In honor of Mental Health awareness month, laser editor Esteban Marenco made an updated logo for the month of may using the green that represents mental health awareness. 

managing test anxiety

by gabriela romanelli

Testing season, in an ironic twist of fate, coincides with Mental Health Awareness Month. Students may be feeling anxious as AP season progresses, but it is important to remain calm in order to perform well on the exams. I’ll be making an effort to not sound too cliche, but here are some tips to help manage test stress:


Good luck everyone! You got this.

simone biles with her gold medal at the olympics 

simone biles and her mental health

by grace conlin

In honor of mental health awareness month, I decided to highlight Simone biles who has been known lately for speaking out and standing up for herself. 

Simone Biles is known for her fabulous and impressive gymnastic skills. She has won four olympic gold medals and is an inspiration for girls everywhere who want to achieve a career in gymnastics. What a lot of people didn’t know is that she actually has diagnosed ADHD. This wasn’t known until she tweeted about it, saying that she wasn’t ashamed because there’s nothing to be ashamed about. This is an impactful statement, because sometimes all it takes is one person to come out and say that they have a mental illness and other people are influenced to do the same. In a lot of sports, it’s all about your physical body, and physical health. Now, people like Simon Biles are making it not only about just the physical, but the mental health that is involved in sports. 

Simone biles also has recently been taking time for herself and prioritizing her mental health. In July of 2021 during the Tokyo Olympics, she was performing shakily. She wasn’t being herself, missing her mark, and things of the like. During the qualifying round, she withdrew at the end of the day. This shocked everyone because they believe that olympians never take time for themselves, but she did. This vulnerability is so beneficial to not only herself, but everyone around her. She has become a great influence on young people and an icon for mental health awareness. 

the knicks advance to eastern semi-finals of NBA playoffs, defeat cleveland 4-1.

by jose calderon III

Wow, this has been a helluva week for New York sports. The New York Knicks have won a playoff series for the first time since 2013, when the Knicks defeated the Celtics in six games. This time, they beat the Cleveland Cavaliers in 5 games to advance to the Eastern Semis against the Miami Heat. If I’m a Knicks fan, I’d feel really good about that matchup. Although Miami is red-hot from defeating the Bucks, I can see the Knicks coming out on top. The defense presented by Tom Thibodeau’s guys was extraordinary and impressive. You don’t see that elite caliber of defense in today’s high-powered, offensive-heavy league. It’s considered an old-school way of playing the precious way of basketball, but it got 2 three-peats for Michael Jordan’s Bulls in the 90s. Many would say that the Knicks don’t have the firepower to advance late in the postseason, I’d say the defense makes up for that. And the excellent free agent signing of Jalen Brunson gives them a strong offensive presence. 

Jalen Brunson is averaging 24 ppg with a brilliant 45% FG percentage. However, the team’s success is not based on one man but the whole team as a unit. Knicks fans have something brewing here in MSG and it’s something to be taken note of. Do not underestimate the series win against the Cavs, they were able to take out Donovan Mitchell, Darius Garland and Jarrett Allen with ease. Score-wise these games looked close, but if you watched the full four quarters, you’ll see every time Cleveland tried to run on some momentum, the Knicks would stomp them with excellent defense and get the ball moving. 

Something fans may have taken for granted is the emergence of RJ Barrett. It’s been an aspect of this offense that all Knicks fans have been waiting for and it’s slowly arrived in this series. Yet, with all this positive news… Julius Randle left game 5 early with re-aggravated injury. There is good news to this because Obi Toppin came in for him and absolutely showed out with some flashy dunks. It’s looking good for NY. They will have home-court advantage against the Heat and I wouldn’t be surprised if we see the New York Knicks in the ECF. Rooting for our hometown Knicks and their newfound success with coach Thibodeau in these playoffs. New York Knicks basketball is BACK!

IT IS DONE! aaron rodgers to the new york jets

by jose calderon III

Ladies and gentlemen, the wait is over. Since January of 2023, after the Jets were eliminated from playoff contention, there was a significant question to be answered: Who would be the Jets starting QB next season? Could they run it back with Zach Wilson? NO. Resign Mike White? NO. Sign Jimmy G? No. Sign or trade for Derek Carr? Eh, no. Trade for Tannehill? NO! Lamar Jackson? Not possible. Who would’ve known that a far-fetched fever dream could come true. After all the speculation, it turns out that the Green Bay Packers four-time MVP, Super Bowl champion, and future Hall of Fame quarterback Aaron Rodgers would be traded to the New York Jets as of April 24, 2023. It took about 4 months to finalize the deal, yet here we are, Jets fans, boasting in celebration. 

Trade Details: 

NYJ: 1st Round Pick (No. 13th Overall), 2nd Round Pick (No. 42nd Overall), 6th Round Pick (No. 207th Overall) and a conditional 2024 2nd Round Pick (that could become a first rounder if Aaron Rodgers plays 65% or more of the NYJ Offensive snaps)

GB: QB Aaron Rodgers, 1st Round Pick (No. 15th Overall) and 5th Round Pick (No. 170 Overall)

Many are debating whether the Jets gave up too much, saying this trade would be inevitable due to the souring relationship between the Green Bay Packers organization and Aaron Rodgers. Although those folks might be right, I don’t think that’s how we should be viewing the trade. We needed a QB and got him at a price that won’t harm us in the future. And likely, if that conditional 2nd rounder  turns into a 1st rounder, it’ll hopefully be 32nd Overall. Making that selection worthless to a championship roster. Knowing Joe Douglas, if he wants to upgrade that selection he’ll find a way to trade up. The wizard that has been GM Joe has saved our franchise from mediocrity since he was hired. We can thank Adam Gase for where we are today. 

