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Focus

A Blind Brook High School Student Publication

January 2019

What’s the Deal With Block Scheduling?

Photo/Rachel Penn Blind Brook students sit in the commons during one of the five current lunch periods. By Lauryn Weintraub ‘20 and Shivani Thanneer ‘20 wo words are buzzing around the halls at Blind Brook: Block Scheduling. It has become a highly controversial topic that many students are eager to start a debate over. While negative preconceptions surround the topic in the halls, an unnecessary conflict has ensued based on the simple lack of transparency around block scheduling. So before a verbal war breaks out, what is this proposed Block Scheduling plan and how will it affect students and faculty? The Board of Education and the Blind Brook High School administration are currently unhappy with the lack of innovation in Blind Brook’s schedule. Dr. Colin Byrne, Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment, has spearheaded the administration’s discussion of moving toward a block schedule. “If we look at our current schedule, it is a schedule that we would not, as adults, subscribe for ourselves,” he said. According to district administrators (Principal Schuelein, Principal Lambert, Superintendent Ross, and Dr. Byrne), the current schedule is fragmented, allows for limited productive instruction time, and is holding Blind Brook back from attaining the same level of achievement as its comparative school districts. Although Hastings, Greenwich, Horace Greeley, and Rye High Schools all use block scheduling, they are much larger than Blind Brook and have more resources available to implement scheduling initiatives. Currently, the school day lasts from 7:50 a.m. to 2:40 p.m., including nine 40 minute periods and a 20 minute activity period at the end of the day. The proposed change to the schedule would have the school day starting at 7:45 a.m. and ending at 2:45 p.m., while extending class periods to 54 minutes each. Rather than an activity period at the end of the day, the block schedule would have a 20 minute break period for the entire school after third period. Theoretically, students will be able to meet with teachers, guidance counselors, do homework, or simply relax during this time. In addition, the current lunch system, where students have a designated lunch period from fourth through eighth period, will be replaced by one 54-minute common lunch period for the entire school. This common lunch will be at the same time every day, with different lunch blocks for the high school and middle school. In order to accommodate increased student traffic during lunch periods, there is a plan to “create kiosks where people will order from different areas,” according to Ryan Goldstein, President of the Board of Education. With longer periods, there grows a need to drop a period every day and utilize a rotating cycle. While students currently have eight academic periods a day, block scheduling would be eight periods as well, minus a class. With this proposed plan, for example, you might not have to attend math class every day, but you will have to sit through a longer math class on the other seven days of the cycle. For many students, every-other-day electives such as

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gym, music, cooking, art, or photography serve as academic breaks in their schedules. Under the proposed schedule changes, these classes will run only three days out of an eight-day drop-rotation cycle. In essence, active participation in these classes will decrease as less instructional time will be available. The school day will also be extended to 2:45, meaning clubs will most likely begin at 2:50 the earliest. In addition, sports practices will also start later. The Board of Education has not worked out an official solution to dismissal bussing, but did say buses will leave later than they currently do, increasing the length of the school day by approximately ten minutes. Derek Schuelein, principal of Blind Brook High School is in favor of the change as he believes it will facilitate problem-based learning (PBL). PBL is essentially where students are guided towards learning the way people learn in the “real world”. Through identifying a problem, researching, using trial and error, and eventually solving said issue. PBL is often applied through assigning projects. For example, the AP US History classes currently learn about Andrew Jackson by putting him on trial and having a threeday debate. Half of the class has to do research in favor and the other opposing to learn about him. This is done rather than being lectured about Jackson for three days and then doing a project to enforce what was taught-- the actual lesson is the project itself. In another sense, Schuelein does understand that block scheduling will not be perfect on its first try. He says, “Overall, the type of block scheduling we are doing holds a lot of promise. The extent to which that promise translates to reality is hypothetical until we try it… From my perspective, the greatest benefit lies in the additional time… when you have more of it, the decisions made by teachers can start to become different.” Schuelein is hopeful that problembased learning will assist in the advancement of problem-solving skills and this is possible through block scheduling. The new schedule will undoubtedly be a huge adjustment for Blind Brook and although the Board of Education and administrators are in favor of a new schedule, students are not as convinced this will improve their education. Freshman Ryan Campbell stated, “High school is stressful enough, but if block scheduling is implemented, students will now have to worry about so much more.” He added that “combatting short attention spans with longer periods is not the answer to any of the problems the school thinks it is facing.” Junior Nicole Rosenzweig is in agreement with Campbell that block scheduling is not the best solution: “The fact that other schools are implementing the system and it works does not mean it is conducive to our school,” she said. It is true that other districts are implementing this. The committee looked at 39 other districts and out of them, only one school has shorter periods than Blind Brook currently does. Continued on page 4

Viewpoints Health and Science Read student opinions about block scheduling on Read about local delis on pages 14 and 15. pages 4 and 5. 1

Sports Catch up on the Boys’ Varsity Basketball season on page 27.

Inside Focus

News.....................................................1 Viewpoints...........................................3 Arts and Entertainment.....................8 Features..............................................16 Health and Science...........................20 Politics................................................24 Sports..................................................27

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Focus Staff 2018-2019

Mike Abrutyn Dom Accurso Hannah Bailey Abe Baker-Butler Alyson Barsky Anna Campbell Danielle Capelli Zach Chernick Nick Chien Lauren DeMarco Kenzie Drangel Spencer Feuerman Brooke Gerchick Maya Govindaraj Olivia Jaccoma Carly Kabot Sam Knee Kidar Kooverjee Sam Lazar Andrew Lynch Paige Maizes Shira Mallah Bryan Moroch Sophia Mullaly

Chloe Ng Abby Ochs Sydney Panzier Rachel Penn Guillermo Prieto Josh Richards Spencer Rose Julia Rosenberg Nicole Rosenzweig Ben Sachs Emily Savino Charlie Schloss Jeremy Schuster Justin Schutzer Alyssa Schwartz Abby Strauzer Jake Seff Rachel Sosin Shivani Thanneer Paige Tankel Rachel Wallenstein Amanda Weinberg Lauryn Weintraub Olivia Zahl

Editorial Staff

Editor-in-Chief: Jack Wells Managing Editor: Rachel Harris Senior Copy Editor: Zach Kornblum Deputy Managing Editor: Leo Huy News: Amanda Capelli Features: Rebecca Weiss Sports: Evan Ketchabaw Health and Science: Ben Simon Arts and Entertainment: Julia Morlino Politics: Mike Sunshine Viewpoints: Scott Rosson Web Editor: Brett Goodman Social Media: Claire Limb Multimedia Editor: Drew Rosenberg Business Manager: Griffin Brettschneider Layout: Lily Janjigian Webmaster: Bryan Wei Adviser: Mr. Soto Focus is a student run public forum. Staff members make all content decisions. Focus is a member of CSPA, NSPA, and Quill and Scroll.

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Viewpoints

A Blind Brook High School Student Publication

January 2019

High Schoolers Overworked: Who is to Blame?

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or this issue of Focus, I was unsure of what to write for my editorial. So I turned to Google, one day before the deadline, trying to figure out what it is that I could possibly speak about. Soon enough a New York Times article titled “401 Prompts for Argumentative Writing” appeared on my screen. Looking through most of them I was unimpressed, and not making any progress. After all, I needed to decide what I was going to write about as I still had a test to study for and 3 chapters of Great Expectations to read. After a lot of scrolling, a prompt appeared “Are High School Students Being Worked Too Hard?” I couldn’t help but laugh, and nod my head. The irony of the prompt in relation to the amount of work I had that night was indeed a laughout-loud moment. I without a doubt think that we are being worked too hard. More importantly, it is the stress that comes along with the work that makes us feel as if we are being worked too hard. How can I focus on studying for my math test when I also have a psych test and five articles that need to be edited? There are many deadlines that high schoolers need to meet, and the reality is that we are unable to handle all of them. Yes, assignments get completed, and studying gets done but at what cost? I am a little biased, but how could I not be? Every high school student that I know has complained, at least once, about the amount of work they have. This workload students have often leads to late nights. This makes it hard for most students to get the recommended eight hours of sleep every night. According to the National Sleep Foundation, over 50% of teens aged 14-17 reported getting less than seven hours of sleep every night. A good night’s sleep is essential for the development of the adolescent brain because it is during sleep when the brain consolidates memory. More specifically declarative memory, which is responsible for recalling facts that are learned in the classroom. High schoolers being overworked doesn’t just make them groggy, it biologically renders them incapable of solidifying the information they are taught in the classroom. It might be that many students are

just bingeing Netflix, but the reality is students’ homework keep them up at night. Although, it is what students are doing after school that forces them to start homework so late. Model U.N. until 4 o’clock, then basketball practice until 7:00, and an ACT math section. It is now 8:45 on a school night. After completing homework from all subjects, including possible Advanced Placement courses, and studying, said student is overworked. But we have to remember, it is not just teachers or school to blame, but the increasingly competitive culture that we are living in. Between the extra circulars, sports teams, and Advanced Placement courses, our time is being taken away. The question herein lies—who is to blame? Next time we rush to blame teachers for too much homework, take a step back and ask “Who chose to take this class?” “Who chose to be a part of the club that is meeting today?” “Who chose to be on the sports team that has an away game?” If you are feeling overwhelmed when you evaluate the courses you are going to take next year, take a second and think about the work that comes with the name on the course selection sheet.

Jack Wells Editor-in-Chief

Photo courtesy of Jack Wells

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Viewpoints

A Blind Brook High School Student Publication

January 2019

What’s the Deal with Block Scheduling? Continued from page 1 Other students are upset with the lack of student involvement and inclusion throughout the entire process. “The fact that no student representatives were present on the planning committee, and no student input existed prior to the Blind Brook Congress survey is not only concerning, but undermines the entire process.” Said Daniel Croce, a Junior who has become quite invested in the block scheduling debate. Croce is not alone in his sentiments since Sophomore Komal Samrow also expressed concerns about being kept in the dark. Samrow is upset, “The school’s communication was poor, and in the face of student backlash, instead of actually addressing our concerns they went ahead and made a decision without us.” Students are feeling blindsided and some are outraged that their opinions were not respected and taken into account during the past three years the committee has met. Of course, a new schedule would not only affect students, since teachers would have to extend their days and rework their lessons to account for the longer periods. Some teachers have been on the block scheduling committee since its conception, contributing their concerns and ideas. In the past few months

though, block scheduling has created some tension between the Board of Education and the Teachers Federation, mostly due to the fact that teachers’ concerns were not fully addressed before the new schedule was finalized. During the November 2018 Board meeting, many teachers spoke about their opinions and reservations with block scheduling, but the Board of Education neglected to address those concerns before approving the final schedule. As of December 31, 2018, the Board of Education reached the final decision to implement block scheduling for the 2019-2020 school year. This decision has come regardless of a rise in student and faculty discontent with the proposed changes. It has become clear that the purpose for the adoption of a new schedule is to push Blind Brook out of the rigid, assembly-line format of the current schedule, and into a more innovative and engaging scheduling model. The switch is not because the current schedule is broken, as Dr. Byrne said, “That’s a key thing: what has been done for years is effective.” The administration wants to bring Blind Brook into the future, under the assumption block scheduling will benefit the students and the district. So be prepared Blind Brook, there’s a lot in store for next year.

