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Featured Articles: Back to School Issue


Local Congressional race speeds towards November

By Fritz Schemel ’17

While all eyes look toward the presidential race, Westport residents will have another decision to make this November in the Congressional race for Connecticut’s Fourth District. Democratic incumbent Jim Himes will square off against John Shaban, a Republican member of the Connecticut House of Representatives from Redding. Both candidates are considered moderates by their parties. To understand the differences between the two candidates, Inklings took four political issues at the forefront of the national political discussion in 2016 and looked into each candidate’s position on the issues.

The Economy/Government Spending

Shaban’s campaign website says that he is for “fiscal sanity.” He follows generally the Republican model of lower taxes and is against the Affordable Care Act, saying that a one-size-fits-all model for healthcare will not work in a diverse nation such as the United States. Shaban believes that the Affordable Care Act decreases competition and has too many loopholes and exceptions. Shaban is also for raising the retirement age to 70 for anyone his age (51) and lower in order to fix fiscal issues with Social Security.

Himes is for more regulation in the financial market and supports spending money on infrastructure in order to put more Americans back to work. However, Himes has advocated for lowering the national debt and voted for the Simpson-Bowles deficit reduction plan, one of just 38 members of Congress to do so. The plan sought to reduce the debt and reform entitlement programs like Social Security, and was overwhelmingly voted down in 2010.Himes says he wants to save Social Security and rejects any plan to privatize it. He also voted for the Affordable Care Act in 2010.

Foreign Policy

Shaban advocates for a strong military because he says we need to display a “resolute and strong posture” internationally. He is against the Obama administration’s Iran Deal, saying it places too much trust in a nation that he claims is a state-sponsor of terrorism. Shaban says, “like North Korea and Russia, Iran will neither honor the terms of this agreement nor accede to the Administration’s reading of its vague language.”

Himes opposed the war in Iraq and supports removing more troops from Afghanistan. He says that, while we need to defend our country with a strong military, he wants to do so “without bankrupting it.” Himes’ campaign website says will stand “with our allies and will employ every resource at our disposal to deter and confront hostile actors around the world.” He is also for free trade agreements.

Social Issues

Both candidates share similar positions on social issues. They both believe that it is not the government’s right to tell someone what to do in their personal lives. They they both support LGBTQ rights and are pro-choice. Shaban’s website says, “The people in the 50 states can determine how they want their marriage and/or privacy laws to operate – the federal government should play no role in these decisions outside of the established federal Constitutional boundaries.” Himes said in 2012, “Ultimately, everybody wants the same thing: to love and be loved, to raise our children in a stable home, and to have the same protections under the law.”

Gun Control

Shaban, a gun owner, believes in increased gun control as well, but in a limited fashion. He says, “The role of the Federal government in gun violence prevention, while more limited, is in many ways more necessary.”

Himes was a part of the Democratic sit-in earlier this year for increased gun control. He is pro gun control and has advocated for the issue repeatedly as a Congressman. After the sit-in this year, Himes said, “By taking part in this sit-in, the rest of the Connecticut delegation and I are keeping our promise to end the silence and speak out in favor of sensible gun laws.”


Humans of Staples: Lilly Howes ’17

By Anay Simunovic ’18

While many students spent their summer hanging out with friends and tanning at the beach, Lilly Howes ’17 traveled to India with Rustic Pathways. Howes spent a month partaking in various community service projects while at the same time cultivating meaningful relationships.

According to Howes, “Rustic does a really good job at facilitating interactions between people of the native culture and us students that don’t really know much about the area.”

Similarly, in the opinion of Julie Kaplan ’17 who accompanied Howes on the trip, “I like how Rustic immerses you in the culture from the minute you arrive.”

During the first week of the program, Howes worked in a Tibetan Refugee Camp teaching her assigned partner, Lobsang Dolma, English.

Howes was also able to spend some quality time with her partner.

“It was phenomenal to hear the story of a young girl,” said Howes, “who was forced to escape from Nepal and come to India in order to free herself from religious persecution.”

During her travels, Howes lived in two separate homestays located in the Himalayan Mountains. She primarily lived alongside Tibetan refugees and formed close relations with many of them.

“Homestays allow one to learn more about the culture of the native land in a way that’s not just touring around and seeing sites,” she said, “but actually seeing how local families live.”