What I’m most interested to see is the connection between wide receiver Garrett Wilson and his new QB Aaron Rodgers. Wilson found a way to get over one-thousand receiving yards with mediocre QB play from back-ups like Mike White, Joe Flacco, Chris Streveler and the now notorious benched starter Zach Wilson. With Rodgers, the young wideout could emerge as the top WR in the league. We also can't forget about the lightning quick Breece Hall, who was embarking on a ROTY deserving season before his tragic ACL tear. He aims to return in time for the season and hopefully he can pick up right where he left off, that’s the goal. His explosiveness is exactly what the team needed late last season. Accompanied by Rodgers, this young roster must make a deep playoff run this season. 

When it came to expectation, last season, the young squad failed and missed the playoffs by a mere game. They come this time more experienced and with one of the greatest QBs to ever touch a football. More expectations come this season, if they aren’t lived up to, I’d hate to be in charge of this team. They must meet these expectations and I have a strong feeling they will. The team is still to make five draft selections, more reinforcements on the way. We need to address the OL, LB, DT and Safety positions. When that is done, we’ll be solidified contenders. Aaron Rodgers is the glue of this offense, it could be an absolute masterpiece. Next, we must extend Quinnen Williams… PAY THE MAN. Congratulations to GM Joe and Owner Woody Johnson for pulling out an incredible trade, let’s win a Lombardi… J-E-T-S JETS JETS JETS.

jose’s last second NFL mock draft

by: jose calderon III

Thursday, April 27, 2023, begins the journey for many young men who have hopes of becoming stars in the NFL. It is time for the annual NFL Draft, with 7 rounds taking place between Thursday and Saturday. The Carolina Panthers will select first overall as they traded up with the Chicago Bears for that right. The Pittsburgh Steelers will select last due to a trade with Chicago for Chase Claypool. Many storylines heading into this draft: Will QBs Bryce Young or CJ Stroud be selected first? How far will DL Jalen Carter fall due to the off-field issues he’s been entangled himself with? And what will the backlash of the Packers-Jets deal for QB Aaron Rodgers affect round one? Here is what I think we’ll see on Night One of this year’s NFL Draft:

1. Carolina Panthers- QB Alabama Bryce Young

It’s obvious Carolina takes their future franchise QB here, the question is which one. Whether it's Stroud or Young, I think they’ll be fine. I won’t be surprised if they go with Stroud as both prospects seem at the same level. There are some worries about Bryce’s height but I think it’ll all be much of a factor in this decision. Carolina will take their franchise QB with this pick. 

2. Houston Texans: LB Alabama Will Anderson Jr.

Now this is an underwhelming decision, many think will they go QB or trade down… I think they pull an audible and take the best defensive player in the draft. There are many rumors surrounding the status of GM Nick Caserio after the draft, so this should play a factor. I don’t think this selection might be the most necessary for the Texans, as they desperately need a QB, but it may be the best one for them. New HC DeMeco Ryans used to be a defensive coordinator so a defensive player should make some sense. However, if Bryce were to fall to the Texans, I can see them taking him instead of any other option.

3. Arizona Cardinals: DL Georgia Jalen Carter

Although there is much press surrounding the prospect of Jalen Carter, he is a phenomenal football player. The word is he’ll drop out of the top 8, but I don’t think he will fall out of the top 3. This should be a no-brainer for the DL-needy Cardinals. 

4. Indianapolis Colts: QB Ohio State CJ Stroud

The QB carousel that Indianapolis has had since the abrupt retirement of Andrew Luck, has been absolutely astonishing. From Jacoby Brissett to Phillip Rivers to Carson Wentz and to Matt Ryan, it’s been a complete mess. They will definitely seek to take a QB here to finally give Quenton Nelson to guard for and get their franchise guy. 

5. *Mock Trade with SEA* Las Vegas Raiders: QB Florida Anthony Richardson

SEA- 5th Overall

LV- 7th Overall, 3rd Round 70th Overall, 3rd Round 100th Overall, 5th Round 174th Overall

The Anthony Richardson–Raiders rumors for the past few months, I believe, is a match made in heaven. It makes too much sense. Seattle originally held this pick as they got it from Denver, they made the playoffs and don’t desperately need the selection. The Raiders move up two spots to secure their franchise guy. Jimmy G will start for hopefully the whole year and then mentor the young and raw prospect that is Anthony Richardson. 

Read the rest of jose's predictions here!

applying to college in the arts

by: makaela garcia

The college application process is not fun and we (seniors) all know it. Everyone’s experience is so different , but those in the arts have an incredibly unique one. As all of the seniors continue to commit to schools, I’d like to highlight some of my experiences of a student applying to college as a potential arts major. 

Pursuing a career in the arts is already hard enough and going to school for it is just as hard. What makes this process so much different than any other career path? First off, the acceptance rates are way lower. Large numbers of students apply every year seeking a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) degree in Musical Theatre, Acting, Film, etc. but colleges can’t accept everyone. The most prestigious performing arts school in the country, The Juilliard School in Manhattan, NY, receives  around 2,500 applicants every year and only accepts around 200 making their acceptance rate as low as 7%. While these numbers are extremely terrifying to the potential student, try not to let them discourage you because there's always a chance you could be a part of that 7%. 

Enough of that scary stuff, process let's talk about some of the fun stuff! Once you’ve completed all your applications then comes the confirmation emails with separate portals discussing when you’d be auditioning or submitting your prescreen and submitting a resume.  A prescreen is basically a first audition to narrow out the amount of people applying. If you receive a callback for a prescreen you’re invited to come audition for the school. If you don’t pass, you will no longer be considered for that major. Although passing a pre-screen doesn't necessarily mean you’ve been accepted into the program , it is the first step. Okay, I lied--this is still some pretty scary stuff! But, after you’ve hopefully passed your prescreen you will then schedule your audition. Then you’ll go on the scheduled date to perform your monologue, song , or dance. After that, you get to go home and wait! 

