Overlook in the Covid Era
Overlook Middle School opened the 2020-21 school year very different than the last 25 years it has been in existence. In this new age of COVID-19 and the resulting global pandemic, all areas of our lives have had to change, including schools. Overlook has been operating in a hybrid model since mid September and to date has only needed to go into a 2 week full-remote model once (due to a steady increase in local cases). Students are being educated in one of two formats, hybrid (Cohorts A or B) and Year Long Full Remote (Cohort C). It has certainly not resembled anything like we have ever seen in our lifetimes. Despite all of this, walking through the halls and classrooms still looks fairly normal...aside from the masks and small class size. The future is far from certain but the Overlook community will continue to work together to create a safe and effective learning environment no matter what lies ahead. In the meantime, Overlook continues to adapt as the local, state, national, and global situation evolves.
Covid-19 Updates in Our Area
By Emma Richard
As of Sunday, November 22 in the whole state of Massachusetts, there have been 16,711 positive cases and 200 deaths in the past 7 days. As of November 6th, 2020 Governor Baker issued a stay at home advisory. All mass residents are advised to stay home between the hours of 10 pm and 5 pm. As Covid-19 cases rise in our state, hospitalizations have more than doubled in the past 2 months. Limiting social gatherings will help the risk of overcrowding hospitals in the near future.
Governor Baker's newly set advisories (between the hours of 10pm-5am):
Only leave home for work, school, and essential needs
No gatherings in your home
Mask should always be worn in public
Always practice social distancing and try not to touch surfaces
Use remote modes of communication
Moving To Fully Remote... And Ways to Stay Safe Going Back.
By Stella Deschenes
As everyone knows the Ash/West School District has gone fully remote for the next two weeks due to Covid-19 cases going up. I think it is really amazing how all of our teachers had one day to combine everything to one google classroom and move on like nothing has happened. Everyone should always thank their teachers for all that they have done and continue to do so everyday. Thank you teachers!!!
Sadly, I do not know if we will go back to school in a hybrid learning model any time soon. As I am writing this today we will figure out our school situation soon, so who knows what the future may hold. Everyone should stay safe no matter what! Keep your circle of people small and make sure they are taking precautions. Another thing is to always wear your mask properly and socially distance and always remember to wash your hands.
Moving to fully remote has been a challenge for all of us. No matter what state of school we will be in by the time you see this we can make it through because you are not alone. Here is a question I have for you... do you like the schedule now or do you prefer hybrid? This one is for all you siblings out there who have little or older siblings who are also doing remote learning. I personally have 3 brothers and let me tell you it is a challenge. I totally understand it can be hard to focus or get stuff done.
Here are some tips to help you stay focused.
Make a space your own (I know this might be hard but try), make an environment that keeps you motivated and removes distraction from siblings. I know online learning can be very stressful sometimes but we can get through it.
By Joshua Le Grand
Veterans Day is all about honoring the veterans that served in the U.S. Military. People in the Navy, Army, Marine Corps and more risk their lives every day to protect the USA.
The tradition of honoring veterans starts in 1919, after the Treaty of Versailles had been signed, ending World War I. Seven months before, in the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month in 1918, an armistice had gone up so the fighting would stop. A year later, President Woodrow Wilson made that day the first Armistice Day, saying “To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations…” It was originally going to be parades, public meetings, and no work starting at 11:00 AM. On May 13, 1938, an act was passed to make Armistice Day an official holiday, but after WW2 and the Korean War, the name was changed to Veterans Day on June 1, 1954. Later that year, President Dwight D. Eisenhower delivered the Veteran’s Day Proclamation, which designated the Administrator of Veterans’ Affairs as Chairman of a Veterans Day National Committee, which would plan for Veterans Day. It also stated that “the heads of all departments and agencies of the Executive branch of the Government to assist the [Veterans Day] National Committee in every way possible." *Source: https://www.va.gov/opa/vetsday/vetdayhistory.asp
Many people have family members who were in the military from different branches, like the Army, or the Navy. I have an uncle who was in the Marine Corps. I recently interviewed him about what it was like to be a Marine.
