Model UN: A Model for the World? Reply

Model UN – a club that many have heard of, but few know anything about. Unlike most activities, there are no regular weekly meetings, no advertisements to be in a certain place at a certain time to join. But occasionally a school will hold a Model UN convention, such as the Dalton School in the Upper East Side did on April 23rd, and BSGE will be well represented.

Three juniors and five seniors, along with supervisor Ms. Meisler, attended said conference, where students from many different schools attempt to solve world issues in eight to ten hours. Each school is assigned one or more countries to represent, and for the weeks leading up to the conference, the students learn about their country’s strengths and issues so they can be accurate representatives. In this case, BSGE was assigned Australia, Belgium, and the Philippines, but due to a lack of people, the Philippines ended up being ignored. During the conference, there are many subcommittees that focus on world issues such as climate change and disease control, and each participant joins one of these subcommittees to represent their country. Hours of spirited debate ensue. Eventually, proposals are created, voted on, and announced to the rest of the conference, sometimes with awards for countries and/or schools whose representatives stand out. More…


Nearby Gymnasium Helpful for BSGE Sports Reply



This past basketball season has seen vast improvements to both the girls’ and boys’ basketball teams, thanks to the availability of a new court. It is the gymnasium of Most Precious Blood, a Catholic school taken over by the NYC Department of Education. They agreed to override Most Precious Blood’s principal, who wanted to prevent BSGE from using the gymnasium, so it became accessible to the teams on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday afternoons. In previous years, both basketball teams had to practice outdoors, weather permitting, and either play their home games in the Long Island City YMCA or in the stadium of the opposing team. Unfortunately for the boys’ team, however, their games were scheduled before the court was acquired, so they could not hold any home games there this season. More…

Junior Council’s Rocking Karaoke Night Reply

photo 1Junior Council hosted BSGE’s first ever Karaoke Night on Friday, January 15 a fundraiser for senior activities, such as prom, purchasing yearbooks, and senior trip. The event was held from 3 to 6 p.m., with tickets sold for $4 (and $5 at the door). Hours before the event, council members were busy putting decorative ornaments on the walls and setting up the microphone and speakers. “It was chaotic, but it worked out,” said Junior Council Secretary, Ryan Zhuo ’17. The team set up a small snack stand and even opened up a photo booth for visitors. Starting at 3 p.m., groups of students started to assemble in the cafeteria, the place the event was held at. By 3:30, the cafeteria was packed with students and teachers, including Mr. Stone, the supervisor of Junior Council, and Ms. Hunter, the trigonometry teacher. As a way to show their support and to participate in the event, many juniors came to Karaoke Night. Junior Claire Bergerson ’17 said, “I thought it was a really laid-back and relatively non-judgemental atmosphere. I know how hard everyone worked to put it together and I really think their hard work paid off and everyone had fun.” Many students sang, including seniors Jamie Carroll ’16 and Gabriel Steinberg ’16, who performed the “The Lazy Song.” Junior Martin Lazos Bobadilla ’17 sang “Milkshake” by Kelis, which Claire thought was “very impressive.” Along with this, almost all of the teachers who attended the event sang, including Mr. Stone, who sang the Pokemon theme song, and Dr. Helfenbein, who sang “Cadillac Ranch” by Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. “It was great,” said Ryan, “because I got to see a lot of teachers and peers I’ve never seen singing before finally sing.” More…

All’s Fair at the Club Fair Reply

In a successful attempt to raise money and help clubs all over the school advertise their existence, the BSGE Business Club hosted a club fair. It took place on Tuesday, November 10, in the school cafeteria. From 2:30 to 4:30 the club ran for students only, and then it continued from 6:00 to 8:00 during the open house for families, too. When asked about the process for creating the event, Carolyn Wang ’16 explained that the BBC first came up with the idea last June, and started planning to make it a reality by the end of September. She said that the most important concern the club had was to make sure that there would be enough people participating for the event to be profitable. Due to the vast number of new clubs this year, that did end up being the case.



Human Rights Class: A Last Look Reply

Human Rights is no longer taught at BSGE, starting this year. One of the many changes that went into effect in September is that Health has replaced Human Rights as the weekly “elective,” and Physical Education has replaced Health as a main class. Human Rights, taught by Peter Wilson, has been a distinctive feature of ninth grade ever since this school opened, but scheduling and homework concerns have trumped tradition.

