Thursday, March 30, 2017

SHS Congratulates Top 10 Students in the Senior Class

Recently, ten students in the senior class have been identified as the top students of the class. These students show the pinnacle of academic achievement and are considered the role models for all other students in S.H.S..
The top 10 students are as follows:
  1. Ben Giugliano
  2. Joaquin Talon
  3. Michael Mysh
  4. Premal Patel
  5. Nils Veidis
  6. Connor Dick
  7. Jillian Henderson
  8. Jordan Trzcinski
  9. Kaela Panicucci
  10. Isabelle Baptista
These students have gone above and beyond with their academic effort, and have come out on top as some of the most academically able students. The Oracle was able to sit down with some of these students to congratulate them on their achievement.

I first found Connor Dick, #6, and after a quick interview, he had this to say about how he feels being considered one of the best of the best, “It’s a privilege to be involved with so many of these bright students.” When asked about how he thinks this will affect his chances of getting into a good college, he said, “I feel ready for college...I feel like I’ll be prepared wherever I go.”

Next, I caught up with #2, Joaquin Talon, and he said, “It’s a pretty good honor...I get my face and name on the wall and it’s nice.” When I asked him about college, he said that he was still waiting for his application decisions to come back.

Finally I talked with Kaela Panicucci, #9, who when asked about how she felt, simply commented, “I feel pretty accomplished. I hope it’ll get me into a good college.”

The Oracle would like to congratulate these students once again, and hope that they achieve the most challenging of their dreams.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

A Letter To United Airlines: A Female's Go-To Clothing Item

On Sunday morning, United Airlines turned away two young teenage girls from boarding their flight from Denver to Minneapolis based upon the sole purpose of their attire. The two teenagers were wearing leggings - a staple in female apparel from my 18 month old cousin to my peers and my mom! The gate agent wanted the teenagers to change or put something over their leggings before they boarded - they ended up boarding a later flight due to the inconvenience. Another family was nearly turned away from the same flight as a result of their 10 year old daughter wearing leggings, however her mother had a dress in her carry-on for her daughter to slip on over her outfit. Well, thank the Heavens for that.
In the situation, a single employee isn’t the one to blame - this policy is specifically stated in United Airlines Contract of Carriage Document. United Airlines has reserved the right to deny service to any (paying!) customer if their employees believe they are inappropriately dressed. As the situation progressed and gained attention from angry activists on social media (and the ladies of Sparta High School), it was reported that the two teens were pass travelers, meaning they are related to a United employee, and thus are expected to dress in a certain way as they represent the company. Had the girls been wearing cleavage-bearing cropped shirts, this situation would be more understandable. But please, let’s take note: who would have known that the girls were pass travelers? If they did, who would be disturbed by their outfits? No one is offended by legging-clad teenagers achieving maximum comfort on a flight than we are with the bigger message this is trying to portray.
Well, the grass is green, the sky is blue, our society is sexist. Females bodies are constantly objectified and in hopes of “modesty”, there are rules in place like insane dress codes that go even beyond just a school policy. There are some outfits that are completely inappropriate, and in such case I understand and agree with dealing with the individual completely. But a classic pair of leggings? They are a staple in every girls closet because we don’t feel restricted in comparison to wearing jeans. They can be worn with a sweatshirt on days you were up studying for APUSH or even with a nice blouse if you feel fancy✨.
This behavior is something we see constantly and needs to end. Junior Sarah Haag commented, “Isn’t judging women something that was done in the 19th century? We should be far past sexualizing girls based upon what they wear while guys are never, ever targeted." United Airlines was extremely intrusive in this decision, but more, if you are uncomfortable by a female in leggings, you are the problem. Dress codes always ignite controversy. As previously stated, yes, sometimes girls wear outfits that are unacceptable in a specific setting. Some of it is understandable, but enough is enough. Every female is guaranteed to wear leggings at least once this week, and with PARCC week, I can guarantee three days out of five. Leggings, you rock. I’m sorry you have gotten a bad rep for being classified as distracting attire. You’re a simple go-to piece for every morning. We all have different body types, and you make us look and feel amazing in what we have.
Degrading young women leads to further self-image issues. You cannot call us out when you never even think to call out our male counterparts who wear shirts with naked women and curse words/suggestive language and as we approach the warm weather, the classic wife beater. “I found it absolutely ridiculous that young women are being punished for what we feel comfortable in,” began junior Becca Brancato. “Low esteem is a problem in teenagers to begin with, and this only furthers the issue! It shows us that we can’t wear what makes us happy.” United Airlines, we propose new attire for your flight attendants: black leggings. Maybe your newfound comfort will change your perspective on how you view young girls and ultimately make you realize, we’re just too comfy to pay attention as you perform the safety announcements.


