THE HAMPTONIAN The Student News Site of Hampton High School Wed, 15 Dec 2021 17:20:37 +0000 en-US hourly 1 National Signing Day 2021 Wed, 15 Dec 2021 17:20:37 +0000 On this day each year, hundreds of college football recruits across the country ink up their letter of intent (NLI) for their respective college. It’s on this day that athletes can cultivate all of their hard work from youth through high school and make the journey into a university that has a place for them. Although the normal National Signing Day is in February 2022, the Division I football early period starts on December 15. During the early period, recruits only have a three-day window to decide on singing their NLI, or they’ll have to wait for the regular period in February to make their decision. For many top recruits, the signing day is just a formality if they have already committed to a school and will stay committed. Others could flip their commitments and sign with a different college than expected. But a large number of athletes have yet to commit to a school and will make their announcements to sign their NLIs all at the same time. Currently, 6 five-star recruits are still uncommitted, and 67 ESPN 300 recruits have yet to announce their commitment.

After the final week in November that concludes the college football regular season, coaches go straight into recruiting as the NCAA contact period begins the following Sunday. Many college football programs value recruiting at the same level they value their game plan. In 2005, Nebraska was the only college football program that spent over $500,000 in recruiting expenses. Today, almost every major program has exceeded that mark with Georgia boasting an excess of $3.5 million in recruiting expenses. Coaches travel across the region to convince recruits on why they should come to their program. There are extremely strict rules in place by the NCAA that prevent unethical activities by coaches and are punishable by sanctions. The NCAA has clear outlines that coaches have to follow as far as official visits, communication, and benefits that they can provide to the student-athletes. Any evidence of coaches not following NCAA recruiting rules can bring negative impacts on the program  that last several years.

A player’s decision on what school he will play at depends on several factors such as academics, program talent, position depth, location to home, and coaching. Unlike most sports seasons that have a clear start and finish, the 2022 season is already underway before a champion of the 2021 season is crowned. Four coaches that had their team finish in the Top 25 have already accepted new jobs before the bowl games have been played (Brian Kelly: Notre Dame to LSU, Mario Cristobal: Oregon to Miami, Lincoln Riley: Oklahoma to USC, and Billy Napier: Louisiana to Florida). In an ideal world, those coaches would finish out the 2021 season and coach in their respective bowl game, but their focus is clearly on the next season. Coaches’ coming and going open a whole new series of current players entering the transfer portal and high schoolers changing their commitment. And with name, image, and likeness legislation already passed in many states, athlete recruiting decisions have become much more intriguing.

Here are the four recruiting periods as defined by the NCAA:

Contact Period: When it is permissible for authorized athletics department staff members to make in-person, off-campus recruiting contacts and evaluations.

Evaluation Period: When it is permissible for authorized athletics department staff members to be involved in off-campus activities designed to assess the academic qualifications and playing ability of prospective student-athletes. No in-person, off-campus recruiting contacts shall be made with the prospective student-athlete during an evaluation period.

Dead Period: When it is not permissible to make in-person recruiting contacts or evaluations on or off the member institution’s campus or to permit official or unofficial visits by prospective student-athletes to the institution’s campus.

Quiet Period: When it is permissible to make in-person recruiting contacts only on the member institution’s campus. No in-person, off-campus recruiting contacts or evaluations may be made during the quiet period.

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Hampton Band’s Holiday Fundraiser is an “Extravagant” Success Thu, 09 Dec 2021 20:39:38 +0000 Walking through vendor stalls filled with colorful swaths of patterned fabric, sparkling jewelry of silver and gold, and assortments of pine wreaths tied with red ribbons, visitors are serenaded by the notes of holiday music. As heavenly smells of freshly baked cookies waft into the nose, it seems the spirit of the holiday season had finally arrived at Hampton.

The cause behind this one-of-a-kind fundraising spectacular was the Hampton Band and its supportive community, whose annual Holiday Extravaganza took place this year on Saturday, December 4th from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Decorating crews arrived on Friday spending five hours after school sprucing up the cafeteria and hallways. On the day of the event, students arrived as early as 7:00 a.m. to help vendors set up. A tear-down crew also worked for an hour afterwards to de-deck the school’s halls. 

“A HUGE Thank you to everyone that came out and supported the Holiday Extravaganza,” said an email sent out to band families from the Hampton Band Association (HBA) Board on December 5th. “We had an incredibly successful day, and we would not have done it without YOU!” 

