The Coffee Shops You Need to Try


If I were to capture the atmosphere of Muddy Waters in one image, it would be a yard sale. Scattered across this downtown New London Cafe is an eccentric array of antique furniture, old Hollywood posters, and aberrant artwork. Surprisingly, the hodge podge of designs all seem to fit so well together and compose a homey atmosphere.

At 2 o’clock in the afternoon on a weekday, Muddy Waters was filled with customers. The sound of clinging china and intriguing small talk harmonized with the low rumble of ‘20s music. All senses provided the perfect atmosphere to sip on our sample of the cafe’s best selling coffee: chocolate coconut.

If you like your cup of joe strong and flavorful, Muddy Waters is the place for you. The chocolate coconut coffee provided the superb amount of sweetness.

All-in-all, Muddy Waters is the place to go if you are looking for a high quality coffee and want to sit back and chat with friends.

From the looks of it, this five year old cafe, Washington Street Coffee House, looks as though it belong in downtown  Manhattan, not New London.

Across the walls, the cafe previews local artists’ works. With an open floor plan, playful paper lighting, exposed ventilation, and natural light flooding through the spacious windows, Washington Street Coffee House has a modern city vibe that is like no other.

Here, we tried a freshly made bagel with cream cheese. In just one bite, I forgot all about Dunkin Donuts and I immediately fell in love with their storemade masterpiece.

Washington Street’s menu provides a wide array of unique cuisine including, salads sandwiches, and to-die-for baked goods.

If you value freshness and are searching for a spot to conquer homework and hang out that features a one of a kind menu, look no further than Washington Street, New London.

The most refreshing aspect of Bartleby’s, located in downtown Mystic, is not just their freshly made coffee; it’s their sociable staff. With one step through the door, you feel like you are at home. We were immediately greeted with warm smiles and a friendly hello.

Handmade sea glass mosaics line the walls. The awe aspiring local art brings the essence of Mystic right inside the cafe creating the perfect atmosphere for a Mystic-famous cup of joe.

We sampled a heaping Almond Joy mochiatta, one of their most famous beverages. Even before we took our first sip, we were taken aback by the marvelous mound of whipped cream spilling over the sides of our coffee.

The presentation was not only 10/10 in our books, so was the taste. For those who have a sweet tooth, Bartleby’s will not let you down.

From their impeccable service, to their flavorful cups of joe, and their exotic ocean meets 50s diner vibe, Bartleby’s is an all-in-all sweet spot.

Elect the Right Electives

Elective ideas for next  year


Designing You and Your Space

Put your design skills to work and learn the basics of fashion and interior design in this class, which involves using personal style to make scrapbooks and design rooms.

"I always had so much fun and it was not heavy on the workload so you can enjoy it more," sophomore Erin Bauman said.

Twentieth Century Music

Through movies, discussions, and projects, students taking this half year course learn about many different genres of music and the culture from the last century, with a focus on the formation of rock and roll.

"I enjoyed how this class was taught because it made the subject very interesting and the teachers are very passionate," sophomore Brian Callegari said.


Learn what goes into analyzing crimes and learn many basic techniques like fingerprinting and forensics anthropology. This half-year course includes labs and guest speakers who work in the field.

"It is a great class to take if you love solving crimes and are curious to see how the forensic scientists do it," senior Lauren Wilkos said.


This half-year or full year student-centered course allows students to use their voice to write for The Viking Saga. Interviewing and reporting skills are learned along the way as students compose articles to shine a spotlight and help make change within the ELHS community.

"It challenges you to step out of your comfort zone and talk to people and share their stories...What you write can make a difference in a whole community and that’s a really cool job," senior Gillian Farrugia said.

The Fresh King of Capitol Hill

ELHS alumnus takes his talents to D.C.


Most college juniors have not searched Capitol Hill for U.S. Senators, desperate for a quote, or worked on cases to exonerate potential wrongfully convicted individuals. Then again, most of them have not been published on the front page of USA Today either.

However, this has become the norm for 2014 East Lyme graduate Ross  Krasner.