I know this all sounds so overwhelming , but in the end it's all worth it! So my advice to you arts majors--although this really goes for anyone applying to colleges: start as early as you can, please! Having as many things done and prepared in advance makes the process the slightest bit less stressful. Write your college essay, pick out all your audition materials, put together your portfolio and get it all done early. Then, apply as early as possible to make your senior year fun, like it's supposed to be! 

season's awakening for dickinson volleyball

by: elena ardrey & colin o’mara

Volleyball season is finally back in session! For varsity players in Dickinson High School, the long wait is over and long lasting as well as even new players are pumped up for the games. Their first game of the season was on Tuesday, April 4th, against North Bergen. The game ended in a hard loss for Dickinson, but their effort and enthusiasm was present before, during, and even after their loss. If anything, their loss to North Bergen pumped them up even more for their next game taking place the very next day.

On Wednesday April 5th, Dickinson played against Memorial High School and, contrary to popular belief after losing their first game, Dickinson reigned victorious! It was an eventful game, the players from each team put in their all, but Dickinson showed their true colors and won the game in two sets. Memorial’s team was obviously beginning to become agitated and less effective in their playing by the end of the first set, giving Dickinson a clear advantage from their discomfort. In all, their first win, which definitely will not be their last, is just the start of their season and the team is ready and excited for their rapidly approaching games.

interact club welcomes guest speaker brenda greene

by: gabriela romanelli

This past Monday, March 27th, High Tech’s Interact Club invited guest speaker Brenda Greene to share her experiences in community service as an adult working a 9 to 5 in addition to running two nonprofits. This event, in honor of women’s history, was meant to inspire anyone interested in attending to participate in acts of service throughout their lifetimes. One of the Interact members had worked with Brenda in one of her annual Blessing Bag projects and thought to reach out to her as she expressed similar values to what the club represents. She spoke for a little over an hour about how she began her work, how she juggles her family life, and the various paths one can take to establish themselves in the volunteer community. Brenda came prepared with many valuable tips that were perfectly catered to high school students interested in community service. She appealed to introverted students, explaining how she overcame her fear of public speaking. She had suggestions for students who had difficulty managing their time and provided resources for future projects the Interact Club plans on pursuing. Overall, the event was a success! We hope to have Brenda visit again sometime in the future.

high tech students present research on global food security

by: Esteban Marenco

On Friday, March 3, 2023, High Tech seniors Yasmeena Elmahdy, Saranya Ganesan, Olivia Moran, Catherine Gladbach, John Kubowicz, Angelina Minaya, Myra Poddar, and Sabella Riccio had the opportunity to attend the New Jersey Youth Institute's World Food Prize event, hosted by Rutgers University's School of Environmental and Biological Sciences. 

At the event, the students—who are all majoring in Environmental Science here at High Tech—presented their research papers on global food security to peers, professionals, and scholars. Each student selected a country and topic to research, ranging from water scarcity to policy and governance, in order to understand the diverse impacts on food security. They then developed solutions to achieve food security in light of these global food insecurity issues. Upon completion of their roundtable presentations, each student was awarded a certificate naming them Borlaug Scholars, an honor that commemorates Norman Borlaug, an American agronomist whose work helped to create sustainable agriculture and sustainable food supplies around the world. Moreover, select students who presented at the New Jersey Youth Institute will be invited to the Global Youth Institute in Des Moines, IA, where they will study a pressing global food issue with peers and present their work to global leaders in the field. Selections for this event will be made in the summer of 2023.

Dr. Witham, the Environmental Science instructor at HTHS who organized the event, highlighted the significance of this work, stating: "Food insecurity is a global problem and we need intelligent, driven students to interact with global leaders working to end hunger and poverty to improve food security around the world. I’m immensely proud of each student's research on global solutions."

This event provides a platform for high school students to learn about critical global issues and engage in hands-on-activities that encourage them to become effective change agents in their own communities. The dedication and hard work of these eight seniors serve as a beacon of hope and a reminder that the future is in good hands.

photo cred: @amerika.zamani on instagram

for more information, check out @

female business owner spotlight: jessica nisler of mojo coffee company

by: Gabriela Romanelli

In honor of Women’s History Month, the Laser is spotlighting a variety of female-owned businesses throughout Hudson County. Our first spotlight is Jessica Nisler, founder and owner of Mojo coffee shop with two locations in Hoboken. Jess grew up in Hoboken and was very passionate about coffee. Her parents had owned multiple restaurants, so she had experienced some of what went on behind the scenes of a business such as this one. When inspiration struck, she set about looking for the perfect space and conducting market research to get a better understanding of the coffee industry. Unfortunately, right when she was prepared to open the first Mojo, the pandemic hit. This was a difficult obstacle to overcome, but she persevered, saying “What I learned was that there was never going to be a 'perfect time' to open - but it's about overcoming the fear of getting started.  A huge part of being a business owner is constantly dealing with challenges, and what sets you apart is how you address those setbacks.” She found inspiration in many other female entrepreneurs, such as Sarah Blakely of Spanx, Whitney Wolfe Herd of Bumble, Ali Bonar of Oat Haus, and Stacy Madison of Stacy's Pita Chips. There is also a vibrant community of business owners throughout Hoboken that are always willing to support one another. She ended up making the decision to open several months later with a staff of just six people. As its success grew, Jess was able to open a second location. To conclude, some closing advice from Jessica Nissler: “You'll never have it all figured out - but the important part is to get started with an idea you believe in.  There will always be challenges and unknowns in your business, but that's part of the process -and how you address those challenges sets you apart. Do your research, become an expert in your industry, and hone in on the problem you are solving for your customers.“ Make sure to check out Mojo on 230 Willow Ave and 801 Bloomfield Street to show some support!

