Natalie Wheating, HHS class of 2009, wrote this essay for Ms. Alsup's class in Contemporary American Culture. To see the video of the Oregon trials that sent Andrew Wheating to the 2008 Olympics, click http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hcVN5PjmaDs. Andrew graduated from Kimball Union Academy in 2006.
This past spring my eldest brother, Andrew, accomplished a feat once deemed impossible for mankind. He ran a sub-four minute mile, 3:58.16. About three hundred Americans in history have run a mile in under four minutes, but Andrew was the first Vermonter to ever have achieved this, and he accomplished it at only twenty years of age. In a matter of months his reputation jumped quickly from amateur college runner to notable competition for athletes of all ages. Soon after running his sub-four mile, Andrew qualified for the 2008 Summer Olympic Trials in the 800m dash, placing him among the top runners in the country.
The men running at these trials had been planning for the Olympics for years. They had trained their bodies, constructed their workouts, and maintained their diets to make sure that they were at their peak running condition for these trials. Here, runners would run times that they had never run before. They would push their bodies to their limits, all in order to earn a spot, of which there were only three available, at the Summer Olympics the following month in Beijing. Andrew had only just learned that he even had a chance of making it to the Olympics. He had only started running two years previously; reluctantly too, because his soccer coach was so amazed at how quickly he ran his mile at the beginning of the soccer season, the sport he had originally pursued.
Our family obviously had to show its support, so that summer, the four of us flew out together to scream his name on the sidelines at the trials in Eugene, Oregon. Eugene was notorious for its track athletics. It had even been dubbed Tracktown, USA because of its devotion to running. The days of the trials were hot and sweaty. My family was lucky enough to have seats in the corner of the stands, with a perfect view of the finish line. Somewhere deep down, I had full confidence that my brother would at least make it to the finals. I knew that even though he was technically a rookie in the sport, he was already proficient at it. He was definitely one of the top runners in the country. What I couldn’t tell though, was what was going to happen once he made it to finals. The Olympics are a huge deal, and on the international scale, I couldn’t imagine my brother on that level yet, running with athletes from around the world. He had only competed in America! I could only wait and see how he did.
Andrew won his preliminary race with ease, and continued to place second in his semifinal, carrying him on to the finals with seven other runners. It was the last event of the day, at seven o’clock at night. My family and I had prepared ourselves with as much Andrew-supporting paraphernalia as we could find. We all wore t-shirts sporting “Go Andy!” on the front and “Wheat Sis,” “Wheat Bro,” “Wheat Dad,” and “Wheat Mom” on the back. No matter what would happen, we were so proud him for making it to the finals; he, who hadn’t even considered the Olympics just months ago.
The hours leading up to his race seemed endless and yet, when he ran, the time jumped, everything suddenly becoming a blur. I remember watching the group of runners all keeping together the first lap, running at a near sprint. I watched Andrew near the back, keeping pace with the group, but a few paces from the lead. My heart leapt as I saw another Oregon runner break through two runners and speed toward the front of the pack as they rounded the final turn. Andy, seeing him break away, followed quickly, smoothly leaving his place in the back and jumping places ahead in the group, only meters from the finish line. And suddenly, my voice was lost from screaming. I had ended up standing on my feet alongside the edge of the track, my hands grasping the banister. My eyes were watering as I felt my throat tightening. I was smiling. Glowing! Beaming! My brother was an Olympian.
I’d have to say that this was one of the most exciting trips I’ve had in my life. Of course, our family went to China to show him our support again, but there was no time on that trip with as much energy that the stadium in Eugene held that night. I had never experienced so many emotions in such a short amount of time. I had never felt such a thrill going through my body. Even though it wasn’t me who was running on that track, I felt the same excitement that my brother felt within me, and I felt just as accomplished, knowing that that exemplary athlete going to the Olympics was my brother.span>
Friday, February 27, 2009
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
Nick Sinnott-Armstrong, class of 2009, wrote this essay for Life and Times:
The rain has come. It flows through the trees like a flock of crows, splashing and bouncing its way along that path. Ever downwards it runs, ever downwards to the dark and misty depths, far underground, those mysterious aquifers which coat the soils deep within the earth.