While most Americans were trying to get as far away from the election as possible last fall, Krasner made the move to Washington D.C., where he covered national politics for the Medill News Service. Two of his articles were picked up by USA Today; in one he covered Mike Pence’s message about concerns of the integrity of the vote at a rally in North Carolina. Moreover, an article investigating the divide among college Republican chapters responses to Donald Trump earned him the front page story.

"It’s pretty amazing to see Ross’ name published on the front page of USA Today when just a few years ago we were editing editions of the Saga together in A225," Drew Bradley, who served as editor-in-chief of the Viking Saga alongside Krasner during the 2013-2014 school year, said.

Krasner attends the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University and was accepted to the selective "Medill on the Hill" class, which made this opportunity possible. He spent the quarter attending classes and completing a quota of articles in Washington D.C. The students were given press credentials, so they had full reign of Capitol Hill, just like any professional journalist would. He is currently working towards a double major in journalism and economics.

"With journalism you’re able to talk to people in a way that you wouldn’t be able if you just saw them on the street," Krasner said. "It gives me an opportunity to satisfy my curiosity."

Although he will be back in Illinois this quarter, Krasner’s schedule still differs from the typical college classes. Recently, he has begun the Medill Justice Project and will soon be flying to Pittsburgh to meet with a potentially wrongfully convicted man. Students hold "a lot of responsibility" in both learning valuable investigative journalism skills and transforming their clients’ lives, with the goal being to exonerate prisoners.

However, Krasner has not always been a renowned journalist. After hearing John Kleinhans, an ELHS alumnus and current Board of Education member, speak, Krasner became "inspired by his go get it attitude" and was encouraged to "jump on opportunities." In fact, Kleinhans ended up hiring Krasner to intern on state Senator Paul Formica’s 2012 campaign.

"It was by far one of the best decisions I’ve made," Kleinhans said. "Nothing was ever too small or big for Ross. Ross is a prime example of [young people getting involved in politics]."

Krasner continued his political endeavors at Northwestern and opted to become a student senator, as he believes "policy making is one of the most effective ways to instigate change."

Bursting the East Lyme Bubble

Here in East Lyme, like many small towns, natives see the same faces at the same places, day after day. Whether it is going to the Shack after midterms, or spending a day at McCook’s, it is a guarantee that someone familiar will cross your path. As much as this community atmosphere is loved, there are a multitude of different societies all over the world. Being adventurous and stepping out of that comfort zone can lead to eye opening experiences and knowledge about other cultures.

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From The Viking Saga to New York Times

Everything from hilarious video clips, to surprising quizzes, to the latest news, Buzzfeed attracts 487.0 million global visits a month (Quantcast). This powerhouse entertainment source was just beginning to build its audience in 2013 when 2005 East Lyme High School alum and current New York Times reporter Sapna Maheshwari waltzed in on her first day.

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For some, Winter Holiday music before Thanksgiving is annoyingly early; but for Counselor and advisor of Peers Reaching Out (PRO), Lisa Ramaccia, thoughts of the holiday season start in September. During her 5 years of advising, PRO has grown from 15 to 91 students, and the group now produces Breakfast with Santa, an annual community-wide fundraiser.

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The Season Of Giving Back

Where to Give

When giving, choose a place that you’re passionate about. This could be taking a tour of the local animal shelter and donating. East Lyme has many opportunities to give back. During the holidays, Care and Share prepares a holiday store, free of charge, for families in need of meal assistance and warm clothes. These fundraisers are successful with the help of the community who donate clothes and time. If donating items is difficult for you, take a few hours out of your weekend to help out at the Soup Kitchen, providing, making, and serving families who cannot supply a warm turkey on Thanksgiving. ELHS itself has many clubs, like National Honors Society, Care and Share, and Rotary, that all give students a way to get involved and make a difference.

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Singer Hits The Right Notes

Balancing grades is a talent in its own. Eight classes and minimal time proves to be challenging to many students. But for sophomore Sarah Singer, balancing an incredible talent for playing the oboe, arguably one of the most difficult instruments in a band, on top of schoolwork has become the norm and has taken her places she never would have thought.

