Tag Archives: Opinions

Student Investigation: Which Water Fountain Reigns Supreme?

The Taste Testers – Nick Palacorolla and John Torroella

This month, two of my friends and I set out on a mission to find the best water fountains at Mount Saint Joseph.  Juniors John “The Cuban Missile” Torroella and Nick “Big Daddy Nick” Palacorolla served as the water judges. After narrowing down our top candidates, they taste tested each one.  Based on a poll conducted via social media, we narrowed down the criteria for judging water fountain supremacy.


The three main criteria for judging were taste, temperature, and water pressure. Each factor was rated on a scale of one to ten, and the three scores were averaged for an overall score. We also decided to test the pH of the fountains using a digital pH probe.  A pH lower than seven is considered acidic, and a pH greater than seven is considered basic.  Pure water has a pH of seven, but the pH drinking water generally falls between 6.5 to 8.5.

Library Fountain

“This is my personal favorite, and it is in a good location.” – A previously thirsty St. Joe student

Nick: Temperature: 9, Taste: 9, Water Pressure: 7

John: Temperature: 9, Taste: 9, Water Pressure: 8

pH: 7.76

Overall: 8.5 The fountain near the library is probably the best tasting one at the school. This fact, paired with its convenient location make it a serious candidate for being the best fountain on campus.

2nd Floor of Founders Hall (Near Bathrooms)

“This is one of my favorites, but it sprays up in your face.” – A blinded St. Joe junior

Nick: Temperature: 9, Taste: 7, Water Pressure: 8

John: Temperature: 9, Taste: 6.5, Water Pressure: 6 “It’s way too high.”

pH: 7.84

Overall: 7.58 This fountain has an extremely high spray.  It has the highest water pressure at MSJ, but it’s a little too high to be used comfortably.

Fine Arts Center (Near Box Office)

“Pretty average” – A parched freshman on his way to Mr. Breen’s class after a pitstop

Nick: Temperature: 9, Taste: 7, Water Pressure: 6

John: Temperature: 9.5, Taste: 7, Water Pressure: 6.8

pH: 7.68

Overall: 7.55 Pretty average fountain.  Not the best tasting, but the water is decently cold.

Fine Arts Center (Near Piano Lab)

Looking for some stellar water? You’re gonna have to go out of your way to find it!

Nick: Temperature: 10, Taste: 8.5, Water Pressure: 8

John: Temperature: 10 “Coldest one at St. Joe.”, Taste: 8.5, Water Pressure: 8

pH: 7.57

Overall: 8.83 This water fountain is most definitely the coldest one on campus. However, for many students it’s out of the way. Although the water is ice cold, it’s a bit of a hassle to get to it.

Smith Center (Top Floor Near Bathrooms)

“Best water on campus!” – An athlete running late to workouts

Nick: Temperature: 8, Taste: 7, Water Pressure: 10

John: Temperature: 8.5, Taste: 8, Water Pressure: 9.5 “It’s like perfect.”

pH: 7.59

Overall: 8.5 This fountain is probably the best one in the athletic facilities.  With a good balance of taste and temperature and nearly perfect water pressure, the water fountain at the top floor of the Smith Center is a serious contender.

St. Joseph’s Hall (Near Studies Office)

Nick: Temperature: 8.5, Taste: 8, Water Pressure: 8

John: Temperature: 8, Taste: 7 “Lowkey flat”, Water Pressure: 8

pH: 7.67

Overall: 7.92 Pretty average water fountain overall.  There is an emergency defibrillator attached to the wall right above the fountain that students could accidentally hit their heads on (see video below).  This might be the most dangerous water fountain at MSJ! 

Based on the overall scores, the top three water fountains at MSJ are the piano lab fountain, the fountain near the library, and the top floor Smith Center fountain. Each one has their own strengths and weaknesses, so which one is best is still up for debate.

The pH probe showed that all of the fountains that we tested were basic.  However, the probe’s readings were slightly sporadic during the testing day, so the data may have a minor margin of error.

Ease of access to good drinking water is important to students and faculty. For this reason, we support the installation of water bottle refilling stations. These refilling stations can be mounted onto existing fountains, making it more cost effective. Installing water bottle refilling stations around campus could make it easier to get cold, tasty water throughout the day.




Unscripted Podcast Episode 1: Reaction to the Trump Presidency

In our first installment of the Unscripted Podcast we discuss the first month of the Trump Presidency. Ms. Sarah Slingluff provides the Unscripted crew (G Bailey Toth, John Snyder, Nick Viennas, Nick Crabbs) with a high school history teacher’s perspective on the past, present and future actions of the Trump Administration.

Disclaimer:  The views and opinions expressed in this podcast are those of the participants only and do not reflect any official position of Mount Saint Joseph High School or the Xaverian Brothers Sponsored Schools.  The discussions within the podcast are intended for entertainment and educational purposes only, and neither Mount Saint Joseph nor the Xaverian Brothers Sponsored Schools accept any responsibility for information presented as fact or opinion in the podcast.

A Letter to All Future Juniors: A Guide to Learn How to Survive the Most Important Year of Your Life

Sophomore Colin McEwin works on his homework during Homeroom time.

Before I start this letter, I hope everyone who is a sophomore or younger gets a chance to read this. Your junior year is the most important year of your high school career, and I hope everyone treats it seriously. Now that I got that out of the way, I’ll begin.

Dear future juniors,

I am writing to you in hopes of providing you with tips and advice on how to survive your junior year. As I said above, your junior year is the most important year of your high school career. You begin your college search, you start preparing for SAT’s and ACT’s, and you are filled to the brim with homework assignments. I know you probably want to pull your hair out and scream just thinking about it, but it is all worth it. Sophomore year, you think you have it all figured out and you’ll be fine going at the same rate, but you need to wake up and smell the roses.

