New Courses Broaden Art Department’s Pallette

Ms. Violet Hamel-Wade

HINESBURG, VT — Two new art classes will be offered at CVU starting semester two of the 2018/2019 school year.


Graphic Design, taught by Abbie Bowker, will occur during fourth block on white days. Bowker says that this class will “further the students understanding of design and visual communication.” Throughout the course, students will partner with the Principles of Business class that runs during the same block. “I’m looking forward to the collaboration between the classes,” Bowker says. “It creates a deeper appreciation for the team involved in creating PR [Public Relations] for a business.” 

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Advantages of Using Social Media

Ms. Sophia Barton

CVU teachers, students, parents and administrators are using Twitter as a means of real time communication.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the typical high school student spends his or her day juggling five or more different activities. Students spend half their day at school and also spend time working, socializing, volunteering, and playing sports. The administrators at CVU have a heavy workload as well. CVU’s website states that the school has 1,322 students and 103 faculty. It also offers 150 courses and serves five towns: Charlotte, Hinesburg, Shelburne, Williston, and St. George.  

The school’s students and staff manage a busy life and schedule everyday. This raises the question of how to communicate, at a minute’s notice, important announcements and information. Some say the answer could be twitter. CVU math teacher and coach, Corinna Hussey, believes that “social media is how people are communicating and it can be a very positive way to connect students, staff, and community.”  Hussey states that, “Information gets out and spreads a lot faster through tweets.  Even if everyone doesn’t read the tweet, it seems that people talk about them.”

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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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CVU Hires New Full-Time Math Teacher

Mr. Josh Bliss


Courtesy of Williston Observer

HINESBURG — CVU teacher, Jason Weischedel, was hired to be a full-time teacher this past Monday.

Weischedel is currently in his second year as a part-time teacher. This year he is teaching Trigonometry/Pre-Calculus and Advanced Algebra/Trigonometry courses.  

CVU student, Laura Gerry, who is in Weischedel’s Advanced Algebra/Trigonometry class, had this to say about his teaching style, “He lets us think individually and make connections by ourselves which is very helpful.”  

Math colleague, Mark Pogact, also stated, “Jason went to Essex high school which was how CVU knew of him. When [math teacher] Hannah Carey needed a long-term sub, Jason filled in and he has been at CVU ever since.”  

Chris Hood, another colleague, shared, “Jason is really passionate about mathematics. He finds different ways to connect to his students to help them make meaningful insights on math.”

Weischedel was officially hired by the School Board of Education this past Monday evening.  

Intro to Art Class Conveys the Character of Color

Ms. Sophie Boyer & Mr. Jacob Bouffard

CVUHS- Tim Duvernoy’s W1 Intro to Art class (Room 150) currently attempts to distinguish the color wheel and use complimentary colors by tracing previous work and applying various shades and tones to further express its personality.

According to Devon, a CVU Freshman, “The purpose of this project is to trace over our previous drawings and to use color and reflect to our color wheel documents and use complimentary colors to give our pieces character.”

The steps taken to form these products teach the young artists patience, as it requires several drafts to create the final piece for the tracing portion. Once done with the tracing, students then use a color scheme to adapt the emotions behind the drawing.   hmDLRNA69C8k8cb9nwhlan4JxqEs-OBF72quvraadlAaLwXx6ko_aKSCkfLkR1JYK5oNK7roMqwvpttjzXZQCKiNj_c=s2048

Within art, color can be used for numerous applications, including the mood or the tone of the piece. It helps to create a focal point or draw the eye to different parts of the piece and can administer a warmth or give the spectator an idea of the piece’s physical climate.8cNcBnyqPwtAgnNSFWUIqOuYtK70u96VB8S9_kkSaDIqOUdIJCUH-iaJ-K54GfmwHdIUtkY7ov2nN8gFfNLmTSap7Ao=s2048

Intro to Art is a base level fine arts course that “introduces” all students to the world of art. It is a required class for students who are contemplating the art industry, or just looking to take more art classes. This course is also among those required for graduation for all students.

Robohawks Rock Robotics

Mr. Thomas Daley

Standards Based Learning has become a phrase well known to any CVU student. The underlying concept of the system is that students will graduate from CVU with proficiency in a common set of life skills. These themes tend to be very general, such as communication or problem solving—abilities that can be applied to any situation. What if there was one program that could cover all of the graduation standards? The answer: robotics.

