DECEMBER 2018  •    VOLUME LXII

NORTHWEST NEWS🗞 

FRESH TAKE ON FRESHMAN ORIENTATION 

By Taylor Armstrong '19 

 

 

 

On the morning of August 31st, one hundred and twelve excited and energetic freshmen packed the Johnson Gym, ready for whatever adventure the day had in store for them. This day would be the first in a new chapter. The first day of High School!

 

Unbeknownst to the NWC Class of 2022, the upperclassmen had been preparing for this day since last spring. This school year would be the first that Northwest Catholic High School participated in Link Crew, a national organization orchestrated by the Boomerang Project. Link Crew is a select group of juniors and seniors who are tasked with helping freshmen acclimate to high school with success. Ensuring that all freshmen know that they are a part of a group, where they know everyone belongs. How fitting, since it just happens to be our NWC Motto!

 

Upperclassmen are assigned a group consisting of three leaders and approximately eight freshmen, with whom they meet throughout the year. Link members engage their students at monthly meetings by playing fun games with a lesson. Leaders have been trained to listen critically to make this experience a successful one for the school's newest students. Senior Link Crew member Sheena Wolliston comments on the positivity of the group. "Link Crew is mutually beneficial to both upperclassmen and freshmen. We are able to guide them through freshman year and provide help to them during the journey. Link Crew is an organization that efficiently helps them do that!" The group activities help teach crucial skills such as time management and multitasking. During Orientation, Mrs.Roberts, LEADS director and Link Crew coordinator, gave an engaging presentation about our goals for the year. The freshmen were very engaged and seemed to be having a great time! Ninth grader Nathan Chan says "Freshman orientation was a great way to meet new friends! Link Crew's activities were helpful and the leaders are great with providing advice for us."

 

Freshman Orientation was just the start of what is bound to be a successful year.

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Link Leaders guiding their Freshmen through fun and challenging ice breakers

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Link Leaders, Olivia Chapano '19 and Jordan Pita '20, give the incoming Freshmen a tour around the school  

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Both Link Leaders and  Freshmen got to know each other a little better during this lively ice breaker

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Link Leaders,  Keagan Ostop '20, Taylor Armstrong '19, Ethan Cheffer '19, all enjoy leading their Freshmen through some get-to-know you games

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Anna Calendrillo '22  and Link Leader James Nicholas '19 both had a blast trying to complete their balloon pop challenge

Photographed by Maureen Scudder

LETTER FROM THE EDITORS

 

Hello Northwest Catholic High School community! We are the 2018-19 Co-Editor-in-Chiefs, Taylor Armstrong and MaryCharlotte Barnes. This year, as many of you may have noticed, Northwest has experienced a multitude changes, both big and small. Our newspaper has undergone many positive changes, such as renaming the paper from Passages to Northwest News. Another difference that you may have noticed is that we are two people! This carries a positive impact, because it emphasizes the values of teamwork and diverse opinions that NWC cherishes. This is exemplified through the open mindedness around the schedule change. We hope as you continue to read, you keep in mind the benefits that these transitions help bring forth, and that we as a school community can grow and develop in the light of Catholic faith!

 

Have an Amazing School Year!

 

 

LETTER FROM ADMINISTRATION 

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The first semester of the 2018-2019 has seen some major changes at Northwest Catholic, and our resilient student body has shown that they have the adaptability and positive attitude necessary to make these changes successful.

 

As part of our commitment to continuous school improvement, the administrative team identified some aspects of the academic school day that could be updated to reflect the needs of our school community including increased community time, streamlined lunch waves, and fewer course conflicts.

 

We unveiled a new schedule in September that includes a weekly convocation period. As a result of this time together, students have reported to the administration that communication has gotten much better and attendance at athletic events is up. 

We have also included an advisory period that meets twice per week. Students report that they appreciate the opportunity to get work done during their advisory period and that more students are able to join clubs now that they are permitted to meet during the school day.

 

Finally, we have two block days where classes meet for extended periods with the intention of allowing for more in depth exploration of course material and varied methods of instruction. While this may have been the area that has required the longest adjustment period, students feel that the block schedule is preparing them for college study as the longer classes more closely resemble a college class.

 

School change is difficult and it usually takes a span of three years to gauge the effectiveness of the changes made, but I am proud of our student body for meeting these challenges head on and adapting to the new direction of Northwest Catholic High School.

 

It's a great day to be a Lion!

Mr. Stuck

STAFF:

 

Editor-in-Chief

Taylor Armstrong '19

MaryCharlotte Barnes '20

 

Executive Board

Sophia Argay '19

Alton Grange '19

Elizabeth Murphy '19

  

Staff Writers

Gabriella Alexander '20

Caroline Chapell '19

Joseph DeVito '19

Gabriel Landi '20

Caroline Mungo '22

Ryan Murphy '22

Charlotte Olin '22

Meghan O'Shea '19

Lauren VonHassel '22

 

Social Media

Delaney Marshall '20

Elizabeth Vandal '19

 

Advisor

Miss Kate Morran

 

Northwest Passages 

Northwest Catholic

High School

29 Wampanoag Drive

West Hartford, CT 06117

Phone: (860)236-4221

Fax: (860)586-0911

 

Northwest Passages benefits directly from the William J. Kerin '65 Fund, established by Cathleen Collins '65 

 

*Editor's Note: Opinions expressed

in Northwest Passages are not necessarily those those of the editorial staff. 

POINT COUNTER POINT: SCHEDULE CHANGES

STRENGTHS

By Gabriella Alexander '20

 

Fall 2018 brought many significant changes to the schedule at Northwest Catholic High School. At the start the new school year, the administration staff announced that Northwest would have two block schedule days a week. This meant changing class length from 40 minutes to 70 minutes. Due to the increase in class time, the amount of classes held each day decreased. Each student attends only four out of their eight classes on block days, and the block days are split up as either Green and White. On Green block days, class periods A through D meet, while on White block days classes E through H meet. The alterations to the school schedule do not stop there, administration also introduced Convocation days and Advisory periods. Both of these new implements would add more community time to our daily schedules.


