The First Two Months of School and… What the Heck Happened?

By Abby Boyle

Ok, so first quarter is over, but what the heck happened in Branford High School in September and October? Every student knows that there has been some major events at Branford High to break up the routine of our everyday lives. And even though we all know the behavior at Branford High can showcase some of the worst in is, there is still plenty of good to be proud of.

The First month

It’s September and we all were dreading coming back to school because, well, it’s school. But we all sucked it up and end up coming back. And we all soon started getting used to our teachers and started to get into the flow of a new year.

Fall sports, and clubs started and it finally started to feel like school again. But when it really started to feel like Branford High was when the first fight/fights occurred. And particularly this year there were fights that happened one after another and seemed to gather more attention than anything else. From the fight in the A-wing to the multiply ones in the cafeteria, and all the other fights that seem to happen, we were all talking about them (because we are teenagers and people broadcast everything).

Yet, after the fights finally cooled down, the topic soon dwindled down and we all kept going through the motions of school.

The Hurricanes

And while we were living or normal lives as teenagers in high school, America was getting hit hard by two major hurricanes that devastated many areas including Florida, Texas and Puerto Rico. That’s when Branford High did something very inspiring – students started to help.

Clubs, and sports all wanted to give back and give help to the victims of hurricane Harvey and Irma. And the way the whole community of Branford helped out was truly inspiring to see.

Student Council, in particular, did a fundraiser where the study body could pay to vote on which teacher they would like to pie in the face. Teachers nominated were, Dr. Chen, Mr. Hinrichs, Ms. Loesche, and Mr. Watts. And with that array of teachers, everyone wanted to donate. The way that we all got involved in donating to the victims was something I personally thought that Branford High could not accomplish. But it was a very pleasing shock to see how Branford students wanted to give back. In the end, the Student Council raised over 100 dollars just in change given by students.

And from that September was soon over and then we entered October.

The Second Month

It was officially Halloween season, but that also means quarter one ending on October 25(yikes). Which means more teachers trying to give in last minute tests, and students freaking out about their grades and begging the teacher for extra credit. It was crunch time in every class, and everyone stressed out to the max(aka me).Then someone how the beginning of October just flew by , and I saw my deadlines getting closer and closer and somehow October 25 came and the world didn’t end.

Everything was ok.

The Bomb Threat

But then it was October 26 and it was technically the “first day” of second quarter and just like out of nowhere, there was a bomb threat. It came as a shock in period 3 when Mr. Panagoulias came on the loudspeaker and told us all to remain silent, walk single file down to the football field, and to NOT go to our lockers.

We all knew nothing about the situation but we could tell that it was not a drill. You heard people saying through the halls a lot of unfounded theories – “It’s a shooter” “There was a bomb at East Haven” “He has a gun to his head.”

But mostly kids were saying “Lol, who cares at least we get to leave this hell hole.”

Then in a matter of 5 minutes the whole school was on the football field and scrambling around asking friends and teachers about what is going on. Soon after, Mr. Panagoulias came back on the loudspeaker and said: “Branford High has got a call from someone saying that they will bomb the school. So as a matter of precautions, we need to evacuate the building, and head to Walsh.”  Cue the screams of joy from the entire student body.

And even though everyone was soo excited to leave school, the fact that someone threatened to bomb our school is an extremely terrifying thought. A situation like this has never happened to Branford High, and even though most bomb threats are a “joke” it still doesn’t mean that this one could have been serious.

In the world we are living in today you don’t joke about situations like this, and no matter what your view is on the situation everyone knows that we live in a scary world, with terrible people in it. And even though everything ended up ok, no one knew what was going to happen in the moment.

So not matter if you thought the situation was scary, or a complete joke I’m sure many students will not forget this memory.

But the building was searched and we got the OK from the police that we could re-enter the building.

Finally Halloween

On October 27 we all had to come back to school and live our regular lives and somehow keep moving on. Which we did. Sports teams still met, teachers still gave out test, and we all had to keep going.

Then on October 30 we all woke up to no school due to a wind storm that hit the East Coast the night before. It was a bittersweet feeling for most because we get a freebie from school, but we now are getting out on June 1st instead of May 31. As of now.

