Tuesday, November 25, 2008


HHS's Missie Rodriguez has been chosen as the Adapted Physical Education Teacher of the Year for 2008 by the New Hampshire Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation & Dance. Since 1994 Missie has taught physical education for Dresden District students with mental or physical disabilities.

She came away from the Association's banquet with the following award: "Missie developed two adapted Physical Education programs, one for the Richmond Middle School and the other for Hanover High School. Each develops physical and motor fitness, fundamental motor fitness, functional motor skills and patterning, and each is geared for the particular and varying needs of middle and high school students. The program develops skills that are used in aquatics, dance movement, individual and group games and sports, including those sports considered lifetime sports i.e., swimming, dance, bowling, snow shoeing, biking.

"These are so important for a lifetime of physical activity and wellness for all people, disabled or not. The activities are carried out one-on-one, in small groups or full size classes in settings geared specifically for the activity involved and the students' needs."

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Monday, November 24, 2008


HHS Junior Forrest Miller has been given a Skip Bean Democratic Citizen Award. The nominating statement said: "Forrest is an exemplary Council member whose opinions are truly a pleasure to hear and consider. He is extremely thoughtful, and is one of the most level-headed Council members currently serving in any capacity. His statements in each Council meeting are always very well thought out, and always provide extra depth to each and every discussion. He is a strong leader and a good example of a democratic citizen."

HHS's Council, the governing body of the school, sponsors the Skip Bean award for a person or group in the school or community who furthers the purposes and ideals of a democratic school. This award is named in honor of Linwood H. (Skip) Bean, Jr., Associate Principal of Hanover High School from 1970 to 1997. Mr. Bean was a “founding father” of The Council and an outspoken advocate for and supporter of democracy at HHS. Any member of the school community may nominate someone at any time by writing a short statement for Council approval. The award-winner receives a bag of beans -- jelly, coffee, etc. -- and the statements about the winners are posted on the bulletin board and kept in an album.

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Wednesday, November 19, 2008


The Siemens Foundation has notified senior Axel Hansen that he is a semifinalist in the annual Siemens Competition in Math, Science, and Technology. He submitted a paper in the field of computer security which researched how to monitor a program to find attacks on computer programs, and then how to stop the attacks and enable programs to keep running.

Axel's project, titled "Improved Heuristics for Program Continuation in Failure-Oblivious Computing," earned him a Distinguished Presenter award (one of five) at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology over the summer. According to the Siemens Foundation's web site, nearly 100 high school students are still in contention for the national scholarship in original research. This year 1,893 students registered to enter the Siemens Competition and submitted a total of 1,205 projects. The national finalist award will be announced on December 8.

As the Foundation describes the contest: "The Siemens Competition in Math, Science & Technology recognizes remarkable talent early on, fostering individual growth for high school students who are willing to challenge themselves through science research. Through this competition, students have an opportunity to achieve national recognition for science research projects that they complete in high school. It is administered by The College Board and funded by the Siemens Foundation."

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Friday, November 14, 2008


The Council has chosen Greta Mills November's Staff Member of the Month. The committee writes: Ms Mills can be summed up easily in one word-- awesome. Her energy is exerted not only to help her students, but also other staff and most anyone she meets. A math teacher, she also helps lead Math Team and the Sudoku club. Unknown to many students, she likes to arrange music (which she also does for the a cappella group, Highlights), and quite known to almost all students, she loves math. Congratulations, Ms Mills!

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Thursday, November 13, 2008

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


Jake Miraldi, HHS class of 2003, writes: "Hello from Fort Drum! I am the Platoon Leader for 3rd Platoon, Attack Company, 1-32 Infantry of the 10th Mountain Division. I am also originally a resident of Norwich, Vermont and a Hanover High School grad.

"We will be deploying to Afghanistan at the end of the year and need all the support that we can get! Anything from batteries to toiletries to letters and cards would be greatly appreciated. If you would like to support us overseas please call Laura and Lenny Miraldi at 802-649-1564 for further information."

