Category Archives: Uncategorized

An Interview with Señora Hawes!

By: Audra Logan

This month we decided to dip into the language department and share a little bit about Señora Hawes!

What is your favorite part about teaching Spanish?

“Spanish is my native language so I try to give my students part of my identity. Also I can describe the culture, traditions, and I can explain the way of the Hispanic culture.”

When was a moment in your life that you felt happiest?

“When I started a family.”

Do you have any special talents?

“I like art. I like to draw and do a lot of crafts. I also like to cook, dance, and write.”

Would you consider yourself a good dancer?

“Yes, indeed.”

What was your favorite class in school?

“Literature, philosophy, and sociology”

Favorite Spanish dish?

“Sancocho, which is a soup made out of either chicken or beef. You can mix both as well. It has other types of vegetables that are from Latin American cuisine: corn and cilantro and other things.”

Favorite song?

“I always listen to Spanish music…. “Alma llanera.” It brings me memories of my country where I was born and it’s the most traditional song that the Venezuelan people have.”

Dream place to travel to?

“I would like to go to Thailand because it sounds very exotic and I find that there are similar foods and colorful culture. I’d like to discover and experience that.”

Favorite word in the Spanish language?

“Ay, Dios mio.”

What makes Lauralton special to you?

“The sense of community – you can tell that the environment is very different than other places. There is a lot of respect among the students, faculty, and staff. For me it is important to be part of empowering women for life.”

Did you want to be a teacher growing up?

“Not really, I always liked languages and I had other plans. The reason why I became a teacher is because when I started a family, it was easy to be around my children. But when I start teaching I just discovered that passion that I think I always had, but I didn’t discover until then.”

Do you think being immersed in multiple cultures is important?

“Oh yes. When you are immersed in multiple cultures you understand more about life and humans. You’re more open minded, accepting, and understanding of the way other people live.”

Photo:

LH website

A Weekend at the Capitol

By: Kathryn Blanco

In the January issue, I mentioned some ways of expanding political engagement right here at Lauralton. One such program, Youth and Government, recently held its annual conference. As a YAG newbie, I thought I’d share some perspective on the event for any interested students and explain how this school program relates to the real world.

Each YAG member crafts a bill over the course of the year. The bills are presented at a pre-states event and then debated fully at the state conference, which takes place at the gorgeous Connecticut State Capitol and adjoining Legislative Office Building. Once at the conference, however, debating bills in the House of Representatives is just one option open to students. YAGers can debate in the smaller, more intense Senate, argue a legal case in Youth and Law, or participate in the Press Corps and churn out three newspapers a day. Not only do these activities improve speaking, writing, and leadership skills (just ask the three Lauralton girls who held elected positions – Lieutenant Governor Kate Canavan, Secretary of the State Maya Zaleski, and Editor-in-Chief Hannah Haynes), they offer an opportunity to learn about state government as well. Coming up with bills educates students about what constitutes a state versus federal issue. Following decorum, using phrases like “I move the previous question,” and offering amendments make the technicalities of the legislative process a first-hand experience. Of course, the bills themselves are also informative. Proposals from therapy dogs (or frogs) in schools to opioid prescription restrictions bring to light a wide range of local issues. Gaining some understanding about the heretofore mysterious process by which change happens on a state level made the whole system feel more approachable. I was inspired to learn more about state government and perhaps even participate in it, and I’d encourage you all to open yourselves up to the same experience.

One Decision

By: Mary Clark

The way Lauralton makes a Lauralton Girl feel is something she can’t really put into words. She can try, but she will always fall short. And you won’t understand it unless you too, attended LH.

When I was thirteen, I made the brave decision to spend my high school years at Lauralton Hall. At the time, I had no clue that this would be one of the best decisions I ever made. In fact, as a freshman, I seriously considered transferring out of LH, to my public high school. I decided to stay another year, and I thank God I did, because if I had not, I would have missed out on one of the best experiences of my life.

The defining moment of my years at Lauralton was the night of my Junior Ring ceremony. I had acknowledged that this was the right environment for me to attend school, however, the sisterhood of Lauralton Hall that was exhibited that night showed me something more. Moments from that day are tucked away as moments in my life when I was truly happy. I, along with 130 friends, had officially survived our underclassmen years at LH, and we were now joined with countless women who still wear their ring, many years later. Before this night, I thought Lauralton was great, but after this night, I knew Lauralton was a very special place. When I returned home after the ceremony, the spirit of Lauralton Hall had resonated with me, and I knew I belonged. Since that moment, my happiest days have been with my best friends, celebrating milestones, from prom, to 100 Days Dinner, to our final pep rally, and everything in between and beyond.

