BHSEC’s Student Newspaper
Volume 17, Issue 2
The Bardvark “All the young dudes carry the news,” - David Bowie
Street Beat: Meet Officer Bailey Providing Security, and a Smile Sylvie Goldner, ’21
It takes a very special person to wake up at 5 am everyday, support the Giants during a losing streak, support a sibling with special needs, all while cheerily greeting each BHSEC student who sleepily walks into school each morning. This admirable individual is Officer Bailey. Officer Bailey is BHSEC’s school safety agent who can be found throughout our school day in front of the auditorium wearing a glowing blue shirt, a pair of black pants -- all with a large smile. While Officer Bailey has to be incredibly brave to make sure that BHSEC students are safe in their classrooms, he is also the kindest person I have ever met. Cont’d Page 3
Op-Ed: Should Dogs Wear Hats? Evan Farley, ‘20 Personification is a classic poetic device you learn about early on in your writing career. By assigning human qualities to otherwise inanimate objects, writers are able to assign emotion where it might otherwise be lacking. In a world where beds beckon you to be embraced by the cool pillows and cozy comforter, it is hard to say we would be better off without the human spirit seeping into lifeless objects. Think of Dr. Victor Frankenstein as he fused human parts together to create a monster that was distinctly inhuman, yet at the same time sympathetic and sensitive, the latter qualities only able to be conveyed through figurative language such as personification. These emotions complicate the novel as Dr. Frankenstein is (at least temporarily) reluctant to kill his monster because not only is it his creation, but could be considered human. In literature such as Frankenstein, personification makes sense. In real life, however, surely there is a line one can cross in assigning human qualities and attributes to those not deserving of such. Pets, for example, are the classic source of an age-old debate. Should they have human names or is that weird? Is it ok to talk to them like a friend/therapist/date or is that weird? Should they wear clothes and cute outfits Cont’d Page 5 or is that weird?
2019 Little Red Lighthouse Festival Alexander Ganias, ’20 Even if you don’t live near there, chances are you’ve heard of the George Washington Bridge. This bridge connects Washington Heights in Manhattan, with Fort Lee in New Jersey, and leads to routes such as the Westside Highway, the Palisades Parkway, the Cross Bronx Expressway, and more. But have you ever noticed the small 40-foot s t r u c t u r e b eneath the bridge on the Manhattan side? That, dear reader, is Jeffrey's Hook Lighthouse, the last standing lighthouse on the island of Manhattan. The lighthouse, constructed in 1889, was o r i g i n a l l y s t ationed in Sandy Hook, New Jersey. However, the Hudson River was particularly shallow on Image credit: Alexander Ganias the New York shore, and many boat crashes occurred. The state of New York needed something to help navigate those tricky waters. They originally had a lamp on a stick, which (predictably) got damaged in a storm; it was replaced with TWO lamps on a stick… and met the same result. Thankfully, New Jersey was willing to dismantle the lighthouse and ship it over to New York. In 1921, the lighthouse was reconstructed on Jeffrey's Hook, where it has stayed ever since. For ten years, the lighthouse Cont’d Page 7
NYC Climate Strike All photos by Afrah Raisa, ’20
Volume 17, Issue 2
Volume 17, Issue 2
Henrys’ Culture Corner Issue #1
Henry Reyes, ’20, & Henry Fields, ’20 Hello good people of Bard. Welcome to Henrys’ culture corner issue #1, where the only issue at hand is handing out straight vibes. Just so you know what you’re getting into we are two seasoned veterans of the music game. Both of us are graduates of Dr. Despommier’s music theory AND chorus courses. It would be correct for one to say that we KNOW music. We won’t be taking any tips from Billboard Top 100, Spotify fixed playlists or anything like that. This is a music review for the true music fan… Enjoy. Mac Miller- Nothing from Nothing This song, one of the last known recordings before Mac’s tragic death is sung in the style of Billy Preston’s s o n g o f t h e s a m e Image credit: Warner Music name. Mac puts a somber twist on the traditionally upbeat anthem, exemplifying his vocal range as well as his ability to put true emotion into his music, something that most “song-writers” of today just can’t do. The song is almost painful in ways, allowing the listener to go through the motions with Mac as he sings. This track really speaks to the maturity of Miller’s discography over the years. We no longer see “Easy Mac” rapping about the ups and downs of high school life but rather the full-grown Mac Miller, discussing issues in his love life and his own journey. In short, this rendition of “Nothing from Nothing” slaps. Vibo-meter:5/5 Jay Rock - The Other Side (feat. Mozzy & DCMBR) Probably the single most underrated and underappreciated rapper on Anthony Tiffith’s Top Dawg Entertainment is Johnny Reed Mckinzie Jr. (what a name) better known as Jay Rock. As a Watts, California native Jay Rock enlists Mozzy and DCMBR, two other extremely talented yet under-celebrated artists on this track about street-life in L.A. The beat goes stupid… the hook has an IQ of below zero (also goes stupid)... and the smooth lyricism of Jay Rock and Mozzy is incredibly intelligent and well-spoken. The balance between the gritty subject matter and the melodic beat is refreshing in the contemporary scene of rap today. Instead of name dropping as many designers in under 2 minutes as most of his contemporaries do, Jay Rock chooses to talk about his life experience hustling and grinding. A true masterpiece. Vibo-meter:5/5 Cont’d Page 6
