The Searchlight The Student News Site of Walpole High School Wed, 21 Oct 2020 12:24:28 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Fun Ways To Celebrate Halloween Safely In 2020 Thu, 22 Oct 2020 16:00:29 +0000 Due to the coronavirus, social distancing has led to cancellations such as birthday parties, Independence Day fireworks and other gatherings. Halloween is approaching fast, but according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Halloween includes many high risk activities for spreading or contracting the coronavirus. Stay safe this spooky season by trying out the following activities.

Trick or treating door-to-door could be a risk due to close contact between people; however, it can be done safely by staying six feet apart and wearing a mask -safety methods that are crucial to help prevent the spread of the virus and getting it yourself. Try matching the color of your mask to your costume and the outfit will look even better! 

Planning to hand out candy? Attempt to sit outside your door so that trick or treaters do not have to touch the doorbell or door. To prevent multiple hands from touching the same candy, keep the candy in plastic bags for each individual trick or treater. Candy scavenger hunts are also a good way to stay outside and keep the candy to an individual person rather than multiple. 

People that are spending their Halloween in the comfort of their own home to celebrate can still have fun! Binge watching movies is not foreign to many, so why not watch Halloween movies on Halloween night? The top five Halloween movies for a scary night-in according to the magazine “GH,” are Hocus Pocus (Disney+ and Hulu), IT (available for rent), Scream (Disney+), Carrie (Hulu), and The Addams Family (Hulu).

Another fun activity is pumpkin carving which can be done right inside the home. Speaking of creativity, create your own DIY Halloween costume. Find items around the house to create the costume inspired by foods, sports, TV shows, movies, books, ect. 

Even if one is not trick or treating this year, costumes can still be worn by having a virtual costume contest. Show off the fabulous costume idea with friends and family adding a prize for the winner. The contest can be held on Zoom by sending the code. 

Halloween baking at home is another creative and tasty way to celebrate. Frost and decorate sugar cookies using cutters shaped as witches, pumpkins and ghosts. Confectionery sugar mixed with the right amount of water and a drop of food coloring makes delicious icing. Try baking cupcakes with green frosting and top the cupcake with a chocolate ice cream cone. Add sprinkles and candy corn to make the cupcake look like a witch!

The coronavirus may add an extra fright to 2020 Halloween, but this spooky holiday can still be celebrated while following safety guidelines.

]]> 0
What You Need to Know About Amy Coney Barrett Wed, 21 Oct 2020 16:00:37 +0000 The recent passing of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on Sept. 18 left a vacancy in the Supreme Court, and President Donald Trump has nominated Judge Amy Coney Barrett to fill this role. Whether Barrett is appointed or not could shift the balance of the Supreme Court for decades. If she is appointed, Republicans will have a 6-3 majority in the Supreme Court. If not, whichever candidate wins the upcoming election will have the power to nominate a different judge. 

Barrett attended Rhodes College and then went on to Notre Dame Law School, where she graduated top of her class, earning the Hoynes Prize. After graduation, she worked as a clerk for the late Justice Antonin Scalia. She returned to Notre Dame in 2002 as a member of the faculty, where she remained until 2017. Now, Barrett lives with her husband and their seven children in South Bend, Indiana. She has been a judge on the Seventh U.S. Circuit Supreme Court since 2017. At only 48 years old, Barrett has the potential to serve on the Supreme Court for decades.

Barrett’s short history as a judge leaves a lot of room for speculation about some of her political views. She is careful to avoid sharing her opinion on overturning landmark cases, such as Roe v Wade, which gives women the right to have an abortion. However, she is very open about her pro-life stance. Barrett has deemed the decision to have an abortion as “always immoral.” Many speculate that if she is appointed, Republicans will use their majority to attempt to make abortions illegal, especially because President Trump pledged to appoint judges that would overturn Roe v. Wade during his 2016 campaign. 

