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2018-2019 BSGE by Kevin W '20 Clubs/Activities News

BSGE Snow Ball

By Alexandra L. ’20 and Kevin W. ’20

Like most public New York City high schools, a school dance is an event that many students seem to look forward to. BSGE’s Snow Ball was no exception to this. Started by the Helping Hands subcommittee, Smile Train, Snow Ball was held on February 1st in order to raise money for children in developing countries with cleft lips and cleft palates. “Smile Train has been a Helping Hands subcommittee for the past two years, and every year we try to top our amount raised the previous years. We thought a dance would be a great way to do that,” says Aoife Kenny ‘20, the founder of the subcommittee. The dance was planned to be from 6 to 10 pm, and with tickets sold for $6 beforehand and $10 at the door, the promise of good music and food lured people to purchase.

Come the night of the 1st, the cafe-gymnatorium was decorated to the  max. String lights hung along the walls and tables, balloons were taped and strewn across the floor, and paper mache flowers dangled from the ceiling. As the party began, kids from grades seven through twelve gradually streamed into the lobby, and into the dance. Food was available for purchase at the end of the room. However, SnowBall was the first BSGE dance where no outside students were allowed, and this took a hit to the ticket sales: “Unfortunately, no outside people were let in, so we had to turn a lot of people away at the door, and even some people from BSGE who wanted to come in with their non-BSGE friends left,” said Anab K. ‘20. Nonetheless, the auditorium slowly began to fill with people, especially after 8 pm, when the basketball game at the nearby YMCA ended.  While it wasn’t as full as it possibly could have been, people still enjoyed their experience: “I was expecting more of a turnout, but it was fun regardless,” said Mollie S. ‘21. In fact, because there weren’t as many people there, the room didn’t get as overheated as some of the previous dances. According to Rachel Z. ’20, “The music was good, not too loud, and it didn’t get super hot, which is always good.” All in all, the Smile Train did make a profit out of the event and while it may not have been the most successful BSGE dance, those who attended were able to have a good time even with there being less people than they had expected. Although this dance was not hosted by Junior Council, it was organized by some people in the 11th grade, and it was a great way to demonstrate to the juniors the hard work it takes to make a school dance happen, as they will need to do this again to raise funds for Senior year. “We appreciate everyone coming– even if you didn’t buy a ticket but just donated, you helped fund a surgery that may change a child’s life,” said Rahoul Kumar ’20.While this is an event the Smile Train committee hosted, many other events such as Candy Grams, Open Mic Night, or general bake sales, are all events that make way for us BSGE kids to support good causes, and more importantly, to support each other.

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2017-2018 Archives BSGE by Lalla A '20 News

Absence of the PSAT for the Tenth Grade

Every year, the PSATs (NMSQT) are administered to students in the tenth and eleventh grade. They are meant to give students the chance to understand the content of the SATs, and how much they need to study for them. For those in the eleventh grade, it is a chance to qualify for the National Merit Scholarship, which enables high scoring students to be contacted by prestigious universities. This year, most students in NYC sat down on October 11th to take the test, but not the tenth graders of BSGE.

Less than a week before the PSAT, tenth graders were told that they would not be taking the test, leading to many complaints of its absence. The lack of a notice for the cancellation left many wondering why the school was not able to inform students earlier, and why steps were not taken to ensure there would be a solution to it. An anonymous student said, “It would have helped tremendously if the school staff decided to convey this information to us at least two weeks in advance. If the students were told of this earlier, we could have conversed with our parents and overall have more time to bargain with the principal on terms on which to take the PSAT.” The test was supposed to play a crucial part in preparing for next year’s SATs—a seemingly critical test in the college application process. Boguniecki ’20 agreed to this, saying they felt as if “it is a good practice that allows for the students to know what to expect on the future test and what to study for in that year-long gap between now and the SAT test day.” There was definitely anger and confusion felt by the tenth grade, with no official notice being given out. It took word of mouth and a few students repeatedly inquiring about it in order for students to be first informed about the lack of the test. While it was still the beginning of the year, there was overall agreement that better organization was needed for students to be well informed about the workings of the school. The year has just started, but it can be agreed that a more efficient form of informing students on important information is needed as soon as possible.