female business owner spotlight: julie jarrett of prime cycle + body

By: Gabriela Romanelli

Our next female spotlight is Julie Jarrett, the founder and owner of Prime Cycle + Body in Hoboken, New Jersey. She opened it because she saw a need for a small boutique fitness studio. While this was not the first time she had owned a business, it was a first for fitness. Julie had experienced difficulties finding a gym in Hoboken she loved and had been commuting to the city to take classes. This showed her that there was a hole in the market within her community, a perfect place for Prime Cycle to open. It took many years of market research for her to feel prepared to do any work that cost money, but eventually she was able to really get the ball rolling. Her biggest obstacle was finding an investor. It took many years of searching, but once she found someone, they worked for many months before signing the lease on the space. The day before signing, however, he backed out because he thought it was too risky. She was devastated that months of hard work were wasted. This upsetting turn of events inspired her to take matters into her own hands and work directly with a bank to apply for a small business loan. Having this level of independence was an important step in opening her business, she was able to fully rely on someone she knew she could trust: herself. The fruits of her labors finally payed off and Prime Cycle + Body was up and running! Her biggest advice for fellow women looking to pursue a similar career is to never take “no” for an answer. To close with a quote from Julie Jarrett herself, “Life will be filled with lots of roadblocks and obstacles. Lots of things won’t go your way, people will get in your way, fear can slow you down but keep going. If you have a true passion for what you want to do, you will always find a way.” Make sure to stop by any of the Prime Cycle locations in Hoboken to show some support for this member of the small business community! She will also be presenting at this year’s High Tech Career Fair if you are interested in hearing more of her story.

award winning women 

by: Grace Conlin

When a woman wins an award, it’s a win for women everywhere. Whether it’s at the Billboard awards or the Oscars, women come out on top. I decided to highlight three influential female winners that have made an impact on award shows and music charts across the industry. 

Michelle Yeoh won the award for best actress for her enthralling performance in Everything Everywhere All At Once. In winning this award, she became the first Asian woman to receive it. This is a truly inspirational moment in industry history for every woman. This event also creates representation for Asian women everywhere, especially those with dreams of becoming an actress, or dreams of being in show business. Michelle has been in many big films including Shang Chai, Avatar, and Crazy Rich Asians. Yeoh has nailed every role she’s been in and is finally being recognized for it in this year’s Oscars ceremony. 

Taylor Swift is undeniably one of the most influential female artists of our generation. Since the age of 10, Taylor has been blessing the ears of many with her songs. Taylor holds the record for most Billboard music award wins for a female artist. She has won a whopping 29 Billboard awards! Taylor not only sings, but also uses her platform to spread positivity, and takes a stand on political topics. During the midterm election of 2018 Taylor spoke out on her political views on Instagram, resulting in a spike of 65,000 Americans registering to vote. This shows just how much she has influenced not only our generation, but America. 

Lizzo has always been known for her bold and record-breaking songs. Her song “Truth Hurts” spent seven weeks at the top of the Billboard charts top 100, tying Iggy Azalea's "Fancy", for longest Hot 100 reign ever for a rap song by a female artist. Iggy Azalea held the Guinness World Record for this, and now Lizzo has tied the artist. Lizzo has been such an influential force in the music industry with her positive and motivating lyrics, including her new album, Special which reminds listeners that they’re special and deserve to be here. 

Michelle Yeoh winning her oscar. photo credit: NPR 

Taylor Swift, photo credit: The Tennessean 

Lizzo, photo credit: Glamour 

women in jazz 

by: Sofia Waldron 

With genres such as R&B and Hip-Hop, with their smooth rhythms and clever wordplay, being ever-so-popular in this day and age, the question of “where did this sound originate from?” is often overlooked unless you are well-versed within the world of music. The answer, very often, is jazz.

Jazz has not only had influence on music and the birth of different genres, but it has even spread to American culture, from fashion, to poetry, to the civil rights movement, and so much more. It’s nods of rhythmic accentuation found within African music and traces to harmonies in European music, has made jazz one of the most contributive musical genres of all time.

This women’s history month, I found it fitting to honor the women of jazz and even provide a few song recommendations for anyone looking to expand their playlist a bit. 

Billie Holiday

Legendary jazz singer from Philadelphia, PA, Billie was born on April 7th, 1915. Known for her unique vocal style and emotional delivery, she rose to fame in the 1930’s and 1940’s with hits such as “Lady sings the Blues” and “Solitude”.

Song Recommendations

Ella Fitzgerald 

Known as the “First Lady of Song”, Ella was born in Newport News, VA, on April 25th, 1917. Over the course of her career, she recorded over 200 albums and had accumulated 13 Grammys. Fitzgerald was known for her vocal range, scat singing, and improvisational ability. 

Song Recommendations

Ray Carter, Johnnie May Stansbury, Toby Butler, and Ernestine Tiny Davis. photo credit:

Sarah Vaughan

With songs such as “Misty”, “Lullaby of Birdland ” and “Send in the Clowns”, Sarah has made quite the mark on the jazz world. Born on March 27th, 1924 in Newark, NJ (Yay!), she was known for her phrasing and rich sound, and has become one of the most acclaimed jazz singers of all time with four Grammys. 

Song Recommendations

The legacy left behind by these women is one that has and will continue to inspire generations of musicians and fans. Happy Women’s History Month!

high tech students present research on global food security 

by: Esteban Marenco 

photo credit: food navigator 

On Friday March 3, High Tech seniors Yasmeena Elmahdy, Saranya Ganesan, Olivia Moran, Catherine Gladbach, John Kubowicz, Angelina Minaya, Myra Poddar, and Sabella Riccio had the opportunity to attend the New Jersey Youth Institute's World Food Prize event, hosted by Rutgers University's School of Environmental and Biological Sciences. 