But again Branford High had to keep going on the next day. It was Halloween and we didn’t let anything from keeping us from dressing up. And this year’s array of costumes were pretty interesting. We even got one sophomore dress up in a full T-Rex outfit. So that’s a win for Branford High right there.

And Halloween was a very interesting day at Branford High, we had an array of costumes, teachers giving out candy, and…. another fight.


But that’s just Branford High, we have our ups, but we also have our downs. And just think that all of what was talked about was just in the first two months. Just think what is going to happen in the next two months, or the rest of the year.

Let’s hope that we have more ups than downs for the rest of the year.


Studying for the SAT: Tips for Juniors

By Danni Dunlop

Juniors have just under a week left for preparation to take possibly one of the biggest tests they may ever take.  The SAT is set to be taken Wednesday, April 5th.

Many students feel that studying for the SAT is a big affair and don’t know exactly where to start.  After you learn about the structure of the test and figure out which section you need most improvement in, follow a few of these steps:

1.) Set a Goal for Yourself

Setting goals are my greatest motivation.  Ever want to score a goal or hit a homerun in a sport?  Most likely, you’d practice over and over again until you reach that goal.  Treat the SAT the same way; Look up the top 3 colleges you are interested in getting accepted into and see their SAT score requirements.  Trust me, you’d be so motivated to score that perfect score to get into your favorite college.

2.) Take Practice Tests

Most practice tests are very similar to the real deal SAT.  It could never hurt to give it a try; Then you could see where you need to focus most. Don’t forget to score yourself on the practice test and review what you got incorrect. Click here to start practicing.

3.) Get to know the Vocabulary used

Remember being in the middle of reading the passages from the PSAT sophomore year and questioning yourself “What the heck does that word mean?” or “Is that even a word?”  If you struggled with the vocabulary used in the PSAT, it’d probably be best to familiarize yourself more with it by taking a couple SAT vocabulary word tests.

4) Get Plenty of Sleep the Night before

Don’t stay up tearing away your brain by studying all night the night before.  It’s best to spread your studying out over time rather than cramming it all in the night before.  The morning of the test, you should feel alert and confident, not tired and crabby due to lack of sleep.

5) Eat a healthy breakfast

Eat a good breakfast filled with protein.  Eating foods with protein is always the way to go to start of your day.  Don’t show up to the SAT with an empty stomach;  You’ll most likely get hungry and be focusing on your stomach growling rather than the test.

6) Be prepared: Make a check-list

Make sure you know what classroom to report to on April 5th and that you have the right materials you need. Do you have two #2 pencils?  What about the right kind of calculator?  Make a check list to help better prepare and organize yourself prior to taking the SAT.  Put a note on the door to remind you of the things you need.

7.) Don’t Stress

Though it’s more easier said than done, don’t freak out.  Sometimes the more you stress, the less successful you will be. If you reach a question that you don’t know the answer to, skip it and go back to it later. Never leave a question unanswered; You are not deducted points for getting a question incorrect so always go with your gut and take your best guess.

Good luck to the class of 2018 on taking the SAT and to the sophomore class on taking the CAPT test.

What are you doing to get ready for the SAT? Let us know in the comments or @Branfordbuzz on Twitter.

Homecoming Proposals at their Finest

Maddy Rowe asked the “guy that has her eye,” Nick Rosario, to Homecoming.
Sarah Marsland asked Richie Loftis to the dance in this adorable way.

By Danni Dunlop

The Homecoming dance is one of the most important events you get to experience in high school: It’s a night full of fun spent with your most favorite people.

The dance is being held tonight from 7:00-10:00 p.m and is themed where “girls-ask-guys.”  The Sadie Hawkin’s theme was rediscovered four years ago at Branford High School; the theme gives girls a chance to twist things up and ask guys to be their dates in their own unique way.

When I was thinking of ways to ask a guy to homecoming, I looked up ways girls had asked guys to homecoming before.  While doing this I saw things like: throwing a football with the statement “Tackle homecoming with me,” poster-making with cute quotes, sticky-noting the guy’s car and even asking through food (my personal favorite.)  Nobody could deny that food is the key to everyone’s heart.

