Category Archives: Features
By MATT LAMB
WALL – Students donated clothes last week during the Winter Coat Drive, sponsored by the Class of 2014. The effort continues through the end of February.
During the week of Jan. 7, students from all grades donated coats, shoes and other lightly used clothing. Boxes were set up outside the main office to collect the clothes.
The clothing went to Fashion Republic, a company based in Cranford, New Jersey, which, according to its website, enables school organizations to earn money per pound of clothing donations.
For every pound of clothes donated, Fashion Republic donates 13 cents to the local charities which will benefit, according to the website at FashionRepublicInc.com.
By HANNAH WALLACH
The waves of Superstorm Sandy might as well have been bulldozers. They invaded the home of English teacher Kelly Harmon and destroyed most everything. In the end, few things could be salvaged beyond her wedding dress.
Harmon was forced out of her flooding Shark River condominium Sunday, Oct. 28, a full day before Sandy arrived to finish the job.
She is one of 10,000 to 40,000 who were displaced after Sandy, according to The New York Times.
“We’re sitting there, and we’re watching the water come up … The storm hadn’t even hit. I’m like, ‘We gotta go,’” Harmon remembered. So she put the furniture on cinder blocks and bagged shoes and gowns.
Harmon and her husband Thomas packed their essentials, including wedding pictures and the pillow pet that a class had given her last year.
“It would just give me a sense of comfort,” she said, remembering with tears. “I love my students.”
Around 6 p.m., Harmon’s brother Michael Height retrieved the couple in his Hummer. The water reached his car door.
“I felt like, ‘Why am I leaving my home? I don’t want to leave my home.’ But I knew it was the right thing,” she recalled. The couple spent that night at Height’s Toms River apartment.
“We’re sitting there laughing and saying that we’re safe, but we still have the unknown,” Thomas Harmon recalled.
The Harmons’ neighbor, Mary Novak, did not evacuate. She said she kept Mrs. Harmon updated by cellphone and checked on the Harmons’ apartment hourly throughout the storm.
“By second high tide, our building was completely surrounded by water,” Novak said.
The following morning, Spanish teacher Kathy Mazzacco called Harmon to invite her to stay with her.
“My husband died two years ago, and my daughters were out on their own,” Mrs. Mazzacco said last week.
The opportunity to help the Harmons actually helped her to feel less alone during the crisis, she said. Other faculty also offered their homes and support.
Meanwhile, the couple kept trying to get home. Mr. Harmon was relieved, he said, when they got to visit the condo and assess the damage.
“We walked in and the floor was wet, yes, I opened the bottom drawer of the stove and it was filled with water, but … nothing was ruined that I could see,” Harmon recalled.
Further into the house the damage became apparent. Mud and salt water mixed with diesel fuel from toppled boats was everywhere. Harmon worried her condo would catch fire.
The Federal Emergency Management System has provided housing at the Hampton Inn through this week. The couple expects to move into a new Bradley Beach house in February. Mrs. Harmon said she won’t return to normal until she’s home.
Her husband said he sees home as, “where my wife is,” but Harmon wants their own space again.
“When you’re not in something that you technically own or can make your own, you don’t feel comfortable,” she said.
Their hotel room isn’t home, she said. But for now, it will have to do.
This story was published in the print edition of The Inkblot on December 19, 2012.
By JAMES BOYLE
Accompanied by an audio slideshow and student and guest speakers, the National Honor Society (NHS) welcomed 34 inductees Wednesday, Dec. 5.
Four seniors, President Rhianna Kern of Middletown, Vice President Kristiane Olson of Manasquan, Secretary Sarah Soltes of Ocean and Treasurer Morgan Hennessy of Hazlet, spoke at the event.
According to Olson, each speaker dedicated her speech to one of the four pillars of NHS: service, scholarship, character and leadership.
“Everyone did a fantastic job with their speeches. I think that it gave a good overview of what NHS is all about,” Olson said.