If Barrett is appointed, she will sit on the Supreme Court when the Affordable Care Act is scheduled to be argued in front of the Court again, just one week after the Nov. 3 election. The judge is open about her disapproval of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, but again, she has not spoken about her opinion on the possibility of the law being overturned. 

One stance of hers that seems to remain unwavering is her religious faith. Barrett was raised as a devout Catholic and is still very religious to this day. Some of her colleagues have expressed concern about her ability to separate her religion and her potential role as a Justice, but Barrett assures that she would have no problem separating her obligation to the law and to her faith. 

In order to confirm Barrett before the election, the Senate would have to move quicker than usual. The average time between when a president makes their nomination and when the Senate votes is about 70 days, but this process is scheduled to happen in twenty days for Barrett. The Senate hearings, in which senators will question Barrett about her background and political stances, began Oct. 12. Then, the Senate is scheduled to vote on whether or not to appoint Barrett on Oct. 22, just 12 days before the election.

]]> 0
Meet the Captains: Field Hockey Tue, 20 Oct 2020 16:00:02 +0000 Liz Hinton


When did you first begin playing this sport?


I started going to Porker camp in 5th grade.


Do you want to continue this sport in college?




Who was a prominent coach in your sports career? Why?


Each of my siblings because no matter the sport they were always willing to practice with me and help with whatever I needed.


What other activities/clubs are you involved in?


I also play lacrosse and am a member of UNICEF Club, Mock Trial and the film festival.


How do you feel going into this season?


This season is definitely different than others, but I think the whole team is just excited to be able to play.


What are some goals set for the team this coming season?/How do you plan to achieve these goals?


One main goal we have is to go undefeated. But we also want to have fun and make the most of this situation we are in.


Who are some big opponents/rivals? Why?


Usually our big opponents are Needham and Franklin but this year we won’t be playing them due to restrictions and precautions with COVID-19.


How has COVID-19 affected the season?


Due to the pandemic we can only play three teams: Milton, Weymouth and Braintree and instead of playing 11v11 it is 7v7.


Molly Weiand


When did you first begin playing this sport?


I started playing my freshman year.


Do you want to continue this sport in college?


I would love to but I’m playing lacrosse in college. 


Who was a prominent coach in your sports career? Why?


My dad because he’s always been so supportive with sports from such a young age and has been with me through everything.


What other activities/clubs are you involved in?


I also play lacrosse and I am a part of Student Council.


How do you feel going into this season?


At first I was upset because the seniors weren’t going to get the same experience as they have in the past, but at the same time I’m extremely grateful to be able to play one last season with my team.


What are some goals set for the team this coming season?/How do you plan to achieve these goals?


We just want everyone to have fun with this season while still trying their best. Also we want to make the program better as well, so even though we don’t get our full season we’re still always giving 100% at practice and in games.


Who are some big opponents/rivals? Why?


Usually our big opponents/rivals would be Norwood and Needham because those are always such close games and everyone’s competitive side really comes out, but this year we might not get to play them.


How has COVID-19 affected the season?


This year COVID-19 has changed a bunch of the rules and affected how we used to play the game. But we’re still making the most of what we have and it’s already off to a great start.

]]> 0
Netflix’s “Enola Holmes” Provides a Refreshing New Take on the Sherlock Holmes Narrative Mon, 19 Oct 2020 16:00:09 +0000 There have been countless television and movie iterations of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s classic Sherlock Holmes mysteries, such as BBC’s incredibly popular show “Sherlock.” However, one new adaptation explores the life of Sherlock Holmes’s younger sister named Enola. Based on the novel “Enola Holmes: the Case of the Missing Marquess,” this Netflix film dives into the adventures and escapades of an intelligent young woman trying to make her way in a world determined to keep her down.