Street Beat: Meet Officer Bailey Cont’d from Page 1 Officer Bailey grew up in the Bronx and lives there today, right next to Yonkers. Although he does not have kids, he has a rottweiler named Milo who is turning ten in a few months: “Milo is a very good dog. People get scared when I’m walking down the street with him because he is a big dog but there is no need to worry,” Bailey remarked. Officer Bailey also has a close relationship with his mother and brother Brian who live nearby, which works out perfectly for Bailey because there is nothing he loves more than his mother’s food: “I’m a picky eater and I’m learning how to cook. But pretty much anytime my mom gives me a call I run over with an empty plate and she serves me whatever she’s got, because whatever she makes is the best. She likes Spanish food which is her background. She is Dominican and Puerto Rican and my father is from Barbados.” Bailey’s diverse background does not end with his parents and the food he loves, but extends to his wide-ranging music taste. “I am a music connoisseur. I love music. Music is everything. Any type of music I listen to it, I’m all ears. I’m really into jazz right now, but I'm also into everything.” Officer Bailey lives through music. He embraces the emotion and beauty of music as much as possible -when he’s off-duty you may spot him with earbuds enjoying a song! Before he came to Bard, Officer Bailey was working at another high school, one that was much larger. “Before I came to Bard I was also doing school safety at Washington Irving. At first it was a tough change to come to Bard as BHSEC students are much less active.” When I asked Bailey what he specifically thought of Bard kids he shared, “Bard students are good kids. I have nothing bad to say. They are kids being kids and they are not kids trying or exploring to be bad.” When Officer Bailey is not at work he likes to play videogames. “I like to play video games because they allow me to stay fun. My younger cousins always come over and want to play with me.” Bailey not only enjoys playing video games but he is also a chess enthusiast, “I have been playing chess for awhile. I do it as a brain teaser. Being a safety guard is all about staying a few moves ahead at all times.” As we were concluding the interview, I asked Officer Bailey what it is like first thing in the day when students are arriving to school. “I make sure that I say good morning and hello to each student in the morning. Some students are zoned out so they don’t say hello back but they have other worries like class and tests so I get it. But a nice ‘hello’ can go a long way.” So every morning when you sleepily stumble into the building, even if you are one of these students absorbed with an upcoming exam, please try to give our Officer Bailey a greeting. Because every day he earns it.
Volume 17, Issue 2
Teacher Feature: Dr. Turoff Darya Foroohar, ’20
This year, BHSEC has welcomed many new faculty members in multiple departments. One of these new professors is Melissa Turoff, who is finishing her Ph.D. in History at the University of California, Berkeley. She has taught at NYU, Rutgers University, and LaGuardia Community College; at BHSEC she teaches Sophomore Seminar and Global History. I met with her to discuss her thoughts on her experiences at BHSEC and otherwise, as well as her advice for students and aspirations for the future. Can you just describe why you chose to teach at BHSEC? This is gonna be kind of a long story, but I promise I’ll get to it. So when I went to grad school at Berkeley, I thought I wanted to teach at, like, a fancy research university, and mostly focus on being a fancy historian– and I still like that idea– but I’d never taught before. I’d private tutored a little bit, but I got into the classroom and I was like, oh my god, this is so much more important than writing articles that five people in an ivory tower will read and occasionally assign. It’s, like, teach- Image credit: Melissa Turoff ing students how to think, and therefore impacting how I think, and that exchange– I was totally hooked on classroom teaching and teaching history and theory. So, once I realized that my priority was teaching, um, that kind of shifted my career goals, and then– I’m a native New Yorker, as you know, so another big drive for me was to find a school in New York I really wanted to teach at, and I wanted to do a lot of academics and some time on the market… I have a slight fear of living in the middle of nowhere; it’s not what makes me happy. My parents are here, my family’s here, my friends are here, and I love New York. It’s good to leave– I left for most of my twenties– but coming home, I was like, this is amazing. So, I wanted to be in New York, and then… the fact that you guys graduate with two years of college… I mean, when I went to school, of course college was expensive, but it’s ridiculously expensive, and when I was teaching at NYU before here, I had really wealthy students who were trying to graduate in three years, and losing a lot, because they couldn’t afford their fourth year at NYU. So even though I know that some students won’t enter as juniors, and go to colleges as freshmen and do all four years, the fact that you have a public school in New York City that’s free, where a lot of your teachers have Ph.Ds and who are all here because they want to be here, is a magical unicorn place to be and teach, and when I saw the job listing for this, I thought, “I gotta put my all into getting this job, because I want it. It’s for me.” And that’s my story. Cont’d Page 9
Halloween at BHSEC 2019 Sinziana Stanciu, ’20
At long last, the Halloween season is coming to BHSEC. And this year, the student body has nothing to be afraid of. In fact, there should be considerable cause for excitement since there are numerous events happening at BHSEC. But Halloween is more than an occasion for an occasion for school activities, it is also a time to embrace characters that we admire and spend time with our school communities. It seems that the older we get, the less appropriate it is for us to dress up and go trick or treating or even celebrate Halloween at all. In fact, there's a stigma against us teens dressing up with the assumption that Halloween is a holiday reserved for little children and adults with children. Halloween has morphed from the holiday in which every single person wanted to dress up and be a character, to one where if we dress up, especially at school, then we aren’t as ‘cool’ as everyone else. Yet, BHSEC has started a new trend this year, with more and more events stacking up during Halloween week trying to create a welcoming environment. It is a great time of year to participate in school events and show some spirit. If you haven’t already gone to the Panther’s Halloween Party or the Y2 Committee Movie night then you simply must go to the Haunted House tomorrow night on Halloween! Participating in Halloween is about becoming another character for a day, but it is also about taking part in your community. From trick or treating and seeing your neighbors to participating in school events, Halloween is about far more than just about dressing up. It's also about spending time with your community, and having a little spooky fun.
Volume 17, Issue 2
Op-Ed: Should Dogs Wear Hats?
