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Westlake Word
Student News Center

Inducted at Last

By Grace Griffin

After putting in a great deal of hard work and effort, National English Honors Society members were finally inducted with a ceremony on Thursday, December 8. There were a total of nine students: Isabella Alberti, Anna Carpinelli, Lily Deur, Grace Griffin, Jasmine Joseph, Patricia Keating, Melania Petriccione, Rachel Thomas and Abbie Varco. This small amount makes it clear that getting inducted is far from easy. Students must publish pieces of writing on a local, regional and national level in addition to a 15 hour literacy outreach project in order to be considered.

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All Paws on Deck

By Jade Soto

On November 16, 2022, Mr Tyson, a service dog trainer, came to Westlake High School and gave a short presentation on his work and the dogs they train. Tyson brought with him Happy and Dylan, service dogs that graduated from training school. 

 

While in training school, the dogs learn a series of commands: “Got my back; peek-a-boo; block; shake; and kiss,” Tyson explains. Each one is used in order to establish a relationship with the owner. Tyson adds that Got My Back “is a command for someone who is worried that someone is following them. If the dog wags their tail, they are signaling to their owner that there is someone behind them after all.” After training school, all graduate dogs go through tests in order to get a visual of each dog's personality to best assign them to each family. 

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Black Friday

By Melania Petriccione

This year, Black Friday was on November 25th, but the deals began way before then. In the days, even weeks, leading up to Black Friday, all types of businesses were promoting a seemingly new discount every day. And these “deals” were not in vain. According to Adobe, between November 1st and 28th, $32 billion were spent online. On Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday alone, a total of $3.73 billion were spent.

Sale Tags

Iranian Protests

By Adrianna Escobedo

On September 13, 2022, the Iranian morality police arrested 22-year-old, Mahsa Amini for “improperly” wearing her hijab in public. Just 3 days following her arrest, she went into a coma and was shortly pronounced dead at a hospital in Tehran, Iran. The Iranian police claim that her death was a result of a heart attack, but Mahsa’s father, Amjad Amini, who has raised her since birth contradicts those statements by saying that Mahsa was in “perfect health” and did not have any heart-related medical conditions, according to the article, “Mahsa Amini’s Father: ‘Everything They Have Said and Shown Is Lies.” 

 

Moreover, local media are convinced that the young Iranian woman was severely beaten by the police and received several blows on the head with a baton. This unfortunate event eventually led to protests on social media and massive riots in Iran, resulting in violent encounters with the authorities and the destruction of numerous police stations.

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The World Cup & Its Effect on WHS Students

By Christian Farina

As usual, the World Cup has succeeded in grabbing the attention of millions around the world with enthralling soccer matches. To anyone unfamiliar with the World Cup, it is a soccer tournament held every four years in which the world’s greatest teams compete against each other for the honor of becoming world champions. 

This tournament is split into two stages:, the group stage and the knockout stage;. The group stage places 4 seeded teams from 8 different groups against each other, with the top two teams moving on;, and the knockout stage places the qualifying teams from the group stage into a bracket, consisting of a round of 16, quarterfinal, semifinal and final. 

Soccer Shoes

Social Media's Lasting Impact

By Lia Bucello

According to Erin Bury, commentator for CTV News, “Don’t say anything online that you wouldn’t want plastered on a billboard with your face on it.” 

 

Social media accounts will post about something before it can even be deleted. It has now become society’s new source of the latest gossip, scandals, tragedies, etc. It is easy to access and hooks readers and watchers on very efficiently. Right when logging onto any of the social media apps, it’s very likely that viewers  immediately see the latest news on trending celebrities, like Kim Kardashian or Kanye West. What is even more alarming than the fact that celebs are the main topic, instead of world news, is the fact that even if information might not be true, many accounts will still post videos and pictures in hopes of going viral.

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Earthquakes Affecting Indonesia

By Lexi DiSalvo

During this year alone, Indonesia has been struck with multiple catastrophic earthquakes. Week after week, new quakes have erupted and devastated the archipelago. The seisms range from 34.7km - 123.4km below the Earth’s surface, and differed from 5.6 - 6.2 in magnitude levels. Usually, quakes of about this size do not result in wide-spread damage, but the addition of the fault lines the country resides upon and the flimsy infrastructure of its buildings all helped to contribute to the damage that was caused, The Associated Press reports.  Some shocks were more deadly than others, but the accumulation of multiple in close proximity to one another has left the country in shambles.

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The Dangers of Holiday Shopping

By Abbie Varco

As the exhilarating race to buy the most trendy presents begin, the holiday cheer comes along with it. Many people look forward to holiday shopping and seeing all of the decorated stores. What they do not realize, though, is that holiday shopping can actually be quite dangerous. 

 

Malls become filled with criminals who are waiting to catch you off-guard. Pick-pocketers, bag thieves, and other criminals are destroying the Christmas spirit. Many websites, such as State Farm, publish articles with tips for staying safe while shopping, indicating dangers are on the rise. 