Convocation is a school-wide assembly that announces events going on during that week. Convocation is student run and allows the school to meet together and start the week off right! Advisory has taken the place of the homerooms that students were placed in. On Block days students meet in their advisory classrooms in which they are given opportunities to complete work, meet with teachers, hold club meetings, and have class or school-wide assemblies. Although these changes to the Northwest Catholic schedule seem drastic, the beneficial attributes of block periods appear to account for the sudden switch.

According to the National Education Association longer period lengths allow greater planning time for teachers. As a result, these teachers are able to increase the number of  cooperative learning activities completed in their classrooms while also having the opportunity for more individualized instruction (National Education Association). Additional research showed the many benefits of making the switch to block schedules. Students who encounter this kind of schedule in their schools tend to establish closer relationships with their teachers, due to the increased amount of time spent in the classroom on a particular day. Schools who strayed from using a traditional schedule dealt with fewer discipline problems and had students striving for greater academic achievements (New Visions for Public School).

The new change in schedule did not come without initial hesitation from some students. But after only a few short weeks students began to open their minds to the benefits of block periods. Carly Drusedum of the class of 2020 says "I like the change more than I thought I would. Although having to stay in class for that long of a period can be hard sometimes, it's nice not having to do homework in all my classes every night".  I think it is fair to say many students at Northwest can agree with this statement and are seeing the great things that came from the new schedule.

OPPORTUNITIES

By Megan O'Shea '19

For many of Northwest's returning students, the idea of the block schedule was not appealing. Sitting alert in classes for seventy minutes seemed impossible, and most people just wished the schedule would remain the same. While the block schedule has proven that seventy minutes isn't a lifetime after a———there is still room to improve the mixed schedule, with three days of eight classes and two of block periods.

 

One issue with the block schedule is the fact that this eliminates a day for each class. Instead of five days a week, the classes all go four. While the amount of minutes a week per a given class remains about the same, having one less day poses a scheduling issue for teachers. It might not seem like one day makes a difference, but fitting in quizzes and tests has become more difficult with the new schedule. And considering many teachers don't plan tests for Monday or the block days, most of the time, this leaves Tuesday and Friday as big testing days, resulting in increased workload for students some nights and some overly stressful days.

 

The seventy minutes of classes might go by faster than students originally thought, but one time that drags by is free periods. If students have homework due later in the day, or assignments from earlier in the day, the time can be filled by that. But if the free period comes after a particularly light night of homework or before any new homework is assigned, students are just sitting around for seventy long minutes. And if someone has two frees a day? That means that half their day is spent sitting around unproductively. Depending on a student's schedule, the block periods can result in a lot of wasted time on a given day.

 

In general, the block periods have been more successful—and less tortuous—than most people expected. But there is still an issue of some days that are insanely packed, and other days that are completely inefficient. The block periods are a step in a better, more balanced direction, but the system is still new, with some flaws. It will take a year or two for these issues to work themselves out fully.

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The NWC 2018-19 School Year schedule

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BOOK REVIEW: Black as Night 

By MaryCharlotte Barnes '20

 

Black as Night by Regina Doman is a modern retelling of the age-old classic, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. This novel is set in modern day New York City as it chronicles the experiences of a young woman, Blanche Brier, as she attempts to survive attempts on her life as well as being framed for drug smuggling. She does this all while taking refuge in a monastery run by seven monks. Throughout the novel we also follow her boyfriend, Bear, as he attempts to piece together what exactly happened to Blanche and how he can help her. Though this has an interesting premise, giving a familiar story a dark edge, I personally feel as though the author loses sight of the story she's telling. This results in an inconsistent novel, as the author switches narrators too frequently, while also relying too heavily on flashback sequences. This takes away from the novel as it creates a confusing narrative that can not be easily followed. Besides the quality of the writing, the rest of the novel proves to be reasonably interesting. The author takes a strongly Catholic viewpoint as she frequently points out how sacred relationships should be and how kindness is key. This lesson directly correlates to our Catholic values which describe how we should strive to treat others, even in times when we ourselves are struggling, with the utmost respect and kindness. The character of Blanche is a perfect example of this phenomenon, as throughout the novel even as she herself faces incredible struggles, she takes the time to show kindness to others who are in need. This novel was the September choice for the book club and one member Victoria Panagakos '19 had some thoughts on the novel after reading the novel "Black As Night did show aspects of a Christian life and had a few valuable moral lessons but overall the book was hard to follow. So many things were happening at once that the plot seemed to be thrown at you leaving much confusion". This novel can be found as a paperback and an ebook on both Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Can I Get A North?

By Sophia Argay '19

 

What is the best week at Northwest Catholic each year? Spirit Week, of course! Spirit Week allows all students to show their creativity and class pride, and really work to establish a strong sense of community.

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The Senior Class of 2019 cheering on their peers during the pep rally

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Both Claire Carew '19 and Drew Wendorf '19 brought a fun and competitive energy to the Hungry Hungry Hippo challenge

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Sona Torosyan '19, Annie Alissi '19, and Sam Deveau '19 are all ready to bring their A-Game to this dodgeball match  