There are two main reasons for the change: scheduling issues and parent pushback. Ninth graders in past years have had gym/yoga only for half of the year, which when combined with the fact that juniors only have it once a week meant that BSGE students weren’t getting enough physical activity overall. Health, which used to replace it, now has its own slot in the schedule so ninth graders can be more active. The other reason is that recently, parents of ninth graders have been complaining that their children receive too much homework from what is theoretically an “elective” course. Together, this ended the class. More…

BSGE Students’ Summer Plans Reply

As this school year winds down, many BSGE students have started thinking about what they want to do over the summer. Students from all grades have interesting plans.

  • Scott Seigel ‘20 is going to study history at the Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth (CTY).
  • Emma Van Bergen ‘19 will travel to Oxford University to study photography and conspiracy theories
  • Ben Bagbek ‘18 will be a teen advisor for Junior Scholastic, writing opinionated articles on various topics.
  • Emily Costa ‘17 plans to experience a Chinese language and cultural immersion program in Beijing.
  • Angelica Benares ‘16 will participate in and help lead a youth seminar in Rome about conflict and resolution.
  • Beverlee Chin ‘15 obtained a paid internship lasting for the next four summers with Crown Media/Hallmark Channel. This summer, she will be in their Ad Sales Marketing department.


The Straight Word on Posture Reply

A regular school day in BSGE includes around 285 minutes of sitting, not including a gym or yoga class. Within that time, how we sit in our navy blue with a slight tint of green chairs is a topic that is very much overlooked. So, just what does a “good posture” look like, and why is it so important?

According to the American Chiropractic Association, posture is defined as “the position in which we hold our bodies while standing, sitting, or lying down.” Good posture, also called “neutral spine,” is when the back has three natural curves. The neck and lower back should curve slightly inwards, while the upper back should turn outwards. When your back curves properly, your muscles are more efficient and less likely to be strained, your bones and joints maintain their proper alignment, and your ligaments become less stressed and less prone to damage. However, when these curves are too slight, too exaggerated, or in the wrong direction entirely, your posture is poor and can have negative consequences on your health, causing back injuries and pain.

Good posture looks slightly different depending on if you are sitting, standing, or lying down. Sitting, it involves uncrossed legs, flat feet, knees below hips, a straight back, and forearms parallel to the ground. Good posture when standing is knees slightly bent, legs shoulder-width apart, arms hanging naturally, shoulders pulled backwards, and a straight neck. If you are lying down, the way to keep good posture is to be on your side or back, rather than on your stomach. More…

Personal Projects: Fundraising Edition Reply

Two personal projects this year were more visible to the school than most. These are the fundraising projects, one by Isabelle Mah ’17 and the other by Najwa Jamal ’17. You might have seen ads for different kinds of sales around the school, such as a burrito sale or a Christmas-themed bake sale.

Photo Credit: Isabelle Mah

Photo Credit: Isabelle Mah

Isabelle raised money for the Wild Bird Fund, the only wildlife rehabilitation center in New York City, with a goal of $500. She did three different fundraisers in school for it, one joint sale with Najwa and two burrito sales. Though a burrito sale is an odd choice, Isabelle explained that “it was a fun and creative way to raise awareness about my project and fundraiser without following the usual norm.” This certainly worked, as the three fundraisers made $276 for Isabelle total, more than half of the way to her goal. The rest and more was made up by an online campaign, which, although the project itself has ended, remains open until the end of March for people to donate to, and can be found here:

Photo Credit: Isabelle Mah

Photo Credit: Isabelle Mah

Najwa’s personal project is for Services for the Underserved, an organization that helps mentally challenged homeless people in NYC. She chose this organization because she sees many homeless people, More…

Inside Scoop on the Knitting Club Reply

One new club at BSGE this year is a knitting club, supervised and started by Ms. Shen. She started it because she is interested in knitting and wants to share her interest with the school. The club meets in the library immediately after school every Thursday, and has members from a variety of grades. Meetings officially last until 3:45, but most people usually leave by 3:15. Most members work on knitting scarves, because those are easiest for beginners to make. However, some have been making headbands.

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During a typical meeting, members sit in the lounge area of the library. Ms. Shen described them as knitting while they “talk about issues that are interesting in their lives. Stress is totally off their minds. It’s so relaxed…a real fun environment.” If you’ve ever wanted to learn a new skill, a place to relax, or both, the knitting club might be right for you.

