FAQs: NHS Renovation

Q: When will the work on the high school start?

A: Work will begin April 1, with the groundbreaking ceremony will be held April 2 at 9 a.m. Then the construction work will actually begin in the sports fields, addition of boys’ locker room, the front of the pool area and gym to accommodate the natatorium, weight room, dance studio and pool locker room as well as enclosing a portion of the patio.   Over April

Resource Center of NHS.

Students work in the Resource Center. (Staff Photo)

break, asbestos abatement will begin in the current girl’s locker room area as well as moving the girls’ athletics and PE locker room down to the basement.  This summer, work will begin inside the building with asbestos removal in certain classrooms and wings and the Goodyear.

Q. Will I be able to come to the high school during the summer?
A: No. State law does not permit anyone under 18 years old on or around the high school during asbestos removal. Asbestos has been found to cause different types of cancer, and removing it from our building will take planning and time.

Q: Where is the money coming from?
A:  The town approved an $81 million dollar referendum to finance the project.  Most of the project will receive a 75% reimbursement from the State of CT.

Q: Where will the sports events be held while the field are renovated?
A: Athletic Director Tom Pompei has been planning for the relocation of and transportation to other nearby schools as well as the use of the town field. According to Mr. Pompei, the following will be in effect:
Spring
-All NHS baseball/softball at Rotary/Breen fields
-City Hill baseball/softball at Union City fields
-Track practices at NHS; meets away
– Tennis at NHS
Fall
-Girls Swimming at Woodland High School
-Soccer/Football – turf at NHS should be ready

Q: How will the renovations affect the students as they go through their day?
A:  Hopefully minimally.  Temporary classrooms will be assigned for each semester and it will be indicated on the student’s schedule.  There will be minor inconveniences, but education should have little to no disruption.
Q: What about issues regarding safety?
A:  Safety is always at the forefront of our planning.  All workers reporting to the site will be vetted by the contractor and will display IDs.  There should be no contact between workers and students at any time.  Areas under construction will be separated from the other parts of the school so there will be no access to that area by students or staff.

In My Opinion: Should Mid-Term Exams Stay?

By Eni Katrini
Staff Writer

The subject of mid-terms has never really been a problem as most people just take them. Aside from the excessive complaining by students, we just take mid-terms to get them over with, with no thought about why we do.
Lately with all the school renovations, the school is trying to test out new ideas and see how they work. For example, next year there most likely will not be anymore Silent Sustained Reading time. The other big event on the school’s chopping block is mid-term exams. The district is thinking of eliminating mid-terms and just having one final exam at the end of the year. While, at first this thought sounds like a great idea and you get excited, you start to realize what this reallly means.
The mid-term exam test consists of everything that you have learned from the beginning of the year up to that point, an awesome way to end the first semester. Eliminating the mid-term exam would give students one less exam to worry about. But, most importantly, think about what would happen for the final. With the mid-term gone, all the material that you have learned from the beginning of the year up to the end and everything in between would all be compiled into one huge final exam. Who would want to have to remember everything from the year? Can you imagine the size of that study guide?
When asked about the proposal to do away with mid-terms, sophomore Emily Griffen replied, “I wouldn’t want to get rid of mid-terms. I would want them to stay because then on the final I wouldn’t have to remember the whole year.”
Of course, students wouldn’t get out of doing something big mid-year for a grade.
“I’m sure that instead of having mid-terms, they would replace it with some sort of big PBA that would count as a mid-term grade. You can’t get out of it that easily.” says foreign language teacher Mrs. Tata.
According to her, the school is thinking about getting rid of the mid-term but still wants to have some sort of project that would count as 10% of the overall grade. In a sense, schools aren’t completely getting rid of the mid-term, but instead replacing it with something else, which could be better, but it might also be worse. Perhaps the school system should just leave things the way they are as they have been working fine for so many years. Why fix something that isn’t broken?

Students Organize Memorial for Victims of Newtown Tragedy

By Angie DeRosa
Editor, NHS Greyhound

NHS teachers observe the ceremony in the gymnasium. (Staff photo)

Students filed into Anthony Sorge’s eighth period English class as they had done every other day prior to Dec. 17. Desks shuffled around and conversations were ongoing. Sorge came around from his desk to the front of the room. He quickly quieted students down and told then he had something to say following the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown.