Enola Holmes (Millie Bobby Brown) has led a life unlike any other girl in her era. She has received a thorough education from her mother, Eudoria (Helena Bonham Carter), in everything from martial arts to chess to literature. On her sixteenth birthday, Enola wakes to find her mother missing, and is determined to solve the case of her mother’s disappearance despite the efforts of her brothers, Mycroft and Sherlock, to stop her. Escaping from her brothers, she meets the young Viscount Tewksbury (Louis Partridge), and the two must work together to solve a murder and save England itself. 

While the plot of the movie is engaging and fun, the dual storylines often make it confusing. The first mystery introduced, the disappearance of Enola’s mother, is often ignored or pushed to the side to make room for the other main conflict of saving Viscount Tewksbury from a treacherous plot against his life. While both plotlines have a fulfilling and logical conclusion, the fact that they are unrelated to each other makes it too confusing and interrupts the flow of the plot. Nonetheless, the plot is deeply engaging with its complex storyline and compelling characters. 

Additionally, Enola continually breaks the fourth wall during key points in the film, directly addressing the audience with comments about the plot or her own inner dialogue. This dialogue with the audience adds a bit more playfulness to the plot and engrosses the audience during slow moments or exposition. The uniqueness of this feature makes the film stand out among other Sherlock Holmes adaptations, as it provides a unique look into the mind and experiences of the main character.

“Enola Holmes” provides a refreshing feminist approach to the Sherlock Holmes empire, putting the famed Sherlock into the backseat of the plot and focusing one of the central plotlines around women’s suffrage during the nineteenth century. The film does a good job representing the struggles of women in this era, with a few minor exceptions—Corsets were not, in fact, symbols of female oppression, but functional garments worn by women of all classes. Overall, the feminist message of “Enola Holmes” is a unique and modern take on the male-dominated Sherlock Holmes narrative, and provides a dynamic main character for children of all ages and genders to look up to. 

With humor, clever plotlines and a compelling main character, “Enola Holmes” is the perfect escape into the past for viewers looking for an adventure. A star-studded cast and wonderful writing help transform “Enola Holmes” from a fun family movie into a major film contender in a world where streaming platforms are increasingly taking over the movie industry. For those looking for a compelling mystery and a good laugh, “Enola Holmes” is the ideal movie.

]]> 0
The Change in Families’ Bonds With Their Pets During COVID-19 Mon, 27 Jul 2020 17:24:21 +0000 Due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, families have been asked to stay at home to help slow the spread of this sickness. Now that the rules are starting to lighten up, some pet owners are getting worried. During all of quarantine, many adults have been working from home, instead of at the office. As a result, pets have been able to spend more time with their families. This is amazing for our pets, and for pet owners for the time being, but when things go back to normal, will they get lonely? 

“We have definitely connected more with Henry. We have gone on more walks, hikes, and played with him more. He even sits with us while we work,” Liz Patterson, a two-year dog owner, said.

Dogs create a sense of emotion for humans, just as we do for them. My dog, Duffy, is two years old, and we have fostered the strongest bond with him. It is almost like we know what he is saying through his actions. All of my friends have dogs, and they think the same way. Our dogs’ emotions, and ours could change greatly when things go back to normal. For this reason, many pet owners are worried.

“She is going to be so sad when the kids go back to school, and we go back to work,” Bridget Benner, a new puppy owner, said. 

During the pandemic, my family has been seeing so many more dog walkers around Walpole, alongside their children who are having a blast. Likewise, their pups have been very energetic and excited. For example, Olivia Stanton’s family has never felt as connected to their dog as they do now in the seven years that he has been a part of the family. 

 “He’s loving that we are home, but we are worried he is going to get lonely afterwards,” Stanton said. 

There is, in fact, a little bit of a solution to this. It is not going to help pet owners completely, but it should help. Right now, if we start to leave our pets at home for one hour, then three hours and so on, our pets could get accustomed to staying home alone. While your pet is at home, maybe put on the radio or even the television, so that they do not feel completely alone. Listening to anyone’s voice could help your pet adapt to time alone after so much time with their family.

