Student Vaping

Over the past several years we have seen a significant increase in the number of students using vaping devices within our community. While it is illegal for students under the age of 18 to purchase these devices, many are still gaining access to them. It is our belief that parents and students should have access to the most current facts about this growing concern.

Overlook Middle School has taken a proactive approach to talking with students about the use of vaping devices. These conversations have taken the form of classroom lessons, school-wide presentations, health fairs, and information blasts. We have covered the topics of legality, personal health, and student discipline with all students throughout the year. During all of these conversations we have focused on the most current research. It is our hope that through educational means we will be able to help students make informed decisions about their health and well-being. Below are a couple of samples of posters designed by grade 8 students after a unit in health class:

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We routinely work with our school resource officers, school nurse, and health teacher to develop new programming that provides students and parents with the most up-to-date information on this issue. You can find all of these resources on the Overlook website or can visit them by simply clicking on the links below:

Vape Presentation

MA Regulations

Vape Worksheet (health class)

E-Cigarette Guide

Juuling Addiction Article

New York Time Article

MSN Health Article

Teen Vaping Article

As always, thank you for your support. If you have any questions about the information provided, or are looking for additional information, please feel free to reach out to us.

Mr. Saisa and Mrs. Rigney

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Martin Luther King Jr. Day

By Molly McDaniel

Martin Luther king Jr. was one of the most influential people in the civil rights movement. With the outcome of success, he only took part in peaceful protest. He knew that violence wasn’t going to solve the conflicts America was facing, just make them worse. He has a whole day dedicated to him because he didn’t give up or agree with what a majority of blacks and minority of whites believed in. The Bill of Rights were only directed at white people, the Civil Rights however was for all men. All of this discrimination against blacks started when people started calling them inappropriate names. These are Jim Crow Laws, they were unwritten laws that made discrimination towards blacks, okay. Eventually, Martin Luther King Jr., would change all of that.

Martin Luther King Jr. was born on January 15, 1929. He was the second child of Martin Luther King Sr. and Alberta Williams King. His father was a pastor and his mother, a teacher. King grew up in Atlanta, Georgia which was ”home to some of the most prominent and prosperous African Americans in the country.” as stated in

Dr. King drew inspiration from the teachings of Mahatma Gandhi to lead a non- violent movement to protest segregation. Some of their peaceful protests included entering in front doors of shops that were labeled for Whites only. Others consisted of sitting at tables in white restaurants. Dr. King believed in using words instead of fists.

Martin Luther King was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964. At 35, he was the youngest person to do so. Dr. King did great work to bring people together and we remember him anually on Martin Luther King day.

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2019 Overlook Geography Bee Championship

By Hannah Fields

Students from Overlook Middle School participated in the National Geographic Bee preliminary rounds in December. After one round of competition, we finally have six students, one from each team, two from each grade level will compete against each other to compete in the state bee. Henry Telicki will represent team Orange. Maddi Johnson will represent team White. For 7th grade, we have Max Stone and Jack Kuehl as that grade levels participants. Finally for 6th grade, we have Aiden Cleaves and Karl Sargent as participants.

On Friday, January 18th, all six of them competed to be the school champion. Our first place winner for Overlook Middle School is Henry Telicki. Next, he will take an online qualifying test. If he is up to the top 100 of the top scorers, he will be eligible to compete in the Massachusetts GeoBee. The winner of the state geo bee will receive an all expense paid trip to to the National Geographic Society headquarters in Washington D.C in May. Students from all over the nation will then compete for cash prizes, scholarships, and an all expenses paid Lindblad expedition to the Galapagos Islands.

Here are some sample questions for you to try at home.

  1. Which states borders lake Erie- Nevada or Pennsylvania?

  2. Asuncion is the most populous city in which south american country?

  3. In 2017, the city of Beirut hosted the International Basketball Federation Asia Cup in what small Mediterranean country?

  4. Most kangaroos are left handed. This includes eastern grey kangaroos that live near the Great Dividing Range on which continent?

The answers are...

