Eight times each year, the members of Kelly Hamburger and Jacob Arbor’s newspaper club at Beacon High School publish Breaking Beacon, the first student-run publication at the school in more than 30 years. Here, we share excerpts from the November, December and January / February issues.
Editors: Rubio Castagna-Torres, Lani Lopez, Rachel Thorne, Roque Vianna
Contributors: Madison Abrahamson, Nadeen Ahmed, Kiera D’Ippolito, Damani Deloatch, Marisah George, Cadence Heeter, Evan Lombardo, Ela Lyons, Annabelle Notarthomas, Mikaela Sanchez, Kayla Selander, Jonathan Trentacosta
By Annabelle Notarthomas
Mr. Hammond has been a foreign language teacher at Beacon High School for 13 years, teaching Spanish I and II. Interestingly, he attended BHS himself, graduating in 1988. “Mr. Hammond is the definition of a kind and loving man, not only was I lucky enough to be taught by him but he also is my coach that helped me grow as one of his athletes and as a person,” shares Noah Spiak, a sophomore. “He’s so nice and understanding and he can be really funny,” says another sophomore, Anajah Lamb.
So what makes Mr. Hammond’s class so unique? To start the year off, his students’ only assignment is to play board games. He claims that this first week is crucial for student-teacher bonding. “A class should be like a family and community,” he said. Throughout the year, he takes a unique approach, setting aside days for what he calls Real Talks, completely curriculum-free class periods where students are encouraged to have a group discussion about out of school topics within their community.
Each classroom has its own set of rules and regulations, keeping the conversation respectful and comfortable. Students ask questions and their peers answer. It is a truly intimate and bonding experience for all those involved.
“The most important thing we can teach a student is how to be a functioning member of a community,” Mr. Hammond shares.
Ms. Marinaccio has worked at BHS for 15 years, teaching human anatomy, marine biology and lab skills. She makes science fun, assigning many hands-on activities, such as aquatic animal dissections in marine biology. “She is fun, caring and makes learning hard topics easy the way she breaks down every detail and her style of teaching is very effective,” says student Kyla Richardson.
Ms. Marinaccio brings good vibes and laughs to the learning environment, describing herself as a very funny person (or so she likes to think, she adds). Outside of school, Ms. Marinaccio continues to spread her positivity caring for her beloved dog, Annalise.
Mr. Kotchie has worked at BHS for 19 years, currently teaching Global I, Global II and Psychology. He knew he wanted to be a teacher as early as 7 years old, revealing that he would play “school” when he got home and act as a teacher.
Showing parody informational songs or tacky videos is a go-to in his teaching. Possibly the most memorable and unique activity is his Julius Caesar play. In Mr. Kotchie’s Global I class, each period performs a play of Julius Caesar’s assassination in front of their class. “I have multiple students wanting to be Caesar for the epic death scene,” Mr. Kotchie observed through the years; rightfully so because, who wouldn’t want to be Caesar?
As for his life outside of school, Mr. Kotchie enjoys attending concerts, comedy and Broadway shows, and traveling with his family. He is a devoted Metallica and Yankees fan. He expresses his admiration for Metallica, displaying a book about the band in his classroom.
Opinion: End Student Hunger with PB&J
By Nadeen Ahmed
Some students may have a hard time choosing their lunch because they do not find any of the options offered appealing to them. Every day students have to choose between getting a sandwich, hot lunch, a salad, a panini/pizza (depending on which they’re offering that day) or no lunch at all.
It is just about time to introduce a sixth option: peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, which are offered at Beacon elementary schools and — if my memory serves me right — were a very popular choice.
Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are something that most students can enjoy. Not only are they delicious, but they would also please our picky-eaters, vegetarians, halal and kosher eaters. For the good of our school and students, it is time to introduce delicious PB&J sandwiches as one of our school lunch options.
The Chance is Closing, But Not Permanently?
By Rachel Thorne
After months of rumors, The Chance Theater officially announced its intention to close its doors in November 2023, putting an end to nearly 54 years of performances in this iconic Poughkeepsie hall — but only temporarily.