However, what makes Lauralton special is not only the organized traditions, but also the small moments. These moments happen everywhere, at any time, and they can be the most insignificant things. Whether it’s breaking out into a random dance party at school, blasting Kanye West in your best friend’s car, painting a school in Guatemala, having a conversation with the lovely lunch ladies, bonding over a test you and all your friends struggled with, or performing a live reenactment of the nativity in religion class, every moment at this school is celebrated. There is never a dull moment.

In these final days of my time here, I only wish I felt the spirit of LH sooner. Freshman year feels like it was yesterday, and I wish those days hadn’t gone by so fast. To outsiders, I attend a beautiful school with no boys. To fellow ladies of Lauralton, I am a part of a family, where my friends include other students, teachers, coaches, and other staff and faculty. My friends are my sisters, because they are there for me to celebrate my successes, and support me through my difficult times. To the people lucky enough to meet women from Lauralton, treat them well, because they will be some of the most amazing people you meet.

 

A Remake Worth Fighting For

By: Victoria Sogueco

When I was younger, I wanted to be Mulan. She was a princess that I immediately identified with: she was brave, smart, tough, beautiful, was a bit tomboyish but still sang, and was always late. She was a mix of who I wanted to be and who I was. Plus, her singing voice was provided by Lea Salonga and I could be her for Halloween without anyone batting an eye.
As I grew older, I realized that the costume that I got when I was five wouldn’t fit me anymore. So I decided that I’d get a real one by playing Mulan in a live-action movie.
Now the time has come. But I’m not too happy about it.
Personally, I don’t see why we need to make live-action versions of the movies that many of us watched growing up. Disney is filled with extremely creative employees who are certainly capable of coming up with a good story, and I also feel that it’s unfair to kids growing up now who are stuck exploring the same worlds that we did years ago.
But I went with it. Disney knows what they’re doing, I told myself. It’ll be great.
A quick search on Google shows that the remake won’t be a musical and will probably not feature Li Shang. To me, the music was what made it a Disney movie. The soundtrack to Mulan was basically the soundtrack to my childhood. Without the music, it’s just a live adaptation of the Ballad of Mulan.
I know that for some it’s just a movie, but for me it was a huge chunk of my life. While I want younger girls and boys to watch the movie and know that they can, I feel that it’s unfair to give them a sort of hand-me-down story.
Hopefully on November 2, 2018, all of my doubts will disappear.

Photo:

https://fanart.tv/movie/10674/mulan/

Birch Box Beauty: A Favorite Product

By: Maya Welber

Are you looking for just the right gift for a beauty guru or simply just a friend interested in sampling the newest beauty products? Well, then Birchbox is just the right company for you. It’s the gift that keeps on giving! You can sign up for a twelve month subscription and Birchbox will send you five beauty samples for ten dollars a month. Each month it’s a whole new surprise to open your box and see what’s inside based on your online profile set up prior to subscription. Whether your interest lies in skin care, makeup, or hair products you will get an assortment from all three categories or just one depending on your preference. Some different brands that work with Birchbox are Number 4, COOLA, Manna, Supergoop!, bbrowbar, Dr. Lipp, The Beauty Crop, Eyeko, JUARA, Benefit Cosmetics, NuFace, Amika, Real Chemistry, Smashbox, IPKN, Balance Me, R+Co, Milk Makeup, and Coastal Scents, just to name a few! The best part is, if you get hooked on a product you can order the full size and it will come in your box the next month with the additional five samples. It saves a lot of money in the long run when you don’t have to purchase the full size just to find out you don’t like it! In using this product I rate it 10/10 ⭐️s. The individual samples are quite generous and it is a very reliable company.

I was lucky enough to receive a subscription. In my March box I received hair protection spray for straightening hair, cucumber moisturizer, Dry shampoo, lip gloss, and water resistant mascara.

If you are interested in signing up today, visit https://www.birchbox.com/subscribe/checkout/register

Photo:

http://www.foxbusiness.com/features/2015/09/24/should-birchbox-be-worried-about-sephora.html

Are You a Victim of Conformity?

By: Sara Abbazia

It turns out that social pressure plays a pretty large role in our society. A series of tests from the 50s called the Asch conformity experiments demonstrated that our actions can be hugely impacted by what others say and do. During the experiment, psychologist Solomon Asch asked his participants to look at three different lines in order to figure out which one was the longest. These people were then placed in groups with other people who were told to purposely say the incorrect answer. 75% of the time, the test subjects went against their better judgment and gave an incorrect answer so that they were in agreement with the rest of the group. Asch’s tests have been repeated many times by psychologists with similar results- one instance had people facing backwards in an elevator, and those who entered later assumed this awkward stance.