Students Unhappy with Block Scheduling By Abby Ochs ‘21 his year, the topic of block scheduling has been the dark cloud looming over Blind Brook High School. The concept of block scheduling has been in the works for many years prior to the 2018-2019 school year, but now it is set in stone, beginning the new form of scheduling in the 20192020 school year. Some students have been taken aback by the idea of block scheduling and are not happy with the changes that have been passed. To be specific, out of 227 students polled, the current schedule we have now produces a 4.02 average of satisfaction on a 5.0 scale. When asked their opinion of block scheduling, this drops to an average of 1.62 out of 5.0. Granted, there is the previously stated bias against change and possibly a lack of information, but student’s input should have been taken into account. Many students feel that this change has been sprung on them without being provided enough information. Additionally, students believe that they have been ostracized from being a factor in making this change. Although not all students understand the entire concept, those who do have brought up some serious issues that have yet to be addressed, which is another problem in itself. As a member of Congress, I have heard first hand a plethora of problems with this proposed system. Some points brought up include the traffic congestion that will be present with the entire school being dismissed at once. Additionally, it impacts the times that clubs will be meeting after school. Finally and most importantly, there is concern for the impact it will have on the attention span of students. Not only will the classes be longer, but the school day will be extended too. One may argue that the “break” periods built into the day will provide students time to clear their heads during

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the extended day. However, in these break periods a student is technically assigned to a class period and could very well be called into that class during the break. This defeats the purpose of a break, adds even more stress on the student and increases time that students have to pay attention. The implementation of project-based learning is another major topic of discussion relevant to this new change. It will be a great way to teach students the true meaning of hands-on learning and applying skills to the real world, but one problem to this approach is that it is not applicable to every subject taught in school. Project-based learning will be especially tricky to put into place in subjects such as math or an AP course. From personal experience with project-based learning in math class, it became much harder to focus on the skills being taught, while students were also straddled with more work from attempting to tackle the extra project-based learning that came along with the new information. With regard to AP courses, there is speculation that because there is always a curriculum that needs to be followed, adding projectbased learning to classes such as these may result in too much going on at once. With any change we do not know its future, success or failure. If this change ends up working out, it will be a great achievement in improving and increasing the knowledge and experience of our students, and hopefully the atmosphere of the place we spend most of our waking hours. On the other hand, when the new scheduling system becomes our reality, an unsuccess in block scheduling would make a year of learning more challenging and stressful than it should have been. Let’s hope that our new schedule next year ends up taking away stress sitting on the shoulders of the students rather than adding to it.


Viewpoints Benefits of Block Scheduling

A Blind Brook High School Student Publication

January 2019

By Bryan Moroch ‘20 t’s reached that time of the year when settling into school is an afterthought. We know our schedules like the back of our hands. Our daily routines have been ingrained into our minds as they stay exactly the same. For 180 days. For 180 days this year, I will wake up at 6:30, go to school, arrive in English class at 7:50 where I will spend my next 40 minutes, move on to Spanish class, and so on. What if there was a day that I really did not want to go Photo Courtesy of Blind Brook to English class to start my The proposed high school schedule includes seven blocks, a break period, and one common lunch. day? What if I had a very big night and needed some extra mits would also improve how students are able to sleep before school? Under our current scheduling learn. Next, on days when students are absent, they format, these hypothetical situations are impossible. will not miss as many classes and would not have to However, with block scheduling, there are certainly make up as much work. Finally, with less transitions a plethora of new possibilities that will make our in between classes, there is a smaller chance of disdaily routines more exciting and interesting. ciplinary problems in the hallways. I understand that this is not the most popular stance I recognize the many concerns that the student on the issue. However, there are many unseen bene- body has with the modified schedule, but I am confifits to block scheduling. For starters, with less class- dent our school can adapt accordingly. For example, es in a day, teachers will have more time to prepare many people are concerned with the idea of having elaborate lessons and more time in class to complete all the students eating lunch in one period. However, their lessons without being interrupted. Longer pe- there is an abundance of space inside the commons riods will also permit for interactive, project-based and the middle school cafeteria for students to sit. learning, rather than plain lectures. With our cur- Additionally, a large number of students would use rent 40 minute periods, classes will often only have this vast period of time to visit teachers or get work time for one activity. With an extended period, the done in the library. Lastly, seniors have the privilege class will have an opportunity to thoroughly finish of going off campus to get lunch, which should multiple activities. Furthermore, a smaller percent- decrease the density of the lunchroom. Moreage of the period will be dedicated to administrative over, many have raised concerns about the school duties such as attendance or checking homework. day ending a tad later than it does now. However, Lastly, block scheduling causes teachers to see fewer with a rotating schedule, students with free periods students each day, which allows for more individual- should get to have it last period once a week, which ized instruction if students need assistance outside would permit them to finish their days earlier. The of class. longer day caused by the proposed schedule has In addition to these structural benefits, an adjusted raised the question about when clubs and extracurschedule would be incredibly beneficial for students. riculars would take place. I would propose holding With less classes in a day, students’ workload each club meetings during the twenty minute break that night will decrease. Although some teachers would is built into the new schedule. A few clubs would then possibly assign more long-term assignments, be assigned a day in the schedules’ rotation to hold students would receive great practice in time man- their meetings, which would certainly be an effecagement skills. These skills can be especially use- tive use of time. ful for assignments in college as many institutions Overall, I am aware of the flaws and inconsistenpractice block scheduling as well. Additionally, stud- cies the implementation of block scheduling will ies have proven it beneficial for students to be focus- bring to our school. Nevertheless, I think the bening on less subjects in a day in order to retain the efits will outweigh the negatives and once adjusted, most information possible. In other words, as a stu- we will all come to love the new format. Thus, my dent takes more classes in a day, it will be harder for advice for now is not to tear apart the flaws but rathhim/her to retain what they learned in each class, as er have a positive attitude as the educational benefits they have to focus on more information. The new, are undeniable. innovative curriculum that block scheduling per-

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Viewpoints

A Blind Brook High School Student Publication

January 2019

The Importance of A Testing Calendar

Photo Courtesy of Lily Janjigian The 11th grade testing calendar lists the tests that are being given to 11th grade students each day of the week.

By Sam Knee ‘21 t can be difficult for a high school student to stifle their stress when discussing the workload faced each week in and out of the classroom. BBHS Congress members have recently pushed for easier student access to the schedule of assessments and in-class assignments. There has been some form of a testing calendar for years so teachers can coordinate and prevent overlapping assessments; but with the slightly newer use of Google Calendar, students can feel lost in the shuffle. There are currently four main calendars-one for each grade in the high school. When a teacher goes to add or change one of their projects or assessments, it can be difficult since most teachers teach multiple courses and grade levels. Mrs. Sabatella, a Spanish and Latin teacher explained her personal encounter with this in the schedule. “I have students in multiples grade so it becomes a little bit more difficult to plan around all the other core tests that are happening during those times.” Planning test dates can be a difficult decision between their own class schedule as well as planning around other teachers in order to benefit students to the best of their ability. Sabatella later explained, “So maybe the juniors have two tests this day, but the sophomores only have one test this day and then vice versa, so it comes to kind of finagle when you’re going to have the test.” Nicole Rosenzweig, a Blind Brook Congress Member who’s been pushing for student access of the calendar shared her thoughts. “The testing calendar has been used for years so that teachers are aware of the assessments that their students have coming up. However, we have seen that this tool designed for the benefit of

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students could not even be accessed by students in the past. The Committee of Academic Affairs on Congress met to prepare an instructions sheet so that students would be able to access the testing calendar. Now there is a document that is linkshared with the entire district and posted on QR codes around the high school so that students are able to access the testing calendar.” Although Congress has made strides to make the calendar more accessible, there is a greater problem at hand. Agustin Otero, a senior, commented on the lack of teacher initiative to actually post onto the calendar. “Teachers tend to claim priority for the tests that they schedule which can cause student stress because neither teacher will be willing to accommodate the other.” Senior Lucy Shearer also commented, “I do not need to be responsible for telling my teachers when the other tests are. Every teacher should post on the calendar or be willing to accommodate other teachers.” Teachers are able to assign tests when they please as long as it does not exceed two tests a day. The lack of coordination between the faculty in regards to tests on the calendar has attributed to more student stress and has resulted in students’ mistrust in the calendar as a whole. On December 16th, a poll of 57 random high school students expressed their opinions. The results emphasized that nearly 77% of the students felt its extremely helpful to know exactly when your tests/ projects are due, yet nearly half of them didn’t even know that the testing calendar was available for their access. The Blind Brook Congress instruction sheet and more info can be found here: https://goo.gl/8m1tXH


Viewpoints

A Blind Brook High School Student Publication

January 2019

Service in Philly By Abe Baker-Butler ‘20 n Thanksgiving, turkey, stuffing, family, and gratitude filled our homes and hearts. As we sit around the table, we catch up with relatives, perhaps navigate fraught discussions of politics, and likely think about the blessings for which we are thankful. For me, this time of year–after Thanksgiving, and around Chanukah and Christmas–makes me reflect on how our community can be a better, more generous, forgiving, and welcoming place. Such thoughts were ignited earlier this month when I traveled to Philadelphia on a service trip with J-Teen Leadership, a Westchester-wide teen service organization, to collaborate with Repair the World, an organization that works with partners to reduce inequality in the Philadelphia community. Our first stop was Cradles to Crayons, where we sorted jackets for children in need. There, an employee told us the following story: two sisters in elementary school were star students. However, as winter began, their attendance and grades faltered. When teachers inquired, it turned out that the two sisters had to walk to school each morning but had only one winter jacket to share between them. Each night, the sisters would discuss who had more important commitments at school the following day to decide which one of them would get to wear the winter jacket and therefore be the one who attended school. This story is heartbreaking; how could a jacket make the difference between truancy and academic success? In just one hour, we were able to pack over 1,000 donated jackets. That’s 1,000 children for whom a lack of proper outerwear will no longer be an obstacle that prevents them from succeeding in school. The next day, we took a tour with MuralArts, a nonprofit organization that employs ex-felons to create art on buildings. The murals were beautiful, but the most astonishing thing was this: although the rate of ex-felon recidivism in the U.S. is about 80%, for exfelons who joined MuralArts, the rate was only 20%. We also worked with the Jewish Relief Agency, alongside many religious, interfaith, and school groups, to pack and deliver more than 2,600 pounds of food. I worked with a Philadelphia high schooler to deliver food boxes and had the opportunity to get to know someone with a very different background and bond through our shared service in pursuit of a mutual goal. On the third day of our trip, we volunteered at a community garden. At first, the place appeared to be an abandoned lot. Only after weeding and cleaning with the garden’s stewards was I able to understand its significance as a memorial to the victims of a gas pipe explosion in the 1980s and a community gathering place. As my experiences in Philly illustrated, helping those in need doesn’t only benefit the lives of others, but it can also be an educational, social, and allaround rewarding experience. We don’t have to look as far as Philadelphia to see similar socioeconomic problems–they exist around the corner in our local community. Throughout Westchester, obstacles to success, including food insecurity, drug addiction, child poverty, and unemployment, afflict many residents. According to the 2012 American Community Survey, 12.7% of Westchester children live in poverty,

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Photo Courtesy of Abe Baker-Butler Philadelphia service trip participants pose in front of a mural painted by formerly incarcerated individuals.

and their families have little money to spend on luxuries, like new shoes and clothing. The Sharing Shelf, based in Port Chester, and Kids Kloset, based in White Plains, serve as child clothing banks in our local community. These two organizations collect clothing donations of all sizes and fulfill clothing requests from teachers, social workers, and therapists. Both organizations are in need of volunteers and donations (Visit https://www.914cares.org/kids-kloset/ and http:// www.fsw.org/our-programs/the-sharing-shelf). Specifically targeted at youth, The Carver Center in Port Chester provides after-school programs, teen programs, fitness programs, tutoring, and nutritional support in our community. The Center is currently looking for tutors, food pantry donations, and summer counselors (carvercenter.org). Also, consider donating to the Weber Community Garden, which provides opportunities for low-income residents to grow their own organic vegetables (portchestercares.org/weber_garden.html), or reaching out to St. Peter’s Interfaith Soup Kitchen, which serves nutritious meals to the hungry multiple times a week (www.stpeterspcny.org/outreach/soup-kitchen). If you are interested in improving healthcare, the Open Door Family Medical Center in Port Chester (www.opendoormedical.org/join-us/volunteer/) offers a range of volunteer opportunities for adults, college students, and teens. Finally, if you’re a teenager, consider participating in a J-Teen Leadership project (jteenleadership.org), attending a program at Center Lane, Westchester’s only LGBTQ youth and community education center (www.wjcs.com/centerlane-lgbtq-youth-and-community-education-center), or joining the Westchester County Youth Council (www.fsw.org/our-programs/youth-programs/ youth-councils). There are numerous amounts of ways you can contribute to the community. With just a modest investment of time, we can each make a huge difference. 7 19


