The First Edition Of The MPMS Newsletter: Look Both Ways


Hello Junior Lancers!

Mrs. Gordon and Dr. Incognito joyfully announce, Look Both Ways, the first Junior Lancer Log issue of this year.

Our student editors and writers have created editorial staff to represent the range of student interests and styles that accommodate our diverse student population.

This edition of The Jr. Lancer Log is entirely student-run, breaking with tradition with its blog-like format. It features a tribute to Mrs. Steckert, highlights of significant events at MPMS and even live footage of teacher interviews. Enjoy!

Our Theme: Look Both Ways

You are probably pondering the theme of this edItion: Look both ways. Have you noticed that this past January, we had TWO new years? In remembrance of both 2022, the new year 2023, and Lunar New Year, give yourself an opportunity to read this newspaper to find a brief overview of what is happening around the school.

ID'S and Smartpass by Aanav Parikh

Hello MPM,

In January, we were all introduced to Smartpass and ID cards.

Smartpass is used to go to the bathroom, nurse, office, counselor, or another teacher during enrichment. Not only is it really efficient to use, but it also makes it easier to keep track of who is where. This has already been reducing the misbehaving in the bathrooms while helping to make our school even safer. Don’t forget to ask your teacher before leaving the room with Smartpass. Remember to also have a pass on the Smartpass app if you have to go see another teacher during enrichment. Finally, just keep in mind that you only have 3 passes for each day on Smartpass, so use them wisely and only take them when you absolutely need them.

In addition to using Smartpass as a teacher-to-student pass system, scanners are located around the school to sign you in and out of the cafeteria, and the media center. If you ever need to use them remember always to have your ID card around your neck at all times. If you don’t have one, you won’t be able to buy anything from the cafeteria. If you lose or misplace your ID, it will be $5 to replace it. Preferably, please don’t take your ID home because it will raise the chances of it getting lost. Also, don’t put your ID in your pockets because you might drop them. Lastly, do not be careless with your ID cards because they are very important and will also give you some experience on how to take care of them in future grades.

District Chorus Day by Maren W. and Kruthi M.

On January 24th, chorus students participated in District Chorus Day at the high school. Students were dropped off at the high school and greeted by ecstatic high school students from Notations and Select Chorus. Then, students did various vocal warm ups, seeing their former and future chorus directors. Students from MPM, HMS, and the high school all performed songs. The show started with Heritage singing an opening song. Teams 1 and 2 chorus sang “Fly away home,” and Teams 3 and 4 chorus sang “Sunset”. Then after a short break, Select chorus went up with the song “Water is Wide.” The day was a blast. The students had a chance to sing songs with each other, do vocal warm ups, and chit chat with other students from other schools. At the end of our wonderful day, we had a fun time doing some karaoke with songs like “Can’t stop the feeling” by Justin Timberlake and “Butter” by BTS. Overall, MPM students had an amazing time!

FLL by Aneri Nanavati

Ever since May 1, 1929, children have been participating in FLL (first lego league) Competitions. They would create robots, ideas, and models for a certain theme. For example, this year’s theme was “SUPERPOWERED”. It means that children had to create another way to source energy like water powered, solar, thermal, and more. Kids in Livingston spent months creating robots, ideas, and models, as well as practicing their speeches for the competition. These children participated in regionals at Clifton High School. They showed their speeches to the judges with their ideas/models, then they test their robots to see if their robots could perform certain missions; that's how they earned points. Once those were done, the judges and other people who ran the event would announce the winner and they'd move on to states where some would also get awards!

In states, students also competed by performing robot runs and saying their speeches to the judges, but it was much harder because there were higher expectations. The competition would take two days (Dec 10-11). There would be one day for speeches and the other for robot runs. Once this was all done all teams would go to the auditorium and the people who run the event would first announce the awards to people and then they would call up 1 team as the team that moves up to nationals/worldwide. Even though other teams did not get picked to go worldwide, they were still happy for the team that did. Lastly, to conclude this, the top 10 teams on the leaderboard from states will be competing at “Liberty Science Center”.