Built in 1912, The Chance opened as a space for vaudeville performances and movie screenings in 1926, then, after serving decades as a storage facility, was revived in the 1970s when it switched to a hard-core space for metal and rock. Such legends as David Bowie, Bob Dylan, The Rolling Stones, Wilco, Ozzy Osborne and Guns & Roses performed here in the 1970s and ’80s before going on to stadium shows, and many major community events have been housed in these walls in recent years including the 1st Annual Rock Against Child Abuse Concert.
Sadly, the owner of The Chance since 1997, Frank Pallet, passed away in 2021, and the COVID-19 crisis hit the business hard, which caused the theater to fall into financial difficulties.
After spending over a year on the market, The Chance was sold to Chai Developers, a company primarily based in Poughkeepsie, in August. But statements from the owners suggest that this closing is merely temporary and that The Chance will be up and running once again after a pause for renovations.
This new phase for The Chance will be different, as Chai Developers plan to turn the theater into a more accessible entertainment space, shifting away from exclusive rock and metal into a greater variety of performances for a greater variety of audiences.
Did You Know…
By Nadeen Ahmed
■ Ms. Marinaccio lies about her height! She says she is 5-foot-7 but she is actually 5-foot-6.
■ In 2006, Ms. Hamburger made the final table for a World Poker Tour Tournament.
■ Mr. Newman used to work for The Wall Street Journal.
■ Ms. Elsasser is in the Beach High School Athletic Hall of Fame and has dual citizenship with the U.S. and the U.K.
■ Ms. Luc has nine siblings, a motorcycle license and was trained in ballroom dancing. She even did the jitterbug at Ms. Elsasser’s, Ms. Alvarez’s, and Ms. Mullin’s weddings.
Game of the Year 2023
By Evan Lombardo
The annual Game Awards is both a celebration of the gaming medium and a glorified commercial for upcoming releases. The year 2023 was chock-full of big-name releases, making the 6 nominees for Game of the Year (GOTY) the most competitive in some time.
While I’d only played two of the nominees: The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom (TOTK) and Super Mario Wonder, my prediction was for the latter title taking home the trophy. While I absolutely loved my experience with TOTK, I was rooting against it because it is a sequel to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, which won GOTY in 2017, and reuses the same map and many elements from the original. Picking it for GOTY would feel anticlimactic and, in a way, like cheating.
Super Mario Wonder would feel like a bigger win for Nintendo and also the 2D platformer genre. However, my prediction is that Marvel’s Spiderman 2 will secure the victory. Like TOTK, it is also a sequel to a previous nominee, Marvel’s Spiderman, which was released in 2018 and lost the GOTY race.
It became clear early on that Baldur’s Gate 3 was coming out swinging. I was happy to see it didn’t run away with each award like The Last of Us, Part 2 did in 2020. TOTK won best action-adventure game, Sea of Stars won best independent game (it could have won for the art style alone) and Pikmin 4 won best real-time strategy game, which felt like the perfect gift for Pikmin fans (including myself) who have waited a decade for Pikmin 4.
Aside from the winners themselves, I thought that the show could have done a better job pacing the awards. It felt like, at times, four to five awards were rapid-firing out in less than a minute and then they were followed by a random game trailer that took up three minutes. The long trailers made the show feel more like an endless commercial. What saved the show in the end though was the Game Awards Orchestra; the medley of songs from the six nominees was beautiful as always.
Artist of the Month: Savannah Brace
By Mikaela Sanchez
Congratulations to Savannah Brace, who was voted Artist of the Month by the art teachers of Beacon High School.
Savannah is excited to begin her high school journey at Beacon High School as a freshman. Savannah shared in an interview that Mr. Perez is one of her favorite teachers. She appreciates having a calm and peaceful place to draw and Mr. Perez does an excellent job of creating a welcoming environment that allows her to express herself.
Savannah enjoys listening to music while working on her art, especially her favorite band BABYMETAL. The piece of art here was an assignment that she particularly enjoyed. “I liked how it was simple and straightforward, so I had a structure to work off,” she said.
Behind The Story
News: Based on facts, either observed and verified directly by the reporter, or reported and verified from knowledgeable sources.