Arts & Entertainment

A Blind Brook High School Student Publication

January 2019

Academy Awards 2019: 91 Years of Excellence more interesting and harder to decide. NevertheBy Guillermo Prieto ‘20 t’s a wrap! As 2018 has come to a close, and less, all of these actors will still gain acclaim at oththe new year is on the horizon, filmgoers across er award ceremonies. A Star is Born filmmaker and the nation have been anxiously anticipating Award star, Bradley Cooper, like Gaga, will get nominatseason. Critics and audience members alike have al- ed and will most likely win Best Actor. However, ready begun choosing their top picks of the year and there still is a lot of competition, like Christian Bale hoping to see their predictions at the Oscars. How- portrayal of Dick Cheney in Vice, and actors who ever, at the time of writing this article, no nominees gain or lose weight for a role that is for multiple have been announced. Thankfully though, looking Golden Globe-nominated films such as Jared Leto over the Golden Globe nominees can help predict and Matthew McConaughey. But it doesn’t stop the possible nominees for the upcoming Academy there! Rami Malek received universal praise for his Awards. The ceremony will be held on Sunday, performance as Freddy Mercury in the Bohemian February 24, 8:00 pm EST at the Dolby Theater in Rhapsody film. This one will definitely be a tough one for the Academy to figure out! And again, like Hollywood. Mark your calendars! Yes, there have been some screw-ups leading up Best Actress, the actor I want to get nominated and to the 91st Academy Awards, such as Kevin Hart’s win, is not nominated for a Golden Globe. This acrefusal to host, and the delayed Best Popular Film tor would be Ethan Hawke from First Reformed. category. However, it is more important to discuss Direction is the heart and soul of any motion picwhat films are to be expected to become possible ture, so being awarded for excellence in Best Directing must nominees, so be a wonderyou can watch ful feeling. It the films prior to the ceremomeans you ny and predict had a vision, what would and the whole win! I’ve deworld loves cided to talk what universe about Best Picyou brought ture, Actor, and into their lives. Director. I will These directors mention my did just that. predictions for Yes, A Star is films that could Born is knockbecome nomiing every catenees and possigory out of the ble winners for park, and BradPhoto Courtesy of Time Magazine each category, ley Cooper will and a subjective opinion on who I believe should most likely get a nomination. Ryan Coogler could get recognition. be nominated as well for Black Panther, along with Starting off: Best Actress. Lady Gaga is most Spike Lee in BlacKkKlansman. Alfonso Cuarón likely to get nominated for her work in the mod- should also absolutely get nominated for his work ern adaptation of A Star is Born. Other possible in Roma. I believe he can, and should win. contenders include Olivia Colman as Queen Anne Now, the big one: Best Picture. Films that will in The Favourite, Melissa McCarthy as Lee Israel most likely get nominated are Green Book, If Beale in Can You Ever Forgive Me?, Yalitza Aparicio in Street Could Talk, A Star is Born, First Man, The Roma, and a very small chance of 15-year-old Elsie Favourite, BlacKkKlansman, Vice, and possibly Fisher in Eighth Grade. All of these actresses ex- Black Panther. But the film I adore the most out of cept Aparicio have been nominated for the Golden any other film I have mentioned is Roma. This will Globes. Although I believe Colman could win if 100% win Best Foreign Language Film, and essenshe is nominated, Gaga has a might have a chance. tially has to get a nomination. Personally, I believe Someone I want to get nominated, but most likely it to be not only to be the best film of the year but won’t, is Toni Collette in Hereditary. I believe she one of the best films I have ever seen. Not only do gave the best performance out of any one of these I have a personal connection with the film, but it actresses, but due to the lack of her getting nomi- is a flawless motion picture. There is quite a lot of nated for any prior awards, it’s a long shot. competition, so you will for sure be on the edge of Best Actor, on the other hand, I consider to be your seat during the ceremony.

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Arts & Entertainment

A Blind Brook High School Student Publication

January 2019

Halftime Show: More Than Just a Performance artist(s) is showing support for the NFL and By Lauren DeMarco ‘20 n February 3, 2019, at the Mercedes hate towards Colin Kaepernick and the other Benz Stadium in Atlanta Georgia, the plays kneeling for the National Anthem. 53rd Super Bowl will be held. This is by far As a result of this belief, various artists have the most important game in the entire NFL supposedly denied performing at the halftime season, bringing in over 100 million viewers show. According to Billboard, “it was reported each year. The halftime show has been filled that Rihanna turned down next year’s halfby great performers in the past like Beyonce, time slot in solidarity with former NFL quarJustin Timberlake, and Lady Gaga. The per- terback Colin Kaepernick”. Cardi B has also formance is not only very important for bring- turned down the offer, who has been a known ing in more views, but it is also an aspect of supporter of Kaepernick. In a speech at the the Super Bowl that all people enjoy. However, MTV VMAs, she said, “Colin Kaepernick, as there has been a lot of debate on who will per- long as you kneel with us, we gonna standform this year due to the controversy over the ing for you, baby.” Cardi admitted that she practice of kneeling during the National An- wouldn’t perform until Kaepernick is rehired. Rihanna and Cardi show an obvious opinion them. The movement was started by former NFL that performing at the Super Bowl means that quarterback Colin Kaepernick on August 26, they would be supporting the NFL and not Co2016, and was carried on by fellow NFL play- lin, which is arguably not the case. Blind Brook ers. Colin knelt during the National Anthem student Spencer Rose shows the other side of of the San Francisco 49ers vs Green Bay Pack- the debate. He said, “I don’t think performing ers game to bring attention to a lack of rights at the halftime show needs to be connected to for African Americans. Colin undoubtedly cap- kneeling. It is just an opportunity to further tured the attention of people, as millions have the artist’s career and perform. It doesn’t need shared opinions regarding the situation on to be about kneeling.” People like Rose would platforms of social media and the news. Kae- argue that the Super Bowl halftime show is a pernick told the NFL, “I am not going to stand famous performance with millions of viewers up to show pride in a flag for a country that and a lot of publicity. To them, it is not about oppresses black people and people of color.” the politics of football, it is just about enterFrom Kaepernick’s point of view, kneeling for tainment. the National Anthem is not something required As of now, Maroon 5 is scheduled to perform of all people. “In respecting such American at halftime. On December 20, 2018 it was anprinciples as freedom of religion and freedom nounced that Travis Scott would be accompaof expression, we recognize the right of an nying the group in the performance. Unfortuindividual to choose and participate, or not, in nately, there has been hate towards Maroon 5 our celebration of the national anthem.” On for taking the gig, including an online petition the other hand, other NFL players, like Ale- for them to not perform which has over 63,000 jandro Villanueva on the Pittsburgh Steelers, signatures. Lead singer of Maroon 5, Adam feels differently. Villanueva served as Captain Levine, is unsure on what to do and has a big in the Army and is decorated with a Bronze decision to make with repercussions on both Star for valor. When the Steelers stayed in the sides. As of now, Travis Scott and Maroon 5 locker room for the National Anthem, he came will be performing at the halftime show for onto the field and stood for the flag. Villanueva Super Bowl LIII, but it is unknown whether has a lot of pride in his country and chooses to this will actually happen and what kind of a response will come of it. respect the flag that represents it. All of this controversy and debate about whether players should be allowed to kneel has brought attention to the NFL from people who aren’t necessarily football fans. Devin Weiss, a student at Blind Brook, shared his opinion of the subject. He said, “People are thinking about what he’s [Colin Kaepernick] doing the wrong way. I don’t think he’s trying to disrespect the country, more so he is trying to bring light to problems facing black people in today’s society.” This controversial issue directly relates to the artist(s) who perform at the Photo Courtesy of SB Nation Super Bowl because some Justin Timberlake performs in the 2018 Super Bowl LII Halftime Show. think that by performing, the

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Arts & Entertainment

A Blind Brook High School Student Publication

January 2019

Ariana’s New Single Under the Spotlight By Abby Schlactus ‘20 riana Grande’s new music video for the hit song, “Thank U, Next” was highly anticipated by all of her fans. Between sneak peeks and leaked themes presented in the video, Ariana made sure her it got the attention it deserved even before it came out. While many people believe her song is all about her old exboyfriends, like Big Sean, Mac Miller, Ricky Alvarez, and Pete Davidson, there are hidden messages throughout her entire video that show many different themes about her life. The music video references four iconic movies of the early 2000s: Mean Girls, Bring It On, 13 Going on 30, and Legally Blonde. These movies are immensely popular, which is why everyone was so excited for the release of Ariana’s video. Isabel Steinberg, a senior, said, “It was so fun to see so many classic movies tied into a modern song”. Ariana also incorporated a starstudded ensemble of actors in her video, including those from her previous roles in television shows, and actors from the original movies that are portrayed in the video. During the Mean Girls portion, Ariana plays character Regina George reading her Burn Book, which was a form of bullying in the movie. However, In the music video, Ariana chooses to use to book to spread kind words about all of her past boyfriends, including Ricky Alvarez, Big Sean, and Pete Davidson. Instead of the words “Burn Book” on the cover, it reads, “Thank U, Next”, revealing how Ariana wants to move on from these relationships with no bad blood. Next, she reenacts the Mean Girls holiday talent show scene with her friends Liz Gillies as Cady Heron, Alexa Luria as Karen Smith, and Courtney Chipolone as Gretchen Weiners. Liz Gillies played alongside Ariana in the Nickelodeon show Victorious. Kris Jenner also makes a perfect appearance as the “cool mom” during this performance, recording with the iconic video camera. Bring It On is the following movie reenactment. Ariana plays head cheerleader, Torrance Shipman, and wears a uniform with the letters, “TUN”, which stand for “Thank U, Next”. She cheers alongside her friends Colleen Ballinger, a famous youtuber, and Daniella Monet, another blast from the Victorious past. Also, Ariana and Matt Blanc, another Victorious cast

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Photo Courtesy of Variety Ariana Grande playing Regina George in the Thank U, Next music video 10 18

Photo Courtesy of IMDb The cover art for Ariana Grande’s song, Thank U, Next.

member, reenact the flirty toothbrush scene between Torrance and her crush, Cliff, from the movie. People were so excited about the appearance of Ariana’s castmates. Emilly Faustino, a junior, says, “The way she incorporated her old Victorious cast was a reunion that needed to happen”. Another scene from Bring It On that was depicted in the music video is when Cliff gives Torrance a tape of a song that he wrote. In the movie, the tape says, “To Torrance, From Cliff ”, but in the music video, Ariana gives herself a tape that says, “To Ari, From Ari”, showing how Ariana wrote the song for herself. 13 Going on 30 is the next movie in the music video. The parts of the video are inspired by the final few emotional scenes. Ariana plays Jenna, who goes to the house of her childhood friend Matt and finds the dollhouse that he made her on her 13th birthday. The house has many details that might be hard to catch the first time watching. For instance, the rooms replicate Regina George’s room, Torrance’s room, the bathroom from Bring It On, and more. Ariana cries as she looks through the dollhouse admitting her broken heart over Matt marrying someone else. However, it is hard to see who is actually getting married. The bride looks like Ariana, but it is difficult to tell. This alludes to the fact that Ariana Grande almost got married to her ex-boyfriend, Pete Davidson, but did not. Legally Blonde is the last movie shown in the video. Ariana plays Elle Woods, a character she can relate to because she has been proving her haters wrong, as did Elle in the movie when she became an intelligent lawyer Jennifer Coolidge, who played Elle’s Sidekick in the movie, made an appearance in the music video during the reenactment of the salon scene, including the famous Bend and Snap move. On a more important note, a different scene is pictured of Ariana reading law books, as did Elle in the movie. In contrast to Legally Blonde, Ariana reads a book titled, “Immigration and Refugee Law and Policy”, bringing a political aspect into the video. Although Ariana teased this video for such a long time, fans can say that it was worth the wait. The amount of detail used to create this music video is legendary, and Ariana has broken YouTube’s record for most views in the first 24 hours of release with 55.4 million views. I’d say this music video has everything a fan of Ariana could ask for, and even more!


Arts & Entertainment

A Blind Brook High School Student Publication

January 2019

Vacation or Staycation?

