Custodial Crew Keeps CVU Looking Good

Ms. Sophie Boyer

There is no doubt that CVU is a good looking school. Inside and Out. Thanks to our dedicated maintenance crew, we are always walking down clean halls, playing on perfect fields, and learning in a fresh environment. Most people don’t realize how much work is actually being done around here to maintain this 60 acre, 225,000 square foot property.

Our CVU maintenance crew is here from 6:30am -3:00pm, and our night crew is here from 3:00pm – 11:30 PM. There are both indoor and outdoor crews, both of which have different responsibilities.

During the school year the outside maintenance crew is responsible for keeping the sports fields maintained, which includes mowing, weed-whacking, painting, raking, and trash clean up.

cvu sign


According to Kurt Proulx, head of CVU maintenance, the  football field in particular takes many hours to maintain, and uses many gallons of field paint. Field hockey fields have other needs which is that the grass on theses fields need to be cut shorter than the others.  The softball and baseball fields are pretty straightforward to maintain. As well as the soccer fields.

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Sophomores, Warp One, Engage! The Next Generation of Tenth Graders Finally Have Their Day

Ms. Kali Adams

 As juniors plodded through NECAPs, seniors volunteered as part of Senior Service Day and freshman rambled around St. Mike’s for Model UN, the CVU sophomores participated in the inaugural “Engage Day” at CVU and in the greater community.

This was the first rendition of this event, reflecting the evolving curriculum at CVU. “Part of our school’s role is helping students reflect about what matters to them inside and outside of school, and how those interests and values can help them make a meaningful life,” said Annie Bellerose, who helped coordinate Engage Day. She explained how Act 77, a bill pertaining to flexible pathways in education passed in 2013, has helped CVU’s curriculum evolve. “The class of 2019 gets to be at the forefront of this process, which is cool in many ways (getting new experiences, more individualized learning),” said Bellerose, “and also challenging–until this work becomes more integrated into our curriculum and schedule, it can just feel like additional stuff to do, especially as the guinea pigs.”

Video by Katie Peck

So far, the Class of 2019 has been the testing ground for projects like Personalized Learning Plans (PLPs) and Roundtables. Engage Day was just next step in this development. “We just wanted to have students get some kind of hands-on learning experience beyond their usual school day that connected to something they were curious about,” said Bellerose. “Kind of a low stakes way to try something new or to dive deeper into a previous interest.” Lindsey Drew, one of the sophomores who participated in Engage Day, liked the premise of the day and thought that, it’s great that CVU is allowing students these opportunities.”

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No Kidding: Goats are on Grounds as Part of Natural Resource’s Permaculture Project

Ms. Sophie Boyer

HINESBURG– On Thursday June 1st, Champlain Valley Union High School’s Natural Resources class received goats as a part of their permaculture project. Permaculture projects are ones that will, according to Wikipedia, “develop agricultural ecosystems to be sustainable and self-sufficient.”

The goats will be cared for by students who signed up through a program called the Norman Fund which will also provide pay for those who participate. Six to seven students have been selected for that role. They will be responsible for providing care for the goats, garden, and also chickens which will be arriving at CVU on June 8th.


Image by Sophie Boyer

The overall goal for these projects is that they will provide benefits for CVU. The goats play a very important role for the CVU community. They represent a natural way to get rid of invasive species such as poison parsnip… by eating it! Goats eat grass, herbs, tree leaves and other plant material. With this, they will help get rid of the unwanted plants.

The goats are expected to be around for about six months, potentially longer. The decision is based off when the students and Dave Trevithick, the Natural Resource teacher, intends on slaughtering the goats to provide food for CVU’s Cafe.

The garden of CVU is also a project of the Natural Resources class, and that as well will be providing food for the cafe, including vegetables and fruits like raspberries, and blueberries.

Kindness Drives Art in The Memory Project

Ms. Jam Giubardo 

Since 2008 CVU advanced drawing and painting and AP studio art classes have participated in the memory project. The memory project is a charitable nonprofit organization that invites art teachers and their students to create and donate portraits to youth around the world who have faced substantial challenges, such as neglect, abuse, loss of parents, violence, and extreme poverty. Not only does it have a huge impact on the kids who receive the portraits but it also greatly impacts the students creating the portraits.

The Program receives photos of children and teens from global charities operating residential homes, schools, and care centers in a number of different countries every year. Then They provide the participating art teachers with full-page color prints as well as digital copies of those photos, along with plastic sleeves to protect the finished portraits.  The art teachers then work with their students to create the portraits, and we hand-deliver them to the kids.  We always try to have several different portraits for each child, created by different art students and based on different poses.

