Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Student Government Day

We are currently looking for student volunteers who are interested in participating in the 65th annual Student Government Day to be held at the State House on April 13, 2012. As participants in this program, students will assemble at the State House, where they will have the chance to replicate activities of the state legislature or meet as constitutional officers and members of the Supreme Judicial Court. Each year, we have been fortunate to participate in this program which gives our students the opportunity to see government in action.

Last year, current seniors Matthew D'Innocenzo and Dan Consigli had the opportunity to represent Nipmuc at this event.  While at Student Government Day, Matt and Dan helped to pass two bills: House Bill H01697 - an act relative to reducing childhood obesity rates by removing the state subsidy for sugared sweetened beverages and candy - and Senate Bill S00205 - an act relative to financial literacy in schools.  This was a great opportunity for the students to meet several public figures including Governor Deval Patrick and Senator Richard Moore.  Both students have been involved in leadership roles in the community and in the school and are interested in politics in the future.

We are looking forward to having another pair of Nipmuc students participate in the program this year. Student Government Day is open to current juniors and seniors. Any interested students should see Mrs. Linehan in the main office as soon as possible in order to sign up. Those who are interested should be prepared to provide a speech to their fellow students during morning announcements on Friday (12/16) as part of the application process.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Bravo, Nipmuc Drama!

The cast and crew taking a bow after
their Sunday performance of
Rebel without a Cause
Congratulations to the Nipmuc Drama Guild for its moving and memorable performance of Rebel without a Cause this weekend. If you are familiar with the story then thoughts of the play might conjure up images of James Dean delivering one of his powerful monologues about courage, relationships, or the ongoing struggle between right and wrong. If you were able to take in one of this weekend's performances, however, your thoughts of this production will most likely leave James Dean behind in favor of the powerful performances delivered by Matt D'Innocenzo (Plato), Kelsey O'Hagan (Judy), Phil McMullin (Buzz), Brian Mullen (Jim), or any of our student-actors who participated in this play.

On Thursday evening I had the opportunity to speak briefly with the play's director, Mrs. Elizabeth McCarthy. As the students were working through their dress rehearsal, she talked about how pleased she was with the students' progress and shared how much she had enjoyed working with them. When I had the chance to view the production this weekend, I could see why Mrs. McCarthy was so proud. The students not only put on a great show, but also exhibited the kind of collaboration and camaraderie that has come to characterize Nipmuc Drama.

There's a moment in the play when lead character Jim Stark says "Home isn't a place, it's a state of mind...a relationship between people." When senior Brian Mullen made this statement as part of his powerful portrayal of Jim Stark, he not only captured a key idea of the play, but also the great success of the performance. For, over the course of the fall our student actors and crew members truly found their home away from home in their work with Nipmuc drama. The results of their many hours of rehearsing were evident in the quality of the production and the sense of togetherness they exhibited.

I am so proud of all of the actors and crew members who worked together to make the play such a success. I am already looking forward to our spring musical, Cinderella, which will take place March 30 - April 1.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Superintendent's Meet and Greet

As a reminder, please be aware that Superintendent Dr. Joseph P. Maruszczak will be holding three additional opportunities for "Coffee Time with Parents and Community Residents."

The next meet and greet event will take place at Nipmuc Regional High School tomorrow, 12/8/11, at 7pm in the Nipmuc Media Center. He will also be meeting with parents and community members on the following dates:

Monday, 12/12/11, Miscoe Hill School, 7:00 p.m., Media Center
Thursday, 12/15/11, Central Office, 3:30 p.m., Supt. Conference Room

All parents and residents of Mendon and Upton are welcome to come to any session they choose.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Breakfast with Guidance: Post-Concussive Syndrome

Thanks to school nurse Kristin Gauthier and the Nipmuc Guidance Department for this morning's presentation on concussions and post-concussive syndrome. Mrs. Gauthier provided an informative and interesting presentation on the growing awareness of this serious medical concern and how it affects adolescents. Included below are some "takeaways" from today's presentation:

1. We can't overstate the importance of concussion awareness.
Last year at Nipmuc Regional we had 22 reported cases of diagnosed concussions. During the current school year, we already have 12 students with diagnosed concussions. The recovery from a concussion is often lengthy and can affect all aspects of a child's life, not simply academics.