]]> 0
Three Influential Teachers Retire from Johnson Middle School Tue, 07 Jul 2020 14:00:28 +0000 Retirement is one of many stepping stones in the path of life, and many teachers at Johnson Middle School are taking this significant step. Three extraordinary teachers are leaving this year: Bill Wallace, Mary Ann Baker and Joanne Pretti. All of these teachers have influenced their students greatly and will be missed. This year has not gone as planned, but the Walpole community thanks these hard working teachers for everything they have done to help the Walpole School District and its students!

Mary Ann Baker

After 43 years of teaching, 34 of those in the Walpole School District, Mary Ann Baker is retiring from JMS this year. Baker is currently the band teacher and has had a fulfilling career as a music teacher, influencing many students’ career paths.

To start her incredible journey as a teacher she went to Ithaca College for her Bachelor of Music degree, then studied at State University of New York at Stonybrook for her Master of Music degree in clarinet performance. She has taught fifth and fourth grade music, chorus and band at Fisher school and at Bird Middle School. Baker taught 5th grade band at Elm St. School, and even spent one year teaching kindergarten music at Boyden School.

Not only is she teaching band and general music at JMS, but Baker also runs Jazz Band after school which plays more popular, rock and jazz music. Even amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, Baker is giving assignments through “Smart Music,” which allows her to listen to students’ work and give feedback.

“I look forward to spending more time with my husband and my dogs, and we’ll see what comes my way,” Baker said.

William Wallace

For the past 34 years William Wallace has been teaching, 31 of those years were spent in Walpole School District. This year, Wallace is retiring from his position as eighth grade math teacher at JMS. Wallace graduated from Bridgewater State University and then taught three years in the Dedham School District before coming to WPS. Over the course of 31 years in the WPS district, Wallace has taught many subjects and helped many students throughout their school careers.

In Walpole, Wallace taught second, third, fourth grade and then at the middle school taught sixth, seventh and eighth grade as well as being assistant principal. Wallace not only taught, but he also started the dodgeball extracurricular at Johnson Middle School which is still running today.

Wallace believes he does not have one proudest moment, but when he sees former students and they come to him and say really kind things about him and his class, that makes him feel like he has done a good job as a teacher. In retirement, he looks forward to more teaching and is especially happy for more free time with friends and family.

Joanne Pretti

As the end of this year comes close to the end, Joanne Pretti has announced her retirement from teaching. Pretti is currently a moderate special education teacher, primarily for sixth graders, and is also a structured reading teacher.

Pretti received her bachelor’s degree at Lesley University and her master’s degree at Boston College. She now has been in the teaching and education field for 38 years, 13 of those years at JMS. She led many extracurriculars, which include helping homeless pets and leading Battle of the Books teams as a coach. Pretti runs many extensions alongside being a member of the professional development committee. 

“As a teacher, I always felt that when a student realizes that he or she is a good self advocate and a confident learner that always made me feel really good,” Pretti said.

Even in the coronavirus pandemic, Pretti is leading google meets and working with the classroom and academic support teachers.

 “This is a challenging time for both students and teachers,” Pretti said.

 In retirement she looks forward to spending time with family, traveling and wants to pursue hobbies like quilting, sewing and gardening.   

The Walpole Public Schools community is so grateful to have had these teachers in the school district and appreciates their positive impacts on the many generations of students, whose learning skills they enriched. Although they will not be present next year,  they will all be remembered as an amazing part of the staff. 

]]> 0
Creative Ideas to Safely Celebrate Birthdays During Quarantine Wed, 24 Jun 2020 15:00:02 +0000 During the coronavirus pandemic, celebrating birthdays can feel like an impossible task because of the restrictions in Massachusetts. Only essential businesses are open, so the option of having a birthday party at another venue is out the window. Buying a birthday present is also harder than before quarantine because the only choice is to shop online. Here are a few ideas that one can use to give that friend or family member a special day, while continuing to social distance.

