The Sting

June 2016

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Middle School Hires New Principal Questions By Anton Kozyrev and Owen Donnellan Valade

Some of us remember Mrs. Maino's 6th Grade English class. For the past two years, she has been sharing her gift of teaching with others as an Assistant Principal in Gloucester. This fall, she will make her return as our new Middle School Principal. We asked her to share her thoughts:

Q: How do you feel about returning to Manchester Essex?

I am very excited about returning to Manchester Essex! I was sad to leave the community I had "grown up with" as a teacher, but I had a strong desire to be a middle school principal. The opportunity to be an assistant principal at the O'Maley Innovation Middle School in Gloucester came along, and I knew I had to jump at the chance because it would bring me closer to my ultimate goal of leading a middle school of my own one day.

Q: How do you think your time away from Manchester Essex exposed you to new ideas?

I have been away for two years, and the learning curve has been tremendous! Gloucester is a wonderful and unique community that I have come to love. O'Maley is a much larger building with many more students -- over 600. I have worked with students, teachers, and families at all grade levels and within all content areas. This broad range of experience has helped me gain a new perspective and appreciation for the challenges teachers and students face not only day-to-day but across longer periods of time. Engaging our students looks very different across the content areas; strategies and techniques that work for an English teacher, for example, may not be very effective for a math teacher. Rather than isolating my own, new ideas, my recent experiences have solidified by strong belief in fostering teacher leadership across the grade levels and working to build an environment in which teachers and staff can work together to share new, innovative ideas of their own.

Q: What is your primary goal as the new principal?

My primary goal in returning to Manchester Essex is to reenter in a patient, respectful way. Many changes have happened since I left, and there are several new members of the community. I plan to get to know new people and new processes and reacquaint myself with everyone. I plan to do more listening than talking. It is very important that I gain a full understanding of the Manchester Essex of today versus the Manchester Essex of my past. I need to discover where I can add the most value. What do students need of their new principal? How can I support teachers? What are the expectations of families? There's a saying, you only get one chance to make a first impression, and although, for many, this isn't a first impression of me, it is everyone's first impression of Manchester Essex's new principal. It's important to me that I am patient and that I get it right. We have plenty of time.

Q: You were our English teacher once. Will you bring your classroom skills into the main office?

I will absolutely bring my classroom skills into the main office. Organization is such a crucial key to success in education. I could never have worked as a Manchester Essex teacher, team leader, and administrative intern all in one year if I was not organized. I am a strong believer that the details must be in place and taken care of before moving on to bigger things. As a teacher, I structured my lessons in very organized, scaffolded ways. This built a framework within which my students could move on to high order thinking skills. I will run the main office in a similar fashion. I will organize and settle the details, so teachers can do the important work of educating our kids. Most importantly, I will bring my teacher's heart into the main office. I loved teaching, and I LOVE middle school students. So, while my eye will often have to be on the big picture, my intent and my actions will always be rooted in what is best for our kids.

Q: Did you ever think you were going to be principal of Manchester Essex?

In my second to last year at Manchester Essex, I was an administrative intern, which basically means I was an administrator in training. We had an interim principal at that time, and the following year Mr. Guditus joined our community as our AWESOME new principal. While we went through the interview process in search of Mr. Guditus, I secretly wished I could be the next principal. But, it is a very important job, and I just did not have enough experience at that time. I feel like the stars have aligned, and now I get to come back as your principal! This is very exciting!

Q: What reforms might you make to the school?

At this current time, I do not have specific ideas for reform or change. Of course, change is inevitable when it comes to educational leadership, but I am most interested in uncovering opportunities for improvement. I'll need the help of the entire Manchester Essex team with that. I am looking forward to listening to and working with students, teachers, staff, and families. Ships sail best with input and participation from every member of the crew. I'm ready to listen and lead.

Q: How might you be similar to Mr. Guditus?

I have so much respect for Mr. Guditus. I worked with him for one year in Manchester Essex, and I learned a tremendous amount from him in that period of time. His enthusiasm for students, teachers, and education is infectious! In my career as a teacher, I worked under four principals, and as a parent, I have observed four different principals working with my kids. I like to think I borrow a little bit from each of these people; the things I borrow from Mr. Guditus are his positivity, open mindedness, and strong desire to support and help teachers be the best they can be every single day. Manchester Essex was so very lucky to have him at the helm, and I consider myself extremely fortunate to have had the opportunity to learn from him.

Q: Will you hope to implement the PARCC system instead of MCAS?