  1. Pennsylvania

  2. Paraguay

  3. Lebanon

  4. Australia

For more information about GeoBee, visit
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Just Like That...The School Year is Half Over

By Emma Parsons

It is almost the halfway mark of the school year. Students AR goals should be at their halfway point. Ski club has started and is every Wednesday. We had the Geo Bee on January 18th so great job everybody who was in the bee! We also had the superlative and activity club pictures taken. The wingspan, yearbook, and all the other cubs took group pictures taken by a professional.

8th grade has had their Monty Tech interviews, so good luck to everyone trying to get into the school. Quick stop cafe is still every Thursday. They have coffee, juice, hot chocolate, and muffins. So if you want to have breakfast at school with your friends, don’t forget to bring your money. The library has challenge number 8, that is to design and build a rubber band powered helicopter, so if you have a chance go try it out!

The semi-formal dance is coming up on February 8th. The tickets are sold at all lunches for 5 dollars each. Tickets start selling 1-22, through 2-7. The dance is held in the gym from 7:00 to 8:30 pm on a Friday night. Students are encouraged to wear something formal but it is not a requirement.

All after school activity are still on the same days and at the same times. Such as RAD on Thursdays at 2:15. Also yearbook at 1:50 , ski club, and quick stop cafe. We hope everyone is having a good first half of the school year!

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By Hannah Fields

Fall sports have ended, so here's a wrap up on sport seasons. I talked to Olivea Carrigan about the guard season and what she learned. What do you learn from participating in color guard? "Well, now that I think about it I’ve actually learned quite a lot from being in guard. I just finished spinning my first season of fall with the marching band, so I’m going to base my answers off of that season. So first, even though everyone is spinning separately and working in their own way, guard still takes so much teamwork to make the show look good and put together. You also need to work really well together to work out any problems that could occur. Second, things where always changing during the season and you had to have a LOT of patience to work together and listen to what your instructors wanted to change. It was also important not to get stressed during these changes too, that’s another thing I learned kind of, that it’s easy to get stressed but you kinda just have to go through with it and do your best. Finally I feel one huge thing guard taught me was to not be so shy! Over the summer I came out of my shell a ton and it was all thanks to guard. During the fall season, you have to perform in pretty big stadiums, full of people, so it was kind of really important to really put myself out there and not be so shy and nervous like I was in 7th grade. Also during the fall season, you’re spinning and performing with like 70 other kids, so I definitely talked to a lot more people and became more social. Over all guard has honestly taught me so much and I’m really thankful for it."

Next, I talked to Mrs. Shattuck to see how the girls field hockey team did during their season, “ We had a very successful year with 12 wins, 2 ties and 1 loss with a score of 1-0. The teams consisted of 25 players; four 6th graders, ten 7th graders and eleven 8th graders.” Congratulations on your season girls!

Finally, I talked to Mrs. Jensen about how Cross Country did at meets and at practice. “ The boys were undefeated while the girls had a strong season and they both did a great job. What you learn from being apart of cross country is that it teaches you to work hard, persevere, training is important, training pays off ,and all runners are important.¨

Winter Sports

The fall sports season is finished, but now that it's winter, we now offer winter sports. Students of all grade levels can participate in Ski Club, which takes students to Mt. Wachusett to go ski or snowboard. I interviewed five students who are apart of ski club, Alex Kelly, Ben Landry, Abby Mulhall, Aidan Davis, and Jai Patel. They all agreed that more people should join and they all recommend it. They all also learned lessons about skiing. One of the people I talked to said that you learn to ski, but you also learn how to be apart of a group. Also, they learned to never ski alone and when you fall, you always get up again.

Next, we have boys and girl basketball, which is offered to all grade levels at overlook middle school. I talked to Mr. Douglas to see how each team was doing. The Girls basketball team is 5-1, while the boys are 4-2. The students on these teams learn that basketball is a team sport, the concept of basketball is a team, and they have a saying “ We are one, as one”.

Winter Guard is also technically a winter sport, so I talked to Olivea Carrigan about how the season is going and what the difference was.