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Since 2004 they have created more than 100,000 portraits for children in 43 countries. When this year is finished CVU will have sent 461 portraits all around the world: Ukraine, Peru, Afghanistan, Haiti, Ghana, Romania, Syria, and now Tanzania. This year children from Tanzania will receive portraits from CVU, and this is particularly meaningful because we have a student from tanzania participating in it. He really understands the plight of his people and has helped us form a more tangible connection to the people in the portraits. The students in advanced drawing and painting have practiced portraits for a couple months and will be completing them in water color. The AP art students got to choose the media they wished to complete the portraits with.

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Missing Cafeteria Plates Jeopardize Reuse Ethic

Mr. Colin Lach

HINESBURG – At CVU the school cafe plates and bowls have recently been disappearing becoming a costly commodity for the school to handle. CVU has reportedly lost 150 plates in one month. According to the CVU cafe this decrease in the reusable plates is due to students not returning them to the cafe after use or disposing of them in the garbage.

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At Champlain Valley High school the cafeteria is known as one of the best school cafes in the state. This reputation relies heavily on the work of the staff and how they respond to student feedback. When the CVU environmental club requested that CVU switch to plastic Reusable plates Food Service Manager Leo Laforce made the switch, even though it was a more costly option.

Before making the switch CVU used foam plates, According to Leo CVU could buy 140 foam plates for the price of 1 plastic reusable plate. At this price point losing an average of 6 plates a day this has become a large problem for The Redhawk Cafe, and they may make the decision to switch back to foam plates.

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“In The Human Petri Dish of CVU” with Robin Fawcett’s 2016 Commencement Address


Image courtesy of Vermont Stage

Editor’s notes: Robin has graciously agreed to share her words both in person (at last year’s commencement address) and in writing with the CVC. We felt that with the Class of 2017 on the verge of graduation, it would be a good time to revisit Robin’s sage insights and advice, not just to the class of 2016, but to the entire CVU community.

We have linked the address because Robin’s writing reads like a poem, and it was important to us to be true, not only to the meaning of her words, but also to the shape that she gave to her writing. We hope you enjoy it as much as we do.

Click on the link to revisit Robin Fawcett’s Commencement Address to the CVU Class of 2016 from Patrick Gymnasium at UVM on June 10, 2016.

And congratulations to the class of 2107!

Thanks to Fox & Seaton (& Co.) Another Yearbook is in the Books

Mr. Jacob H. Bouffard

Just like every other high school, at Champlain Valley Union, the yearbook is a big deal for all departing seniors. It is a way to look back at the “good ole days” in the future when feeling nostalgic. While the majority of students only buy a yearbook their senior year, there are a few who purchase the memories every year.

Instead of making a book for the seniors that shows their high school careers, the book sums up the year by showing all of the sports teams from the year (spring sports from the prior school year) and the drama departments musicals of the year. Basically everything that happened of significance in the year is put in this big book. There are also a few other things added in to award or take notice of a few students. This includes senior superlatives like who is most likely to fall asleep in class or be late to graduation.

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At CVU, a club is in charge of choosing and making what goes into the yearbook. There used to be a class with an English credit, but that was terminated several years ago. The club is lead by Debbie Seaton and Carol Fox with eight other students from all four graduating classes. This small group of kids work together to design a book that is pleasing for all students and goes along with the current trends. In the past, covers have included themes like Minecraft or other popular topics.

Editor Clara Schultz says, “I enjoyed going around CVU and taking pictures of people I know, and some that I didn’t know. I didn’t realize how many people I didn’t know until I actually had to go out and find some.” With a community so large, it’s hard to remember every person. The yearbook gives the opportunity for you to, in several years, look back at those you didn’t know that well.

As of Wednesday morning there are only 36 yearbooks left for sale. The books cost $65.00 and checks are made out to Jostens. Be sure to purchase next year’s book on time if you plan on getting one.



Editor-in-Chief, Ms. Halina Vercessi

As the end of the year swings around, it is evident that both students and teachers alike become antsy for the arrival of summer break. Usually, the average CVU-goer hears the term “senioritis” (as if you haven’t heard enough about it) frequently during this time of the year. As most seniors have already applied and decided where they’re going university for the upcoming school-year; with the anticipation of a new chapter of life set at the ready, there is a large mentality shift causing their motivation during the last several weeks of high school to dwindle. While I don’t necessarily support “slacking off”, it makes sense doesn’t it? By the time senior year starts coming to a close, hands down, the seniors are ready to move on.

