BSGE’s Dodgeball Club Reply

Every Friday after school, students can be heard cheering as they pelt each other with dodgeballs in BSGE’s cafegymatorium. The dodgeball club has become a huge success, attracting about 100 students from grades 7 to 12. When asked his opinion of this club, leader Malcolm Sherman-Godfrey ‘17 said, “it’s exceeded my expectations.” Originally, the club was a way to gain Activity hours for CAS, which is a requirement for the IB Diploma. Juniors and seniors joined out of the convenience and freedom that the club provides, unlike in official school teams which require regular commitments from the student. However, after several months of dodgeball, the club has started to attract students as a genuine interest rather than an obligation.

On Friday, December 16, 2016, the club held a dodgeball tournament to raise money for charity, in which students created their own teams consisting of five players. Admission cost $10 per team. One of the tournament’s objectives was for students to engage in a more competitive, physical activity. Many students were excited for the tournament on Friday, ready to have their names signed up to participate. Others showed up as onlookers. More…

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Adapting to BSGE Weather Reply

Imagine you’re going to math class and you start sweating, but as soon as you make it into English class, you start freezing. Many students at BSGE face the problem of fluctuating room temperatures every day. Some classrooms that suffer from this are the yoga room, which is always experiencing rise and fall of temperature, room 206, which is very cold, and rooms 416, 311, 205, and 402, which are extremely hot. How do BSGE students adapt to these weather changes and what influences these changing temperatures?

Although there are numerous ways to approach this problem, many students, such as Lidia Layme ‘22, agree that the best bet is to “carry a light sweater.” One can even, as Ryan Guerbi ‘21 says, “wear the same sweater everyday because it is helpful.  No one will judge you…hopefully.” Also, be mindful to make sure that your sweater isn’t too thick.  If it is, it can become heavy as you grow tired throughout the day, or it might produce too much warmth in the cold classrooms. Further, make sure not to lose it. If you do, check the lost and found on top of the piano in the cafeteria, under the stairs, and in the library. More…

#noDAPL Reply

If you happen to own social media, you might have come across the hashtag NoDAPL. At that point, you either did one of two things- you clicked on the hashtag, to see what “DAPL” happened to be, or you kept scrolling, as it is so easy to do. Regardless, there’s a large chance you aren’t quite clear on what the big fuss is about.

For those who don’t know- DAPL stands for Dakota Access Pipeline, also called the Bakken Oil Pipeline. The pipeline has not yet been built, but it’s meant to be 1,172 miles long, and the projected cost of it would be 3.7 billion dollars. The Energy Transfer Project, the main backer of this pipeline, claims that the pipeline will offer jobs and economic relief to a struggling region. But at what cost? And is the trade-off worth it? More…

The BSGE Toy Drive: For the Less Fortunate Reply

The holiday season is a time when students expect to relax with their families and receive gifts, but the children in the HIV/AIDS ward of Elmhurst Children’s Hospital aren’t as lucky as the students in BSGE. Most of them are from low-income families, so their parents can’t afford to get them presents for the holidays.

BSGE’s Helping Hands’ Committee organizes the yearly toy drive to buy gifts for these children. In previous years each advisory has been assigned only one child to raise money for, but this year an advisory can have up to three. In order to meet their goal, the advisories raise money for their children, making sure that they get gifts they want for the winter holidays.

Bake sales have been producing money for the toy drive during every lunch period.Alice Aronov ‘18 explained that they are “the best way to raise money in our school because everyone buys” from them.  She continued that they also give “a teamwork kind of initiative.” Ms. Meisler added, “[a] bake sale is always good because everyone can contribute something and everyone feels like they’re doing something for someone else.” Meril Mousoom 21’s advisory was assigned two boys, both in preschool. One wanted a Hot Wheels “Ultimate Garage” and the other a Captain America backpack. Bake sales allowed her advisory to raise $167 dollars and they “…currently have enough money to buy presents for the kids.” More…

The Truth on What’s on the Roof Reply

The roof of the school is a mystery to many people. Looking up towards it, it isn’t clear what is there. Some of the younger grades  say that there is a pool, while most say there is nothing there at all. One student, Kayla Powers ’20, believes that, “there is this greenhouse and this house thing and someone lives there.” Another one, Grace Lim ’22, said that when students “look up, they see something weird.” It’s seems absurd that there would be anything on the roof to begin with, that it serves a purpose besides making sure that the rain and wind don’t get in. While there is no greenhouse or pool, there is, in fact, a man who lives on the roof.

