Tag Archives: Soundings

Roundup: Mindful Drinking, Car Thefts, Olympics …

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It’s no secret that alcohol consumption has soared during the pandemic.

What is a secret is that few people have talked about it.

Westport Together — the town’s health and wellness alliance — wants that to change.

On February 17 (7 p.m., Zoom), they’re sponsoring an online roundtable discussion. “Mindful Drinking: Reimagining Our Alcohol Habits & How They Impact Our Relationships” includes local residents talking about the role of alcohol in Westport culture, and its impact on ourselves and friends.

Click here for more information, and to register.

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Yesterday morning at 7:40, a car was stolen from the Playhouse Square parking lot. It was soon involved in an accident near the office building across from Fire Department headquarters, though the car thief escaped.

Around the same time, a wallet was stolen from a vehicle parked near Trader Joe’s.

In both cases, the cars were unlocked. The vehicle that was stolen had the key fob inside.

These incidents are astonishingly common in Westport. For a town that prides itself on its schools, the simple lesson of “lock your vehicle — and take the fob with you!” seems to take waaaaay too long to sink in.

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Calling all Olympics fans — especially those who follow Westport’s own Julia Marino:

The silver medalist snowboarder has one event left: big air.

Qualifiers are set for this Sunday (February 13), 8:30 p.m. EST, on NBC or USA. However, that may be pushed back to Monday morning at 12:30 a.m., due to Super Bowl coverage.

The big air finals are Monday (February 14), 8:30 p.m. on NBC.

Go for the gold, Julia! (Hat tip: Matthew Mandell)

NBC’s split screen last weekend showed Julia Marino in China, and the Marino family and friends in Westport. (Screenshot/Jeanine Esposito)

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For over 75 years, “Soundings” and “QED” have published Staples High School students’ prose, poetry, artwork, photography and more.

The publications have won many awards — including most recently 1st place in the American Scholastic Press Association’s national contest. The publications show off our town’s teenage talent, and inspire countless students to find careers in the literary and visual arts.

For the past couple of years — for reasons both economic (budgets) and medical (COVID) — the magazines have been digital only.

Yet editors and readers know there is something special — still — about print.

To publish on paper, they need money. It’s not a lot — just $3,000 — but they’ve asking for help. Via GoFundMe.

Click here to contribute. And if you need a few dozens reasons why this is important, click here for “Soundings”‘ website.

Make sure you’ve got time, though. Those 7 decades of archives won’t read themselves.

A page from the 1983 “Soundings.”

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It’s a lone little tree, stuck in a tiny park with no name on the windy walkway from Old Mill Beach to Compo Cove.

But it’s proud. And these days, the mini-tree is sprouting a special Valentine’s Day heart (and garlands).

Love is truly where you find it.

(Photo/Tracy Porosoff)

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George Billis Gallery hosts an opening reception tomorrow (Saturday, February 12, 4:30 to 6 p.m.) for its new show. Adam Noel and Karen Recor are the featured artists, at the Main Street space.

Adam Noel, in his studio.

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Gregg Tenser writes: “Some mornings, I found my bird feeder on the ground. I wondered: Did we have a bear?

“Apparently not. Tonight i busted the culprit.”

And there it is — in all its “Westport … Naturally” glory.

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And finally … happy 60th birthday, Sheryl Crow!

Soundings Celebrates 75 Years Of Staples Creativity

The history of Staples High School is littered with student clubs that sounded like a good idea at the time.

Like the Rifle Club.

Proctors (who sniffed out classmates for things like smoking), and the Student Court (which then handed down punishments).

Fraternities and sororities. (Okay, they were not official clubs. But they got a lot of space in the yearbook.)

Many clubs reflect their times. One day, a club called “Girls Who Code” (2021) may sound as dated as “Aid to Biafra” (1970s) does today.

But for 75 years, Soundings has been a staple at Staples High School.

That’s right. For three-quarters of a century — more than half the existence of the school itself — Soundings has served as Staples’ creative literary magazine. It’s evolved a bit, of course: Photography, art and video have been added to the original prose and poetry. And it’s now published online.

But much else is just as it was when the first issue appeared, early in the Truman administration. Students meet after school. They pore over submissions. Then they design, lay out and produce a magazine that showcases the creativity of their peers.

When the staff realized that a landmark anniversary loomed, they decided to look back. They dug into past issues, stored in the school library. Individual students researched different years; together, members voted on what to include in the special edition.

Advisor Kim Herzog calls those back issues “a time capsule of student voices.” They show the great degree to which young writers are influenced by the times in which they live — war or peace, prosperity or recession, political fervor or calm.

In 1968, Joan Goodman wrote and illustrated a piece called “In White America.” The next year featured ’60s-influenced art by Jill Coykendall, and a poem from Elizabeth Hughes.

Writing styles too have waxed and waned. At times, poetry thrived. Other years, there was little of it.

Herzog was struck though by the “vast creativity” that spans all 75 years, and many mediums.

The 75th edition includes over 150 stories, photos and drawings. Every year is represented (except 1973, 1990 and 2006 — no copies could be found.)

The very first Soundings is represented by a poem about an atom bomb, a drawing by Ric von Schmidt (who later became a nationally known artist), and a lament on the lack of sex, religious, philosophy and political education at Staples.”

The first issue in 1947 featured art by Ric von Schmidt.

Co-editor Julian Fiore says that “this outlet of creativity that has survived through 75 years is certainly worth celebrating.”

Reading the archives, he met “young activists, storytellers, poets, artists, graphic designers and more.”

Stories were “wildly different.” One writer described sacrificing oneself for the one you love most; others wrote about obsessions and fire trucks. Each was unique.

The editor found much to relate to, including a 1993 piece about “A Day in the Life of a Junior” (he found it “shockingly accurate an incredibly amusing,”), and a much older story — from 1952 — about the problem with Staples drinking fountains.

The artist of this fascinating 1983 work is unknown.

“The magazines were full of true and and unfiltered student voices,” Julian says. “This showed me the complexity of our student body — the varying passions, perspectives and ideas that exist within this community.”

Nothing lasts for 75 years without a few close calls. A few years ago, for example, the magazine was ready to go to press. Suddenly, it was discovered that then-superintendent Colleen Palmer had cut printing funds from the budget. Then-principal James D’Amico found money for that year.

There is no longer any money for hard copies. But a Staples PTA Mini-Wrecker grant has allowed the entire archives to be digitized. Click here to see each volume.

COVID made this year’s issue especially tough to produce. Most of the work was done remotely. But, Herzog says, it was “a labor of love” by the staff.

To see the fruits of their labor, click here.

By 2014 and ’15, Soundings added color and photography. Those years are represented by Emma Moskovit, Bridget van Dorsten, Noa Wind and Caroline O’Kane.