On Dec. 14 at approximately 9:35 a.m., 20-year-old Adam Lanza fatally shot 20 children and six adult staff members at Sandy Hook after killing his mother, Nancy, at her Newtown home. He then turned the gun on himself.

The massacre was the second-deadliest shooting at an educational institution in United States history, after the 2007 Virginia Tech massacre which left 33 dead.

In his classroom, Sorge paused before continuing, saying how this year he has not felt like he has been making a difference in any of the lives of his students. Sunday night would roll around and as he would get ready for school the next day, he would struggle with new ideas to help students. It was not until what happened in Newtown that he was reminded of why he became a teacher and as the Sunday following the tragedy arrived, he felt awed by his students and inspired to help them become what they dream.

Sometimes in light of a horrific event a positive outlook is uncovered, but reactions at NHS were varied.

“You know, I don’t know if there are even words,” said Naugatuck High School Principal Janice Saam when asked about how she was reacting to the event.

Many others responded the same way. Senior Klaus Jaramillo said, “It’s sad because Connecticut is always going to be known for this now.”

Superintendent Dr. John Tindall-Gibson emphasized that “everyone at NHS is responsible for each other; it’s important to say something if you see something.”

With the high school receiving approval for about an $80 billon renovation beginning in March of 2013, improving the security of the school is on the top of the list.

“This building was built poorly,” said Mrs. Saam. “Visitors can enter this building without ever having to check into the main office.”

Saam continued to tell me that by December of 2013 the main office should be in its new location, making it mandatory for visitors to enter the main office before the school. She also said that she’s considering bullet-proof glass for the reception window. More cameras will be located throughout the school and door monitors will indicate when a door in the building is left open. All doors will be remained locked and hitting a buzzer will be required to enter through the main door.

Police Capt. Todd Brouilette reassured that Naugatuck is safe and if something were to ever happen at any of the schools, the police department is trained to handle the situation quickly and sufficiently.Brouilette, Mayor Bob Mezzo, and Tindall-Gibson reviewed security measures for all schools in the borough during a meeting on Monday afternoon. More lockdown drills will be practiced regularly and police will be more of a presence at borough schools.

Students and teachers both expressed that unfortunately if someone wants to get into the building, there is little that would stop them. “Sometimes bad people do bad things to good people and there is nothing we can do about it,” said Math teacher Andrea Fitzgerald. Saam said, “Lives will be lost, but we can cut that number down.”

Alongside the issue of security, students and staff wanted to do something in remembrance of those who lost their lives in last Friday’s massacre. English teacher Caroline Messenger, as part of an initiative by University of Connecticut education students, invited her classes to make cards for Newtown school students.

On Monday, guidance provided their services for anyone who needed to talk about the tragedy and the police department sent out more officers to patrol the schools.

A vigil was also held on the borough’s Green Tuesday night, featuring an angel created by art teacher Hama Pertab. Students of Naugatuck High contributed messages placed on the angel in honor of the victims. Senior Alyssa Drone said, “It was nice seeing most of the town there supporting. We all came together for a good cause.”

Students perform at the ceremony.

On Friday a memorial service was held at the high school. All students and staff gathered in the gymnasium as 26 students read off each of the names of the victims and released soap bubbles in their honor. Freshman Lacie Dube read a poem entitled “The Field-Trip,” and juniors Megan McSweeney and Jussonjah Duby performed a rendition of “Danny Boy” that left several audience members in tears.

Saam closed the ceremony with a few last words: “Life is precious. Life is fragile … Don’t forget to cherish every moment with your family and your loved ones over the next ten days.”

Although a somber event, it ended on a positive note. Dube said, “It was great closure for students to realize what happened and how serious it was.” New Physics teacher Marc Pardee said, “It was really nice, well done and organized. It was a sweet gesture.”

Now the question that remains up in the air is what to do about the gun control, both nationally and locally. Naugatuck Mayor Bob Mezzo said, “I have no objection to someone responsibly owning a firearm. I fail to understand the need for the types of weapons used in the shootings at Newtown. …We’re going to have to take a long hard look at our gun policy as a nation.”

The New York Daily News reported that Republican congressman-turned-MSNBC-host Joe Scarborough stunned viewers on Monday with a 10-minute monologue confessing his change of heart on gun control following Newtown. “Our Bill of Rights does not guarantee gun manufacturers the absolute right to sell military-styled high-caliber semi-automatic combat assault rifles with high capacity magazines to whoever the hell they want,” he said.

