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2017-2018 Archives by Moshan G '17 Features students Uncategorized

Word From the Real World: Moshan Guo

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.

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2017-2018 Archives Features students

Word From the Real World: Joy Hamlin

Hi all.  This was surprisingly hard for me to write, mostly because I couldn’t think of anything I could say that would be memorable.  So I didn’t bother.  I don’t expect I’ll say anything in this column that you haven’t heard a thousand times already, but I’ll try my best.

Living on campus in college is extremely different from high school, especially a high school as small as BSGE.  You have a world of choices in picking your own classes, there isn’t a clear separation of school time and home time, and you’re far more responsible for taking care of yourself than ever before.  Personally, I found it liberating.  At Stony Brook, I got to get away from my family and be myself.  I was finally able to take a physics class, though some of you lucky students got to do that at BSGE now.  I performed in a short theater piece and was stage crew for a much longer one, fumbling blindly on a pitch black stage trying to move giant flats into place.

One thing I didn’t do, though, was try to join Stony Brook’s student newspaper The Statesman in any capacity.  Editing for The BaccRag is an experience I’m very glad I had, but one I have no desire to repeat.  I originally joined in 8th grade because my father insisted I wasn’t busy enough and so I needed to join another club, and as time passed I kept going.  Eventually I became an editor, as much because I was one of two seniors participating as because it was something I had a positive desire for.  It was very interesting, trying to manage a fleet of young writers to produce decent writing in a reasonable timeframe, but that experience was vastly different than anything I would have done with The Statesman.  Besides, this way I got to focus my time on extracurriculars that BSGE doesn’t have, like theater.

I suppose the advice I have to give is to use college to seek out new experiences.  Most of what made my first year as great as it was were the parts I couldn’t get at BSGE or ever before.  Use college to its fullest.  Do things you’ve thought about for a while but never tried.  Or at least, that’s what worked for me.

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2017-2018 Archives by Rakiba S '22 Faculty Features

Teacher of the Month: Mrs. Klidonas

Where did you grow up?

I was born in New York and lived here for 10 years. I moved back to Greece with my family and stayed in Greece until I was 22 years old. I then moved back to New York for my Master’s degree.

Why did you move back to Greece?

My family decided they wanted to move back to Greece, as that is where my parents are from. They sold a house that we owned here and decided that with money, they could start a new life in Greece.

What was it like living in Greece?

It was very hard at first. I didn’t speak the language very well and I needed a lot of extra help with grammar, literature, and even math—math was taught in a very different way in Greece. My parents hired a private tutor for me to guide me through my work. Even though it was hard to communicate with people, due to not speaking the language, some things I enjoyed were the weather and a more laidback school life. However, I still would always miss New York and would want to go back.

Did you experience anything new in Greece that you wouldn’t have experienced if you hadn’t moved?

First of all, I wouldn’t have met very important people in my life. If I had not moved to Greece, I would not have met my husband. I would not have had a lot of people in my life, meaning friends, and the opportunity to get to know a lot of my relatives. I also am very appreciative of the fact that I had schooling abroad. If I had studied in New York, I think I would not have had the opportunity to do a lot of after school activities and become fluent in Greek.

Where did you previously work?

I have been in the field of education for ten years and the first class I taught was a Greek afternoon class. I previously worked at the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis High School for International Careers.

Which college did you attend? What was your major?

I attended the University of Athens, where I majored in American/British Literature. I completed my Master’s degree in English Adolescent Education at Hunter College.

What kind of a student were you in high school?

As a student, I cared about my grades and was the kind to always seek extra credit. I had always liked reading, writing, and debating, and even as a student, I was extremely interested in English.

Were you always interested in teaching literature?

I’ve always wanted to teach, however, the real turning point for me was in college, where I sat for many classes reading literature intensely. There was one class where we read Jane Austen intensely for a whole semester, and during that time, I ended up imagining myself teaching literature in the future. This is when I realized I wanted a future in teaching.

Speaking of literature, what books, if any, have you read recently that have stood out to you?

I’m a member of a book club at Astoria Bookshop called the Feminist Book Club. We recently covered a graphic novel called Fun Home that I really enjoyed. It was a story about a young girl who came out to her parents. It speaks about her father who was also homosexual, featuring his struggles with his identity and trying to hide that. Even though I’m not a huge fan of graphic novels, this particular book changed my view.

