Woodbury School Host Veterans’ Breakfast 

by Doug Robinson

The “Table for One” has been set in remembrance of all those who have served their country and who have not come home.

Woodbury School, Salem, NH, held its annual Veterans Day Program on Friday, November 7, 2008, hosted by the sixth grade students.  “This celebration honors all the veterans for their courage and bravery in their service to our country” commented school organizers.

Speeches by students, school officials and most importantly, servicemen, spoke of “bravery,” “risk,” “courage,” “patriotism,” and “honor”.  Marrina Mayo, Woodbury school student, stated, “Soldiers risk their lives and leave their home and loved ones.  They are heroes to all Americans because they are so brave.  The Marines, the Navy, the Army, the Coast Guard, and the Air Force all have trustworthy and courageous soldiers that work hard for the United States of America...Whether these veterans have died in a war or have passed over time; whether these important people are fighting for us and our country right now overseas; or whether we have new young Americans training in the military right now to defend us; they are all true Americans and it is because of them that we raise our flag up high in the sky.”

Vanessa Acosta, Woodbury student, speech stated, “When you wake up in the morning you probably don’t think about the people who are waking up millions of miles away from their friends and family to fight for our country.  If you do not, then you should definitely begin to do so.  I believe that all people should take time each day to appreciate all the things the veterans have done for us.

“Veterans are courageous people that leave their homes and families to protect us.  They also put their life in danger every day fighting for our freedom and to protect our country.  Not many people have the courage to go to war.  The reason they do not go to war is because there is a chance they might not survive and they won’t see their family and friends again.

“Veterans do so much for us all.  Veterans risk their lives for our country everyday.  They are not sure what their day will be like, but they know what they are fighting for.  I find it amazing that there are people that will go out and fight for our country not knowing if they will ever come back.  These people are amazing, yet a lot of people do not think or respect what the veteran’s represent – freedom.

“We have the right to do many things in this country because veterans fought for us.  Adults are able to buy houses and support their families.  Children can learn and pursue their dreams.  We all have a lot of opportunities because veterans fought for us, but not a lot of people realize it.

“Veterans gave us freedom.  Without freedom, where would we be?  Having people telling us what to say, when to say it”  Personally, I am grateful to have these brave people around in our country, because without them we could miss out on a lot of opportunities to do many things.  Veterans are amazing people and they should be honored every day for what they do.”

A Poem for Veterans’ Day

Soldiers, Soldiers going to sea
What happens out there I bear not to see

Soldiers, Soldiers marching through towns
Keeping us warm, safe and sound

Soldiers, Soldiers taking to the air
I cannot believe they are still up there

Soldiers, Soldiers still at work
I thank them greatly for all their hard work

Matthew Descoteaux
Woodbury School

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Racy Photos Cause for Concern at Salem High School

by Andrea Dannewitz

Several obscene photos depicting at least two girls under 16 years old came to the attention of officials at Salem High School last week. When a student turned over a cell phone containing graphic photos of two female classmates forwarded to them by another student, school officials contacted School Resource Officer (SRO) Matt Norcross and Salem police officials, as the pictures were described by police as explicit in nature and depicted the female students partially undressed.  These photos had been circulating via cell phone from student to student.

During the initial investigation, it became quite apparent to both police and school officials that the students did not comprehend the severe legal and social consequences for distributing or possessing such material.  This prompted Salem Police Department to contact Rockingham County Attorney James Reams.  Attorney Reams, along with Salem High School Principal Bill Hagen and police officials, met with students at Salem High last Thursday during student assemblies, in an effort to educate the students about the consequences of possessing and distributing such photos, which are technically child pornography — a felony in New Hampshire punishable by up to seven years in prison.  Some parents, however, feel the assembly caused more confusion than help as students misinterpreted stories shared with them by Attorney Reams.  The students would then go home and relay to their parents stories, such as a 40-year-old man got two 15-year-old girls drunk and took explicit photos of them.  This prompted parents’ concerns that an adult was responsible, which is not the case.

On Monday evening, County Attorney James Reams, Principal Bill Hagen, and several Salem police officers held a public information meeting for parents to clarify rumors, give correct information, and also to answer parents’ questions and concerns.  It was also clearly explained to parents what the risks are to their children if they participate in such behaviors.  Such material on the Internet can prevent admission into college and even prevent employment.

Principal Hagen said it best, “It’s not the same world we grew up in.  I don’t know the answers, but we need to help our kids to responsibly use the power of cyberspace and the Internet.”  For instance, if one student receives such a photo and in turn uses a “reply all” feature on a cell phone or e-mail and that photo makes it to 20 other students, it can never be erased.  Who knows where it goes from there?  That is exactly how pedophiles obtain such materials on the World Wide Web.  There is no way to get that photo back, and many do not seem to understand that – neither parents nor students.

On Monday night, Attorney Reams emphasized to parents what he tried to express to students at Salem High School on Thursday:  It is not the intention of the County Attorney or Salem police to prosecute students for this incident.  This is not a situation where a pedophile is involved.  But the students needed to be informed that such graphic photos of children under the age of 18 are child pornography, and to possess or distribute such materials is a felony crime.