Do Asch’s findings hold up in real life? The more I thought about it, the more I agreed. For example, here at Lauralton, we all must conform to the same polo and jumper- yet when it comes to the one aspect of our outfit that we have some control over, our footwear, the majority of students prefer to wear near-identical Sperry’s. Also, we have all had those moments when we are trying to decide what to eat, and decide to pick what our friend chooses. In these cases, conformity is used as an easy solution to trite, relatively unimportant decisions.

What about when it comes to more pressing matters, such as the answer to a test? I tried a conformity experiment where my siblings and I tried to convince my mom that eight times four was twenty-seven, but even against all of us, she stood her ground (in case I fooled any of you, the answer is thirty-two). Of course, she hesitated a little before rebuking us. Perhaps with a math problem of enough fervor, even the smartest pupil would feel obligated to conform to a wrong answer.

Why are we so afraid to go against the grain? With some cases, we are afraid to answer a question with only one acceptable answer incorrectly. Anyone would be hesitant to speak their mind if they were not ensured that they had all the facts. However, what about circumstances with no one right answer? If everyone picks red, is it wrong if you pick blue? Is it really so bad if you also pick red? What if you were going to pick red anyways, but now you cannot without looking like a conforming sheep? Blending in does have its perks, and it feels nice to go with what is familiar, with what is “normal.” However, is our desire to fit in stopping us from really being ourselves?

I believe that everything is good in moderation. If you want to wear Sperry’s to school, go right on ahead- but maybe try mixing up your look on a dress-down day. If you want to face the wrong way in an elevator, I suppose you can do that too- but you should at least consider why other people might want to face forwards. Ultimately, it is more important to be yourself than to worry about what other people may think of you.

Photo and Sources:

https://www.google.com/search?q=conformity&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiayI-Y3szTAhXD7YMKHXTvAdgQ_AUICigB&biw=1440&bih=803#imgrc=k9wPJgAWUDzN0M:

https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=images&cd=&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0ahUKEwju0KyDkYfTAhWa8oMKHbJ3CZwQjRwIBw&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.publicpressure.org%2Fthere-is-comfort-in-conformity%2F&psig=AFQjCNGvnWil43_vdErbVAJYZnXRfeH4SA&ust=1491269236848478

The Basics of Astrology

By: Sarah Vaccarelli

I can confidently say that by high school, most of us have heard of astrology and figured out our own zodiac sign. However, not many people know the science behind it all. There are many forms of astrology spread across history and cultures, but the most frequently referenced today is Western Astrology. It is believed that the time and place of our birth connect us to certain points in the universe; therefore there is symmetry between each of us as a microcosm and the universe as a macrocosm: the part, the microcosm, reflects the whole, the macrocosm.

The way astrology works is locating where the sun lies across the constellations when you’re born. The sky is split into twelve signs, and the sun’s location in one of these twelve signs at the time of your birth determines your sign. For instance, I am a Taurus because I was born between April 20th and May 20th, when the sun is present in the Taurus sign of the zodiac.

Astrology is interesting to learn since it leads you to be more mindful of yourself and others. People display the traits of their sign in different ways, or perhaps not at all. If you choose, you can even do some deeper investigation into yourself and configure your own natal chart, which tells you the location of the moon and all of the planets at the time of your birth, giving you a deeper scope of information about yourself. Astrology can also help you make peace with the way others around you behave since you can see how they match up to their sign. Not everyone believes in astrology, but it is an interesting practice to learn and it’s always fun to see how things inexplicably line up sometimes.

There are twelve signs of the zodiac split amongst four elements: fire, earth, air, and water. Although you can form a relationship with whomever you choose, it is believed that fire and air signs pair well together, and earth and water signs complement each other. This is based on the natural way that air feeds a fire, since without oxygen it cannot burn, and water gives nutrients to the earth. Going against these complementary pairings is not impossible, it just means for more communication between two of the signs. There are also three qualities of the signs: cardinal, fixed, and muted. Cardinal signs mark the beginning of a new season, fixed signs mark the middle of a season, and muted signs are when the season itself is winding down and leading to the start of a new one. Below is a brief overview of each of the signs!

Aries (March 21- April 19)

Element: Fire

Quality: Cardinal

General description: As the first sign of the zodiac, and being a cardinal fire sign, Aries tend to be energetic and turbulent. They are enthusiastic and passionate, but their drive to get things done often leads them to be impulsive and impatient as well.

