Wednesday, September 29, 2010


Fifteen members of the class of 2011 have been named National Merit Scholarship semi-finalists. They took the Preliminary Scholastic Achievement Test last fall. The nationwide pool of semifinalists, which represents less than one percent of U.S. high school seniors, includes the highest-scoring entrants in each state. The number of semifinalists in a state is proportional to the state’s percentage of the national total of graduating seniors.

They are now offered the chance to submit personal high-school transcripts and essays to qualify as National Merit Scholars. The scholarships are administered by the non-profit National Merit Scholarship Corporation.

Hanover High's semi-finalists are: Jackson Blum, Jessica Buckey, Scott Collins, Clio Doyle, Mary Finlayson, Keegan Gantrish, Cameron Glouchevitch, Rebecca Haynes, Andrew Pillsbury, Christopher Stevens, Libby Tolman, Althea Valence, Jake van Leer, Scout Wallace and Claire Weaver.

The class of 2010 had eleven semi-finalists.

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Tuesday, September 28, 2010


Principal Deb Gillespie writes: HHS began a Peer Mentor Program this year. The idea came from senior Meghan Gerling, who wanted to provide support to incoming 9th graders. She worked with Guidance and the administration to create a program that assigned 9th grade students to a small group of other freshmen and two juniors or seniors. The program helps freshmen transition to HHS by providing a mentor who can help them with time management and involvement in clubs and extracurricular activities. We have been impressed by our mentors and feel the program is off to a good start.

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Monday, September 27, 2010


UPDATE: Jake Miraldi, class of 2003, went to West Point, and then to Afghanistan. He's at right in the picture. Last week he sent the school a report about his service and his return:

Everything people from the school sent to me in Afghanistan helped a great deal and went a long way towards endearing us toward the local people in the various districts we operated in. Today the situation is almost universally improved from where it was in the beginning of 2009. The bad guys have been pushed further from the population centers in the Konar River Valley and daily life has improved for just about everyone. While we were there we developed several tribal counsels called "Shuras" to help integrate the local tribal governance systems into the national system we are trying to foster. There were many, many frustrations but I feel like we at least improved the Afghan outlook on what national government can do for them if they are willing to be active participants. All in all I believe we laid the groundwork in places where Americans had never really operated for the follow-on success of the units that replaced us.

We were in a very violent place and we had 7 wounded in action in the platoon (including myself) and one killed in action. His name is SSG Eric Lindstrom and he is survived by his wife Tara and their 18-month-old twins Olivia and Riley. I keep in contact with his family and they are doing fine, or at least as well as can be expected given the circumstances. In the end, though, all of our wounded have healed up fine and we were very lucky given some of the circumstances we found ourselves in to have not had more people get hurt. The platoon also came back highly decorated with four Bronze Stars with Valor awarded the platoon and one Silver Star still going through processing.

For me personally, I will not deploy with this unit in the spring because in January I am going to the Captain's Career Course to learn how to be a company commander. That will end in June of 2011 and, I am trying, after that to get put into a unit going back to Konar Province in early 2012, hopefully as a company commander.

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Friday, September 17, 2010


Diksha Gautham of Hanover is the Student of the Month for September. She is a very generous person as well as being courteous, hard-working and extremely smart. Always patient and willing to listen, Diksha volunteers for many causes because she is genuinely interested in others. She has worked with the Summer Enrichment at Dartmouth program and is eager to tutor younger students this fall. She's a member of Model UN, Amnesty International and is an insightful member of Council. Diksha has a great sense of humor and loves to have fun rowing on the Connecticut with friends or writing funny plays in class.

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Wednesday, September 15, 2010


Dean of Students Ian Smith greeted the school on opening day:

Welcome back everybody. It's good to see all of you and I'm really looking forward to a good year.

I took the time this summer to reflect on how we operate as a school, and I thought about initiatives that would benefit both the students and adults that share the building. I considered information for my opening remarks that I think is both good and necessary for you to hear.