Some were outraged that the school could not administer the test as it has a relatively cheap cost.  Registration for the test is $16 per student. While this fee is usually covered by the school or DOE, that was not the case this year. Salkanovic ‘20 said, “ I do believe that the students would be willing to pay for some if not most of it themselves, as it would personally help them in the future with scholarships and college administration.” Indeed, in the aftermath of the revelation, many discussed their willingness to pay the fee themselves, just for the opportunity to be able to take it. While it is understood that budgeting has been a persistent concern for the school, students are prepared to work together to provide the funds for aspects that the school cannot cover.

As parents got wind of the cancellation, many began to contact the school and complain about this. Around the grade, students told tales of how annoyed their parents were that they would not be taking the PSATs. Due to this, the school is now administering the test for the tenth grade, this February, in order for students to get the practice that they need. As for why the test was cancelled in the first place, it has been rumored that it was due to the DOE no longer funding the test and BSGE not having enough space.

As February approaches, anxiety for the tenth graders has been building up. Good luck to everyone who will be taking the test!

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2017-2018 Archives BSGE by Krista P '22 News

BSGE Blackout!

Friday the 13th. A day full of paranoia and caution for some, but a day of anticipation and giddiness for others. BSGE Blackout—which was on October 13th, if you NEVER check your email—was the start to the school’s annual festivities. Last year fostered the Fall Ball and the French Club’s Mardi Gras dance. Both events had mixed reactions, but regardless, both were still successful school-run events. This year’s Blackout was fairly similar in organization to many of the previous dances the school has run; held in the cafegymatorium, balloons, streamers, loud music, the infamous oversized beach ball, strobe lights, and a multitude of excessively sweat-drenched entities trying not to pass out from all the dancing they’ve mustered all their courage to do.

With these mixed reactions, came both receptions of content and pure hatred. Very few provided full-length stories stating the beginning, middle, and end with very prominent opinions on each aspect of every moment. Farah T. ‘22 said, “It couldn’t beat the Fall Ball, but it had a lot of nice people. The seniors made it really fun!” Katherine Y. ‘22 said, “I honestly didn’t have fun, whatsoever. The music wasn’t my taste; it was all rap.” , Maria R. ‘18 said, “ In my opinion, Blackout met my expectations. Our DJ, Eamon, another senior at our school, did a good job of keeping the music upbeat. Even though I was working, I still enjoyed the party atmosphere that the DJ, senior council, and the student body created.”

To conclude this very exciting occasion, the Blackout was one of the many BSGE-related “raves”, full of every reception in the book, ranging from the strongest feeling of dislike to the strongest feeling of ecstasy. This dance will go down in the books as an objectively memorable dance (except for those like me, who were drunk on adrenaline and made pacts with their friends to not bring up anything that happened at Blackout again). Also, for those of you who didn’t attend this was just a very big social gathering where everything that you could imagine to happen, happened.

 

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2017-2018 Archives BSGE by Artemis C '22 News

What is the SHSAT?

On Saturday and Sunday, October 21 to 22, New York received a blast of beautiful weather, perhaps the last before winter set in. While people all over the city were relishing in  this fleeting blast of summer, thousands of eighth and ninth grade students gathered at a designated high school in their area to take the formidable SHSAT. Hopes of getting into their dream school were high, with many having prepared for this moment for months, or maybe even years.

The SHSAT, or Specialized High Schools Admissions Test, is an exam used by eight of the nine specialized high schools in New York City to determine whether students were qualified to attend one of the schools. The eight high schools that use the SHSAT in their admission process are Bronx High School of Science, Brooklyn High School, Brooklyn Technical School, High School for Math, Science and Engineering at City College, High School for American Studies at Lehman College, Queens High School for Sciences at York College, Staten Island Technical High School, and Stuyvesant High School. The ninth Specialized High School is Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School, a school that specializes in visual and performing arts, and selects its students through auditions.

