A Different Way of Teaching

by Nicole Healy

A teacher and a coach should inspire, motivate, and lead. Naugatuck High School’s Kevin Wesche does all three.

Naugy’s Computer Aided Drafting and Design (CADD) teacher and head coach of volleyball and softball has made an impact on many students and faculty in the school. But would they believe he wasn’t the best high school student himself?

Wesche says during his days as a student “education at the time wasn’t a top priority. The school’s guidance counselors even told his parents that “I would never amount to anything.”

Fast forward thirty years, his students and players disagree.

Anthony Angiolillo, senior at NHS had Wesche for a video gaming & design class his junior year. He says Wesche has a “different way of teaching” compared to other staff at NHS. “He provides us with hands-on real life experiences.”

Student athlete Jenna Massicotte plays for Wesche in both volleyball and softball and has played all three years she’s been in high school. She says as her coach, “He’s a smart guy, he knows his stuff.” Her only complaint is his wit. Wesche likes to joke around with his students and players, and sometimes his sarcasm may be taken literally.

Wesche had coached softball as the volunteer assistant coach for two years, and has thirteen years as head coach under his belt. He had been the assistant coach of the volleyball team for a decade, and became the head coach for the 2013 fall season. He has also coached football, baseball, and basketball.

Wesche became a coach because he “loves athletes, competitiveness, and had two tech teachers in high school who told him he had the ability to break things down into small pieces for others to understand.”

Sara Scrofani, web design teacher, has known Wesche since she started teaching at Naugatuck High School ten years ago. But she believes he has changed his high school perception of himself. “He has great character, and that hasn’t changed.”

Scrofani believes he is very successful because “I don’t think success is determined by grades, it’s if you can be a lifelong learner.” His experience of coaching has given him a different approach to helping his students and athletes learn. He takes both his own mistakes and the mistakes of past coaches he has worked with and learns from them. That is true wisdom.

On a personal note, Kevin Wesche has taught me a lot of lessons in my three years playing volleyball with him. He motivates me to be the best person I can be, on and off the court. His wisdom in the sport cannot be duplicated, and I hope someday that I can make him proud to say he gave me my start in the sport I love.

 

The Beginning of a Christian Holocaust?

Written by Samantha Sbat

Many Muslims today think Isis has become evil calling them un-Islamic. Islam is a religion of peace not violence. When reading the Islamic Monthly it said, “In the words of the Soufan Group, a political risk consultancy, “ISIS has become indisputably the most effective and ruthless terrorist organization in the world.” From speaking with knowledge I know the violence that goes on in the Middle East.  I am half Lebanese, my father was born and raised in Lebanon until he was 18. Lebanon used to be a religiously diverse country, and still is today with many Christians scared to practice their faith. Some were Christian like my father when coming to America and some were Muslim. Lebanon is about 52% Muslim and 42% Christian, today Lebanon is dangerous. It has been taking over by the Islamic State, and is destroying lives. Lebanon is a dangerous place to travel to at this time my Dad has said, and will continue to get worse if there’s not a stop to it.

I’ve been angry over the past few months hearing about what ISIS has done to these many Christians and even Muslims who not  believing what they do and defend these Christians. Since when is religion violence? Since when is it torture? Since when is it terrifying for others? Prophet Muhammad stated that killing was prohibited, Do not kill any old person, any child or any woman”, “No prisoner should be put to the sword [aka executed or beheaded]” Why isn’t this being followed? The question I keep asking myself every day is, what is the United States of America doing to defend these people? We care so much about a dress being blue and black or silver and white, but not about the many Christians and non- Christians being killed each day?

To date, more than 170,000 people (mostly all Christians) have been killed by ISIS. Many people do not quite understand the evil logic behind ISIS and why the kill.  ISIS (The Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham.) follows a distinctive variety of Islam in which whose beliefs about the path to the Day of Judgment follow strict guidelines. Isis beliefs that killing infidels that don’t believe what they do will score them points with God.

The United States needs to get involved in this more. We are supposed to be one of the strongest and bravest countries in the world. I know in a heartbeat that of we were to come together against ISIS and their mass murder of these poor Christians, we would defeat them. We are the United States of America; we are supposed to stand up for justice. This disgusts me and makes me hope for a miracle. If something like this was happening to us, we would want help. Is this going to be the next Christian Holocaust?

 

 

Undefeated Fighter Scared?

Written by James Dessureau

It’s finally happening the boxing match of the century as Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao, with a record of 57-5-2, takes on undefeated Floyd “Money” Mayweather, who is 47-0, but why has this fight taken so long to take place?  This fight has been talked about for years but has yet to happen!