I'd like to begin by mentioning the opportunities we have here to one, promote learning and two, encourage respect. I believe that these two efforts are the cornerstone of this high school and neither can be accomplished fully unless they are practiced every day. To work hard and treat people in a civil and decent manner are reasonable expectations to have for all those who come to this building everyday to work together and learn together. It is not unreasonable for the staff to expect this from you or for you to expect it from the staff.

Now this doesn't mean you can't have fun, you can't laugh, or enjoy each other's company - but first and foremost, this is where we learn, where we teach and where we work and we have expectations for how you spend your time in this building, structured or unstructured, and we expect you to meet those expectations. The vast majority of you do and it's important for you to know that we appreciate that. Beyond treating people well there are a few other things that are important for you to know. For years as part of our attendance policy we have had a rule in our handbook stating that if you accumulate 5 cuts in a class, you are withdrawn failing from that class. We looked at the language last year and again this summer and the policy can't be more clearly written. With attendance being the underpinning of all that we try and do here it would make sense that the staff and students on council, with the support of the school board, have placed a premium on being in the classroom and there are serious consequences if you willfully choose not to attend. As a student, I would want to know this. If we didn't remind you of this 5-Cut Policy we would be doing you a disservice.

Another issue that I spent a good deal of time on last year and would like to talk about with you is our Academic Integrity Policy. If you violate our Academic Integrity Policy in either your 9th, 10th, 11th or 12th grade year, if you cheat, and it's determined that the events surrounding your case are actionable (meaning that we can move forward in good conscience), than your name is forwarded to your guidance counselor. When it comes time to apply to schools in your senior year, your guidance counselor then has the moral and ethical responsibility to reveal to colleges and universities you've applied to that you have violated this policy.

There are other consequences (for example schedule-up, notification of parents, a zero on the assignment etc.) but the penalty that most concerns students and parents is the reality that this offense becomes part of your permanent record, regardless of the year in which the offense took place. If you are suspended out of school, again, regardless of whether it is your 9th or 12th grade year, this becomes part of your permanent record and we, and you, are obligated to report this information along to the schools you applied to. The practice of notifying schools of your behavior and associated consequences extends even after you have been admitted to the school of your choice, money has been sent and formal plans have been made. As a student, I would want to know this, be reminded of it in this setting so you can perhaps reference this information while you are in the midst of making a poor decision.

Finally, I want to talk about insubordination, the behavior of not following the reasonable instructions of an adult. Our handbook clearly references this behavior as being a suspendible offense. Our expectation is that any time a student and an adult in the building have an interaction, the exchange will be appropriate and instructions will be followed. This is important to me because how we treat other is reflective of the kind of school we are, what our values are and whether or not this is the kind of place that people want to be.

I've talked about things today that I think you ought to know and that I think you need to hear. Please know that this staff is committed to working with you, helping you with things that concern you, making every effort to accommodate you if need be, but please know that our expectations are high. We will monitor the effort you make, the work that you do and the behavior you exhibit, not only in the classroom, but in the atrium, the cafeteria, the turf field or anywhere else that students gather.

As I try to guide your behavior, and make you are aware of longstanding rules and expectations, I also want you to know that I would choose to spend all of my time in a more preferable way if the choice was entirely mine. I want to attend your classes, hear you laugh in Ms. Stevenson's room and exchange witty remarks with Mr. Hackman, make pancakes for you in Common Ground if I get the chance, go to your games, hear you sing -- and be impressed, amazed and proud of the things you say, the work you produce and the music you make. Thank you for your time. Please take the time to come by and visit me in my office if you can. I would enjoy talking to you. It's truly good to have you back and have a great first day.

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Thursday, September 2, 2010


Libby Tolman won first place in June in a writing contest sponsored by "2012 and Beyond," an Upper Valley environmental group. Isabelle Dietz won second place and Clio Doyle won honorable mention. All are incoming seniors.

Libby writes: "The contest accepted essays, graphic novels, and stories, and I chose to write a story. The work had to be about the effect climate change would have in the future; the contest suggested that the work mention a specific year after 2012 but during the probable lifetime of today's teenager. Also, the work had to make specific reference to the Upper Valley.

