By Stefanie Sadocha
Mindfulness-Based Physical Education is the newest course option in Oyster Bay’s Physical Education Department. This course allows students to focus on their mental health, rather than typical physical education activities. Ms. Erin Murcott teaches the class, which is open to all students in grades 9-12 as a gym alternative.
After observing students’ stress levels at an all-time high, Ms. Murcott and Mr. Trentowski, Oyster Bay’s athletic supervisor, decided they needed to offer a time during the day when students can focus on themselves.
“I recognized a need for a way that kids can relieve stress. Students showed interest in the yoga unit during general PE, so I thought this would be a good alternative,” shares Ms. Murcott.
By Ava Aschettino
On Friday, March 8th, the International Club put on its annual school event, International Night. Not only were there different cuisines from around the world, but students put forth a talent show, featuring both national and international talents alike. Both students and parents were invited to attend this international night of fun. From covers of Lady Gaga’s song “Shallow,” to salsa dances, to cuisines from around the world, International Night was a huge success!
To attend International Night, students, as well as adults, had to pay $5 admission. The money earned goes toward scholarships and future fundraisers for the club.
By Jillian Haguisan
The Pledge of Allegiance has been a part of our American way of life since we were in elementary school. It simply requires us to stand up, place our hands over our hearts, and recite: “I pledge allegiance to the flag…” So why have some students at Oyster Bay High School stopped reciting it aloud?
In recent years, there has been controversy surrounding NFL players kneeling during the National Anthem as a form of social protest. Some students may also refrain from saying the pledge as a similar form of protest. Ava Aschettino, a sophomore, said, “Sometimes, when I’m angry with the state of the country, I don't say the pledge because I don't believe in what I'm saying.” She believes other students may have the same reasoning. But, are politics really the explanation as to why many are not reciting the pledge aloud? Probably not.
By Jillian Haguisan
The OBHS Fine and Performing Arts Department performed its annual musical over the first weekend of March. For the 2018-2019 production, the OBHS cast, directed and choreographed by Ms. Teriann Chiappardi, and produced by Mr. Anthony Femino, performed Legally Blonde The Musical.
Legally Blonde The Musical is based on the original novel by Amanda Brown and the popular film adaptation, both of which share the name Legally Blonde. The musical tells the story of Elle Woods, played by senior Kayleigh Crawford, a sorority President majoring in Fashion Merchandising. After her boyfriend, Warner Huntington III, an aspiring lawyer played by Jayce Cody, dumps her for not being serious enough, she decides to enroll at Harvard Law School in order to reclaim his love. However, when she arrives, almost all of her colleagues demean her. Despite setbacks, Elle ultimately proves to everyone that she is more than just another dumb blonde, and she realizes her true potential as a professional lawyer.
By Ava Aschettino
One weekend every school year, a cast of students ranging from grades 7-12 put on a musical performance that always manages to wow audiences of all ages. Extravagant musical numbers with uniform choreography, along with hours of practice and months of dedication, are needed to perfect these performances. Elements such as costume changes, stage placements, and scene changes can all be used in a mere two minute scene. Hundreds of Oyster Bay residents attend the musical performances each year and are always dazzled by these performances. But do they know how much hard work by dozens of students and faculty members go into producing these intricate shows?
This year, our school decided to tackle the Broadway smash hit show Legally Blonde, starring sorority sister Elle Woods, who, blinded by love, travels across the country to study at Harvard Law school in an attempt to prove that she is not only serious, but she is more than what she appears to be.
Although the cast begins preparing for the show only three months in advance, preparations for the following show begin the year prior. Faculty involved the productions debate options for the following musical production. They take into account not only the cost of buying the rights to perform the musical, but the type of cast they will have the following year. Although cast members differ each year, faculty approximates the number of students predicted to be involved. More importantly, the number of boys who are predicted to be involved in the show is noted. Although certain characters’ genders can be swapped, often they cannot select musicals with male leads. A lack of boys’ involvement in musical theater in OB limits show choices.
After the audition process ends near the end of November, and the students are cast in their roles, rehearsals begin. In the first month, rehearsals are often short, usually no longer than two hours, and not all cast members are called to rehearse each day. The first priority when learning a musical is usually learning the music to the show. Beginning with ensemble numbers from the first of two acts, cast members, excluding soloists, are split into four main voice parts: soprano, mezzo-soprano, alto, and, as our school calls our lowest voice part, “the boys.” The cast is usually taught four part harmonies, which can be practiced using practice tracks created for each harmony of each song.
As the show grows nearer, rehearsals begin to grow longer. Not only do all lines and lyrics need to be memorized, but choreography, scene changes, and many more elements need to be applied on stage. Although the rehearsal time continues to increase, cast members are not always needed at all times and are granted some downtime. While students are not on stage for scenes, they are expected to look over their music and lyrics, practice their choreography for upcoming scenes, or even do their homework.
All staff involved with the show know that you are a student first and an actor second. They understand the importance of maintaining good grades, so they allow students to attend extra help before rehearsals. Staff also understand that the show is most likely not your only commitment. Although joining the cast means making practice a priority, faculty understand that students have other commitments. In fact, the director will even email coaches to work out shared time schedules and even plan rehearsals around cast member absences. Students let teachers know of their upcoming commitments when auditioning by filling out a conflict sheet. If any other conflict pops up, cast members must inform staff prior to rehearsal, either in person, by email, or through the Remind App.
