September-October 2021


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Covid and Back to School

By: Stella Deschenes

I am so excited to start a new school year! I am also so excited to start a new year of Wingspan. Proud to say this is my second year here. Now to the good part. This year is a little different with Covid restrictions. This year we do not have to be socially distanced unlike last year where we had to be 6 feet apart.

This year we actually started off the school year with 5 days a week which was very nice. I like the feeling of life before Covid. But that does not mean it has gone away. A lot of the people of America have basically decided it is over which it is not. For me personally even though I am fully vaccinated I still prefer to wear a mask everywhere.

I believe that we still need to take the coronavirus very seriously that is why we still wear masks this year. I am not sure what the future holds for us in terms of masks. But trust me we all don’t like masks so we all just have to power through. I am so excited for any new readers and thank you to our original readers and I hope you have enjoyed my pieces from last year and this year’s there is so much more to come, and who could forget. As always, thank you for reading. Have an amazing day/night.

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Autumn Arrives

By Keira Dodd

Fall is finally here again! Fall started last month on the 22. In America we refer to this season as fall, but in Britain it is referred to as autumn. This amazing season means many things: A change in the weather, change in nature, and a change in your spirit.

The weather tends to change in fall, also known as sweater weather. As you all know. This weather change means you can sit down and wrap yourself in a cozy blanket without getting hot. This weather change is due to our planet tilting away from our sun.

Nature is beautiful in the season of Fall. We get to see the foliage of the trees. Trees can be so beautiful with green leaves but fall gives the leaves a greater pop of color. It is so beautiful to look at the trees and see their true, warm color. When the leaves change color it is due to the breaking down of chlorophyll.

Considering fall happens every year, you must know all about this season. Let's hope I can teach you some great new exciting facts. One of the best things about this season is the food; pumpkin flavored everything. But here is something very unusual about the popular pumpkin spice lattes. They actually have no pumpkin in them. It’s all spices and has no pumpkin in its recipe. So the pumpkin spice latte has nothing to do with pumpkin. Also fall is apparently the season for lovers. Studies show that more people start relationships in fall. This next one is crazy. Apparently fall is the best time to be born. The UK Department of Education and the University of Chicago shows fall is the best time to be born in! Did you know these facts?

Fall is one of the most beautiful seasons in the world. It means so many changes. Fall shows that change can be beautiful. So happy Fall!

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Halloween Explained

By Lucas Legrand

Does anyone ask or wonder how Halloween started? Do you ask your friends why you need to dress up for Halloween? Well I have the answers to those questions…

Halloween has an interesting history on how it began. It started 2,000 years ago in Britain and Ireland. Back then, the land used to belong to the Celts, a group of people that lived in Britain and Ireland. November 1st used to be an important holiday for the Celts, it was the end of the harvest season for them, and the beginning of winter. To celebrate, they had a party on October 31st, called Samhain. To celebrate, they would make a bonfire, and sacrifice livestock to the gods. They would dress up in animal skins. But, they also believed that supernatural creatures roamed the earth during Samhain, like ghosts and goblins, and during that period of time, they would wreak havoc on the Celts.

But some Celts put food outside their houses, and the creatures would eat that, instead of doing other horrible things. But Christianity was starting to spread, and people started practicing it, but they didn’t stop Samhain. To the pope, this was a problem, so he replaced it with Christian holidays, for instance, on November 2nd, All Souls day, to honor the dead, and on November first, all saints day, to honor Christian martyrs. BUt, the evening before that was all hallows eve, which was later shortened to Halloween. Hallow was old English for “saints' ' and "een" is “evening”, And so Halloween means, “the evening before all saints day”. The traditions changed over the years, and by medieval times, people did a ritual called "souling". So, basically, your medieval neighbor would come to your house and say,and you would say, so then you would give them food, and go on about your day. Kind of like trick or treating, am I right? The Celts also dressed up as the supernatural creatures that tormented them, so they could blend in, as well as carving faces on turnips, gourds, and potatoes, Then they would put them on windows, or in front of doors to scare off these mystical beings just like we carve jack o'lanterns. Now… let’s travel a few centuries to the late 1800s of October. The people of Ireland started to immigrate to the U.s, and brought their traditions of Halloween with them. When the traditions first started in the U.S.A. The people of America must have liked what they saw because, after 100 years, we still do it.