Joshua Le Grand: Let’s start with the basics. When did you begin your military service?
Veteran: I joined the military in January 2011. I was 20 years old.
JLG: Why did you decide to join the military?
VET: I decided to join the military because I was always interested in it. When I was little, I used to play with soldiers a lot, and it just felt like an honorable thing to do. I wanted to do something for my country.
JLG: What did you have to do to get in?
VET: First, I had to go to boot camp in Parris Island, North Carolina.
JLG: What was learning to be a Marine like?
VET: It was very hard, intense, eye-opening, and very rewarding.
JLG: Were you deployed right away?
VET: After boot camp, I went to Marine combat training where they teach you the next level of marksmanship and developing further combat skills.
JLG: What did you do next?
VET: I went to MOS (Military Occupational Specialty) school in Fort Leonardwood, Missouri, where I learned skills like defensive driving and obtained licenses in several military vehicles, such as the Humvee, the 7-ton, etc.
JLG: Then what did you do?
VET: After that I was stationed in Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. I was in several units, such as CLB-8, 8th ESB, and GSMT.
JLG: What was it like where you were stationed?
(Needs help) VET: Camp Lejeune is very big, and I had to find my place. However, we had very long and busy days. We had PT (physical training), we worked Monday through Friday. I went on missions in the base every day. I would take a truck and deliver things like ammo, people, and bridge pieces, cannons, etc.
JLG: What places have you been to?
VET: I’ve been to California, Germany, Kyrgyzstan, Norway, and I went to war in Afghanistan in 2012.
JLG: Was there anything you liked about being a Marine?
VET: I loved all of it! I loved travelling, the brotherhood shared among my fellow marines, and . in Afghanistan, although we had some combat, I enjoyed learning about the people and their culture. Not only was I proud to serve my country, I was also proud of being a Marine.
JLG: What was difficult about being a Marine?
VET: Losing brothers, knowing there’s a chance you’ll never come back, and missing family members, but regardless of all that, I wouldn’t have any regrets.
JLG: Are you still a Marine today?
VET: Once a Marine, always a Marine, but today I’m a veteran and also a police officer.
We should always remember the people who fought for this country and the ones who died. That’s what Veteran’s Day is about: Honoring the people who fought in Vietnam, Korea, and even World War 2!
The 2020 Presidential Election
By Joshua Le Grand
The time to vote has ended, but the election doesn’t seem to be over! On November 3, millions of people went to vote for either President Donald Trump or Former Vice President Joe Biden. Due to the COVID-19 crisis, people voted not only by going to the polls, but they also voted by mail as well. Obtaining results was hard because so many people voted this year and mail-in ballots needed to be counted. After four days, on November 7, Joe Biden was elected president, with 274 electoral votes against Trump’s 214 electoral votes. As of November 15, Biden had 290 votes and Trump had 232 votes, and as of November 22, Biden had 306 and Trump had 232.
The tradition of electing our president goes all the way back to 1788, when George Washington was unanimously elected president. That first election lasted from December 15, 1788 to January 10, 1789. There are two kinds of votes: the popular vote and the electoral vote. The popular vote is decided by the people. Whichever candidate won the popular vote had a higher chance of winning the election. The electoral vote decides who becomes president. The electoral votes are cast by members of the Electoral College, or electors. There are 538 electors, so the candidate must have at least 270 votes to win. An electoral college landslide is when one candidate’s votes overwhelm the others. An example of this is the 1864 election, when Abraham Lincoln won the election with a staggering 212 votes against George McLellan’s 21*.*There were less electors then.