Standardized testing...don't get me started! We have spent the last several weeks on PARCC and the Science MCAS at O'Maley. It feels like a lot of time on testing and not enough time on learning. We all have the upcoming MCAS 2.0 to look forward to, and I am hopeful that the State will bring only the best of MCAS and PARCC to this new assessment. While I strongly believe it is important to find out what students know and are able to do, I don't place more weight on one, single test than it deserves. I see MCAS and PARCC as just one tool from a whole menu of tools we have available to determine what our kids know, how we need to support them, and where we need to head next with teaching and learning. We need to prepare our students for the innovations of the future, so it is important to have some level of accountability with that. But, as principal, I will strive to help us keep that accountability in perspective, so we can all continue to do what we know is in the best interests of our students.

Farewell, Mrs. Kavanagh By Owen Donnellan Valade, On behalf of thirty-four years of students

Oh, how we will miss the never ending algebra with pizzazz homework assignments. We will miss giving ten dollars to Mrs. Kavanagh for missing the GCMF. But mostly, we will miss the thirty-four years of her exceptional teaching that has taught all our parents and now us, making us all better math students. Extra credit if you can count the amount of parabolas in this article. Five dollars towards Mrs. Kavanagh’s retirement fund if she can find all of them.

Riddles by Eve DiZio

Q: I’m tall when I’m young and I’m short when I’m old. What am I?

A: A candle

Q: If you look at the numbers on my face you won't find thirteen anyplace. What am I?

A: A clock.

Q: Tear one off and scratch my head what was red is black instead.

A: A matchstick.

Q: There are three men in a boat with four cigarettes but no matches. How do they manage to smoke?

A: They throw one cigarette overboard and made the boat a cigarette lighter.

Q: What is as light as a feather, but even the world’s strongest man couldn’t hold it for more than a minute?

A: His breath!

Q: What starts with the letter “t”, is filled with “t” and ends in “t”?

A: A teapot!

The Aston Martin Vantage is... Interesting by Anton Kozyrev

There’s just something about climbing into an Aston Martin. The sight. The sound. The beauty. The fact that releasing the parking brake requires a long, detailed explanation.

Yes, the Aston Martin V8 Vantage has a lot of weird quirks. Some are endearing. Some are bizarre. Some make you wonder whether the good folks at Aston Martin had ever previously designed a car. Or engineered a car. Or seen a car.

Let's start with the most ridiculous part. The key. A key is something you use to damage someone else's car (known as keying someone's car). It is occasionally used to open your own car. Keys have the car logo on them, right? But what if they have two logos? That is what happened to the Aston Martin Vantage. They didn't make a key. Aston Martin and Volvo were both owned by Ford, and as such shared some components. If you take an Aston Martin Vantage key and peel off the leather, you will reveal...a Volvo key! Surprise! The $200K car you bought uses the same key that the sweet old lady down the street uses to drive her Volvo. This isn't as bad as the Aston Martin DB5 key, which used a Ford Explorer key. The Explorer was a $25K car, whereas the DB5 was worth more than some Midwestern counties. Overall, Aston Martin was aiming for luxury, but it missed the mark very badly. It is as if Aston Martin was dribbling the ball toward the goal, but the goal turned into a hot tub full of armadillos.

Paronomasia by Eve DiZio

A friend of mine tried to annoy me with bird puns, but then I realized, toucan play at that game!

I’d tell you a chemistry joke, but I know I wouldn’t get a reaction.

I’m reading a book about anti-gravity. It’s impossible to put down.

Have you ever tried to eat a clock? It’s really time consuming.

I don’t trust stairs because they are always up to something.

He drove his expensive car into a tree to find out how the Mercedes bends

I couldn't quite remember how to throw a boomerang, but eventually it came back to me.

What did the grape say when it got stepped on? Nothing - but it let out a little whine.

How did I escape Iraq? Iran.

Long fairy tales are such a dragon.

Atheism is a non-prophet organization.

These giant squid jokes are kraken me up.

I make apocalypse jokes like there’s no tomorrow.

"Nerves" an anecdote within 160 words by Oli M. Turner

It was a cold morning, and there was a bus and a bad case of nerves.

The sky was gray and so was the mood. I was a turtle with my neck still in my shell, not yet ready for the day. I was wearing a fleece hat on my head, three layers under a heavy jacket, and my heart was already racing beneath it all.

I could see towns blur by outside my window, and every color was a reflection of the mood that I was in. My eyes could not yet open. My hands could not stop sweating. My stomach could not untangle itself from its tight coil of frightened abandon.

Blood pounded against my skull. As I closed my eyes, I saw feet pounding in the same way, slipping away from me...

I finally resigned myself to my own terror. I could already see the look on my coach’s face if I didn’t win.

