June 18, 2019

A World of Difference

The Williston Central School leadership group called A World Of Difference (AWOD) went to a leadership conference at UVM Thursday March 6. At this conference some AWOD students facilitated discussions and led activities. Featured here are the AWOD students who could make it. This was taken at lunch - everyone was taking a well deserved break after a job well done. Abigail Rosenthal, Tommy Zych, Prince Yodishembo, Alyse Fife, Olivia Mead, Casey Ammon, Jimmy Jiang, Eliza Fehrs, Makenzie Detch, Ian Parent, Nate Cuttita, Bella Rieley and Justin Bissonette. —Abby Rosenthal, Grade 8

The Williston Central School leadership group called A World Of Difference (AWOD) went to a leadership conference at UVM Thursday March 6. At this conference some AWOD students facilitated discussions and led activities. Featured here are the AWOD students who could make it. This was taken at lunch – everyone was taking a well deserved break after a job well done.
Abigail Rosenthal, Tommy Zych, Prince Yodishembo, Alyse Fife, Olivia Mead, Casey Ammon, Jimmy Jiang, Eliza Fehrs, Makenzie Detch, Ian Parent, Nate Cuttita, Bella Rieley and Justin Bissonette.
—Abby Rosenthal, Grade 8

New Holocaust mural remembers the names

By Madison Hakey

 Champlain Valley Union High School

After 24 hours or so of work, CVU now has a beautiful, updated mural in the art hallway. Thea Weiss, a senior, decided to paint over the existing eight-year-old Holocaust mural and put her own work up as her Symposium project for the Holocaust and Human Behavior course. Weiss wanted to create something “permanent” and something that people around CVU could be affected by.

When you first look at the mural, you see a portrait of a person made up of a collection of white words. Across the shoulders and neck is a quote in black, “For the dead and the living we must bear witness,” which is by Elie Wiesel, a Holocaust survivor, from his novel Night. As you look closer, you see that the person is mostly made up of names; these are the first names of survivors and victims of genocides all over the world.

The idea of the mural popped into Weiss’s head as soon as the Symposium project was introduced. The point of the project is to connect the learning in the course to the student’s personal takeaway or the most influential information to them.

Amy Wardwell, one of the Holocaust teachers, said, “The Holocaust is one of the biggest case studies of how a lot of ordinary people did really horrible, evil things or refused to stand up and fight against some of those things because the power of the system and situation they were caught in. Our goal is to help students be aware and to learn resisting behaviors and ways to combat those influences.”

These main ideals and students’ personal knowledge are reflected in the Symposium projects. Unlike a general test, this project gives students the chance to show their individual understanding and what they want others to be aware of. Other Symposium projects included documentary videos, songwriting and singing.

Weiss was inspired by these main ideals of Holocaust and wanted to show that “we’re all built out of the experiences of other people and we’re all connected, especially to events like the Holocaust.”

She showed this connection through building the person in the mural out of the victims’ names–metaphorically building us out of their experiences. She decided on the colors blue, white and black because she didn’t want the mural to be too dark or “morbid.” With the white writing, she reflects the Holocaust book and movie Everything Is Illuminated with the idea that  “everything is illuminated in the light of the past.” Her quote in black was an idea from the previous mural which also had a summarizing quote along the bottom.

Weiss’s mural will be here in CVU for a while and affect many more lives than we can fathom.

She hopes, “people will respect the mural because it’s really hard to learn about events like this without feeling uncomfortable or scared, but I really hope that it’s a sign of remembrance”–and remember we will. Those lucky enough to take Holocaust will be changed forever and Weiss has given us all a chance to experience this through her art. The mural will be here to let us connect, remember and respect.

CVU seniors going places

By Peter Kellner

Champlain Valley Union High School

Here at CVU, we pride ourselves on our student body.  CVU graduates are known to go out and make a difference in whatever career path they choose.

Students attend two- and four-year colleges and universities, explore the world during a gap year, go on to a trade school, enter the workforce, and enlist in the military.  Today, a variety of choices and factors affect students and their families decision-making for next year.  With the rising costs of college, it’s no surprise that there was a two percent decline in college enrollment rates in 2012-13.

In Vermont, and the community we live in, we’re significantly isolated from some of the problems facing a large number of Americans–but this doesn’t mean CVU families aren’t affected.  When asked about money and decision making, many seniors said that it was very influential factor for their families.

Leo Antinozzi, a senior from Shelburne, is hoping to attend Westminster College in Salt Lake City, Utah, this fall.  Westminster is a four-year, private liberal arts school.

“I kind of wanted to get somewhere other than Vermont and get some new experiences,” said Antinozzi.  He also has family in the Salt Lake area.  Antinozzi wants to go to college because “it’s a chance to gain new experiences that I wouldn’t get any other way.”  Access to smart people is something that Antinozzi really values as well.  “Degree inflation means that for a lot of jobs, college education is just necessary, even if you don’t need the education, per se.  They [employers] want you to have been to college,” said Antinozzi.  For Antinozzi, money was an influential factor and all of the schools he looked at happened to be within his family’s range.

