Dozens of Landmark High School students competed in the annual science fair and displayed their ambitious projects for judges and observers on February 14.
Some students proved their hypotheses (rap music helps basketball players sink shots better than country or rock music) while others were surprised by their findings (adults ages 40 and over have better memory than teenagers). Despite the outcomes, the students reported that their projects taught them a thing or two about the scientific process and they gained an appreciation for the level of detail required to defend a hypothesis.
Each project was assessed by four judges and by their science teacher. The teacher's score was given double weight. Projects were judged on presentation, scientific thought, thoroughness, and creativity. The students were required to state the purpose of the project, the hypothesis, the scientific procedure they followed, observations, gather and interpret data, draw a conclusion, and finally, present the project to judges.
The Scientific Process
Ruairi tested the effect of heat and cold on battery life and performance. He hypothesized that batteries would be less efficient in cold environments and function normally in warm environments. He correctly hypothesized that batteries were negatively affected by cold temperatures. "In particular, iPhone devices became completely useless in environments below fridge temperatures," he said. "Android devices did work, but they lost power." He found that with alkaline batteries, the smaller the battery the more effect temperature had on them. To measure performance, he put phones in an incubator or freezer overnight, and then played a Youtube video for 10 minutes and measured how much batter life was lost. In cold environments, they lost on average 16-20% and only 5-7% at warm temperatures. He found that Android devices lost power faster than iPhones. He hypothesized that Android's larger screen and battery size caused the devices to be less energy efficient.
Elizabeth wanted to find out if name-brand sugar tastes better than off-brand. She made two batches of ice cream, one with Domino sugar and the other with a store brand. She tested two groups: students and teachers. The student group was evenly split. The teachers preferred the ice cream made with Domino sugar 2–1. Asked what inspired her to choose this experiment, Elizabeth said, "Who doesn't want to make ice cream for a week during school?"
Thank you to Greta Wright '20 and Lydia Jackson '20 for sharing these photos.
Each high school sport has a benchmark that athletes strive to attain. Two Landmark High School students reached the standard of excellence in early February.
On February 2 at the Hyde School, Isaiah Castellucci '19 landed his 100th varsity wrestling win. Isaiah was honored with a plaque on February 6, and his brother and fellow wrestler, Josiah '21, shared a few words to mark the occasion.
"Throughout the eight years my brother and I have wrestled, I have seen him through his ups and his downs. I have seen him win and I have seen him lose, believe it or not," Josiah said. "I would not be the same wrestler I am today without the constant nagging and pushing of my brother."
Pat Sullivan '19 notched the 1,000-point plateau in the boys varsity basketball game against Brewster Academy, also on February 6. He entered the game needing 24 points to achieve the milestone. During the second half, after a strong drive to the rim, Pat was fouled and then knocked down his first free throw attempt—and his 1,000th varsity point.
Years of hard work and commitment paid off for these two student-athletes. Congratulations!
By Isabella Combs, communications intern
Gillian, a Landmark School senior and day student from Rowley, Mass., organized a performing arts fundraiser for Nuestros Pequeños Hermanos (NPH), which means our "little brothers and sisters" in Spanish. NPH is an organization with 11 orphanages in nine different Latin American countries. The fundraiser, the second annual, took place in December at the Landmark School Performing Arts Center.
Singers, poets, bands, and other performers from not only Landmark High School, but also Bishop Fenwick High School and Masconomet took to the stage. Students from the schools came together as a community for an amazing night. The event raised more than $400 through donations and the sale of Spanish baked goods. Gillian's tireless efforts and passion made for a delightful—and successful—night.
“NPH is an amazing organization that is very close to my heart, and it meant the world to me and all of the children who call NPH home that so many people came to the event and donated” -Gillian said.
By Greta Wright 20’
From my first year as an eighth grader at Landmark High School, athletics has been a huge part of my school experience; the creation of the Student Athletic Council is an extension of my desire to continue to participate, enjoy, and succeed in sports.
Over the summer, I was fortunate enough to backpack in Europe with 11 other high school juniors and seniors. These kids were from around the United States and went to all different kinds of schools. During long hikes we talked a lot. Often our conversations were about our schools, the good and the bad. During one conversation, a friend explained to us about the student athletic council at her school. She told us about what the council did and the events they planned. I kept thinking this would be a beneficial program for Landmark, and a great fit for our community. When I returned home, this idea was still lingering in the back of my mind. After looking at some websites of schools with student athletic councils, I shared my idea with Merryl Green, who agreed this would be great idea for Landmark. We drafted a proposal letter and sent it to the head track and field coach and head girls soccer coach, who provided feedback and showed their support for this idea. We then sent a letter to Athletic Director Brook Sumner and the rest of the Athletic Department. In this letter we presented the objectives of a student athletic council and proposed starting one at our school. The two main objectives were to increase school spirit and give students a voice within the Athletic Department.
