By Alexandra L. ’20 and Kevin W. ’20
Like most public New York City high schools, a school dance is an event that many students seem to look forward to. BSGE’s Snow Ball was no exception to this. Started by the Helping Hands subcommittee, Smile Train, Snow Ball was held on February 1st in order to raise money for children in developing countries with cleft lips and cleft palates. “Smile Train has been a Helping Hands subcommittee for the past two years, and every year we try to top our amount raised the previous years. We thought a dance would be a great way to do that,” says Aoife Kenny ‘20, the founder of the subcommittee. The dance was planned to be from 6 to 10 pm, and with tickets sold for $6 beforehand and $10 at the door, the promise of good music and food lured people to purchase.
Come the night of the 1st, the cafe-gymnatorium was decorated to the max. String lights hung along the walls and tables, balloons were taped and strewn across the floor, and paper mache flowers dangled from the ceiling. As the party began, kids from grades seven through twelve gradually streamed into the lobby, and into the dance. Food was available for purchase at the end of the room. However, SnowBall was the first BSGE dance where no outside students were allowed, and this took a hit to the ticket sales: “Unfortunately, no outside people were let in, so we had to turn a lot of people away at the door, and even some people from BSGE who wanted to come in with their non-BSGE friends left,” said Anab K. ‘20. Nonetheless, the auditorium slowly began to fill with people, especially after 8 pm, when the basketball game at the nearby YMCA ended. While it wasn’t as full as it possibly could have been, people still enjoyed their experience: “I was expecting more of a turnout, but it was fun regardless,” said Mollie S. ‘21. In fact, because there weren’t as many people there, the room didn’t get as overheated as some of the previous dances. According to Rachel Z. ’20, “The music was good, not too loud, and it didn’t get super hot, which is always good.” All in all, the Smile Train did make a profit out of the event and while it may not have been the most successful BSGE dance, those who attended were able to have a good time even with there being less people than they had expected. Although this dance was not hosted by Junior Council, it was organized by some people in the 11th grade, and it was a great way to demonstrate to the juniors the hard work it takes to make a school dance happen, as they will need to do this again to raise funds for Senior year. “We appreciate everyone coming– even if you didn’t buy a ticket but just donated, you helped fund a surgery that may change a child’s life,” said Rahoul Kumar ’20.While this is an event the Smile Train committee hosted, many other events such as Candy Grams, Open Mic Night, or general bake sales, are all events that make way for us BSGE kids to support good causes, and more importantly, to support each other.
On January 11th, BSGE’s senior class embarked for three days filled with a haunted hotel, shots to the head, and blown-off tires. The eagerly anticipated trip occurred in Honor’s Haven Resort in Ellenville, New York, one of the six towns in New York without a Starbucks, to many of the over-caffeinated seniors’ chagrin. For one weekend, students were free from the constraints of the first-semester of senior year, able to ignore impending college deadlines and IB assessments. However, In typical BSGE dysfunction, the tire of the coach bus blew off forty minutes into the voyage. Yet seniors didn’t let this dampen their spirits, and proceeded to share snacks and play games while waiting. Finally, another bus arrived, and the trip resumed. However, on the first night of the trip, one could peek into hotel rooms and view people hunched over their laptop screens, colorful art slides reflecting in their glazed over eyes. Graciously, Ms. Tramontozzi extended the due date for these slides until after the weekend. That’s when senior trip really began.
Saturday morning began at 8am, where the seniors sat together at the round tables, feasting on their fluffy eggs and crispy bacon. The sounds of heartbreak quickly filled the dining room once they learned they would not be served coffee. Desperate to satisfy their Mimi’s Deli addiction, some spent $4 on upstate iced “lattes.” Newly energized, the seniors continued their trip at the roller skating rink. Some were more successful than others, particularly Christina who mastered the artful Heel Toe. Coming back with bruised bums and sore thighs, the seniors finally faced the well-known bouncy castles of the Winter Festival. Later, they attended a two hour hike around the resort. Some seniors momentarily parted from the group, tentatively exploring some abandoned houses with rotting wood and a lone Entenmann’s box. After a group photo at the bottom of the hill, and some quick pushes on rope swings in the area, the seniors headed back to the hotel, their noses red but their hearts warm. That evening, seniors gathered in the auditorium for some heartfelt renditions of classic Karaoke songs. Taking to the stage to perform Everytime we Touch by Cascada were Stella, Matthew, Malika, Fariha and Jennifer, the high paced bop done justice by their singing. Following that performance were Joanna, Janielle, Anokha, Ona, Wei, Grace, and Annie, who artfully performed Love Story by Taylor Swift, complete with mock proposals and endless jumping. Another memorable performance was the heart-string tugging Country Roads by Matthew, Kai, Christian, Leon, Christos, Stefan, Justin, and of course, Mr. Caccamo. Finishing off the session on a touching note, Eliana, Marc, and Rodrigo sang ‘Hey There Delilah’ their voices reverberating throughout the hall as the BSGE audience waved their phone flashlights through the air. That night, seniors gorged on chocolate and vanilla ice cream, drowning their bowls in sprinkles and chocolate sauce, then burning off all the calories with some sweaty dance circles in the karaoke hall. At midnight, around half the grade participated in an exhilarating game of Manhunt. People took to the hills, running through darkness, their shadows and foggy breath perhaps the only visible things in the pitch black night. Crawling over dried goose poop, or hiding in fetal position under lawnmowers (*ahem* Kai), they crouched with baited breath, desperately hoping not to be revealed by someone’s sweeping flashlight. The fear was only heightened by hair-raising tales told to Mr. Mehan by the trip manager about the history of the hotel. In the distance, the frozen lake was said to contain the charred bodies of children and teachers, burned in a fire a century ago by some vengeful town dwellers against the teaching of science in their schools. After a few rounds, it was time to return back to the hotel. Throughout the hallway resounded the sounds of the munching and crunching of chips, and giggles from raucous games of Cards Against Humanity and Uno.