At the event, the students who are all majoring in Environmental Science here at High Tech, presented their research papers on global food security to peers, professionals, and scholars. Each student selected a country and topic to research, ranging from water scarcity to policy and governance, in order to understand the diverse impacts on food security. They then developed solutions to achieve food security in light of these global food insecurity issues. Upon completion of their roundtable presentations, each student was awarded a certificate naming them Borlaug Scholars, an honor that commemorates Norman Borlaug, an American agronomist whose work helped to create sustainable agriculture and sustainable food supplies around the world. Moreover, select students who presented at the New Jersey Youth Institute will be invited to the Global Youth Institute in Des Moines, IA, where they will study a pressing global food issue with peers and present their work to global leaders in the field. Selections for this event will be made in the summer of 2023.

Dr. Witham, the Environmental Science instructor at HTHS who organized the event, highlighted the significance of this work, stating: "Food insecurity is a global problem and we need intelligent, driven students to interact with global leaders working to end hunger and poverty to improve food security around the world. I’m immensely proud of each student's research on global solutions."

This event provides a platform for high school students to learn about critical global issues and engage in hands-on-activities that encourage them to become effective change agents in their own communities. The dedication and hard work of these eight seniors serve as a beacon of hope and a reminder that the future is in good hands.

saint peter's prep marauders defeat the hudson catholic hawks in the hudson county boys championship final

by: jose calderon III

The semi-finals and the finals of the Hudson County Boys Tournament were played at High Tech High School from February 17—26, 2023. On Saturday, we crowned a new champion with the Saint Peter's Prep Marauders taking down the Hudson Catholic Hawks, 61-46, in a rematch from last year’s final. Saint Peters defeated Union City in a 62-32 blowout in the semifinals while Hudson Catholic defeated Bayonne in a 44-29 in their semifinal to reach the finals. 

It was a hyped final and the gymnasium was electric minutes prior to tip off. We expected a battle for the championship trophy and were given exactly that. The game started off fast, with scores from each side as both teams wasted zero time getting on the scoreboard. However, as the first quarter passed, both sides focused on defense. Both coaches made their defensive emphasis clear and it was apparent. The Hawks seemed strong in the 1st half, with a 19-18 lead going into halftime. Junior Alex Massung led the team and had an electric showing for the first half and everything was clicking on their side. On Prep’s side it looked pretty bleak, lots of deep threes being shot and not many going in. Their backs were on the wall going into the halftime break. They hadn’t faced much adversity in this tournament with a destructive path they were on to get to this year's final with 30-point victories in the quarterfinal (Hoboken) and semifinal with Union City. However, sure enough, Coach Mirabel made those second half adjustments and they took over in the third quarter. Freshman Mason Santiago flying on the court from coast to coast and making sure to get his Marauders back in this one. They outscored the Hawks 17-11 in the third quarter and the momentum totally shifted their way. 

To watch the Hudson County Championship Coverage from High Tech’s very own WHIT Podcasting, click this link: 

It almost felt like Prep had a home-field advantage because of the out-pouring support from their students section. They may not have cheerleaders but those kids sure do replace the void. They took that momentum into the fourth and it was over before it even started; they ended it with a 26-point fourth quarter. The team did a complete 180, because they looked completely different in the second half. Both sides had impressive showings and could possibly see each other again in the state championship. 

Sophomore Peyton Miller was the leading scorer for the Marauders with a 18 point and 6 rebound performance. As previously mentioned, Alex Massung led the Hawks with a fantastic 16-point performance. It came to a surprise to many that it wasn’t junior Tahaad Pettiford, who has committed to Auburn University. This was his first game back from a devastating knee injury that demanded surgery that sidelined him for the whole season. His status for this game was up in the air. It was a rough game for him as he got into foul trouble very early in the game and it affected his aggressiveness late in this one. Additionally, they were without star senior, and University of Virginia hopeful, Elijah Gertrude, who is still rehabbing from a torn ACL. Overall, it was a great showing for both sides but the Marauders struck back, taking this year's county championship after falling short last year to their rival Hudson Catholic Hawks. We are excited to see what next year brings, congratulations to the Saint Peter's Prep Marauders on their championship performance.

hths senior swims to championship for union city hs

by: sofia waldron

elizabeth vasquez with her winning trophy 

On January 29th,2023, the Union City High School girls swimming team won championships for the 7th time in 8 years.  The championship tournament pitted Hudson county high schools such as Memorial, Saint Peter's Prep, and North Bergen against each other. The swimming championship consists of several “heats,” which are a number line from slowest to fastest. The events that the swim team have is 200 Medley Relay, 200 Free Relay, 400 Free relay (which is four swimmers that swim quarter of those laps to swim) and the individual events are 50 free, 100 free, 200 free, 100 back, 100 fly, 500 free, 200 IM, and 100 breast. 

Elizabeth Vasquez, an HTHS senior who is on the Union City girls team says, “Championships are a big deal for each certain team as we try to work together, get first to hit high points, encourage, and try to make it to states (which is Tuesday, coming up). Championships were fun as we all bonded as a team and encouraged one another. We all try to give our very best when we dive off the diving boards. We all cheer and join together. It is a good way to create friendship and learn team bonding. It is very nerve racking going against different swimmers from different towns/schools.”

When asked how she felt winning these championships, despite having two dislocated fingers and not being able to fully recover before championships, she stressed that she is all about giving 100% and doing what’s best for the team, and experiencing it with a big family full of love and support to push each other forward, made that moment very memorable and happy. 

She added, “It hurt while I pulled water from swimming, but I still did my best. I led off the 200 medley relay (50 backstroke) and we had our girls win 1st in that event. I also swam the 100 back going against Giselle Michaels (from McNair) who goes a 1:00.00. When we swam head to head, it made the crowd go wild. By .3 milliseconds I got second in the 100 back. 1:00.8.during the swim. It hurt a lot as I was pulling a lot of water and moving fast with my arms, but at the moment I wasn’t even thinking about it. I just wanted to go fast and win for the team, and  hearing the crowd scream and cheer, and finishing at the wall, seeing my teammates cheering, meant a lot.”

Elizabeth looked back on her experience of high school swimming, from freshman, sophomore, and senior year, and described it as, in her words, “amazing”. 