The delay in this fight has not only angered fans but also has lowered the quality of the fight as these fighters are no longer in their prime like they would’ve been back in 2010 when the fight became less of a hopeful fans dream and more of a reality.  Some may think 5 years isn’t that long but when you’re a part of a profession when you are hit in the head constantly it begins to take its toll.  While neither Pacquiao nor Mayweather have experienced any kind of major setback they know the end of their respective career is over with Mayweather at age 38 and Pacquiao at age 36.

The effects of this dangerous profession can best be seen when you look at former boxing heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali, formerly known as Cassius Clay, who after a long and well talked about career now, sadly, suffers from Parkinson’s syndrome from all the head trauma he suffered throughout his years in the ring

Some people believe the fight has yet to happen because of money which would severely affect Mayweather want to fight but boxing has steadily declined as a whole as the years have passed and the fight has still sold $74 in tickets and is projected to make upwards of $400 million in total revenue making it the highest grossing combat sport event of all time.

It is many others as well as my belief that Floyd Mayweather is scared of fighting Manny Pacquiao and losing his first fight of his career. This fight if it was up to Manny Pacquiao would have happened a few times by now so why has it not?  I’m not Floyd Mayweather but if I was I wouldn’t be against fighting anyone let alone  the man who has challenged me and said he will beat me and that I’m scared to fight him.  Most athletes are very prideful especially professional fighters making these accusations very motivating for someone like Mayweather who has defeated any and all challengers.

Will this affect the fight on May 2nd probably not but you need to think this has given Manny Pacquiao a small confidence boost and that Floyd Mayweather has some belief that he actually might lose and he now has the excuse of age on his side.

Everyone Deserves a Second Chance

Written by Evan Pelliccia

A few years ago, Michael Vick was the most hated athlete in America. But since he has gotten out of jail he has completely turned his life around. He has made me change my opinion of him.

The former NFL superstar was at the top of the world before he found guilty for dogfighting. He had just recently signed the largest contract in NFL history, was on the cover of Madden 04, and he was the face of the NFL.

Many people believed that he should rot in jail for the rest of his life for killing those poor, innocent dogs. They thought he should never ever step foot on an NFL field again. Hundreds of people, including some animal rights activists stood outside the courthouse to protest. He was sentenced to 23 months in jail.

Once Vick was released from jail he began working out for NFL teams to try to revitalize his NFL career, but he also did a lot of work with the humane society and many other organizations to try and show people he had actually changed who he was as a person. He was also been in contact with famous NFL coach Tony Dungy while he was in jail and continued to work with him on building his character after he was released from prison.

All of that work still to not make people change their minds about him, he was still hated throughout the country.

The team that ended up signing him was the Philadelphia Eagles. The NFL blew up once he was signed, fans from all over did not approve of him being back in the league, especially Eagles fans. At the press conference where they announced the signing of Vick, many people stood outside of the NovaCare center (where the press conference was held) protesting him yet again.

Some people even held up hateful signs saying “Hide your beagles, Michael Vick’s an Eagle.” But none of the hate got to him.

As the NFL season got underway, he was not playing, everyone thought that he would get mad and do something about it, as he would have before going to prison, but he did nothing. That showed people that he wasn’t the hot heated, immature guy he once was.

By the end of the season, even by not playing and not drawing any unnecessary attention to himself, he still got massive media attention.

The next season, he had an MVP caliber season, and the Michael Vick fans came back to loving him. Even President Barack Obama called Philadelphia Eagles owner Jeffery Lurie and thanked him for giving Michael Vick a second chance at an NFL career.

But what if Michael Vick had never been given that second chance by the Philadelphia Eagles? He would still be thought of as a terrible person even though he turned his life around tremendously. He would live the rest of his life with regret even though he deserved the chance.

Sometimes people make mistakes and then they get punished and finally realize that they can’t be doing what they did anymore, they grow up. Which is what Vick did.

Everyone makes mistakes, and everyone deserves to be able to make up for those mistakes.

He even owns a dog now, he built the trust of everyone to where they believed in him to have a dog. That’s pretty impressive.

Dolce & Gabbana

Written by Tony Lacerenza

As a staunch believer in ‘Freedom of Speech,’ I can gladly say that Dolce & Gabbana’s fundamental right to voice their opinion is valid. That much is understood. However Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana, as prosperous as they may be,  made some pretty distasteful statements that  received full recognition. I am not impressed.