With the rain, the thunder rolls. Great crashes, magnificent giants pounding their hammers on the cage surrounding the blackened globe, hide the future in the present. Nothing can hide from the smashes, those huge cracks of lightning, and for a moment all the world stands dumbstruck and still. That cruel justice, random killings of tree stalks who lived silent, resolute, for a hundred generations, played out its game as it did a thousand times before, never sparing except by chance. The sound, a riffle at the edge of a waterfall, gives way to the cruelty and malice, which caves to a sparing on the forest floor, which will in due time free another generation in their quest for life. The smell, the charred wood and dying hope of a former king, abdicates the throne, caves to another torrent of moisture.
That massive giant consumes the sky, blots out the sun. The invasive species, pest of the natural world, crushes all between its massive jaws. The clouds form an army of black ants marching resolutely in their endless line of senseless existence. That storm eats everything in its path. Licking its chops, it pours out more saliva, washing away the carcasses of those chosen few whose souls upon which it preyed. The dead wood is shattered, chewed, and swallowed by the sea. Eaten as fodder, that food satiating the waters and weathers of the world, the thundering slows, the lightning stops, the rain lessens, the sky lightens, and the earth stands still. The wine of the cunning one has put to rest this juggernaut of cool destruction, and so it sleeps.
Slowly, slowly, the creatures return. A twitter here, the first brave sparrow telling his lovely mate that he survived the chaos, a scurry there, the furtive chipmunk dashing for his stash of acorns to protect them from the scavengers; within hours, the life had returned to normal. The pattering of little feet on the dew-soaked grass, the flash of red in the quivering branches, the myriad of beetles finally deciding the time is right to return to the feast, all betray a vivality not far removed even in a time of catastrophe and triumph.
The frozen speck of rain sits motionless on the river bank, suspended for a moment before the plunge. Like a great cat crouching just before
the kill, it quivers; unwilling to release from the hearth of green upon which it now lives, the drop crouches and listens. The perfectly flowing, globular mass readies for the fall which never comes. For that giant glowing globe returns once more, and with it the cool, refreshing breeze of something waiting just over the horizon.
Helios cuts through with his blazing chariot, and the heat is not far behind. Nine hundred watts per square meter now propel that little crystal, sweetly singing, up into the heavens and past the friends and family not above the treetops. They wait. It flies. Justice, it seems, unravels. When will another mob of atoms group themselves in that way? How will others react when they discover the journey of this young friend? They peer skywards; and they are off as well. That heat has come to them as well, and so they turn to gas as well. Drifting, drifting. Now the droplets rule the sky; they form the sky. A smattering of colors, the angles through three surfaces of water just perfect to produce the perfection of a sight, that last homage to the monster having dissipated mere moments before.
"Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring" impacted me. I saw for the first time how less influential individuals grow through the ranks, how individuals with a variety of unique skills can work together and do great things.
The Fellowship of the Ring's impact was hardfelt, and troubling, and I still have the welt.
We are the last chance. Whether or not we want war, war will come. We have fought over freedom, we have fought over gold, we have fought over slavery, we have fought over expansion. Today, we fight over the environment.
Without this last step in the process, we cannot hope to survive. Long ago, this nation has settled the score against our ancestors, against our enemies, against our protectorate, against our friends, and against ourselves. Now, we must protect against the future.
We risk more than you could possibly imagine. Not just our friends, not just coastal colonists, will be harmed by our neglect of this green home. If we do not stop now, it will be the last thing we don't do. The environment won't wait. We have taken the loving earth which kept us warm and turned it to a flaming furnace of fear. It continues to warm our planet, it continues to kill our crops, as it had for a billion years. We continue to destroy this earth, and all it did protect us for a million. After all this time, all our successes and our struggles, we don't realize the world as it is.