What do you like most about BSGE? What do you like about your students?

I really enjoy the multiple perspectives in the classroom. The experiences and culture of students really shine in the classroom. I guess what I like most about BSGE would have to be the students. The students like English class and take it seriously. This reveals a lot about their character and future.

What kind of standards do you hold your students to?

I have very high standards for my students. Ultimately, it depends on what we do in class. Participation will always go a long way though. I also like to have a rubric or a grading guide that is fair for both the student and the complexity of the assignment.

If you weren’t a teacher, what would you be?

I would like to be a writer or open up a bookshop in my neighborhood. In the case of the bookshop, customers wouldn’t have to pay; they could just read in the bookshop. If I weren’t a teacher, I would just like a job in the field of literature.

What are your hobbies?

I love travelling whenever I have the opportunity. I like doing activities with my children. I also love listening to music, especially Bob Dylan. I obviously love reading also, and I’m pretty sad that I don’t have enough time to read books just for myself.

Where have you traveled before?

I love to travel a lot. Unfortunately, my traveling experiences are limited to two continents. I’ve visited the UK, the Netherlands, Spain, France, Italy, Turkey, Germany, Switzerland, Norway, and many others. I also like to travel within the US every opportunity I get, whether it’s a day trip somewhere in the Northeast or a long weekend trip across the country. Whatever good deal my husband can find with our airfare and the miles we collect is one we’ll take. We’ll always make sure to bring our children along as well.

What kind of activities do you do with your children?

I love taking them to “storytime”. We either go to the local library here in Astoria or Astoria Bookshop. During the summer, I would bring them every Thursday morning and they would have half an hour of storytime. I love taking them to the park. They can play with their friends and I can easily watch over them. I also take them to art classes whenever I can, but my older son also takes swimming classes while my younger son takes music classes. We like just doing things that are in season and that I know that they’ll enjoy.

What/who drew you to BSGE?

I live in Astoria so I know the area well. Because of that, I had heard about the school and its rigorous curriculum. However, it was ultimately the IB program that drew me to this school because it isn’t offered in many other places in NYC.

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2017-2018 Archives by Eliza P '23 Features students

Overbooked Seventh Grade Schedules?

In the first year of their BSGE career, many seventh graders are ecstatic about having such a large variety of clubs to join. However, this results in a large problem–many new students have gotten a bit too excited and decided to join one club for each day of the week. These students try to pledge every spare minute of their time to school. While there is nothing wrong with being devoted to BSGE, students need some spare time. Many seventh grade students spend every waking moment they have juggling clubs, homework, and volunteer work. Many Seventh graders no longer have spare time to spend with their families or engage in personal leisure time. Moments of rest are only acquired when multiple teachers are extremely forgiving and decide not to assign homework. Too much dedication can result in high levels of stress, which isn’t beneficial for anyone.

All of this is coming from a 7th grader who spends every day buried in tasks to complete. Mondays are booked until 3:30 for Helping Hands meetings. Wednesday is dedicated to the Robotics club. On Thursdays, I am typing away on the BaccRag. Lastly, on Fridays, I attend P.I.N.C. subcommittee meetings. I also do a large amount of volunteer work over the weekends and on holidays. Multiple others that I know have very similar schedules. For many of us, Tuesday is not a free day either; it is reserved for sports like basketball and dance.

One 7th grader with a particularly overbooked schedule is Mehak R. ‘23. Her schedule consists of Helping Hands on Monday, personal basketball on Tuesday, Robotics on Wednesday, and P.I.N.C sub-committee meetings on Friday. Her time is also filled with basketball games and volunteer work. When asked about her thoughts on her packed schedule, she said, “I don’t always want to do it all, but I feel like I have to because I want a good job.” Many people constantly feel the weight of their future resting on their shoulders.

Another seventh grader who has an overbooked schedule is Camille P. ‘23, who holds the same schedule as Mehak R. ‘23. When questioned about her schedule, she responded with, ”I sometimes feel very stressed about my future and I am not used to this busy schedule.”

Many students still struggle with adjusting to their schedules. It is tough on the students and builds stress. Regardless, these busy schedules are sure to provide the Class of 2023 with successful BSGE futures.