In the wake of the mass murders of 20 children and six educators, Scarborough said, “I knew that day that the ideologies of my past career were no longer relevant to the future that I want – that I demand for my children. Friday changed everything. It must change everything.”

In the wake of this tragedy, the issue of gun control in America rose to a level of interest it has not hit in years. Policy change seems inevitable. A petition started on the website whitehouse.gov was record-breaking, reported ABC News. Within hours, the petition garnered 25,000 electronic signatures, the minimum required for the Obama administration to review the request.

President Obama has said he will use whatever power the office of president holds to prevent future tragedies like Sandy Hook from happening again.

As Christmas approaches, those who are feeling the need to help can lend a hand to the students and families of Newtown by making snowflakes. NBC Connecticut News posted on their website that the Connecticut PTSA is asking for paper snowflakes to help create a winter wonderland for Sandy Hook students when they arrive at their new school. Snowflakes can be sent to the Connecticut PTSA, 60 Connolly Parkway, Building 12, Suite 103, Hamden, CT 06514.

Prepping for Prom: A Little Advice

By Angie DeRosa
Staff Writer

With senior prom being only days away everyone is running around in preparation. Finalizing outfit details, perfecting the-almost-real summer glow, a

promphoto

Juniors Julia Santos, Julia Dias and Shannon Healy.

nd confirming hair, makeup and nail appointments. While you may feel additional stress about covering all the costs senior year has to offer, here are some tips to still have a memorable night while on a budget.
Don’t go Outfit Crazy
By now you probably already have a dress (if not, then what are you waiting for?) in which

case you most likely spent a ton of money on. To finish the outfit, make it easier on your wallet to not spend a fortune on shoes that will be off as soon as you hit the dance floor. AS for jewelry, instead of going for the real thing, stores like Forever 21 and H&M sell cost friendly pieces. It may be fake, but no one will be able to tell.
After Prom Plans Don’t Have to be Boring
Going to a part doesn’t have to everyone’s thing, but if you’re worried about dishing out any more money, don’t be! There are plenty of late night activities around the state like bowing and roller skating that offer discounts on their websites for groups. Some places even have Buy One Get One Free coupons for admission.
Salon vs. Drug Store Nails
Getting your nails done by a professional can get pretty pricey. A cheap and quick alternative can be nail kits that are available in stores like Wal-Mart and CVS. Brands such as Sally Hanson and Kiss offer a range of different designs with easy applications. But if you’re like me and would like to treat yourself to a mani and pedi look for salons that offer discounts on both.
Take Advantage of Crafty Friends and Family
Which appointment matters most to you? If you have friends or family who are talented with being great hairstylists and makeup artists use them instead! There are even countless of video tutorials on the internet that can help you prep yourself into looking like a celebrity. You’ll easily save $100 right off the bat.
To Tan or Not to Tan?
Not everyone can rock the Casper look. If tanning is essential, there are a variety of different self bronzers that are good for your skin and get you darker in just a matter of days. Some tanning salons like What A Tan on Rubber Avenue offer special prom deals for students as well.

Ditch the Limo – Drive yourselves
Although the idea of having your own driver in a fancy car is appealing, limos are really expensive and can add up. The diver will only take you from point A to B and back at specific timing. If you drive yourself you would not only save, but also be able to go wherever and whenever you wanted.
Know Your Budget
Save money when you can. Choose the less expensive route if possible. Money won’t define your night. Enjoying your last prom with your friends is priceless.

After Newtown, Is Open Campus Even an Option?

By Justin Rinaldi
Staff Writer

The year 2013 has great things in store for Naugatuck High School. With the recent renovation plans starting, Naugatuck looks forward to a new school with new perks.
The new school renovations, scheduled for completion in 2017, have students looking forward to newer classrooms and a larger building, filled with new features like a “senior lounge,” dance studio and offices for the Board of Education. The senior lounge is a designated space where seniors in good academic can go to get homework done in a mature, senior-friendly area.
The new building plans bring new ideas to the table, and one that has been talked about is the luxury of having an “open campus.”
Having an open campus allows students at Naugatuck High School to  leave school anytime the student has a study hall or lunch. Having an open campus in a high school sets the tone for college in the following years.
Having an open campus also sets the tone of a more mature educational setting, along with a feeling of mobility and responsibility.  Students would no longer feel confined to the hallway/classroom/cafeteria setting and would feel a sense of freedom.

