The Owl

April 2020

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Hudson High’s New Principal By Osman Gofran

After Dr. Abitable’s departure to Lansingburgh Central School District this past fall, Mr. LaCasse, who was previously the Associate Principal, became the new Hudson High principal on November 23rd, 2019.

Mr. LaCasse is a former Hudson High alumnus, Class of 1994. He was born and raised in Hudson along with his two younger brothers who are also Hudson High alumni. During high school, Mr.LaCasse played football, basketball and baseball and lettered in both football and basketball. After high school he attended SUNY Cortland where he played football for 4 years and also earned his Bachelor of Science Degree in Elementary Education with a minor in Secondary History. Soon after that, he went on to earn his Master’s Degree from the College of St. Rose in Literacy Education and most recently earned his School District Leader Certification through the College of St. Rose’s Institute for New Era Educational Leadership and Innovation Program.

Mr. LaCasse learned that he worked well with children and he was able to reach them in ways others could not. He also had a passion for sports and after playing them, he realized that coaching was something he was good at. It served as a way to keep his competitive juices flowing after college. The real motivation behind Mr. LaCasse’s career came while he was in college and began substitute teaching in the Hudson City School District. He felt gravitated toward education and history courses and realized that there was a need for positive male role models in education and athletics.

Mr. LaCasse started his career in teaching by becoming a 6th Grade Social Studies teacher at the MC Smith Middle School where he taught for three years. He then transferred to the high school to teach Global Studies 9 & 10, Economics and AP World 9. While teaching at the high school, he was the Head Varsity Football Coach for about ten years and the Head JV Baseball Coach for a few years. He also coached Freshmen Basketball for two years as well. Towards the end of Mr. LaCasse’s teaching career, he began to take classes at St. Rose for his administrative certificate. When he began his internship, he was fortunate when an opening became available at the high school for Dean of Students. He held that position for two years until the district hired him to become the Associate Principal. Mr. LaCasse held that position until he became principal back in November. In total, Mr. LaCasse has been working in the Hudson City School District for twenty years.

Mr. LaCasse’s favorite part about being an administrator is overseeing and developing programs each and every day and seeing how those programs affect the school climate and culture. He loves going into classes and seeing how students interact with each other and their teachers. He enjoys telling anyone that will listen about all the good things going on at the high school. He especially likes being in the hallways interacting with the students, getting to know them, finding out what they enjoy, and learning about how to improve the school. That is why Mr. LaCasse finds that someone with his job needs to be a good listener to both students and staff about how to improve the school.

As someone who has attended, and now helps run Hudson High, Mr. LaCasse believes the high school’s diversity makes it different from many of the schools within Columbia County. He plans to continue to support the high school’s growth and diversity as the new principal. When asked about what he has learned and hopes to carry on from Dr. Abitable, Mr.LaCasse said it was as Dr. Abitable used to say the notion of, “people over process”. Taking care of the teachers and the students first and allowing the process to follow afterwards is his philosophy. In regards to personal goals that Mr. LaCasse has for the high school, there are many but first and foremost he hopes to begin the process of upgrading the high school’s technology. He plans to have the Art Department’s Mac Lab operational for classes as early as this coming Fall. From there he hopes that the Digital Animation, Graphic Design and Photography courses can begin to develop their own YouTube Channel and spread all the wonderful things happening at school. Eventually he would like to see a CAD Design course and from there, have students take what they learned about production and design and create products from scratch.

The biggest piece of advice Mr. LaCasse has for students is to not let anyone tell you what you cannot achieve. “Be persistent and good things will come.” Mr. LaCasse’s senior quote was “The biggest pleasure in life is doing what people say you cannot do,” and he still adheres to that and rarely takes no for an answer. An interesting and fun fact about Mr.LaCasse is that for his honeymoon, he made his wife travel to Italy to visit all of the places that he spent his career teaching his students about. They visited Rome, Florence, and Venice and seeing the Sistine Chapel in person was something that he was eager to check off his bucket list. Mr. LaCasse and his wife Heather, who is also a Hudson High School graduate, Class of 2000, have two boys Caleb and Connor as well as a twelve year old rescue pitbull named Roscoe. Mr.LaCasse enjoys spending time with his family and likes to volunteer as a coach for all his kids’ teams that they play on throughout the year. He also enjoys cooking, visiting Cape Cod, watching the Boston Red Sox, skiing and being outdoors.

Mr. LaCasse has been a valuable part of the Hudson community for decades and we hope he continues to be as he helps lead the future of Hudson High!

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Everything Students Need to Know about Covid-19 By Arianna Camacho

The Name Covid-19:

There are many strains of the coronavirus. The different strains are behind many illnesses varying in severity, sometimes as harmless as the common cold. However, the novel coronavirus that originated in Wuhan China is one doctors and researchers are unfamiliar with. The name Covid-19 was given to the novel (meaning new) coronavirus in early February after careful consideration from several health organizations. They wanted a name that would specify which strain of the coronavirus people were dealing with, without encouraging stereotypes or placing blame on any individual, place, or animal.

