Word From the Real World: Moshan Guo Reply

If I could only use one word to describe college, it would be serendipity. From arriving at the campus on move-in day to cramming Sociology vocabulary words at 3 a.m. to going stargazing with my friends in the middle of nowhere, freshman year at Colby College for me has been a roller-coaster of a ride.
My name is Moshan Guo, a rising college sophomore transferring to Columbia University this fall. I call myself a preparer; in the summer before entering college, I tried to prepare the best I could for this upcoming new life by ordering dorm necessities like laundry hampers or looking into classes I was interested in taking. I spent countless nights too excited to sleep because I could not wait to experience being the cool college student without curfew or parents by my side telling me what to do. But I was not prepared for adjusting to college; no one had warned me about it.
I cried through my first semester, homesick and stressed from coursework. I would go to class in the mornings, be the most active participant in class discussions, eat alone in the dining halls and then return to my dorm room, where I spent the remainder of the day doing homework and video-calling my best friend from high school. I had almost no social life on campus and instead tried to devote the rest of my time to extracurriculars like volunteering or visiting professors’ office hours.
But it was also on this lonely, quiet campus that I learned to grow, both academically and spiritually. As editors before me have emphasized, college, even after taking IB classes, is challenging. There were weeks when I would go to Miller Library right after classes to study and return to my dorm after 4 a.m. for only four hours of sleep. Although I found myself aware of what quality of work professors expected from me, living up to their expectations was often stressful. As my social circle expanded, especially since the start of the second semester, I found myself bonding with other students over the common woes we shared. There were plenty of times when several of us would work together on a study guide for Biology or help each other with editing essays for Chinese Feminism class.
The majority of you, like me, will initially find yourselves to be isolated in college. If there is one thing I regret about freshman year, it would be stepping outside of my bubble too late in the year. At one point, everyone around you will seem to be having a great time making new friends and excelling at their coursework, while you are the only one struggling to find friends or do well in class. But I promise you that the majority of the people are also struggling with you. It was only after I opened up to my new friends that I realized like me, everyone else around me was nervous about making friends and facing pressure from coursework. Once I stepped out of my bubble, I started spending a lot less time in my dorm and spent more time with friends, even if it was just studying countless hours together in the library. There were times when we impulsively decided to watch a movie at 1 a.m. despite having class the next day or drive down to Waterville for a quick meal at McDonald’s.
The point is, much of the memorable parts of my freshman year come from time spent with friends. I realized that I could get a lot more work done with the help of fellow classmates, even if it meant having endless distractions or side-conversations here and there. College is a miraculous platform in which you will find people coming from very different backgrounds who still share common interests and worries with you.
Coming back to the city for college for the next three years may be daunting; I will once again have to go through the tasks of finding new friends and integrating myself into the campus community. However, I am determined to make the best out of my experience. Freshman year has indeed allowed me to witness the highs and lows of being a college student. But most importantly, it taught me to persist.


BSGE Travels to China! Reply

IMG_3890During spring break, a group of BSGE students and teachers embarked on a trip to China, which was our school’s first trip to a country in Asia. This year, the school decided to give an opportunity to students interested in Chinese culture and language to experience the country firsthand. The group consisted of 23 students and 4 teachers—Ms. Mihalache, Ms. Silva, Mr. Giraldo, and Ms. Xia. During their 10-day stay in China, they visited a total of three cities: Beijing, Xi’an and Shanghai. More…

Cell Phone Thief Gets into Accident, Delays Hundreds of Commuters Reply

A thief snatched a BSGE student’s iPhone on a train in Woodside and then tried to run away by escaping onto the subway tracks, only to be struck by another train. The entire ordeal delayed many rush hour commuters across Queens and into Manhattan. At around 7:40 a.m. on Tuesday, April 5th, the man approached the 13 year-old student, an 8th grader at BSGE, and took his phone. As he was trying to leave the car, several people tried to stop him. In order to get away, the 33 year-old culprit punched a man in the face then jumped onto the express train tracks, where he tried to run away. Although police were unable to pursue him, moments later he was sideswiped by a Manhattan-bound F train and mildly electrocuted by the third rail.


All About the Extended Essay Reply

At the beginning of the school year, BSGE 11th graders begin their year-long assignment: the Extended Essay. Although this assignment may sound tedious and intimidating, it is a crucial part of the IB program. “I was overwhelmed at first because it sounded like a really complicated paper,” said Angelica Benares ‘16. This essay, put simply, is a mandatory independent research paper on a topic of interest with a maximum of 4,000 words.

