The Belmont High School Building Project Community Input Survey

The Belmont High School Building Project Community Input Survey is online and we want to hear from you!  Share your opinions on the Belmont High School Building Project by filling out the BHSBC Survey at https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSd9HGnLrZjtZUdhX4CJjpWPEiiR3wCmu0lxZb-AXJEm4l_8gA/viewform.

We have received surveys from more than 1,200 community members, but we still want to hear from you! Please take five minutes to complete the SURVEY before November 30th.

You can also sign up for email updates and learn more about the project, including timelines, videos, meeting schedules, presentations, and more, at www.belmonthighschoolproject.org.

Thank you for your input on this important project!

Questions: BHS-BC@belmont-ma.gov

Boston Globe Article-Students Vaping

Dear BHS Parents and Guardians,

In addition to the letter I sent to faculty, staff, students, parents, and guardians about the recent trend of vaping, there is an informative video and article in the Boston Globe. Please take 5 minutes to review. You will learn how students are disguising vaping pens, what they look like and the health risks. Also, please take the time to speak with your student about making healthy choices. Our kids are our most important investment.

Regards,

Mr. Dan Richards

Principal

http://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2017/11/15/where-teenagers-are-high-school-bathrooms-vaping/IJ6xYWWlOTKqsUGTTlw4UO/story.html?p1=Article_Recommended_ReadMore_Pos1

 

 

 

Dear BHS Parents and Guardians,

With the rise in popularity of e-cigarettes and vaporizers (both of which are commonly referred to as ‘vapes’), I thought it might be helpful to share some information with you and enlist your help to make sure students are not bringing them into Belmont High School. We have seen an increase in students possessing these items this year, and it is clear from conversations with other school leaders that neighboring districts – and those across the country – are experiencing the same increase.

Vapes are being heavily marketed to two groups. The first is to those looking to quit smoking cigarettes and the sales pitch is that vaporizing is healthier than smoking. There is minimal scientific evidence for this (largely because they are still new enough that long-term studies have not been done) and what is getting inhaled plays a significant role in how accurate that could be. But the ‘healthy’ benefits are a big part of the pitch.

The other group the companies are marketing to is adolescents and, while they are playing up the ‘healthy’ aspects, the real pitch here comes down to being ‘cool’. This effort to get young users early is made all the easier by vapes’ convenience and ability to be used quickly and without detection, with very little residual odor (it is usually a little sweet and not like cigarettes or marijuana). As you can see from some of the images below, vapes come in a wide range of designs, all of which easily fit into a pocket or bag. Some versions are designed to avoid notice by looking like other common items, such as inhalers, computer pen drives, and even small gaming systems. A quick Google image search using the words “vaping/vaping devices” will provide additional pictures if you would like to investigate further.

The liquid being vaporized and inhaled is usually referred to as the ‘juice’ and comes in small containers and in a very wide array of flavors. Some are simply flavored liquid. Many, though, have nicotine and other addictive elements to them. The juice is also easily – and often – infused with THC, the key chemical in marijuana.

The result of this ease of access is that students across the country are being encouraged to take part in behavior that is unhealthy, illegal, and, specifically, against the rules at BHS. This reality, mixed with a culture that is becoming increasingly tolerant of marijuana use in general, also means our students have greater access to ways of getting high that are difficult to detect, while having fewer concerns about the detrimental impact of marijuana use on their still-developing brains. It’s not a good combination.

I strongly encourage you to talk with your student(s) about the dangers of vaping and the problems that can occur from it. Honest and straightforward discussions about issues such as these can have a very significant impact on their choices. In the conversation, it may be helpful to remind students that being in possession of tobacco or nicotine, tobacco/nicotine products, and paraphernalia are against school rules and are listed in the BHS handbook. We will be reminding our students of the concerns over these choices and the potential consequences and would appreciate your reiteration of those points as well. I also appreciate your attentiveness to items your student may have on their possession that look like vapes or the related aspects.

For your information, I addressed this topic with all students during class assemblies at the beginning of the school year. These conversations are ongoing  with our students in order to remind them to make positive choices, health implications and avoid consequences. I would appreciate your reiteration of those points and your attentiveness to items your student may have on his/her possession that look like vapes or related aspects.

I do want to stress that Belmont High School is a safe place where the vast, vast majority of our students make great choices each and every day. My interest in reaching out to all of you is to help steer our students away from the draw of vapes’ easy access, use, and misuse. I appreciate your partnership to keep our students making healthy, safe and smart choices.