"Ms. Alsup gave my English class the option of writing something for the contest instead of completing a different writing assignment she'd assigned. I chose to enter the contest because we don't usually get the chance to write stories in school."

In 2007 Libby was one of seven finalists in an essay competition sponsored by the New Hampshire state court system on the question of whether the 4th Amendment to the US Constitution (protection against random search and seizure ) should apply to students at school. In 2009, as a sophomore, Libby won second place in New England for an essay sponsored by the national Bill of Rights Institute for her essay on the civic value of justice.

To read the prize-winning story "2054," click "read more." It is the narrator’s duty to relate the events that happened on that small planet in that fateful year, so that his readers, no matter what their location in the space time continuum, may draw from his story what lessons they will.

Paul Thompson wasn't usually the sort to go for a walk, especially not on a July day, but that day wasn't the normal sort of day.  No, today definitely wasn't normal, he thought, pausing in front of Baker Library and looking across the green.  In his own days as an undergraduate he and his friends passed Frisbees there, but today the green was nearly empty.  The only students hurried across in groups of two or three, eager to get out of the hundred and fifteen degree heat and into the air conditioning.  Thompson sympathized with them, but something about sauna-like heat helped him think.
"Professor!" a call made its way through the humidity-heavy air. Thompson looked up, startled, at the young dark man making his way out of the doors of the library.  He'd always liked John Cross, even if his manner was a bit brash.  Thompson couldn't blame him; a man had to be brash to lose a home through a government Mandatory Relocation of Low-Lying Island Residents program and make it to an Ivy League campus emotionally intact. Besides, the young man was a veritable physics genius.
John looked concerned.   "They told me I'd find you out here. Don't you know the state warnings? In this time of summer, a man of your age outside for ten minutes risks stroke," he insisted.
"Yes, John, yes," Thompson sighed, "you have the problem set for me?"  He took the pencil-covered sheet from John's hands and examined it through bifocal glasses. "This is good work, John, good work.  With a physics mind like yours, some day you'll discover the key to oil-free society." As the last phrase left Thompson's mouth, his face contorted in an odd way.  John was surprised: the expression "key to oil-free society" was common enough, and while it often provoked looks of wry hopelessness, he'd never seen it illicit quite the mixture of smugness and concealment he'd just witnessed.  Passing the expression off as the effect of summer heat on an aging mind, he thanked the professor and made his way back to Baker, glad that the old man, too, was walking towards the air-conditioned comfort of his office.
A few minutes later, Thompson had placed John's problem set on the top of his pile of student work and was sorting through the jumble of other papers on his desk.  As his eyes fell on a sheet of paper covered with big block letters spelling AW Oil, he thought back to his conversation with John.  If there was one thing John wouldn't do, he reflected, it was discover the key to oil-free society. No, Thompson had found that just last night.  It had been a bit of an accident, really: he couldn’t sleep out of anticipation of the AW Oil letter, and he’d leafed through the physics department’s old research notes in hopes of boring himself to sleep. At about one in the morning, he’d started on a recently-deceased colleague’s notes. It was there that he found it. The use of hydrogen in a clean fuel cycle had been an active topic of research since the beginning of the 21st century, but physicists hadn't succeeded in making it efficient.  As Thompson read his colleague’s unpublished research, he realized they'd been using the wrong approach for decades; the colleague had found the answer while pursuing completely unrelated research on subatomic particles.  Thompson regretted that sharing this helpful discovery with the world would bring him little fame and even less money.  His late colleague would get all the credit; the man’s heirs, the money. Thompson was a little surprised the man hadn’t shared the information before he died, but, after all, the new strain of tick-born encephalitis often caused severe confusion in its victims before death.
