run. With Senior Prom, the Halloween Dance, and Senior week to plan, the next year won’t carry any sort of a lighter load for the new Senior Class President.
            Being a Senior in the up and coming school year brings more with it than just extra-curriculars. College is also on the mind of many members of the Class of 2015. Sampson says she plans to either stay in the New England area or head to Washington D.C. for college.

            For next years Freshman, Sampson has some words of wisdom to pass down. “(don’t) be scared of the upperclassmen! We were all in the same boat at one point. And also, get involved, MHS has something for everyone and it’s a good way to make new friendships with people from all different grades and friend groups.”

by: Madison Forsberg

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Godzilla Review

            The latest “Godzilla” is entertaining. Instead of just one monster, it has three. Godzilla is there, of course, but he is also joined by two monsters called mutos. Unfortunately, Godzilla does not get nearly as much screen time as he deserves. Most of the movie is about Ford Brody (Aaron Taylor-Johnson), an army officer on leave who is trying to protect San Francisco and his family.
            The US Navy wants to use a nuclear warhead to destroy the mutos and Godzilla in one fell swoop. They ignore the warnings of Dr. Ichiro Serizawa (Ken Watanabe), who has proof that the mutos feed off of nuclear energy. The original script called for the Marine Corps, but they declined to participate after reading the script, and it is little wonder why, as the Navy looks extremely incompetent.

            I found the movie enjoyable and thought it was worth the twelve dollars, but I saw it at midnight so I was too tired to pick up on the many inconsistencies. I would wait until “Godzilla” is on TV to watch it.

By: Emma Morrison

Monday, April 28, 2014

Ms. Mochi ran the Marathon!

On April 21st, Marathon Monday, runners ran with the “Boston Strong” mind set.  These people were there to represent the victims of the marathon bombings last year, and among those runners was Melrose High special education teacher, Ms. Mochi. 
            “I’m running for my mom,” Mochi says, who ran with the Mass Eye and Ear team.  Mochi’s mom is deaf and has to use a copular implant to help with her hearing.  But the implant had some complications and now gives her headaches and dizziness.  Her mom is unable to travel so Mochi says the Boston Marathon was the “first time she saw me run.”
            This is Mochi’s fourth marathon; she has run marathons in Chicago, Disney World, and Marine corps in D.C.  The Boston Marathon has been the hardest one she had done.  And applying for this year’s marathon took more time than past ones.  Mochi signed up with Team Mass Eye and Ear which had a “very lengthy application, which took me an hour to fill out.”  The application consisted of questions and mini essays.  Mochi said “out of the blue they [Team Mass Eye and Ear] called me at the high school and asked if I could do a conference call.  Then during the call they offered me the spot right then and there.”

Part of running for this team Mochi had to raise $6500. “I was really anxious,” Mochi says about raising the money, “but I hit my goal in early march.” Mochi said she “did a lot of social media” to raise the money, and had the help of friends and colleagues who donated.   

Now that the marathon is over Mochi says, "I felt really great and so happy to be done, because it was very hot that day." Ms. Mochi got the chance to run with a girl on her team that didn't get to finish the marathon last year.  Mochi said, "it was really nice, we cried the whole way down boylston street."   

Ms. Mochi's next race will be a ten miler in October.  She hopes to run another marathon in the near future.   

By: Anna Garofalo

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Monday, April 14, 2014

Review - Grand Bubapest Hotel

            Captivating cinematography as well as committed characters are just some of the things you need to create a successful movie, and Wes Anderson has once again won over many of his devoted audience members with his new film The Grand Budapest Hotel. It follows the story of Gustave, the hotel’s concierge, whom is very popular among the ladies. A special one in particular is Madame D, who passes on during an unforeseen circumstance. When visiting her at the wake, he manages to smuggle a valuable painting that she left to him with the lobby boy of Grand Butapest Hotel, Zero. Not to long after, Gustave is accused of murdering Madame D and is promptly thrown in jail.
            The story follows Gustave and Zero throughout their hysterical and occasionally terrifying journey. Gustave is played by Ralph Fiennes who wholeheartedly commits to the character’s story and the elite persona of Gustave. Tony Revolori plays the timid and scared Zero, who audiences are sure to fall in love with over the course of the film. The two play off of each other in such a wonderful way and their relationship grows to form an uncle-nephew type of bond. Aside from all of the frustrations Gustave faces, he never purposely tries to neglect Zero.
There are many aspects of the film that may be pleasing to audiences; the soundtrack, the gorgeous cinematography, and the simple yet compelling acting. But for some reason I felt like there was something missing. I felt as though maybe I was missing part of the story or there was something that was not exactly complete. One can assume that Wes Anderson did not purposely do this but I left the theater thinking that there was something I did not fully understand. This should not stop people from going to see it in theaters because it truly is a beautiful piece of work, per usual done by Wes Anderson.
 By Natessa Storm

