Throw BACC Thursdays: 30 Minutes With BSGE’s Founder, Bill Stroud Reply

The BACC Rag will repost an old article or interview (from our archive of almost a thousand stories!) each Thursday to help share great stories from the past that would still resound today. 

   Bill Stroud walks the halls of BSGE with the swagger of a man come home. He’s stopped every few feet by people excited to see him, much like Nick Jones walking through a horde of love struck tweens. After a quick conversation about his two sons, Bill moves on to the next colleague desperate for a “hello.”

“[I’m] undeserving of the attention I get,” the founder and former principal of BSGE humbly admits. BSGE however, doesn’t agree. “If it wasn’t for Bill you and I wouldn’t be having this conversation,” college counselor and community organizer, Peter Wilson rightfully notes.
And not only former colleagues idolize Bill. When asked what she thinks of him, senior Monae Dudley, who still remembers the school’s early days at Wagner High, says, “I love Bill, [he] was the greatest.” Monae adds, “His dream was More…


Word from the Real World: Jolijt Tamanaha

Towards the end of my senior year at BSGE, one of my friends, Kristopher Kesoglides said: “college is what you make it.” Now that it is the end of my freshman year at Washington University in St. Louis, I can confidently say that he couldn’t have been more right.
Seniors, you can spend the next four years hating where you are. It’s easy, I’ll tell you how: arrive knowing you’re going to hate the school, judge your classmates immediately, and blame everyone else for everything that goes wrong.
Or you can spend the next four years indifferent to where you are. It’s even easier: don’t sign up for activities, only talk to people who talk to you, and take classes you know you’ll do well in.
Or you can spend the next four years loving where you are. That’s a lot harder and I can’t tell you how. But I can tell you that I love it at Wash U.
Some people are unbearably strange and others are unbearably annoying. Some classes are so boring and others are so difficult. I’ve spent many weekends doing nothing but trying desperately to catch up on work.  Yet, I absolutely love it. I avoid the annoying people, entertain myself by staring at the strange people, drop the boring classes, and work through the difficult ones. I’ve made friends who are fascinating, loving, and fun. I’ve had amazing experiences. And I still get three more years.
It’s not always sunshine and butterflies. Sometimes I love it less. Right now, I’m sick of studying for finals, sick of writing essays, and sick of my tiny dorm room. But it’s still only partially cloudy (please excuse my nauseatingly corny extended metaphor).
So Seniors, please don’t stress about where you’re going. You’ll love it if you let yourself love it. Have a great summer everyone. And congratulations to the Seniors!

Word from the Real World: Jolijt Tamanaha Reply

The strangest thing about leaving for college is going back home. It’s beyond weird to pack a suitcase, board a plane, land in a place, and hug people that used to be so everyday and now feel so far away.
Throughout all of Thanksgiving break, I wondered how real my life at college is. Cooking dinner while my friends sat around the kitchen laughing made it feel like I’d never left, like I had imagined moving out. But as soon as I landed back in St. Louis, I realized that my life here is far from fake because More…

Word from the real World: Jolijt Tamanaha Reply

While frantically fanning the smoke alarm with a Wheat Thins box I thought, “third day of orientation and I’m already learning something.”  That something was that you should never put an English Muffin in the microwave for longer than a minute. I also learned to always wear shoes when you leave your room because chances are, if you’re like me, you will
your key.
to the
isn’t fun
(that was
the fifth
in five
days—that I got locked out).
I learned that you should just sign up for every club that sounds even a little bit interesting because (a) you can always un-sign up and (b) they have free food at the meetings.
I learned to actually read the label More…

Word from the Real World: Jolijt Tamanaha Reply

Before starting, I heard countless warnings about the difficulty of college.  I walked into my first class fully expecting a cruel, heartless professor and incredibly complicated work. After all, the favorite line of some BSGE teachers is: “In college, the professors won’t care about you at all.”
I’ve only had caring professors. Professor Welman brought in More…

Thank You Notes Reply

The Bacc Rag experienced its first taste of controversy in April. Our right to free speech (and our right to make a joke) was ignored when the issues were collected. But I am grateful it happened because it gave me a moment to reflect on the amazing opportunity that I have had working on this newspaper at BSGE. Over the past six years, many, many people have been extremely supportive.
When Kristen Spang, Nathan Nikolic and I first approached then-principal Bill Stroud about creating a newspaper for the seventh grade he didn’t hesitate. Mr. Aly Lakhaney signed on as adviser. The “Popcorn Weekly” was born and distributed (kinda) weekly for two years. In the 100th issue, we announced that we would become “The Bacc Rag,” a tabloid-sized, school-wide newspaper.
Not once did someone question (at least not to our faces) whether More…