The "truth'' which we cling to, which we force upon the furry and fierce creatures of the world, isn't fact. It is true that humans are the highest intelligence known to man. Then again, dolphins are the highest known intelligence known to dolphins. We have butchered this pleasant globe and left it for dead.
Live in the moment, they cry. But every second we listen, that moment grows shorter. In the last half century, we have used seventy percent of the natural gas and oil the world will produce during the millions of years our species has or will exist. That is injustice, and we can stand for it no longer. Take up arms! Fight the oppression! Then, and only then, can we survive.
Monday, February 23, 2009
Beryl Frishtick from Norwich, VT is Hanover High's February Student of the Month.
Beryl is a thoughtful and enthusiastic student with a great dry sense of humor. She plays saxophone in Concert Band, is captain of the volleyball team and moderator of Council. She helped her four-member team win the Regional Outstanding award in the Math Modeling International contest.
Beryl is a very considerate, genuine and modest person, dedicated to the improvement of our community, and has been instrumental in developing and implementing the four-day March Intensive program of special classes.
Thursday, February 12, 2009
WHO REALLY WAS THE MAGNIFICENT GENIUS WHO INVENTED CALCULUS? NEWTON? LEIBNIZ? MURDZA? EMERSON? (PART 1)
Ms. Mills's Calculus class was asked to determine who created calculus -- Isaac Newton or Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz -- and to present the project in a creative manner of the student's choosing. Julia Murdza, class of 2010, chose to transcribe the following:
Press Conference Conducted by Sir Isaac Newton upon the Decision of the Royal Society regarding the Inventor of Calculus
Newton: Thank you all for coming. Please be seated. I come before you as a representative of the Royal Society. I speak to you today because this esteemed organization of the sciences has been hard at work answering the burning question, “Who really was the magnificent genius who invented calculus?”
This undertaking was prompted by the assertions of Nicholas Facio de Duillier and John Keill, who have publicly doubted Gottfried Leibniz’s claim to have independently invented calculus. In reaction to this, Leibniz started whining -- I mean, filed a formal complaint with the Society. After many years of intense research, the members of the Society’s special committee “reckon Mr. Newton the first inventor ; and are of the opinion that Mr. Keill, in asserting the same, has been no ways injurious to Mr. Leibnitz.”
The Society also calls upon Leibniz to prove how he found his method without my work, and remind the world that even “if Mr. Leibnitz had found the Method without the Assistance of Mr. Newton, yet second Inventors have no Right.” To summarize, I have been recognized as the supreme founder of the mathematical tradition of calculus. However, others are of course allowed to hold their own opinions, as inaccurate as these may be. I will now take a few questions.
Reporter 1: Thank you, sir.
Newton: Of course, my dear fellow.
Reporter 1: I’d like to ask you about the process the Royal Society went through to come to this conclusion, and about your role in the decision.
Newton: Well, obviously we wanted to be as fair and impartial as possible, but we also recognized that the burden of proof rested on Mr. Leibniz. My 1666 tract on fluxions and my correspondence with Mr. Leibniz made his claim of independent discovery somewhat... tenuous, shall we say. As an unsubstantiated claim, this is theft of intellectual property. Thus, the Royal Society examined all available tracts, papers and correspondence in order to create a sequence of information and discovery.
There is no evidence that Mr. Leibniz had a method different than mine before he received a letter in 1677 that was written by me in 1672. In contrast, Dr. Barrow and Mr. Collins saw my personal method in my De analysi per aequationes numero terminorum infinitas in 1669. Thus, the Society concluded that “that Mr. Newton had the Method in or before the Year 1669, and it did not appear to them that Mr. Leibnitz had it before the year 1677.” Thus, the claims against him have a quite legitimate basis.
As to my role in the matter, well, I had absolutely nothing to do with it. I myself have put forth no claims against Mr. Leibniz, although I am flattered that others have been conscientious enough to do so.
