The Buccaneer The Student News Site of WC Mepham High School Wed, 04 Mar 2020 22:45:29 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Should The SATs Matter? Wed, 04 Mar 2020 22:45:29 +0000 “We are SAT/ACT optional” is a sentence that can be increasingly heard on the campus tours of many colleges across the country. The SAT exam is synonymous with the college application process, and thus the apparent phasing out of the exam as a major staple of one’s application will seem strange to some. But breaking down the pros and cons of having a so-called “standardized” test play a major role in whether or not a student is admitted to a university shows that this is something that should have occurred a long time ago.
An extreme example of the potential unfairness of the SAT is of course the controversy that arose last year, after an investigation, known as Operation Varsity Blues, unveiled high-profile cases of bribery by well-known figures, notably actress Lori Laughlin. The cases often involved bribery of school officials to improve test scores and other illegitimate actions to enhance a child’s application by the parents. This controversy has played a large part in adding to the negative narrative surrounding the college application process as it showed an incredible level of bias based on income. But there are less news-worthy reasons for the SAT and ACT being inaccurate indicators that are just as notable and even more widespread.
The wealthier a student is, the greater advantage they will have when it comes to standardized tests. According to CNBC, “A 2015 analysis from Inside Higher Ed found that… the lowest average scores were among students from families who make less than $20,000 in family income, while the highest averages were among students from families who make more than $200,000.” The reasoning behind the discrepancy isn’t IQ but rather the level of preparation students receive. Richer kids have the ability to partake in specialized prep courses which will show them the ins and outs of the test, a luxury more impoverished students lack. As a result, the system ends up with an inherent imbalance which means less fortunate students have lower scores contributing to a less impressive application.
So, since the imbalance appears to be striking between rich and poor, it may seem prudent to simply apply a curve based on income. However, this would only harm other students. Even if a student has the means to enroll in a prep course, that does not guarantee that they will enroll in one. Therefore, their score is not boosted as significantly by their wealth, and they would suffer from a curve as stated. There are also factors aside from wealth, such as cultural differences and simply the fact that psychologically, some people are better test takers than others, which contribute to the idea that standardized tests aren’t standardized as they don’t create an equal playing field and so can’t be used as a benchmark for students’ ability.
Of course, doing well on the SAT is tremendous and deserves applause, but it has to be said that the test is not a fair indicator of the ability or potential of every student due to different levels of preparation which correlate with wealth.

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How Do You Do It All? Wed, 04 Mar 2020 22:43:21 +0000 After the conclusion of regents and midterm week, many students probably realized that their study skills were the key to their success. Although some people may decide to fly by the seat of their pants and wing it, study habits are a factor that help determine how well one performs on big examinations.

All the students at Mepham High School have different study skills that work for them. There are many different options that students can take that will help them feel more confident when sitting down to take an important test. Some students may decide to take the technology route while studying. They can use quizlet to quiz themselves, or play other review games. Others may listen to music to help them get into the zone and be able to concentrate better. Many people have different opinions on amounts of phone usage for school, but phones can allow students to study and be able to access their notes and information anywhere at any time. They can be beneficial for enhanced learning if they are used responsibly. Another study habit that can be utilized is taking the opposite route from what I mentioned previously – disconnecting from technology. Some people prefer to write their notes out and draw pictures to enhance their understanding of topics. Highlighting also helps dissect information in a beneficial way. Another way to study is by repeating information out loud. This method may appeal to auditory learners, like myself, who can listen to content and then repeat it outloud to themselves. There are various methods of studying that work for each individual student. Maybe some might like a combination of these ideas, or maybe they prefer outside of the box ideas that are not listed. Everyone has their preferences of what study habits work for them and help them achieve their best grades and do their best on significant exams.

Although study habits are helpful in doing well during test weeks at Mepham, there is a downside when having a week full of last minute, crammed, and hard-core studying. People can experience stress from the pressure to do well and succeed. However, there are ways to combat these stressful situations. One way is to get a full night’s sleep. Everyone has been in that situation where they’re up until 3am studying and trying to get work done, but sometimes the way to be at your best the next day is to get a good night’s sleep. This way you will have energy for the next day and won’t feel as tired in the morning. Another way to deal with stress is to do meditation and breathing exercises. This method I feel really helps, and it gets the person doing these exercises to calm down and just focus on their breaths. Lastly, another tip when experiencing a lot of pressure is to take a break and have a distraction. Sometimes walking away from the paper, dropping the pencil, and just taking a brief break helps to clear the mind.

Even though midterms, regents, and final exams are an inevitable part of high school, there are many different ways to study and deal with the stress that comes with it. These methods can help make important exams less intimidating and more manageable.

