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by Mr. Lakhaney

Political Primaries 101

What is a primary election? Why do we have primary elections?
We have two major parties in our nation today, the Republican and Democratic parties.  Within each party, there is a variety of opinions and sometimes there is more than one person in a party who wants run for a particular office.  A primary is the election within a party to choose the candidate to represent that party in the general election.  It’s like the election before the election.  There are primaries for many different offices such as President, Senate, Mayor, city council, etc.

How does our primary process work?
When it comes to the Presidential Primary elections, each party decides when each state has its vote.  In 2012, the primary elections started in January with Iowa and finish up in June in Washington D.C.. 

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by Mr. Lakhaney

BSGE Class of 2015 Receives Record Number of IB Diplomas with 49

BSGE’s class of 2015 received a school record 49 IB diplomas, smashing the previous record set by the class of 2014 who received 40. In addition, they set a record with 77% of those graduating receiving the diploma also breaking the previous year’s record of 69%.

Commenting on the achievement, 10th and 11th grade English teacher, Ms. Connie You, said that the students “did incredibly well but that’s something we can’t really take credit for since there were so many strong students with great work habits.” Because the students were so well prepared, Ms. You added, she didn’t have the usual “heart bumping moment when looking at the IB exam results.”

Achieving these results reflects the progress of both the staff and students. Ms. Jennifer Dikes, 12th Grade History teacher and IB Diploma coordinator said

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by Mr. Lakhaney

BSGE Staff Marathon Runners, Gretchen Schwarz and Tim David-Lang

Congratulations to BSGE Art teacher Ms. Gretchen Schwarz for completing the New York City Marathon on November 1st. It was her first marathon.

Congratulations also to Tim David-Lang, BSGE’s Guidance Counselor and advisor for the Running Club, completed the Chicago Marathon on October 11th. He previously ran the New York City Marathon in 2013.

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Ms. Gretchen Schwarz along the marathon path in Brooklyn hugging her nephew, Rafael, and sister, Mariah. Photo credit: Erin Lewis
Tim David-Lang at the Chicago Marathon
Tim David-Lang at the Chicago Marathon
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by Mr. Lakhaney

Ms. Lily Shen to Retire at the End of the School Year

LilyLong time BSGE teacher, Ms. Lily Shen, recently announced that she plans to retire at the end of the current school year. Ms. Shen has been teaching Chinese at BSGE since it opened its doors in 2002 and was one of its founding members.

When asked why this year was the right time to retire, Ms. Shen said that she’s been teaching all her life and that “it’s time to do something different while I’m still young enough to make the change.”

Ms. Shen started teaching right after she graduated from high school in China and has been teaching for 35 years total. She’s taught students from Pre-K to 12th grade at different points in her career.

Ms. Shen does not plan to be idle in her life after BSGE. She wants to remain involved in education in a different capacity by helping train new teachers and continuing to work with the IB. She also wants to go back to school herself. She was interested in pursuing a PhD but was unsure about what field to study. Her years spent teaching informed her curiosity about children and how they learn. She said that she’s “fascinated about how kids learn and how to find better ways to help them learn.”

She would also like to spend time volunteer at New York Chinese Scholars Garden in Staten Island. She wants to help bring student groups to visit the garden built by Chinese artists entirely

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by Mr. Lakhaney

BSGE Running Club Runs McCarren 5K

Mr. Anderson, Mr. David-Lang, Betsy Morales, Eammon Kelsall, Kohen Rahman, Aadarsh Dekvota, Ms. Schwarz, Ms. Rabines, Brandon Chu (Left to right)
Mr. Anderson, Mr. David-Lang, Betsy Morales, Eammon Kelsall, Kohen Rahman, Aadarsh Dekvota, Ms. Schwarz, Ms. Rabines, Brandon Chu (Left to right)

Members from BSGE’s running club ran in the McCarren 5K at McCarren Park in Brooklyn on Saturday May 30th. The run was organized by NYCRUNS and benefitted St. Nicks Alliance. BSGE’s running club had been meeting and training together twice a week for almost three months prior to the event. Each week the club, composed of both students and staff members, followed a training regimen at Astoria Park. The regimen was designed to help participants go from a lifestyle of very little physical activity to be in good enough shape to run a 5k. The Running Club was new this year but will continue in September.