A lot of things have happened since 2016 that influenced people’s choices on who they were going to vote for, like the Black Lives Matter movement and COVID-19. This year's election was, in my opinion, pretty hectic. Let’s run through the events leading up to election day, beginning with the debates. The presidential debates began on Tuesday, September 29 at 9:00 PM. It was my very first time watching a debate, and it did not have a good impression on me. The first presidential debate was the most intense moment of this year’s election, apart from finding out who won. At the beginning of the debate, Trump and Biden were already talking over each other, calling each other names, and saying things like “That’s not true” and “He has no plan”. Everywhere on social media, people were calling the debate a disaster. The second debate was cancelled because President Trump preferred not to have a virtual one. Then there was the third debate. Earlier, the CPD (Commission on Presidential Debates) had made some new rules, so when the debate happened, it happened without any interruptions. The vice-presidential debate was not like the first presidential debate, but there was one moment when a fly landed on Mike Pence’s head and he didn’t notice for two minutes. Cut to the election. The voting began on November 3rd. During the voting process, President Trump said that mail-in ballots were fraudulent, Tweeting, “Bad things happened which our observers were not allowed to see.”
Despite being intense, this year’s election was a historic one. One of those reasons is because Vice President Kamala Harris is the first woman and person of color to be elected vice president, stating “While I may be the first woman in this office, I won’t be the last, because every little girl watching tonight sees that this is a country of possibilities. And to the children of our country...our country has sent you a clear message: dream with ambition, lead with conviction, and see yourselves in a way that others may not.” The other milestone was that Joe Biden won the election with the most votes ever cast: 74 million! As of November 22, he had nearly 80 million votes. In his victory speech, he said, “I pledge to be a president who seeks not to divide, but unify. Who doesn’t see red states and blue states, only sees the United States.” He later tweeted, “From the bottom of my heart, thank you.”
Even though this election was a lot to take in, we managed to get through it without a major crisis. As of now, President Trump would like to make sure the election is fair and would like recounts, Biden is preparing to transition into being the President next January, and the media is exploding with all sorts of stories.
As the election drama winds down, there are many questions, like “Was the election rigged?”, or “How will the new president deal with the pandemic?”, and probably one of the most asked questions, “What’s going to happen now?”, which is a great question. Is President Trump going to keep filing lawsuits, or will he concede? Will the numbers change? Will social media continue to overflow with stories about the election? Only time will tell. But one thing’s for sure: This was one unforgettable election!
History of Thanksgiving
By Emma Richard
The Mayflower set sail with Pilgrims aboard to find new land in an effort to practice religion freely. They found what is now America but they were met with a harsh winter. Because of the harsh winter most of the Pilgrims got really sick with contagious diseases that killed half of the crew. When spring came the surviving members got off the boat only to meet with a Abenaki Native American that greeted them and taught them how to grow and harvest crops, survive harsh winters, and hunt for food.
The pilgrims first corn harvest was successful so as a celebration they held a 3 day long feast with the Native Americans. We still don't know exactly what they ate for the festival.
Now that we know the basic history of thanksgiving, here are some facts that you might not know about The famous Turkey day...
Benjamin Franklin wanted the turkey to be the national bird
Snoopy has made the most appearances in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade
The first professional thanksgiving day football game was in 1920
During the great depression, thanksgiving was moved up to the 3rd Thursday of November to try and get retail prices up
Breaking the wishbone wasn't an american original, we got it from the british who got it from the Romans who got it from the Etruscans. The Etruscans believed birds had oracle powers
Abraham Lincoln was the one that officially declared thanksgiving to be a holiday in the US in 1789
The Time Flies- Part I
By Karl Sargent
It was a dark night in London, and a brown Fiat 500X pulled into the parking lot of The British Museum. Three people stepped out of the car, all in dresses and tuxedos. They were the Reed family. The son, Thomas, walked out of the back driver side, and buttoned up his tuxedo.
“Congrats again, Penelope,” Thomas said. They were going to the museum because Thomas’s older sister, Penelope, had won an award for writing a historical fiction novel that was very successful, and was being honored for it at The British Museum.
“Thank you,” Penelope responded. Penelope was in college, and Thomas was a sophomore in high school. Thomas was very smart, but he was skinny and not very athletic. The only sport he did was running.
The father of the family, Frank Reed, stretched. “That was a very long ride. I’m a wee bit tired from all of this driving.”
Mary, Penelope and Thomas’s mother, nodded. “It really was, Frank.” She put her smartphone in her purse.