With the already existing concept of “senioritis” in mind, take a swig of this new term: “junioritis”. Can the same “epidemic” be applicable to juniors when they still have one more year left before they know their plans for the new chapter in their life and are ready to move on? The term “junioritis” was mentioned to me by one student, but I wanted to know if this was a new phrase already alive within the junior class and what they thought of it. According to a current CVU junior (who will remain anonymous), his school trip was the icing on the cake to the dwindling down of scholarly motivation. “I don’t know if it’s a thing for everyone, but I’ve certainly got it. I think that after working so hard all year, something caused a change in my attitude, for me it was my [England Ireland Wales] trip, after spending 11 days doing no schoolwork, I just haven’t had the motivation to do anything.” Others have said something along the lines of “it’s no ‘epidemic’, it’s how we function.” It seems that this so-called “junioritis” has simply become a way of life for the majority: the masses chugging along with an utter lack of motivation as an unsupportive sidekick.

For juniors, the end of the year and all the stressful endeavors that go on during this time seem to create the perfect storm for a situation that is “like senioritis but without any excuses” (as stated by CVU junior, Nathaniel Mick). Indeed, juniors are not yet in the position to have an “it’s officially time to move on from this” mindset, but, that mindset is still readily applicable, despite the lack of excuses. So, it seems that “junioritis” was around all along simply without an official title being associated with it. The meaning and substance of the term “junioritis” may vary from student to student; however, the CVU junior who brought this concept to my attention (and will remain anonymous) seemed to have summed it up in a nutshell: “Junior year has been absolutely crazy. Now that AP exams are over, I am losing motivation in the home-stretch to finals. I can’t stay up late doing homework, and I’m putting less effort into everything. I’m trying really hard to stay motivated, but I’m exhausted from an intense year of SATs, ACTs, SBACs, college searching, intense homework, and athletics. Junioritis is certainly real, and many of my friends have exhibited similar symptoms. We need a break.”


Fidget Toy Fad Finds Footing across the U.S.

Mr. Justin Olson 


Pen clicking, desk drumming, foot tapping,  all symptoms of a posterchild fidgeter. If you have these habits or know someone who does, you may benefit by looking into the possibility of purchasing some kind of fidget toy. Having recently hit the market and exploding on social media, fidget toys of several types have captured the attention of many who may benefit from their use.“More than one-third of American workers experience chronic work stress” states APA (American Psychological Association.)  Marketed as being able to relieve the effects of ADHD, ADD, lower stress levels and even help kick nasty habits like nail biting or smoking, fidget toys and their claimed effectiveness have soared in popularity in just a matter of months.

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Freshmen forgo comfort zones

Mr. Damon Proulx

Recently at CVU there has been a challenge that was bestowed upon the freshman. The idea is to get the individual to not do something for 30 days. For example, not eating candy for 30 days. The point of this challenge is to push students to do something out of their comfort zone, and in turn make them grow as a person.

These challenges can be made up of anything, from not eating certain foods, to cell phones, to not driving your car. The point is to challenge yourself to do something different, therefore giving you another perspective Continue Reading

Presenting… Final Projects from the Middle East

Misters Isaac Cleveland and Thomas Daley

HINESBURG — This past week, students in Chris Smith’s U.S. and the World classes presented their final projects for the Middle East unit. However… there’s a catch: every project—and all work in this unit, for that matter—was designed by the student.

“I love this unit,” stated Smith, “I think students get into it more.” CVU junior Iris Mann was in agreement: “You don’t necessarily have to, you can choose to,” Mann explained.

Projects included giving presentations, creating videos, baking food, making a Kahoot!, and much more. Chiara Antonioli, also a junior at CVU, made baklava—a traditional Assyrian dessert—for the class as a hope for peace in the Middle East; she noted that feuding entities such as Israel and Palestine or Greece and Turkey come together at holidays in that they both enjoy Baklava. Continue Reading

Tangible Product Fair Rolls into CVU

Mr. Jacob H. Bouffard 

As the fourth quarter closes and seniors can start to see their final days as high school students come to an end, only one thing stands in their way at Champlain Valley Union…Grad Challenge. A year long product that showcases “real world” experiences to high school students allows for them to gain a new perspective in a field of their choice. Many of these projects include a tangible product that the students made, and these products are shown to the whole school before their presentations during the Tangible Product Fair.