Over 100 vendors came to market their items at the event as the gift-giving season commenced, including many small and local businesses. Shoppers could find virtually anything for anyone, including hand-crocheted plushies, long strands of rainbow licorice, gold-carat bracelets, seaweed creams, wooden toys, and of course, brilliantly tacky holiday knick-knacks. 

The cafeteria and gym were lined with over 100 vendors selling holiday gifts.

Near the entrance, more than 35 raffle baskets were on display, featuring all sorts of desirable items for those wishing to test their luck. Across the hall, novelty band items like T-shirts from years past were available for sale. And if they found their stomachs rumbling, buyers could grab a bite at the Band Dad’s cafe. 

Co-chairman of the Extravaganza Kelly Frank revealed in an email to The Hamptonian that this year posed numerous challenges, as well as involved a fairly new group of volunteers. However, everyone brought their own talents and connections to the table to make the event come together. Frank also adds that the hard work and support of the Band Board, the Hampton Band teachers, band alumni and parents, and her co-chairman Julie Mikus helped make the fundraiser such a success. 

“This year’s Holiday Extravaganza went better than I could have ever imagined,” Frank says. “I was concerned that it would not be as successful as previous years due to the current pandemic.  However, the Hampton community rallied and this event came back strong!” 

One indication of that strength was space near the Freedom Shrine. The usually quiet and empty hallway was transformed into a bustling, sweet-smelling Cookie Walk, where buyers got in line to browse the thousands of homemade cookies donated by Hampton Band families. “OUR ELVES ARE HERE TO HELP!” read signs posted along the length of the tables, behind which student volunteers in bright red aprons gingerly placed cookies into to-go containers.

“Elves” helped pack cookies into to-go containers during the Cookie Walk.

Behind the Cookie Walk sat a kids’ craft area, where young children made snowmen out of toilet paper rolls and little felt stockings with pipe cleaners, assisted by band students. 

According to Julie Mikus, co-chair for the Extravaganza, one of the major challenges for the 2021 event was the pandemic. Mask-wearing, for example, was one of the biggest differences between this year and last. But with the help of some creative minds from the Extravaganza committee, they were able to come up with solutions and modify the event to be COVID-safe. The traditional “Sundaes with Santa” was adjusted to be “Slushies with Santa” in order to limit high-touch areas, Mikus says. Co-chairman Frank adds that the gloved “elves” who packed boxes during the cookie walk were also a precaution to ensure the safety of everyone involved. 

But the pandemic didn’t in any way limit the holiday spirit of the buyers and the volunteers, who flooded in from around the community to experience the fun. Mikus reveals that despite the challenge of the pandemic, a lot of money was raised for the Hampton band, and Frank agrees that all “graciously embraced the necessary changes” to make the event a success. 

One of the many vendor displays in the cafeteria.

From the auditorium, the sounds of the 5th grade band, the 8th grade band, and the HHS percussion and wind ensemble resonated from loudspeakers throughout the building. The Hampton Dance Team also performed onstage at 12:30. Back out in the hall, Santa and two of his reindeer roamed, eager to take pictures with kids and wave to shoppers. The sounds of jingling bells rang out among the chatter of vendors, volunteers, and buyers, as student volunteers decked out in holiday regalia shouted “50/50!”

Mikus personally hopes that next year, even more band students will take part in the Extravaganza, as the event itself demands an “army of volunteers.” Participating allows students to earn their volunteer hours required for graduation, interact with the community, and inspire younger students to be involved in HTSD’s music programs, and a strong network of passionate music students and parents have supported HBA. 

As a parent of a band senior, Mikus herself is excited to see where the program is headed. “I am certain the direction of the band will only reach new levels in future years!”

“I am already looking forward to next year’s Holiday Extravaganza,” Frank agrees. “I am certain that the volunteers will build on the momentum from this year to keep raising money for our band programs and spreading Christmas cheer!” 

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2021 Rewind Wed, 08 Dec 2021 17:44:41 +0000 From the beginning of January to now has brought us the unexpected, and has truly shown us how to “go with the flow”. While coming back from COVID, we still had tons of iconic and exciting events happen throughout 2021. Artists used their quarantine time to make off the charts music, athletes used theirs to work harder and recover, and writers, directors, and editors took their time perfecting new shows and movies. These are just some of the important things people have done and achieved throughout 2021. 

January 2021- Bernie Sanders’ mittens, President Biden’s inauguration, Cobra Kai, Bridgerton, WandaVision, Olivia Rodrigo’s “Drivers License,” “Streets” by Doja Cat, season 5 of Riverdale airs. 


