New England Math League Contest
By Kayleigh Williams
The annual New England Math League Contest will take place on February 26 during specials. The Math Club has been practicing for months to prepare for this contest. Math Club is run by Mrs. Clabaugh twice a month. Members solve challenging puzzles, play math games, and practice problems that might appear on the contest. I interviewed Connor Williams, a member of the Math Club, to find out his opinion on math and the Math League Contest.
Q. What is your favorite math topic?
Connor: Math puzzles (like rubik’s cubes) and math related riddles because I just find them challenging which is fun for me.
Q. Have you always enjoyed math or have you recently become more interested?
Connor: I’ve always liked math. It’s just something I’ve always liked about school. I started really liking it in second grade when we started working on real math. Then between third grade and sixth grade now I have learned increasingly complex math which I like.
Q. Do other people think you’re weird for liking math?
Connor: Most people don’t particularly like it and I do so they think it’s odd but it’s fine. Everyone’s different.
Q. What are your thought on the upcoming Math League Contest?
Connor: Since I’m a sixth grader and I’m taking a seventh grade math test I’m kind of nervous, but I already know some of the things I’ll be doing.
Gaga Ball Coming to Overlook!
Overlook will be bringing a new and exciting program in for our students on Tuesday, March 5th in the gymnasium. The program will be running from 9:30-1:45.
Gaga Ball is a popular game that's played at Summer Camps and a lot of kids are excited about the opportunity to play. They will be bringing a large inflatable Gaga Court. It's also a sport that originated in Israel, so there is a short 15-20 minute lesson prepared to describe where it came from and how it's played. They have had a lot of success with Athol, Royalston, and Keene Schools.
By: Molly McDaniel
St. Valentine’s Day, more commonly called Valentine’s Day is annually held on February 14th. It’s the day when couples exchange gifts and go out on romantic dates. It’s the day when school kids give cards and candy. It’s the day 58 million pound of chocolate are bought for. Most people associate Valentine’s Day with love, but it’s origins had nothing to do with romance at all.
Valentine’s Day came from the Roman festival Lupercalia, where women would be paired off with men by random lottery. The festival was held on February 15 and was presided over by priests called Lupreci. Each person attending the festival gave a sacrifice of either a dog or a goat. Many people believe Valentine’s day was formed to christianize Lupericillia. Although at first the festival survived, it was soon outlawed and replaced by Pope Gelasius.
Although Lupercalia was replaced with Valentine’s day at the end of the fifth century, it wasn’t until the middle ages that the holiday was associated with love. The common belief is February 14th was the beginning of birds mating season to the french. This added to the idea that Valentine’s Day was a day of love.
The first greeting card did not appear until 1400. It was composed by Charles, Duke of Orleans for his wife while he was imprisoned. A few years later King Henry V hired a scribe to send a card to Catherine of Valdos. Americans started sending cards around the 1700’s. Esther A. Howland began selling the first mass-produced cards in the 1840’s. She used pieces of ribbon, lace and scrap pictures. Today, Valentine’s day is the second biggest holiday for sending cards (christmas being the first). About 150 million cards are sent each year and women purchase approximately 85% of them.
By Hannah Fields
It's that time of year where winter sports are coming to an end at Overlook Middle School. On February 13th, the season for skiing was officially over for Overlook students. I asked a few students who participated in this activity about what their feelings were about ski club ending and what they enjoyed about this.
Alex Kelly, an 8th grader at Overlook stated this, I feel sad about ski club ending. I enjoyed going to it after school on Wednesdays. The things I enjoyed about ski club were 1: Hanging out with my friends, 2: The feeling of flying down a mountain at high speed, and 3: Hitting little jumps but getting a ton of air.
Ben Landry, also an 8th grader at Overlook told me this, I think that ski club ended a little early, but at the same time I was glad because it freed up time for other things.I enjoyed almost everything about ski club. I liked going to the mountain with friends, and getting to ski on the mountain every Wednesday.
Abby Mulhall, another 8th grader who participated in ski club says this about this extracurricular, “ I am sad that ski club is ending it was a lot of fun. I really enjoyed it because I got to ski with my friends.