Now, half-way through the school year, we have created a small group of student athletes who help plan pep rallies and sporting events, such as the Color-Out. Most recently, we hosted a presentation by a Landmark teacher called “Kind of Athlete to Marathon Finisher” in which the presenter talked about her experience training for a marathon. We had over 20 students show up to listen to her presentation.
In the fall we hosted a SPIRIT week leading up to the homecoming weekend. And after learning a lot from the planning of the fall pep rally, we are now excited to begin planning the winter pep rally that will be mid-February. Additionally, we have kept open discussions with the Athletic Department about student athletes "wants," such as including a girl’s soccer game along with the boy’s soccer game during homecoming weekend. We have also been able to educate student athletes about some of the challenges the Athletic Department faces that have not been well understood in the past. Merryl and I hope that the Student Athletic Council continues and grows to be an integral and positive part of the Athletic Department and the student-athlete experience at Landmark.
On January 25, the Landmark Gay Straight Alliance (GSA) and the International Group celebrated Landmark's third annual Identity Day, a dress-down fundraiser in which students are encouraged to dress in clothing that represents their identity. Events included a photobooth, rich Belgian waffles provided by Sage Dining Services, and a collaborative "iceberg" project. Proceeds from the fundraiser will benefit Outright International and The Trevor Project.
For the iceberg project, students wrote qualities about themselves on color-coded index cards. They wrote "surface-level" items, or the tip-of-the-iceberg qualities that people see about them in their daily lives, on yellow cards. Green cards revealed hidden pieces of their identities that people would have to dig deeper to find out about them. The iceberg is on display in the Swalm Science Building.
"The goal is to raise awareness for the mosaic of identities that our community is made up of and to give students the opportunity to celebrate who they are in a more visible way," said Jennifer Moy, an academic advisor and organizer of Identity Day.
Students Embrace Their Differences
During milkbreak, after filling out their index cards, students indulged in the waffles, layering them with hot fudge and whipped cream. Many were eager to discuss their feelings about Identity Day.
"On Identity Day, I can show off my Mexican heritage and roots that people don't see on a daily basis," said Ethan Kerr '21.
"It's a day to show tht I'm bi and part of the LGBTQ community," Beth Singer '20.
"In my opinion, Identity Day is a celebration of differences within our community and an opportunity to spend time together and recognize that we're all different. That's the beauty of it all," said Jamie Pehl '21. "We should all remember that we all have different backgrounds and histories that contribute to our opinions and ideologies."
"Identity Day is the freedom to express yourself no matter how people perceive you," Edward Crain '19.
In the world of politics, lofty campaign promises are frequently made, but few are actually fulfilled. That's the not the case for members of the 2018–2019 High School Student Council. In campaign speeches delivered in September, Student Council candidates Ethan Kerr '21 and Joseph Membrino '20 pledged to bring a vending machine to campus and Gillian Garvey '19 spoke about wanting to improve and expand the food options at Landmark. The candidates, who were all elected, were responding to requests of students who said there weren't enough food options after school and during study hall. The Student Council delivered—and in an impressively short period of time. The new vending machine debuted in the entrance of Steamworks shortly after students returned from winter break.
A Variety of Healthy Options
The machine features a variety of mostly healthy snacks, from staples such as Sun Chips and Smartfood to more exotic fare, including grass-fed beef jerky, craft ramen, and pro-biotic oatmeal. The machine is refrigerated, allowing for the sale of yogurt and drinks, like seltzer and iced tea. Prices range from $1.00 (Goldfish) to $3.25 (Annie's Mac and Cheese).
Garvey, Student Council president; Membrino, vice president; and Kerr, treasurer, worked with Bill Barrett, head of the High School, and Jeff Fauci, assistant dean of students, in the fall to put their plan into action.
"We attended multiple meetings with the administration to propose our thoughts and ideas," the Council members said. "We have so far satisfied our peers’ wishes." The group needed to locate a vending company that would provide healthy snacks and require little effort on the part of the school. Berkshire Natural, which owns the machine and receives all of the profits from sales, electronically manages stock levels and refills the machine when inventory runs low.
Members of the Student Council are pleased with the offerings, as are students.
“I like the name brand snacks!,” said Ethan Townsend '19.
The machine accepts credit cards and cash and will soon take Apple pay. The machine is available to students after school until 8 p.m.
by Isabella Combs, communications and marketing intern
In November 2018, the Performing Arts Center’s stage was graced with The Red Velvet Cake War. Presented by the Landmark Drama Department under the direction of Nate Efinger and Technical Director Andy Knox, the play was a hit among actors and audience members alike.
