Cathedral Prep 2015-16 School Year in Review

Another school year is winding down, and another group of seniors has taken their last pass through the halls of Cathedral Prep. They spent their last four years in this building, growing and bonding together as brothers. But it’s time for them to move on to bigger and better things, making their school proud along the way. Their were plenty of great moments throughout the year, leaving them with memories they will carry through the rest of their lives.

Obviously there are plenty of seniors that will be missed next year. James Kolakowski left his mark on nearly everyone’s Prep experience. The morning weather will never be the same without him standing in front of the green screen. Sean Reed is also known notoriously throughout the school. Whether it was tearing his ACL in school during his junior year or scoring the game-winning goal against McDowell in D10 soccer, he left his mark on many of the students in the school.

The faculty has undergone a number of changes since the end of last school year. Prep legends, Mr. Mezler and Mr. Scharrer, left at the end of last year, leaving two huge gaps in the the Prep roster. Students were left wondering who their replacements would be, and were more then happy to meet Lion and Mr. Baltzer, who have filled in perfectly. Students also saw new teachers like Mr. Viera leading the music department, Dr. Buczek teaching Latin, and Mrs. Lasky teaching computer science. Finally, the school parted ways with long time chef Frank Cirillo, who will be dearly missed by the student body who enjoyed his lunches for years.

In sports, Cathedral Prep sports again proved its dominance throughout Northwestern Pennsylvania. This includes D10 title victories over McDowell in both soccer and lacrosse. The basketball team proved many of the doubters wrong this year. Down one in the D10 title game with less than a second remaining, Charlie Fessler hit a buzzer beater to win, pushing them into the state tournament. They ended up making a run to the AAA state Final 4, before losing to a great Archbishop Carroll squad. The hockey team also had an outstanding season, bringing home the AA state hockey title back to Erie for the first time in 18 years. The baseball team continues their success after a D10 victory over Slippery Rock. The Ramblers play again next Monday against Montour and appear primed to make a state title run themselves.

This year has been very memorable for teachers and students alike. This senior class will be remembered as one of the most outgoing groups the school has seen. The juniors have big shoes to fill next year but should be more than up to the challenge.

Study shows some negative effects of homework

One of the most controversial subjects that students like to argue about is homework. Rumors that homework doesn’t do anything, or that it makes things worse are often seen as excuses by teachers, but do student complaints have any weight to them?

Traditionally, homework is seen as a concept that helps students retain information they’ve learned in class at home. The fact is that the mind likes to learn through repetition. There indeed is some evidence that the mind can understand concepts better by going over it multiple times. Traditionally, homework is a good thing. It helps students rather than hurting them. Teachers have had no problem enforcing this rule over the years since most students obediently complete their work anyway.

Last year, however, a Stanford research study showed that homework might have some counterproductive aspects as well. People who spend too much time on homework appear to experience more stress, physical health problems, and even a slight lack of balance in society compared to people who may not be so dedicated to their work. Through a period of investigation and study into the subject, there have been a few major points that show the downfall of the concept.

Reductions in health
The major point of how homework can affect one’s health is indirect, although for some students, it is very apparent. Sleep deprivation is something that shows very often in colleges. While it does not show as much in high schools, it still exists in some people who take longer to do their work compared to others.

Less time for social pursuits
Both survey data and student responses show that spending too much time on homework means students cannot develop outside of school. Socializing is another skill that students need, and it is something that schools cannot teach traditionally. Homework takes away time from this kind of development.

Many students consider homework a primary source of stress. Homework is often a big part of a student’s grade. For some teachers, homework may be an even bigger part of a student’s grade than tests or quizzes. In such a class, there is no option to not do the homework without risking failure. The survey from Stanford states that 43 percent of students believe that homework is indeed a primary stressor, while they should be stressed about more important things going on in their life.

All in all, homework isn’t inherently bad. Even through all of the side-effects, it still might help students with the subjects they are learning in classes.

The one question left at the end, however, remains: “Is it worth it?

Senior staff of The Rambler bids farewell

For the past four years, the seniors of Cathedral Prep have been through some of the best and worst times of their lives. They’ve trudged along through the thick and the thin. Freshman year seems decades ago, yet the memories remain as vivid as they were when first experienced. We all will tell our kids and our kids’ kids about all of the friendships and memories made through these brief few years. We’ve traveled far and wide and cheered long and hard for the Ramblers, and in the end, whether we won or lost, the brothers still stuck together and had each brother’s back.