February 2021- Crime Scene: The Vanishing at the Cecil Hotel, Polo G new single, Tampa Bay Buccaneers win the Super Bowl. 


March 2021- Godzilla vs Kong, Ginny and Georgia, Rod Wave’s SoulFly, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, Oprah with Meghan Markle and Prince Harry, Up by Cardi B, Hampton Boys Swim win WPIAL Championship. 

April 2021- Fearless (Taylor’s Version), Shameless season 11 (last season), Doja Cat’s “Kiss Me More”

May 2021- Olivia Rodrigo’s Sour, A Quiet Place Part 2, Cruella with Emma Stone, Friends: The Reunion, Girls’ Lacrosse goes undefeated and wins their section.


June 2021- Doja Cat’s Planet Her, Lucifer, Tyler the Creator’s Call Me If You Get Lost, Culture III Migos, Loki, Frenemies podcast with Trisha and Ethan ends, Polo G’s Hall of Fame.


July 2021- Outer Banks season 2, Pop Smoke’s Faith, Space Jam: A New Legacy with Lebron James, Fear Street Part 1,2, and 3, Black Widow, Gossip Girl, Milwaukee Bucks win NBA Championship, Olympic Games in Tokyo begin, Tampa Bay Lightning wins Stanley Cup, Soulja Boy drops “Rick and Morty”, Bo Burnhams “Inside”. 


August 2021- Kanye West’s Donda, Trippie Redd’s Trip at Knight, “INDUSTRY BABY,” Addison Rae’s horrendous He’s All That, “Heat Waves” by Glass Animals making trends everywhere . 

September 2021- Drake’s Certified Lover Boy, Squid Games, Lil Nas X’s Montero, Devious Licks Trend, The D’Amelio Show airs.


October 2021- The White Lotus, HHS’ Homecoming, Venom 2, Gabby Petito story breaks, The French Dispatch, “Eleanor Rigby” by Cody Fry, “I’m an island boy”. 

November 2021- An Evening with Silk Sonic by Bruno Mars, Big Mouth season 5, Astroworld Fest tragedy, Red Taylor’s Version, HBS and HGV goes to State Championship game in Hershey, HBS wins WPIAL and State Championship, House of Gucci, Ghostbusters Afterlife, Big Ed and Liz from 90-Day Fiance get engaged, Season 3 of 1000 lb Sisters, Hawkeye, Atlanta Braves win the World Series, “What do you wanna tell Byron right now”. 

That brings us to December, and the beginning of a new year. There are already so many things to look forward to, and who knows what 2022 can bring us.

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HHS Decks the Halls Wed, 08 Dec 2021 05:12:37 +0000 Hampton’s student council gathered after school in the past weeks to bring some holiday cheer to our halls. Each grade takes an assigned hallway to compete in a competition of festivity. The student council leaders run this event every year, but students have free reign to hang whatever lights, bows, and banners they see fit. The walls were lined with everything from a winter wonderland, a floor to ceiling snowman, and even a festive garfield.

Last year was a tough time for a lot of students, especially during the holiday season. With travel restrictions, and mandatory quarantines most people were unable to spend time with loved ones during the holidays. On top of this the school remained largely undecorated, as the student council was unable to organize the event with the hybrid schedule and separated pods. Student council president Nicole Fortes stated that, “I feel like since we were unable to decorate the halls last year, a lot more people than usual came out this year.” The seniors were even able to bring out nostalgic decorations from their freshman year, like the classic narwhal from the movie “Elf.”

Senior Fannie Ketler participated in the second week, making the infamous garfield. Ketler loved “bringing joy to the students, because December can be a long, tough month leading up to break.”

Student council senior class secretary Jillian Antol stated that her favorite part of the event was, “getting the chance to hang out with friends after school while making the school look very festive. It’s nice to be able to decorate with creative liberty and  getting a bunch of students from different grades to participate.”

There are so many ways for anyone to get more involved in the student council’s events. If you’re interested in helping with events such as thon, you can attend the next general assembly meeting and join one of the many committees from games to food, public relations, and so many more.

Next time you’re walking down the hallway and gaze up at the glittering lights, say a big thank you to the student council and every volunteer who worked hard to put this event together. 

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Powderpuff Fun Tue, 07 Dec 2021 17:37:52 +0000 An annual powderpuff in which girls compete in flag or touch football games is a beloved tradition at many high schools, although many students at Hampton have never heard of it. To join in on the fun, Hampton’s first powderpuff was held at the end of this past November, and it was completely organized by students in the senior class.