Taurus (April 20- May 20)

Element: Earth

Quality: Fixed

General description: The second sign of the zodiac, Taurus, is a fixed earth sign, meaning that they are stubborn and not suitable for change. When those traits are being used “for good,” they make Taurus reliable and passionate since they’re so focused on what they are good at and used to doing.

Gemini (May 21- June 20)

Element: Air

Quality: Mutable

General description: Gemini’s reputation usually precedes them negatively as someone who is two faced, but this is only because they are the flighty air sign paired with the mutable quality. This means that they are quick-witted and always looking for something to do.

Cancer (June 21- July 22)

Element: Water

Quality: Cardinal

General description: Cancer is a water sign, which means it is deeply rooted in its emotions. Paired with the cardinal quality, Cancers are endurable and compassionate, making them very loyal. While Cancers tend to be suspicious and moody, it is only because they are safeguarding their own vulnerable emotions.

Leo (July 23- August 22)

Element: Fire

Quality: Fixed

General description: The fixed fire sign Leo makes people passionate to a fault. Since they are fixed, they are often pinned as arrogant, but Leos are just trying to make everyone enjoy life as much as they are. Self-confident and warmhearted Leos make for a great mediator of a friend group since they just want to get back to having a good time with their friends.

Virgo (August 23- September 22)

Element: Earth

Quality: Mutable

General description: Virgo is a seemingly contradicting sign since they belong to the earth element but are mutable. They generally have strong character and use their organization skills to their advantage, but allow their shyness to overcome them sometimes. Virgos are always paying attention to little details to try to ensure that they achieve their goals as smoothly as possible, making them one of the most careful signs of the zodiac.

Libra (September 23- October 22)

Element: Air

Quality: Cardinal

General description: Libras often posses a powerful yet whimsical air about them. As an air sign, they are social and keen-minded, and their cardinal quality gives them strong character. Libras promote harmony over conformity, and are unafraid to speak up against injustices that threaten the balance in their lives.

Scorpio (October 23- November 21)

Element: Water

Quality: Fixed

General description: Scorpio is another seemingly contradictory sign since it is a water sign, making it constantly moving and mysterious, yet also a fixed sign. This means that Scorpios often internalize thoughts and feelings to the confusion of others who just want to help. This does however make them very resourceful and a true friend, since they hate dishonesty and take pride in being a good friend to others.

Sagittarius (November 22- December 21)

Element: Fire

Quality: Mutable

General description: Fire signs like Sagittarius need to be constantly in touch with the world, making them extroverted and always seeking fun. Their need to experience as much as they can often make them seems impatient, but that same quality is what gives Sagittarius such a great sense of humor and strong curiosity.

Capricorn (December 22- January 19)

Element: Earth

Quality: Cardinal

General description: Capricorns are a cardinal earth sign, which gives them a good sense of self-control and leads them to value tradition. Capricorns are responsible and independent, which is why they will not hesitate to shut down others who threaten to mess up their flow. This makes them seem unforgiving, but really they are extremely reliable friends.

Aquarius (January 20- February 18)

Element: Air

Quality: Fixed

General description: As a fixed air sign, an Aquarius is progressive and intuitive yet also stubborn and temperamental. Aquarius loves to spend time with others and dislikes being lonely, but not being alone. Alone time allows Aquarius to focus on theirs goals and allow them to avoid feeling restrained by their environment. They are original and love helping others, but keep everyone at an arm’s length so as not to make themselves too vulnerable.

Pisces (February 19- March 20)

Element: Water

Quality: Mutable

General description: Pisces is the final sign of the zodiac. They are a mutable water sign, which makes them deeply sensitive and always looking forwards into the future. Pisces can be over-trusting, and easily give themselves up to others since they are selfless at heart. They value intellect that matches their own and would rather have a few meaningful relationships over many inconsistent ones. Pisces are certainly the most tolerant of all the signs due to their forgiving nature and wisdom.

Photo:

https://www.sellcell.com/blog/7-cool-android-apps-astrology-lovers/

The Legacy of President Barack Obama

By: Zahra Chaudhry

Regardless of party affiliation, currently all Americans are looking ahead to see what this new era with President Trump will bring. However, right now also seems to be the best time to reflect and understand what we have witnessed over the past eight years during a historic presidency under Barack Obama.

Whether you agree with his policies or not, citizens of this country can be proud to have experienced the first African American president and can appreciate the grace, charisma, and diplomacy with which he led the nation. There is a lot to learn by revisiting some of the major steps of the past administration, so that each of us can decide what it is that we want in the future, and also so that we may comprehend the changes from this last Commander in Chief that will undoubtedly be notable in history books for generations to come.