Finally, Jai Patel, also an 8th grader told me this, “ I feel devastated that ski club ended. Now I have to wait until the new season starts. I really loved skiing and ski club. I also liked meeting new people and talking to them while I was skiing. Mostly what I enjoyed while skiing is skiing and meeting new people. I would make it that you could go skiing for the entire skiing season. Also I regret not doing ski club in 6th and 7th grade.
Hopefully, next year, Oakmont has some sort of extracurricular for students who enjoy to ski and for students at Overlook, these students highly recommend joining.
The Eagles Nest
There is a current trend in both public schools and the juvenile justice system to implement a restorative justice model for working with school age children. This movement calls for the implementation of strategies aimed at educating students about what is considered socially appropriate rather than a traditional punitive model. Research has shown that a punitive approach to juvenile discipline has little to no impact on whether a child will be a repeat offender. Here at Overlook we are working hard to be at the forefront of these changes.
In a traditional model students violate a code of conduct and are issued consequences based on a standard set of punishments that typically include parent conferences, detentions, or suspensions. This model does not allow for students to receive specific intervention that pertains to the infraction that took place and can cause lost instructional time for the student. In a restorative model, students may still require some traditional consequences, but it is paired with strategies aimed at preventing future behavior. Some of these strategies include a focus on relationships, student reflection, collaborative problem solving, goal setting, identification of personal responsibility, and strategic plans for restoration or reparation.
These strategies are intended to help students understand how their actions impact others and the world around them. They can also help students to develop empathy and repair potential harm with others. In this process students are able to become a part of the solution and they can learn from their experiences. In the end the hope is that restorative practices help to prevent future behaviors allowing students to spend more time in the classroom learning.
By continuing to increase our use of restorative strategies students at Overlook Middle School will learn conflict resolution skills in an environment that is focused on inclusion rather than exclusion or isolation. In environments where these strategies have been implemented negative incidents decrease, and empowerment and personal responsibility increase. This approach deals specifically with getting to the root of the underlying issues while still holding students accountable for their actions. When these changes take place there is a positive impact on school culture and climate that can be felt by the school community at large.
Mr. Saisa and Mrs. Rigney
Super Bowl Patriots Win
By Hannah Fields
Many people watched the super bowl on Sunday, February 3rd at Mercedes Benz stadium in Atlanta, Georgia. So, I decided since I am doing an article on the Super Bowl, why not create a form to see what Overlook students think. No student emails will be released, only the percentages on each option on this google form.
13.3% of the 30 who participated agreed that the game was good, but 6.7% of the population didn’t like it at all. 66.7 % agreed that it was okay and 26.7% thought it was pretty good.
The students of the had many opinions on how they liked the commercials aired before, during, and after the game. 40% of the students enjoyed watching the commercials while 13.3 % of students didn’t enjoy it at all. 40% of students thought it wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t good either, while 26.7% of students thought they weren’t the best.
I can say myself that I didn't watch the whole thing entirely, but while I was up, I really enjoyed the commercials because they were pretty funny.The Patriots won this game 13-3 but they were scoreless in the first quarter, 3 points in the second, scoreless in the third and 10 in the fourth.
The February Semi-Formal
By Jordan Krawczyk
This year’s February semi-formal was absolutely amazing. The decorations were stunning to the white fabric hanging from the basketball hoops, to the colorful lights that were seen all over the walls, gym floor, and the attendees. The music was delightful and all the music was new and popular. When you walked in to the school, the night of the dance, you signed in and walked into the cafeteria. The cafeteria is where you put your coats and purses, and where they served food for all. They had pizza, water, cupcakes, and candy. The next thing you did was go into the gym where the music was playing loud and all the kids were dancing. The dance was very fun and in all a great time for all the couples and friends.
Spring Drama Update
The Little Mermaid Jr. Gearing Up for May
By Mr. Duncan
The preparation is underway for the Little Mermaid Jr coming this May. Rehearsals are currently taking place. Ms. Daigle, one of the staff directors, commented that "the whole crew is excited that Mr. Lordan has joined up to add additional melody to the production". Stay tuned for additional updates in the coming issues.
