Friday, December 15, 2017

Congratulations to our December Students of the Month!

Lily Orlando, nominated by Mrs. Bennett

Chloe McDonald, nominated by Mr. Hennelly

Kate Suchecki, nominated by Mrs. Liebold and Ms. McHugh

Will Manzi, nominated by Mrs. Penchansky

Abby Harris, nominated by Mrs. Olson

Jillian Van Pelt, Nominated byMr. Brown and Mr. Wilkins

Jordan Sweenie, Nominated by Mr. Brown

Riley Patten, Nominated by Ms. Penchansky

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Important Update: Vaping And Its Dangers

With the rise in popularity of e-cigarettes and vaporizers, along with the prevalence of vape shops popping up on seemingly every corner, we wanted to share some critical information. In the past two weeks we have noticed a tremendous increase in reports of "vape use".  The purpose of this correspondence is to inform and educate, solicit help, provide resources, and outline school consequences for students who are caught vaping, or found in possession of vape products on school grounds or a school-related function.  In communicating with several colleagues throughout the state, I can tell you that this is not isolated to our school or geographic area.  With permission I have incorporated some of the information shared to parents in other districts in this entry.

School Consequences
We have witnessed an uptick in activity at GDRHS.  This is not a matter we are taking lightly. Going forward, in accordance with our handbook, students in possession of drugs or drug paraphernalia (including vapes) will be suspended from school, no exceptions. Further, this is a violation of the MIAA chemical health rules and will result in loss of eligibility for a portion of the season. 

Vape Products 
Vaping is the act of inhaling a vapor produced by an electronic vaporizer or e-cigarette. Pictured above are but a few examples of vapes.  The vapor can contain nicotine along with substances far worse. The liquids that are vaporized come in many different flavors; some emitting a fruit like odor, and students are led to believe vape juice is not harmful.  

Eerily similar to cigarette advertising generations ago, vapes are often marketed as innocuous and/or a healthier alternative to smoking. Not surprisingly, adolescents are a target audience.  Vapes can be used quickly and often without detection since little residual odor results from vaping, and they are usually small and easily disguised.

Vape juice is not regulated by the FDA, and therefore we often don’t know what is in the juice, nor do we know the long-term effects of inhaling these chemicals, particularly on the developing lungs and brains of teenagers.

Vaporizers/e-cigarettes (“vape pens”) come in all different shapes. Some common styles we see look like a thick pen, a stylus for an iPad, a flash drive, or a small flask with a round chimney coming off the top.  The devices are tiny and can easily be hidden on a person or blend in with standard backpack items.  Like cigarettes, stores cannot sell vaping items to people under the age of 18.   However, students report buying the devices online or from older siblings or friends. 
Vape Device:  We have taken 6 of these devices from GD students in the last week alone.  This particular product does not make any "vape juice" without nicotine.

Nicotine, Diacetyl, Marijuana & Other Vape Products
There is a considerable concern for a product called diacetyl that can found in vape products.  According to the American Lung Association Website,  "over a decade ago, workers in a microwave popcorn factory were sickened by breathing in diacetyl—the buttery-flavored chemical in foods like popcorn, caramel and dairy products. While this flavoring may be tasty, it was linked to deaths and hundreds of cases of bronchiolitis obliterans, a serious and irreversible lung disease. As a result, the major popcorn manufacturers removed diacetyl from their products, but some people are still being exposed to diacetyl - not through food flavorings as a worksite hazard, but through e-cigarette vapor."

Nicotine and marijuana can be vaped with little fear of detection unless caught in the act. According to a school nurse who researched other drugs that can be vaped.  The results are horrifying. One site lists the following drugs:

Bath salts
Liquid THC 
Hash oil
Synthetic marijuana (spice or K2)
Psychedelics (DMT)

A contact at a college police department informed us that any drug dissolvable in glycerin can be vaped. Drugs that can be dissolved in glycerin include; ecstasy, molly (both MDA and MDMA), meth, and other amphetamines, heroin, codeine, Percocet, Ritalin, Xanax, acid, DMT, mushrooms, or even just muscle relaxers or over-the-counter medications.  

Our goal is to partner with parents to help support our students in making positive and healthy decisions.  We encourage you to have a conversation with your child about this topic. 

Below I have included some resources and pictures for your review.  Please scroll to the bottom of the page to read some common misconceptions associated with vaping and e-cigarettes provided by the American Lung Association.  For more information, please visit their website.  

American Lung Association Information

MYTH: E-cigarettes can help smokers quit.

FACT: The FDA hasn't found any e-cigarette to be safe and effective in helping smokers quit.

Instead of quitting, many e-cigarette users are continuing to use e-cigarettes while still using conventional cigarettes. In 2015, 59 percent of the people who recently used e-cigarettes also currently smoked conventional cigarettes. The U.S. Surgeon General has found that even smoking a few cigarettes a day is dangerous to your health.
When smokers are ready to quit, they should talk with their doctors about using one of the seven FDA-approved medications proven to be safe and effective in helping smokers quit. They can also contact the American Lung Association to find a program that is right for them.

MYTH: E-cigarettes aren't marketed to kids.

FACT: E-cigarette use among middle and high school students more than tripled from 2013 to 2015.

With aggressive industry tactics such as cartoon characters and candy flavors including bubble gum, fruit loops, chocolate and strawberry, it's no surprise studies show a dramatic increase in kids using e-cigarettes. For the first time ever, teens are smoking e-cigarettes more than traditional cigarettes.