By Olivia Zahl ‘22 ost people can agree that vacation is the best time of year. Work and school bring a great load of stress, pressure, and overwhelming feelings. There comes a time when people just need to take a break. Whether one goes to Florida to relax on the beach, or just snuggles up in their bed and sleeps all day, vacation time is the best time. When it comes to break during the school year, there is always the choice to make between a staycation or vacation. All people are different and prefer different types of vacation. There are the families who like to travel to other states, usually for the difference in weather, and there are the families who would rather stay home and chill out. A 9th-grade student from Blind Brook High School describes her opinion: “Going on vacation is so much better. I like to go to many different places. I usually get bored if I stay home.” When asked about fun places she has been to, the 9th grader stated, “Massachusetts for skiing and Turks and Caicos.” She then continued, “My favorite trip was Turks and Caicos because it is so nice there and there is a lot to do.” The student was very excited while talking about her amazing trip. She went on, “If you ever plan on traveling to Turks and Caicos I would give people the advice to bring and wear a lot of sunscreen because the sun is very strong.” Besides traveling to this wonderful location, there are still many other places she would love to explore. When asked if she could travel anywhere in the world and why, the 9th grader replied, “I would go to Hawaii because I love the beach and it sounds so cool.” Similarly to the 9th-grade student, 10th grader Sabrina Wohl also prefers to go on vacation. She enjoys getting to spend time away from home with her entire family. “I usually go on vacations to Aruba with my whole family,” Wohl said. She then went on to describe her enjoyable trips. She stated, “On vacation, we usually go to the beach and go swimming in the ocean or the pool at the hotel. At night we go out to really fun and delicious restaurants.

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Photo/Rebecca Weiss The Eiffel Tower is one of the most famous tourist attractions in Paris, a very popular spot for vacation.

Photo/Abby Kimmel Costa Rica is a popular vacation spot, with lots of wildlife that attracts tourists.

After dinner, we sometimes will go and watch fireworks on the beach.” Wohl was questioned about why this was her favorite trip, and she replied, “Aruba is my favorite trip because every year I get to spend a week with my family who I don’t get to see often during the year.” Aruba is an amazing place to travel to, but Wohl would also like to visit Italy: “If I could travel anywhere in the world I think it would have to be Italy. It has always been a dream of mine to go because I just find all the food and places so interesting.” Wohl cannot wait for the upcoming break. She is excited to have a nice, relaxing, and fun vacation. While some people love to go on a nice getaway during their time off, there are also those who would rather relax in the comfort of their home. Staycations may not be as relaxing as one would think; some are filled with many different and fun activities. 9th-grade student Joshua Rosenblut prefers a staycation. Rosenblut is not the type of kid who enjoys sleeping and relaxing all day, rather he enjoys being busy! When asked about the fun things he would suggest doing during a staycation Rosenblut stated, “New York City is always a great place to go. You can go to a museum or even just explore NYC.” While the city is a great idea, sometimes it’s not possible to get there, maybe because of the weather. Rosenblut was asked about what to do during times like these and he replied, “During the day you can play Xbox, hang out with friends, and hang out with family. Some tips I would give to people in order to stay occupied during a staycation would be to do these sort of things.” Besides lazing at home and touring the city, Rosenblut has a staycation tradition: “I always go to a Knicks and a Rangers game with my grandpa,” he continued, “I like to be out and about during a staycation.” Both vacations and staycations are very enjoyable, fun, relaxing, and a good break from the stress of work and school. There are many things to do, many places to go, and many things to see. Make sure to be looking ahead towards the next break, because it’s time to start planning your fun-filled vacation or staycation early! 11 19


Arts & Entertainment Pretty Woman: The Musical is No Dream

A Blind Brook High School Student Publication

By Sydney Panzier ‘20 “Pretty Women: The Musical” is both a disappointment and a success at the same time. The successful 1990 hit romcom probably should not be a musical in the first place. I understand the temptation of a rags to riches story, but this story, with its borderline unseemly subject, (watch the movie) is not a sure thing. This is the problem with Broadway today. Everyone is running out of ideas and they are grabbing every cult classic; adding music and cheesy sets and in my mind, generally failed. This modern version of Cinderella is no exception. With music and lyrics written by the talented Bryan Adams and Jim Vallance, the show should be better than what it is. The country twang mixed with Bon Jovi-like rock chords were not meant to be paired with this particular screen to stage adaptation. The lyrics “together forever you and me, we’re gonna make it somehow”, is just one example of how sugar-coated the songs are in this movie-turned-musical. Like the movie, the opening scene of the musical shows Vivian (Samantha Barks) seeing one of her Hollywood Boulevard ‘work’ friends killed in a dumpster. The next second, she’s swooped away by multimillionaire Edward Lewis (Andy Karl) and taken to the grand Beverly Wilshire Hotel. The simple silhouette sets and almost exact movie replica costumes leave you wanting a little more creativity. The copy and

paste scenes feel like cheap plagarism, but are often redeemed by excellent execution from the star-studded cast. Samantha Barks, fills Julia Roberts shoes, or should I say stilettos, with grace, dimples, and flawless acting. Taking the stage as such an iconic character and following an even more timeless actress could have gone wrong, yet Barks proved that she can have the same wit and sparkle as Roberts, making the audience instantly fall in love with her. The same could be said about the adorable Andy Karl in his portrayal of the multimillion businessman who makes a living buying and breaking up companies. His strong voice mixed with the country style music would maybe be swoon-worthy if the lyrics weren’t composed of too many ballads with a kindergartener’s vocabulary for a span of two hours. Tommy Bracco deserved better, to say the least. His performance as the bellhop, Giulio, and various members of the ensemble gave the musical comedic relief whenever it was needed, and it was needed. A lot. However, knowing how talented he is makes his menial casting hard to stomach. Pretty Woman, The Musical is a trip back to 1990’s Hollywood, but in this case, it’s probably not your land of dreams in the city of lights. Save your dollars, rent the original movie and don’t make a somewhat “Big! Huge!” mistake visiting this particular show on Broadway.

Photo Courtesy of Broadway The cast performs a show of Pretty Woman on Broadway. 12 18

January 2019


Arts & Entertainment

A Blind Brook High School Student Publication

January 2019

Movies & Television in 2018: Rebooted

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Columnist Mackenzie Drangel ‘19

018 was a strong year for both movies and television. It was chock-full of the familiar and the daring. The year consisted of not only an abundance of series reboots in television, but in a sense, the film industry was duly rebooted by revived film genres and diversely casted films. This year we saw a real thirst for new, diverse stories that actually mimics the call for representation in the political world. “Black Panther,” considered to be the movie event of the year, led by an all AfricanAmerican cast, made $1.3 billion as of May, despite its themes of black nationalism being so front and center. The first major black superhero movie and its core, the mystical nation of Wakanda, are now cultural phenomenons. “Crazy Rich Asians” is the first major Hollywood production that isn’t a period piece to be spearheaded by an all-Asian cast in 25 years. Most importantly, it’s a love story, minus the overplayed Asian stereotypes attached to films in the past. I don’t Photo Courtesy of think it’s an accident that these films emerged at such an essential time; during a political moment that centers white identity and white nationalism, and thankfully we’re seeing popular art that lurches in an opposite direction. 2018 proved how bankable nonwhite storylines, heroes and love stories can be. 2018 also entailed the resurgences of several film genres. Romantic comedies for one, which always had a bad rap with the odds stacked against them: box-office grosses are down and audiences are increasingly wrestling with traditional gender dynamics. Netflix played a major role in romantic comedies’ certifiable moment this year, with a slew of popular films such as “To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before,” “Set It Up,” and “The Kissing Booth.” Blockbuster films such as, “Crazy Rich

Asians,” “Juliet, Naked,” and “The Book Club” also were key to the rom-com’s sought-after comeback. The film industry was finally able to get rom-coms right by refocusing on what women want, beyond a man, and celebrating equal partnerships. Documentaries also found their way back into the spotlight with invigorating stories. Popular documentaries, “Three Identical Strangers,” “Won’t You Be My Neighbor,” and “Notorious RBG” made a banner year for this overlooked genre. Television was dominated this year by revivals and reboots of beloved and sorely missed series. Series including “Murphy Brown,” “Will & Grace,” “Dynasty,” and “American Idol” returned to the silver screen and were well received by fans. Netflix brought back “Queer Eye”, “Fuller House” (which is the reboot of the 1990’s classic “Full House”,) and the reboot of “Sabrina The Teenage Witch,” and “The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina.” “Roseanne,” was the infamously ill-fated revival of Mackenzie Drangel the year, that was canceled after star Roseanne Barr’s racist tweets. “The Conners,” a spin-off of “Roseanne” is planned to air in 2019. Hollywood got a major boost thanks to these revamped film genres, casts, and television series. This year proved the importance of every voice being heard through the arts in times of political chaos. And it showed the need for escapism, nostalgia, and familiarity during dark times. 2018 stood out for it’s increased diversifying on the screen and heading into 2019, it’s essential that the momentum continues. Moviegoers have shown that they are all for the direction films are going in: moviegoing spiked in 2018 with a record 42 billion dollar year at the box office. Soon enough diversity ought to be the new norm in entertainment and audiences are staying tuned for it. 13 19


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Student Poll: W

Gville Deli

The Gville Deli is a Blind Brook student body favorite, consequential to its convenience to the Blind Brook’s campus. On any half day of school, you are bound to see dozens of students and faculty as you enjoy a classic Gville sandwich, or simply one of the many styles of coffee they serve. Despite this, the question remains: Is the deli deserving of all the appreciation it gets? The answer: Yes, definitely! Gville boasts an extraordinary menu, including the world-famous grilled mac and cheese with bacon, and the popular Civic Center which includes chicken cutlet, onion rings, bacon, cheddar cheese, and barbeque sauce. In addition to sandwiches, GVille offers its customers a selection of salads, soups, entrees, and snacks. With tons of parking, quick service and one of the friendliest crew’s around, you can’t go wrong when setting foot in the Gville Deli.

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By Bryan M Corbo’s Corner Deli West

Corbo’s is an outstanding delicatessen inside and out with tremendous diversity and flexibility with its sandwiches. From classic chicken wedges like the unique Dude Ranch, made with Cajun Chicken, Bacon, Swiss Cheese, Barbecue Sauce, and Ranch Dressing, to simple breakfast sandwiches like the enamored Bacon Egg and Cheese, Corbo’s has it all. Although sandwiches are its specialty, the Corner Deli offers plenty of sides and snacks, including their famous potato cones, while offering several other finger foods such as chicken tenders. Although no longer situated in Belle Fair, Corbo’s still boasts its convenient main location in Greenwich. The service is fast and they accept both cash and credit cards. If you haven’t been over to Corbo’s yet, you must make it over to Greenwich soon, because you don’t miss what this deli has to offer. Who knows, maybe a sandwich you customize will make the daily menu! 18

Marini’s Deli

Marini’s Deli in Port Chester is a great, unique and very affordable deli located less than 10 minutes from the school. With tons of seating, an ATM and a wide variety of sandwiches, hot foods, snacks, drinks and more, the establishment offers something for everyone. They even have some of the best chicken nuggets around from the popular Chicken Joe’s. Remember, ask them for their homemade spice with your meal, they only serve it if you ask! Marini’s is mostly known for their “Senior Sandwiches” consisting of every possible ingredient imaginable. A favorite is the Senior ‘10 which includes chicken cutlet, cheese, chili, bacon, fries, potato cones, and hot sauce all for just $10 on a wedge with a soda. If they think it’s a hit, they will make it a Senior Special! The atmosphere is unrivaled, the service is fast and easy and the staff is wonderful. Marini’s is definitely a place you should try if you have not yet!


What’s your favorite deli?

