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…


The BSGE Toy Drive: For the Less Fortunate Reply

The holiday season is a time when students expect to relax with their families and receive gifts, but the children in the HIV/AIDS ward of Elmhurst Children’s Hospital aren’t as lucky as the students in BSGE. Most of them are from low-income families, so their parents can’t afford to get them presents for the holidays.

BSGE’s Helping Hands’ Committee organizes the yearly toy drive to buy gifts for these children. In previous years each advisory has been assigned only one child to raise money for, but this year an advisory can have up to three. In order to meet their goal, the advisories raise money for their children, making sure that they get gifts they want for the winter holidays.

Bake sales have been producing money for the toy drive during every lunch period.Alice Aronov ‘18 explained that they are “the best way to raise money in our school because everyone buys” from them.  She continued that they also give “a teamwork kind of initiative.” Ms. Meisler added, “[a] bake sale is always good because everyone can contribute something and everyone feels like they’re doing something for someone else.” Meril Mousoom 21’s advisory was assigned two boys, both in preschool. One wanted a Hot Wheels “Ultimate Garage” and the other a Captain America backpack. Bake sales allowed her advisory to raise $167 dollars and they “…currently have enough money to buy presents for the kids.” More…

Helping Hands’ Eco-Partnership Reply

Helping Hands, a fundraising organization in BSGE, has long been known for collaborating with organizations that wish to help the environment. Surprisingly, Helping Hands’ most recent eco-friendly project is with the successful makeup company L’Oréal.

L’Oréal is in the process of moving into a green building in Manhattans’ Hudson Yards, and has contacted Helping Hands to make 1500 keychains for their employees by reusing unwanted art supplies. All of the supplies are being provided through Materials for the Arts, which some BSGE students may be familiar with. More…

The Day of Silence: Shhhhh! Reply

Every April, BSGE participates in a nationwide event called the Day of Silence. The day highlights how it is unfortunately common for members of the LGBTQ+ community to be discriminated against in the United States. By participating in the Day of Silence, whether someone is just supporting or actually silent, students send a message of acceptance and support to LGTBQ+ teenagers across the country.

A member of BSGE’s Sexuality and Gender Acceptance club explains that “the Day of Silence, for some, is a way to evade participating in class. For others, it’s a way to show the people of the LGBTQ+ community that they are not alone.” More…

Students Helping Honduras: Combating Poverty and Violence Reply

Most BSGE students are aware of the Helping Hands Committee, which strives to help those without a voice. In addition to the one main committee, students organize their own sub-committees to combat either local or international issues. One of the sub-committees inside Helping Hands, Students Helping Honduras, or SHH, raises money to help build schools, houses, and children’s homes in Honduras. The committee is connected to the international NGO of the same name, which is how the money is donated. As explained by one of the committee members, “we focus on raising money to build schools and houses for villages whose children do not have access to schools or whose schools are very far away from their homes.”

The members range in age from 7th grade to 9th grade. The main way that the committee fundraises is by holding bake sales and candygrams, recently hosting a raffle as well. SHH has been very productive, raising over $1000 for the people of Honduras since the start of the school year. More…

Nepal’s Earthquake: The Aftermath and Relief Efforts Reply

On April 25th, at 11:56 PM, an earthquake with a magnitude of 7.8 claimed thousands of lives in Nepal. As of Friday, May 1st, around 6,300 people were proclaimed dead, and 14,000 people injured. This earthquake claimed 8,836 lives in total (including outside of Nepal), with 21,952 injuries. It took quite long to account for the thousands of people missing, perhaps under rubble and in distant villages. On May 12th, there was an aftershock of 7.3 magnitude, which killed 218 people and injured more than 3,500 people.  The original earthquake had an effect all around Nepal, including Mount Everest. Studies show that the earthquake shrank the the 29,000-foot mountain by at least 3 feet. Due to the earthquake, avalanches occurred on the mountain, killing at least 19 people, and injuring at least 61. This disaster has been the deadliest in Everest history. The effect of the earthquake on Nepal’s tourist industry is also very detrimental. Nepal, a developing country, relies on its historical attractions, such as the Dharahara Tower, which after the earthquake went from 100 feet to a 30 foot pile of rubble. Additionally, due to the fact that many men in Nepal often go far to find decent paying jobs, many women were left to fend entirely for their families after the earthquake. They lost their homes, their animals, and many other things precious to them. However, the most precious things were the children. After the earthquake, an even larger part of these women’s lives was protecting their childrens’ lives.

In order to raise money for Nepal, several advisories have been having bake sales, and Helping Hands has been doing a lot too. Ramisa Bashar ’18 said “Helping Hands has taken the initiative to help Nepal. So we’ve placed boxes in advisories in order to gather money to donate through one of Mr. Lakhaney’s acquaintances stationed in Nepal to work with people there. It’s a very one-on-one sort of thing. We’re also collecting necessities that they may require such as, soap, warm clothing, etc.”  More…

New Police Brutality Subcommittee Reply

Recently, police brutality has been a major issue throughout New York City and the United States. These cases and many others involving police brutality caused protests all over America, as most recently seen from the riots in Baltimore. There was a mixture of violent and peaceful protesting against the death of Freddie Gray at the hands of the police.  Being such a significant and controversial topic, BSGE’s Helping Hands decided that students should be allowed to take a stand. A police brutality subcommittee was created to help BSGE students be better informed on what is actually happening.