Cont’d from Page 1 Let me tell you, definitively, that it is not only weird but plain wrong. There should be a hard and fast line between pets and people. With the sole exception of Halloween, where pets of all strip should wear costumes, it is cruel to subject animals to such personification. Not only is it demeaning to their already existing majestic grace, but it strips their potential for future dignity. Think of Buck in Jack London’s Call of the Wild, who certainly did not have a pair of dog overalls to wear. His only clothes were the fur on his back and he embraced it. In fact, it was not until Buck was fully immersed in the Wild that he found himself. If your dog is cold, for example, then they’re in the wrong climate. Stay inside or go to LA. Patagonia vests should be exclusive to Wall Street bros. Certain dogs evolved to stay in cold weather and you can subject those to brutal winters. And for humans that get cold without a coat, start packing. This is not to say that it’s wrong to domesticate animals, but we should let them be animals. This means no human names, no human conversations, and no human clothes. And it should go without saying that pets do not belong in strollers. I said it. It is an abomination to watch dogs act as helpless as babies. Dogs should be working for humans, providing their animal strength to help their powerless human. A dog in the stroller is a slap in the face to years of both natural and artificial selection. Leave the personification to literature.
Cartoon Corner Maya Mayanna, ’23
Image credit: twitter.com/thememebot
Teacherisms: Words of Wisdom (or Weirdness) From the Faculty of BHSEC Collected by Nathan Ross, ’20
“I love carrots. They taste very good.” Bruce Matthews, 2019 (On carrots)
“If I have a billion, and you have a hundred million, you are pretty broke.” (On the relative values of large numbers) Joseph Danquah, 2019
“The greeks loved to party. They had it down to an art” Bruce Matthews, 2018 (On the partying prowess of the greeks)
Volume 17, Issue 2
Henrys’ Culture Corner Issue #1 Cont’d from Page 3
Image credit: Stereo Gum Tony Johns Based Freestyle by Big Baby Scumbag Tony Johns Based Freestyle is the greatest ode to a city and man ever written. ”Tony Johns Based Freestyle” is one of the more popular songs by Florida rapper Big Baby Scumbag. In the song, Big Baby Scumbag pays homage to Salt Lake City and, specifically, one man named Tony Johns. Tony Johns is infamous in Snapchat for calling himself a “ladies man” and for saying his catchphrase “we up outta here.” In the song, Big Baby Scumbag talks about how he idolizes Tony Johns and describes how he lives his life similar to Tony Johns. The lyrical quality of this song is in a word: immaculate. He spends most of the song repeating the phrase “Left Wrist Tony. Right Wrist Tony;” an incredibly sophisticated and nuanced line epitomizing the plight of the modern American small town millennial. Despite not even living in Utah, he expresses an idealized lifestyle that he believes can be achieved, even in a town that many perceived as “boring.” Vibo-meter:6/5 216.mp3 FULL VERSION (Worst Beat Ever Made) prod. @BBasedTJ 216.mp3 proclaimed as the “Worst Beat Ever Made” is pretty bad. It is incredibly incoherent and no instrument used in the song is at all pleasing. However, as I listen to it, I find myself wanting to listen to it more and more. It is currently sitting at 1.4 million views on youtube and I am now on my 4th or 5th listen. The thing about this beat is that it actually might be so bad that it’s good. There’s something amazing about this beat, I just can’t put my finger on it. Yeah, I changed my mind, this is good. Vibo-meter: 5/5
BHSEC Survival Guide Ozzy Wagenseil, ’22 So. You got yourself into Bard. Not a bad choice if you want to go to a high school. We have many opportunities for everyone here, as well as an amazing early college program. However, you can’t walk through these doors expecting the work to be a breeze. Bard is a place where you have to try your hardest and be a determined, diligent student. But, luckily, you are reading this. This list will go over every single necessity for being the best student at Bard. Set multiple alarms: No one really likes you. Especially if you get little sleep (which is going to happen to everyone when you go to this school). You need those alarms in order to get your tired butt out of bed and to start getting ready for school. Get some coffee: Okay, so maybe those multiple alarms did not really help you that much, and you are walking out of the house like a drunken buffoon. Just go to the nearest deli or Starbucks, get yourself a refreshing coffee so that caffeine wakes you up, and feel like you actually did have a good night's sleep. ALWAYS have your student Metrocard: Okay, this is a big rule. This is your lord and savior, which makes you feel special compared to those adults who actually have to pay to go to their destination. But seriously, it’s very useful for when you are going to school, whether that be by bus or by train. And it will be such a pain if you happen to lose this or else you will have to pay with real money. A very dreadful thought, indeed. Get to school on time: No, it does not make you cool if you show up after 9:00 every day. This makes you look very irresponsible in front of the teachers as well as your classmates, and can even affect your grade. In fact, you should be trying to head out to school for at least 10 minutes before your first class starts. This maybe could give you enough time to put some stuff away in your locker and maybe even do some lastminute homework if you want. You can even grab some quick snacks at the cafeteria too! USE YOUR FREE PERIODS: Be productive! This can include doing your homework, writing essays, etc... However, you can use some of your free periods if you really want to be able to hang out with friends if you have a light day, not including that much work. But just note, do what is necessary so you won’t procrastinate. Talk to your teachers: Talking to your teachers is an important necessity if you want to show you care about your classes. You can ask for help with work or if you simply need them to look over your most recent draft and see what you should improve on. While this can already help with your work, coming in to talk Cont’d Page 10
