Tuesday, November 19, 2019

FEATURE: Dr. Resende Inspires Students

By Allie Talarico

In the top corner above the Assistant Superintendent’s desk is a small sign which reads “Live your life with purpose and intention.” When it comes to her own life, Dr. Isabelle Resende has always been driven by goals of inspiring young women to pursue careers in STEM. These intentions come from a lifetime of experiences working in genetic research and science.

Similar to her own drive as an educational professional, Dr. Resende was first inspired by a teacher of her own. Though she claims she did not meet society’s ‘qualifications’ for being the perfect student-being a first generation immigrant who barely knew a word of English when she entered elementary school- her high school biology teacher instilled a passion for solving problems which were aimed to better society.
Photo Credit: Nazarethasd.org

After graduating from Moravian College, Resende did just that. Dr. Resende went to Maryland post grad to work under Dr. Craig Venter on the Human Genome Project. The Human Genome Project was a decade long venture, discovering the complex and beautiful workup of genetics in the human body. Taking ode to previous DNA studies, The Human Genome Project separated the nucleotides of extracted DNA tagging each sequence, and sorting them into the “book of life.” After the DNA segments were tagged, researchers had the ability to analyze the sequences and detect any abnormalities for various ailments ranging from heart disease to diabetes. In her sector of the lab, Dr. Resende was one of the only females of the dominantly male group, working day and night to bend the stereotype set in place for women in science.

Following the Human Genome Project, Resende moved to further humanitarian work and Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, researching Neuroblastoma, an often fatal form of pediatric cancer. Her work at CHOP was long and tedious, as she spent hours upon hours working with other world renowned scientists trying to find a genetic explanation for the cancer. While the work was nonprofit, Resende knew that monetary value was not the point of science. “How are you helping human society?” She asks. “How are you helping your community? Nonprofit work provided help for families to come,” she explained, expressing her gratitude for the work. Dr. Resende and her team were published in Nature Genetics, a prestigious scientific magazine following their outstanding work in helping the families of tomorrow battle through the toughest time of their lives.

By then, Dr. Resende had already accomplished so much in her career, but she felt that she was at a crossroads. After graduating from Johns Hopkins University with a graduate degree in Biochemistry, she had planned to run her own research laboratory. However, she noticed that while fulfilling, a lab hindered her ultimate passion-human interaction. Now she had a choice: would she go into nursing, a fairly scientific approach, or would she share her experiences and better society through inspiring youth in the classroom? She chose the latter, attending Lehigh University to obtain her master’s in education. From there, Dr. Resende never stopped teaching-or learning. While teaching AP Biology for many years, she earned her certification to become principal and from there her administrative certification.

Looking around her office, at all the things she had accomplished through her career, I asked her what her greatest accomplishment was. She says that it was her ability to inspire several female students to go on into scientific research to reshape the gender game like she had. “It’s all about connections.” She recounts. “And relationships. And how we work together to make that goal.” In fact she said it best: “It’s not about a position or a title. It’s about encouraging others to find your own dreams.”  She made it clear that dreams are not always a clear path. In fact, dreams often change while you’re in them. “I often look around and ask myself how did I get here?” she says, smiling. While her long term goal in high school was not to be the Assistant Superintendent of one of the best school districts in the state, Dr. Resende feels that she is where she belongs and fulfilling her purpose.

Every day Dr. Resende inspires young girls in our district to reach their goals in STEM careers. Through her story, dedication to the community, and willingness to keep learning, she is continuing to spread her message.

I closed our conversation by asking advice for young girls who are interested in careers in science. Her face lit up as if she had been waiting for the question her whole life. “If you have a passion for life, and you’re curious about the world around you, go for it. Challenge yourself.”

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Got an E-Hallpass?

By Muskan Bajwa and Adrian Gomes

E-Hallpass is part of Nazareth High School’s new trend towards electronic resources.  It is an online pass service that helps schools in various ways, such as quicker, easier access on electronic devices, which all students carry most of the time. Teachers can activate and deactivate passes for students to go to the restroom, the office, or even other classrooms. 