After the football season wrapped up, our players regained much of their freetime. Many in the senior lineup decided to help out with the powderpuff by coaching. Four teams with two coaches each battled for the championship on the last day of Thanksgiving break. Football players also helped out as referees for the event.

The powderpuff first appeared on Instagram @hamptonpowderpuff, and individual team accounts announced their rosters shortly after. The high-energy game held at Fridley Field operated on classic two-hand touch football rules and ended with a victory for the Painseeking Pancakers with Sophie Kelley as the MVP.









The winning team with their coaches. More photos can be found on Instagram @hannahkpshots. Photo courtesy of Hannah Kirkpatrick.

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Pittsburgh Christmas Traditions Tue, 07 Dec 2021 17:22:06 +0000 During this time of year there are so many unique traditions that arise within the Pittsburgh area. They range from bright lights shining on trees, to the delicious food that we eat. It’s time to imagine a world of wonders as we dive into this special holiday season. 

To start off there is the famous Phipps Conservatory. Inside this iconic building there lies sensational flowers of all colors, shapes, and sizes. To stay in the festive spirit the flowers are bright red and the dark, lush green bushes are in an array of structures. There are fun and mesmerizing areas that each have a theme as one enters the rooms of the conservatory. Some themes are more sophisticated with white roses surrounding golden fountains. Others are made to look like jungles with animals and different climates, as well as more random setups to showcase certain flowers and artwork .The conservatory is at its peak brightness this season, with the unique lights and christmas trees making it special along with snowman sculptures and reindeers to pose with for a picture. Along with the themes this season the atmosphere strikes hard. There are families with their young, couples, and the interested people who want a glimpse of beautiful art. When people enter they are excited to see what is inside. As they walk outside they get to see the display of all kinds of lights, snowflakes, christmas trees, and presents as you walk the path towards the end of the tour. The tour is one that allows you to see how art can be shaped. This year Phipps Conservatory will hold an amazing show for all to see. 

Following Phipps Conservatory the PPG paints arena puts on a spectacular show every year. There are a few events that take place involving this arena. The first thing involves the arena itself working with the Pittsburgh Zoo where Santa takes the Pittsburgh Penguins Hockey team on a fun parade. The parade highlights the hockey team’s achievements.  Besides the parade there will be chances to meet and see animals that we all love and know, decorating cookies will be open, and you can make holiday crafts. To organize the day, breakfast with Santa will be at 9:30 a.m. and lunch will be at 12:00 p.m. The days that these events will take place are December 3, 4, 10, 11, 17, and 18. There will also be another event at PPG paints arena.  A writer Jamie Welnick says, “This multi-platinum progressive rock powerhouse brings “The Ghosts of Christmas Eve ” to Pittsburgh on their Winter Tour. The lights, videos, music and storytelling will make for a holiday “rock theater” experience. ” All these experiences will be amazing to see as this season brings around the best Pittsburgh has to offer. 

There are many other traditions that our city of bridges holds.There are similar ones involving light up nights with big christmas trees. Carnegie has trees that light up the old building and hold much historical significance. Kennywood, the place to go on crazy rides, hosts a night where the entire park is lit up. Of course there are other areas where lights on huge trees are visible in the city. Besides the lights there are opportunities to see special christmas plays, such as the Nutcracker– a classic in the Benedum Theater. This iconic ballet mesmerizes any audience. Along with that, the Byham Theater has A Christmas Carol, a play that never fails to show the true meaning of Christmas. 

As we gather together to see the holiday events our city has to offer, let’s see the Christmas spirit flow through all of us. Through the young to old, this season we must show care to all our loved ones. May this show through our words and actions.


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Amazon Delivery Gone Wrong, the Case of the Boy in the Box Wed, 01 Dec 2021 17:29:26 +0000 I: Introduction


Happy holidays, Hampton, and welcome back to Tea Time with a Side of Crime! I can’t believe we’ve made it to Episode 3 already, and hoo boy, do I got a good episode for you. “Why is this one a good one?” I hear you asking. Well, dear reader, we’re doing a holiday special! Hooray! This season’s all about the giving, after all, so I’m here to give you a gift! (I know, I know, I’m so generous.) Tear open that wrapping paper, because in today’s episode, we’re looking at the case of “The Boy in the Box.”