Fly Girl: Part 1
Written by Willa Olshan
Edited by Jordan Krawczyk
The first time I flew was when I was 3. I was at daycare, my teachers were trying to get me to put a coat on before I went outside. Even though it was 44 degrees outside and I was wearing a sweatshirt! I did not appreciate this, for the coat in which they were trying to shove me in was puffy, incomparable, and made my sleeves bunch up in a way that made the coat make me feel like a marshmallow even more than it already did. By the time they got my little 3 year old body into that monstrous coat, I was mad. Very mad. My face was as red as a ripe tomato. I was about to explode.
I never cried as a baby, I still don’t. All I've ever done was breath, and push those feelings of Sadness, Anger, Laughter, because if you laugh in class my friends, you could get the death stare, and I save them for when they could be of use to me later. Don’t get me wrong, I feel things, but only if it is an appropriate time to feel them.
Anyways, I was fuming. Then it happened. It was so natural, like I had been doing it my whole life. I just rose off the ground. Effortless. I could feel all the anger leaving my body. I flew higher. The more acrimony that I let go, the more I would surge upwards, to the clouds, into space. Then it stopped. I felt a pit in my stomach. I was falling. The woosh of the wind filled my ears. Then, slap. No pain. No broken bones. No tears. Just a stunned three year old laying on the ground, and a terrified daycare teacher. She quit no less than a week later.
Hi, Hello: Part Four
By Ashlinn Broderick
It had been a few days. Six, to be exact. Six days of waking up with the sunrise and singing different variations of the same songs they’d been singing since day one (two, technically) with four people Jay grew to like more and more as each day passed by. Six days of travelling sporadically, in no hurry to go anywhere or be anyplace.
Gas stations were few and far between, but they made it work. Sean got gas while they each went inside to buy snacks and wash their hair and faces in the suspiciously dirty sinks Jay preferred not to think too much about. It wasn’t ideal, but the time they spent on the road was too enjoyable to pass up.
He wondered if it was coming to an end. They’d spotted a city in the distance when they pulled over for the night, still only an outline on the horizon. It had been too far away to comfortably make the drive there before night had completely fallen, but they’d make it within the next day, for sure.
Jay thought of each day leading up to this one, how comfortable he was starting to feel. He’d learned so much about the other four, simply because they’d been in each other’s company for such a while; their childhood dreams, their favorite pastimes, their talents and passions. He learned their similarities and their differences, their opinions that went hand-in-hand and the ones that clashed.
One thing they all shared, though, was their love for music. Sean and Will had been singing their entire lives, and Dylan admitted to having played the drums ever since he was able to hold a stick. Jay had told them how he’d decided to try his luck as a musician, looking for a gig anywhere he could find one, and Brian had snorted and told him how he was going to be overlooked simply because of how many there already were, before sighing and telling him that was what he planned to do, too.
That had brought on admissions of what the others planned to do in the future. Sean told them how he’d finished college the year before, and with no specific career in his mind, had decided he’d take Dylan on a road trip around America. Dylan had elaborated, telling them how he’d decided to take a gap year to relax, and when Sean had offered to take him around the country-- something he’d wanted to do since he was a kid-- he had accepted, and hoped to figure out his college situation in the meantime.
Will had then admitted to dropping out of his first year in college without telling his parents, because he “didn’t want to major in business” and “was deprived of a rebellious phase during adolescence.” His plan, startlingly similar to Dylan’s, was to travel the country and try to figure out what he wanted to spend his life doing. Only then would he tell his parents what had happened to him, he said, and Jay had only laughed as Sean inevitably scolded him. It was music to his ears, and when that prompted him to picture himself singing about how much he loved seeing Will suffer, he laughed even harder.
The Temple of Fate
By Korynn Gagne
Amber picked up a broken tile from the school, she dusted off the linoleum and took a quick glance around the rubble, her house was nowhere to be seen. She felt like she should be crying, but she couldn’t bring herself to. She looked back at the tile, this was obviously the elementary school; their tiles were tan. The elementary school used to have a strict silence policy, but there had been one teacher who didn’t enforce the policy to much of a degree. She would let the students hum or whistle whenever they wanted to. Amber began her to walk back towards the square. Even humming and whistling seemed heinous at the moment. Perhaps the silence was best left untouched, uncontaminated by shouts of celebration and sobs of seemingly infinite mourning. There was not a child here who had not lost someone. Really, there was something beautiful about it, as tragic as it was.