NAHS administration has accepted E-Hallpass from day one. Ms. Strausser, the school’s educational technology specialist, states, “I liked the idea. I am on my computer all the time and I find it easier to click on approve in the E-Hallpass dashboard for a student pass then to look for a paper pass.”  Mr. Tafel, from the history department, agrees that it’s easy to use since it's only a few clicks away rather than filling out a paper. 

E-Hallpass has made passes easier in numerous ways. Especially for staff who have a larger number of students to keep track of, such as Mrs. Strouse in the library, who uses E-Hallpass for everything and has stopped using paper passes entirely. 

Even though this new pass system has made it easier for the staff, it has caused some issues. Ms. Strausser explains, “So far, I have found only one staff member who is not a member in the program. I have a tech request in to have that issue fixed.” For teachers and other staff members, though, the internet connection has occasionally been an issue, according to Mr. Tafel. 

E-Hallpass is an innovative software to make schools safer and go on to a paperless future. According to a blog post on the Eduspire Solutions website, “With e-hallpass, physical security of students is paramount, and the data made available through the application’s reporting features can help administrators and teachers refine their emergency preparedness measures”

In fact, Mrs. Strausser explains that at Nazareth “It also helps during safety drills.  If I have to account for a student who has not been checked in by a teacher, I can check to see if they were out on a pass. This will help me narrow down what part of the building the student might be in. I could use this information to contact one of the teams near that location to find the unaccounted for student.”

Monday, November 4, 2019

OPINION: Election Day Off for Everyone!

By Sydney Daly and Adrianna Wagner

In today’s volatile climate, safety within schools is of utmost priority. The thought of an outsider entering the secure community of a public school is unsettling at the very least. This caused the Nazareth Area School District, as well as some other districts to close on Election Day, granting students a day off.

Image credit: abc57.com

When asked about the decision, NASD Superintendent Dr. Dennis L. Riker stated, "In the past we have only had voting at Butz Elementary School.  This year, voting will also take place at the Middle School. For the safety of our staff and students, I have recommended we close the District for the day."

However, the choice to close districts on Election Day is left entirely to school officials. Hundreds of thousands of students and working-class citizens are required to attend work and school on Election Day. This can prevent them from fulfilling their civic duty because they may not have time to get to the polls. Election Day should be recognized as a National Holiday. Declaring Election Day a holiday could give the citizens preoccupied with daily life the opportunity to vote, as well as ensure the safety of students all across America.

Friday, November 1, 2019

The Sound of New Choral Music

By Graeme Olson

The Nazareth High School chorus program has two new groups starting this year, and it is an exciting time of change for those involved.  

There’s now an auditioned all men’s choir, Men of Nazareth, which rehearses every Tuesday and Thursday after school.  It has 13 male vocalists in its first year of existence.  Choral director Mrs. Kelly Rocchi said her inspiration for starting an all men’s choir was that female members also got attention in Nightingales, while male singers didn’t have the same opportunity.  So, she believes having this all male choir will help male and female singers be “on a level playing field.”

However, Men of Nazareth isn’t the only new group starting in the Nazareth choral program this year.  Cantus, an elite choral group with 16 singers, is an auditioned group that rehearses every F Day during Eagle Block.  It is essentially the replacement for Chorale, the former auditioned co-ed group that rehearsed after school.  Chorale had about 30 members, so Cantus is more exclusive, about half that. 

Cantus perform at Lehigh University. Photo Credit: Kelly Rocchi

Cantus is a particularly elite group, as there are only 4 people for each voice part (soprano, alto, tenor, bass).  And because Cantus typically only meets on F days during Eagle Block, the students must come to each rehearsal having practiced their music.  How is the new group working so far?  In the words of Mrs. Rocchi, “so far so good.”  She says because the singers in Cantus have proper vocal technique, that helps them despite their limited amount of rehearsal time.  