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Are You Stressed Out? Wed, 04 Mar 2020 22:41:45 +0000 A recent survey by the American Psychological Association found that teens are more stressed than any other age group. Of course we’re stressed. We have so many things to worry about – fitting in, high school, college, friends, family, school shootings – the list is endless.
Oddly enough, it makes sense that teens are so stressed, but it’s how we manage the stress that makes all the difference.
According to a recent TIME magazine article, research has shown that a strong social network can help mitigate the effects of stress and improve mental health overall. That’s another good reason to be active in at least one of the many after-school activities here at Mepham. From sports to clubs that do charity work, there are so many options of groups to join and feel good about.
A recent PEOPLE magazine article demonstrated how teens can help their anxiety by evaluating what they’re really good at and enjoy. Spending time with others and sharing your strengths can be very helpful. At Mepham, there is a wide range of ways that students can share their strengths, including becoming peer tutors, joining clubs for certain subjects like math or science, and for other interests such as art or music.
One of the most important things to note when dealing with stress is first to recognize that you are, in fact, stressed and have someone to talk to about it. According to Ms. Cheliotes, our school’s social worker, “Sharing the things you’re stressed about with someone you can confide in helps to release stress. When we talk things out it helps us to hear our thoughts and understand ourselves more clearly. It helps us plan out our next steps and work through our issues instead of weighing us down.” Luckily for us Pirates, there are many people here who are available to talk to us, from teachers to counselors and coaches to mentors.
Besides during the school day, students can access Mepham’s Wellness Center every Wednesday until 5pm. They offer mindfulness sessions, which include meditation, yoga and coloring, which are all proven stress reducers. Pirates can also attend monthly ELITE events where students can cook, make glitter jars, vision boards and more.
Ms. Cheliotes’ tips for managing stress include time management, eating a balancing diet, getting enough sleep, and partaking in at least 30 minutes of physical activity each day.
Perhaps just knowing that you are not alone in feeling anxious helps to relieve some of the pressure. We are all going through a certain amount of anxiety, but as long as we can manage it, talk it out, maybe even laugh about it, things will always work out.

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Australia in Ashes Wed, 04 Mar 2020 22:39:20 +0000 In recent months, Australia has been plagued with raging wildfires across the continent. These catastrophic fires have destroyed national parks, habitats of Australia’s unique wildlife, and thousands of homes. Wildfires are not an uncommon occurrence, especially in Australia, where fire season is an annual occurrence, but this year is not any ordinary fire season.
This season, Australia is experiencing a major drought due to the hot temperatures and dry weather. Because of this, the shrubbery hasn’t been receiving enough moisture, which is the biggest cause of most forest fires. Even though forest fires are not rare during the warm months in Australia, fires of this scale are unprecedented. With tens of millions of acres destroyed by the angry flames, this is the most land destruction from a single fire season ever recorded in Australia’s history. Countless numbers of firefighters are working to combat the bushfires, but it simply isn’t enough to stop the flaming monster spreading through the country. Bushfires don’t just happen in the wild. The fires have spread not only to the suburbs, destroying thousands of homes and uprooting families, but also to some of Australia’s major cities. In addition, they have burned away wildlife habitats and killed billions of animals.
These gargantuan flames of destruction have been nothing short of tragedy and disaster for Australia’s citizens and wildlife. As news of these fires spread through the media, they caught the attention of various celebrities and public figures who have decided to use their platforms to gain support and donations to help Australia and its residents. One public figure who made a generous effort to raise money for Australia is Ellen DeGeneres who set up a Gofundme page with a goal of $5 million. If you’d like to donate to her fund and help Australia deal with the devastating fires, you can visit

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11th Annual Mr. Mepham Pageant Delights Audience Wed, 04 Mar 2020 22:37:46 +0000 It’s a Thursday evening in January, and the Mepham community is filing into the auditorium and getting ready for the annual Mr. Mepham male beauty pageant. Hosted by Jack McCarthy and David Santos, the event was held on January 9, at 7:00 pm. The Mr. Mepham competition has been a tradition in Mepham since 2010, so that would make this year the 11th annual Mr. Mepham competition.

Mr. Mepham is run in three rounds: first, each participant dons the maroon and grey in the spirit wear round; then their talents are showcased in the next round, whether that be singing, dancing, or comedy; and finally, the contestants return to the stage for the formal wear round. A brief question-and-answer session follows the three rounds so that each contestant makes a final impression on the judges, Mr. Gomez, Mr. Del, Mr. Safina, and Dr. Carne. Finally, one teacher and one student are crowned Mr. Mepham.