The fashion designers  made statements to Italian magazine, ‘Panorama’ about children born through in vitro fertilization (IVF) and made irrational comments about same-sex families. They referred to these children as “children of chemistry” and “synthetic”. I must have missed it in the newspaper somewhere, I didn’t know that the circumstances in which a child was born were even relevant. Shouldn’t what you choose to do with your life matter, instead? What makes Dolce & Gabbana experts anyway?

Their views on conception seem to be more ‘traditional’. Again, they’re entitled to their beliefs as I am and as we all are. But, sometimes you just have to stop and think about what you’re going to say before you say it. Some families cannot conceive children the ‘traditional’ way. IVF has been used not only to the full advantage of same-sex couples, but straight couples as well. Yet, it still doesn’t seem to click for Dolce & Gabbana.

In the most recent issue of Panorama, the fashion designer goes on to say, “I am opposed to the idea of a child growing up with two gay parents.” Gabbana said, “A child needs a mother and a father. I could not imagine my childhood without my mother. I also believe that it’s cruel to take a baby away from their mother.”

Unfortunately, we commonly hear of cases where children are raised without either parent, whether their parents are deceased, in jail or deemed as “unfit.” It’s almost unavoidable, cases such as these are bound to happen. So where’s the harm in two loving mothers (or fathers) raising the same child? Gabbana can’t imagine a life without his mother, so aren’t two moms better than one (or none)?

I can’t help but think that their opinions come from insecure feeling. It’s quite hypocritical, actually and especially when Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana identify as gay themselves. They have even confessed to having romantic affairs with each other.

So I guess it’s okay to say what you want. Our constitution defends your right to speak freely, even if that includes being hateful and backwards, feel free to take that on and do so. But, expect me to do the same.

‘Freedom of Speech’ does not equate to freedom from criticism.

 

Shockingly, the Protests Continue

Written by Jared Rhodes

Shockingly, the protests continue. The riots in Ferguson, Missouri  still continue from the day of  August 9, 2014. Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson should’ve gotten indicted of killing an unarmed black teenager named Michael Brown because he allegedly fled the scene of the store and Darren Wilson claims that Brown attacked him. But really? if Michael Brown steals from a store, he gets shot by a police officer? If Michael Brown was a white teenager he wouldn’t get shot by an officer, probably will just get arrested. But for me as an African-American teenager I would still protest from this day and fight for more justice for Michael Brown because, now former Officer Darren Wilson, resigned on November 30,2014 because the protesting was unrelenting. Some cars and buildings were on fire and National Guard got involved too with tear gassing and arresting many people. Schools were canceled because the town of Ferguson were just a huge mess happening. Of course people in Ferguson would do those crimes is because that was wrong that Wilson shot Brown.

But early on Thursday morning, March 12, 2015, two officers were shot by an unknown person,  after guarding the Ferguson Police Station Headquarters. One of the officers, a 32-year-old with seven years experience in law enforcement was shot in the cheek. The other officer, a 41-year-old from St. Louis County Police with fourteen years experience in law enforcement was shot in the shoulder. Both Officers were released from the hospital later that day.

This happened after the next day, Chief of Ferguson Police Department Thomas Jackson announced that he will be resigning, effective March 19. The reason why he is resigning is because The Federal Justice Department found racist jokes being sent in emails by Ferguson police officers and the chief is taking the blame for that. Of course the chief would resign because he can’t handle the protesting and the officers made racist jokes on their email. They don’t care about Black lives. Really, are you kidding me?  Is it because Michael Brown was Black and everyone thinks that only black folks are bad people. The reason why the person shot the two officers is because since Michael didn’t get his justice, thats the revenged from the protesters. I mean yes this situation was wrong that the person shot those officers, but I would think that was revenged back. But this investigation is still ongoing, Police have now identified the suspect, 20 Year old American- African Jeffrey Williams, His side of the story is the police officers were not his target. There is a big tension across the world between police officers and young black teenager. Ferguson is a small town and this situation was all over the United States.

 

The Amazing Teacher and the Necessary Advocate

By Mariah Meiklem

Naugatuck High School has so many different teachers and administrators who are so, actively engaged in their students’ lives on a daily basis. In and outside the classroom students can find assistance. I know this better than anyone because, I rely on quite a few of them. There is one person who I truly admire and respect for her passion and dedication to teaching, Mrs. Messenger.

I like to think of myself as a self-sufficient student, I am strong and determined once I put my mind to doing something it is almost as if it starts to consume me. That ambition and drive has been built up by the endless amount of support and opportunities Mrs. Messenger has given me.