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By Josh LeGrand

On October 11, 2021, cities and towns across America observed Columbus Day. This day recognizes Christopher Columbus’s arrival in the New World. This is a very controversial holiday, due to the fact that during his travels, Columbus’s arrival led to the deaths of millions of Native Americans who had been living there for hundreds of years. Many states have officially changed the name of the holiday to “Indigenous Peoples Day”. This article will tell you the who, what, when, where, and why of Christopher Columbus’s life.

WHO: Christopher Columbus was born in Genoa, Italy, in 1451. He was the son of a wool merchant, and as a teenager, he got a job on a merchant ship. He remained at sea until his ship was sunk by pirates off the coast of Portugal. He floated on a piece of driftwood until he reached Lisbon, where he studied mathematics, astronomy, cartography, and navigation.

WHAT: Christopher Columbus wanted to find a sea route to Asia that didn’t require a person to sail around the tip of Africa. He eventually thought of a solution: why not sail west, across the Atlantic Ocean? He argued that the Earth’s circumference was smaller than everyone said it was. This was incorrect, but after approaching many powerful people about his idea, he was finally able to sail across the Atlantic, a journey that was funded by the king and queen of Spain.

WHEN: On August 3, 1492, Columbus set sail from Spain with a fleet of three ships: the Niña, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria. He sailed for more than two months until October 12, when his ships landed in the New World. He made three more voyages in 1493, 1498, and 1502.

WHERE: Columbus landed in the Bahamas, most likely on the island of San Salvador, but Columbus was convinced that he’d reached the East Indies. He continued to sail around the Caribbean and founded a colony on the island of Hispaniola, or the modern-day nations of the Dominican Republic and Haiti. He returned to Spain in January of 1493.

WHY: Columbus’s reasons to find a sail across the Atlantic were simple: he wanted fame and fortune, of which he got both. Things began to fall apart in 1493, when he sent some five-hundred enslaved indigenous people to Queen Isabella of Spain. Horrified, she promptly sent the gift back to Columbus because she thought that any people he discovered were Spanish citizens. During his third voyage in 1498, Columbus visited the settlement of Hispaniola to find that there had been a violent revolt against Columbus’s brothers’ brutal rule over the settlement. Spain had to send a new governor to Hispaniola due to the horrible conditions there. The population of indigenous people there had gone from an estimated 250,000, to only a few hundred. Columbus was arrested and sent back to Spain. He lost most of his power, but was cleared of the most serious charges. He was granted one more voyage to the New World in 1502, an expedition that ended unsuccessfully. He died in 1506.

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By Josh LeGrand

This school year, we have some teachers and staff that are new to OMS. I interviewed three teachers who, at the beginning of the school year, began their first year of teaching at Overlook Middle School.

First up, from the sixth grade wing, Miss Jurgiel!

#1: Could you introduce yourself? (Name, subject, years teaching, etc.)

My name is Miss Jurgiel. I teach sixth grade math for the green team. This is my third year teaching

#2: Where did you go to college?

I completed my bachelors degree at Worcester State University and am working on my Masters degree at Lesley University!

#3: Where did you teach before OMS?

Before Overlook, I spent my first two years teaching sixth grade math and science in Dracut, Massachusetts.

#4: What’s your favorite part about teaching?

I could never pick just one favorite part of teaching! I love working with students, seeing their “aha” moments, working on fun math activities, and doing math!

#5: Now for a fun one: what’s your favorite treat, snack, etc.?

I LOOOOOVE dark chocolate!

#6: Do you have any positive messages to encourage your students?

You can do whatever you set your mind to and your peers and teachers are always here to help you accomplish it!

