Friday, March 29, 2019

The Beauty of Musical Theater

By: Emily R Young

As winter sports come to a close, the weather becomes warmer and the spring activities commence. Throughout this transition, the musical theater department is still in the process of perfecting it’s craft: from memorizing lines and cues, fixing lighting, sharpening dance moves, correctly placing set pieces, delivering strong acting and more, musical theater kids don’t get enough credit.
The phrase “musical theater kid” does not strictly apply to those acting on stage- it includes the crew that works tirelessly behind the scenes. No matter if someone is an actor or crew member, each individual contributes to a larger whole- a family that puts on one big show. As Julia Dieffenbach stated, “it really is a tight-knit group”. Nick Cobb, who has been a crew member for 2 years now, further added “its like a second family to me.” Every person fits part of a puzzle piece that creates a magnificent production.
In the theater community, there is a widely known ceremony that recognizes outstanding performances by high school theater programs. Created in 2003, the Freddy Awards restore passion and meaning to musical theater by enhancing and rewarding the local high school theater programs: such as Hackettstown, Easton, Belvidere, Emmaus, and more.  Throughout the occasion, there are awards in categories such as: outstanding use of lighting, outstanding costume design, outstanding performance by an actor in a lead role, etc. How then, is our school involved in such a spectacular occasion? North Warren Regional is fortunate enough to be able to participate in the Freddy Awards. Each musical, including ours, is viewed by judges and has the potential to be nominated or even chosen for particular awards. The awards are an immense honor due to the prestige nature of the event, and the fact that around 30 other schools are involved.
This year, North Warren Regional’s musical production is Mamma Mia, which tells the story of Sophie (Daniella Archilla), who secretly invites three of her possible fathers to her wedding to find out which one is truly hers. It also follows her mother, Donna (Caroline Copen) during the preparations of the wedding and throughout Sophie’s secret plan. Filled with laughter, drama, and disco, Mamma Mia is an unforgettable show worth every penny.

Showtimes for Mamma Mia are this Friday and Saturday at 7:00pm, and Sunday at 3pm. Student tickets are $10, adult tickets are $14, and senior citizens are FREE! The first 50 people that show up to each show will receive 50% off their tickets! Please support the drama department!

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

The Blairstown Diner: New Owner, Old Charm

By: Joey Licata
In January 2019, Blairstown Diner owner and resident, Peter Apostolou, sold the historic Diner to Frelinghuysen resident, Gary D Wishnia. Petey, as he is affectionately called, sold the diner because it reminded him too much of his father, Pete Sr., who passed away in January 2018. Petey had been running the diner with a heavy heart, until he started talking to Gary.
Petey and Gary started communicating a while ago when Gary moved to the Frelinghuysen area back in 2014. Gary told Petey whenever he thought of selling the diner to let him know. Well that time came around a year after the passing of his father. Petey contacted Gary and then the transfer of ownership happened.
The Blairstown Diner, founded in 1949, is an old-school, small town diner beloved by locals, visitors, and Friday the 13th movie fans. Serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner, everything is reasonably priced, making it affordable to bring your family out to eat. This year, it celebrates its 70th Anniversary. All locals and new visitors enjoy the diner because it is one of few original style diners still around.
The diner was featured in the original Friday the 13th movie in 1980, and in the movie, Plasterhead. On every Friday the 13th, locals and tourists come from all over the tri-state area to dine at the historic diner and meet the cast of the movie. On Friday the 13th, visitors have the chance to see the locations of where the movie was filmed, then stop by for a bite to eat.

Gary Wishnia has owned the diner for about two months now and is making a lot of great changes;  and makes sure all of the Friday the 13th movie fans know they are welcome. He created a website as well as an Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter page. Although he is making quite a few changes in the way the diner looks, prices, and food will not change. Gary’s plan is to bring as many new faces into the historic diner all while leaving its old fashioned charm.

Grades and Genesis: The New Good Book?