Dubbed “America’s Unknown Child,” the origins of this case spanning sixty-four years begins with the titular boy in the box. Just who was this kid, and why was he in a box? That’s the thing; nobody knew who this kid was. While everyone knew about the discovery of this boy, nobody knew who he was. Even now, in 2021, there’s still speculation afloat about the origins and identity of this boy.


II: The Discovery


The discovery of the boy in the box dates back to late February of 1957 in Philadelphia. A young hunter went out to go check his traps near the Fox Chase neighbourhood of Philly, when he noticed a peculiar package. When he opened it, he was surprised to find the deceased body of an unknown boy. Rather than inform this to the authorities, like any sensible person would do, he didn’t report it. Why? He didn’t want his traps confiscated. Way to go, guy. 


Jump forward to 3:45 p.m on February 25th, a few days after the hunter found the boy, a junior in college by the name of Frederick J. Benonis claimed to see a rabbit dash into a thicket whilst he was driving, which led him to his discovery of the boy in the box. Mistaking the boy for a doll, he only reported it to authorities a full day later because he overheard a missing report of a missing girl over the radio.


Student Tea Spill, pt. I:


These episodes, for the most part, are just me telling you a story. However, I wanted to change things up a little bit, and how better to do that than to introduce a new segment? Which is why, dear view, I’d like to introduce you to the Student Tea Spill, where I talk to my peers about the case in order to gage their understanding and knowledge. Our very first guest for this new segment is my peer in the true crime and investigation field, Aaron Peng ’24.


Q: If you discovered the Boy in the Box, what would be your first reaction?


A: “Well, it’s a dead child in a box. I’d leave the scene as soon as possible and call the police, just as any rational person would in that scenario.”


III: State of Being


The boy in question appeared to be wrapped in a blanket before being placed into a cardboard box, which once housed a J.C Penny bassinet. They believed he was between the ages of three and six as a result of severe malnourishment, and he was covered in strange scars. Despite his grizzly appearance, they discovered his nails were recently trimmed, and his hands and feet were wrinkly as if he was submerged within water within recent time. Nearby, they also discovered a tan scarf, a flannel shirt, shoes that didn’t fit the boy, and one of the few major hints they had; a hat. 


Blue in colour, corduroy in material, and with a leather strap attached, this cap led authorities to a shop in southern Philly. All the details they caught in regards to who asked for the hat to be modified was that the person was a man, and appeared to be between the ages of twenty-six and thirty; he was never found.


IV: The Discrepancies


There’s numerous theories, even now, in regards to the origins and story of the boy within the box. One of the weirdest parts of the investigation came in February of 2002, alongside a woman by the name of Martha. Martha claimed to know the identity of the boy, stating that her mother had bought the boy, named Johnathan, in 1954. Due to unfortunate circumstances which I’d rather not get into, the boy passed away in their care. Martha’s mother forced her to help her hide the boy, cutting his hair short and putting him in the cardboard box to be hidden away within the woods. She claimed that her mother gave him a bath, which is where he died, which could explain the wrinkles found on “Johnathan’s” hands and feet. That’s all that could be gathered, however, Martha’s medical records show she suffers from a history of mental illness. We can’t be sure just how much of Martha’s account was true, if any at all.


Student Tea Spill, pt. II:


Q: Do you believe in the “Martha’s Account Theory?”


A: “It doesn’t matter if it’s trustworthy or not, we just have to investigate it as much as we can. I would reluctantly trust her, but any piece of evidence from the crime scene is more critical than her testimony.”


Generally, the case of the boy and his box is really convoluted, with a lot of details that I had to leave out for the purpose of not turning this into a college essay styled lengthened piece. For example, I had to cut out the fact that for a good while, he was mistaken for being a girl, rather than a boy. So hypothetically speaking, this could’ve been called “The Case of the Girl in the Box” instead. There were some DNA tests performed in 2016-2017, but it yielded no leads, making the identity of the box a persisting mystery.


Q: What do you think happened to the Boy in the Box?

A: “It seems (to me) to either be a case of murder via the scars and begrudgingly including Martha’s testimony, or that he died of illness/malnourishment via the unkept state of his body upon initial investigation.”

V: Conclusion


Even now, we can’t really be sure as to what happened to the boy, let alone who he is. He’s been merely reduced to the poster child (no pun intended) of unnamed children in cold cases. Regardless, the story of the investigation is one to behold, as unlike the last two episodes, we don’t get a conclusion. There’s no big hurray, we can’t slap the cuffs on anybody yet. It leaves so many doors unopened, which may be for the better. So, dear viewer, are you willing to take the plunge?