At the conclusion of the night, it was time to name the two Mr. Mephams. Senior Kenny Franquiz was the student winner, with senior Angel Toro and sophomore Dom Casella both as runners-up. The teacher who wound up winning the title of Mr. Mepham was social studies teacher Mr. Montemaggiore, who was accompanied by his children, Dominic and Olivia, in all of his acts.

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What to Read in 2020 Wed, 04 Mar 2020 22:35:46 +0000 One Of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus:
One Of Us Is Lying is an award-winning novel, written in 2017. Five totally different students enter detention on a normal day, and only one student makes it out alive. This novel follows the mystery of exactly what happened, why, and who did it, with a bunch of twists and turns along the way. In my opinion, this novel has all of the necessary elements to make a book difficult to put down. There’s mystery and suspense with a hint of comedy. Any reader who enjoys the mystery genre, but is also a fan of realistic fiction would love this novel! (This is also supposed to be adapted into a TV show this year!)

The Girl on The Train by Paula Hawkins
The Girl on The Train is a novel following a character named Rachel who takes the same train, at the same time, everyday. She has become so familiar with the route that she feels as if she knows two people that reside in a house on the side of the tracks; she refers to them as “Jess and Jason,” and she believes that their life is perfect. One day she notices something out of the ordinary and she suddenly becomes much more involved and important than just a random girl on a commuter train. This book is an enthralling page turner with a chilling storyline and even creepier twists. If you’re a fan of mystery novels, enjoy reading about characters with real life problems, and are interested in books with an underlying creepy feel, you should definitely give this a read! This book has also been adapted into a film starring Emily Blunt.

In 27 Day by Alison Gervais
In 27 Days is a young adult novel that begins when Hadley Jamison learns that her classmate Archer has taken his own life. Although she barely knew him, Hadley is shocked and can’t help but feel that there was something she could have done. Out of guilt, Hadley attends his funeral, and afterwards is confronted by the embodiment of death, who offers her a deal. If she accepts, he will send her 27 days back in time to prevent him from killing himself. She soon learns that the reasons as to why he took his own life were not black and white, and Archer realizes it’s not so bad to be close to someone. After a series of dangerous events, Hadley must decide if she is willing to risk it all, even her life, to ensure Archer’s safety. In 27 Days is an addicting read that’s nearly impossible to put down, with many twists thrown in Hadley’s path, and raw emotion. I believe anyone who has a love for romance, and maybe a bit of mystery, would love this book, which is also being adapted into a film!

Bohemian Rhapsody: The Official Book Of The Movie by Owen Williams
If you’re one who doesn’t find yourself to be a strong novel reader, and would rather read an informational book with less words and pictures, Bohemian Rhapsody: The Official Book Of The Movie, could be a great read for you! This book informs its audience how the 2018 Queen biopic, Bohemian Rhapsody, was made, pertaining to all aspects of the film such as music, costume, set design and casting. The book even contains forewords by Queen guitarist and drummer, Brian May and Roger Taylor. Throughout the year, we often find ourselves drowning in work, finding barely anytime for reading. This is a great book to read at a more relaxed pace, without having to be totally committed to reading it or remember all the information you’ve read, to understand it. Whether you liked the film from 2018, enjoy Queen’s music or are just simply looking for an easy read, Bohemian Rhapsody: The Official Book Of The Movie, could be the book for you!

Paper Towns by John Green
Paper Towns is a story in which high school senior, Quentin Jacobsen, is on the search for his lifelong neighbor and crush, Margo Roth Spiegleman, after her sudden disappearance. As well as Quentin looking for Margo, he and his best friend Ben are also trying to navigate through the end of senior year without any complications. If you’re a fan of romance, realistic fiction and comedic reads, Paper Towns could be for you! Many aspects of this novel are relatable to young adult readers, as the characters are all high schoolers. Paper Towns will leave you having trouble putting it down, as there are many elements of suspense surrounding Margo’s disappearance. Paper Towns was also adapted into a film in 2015, starring Cara Delevigne and Nat Wolff!

Gone by Michael Grant
This science fiction novel opens on a normal school day, when suddenly all the adults vanish, seemingly without a trace. Simultaneously, the internet, phones, and all technology no longer works. With no way of contacting help or finding out what happened, the teens must navigate through hunger, bullies, sinister creatures lurking, and animals running rabid. As time goes by, the children soon realize that they too are changing: they are developing dangerous, sometimes deadly, powers. With time running out, the teens prep for the biggest fight of their young lives, before they reach their 15th birthdays, when they too will disappear just like the adults. Gone will keep you on the edge of your seat, with suspense so strong you can’t put the book down! This book is the first in the Gone series, which contains a total of eight novels.