This fall, Antinozzi is looking forward to leaving Vermont.  “I like Vermont, but I need to get out of here!”  He’s also looking forward to enjoying the access to some of the country’s greatest mountains so he can snowboard.  Antinozzi said that he’s definitely going to miss all of his friends though.  Planning ahead in five years, Antinozzi would like to see himself in a graduate program doing well for himself. Antinozzi has enjoyed his parents support and wishes for him to go to college and said that they’ve been behind him 100 percent.

Another option for those looking for a degree is attending a two-year institution.  Antoni Wathugi is doing this in the fall.  He hopes to go to Long Island University in New York.  One of the main reasons Wathugi stated for his reasoning was that his family came to the U.S. for the education.  “I’m from Africa, so I kind of came for the education, that’s the main reason,” he said.  Wathugi wants to get a post-secondary education, but doesn’t want to spend four years in college right away.  “I want to learn and hop into a stable career,” he said.  Getting a degree is something that Wathugi’s parents really wanted and valued for their son.  “My mom and dad have been saving, so I got in, and we’ve got the money for it,” he said.

Wathugi is looking forward to living in a new place and he’s ready to leave the cold Vermont weather.  He also is looking forward to living in a more urban environment.  Like many soon-to-be college students, Wathugi is not sure what to expect from dorm life and living without his parents.  In five years Wathugi wants to have a nice job in human resources or business communications.

Cameron Miller, a senior from Hinesburg, hopes to join the National Guard once he graduates.  Miller comes from a family with a rich military background.  Many of his family members were either in the Navy or Marine Corps.  When asked about his reasoning behind his choice, Miller said that he “sees the National Guard as a place of honor and pride.  I want to be able to help those who can’t help themselves.”  For Miller, these qualities are the driving forces behind his decision-making.  Things like money have not played much of a role for him.  “I don’t really care for money, I mean, as long as I’m making people happy and keeping them safe, I’ve never cared for the money,” he said.

He’s looking forward to getting as much education as he can while serving in the Guard. His aspirations are to learn about engineering, specifically auto and mechanical engineering.

Like everyone who aspires to join the military, he’s aware of the rigors and sacrifices of military life.  He’s worried about being mentally prepared for all the challenges he’ll face.  In five years, Miller would like to work toward a college degree with the help of benefits earned by serving the country.  In the future he’d like to be a teacher in engineering, and he’s  interested in teaching shop classes to high schoolers.

Colton Heh is not having a typical senior year.  Heh is currently a student in the Vermont Academy of Science and Technology (VAST).  VAST is a program that Vermont Technical College offers.  What it does is allow high school juniors to complete their senior year of high school at college and earn college credits.  After this year, Heh will graduate from CVU and get his diploma as well as graduate from the VAST program with yet another diploma.  Heh said that after he’s gotten this education, he will be halfway to earning his associate’s degree in Automotive Technologies.  “I am doing this because while I am happy to be able to complete a year of college at a relatively low cost thanks to the program, I would like to get more into high performance auto sports and tuning and that kind of learning isn’t readily available at VTC,” said Heh.  With this aspiration to learn more about high performance, Heh wants to continue his education at the University of Northwestern Ohio and complete his associate’s degree in Automotive and High Performance Automotive Technologies.

Heh took a lot of time deciding what schools were best for him and his family:  “As with anyone going to college, money is a huge concern. My parents have been very generous in helping me be able to go to college while I cover little expenses like books and other little things as I can. Money has played a role in my decision making, but not to any great extent. I compared college prices to make sure the one I liked wasn’t an unreasonable amount and UNOH has one of the lower costing but better automotive programs around so I got lucky in finding it.”

Heh is excited for the fall and is ready to gain new experience.  A substantial goal for Heh is to graduate with his degree and get a job right away.  “I hope that I can get a job somewhere that I enjoy that allows me to pursue my hobbies of tuning cars and earn a living while doing so,” he said.

In five years, Heh wants to be working on high performance cars as his primary job.  In addition, he’d like to work on his own cars too, making for a good hobby.  Heh is looking forward to this opportunity because he’ll have the ability to being doing something that he loves, which is very important to him.  “Do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life, and that’s just what I’m aiming for,” he said.

A gap year can offer individuals an immense amount of experience and knowledge that cannot be gained any other way.  Zowie Tuttle and Sophie Heyerdahl are both planning to take this route.  Tuttle, a senior from Burlington, is planning on going to Maine in the fall.  One of the main reasons why Tuttle is taking a gap year, is so that she can settle down in a new place without having to rush.  She plans on taking community college courses at Northern Maine Community College and already has her eyes set on obtaining a degree in theatre education.

Like everybody, Tuttle is worried about leaving what she’s known for so long, but is excited for the adventures and experiences to come.  In five years, Tuttle wants to be pursuing her desired degree with an end goal of teaching acting in a high school setting.