This whole week I saw on social media all the ways some of our own classmates asked guys to the dance and I picked out a couple that stood out to me.

As I talked to some of the girls who were brave enough to ask someone, a load of them said that they were nervous prior to asking.

Maddy Rowe, a Senior asked Nick Rosario to Homecoming with a poster that read “You’re the guy that has my eye. Now let’s fly at hoco.”  The thing that stood out to me about this proposal was the rhyme scheme.

There were also a couple brave souls who weren’t nervous to ask at all.

Sarah Marsland, a junior asked her good friend, Richie Loftis to the dance in Spanish class.

“I wasn’t nervous because we all kind of know each other and get along in that class, so it wouldn’t of been too embarrassing if he said no,” said Sarah.

Homecoming tickets continue to be on sale today during lunch waves and also at the door for 7 dollars.  Seniors are always free, of course!

Yale Model Congress

By Branford Buzz Staff

Over 90 students from Branford High School attended the 26th annual Yale Model Congress  December 1st through the 4th. Many of those 90 students were freshmen/newbies with some returnees. Many of the newcomers to Branford’s Model Congress Club learned first-hand how the group works in the matter of making and debating bills in committee and full sessions.

The Branford Model Congress delegates never fail to bring back home some awards. This year a total of 13 were brought back home from YMC. Two gavels and best delegate was awarded to Sean Williams and Solenne Smith; six honorable mentions in committee to Joshua Josephy-Zack, John Perrotti (Full Session), Marguax Lux, Therese Ziakas, and Dalton Childs; best legislation awarded to Victoria Kerstgens, Viktoria Sinani, Jack Nelson, Dylan Campos, and John Perrotti; and Rebecca Criscuolo was given an award for best oral argument from Supreme Court.

Besides conquering the conference the numerous awards won, senior, Spencer Mariotti, was elected president of YMC. Mariotti was join by Ryan McCarthy in the presidential cabinet, side by side they were faced with crisis and took on challenges, such as climate change, that most politicians now will not discuss, let alone solve.

Homecoming Kickoff Week Activities Set

By Danni Dunlop

It’s time to get pumped for a fun-filled week leading up to the Thanksgiving Break. The week-long events kickoff on Wednesday, Nov. 16.

In anticipation of Homecoming Week, the hornet will pop into random classrooms Tuesday.  The hornet will be going in different classrooms handing out flyers to help distribute the news about Homecoming Week.

Thanks to Student Council, Homecoming week is a week to show our school spirit while participating in different activities and spirit days.

On Wednesday everyone gets the opportunity to have their picture taken with the school’s official mascot, the hornet.  The hornet will be sitting in front of a special backdrop in the commons from 5th period through 7th period waiting for people to take a selfie with it.

If you like to play ping pong and are good at it, give a donation and have the chance to play in a tournament on Friday during lunch waves.  On Thursday Student Council members will have a table set up in the commons to collect the donations and enter your name in the contest.  A couple lucky people from each grade will get their name picked out of a hat and get to participate in the activity. During first lunch, freshmen will play against sophomores and during second lunch, juniors will play against seniors.  All money raised supports the Diabetes Foundation in memory of a former coach at BHS, Scott Jenkins, who passed away in July.

On Monday the 21st, students will get to see a couple of teachers get hit in the face by a pie by some fellow classmates during lunch waves.  Also going on that day, there is a knock-out basketball tournament happening after school from 2:30 to 4 p.m.  If interested, speak to Mr. Hernandez.

The Annual Dodgeball Tournament will be held after school on Tuesday from 2:30 to 4 p.m.  Also after school, class officers are going to be setting up for a unique event, “Locker Wars.”  This event helps boost school spirit while adding a little competition.  The class officers of each grade will be assigned a color to decorate grade’s locker bays and which ever grade decorates the best wins.  The winners will be announced in school the next day.

There will be a poster party for the Junior and Senior girls who are participating in the Powderpuff Flag Football game from 4 to 6 p.m. in the small gym Tuesday night.  The Powderpuff game will be from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday.