This has been Tea Time with a Side of Crime, where Pennsylvania’s most gruesome tales are served with a complementary cup of tea. Thanks for reading.

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The Beauty of the Hampton Marching Band Tue, 30 Nov 2021 19:09:54 +0000 On Friday nights at Fridley Field, you can hear a lot–Hampton fans, students, and the cheer squad all cheering for our football team. However, there is one that roars over all of them: The Hampton Marching Band.

The Hampton Band’s 2021 halftime show was titled “Thank You,” dedicated to veterans of America, Pittsburgh, and especially those in our local community. Over the course of seven weeks, I was able to watch the band up-close and interview them. 

While I was doing so, one of the main things I noticed was the environment. Members would socialize on their own time, but as soon as it was time to play they all stopped and got right into it. They were very concentrated on playing in unison. Every single instrument could be heard, each of them making a difference. One of my favorite experiences was while filming the band on the track, the noise was so piercing I was actually vibrating. I could feel the taps of the drums in my body. It was exciting to be a part of this while watching the amazing athleticism the Hampton football team displayed.

Speaking with section leaders really helped me understand what it was like to be a part of the band. 

When asked what the most important part of playing a show with such a deeper meaning was, Junior Natalie McEwen answered, “How the crowd reacts, definitely. We have had a lot of good reactions with this show.” Senior Drum Major Armani Manov responded with ”What matters most is the message that gets across,  we work together to thank the veterans, and hope everyone has fun doing the show.”

The band’s show consisted of 5 parts, all of which the band was moving. Part 4 included the running of flags. Each flag had a giant banner designated to each of the 6 branches: Army, Navy, Marines, Space Force, Air Force, and the Coastguard. The band played the theme of each branch. While paying tribute to our soldiers, there was tribute to our fallen soldiers. A somewhat controversial move was having a student dressed in uniform giving a dance team member a folded flag. While the message was clear, some fans in the stands felt uncomfortable. This was a beautiful moment, but one that students may have not felt. The weight of having the flag placed in your hands is one that thousands of families have had to face.  The appreciation was there, but the execution has been questioned. 

For the drum majors, I was curious to know, what is the feeling of helping direct a show of this magnitude? As leaders, you have a new responsibility and more pressure given to you.. I asked the drum majors what it’s like to be a drum major. Brooks Brady was eager to answer, “It wasn’t in the plan. Then Quentin shot me a message and convinced me and persuaded me. It has given me a new appreciation of how hard people work here and how much teamwork and patience there is and there is not a single moment I take back.” I felt similarly to Brooks when it came to  finding a new appreciation for the band after this year. Armani gave a similar yet a different response, “I want to do the job appropriately and correctly and not let the directors down and being a drum major requires you to respect the position and not make and uphold the name.” 

As a whole, the band’s section leaders felt the same. Their main focus is to make sure they’re leading, but giving the underclassmen a great experience like the one they were given.

The band is taking a trip to Walt Disney World in March, and marching around Magic Kingdom. Their trip will take place this upcoming March. Their Band Extravaganza is scheduled for Saturday, December 4th.


The Band got third at the PIMBA Championship.

Here is a link to the band’s performance at the 2021 Allegheny Valley Band Festival in October

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Pittsburgh Sports in the Fall Season Tue, 30 Nov 2021 14:18:20 +0000 The Fall sports are already in full swing in Steel City. Here’s a look at the Pittsburgh sports teams so far:

Steelers: From late-last season to early-this season, the Steelers had a stretch where they had eight losses in a span of ten games. The Steelers started the 2020 season by going 11-0. They were five wins away from a 16-0 record; only achieved once in NFL history (2007 Patriots). The Steelers collapsed by losing four of their last five regular-season games and lost to the Browns at home in the Wildcard Round. The Steelers started the 2021 season 1-3 and were in danger of having their first losing season in 17 years. A month later, the Steelers won four-straight games to go 5-5-1 and back within reach of the AFC North. The Steelers have one of the toughest regular-season schedules in all of the NFL, but they have done a successful job thus far. QB Ben Roethlisberger is still going strong and putting the Steelers in a position to succeed. All three of the Steeler’s top draft picks are already having starting roles on the team with RB Najee Harris, TE Pat Freiermuth, and G Kendrick Green. The Steelers still have a long road ahead as the ESPN FPI has the Steelers as the underdog in all six of their remaining games.