Charlene Lam, '21 shared, "Spirit week is my favorite week of the school year. It is so fun to see all the students, teachers, and faculty get excited to celebrate and show their Northwest Catholic spirit." Throughout the week, all classes were encouraged to decorate their hallways by class color. The class that was most spirited would win a dress down day. In the competition, the seniors were green, the juniors were white, the sophomores were red, and the freshmen were blue. All the classes fought their hardest, quite possibly the hardest they have in years, but no class could come close to the freshman. The freshman hallway was covered in blue stars, streamers, balloons, and curtains, and thus, the freshman rightfully earned their dress down day, as announced at the end of the week. In fact, Lindsey Voelker, '19 shared, "My favorite part was how hard everybody went decorating their hallways. This was the first spirit week in a while that the school really got excited about!" In addition to the hallway battles, everyone in the school was encouraged to participate in the themed dress down days we had each day of Spirit Week. As students dressed up in pajamas, Hawaiian apparel, sports jerseys, matching "twin" outfits, and of course, green and white on our last day of the week, the sense of pride and spirit in Northwest Catholic truly became clear. Also accompanying the students decked out in green and white was the most festive Northwest pep rally yet. One of the artistic additions to the pep rally was all of the student section posters, including the incredible "Sen19r World" poster made by Mary Velasquez, '19. Once the pep rally began, the students participated in a "hungry hippos" game in which two students from each class teamed up to collect the most balloons. One student would hold a laundry basket while sprawling out on a dolly, while the other student of the pair would guide the student towards the pile of balloons. The seniors took this challenge by storm and won a class pizza party. In addition to this lively game, a handful of students battled it out in a dodgeball game against the teachers in which the teachers ultimately beat the students, even after a strong fight was put up by Lexi Smolenski, '19, the last student standing. At the end of the pep rally, all the student athletes were called down to the floor by sport, and cross country was given a spirited send-off to states as the rest of the students formed a tunnel for them to run through. Even after the pep rally came to a close, and all students went home after a terrific spirit week, a majority of the student body came back for the Homecoming Dance that took place in the Stousy Gym that night. Reflecting on the week as a whole, Mr. Cashman shared, "Spirit Week 2018 was a wonderful expression of the NWC community and our family spirit. It was such a fun week that I find it hard to choose one favorite. However, I think I would have to say my favorite parts were the opening and closing of the week: everyone singing the NWC alma mater, shoulder to shoulder was awesome, and the end of the week pep rally and NWC Spirit Tunnel gave me such a sense of pride and joy in our school. Let's go Pride!

INSIDE-OUT

By Taylor Armstrong '19

 

In this edition of "Inside-Out," I sat down with Tyler Esposito, Yoshika Tsuruki, and Mr. Carlson to ask them the most pressing questions I could think of.


If you were a crayon, what color would you be?

TE: Teal.

YT: I'd wanna be a white crayon because it's only used on special occasions and it pops.

Mr. C: I would be Velvet Thunder simply because of the originality it offers, while maintaining the ability to appropriately accommodate itself in a community unlike itself, and thrive individually and push others to ride along in its journey to the utmost success.


What's your spirit animal and why?

TE: Obviously the aardvark because it is not afraid of getting dirty in grease or mud, it's great at getting rid of pests, and it's nocturnal and I'm a huge fan of dusk to dawn parties.

YT: My spirit animal is a cat because they're really sassy.

Mr. C: The Lone Wolf because the Tiger and the Lion may be more powerful but the Wolf doesn't perform in the circus.

 

 

If you were to get rid of one US state, what would it be and why?

TE: It would probably have to be Alabama because I'm tired of watching University of Alabama win the college football championship every year.

YT: Wyoming, I've literally never heard of anybody that lives there and I'm 99% sure it doesn't exist.

Mr. C: It would have to be Idaho because outside of potatoes you have to wonder what those sneaky people are up to?

 

If you had to eat one food for the rest of your life, what would it be?

TE: If I could only eat one food for the rest of my life, I'd be very sad because there are so many amazing foods that I love. If I had to choose, though, I'd pick something oozing with cheese like a calzone or nachos.

YT: Definitely just potatoes, there's a lot you could do with them.

Mr. C: Pizza


What is your favorite book or movie?

TE: Miracle on Ice, but my favorite series is Star Wars.

YT: My favorite movie is Napoleon Dynamite.

Mr. C: Braveheart with Mel Gibson and Heat with Robert De Niro and Al Pacino.

 

If you could ask God one question, what would it be?

TE: I'd ask God what horse was going to win the Triple Crown next.

YT: I'd ask him why he created mosquitos??? What do they even do for the earth besides annoy us???

Mr. C: Why did Seymour only have a half of bag of speedy dry and 1 rake?

 

What would you be famous for?

TE: I'd be famous for building the world's largest Slip n Slide.

YT: I'd wanna be famous for being a fashion stylist

Mr. C: Being cast for the role of Dillon in 90210 instead of Luke Perry


If you won a 10 million dollar lottery, what would you do with the money?

TE: First, I'd get my answer back from God, and then bet all the money on that horse. After that, I'd pay for college, invest half of it, donate a turf field with lights to NWC, and help my homies out.

YT: I'd buy so many clothes, then some closets to put the clothes in. I'd also save some to pay me and my friends' college tuition...you know we will be drowning in it.

Mr. C: Help out my family, set up a trust for my daughter, and move to the Keys to hang out with Chesney and Buffett.

 

 

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Tyler Esposito '19

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Yoshi Tsuruki '19

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Mr. Carlson

HOMECOMING 2018

Photographed by Maureen Scudder 

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(From left to right: Elizabeth LeBlanc '22, Ellie Barrett '22)   

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(From left to right: Lizzie (Jiayi) Wu'19, William (Jiahao) Zhu '22)

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(From left to right: Avery Polking '22, Myia Chappell '20, Emily Lamorey '22, Ashleigh Purcell '20)

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(From left to right: '19, Teagan Dillon '19, Clare Doyle '19, Sona Torosyan '19, Joanna Kuziak '19)

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(Libby Vandal '19, Taylor Armstrong '19,

Jenna Fahey '19)

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A group of Freshmen enjoying the music at their first Homecoming dance 

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(From left to right: Francesca Disena '19, Madison Travers '19)

'The Fire Behind The Trees'

By Gabriel Landi '20

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Sarah Lazor '19 motivates the Chorus with a rousing speech while Ben Stone-Zelman '21 and Riley Doerner '19 look on

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Jordan Pita '20 complains to Ben Stone-Zelman '21 as Mary Velasquez '19 looks on shocked

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Chorus leaders, Katie Dudley '20, Billy Kasheta '21, and Sarah Lazor '19, deliver the final lesson at the end of this tragedy