I’ve only spun one season of fall and I’m in the middle of my first winter season right now and I can tell you there are quite a lot of changes. First the work that we do in winter guard is different in a strange sort of sense. It is harder but also more intricate I guess? I spin flag and that’s what I know most of the work for right now and I feel there is just a lot more to look at in the winter guard work compared to fall work. Second it is a lot more intense too. For the fall season, you have the whole summer and a little bit of the fall to prepare for competition season. For winter, you only have about 2 ish months, maybes little less or a little more than that. Also I remember my instructor telling me that it’s like the entire 10 minute marching band show, all crammed into 4 minutes and it’s just the guard. You’re in a small gym compared to the wide open football field and people are closer to you so you have to be a lot more neat compared to people looking at you in big stadiums. So yeah, there is definitely a lot that changes and differences but the winter season is going pretty well so far.

Spring Drama Update

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By Tom Paine and Kayleigh Williams

Drama Club is starting soon! With the help Ms. McNeill and Ms. Daigle, they will be performing "The Little Mermaid Jr." this spring. Drama club is a great extracurricular activity to try so you should definitely consider participating. Auditions will be held on January 30 and 31 with an optional audition prep session on January 23. Please see Ms. McNeill (in the 8th grade wing) or Ms.Daigle (in the 6th grade wing) if you have any questions. If you want to come see the spring musical, the show is on May 23rd and the 25th.

I decided to interview Erin Boc, who recently played the Ghost of Christmas Present in one of the Christmas plays as well as other roles, to ask her some questions regarding Drama Club.

Q. What made you decide to get involved with Drama?

Erin: I always loved acting. The community is so awesome and you can just be yourself without being judged.

Q. What was your favorite part about the last play?

Erin: Probably tech week. Getting costumes and microphones and getting on stage is so fun.

Q. What are you looking forward to in the upcoming play?

Erin: I’m so excited because it gives me something else to do after school that I really enjoy.

Q. How do you remember your lines? Any tips or strategies?

Erin: I make flashcards. On one side I write my line and on the other side I write the line before mine. This definitely helps me remember when my line is.

Q. Is there anything you do to help you relax on the night of the show?

Erin: I like to take a nap and if I do get nervous I just think about getting to go to Friendly’s after the show and getting to hang out with my friends.

Q. Do you have any tips for people that are thinking about auditioning?

Erin: When you audition just be yourself and don’t worry because no matter what part you get you’re still going to make lots of new friends. Just give it a shot and you might really enjoy it.

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8th Grade Course Selections

By Olivea Carrigan

It’s that time of the year again where everyone is getting back into the swing of things as Christmas break ends and the month of January beings to pick up. It is also that time of the school year where the 8th graders beginning to think about their futures as high schoolers. The course picking process for the 8th graders going to Oakmont can be kind of confusing but to put it simply, the future freshmen will have to take the four basic classes, english, social studies, math and science with the recommendation to take honors and health and fitness. Then, they have the option to take two elective classes. I decided to go around and ask some kids going to Oakmont some questions about their classes and some questions about going into high school. I am aware that there are some students who will be attending Monty Tech as well, so I have asked them a few questions too. I am also aware that there are a few students who are not going to Oakmont or Monty Tech, but I do not know enough about how those schools work so I was unable to come up with questions to ask the people who are going to those schools. So, I have gone around my grade and asked a few students about what classes they want and what they think about going into highschool.

Going to Oakmont

Avary Smith

Q: What electives did you chose and why?

A: I chose art 2 and French 1. Art 2 because I’ve always been interested in art and because it's not a core class in high school I really want to take. French because I'm not very good in Spanish and because I've always liked French as a language.

Q: Are you nervous to go to highschool?

A: Honestly, not really I feel I’ve been preparing for high school for a while and since I have quite a few friends already in high school I feel I don’t have a lot to worry about.

Ashlinn Broderick

Q: What electives did you chose and why?

A: French 1 because I think where I want to travel when I’m older will have mainly French speakers and not Spanish speakers. And book smart because I’ve always loved reading and I enjoy spending a lot of time reading.