Not only is there a talented cast working to perfect the show, but there is also a hardworking stage crew and “pit” band. Stage crew, run by art teacher Ms. Randazzo, works a similar schedule as the cast. After school, and even some weekends, stage crew assembles sets and props, paints backgrounds, and orders backdrops and accessories. During a performance, members of stage crew are in charge of everything from lighting, sound effects, and scene changes to keeping everything in order. The stage crew is essential to ensuring a show runs smoothly.
“Pit” band, run by Roosevelt music teacher Ms. Murphy, is in charge of playing the score of the musical. Students are hand selected by high school band teacher Mr. Sisia. Selected students learn their portions of the music, and only weeks before the premiere, they practice with the cast. Often, the original score and what the cast has learned do not match, so the band must make quick readjustments. The band is vital when bringing the soundtrack of a musical to life.
The week before the show is quite possibly more chaotic than finals week. Practices are at least four hours each day, and the cast, crew, and pit perform the show once, maybe even twice, each day. This week is both physically and mentally draining. To add to the stress of the week, the Thursday of the infamous “techweek” involves the most stressful part of being in a musical: costumes. Costume changes, specifically quick changes, can be nerve-racking, especially if there are multiple changes throughout a show. Being a part of the show is tiring on its own, but during techweek, all cast, crew, and pit members are EXHAUSTED. However, it is always worth it by Friday when the audience fills the theater.
Performances are always a blur. Cast members often come three hours early to preset props, apply complex stage makeup, and style hair or put on wigs. Adrenaline is pumping through the veins of all, and as soon as the cast first steps on stage, the entirety of the show flashes by. Before everyone knows it, bows are over. The entirety of the show has become so routine that everyone is comfortable going out on stage, full of confidence, and knocking the expectations of the audience out of the park. Getting praise by all after the show may possibly be one of the best, most satisfying feelings ever.
Being a part of the show creates a sense of family and allows students from all grades to form new friendships. Everyone in the cast laughs together, cries together, and brings to life a story that the takes months of hard work and true dedication to execute. If you’re on the fence about auditioning, this experience will become the highlight of your time spent at OBHS. Being a part of OBEN musical performances not only offers a fun extracurricular activity, but it presents students with the opportunity to become a part of a family here at school. Whether you are star of the show or tumbleweed #5, every student involved is essential to the production.
By Caleigh O'Toole and Beryl Rosenberg
What are the most worthwhile and challenging parts about the education profession? Asking this simple question allows students to discover more about their teachers. After asking numerous educators here at OBHS, we learned how they really feel about their profession.
Mme. Avari: “The fact that it’s not monotone, and you deal with kids every day. That’s the best part. [The worst part about teaching] in America is the fact that teachers are used as ‘babysitters’ for study hall, or hallways, or the cafeteria, when we have so much more to offer as professionals.”
By Shania Kuo
Internships are a vital step in gaining experience in a student’s desired field. In the small town of Oyster Bay, it can be difficult to find these opportunities. However, Oyster Bay’s Youth and Family Counseling Agency (YFCA) is providing students grades 10 and up with the opportunity to gain an internship.
The YFCA is an agency that provides numerous social services to the community. Some of the services include providing childcare for busy parents and providing mental and emotional counseling. If families cannot afford services, the agency will find ways for them to receive affordable access. The agency believes that financial cost should never be a deterrent for getting help.
By Jillian Haguisan
To commemorate Oyster Bay’s new Fine and Performing Arts Wing, a Board of Education meeting was held in the band room on September 25th when iconic singer Billy Joel made a surprise guest appearance.
To start the meeting, Principal Sharon Lasher expressed her gratitude to the construction workers and the hard-working musicians and singers who deserved their new rooms. Then, to the surprise and excitement of many, she introduced a special guest to the meeting: Long Island’s own singer and songwriter, Billy Joel.
Mr. Joel kicked off the ceremony by praising the school’s dedication to music, and he gave a short speech about what a privilege it was to have the beautiful, new wing.
Afterwards, the Wind Ensemble, conducted by Mr. Matthew Sisa, played their piece, “Invention in C Minor,” which was composed by Billy Joel himself. Immediately after the piece ended, the composer shouted a proud, “Yeah!”
After the round of applause, the Chamber Singers, led by Mrs. Meagan Dissinger, performed “Oyster Bay,” also written by Billy Joel.
By Ava Aschettino
Since the implementation of mandatory ID badges as a part of OBHS’s latest security
measures, students have had A LOT to say about the cards worn around their necks. Although
most students remember to wear their lanyards, some either forget their badges at home or do not
make an effort to wear them at all. So, what do students really think about identification cards
being mandatory this year?
By Maia DiFiglia & Sophie Grady
After one long awaited year, OBHS has built its new Fine and Performing Arts Wing.
Classes such as Wind Ensemble, Symphonic Band, Concert Choir, Chamber Singers, and
middle-level music programs now call the new wing home.
The new addition, which has doubled in size, has awed many with its new air
conditioning, bathrooms, water fountains, and automatic recording microphones. It also includes
storage for instruments, marching band equipment, and art supplies.
The community voted on the new wing during a budget vote two years ago, and
construction began in September 2017. Workers finished construction for the first day of school
On September 25th, there was an official ribbon-cutting ceremony where the Chamber
singers and Wind Ensemble performed. Mr. Sisia conducted the Wind Ensemble and Ms.
Dissinger led the Chamber Singers. To everyone's surprise, award-winning musician Billy Joel
even made a guest appearance at the opening.
Mr. Giannetta, middle school music teacher, and Mr. Sisia, high school music teacher, sat
down to answer a few questions about the new wing.