"Kansas" by Oli M. Turner

The sky darkened; then it was illuminated by a fork of lightning. All around me, tumbleweed spiraled across the barren landscape. I could hear my uncle scream, his words sucked into the air in a useless call- to me? To my aunt, across the chicken yard sheltering all of the small ones into her arms?

Then I saw it. A large, swirling mass of anger that Mother Nature had sent for us- oh, what had we done to deserve such a thing! It was black; dark, rich black like the color of the soil in the east where things grow well and little green sprouts pop up out of the ground when it is springtime. It must have been as tall as a hundred houses, looming over our little town like we were toys. It picked up everything in its path, a giant vacuum.

I stared in horror. I couldn’t shout for Uncle Henry. It was just me and Toto now.

Hamilton, the Musical Gripping the Nation by Oli M. Turner

In February of last year, the musical, a tribute to the founding father, Alexander Hamilton, made its debut in The Public Theater. It soon made it to Broadway in August of 2015, receiving outstanding reviews and many Grammy nominations. Its popularity rose, and soon Hamilton was sold out in every single show.

Written by a man named Lin-Manuel Miranda, the play is based off of a biography called Alexander Hamilton by Robert Chernow. The book is a detailed explanation of his life and fall into near obscurity, even including information from Hamilton’s personal letters, early life, and wife’s life after his death. Many people do not know who he was, and this musical sheds light on his massive achievements. Some information: he is on the ten dollar bill, the dime, he fought alongside George Washington in the revolutionary war (and possibly was the reason that we won), and wrote maniacally until his last. Contrary to popular belief, he was not ever president.

The production is written in modern style, and most of it is rap, and sometimes is very humorous. It has many different cast members, with Miranda himself as Hamilton. There are many people who cannot see the show in person, but the complete original cast recording can be bought, which is nearly as good as the production in person.

The show starts with an introduction number that summarizes Hamilton’s life until about the age of nineteen. Hamilton is an immigrant, having grown up in disaster on a Caribbean Island. His mother died when he was twelve, his father having left when he was much smaller. His genius managed to get him to America by his late teenage years when he got an education and began fighting in the war. Later on, he gets married, writes essays for the Constitution, participates in the government and completely changes the course of history, is involved in the first major cheating scandal seen in politics, suffers many losses, and is assassinated by a man named Aaron Burr at just forty-nine years old. He lived an honorable life, and the production does him justice.

Alexander Hamilton was a major part of American history. Hamilton shows it in an incredible way, laced with determination, bravery, humor, and sadness. For all you fans out there, we will find a way to see it… we are not throwing away our shot!

Our Presidents by Anton Kozyrev

Yet another election season is upon us once again. Here’s my question for you - how well do you know our former presidents? Try to determine which president I am talking about based on the clue.

  1. This 41st president famously uttered the phrase “Read my lips: no new taxes.”

  2. This president was at the forefront of the Monica Lewinsky scandal, and asked us to define “is”.

  3. This president was the first and only to resign so as not to be impeached.

  4. This president earned the famous nickname “The Gipper” for his role as George Gipp in the 50s movie “Knute Rockne: All American”.

  5. This president was a general who masterminded the Allies’ D-Day invasion in WWII.

  6. This president was the only president to serve more than two terms (he served four).

  7. This president became the first incumbent to lose reelection since Herbert Hoover in the 1920s.

  8. This president was born in Brookline, Massachusetts. He is widely acclaimed for his masterful handling of the Cuban missile crisis.

  9. This president, seconds after having been shot in the lung, said “Ladies and gentlemen, you may not have noticed, but I have just been shot. But it takes more than that to kill a Bull Moose.”

Answer Key

  1. George Herbert Walker Bush

  2. Bill Clinton

  3. Richard Nixon

  4. Ronald Reagan

  5. Dwight Eisenhower

  6. Franklin D. Roosevelt

  7. Jimmy Carter

  8. John F. Kennedy

  9. Theodore Roosevelt

A Variety of Jokes by Anton Kozyrev, Eve DiZio, and Owen Donnellan Valade

What do you call an alligator in a vest?

An investigator.

What happens of you eat yeast and shoe polish?

You rise and shine.

Knock knock.

Who's there?


Doris who?

Doris locked.

Did you hear about the hungry clock?

It went back four seconds.

Did you hear the one about the giraffe?

Never mind, it'll go over your head.

Why was the library so tall?

It had so many stories.

Why was the math books sad?

It had too many problems

What is the capital of Arkansas?


Where was the Declaration of Independence signed?

At the bottom.

Where does Sherlock Holmes go to school?

Elementary, my dear Watson.

Why did the twenty-five watt bulb flunk out of school?

