Monday, March 31, 2008

Live from the Red Carpet at the 5th Annual CM Fashion Show—by Brendan Ahern '08

On Sunday, I participated in the 5th annual Fashion Show at CM. For two years I had just helped out as a waiter and assistant (by being in the SGA) in the annual fashion show, which consisted of mostly women's fashions. In the last two years, however, it has become a showcase of prom fashions, involving over thirty young men and women, from CM and Ursuline and other schools from neighboring towns. Along with me, seniors Tim Sullivan, Derek Powell, Pat Curley, Giddens Rateau, Chris Rooney, Mike Macchi, Nick Cataldo, Mark Mullaney, and Joe Murphy participated. Joe and Mrs. Murphy emceed the event, and many juniors walked the catwalk, too.
Mrs. Leney directed us for going up on the catwalk. We got fitted for our outfits ahead of time but just had to show up and walk on. When it was my turn, Bridget Bussell (from Ursuline) and I walked halfway up the red carpet. Then they called my name, and I walked to the end of the carpet on the raised platform on my own. I was wearing white socks because the outfit didn't come with socks, so part of the gimmick was getting to the end of the carpet and pulling up my pant leg.

Another highlight of the show was Nick Cataldo's cartwheel while he walked down the carpet. Seeing Mr. Campea, Mr. Spaner, and Mr. Lewis too--Mr. Lewis being announced as a 2-time little people arm wrestling champion. There were raffles, too--for IPods and an IPod dock, for Patriots tickets, a signed Tom Brady jersey. Local businesses came and sold jewelry, bags, and other goods, and there were good refreshments for everyone.

This was a good start to prom season--the Prom is May 16 and the Semi-formal is May 9.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008 the varsity level

In 1992, engineering pioneer Dean Kamen began the "FIRST" program, an acronym for "For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology." Its goal was to "create a world where young people dream of becoming science and technology heroes."

Fifteen years later, senior Chapin Cutler and a few classmates formed CM's first Robotics Club, along with Chapin's mother, Mrs. Deborah Cutler. The team will complete its second year this weekend at the Boston Regionals Robotics event. This competition, held at the Agganis Arena at Boston University, saw CM students taking home the top prize last year along with their
teammates from Brookline High School and Boston Latin School. This tri-school team "Nu-trons" team, named for the Northeastern University Robotics Club which sponsors it, also got to compete at the national level earlier this month in Phoenix, Arizona.

Each January, the FIRST program issues a challenge to all high school teams nationwide (there are 150,000 students in the country who participate). Cutler, along with classmates Teddy Poppe '09, Antonio Rufo '09, and Sebastian Courtney '08, started designing and organizing their project immediately. "We have to do a bit of fundraising to raise more money," said Cutler, "to be able to cover the cost for entrance fees, parts, and new raw materials. But we got a [local] restaurant to help us with that."

Together, the students designed a robot in response to this year's challenge, which involved having the robot perform various feats on an obstacle course, each success bringing in a certain number of points. "FIRST" rules limit the students in their materials and design somewhat, but imagination, creativity, and survival skills all play into their annual creation. This year, they ended up with a 3-ft. high red and black aluminum robot, weighing a hundred pounds, whose arm and catapult is capable of propelling medicine-ball weights up to twelve feet.

"Once we designed and built it," said Cutler, "we shipped it to Phoenix for the competition, in a crate." When they got to Phoenix for the annual national competition, they vied against other tri-school teams in qualification matches. "We won the first three matches, but "we aimed to be a sleeper pick in the eliminations. We wanted the top eight teams to notice us and pick us for those." In the qualification round, the team made it to the second semifinal match when a pneumatic cylinder on the robot's arm started failing and it couldn't propel balls to earn points.

At the Agganis Arena on Saturday, the red-and-black Knight will have its chance once again, with the design flaw corrected, the team hopes. "We believe we have the capacity to go all the way," Cutler said, "and we're happy with what we have this year going into it." The team took the top prize in the Boston Regionals last year; 51 other teams will hope to steal it from the reigning champs this weekend.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Broadway on Baker Street—by Gjergji Evangjeli '10

The Catholic Memorial drama program has drawn an experienced, motivated crew of many talented actors this year. Even some students who have the desire and work to get better have joined the drama club. In the fall, I performed in Twelve Angry Men, a play written by Reginald Rose and directed by Mr. Colarossi. It takes place in a court where twelve jurors are deciding on an African American's guilt or innocence for the murder of his father. "Juror #8" is the only one who believes in the man's innocence, and fights to get all the other jurors to agree that he is innocent. I played juror #11, an immigrant who had experienced so much injustice in his life that he changes his idea on the defendant when he is reminded that all suspects should be "innocent until proven guilty." In 1950s America many prejudiced people would assume a man was guilty just because he was black. Juror #10 expressed that belief. Along with me, Pat Simas '10, Brendan Shea '11, Julio Baez '09, Connor Lynch '10, Brendan MacNabb '10, and others participated in this production.