Applying from BSGE: Seniors Reflect Reply

“Don’t be a little girl about it,” senior Meghan McCullough advises juniors, “do anything and everything you have to do to get in.” Another student urges future college applicants to “think realistically” and many seniors stressed avoiding procrastination and starting the process as early as possible.
   About 52% of 2011 seniors said they feel they did not do everything they could do to get into the best school possible. Senior Erica Llanera recommends students “always be proactive about the demands of a college application, ask questions, do research, be aware.” Another senior, Sarah Diaz, says “finish things before deadlines” because it “gives you a chance to revise. A lot.” More…

Double Deposit At Your Own (High) Risk Reply

On May 1st (or earlier for the non-procrastinators) seniors across the country sent in their enrollment deposits, securing a spot in the freshman class at the college of their choice. But some students played the dangerous game of double depositing.
Double depositing is the action of sending in a check for enrollment to more than one school and students do it for multiple reasons. Sometimes seniors cannot make a choice and, therefore, buy themselves some extra time to choose. Other students send in two deposits because the schools have yet to give final financial aid packages; the students More…

Words Can Hurt More Than Swirlies Reply

24 hours after its creation the “Westchester SMUT List” Facebook page had over 7,000 “likes” and 100 names of teenage girls deemed smuts—the “l” was changed to an “m” to avoid Facebook regulations. The page was also promptly followed by multiple pages urging the creators to take down the list and was shut down on March 7th. But not without hurt feelings, fights, and shattered self-esteems.
According to the Daily Greenwich, Greenwich High School Headmaster Chris Winters said, “students who send ‘virtual slanders that disrupt the educational process will be subject to school consequences.’” Yet, NBC reports that no students “will face any disciplinary action.”
This isn’t surprising. A school’s responsibility to, More…

A Joke Frank Sinatra Didn’t Laugh About Reply

The Bacc Rag’s April Fools’ front page was meant to garner a few laughs and then be thrown away.  The front page article was titled “BSGE To Merge With Frank Sinatra” and was filled with fake quotes about reasons for the fake merge. Above the article was a photoshopped image of Justin Bieber in front of BSGE.
Out of professional courtesy, Ms. Johnson informed Principal Finn, of Frank Sinatra High School, about the fake article. Ms. Finn then asked that the issues be recollected and reprinted without Frank Sinatra’s name. According to Ms. Johnson, Ms. Finn “expressed concern about the parents in her community possibly More…

“Show Me the Money” Seniors Cry Out to Colleges Reply

100% of 2011 graduates are going to a four-year college, which is unprecedented at BSGE, Yet, the 2011 seniors are less excited about college than the 2010 seniors were.
This gloomy conclusion is based on surveys distributed by The Bacc Rag. It found a 20% drop, from 2010 to 2011, in students describing themselves as “elated” about the college they will be attending and a 12% increase in students who describe themselves as “disappointed.”
According to the New York Times, for many colleges, the 2011 admission rates were the lowest ever. Boston University, for example, reported a 10% decrease in students admitted in More…

The Bacc Rag Finishes Its Fourth Year Reply

To the left is an image of the front page of the very first The Bacc Rag.  The issue was put together though a long, painful process that began with printing out articles and then gluing them onto graph paper. The graph paper was then copied, the rogue lines were whited out, and then the papers were scanned. The scans were compiled into a pdf and the pdf was then sent off to a publishing company.

The front page of the first ever issue of the BACC Rag, May 2007.

That story sounds like it belongs with the stories told by grandfathers of typewriters and long trudges in the snow. But really the issue was put out in May of 2007, when computers were more than well established. We just didn’t have the knowledge needed to use a formatting program.
The process took More…

What? Why Didn’t I Get In? Reply

Both the online College forums and the BSGE cafeteria are buzzing with students comparing their admissions results in a struggle to understand them. On kshul4444 writes that she “got into the University of Pennsylvania, Princeton, Cornell, Georgetown, and UVA,” but adds that she was “waitlisted at Tufts.” Some seniors at BSGE have experienced being rejected or waitlisted at schools ranked lower than those they were accepted into. Other students have the impression that students with lower grades or SATs scores were accepted into schools to which they were rejected.
This has been dubbed “Tufts Syndrome,” after Tufts University, which is infamous for rejecting students that are “overqualified.” This process is also called Yield Management and is done to protect a More…