Sophie Heyerdahl, a junior from Montpelier, with enough credits to graduate already, is also planning on taking a gap year.  She sees three possibilities in the fall, either interning at an organic and sustainable farm in Maine, living in Spain as an au père, or travelling to Argentina to teach English.  With all of these incredible opportunities, Heyerdahl said that she wants to pursue these options for a variety of reasons.  “Because I’ve completed high school in three years, I’m going to have the ability to take a gap year.”  Additionally, she wants to take time to pursue an education outside of a school setting, giving her a new level of freedom.

With these aspirations come fears as well.  Heyerdahl is worried about earning an income next year, seeing as much of her work will be volunteering.  Living on a new continent is, of course, very intimidating for Heyerdahl.

Heyerdahl looks forward to becoming fluent in Spanish, and getting to see new parts of the world.  In five years, Heyerdahl would like to have a college degree and possibly be attending graduate school.

Heyerdahl has been lucky to have the support of her parents in her decision-making.  “My parents are very open to alternative education and have said go for it,” Heyerdahl said.

With all of these different routes students are taking, it’s easy to see the caliber of students graduating from CVU.

College costs are rising, what can you do?

By Skye Golann

Champlain Valley Union High School

Now more than ever, the path to achievement and affluence leads through college. According to the Census Bureau, college graduates make nearly $1 million more throughout their working life than those with just a high school degree. A college education has become a necessity for most careers and so the push to get students into college has grown even more intense. But for too many students, going to college isn’t as simple as getting good grades and studying for the SATs. According to the College Board, about two-thirds of undergraduate students receive financial aid. But is it enough?

Tuition costs in the United States have been rising steeply for decades now, routinely doubling the rate of inflation. Over the last 10 years, tuition at public, four-year universities has risen by an average of 3.8% annually above the rate of inflation, according to the College Board.

The problem appears to be even more potent in Vermont, where tuition and fees at public colleges have risen 4.5% above the rate of inflation per year since 2007. Since the rate of inflation is only about 2.1%, this amounts to an increase of over 210% of inflation. The problem is further exacerbated by the fact that median household income (a measure of how much families make) has increased by less than 1.5%, meaning that families are being forced to spend more and more of what they earn.

The one encouraging sign to come out of recent data is that at private colleges the rate of tuition increase over the past 10 years averaged only 2.3%, a significant drop from the previous two decades. That said, it’s still double the inflation rate, meaning that even at private colleges, students are still paying more.

So what has caused these drastic increases? The most common target is decreased state funding for public institutions. According to CBS MoneyWatch, total public funding for higher education has declined by 15% since the 2008 Recession. In Vermont, VTDigger reports that the state is spending 19% less per student than it did five years ago.

While decreased state funding might explain the increase at public colleges, the reason for similar increases at private institutions is less clear. Ronald Ehrenberg, Professor and Director of the Higher Education Research Institute at Cornell University, chalks up rising costs to the constant pressure to improve the school’s image in order to attract more students: “To look better than their competitors, the institutions wind up in an arms race of spending to improve facilities, faculty, students, research and instructional technology.”

Rather than moving existing funds in order to pay for new projects to bolster school image, institutions frequently add more and more spending on top of existing costs, forcing them to raise tuition rates in order to keep up with growing levels of spending. “Institutions have chosen to maintain and increase quality largely by spending more, not by increasing efficiency, reducing costs, or reallocating funds,” said Ehrenberg. In order to solve the challenge of rising costs, colleges will have to find money from within their own budget and commit to sacrificing spending in order retain affordability.

So where can CVU students find assistance to help them deal with the increasing financial burden of college? According to Julie Dimmock, Snelling House Counselor at CVU, students receive the bulk of their financial aid from the college they attend. Despite this, Dimmock points to many outside options for assistance, both from VSAC, the Vermont Student Assistance Corporation, and from other local scholarships. So what should students do to increase their chances of receiving assistance? “Try to do your best academically, and be involved in some sort of community service. Scholarships often look for students who have given back to their community.”

For students who are still struggling to afford college costs, Dimmock recommends keeping an open mind and considering lower cost options. “Some private colleges can be affordable, but it would be important to apply to and consider other, less expensive options as well, including community college for the first two years,” she said.

In recent years, Dimmock has seen firsthand the effects of rising tuition.

“College has been expensive for a long time. I do think, though, that in the last few years, the conversation about cost has definitely become more commonplace,” she said.

While rising tuition costs may be unavoidable, most students can find a way to afford a college education with an open mind and smart planning. It will be well worth the effort.

Winter driving proves challenging for CVU drivers

By Emma Davitt

Champlain Valley Union High School

Driving in the winter is an obstacle that everyone in Vermont has to live with.  Every day in the winter, Vermonters inevitably have to deal with freezing temperatures, icy roads and snowy driveways.

According to Weather.com, “The best advice for driving in bad winter weather is not to drive at all.”  However, this advice is hard to follow considering that students and adults need to get to work and school every day.

Preparing your car to be driven on a cold winter morning is difficult and time consuming.  It is best to keep one’s car in a garage, however, there are several things that should be done before driving if the car was kept outside over night.  For example, before driving, one must take the time to scrape off any ice on the windshields and windows, and clear off all snow from the car.  In addition to this, when the temperatures reach extreme lows, especially when they go below zero, it is important for one to start their car about five minutes before they are planning to drive in order to give the engine some time to warm up.