Video poduced by Huber & Shanks

In the past, the Tangible Product Fair has included all types of projects from a cake, to a surfboard, or even a metal sculpture. There are no limits on what students can enter into the fair, as long as they produced it themselves.

The main purpose of the fair is to allow students to put their work on display and talk about the experiences they had while doing the project. Since the presentations are only in front of roughly twenty people, the tangible product fair allows students to freely talk about their creations one on one without any pressure.

Having a tangible product fair doesn’t only showcase the student’s new found talents, but it also gives future seniors an idea for what they might want to do for their projects when the time comes. CVU senior Jeff Boliba “I got the idea to make a snowboard for my grad challenge my sophomore year when I saw that someone made a surfboard for their project”.

The fair is scheduled to be on Thursday May 25th, 2017 during all of third block. Students are encouraged to stop by during their lunch period and glance at all or some of the projects. There is no word on how many projects will be present, but in the past there has been enough to fill up the library with all sorts of inventions and creations.


A Journey Overseas, A New Opportunity for Many

England, Ireland, Wales Trip

Mr. Thomas Daley

Blarney Castle, Stonehenge, Salisbury Cathedral, the London Eye, and the Globe are a few of the many locations experienced by the 38 students on CVU’s England, Ireland, Wales trip last month. More than just sightseeing, the trip is designed to expose high school students to a foreign country…perhaps for the first time.


Stonehenge, Photo Credit: Cooper Birdsall

Head chaperone and CVU Social Studies and Scholars Bowl coach, John Bennett stated, “My real hope is that students who get this chance to travel, and, if it’s the first time or whatever for them, that it’s a spark of interest in travel all their lives.”

Around Ireland and the United Kingdom in 11 Days

It all began in Ireland where travelers saw the Ring of Kerry and Blarney Castle before heading to Dublin for two days. After crossing the Irish Sea and visiting sights in Wales, the group headed to Salisbury in central England. One highlight of the Salisbury stop was seeing the school where William Golding taught—a trip back to January of sophomore year for any CVU student.


Salisbury Cathedral, Photo Credit: Cooper Birdsall

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Youth Risk Behavior Survey: Are our Students Safe?

Ms. Sophie Boyer

CVUHS-On Thursday, March 23, 2017 all of CVU students took the Youth Risk Behavior Survey during advisory.  The Youth Risk Behavior survey is a survey designed to monitor major common health risk behaviors, and is beneficial as a public health tool to measure the health of the youth. All grades are able to take the survey from grades 6th-12th.

The questions asked fall under the following categories: smoking, physical activity, drug and alcohol use, parental expectations, public safety, and acceptance.  

Though these questions are important, the identity of the respondent is not a variable; the survey overall is completely anonymous. The survey is given every two years for schools to take. Not all school boards agree to give the survey, but most do. According to the Vermont Department of Health, on average about 35,000 take the survey each cycle.  In 2015, 99% of high schools participated, and more than 21,000 students completed the survey. Over 13,500 middle school students also participated. Also, nationwide, from 1991 through 2015, more than 3.8 million high school students have completed the survey.  

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Once data collection is complete, the data is processed by the Center of Disease Control Prevention before becoming available for analysis by the state. This can take several months, so the Youth Risk Behavior Survey data is often not available until the following winter.

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Reinventing the Library: Welcome to the Cave

Misters Christopher T. O’Brien and Jacob C. Griggs

The CVU library has always been known for the opportunity it gives you to check out books, socialize at the tables, and get work done in a private setting. However, the librarians don’t believe that the current space is being utilized to its full potential. This is all going to change this summer, with renovations being started and finishing up by the beginning of the 2017-18 school year.

Before any renovations can be made, the librarians are hard at work during this end of the school year weeding out the books in the library. CVU librarian Peter Langella says, “When we weed out the books we take out any books that are not used, inaccurate and irrelevant, that way the books that are remaining are able to flourish.” Because many of the books are being weeded out of the library, many of them are put outside the library on shelves marked, ‘free books.’ These free books were a hit amongst CVU students and staff. Continue Reading

CVU Senior Prank: An Antiquated CVU Ritual Or A Necessary CVU Tradition?

Mr. Christopher T. O’Brien and Mr. Jacob C. Griggs 

A senior prank is when the graduating class gets together to leave one last mark on their school. The prank is an experience full of excitement and laughter late in the year for all of the school to enjoy. Although, before that can happen, the graduating class will get together and discuss what type of prank they want pursue and then have to get it approved by the principal.   