Various clubs will be set up in the commons selling food and drinks to raise funds, too.  So come out and enjoy the last day before Thanksgiving Break!

Here is the list of dress up days corresponding to each day of Homecoming Week:

Wednesday 11/16- Hawaiian day

Thursday 11/17- Twin day

Friday 11/18- Hippie day

Monday 11/21- Pajama day

Tuesday 11/22- USA day

Wednesday 11/23- School colors day

Goodbye Summer, Hello School

By Danni Dunlop

You know school is right around the corner when you start to see back to school supplies on shelves in stores.

Even though everyday isn’t a vacation day anymore, there are many things to look forward to when going back to school; especially as an upperclassman. At Branford High School, today is the first day of the 2016-2017 school year.

“I’m looking forward to my classes, prom, football games and being with friends,” said Kayla Dolishny, an incoming junior at BHS.

With all the fun of finally being an upperclassman, there also comes a lot of hard work. They have things to prepare for such as the PSAT and SAT, the entry test for most colleges.

The results of last school year’s SAT were released earlier this month. About 62 percent of BHS students who took the test met or exceeded English standards while 34 percent did the same for math.

Lee Panagoulias, principal at BHS said that “Right now we are in the process of analyzing the information from the PSAT and SAT’s to identify trends that will affect instructional practices, curriculum, and assessments.”

Within the first month of school, teachers will have the opportunity to review the data sent in from the College Board in collaborative teams.

“It is by far going to be my most difficult year, but it is going to be a good challenge for me,” said Melissa Brennan, another junior at BHS.

As an upperclassman, you also start to see how fast school is going by without realizing it.

“I’m so excited for senior year!” said Rebecca Criscuolo. “The past three years flew by so fast and I can’t believe I’m starting my last year of high school.”

This school year will go by even quicker with Branford being scheduled to get out on June 2nd.

Good luck to all students this school year!

To read more from The Buzz, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @BranfordBuzz and Instagram @bhsbuzz.

Spring 2016 Sports Roundup- and What’s Going on with the Turf?

By Matilda Kreider

First, you must have noticed that the turf and track at BHS are pretty much… gone. On June 6th, crews began the process of tearing up and replacing the James MacVeigh Athletic Complex’s turf field and track. The $750,000 project should be completed by mid-August, in time for the start of fall sports.

The school year has ended, and so have most of the state tournaments for spring sports. Here’s how the Hornets’ seasons turned out.

Autumn McHenry and Lanle Crotty playing against Hand Credit: (Peter Hvizdak - New Haven Register) May 16th, 2016
Autumn McHenry and Lanle Crotty playing against Hand
Credit: (Peter Hvizdak – New Haven Register) May 16th, 2016

Girls Lacrosse

The girls lacrosse team lost its first game of the season.. and then won the next 12 straight. They posted a regular season record of 14-2 and were seeded #3 in the SCC tournament, although they lost in the semifinal round to #2 seed Cheshire. The team was then seeded #2 in the Class M State Tournament and beat Brookfield and East Lyme before losing 15-6 to #6 New Canaan in the semifinal round. New Canaan went on to win the championship. Girls lax finished with an impressive record of 16-4.

Boys Lacrosse

The boys lacrosse team split its regular season to end up with a solid 8-8 record. This was enough to give the team a berth into the qualifying round of the Class M State Tournament as the #14 seed, but their season was cut short when they lost 4-3 to Pomperaug, the #19 seed. The boys finished with an 8-9 record and some memorable victories.

Boys Tennis

Led by eventual state champions Dan O’Neill and Miles Conlin and state finalist Matt Sachs, the boys tennis team had a great season. The team won its first 8 matches straight and then finished with a record of 10-7. Matt Sachs was the runner-up of the Class M singles, losing to Guilford’s Evan Powell in the final round. Miles Conlin and Dan O’Neill beat Eric Benninghoff and Ishan Mirchandani of Weston to win the Class M doubles. With many strong competitors from all grades, the team took 2nd place in the Class M State Tournament.

