BACKTALK Barton chose to become a recording By Samantha I. artist because she has a sincere passion for it. She started singing at BCAM’s own Shalekiah Barton is the age of nine but says she didn’t on her way to be the new voice of think she would continue with it. “I the young people. She has style, never thought of myself as a attitude and, most importantly, she singer,” says Barton. “Everyone has talent. 11th grader Barton, has else always told me that I have a already started her career and has gift of it.” one CD out. With a brief interview, Her mother wanted her to sing she has explained how her life is for a dance group when she was now, how she sees it in the future, little. With the experience, she and her motivation. realized that she could start writing Listening to music and admiring songs professionally. artists is not the same experience of Continued on page 3 actually being a recording artist.
On Her Way
Understanding the Uniform By Jessica B.
You wear a suit and tie to the office, and a black and white stripped shirt to your job at Foot Locker. Anywhere you go you have a dress code or a uniform. So why is it so difficult for BCAM students to follow the dress code for our school? As a full high school, we have a lot of opinions on the matter. The majority of the student body feels that wearing a BCAM shirt is just not that important. Others have a difficult time conforming to school expectations. Although the BCAM uniform is only just a shirt, a number of students took that idea to heart. Their reaction was far from that of a
six year old getting a lollipop. In a BCAM Lions Wins Their conversation with Junior Brittany First Game Against Foundations Academy!!! Medham, about the uniform, she said that she hated it. Even to the point where she had her own interpretation as to how serious the BCAM shirt is to the school, maybe even more important than the students. Continued on page 4
Hallway Traffic Accident Claims a Life
was taking pictures, but Ms. Greene took the camera away and won’t give it back ‘til Friday.”
By Donasia S. It started just like any hallway passing —crowded. Loud screams, lockers slamming, gossiping voices, Ms. Charles-Pierre yelling, “Go to class!” Mr. O’Brien warning, “8 seconds to class!” even though it’s more like a minute. All of the sudden, Shaniece Bouldin tripped over her multicolored shoelaces and all hell broke loose. At first, people did not notice she was on the ground, so they stepped on her, stumbled, and hit the ground. In a struggle to get up, people grabbed others’ legs. Some people fell, while others managed to kick the grasping hand off their legs, causing major fights when they got up. Out of nowhere, helicopters encircled the air as every major news network—NY1, CBS, NBC, FOX, ABC, MY9, WPIX, Channel 12 Brooklyn, PBS, CNN, MSNBC, TNT, BCAT, WE, Lifetime, HBO, The Home Shopping Network and several Spanish-language channels as well— tried to cover the story. Ms. Hoyle said as her classroom spilled to the ground, “This is crazy!” Mr. Foster exclaimed, “Dios mio, que loco!” Meanwhile, Zipporah Meredith shyly toed the ground and said, “Sorry Donasia. I
The aftermath was tragic. According to school nurse Ms. Noel, some injuries were so serious that 22 staff, students, and custodians were taken to the hospital for treatment. Mr. Bullock was in critical condition and is hanging on for life. Mr. Greer was pronounced dead. His last words were, “No running in the hallways.” Some suspect he was deliberately stomped to death. There are no immediate suspects. The next day, Department of Education spokesperson commented, “We are saddened by this incident, but the department doesn’t have enough funding to expand your edifice. You’ll have to learn to travel around a multitude to avoid calamities such as previously shown.”
BCAM BackTalk Crew Wins!!
Miracle, Lena and Jordan sure are wacky on Wacky Tacky Day
Sabrina shows off her mad skillz
Niasha poses for the camera!
Sketchy Advice By Joy S. The following are anonymous questions submitted by members of the BCAM community. Q: As a new teacher at BCAM I would love to have some advice on the best way to wake up a sleeping student. A: You could try the old slam the text book on the table of the sleeping student. I’ve always found that one to be very effective. Or a less noisy way would be to simply tap the student and explain that for every minute they sleep a letter grade goes down.