Next up, from the seventh grade wing, Mrs. Bailey!

#1: Could you introduce yourself? (Name, subject, years teaching, etc.)

Mrs Bailey, 7th Grade English, this is my first year as full time teacher but I was a substitute for 3 years. I grew up in Northern New York but moved to Mass permanently 5 years ago after completing my undergrad in the Berkshires.

#2: Where did you go to college?

I completed my masters degree at Framingham State University

#3: Where did you teach before OMS?

I was a sub for 3 years at an elementary school in Northern New York.

#4: What’s your favorite part about teaching?

I love being able to share my love of books and writing with students

#5: Now for a fun one: what’s your favorite treat, snack, etc.?

I have a major sweet tooth! I love sour gummy worms, Swedish Fish, anything like that!

#6: Do you have any positive messages to encourage your students?

Find the things you are passionate about and don’t let anyone discourage you!

Finally, from the eighth grade wing, Mrs. Toomey!

#1: Could you introduce yourself? (Name, subject, years teaching, etc.)

Hi! My name is Alanna Toomey (Mrs. Toomey to my students). I teach 8th grade civics. This is my fourth year teaching, but first year teaching civics at Overlook :)

#2: Where did you go to college?

I received both my Bachelor’s degree in History and my Master’s in Education from UMass Lowell. I also worked there before I started teaching, went to summer camp there as a child, my husband received 2 of his degrees there, and is a professor there. We are a big UML family. Go Riverhawks!!!!

#3: Where did you teach before OMS?

I taught at the RFK Don Watson Academy in Lancaster and Holy Family in Gardner.

#4: What’s your favorite part about teaching?

Getting to know my students. I love the material I teach, but I like chatting with my students and hearing about their lives more.

#5: Now for a fun one: what’s your favorite treat, snack, etc.?

Ben and Jerry's Non Dairy Netflix and Chill and Coke Zero :)

#6: Do you have any positive messages to encourage your students?

Yes! Middle school can be such a chaotic time in your life, add a pandemic to the mix, and man, it can be rough. Try your hardest but go easy on yourself if you fall short of your goal. Nobody is going to care about the grades you got in middle school. What matters more is that you’re a good person who tries their best in everything. Try to be a better version of yourself every new day and in the end, you’ll be happy :)

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Club Updates

By Meghan Dorsey

Here are some updates on club activities:

Fishing Club; Mrs. Cummings

Fishing club will be starting up again in the spring on Fridays from 2:00-2:30! If you are interested in fishing, or learning to fish, then join the club! Be sure to reach out to Mrs. Cummings If you are interested In this club you can catch and release the fish in the lake, feel free to wade up to your knees, but don’t go for a swim!

Yearbook Committee; Mr. Young

The yearbook committee had their first meeting on October 20, and are on a roll to create this year’s yearbook! They have the tasks of designing t-shirts for the members, and working on the cover of the 2021-2022 yearbook. If you have any questions be sure to contact Mr. Young

Student Council; Mrs. Shattuck, Mrs. Duncan

Student council has their work cut out for them as they plan fun events, fundraisers, celebrations, and more throughout the school year. And with the restrictions of COVID that we still have this year, it might be difficult, but with everything in their capable hands, this school year will be full of amazing things! If you have any questions, be sure to reach out to either Mrs. Shattuck (, or Mrs. Ducnan (!

SOAR; Mrs. O’Brien

The first meeting of the SOAR committee will be held during the first week of November! Applications have been reviewed and the students on the committee have been selected. If you have any questions be sure to reach out to Mrs. O’Brien

Drama Club; Mrs. Normand, Ms. Daigle

This year’s drama club is off to a great start, with the play Frozen! And there are lots of parts to be played, if there are any questions about the play or auditions be sure to contact Mrs. Normand (, or Ms. Daigle (!

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Our Wacky World

By Josh LeGrand

Welcome to “Our Wacky World”, the latest new segment of Wingspan! In this segment, I’m going to tell you about the weirdest, wildest, and strangest things in our world. There will be a new topic every month that you, the reader, will be able to choose. This month, the topic is…sports! Let’s begin!