Your junior year requires more effort and energy than your freshman and sophomore years combined. One of the biggest pieces of advice that I can give you (which is something you should already know) is to do your homework. Not doing your homework is the biggest grade killer that I have ever experienced. In most classes, you might be able to squeak out a B just from doing your homework and doing at least average on tests and quizzes.

Another big aspect of your junior year is your junior service project. For the project you are expected to complete forty hours of service helping a vulnerable population (children, homeless, elders, etc.). One of the biggest things I have noticed from this project is that people dread doing their service. They don’t give the experience a chance and just groan at the number of hours. Please be open-minded to this project; you might fall in love with serving others and may want to keep serving them. I myself was reluctant about the idea at first, but I went into my service at Charlestown Retirement Community open-minded and fell in love with volunteering there. Oh, and make sure you get your volunteer contracts on time; it is not worth it to fail Theology in the first quarter. In short, do your hours and try to enjoy it. You will not regret it.

Sophomores gather at lunchtime in the cafeteria.

Probably the the most significant part of your junior year is the junior retreat. Now, I can’t say too much about this because everything is a surprise, but just be open with everyone and yourself. Don’t try to plan with your buddy to be on the same retreat, because that takes away the purpose of the trip. Trust me, you’ll walk out of there with more friends then you had walking in there. Now that’s really all I can say about this confidential event, but trust me. It can be great, if you participate and allow it to be.

In your junior year, you also have a little more control over your courses, primarily electives, history, and science.

  • I’ll start with electives. Let’s say you haven’t taken your fine arts credit and you know you can’t draw, so you decide to take Graphic Design because you think it will be an easy A. Well, sorry to break it to you, but no class is an easy A. I’m in no way saying not to take this class, because it’s freaking awesome. Mr. Foti expects a lot, and he finds a way to pull out a side of his students that they never knew they had. He makes everyone keep digging deeper, which also makes the pieces ten times better. This class is worth it.
  • If you have taken two years of a language already and want to branch out, look no further than Latin I. Don’t get me wrong; it is a tough course, but Mr. Kauffman is eager to help you if you are struggling. If you are as lucky as I have been, you will have a class of eight people and more one-on-one time with your teacher.
  • Now for science, you have the option for Environmental Science or Anatomy and Physiology. I chose A&P because I was interested in this topic for a possible college major. I have had the pleasure to have Mrs. Abrahms as my teacher for this class. I do not regret it one bit. It is a fun and interactive class, and it is not as hard as it seems.Don’t be afraid to take this class just because you might not have done too well in Biology, and don’t be afraid to challenge yourself when choosing courses. You might surprise yourself. I know I have.

Now I know you are probably thinking that I have been going on way too much, and you are probably right. I just want to leave you with one last point. Just BE YOURSELF. Junior year, at least for me, is where I finally discovered who I truly am and what I want to do with my life. I hope this will help you consider getting the most out of your junior year.


Nicholas Viennas

Nick Viennas, Junior


The iPad Experience: A Quarter of Learning

1118151033Written and reported by freshmen students Cole Baker, Christopher Flynn and Greg Keidel.

The first quarter of this year has included some trial and error with the new Freshman iPads. The iPads are used during class for a range of things from notes to textbooks to assignments and essays. At the end of the first quarter, the freshmen have had different things to say about the iPads and we wanted to see what some of their thoughts were. We interviewed multiple freshmen to see what they think and maybe some of the things they would have changed. Here are some of the thoughts of our fellow classmates:

Dom Troisi:

Do you like the iPads, why or why not?

I like the iPads because it is easier to write papers and the new technology keeps us up to date.

Why do you think some teachers may not like the iPads?

Some teachers may not like it because of the games.

Camden Flater:

What are some advantages and disadvantages of the iPads?

Some advantages are that the iPads run faster and some disadvantages are that they die (battery depletion).

What’s your opinion on the keyboards and cases?

I like keyboards, but haven’t liked the cases because they break easily.

Brad Howell:

What’s been your favorite part and least favorite part about the iPads?

My favorite part is the electronic textbooks and my least favorite part is no games.

Do you like electronic notes or handwritten notes?

I like electronic notes because they are easier to remember.

Gage Bangert:

Are you more organized with the iPads?

I’m very organized. With the iPads I can organize my notes.  The iPad is also only one thing to carry.

Justin Looney:

Do you like the iPads?

I do. The iPads are great when it comes to taking notes. It’s very easy to go and study your materials for test. The electronic notes are easier to keep organized.

Maliq Richardson:

If you could say one thing about the iPads what would it be?

They are amazing.

The iPads seem to be liked mostly by the freshmen, but we have noticed some disadvantages to the iPads. At times, they disrupt the learning of students, with many students playing games in the classroom and not focusing on their work. They are paying too much attention to the games rather than learning what the teacher is trying to teach. As Tyler Nimorwicz said “The iPads have gotten my friends in trouble in class, and the teacher has given them JUG before.”


Even though there is the opportunity that games will get some classmates off track, the iPads have been a great tool for helping the freshmen out with their education. Besides the few technical difficulties we all have had here and there, things seem to be going smoothly. Personally, we like the iPads because of all the information at our fingertips. It also contains most of our homework which is a good thing because if we have our iPads, we have our homework as well as our textbooks. Hopefully, when the class of 2020 comes into school next year, all of the issues of this year will be in the past and the students will be focused on using the devices to learn in, and out, of the classroom. We think most of the current freshmen are happy to have them.