All of these activities take time, hence, it is extremely important that drivers plan accordingly and give themselves some extra time in their morning routine to make driving conditions safe.

Parker Dunn, a senior, has recognized that winter driving impacts his schedule. “I usually leave a little bit earlier or get here later if the weather is bad or snowy or really icy. Usually it just takes longer to get places,” he said.

Dunn continued to comment on his comfortability while driving in winter conditions, adding, “The first time [driving in the snow] I was really nervous and I thought the car would slide when there was any kind of snow at all… I was nervous that I was going to slide a lot but I’ve gotten better at knowing when I’m more likely to be in trouble from bad weather.”

In Vermont, a fine of $76 can be issued if there is obstruction of the driver’s view.  Obstruction of the driver’s view includes having snow on one’s car that prevents the driver from being able to see clearly. Often referred to as “peephole” driving, drivers can get pulled over and fined if they are driving after only clearing off a minimum amount of snow so that they can just barely see.

New Hampshire enforces a law against leaving snow on your car and will fine an individual between $250 and $500 for their first offense and up to $1,000 for their second offense if one is driving with too much snow on their car.  In comparison to New Hampshire, Massachusetts does not have a law against clearing snow off a car but state troopers can cite an individual for driving an unsafe vehicle which results in a smaller fine of about $50.

Cory Coffey, the Driver’s Ed teacher here at CVU, has been teaching Driver’s Ed for 10 years.  He stresses the importance of driving slowly in the winter to his students, and offers numerous important pieces of advice when driving in the winter. Not only does Coffey highlight the importance of snow tires, but he also highly recommends that drivers have new windshield wiper blades, a snow brush, an ice scraper, extra windshield washer fluid and jumper cables in their car. For the more adventurous individuals, Coffey suggests having extra sand or salt, a shovel, warm clothing and non-perishable food in case they end up stranded for a few hours. Furthermore, Coffey warns of fuel lines freezing up and encourages his students to keep their gas tanks halfway full.

Coffey’s best advice for all drivers in the winter is to just drive slower than you think you need to.

“I always tell students that you can go a little faster, but you can’t always slow down fast enough in a scary situation,” he said.  Coffey states that many young and inexperienced drivers often end up going off the road simply because they were going too fast for the road conditions.

There are several helpful tips available for drivers to review.  First of all, having snow tires on your car in the winter is a necessity. Cars Direct notes that snow tires have two main advantages: better grip and superior braking.  Snow tires are built with extra tread for maximum grip on the road in snowy and icy conditions.  Some snow tires often consist of softer and grippier rubber, very deep treaded grooves, and sometimes even hard studs; the combination is designed to give snow tires the best possible traction.  Furthermore, the noteworthy traction of snow tires helps when breaking because they can dig into the snow and ice to allow the car to stop more abruptly.

Lucian Bedard, a senior who drives a yellow punch-buggy, noted the difference between driving with snow tires and without. “It [the car] wasn’t so great at first because it had really bald tires but then we got better tires for it,” he said.  Bedard continued on the difference between regular and snow tires, stating, “I have snow tires on my car,without snow tires, driving in the winter can be difficult.”

Weather.com offers a lot of advice for drivers driving in cold, snowy conditions.  Such tips include decreasing one’s speed and leaving plenty of room to stop, keeping one’s lights and windshield clean, using lower gears to keep traction, and avoiding the use of cruise control or overdrive when on icy roads.  Furthermore, and a somewhat more obvious tip, is to avoid passing snow plows and sand trucks.  Often, the road behind these slower-moving vehicles is in better condition than the road in front of them.  AAA,  the American Automobile Association, advises drivers to keep their gas tanks at least half full, in order to avoid the gas line freezing up.  AAA also discourages drivers from stopping while going up a hill because it’s harder to slowly go up a hill than it is to get some inertia going on a flat roadway before taking on the hill.

Bedard commented on one of his most important tips for winter drivers: “Go slow, don’t try to be in a hurry, leave earlier than you would expect to and if you have snow tires then that definitely helps.”

Winter driving also presents a higher risk of getting stuck or going off the road, if one gets stuck, AAA encourages drivers to turn their wheels side to side a few times in order to push snow out of the way.  AAA recommends that drivers don’t spin their wheels.  When stuck, spinning of wheels will only dig a car deeper into the snow.  Lastly, if a driver is really stuck and needs a last minute resort, AAA advocates for pouring sand, kitty litter, gravel or salt in the path of the wheels in order to help get traction.

At CVU, the safety of students is one of its top priorities.  CVU students are trusted with their own parking lots and the ability to come and go from the school.  The safety of CVU students can sometimes be put in danger by the extreme Vermont weather conditions.  There are several resources available for students who want extra tips or help with winter driving.

“When the roads are bad or if we have a storm or bad weather, it’s better to have a student take their time getting here than have them get in an accident,” Vicky Roberts, Nichols House Administrative Assistant, said.  CVU would rather have a student be late for school than have a student be speeding to school on icy roads.  “We just want them to be safe,” Roberts added.