Friday, March 24, 2017

Thoughts Students Have in Homeroom

Written by: Lauren Groff



Half-asleep and groggy, we trudge into school five days a week to repeat the very same cycle. Before our day begins, we often have some time to think prior to first period, and often, we share many of our thoughts. Here are ten thoughts you all have in homeroom.

1. Is it Bagel Wednesday?



















2. What day is it? Do I have lab today?
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3. Shoot! I was supposed to print that!
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4. ...When can I print it?

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5. Will my gym teacher notice if I keep my leggings on for gym?
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6. Do converse count as gym sneakers?
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7. I should have turned off Netflix and just gone to bed last night.
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8. How many calories are there in a chocolate muffin?

















9. Whatever. I'm getting a muffin.
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10. It was due at 11:59PM?!?!
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We're almost positive that you can relate to at least one of these… we sure can! Thanks for reading, Spartans!

Thursday, March 23, 2017

March Madness is Underway in S.H.S.


From March 16th to April 3rd, the national event of March Madness will have people cheering and tearing up their brackets.


March Madness is the nickname of the national college men’s basketball tournament, where 68 college teams compete in a single elimination competition. While that’s nice and all, the real fun comes from the March Madness Pools, or “Brackets,” that people make. Brackets are predictions people make regarding the outcome of each game, and the aim of the game is to guess as many games as possible.


While it all seems rather simple, the chances of getting a “perfect bracket,” or predicting the outcome of every game, comes out to almost 1 in 9 quintillion. It’s a goal so impossible, that billionaire Warren Buffett said that if anyone was to achieve a perfect bracket, he would personally send them a million dollars.


The idea of how improbable it is to gain a “perfect bracket” doesn't faze students at Sparta High School though, who have begun to use up every second of their free time to check in on which games are going on and who is winning. I was in the media center and found two groups of students watching different games on the M.R.C. computers, so I decided to ask one of the groups why they love to go mad for March Madness.


Danny Smith and Richie McDonald were more than willing to answer that question, with Danny stating, “I’m a big basketball fan and it’s a great competition.” When he was asked who he thought would win the tournament, he rooted for U.N.C., “All the way.”


Richie commented, “I just like the sport of basketball, it’s the most fun to watch.” He went on to say that, “Probably one of the most fun things is to make a bracket.” When asked who he though will win, his answer was the same as Danny’s, U.N.C.


As the day progressed, I found that more and more people were watching certain basketball games and checking player stats. In fact, after filming “The Sparta Scoop,” the broadcasting team and I were allowed to watch some games while doing our work. While I personally don’t watch many basketball games, I find it thrilling, as many others do, to see who will come out on top as the best college basketball team in the country.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Beauty and the Beast: A Fresh, New Walk Down Memory Lane

Written by: Kanita Tariq

I’ll say it right now - I am a Disney princess enthusiast. No matter how questionable some of their stories may be, when someone asks me what my favorite Disney movie is, I cannot answer with just one. However, I do find myself relating to Belle more than any other princess for many, many reasons. We’re both major bookworms, we both want to travel the world, and we both feel like we just haven’t found our place yet. That being said, when I discovered that Disney was making a live-action version of Beauty and the Beast and that my all-time favorite actress Emma Watson was going to star as the lead, obviously, I was excited. This is what I wanted so badly, and I knew it could go two ways - as wonderful as I would expect, or horribly, horribly wrong.