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In Memoriam: Kobe Bryant Wed, 04 Mar 2020 22:30:32 +0000 On January 26, 2020, NBA legend Kobe Bryant, 41, and his daughter Gianna, 13, died in a helicopter accident in Calabasas, California. Even if you have never watched basketball before, you probably still know who Kobe Bryant is. He was an incredible basketball player who is widely regarded as one of the best of all time.
Kobe played for the LA Lakers for his entire career and won 5 NBA championships with the team. He was an 18-time all-star and the 2008 league MVP. He notably played alongside basketball legend Shaquille O’Neal, with whom he won three straight championships. Despite past tensions, the two maintained immense respect for each other over the years. In regards to Bryant’s death Shaq said on his TNT basketball talk show, “I haven’t felt a pain that sharp in a while… I lost two grandmothers, lost my sister, and now, I’ve lost a little brother.” At the Grammys Kobe was honored multiple times, and the Lakers paid homage with a tribute before and during their game against the Portland Trailblazers. Lebron James made a heartfelt speech and vowed to continue Kobe’s legacy of hard work and persistence.
Lebron played alongside Bryant for Team USA in the Olympic Games. As captain of Team USA, Kobe was able to win two Olympic gold medals in the 2008 and 2012 Summer Olympics. He is also the NBA’s fourth highest scoring player of all time. Kobe’s successes are often accredited to his incomparable work ethic, dubbed the “Mamba Mentality.” He was incredibly committed to his craft and pushed himself along with his teammates to their breaking points, in order to drive them to being the absolute best they could be. After he retired, his Mamba Mentality ensured that he wouldn’t rest. In 2018, Bryant won an Oscar for his animated short film, Dear Basketball.
Even though he was a great basketball player, there is still something he was able to do better ー be a devoted father. He had four girls, one of whom was on the plane with him as he died, and he loved being a dad. In interviews people always asked him if he wanted to have a boy, and he would always answer that he didn’t because he loved his girls and that his daughter Gianna was more than capable of carrying on his basketball legacy. Many people who were close to him said the last three years, being able to spend more time with his family was the happiest they had seen him.
Kobe Bryant was one of the biggest icons of the 21st century. His legacy as a basketball player is legendary but in the end, the world is saying goodbye to not just a basketball player, but a family man and also his promising daughter who he so deeply adored. Kobe had a lot left to give to the world, and losing him and Gianna is a heartbreaking tragedy. As Lebron said, “In the words of Kobe Bryant, ‘Mamba Out,’ but in the words of us, not forgotten.”

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Girls Varsity Soccer 2019 Mon, 06 Jan 2020 21:01:56 +0000 The fall season for Mepham sports was a very impressive one. Many of the teams have displayed determination, hard work, effort, and teamwork to achieve some remarkable goals. Speaking of goals, the Mepham Girls Varsity Soccer Team has achieved many. The team was a part of the top ranked conference, and as of October 5th, they were tied in second place with Garden City, and only one point behind first place. The competition they faced each game was very tough, but the team always tried its hardest to put forth its best at games.
They had a huge and very impressive win against Garden City on October 4th, in which they won the game with a score of 2-1. This win demonstrated the hard work the team had put in, because just two weeks before, they had lost a game to Garden City. They took that loss and turned it into motivation for improvement. Junior Karlie Willix said, “We work to our maximum capacity during practice, fitness, and games, and we have bonded so much since tryouts in the last week of August.” She also said that the team usually has pasta dinners the night before most of the games to discuss strategy, and prepare each other for the game.
These girls played an excellent season. The Pirates made it to the playoffs this year, which is an incredible accomplishment in itself, but not only did they make it to the playoffs, they excelled during the games they participated in. At the end of October they played Long Beach in the first round of the playoffs. They won the game 4-0, and advanced to the quarter-finals. The competition continued to get tougher, but so did the team. They put all of their efforts into the quarter-finals. On October 30th, the team played Manhasset, and ended the game with a 3-1 win. After that impressive victory, the varsity team played an intense game against North Shore. They fought hard the whole game, and won the game in overtime with a score of 3-2. The team advanced to the county finals. They had a very impressive and memorable season.
It is very evident that there was a lot of talent on the team, but that talent was not the only reason for their success. It seems that the fact that the team had gotten so close over the past few months had impacted their success as well. Junior Nina Florio commented on the accomplishments of this team by saying, “The spirit and energy of this team is amazing, and every girl has a role that helps us achieve our goals.” This team had an excellent combination of talent, teamwork, commitment to the game and to each other which proved to be very effective. Based on the reports from some of the players as well as the results of the games, it is clear that this team is making Mepham very proud. Great job to all the members of the Mepham Girls Varsity Soccer team!