Thank you,

 

Mr. Richards

Principal

 

Vaping Trend for Students

November 15, 2017

Dear BHS Parents and Guardians,

With the rise in popularity of e-cigarettes and vaporizers (both of which are commonly referred to as ‘vapes’), I thought it might be helpful to share some information with you and enlist your help to make sure students are not bringing them into Belmont High School. We have seen an increase in students possessing these items this year, and it is clear from conversations with other school leaders that neighboring districts – and those across the country – are experiencing the same increase.

Vapes are being heavily marketed to two groups. The first is for those looking to quit smoking cigarettes and the sales pitch is that vaporizing is healthier than smoking. There is minimal scientific evidence for this (largely because they are still new enough that long-term studies have not been done) and what is getting inhaled plays a significant role in how accurate that could be. But the ‘healthy’ benefits are a big part of the pitch.

The other group the companies are marketing to is adolescents and, while they are playing up the ‘healthy’ aspects, the real pitch here comes down to being ‘cool’. This effort to get young users early is made all the easier by vapes’ convenience and ability to be used quickly and without detection, with very little residual odor (it is usually a little sweet and not like cigarettes or marijuana). As you can see from some of the images below, vapes come in a wide range of designs, all of which easily fit into a pocket or bag. Some versions are designed to avoid notice by looking like other common items, such as inhalers, computer pen drives, and even small gaming systems. A quick Google image search using the words “vaping/vaping devices” will provide additional pictures if you would like to investigate further.

The liquid being vaporized and inhaled is usually referred to as the ‘juice’ and comes in small containers and in a very wide array of flavors. Some are simply flavored liquid. Many, though, have nicotine and other addictive elements to them. The juice is also easily – and often – infused with THC, the key chemical in marijuana.

The result of this ease of access is that students across the country are being encouraged to take part in behavior that is unhealthy, illegal, and, specifically, against the rules at BHS. This reality, mixed with a culture that is becoming increasingly tolerant of marijuana use in general, also means our students have greater access to ways of getting high that are difficult to detect while having fewer concerns about the detrimental impact of marijuana use on their still-developing brains. It’s not a good combination.

I strongly encourage you to talk with your student(s) about the dangers of vaping and the problems that can occur from it. Honest and straightforward discussions about issues such as these can have a very significant impact on their choices. In the conversation, it may be helpful to remind students that being in possession of tobacco or nicotine, tobacco/nicotine products, and paraphernalia are against school rules and are listed in the BHS handbook. We will be reminding our students of the concerns over these choices and the potential consequences and would appreciate your reiteration of those points as well. I also appreciate your attentiveness to items your student may have on their possession that look like vapes or the related aspects.

 

For your information, I addressed this topic with all students during class assemblies at the beginning of the school year. These conversations are ongoing with our students in order to remind them to make positive choices, health implications and avoid consequences. I would appreciate your reiteration of those points and your attentiveness to items your student may have in his/her possession that look like vapes or related aspects.

I do want to stress that Belmont High School is a safe place where the vast, vast majority of our students make great choices each and every day. My interest in reaching out to all of you is to help steer our students away from the draw of vapes’ easy access, use, and misuse. I appreciate your partnership to keep our students making healthy, safe and smart choices.

Thank you,

 

Mr. Richards

Principal

 

Peter and The Starcatcher Review by Elisabeth Pitts

The PAC’s Peter and the Starcatcher is a Success in Spite of a Malfunctioning Mustache.

by Elisabeth Pitts

The fall play, presented by Belmont High School’s Performing Arts Company, had a successful run of three shows last week on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. Headlined by seniors Raffi Manjikian and Miriam Cubstead and supported by the phenomenally talented cast and crew, the performance drew standing ovations from parents and classmates night after night.

Peter and the Starcatcher is one of the many different versions of the origin story of Peter Pan, and Manjikian played the character in question. His impassioned and believable performance as the boy who never wants to grow up was complemented by Cubstead’s powerful rendition of Molly Aster, a girl who sadly realizes that growing up is inevitable for her. The two of them had excellent chemistry onstage, and the tentative romance that grew between them as the play progressed was one that had many audience members greatly invested and rooting for a happy ending for the pair.

Another memorable coupling was of Molly’s nanny Mrs. Bumbrake, played by senior Becca Schwartz, and Alf, a sailor with a surprisingly passable Scottish accent, played by senior Sebastian Newell. Their comedic timing was well-executed and dramatic without being overbearing.