“Not like the drive to Newcastle to see Aunt Anne,” Penelope replied. The Reed Family lived in Birmingham, but Frank’s family lived in Scotland, while Mary was from Newcastle.
“That was horrible,” Mary said. Everyone chuckled. Frank held the door open, and everyone walked inside.
“This is amazing,” Thomas said, boldly. The family walked towards one of the exhibit rooms, where the event would be taking place. In the event ballroom, tables with white tablecloth were dotted throughout the space. In the north side of the room, a stage with a fine chestnut wood podium protruded from the wall. The Reed Family sat down at the table reserved for them, and a few minutes later, waiters and waitresses walked out of a door labeled “Kitchen” and started handing out menus to all the guests. When Thomas got a menu, he looked at it and pondered what he would get. Thomas finally decided on the Greek Salad, asked the waiter near his table, and he started drinking his water.
A woman began to introduce Penelope. “Here is the writer we all came here to recognize, Penelope Reed!”
The crowd applauded as Penelope got up from her seat. She walked over to the stage, and began talking. “First of all, I would like to thank the people at The British Museum for giving me this award. I’m not one for making speeches, but it has been a rollercoaster, writing this book, and I didn't expect it to be very successful. Thank god I was wrong.” Penelope took her trophy, and sat down at their table. A few minutes later, the waiters and waitresses went to the Reed family’s table. They gave Thomas his Greek Salad, and he began to eat it.
“I’m going to the bathroom,” Thomas exclaimed. He walked to the edge of the exhibit room. There was a map of the museum at the wall near the doors, so Thomas knew were to go. Thomas was walking up to the bathroom when he saw a man in a suit pinning another man, wearing a suit with a red bowtie to the wall.
“You will not put this mission in jeopardy again, Louis.” He had a Australian accent.
Louis, an American with a Texan accent, looked at him. ”Yes, sir.” He looked at Thomas, angrily. “Sir, look behind you.” The man turned around to look at Thomas. He was wearing a grey tie.
“Make sure no one sees this fool again.”
“Yes, sir.” Both men charged at Thomas, furiously. Thomas bolted around them, into a room with chinese statues from ancient times. This was where Thomas had seen the two men, originally. The two men were gaining on him. He had to go fast! Thomas took a right turn into another room with Japanese art. The two men, still following, were falling behind him. Thomas took off his suit jacket, to make it less tiring to run. He looked over his shoulder, to see that the man with the gray tie was aiming what looked like a taser at him. He fired the taser like device. A blast of energy shot out of the taser-like weapon, hit Thomas in the back, knocking him unconscious. Thomas was thrown against a wall, and hit the ground. The men went to the body. “Is he dead?”
“No, I set it to stun. Take him away, and bring him to camp. He’ll be used for Project Eden.”
“Yes, Commander.” Louis picked up the knocked out body of Thomas Reed and began to carry him away.
Thomas woke up. He appeared to be in a dark room, surrounded by no light. He tried to move his arms, but they were tied together. “What’s happening?” Thomas asked himself. His legs were tied as well, so when he tried to stand, he had to lean against a wall to stabilize himself. He hopped to another wall. Luckily, he felt a doorknob. He pounded on the door. The door creaked open to see a soldier, with a rifle slung across his back. He appeared to be in a plane, because the windows showed that the plane was at the same level as the clouds. All of the chairs had been ripped out of their places, and were nowhere to be seen. “Who are you?” Thomas asked. He was answered by a punch to the face, which made him pass out.
Thomas woke up once again. This time, he was in a van with 4 other people. “Hello,” One of the other people said. The other three people were all asleep as well. The man was wearing a black The Beatles shirt, and blue jeans. He had dark brown hair, which at the time was messy.
“Who are you?” Thomas asked, terrified.
“My name is Ben Whitley. And you are?”
“I’m Thomas Reed. I was kidnapped in London, do you know anything about this?”
Ben, also cuffed to the wall of the van, coughed. “You were kidnapped by The Eon Empire. They have been dominating time for a long time now.”
“Is this a joke? Last time I checked, time travel didn't exist.”
