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. More…


Ebola in NYC: How BSGE Gets Involved Reply

On October 23rd, 2014 it was announced that emergency room doctor Craig Spencer, 33, who returned to New York City after treating Ebola patients in West Africa, was tested positive for the Ebola virus. This is the first case of Ebola in NYC and the fourth case in the United States.

Unsurprisingly, New Yorkers reacted with great fear after hearing news that Spencer traveled to The Gutter bowling alley in Williamsburg, The Meatball Shop restaurant in Chelsea, Manhattan’s Highline Park and took the A, L and 1 train after developing symptoms for the virus. Despite evidence showing that Ebola is not an airborne virus, many residents of New York, including BSGE students, have become extremely cautious of contact with people who may be ill.


But it is not only New Yorkers who have taken extreme precautions after the recent Ebola outbreak. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and New Jersey governor Chris Christie imposed a policy on Friday, October 24th stating that all healthcare workers returning from West Africa after treating Ebola patients should be put it in a mandatory 21-day quarantine. More…

Update on CVS’ Cigarette Ban Reply

On February 5, 2014, CVS made a big move by deciding to stop selling tobacco products as soon as October 1, 2014. The main product that everyone is fussing about is cigarettes. Being a large chain of retail stores, CVS is taking away the supply of cigarettes for many individuals. For some smokers, this means that it is time to find a new source for cigarettes. For other smokers, it means that it is time to quit.

By taking away cigarettes, CVS is encouraging Americans to end their addictions to smoking. More than 480,000 deaths in America are caused by smoking every year. The reduced amount of cigarettes being sold could lead to a great decrease in the amount of smokers. By making this big move, CVS is also encouraging other retailers to stop selling tobacco products to help save lives. Little by little, if retailers stopped selling cigarettes, smoking-related deaths would decrease, permanently.

Recently, there have been advertisements suggesting that other drugstore chains should follow suit.  None have announced any changes in their sales yet besides CVS, but this is sure to affect the sales of cigarettes greatly.  This step forward could not only encourage other retailers from selling tobacco products, but also discourage smokers from smoking.



The Beginner’s Guide: Hypebeasts and the Sneaker Game Reply

Buying and Selling Kicks NYC: the go-to Facebook page for all sneakerheads, hypebeasts and other shoe enthusiasts around New York City. To start, a hypebeast is someone who buys and collects sneakers for the sole purpose of impressing others. But a hypebeasts’ much coveted items do not stop at sneakers, but also extend to Gucci belts, True Religion jeans and brand name t-shirts. On the other hand, Sneakerhead, a more common term, is defined as someone who buys, sells, collects and admires only sneakers.

The basic procedure of buying a pair of sneakers starts with the obvious: finding the sneaker you want to buy. Young New Yorkers scroll through this Facebook page, amassed with photos of Yeezys, Nikes, New Balance and other brands, until they find a pair of shoes they like. You then post your bid on the pair in the comments of the picture. At that point, you wait for the seller to negotiate a meet up time and place, most commonly at the Queens Center Mall (QCM). Ultimately, it is a great way for all the shoe-lovers around NYC to trade sneakers easily.


The simple but revolutionary system of buying and selling sneakers is not limited to NYC but is used by sneakerheads around the country. There are branches in Detroit, New Jersey, Long Island as well as any other areas with a dense population of people determined to easily buy and sell their shoes. More…

BSGE’s Recent Cellphone Crackdown Reply

As each school year passes, restrictions on technology use in school become more and more strict. According to Virge Ramos, BSGE’s Community Advisor, the limits on the usage of cellphones, iPods, headphones, earphones, etc does not depend on the school itself but rather the New York City chancellor. In an age in which people cannot survive without checking their cellphones every few minutes, many BSGE students feel that not being able to use devices during lunch is annoying and unfair. They also believe that this serious cellphone crackdown, the rule of having no cellphones or headphones in sight, does not make any sense.

According to Dilawar Khan’17, “not being able to use our phones during lunch is messed up.” Khan adds, “But having the rule changed for this year is what sucks the most.” However according to the city guidelines, teachers and staff members are allowed to have their phones out in case of an emergency. (Although that’s not always the case.)

