News & Features

The 2016-2017 Student Council Election

posted Jan 10, 2017, 12:49 PM by Lauralee Richardson

By: Nicky Zuino

Student. Council. Change. Student council is the vehicle for change initiated by the students. This year our Executive Board, or E-Board, contains Rishil Panchal, Anthony Ambrose, Soleil Saint-Cyr, and Cara Petrycki.  Our E-Board president is Matt Romano. Student council has many great plans to make “WAMS Great Again,” a timely slogan that Matt created for this year’s campaign.

Rishil Panchal knows that school may not always be the most fun, but he can make school a little more fun for the rest of us. He says he is going to make school decent by trying to make small, but important, improvements at WAMS.  For example, he would like to see student water bottles and new rules allowing students to change their laptop backgrounds.

While Anthony Ambrose was encouraged to run for the board by many others, he personally loved being in student council. Friends helped create his posters. He made them bright  and strategically placed them in an area where lots of students would see them.  Although he shared with the News Magazine that he doubted his chances for winning, he succeeded in surprising himself.  Overall, he is exceedingly happy that he won and got a lot of support from his classmates.

Cara Petrycki and Soleil Saint-Cyr both agreed to run with the slogan that they would fight for everything the student body supports.  Given the students’ hopes for a new dance at WAMS, they both shared their desire to bring a formal dance to the middle school.

Naveen Shah joined student council with the hopes of becoming a leader for his school. He ran with the idea of making the audience laugh. He shared that you shouldn't doubt yourself or your technique. That's an important step to joining the E-board.

This year's president, Matt Romano, was inspired to to run in order to get the student body laughing. He wants to replace the spirit week dance with an updated, formal dance. He established that the spirit week dance is not as well-attended as it should be.  Lindsay Vallila, a WAMS student said, “It's an exciting idea, and I think more people would come! I hope it happens.”

The student body is very excited to have Matt Romano as their new student council leader.  Romano, the landslide winner of our election, used many effective tactics like being bold, and standing out from the rest. He compared himself to a real life nominee by giving a nod to Donald Trump’s campaign slogan.  In conclusion, student council is a gateway for us, the students, to establish a chance to make this school even greater.

WAMS Derby Highlights

posted Apr 12, 2016, 12:22 PM by Lauralee Richardson   [ updated Apr 26, 2016, 7:51 AM ]

By: Nicky Zuino and Brandon Zheng

Cars racing down the hardwood floor while the roars of the kid push the car even more. On Thursday, March 3, many budding scientists showed up to race their cars in the gymnasium after school. WAMS Derby is a yearly competition where teams get a matchbox car and supplies such as a napkin, balloon, two rubber bands, string, two popsicle sticks, plastic bag, two pipe cleaners, two paper clips, index card, and a straw. For WAMS Derby, all the participants need to embellish the car in such a way that the car will move in front of a box fan.

Every year, the amount of students who go to WAMS Derby varies. Traditionally, over twenty five teams compete yearly. Only three teams place for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place. WAMS Derby has been going on for twenty three years! Mrs Keller and Mrs. Pascale started it and it is still thriving today. They got the basic concept from a science convention for schools. They feel it is one of the best ideas they have ever had.

In order to help continue the tradition, many teachers go to the gymnasium to assist with the event. They set up a series of fans and desks to record the lengths. The excited students, equipped with their cars, showed up on time to start the competition. Laurelle LaMarche, a competitor in the race, stated, “The experience was fun. Even though my car didn’t win, I got a lot of knowledge for next year’s car.”

This year, there were approximately forty teams competing in the WAMS Derby. In third place was Chris Furze and Connor McDonough. The “Mc Furzzy” car traveled 6.88 meters! In second place was Tegan Powell, Madison Guenther, Nicky Zuino, and Rehana Wells. The “Cheken Chonga’s” car traveled 8.64 meters. In first place was Jimmy Fletcher, Justin Nikolic, Jack Jones, and Logan Jagodzinski, known as “The Kings.” Their car traveled at an astonishing length of 8.88 meters! Overall, all the students enjoyed the learning experience. Even though they didn’t all place, they won the knowledge.