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Castleview Deli

The Castleview Deli is an extremely solid delicatessen with a high-quality menu. Quietly located close to the school, the restaurant has plenty of seating, a TV, and parking for both cars and bikes. Some popular items include their breakfast sandwiches and muffins, which are certainly the best around. A new addition to their menu is the Oh Donna. Additionally, Castleview has an excellent, friendly staff that gets the food out in no time. However, a major issue with the deli is the fact that it closes at 3 o’clock every day, which certainly hinders the afterschool traffic. If you want a quick bite after 2:20, make sure to get there in time!

o t e id s i l e l D

Moroch ‘20 Rye Ridge Deli

The Rye Ridge Deli, despite being the most upscale, is not in the same realm as many of the other delis mentioned. Its aim is to be a traditional New York deli with their large selection of meats such as pastrami, roast beef, turkey, and beef tongue. They are open 7 days a week with the hours of 7 am to 4 pm. However, most of their sandwiches are very pricey and lack the flavor of similar, cheaper sandwiches found in the aforementioned deli’s. Furthermore, when ordering a sandwich with pastrami and turkey together, the Rye Ridge Deli will serve the pastrami hot and the turkey cold, which does not make for a good experience. Nonetheless, if you are seeking a sit-down meal and want deli food, this is the place for you - offering breakfast and lunch options with several sides along with a plethora of baked goods at the front counter. Although the establishment delivers to your front door, an afterschool snack may be a better experience elsewhere. Photos/Emily Savino

Belle Fair Kitchen

The Bellefair Kitchen took over the deli space in Bellefair this past year upon the closing of Corbo’s. Although lacking the same variety, the Belle Fair Kitchen has a few high-quality sandwiches, mostly consisting of chicken or steak. Although some may complain about the menu’s small size, Belle Fair uses gourmet ingredients to give their sandwiches the best possible taste. Additionally, the deli is home to a terrific pizza oven and has a great selection of snacks. But be warned, the sandwiches can become pricey. With that said, if you are in Belle Fair and want a quick bite, this is definitely the place to try. 19


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Features

A Blind Brook High School Student Publication

January 2019

In Control Driving By Rebecca Weiss ‘19 9 years ago around Christmas time, Michael Blank was speeding down King Street when he crashed into a telephone pole, resulting in a fatal accident. There were no drugs involved and the weather was not bad, he was simply speeding. Had Michael been taught how to properly brake in emergency situations it might have saved his life. So every December, juniors and seniors at Blind Brook are offered the opportunity to go on the day-long In Control Driving trip. “The incontrol driving program is a 12 hour day where students take a bus to Massachusetts and practice driving techniques and learn information Photo Courtesy of In Control Crash Prevention Training that is useful in case of emergency” A typical vehicle used by students during an In Control course. explained senior Isabel Steinberg, telling their story across Westchester Country in or“examples of these are slaloming, quick breaking, proper tire care, and the ins and outs der to prevent other families from experiencing what they did. While listening to the story touches people of the automatic braking system.” The trip is run by a company in Massachusetts, in an emotional way, the trip comforts people by alcalled In Control Crash Prevention. In 2007, they lowing them to know that they have the skills to drive became the first state certified Driver Skills Develop- in any situation. ment Program in the US and they continue to be an Although many students take Drivers Education in exemplar for crash prevention training today. Fatal order to get their senior license as 17 instead of 18, car crashes are the most common cause of death for the In Control Driving course teaches a completely teens, but In Control has been proven to reduce acci- different set of skills. In Driver’s ed students practice dents in those students who take their course by 70%. driving on roads and parking in general whereas in “Before going to the course I thought it would be this course, students are able to speed and they exjust like drivers education” stated junior Sean Keilman. perience dangerous situations while learning how to “To my surprise though instead of a sitting through properly solve them. a long, boring lecture course I was going 50 mph in a In Control’s program is similar to what many European countries have as their regular Driver’s Educaparking lot and then quickly stopping.” The students go through hands on training, driving tion. These countries that have this type of program in an open lot, where they face many dangers that are have significantly lower crashes. Although students posed to drivers today, including anti text messaging, may not want to go at first, many of them enjoy the tailgating, and over and under steering training. Giv- empowering feeling they gain afterwards of undering the experience to these young drivers is crucial to standing how to control a car. forming good habits while they are still just begin- Although Blind Brook takes just juniors and seniors ning to learn to drive. This hands on training is then on the trip, In Control is not just for new or inexpesupplemented with classroom learning where the stu- rienced drivers. In fact, they encourage adults and dents are taught about situational and airbag aware- seniors to attend their programs too. While people ness, impaired driving, road rage, and vehicle assess- are more likely to get in a crash within the first few hundred hours of driving, car crashes are still among ment. In April in order for the juniors to receive their park- the highest causes of death for adults under 45. Ading passes for the Blind Brook parking lot, they must ditionally, as people age their reaction time increases attend an annual assembly given by Tina and Rick and their mobility decreases so it is just as important Blank, Michael’s parents. The Blanks recount their for senior citizens to take the course too. son’s tragic story as the entire room sits in silence and “In Control was a great experience and showed me fear. Chills run up and down people’s spines and some a lot about driving that I know I could not learn anyeven shed a few tears. Parents sit terrified for their where else safely” said junior Lauren Demarco. “It was children, while the juniors vow never to speed again. fun yet educational and I would definitely recommend For almost 20 years, the Blanks have been tragically it to all drivers.

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Features

A Blind Brook High School Student Publication

January 2019

Elevate Education Comes to Blind Brook

By Danielle Cappelli ‘22 n Blind Brook High School, a new transition program for 9th graders has been introduced called Elevate Education. This program is being used for the current 9th grade class. Every few weeks, a presenter that works for Elevate comes into all 9th grade English classes, and teaches the students about different ways to be successful academically throughout high school. Some areas that the program instructs students about are annotating texts, note taking skills and time management skills. This is supposed to help 9th graders have certain skills that are key to success throughout high school. A 9th grade english teacher, Mackenzie Gasparini thinks that the transition program is needed in the high school. “I think that it’s important to have a transition program for the kids” said Gasparini. “It’s a positive [for students] to have study skills.” Elevate Education isn’t the only 9th grade transition the school has had. The 9th graders last year (current 10th graders) went through a different program called Study Sensei. Study Sensei was similar to Elevate Education in the sense that it taught the 9th graders certain skills needed for high school, but it was organized so that 2-3 english classes were grouped together in a larger space, such as the library, instead of having the lessons taught in the individual classrooms, like the current program. The former 9th grade students stated that the old program wasn’t impactful and organized, so BBHS decided to change the program to make it more organized and individualized, so that it has more value for the students. Every other day, all of the current 9th grade students have an Intro to Humanities Research class right after their regular english class period, and it is taught by their english teacher. The speakers of the Elevate Education program come in during the 9th graders’ english class every few weeks, and present to the 9th graders. The speakers for Elevate present throughout the regular english class time, and throughout the Intro to Humanities Research class time, so the time that the speaker is presenting for equates to about 80 minutes. Although Elevate education is supposed to be helping the students, a 9th grade english teacher Gasparini says, “I don’t love it.” Specifically, she does not like the fact that the presenting time is taking away from her teaching time. Other 9th grade students also haven’t be-

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ing enjoying the transition program experience.. “The time isn’t well spent” said freshman Clara Hastings. “I would be much more productive in english class.” On the other hand, Hastings did take something away from one of the Elevate Education lessons, “The one thing that I did take away from the lesson was to put pictures in my notes.” Hastings also thought that the lesson that focused on time management was “better for kids that aren’t good at [time management already].” “The things that they teach, I feel like everybody already knows [it already]” said freshman Vivian Carvalho. “It’s already in the back of everyone’s minds.” Carvalho felt that some of the tips that the program taught her were effective, though. “In social studies I started using some of the tips so I guess it did help.” Carvalho also explained, “[The presenters] made it more interesting than the topics were.” She thought that she would have been bored if the speakers were not as interesting as they were. Gasparini also felt that the presenters themselves had a lot of impact on the students. “The guys (presenters) who did it this year were just so energetic [...]” stated Gasparini. “They kept it going, they were funny, they were very engaging, very personal with the kids.” The freshman english teacher also concluded that the program needs to adapt to the way that notes are being presented to students today. Gasparini says, “I don’t know how many teachers actually have notes up on the board and kids are taking notes, which is the way some of the study skills were geared towards.”

Photo Courtesy of YouTube.com


Features

A Blind Brook High School Student Publication

January 2019

Popular Winter Break Locations Columnist Spencer Feuerman ‘20

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or many travelers, the first snowfall is enchanting, while others are itching to escape the season’s cold weather. The holiday break is an incredibly popular time to travel, which can accommodate both getaways not so far away from home, or dreamy destinations you have been planning your whole life. December break for Blind Brook High School began on December 22nd and lasted until January 2nd and kids couldn’t have been more ecstatic. A myriad of favorite winter vacation spots exists across the globe. According to U.S. News and World Report, the number one ranked “best” vacation spot on the planet is Rome. Rome is located in the Lazio region of central Italy on the Tiber river. The illustrious city is full of culture, art, and fantastic Photo Courtesy of meals making it an ideal tourist destination. The temperatures during winter break in Rome reaches around 55 degrees Fahrenheit in the afternoon and approximately 45 degrees Fahrenheit at night. Rome is also home to several iconic attractions such as the Roman Forum, Colosseum, etc. Dishes customary to Rome include Bucatini all’Amatriciana, Supplì, and Bruschetta. Falling in at number two on U.S.News. com’s list of popular winter break locations is awarded to the city of Dubai. The city-state is located on the southeast coast of the Persian Gulf on the Arabian Peninsula and makes up one

of the seven emirates of the country. The temperatures in Dubai consistently stay about 70 degrees Fahrenheit during winter break. The city-state is comprised of several architectural masterpieces. Dubai is even home to the world tallest building, the Burj Khalifa. The Burj Khalifa soars just over 2,717 feet and is made up of 163 stories. The building opened in 2010 and cost nearly 1.5 billion dollars to construct. Six Blind Brook students were asked what they did for winter break. Six of the eight students surveyed went away for Winter break (83 percent). Junior Michael Sunshine went to the Dominican Republic where he enjoyed lying on the beach and soaking up the sun. Another junior, Joe Kohn headed for Vermont for this winter break. This is not Joe’s Spencer Feuerman First time visiting Vermont. He loves to tube and think the mountains are great for skiing. The cold weather is not Joe’s Favorite, but he fixes this issue simply by wearing several layers. When asked what he was looking most forward to he replied with, “I am looking forward to skiing with my family and drinking hot chocolate.” Lastly, Junior Scott Rosson visited the Disneyland theme park located in Orlando, Florida. Scott feels the park is extraordinary and possess a mixed feeling of thrill and relaxation. While Scott is itching to fly down to Florida, he feels the cost of the trip is too expensive. 19


Health & Science

A Blind Brook High School Student Publication

January 2019

A Year in Review: Redefining the “Impossible” By Nicole Rosenzweig ‘20 iven the innovative mindsets of scientists around the world, very few boundaries remain unsurpassable. In just the past year, scientific achievements have revolutionized life on Earth and furthered societal knowledge of what exists beyond the planet. From advancements in stem cell research to evidence of life on Mars to the cloning of monkeys, there have been countless scientific breakthroughs in every field. What were some of the biggest stories in health and science in 2018? Ebola Vaccine in a War Zone The war-torn region of the Democratic Republic of Congo has been facing the second-largest Ebola outbreak in history, with more than 500 cases and 172 confirmed deaths as of November 2018, according to the World Health Organization. The first highly effective Ebola vaccine, Merck’s rVSV-ZEBOV, was used to treat the outbreak this past year. Despite the hardships and chaos facing the Democratic Republic of Congo, more than 45,000 people have been vaccinated with a 95-100% success rate. This is not only the first time an Ebola vaccine has been used on such a large scale but also a major feat that Photo Courtesy of Vox redefined the influence of scientific advancements during times of war. Controversy Surrounding Gene Editing One story that has sparked a great deal of debate was Chinese scientist He Jiankui’s claim that he had secretly altered twin girl embryos before birth to prevent the HIV infection. If this genealogist’s claims are true, these twin girls will have been the first embryo-edited children. Many scientists fear the unintended health risks of such unprecedented gene editing, which was supposedly done without the proper ethics approval. In addition to the potential for unanticipated consequences, people also fear a time when gene editing will be so commonplace that parents are able to make their children smarter or more athletic through prenatal modification of the genetic code. According to He Jiankui, who is currently under investigation for violating ethics rules, “I understand my work will be controversial, but I believe families need this technology. And I’m willing to take the criticism for them.” Evidence of Life on Mars For years, scientists have wondered about the possibility of life on other planets. This year, NASA’s Curiosity rover provided some of the most convincing evidence that there is or once was life on Mars. The rover collected two sedimentary rock samples from the bottom of Gale Crater that contained multiple complex organic molecules. Most notably, the samples contained carbon, which is the essential element to life on Earth. While this does not by any means prove that life exists or once existed on Mars, given that carbon is also found in meteorites that fall from space, this is the strongest evidence thus far of life on Mars. Cloning Monkeys Just over 20 years ago, scientists successfully cloned an animal for the first time through somatic cell nuclear transfer. The same technique that was used to clone Dolly the sheep in 1996 was successfully applied to primates for the first time this year. By implanting eggs with DNA from fetal monkey cells into female surrogates, scientists were able to clone two female ­identical-twin long-tailed macaques. As was the case for He Jiankui’s supposed gene editing feat, many scientists are optimistic about this accomplishment, while others fear that this cloning technique could be extended to humans in the near future. Photo Courtesy of Science Mag Stem Cell Research Stem cells are undifferentiated cells that can develop into different types of cells during early growth stages. In various research trials throughout 2018, scientists attempted to harness and transplant induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs). In October 2018, researchers used iPSCs to transplant precursors to dopamine-producing neurons into the brain of a patient with Parkinson’s disease. However, not all stem cell research in the past year has yielded such promising results. Studies conducted in 2018 have challenged the existence of cardiac stem cells, and an investigation by Harvard Medical School led to the retraction of thirteen papers from one of the leading proponents of cardiac stem cell research. Climate Change Climate change has become a very contentious issue in recent years, as the global climate has warmed 1 degree since the 19th Century. While this may not seem like much, just half of a degree could put tens of millions of people at risk of life-threatening heat waves, water shortages, and coastal flooding. One half of a degree of warming could also destroy the habitats of polar bears, whales, seals, and seabirds. In light of these dire circumstances, a 2018 study showed that there are natural solutions to this largely human-driven dilemma. Restoring United States lands and coastal wetlands could reduce global warming by removing greenhouse gases from the atmosphere. In this study, planting more trees achieved the equivalent of eliminating 65 million passenger cars from the roads. In fact, researchers found that one tree in the Amazon rainforest can take in 48 pounds of carbon dioxide each year. These findings have made scientists Photo Courtesy of Vox hopeful of the potentially life-altering solutions offered by natural occurrences.