This entire experience was one that I had never experienced before. I was prepping for this film for months, watching interviews and every teaser, reading every update, and listening to the soundtrack as soon as it was released. Was I just a bit crazy? Perhaps. If you know me, then you know that I take everything I love to the next level. My expectations were high!

Emma Watson was a perfect choice for Belle. She was just as I imagined and more, and her acting was very convincing. Her singing voice definitely did not beat the amazing Paige O’Hara from the original, but wasn’t as terrible as critics were implying. Her acting fell flat a few times, especially when interacting with the animated characters (“Be Our Guest” must not have been fun for her), but she otherwise did incredible. Dan Stevens was an amazing Beast and Prince, and the level of character development he managed to display was excellent. Luke Evans brought everyone’s favorite villain to life, but much less one-dimensional. His acting and singing abilities did not disappoint, and he was very enjoyable to watch. Josh Gad seems like the funniest, sweetest person, and the complexity he had given his character, whom he had very little basis on, was very impressive. Shoutouts to the wonderful voice actors, like Gugu Mbatha-Raw (Plumette), Audra McDonald (Madame Garderobe), Emma Thompson (Mrs. Potts), the legendary Sir Ian Mckellen (Cogsworth), and Ewan McGregor, bringing my favorite character, Lumiere, to life.  

The sets were, as far as my investigation had gone, almost entirely practical. The castle was lavish and majestic, giving me major Hogwarts vibes. Many critics complained about the CGI on Beast’s appearance. I disagree, having loved the sensitivity of his face and the emotions you can clearly see in him. In that respect, Dan Stevens did a wonderful job. However, the animation of the household objects was very intricate and realistic, unlike the simplicity of the original. While this change is understandable, it is difficult to sympathize with them simply because of their design.

Many of our unanswered questions are addressed in the film. What happened to Belle’s mother? Where is Beast’s family? Why is Gaston so admired in the village? Where is Mr. Potts? And most importantly, how are the villagers unaware of their former Prince and his many servants? Each of these plot holes and more are sealed with detail in the film. Most of my favorite scenes were when Beast and Belle became friends and how easily their relationship was panned out for us to see. It was quite a grand production and it never felt like there were too many subplots. However, this left the iconic waltz sequence at the center of the film quite underwhelming, certainly not like the showpiece of the musical.

The music was catchy and almost completely true to the original, and some new additions were fresh and completed the soundtrack perfectly. I found myself singing along to “Be Our Guest” and a new tune, “Evermore.”

This Beauty and the Beast has the opportunity to resonate in our hearts today, a contemporary remake of arguably, the first modern Disney princess. As I walked out of the theater with tears streaming down my face, I felt a new appreciation for Belle, and a new connection formed between us that makes her even more special to me than before.





Monday, March 20, 2017

THE ORACLE'S SPRINGTIME PLAYLIST!

Fool yourself into thinking it is spring and distract yourself from the heated truth of climate change with this poppy, bright eyed, and year old playlist.
Heart Out- The 1975
Golden Days- Panic! At The Disco
Made in Hollywood- LANY
UGH!- The 1975
If I Go- Ella Eyre
Treasure- LEON
Drive- Oh Wonder
Open Season- High Highs
L.A.F- Broods
Feels- Kiiara
Issues - Julia Michaels
Paris- Magic Man

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

The MuslimGirl Who Breaks The Stigma


In a time where ignorance is not bliss, there are outlets to help break the stigma in the most oblivious. In this time of xenophobia, take a look at the people who are truthful representations to break the negative stereotypes. A good place to start? New Jersey native Amani Al-Khatahtbeh, a young author, fashion guru and online tech entrepreneur is a prime example of that. And if you couldn’t tell already, she’s a young Muslim woman.
At the time of the 9/11 attacks, Amani was a nine year old girl. Despite the looks from her peers, Amani entered puberty and decided to wear the hijab. The Islamic teachings state that once a child enters puberty, he/she is responsible to begin following their religion more closely (for example, once they enter puberty, they are permitted to begin fasting during the holy month of Ramadan).