Ms. Walters, this isn’t a dress rehearsal?
Q: I have really, really bad skin and I don’t know what to do about it. I’ve tried everything! Can you suggest something for me to try? A: You can mix and create all the cleansers and face treatments into one bowl and smear it on your face. A group of superheroes is better than one superhero. The X- men are more fearsome than wolverine alone. On the less messy side a Dermatologist can help. Q: I have many problems outside of school and I take it out on my schoolwork. Can you give me some advice?
A: I’m sorry to hear that. Well you can take your schoolwork out on your problems and do it outside of school. Everyone respects a good student. If that doesn’t work talk to a school counselor to eliminate some of your stress
On Her Way Cont. Now Barton sees what she is doing as a career in the future. “I wanna share with the world. I wanna encourage and inspire, and I’ve been doing that but I want to take it to the next level.” And that is exactly what she’s been doing. Over the summer, Barton did some interesting things, mainly promoting her new CD entitled Shalekiah Monique – Dreams EP. “I was in New Jersey this summer,” says Barton, “and I did a track with Kool & The Gang.” She also went to parties, concerts, and street venues, and appear on radio shows like when she was interviewed by a college radio station, Fabo Radio NYC. Her CD only has five tracks on it, but she says that it is only her introduction. When asked about the progress and sales of her new CD, Barton says simply that it is really going good: “I can’t complain. I’ve been blessed, you know.” I’ve listened to a couple of her songs and I was blown away. This girl has talent! Barton’s motivation comes from the people around her. “Basically,” she said, “I just kept all the right people that was there from the start and they’re here with me now…That’s all that matters. I can’t really speak for anyone else.” So all you haters out there, this is for you. Step aside because Shalekiah Monique is just going to push you away. Her CD Shalekiah Monique – Dreams EP is out. Log on to iTunes to download it. Support your fellow BCAMite. I know I did. You can follow Barton on Twitter, Myspace and Facebook.
outside of school and then find a tutor to help you with your schoolwork. Q: As an elder teacher at BCAM I feel maligned and bullied (by students and staff alike) on account of my receding hairline and slightly protruding pot belly. I’ve tried a combover and I do lots of sit-ups but nothing seems to work. Do you have any advice? A: Rogaine is pretty popular and seems to work. You can look in the yellow pages for plastic surgeons for that tummy tuck. But those are desperate measure. Just do you and be the best teacher possible. Q: My boyfriend is sixteen and has dropped out of school. It’s hard because I want to spend time with him, but I always have to do school work or a project or something. He wants me to quit school so we can chill all day together, what should I do? A: You could drop out as well and the two of you can become hopelessly devoted to each other with three babies and six part time jobs, and a thousand bills you can’t pay . . . ; or here’s a better idea: tell him to go to school and afterwards you two can do your homework together, get good grades, graduate from high school, go to college, get a job and then have a happy and healthy family. Q: If I’m going to fail a class which one would be best, Math or Science? A: Wow, you really have a difficult decision ahead of you. It’s so daunting I’m going to make it easier for you and say none of them.
