Category Archives: Features
As they prepare for the end of the year, four Communications High School seniors share their stories of choosing between dream colleges with hefty price tags or accepting cheaper options.
Produced, written and directed by Francesca Cocchi, Mike DeSocio, Kiera Brennan and Sarah Gleason
Photos and voice over by Mike DeSocio
Edited by Francesca Cocchi and Mike DeSocio
By OLIVIA IANNONE
The very stones of Columbia University emit wisdom. It’s hard not to walk across campus and think of the thousands of students and scholars whose feet beat the rock and concrete paths smooth on their personal quests for knowledge.
So it’s not surprising to me that I learned more there in three days than I ever have in such a short period of time.
From March 19 to the 22, Columbia, an Ivy League institution located in uptown Manhattan, hosted its 89th annual Columbia Scholastic Press Association Spring Convention. High school journalism students from across the country gathered to collaborate, exchange ideas and attend seminars hosted by a diverse group of professionals and educators. The attendees included myself and nine other Inkblot contributors accompanied by our adviser Andi Mulshine.
Though the bulk of the presenters were journalists and educators, some broke the mold. My lecturers included an enthusiastic poet, a melodic-voiced Brit who talked me through a five-minute meditation session, a photojournalist whose mannerisms bore an uncanny resemblance to those of Sheldon from the Big Bang Theory and a cynical marketing manager who almost managed to crush my dream of being a writer.
Mine was just one possibility out of a list of combinations as extensive as the routes one could take through the streets of Manhattan. As much as each Inkblot member learned, we each only scratched the surface of what the conference held.
And we came away with more than some new journalism tips. Savanna Eosso won a copy of Adobe Lightroom for her photo, which was selected as one of the three best shots taken on a New York evening from a roomful of aspiring photojournalists. Mrs. Mulshine was honored with the Gold Key award, recognition of her “outstanding devotion to the cause of the school press.” Editors buzzed with ideas for layouts, stories and management. And Tyler Paley walked out confident in the fact that he could transform the Inkblot’s website into something stellar if he could get his hands on $300.
Myself? The most valuable gift this conference gave me was inspiration. Inspiration to take more photography, to start a blog, to keep a journal and to try my hand at literary journalism. This very story is my first attempt at the last item. And I doubt I’m the only attendee who can make this claim.
What’s more, the emotions surrounding the event were heightened by the simple experience of existing in New York City. Our group learned how to say “toppings” in Flemish at a waffle cart on 79th Street (“dinges”) and was whipped by nighttime winds atop the Empire State Building. We saw homeless people and wide-eyed children; smelled both pizza and sewage. As we walked, the thud-thud of subways beneath the pavement vibrated through the soles of our shoes like a magnified heartbeat.
Sure, our brains were filled to capacity with writing skills, photography tips and story ideas, but the city itself showed us why these skills were so valuable. New York is only a small piece of the world. There is a lot to see, absorb and experience: so much that one person can’t get close to doing it alone. As journalists, it’s our duty to transmit our observations, research and experiences to others: to give them a little more of the world than they would have had otherwise.
This piece is written in literary/gonzo journalism, a style Olivia Iannone was introduced to at a seminar on the trip. It serves as a middle ground between opinion and features.
The National Technical Honor Society hosted Career Day February 20, which brought communications professionals, an actress and much more. Here’s a look at the speakers and their audiences.
Blot Photo Slidshow by Bri Dazio. Blot Photos by Bri Dazio, Halie Aaron and Mike DeSocio.
By MARY SAYDAH
Assistant Features Editor
Red and blue cupcakes, buttons in the shape of elephants and a fist illustrated on the whiteboard – the Election of 1912 was in full swing in Ronald Klein’s U.S. History II class during third period today.
By ASHLEY CHU
Afiya Thomas left her home country, Grenada, when she moved to America with her grandma six years ago.
For Thomas, eating naturally grown garden vegetables became buying McDonald’s fast food and playing outside became watching the latest Pretty Little Liars episode.