To apply to the specialized schools, a student registers through their school’s guidance counselor. On the application form, they must rank the schools they want to apply to from one to eight, with number one being their most desired school and number eight being their least. There are also boxes where one checks off whether they will audition for LaGuardia. These papers were due on October 12. From there, one receives a ticket from their guidance counselor that details the date, time, and location of their test/audition. The last step is taking the test or auditioning.

SHSAT and LaGuardia results are received in mid-March, a time of anticipation and sometimes dread for several New York City eighth (and ninth) graders. Though about 30,000 students take the SHSAT annually, less than half get into one of their desired schools and even fewer get into their first choice. If one is displeased with the school they have been admitted to, they have to go through the process again in ninth grade. Although there is a second round of the high school application process, the Specialized High Schools do not participate in it.

The majority of eighth graders in BSGE took the SHSAT, and for many, this opportunity has been long awaited. Sadly, many students who did not take the SHSAT still plan on leaving the school. Instead, applying to schools such as Bard and Townsend Harris. Through this hectic process, there have been mixed reactions about the test and high school applications in general. Katherine Y. ‘22 says “I thought the SHSAT was difficult, but not to the point of being impossible. Some questions were so easy you started to doubt yourself, while others were extremely difficult. I don’t know if I made it to my first choice, but it’s okay if I don’t because I like this school.” There are many students that share this sentiment, but others seem a lot more determined to stay in BSGE. Sama N. ‘22 says “I did not take the SHSAT because I wanted to leave this school. I have always liked small schools, since everyone knows everyone, and it feels like family in a way. I am not leaving the school and I am proud to say I go to BSGE.” Others, like Alyssa P. ‘22, are bent on leaving the school, however. She says, “To say I was prepared is fair. I really wanted to go. It’s been my dream to go to Stuyvesant since I was 10.”

BSGE loses students to other high schools every year, creating a large ongoing conflict about the SHSAT and high school applications. Regardless of where they plan to go, best of luck to all the eighth graders in their high school applications!

 

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2017-2018 Archives by Nidhi P '21 News World

Diwali: The Festival of Lights

In BSGE, there are many ethnicities and many different cultures from all around the world. However, in the past week, there was a very popular Indian holiday known as Diwali or Deepavali. This is one of the biggest holidays that is celebrated throughout India. Even so, over the centuries, this holiday has also been celebrated by Hindus, Jains, Sikhs, and Buddhists, regardless of religion. Diwali is as important to Hindus as Christmas is to Christians.

The meaning behind Diwali holds much significance and has a metaphorical explanation behind it. The word Diwali/Deepavali has been retained from the row (avali) and clay lamps (deepa) that are placed throughout homes. For Hindus, this symbolizes the light that is forcing away the darkness. In short, it conveys that good triumphs over evil.

Correlating this to India, Diwali is celebrated with great grandeur and lots of noise. People have been accustomed for generations to using fireworks and distributing presents, as well as wearing/buying new clothes. Even in the USA, the majority of the Indian population practice such customs. However, the only difference is that the fireworks may not be used everywhere. Diwali is a fantastic sight—homes are illuminated with beautiful lights which would be an exquisite sight in the dark night.

As many BSGE students celebrate Christmas, and shortly thereafter, New Year’s, Diwali is a similar concept. In specific, Diwali serves to be a Christmas as well as a New Year. For Indians, the day after Diwali starts the New Year in the calendar. Therefore, this illustrates a connection that many can feel towards Diwali. In religious terms, during this time, different Hindu goddesses and gods are worshipped, and the main one that is worshipped is Lakshmi.

Diwali is a very enlightening holiday in the Hindu culture and creates a lively environment. This holiday has a lot of splendor and is celebrated throughout the world. The holiday is known as the “Festival of Lights”, a suiting name, as lights cover every inch of the streets. Diwali is known to be India’s biggest holiday and will continue to be so.

 

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2016-2017 Archives BSGE by Lalla A '20 News

BSGE’S Lack of High School Ranking

The U.S. News and World Report annually publishes a list of the nation’s, and each state’s, top high schools. For the past few years, BSGE has ranked among the top ten high schools in the state, and among the top 50 in the country. Last year the school was placed at #5 in New York, and #32 nationwide, ranking above Bronx Science and Stuyvesant, among others. This year though, BSGE was not listed among the top ten, or even the top 50 in the state, but rather has lost its high ranking.