Digging into the history of CVU’s Winter Carnival

By Emily Dykes

Champlain Valley Union High School

Screaming students, racing trikes and a questionable victory by seniors. Normal schools wouldn’t even think of this. Except for CVU. The CVU Winter Carnival incorporates all of these things into one of the most enjoyable days of the year. With the crazy outfits of spirit week, to the trike race, to the original creative class dances, each year’s Winter Carnival brings a series of new ideas and traditions within our own CVU community.

What’s great about Winter Carnival is that any student can be involved in these different activities; however, few students know the history behind the day. As the Snelling House Director and co-advisor for Student Council, Katherine Riley has overseen much of the preparation of the carnival over the past 13 years. As a co-advisor, Riley’s favorite part about the day is seeing students come together and truly become a team. This, in fact, was the reason why the annual festivity was created in the first place.

As Interim Nichols House Director Connie Metz said, “The school has not always been as cohesive as it is now and Winter Carnival was one of the ways they felt they could build community.”

For more than 35 years, this tradition has been a fun, exciting way to unite all classes as well as fuel fun rivalries. It all started when former principal Jim Fitzpatrick approached the student council in hopes of creating an activity to build up school wide community. Throughout the past, principals like Fitzpatrick, Val Gardner and Sean McMannon have developed Winter Carnival into what it is now.

The trike race is the oldest part of this school wide tradition. Former Principal Val Gardener approached student council in hopes of creating a new part of Winter Carnival that made the day even more exciting.

Metz said, “The trike race was started about 20 years ago by Tom Manchester, a member of student council. He thought it would be a great idea to have the race, so it was really kid initiated.” From senior Mari Caminiti’s point of view, the trike race is the most exciting part of the day and most spirited.

However, many students are unaware of the work that goes into these vehicles. In order for students to be involved with making the trike, they must have either a background in metal fabrication or have taken the semester-long course here at CVU.

Olaf Verdonk, Design Technology and Math teacher, and Dick Francis, Design Technology teacher, are both facilitators of the mechanics behind the trikes. Both Verdonk and Francis aid the students making the trike, yet let the students be in charge of their bike. Things were very different in the first few years of the race. There were very serious regulations and guidelines for the trike itself. For both safety precautions and fairness, the rules were applied to each class trike. As the years went on the guidelines weakened and now there are almost no regulations, but the obvious need for three wheels making it a true tricycle.

The newest tradition of Winter Carnival is the class banners that cover the walls of Four Corners. Students in their respective class councils typically begin to work with potential designs three weeks before the carnival. From the brainstorming stages, to the actual sketching of the picture, the purpose of the banner is to show how unique each class is. The tradition of the banners was just adopted last year. The use of the class walls was made in hopes of further showing each class’s theme to the school.

As one of the most exciting parts of the Winter Carnival, the dances connect students of all different interests. When asked about what makes it so special, Riley said, “Any class that works together and unites different people into one dance stands out to me.” For many years the dances were not taken as seriously as they are now. For example, the teacher’s dances have been inconsistent and they did not even have one for a few years until recently.

Although some students choose not to participate in the activities before the race, they are loads fun and have plenty of history behind them. This year’s activities included a basketball game, ultimate frisbee, karaoke, rail jam, scholars bowl, and hockey.

Metz talked about how activities in the past have included “Bash the Trash” and a pie eating contest. “Bash the Trash” consisted of students taking bats and hammers to an old junk car. This car would be obtained by the school and then placed on the green for students to start bashing. The pie eating contest only ran for a few years in the late 1990s and it included both students and teachers.

As CVU’s Winter Carnival will continue, new classes will pass through this school and offer new and innovative traditions. Every single year it slightly changes into a new carnival and no two Winter Carnivals are the same by any means.

The best thing my school offers me

What is the best thing your school has to offer you? Why? In what ways do you see your school as a special place?


Danielle Scribner

Grade 8

The best thing my school has to offer is the Mentoring Program. These are a few reasons why. Nancy Carlson, the coordinator of the mentoring program at Williston Central School, is so nice and caring. She helps match the mentoring pairs, and she always has a smile on her face. Another reason why is because I get to take an hour of my week to meet with an awesome and caring adult. We have fun when we play board games, cooking, baking and basketball. This is why mentoring is the best my school has to offer.


Blane Wigmore

Grade 8

The best thing this school offers I think would be there athletic program. For example the athletic program isn’t just fun but it makes you want to stay academically correct so you can participate in whatever sport you do or compete in.


Casey Ammon

Grade 8

I believe that the best thing my school has to offer me is the option to learn a different language. World language classes give students the chance to learn about cultures around the world. World language classes explore different countries’ holidays, foods, sports, beliefs and much more. Being bilingual is a great skill to have and I’m very grateful that my school gives me a chance to speak two languages. In conclusion, I think the best thing my school has to offer me is the option to learn a new language.