Volume 17, Issue 2
2019 Little Red Lighthouse Fes tival Cont’d from Page 1 For ten years, the lighthouse shone brightly to help barges and clippers navigate the tricky Hudson; however, in 1932, the George Washington Bridge was completed and opened. The bridge’s numerous radiant lights rendered the lighthouse’s lights obsolete; and since there was no need for a lighthouse anymore, it was decided that the lighthouse would be dismantled and auctioned off for scrap metal. This all changed in 1942, when the course of the lighthouse’s life would forever change. That year, Hildegarde Swift released the children’s book “The Little Red Lighthouse and the Great Gray Bridge” (illustrated by Lynd Ward). This book sent shockwaves throughout the nation and raised awareness of the lighthouse’s situation. Children and adults alike demanded that the lighthouse remain on Jeffrey's Hook, and the Parks Department listened. In 1951, the Jeffery’s Hook Lighthouse was given to the Department; and 26 years later, it was put on the National Register of Historic Places. The nickname “Little Red Lighthouse” stuck, and people have been calling it that since. In 1991, it was deemed a historic landmark of the state of New York. The Little Red Lighthouse has been a staple in the community of Northern Manhattan for years, and one of the main reasons for that is the annual Little Red Lighthouse Festival, which has been taking place since 1993. This festival is held once a year, around early October, and is free for all of the public to attend. The event includes games, food, and booths for the neighborhood’s many organizations. This year, the festival was held on October 5th. The weather was perfect, and the festival drew many people (as it usually does). The lawn was littered with many backyard style games: giant chess, giant checkers, giant Connect-4, giant Jenga, the list goes on. There were also aforementioned booths, and one singular Greek food truck. On the outskirts of Jeffrey's Hook there was a fishing station, where the public can learn to fish, free of charge, and without a legal fishing license. I spent about an hour of my time there, because as a New Yorker, I don’t have many opportunities to fish(especially since I am not legally licensed to fish in the first place). I was complimented on my casting, but that seemed to be the only thing I had going for me. I had lost two of my sinkers, used three rods, and caught zero fish, so I felt it was time to move on. Since people of all ages attend the festival, there had to be activities that would entertain even the youngest of the attendees. To satisfy this need, the festival organizers set up a puppet show, which then proceeded to be performed a grand total of once. It portrayed a young cow named Bessie, who wanted to join the circus, and eventually, through trial and error, made her way on. The second activity, one that takes place every year, and
one of the main attractions was a reading of “The Little Red Lighthouse and the Great Grey Bridge”, the book that had both saved the lighthouse from being taken down, and gave it a new name in the process. In past years, famous celebrities have come to the park and read the book to the audience (James Earl Jones read it one year). This year, the host let a group of young children help turn pages and read the iconic book. Hildegarde Swift’s book has touched multiple generations of readers (including myself), and it will continue to do so with the Lighthouse Festival. The most notable part of the festival, however, is that the lighthouse itself is opened to the public. The line to get in usually gets very long, very quickly, so if you want a chance to see it, you better arrive early. Your wait will not be boring however, as many park rangers will give you tidbits on the history of the lighthouse and of the nature that surrounds it. One of the rangers broke out a native style woodwind instrument and played it for the patient crowd. As I was up at the top of the lighthouse, I noticed everyone taking in the wonderful views of the west side of Manhattan, and of the New Jersey Palisades. There was not one person up there that wasn’t in awe at the views and of the height of the Lighthouse: one ranger said to me, “40 feet is taller than you think”. Each group of 15 people was given about 10 minutes to go up and down, but as people figured out, it was more than enough. The festival drew people of all sorts, whether they knew about it or not. One lady said, “I read about it yesterday, and I love it. It’s great,”; one father and son duo even told me they had been biking 6 miles beforehand and were surprised to find themselves at the festival. It’s clear that this festival attracts even those who haven’t heard of the event until that day, which only adds to its impact on the community. Of all of the pleasantly unexpected visitors, however, none were more proud of it than Manhattan Borough President, Gale Brewer. She only appeared for 20 minutes, but her message was clear: “[The festival] is fabulous. We always want to have more people come to this festival, and what it shows me is that we need more funding for parks.” Brewer felt very passionate about the continued support of Manhattan parks, and when I asked her about coming here to show her support, she stressed the importance of her attending despite her busy schedule: “I had ten events today, but I had to make time to come here, because it’s just that important”. The Little Red Lighthouse Festival has been a huge part of the Washington Heights community since its inception almost 30 years ago, and continues to serve as a reminder of the integral role that NYC parks play in the lives of its citizens. If you haven’t done so before, I implore you to attend the festival the next time it comes around. The travel may be a pain, but it’s all worth it in the end.