The roof hosts a cozy apartment loft, complete with a kitchen, a living room, and a bedroom. According to Ms. Johnson, the man who lives there is the landlord of the school building. BSGE was originally his pocketbook factory, and a little more than a decade ago, he rented out the building to the DOE, who then converted it into a school. In the past he has even given the school some pocketbooks to sell at auctions. More…

The First Few Months of IB as a Junior Reply

A few months into the school year, almost every single student at BSGE is drowning in work. With the new schedule’s 45-minute periods, the transition into the new school year is taking a lot longer than expected. For juniors, this transition is made more difficult because it is the first year in the IB Program.

The IB Diploma Program is meant to push students to work to the best of their ability. It prepares students for college by teaching them extensive academic and time management skills. Being a part of the IB Program means completion of the Theory of Knowledge course, an Extended Essay, a total of 100 Creativity, Activity, and Service (CAS) hours, and meeting specific grade requirements for IB exams. Not all students are IB candidates by the time they end junior year, and an even smaller number actually receive the IB Diploma the summer after senior year. Even though colleges cannot know whether or not a student will eventually get the IB Diploma when they apply,  merely taking the courses and going through such a rigorous process shows how hardworking a student is. The IB Program seems to be intimidating and stressful, but in the end it is all a matter of how the student manages their time. More…

How to Stop Procrastinating Today Instead of Putting it off Until Tomorrow Reply

At some point in their life, every student will have been affected by procrastination. According to the dictionary, procrastination is the action of delaying or postponing a task. In the case of a student, procrastination usually takes the form of avoiding doing homework and other assignments or studying for important tests. Especially for those who are new to the BSGE’s workload, procrastination can become a common trait. Far more than half the students at BSGE admit to being procrastinators at one point or another.

Procrastination occurs in a variety of different ways, and can lead to bad experiences in class along with deteriorating grades. “I end up staying up really late trying to finish what would have been easier without the stress and rush,” said Kayla Powers ’20. Similarly, “I have had to do rushed jobs in advisory, or totally forget the homework and have my grade go down,” said student Dart MacVeagh ’21. These are only some of the consequences students have had because of their procrastination. A general response from those who considered themselves procrastinators said that their progress on their homework and academic performance gradually decreases as they procrastinate. More…

BSGE’s Annual Spirit Week! Reply

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From Monday, October 31st to Friday, November 4th, BSGE’s senior council organized its annual Spirit Week. Spirit Week, According to Jennifer Shin ’17 and Kyra Richardson ‘17, two members of the senior council, this was a chance “to get everyone of all grades to participate” in a school-wide event. The goal was to make each day easy to partake in, learned after the unfortunate “Fancy Friday” of last year, a day where very fewstudents participated. Flannel Friday took its place as “it was easy to participate in and everyone has a flannel; the whole point of the week is to get all grades to join,” Jennifer explained. With the event’s more simplistic nature, it gave more freedom to students so that everyone could join.

This year, the week consisted of: More…

Chemistry and Biotechnology: A Comparison Reply

What is biotechnology and how important is it? “The biotechnology course is designed to give students background on the essential fundamentals that will implement students on future science courses,” said Dr. Helfenbein, BSGE’s biology teacher. In essence, the course educates students on the ways we conduct our in-depth investigations on the workings of the natural world.

Have you ever wondered why the world works the way it does? How things connect and correlate with one another? Chemistry encompasses all of human life. It helps students become more aware of the world around them through their senses, as well as learn about themselves as a functioning being. Learning chemistry is a key element to our society. It can even aid technological advancements, develop the medical field, and assist in biological breakthroughs! More…

The Official Guide to Backpacks Reply

Imagine having to carry all of your books by hand every day to school—this would make going to school almost impossible!  A backpack is an essential part of the elementary, middle and high school experience, and everybody has different opinions on which brand will benefit them. This is because comfort and appearance greatly impact education and health. In fact, studies show that approximately 5,000 children each year visit the ER because of backpack-related injuries such as hip, back, shoulder, and knee pain as well as bad posture and the tightening of muscles. Therefore, choosing an appropriate backpack for school is important. When doing so, consider all of its different aspects including the brand, quality, size, capacity, and price. More…