He wasn’t very bright.

Where do you find Canada?

On a map.

Why did the physics teacher break up with the biology teacher? There was no chemistry.

I always thought my neighbors were nice people. But then they changed their wifi password.

What did the stamp say to the envelope? Stick with me and I will take you places.

The magical golden fish granted three men a wish each. The first man wished for a room full of gold. The second man wished for a room filled with diamonds. The third man wished for keys to those rooms.

What should you do when you see a spaceman? Park in it, man!

Short Stories Corner Featuring Anton Kozyrev, Natasha Ferguson, Oli Turner, and Owen Donnellan Valade

Stories in 60 Characters

Pondering this task

Hunger is upon me….ah!!!

Haiku to save me!

~ Anton Kozyrev

As death comes upon me, I hope my deeds will not have condemned me to hell.

~ Owen Donnellan Valade

It was midnight. With the last sound of the clock went the last of my soul.

~ Oli Turner

Short Stories Within 160 Words


I scream as I run, zipping by like a zebra, past my masked attacker, as they reach for my neck. The glass window shatters as I crash into it. I feel some hot blood from my elbow trickle down my forearm. There's a small gash on my right leg, and small cuts all over my body, but I have no time to waste. In jumping through a window, I have given my assailant a quick way to chase after me, so I must cover enough ground, away from the cloaked figure. But he’s too fast for me. The person pins me to the ground; they are too strong! I flail around like a fish out of water. I reach forward, struggling to grab their mask. They dodged deftly out of my hand’s reach, so I relax, before darting it swiftly, and suddenly! The mask is in my hand and I look at them. No, it can’t it be him!

~ Natasha Ferguson

"One Last Stand"

A storm was brewing over the water. I could see it from the cliff where I stood, and water smashed against the rock at my feet. I knew why I was here; I knew it all too well.

I spoke, and though the wind was strong, every syllable rung through the heavens and reverberated all around me. It took all of the energy that I had to bring myself to say the words that would destroy cities and towns, people and houses.

As I watched, numb to feeling, and it rose out of the churning sea, looming monstrously over me.

~ Oli Turner

Poetry Corner By Owen Donnellan Valade and Oli Turner

When your eyes close

And the sound lows

When night comes calling

And you go falling

And quivering you hear

You have given into fear

And sleeping in the terror

And there is darkness in the air

With your heart like a drum

In its own dark tomb

Of imagination

Through heaven and hells of your own creation

- O. D. V.

Love is a splendid

wake to the darkness of hate

within someone’s soul

- O. D. V.

I do not wish to lie

while others die

and sit in ignorance

as others prance

and still I lie

- O. D. V.

People die sooner

when they do not live at all

than those who will live

- O. D. V.

We cannot be contained

And will remain insane

Will not admit defeat

Until we can beat

All our pain

- O. D. V.

Light has an effect

That banishes our dark thoughts

To their evil home

- O. D. V.

When you think they are

Gone, that is usually

When they have come back

- O. D. V.

They are to love

They are to hate

They are to live

They are to have

They are to live

They are to die

- O. D. V.

Greed, Die, Hate

Are all a part of our emotional fate

Live, Happy, Hope

- O. D. V.


their lips are shiny

pink slugs-




their smiles are made of plastic



their feelings locked inside

like they are wearing



Protected, yet



They laugh

I hide

And it is dark

black as obsidian

but safe

and cozy

and I am enveloped

in a warm embrace.



I cannot hear them now.

Oli M. Turner

Mirror, Mirror

When the snowflakes

did pirouettes

in the air; when

the fate was chose

for the royal

heir, three drops of

red blood from a

regal hand, the

needle that pricked

her burnt like a

brand, and silver

point shining in

the morning light,

ebony hair

with skin that is

white. The kind queen’s

burden was too

much to bear… the

ice froze the whole

kingdom, cold, spare,

and still and soft

like a midnight prayer

as her last breath

rose up in a

shattered dawn, her

last wish come true

in the lips of

her spawn- red as

blood, the skin of

snow, the eyes of

a raven’s or of a crow

and the wind was too tired

to howl and

blow its sad

and chilled refrain.

Oli M. Turner

A Visit from Shakespeare & Company by Oli M. Turner

On the week of April 25th, Shakespeare & Company did workshops with our students and performed for our school. Mrs. Plante kindly wrote a grant for this cause. Shakespeare & Company is on the 2016 Regional Tour at present, doing workshops and teaching students around the northeast. Our school had the enjoyment of watching their rendition of Macbeth. Overall, it seemed to be a big hit with our students and staff.