Volume 17, Issue 2
Image credit:Alexander Ganias, ‘20
Girls Tennis Team Dominates Once Again Sophie Fleysher, ’20
The BHSEC girls tennis team has had yet another stellar season. This year, the 17 athletes, consisting of 10 veterans, committed to two months of an intense match and practice schedule led by Coach Studwell (who you may know as Ms. Goldstein). Though they had a fluctuating lineup for the first two weeks of play, the Raptors were able to maintain their undefeated streak for the third regular season in a row. The ladies faced an all-new division this year, playing teams that they had never met before. While this could have been a major disadvantage, since the two previous years had been the same, many things worked out in their favor. One of their opponents, the High School of Economics and Finance, has the same home courts in East River Park as they do, meaning that the BHSEC girls had home court advantage in more than half of their matches. They also played against Seward Park Campus, whose courts are only a fifteen minute walk away from the school. These two factors combined meant that the team didn’t have to worry about long commutes to or from matches, minimizing stress levels. It also allowed for the largest turnout of supporters in years from friends, families of players, and even of Coach Studwell. Additionally, they were spoiled with great weather for the entirety of the season (excluding one week of both rain and extreme heat). Some highlights thus far include Sophie Fleysher’s, Y2, comeback 3rd singles victory against Seward Park, winning the last four straight games, as well as Sonia Chajet-Wides’, Y1, fantastic 6-0, 6-1 debut singles win against Louis Brandeis. This season, the team was fortunate enough to have opponents who expressed good sportsmanship, unlike in previous years. As a result, everyone enjoyed playing every match and did so to the best of their abilities. This is not to say that they didn’t face obstacles. Some courts are not in as good condition as East River Park’s, where the Raptors call home. Most notably, Elizabeth Bitman, Y2, faced blaring sun in each one of her serves against Brandeis and was forced to serve with her eyes shut. But she adapted and overcame, and shortly her shots returned to being her typical accurate and powerful ones, an incredible feat. The student-athletes have since moved on to playoffs, seeded 3rd out of the 25 qualifying teams in their division. Because of their high seed, they are granted a first-round “bye,” a chance to recuperate and have one more practice, before playing a second-round match against the winner of FDR vs. Hillcrest at home. They must win 3 matches in order to make it into the finals, but the team is not thinking about that yet. Like Coach Studwell constantly reminds them, they have to take it point-by-point, game-by-game, and match-by-match in order to get that far. But given the momentum that they’ve built up, the coach and all the players know that they will put everything they have into however many matches are left in their season. For updates on the team’s successes, check out psal.org. *The team fought vehemently but unfortunately lost to the eventual division champions
Volume 17, Issue 2
Teacher Feature: Dr. Turoff Page 4 Cont’d from I remember you talking about how at first you were a little upset that we didn’t have The Origin of Species for Darwin, so: If you could add any book to the [Sophomore Seminar] reading list, what would it be, and why? Frantz Fanon, Wretched of the Earth. Close tie with Edward Said’s Orientalism. I think that I would be assigning very few entire books, but I think that, that said, I was talking to Mark Williams and he was like, “you have to read a great book of science,” and it kind of struck me that, like, yeah, we should be reading books of science, we should be reading Darwin. Teaching it with the pushback and discussions from class has made me like this book a lot more. But I think for me, and this is why I’m excited to teach an elective at some point, a book that really focuses on race and imperialism that’s not a literary book would be good. Going off of that, if you could an elective, what would it be? I would teach a version of– and I want to say, by the way, I like this seminar sequence more and more as I read it. Every professor, you’ve taught your own class, and you’re like, “ugh, I have to teach someone else’s class.” But then you realize that there’s so many ways you can make it your own, and I’m really seeing that… My elective would be, um, I taught this class at the Galatan in NYU. It was a class called Orientalism, but it could really be a class called how we engage with others, in an imperial context, in terms of race, in terms of religion, and it’s based on this pretty seminal work by Edward Said published in 1978 called Orientalism. It’s all about how the west has constructed the east, and how the fascination with the east has kind of been matched by, or reached its height imperially, when the west was dominating the east imperially, and it’s not a coincidence. So it’s asking all these questions about knowledge production, and “can we decolonize our minds?” That’s what’s going on… I think it’s really interesting to think about how we construct knowledge and the political and economic structures that undercurrent the construction of everything from paintings to texts to, you know, media, to our video games, and stuff like that. So, I would teach a class on Orientalism that started in the 18th century, and focus on India and the Middle East, and understanding how these 18th century men engaged with that, and then culminate in this big critique, in this big important book from the 1970’s, which says that everything is kind of tainted by imperial bias. [Then I would] ask the question, does that throw the baby out with the bathwater, so to speak, and look at different ways people have thought to engage Said in this book, but also past it. How does Marx help us, how does structure: if everything is tainted by imperialism, we can’t decolonize the mind, what are we left with? Nothing, right? So what do we do? And we’re still in that place, right, of, “what do we do next to focus,”
And we’re still in that place, right, of, “what do we do next to focus,” and I think it’s a really useful class. I’ve used a reader for it; it’s two, five pages– sometimes ten– of these really influential thinkers, but I would end with subaltern studies and postcolonial theory and race theory, and then end particularly with techno-orientalism, which is a discussion today of how we are fascinated by East Asia… We’re re-exoticising [the east] in some ways by making it this pseudo-utopian place of science and technology, and [I’d focus on] the imperial politics of that. We have real relations with China that are how culture is permeated with discussions on technology, a gap, are we being beat by the east, how does that make us feel as westerners, so there’s a lot there. That would be my class. Do you think you’ll teach it next semester? I don’t think so; I’m teaching seminar all year. I hope to teach it next year, but I also think that I’m finding my sea legs in seminar, and there’s something beneficial to teaching something a second time, so I’d be happy with whatever happens. Lastly, what’s a piece of advice that you’d give to Bard students who are struggling or stressed out? I didn’t sleep for all four years of high school, not for lack of trying, because I was stressed out too, but it seems like it’s getting worse. Talk to your professors, and the people around you. Come in when you’re really stressed out. For me, at least, I’m a human, and I believe in an intersectional classroom that exudes radical empathy… everyone, even the most talkative, seems on top of their work [student] is probably struggling. And there’s a tendency– I’ve had it, too, because I’m very outgoing and I seem like I have my stuff together, but sometimes we all don’t, and we’ve all probably been there, you know?… Most of the faculty I’ve met here, but especially the students, there’s a lot of stress, but there’s also a lot of empathy. So, don’t get in that tunnel of isolation and reach out and realize that your professors are humans, too. And, also, to offer some hope, because I’m pretty young-ish, kinda… it gets better. You get more choice after high school. You get to sleep in a little later, and probably your first year of college will be a cakewalk. At least, it was for me, compared to the pressure cookers that are New York City high schools. So that is my beacon of hope, that high school, junior/senior year, it’s a doozy. College is going to be stressful in different ways, but you have more choice, and you’re going to have more time. And always give yourself permission to take a week, or a month, or a year off. Always. That’s my advice.