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Health & Science

A Blind Brook High School Student Publication

January 2019

Virtual Reality Ready to Take the World to the Next Level and illnesses found in patients. Likewise, VR has By Sam Lazar ‘21 irtual reality (VR) is not necessarily a also been proven to treat chronic pain by usbrand new concept, however, it is taking ing advanced technology and information from the world by storm, and taking technology into doctors to provide ideal treatment for patients the future in a way previously only seen in mov- whatever regiment that may be. Similarly, virtuies. The pioneers of virtual reality were several al reality can help save lives and assist in emerengineers, including Morton Heilig and Ivan gency response. It is very hard to respond to Sutherland, that created the same technologies natural disasters promptly, thus leaving people that evolved into flight simulators - which has extremely nervous and preoccupied as they do had a huge impact on modern aviation as we not know how to react, or how to get to safety know it today. Virtual reality has many benefits on the brink of a natural disaster. With the use for humanity and it will continue to change the of VR technology, individuals could experience way business is done and impact our lives well a real-life natural disaster and could recommend into the foreseeable future. proper materials while providing them with The application of virtual reality to our daily safety tips and information to make sure they are lives is going to ready to respond have a huge ecoto a natural dinomic impact for a saster. variety of reasons Another way - one change being that the groundthe establishment breaking techof Virtual Shops, nology can benrevolutionizing efit people is to the way people do show them a their online shopreal experience of a dangerping. These shops are an easier way ous job. Perhaps to purchase goods some individuonline and make als might think e-commerce much that they are more accurate well suited for a while eliminating certain job and returns. When there is no way Photo Courtesy of Entrepreneur you put on your to tell unless acA woman wears VR glasses. VR glasses, it will tually put in the be possible to get situation. For an accurate picture of how online purchases may example, if a person wanted to be a construction look and fit. This will provide a benefit to both worker, but had a fear of heights; and they realconsumers and retailers through the reduction ized how high they would have to go for their of returned goods, and the elimination of over- work, they might have second thoughts. Virtual stocked merchandise. Retailers will have the op- reality could be used to train workers and help portunity to cater their stock to products in high them get a realistic idea of the skill set necesdemand. Although this is one of the many great sary in order to succeed in their field of choice. aspects to come within virtual reality, the field Arguably, one of the biggest progressions has no boundaries and the ideas surrounding within virtual reality is education. The reason domain are endless! Another benefit of VR for for this is the limitless opportunities that can be the future is the multi-trillion dollar industry of discovered and achieved via the use of VR. For Real Estate. When people want to visit homes instance, virtual reality for education could comon that are for sale it can be an inconvenience. pletely re-shape the way that we learn in school, However, with the use of VR, people can simply and create a healthier learning environment for put on their glasses, and take a virtual house tour students to not feel disengaged from the class as where they can enjoy the exact experience as if often. Virtual classrooms can be used to educate they were at an open house. Additionally, virtual children in underdeveloped countries - bringreality can also help improve and provide useful ing teaching expertise around the globe while training exercises for our military, as well as as- defeating the need for other costly materials. While virtual reality was once only science ficsist in the ending of ongoing global conflicts. Moreover, Virtual Reality has also been prov- tion, and frankly an aspect of fantasy humanity en to be effective in the medical field. VR can would never reach, it is now the realm of our be used to diagnose a wide variety of diseases future.

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Health & Science

A Blind Brook High School Student Publication

January 2019

Time for Students to Prioritize Sleep By Amanda Weinberg ‘20 t is 11:00 pm, the night before a big test. You can’t help but release a big breathy yawn as you aimlessly stare at the clock. It’s been a long day. You’re downright exhausted. You want to go to sleep, but still feel unprepared. Just another hour won’t hurt, right? Well, that extra hour may seem trivial during the moment, but in reality, it is an inevitable gateway to anxiety, depression, an inability to concentrate, and poor grades. Inadequate sleep habits can send you down a never-ending vortex of sleep deprivation, as what you think is helping you in the present is truly wearing you down in the long run. The demanding pressures of high school cause teenage stuPhoto/Abby Strauzer dents to be a common victim of A tired Blind Brook student falls asleep during their math class. sleep deprivation. With schedules cluttered with homework, assessments, and extracurriculars, students are often left feeling overwhelmed when trying to balance it all. At some point, something’s got to give. Unfortunately for a majority of students, that something is sleep. A recent poll from the National Sleep Foundation shows that more than 87% of high school students run on less than 8 hours of sleep. Classified as a public health epidemic by the American Academy of Pediatrics in 2014, sleep deprivation is a problem that has become unavoidable in the typical high school student, and the institution has labeled the issue as urgent. The adolescent brain requires eight to 10 hours of sleep every night in order to develop properly. Sleep is imperative to the efficiency of various brain functions. John Peever, director of the Systems Neurobiology Laboratory at the University of Toronto, states that sleep serves to re-energize the body’s cells, clear wastes from the brain, and support learning in memory. When a lack of sleep prevents the brain from carrying out these processes, long-term health problems skyrocket: immunity, high blood pressure, permanent lack of concentration, high risk of diabetes, heart disease, and low sex drive have all been directly correlated to sleep deprivation. The bottom line is that prioritizing sleep is a necessity for students of all ages. Although it may seem like late night study sessions will help you get better grades, they will leave you in a state of exhaustion, making you unable to concentrate and perform at your greatest potential. So please, do yourself a favor and get some sleep. Need some help? Here are some tips and tricks to break out of the cycle of sleep deprivation. 1. Get off that phone Repeated studies at Harvard University show that the blue and white light given off by technology screens prevent the brain from releasing melatonin, making it difficult to fall asleep at night. Put your phone away at least an hour before you go to bed. If you need a substitute to keep you entertained at night, try reading a book, or a newspaper. 2. Plan your time An overwhelming schedule can be tackled with some good ol’ time management skills and planning. Make a list of everything you have to do and how long it will take you to do it. Remember to incorporate at least 8 hours of sleep into this schedule, even if that means not checking something off the list. Sleep needs to come first. 3. Exercise Regularly Studies have shown that exercising is a great natural method of eradicating sleep deprivation. There is plenty of ways to quickly add exercise into your daily routine and it will be much easier to fall asleep at night. But be careful, it is recommended to finish your physical activity no earlier than three hours before your bedtime!

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Health & Science

A Blind Brook High School Student Publication

January 2019

Superhuman Columnist Chloe Ng ‘21

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n the past few years, science in the field At the heart of the debate is the myriad of genetic engineering has been advanc- ethical concerns that come with the issue of ing rapidly. Techniques such as CRISPR al- human gene editing. It goes against a lot of low more efficiency, precision, and accuracy traditional beliefs and being a relatively new in modifying genes. Already, scientists have development, many people are wary of the efbeen able to create mushrooms that take lon- fects of playing god. Perhaps the most promiger to brown, mice with twice the usual mus- nent concern is that attempts to change human cle mass, drought, and disease resistant crops, genes could backfire and lead to unexpected and many other enhanced organisms. But mutations. Another is the lack of regulation what happens when these genetic engineer- that exists in certain countries, where gene editing could be used with malicious intent ing techniques are applied to humans? Using CRISPR on human cells in a labora- without legal barriers or repercussions. The issue of consent is involved as well, as tory, researchers can learn more about some are concerned that even if how genes work or even seek to people in this generation conrevert mutations that are resent to the modification, fulated to diseases such as cysture generations will have tic fibrosis and Huntingno say in the decision. ton’s disease. Taking that Finally, the option of a step further, clinical trigenetic modification for als of gene therapy have unborn children could been performed where lead parents to select immune cells from patraits for so-called “detients with cancer were signer babies.” These engineered to be more traits could be anything effective at targeting canfrom greater resistance cer. Other research has foto disease, more appealing cused on using gene editing physical characteristics, or to delay the process of aging even heightened intelligence. or eliminating even more comOpponents argue that this would plex diseases. With the limits of further inequality, as those who science expanding every year, Photo Courtesy of Chloe Ng could afford the modification the question is no longer about how far we can go, but about where we should would have a better hand in life than those who could not. Meanwhile, proponents argue stop. In November 2018, a Chinese scientist named that it could reduce inequality by rendering He Jiankui sparked international outrage and the genetic lottery null. Genes that would shock when he claimed to have used CRISPR make someone susceptible to a disease that to remove a gene called CCR5 from embryos others have a natural immunity to could be of several children in an attempt to engineer corrected. Someone whose genes would make HIV resistance. By doing so, he produced the their muscles weaker could be alive without it first babies born from genetically edited em- through genetic modification. bryos. His work was immediately denounced Gene editing techniques have a lot of poby prominent scientists around the world, and tentials when applied to humans. They could not without reason. The risky procedure was allow us to eliminate diseases and alleviate unnecessary and far from transparent. Since much suffering. However, at this point, we we don’t have a lot of information about the still don’t know enough. While we shouldn’t effects of human genetic engineering, we prevent science from progressing, especially can’t predict what unintended consequences because there is such a strong potential to may arise from Dr. He’s study. This is espe- save lives, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to err on cially troubling because of the fact that the the side of caution. As science advances, so edited genes will now able to be passed down will this debate. For now, superhumans will have to wait. from one generation to the next. 23 19


Politics

A Blind Brook High School Student Publication

January 2019

A True Red, White, and Blue

Photo Courtesy of Wikipedia A portrait of 41st president, George H.W. Bush

By Andrew Lynch ‘21 t has been twelve years since the United States has experienced the loss of a president. George Herbert Walker Bush passed away on November 30th, 2018 at the age of 94. The loss of such an important figure is always a sobering event. 2018 was not shy of famed deaths, however, the news that was blasted across America this past November was sobering. Presidents have a special place in people’s hearts, not because they are a form of celebrity, but because they are an example. One does not have to agree with their views or vote for them, but it is difficult not to admire them for their love, hard work, and service they gave to our country. The key word is respect. It was no secret that the late president’s health was deteriorating. In recent years, Mr. Bush had to resort to motorized scooters due to his battle with Parkinson’s disease and was often in and out of the hospital. President H.W. Bush can be described as a fighter, from his days as a WWII pilot down to his very last. Back in 2013, while he suffered from bronchitis, he declared, “Put the harps back in the closet,” while he miraculously overcame the illness. Bush was so much more than a president, he was a staple of what it meant to be American. George H.W. Bush’s service began long before he was in the Oval Office. A decorated Navy pilot, Bush served during the treacherous times of the Second World War. He was the youngest pilot at the time, and on his 50th mission, he was shot down mid-flight over the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Fortunately, he was rescued by a submarine. Prior to the presidency, Bush’s political career achievements included: serving a two-term tenure as a Texas congressman, acting as an ambassador to the United Nations, and as the United States envoy to China. Some positions he held were: chairman of the Republican National Committee, director of the Central Intelligence Agency, and vice president under Ronald Reagan. Perhaps best known for his adept and remarkable diplomatic skills, he played a large part in ceasing Cold War tensions in as peaceful a manner as possible. Bush made sure

