Editors’ Note: This marks the second year for the Gazette to sponsor Sophomores Speak Out, a special current events feature written by the sophomore students in Elaine Cawley Weintraub’s global studies class at the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School. Sophomores Speak Out will appear regularly on the Commentary Page throughout the school year.

Hello, readers and welcome back to Sophomores Speak Out! This year’s journalists are a group of interesting, opinionated and intelligent sophomores ready to impress the Island with their views and commentary. Their debut articles consist of opinions on sports related matters, rapes close to home, school issues and missing persons to name but a few. I, being a junior, will no longer be editing but I assure you that they are more than willing and capable of filling the shoes left by the class of 2009.

Good luck, sophomores. I am sure that you will continue the tradition of Sophomores Speak Out and make it your own.

— Phoebe Hersh

(Editor, Sophomores Speak Out, class of 2009)


By Cole Maciel Wingate>

Leaves are changing color

fall is here

the leaves will be falling which means

Christmas is near!

Snow will soon be falling

The sun doesn’t set as late

Stores will be closing. No more running

around past eight.

School is in full session

sooner comes the night

Parents are working. Students it’s time to write.

Island Sense of Security Overturned

By Olivia Gross>

There have been a few disturbing stories of sexual assault in the past weeks. These eye-opening events have put many young Island teens and women in fear. I would never think twice about going to the beach by myself, taking the VTA, or walking down Circuit avenue in the evening, but I am now aware of what could happen. Weseem to have been living with a false sense of security. Were we really safe before? Or has the Island undergone a change from an isolated safe haven to another suburban town only a boat ride away? Even though we live on an Island, a close-knit community, crimes still happen. I grew up hearing that there were sex offenders on the Island but nothing ever happened. Open your eyes, be aware and don’t think it couldn’t happen. Sure, this is not New York city or Chicago, but predators know that too.

Gas Prices Burning Holes in Our Pockets

By Donnie Lindland>

America runs on fuel. Personal vehicles alone guzzle 140 billion gallons of gasoline and diesel fuel each year, up 3.2 per cent from a year ago. Tracking gas prices can feel like a roller coaster ride. They’re down a little one month, up the next, before shooting up more than 50 per cent in a year. Plus they’re different depending on where you live and look. Other countries and even other states and cities can have very different gas prices. Martha’s Vineyard is one of the most expensive places to buy gas in the United States. Right now it is over $4 a gallon for gas; the U.S. national average as of Sept. 21 was $2.80 a gallon for regular unleaded. That means we pay more then $1.20 extra per gallon of gas. Multiply that by the number of gallons of gas your car can hold — say 16 — and that means you’re paying more then $19.20 extra than the average person in the U.S. every time you fill up your car. Most people fill their car once or twice a week; $19.20 x 4 = $76.80, which is what people on the Vineyard pay extra a month to fill up their cars. That adds up to over $921.60 extra a year. That is crazy; something really needs to happen because we are getting ripped off big time.

Cameras in School

By Chris Davies>

Is it really necessary to have video surveillance cameras all around the school? It’s said that they are there for safety and to keep things from getting stolen. There have not been many kids at all who have been severely hurt from a fight or something of that sort in the school. Nor have there been many things stolen. I asked students what they thought about having cameras in the school and 15 out of 15 said they thought there was no need for them.

Is having the cameras at the school really worth all the tax money that is being spent on them? I think the cameras are a complete waste of tax money. Instead of spending all this money on cameras, there are teachers that are in the halls and they can see and hear what is going on. I think that they can watch the halls in between classes to make sure that the kids are safe, along with themselves.

By Mike Kendall>

From talking to students, I got varying opinions about the cameras that were installed at the school over the summer. No one I talked to supported the cameras; other answers varied from people not caring to people thinking that they’re unnecessary, to “I guess they’re okay as long as they’re only used for emergencies.”

Some of the more negative responses were: “I think it’s ridiculous, things happen in the school, it violates our privacy. Seniors don’t have privacy to leave school, it’s like we’re being watched, it’s weird.” Another student said: “I don’t think I like the feeling that someone could be watching me at any time. I don’t get what provoked them to not trust us at any time in our lives.” A third student who somewhat supported the cameras said: “Well, I think they should only be used for emergencies. It’s really unnecessary.” A few students had no feelings on the topic. One teacher said it makes her feel awkward because she knows that she’s always being watched. For example, if she forgets something and has to come back at an odd hour for it, just turning on the lights she knows she is being watched.

All in all, it seems that the students do not support the cameras in school and feel that they violate student privacy and are unnecessary. I have no clue how much they cost, but in the end I am sure that the money could have been put to much better use.