Ben Klein

Grade 7

The best thing our school has to offer is the sports program. Some kids don’t have the opportunity to play sports outside of school and this is a great way to get kids active and teach them the importance of teamwork. I think that it is important for kids to be active and stay in shape. I have been playing on the school soccer team for two years and I think that kids in my school work very well together while playing sports. This is why the best thing our school has to offer is the sports program.


Connor Abrahams

Grade 8

Our school has so many great things. At Williston Central School some of the great things are all the after school programs. My favorite after school activity is the sports they offer. They offer soccer, basketball, baseball, softball, track, cross-country. The sport I play is soccer. I feel that our school is a special place because the teachers are so nice and there are so many options at our school. That is what makes Williston Central School different from other middle schools.


Madison Trutor

Grade 7

The best thing my school has to offer me is a great education. It’s the best thing they have to offer me because it leads us to successes. And it helps me learn. I see my school as a special place because I can have a lot of opportunities to try extracurricular activities.




Nico Pino

Grade 8

I think the best thing our school has to offer are the sports. I think that because without sports, a lot more people would become obese. It is also good to learn sports as a kid. If you learn a lot of sports, you could become famous at one of those sports and play it for money. That’s why I think the best thing the school has to offer is sports.


Noah Lemieux

Grade 7

I think that the best thing the school has to offer is letting students have a little break to get some fresh air and exercise (recess). The reason I think this is because it is healthy for one to get exercise and it also feels good to get fresh air. Secondly, it is fun to hang with friends at recess.



My School

By Prince Yodishembo

Grade 7
I believe my school is a special place because it has many opportunities and fun activities to do. For example, at our school we have a sking/snowboarding program in the winter and recreational games throughout the year. Our school also has a very nice cafeteria because most of our cafeteria food comes from our school garden. Our school is very eco-friendly too! We have a composter in the lunch room to use when we’re done eating and recycling bins all over the school to recycle. We have water fountains that count how many plastic water bottles we’ve saved from landfills by using those water fountains (they have cold water too). The amazing thing about my school though is the great teachers that we have that support us so much. Whether you’re in math or music or social studies the teachers are always there to support you and help you in everything. But what I believe really makes my school special is the bonds between students and how my school is so diverse in nearly everything we learn and do and I love it!


Role models

What is a role model?

Demi Godbout

Grade 4

A Role Model is a person that follows the rules and shows other people that that’s what to do. And tells other people that that’s the right thing to do.


Jacob Allaire

Grade 6

Being a role model is super important. Being a role model is being a leader to others. Sometimes if you do something the other person will do the same. So if you do the right thing they will do the right thing to. Being a role model is important.


Jacob Brassard

Grade 8

A role model can be described in many different ways. I think a role model is someone who sets a good example and is someone you can look up to. For example a good coach could be a role model because you probably look up to a coach and coaches usually set a good example. That is what a role model is to me.




What is mindfulness?

Zachary Spitznagle

Grade 3

Mindfulness is someone asking a question and you listing.  Mindfulness is also answering the question.  One of the most helpful things of Mindfulness that is helpful to our school is helping out.

Kayla Jerome

Grade 7

Mindfulness. Peaceful. It helps relax you. Makes you concentrate on things that are important. It helps through stressful things like homework or bullies or just friends that aren’t be the best of a friend right now and are going through a hard time. Just plain relaxation is all you need.


Kieran Tharpe

Grade 6

Mindfulness is when you are being aware of someone else’s needs or being aware of what is happening around you. This contributes to our school community by letting everyone get the help they need. Also it helps if you aren’t feeling good. Someone could notice that and help you out. This is what I think mindfulness is and how it contributes to our school community.



If Vermont were to be under consideration for hosting the summer Olympics in 2016, explain the advantages of this opportunity and write an overview of how Vermont would go about preparing for this.


Evan Turner

Grade 7

If Vermont was hosting the 2016 Summer Olympics some advantages would be the weather. Here in Vermont it is not too hot or too cold, so it has perfect weather. Another advantage is the attention. If Vermont was to host the Summer Olympics, the media would be crazy here in this small state. To prepare for this event Vermont would have to raise enough money to find a spot and build the stadium.


Jacob Allaire

Grade 6

If Vermont hosted the 2016 summer Olympics that would be amazing. It would be an amazing opportunity being able to host the 2016 summer Olympics. Everyone in Vermont would prepare for the competitors’ arrival. I bet it would be a lot of work setting up everything. People from all around the world would come to Vermont for the Olympics. It would be a great experience having the 2016 summer Olympics right in Vermont!


Brianna Bachinski

Grade 6

If Vermont was being under consideration for having the summer Olympics, there would be advantages and some disadvantages. One advantage is there’s a HUGE lake, so there could be a lot of sports held there. Another advantage is that it doesn’t get extremely hot here so people wouldn’t get really hot. But, there are some disadvantages; Vermont is pretty small compared to some other states so it would get REALLY crowded. Those are some advantages and disadvantages of having the 2016 Summer Olympics in Vermont.