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that when the Soviet Union collapsed, they did so with grace. Bush was analytical, not impulsive. He carefully, cautiously, and steadily brought the Cold War to a complete end that his presidential predecessor, Ronald Reagan, set into motion. Bush knew that communism in the Soviet Union would fall, and when it did, he wanted it to fall as softly as possible. He wanted to see the end of the Soviet Union but did not want to see the demise of Russia. In a way, he desired a pacific transition between the two. He truly guided the world on the right path at its most scary and tense era. Another of George H.W. Bush’s greatest accomplishments was that of the Gulf War, specifically Operation Desert Storm. In 1990, Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein invaded the neighboring country of Kuwait in order to gain its growing oil supply. International outroar followed, and the US was the leader in condemning this action. They led the fight in order to repel Saddam Hussein’s forces out of Kuwait and additionally eliminate the chance of other invasions in nations of close proximity, such as Saudi Arabia. Operation Desert Storm was the main phase of the war, where a bombing campaign would take place on many Iraqi targets such as weapon factories, oil refineries, and other vital aspects of the Iraqi government. This lasted a month and was followed by the four-day phase of Operation Desert Sabre which was successful in taking back Kuwait and eliminating Saddam Hussein’s oppressive invasion. What followed was a snowball effect of actions that would later be defining events of American history in the controversial presidency of George H.W. Bush’s son, George W. Bush. As the 43rd president, following in his father’s footsteps, George W. Bush’s biggest role model was his father. This is evident in the emotional, heartwarming eulogy he gave at his father’s funeral. Opening up his father’s eulogy with a powerful quote, President Bush stated: “I once heard it said of man that the idea is to die young as late as possible.” This was followed by a burst of laughter that filled the air as people recalled why they truly loved the 41st President. Yes, it was his personal attributes and intellectual abilities that made him a great leader, but it was simply everything else that made him a great man. At the age of 85, the late president would still take to the water in his boat, firing up The Fidelity’s three engines, with 300 horsepower each. At the age of 90, he parachuted out of a plane. As his teary-eyed son continued to go on about what made his father the man he was, he went on to say, “Dad was always busy -- a man in constant motion -- but never too busy to share his love of life with those around him.” This is most definitely true, especially when considering one of America’s most favorite and longest lasting couples. That of George H.W. Bush and his beloved wife Barbara Bush, who had passed away just seven months prior. It was death that physically separated the two in the end, however, just like his unbreakable love for Barbara, there is nothing that can separate America’s love for their late and great 41st President, George H.W. Bush.


Politics

A Blind Brook High School Student Publication

January 2019

Michael Cohen and the Trump Administration By Sam Lazar ‘21 n recent weeks, Michael Cohen and the discussion about his involvement in the Trump Administration has been making headlines. Michael Cohen was President Trump’s attorney for many years, but he is currently facing 3 years in prison. Allegedly, Michael Cohen was instructed by Trump to pay one hundred thousand dollars to Stormy Daniels, an adult film performer, to keep her silent about a liaison with Trump and to not disclose any information to the public before the 2016 election. President Trump couldn’t afford to risk losing the election over an affair that happened years ago. In a 2011 interview published in its entirety in January, Ms. Daniels spoke at length about meeting Mr. Trump at a charity golf tournament in July 2006. She claimed, “The pair had sex in his hotel room at Lake Tahoe, a resort area between California and Nevada, and had an “ongoing” relationship after this encounter.” President Trump denied the allegations. Michael Cohen had recordings proving Donald Trump’s involvement in various payments to different individuals. In addition, Michael Cohen believes that Trump knew about a meeting between Russian representatives, his family and other attorneys at Trump Tower, prior to the election, which is illegal. Michael Cohen also states that President Trump was involved in negotiations during 2016 with the Russian Government for a Trump hotel in Moscow, which also implicates Trump in illegal activity. Ex-FBI director, Robert Muller, opened up an investigation on behalf of Congress, around 1 year ago, in order to prove whether or not President Trump was guilty of collusion with the Russian Government. Muller subpoenaed Michael Cohen for the purpose of his investigation. This meant that if Cohen cooperated with Muller, then Cohen’s sentence would be less harsh than Cohen not cooperating with the investigation. Cohen testified to these allegations before a special council, led by Robert Muller, that Trump was involved in payments to Stormy Daniels, had a meeting in Trump Tower with Russian representatives, and the creation of a Trump hotel in Moscow.

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Photo Courtesy of MarketWatch Michael Cohen, Trump’s former attorney and confidant.

As of now, Michael Cohen is going to prison for 3 years. Trump responded to Cohen’s side of the story by saying: “He’s a weak person and not a very smart person.” Trump also proclaimed, “Even if he was right, it doesn’t matter because I was allowed to do whatever I wanted during the campaign. I was running my business.” Trump is suggesting that even if he had those meetings and committed those actions, it would not be illegal. His reasoning is that he was not yet President, and was conducting business as usual, as a private citizen. President Trump has done his best to downplay and frame this controversy in a manner favorable to himself. Michael Cohen once a close ally and confidant of Trump has clearly prioritized his own self-interests. Trump is not the first President to encounter controversy and allegations putting their administration under the spotlight. How President Trump continues to deal with the allegations toward him and what other details emerge from the Mueller investigation will shape his presidency. Only time will tell as to how this will unfold for President Trump, his administration, and the country.

To Tweet or Not to Tweet

By Lauryn Weintraub ‘20 id George Washington update the public on his affairs in office every day on Twitter? Well, no there was no Twitter when the country was founded, but that didn’t stop Washington from communicating with American citizens. Carefully worded speeches and proclamations were delivered to the public so they could get insight as to what the president was accomplishing. Since 1789, America has become much more connected, and people expect to receive daily updates about everything from their friends’ social lives to world news. The President still needs to communicate with the public in the modern day, so naturally, he would use a modern form of communication, social media. However, President Trump’s relentless addiction to tweeting does more than simply inform the public—it attacks other politicians and celebrities, deflects criticism and concerns about policy, and convinces many Americans into believing facts of questionable legitimacy. Are Trump’s tweets an appropriate form of communication in 2019, or do they reduce the authority and mystery of the presidency to endless comments made up of 280 characters? President Obama was the first president to tweet, both in office and during the campaign, so President Trump is no pioneer in this realm. But the ways Obama and Trump use their twitter accounts largely vary. Obama would formally craft posts about legislation or policy, and since he left office he has sent positive messages whether about elections or inspiring people. On the other hand, Trump used Twitter as an asset during the 2016 campaign. He stirred up a fan base who gobbled up every post and gained more support from every tweet. Towards the end of the campaign, he tweeted, “Look at the way Crooked Hillary is handling the email case and the total mess she is in. She is unfit to be president. Bad judgment!” Although twitter feeds were filled with comments bashing Hillary and promoting Trump, people

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still believed what Trump said and it allowed him to win the presidency. Twitter became Trump’s secret weapon, which he could deploy at any hour without any advisors screening his comments. The public was able to see Trump’s true personality through his tweets and there has never been any doubt about his stance on a certain subject, just scroll through his tweets until there is a post addressing that subject. Since assuming office, Trump’s twitter account has been his daily source of communication, as he relies on it to grow his fanbase and defend himself against multiple allegations and criticisms that have arisen during his term. In 2017, Trump’s ties with Russia were being looked into and questioned, so the President responded with a tweet claiming “You are witnessing the single greatest WITCH HUNT in American political history”. As of now, Trump has used ‘fake news’ in over 380 tweets in order to protect himself from media outlets that criticize his actions such as CNN, The New York Times, and MSNBC. In addition, the President also uses his Twitter to contradict problematic statements he has made during interviews or in previous tweets which constantly leaves the public guessing his true nature. While some people have no problem with Trump constantly updating the public on his daily thoughts, others are apprehensive of a world where leaders can start a nuclear war over a tweet. Just days ago, Trump made it clear to Kim Jong Un, “I too have a Nuclear Button, but it is a much bigger and more powerful one than his, and my button works!” Threats like these, that are directed at other world leaders without the supervision of advisors, are unprecedented from a president. Having a twitter account does allow Trump to stay connected to American citizens, but it also enables his impulsive behavior that could easily wreak havoc on the country. At the end of the day, U.S. politics are largely influenced by President Trump’s twitter feed. 25 19


Politics The New Era of Populism

A Blind Brook High School Student Publication

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January 2019

Columnist Carly Kabot ‘19

ltranationalism can not only make us The upsurge in xenophobic sentiments exblind to the past but allows it to be res- tends beyond politics, beyond simply the pourrected. Across the globe, the cyclical wave of larization of the right and the left. Such mishate has begun to swell, jeopardizing the safety guided passion comes from a place far deeper, of millions and the humanity of all. The re- from a human fear of difference, of change, surgence of populist, alt-right political leaders and of the unknown. I believe in strengthened and parties, from Germany to Belgium to the border security, but through policies that are United States, continues to gain in strength and humane. I believe in a thorough vetting propopularity, all while the global refugee crisis cess, but one that does not discriminate based continues to worsen in gravity and magnitude. on characteristics out of one’s control. I beThe impact of conflict-driven migration from lieve in the notion that politicians should both predominantly Muslim nations, most champion and embody the spirit of notably Syria and Afghanistan, the common man, but that the has not only added to shifting common man is not inherently demographics of Europe, White or Christian or a man but also incited a surge in at all. I refuse to chastise a xenophobia, Islamophoparticular party for the dibia, and, for a variety of visive rhetoric that fuels reasons, anti-semitism — nativism, as righteousall of which strikingly ness does not belong to parallels the isolationa single political group. ist sentiments of postWith that said, there is WWI. German Channo excuse for the blatantcellor Angela Merkel and ly racist comments made French Prime Minister by world leaders over reEmmanuel Macron’s eleccent years, from President tions veil the fact that radiTrump to Viktor Orbán to cal right, anti-immigrant parMarine Le Pen. However, it ties have won a higher percentage must be noted that the new era of of the vote across twenty-two populism represents a growth Photo Courtesy of Carly Kabot European countries than in the in the extreme, not the mainpast thirty years. stream. The stigmatization of refugees has caused My honest hope for 2019 is not that we will many nations to slam the door of hope after all solve all the world’s problems, for, given the has been lost on countless individuals that have current state of the global sphere, we need faced unimaginable atrocities, as well as cata- many, many years to do so. Rather, it is that we lyze a culture of hate towards those who are can rise above this tide of bigotry that threatlucky enough to be granted asylum. After es- ens to swallow both our democratic values caping near famines, the harrowing realities of and personal moralities and elect leaders that life at an overcrowded, disease-ridden refugee reflect our desire to bestow dignity to all recamp, and in some cases even genocide, asylum gardless of ethnicity, religion, and nationality. seekers are met with maltreatment of a new We must remember that peace, between both kind: hate. Rather than being greeted with open nations and individuals, begins with people, arms, their welcoming committee is comprised not policies. To change policy we need only of Pegida, who protest against the so-called “Is- change laws, but to transform culture we need lamisation of the West” exacerbated by Angela conversations that allow us to feel empathy. Merkel’s Open Door Policy for asylum-seeking Only when we can strip off the layers of disSyrians, the legislators who allowed Hungary’s tinctions that society has taught us to use as passage of the “Stop Soros” law that criminal- shields can we know that in our oneness, there ized giving food to undocumented immigrants, is nothing left to be afraid of. Speak across difand the loving words of President Trump that ference, act with empathy, and live with comnever fail offending every religious, ethnic, or passion towards all— everything else will folnational minority there ever was. low. 26 18