Cover of Shalekiah’s new CD Shalekiah Monique -- Dreams Ep
Understanding The Uniform Cont. Brittany said, "I think that if a student was being chased with a gun, the staff would ask, 'Excuse me do you have on your BCAM shirt?' And if you don’t have your BCAM shirt on they’re going to close the door in your face. Then you’re going to die because that’s how much they care about the uniform. Or, she continued if a terrorist came to the school and he had on the bullet proof vest over a BCAM shirt, a teacher is going to ask if they have on the uniform, then when he moves the vest to show the BCAM shirt they going to be like 'okay come in,’and he’s going to kill everybody." Not all students feel so strongly about them as Brittany M, but they do have some other issues. Some of the issues are the prices of the BCAM shirts. They feel that $25 is too much. Another issue is having to wear the BCAM right at the door coming into school, arguing that students should have time to settle down first before they get hassled. Others argued that on early day dismissal days student should not be required to wear the uniform at all because of the few hours we have in the day. Limited sizes in the girl's uniform shirts had become another problem. Several girls complained that the size of the BCAM shirts should be a little more fitted and comfortable to wear. Within all the negative thoughts on the BCAM shirt there are some positive ones. Shanta Paige, a junior, and a group of friends feel that Ms. Greene and Mr. Hunter, although they enforce it too much, do get the people to wear the BCAM shirts. They felt that both of our deans are doing their job and are doing it well. When asked how seriously do you take your job Ms. Greene replied,"As serious as I take anything in life". So hats off to our deans for doing a great job. That junior group also enjoyed the fact that at least they get to get fresh on Fridays, thinking of it as a break. They also understand the safety issue concerning the other schools in the building, so they softened their hearts and comments. As for now, things will still stand the same. The BCAM shirt will be worn. At least you could make it your own, style it up, but JUST DON’T FORGET IT!
school and the number of students. Since we’re a small public high school we are given the least because they think by high school students are going to drop out and cut school.” When also ask why can’t BCAM move to another building for more space Mr. O’Brien responded: “Well it’s a tough call we could, we could all push to move to it but there’s a lot of factors that go into it BCAM students have their uniform like number one, we accomplish getting on--and they’re smiling about science labs upgraded and the Department it! of Education and the city gave us two million dollars to do those science labs, we’re about to break ground on getting a track and field built instead of the concrete BCAM’s Congested and a beautiful combination of baseball, By Keziah G. soccer and football field’, so there’s so Finally BCAM has become a full high much going into this school just to leave school, but we have become even more and might not even find a building with congested with all grade sharing a floor half the things here. and one quarter. Unfortunately we are still Everyone doesn’t feel like it’s a stuck in the same small classrooms without hindrance or a strain to students to be in a any additional rooms. It seem like the school that‘s full. Some students don’t feel school shrank to those who have been here that being a full school should be blown a long time when in reality the schools into a problem or affect your work. When population has grown. asked a student from BCAM do you BCAM has become a Human Traffic consider the school to be congested she Zone, everyday in the hallways between responded” it’s a preference thing, it class periods and lunch. It has become a shouldn’t matter the size or the school or if routine for students and some staffs to you think the school has space to stop you squeeze and push themselves pass the from learning.” Yes BCAM is a full high hallways just to get to lass. It ‘s even hard school and we may be a little tight and to get seats in class that has a desk because uncomfortable but it shouldn’t be a the classes are full to its capacity. The distraction. We aren’t deprive from staffs that don’t have classrooms suffer the anything , so make the best of the situation. most just to meet their students in classrooms because they have to walk around with their lesson plans and sometimes crates filled with textbooks for the whole class. It’s apparent that BCAM has outgrown its limits and need more space just to move around a little more. The case was brought to Mr. O’Brien the principal of the school and when asked why BCAM didn’t get any more room now that we have all four grades he responded: “The Department of Education has an equation of how much classrooms a Typical Day at BCAM High school should get based on if it’s an elementary school, middle school or a high
Everyone Else’s Envy By Cherish S.
DO YOU THINK YOU SHOULD BE ALLOWED TO EAT OUT DURING LUNCH? WHY?
School’s back in session and BCAM is bursting with new. There are new ninth graders, teachers, school hours, a new uniform policy and even new privileges that only some of us can enjoy. During orientation Principal O’ Brien announced that the twelfth graders on track would be able to leave the school building for lunch. Recently it’s been put into effect. Hooray for those twelfth graders who’ve earned it fair and square, but what about the rest of us? I’m certain there are a number of freshman, sophomores and juniors who fit the bill also. Is it fair? I think not, and there are others who follow me. Thea Purvis, a junior says, “That’s mad wrong. I feel they can’t separate anybody.”
From the sounds of it, juniors are the group taking it most hard. Who can blame them? They can smell the Chinese food but it’s really lunch lady surprise up under their noses. The only thing between them and an egg roll is a school year.
