2016-2017 Archives by Janielle D '19 Culture Entertainment and Culture Student Life

Tips for New Bees

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!

by Allen W '20

Choosing the Right High School: 3 Case Studies

Every year around early March, eighth graders have to make the decision of whether they want to stay in BSGE or attend another school for high school. Though many students decide to stay in this school, some decide to switch. Their new schools are different from BSGE and students take time to adapt to their environments. Two former BSGE eighth graders and a current BSGE freshman were interviewed about their thoughts on their current high schools.

The first student interviewed was Sasha Spajic ‘19. She chose to go to Stuyvesant High School, a Specialized High School in Manhattan. Sasha commented that there are many more clubs and activities offered at Stuyvesant, which she attributed to its larger physical size and student population. She also said that people appeared to be in a greater rush to get somewhere during and after school, which was different from the somewhat laid-back atmosphere at Baccalaureate.  She continued by saying, “Stuyvesant was hard to adapt to at first, unlike BSGE where I was able to make friends quickly.” Nonetheless, she chose to attend Stuyvesant rather than BSGE because she believed that Stuyvesant offered more courses, academic activities,  and after-school activities to choose from. The major downside for her is that Stuyvesant is less accessible, since she lives in Queens but Stuyvesant is downtown. The only similarity Sasha mentioned is that she didn’t feel a change in the workload in either school.

by Justin H '17

Human Rights Class: A Last Look

Human Rights is no longer taught at BSGE, starting this year. One of the many changes that went into effect in September is that Health has replaced Human Rights as the weekly “elective,” and Physical Education has replaced Health as a main class. Human Rights, taught by Peter Wilson, has been a distinctive feature of ninth grade ever since this school opened, but scheduling and homework concerns have trumped tradition.

There are two main reasons for the change: scheduling issues and parent pushback. Ninth graders in past years have had gym/yoga only for half of the year, which when combined with the fact that juniors only have it once a week meant that BSGE students weren’t getting enough physical activity overall. Health, which used to replace it, now has its own slot in the schedule so ninth graders can be more active. The other reason is that recently, parents of ninth graders have been complaining that their children receive too much homework from what is theoretically an “elective” course. Together, this ended the class.

by Allen W '20

BSGE’s Welcomes a Class of New Ninth Graders

As the new 2015-16 school year kicks off to a start, many new seventh grade students find themselves quickly adjusting to BSGE’s atmosphere. However, another new group of students is a handful of new ninth graders who were accepted to BSGE through the high school application process, in order to fill the empty seats left by eighth graders who transferred out of BSGE. Each year, some students leave BSGE to attend other public and private high schools, and as a result a limited number of seats are available for applicants. In the end, fifteen lucky ninth graders students from all over the city were admitted to BSGE.

Though most current ninth graders (Class of 2019) have been in BSGE for a good two years, these few new high schoolers are just beginning to adapt to the IB-focused environment. They have mixed first impressions about the school, but most of these students agree that the school offers a different perspective on education.

Tahmid A' 18

Legal Outreach Helping One Kid At A Time

Many BSGE students have passed by the curious neighboring building to BSGE, with its yellow stripes on the outside and sleek design. But most are unaware of what inhabits this building, besides anxious BSGE Seniors taking their exams on a few days every May. This building is home to a Legal Outreach program, an educational and enriching program that some of the BSGE student body participate in.


The Summer Legal Outreach program (SLI) prepares kids from underserved communities in New York City to participate in higher education programs. They teach kids how to develop skills for the real world and build confidence. This program starts from the summer before 8th grade to the end of the 12th grade. Students attend this program during the summer and after school to work on their communication and life skills. College Bound’s help in boosting self confidence appeals to a wide range of students, even those that are not very interested in law. Legal Outreach has two programs, SLI and College Bound. If a student joins SLI, he or she is automatically eligible for College Bound. All the students in College Bound get accepted to the top 50 universities such as Harvard, Yale, Columbia, Cornell and other selective universities.

However, this year many students quit this program because of how challenging and rigorous it was. This being the case, the Legal Outreach Program decided to take only ten students this year because of the number of dropouts. An applicant from our school, Yashna Ahmed 18′ says “this program will help encourage me and will successfully help me become a great speaker.” Also, since this 4 year program includes internships outside of  Legal Outreach, she says “it will help me achieve good character and educate and further aid me in pursuing things I love.”

by Annie C '18

Time Magazine’s Person of the Year

Time Magazine’s annual “Person of the Year” article awards and recognizes the most influential person from the previous year.  It began in 1927, and there have been many people nominated for this award since then. There have been some controversies in the past over who won.  For example, in 1938, Adolf Hitler won the title.

The important thing to remember is that the title is for the most influential person, which means this influence could be for good or bad.  There have also been other interesting winners, like in 2006. Time Magazine stated that everyone was person of the year, for contributing to internet websites, such as Wikipedia, YouTube, or Facebook.

Source: Time Magazine


This year, the Ebola fighters were the winners of Time Magazine’s “Person of the Year.” Many are familiar with the epidemic from the news, but these people have experienced it first hand.  The Ebola fighters have risked their lives to save others, even when there was no cure.  Many nurses,

Steve G '14

9th Graders Get Artsy

On January 20th, BSGE IB Art teacher Ms.Schwarz and the entire 9th grade went to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the largest museum in the Western Hemisphere. According to Ms.Schwarz, this is her third year going to the museum with BSGE students.