When the Northwest Catholic Dramateurs decided on 'The Arsonists' by Max Frisch, many of the members, and perhaps even the directors themselves, didn't understand the magnitude of the work. It took hours upon hours of hard work and dedication to truly discover the meaning of the play, written in 1953, in the wake of World War 2 and the Holocaust. Previous shows, such as 'The Good Doctor' by Neil Simon and 'Twelfth Night' by William Shakespeare, and even future shows, such as 'Godspell' by John-Michael Tebelak, are designed to be more lighthearted productions. 'The Arsonists,' however, was different from anything the Dramateurs have ever done before. The show takes place in a town regularly attacked by arsonists. The plot revolves around Gottlieb Biedermann, played by Jordan Pita '20, a nervous man devoted to appeasing those around him. When an arsonist, Joseph Schmitz, played by Ben Stone-Zelman '21, enters his house requesting for a place to stay, Biedermann felt obligated to help. He gave Schmitz his attic to stay in, unaware of Schmitz' actual intentions. However, his actual intentions were never really secret: Schmitz invited two more arsonists to live with him and even stored a few dozen barrels of gasoline in his attic. Despite the myriad of signs that his visitors may be arsonists and warnings from his wife, Babette, played by MaryCharlotte Barnes '20, and maid, Anna, played by Mary Velazquez '19, the arsonists prevailed and successfully burned down Biedermann's house. The special part about the 'The Arsonists' is how it shared it's creative opportunity with the audience. Most shows and musicals have distinct lessons and takeaways, or perhaps are intended simply to entertain through comedy or music. 'The Arsonists' does not have one specific takeaway, rather a multitude of lessons can be learned. Many audience members enjoyed the comedic breaks the 

show provided, and the use of projectors and lights, which added layers of depth to the set. Others understood the significance of the play immediately and were able to predict the touching and tragic ending. Some audience members even lived through the events symbolized by the play, and were transferred back to that very different time. Something wonderful and artistic about 'The Arsonists,' is that the moral of the story is whatever you decide. Your takeaway is specific to you. Special works of art, like this, allow for all participants, audience included, to express their creativity.

One of the most prominent messages was the play's connection to World War 2, specifically, Germany's demilitarization of Rhineland. After the Treaty of Versailles, which brought World War I to the end, Germany made a few promises to ameliorate their relationship with the rest of Europe. Included in these promises was the demilitarization of Rhineland, a region is West Germany. This demilitarization didn't last too long, as the Germans, under the control of Adolf Hitler, entered Rhineland several years later. The rest of Europe was hesitant react to his conquering, with the belief that in giving Rhineland back to Germany, they would be content and all would be great. If that happened, however, there would have been no such thing as World War 2. Much like in the play, when Schmitz used his acquisition of the attic as an advantage to burn the house down, Germany used Rhineland as a militaristic advantage in attempting to conquer the rest of Europe. For many of the dramateurs, the show served as an opportunity to grow as actors and actresses and people in general. Riley Doerner '19, who played Wilhelmina Eisenring, one of the two arsonists Schmitz invited into Biedermann's house, stated: "'The Arsonists' presents tangible effects of being complacent. With this role, I was given the chance to consider my own actions and how I choose to react to the things happening around me, especially in the complicated world we face today." The show taught lessons that are applicable today, even if it was about 

problems that seem specific to the World War 2 era. These lessons were heightened by the timing of the show and surrounding events. Only a couple weeks ago, a gunman took the lives of 11 Jewish worshipers at a synagogue in Pittsburgh, Philadelphia.

Additionally, the 80th anniversary of Kristallnacht, the incident that marked the beginning of a Jewish oppression during the mid 1900's, fell on 'The Arsonists' performance weekend. Another key component to successfully moving the audience was the dedication that went into performing the show. Auditions were held at the beginning of September and rehearsals occurred from the middle of September, all the way to the beginning of November. When the directors, Ms. Kate Morran and Mrs. Sara Avery, picked the show, they kept in mind that the show included a Greek style chorus. The chorus and the three chorus leaders, Sarah Lazor '19, Billy Kasheta '21, and Katie Dudley '20, functioned as narrators and voices of reason for Biedermann. Getting twenty or so people to talk, act, and think in the same way is not an easy task and the successful use of the chorus represented a landmark in the history of the Northwest Catholic Dramateurs. From an insider's point of view, the show was an experience from start to finish and just being involved was incredibly encouraging and satisfying. Additionally, I began to understand all of the moving parts that are present in any production. From set build, led by stage manager Yael Santiago '19, to costumes, provided by Linda Milton, to choreography and stage directions, given by Ms. Morran, putting a show together really takes a village. Ultimately, any drama department's goal is to successfully tell a story. Through their production of 'The Arsonists,' the Northwest Catholic Dramateurs went above and beyond to tell a story that came with countless takeaways for both performers and audience members alike.

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Sarah Lazor '19, Billy Kasheta '21, and Katie Dudley '20 all captivate the audiences attention while they act out the story they're sharing

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Husband and Wife, Jordan Pita '20 and MaryCharlotte '20, have a disagreement over breakfast

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Alton Grange '19 strongly reprimands Jordan Pita '20 for his actions during the climax of the show

"What Can You do for Veterans?"

By Joseph DeVito '19

This was a very important question that Mr. Ron Ferri repeatedly posed to students during his keynote speech for Veterans Day during Convocation on November 12th. The assembly not only included Ferri's speech, but also musical presentations from the Northwest Catholic Jazz Choir, the Honors Wind Ensemble, and a special commendation honoring of Mr. Luke Ralston.

 

   After a patriotic performance of the national anthem, Mr. Ferri began his address to the Northwest Catholic community. Ferri served as a soldier in the United States Army Reserves, as well as a Chemistry and Physics teacher at Northwest for 22 years, 11 of which he spent as the chair of the science department. Having the opportunity to serve his country as well as the Northwest community was something that he referred to as "the best of both worlds." Such dedication to both the United States and to Northwest Catholic is truly admirable and incredible. As a "NWC Original", part of the teaching staff for Northwest Catholic's opening school year, Ferri challenged and encouraged students to become involved in helping, respecting, and appreciating veterans.

He noted his attendance of different events and ceremonies for veterans as well as his visiting of veterans' hospitals as just some of the things that students can also do. As could be seen in his speech, Ferri, to this day, continues to be a strong, caring, and passionate advocate for the wellbeing of his fellow veterans.

