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by Justin H '17

The Fault in Our Science Department

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

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by Justin H '17

The Buzz: What are your goals for this year?

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“To pass, you know.  Do my homework and stuff.  Pretty much that.” – Peter ’19

  “To get higher than a 5 in all classes.”- Gracelyn Chen ’18

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by Justin H '17

BSGE’s 2014 Spring Music Concert

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.

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by Justin H '17

The Day Of Silence

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

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by Justin H '17

BSGE’s New Order of Books

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.

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by Justin H '17

Basketball Team Joint Fundraiser

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.

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by Justin H '17

Change in Semesters

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. 

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by Justin H '17

Tim Ran the NYC Marathon

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

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by Justin H '17

What to do over Winter Break

If you’re not going on a vacation, winter break can seem like a very boring 12 days.  Sure, you can spend some time sleeping, some time eating, and some time doing homework, but that won’t fill up your break.  Here are some suggestions for how to fill up your time.

  • See a movie
    • Plenty of good movies have come out recently.  Gather some friends and try to see movies such as:
      • Catching Fire.  The second movie in the Hunger Games series is out, and quite popular.  If you want to go see it with some friends, your biggest difficulty might be finding a group who haven’t yet seen it.
      • The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.  This one is the sequel to the first hobbit movie, which came out last year.  While it adds many things that weren’t in the book, it is still worth viewing.
      • 12 Years a Slave.  The title says it all; this movie is based on the true story of a free black man taken to the South and sold into slavery.  This movie may not be easy to see, as it is rated R.  Most people in this school aren’t allowed to see it with only friends their age.
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by Justin H '17

Improving the Library

BSGE’s  school library is used for classes during school hours and home to students completing homework and meeting with their clubs after school.  People are rarely seen standing between the bookshelves and simply browsing for books.  To try to make the library more effective, Ms. Clarkson-Farrell and Ms. Johnson decided to ask students to volunteer to organize and maintain it.

Last year, only a few 10th graders who needed community service hours helped out.  They did preliminary work, such as taking inventory, cataloging the items the library would soon receive, and what the library needed.  This year, with the preliminary work done, more students could volunteer to help out at the library.  This year’s volunteers shelve books that

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by Justin H '17

Helping Hands Initiatives

On Monday September 30th, Helping Hands voted on which initiatives they would focus on to start the year. They decided on three.  One is “Love Without Boundaries”, an organization that helps orphaned children in China get medical help, foster care, and education.  They can arrange surgeries for children whose lives are in danger, such as heart surgery, cleft repair, and palate repair, among others.  The foster care program currently has over 220 participants and provides the orphans with a family.  Orphans from Kindergarten up until college are getting education through “Love Without Boundaries”.  This organization

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by Justin H '17

8th Graders Leaving BSGE

Every year, some of the 8th graders in BSGE leave it for other high schools, such as Stuyvesant or Bronx Science.  This year, with the largest 8th grade class in the school’s history, one might expect the largest number of 8th graders in the school’s history to leave, but that is not the case.  Only 14 out of 98, a little over 14%, of the 8th graders are leaving for other public schools this year, which is a much smaller percentage than ever before.

One reason why this might be the case is that the school has gotten much more well-known recently.  The US News and World Reports ranked this high school as #1 in New York state last year, and #4 in the state this year.  Fewer people will want to