At BSGE, students are required to choose their discipline from one of the three IB Higher Level classes— History of the Americas, English Literature, and Visual Art. However, every year there are a few exceptions to the rule: a very small percentage of students choose Standard Level topics, such as Biology SL or Math SL. The difference between IB HL and IB SL is that HL is generally more difficult and in depth than SL. Because in HL classes students are able to learn more difficult material, they are encouraged to write their Extended Essays on topics belonging to those disciplines. The few exceptions to this rule are students who have very strong interests in the SL subjects and also have extracurricular connections to them. For example, a student who attends a Biology class and lab at a community college every weekend may be able to choose Biology as their discipline for the Extended Essay. 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…

What’s the deal with CAS group projects? Reply

Juniors and seniors in BSGE this year have been introduced to a new assignment that they have to complete as part of the Creativity, Action and Service (CAS) requirement for the IB Diploma Program. The CAS Group Project, which in BSGE must center around the theme of human rights in order to maintain a global perspective, is an 8-week long project that can happen either during the school year or over the summer. Aside from the human rights requirement, which is relatively broad, students can choose to do anything that falls under one or more of the three CAS sections. Below are some sample group projects that juniors are currently working on:

Group Name: “The Five”

Supervisor: Mildred

Jonathan Kim, Aadarsh Devkota, Kenneth Sue, Jotham Kim, Nicholas Jung

The group is forming a band in order to make music to promote happiness and joy. It will also compose cover songs in order to encourage others to believe in oneself. More…

School Security: Time to Get Serious?

Source: Newsday

Source: Newsday

A mass shooting took place in an Oregon college, resulting in the deaths of 10 people. On Thursday, October 1, Christopher Harper-Mercer, the 26 year-old gunman, entered his writing class in Umpqua Community College armed with six guns and fired a shot to the back of the room. He then forced his fellow students to the center of the classroom, where he deliberately spared the life of a student and gave him an envelope for him to pass on to the police. He fatally shot nine victims, one of whom was the assistant professor, and finally himself. More…

The Most Dangerous High School In the U.S. Receives Hope

Strawberry Mansion High School, a school in Philadelphia, was once named one of the most dangerous high schools in America by NeighborhoodScout. This school, with a total population of around 435 students, is located in a poor neighborhood with a high crime rate. Over 40% of the residents live in poverty, and the neighborhood has the highest frequency of homicide, rape, and assault in the city. Students file through metal detectors before entering the building every morning, and the officers and security guards watch for razor blades in tin foil and knives in backpacks. Before some students even enter classrooms, they are required to empty their pockets to ensure that they are not hiding any weapons. 94 security cameras line the hallways all over the school to monitor the students. More…

Costume Drive!

photoMr. Anderson’s advisory is recently holding a Costume Drive that will last from October 8 to October 23. Students are encouraged to donate their old Halloween costumes to the Salvation Army, an international charitable organization with a mission to help those in need. Students who want to donate can bring their costumes to their advisories. They can contact Mr. Anderson, Akifah Ahmed, or Jason Wilkins for more information about the drive.

Students Distraught Over Chinese Program Ending Reply

After hearing the news about Ms. Shen’s retirement from BSGE, Chinese students felt sadness but quickly wondered about who their new Chinese teacher would be. The answer they received was as unexpected as it was absurd to them. BSGE is planning to end its Chinese program and instead of continuing Chinese with another teacher, all of the students will be transferred to taking Language B French.

Currently there students in grades 7, 9, and 10 taking Chinese. For 7th graders, who have only taken Chinese for a year, the transition to taking French class will be easier and they have a lot more time to learn a new language. However, for the high school students, especially the sophomores, the transition is expected to make a huge impact. “The fact that I’ve taken four years of a language and am now being told I have to start all over again is absolutely absurd,” said Danielle Bahnasy ‘17.

An email by Ms. Johnson was sent out to BSGE parents regarding the school’s new decision to move away Language B Chinese. “This decision is geared toward strengthening our IB Diploma Program and the future goal of students learning two languages,” Ms. Johnson said in her email. 9th and 10th grade students are scheduled to take French ab initio for the rest of their time in BSGE. “French ab initio is a two year introductory IB Diploma course designed for students who need to switch languages in high school. The achievement of students on the French IB Diploma assessments supports this decision. This course will still permit these students to be eligible for the IB Diploma.”