The senior staff of The Rambler for the 2014-15 year consisted of Daniel Bauman, Eli Chase, Jack Kelly, Jack Kloecker, Sean Reed, Ed Ruff, Ryan Signorino, Oliver Wiesner, and me. On behalf of all of them, I want to thank all of the teachers and friends we’ve made during these past four years. All of the enjoyment and excitement we’ve experienced, inside and outside of the halls of Cathedral Prep, is a result of the relationships we formed during the time we spent here. From the football games and legendary basketball cheering sections to the legendary fettuccine Alfredo cooked by Chef Cirillo, we’ve been through it all. I know its generic, but if we were able to change a thing, I don’t think any of us would.

Now while our careers at Prep may have seemed brief in terms of time, it was far from that in terms of knowledge and memories. Just as Fr. Jabo preached at our freshman orientation, “It’s not a four-year decision, but a 40-year decision.” As it all comes to an end in our last days of school together, it doesn’t actually come to an end. While the brothers might disperse and take different paths down different roads with different people, the brotherhood won’t be going anywhere. The Cathedral Prep Class of 2015 will continue to make new memories and even new friends as we leave the hallways of Prep, but one thing will remain; we will always be brothers.

Prep student body participates in day of service

CD7sQZkUkAAZXZ1The three principles that Prep is built on are well-known: spirit, mind, and body. However, a fourth could easily be added to that list because of the huge emphasis placed on it while students are at Prep. That other aspect is service. Service is an important part of Prep’s identity because it allows students to put their faith into action and to live out the call of the Gospel to love one another through our actions.

Throughout the year it is each student’s responsibility to do 25 service hours either out in the community, through their Church, or at Prep. All four classes also need 5 specific hours as part of those 25 in a specific field, such as sick and elderly for seniors or kids for sophomores. That means, by the time every student that attends Prep graduates, they will have completed at least 100 hours of service, which is absolutely astounding.

In addition to the thousands of hours of service done by Prep students each year, there is one day where every student participates and helps out the community, known as Outreach Day. This year Outreach Day was May 1. Students are split into many different groups and each group decides on a different non-profit organization to assist during the day. In total, Cathedral Prep students served 17 organizations throughout the Erie and Crawford Country areas.

CD7qIzBUgAEVdOaThe whole concept of Outreach Day is to put into practice what all the students learn in theology class: the meaning of service through the Gospel. The point of the day is to put others’ needs first and to serve our brothers and sisters in the community through service. It doesn’t matter what kind of service is done because as long as it is serving someone other than ourselves, it is important.

Some of the places that received the help of Prep students during Outreach Day were Pfeiffer Burleigh School, Asbury Woods, Erie Children’s Museum, Emmaus Soup Kitchen, Frontier Park, and Presque Isle. The track team was unfortunately unable to participate during the schoolwide Outreach Day Event, but they organized their own 5-hour Outreach Day.

CD7ySVRUUAEs7VrSenior Dominic Quirk spent his Outreach Day working at the soup kitchen and reading to kids. He said it was very enjoyable, and the kids were very fun to hang out with. He enjoyed it because the kids seemed to look up to all the Prep students, and it seemed like he was helping them stay true to themselves. Junior Dan Chastant worked at Presque Isle, cleaning up the beach of debris and driftwood. “Even though it is really hard work, you can see how much better the beach looks compared to before you start, and it makes you feel incredibly accomplished,” he said. He also added that it is awesome to be able to provide service by cleaning up the beach so it is clean for visitors while also helping out the environment by keeping it clean.

Another cool project some students got to participate in for their Outreach Day was to help out the Prep Advancement Department. The students in the group were given the task of calling alumni that have donated to Prep and Villa and thanking them for their donation. Calling the donors allows them to hear from Prep students themselves just how much their donations means to the school.

CD68YlYVAAArQtSAll things considered, Outreach Day was a huge success, not only for the students and Prep faculty participating, but also for the numerous organizations that received service from the Prep family. The day is always an enjoyable experience for all the students, and everyone no doubt is looking forward to many more successful Outreach Days in the future.

How to attack the AP tests

Ah, spring. It’s that time of year again. Days are getting longer and sweatshirts are being replaced with tank tops. Students are beginning to show a lighter, happier attitude in the halls. With this change in the environment comes the week all AP students have awaited: testing week. The tests this year took place during the first two weeks of May, leaving students with the whole year to prepare. The culmination of all the homework and practice tests has hopefully prepared the students more then enough to lead them to achieve a top score of a 5.

