by BACC Rag staff

Students’ thoughts on Ms. Shen’s retirement

While asking students for their thoughts on Ms. Shen’s retirement and reflections on their time being Chinese language students, we collected way more than we could use in any story. Rather than let information go to waste, below is a collection of quotes and thoughts from students. If you want to have your thoughts added to the collection below, please email:

Noah Levine, ’09

I took Chinese since the 7th grade and it was always a struggle for me. Ms. Shen would take the initiative to help me anytime, all the time. By 11th grade, Chinese wasn’t getting any easier. But Ms. Shen never gave up on me, even when she wasn’t my language teacher then. She helped me out everyday after school for the upcoming regents. We worked for hours and she was always very patient with me. At the end of it all, I passed the regents thanks to her guidance. I couldn’t have done it without her. I truly appreciate Ms. Shen and what she did for me.

Malorie Mo, ’09

Ms. Shen,

You were a very important BSGE family member to me during my years at the school. I remember meeting you for the first time as my advisor and you welcomed us with such a warm, motherly heart, always taking the time to guide and support us as new students in the school.

A defining trait every staff member at BSGE has is their dedication to the wellbeing of students both inside and outside of school. The care and extra mile every staff member is willing to go for the students is a quality every educator should aspire to have. I firmly believe every public school teacher should learn from each of you at BSGE. We have you and all the other staff members to thank for the success of BSGE and its students.

You took on multiple roles throughout my years at BSGE – as my advisory teacher, my MYP project advisor, language teacher and my personal favorite, a mother to all. Whenever I had problems and came to you for guidance, you never hesitated to take time out of your schedule to comfort me. When I scored a 7 on the IB exam, you were happier than I was and held me in tears – it was all thanks to you, but you thanked me instead. I will never forget that moment when you were more proud of me than my own biological parents. Visiting you at BSGE after I graduated was always bittersweet – always happy to see you but sad that I’m no longer your student.

My years spent at BSGE were among the most challenging years of my academic career (so far) but also the most valuable. You’ve touched my life as an educator, advisor and mother. “Choose the job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life” is clearly seen through you. There was never

by Moshan G '17

Students Distraught Over Chinese Program Ending

After hearing the news about Ms. Shen’s retirement from BSGE, Chinese students felt sadness but quickly wondered about who their new Chinese teacher would be. The answer they received was as unexpected as it was absurd to them. BSGE is planning to end its Chinese program and instead of continuing Chinese with another teacher, all of the students will be transferred to taking Language B French.

Currently there students in grades 7, 9, and 10 taking Chinese. For 7th graders, who have only taken Chinese for a year, the transition to taking French class will be easier and they have a lot more time to learn a new language. However, for the high school students, especially the sophomores, the transition is expected to make a huge impact. “The fact that I’ve taken four years of a language and am now being told I have to start all over again is absolutely absurd,” said Danielle Bahnasy ‘17.

An email by Ms. Johnson was sent out to BSGE parents regarding the school’s new decision to move away Language B Chinese. “This decision is geared toward strengthening our IB Diploma Program and the future goal of students learning two languages,” Ms. Johnson said in her email. 9th and 10th grade students are scheduled to take French ab initio for the rest of their time in BSGE. “French ab initio is a two year introductory IB Diploma course designed for students who need to switch languages in high school. The achievement of students on the French IB Diploma assessments supports this decision. This course will still permit these students to be eligible for the IB Diploma.”

Many Chinese students were strongly against this idea. “A year and a half worth of French is not enough to pursue the language,” said Elizabeth Levkovich, ‘17, “we’re kind of risking the exams we have to take senior year and all the perspective we had of taking Chinese is

by Mr. Lakhaney

Ms. Lily Shen to Retire at the End of the School Year

LilyLong time BSGE teacher, Ms. Lily Shen, recently announced that she plans to retire at the end of the current school year. Ms. Shen has been teaching Chinese at BSGE since it opened its doors in 2002 and was one of its founding members.

When asked why this year was the right time to retire, Ms. Shen said that she’s been teaching all her life and that “it’s time to do something different while I’m still young enough to make the change.”

Ms. Shen started teaching right after she graduated from high school in China and has been teaching for 35 years total. She’s taught students from Pre-K to 12th grade at different points in her career.

Ms. Shen does not plan to be idle in her life after BSGE. She wants to remain involved in education in a different capacity by helping train new teachers and continuing to work with the IB. She also wants to go back to school herself. She was interested in pursuing a PhD but was unsure about what field to study. Her years spent teaching informed her curiosity about children and how they learn. She said that she’s “fascinated about how kids learn and how to find better ways to help them learn.”