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How To Relax After Sending The Common Application

The weeks prior to hitting that ‘send’ button on the Common App were likely overflowing with gallons of caffeine, waterfalls of tears, excessive lacks of sleep, and an overwhelming sense of self-doubt, all in a desperate attempt to check off every box in the ongoing list of requirements, without losing the last bit of chill you have left. The date is Dec. 1. If you applied early action, your deadlines are complete, and if you have a January deadline yet to come, you have plenty of time to hit that mark. While you have likely just experienced the greatest pressure of your youthful life, coming down off that stress level can be a challenge in itself.

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Millenial On The Move

Although it isn’t always easy, freshman Stella Georgian works as an activist to support a variety of people and groups. She has gone against all the odds to raise awareness for specific issues. In doing so, Georgian has recently become a "Millennial on the Move" by joining an online publication to display the arts of the youth, Risen Magazine.

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Celebrating 50 Years of Teaching

Teacher Rose Ann Hardy enters her 50th year teaching in East Lyme

by Anna Donnelly

It was 1966, the year before East Lyme High School would open, and the school system had just hired a new batch of teachers to learn from and eventually replace the experienced junior high school teachers who would move up to teach at the newly built high school. History teacher Rose Ann Hardy was just starting her career in East Lyme.

Ms. Hardy was then hired and spent the following 24 years at the junior high teaching U.S. history and geography. When Ms. Hardy moved up to the high school she taught a variety the history classes. She even introduced the legendary AP U.S. History class to ELHS. She reformed the Contemporary Issues class so that it had a more hands on, debate approach and began taking students to Model Congress and Model U.N.

Throughout her time in East Lyme, Ms. Hardy has taught an estimated 5000 students. Hardy said the legacy she has left them is the most rewarding part of her career.

Words From Past Students...

"The most memorable part of her class was the feeling of uncertainty when I walked in. I did everything from sampling jams to playing musical chairs. All was a huge life lesson as part of the class."

-alum Mukesh Kurambail

"She always had a passion for teaching and East Lyme and she loves her job. She preaches what she teaches and walks the walk in the community, which gains her a lot of respect from her students."

-special education teacher Wally Christensen, Ms. Hardy’s seventh grade history student.

"I was an eighth grader in Ms. Hardy’s history class. While my decision to become involved in politics and seek elective office came quite a few years later, there is no doubt in my mind that studying history in Mrs. Hardy’s class set the stage for what would follow"

-State Representative, Ed Jutila

Teacher Talk: Ms. Ferryman

The interview you’ve all been waiting for: math teacher Patricia Ferryman.

by Lillian Whittaker

Viking Saga: How has having a high school aged child changed your teaching?

Ms. Ferryman: "You seem younger to me because I have a child the same age. When my kids were little it seemed like you were older and should act older, but now you don’t."

VS: If there was one aspect of ELHS you could change what would it be?

PF: "I would really like it to start at 10 a.m. because I’m my best at 10. Let’s go 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Why not that? Have your sports in the morning!"

VS: What has changed the most throughout your first class of students to your current?

PF: "I think there is more of an emphasis on grades now and less of an emphasis on learning. I don’t know how we can change it, I just know it needs to change."

VS: What do you get joy from in teaching?

PF: "Seeing my students succeed. When they give one really good answer and it’s the exact answer you’re looking for and you’re like, ‘all right, I’m going home now. I’m gonna call it a day."

VS: What is your best memory of your students?

PF: "One of my best memories was when two students started a club for the elderly. They asked me to be their advisor for a service organization that serves senior citizens. It’s lovely."

VS: Why do you think ICE is so important?

PF: "I think kids like you can learn a lot from people with lots of life experience and I think that older people get a lot of joy from seeing the youth of America. It’s a nice way to fill the gap."

VS: What one moral message would you leave to the students of ELHS?
PF: "Don’t text and drive!"


She is Not Just Horsing Around

Natalia Wiese trotting to get the gold as a nationally ranked rider

by Maddie Foerster

Stables, shows, competition. For horseback riders, this is what riding is all about.

But for East Lyme High School sophomore, Natalia Wiese, riding is much, much more than that.