Devices like e-readers and tablets used to read aren’t technically banned, but are not permitted if they have a camera. According to Virge, having an electronic device isn’t allowed because students were complaining they were being photographed and videotaped without consent. Overall, it is not BSGE’s decision to have such strict technology restrictions, so students should stop wasting their time trying to blame it on BSGE.

Many 8th Graders Leaving BSGE Reply

Over 30,000 students lined up on the streets of New York this year in order to take the feared Specialized High School SAT, or otherwise known, the SHSAT. The exam is extremely important for middle school students to gain acceptance into their desired specialized high school. These schools include Stuyvesant, Bronx Science, Brooklyn Latin, LaGuardia and more. Some students have taken prep courses to study for the exams, and others studied by themselves. Either way, few students took the SHSAT lightly.


Many of our own BSGE eighth graders took the SHSAT October of 2013. When the results came out in early March of 2014, many students made the decision to leave BSGE. There were multiple factors that led students to make the decision of leaving BSGE.

One student, Shannon L ’18, will be attending Stuyvesant in the Fall. In her opinion, the small amount of students in BSGE holds Shannon back from getting to know more people. She also chose Stuyvesant because of the large number of extra curricular activities available to students.

Another big reason students chose specialized high schools over More…

Farina Takes Office and Implements New Changes to School System Reply

With the arrival of New York City’s newest mayor, Bill de Blasio, new policies are starting to take effect in NYC public schools.  At the start of his term and even during his mayoral campaign, de Blasio promised to bring major reforms to education in New York City. De Blasio started this off by replacing many held government positions in citywide agencies, which were previously appointed by former mayor Michael Bloomberg. De Blasio makes it clear that he intends to replace many of his predecessor’s policies.


Replacing Dennis Walcott as school chancellor is Carmen Farina, a former New York City schoolteacher. With Farina in charge of the nation’s largest education system, policies consistent with Bloomberg’s administration were generally dismissed. In a press conference, she described her plan through “five C’s and an E.” Through this breakdown she called for collaboration, communication, capacity building, curriculum enhancement, celebration and efficiency within the city’s schools. Farina, following de Blasio’s agenda, opposed the sole use of standardized testing to check student performance.

A decade prior to today, schools based many of their student promotion policies on testing, most notably on state and regents exams taken every year by students. Instead of this 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…

Opinion Piece: Statewide Exams Reply

Ugh! was the exclamation that crossed my lips when I realized the statewide exams were this April. It’s a tedious thing. No one sane would be willing to sit through three days of ELA and math examinations and read the most boring passages ever written or spend ninety minutes crunching numbers.

statewide exams

This terrible thing is not only a “New York thing”. All other forty-nine states have their own form of statewide tests for public schools. Many of these state tests are taken only from third to eighth grade. Some states like Alaska and Kansas have children take state tests third through twelfth grade. There are complaints all over the internet about state tests being ridiculous. Californians have accused their common core state test as overly complex math for such young students. New York City residents are blaming their rise in taxes on these states, or as they call it, “Cuomo Core Test experiment”. More…

Changes in School Calendar Reply

For years, from as early as the 1950s, New York City Public Schools have observed the Jewish holidays and accommodated the school schedule to ensure less absences and to assist the Jewish population of students. This adaptation to the Jewish holidays is rare in other parts of the country. In 2011, two students in Portland, Oregon created and signed a petition that was presented to the board of the Portland Public School System in order to address academic difficulty posed by the holiday, missing school and being forced to retake finals and exams at later dates. The students argued that because the absences were a result of religious observance the school system should recognize this. In 2003, in Chagrin, Ohio the decision close schools on Jewish holidays was based purely on the numbers of absences.