Now You Get to Decide Reply

Congratulations on the college acceptances Seniors! As the last letters roll in and stress fades away excitement can begin to settle in. Finally you get to make some decisions rather than wait for decisions. But there is still time, the universal enrollment deadline is May 1st. So celebrate and then take some time to consider all of the factors.
The most important thing to keep in mind is your own happiness. Happiness won’t necessarily occur at the  nicest, cheapest, or highest ranked college. You have to be motivated to succeed and this wont happen if More…

BSGE Blood Suckers Reply

On February 17th BSGE hosted yet another blood drive and it was once again a success. The goal was to collect 34 pints and 28 total pints were collected. Although we did fall short of the goal, the blood center was pleased with the amount of blood collected relative to the size of our school.
The number of people who registered to donate was also impressive. 46 people were scheduled but 18 people were turned down because either their iron count was too low, their blood pressure was too high or low, or they failed to meet the height and weight requirements.
It is difficult for BSGE to collect many pints because the age More…

Teacher of the Month: Ms. Jennifer Dikes Reply

If you were to be on a stranded island with one BSGE teacher who would it be and why?
Virge because Virge would keep me alive. Because if I was stranded with Ms. You or Adam, we’d collectively starve to death.
It sounds like you have experience with that.
With Virge keeping me alive. Yeah, absolutely.

If you were stuck in a room for 48 hours and you had to bring two movies but you had to watch them over and over again, what two movies would you bring?
That is a good question. Two movies to watch over and over… Ferris Bueller’s Day Off because it would make me laugh over and over again. And then something really complicated that each time I’d watch it I’d get something out of it. Probably Momento because I’ve only seen that once.


Senioritis Can Have Consequences Reply

Colleges May Take Back That Acceptance Letter   

Warning: there has been a sudden increase in seniors struck with “senioritis.” It is an extremely debilitating and contagious disease. Those sick report a total loss of all willpower and say they spend afternoons relaxing with friends, watching TV, or sleeping instead of doing homework. “It’s horrible,” says Hannah McFadden, “I come home from school everyday and it feels like we’re on a break.” The most dangerous part of the disease: seniors are convinced that the relaxation is well deserved.
And it most certainly is. From the beginning of junior year to the end of the first semester of senior year, students are plagued with stress, pressure, work, and fear. Burned out from the mental strain, second semester seems like an escape. Describing the senioritis mindset, Hannah McFadden continues, More…

Full College Scholarships for Some BSGE Students Reply

In this year’s senior class, three students, Matthew Grey, Karina Rhem, and Oliver Ponce have been granted the elite Posse Scholarship. The scholarship covers all four years of tuition. For Matthew Grey, who will attending Babson College, that is over $156,000. Karina Rhem will be attending University of Southern California and receiving over $164,000 and Oliver Ponce—who was accepted to Colby College—is receiving about $204,000.
“I went crazy. I was shaking, crying, yelling and laughing,” Karina says about the moment she found out that she was accepted. “The first person I called was my mom,” said Matthew Grey.
In 2009, the scholarship was granted to only about 4.7% of the over More…

A Breakdown of Junior Year Reply

  Juniors are always warned that Junior year, especially at BSGE, is the hardest and most important year of high school. In an only partially scientifically valid manner, based solely on my personal evaluation of each assignment’s difficulty, I kept track of the work during my Junior Year from September 21st on.

Method: Each homework assignment was given a point value, from 1-3, based on difficulty. Difficulty was assessed by time spent doing it and mental effort exerted. Quizzes were worth 3 points and tests and essays were worth 5 points. The points were added to come up with weekly totals for each class. For each day off, 1 point was subtracted. The Extended Essay was treated as a class. More…


Every year students are issued two report cards and two periodic assessments. These evaluations tell us, our parents and the colleges we apply to, how well we do our jobs as students. When the evaluations are positive, the rewards are great but when they are negative, the consequences can be dire. The same should be said about teacher evaluations.
Teachers do get official annual reviews, as required by the Board of Education. Ms. Johnson rates their performance as either “satisfactory” or “unsatisfactory” based on her observations throughout the year. Recently, the New York State Assembly changed the system and starting in 2012, 40% of the evaluation will be based on student performance on standardized tests. However, neither the current system nor the future system leaves room More…