Flash Features: news and student achievements

New club stakeholder committee

Diana Lygas, PHS Anti-bullying Specialist and Dean of Students, is currently implementing a club stakeholder committee to promote discussion among select members. The committee will address issues concerning PHS clubs and possible areas for their enhancement or improvement. “[I’m] creating it because I think that there’s growth potential for clubs,” Lygas said. “I think students should be the ones that drive the direction of where clubs go.”

Lygas received inspiration for this model from multiple other stakeholder committees in the school and district community. “It’s a model that we found is effective in lots of areas, where we [bring] a varied group of individuals together who have somewhat of an investment in the topic,” Lygas said.

So far, approximately eight to ten members from the student body have filled the application form to join the committee. Lygas plans for two other staff members, John Bathke and Christine Carbone, and two student council members to join as well, herself acting as the facilitator of the discussion.

Although there is no strict agenda yet for the anticipated meetings, Lygas plans to initiate several topics of discussion at the beginning, one of which is communication. “I definitely want clubs to discuss communication because we ask clubs when and where they might meet at the beginning of the year, and following up with that is difficult,” she said. “I would love for this committee to solve that problem, so all students always know when and where clubs are meeting.” Two other topics that will be addressed are funding for clubs and enhanced online coordination for those that meet predominantly outside of school hours, spurring discussion to make improvements to club implementation and club action.   

English and Social Studies Department Supervisor John Anagbo retires

John Anagbo, PHS Supervisor of Language Arts and Social Studies, will be retiring at this school year’s end after a career centered around his love for literature. Born in Ghana, Anagbo began studying language arts at a young age – education taking a central role in his life. “I have absolutely no regrets and it’s a wonderful journey, following my passion in education,” he said.

Anagbo values his role as a teacher, not limited by the boundaries of the classroom. “To be a teacher is to inspire children to learn to become creative, to become engaged in the world around them,” he said. “To teach means to touch the lives of people. Not through testing, not through administration, just in the classroom and in the hallways and outside.”

Before coming to PHS, Anagbo taught at many schools including Montgomery High School, where he served as a teacher and supervisor. For him, PHS was closer to his home, and provided him with a change from his previous job.

Now, Anagbo plans on spending his retirement continuing his history of service to the PHS community. He especially aims to work with the concept of equality and its impact on education. “We can see [the social cost of inequality] right here in our town …. [with] the kids in this school who have absolutely no advocates. Nobody speaks for them and they walk the halls, and they suffer in silence, and they don’t have mentors and it pains me,” he said. “So now that I’m going to be outside looking in, I would love to do some volunteer work on that.”

However, he also plans to use the extra time to catch up on other facets of life, including reading. “In the last few years, work has become so complex and so varied that I haven’t really had a chance to read … what I resort to is reading newspapers, magazines, journals, and so on but I hope to have more time,” said Anagbo.

He will also be taking advantage of what this town has to offer. “Princeton is a vibrant college community,” Anagbo said. “I tell students all the time to go out to the streets of Princeton University, and there’s a lecture going on every single day … There’s so much in this community.”

Geography Club hosts World Cultures Festival

At 3 p.m. on March 4, PHS will host its first World Cultures Festival in the cafeteria and New Gym. The Geography Club is hosting the festival, integrating various representations of cultures in an interactive format with the school body. Among the countries represented at the festival are Chile, Mexico, Italy, Germany, Serbia, Greece, Hungary, Lithuania, Sweden, Denmark, China, India, Japan, and Korea. Booths will be able to showcase performers throughout the entire festival.

“The elementary schools host culture festivals annually,” said Geography Club leader Stefan Pophristic.  “I thought it’d be so much fun since this school is super diverse … and I thought it’d be a great opportunity for us to showcase all the different ethnicities and nationalities that we have here.”

With each group taking charge of its own booth, students will engage in different activities, one of which is sampling food.

“I think a big part of the Greek culture is food, [so] we’re going to have loads of food, like cookies and spanakopita,” said Christian Martin 18, who, along with Ares Alivisatos 17 and Adrian Karachalios 19, will be heading the Greece table. Spanakopita is a popular Greek dish similar to spinach pie. Additionally, a tradition of breaking hard boiled eggs, often accompanied by saying, “Χριστός Ανέστη!” or “Christos Anesti” for the celebration of Easter will be introduced to participants in the Greek booth activities.

Arts and crafts number a majority of the activities in the World Cultures Festival. For example, the Lithuanian booth will have participants making floral crowns and the Hungarian booth will include egg decorating. Additionally, the Bulgarian booth will show how to make martenichki, which are yarn dolls welcoming springtime, and the Russian booth, will display matryoshka dolls.

The Pakistani booth will have a station for rickshaw art. “Rickshaws are like three-wheeled taxis. They’re a common form of transportation in Pakistan,” said Zainab Qureshi ’18. Decorative rickshaw art has flourished since the 1940s with each district developing a unique style.

Easha Nandyala 19 will be performing for the Indian booth by singing “Kesariya Balam”. “It’s a traditional folk song interpreted in different ways in different parts of India,” said Nandalya. “I’m doing it in the North Indian style.” Celebrating sacrifice and bravery, the song is a popular Rajasthani folk narrative. The Indian booth also is doing a henna activity in coordination with the Pakistani booth. Visitors can also try out Snakes and Ladders, an ancient Indian board game that has found popularity all over the world.

The event culminates in a ‘Geography bee’, typical of those practiced by the club during its weekly Tuesday meetings.

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