Reporter 1: A follow-up, please... if you knew all this in 1669, why didn’t you publish then?
Newton: I am often asked this. My work was well known among my close friends. It is not as if my work would have disappeared at my death. I merely refrained from publishing upon the first glimpse of possible insight. It is not fame that mattered to me, but truth and justice. The concepts of calculus are far too important to be rushed into the public eye without considerable contemplation... as are all things of beauty...
Reporter 1: ...Sir?
Newton: Right. Sorry. Anyway. I just wanted time to check my work, really. If I had known Mr. Leibniz would steal -- or, come across -- my idea within my lifetime, I certainly would have published earlier to avoid this silly confusion. It’s not as if it really matters who was first, though... I am only interested in justice.......... next question?
Reporter 2: Thank you, sir. I’m sure my question has been asked before, but many of our readers are still a bit confused about fluents and fluxions... could you please summarize your brilliant discoveries simply enough for them to get a general understanding?
Newton: I’d be glad to do so. It’s not difficult at all, really. The key discovery is my Fundamental Theorem of Calculus, which I’m afraid has been called “the single most powerful insight mathematicians have ever acquired for understanding how the universe works.” That’s rather silly of them, of course. Everything geometric is produced by motion, and is thus a fluent. The velocity of this movement is its fluxion. With my mathematics, you can find the fluxion of any fluent, or the fluent of any fluxion. You can also find the area under a fluent, or its integral which is the opposite of finding a fluent’s fluxion. (Find a fluent’s fluxion- say it ten times fast!)
Reporter 3: Sir, there has been discussion about the different notations used by you and Mr. Leibniz, with most students preferring that of Mr. Leibniz. Would you like to comment on the topic?
Newton: My notation has been completely understandable to the experts to whom I first made my work available, and it is a pity that its sophistication has rendered it esoteric. I would like to remind the public that while Mr. Leibniz may employ a simpler notation, I have had much longer to develop and adjust my calculations, and that integrity is more important than clarity.
Reporter 4: Sir, what would you consider your greatest achievement?
Newton: Why, that which is most valuable to society, of course. I have merely been one moment in a long line of men employed by God to remove the veil that obscures man’s view of the universe’s machinery. We may not know for a long time which of my interests has been the most useful. However, I do believe that the extension of the binomial theorem and the theories of mechanics and optics may hold particularly interesting applications.
Reporter 5: Who inspired you to lead such a dedicated life of scientific exploration?
Newton: We are getting a little off-topic, aren’t we? Well, when most people ask me this question, they expect me to talk about Mr. Barrow and his lectures at Trinity. I highly respect the man, but at that point I was already deeply involved in the sciences, and he wasn’t really a direct influence. Seeing as I was fatherless from a young age and lacked the health and stamina to engage in the usual childhood activities, I spent most of my childhood reading and inventing small toys for myself. From there, my natural imagination and curiosity led to an interest in all sorts of learning.
Reporter 6: While we’re talking about your childhood, could you briefly go over your educational background?
Newton: I attended the Village School, then Grantham Grammar School, then Cambridge, then Trinity. I had to return home during the plague, unfortunately -- but no matter! I was able to devote myself to my mathematical and scientific discoveries. I have since returned to Trinity to teach.
Reporter 4: When you are not solving the fundamental problems of the universe, what do you like to do in your free time?
Newton: Most of my interests would fall into that category of philosophical inquiry... but apart from exact mathematics and physics, I do take pleasure in alchemy and dating biblical events. My time as Warden of the Mint was quite enjoyable.
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
(PART 2) WHO REALLY WAS THE MAGNIFICENT GENIUS WHO INVENTED CALCULUS? NEWTON? LEIBNIZ? MURDZA? EMERSON?
In Ms. Mills's Calculus class, Connie Emerson, class of 2010, took the opposite view in this Open Letter: Leibniz was the inventor.