Wiese started riding for fun back when she was 7, but these last few years she has been doing "more national and breed type shows."

This summer, Wiese became a nationally ranked rider, a title not many 10th graders can say they have acquired.

"Me and my horse are currently ranked 5th in the nation for Level One Hunter Under Saddle, and 24th in the nation for Level One Hunt Seat Equitation," said  Wiese.

For non-riders, according to The United States Equestrian Foundation, this means that "the horse and rider are judged ‘on the flat,’ meaning jumping is not involved. In show hunter classes, the horse's movement and manners are judged, with quality of movement paramount."

As much as Wiese is to praise for her national titles, so is her horse, an Appendix (half thoroughbred, half quarter horse) Gelding show horse.

In the barn, he goes by Simon, but in the arena, his name gets called over the intercom as by his stage name, "Only Blue Excites Me."

Wiese has ridden and owned many horses in her time, but ever since Simon crossed her path in December 2015, competition has not been the same.

"He’s truly amazing and definitely a once in a lifetime horse. I’m very lucky to have him… He just has such a personality which is hard to find. He’s so talented and beautiful," said Wiese. "He always gives 100 percent in whatever he’s doing even though he is very new to what we are doing."

"Sometimes he can be stubborn but it just makes us [as a team] better. Overall he’s just an amazing horse and I wouldn’t trade him for the world," said Wiese.

Simon led the duo to their victory in mid-June 2016, which came as a shock to Wiese, she decided to not settle for 7th, and began to chase a higher victory.

She soon rose to her current ranking, at 5th in the nation. She continues to ride on her own, and train vigorously for her next show with Simon.

You Better Belize It

Senior Ashley Toback’s takes a unique summer  adventure


East Lyme had a summer vacation consisting of 65 days. Senior Ashley Toback spent 22 of those days bouncing around the country of  Belize.

Located in South America, Belize is a diverse country home to Crystal Paradise, San Ignacio, Monkey Bay among other wonders around the country. In these places, Toback earned her Wilderness First Responder title.

"It allows me to be prepared if anyone gets injured or sick in the wilderness, which is two or more hours away from primary care," said  Toback.

Toback completed over 40 hours of volunteer work in a hospital and senior center doing manual labor around the hospital grounds.

"This trip was academically intense," said Toback, "I earned three college credits. We would either do eight hours of Wilderness Responder training or volunteering eight hours with a two hour lecture at the end of the night."

Spending most of her 22 days in a jaguar reserve made her learning experience a little different, but still extremely enriching.

"It didn’t feel like I was in school because I was learning hands on sitting in the middle of the jungle. I would do this again. It was one of the best experiences of my life."

I've Got Broads in Ellada

Remembering a Trip of a Lifetime


"How was Greece?" I cannot count the number of times I have been asked that very question. Usually, due to the fact that I was in a rush or the person I was talking to really had no substantial interest in how my trip was, I would respond with a short, abrupt and enthusiastic "amazing!" However, that generic response does not do justice to my time in Greece. It was more than amazing and I do not feel cheesy when I say it was the trip of a lifetime.

This past July, I spent three weeks at Ionian Village, a camp on Glyfa Beach in Greece for Greek Orthodox teens like me. During those three weeks, I was among 200 campers that participated in activities like learning how to be an Evzone, swimming in the crystal clear water of the Mediterranean, and getting down at dances.

On the days we were not enjoying the camp, we traveled all around Greece and witnessed beautiful churches, thousand year old monasteries, restaurants with incredible views, and the island beaches.

"What was your favorite part?" That was the second most asked question when it came to Greece and I know it may sound unusual, but visiting those churches and monasteries around the country has undoubtedly changed my life  forever.

In those monasteries, we saw two incorrupt bodies of saints. This means that saints who had died up to 400 years ago still had skin, hair and teeth even though they should have decayed hundreds of years ago. Just seeing those bodies and being able to venerate their tombs was an altering experience that I will never forget.

Along with strengthening my faith, my time in Greece also gifted me with a closer relationship to my heritage. I got to really experience the country where my ancestors had once lived and thrived in. I was able to witness many beautiful aspects of Greece like the dark blue ocean, the clusters of rust colored mountains, the ancient architecture and the hundreds of kittens running through the  streets.