Islam preaches modesty, but women are not specifically required to wear a hijab. A woman who does not wear a hijab is just as much of a Muslim as those who do. Kudos to the brave and amazing sisters that do. For any young Muslim girl, Amani agreed, it was a tough decision and can sometimes lead to a sense of isolation.




Reality check: Al-Qaeda are pretty crappy people. Islam is such a peaceful religion. The acts of terror that are being taken out are in no way a representation of Muslim people around the world. Muslims are being misrepresented and as a result are disgustingly mistreated in our society today. Amani had the ambition and dream to change the extreme level of Islamophobia while she was in high school in 2009, when she created her blog muslimgirl.com, which has now transformed into an online community for Muslim girls all around.
The blog began as just that - a blog for Amani and her friends to express their feelings. They hoped the blog would push the boundaries and change how society viewed the real message of Islam and showcased the young woman exactly as what they are - beautiful, powerful, and educated American women who were about to make their mark. Since its debut, the blog has transformed widely into something that is much more than just an average blog. Amani serves as the founder and editor-in-chief and she now has 50 amazing writers who, thanks to its success from investors in recent months, she can now pay for delivering their stories, tips, and opinions on anything from the perspective of a Muslim woman. They range from beauty tips to sexuality and often include taboo topics that need to be spoken about in the Islamic community, but was nearly impossible to find discussion on before MuslimGirl came into expression. They are issues that are extremely real and should be addressed; for the young girls who don’t necessarily have the outlets to speak about these issues, MuslimGirl is there for them. The blog truly flourished in 2015 when they expanded their volunteer staff (who, as previously mentioned, are now paid for their labor of love!) and were able to transform it into a true publication that has taken flight to something much more than Amani ever imagined back in 2009. It is stressed that MuslimGirl’s audience is not just for followers of Islam, but for everyone. I encourage all of you to check out the website - it’s a wonderful place to get education on Islam and in general, a great blog to follow. All the editors and writers publish wonderful content that goes beyond typical journalism and reporting. Read it, I promise you’ll enjoy yourself and you’ll realize, they’re real people after all - just like all of the Millennials who have been growing up in this era.

Amani is now a 23 year old graduate of Rutgers University. In October 2016, she published her memoir Muslim Girl to change the typical market and give young Muslim girls something to relate, laugh and even cry to. With her success, she made it onto Forbes 30 Under 30 list. She has attended radio and news segments in the past two years, sitting next to many notable names while making a name for herself and when she isn’t busy with her own blog, even writes

columns for The Huffington Post, Teen Vogue, and Forbes. Amani is most definitely making history by creating the first common media network written by a Muslim woman, for Muslim and non-Muslim women alike. It holds as a sustainable source of female empowerment in a time when we need it the most during this absurd time of discrimination. She isn’t different, and that’s what we’re trying to relay. Hopefully you’ve paused reading this article to go over to MuslimGirl and have noticed, the blog is pink, she attends BeautyCon and uploads her selfies with Kim Kardashian. Amani shows us that being a Muslim feminist who is fabulous and fierce is beyond epic.




A Day Without Women: What Would It Actually Be Like?

Written by: Kanita Tariq 

On March 8, International Women’s Day, a strike known as “A Day Without A Woman” was organized. Women were encouraged to take the day off from paid or unpaid labor, shop from only small minority-owned businesses, and wear the color red to show their support. The purpose was to highlight the economic importance of women in the fight for equality.