MYTH: There's no secondhand emissions from e-cigarettes.

FACT: E-cigarettes expose others to secondhand emissions.

The aerosol (vapor) emitted by e-cigarettes and exhaled by users contains carcinogens, such as formaldehyde, according to early studies. Little is known about these emissions or the potential harm they can cause.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

The week in Pictures

November Students of the Month

Meaghan Sweenie, Grade 11, Nominated by Mrs. Butler

Meira Thompkins, Grade 12, Nominated by Mr. O'Connor

Dmitri Foster, Grade 11, Nominated by Mrs. McCracken

Lauren Hill, Grade 10, Nominated by Ms. McHugh

Matt Munroe, Grade 12, Nominated by Ms. McHugh

Julia Joyce, Grade 12, nominated by Mrs. Olson

Katy Madden, Grade 11, Nominated by Mr. Palumbo

Finn Shiely, Grade 9, Nominated by Ms. McHugh

Thanks to Mrs. Nancy Ohringer for the following photos from Tuesday's Volleyball Tournament win over Wellesley.  Volleyball plays again tonight at home vs. Westford Academy in the Semi-Finals.

Prior to the Volleyball game, Rich Riley of the MIAA personally came to GD to present an award to our Girls Soccer Team.  The girls were recognized for their commitment to service during the season.

This morning we were honored to host a number of local veterans as well as some of the service reps who visit GD regularly.  It was a tremendous program this morning.  Thanks to Carolyn Abraham for the photos.

Best of Luck to the Volleyball team tonight as well as our Football team who plays at Wachusett tomorrow and our Cross Country Runners who will be participating in the Central Mass. Championships in Gardner on Saturday.

Friday, October 27, 2017

Photos of the Week

The week that was at GD. 

Here is just a glimpse of all that goes on during the course of a week at our school.

Friday Night Open Mic:

12 Angry Jurors premiers next weekend.

The Set

The Cast

The Details

Pink Week!

Pink week class picture winner!

Our Math Department....well, most of it.

Last Night our Cheerleaders represented at AMP 103FM.

... and if you heard some loud noises in the area of 703 Chicopee Row in Groton today, that was our very own Mr. Murphy and his band of historical re-enactors firing off a revolutionary era cannon for our students.

Have a wonderful weekend.


Friday, October 20, 2017

Busy Night at GD

Busy night tonight at GD.  Please consider coming by to support some of our students.

Girls Field Hockey kicks off the events at 4pm this afternoon as they face off against Marlboro.

Later this evening we are hosting an Open Mic Night to benefit the music department and the Football team will face Fitchburg under the lights.

Good Luck to all of our athletes and artists.

Also....We are still running our SAFE stuffed animal drive.  For more information visit the link below.

I have received a lot of calls about 2018-2019 travel opportunities.  please visit the information slideshow link below for more information.

Friday, October 6, 2017

Student Council Retreat

Last week our Student Council and their Advisors attended a retreat in Acton.  Please see the summary of the event below written by Kirsten Sjoberg.

This past Monday, September 25, the Student Council went on a trip to begin to know each other and become better leaders. They worked with Adventure In Adventure Out at NARA Park in Acton to grow the skill set need for their positions, as well as brainstorming for the upcoming year.
One the bus ride to the park, the group split into five groups by position (President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer, and Student Representative). They discussed with the newcomers what the responsibilities of the position where, gave advice on how to do the best job, and shared our goals for the year. Each group then shared their favorite pieces of advice with the whole council.
Once at the park, we immediately started with ice breaking games, like Evolution, a form of rock-paper-scissors, and Human Bingo, a questionnaire style game. We then split into three random groups. Each group went to a different area of the park to complete further activities.
All of the groups did one more team bonding game, and then started an exercise on effective communication. After forming teams, one person from each was blindfolded and directed around vocally by the other two. After we had a discussion on communication. This lead into a discussion about balance, one of the core values outlined this year.
After this, all the groups joined together for lunch. In between bites, the class governments discussed among themselves their goals and plans for the year. After pizza, they had one last activity to promote teamwork. The activity involved throwing balls into various bins in an attempt to get the maximum number in. Initially, the eight teams competed with each other, standing in front each other's bins, and stealing balls. However, they soon realized that working together was the best way to accomplish the goal they all shared. After this, the student council thanked Adventure In Adventure Out, cleaned up, and quickly headed for the bus.
On the bus returning, we began to plan the upcoming fundraiser for breast cancer awareness by breaking into teams to handle different parts of the week.
Throughout the whole day, not a moment was wasted standing around. Beginning at 7:40am, ending when we got back to school property, the Student Council was planning, talking, sharing, laughing, and overall, becoming better class leaders.

The Student Council as a whole would like to say thank you very much for all the grants from GDEF and Groton’s Trust Funds’ Lecture Funds. This would not have been possible without them. Thank you.
Congratulations to our October Students of the Month!

Olivia Ash; Grade 11.  Nominated by Mr. Brown

Mitchell Hardy; Grade 12.  Nominated by Sra. Liebold and Mrs. Lanza

Carolyn Hill; Grade 12.  Nominated by Ms. McHugh

Omran Khan; Grade 11.  Nominated by Mrs. Reynolds

Thomas Guichard; Grade 12.  Nominated by Mrs. DeBay

Alexis D'Agostino; Grade 12.  Nominated by Sra. Liebold

Shamus Gelinas; Grade 12.  Nominated by Mr. Brown

Kaylyn Sampson