Two HHS home rooms (Common Ground) collected items for Jake Miraldi and his unit. They're shown making posters. Jake, who graduated from West Point in 2007 and spent a year at Fort Benning, GA, visited HHS this week to explain his unit's mission and say hello to his teachers.

Athletic Director Mike Jackson writes: I am particularly happy to have had the opportunity to see and hear a young man who was so much a large part of the fabric of our school and community. After four years at the U.S. Military Academy and more years of training, he has grown so much more than the obvious changes he displays physically. Jake is a terrific public speaker with a very clear perspective on what he feels is important in Afghanistan and what he can do to help facilitate positive growth there. It was a genuine pleasure to have him back with us.It's really too bad that more of the school was unable to break free to experience the growth and position in llife of one of our own. We are proud of all the different paths our graduates have chosen and where they lead them. Jake Miraldi personifies that which, in my opinion, is the best of our product. While he is a professional soldier and talked about that part of his mission, he emphasized much more strongly the humanistic philosophy that is so important to him and his men over there.

It was an honor for me to be there when Jake Miraldi visited his roots with a clear message: "Help someone else." I will pray for his and his comrades' safe return to their family and friends.

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Monday, November 10, 2008


Beryl Frishtick wrote this essay for Ms. alsup's Senior Writing Seminar. Students are invited to submit essays to a teacher for posting on Life and times.

This July I experienced something grand, painful, and confusing: I watched Sergei Bondarchuk’s eight hour long film adaptation of Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace. The Hopkins Center created a special showing for this semi-forgotten movie masterpiece by dividing it into two four-hour segments, the first on a Friday night and the second the following Sunday afternoon. There is a 95% chance that at least half the audience would have died of natural causes during the showing if the film had not been broken down, so it’s fortunate the Dartmouth Film Society knew where to draw the line.

Watching movies at the Hop is always a captivating and somewhat ludicrous experience. I love it because I am usually the one person under seventy-five years old in the audience. This means I don’t have to deal with ungrateful teenagers laughing and mocking the movie, or couples making out, or rowdy behavior in general. The only downside is that some older folks are hard of hearing, and therefore can’t whisper very well. In fact, their whispers are usually more like stage whispers, the point of which is to allow the audience to hear every word. I was sitting behind one kindly couple in particular who couldn’t stop “whispering” about their grown daughter and her children, even in the middle of the film. I now have a complete biography in my head of Sarah, who lives on Cape Cod with her three kids and husband Mark, and who will visit her parents this Thanksgiving, if not sooner. I remain understandably less thrilled about that than the grandparents sitting in from of me were. Nonetheless, I did my best to ignore side chatter and focus my attention on the movie, which between the two separate parts I had paid $16.00 (an hour-and-a-half’s worth of my summer wages) to see.Originally divided into four separate sections to convince Soviet viewers to actually watch it, War and Peace was the most expensive film ever made. It took seven years to shoot, and was finally released in the United States in 1968. Some scenes, like the Battle of Borodino or the burning of Moscow, make the expense understandable. Director Sergei Bondarchuk used tens of thousands of extras in most of the battles; the gore resulting from so many men trying to kill each other could at times prove too much to handle, and I would take those opportunities to close my eyes and concentrate all of my attention on the grandparents’ titillating conversation occurring in front of me.

As we can glean from the title, War and Peace can’t all be about war. The other storyline, in addition to Napoleon’s failed attempt (oh, I hope I didn’t give anything away!) to take over the largest country in the world, centers on the misadventures of Natasha Rostova, played by Lyudmila Savelyeva. Natasha attempts to find love throughout the movie, first with an army officer, then with a prince, then with another army officer, then with a society man, and finally with an ostrich (just kidding, but by the end of the eight-hour film I might not have noticed if this had happened). This young woman is shallow, weak-willed, and ignorant. Her character made me want to kick something, or someone—the couple in front of me afforded the easiest access, but I restrained myself because I did not want to be forever banned from the Hop. All Natasha does in the first part of the movie is prance around like a spoiled four-year-old and make a fool of herself with a soldier. By the end of Part One, I realized she reminded me of a young Audrey Hepburn—pretty, petite, slender, brunette, and unfailingly irritating. It wasn’t until I left the theater and googled the film that I learned Audrey Hepburn played the exact same character in the 1956 version of War and Peace. I gave myself a congratulatory pat on the back for stumbling upon this delicious morsel of useless trivia.