Spirit Week at WAMS

posted Apr 7, 2016, 11:58 AM by Lauralee Richardson   [ updated Apr 7, 2016, 12:17 PM ]

By: Megan Liu and Samiyyah Abdul-Salaam

Spirit Week is always the most exciting time at WAMS. Students are cheering, classes are competing, and teachers finally get to have a little fun as well. This year’s overall theme was “Disney,” while the individual days included: Moorestown Monday, March Madness Day, Wacky Wednesday, St. Patrick’s Day, and of course, Disney Character Day.

Some past themes of WAMS Spirit Week were: America (2015), the Red Carpet (2014), Sports (2013), and the 80’s (2012).  Although the high school has their own version of spirit week, it is more towards the beginning of the year and leads up to Homecoming.  

The heat was on between the competing seventh and eighth grade, and it was a very close call. The competition was won based off of a point system which incorporated plenty of fun ways to help your grade win, and, seventh grade did win. “I liked seeing everyone come together to win.” says seventh grader Alana Cooper. 

The door decorating contest was a huge part of spirit week alone. Each homeroom picked out of a hat, and chose from seventeen Disney movies, as a theme to decorate their doors. “I liked getting to watch my students come and decorate the doors,” Mr. Dugan says. 

Another event, was the “Pi(e) Day” fundraiser, where selected students from the jars got to stay after school, and pie their teachers in the face without complaint. Some participants included Miss Richardson, Mr. Kent, Mrs. Lock, and even Mr. Keith. In order for everyone to enjoy the pieing, the WAMS population got to laugh at all the teachers on WAMS News.

        When asked one word to describe Spirit Week, Jaylin Haughton-Flowers stated, “Radical!” Everything lead up to the Spirit Week Dance. Tons of strobe lights and bursting music filled the halls of WAMS. Although there was a smaller turnout of people than the Halloween Dance, it did not stop the students’ excitement. And, it was also the perfect way to end a thrilling, and lively week.

Why Go to the Art Room After School?

posted Feb 18, 2016, 12:35 PM by Lauralee Richardson

By: Nicky Zuino

Benevolent. In the dictionary it means characterized by or expressing goodwill or kindly feelings. But, the true meaning of the word is Ms. Neidig. Ms. Neidig is from Pittsburgh and has lived in five others states. She has a sister who is a high guidance counselor. Both of her parents were teachers in the 1960s, too. Her mother taught special education to students 18 through 21 years of age and, her father taught high school Spanish. Her great grandmother went to school for music and, her grandmother sister & brother were both principals in the 1960s. Ms. Neidig can speak Spanish, but not from her Dad. She actually learned the language when she was teaching in a former school district where most of the  kids spoke Spanish. Ms. Neidig is married and has a 3 year old daughter, Mia.

In Ms. Neidig’s art room, you can use anything you can imagine. It's a great place to unleash your creativity. One student, Teddy, told me, “My favorite part of staying after is having thirty minutes to just create anything.” The art room is also a great place for anyone to have the freedom of expression, creativity, and just a fun place to hang out. Also, if you have Ms. Neidig for a class you are more than welcome to stay after and work on class projects.

Every Tuesday at Culinary and the Arts, the students make exotic meals from around the world. So far, they have made pizza rolls up, crepes, and cornbread pudding. Basically, Culinary and the arts club is a combination of cooking and art. Ms. Neidig says she is lucky to have a partner, Mrs. Hilbert.  Senora Hilbert, who teaches Spanish, believes that Mrs. Neidig, is “a creative, wonderful, amazing, genius. Basically, she's my friend.

Anime Art Club is every Thursday. It’s a great place for anime or manga lovers. Anime lovers can draw or watch anime at this club. The same goes for Manga lovers. Ellie Dishong states, “It's a place for us anime weirdos to hang out.” Connor Ardido told The Quaker Times, “I get to meet other people with the same interests as me.”   