The actors that worked with us were the best out of many that auditioned for their parts. Here is a list of the cast and character breakdown:

Gregory Boover----------------------------------------Macduff, Duncan, murderer, witch

Colin Gold--------------------------------------------Malcolm, witch, murderer

Kaileela Hobby-----------------------------------------Lady Macbeth, Ross, witch

Marcus Kearns-----------------------------------------Macbeth, murderer

Zoe Laiz------------------------------Lady Macduff, Fleance, witch, Thane of Lennox, Loon

Conor Moroney----------------------------------------Banquo, porter, doctor

The play was done as fabulously as the theme was captivating. The theme was very easy to pick out, and it is amazing how timeless the same thing can be- we all have greed within us. All a human needs to destroy himself, his name, and everything and everyone around him, is a gentle prod to the greed that lies like a hungry beast within him.

I Know, I Know, History is “Boring…” but there were Some Pretty Cool Guys in the Revolutionary Time Period by Oli M. Turner

Marie-Joseph Paul Yves Roch Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de Lafayette (more commonly referred to as Marquis de Lafayette, or just plain Lafayette) 1757-1834

Lafayette was born in France, raised in France, fought for the French, fought for independence, and- fought for the U.S. in the Revolutionary War. He worked closely with the bits and pieces of the government already established, often taking orders from George Washington himself. He was friends with many other key figures in history including Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson. He gave the British quite a jolt when they realized how valuable he was. He often would voyage back and forth from France to the U.S., bringing ammunition, ships, and other resources from France to help the revolutionaries.

Hercules Mulligan 1740-1825

Mulligan was a tailor and a spy for the U.S. during the time of the Revolution. Born in Ireland, he immigrated to the U.S. at six years old. He was very involved in the revolutionary movement, and he was one of the first of the colonists to join a group called the Sons of Liberty. The organization opposed British taxation and protected the colonists’ rights. He also provided a temporary home for Alexander Hamilton while he studied at King’s College; Mulligan and Hamilton were in the same circles as Lafayette, John Laurens, Jefferson, and Aaron Burr, though they did not all always agree. Mulligan was also close to General Washington. When he was making coats for the British, he overheard many things that, when relayed to other revolutionaries, were crucial to winning the war. He saved Washington’s life on two occasions. Mulligan was undoubtedly important in the Revolutionary War.

John Laurens 1754-1782

He was born and raised on a plantation where his family kept slaves. He was the eldest of five and studied law when he was old enough. Laurens was a revolutionary soldier and a government statesman from the South. He stood out among others because of his efforts against slavery and to help slaves join the army. He was a large part in the background of the revolution.

So what do you think? Somehow half of this stuff got cut out of the history textbooks...

The True Cost of Clothes by Anton Kozyrev

There is a problem. Surprise! I am, however, referring to a problem in the fashion industry. No, it’s not a runway disaster. Oh, dear, Mr. Ralph Lauren, the stitching is all wrong! There is a much bigger threat than that. In Bangladesh, for instance, a factory collapse caused the deaths of thousands. The cause? Our clothes. As I type this, I am wearing a Nautica shirt made in Guatemala. It is partly responsible for these deaths. Guatemala, China, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, etc. are all countries where cheap labor is rampant. In the 1950s, most clothes you bought would have been made in the U.S.A. Now, everything has moved to Bangladesh. You know why? Labor was cheaper there. Why? Because in Bangladesh, there are not as many laws regarding the safety of employees. Corners are cut, and as a result lives are lost. You might ask yourself, why is Anton telling me this? Is he trying to make me feel bad?

I am telling you this because you can do something. No, I don’t want you to throw out every single article of clothing you own. But please take a moment to think about the conditions that these clothes are manufactured in whenever you are at Nordstrom. Consider watching the documentary on Netflix “The True Cost”.

Summer Poems by Eve DiZio and Natascha Ferguson

Sticky streams of melted pops dripping off my elbow,

A purple color stains my tongue, the summer sun gets low.

We sit around a campfire, dad’s guitar in his hand,

He tunes it up, takes his pick, and strums down every strand.

He sings his song, a melody, sacred to this spot,

Some fireflies glowing bright in mason jars are caught.

-Eve DiZio

The hot and humid weather

Does come this way,

It's warm and slightly heavy already,

You can feel it in the air.

MCAS is over,

Summer draws near,

And all shall soon depart,

Till next school year,

And over this,

Some may shed a tear.

For school's almost over,

Just twenty so work days.

And friends shall travel away.

Away, maybe to stay,

For two long months.

Oh, how the return seems so far away!

And how shall one occupy their time

In this long, -and dare I say it!-

Lonely months in the heat of Summertime

-Natasha Ferguson