MLK Day by Elisha L

Martin Luther King Jr. is a very important and influential person in society today and in the Civil Rights movement. He stood strong for Blacks, and did it in a way where he was as peaceful as possible, like his role model, Mahatma Gandhi.

You may think this is going to be a boring old article, but this will be anything but. My name is Elisha L, and you’re reading…

Martin Luther King Jr. Day 2023: Why is MLK Jr. so important that a day is dedicated to him each year??

Martin Luther King Jr. is a big deal, today and yesterday! He made serious progress in the Civil Rights movement, and some of his biggest accomplishments are winning the Nobel Peace Prize, and giving the famous I Have a Dream speech. But these were done 60 years ago! Who cares now? Well, I’m here to tell you that MLK is amazing — in more ways than one.

Martin Luther King Jr. started off as a reverend with a dream. His father was a reverend, and because of his father, he followed. He believed that everyone should be treated equally, and he wasn’t for this “Blacks are lower than Whites” nonsense. He was very religious, and he believed that God had made everyone equal; black, white, Hispanic, Asian, or anything in between.

He left his church in Alabama to pursue civil rights. Martin was an educated man, but people still lived in a segregated world. You know, the world with different restaurants and laundromats for Blacks and whites. He started a dream in which people were strong and resilient and treated equally and fairly.

Martin soon met Rosa Parks, another Black civil rights activist. You know the story, of her not sitting where she ‘was supposed to’ on a bus, and that led her to stay in jail for a night.

Speaking of jail, Dr. King Jr. actually spent a lot of time in the ol’ cell. He didn’t do anything wrong, just a white policeman thinking… Black guy protesting’. TIME TO LOCK ‘EM UP, JEREMY!

Tribute to Mrs. Steckert by Michael Bradu and Daniel Mishiyev

Hey, MPMS!

As you most likely know, Mrs. Steckert retired from teaching on December 23, the day before winter break officially started. She taught at this school for 27 years, contributing to incredible memories along the way. Team 4 students could always recall Mrs. Steckert saying to them, “Good morning/afternoon young scholars!” She was, as some might say, a fair and fun teacher. I was lucky enough to stumble to her room because of a lockdown after Period 5, where we played a fun trivia game. Even though I was on Team 3, I am so lucky to have been in Ms. Steckert's classroom, even if it was for a short 10 minutes. Here is a comment about the beloved Ms. Steckert from my friend, Daniel.


Mrs. Steckert was an amazing teacher and her teaching style was straightforward and full of knowledge that sinks in right away. Many students were sad to see her go because she was so unique and fun.

Fun fact: Mrs. Steckert speaks fluent Spanish!

Photo: Mrs. Steckert (right) and friend, Ms. Youtz (left)

Teacher Spotlight: Interview With Mrs. Brenneck

Link: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1-2IBwKW8Gy7r4sbudfnvO98PxSaCVVVu/view

Note: The video is a bit chaotic (but who cares) so the transcript is attached below. It isn't perfect but you'll get the main idea. The video is awesome though- check it out.

TRANSCRIPT: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1KBK-795xG8RKTmIRCqw-LUN2infTw_1CG6vfe0rDryc/edit


Stock Market Game: New Session by Mia Raklyar

Managing your money can be tough, so it’s important to know how to do it- how not to spend it all in one place, how to save up for the things you need, and most importantly, how to make your money grow. You may be thinking, “How does money grow?” Well, here is your answer: Stocks! In this modern era, learning about financial decisions and the economy is important. With the guidance of the lovely, talented, beautiful Mrs. Carabello, you can learn all the things you need to know about investing from diversifying your portfolio to inflation. In addition to this, you can compete against people in both the state of New Jersey and the New England area.