2. Recovery requires a partnership.
As a school we rely on communication between students, parents, the school nurse, physicians, guidance counselors, and teachers to help a student to get back on track. It is extremely important for teachers and guidance counselors to understand the extent of the injury in order to make appropriate adjustments to deadlines, work loads, and classroom expectations. Students often rely on their ability to self-advocate when making their way back to the classroom or field of competition; however, strong communication between all can help to make the academic, social, and physical adjustments easier to manage.

3. Concussions are particularly dangerous because they are "an invisible injury."
Students suffering from a concussion often look and act normally despite suffering from the symptoms of the injury. Because the injured student is not using crutches, band-aids, or a cast, others may not immediately recognize that he/she is not feeling well or capable of completing typical tasks. This can create a situation where a student feels a great deal of pressure to complete his work, return to his team, or go back to his part-time job. By collaborating with our nurse, families can often help to validate a student's injury and set reasonable goals for returning to normal activity.

4. ImPACT Testing is a must!
ImPACT testing is one way to help diagnose and treat concussions. The test is taken prior to any injury and provides some baseline data about typical brain function. With this information, our school nurse can work with coaches to help athletes determine the safest time to return to action. Nipmuc encourages all of its athletes to take this test. Mrs. Gauthier works with local neuropsychologist, Dr. Michael Sefton, to analyze test results and determine if the concussion has healed. This test is free to all Nipmuc athletes and available at a cost of $20 to non-athletes. (Thank you to the Warriors Club for funding this important test.) If you would like to help your child receive this test, please contact Mrs. Gauthier at kgauthier@mursd.org.

A great deal of information beyond these these key points was included in the presentation this morning. Feel free to review the presentation below:

Thank you, also, to Missy Mulgrew who shared a parent's perspective on dealing with concussions and senior Matthew Campagna who spoke of his first-hand experience recovering from a concussion.

Breakfast with Guidance continues to be a great way to work directly with our counselors and staff members in order to gain information about some of the topics that most affect our students and parents. Our next Breakfast with Guidance event will take place on January 24th when counselors present "Beginning the College Search: A Guide to Post-Secondary Planning for Parents of Juniors." The presentation will take place at 8am in the Nipmuc Professional Development Center. Please email Mrs. Ona Moore at omoore@mursd.org to reserve your seat for this presentation.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Informative MEFA Presentation

Thanks to the Nipmuc guidance department and MEFA presenter, Brad Finger, for an informative session for senior parents on how to finance a college education. We are fortunate to have MEFA assist us each year with this presentation which answers questions and provides some practical steps to take when making decisions about how to pay for college.

In addition to providing an informative session, the presenter also made our audience aware of the many online resources that are available for students and parents. You can sign-up to get regular MEFA emails and also sign-up to receive last night's informational packet by clicking here.

You can also use www.mefacounselor.org or www.yourplanforcollege.org to get tools for financial understanding, college planning, and career readiness.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Central District Chorus, Band, and Orchestra

In early November, three Nipmuc students auditioned for the Central District Jazz Band, and on November 19th twenty-four Nipmuc students auditioned for the Central District Chorus, Concert Band, and Orchestra.  The results are in:

Nick Addeo - Trumpet in Concert Band
David Byer - Timpani in Concert Band with a recommendation for an All-State audition in January
Corey Imparato - Trombone in Jazz Band with a recommendation for an All-State audition in January
Amarie King - Flute in Concert Band
Elena Morganelli - Trumpet in Concert Band
Elizabeth Nigro - Clarinet in Concert Band
Andrew Oglesby - Trumpet in Concert Band with a recommendation for an All-State audition in January
Elena Robakiewicz - Alto in Chorus with a recommendation for an All-State audition in January

From L-R: Mrs. Ledoux, Amarie King, Nick Addeo, Andrew Oglesby, Elena Morganelli
Elizabeth Nigro, Elena Robakiewicz, Corey Imparato, David Byer, and Mr. MacFadden

Congratulations to these students, our teachers, and to all the students who auditioned.  The competition is very strong, and they all study with private teachers in addition to their participation in the music program at Nipmuc.  Each student worked diligently to prepare for their audition.  The students who received an All-State recommendation will have another audition coming up in January.  If selected, those students will have the chance to perform in Boston Symphony Hall.