Volume 17, Issue 2
Spookiest Pumpkin Design Nancy Shi, ’22
BHSEC Survival Guide Cont’d from Page 6 with your teacher shows them that you want your work to be as best as it possibly can be. That makes a good impression on your teachers, which you’re going to need. Good luck. Use your environment: Even if it is small, this school has a list of resources you can use. You have a library if you need a place to study or check out a book. You have a computer lab where you can write your essays and fix your lab reports. And even outside of school, you need something to eat, there are many delis and shops where you can grab a quick bite to eat (the 1 dollar pizza is very, very good). Make friends: You are not going through this struggle alone. BHSEC’s student population is very diverse, and everyone has their many interests and personalities. Chances are, you are likely to find someone with those same interests as you. Making friends can help you ensure you stay on track at school. This can include helping you study for a test, doing assignments together, among other things. It will make you feel glad you chose this school. Remember: bros before hoes. And finally… GET SLEEP: Seriously. Keep in mind that sleep is more important than doing your work. Sure, it’s okay to stay up late at times, but don’t do it every single night. If you do, you will always wake up very drowsy and tired for school. Make sure that sleep is the number one thing you strive for because it will greatly benefit you.
The College Admissions Process Through My Eyes
Edona Cosovic, ’21 Whether you are a freshman or a senior, the college process is something we all have to go through. And as an eleventh grader, I am beginning my journey into the college admissions process. I am beginning to scroll through the various college emails I have received in order to figure out where I would see myself for four years. I am beginning to spend all of my free time studying for the SAT. I am neglecting my wellbeing to prove something to the college admissions officers. I am trying to find myself amidst the mental havoc that colleges give to students. At BHSEC the tension is thick in the air for even freshmen and sophomores who have already began touring campuses. We even feel pressure as early as 9th or 10th grade, when try to join as many clubs as humanly possible. And later, we try to take classes with a teacher that we know will write a good recommendation, rather than a class that we are actually interested in. We become entirely consumed with what the college admissions officers think. I know students that are so consumed that when they see a B, they genuinely cry because despite all the work they have put in the universities will only see a B while they see failure. They see a B as something that destroys their GPA rather than room for improvement. Students starting as early as the ninth grade become obsessed with grades. Although these are just exams, recommendations, and essays, they seem to hit closer to home because of their significance to our future. Students begin to view these pieces of paper as the deciding factor for the rest of our lives. And it’s true, our careers can be affected depending on which college we attend. Although many say that grades and scores don’t matter, that is the only thing that colleges can see as true about Cont’d on Page 11
The College Admissions Process Through My Eyes Cont’d from Page 10 that is the only thing that colleges can see as true about you. People can easily lie about their interests to match those of the university, but colleges have tangible evidence of your scores. They can only Photo Credit: Eric Von Segsee you as your GPA or gern, Shutterstock your SAT score, not your character. What is even more stressful is that colleges do not want you to just get amazing grades and high SAT scores, you need to also join clubs and be very involved in your school. You need to provide some kind of service for your community whether it be volunteering or spreading yourself thin and joining as many clubs as possible. For the eleventh graders that are just starting this process, it feels overwhelming to try to make yourself as presentable as possible for colleges to see you on a piece of paper. Many seem to know what they are doing and when they’ll be taking the exams, but it is stressing everyone in the grade anyways. Students’ practice test scores are circulating the grade, making it even more stressful. Despite these students being seemingly on top of things, I don’t think anyone knows what they are doing right now. We are all lost in the same pond as everyone else. And we all need the time to figure ourselves out even if the college admissions process doesn’t give you that luxury. As the seniors are making their cries for help about applying to colleges their pain is almost over because their decisions await for them in the Spring. We wish you luck as the new generations of students begin their process to travel across the county and even the world to pursue studies that interest them. In the end, the college admissions process is of utmost importance and is in the back of everyone’s head as they see their exam grades or hand an essay to their professors. Even though we are provided with the assistance to present ourselves in the best possible way to colleges, we aren’t given the tools to care for our mental health. If there is one thing you take away it is that we need to fix this adjust the mentality of what the purpose of college is for students. It isn’t an accessory it is a place to learn and further better yourself in the world. On that note, the education system in America needs to take better care of the mental health of students. As we adapt and improve our technologies over the years, education is one of the only things that hasn’t changed over the centuries. We need to make it our priority to make a change so that the process is not as stressful as it is now.