Penguins: The Penguins have gotten off to an underwhelming start this season. The Pens have won five straight matches to now be at 10-12, but still towards the bottom of the Metropolitan Division. What made even bigger news is that owners Ron Burkle and Mario Lemieux sold the Pittsburgh Penguins organization to the Fenway Sports Group for close to $900 million. Just last year, the Penguins had the 2nd-most wins in the entire NHL but fell to the New York Islanders in 6 games during the First Round. Since 2006, the Penguins qualified for 15-straight playoff appearances, but that streak may be in jeopardy if the Pens can’t turn the season around. The Penguins still have the Big 3 intact of Evgeni Malkin, Sidney Crosby, and Kris Letang, all of whom stayed with the Pens since the mid-2000s. This offseason, the Penguins brought in seven players, including Brian Boyle and Jeff Carter who were both drafted in 2003. The Penguins are counting that veteran leadership to bring them back to the playoffs.

Pitt Football: Mediocrity is no longer synonymous with the Pitt football program. With a 10-2 record, the Panthers have their best regular-season finish in forty years. In 1981, Pitt started 10-0 and ranked #1 in the AP Poll but lost their final regular-season game at home to arch-rival #11 Penn State. Pitt bounced back to win the Sugar Bowl against #2 Georgia as Dan Marino threw a 33-yard touchdown in the final minute to claim the victory. Since then, the Panthers never had more than ten wins in a season after their glory days of the late-1970s and early-1980s. From 1977 through 1989, Pitt had sixteen players drafted in the first round of the NFL Draft. From 1989 until now, the Panthers only had seven players drafted in the first round. This year, Pitt has been favored in all of their games and has only lost in close home games to Western Michigan and Miami. The Panthers have clinched the ACC Coastal Division to have a great shot at winning the ACC and punching their ticket to the Fiesta or Peach Bowl. A big part of Pitt’s successful season is the Heisman-caliber performance of QB Kenny Pickett. The Pitt record for career passing yards and completions has already been broken by Pickett, now he tied the passing touchdown record (79, Marino). That being said, Pickett may need to cap off this great season with a conference championship or bowl victory to be remembered in the same conversation as other Panther legends.

Pitt Basketball: The successful days of the Jamie Dixon era are well in the rearview mirror for Pitt. Looking at their successful past, the Panthers made it to March Madness for 10-straight years and had five Big East titles from 2001 to 2011. In the 2008-09 season, Pitt had a star-studded lineup with LeVance Fields, Sam Young, and DeJuan Blair. The Panthers spent three weeks at #1 in the AP and Coaches Poll, defeated top-ranked UConn twice, and received their first-ever number-one seed in the NCAA Tournament. Pitt made it to the Elite Eight that year but fell to Villanova in the final seconds to spoil their chances at a Final Four bid. In the years to follow, Pitt had some solid seasons, but they ended in disappointing losses at the big dance. After Jamie Dixon departed from Pitt in 2016, Pitt has been 19-71 (.211) in ACC play, competing horribly in one of the most premier conferences. Pitt’s sudden drop-off of consistently being among the top programs in college basketball to their current struggles is truly a mystery. The Panthers lost in their season-opener to Citadel 63-78 and lost the Backyard Brawl to West Virginia 59-74. With an already weak roster, Pitt lost senior guard Nike Sibande to an ACL tear and junior guard Ithiel Horton to aggravated assault charges. To make matters worse, four-star guard Judah Mintz de-committed from Pitt, leaving the Panthers with an empty 2022 recruiting class.

Other Notable Teams:

– Pitt Volleyball finished the regular season 26-3 and will host UMBC in the NCAA Tournament First Round.

– Pitt Soccer started the season 13-5-1, seeded #5 in the country, and will travel to Notre Dame for the Quarterfinals of the NCAA College Cup.

– Duquesne Football started 7-3, including a win over the Ohio Bobcats 28-26 to become one of only eleven FCS teams to have a win over an FBS team this year.

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Inside the Kitchen Mon, 22 Nov 2021 17:35:53 +0000 The 7th period lunch rush is over. Lunch line doors have closed, students have vacated the cafeteria, and tables have been wiped down for the third and final time of the day. But the inside of the kitchen is still bustling with activity: immediately after lunch ends, the kitchen staff have already started preparing food for tomorrow.

Hampton’s cafeteria workers provide an essential service for us. Everyone knows that they are responsible for the school food, but there are more parts of the job than students might realize. Regardless, they deserve recognition and appreciation for their hard work.

Ms. Cindy Dunbar has been with the HHS kitchen for two years. She considers herself to be new, and it’s true that current seniors have been here longer than her. But she’s had the daily routine down for a while now and thoroughly knows the ins and outs of the job. 

