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…

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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 3

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!

The Bell That Rings for the New School Year Reply

All of a sudden the bell rings, and it sounds like a flat lining heart monitor. That blasted bell is a stopwatch that starts counting three minutes until the next period begins. Teachers tell us stories about that bell. They say that the sound can be annoying and is a vexation to class. This is the first time it has rung successfully. Now BSGE is stuck with this bell as long as it keeps ringing all day, every day. But overall the bell helps teachers keep in line with the new schedule even though it can badly startle students who are not expecting it.

Teachers had different reactions to this change.  Ms. Nikkolos said, “They tried before and it didn’t work. If they could get it to work, they’re geniuses!” She showed  disbelief, since the bells never worked successfully before.  On the other hand, Mr. Anderson said, “I have no problem with it. It’s just getting used to the scheduling of it”.  He showed neutrality, neither strongly hating it nor loving it greatly. More…

Letter From The Editor Reply

It has been a great privilege of mine to contribute to the Bacc Rag as a writer and editor over the past five years.

I remember so clearly the first time I, a tiny, terrified eighth grader, was sent to interview upperclassmen and teachers for an article. One of my first assignments was asking several seniors to reflect on the college application process, and I recall thinking about how far away college seemed, and how scary the seniors were, and how long it would be before I would finally graduate from BSGE.

It definitely went by faster than I could ever have imagined. Graduating seems surreal, but so does leaving behind this newspaper, which, although at times can be crazy and dysfunctional (I know the staff will agree with me) is so full of life and spunk. I’ve poured my heart into the Bacc Rag during my time at BSGE, and I can only hope that I have done half as much for this newspaper as it has done for me. More…

Thanks BSGE PTA! Reply

As Bacc Rag editor this year, I would like to thank the PTA for continuing to support our publication. As in years past, the PTA helped us print our issues, which we consider a crucial part of what we do as a newspaper. Physical distribution remains one of our main priorities in sharing news. We are so grateful to have the support of the school, and look forward to another year of writing and printing. Thank you so much for everything!

– Maya Juman ’16, Editor

 

Lady Sting’s Playoff Run Ends in City Quarterfinals Reply

DSC05467This year, BSGE’s varsity softball team had their longest and most exciting playoff run yet. During the regular season the team was undefeated, finishing 15-0 in their PSAL Queens B Division, led by captains Nina Don ‘16 and Rakia Islam ‘16. Lady Sting was seeded #1 in Queens, and was given a first round bye. In the second round, the team defeated Robert H. Goddard High School 10-9 in a 6-run seventh inning rally. BSGE was then granted the overall #3 seed in the city out of the remaining 16 teams. After beating Sunset Park High School 8-1 in the third round, Lady Sting advanced to the quarterfinals for the first time in BSGE history. Despite losing 3-0 to the High School for Math, Science and Engineering, Lady Sting still finished the season as one of the top 8 teams out of the total 133 in B Division softball, an accomplishment that the players, the coaches, and the many spectators and fans are truly proud of. More…

A New Cafeteria Mural for CAS Reply

IMG_5372The vast majority of BSGE students eat lunch in the cafeteria, and many spend time there after school for various extracurricular activities. Thus, for a group of five determined seniors, repainting the cafeteria mural seemed like the obvious choice for a CAS group project that would impact the entire school community. Isabelle Lee ‘16, Alvaro Bermejo ‘16, Joly Zakaria ‘16, Akib Rahman ‘16, and Sara Asprilla ‘16 wanted to replace the long-standing mural with a brighter, fresher design. With the supervision and input of the art teachers, Peter Wilson, and Vanessa Rabines, the group put in 20 hours of after-school work over the course of 2 months, sanding and repainting the original mural and creating the new design on the wall. More…

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…

Rocking Out for CAS! 1

The new CAS group project requirements have led many BSGE students to explore interesting ways of fulfilling the Creativity, Activity and/or Service requirement through teamwork. One such project is a rock band created by Jotham Kim ‘17 and seven other juniors. While you may not have heard of the band itself, you may have noticed signs for a Rock Band Club, which is linked to the CAS project. The club involves members of the CAS project teaching other interested students to play instruments and produce music. The eight juniors host their own practices and performances separately. More…

BSGE Fitness Room Gets a Makeover Reply

The second floor fitness room is used by most BSGE students who have gym for their physical education class. Some students even like to go to the fitness room after school and work out then as well. The room has recently been renovated, with the addition of a mirror and the rearrangement of equipment. However, there are still more changes to come.

Margaret Pasach, the parent coordinator, explained the process of renovating the room. “The PTA worked on getting money from the councilman, because the machines were in disrepair. And he came through. They’d been working on it for 2 years. They were able to bring in enough money to redo the fitness room.” The floors were repainted a bright blue, and mirrors now line the wall behind the weight racks. Some machines, however, were removed, like the equipment for lateral pulldown, and a dysfunctional machine that is supposed to work out the legs but now only serves as a rest station. Over the summer, new machines will be added, like new bicycles, since many of the current bicycles are not entirely functional. More…

BSGE Team Comes Third in Pi5 Math Competition Reply

On Saturday, May 7th, 20 students from the BSGE Middle School Math Club went to compete in the New York Pi5 Math Competition, led by Mr. Mehan. The competition is a publicly held event open to students from grades 6 through 8 in any of the 5 boroughs. This year, the competition was held at The Armory (at 168th Street) in Manhattan.

Students formed four teams of five, working together to solve math problems of varying levels of difficulty to earn points. The more difficult the questions were, the more points those questions were worth. The point values ranged from 100 to 500 points. There was a total of 45 minutes per team to answer as many questions as possible. “The quicker and more accurately you answer, the better the chance you have of advancing in the competition,” said Christie Choi ‘20, who represented BSGE at the event. More…