 

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2017-2018 Archives by Mrittika H '20 Faculty Features

BSGE’S New Algebra, Geometry, and Trigonometry Teacher: Mr. Gehlaut

Mr. Gehlaut, BSGE’s new edition to the math department, never intentionally set out to be a teacher. Born and raised in a small village in North India, he left his hometown for America.  After migrating to the U.S., Mr. Gehlaut used to work in Manhattan with a small newspaper called News India Times. He occasionally saw an advertisement for “New York City Teaching Fellowship” in the subway and decided to apply out of pure curiosity. After several interviews, he suggested that he teach Global History and Economics, as he had traveled to many countries. Since he had his undergraduate degree majoring in Math and Economics, the interviewer asked him to teach math. Thankfully, Gehlaut said yes.

When asked what he likes about BSGE, he said, “I like BSGE as a whole institution. Starting from the supportive school leadership and teaching staff to the most important student body, everyone has really impressed me by their motivation and aspirations… I love all my students and their learning styles.”

In his scarce free time, he loves reading newspapers—current affairs and world news—and watching Discovery and National Geographic programs. He also enjoys playing chess to relax. If he were not a math teacher, he would have been working for a newspaper as a journalist, as the topic had essentially led him to America. Mr. Gehlaut became the first person to get an undergraduate degree at the age of 20 in India. He was also named the first Hindi Journalist to win the prestigious British Chevening Scholarship to go to London and study at the University of Westminster and work with the BBC World Service. He is an inspiring addition to the BSGE staff and we wish him the best of luck for his first year at BSGE.

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2016-2017 Archives by Rachel R Z '20 Faculty Features

Teacher of the Month: Ed March

Where did you grow up?

I was raised in Brooklyn, New York.

What was your previous job?

My last job was working as loss prevention for Prada in a mall.

What kind of student were you in high school?

I was kind of this odd under-achiever; I could’ve done better, but besides that, I did pretty well.

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2016-2017 Archives by Krista P '22 Features students

How to Make Something of Your Free Time

Free time. Those are words some haven’t heard in a long while, yet don’t realize when they experience it. Therefore, when students get any amount at all of time with almost nothing to worry about, tests or homework, they can just relax. But this leads to frequent boredom, staring at phones, debating whether or not to like a photo from 56 weeks ago.  There has to be a better way to spend the time.

Since free time is so rare, few know how to spend it. Spending free time wisely is meant to give a sense of accomplishment and contentedness with yourself.

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2016-2017 Archives BSGE by Jacqueline C '20 Features News students

The Flapjack Fundraiser: Making More Than Just Profits

The Flapjack Fundraiser is an annual occurrence at BSGE that not only supports the school’s softball team, but also unifies the school community. This year it was “extremely successful,” according to team member Anela Salkanovic ‘20. The fundraiser provided the softball team with enough money to buy new jerseys and prepare for the upcoming season. It also gave them a chance to celebrate with teachers, parents, and other students in anticipation of their future victories.

The ticket sales are always the biggest producers of the team’s funds, but not the sole basis for the fundraiser’s success. Emily Costa ‘17, one of the team’s captains, explained that “raffles were a big deal” because they profited the team several hundred dollars. She continued, saying that these gains were one of the factors making the fundraiser “at least as good as last year’s…if not better.”

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2016-2017 Archives BSGE by Samantha V '18 Features News students

Shhh…It’s the Day of Silence

The Day of Silence is an event that BSGE participates in annually. This year, on April 20, students will be given the choice to support the cause by either staying completely silent or by respecting those who are and by just supporting the cause. Both equally show one’s support for the LGBTQ community, so don’t think that someone who is supporting cares less than someone who is being silent. Nationally, the Day of Silence is on April 21, but this would coincide with Helping Hands’ Earth Day trip.

 

This year, the organization that the Day of Silence committee is planning to donate to is the Ali Forney Center. The Ali Forney Center is an area that provides a safe space for LGBTQ youth. They are provided with necessities such as food, medical attention, and shelter, if necessary. It helps young homeless members of the LGBTQ community feel safe and they are given the resources to feel comfortable expressing their sexuality.