Overall championships is a fun competition for every team. It brings different teams to connect, be friends, have fun, and just have a good time at the end of the day.

high tech’s multicultural club hosts black history month showcase

by: cydney rampersad

To conclude Black History Month, High Tech’s Multicultural Club hosted a Black History Showcase in the Resource Room during lunch periods. The event was planned and organized by Multicultural Club President, Cydney Rampersad, under the direction of Dr. Srivastava. It was a success! Students had the opportunity to immerse themselves in African American culture through music, dance, and arts & crafts. 

As soon as you entered, there were beautiful decorations and infographics spread all throughout the room. There were four different booths for students to explore: Coloring, Word search/Word scramble, Black History Trivia, and a raffle booth. Students could pay $1 to enter a raffle with the prize of a $25 Visa Gift Card. Ms. Velasquez also brought her class to experience the fun and learn about Black Culture. Lastly, we allowed students to unleash their competitive side by concluding the event with musical chair battles. The winner earned a free raffle ticket. Congratulations to Senior Gianna Scalcione who won the raffle and $25 Gift card! Overall, High Tech had an amazing time commemorating Black History Month. A big thank you to everyone who came and supported the Multicultural Club! 

interact club has won an international award!

By: Gabriela Romanelli

High Tech High School’s very own Interact Club has won a global award and received international recognition for their work through Rotary, officially taking home the title of “Best Photo of the Interact Awards 2022  Photo Submission Contest”. The contest theme was how is your club's membership champions of diversity, equity, and inclusion across your projects, club, and community. Three club activities were submitted and one was chosen as the best photo to represent diversity, equity, and inclusion. The Interact Club collaborated with our very own Spanish Club, advised by Mrs. Guzman, by taking photos of their Hispanic Heritage Celebration in October 2022. Special thanks to our chair members, sophomores Kenyerlin Ng and Meaghan Steinel Dubuoe, who worked hard to write and submit to the contest. 

Rotary and Interact Clubs work closely together to bridge cultures and connect continents, allowing dedicated individuals from all around the world to work together in preserving and assisting communities in need. High Tech’s Interact Club, which is run by Mr. Craig Morrison, has organized and collaborated on a variety of events and fundraisers that benefit both our school community and our Hudson County community as a whole. They’re always looking for new members! Having both virtual and in-person meetings allows students of varying availabilities to participate in this club. Please consider joining the effort in bettering our community.

photo credit: CNN

puppy bowl 2023

By: Gabriela Romanelli

This year’s annual puppy bowl, aired on Animal Planet several hours before the human alternative, was a raging success.  For the 19th year in a row, these puppies traveled far and wide to compete in this display of pure animal talent. Puppies compete to see which team is able to bring the most toys into the end zone within a time limit. Team Fluff continues their winning streak for the second year in a row, beating Team Ruff 87-83. This year was the first time in the history of this event that went into overtime. A Rottweiler, Siberian Husky, and Neapolitan Mastiff mix, that goes by the name of Vivianne, scored the winning touchdown. Furry-anna, a mystical young cat that has been in showbusiness for years, starred in the half-time show, descending gracefully on an artfully constructed UFO. However ridiculous, this event provides a wonderful platform to raise awareness for these abandoned animals. Over one hundred rescue dogs competed in this event in an effort to find them homes all throughout the country. According to Animal Plant, every animal that has competed since 2004 has been adopted.

Hans Friedrichs, a director with much expertise within the world of theater both on stage and behind the scenes was able to sit down with us for a few moments to discuss the journey of  his career and give us a first-person perspective of what it means to be a director. Raised in Ann Arbor Michigan, Hans was first introduced to theater through his mother who took him to see ballets, concerts, musicals, and much more. Raised with two sisters, he would also often have the opportunity to engage in imaginative play and create stories, and plot lines with their barbie dolls. Both of these combined, led him to begin to have an avid interest in theater, which was explored further growing up. 

As a teen, he did a costume internship at University of Michigan, which allowed him to meet many professionals in different aspects of theater, where he began to see the mechanics of a show. He then decided to attend Ryerson Theatre School During his time at Ryerson, he gained loads of experience directing and acting, and Canadian Theater, and graduated with a BFA in Acting and Directing.He then decided to move out east with his fellow actors to be in the heart and soul of it all, New York 

As far as what he did to get to where he is now, he did anything and everything. When asked about what made him prefer directing over acting, he felt that in his words “Directing was a way to play all the parts.” Being an actor himself has given him the unique opportunity to be in the shoes of the people he works with, and he himself has had a lot of experiences with directors he didn’t particularly like, making it his mission to be the director he wanted to have and to do justice to the playwright and play. He does this by making sure the actors understand the text and connect to the characters, and convey this in a way that gets both the audience and actors to feel and to react, instead of just simply watching a show. 

With over 20 years in the industry, Hans has a long list of shows under his belt,  recognized with nominations and recipients of several awards within theater organizations. In 2019,  he directed 6 shows that year, which although very rewarding left him physically and mentally exhausted. The arrival of the pandemic left him in a difficult position as he wasn’t quite sure what to do with all of live shows being put on hold. He decided to dabble in acting once again and produce a one man show because of the restrictions in theater at the time. The pandemic gave him time to recover and get back out into the world, filled to the brim with ideas he is ready to execute.