Of course, this review would be incomplete without the mention of Black Stache and his sidekick Smee, played by seniors Evan Wagner and Gayane Kaligian, respectively. Kaligian’s execution of several subtle but memorable jokes was one of the many highlights of the evening, and Wagner’s take on Black Stache was the most consistent and entertaining comedic relief in the entire show. It should also be noted that when presented with the issue of a fake mustache that refused to stay on throughout the course of a monologue, Wagner behaved very professionally and remained stoic in the face of a hairy situation.

Seniors James Boyle and Shira Vilvovsky were intimidating in the roles of Captain Bill Slank and Grempkin. Another notable performance includes junior Abby Mohr’s take on the leader of the Mollusks, a formidable man named Hawking Clam with a Russian, Italian, Spanish, and possibly Greek accent. Sophomore Nikolas Nielsen made an impression in the role of Hawking Clam’s son Fighting Prawn, who is probably the show’s most tragic character, as his father completely disregards him and passes his rule onto Peter Pan. Juniors Sri Kaushik and Sammy Haines shone as Ted and Prentiss, Peter’s fellow orphans and OG Lost Boys. The unsung star of the show would have to be Ruth Christensen, who was delightful in the roles of Cat/Bird and whose flawlessly executed acrobatic feats rivaled those of her castmates.

Anna Moss, Eliza Jones, Chris Fournier, Lilikoi Bronson, Norman Staub, and Sam Bastille outdid themselves behind the scenes, supported by the multi-talented crew, with a vast, dynamic set, multiple-use props, and very effective, immersive lighting choices. The enormous crocodile puppet, affectionately called Mr. Grin, was especially impressive. Costumes, which were designed and created under the direction of Lila West, Sonya Epstein, and Lucy Guzman were beautiful and added a magical touch to the already extraordinarily directed and produced show. Most memorably, excellent set, costume, and lighting teamed up together to produce a scene in the mysteriously lit Golden Grotto, in which sophomore Jane Wenzel, in the role of the Teacher Mermaid, appeared towering over her castmates while seated on top of a rocky ledge, wearing a cascading, glittering mermaid tail.

None of this would have been possible without Ezra Flam, director of the show and all-around wonderful human being. He has been endlessly supportive and admiring of the students’ abilities as performers and crew members, from the beginning of the casting process in June to the very last show this past Saturday. Congratulations cast and crew of Peter and the Starcatcher!

BHS Sports Schedule & Sign-ups

Monday, November 06

2:30 PM BHS Winter Sports Sign Ups

Tuesday, November 07

6:00 PM Boys Varsity Soccer Billerica High School MIAA Div 2 North Tournament vs. Billerica Home 

Thursday, November 09

3:30 PM Boys Freshman Football Watertown High School Home

Friday, November 10

6:00 PM Boys Varsity Football Dracut High School Home

Saturday, November 11

10:00 AM Boys Junior Varsity Football Watertown High School Home

10:00 AM Girls Varsity Cross Country OPEN DATE MIAA Sectional Race @ Wrentham Developmental Center Away

11:25 AM Boys Varsity Cross Country OPEN DATE MIAA Sectional Race @ Wrentham Developmental Center Away

4:30 PM Girls Varsity Swimming OPEN DATE MIAA North Sectional meet vs. MIT Away

Sunday, November 12

TBA Girls Varsity Cheerleading OPEN DATE MSAA Regional Competition @ Lowell HS

Connecting with Belmont

Last weekend’s Connecting with Belmont afternoon of service and ice cream was successful, with even the weather cooperating. Students helped at Habitat (Audubon Land on Belmont Hill), Belmont Acre Farm, the Belmont Food Pantry, and Bristol Lodge, a soup kitchen run by the Middlesex Human Service Agency (MHSA) in nearby Waltham. They also worked on a Recreation Department project at Hittinger Field and a joint Belmont Library and Garden Club landscaping activity on the Library grounds.  In addition, a group made 402 (!!)  sandwiches for the many programs of MHSA–soup kitchen, shelters, detox, and rehab.  At the end of the day, students returned to the high school to make cards for the patients at Children’s Hospital and for our troops.  Ice cream and “fixin’s” rounded out the afternoon.

We thank the following merchants who made contributions, providing materials for the sandwich making , card making, and refreshments:  Costco, CVS (Trapelo Rd), Hollingworth 5&10, Mark & Toni’s, Rancatore Ice Cream,   Russo’s, Star Market (Belmont), Stop & Shop (both Pleasant St, Watertown, and Watertown St. Waltham), and Whole Foods Market.  The event simply could not have happened without their generous support.