Concerning her responsibilities, Ms. Dunbar says, “It’s a hard job trying to keep everyone fed.” And the biggest challenge since she started working here? Everything to do with COVID, of course.

The switch from plastic to styrofoam closed the tray-washing station, but after the pandemic, the school will go back to the plastic trays. While most schools are using plastic trays right now, the HHS kitchen still needs people to fill positions.

Since the last school year, schools around the nation have also been receiving more food for free breakfasts and lunches with support from the government. Hampton participates in the National School Lunch Program. As a result of the pandemic, the Seamless Summer Option based on the NSLP allows for breakfast and lunch to be free to all students without previous eligibility considerations. This measure was intended to not only lessen hunger and nutrition concerns for children but also combat the spread of COVID-19 with decreased time processing payments in lunch lines.

Lunch line doors open for breakfast at 8:10 A.M.












Ms. Dunbar welcomes the extra work as more kids are enjoying school lunches on the regular. No one has to go home hungry anymore; some are even eating a free meal along with their packed lunches. Something else Ms. Dunbar doesn’t think people know is that she truly enjoys her job. For her, “being a lunch lady can be fun. I get to know the kids, interact with them, especially yell at them for causing trouble.”

Including Ms. Dunbar, just seven women cook every meal served in our cafeteria. On a regular day, work begins around 6 A.M. and ends at 3 P.M., and every job is different. Altogether, mornings are occupied with getting breakfast ready, serving it, and cleaning up. Breakfast starts at 7:50 and ends at 8:20 A.M., making it a great motivator for students to get to school on time. 

Afterwards, the kitchen staff focuses on lunch, and then they clean up while getting ready for the next day. Cookies for the next day begin to be frosted by hand before students with 7th period lunch are even finished eating. Fruit trays, veggie trays, sandwiches, pizzas, salad bar, cookies, etc., are made daily and coolers are restocked every day. Our food service workers try to clean as they go since with the volume of food they handle, they can’t have a messy work station.

Pizza and fries prepared by HHS food service workers.












With set duties to keep operations smooth, when even one worker is missing, the kitchen suddenly has to deal with much more stress. For this reason, there are substitute cafeteria workers, and they are frequently needed at Hampton.

Along with making them, all of the food service workers eat the lunches. As employees, they are entitled to a free meal under company policy.

And students do generally enjoy the food as well. Sophomore David Poirier “kinda” likes the lunches. Becky Zhou ‘22 loves the pasta meals and eats the breakfasts every day. Her one reserve is the mandatory components of lunch: “I don’t like the milk. They only offer low-fat. And people throw away the vegetables. It’s a waste of money.” 

Rumors about the beef, bacon, or eggs served in the cafeteria being fake are constantly in circulation, according to Becky. But nothing about the lunches, especially where the food comes from, is kept a secret. If you have questions, all you have to do is ask the cafeteria workers. 

Everything aside from produce and milk comes from Hampton’s main distributor US Foods with the current supply chain. The truck visits HHS once a week on Wednesdays, and with changing meals, every shipment is different. Freezer items are stored in boxes and carried into a freezer while cooler and dry items go to their respective places in the kitchen.

There are also offices inside the kitchen, separate from cooking areas. Ms. Mindy Baginski works in one of the offices as the Metz food service director. Metz Culinary Management provides food service management for Hampton schools. 

Ms. Baginski ensures that regulations for school food are being followed, especially with nutrition. The cafeteria offers a certain amount of sodium and whole grains, and the milk has to be 1% fat. Ms. Baginski makes the monthly breakfast and lunch menus with input from the lead cooks in each building. Her typical work day involves handling call offs, cooking, running food, serving, and doing dishes. She also monitors student lunch money accounts and issues refunds, and it’s true that students cannot withdraw money from their accounts. More about checks, lunch accounts, and lunch money can be found on the district’s Food Service FAQ page.

Fruits and veggies stocked by HHS food service workers.












In regard to students throwing away their milk, fruit, or veggie without drinking or eating it, Ms. Baginski says, “It is terrible to waste the food.” The regulations that make these components mandatory are set by the NSLP, and the school has to follow them.

With Thanksgiving coming up, the food service department has put together a festive lunch on Tuesday the 23rd: a hot turkey sandwich with gravy for the entree and mashed potatoes as the featured vegetable. With the current product shortages, the cafeteria is running with what they have access to in order to still keep the holiday specials tradition alive.

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