Staff WritersDue to the Newtown shooting in Sandy Hook, Conn. Dec. 14, schools across America have been taking new precautions to prevent another tragic massacre.The Marlboro district decided that the best way to protect their students is with armed guards in the schools, according to the Marlboro-Colts Neck Patch.Communications High School though has taken other safety measures including locking the front door and classroom doors at all times.
By OLIVIA IANNONE
The French Club hosted its first meeting last Friday.
The club, co-founded by juniors Caroline Weiner of Ocean and Kasey Bandilla of Middletown, features French language and cultural workshops, French food and celebration of French holidays in a relaxed environment. All are welcome to attend the meetings, the founders said.
“We don’t want to be one of those clubs that has requirements,” Weiner said. “We want to be somewhere people can come for fun and to experience things.”
Though the club will be recreational and stress-free, students anticipate that it will provide a new option in the areas of language and cultural study in the school. Spanish is currently the only foreign language class offered, and the French Club will be the first group of students to venture off that track.
Advisor and Spanish teacher Kathy Mazzacco noted that the club will provide valuable opportunities for students who have studied French in the past and want to get back into practice. However, prior knowledge of French is not required to be a member.
At this time, the club is considered unofficial, but Weiner anticipates that it will begin to have food sales and fundraisers as soon as it is able to affiliate itself with a larger group, or “umbrella club.”
The exact membership of the club is currently unknown, but surveys conducted by the co-founders indicate that it will have between 20 and 40 attendees, a number which could increase as word spreads. Many students, especially underclassmen, said that they were not yet aware of the club’s existence.
No matter what the membership turns out to be, Mazzacco stated that she is confident in the dedication of the students behind the new organization.
“I think it’s wonderful that the students were interested enough to approach me and take the initiative,” she said.
By MIKE DESOCIO
Check out this photo slideshow about the 2013 National Art Honor Society induction.
By CASSIDY DESTEFANO
This year’s Winterball semiformal sold a final count of 283 tickets, according to Leah Morgan, sophomore class adviser.
Students had varying opinions on the turnout of the night.
Freshman Tanner Richardett of Tinton Falls said the events surpassed his expectations.
“I know the sophomores have been working tirelessly on the whole event and overall I’d say the night exceeded my expectations, [although] it was nothing like I envisioned.”
On the contrary, there were some minor disappointments. Sophomore class president Hannah Wallach of Millstone said she was a little crestfallen when the DJ failed to comply with all of the song requests on the playlist she had previously compiled. Wallach also noted the abbreviated time span to prepare for the event, as Hurricane Sandy interrupted the planning schedule.
Planning included a five-segment commercial, which was broadcast each morning during the week of the dance on Channel 64’s The Beat, the daily morning news show.
Junior Mary Saydah of Middletown said while she enjoyed the five-part commercial, some of the upperclassmen were bothered by the choppiness of the releases by the week’s close.
“Towards the end [my chemistry class] started to get annoyed and thought it dragged on,” Saydah said.
Senior Austin Smith of Hazlet called the commercial “funny and interesting,” but did not believe that the advertisements were the main draw or cause for the high upperclassmen attendance at Winterball.
“Winterball serves as a replacement for most schools’ homecoming dances,” Smith said. “Aside from prom, it really is the only night we get to go out and dress up in our shirts and ties and fancy dresses.”
Freshman Richardett said he is still in the process of “recovering (his sense of) hearing” after the dance. Richardett also proposed the addition of more slow songs to Winterball in years to come, as it is the school’s only semi-formal event.
Saydah and Wallach are in agreement that no true comparison can be made between each annual Winterball, as it varies so drastically from year to year.
“Each year I think each grade tries to do something to top the year before them, and that’s what makes each dance so unique,” Saydah said.
Wallach added that improvements for next year are under the discretion of the Class of 2016, as they will be responsible for hosting the 2014 Winterball.
Although the theme of Winterball oscillates from year to year, Smith agreed the overall aura remains constant.
“Winterball has always been one of the biggest nights in CHS culture, ever since I was a freshman,” Smith said. “Even though the theme changes every year, the vibe at Winterball is always the same.”