However, even though there were many appealing elements of Greece, I also witnessed the harsher parts of the country. Walking through the streets of Athens, we saw countless homeless elders, starving gypsy children, abandoned buildings, and rabid stray dogs. My time in Ionian Village made me realize how grateful we are to live in a town like East Lyme where you do not have to witness children on street corners begging for money.

Traveling to the motherland did so much for me by strengthening my faith, connecting me to my heritage and giving me the chance to observe the sublime and somber components of Greece. So yeah, that’s how Greece was.

Hannah’s Declassified Frosh Survival Guide

Everything you need to survive your first year at ELHS

by Hannah Vanasse

Over the course of the next 10 months, you are going to have to remember more information than you have ever had to remember. Your planner is useful for remembering daily homework assignments, project due dates, and test dates. However, it is also helpful for time management. It will allow you to schedule time for homework around sports practices and club meetings. Writing in your planner will also help you remember insignificant details you would forget without it: to bring shoes for gym class tomorrow, or to get a dance permission slip signed.

At East Lyme High School, all of the students eat lunch at the same time, which means there are not enough chairs for all of us. The upperclassmen who have been here longer score seats, and you end up by our feet. The floor can be hard and cold, so I suggest taking a couch or chair cushion from your house to school. The larger, the better, as you can share it with others and make more friends.

Everything in the school is new. It is shiny, distracting, confusing and exciting; all at the same time. This leads the freshmen to continuously be in their own world and thoughts, without looking out for other students. Several herds of them will block a senior on his way from one class to the next. As a freshman, you would rather have the upperclassmen on your side. Use a space bubble.

Lunch at East Lyme High School occurs at 10:30am. This is rather early, but you will get used to it. If you only bring a light lunch, you will be famished by the time your bus drops you off at home. Experienced ELHS students snack throughout the day. Plus, the more snacks you have, the more snacks you can share. Other ELHS students are always hungry, and food=friendships.

ELHS seems like a maze during freshman orientation, and it will for the entire first month of school. You eventually get used to it. To learn your way around quicker, get a school map. Highlight your classrooms and significant areas like bathrooms and the gyms. This will avoid the common embarrassment of walking into the wrong classroom, or getting lost.


A Student Opinion on Senior Dismissal

A right of passage as a senior: gone

by Hannah Gellar

alking into the doors of East Lyme High School as a little freshman I knew where I stood in the world of high school. The fear put in you seemed to be okay; it is simply the rite of passage as you enter the stages at ELHS. Looking up at those big seniors I dreamt of the day I could sit and eat my sandwich peacefully and leave school early or sleep in. These privileges made the freshman days seem so worth it: so why take that away?

After a vote made by the Board of Education this summer on June 27, this is the last year of late arrival and early dismissal for seniors and will be put in effect for seniors in the Class of 2018. The argument is that students are not taking enough electives and with an extra block, students will be encouraged to take  electives.

Entering my junior year and watching my sister just graduate, taking away this privilege seems to be a punishment to those who work hard. My sister was a high honors student who filled her time at ELHS with advanced placement classes, clubs, National Honor Society, not to mention the athletics and musical she participated in yearly. Early dismisal was a time for her to get college applications done, go to a college counselor, help with her clubs, or simply take a breather before going to her next practice or rehearsal.

Like my sister, many students work very hard their three years and taking away this privilege is going to affect the people who have been working so hard in order to be successful. Early dismissal and late arrival rewarded hard work, giving time to work on things that you simply cannot get done in the  classroom.

Getting rid of this privilege will increase seniors taking electives because they will need to have a class in the time they would normally not be in school. As a result, students will pick electives because now they have to, not because they want to. This will lead to teachers and students being distracted from seniors in a class that they do not express full interest in.

Although a reasonable argument made by the Board of Education, my class will be the first class to not be able to experience the "privilege" as a senior and the time for college, applications, and a little rest will now be added on to the already demanding after school schedule. The rite of passage that was something to look forward to as a freshman will no longer be a reality.