Amber sat down in the square, she spiked the tile on the exhausted dirt. The tile hit the ground and bounced slightly, leaving a mark, but somehow still not making a sound.
Suddenly, there was an arm around her. Then another, she looked to either side of her. There was a girl on her left and a boy on her right. They smiled at her. Within minutes, all the children had gathered in a circle with their arms around one another, not that Amber would’ve done a head count. She finally smiled. These were people she had known since the beginning, her fellow students, her peers, her brothers, her sisters. Everyone there had experienced a loss today, there was no changing that, but there was no denying that now, more than ever, they were all united. United in mourning, united in victory, united in silence. In whatever way, they were united. There were two thousand reanimated hopes and one revolution.
Tangum tracked approximately seven feet behind Matt, even then she could still hear his breathing. It was that loud, he was that loud. The universe was determined to never let Tangum know a silence, it seemed. There would always be a clutter of sounds and distractions to coerce her into working even if she had nothing to do. No time to think, no space to breathe. Even in a temple going beneath the surface of the entire planet the only things she could learn were algorithms, world languages, and ancient floor plans. Well, that and structural engineering as applied to structures made of matches and small cardboard packages. She didn’t speak at anyone’s volume, she definitely didn’t hit the same levels as the chosen ones, how could she when she was meant to be dispensable? To be “special,” is that all anyone ever wanted? Then, they find out they’re special and they’re all “Wowee, bow down to your ruler!” But they were only another name to add to the list of people who her mother threw a bone to… And yet she never threw a bone to her own daughter… Was Tangum selfish for wanting some credit? Well, now she was just thinking like the people on the surface. There really wasn’t much of a fundamental difference was there?
“How much longer do we have, Tangum?”
“By now, we’ve got about fifteen minutes left,” Tangum laughed, “You ever get a workout like this in your fancy castle?”
“Well, I sure never had to walk this long,” Matt lit another match, “It’s really not practical if I’m supposed to save a kingdom. Aren’t we on a time constraint?”
Matt picked up his pace, the conversation began following a rhythm with their footsteps and ricocheting back and forth like a game of racquetball.
“You’re special, you’ll deal with it,” Tangum watched the wall scroll by, each concrete panel like the one before, “It’s not my job to make it easy.”
“What are you here for?”
“I’ve already told you that. I can’t do my job if you won’t hold up your end of the bargain. Matt, with great power comes great-”
“Where did you learn that quote?”
“I passed a DC Comics store on my way to get matches one time.”
“I didn’t know we had a comic book store in town.”
“Big surprise,” she said, her voice drenched in bitterness.
“If you’re trying to guilt trip me-- Tangum?” Matt finally stopped walking and turned around, Tangum was just staring at the wall, she had stopped walking as well, nearly five yards behind him now. He began to walk towards her, “Tangum? I… didn’t formulate the other half of that sentence because I thought you’d interrupt me…”
When he reached her, he realized she was looking at the crumpled paper she had been holding the whole time. A couple seconds passed before she finally looked at him. The rhythm had died, leaving the space of the corridor feeling forlorn and foreboding.
In the low lighting, both their eyes were highly dilated. Tangum made eye contact with him for once. Tensing, she hung there a few more seconds, her expression unreadable. She shook her head slightly… Then she grabbed the collar of his shirt.
“Who does that?! Who the heck does that?! Oh! I know! Someone who thinks he knows me. Someone who thinks he knows the world!” She pushed him away and walked up the inclined hall in muted allegro. Centuries of walking concrete corridors had taken its toll on her heels, and clearly her mind. She knew she was far gone by this point. She saw no point in turning back.
“Someone who thinks the world is predictable! Matt whatever-your-name-is!” Tangum halted and looked at the paper once more, she began to shout, “A prophecy— a title— does not bestow qualities! It bestows obligation! At least it should!”
“I’m talking here, Matt!” Tangum turned around, Matt had dropped the matches. Tangum had the high ground.
“Do you not understand that you’re all the same?! Each one is just as condescending if not more than the last! At what point do we stop?! Eight thousand four hundred and twenty-three centuries and we still haven’t stopped! So I’ll just hang back and let you run the show! That’s what you’ll do anyway! Matt! Your home is being destroyed as we speak! How can you stand there do nothing?! How can you stand there and say nothing?! How?!” She agonized her vocal chords as she screamed.