Aside from the vast literary and cultural benefits, the only reason to watch this film is to catch an eight-hour long glimpse of Prince Andrei Bolkonsky, played by Vyacheslav Tikhonov. He reminded me of a younger, thinner Christopher Plummer, before The Sound of Music. Stoic and brooding, Andrei doesn’t say much, but he has mastered the art of wearing epaulets so well that he distracts the audience; therefore his silence never reduces the quality of his appeal. When he does speak, though, it’s the low, pleasing, seductive type of Russian any teenage girl (or seventy-five-year-old retiree on an evening outing at the Hop) would be happy to hear.

The film was obviously made in Russian, and English subtitles were added for its international release. I first realized what a treat I was in for when the characters began to speak French, a common practice of the Russian aristocrats in the 19th century, and the actors’ voices were then used in voice-overs to aid non-French-speaking Russians. In these circumstances the American audience was forced to dig through two foreign languages to get to English. War and Peace has given me a newfound appreciation for the Russian language. By the end of the movie I felt I was able to realistically imitate how some characters sounded, even though what they were saying made sense (most of the time) and what I was saying certainly did not. I far as I can tell from watching the film, Russian is a very full and emotional language, albeit slightly ridiculous in its written form, as the film’s minutes and minutes and minutes of credits attest.

The end of this film did peculiar things to me. At one point I started looking for a sharp object with which I might be able to poke my brain out (sitting in front of a screen for four full hours TWICE will occasionally do that to you). At another I was insanely elated, and felt as though I’d accomplished something noble. Since I hadn’t read the book, I was thoroughly confused by the plot twist that took place in the last minutes of the 480-minute movie. Natasha’s final choice of a mate struck me as unacceptable—it made me think I had missed something important in the rest of the story.

When I stepped out of the theater I slowly realized it was a dreary, rainy day—no wonder the power had gone out in the middle of the movie for about twenty minutes, trapping me inside a black auditorium with sixty octogenarians (note to self: never attend a Hop movie alone again). I was emotionally drained and mentally invigorated, but had no idea how I was going to reenter the real world. Thanks to Sergei Bondarchuk, I’m still working on that.

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Friday, November 7, 2008


Coach Greta Mills writes: Congratulations to Hanover High's math teams for their outstanding performance at the Oct. 30 Twin State Math League Meet at Woodstock High in Woodstock, VT! About 10 teams from Vermont and New Hampshire competed. HHS fielded an incomplete team (five students instead of six) in the Senior Division but we still placed first with 122 points! The second-place team earned 121 points, so it was a close contest. High Scorer: Senior Savannah Wallace with a perfect score. Congratulations also to seniors Anqi Ren (shown holding the trophy) and Kyle van Leer, junior Sucharita Jayanti, and sophomore Scout Wallace.

Our team in the Intermediate Division also placed first with 132 points. High scorers: freshmen Daniel Hernandez and Asie Makarova. Congratulations also to sophomores Isabelle Dietz, Xavier Stone, Thea Valence and Min Yu.

The meet has four categories, each 10 minutes in length. Calculators may be used on some categories, but all the tests use paper and pencil rather than computers. In the team category, team members work together and submit one team paper. Otherwise each category is made up of individual results.

Click "read more" for sample questions and answers.Sample Intermediate problem (9th and 10th grade): A rectangular solid has dimensions x, y, and z. Suppose x was increased by 10%, y was increased by 20%, and z was decreased by 30%, by what percent would the volume of the solid be increased or decreased? (Answer: a 7.6% decrease).

Sample Senior problem (11th and 12th grade): A pair of dice is rolled randomly. Find the probability that (a) the product of the dice is greater than 20 (Answer: 1/6) and (b) the product is a multiple of 3 (Answer: 5/9).

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Thursday, November 6, 2008


The Guidance Department has posted on its part of the HHS web site the new School Profile, which is of interest to parents and college admissions officers. Colleges receive a copy with every recommendation letter mailed by Guidance. The six-page document describes the school's Mission Statement, its philosophy and governance.