Curriculum Night: Important but Overlooked Reply

While this annual occurrence has been overlooked by many, Curriculum Night recently proved to be crucial for parents who wanted to come a step closer to their children’s education. Held on Wednesday, September 28th, the night included a bake sale for student funds with many parents attending. Those who were able to be there realized how essential such an event is to their child’s education. One seventh grade parent said, “Before this I had absolutely no idea what my children were doing to be honest, now I know what to expect of them.”
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Word from the Real World: Maya Juman Reply

Being on my own is weird. It’s also the best thing that’s ever happened to me.

I’m Maya Juman, a BSGE (and Bacc Rag) alum, and now a freshman at Yale University. I’ve been in college for two months and have already experienced so many incredibly new things of all sorts. I have my first real job. I’ve battled two bouts of “freshman plague,” as everyone refers to the perpetual sore throat/cold passed around freshman housing. I’ve learned the hard way that eating grilled cheeses and taking breaks to play pool in the basement at 2 am is an ineffective, albeit fun, way to get work done. I’ve done better on a midterm than I anticipated. I’ve done much, much worse on a midterm than I anticipated. I’ve traveled home on the Metro-North, which oddly enough was the first time college truly felt real. I’ve located the best New Haven pizza (Pepe’s white clam pie, of course). I’ve been evacuated from my dorm at 1 am because a freshman two floors above me broke a sprinkler and flooded all our rooms. I’ve tried things I never thought I would, like working out at 7 am, beekeeping, and taking a poetry seminar. I’ve located the best study spots in each library, the best place to watch the Wild Card Game with other Mets fans, and, perhaps most importantly, the dining hall with the most expansive cereal selection. More…

The Sound of IB Music Reply

Everyone listens to music. On the subway, in the car, while doing homework—it is something we can rely on to always be our friend. But every kind of music is made with instruments, and every instrument has a person who plays it and has extensive knowledge of that instrument. Some people only learn how to play the simplest tunes, while others like to go above and beyond by taking lessons for years, investigating music as closely as a scientist observing an experiment, and learning how to play many different songs. Many people, therefore, believe that learning to play in instrument feels better than just about anything.

BSGE is planning on implementing an IB Music program that focuses on students who are learning an instrument—voice, guitar, piano, violin, flute, and others—and to help them further their musical studies with a wider knowledge of music theory and performance. As stated by Ms. Nikkolos, “It’s up to you what instrument you’d like to choose, and when you join IB music, that will be an instrument you have already played [for] four, five years already.” More…

All You Ever Wanted to Know About the Schedule Change Reply

For a long time, the possibility of a schedule change had been a focus in the staff meetings, though every year it was delayed a little bit longer. This year, though, the administration changed the schedule completely. Previously, BSGE had a rotating A-Day, B-Day schedule. Each day consisted of five 70-minute classes, one of which was split into lunch and advisory, which were only 35 minutes each.

Now, the school administration has changed the schedule to the form of eight 45-minute classes, with three minutes of break time between each period to travel to the next class.

This change was caused by multiple factors, though the main reason was the lack of funding the school has. After facing three years without funding, Ms. Johnson had to let go of two teachers, which caused a strain on the number of classes assigned to those who remained. They would have ended up teaching 5 or more classes in one day, which could not have been possible with the A/B day schedule. Consequently, changing the schedule became a necessity for our school. “The changes were influenced by the reality that BSGE is a public school and is funded like a public school. Therefore the school has to be structured like a public school unless we receive grant funding or major donations,” elaborated Ms. Johnson. More…

Teacher of the Month: Mr. Yanek 2

yanek
What is your cultural background?

I am a New Yorker, through and through.

Where did you grow up?

Franklin Square, New York.

If you could live in any other place in the world, where would it be and why?

New York is my first choice, but if I couldn’t live in New York I think I’d be pretty happy in Mexico City. It’s like New York, but it has public toilets. It seems like enough of a big city for me and it has a good vibe.

What type of kid were you in high school?

I got good grades, but deep down I was a fool.

If you were a student and had yourself as your teacher, would you meet the standards you hold for your students?