Although Howes was able to connect with the people of the native land on a personal level, she did admit to sometimes feeling like an ‘outsider’.

“Obviously when you walk you see people staring, turning, and whispering. It’s hard not to feel like an outsider; as an American you stick out a lot.”

—Lilly Howes ’17

However, according to Howes, “Rustic encourages you to attempt to break the classic American stereotype of being loud and disrespectful. This is quite important.”

While reminiscing on one of her last nights, Howes remembers a discussion she had atop of a river boat in Alleppey, India.

“A lot of westerners come into these countries with a savior complex in that they think the people need their help […],” Howes said. “ Savior complexes are detrimental because they perpetuate the idea that Americans stand above everyone else.”

Howes described her time in India as “transformative”.

“Through community service, I received just as much if not more than I gave to the

people who I worked with,” said Howes.

She urges Staples students to venture outside of their comfort zone, “If you have the opportunity to go on a trip like this, definitely do it. I know that this is something I will be doing for the rest of my life.”


Fall Sports Preview

By Cooper Boardman ’17


Following a 7-3 campaign that ended in a state playoff loss to eventual Class LL champion Darien, the Wreckers return a strong senior class that could make an impact in a wide open FCIAC race. The Wreckers were hobbled by injuries a year ago, including a concussion to starting quarterback Andrew Speed ’17 and a torn ACL suffered by star runningback Ethan Burger ’17. Burger will not return in 2016, but Head Coach Marce Petroccio, now in his 24th year at the helm of the program, hopes Elliot Poulley ’17 and Harris Levi ’18 will fill his role in the backfield.

Boys’ Soccer

The Wreckers season ended in heartbreak a year ago, falling to Hall in the first round of the Class LL state tournament in penalty kicks on a rainy November night in West Hartford. The team ended the season with a record of 8-5-5 and put together quality performances against FCIAC powers Darien and Greenwich during the regular season. Like football, the senior class will be vital in the team’s success, led by college-bound players such as Josh Berman ’17 and Spencer Daniels ’17. Staples’ preseason slate also remains one of the strongest in the state, with New York City’s Martin Luther King Jr. High School—who the Wreckers defeated last year—on the docket once again.

Girls’ Soccer

From the first game of the season—a 3-2 loss to Trumbull—the Wreckers were plagued by close losses. Seven of the team’s eight defeats came by two goals or less, including a 1-0 loss to St. Joseph and 2-1 loss to Darien in the first round of the FCIAC and state tournaments, both on goals that came late in the second half. With just two seniors graduating after last year, the Wreckers return a solid offensive attack led by Yale commit Lydia Shaw ’17. The Wreckers have an opportunity to first avenge of of their eight losses when they face Trumbull on September 15.

Field Hockey

A year ago, the Wreckers put together a 10-6-2 season in which they qualified for both the FCIAC and state playoffs, and advanced to the Class L quarterfinal before falling to Conard 1-0 on the road. Staples enters 2016 after suffering key losses, such as New Hampshire-bound Jordan Ragland ’16 and Johns Hopkins goalie Jodie Baris ’16. The team will look to athletic upperclassmen to fill the void, with girls’ lacrosse commits Colleen Bannon ’17 (Lafayette) and Meg Johnson ’18 (Delaware) leading the charge.

Cross Country

For the last four years, nearly every single article on Staples girls’ cross country has featured on name—Hannah DeBalsi. With DeBalsi on her way to Stanford this fall, the Wreckers will look to Susie Martin ’17 who placed third at the FCIAC Championships last year, the best finish from a non-senior in the event. On the boys’ side, Zak Ahmad ’17 is coming off a third place finish at New Balance Nationals in the spring. Along with fellow captain Brian MacCordy ’17, the team will try to fill the void after Brandon Harrington ’17 suffered a foot injury last year and will miss the entirety of XC.

Girls’ Volleyball

A year ago, the Wreckers ran into the juggernaut that is Darien twice in postseason play, and were swept in both matchups by the eventual FCIAC and state champion. This fall, the FCIAC race is expected to be more open, and Staples will look to players such as Reeve Jackson ’17 offensively, who had nine kills in last year’s state tournament victory over Shelton. Princeton track-and-field commit Reece Schachne ’16 has graduated, but the team will have an opportunity to get off to a quality start, with Stamford and Bridgeport Central on the early season schedule, both teams the Wreckers defeated in 2015.

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