This play was the first to have a selected cast, which resulted into a group of hardworking and passionate performers that put on an entertaining, enjoyable, and articulate show. About three cousins Gaynelle, Jimmy, and Peaches out to make the best red velvet cake in order to save Gaynelle’s house from their aunt, even in the face of a tornado, crazy psychologist, and hopeless hunt for a man.
“It was fun and it was cool to spend time with the cast.” —Nellie Maxwell (Peaches, one of the three leads)
“The Landmark Theater Department did an excellent job on the production, it was very entertaining to watch, and everyone involved did a fantastic job.” —Annie Abate (audience member)
By the Numbers
Hundreds of parents and guardians descended on the High School and Elementary•Middle School campuses for fall Parents' Days. Take a look at these facts and stats about the event-packed days.
October 18 and 19
Number of visitors who attended: 510
Number of conferences: 2,529
Sporting events: Boys varsity soccer, girls varsity soccer, varsity golf, varsity volleyball, JV volleyball
Art events: Performing Arts Parents' Day Showcase
Reception at Headmaster Bob Broudo's home
"I had many conversations with parents, new and veteran, which made me feel exceedingly proud to work at a school like ours," said Bill Barrett, head of the High School. "Based on these conversations, it was clear that the effort everyone has put forth since August has not gone unnoticed by our parents."
Althea Sargeant, Beverly Carpenter, and Cal Zelenka worked tirelessly behind the scenes to make sure all events ran smoothly.
November 8 and 9
Number of families who attended: 164
Number of conferences: 978
Classes observed: 310
Events and activities: Displays of student portfolios, student goals, and work created in electives, "Snappy Chat" presentation about social media by Tara Joly-Lowdermilk and Laura Polvinen, and more.
"I had several chances to simply walk down a column of conferences in the gym and glance at the parents' expressions as they met with you all," said Rob Kahn, head of the Elementary•Middle School. "It was clearly a great day for them, knowing that the engaged and knowledgeable professional across the table was instructing their child on a daily basis."
Coordination and meticulous organization by Tara Joly-Lowdermilk, Deb Blanchard, and Sarah Turnbull made Parents' Day a success.
On both campuses, recognition and appreciation goes to Daniel Sebens, Loren Meicher, and all facilities staff and groundskeepers for preparing the campus to look great and keeping all the visitors safe during arrival, parking, and dismissal times.
Landmark students juggle many responsibilities each day: school, homework, sports, arts, community service, and often long commutes. Each year, 10 seniors add another time-consuming commitment to their schedules that requires travel, public speaking, and sharing personal stories. That role is being a Student Advocate.
The Advocates, led by faculty members Jason Mansfield, Dan Ahearn, and Ashley Hubacz, deliver presentations to graduate and undergraduate education students at local colleges and universities, as well as to students, teachers, and administrators at elementary and middle schools. They talk about how having a learning difference affects them in school, at work, and in other aspects of life. These personal accounts are honest, powerful, and eye-opening.
Since 1995, dozens of Advocates have shared their stories, given advice, answered questions, and enlightened many. In addition to influencing future teachers and students, the Advocates leave the program with well-honed public-speaking—and some teaching—skills.
The Advocates Know What Works
The presentations include a video featuring Landmark students, personal stories, interactive exercises, and questions and answers. The Advocates also share what teaching and learning strategies work best for them and how aspiring teachers can incorporate these tools into their classrooms. Examples include Landmark's Six Teaching Principles, such as presenting information in varied ways, making lessons active and kinesthetic, using templates, encouraging self-advocacy, and more.
Partway through their presentation, an Advocate asks an audience member to read a few pre-selected sentences aloud. The person reading aloud clearly struggles with the text and often displays signs of embarrassment or shame. That is the point. Out of these difficult first-hand experiences comes empathy and compassion.
- Michael B.
- Isabella C.
- Baylah C.
- Merryl G.
- Samuel L.
- Piper N.
- Pedro S.
- Thomas S.
- Patrick S.
- Alexia Z.
On November 4, 77 bleary-eyed teenagers and eight teachers woke at dawn and made their way to the cafeteria for some early morning grub: cereal, bagels, and coffee—sustenance to fuel them for a day of volunteering at the Massachusetts Special Olympics State Soccer Tournament at the Governor's Academy in Byfield. The students were assigned a particular team, and they spent the day with that team, cheering them on during games, getting lunches for them, and hanging out with them between games. The acted as buddies to the team members and helpers for the coaches. Each student was engaged, attentive, and responsible to their teams and coaches. A common sentiment was shared, "That was fun! Can't wait 'til next year."
"There is no other activity during the school year for which our students volunteer in such large numbers—not to mention the sacrifice of precious Sunday morning slumber," said Rev. Bill Ferguson, who organized the trip.