Additionally, Principal James Gleason gave a speech, highlighting examples of community service from some of the inductees. Olson commented on how inspiring and thoughtful the speech was.
“He definitely put a lot of thought and work into the speech and I think it showed how much he really cares about us. I loved it.”
Other guests of honor included Anthony Schaible, Assistant Superintendent of the Monmouth County Vocational School District.
According to Olson, he was impressed with the presentation and really enjoyed being there.
Despite the speeches and presentations, almost all of the inductees couldn’t stop talking about the student slideshow. It consisted of each of the inductees individually describing the person they most admire and look up to in life.
“It really gave the entire audience and the rest of the National Honor Society an inside look at what inspires these students and what they aspire to be when they grow up,” Olson said.
The CHS handbook states students are inducted after a rigorous set of criteria has been met.
This includes maintaining a 92 or above GPA, completing 150 hours of service and leadership hours and receiving character approval from CHS faculty members.
This story was published in the print edition of The Inkblot on December 19, 2012.
By GINA TALAMO
Assistant News Editor
The freshman class took first place in Fall Spirit Week with 130 points, the SGA announced.
Juniors and seniors both came in second, with 85 points; sophomores placed last with 40 points.
“We tried really hard and we worked as a group,” said Freshman President Sallie Haas of Deal. “I think that’s what did it.”
In the Penny Wars contest, the freshmen also came in first with -1,095 points, followed by the seniors, the juniors and the sophomores. “I thought the week went well above my expectations,” said senior and SGA President Kiera Brennan of Middletown. “Fall Spirit Week has always been Spring Spirit Week’s ugly stepsister, so it was nice to see everyone participating.”
“At my old school, no one really participated in Spirit Week,” said junior Michaella Burke of Middletown, adding that the competitive nature of the week made for “a really friendly environment.”
Freshman Maryann Rojas of Belmar saw the dress-up days as a unifier. Through SGA, each class raised money for a charity of their choice to benefit the victims of Superstorm Sandy. The money came from a combination of CHS Cares T-shirt sales, Spirit Week participation and Penny Wars, according to SGA adviser Sharyn O’Keefe. The amounts raised may change, depending on potentially lowered T-shirt prices.
The freshmen raised $749.27 for Habitat for Humanity, which builds and renovates homes for people in need.
Sophomores raised $360 for Reaching All In Need Everyday (R.A.I.N.E.).
“The R.A.I.N.E Foundation is really special since it directly affects students at CHS,” said Sophomore Class President Hannah Wallach of Millstone. She added that the acronym “really sums up the foundation’s philosophy and the aid it offers.”
The Class of 2014 raised $380 for Rebuild Recover, located in Red Bank. Olivia Reizer, 2014 class president, said the charity was started a few days after Sandy, specifically to work toward Sandy relief.
The class of 2013 raised $380 for the Monmouth and Ocean County Food Banks.
The school raised $1,769 total for post-Sandy relief.
This story was published in the print edition of The Inkblot on December 19, 2012.
By VICTORIA CATTELONA and MEAGAN PASSERO
Sitting in a swarm of unfamiliar peers, a student is greeted with a smile as a senior hands him a delicious-looking cake pop. Today is his first day of high school, and after a long three hours, this sweet treat puts a smile on his face, making him feel welcome.
For the past three years, nine girls have been making baked goods to welcome freshmen on the first day of the new school year.
“It all started three summers ago. We all get together a few days before school starts and plan everything out,” senior Laura Zimmer of Freehold said. “After they are baked, we divide the one hundred or so pieces among us and bring them to school.”
The group includes seniors Zimmer, Emily Frazee, Chrissy Doyle, and Brianna Merriman of Middletown, Julie Prascsak, Andi Leibowitz, and Sarah Dean of Ocean, Katie Reulbach of Fair Haven, and Danielle Ring of Neptune. The girls have been baking for the freshmen since their sophomore year, starting with cookies, then cupcakes and most recently, cake pops.