Members of this new subcommittee feel very strongly about this topic and are willing to do as much as possible to get people to understand how serious of a topic this is. After watching the movie Fruitvale Station, Natalia Blagic ‘18 was deeply affected. She noticed how it related to current cases such as the Eric Garner. After seeing all of this unfairness, she decided to join the police brutality subcommittee. Ramisa Bashar ‘18 joined because she wanted to help advertise how police brutality doesn’t just affect specific races, it affects all people whether they be minorities or not. Another member I talked to, Rayna Barua ‘18, said, “I wanted to join the police brutality committee because there were many recent cases such as the Michael Brown case and the Eric Garner case. It just really intrigued me how police were abusing their power and authority”.

This committee has many plans for the future and they are all looking really well. A future plan is to sell buttons relating to recent, controversial police brutality cases. This will raise awareness towards police brutality and will also help raise money for different charities that help families who have been affected by police brutality. This committee has a lot of potential and we must do our best to help support it. This subcommittee is open to all members of Helping Hands, so if you feel very strongly about this topic, it would be a great idea to join. Be on the look out for new events that will be hosted by the Police Brutality Subcommittee.

Helping Hands’ Spring Blood Drive Collects 33 pints of Blood Reply


Senior Nick F ’15 donating blood on the New York Blood Center Bus


The New York Blood Center bus parked outside BSGE

Helping hands hosted its annual Spring blood drive on March 19th. The New York Blood Center parked its truck outside BSGE and collected 33 pints of blood from the BSGE community. Students, parents, and faculty all donated during the blood drive. Many more students were interested in donating but were excluded for various reasons. The potential pool of BSGE donors is strictly limited by the minimum age requirements. To be considered for donation, you must be at least 16 years old. Interested individuals who are old enough are then asked to complete a questionnaire about their personal histories. Those who make it past that step are brought onto the donation bus and have various health metrics measured such as blood iron levels, weight, and blood pressure. Only those deemed healthy enough to donate are allowed to. 57 members of the BSGE community were interested in donating but only 33 were able to based on the process.

Each pint of blood can save up to three lives. Not enough New Yorkers donate blood to meet local needs and New York City is chronically short.

BSGE’s 2015 Winter Concert

On January 22, 2015 at 6 p.m., Ms. Nikkolos held a Winter Concert in the cafeteria. The concert featured pieces performed by all of the 7th grade and the orchestra. The pieces, which the students have been working on for months, include “Hoedown” and “CB dance,” performed by 7-1. The concert also accepted donations that went to Helping Hands organizations such as, a foundation dedicated to providing clean water, and the BSGE Haiti Committee, which works to build schools in Haiti.

The BSGE orchestra at an earlier event. Photo Credit: Abdel Berraha

The BSGE orchestra at an earlier event. Photo Credit: Abdel Berraha


Helping Hands: Canned Food Drive Reply

From December 9th, 2014, to January 28th, 2015, Helping Hands will be having their annual Canned Food Drive. This year, for the very first time, both the Domestic Violence Committee and the NYC Poverty Committee are combining their efforts to collect cans for the NYC Food Bank. The NYC Food Bank provides food not only for families who can’t afford to buy food, but for domestic violence shelters, too. Many different items can be donated to help support the Canned Food Drive: water, proteins, cereal, crackers, etc. Items can be donated as long as they aren’t expired or opened, or in a soft case, plastic bag, or glass container. To see the full list of items that you could donate, just consult any Helping Hands member or check out the fliers around the entire building. After the drive is over, the number of cans that each advisory donated will be counted and the advisory that donated the largest number of cans will win a pizza party.

The Day Of Silence Reply

dayofsilenceWednesday, April 30th, was the national Day of Silence. Students who participated did not speak for one day to protest the bullying of LGBT teenagers nationwide, who face being silenced and ignored because of their sexual orientation and/or gender expression. The voluntary silence by the thousands of students who participated called this treatment to attention in a hope to change it. The Helping Hands Committee has organized the Day of Silence in BSGE for the past several years.

Most people who took part in the Day of Silence agreed that it was very hard to remain silent for a whole day. Jonathan Kim ’17, for example, felt like his voice was “all cooped up” because he couldn’t speak. Most students still felt that it was worth it to remain silent for one day to support the LGBT community, and many of those who participated this year plan on participating again next year. Simona Matovic ’17 and Lily Brickman ’17 felt that the silence was an example of how a “small gesture can go a long way.”

There is a lot of opposition toward the Day of Silence all over America. Some people in more liberal communities like New York City agree with the cause, but simply don’t participate, as they feel More…

Socrates Sculpture Park Offers New Art Program Reply

Recently, Socrates Sculpture Park received a large grant, around $300,000 thousand from Shelley and Donald Rubin. The Rubin’s generous donations to art organizations in Queens is atypical as they are less likely to come into direct contact with affluent social circles as is the usual custom with donations of this type in Manhattan. Crain’s New York Business quotes Ms. Rubin as having said, “’Socrates is an expansion of the community. It brings art to people and people to art.’”