CVU robotics teacher Olaf Verdonk explains that participating in the Robohawks, the school’s premier robotics team, requires math, physics, mechanical knowledge, effective communication, goal setting, and more. For students to use these skills outside of the robotics lab, they would need to take several different classes, furthermore; CVU may be expanding its robotics program over the next few years. The nature of the global job market is different than it used to be, and CVU wants its course offerings to adapt in response. Continue Reading

Fairbanks Freshmen Prepare to be Preached To

Ms. Jaime Vachon

HINESBURG– CVU Fairbanks Freshmen Core has begun their religion unit, taught by long  time teacher, Katie Kuntz.

pasted image 0The religion unit is taught every year to the incoming Freshmen class and Kuntz tries to bring fun activities to the class to engage the students.  

On Friday the 17th, students were asked to match symbols with the correct religion they are related to based on the their previous knowledge.

When asked if she enjoyed the activity, Freshman, Mekkena Boyd said, “It was a fun activity for the class but I personally hate humanities, but the activity was hands on so I liked it.”

The Fairbanks Freshmen will continue their research on religion into the month of April.

Art Makes You Smart

Ms. Jam Giubardo

Image Courtesy of

Image Courtesy of

As a high school student I, along with millions of teenagers, have to wake up early five times a week to go to school. I then have to sit through almost eight hours of lectures, worksheets, and tests. The only time when I get a break is art class. Like exercise, art is a way to relax and regenerate the mind during long, academically intense days. But art isn’t merely an escape from thinking, it is fuel for thinking.

The true value of an arts education goes far beyond learning how to draw, sing, or play a musical instrument. Getting students involved in visual arts, music, and theater not only broadens their perspective and helps to promote social tolerance, but gives students various academic advantages as well.

In the past few years, neuroscientists have been researching the effect of arts on students of all ages and what they discovered should change the way the arts are viewed in schools. According to the American Association of School Administrators, studies show that, “During the brain’s early years, neural connections are being made at a rapid rate. Much of what young children do as play — singing, drawing, dancing — are natural forms of art. These activities engage all the senses and wire the brain for successful learning.” However, these activities should be carried on throughout the later years of a student. Also, the arts have been proven numerous times to help with cognitive learning and motor skills. To be able to create fine art requires that you  develop precise and thoughtful movements, and learning a musical instrument allows the mind to create patterns and count. More Specifically, it stimulates a certain part of the brain that is connected to social skills and emotional control (AASA). So, knowing this, why are schools still cutting art programs?

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Cell Phones in School, a Mixed Bag

Mr. Dylan Rocheleau 

Imagine sitting in class, focused on a math problem. You’re on the verge of figuring out a solution to this complex problem. Just as you formulate your solution, the kid behind you gets a call and the sound of his obnoxious ringtone echoes through the whole room. The teacher roars at the student to go to the office, and just like every other kid in the class, you instinctively turn your head to watch the commotion unravel.

Now, imagine this second scenario: You forgot your textbook, you don’t have any reference to any work the teacher is going over today. Maybe it was a mistake or maybe you just couldn’t fit the textbook into your bag along with your other books. Fortunately enough, you have your phone to find and reference the online textbook.

Whether you are a student in high school, college, or even middle school, you can probably relate to these situations. Nowadays, cell phone use is highly noticeable in student classrooms. As the new multitasking machine makes its way into kids’ hands, teachers have to either cope with these devices or permit them.  A new study focused on the pros of cellphone use is now backing up students and teachers who see smartphones as a benefit to student learning.

A recently released study conducted by Tru supports mobile technology and its positive influence on student learning. The research showed that more than 1 out of 3 middle school students report they are using smartphones to do homework, and more than 1 in 4 students are using smartphones for their homework weekly. The study revealed that regardless of the school’s limitations on the technology, students would go ahead and use the devices for homework anyway. This seems to be a common trend. Although some schools forbid cell phones in school, there is strong evidence suggesting students disregard these regulations.

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Music to their Ears: the Science on Sound and Study

Mr. Charles Yarwood

Music is a defining presence in our world. It’s prevalent in every culture we’ve ever studied, it’s essential to our movies and TV shows; it constitutes a $130 billion dollar industry, and it has many other roles in our day-to-day life. The effects and potential music holds is not well understood, and what we do understand is misrepresented.

I personally love music; I play several instruments, and you can almost always find me listening to music. In school, listening to music is understandably condoned. The point of school is to learn, often times by spoken word, but the prevalence of portable music and headphones has forced teachers to work around this potential obstacle. It’s fairly commonplace to see students listening to music in the halls, during work time, and during tests. I interviewed several CVU staff members and reached out to students at surrounding schools to find out what their thoughts were on listening to music and if other schools in the state had similarly lax policies as CVU does on listening to music during school. I then conducted my own research to see what might be discovered about scientific findings on the effects of music on learning and cognition.