The next morning came with perhaps one of the most awaited events of the weekend: Paintball. Covered head to toe in camouflage gear, participants trudged to a lawless terrain, armed with paintball guns and their iron will. Braving through butt-shots, back-shots, arm-shots, and some head-shots, the Class of 2019 went to battle, playing Capture the Flag, Mr. President, and King of the Hill. In Mr. President, Mr. Caccamo relied on his trusty team to protect him, and protect him they did. Word to the wise: If you are proposed with a game of Civil War, do NOT participate.
After a fulfilling weekend in Ellenville, New York, the seniors returned home to the Big Apple. On the ride home, most everyone slept soundly, exhausted by the thrilling weekend’s events.
By Anokha V. ’19 with contributions from Joanna K. ’19
In 2017, a year in which most people have Netflix, Hulu, or one of the many streaming services available, everyone seems to be binge-watching 20 different shows at once. September has brought around new episodes of captivating shows, such as Stranger Things and The Flash. One new, well-known show is Riverdale, a production created by the CW. The CW is a network that tends to focus on television adaptations of famous comics from the 1940s. Riverdale is a recreation of the Archie Comics, and surrounds the lives of four teenagers from a small suburban town who attend a drama-packed local high school. So naturally, many people love it.
Soon after the release of its first season, Riverdale received mostly positive attention from the media, and currently has an 88% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Riverdale and many of its actors were nominated for eight Teen Choice Awards, including Choice Breakout TV show and Choice TV Drama. Its actors Cole Sprouse, Lili Reinhart, Camila Mendes, and Madelaine Petsch each won an award in different acting categories. Although KJ Apa did not win his nomination, he won the Breakthrough Performance Award from the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films.
Despite promising reviews, not everyone appreciates the many differences between the show and the original comics. An eighth grader who chose to remain anonymous says, “The Archie comics were the original, and it’s not as deep and as dark as Riverdale”. This is probably because the Archie comics focused on humor, superhero, and crime genres. While the show has elements of crime and action, it revolves greatly around drama and romance. However, most people love the show because of its drama and action, like Lizbeth Mendoza ‘21. “It keeps you on the edge of your seat,” she claims.
All in all, Riverdale is a great show for anyone who loves mystery and action-based shows. The entirety of the first season is already out on most streaming platforms, and the second one is about halfway through, airing on The CW every Wednesday night. So the next time you are flipping through TV channels with nothing good to watch, you may want to give Riverdale a try.
On January 21st, 2017, my mother, friends, and I chanted “We want a leader, not a creepy tweeter!” loudly throughout the streets of Washington D.C.
Less than twenty-four hours after country musicians strummed their guitars for America’s new president, I marched with more than two million women, men, and children across the globe protesting Donald Trump and what he stands for. With the recent election and inauguration of Donald Trump as America’s 45th president, tensions have been high, to say the least. Each day has introduced new scandals and potential constitutional violations. From taking down the pages on climate change and LGBTQ rights on the White House website on his first day in office to waging a full fledged war on the media, Donald Trump has been a very controversial figure. However, this article is not meant to focus on Trump or his supporters, but on the Women’s March on Washington. While I went to the Women’s March primarily to protest Trump’s administration and the man himself, the Women’s March was used by many to advocate for women’s rights. The idea for the Women’s March originally sparked when a retired attorney from Hawaii, Teresa Shook, created a Facebook page for 40 of her friends, attempting to create a small march in protest of Trump’s election. Overnight, 10,000 people had RSVPed for the event, and that’s when the movement gained momentum. The march had its fair share of controversy, however. When it was originally conceived by Ms. Shook, she named it the Million Women’s March, which was a march organized for black women in 1997. This naming drew some backlash, and felt quite racially exclusive, so the march was handed over to female activists Linda Sarsour, Carmen Perez, and Tamika Mallory, and named the Women’s March on Washington. From there, the march became the monumental event that it became known as on January 21st.
While every student at BSGE has gone through an admission process, we might not have all taken the same test. Over the last few years, the 7th grade admissions test has undergone some transformations.