This is because of “the lack of IB data,” as stated by the U.S. News and World Report. This year, the newspaper was unable to receive data from the IB, dramatically dropping the school’s rank. As the school is based of the IB program, there was very little data for the newspaper to base the school off of. The most that was gathered was the general statistics, such as number of students and their ethnicities, as well as standardized math and English test scores. There was no mention of the fact that most of the students take IB  exams, which is necessary for an important statistic known as the “college readiness index.” This means BSGE now has a bronze medal with no official ranking, besides being “nationally recognized.”

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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 Rakiba S '22 Clubs/Activities News Student Life

The Blood Drive of 2017

With the motto of, “Donate blood now…people can’t live without it,” plastered on posters across the school, some may wonder what exactly went on at the blood drive. This blood drive was sponsored by the Helping Hands Committee, meaning that the general group of people in Helping Hands sponsored the blood drive rather than any specific committee. Peter Wilson, the advisor of Helping Hands, was the one who facilitated the blood drive on the day of. This blood drive was the first blood drive of 2017 and was hosted in partnership with the New York Blood Center. On March 17, from 8:00 AM to 2:00 PM, a bus known as the bloodmobile was available with staff, donor beds, and refreshments to ease the process. Helping Hands’ was to collect at least 35 pints of blood for New York City hospitals and other medical facilities to use.

Approximately 45 appointments were made BSGE students, despite the cold weather on the day of the blood drive. However, of those 45 appointments, only 25 were accepted. Despite how enthusiastic students in BSGE were to donate blood, factors including blood type, blood iron level, weight,  height, and countries recently visited affected whether or not one would be accepted to donate blood. Peter mentioned that during the dozen years Helping Hands had sponsored the blood drive, around 65 people would sign up during warm weather, but of those, about one-third to one-half would be rejected.

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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 Samantha V '18 Culture News World

What it is Like to Live in a Developing Country For Two Weeks

Two weeks in the Philippines. This may not seem like a lot of time for a vacation, but it was perfect for an eye-opening experience. While I was in the Philippines, I learned about how different the local lifestyle was from the my lifestyle in New York. There were many moments when I felt extremely grateful for how privileged I was, but there were also many times when I wished I could have these Filipino experiences everyday.

The first thing I noticed was how much traffic there was. While New York has its fair share of traffic, it is nothing compared to the never-ending traffic on the streets of the Philippines. Almost every hour seemed to be rush hour and it was almost impossible to get anywhere on time. Whether taking a car, a tricycle, or jeepney, commuting was definitely a struggle. Mass transportation such as trains weren’t used as often because they were inconvenient and inefficient. There were a limited number of stops and the trains didn’t reach many areas. This causes more people to drive, which in turn creates more traffic. From talking with family members, I learned that they were used to the traffic and it has become a part of their everyday life. They learned to always expect traffic, so they tend to leave a lot earlier just to get to work or school on time. A possible solution that was passed in 2003 was the Unified Vehicular Volume Reduction Program, more commonly known as coding. Still used today, what the program does is that it restricts certain vehicles from using main roads at specific times based on the last digit of its license plate. Even with coding in use, traffic is still very prominent because of the lack of mass public transportation.

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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 BSGE by Kevin W '20 N.Y. News U.S.

He Will Not Divide Us

The phrase “He will not divide us” was repeated over and over near the Museum of the Moving Image, but what exactly does this mean?

January 20, Inauguration Day, was the first day that the “He Will Not Divide Us” camera, located on a wall outside of the Museum of the Moving Image, became public to all. Actor Shia LaBouef intended to streamed the wall constantly, throughout the duration of Trump’s presidency, and people were invited to chant the phrase “He will not divide us” as an act of “resistance or insistence, opposition or optimism,” according to the event’s website. However, this project was abandoned by the Museum of the Moving Image due concerns regarding public safety, and had since been relocated to a wall in Albuquerque, New Mexico.