Students share knowledge gained from extra-curricular activities

The Newtonite

by Julia Moss
From theatre to sports to art to nearly 75 clubs, this school offers a seemingly endless number of school-sponsored extra-curricular activities. Many of these activities call for demanding time commitments. In fact, some students spend many hours a day at their after school activities and consider these activities an important part of their lives. Four students who are very involved in extra-curricular activities shared their experiences.

Freshman Alex Samaha

Most students go to sports practices, theatre rehearsals or club meetings after school on a typical weekday. Others simply come home and spend time with friends or do homework. Freshman Alex Samaha, however, spends his afternoons designing and building robots as part of the Ligerbots team.
Samaha said he got involved in Ligerbots—this school and South’s combined robotics team—through his older sister’s friend, Paige Grody. “She is the captain of Ligerbots and she introduced it to me after I expressed interest in robotics,” he said.
Samaha spends a great deal of time working on robots with the team, he said. He spends an average of five hours per day at Ligerbots during build season in January and February, the period when the team actually constructs the robots they have designed. During the rest of the year, he said, he puts in about two to three hours per week. “The hours have been hard, but I enjoy building the robots even if it means staying up late to do homework,” he said.
Currently, Samaha’s job on the team is helping to construct the robots, contributing in every way he can. “In terms of construction, I do a little bit of everything,” he said. “My friend calls me a bionic-multi-tool.”
“The experience of Ligerbots is overall great because I meet new people, learn about robotics and construct a huge robot to perform a task,” Samaha added. “I hope to be part of the administration such as a captain or assistant captain. Teaching other what I have learned would be an exciting experience!”

Sophomore Paulina Rozenberg

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Sophomore Paulia Rozenberg edits photos during class.

In 2012, most photos are taken digitally—appearing with the push of a button. However, photography students have the chance to explore photography the difficult but incredibly worthwhile old-fashioned way.
Sophomore Paulina Rozenberg majors in photography. She became involved with the course freshman year when she signed up for photography minor I as an elective.
This year, between scheduled blocks during the day and extra time after school, Rozenberg spends approximately three hours a day working in the photography studio. Sometimes she mixes chemicals or helps to clean up the dark room. More often, she spends time working on photography projects.
Most of these projects, Rozenberg said, are assigned by photography teacher Ron Morris. Many photography assignments have a specific theme, such as portraits or landscapes. Other assignments are meant to give the student practice with a certain technique, such as angle.
“You have to be really patient,” Rozenberg said. “There is a lot of going back and forth to develop photos again and again, because the teacher doesn’t always like what you like.”
However, Rozenberg added that her patience pays off in the end. In fact, when she has finished all of her assignments, Rozenberg said she has the chance to experiment with additional projects she dreams up herself. “It is so exciting when you get a picture done,” she said. “It is a great feeling.”

Junior Nicholas Roberts

Ten hours is a long time. It is the length of a particularly good night’s sleep or perhaps an international flight. For Junior Nicholas Roberts, however, ten hours is the length of a typical school day, including class time and Ultimate Frisbee practice.
Roberts is a captain of Ultimate Frisbee, a sport he has played since middle school. Roberts joined the A-Team for Ultimate at this school as a freshman, he said. Since then, he has learned to improve as a player every season.
The practices, which are two to three hours long every day after school are strenuous, Roberts said. He explained, “A typical practice consists of a warm-up, then a few drills and then usually a scrimmage applying those drills. Then, we do a conditioning workout. I get home from 5:30 to 6:00.”
Roberts said, “The most difficult aspect of playing on the team is staying mentally in the game at all times, because some of the games are very tiring. You have to keep pushing it.”
However, Roberts added that doing the sport is worth all of the hard work. He said, “The most rewarding part of playing is seeing the team get better over the season, and then capping it off at State’s playing against some of the best teams in the area.”

Senior Johnny Medlar

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Senior Johnny Medlar edits footage for a television production project.

Producing a television show is an extremely difficult task for an experienced adult. Producing a television show as a teenager appears out of the question.
Senior Johnny Medlar, the executive producer of this school’s TV show, Tiger Magazine, has proved that this is possible. Medlar is in charge of taking a series of five to ten minute clips made by all of the TV Production classes and putting them together into a fluent half-hour show that airs not only at school, but also on New TV, the local television network.
He is also responsible for making additional movies that the school needs. For example, Medlar produced the video promoting English electives that aired last month. Occasionally, either for Tiger Magazine or for personal projects, Medlar covers important events that are outside of school. “I once did a piece about ‘Occupy Boston’ and went right down to Dewey Square to film it,” he said.
Playing such a major role in the production of so many videos is a significant time commitment. In fact, Medlar works in the TV Production studio two to five hours a day, often staying until five or even seven p.m., he said.
“I stopped most of my other extra-curricular activities, like theatre, so that I could be completely involved in TV Production,” he said. “I realized that this was what I needed to do when I began to feel relieved not to get cast in Theatre Ink so that I could finish a movie.”
Medlar’s job is not always an easy one. “The hardest part of the job for me is when other people slack off and I have to finish their part to make a deadline,” he said. “But still,” Medlar added, “I love what I do. The best part is when you work really hard on a piece and people say, ‘Wow, how did you do that?’”
As these students have made clear, participating in the many sports, clubs and arts programs that this school has to offer–while perhaps strenuous in some cases–is very rewarding. In fact, getting involved with extra-curricular activities gives students the chance to share a passion with their peers and give back to the school in some way. And of course, an activity or two won’t look bad on your resume either.