O'Neill, head coach Matt Fraezna, Conlin, and Sachs; Photo Credit: zip06, June 2nd
O’Neill, head coach Matt Fraezna, Conlin, and Sachs; Photo Credit: zip06, June 2nd

Girls Tennis 

The girls tennis team went 8-9 on the season, posting many great wins along the way. While this wasn’t enough to give them a shot in the Class M State Tournament, they were only one seed away from making it, and it was a great season nonetheless.

Girls Track & Field

The girls track team had a great run this season, finishing with a 10-1 record, and stood out in the postseason. Finishing 4th at the SCC West Sectional Meet, 7th at the SCC Championship Meet, and 5th at the Class MM State Championship Meet, the team also had many individual winners. Etta Hanlon won the long jump at the West Sectional Meet. Notably, at the Class MM Meet, Claira Janover won the triple jump (35 feet 5 inches) and came in third in the 100 hurdles (16:01), Cyrene Nicholas came in third in the 1,600 meter run (5:22:05), and Bridget Wirtz came in third in the pole vault (9-06). Also, Keira Integlia took fourth in the javelin throw (104-10), Issy Bysiewicz took fifth in the 300 meter hurdles (50.85), Taylor Brown took sixth in the pole vault (9-0), and Gerling Daniels took seventh in the 100 meter dash (12.84). Janover, Nicholas, Wirtz, Integlia, and Bysiewicz all competed in the State Open, and some athletes will compete in the heptathlon and other events this week.

Boys Track & Field

Having lost a large group of senior runners in the Class of 2015, the boys team had to work even harder this year, finishing with a 4-7-1 record. The team took 6th at the SCC West Sectional Meet, 17th at the SCC Meet, and 20th at the Class MM Meet. Notable standouts included Kory King and Seraphin Tala in the hurdling and jumping events; at the Class MM Meet, King took 2nd in the 110 meter hurdles (15:48) and 7th in the 300 meter hurdles (42.51) and Tala took 8th in the 300 meter hurdles (42:81). King won the 110 hurdles at the West Sectional Meet and will compete in the decathlon this week.


In girls soccer coach Jen Kohut’s first season as head coach, the golf team went 14-6 on the season and took 12th in the Division II State Meet. Ryan Sember led the team at that meet by shooting a 79 to come in 9th place. Sember shot an 81 to come in 10th at the SCC Meet, while Liam Deane shot a 92. Other frequent low-scorers included Joe Reilly, Mike Annunziata, and Jason Brennan. Sophomore EJ Lee was the lone girl on the team and consistently performed as the No. 6 shooter.  Sember was given the honor of being a member of the All-State Golf Team.

Marisa Minore Credit: zip06
Marisa Minore, Credit: zip06


Having lost 6 senior starters in the class of 2015, the softball team had some rebuilding to do. Freshman Sophia Araneo stepped in on the mound and finished the season with 5 wins under her belt; junior Olivia Datre threw one game against Cross and won that game. After a rough start to the season that left the squad 2-14 in the middle of May, the team pulled together to win its last 4 games and finish at 6-14. While this was not enough to make the state tournament, the team had an exciting last week, including taking 6-2 win over Sheehan after losing 11-2 to the same team earlier in the week.


The baseball team finished the season with a regular season record of 9-11 and was undefeated in Oronoque division play by beating Cross, Career, North Haven, and East Haven twice each. Also notable was a 3-2 victory over Hand early in the season. Facing the #2 seed Hamden- a team having a record season- in the SCC opener, the team dropped a close 5-4 decision. Looking on to the Class L state tournament, the #30 seeded team faced the #3 seed Wilcox Tech but didn’t go down without a fight, losing 3-2. Still, it’s always an exciting season when the team makes both postseason tournaments!


Student Council Picnic Returns This Year

By Meghan Cusack

After the three-year hiatus, the Student Council picnic – or “Salapalooza” – will be returning to Branford High School this Friday.

For those who are not aware of what “Salapalooza” is, it is an end of the year picnic run by Student Council. The picnic consists of games, obstacle courses, and of course, food. The event started back in 1997 by Student Council member, Scott Merrick, with the help of the council’s advisor, Mr. Sal Zarra. It was originally a picnic during an extended lunch period that transformed into a large scale event that included an extended menu and, at one point, softball games. The picnic went on every year until 2013. It was cancelled then because administration said they were unable to properly supervise it.