 CVU employs a policy around music that lets teachers to decide if allowing students to listen to music would be conducive to learning and test-taking. I interviewed 35 CVU teachers across all departments about their class rules about listening to music during independent work time and test taking, in addition to what effects they observe when students listen to music. In the independent work part of the survey, 62.9% of teachers report that they let their students select their own music to listen to, 17.1% play music on classroom speakers, but don’t allow students to listen to their personal music; and 20% don’t allow music of any kind. In the testing section of the survey, 28.6% of teachers allow students to select their own music, with 71.4% of teachers not allowing music of any kind.

 Teachers report a wide range of effects of music on students, which lead them to their decisions on allowing or disallowing music. The Teachers that allowed music during work time cite reasons such as it helping students focus by blocking out classroom noise, relax students, gives them a choice, making them feel like their opinions are valid; relieve stress, and boost creativity. The teachers who don’t allow music during work time cite reasons of having to use a smartphone, which leads to texting and other distractions; selecting the “right” song takes too long, music getting played too loudly, students missing something due to music, making the music a social event by sharing earbuds, and watching music videos instead of working. The teachers that allowed their students to listen to music while they take tests cited similar reasons as to when they work: better focus, stress relief, and relaxation during the anxiety-ridden testing periods. There are seventeen teachers who allow music during work time but not during tests; there are three major reasons for this. The first reason is concerns over academic honesty. When a student is “choosing a song” the teachers can’t be sure their students aren’t looking up answers. The second reason is some of the teachers teach AP classes, and music isn’t allowed on AP tests. The teachers want to create as similar an environment to the actual AP test as possible, so music isn’t allowed. The third reason is some teachers allow music during work time to help students focus by blocking out other noise in the classroom. During tests there isn’t extraneous noise to be blocked out so music isn’t a necessity.

 CVU is known to be very liberal and open with its policies, so the policy that allows teachers to decide if music can be allowed or not is almost expected. I decided to ask students from other schools if they have any policy on listening to music. I asked students at Burlington High School, South Burlington High School, Essex High School, Mount Mansfield Union High School, Middlebury High School, Montpelier High School, U-32 High School, and Rice Memorial High School. Every school except for Middlebury and Rice had a similar policy to CVU. At Middlebury, the policy is one of no music, but my sources told me that this isn’t always enforced. At Rice, there is a strict no-phone policy that includes iPods and MP3 players. This policy excludes seniors, but only during study hall.

 There is some scientific research on the effects of music on learning and cognition. The most famous study done is by Rauscher, Shaw, and Ky (1993) that investigated the effects of Mozart on infant’s spatial reasoning abilities. There was an improvement in the babies’ spatial reasoning abilities, but this was blown out of proportion with what was dubbed “The Mozart Effect.” Many news organizations said that listening to Mozart made babies smarter, which was never tested for in the study. Other studies have been done to investigate the effects of music on cognition and memory, which will be the focus of the information relayed here. The studies focused on arithmetic and language comprehension (where the language was the subject’s first language). In a study performed in 2013 by Arielle S. Dolegui, it was shown that arithmetic was best performed in silence. When music was played, scores did not vary when “loud” music (such as rock) or “soft” music (such as classical) were played. Scores were lower in both types of music if the intensity (volume) of the music was higher. In another study performed by Simon P. Banbury, et al.

In 2001, it was shown that scores on a similar arithmetic test were lower than music or silence if there was background noise such as human speech or construction sounds. In a separate study done by E. Glenn Schellenberg and Michael W. Weiss in 2013, it was shown that students performing an arithmetic test performed the test faster when they listened to music, but also made more mistakes than their counterparts who performed the test in silence. When these results are put together, it can be reasonably determined that performance on arithmetic work will be sped up listening to music, but accuracy may be compromised. If there is background noise, it may be advisable to listen to music so that background noise is drowned out.

Many students listen to music while doing something other than math homework. Many classes require reading and students will listen to music there. All studies performed have led to the result that comprehension and memory will decline when listening to music while reading. In a 2010 study by Stacey A. Anderson and Simon B. Fuller, it was shown that there was no significant difference between comprehension when rock or classical music was listened to, but there was a higher short-term memory retention rate when classical music was listened to. All studies again showed that background noise was worse for comprehension and memory than music, but silence was still shown to be the best in these categories. 

We all know music isn’t going anywhere. Friedrich Nietzsche said “Without music, life would be a mistake.” One of our cultural pillars and greatest joys is music, but we still don’t know all that much about what it does to us outside of make us dance and sing along. The human brain is still largely a mystery, especially the parts that process language and music. The attitude around CVU seems to be one of acceptance to music, which is likely only going to grow. There needs to be more research done to reveal insights on the effects of music on memory, cognition, and learning to fully understand how we should study and work, but for now, I’m going to listen to my favorites and do my math homework.