As spring approaches, students become stressed and anxious about MCAS tests. We are told “you’ll do fine” and “just do your best” by our teachers and parents. But these exams are still very stressful for students. MCAS is a standardized test. Based on your results, it puts you in categories ranging from receiving a warning to being considered “advanced.” Being put in a category just stresses us out even more. We all know that a student can be smart and not a good test-taker. Just as there are different things you can be smart about, there are different ways of showing your intelligence. Also, stressful conditions never give good results. How can we do our best if we are under so much pressure to succeed? I believe students should not take the MCAS. Putting us under that pressure doesn’t encourage us to learn, it makes us feel worse. It’s not true learning and one test can not adequately measure a person’s intelligence.

— Kristen Parece, editor

Assignment That Makes Sense

By Camilla Fernandes>

In our Global 10 class we were assigned to write a research paper about any problem that we cared about and that will impact people outside the classroom. I think papers like this are much more useful than when teachers just assign a research paper on a given project. The “action” part of our assignment is to inform people what there is to know about the issue that we have chosen to research. For example, we are gathering data by surveying people to find out what they know about our topic, and we are investigating the unjust things that happen. I am working on the issues that happen on the U.S. and Mexico border. I think we will all be proud that we acted in a positive way, on an issue we feel strongly about.

What’s Cool for the Average Teen?

By Amanda Rose>

Living on the Island as a teenager is enough to drive you insane, ESPECIALLY in the winter. Back in the early days kids would take the bus home from school and go outside or hang out with friends in the back of Cumberland Farms. But today it seems that all kids on the Island do is this: go home and text and sit on the computer. But is this necessarily the Island’s fault? Or is this lifestyle a creation of the teenagers’ minds here on the Island? The reality is that there is stuff to do here on the Island but it just isn’t “cool” enough for the average teen. The Martha’s Vineyard Teen Center is a great place for kids to go to occupy their time. They offer Wii, game systems, two widescreen televisions (with Surroundsound), pool tables, ping pong, computer access, free WiFi, music and even a recording studio. Kids today just don’t have the drive to do what’s offered. The only thing considered fun is going to parties. Kids today are losing creativity. We spend way too much time indoors and should be more proactive about the stuff we do. I think another major problem is the “popularity” contest. Kids turn down the idea of going to a teen center because the people that go there aren’t “cool” enough to be around. They don’t want to go because there is adult supervision and they would rather sit home all day and do whatever. In my personal opinion kids need to get their creativity back. We are becoming our technology. We need to be more involved and take advantage of some of the great opportunities that are here on the Vineyard. It is 2009 and teens and young adults played a huge role in this year’s history with their support for Barack Obama. Now we just need to use our time more productively. We want to show people that we do know how to use our time maturely and wisely and make that difference even here on Martha’s Vineyard.

Darfur: Do We Care?

By Olivia Cameron>

Although the issues in Darfur are very big and the crimes going on there are horrendous, Darfur never seems to be a big story in the news. Since the International Criminal Court indited Bashir on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity, there have been no concrete signs of repercussion until they issued an arrest warrant on March 4. Unfortunately, the ICC relies on the country to cooperate; the ICC has no police force. Bashir refused the arrest warrant, telling them they could “eat it.” As long as he retains power, it will be impossible to enforce the arrest. Unfortunately Sudan has revoked the licenses of 10 aid organizations working in the country. This will affect more the 600,000 people. Hopefully people will do everything they can to help the people in Darfur. It is sad that we have allowed the situation in Darfur to become so horrible and are focusing our military in Iraq instead.

Vineyard Portrayal

By Samantha Billings>

The Vineyard is a new television show that is planned to be aired on the CW in September. It’s about a group of friends coming down for the summer and “finding their place.” It is said that the Island is inhabited with movie stars, politicians, artists and high-profile residents. But is the Island going to be displayed to the CW viewers as something that it’s not? The Island isn’t the Upper East Side. Most locals aren’t high society and don’t live in mega-mansions year round. The Island is a small place where a local can walk down the street and name just about every person they see. I think most locals are concerned about people getting the wrong impression of their home. The show is supposed to be a drama/documentary, but the show won’t last if there isn’t drama to get viewers hooked; they’ll be bored. Islanders don’t want a disturbance of the bubble we live in here. However if the CW can find a way to portray the Island as it truly is and not disrupt our current way of living here, I believe that the show could have a possible positive effect on the Island. While many Islanders may not enjoy the tourists in the summer, if the show does well and viewers want to visit the Vineyard, it could help our economy greatly. I know from my stepfather’s restaurant that the lack of visitors last summer definitely had an impact. Every action has a positive and negative reaction; we just have to be able to see past the negatives and hope for the positive. This show could be useful, so long as The Vineyard is actually displayed to the world as the Vineyard.

Any Other Life Forms Out There?

By Mary Louise Howell>

A one-ton spacecraft called Kepler will be launched Friday evening at 10:50. This mission eventually will propel Kepler into orbit with the sun. And its motive? To discover Earth-like planets or places where life is possible. William Borucki is the lead scientist on the project and an astronomer at NASA’s Ames Research Center at Moffett Field in California. The spacecraft carries a 55-inch diameter telescope and its core is a 95-million-pixel digital camera. It will take three or more years before astronomers know Kepler’s results and the conclusion will be interesting either way. If it has found nothing then we can assume that Earth is rare and we may be the only life in the universe but if it finds something, this will carve the way for future missions and the search for life.

March Madness

By Alicia Oliveira>

March madness is a college basketball tournament within the NCAA. Starting off with 65 teams from the whole country, the rules are single knock-out elimination; if you loose you are out of the tournament. The NCAA is separated into different regions and divisions. Mid regional, East regional, South regional, Midwest and West regional. Many people are filling out gaming pools. They make these pools to guess which teams will make it to the final four. Many people bet on these pools. Offices around the country are finding some entertainment. In each regional bracket, the NCAA basketball board gives a seed to a team. The seed represents the team’s chance of going far in this tournament. For example, North Carolina is the number one seed in the South regional. Currently there are 16 teams left in the tournament. They call this group the sweet sixteen. Many say the March madness is the greatest sporting event in America. There are so many chances and people involved. An underdog can just about make history. There is a famous movie, Glory Road, based on Texas Western’s road to championship in 1966. Texas Western was an all-black team that beat a number one seed team, Kentucky. Kentucky was an all white school. Because of this tournament the boys of Texas Western were able to make history. Last year Kansas won the tournament. I wonder who will win this year. What do you think? 

Let’s Stay the Course

By T. J. Van Gervan>

The inauguration of Barack Obama was a great thing for this country and renewed our hope. I think that now, after all the excitement and high expectations of the past weeks have died down, we have to remember that our country will not change overnight. Though Barack Obama is a special person, he is not a superman with paranormal powers. We have to realize that there is a huge amount of pressure on President Obama caused by our economic collapse, and it’s going to take months, if not years, to see progress. I hope that President Obama lives up to our expectations and we are able to get out of this economic crisis.

Hot news of the week: Vineyard massage therapist and entrepreneur Chrystal Angelini came into our class to talk about being a woman and a business person. She was part of a panel of speakers that included Liza Williamson, the judge magistrate in Edgartown. As part of their presentation, Chrystal donated a one-hour massage session and we drew names out of a hat as all the class wanted to go. The lucky winner is Alicia Oliveira.