This year, Student Council has made it a priority to bring back the picnic. Through fundraising efforts, such as the compatibility surveys, they have been able to raise the funds necessary to put on this function.

Salapalooza, which is also called the Student Council picnic, will take place Friday, June 3.

It will be held during the school day for a 70 minute lunch period.

The event will include a 65 foot obstacle course, lawn games, such as: frisbee, washers, corn hole, etc. For food, watermelon will be provided by Lenny’s and the Italian ice from Libby’s; along with that, there will be cold beverages provided as well. Mr. Sal Zarra said that “[he is] happy to bring back this event which is enjoyable for the faculty and the students and contributes to a more caring community. You can never spend enough time or share enough love with the people you care about.” The school community is interested to see that

Mr. Sal Zarra said that “[he is] happy to bring back this event which is enjoyable for the faculty and the students and contributes to a more caring community. You can never spend enough time or share enough love with the people you care about.” The school community is interested to see that

The school community is interested to see that Salapalooza is coming back. The underclassmen have never experienced this event until this coming Friday.Maddie Oberempt, a sophomore, said that she “think[s] it will be fun, but just wishes that it was longer.” Salapalooza should be a great experience for all the members of the school community as they all celebrate together one last time before the conclusion of the school year.

Maddie Oberempt, a sophomore, said that she “think[s] it will be fun, but just wishes that it was longer.” Salapalooza should be a great experience for all the members of the school community as they all celebrate together one last time before the conclusion of the school year.

What do you think about the return of the Student Council Picnic? Let us know in the comments or via Twitter @branfordbuzz.

Spring Pep Rally is Back in Action

By Danni Dunlop

The last week before April vacation ends with the gathering of the Branford High School community at the Spring Pep Rally.  After last year’s upset at the cancellation of the spirit-filled event, the teams are ready to take on the floor yet again.

Many students and athletes were frustrated last year that the Spring Pep Rally was cancelled last year in the first place.

Mr. Lee Panagoulias, BHS Principal, said he met up with all the team captains last year beforehand to come up with a plan for the pep rally since it is really all up to the students.

According to Panagoulias, the students were unable to come up with a plan on time.  So the administration just held off the Spring Pep Rally, he said.  He is glad that all participants of the Pep Rallies came back stronger this year. This year’s pep rally will follow the same format it has been for years – student skits and speeches.

Participants of the event last year were really confused and frustrated about the reason why their Pep Rally had been cancelled because of other people’s mistakes.

“I thought it was kind of unfair and annoying they cancelled it because of one team doing something that Spring sports had nothing to do with,” said Zane Kmietek, a sophomore on the varsity baseball team.

But on the bright side, students are filled with happiness that the school-wide event is back for good.

“I’m really glad administration gave us another chance to bring back school spirit,” said Katie Massey, senior co-captain of the BHS varsity softball team.

Best of luck to all the teams this season. Go Hornets!

Register to Vote in School Tomorrow- Your Vote Matters Now More than Ever

By Matilda Kreider

In anticipation of Connecticut’s primary election on April 26th, BHS students and faculty/staff have the opportunity to register to vote in school tomorrow, Tuesday, April 5th. To be eligible to register, one must be 18 or older by November 8th and bring a valid ID or license. Registration will take place in the student center during lunch waves.

As we all know, this has been a fiercely divisive election season with a lot of media and social media commentary on the candidates. As always, who you vote for will impact your life, not just for the next four years but for all the years following.

Voter turnout has been trending downward over the last 40 years, with less than 60% of eligible voters turning out for the 2012 general election. It’s your constitutional right- be proud to have it and use it!

Register tomorrow, do your research, think it through, and then do your civic duty and head out to the polls on April 26th. You owe it your nation and to yourself.

Voter registration will take place in the student center Tuesday, April 25th. To register, one must be 18 or older by November 8th and bring a valid ID/license. If you miss your chance tomorrow, there’s still plenty of time to head over to