Morgan Blaine

Grade 7
What if Vermont was hosting the 2016 Summer Olympics? I think that would be awesome! There would be tons of advantages to this! Going to see the events would be very easy for all Vermonters. Instead of traveling ½ way across the world on a plane, you could just get in the car and go! Hosting the games would also help out the Vermont economy by making money off of all the tourists that come and visit. Unfortunately Vermont is a very small state but it would still be really fun to host the 2016 Summer Olympics.




Summarize the importance of the 2014 winter Olympics.  Describe one moment during the competition that you will remember.


Ryan Wetmore

Grade 5

I will remember when U.S got 4th place in the medal count in the 2014 Winter Olympics. I thought the U.S might have gotten on the podium for the medals. I’m surprised that we got the most bronze medals in the whole Olympics this year. If the U.S makes it in the top ten that is still good to me and to the other people. The Olympics were fun to watch.


Jessica Gagne

Grade 7

I think that the Olympics are important because they bring many countries together to watch and participate in lots of sports and competitions. Many people from all over the world like to watch the Olympics, and I like to watch mine with my family. One part of the Olympics that I will never forget is the skating. Every time our American skaters were on the ice they took my breath away. I love watching the skating, because all of the skaters are so graceful, and the emotions they have are fun to watch. I love watching the Olympics!


Jimmy Jiang

Grade 7
The Winter Olympics is an important event held every four years similar to the Summer Olympics. This year the Winter Olympics were held in Sochi, Russia and held brand new events such as the slopestyle snowboarding event. The importance of the Olympics is major because it shows all the countries getting together and competing with their athletes and winning for their country. It is also a chance for the athletes to demonstrate their skill to the world and to represent their individual countries. One moment I will always remember in this Olympics is when Alex Deibold won bronze in the snowboard cross event and I’m especially going to remember this because Alex Deibold is from Vermont and he is an inspiration for us to keep going and achieve our dreams.


Kieran Tharpe

Grade 6

I think the importance of the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics is for countries to showcase their talent with the best athletes while competing with other countries’ best athletes. One thing I will remember was watching Hannah Teter. She was in the Women’s Half-pipe. I was impressed because in the last Winter Olympics in Vancouver she was in 1st place for boardercross and then tried to show off at the end, fell, and ended up coming in last. But she put the past behind her and ended up doing VERY well in the Women’s Half-pipe event.


Jacob Allaire

Grade 6

The 2014 Winter Olympics are super important. One reason they are important is because people from all over the world come to compete in the Olympics. Also it judges which country is better at a sport. It is really entertaining to watch them compete. There are many different sports in the 2014 Winter Olympics.   These are some reasons the 2014 Winter Olympics are really important.


Kayleigh Bushweller

Grade 6

The Moment

They skate down,

Their faces sweat,

They are so tired they could fall down

but they keep going,

They know they have to.

The Russians are slowing down

This is our chance!

What team?


What team?


What team?


Get your head in the game!

We skate,

We go,


The next goal wins…

Overtime done,

Shoot out!



Still tied,

If he scores, we win…


the crowd goes wild!


Kathleen Richburg

Grade 6

I will never forget

A moment I will never forget in the Olympics was when the U.S.A had a shootout against Russia and T.J Oshie scored and won the game for the U.S. It was really cool. I remember watching it on Saturday morning and it was tied 2-2. They had to go into a shootout. The U.S goalie didn’t let in even one goal.  When T.J Oshie made that goal, everyone went crazy! That is a moment that I won’t forget. Another moment I won’t forget is when Joss Christensen, Gus Kenworthy and Nick Goepper all one Gold, Silver and Bronze for the U.S. I remember watching them ski. I want to be a slopestyle skier one day.


Monica Heath-Digby

Grade 5


The Importance of the 2014 Olympics is that if you have family member you would probably be really excited that someone you know that is in the Olympics. It also is important because it is an event  we do every four years and it’s a special thing for the world.. The thing I will never forget about the 2014 Olympics is that Mrs.R’s, a teacher in our school, niece was in the 2014 Olympics! I remember watching her and cheer her on. Mrs. R’s niece’s named is Susan and she is 28 years old. She did the Biathlon and she came in 3rd place when we were watching her round. It was amazing.


Kaydn Thibault

Grade 5

Olympics are cool because they can do lot of stuff. There are lots of state flags. My favorite thing is watching the bobsleds because they go so fast. I think the more people there are the faster the sled goes.


Alicia Veronneau

Grade 5

The importance in the Winter Olympics is to gather and compete in races.  It is also important because it is just a lot of fun for everyone to watch on their TV.  I think that it is really fun to watch people get the medals and win.  It is really fun to watch hockey.  I like to watch it because it is really fun to watch because it is really fast and exciting.  One moment that I think is really going to stick in my mind was watching Susan Dunklee.  I think that because she is one of my teachers neices.  She is from Barton Vermont.  She is a really good skier at the mointain and in the olimpics.  I really think that she will stick in my mind because she is one of my teachers neices as I said before.  that is what I think of the winter olimpics and why they are so importent , and what I think I will remember from watching them.