In 2010, the senior class filled up four corners (the busiest intersection of the school) with beach balls. The class of 2016 held apasted image 0 (1) tailgate in the senior parking lot one morning and all parked poorly leaving no spaces for some students, while the class of 2014 saran-wrapped the pillars in four corners, making it hard for students to walk through the already congested area.  


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Model UN: One of Two Things You Can Stress About Freshmen Year

Ms. Jam Giubardo

Image Courtesy of

Image Courtesy of

On May 19th and May 20th, 2017, the Champlain Valley Union High School class of 2020 participated in a two day simulation of the United Nations (Model UN) at St. Michael’s College and CVU. The students debated about real world issues and proposed how they would try to fix them.  

Model United Nations, also known as Model UN or MUN, is an educational simulation and academic activity in which students can learn about diplomacy, international relations, and the United Nations. The first day took place on May 19th at St. Michael’s College and May 20th, at CVU. This was different from previous years where both days were at St. Michael’s College.

The students were given current real world issues and were faced with the challenge of coming up with a plan to solve them. They were given time in and outside of class to create speeches about what their problem was and how they would solve it. On the day of the stimulation they presented their speeches to other students with the same topic. On the second day, they engaged in a Socratic Seminar, in which the students were able to discuss what solution would work the best and how to revise it, until it was satisfactory to all the students in the group.

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AP Frenzy

Mr. Jack Reeves 

Image Courtesy of Flickr

Image Courtesy of Flickr

Many people question the amount of stress placed on high school students, especially juniors and seniors. After the SAT, ACT, midterms, finals, college applications, grad challenge, for students at Champlain Valley Union High School, and more, is another elaborate (not to mention expensive) standardized test. Are multiple standardized tests really worth a student’s effort? The tests in question here are of course AP tests, provided by College Board. While there certainly is opposition, students and teachers at CVU seem to see the value in the test and its intensity.

College Board is a for-profit company, the same company that makes the SAT. Advanced Placement courses, regulated by the company, are completely free and open to take for high school students. But, in order to take the course’s summative test, it’ll cost upwards of 100 dollars. Most competitive students will be taking 2 or more tests, adding up to hundreds of dollars. The benefit of taking this test, beyond beefing up a transcript, advertised by College Board is the ability to earn class-worth credits that transfer to (some) colleges.

In 2015, roughly 2.5 million students took roughly 4.5 million AP tests. In an environment where getting into a “good” college is something held to a high degree, many consider the AP tests to be essential. Students at CVU have mixed opinions, “It’s pretty bad, just unnecessary stress. I’d describe it as long and unimportant”, says Ethan Leonard. He cites his reason for taking an AP test to be getting college credit. Another student, Elliot Cockayne, who took two AP tests says, “I was glad I took them, it was worth the work”, he agrees that they are quite stressful but continues, “If you just study, you’re set up nicely”. AP teachers seem to have a similar opinion.

“I think that it’s a good test taking experience”, shares Chris Hood, who teaches AP Statistics, “It’s not necessary for every student, but it’s a good preparation for college”. AP Biology teacher, Nicole Gorman, is very certain that students should take the test, “Taking the class and not the test is like joining a soccer team, going to practices, and then not going to the playoffs”, she claims. Test-taking students are on her side, “It’s the entire reason you take an AP course”, says Cockayne. Hood doesn’t feel exactly the same way. He thinks that, “Without the test, there’s still value in taking the course”.

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Sons of Pitches Rock Out for Senior Class

 Mr. Christopher T. O’Brien and Jacob C. Griggs

On Friday May 12, the Sons of Pitches put on a show to help fundraise for the 2017 senior class.


Photo Courtesy of Jennifer Lucy

The concert was held in the CVU auditorium. The group of acapella singers were able to bring in $600 in one night of performing. With a big crowd to support the singers, they provided entertainment for the night.   

CVU Senior and one of the leaders of the group, Nate Shanks, explained his thoughts on the event,  “It was a good way to get the student body and the public together to enjoy the night. It was also nice to see a big team effort from a bunch of different people.”

Another vocalist for the Sons of Pitches, and also a senior, Max Pudvar says, “We exceeded our own expectations for how the performance would go. It was awesome doing a collaboration with Urban dance and Rick (aka Hip Hop) I think everyone who attended enjoyed themselves and got their money’s worth.”