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Lab Grown Beef

By Lexi DiSalvo

For decades, the American meat industry has been growing and evolving to suit the population’s needs. First, its main goal was to produce as many pounds of meat as possible. Then (as the animal activist rights movement gained popularity) it was treating these animals humanely and respectfully. Now, it is testing to see if beef from a cow can be replicated inside of a lab.

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Should Schools Set a Dress Code Policy?

By Anna Carpinelli

While the majority of students may journey through their academic career, and never once experience being reprimanded for violation of a dress code, of those who do, women are disproportionately affected. 

A simple Google search of “dress code violation statistics” will overwhelm the viewer with surveys, editorials, and flatline statistics that illustrate the dramatic number of women and girls that have been affected by their school or institution’s dress code. 
 

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Have You Been Carving Pumpkins the Wrong Way?

By Adriana Escobedo

Whether you want to give your pumpkin a smile, a silly face, or a scary look, you would most likely start by cutting the top, placing a candle inside, and putting the lid back on. However, this traditional method is being questioned after a shocking Tik Tok video made by the user @brunchwithbabs. 

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The Evils of Social Networking Platforms

By Isabella Alberti

It is evident, especially with students in school full-time now, that social networking platforms such as Tik Tok, Snapchat, and Instagram have become a serious problem and addiction amongst society. As of today, people spend hours each day scrolling through social media without realizing the time they waste, to the extent that teachers now have to take away students' phones in the classroom setting. 

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A Homecoming Rematch

By Grace Griffin

After having previously lost to Blindbrook in overtime, the Girls’ Varsity Soccer team was eager for a rematch. On October 14, 2022, the Westlake team had a chance to face them for a second time under the lights at Homecoming. 


The game started off with a ceremonial kickoff in order for injured senior players, Jillian Raguso and Morgan Leitch, to step on the field for one last time. Soon after their recognition, Westlake began.

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Stereotypes & Discrimination

By Patricia Keating

Stereotypes, discrimination, and prejudices against others are unfair and harmful, benefiting no one. Hence, it is increasingly important to find a way to put a stop to these actions. 
 

Three ways to do so are: attending and listening to seminars about the impact of discrimination and bullying; creating cross-cultural days and ethnicity days to spread awareness and understanding; and discuss discrimination - where it stems from and ways to prevent it - in order to end it. 

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Summer ‘22: Gas Prices on the Rise 

By Melania Petriccione

With the end of the school year comes the beginning of the summer travel season. However, according to Scott Clement and company, writing for The Washington Post, roughly 61% of Americans say that gas prices are a major consideration for them when making this year’s summer plans.

 

According to AAA, American Automobile Association, as of May 23, 2022, the national average for a gallon of gas had risen to $4.59, with the prices in all 50 states being above $4.00.More specifically, AAA states that the national average as of June 17, 2022 is currently $5.00 for a gallon of regular gas.

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Vaping: A Call for Change

By Samantha DiPaolo

According to author Nick Galov's 2022 vaping statistics, 25.5% of high schoolers use e-cigarettes. Compared to the 2.4% of teens that vaped in 2019, this percentage is extremely high. 

As a freshman in high school, I have witnessed countless attempts to lower the vaping rates in my school. I have gone to a number of assemblies in which there are long monologues about the detriments of vaping. 

Typically, students find those conventions to be extremely tedious. They sit and listen to the speech by force, then leave to go vape in the bathroom.

E-cigarettes are banned at Westlake High School, but evidently, this expulsion has done very little to diminish the vaping rates. 

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The Senior Experience 

By Scarlett Feighan 

Senior year. 

 

The countdown year. 

 

A year that is an incredible year in itself, but with all the added benefits, it makes this year extraordinary. From leaving during lunch periods to grab lunch at Rosehill with friends to getting more independence outside of the school building due to free periods at the end of the day, the year has its perks. 

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Intellectual Property with Covid Vaccines

By Samantha DiPaolo

As of today, about 66% of the American population has received a full vaccination dose for the COVID-19 virus. In low income countries, fewer than 15% of all citizens have been vaccinated. Why may you ask? Vaccines are not available to these people due to the ongoing conflict of Intellectual Property Waivers.  

 

An IP waiver is a document that gives someone permission to manufacture a product that was conceptualized by someone else. 

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Apple AirTags

By Lexi DiSalvo

Almost every year, Apple comes out with a new phone or invention to release publicly. Last year, Apple created a device called Apple Air Tags: a small, little tracker that people are supposed to use to find their lost item. Unfortunately, criminals have started using them to track people and their vehicles.

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Therapy Dogs at Westlake

By Medina Celaj

Most people think school is a place of stress, anxiety, and hard work. Westlake has figured out a way to alleviate the negative traits associated with school. Therapy dogs are dogs that are trained to provide affection, comfort and support to people. 