Liam Condon, a member of Cantus, described Cantus as a “very hard working group of people who truly love what they’re doing.” He emphasized the amount of dedication and involvement it takes to be a member of this group.  Since there’s little rehearsal time, everyone has to be more dedicated to practicing.  Cantus has already done two gigs, one of which was called “Night Lights,” which helped raise money for cancer research.  They also sang at the “Joyful Noise” event in Bethlehem, which was a celebration for the city recovering after Bethlehem Steel closed.  Overall, Liam told me that he thinks Cantus will reach its full potential as the year goes on.  

It should be noted that the other new group, Men of Nazareth, is a very new experience for Mrs. Rocchi and the male singers in the group.  Mrs. Rocchi bought an exercise book called “The Resonant Male Singer” that helps male singers with vocal technique.  She says that teaching male singers is very different from teaching the Nightingales, as male singers have different anatomies and deeper voices. Rocchi has focused on helping the group become more resonant singers, with a forward and clear sound.  Their first big event was Saturday, October 12th, where they participated in the “Men of Song” festival at Penn State with high schools all around the area, with well over 200 singers, including the Penn State glee club.

Men of Nazareth enjoying pie. Photo Credit: Kelly Rocchi

 Now, where did the names “Cantus” and “Men of Nazareth” come from anyway?  Rocchi says that “Cantus” is the Latin word for “sing.”  Since a lot of choral music is in Latin, that definitely makes sense.  

Rocchi considered a few possible names for the all-male group, though, and thought about calling them the “Knights,” as the name sounds similar to the Nightingales.  She made clear that many guy group names are pun-oriented, like Crescedudes, so she decided to go with the more powerful and professional-sounding Men of Nazareth. 

Altogether, there are now 6 different vocal groups at Nazareth.  When asked if managing all of them was stressful, Mrs. Rocchi replied quite simply at first: “Yes!”  However, Rocchi believes it is rewarding, and that her experience of teaching for 15 years has helped her out. 

When there are so many different singing groups, organization is key.  Rocchi emphasized that in smaller groups there’s a heightened sense of responsibility for each member; if someone is screwing up, it’s more easily noticeable, so it makes everyone work a bit harder.  She saw that as a positive, but if a few members of a section are missing from rehearsal, that can be detrimental.  

As for the future of the choral program, Rocchi dreams that one day there could be 40 men in the Men of Nazareth group, just like the Nightingales.  However, she feels that Cantus should be kept at 16 members, as the competition means that hopefuls will work harder on their music in order to get in the group.  

It’s an exciting year of change for the Nazareth choral program.  Both of these groups will contribute well in our concerts and events around the community.

Share the Road

By Alora Kutzler and Ian White

Last month, Nazareth Area High School SADD Club held the Share the Road program provided by Walmart. This program taught students how to drive safely around large vehicles.

The truck drivers who ran the program explained the purpose of the program. One driver, Adam, is a professional driver with 21 years of experience and 3 million miles in his career. He explained, "Trucks are on every road, and it's good for all people, especially younger drivers to learn about how to be safe around large trucks."


Nazareth students climbed into the cab and got to look from the truck driver's point of view which gave them insight on blind spots and safe distances from other vehicles. But students also learned that truck drivers do more than just drive. The drivers explained what they see on the highway and how they are trained to react. Students also learned how truck drivers are part of Pennsylvania’s spotted lanternfly campaign; they’re required to inspect their trucks for and of the invasive insects who may be hitching a ride. Addtionally, the Truck drivers also explained how they regularly keep a vigilant eye out for the signs of human trafficking.

Students found the program to be a valuable one. Junior Isaiah Eddings gave his take-home of the event.  He stated, ‘’I found this event very insightful because I learned how to drive around trucks safely. Today I learned many things such as the right side of a truck is the biggest blind spot for the driver.’’  He suggested we “do this for juniors and seniors every year because it helps […] drivers, drive safely around trucks and avoid accidents.’’ 

SADD Club leader Mrs. Frace was pleased with the Walmart truck drivers and the event: “We are surrounded by warehouses nowadays and we cannot avoid trucks on the road, so this event is very helpful and gives a lot of knowledge to not only new drivers but to the experienced driver as well.”

She is already planning next year's event, explaining, “I believe next year we are going to make it mandatory so every gym class brings their juniors down, then we will get everyone involved.”