By: Adriana DeFuoco and Sumaia Naga

Genesis is the new parent, teacher, and student portal being used at North Warren Regional. Many thoughts and opinions have been circulating about how the new program is working and how people are adapting to it. People are curious as to what bugs and glitches have occured since installing the new system, or if there are any at all. Genesis was formally installed over the summer of 2018, replacing Infinite Campus, which had been the portal for several years. The students and teachers at North Warren were asked about their thoughts on the new program compared to the old one. Infinite Campus supported North Warren in past years, but since Genesis replaced it, the students and teachers are still adjusting to its differences.
When the teachers were asked about how they feel toward Genesis, they gave a lot of feedback. They were asked which program is better. Ms. Serzan explains that “Infinite Campus was much more user friendly” and the “app [Campus Portal] was very easy for the students to use.” Genesis, not having an app, can make it harder for the students to get the help they need and track their progress. The Infinite Campus app “from the students’ perspective, was very useful [but] there is more functionality when it comes to Genesis,” according to Mr. Kudrak.
Then, we asked North Warren’s students to share their thoughts. One responds with her thoughts on both programs saying that,“Infinite Campus was so simple and Genesis is more complicated.” Another says, “Infinite Campus was better because it had an app and you could get a notification on when your grades came in.”  If they were to go back to Infinite Campus, “the only thing they would want to keep was the schedule from Genesis.” Additionally, another student says that Genesis “doesn’t really show you your grades as well as Infinite Campus did.” One student vehemently expressed his dislike for the new system: “It’s annoying, it’s slow, it’s not good. It’s ugly too, and it’s horrible. The layout is not great. It looks like a seven year old put it together.” On the other hand, some “[don’t] think it’s that bad” and “don’t really have any complaints.”

Be the end of the school year, some of these thoughts and opinions about Genesis  might change. Students and teachers seem to need more time to adjust and figure out the new program.

The Truth About NWR Recycling

By: Emily Young 

With landfill space decreasing and pollution increasing, the need for environmental change is growing significantly. Recycling is important for multiple reasons, including that it helps tremendously in reducing waste and saving energy. Hearing rumors that North Warren does not carry out it’s recycling system  was appalling and unbelievable to say the least. According to several students, janitors were seen dumping both the recyclables and trash into the same container at the end of the day. What is the real story behind this rumor? It was time to find out.
North Warren Regional has been very successful in finding ways to eliminate waste in the past. A hydration station was placed in the high school to encourage the use of reusable water bottles, and paper towel dispensers were even replaced with electric hand dryers. Just recently, printer codes were established to help maintain and limit the amount of paper being used. These steps were taken to, of course, save money, but to also be environment friendly.
Due to North Warren’s green status, the said rumors about recycling seemed very improbable. The Patriot Press was lucky enough to land an interview with custodian Judy Cook to get more information on the recycling system. Cook explained that both recycling and trash receptacles are put onto barrel casters for easier handling at the end of the day. They are then wheeled into the back janitorial office, near the band room, and separated into larger containers according to their bin. In short, the trash is put into the trash container, and the recycling is put into the recycling container.
As stated in NJ’s School Recycling Manual, “...recyclables collected by the school are products; NOT TRASH.” The interview held with Judy Cook confirmed that North Warren Regional stands with this message. NWR’s environment-friendly history did not match up with the speculation of an unprincipled recycling process. The rumor of this school having a “corrupt recycling system” can be concluded inaccurate altogether.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

North Warren’s Annual Holiday Assembly

By: Mary Reduzzi

Every year, North Warren celebrates the beginning of its winter holiday break by putting on its annual Holiday assembly. The assembly is open to all students to perform a number of talents, and even offers students a chance to receive extra credit to perform with their classes. The holiday assembly accentuates North Warren’s own talented singers, dancers, and instrumentalists. Even teachers like Mr. Messina, Mr. Wilson, Mr. Z, Mr. Lowe and Ms. Koppinger are taking part in the tradition by putting together a teacher-student musical group which includes a select number of jazz band members.

North Warren’s holiday assembly brings the entire school together to celebrate the spirit of Christmas, not only in our culture, but in the German culture as well. We will again enjoy Mr. Bridge’s annual rap performance, entirely in the German language!

If you or a group of friends are interested in performing in this year’s celebration, contact Mr. Bridge for information. As a student who has attended this assembly for four years, I can confirm that it never fails to put me in the Christmas spirit and prepare me for the festive week ahead.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

New Bathroom Passes - Convenient or Not?