With a vengeance. More…

BSGE’s New Assistant Principal Reply

Among the many recent changes introduced to BSGE is the arrival of a new assistant principal, Ms. Maria Mamo-Vacacela. She has been appointed as an Interim Acting Assistant Principal, meaning that before Ms. Mamo-Vacacela gets permanently hired she has to undergo a trial process. Ms. Johnson explained, “She is with us now, you can think of it as a probation period to see if it is going to be a good fit. Then, she gets interviewed for the position. Afterwards, teachers, students, and parents get a chance to say, “‘yes’ or ‘no’.” According to Ms. Johnson, Ms. Mamo-Vacacela is being tried for the position because “the responsibilities placed on principals have increased, and we may eventually need more help, especially if our population will grow.”

When asked about her education, Ms. Mamo-Vacacela said laughingly, “I’m a Queens girl.” After having graduated from Christ the King High School in Middle Village, she pursued and received B.A. degree in Mathematics at Queens College. Ms. Mamo-Vacacela also holds a master’s degree in multicultural education from the College of Mount St. Vincent. She perceives this specialization especially fitting here, at BSGE, because of our school’s diversity. More…

Tips for New Bees Reply

Transitioning into a new school is difficult, especially one as demanding and rigorous as BSGE. In order to make that transition smooth, all new students should remember these seven suggestions:

  1. Be polite; stay to the right!  If you’re not on the right side, you’re on the wrong side.
    • The school hallways are very small, so the general rule is to stay to the right so that you help minimize the amount of traffic (especially with only three minutes between classes).
  2. Say hello to your new best friend: your locker.
    • Not everyone is privileged enough to have a ten minute commute to and from school, and no one wants to injure their back with tons of binders and notebooks everyday. Before leaving, think to yourself: do you really need your whole binder? Can you just bring a few sheets home to complete your work? Get everything you need to finish homework and study, then leave the rest in your locker! Your back will thank you later.
  3. Stay organized and on top of things.
    • If you didn’t know, there are calendars on the first floor for teachers to write big assignments on so that we are not bombarded with too much work within one week. However, this does not always work in our favor. There will be weeks in which you’ll have three tests, five quizzes, and a paper due, and it will be solely up to you to get everything done. With this amount of work, life will be much easier if you actively use a planner – whether a physical book or your phone’s calendar app. This way, you will be able to correctly prioritize and optimize your time and energy.  If you don’t have a planner, you can buy one from Margaret Pasach, the parent coordinator, for only $5.
  4. Communication is key!
    • While it would be nice to understand everything on the first try, that will not always happen. It’s fine to struggle; everyone does. But you don’t have to be embarrassed or or ashamed! Many teachers are available after school to answer your questions. It’s reasonable to feel like you’re bothering them, but remember that teaching is what they do. They want to make sure that you understand what’s going on, and they cannot read your minds to know whether or not you need help if you don’t say anything. If your teacher isn’t free, you always have classmates that you can go to for help!
  5. Don’t be afraid to get involved.
    • If it wasn’t already obvious, BSGE has a plethora of clubs and extracurricular activities that are available for everyone to join! Joining these clubs is a great way to make new friends, especially ones who are in other grades, while doing something after school that interests you. To see the clubs schedule this year, check the front page, and if you don’t see anything of interest, you can always try to start a new one!
  6. Sleep is not for the weak. It’s for the productive and successful student.
    • This one ties into the third tip because it’s important to plan out everything accordingly, especially sleeping. Without enough sleep, you run the risk of being too tired to concentrate during class. If that happens, you’ll not only get in trouble, but you will also possibly miss important information. Especially as growing teenagers, sleep is essential to growth and health, and it isn’t wise to miss out on that because you didn’t manage your time well. Sure, there’ll be a few days in which your workload is too heavy, forcing you to only get three hours of sleep, but try not to make it a habit!
  7. Grades are important, but they’re not everything.
    • Everyone wants to have straight sevens, and it makes sense: the pressure to get good grades is extremely high. However, it’s easy to lose sight of what’s really important. School is supposed to be a place to learn , and while grades do matter, achieving that goal is far more important. Aim for those sevens, but don’t stress out too much if you fall short.  It is extremely difficult to get perfect grades, and that’s okay. Just don’t forget to learn from your mistakes and have fun!

Keep these tips in mind to make your experience here as pleasant as possible.  After all, you are at school for ten months a year: you might as well make the most of it!