The funds will be spread out by the park over three years. The park wants to allocate part of the funds towards developing sculpture projects and towards building an enclosed structure for art education in colder months. Shaun Leonardo, an administrator at the park has had a relationship with BSGE’s Peter Wilson for a long time.  “We are a neighborhood school and Leonardo came to us to see if we’re interested in this as an after school sculpture making program,” shared Ms. Schwarz. BSGE students have worked with internship programs at the park, for years BSGE took initiative and helped out on Earth Day. More…

Helping Hands Initiatives Reply

On Monday September 30th, Helping Hands voted on which initiatives they would focus on to start the year. They decided on three.  One is “Love Without Boundaries”, an organization that helps orphaned children in China get medical help, foster care, and education.  They can arrange surgeries for children whose lives are in danger, such as heart surgery, cleft repair, and palate repair, among others.  The foster care program currently has over 220 participants and provides the orphans with a family.  Orphans from Kindergarten up until college are getting education through “Love Without Boundaries”.  This organization More…

BSGE Advisories Raise over $2,000 for “Pennies for Patients” Reply

pennies-for-patients-01-19-11The Helping Hands Committee is pleased to share that this year’s Pennies for Patients drive was successful–BSGE advisories raised $2047.59!  A special commendation to Diana Nikkolos’ 9th grade advisory who raised just over $500.  Enjoy the pizza and ice cream party–it was well earned.  Juanita Kumar’s 8th grade advisory came in second and will receive a pizza party as well.  All donations will be given to The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society in order to aid with cancer research and medical care for children living with leukemia and lymphoma.
We would also like to announce our final Blood Drive sponsored by the NY Blood Center on Tuesday, June 4th from 8:00am-2:00pm.  We hope that you will find time to make a donation as NYC copes with a severe blood shortage in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.  If you are available to make a donation, please contact More…

Helping Hands: Child Sex Trafficking Initiative Reply

somalymam            You might have noticed flyers for Helping Hands’ new initiative – child sex trafficking – around the school. The Somaly Mam foundation was made famous in a documentary called Half the Sky, shown on PBS, which highlighted various women’s issues internationally. This particular organization works with girls and women in Cambodia, who are kidnapped from their families and sold to brothels as young as 3 years old. Cambodia has a huge illegal sex trafficking industry, which generates $500 million a year. The woman who created the foundation is Somaly Mam, who is a survivor of sex trafficking herself. She helps to rescue, More…

How to Help Victims of Hurricane Sandy Reply

The devastating effects of Hurricane Sandy were felt all over the East Coast, especially in the New York area. Being one of the strongest storms to hit the East Coast, Hurricane Sandy had caused everything to shut down in the tri-state area. People were left without electricity and heat for days, even weeks. New York City public schools, the subway system, bridges, tunnels and roads were closed for almost a week. Thousands of people were also forced to evacuate their homes and stay with their relatives elsewhere or at shelters that were established all around the city. Unfortunately, thousands of people lost their homes and their loved ones during the storm. After witnessing and bracing through the devastating effects of the hurricane, hundreds to thousands of people came out to volunteer and help those affected most by the hurricane. There were different ways in which people volunteered More…

BSGE Hurricane Sandy Warm Coat Drive Reply

Hi everyone–
The last week has had a tremendous impact upon New Yorkers and everyone who felt the harsh effects of Hurricane Sandy.  The Helping Hands Committee met yesterday and shared how they felt after the disaster.  The conversation soon shifted to a discussion of what can be done to immediately help fellow New Yorkers and our brothers and sisters in Haiti who we’ve helped in the past.  Haitians have been also especially hard hit by Hurricane Sandy with an imminent medical disaster on the horizon for many who live on the island.
The committee will be starting an immediate warm coat, blankets and clothing drive.  HH members will be reaching out to all advisories over the coming days.  All clothing donations and blankets must be clean, without holes or considerable damage.  No hats, gloves or scarves will be accepted.  We will also be More…

BSGE’s Clubs and Activities

We welcome you back to BSGE for another great year, and send out a warm welcome to the new 7th and 9th grade student body. At BSGE, everyone is given the chance to shine and students are encouraged to build on their own interests, whether academic, sports-related, art-related, or otherwise. For students who wish to pursue their interests by participating in extracurricular and after-school activities, BSGE offers a number of clubs that are open to students in every grade. However, some of More…

Earth Day 2012! Reply

On Sunday, April 29th, members of the BSGE Helping Hands Committee participated in an Earth Day event at Socrates Sculpture Park in Long Island City, along with students from other schools. They spent a day fertilizing trees, planting vegetables, grass and herbs, and making compost. Originally the event was planned for Sunday April 22nd, which was the official Earth Day, but it was rescheduled a week later due to bad weather. In previous years, the whole school has taken a weekday off and gone to the park, but because of scheduling problems with the organizers, both this year and last year the event was limited to only Helping Hands members. Regardless, Earth Day 2012 was a success, and the students helped prepare the park for its upcoming season.