By: Natalie Stefankiewicz
As many of you know, our school has a new policy when leaving the classroom. In years past, and for as long as I’ve been attending North Warren, students have always used an agenda provided by the school to sign out for the bathroom. This year that system has completely changed. Each classroom now has two plastic bathroom passes, the room number engraved on each.

In the past, many students have abused their bathroom privileges, so our school decided this was a solution. By using these passes our school believes we will be able to keep track of who is out of each classroom and limit the number of people wandering the halls. This is definitely a good point, but these passes also have negatives to them.

In many rooms that I have classes in, there is now only one pass due to students being irresponsible and losing the other. This means that only one student can be out of the classroom at each time for that specific class.

The real question is, what do our students think is best for our school? While talking to some friends at lunch I got their personal opinions. When asked the question “What is your overall opinion on the new bathroom passes” Ava Tanis replied “I think the bathroom passes are effective, however, I prefer agendas.” When asked why she felt this way she replied “Agendas are much more sanitary than passing the same pass around to different students each period.”

When asking Alana Vitiello the same questions she replied, “I think the new passes have their purpose, but agendas are more sanitary and would work better. I would rather have an agenda because not only is it your own, but you don’t have to wait for the other people using the passes to get back to the classroom.” Erin Fowles agreed saying “I think that they are inconvenient and if you lose one in a classroom; then, only one person can go to the bathroom at a time.”

I got a different perspective when interviewing Ms. Ritchie, Dean of Students here at North Warren. She said “This year we formed a committee of staff members and we call it the Academic Review Committee. The committee looks at things that we want to change and gives us their opinion. This summer we met a bunch of times with this group of staff and one of the things I presented to them was the pass system. The way it came up was that the agenda books were causing the teachers a lot more disruptions during their classes. The kids would walk up to the teacher and hand them the book. This would lead the teacher to being interrupted. We want kids to be more independent, so the academic committee came up with an idea that students could just go up and log out somehow and grab something and leave. That’s how the plan was formed. I personally believe that the new passes are a less distracting method that teaches students responsibility and how to be independent.”

The majority of the answers I got from students were the same. The new bathroom passes are not as efficient, sanitary, and overall well liked compared to past systems. From what I collected from the teacher stand point is that these new bathroom passes are more efficient in the classroom. Although there are some positives to these new passes many students do not like how the new system works. Will the system ever change? This is something we won’t know for a while. If there are more positive results with the new passes then my prediction is that they will become permanent.

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

AP Class Drops Add to Student Frustration

By: Jack Swistak and Sam Dwornikowski
This year, North Warren dropped some of its AP classes and in general, students are upset. After speaking with students, we concluded that most were disappointed because something they were passionate about was taken away; they had been working their entire high school careers for exclusive AP classes. This is not good for several reasons. Let’s say student needs a specific AP class for college, but by the time he or she reaches senior year that class was dropped. Some colleges require certain courses for students to partake in independent study, and that students is now out of luck.
So, what is the point of dropping the classes? Of course, a low number of students makes it difficult to run; however, if both the student and the teacher are eager and available would it not be possible for them to have the class? If time did not allow it, why can’t a private study still count for official credit? Why shouldn’t students be able to showcase time management, work ethic, and most importantly, passionate initiative?
Abby Sikkes, a senior who planned to take an AP Studio class says, “I feel like ultimately, it's a failure on the administration’s part, that they don't regard the arts at a high enough level to run the class. They felt, for whatever reason, that it was reasonable enough to cut it.” Furthermore, she states, “This cut has drastically affected me. I must juggle other AP classes, personal life, a job, my senior year, as well as find time to do art. I don’t have a period dedicated to only art which saddens and frustrates me. I have study halls, but I use them for AP work. Over all, I was really, really looking forward to a senior year with AP studio; however, I got jipped. I'm missing out on a big opportunity to improve my art and to learn in a classroom environment.”
According to Ms. Richardson, school guidance counselor, the administrators have control of the classes, and drop classes that have less kids, and basically “What they say goes.” There is a thought that they could possibly rotate every year so that more AP classes are covered.

Perhaps soon, the administration will allow private studies to count for credit or find a way to allow smaller classes, so that their students can finish high school knowing that they have accomplished all that they desire, and all that they need to prepare them for their next journey.