We thank Hans so much for his time and for  being such a valuable and insightful person, and wish him the best as we hope to see him again.

a moment with hans friedrichs 

By: Sofia Waldron 

hans freidrichs, sofia waldron, and derlin rivera during the interview 

On Wednesday, December 21st, High Tech students and staff took part in Wellness Day. Wellness Day is a day dedicated to supporting the well-being of students through activities such as bracelet-making; information sessions about self-love; games like dodge ball, and so much more. As we made our way around the school, we interviewed a few students about their wellness day. We first started out in the C- Wing, and met with Hisham Bamba, a senior, who is a Peer Leader and decided to help host bingo, an activity he loves and enjoys very much with his friends. Across the hall, students were learning watercolor painting, including junior Otto Dierig. Otto said watercolor painting helped him release some stress. Totally agree! We decided to take a look in the theater, where Mr. Buscio and Mr. Zisa were holding open mic. since Zisa and Buscio love music, it was a fun opportunity for them go showcase talent, whether its comedy, or music, for all academies. We talked to some of the performers at the open mic, such as Mickey Carpio who is a senior. “I hosted the open mic as part of my internship. We help do everything like the December showcase, basically every performing arts showcase, any concert. It was pretty weird performing at the open mic, I haven’t done that since June.” It must feel great to be back. 

We then decided to go up to the second floor and take a look at the collage room hosted by Sarah Dziekan (senior) and Emma Fernandes-Santinho (senior) . Both of them are artists and it’s something they are passionate about, and decided to do activities they wished were available the last wellness day. The open studio was a perfect environment for collage making! As the day came to a close, we caught up with Grace Conlin, senior class president, and asked her about her thoughts so far.  “I think this wellness day is just as good as the last, maybe even better… and it’s Christmas themed so even more fun! I chose to host the self-love activity because I love myself and I think everyone should. I found a few inspirations on pinterest and I’ve done this activity … we also put on some Taylor Swift to make everyone feel better.” Overall, this was a great Wellness Day, and a big thank you to all of the peer leaders, teachers, and staff for helping out! 

wellness day at high tech

By: Sofia Waldron and Gracie McKenna 

Senior Jaiden Cortes performing at open mic. 

Students hard at work on their art. 

Here is how the day went in the words of HTHS stuents:

Jason Gomez (aka origami boy) : “I chose origami because the flow of the lines along the paper’s remind me of the troubles throughout the world and how they can crease in their perplexuality” (he literally made this word up it does not exist in the dictionary.)

Emmanuel Ortiz (freshman) : “I picked an escape room because it sounded fun.”

Hisham Bamba (senior) : “So, I wanted to do bingo with some of my friends, so I just thought it would be easier for me to host but I love bingo! it’s so much fun!”

Otto Dierig (junior) : “I was feeling like I really needed to just release some stress and do some painting. I was thinking about Christmas trees so I decided, why not do some watercolor?”

Jessica Malek (senior) : “I chose to host watercoloring because I love to have fun and paint on my own and it was nice to help out here.”

Sarah Dziekan (senior) and Emma Fernandes-Santinho (senior) : *Sarah* “We decided to host collage and drawing because we’re both artists and its something we know a lot about and we’re passionate about, so I guess we thought showing other people how to do it would be fun and beneficial.” *Emma* “Yeah, we also did this last wellness day and I think the way we kind of came up with the ideas like stuff we would want to do if we were the participants of wellness day and I really love the idea of us working in an open studio.”

Darius Rush (senior) : “I chose to participate in this wellness day activity because they’re playing Super Smash Bros and Super Smash Bros is fire, period!”

Jaden Bradley (senior) : “I decided to host the escape room because I knew we could make it fun. We decided to do a virtual escape room instead of a physical one because of time and cost, but its just as fun for the participants.”

Alex Pereyra (junior) : “I chose to host teaching Salsa because I actually have years of experience in ballroom dancing in the city and I teach in Hoboken, so I just thought it would be a fun thing to do.”

esports team on a winning streak!

By: Grace Conlin

 Dom DiNardo and Matteo Amy.

Our very own High Tech E-sports team, led by Mr. Krinsky, has been winning more than we can keep track of. First, students Dom DiNardo and Matteo Amy competed in a Smash bros competition back in November. They took home the win! (As seen in the photo on the left). Then a team of our best gamers consisting of Noah Loaces, Stephany Marin, William David, Christian Minan, Gabriel Bhanji, Siegfried Jalink, and Efran Haddis did their very greatest in a Valorant competition. They also got the winning title. Believe it or not, it keeps getting better. In their Winter finals for 2022 Lucas Velasquez, Eliel Gonzalez, and Dominic DiNardo showed off their best skills and won first place in the Garden State eSports championship, quite the title to attach to our school! They even won against Union City. Stay tuned for more wins to come! 

The whole team with Mr. Krinsky. 

school-wide wifi shutdown

By: Gabriela Romanelli

As of Tuesday, December 6th, High Tech High School’s server and wifi went down. The cutting-edge technology that this school is known for could not be used with both students and teachers unable to log on to the wifi. Attendance had to be submitted manually, ID’s were no longer scanned, and grades could not be updated. For the first several days, there were school-wide half-days to allow IT extra time to fix the issue (to no avail). Unfortunately, the problem was much bigger than this and required nearly a month of adjustments.

Our technology-drive generation struggled with withdrawal. A hotspot hierarchy was established, and we quickly learned who had which cellular plan (and how to coerce your friends into letting you use their beloved phone). As the days passed and the ever fickle wifi slowly deemed certain students worthy, many teachers were still at a loss. They had to completely reinvent their pre-established curriculum. With so many resources exclusively online, many teachers were entirely unable to continue their classes. So how might they battle this war against wifi?

Sarah Garcia, one of our AP English Language and English 1 teachers, was lucky enough to have some relatively new textbooks in the back of the classroom. She began to adjust her lesson plans, printing pages at home and making copies in school. As students walked into their classroom, they gaped at the textbooks placed upon their desks. They poked and prodded, eventually finding respect for these analog wonders. Mrs. Garcia observed a calmness settle over her class. Students knew that grades could no longer be updated, there was a brief respite from the ever-present stress of striving for good marks. Ms. Garcia noticed that her students were more relaxed and willing to participate, they transitioned to “going through the motions for the sake of learning rather than for the outcome of their grades”. 