Peer Tutoring at BSGE Reply

For the past two years, BSGE has had a peer tutoring program, where students seeking help in any subject can find an upperclassman willing to explain it to them. A lot of students were asking for individual help that their teachers could not provide during 8th period, so guidance counselor Tim David-Lang asked a few older students if they would be willing to help. According to Tim, the idea of “students helping students with schoolwork” was incredibly popular.

There are two methods for tutors and tutees to meet. If someone who wants help goes to the library on a Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday between the end of school and 4:00 pm, he will probably be able to find at least one tutor willing to help, such as Michael Lembert ’17 or Nikhil Kumar ’18. Unfortunately, most students are either unaware that this option exists or refuse to use it. This leads to most of the tutors’ time spent waiting for someone to arrive asking for help. When asked what he would say to convince people to show up, Michael replied, “You may not want to admit it, but we can help you help yourself.” Even though there is much more waiting than tutoring for them, Michael and Nikhil have no plans to give up. Nikhil explained, “I feel like I’m obligated to help other people out because even if I couldn’t get the help, they deserve it.” If you need a one-time explanation on a topic you don’t understand, try finding a tutor in the library to explain. More…

Making Money: The DECA Buisness Club Reply


Every year at BSGE, there are many new clubs, and this year is no exception. One such club is the DECA business club, which is a nationwide program that BSGE is trying to register as a high school chapter for. The point of DECA is to raise money for the school thorough various school-based enterprises (SBEs). In our case, the DECA club is trying to join the larger DECA community by creating a school store, which would sell things like food, school supplies, and school spirit products such as shirts and sweaters with the BSGE logo. In addition, they are planning to create their own website, and are offering to be hired by other clubs for services such as designing posters to advertise. The club plans to raise $2,000 or more by June. Although Ms. Johnson’s approval is needed for almost anything they plan to do, such approval will not be difficult to get. More…

The Fault in Our Science Department Reply

As many BSGE students know, our school is small. One result of this is that our science department, while still very good, doesn’t have everything it could have if this were a larger school. Specifically, we have no physics class and no HL science classes. In the IB program, HL stands for “higher level,” as opposed to SL, which stands for “standard level.” While both are IB courses, and therefore quite advanced by necessity, HL classes are more advanced than SL.

Many BSGE students are very annoyed at these features that our science department does not have. Having no physics class can put us at a disadvantage when students try to decide if they should stay here or go to a different school for 9th grade, and then again when students compete for college spots with people from other schools. Emily Costa ’17 said that she thinks that “physics is a very important subject for a school to have, and it would be great for BSGE. When 8th graders decide on a high school, the lack of a physics department may cause students to favor other schools.” Leeana Johnston ’17 explained that many people who choose to stay despite these problems regret their choice, because “there are many students that apply to MIT but no one ever gets in because none of them have taken these standard, basic courses and that puts them at a disadvantage. This school is supposed to open up your options and allow you to get into better schools, but the fact that we are not offered those classes takes this away.” For a school like ours, which attracts people who are quite capable of getting into universities such as MIT, this is a huge problem.

Not every student sees this as a major problem, however. Talika Basantani ’18 said that in her opinion the lacking science department does not matter so much, because “In BSGE, we take more semesters of high school classes than any other classes. For example, taking ten semesters of high school math instead of six or eight.”   She added More…

BSGE’s 2014 Spring Music Concert Reply

Thursday, May 29th, was BSGE’s 2014 Spring Concert. The entire 9th grade participated, as did the school band: Players for Peace. Some students, such as Anu Shree Rajagopal ‘17 and Mariadolores Alvarez ‘17 had special performances. Anu played a traditional Indian violin, and Mariadolores showed off her flamenco dancing skills.­­ The Players for Peace played well-known songs such as The Star-Spangled Banner. After that came intermission, and then the 9th graders played many complicated pieces such as the William Tell Overture, And the Mountains Rising…, and Swingin’ Shepard Blues.