*****

     December 14, 2012 was the day that changed education and the way we view the safety of children in school, forever. Armed with a semi-automatic rifle, Adam Lanza shot his way into Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown and opened fire on their students, killing 26 first-graders and teachers.
Since that day, schools have been reviewing their security procedures and protocols as well as ways to improve safety for everyone in the school building.
Naugatuck High School had already undertaken this task before the Newtown shooting. Last year, IDs and lanyards were passed out and their use was mandated by Principal Janice Saam. With resistance from the students, implementing this security measure required diligence and penalties for noncompliance.
The recent tragedy in Newtown shed light on the importance of safety and the NHS ID system as an easy way to identify Naugatuck students from visitors.
Another way Naugatuck High School is planning to stay safe is to practice the drills and codes more frequently to make sure everyone in the building knows how to properly react to an emergency in the future. Practicing our responses can help students manage a crisis and improve their chances of survival in the event of a school shooter.
Codes that will be practiced include Code Blue, Code Red, and Code Black. Calling a Code Blue requires all staff and students to evacuate to the NHS football field; a Code Red requires an immediate lockdown of all classrooms and hallways, including closing blinds; a Code Black (get info here!). The codes and drills are put into place for our safety. “If we don’t practice seriously, you won’t know how to react in a serious emergency,” said Saam in a meeting regarding school safety.
Saam also mentioned new upgrades to the school security with the renovation project. The renovated facility of Naugatuck High School will have a designated entry point and about five entrances that will only be unlocked by a barcode reader on the door.
The barcode on your I.D. will be programmed to only allow certain people access into the building at different programmable times.  Each time a barcode is read it is logged into a computer of who scanned, at what time, and what time that person left the building.
The new security upgrade also includes new doors with alarms that, if left open for an extended period, will sound an alarm. That way if an intruder is using an item to keep a door pried open, after a short period of time an alarm will sound, alerting security and staff.
The new security will also include the installation of more than 100 cameras that can be accessed through the I.P. address of the computer monitoring system, insuring 24-hour monitoring of the school facility.
So how could an open campus policy be part of the school in the wake of heightened security and the threat of violence? Does the practicality of the open campus concept outweigh the risks? Is open campus still even a thought after the Newtown tragedy?
For Mrs. Saam, that is a question that is still being explored.
With the liberty of leaving school for a class period also comes the potential for abuse. Leaving school would have to be a more organized process with a way to “clock out” and “clock in” again.  There would also need to be a clear punishment system for students who never “clock back in.”
“The students that respect the rules will respect the rules, but the problem students will continue to be the problems students,” said Mrs. Saam.
If open campus did come to NHS, Saam said she’d “open the opportunity to only seniors in good academic and behavioral standing.” After all, open campus is a privilege and she is willing to promote and reward good behavior. Open campus is one way to reward those responsible students.
But when thinking about the idea of open campus, you begin to think about what you’d do with the 44 minutes. Naugatuck does not have many options for students during the school day. While many restaurants line Rubber Avenue, it is about the only place for students to go besides the borough’s library.
If given the opportunity to leave for 44 minutes, it would provide enough time to run over to  McDonalds, Subway, various pizza places and perhaps even Chinese food, but it is not enough time to have a sit-down meal.  For many students, it would not even be enough time to run home for lunch and return for class.
Students look at open campus as an opportunity for more freedom but the question might be: Freedom to do what?
The 44-minute window doesn’t lend much opportunity to get anything more accomplished because 44 minutes is simply not enough time.
When talking with students about the idea of open campus, students mentioned the opportunity to have a meal outside of the school cafeteria.  That can be accomplished without open campus. New outdoor patios will be built for students who are looking to eat outside on a nice day. The current front patio will be enclosed and the narrow grassy areas between Judd and Goodyear will be an area for students to sit on benches outside and enjoy some fresh air.
Current policies in place already allow students to leave if there is an emergency and seniors who are 18 years old can sign themselves out of school. If a student needs to rush home to get their glasses or to a book left behind, students can call home and get a note to leave and return. If that’s what they are hoping open-campus would accomplish, it is an option already available to them.
Our current facility doesn’t seem to lend itself to the perks of open-campus yet, but with new renovations to the building, it could offer students more freedom and responsibility as well as insuring a safer environment.