The crowd seemed to be pleased with the concert according to CVU Senior Hannah Munn. “I really love the courage and strength that they had during the concert.  Not going to lie it hit me straight in the soul when they sang Hallelujah.  This was also a great way to unify the class and bring in money.”  

Although the a cappella group sang throwbacks, they also sang newer songs like Gold Digger by Kanye West and Magic by BOB.

Photo Courtesy of Jennifer Lucy

Photo Courtesy of Jennifer Lucy

The $600 that were raised was from a one to five dollar donation upon entry. Michelle Fongemie, Laurie Gunn and an anonymous donor who attended the concert generously donated $100.

For the full performance on video, visit this youtube link –


Slovenly Students Cause CVU to Close Tables by Main Office

Mr. Colin Lach & Steven Nicolai Blood 

HINESBURG – It was recently released that CVU would be temporarily shutting down the tables near the front office, making them off limits to students during lunch time. This is happening because of the dirty dishes and trash that has been frequently been found there recently.

The CVU community is divided on their response to this change.


The tables in question. Image by Colin Lach

CVU Staff member Tim Albertson explained the reasoning for this temporary shutdown “People weren’t being responsible cleaning up plates, trays and utensils.”

This is not the first time that CVU has decided to shut down a public area due to this reason, during winter of this year the faculty made the tables near the mini gym off limits. Faculty decided to shut down this areas because the believe they are a privilege students need to earn to keep and leaving trash there isn’t the way to do that.

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CVU Reacts to New Lunch Regs

Ms. Jam Giubardo


VIRGINIA–On Monday, May 5th, 2017  new Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue announced the removal of the regulation of school lunch standards emitted by the former first lady, declaring at a Virginia school that the administration would “Make School Meals Great Again.”

The previous regulations placed on school lunches by Michelle Obama, The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, put regulations on the amount of sugar, dairy, and white flower in school lunches causing a lot of controversy in schools nationwide. The regulations made kids not want to eat the cafeteria food, which lead to a drop in the income of school cafeterias.

Mr. Perdue said, “”I applaud former First Lady Michelle Obama for addressing those obesity problems in the past,” But, “If kids aren’t eating the food, and it’s ending up in the trash, they aren’t getting any nutrition — thus undermining the intent of the program.”

The new regulation lift will not completely disturb Michelle’s efforts, just slow them down. The USDA will now let states grant exemptions regarding whole grain standards for the 2017-2018 school year if they’re having trouble meeting the requirements, and the agency said it will “take all necessary regulatory actions to implement a long-term solution.”

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Four Corners In Four Years

Mr. Jacob H. Bouffard and Mr. Christopher T. O’Brien

Walking through four corners at CVU on an early Friday morning before school, very few students were socializing in this commons area. Unlike in years past, four corners has begun to fade from being one of the central parts of the school, to an empty area.

Four corners is where all the hallways meet and has been known as the place to be before school. Over the years, the intersection has had many different looks as several students left their trace with paintings on the walls. However, in recent years, students have decided to socialize in other places.


Image by Josh Bliss

CVU Seniors Charlie Bernicke, Max and Dillon Hamrell and Nick Mogilnicki, were too intimidated freshmen year to be in four corners prior to school, and would instead go into “The Fishbowl” to spend time before school began. “The Fishbowl” is a place in the Freshman core that many freshmen spend time in.

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Chemical Re-Actions: AP Chem at the End of the Year

Mr. Thomas Daley

HINESBURG, VT — On Monday, AP Chemistry students from Champlain Valley Union High School took the national exam at St. Jude’s Church in Hinesburg; with the AP exam over, the class is looking to take on a new purpose for the students.

Up until this week, AP Chemistry students have been focusing on the AP Chemistry curriculum and preparations for the AP test. “We are a pretty intensive class and we start in the summer,” said course teacher Sarah Malcom.

For the rest of the school year, students will be working on project-based group tasks that apply their chemistry knowledge. Malcolm described it as “an opportunity to do something different.”

Why are large chemistry design tasks only assigned at the end of the year? “Time,” stated Malcolm. She noted that students are better able to complete their projects because of the knowledge base they have established.


Students work on producing an edible meal

James White, a senior in AP Chemistry, expressed excitement for the new applications of his knowledge: “AP Chem gave me a new sense of bewilderment that arises when I stretch an eraser, or boil water, or crush salt. Having a more in-depth understanding of everyday objects makes the world around me more interesting, and makes me all the more curious to see how it works,” said White.