Ms. Nikkolos, the music teacher and conductor during the concert, was very pleased with the concert’s turnout. She called it a “demonstration of the ninth grade achievement.” The achievement in question is knowledge of reading sheet music and playing percussion instruments. Some of the pieces the 9th graders played are on an 11th grade level, meaning that the 9th graders showed exceptional skill. Once that skill is mastered, Ms. Nikkolos explained, it is much easier to play any instrument. More…

The Day Of Silence Reply

dayofsilenceWednesday, April 30th, was the national Day of Silence. Students who participated did not speak for one day to protest the bullying of LGBT teenagers nationwide, who face being silenced and ignored because of their sexual orientation and/or gender expression. The voluntary silence by the thousands of students who participated called this treatment to attention in a hope to change it. The Helping Hands Committee has organized the Day of Silence in BSGE for the past several years.

Most people who took part in the Day of Silence agreed that it was very hard to remain silent for a whole day. Jonathan Kim ’17, for example, felt like his voice was “all cooped up” because he couldn’t speak. Most students still felt that it was worth it to remain silent for one day to support the LGBT community, and many of those who participated this year plan on participating again next year. Simona Matovic ’17 and Lily Brickman ’17 felt that the silence was an example of how a “small gesture can go a long way.”

There is a lot of opposition toward the Day of Silence all over America. Some people in more liberal communities like New York City agree with the cause, but simply don’t participate, as they feel More…

BSGE’s New Order of Books Reply

The school library recently received a new shipment of books, thanks to Ms. Clarkson-Farrell. She has spent a lot of time devoted to trying to make the library better, and as a result, there are now more than 75 books that weren’t there to take out before. They come from many genres, everywhere from adventure books to art books. Some notable books that the library got are Black Potatoes, Humans of New York, and many books in the Ender’s Game series.

Black Potatoes is a book about the Great Potato Famine in Ireland. It tells of how desperate people gathered food during that time period. For instance, some people would purposely commit crimes so that they could go to jail, where they would be guaranteed free meals every day. It describes how people would walk for miles in order to get to their job or a soup kitchen where they could receive food. Black Potatoes should be interesting for anyone who enjoys non-fiction.

BSGE library

Humans of New York is a book based on the famous blog of the same name. That blog, started by photographer Brandon Stanton in Summer of 2010, is made up of photographs of New Yorkers with captions that either quote them or tell their stories. The book Humans of New York is a collection of the highlights from the blog. When a large selection of students were asked which book they would like to read the most out of the books in the shipment, Humans of New York was by far the most popular choice. More…

Basketball Team Joint Fundraiser Reply

In 2013, BSGE’s two basketball teams had a joint fundraiser.  It lasted from late October to the middle of November.  The fundraiser involved selling clothing such as shirts, hoodies, sweatshirts, jackets, socks, tank tops, shorts, baseball caps and yoga pants.  Non-clothing items, such as cell phone cases, backpacks and watches were also sold.  This is the school’s first fundraiser with Fan Cloth, the company that manufactured these items.  In addition to raising money, the purpose of this fundraiser was to test out the company and see if BSGE could profit from doing business with them again.  This meant that there was no monetary goal.  Even so, the fundraiser made $300, which was used to buy equipment for both basketball teams.  All in all, this was just one of many expected future fundraisers necessary for the sports at BSGE to survive.

Change in Semesters Reply

With the end of January comes the end of the semester, and that means that almost everyone in BSGE will have to adjust to some schedule changes.  7th grade students will stop taking music and start taking technology, while 8th grade students will stop taking technology and start taking art.  Similarly, 9th grade students switch from art to music.  The reason for this is that BSGE has to comply with city regulations, which state that there has to be a semester of music in middle school and in high school.  More…

Tim Ran the NYC Marathon Reply

On November 3, over 50,000 people completed the annual New York City Marathon.  The marathon started in Staten Island, went over the Verrazano Bridge, traveled up through Brooklyn and into Queens, went to Manhattan via the Queensboro Bridge, proceeded into the Bronx using the Willis Avenue Bridge, went around and back into Manhattan over the Madison Avenue Bridge, and finished in Central Park.  One of those 50,000 was Tim David-Lang, BSGE’s guidance counselor.

This was Tim’s first time running a marathon.  One of the many ways to gain entrance to the NYC Marathon is by winning a lottery.  Last year was the fourth time he entered, having failed the other three times.  He won the lottery, but Hurricane Sandy canceled the race.  When Tim learned that, he knew that it was the right thing to do, but a few weeks later, he started feeling disappointed that he wasn’t going to More…