Thursday, April 10, 2014

New School Store in MHS

The school store officially opened on March 10th. Designed by Ms. Giovanardi’s CAD class and run by the life skills program, the post-grad program, and Ms. McBride’s business class, the Raider Zone is open during the lunch hours.
            Everything from school supplies to Melrose attire will be sold in the store. “Apparel would be sweatshirts, t-shirts, scarves. And school supplies would be anything you need during the day,” said Mr. Lawlor, a life skills teacher at Melrose High.
            At the school store, students can buy pens, pencils, calculators, USB drives, WhiteOut, and notebooks: “stuff that [students] come and ask [the teachers] for,” Mr. Lawlor said. “It is the convenience of needing something while in school.” The prices of these products vary; Pens will be under a dollar, T-shirts and sweatshirts will be sold at ten dollars. Calculators will be two dollars and notebooks will be a dollar. The school store tries to keep the prices around a dollar.
            The money the school store gets will be reinvested in the school store. The school received donations for the opening of the store, so the money will be used to buy more products for the store.

By Christian Hashem

Movie Review: Captain America: Winter Soldier

Friday, April 4th, 2014 marked the return of America’s super-Boy Scout, Captain America. The Winter Soldier is part of Marvel’s round two of movies. This sequel manages to incorporate many characters and plot-lines from the comics while still remaining relevant to modern day.

There is a noticeable lack of a costumed super-villain in The Winter Soldier. Even the titular Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan) does not fit the role of arch-nemesis because little is known about who he is, and less is known about for whom he is working. The ambiguity of the enemy speaks to the modern state of US warfare. Also, the main plot was a clear allegory for the controversy surrounding the NSA. Captain America, and Marvel comics, comes down clearly against the NSA. Despite its 95-year-old protagonist, the movie feels current.

That being said, the movie also keeps many of the comic book characters. Chief among them is the Falcon /Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie). For those who don’t know, the Falcon was so popular, that for a while the comic series was known as “Captain America and the Falcon.” Mackie is great, and his character is incorporated well into the plot. It does not feel as if the writers threw him in haphazardly to appease comic book fans.

Black Widow (Scarlett Johanson) also appears in The Winter Soldier. She works well with Captain America (Chris Evans). One of the strengths of these Marvel movies is this potential for crossover, which so far has worked well.

However, the new movie is not quite as good as The First Avenger. One of the most enjoyable things about the first Captain America movie was that it took place in the 1940s. It set Captain America apart from the other Avengers and gave him an identity of his own. Now that he is incorporated into modern society, his movie looks just like the Iron Man movies.

The fight scenes are amazing. The way they shot the fight scenes was confusing at first, but once I got used to it, it was great. It captures the speed of fights. The hand-to-hand, or hand-to-shield, scenes are good, but once the guns come out, it goes straight into comic-book hyperbole. The word to bullet ratio was low, at least 1:100, but probably closer to 1:1000. This was not because of a lack of dialogue, which was good, but because there were so many bullets.

Overall, this movie is well worth watching. Marvel once again strikes the perfect balance between action, comedy, and drama. It is heavy on the action side, but that is fine because it is a superhero movie.

By: Emma Morrison

Monday, March 10, 2014

Melrose Alliance Against Violence

                Melrose Alliance Against Violence (MAAV) is an organization that began in Melrose in 1995. It was created to help spread awareness about domestic violence. Mentors in Violence Prevention (MVP) is a branch of MAAV, run by Northeastern Sports in Society, and helps educate students to better understand how to play a role in stopping issues such as sexual assault and sexual harassment.
                MAAV focuses on violence prevention, and works closely with the community to raise awareness about teen-dating violence and domestic violence. MVP is a program that encourages and empowers student leaders to play a central role in solving these problems that MAAV focuses on.
                Alyssa Abbot, a senior at MHS, has been interested in the MAAV program since she was a little girl. She attended the annual MAAV walks with her family and applied to the MAAV’s Student Action Board at the end of her freshman year. She has since been deeply involved with MAAV.
                “I truly love being part of such an amazing and selfless organization.” Abbot said.
                Every half-day, nominated student-leaders join together with the MVP mentors (from Northeastern University) and discuss how somebody’s actions can make a negative or positive difference in the community.
                “I feel I am making our society a better place with what I have been taught through MAAV and MVP.” Abbot said, “To me, MVP is an opportunity for a wide variety of students to be taught how their leadership and their voice can make a difference in the community, and at large. I enjoy every minute spent with MVP, and I know that the other students do too.”
                MAAV helps the Melrose community, through its devotion to support people and educate them about teen-dating violence and domestic violence.
                “No one should have to face these grueling issues alone, and MAAV serves as an outlet and support for anyone who faces violence,” Abbot said.
                MAAV’s Board recently has put the MVP students in freshman seminar classes to train and teach them on what they have learned through the program.

By: Christian Hashem