“Tangum, what do you have against the world?” Matt interjected meekly.
“What do I have against the world?! Whatever ‘Mother Dearest’ has against me!”
The waves tore away at the land above, they seemed louder than ever now, she fought to hear herself.
“So am I wrong?! Am I wrong?! What?! Aren’t you going to say something?! Agh, I’m just a hypocrite! You think you know me; I think I know you! I know your kind, Matt! And you don’t know anything! Zip! Nadda! That’s all you know! That’s why I’m here! That’s the only reason I’m here!”
She covered her mouth, breathing heavily. She buried her head in her hands. She could still hear Matt’s breathing. The two had switched places, Matt was now seven feet behind her.
“And I can’t even cry!” She said in a harsh whisper, “This is what I meant--” she began a crescendo in her monologue, “--Earlier? When I said they’d make me a soapbox? They’ll step all over me while they say their making a case for me! They’ll use me to get others to treat them differently when all I want is to be treated the same way everyone else is! And it doesn’t help! I’m not that different from you, Matt. Not that different from you or anyone else! Matt! I just want to be like you! The grass is always greener on the other side, Matt! Always! And you’ll just keep wishing you were really ‘special,’ and all this,--” she hit the wall with the side of her fist, “--all this will just make you less satisfied!”
She finally calmed down and began to walk toward him, she began to uncrumple the paper. She lowered her voice.
“And me, I’ll just keep doing my job,” she made eye contact with him one more time, “Because someone needs to do it.”
Tangum handed Matt the paper, “Here, read it, burn it! Do whatever you want. Just let me live my sorry sentient soap sculpture life. I’ll clean up after you.”
She turned and walked away. To Matt, all the streaks, scratches and slight indentations on every part of her were suddenly apparent. Eight hundred forty-two thousand three hundred years had clearly worn her down in more ways than one.
“Keep your philosophies, Matt.”
See previous issues of The Wingspan to read more!
By Amber-Kay Michaud
“Mom!?” The tiny purple demon reached out and feebly tugged on the larger defensive demon’s cape. Her baby blue and amethyst marbled eyes were wide with confused curiosity, and her grip was surprisingly strong for her puny size.
“Not now!” the taller, far slimmer demon hissed back, shoving the child away with her thin, cerise dagger tipped tail, ruby hair spilling over her rage filled eyes. The short, chubby demon sniffed haughtily in annoyance, flicking her shiny black heart-shaped tail. Watching her face off against the opposing intruder, a sleek blue demon with turquoise curls and piercing moon yellow eyes which glinted with defiance, she found herself filled with determination.
“You can’t have it.” The maroon eyed demon hissed in a low, menacing tone, pushing the toddler farther away, who stumbled clumsily and squeaked in disapproval.
“I want to help!!! Please!!!”
Finding that her ‘help’ was unwelcome, she turned in frustration to another demon, who was concealed in the shadows, a large inky black cloak hiding the whole of his face. The clothing’s ends were ragged from dragging across coarse territory, and she could see the wisps of his thin white hair wavering in the currents of wind.
“Hello child.” he said simply, and she found herself at awe with his deep, soothing voice.
“Come closer. . . follow me. . .” he continued, and she could see the hint of a wide, jagged toothed grin through a narrow slit in the fabric, along with the thin pupil of a fiery vermilion eye.
“Okay!” she gave him an eager smile, showing her small golden fangs and fluffing her bushy violet hair out of her slanted eyes. She carelessly skipped after him, startlingly fast and energetic.
He let out a slow, eerie chuckle, “You seem . . . powerful. . . a promising kid.”
Her eyes grew by almost half their size, “REALLY!?” and she puffed out her chest with pride.
He laughed, “Yes, certainly very strong. . . can you shift yet?” Every demon was known to have an animal form, which was far larger than their usual appearance no matter the species, but learning how to control it usually took a few years of practice.
Her form shimmered and wavered as a blue flame for an indecisive moment, before she re-materialized as a shimmery black and plum-violet scaled viper, her face rimmed with translucent indigo frills. She gazed down at her pale cream chest in triumph,
“Ssssee!!! I’m a snake!” Every time she spoke, she had a habit of curling her long deep-blue tongue over her chin, which gave her sort of a strange way of talking, but she was for the most part, understandable.