Q: Are you nervous about the fact that we may have classes with the upperclassmen?

A: Yeah, older kids have always intimidated me and my older sister told me that the older kids aren't too fond of the younger kids, but hopefully that’s not the case. I live in unknown fear.

Alex Kelly

Q: What electives did you chose and why?

A: I chose French 1 because I have to take a language class and design technology because I like engineering stuff.

Q: Are you prepared to take all honors your freshman year?

A: No, not really because I think honors will be quite difficult. But, I’m also excited and proud of myself for getting all honors.

Going to Monty Tech

Katelyn Butts

Q: What shop do you want to take and why?

A: Culinary because I like baking and my grandmother was a backer so it kind of runs in the family.

Q: Are you nervous about the fact that you will be with many other kids from many other schools?

A: Yes? Because every school runs a little differently so I don’t really know how they’re gonna act

Joan Michel

Q: What shop do you want to take and why?

A: Health Occupation because I would like to have a medical career.

Q: Since you are taking the ROTC/military elective, how do you feel that you will be a part of a military type course?

A: I think it will be really cool to do something different than just a normal class.

Hannah Fields

Q: What shop do you want to take and why?

A: Early childhood education because I’m like the only kid in my grade that actually likes children.

Q: Do you think you will want to continue you shop as a career or outside of highschool?

A: Um, I might go higher grade level wise for teaching, but other than that I think I just want to stay at teaching the younger kids. And little kids are cute.

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School Store News

By Jordan Krawczyk

With the new year comes some awesome stuff and best sellers. The new and old things at school store are all selling big. Here are some of these new and old, best sellers. School store would like to inform you that if you have a suggestion for the store, they take suggestions very seriously.

  1. Rainbow Mesh Balls

These slime stress balls are sold in a variety of different colors. They are at the front of the school store along with our next item.

2.Jolly Ranchers

This item in the school store was suggested by a student worker. The school store is always running out and restocking. The most popular flavor is either blue raspberry or green apple.

3. Out of this World Planet Pudy

This out of this world pudy is sold in colors for all the different planets in the solar system. This pudy is a mitalic and giggaly toy, that also has a swirl effect when you purchase.

4.Emoji Splat Balls

These Emoji toys are selling out very fast! The fun thing about these balls is that it can stick and splat itself onto any surface you throw it at.

5.Mochi toys

The last but not least selling item is the mochi toys. These toys are not only a stress reliever, but are so darn cute! These cute little animal toys come in all kinds of different animals such as elphiants, octopus, pigs, cats, exc.. School store is currently out of stock, but are expecting a new shipment soon.

We hope this will help clear your mind of the confusion of what to get at school store and hope that you have found something that you have an entrust in.

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By Robin Kender

Star Crossed

By Barbara Dee

Star crossed is a heart warming book about a girl who may like a girl and a boy, But how? She then decides to do drama and do romeo and Juliet, when romeo breaks his arm and can’t do the play she steps up and becomes romeo while her crush is Juliet, read to see how they get closer and closer.

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By RJ Palacio

A famous book with a movie that just warms kids hearts makes them feel good about themselves and realize no matter what you look like you are awesome the way you are.

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Go for Gold


By gold medalist

Dominique Moceanu and

Alicia Thompson

An amazing and inspiring book for gymnasts or people interested in gymnastics.It has some drama, and there are 2 books in it, the whole kind of series but i think this is the best in the series, other books like this are:

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Hi Hello- Part 3

By Ashlinn Broderick

Jay awoke to an oddly familiar sound.

It was odd because of both his location and his company. Last he checked, he was on a roadtrip with four hitchhiking guys (that he met yesterday) who, like him, had nowhere they particularly had an idea of going to. Nothing about that exactly screamed familiar to him.

But it was there nonetheless, and as he blinked the sleepy haze away from his mind and slowly became one hundred percent aware of his surroundings, he finally placed it.