 

Being well educated himself, Ferri additionally made a point to emphasize the importance of attending school and learning. His main emphasis, however, was something that all people can do: "say thank you." Ferri insisted that one of the greatest ways to recognize veterans is to express your gratitude. Whether in a text, in a phone call, or in person, this message of thanks is so important. Shortly after Ferri had finished his speech, The Northwest community did just that when recognizing the outstanding service of Mr. Luke Ralston, NWC's daytime custodian. Ms. Claudia Hart '78, Jordan Baldwin '19, Keily Murillo '19, Mikayla Zordan '19, Connor Grandell '19, and Quincy Harris '19 organized the effort to honor Ralston, as he will be retiring at the end of November. 

 

After the student announcements, Ralston was presented with a poster containing all the wonderful words that students had submitted to describe him, along with other personal tributes. Ralston, who has been working at Northwest for the past 10 years, was ecstatic to receive such a gift, raising it into the air and graciously thanking everyone in return. Jordan Baldwin, one of the students who presented the gift to Ralston on stage, shared what it was like to plan the tribute: "The gift for Mr. Luke was something that took a lot of planning and preparation. Our goal was essentially to work together to repay him for all the fun times and smiles that he has given to us." Ralston, who is known for his cool, positive, and charming demeanor, as well as for giving students fistbumps in the school hallways, also served in the United States Army. 

 

The Jazz Choir closed the schoolwide gathering by singing "America the Beautiful." The Jazz Choir closed the schoolwide Billy Kasheta '21, a member of the NWC Jazz Choir, reflected on being part of the events: "The honor the Jazz Choir had to perform on Veteran's Day to honor our country was truly wonderful, and we were glad to share our singing with the rest of Northwest." 

Overall, students, teachers, and staff truly exhibited a marvelous and sincere respect for the veterans within our own Northwest Catholic community. Mr. Francis Laffin, NWC Religion teacher, whose son Lt. Michael Laffin '11 is an officer in the Marine Corps, also offered his view of Veterans Day and the special Convocation: "Veterans Day is an opportunity for Americans to show their gratitude to all the brave men and women who have selflessly given of themselves to defend our freedom along with the many opportunities we cherish so dearly! Consequently, it was wonderful to see a warm NWC reception for our own Staff who are veterans: former teacher Ron Ferri (guest speaker) and beloved custodian Luke Ralston (honoree) as they were thanked for their inspiration and service to our country!"

 

Both Ferri and Ralston have committed themselves not only to serve our country, but also to serve our school. Especially during this season of Thanksgiving, it is important to show appreciation and gratitude toward people like Ferri and Ralston, as well as all of those who have served us in any way, whether big or sm———— and one of the best ways to spread that spirit of gratefulness is to just "say thank you."

 

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Sophie Argay '19 spoke at the Veterans Day Convocation assembly 

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The Jazz Choir (James Turner '20, Steven Tian '21, Gabe Landi '20, Matt Villani '19, Brendan Chan '19, Billy Kasheta '21, Joanna Kuziak '19, MaryCharlotte Barnes '20, Katie Dudley '20, Sarah Lazor '19, and Lindsey Voelker '19) shares their rendition of America the Beautiful with the school 

Strength and Conditioning 

By Ryan Murphy '22

 

I recently sat down with the strength and conditioning coach, Mrs. Ashley Mara, and talked about the new Wellness program here at Northwest Catholic. Her answers were not only informative for any who are unfamiliar with the topic, but also a refresh for any students who are thinking about partaking in the class next semester. Ashley Mara, a graduate of Central Connecticut State University, as well as Northwest Catholic, majored in exercise science and health promotion. She played lacrosse in college and now coaches the girl's lacrosse team as well as field hockey here at Northwest. In addition to her job as the strength and conditioning coach, she has worked with many Division I schools which include Central Connecticut State University, Yale University, and Springfield College. She has used her years of experience to strengthen the mind, body, and spirit of every student who works with her.

 

 

How was the Northwest athletics and weight program like when you were here, and how is it different from today?

 

"When I was at Northwest, Mr. Martorelli was not the athletic director. And now that he is there are a lot more opportunities for students to be in the weight room than when I was here. As for the weight room, it was not as easily accessible as it was back in 2008 when I graduated. Now, they also have outside sources as well as myself to help kids learn more in the weight room."



For those who are unaware, what is the strength and conditioning class trying to teach?

 

"The strength and conditioning class is trying to teach the mind and spirit, as well as the body. We stress that our body is a gift from God and what you do with it is your gift back to Him. So, what we're doing is we're giving the kids a chance to have a confidence and awareness of how to treat their bodies from a nutrition standpoint, as well as a physical standpoint. While all at the same time giving them knowledge of how to prevent injuries, and to help them meet their goals when they do walk into a weight room or facility."

 

Does this class target a specific audience?

 

"It does not. It is beneficial to whoever wants to take it. If you are an athlete, it will help you with your sport. If you want to gain knowledge and get a degree in it, it will give you a headstart to an exercise science department at your college. And if you are simply looking to gain confidence, and have one class of the day that's a little less stressful, and gives you an outlet, then we are
able to build your confidence and increase your knowledge on wellness."

 


What can you gain from taking this class?

 

"Depending on what your reason for taking the class is, you will either gain a knowledge of exercise science, specifically strength and conditioning, nutrition, how to write a program, how to perform exercises, how our muscles work, and by the end of the semester, be able to perform entire lifts. If you are an athlete and you are looking to get ahead in your sport, then this class will give you an advantage to know what is going on in the weight room so you can do it on your own, or with a trainer."

 

What can you tell us about the new Wellness Program?

 

"The new Wellness Program is a program that no other school has. We are the first ones to start it within the Archdiocese of Hartford. It is going to include help in strength and conditioning, and sports medicine. Sports medicine is a class that gives students knowledge of injuries, and anatomy physiology. It is also an umbrella for students who want to pursue jobs in physical therapy, sports doctors, physicians, nurses, or even athletic trainers. This is a college preparatory school, so we want to give students the opportunity to put this on the resumé. Wellness is very important because it covers not just your body, but as well as your mind. So we are trying to reach the kids from an overall whole body experience now, and that is a new thing that Northwest is going to start promoting."

 

 

Northwest Catholic has provided numerous programs and activities in years past that further enhance the mind, body, and spirit. But none quite like this. The new wellness program is here to aid you through your journey of learning all of the aspects of the body, as well as how to strengthen it to your highest potential. I firmly believe that this class will transform your perspective on total body health. Not only will you walk away with an abundance of knowledge on your body, but you will have learned the proper way to work out, as well as how to write your own, custom program. That is something that Northwest Catholic has never introduced to the students before.