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ChittCore’s TJ Provides Important Addiction Education

Mr. Joshua Bliss & Mr. Cameron Longchamp

HINESBURG — CVU health teacher from Chittenden Core, T.J. Mead, spent this last Wednesday teaching his students about the painful realities of drug addiction. The students took action working on the simulator that T.J. designed to help students understand what addiction was and how it affects teens.

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T.J. started his class by asking the students to define what they thought addiction meant. The lesson T.J. was teaching was about the effects of drugs and how that applied to the teen brain because the brain is not fully developed until the age of 25.

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CVU Library on the Rise?

Mr. Christopher T. O’Brien and Mr. Jacob C. Griggs

HINESBURG- Late Wednesday, a CVU senior, Taya Leprevost, went to the CVU library to check out the book, “Midwives.” Taya is one of many students who are checking out fiction books from the library regularly.


Taya is an avid reader and says, “I check out a book about once a month. Usually they are WWII books; however, I needed a break from them so I picked out a fiction book.” Taya has found the book “Midwives” to be very intriguing, considering that the author is from Vermont and that it is also where the story takes place. This isn’t only true for Taya, many more CVU students have been checking out more and more fiction books than non-fiction.


Peter Langella, the CVU librarian, has been around the CVU books for 6 years and he says,“We [the librarians] have been making a conscious effort to update the fiction section of the library with current books, and we can tell with the amount of fiction books being checked out that there is more student interest in fiction books than nonfiction”



Image Credit: Banwell Architects

In his experience at the library he has seen some trends throughout the years. According to Peter, “more fact based sources are now online and students and staff have been checking out less nonfiction books.” Instead of people checking out less books, the amount has increased through the years that he has been here.


Peter also explained, “The library is more of a hang out place. Over the years it has stayed the same, but I believe there should be a student center of some sort. CVU has tried to make places for students like the cafeteria or the front for students to socialize.” Even though the library is meant for studying and getting work done, Peter doesn’t see any other place for students to socialize in the school during their free time, and therefore, is okay with socializing in the library rather than studying.


Although it may seem that the library hasn’t been used in the way it is intended, many books have been checked out daily and students will continue to socialize in the library until CVU finds another place for them to be able to take a break from school during the day.

AP Human Geography: Lacey Emphasizes Empathy


Mr. Thomas Daley

According to the World Health Organization, 1.8 billion people use a drinking-water water source contaminated with faeces. The United Nations Water for Life campaign reports that, on average, women in Africa and Asia walk 3.7 miles to collect water, sometimes in amounts less than three gallons. The United States Geological Survey states that the average American uses 80-100 gallons of water a day. In the U.S. humans have a very lavish relationship with water, something that is easy to unintentionally take for granted. One CVU teacher’s AP Human Geography class, however, has decided to put an end to the ignorance.

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During the week of March 13, 2017, Lacey Richards tasked her students with a challenge. The first option was to carry five gallons of water everywhere for a week—something both physically and emotionally stressful. The second was to, over the course of the week, boil all water for 10 minutes before using it; this was designed for students who were physically unable to carry out the first option, or for those who simply could not fit transporting five gallons of water into their schedule. “It definitely made me appreciate the fact that we can turn on the faucet and have running water around here,” explained Ben Stevens, a CVU junior, “Carrying 40 plus pounds of water everywhere I went was not that fun. I think that experience is what made me realize how tough walking to get water is and how fortunate we are to have access to running water.”

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New Instant Runoff Voting Leads Flad and Koutras to be 2017-18 Student Body President and Co-President

Mr. Christopher T. O’Brien and Jacob C. Griggs 

In the 2017-18 CVU election, seven 11th grade candidates ran for the student body president and vice president for their senior year of high school coming up this fall.

In years past it was common for four or five pairs of students to run for president and vice president; however, this year there’s been more interest, leading to a new voting system.


The candidates mug for Instagram, appeal for insta-votes.


The new voting system is common in France, and is called Instant Runoff Voting. Opposed to selecting the candidate with the most overall votes, the students ranked the candidates from their favorite to their least favorite. Once all the votes are in, the candidate with the least amount of votes are eliminated, and the votes that were for the eliminated candidate are now changed to their second choice and the results are looked at again. The next, least voted group is eliminated, and anyone who voted for them gets their vote changed to their next choice until it’s down to the final two. If one of the candidates has a majority amount of the votes, then that group will win the election on the spot.