This did not translate as easily in to our CTE classes. The majority of High Tech’s CTE classes require both desktops that can run high-power programs and a secure wifi connection. The 3D Animation and Design class was unable to continue working on previously established projects, they could not run Maya on their Chromebooks, even if they were able to share a hotspot from their phone. The Architecture majors returned to hand-drafting techniques, rather than learning programs such as Rhino and Photoshop that are needed to properly render their designs. The Computer Science majors even had to write code on paper! 

Naturally, rumors circulated from day one. Was it a hacker? Was a student playing a practical joke? Is High Tech simply…not high tech? We still do not know. Over a month later, students and staff have yet to be presented with an explanation beyond the servers went down. 

What we do know, however, is that we were able to overcome adversity and come together as a school.  A sense of camaraderie permeated members of the High Tech community. Teachers bonded and communicated with each other, figuring out which printers worked when and which rooms had extra textbooks. Some teachers, including Ms. Garcia, would have liked more communication from administration.

In the end, students got off their phones and spent time with one another, but they worried about their education during yet another disruption to learning not long after their experiences from the Covid-19 pandemic. It remains to be seen whether a slower pace of learning will help or hinder students' learning, but the wi-fi outage clearly created a unique place of bonding amongst students and staff alike. 

a welcome face: mr. zisa is back!

By Sofia Waldron

This school year, there were a lot of changes in the performing arts department, but with these changes we also welcomed back a familiar face, Musical Theater teacher, Mr. John Zisa. In my interview with Zisa, I learned that, in some ways, he feels as though he never left. But, with a new classroom and students, it’s enough to make him feel like there’s a fresh start as he is getting to know his students, their strengths and interests, and figuring out how he can “help them to grow and improve upon what they already bring to class naturally.”

During his time away from High Tech, he focused on directing professionally, and directed for several theaters around the NYC area, and was able to assistant direct a broadway show. In his words,”Focusing on directing professionally before coming back to HT was helpful because I really got to learn a lot by working alongside people in the industry, and I can bring a lot of what I learned back into the classroom.” 

Zisa has long had a foot in both worlds of teaching and performing, which has only seemed to benefit him. “The benefit of having been a performer and teaching is that I have first-hand experience and advice about the industry that I’m teaching.” The first show lined up for the musical theater program is an alumni show in November, Homecoming, where current and former musical theater students will perform a series of numbers, while also celebrating HTHS alumni who have worked professionally on stage and behind the scenes all over the country and beyond. “I decided on an alumni show this November because it does feel like a great time to reflect on the program’s past, while also looking ahead to the future of the musical theater department.” 

With this show already lined up, it begs the big question of what will the spring musical be? Zisa explained that he is still getting to know everyone, and would like to pick a show that will help the students shine the most and bring out the best in everyone. Although Zisa is very busy with the musical theater program, he is still keen on finding ways to direct theater outside of the classroom, and he plans to get a dog one day. For right now, he is just figuring out how to balance it all. My final question to Mr. Zisa was if he had anything else he would like the community to know about him, and he wants you to know that he loves pizza more than life. Same. Thank you, Zisa!

catching up with mr. gongora

By Luis Varon

Many students know Mr. Gongora as their former math teacher, but recently he was moved to a new position which most of us student didn’t know about. Currently, Mr. Gongora works with other staff members in the Office of Curriculum and Instruction. Mr. Gongora is in charge of building and changing the school curriculum to ensure that all students in the district, including High Tech, County Prep, and Explore Middle School, meet the educational standards set by the state of New Jersey. 

Another of his responsibilities is how this new curriculum will be taught in classrooms across the district. This includes working with teachers to ensure they have everything they need to teach the curriculum, whether it be supplies or needing help with using technology in their teaching. The Office of Curriculum and Instruction is also responsible for making sure that state testing in the district goes smoothly and that students perform well. 

Most of you might not know that all state testing does indirectly affect you, not on a grading scale but in other ways. If most students perform way less than expected on state testing, then the budget for the school might be lowered, as the state provides the school with a yearly budget. Still, if it sees that the students are not performing well with the current curriculum, then the budget is lowered because the money is clearly not being spent well. 

So, the next time you think about not doing your best on standardized tests, think about all you hold dear in this school, whether it be the food or anything, and know that you have the power to make it better or worse. And you also make Mr. Gongora’s job harder for him. In fact, he has a few choice words for those of you reading, “Any time that you are in a room taking a state test, you might as well do your best, because you never know who is looking at the data. And why not? And because, you should RISE to the challenge.”

HTHS Freshmen Todd Green (left) and Hudson Pascual (right)

freshman check-in with esteban marenco

By: Esteban Marenco

With a new school year comes new freshmen, and after two months of being in school it's time to get their hot takes on High Tech.

To get the best opinions on how the 2022-23 freshman year is going, we spoke to Hudson Pascual and Todd Green who gave some pretty positive feedback. 

Hudson is a DFab major and Todd is a Media and Visual Arts major but if you saw them in the hallway you might have trouble guessing that they are separate majors just because of how close they are. This is because, unlike previous years, this freshman class is starting off their High Tech experience with most, if not all, of their general education classes (like English, history, math, and science) intertwined among all of the majors. This is a big change from the days when students took their core academic classes with teachers in their wing of the school. 

The difference was seen when we asked them what they like the most about coming to High Tech: Todd talked about how he really enjoys meeting and seeing all of his different friends, while Hudson said that he really enjoys and appreciates all of his teachers throughout the building. This especially caught our attention because, as mentioned earlier, previously students were separated by major and so were teachers. But now, students have the chance to get exposure from different kinds of teachers from all across the building, giving them a more open view of high tech staff. 

After discovering their favorite thing about High Tech it was only natural we find out their least favorite thing. As any freshman would agree, they started listing their hardest classes and complained about the work they were being assigned. So, these newbies are still making adjustments but they are enjoying their experience.

Fun Fact: This year's freshman class experienced the initial Covid-19 lockdown in 6th grade!

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