Andrew Stevens

Grade 5

I think that the importance of the 2014 Winter Olympics is that people from all around the world could watch it. We could see the athletes do a lot of sports. For example: Biathlon, Skeleton, Speed Skating, Bob-Sledding, and lots of other things in the Olympics. The athletes would also get bronze, silver, and gold medals in it. There are 294 podiem medals to give out to the athlete. There is also the joy of getting the gold medal in the sports that they play. In the biathlon, an athlete named susan dunkley has not won a medal yet but has gotten in the top ten before. And some of the athletes have complained about the suits that they wear. They are saying that they could not go as fast as they can go when they are competing in thee sports that they play.


Morgan Reed

Grade 5

The importance is the same importance as the summer Olympics.  It’s to show how hard people work to get good and to make them feel important.  One moment that I will remember is seeing Susan Dunklee. That is important because she is the niece of is one of the teachers in Sterling,  Ms.R.  Susan is such a good skier.  I also liked watching Ted Liggidy because he is so good at racing.  The Olympics are fun to watch because I think of how I could someday compete!  It’s inspiring to watch the Olympics. I think they are inspiring because those people are so strong and they don’t give up. I love the winter Olympics.



Maddie Reagan

Grade 5

My favorite part of the Olympics this year was the Biathlon. I liked it because there is a teacher in this school named Ms.R and her niece was in the biathlon! Her name is Susan Dunklee. I know, right? Pretty cool! It made the Olympics even more fun to watch because I actually knew someone who was competing. She actually came in 4th place in the Biathlon relay but her team came in 9th. She is amazing. All of the Williston Central School is very proud of her for doing her best and I am happy to know someone who was in the Olympics.


Kylie Pierce

The 2014 Winter Olympics are important. It is a time for countries to compete and show off their skills. Many people enjoy winter related sports and it is part of their lives. They practice hard and try to do their best. The 2014 Winter Olympics give people a chance to compete with people all across the world for a metal. A competition I will remember is the women’s single luge. This is because a woman for the first time from the U.S.A got a metal (bronze). She made history and that is why I will remember that competition.


Kyle McClure

The Sochi Winter Olympics are important because many athletes are representing their country and many athletes are trying to make history by winning a medal in their sport. One event I will remember is Shawn White getting 4th place after falling on the half-pipe. I will remember this because he pulled out of the slope-style competition to focus on the half-pipe and he skipped the European X-Games to train for the half-pipe.  After all that he didn’t get a medal. Shawn White was also going for his 3rd gold medal in a row. That’s one event I will remember.




How do you deal with stress?

How to Relieve Stress

Emma Cosabic

Grade 5

Steps: First get comfortable on your bed or couch. Then take 5 to 10 deep breaths. After the deep breaths, try to put a smile on your face. If you have a cat or dog then I recommend playing with them. Scientists have proved that playing with animals is the best way to relieve stress.


How to deal with stress:

Lily Ledak

Grade 5

1) Get comfy

2) Do something relaxing like reading or listening to music

3) Put the stuff you need to do until later that day

4) Make a plan for how long you will spend your time on all the stuff you need to do


Stressed Out

Ashley Davidson

Grade 6

I deal with my stress in many ways. One of them is when I have a lot of homework I try to think of the time of day when I can accomplish it. When I am stressed, I take a deep breath and think of all of the things I am grateful for. I put things into perspective as to what I need to do to make myself feel better and focus. Something my mom always tells me is “What you think is a big deal now will not be soon. This too shall pass.” Stress is common with everyone these days. There are so many things we get stressed about. But we all need to remember that: this too shall pass and it can be fixed.


Nicolas Krieger

Grade 4

I eat bacon and pancakes.


Noah LeCours

Grade 4

I deal with stress by being my self


Charlotte DeSantos

Grade 5

The way I deal with stress is first I breathe. Breathing helps you to get calmer, and when you are calmer you make better choices. The second thing I do is I try hard not to think about the thing that is making me feel stressed. The third thing I do is I think of things that make me feel better and relaxed. The fourth thing is I do that makes me feel less stressed is relax. The fifth thing I do is I think of myself somewhere where I feel relaxed. I guarantee you that if you use one or all of these methods for stress, they will work!


Leigh Kerbaugh

Grade 4

You deal with stress by thinking about good things and finding good solutions like taking a break and thinking about of other things in your life if you are stress with homework call a friend or talk to your teacher.


Nicolas Durieux

Grade 7

When I get stressed, I take a deep breath and think about the big picture, and what I’m grateful for. I appreciate that I have my health, and a family that loves me. When you are stressed, think about what you are stressed about. Don’t sweat the small stuff.

Tristan Pillsbury

Grade 4

I punch stuff.
Owen Pierce

Grade 4

Have a happy pillow and a sad pillow that I can punch.


Mason Desautels

Grade 4

I eat pancakes
Erik Schneider

Grade 4

I breath in my nose and count to 3 then breath out my mouth and slowly say calm.


Kayla Jerome

Grade 7

I deal with stress by talking to the person or people that make me the happiest. Those people can make you feel the best. You need believe that you’re not just a waste in space. You are unique by yourself there is no reason to be just like someone else.