Many Chinese students were strongly against this idea. “A year and a half worth of French is not enough to pursue the language,” said Elizabeth Levkovich, ‘17, “we’re kind of risking the exams we have to take senior year and all the perspective we had of taking Chinese is More…

BSGE’s Upcoming Trip to China

Recently, BSGE is planning for a potential trip to China during the April of 2016. In order to collect eager advocates for this upcoming trip, a meeting was hosted by Ms. Mihalache on Tuesday, May 19th for parents and students to discuss the details about the trip. Already about 20 people have signed up, with more than 30 people on the waiting list. Currently, there are four teachers planned to supervise the students during the trip: Ms. Shen, Mr. Geraldo, Ms. Mihalache, and Ms. Silva.

In the past few years, BSGE has planned international trips to countries in Europe—Spain, France, and Costa Rica. This time, we have decided to take a turn and visit a country in Asia. Ms. Shen, BSGE’s Chinese teacher, will be accompanying the students on the trip in order to teach them more about Chinese culture and act as a guide. For this trip, the fee for each student is $3,127. This includes the round-trip airfare, all transportation, hotel-stays, and a full-time multi-lingual tour director. All spots are reserved for students who will be in grades 10, 11 and 12 during the school year of 2015-2016.

The trip is planned to start on April 22, 2016 and end on April 30, 2016, summing up to a total of 9 days. In China, students will visit three cities: Beijing, Xi’an, and Shanghai. In these cities, they will experience and perform various activities: In China’s capital city, Beijing, students and teachers will visit many historical landmarks, such as the Forbidden City, Summer Palace, the Great Wall, Bird’s Nest, and Tiananmen Square. On the fifth day, the group will travel to Xi’an on an overnight train, where they will visit the Temple of Heaven and the Terra Cotta Warriors. The group will fly to Shanghai two days later to go sightseeing in gardens and temples and watch an acrobatic show.

“I want to go to China because we’ve been taking the language (Chinese) for 4 years and I think we’ve learned so much about it,” says Stella Pandis ’17, a student taking Chinese class at BSGE. “It’s really a once in a lifetime experience.”

BSGE Ranked #28 High School in the U.S. Reply

BSGeRecently, BSGE was ranked the #5 high school in New York State and #28 in the country. U.S. News & World Report, the famous American media company that ranked our school, is the oldest and best-known ranking of academic institutions. This time, High School of American Studies at Lehman College made it to the #1 high school in New York State, while the School for the Gifted and Talented in Dallas, Texas has been named the #1 high school in America for the fourth year in a row.

“I am happy for our students and our family,” says Ms. Johnson about our new ranking. Each year, the rankings given by the U.S. News Report are based on the college readiness of the graduating class from two years ago. This year, our school’s rankings came from statistics of the 2013-2014 school year. This “college readiness” score tries to calculate how well schools prepare their students for college based on their performance on IB or AP tests. In addition, these rankings include how well “disadvantaged students” perform in the school among other factors. Jessica Koziol, a BSGE alumni who graduated from 2013, said: “I’m really glad to see that all More…

The Delicacies of Mamu Thai

The day was gray and windy, not an ideal Friday to go out and eat lunch with my friends during school. However, I still wanted to take a break from that unappetizing school lunch served every day. It seemed like a perfectly good opportunity to try out this Thai restaurant that has been so popular among my classmates and friends: Mamu Thai.

Photo Credit: Mindy T. from Yelp.com | Pictured here are Thai Iced Tea & Shrimp Pad Thai

Photo Credit: Mindy T. from Yelp.com | Pictured here are Thai Iced Tea & Shrimp Pad Thai

The walk to Mamu Thai took about 2 minutes because the restaurant is located just around the corner from our school. As I stepped in the restaurant, I was overwhelmed by the sweet aromatic smell of a mixture of spices: garlic, onion, shrimp paste, chilies, and something I couldn’t identify. It smelled like barbecue, but had a hint of lemony sourness to it. The small restaurant’s brightly-decorated walls caught my eye: on one side, there was a huge collage covered with signs that displayed pictures and words that were in both Thai and English. From the ceilings hung incandescent pendant lights, their warm yellow glow illuminating the entire restaurant, casting a cozy and serene atmosphere. Lined along the collage wall was a long wooden counter with five red bar stools beautifully embroidered with swirling golden thread. From the walls, which were painted with red and yellow, hung small paintings of Buddha. There was a panoramic glass window built into a wall, which allowed customers to see the kitchen from the dining area. Soft country music playing from the speakers filled the entire room. More…