Perhaps his most well-known piece of legislation was the signature Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare. This policy was initiated as an effort to get closer to universal healthcare, but has seen some strong opposition. The ACA is revolutionary because it gives health insurance to an additional 20 million people who did not have it before, it guarantees that people with existing health conditions are not turned away from insurance companies, and allows young people to stay under their parents’ health insurance policy until they are 26 years old.

Congressional members who are opposed to the ACA cite high premiums and deductibles for middle class families as the reason for wanting to repeal it, and have promised, for the past several years, to draft a policy that will maintain all of the positives of the law while driving down the price—no plan has been presented as of yet.

When Obama took office, the country was embroiled in the biggest financial crisis we had seen since the Great Depression—and he managed to reverse it and create the longest streak of job growth in America’s 240 year history. In the last eight years, the unemployment rate has been cut in half and Americans are overall in a better financial state.

Militarily, President Obama pulled our troops out of Iraq, exponentially reduced the number of prisoners in tax-payer funded Guantanamo Bay, and led the mission that killed Osama Bin Laden.

The 44th Chief Executive negotiated the Iran Nuclear Deal, thereby shutting down Iran’s nuclear program. Fighting for nuclear disarmament through this deal meant thwarting off demonstrably deadly threats to the world and making peace all the more possible without sacrificing our troops or resources by pulling us into intervention—a key focus of his foreign policy. Another major deal was the Paris Agreement, which finally made combatting climate change and protecting the Earth for generations to come a priority on the world stage.

Polarizing conversation might make it seem like this country is running off course, and many people have genuine concerns that government leaders must address, but really we must all remember that America has made it through much tougher times than this. Let us be optimistic for the future, peacefully advocate for what we believe in, and be involved in the political system, while rallying behind our current leaders when we need to.

Pertaining to all of us as students preparing for college and for our futures, realize that President Obama had this to say to us in his farewell address,

“This generation coming up – you are unselfish, altruistic, creative, patriotic – I’ve seen you in every corner of the country. You believe in a fair, just, inclusive America…you’ll        soon outnumber any of us, and I believe as a result that the future is in good hands.”             (https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/18/opinion/the-obama-legacy.html?_r=0)

Wow, thanks Obama.

Photo:

http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/features/obama-on-his-legacy-trumps-win-and-the-path-forward-w452527

 

An Interview with Mr. Blahnik!

By: Audra Logan

By popular demand, we got to know the beloved English teacher Mr. Blahnik this month! Here are some answers to student submitted questions!

How do you pick your outfits in the morning, since they are usually coordinated?

“I lay them out the night before, to make it easier in the morning. I always get up before my wife, so it would be hard to find them in the dark. I’m very much a planner.”

Do you play any instruments?

“No, although I wish I did play. However, I played the trombone for 2 weeks in 5th grade and took some piano lessons.”

If your first name wasn’t John, what would it be?

“I actually don’t like being named John, it’s a very common name. My father’s name is John. It’s too late to go by a new name, but my wife says I should go by Jack.”

How devastated were you when your Boogie Mug was destroyed?

*Laughs* “I mean I felt bad, but I got a great Mercy Day mug from my students.”

Do you have a pump up song?

“I really like Haim the band, and the songs ‘The Wire’ and ‘Days are Gone.’”

Are you good at bowling?

“Actually I’ve had a few good games and my average game is around 150. I would say that’s pretty good for someone who doesn’t bowl.”

Do you have a hobby?

“My wife and I really enjoy cooking. We subscribe to Bon Appetite and Blue Apron, which sends you boxes each month. We are pretty inventive when we cook.”

Do you have a favorite class?

“All the classes are my favorite, I can’t choose.”

Do you have a guilty pleasure?

“Um, I would say I over eat ice cream. Talenti sea salt caramel is my favorite.”

If you had to be a character in any piece of literature, who would you choose?

“I would be Lily Bart from The House of Mirth, because I love the setting of old New York. Even though things turn out bad for her she would be really interesting.”

Favorite food?

“I would have to go with a Cobb salad from Claire’s in New Haven. It comes with Parmesan dill dressing.”

When was a moment when you were happiest?

“I would have to say my wedding day was the happiest and most stressed I have ever been. I’m also happy when I am on vacation with my wife.”

What is your favorite word in Portuguese?

“Bárbaro, which is an old word for cool.”

What is your favorite part of being a teacher at Lauralton?

“The kids. I very much enjoy teaching them and I love when they enjoy what I am teaching.”

Photo:

http://enroll.lauraltonhall.org/meet-the-faculty-english