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The New Look NBA Mon, 06 Jan 2020 21:00:55 +0000 The 2018-2019 offseason may have been the most impactful offseason in NBA history. Nearly every single team traded key players and most big name free agents left their teams. The most shocking free agent departure was Kawhi Leonard leaving the Toronto Raptors to go to the Clippers, after winning the first NBA title with a non-American franchise. Nearly as shocking, was the teaming up of Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving in Brooklyn. Per usual, the New York Knicks failed to sign any significant talent, and also utterly disappointed on draft night. To no one’s shock, long time Warrior Klay Thompson chose to accept a max contract guaranteeing millions, after his gruesome injuries in the finals. To everyone’s shock, however, long-time Thunder guard Russell Westbrook was traded to the Houston Rockets. But, perhaps the most impactful of all, may have been Anthony Davis’ trade to the Los Angeles Lakers. Let’s look at how these trades specifically change the NBA.
For years, the NBA was unbalanced; the Golden State Warriors won the NBA finals over and over again, and they used their advantage of having up to five all-star caliber players against the twenty-nine other teams in the league. Many felt that having so many stars on one team was making the NBA lopsided. The departure of Kevin Durant and other teams making important acquisitions is ultimately the reason why balance has been restored. Many different teams have increased their chance from virtually zero to being recognized as front runners. The top two competitors are the LA Lakers and the LA Clippers. While they share an arena, they are bitter rivals, so the LeBron and Davis vs Leonard and George matchup will be fierce. One of these megateams will likely face the Brooklyn Nets in the finals.
There are also many new players who have joined the NBA via draft. While the Pelicans lost Anthony Davis, they may have drafted a future franchise superstar in Zion Williamson. He is without a doubt the most talked about rookie in NBA history, but it is yet to be seen if he can lead the NBA into the next decade much like how LeBron James picked up the torch after Michael Jordan. All in all this NBA season promises to be much more exciting than the past several years, and the new matchups will no doubt make it worthwhile to watch.

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A Bright Future for Boys Soccer Mon, 06 Jan 2020 20:59:33 +0000 The defending Nassau County Champion Mepham High School boys varsity soccer team lost a lot over the summer before this school year. After their great season last year, which culminated in Mepham’s first ever boys soccer county championship, the team lost thirteen seniors, and many younger students had to step up. Coaches Zachary Gosse and Steve Fotinos fielded two freshmen, two sophomores, eleven juniors, and only six seniors. These seniors, including captains Gaetano Parisi, Christian Murcia, and Greg Paul had to take leadership roles to try to lead a team full of younger students, many of which had never played varsity high school soccer before, to the playoffs and beyond.
Despite some doubt coming into the season due to the departure of many former players from their championship run, the Mepham Pirates got off to a hot start in their first game of the season against Calhoun. In an intense early-season matchup, where each team wanted to beat their cross-town rival and get off to a good start, Mepham was able to win 2-0. This good start continued, with the Pirates winning two out of their next four games after beating Calhoun. They defeated Sewanhaka and Great Neck South, also tying Herricks and the eventual third-seed MacArthur during that stretch.
Throughout the season, the Pirates worked hard to improve during practices, often working on set pieces such as corner kicks and other situations to learn each others’ playstyles and create more opportunities to score. They also bonded with each other off the field, at pasta dinners, Applebees, or just hanging out before practice. This bond, as well as the leadership from the seniors and coaches, helped the team to have another great season, only losing once to first-seeded Garden City, and ending up with a record of 4-1-5, good for fourth in their conference.
Unfortunately, Mepham wasn’t able to replicate that success in the playoffs. They were the favorite going into their first round matchup against Lynbrook, but a somewhat controversial goal saw the game tied at two going into overtime. Mepham was up 2-1 late in the game, but Lynbrook was awarded a free kick. After the referee did not blow his whistle to signify the kick, Lynbrook scored without the Pirates being aware, which tied the game. Mepham went on to lose in overtime. Despite the call not being the referee’s fault, as he did not have to blow the whistle in that situation, he had to be escorted off the field after the game to avoid the passionate Pirates fans.
Although their season ended earlier than the players and fans would’ve liked, the future looks very bright for Mepham. They will miss their current seniors, including their captains, Gaetano Parisi, who led the team with seven goals; Christian Murcia, who had four goals and four assists; and Greg Paul, who was a defensive leader. However, there will be eleven new seniors looking to fill those roles next year. Their experience and leadership will lead the new team next season, and the Pirates will look to return to the playoffs once again.

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