“What year was it when you were kidnapped?”
“2020. Why does that matter?”
“First of all, time travel exists. Second, we could be 10000 years before 2020 right now. No way of knowing.”
Thomas looked baffled. “I don't believe you. Although, the men who kidnapped me had some futuristic looking weapons. They were like handguns, but they shot some kind of energy wave.”
“Those are phase pistols.”
“Phase Pistols, you say?” Ben nodded. “Do you know a lot about this Eon Empire?”
“Yes. It’s an oppressive, facsist regime, built on slaves who stood up to the empire. And their emperor is no better. His name is-”
Ben was cut off by the bus being hit by a rocket. The bus tumbled off of the path, and the doors rocked open. Thomas was shot out of the van, and tumbled down a hill. He appeared to be in a boreal forest, and he heard a warzone. But instead of gunfire, he heard the energy blast sound of phase pistols. Ben was nowhere to be found. “I’ll untie you!” A irish sounding voice said behind Thomas.
“Thank you,” Thomas said. The person cut off the rope on his hands and his legs. Thomas turned around to see the person who saved him. She had a green military vest on, over a forest camo shirt and pants. She also had red hair.
“Take this,” She said. She handed him a phase pistol. “Shoot only at the people with red berets.”
“Are you against the Eon Empire?”
“Of course. I’m with The Resistance.” She ran towards the battle, shooting her phaserifle.
Thomas stayed there, and thought. He decided to run from the fight. He realized running into a deep forest was a bad idea. He decided to fight. He now wanted to end this alleged tyranny.
Thomas hid behind a tree, with people from the other side firing away at him with phase-machineguns and phaserifles. He peeked over the tree and aimed his gun at them, and started shooting away. One got hit, causing him to fade into dust. Thomas felt terrible. He hid behind the tree again, crying. “Why did I do this?” Thomas asked himself.
After hiding in place for a while, he heard shouts of “Retreat!” and “Fall Back!” from the enemy. He got up, still sad about taking a life. Looking behind him, he saw a couple soldiers were retreating, with the rest dead.
“I can't believe I did that,” Thomas said.
Another green camo-clad soldier walked over to him. “Hey, it’s okay. They are fighting to keep monarchy through time.”
“Thank you, I just feel bad.” The soldier patted him on the back, and walked away. Thomas then sought out to find the woman from earlier. He wanted answers. Finally, he caught up to her. “What is your name?”
“My name is Bridget Lancer,” Bridget said.
Bridget began to walk away when Thomas stopped her. “Wait,” he said. She turned around. “Who is the leader of the Eon Empire?”
“His name is Henry Theodoro.”
“I still don’t think time travel is real.”
“Oh, you don’t? Let me show you something.” She took a device from a vest pocket, and clicked it a few times. A blue light shimmered about 5 feet to the right, and a door appeared. “Just walk through.” Thomas walked to the door, and opened it. On the other side, he saw a wooden room with a group of men. Some of the people at the center of the room were leaning leaning over a table and writing something. Thomas quickly realized that one of those men was George Washington, and Thomas was looking at the U.S. Declaration of Independence being signed. He closed the door, quickly.
“It is real.”
“See, I told you. Hey, if you’d like to join The Resistance, we’d love to have you.”
“Let me think about it. So you’re fighting to bring democracy back?”
“I’ll join.” This decision made by Thomas Reed would change time as we know it. “Is there some kind of base you have?”
“Yes. I’ll bring you there in a minute.” Bridget once again took the device out of her pocket.
“What is that thing?”
“It’s called a Time-Jumper. It’s an older model, so that’s why there is a door. Nowadays there is a blue gate about the size of the door, and you don’t have to open and close it.”
“So when are you from, anyway?”
“I’m from Ireland, in the 1500’s.”
Thomas was shocked that anyone from the 1500’s was alive to see time travel. “So the base.”
“Ah, of course. Come this way.” She pressed a few buttons on the Time-Jumper, and a door appeared. Thomas and Bridget opened the door and walked through it, into a base of The Resistance.