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Sophomores have a whole different view on the perk they can’t enjoy. “It’s nothing wrong with it,” Deon McKenzie, Inikka Williams, and Samantha Richards voiced in unison. Perhaps all their primping distracted them; let’s give them at most a month before the whole thing starts getting under their skin. On the other hand Kareem Smith of the ninth grade seems to side with Purvis. “It’s not fair,” he said. His fellow advisee Denisha Long snatches the words right out his mouth. “It’s not fair,” she chimed in after him. “We should be treated equally,” Latavia Donaldson a freshman said. “Yeah, let ninth and everyone else get the chance to earn it like they [seniors] do,” Diamond Jones voiced unable to keep her composure anymore. Well Diamond, it’s safe to say I couldn’t have said it better myself. For the most part we’re all in agreement; but, then again, none of us can go out for lunch. The twelfth graders are probably oblivious to the fact that we’re stuck while they’re not. Jasmine Spaights when asked about her new senior priveledge had an almost expected response. “We’re seniors and everyone else is not. We’re the first people in
this school and we never got those privledges.” Believe it or not some seniors don’t have the same attitude as Jasmine. John Dargan doesn’t necessarily agree, but he doesn’t disagree either. He has his own reasons. “I don’t go out to lunch because I’m broke,” he said after class. Thanks John, but I don’t think you’re actually helping the cause. Trasaya Cyrus seems to be in the same boat as Mr. Dargan. When asked about what she thought on the matter she gave a rather original response. “At first I thought it was great, but then I saw how much of my money went to food and I decided to go out just once a week. I need my wash and sets you know.” Not quite Trasaya, but thanks anyway. Though it’s great hearing the many sides of Principal O’ Brien’s senior privilege pass, it’s only fair if we hear the method to his madness. During lunch I asked Mr. O’ Brien how he felt about allowing the seniors out for lunch. He said, “Love it; the seniors deserve the right to go out. I don’t want to hold back the mature students, and I am conscious of the eleventh graders that are mature enough. I’ll check with security to see if it’s safe, but for now we’ll start with the twelfth grade. Not sure if this is convincing enough, but at least Mr. O’ Brien has our safety in his best interest.
Desiree showing off her lunch she bought outside BCAM
RESPECTING YOURSELF IS KEY IN ELIMINATING DOUBLE STANDARDS
Double Standards In BCAM?
On the other hand, 11th grade math teacher Mamadou Diallo has hope for women in the workforce. He believes that “The views of By Charnika W. society are changing because the trends in the What would you say if a student entered BCAM workforce are continuously improving on the behalf of both males and females. For example, and word got out that that person already slept there are more and more reports about both with sixteen people? How would you judge a parents contributing to the family income.” Mr. girl in that scenario? How would you judge a Diallo is aware of how rapidly the trends are boy? changing, but are they changing as fast as they In a scenario like this, many people would should be? judge a girl more harshly. Is that fair though? It is clear that unlike our ever changing Especially when considering the fact that the people that girl slept with played an equal role. world, our social and corporate stereotypes and double standards remain stagnant. Although we Then, couldn’t they both be equally in the can say that women, overall, have made great wrong. strides, it is surely not a common belief among Well, not according to the seven of nine us. So, in order for people to look at women and people I spoke to here at BCAM. Those seven their achievements more seriously, we all have people believe, without hesitation, that the girl to be on the same page. I, personally, believe is a down right “slut.” One person labeled the that despite being aware of many of these girl a hoe and the boy just an idiot. When I common stereotypes and double standards, we asked another student why they thought that the let them fly past us because we consider them girl is more harshly judged than the boy, they the “norm”. A man bringing in a household said it’s because females in general have a income has been a normal thing to us. Women higher responsibility within their home and being submissive and faithful to only one man even society than a male will ever have. With has also been the normal thing to us. We, as the issue of responsibility in mind, the number people, have always had a one-sided of women in the workforce can be addressed perspective on the way life should be. Perhaps, the same. if we looked at our society more broadly and fair-mindedly, we could begin to understand Women have pretty much done everything from eating the “forbidden fruit” to fighting for that both man and woman were created equally. the right to vote, educating themselves, and eventually entering the workforce. So, why is it that we are still outnumbered by men in the workforce? Well, although women can work just as hard as any man, people have always believed that men are to be more aggressive, strong, and forceful, while women are dainty. According to Simone Wilson, a paraprofessional educator at BCAM, “Men are still the dominant figure in the workforce because we have always believed that they were. Meanwhile, women have always been known for their household responsibilities: cooking, household chores, maintaining the family, etc. Men are known to be less attached to the home.” These unfair expectations are exactly why women are underemployed and overly criticized.