Ms.Schwarz wanted to have this trip because she thought it would be a great learning experience for the students. Ms.Schwarz said, “I think it’s important for students to have the experience of looking at artworks up close and not just study them.” She also added, “It’s a very different experience studying from a computer screen or book than up close.”


Throughout the months prior, the freshmen had been learning about ancient Egyptians and how they created their tombs. The students had a project of creating unique designs using relief carvings to imitate the ancient Egyptians’ carvings. For those unfamiliar with relief carvings, this technique makes certain images three dimensional on a surface. 

by Ashley W '16

“SELMA” Tickets Free for Students

On Monday, Janlarge_w2uuoiXk7HdICSSTMrQuj98tgAwuary 19th, America celebrated Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Although many students celebrated with a day off from school, a group of 27 African-American business leaders in New York spread awareness with free movie tickets for 7th, 8th, and 9th graders. This group created a fund that offered 27,000 New York City middle/high school students the opportunity to watch the movie, “SELMA,” for free. Starring David Oyelowo as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., “SELMA” takes place in 1965, the year of Dr. King’s campaign for equal voting rights. The movie depicts his three-month long march from Selma, Alabama (hence the movie title) to Montgomery, Alabama, that led to the signing of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, the greatest victory of the Civil Rights Movement. The movie also shows Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s brothers and sisters’ involvement in the journey for equal rights.

by Hana M '18

DOE Directs School Year Latecomers to BSGE

As we all know, BSGE is a very small school with not a lot of kids in it. But recently, BSGE’s Freshman Class has not been filled to the capacity as it had previously due to an increased number of 8th graders leaving for a different high school, and accepted 9th graders that may have turned BSGE down.

Since BSGE is funded by the Department of Education, the DOE can refer students who are arriving late in the school year to come to BSGE to fill the empty spots of the 9th graders that left. There are four new students in the 9th grade and they came in slowly throughout the beginning of the year.

Diego Chica ‘18 moved here from Florida less than a month ago so not only did he miss a month of school, but he also missed any opportunity to get into a Specialized High School. Instead of it being mandatory for him to attend his zoned school, he was given the opportunity to come here. To be accepted into BSGE, Diego had to go to the DOE. When they referred him he took a test and they accepted him after he passed.

by Ergisa X '16

Volunteers Host Successful 9th Grade Open House

Wednesday, October 8th was the day of the 9th grade open house at BSGE. Of course you already knew this, because it was undoubtedly marked in the planners of every BSGE student as the most important day of this month. There was a meeting after school in the library about the new organization of BSGE’s most talked about night of the year. Blank name tag stickers were handed out, and students screamed, “PASS THE SHARPIE” in the conference room as they eagerly scrawled things like “Ask me about softball!” on their name tags.
This year, college counselor Peter Wilson and parent coordinator Margaret Pasach were the ones who rallied up the volunteers, and gave them instructions for the event. The tags displayed the names of students, a feature of BSGE they were knowledgable about, and a second language which they kept hidden for moments like these when the world most needed their bilingual skills. Armed with brochures, name tags, and after-school snacks from the deli, the volunteers made their way to the cafeteria to get their room assignments. All the students excitedly rushed to sign their names in the same rooms as their friends, and soon they were walking up the stairs in groups. However, the Seniors, as BSGE royalty, had the prestigious job of welcoming hopeful BSGE applicants and their parents in the lobby. As Anthony Mendieta ’16 elegantly said “Quote this. I like how it sounds, ‘those walking out welcomed those walking in.’” LMS if you cried.
by Alice A '18

3 Weeks At A Specialized High School: From BSGE to Stuyvesant and Back

I would be a fool to say that Stuyvesant High School is awful and terrible and disgusting. For those of you who plan on taking the SHSAT, it’s a good idea to take it. It’s a personal decision. Put Stuy as your first choice. Get some options. Drive yourself nuts over those options. But I went to Stuyvesant and I returned and have reasons, of course, so I’m going to offer an inside look into that huge building that is dubbed the ‘best high school in NYC.’ I am somewhat qualified to write, because I spent three weeks learning within its walls.

Stuyvesant has an amazing building and location, and an avalanche of different courses, clubs and sports. I was promised these things upon entering and to be honest, I was in no way disappointed. In the first week I encountered flyers on the escalator, the steps on the bridge and the door of my history classroom that advertised Model UN, Speech, Congress and Debate and a really cool Red Cross meeting in the library that I never really got to go to, along with a million more

by Justin H '17

BSGE’s 2014 Spring Music Concert

Thursday, May 29th, was BSGE’s 2014 Spring Concert. The entire 9th grade participated, as did the school band: Players for Peace. Some students, such as Anu Shree Rajagopal ‘17 and Mariadolores Alvarez ‘17 had special performances. Anu played a traditional Indian violin, and Mariadolores showed off her flamenco dancing skills.­­ The Players for Peace played well-known songs such as The Star-Spangled Banner. After that came intermission, and then the 9th graders played many complicated pieces such as the William Tell Overture, And the Mountains Rising…, and Swingin’ Shepard Blues.

Ms. Nikkolos, the music teacher and conductor during the concert, was very pleased with the concert’s turnout. She called it a “demonstration of the ninth grade achievement.” The achievement in question is knowledge of reading sheet music and playing percussion instruments. Some of the pieces the 9th graders played are on an 11th grade level, meaning that the 9th graders showed exceptional skill. Once that skill is mastered, Ms. Nikkolos explained, it is much easier to play any instrument.