Watching With the Anime Club! Reply

"Death Billiards," a popular anime screened at Anime Club. Photo Credit: anime4psp.org

“Death Billiards,” a popular anime screened at Anime Club. Photo Credit: anime4psp.org

The Anime Club is an after-school club at BSGE that provides entertainment for students who are fans of anime. For those of you who don’t know what anime is, it is an abbreviation for Japanese animated films that show stories of a variety of different types and genres. These genres include Action, Adventure, Comedy, Drama, Fantasy, Romance, or Horror. Anime often comes in series of multiple episodes, usually ranging from 10 to 20. But when it comes to mainstream anime, the number of episodes can reach all the way to above hundreds or even to thousands. Depending on which type of anime you like, your viewing experiences may vary. More…

BSGE Wins the MoMathlon Reply

The BSGE team wins first and fourth place in the MoMathlon Tournament

The BSGE teams win first and fourth place in the MoMathlon Tournament

On Monday, March 9, BSGE’s middle school math team tasted victory in the annual MoMathlon Tournament. The tournament, sponsored by the Museum of Mathematics, took place at Queens College on Kissena Boulevard. A total of 23 teams from different schools participated, comprised mostly of 7th and 8th graders. The schools included BSGE, 190 Russell Sage, 185 Edward Bleeker, and the Institute for Collaborative Education. The BSGE team, supervised by Mr. Mehan, had members who were chosen to compete based on the students’ achievements in the official Math Club meetings at BSGE. The meetings took place through the Math Olympiads, Rocket City Math League, New York State Math League, and the Mathematical Association of America. The cumulative achievements of the students in these meetings helped determine the team members who would participate in the tournament. “The kids were very excited about the opportunity. The smiles were on their faces at Queens College,” recalls Mr. Mehan. More…

Brian Williams: Forgive and Forget? Reply

Source: nbcnews.com

Source: nbcnews.com

The recent scandal involving Brian Williams, an all-time favorite anchor of the “NBC Nightly News,” has attracted the attention of millions of viewers worldwide. Williams has been under scrutiny after recanting a story he has told for years about being on a helicopter in Iraq that was struck by a rocket-propelled grenade (RPG). His exaggerated tale of combat has proven to be detrimental to his career in NBC. “We have decided today to suspend Brian Williams as managing editor and anchor of ‘NBC Nightly News’ for six months,” NBC News President Deborah Turness said in a statement on Tuesday, February 10th. “The suspension will be without pay and is effective immediately. We let Brian know of our decision earlier today. Lester Holt will continue to substitute anchor the ‘NBC Nightly News.’” More…

January Snowstorm: Expectations Failed

The blizzard of January 2015, anticipated to leave at least 2-3 feet of snow on New York City, has failed to meet the city’s expectations. The amount of caution taken prior to this snowstorm has been proven to be utterly futile. For the first time in its 110-year history, the subway system was shut down because of snow. Starting at 11 o’clock p.m., Jan. 26, all non-emergency vehicles were banned from New York City streets. Persons violating this state order would be committing a misdemeanor punishable by fines up to $300. On Sunday, Jan. 25, Mayor Bill de Blasio described the upcoming blizzard as potentially “the biggest snowstorm in the history of New York City.” Due to the heavily emphasized hazards of the blizzard, spread by weather forecasts and authorities, all schools in the city were closed on Tuesday, Jan. 27, the day the blizzard was expected to take place. Yet, despite all the efforts made by authorities and departments to keep New York City residents safe and protected from the snowstorm, this “historic” blizzard turned out to be only a common storm that brought less than a foot of snow to the city.


Book Recommendations: Realistic Fiction Reply

Water for Elephants


By Sara Gruen

We are pulled into the bittersweet memories of ninety-something-year-old Jacob Jankowski, who recalls his life as a young man. During his final year at Princeton University, Jacob loses his parents to a car crash. Left destitute and penniless, he begins his journey as a wanderer. Tossed by fate onto a rickety train that was home to the Benzini Brothers Most Spectacular Show on Earth, he pursues his career as a circus vet and lives through passion, pain, anger and joy.