CREDITS!! BackTalk Team Members:
Cherish Smith (Reporter)
Charnika Webster (Reporter)
Samantha Isaac (Editor)
Joy Smith (Advice Columnist)
Jessica Barrett (Reporter) Keziah Green (Co-Editor)
Donasia Sykes (Creative Writer)
Daniel Rodriguez (Comic Artist)
Janene Wardley (Comic Artist)
Mr. Greer Ms. Pelletier
This Is Mr. Silk
Cherish: What don’t you like about it?
By Cherish S.
Mr. Silk: [He’s a little apprehensive at first.] I don’t like the police scanning that interrupt the day. I wished the lab were finished so I could do more stuff. [Seems fair and Mr. Silk I think everyone’s with you on the police scanning thing.]
I’ve made my own tradition of interviewing new teachers for our very own BCAM BackTalk. Last year Mr. Foster was that someone to get to know and this year it’s Mr. Silk. Before our interview, I, for one, didn’t know what he taught. But I did know his last name, and that not so popular surname is why I chose him (by the way his first name is Darien.) I began by asking him the first thing I should have known before I entered his room. Cherish: What do you teach here at BCAM? Mr. Silk: I teach tenth grade Living Environment and a ninth grade advisory. [So this was the person who took over Ms. Jones last year class. Weird, I had always wondered who that was.] Cherish: Is it your first time teaching? Mr. Silk: I taught middle school.
Cherish: What should a potential student next year know about you? Mr. Silk: You need to be involved in classroom activities. You can’t just sit and do nothing, and I’m always willing to help with questions and problems. Ms. Feehan who was also in the room during the interview had her own questions. She prompted me to ask Mr. Silk about his accent, and guess what: it’s a Canadian accent! I didn’t notice it before, but once that was said I could hear it. He also speaks French… but back to the interview. Cherish: What made you want to teach living environment?
Cherish: And what was that like?
Mr. Silk: I used to be an Exercise Physiologist. [Sounds daunting.] It’s related to the Living Environment, like with bodies and I like that.
Mr. Silk: Different. [He answered so casually, maybe I should ask him what’s so different about it.]
Well it sounds like BCAM added another great teacher to the staff and one that looks like Jude Law.
Mr. Silk: In the Bronx.
Cherish: Do you see a maturity in the kids? Mr. Silk: Yeah, yeah, I definitely find more maturity. [Oh yeah, back to school. How long has he been teaching?] Cherish: How long have you been teaching? Mr. Silk: … Two years; this will be my second year. [Funny, it took him a while to calculate two years.] Cherish: How is BCAM so far? What do you like about BCAM? Mr. Silk: Good… I like it. I like the tenth grade students, there’s lots of personality. There’s lots of stuff going on with all the extracurricular activities. I’m looking forward to basketball season. [I never thought I’d hear a teacher say that.] But of course with the good comes the bad. No matter how much you adore your job, there is no perfect job. BCAM’s not the perfect school, and there has to be something that bothers him. This is an interview, I have to ask.
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Credit Recovery Isn’t So Bad Mr. Greer’s room, 332.