The Stock Market Game is a division of the SIFMA Foundation. It is a purely online competition that allows you to buy and sell stocks with $100,000 in your savings. Obviously, this is not real money and you are not actually buying stocks, but it is a realistic investment simulation that follows real-time fluctuations of the New York Stock Exchange. Likewise, trading is open from 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. You can learn about all the different types of trading, which include bonds, short selling, and more, as well as personal finance. The Stock Market Game is a lunchtime enrichment class that is held for about a few months. This is the second session, and it is open to only a limited number of students from each lunch period. If the maximum number of students are admitted before you get a chance to sign up, email Mrs. Carabello at ecarabello@livingston.org if you wish to be put on the waitlist. Students still on the wait list from the first session will be admitted before new applicants, so if you are interested, sign up quickly!

Learn more about the Stock Market Game at www.stockmarketgame.org!

Semester 2 by Jun Lee

Hi MPM! I’m here to finally announce that the first half of 6th grade is over! It is now the 2nd semester, and there are going to be a lot of new things going around here.

First off, the Stock Market Game has been refreshed! Mrs. Carabello has dropped out all of the students that were in this club in the first half of the year, and 15 new people have signed up for it (including me). Stock Market is explained in a different section of this newsletter.

Sadly, this will be the first semester in 27 years that we are without Mrs. Steckert of Team 4, as she retired on December 23rd. Michael B. and Daniel M. explain the loss of the ELA teacher in this newsletter, and you can go to that section of this edition if you want more information about it. We all will miss her and I wish her a happy retirement; Team 4 students are very fortunate to have had a teacher like her.

To start off the half marathon of the school year are a few concerts coming up for Band, Chorus, and Orchestra. The whole chorus will be performing on February 15th, 2023 at 7:00pm. If you would like to attend this activity, go to the MPM auditorium at that time. The band's concert will be on February 9th. And the Orchestra one will be on February 15th as well. We also switch from World Languages to Craft of Language or vice versa.

Those are all of the updates from me. I hope everyone has a good second half of the year!

NexTrex Fundraiser by Brayden K

Plastic in the ocean and other places is a bad problem in our society. But our school is working to stop this. In December, we started doing the Nex Trex fundraiser, a fundraiser designed to support the initiative made by the Earth Keepers Club. We are currently donating plastic bags, Ziplocs, newspaper sleeves, and more. As of late January, the school has raised over 150 pounds of plastic! Our goal is to raise at least 500, and maybe even more. Not only are you supporting MPM, but you are also saving the environment for future generations. If you want to participate, simply bring in the plastic it lists on the magnets we received. To learn more, go to nextrex.com. Let’s save our environment, one plastic bag at a time!

Photo: Our progress as of January 27, 2023

Scholastic Book Fair by Asher Savvas

A collection of the newest, and classic books is coming on February 13th to February 17 in the next Scholastic Book Fair!

The fair will take place during the school day, so you don't have to worry about coming after school. Also, new to the fair is eWallet, a digital payment account, instead of the usual physical cash! Now you don't have to worry about losing cash in between classes, because it is all digital! Before the fair, set up eWallet with your parents to easily pay with no worries!

But what if you can't come? Well, have no fear, because the Online Book Fair is here! All books ship directly to your house, and if you are worried about shipping prices for already expensive books, don’t be! Shipping is free for any book orders above $25!

As for the books themselves, we have many great reads, such as the newest book in the I Survived series (The Wellington Avalanche) or Cat Kid: Comic Club Collaborations, part of a companion series to the Dog Man series, early reads such as the Pete the Cat series, and the Elephant and Piggie series. Not only that, if you like gaming the book fair has books about the Sonic the Hedgehog games, Pokemon, and if you are interested in horror games, Five Nights at Freddy's. Some popular picks are Year in Sports 2023, the newest the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, Diaper Overload, and Here Here Kitty.

This newspaper’s theme is to Look Both Ways, which means to see if what you are doing is being kind and respectful towards yourself, and the people around you! And what better way to be kind towards yourself than to relax with the newest book of your favorite series, or with a book that you enjoy a lot. Well, both of those things can be done by buying a book at the book fair! As for the people around you, if everyone buys a cumulative total of at least 600 books, Scholastic will give 25% of the profits to our school! This will not only help the school, but it will also help you because the costs will help make the school a more comfortable place for all of us!