Some of the members of the drama club practice their talents in drama on the Forensics team with Coaches Brother Cavet and Mr. Croteau. The team has won first place in four tournaments this year: Albany High School, Hall of Fame Tournament, Early Pumpkin Tournament, and the Brother Frippon Tournament in New York City. They won the NFL "most points" award at the National Forensics League Qualifiers tournament. The season is coming to an end, but the State competition is coming up on April 12. Several team members will be traveling to Appleton, Wisconsin in May for the Catholic National Finals tournament.

Just a few weeks ago, on March 1, the CM players performed A Number at the Massachusetts Drama Festival held at Attleborough High School. A controversial play about cloning, this one, written by Caryl Churchhill, depicts a father tempted to clone his own son in a laboratory after his son died in an automobile accident. After several unsuccessful attempts at cloning "B-1" and "B-2" and other flawed characters, some of them start questioning the father for their creation and the father cannot answer them. All he can respond with is that he tried to recreate his son to relive his experiences with him. But he only created monsters in the end. Connor Lynch '10 and Brendan Shea '11 won Best Actor awards at the festival. Brendan MacNabb '10, Greg Sabina '09, Kyle Clement '09, Pat Simas '10, Julio Baez '09, and others also performed.

There is more drama to come this year. Mr. Colarossi is talking about another drama production for May. Music teacher Mr. Spaner is producing and directing the spring musical Guys and Dolls which will be on April 15th and 16th.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Silver and Red, We Hail Thee

CM 74, Tantasqua 56

Congratulations to the CM Boys Basketball team for bringing back to Baker Street the Knights' first State Championship since 1969.

In the stands before the Division II State Championship game on Saturday evening, March 15, Sam Abi-Esber '11 and Pat Storer '11 were making their predictions. "CM 72, Tantasqua 68," Abi-Esber said. "But we've got to play strong defense."

Down in the front row of the student section, Joe McCarthy '10 was sitting with Jimmy Tieso '09 and some of the other JV players who had watched this magical season unfold from within the ranks of the program. "CM will win, 68-61," McCarthy said. "But Julian [Colarusso] and Brendan [Monteiro] have to lead the way and the bench has to score a lot also. This team can score a lot of points in a short amount of time."

After going down 12-3 in the first quarter, CM Coach Dennis Tobin called a timeout and coming out of that, the team indeed scored a lot of points quickly, putting 14 points on the board while Tantasqua started watching in shock. Nancy and Jeff Tagger Sr., junior Jeff Tagger's parents, watched from the front row. "I love CM, I love this school because so many of the teachers are coaches too," Jeff's mom said. "Coach Tobin never looks like he's losing his cool. The kids see that and they're calm too."

CM looked calm as Tagger, Monteiro, and junior Al Harris put on the press, forcing turnovers, and keeping up a fast pace as Colarusso and Monteiro poured on the points. The Knights took a 42-26 lead into halftime. Although Tantasqua rallied to bring the score within 10 points by the fourth quarter, the bucket was CM-friendly all night and the Knights took home the trophy.

Freshman Sam Abi-Esber, in the stands afterward, gave his honorary "player of the game" award to Julian Colarusso. "He never gave up, just kept on going for rebounds." Joe McCarthy '10 agreed: "Julian had a great game. We started out slow, but started to put the pressure on them."

Outside the locker room after the game, CM principal Mr. Richard Chisholm and president Brother James MacDonald credited the team for its rare accomplishment. "These seniors that led this team have been on a mission since last year and today was the fulfillment of their mission," Mr. Chisholm said.

"Thousands of graduates have been waiting since 1969 for a state championship and this group gave it to them," said Brother MacDonald.

Perhaps freshman Pat Storer summed up the momentous evening best. "It was a team effort. I knew they would bounce back after the first quarter. Tantasqua was good but CM was better and wanted it more. And I loved singing the fight song at the end."

Commuting to CM—by Conor McWain '08

Since my first day at CM in 9th grade I was worried about joining such a large school that was so far away from my home, compared to the small school I went to when I was growing up in Holbrook. It's a question a lot of people have asked me: why go to a school so far away? The answer is that I felt so comfortable here that the commute was never an issue.