Volume 17, Issue 2
BHSEC Photography Club Looking for Creators: Ritu Bhowmik Encourages Students to Join Fuschia Steward, ’21 While BHSEC is best known for its impressive academics, there are many after school clubs where students can develop their hobbies and explore their passions. From sports teams to culture groups, there really is an activity for everyone. This year, there were over 50 clubs at the club fair, a record high since the school’s founding in 2001. One of the clubs there was the brand new photography club, it was highly anticipated as students had been asking for it for years. I spoke to Ritu Bhowmik (Y1), one of the club’s founders along with Charlotte Lang and Clyde Dwyer, about the future of photography at BHSEC and her own experiences with it. The first thing I asked her was what motivated her to start the photography club. Quickly, she responded, “I wanted a creative space where people who were interested in photography came together and helped each other grow––whether it's improving on our existing skills or gaining new knowledge. A club where everyone shares the same passion as you? I'd say it's a pretty good feeling, letting our imaginations come to life!” This answer was exciting to hear, especially from one of the leaders, as it proves that the photography club won’t just be another club, but an inspiring space for artists from all walks of life to come together. Cont’d on Page 12
Photo Credit: @bardphotography2019 (instagram)
BHSEC Photography Club Looking for Creators: Ritu Bhowmik Encourages Students to Join Cont’d from Page 11 Bhowmik is very passionate about photography, and this drive also contributed to her decision to start photography club. In discussing her own experiences with photography, Bhowmik made it clear that “Photography’s important on so many levels. [...] It's not just about capturing the good moments, it's also capturing the bad moments. Photography and the photos someone takes tells a lot about them. For me, I guess, it makes me feel closer to them. Like I'm inside their minds or seeing what they're seeing in their own unique way. Living in New York or anywhere really, it can be hard to be unique but photography makes sure one doesn't feel that way.” Capturing the story of a person’s perspective is what makes photography so interesting, and this club aims at compiling as many diverse points of view as possible. As I learned more about Bhowmik’s thoughts on photography, I started to wonder about her experience with photography. When I asked her about the roots of her love for photography she expressed that, “I've always loved looking at family albums. They held such memories and history behind every picture. I remember looking at my own album when I was little––probably 6 or 7––and thinking, ‘I WANT TO FILL THIS BOOK UP AND MORE!’ I began taking pictures since then. Except the only camera I really had at my disposal was my Nintendo 3DS so they weren't that great. [...] I took SO many pictures. I just love the idea of capturing memories and being able to look back at them. In a way, it humbles me.” She finds inspiration in many things such as “Labels on bottles, street names, or even our lovely MTA. It's great living in New York City because I never run out of inspiration. It's everywhere.” I followed up by asking her what the leaders had in store for the club. “We have a lot of exciting big plans for the club, most of which we'll keep in secret for now!” I guess I’ll have to join the club to find out, but luckily, doing so is easy as you don’t need any experience or a digital camera to join. “It’s preferable but not needed.” she said, referring to the camera. “We're all here to learn from each other!” she added. If you are interested in photography and would like to join or learn more about the club, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org or direct message them on Instagram @bardphotogtaphy2019. The club meets on Wednesdays in room 503 (the room is subject to change since it may not always be available). They look forward to meeting you and sharing their work!
Volume 17, Issue 2
Catching up with Dr. Ali Sonia Chajet Wides, ’21 The 2019-20 school year has brought a slew of new faculty members to BHSEC in a variety of departments. One of these new faculty is Dr. Ashna Ali, who is a member of the literature department. Dr. Ali is currently teaching Year-1 Seminar and 10th grade Global Literature. They studied at NYU and have a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from the CUNY Graduate Center. I sat down to talk to Dr. Ali about their experience so far at BHSEC, and a few of their favorite things. What has your experience been like teaching at BHSEC so far? It’s been really great. My students are bright and kind and excited, which makes me really excited… I’m never bored. What have you noticed about BHSEC students? Is there something that differentiates BHSEC students from your past college students? I think one really big difference that I like a lot is that the lack of phones makes it so that students talk to each other and they look each other in the eye and they’re friends. They’re much nicer to each other. And that is not very common. I don’t think BHSEC students know how much warmer it is around here given that everyone isn’t glued to their phone. It’s very nice-- y’all are a much tighter-knit community than a lot of students elsewhere… And then there’s the obvious. These are just very, very high-caliber students. I feel very fortunate to be teaching students who are so motivated. Why do you like to teach? The most important people in my life were my teachers. They were role models, they were de-facto parents. I always admired them. And so that’s what made me interested in teaching to begin with. I am also just very excited about the things that I love and I want to share and that’s what teaching is for me. What are your areas of interest, subject-wise? My research is in postcolonial literature, usually feminist postcolonial literature. So it’s pretty contemporary. It’s often written by people of African and South Asian descent, sometimes Middle Eastern descent. Usually this also intersects with my interest in poetry and gender and sexuality studies, queer studies, trans studies, which also tends to intersect in postcolonial climate research. So those are my big interrelated fields. How do you think you’re incorporating those into your classes at BHSEC, or would like to incorporate into future classes? This year I’m not teaching an elective. But the things that I am teaching in First-Year Seminar and World Literature are being taught through the lens of a postcolonial feminist scholar and so we’re applying feminist analysis or postcolonial analysis to texts that aren’t themselves necessarily doing that work. You’re a queer faculty member and that’s meant a lot to Cont’d on Page 12
Volume 17, Issue 2
Catching up with Dr. Ali Cont’d from Page 12