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Mrs. Mara looks on as Lorenzo Garcia '20 spots James Nicholas '19, while he's practicing weight training

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(From left to right: Daniel Roland '22 , Ryan Murphy '22, Joseph Devito '19, Lorenzo Garcia '20, Mrs. Ashley Mara, Injun Hwang '20, Yael Santiago '19, and James Nicholas '19)

(Photographed by Maureen Scudder)

All Smiles, No Screams at the Senior Halloween Party 

By Joseph Devito '19

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(From left to right: Austin Connor '19, Sona Torosyan '19, Teagan Dillon '29, Draya Pagan '19, Lindsey Voelker '19)

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(From left to right: Shirley Love '19, Kris Olivera '19, Pawta Shu '19, Ashley Ponce '19)

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(From left to right: Sarah Lazor '19, Riley Doerner '19, Hope Moustakakis '19, Sheena Wolliston '19, Mary Velasquez '19)

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(From left to right: Elena Murphy '19, Victoria Panagakos '19, Madison Derosiers '19, Nella Chapell '19)

There was something very different about the doors to several rooms at Northwest Catholic on the evening of October 30. The door to the Navin Room was transformed with beautiful florals for the "Day of the Dead," while the door to Room 702 led to the land of Oz, and a math classroom door was taken to the skies with an airplane flight crew. Seniors did all of this in an effort to spread smiles to young trick-or-treaters before celebrating Halloween with a dance in the Dining Hall.

 

Mrs. Avery and the senior class officers brainstormed the idea of this "Trick or Treat Street" as a way to incorporate service and promote more community at the annual Senior Halloween Party. Seniors created groups of up to 8 people and "adopted" a door that they had an hour to decorate with a certain theme to match their costumes. After the decorating, about 30 children from the community trick-or-treated with their families from door to door with the seniors handing out candy to them. Senior Class Moderator Mrs. Sara Avery discussed her thinking for planning the event: "I always try to be conscious of ways in which we as a community and individuals are 

 

blessed by our affiliation with Northwest Catholic. I thought that the Halloween event lacked a connection to that gratitude, and sharing our blessings with children from the community seemed like a good idea. These type of events are very common and generally pretty popular at some of our local schools."

 

Not only did this new tradition build a welcoming spirit, but it also added to the fun of the night. As Jenn Loveland '19 emphasized, "Mrs. Avery put in a lot of hard work to make our night fun. We really appreciated all that she did!" The trick-or-treaters also greatly enjoyed their night thanks to the thoughtfulness of Mrs. Avery and the kindness of the senior class.The aspect of community involvement at this year's Senior Halloween Party is also a true testament to NWC's focus on inclusion and caring for others.

 

Sophie Argay '19, Senior Class Treasurer, shared, "We were all super excited to coordinate such an event, especially the Trick or Treat Street because it was a great way to step back and get involved in the community." As opposed to just having the dance for themselves, the seniors embraced a spirit of 

selflessness to spend part of their night giving to the children.

 

Of course, there was some friendly competition during the event as well, with awards for most creative costumes, best decor, and best room. Zoe Shapiro '19, Claire Carew '19, Madison Cote '19, Meghan Sisk '19, and Annie Alissi '19 were awarded most creative costumes for dressing up as trophies. The best decor award went to Sarah Lazor '19, Hope Moustakakis '19, Riley Doerner '19, Mary Velazquez '19, Sheena Wolliston '19, Matt Villani '19, Lukasz Burkacki '19, Brendan Chan '19, and Sam Deveaux '19 who were characters from different cartoons. Clare Doyle '19, Joanna Kuziak '19, Drew Wendorff '19, Connor Grandell '19, Elizabeth Murphy '19, Hadley Waterbury '19, Mikayla Zordan '19, Olivia Chappano '19, and Hannah Dunlavey '19 won best room for their airport theme.

 

The event was an overall success to reach out to the community beyond the walls of Northwest. As Mrs. Avery concluded, "I thought that the trick-or-treat element was a really welcome addition and brought out the best in our senior class!"

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(From left to right: Libby Vandal '19, Taylor Armstrong '19, Jenna Fahey '19)

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(From left to right: Olivia Chappano '19, Clare Doyle '19, Joanna Kuziak '19, Mikayla Zordan '19)

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(Front Left to Right) Maddie Travers''19, Lexi Smolenski '19, Sophie Argay '19, Meghan O'Shea '19, and Francesca Discenza '19)

Photographed by Mr. Christian Cashman 

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1. Night Games


The girls soccer, field hockey, boys soccer, and football teams each had a night game under the lights. It really brought together the Northwest Catholic family as there was lots of support from students and fans to cheer on all the teams. The night games were a great way to kick off the school year.

 

2. Buzzer beater in double OT


Julia Nicholas ('21) scored with 2.7 seconds left in the second overtime to beat Berlin in a tight game. It was one of two goals scored by Nicholas during that game. The final score was 3-2 and Nicholas's final goal lead girls soccer to qualify for states.

 

3. Field Hockey Win with 18 seconds remaining


In one of their first games of the season, the field hockey team clinched a huge win over Wethersfield with Brooke Duarte ('22) finding the back of the net with only 18 seconds left. The win helped the team start off their season strong. The final score was 1-0.

 

4. Philly Special


Football fooled Berlin with their "Philly special" play. The quarterback, Connor Rich ('21), handed the ball to Dean Edwards ('19). Berlin thought he would run towards the end zone but instead, Edwards threw the ball to the wide open Rich to score a touchdown.

 

5. Breaking Records


Michael Stamm ('19)  has now been running on the boys cross country team for four seasons. He is breaking his own personal records with each race he runs. His best time was at his senior night with 16 minutes, 20 seconds. Stamm placed third in the state open meet at Wickham Park and placed 70th in the Connecticut State Conference meet after running a 17:18.

 

6. Hat Trick


Julia Nicholas ('21) scored a huge hat trick goals against Conard. Haley Troy ('21), Claire Carew ('19), and Nina Signer ('20) each had one goal. The girls soccer team blew out Conard with a final score of 6-1.