Students Against Wind Farm

By Austin Gampfer>

Is the Cape Cod wind farm a good idea? A bad one? I took a poll within a random sample of my friends and classmates and about 24 per cent said that they agree with the farm, and the other 76 per cent did not. I personally think that 130 wind turbines placed for a clear view from West Chop and Wasque Point on Chappaquiddick would be a disturbance to the residents on the shoreline. Instead of looking out into the open ocean, their view is interrupted by the turbines.

I asked one of my classmates what they thought of the wind farm and this was the reply: “The Vineyard is a beautiful place and is based on the incredible view of the ocean. Putting wind turbines nine miles out from Oak Bluffs and Edgartown would be ruining one of the key beauties of the Island.”

Who Says So?

By BreAnne Russell>

Everything that we as humans do is programmed into our brains from when we are born. Clothing, colors, languages and styles and what is pretty or what is ugly is taught to us. I saw a movie the other day whose theme was “beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” In the movie, all the people look like pigs except for 100 people who look like what we see as normal. This movie really made me think about who we are and what we think is normal. If a person has one arm, we think that’s weird but if everyone in the world had one arm, someone with two arms would look weird.

I did some research asking my friends what they thought was ugly and I got a variety of answers. Some people don’t like different colored hair, and everyone agreed that a badpersonality makes people ugly. It seems that everyone thinks that ugly is the same thing. Beauty is who a person is and not what they look like. It’s amazing that humans have become so cruel these days.

Missing Man

By Taylor Chisholm, Sarah Hall>

and Anna Hayes>

On Sept. 26 26 people boarded and 25 disembarked the New Bedford fast ferry leaving New Bedford and coming to Martha’s Vineyard.

Walter P. Tyler, 28, of Fairhaven, was pronounced a missing person after the ferry arrived on the Vineyard without him. His family came to the Island to put up missing person posters. A police search was conducted. Our own Spanish teacher, Jim Powell, participated in the search.

Mr. Tyler’s body was discovered this week by a woman walking her dog on West Chop.

Vick Waits to Hear on NFL Future

By Leighton Todd>

Mike Vick is the star quarterback for the Atlanta Falcons. He recently pleaded guilty to a federal dog fighting charge. He also failed a drug test, which isn’t going to help put him back in the league. The owner of the Falcons, Arthur Blank, told the NFL that he is not sure of Mike’s future, at least not until he hears a statement of the facts. Vick’s attorney, Billy Martin, said his client agreed to plead guilty and to accept “full responsibility for his actions and the mistakes that he has made.” Mike said he feels very bad about the incident and wishes to apologize.

The judge in the case will have the final say. As a dog owner, I feel Mike Vick is a sick criminal who deserves to be jailed. As for the plea bargain, I think he should receive full time, no bail! He should not be allowed back in the NFL. Killing a dog isn’t like stepping on an ant. Killing a dog is similar to killing a person. I wouldn’t say that people and dogs are equal, but what Mike Vick did is very wrong.

Youth Field Hockey Program Needed

By Gail Herman>

Field Hockey isn’t played until you reach high school level. In every other sport, the majority of the players in the high school started at a young age by either being on a youth team or an elementary school team. If field hockey started at a younger age, kids would know more about the game when they came to high school. Practice makes perfect. We need to get the younger boys and girls practicing field hockey earlier. Almost every off-Island school that the high school field hockey team played this year had an elementary or youth team practicing nearby. Martha’s Vineyard needs to build a youth field hockey program that starts in the elementary schools.

Summer Jobs Give Skills for Life

By Melanie Krauss> and Julia Sadowski>

When summer approaches and the Island population skyrockets, summer jobs come to mind for many year-round teenagers. Many teens look to their lives and favorite activities for inspiration on what kind of job they would like to take on — whether it is making jewelry at Beadniks or scooping ice cream at the Candy Bazaar.

Every year there is always a new group of beginners applying for summer jobs, and it seems like every year the community makes it easier for us. They do so by hosting the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School Job Fair to give students a chance to apply for all sorts of positions. The job fair presents high school students with an opportunity to get an idea of what kind of job they may be interested in. Some teens walk out the door with a smile and a new job for the summer.

The whole process is a learning experience, from filling out the application to getting the job, and then fulfilling the requirements for the job. Sometimes applying for a job doesn’t always go as you had hoped, but the right job will come to you — just keep applying to different places.

A summer job is a great thing for every teen. It can open doors that can lead to a lifelong career, a better chance of being accepted into a good college and the experience of working with other people. You will use the skills for the rest of your life.