My Opinion: Open Campus

By Eni Katrini
Staff Writer

Open campus was fairly common in high schools years ago and is currently common in many other countries where it is part of their culture for students to leave school during their lunchtime or arrive and leave according to their schedules. But now schools are limiting freedom or doing away with the open campus concept.
Here at NHS, students aren’t permitted to leave the school during lunch or any time for that matter.

IMG_0280

The front patio of NHS as it looks today. (Staff Photo)

Some students have the privilege of leaving school early as long as they’re in good standing academically and behaviorally and don’t have any afternoon classes. But why can’t they leave for lunch? NHS used to have open campus many years ago and apparently the school board had some change of heart and thought that it would be better for students to eat lunch in a loud, stuffy cafeteria.
Most of the general student population would agree to an open campus policy here in NHS. This would most likely only apply to upper classmen or seniors. And I don’t know if anyone noticed the outrageous prices in that school cafeteria. I understand they’re feeding us, but seriously, it’s not a five-star meal. I am fortunate to have reduced lunch, but most aren’t so lucky and have to pay $3.60 for a small sandwich and some carrots. Not to mention a bottle of water is $1.25. I’m not saying the school lunch is horrible, it’s decent considering school lunches have a reputation for being vile. But now imagine eating your $3.60 sandwich in a lunch room with food scattered across the floor and mashed bananas on the tables. Yes, it sounds very appetizing. And now imagine all of that and add some yelling in the background and some intense heat from too many bodies in a small area. Now we know no one is a big fan of eating in the cafeteria and we can’t give everyone the privilege of leaving the school for lunch, but why not the seniors who have spent 3 years eating there? They need to experience what it’s like to be responsible and open campus can help with that. Open campus not only offers students freedom of lunch choices and an escape from the chaos in the lunch room, but it also is preparation for college and the accompanying independence.
Colleges have open campus. Actually colleges have mostly open everything. You have to build your schedule around your classes and make time for studying and eating. No one in college is going to remind you to eat or provide you with food let alone arrive to class on time with your assigned work completed. Students have to be prepared for what’s to come. And what’s better than having open campus for upper classmen so that they can experience what it’s going to be like. The beauty of NHS is that there are enough eating establishments that you could go somewhere different everyday of the week. And they’re all within walking distance. Cutting out SSR for the seniors so that they can have the full 45 minutes to eat their lunch wouldn’t hurt anybody either. The seniors have spent 3 years devoted to reading in SSR, and they deserve to have some more trust and responsibility given to them to experience what college life will be like. Why not just give them 45 minutes to eat their lunch and get back to class on time?
But now we have issues with safety and security, which is probably the number one reason why open campus isn’t in effect for many high schools across the nation. With the growing violence and security of schools in question, most adults are in doubt as to whether open campus would be a good idea. According to the Center for Disease Control’s School Associated Violent Death Study, less than one percent of all homicides among school-age children happen on school grounds or on the way to and from school. This means a vast majority of students don’t experience school violence. Either way, nothing is in your control and you can’t always be too cautious. Paranoia is never a good thing, but most students at this age should have enough common sense to stay safe and know when something isn’t right. There really isn’t an argument here other than once the student leaves school grounds, it’s no longer the school’s responsibility. Whatever the student chooses to do will reflect on the student, not so much on the school. If the student decides to skip school, that’s their problem and one that can be handled with school officials, parents and revocation of open campus privileges. Open campus should be used to encourage responsibility. At NHS, certain seniors have the privilege to leave school early if they don’t have afternoon classes and need to report for work. According to the student handbook and Dean Tom Pompei, students can lose this “early dismissal” status if they are not in good academic standing, if they have suspensions from school, or if they have attendance issues. Seniors who have not met all graduation performance standards will forfeit their early dismissal privilege.
The same rule could easily be applied for open campus. College students are required to be on their own almost all the time. A college freshman and high school senior don’t have that many differences. In a couple of months most seniors would be on their way to college, so why not trust them and give them the same responsibilities that they will encounter in a couple of months anyway? With the school renovation project, there is talk of having ID cards that function as card keys to the building. These card keys are entirely programmable, and if a student has lost his right to leave school grounds, he would need to ring for re-admittance, and security could then handle the issue of leaving school grounds without permission.
Most school have tried to hold on to the open campus policy. Mainland Regional High School in New Jersey offers their students open campus. The same rules as the early dismissal policy in NHS apply as well to the seniors who are leaving the school for lunch. The truth of the matter is that NHS does give students the privilege to leave the school early as long as they are in good standing, yet they won’t allow those same students to leave the school for lunch. For the other schools offering open campus, the privilege can be removed at any time for any student who has attendance, academic or behavior problems, which is very similar to the policy that NHS has for early dismissal.
Most importantly, I think that seniors deserve to have this privilege. They have spent 3 years of their life in NHS working hard to become successful and hard working adults. Open campus would further their sense of responsibility as adults and give them some much needed time to relax during their last year of high school. They might as well end their high school experience on a good note and look back thinking, “Hey Naugatuck High School wasn’t THAT bad.”