Sports

A Blind Brook High School Student Publication

January 2019

Boys’ Basketball Starts Season Strong

By Jeremy Schutzer ‘20 far, but we have a lot of faith in ourselves. We are he Blind Brook boys’ varsity basketball a good team with good players and we want to team has tipped off their 2018-19 season prove that with a deep playoff push and get back and has been hitting the court for practice every to the spot we were in last year.” The boys want day. As of Dec. 20, the boys have a record of 3-2. to have a similar run in the playoffs as last year The team’s three wins have come against Sleepy but a different result in the final. They are confiHollow in the annual Rye Tournament, Valhalla dent they can get to that same position. in the Full Court Fundraiser, and Ardsley. The Senior captain Zach Zimmerman had the same team will be coached by Mike Welsh for another idea of hard work. “Our mindset is that we come season and will have the help of senior captains into the gym every day looking to work as hard Chris Bucci and Zach Zimmerman. as we possibly can, and if we do that we should The Trojans lost a group of seniors from last have a very successful season,” he said. Both Aiyear that lead the team to the Section I Class ello and Zimmerman were a part of last year’s B finals where the boys played Briarcliff. They roster and know that hard work pays off. To keep ended up losing that mentala heartbreaking ity strong, game but it is the boys will a new year and spend Christthey have put mas break in that behind them the gym getfor another year ting better of basketball. each day. The team has six Zimmerreturners from man also belast year, five lieves that who are now sehard work niors and one juin practice nior. Along with and how they those six returnperform in ers, the team has the game will some fresh faces make their that have joined opponents the roster. Jufear them as nior starter they make Ryan Aiello had their playPhoto/Paige Tankel high praise for off run. “We Junior Ryan Aiello tries to block his opponent’s shot. the newcomers. know teams “They’ve done a great job,” he said. “Obvious- will not want to play us, if we keep winning ly, we lost a lot of rebounding and scoring from games,” he added. The team wants to instill a last year with all the seniors who graduated, but sense of fear into their opponents and come time the juniors have really stepped up and learned for playoffs, teams will not want to see Blind quickly how to play at the varsity level”. Aiello Brook on their side of the bracket. believes that the new juniors can learn from this The boys have had some big wins over good year and be ready for the upcoming season. The competition and will look to carry their momennew faces to the team have found their new roles tum into the second half of the season where and are ready to do their job when called upon. they will play eight league games against Rye With a new season beginning, the boys have Neck, Bronxville, Keio Academy and Edgemont. set goals they hope to achieve throughout the They play each team twice and will look to win season. They have their goals for each day but the league again, having won it last year. The also particular ones to accomplish before the sea- boys will prepare for the rest of the regular season ends. “Our goal is gonna be to win as many son as they try to earn a high seed in the Class playoff games as possible. We lost a lot from last B playoffs, where they will look to take home the year and a lot of people don’t see us going very Golden Ball.

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Sports

A Blind Brook High School Student Publication

January 2019

Girls’ Basketball Looking Towards Further Success

Photo/Paige Tankel Sophomore Kaitlyn Tangney driblles down the court.

By Justin Schuster ‘21 he 2018-19 winter sports season has been and will continue to be an exciting one for the Blind Brook girls’ varsity basketball team. This year, the girls are finding success in a way far different than they have in the past. Despite their record of just 2-6, the Lady Trojans are fighting hard and have won games through the play of their young, talented guards and through the incredibly strong sense of senior leadership spread among the team. The two-plus years of experience at the varsity level from senior captains Sydney Klein, Joelle Maitland, and Paige Maizes, has brought about much of the success the team has seen. These captains have proven to be the heart and soul of the team and without their leadership, the team would not be able to compete at the high level they do, day in and day out. When speaking on behalf of the transition towards playing for a new coach the past two seasons, and her role as a leader on the team, senior captain and starting guard Sydney Klein said, “I love being captain for such an amazing group of nice and talented girls. We all work together so well and have become very close knit, I really enjoy spending time with the team.” This statement is representative of how the team is on a path towards success in the coming years despite the coaching change and how the positive attitude portrayed among

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the senior captains and leaders can help assist in the future success of this storied program. Many of the younger players on the team’s roster have echoed this, stating how without this leadership from the senior captains, they would be unable to see the same success that they see both on and off the court. The leadership qualities of the seniors have brought the team together and have formed lasting memories and friendships through basketball, truly showing the value of the sport as more than just a game. One of the team’s key players and the leading scorer is sophomore guard, Kaitlyn Tangney. “I am ecstatic to be part of a team that has a chance to win the league this year,” she said. “We have a motivated group of players who have been working hard, which we think can lead us to a position in the playoffs.” Despite their somewhat rocky record of just 2-6, the girls have been able to defeat two outstanding squads from Haldane High School in Cold Spring, New York, and Alexander Hamilton High School in Elmsford, New York. The girls and the Blind Brook Athletic Department are ecstatic over these wins, which will prove to be a stepping stone towards further success and what they hope will turn out to be a very good season full of more quality wins spanning throughout all of February, and a playoff run come March.


Sports

A Blind Brook High School Student Publication

January 2019

Mr. Goldman: More than an Athletic Director for the future with this senior class building By Evan Ketchabaw ‘19 r. Douglas Goldman has been the Ath- the foundation. We were very successful on the letic Director at Blind Brook for the past modified team this year showing up with great four years. He previously worked at Edgemont numbers, but the varsity team is losing 20 out High School as a full-time Physical Education of 26 players to graduation. These boys winteacher and as an Assistant Athletic Director ning the league championship and having their from 2007 to 2015. At a young age, Goldman hard work pay off all season attracts more and more kids both in played sports such middle school and as soccer, basehigh school to ball, football, and play football. This hockey because he was definitely the wanted to try out best decision for everything. This the boys.” made him want Goldman also to continue with briefly discussed sports as a job later in life as a sports Blind Brook’s agent. However, coaches and how when he talked to a they have an effull-time agent to fect on the playsee what an agent ers. “When I really does, he look for coaches, changed his mind. I don’t focus on After an Athletic their knowledge Director who aton the game betended the same cause they all college as Goldhave it. I focus on man came from a their philosophy local high school, when coaching. I Photo/Rachel Sosin he became really look for coaches Mr. Goldman poses at his desk. intrigued to bewho create a good come one. culture on the field, Mr. Goldman has been around for a lot of in the gym, and in the classroom too. Wins and great athletic seasons here at Blind Brook, in success will come when there is a good culture which teams have won many league champion- present. I like coaches who think it’s not all ships and gone far in their respective section about talent but how hard their players work tournaments. Two great examples were the and the effort given. But what I like about the 2018 boys’ basketball team and 2018 boys’ soc- coaches we have here, is that our players realcer team. “They both were great experiences ly have a strong connection with them and are not only for the players and coaches but for the able to talk to them about anything they need. entire Blind Brook Community,” Goldman said. Coaches here are passionate about the sport but “Seeing all the students come and support their even more passionate about the kids and their friends and peers is awesome to me and it just future.” creates such a special atmosphere. For the bas- Going forward, Goldman has high hopes and ketball team going into sectionals as a four seed expectations as to what can be done at Blind and upsetting some teams to make it all the Brook athletically. “To continue this success way to the finals and having a great run makes we’ve had I am going to keep emphasizing the me very proud of those boys. Having the soc- good culture because I really think that is the cer team beat the one seed, Rye Neck, who they leading factor to any team’s success. Also, we lost to and tied earlier in the season, shows how have been in conversation about upgrading the they progressed throughout the season.” fitness center and would love to request hiring This year, the football team was put into a a strength and conditioning coach to be in the new independent league. Goldman thought it fitness center helping the athletes out. We have was the right decision and certainly was after a plan in place already to get the track redone they won the league championship! “Knowing and it has been approved. However, the final that we had a heavy senior class that made up stage of finishing the track can’t happen until the team this year, I knew we would have a de- springtime because of the weather and tempercent season in Class B where we were the past ature.” Mr. Goldman is happy with the past suctwo seasons,” he said. “However, I was planning cess and is excited for even more in the future.

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Sports

A Blind Brook High School Student Publication

Titans Take Over the Ice

By Charlie Schloss ‘20 he Rye Town Titans, Blind Brook’s combined hockey team with Harrison, Rye Neck, and Port Chester High Schools, have been tearing it up this season, most recently with a 10-4 blowout victory against N/S/A in upstate New York. Halfway through the season, the team’s record is an impressive 7 wins and 3 losses, coming off many tightly contested wins against formidable opponents. Like many other Blind Brook sports, the team lost several key players to graduation after last season, making this season a true test of the Titans’ ability to overcome adversity through perseverance, leadership, and utilization of younger players. A major drive behind the team’s success thus far has been the perseverance demonstrated by the players. Blind Brook Senior Captain Jack Shapiro said, “[the team] has had a great start to the season, but there is still room for improvement. We have to keep the grind going.” When reflecting on other factors that have attributed to the Titans’ current triumphs, many of the players postulated that strong team leadership was a major component of their success. When asked about what he has learned from his experience playing for the Titans, Shapiro highlighted how he tries to emulate the small details he noticed from previous team leaders that had big impacts on him as a player. “From the start of freshman year, I saw a lot of older kids play,

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watching from the bench and noticing little details about what everyone did. Now that I’m a senior, I try to recreate those small details that help me develop as a player, and use them to help out the newer players on the team.” The team has also looked to improve and build off its younger talents, which Blind Brook junior forward Scott Rosson feels will be essential to the team’s success moving forward. “Having younger players get a lot of experience from the senior leaders, we should definitely be able to make a deep run into this year’s playoffs.” On top of rebounding from the loss of veteran players to college this season, the team has been faced with tough challenges from opposing teams. When asked about his thoughts on some of the tougher opponents the team has faced, Shapiro said, “Upstate teams are definitely more competitive and so far we are 4-0 against them.” Similarly, Rosson echoed his sentiments regarding the team’s successful start against the stronger competition. “Coming off four big wins upstate, we need to continue to work hard to be successful.” With early success against challenging competition, the team hopes to carry their strong play through the latter half of the season. Overall, this season has been a great showing for the Titans, highlighting their progress and determination to win. Good luck to the team as they begin the second half of their season!

Photo/Julia Rosenberg Team captain Jack Shapiro looks to make his next move during a game. 30 18

January 2019


Sports

A Blind Brook High School Student Publication

January 2019

The Life of a Three Sport Varsity Athlete Columnist Ben Sachs ‘19

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ractice for two hours a day, two to three translates to many aspects of life outside of athgames or matches a week- seem like a lot? letics. In any team-oriented situation, it is essenNow imagine that for every day of the school year. tial that the team is able to work together as a unit That is the life of a three-sport varsity athlete. and after spending so much time with teammates From the soccer fields to the basketball courts to I have established a strong skill set for working the golf courses, it never stops. Although I still with others. have my final two seasons of basketball and golf I have also learned the importance of knowing left, I have enjoyed every bit of it. your role on a team. For instance, although team From freshman year to senior year, I have sports like soccer and basketball seem very simbeen fortunate enough to have spent evilar, I have had two very different experiences. ery day of the school year with a sporting As a senior on the soccer team, I did not play event after school. Whether it be on very much. Although I knew I was the JV or Varsity level, I have denot going to make a large impact voted a ton of time and effort to on the field, I did all I could to the Blind Brook athletics prohelp the team win. It was imgram. I was able to be a part portant that every single day of the soccer, basketball and I worked to make everyone golf teams, representing else a better overall player. the Trojans. In addition, I knew it was In my years of competimportant to cheer on my ing, the two highlights of peers on the field and promy high school career have vide energy from the sidebeen the section final runs I lines. On the other hand, this have been a part of. The two year I have a fairly large role special runs were when I was a on the basketball team. After junior on the basketball team and experiencing not playing much senior on the soccer team. Both of in soccer I realized just how importhese journeys resulted in sectant every single player on the Photo Courtesy of Ben Sachs tion final loses where we upset team is to overall success. Even a higher seed in the semi-final though it may not seem like evround. Although we were never victorious, the in- eryone contributes, the things that take place betensity and emotion of playing on a neutral site to hind the scenes go a long way. win the section were the two most special sport- Lastly, I have learned the importance of time ing events I have ever been a part of and I will management. Although I am considered a studentnever forget those special performances. As I am athlete, academics always come first. With a large in the midst of my senior year on the basketball amount of time committed to sports every single team, I cherish my time playing varsity sports. day, I had to effectively manage my school work There are a lot of positives I have taken out of with sports in order to be successful. Although this experience. First off, I have learned valuable this was a struggle sometimes, I am grateful for life lessons that have not only helped me grow as learning how to cope with obstacles and make the an athlete but also an overall person. For example, most of my time. the importance of working together with others. I have learned a lot from being apart of a Trojan In my opinion, the biggest factor of a successful sporting team every season of high school that high school sports team is everyone on the team has helped me grow as an overall person. I am having each other’s back and working together extremely thankful for all the valuable lessons the for one common goal. The game becomes very games of soccer, basketball and golf have taught fun when everyone on the team generates positive me. I recommend that everyone makes an attempt energy, and I am fortunate to have been a part of to become apart of some sort of team in their teams that were built that way. Although this may time at Blind Brook because I can assure you that only seem important towards sports, I believe this it will take you a long way. 31 19

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