While we probably won’t ever be able to understand what a day without women would actually be like on a large scale, we can assume how different our lives would be. So what would a day without women entail?

  • First of all, women make up about 47% of workforce in the United States. Nearly half of all workers would no longer do their jobs.

  • More than 75% of public school teachers are females. I’d take the day off, if I were you.

  • College classes would be considerably empty. 55% of undergraduates are women.

  • Despite progress in male participation of household chores, it’s no secret that most women take care of the cooking, cleaning, and grocery shopping. A day without women? You might want to order take out.

  • Got to do your taxes? Better wait. 65% of tax preparers are women.

  • That doctor’s appointment? Too bad, 78% of physicians and surgeons are women, and so are 55% of pharmacists.

  • What better way to engage in the slow day than to watch the news? Oh wait, that might be a little hard. Women make up 58% of journalists and media workers.

A day without women, huh? Seems pretty lousy to me.


Stats were collected from Census data and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Pi Day...Yummy!

Written by: Will Nichols 

On March 14th, rapidly stuff your face with a creamy, mouthwatering coconut cream pie or a classic jaw dropping apple pie, homemade to get such a sensation of an everlasting taste. After all this time of working hard, March 14th seems like the perfect day to treat yourself to some pie.

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My apologies, wrong pie! March 14th is the day you’ll be able to stuff your face with the cheese and juicy pizza pie from the pizza places of your choice for an unforgettable meal only for only $8.99, or you can make it homemade, or get it straight up from Italy. I suggest some Sicilian pizza.

Pizza-Pie_9781-2.jpg


No no no Will, that’s the wrong pie as well. It’s not Pie, It’s Pi. Huh? You know 3.14159265358979323846264338327950288419716939937510? Remember Pi Day in 5th grade? Whoever recited the most digits of Pi won prizes, like two AMC tickets. Oh, yeah! Now that you enjoyed my cheesiness I am going to press onward. Pi or π is used for a radius or diameter as well as determining the circumference. The ancient Babylonians calculated the area of a circle by taking 3 times the square of its radius. Pi is a constant number which means for all circles, Pi will be the same. The mathematician Archimedes used polygons with many sides to approximate circles and determined that Pi was approximately 22/7. The symbol (Greek letter “π”) was first used in 1706 by William Jones. A ‘p’ was chosen for perimeter of circles, and the use of π became popular after it was adopted by the Swiss mathematician Leonhard Euler in 1737. In recent years, Pi has been calculated to over one trillion digits past its decimal. Only 39 digits past the decimal are needed to accurately calculate the spherical volume of our entire universe, but because of Pi’s infinite & patternless nature, it’s a fun challenge to memorize, and to computationally calculate more and more digits.”(Pi-day.org/Wikipedia) Pi is also used as a volume of a cylinder, however if you're not spending your time solving algebraic or geometrical  equations, you just want to eat pie not do π, whatever it is you're doing just remember you need pi to bake a pie, and you need to know to know the radius and diameter of a circle which includes π to be able to make your pie perfectly shaped.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Crazy Ways Students Have Paid for College

       In a few months, the entire senior body of SHS, myself included, will walk across a comically small stage to receive a comically presented piece of paper that simply states that we had survived four years of the comically acclaimed Sparta High School. After that, we’re on our own, our friends will part ways, our parents will do their best to kick us out, and our college applications will carry us to colleges where we will become brand new people and follow our dreams. In a few years time, we’ll have new friends, see new sights, live new lives, and everything we once thought was everything will amount to nothing in our professional lives and simply be lost in a dusty old yearbook hidden away in the back of a bedroom closet.