For four years now, I've had to wake up earlier than most students I know. I get up at 6:00 to get ready to leave by 6:15, while most kids are just waking up or waking up at 7:15 and might be in walking distance or a short bus ride to school. My commute is about fifteen miles, and it takes me 30 minutes. During the blizzard last month, it took me two hours just to get home! On most mornings I can make it to school in twenty minutes if I wake up early enough to beat the traffic.

Like a lot of students, I took the CM-provided vans for my first two years here, which picked me up at 6:30. If I was late at all, I wouldn't have a ride to school! Starting to drive at the end of my junior year was liberating, compared to those first two years. I could work on my own schedule if I was late and I could go see friends, although many also live far away from me. Nowadays, gas prices are so high that I'm grateful that I'm already in my fourth year so that I won't be spending so much on gas while commuting. Driving a sophomore to school this year helps because he pays for half the gas price.

There are definitely pros and cons to coming from far away. But coming to school in West Roxbury while still living in Holbrook gives me the lifestyle of living outside the city while still giving me the important experience of city life.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

A day in the life...of a State Champ

In the weeks leading up to his matchups at the All New England Championships in wrestling, Catholic Memorial senior Rich Wingert '08 kept to the same schedule that had made him successful all season. The state champion of his weight class (130 pounds) and 2nd runner up in the All-State competition, Rich knew he would have his work cut out for him.

The senior from Hyde Park would rise at 5:30am, then drive to school where he'd run two miles on the track. Early risers on the faculty would often notice him, in the dark, running laps. After his two miles, he'd do a few sprints, then shower and go to school. His hardest course in school each day, Anatomy and Physiology, is also his favorite. After school, Rich would train for an hour with two wrestlers who didn't make the cut for New Englands but who volunteered their time to help--his classmate Giovanni Lopez and junior Demetry Vieux. After sparring with them for a while, working on his situational technique with Coach Bill Hahn, Rich would do some conditioning: jumping jacks, push ups, sit ups, mountain-climbers, and sprints in the gym. "Knowing I would be seeing my name up there as a state champion," he says, "was a good feeling."

Above: State Champion Rich Wingert '08
with his parents, Deborah and Richard Sr.

For dinner? A Lean Cuisine meal and a fruit smoothie. Maybe some after dinner play time with his sisters Rachel and Robyn and brother Robert before a 9:30 bedtime and up the next day at 5:30.

As the first CM student to go to Nationals, which will be held March 28 in Virginia Beach, Va., Rich knows he has to stay disciplined like this. Thanks to a daily regimen like this, he made a good showing at New Englands last month. But his entry to Nationals was assured after his state meet performance. "It was my goal, going into senior year, to get to Nationals," he says, "and when I won the semifinal match at States, I knew I had qualified."

Asked if he is scouting out his competition ahead of time, the other 130-lb. wrestling superstars from other states, before Nationals, Rich replies with a charismatic smile, "I don't familiarize myself with every person, no. All I can do is go into it doing everything I can, and put it all out on the line."

Judging from the way he trains, there's no doubt that Rich Wingert will do just that.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Lent at CM—by Michael Flaherty '08

Before I came to CM in seventh grade, Lent was never an annual practice or tradition for me. I would decide to give up something but never follow through throughout the 40 days. I remember in my first year at CM, in seventh grade, I still found Lent to be just part of Catholic tradition and never analyzed the meaning behind the practices we have in our faith. When I first started giving up things in seventh grade, it was material that wasn't exactly important to me. Now, by my senior year, for anyone who knows me, knows I can't live without soda. To sacrifice soda for Lent was my quest and I'm in the process of doing that right now!

In the past six years, being more mature and a member of this community, I've started to take Lent more seriously. At CM, of course, Lent begins with Ash Wednesday. We go to mass and receive a sign of our devotion to the Lenten season. For the rest of the day, you feel embarrassed with a large black stigma on your forehead for all your friends and classmates to see. But the faithful in our community see it as a declaration of faith and sacrifice.

Towards the end of Lent, before Good Friday, we have our Stations of the Cross service. It's much better of an experience to see the stations acted out rather than to read about them. I remember this one time, my sophomore year, when a French teacher played the role of one of the three "wailing women" who helped Jesus on the way of the cross. Seeing her in that role showed to me the enthusiasm that went into putting the Stations of the Cross together. I always thought of it as something the school just made us do. Now I see people getting something meaningful out of it.

As Easter approaches, families celebrate sacrifices that not only Jesus made but also ones that we have made that are now coming to an end. Of course, the four day weekend for the holiday never hurt anyone either!

Monday, March 10, 2008

Welcome to the Catholic Memorial School Blog!

We are proud to announce the launching of the new CM Blog. Keep your eyes on this page for weekly reflections from and news about CM students and the latest happenings on campus.