She would also like to spend time volunteer at New York Chinese Scholars Garden in Staten Island. She wants to help bring student groups to visit the garden built by Chinese artists entirely

by Moshan G '17

BSGE’s Upcoming Trip to China

Recently, BSGE is planning for a potential trip to China during the April of 2016. In order to collect eager advocates for this upcoming trip, a meeting was hosted by Ms. Mihalache on Tuesday, May 19th for parents and students to discuss the details about the trip. Already about 20 people have signed up, with more than 30 people on the waiting list. Currently, there are four teachers planned to supervise the students during the trip: Ms. Shen, Mr. Geraldo, Ms. Mihalache, and Ms. Silva.

In the past few years, BSGE has planned international trips to countries in Europe—Spain, France, and Costa Rica. This time, we have decided to take a turn and visit a country in Asia. Ms. Shen, BSGE’s Chinese teacher, will be accompanying the students on the trip in order to teach them more about Chinese culture and act as a guide. For this trip, the fee for each student is $3,127. This includes the round-trip airfare, all transportation, hotel-stays, and a full-time multi-lingual tour director. All spots are reserved for students who will be in grades 10, 11 and 12 during the school year of 2015-2016.

The trip is planned to start on April 22, 2016 and end on April 30, 2016, summing up to a total of 9 days. In China, students will visit three cities: Beijing, Xi’an, and Shanghai. In these cities, they will experience and perform various activities: In China’s capital city, Beijing, students and teachers will visit many historical landmarks, such as the Forbidden City, Summer Palace, the Great Wall, Bird’s Nest, and Tiananmen Square. On the fifth day, the group will travel to Xi’an on an overnight train, where they will visit the Temple of Heaven and the Terra Cotta Warriors. The group will fly to Shanghai two days later to go sightseeing in gardens and temples and watch an acrobatic show.

“I want to go to China because we’ve been taking the language (Chinese) for 4 years and I think we’ve learned so much about it,” says Stella Pandis ’17, a student taking Chinese class at BSGE. “It’s really a once in a lifetime experience.”

by Ariel T '14

BSGE Goes To Chinatown For the First Time in Four Years

The 9th grade Chinese class embarked on a day of experiencing Chinese culture with Ms. Shen on April 10, 2011. The purpose of the trip was to practice the Chinese the students learned in class in a real life situation. Students would also interact with other aspects of the culture including eating authentic Chinese food.  This was the first Chinatown trip BSGE students took in 4 years.
Before they left, Ms. Shen informed the class about the last trip to Chinatown with the current twelfth grade when they were in eighth grade. The day was going well until one of the students saw turtles, which resulted in students running across the street. Ms. Shen said that she and the old Chinese teacher, Ms. Sun “were

by Jessi H '11

Teacher of the Month: Ms. Lily Shen

1. What kind of student were you in high school?
In China, there are three criteria students are graded on sports, academics, and behavior. I was a very good student, but I liked sports, mostly volleyball, track and field, and ping-pong. But I was also good at singing, which I did in chorus.

2. Did your friends play sports too?
My friends were all nerds, they paid attention to academics only.

3. Did you enjoy school?
At the time, the idea of not liking school did not even exist. Being a student was our job. There was no second thinking. You just have to do what you have to do. This whole concept of ‘I hate school’ is new to me.  In China, you had to do well.  Well, not everyone did well, but they tried.

4. Is this what made you want to become a teacher?
In third grade, I knew I wanted to teach. I admired my math

by Elisavet M '12

BSGE Welcomes Mr. Chow New Chinese Language Teacher

This school year BSGE welcomes both new students and new teachers into our school community.  One of those new teachers is Mr. Chow, BSGE’s new Chinese language teacher.  He is currently teaching 7th and 9th ? grade and he describes himself as “a friendly teacher [who is] teachable…able to teach and learn from others.”
He admitted that he was excited and anxious on his first day. Truthfully, who wouldn’t be feeling the same? He said, “The first day of school, I really loved the 7th grade, they were shy the first day and I tried to create a warm atmosphere.”
Interestingly, Mr. Chow wanted to be a biology teacher before he ever pursued a career in foreign language education. However, after thinking it through he made the realization that he was interested in the subject of literature, which led him to attend Hunter College. There he majored in language, literature and secondary applications of religion and philosophy.  His