    Clearly, everyone at WAMS is so lucky to have Ms. Neidig. “The art room is the most lively, energetic, messy, chaotic classroom in the school yet the most fun, free, and safest place to be yourself. I like to think it is heartbeat of the school,” said Ms. Neidig.    

The Shining Star Mrs. Hillbert

posted Feb 18, 2016, 12:33 PM by Lauralee Richardson

By: Leah Rivenburgh

Mrs. Hillbert is like an array of colors she is an art lover, she gardens, is an art lover/collector, volunteers, rides english saddle and cooks. She is a woman who does it all.

Mrs. Hillbert is from New York although her parents are from Puerto Rico.  They moved in the big migration after World War II. Her native language is similar to Portuguese and her great grandparents spoke Spanish. Being the strong person that she is, she joined the army.  She is now a veteran and served in Vietnam. She has been married for many years and has had two children who are now also happily married.

As for her career, she was a medical technologist.  Due to an accident on the job, she could no longer continue to work as a medical technologist. The silver lining to this story though is that her friend convinced her into subbing and soon after she became a teacher.  She has been educating students in Spanish for the last seventeen years. Ironically though, she did not want to teach kids under the age of eighteen.

It’s a wonder that she makes students want to learn.  Mrs. Hilbert has said, “Like selling something, true salesmanship begins when the person says no.” She believes students process information in different ways, which goes along with differentiated instruction.  She believes this because some students might be better off learning with another strategy. While some students prefer the textbook, others might like the computer better.

One of her most memorable quotes is “a gardner's multiple ingeniuses” which signifies that people are intelligent in different ways.

At the end of this year, William Allen Middle School’s shining star will no longer be here because Mrs. Hillbert will be off to Colorado.  Her son lives there although her daughter lives in San Diego. Over her visits in Colorado, she fell in love with Denver where she will be moving to. Next year, she will finally have the retirement she has earned where she will become a college professor.  She actually started out as one when she first started teaching.

    The entire school will miss her a lot, but it is important to remember that her “greatest reward was teaching middle school.”

The Kind Mrs. Kyser

posted Feb 18, 2016, 12:03 PM by Lauralee Richardson   [ updated Feb 18, 2016, 12:05 PM ]

 By: Megan Liu and Mychaela Whitehead


    There are many teachers that help students, but none compare to Mrs. Kyser. Mrs. Kyser is an inclusion, or a partner teacher, here at WAMS. She accommodates other teachers on the Voyagers Team, and has been teaching at WAMS for twenty-two years, but has taught for twenty-seven all together.

Mrs. Kyser finds seventh graders to be very interesting because they are still new to the school . “Mrs. Kyser is very enthusiastic and open to teach students of our age,” Annabelle Jin, one of Mrs. Kyser’s seventh grade students says. Kyser has taught fifth, sixth, and eighth grade as well. Mrs. Kyser loves to encourage students by being enthusiastic and using visual examples, like charts, graphs or pictures. These really help students to visualize what is being taught.“I think we learn a lot with our sense of sight,” Kyser says.  

But just like us students, teachers don’t work all of the time. They also have many hobbies.  Mrs. Kyser enjoys gardening, fishing, and water skiing with her three children at Chesapeake Bay. She also likes to read a lot of historical fiction, her favorite genre. Reading is just one of the reasons why she likes to teach Language Arts.

Her family consists of five people, Mrs. Kyser, her husband, her two sons, her daughter and a yellow Labrador. Her two sons are 18 and 20 while her daughter is 25 years old.

Mrs. Kyser has worked with many teachers, and have built great relationships with them. An example of this is Mrs. Trapani. “She is a kind person who goes out of her way to help people and doesn't make a big deal of it.” says Mrs. Trapani.