Schools in other places are closed for Jewish holidays due to the number of absences and the action to close schools. The question commonly asked is when and if accommodations will be made for the cultures and religions practiced in NYC in the future. “I think its important that a range of holidays are acknowledged, especially when we get Jewish holidays off and a whole week for Christmas, even though that is also partially New Years,” Lina More…

Snow Strikes January Reply

This year started off with hordes of snow and  gusts of chilly temperatures in New York City.  Two separate storms hit both the East Coast and Midwest this January, causing widespread issues in and around the tri – state area.snow

Winter Storm Hercules arrived in New York on January 3rd, however continued its onslaught of snow on to the 4th. The storm arrived not long after NYC public school students returned to classes after winter break. Brutal weather conditions hit many states, causing traffic delays and closures. Extremely large amounts of snow were deposited everywhere throughout the East Coast. Some cities have even reported an astonishing 2 feet of snow collected. Ice on roads and sidewalks posed a safety hazard to commuters, especially the elderly and the young. More…

Queens Speaks Out Against TPP At Rally Reply

Over a hundred people surrounded Representative Joe Crowley’s office in Jackson Heights on the cold morning of Friday, January 31st. Despite the cruel weather, activists and people from all over New York came to participate in a rally that would highlight the many dangers of the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP).

TPP is an international trade proposal that is being debated in Congress as of this moment. President Barack Obama as well as Congress is trying to “fast track,” or simply push through as quickly as possible, a trade deal that would cause much harm to Americans in a variety of ways.

Seth Gladstone, one of the organizers of the rally, spoke about the many cons of TPP and how it will not only affect the U.S. but also the world.

“For one it would ship American jobs overseas and lower wages for both workers here and abroad. TPP would also cause problems for state and environmental organizations that communities throughout the United States fight extremely hard to keep in place to protect clean water, clean air and environmental standards” he said. Gladstone added to this surmounting list, saying, “These international trade deals would chip away at More…

Tim Ran the NYC Marathon Reply

On November 3, over 50,000 people completed the annual New York City Marathon.  The marathon started in Staten Island, went over the Verrazano Bridge, traveled up through Brooklyn and into Queens, went to Manhattan via the Queensboro Bridge, proceeded into the Bronx using the Willis Avenue Bridge, went around and back into Manhattan over the Madison Avenue Bridge, and finished in Central Park.  One of those 50,000 was Tim David-Lang, BSGE’s guidance counselor.

This was Tim’s first time running a marathon.  One of the many ways to gain entrance to the NYC Marathon is by winning a lottery.  Last year was the fourth time he entered, having failed the other three times.  He won the lottery, but Hurricane Sandy canceled the race.  When Tim learned that, he knew that it was the right thing to do, but a few weeks later, he started feeling disappointed that he wasn’t going to More…

What to do over Winter Break Reply

If you’re not going on a vacation, winter break can seem like a very boring 12 days.  Sure, you can spend some time sleeping, some time eating, and some time doing homework, but that won’t fill up your break.  Here are some suggestions for how to fill up your time.

  • See a movie
    • Plenty of good movies have come out recently.  Gather some friends and try to see movies such as:
      • Catching Fire.  The second movie in the Hunger Games series is out, and quite popular.  If you want to go see it with some friends, your biggest difficulty might be finding a group who haven’t yet seen it.
      • The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.  This one is the sequel to the first hobbit movie, which came out last year.  While it adds many things that weren’t in the book, it is still worth viewing.
      • 12 Years a Slave.  The title says it all; this movie is based on the true story of a free black man taken to the South and sold into slavery.  This movie may not be easy to see, as it is rated R.  Most people in this school aren’t allowed to see it with only friends their age. More…

Frostbite Threat in New York City Reply

Sometimes winter can get very extreme even in New York City. It was just on the morning of the 7th of January that temperatures dipped under 10 Fahrenheit. At below freezing, there is threat of frostbite.
Frostbite occurs when one stays in below freezing temperatures for a long time. It usually attacks the body parts such as the fingers, toes, cheeks, nose, and chin. It causes skin to become pale and when rubbed red and feel stung. This could be easily treated by applying warm water to affected areas and staying out of the cold. However in extreme More…

New York’s Mayor-Elect Plans for Future Reply

The 2013 New York mayoral election took place on the 5th of November. The two main candidates were Bill de Blasio (Democratic) and Joe Lhota (Republican). After leading the polls throughout the majority of the race, Bill de Blasio was elected mayor of New York. Bill de Blasio isn’t our mayor yet, but his official inauguration will be on the January 1, 2014.