Around 500 to 600 students register to take the 7th grade admissions test every year (however, this doesn’t guarantee that all those students will actually show up to take the test). In the next round, around half of the people that took the test are invited back for an interview. After the interview, around 80-100 students are accepted, depending on the number of streams the school is projecting to fill.
On March 14th and 16th, BSGE seniors had a chance to display their 2 years of hard work on the walls of the nearby Aurora Gallery for parents, friends, and teachers to admire. This year’s IB art show was especially groundbreaking, because it was the first year that two art exhibitions were arranged, instead of one. This was partially due to the size of the Class of 2016, as well as new IB requirements for more art to be displayed. Half the grade presented their work on Monday while the other half did so on Wednesday. The exhibition counted as a large part of the Internal Assessment for the IB Art exam. “Because of the new IB Visual Arts exam criteria, these two exhibitions were the largest BSGE has ever hosted, and were the most ambitious,” stated Ms. Schwarz. For many twelfth graders such as Inarra Sorathiya ’16, the art show was rewarding. She said it was strange but gratifying to see all her artworks together and after she had worked hard preparing her pieces for months. While personal satisfaction was one fulfilling factor, having others there to admire the students work was also very validating. Khadija Zulfiqar ’16 enjoyed having her work on display for her parents to see. Gabriel Steinberg ’16 felt a highlight was having friends from other schools come in and see that he “actually does work.”
This school year, BSGE gained a new humanities teacher, Mr. Steven Rabinowitz. In a recent interview, he shared the details of the path he took to becoming a teacher as well as a devoted follower of a secret band.
So what made the Long Beach native, and upcoming girls’ basketball coach, interested in the humanities? As a child, Mr. Rabinowitz’s took long road trips with his grandfather. On these adventures, he would stare at maps and memorize all their features, from rocks and rivers, to cities and states. Somewhere along the way, a passion for history and geography was born. In the 6th grade, Mr. Rabinowitz’s guidance counselor asked him what he wanted to be when he grew up, and not surprisingly, Mr. Rabinowitz said “history teacher.”
At 24, Mr. Rabinowitz went to grad school in “the most awesome place on Earth,” or as others know it, Santa Cruz, California. In 2011, Mr. Rabinowitz completed graduate school, and began covering for teachers on maternity leave. This is his fourth full year teaching in a classroom. It seems as if Mr. Rabinowitz is a jack of all grades; for the last couple of years, he’s taught everything from seventh to twelfth grade, plus independent study. He loves contemplating alternate histories, but tries to avoid this when thinking academically. Imagine a world in which there wasn’t a Revolutionary War–we’d be having tea everyday (not that I’d mind, of course).
So what attracted Mr. Rabinowitz to BSGE? Was it the crowded hallways or the cafegymatorium? Surprisingly, neither. Mr. Rabinowitz was enchanted by the fact that BSGE is passionate about its students.
He liked that the teachers here want students to strive and develop on their own. The cozy atmosphere appealed to him as well. At BSGE, almost everyone knows each other, which as many students can understand, is both a blessing and a curse. Mr. Rabinowitz last taught at Brooklyn Latin for a year. It was a good school, but, “it wasn’t me,” he said. At Brooklyn Latin, the children wore uniforms which he felt minimized expression. Most students there didn’t approach the teachers for help either. Here, Mr. Rabinowitz thinks the students are “great.” He feels that BSGE has abundant character. Mr. Rabinowitz is amazed by how expressive the students are, and is fascinated especially by the way we interact with one another.
Even though some people may associate the humanities with old, creaky men writing documents, Mr. Rabinowitz’s music taste is not Beethoven. He in fact has 3 ½ terabytes of classic rock, folk rock, jam bands, 80s new wave, and nu disco on his computer. The Grateful Dead, Talking Heads, LCD Soundsystem, Tool, Zero7, and Paul Simon are some of his favorites. Then there’s THE band. The band he has gone to see 216 times. The Band Who Must Not be Named. Or rather the one he absolutely refused to name because he was afraid he’d bump into one of his students at a concert.
For years in college, Mr. Rabinowitz spent most of his money going to see bands “he couldn’t afford.” Still, he said the concerts were “worth every penny.” “Yolo,” he said. Then his history-teacher personality kicked in: “‘Unless you’re a Buddhist or Hindu. Or a cat.”
If there’s something that Mr. Rabinowitz loves as much as music, it’s teaching. He loves that “something subtle could impact someone so much.” Thinking back to high school, only his humanities teacher and his French teacher stood out. He said he never forgot how they helped him grow as a person. Now he wants to pay their wisdom forward. He wants to push his students at BSGE to progress just as he did. Nevertheless, he doesn’t forget that “as much as you guys are learning, I am too.” Often, we don’t realize that we’re not the only ones going through a learning process. While we are growing, Mr. Rabinowitz said, we’re also helping him grow.
First off, I’d like to say that I’ve only been in college for a month. So my Word from the Real World as of now is still quite new, still fresh with the freshman excitement that 7th graders might be experiencing in BSGE right now.