“Mrs. Kyser is very helpful because she’s loving and patient. She pushes us to do our work  but also makes us laugh,” says Rebecca Roberts and Grace Arcaro.    As you can see, Mrs. Kyser is a very kind-hearted teacher to everyone she meets.

The Quaker Times

posted Jun 11, 2015, 1:11 PM by Lauralee Richardson   [ updated Jun 11, 2015, 1:15 PM ]

By: Wes Liu

Have you ever wanted to make a mark on the world? A deed that would allow generations after generations to remember you, something that they can look up and see you? Only one club will allow you to do that. Only one club has the power to leave a mark that will never be forgotten. That club is The Quaker Times.

The Quaker Times has been going on for one year now. There are two editors, John Fallows and Wesley Liu. Along with Miss Richardson and Mrs. Emple, these two editors have set the guidelines for each and every piece, meaning it won’t be too hard to write in the newspaper. This club is a great experience to be in. It will improve your writing skills.

“It is really helpful with writing.  It has improved my skills and helped me with my communication skills,” Fallows said. “It gives me an input on future pieces and has helped me become more responsible. I feel that many people should strive to become an editor, as then you will have even more responsibilities.”

Other members have said, “This club is entertaining, fun to be a part of, and creative. This club gives you a lot of time to do the work. The deadlines are reasonable and easy to follow.” 

Along with the experience, an advantage of being in the newspaper is getting the ability to choose. You get to choose what you want your topic to be, who to interview for this topic, and how you are going to interview them. It is a club that requires a serious attitude and willingness to do work. There will be deadlines which should be made.

Wes Liu, an editor, has once stated, “It is a good thing that the teachers in this club are reasonable. If I was in charge, deadlines would be absolute and I would assign topics for everyone. These two teachers will guide you through everything. Once you got it down, it isn’t that hard to write a news article.”

Mrs. Emple has said, “Writing is an important part of life and is required for every job. Everyone should learn to write and because classes with creative writing and journalism are becoming rare, this club teaches you how to write.”

The Literary Newspaper is one great experience that will both improve you, as well as benefit the community. It meets every Thursday in the D-5 lab, or in the media center. This club is very flexible and is right for everyone. It is very easy to join; just ask!  We hope to see you there in the fall!

8th Grade End of The Year Project

posted Jun 11, 2015, 1:09 PM by Lauralee Richardson   [ updated Jun 11, 2015, 1:14 PM ]

By: John Fallows

While the school year comes to a close, the majority of the schools in New Jersey begin to close their doors and wind down their lessons. However, it appears that at WAMS the opposite is happening. With the seventh graders just finishing Fruitvale and the eighth graders beginning their own end of the year project, it seems that the school year is actually picking up.

The project, which eighth graders have begun working on, pertains to The Millennium Development Goals, which are a set of goals put in place by world leaders in September of 2000. The goals are a set of almost guidelines, which the international community hoped to come into compliance with by the year 2015.

Eighth graders have been assigned a third world country in Asia, Africa, South America or Central America, which has currently not reached all its goals. Students are tasked with finding a solution to the issue at hand and being able to implement it with $10,000,000 granted to them by the U.N. Their presentations and proposals will then be judged and scrutinized by a panel of judges from outside the school district.

The eighth grade class has been given all week to complete this project and are presenting on Friday, June 12, which is when they must convince the panel of judges to give them the money they need to fund their suggestions. Some of the issues students face in this project are world hunger, child mortality, poor maternal health and lack of access to clean drinking water.

An assembly kicked off the project on Monday during which students played an interactive game, orchestrated by Ms. Dickstein and Mr. Bertolino.  Students compared the average lives of Americans to that of a person living in a third world country. After that, students went back to classrooms and began working on their projects.

Ms. Dickstein, one of the main organizers of the project, said that it is an interesting way to see students implement all the knowledge, which they have retained during the year.  She also said that the project is “very valuable” because students are able to get almost complete free reign and creative freedom over the project. She also went on to say that it is interesting to see students come up with solutions for real problems that are actually affecting our world.