Have you ever participated in a race? They usually go like this: about a dozen or so people line up at the starting line, then the starting pistol is fired, and everyone runs straight toward the finish line. You’ve heard about that kind of race, right? You’ve probably not heard of this companion-hauling race before, however: wife-carrying. Yes, you read that right. Wife-carrying is a kind of race where a person has to carry his wife across an obstacle course. (You do not need to be legally married to play). First played in Finland in 1992, wife-carrying has expanded to an international level, with the Wife-Carrying World Championships held in Finland every year since 1995. The origins of wife carrying go back to three stories about a 19th century thief known as “Ronkainen the Robber”. The first story says that he and his gang of thieves would steal food and women from villages and carry the women away on his back. The second story says that they then stole the wives of other men, and the women would later become their wives. The third story says that Ronkainen would train his thieves by having them carry large sacks on their backs so they would become skillful and successful. The origins of this strange sport are just as crazy as the sport itself! If you are ever interested in participating, travel to Finland in July of 2022, where the next World Wife-Carrying Championship will be held.

Most of the people reading this have probably heard of table tennis, also known as ping-pong. Well, imagine a game of ping-pong where the ping-pong ball is replaced with a special kind of ball, and instead of using rackets to hit the ball, players use their heads. That’s right, a sport like that exists, and it’s known as headis. You need only three things to play headis: a headis ball, a ping-pong table, and a thick skull. This cranium-shaking game all started in 2006 by a group of football (soccer) players in Germany. They were heading to a game in Kaiserslautern, Germany, only to discover that the field was occupied. Then they found a ping-pong table that was unoccupied. They didn’t have ping-pong balls or bats, so they made a ball out of rubber and instead of bats, they used their heads. That’s how headis was born. Since its creation, and due to its popularity on YouTube, headis has expanded to an international level, with a World Championship being held every year. During these tournaments, players do not use their real names, instead using pseudonyms such as “Headi Potter” and “Lord Voldehead”. Headis is also very entertaining to watch. I watched a few videos while writing this article, and was hooked. You should check some of them out!

That’s all for this article! To vote for the topic for next month’s article, click the link below. See you all next time!


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TikTok Challenge Issues

By: Kaelyn Hildreth and Amy Dorsey

It’s happening to many schools across the country. The “Devious Licks'', or “The Bathroom” TikTok ‘challenges’, are destructive graffiti challenges that are destroying schools across the country. Some schools have taken legal action against students for doing the challenge. The Devious Lick challenge or “Slap a teacher” challenge is hitting, kicking, and harming staff and educators from schools, stealing school supplies/objects, and destroying school property. All of these actions could result in the police being contacted, suspension, detentions, and you being pressed charges. As a result of all these kids participating in these challenges, many schools across the country are spending tens of thousands to repair the school all because of the TikTok challenges and are having to cut activities such as sports, gym, music, tech, engineering, and many others. Some schools have had to take action by having teachers or principals stand outside the bathrooms and check before they go in and after they come out. Unfortunately, It has happened to our school. Minimal damage has happened. Our principal, Mrs. Martellio has given us a few words about this.

Mrs. Martellio: “I think it’s unfortunate that students are feeling pressured to participate in challenges that they know are poor choices.”

Wingspan (W): “What do you think of these challenges?”

Mrs. M: “It is a serious disruption to the learning environment and is unsafe and needs to be dealt with.”

W: “Do you think TikTok should be responsible for the damage done to schools?

Mrs. M: “I believe that the people responsible for participating in the challenges should be held accountable.”

We also interviewed an OMS student, Destinie Carbanello from 6th grade. We asked her the same questions we asked Mrs. Martellio.

Wingspan (W): “What do you think of these challenges?”

Destinie (D): “I feel it’s not ok to be doing that, people shouldn’t be doing that, it's rude, it's not funny or anything like that.”