Lacey Richards, a CVU history teacher, is a proponent for instant runoff voting, “It allows for more third party involvement. It also is cost effective because there is no need for a secondary election which can be very expensive.” She added, “this voting system allows for people to vote for who they want elected versus voting against a candidate.”

Roarke Flad, from Shelburne, has been elected by the Freshman, Sophomores and Juniors at CVU as the President of the student body for the upcoming school year. Flad says, “My enthusiasm and charisma was what it took to convince the students to vote for us.” Flad’s co-president, Lydia Koutras from Williston says, “We plan on putting a couple of trees in the library and fixing the bell system to not go off radically.”

With the new voting system in place for the first year, it didn’t seem to have much of an impact on the elections, “The new voting system did not play a role in the results, however, it was helpful information and if it were to be a closer race than it would have had an impact.“ says current student body president Annie Bedell.

Whether or not the instant runoff voting helped out for a more fair election this year, with many close elections to come in the future, the new voting system will be able to have a more direct impact on who will becoming the next student body president and co president.




Chittenden Core Gets their Wands Ready for the Tri-Wizard Cup

Ms. Jam Giubardo 

Photo By Jam Giubardo

Photo By Jam Giubardo


Champlain Valley Union High School, Hinesburg, VT – In the spring of 2017,  the Chittenden freshmen core will compete in an annual tradition, the legendary Triwizard Cup. The Triwizard Cup is a series of strenuous, individual and paired events that challenge the students physical and mental ability to solve tasks. Trevor Mead, Personal Adventure and Health teacher of the Chittenden core, has been holding this annual competition for seven years.

When asked why he created this challenge, Trevor said “I did the Triwizard Cup because most P.A. (Personal Adventure) activities are group tasks, and I think students appreciate the opportunity to do tasks that are geared toward the individual. That being said, most of the Triwizards that are on the trophy say that they only got there with the help of their peers.”

The challenge is predicted to start shortly after CVU’s spring break in 2017 and is located in the backwoods of CVU on a rope course. The course is composed of three challenges: the Fidget Ladder (a rope and wooden dowel ladder), the Wild Wobbly Woozy (a task consisting of two wire cables and partners), and the Long Walk (a cable and rope balance task).

Upperclassmen students previously in the Chittenden core, were asked what the challenge was like for them. Sophomore, Eryn Erdman said, “The Triwizard Cup was super fun. I unfortunately didn’t complete the challenge, but the tasks were very exciting and brought the students in my class closer together, which was a good way to end the year.” Senior Wyatt Hoechner also added, “It’s extremely challenging but the activities were designed in a way that really helped with communicative skills and mental and physical tasks solving. I also felt like a badass after completing the challenge because they were actually very hard.”

Mead was asked how he thought the current Freshman class would do in the challenge. He replied by saying, “based on their pre-assessments, which would be the current activities we have been doing, I think that this group will do pretty well. Although I don’t think they can beat the current Junior class record which was the most Triwizard champions in the history of the Triwizard Cup.”



Storytelling: A Study in Empathy

Ms. Kali Adams 

Enter the dusky lighting of the auditorium, choose a seat, and settle down. It’s time for a story.

When the bell rings at 9:45 every morning, students in CVU usually scatter to their various advisories and spend a few minutes connecting with their peers before the next bell and their next class period. Peter Langella, however, has set up an activity in lieu of advisory. On these Tuesdays, you can find students headed to the auditorium, eager to listen to a story being told by one of the faculty members.

This event, known as Storytelling Tuesday, started in October 2015. Langella was inspired by a quote from Newbery Medal-winning author Kate DiCamillo, who said that stories can “make hearts that are capable of containing much joy and much sorrow, hearts capacious enough to contain the complexities and mysteries and contradictions of ourselves and each other.” “To learn about ourselves and others,” Langella says, “we need empathy, and there are few better ways to acquire it than through the power of story.” Thus, Storytelling Tuesday was born as a way to bring CVU staff and students together through the power of the spoken word.

Langella kicked Storytelling Tuesdays off with a story from his college days about the power of community. “The crowd was quite large and respectful,” he recalls. Each Storytelling Tuesday has followed a similar format since, with faculty members telling stories that last for around eight minutes, and are often from their own experiences–though, Langella says, “the event has featured a few other [story] forms like traditional tales and fables.” Other than the time constraint, Langella sets no requirements for the stories told. “I tend to trust people to know what is appropriate for this setting,” he says.

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