Overall, students are going to have to combine all their knowledge that they have learned here at WAMS to be successful in this project. This will truly be a test of what students have learned through the years and just how well they can apply it.

Dress Code : An Editorial

posted Jun 11, 2015, 1:08 PM by Lauralee Richardson   [ updated Jun 11, 2015, 1:14 PM ]

By John Fallows

Kids have a short attention span. This is a fact that has been proven several times over by numerous credible psychologists and it is a quite credible factor in the dress code fiasco, which has recently engulfed WAMS.

Actually, let me rephrase that, this is a fiasco, which threatened to engulf WAMS, however because of a sudden agreement between student council and Mr. Keith, the protests were stopped and the school’s administration agreed to work towards a compromise.

Students tried to completely disregard this new rule until faculty began enforcing it with an iron fist. Teachers lined the hallways before school, armed with index cards, which they used to check students. This rendered about half of most female students’ summer wardrobes void and forced them to consider different alternatives.

In the beginning, the new dress code only paused the advance of spring, as female students reverted back to their winter wardrobes in an attempt to be in compliance with the new dress code. However, with rising temperatures and a high dose of spring fever, girls began to strike back.

On several occasions anonymous signs were hung in the hallways calling for change to the dress code and a petition was even started online. Even me, a figure relatively low on the social ladder, got several texts which were sort of mobile petitions asking for you to get fifteen signatures and then to send it on to fifteen more people.

These online forms of protest grew progressively more popular as they got hundreds of signatures. In many of these petitions, students were asked to wear some article of clothing in violation of the dress code in a hope to strong arm the school’s administration into changing their policy.

However, many of these petitions garnered false support which WAMS principal, Mr. Keith, commented on. He said that he saw comments on these online petitions from people in other school districts and even outside of the state. He also said, “Don’t just protest to protest, protest to make change.”

In response to the protests organized by students, student council had a meeting with Principal Keith in which they discussed possible changes to the dress code, which have been suggested by students.

Both parties agreed that the meeting went well and Mr. Keith says that he is meeting with his discipline committee to finalize a dress code for next year.  This will hopefully contain many suggestions made by students so that dress code will not be an issue again.

WAMS's Wonderful Yearbook

posted May 21, 2015, 12:01 PM by Lauralee Richardson

By: Kelsea Aukett

Every year the Yearbook Club at WAMS creates a stunning book that highlights every event that took place during the school year. Ms. Martin hosts the club, and the students in it work together to include pictures of school events. Both Ms. Martin and Ms. Parsons run the club, and a handful of eighth graders help take pictures and put it all together.

In an interview with Ms. Parsons, she explained some things that happen during the production of the yearbook. “We hold a meeting at the end of the school year and have our members brainstorm ideas for the following year’s theme. We then ask them to draw a potential cover for the book. Those covers are then put into “WAMS News” and shown to the whole school. The students then vote on their favorite idea or theme. Whichever theme wins, is what we use for the book the following year.” She also explained that the process of making the yearbook lasts the whole school year until it is fully complete. The yearbook club doesn’t release it until all school events have happened, so the finished product includes everything that happened that school year.

In another part of the interview, Ms. Parsons congratulated Ms. Martin on doing her part in designing the themes for the yearbook, and even said that without her, the yearbook would not be what it is now. Ms. Martin has even been recognized nationally for her designs. Ms. Parsons wanted to keep the theme a secret, but said that they left a section in the yearbook for recognizing the eighth graders. Because there are some secrets hidden in the yearbook, you’ll have to buy one to find out what the secrets are!

To Ms. Parsons, she likes the fact of buying a yearbook, because then she can look back and remind herself of everything that happened that year. She has been at WAMS since 1999 and has had a yearbook for every year since she’s been at WAMS. She would recommend anyone that hasn’t bought a yearbook yet to do so. However, the yearbooks this year cost around $45, so get them while you can!

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