Controversy and Cultural Appropriation Reply

Fun in the Sun Friday was the final day of Spirit Week for the 2016-2017 school year, but it didn’t end up being very fun for many people.

Quite a few students came in that day wearing “traditional” Hawaiian apparel, such as leis, luaus, and grass hula skirts. In response, plain posters with text on them were put up in the school’s staircases. They included phrases such as “Hawaiian culture is not your theme” and “Hawaiian culture is not your costume.”  Rather than sparking a conversation, the posters ended up creating controversy and exposing deeply contrasting viewpoints. Generally, students that had come in wearing these items felt personally victimized and targeted, and maintained that their outfits were harmless and not at all an instance of cultural appropriation. This raised debate throughout the school about what does or doesn’t constitute cultural appropriation, a phrase which many people understand differently, and the moral values of which are fairly complicated and debated on by anthropologists and sociologists alike.

First, there needs to be an understanding of what the term “cultural appropriation” implies. The word “appropriation” has traditionally been used as a synonym for institutional or widespread theft. The cultural aspect of this has normally been defined as when “members of a dominant culture take elements from a culture of people who have been systematically oppressed by that dominant group.” In the case of Fun In the Sun Friday, the dominant culture would be mainland American culture, while the oppressed culture would be native Hawaiian culture. It’s important to distinguish the two, given Hawaii’s history. More…

BSGE’S Lack of High School Ranking Reply

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.” More…

What Do You Meme? Reply

Memes: there is no escaping them. From the Instagram explore page and Twitter relatable accounts to company marketing advertisements and BSGE bake sale posters, memes are used to reach a wide audience, with purposes including entertainment and advertising. While the iconic Pepe and Kermit the Frog memes made their viral Internet debut in the 2010s, memes have been around since the 1940s, connecting people around the world.

The word “meme” was first coined in 1976 by Richard Dawkins, who described it as “an idea, behavior, or style that spreads from person to person within a culture.” Under Dawkins, memes were analogous to genes and were considered a “unit of culture” that reproduces itself. Inspired from Dawkins, the study of memes, known as memetics, arose to act as an evolutionary model of the transferring of information within cultures. Despite its scientific beginnings, memes have taken a different route that most people can understand. More…

How to Make Something of Your Free Time Reply

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. More…

The Flapjack Fundraiser: Making More Than Just Profits Reply

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.”

More…

The Blood Drive of 2017 Reply

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. More…

Top Anime of 2016 Reply

Anime, or Japanese animation, come in various genres, just as American TV does. It is prominent in today’s society and is very frequently talked about. In BSGE, there are many anime lovers, introduced to it for various reasons. Kai Wahlin ‘22 is “partly Japanese, so Anime is cool.” Aayman Abdellatif ‘18 says, “I grew up watching popular anime like Dragon Ball Z, Naruto, Shaman King, etc so my love for anime grew to include less mainstream anime such as Akuma No Riddle, Baka to Test, [and] Erased. BSGE students were asked about their favorite anime of 2016, with many responses from different genres.

yuri on iceYuri!!! On Ice  is a sports anime produced by MAPPA, directed by Sayo Yamamoto, and written by Mitsuro Kubo. It is about figure skating, in which the 23 year old Yuri Katsuki faces a major defeat in the Grand Prix Final. He begins to believe that his career as a skater is coming to a close. Until, a video of him performing a routine of the Russian five-time world champ- Viktor Nikiforov goes viral. Viktor comes to Japan out of nowhere to become Yuri’s coach. Stupefied, Yuri accepts his idol’s offer, beginning to train for the Grand Prix Finals.  More…

The Reality of School Lunch Reply

Every day, students at BSGE line up, wondering what’s for lunch. Some days it’s chicken, hamburgers or mozzarella sticks. In any case, there is a general consensus that the quality of the food is low, with it being at times undercooked, stale, or even frozen chocolate milk. It’s not just in BSGE though. Schools across the city have students complaining about food quality and the the fact that it can be greatly improved.

The official school food website states, regarding the meals for NYC schools, “nutrition standards always meet, and many times exceed, USDA Nutrition Standards for School Meals.” While this claim may appear impressive to some, the standards are do little to focus on serving food that students are willing to eat. For example, the USDA states that schools should “offer fruits and vegetables as two separate meal components.” This does not discuss what may be done to improve them or make sure that the food served tastes good. Furthermore, there have also been claims from students in NYC that they had found pieces of metal in the chicken tenders, according to CBS news. This report was made recently last month, with the city now removing the option from lunch. Other students have reported moldy pizza and choked on bones where they shouldn’t have been, CBS news continues. More…

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

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. More…

A Personal Experience of the March on Washington Reply

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. More…

Teacher of the Month: Ms. Beane Reply

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. More…

Dealing With the Crowded Hallways and Stairways Reply

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”. More…

The Civic Discussion Club Reply

We live in a time of great change. Faster than anyone thought possible, society has been evolving to better suit today’s modern culture. Every day, a new topic is brought to the table along with the controversy surrounding it. Issues such as LGBTQ rights, woman’s rights, the Black Lives Matter movement, abortion, and health care never seem to be too far away. The wars and conflicts in the Middle East are becoming more and more apparent in BSGE students’ everyday lives. Technology has been advancing beyond a level people can easily comprehend, while lives become more reliant on it, as well as new threats such as global warming now loom over humanity. There has never been a time when society has more rapidly been changing than right now. It’s hard to fully comprehend everything that’s been occurring, especially since the news spits out one thing after another. There barely is any time to discuss and fully think about what is happening. This is the reason Daniel Sahr ’20 has created the Civic Debate Club, “so students can learn about current events and issues.”