Car Parade

The car parade has probably been the most popular idea to celebrate birthdays because everyone is around during quarantine. Since most people are working from home and all students are learning from home, everyone can take some time out of their day to celebrate with their friend or family member. People can decorate their cars with posters, balloons, and streamers as they parade by the person’s house. Also, the Walpole Police Department and the Walpole Fire Department will lead the parade with lights and sirens if they are given a time and date for the parade.

Fire Pit With Friends

Although there are restrictions for gathering, if there are less than 10 people at the same house, it is still safe. Guests can arrive with masks and sit in chairs six feet apart in order to social distance themselves. While outside, there is a steady air flow, so it is much safer to sit outside rather than spread germs indoors. Rather than having cake, friends can celebrate with s’mores!

Virtual Video Messages or Calls

Many people have used Zoom or GoogleMeet to keep in touch with friends and family during quarantine. Having a video call with friends is almost like having a party, but just done virtually! Some other people have used FlipGrid to post videos of them wishing their friend or family member a happy birthday. This is a special way for people to remind them it is still their special day even though they have to stay home. 

Buying Gifts

Most stores are having major sales right now because they can no longer have their stores open. Buy a gift online for a friend’s birthday and drop it off at their house! If it is too late to order something online, buy a gift card while grocery shopping and send a card in the mail to a friend or family member to wish them a happy birthday. 

Movie Night Outside

Similar to the fire pit idea, inviting a few friends over to socially distance outside can be done safely. Guests can wear masks to prevent the spread of germs and sit six feet apart. Use a projector to project the movie onto the back of a house or a shed and it is almost the same as being at the movie theater!

]]> 0
Steve Colleran Commits to Boston College for Track and Field Tue, 23 Jun 2020 19:00:36 +0000 After running winter and spring track for all four years in high school, senior Steve Colleran committed to Boston College’s track team in late December. Colleran sent an email to Boston College (BC) last summer with his track events and times, and the email gave him the opportunity to build a relationship with the BC coaching staff before he committed.

“They got back to me about how they were interested in me becoming a recruit and potential future member of the team,” Colleran said. 

Colleran was invited by the coach, Matt Kerr, for an official overnight to get an understanding of the college experience. He visited the college in early October and attended a few of the classes that BC offers along with track practice and a football game. 

“Overall I got to experience what college life was like, and I had a lot of fun during the visit,” Colleran said. 

Throughout high school, Colleran’s athletic career consisted of soccer and track. He participated in winter and spring track during all of his high school years, and he did one year of cross country in his senior year instead of soccer. 

“I quit soccer because I needed to get a few more solid times in my indoor season to solidify my spot on the team. Cross country allowed me to get distance training, which I needed for my base,” Colleran said. 

Colleran verbally committed to BC in late December after reviewing his options, and then he formally applied to the college in January. Colleran has relatives that attended BC and he wanted to continue his family’s track career at BC. 

“My grandfather ran track at BC and was always an inspiration to me and since I was young. I always wanted to follow his path,” Colleran said. 

In his senior year, Colleran was the team captain for indoor and outdoor track and achieved many accomplishments during his time at WHS. On the school record board, Colleran’s name appears under the outdoor 4×800 and 4×400, and he has broken the 600m record. 

“When the results finally were put up for the 600, I was so excited, I couldn’t even put it in words. For the 4×400 record, I was so happy for the team because all four of us had our best days, and it all paid off,” Colleran said. 

Continuing his track career at BC, Colleran plans to work hard and improve his track times as a college runner.

“I hope to continue the improvement in all my times and travel all across the country for different track meets, to try and meet new people and see new places,” Colleran said.

Photo/ KennyDfotos
]]> 0
NFL Athletes and Pro Golfers Compete at “Champions for Charity” Tue, 23 Jun 2020 15:00:16 +0000 On May 7, 2020, PGA golfers Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods paired with NFL athletes Tom Brady and Payton Manning to compete in a charity golf tournament for COVID-19 relief. Hosted by Capital One Banking, the golfers and football players were hoping to raise $10 million in support for communities affected by the global pandemic. 