Just How Important is a Twinkie?

By Eni Katrini
Staff Writer

With Hostess closing their business, thousands of people flooded stores to get their last of Hostess products, like Twinkies®, and Wonder Bread®.
The company announced Nov. 16, that it plans on closing all of its operations and laying off its 18,500 employees. The company had filed for bankruptcy twice and the main cause for its liquidation is said to have been the labor union strikes. The liquidation plan of Hostess was finalized by a federal bankruptcy judge on Nov. 29.
There were talks that the business was going to reopen and some thought this whole thing was a big business scam to sell their products, but as it turns out, this is the real thing. All the Hostess lovers ran to the stores to grab as much of the Hostess products as were on the shelves. Stores were crowded with desperate customers trying to get the last of their products because apparently they cannot live without the great apocalyptic snack that is a Twinkie®. Aside from that, I guess no one realized how great the loss of Hostess would be until we actually lost all those varieties of snack cakes.
But it’s not a complete loss; there have been other talks that other businesses may be planning on buying the company back, so all the Twinkie® lovers can sleep sound knowing that there will still be Twinkies® around. But until a company buys Hostess (which may or may not happen), people will just have to preserve their Hostess products – which shouldn’t be too hard. Twinkies have an actual shelf life of 25 days, not years. Still, they’ll need to eat them relatively soon.
When asked about how they feel about Hostess closing, NHS Sophomore Jennifer Martins replied, “I honestly do not care one bit. I don’t usually buy their products anyway and them closing down really does not affect me at all.”
Sophomore Sarah Lyons replied, “Well, I buy some of the Hostess products sometimes but not always. Them closing doesn’t really have an impact on me, and I won’t cry about it either.”
No one’s life is going to drastically take a turn for the worse because they cannot have a Twinkie.™  Rather, the people who make them are facing bigger challenges like layoffs. But whether Hostess survives, or not, perhaps Wal-Martor another store will start selling some knock-off Twinkies and remind us how great those snack cakes used to be.

Review: Third Eye Blind

By Gabrielle Wilson

Album Review: Third Eye Blind’s Self-Titled
Throwback Thursday: Third Eye Blind
Release Date: April 8th, 1997
Label: Elektra Records

Songs to Check Out: Thanks a Lot, I Want You, The Background

Taking it back to classic 90’s alt-rock, you really can’t bring up the genre without mentioning Third Eye Blind’s eponymous debut album. I don’t care if I was only two years old when this album came out; it is still amazing and highly influential for a reason. If you know someone who doesn’t automatically start singing “do do do, do do do do” when they hear Semi-Charmed Life, punch them in the face. From this album spawned three chart-topping singles: Semi-Charmed Life, Jumper, and How’s It Going to Be; and the album is certified 6x platinum. From the opening of “Losing a Whole Year” to the closing of “God of Wine”, the listener is completely entranced and I can never help the feeling of wanting to dance, jumping up and down to ‘London” or beautiful lyrical dance to “I Want You”. Not only are the melodies wonderfully composed, so are the lyrics: lead singer Stephan Jenkins has the ability to make you feel happy and sad and in love and depressed all in one album. “”The village churchyard is filled with bones weeping in the grave/The silver lining of clouds shines on people Jesus couldn’t save”, from I Want You, never fails to make me upset in the most beautiful way. Fifteen years later, we will forever jam Semi-Charmed Life whenever we watch American Pie for the hundredth time or scream “I WISH YOU WOULD STEP BACK FROM THAT LEDGE, MY FRIEND” during road trips and I am perfectly okay with this.