To Whom It May Concern:
Though many misguided people have tried to prove otherwise, I, Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, am the rightful creator of calculus. Yes, it is true that I, not Sir Isaac Newton, am the one who perfected this fine art and should, therefore, be given all credit for its development. And to those of you who do not believe that anyone but Newton could have possibly masterminded such a subject, prepare to be shocked. I hope to show you all, once and for all, that the credit should not be given to that self-centered man but instead awarded to me.
I am a true scholar. I have been called “a world class intellectual” and many claim I am “the most comprehensive thinker since Aristotle." I am simply fascinated by all intellectual pursuits and try to write about as many as I can. I am one of the few natural philosophers outside of England, and thus, many people chose to call me a “continental Newton,” for my range stretches farther than that silly little country. Though I hold no academic position, some of my greatest interests include metaphysics and religion. I would like to think of myself as a well-rounded intellectual.
And then there is Newton. The man barely graduated from Cambridge! Even so, his discoveries are numerous. He was able to develop the three laws of motion with no guidance but the works of Galileo, and Kepler’s laws of planetary motion. He also made significant strides in the field of optics and even made the first telescope. Clearly the man is a genius, and it seems that he knows this fact. Newton’s egotism abounds and he is obsessed with his own uniqueness. He cannot believe that maybe, just maybe, there is another person who might have the same intellectual ability he does.
I must start off by saying that I did not steal Newton’s ideas. He merely made that claim because he could not accept the fact that I was able to think in the same way he did. I am told that Newton made many discoveries as a schoolboy that went beyond those of the most advanced mathematicians. However, I am also told he was too scared to publish because he was afraid of criticism. Apparently he first discovered calculus between 1665 and 1666, ten years before I made my own discovery. But alas, he did not publish! How could I have laid eyes on Newton’s thoughts if he lacked the bravery to put them into print! This obvious discrepancy in his story always drives me mad. Why do they fail to see?
I, however, was able to publish. I discovered my version of calculus during two years of absolute desolation. My university had closed due to the plague, and I was left with nothing but my mind to occupy me. During those years, I believe it was between 1673 and 1676, I worked on my ideas and began to realize the enormity of my discovery. As far as I knew, I was the first to think about mathematics in such a way. I decided it was time to contact a potential publisher. The man I saw fit for the job was John Collins. At that time, I was unaware that he was also Newton’s publisher, and yet people accuse me of using Collins to get Newton’s thoughts. Collins saw my ideas and sent me the latest discoveries from the Royal Society. I was surprised to find them somewhat similar to my own, but knew that I had fully developed my own thinking before even laying eyes on those papers. Some time after, I began to receive letters from Newton in which he made illusions to ideas that were very similar to my own. Being a well-mannered man, I politely replied, but in truth I was busy getting my ideas in a publishable state.
My thoughts on calculus first appeared in my book Acta Fruditorum. I released my ideas on differentials in 1684, and then integrals in 1686. Newton did not have the courage to publish his own calculus until 1704, when he first made reference to it in his book Optics. When people realized our ideas were similar, accusations quickly began to fly. Surely the celebrated Newton had been the sole discoverer of calculus, and I, a lesser-known scholar, must have stolen his ideas. Nobody could believe that I had also thought of something that was supposed to be unique to Newton. Newton claimed that I took ideas from his letter, but they were of no use to me! I had already developed my thoughts. Those letters talked about tangents and extracts, not pure calculus. Newton proceeded to claim that Collins gave me his unpublished manuscript in 1676, another lie. I received nothing of the sort, and yet it seemed that everyone believed Newton’s fibs. I had a single ally (John Bernoulli) against a sea of Newton followers. The nonsense had to end.
Newton found that the best solution to our dispute was to figure out who really deserved the credit. Thus, he called a commission of the Royal Society. Newton held a prominent position in the society, so how was I to win? They all believed that I was guilty of plagiarism. I appeared before the Royal Society in 1711 to clear the accusations, but it was to no avail. In 1715, they reported on the issue and found Newton to be the sole inventor of calculus. I was pushed into the shadows by a man whose ego could not share glory.