Pro golfer Woods teamed with Manning, a retired Denver Broncos quarterback, while Mickelson played alongside Brady, the newly signed Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback. 

Mickelson and Manning took the lead on the first three holes, giving them the advantage for the beginning of the round. Brady and Mickelson remained behind Mickelson’s team with a 3-down deficit on the first nine holes.

“I was a little nervous, a little tight on the front nine,” Mickelson said. “[Brady] really kept us in there.”

Brady helped his team on the fairway of the par-five seventh hole, scoring a wedge shot and awarding them a birdie. By the 16th hole, the duo came close to tying up the game.

Manning admitted his rivalry with Brady, as they had been previously playing against each other for years in the NFL. 

“Tom and I were kind of comparing notes and feelings to each other,” Manning said. “It was a really special experience.”

While Mickelson and Brady threatened to claim the winning spot, Manning secured his team’s lead on the 16th hole by placing his tee shot 17 inches away from the hole. 

As the match neared the final holes, Brady failed to gain any last minute points by hitting just short of the green on the 18th hole and Woods finalized the match by sinking a distant putt and scoring his duo a birdie to win the game. 

Woods and Manning’s victory was projected across the PGA for millions to watch at home as the four of them held a check representing the money they made for charity.

Brady’s followers on social media were unimpressed with his performance following the game, and backlash flooded the six-time Super Bowl champion’s Instagram and Twitter. Viewers had placed bets on his game and Brady missed the chance to earn $50,000 for charity from Charles Barkely to land a shot on the green of a par-three. 

Despite social media’s disappointment, the two teams raised a total of $20 million to benefit COVID-19 relief. They spoke in good spirits about the match and recognized that they were glad to do whatever they could to help communities in need.

“It’s great, the fact that we all came together and we were able to raise $20 million for those that have been so severely affected,” Woods said. “This is our arena. This is what we do. We couldn’t imagine going out onto the field and doing what they do.”

]]> 0
School Committee Votes to Change the Rebel Name Mon, 22 Jun 2020 18:00:16 +0000 On June 18, the Walpole School Committee voted unanimously to change the name of the school mascot, the Rebels. On Tuesday, community members shared their perspectives—both in favor and opposed to the change—in a televised Zoom meeting before the committee members. 

After considering the connotations of the Rebel name and the majority of the Walpole community’s fervent calls to change the name, the Walpole School Committee has officially decided to permanently retire the name as well as its traditional logo with swords. This change will entail prohibiting the production of new merchandise that features the Rebel name, the formation of a School Committee Commission on Renaming and the establishment of a working group dedicated to leverage private funds that would hasten the institution of a new mascot. 

Financially, it would be unrealistic to remove all large scale infrastructure that bears the Rebel name immediately. As a result, the Rebel moniker on the high school track and snack shack will be removed in accordance with their regular replacement schedules—unless private donations are collected to cover the costs. In a similar manner, uniforms and sports gear that bear the Rebel name will be replaced on the same conditions. 

The School Committee Commission on Renaming will be required to include students and alumni of color, the high school principal, athletic director, varsity coaches, the METCO director, members of the student council, a representative of the alumni association, the director of the PRIDE initiative, a representative of the Gay Straight Alliance and a representative of the fine arts department. However, the committee is not limited to the members listed above, and 50 percent of membership must be held by WHS students and recent alumni. 

Athletic achievements of WHS’s sports teams under the Rebel name will not be dismissed as championship banners and trophies will remain unaltered. Additionally, championship trophies and banners awarded to WHS sports teams under the Hill Topper name will also be displayed alongside those under the Rebel name where possible. 

Although rebranding Walpole’s mascot and moniker is a priority to the school committee, no additional funds allocated for the current or upcoming school year will be expended on this renaming effort. 


]]> 0