 

7. Pink Out Games


All Northwest Catholic fall sports teams showed love and support For breast cancer awareness month by wearing pink jerseys, ribbons, and socks for their "pink out" games. Each team did a great job raising awareness for breast cancer and money for research.

 

8. Boys Soccer beat Enfield 2-1


Boys Soccer had their biggest win of the season against Enfield with a score of 2-1. The goalies, Jack Zapata ('20) and John Cashman ('20), both played outstanding in the net. Tyler Esposito ('19), Lorenzo Garcia ('20), Paul Verner ('20), and Justin Asberry ('21) played great defense. Jack Smolenski ('21) and Michael Shayler ('19) scored the two big goals to get the win. Shayler scored the first goal off a crucial penalty shot.

 

9. Volleyball Win


The girls volleyball team beat Plainville in a tight match but ultimately came out on top with a 3-0 win! They won the first set 25-19, second set 25-21, and third set 26-24. Teagan Dillon ('19), Audrey Bonk ('21), Draya Pagan ('19), and Sheena Wolliston ('19) all stepped up to help secure the big win for the team.  

 

10. Football Shutout


The football team got their first win of the season against Avon. The boys played under the lights at Avon High School and had a lot of success. Paris Carpenter ('19) had two touchdowns. Connor Rich threw passes 35 yards, 50 yards, 15 yards to both Carpenter and Dean Edwards ('19) and ran 10 yards himself for a touchdown. Isaac Riley ('20) ran for a touchdown as well. Thomas Miller ('19) and Dario Laria ('19) led the defense in shutting out Avon 33-0.

 


Fall Sports Season Highlights

Sport: Cross Country

 

Captains: Girls - Annie Alissi ''19), Clare Doyle ('19), Megan Shea ('19)

Boys - Michael Stamm ('19), Joseph Devito ('19), Will Robinson ('19)

Captain's Commentary: "As this was my last year on the team, this season of cross country was very special to me. Leading the girls team with my fellow captains, Annie Alissi and Meghan Shea, was a very fun and rewarding experience. This year we welcomed a lot of new girls to our team which allowed us to grow not only in numbers but also as a team as a whole. We showed strong performances at each and every race we attended" - Clare Doyle

Season Recap: The girls team ran many season best times at the Winding Trails Invitational and at their first home meet. The boys had an outstanding race at their last race of the season where they placed fourth in Class SS at the State Championship.

Standout performance: At his senior night at Northwest Catholic, Michael Stamm ran an extremely fast time of 16:20 against Southington. This was his personal best time of any race throughout the season. Although his team did not win the whole race, Stamm came in first over all of his competition and finished far in front of the runner who placed second.

Look ahead: Rigby Gee ('22) and Matthew Querfeld ('20) are two up and coming stars for the boys cross country team and Melania Gluch ('20) and Megan Shanley ('21) performed very well for the girls cross country team this season. They all improved their times from previous years and ran well at each of their meets this year. Over the course of the season, they helped their teams place at big races.

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The Cross Country 2018 team's graduating Seniors '19 members

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The Field Hockey Team including Keagan Ostop ('20) competing against East Catholic High School 

Sport: Field Hockey 

 

Captains: Meghan O'Shea ('19), Libby Vandal ('19), Sydney Taylor ('20)

Captain's Commentary: "Our 2018 season was a major success coming off with a record of 11-5-0 we were able to work really well as a team on and off the field and became a great family. In this season, each game we lost was only by 1 point showing our defense's strategies paying off. Our average score was right around 4 points which also shows how great our offense did this season. Our team is rather young and has so much potential for the coming years. I cannot wait to see where the program goes." - Libby Vandal

Season Recap: Field hockey's best games were against Wamogo, Avon and Wethersfield. None of these games were their highest scoring and Avon was even a loss but the effort the team out out on the field was incredible. The game against Avon was early in the season and showed how much we grew as a team from last year. They were able to hang with what they considered a major threat to their record for the whole game until Avon scored the game winner in the last 20 seconds of regular time. The Wethersfield game showed the teams grit and determination. The team fought the whole game and never gave up resulting in a 1-0 win.

Standout performance: The game against Wamogo put the team's skills to the test. Conditions were not in their favor with a major wind chill factor but the team went out and fought until the end, resulting in an overtime win. The big goal was scored by Maeve Mullen ('21). Maeve played well the whole game and kept shooting until her hard work paid off with the game winning goal.

Look ahead: Sarah Lamberty ('21) and Maeve Mullen ('21) are two sophomores who were big reasons for the field hockey team's success this season. Their combined goals and assists helped get the team back to the state tournament this year. Sarah led the team in goals this season with 16 goals. She ranked in the top 5 scorers in the CCC and is bound for big things next field hockey season.

Sport: Football

 

Captains: Paris Carpenter ('19), Dario Laraia ('19), Dean Edwards ('19), Thomas Miller ('19)

Captain's Commentary: "Football has been one of my favorite experiences during my four years at Northwest. This season was definitely my favorite because I got to watch the team come together and work well together. It was heartwarming to see our hard work pay off in tough games like against Tolland. Like most teams we had our ups and downs this season, but I wouldn't have traded it for anything. I love those boys." - Thomas Miller

Season Recap: The team finished their 4-6-0 season strong and improved from their 3-7-0 season last year. The boys beat Avon 33-0, Tolland 19-14, Bulkeley 26-8, and East Catholic 41-0. The defense was led all season by Thomas Miller, Dario Laraia, Evan Thompson ('20), and Colby Lancaster ('20). The offense was led by Connor Rich ('20), Paris Carpenter, Skye Dolche ('20), and Isaac Riley ('20).

Standout performance: Connor Rich had a phenomenal season as QB1 for Northwest's football team. One of his best games was against East Catholic. He threw for 103 yards, had two touchdowns, and rushed for another 130 yards. His standout performance helped lead the Lions to shutout East in a 41-0 victory.