My heart grows heavy every time I remember how I suffered. My life’s finest discovery was snatched away from me and given to a man who considers it one of his lesser accomplishments. Did Newton not have enough fame already? Could he not give me credit for this one idea? He could not see that his genius was not the only genius in the world. I do not claim to be the sole inventor of calculus, but as of now, I am nothing. I simply would like some recognition for my work. Alas, it is not to be. Thus, I have faded into the background. I now work in the Hanoverian court on a meager salary. It is 1716 and I fear my life will not last much longer. I am afraid I will die a failure.
Alan Haehnel is new to Hanover as a teacher, but he's not new either to teaching English (18 years at Hartford High School in Vermont) or to his other passions, directing musicals and writing one-act plays. Eighty of his plays written for the education market have been performed at schools across the country. He directed the smash-hit production of West Side Story at Hanover in 2008 and Footloose in 2006. This spring he will direct Hanover's musical Beauty and the Beast. The photo shows Alan with an ad for his own play The Long View which recently played at Hartford High.
Alan won the the Vermont Playwright's Award in 1993, and several Vermont State Championships for his original one-acts entered in Vermont One-Act Play Festivals. His scripts have been published by www.playscripts.com, www.bakersplays.com and www.brookpub.com.
At Hanover Alan teaches English 9, Composition 2 and Reading & Rhetoric. He hopes to teach a class on play production next year.
Monday, February 9, 2009
Mike Tecca, class of 2009, writes: Students on Stage, a student-run acting company, performed "The Foreigner" on Feb. 12, 13, and 14 in the HHS auditorium.
Annie Cravero and I directed the cast of Peter McNally, Kenneth Jones, Dan Carr, Miranda Wozmak, Ethan Wilcox, Eric Mead, and Julia Coulter. The comedy is set in the Deep South where a boring English science-fiction magazine editor Charlie Baker (Peter) is brought to a bed and breakfast by his adventurous British officer friend Froggy Le Sueur (Eric) to help him get over his wife's sickness. Charlie just wants to be left alone, so Froggy tells everyone there that Charlie is a "foreigner" and can't speak or understand English. Of course in the Deep South people are excited by a foreigner's presence, so the locals staying in the bed and breakfast reveal their secrets to Charlie. The plot revolves around this relationship and creates a humorous mood around an ominous plot to destroy the bed and breakfast, and many other things once and for all.
Wednesday, February 4, 2009
HHS senior Axel Hansen has reached the semifinals in a national science competition for the second time this school year. He is a semifinalist in the Intel Science Talent Search. "This time," Axel says, "I win $1,000 and HHS will also get $1,000 to use." In November Axel reached the semi-finals in the annual Siemens Competition in Math, Science and Technology, but did not win in the finals.
"I used a different research project for this competition," Axel writes. "My paper is titled 'Visualizing Network Anomalies for Intrusion Detection with Information Theoretic Metrics.' The project is to develop a computer program that can detect and visually depict when an attack occurs on a network. It would be useful to mitigate stealthy attacks on any network that has sensitive data or resources. I and my mentor at Dartmouth (Dr. Sergey Bratus) use a statistical technique from information theory to find changes in the 'nature' of network traffic, which can help indicate when and where an attack happens." Axel's paper can be found at http://www.cs.dartmouth.edu/~axel/.
Tuesday, February 3, 2009
Art teacher Stephanie Gordon writes: Students prepared for "A Life-Sized Portrait from Direct Observation" by spending the first quarter learning different drawing techniques. They studied the figure and learned to draw the parts of the body and head: eyes, nose, mouth, ears, hair, hands and feet. Then students spent about four and a half weeks of class time drawing their life-sized portraits. At the end of the semester we put the pencil portraits on exhibit in the art studio.
The three smaller drawings are from self-portrait assignments in a Design class.