 

Therapy dogs, and dogs in general, are proven to release a chemical called oxytocin otherwise known as the, “happy chemical." It is scientifically proven that dog and human contact release oxytocin. Therapy dogs in school have been proven to lower anxiety, boost attendance, grades, and morale amongst students and faculty. 

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Changes to the SAT

By Samantha DiPaolo

The high school Scholastic Aptitude Tests, commonly known as the SATs, will be receiving many new changes in the following years, the most substantial being that it is going virtual. 

 

In the previous years, the SAT exams were given as scantrons and test booklets. Now they will be issued on computers either owned by the students or dispersed by administrative personnel. 

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Omicron: COVID Variant

By Samantha DiPaolo

Omicron is the newest variant of the Covid-19 strain and it seems to be proliferating at a rapid rate. Proven to spread easier than the original SARS-CoV-2, the United States is reporting about 720,000 cases each day according to the New York Times. 

 

However, the quantity of hospitalized people infected has decreased by 26% from last year’s Delta surge, according to Reuters.

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Russia Vs. Ukraine Situation

By Lexi DiSalvo

There have been ongoing conflicts between Russia and Ukraine since 2014, over 8 years ago. These conflicts are mainly centered around territory disputes on Russia’s border with Ukraine and who the land truly belongs to. On this border, many people speak Russian and consider themselves part of Russia. 


The Russian president, Vladimir Putin, has placed troops and military artillery on the border of Ukraine, saying that is not a threat. Rather, he insists it  is a place for its military to practice. Skeptical of this claim, a phone call has been planned between “US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, while UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson will meet Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky,” Ivana Kottasová from CNN reports.

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Michigan School Shooting 

By Ivanna Rivera

School shootings are a big issue that impact a lot of schools around the country. One of the most recent ones being the Michigan school shooting at Oxford High School, which took place on November 30, 2021. 

A 15-year-old student opened fire, leaving four innocent teenagers dead and seven others injured in the afternoon hours. Officials and students alike say Ethan Crumbley gave many signs and warnings threatening the school on social media, however, the school did little to intervene.

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News About Shoes

By Lexi DiSalvo

On the night of November 28th, a protest took place throughout New York State, including on Westlake campus. This reported protest garnered significant controversy in the surrounding few weeks since the incident. 

Before this argument continues, allow me to note that I have nothing against a peaceful protest. I do, however, want to challenge the beliefs behind the protest. Personally, I believe that the protest was illegal, wasteful, and above all, pointless.

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Root 2 Rise

By Kathleen Bennett

Are you looking for delicious, healthy food that you can eat and taste out of this world? Well, Root 2 Rise is the place for you, a 100% gluten free, vegan, and organic eatery in the heart of Pleasantville, NY. 

 

Root 2 Rise has an array of options to choose from for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

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Does Alexa Listen All of the Time?

By Kathryn Wilson

While using our modern day technology, we often overlook how our technology is understanding our questions, our likes and dislikes, and always supplying us with advertisements right after we were looking for them on Google.

We need to be more concerned about Alexa. Is she always listening?

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Where to Next?: Yankees Wild Season Comes to an End

By Dean Williams

The morning of Wednesday, October 6th was a tough one for Yankees fans, as the Yanks tragically fell to the Boston Red Sox the night before in the do or die American League Wildcard game. 

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Homecoming returns to Westlake

By Ivanna Rivera

After a year of remote learning and social distancing, the Westlake Wildcats FINALLY got to celebrate Homecoming 2021 as it should be done! Throughout the fall sports season, athletes created bonds that will never be lost. High school football, soccer, cheerleading, tennis, and volleyball roared back amid the pandemic with several states. 

 

This year’s homecoming was happy and sad for everyone; while some teams lost and some teams won, it was simply enjoyable to be able to experience normalcy. 

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Westlake Varsity Soccer on Their Way to Winning the Sectional Finals

By George Bojovic

The Westlake Varsity Boys soccer team has recently been on a winning streak.

 

To date, Westlake has accumulated 3 wins in the playoffs: first, defeating Pawling, 4-1; then, winning against Blind Brook 3-1; and lastly, in a close and hectic game against Bronxville, pulling through with a 4-2 victory.

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Should you play less to do better?

By Tyler Masiello

As a Freshman, I know very little about studying for major tests for good grades.

 

However, I know I like playing video games, and I hate studying, but it is what we need to do to pass a test or exam, so we must do it anyway.

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Timberview School Shooting

By Lexi DiSalvo

Almost every person in America is aware of school shootings; unfortunately, the country had to suffer yet another on October 6, 2021. 

 

Though these events are rare, they can happen all over the country -  this particular event taking place in Arlington, Texas at Timberview High school. The accused gunman behind the shooting was Timothy George Simpkins, who brought a .45 caliber gun to school and started to fire.

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