The stranger peered at her with interest, “Hmm. . . unusually large attack form for your age. . . you must be. . . what? 1 year old at least. . .?” She gaped at him, her previous cool demeanor having vanished.
“I’M TWO!!!! TWO AND A HALF!!!” She slapped her tail against the ground to enforce her point, and he held up his gloved claws in amusement.
“Okay okay! I was wondering if you could possibly. . . help with a certain. . . positive cause. . .” she shifted back into her regular form, flicking an unnaturally round ear in consideration.
“What..?” she whispered wonderingly, dusting off her fluffy umber coat as she gazed at his towering slender form.
“Ahh, right, I should first introduce myself.” he said smoothly, folding down half of his mask. She flinched back at the size of his smile, each tooth gleaming dangerously and perfectly aligned in an unusual way that made her almost. . . uneasy.
“My name is Obsidian. If you haven’t yet heard of me, I am a very wise, high ranking demon.” She gave him a curious look that seemed to say something like, ‘huh???’ and he sighed lightheartedly.
“Let me tell you what my goal is to achieve- or rather. . . I should show you!” He twisted forwards his gnarled black tail, the end shaped almost like a hand; but with six red claws evenly placed around it’s center. Her eyes widened in amazement as she saw what it held; a red and cream swirled egg.
“That’s a demon egg!” She exclaimed, as if she’d expected he hadn’t previously known this.
He nodded briskly,“Yes-”
“And it looks like my sibling’s egg!” she pointed enthusiastically to the symbol that shone on the top; a white splash outlined in a thick layer of black, the center of the formation indicated by a bright red dot.
“Except, my sibling had a more orangey egg, with brown spots. But it had this weird colorful thingy!!!!”
His grin widened, “Ahh, smart of you, observant. Yes, the two eggs have similar markings. My organization believes that this symbol perhaps. . . relates to a certain. . . rare power.”
“Wha- DO I HAVE IT!??” The little demon girl asked enthusiastically, almost quivering with excitement.
“Err. . . I suspect not. . .” he sighed, raising an eyebrow.
“However, back to what I was trying to say, we believe that perhaps, these special. . . chosen demons, you could say, have the power to. . . see the dead.” She looked completely shocked for a couple of seconds, then, jealous that she wouldn’t have this strange gift, stuck her chin up in a snarky way.
“I don’t believe in ghosts! Ghosts are stupid!”
His gaze darkened, “Kid, all I want is one simple favor. If you complete this simple task- successfully, that is- I can give you all of the treasure and freedom you could ever desire.” She seemed confused at all of the words he’d been using, but it looked as if she’d gotten the point; this strange demon could give her power, and lots of it.
“What do I need to do!?” she whispered in a secretive tone, as if somebody were watching them. She wanted to sound important if this were to be an important quest or whatnot. He smiled once more, pale yellow fangs glimmering in the dim light cast from ceaseless bursts of red entwined golden flame that coursed around them.
“All I need is the amber colored egg.” he murmured in a sweet, convincing tone.
“Uhhh. . .” she twiddled her stubby claws nervously. “What’s amber. .?”
He sighed in exasperation, “Your sibling. I want it.”
Her jaw dropped, “WHY!? I want to meet them!”
He went back to his cheerful tone of voice, “You’ll be able to spend lots of time with them! You can join us, and we can be our own family; with all of the riches in the realms.”
She seemed satisfied with this conclusion, beginning to nod eagerly, “Okay!” she squeaked,
“I’ll do it!”
He gave her an innocently pleased look, then silently removed the other side of his mask. She stumbled backwards, jolting in surprise at the horrific sight. It looked as if the flesh of his face had been torn into thin strips, which were gritty and discolored. Behind them was what looked like a hollow gruesome space, tangled with some sort of green swirling substance she’d never seen nor heard of before, which was dotted with fire like swirls of dark red, violet-maroon, and scarlet. He gave her a look of shocked pain,
“What. . .? Are you afraid? This is nothing; well, I have been placed with. . . a terrible curse. . .”
( To Be Continued )