 

Showing your support for the Day of Silence is very important because you are showing that you respect those who are forced to stay closeted and can’t express themselves because they are afraid of being judged for their sexuality. Even if you aren’t going completely silent, showing your support by wearing the support cards—that are handed out in the morning—is spreading the word and showing support.

 

A final note that should be made is that staying silent on the Day of Silence should be taken seriously. It is not a day to stay silent for the sake of not having to participate in class. Also, staying silent means no communication with any other person at all. This means no passing of notes, no texting, and no hand gestures. This goes against the purpose of staying silent and it should be used as a day of support, not joking around. At the end of the day, the silence is broken during a “Breaking of the Silence” ceremony where everyone can break the silence at together.

 

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2016-2017 Archives by Anokha V '19 Culture Features News students U.S.

A Personal Experience of the March on Washington

On January 21st, 2017, my mother, friends, and I chanted “We want a leader, not a creepy tweeter!” loudly throughout the streets of Washington D.C.

Less than twenty-four hours after country musicians strummed their guitars for America’s new president, I marched with more than two million women, men, and children across the globe protesting Donald Trump and what he stands for. With the recent election and inauguration of Donald Trump as America’s 45th president, tensions have been high, to say the least. Each day has introduced new scandals and potential constitutional violations. From taking down the pages on climate change and LGBTQ rights on the White House website on his first day in office to waging a full fledged war on the media, Donald Trump has been a very controversial figure. However, this article is not meant to focus on Trump or his supporters, but on the Women’s March on Washington. While I went to the Women’s March primarily to protest Trump’s administration and the man himself, the Women’s March was used by many to advocate for women’s rights. The idea for the Women’s March originally sparked when a retired attorney from Hawaii, Teresa Shook, created a Facebook page for 40 of her friends, attempting to create a small march in protest of Trump’s election. Overnight, 10,000 people had RSVPed for the event, and that’s when the movement gained momentum. The march had its fair share of controversy, however. When it was originally conceived by Ms. Shook, she named it the Million Women’s March, which was a march organized for black women in 1997. This naming drew some backlash, and felt quite racially exclusive, so the march was handed over to female activists Linda Sarsour, Carmen Perez, and Tamika Mallory, and named the Women’s March on Washington. From there, the march became the monumental event that it became known as on January 21st.

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2016-2017 Archives by Mrittika H '20 Faculty Features

Teacher of the Month: Ms. Beane

Where did you grow up?

I grew up in St. Louis, Missouri.

What type of person were you in high school?

I was, and this is actually true to this day, I still have friends who say, ‘you didn’t belong in any one group’ and so I had friends in lots of different groups. I was a dancer, I used to dance in the high school musicals. I was the editorial page editor for my school newspaper. I was a swimmer, I was the captain of the swim team when I was a senior.

Was there anything that influenced you to work with students with special needs while growing up?

That’s an interesting question. My interest in teaching was really cultivated by my high school history teacher. She helped me really turn around because I wasn’t really doing well in my tenth grade year. I had her for my junior and senior years and I just became a much better student because of her, and so that’s where that began. As to working with special needs, my brother has done that for a very long time… at first, it was very difficult and I wasn’t sure I made the right choice, but now I’ve adjusted and I really really love it. Like I don’t know, if somebody said to me ‘would you like to work in general education English,’ I think I’d miss my kids that need extra help. I’ve gotten too attached.

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2016-2017 Archives by Katherine Y '22 Opinion students

Dealing With the Crowded Hallways and Stairways

Imagine needing to reach your next class in a hurry and getting delayed because the stairways and hallways are crowded with students who are all on the wrong side. A BSGE student has to deal with this problem in between almost every pair of class periods. Sometimes, people even get delayed because others are cutting them off or running in front of them. Two common ways to deal with this problem are brushing off these people or cursing them out. Which option is used more often and which one is better?

Numerous people believe brushing people off would be the best option. However, some people admit they curse others out. Samin Chowdhury ‘22 admits that he curses people out an extensive amount. But, cursing is a natural thing to do. Humans can’t really control their mouth in a rush or a bad mood. However, if you curse too loudly, just hope that there aren’t any administrators around you. If you have trouble holding back your swears, try using words to replace them. “Try saying flipping chicken licker to replace the F word,” suggests Liam Costello ‘22.  Wei Wei ’19 presented the alternative of sticking to a basic replacement such as “Frick”.