The Origins of the Virus:

Covid-19 is believed to have been transferred from a bat to a person at a food market in the Hubei Province of China. The bat was believed to be carrying the virus before it mutated, allowing it to infect humans. Because much research has gone into preventing the spread of the disease, not much is truly known about its origins. Most

speculations have little confirmed evidence backing them. It is confirmed however, that the virus evolved naturally, and was not created in a lab.

Symptoms and Spread:

The symptoms of Covid-19 are very similar to those of other illnesses. Symptoms include fever, cough, shortness of breath, fatigue, and persistent pain or pressure in the chest. During the early stages of research, it was believed that the virus could only be spread by direct contact with an individual who already had the disease. This has since been disproven. The disease is spread by airborne particles, which can potentially linger in the air for about three hours. The amount of time the particles last on surfaces such as counters and door handles is believed to be similar. In addition to this, the U.S. has evidence that the disease can be transmitted by community spread. This means that people have had confirmed cases of the virus without having come in direct contact with someone who is sick. This may be explained by the fact that people do not show symptoms of the disease for up to fourteen days and could be spreading the virus unknowingly.

Lethality and Long Term Effects:

As of February 18, 2020 Covid-19 had an overall lethality rate of about 2%. As of March 20th, the rate had increased to about 4%. As of April 21, 791,672 confirmed cases have been reported in the U.S.A (MSNBC). However, reports of the number of cases and number of deaths are likely to be inaccurate due to the lack of testing kits. About 80% of cases are considered mild, and are very likely to recover. 14% are considered moderate to severe, and only 5% have been critical cases. The World Health Organization (WHO) is predicting that as the number of confirmed mild cases increase, the lethality rate will balance out at around one percent. As for long term effects, little is known. Scientists in Hong Kong have observed that some patients still lost 20% to 30% of lung function even after fully recovering. This however, can be treated with physiotherapy.

To put things into perspective, Ebola had a lethality rate of about 50% and the MERS outbreak in 2012 had a lethality rate of about 30%.

Treatments and Trials:

There is no known cure for Covid-19, however that does not mean there is nothing doctors can do to help. Doctors provide supportive care to those who need it. This can include giving them IV fluids to stay hydrated, or antipyretics to lower fevers. In serious cases, ventilators are needed to assist the lungs. It is up to a person’s own immune system to fight off the disease. There are currently over 80 experimental trials going on to find a cure. For example, how the disease reacts to HIV medication and other similar drugs is being tested. A vaccine is also in the works, and can be expected to come out in mid 2021.

Why Quarantine is Essential:

Quarantining is the only thing that can effectively help control the spread of Covid-19 for many reasons. To begin, it offers a sense of herd immunity. This means that it protects people such as the elderly and people with weakened immune systems from being exposed to the virus in the first place. When the number of people that are exposed is reduced, it eases the stress on hospitals. This is called flattening the curve. If people were to continue about spreading the disease, the number of cases would grow exponentially and hospitals would be overrun. When hospitals are short staff or equipment it is more likely that people will not receive the proper care and the lethality rate of the disease will increase. If going out is necessary, social distancing of six feet apart is recommended at all times.

Covid-19 in New York State:

As of April 21, New York had the largest number of reported cases in the United States, with at least 247,543 confirmed cases. As a result, Governor Cuomo issued an executive order requiring face masks to be worn in public. Masks or coverings do not protect someone from catching the disease, rather they prevent people who are already sick from spreading the disease. The order also requires businesses to supply their workers with masks.

In Conclusion:

The reason Covid-19 is dangerous is because of its rapid and uncontrolled spread. The best way to protect yourself is to avoid exposure and wash your hands properly and regularly. As Dr. Mikhail Varshavski says, “stay alert, not anxious.”

A General Timeline of the Disease:

  • The first cases of the novel coronavirus arose in early December, 2019 in Wuhan China.

  • On January 21, 2020, the first case was reported in the United States.

  • January 30th, the World Health Organization (WHO) Declared the novel coronavirus a “global health emergency.” This declaration opened access to money for research and sparked communications between countries regarding the disease.

  • Shortly after, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) declared the novel coronavirus a “national health emergency,” which led to an increase in screening at airports, a decreased number of international flights, and limited the number of Chinese people who were not U.S. citizens, or directly related to a U.S. citizen, from entering the United States.

  • On February 11th, the CDC named the novel coronavirus Covid-19.

  • March 11th, WHO declared Covid-19 a pandemic.

  • Days afterward, President Donald Trump declared a “national emergency.” This opened up 50 billion dollars of disaster funds so they could be used to help fight the virus.

  • March 19th there were 4,152 confirmed cases and 34 deaths due to Covid-19 in New York.