Salem police detective June Frechette took the time to explain other types of Internet safety concerns which children face.  She sees quite a bit of this in her case load, as she deals with crimes against or involving juveniles.  Franchette informed parents, through a survey she conducted several years ago, that Salem children as young as third graders were using or were familiar with MySpace.  She also said some of these children had as many as 500 friends on their ‘friends list.’  These children clearly do not personally know these 500 people. 

In New Hampshire alone, 153 registered sex offenders were found to be using MySpace under their true identities and were banned from the social networking website.  In 2007, New Hampshire Attorney General Kelly Layette, along with several other states, demanded the owners of MySpace to turn over lists of registered sex offenders using MySpace under their real identities.  Unfortunately, many are most likely back online under false names, preying on children.

Frechette said to parents, “We need to communicate with our kids.  Trust your children by verifying what they are doing.  Look into your kids’ online accounts and cell phones to be sure they are not doing what they should not be.”  She also emphasized to parents that, “This is not just a school issue, it is a community issue.” The trouble is not just social networking online and cell phones.  Online gaming, where players chat and communicate with each other, is a pedophile paradise where these people chat and befriend children, convincing them to meet.  Some lure children with gifts, bus tickets, etc.  All too often, children who lack parental supervision regarding their computer usage fall prey to pedophiles who solicited them online, resulting in children becoming victims of heinous sex crimes.

Both Detective Frechette and Officer Norcross recommend parents visit www.netsmartz.org.  It is a Website for parents and children featuring tips for staying safe online.  There are also links for downloadable software like NetNanny, which restricts users from visiting websites that are prohibited according to the computer settings chosen.

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Annual Mr. SHS Pageant

by Anum Hussain

Lospennato, Capuano, Mackey, Elsherif, Marshall, Orlandella, Kimball, McEaneany, Rocheleau, Martin, Yu, Gardner, Guilmette, Sullivan, Nee, and Deveau during the opening act.

The ninth annual Mr. SHS Pageant presented 16 senior male contestants, sponsored by senior females, on Thursday November 6, for a humorous night in Salem High’s Seifert Auditorium.

The night commenced with hosts Mr. Anthony Karibian, English Educator, and Ms. Christine Jefferson, Math Educator; the two kept busy working together during the program.

The presentation began as the curtains opened with five of the boys in position on stage.  As the music played, the rest of the contestants came strutting down the aisles.  Performing a group dance, the 16 young men roused joy and laughter from the audience.

Next, one by one, each contestant appeared on stage with their female sponsor.  A description of each contestant’s outfit was given and a short poem was read aloud by his sponsor.

The boys were introduced in the following order: David McEaneany escorted by Amanda Saab, Michael Marshall escorted by Corinna DaCruz, Evan Lospennato escorted by Taylor Healey, Aaron Mackey escorted by Jenn Azarian, Tim Sullivan escorted by Jordyn Sullivan, Steve Orlandella escorted by Erica Depinto, Mike Kimball escorted by Gina Ciambella and Michelle Simms, Matthew Yu escorted by Jillian Wheeler, Zack Martin escorted by Danielle Fredette, Thomas Guilmette escorted by Melissa Paris, Mike Rocheleau escorted by Diana Aksyonova, Tom Gardner escorted by Courtney Russell, Omar Elsherif escorted by Cami Johnson, Bill Deveau escorted by Breanna Christian, James Capuano escorted by Lauren Meissner, and Robert Nee escorted by Michaela Wojtas.

The curtains closed, the lights dimmed, and a small section was opened for the ‘Mr. Sexy Legs’ competition.  Legs covered in fish nets, tights, or just bare skin, slowly swayed by in stiletto heels.  The winner of this year’s Mr. Sexy Legs was awarded to Tom Gardner.

“I never realized how feminine my legs were until I wore fish nets and a garter for the first time,” Michael Marshall smilingly said.

The talent competition was next and many humorous skits were showcased.  Clips from The Lizzie McGuire Movie, Billy Madison, and Miss Congeniality were displayed on stage.  Songs were changed around with Kimball’s “ultimate music video,” Lospennato’s Mary Jane, and Rocheleau’s personal twist to Hey There Delilah.  Orlandella was the senior who got to walk away with this year’s trophy for Best Talent.

The formal wear competition ended the night as every contestant presented themselves in tuxes from TUXToGo, and every escort, wearing their formal attire, walked arm-in-arm with their contestant.  Each contestant was given a question to answer, generally ending with a similar response: World Peace.  Except for Matthew Yu who replied with “World Cleats” believing that everyone should have a pair to play soccer with.

After two hours of continuous laughter and enjoyment, the hosts announced the Best Talent and Best Legs winners as also the first and second runners up.  And after a final decision by Judges Chris Bujold, Christie Cannone, Sarah Harrigan, Brian Stone, and Joan Welch, the 2008 winner of Mr. SHS was awarded to Matthew Yu.

“When the hosts announced that the ‘Asian sensation himself’ had taken the title as Mr. SHS, my heart dropped as a tidal wave of joy and excitement had taken over me.  I was ecstatic,” said Yu.

Yu said that winning was great, especially considering that he is not a typical “jock kid,” who typically wins, and felt “sweet” representing those students who aren’t affiliated with that.

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