Teachers give assignments to the class as a whole where in Mrs. Messenger class she allows the students to choose their own topic and express themselves freely. I am currently in her Journalism class, which is a given that she would allow her students to choose their own piece. Yet, I have also been in her Yearbook and English class where she also allowed us to speak freely. A lot of time I can throw any kind of idea to Messenger and it is as if she spins it into gold.

I can go to Mrs. Messenger with a very controversial topic that I do not necessarily agree with and she will give me a completely unbiased perception encouraging me to look more at the opposing sides of things but, also backing up my own personal feelings. To some students that just her doing her job to me that is a life lesson.

Teachers should have high expectations of their students and make it clear of what exactly those expectations are and since my sophomore year of high school Messenger has made hers crystal clear to me. One day she asked me a question that I could not quite wrap my head around to why she would ask me such thing. She asked me, “Would you consider me a good teacher?” This question truly took me by surprise because her I am in the past three years practically idolizing her coming to her every day in class and outside of class constantly asking her opinion which many times I would not consider asking another also coming to her for support with my organization as well and she would ask me of all students such a question. I was shocked and all I could think was great advocates and leaders often need recognition to understand the impact they have made. Which is a big reason why I wrote this article.

Mrs. Messenger you have been one of the most influential teachers I have ever had and being a senior in high school I have had my fair share. You obtain all of the qualities I look for most in a teacher. You are dependable, honest, trustworthy, loyal and honorable. I have never had a teacher who has put their student’s opinions and wishes before their own.

I truly appreciate everything you have done for myself and my fellow classmates and after talking to everyone I know that you’re leaving has impacted us all greatly but, we are all so very proud of you. Even though Naugatuck High School has lost one amazing teacher I know that you are going to do great at your new job and make as great of in impact you have here there.

Someone Deserves a Big Goodbye

Written by Spencer Dreher

I have a job in my town every Saturday during the winter where I score-keep for the youth basketball league.  As I drove in to the middle school where the league holds its games, I was behind a tan-like-colored minivan.  I did not think much of this vehicle at first but when I saw who got out of it, a smile developed on my face.

Out of the minivan stepped one of the players and his father, mayor of my town, Democrat Robert Mezzo.

So why did this make me so happy?

Well, before Mezzo was mayor, Mike Bronko, a neighbor of mine, ran the borough of Naugatuck.  A few weeks after Bronko took office, I no longer saw him come home in his normal everyday vehicle.  Rather, he came home in an FBI-type black vehicle, which was clearly provided to him by the town.

Am I trying to give off a negative vibe on the former Republican mayor?  Absolutely not.  If I were mayor, I would have asked for that car on the first day.

The difference is, however, that Mezzo didn’t.

This may not seem like a big deal to most people, but this tells a lot about Mezzo.  One of the things it tells us is that we all are upset after the announcement that the now three-term mayor made just a couple of weeks ago.

Mezzo said in his personal blog, “…I have decided that it is time for me to begin the next chapter of my life. I will not be seeking a fourth term during our municipal elections this November.”

The way things were going, it looked as if nobody was going to run against Mezzo in upcoming elections anytime soon, and there was a good reason behind that.

Everyone in this town, no matter what political allegiance they take, respects the heck out of Mayor Mezzo.  The man truly loved his town and was involved in many of the community’s events.  I mean, come on.  Even after a full week of hard work downtown, our mayor would come down on Friday nights during the fall and be the press announcer for the high school football home games.  How many mayors, if any, do that?

He never treated himself like a celebrity.  He made himself like a normal citizen and he never acted like he was superior to anyone.  One time, he came up to me to joke about my bold prediction in the newspaper that his Patriots were going to lose the Super Bowl to Seattle.  You don’t need to know him extremely well for him to strike a conversation with him.

This town has gone through ups and downs as of late.  There has been a struggle to sell the lot where the legendary Peter Paul candy factory once stood before moving south.  There has been a struggle to pass a town budget.  Also included is a new education budget that has made cuts towards teachers and even the home economics class in the middle school.  However, Mayor Mezzo has been more than proud to work in his town.

In his blog, Mezzo writes, “…it has always been an honor to serve the only hometown I have ever known.”

So if you ever see that tan colored minivan driving town, do not forget to give a friendly wave to the man driving it.  He deserves it.

And if you ever catch Mayor Mezzo around town, whether it is at a sporting event or at the town hall, make sure to thank him.  Mezzo never asked for much, but there is no doubt that he should go out in style and he deserves a big farewell.