AP testing has become more prevalent in the past 5 years. Administration has began pushing the test onto students through incentives like dress downs and luncheons, attempting to encourage students to take these college level tests. In a survey conducted on 50 honors students at Prep about how many were taking AP tests this year, 21 students were taking 0 tests, 6 were taking 1 test, and 23 students were taking 2 or more. The recent policy change requiring all students to take the exams for all their AP classes has shown a bump in the amount of students testing.

With the onset of the exams students are forced to take multiple different techniques on how to attack the tests. AP practice books are becoming a popular way as a guide as to what students need to know. Online practice tests are also proving to be an effective way for students to prepare for the test. Even teachers have been been adjusting their schedules to focus more on what will be on the AP exam. The AP exams are becoming a major part of every AP teacher’s curriculum.

For students, coping with the stress and rigor of the exams is a major part of the AP process. For students who are taking two or more tests, it can be a challenge to find time to devout to each separate test. Josh Kurczewski, a junior who took two exams said, “Stress is a huge part of the exams because there is always something you didn’t study [for] as much as you should’ve on there. The key is to just do your best and move on to the next question.”

The AP exams, although worthwhile, are a rigorous challenge, especially for those taking upwards of three exams during the two week testing period. In the end, if the student is up for the challenge, the tests are well worth it and can lead to even further success in college.

Cavs, Warriors one win away from NBA Finals

The NBA playoffs has reached the final four. In the Western Conference, the Houston Rockets who are playing the Golden State Warriors. Houston trails in the series 3-1. The Rockets lost the first three games of the series before winning last night to avoid elimination. Game 5 will be played tomorrow night, and the Warriors’ home crowd will no doubt be rocking as they attempt to reach their first NBA Finals since 1975.

Golden State is led by “The Splash Brothers” all-star back court of Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson. That duo has been excellence from the 3-point line ever sense game one of the first round of the playoffs, and they really haven’t had any bad games. If they can keep up the good scoring they will be on their way to winning the NBA championship.

In the Eastern Conference, the Atlanta Hawks are playing the Cleveland Cavaliers. Despite being the number one seed, Atlanta has fallen behind 3-0 and must win tonight in Cleveland to avoid elimination. Despite injuries to Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving, the Cavs have had success against the Hawks. LeBron James has ked the way, but he has also gotten timely support from teammates like J.R. Smith who is playing his first season at Cleveland. He set a team record with 8 3-pointers made in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals.

No team in NBA history has ever come back from a 3-0 deficit to win a playoff series. Unless the Rockets or Hawks make history, it appears that the the Cavaliers and the Warriors will be competing in the 2015 NBA Finals, which will begin on June 4.

Summer doesn’t mean vacation for students with summer jobs

As summer approaches, many students are getting ready to spend their time at the beach, laying out in the sun, playing golf, and participating in all sorts of different summer activities. Although while many are getting ready for the fun, others are preparing to start their summer jobs.

While most of people think of summer as a time to kick back, enjoy yourself, and forget about everything else, it is during this time that many people will begin their working season, thriving off of the fun everybody else is having. Many students of Cathedral Prep will be picking up another summer job when they set down the pencil as they finish up another year as a Rambler.

Senior Samuel Sweny said, “This summer I will be working on a cruise ship for American Cruise Lines. The location is still undetermined. I will be leaving for training on June 22, which will take place in Connecticut for three days.” He added, “They will then decide where I will be going. I will be working as a steward on the ship, which means I will be doing anything from waiting tables to cleaning dishes to even just tending to the guests needs.”

Junior Holden Stevanus said, “I work at Wegmans as a ‘Helping Hand’, where I push carts and load groceries for customers. I train new ‘Helping Hands’ employees as well as taking shifts at the register, helping with maintenance around the store, and helping customers find the goods they are looking for.”

Sweny and Stevanus are just two of the many Prep students who work during their summer vacation.

Weez’s Weekly W of the Week: the Waters

Weez’s Weekly W of the Week, or The W-4 as most refer to it, is a reoccurring segment that explores an interesting topic that begins with the letter W that is of utmost importance to the Rambler community. This week’s edition is based on the bodies of water found in the Erie area.

Lake Erie is undoubtedly Erie’s largest body of water. The second smallest of the Great Lakes, Lake Erie, sprawls from Toledo to Buffalo and is one of Erie’s most attractive features. Each year, thousands of visitors travel to Presque Isle’s beaches to cool off in the nearly 10,000 square miles of water. Presque Isle boasts several beaches and is easily the most utilized waterway in the area. Prep senior Eli Chase really enjoys Lake Erie. “Man, I love it,” he said. “Swimming and hanging out at the beaches is some of the most fun I’ve had in years.” For its sheer size and attraction, Lake Erie tops off Weez’s Weekly W of the Week.