W: “Do you think the people who do the challenges should face punishments? Why or why not?”

D: “Yes, because they are destroying school property which is a lot of money and money is hard to get depending on if you are trying to do something or create stuff. They should have punishments for that kinda stuff. It's very rude.”

W: Should TikTok be responsible for the damages done to schools?

D: “I want to say yes, but the people who created the challenges should be more responsible. TikTok did not make the challenge, so TikTok should not be responsible.”

Please take all of this to mind, and please do not do any of the challenges.

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“I Said Space” A Short Story About Friendship

By Marko Peterson

Corbin and Lonnie fought constantly, it wasn’t even funny. Still, they were best friends, and they’d been that way since elementary school. Today though, something happened. They didn’t even understand what it was. It just suddenly popped up, and began the worst collision they’ve had in a while. At least between each other. The worst thing is, the whole entire fight was about the most ridiculous subject ever, a book about CATS.

“I read faster!” Lonnie shouted.

“Let me have it first!” Corbin yanked the book out of his arms, a random burst of adrenaline mixing into his fury. He didn’t even know why he felt this way, it was just a book. Still, he was mad.

Lonnie looked at Corbin like he was crazy, but soon anger flooded into his expression too.

“I grabbed it first!” Lonnie exclaimed, almost tripping over himself trying to lunge at the book.

Corbin turned around and made a run for it, he didn’t know why, or where he was going, but he wanted the book. Eventually, though, Lonnie caught up to him.

Lonnie grabbed the book and shoved Corbin, like he was eraser shavings being tossed to the side.

“We need space!” Lonnie wailed, his eyes filling with tears.

“What!?” Corbin yelped.

“I said SPACE!” Lonnie screeched. “WE NEED SPACE!”

Corbin gave his foot a little petulant stomp, and spun around to leave, running straight into the tall librarian.

The librarian glowered down at him with a threatening scowl on his face. “Why are you two yelling?” he asked the two boys. Lonnie looked down at his feet, his round glasses sliding down his nose.

“He won’t give me the stupid book!” Corbin yelled.

The librarian took one look at the book and sighed, taking it from Lonnie. “How about neither of you get it?” the librarian suggested, the menacing glare lingering on his face.

“What!?” Lonnie cried out. “I got it first!”

“You two need to compromise or this book is going to neither of you,” the librarian told them.

He walked away, with the book, with the only thing both Corbin and Lonnie wanted at the moment.

“This is your fault!” Lonnie shrieked, his hands balling into tight fists.

“You’re so dramatic!” Corbin spat back.

Lonnie was about to run away, before he stopped and looked back at Corbin.

“Why do you want the book?” he asked, turning around with a softer expression.

“My mama wants a cat,” Corbin sputtered bluntly.

Lonnie looked down at his feet. “I only wanted to learn about them…” he muttered, ashamed. “I guess you need the book more than me.”

Corbin gave a triumphant smile, but stopped right before he was about to say “I told you so.”

“What if I have it for two weeks, and then I renew it and give it to you?” he asked. Lonnie looked back up and met Corbin’s eyes.

“That’s a good idea,” he replied.

The boys were content with their agreement, so they met the librarian back at his desk and agreed Corbin could check out the book first.

“I’m relieved you boys could come to an agreement,” the librarian told them as he scanned the book. “I don’t see that happen as much as it should.”

Corbin took the book, beaming at the librarian. “Thank you!” he cheered. He and Lonnie turned around and left the library.

“What if we read it together?” Lonnie asked Corbin.

“That would be nice,” Corbin responded.

The New School Year

By Amy Dorsey

In a new school year,

There are treasures to behold,

Troubles to be found.

The new school year is weird,

All the mysteries behind the masks,

Your unsure of everything,

The identities of course,

You walk the halls staring at the eyes.

The school year just started,

It's weird it’s odd,

But you hope,

You hope,

It’s normal again soon.

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Drawing by Abigail Suarez

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Cartoon by Amy Dorsey

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