Bill de Blasio is no stranger to the politics and government of New York. Since 2009, he has been the Public Advocate of the City of New York. De Blasio’s job is to help give New Yorkers the opportunity to express their ideas about the current government. He wants New Yorkers to be able to have a say in their own government because they are the ones who get affected by it. New Yorkers are the ones who could say what they think needs improvement and what is already fully accomplished. De Blasio has been working on limiting the use of stop-and-frisk. Furthermore, he thinks that New Yorkers are unnecessarily spending money on More…

December Snow

On Sunday December 8th, snowflakes floated onto rooftops, gently settled on tree branches, and nestled onto the cold ground. It was the first time it snowed this December.
Though snow makes a beautiful white landscape in the city, it poses threat to people. Heavy snow on roads could prevent people from traveling. Snow also causes sidewalks to be slippery, trapping people when falling from roofs, and giving people the cold. In 2010 Mayor Bloomberg has sent out snow plows too late to find many cars abandoned because they could not move and two people dead because of complications of Ambulances getting to hospitals quickly. Though snow could be dangerous people like Emanuella considered the efforts restaurants and the MTA of putting out salt to be “exaggerated.” Snowfall in New York City this December so far has not exceeded three inches.

The rest of America on the other hand has received a massive winter storm. In Minnesota people received as much as 1 to two feet of snow and Montana had temperatures reaching as cold as -25 Fahrenheit on Thanksgiving. This weather has caused over 250,000 homes in Texas alone to lose power and 11 people to die in the mid west, some in car accidents caused by poor visibility according to Fox News.
Eighth graders alike said they liked snow. Rayna Sinef ’18 said she would like it to snow more often because “it rarely ever snows, it would be nice to have a change and have fun in the snow.” With snow people could build snowmen, make snow angels, and sled down hills. There are many winter sports such as tubing, skiing, and figure skating that will be displayed in the in the Winter Olympics in 2014 starting February 7.
People such as Nicole Svirinavichiyus ’18 claimed with worry “I think snow has sadly decreased over the years.” Numerous studies have shown that the amount of snow on average has been decreasing for over thirty years, possibly as a result of increases in carbon dioxide emissions.

Stop and Frisk Called into Question Reply

Stop and Frisk is a program introduced in the late 1990s in which police stop suspicious-looking people on the street. If it appears that this person is in possession of a weapon, they are then checked for weapons on their body. This program has been postponed until Bill de Blasio is inaugurated. de Blasio vows to change this policy so it avoids racial discrimination. Many citizens of this city have complained in regards to racial profiling because the African-Americans and Hispanic population has been targeted in stops more often. However, others have insisted that it helps reduce crime. The decision on this policy is very important for the people of this city. More…

Coffeed: Astoria’s Most Unique Coffeeshop Reply

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Two blocks away from BSGE on Northern Boulevard is a large white building that resembles a warehouse, similar to the many other barren looking structures throughout Astoria and Long Island City (LIC). But if you manage to stumble inside the first floor of this building you will find “Coffeed,” the eco-friendly coffee shop that gives back to the community of Queens through 10% of their beverage sales and 5% of their food sales.

The first thing one would most likely notice is the casual setup of the café with mismatched tables and chairs strung More…

The Case of Avonte Oquendo Reply

Avonte Oquendo is an autistic boy that was lost in Long Island City on October 4, 2013 at 12:38 pm after he left the Riverside School he attended. Avonte can not speak and is 14 years old, 5’ 3” tall and weighs 125 lbs. When last seen, Avonte was wearing a grey striped shirt, black jeans and black sneakers.
Avonte Oquendo has autism, which is an overlapping term for many disorders that result in abnormal brain functions, poor dexterity and other problems relating to mental and physical health. Tens of millions of children are diagnosed with autism. Autism shows mainly at two to three years old with the child’s slow developing rate. Research shows that More…