The strumming of guitar mixed with the smooth, low sound of Brian’s voice was almost heavenly, and Jay wondered how they’d somehow missed the subject of music in their conversation the night before. this man was talented, and he sounded passionate about his singing.

He slowly unfroze himself, briefly questioning when he’d frozen in the first place. But he stopped caring in only a moment, because he recognized the song Brian was singing. Dare he say, if he himself were to be a weaker being, there’d be little tiny pools of tears in his eyes. He absolutely was not a weaker being.

Hi Hello was a truly beautiful song when it was sung by its original artist, even more so by his mother (featuring himself every once in a while), but Brian’s version nearly surpassed that. And that was saying something, because it was known by all that Jay would never be anywhere but by his mother’s side until both of their demises. Momma’s boy, as the kids at school used to say.

All that flashed by in only a second, and as he looked up from where he lay to find where Brian’s voice was coming from, he realized it was sunrise. The land was bathed in a reddish golden hue as far as the eye could see, the sun’s rays shining outwards from its place halfway into the sky. It glowed around Brian in such a way that Jay could clearly imagine it being a scene in some indie movie-- some young aspiring musician with nowhere to go and otherworldly vocals, singing at sunrise. He snorted.

Brian abruptly stopped singing after Jay’s noise, turning around and raising a single eyebrow at him. Jay grinned and shuffled up to sit next to him and continue to watch the sunrise. He wondered….

“Mind if I join in?” Jay asked, leaning against the side of the truck and facing sideways.. He watched as Brian’s right eyebrow joined the other up high on his brow.


“Good,” Jay said breezily, gesturing towards the guitar still in Brian’s lap. “I still kind of have morning voice, so forgive me for any post-pubescent voice cracks.” He was rewarded with a snort of Brian’s own, and his mouth quirked into a little grin.

And so that was how it began. They sang Hi Hello first, but eventually ended up smoothing it into a new song that was somewhat similar, not giving the first a real ending and instead making it up as they went along. It moved along fairly smoothly, because apparently they had similar taste in music, and had some weird unspoken signal of when to switch off their parts that miraculously worked. Most of the time. Sometimes. No one’s perfect.

Their session did end up a tad loud, though, because somehow they’d moved from the slow and soft vibe of Hi Hello into more upbeat pop songs, and so they woke Sean and Will and Dylan from their various positions in and around the truck. Eventually Will started singing, because he was just that obnoxious, even though Jay found he didn’t really mind because maybe the guy’s voice wasn’t as annoying as usual when it was put to good use. And then Sean started singing, too, because at some point in the three’s random and impromptu choice of song they’d stumbled across one of his favorites (of all time, apparently). Dylan joined them in the end, too, even though he seemed a bit embarrassed and reluctant.

Jay was baffled at how none of them seemed like they were bad at singing at all, even Dylan’s unsure voice. Dylan seemed like he was untrained and inexperienced, not born with the natural gift of singing, but Jay’d bet he could learn if he tried hard enough.

They only stopped when the sun was well on its way towards the middle of the sky, because Jay’s throat hurt like it was well on its way to death, and even if he was having fun, he wasn’t about to wreck his voice for the next two days just to have a fun homemade karaoke session.

Later, when the sun had made its way to its highest point in the sky, they began to drive again. Jay looked around at all his newfound friends and smiled. Sure, Will was an annoying pain, Dylan was his shy and inconspicuous partner in crime, Sean made absolutely terrible dad jokes, and Brian’s sole purpose in life seemed to be to get on his nerves until Jay was two seconds away from exploding, but.

He liked their company more than he’d liked anyone’s in a long time, and it was truly hard for him to believe he’d only known them all for a mere day. It seemed, almost, as though he’d known them his whole life, and as he looked around at all of their relaxed and happy faces, he wondered if they felt the same.

His eyes connected with Sean’s through the rearview mirror, latched onto the pure mirth in his eyes. He thought of their “concert”, hours long and wonderfully unplanned, from just that morning-- how it hadn’t felt uncomfortable in the slightest, how natural their voices and tastes in music had flowed together.

Jay smiled a little, and thought that maybe they did.

