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2016-2017 Archives by Daleelah S '19 Entertainment and Culture Style

Controversy and Cultural Appropriation

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.

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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 by Rachel R Z '20 Clubs/Activities Student Life

BSGE’s 2017 Winter Concert

On Friday January 20, BSGE’s cafegymatorium was packed with excited parents, teachers, and students, all looking forward to the annual winter concert. The 7th grade, some of the 9th grade, the school orchestra, and several soloists performed specially chosen pieces, including one written by the 9th grade class themselves. These soloists included Lynca Saito ‘21, who played Chopin Nocturne, Erica Lei ‘20 performing River Flows in You, and Ethan Yung ‘19, with the piece La Campanella.

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2016-2017 Archives BSGE by Abhay B '20 by Anab K '20 Entertainment and Culture News Tech

New Technology at BSGE

Computers. Most students use them all the time in school, whether simply for printing or for working on a major project. Both at home and at school, many could not imagine their lives without them. On the other hand, BSGE’s computers are not exactly high-quality. Many are old and cannot connect the to the Internet, or are just outdated. Only a small portion of our computers are the silver 2013 model Macbooks that both look excellent and perform satsifactorily. However, things might change soon for the better.

According to Shantanu, the technology teacher, BSGE is getting a grant of $70,000 from an organization called Reso A. This grant would cover “New equipment,  a full cart of new computers, several printers, and interactive whiteboards. We hit a snag, and we were at single grant of 70,000 originally, but the grants came from 2 different city councilman so we’re getting 35,000 each,” Shantanu explained. The brand new equipment could end up making a big impact on the school. However, Shantanu cautioned that it could take some time to get final results. The BSGE Administration decided to split the grant into two individual parts. On November 9, the first part of the grant was signed, and, according to Shantanu, “By the end of 2016, we should have the half grant that just got approved.” With the end of 2016 fast approaching, this could be very important news for BSGE.

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2016-2017 Archives by Anokha V '19 Features students

From Poland to America: Bartolomie Halibart

Meet Bart. Bartolomie Halibart, our tenth-grade Polish transfer student, has added lots of character to the grade. Bart, as most people call him, came from Krakow, Poland. He left Krakow, the “most beautiful city in Poland”, to arrive in New York City on June 26th, 2016. However, it’s not his first time here. Previously, Bart lived in New York City from 2002 to 2007, then moved back. He used to live on Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn. On this Bart remarked, “They call me Brooklyn Bart.” He is to be a man of many monikers: another form of his name is Bartolomiej, which combines his English name and Bartłomiej, his Polish name.

Currently, Bart resides in Ridgewood, Queens with his parents, his sister Katarzyna or Katherine, and his Yorkshire terrier Dexter. He described his commute to school in detail, with more knowledge about the subway map than many of his fellow classmates. New York was well missed by Bart: he proudly stated how great it was to be back. Bart had much to say for his second time in the city.

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2016-2017 Archives by Helen T '20 Clubs/Activities Entertainment and Culture Movies/T.V. Student Life

BSGE’s Movie Night: When Dory was Found

On the afternoon of Movie Night, students sat in groups, huddled with popcorn, candy, and soda, as they begin to watch the movie. The sounds of the opening of Finding Dory fill the room and the lights dim. The one hour and forty five minute movie came out on June 17th, 2016, but was available for play during Movie Night, which took place on Friday, December 9th. Tickets for admission were $5 before the event, while at the door they were $8. All the raised money went to the Toy Drive, the fundraiser in which advisories raised money to buy sick kids gifts for the holidays.

“When I first heard of Movie Night, I was interested, as no one had done it before,” said Danielle Gutkovich ’17. The movie played was determined by a school wide online survey, which asked for a vote on one of the movies from a list which included Kubo and the Two Strings, Middle School: Worst Years of my Life, Secret Life of Pets, Finding Dory, Hotel Transylvania, and more. By plurality vote, “Finding Dory” was the selected movie. Fabbiha Islam ’20, one of those who planned the event, said that “The idea of movie night had been the idea of another classmate, and the idea seemed like a good one, so everybody had voted to organize a movie night.”

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2016-2017 Archives BSGE by Rakiba S '22 News

7th Grade Open House

Around one hundred parents and sixth graders packed into BSGE’s cafeteria and hallways for the 7th grade Open House. They were all milling around in anticipation for the evening event to begin. The event, which started at 6:00 pm on December 6, 2016 and ended at 7:30 pm, was an opportunity for parents and students to learn more about BSGE and determine whether this was the right school for them. Although the event started at 6, many parents started flooding in through the front doors as early as 5:30 pm. So many people came that the parents had to be divided into two groups. One group took self-guided tours through the second to fourth floors while the second was downstairs in the cafegymatorium for a presentation run by guidance counselor Tim David-Lang, a few student speakers, math teacher Mr. Mehan, and history teacher Mr. Rabinowitz. The presentation talked about the curriculum at BSGE, the atmosphere, and the differences between BSGE and other schools.

Not only were there a lot of visitors that night, there were also many volunteers. Approximately 30 students in all volunteered in order to make this night memorable for the parents and children visiting. These volunteers were placed strategically at different intervals along the school corridors. Sets of five were stationed near the main lobby, the cafegymatorium, and the hallways on each floor. One or two teachers were also stationed on each floor to answer any questions about the school that students wouldn’t be able to.

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2016-2017 Archives BSGE by Jacqueline C '20 by Lalla A '20 News

Curriculum Night: Important but Overlooked

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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2016-2017 Archives BSGE by Fariha H '19 by Jennifer S '19 News

All You Ever Wanted to Know About the Schedule Change

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.

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2016-2017 BSGE by Krista P '22 News

The Bell That Rings for the New School Year

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.