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by Mr. Lakhaney

BSGE Hosts Fourth Annual Team Geography Bee

photo 5Ms. Dikes and Mr. Lakhaney hosted BSGE’s fourth annual Team Geography Bee on Thursday, May 28th. Students from grades 7-12 participated with 27 teams and almost 100 students in attendance. “The Betty White Power Rangers,” a team composed of 10th grade students, Malcolm Sherman-Godfrey, Adrian Kulesza, and John Bost, finished in first and each took home $20 gift amazon gift certificates along with copies of Chimera by David Wellington. “The Bomb.Com,” composed of 7th graders Owen Smith, Rashmika Batra,

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by Mr. Lakhaney

Helping Hands’ Spring Blood Drive Collects 33 pints of Blood

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Senior Nick F ’15 donating blood on the New York Blood Center Bus
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The New York Blood Center bus parked outside BSGE

Helping hands hosted its annual Spring blood drive on March 19th. The New York Blood Center parked its truck outside BSGE and collected 33 pints of blood from the BSGE community. Students, parents, and faculty all donated during the blood drive. Many more students were interested in donating but were excluded for various reasons. The potential pool of BSGE donors is strictly limited by the minimum age requirements. To be considered for donation, you must be at least 16 years old. Interested individuals who are old enough are then asked to complete a questionnaire about their personal histories. Those who make it past that step are brought onto the donation bus and have various health metrics measured such as blood iron levels, weight, and blood pressure. Only those deemed healthy enough to donate are allowed to. 57 members of the BSGE community were interested in donating but only 33 were able to based on the process.

Each pint of blood can save up to three lives. Not enough New Yorkers donate blood to meet local needs and New York City is chronically short.

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by Mr. Lakhaney

Class of 2014 Receives Record 40 IB Diplomas

BSGE’s class of 2014 received a school record 40 IB diplomas. Of the 63 students who graduated in 2014, 56 completed all of the IB requirements and 40 received enough points to earn the IB diploma. 2014’s class also had the highest percentage of graduating seniors receive the diploma in BSGE’s history (see table below).

Ms. Jennifer Dikes, IB coordinator and 12th grade history teacher, commented that it was “sheer awesome that they did so well. I’m really proud of them.”

Ms. Dikes added that what differentiated this group of students from past groups was their attitudes toward attaining the IB Diploma. “Almost all of the students understood that

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by Mr. Lakhaney

New Boys Soccer Team Finishes 7-1-2

DSC_0103The newly established BSGE Boys soccer team finished its inaugural season with 7 wins, 1 loss, and 2 ties. Though BSGE’s team was far less experienced than its opponents’ more established teams, BSGE outscored its opponents 49-9 over the course of the season.

Because this was the first season playing PSAL soccer, BSGE was considered a developmental team which meant that the team played a full schedule against other schools but did not qualify for the playoffs regardless of its record. In order to move past developmental status, PSAL looks to see that BSGE “participates in all games, has proper equipment, dedication, and strong interest from the school community” according to Virge Ramos and all indications are

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by Mr. Lakhaney

7th Grader, Annelie Hyatt, Performs at Writopia’s Spoken Word

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Annelie Hyatt performing on stage. Click on the image to view her performance.

BSGE 7th grade Annelie Hyatt performed her spoken word poem titled, The Immaturity Dissection (full poem included below), at a recent event at Writopia’s Spoken Word at the Nuyorican Poets Cafe. Annelie wrote this poem as part of a program she attends at Writopia Labs where she has been developing her writing for the past couple of years.

Annelie says that she was always into writing and then two or three years ago her mom helped her find this program. At Writopia “there are instructors who are published authors in literary magazines and newspapers who come to teach kids who like writing once a week” Annelie explains. Each week the kids get to

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by Mr. Lakhaney

Long Time BSGE Teacher, Linda Ellman to Retire

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Linda Ellman with her daughter, Leah

At the end of the current school year, long time BSGE history teacher, Linda Ellman, plans to retire.  Linda has been teaching for 17 years and upon retirement she is looking forward to continuing her lifelong engagement in social activism as well as to the arrival of her first grandchild.

After hearing the news of the retirement, Linda’s former and current students communicated a lot of praise and appreciation for her work. Current student, Lydia Stetson ’15 said, “Linda is not only an amazing teacher but also a great person just to sit down and have a conversation with…BSGE won’t be the same without her!”

Former student Jolijt Tamanaha ’11 shared, “I loved her! I think Linda has a huge amount of passion for everything she believes in and does, including teaching, which is

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by Mr. Lakhaney

BSGE Alumnus Jolijt Tamanaha Sells Company, has New Start Up

Farmplicity copyBSGE Alumnus and former BACC Rag editor, Joijt Tamanaha recently sold her St. Louis based startup company, Farmplicity, to Sunfarm Food Service in May 2014 for an undisclosed sum.

Ms. Tamanaha (BSGE Class of 2011) created the company as part of an entrepreneurship class at Washington University in St Louis where she is currently a student. The company was created to allow local farmers to sell their produce, fruits, and meats to area restaurants through a simple,