Although the tasty treats were met with open arms and watering mouths this school year, according to the founding members, they were not always so well-accepted.
“Last year’s freshmen acted like they thought [the food] was poisonous,” Reulbach said.
“We didn’t know why they were giving us food. If that happened at our district high schools, we wouldn’t have even touched them,” said sophomore Hannah O’Connell of Long Branch. “That’s why we were hesitant.”
Last year’s outcome did not prevent the girls from continuing the tradition this year. According to the members, they hope to pass on the idea to current underclassmen.
“I think it’s a great way for us to get together outside of school,” Reulbach said. “It’s also a way to help the school.”
According to freshman Joshua Ehling of Freehold, it is a good idea to make sure the tradition stays after the founders graduate.
“The first couple of days are so awkward for freshmen, so it helps,” he said.
“It’s really fun, and it’s a nice way to welcome freshmen,” Zimmer said.
By GINA MAURER
Talking over the dinner table about teachers and what clubs you both joined. Discussing the upcoming dances and school events. Sharing gossip about the latest couple – or latest breakup.
These are common occurrences for the eight sets of siblings currently attending Communications High School. Over the years, many sets siblings have walked through the front doors.
Sophomore Caitlin McGarry of Spring Lake Heights said that the fact that her older sister attended CHS greatly influenced her high school choice.
“Without her, I didn’t know much about the school,” McGarry said. “She had been telling me for so long how awesome it was and how I should apply.”
Sophomore Emily Woods of Middletown also attributes her decision to attend CHS to her sibling.
“I don’t actually know if I would have come here if my brother wasn’t here,” Woods said.
Woods and McGarry both said that having a sibling in the school was a definite advantage.
“I feel like it was a lot easier on the first day of school, because when I took the bus I sat in the back with my brother and all of the seniors.” Woods said. “I got to know people that way.”
“It was really cool and good to have her there if I needed help on stuff,” McGarry said. “She drove me to school and she could help me with homework if she had been in similar classes.”
Freshman Nicholas Brennan of Middletown has an older sister, senior Kiera Brennan, currently at the school.
“I think it is wonderful to have my sister, Kiera, here,” Brennan said. “She is a constant source of support and I can always rely on her to help me with a problem.”
Brennan also mentioned how his sister influenced his decision to attend CHS.
“Kiera has been saying how great CHS has been, and all of that positive energy influenced my thoughts until I came to love Communications just from what she said,” Brennan said.
Brennan added, “If it weren’t for her, I wouldn’t have come to CHS.”
Guidance counselor Sandra Gidos pointed out that the number of siblings says something about this school.
“I think it really tells for CHS, what the school is like, and what a positive impact we do have on families, being that younger siblings want to come in,” Gidos said.
Older siblings have a tendency to influence their younger counterparts’ decisions. At CHS, however, some played an even bigger part in affecting their siblings’ choices – guiding their lives for the next four years.
By CAROLINE IBARRA
Moving from her home in Wisconsin where she lived for 12 years and inspired by her high school experience, Ellen Judge is now teaching Algebra II and Statistics at Communications High School and the Allied Academy of Health and Science, according to Judge.
When Judge was attending St. Rose High School in Belmar, she said she watched her friends struggle with math class because the way the teachers taught was difficult to follow. From that moment on, Judge knew she wanted to be a teacher.
“I thought I could be a force of good,” she said.
Following her aspirations, she attended Monmouth University and earned an undergraduate degree in Math Education and a Master’s degree in Business Administration. After leaving Monmouth University, she taught at both “very large schools and very small schools” in Wisconsin, Maryland and New Jersey before coming to the Monmouth County Vocational School District.
Judge said that her transition to Communications is going well, although she experienced some culture shock during her first few days.
“I am still very much in the ‘Midwest State of Mind’,” Judge said about returning to New Jersey after being away for so long, though she still considers herself very much a “Jersey Girl”.
“You can take the girl out of Jersey but you can’t take the Jersey out of girl, I guess,” she said.
