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