Would We Even Like Taylor Swift If It Wasn’t For Her Breakups?

Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift performs at the Colonial Life Arena in Columbia, South Carolina, on Saturday, March 23, 2013. (Jeff Blake/The State/MCT)

On Oct. 22, Taylor Swift, 22 released her new album Red, mere days after Swift and her boyfriend, 18-year-old Connor Kennedy, announced their breakup.
A source tells Us Weekly on Oct. 25 about the split. “They quietly parted ways a while ago. It was just a distance thing. No hard feelings. They’re fine.”
The funny thing is…this is very reminiscent of a few things said about Taylor’s ex-boyfriends…
A source told Us, “It wasn’t really developing into anything, and wasn’t going to, so they decided they were better as friends.” But this comment was about Swift’s breakup with Twilight star, Taylor Lautner last year.  Did they really leave off as friends? The country singer later came out with a song rumored to be about her relationship with Lautner entitled, “Back To December.”
In an interview with MTV in 2011, Swift said, “He was a really sweet guy, but things just didn’t work out. Honestly, breaking up with him was probably one of my worst choices.”
This time she was talking about her romance with Riley Howell. I guess it was a bad choice…because the song “Speak Now” seems reminiscent of her tragic relationship with Howell. If you were to watch the song’s video, you might notice that it’s a not-so-subtle plea to rekindle their relationship.
Swift also had the Direction Infection. She apparently went out on a date with boy band beauty Harry Stiles, but things didn’t end well…mostly because Harry got too close to Emma Ostily while away from Taylor. Well, let’s just say that it’s safe to assume that the breakup anthem of late-summer, We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together, is about the British boy toy.
Then there’s John Mayer…well, let’s give Swift a break on that one. I think she went through more than enough. (Though Dear John is totally about him.)
…The same goes for Jake Gyllenhaal.
It’s obvious that if you break up with Taylor Swift (or if she breaks up with you), you’re going to be immortalized in a new single. So, Connor Kennedy –  if you’re reading this … watch out. You might be subject to public shame and humiliation at the hands of Swift’s fans (what are they called? Swifties? Taytors? T-Swizzles?).
On the bright side, we can all look forward to a new song in the very near future!

Binders Full of Women

Presidential Debate

John Paraskevas/Newsday/MCT

Mitt Romney, the Republican candidate for the 2012 election stirred up some controversy during the October 17 debate with a comment about school stationary and the female gender.
“And I—and I went to my staff, and I said, ‘How come all the people for these jobs are—are all men.’ They said: ‘Well, these are the people that have the qualifications.’ And I said: ‘Well, gosh, can’t we—can’t we find some—some women that are also qualified?’ And—and so we—we took a concerted effort to go out and find women who had backgrounds that could be qualified to become members of our cabinet. I went to a number of women’s groups and said: ‘Can you help us find folks,’ and they brought us whole binders full of women.”
My question is- why are we limiting this magical solution to just qualified women? Why are we only discovering this wonderful use of binders now? Think back to all of the pesky women in the past- tons of trouble could’ve been avoided if we just stuck them in a binder!
Harriet Tubman, Joan of Arc, Queen Elizabeth I, Rosa Parks, Harriet Beecher Stowe, the list goes on and on! All of the nonsense that these women caused could’ve been prevented SO EASILY.
We’ve all heard about Hillary Clinton. I mean- can you think of a better Binder Case? She should’ve been grateful with her position as First Lady…but then she just had to go on and become Secretary of State. Do you know what this means!? She has a say in foreign affairs! President Bill Clinton made quite a few mistakes involving women, but not putting Hillary in a binder was probably his biggest one.
Annoying things like “women’s suffrage” needlessly marred our society all because we hadn’t fully realized the purpose of the all-powerful binder!
Anyone, anyone at all- I ask you to please enlighten the world on how to put women in binders. It would be an incredibly useful skill to have…especially when one thinks about a few teachers…
Imagine it…a world in which upstart women with world-changing views and ideas are kept in binders. Things like cancer radiation, x-ray technology, disposable diapers, White Out, Kevlar, and even chocolate chip cookies wouldn’t exist.
It’s a good thing that binders were developed by a man!