many queer students this year. How has it felt to have that reaction upon your arrival? Lots of happy crying. I tweeted about it and my tweet went viral. I have never had a tweet go viral before. It’s meant a lot to me. I didn’t know whether or not it would be received well or poorly or whether it would matter at all to anyone… I know how much it would’ve meant for me to have had adults in my life when I was younger who were queer or non-binary or identified in any way that wasn’t normative, especially adults of color, who were very much missing in my education. So my hope is to be the kind of person in your lives that I wish I had had in mine. Where did you grow up? I grew up in Rome, Italy. My father worked for the United Nations out there, so I spent the first 18 years of my life in Italy… Rome is exceptionally beautiful. I had great exposure to the history of Europe and art. I have a sustained interest in food that was definitely born of growing up in a very food-obsessed culture. It’s also a very difficult place to grow up if you are queer and if you are a person of color, especially from a Muslim family. Particularly at the time that I was growing up, but even now, perhaps worse now, actually. So both very very lovely and very very hard. What do you like to do on the weekends? I practice a lot of yoga. I am a poet, so I spend a lot of time going to poetry readings and reading poetry and engaging in collaborative work with other poets. I’m also still researching, so I do a lot of researching. I like to cook, so that’s something that happens. And if I’m feeling extra energetic, I might be dancing. What’s your favorite TV show? These days, I’ve been thinking a lot about The Good Place. I’m rewatching The Wire, which I think is one of the best shows in American television history. I know that this is controversial, but I love Sense8, and I’ve been thinking a lot about Sense8. What’s your favorite breakfast food? I love bagels. That’s one of the things I think I like most about America… New Photo Credit: Ashna Ali York, specifically. What’s your favorite kitchen utensil? I have a red rubber spatula that I really love. It does many many things and I love how red it is. If you could be stranded in a midwestern city, which would it be? Oh, God. I have no idea. I don’t know anything about the midwest. So that makes this a particularly difficult question… I hear St. Louis has a jazz scene?... I’m not good at being land-bound, like, I need water nearby. I’m from Bangladesh, which is a peninsula. I’m from Italy, which is a peninsula, and I now live in New York, which is surrounded by water. I would do Chicago, but Chicago’s very cold and I’m a tropical bird, so that doesn’t work. I guess if I had to choose, I’d choose Chicago. It’s a big city at the very least. Who would be the worst and who would be the best person to be stuck in an elevator with? The worst… the list is so long. I would say probably a young person who is very aggressive about having the opposite politics from me. Any version of that. The best person to be stuck in an elevator with: Zadie Smith… then she would have to talk to me… I love her. She has a book coming out that I’m very excited about. Is there anything you want BHSEC students to know about you that they might not know otherwise? You don’t have to be my student to come talk to me! I’ve had quite a few students walk up and be like “Oh, but I’m leaving, I’m graduating, I won’t ever be your student, so I guess I can’t talk to you.” And I feel like that’s probably particularly true of all the queer students who feel like they can’t talk to me, even though they’re excited that I’m here… It’s like, of course you can talk to me! You can always talk to me!
Volume 17, Issue 2
Early Life Crisis: A Fall HS Lookbook in Five Stages of Sleep De privation Jayna Rohslau, ’22
Monday On Monday, you arrive at school still traumatized from the week before. However, your outlook on life has also been somewhat brightened over the weekend, thanks to both friends and rewatching F.R.I.E.N.Ds. Maybe this will be a good week, you might think to yourself as you wait on the subway platform. Maybe this will be the week that changes everything in my life for the better. In addition to being at the peak of your emotional state, this day will also likely be your peak stylewise. So don’t be afraid to accessorize! Wear an outfit that might normally be out of your comfort zone. Photo credit for cami top: forever21.com, 14.99 for “Lace Velvet Cami” Photo credit for turtleneck: brandymelvilleusa.com, 24 for “Daniella Turtleneck Top” Photo credit for mini-skirt: etsy.com, 49.99 for “Leather Circle-skirt” Tuesday After the optimism of Monday, your spirits might have been slightly crushed overnight. But don’t despair, it’s too early in the week to completely lose hope in humanity. You may feel as though jeans and a t-shirt don’t fully represent the complexity of who you are as a person, but wear them anyway. Today is the day to focus on schoolwork, so you want an easy outfit to throw on that still looks good in a way that requires minimal effort. Photo credit for tee: aliexpress.com, 10.56 for “Van Gogh Tee Shirt” Photo credit for jeans: www2.hm.com, 29.99 for “Vintage High Jeans” Photo credit for shoes: dsw.com, 59.99 for “Ward-Lo Sneaker” Wednesday’s Outfit Ah, Wednesday. Wednesday is the day that makes both new soldiers and hardened combat veterans break down on the battlefields, or in the hallways of BHSEC. You’ll pass them as you walk past the library, backs slumped against the wall and faces turned to the void. “I can’t do it,” you might hear them whisper to themselves,”I know we’re halfway through but I can’t go any further.” Today is the day to question who you are, and what it’s all about. You might feel a sudden urge to overhaul your entire personality/personal style, and inexplicably dress like the girl on the left. Photo credit for dress: amazon.com, 29.99 for “Forum Novelties 60’s Generation Mod Wild Swirl Dress”
Con’t on Page 15
Con’t from Page 15 Thursday’s Outfit By Thursday, what even matters? You don’t matter, your test the next day certainly doesn’t matter, and nothing really matters in the grand scheme of things. Your soul has become black, like the color of the midnight sky– which you should know very well, since that’s how late you’re going to stay up studying for your test. Today you should try wearing monochrome, and by monochrome I mean all black, and by all black I mean you aren’t allowed to smile, since your teeth are too bright. Today, wipe the smile off your face and try wearing a grimace as though you are in deep pain. You’ll fit right in with the crowd, as it seems to be a major trend at BHSEC.
Volume 17, Issue 2
Photo credit for leggings: amazon.com, 19.99 for “CompressionZ High Waisted Women’s Leggings” Photo Credit for hoodie: www2.hm.com, 24.99 for “Hooded Sweatshirt” Photo Credit for demonic reaper’s scythe: amazon.com, 29.99 for “Mens Reaper Scythe” sourced directly from the Underworld Friday’s Outfit I believe that the pictures speak for themselves.
Photo credit for “bodysuit”: Amazon.com, 9.99 for “ Solimo Multipurpose Drawstring Trash Bags, 30 Gallon, 50 Count.” Photo credit for “bare feet”: /yourfamilyfootcare.com/, costs absolutely nothing
Costume Design Nancy Shi, ’22
Leadership of Bardvark •Darya Foroohar, Y2 Editor in Chief •Sinziana Stanciu, Y2 Layout Editor •Evan Farley, Y2 Digital Editor •Alexander Ganias, Y2 Illustrations Editor •Sylvie Goldner, Y1 News Editor •Jayna Rohslau, 10th News Editor •Lula Konner, 10th News Editor •Dr. Mazie, Faculty Advisor
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