The club was created after he experienced a series of political discussions with friends and classmates. It has, Daniel said, “the ultimate goal of preparing the members to be able to formulate opinions and ideas based on information and facts, and work with other people to find effective ways of presenting.” Especially with the recent changes facing the country, the club serves as a way for people to become more “politically active in forming and defending opinions.” According to Olivia Wegrowski 20’, the club has “helped me see people’s viewpoints on significant issues we have and opened my eyes to those issues as well.” More…

Putting the “Fit” in “Fitness” Reply

From its original four seniors to the present eight, the Fitness Club has begun to grow, yet most students don’t know it exists. It was established to create a comfortable forum in which people can not only get their essential physical activity but also enjoy the experience with their friends in a judge-free zone.

The club leader, Mohammed Roshid ‘17, wanted to “work out during the week and inspire people to join the gym … [and] to try and get fit.” He explains that incorporating a fitness club into the building makes it possible for those who have a difficult commute to their local gym to work out. He does this for those he shares a similar story with. Mohammed explained that in the past few years he began going to the gym with his older brother, but found it difficult to make time during school days to work on his routine. Thus, he was inspired to motivate others with similar struggles to work out at school. Frequent club member Ryan Zhuo ‘17 expresses the same challenge.  He said, “My gym is too far from [my home] so coming here makes it a lot easier.” Not only is this club a great way to encourage physical activity, but it’s also very convenient. In fact, Ryan continued that the convenience is what he “likes most about the club. More…

Views on Curriculum Based Books Reply

Everyone has some taste in books, whether it ranges from nonfiction to complete fantasy, but what about books given to students by their teachers? English teachers assign readings based on their lesson plans, and there are many opinions about reading these books for class and assignments.

In BSGE, books that are read by many students this year include Of Mice and Men, To Kill a Mockingbird, The Things They Carried, The Metamorphosis, The Sailor Who Fell From Grace With The Sea, and Black Boy. In books such as these, students are expected to read closely and keep in mind specific aspects of the story that are beneficial to finding the meanings or the theme of the book. Depending on the teacher, there may be quizzes or assignments based on it as well, and possibly a final assignment once the class has finished reading the book. Many English teachers have different views on how they feel the curriculum based books can help students, and what they can do with them during the course of the year. Ms. Kumar, the English teacher for the 8th grade, says that reading curriculum based books, “Help students review literary features seen in the book, and also introduce themes and topics that they may encounter in their daily lives or in the future.” Additionally, in her 9th grade English class, Ms. Meisler says, “This year I’ve allowed my students to read The Things They Carried, however, some years we switch it around and read other books before moving into poetry.” Other English teachers similarly switch around the books that were read and use them to introduce important aspects of literature. More…

I Wonder Sometimes… Reply

Wonder, by Raquel J. Palacio, is a tale of how differences can be overcome if you simply look past them. A boy named Auggie has a severe facial disfigurement, which causes him to have an “unsettling” appearance that others are scared of interacting with. He was not enrolled in a public school because he was always in the hospital receiving surgeries. During this time, his older sister Via was his best and only friend. For his fifth grade year, Auggie is enrolled in a private school and makes new friends, while also having to deal with students in his grade who constantly bully him.

Wonder is broken up into parts, which are each told from a different character’s point of view. This setup is able to show many sides of the story, and how each character feels throughout the book. These parts progress in time, so the character telling the story will not retell the last event, but rather tell life how they are seeing it in real time. This immerses the reader into their world and continuously changes their perspective on the story, which makes it a more interesting novel. More…

The Robotics Club Reply

With robotic technology advancing rapidly, robots will be a large influence on our world today, making everyday tasks easier for us humans. As well as doing simple chores for us, robots will also provide interaction for people, especially the elderly. Further, these benefits of robots apply not only to humans, but also to animals, which is something many don’t realize. As such, BSGE’s Robotics Club, though not very well known, has an important role in the world.

The club works on programming robots to portray educational themes. They have completed several previous missions, which challened them to create differently functioning robots. According to Eric Karhan ’19, the leader of the club, they are currently preparing for the Lego league competition and will compete against several other schools. The theme of the competition is animal allies, and the Robotics Club chose bees as their animal, since the bee represents BSGE. Specifically, the club focused on beekeepers, people who take care of bees and keep them healthy. This shows an interaction between humans and animals having a positive impact on the animals. When bees sting the bee suits of beekeepers, it is very expensive to clean, and the suit is attractive to bees, which can hurt the beekeepers. Thus, the club’s goal is to use robots to create a cheaper and stronger alternative, preferably white instead of the yellow, since bees aren’t attracted to white. More…

He Will Not Divide Us Reply

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. More…