     Other than all of that soul crushing drama previously described, one topic that takes up space in at least 1% of every senior’s brain, including mine, is the idea of going to college for 2 or 4 years, sometimes even more, and then spending the rest of our mortal lives paying off the college we went to. Of course, this idea is completely fair, and we students have nothing to complain about, but some students feel that it would be better if they could use some of the money they will have to spend on school for other things, like food, or a house, or an occasional trip to the Caribbean. You know, nothing really special or anything.

       There are ways that students have beaten the system, though, and have either almost, or completely paid off their entire college debts. Here are a few examples of these students. We here at The Oracle do not condone any of these ideas, and you can try them at your own risk.

       First, I present Mr. Mike Hayes, who came up with a genius plan to pay for college without having to pay a single cent from his own pockets. He contacted a columnist from The Chicago Tribune, who ran a column in the paper that asked readers to donate a single penny to his cause. It seemed crazy, but after receiving hundreds of letters, and a total of 2.8 million pennies, Hayes was able to graduate the University of Illinois with a degree in food science. (Source:http://www.todayifoundout.com/index.php/2015/04/teen-funded-college-education-asking-people-pennies/)

   Next, here is Robin Martee, who attended Western Kentucky University. While she had an array of scholarships and part time jobs, she still had a substantial amount to pay to the college. In order to pay off of these debts, she took part in the school pep band who played at every basketball game. It was a paying gig that covered the cost of textbooks, and by the time she graduated, Martee had almost no student debt to pay off. (Source:http://www.kiplinger.com/article/college/T042-C011-S001-9-unusual-ways-to-pay-for-college.html)

     One more example is Ginger Dean, who attended Marymount University of Virginia. To help pay for college, she looked on Craigslist and participated in multiple medical experiments she found on the website, mainly sleep and medical trials, and was payed $300-700 for each session. This was enough to help her pay at least a portion of her student debt and ease the burden of college fees. (Source:http://www.kiplinger.com/article/college/T042-C011-S001-9-unusual-ways-to-pay-for-college.html)

    Hopefully, these stories show you that student debt is a beatable beast, and that through clever thinking, and a little bit of time, anyone can pay for any kind of student debt. We wish our seniors the utmost amount of luck. 

When the Music’s Over: What Student Actors are Doing After the Musical

 


Well, the time has come, made itself known, and has now blown past us like an express train heading to New York City. The Addams Family Musical, like all musicals I’ve done in high school, was a rocking roller coaster of practice and perfection, all leading up to three days of pure excitement and fun. Now that it’s all over - the productions, the makeup, the costumes, the long hours of practicing, the Saturday rehearsals, it feels like there is a large hole of time where the whole experience used to be. I feel that’s what a lot of my fellow actors feel now that the curtains has been closed for the last time and an array of metal supports and water has once again taken up residence in the auditorium pit. To find out more, I asked what they’ll be doing now that they have all of this free time.

Blaze Dalio, who played Gomez Addams, said that he had “Absolutely nothing,” planned and when asked what he’ll use his new found free time for, the answer was simple, “Sleep.” The same answer came from Steven Sullivan, who played Mal Beineke.

Zander Papandrikos, who played Lurch, jokingly replied, “Crying,” before saying he would be involved in other student productions.

Nina Strowe, who played one of the ancestors, answered, “Fixing my sleep schedule.” Another Ancestor, Ryden Mederos, had absolutely no idea on what to do now that the Musical was over.

Kaela Panicucci replied the same as Blaze and Steven, “Sleeping.” It can be seen that sleep is now in the mind of almost all of the actors now the musical is over, and after all of the hard work put into the production, it can be said that they deserve some good R&R.

      Personally, now that I have a large portion of time back in my life, I hope to put it to good use. First, I want to get back to writing my science fiction stories that I have been working on for just over a year now, and one day hope to publish in a book. Not only that, I would love to get back into the swing of things with The Oracle, now that I have all the time in the world to discover great new stories and share them with the world. I can’t wait to get back to work and provide your, the reader, with the highest grade reporting a SHS student can ask for!