Thompson wasn’t happy to find success where thousands of others had failed; rather, the accident presented him with a dilemma: an oil-free society wouldn't be good for him.  He fingered the AW Oil paper, and murmured its first few lines to himself: "Mr. Thompson, with this letter Alaskan Wilds Oil encloses its promised check of 95 million dollars for the use of the oil rights to your property in northern Canada.  We would also like to thank you for the use of your land; with peak oil nearly half a century behind us, your property is one of perhaps a dozen that still have viable, promising oil fields.  Our yearly payments will continue as long as the oil supplies remain; our technicians suspect this will continue for the better part of a decade..."  The better part of a decade.  I'll be almost a billionaire, the professor mused.  Thompson had spent the better part of his teen years working as a valet for an old millionaire, and since then he had always wanted money. The old man had left the Canadian property to Thompson in his will; at that point, it was the least valuable part of the old man's portfolio, and until Thompson discovered oil, the taxes had made his inheritance more of a burden than a gift.  He suspected that was what the old man had intended. If only the old man could see me now, Thompson thought, at the beginning of a life of wealth and ease. Wealth and ease or a saved world: that was his choice, or at least so it had appeared until Thompson’s reverie on the green. Now, he realized, there might be a way for both.
Placing the AW Oil letter down on his desk, he picked up his colleague’s research notes. It was lucky that the man had been so quirky; any normal person would have stored work in a hard-to-destroy electronic format. Thompson knew just how to destroy paper. He walked over to the fireplace, a quaint relic of the time when Hanover was cold in winter. Digging a match out of his closet, the professor struck it against the brick wall and placed the small flame against the paper. As the research fell from Thompson’s hands to the fireplace, it flared, illuminating the dimming office with its glow. Many feet above, the tiny stream of smoke leaked from a chimney into hot air.
Thompson smiled at the ashes. He knew the key to an oil-free society, and he would share it, later, after he’d earned his billion dollars. The fire would make sure no one could discover it before. Leafing through his papers, he picked up the check, and made his way through the heat to Ledyard Bank.
John Cross left Dartmouth that night to visit a friend in Canada. He was there when he got the news: a hurricane was forming in the Atlantic, one that looked to be far more powerful than the typical weekly storm. At first, it seemed the storm would avoid Dartmouth. But then it took a northern turn, and hit the campus with devastating ferocity. The Hopkins Center was the first to fall; Collis, Baker, and a dozen dorms and fraternities followed it quickly. Other buildings were flooded or partially destroyed. Death tolls were so high that The Dartmouth printed a list of survivors, rather than of fatalities. Scanning the list of names, John noted that that of his old physics professor was not among them.
The rest of the history of the planet barely serves telling. Massive methane releases flowed from the oceans; seas continued to rise; temperatures skyrocketed; no one discovered Thompson’s colleague’s world-saving ideas. Ironically, though, it wasn’t heat that ultimately did the world in. Instead, the apocalypse came from oil. Soon after Thompson died, AW Oil’s field in Canada became the only source of fuel. The company’s patriotic executives sold only to the United States, and naturally this angered Europe, Asia, and anywhere else not fortunate enough to be American. Tensions came to a climax when Russia issued an ultimatum: either AW would give oil to the Russians, or Russia would use its nuclear arsenal. A translation error made it appear that AW wouldn’t budge from its policies; and Russia released nuclear weapons on half a dozen American cities. The US used a dozen weapons in retaliation, one accidentally hit China, and from there events snowballed. A week later, the planet was a hot, charred ball of nuclear waste. No human being survived.

Perhaps the reader thinks that the tale of Paul Thompson has nothing to do with him, for he is in a different time or place. But in his own small way, is not the reader Paul Thompson? Has not he put off doing want was right for his planet, if not for money, then for comfort or ease? If the reader takes anything from this story, then, let it be this: that when it comes to saving a planet, later may be too late.

Mrasek, Volker. “A Storehouse of Greenhouse Gases Is Opening in Siberia.” Spiegel Online International.N.p., 17 Apr. 2008. .

“The Weather IS Becoming More Extreme.” Center for American Progress Action Fund. N.p., 16 May 2007. .

Struck, Doug. "Climate Change Drives Disease To New Territory." The Washington Post. N.p., 5 May 2006. Web. 25 May 2010. .

“Water oxidation advance boosts potential for solar fuel.” N.p., 5 May 2006. Web. 25 May 2010. .

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