The Temple of Fate- Part 5

By Korynn Gagne

“I’d die for my people.”

“Well now, you don’t really have ‘people’ if you’re special, do you?”

“What does that mean?”

Tangum shook her head and lit another match.

Their footsteps were the only sound in the corridor, accompanied only by the vacant noise of the waves crashing. Matt tried desperately to get in front of Tangum.

“You must believe you’re something,” he accelerated in vain once again, his voice heavy with effort of keeping up with her. She was a brisk, but tense walker.

“Oh, I’m something alright,” she came to a screeching stop as her shoulders rose, she didn’t turn toward him.

“I’m a tutorial,” she spoke in a creepily nonchalant manner, “I’m a trial run.”

She stepped aside, not allowing her feet to stray from a straight path and hitting the wall with muted staccato sound which refused to echo. And, if it had, would have been lost to the swishing and howling of the ocean above.

“I’m an introduction,” Tangum gestured for Matt to walk in front of her. He hesitated, watching her scowl into the darkness. He shook his head and obliged.

“I’m just a rung on the the ladder.”

She dropped the match onto the concrete floor and stomped it out.

Even in the absence of conversation, there was no silence, just as Tangum expected.

“Tangum, I can’t see.”

Tangum threw the matches over his head, she heard the box hit the ground and slide forward.

“God dang it! Where are they?”

Tangum maneuvered to look over his shoulder, “About five feet ahead of you and…” she squinted, “Six inches to your left.”

A few seconds later, a dim light came on ahead of her. Matt had lit the match and continued to walk down the hallway, more tentatively this time. She walked behind him with the useless knowledge that neither of them should bear the torch.

Amber had expected a riot when the deed was done, but no. Nobody had anything to say. Even in the heat of the lingering smoke, it felt as though the world had frozen. And in the impenetrable silence, her mind meandered back to the question: What the heck is next?

Two thousand children wandering the impoverished, post-apocalyptic kingdom in victorious and contemplative silence. Doing a gallery walk of their metamorphosed worldview. Two thousand children, two thousand lives that would never return to the way they were, two thousand zombie hopes. And, Amber supposed, “hopes” was the key word. Wasn’t it?

See previous issues of The Wingspan to read more!

You're Not Alone- Part 2 Final

By Robin Kender

The girl in front of me was the girl who hit me with her locker! I still haven't gotten her name. ¨Can I sit here?¨ she asked. I said sure so she sat down right next to me. Suddenly, she started talking about gymnastics and how she heard I said I would go. I told her i didn't actually know how to do gymnastics and she said she could teach me before tryouts!

When the bell rang I quickly asked, ¨Wait, what's your name?¨

¨Bella¨. Bella, my new first ever friend.

When we finally got to go home, I called my mom asking her if I could go to a friend's house. She didn't respond for a while, probably stunned that I had actually made a friend but she said yes and I could stay as long as i wanted. A little too chipper I said, ¨can i go on a sleepover?¨ of course she said yes so when I got to Bella's house she said I could sleepover. Thank god! I did not want to call my mom saying there was never gonna be a sleepover. When she showed me her attic, it was full of tons and tons of gymnastic equipment.

During the whole sleepover we practiced and practiced on easy skills like front tucks and back tucks until she told me to tumble. I knew a lot about gymnastics because I'm a reader and I read tons of different kind of books, so when i read about gymnastics i saw how they said to do skills so when i did them here i knew how to do it. Bella was amazed when she saw me do a front pike with a twist, she said she couldn't even do that!

The day of tryouts I was so prepared, my mom had even gotten me a new leotard. I did great, i made the team (everyone did because there were only 6 people there and were really good) but coach, Ms. Rose said that I was the best and was ¨the leader¨ of the team and the ¨inspiration¨ to the other gymnasts. I said if it wasn't for Bella I wouldn't have done very good.

At the end of practice Bella gave me a big hug and said, ¨Thank you for being my friend, I've never had a true friend before.¨

I gave her a big hug and said, ¨You're not alone¨.


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Watercolor by Kayleigh Williams