  • March 20th the first case was confirmed in Columbia County.

  • April 6th, Governor Cuomo doubled the fine for violating social distancing rules to $1,000.

  • April 21, there were 247,543 confirmed cases and 14,347 deaths due to Covid-19 in New York.

  • As of 2:45 p.m. April 21, 2020 there were 111 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Columbia County and 15 deaths.

Works Cited

"Columbia County Officials Report First Covid-19 Case." News10. News10, Accessed 21 Mar. 2020.

Columbia County Public Information. "3/23 Covid-19 Update." Columbia County Department of Health, 23 Mar. 2020, Accessed 23 Mar. 2020.

"Coronavirus Disease 2019." Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. CDC, Accessed 21 Mar. 2020. "Novel Coronavirus (Covid-19)." What You Need to Know.

"Coronavirus Truth.", uploaded by Dr. Mikhail Varshavski, 29 Jan. 2020, Accessed 21 Mar. 2020.

Ebrahimian, Bethany Allen. "Timeline: The Early Days of China's Coronavirus and Coverup." Axios, 18 Mar. 2020, Accessed 21 Mar. 2020.

Hicks, Kyle. "State of New York Leads US in Number of Covid-19 Cases." The Denver Chanel, Accessed 21 Mar. 2020.

Joseph, Andrew. "Disease Caused by the Coronavirus Officially Has a Name: Covid-19.", 11 Feb. 2020, Accessed 21 Mar. 2020.

Sales, Jordi. "What Happens after You Recover From Coronavirus?" World Economic Forum, 20 Mar. 2020, Accessed 22 Mar. 2020.

Scripts Research Institute. "Covid-19 Coronavirus Epidemic Has a Natural Origin." Science Daily, 17 Mar. 2020, Accessed 23 Mar. 2020. 13 Mar. 2020, Accessed 21 Mar. 2020.

All County Festival Held at Hudson High School By Arianna Camacho

This past month, Hudson High school hosted the 2020 All County Festival. The concert featured select students from schools such as Hudson, Taconic Hills, Chatham, Germantown, Ichabod, and New Lebanon.

In order to be selected, students in high school band and elementary school choir needed to be recommended by their band teacher. After teachers sent in their recommendations, a council decided who would make it based on overall experience and past participation in the festival. The process allows only specially talented students to represent their district.

After students were selected to participate in either the band or choir, they spent several weeks preparing with their band teacher for the festival. On the Wednesday before the concert all the schools gathered at Hudson for what would be their only rehearsal before the concert day. All together, students practiced for about four straight hours.

The concert was held Friday, March 6th. Families and friends from all over the county gathered in Hudson’s auditorium to listen to the performers. Overall, All County is a great way to bring together the community through music and allows students with similar interests to meet and make new friends.

Model UN By Rida Farzana

On Saturday, February 29, 2020 , Hudson High School hosted a Model UN Conference. Students from various schools attended. There were two guest speakers- Mr. George Tarr, who was the Refugee Congress Delegate, and Matilda Issata Sawie. Participants were placed in two separate rooms. One was Mrs. Abitabile's room, which served as the crisis committee and the other room was Mrs. Naramore's room, which was the General Assembly . President Saba Mocklach and Pierre Jeune were UNHCR Chairs. Oliver Pflaum and Edward Mendez were the Crisis Chairs.

The model UN meets and hears ideas for solving international problems from climate change to conflicts in the South China Sea. This year the conference was graced with an opportunity to participate in the MUN Refugee Challenge. This challenge is headed by the UNHCR (UN High Commissioner for Refugees) in an effort to get students worldwide to form resolutions for those subject to displacement due to climate change. In the General Assembly on climate change and displacement, they take all resolutions made and submit them to the UNHCR. The Crisis Committee discussed territorial conflicts in the South China Sea.

Thanks to Mrs. Factor and the social studies teachers, Hudson Model UN was very successful and students learned a great deal! Hopefully Hudson will host again in the future.
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Book Review By Subrina Huda

If You Don’t Have Anything Nice to Say

By Leila Sales

In today’s generation, social media is a big trend that keeps people updated as to what is going on in the world. Social media is a form of communication in which people can convey their messages at their own convenience. However, people are not careful with their words and they can get into a lot of trouble. In the novel If You Don’t Have Anything Nice to Say, by Leila Sales, Winter Halperin is a seventeen-year-old girl who is a former spelling bee champion and an aspiring writer who gets in trouble by not being careful with her words on the internet. As a result, her life gets completely destroyed and she attempts to rectify her mistakes while facing everyone’s hatred. Winter learns one of the biggest lessons in life is the power of words and how one must be cautious with what they say or else they and individuals related to them will have to face dire consequences.


Editor: Osman Gofran


Arianna Camacho

Rida Farzana

Subrina Huda


Ms. Cipollari

Mrs. Near