Look ahead: Colby Lancaster, weighing in at 270 lbs, has been playing left offensive tackle and defensive tackle for the past two years. He has been a big part of the team's success this season. Colby is coming in next year as a junior and is certainly one to look out for. Also watch out for Evan Thompson, a defensive end. In the game against East Catholic, Evan had 11 tackles, two sacks, and recorded a fumble to help the team beat East.

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The Football Team huddling up before a big game

Sport: Boys Soccer

 

Captains: Tyler Esposito ('19), Lorenzo Garcia ('19), Brenden Bellinger ('20)

Captain's Commentary: "Being a class S team playing class LL teams, getting the results was not the easiest. But the team never gave up. Every game we came together more and more as a team, and I could not have asked for a better group to finish off my senior year with." - Tyler Esposito

Season Recap: Although the boys had some tough matchups this season, they hung with difficult opponents. Their best wins were against Platt 2-0 and beating Enfield 2-1. They tied Hartford Public 0-0, Southington 0-0, and Middletown 1-1. They had a great season with the defense led by Tyler Esposito and Lorenzo Garcia with John Cashman ('20) and Jack Zapata ('20) in goal. The offense was led by Jack Smolenski ('21), Brenden Bellinger ('20), Thomas Dao ('20), Joe Janaskie ('19) and Jacob Beaudin ('19).

Standout performance: The boys soccer team earned a huge win against Enfield 2-1. Jack Smolenski scored the game winning goal with eight minutes left in the game. Tyler Esposito and Lorenzo Garcia both played amazing defense to stop Enfield at 1 goal. John Cashman made a crazy save from the ground to hold off Enfield's attackers.

Look ahead: Declan Farrell ('21) has been the boys key playmaker this season. He scored the tying goal in the boys big night game against Middletown and has had lots of assists throughout his past two seasons on the varsity team. He steps up when his team needs him and fights for every ball whether they are winning or losing. Declan's going to do big things next year.

 

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Julia Nicholas ('21) sprinting to reach the ball during a Soccer match

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The Boys soccer team putting up a good fight

Sport: Girls Soccer 

 

Captains: Claire Carew ('19), Olivia Chappano ('19), Zoe Shapiro ('19), Madison Cote ('19)

Captain's Commentary: "This season was the year when our team really came together and performed with heart and a driven fire. We really did 'run to the roar' and never gave up." - Olivia Chappano

Season Recap: The girls played Conard and, with the help of Julia Nicholas' ('21) hat trick, won 6-1. Farmington was a must win game and Claire Carew scored the only goal for the 1-0 win, In their game against Berlin, the girls won 3-2 after 2 overtime periods with goals by Olivia Yopchick ('21) and Julia Nicholas. The team also tied Hall 1-1 after a tough overtime period. In the second game of the season, the team played Middletown. Carew scored two goals in a row to help the team shutout Middletown 2-0.

Standout performance: Julia Nicholas is an absolute unit out on the field. In the game against Berlin, she scored the game tying goal, making it a 2-2 game. The game was sent into overtime and after one overtime period, the score remained 2-2. In the second and final overtime, Julia scored the game winning goal with just 2.7 seconds remaining.

Look ahead: Riley Esposito ('22) rose to the occasion when the team needed her the most. She played a crucial role for the team at attack, midfield, and defense. She never backed down from a fight for the ball and always give each play her all. She was a key component to the team's success this year both on defense and offense.

 

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Lindsey Voelker ('19) catches air during the Volleyball teams Dig Pick game 

Sport: Volleyball

 

Captains: Teagan Dillon ('19), Jenna Fahey ('19), Lexi Smolenski ('19), Lindsey Voelker ('19)

Captain's Commentary: "Our record definitely does not reflect how we played. We played our hearts out every game and the girls consistently showed great sportsmanship. We had a great season with lots of hard work, memorable moments, and laughs. The seniors cannot wait to see what the younger girls become as a team!" - Lindsey Voelker

Season Recap: The team's best performances were against New Britain (lost 1st 19-25, won 2nd 25-20, lost 3rd 17-25, won 4th 25-21, lost 5th 13-15), Plainville (1st set - 25-19, 2nd set - 25-21, 3rd set 25-4), Conard (senior night) and first game against Southington

Standout performance: The girls volleyball team shutout Weaver 3-0. They won the first set 25-13, the second was 25-14, and the third set was 25-10.  Lexi Smolenski and Teagan Dillon each had 5 aces. Joanna Kuziak ('19), Audrey Bonk ('21), and Francesca Discenza ('19), Jenna Fahey, and Sheena Wolliston ('19) all played very well at the net and had many blocks to help the team only let a few points up for Weaver. Draya Pagan ('19), Sona Torosyan ('19), Hannah Dunlavey ('19), and Lindsey Voelker all had some great digs to keep the points alive and get the ball back to their opponent's side of the net. The team absolutely dominated that night.

Look ahead: Audrey Bonk ('21) stood out this season especially at the net. She excelled at blocking balls from getting over the net. Against New Britain, she had an outstanding 14 blocks. For her amazing season, Audrey earned All-State and the team looks forward to her talent only growing next year.

Sport: Cheerleading

 

Captains: Keily Murillo ('19), Jenn Loveland ('19)

Captain's Commentary: "We have been preparing for our winter competition season by learning new skills and stunts. Nicole McFarlane ('19) and I have accomplished backhand springs and the freshmen on the team have been an important asset to the team. Everyone is dedicated and works hard. It is going to be a great next season!" - Jen Loveland

Season Recap: The cheerleading squad had amazing performances for the school at both the Fall Pep Rally and the Thanksgiving Football Game Pep Rally. They also showed great enthusiasm and talent at the football games, cheering on the team and hyping up the crowd.

Standout performance: One of the cheerleader's best performances of the season was during the fall sports pep rally. They had great music and were so enthusiastic when performing in front of the whole school. They displayed some difficult skills like throwing the flyers into the air and catching them safely. They also had some cool flips and were all around very coordinated. Their pep rally performance really impressed the students and fans.

Look ahead: Keep an eye out for Emily Drain ('21) as she soars into the air as a flyer. This season was her first time being a flyer for the cheerleading team and she stepped up to the occasion. She has stood out this season by practicing advanced skills in her first year.

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The Fall 2018 NWC Cheerleading Squad at a Football game

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