So, what are you waiting for? What will your next great read be?

New Counselor

A few weeks ago (January 27), an email was sent regarding one of our school counselors, Ms. O’Brien. It was announced that starting in February, Ms. O’Brien would be on a leave of absence. She is going to have her baby! To replace Ms. O’Brien, Ms. Maxwell will be subbing for her. We are very excited to welcome Ms. Maxwell to Mount Pleasant Middle School! Ms. Maxwell is very nice and she has been touring around the school to meet us, so if you ever see Ms. Maxwell or Mr. Guardabasco, don't forget to say hi and thank them for all their hard work. (National School Counselor Week was Last Week!)

Things You Never Knew!

  1. Did you know that the hashtag symbol "#" is actually called an octothrope?
  2. We all know that some humans are allergic to cats but did you know that some cats are allergic to people?
  3. The people who voiced Mickey and Minnie Mouse actually got married in real life!
  4. Did you know that lemons float and that limes sink?
  5. Did you know that Scotland has 421 different words for snow? (Including sneesl, feefle, and flinkdrinkin.)
  6. No number before 1,000 contains the letter A.
  7. Medical Errors are a top cause of death!
  8. Beethoven never knew how to multiply or divide so when he had to multiply 62x 50 he wrote down 62 down and added it 50 times!

Addressing Graffiti on School Property by Nathan Sverdlov

Over the past 2 marking periods, there have been multiple cases of graffiti on school property, mostly in the bathrooms. I have witnessed one of these cases myself, where there were sharpie drawings on a stall lock. This needs to stop. Graffiti is destroying school property. (Vandalism) It also gives a lot more work to our janitors, who already work enough. We all need to take our part in helping to stop graffiti, and educate others to be respectful of school property. And one more thing to remember:



Hey Junior Lancers! We are starting a Teacher of The Month Award for our amazing teachers here at MPM. To vote for a teacher that you think is hardworking, dedicated, kind, compassionate or has any traits that make them awesome, vote for them on this form! Further details are provided in the form. Every vote counts and the winners will be announced in the next publication.

Link: https://forms.gle/UTKKdyidHJZVBMvj7

*All our our teachers/staff are amazing and hardworking, but we would like to recognize teachers that go above and beyond. (Similarly to Jr. Lancer Leaders)



February 9- Orleans-Hanna Algebra Prognosis Test

February 9- Band Winter Concert

February 14- Valentine's Day ❤

February 15- Orchestra and Chorus Winter Concert

February 13-17- Scholastic Book Fair

February 20- 24- Winter Break

March 17- St. Patrick's Day 🍀

March 23- MPMS Kids Only Bash!

Newspaper Club Credits and Acknowledgements

Thank you so much for reading our first edition of the MPMS Newspaper Club. We all (Editors, Writers, and Artists) have worked so hard on this edition! We would also like to thank Dr. Incognito and Ms. Gordon for organizing this amazing club! Now, below are all of our fabulous staff that made this edition possible!

2023 Newspaper Club Staff/Credits

Newspaper Club Advisors:

Dr. Incognito

Ms. Gordon

Graphic Arts and Design Editors:

Aman Harshvardhan

Kaavya Sinha

Copy Co-Editors:

Kiaan Shetty

Surbhi Narang

Layout Editors:

Alphia James

Bradley Tang


Alysia Wong

Aneri Nanavati

Anya Goyal

Ava Bilancia

Maysoon Venjara

Nicole Chua

Puneet Pantkota

Sanya Agrawala

Soren Wattamwar

Tanya Vachher

Contributing Writers:

Aanav Parikh

Maren Wagener

Kruthi Mellacheruvu

Aneri Nanavati

Elisha Latona

Michael Bradu

Daniel Mishiyev

Mia Raklyar

Brayden Katcher

Asher Savvas

Jun Lee

Nathan Sverdlov

Big picture


(From right to left): Kiaan Shetty, Alphia James, Kaavya Sinha, Bradley Tang, Aman Harshvardhan, Alysia Wong, and Surbhi Narang.