About 88% of HHS's 2008 graduates now attend four-year colleges, while another 5% either elected to defer college, or have plans for further study.

The profile gives data on faculty: Out of the 79 professional staff, 69% hold at least a master's degree, while another 18% hold either a master's + 60 credits or a doctorate.

It explains grading, and opportunities for different courses, such as Honors Classes, Career and Technology classes, Advanced Placement opportunities and courses at Dartmouth College. Its charts allow parents and students to compare Hanover's results on SAT 1 tests to national results. Similar comparisons appear for SAT-2 tests.

Lastly the profile lists every college which the class of 2008 is attending, and the names of the colleges which accepted members of the class divided by the highest grade-point averages, by the next-highest level of grade-point averages, and so on. And here is the rest of it.

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Wednesday, November 5, 2008


The day before Halloween the three home rooms in the third-floor Math area met for a large trick-or-treat block party during the half-hour Thursday break called Common Ground. Led by Principal Deb Gillespie, senior Kasey Ng,and junior Leighton Kunz, students went from room to room to get candy, pie, popcorn, cheese sticks and other treats. It was a great opportunity to meet with other common grounds, relax, and socialize.

Each 15-student Common Ground group mixes students from all four classes, students who might not know each other in daily school life. The common ground stays together through all four years of the school, losing seniors each year and adding Freshmen. These homeroom-style once-a-week meetings allow students to meet and talk outside the demands of organized classes or activities.

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Tuesday, November 4, 2008


Twelve biology students took a field trip with Mr. Hermanson to the electron microscope facility at the Dartmouth Medical School. Rachel Finlayson, class of 2012, writes:

Sooner than I thought, it was Thursday, and we left at 12:15 sharp. The facility was largely concrete and all sound was slightly muffled. As we passed by doors leading to classrooms, we occasionally saw students and teachers in lab coats performing experiments, or signs saying "Caution: Radioactive Materials!" This was the real thing! After walking down several hallways, we met up with the head of the department (Dr. Daghlian) and Dr. Howard. Our group was split in two; half were to go to see the scanning electron microscope, and the rest were to go see the transmission electron microscope.

My group first learned about Dartmouth’s scanning electron microscope (top photo). Dr. Daghlian explained that the SEM shoots an electron beam down on a specimen, enabling one to see the surface of a cell. After the beam bounces off the specimen in a certain pattern, it is interpreted by the Scanning Electron Microscope and projected in live feed. My question, why Electron Microscopes are better than light microscopes, was quickly answered: certain things are too small to see by light, and light just doesn't show the same precision for small things that electrons do. To my disappointment, you cannot see electrons with the SEM. However, you can see Mycoplasms (tiny tiny bacteria), viruses, proteins, lipids, the list goes on.
After about half an hour we switched groups and followed Dr. Howard into a dimly-lit room full of plastic and machinery. A glowing green light showed us where the transmission electron microscope’s stage was. (The photo shows Spencer Hardy, class of 2012, working with this microscope.) TEMs are used to see inside cells and study their interior makeup. In some ways, it can be compared to a light microscope. TEMs work by focusing a beam of electrons through the specimen, just like light microscopes send beams of light through specimens. However, instead of using glass, which can be faulty in some cases (I have learned), TEMs use electromagnets to direct the beam of electrons.

The EM Facility can be used by most people at Dartmouth: the faculty, staff and students. The DHMC staff also comes here to do research, I learned. The facility is meant to provide service to anyone who needs it, but it does have limited faculty; anyone who wishes to use the Electron Microscopes has to sign up for a specific time slot at $35 an hour. Usually, one does one's own microscopy unsupervised, so it a good idea to sign up for some training! Two or three people are usually trained at a time. Of course, anyone wishing to use the Dartmouth EM Facility must be okayed by the Facility Director in order to protect the instruments from possible damage. They cost about a million dollars!

My visit to the Charles Gilman Life Sciences Lab really had me considering being a scientist as a job. It was absolutely fascinating!

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Monday, November 3, 2008