Next on the list is the Bay, which is a prime location for boating and fishing activities. The Erie Yacht Club and many other marinas are located along the bayfront where these boating and fishing activities are rooted. Presque Isle and the city of Erie form this unique body of water that encompasses some of the Erie waterfront. You definitely would want to avoid this water when you go swimming, but if you’re looking to fish and boat, this is the place.

The third and final body of water highlighted is a Milcreek favorite, Walnut Creek. Lake Erie is found at the mouth of Walnut Creek in east Fairview. This creek flows throughout Milcreek, Erie, and Fairview and residents of these areas enjoy hiking down these waters to enjoy the sights of the river. Another aspect of Walnut Creek is the steelhead trout that travel up the stream in the fall. Grandparents and children as well as many others gather at Manchester Hole to see the trout struggling to get past the current. For these reasons, Walnut Creek is Weez’s third favorite body of water in the Erie area.

From the monstrous Lake Erie to the placid Bay to the timid yet active Walnut Creek, there are plenty of water options in Erie during the summer. So this summer, make sure you enjoy what Erie has to offer and visit any or all of these wonderful bodies of water.

Seniors travel to Peek n’ Peak for senior retreat

IMG_1957This past Tuesday, the seniors of Cathedral Prep went to Peek n’ Peak for the senior class retreat. During the retreat the seniors had the opportunity to go to confession with Fr. Jason and Fr. David, play corn-hole and other outdoor activities like throwing around the football or watching fellow senior James Kolakowski hitting the famous “Whip” dance move. They were also treated to a deliciously prepared pizza (although, unfortunately, not everyone got pizza), and finally got to spend time on the new Ropes Course.

IMG_2031The Ropes Course was definitely the best activity of the day, even for those who fell. There were four different courses that were open for the seniors to choose from, each one being tougher than the last. The consensus was that the Blue course was both the most difficult and the most fun because of the two zip-lines that were a part of the course.

Senior Casey Rapoza said, “This retreat was probably the best one we had. [I’m] mad I didn’t get any pizza though.”

“It definitely beat going to Camp Notre Dame. The Ropes Course was amazing, and watching everybody go through the course was a great time,” said fellow senior Pat McCormick.

The day concluded with Mass organized by Fr. Jason, who gave a great homily about brotherhood and staying together during the years after graduating. The seniors definitely got go out with a bang in this retreat and would like to express their gratitude to the retreat organizers.

Senior Class President reflects on the Senior Banquet

FullSizeRender (2)As the number of days left in the 2014-2015 school year nears zero, the Cathedral Prep Class of 2015 has been preparing for graduation and partaking in all of the customary senior events. One such event, which took place this past Monday, was the Senior Banquet. A rite of passage, the Senior Banquet is a dress-casual event for the entire class to share a meal together, reflect briefly on the past four years before all of the chaos of graduation, and enjoy ceremonial cigars in the student parking lot. (Although the last part has been a trademark of the event for years, it is not officially recognized by the school administration).

After a delicious meal and a slideshow, all of the seniors spilled out of Prep and rushed to the student lot, where festivities started promptly. Sweet smells filled the air, as the group of inexperienced smokers broke out their brand new cigars and began to light them. Music played from several cars, but it was mostly faded out by the buzz of excited conversation from the Ramblers.

When I arrived at the student lot, I stepped out of my car, lit my cigar, and walked over to the large cluster of classmates gathered in the middle of the lot. Upon meeting my classmates, I was amazed at the almost quixotic aura surrounding the group. It seemed that the smoke of the cigars healed all divisions held prior to the event. There were no exclusive social groups in the lot; it was one class—brothers in unity. No one was worried about anything other than having a good time with his fellow classmates.

One sensation I vividly remember experiencing, among the numerous photo ops, conversation, and laughter, was simple satisfaction. I made it, and my brothers made it with me. As Sebastian Junger said, “The only thing that makes battle psychologically tolerable is the brotherhood among soldiers. You need each other to get by.” High school was a battle at times, and it truly pushed me to the outer boundaries of what I am capable of, but I had my classmates by my side every step of the way.

Now, nearing graduation, I am constantly reminded that my time with these guys, that I have spent the past four years with, is dwindling. On June 7, we’re going to graduate, and our time as students at Cathedral Prep will be finished. As bittersweet as graduation is, I know that my brothers and I will carry our experiences and fond memories from this chapter of our lives on to the next one, which will be starting very soon; Prep will always remain a central part of who we are.

The cigar was something I had been looking forward to for my whole high school career, and it was everything that I had hoped for.