Teaching at a school much different to the schools in Wisconsin, Judge said she originally found it interesting that students have the opportunity choose a school that “could fit their needs.”
Judge said the students of CHS are her favorite part of teaching, and she ultimately enjoys “helping students get to where they need to be” the most.
While she is not teaching math, Judge said she likes reading non-fiction, improving her health and playing the piano.
“I’m always working towards something,” said Judge.
By ALYSSA MATLOSZ
A former shoe factory employee, Kelly Lang did not always list becoming an English teacher as her first career choice.
Her love of the field originally sparked when she was in college and helped her brother, who was in high school.
“My brother and his friends were surfers and they had a real hard time understanding their high school English classes,” Lang said. “I was able to put the themes of the works they were reading into a language they could understand.”
Lang added that she “thought it was cool” to have the ability to make literature more accessible.
Subsequently, Lang studied English at Montclair State and Wroxton College in England. She went on to teach at various high schools including Barringer High School in New York, Matawan High School and Allied Academy of Health and Science.
At the beginning of the school year, Lang filled Bryan Mann’s position at Communications High School teaching English II, English III and Media Writing. For Lang, teaching in a Monmouth Country Vocational School District school is familiar.
“It’s great [at CHS]. It’s like coming home to so many familiar faces that I’ve worked with before and great faculty and students,” she said.
Not only does Lang find the faculty and student body welcoming, but the physical characteristics of the building are comforting to her too.
“Even the same carpeting as Allied,” Lang said.
By MARY SAYDAH
Asst. Features Editor
“Speech, speech, anarchy speech,” junior Linette Reeman of Middletown pronounced up and down the hallways and throughout the cafeteria before hosting a press conference today at lunch.
Reeman was the original creator of the Anarchy party that held a meeting yesterday.
The Anarchy party had a press conference to make students aware that they are a write-in party for the CHS Mock Election.
However, the turn out was minimal.
Even though Reeman came up with the idea, she said that there is no leader of the group. Instead of talking at the Soapbox today, freshman Hession had the chance to speak on behalf of the party.
“Everyone, I’m giving a speech,” Hession said a few times before his speech.
Hession made a point to dispel some misconceptions about what anarchy actually means.
According to Hession, the idea of not having a centralized government would allow things to run “smoother.”
“You vote for the right to make decisions,” Hession said that the lack of government is “far superior” to the other parties, including the lesser known Libertarian and Green Party.
Although only a few students showed up to hear what the Anarchy group had to say, they still have plans to do mass advertising in the next week. The Anarchy party currently obtain 10 to 15 Big Bird Bucks, according to Hession.
The press conference ended shortly, due to the lack of attendance and topics to talk about.
By ALANA BAROFSKY
Adam Dorfman, a senior of Millstone, is representing Gary Johnson, the Libertarian running for president in the current CHS Mock Election.
“I personally find that my views match Gary Johnson’s quite well,” Dorfman said. “He is very conservative and for minimal government.”
Dorfman added, “He is someone I can see myself voting for.”
The CHS Mock Election debate, which will occur during third and fourth period today, will feature Dorfman and the other candidates: Obama, Romney and Stein.
“I should win the debate because I have the best policies,” said Dorfman. “Obama’s plan for everything seems to be more and more government and Romney’s plan seems to be less government and less spending. His tax plan also does not seem like it will work.”
Dorfman is also a currently registered Independent who is finally able to legally vote in the actual, upcoming presidential election.
“I think I am actually going to vote for Johnson because I can’t see myself voting for Obama or Romney,” Dorfman said. “If Romney wins, I won’t be as disappointed as I would be if Obama won.”
Currently, Dorfman has only two election dollars towards his campaign. He hopes to gain more, though, as the mock election continues.
“Half of Mike McGovern’s Super Pac money got confiscated,” Dorfman noted. “Mulshine said she was going to split this money between the candidates so I think I get something from that.”